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1.  Reviewer acknowledgement 2014 
Contributing reviewers
Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control would like to thank the following colleagues for their assistance with peer review of manuscripts for the journal in 2014.
PMCID: PMC4334413
2.  Comprehensive tumor profiling identifies numerous biomarkers of drug response in cancers of unknown primary site: Analysis of 1806 cases 
Oncotarget  2014;5(23):12440-12447.
Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) accounts for approximately 3% of all malignancies. Despite extensive laboratory and imaging efforts, the primary site usually cannot be unequivocally confirmed, and the treatment for the most part remains empirical. Recently, identification of common cancer pathway alterations in diverse cancer lineages has offered an opportunity to provide targeted therapies for patients with CUP, irrespective of the primary site.
Patients and Methods
1806 cancers of unknown primary were identified among more than 63,000 cases profiled at Caris Life Sciences. Multiplatform profiling of the tumor samples included immunohistochemistry, gene sequencing and in situ hybridization methods in an effort to identify changes in biomarkers that are predictive of drug responses.
Biomarkers associated with a potential drug benefit were identified in 96% of cases. Biomarkers identified included those associated with potential benefit in nearly all classes of approved cancer drugs (cytotoxic, hormonal, targeted biological drugs). Additionally, biomarkers associated with a potential lack of benefit were identified in numerous cases, which could further refine the management of patients with CUP.
Comprehensive biomarker profiling of CUP may provide additional choices in treatment of patients with these difficult to treat malignancies.
PMCID: PMC4322997  PMID: 25415047
3.  Exercise Reveals the Interrelation of Physical Fitness, Inflammatory Response, Psychopathology, and Autonomic Function in Patients With Schizophrenia 
Schizophrenia Bulletin  2012;39(5):1139-1149.
Maintaining and improving fitness are associated with a lower risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease. Patients with schizophrenia are known to exercise less and have poorer health behaviors than average. Physical fitness and physiological regulation during exercise tasks have not been investigated to date among patients with schizophrenia. We studied autonomic modulation in a stepwise exhaustion protocol in 23 patients with schizophrenia and in matched controls, using spirometry and lactate diagnostics. Parameters of physical capacity were determined at the aerobic, anaerobic, and vagal thresholds (VT), as well as for peak output. VT was correlated with psychopathology, as assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, with the inflammatory markers IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α and with peak output. The MANOVA for heart and breathing rates, as well as for vagal modulation and complexity behavior of heart rate, indicated a profound lack of vagal modulation at all intensity levels, even after the covariate carbon monoxide concentration was introduced as a measure of smoking behavior. Significantly decreased physical capacity was demonstrated at the aerobic, anaerobic, and VT in patients. After the exercise task, reduced vagal modulation in patients correlated negatively with positive symptoms and with levels of IL-6 and TNF-α. This study shows decreased physical capacity in patients with schizophrenia. Upcoming intervention studies need to take into account the autonomic imbalance, which might predispose patients to arrhythmias during exercise. Results of inflammatory parameters are suggestive of a reduced activity of the anti-inflammatory cholinergic pathway in patients, leading to a pro-inflammatory state.
PMCID: PMC3756770  PMID: 22966149
heart rate; physical exercise; respiration; schizophrenia; vagal threshold; cardiac death; inflammation; physical fitness
4.  Detecting Cannabis Use on the Human Skin Surface via an Electronic Nose System 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(7):13256-13272.
The most commonly used drug testing methods are based on the analysis of hair and urine using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry or immunoassay screening. These methods are time-consuming and partly expensive. One alternative method could be the application of an “electronic nose” (eNose). We have developed an eNose to detect directly on the human skin surface metabolic changes in the human body odor caused by cannabis consumption. Twenty cannabis-smoking and 20 tobacco-smoking volunteers were enrolled in this study. For the sensor signal data processing, two different methods were applied: Principle component analysis (PCA) with discriminant analysis, and the method of pattern recognition with subsequent support vector machines (SVM) processing. The PCA analysis achieved a correct classification of 70%, whereas the SVM obtained an accuracy of 92.5% (sensitivity 95%, specificity 90%) between cannabis-consuming volunteers and tobacco-smoking subjects. This study shows evidence that a low-cost, portable and fast-working eNose system could be useful for health protection, security agencies and for forensic investigations. The ability to analyze human body odor with an eNose opens up a wide field for diagnosing other drugs and also various diseases.
