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1.  Genetic and Epigenetic Variation of the Glucocorticoid Receptor (NR3C1) in Placenta and Infant Neurobehavior 
Developmental psychobiology  2012;55(7):673-683.
The intrauterine environment can impact the developing infant by altering the function of the placenta through changes to the epigenetic regulatory features of this tissue. Genetic variation, too, may impact infant development or may modify the relationship between epigenetic alterations and infant outcomes. To examine the association of this variation with early life infant neurodevelopment, we examined the extent of DNA methylation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) promoter and a common SNP in the promoter region in a series of 186 placentas from healthy newborn infants. We associated these molecular features with specific summary measures from the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scales. After controlling for genotype and confounders, we identified significant associations of NR3C1 methylation with infant quality of movement (P=0.05) and with infant attention (P=0.05), and a potential interaction between methylation and genotype on infant attention score. These results suggest that epigenetic alteration of the NR3C1 gene in the placentas of genetically susceptible infants can have impacts on neurodevelopment which may have lifelong impact on neurobehavioral and mental health outcomes. Further research is needed to more precisely define these relationships and the interaction between epigenetic alterations and genetic variations on infant health.
PMCID: PMC3458180  PMID: 22714792
Epigenetic; glucocorticoid receptor; placenta; neurodevelopment; human; attention; quality of movement
2.  Virtualizing the Assessment: A Novel Pragmatic Paradigm to Evaluate Lower Extremity Joint Perception in Diabetes 
Gerontology  2012;58(5):463-471.
Persons with diabetes have a higher risk of falls and fall related injuries. People with diabetes often develop peripheral neuropathy (DPN) as well as nerve damage throughout the body. In particular, reduced lower extremity proprioception due to DPN may cause a misjudgment of foot position and thus increase the risk of fall.
An innovative virtual obstacle crossing (VOC) paradigm using wearable sensors was developed in attempt to assess lower extremity position perception damage due to DPN.
Sixty-seven participants (Age: 55.4±8.9; BMI: 28.1±5.8) including diabetes with and without DPN as well as aged matched healthy controls were recruited. Severity of neuropathy was quantified using vibratory perception threshold (VPT) test. The ability of perception of lower extremity was quantified by measuring obstacle crossing success rate (OCSR), toe-obstacle clearance (TOC), and reaction time (TR) while crossing a series of virtual obstacles with heights at 10% and 20% of the subject’s leg length.
No significant difference was found between groups for age and BMI. The data revealed that DPN subjects had a significantly lower OCSR compared to diabetes with no neuropathy and controls at obstacle size of 10% (p<0.05). DPN subjects also demonstrated longer TR compared to other groups and for both obstacle sizes. In addition TOC was reduced in neuropathy groups. Interestingly, a significant correlation between TR and VPT (r=0.5, p<10-5) was observed indicating delay in reaction by increasing neuropathy severity. The delay becomes more pronounced by increasing the size of obstacle. Using regression model suggests that the change in reaction time between obstacle sizes of 10% and 20% of leg size is the most sensitive predictors for neuropathy severity with an odds ratio of 2.70 (p=0.02).
The findings demonstrate proof of concept of virtual reality application as a promising method for objective assessment of neuropathy severity, however; a further study is warranted to establish a stronger relationship between the measured parameters and neuropathy.
