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1.  A Case Report: Successful Management of an Aortic Saddle Embolism in a 28-Year-Old Female 
The obstruction of blood flow at the aortic bifurcation by an embolus defines aortic saddle embolism (ASE). This rare entity occurs preferentially in individuals with cardiovascular diseases such as the middle aged and the elderly. Conversely, its occurrence is sporadic in younger patients. As a result, the diagnosis of ASE is often overlooked or delayed in this age group; therefore, putting these patients at significant risk of neurologic impairment and potential limb loss. Following an extensive literature review, we have found only one reported case of ASE in a patient younger than 30 years. This patient died within 24 hours of admission and was diagnosed with ASE at autopsy. Here, we report for the first time, a case of a successful management of an ASE in a 28-year-old female who presented at our emergency room with acute weakness and numbness of the lower extremities. After vascular consult, the diagnosis of ASE was made and the patient was treated successfully. A week later, the patient was discharged home in stable condition without complications. The purpose of this report is to raise awareness about this potentially fatal condition and emphasize the importance of rapid assessment and treatment. The treatment options are heparin infusion, thrombolytic therapy, and embolectomy.
PMCID: PMC4656159  PMID: 26648674
aortic saddle embolism; embolectomy; thrombolytic; adult polycystic kidney disease
2.  Missed opportunity to screen and diagnose PTSD and depression among deploying shipboard US military personnel 
BJPsych Open  2016;2(5):314-317.
Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are significant risks for suicide and other adverse events among US military personnel, but prevalence data among ship-assigned personnel at the onset of deployment are unknown.
To determine the prevalence of shipboard personnel who screen positive for PTSD and/or major depressive disorder (MDD) at the onset of deployment, and also those who reported these diagnoses made by a physician or healthcare professional in the year prior to deployment.
Active-duty ship-assigned personnel (N = 2078) completed anonymous assessments at the beginning of deployment. Depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D; score of ≥22), and PTSD was assessed using the PTSD Checklist–Civilian Version (PCL-C; both score and symptom criteria were used).
In total, 7.3% (n = 151 of 2076) screened positive for PTSD and 22% (n = 461 of 2078) for MDD at deployment onset. Only 6% and 15% of those who screened positive for PTSD or MDD, respectively, had been diagnosed by a healthcare professional in the past year.
Missed opportunities for mental healthcare among screen-positive shipboard personnel reduce the benefits associated with early identification and linkage to care. Improved methods of mental health screening that promote early recognition and referral to care may mitigate psychiatric events in theatre.
Declaration of interest
This work was performed as part of the official duties of the authors as military service members or employees of the US Government.
Copyright and usage
This work was prepared by military service members or employees of the US Government as part of their official duties. As such, copyright protection is not available for this work (Title 17, USC, §105).
PMCID: PMC5051555  PMID: 27713833
3.  The Significance of Shocks in Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Recipients 
Large-scale implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) trials have unequivocally shown a reduction in mortality in appropriately selected patients with heart failure and depressed left ventricular function. However, there is a strong association between shocks and increased mortality in ICD recipients. It is unclear if shocks are merely a marker of a more severe cardiovascular disease or directly contribute to the increase in mortality. The aim of this review is to examine the relationship between ICD shocks and mortality, and explore possible mechanisms. Data examining the effect of shocks in the absence of spontaneous arrhythmias as well as studies of non-shock therapy and strategies to reduce shocks are analysed to try and disentangle the shocks versus substrate debate.
PMCID: PMC5013152  PMID: 27617089
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator shocks; mortality; inappropriate shocks; appropriate shocks; implantable cardioverter defibrillator programming
4.  Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among US Air Force Health Care Providers 
Medicine  2016;95(32):e4511.
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text
Providers are central to effective implementation of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Primary care providers (PCP) and infectious disease physicians (ID) in the US Air Force (USAF) participated in a cross-sectional survey regarding knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs toward HIV PrEP. Characteristics associated with PrEP knowledge were assessed in univariate and multivariate analyses.
Among 403 (40% of 1015 providers) participants, 9% (PCP 383, ID 20) ever prescribed PrEP. In univariate analysis, years in practice, number of HIV-infected patients treated in the past 12 months, past prescription of antiretrovirals for HIV prevention, frequency of prescribing PrEP in the past 12 months, and ever being questioned by a patient about PrEP were associated with PrEP knowledge (P < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, providers who had ever prescribed antiretrovirals to prevent HIV (AOR: 2.37, 95% CI: 1.27–4.42) had greater odds of high PrEP knowledge. Despite concerns about medication side effects (overall 67%: PCP 68%, ID 85%) and prescribing PrEP without clear evidence (overall 60%: PCP 65%, ID 62%), 64% (PCP 65%, ID 85%) of participants indicated PrEP should be offered in the Military Health System and 68% (PCP 70%, ID 100%) disagreed with the statement that their patient population was not at risk for HIV infection.
