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1.  Implementation of the ACR Dose Index Registry at a Large Academic Institution: Early Experience 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2012;26(2):309-315.
A rising conciousness within both the medical community and in the public has been created by the current levels of radiation exposure from increased use of computed tomography. The concern has prompted the need for more data collection and analysis of hospital and imaging center exam doses. This has spurred the American College of Radiology (ACR) to develop the Dose Index Registry (DIR), which will allow participating insitutions to compare the radiation dose from their CT exams to aggregate national CT dose data based on exam type and body part. We outline the steps involved in the process of enrolling in the DIR, the technical requirements, the challenges we encountered, and our solutions to those challenges. A sample of the quaterly report released by the ACR is presented and discussed. Enrolling in the ACR dose registry is a team effort with participation from IT, a site physicist, and a site radiologist. Participation in this registry is a great starting point to initiate a QA process for monitoring CT dose if none has been established at an institution. The ACR has developed an excellent platform for gathering, analyzing, and reporting CT dose data. Even so, each insititutions will have its own unique issues in joining the project.
doi:10.1007/s10278-012-9546-7
PMCID: PMC3597962  PMID: 23152117
Computed tomography; Radiation dose; Quality assurance
2.  Antenatal lifestyle advice for women who are overweight or obese: LIMIT randomised trial 
Objective To determine the effect of antenatal dietary and lifestyle interventions on health outcomes in overweight and obese pregnant women.
Design Multicentre randomised trial. We utilised a central telephone randomisation server, with computer generated schedule, balanced variable blocks, and stratification for parity, body mass index (BMI) category, and hospital.
Setting Three public maternity hospitals across South Australia.
Participants 2212 women with a singleton pregnancy, between 10+0 and 20+0 weeks’ gestation, and BMI ≥25.
Interventions 1108 women were randomised to a comprehensive dietary and lifestyle intervention delivered by research staff; 1104 were randomised to standard care and received pregnancy care according to local guidelines, which did not include such information.
Main outcome measures Incidence of infants born large for gestational age (birth weight ≥90th centile for gestation and sex). Prespecified secondary outcomes included birth weight >4000 g, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Analyses used intention to treat principles.
Results 2152 women and 2142 liveborn infants were included in the analyses. The risk of the infant being large for gestational age was not significantly different in the two groups (lifestyle advice 203/1075 (19%) v standard care 224/1067 (21%); adjusted relative risk 0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.77 to 1.07; P=0.24). Infants born to women after lifestyle advice were significantly less likely to have birth weight above 4000 g (lifestyle advice 164/1075 (15%) v standard care 201/1067 (19%); 0.82, 0.68 to 0.99; number needed to treat (NNT) 28, 15 to 263; P=0.04). There were no differences in maternal pregnancy and birth outcomes between the two treatment groups.
Conclusions For women who were overweight or obese, the antenatal lifestyle advice used in this study did not reduce the risk delivering a baby weighing above the 90th centile for gestational age and sex or improve maternal pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Trial registration Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12607000161426).
doi:10.1136/bmj.g1285
PMCID: PMC3919179  PMID: 24513442
3.  Consultations Between Patients With Breast Cancer and Surgeons: A Pathway From Patient-Centered Communication to Reduced Hopelessness  
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;31(3):351-358.
Purpose
Patient-centered communication (PCC) affects psychosocial health outcomes of patients. However, these effects are rarely direct, and our understanding of such effects are largely based on self-report (v observational) data. More information is needed on the pathways by which concrete PCC behaviors affect specific psychosocial outcomes in cancer care. We hypothesized that PCC behaviors increase the satisfaction of patients with surgeons, which, in turn, reduces the postconsultation hopelessness of patients.
Patients and Methods
In Portland, OR, we videotaped consultations between 147 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and nine surgeons and administered surveys to participants immediately preconsultation and postconsultation. Consultations were coded for PCC behaviors. Multivariate regression models analyzed the association between PCC and the satisfaction of patients and between satisfaction and hopelessness.
Results
Levels of hopelessness of patients significantly decreased from preconsultation to postconsultation (P < .001). Two PCC behaviors (ie, patient asserting treatment preference [odds ratio {OR}, 1.50/log unit; 95% CI, 1.01 to 2.23/log unit; P = .042] and surgeon providing good/hopeful news [OR, 1.62/log unit; 95% CI, 1.01 to 2.60/log unit; P = .047]) were independently significantly associated with the satisfaction of patients with surgeons, which, in turn, independently predicted reduced levels of postconsultation hopelessness (linear change, −0.78; 95% CI, 1.44 to −0.12; P = .02).
Conclusion
Although additional research is needed with larger and more-diverse data sets, these findings suggest the possibility that concrete and trainable PCC behaviors can lower the hopelessness of patients with breast cancer indirectly through their effects on patient satisfaction with care.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2012.44.2699
PMCID: PMC3732013  PMID: 23233706
4.  Aboriginal Families Study: a population-based study keeping community and policy goals in mind right from the start 
Background
Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are between two to five times more likely to die in childbirth than non-Aboriginal women, and two to three times more likely to have a low birthweight infant. Babies with a low birthweight are more likely to have chronic health problems in adult life. Currently, there is limited research evidence regarding effective interventions to inform new initiatives to strengthen antenatal care for Aboriginal families.
Method/Design
The Aboriginal Families Study is a cross sectional population-based study investigating the views and experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women having an Aboriginal baby in the state of South Australia over a 2-year period. The primary aims are to compare the experiences and views of women attending standard models of antenatal care with those accessing care via Aboriginal Family Birthing Program services which include Aboriginal Maternal Infant Care (AMIC) Workers as members of the clinical team; to assess factors associated with early and continuing engagement with antenatal care; and to use the information to inform strengthening of services for Aboriginal families. Women living in urban, regional and remote areas of South Australia have been invited to take part in the study by completing a structured interview or, if preferred, a self-administered questionnaire, when their baby is between 4–12 months old.
