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1.  Public awareness of blood donation in Central Saudi Arabia 
In Saudi Arabia, voluntary donors are the only source of blood donation. The aim of this study was to assess the level of public knowledge and attitude toward blood donation in Saudi Arabia.
Using a previously validated questionnaire that comprises 38 questions to assess the levels of knowledge, attitudes, and motivations towards blood donation, 469 Saudi adults who attended different shopping malls in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia were surveyed. Multiple regression analyses were used to identify the significant predictors of blood donation, with the significance set at P<0.05.
Approximately half of all subjects (53.3%) reported that they had previously donated blood, 39% of whom had donated more than once. The knowledge percentage mean score was 58.07%, denoting a poor level of knowledge, with only 11.9% reporting a good level of knowledge. The attitude percentage mean score towards donation was 75.45%, reflecting a neutral attitude towards donating blood, with 31.6% reporting a positive attitude. Donation was significantly more prevalent among males than females (66% versus 13.3%; P<0.001). After adjustment for confounders, a higher knowledge score (t=2.59; P=0.01), a higher attitude score (t=3.26; P=0.001), and male sex (t=10.45; P<0.001) were significant predictors of blood donation. An inability to reach the blood donation centers and a fear of anemia were the main reasons for females not donating blood (49.9% and 35.7%, respectively), whereas a lack of time was the main reason for males (59.5%).
Prevalence of blood donation was less than satisfactory among the Saudi public, probably due to misconceptions, poor knowledge, and unfavorable attitude to donation. Educational programs are necessary to increase the level of knowledge and improve the attitude of the Saudi public toward blood donation. Providing mobile blood collection units nearer to individuals’ places of work to reduce their time costs of donating is a necessity.
PMCID: PMC4140232  PMID: 25152628
knowledge; attitude; practice; blood donation; significant predictors; Saudi Arabia
2.  In vitro cytotoxicity of Artemisia vulgaris L. essential oil is mediated by a mitochondria-dependent apoptosis in HL-60 leukemic cell line 
The essential oil (EO) of Artemisia vulgaris L. has been traditionally used worldwide for treating a large number of diseases. Although major components in A. vulgaris EO have been shown to inhibit growth of different cancer cells, as pure compounds or part of other plants extracted oil, no information is known about its anti-proliferative activities. Therefore, the current investigation has evaluated the toxicity of the plant extracted oil from buds (AVO-b) and leaves (AVO-l) and characterized their growth inhibitory effects on cancer cells.
AVO-b and AVO-l from A. vulgaris L. were extracted by hydrodistillation, and their effect on the viability of human HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia and various other cancer cell lines was tested using MTT assay. Flow cytometric analysis of apoptosis, DNA fragmentation assay, caspases enzymatic activities and Western blotting were used to determine the apoptotic pathway triggered by their action on HL-60 cells.
Low concentrations of AVO-b and AVO-l inhibited the growth of HL-60 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Employing flow cytometric, DNA fragmentation and caspase activation analyses, demonstrated that the cytotoxic effect of the oils is mediated by a caspase-dependent apoptosis. Kinetic studies in the presence and absence specific caspase inhibitors showed that activation of caspase-8 was dependent and subsequent to the activation of caspases-9 and -3. In addition, the essential oil caused a disruption of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm), increased the release of cytochrome c to the cytosol, and altered the expression of certain members of Bcl-2 family (Bcl-2, Bax and Bid), Apaf-1 and XIAP. Interestingly, low doses of AVO-b and AVO-1 also induced apoptosis in various cancer cell lines, but not in noncancerous cells.
The results demonstrate that the EO-induced apoptosis in HL-60 cells is mediated by caspase-dependent pathways, involving caspases-3, -9, and -8, which are initiated by Bcl-2/Bax/Bid-dependent loss of ΔΨm leading to release of cytochrome c to the cytoplasm to activate the caspase cascade. The finding that AVO-b and AVO-l are more efficient to induce apoptosis in different cancer cell lines than noncancerous cells, suggests that A. vulgaris might be a promising source for new anticancer agents.
PMCID: PMC4227289  PMID: 25002129
Artemisia vulgaris; Essential oil; Cytotoxicity; Apoptosis; Mitochondria; Caspases; Bcl-2 family

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