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1.  Response to Ayurvedic therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura 
Migraine patients who do not respond to conventional therapy, develop unacceptable side-effects, or are reluctant to take medicines resort to complementary and alternative medicines (CAM). Globally, patients have been seeking various non-conventional modes of therapy for the management of their headaches. An Ayurvedic Treatment Protocol (AyTP) comprising five Ayurvedic medicines, namely Narikel Lavan, Sootshekhar Rasa, Sitopaladi Churna, Rason Vati and Godanti Mishran along with regulated diet and lifestyle modifications such as minimum 8 h sleep, 30-60 min morning or evening walk and abstention from smoking/drinking, was tried for migraine treatment. The duration of the therapy was 90 days. Out of 406 migraine patients who were offered this AyTP, 204 patients completed 90 days of treatment. Complete disappearance of headache and associated symptoms at completion of AyTP was observed in 72 (35.2%); mild episode of headache without need of any conventional medicines in 72 (35.2%); low intensity of pain along with conventional medicines in 50 (24.5%); no improvement in seven (3.4%) and worst pain was noted in three (1.4%) patients, respectively. In 144 (70.5%) of patients marked reduction of migraine frequency and pain intensity observed may be because of the AyTP. Though the uncontrolled open-label design of this study does not allow us to draw a definite conclusion, from this observational study we can make a preliminary assessment regarding the effectiveness of this ayurvedic treatment protocol.
PMCID: PMC2876931  PMID: 20532095
Alternative therapy; Ayurveda; CAM; migraine
Ancient Science of Life  2003;22(3):75-83.
Regression of cancer has been an interiguiny factor for medicinal science. This article is bringing out some interesting data on this issue with a view to generate in the Ayurvedic researchers to see the possibilities of Ayurveda in induced regression of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3331012  PMID: 22557089
3.  A Protein Complex Network of Drosophila melanogaster 
Cell  2011;147(3):690-703.
Determining the composition of protein complexes is an essential step towards understanding the cell as an integrated system. Using co-affinity purification coupled to mass spectrometry analysis, we examined protein associations involving nearly five thousand individual, FLAG-HA epitope-tagged Drosophila proteins. Stringent analysis of these data, based on a novel statistical framework to define individual protein-protein interactions, led to the generation of a Drosophila Protein interaction Map (DPiM) encompassing 556 protein complexes. The high quality of DPiM and its usefulness as a paradigm for metazoan proteomes is apparent from the recovery of many known complexes, significant enrichment for shared functional attributes and validation in human cells. DPiM defines potential novel members for several important protein complexes and assigns functional links to 586 protein-coding genes lacking previous experimental annotation. DPiM represents, to our knowledge, the largest metazoan protein complex map and provides a valuable resource for analysis of protein complex evolution.
PMCID: PMC3319048  PMID: 22036573
Drosophila; proteome; protein complex map; interactome
4.  Spontaneous gas gangrene in a patient with Crohn’s disease 
Spontaneous gas gangrene is necrosis of muscles in the absence of trauma, causing an acutely painful and potentially fatal condition. However, the occurrence of this condition in Crohn’s disease has been very rarely documented.
Case Report:
In this extremely rare case we describe an occurrence of spontaneous gas gangrene, in a known case of Crohn’s disease. The patient presented with fever and pain in the left arm and abdomen. After admission and initial management with antibiotics, the patient developed crepitus in the arm and myonecrosis necessitating a fasciotomy and later an emergency amputation of his left upper limb.
The pathogenesis of gas gangrene in inflammatory bowel disease is not fully understood. Management includes aggressive antibiotic administration followed by amputation of the non-salvageable limb.
A high index of suspicion of such rare complications is a must and surgical intervention is life saving; however, the efficacy of anti-gas gangrene serum is controversial. We recommend use of a multipronged approach in such cases with high mortality rates.
PMCID: PMC3616112  PMID: 23569538
spontaneous gas gangrene; Crohns disease; fasciotomy
5.  Establishing a health demographic surveillance site in Bhaktapur district, Nepal: initial experiences and findings 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:489.
A health demographic surveillance system (HDSS) provides longitudinal data regarding health and demography in countries with coverage error and poor quality data on vital registration systems due to lack of public awareness, inadequate legal basis and limited use of data in health planning. The health system in Nepal, a low-income country, does not focus primarily on health registration, and does not conduct regular health data collection. This study aimed to initiate and establish the first HDSS in Nepal.