PMCID: PMC3955209  PMID: 22572476
Virtual Reality; Diabetes Peripheral Neuropathy; Lower Extremity Joint Perception; Body Worn Sensors; Fall Prevention; Obstacle crossing
3.  Mucosal and systemic antibody responses to potential Pseudomonas aeruginosa vaccine protein antigens in young children with cystic fibrosis following colonization and infection 
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important prognostic determinant in cystic fibrosis (CF). Little is known however, about P. aeruginosa induced local mucosal and systemic immune responses. Twenty CF children were categorized according to their P. aeruginosa status: (1) chronic lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), (2) prior successfully treated initial LRTI, (3) isolated upper respiratory tract (URT) colonization, and (4) no known URT colonization or previous LRTI. Their antibody responses, and those of six non-CF disease controls, in serum and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid to potential P. aeruginosa vaccine antigens outer membrane protein F (OprF), outer membrane protein H (OprH), catalase A (KatA) and a whole killed cell (WKC) extract were evaluated. Outer membrane protein G (OprG) responses were also measured in blood. Natural exposure, colonization and infection resulted in detectable antibody levels in BAL and serum in all CF groups. Both chronically infected and URT colonized CF children had substantially elevated immunoglobulin A antibody levels in the BAL fluid and sera toward the WKC extract and OprF antigen compared with the other groups of CF children and non-CF controls. The serum levels of specific P. aeruginosa antibodies involving immunoglobulin G and M isotypes increased with chronic LRTI, especially antibody levels to KatA, OprH and WKC extract, which were substantially greater in chronically infected children compared with all other groups. In conclusion, natural exposure, URT colonization and LRTI with P. aeruginosa all induce substantial mucosal and systemic antibody responses to potential vaccine antigens with chronically infected CF children having the highest levels.
PMCID: PMC3891706  PMID: 23249482
cystic fibrosis; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; OprF; OprH; OprG; KatA; mucosal and systemic antibody; vaccine
4.  Report on the Expert Forum on Using Information Technology to Facilitate Uptake and Impact of Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines 
The present report summarizes the proceedings of the pan-Canadian Expert Forum on Using Information Technology to Facilitate Uptake and Impact of Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines, which was held in Montreal, Quebec, November 18 to 19, 2011. The meeting assembled a multidisciplinary group of family physicians, gastroenterologists, nurses, patients, foundation representatives, screening program administrators and researchers to discuss the development of a mechanism or strategy that would permit the collection of comparable data by all colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programs, which would not only support the needs of each program but also provide a national perspective. The overarching theme of the meeting was ‘designing a national approach to computerized electronic data collection and dissemination for CRC screening that would improve knowledge transfer across the continuum of preventive health care’. The forum encouraged presentations on clinical, research and technical topics. The meeting fostered valuable cross-disciplinary communication and delivered the message that it is essential to develop a national health informatics approach for CRC screening data collection and dissemination to support provincial CRC screening programs.
PMCID: PMC3551566  PMID: 23248792
Colorectal cancer; Information technology; National registry; Report; Screening
5.  A survey of the practice of after-hours and emergency endoscopy in Canada 
To determine staffing and practice patterns for after-hours endoscopy service in Canada
A link to a web-based survey was sent by e-mail to all clinical members of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology in February 2011. A priori, it was planned to compare variations in practice among gastroenterologists (GIs) performing endoscopy in different regions of Canada, between pediatric and adult GIs, and between university and community hospitals.
Of 422 potential respondents, 168 (40%) responded. Of the 139 adult GIs, 61% performed after-hours endoscopy in the endoscopy suite where daytime procedures were performed, 62% had a trained endoscopy nurse available for all procedures, 38% had access to propofol sedation, 12% reprocessed the endoscopes themselves or with the help of a resident, 4% had out-of-hospital patients come directly to their endoscopy suite and 53% were highly satisfied. The adult endoscopists practising at community hospitals were more likely to have an anesthetist attend the procedure. Regional differences were noted, with more involvement of anesthetists (13%) and availability of propofol (50%) in Ontario, more frequent reprocessing of endoscopes in the central reprocessing units in British Columbia (78%) and almost universal availability of a trained endoscopy nurse (96%) with concomitant higher endoscopist satisfaction (84% highly satisfied) in Alberta.
More than one-third of surveyed endoscopists across the country do not have a trained endoscopy nurse to assist in after-hours endoscopy – the time period when urgent patients often present and typically require therapeutic endoscopic interventions. There are significant regional differences in the practice of after-hours endoscopy in Canada.
