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1.  Use of Atorvastatin in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Children and Adolescents 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(1):285-296.
Statins reduce atherosclerosis and cardiovascular morbidity in the general population, but their efficacy and safety in children and adolescents with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are unknown. This study was undertaken to determine the 3-year efficacy and safety of atorvastatin in preventing subclinical atherosclerosis progression in pediatric-onset SLE.
A total of 221 participants with pediatric SLE (ages 10–21 years) from 21 North American sites were enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Prevention in Pediatric Lupus Erythematosus study, a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, between August 2003 and November 2006 with 36-month followup. Participants were randomized to receive atorvastatin (n = 113) or placebo (n = 108) at 10 or 20 mg/day depending on weight, in addition to usual care. The primary end point was progression of mean-mean common carotid intima-media thickening (CIMT) measured by ultrasound. Secondary end points included other segment/wall-specific CIMT measures, lipid profile, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) level, and SLE disease activity and damage outcomes.
Progression of mean-mean common CIMT did not differ significantly between treatment groups (0.0010 mm/year for atorvastatin versus 0.0024 mm/year for placebo; P = 0.24). The atorvastatin group achieved lower hsCRP (P = 0.04), total cholesterol (P < 0.001), and low-density lipoprotein (P < 0.001) levels compared with placebo. In the placebo group, CIMT progressed significantly across all CIMT outcomes (0.0023–0.0144 mm/year; P < 0.05). Serious adverse events and critical safety measures did not differ between groups.
Our results indicate that routine statin use over 3 years has no significant effect on subclinical atherosclerosis progression in young SLE patients; however, further analyses may suggest subgroups that would benefit from targeted statin therapy. Atorvastatin was well tolerated without safety concerns.
PMCID: PMC4074430  PMID: 22031171
2.  Endoscopy and the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism: A Case-Control Study 
Endoscopy International Open  2014;2(1):E2-E5.
Background and Study Aims To assess whether there was an association between endoscopy and the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Patients and Methods Retrospective case – control study of patients diagnosed with VTE over a 3-year period. Each was age- and sex-matched to one of three controls who attended an outpatient appointment on the same date as that of the diagnosis of VTE in the patients. Patients who had undergone endoscopy within 90 days of VTE were included. On a second analysis, patients who were hospitalized and those with inflammatory bowel disease or malignancy were excluded. The difference in occurrence of endoscopy between cases and controls was examined using the McNemar test. The risk of VTE occurring following endoscopy was quantified by means of odds ratios.
Results Forty-five of 436 patients (10.3 %) had undergone an endoscopy in the VTE group compared with 14 /436 controls (3.2 %; P < 0.001). The odds ratio for developing a VTE after an endoscopic procedure was 3.58 (95 % CI 1.86 – 7.46) for patients relative to controls. When the 10 hospitalized patients and respective controls were excluded, the odds of VTE remained nearly 3 times as large for patients undergoing endoscopy as for controls (2.92 [95 % CI 1.51, 5.62]; P = 0.001). When patients with inflammatory bowel disease or malignancy were also excluded, no difference was found between patients undergoing endoscopy and controls (1.92 [0.95, 3.85]; P = 0.07). Ten percent of patients with VTE underwent endoscopy in the 3 months before the diagnosis compared with 3 % of controls (P < 0.001). No significant difference was found between the type of endoscopy performed and VTE risk.
Conclusions When those with known risk factors for VTE were excluded, no significant increased risk of VTE was found.
PMCID: PMC4476430  PMID: 26134608
3.  Nearest-cell: a fast and easy tool for locating crystal matches in the PDB 
A fast and easy tool to locate unit-cell matches in the PDB is described.
When embarking upon X-ray diffraction data collection from a potentially novel macromolecular crystal form, it can be useful to ascertain whether the measured data reflect a crystal form that is already recorded in the Protein Data Bank and, if so, whether it is part of a large family of related structures. Providing such information to crystallographers conveniently and quickly, as soon as the first images have been recorded and the unit cell characterized at an X-ray beamline, has the potential to save time and effort as well as pointing to possible search models for molecular replacement. Given an input unit cell, and optionally a space group, Nearest-cell rapidly scans the Protein Data Bank and retrieves near-matches.
