Background: The introduction of intranet services in a district general hospital provided an opportunity to put evidence based national guidelines online to facilitate access and promote application of best practice in acute medical care. This study evaluated the effectiveness of this approach.
Method: Local guidelines were made available online at ward terminals after they had been distributed in paper form. An interrupted time series design was used to evaluate the impact on compliance with three preselected guidelines, which addressed the management of suspected deep vein thrombosis, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and stroke. This was supplemented by a qualitative assessment of the views of medical staff.
Results: There was a significant increase in the adherence to the guidelines for stroke when they were made available online, but this was not demonstrable for deep vein thrombosis or upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
Qualitative interviews with junior medical staff and consultants after the study was completed revealed that there was confusion regarding the application of the guidelines for deep vein thrombosis and little active support from the gastroenterologists for the guidelines for upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The stroke guidelines were actively promoted by their author and widely supported.
Conclusion: Making guidelines available online will not be effective unless they are actively promoted and represent a consensus view.
Objective: To determine the risk factors for premature myocardial infarction among young South Asians.
Design and setting: Case–control study in a hospital admitting unselected patients with non-fatal acute myocardial infarction.
Methods and subjects: Risk factor assessment was done in 193 subjects aged 15–45 years with a first acute myocardial infarct, and in 193 age, sex, and neighbourhood matched population based controls.
Results: The mean (SD) age of the subjects was 39 (4.9) years and 326 (84.5%) were male. Current smoking (odds ratio (OR) 3.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.47 to 9.94), use of ghee (hydrogenated vegetable oil) in cooking (OR 3.91, 95% CI 1.52 to 10.03), raised fasting blood glucose (OR 3.32, 95% CI 1.21 to 8.62), raised serum cholesterol (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.14 to 2.45 for each 1.0 mmol/l increase), low income (OR 5.05, 95% CI 1.71 to 14.96), paternal history of cardiovascular disease (OR 4.84, 95% CI 1.42 to 16.53), and parental consanguinity (OR 3.80, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.75) were all independent risk factors for acute myocardial infarction in young adults. Formal education versus no education had an independently protective effect on acute myocardial infarction (OR 0.04, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.35).
Conclusions: Tobacco use, ghee intake, raised fasting glucose, high cholesterol, paternal history of cardiovascular disease, low income, and low level of education are associated with premature acute myocardial infarction in South Asians. The association of parental consanguinity with acute myocardial infarction is reported for the first time and deserves further study.
myocardial infarction; coronary disease; South Asians; consanguinity
Low back pain (LBP) in children was considered for many years to be a rare condition revealing a serious disease, but in the last two decades, epidemiological studies have shown that the prevalence of nonspecific LBP in children is high. This study was aimed at analyzing the prevalence, severity, consequences and associated factors of LBP in children. A cross-sectional study was undertaken in two preparatory schools in the city of Monastir, Tunisia, in April 2002. This study included a total of 622 children and adolescents—326 females and 296 males—with a mean age of 14 years (range: 11–19 years). They completed the questionnaire in the presence of the physician. For the first 201 questionnaires collected, the corresponding children and adolescents underwent a spine medical examination, with evaluation of pain by visual analog scale if LBP was present. A stepwise logistic regression analysis was carried out to determine the risk factors associated with LBP and chronic LBP. The cumulative lifetime prevalence of LBP was 28.4%. Eight percent of the subjects suffered from chronic LBP. LBP was responsible for 23% of school absenteeism and 29% for sports absenteeism. Medical care requirement was observed in 32.2% and psychological symptoms in 75%. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that three factors were associated with LBP: school failure (held back 1 year), odds ratio (OR) =2.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.96–3.44), family history of LBP (parental or sibling LBP), OR=3.80 (95% CI, 2.94–5.92), dissatisfaction with school chair (in height and comfort), OR=3.40 (95% CI, 2.24–5.29). Two factors were associated with chronic LBP: dissatisfaction with school chair, OR=1.62 (95% CI, 1.46–3.32) and football playing, OR=3.07 (95% CI, 2.15–5.10). The prevalence of LBP among Tunisian schoolchildren and adolescents is high. This requires preventive measures and longitudinal studies, which are very important from the standpoint of public health.