PMCID: PMC3551559  PMID: 23248785
Emergency care; Endoscopy; Staffing; Standards
6.  Evaluation and management of skeletal health in celiac disease: Position statement 
To review the evaluation and management of skeletal health in patients with celiac disease (CD), and to make recommendations on screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of low bone mineral density (BMD) in CD patients.
A multidisciplinary team developed clinically relevant questions for review. An electronic search of the literature was conducted using the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from 1996 to 2010. All original studies, reviews and guidelines, both pediatric and adult, were included. A document summarizing the results of the review and proposed recommendations was prepared and underwent multiple revisions until consensus was reached.
At diagnosis, approximately one-third of adult CD patients have osteoporosis, one-third have osteopenia and one-third have normal BMD. Children with CD have low bone mass at diagnosis. Adult and pediatric CD patients are at increased risk of fractures.
For adults, serum calcium, albumin, 25(OH) vitamin D3, parathyroid hormone and 24 h urine calcium testing should be performed at diagnosis; patients with ‘classic’ CD and those at risk for osteoporosis should undergo a dual x-ray absorptiometry scan. An abnormal baseline dual x-ray absorptiometry scan should be repeated one to two years after initiation of a gluten-free diet (GFD). For children, BMD should be assessed one year after diagnosis if GFD adherence is not strict. A GFD is the most important treatment for bone loss. Supplemental antiresorptives may be justified in those who remain at high fracture risk (eg, postmenopausal women, older men) after implementation of a GFD.
Current evidence does not support the screening of all CD patients for low BMD at diagnosis. Follow-up BMD assessment should be performed one to two years after initiation of a GFD.
PMCID: PMC3495700  PMID: 23166906
Bone; Celiac disease; Osteoporosis
7.  Long-Term Prognosis of Diabetic Foot Patients and Their Limbs 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(10):2021-2027.
There is a dearth of long-term data regarding patient and limb survival in patients with diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). The purpose of our study was therefore to prospectively investigate the limb and person survival of DFU patients during a follow-up period of more than 10 years.
Two hundred forty-seven patients with DFUs and without previous major amputation consecutively presenting to a single diabetes center between June 1998 and December 1999 were included in this study and followed up until May 2011. Mean patient age was 68.8 ± 10.9 years, 58.7% were male, and 55.5% had peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Times to first major amputation and to death were analyzed with Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox multiple regression.
A first major amputation occurred in 38 patients (15.4%) during follow-up. All but one of these patients had evidence of PAD at inclusion in the study, and 51.4% had severe PAD [ankle-brachial pressure index ≤0.4]). Age (hazard ratio [HR] per year, 1.05 [95% CI, 1.01–1.10]), being on dialysis (3.51 [1.02–12.07]), and PAD (35.34 [4.81–259.79]) were significant predictors for first major amputation. Cumulative mortalities at years 1, 3, 5, and 10 were 15.4, 33.1, 45.8, and 70.4%, respectively. Significant predictors for death were age (HR per year, 1.08 [95% CI, 1.06–1.10]), male sex ([1.18–2.32]), chronic renal insufficiency (1.83 [1.25–2.66]), dialysis (6.43 [3.14–13.16]), and PAD (1.44 [1.05–1.98]).
Although long-term limb salvage in this modern series of diabetic foot patients is favorable, long-term survival remains poor, especially among patients with PAD or renal insufficiency.
PMCID: PMC3447849  PMID: 22815299
8.  Safety of esophagogastroduodenoscopy within 30 days of myocardial infarction: A retrospective cohort study from a Canadian tertiary centre 
Patients who experience gastrointestinal bleeding after myocardial infarction (MI) often have comorbidities that could place them at increased risk of complications if evaluative endoscopy were to be performed. Although esophagogastroduodenoscopy is considered to be generally safe in high-risk individuals, some post-MI patients may be more susceptible to a variety of cardiopulmonary complications. This cohort study examined cardiopulmonary safety in post-MI patients and evaluated specific predictors of complications of post-MI endoscopy.