PMCID: PMC3498934  PMID: 23151636
Nearest-cell; crystal matches; Protein Data Bank
4.  Bilateral breast metastases of a renal carcinoma: a case report and review of the literature 
BMJ Case Reports  2008;2008:bcr0620080239.
Metastatic tumours account for <1% of all breast malignancies, most originating in the contralateral breast. An 88-year-old woman presented with bilateral breast lumps 4 years after radical nephrectomy for a T2N0M0 renal cancer. Mammography showed a circumscribed 15 mm mass just below and medial to the left nipple without any micro-calcification. Ultrasound scan showed the presence of a solid vascular mass in the left breast; a guided core biopsy confirmed it as a metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Left simple mastectomy and excision of right breast lump was done. Histology of both lesions confirmed them as metastatic deposits. Bilateral breast metastasis from a renal cancer is very rare and this is the second reported case. This case illustrates the potential for rare sites of metastases and for the consideration of metastasis in the presence of previous renal cancer. Recognition as metastatic neoplasm is important to prevent unnecessary radical procedures.
PMCID: PMC3124739  PMID: 21716816
5.  Clinical investigation of an outbreak of alveolitis and asthma in a car engine manufacturing plant 
Thorax  2007;62(11):981-990.
Exposure to metal working fluid (MWF) has been associated with outbreaks of extrinsic allergic alveolitis (EAA) in the USA, with bacterial contamination of MWF being a possible cause, but is uncommon in the UK. Twelve workers developed EAA in a car engine manufacturing plant in the UK, presenting clinically between December 2003 and May 2004. This paper reports the subsequent epidemiological investigation of the whole workforce. The study had three aims: (1) to measure the extent of the outbreak by identifying other workers who may have developed EAA or other work‐related respiratory diseases; (2) to provide case detection so that those affected could be treated; and (3) to provide epidemiological data to identify the cause of the outbreak.
The outbreak was investigated in a three‐phase cross‐sectional survey of the workforce. In phase I a respiratory screening questionnaire was completed by 808/836 workers (96.7%) in May 2004. In phase II 481 employees with at least one respiratory symptom on screening and 50 asymptomatic controls were invited for investigation at the factory in June 2004. This included a questionnaire, spirometry and clinical opinion. 454/481 (94.4%) responded and 48/50 (96%) controls. Workers were identified who needed further investigation and serial measurements of peak expiratory flow (PEF). In phase III 162 employees were seen at the Birmingham Occupational Lung Disease clinic. 198 employees returned PEF records, including 141 of the 162 who attended for clinical investigation. Case definitions for diagnoses were agreed.
87 workers (10.4% of the workforce) met case definitions for occupational lung disease, comprising EAA (n = 19), occupational asthma (n = 74) and humidifier fever (n = 7). 12 workers had more than one diagnosis. The peak onset of work‐related breathlessness was Spring 2003. The proportion of workers affected was higher for those using MWF from a large sump (27.3%) than for those working all over the manufacturing area (7.9%) (OR = 4.39, p<0.001). Two workers had positive specific provocation tests to the used but not the unused MWF solution.
Extensive investigation of the outbreak of EAA detected a large number of affected workers, not only with EAA but also occupational asthma. This is the largest reported outbreak in Europe. Mist from used MWF is the likely cause. In workplaces using MWF there is a need to carry out risk assessments, to monitor and maintain fluid quality, to control mist and to carry out respiratory health surveillance.
PMCID: PMC2117138  PMID: 17504818
6.  Simulation of the contractile response of cells on an array of micro-posts 
A bio-chemo-mechanical model has been used to predict the contractile responses of smooth cells on a bed of micro-posts. Predictions obtained for smooth muscle cells reveal that, by converging onto a single set of parameters, the model captures all of the following responses in a self-consistent manner: (i) the scaling of the force exerted by the cells with the number of posts; (ii) actin distributions within the cells, including the rings of actin around the micro-posts; (iii) the curvature of the cell boundaries between the posts; and (iv) the higher post forces towards the cell periphery. Similar correspondences between predictions and measurements have been demonstrated for fibroblasts and mesenchymal stem cells once the maximum stress exerted by the stress fibre bundles has been recalibrated. Consistent with measurements, the model predicts that the forces exerted by the cells will increase with both increasing post stiffness and cell area (or equivalently, post spacing). In conjunction with previous assessments, these findings suggest that this framework represents an important step towards a complete model for the coupled bio-chemo-mechanical responses of cells.
