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1.  Avian H5N1 influenza 
Bioengineered Bugs  2012;3(3):145-146.
PMCID: PMC3370932  PMID: 22572782
2.  Myocardial Alterations in Senescent Mice and Effect of Exercise Training A Strain Rate Imaging Study 
Aging is accompanied by an alteration in myocardial contractility. However, its noninvasive detection is difficult. The effect of chronic exercise on this decrease is unknown. Murine models of senescence are increasingly used to test therapies in aging. We tested whether strain rate imaging detected left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction in aging mice and was able to assess a potential improvement after exercise.
Methods and Results
Young (3 weeks), adult (2 to 3 months), and old (6 to 18 months) C57BL6 male mice underwent echocardiograms with strain rate imaging, either in sedentary conditions or before, 2 weeks and 4 weeks after chronic swimming. Hemodynamic parameters of LV function including maximal and end-systolic elastance were obtained before euthanizing. LV fibrosis was measured using Sirius red staining. Conventional echocardiography was unable to detect LV systolic dysfunction in old mice, whereas both systolic strain rate and load-independent hemodynamic parameters such as preload recruitable stroke work and end-systolic elastance were significantly decreased. Both strain rate and load-independent hemodynamic parameters normalized after 4 weeks of exercise. Both endocardial and epicardial fibrosis were increased in the LV of aging mice. Endocardial fibrosis decreased in exercised aged mice.
Strain rate noninvasively detects LV systolic dysfunction associated with aging in mice, whereas conventional echocardiography does not. Chronic exercise normalizes LV systolic function and decreases fibrosis in old mice. Strain rate imaging in mice may be a useful tool to monitor the effect of new therapeutic strategies preventing the myocardial dysfunction associated with aging.
PMCID: PMC3754845  PMID: 19808547
aging; echocardiography; exercise
3.  Winter Temperature Inversions and Emergency Department Visits for Asthma in Salt Lake County, Utah, 2003–2008 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(10):1385-1390.
Background: Winter temperature inversions—layers of air in which temperature increases with altitude—trap air pollutants and lead to higher pollutant concentrations. Previous studies have evaluated associations between pollutants and emergency department (ED) visits for asthma, but none have considered inversions as independent risk factors for ED visits for asthma.
Objective: We aimed to assess associations between winter inversions and ED visits for asthma in Salt Lake County, Utah.
Methods: We obtained electronic records of ED visits for asthma and data on inversions, weather, and air pollutants for Salt Lake County, Utah, during the winters of 2003 through 2004 to 2007 through 2008. We identified 3,425 ED visits using a primary diagnosis of asthma. We used a time-stratified case-crossover design, and conditional logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to estimate rate ratios of ED visits for asthma in relation to inversions during a 4-day lag period and prolonged inversions. We evaluated interactions between inversions and weather and pollutants.
Results: After adjusting for dew point and mean temperatures, the OR for ED visits for asthma associated with inversions 0–3 days before the visit compared with no inversions during the lag period was 1.14 (95% CI: 1.00, 1.30). The OR for each 1-day increase in the number of inversion days during the lag period was 1.03 (95% CI: 1.00, 1.07). Associations were only apparent when PM10 and maximum and mean temperatures were above median levels.
Conclusions: Our results provide evidence that winter inversions are associated with increased rates of ED visits for asthma.
PMCID: PMC3491922  PMID: 22784691
asthma; case-crossover; emergency department; interaction; inversion; winter
4.  Work in Progress [Abridged] 
PMCID: PMC1901220  PMID: 20918915
5.  Development of a real-time RT-PCR and Reverse Line probe Hybridisation assay for the routine detection and genotyping of Noroviruses in Ireland 
Virology Journal  2007;4:86.
Noroviruses are the most common cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis. Improved detection methods have seen a large increase in the number of human NoV genotypes in the last ten years. The objective of this study was to develop a fast method to detect, quantify and genotype positive NoV samples from Irish hospitals.