Patients who experience myocardial infarction (MI) are at risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding complications. Endoscopic evaluation may lead to cardiopulmonary complications. Guidelines and studies regarding the safety of endoscopy in this population are limited.
To evaluate the safety of endoscopy in a retrospective cohort of post-MI patients at a Canadian tertiary centre.
Using hospital diagnostic/procedure codes, the charts of patients meeting the inclusion criteria of having ST elevation MI or non-ST elevation MI, and GI bleeding detected at endoscopy were reviewed. The information retrieved included demographics, medical history, medications, endoscopy details and cardiopulmonary/GI events.
A total of 121 patients experienced an MI and underwent endoscopy within 30 days. However, only 44 met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The mean age of the patients was 75 years, and 55% were female. The mean hemoglobin level was 86 g/L, and 38 of 44 patients required a transfusion. Comorbidities included hypertension (82%), diabetes (46%), heart failure (55%), stroke (21%), lung disease (27%), previous MI (46%), cardiac bypass surgery (30%), history of GI bleed (25%), history of ulcer (18%) and ejection fraction <50% (48%). The median number of days to endoscopy after MI was three. Complications included seven patients with acute coronary syndrome, one with arrhythmia, one with respiratory failure, one with aspiration pneumonia and two with perforation. Age, hemoglobin level or timing of endoscopy did not significantly predict a complication.
Patients with GI bleeding after MI often have comorbidities and are on antiplatelet agents. Endoscopy is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and management of bleeding complications, but must be weighed against the potential risk of other complications, which in the present study occurred in more than 25% of procedures.
PMCID: PMC3299238  PMID: 22408766
Acute myocardial infarction; Complication; Gastrointestinal endoscopy; Safety
9.  Indicators of safety compromise in gastrointestinal endoscopy 
The growth in the use of endoscopy to diagnose and treat many gastointestinal disorders, and its central role in cancer screening programs, has led to a significant increase in the number of procedures performed. This growth, however, has also led to many variations in, among others, the provision of services, the choice of sedative medications and the training of providers. The recognition of the significance of quality in endoscopy has prompted several countries, including Canada, to initiate efforts to adopt nationwide quality improvement programs. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology formed a committee to review endoscopy and quality with the aim of stimulating improvement. This article focuses specifically on patient safety indicators that were developed at a consensus conference aimed at generating a broad range of recommendations for selected endoscopic procedures, which if adopted, could lead to significant changes in how endoscopy services are provided.
The importance of quality indicators has become increasingly recognized in gastrointestinal endoscopy. Patient safety requires the identification and monitoring of occurrences associated with harm or the potential for harm. The identification of relevant indicators of safety compromise is, therefore, a critical element that is key to the effective implementation of endoscopy quality improvement programs.
To identify key indicators of safety compromise in gastrointestinal endoscopy.
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Safety and Quality Indicators in Endoscopy Consensus Group was formed to address issues of quality in endoscopy. A subcommittee was formed to identify key safety indicators. A systematic literature review was undertaken, and articles pertinent to safety in endoscopy were identified and reviewed. All complications and measures used to document safety were recorded. From this, a preliminary list of 16 indicators was compiled and presented to the 35-person consensus group during a three-day meeting. A revised list of 20 items was subsequently put to the consensus group for vote for inclusion on the final list of safety indicators. Items were retained only if the consensus group highly agreed on their importance.
A total of 19 indicators of safety compromise were retained and grouped into the three following categories: medication-related – the need for CPR, use of reversal agents, hypoxia, hypotension, hypertension, sedation doses in patients older than 70 years of age, allergic reactions and laryngospasm/bronchospasm; procedure-related early – perforation, immediate postpolypectomy bleeding, need for hospital admission or transfer to emergency department from the gastroenterology unit, instrument impaction, severe persistent abdominal pain requiring evaluation proven to not be perforation; and procedure-related delayed – death within 30 days of procedure, 14-day unplanned hospitalization, 14-day unplanned contact with a health provider, gastrointestinal bleeding within 14 days of procedure, infection or symptomatic metabolic complications.