Discussion
Having a baby is an important life event in all families and in all cultures. How supported women feel during pregnancy, how women and families are welcomed by services, how safe they feel coming in to hospitals to give birth, and what happens to families during a hospital stay and in the early months after the birth of a new baby are important social determinants of maternal, newborn and child health outcomes. The Aboriginal Families Study builds on consultation with Aboriginal communities across South Australia. The project has been implemented with guidance from an Aboriginal Advisory Group keeping community and policy goals in mind right from the start. The results of the study will provide a unique resource to inform quality improvement and strengthening of services for Aboriginal families.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-12-41
PMCID: PMC3689616  PMID: 23767813
Antenatal care; Health inequalities; Indigenous health; Maternal health; Participatory research; Perinatal health outcomes
5.  The Skeptical Technophile: iPad Review 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2012;25(3):365-368.
doi:10.1007/s10278-012-9467-5
PMCID: PMC3348982  PMID: 22395796
6.  Australasian randomised trial to evaluate the role of maternal intramuscular dexamethasone versus betamethasone prior to preterm birth to increase survival free of childhood neurosensory disability (A*STEROID): study protocol 
Background
Both dexamethasone and betamethasone, given to women at risk of preterm birth, substantially improve short-term neonatal health, increase the chance of the baby being discharged home alive, and reduce childhood neurosensory disability, remaining safe into adulthood. However, it is unclear which corticosteroid is of greater benefit to mother and child.
This study aims to determine whether giving dexamethasone to women at risk of preterm birth at less than 34 weeks’ gestation increases the chance of their children surviving free of neurosensory disability at two years’ corrected age, compared with betamethasone.
Methods/Design
Design randomised, multicentre, placebo controlled trial.
Inclusion criteria women at risk of preterm birth at less than 34 weeks’ gestation with a singleton or twin pregnancy and no contraindications to the use of antenatal corticosteroids and who give informed consent.
Trial entry & randomisation at telephone randomisation eligible women will be randomly allocated to either the dexamethasone group or the betamethasone group, allocated a study number and corresponding treatment pack.
Study groups women in the dexamethasone group will be administered two syringes of 12 mg dexamethasone (dexamethasone sodium phosphate) and women in the betamethasone group will be administered two syringes of 11.4 mg betamethasone (Celestone Chronodose). Both study groups consist of intramuscular treatments 24 hours apart.
Primary study outcome death or any neurosensory disability measured in children at two years’ corrected age.
Sample size a sample size of 1449 children is required to detect either a decrease in death or any neurosensory disability from 27.0% to 20.1% with dexamethasone compared with betamethasone, or an increase from 27.0% to 34.5% (two-sided alpha 0.05, 80% power, 5% loss to follow up, design effect 1.2).
Discussion
This study will provide high-level evidence of direct relevance for clinical practice. If one drug clearly results in significantly fewer deaths and fewer disabled children then it should be used consistently in women at risk of preterm birth and would be of great importance to women at risk of preterm birth, their children, health services and communities.
Trial registration
Trial registration number: ACTRN12608000631303
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-104
PMCID: PMC3655914  PMID: 23642125
Antenatal corticosteroids; Dexamethasone; Betamethasone; Preterm birth; Randomised controlled trial; Neurosensory disability
7.  The IDEAL study: investigation of dietary advice and lifestyle for women with borderline gestational diabetes: a randomised controlled trial - study protocol 
Background
The Australian Carbohydrate Intolerance Study in Pregnant Women (ACHOIS) showed that treatment of pregnant women with mild gestational diabetes mellitus is beneficial for both women and their infants. It is still uncertain whether there are benefits of similar treatment for women with borderline gestational diabetes.
This trial aims to assess whether dietary and lifestyle advice and treatment given to pregnant women who screen for borderline gestational diabetes reduces neonatal complications and maternal morbidities.
Methods/design
Design: Multicentre, randomised controlled trial.
Inclusion criteria: Women between 240 and 346 weeks gestation with a singleton pregnancy, a positive oral glucose challenge test (venous plasma glucose ≥7.8 mmol/L) and a normal oral 75 gram glucose tolerance test (fasting venous plasma glucose <5.5 mmol/L and a 2 hour glucose <7.8 mmol/L) with written, informed consent.
Trial entry and randomisation: Women with an abnormal oral glucose tolerance test (fasting venous plasma glucose ≥5.5 mmol/L or 2 hour glucose ≥7.8 mmol/L) will not be eligible and will be offered treatment for gestational diabetes, consistent with recommendations based on results of the ACHOIS trial. Eligible women will be randomised into either the ‘Routine Care Group’ or the ‘Intervention Group’.
Study groups: Women in the ‘Routine Care Group’ will receive routine obstetric care reflecting current clinical practice in Australian hospitals. Women in the ‘Intervention Group’ will receive obstetric care, which will include dietary and lifestyle advice, monitoring of blood glucose and further medical treatment for hyperglycaemia as appropriate.
Primary study outcome: Incidence of large for gestational age infants.
Sample size: A sample size of 682 women will be sufficient to show a 50% reduction in the risk of large for gestational age infants (alpha 0.05 two-tailed, 80% power, 4% loss to follow up) from 14% to 7% with dietary and lifestyle advice and treatment.
Discussion
A conclusive trial outcome will provide reliable evidence of relevance for the care of women with borderline glucose intolerance in pregnancy and their infants.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry - ACTRN12607000174482
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-106
PMCID: PMC3506505  PMID: 23046499
Borderline gestational diabetes; Gestational diabetes mellitus; Randomised controlled trial; Diet; Lifestyle; Large for gestational age
8.  Planned Vaginal Birth or Elective Repeat Caesarean: Patient Preference Restricted Cohort with Nested Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(3):e1001192.