Low back pain; Children; Prevalence; Risk factors
Our aim was to validate a culturally adapted, Tunisian-language version of the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), which is a reliable evaluation instrument for low-back-pain disability. A total of 62 patients with low back pain were assessed by the questionnaire. Reliability for the 1-week test/re-test was assessed by a construction of a Bland Altman plot. Internal construct validity was assessed by Cronbach’s αtest. External construct validity was assessed by association with pain, the Schober test and the General Function Score. Sensitivity to change was determined using a t-test for paired data to compare RMDQ scores at inclusion and at completion of the therapeutic sequence of local corticosteroid injections. We also compared the questionnaire score with the General Function Score, both taken after completion of the therapeutic sequence. The constructed Bland Altman plot showed good reliability. Internal consistency of the RMDQ was found to be very good and the Cronbach’s α test was 0.94, indicating a good internal construct validity. The questionnaire is correlated with the pain visual analogue scale (r=33; p=0.0001), with the Schober test (r=0.27; p=0.0001) and the General Function Score (r=56; p=0.0001) indicating an adequate external construct validity. The RMDQ administered after the therapeutic sequence is sensitive to change (r=0.83; p=0.000). Comparison of the questionnaire score to the General Function Score, after completion of the therapeutic sequence, was satisfactory (r=0.75; p=0.000). We conclude that the Tunisian version of the Roland-Morris questionnaire has good reliability and internal consistency. Furthermore, it has a good internal- and external construct validity and high sensitivity to change. It is an adequate and useful tool for assessing low-back-pain disability.
Low back pain; Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire
The majority of superficial temporal artery (STA) aneurysms are due to trauma and are, in reality, false aneurysms. However, true STA aneurysms are extremely rare. Here, we present two cases of spontaneous superficial temporal artery aneurysms arising without any previous history of trauma.
Purpose: The objectives were to identify the stage(s) of frozen embryo replacement cycle where the couples are most vulnerable to psychological dysfunction. Assessment was performed by using the Mean Affect Adjective Check-List (MAACL).
Methods: Thirty couples completed the MAACL questionnaire at the following stages: (a) pretreatment (visit 1), (b) before embryo transfer (visit 2), and (c) before pregnancy test (visit 3). Each partner had to complete a separate questionnaire set.
Results: For both partners, the depression score for visit 3 was significantly higher and the sensation seeking and positive affect scores were significantly lower than the corresponding scores for earlier visits. Anxiety scores were similar for all visits. For men, the hostility scores were significantly higher between visits 1 and 2 while in women the same was reported between visits 3 and 2.
Conclusions: Psychological counselling should be targeted at couples especially after embryo transfer. MAACL is a useful method for measuring psychological dysfunction in these couples.
Anxiety; depression; frozen–thawed embryo replacement; Mean Affect Adjective Check List (MAACL); psychological stress
Numerous beneficial effects have been attributed to probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB), such as the stimulation of the immune system, the prevention of enteric infections by enteropathogens, and the regression of immunodependent tumors. It has been shown that biologically active metabolites released during fermentation, in particular biopeptides, could act as immunomodulatory agents. However, no studies have been conducted to evaluate the implication of these bioactive peptides in the induction of a protective immune response against enteric infections. The present study aimed to evaluate the possible immunomodulatory and anti-infectious effects of a peptidic fraction released in milk fermented by Lactobacillus helveticus. The immune response in the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue was monitored following an administration of the potentially bioactive peptidic fraction. The total immunoglobulin A (IgA) immune response was evaluated after an Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection in a BALB/c murine model. Immunohistochemical and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays revealed an increase in the number of IgA-secreting B lymphocytes in the intestinal lamina propria and an enhanced total secretory and systemic IgA response. Cytokine profiling also revealed stimulation of a Th2 response in mice fed the peptidic fraction, whereas infected controls demonstrated a proinflammatory Th1 response. These results indicate that bioactive peptides released during fermentation by LAB could contribute to the known immunomodulatory effects of probiotic bacteria.
Acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) is typically defined as new viremia and antibody seroconversion. Rates and immunologic correlates of hepatitis C clearance have therefore been based on clearance of viremia only in individuals who initially had an antibody response. We sought to characterize the immunological correlates of clearance in patients with acute hepatitis C and their sexual contacts. We prospectively determined CD4+ and CD8+ cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses in index patients with acute HCV and their sexual contacts who developed acute infection, either with or without spontaneous clearance, as well as those contacts who never developed viremia. Responses were measured using proliferation and ELISpot assays for CD4+ and CD8+ responses. We demonstrate in this prospective study that cellular immune responses can develop in exposed but persistently aviremic and antibody-negative individuals as well as those individuals with spontaneous clearance of acute HCV. These findings lend further credence to the importance of cellular immune responses in recovery from HCV and suggest that low exposure to HCV may lead to development of HCV-specific immune responses without ongoing HCV replication. This finding has important implications for HCV vaccine and therapeutic development.
In view of the disturbed esophageal peristaltic activity and abnormal esophageal motility in gastroesophageal reflux disease, (GERD), we investigated the hypothesis that these changes result from a disordered myoelectric activity of the esophagus.
The electric activity of the esophagus (electroesophagogram, EEG) was studied in 27 patients with GERD (16 men, 11 women, mean age 42.6 ± 5.2 years) and 10 healthy volunteers as controls (6 men, 4 women, mean age 41.4 ± 4.9 years). According to the Feussner scoring system, 7 patients had a mild (score 1), 10 a moderate (score 2) and 10 a severe (score 3) stage of the disease. One electrode was applied to the upper third and a second to the lower third of the esophagus, and the electric activity was recorded. The test was repeated after the upper electrode had been moved to the mid-esophagus.
The EEG of the healthy volunteers showed slow waves and exhibited the same frequency, amplitude and conduction velocity from the 2 electrodes of the individual subject, regardless of their location in the upper, middle or lower esophagus. Action potentials occurred randomly. In GERD patients, score 1 exhibited electric waves' variables similar to those of the healthy volunteers. In score 2, the waves recorded irregular rhythm and lower variables than the controls. Score 3 showed a "silent" EEG without waves.
The electric activity in GERD exhibited 3 different patterns depending on the stages of GERD. Score 1 exhibited a normal EEG which apparently denotes normal esophageal motility. Score 2 recorded irregular electric waves variables which are presumably indicative of decreased esophageal motility and reflux clearance. In score 3, a "silent" EEG was recorded with probably no acid clearance. It is postulated that the interstitial cells of Cajal which are the electric activity generators, are involved in the inflammatory process of GERD. Destruction of these cells appears to occur in grades that are in accordance with GERD scores. The EEG seems to have the potential to act as an investigative tool in the diagnosis of GERD stages.
Slow waves; action potentials; acid reflux; GERD; gastroesophageal reflux disease
We investigated the role of the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBCH7 in nuclear receptor transactivation. Using transient transfection assays, we demonstrated that UBCH7 modulates the transcriptional activity of progesterone receptor (PR) and glucocorticoid, androgen, and retinoic acid receptors in a hormone-dependent manner and that the ubiquitin conjugation activity of UBCH7 is required for its ability to potentiate transactivation by steroid hormone receptors (SHR). However, UBCH7 showed no significant effect on the transactivation functions of p53 and VP-16 activation domain. Depletion of endogenous UBCH7 protein by small interfering RNAs suggests that UBCH7 is required for the proper function of SHR. Furthermore, a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated the hormone-dependent recruitment of UBCH7 onto estrogen receptor- and PR-responsive promoters. Additionally, we show that UBCH7 and E6-associated protein (E6-AP) synergistically enhance PR transactivation. We also demonstrate that UBCH7 interacts with steroid receptor coactivator 1 (SRC-1) and that UBCH7 coactivation function is dependent on SRC-1. Taken together, our results reveal the possible role of UBCH7 in steroid receptor transactivation and provide insights into the mechanism of action of UBCH7 in receptor function.
Factor analysis is one of the most used statistical techniques to analyze the inter-relationships among symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans. The objective of this study was to apply factor analyses to binary symptom data from the UK study of Gulf War illness and the US Air Force study of Gulf War veterans, and to compare the symptom domains derived from the distinct samples.
UK veterans of the 1991 Gulf War (n = 3,454), individuals deployed to Bosnia on U.N. peacekeeping operations (n = 1,979) and Gulf War-era servicemen (n = 2,577) who were not deployed to the Gulf were surveyed in 1997–1998, and US 1991 Gulf War veterans from four Air Force units (n = 1,163) were surveyed in 1995 to collect health characteristics including symptoms. Each sample was randomly split in half for exploratory and confirmatory dichotomous factor analyses with promax oblique rotation.