We conducted a baseline survey in Jhaukhel and Duwakot, two villages in Bhaktapur district. The study surveyed 2,712 households comprising a total population of 13,669. The sex ratio in the study area was 101 males per 100 females and the average household size was 5. The crude birth and death rates were 9.7 and 3.9/1,000 population/year, respectively. About 11% of births occurred at home, and we found no mortality in infants and children less than 5 years of age. Various health problems were found commonly and some of them include respiratory problems (41.9%); headache, vertigo and dizziness (16.7%); bone and joint pain (14.4%); gastrointestinal problems (13.9%); heart disease, including hypertension (8.8%); accidents and injuries (2.9%); and diabetes mellitus (2.6%). The prevalence of non-communicable disease (NCD) was 4.3% (95% CI: 3.83; 4.86) among individuals older than 30 years. Age-adjusted odds ratios showed that risk factors, such as sex, ethnic group, occupation and education, associated with NCD.
Our baseline survey demonstrated that it is possible to collect accurate and reliable data in a village setting in Nepal, and this study successfully established an HDSS site. We determined that both maternal and child health are better in the surveillance site compared to the entire country. Risk factors associated with NCDs dominated morbidity and mortality patterns.
PMCID: PMC3494612  PMID: 22950751
6.  Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers 
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) (WS), a “rasayana” drug, is recommended for balavardhan and mamsavardhan. The study was intended to evaluate dose-related tolerability, safety, and activity of WS formulation in normal individuals. The design was prospective, open-labeled, variable doses in volunteers. Eighteen apparently healthy volunteers (12M:6F, age:18-30 years, and BMI: 19-30) were enrolled. After baseline investigations, they received WS capsules (Rx) (aqueous extract, 8:1) daily in two divided doses with increase in daily dosage every 10 days for 30 days (750 mg/day ×10 days, 1 000 mg/day × 10 days, 1 250 mg/day × 10 days). Volunteers were assessed for symptoms/signs, vital functions, hematological and biochemical organ function tests. Muscle activity was measured by hand grip strength, quadriceps strength, and back extensor force. Exercise tolerance was determined using cycle ergometry. Lean body weight and fat% were computed from skin fold thickness measurement. Adverse events were recorded, as volunteered by the subjects. Repeated measures ANOVA, McNemar's test, and paired t test were employed. All but one volunteer tolerated WS without any adverse event. One volunteer showed increased appetite, libido, and hallucinogenic effects with vertigo at the lowest dose and was withdrawn from study. In six subjects, improvement in quality of sleep was found. Organ function tests were in normal range before and after the intervention. Reduction in total- and LDL- cholesterol and increase of strength in muscle activity was significant. Total body fat percentage showed a reduction trend. WS, in escalated dose, was tolerated well. The formulation appeared safe and strengthened muscle activity. In view of its traditional Rasayana use, further studies are planned to evaluate potential of this drug in patients of sarcopenia.
PMCID: PMC3487234  PMID: 23125505
Ayurvedic plant drug; exercise tolerance; muscle activity; muscle strength; Rasayana drug; Withania somnifera
8.  A study of standardized extracts of Picrorhiza kurroa Royle ex Benth in experimental nonalcoholic fatty liver disease 
As a major organ of intermediary metabolism, the liver is exposed to a variety of metabolic insults due to diseases and xenobiotics viz., insulin resistance (IR) drugs, toxins, microbial products, etc. One of the consequences of these metabolic insults including obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus is the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The recent alarming increase in the prevalence of NAFLD compels the need to develop an appropriate animal model of the disease so as to evolve effective interventions. In this study, we have developed, in the rat, a new model of NAFLD showing several key features akin to the disease in humans. Male Wistar rats were challenged with 30% high fat diet (HFD) – butter, for 2 weeks to induce NAFLD. A hydroalcoholic extract of Picrorhiza kurroa was administered to study the possible reversal of fatty changes in the liver. The extract was given in two doses viz., 200mg/kg and 400 mg/kg b.i.d., p.o. for a period of 4 weeks. There were three control groups (n = 6/group) – vehicle with a regular diet, vehicle with HFD, and HFD with silymarin – a known hepatoprotective.
Histopathology showed that the P. kurroa extract brought about a reversal of the fatty infiltration of the liver (mg/g) and a lowering of the quantity of hepatic lipids (mg/g) compared to that in the HFD control group (38.33 ± 5.35 for 200mg/kg; 29.44 ± 8.49 for 400mg/kg of P. kurroa vs.130.07 ± 6.36mg/g of liver tissue in the HFD control group; P<0.001). Compared to the standard dose of the known hepatoprotective silymarin, P. kurroa reduced the lipid content (mg/g) of the liver more significantly at the dose of 400mg/kg (57.71 ± 12.45mg/kg vs. 29.44 ± 8.49 for the silymarin group vs. 400mg/kg of P. kurroa, P<0.001). In view of the increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome and NAFLD, P. kurroa should be investigated by the reverse pharmacology path as a potential drug for the treatment of NAFLD, and essential safety studies and preformulation research for concentration of the putative actives should be carried out.