A study conducted in Australia provides new data on the outcomes for mother and baby associated with either planned vaginal birth, or elective repeat caesarean section following a previous caesarean section.
Background
Uncertainty exists about benefits and harms of a planned vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) compared with elective repeat caesarean (ERC). We conducted a prospective restricted cohort study consisting of a patient preference cohort study, and a small nested randomised trial to compare benefits and risks of a planned ERC with planned VBAC.
Methods and findings
2,345 women with one prior caesarean, eligible for VBAC at term, were recruited from 14 Australian maternity hospitals. Women were assigned by patient preference (n = 2,323) or randomisation (n = 22) to planned VBAC (1,225 patient preference, 12 randomised) or planned ERC (1,098 patient preference, ten randomised). The primary outcome was risk of fetal death or death of liveborn infant before discharge or serious infant outcome. Data were analysed for the 2,345 women (100%) and infants enrolled.
The risk of fetal death or liveborn infant death prior to discharge or serious infant outcome was significantly lower for infants born in the planned ERC group compared with infants in the planned VBAC group (0.9% versus 2.4%; relative risk [RR] 0.39; 95% CI 0.19–0.80; number needed to treat to benefit 66; 95% CI 40–200). Fewer women in the planned ERC group compared with women in the planned VBAC had a major haemorrhage (blood loss ≥1,500 ml and/or blood transfusion), (0.8% [9/1,108] versus 2.3% [29/1,237]; RR 0.37; 95% CI 0.17–0.80).
Conclusions
Among women with one prior caesarean, planned ERC compared with planned VBAC was associated with a lower risk of fetal and infant death or serious infant outcome. The risk of major maternal haemorrhage was reduced with no increase in maternal or perinatal complications to time of hospital discharge. Women, clinicians, and policy makers can use this information to develop health advice and make decisions about care for women who have had a previous caesarean.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN53974531
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Rates of caesarean section are rising around the world, particularly in high- and middle-income countries, where most women have a choice of how their baby is delivered. Historically, the obstetrician in charge of the woman's care made the decision on whether to perform an elective (planned) caesarean section based on medical criteria. For women who have had a previous caesarean section, typically, their options for mode of childbirth are either a trial of vaginal birth or an elective repeat caesarean section. The proportion of women attempting a vaginal birth after a previous caesarean section has been declining in many countries partly due to the variable chance of achieving a successful vaginal birth (reported between 56% and 80%) and partly because of negative reports of the risk of complications, both to the mother and the baby, of a having a vaginal delivery following a caesarean section. Consequently, the rates of repeat caesarean section have risen sharply, for example, currently 83% in Australia and almost 90% in the US.
Why Was This Study Done?
Both elective repeat caesarean section and subsequent vaginal delivery after a previous caesarean section have clinical risks and benefits. Most obviously, having a surgical procedure puts the woman having the repeat caesarean section at risk of surgical complications, especially if performed under a general anesthetic, and her baby may be at risk of respiratory complications. However, subsequent vaginal delivery following a previous caesarean section may put the mother at risk of bleeding severely enough to need a blood transfusion (more than 1,500 ml blood loss) and she may also be at increased risk of rupturing her uterus; and her baby may have an increased risk of dying or of becoming brain damaged due to lack of oxygen.
However, to date there have been no randomized controlled trials of elective repeat caesarean section versus vaginal delivery following a previous caesarean section to compare the health outcomes of mother and baby and a recent systematic review could draw no conclusions. So the researchers conducted this prospective cohort study based on patient preference (with a few women agreeing to be randomized to mode of delivery), to compare the health outcomes for mother and baby for elective repeat caesarean section versus vaginal delivery in women following a previous caesarean section.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 2002 and 2007, the researchers recruited 2,345 suitable women (that is, women who had one previous caesarean section, were currently 37 weeks pregnant with a single baby, and who were clinically able to have a vaginal delivery) from 14 maternity hospitals throughout Australia. A few women (22) agreed to be randomized to either mode of delivery but most women chose her preferred option. Then, depending on the woman's preferences for mode of birth, participating obstetricians either scheduled a date for an elective caesarean section (1,098 women) or assessed on-going suitability for the woman to have a planned vaginal delivery (1,225 women). However only 535 (43.2%) women who chose to have a vaginal birth were able to deliver this way because of failure to progress in labor or fetal distress: 334 of these women (27.0%) had to have an elective caesarean section and 368 women had to have an emergency caesarean section.
Although no women died, women who had a planned caesarean section experienced less severe bleeding than women who delivered vaginally. There were no infant deaths in those born by elective caesarean section but two unexplained stillbirths in the planned vaginal delivery group. There was also a reduced risk of nonfatal serious outcome before discharge from hospital for infants delivered by in the elective caesarean section. The researchers calculated that one infant death or near death would be prevented for every 66 elective caesarean sections performed in women who had a previous caesarean section.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in women who had delivered by a previous caesarean section delivering their next baby by planned caesarean section was associated with less infant death and better health outcomes for the mother before she was discharged from the hospital compared to women who had a subsequent vaginal delivery. This information can be used by women, clinicians, and policy makers in helping to make decisions about the mode of subsequent deliveries and best care for women who have had a previous caesarean section.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001192.
This study is linked to a PLoS Medicine Research Article by Fitzpatrick and colleagues and a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Catherine Spong
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has information sheets for patients on caesarean sections and on vaginal birth after caesarean delivery
Childbirth Connection, a US-based not-for-profit organization, provides information about caesarean sections and about vaginal birth after caesarean
The National Childbirth Trust, a UK charity, provides information for parents on all aspects of pregnancy and birth, including caesarean sections and vaginal birth after caesarean delivery
The UK charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories from women making decisions about birth after a caesarean section
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001192
PMCID: PMC3302845  PMID: 22427749
9.  Parental Information Seeking Following a Positive Newborn Screening for Cystic Fibrosis 
Journal of health communication  2010;15(8):880-894.