Four correlated factors were identified in each of the samples. Three factors (Respiratory, Mood-Cognition, Peripheral Nervous) overlapped considerably across the UK cohorts. The Gastrointestinal/Urogenital factor in the UK Gulf cohort was noticeably different from the Gastrointestinal factor identified from the Bosnia and Era cohorts. Symptoms from Gulf War UK and U.S cohorts yielded similar Gastrointestinal, Respiratory and Mood-Cognition factors, despite differences in symptom inventories between the two surveys. A Musculoskeletal factor was only elicited from the US Gulf sample.
Findings of this report are consistent with those from other factor analysis studies that identified similar symptom dimensions between Gulf and non-Gulf War veterans, except that the Gastrointestinal factor in Gulf veterans included other symptom types. Correlations among factors raise the question as to whether there is a general illness, even if not unique to Gulf veterans, representing the common pathway underlying the identified factors. Hierarchical factor analysis models may be useful to address this issue.
The ETS transcription factor complex GABP consists of the GABPα protein, containing an ETS DNA binding domain, and an unrelated GABPβ protein, containing a transactivation domain and nuclear localization signal. GABP has been shown in vitro to regulate the expression of nuclear genes involved in mitochondrial respiration and neuromuscular signaling. We investigated the in vivo function of GABP by generating a null mutation in the murine Gabpα gene. Embryos homozygous for the null Gabpα allele die prior to implantation, consistent with the broad expression of Gabpα throughout embryogenesis and in embryonic stem cells. Gabpα+/− mice demonstrated no detectable phenotype and unaltered protein levels in the panel of tissues examined. This indicates that Gabpα protein levels are tightly regulated to protect cells from the effects of loss of Gabp complex function. These results show that Gabpα function is essential and is not compensated for by other ETS transcription factors in the mouse, and they are consistent with a specific requirement for Gabp expression for the maintenance of target genes involved in essential mitochondrial cellular functions during early cleavage events of the embryo.
Recently, noninvasive diagnostic tests for Helicobacter pylori infection have gained in significance. We have developed a sensitive and specific noninvasive immunoassay based on the detection of an H. pylori circulating antigen (HpCA) in sera from H. pylori-infected individuals. Monospecific antibody and Western blot analyses were used to demonstrate the presence of the target antigen in H. pylori cell lysate and serum samples. A novel enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed for the detection of HpCA in serum. Endoscopic biopsy specimens from the gastric antra of 221 individuals (143 males and 78 females) with dyspeptic symptoms were evaluated for H. pylori infection, with culture used as a “gold standard” for diagnosis. The target H. pylori antigen was identified at 58 kDa. HpCA has been detected by ELISA with high degrees of sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency (>90%), and ELISA results show no significant difference (P > 0.05) from results of H. pylori culture of gastric biopsy specimens. The test's positive and negative predictive values were also high (95 and 86%, respectively). In conclusion, a sensitive and specific immunoassay was developed for the detection of HpCA in human serum. This test can be applied for noninvasive laboratory and field diagnoses of H. pylori infection.
Helicobacter pylori is highly susceptible to bismuth, a heavy metal with antimicrobial activity linked to its effect on bacterial iron uptake. Three strains of H. pylori were analyzed for indicators of iron limitation following exposure to the MIC of colloidal bismuth subcitrate (MICCBS). Similar morphologic and outer membrane changes were observed following growth in iron-limiting medium and at the MICCBS that inhibited the growth of all three strains. These changes, which were also observed for iron-limited bacteria, were alleviated by the addition of iron to the cultures. H. pylori ATP levels, reduced in iron-limiting medium, were below the limits of detection in two of the three strains following exposure to bismuth. The addition of iron partially restored bacterial ATP levels in these two strains, although not to normal concentrations. In contrast, exposure of the same strains to the MICCBS failed to deplete intracellular levels of iron, which were significantly reduced by culturing in iron-limiting medium. Thus, the antimicrobial effect of bismuth and of iron limitation on H. pylori may be similar. However, the respective mechanisms of intracellular action would appear to be mediated by different pathways within the cell.