PMCID: PMC3263797  PMID: 19657008
mechano-sensitivity; stress fibre; actin; contractility
8.  Urban legend versus rural reality: patients' experience of attendance at accident and emergency departments in west Wales 
Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ  2005;22(3):165-170.
Objectives: To investigate why and how patients decide to attend accident and emergency (A&E) departments, and to assess their satisfaction with the experience, in a predominantly rural west Wales population.
Methods: This was a semi-structured follow up telephone interview of patients who walked in to A&E in one of four general hospitals in west Wales and were triaged as Manchester Triage score 4 or 5. Patients were recruited by nurses during the period July–November 2002. The study sample consisted of 176 male and 145 female patients, mean (SD) age 36.6 (20.0) years. The main outcome measure was a quantitative and qualitative description of the recalled experiences of A&E attenders, the circumstances of their attendance, and their satisfaction with the experience.
Results: Of the study sample, 78% attended with injury or illnesses of recent origin, and 50% with actual or presumed musculoskeletal injury, 73% of which were sustained within 10 miles of home. Travel to hospital was by private transport for 86%, average distance 7.4 miles. The majority (90%) were registered with a local GP, but 32% felt A&E was the obvious choice, and a further 44% considered their GP inaccessible to their needs. Patients' reasons for seeking health care at A&E were similar to those described in an English urban study. Waiting times were rarely excessive; 80% left within 2 hours, and patient satisfaction was generally high. Among the 87 patients (27%) who reported a less satisfactory experience, 48 (55%) of these complained of dismissive attitudes of doctors.
Conclusions: Anecdotal accounts of abuse of A&E services and unreasonable patient expectations gain the status of "urban legends" within the medical profession. Among the predominantly settled rural population in west Wales, there is little evidence of unreasonable patient expectations, and most patients report high satisfaction levels. Patients' bad experiences most frequently arise from a dismissive attitude on the part of medical staff. These attitudes are often consequent on an A&E culture that views some patients' attendances as less appropriate than others.
PMCID: PMC1726710  PMID: 15735261
9.  Elevated breast cancer risk among mothers of a population-based series of 2668 children with cancer 
Although a previous study found high risk of breast cancer in mothers of children with soft tissue sarcomas, breast cancer risks in mothers of sufferers of other childhood cancers largely remain unknown. The aetiology is not fully understood. The present study explored this excess by varying type of childhood solid cancer and formulated a hypothesis.
Mothers of 2668 children with solid tumours included in the Manchester Children’s Tumour Registry, 1954–96, were traced and followed up to 31 December 2000 through the UK National Health Service Central Register. Standardized incidence ratio (SIR), p-values and 95% confidence intervals were calculated from age and calendar-year-specific female breast cancer incidence rates for England and Wales.
There was a significant excess of breast cancer in mothers overall (SIR=1.3, 95%CI=1.0–1.5) mainly due to mothers of children with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) (SIR=2.2, 95%CI=1.0–4.0), skin cancer (SIR=7.9, 95%CI=2.9–17.1) and central nervous system tumours (SIR=1.2, 95%CI=0.9–1.8). Maternal breast cancer risk was associated with late age at birth of the index child, and male sex and young age at diagnosis in the index child. Risk was highest in the ten years, following the birth of the index. The pattern was seen most strongly in mothers of children with embryonal RMS.
There are excesses of breast cancer in mothers of children with solid tumours in general and specifically in RMS, skin and central nervous system (CNS). There appears to be a temporal relationship between certain tumours in children and breast cancer in their mothers, suggesting an origin of their respective pregnancy. We propose a mother–foetal interaction mechanism to explain this association.
PMCID: PMC3234048  PMID: 22275959
10.  Tyrosine phosphorylation of synaptophysin in synaptic vesicle recycling 
Biochemical Society transactions  2005;33(Pt 6):1350-1353.
