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1.  A Comparison of Corn (Zea mays L.) Residue and Its Biochar on Soil C and Plant Growth 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0121006.
In order to properly determine the value of charring crop residues, the C use efficiency and effects on crop performance of biochar needs to be compared to the un-charred crop residues. In this study we compared the addition of corn stalks to soil, with equivalent additions of charred (300 °C and 500 °C) corn residues. Two experiments were conducted: a long term laboratory mineralization, and a growth chamber trial with proso millet plants. In the laboratory, we measured soil mineral N dynamics, C use efficiency, and soil organic matter (SOM) chemical changes via infrared spectroscopy. The 300 °C biochar decreased plant biomass relative to a nothing added control. The 500°C biochar had little to no effect on plant biomass. With incubation we measured lower soil NO3 content in the corn stalk treatment than in the biochar-amended soils, suggesting that the millet growth reduction in the stalk treatment was mainly driven by N limitation, whereas other factors contributed to the biomass yield reductions in the biochar treatments. Corn stalks had a C sequestration use efficiency of up to 0.26, but charring enhanced C sequestration to values that ranged from 0.64 to 1.0. Infrared spectroscopy of the soils as they mineralized showed that absorbance at 3400, 2925-2850, 1737 cm-1, and 1656 cm-1 decreased during the incubation and can be regarded as labile SOM, corn residue, or biochar bands. Absorbances near 1600, 1500-1420, and 1345 cm-1 represented the more refractory SOM moieties. Our results show that adding crop residue biochar to soil is a sound C sequestration technology compared to letting the crop residues decompose in the field. This is because the resistance to decomposition of the chars after soil amendment offsets any C losses during charring of the crop residues.
PMCID: PMC4383588  PMID: 25836653
2.  Comparison of Nottingham Prognostic Index and Adjuvant Online prognostic tools in young women with breast cancer: review of a single-institution experience 
BMJ Open  2015;5(1):e005576.
Accurately predicting the prognosis of young patients with breast cancer (<40 years) is uncertain since the literature suggests they have a higher mortality and that age is an independent risk factor. In this cohort study we considered two prognostic tools; Nottingham Prognostic Index and Adjuvant Online (Adjuvant!), in a group of young patients, comparing their predicted prognosis with their actual survival.
North East England
Data was prospectively collected from the breast unit at a Hospital in Grimsby between January 1998 and December 2007. A cohort of 102 young patients with primary breast cancer was identified and actual survival data was recorded. The Nottingham Prognostic Index and Adjuvant! scores were calculated and used to estimate 10-year survival probabilities. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to demonstrate the association between the Nottingham Prognostic Index and Adjuvant! scores. A constant yearly hazard rate was assumed to generate 10-year cumulative survival curves using the Nottingham Prognostic Index and Adjuvant! predictions.
Actual 10-year survival for the 92 patients who underwent potentially curative surgery for invasive cancer was 77.2% (CI 68.6% to 85.8%). There was no significant difference between the actual survival and the Nottingham Prognostic Index and Adjuvant! 10-year estimated survival, which was 77.3% (CI 74.4% to 80.2%) and 82.1% (CI 79.1% to 85.1%), respectively. The Nottingham Prognostic Index and Adjuvant! results demonstrated strong correlation and both predicted cumulative survival curves accurately reflected the actual survival in young patients.
The Nottingham Prognostic Index and Adjuvant! are widely used to predict survival in patients with breast cancer. In this study no statistically significant difference was shown between the predicted prognosis and actual survival of a group of young patients with breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4316437  PMID: 25628047
Breast cancer; Young Age; Prognosis; Nottingham Prognostic Index; Adjuvant Online
3.  Validation of prescribing appropriateness criteria for older Australians using the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001431.
To further develop and validate previously published national prescribing appropriateness criteria to assist in identifying drug-related problems (DRPs) for commonly occurring medications and medical conditions in older (≥65 years old) Australians.
RAND/UCLA appropriateness method.
A panel of medication management experts were identified consisting of geriatricians/pharmacologists, clinical pharmacists and disease management advisors to organisations that produce Australian evidence-based therapeutic publications. This resulted in a round-one panel of 15 members, and a round-two panel of 12 members.
Main outcome measure
Agreement on all criteria.
Forty-eight prescribing criteria were rated. In the first rating round via email, there was disagreement regarding 17 of the criteria according to median panel ratings. During a face-to-face second round meeting, discussion resulted in retention of 25 criteria after amendments, agreement for 14 criteria with no changes required and deletion of 9 criteria. Two new criteria were added, resulting in a final validated list of 41 prescribing appropriateness criteria. Agreement after round two was reached for all 41 criteria, measured by median panel ratings and the amount of dispersion of panel ratings, based on the interpercentile range.
A set of 41 Australian prescribing appropriateness criteria were validated by an expert panel. Use of these criteria, together with clinical judgement and other medication review processes such as patient interview, is intended to assist in improving patient care by efficiently detecting potential DRPs related to commonly occurring medicines and medical conditions in older Australians. These criteria may also contribute to the medication management education of healthcare professionals.