PMCID: PMC3087357  PMID: 21547049
Hepatoprotective; high fat diet; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; non-alcoholic fatty liver; Picrorhiza kurroa reverse pharmacology
9.  Maternal Health, Supraja (Eugenics) and Ayurveda 
Ancient Science of Life  2008;28(1):44-48.
Mother and child care has been described in great detail in Ayurveda. All basic principles of Ayurveda need to be applied to deal with the problems of maternal and foetal mortality. Rules of Ahara (diet), Vihara (lifestyle), Sadavrutta (moral conduct), along with varied therapies are used in tackling the various problems. There is need to take an in depth view at causes. Major changes in lifestyle may be required. Uses of various Ayurvedic formulations like various ghrtas and tailas (ghees and oils) have given wonderful results. Ayurveda aims at producing “Supraja” or healthy progeny. Ayurveda provides answers to some of the most worrying problems facing doctors today.
PMCID: PMC3336340  PMID: 22557298
11.  Quantitative 3-D Corneal Imaging In Vivo Using a Modified HRT- RCM Confocal Microscope 
Cornea  2013;32(4):e36-e43.
The purpose of this study was to develop and test hardware and software modifications to allow quantitative full-thickness corneal imaging using the HRT Rostock Corneal Module.
A PC-controlled motor drive with positional feedback was integrated into the system to allow automated focusing through the entire cornea. The left eyes of ten New Zealand White rabbits were scanned from endothelium to epithelium. Image sequences were read into a custom-developed program for depth calculation and measurement of sub-layer thicknesses. 3-D visualizations were also generated using Imaris. In six rabbits, stack images were registered, and depth-dependent counts of keratocyte nuclei were made using Metamorph.
The mean epithelial and corneal thicknesses measured in the rabbit were 47 ± 5 μm and 373 ± 25 μm, respectively (N = 10 corneas); coefficients of variation for repeated scans were 8.2% and 2.1%. Corneal thickness measured using ultrasonic pachymetry was 374 ± 17 μm. The mean overall keratocyte density measured in the rabbit was 43,246 ± 5,603 cells/mm3 in vivo (N = 6 corneas). There was a gradual decrease in keratocyte density from the anterior to posterior cornea (R = 0.99), consistent with previous data generated in vitro.
This modified system allows high resolution 3-D image stacks to be collected from the full thickness rabbit cornea in vivo. These datasets can be used for interactive visualization of corneal cell layers, measurement of sub-layer thickness, and depth-dependent keratocyte density measurements. Overall, the modifications significantly expand the potential quantitative research applications of the HRT-RCM microscope.
PMCID: PMC3546130  PMID: 23051907
Confocal Microscopy; Cornea; Imaging; 3-D Reconstruction
12.  The Influence of Sodium- and Calcium-Regulatory Hormone Interventions on Adipocytokines in Obesity and Diabetes 
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone have all been implicated as regulators of adipocytokines and inflammation. We evaluated human interventional study protocols to investigate whether controlled modulations of these calcium- and sodium-regulatory hormones could influence adipocytokines and inflammation in obesity and diabetes.
Post-hoc analyses of two separate human protocols (Protocol 1, n=14; Protocol 2, n=24) conducted in a clinical research setting after rigorous control of diet, posture, medications, and diurnal rhythm, were performed. Protocol 1 evaluated obese hypertensives with vitamin D deficiency who received an infusion of angiotensin II (AngII) before and after 1 month of vitamin D3 therapy. Protocol 2 evaluated obese subjects with type 2 diabetes who also received AngII. Adipocytokines and inflammatory markers were measured before and after vitamin D3 therapy, and also before and after infusions of AngII.
Vitamin D3 therapy significantly raised 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D concentrations, and lowered parathyroid hormone, but had no effect on concentrations of adiponectin, resistin, leptin, IL-6, PAI-1, urinary TGFβ1, or HOMA-IR. AngII infusions, despite significant elevations in blood pressure and serum aldosterone, did not influence adipocytokine concentrations in either protocol.
In contrast to prior studies conducted in healthy populations, or those that could not control major regulators of the RAAS or adipocytokines, we observed that robust modulations in calcium- and sodium-regulatory hormones did not influence adipocytokines or inflammation in obesity or diabetes. Adipose-tissue physiology in these conditions may alter the hormonal regulation of inflammatory parameters.