PMCID: PMC4168473  PMID: 25057136
electronic nose; principle component analysis (PCA); support vector machine (SVM); pattern recognition; human body odor
5.  A practical approach to aid physician interpretation of clinically actionable predictive biomarker results in a multi-platform tumor profiling service 
Patients in whom the standard of care has failed or who have uncommon tumors for which no standard of care exists are often treated with drugs selected based on the physician’s best guess. The rate of success for this method is generally low. With the advent of fast, affordable tumor profiling technologies, and a growth in the understanding of predictive biomarkers, it is now possible to identify drugs potentially associated with clinical benefit for such patients. We present the Caris approach to evidence-based tumor profiling and two patients with advanced ovarian and prostate cancer in whom standard of care had failed and tumor profiling identified an effective treatment schedule. To establish Caris Molecular IntelligenceTM (CMI), over 120,000 clinical publications were screened and graded to characterize the predictive value of biomarkers that form the panel of tests. CMI includes multiple technologies to measure changes in proteins, ribonucleic acid, and deoxyribonucleic acid and proprietary software that matches the test results with the published evidence. The CMI results enable physicians to select drugs that are more likely to benefit the patients, avoid drugs that are not likely to work, and find treatment options that otherwise would not be considered. Worldwide, over 60,000 cancer patients have undergone evidence-based tumor profiling with CMI. In the cases reported in this article, CMI identified treatments that would not have been routinely used in the respective clinical setting. The clinical outcomes observed help to illustrate the utility of this approach.
PMCID: PMC3997001  PMID: 24782778
evidence-guided; personalized medicine; biomarkers; oncology
6.  When Do We Really Need Coronary Calcium Scoring Prior to Contrast-Enhanced Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography? Analysis by Age, Gender and Coronary Risk Factors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e92396.
To investigate the value of coronary calcium scoring (CCS) as a filter scan prior to coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA).
Methods and Results
Between February 2008 and April 2011, 732 consecutive patients underwent clinically indicated CCTA. During this ‘control phase’, CCS was performed in all patients. In patients with CCS≥800, CCTA was not performed. During a subsequent ‘CCTA phase’ (May 2011–May 2012) another 200 consecutive patients underwent CCTA, and CCS was performed only in patients with increased probability for severe calcification according to age, gender and atherogenic risk factors. In patients where CCS was not performed, calcium scoring was performed in contrast-enhanced CCTA images. Significant associations were noted between CCS and age (r = 0.30, p<0.001) and coronary risk factors (χ2 = 37.9; HR = 2.2; 95%CI = 1.7–2.9, p<0.001). Based on these associations, a ≤3% pre-test probability for CCS≥800 was observed for males <61 yrs. and females <79 yrs. According to these criteria, CCS was not performed in 106 of 200 (53%) patients during the ‘CCTA phase’, including 47 (42%) males and 59 (67%) females. This resulted in absolute radiation saving of ∼1 mSv in 75% of patients younger than 60 yrs. Of 106 patients where CCS was not performed, estimated calcium scoring was indeed <800 in 101 (95%) cases. Non-diagnostic image quality due to calcification was similar between the ‘control phase’ and the ‘CCTA’ group (0.25% versus 0.40%, p = NS).
The value of CCS as a filter for identification of a high calcium score is limited in younger patients with intermediate risk profile. Omitting CCS in such patients can contribute to further dose reduction with cardiac CT studies.
PMCID: PMC3979653  PMID: 24714677
7.  The role and utilisation of public health evaluations in Europe: a case study of national hand hygiene campaigns 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:131.
Evaluations are essential to judge the success of public health programmes. In Europe, the proportion of public health programmes that undergo evaluation remains unclear. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control sought to determine the frequency of evaluations amongst European national public health programmes by using national hand hygiene campaigns as an example of intervention.