This investigation focused on the information-seeking behaviors of parents (N = 38) whose newborn had received a positive screening result for cystic fibrosis. Roughly half of the participants actively sought information about their child's potential disease prior to the clinic visit. The most common sources of information were the internet, pediatricians, and family physicians. Analysis of behavior during the clinic visit showed rates of question asking that were judged as low, but comparable to the results of other studies. It was observed that parents would occasionally collaborate in the production of a single question. More educated parents tended to produce such questions more frequently. Importantly, frequency of collaborative questions was positively correlated with enhanced knowledge of cystic fibrosis six weeks after the clinic visit and with apparent dissatisfaction with the counseling interaction.
doi:10.1080/10810730.2010.522226
PMCID: PMC3033770  PMID: 21170789
10.  Limiting weight gain in overweight and obese women during pregnancy to improve health outcomes: the LIMIT randomised controlled trial 
Background
Obesity is a significant global health problem, with the proportion of women entering pregnancy with a body mass index greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2 approaching 50%. Obesity during pregnancy is associated with a well-recognised increased risk of adverse health outcomes both for the woman and her infant, however there is more limited information available regarding effective interventions to improve health outcomes.
The aims of this randomised controlled trial are to assess whether the implementation of a package of dietary and lifestyle advice to overweight and obese women during pregnancy to limit gestational weight gain is effective in improving maternal, fetal and infant health outcomes.
Methods/Design
Design: Multicentred randomised, controlled trial.
Inclusion Criteria: Women with a singleton, live gestation between 10+0-20+0 weeks who are obese or overweight (defined as body mass index greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2), at the first antenatal visit.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: Eligible, consenting women will be randomised between 10+0 and 20+0 weeks gestation using a central telephone randomisation service, and randomisation schedule prepared by non-clinical research staff with balanced variable blocks. Stratification will be according to maternal BMI at trial entry, parity, and centre where planned to give birth.
Treatment Schedules: Women randomised to the Dietary and Lifestyle Advice Group will receive a series of inputs from research assistants and research dietician to limit gestational weight gain, and will include a combination of dietary, exercise and behavioural strategies.
Women randomised to the Standard Care Group will continue to receive their pregnancy care according to local hospital guidelines, which does not currently include routine provision of dietary, lifestyle and behavioural advice.
Outcome assessors will be blinded to the allocated treatment group.
Primary Study Outcome: infant large for gestational age (defined as infant birth weight ≥ 90th centile for gestational age).
Sample Size: 2,180 women to detect a 30% reduction in large for gestational age infants from 14.40% (p = 0.05, 80% power, two-tailed).
Discussion
This is a protocol for a randomised trial. The findings will contribute to the development of evidence based clinical practice guidelines.
Trial Registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000161426
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-79
PMCID: PMC3219553  PMID: 22026403
11.  Effect of Treatment of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus on Obesity in the Next Generation 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(5):964-968.
OBJECTIVE
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) may cause obesity in the offspring. The objective was to assess the effect of treatment for mild GDM on the BMI of 4- to 5-year-old children.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Participants were 199 mothers who participated in a randomized controlled trial of the treatment of mild GDM during pregnancy and their children. Trained nurses measured the height and weight of the children at preschool visits in a state-wide surveillance program in the state of South Australia. The main outcome measure was age- and sex-specific BMI Z score based on standards of the International Obesity Task Force.
RESULTS
At birth, prevalence of macrosomia (birth weight ≥4,000 g) was 5.3% among the 94 children whose mothers were in the intervention group, and 21.9% among the 105 children in the routine care control group. At 4- to 5-years-old, mean (SD) BMI Z score was 0.49 (1.20) in intervention children and 0.41 (1.40) among controls. The difference between treatment groups was 0.08 (95% CI −0.29 to 0.44), an estimate minimally changed by adjustment for maternal race, parity, age, and socio-economic index (0.08 [−0.29 to 0.45]). Evaluating BMI ≥85th percentile rather than continuous BMI Z score gave similarly null results.
CONCLUSIONS
Although treatment of GDM substantially reduced macrosomia at birth, it did not result in a change in BMI at age 4- to 5-years-old.
doi:10.2337/dc09-1810
PMCID: PMC2858199  PMID: 20150300
12.  Stressful life events, social health issues and low birthweight in an Australian population-based birth cohort: challenges and opportunities in antenatal care 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:196.
Background
Investment in strategies to promote 'a healthy start to life' has been identified as having the greatest potential to reduce health inequalities across the life course. The aim of this study was to examine social determinants of low birthweight in an Australian population-based birth cohort and consider implications for health policy and health care systems.
Methods
Population-based survey distributed by hospitals and home birth practitioners to >8000 women six months after childbirth in two states of Australia. Participants were women who gave birth to a liveborn infant in Victoria and South Australia in September/October 2007. Main outcome measures included stressful life events and social health issues, perceived discrimination in health care settings, infant birthweight.
Results
4,366/8468 (52%) of eligible women returned completed surveys. Two-thirds (2912/4352) reported one or more stressful life events or social health issues during pregnancy. Women reporting three or more social health issues (18%, 768/4352) were significantly more likely to have a low birthweight infant (< 2500 grams) after controlling for smoking and other socio-demographic covariates (Adj OR = 1.77, 95% CI 1.1-2.8). Mothers born overseas in non-English speaking countries also had a higher risk of having a low birthweight infant (Adj OR = 1.85, 95% CI 1.2-2.9). Women reporting three or more stressful life events/social health issues were more likely to attend antenatal care later in pregnancy (OR = 2.06, 95% CI 1.3-3.1), to have fewer antenatal visits (OR = 2.17, 95% CI 1.4-3.4) and to experience discrimination in health care settings (OR = 2.69, 95% CI 2.2-3.3).