PMCID: PMC3572332  PMID: 23142162
Adiponectin; Resistin; Obesity; Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system; vitamin D
Hypertension  2013;61(4):886-893.
Abnormal aldosterone physiology has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cardio-metabolic diseases. Single aldosterone measurements capture only a limited range of aldosterone physiology. New methods of characterizing aldosterone physiology may provide a more comprehensive understanding of its relationship with cardio-metabolic disease. We evaluated whether novel indices of aldosterone responses to dietary sodium modulation, the Sodium-modulated Aldosterone Suppression-Stimulation Index (SASSI for serum and SAUSSI for urine), could predict cardio-metabolic risk factors. We performed cross-sectional analyses on 539 subjects studied on liberal (LIB) and restricted (RES) sodium diets with serum and urinary aldosterone measurements. SASSI and SAUSSI were calculated as the ratio of aldosterone on LIB (maximally suppressed aldosterone) to aldosterone on RES (stimulated aldosterone) diets, and associated with risk factors using adjusted regression models. Cardio-metabolic risk factors associated with either impaired suppression of aldosterone on LIB diet, or impaired stimulation on RES diet, or both; in all of these individual cases, these risk factors associated with higher SASSI or SAUSSI. In the context of abnormalities that comprise the metabolic syndrome (MetS), there was a strong positive association between the number of MetS components (0–4) and both SASSI and SAUSSI (P<0.0001) that was independent of known aldosterone secretagogues (angiotensin II, corticotropin, potassium). SASSI and SAUSSI exhibited a high sensitivity in detecting normal individuals with zero MetS components (86% for SASSI and 83% for SAUSSI). Assessing the physiologic range of aldosterone responses may provide greater insights into adrenal pathophysiology. Dysregulated aldosterone physiology may contribute to, and/or result from, early cardio-metabolic abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC3615445  PMID: 23399714
Aldosterone; Metabolic Sydrome; Renin; Adrenal; Physiology
14.  Rationality and emotionality: serotonin transporter genotype influences reasoning bias 
Reasoning often occurs under emotionally charged, opinion-laden circumstances. The belief-bias effect indexes the extent to which reasoning is based upon beliefs rather than logical structure. We examined whether emotional content increases this effect, particularly for adults genetically predisposed to be more emotionally reactive. SS/SLG carriers of the serotonin transporter genotype (5-HTTLPR) were less accurate selectively for evaluating emotional relational reasoning problems with belief-logic conflict relative to LALA carriers. Trait anxiety was positively associated with emotional belief-bias, and the 5-HTTLPR genotype significantly accounted for the variance in this association. Thus, deductive reasoning, a higher cognitive ability, is sensitive to differences in emotionality rooted in serotonin neurotransmitter function.
PMCID: PMC3624950  PMID: 22275169
15.  Phenotypic Variability in Resting-State Functional Connectivity: Current Status 
Brain Connectivity  2013;3(2):99-120.
We reviewed the extant literature with the goal of assessing the extent to which resting-state functional connectivity is associated with phenotypic variability in healthy and disordered populations. A large corpus of work has accumulated to date (125 studies), supporting the association between intrinsic functional connectivity and individual differences in a wide range of domains—not only in cognitive, perceptual, motoric, and linguistic performance, but also in behavioral traits (e.g., impulsiveness, risky decision making, personality, and empathy) and states (e.g., anxiety and psychiatric symptoms) that are distinguished by cognitive and affective functioning, and in neurological conditions with cognitive and motor sequelae. Further, intrinsic functional connectivity is sensitive to remote (e.g., early-life stress) and enduring (e.g., duration of symptoms) life experience, and it exhibits plasticity in response to recent experience (e.g., learning and adaptation) and pharmacological treatment. The most pervasive associations were observed with the default network; associations were also widespread between the cingulo-opercular network and both cognitive and affective behaviors, while the frontoparietal network was associated primarily with cognitive functions. Associations of somatomotor, frontotemporal, auditory, and amygdala networks were relatively restricted to the behaviors linked to their respective putative functions. Surprisingly, visual network associations went beyond visual function to include a variety of behavioral traits distinguished by affective function. Together, the reviewed evidence sets the stage for testing causal hypothesis about the functional role of intrinsic connectivity and augments its potential as a biomarker for healthy and disordered brain function.
PMCID: PMC3634144  PMID: 23294010
cingulo-opercular; connectivity networks; default; fMRI; frontoparietal; motor; performance; sensory
16.  Detecting Inappropriate Access to Electronic Health Records Using Collaborative Filtering 
Machine learning  2013;95(1):87-101.