Successful PrEP implementation in the USAF will require continued education and training of primary care providers to improve knowledge and mitigate concerns about PrEP.
PMCID: PMC4985324  PMID: 27512869
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis; US Air Force; providers
5.  A Defective Interfering Influenza RNA Inhibits Infectious Influenza Virus Replication in Human Respiratory Tract Cells: A Potential New Human Antiviral 
Viruses  2016;8(8):237.
Defective interfering (DI) viruses arise during the replication of influenza A virus and contain a non-infective version of the genome that is able to interfere with the production of infectious virus. In this study we hypothesise that a cloned DI influenza A virus RNA may prevent infection of human respiratory epithelial cells with infection by influenza A. The DI RNA (244/PR8) was derived by a natural deletion process from segment 1 of influenza A/PR/8/34 (H1N1); it comprises 395 nucleotides and is packaged in the DI virion in place of a full-length genome segment 1. Given intranasally, 244/PR8 DI virus protects mice and ferrets from clinical influenza caused by a number of different influenza A subtypes and interferes with production of infectious influenza A virus in cells in culture. However, evidence that DI influenza viruses are active in cells of the human respiratory tract is lacking. Here we show that 244/PR8 DI RNA is replicated by an influenza A challenge virus in human lung diploid fibroblasts, bronchial epithelial cells, and primary nasal basal cells, and that the yield of challenge virus is significantly reduced in a dose-dependent manner indicating that DI influenza virus has potential as a human antiviral.
PMCID: PMC4997599  PMID: 27556481
defective interfering; influenza virus; antiviral; human respiratory cells
6.  Deep-water bivalve mollusks collected during the TALUD XV cruise off the west coast of the southern Baja California Peninsula, Mexico  
During the TALUD XV research cruise off the southern part of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico, samples of macro-invertebrates obtained in the deep-sea (296–2136 m) revealed a rich fauna of bivalves (17 species belonging to 10 families). The number of species per station varied from one to five. The richest families were Nuculidae, Nuculanidae, Neilonellidae, Limidae, and Cuspidariidae. Solemyidae, Lucinidae, Poromyidae, Verticordiidae, and Pectinidae were each represented by a single species. Some species groups need a thorough revision and were tentatively identified (Nuculana cf. hamata, Limatula cf. saturna).
New information
Significant new distribution information is provided for two species, both recorded for the first time from off western Mexico: Ennucula panamina with an extension of its known distribution over 20° of latitude north and Jupiteria callimene with an extension of 16° 42' of latitude to the north. One species (Ennucula taeniolata) is reported in shallower depth and one in deeper water (Acesta sphoni). New records are provided for an additional nine species. Environmental and habitat conditions are given for the first time for many of the bivalve species.
PMCID: PMC4910499  PMID: 27346956
Mollusks; Bivalvia; deep-water; continental slope; western Baja California; Mexico
7.  Centralized HIV Program Oversight: An Investigation of a Case Series of New HIV Infections among US Army Soldiers, 2012 to 2013 
Medicine  2015;94(46):e2093.
Centralized HIV program oversight and repeal of the Department of Defense policy “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” permitted characterization of HIV transmission among soldiers assigned to a large US Army base continental United States from 2012 to 2013. An investigation of a greater than expected number of new HIV infections among soldiers was initiated to characterize transmission and identify opportunities to disrupt transmission and deliver services.
All soldiers who were assigned to the base at the time of their first positive HIV test and who had their first positive HIV test in 2012 or in the first 6 months of 2013 and who had a clinical genotype available for analysis were eligible for inclusion in the investigation.
All patients (n = 19) were men; most were black (52%) and less than 30 years old (64%). Fifteen of the 19 patients participated in in-depth interviews. Eighty percent were men who have sex with men who reported multiple sex partners having met through social and electronic networks. All were subtype B infections. Significant knowledge gaps and barriers to accessing testing and care in the military healthcare system were identified. Most (58%) belonged to transmission networks involving other soldiers.
This investigation represents an important step forward in on-going efforts to develop a comprehensive understanding of transmission networks in the Army that can inform delivery of best practices combination prevention services. The Army is developing plans to directly engage individuals in key affected populations most at risk for HIV infection to identify and address unmet needs and expand delivery and uptake of prevention services. Further investigation is underway and will determine whether these findings are generalizable to the Army.
PMCID: PMC4652831  PMID: 26579822
8.  Postoperative Seroma Deep to Mesh after Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Repair: Computed Tomography Appearance and Implications for Treatment 
Radiology Case Reports  2015;3(1):128.