A real-time RT-PCR assay and a Reverse Line Blot Hybridisation assay were developed based on the ORF1-ORF2 region. The sensitivity and reactivity of the two assays used was validated using a reference stool panel containing 14 NoV genotypes. The assays were then used to investigate two outbreaks of gastroenteritis in two Irish hospitals. 56 samples were screened for NoV using a real-time RT-PCR assay and 26 samples were found to be positive. Genotyping of these positive samples found that all positives belonged to the GII/4 variant of NoV.
The combination of the Real-time assay and the reverse line blot hybridisation assay provided a fast and accurate method to investigate a NoV associated outbreak. It was concluded that the predominant genotype circulating in these Irish hospitals was GII/4 which has been associated with the majority of NoV outbreaks worldwide. The assays developed in this study are useful tools for investigating NoV infection.
PMCID: PMC2008195  PMID: 17822552
6.  Carlow Virus, a 2002 GII.4 variant Norovirus strain from Ireland 
Virology Journal  2007;4:61.
Noroviruses are the leading cause of infectious non-bacterial gastroenteritis in Ireland (population 4 million). Due to the number of outbreaks, its massive impact on the Irish health service and its seasonality, Norovirus has gained public notoriety as The Winter Vomiting Bug. The increase in cases in Ireland in the 2002–2003 season coincided with the emergence of two new Genogroup II genotype 4 variant clusters of Norovirus worldwide.
Little research has been done on the epidemiology or molecular biology of Norovirus strains in Ireland. In an effort to combat this discrepancy, we cloned a full length human norovirus genome as a cDNA clone (J3) which can produce full length transcripts in vitro. A polymerase mutant cDNA clone (X1), in addition to a sub genomic cDNA clone (1A) were produced for use in future work.
Carlow virus (Hu/NoV/GII/Carlow/2002/Ire) genome is 7559 nts in length, excluding the 3-end poly A tail and represents the first Norovirus strain from Ireland to be sequenced.
Carlow virus is a member of the Farmington Hills variant cluster of Genogroup II genotype 4 noroviruses.
PMCID: PMC1913912  PMID: 17567897
7.  VP4 and VP7 Genotyping of Rotavirus Samples Recovered from Infected Children in Ireland over a 3-Year Period 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(6):1699-1703.
Between September 1995 and August 1998, the incidence and diversity of the main human rotavirus genotypes (G1, G2, G3, and G4 and P[8], P[4], P[6], and P[9]) among Irish children were determined by using established and adapted reverse transcriptase PCR-based genotyping methods. From a total of 193 rotavirus-positive specimens collected from nine hospitals we successfully identified the P type in 182 (94%) of the samples and the G type in 165 (85.5%) of the samples. Only four samples could not be assigned a G or P type. Two P types existed in Ireland, P[8] (78%) and P[4] (16%), and their relative incidence varied over the 3 years of this study. No P[6] or P[9] types were detected. G1 was the most predominant G type (55%), and the incidences of G2, G3, and G4 isolates were 15.5, 1, and 11%, respectively. Three percent of the samples tested had a mixed G type. A P and G type was assigned to 158 (81.8%) of samples. Of the typeable samples, G1 P[8] was the most prevalent (65%), whereas G2 P[4] (17%), G3 P[8] (1%), G4 P[8] (12%), and mixed types (all G1/ G4 P[8]) (4%) were detected less frequently. In the third year a significant genotypic shift from G1 P[8] to G2 P[4] and G4 P[8] was observed. During the study, we noticed that the inclusion of random primers during cDNA synthesis greatly increased the specificity of the PCR typing assays. No correlation was seen between the contributing hospitals and a specific genotype. In conclusion, the coverage of infection given by the recently licensed tetravalent vaccine would be significantly high in Ireland, although future monitoring of genotypic changes among Irish isolates should be encouraged.
PMCID: PMC84927  PMID: 10325310

Results 1-7 (7)