A cohort of all national hand hygiene campaigns initiated between 2000 and 2012 was utilised for the analysis. The aim was to collect information about evaluations of hand hygiene campaigns and their frequency. The survey was sent to nominated contact points for healthcare-associated infection surveillance in European Union and European Economic Area Member States.
Thirty-six hand hygiene campaigns in 20 countries were performed between 2000 and 2012. Of these, 50% had undergone an evaluation and 55% of those utilised the WHO hand hygiene intervention self-assessment tool. Evaluations utilised a variety of methodologies and indicators in assessing changes in hand hygiene behaviours pre and post intervention. Of the 50% of campaigns that were not evaluated, two thirds reported that both human and financial resource constraints posed significant barriers for the evaluation.
The study identified an upward trend in the number of hand hygiene campaigns implemented in Europe. It is likely that the availability of the internationally-accepted evaluation methodology developed by the WHO contributed to the evaluation of more hand hygiene campaigns in Europe. Despite this rise, hand hygiene campaigns appear to be under-evaluated. The development of simple, programme-specific, standardised guidelines, evaluation indicators and other evidence-based public health materials could help promote evaluations across all areas of public health.
PMCID: PMC3931350  PMID: 24507086
Hand hygiene; Healthcare associated infections; Evaluation; Evidence-based public health
8.  Reviewer acknowledgement 2013 
Contributing reviewers
Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control would like to thank the following colleagues for their assistance with peer review of manuscripts for the journal in 2013.
PMCID: PMC3896811  PMID: 24433391
10.  Three-Dimensional Segmented Poincaré Plot Analyses SPPA3 Investigates Cardiovascular and Cardiorespiratory Couplings in Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders 
Hypertensive pregnancy disorders affect 6–8% of gestations representing the most common complication of pregnancy for both mother and fetus. The aim of this study was to introduce a new three-dimensional coupling analysis methods – the three-dimensional segmented Poincaré plot analyses (SPPA3) – to establish an effective approach for the detection of hypertensive pregnancy disorders and especially pre-eclampsia (PE). A cubic box model representing the three-dimensional phase space is subdivided into 12 × 12 × 12 equal predefined cubelets according to the range of the SD of each investigated signal. Additionally, we investigated the influence of rotating the cloud of points and the size of the cubelets (adapted or predefined). All single probabilities of occurring points in a specific cubelet related to the total number of points are calculated. In this study, 10 healthy non-pregnant women, 66 healthy pregnant women, and 56 hypertensive pregnant women (chronic hypertension, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and PE) were investigated. From all subjects, 30 min of beat-to-beat intervals (BBI), respiration (RESP), non-invasive systolic (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were continuously recorded and analyzed. Non-rotated adapted SPPA3 discriminated best between hypertensive pregnancy disorders and PE concerning coupling analysis of two or three different systems (BBI, DBP, RESP and BBI, SBP, DBP) reaching an accuracy of up to 82.9%. This could be increased to an accuracy of up to 91.2% applying multivariate analysis differentiating between all pregnant women and PE. In conclusion, SPPA3 could be a useful method for enhanced risk stratification in pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC4228841  PMID: 25429364
multivariate analysis; hypertensive pregnancy disorders; heart rate variability; Poincaré plot analysis; risk stratification; non-linear dynamics; blood pressure variability; respiration
11.  Short-term vs. long-term heart rate variability in ischemic cardiomyopathy risk stratification 
In industrialized countries with aging populations, heart failure affects 0.3–2% of the general population. The investigation of 24 h-ECG recordings revealed the potential of nonlinear indices of heart rate variability (HRV) for enhanced risk stratification in patients with ischemic heart failure (IHF). However, long-term analyses are time-consuming, expensive, and delay the initial diagnosis. The objective of this study was to investigate whether 30 min short-term HRV analysis is sufficient for comparable risk stratification in IHF in comparison to 24 h-HRV analysis. From 256 IHF patients [221 at low risk (IHFLR) and 35 at high risk (IHFHR)] (a) 24 h beat-to-beat time series (b) the first 30 min segment (c) the 30 min most stationary day segment and (d) the 30 min most stationary night segment were investigated. We calculated linear (time and frequency domain) and nonlinear HRV analysis indices. Optimal parameter sets for risk stratification in IHF were determined for 24 h and for each 30 min segment by applying discriminant analysis on significant clinical and non-clinical indices. Long- and short-term HRV indices from frequency domain and particularly from nonlinear dynamics revealed high univariate significances (p < 0.01) discriminating between IHFLR and IHFHR. For multivariate risk stratification, optimal mixed parameter sets consisting of 5 indices (clinical and nonlinear) achieved 80.4% AUC (area under the curve of receiver operating characteristics) from 24 h HRV analysis, 84.3% AUC from first 30 min, 82.2 % AUC from daytime 30 min and 81.7% AUC from nighttime 30 min. The optimal parameter set obtained from the first 30 min showed nearly the same classification power when compared to the optimal 24 h-parameter set. As results from stationary daytime and nighttime, 30 min segments indicate that short-term analyses of 30 min may provide at least a comparable risk stratification power in IHF in comparison to a 24 h analysis period.