Many healthcare facilities enforce security on their electronic health records (EHRs) through a corrective mechanism: some staff nominally have almost unrestricted access to the records, but there is a strict ex post facto audit process for inappropriate accesses, i.e., accesses that violate the facility’s security and privacy policies. This process is inefficient, as each suspicious access has to be reviewed by a security expert, and is purely retrospective, as it occurs after damage may have been incurred. This motivates automated approaches based on machine learning using historical data. Previous attempts at such a system have successfully applied supervised learning models to this end, such as SVMs and logistic regression. While providing benefits over manual auditing, these approaches ignore the identity of the users and patients involved in a record access. Therefore, they cannot exploit the fact that a patient whose record was previously involved in a violation has an increased risk of being involved in a future violation. Motivated by this, in this paper, we propose a collaborative filtering inspired approach to predicting inappropriate accesses. Our solution integrates both explicit and latent features for staff and patients, the latter acting as a personalized “finger-print” based on historical access patterns. The proposed method, when applied to real EHR access data from two tertiary hospitals and a file-access dataset from Amazon, shows not only significantly improved performance compared to existing methods, but also provides insights as to what indicates an inappropriate access.
PMCID: PMC3967851  PMID: 24683293
access violation; collaborative filtering; electronic health records; privacy breach detection
17.  A Simple Scalable Association Hypothesis Test Combining Gene-wide Evidence From Multiple Polymorphisms 
In single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) scans, SNP-phenotype association hypotheses are tested, however there is biological interpretation only for genes that span multiple SNPs. We demonstrate and validate a method of combining gene-wide evidence using data for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC).
In a family based study (N=1782 from 482 families), we used 1000 phenotype-permuted datasets to determine the correlation of z-test statistics for 592 SNP-HDLC association tests comprising 14 genes previously reported to be associated with HDLC. We generated gene-wide p-values using the distribution of the sum of correlated z-statistics.
Of the 14 genes, CETP was significant (p=4.0×10−5 <0.05/14), while PLTP was significant at the borderline (p=6.7×10−3 <0.1/14). These p-values were confirmed using empirical distributions of the sum of χ2 association statistics as a gold standard (2.9×10−6 and 1.8×10−3, respectively). Genewide p-values were more significant than Bonferroni-corrected p-value for the most significant SNP in 11 of 14 genes (p=0.023). Genewide p-values calculated from SNP correlations derived for 20 simulated normally distributed phenotypes reproduced those derived from the 1000 phenotype-permuted datasets were correlated with the empirical distributions (Spearman correlation = 0.92 for both).
We have validated a simple scalable method to combine polymorphism-level evidence into gene-wide statistical evidence. High-throughput gene-wide hypothesis tests may be used in biologically interpretable genomewide association scans. Genewide association tests may be used to meaningfully replicate findings in populations with different linkage disequilibrium structure, when SNP-level replication is not expected.
PMCID: PMC3969754
Bonferroni; hypothesis tests; combining evidence
18.  Management of intestinal failure in inflammatory bowel disease: Small intestinal transplantation or home parenteral nutrition? 
Inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease in particular, is a common cause of intestinal failure. Current therapeutic options include home parenteral nutrition and intestinal transplantation. For most patients, home intravenous therapy including parenteral nutrition, with a good probability of long-term survival, is the favoured choice. However, in selected patients, with specific features that may shorten survival or complicate home parenteral nutrition, intestinal transplantation presents a viable alternative. We present survival, complications, quality of life and economic considerations that currently influence individualised decision-making between home parenteral nutrition and intestinal transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3964387
Inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn’s disease; Intestinal failure; Intestinal transplantation; Home parenteral nutrition; Survival; Complications; Quality of life
19.  HIV testing among pregnant women living with HIV in India: are private healthcare providers routinely violating women’s human rights? 
In India, approximately 49,000 women living with HIV become pregnant and deliver each year. While the government of India has made progress increasing the availability of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services, only about one quarter of pregnant women received an HIV test in 2010, and about one-in-five that were found positive for HIV received interventions to prevent vertical transmission of HIV.
Between February 2012 to March 2013, 14 HIV-positive women who had recently delivered a baby were recruited from HIV positive women support groups, Government of India Integrated Counseling and Testing Centers, and nongovernmental organizations in Mysore and Pune, India. In-depth interviews were conducted to examine their general experiences with antenatal healthcare; specific experiences around HIV counseling and testing; and perceptions about their care and follow-up treatment. Data were analyzed thematically using the human rights framework for HIV testing adopted by the United Nations and India’s National AIDS Control Organization.