The 19 indicators of safety compromise in endoscopy, identified by a rigorous, evidence-based consensus process, provide clear outcomes to be recorded by all facilities as part of their continuing quality improvement programs.
PMCID: PMC3275408  PMID: 22312605
Digestive system; Endoscopy; Health care; Quality assurance; Surgical complications; Safety
10.  Canadian Association of Gastroenterology consensus guidelines on safety and quality indicators in endoscopy 
Several organizations worldwide have developed procedure-based guidelines and/or position statements regarding various aspects of quality and safety indicators, and credentialing for endoscopy. Although important, they do not specifically address patient needs or provide a framework for their adoption in the context of endoscopy services. The consensus guidelines reported in this article, however, aimed to identify processes and indicators relevant to the provision of high-quality endoscopy services that will support ongoing quality improvement across many jurisdictions, specifically in the areas of ethics, facility standards and policies, quality assurance, training and education, reporting standards and patient perceptions.
Increasing use of gastrointestinal endoscopy, particularly for colorectal cancer screening, and increasing emphasis on health care quality, highlight the need for clearly defined, evidence-based processes to support quality improvement in endoscopy.
To identify processes and indicators of quality and safety relevant to high-quality endoscopy service delivery.
A multidisciplinary group of 35 voting participants developed recommendation statements and performance indicators. Systematic literature searches generated 50 initial statements that were revised iteratively following a modified Delphi approach using a web-based evaluation and voting tool. Statement development and evidence evaluation followed the AGREE (Appraisal of Guidelines, REsearch and Evaluation) and GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) guidelines. At the consensus conference, participants voted anonymously on all statements using a 6-point scale. Subsequent web-based voting evaluated recommendations for specific, individual quality indicators, safety indicators and mandatory endoscopy reporting fields. Consensus was defined a priori as agreement by 80% of participants.
Consensus was reached on 23 recommendation statements addressing the following: ethics (statement 1: agreement 100%), facility standards and policies (statements 2 to 9: 90% to 100%), quality assurance (statements 10 to 13: 94% to 100%), training, education, competency and privileges (statements 14 to 19: 97% to 100%), endoscopy reporting standards (statements 20 and 21: 97% to 100%) and patient perceptions (statements 22 and 23: 100%). Additionally, 18 quality indicators (agreement 83% to 100%), 20 safety indicators (agreement 77% to 100%) and 23 recommended endoscopy-reporting elements (agreement 91% to 100%) were identified.
The consensus process identified a clear need for high-quality clinical and outcomes research to support quality improvement in the delivery of endoscopy services.
The guidelines support quality improvement in endoscopy by providing explicit recommendations on systematic monitoring, assessment and modification of endoscopy service delivery to yield benefits for all patients affected by the practice of gastrointestinal endoscopy.
PMCID: PMC3275402  PMID: 22308578
Digestive system; Endoscopy; Guideline; Health care; Quality assurance
11.  Intraoperative Fluorescence Vascular Angiography: During Tibial Bypass 
Preventing amputations in persons with lower extremity complications of diabetes is a complex endeavor, particularly in those with concomitant ischemia and tissue loss. Fluorescence angiography (Novadaq SPY system) may provide a tool for objective evaluations of tissue viability in the diabetic foot, which is an important indicator of the ability of the diabetic ulcer to heal adequately. The SPY system uses a low-power laser coupled with a charge-coupled device camera and indocyanine green (ICG) to sequence perfusion at the surface of the skin. We present an illustrated example of the potential utility of ICG fluorescence angiography (ICGFA) before and after vascular intervention in a high-risk limb. ICGFA appeared to reveal demarcation between viable and nonviable tissue and real-time perfusion, specifically capillary fill. ICGFA clarified the extent of necessary debridement and provided an immediate indication of improvement in regional perfusion status following revascularization. Future studies involving ICGFA may include pre- and postdebridement and closure perfusion, comparison of tissue perfusion pre- and post-endovascular therapy, and lower extremity flap viability. Future works will also address the consistency of results with ICGFA by analyzing a larger cohort of patients being treated by our unit.