PMCID: PMC3862074  PMID: 24379785
risk stratification; heart rate variability; short-term; long-term; daytime; nighttime; nonlinear dynamics; ischemic cardiomyopathy
12.  Antimicrobial resistance: a global view from the 2013 World Healthcare-Associated Infections Forum 
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is now a global threat. Its emergence rests on antimicrobial overuse in humans and food-producing animals; globalization and suboptimal infection control facilitate its spread. While aggressive measures in some countries have led to the containment of some resistant gram-positive organisms, extensively resistant gram-negative organisms such as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae and pan-resistant Acinetobacter spp. continue their rapid spread. Antimicrobial conservation/stewardship programs have seen some measure of success in reducing antimicrobial overuse in humans, but their reach is limited to acute-care settings in high-income countries. Outside the European Union, there is scant or no oversight of antimicrobial administration to food-producing animals, while evidence mounts that this administration leads directly to resistant human infections. Both horizontal and vertical infection control measures can interrupt transmission among humans, but many of these are costly and essentially limited to high-income countries as well. Novel antimicrobials are urgently needed; in recent decades pharmaceutical companies have largely abandoned antimicrobial discovery and development given their high costs and low yield. Against this backdrop, international and cross-disciplinary collaboration appears to be taking root in earnest, although specific strategies still need defining. Educational programs targeting both antimicrobial prescribers and consumers must be further developed and supported. The general public must continue to be made aware of the current scale of AMR’s threat, and must perceive antimicrobials as they are: a non-renewable and endangered resource.
PMCID: PMC4131211  PMID: 24237856
Antimicrobial resistance; Antimicrobial conservation; Antibiotic stewardship; Infection control; Hand hygiene; Surveillance networks; Care bundles; Environment; Regulations; Human medicine; Animal medicine; Global health; World Healthcare-Associated Infections Forum
13.  Novel Insights into the Role of S100A8/A9 in Skin Biology 
Experimental dermatology  2012;21(11):822-826.
S100A8 and S100A9 belong to the damage associated molecular pattern molecules. They are upregulated in a number of inflammatory skin disorders. Due to their abundance in myeloid cells the main function of S100A8/A9 has been attributed to their role in inflammatory cells. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that they also exert important roles in epithelial cells. In this review we discuss the context-dependent function of S100A8/A9 in epithelial cells and its impact on wound healing, psoriasis and other skin diseases.
PMCID: PMC3498607  PMID: 22882537
Psoriasis; Skin barrier dysfunction; Wound healing; Inflammation; S100/calgranulin–RAGE axis
14.  Money and transmission of bacteria 
Money is one of the most frequently passed items in the world. The aim of this study was to ascertain the survival status of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Vancomycin- Resistant Enterococci (VRE) on banknotes from different countries and the transmission of bacteria to people who come in contact with the banknotes. The survival rate was highest for the Romanian Leu yielding all three microorganisms used after both three and six hours of drying. Furthermore, the Leu was the only banknote to yield VRE after one day of drying. Other currencies either enabled the survival of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBL) and VRE (e.g. Euro), but not of MRSA, or the other way round (e.g. US Dollar). While a variety of factors such as community hygiene levels, people’s behaviour, and antimicrobial resistance rates at community level obviously have influence on the transmission of resistant microorganisms, the type of banknote-paper may be an additional variable to consider.
