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1.  The construction and evaluation of a device for mechanomyography in anaesthetized Göttingen minipigs 
To devise a method for assessing evoked muscle strength on nerve stimulation [mechanomyography (MMG)] in the anaesthetized minipig.
Study design
Prospective observational.
Sixty male Göttingen minipigs weighing 10.5–26.0 kg.
After cadaveric studies, a limb fixation device was constructed which allowed the twitch responses of the pelvic limb digital extensor muscles to be measured by force-displacement transduction in response to supramaximal train-of-four (TOF) stimulation of the common peroneal nerve. The device was tested in 60 minipigs weighing 10.5–26.0 kg positioned in dorsal recumbency.
The technique recorded the MMG of the common peroneal-pelvic limb digital extensor nerve-muscle unit for up to 12 hours during which twitch height remained constant in 18 animals in which single twitch duration was <300–500 ms. In 42, in which twitch duration was >300–500 ms, 2 Hz nerve stimulation caused progressive baseline elevation (reverse fade) necessitating a modified signal capture method for TOF ratio (TOFR) computation. However, T1 was unaffected. The mean (range) of the TOFR in pigs with reverse fade was 1.2 (1.1–1.3).
Conclusions and clinical relevance
The technique allowed MMG recording in unparalysed pigs in response to TOF nerve stimulation and revealed a hitherto unreported complication of MMG monitoring using TOF in animals: reverse fade. This complicated TOFR calculation.
PMCID: PMC4017097  PMID: 22788355
anaesthesia; minipigs; mechanomyography; reverse fade
2.  Multiple Pathways Linking Racism to Health Outcomes 
This commentary discusses advances in the conceptual understanding of racism and selected research findings in the social neurosciences. The traditional stress and coping model holds that racism constitutes a source of aversive experiences that, when perceived by the individual, eventually lead to poor health outcomes. Current evidence points to additional psychophysiological pathways linking facets of racist environments with physiological reactions that contribute to disease. The alternative pathways emphasize prenatal experiences, subcortical emotional neural circuits, conscious and preconscious emotion regulation, perseverative cognitions, and negative affective states stemming from racist cognitive schemata. Recognition of these pathways challenges change agents to use an array of cognitive and self-controlling interventions in mitigating racism’s impact. Additionally, it charges policy makers to develop strategies that eliminate deep-seated structural aspects of racism in society.
PMCID: PMC3328094  PMID: 22518195
Racism; Health Disparities; Behavioral Interventions; Psychosocial Stress
3.  A role for solvents in the toxicity of agricultural organophosphorus pesticides 
Toxicology  2012;294(2-3):94-103.
Organophosphorus (OP) insecticide self-poisoning is responsible for about one-quarter of global suicides. Treatment focuses on the fact that OP compounds inhibit acetylcholinesterase (AChE); however, AChE-reactivating drugs do not benefit poisoned humans. We therefore studied the role of solvent coformulants in OP toxicity in a novel minipig model of agricultural OP poisoning. Gottingen minipigs were orally poisoned with clinically relevant doses of agricultural emulsifiable concentrate (EC) dimethoate, dimethoate active ingredient (AI) alone, or solvents. Cardiorespiratory physiology and neuromuscular (NMJ) function, blood AChE activity, and arterial lactate concentration were monitored for 12 h to assess poisoning severity. Poisoning with agricultural dimethoate EC40, but not saline, caused respiratory arrest within 30 min, severe distributive shock and NMJ dysfunction, that was similar to human poisoning. Mean arterial lactate rose to 15.6 [SD 2.8] mM in poisoned pigs compared to 1.4 [0.4] in controls. Moderate toxicity resulted from poisoning with dimethoate AI alone, or the major solvent cyclohexanone. Combining dimethoate with cyclohexanone reproduced severe poisoning characteristic of agricultural dimethoate EC poisoning. A formulation without cyclohexanone showed less mammalian toxicity. These results indicate that solvents play a crucial role in dimethoate toxicity. Regulatory assessment of pesticide toxicity should include solvents as well as the AIs which currently dominate the assessment. Reformulation of OP insecticides to ensure that the agricultural product has lower mammalian toxicity could result in fewer deaths after suicidal ingestion and rapidly reduce global suicide rates.
PMCID: PMC3325481  PMID: 22365945
Suicide; Organophosphorus insecticides; Solvents; Cyclohexanone
4.  Mechanisms for an effect of acetylcysteine on renal function after exposure to radio-graphic contrast material: study protocol 
Contrast-induced nephropathy is a common complication of contrast administration in patients with chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Its pathophysiology is not well understood; similarly the role of intravenous or oral acetylcysteine is unclear. Randomized controlled trials to date have been conducted without detailed knowledge of the effect of acetylcysteine on renal function. We are conducting a detailed mechanistic study of acetylcysteine on normal and impaired kidneys, both with and without contrast. This information would guide the choice of dose, route, and appropriate outcome measure for future clinical trials in patients with chronic kidney disease.
We designed a 4-part study. We have set up randomised controlled cross-over studies to assess the effect of intravenous (50 mg/kg/hr for 2 hrs before contrast exposure, then 20 mg/kg/hr for 5 hrs) or oral acetylcysteine (1200 mg twice daily for 2 days, starting the day before contrast exposure) on renal function in normal and diseased kidneys, and normal kidneys exposed to contrast. We have also set up a parallel-group randomized controlled trial to assess the effect of intravenous or oral acetylcysteine on patients with chronic kidney disease stage III undergoing elective coronary angiography. The primary outcome is change in renal blood flow; secondary outcomes include change in glomerular filtration rate, tubular function, urinary proteins, and oxidative balance.
Contrast-induced nephropathy represents a significant source of hospital morbidity and mortality. Over the last ten years, acetylcysteine has been administered prior to contrast to reduce the risk of contrast-induced nephropathy. Randomized controlled trials, however, have not reliably demonstrated renoprotection; a recent large randomized controlled trial assessing a dose of oral acetylcysteine selected without mechanistic insight did not reduce the incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy. Our study should reveal the mechanism of effect of acetylcysteine on renal function and identify an appropriate route for future dose response studies and in time randomized controlled trials.
Trial registration
Clinical NCT00558142; EudraCT: 2006-003509-18.
PMCID: PMC3293780  PMID: 22305183
Contrast-induced nephropathy; acetylcysteine; prevention; kidney; contrast media
5.  Canvasser's knuckle 
British Medical Journal  1979;1(6174):1356.
PMCID: PMC1599544

Results 1-5 (5)