Conclusions
There is a window of opportunity in antenatal care to implement targeted preventive interventions addressing potentially modifiable risk factors for poor maternal and infant outcomes. Developing the evidence base and infrastructure necessary in order for antenatal services to respond effectively to the social circumstances of women's lives is long overdue.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-196
PMCID: PMC3080815  PMID: 21450106
13.  Timing of birth for women with a twin pregnancy at term: a randomised controlled trial 
Background
There is a well recognized risk of complications for both women and infants of a twin pregnancy, increasing beyond 37 weeks gestation. Preterm birth prior to 37 weeks gestation is a recognized complication of a twin pregnancy, however, up to 50% of twins will be born after this time.
The aims of this randomised trial are to assess whether elective birth at 37 weeks gestation compared with standard care in women with a twin pregnancy affects the risk of perinatal death, and serious infant complications.
Methods/Design
Design: Multicentred randomised trial.
Inclusion Criteria: women with a twin pregnancy at 366 weeks or more without contraindication to continuation of pregnancy.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: Following written informed consent, eligible women will be randomised from 36+6 weeks gestation. The randomisation schedule uses balanced variable blocks, with stratification for centre of birth and planned mode of birth. Women will be randomised to either elective birth or standard care.
Treatment Schedules: Women allocated to the elective birth group will be planned for elective birth from 37 weeks gestation. Where the plan is for vaginal birth, this will involve induction of labour. Where the plan is for caesarean birth, this will involve elective caesarean section. For women allocated to standard care, birth will be planned for 38 weeks gestation or later. Where the plan is for vaginal birth, this will involve either awaiting the spontaneous onset of labour, or induction of labour if required. Where the plan is for caesarean birth, this will involve elective caesarean section (after 38 and as close to 39 weeks as possible).
Primary Study Outcome: A composite of perinatal mortality or serious neonatal morbidity.
Sample Size: 460 women with a twin pregnancy to show a reduction in the composite outcome from 16.3% to 6.7% with adjustment for the clustering of twin infants within mothers (p = 0.05, 80% power).
Discussion
This is a protocol for a randomised trial, the findings of which will contribute information about the optimal time of birth for women with an uncomplicated multiple pregnancy at and beyond 37 weeks gestation.
Clinical Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN15761056
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-68
PMCID: PMC2978123  PMID: 20973989
14.  Widespread Occurrence of Non-Enzymatic Deamidations of Asparagine Residues in Yersinia pestis Proteins Resulting from Alkaline pH Membrane Extraction Conditions 
The open proteomics journal  2008;1:106-115.
Extraction of crude membrane fractions with alkaline solutions, such as 100–200 mM Na2CO3 (pH ~11), is often used to solubilize peripheral membrane proteins. Integral membrane proteins are largely retained in membrane pellets. We applied this method to the fractionation of membrane proteins of the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. Extensive horizontal spot trains were observed in 2-DE gels. The pI values of the most basic spots part of such protein spot trains usually matched the computationally predicted pI values. Regular patterns of decreasing spot pI values and in silico analysis with the software ProMoST suggested `n-1' deamidations of asparagine (N) and/or glutamine (Q) side chains for `n' observed spots of a protein in a given spot train. MALDI-MS analysis confirmed the occurrence of deamidations, particularly in N side chains part of NG dipeptide motifs. In more than ten cases, tandem MS data for tryptic peptides provided strong evidence for deamidations, with y- and b-ion series increased by 1 Da following N-to-D substitutions. Horizontal spot trains in 2-DE gels were rare when alkaline extraction was omitted during membrane protein sample preparation. This study strongly supports the notion that exposure to alkaline pH solutions is a dominant cause of extensive N and Q side chain deamidations in proteins during sample preparation of membrane extracts. The modifications are of non-enzymatic nature and not physiologically relevant. Therefore, quantitative spot differences within spot trains in differential protein display experiments following the aforementioned sample preparation steps need to be interpreted cautiously.
doi:10.2174/1875039700801010106
PMCID: PMC2860289  PMID: 20428468
Alkaline membrane extraction; deamidation; membrane proteome; spot train; two-dimensional gel electrophoresis
15.  The Complete Genome Sequence of Haloferax volcanii DS2, a Model Archaeon 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9605.
Background
Haloferax volcanii is an easily culturable moderate halophile that grows on simple defined media, is readily transformable, and has a relatively stable genome. This, in combination with its biochemical and genetic tractability, has made Hfx. volcanii a key model organism, not only for the study of halophilicity, but also for archaeal biology in general.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We report here the sequencing and analysis of the genome of Hfx. volcanii DS2, the type strain of this species. The genome contains a main 2.848 Mb chromosome, three smaller chromosomes pHV1, 3, 4 (85, 438, 636 kb, respectively) and the pHV2 plasmid (6.4 kb).
Conclusions/Significance
The completed genome sequence, presented here, provides an invaluable tool for further in vivo and in vitro studies of Hfx. volcanii.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009605
PMCID: PMC2841640  PMID: 20333302
16.  Genome Degradation in Brucella ovis Corresponds with Narrowing of Its Host Range and Tissue Tropism 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5519.