PMCID: PMC3765964  PMID: 23985137
15.  Dynamic of Livestock-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 in Pig Farm Households: A Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e65512.
The aim of this study was to determine the long-term carriage rates and transmission dynamics of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pig farmers and their household members. During a 6-month period in 2009–2010, 4 pig farms in Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands, respectively, were studied for the presence of MRSA. The proportion of persistent carriers was significantly higher among farmers than among household members (87% vs. 11%) and significantly higher in household members from Belgium compared to those from Denmark and the Netherlands (29% vs. 0% vs. 6%). Determinant analysis of MRSA carriage revealed that pig contact was the most important determinant for MRSA carriage among household members and that the increased MRSA carriage rate observed among household members from Belgium is linked to country-specific differences in pig exposure.
These findings demonstrated that even in pig farms with very high carriage rates of MRSA both in livestock and farmers, the risk for household members to acquire MRSA is limited and still depends strongly on pig exposure. By restricting access to the stables and exposure to pigs, MRSA acquisition by household members could be greatly reduced.
PMCID: PMC3669288  PMID: 23741497
16.  Reviewer acknowledgement 2012 
Contributing reviewers
Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control would like to thank the following colleagues for their assistance with peer review of manuscripts for the journal in 2012.
PMCID: PMC3626655  PMID: 23369500
17.  Improvement of Circadian Rhythm of Heart Rate Variability by Eurythmy Therapy Training 
Background. Impairment of circadian rhythm is associated with various clinical problems. It not only has a negative impact on quality of life but can also be associated with a significantly poorer prognosis. Eurythmy therapy (EYT) is an anthroposophic movement therapy aimed at reducing fatigue symptoms and stress levels. Objective. This analysis of healthy subjects was conducted to examine whether the improvement in fatigue symptoms was accompanied by improvements in the circadian rhythm of heart rate variability (HRV). Design. Twenty-three women performed 10 hours of EYT over six weeks. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) were recorded before and after the EYT trial. HRV was quantified by parameters of the frequency and time domains and the nonlinear parameters of symbolic dynamics. Results. The day-night contrast with predominance of vagal activity at night becomes more pronounced after the EYT training, and with decreased Ultralow and very low frequencies, the HRV shows evidence of calmer sleep. During the night, the complexity of the HRV is significantly increased indicated by nonlinear parameters. Conclusion. The analysis of the circadian patterns of cardiophysiological parameters before and after EYT shows significant improvements in HRV in terms of greater day-night contrast caused by an increase of vagal activity and calmer and more complex HRV patterns during sleep.
PMCID: PMC3603202  PMID: 23533496
18.  “The Chennai declaration” - Indian doctors’ fight against antimicrobial resistance 
“The Chennai Declaration” is the result of the first ever joint meeting of medical societies in India addressing antibiotic resistance. The declaration is not a policy by itself, but a call for a national policy. The Declaration has looked into all major aspects of the problem of antimicrobial resistance, has suggested practical solutions, explained in detail the responsibility of each and every stakeholder.