PMCID: PMC3320839  PMID: 22401340
diabetic foot ulcers; noninvasive imaging; peripheral vascular disease; tissue health; wound healing
12.  Methodology for Use of a Neuroprosthetic to Reduce Plantar Pressure: Applications in Patients with Diabetic Foot Disease 
PMCID: PMC3320844  PMID: 22401344
diabetic foot ulcers; functional electrical stimulation; neuroprosthetics; plantar pressure; wound healing
13.  Acute Hypersensitivity of Pluripotent Testicular Cancer-Derived Embryonal Carcinoma to Low-Dose 5-Aza Deoxycytidine Is Associated with Global DNA Damage-Associated p53 Activation, Anti-Pluripotency and DNA Demethylation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e53003.
Human embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells are the stem cells of nonseminoma testicular germ cells tumors (TGCTs) and share remarkable similarities to human embryonic stem (ES) cells. In prior work we found that EC cells are hypersensitive to low nanomolar doses of 5-aza deoxycytidine (5-aza) and that this hypersensitivity partially depended on unusually high levels of the DNA methyltransferase, DNMT3B. We show here that low-dose 5-aza treatment results in DNA damage and induction of p53 in NT2/D1 cells. In addition, low-dose 5-aza results in global and gene specific promoter DNA hypomethylation. Low-dose 5-aza induces a p53 transcriptional signature distinct from that induced with cisplatin in NT2/D1 cells and also uniquely downregulates genes associated with pluripotency including NANOG, SOX2, GDF3 and Myc target genes. Changes in the p53 and pluripotency signatures with 5-aza were to a large extent dependent on high levels of DNMT3B. In contrast to the majority of p53 target genes upregulated by 5-aza that did not show DNA hypomethylation, several other genes induced with 5-aza had corresponding decreases in promoter methylation. These genes include RIN1, SOX15, GPER, and TLR4 and are novel candidate tumors suppressors in TGCTs. Our studies suggest that the hypersensitivity of NT2/D1 cells to low-dose 5-aza is multifactorial and involves the combined activation of p53 targets, repression of pluripotency genes, and activation of genes repressed by DNA methylation. Low-dose 5-aza therapy may be a general strategy to treat those tumors that are sustained by cells with embryonic stem-like properties.
GEO number for the microarray data: GSE42647.
PMCID: PMC3531428  PMID: 23300844
14.  A tale of two soles: sociomechanical and biomechanical considerations in diabetic limb salvage and amputation decision-making in the worst of times 
Diabetic Foot & Ankle  2012;3:10.3402/dfa.v3i0.18633.
Foot ulcerations complicated by infection are the major cause of limb loss in people with diabetes. This is especially true in those patients with severe sepsis. Determining whether to amputate or attempt to salvage a limb often requires in depth evaluation of each individual patient's physical, mental, and socioeconomic status. The current report presents and juxtaposes two similar patients, admitted to the same service at the same time with severe diabetic foot infections complicated by sepsis. We describe in detail the similarities and differences in the clinical presentation, extent of infection, etiology, and socioeconomic concerns that ultimately led to divergent clinical decisions regarding the choices of attempting diabetic limb salvage versus primary amputation and prompt rehabilitation.
PMCID: PMC3464045  PMID: 23050063
diabetic foot; Charcot arthropathy; diabetic limb salvage; diabetic foot infection; amputation
15.  Patient accounts of diagnostic testing for familial hypercholesterolaemia: comparing responses to genetic and non-genetic testing methods 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:87.