The integral synaptic vesicle (SV) protein synaptophysin was one of the first nerve terminal proteins identified. However its role, if any, in the SV life cycle remains undetermined. One of the most prominent features of synaptophysin is that its cytoplasmic C-terminus largely consists of pentapeptide repeats initiated by a tyrosine residue. Synaptophysin is heavily phosphorylated by tyrosine kinases in the nerve terminal, suggesting that this phosphorylation is central to its function. This review will cover the evidence for tyrosine phosphorylation of synaptophysin and how this phosphorylation may control its function in the SV life cycle.
PMCID: PMC2077014  PMID: 16246116
synaptophysin; phosphorylation; tyrosine; exocytosis; neurone; plasticity
11.  Central core disease: clinical, pathological, and genetic features 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2003;88(12):1051-1055.
Central core disease (CCD) is a dominantly inherited congenital myopathy allelic to malignant hyperthermia (MH) caused by mutations in the RYR1 gene on chromosome 19q13.1. Eleven individuals with RYR1 mutations are described. Four index cases showed features consistent with a congenital myopathy (hypotonia, delayed motor milestones, and skeletal abnormalities including congenital hip dislocation and scoliosis). All four cases and subsequently seven other family members were found to possess novel mutations in the RYR1 gene. The degree of disability varied from one clinically normal individual, to another who had never achieved independent ambulation (the only patient with a de novo mutation). Four cases showed a mild reduction in vital capacity, repeated nocturnal polysomnography showed hypoxaemia in one case. A variety of muscle biopsy features were found; central cores were absent in the youngest case, and the biopsy specimens from two others were more suggestive of mini-core myopathy. In all cases missense mutations in exons 101, 102, and 103 of the RYR1 gene on were found. Future laboratory diagnosis of suspected cases and family members will be less invasive and more accurate with DNA analysis. Clinicians, especially paediatricians and orthopaedic surgeons, should be aware of this disorder because of the potential risk of MH.
PMCID: PMC1719384  PMID: 14670767
12.  Tissue engineered nerve constructs:where do we stand? 
Driven by enormous clinical need, interest in peripheral nerve regeneration has become a prime focus of research and area of growth within the field of tissue engineering. While using autologous donor nerves for bridging peripheral defects remains today's gold standard, it remains associated with high donor site morbidity and lack of full recovery. This dictates research towards the development of biomimetic constructs as alternatives. Based on current concepts, this review summarizes various approaches including different extracellular martices, scaffolds, and growth factors that have been shown to promote migration and proliferation of Schwann cells. Since neither of these concepts in isolation is enough, although each is gaining increased interest to promote nerve regeneration, various combinations will need to be identified to strike a harmonious balance. Additional factors that must be incorporated into tissue engineered nerve constructs are also unknown and warrant further research efforts. It seems that future directions may allow us to determine the “missing link”.
PMCID: PMC3933123  PMID: 16796801
nerve tissue engineering; Schwann cell cultures; extracelluar matrices; growth factors; scaffolds
13.  The future of breast cancer prevention 
Breast Cancer Research : BCR  2005;7(Suppl 2):S.09.
PMCID: PMC4233473
14.  Ambient neighbourhood noise and children's mental health 
Objectives: To investigate the relation between typical ambient noise levels (highway, rail, road) and multiple mental health indices of school children considering psychosocial and biological risk factors as potential moderators.
Methods: With a two stage design strategy (representative sample and extreme sample) two cross sectional samples (n=1280; n=123) of primary school children (age 8–11) were studied. Individual exposure to noise at home was linked with two indices of mental health (self reporting by the child on a standard scale and rating by the teacher of classroom adjustment on a standard scale). Noise exposure was modelled firstly according to Austrian guidelines with the aid of a geographical information system and then calibrated and corrected against measurements from 31 locations. Information on potential confounders and risk factors was collected by mothers and controlled in regression modelling through a hierarchical forward stepping procedure. Interaction terms were also analysed to examine subgroups of children at risk—for example, low birth weight and preterm birth.