We have previously demonstrated that Lactobacillus paracasei NCC2461 may help to prevent cow's milk allergy in mice by inducing oral tolerance to β-lactoglobulin (BLG). To investigate the mechanisms involved in this beneficial effect, we examined the possibility that L. paracasei induces tolerance by hydrolyzing BLG-derived peptides and liberating peptides that stimulate interleukin-10 (IL-10) production. L. paracasei peptidases have been shown to hydrolyze tryptic-chymotryptic peptides from BLG, releasing numerous small peptides with immunomodulating properties. We have now shown that acidic tryptic-chymotryptic peptides stimulate splenocyte proliferation and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production in vitro. Hydrolysis of these peptides with L. paracasei peptidases repressed the lymphocyte stimulation, up-regulated IL-10 production, and down-regulated IFN-γ and IL-4 secretion. L. paracasei NCC2461 may therefore induce oral tolerance to BLG in vivo by degrading acidic peptides and releasing immunomodulatory peptides stimulating regulatory T cells, which function as major immunosuppressive agents by secreting IL-10.
The performance of a fully automated, random access, enhanced chemiluminescence immunoassay (Ortho/ECi) for the detection of antibody to hepatitis C virus (HCV) (anti-HCV), HBsAg, and antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBsAg), in human serum was compared to a Abbott second-generation enzyme immunoassay (EIA 2.0). The Ortho/ECi assays employ an immunometric technique with enhanced chemiluminescence for optimal assay performance. With regard to the study of clinical laboratory performance, six groups of sera prescreened with Abbott EIAs were assayed: anti-HCV-negative samples (n = 318), anti-HCV-positive samples (n = 177), anti-HBsAg-negative samples (n = 241), anti-HBsAg-positive samples (n = 239), HBsAg-positive samples (n = 158), and HBsAg-negative samples (n = 312). Sera with discrepant results in the two serological assays were resolved by confirmatory tests. Sera with indeterminate results by one or more confirmatory tests were evaluated by reviewing medical records. The overall concordance between the Ortho/ECi assay and the Abbott EIA were 97.78, 93.54, and 97.66% for anti-HCV antibodies, anti-HBsAg antibodies, and HBsAg, respectively. After resolving the discrepancies, the specificities of the new assay for anti-HCV and anti-HBsAg antibodies and HBsAg were 98.1, 92.8, and 100%, respectively. The sensitivities of the new assay for anti-HCV, anti-HBsAg, and HBsAg were 100, 98.8, and 97.4%, respectively. In conclusion, The Ortho/ECi assays for diagnosis of HCV and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections are highly specific and sensitive assays. The rapid turnaround time, random access, full automation, and high throughput make it an effective assay system for clinical laboratory diagnosis of HCV and HBV infections.
To determine the incidence, characteristics and the different factors associated with diarrhea events reported at the Primary Health Care (PHC) level in children under five years of age.
Material and methods:
All reported cases of diarrhea in children under 5 in the primary health care (PHC) center of Wasat Abha, Abha city during the year 2002. The medical records of patients were reviewed for name, sex, date, duration of diarrhea and character of stool, type of feeding, degree of dehydration, the treatment received and the outcome.
The overall incidence /child/year 2002 was 1.2 episodes. The total number of diarrhea episodes in that age group was 573 cases giving an incidence rate of 9.9% for the year 2002.
Two thirds of the episodes of diarrhea (64.6%) occurred in females, and 60.9% of the episodes affected 7-12-month olds. The majority of diarrhea episodes (89.4%) lasted less than 7 days and only 3.7% of cases were moderately dehydrated. Ninety four percent of the cases improved and only 1.7 % were admitted to the hospital.
The incidence of diarrhea episodes in the under fives in the year 2002 was lower than the national rate reported in 1993. Female children had about twice the incidence of diarrhea in male children and the highest incidence was observed in the 7-12-month olds. The majority of cases were acute. It is recommended that studies on the incidence of diarrhea in all PHC centers be done in order to monitor the progress of diarrhea in children and implement suitable preventive measures.
Incidence; diarrhea; Primary Health Care; Children
We report the case of a patient who had undergone implantation of a Björk-Shiley Delrin valve in the aortic position 25 years earlier and who now presented with severe mitral stenosis. The patient underwent mitral valve replacement and aortic valve re-replacement. We review the justification for prophylactic replacement of Björk-Shiley Delrin heart valves.
Aortic valve; delrin; heart valve prosthesis/history; human; middle aged; mitral valve; prosthesis design/history; reoperation; risk factors; time factors