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1.  Do external stimuli impact the gait of children with idiopathic toe walking? A study protocol for a within-subject randomised control trial 
BMJ Open  2013;3(3):e002389.
Introduction
Frequently, toe walking gait is the result of disease processes, trauma or neurogenic influences. Idiopathic toe walking (ITW) is, by definition, the diagnosis of a toe walking gait adopted in the absence of one of these medical conditions. Long-term ITW has been associated with reduced ankle range of motion. Reported treatments have included serial casting, Botulinum toxin type A or surgery to improve the ankle range of motion. Investigating the impact of simple and non-invasive treatment options for ITW is important for future research and clinical outcomes. This study investigates the immediate impact of footwear, footwear with orthotics and whole body vibration on ITW to determine if any one intervention improves heel contact and spatial-temporal gait measures. This determination is important for future clinical trials into treatment effectiveness.
Methods and analysis
Design: this protocol describes a within-subject randomised controlled trial that measures changes in gait following changes in external stimuli. Participants: 15 children diagnosed with an ITW gait will be recruited from the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service at Monash Children's Hospital Toe Walking Clinic provided they have ITW and meet the inclusion criteria. Procedure: participants will have their gait recorded walking barefoot, in usual footwear, a custom-made, full-length carbon fibre orthotic in usual footwear and following whole body vibration. Outcome measures will include the presence of bilateral heel contact preintervention and postintervention, stride length (cm), stride width (cm), left and right stride time (s), left and right stance and swing percentage of the gait cycle, gait velocity (m/s), left and right foot toe in/toe out angle (°) and weight-bearing lunge pre and post each condition.
Ethics and dissemination
The results of this study will be published at the conclusion and have been approved by Southern Health HREC:12102B.
Clinical trial registry number
ACTRN12612000975897.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002389
PMCID: PMC3612749  PMID: 23454667
2.  The detrimental effects of emotional process dysregulation on decision-making in substance dependence 
Substance dependence is complex and multifactorial, with many distinct pathways involved in both the development and subsequent maintenance of addictive behaviors. Various cognitive mechanisms have been implicated, including impulsivity, compulsivity, and impaired decision-making. These mechanisms are modulated by emotional processes, resulting in increased likelihood of initial drug use, sustained substance dependence, and increased relapse during periods of abstinence. Emotional traits, such as sensation-seeking, are risk factors for substance use, and chronic drug use can result in further emotional dysregulation via effects on reward, motivation, and stress systems. We will explore theories of hyper and hypo sensitivity of the brain reward systems that may underpin motivational abnormalities and anhedonia. Disturbances in these systems contribute to the biasing of emotional processing toward cues related to drug use at the expense of natural rewards, which serves to maintain addictive behavior, via enhanced drug craving. We will additionally focus on the sensitization of the brain stress systems that result in negative affect states that continue into protracted abstinence that is may lead to compulsive drug-taking. We will explore how these emotional dysregulations impact upon decision-making controlled by goal-directed and habitual action selections systems, and, in combination with a failure of prefrontal inhibitory control, mediate maladaptive decision-making observed in substance dependent individuals such that they continue drug use in spite of negative consequences. An understanding of the emotional impacts on cognition in substance dependent individuals may guide the development of more effective therapeutic interventions.
doi:10.3389/fnint.2012.00101
PMCID: PMC3491319  PMID: 23162443
addiction; emotion; cognition; reward; stress; decision-making
3.  A diagnostic PCR assay for the detection of an Australian epidemic strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
Background
Chronic lung infection with the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the hallmarks of cystic fibrosis (CF) and is associated with worsening lung function, increased hospitalisation and reduced life expectancy. A virulent clonal strain of P. aeruginosa (Australian epidemic strain I; AES-I) has been found to be widespread in CF patients in eastern Australia.
Methods
Suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) was employed to identify genetic sequences that are present in the AES-I strain but absent from the sequenced reference strain PAO1. We used PCR to evaluate the distribution of several of the AES-I loci amongst a collection of 188 P. aeruginosa isolates which was comprised of 35 AES-I isolates (as determined by PFGE), 78 non-AES-I CF isolates including other epidemic CF strains as well as 69 P. aeruginosa isolates from other clinical and environmental sources.
Results
We have identified a unique AES-I genetic locus that is present in all 35 AES-I isolates tested and not present in any of the other 153 P. aeruginosa strains examined. We have used this unique AES-I locus to develop a diagnostic PCR and a real-time PCR assay to detect the presence of P. aeruginosa and AES-I in patient sputum samples.
Conclusions
We have developed diagnostic PCR assays that are 100% sensitive and 100% specific for the P. aeruginosa strain AES-I. We have also shown that Whatman FTA® Elute cards may be used with PCR-based assays to rapidly detect the presence of P. aeruginosa strains in CF sputum.
doi:10.1186/1476-0711-9-18
PMCID: PMC2912777  PMID: 20637114

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