Results: Noise exposure was significantly associated in both samples with classroom adjustment ratings. Child self reported mental health was significantly linked to ambient noise only in children with a history of early biological risk (low birth weight and preterm birth).
Conclusions: Exposure to ambient noise was associated with small decrements in children's mental health and poorer classroom behaviour. The correlation between mental health and ambient noise is larger in children with early biological risk.
PMCID: PMC1740306  PMID: 12040113
15.  Anti-D immunoglobulin treatment for thrombocytopenia associated with primary antibody deficiency 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2002;55(1):64-66.
Aims: To review our experience of anti-D immunoglobulin for immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in patients with primary antibody deficiency.
Methods/patients: A retrospective case notes review of four Rhesus positive patients with ITP and primary antibody deficiency, treated with anti-D. Patients were refractory to steroids and high dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). Two patients were previously splenectomised.
Results: All patients responded to anti-D immunoglobulin. Improved platelet counts were sustained for at least three months. Side effects included a fall in haemoglobin in all cases; one patient required red blood cell transfusion. Two patients had transient neutropenia (< 1 × 109/litre).
Conclusion: Anti-D immunoglobulin may be an effective treatment for antibody deficiency associated thrombocytopenia, even after splenectomy. Anti-D immunoglobulin may have considerable clinical advantages in this group of patients, where treatments resulting in further immunosuppression are relatively contraindicated.
PMCID: PMC1769561  PMID: 11825928
anti-D immunoglobulin; immune thrombocytopenia; primary antibody deficiency; splenectomy
16.  TNF-α increases human melanoma cell invasion and migration in vitro: the role of proteolytic enzymes 
British Journal of Cancer  2003;89(6):1123-1129.
PMCID: PMC2376936  PMID: 12966436
melanoma; invasion; migration; TNF-α; MMP-2; degradative enzymes
17.  The significance of interleukin 8 in urine 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2001;85(3):256-262.
AIMS—To assess the implications of detection of interleukin 8 (IL-8) in urine.
METHODS—IL-8 was measured by immunoassay in all 305 urine samples from children aged 0-18.4 years received by our microbiology laboratory during four weeks, with a retrospective structured case note audit for all those in whom IL-8, white cells, or bacteria were detected. Patients were divided into three groups: urinary tract infection (UTI), at least one sample with ⩾5 leucocytes × 109/l and ⩾105 cultured bacteria/ml; possible UTI, at least one sample with ⩾5 leucocytes × 109/l or ⩾105 cultured bacteria/ml but not both; UTI unlikely, sample(s) with <5 leucocytes × 109/l and <105 cultured bacteria/ml. Medical records were sought for all in groups 1 (14/14 found) and 2 (18/21 found) and those in group 3 (41/59 found) in whose urine any leucocytes, cultured bacteria, or IL-8 were detected.
RESULTS—IL-8 was detected in 58/305 samples from 48/264 patients. IL-8 was detected in at least one urine sample from 13/14 patients with confirmed UTI (group 1); in 11/21 patients with possible UTI (group 2), of whom two were treated as UTI; and in 23/228 patients without UTI. Using a cut off of 200 pg/ml, urine IL-8 had a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 90% for diagnosing UTI.
CONCLUSIONS—Urine IL-8 is a sensitive test for UTI, but is poorly specific as it is also present in a variety of other infectious and inflammatory disorders.

PMCID: PMC1718904  PMID: 11517116
20.  Analysis of genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity in juvenile polyposis 
Gut  2000;46(5):656-660.
BACKGROUND—Juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS) is characterised by gastrointestinal (GI) hamartomatous polyposis and an increased risk of GI malignancy. Juvenile polyps also occur in the Cowden (CS), Bannayan-Ruvalcaba-Riley (BRRS) and Gorlin (GS) syndromes. Diagnosing JPS can be problematic because it relies on exclusion of CS, BRRS, and GS. Germline mutations in the PTCH, PTEN and DPC4 (SMAD4) genes can cause GS, CS/BRRS, and JPS, respectively.
AIMS—To examine the contribution of mutations in PTCH, PTEN, and DPC4 (SMAD4) to JPS.