Brucella ovis is a veterinary pathogen associated with epididymitis in sheep. Despite its genetic similarity to the zoonotic pathogens B. abortus, B. melitensis and B. suis, B. ovis does not cause zoonotic disease. Genomic analysis of the type strain ATCC25840 revealed a high percentage of pseudogenes and increased numbers of transposable elements compared to the zoonotic Brucella species, suggesting that genome degradation has occurred concomitant with narrowing of the host range of B. ovis. The absence of genomic island 2, encoding functions required for lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis, as well as inactivation of genes encoding urease, nutrient uptake and utilization, and outer membrane proteins may be factors contributing to the avirulence of B. ovis for humans. A 26.5 kb region of B. ovis ATCC25840 Chromosome II was absent from all the sequenced human pathogenic Brucella genomes, but was present in all of 17 B. ovis isolates tested and in three B. ceti isolates, suggesting that this DNA region may be of use for differentiating B. ovis from other Brucella spp. This is the first genomic analysis of a non-zoonotic Brucella species. The results suggest that inactivation of genes involved in nutrient acquisition and utilization, cell envelope structure and urease may have played a role in narrowing of the tissue tropism and host range of B. ovis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005519
PMCID: PMC2677664  PMID: 19436743
17.  A splice site mutation in hERG leads to cryptic splicing in human long QT syndrome 
Mutations in the human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) cause type 2 long QT syndrome. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of the hERG splice site mutation 2398+1G>C and the genotype-phenotype relationship of mutation carriers in three unrelated kindreds with long QT syndrome. The effect of 2398+1G>C on mRNA splicing was studied by analysis of RNA isolated from lymphocytes of index patients and using minigenes expressed in HEK293 cells and neonatal rat ventricular myocytes. RT-PCR analysis revealed that the 2398+1G>C mutation disrupted the normal splicing and activated a cryptic splice donor site in intron 9, leading to the inclusion of 54 nt of the intron 9 sequence in hERG mRNA. The cryptic splicing resulted in an in-frame insertion of 18 amino acids in the middle of the cyclic nucleotide binding domain. In patch clamp experiments the splice mutant did not generate hERG current. Western blot and immunostaining studies showed that the mutant expressed an immature form of hERG protein that failed to reach the plasma membrane. Coexpression of the mutant and wild-type channels led to a dominant negative suppression of wild-type channel function by intracellular retention of heteromeric channels. Our results demonstrate that 2398+1G>C activates a cryptic site and generates a full-length hERG protein with an insertion of 18 amino acids, which leads to a trafficking defect of the mutant channel.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2008.01.002
PMCID: PMC2346779  PMID: 18272172
long QT syndrome; splicing mutation; arrhythmia; sudden death; myocytes
18.  Progesterone after previous preterm birth for prevention of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (PROGRESS): a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, as a consequence of preterm birth, is a major cause of early mortality and morbidity during infancy and childhood. Survivors of preterm birth continue to remain at considerable risk of both chronic lung disease and long-term neurological handicap. Progesterone is involved in the maintenance of uterine quiescence through modulation of the calcium-calmodulin-myosin-light-chain-kinase system in smooth muscle cells. The withdrawal of progesterone, either actual or functional is thought to be an antecedent to the onset of labour. While there have been recent reports of progesterone supplementation for women at risk of preterm birth which show promise in this intervention, there is currently insufficient data on clinically important outcomes for both women and infants to enable informed clinical decision-making.
The aims of this randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial are to assess whether the use of vaginal progesterone pessaries in women with a history of previous spontaneous preterm birth will reduce the risk and severity of respiratory distress syndrome, so improving their infant's health, without increasing maternal risks.
Methods
Design: Multicentred randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Inclusion Criteria: pregnant women with a live fetus, and a history of prior preterm birth at less than 37 weeks gestation and greater than 20 weeks gestation in the immediately preceding pregnancy, where onset of labour occurred spontaneously, or in association with cervical incompetence, or following preterm prelabour ruptured membranes.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: After obtaining written informed consent, eligible women will be randomised between 18 and 23+6 weeks gestation using a central telephone randomisation service. The randomisation schedule prepared by non clinical research staff will use balanced variable blocks, with stratification according to plurality of the pregnancy and centre where planned to give birth. Eligible women will be randomised to either vaginal progesterone or vaginal placebo.
Study Medication & Treatment Schedules: Treatment packs will appear identical. Woman, caregivers and research staff will be blinded to treatment allocation.
Primary Study Outcome: Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (defined by incidence and severity).
Sample Size: of 984 women to show a 40% reduction in respiratory distress syndrome from 15% to 9% (p = 0.05, 80% power).
Discussion
This is a protocol for a randomised trial.
Clinical Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN20269066
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-9-6
PMCID: PMC2653463  PMID: 19239712
19.  Integral and peripheral association of proteins and protein complexes with Yersinia pestis inner and outer membranes 
Proteome Science  2009;7:5.
Yersinia pestis proteins were sequentially extracted from crude membranes with a high salt buffer (2.5 M NaBr), an alkaline solution (180 mM Na2CO3, pH 11.3) and membrane denaturants (8 M urea, 2 M thiourea and 1% amidosulfobetaine-14). Separation of proteins by 2D gel electrophoresis was followed by identification of more than 600 gene products by MS. Data from differential 2D gel display experiments, comparing protein abundances in cytoplasmic, periplasmic and all three membrane fractions, were used to assign proteins found in the membrane fractions to three protein categories: (i) integral membrane proteins and peripheral membrane proteins with low solubility in aqueous solutions (220 entries); (ii) peripheral membrane proteins with moderate to high solubility in aqueous solutions (127 entries); (iii) cytoplasmic or ribosomal membrane-contaminating proteins (80 entries). Thirty-one proteins were experimentally associated with the outer membrane (OM). Circa 50 proteins thought to be part of membrane-localized, multi-subunit complexes were identified in high Mr fractions of membrane extracts via size exclusion chromatography. This data supported biologically meaningful assignments of many proteins to the membrane periphery. Since only 32 inner membrane (IM) proteins with two or more predicted transmembrane domains (TMDs) were profiled in 2D gels, we resorted to a proteomic analysis by 2D-LC-MS/MS. Ninety-four additional IM proteins with two or more TMDs were identified. The total number of proteins associated with Y. pestis membranes increased to 456 and included representatives of all six β-barrel OM protein families and 25 distinct IM transporter families.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-7-5
PMCID: PMC2663777  PMID: 19228400
20.  Adaptations to Submarine Hydrothermal Environments Exemplified by the Genome of Nautilia profundicola 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(2):e1000362.
