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1.  The Global Burden of Alveolar Echinococcosis 
Background
Human alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is known to be common in certain rural communities in China whilst it is generally rare and sporadic elsewhere. The objective of this study was to provide a first estimate of the global incidence of this disease by country. The second objective was to estimate the global disease burden using age and gender stratified incidences and estimated life expectancy with the disease from previous results of survival analysis. Disability weights were suggested from previous burden studies on echinococcosis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We undertook a detailed review of published literature and data from other sources. We were unable to make a standardised systematic review as the quality of the data was highly variable from different countries and hence if we had used uniform inclusion criteria many endemic areas lacking data would not have been included. Therefore we used evidence based stochastic techniques to model uncertainty and other modelling and estimating techniques, particularly in regions where data quality was poor. We were able to make an estimate of the annual global incidence of disease and annual disease burden using standard techniques for calculation of DALYs. Our studies suggest that there are approximately 18,235 (CIs 11,900–28,200) new cases of AE per annum globally with 16,629 (91%) occurring in China and 1,606 outside China. Most of these cases are in regions where there is little treatment available and therefore will be fatal cases. Based on using disability weights for hepatic carcinoma and estimated age and gender specific incidence we were able to calculate that AE results in a median of 666,434 DALYs per annum (CIs 331,000-1.3 million).
Conclusions/Significance
The global burden of AE is comparable to several diseases in the neglected tropical disease cluster and is likely to be one of the most important diseases in certain communities in rural China on the Tibetan plateau.
Author Summary
Human alveolar echinococcosis (AE), caused by the larval stage of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, is amongst the world's most dangerous zoonoses. Transmission to humans is by consumption of parasite eggs which are excreted in the faeces of the definitive hosts: foxes and, increasingly, dogs. Transmission can be through contact with the definitive host or indirectly through contamination of food or possibly water with parasite eggs. We made an intensive search of English, Russian, Chinese and other language databases. We targeted data which could give country specific incidence or prevalence of disease and searched for data from every country we believed to be endemic for AE. We also used data from other sources (often unpublished). From this information we were able to make an estimate of the annual global incidence of disease and disease burden using standard techniques for calculation of DALYs. Our studies suggest that AE results in a median of 18,235 cases globally with a burden of 666,433 DALYs per annum. This is the first estimate of the global burden of AE both in terms of global incidence and DALYs and demonstrates the burden of AE is comparable to several diseases in the neglected tropical disease cluster.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000722
PMCID: PMC2889826  PMID: 20582310
2.  Comprehensive Behavioral Testing in the R6/2 Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease Shows No Benefit from CoQ10 or Minocycline 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9793.
Previous studies of the effects of coenzyme Q10 and minocycline on mouse models of Huntington's disease have produced conflicting results regarding their efficacy in behavioral tests. Using our recently published best practices for husbandry and testing for mouse models of Huntington's disease, we report that neither coenzyme Q10 nor minocycline had significant beneficial effects on measures of motor function, general health (open field, rotarod, grip strength, rearing-climbing, body weight and survival) in the R6/2 mouse model. The higher doses of minocycline, on the contrary, reduced survival. We were thus unable to confirm the previously reported benefits for these two drugs, and we discuss potential reasons for these discrepancies, such as the effects of husbandry and nutrition.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009793
PMCID: PMC2842438  PMID: 20339553

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