METHODS—Forty seven individuals from 15 families and nine apparently sporadic cases with JPS were screened for germline mutations in DPC4, PTEN, and PTCH.
RESULTS—No patient had a mutation in PTEN or PTCH. Five different germline mutations were detected in DPC4; three of these were deletions, one a single base substitution creating a stop codon, and one a missense change. None of these patients had distinguishing clinical features.
CONCLUSIONS—Mutations in PTEN and PTCH are unlikely to cause juvenile polyposis in the absence of clinical features indicative of CS, BRRS, or GS. A proportion of JPS patients harbour DPC4 mutations (21% in this study) but there remains uncharacterised genetic heterogeneity in JPS.

Keywords: juvenile polyposis syndrome; germline mutations
PMCID: PMC1727907  PMID: 10764709
21.  Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study of Topical 5% Acyclovir-1% Hydrocortisone Cream (ME-609) for Treatment of UV Radiation-Induced Herpes Labialis 
Immunopathology is recognized as an important component of infectious disease manifestations, and corticosteroids have been used as an adjunct to antimicrobial therapy for a variety of conditions. Antiviral therapy of herpes labialis has been shown to result in only a small reduction in the time to healing and the duration of pain. To determine if topical application of a combination product containing 5% acyclovir and 1% hydrocortisone (ME-609) could provide benefit to herpes labialis patients, 380 immunocompetent adults with a history of herpes labialis were exposed to experimental UV radiation (UVR) to induce a recurrence. On day 2, just before the appearance of the majority of lesions (“delayed” lesions), subjects were randomized to receive active medication or vehicle control six times per day for 5 days. Overall, 120 of 380 patients developed delayed classical lesions, of whom 50 of 190 (26%) had been treated with ME-609 and 70 of 190 (37%) had received placebo (a reduction of 29% [P = 0.02]). Healing time, measured as the time to normal skin, was reduced by treatment with ME-609 (9.0 days for treated patients versus 10.1 days for the controls [P = 0.04]). There was a trend toward a reduction in the maximum lesion size in the ME-609 recipients compared to that in the controls (43 versus 60 mm2, respectively [P = 0.07]). The treatment had no effect on lesion pain, but ME-609 treatment reduced the number of patients with moderate or severe tenderness. Compared to treatment with a placebo, treatment with the combination antiviral-immunomodulatory cream provided benefit to patients with experimental UVR-induced herpes labialis, reducing classical lesion incidence, healing time, lesion size, and lesion tenderness. ME-609 is a novel product that merits further evaluation as a treatment for cold sores.
PMCID: PMC127265  PMID: 12019102
22.  Guidelines for Follow-Up of Women at High Risk for Inherited Breast Cancer: Consensus Statement from the Biomed 2 Demonstration Programme on Inherited Breast Cancer 
Disease Markers  2002;15(1-3):207-211.
Protocols for activity aiming at early diagnosis and treatment of inherited breast or breast-ovarian cancer have been reported. Available reports on outcome of such programmes are considered here. It is concluded that the ongoing activities should continue with minor modifications. Direct evidence of a survival benefit from breast and ovarian screening is not yet available. On the basis of expert opinion and preliminary results from intervention programmes indicating good detection rates for early breast cancers and 5-year survival concordant with early diagnosis, we propose that women at high risk for inherited breast cancer be offered genetic counselling, education in ‘breast awareness’ and annual mammography and clinical expert examination from around 30 years of age. Mammography every second year may be sufficient from 60 years on. BRCA1 mutation carriers may benefit from more frequent examinations and cancer risk may be reduced by oophorectomy before 40–50 years of age. We strongly advocate that all activities should be organized as multicentre studies subjected to continuous evaluation to measure the effects of the interventions on long-term mortality, to match management options more precisely to individual risks and to prepare the ground for studies on chemoprevention.
PMCID: PMC3850824  PMID: 10595280
23.  Management of Hereditary Breast Cancer 
Disease Markers  2002;15(1-3):187-189.
PMCID: PMC3851090  PMID: 10595276
25.  Cancer Genetics Services in Europe 
Disease Markers  2002;15(1-3):3-13.
PMCID: PMC3851069  PMID: 10595245

Results 1-25 (108)