Continuing developments in genetic testing technology together with research revealing gene-disease associations have brought closer the potential for genetic screening of populations. A major concern, as with any screening programme, is the response of the patient to the findings of screening, whether the outcome is positive or negative. Such concern is heightened for genetic testing, which it is feared may elicit stronger reactions than non-genetic testing.
This paper draws on thematic analysis of 113 semi-structured interviews with 39 patients being tested for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), an inherited predisposition to early-onset heart disease. It examines the impact of disease risk assessments based on both genetic and non-genetic information, or solely non-genetic information.
The impact of diagnostic testing did not seem to vary according to whether or not genetic information was used. More generally, being given a positive or negative diagnosis of FH had minimal discernible impact on people's lives as they maintained the continuity of their beliefs and behaviour.
The results suggest that concerns about the use of genetic testing in this context are unfounded, a conclusion that echoes findings from studies in this and other health contexts.
PMCID: PMC3495051  PMID: 22994377
Behaviour change; Genetics; Genetic testing; Health behaviour; Risk; Qualitative
16.  Plantar Temperature Response to Walking in Diabetes with and without Acute Charcot: The Charcot Activity Response Test 
Journal of Aging Research  2012;2012:140968.
Objective. Asymmetric plantar temperature differences secondary to inflammation is a hallmark for the diagnosis and treatment response of Charcot foot syndrome. However, little attention has been given to temperature response to activity. We examined dynamic changes in plantar temperature (PT) as a function of graduated walking activity to quantify thermal responses during the first 200 steps. Methods. Fifteen individuals with Acute Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) and 17 non-CN participants with type 2 diabetes and peripheral neuropathy were recruited. All participants walked for two predefined paths of 50 and 150 steps. A thermal image was acquired at baseline after acclimatization and immediately after each walking trial. The PT response as a function of number of steps was examined using a validated wearable sensor technology. The hot spot temperature was identified by the 95th percentile of measured temperature at each anatomical region (hind/mid/forefoot). Results. During initial activity, the PT was reduced in all participants, but the temperature drop for the nonaffected foot was 1.9 times greater than the affected side in CN group (P = 0.04). Interestingly, the PT in CN was sharply increased after 50 steps for both feet, while no difference was observed in non-CN between 50 and 200 steps. Conclusions. The variability in thermal response to the graduated walking activity between Charcot and non-Charcot feet warrants future investigation to provide further insight into the correlation between thermal response and ulcer/Charcot development. This stress test may be helpful to differentiate CN and its response to treatment earlier in its course.
PMCID: PMC3413979  PMID: 22900177
17.  Effect on Adherence to Nicotine Replacement Therapy of Informing Smokers Their Dose Is Determined by Their Genotype: A Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35249.
The behavioural impact of pharmacogenomics is untested. We tested two hypotheses concerning the behavioural impact of informing smokers their oral dose of NRT is tailored to analysis of DNA.
Methods and Findings
We conducted an RCT with smokers in smoking cessation clinics (N = 633). In combination with NRT patch, participants were informed that their doses of oral NRT were based either on their mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) genotype, or their nicotine dependence questionnaire score (phenotype). The proportion of prescribed NRT consumed in the first 28 days following quitting was not significantly different between groups: (68.5% of prescribed NRT consumed in genotype vs 63.6%, phenotype group, difference  =  5.0%, 95% CI −0.9,10.8, p  =  0.098). Motivation to make another quit attempt among those (n  =  331) not abstinent at six months was not significantly different between groups (p  =  0.23). Abstinence at 28 days was not different between groups (p = 0.67); at six months was greater in genotype than phenotype group (13.7% vs 7.9%, difference  =  5.8%, 95% CI 1.0,10.7, p  =  0.018).
Informing smokers their oral dose of NRT was tailored to genotype not phenotype had a small, statistically non-significant effect on 28-day adherence to NRT. Among those still smoking at six months, there was no evidence that saying NRT was tailored to genotype adversely affected motivation to make another quit attempt. Higher abstinence rate at six months in the genotype arm requires investigation.