We report the development of a seroma deep to a mesh prosthesis used for laparoscopic ventral hernia repair (LVHR). Seroma formation anterior to mesh after LVHR is very common; however, the formation of a deep seroma has been rarely reported in the literature and the imaging appearance of a seroma posterior to mesh after LVHR has not been previously described. We present the imaging appearance and our clinical results of aspirating two seromas posterior to mesh after LVHR.
PMCID: PMC4896113  PMID: 27303507
CT, computed tomography; LVHR, laparoscopic ventral hernia repair; MRSA, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus; PTFE, polytetrafluoroethylene
9.  Brief Report: Sexual Risk Behaviors of HIV Seroconverters in the US Army, 2012–2014 
The United States (US) Army implemented a comprehensive HIV characterization program in 2012 following repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy banning openly homosexual individuals from serving in the US military. Program staff administered a standardized case report form to soldiers newly diagnosed with HIV from 2012 to 2014 in compliance with new program requirements. The case report form documented sociodemographic, sexual, and other risk behavior information elicited from US Army regulation-mandated epidemiologic interviews at initial HIV notification. A majority of HIV-infected soldiers were male and of black/African American racial origin. In the HIV risk period, male soldiers commonly reported male–male sexual contact, civilian partners, online partner-seeking, unprotected anal sex, and expressed surprise at having a positive HIV result. Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal allows for risk screening and reduction interventions targeting a newly identifiable risk category in the US Army. At-risk populations need to be identified and assessed for possible unmet health needs.
PMCID: PMC4627169  PMID: 26247893
HIV; US Army; surveillance; MSM
10.  Chemokine (C-C Motif) Receptor 2 Mediates Dendritic Cell Recruitment to the Human Colon but Is Not Responsible for Differences Observed in Dendritic Cell Subsets, Phenotype, and Function Between the Proximal and Distal Colon 
Background & Aims
Most knowledge about gastrointestinal (GI)-tract dendritic cells (DC) relies on murine studies where CD103+ DC specialize in generating immune tolerance with the functionality of CD11b+/− subsets being unclear. Information about human GI-DC is scarce, especially regarding regional specifications. Here, we characterized human DC properties throughout the human colon.
Paired proximal (right/ascending) and distal (left/descending) human colonic biopsies from 95 healthy subjects were taken; DC were assessed by flow cytometry and microbiota composition assessed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing.
Colonic DC identified were myeloid (mDC, CD11c+CD123−) and further divided based on CD103 and SIRPα (human analog of murine CD11b) expression. CD103-SIRPα+ DC were the major population and with CD103+SIRPα+ DC were CD1c+ILT3+CCR2+ (although CCR2 was not expressed on all CD103+SIRPα+ DC). CD103+SIRPα- DC constituted a minor subset that were CD141+ILT3−CCR2−. Proximal colon samples had higher total DC counts and fewer CD103+SIRPα+ cells. Proximal colon DC were more mature than distal DC with higher stimulatory capacity for CD4+CD45RA+ T-cells. However, DC and DC-invoked T-cell expression of mucosal homing markers (β7, CCR9) was lower for proximal DC. CCR2 was expressed on circulating CD1c+, but not CD141+ mDC, and mediated DC recruitment by colonic culture supernatants in transwell assays. Proximal colon DC produced higher levels of cytokines. Mucosal microbiota profiling showed a lower microbiota load in the proximal colon, but with no differences in microbiota composition between compartments.
Proximal colonic DC subsets differ from those in distal colon and are more mature. Targeted immunotherapy using DC in T-cell mediated GI tract inflammation may therefore need to reflect this immune compartmentalization.
PMCID: PMC4705905  PMID: 26866054
CCR2; Dendritic Cells; Distal Colon; Human Gastrointestinal Tract; Proximal Colon; Microbiota; AMOVA, analysis of molecular variance; CCL, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand; CCR, chemokine (C-C motif) receptor; CFSE, 5-carboxy fluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester; DC, dendritic cells; DL, detection limit; FACS, fluorescence-activated cell sorting; FITC, fluorescein isothiocyanate; GI, gastrointestinal; IL, interleukin; ILT3, Ig-like transcript 3; LPMC, lamina propria mononuclear cells; Mφ, macrophages; mDC, myeloid dendritic cell; PBMC, peripheral blood mononuclear cells; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; pDC, plasmacytoid dendritic cell; RALDH2, retinaldehyde dehydrogenase type 2; SIRPα, signal regulatory protein α; SPB, sodium phosphate buffer; Treg, regulatory T-cells
11.  The Number and Complexity of Pure and Recombinant HIV-1 Strains Observed within Incident Infections during the HIV and Malaria Cohort Study Conducted in Kericho, Kenya, from 2003 to 2006 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0135124.