Submarine hydrothermal vents are model systems for the Archaean Earth environment, and some sites maintain conditions that may have favored the formation and evolution of cellular life. Vents are typified by rapid fluctuations in temperature and redox potential that impose a strong selective pressure on resident microbial communities. Nautilia profundicola strain Am-H is a moderately thermophilic, deeply-branching Epsilonproteobacterium found free-living at hydrothermal vents and is a member of the microbial mass on the dorsal surface of vent polychaete, Alvinella pompejana. Analysis of the 1.7-Mbp genome of N. profundicola uncovered adaptations to the vent environment—some unique and some shared with other Epsilonproteobacterial genomes. The major findings included: (1) a diverse suite of hydrogenases coupled to a relatively simple electron transport chain, (2) numerous stress response systems, (3) a novel predicted nitrate assimilation pathway with hydroxylamine as a key intermediate, and (4) a gene (rgy) encoding the hallmark protein for hyperthermophilic growth, reverse gyrase. Additional experiments indicated that expression of rgy in strain Am-H was induced over 100-fold with a 20°C increase above the optimal growth temperature of this bacterium and that closely related rgy genes are present and expressed in bacterial communities residing in geographically distinct thermophilic environments. N. profundicola, therefore, is a model Epsilonproteobacterium that contains all the genes necessary for life in the extreme conditions widely believed to reflect those in the Archaean biosphere—anaerobic, sulfur, H2- and CO2-rich, with fluctuating redox potentials and temperatures. In addition, reverse gyrase appears to be an important and common adaptation for mesophiles and moderate thermophiles that inhabit ecological niches characterized by rapid and frequent temperature fluctuations and, as such, can no longer be considered a unique feature of hyperthermophiles.
Author Summary
Extreme environments, such as deep-sea hydrothermal vents, found 2,500 meters below the ocean surface, support large macrofaunal communities via microbially mediated carbon fixation processes using chemicals (chemoautotrophy) rather than light (photoautotrophy). The genome of one such model chemoautotrophic microbe, N. profundicola, was sequenced and described in this work. N. profundicola, distantly related to the pathogenic Helicobacter and Campylobacter species, contains a number of genes and pathways predicted to be important in DNA repair, environmental sensing, and metabolism, which are novel to either its subdivision or to all microbes. The genes and deduced metabolic pathways include several hydrogen uptake and release systems as well as a novel predicted nitrogen assimilation pathway. One gene involved in DNA repair, reverse gyrase, was thought to be a hallmark protein in hyperthermophiles, which are microbes that grow above 80°C. We found this gene to be highly expressed at 65°C, over 20°C above the optimal growth temperature of this organism. Therefore, the genome of this model deep-sea hydrothermal vent chemoautotroph may reflect what is required for life in an extreme environment, hypothesized to be similar to early earth conditions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000362
PMCID: PMC2628731  PMID: 19197347
21.  Reducing Patients’ Unmet Concerns in Primary Care: the Difference One Word Can Make 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2007;22(10):1429-1433.
Context
In primary, acute-care visits, patients frequently present with more than 1 concern. Various visit factors prevent additional concerns from being articulated and addressed.
Objective
To test an intervention to reduce patients’ unmet concerns.
Design
Cross-sectional comparison of 2 experimental questions, with videotaping of office visits and pre and postvisit surveys.
Setting
Twenty outpatient offices of community-based physicians equally divided between Los Angeles County and a midsized town in Pennsylvania.
Participants
A volunteer sample of 20 family physicians (participation rate = 80%) and 224 patients approached consecutively within physicians (participation rate = 73%; approximately 11 participating for each enrolled physician) seeking care for an acute condition.
Intervention
After seeing 4 nonintervention patients, physicians were randomly assigned to solicit additional concerns by asking 1 of the following 2 questions after patients presented their chief concern: “Is there anything else you want to address in the visit today?” (ANY condition) and “Is there something else you want to address in the visit today?” (SOME condition).
Main Outcome Measures
Patients’ unmet concerns: concerns listed on previsit surveys but not addressed during visits, visit time, unanticipated concerns: concerns that were addressed during the visit but not listed on previsit surveys.
Results
Relative to nonintervention cases, the implemented SOME intervention eliminated 78% of unmet concerns (odds ratio (OR) = .154, p = .001). The ANY intervention could not be significantly distinguished from the control condition (p = .122). Neither intervention affected visit length, or patients’; expression of unanticipated concerns not listed in previsit surveys.
Conclusions
Patients’ unmet concerns can be dramatically reduced by a simple inquiry framed in the SOME form. Both the learning and implementation of the intervention require very little time.
doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0279-0
PMCID: PMC2305862  PMID: 17674111
unmet concerns; unanticipated concerns; intervention; care; physician-patient communication
22.  Costs and consequences of treatment for mild gestational diabetes mellitus – evaluation from the ACHOIS randomised trial 
Background
Recommended best practice is that economic evaluation of health care interventions should be integral with randomised clinical trials. We performed a cost-consequence analysis of treating women with mild gestational diabetes mellitus by dietary advice, blood glucose monitoring and insulin therapy as needed compared with routine pregnancy care, using patient-level data from a multi-centre randomised clinical trial.