Trial registration ISRCTN14352545.
PMCID: PMC3324463  PMID: 22509402
18.  Adventitious Bursae Underlying Chronic Wounds: Another Possible Deterrent to Healing 
Eplasty  2012;12:e14.
Adventitious bursae typically develop in areas of chronic frictional irritation, usually under bony prominences. Although adventitious bursae are generally well understood, there is a paucity of data on effects of bursae underlying chronic wounds in neuropathic patients. This manuscripts reviews 4 clinical cases, each with a neuropathic patient with adventitious bursae underlying chronic nonhealing wound and strategies for treatment.
PMCID: PMC3286309  PMID: 22389747
19.  The function of ‘functional’: a mixed methods investigation 
The term ‘functional’ has a distinguished history, embodying a number of physiological concepts, but has increasingly come to mean ‘hysterical’. The DSM-V working group proposes to use ‘functional’ as the official diagnostic term for medically unexplained neurological symptoms (currently known as ‘conversion disorder’). This study aimed to explore the current neurological meanings of the term and to understand its resilience.
Mixed methods were used, first interviewing the neurologists in a large UK region and then surveying all neurologists in the UK on their use of the term.
The interviews revealed four dominant uses—‘not organic’, a physical disability, a brain disorder and a psychiatric problem—as well as considerable ambiguity. Although there was much dissatisfaction with the term, the ambiguity was also seen as useful when engaging with patients. The survey confirmed these findings, with a majority adhering to a strict interpretation of ‘functional’ to mean only ‘not organic’, but a minority employing it to mean different things in different contexts - and endorsing the view that ‘functional’ would one day be a neurological construct again.
‘Functional’ embodies real divisions in neurologists' conceptualisation of unexplained symptoms and, perhaps, between those of patients and neurologists: its diversity of meanings allows it to be a common term while meaning different things to different people, or at different times, and thus conceal some of the conflict in a particularly contentious area. This flexibility may help explain the term's longevity.
PMCID: PMC3277687  PMID: 22250186
20.  Effect of communicating DNA based risk assessments for Crohn’s disease on smoking cessation: randomised controlled trial 
Objective To test the hypothesis that communicating risk of developing Crohn’s disease based on genotype and that stopping smoking can reduce this risk, motivates behaviour change among smokers at familial risk.
Design Parallel group, cluster randomised controlled trial.
Setting Families with Crohn’s disease in the United Kingdom.
Participants 497 smokers (mean age 42.6 (SD 14.4) years) who were first degree relatives of probands with Crohn’s disease, with outcomes assessed on 209/251 (based on DNA analysis) and 217/246 (standard risk assessment).
Intervention Communication of risk assessment for Crohn’s disease by postal booklet based on family history of the disease and smoking status alone, or with additional DNA analysis for the NOD2 genotype. Participants were then telephoned by a National Health Service Stop Smoking counsellor to review the booklet and deliver brief standard smoking cessation intervention. Calls were tape recorded and a random subsample selected to assess fidelity to the clinical protocol.
Main outcome measure The primary outcome was smoking cessation for 24 hours or longer, assessed at six months.
Results The proportion of participants stopping smoking for 24 hours or longer did not differ between arms: 35% (73/209) in the DNA arm versus 36% (78/217) in the non-DNA arm (difference −1%, 95% confidence interval −10% to 8%, P=0.83). The proportion making a quit attempt within the DNA arm did not differ between those who were told they had mutations putting them at increased risk (36%), those told they had none (35%), and those in the non-DNA arm (36%).
Conclusion Among relatives of patients with Crohn’s disease, feedback of DNA based risk assessments does not motivate behaviour change to reduce risk any more or less than standard risk assessment. These findings accord with those across a range of populations and behaviours. They do not support the promulgation of commercial DNA based tests nor the search for gene variants that confer increased risk of common complex diseases on the basis that they effectively motivate health related behaviour change.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN21633644.
PMCID: PMC3401124  PMID: 22822007

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