Characterization of HIV-1 subtype diversity in regions where vaccine trials are conducted is critical for vaccine development and testing. This study describes the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 within a tea-plantation community cohort in Kericho, Kenya. Sixty-three incident infections were ascertained in the HIV and Malaria Cohort Study conducted in Kericho from 2003 to 2006. HIV-1 strains from 58 of those individuals were full genome characterized and compared to two previous Kenyan studies describing 41 prevalent infections from a blood bank survey (1999–2000) and 21 infections from a higher-risk cohort containing a mix of incident and prevalent infections (2006). Among the 58 strains from the community cohort, 43.1% were pure subtypes (36.2% A1, 5.2% C, and 1.7% G) and 56.9% were inter-subtype recombinants (29.3% A1D, 8.6% A1CD, 6.9% A1A2D, 5.2% A1C, 3.4% A1A2CD, and 3.4% A2D). This diversity and the resulting genetic distance between the observed strains will need to be addressed when vaccine immunogens are chosen. In consideration of current vaccine development efforts, the strains from these three studies were compared to five candidate vaccines (each of which are viral vectored, carrying inserts corresponding to parts of gag, pol, and envelope), which have been developed for possible use in sub-Saharan Africa. The sequence comparison between the observed strains and the candidate vaccines indicates that in the presence of diverse recombinants, a bivalent vaccine is more likely to provide T-cell epitope coverage than monovalent vaccines even when the inserts of the bivalent vaccine are not subtype-matched to the local epidemic.
PMCID: PMC4543584  PMID: 26287814
12.  TLR signaling modulates side effects of anticancer therapy in the small intestine 
Intestinal mucositis represents the most common complication of intensive chemotherapy, which has a severe adverse impact on quality of life of cancer patients. However, the precise pathophysiology remains to be clarified and there is so far no successful therapeutic intervention. Here, we investigated the role of innate immunity through TLR signaling in modulating genotoxic chemotherapy-induced small intestinal injury in vitro and in vivo. Genetic deletion of TLR2, but not MD-2, in mice resulted in severe chemotherapy-induced intestinal mucositis in the proximal jejunum with villous atrophy, accumulation of damaged DNA, CD11b+-myeloid cell infiltration and significant gene alterations in xenobiotic metabolism, including a decrease in ABCB1/MDR1 p-glycoprotein (p-gp) expression. Functionally, stimulation of TLR2 induced synthesis and drug efflux activity of ABCB1/MDR1 p-gp in murine and human CD11b+-myeloid cells, thus inhibiting chemotherapy-mediated cytotoxicity. Conversely, TLR2 activation failed to protect small intestinal tissues genetically deficient in MDR1A against DNA-damaging drug-induced apoptosis. Gut microbiota depletion by antibiotics led to increased susceptibility to chemotherapy-induced mucosal injury in wildtype mice, which was suppressed by administration of a TLR2 ligand, preserving ABCB1/MDR1 p-gp expression. Findings were confirmed in a preclinical model of human chemotherapy-induced intestinal mucositis using duodenal biopsies, by demonstrating that TLR2 activation limited the toxic-inflammatory reaction and maintained assembly of the drug transporter p-gp. In conclusion, this study identifies a novel molecular link between innate immunity and xenobiotic metabolism. TLR2 acts as a central regulator of xenobiotic defense via the multidrug transporter ABCB1/MDR1 p-gp. Targeting TLR2 may represent a novel therapeutic approach in chemotherapy-induced intestinal mucositis.
PMCID: PMC4338614  PMID: 25589072
13.  Interleukin 6 Increases Production of Cytokines by Colonic Innate Lymphoid Cells in Mice and Patients With Chronic Intestinal Inflammation 
Gastroenterology  2015;149(2):456-467.e15.
Background & Aims
Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a heterogeneous group of mucosal inflammatory cells that participate in chronic intestinal inflammation. We investigated the role of interleukin 6 (IL6) in inducing activation of ILCs in mice and in human beings with chronic intestinal inflammation.
ILCs were isolated from colons of Tbx21-/- × Rag2-/- mice (TRUC), which develop colitis; patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); and patients without colon inflammation (controls). ILCs were characterized by flow cytometry; cytokine production was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and cytokine bead arrays. Mice were given intraperitoneal injections of depleting (CD4, CD90), neutralizing (IL6), or control antibodies. Isolated colon tissues were analyzed by histology, explant organ culture, and cell culture. Bacterial DNA was extracted from mouse fecal samples to assess the intestinal microbiota.
IL17A- and IL22-producing, natural cytotoxicity receptor–negative, ILC3 were the major subset of ILCs detected in colons of TRUC mice. Combinations of IL23 and IL1α induced production of cytokines by these cells, which increased further after administration of IL6. Antibodies against IL6 reduced colitis in TRUC mice without significantly affecting the structure of their intestinal microbiota. Addition of IL6 increased production of IL17A, IL22, and interferon-γ by human intestinal CD3-negative, IL7-receptor–positive cells, in a dose-dependent manner.