PMCID: PMC3467596  PMID: 22983875
drug-related problems; prescribing criteria; older patients; inappropriate drug use
4.  Dysglycemia but not lipids is associated with abnormal urinary albumin excretion in diabetic kidney disease: a report from the Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:104.
The relationship between glycemic control and lipid abnormalities with urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) is unknown. We sought to investigate the association of dyslipidemia and glycemic control with levels of albuminuria in the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) participants with DM and CKD stage 3 or higher.
We performed a cross-sectional study of 6639 eligible KEEP patients with DM and CKD Stage 3 to 5 from June 2008 to December 2009. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of lipid parameters (per 10 mg/dl change in serum level) and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) values with three degrees of albuminuria normo (<30 mg⁄g), micro (30 to 300 mg⁄g) and macro (>300 mg⁄g).
2141 KEEP participants were included. HbA1c levels were strongly associated with micro-albuminuria (compared to normo-albuminuria) and macro-albuminuria (compared to normo-albuminuria and micro-albuminuria). Each 1.0% increase in HbA1c increased the odds of micro-albuminuria by 32% (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.23-1.42) and the odds of macro-albuminuria (vs. microalbuminuria) by 16% (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.05-1.28). Only increases in serum HDL were associated with decreased odds of micro-albuminuria; otherwise, the association between other components of the serum lipid profile with urinary ACR did not reach statistical significance.
In this cross-sectional study of 2141 KEEP participants with DM and CKD stages 3–5, overall glycemic control but not lipids were associated with abnormal urinary albumin excretion, a marker of increased risk for progressive disease.
PMCID: PMC3480932  PMID: 22958709
Chronic Kidney Disease; Diabetes Mellitus; Proteinuria; Dyslipidemia; Glycosylated hemoglobin
5.  A randomized controlled trial comparing intravenous ferric carboxymaltose with oral iron for treatment of iron deficiency anaemia of non-dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease patients 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;26(5):1599-1607.
Background. Iron deficiency is a common cause of anaemia and hyporesponsiveness to erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) in non-dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (ND-CKD) patients. Current intravenous iron agents cannot be administered in a single high dose because of adverse effects. Ferric carboxymaltose, a non-dextran parenteral iron preparation, can be rapidly administered in high doses.
Methods. This open-label trial randomized 255 subjects with glomerular filtration rates ≤ 45 mL/min/1.73 m2, haemoglobin ≤ 11 g/dL, transferrin saturation ≤ 25%, ferritin ≤ 300 ng/mL, and stable ESA dose to either intravenous ferric carboxymaltose 1000 mg over 15 min (with up to two additional doses of 500 mg at 2-week intervals) or oral ferrous sulphate 325 mg thrice daily for a total of 195 mg elemental iron daily for 56 days.
Results. In the modified intent-to-treat population, the proportion of subjects achieving a haemoglobin increase ≥ 1 g/dL at any time was 60.4% with ferric carboxymaltose and 34.7% with oral iron (P < 0.001). At Day 42, mean increase in haemoglobin was 0.95 ± 1.12 vs 0.50 ± 1.23 g/dL (P = 0.005), mean increase in ferritin was 432 ± 189 ng/mL vs 18 ± 45 ng/mL (P < 0.001) and mean increase in transferrin saturation was 13.6 ± 11.9% vs 6.1 ± 8.1% (P < 0.001). Treatment-related adverse events were significantly fewer with ferric carboxymaltose than with oral iron (2.7% and 26.2%, respectively; P < 0.0001).
Conclusions. We conclude that 1000 mg ferric carboxymaltose can be rapidly administered, is more effective and is better tolerated than oral iron for treatment of iron deficiency in ND-CKD patients.
PMCID: PMC3084440  PMID: 20929915
anaemia; CKD; ferritin; intravenous iron; transferrin saturation
6.  Media Ion Composition Controls Regulatory and Virulence Response of Salmonella in Spaceflight 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3923.
The spaceflight environment is relevant to conditions encountered by pathogens during the course of infection and induces novel changes in microbial pathogenesis not observed using conventional methods. It is unclear how microbial cells sense spaceflight-associated changes to their growth environment and orchestrate corresponding changes in molecular and physiological phenotypes relevant to the infection process. Here we report that spaceflight-induced increases in Salmonella virulence are regulated by media ion composition, and that phosphate ion is sufficient to alter related pathogenesis responses in a spaceflight analogue model. Using whole genome microarray and proteomic analyses from two independent Space Shuttle missions, we identified evolutionarily conserved molecular pathways in Salmonella that respond to spaceflight under all media compositions tested. Identification of conserved regulatory paradigms opens new avenues to control microbial responses during the infection process and holds promise to provide an improved understanding of human health and disease on Earth.
PMCID: PMC2592540  PMID: 19079590

Results 1-6 (6)