Methods
Women with a singleton pregnancy who had mild gestational diabetes diagnosed by an oral glucose-tolerance test between 24 and 34 weeks' gestation and their infants were included. Clinical outcomes and outpatient costs derived from all women and infants in the trial. Inpatient costs derived from women and infants attending the hospital contributing the largest number of enrolments (26.1%), and charges to women and their families derived from a subsample of participants from that hospital (in 2002 Australian dollars). Occasions of service and health outcomes were adjusted for maternal age, ethnicity and parity. Analysis of variance was used with bootstrapping to confirm results. Primary clinical outcomes were serious perinatal complications; admission to neonatal nursery; jaundice requiring phototherapy; induction of labour and caesarean delivery. Economic outcome measures were outpatient and inpatient costs, and charges to women and their families.
Results
For every 100 women with a singleton pregnancy and positive oral glucose tolerance test who were offered treatment for mild gestational diabetes mellitus in addition to routine obstetric care, $53,985 additional direct costs were incurred at the obstetric hospital, $6,521 additional charges were incurred by women and their families, 9.7 additional women experienced induction of labour, and 8.6 more babies were admitted to a neonatal nursery. However, 2.2 fewer babies experienced serious perinatal complication and 1.0 fewer babies experienced perinatal death. The incremental cost per additional serious perinatal complication prevented was $27,503, per perinatal death prevented was $60,506 and per discounted life-year gained was $2,988.
Conclusion
It is likely that the general public in high-income countries such as Australia would find reductions in perinatal mortality and in serious perinatal complications sufficient to justify additional health service and personal monetary charges. Over the whole lifespan, the incremental cost per extra life-year gained is highly favourable.
Trial Registration
Australian Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12606000294550
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-27
PMCID: PMC2241640  PMID: 17963528
23.  Birth after caesarean study – planned vaginal birth or planned elective repeat caesarean for women at term with a single previous caesarean birth: protocol for a patient preference study and randomised trial 
Background
For women who have a caesarean section in their preceding pregnancy, two care policies for birth are considered standard: planned vaginal birth and planned elective repeat caesarean. Currently available information about the benefits and harms of both forms of care are derived from retrospective and prospective cohort studies. There have been no randomised trials, and recognising the deficiencies in the literature, there have been calls for methodologically rigorous studies to assess maternal and infant health outcomes associated with both care policies.
The aims of our study are to assess in women with a previous caesarean birth, who are eligible in the subsequent pregnancy for a vaginal birth, whether a policy of planned vaginal birth after caesarean compared with a policy of planned repeat caesarean affects the risk of serious complications for the woman and her infant.
Methods/Design
Design: Multicentred patient preference study and a randomised clinical trial.
Inclusion Criteria: Women with a single prior caesarean presenting in their next pregnancy with a single, live fetus in cephalic presentation, who have reached 37 weeks gestation, and who do not have a contraindication to a planned VBAC.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: Eligible women will be given an information sheet during pregnancy, and will be recruited to the study from 37 weeks gestation after an obstetrician has confirmed eligibility for a planned vaginal birth. Written informed consent will be obtained. Women who consent to the patient preference study will be allocated their preference for either planned VBAC or planned, elective repeat caesarean. Women who consent to the randomised trial will be randomly allocated to either the planned vaginal birth after caesarean or planned elective repeat caesarean group.
Treatment Groups: Women in the planned vaginal birth group will await spontaneous onset of labour whilst appropriate. Women in the elective repeat caesarean group will have this scheduled for between 38 and 40 weeks.
Primary Study Outcome: Serious adverse infant outcome (death or serious morbidity).
Sample Size: 2314 women in the patient preference study to show a difference in adverse neonatal outcome from 1.6% to 3.6% (p = 0.05, 80% power).
Clinical Trial Registration
ISCTRN5397431
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-17
PMCID: PMC1988834  PMID: 17697343
24.  Mild gestational diabetes in pregnancy and the adipoinsular axis in babies born to mothers in the ACHOIS randomised controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2007;7:18.
Background
Mild gestational diabetes is a common complication of pregnancy, affecting up to 9% of pregnant women. Treatment of mild GDM is known to reduce adverse perinatal outcomes such as macrosomia and associated birth injuries, such as shoulder dystocia, bone fractures and nerve palsies. This study aimed to compare the plasma glucose concentrations and serum insulin, leptin and adiponectin in cord blood of babies of women (a) without gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), (b) with mild GDM under routine care, or (c) mild GDM with treatment.
Methods
95 women with mild GDM on oral glucose tolerance testing (OGTT) at one tertiary level maternity hospital who had been recruited to the ACHOIS trial at one of the collaborating hospitals and randomised to either Treatment (n = 46) or Routine Care (n = 49) and Control women with a normal OGTT (n = 133) were included in the study. Women with mild GDM (treatment or routine care group) and OGTT normal women received routine pregnancy care. In addition, women with treated mild GDM received dietary advice, blood glucose monitoring and insulin if necessary.
The primary outcome measures were cord blood concentrations of glucose, insulin, adiponectin and leptin.
Results
Cord plasma glucose was higher in women receiving routine care compared with control, but was normalized by treatment for mild GDM (p = 0.01). Cord serum insulin and insulin to glucose ratio were similar between the three groups. Leptin concentration in cord serum was lower in GDM treated women compared with routine care (p = 0.02) and not different to control (p = 0.11). Adiponectin was lower in both mild GDM groups compared with control (Treatment p = 0.02 and Routine Care p = 0.07), while the adiponectin to leptin ratio was lower for women receiving routine care compared with treatment (p = 0.08) and control (p = 0.05).
Conclusion
Treatment of women with mild GDM using diet, blood glucose monitoring and insulin if necessary, influences the altered fetal adipoinsular axis characteristic of mild GDM in pregnancy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-7-18
PMCID: PMC1865537  PMID: 17430602

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