IL6 contributes to activation of colonic natural cytotoxicity receptor–negative, CD4-negative, ILC3s in mice with chronic intestinal inflammation (TRUC mice) by increasing IL23- and IL1α-induced production of IL17A and IL22. This pathway might be targeted to treat patients with IBD because IL6, which is highly produced in colonic tissue by some IBD patients, also increased the production of IL17A, IL22, and interferon-γ by cultured human colon CD3-negative, IL7-receptor–positive cells.
PMCID: PMC4539618  PMID: 25917784
UC; CD; Innate Immunity; Immune Regulation; CD, Crohn’s disease; cLPMC, colonic lamina propria mononuclear cell; ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; IBD, inflammatory bowel disease; IL, interleukin; ILC, innate lymphoid cell; IL7R+, IL7R-receptor–positive; mLN, mesenteric lymph node; NCR, natural cytotoxicity receptor; OTU, operational taxonomic unit; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; PMA, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate; sIL6Rα, soluble interleukin 6Rα; Th, T-helper cell; TRUC, Tbx21-/-Rag2-/- ulcerative colitis; UC, ulcerative colitis
14.  16S rRNA gene-based profiling of the human infant gut microbiota is strongly influenced by sample processing and PCR primer choice 
Microbiome  2015;3:26.
Characterisation of the bacterial composition of the gut microbiota is increasingly carried out with a view to establish the role of different bacterial species in causation or prevention of disease. It is thus essential that the methods used to determine the microbial composition are robust. Here, several widely used molecular techniques were compared to establish the optimal methods to assess the bacterial composition in faecal samples from babies, before weaning.
The bacterial community profile detected in the faeces of infants is highly dependent on the methodology used. Bifidobacteria were the most abundant bacteria detected at 6 weeks in faeces from two initially breast-fed babies using fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH), in agreement with data from previous culture-based studies. Using the 16S rRNA gene sequencing approach, however, we found that the detection of bifidobacteria in particular crucially depended on the optimisation of the DNA extraction method, and the choice of primers used to amplify the V1–V3 regions of 16S rRNA genes prior to subsequent sequence analysis. Bifidobacteria were only well represented among amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences when mechanical disruption (bead-beating) procedures for DNA extraction were employed together with optimised “universal” PCR primers. These primers incorporate degenerate bases at positions where mismatches to bifidobacteria and other bacterial taxa occur. The use of a DNA extraction kit with no bead-beating step resulted in a complete absence of bifidobacteria in the sequence data, even when using the optimised primers.
This work emphasises the importance of sample processing methodology to downstream sequencing results and illustrates the value of employing multiple approaches for determining microbiota composition.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40168-015-0087-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4482049  PMID: 26120470
16S rRNA gene sequencing; Bifidobacteria; Infant; Intestinal microbiota; FISH
15.  Epidemiology of HIV among US Air Force Military Personnel, 1996–2011 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126700.
The objectives of this study were to describe the epidemiology of HIV in the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1996 through 2011 and to assess whether socio-demographic characteristics and service-related mobility, including military deployments, were associated with HIV infection.
We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of USAF personnel who were HIV-infected during the study period January 1, 1996 through December 31, 2011 and a matched case-control study. Cases were USAF personnel newly-diagnosed with HIV during the study period. Five randomly-selected HIV-uninfected controls were matched to each case by age, length of service, sex, race, service, component, and HIV test collection date. Socio-demographic and service-related mobility factors and HIV diagnosis were assessed using conditional logistic regression.
During the study period, the USAF had 541 newly diagnosed HIV-infected cases. HIV incidence rate (per 100,000 person-years) among 473 active duty members was highest in 2007 (16.78), among black/ African-American USAF members (26.60) and those aged 25 to 29 years (10.84). In unadjusted analysis restricted to personnel on active duty, 10 characteristics were identified and considered for final multivariate analysis. Of these single (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 8.15, 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.71–11.6) or other marital status (aOR 4.60, 95% CI 2.72–7.75), communications/ intelligence (aOR 2.57, 95% CI 1.84–3.60) or healthcare (aOR 2.07, 95% CI 1.28–3.35) occupations, and having no deployment in the past 2 years before diagnosis (aOR 2.02, 95% CI 1.47–2.78) conferred higher odds of HIV infection in adjusted analysis.
The highest risk of HIV infection in the USAF was among young unmarried deployment-naïve males, especially those in higher risk occupation groups. In an era when worldwide military operations have increased, these analyses identified potential areas where targeted HIV prevention efforts may be beneficial in reducing HIV incidence in the USAF military population.
PMCID: PMC4427109  PMID: 25961564
16.  A new genus and species of Thyasiridae (Mollusca, Bivalvia) from deep-water, Beaufort Sea, northern Alaska 
ZooKeys  2014;11-26.