PMCID: PMC3600017  PMID: 23452398
20.  Autonomic Regulation during Quiet and Active Sleep States in Very Preterm Neonates 
The immature autonomic nervous system (ANS) in premature infants regulates heart rate (HR) and respiration different during quiet sleep (QS) and active sleep (AS). Little information is available about ANS regulation in these subjects. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in autonomic regulation and cardiorespiratory coupling during AS and QS in five very preterm neonates with gestational age (GA) 26–31 weeks, applying univariate and bivariate linear and non-linear dynamics methods to the recorded cardiorespiratory signals. During QS univariate linear indices revealed lower standard deviations and entropies, indicating decreased heart rate (HR) variability. More balanced sympatho-vagal behavior of the ANS was revealed by decreased low frequency (LF), increased high frequency (HF), and a trend toward lower ratio LF/HF in QS. Applied non-linear indices (probabilities, entropies, and fractal measures) quantifying the complexity and scaling behavior of HR regulation processes were significantly altered in QS in comparison to AS. This reflects a lower short-term variability, less complexity, and a loss of fractal-like correlation properties of HR dynamics in QS. One major finding is that cardiorespiratory coupling is not yet completely developed in very preterm neonates with 26–31 weeks GA. Significantly different regulation patterns in bivariate oscillations of HR and respiration during AS and QS could be recognized. These patterns were characterized on the one hand by predominant monotonous regulating sequences originating from respiration independently from HR time series in AS, and to a minor degree in QS, and on the other hand by some prominent HR regulation sequences in QS independent of respiratory regulation. We speculate that these findings might be suitable for monitoring preterm neonates and for detecting disorders in the developing cardiorespiratory system.
PMCID: PMC3322524  PMID: 22514535
autonomic regulation; cardiorespiratory coupling; preterm newborns; sleep states; non-linear dynamics
21.  The Phrenic Component of Acute Schizophrenia – A Name and Its Physiological Reality 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33459.
Decreased heart rate variability (HRV) was shown for unmedicated patients with schizophrenia and their first-degree relatives, implying genetic associations. This is known to be an important risk factor for increased cardiac mortality in other diseases. The interaction of cardio-respiratory function and respiratory physiology has never been investigated in the disease although it might be closely related to the pattern of autonomic dysfunction. We hypothesized that increased breathing rates and reduced cardio-respiratory coupling in patients with acute schizophrenia would be associated with low vagal function. We assessed variability of breathing rates and depth, HRV and cardio-respiratory coupling in patients, their first-degree relatives and controls at rest. Control subjects were investigated a second time by means of a stress task to identify stress-related changes of cardio-respiratory function. A total of 73 subjects were investigated, consisting of 23 unmedicated patients, 20 healthy, first-degree relatives and 30 control subjects matched for age, gender, smoking and physical fitness. The LifeShirt®, a multi-function ambulatory device, was used for data recording (30 minutes). Patients breathe significantly faster (p<.001) and shallower (p<.001) than controls most pronouncedly during exhalation. Patients' breathing is characterized by a significantly increased amount of middle- (p<.001), high- (p<.001), and very high frequency fluctuations (p<.001). These measures correlated positively with positive symptoms as assessed by the PANSS scale (e.g., middle frequency: r = 521; p<.01). Cardio-respiratory coupling was reduced in patients only, while HRV was decreased in patients and healthy relatives in comparison to controls. Respiratory alterations might reflect arousal in acutely ill patients, which is supported by comparable physiological changes in healthy subjects during stress. Future research needs to further investigate these findings with respect to their physiological consequences for patients. These results are invaluable for researchers studying changes of biological signals prone to the influence of breathing rate and rhythm (e.g., functional imaging).
PMCID: PMC3306403  PMID: 22438935
22.  Small-Animal PET Imaging of Amyloid-Beta Plaques with [11C]PiB and Its Multi-Modal Validation in an APP/PS1 Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e31310.
In vivo imaging and quantification of amyloid-β plaque (Aβ) burden in small-animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a valuable tool for translational research such as developing specific imaging markers and monitoring new therapy approaches. Methodological constraints such as image resolution of positron emission tomography (PET) and lack of suitable AD models have limited the feasibility of PET in mice. In this study, we evaluated a feasible protocol for PET imaging of Aβ in mouse brain with [11C]PiB and specific activities commonly used in human studies. In vivo mouse brain MRI for anatomical reference was acquired with a clinical 1.5 T system. A recently characterized APP/PS1 mouse was employed to measure Aβ at different disease stages in homozygous and hemizygous animals. We performed multi-modal cross-validations for the PET results with ex vivo and in vitro methodologies, including regional brain biodistribution, multi-label digital autoradiography, protein quantification with ELISA, fluorescence microscopy, semi-automated histological quantification and radioligand binding assays. Specific [11C]PiB uptake in individual brain regions with Aβ deposition was demonstrated and validated in all animals of the study cohort including homozygous AD animals as young as nine months. Corresponding to the extent of Aβ pathology, old homozygous AD animals (21 months) showed the highest uptake followed by old hemizygous (23 months) and young homozygous mice (9 months). In all AD age groups the cerebellum was shown to be suitable as an intracerebral reference region. PET results were cross-validated and consistent with all applied ex vivo and in vitro methodologies. The results confirm that the experimental setup for non-invasive [11C]PiB imaging of Aβ in the APP/PS1 mice provides a feasible, reproducible and robust protocol for small-animal Aβ imaging. It allows longitudinal imaging studies with follow-up periods of approximately one and a half years and provides a foundation for translational Alzheimer neuroimaging in transgenic mice.
