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1.  A metagenomic approach to characterize temperate bacteriophage populations from Cystic Fibrosis and non-Cystic Fibrosis bronchiectasis patients 
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa), normally a soil commensal, is an important opportunistic pathogen in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and non-Cystic Fibrosis Bronchiectasis (nCFBR). Persistent infection correlates with accelerated decline in lung function and early mortality. The horizontal transfer of DNA by temperate bacteriophages can add gene function and selective advantages to their bacterial host within the constrained environment of the lower lung. In this study, we chemically induce temperate bacteriophages from clonal cultures of Pa and identify their mixed viral communities employing metagenomic approaches. We compared 92 temperate phage metagenomes stratified from these clinical backgrounds (47 CF and 45 nCFBR Pa isolates) using MG-RAST and GeneWise2. KEGG analysis shows the complexity of temperate phage accessory gene carriage increases with duration and severity of the disease. Furthermore, we identify the presence of Ig-like motifs within phage structural genes linked to bacterial adhesion and carbohydrate binding including Big_2, He_Pig, and Fn3. This study provides the first clinical support to the proposed bacteriophage adherence to mucus (BAM) model and the evolution of phages interacting at these mucosal surfaces over time.
PMCID: PMC4332376  PMID: 25741327
Pseudomonas aeruginosa; temperate bacteriophage; cystic fibrosis; non-Cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis; mixed phage populations
2.  Longitudinal change in quality of life following hospitalisation for acute exacerbations of COPD 
BMJ Open Respiratory Research  2015;2(1):e000069.
Current guidelines for management of patients hospitalised with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) recommend that clinical decisions, including escalation to assisted ventilation, be informed by an estimate of the patients’ likely postdischarge quality of life. There is little evidence to inform predictions of outcome in terms of quality of life, psychological well-being and functional status. Undue nihilism might lead to denial of potentially life-saving therapy, while undue optimism might prolong suffering when alternative palliation would be more appropriate. This study aimed to detail longitudinal changes in quality of life following hospitalisation for acute exacerbations of COPD.
We prospectively recruited two cohorts (exacerbations requiring assisted ventilation during admission and exacerbations not ventilated). Admission clinical data, and mortality and readmission details were collected. Quality of life, psychological well-being and functional status were formally assessed over the subsequent 12 months. Time-adjusted mean change in quality of life was examined.
183 patients (82 ventilated; 101 not ventilated) were recruited. On average, overall quality of life improved by a clinically important amount in those not ventilated and did not decline in ventilated patients. Both groups showed clinically important improvements in respiratory symptoms and an individual's sense of control over their condition, despite the tendency for functional status to decline.
On average, postdischarge quality of life improved in non-ventilated and did not decline in ventilated patients. Certain quality of life domains (ie, symptoms and mastery) improved significantly. Better understanding of longitudinal change in postdischarge quality of life should help to inform decision-making.
PMCID: PMC4305076  PMID: 25628892
COPD Exacerbations; Non invasive ventilation
3.  Protocol for diaphragm pacing in patients with respiratory muscle weakness due to motor neurone disease (DiPALS): a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:74.
Motor neurone disease (MND) is a devastating illness which leads to muscle weakness and death, usually within 2-3 years of symptom onset. Respiratory insufficiency is a common cause of morbidity, particularly in later stages of MND and respiratory complications are the leading cause of mortality in MND patients. Non Invasive Ventilation (NIV) is the current standard therapy to manage respiratory insufficiency. Some MND patients however do not tolerate NIV due to a number of issues including mask interface problems and claustrophobia. In those that do tolerate NIV, eventually respiratory muscle weakness will progress to a point at which intermittent/overnight NIV is ineffective. The NeuRx RA/4 Diaphragm Pacing System was originally developed for patients with respiratory insufficiency and diaphragm paralysis secondary to stable high spinal cord injuries. The DiPALS study will assess the effect of diaphragm pacing (DP) when used to treat patients with MND and respiratory insufficiency.
108 patients will be recruited to the study at 5 sites in the UK. Patients will be randomised to either receive NIV (current standard care) or receive DP in addition to NIV. Study participants will be required to complete outcome measures at 5 follow up time points (2, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months) plus an additional surgery and 1 week post operative visit for those in the DP group. 12 patients (and their carers) from the DP group will also be asked to complete 2 qualitative interviews.
The primary objective of this trial will be to evaluate the effect of Diaphragm Pacing (DP) on survival over the study duration in patients with MND with respiratory muscle weakness. The project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (project number 09/55/33) and the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Henry Smith Charity. Trial Registration: Current controlled trials ISRCTN53817913. The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HTA programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.
PMCID: PMC3462709  PMID: 22897892

Results 1-3 (3)