Bivalve mollusk shells were collected in 2350 m depth in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean off northern Alaska. Initial identification suggested the specimens were a member of the bivalve family Thyasiridae, but no known eastern Pacific or Arctic living or fossil thyasirid resembled these deep-water specimens. Comparisons were made with the type of the genera Maorithyas Fleming, 1950, Spinaxinus Oliver & Holmes, 2006, Axinus Sowerby, 1821, and Parathyasira Iredale, 1930. We determined the Beaufort Sea species represents a new genus, herein described as Wallerconcha. These specimens also represent a new species, herein named Wallerconcha sarae. These new taxa are compared with known modern and fossil genera and species of thyasirds.
PMCID: PMC4284429  PMID: 25589851
Thyasiridae; Beaufort Sea; Alaska; Mollusca; Bivalvia; Maorithyas; Wallerconcha; Spinaxinus; Axinus; Parathyasira; chemoautotrophic; endosymbiosis; taxonomy; Arctic Ocean
17.  Prevalence of HIV, Syphilis, and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections among MSM from Three Cities in Panama 
Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) was used to conduct a biobehavioral survey among men who have sex with men (MSM) in three cities in the Republic of Panama. We estimated the prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sociodemographic characteristics, and sexual risk behaviors. Among 603 MSM recruited, RDS-adjusted seroprevalences (95 % confidence intervals) were: HIV—David 6.6 % (2.2–11.4 %), Panama 29.4 % (19.7–39.7 %), and Colon 32.6 % (18.0–47.8 %); active syphilis—David 16.0 % (8.9–24.2 %), Panama 24.7 % (16.7–32.9 %), Colon 31.6 % (14.8–47.5 %); resolved HBV infection—David 10.0 % (4.8–16.8 %), Panama 29.4 % (20.0–38.3 %), and Colon 40.6 % (21.9–54.4 %); herpes simplex virus type 2—David 38.4 % (27.9–48.9 %), Panama 62.6 % (52.8–71.0 %), and Colon 72.9 % (57.4–85.8 %). At least a third of MSM in each city self-identified as heterosexual or bisexual. HIV prevalence is concentrated among MSM. Preventive interventions should focus on increasing HIV and syphilis testing, and increasing promotion of condom awareness and use.
PMCID: PMC4134449  PMID: 24927712
HIV; Syphilis; Sexually transmitted diseases; Sexual behavior; Respondent-driven sampling; Sampling hidden populations; Panama
18.  Chlamydia trachomatis infection rates among a cohort of mobile soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2005–2010 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:181.
Fort Bragg, a large Army installation with reported high Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection rates, is characterized by a highly mobile population and a surrounding Ct-endemic community. We assessed the rates of Ct incidence and recurrence among the installation’s active component Army personnel and determined the association of soldier transience, sociodemographic factors, and history of sexually transmitted infection (STI) with these rates.
A cohort of soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg during 2005 to mid-2010 was followed for incident and recurrent Ct infection using laboratory-confirmed reportable disease data. Linkage to demographic and administrative data permitted multivariate analysis to determine association of covariates with initial or recurrent infection.
Among 67,425 soldiers, 2,198 (3.3%) contracted an incident Ct infection (crude incidence, 21.7 per 1,000 person-years). Among soldiers followed for incident infection, 223 (10.6%, crude incidence 110.8 per 1,000 person-years) contracted a recurrent Ct infection. Being female, of lower rank, under 26 years of age, of non-white race, single, or with a high school diploma or less was significantly associated with incident Ct infection. Having breaks in duty or having deployments during follow-up was associated with a lower infection rate. Among women, having prior deployments was associated with a lower rate of both incident and recurrent infection. Specifically associated with recurrent infection in women was age under 21 years or no education beyond high school.
This analysis reaffirms risk factors for Ct infection determined in other studies. In addition, infection risk was lower for more mobile soldiers and tied to the specific location of their regular duty assignment. The findings support the STI prevention efforts at Fort Bragg and the surrounding community, regardless of how often or for how long soldiers have deployed for military operations.
PMCID: PMC3943576  PMID: 24552420
Chlamydia; Army; Mobility
19.  Use of external defibrillator jacket to facilitate safe delivery of radiotherapy for lung cancer – A report of two cases 
Indian Heart Journal  2014;66(1):111-114.
The increasing rate of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implantation coupled with shared risk factors between lung cancer and ischemic cardiac disease means that the need for radiotherapy in cardiac device patients is set to become commonplace. We describe two cases referred to our electrophysiology service over a 6-month period. Both had been diagnosed with lung cancer in tissue directly posterior to a previously implanted ICD device. The cases highlight the risks to device function caused by ionizing radiation, the practical difficulties and ethical dilemmas of delivering radiotherapy to cardiac device patients safely and a novel setting for the use of a wearable defibrillator system.