PMCID: PMC3302888  PMID: 22427802
23.  Ready for a world without antibiotics? The Pensières Antibiotic Resistance Call to Action 
Resistance to antibiotics has increased dramatically over the past few years and has now reached a level that places future patients in real danger. Microorganisms such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which are commensals and pathogens for humans and animals, have become increasingly resistant to third-generation cephalosporins. Moreover, in certain countries, they are also resistant to carbapenems and therefore susceptible only to tigecycline and colistin. Resistance is primarily attributed to the production of beta-lactamase genes located on mobile genetic elements, which facilitate their transfer between different species. In some rare cases, Gram-negative rods are resistant to virtually all known antibiotics. The causes are numerous, but the role of the overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals is essential, as well as the transmission of these bacteria in both the hospital and the community, notably via the food chain, contaminated hands, and between animals and humans. In addition, there are very few new antibiotics in the pipeline, particularly for Gram-negative bacilli. The situation is slightly better for Gram-positive cocci as some potent and novel antibiotics have been made available in recent years. A strong and coordinated international programme is urgently needed. To meet this challenge, 70 internationally recognized experts met for a two-day meeting in June 2011 in Annecy (France) and endorsed a global call to action ("The Pensières Antibiotic Resistance Call to Action"). Bundles of measures that must be implemented simultaneously and worldwide are presented in this document. In particular, antibiotics, which represent a treasure for humanity, must be protected and considered as a special class of drugs.
PMCID: PMC3436635  PMID: 22958833
antibiotic resistance; antibiotic stewardship; infection control; hand hygiene; surveillance networks; care bundles; environment; regulations; human medicine; animal medicine
24.  Costs and benefits of rapid screening of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage in intensive care units: a prospective multicenter study 
Critical Care  2012;16(1):R22.
Pre-emptive isolation of suspected methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriers is a cornerstone of successful MRSA control policies. Implementation of such strategies is hampered when using conventional cultures with diagnostic delays of three to five days, as many non-carriers remain unnecessarily isolated. Rapid diagnostic testing (RDT) reduces the amount of unnecessary isolation days, but costs and benefits have not been accurately determined in intensive care units (ICUs).
Embedded in a multi-center hospital-wide study in 12 Dutch hospitals we quantified cost per isolation day avoided using RDT for MRSA, added to conventional cultures, in ICUs. BD GeneOhm™ MRSA PCR (IDI) and Xpert MRSA (GeneXpert) were subsequently used during 17 and 14 months, and their test characteristics were calculated with conventional culture results as reference. We calculated the number of pre-emptive isolation days avoided and incremental costs of adding RDT.
A total of 163 patients at risk for MRSA carriage were screened and MRSA prevalence was 3.1% (n = 5). Duration of isolation was 27.6 and 21.4 hours with IDI and GeneXpert, respectively, and would have been 96.0 hours when based on conventional cultures. The negative predictive value was 100% for both tests. Numbers of isolation days were reduced by 44.3% with PCR-based screening at the additional costs of €327.84 (IDI) and €252.14 (GeneXpert) per patient screened. Costs per isolation day avoided were €136.04 (IDI) and €121.76 (GeneXpert).
In a low endemic setting for MRSA, RDT safely reduced the number of unnecessary isolation days on ICUs by 44%, at the costs of €121.76 to €136.04 per isolation day avoided.
PMCID: PMC3396263  PMID: 22314204

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