While all of the HIV-positive women in the study received HIV and PMTCT services at a government hospital or antiretroviral therapy center, almost all reported attending a private clinic or hospital at some point in their pregnancy. According to the participants, HIV testing often occurred without consent; there was little privacy; breaches of confidentiality were commonplace; and denial of medical treatment occurred routinely. Among women living with HIV in this study, violations of their human rights occurred more commonly in private rather than public healthcare settings.
There is an urgent need for capacity building among private healthcare providers to improve standards of practice with regard to informed consent process, HIV testing, patient confidentiality, treatment, and referral of pregnant women living with HIV.
PMCID: PMC3975140  PMID: 24656059
India; HIV testing; Antenatal care; Confidentiality; Diagnosis; Qualitative research; Perinatal transmission
20.  Physical activity level and its sociodemographic correlates in a peri-urban Nepalese population: a cross-sectional study from the Jhaukhel-Duwakot health demographic surveillance site 
Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular and other noncommunicable diseases in high-, low- and middle-income countries. Nepal, a low-income country in South Asia, is undergoing an epidemiological transition. Although the reported national prevalence of physical inactivity is relatively low, studies in urban and peri-urban localities have always shown higher prevalence. Therefore, this study aimed to measure physical activity in three domains—work, travel and leisure—in a peri-urban community and assess its variations across different sociodemographic correlates.
Adult participants (n = 640) from six randomly selected wards of the Jhaukhel-Duwakot Health Demographic Surveillance Site (JD-HDSS) near Kathmandu responded to the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire. To determine total physical activity, we calculated the metabolic equivalent of task in minutes/week for each domain and combined the results. Respondents were categorized into high, moderate or low physical activity. We also calculated the odds ratio for low physical activity in various sociodemographic variables and self-reported cardiometabolic states.
The urbanizing JD-HDSS community showed a high prevalence of low physical activity (43.3%; 95% CI 39.4–47.1). Work-related activity contributed most to total physical activity. Furthermore, women and housewives and older, more educated and self-or government-employed respondents showed a greater prevalence of physical inactivity. Respondents with hypertension, diabetes or overweight/obesity reported less physical activity than individuals without those conditions. Only 5% of respondents identified physical inactivity as a cardiovascular risk factor.
Our findings reveal a high burden of physical inactivity in a peri-urban community of Nepal. Improving the level of physical activity involves sensitizing people to its importance through appropriate multi-sector strategies that provide encouragement across all sociodemographic groups.
PMCID: PMC3984675  PMID: 24628997
Cardiovascular disease; Ethnicity; Occupation; Smoking; Hypertension; Diabetes
21.  Urinary biomarkers track the progression of nephropathy in hypertensive and obese rats 
Biomarkers in medicine  2014;8(1):85-94.
To determine whether urinary biomarkers of acute kidney injury can be used to monitor the progression of chronic kidney injury in a rat model of hypertension and obesity.
Materials & methods
A suite of novel urinary biomarkers were used to track the progression of kidney damage in SHROB and SHR-lean rats.
Urinary albumin, NAG, clusterin, osteopontin, RPA-1 and fibrinogen levels were significantly elevated over time and were closely associated with the severity of histopathologically determined nephropathy in both SHROB and SHR-lean rats.
Urinary biomarkers, such as albumin, fibrinogen, NAG, clusterin, RPA-1 and osteopontin, may serve as useful tools to track the progression of chronic kidney disease associated with hypertension and obesity.
PMCID: PMC3951143  PMID: 24325231
chronic kidney disease; hypertension; obesity; urine biomarker
22.  Working memory-related changes in functional connectivity persist beyond task disengagement 
Human brain mapping  2012;35(3):1004-1017.
We examined whether altered connectivity in functional networks during working memory performance persists following conclusion of that performance, into a subsequent resting state. We conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 50 young adults during an initial resting state, followed by an N-back working memory task and a subsequent resting state, in order to examine changes in functional connectivity within and between the default-mode network (DMN) and the task-positive network (TPN) across the three states. We found that alterations in connectivity observed during the N-back task persisted into the subsequent resting state within the TPN and between the DMN and TPN, but not within the DMN. Further, speed of working memory performance and TPN connectivity strength during the N-back task predicted connectivity strength in the subsequent resting state. Finally, DMN connectivity measured before and during the N-back task predicted individual differences in self-reported inattentiveness, but this association was not found during the post-task resting state. Together, these findings have important implications for models of how the brain recovers following effortful cognition, as well as for experimental designs using resting and task scans.