PMCID: PMC4054845  PMID: 24581107
ICD; Radiotherapy; Wearable defibrillator jacket
20.  Where’s Waldo? A new commensal species, Waldo arthuri (Mollusca, Bivalvia, Galeommatidae), from the Northeastern Pacific Ocean 
ZooKeys  2013;67-80.
A galeommatid bivalve mollusk, representing a new species, is described from off the coasts of California and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The new bivalve has a commensal relationship with the heart urchin, Brisaster latifrons. It has been observed crawling between the oral spines of this urchin, frequently near the peristome. The bivalve has been recorded from 80 (Vancouver Island) to 444 (southern California) meters depth, in muddy sediments.
In common with other galeommatoideans, the new species broods its young; however it differs from the large majority of commensal members in lacking planktotrophic larval development.
Waldo arthuri, new species, has multiple morphological, ecological and developmental similarities to other members of the genus Waldo Nicol, 1966, from the southern Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans. This is most pronounced for the Argentine species, Waldo paucitentaculatus Zelaya & Ituarte, 2013, Waldo arthuri’s sister speciesin nuclear and mitochondrial gene trees. Despite this close relationship, Waldo arthuri is phylogentically distinct and possesses several hinge, shell sculpture, foot, and mantle tentacle characteristics that merit its description as new.
PMCID: PMC3713335  PMID: 23878515
Commensal relationships; Bivalvia; Galeommatidae; Waldo; Echinodea; urchin; taxonomy
21.  HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C prevalence and associated risk behaviors among female sex workers in three Afghan cities 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(0 2):S69-S75.
To assess prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B (HBV) and C virus and associated risk behaviors among female sex workers (FSWs) in three Afghan cities. Design: Cross-sectional prevalence assessment.
Consented FSWs from Jalalabad, Kabul, and Mazar-i-Sharif completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire, pre and post-test counseling, and rapid and confirmatory testing for HIV, HCV, HBV and syphilis. Logistic regression was used to detect correlates associated with HBV infection.
Of 520 participants, median age and age of initiating sex work were 29 and 23 years, respectively, and median number of monthly clients was 12. Few FSWs reported ever having used illicit drugs (6.9%) or alcohol (4.7%). Demographic and risk behaviors varied significantly by enrollment site, with Kabul FSWs more likely to report sexually-transmitted infection (STI) symptoms, longer sex work duration, and sex work in other cities. Prevalence of HIV was 0.19%, HCV was 1.92%, and HBV was 6.54%, with no cases of syphilis detected. HBV was independently associated with ≥12 clients monthly (AOR=3.15, 95% CI: 1.38 – 7.17), ever using alcohol (AOR=2.61, 95% CI: 1.45 – 4.69), anal sex (AOR=2.42, 95% CI: 1.15 – 5.08), and having children (AOR=2.12, 95% CI: 1.72 – 2.63) in site-controlled multivariate analysis.
While prevalence of HIV, HCV, and syphilis is currently low in these three Afghan cities, risky sexual practices were common and associated with HBV. Programming inclusive of voluntary testing for HIV, viral hepatitis, and STIs, hepatitis vaccination, substance abuse prevention, and condom promotion for both FSWs and clients should be pursued in Afghanistan.
PMCID: PMC3650731  PMID: 20610952
HIV; hepatitis B; female sex worker; Afghanistan
22.  Effects of Chronic Transfusions on Abdominal Sonographic Abnormalities in Children with Sickle Cell Anemia 
The Journal of Pediatrics  2011;160(2):281-285.e1.
To assess the effects of chronic erythrocyte transfusions on prevalence of sonographic incidence of organ damage in children with sickle cell anemia (SCA).
Study design
Children (n=148; mean age, 13.0 years) with SCA, receiving chronic transfusions (average, 7 years) underwent abdominal sonography at 25 institutions. After central imaging review, spleen, liver and kidney measurements were compared with published normal values. Potential relations between ultrasound, clinical and laboratory data were explored via Analysis of Variance, Student t-test and Cochran Mantel Haenzel tests of non-zero correlation.
Average spleen length was similar to normal children, but over one-third had spleen volumes > 300mL, 15 had previous splenectomy for splenomegaly and 24 had abnormal splenic echotexture. Two-thirds had hepatobiliary disease; 37 had prior cholecystectomy, 46 had gallstones, 16 had gallbladder sludge. Gallbladder disease correlated with older age (p = 0.002), longer liver length (p < 0.001), longer duration of transfusions (p = 0.034) and higher total bilirubin (p < 0.001). Liver (p < 0.001) and renal lengths (p ≤ 0.005) were larger than published norms.
In children with SCA, long-term transfusion therapy may not prevent development or progression of abdominal organ dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3237893  PMID: 21907352
sickle cell anemia; iron overload; splenomegaly; gallstones; hepatomegaly; nephromegaly
23.  Capturing the Biofuel Wellhead and Powerhouse: The Chloroplast and Mitochondrial Genomes of the Leguminous Feedstock Tree Pongamia pinnata 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51687.
Pongamia pinnata (syn. Millettia pinnata) is a novel, fast-growing arboreal legume that bears prolific quantities of oil-rich seeds suitable for the production of biodiesel and aviation biofuel. Here, we have used Illumina® ‘Second Generation DNA Sequencing (2GS)’ and a new short-read de novo assembler, SaSSY, to assemble and annotate the Pongamia chloroplast (152,968 bp; cpDNA) and mitochondrial (425,718 bp; mtDNA) genomes. We also show that SaSSY can be used to accurately assemble 2GS data, by re-assembling the Lotus japonicus cpDNA and in the process assemble its mtDNA (380,861 bp). The Pongamia cpDNA contains 77 unique protein-coding genes and is almost 60% gene-dense. It contains a 50 kb inversion common to other legumes, as well as a novel 6.5 kb inversion that is responsible for the non-disruptive, re-orientation of five protein-coding genes. Additionally, two copies of an inverted repeat firmly place the species outside the subclade of the Fabaceae lacking the inverted repeat. The Pongamia and L. japonicus mtDNA contain just 33 and 31 unique protein-coding genes, respectively, and like other angiosperm mtDNA, have expanded intergenic and multiple repeat regions. Through comparative analysis with Vigna radiata we measured the average synonymous and non-synonymous divergence of all three legume mitochondrial (1.59% and 2.40%, respectively) and chloroplast (8.37% and 8.99%, respectively) protein-coding genes. Finally, we explored the relatedness of Pongamia within the Fabaceae and showed the utility of the organellar genome sequences by mapping transcriptomic data to identify up- and down-regulated stress-responsive gene candidates and confirm in silico predicted RNA editing sites.
PMCID: PMC3522722  PMID: 23272141
24.  The British Sign Language Versions of the Patient Health Questionnaire, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item Scale, and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale 
The present study is aimed to translate 3 widely used clinical assessment measures into British Sign Language (BSL), to pilot the BSL versions, and to establish their validity and reliability. These were the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) scale, and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS). The 3 assessment measures were translated into BSL and piloted with the Deaf signing population in the United Kingdom (n = 113). Participants completed the PHQ-9, GAD-7, WSAS, and Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation–Outcome Measure (CORE-OM) online. The reliability and validity of the BSL versions of PHQ-9, GAD-7, and WSAS have been examined and were found to be good. The construct validity for the PHQ-9 BSL version did not find the single-factor solution as found in the hearing population. The BSL versions of PHQ-9, GAD-7, and WSAS have been produced in BSL and can be used with the signing Deaf population in the United Kingdom. This means that now there are accessible mental health assessments available for Deaf people who are BSL users, which could assist in the early identification of mental health difficulties.
PMCID: PMC3521778  PMID: 23197315
25.  Cloned Defective Interfering Influenza Virus Protects Ferrets from Pandemic 2009 Influenza A Virus and Allows Protective Immunity to Be Established 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e49394.
Influenza A viruses are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the human population, causing epidemics in the winter, and occasional worldwide pandemics. In addition there are periodic outbreaks in domestic poultry, horses, pigs, dogs, and cats. Infections of domestic birds can be fatal for the birds and their human contacts. Control in man operates through vaccines and antivirals, but both have their limitations. In the search for an alternative treatment we have focussed on defective interfering (DI) influenza A virus. Such a DI virus is superficially indistinguishable from a normal virus but has a large deletion in one of the eight RNAs that make up the viral genome. Antiviral activity resides in the deleted RNA. We have cloned one such highly active DI RNA derived from segment 1 (244 DI virus) and shown earlier that intranasal administration protects mice from lethal disease caused by a number of different influenza A viruses. A more cogent model of human influenza is the ferret. Here we found that intranasal treatment with a single dose of 2 or 0.2 µg 244 RNA delivered as A/PR/8/34 virus particles protected ferrets from disease caused by pandemic virus A/California/04/09 (A/Cal; H1N1). Specifically, 244 DI virus significantly reduced fever, weight loss, respiratory symptoms, and infectious load. 244 DI RNA, the active principle, was amplified in nasal washes following infection with A/Cal, consistent with its amelioration of clinical disease. Animals that were treated with 244 DI RNA cleared infectious and DI viruses without delay. Despite the attenuation of infection and disease by DI virus, ferrets formed high levels of A/Cal-specific serum haemagglutination-inhibiting antibodies and were solidly immune to rechallenge with A/Cal. Together with earlier data from mouse studies, we conclude that 244 DI virus is a highly effective antiviral with activity potentially against all influenza A subtypes.
PMCID: PMC3521014  PMID: 23251341

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