PMCID: PMC3637867  PMID: 23281202
fMRI; functional connectivity; resting state; working memory
23.  Development of Lectin-Linked Immunomagnetic Separation for the Detection of Hepatitis A Virus 
Viruses  2014;6(3):1037-1048.
The accuracy and sensitivity of PCR-based methods for detection of hepatitis A virus (HAV) are dependent on the methods used to separate and concentrate the HAV from the infected cells. The pH and ionic strength affect the binding affinity of the virus to cells. In this study, we initially investigated the effects of pH (4.0–10.0) and metal ions (Fe2+, Co2+, Cu2+, Mg2+, K+, and Ca2+) on the binding of HAV to oyster digestive cells. The lowest relative binding (RB) of HAV to the cells was found at pH 4.0 and in FeSO4 solution (64.6% and 68.1%, respectively). To develop an alternative to antibody-dependent immunomagnetic separation prior to detection of HAV using RT-PCR, the binding of HAV to five lectins, peanut agglutinin (PNA), Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA), Helix pomatia agglutinin (HPA), Ulex europaeus agglutinin (UEA-1) and soybean agglutinin (SBA), was evaluated using ELISAs. SBA showed significantly higher RB to HAV than the other lectins tested. In addition, HAV could be concentrated within 30 min using SBA-linked magnetic bead separation (SMS) prior to the RT-PCR assay. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of using SMS combined with RT-PCR to detect HAV at dilutions ranging from 10−1–10−4 of a HAV stock (titer: 104 TCID50/mL).
PMCID: PMC3970137  PMID: 24599279
hepatitis A virus; soybean agglutinin linked-magnetic bead separation; lectin; oyster
24.  Identification of Novel Genetic Loci Associated with Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Clinical Thyroid Disease 
Medici, Marco | Porcu, Eleonora | Pistis, Giorgio | Teumer, Alexander | Brown, Suzanne J. | Jensen, Richard A. | Rawal, Rajesh | Roef, Greet L. | Plantinga, Theo S. | Vermeulen, Sita H. | Lahti, Jari | Simmonds, Matthew J. | Husemoen, Lise Lotte N. | Freathy, Rachel M. | Shields, Beverley M. | Pietzner, Diana | Nagy, Rebecca | Broer, Linda | Chaker, Layal | Korevaar, Tim I. M. | Plia, Maria Grazia | Sala, Cinzia | Völker, Uwe | Richards, J. Brent | Sweep, Fred C. | Gieger, Christian | Corre, Tanguy | Kajantie, Eero | Thuesen, Betina | Taes, Youri E. | Visser, W. Edward | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Kratzsch, Jürgen | Hamilton, Alexander | Li, Wei | Homuth, Georg | Lobina, Monia | Mariotti, Stefano | Soranzo, Nicole | Cocca, Massimiliano | Nauck, Matthias | Spielhagen, Christin | Ross, Alec | Arnold, Alice | van de Bunt, Martijn | Liyanarachchi, Sandya | Heier, Margit | Grabe, Hans Jörgen | Masciullo, Corrado | Galesloot, Tessel E. | Lim, Ee M. | Reischl, Eva | Leedman, Peter J. | Lai, Sandra | Delitala, Alessandro | Bremner, Alexandra P. | Philips, David I. W. | Beilby, John P. | Mulas, Antonella | Vocale, Matteo | Abecasis, Goncalo | Forsen, Tom | James, Alan | Widen, Elisabeth | Hui, Jennie | Prokisch, Holger | Rietzschel, Ernst E. | Palotie, Aarno | Feddema, Peter | Fletcher, Stephen J. | Schramm, Katharina | Rotter, Jerome I. | Kluttig, Alexander | Radke, Dörte | Traglia, Michela | Surdulescu, Gabriela L. | He, Huiling | Franklyn, Jayne A. | Tiller, Daniel | Vaidya, Bijay | de Meyer, Tim | Jørgensen, Torben | Eriksson, Johan G. | O'Leary, Peter C. | Wichmann, Eric | Hermus, Ad R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Ittermann, Till | Hofman, Albert | Bosi, Emanuele | Schlessinger, David | Wallaschofski, Henri | Pirastu, Nicola | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | de la Chapelle, Albert | Netea-Maier, Romana T. | Gough, Stephen C. L. | Meyer zu Schwabedissen, Henriette | Frayling, Timothy M. | Kaufman, Jean-Marc | Linneberg, Allan | Räikkönen, Katri | Smit, Johannes W. A. | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uitterlinden, André G. | Walsh, John P. | Meisinger, Christa | den Heijer, Martin | Visser, Theo J. | Spector, Timothy D. | Wilson, Scott G. | Völzke, Henry | Cappola, Anne | Toniolo, Daniela | Sanna, Serena | Naitza, Silvia | Peeters, Robin P. | Cotsapas, Chris
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(2):e1004123.
Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) are common, affecting 2-5% of the general population. Individuals with positive thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAbs) have an increased risk of autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), as well as autoimmune hyperthyroidism (Graves' disease). As the possible causative genes of TPOAbs and AITD remain largely unknown, we performed GWAS meta-analyses in 18,297 individuals for TPOAb-positivity (1769 TPOAb-positives and 16,528 TPOAb-negatives) and in 12,353 individuals for TPOAb serum levels, with replication in 8,990 individuals. Significant associations (P<5×10−8) were detected at TPO-rs11675434, ATXN2-rs653178, and BACH2-rs10944479 for TPOAb-positivity, and at TPO-rs11675434, MAGI3-rs1230666, and KALRN-rs2010099 for TPOAb levels. Individual and combined effects (genetic risk scores) of these variants on (subclinical) hypo- and hyperthyroidism, goiter and thyroid cancer were studied. Individuals with a high genetic risk score had, besides an increased risk of TPOAb-positivity (OR: 2.18, 95% CI 1.68–2.81, P = 8.1×10−8), a higher risk of increased thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (OR: 1.51, 95% CI 1.26–1.82, P = 2.9×10−6), as well as a decreased risk of goiter (OR: 0.77, 95% CI 0.66–0.89, P = 6.5×10−4). The MAGI3 and BACH2 variants were associated with an increased risk of hyperthyroidism, which was replicated in an independent cohort of patients with Graves' disease (OR: 1.37, 95% CI 1.22–1.54, P = 1.2×10−7 and OR: 1.25, 95% CI 1.12–1.39, P = 6.2×10−5). The MAGI3 variant was also associated with an increased risk of hypothyroidism (OR: 1.57, 95% CI 1.18–2.10, P = 1.9×10−3). This first GWAS meta-analysis for TPOAbs identified five newly associated loci, three of which were also associated with clinical thyroid disease. With these markers we identified a large subgroup in the general population with a substantially increased risk of TPOAbs. The results provide insight into why individuals with thyroid autoimmunity do or do not eventually develop thyroid disease, and these markers may therefore predict which TPOAb-positives are particularly at risk of developing clinical thyroid dysfunction.
Author Summary
Individuals with thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAbs) have an increased risk of autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD), which are common in the general population and associated with increased cardiovascular, metabolic and psychiatric morbidity and mortality. As the causative genes of TPOAbs and AITD remain largely unknown, we performed a genome-wide scan for TPOAbs in 18,297 individuals, with replication in 8,990 individuals. Significant associations were detected with variants at TPO, ATXN2, BACH2, MAGI3, and KALRN. Individuals carrying multiple risk variants also had a higher risk of increased thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (including subclinical and overt hypothyroidism), and a decreased risk of goiter. The MAGI3 and BACH2 variants were associated with an increased risk of hyperthyroidism, and the MAGI3 variant was also associated with an increased risk of hypothyroidism. This first genome-wide scan for TPOAbs identified five newly associated loci, three of which were also associated with clinical thyroid disease. With these markers we identified a large subgroup in the general population with a substantially increased risk of TPOAbs. These results provide insight into why individuals with thyroid autoimmunity do or do not eventually develop thyroid disease, and these markers may therefore predict which individuals are particularly at risk of developing clinical thyroid dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3937134  PMID: 24586183
25.  Application of Liposomes in Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Quo Vadis 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:978351.
The most common treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and some biological agents. However, none of the treatments available is able to achieve the ultimate goal of treatment, that is, drug-free remission. This limitation has shifted the focus of treatment to delivery strategies with an ability to deliver the drugs into the synovial cavity in the proper dosage while mitigating side effects to other tissues. A number of approaches like microemulsions, microspheres, liposomes, microballoons, cocrystals, nanoemulsions, dendrimers, microsponges, and so forth, have been used for intrasynovial delivery of these drugs. Amongst these, liposomes have proven to be very effective for retaining the drug in the synovial cavity by virtue of their size and chemical composition. The fast clearance of intra-synovially administered drugs can be overcome by use of liposomes leading to increased uptake of drugs by the target synovial cells, which in turn reduces the exposure of nontarget sites and eliminates most of the undesirable effects associated with therapy. This review focuses on the use of liposomes in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and summarizes data relating to the liposome formulations of various drugs. It also discusses emerging trends of this promising technology.
PMCID: PMC3932268

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