Clinical pathologies draw us to envisage disease as either an independent entity or a diverse set of traits governed by common physiopathological mechanisms, prompted by environmental assaults throughout life. Autoimmune diseases are not an exception, given they represent a diverse collection of diseases in terms of their demographic profile and primary clinical manifestations. Although they are pleiotropic outcomes of non-specific disease genes underlying similar immunogenetic mechanisms, research generally focuses on a single disease. Drastic technologic advances are leading research to organize clinical genomic multidisciplinary approaches to decipher the nature of human biological systems. Once the currently costly omic-based technologies become universally accessible, the way will be paved for a cleaner picture to risk quantification, prevention, prognosis and diagnosis, allowing us to clearly define better phenotypes always ensuring the integrity of the individuals studied. However, making accurate predictions for most autoimmune diseases is an ambitious challenge, since the understanding of these pathologies is far from complete. Herein, some pitfalls and challenges of the genetics of autoimmune diseases are reviewed, and an approximation to the future of research in this field is presented.
Autoimmunity; Common; Genetics; Genomics; Personalized; Predictive medicine; Polyautoimmunity; Translational medicine
Metabolic syndrome is considered as mainly caused by a deleterious lifestyle (sedentarity and diet). That smoking contributes to metabolic syndrome had been suggested by several small studies and a meta-analysis. The interesting study by Slagter et al. published in BMC Medicine is the first very large study confirming this association in both genders, in all classes of body mass index, and in a dose-related manner. Surprisingly, smoking is even associated with increased abdominal fat. Rather than a direct causal effect of smoking, the reason for these associations is most probably the frequent presence of other lifestyle components in smokers. For example, physical inactivity and alcohol drinking are known to be more often present in smokers and could completely explain the observations of the Slagter et al. study. Unfortunately, these factors, already not properly checked in the first studies, were not assessed at all in the present one. However, as it is still on-going, we hope that other lifestyle factors will be included in future publications.
Please see related research: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/195.
Alcohol drinking; Cancer; Cardiovascular disease; Dietary habits; High-density lipoprotein; Lifestyle; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity; Overweight; Physical activity; Smoking; Triglycerides
The clustering of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors is known as metabolic syndrome (MetS). The risk of having MetS is strongly associated with increased adiposity and can be further modified by smoking behavior. Apolipoproteins (apo) associated with low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) may be altered in MetS. This study aimed to examine the association between smoking and the following parameters: MetS and its components, levels of apolipoproteins and estimated lipoprotein particle size, separately for men and women, and in different body mass index (BMI) classes.
We included 24,389 men and 35,078 women aged between 18 and 80 years who participated in the LifeLines Cohort Study between December 2006 and January 2012; 5,685 men and 6,989 women were current smokers. Participants were categorized into three different body mass index (BMI) classes (BMI <25; BMI 25 to 30; BMI ≥30 kg/m2). MetS was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP:ATPIII) criteria. Blood pressure, anthropometric and lipid measurements were rigorously standardized, and the large sample size enabled a powerful estimate of quantitative changes. The association between smoking and the individual MetS components, and apoA1 and apoB, was tested with linear regression. Logistic regression was used to examine the effect of smoking and daily tobacco smoked on risk of having MetS. All models were age adjusted and stratified by sex and BMI class.
Prevalence of MetS increased with higher BMI levels. A total of 64% of obese men and 42% of obese women had MetS. Current smoking was associated with a higher risk of MetS in both sexes and all BMI classes (odds ratio 1.7 to 2.4 for men, 1.8 to 2.3 for women, all P values <0.001). Current smokers had lower levels of HDL cholesterol and apoA1, higher levels of triglycerides and apoB, and higher waist circumference than non-smokers (all P <0.001). Smoking had no consistent association with blood pressure or fasting blood glucose. In all BMI classes, we found a dose-dependent association of daily tobacco consumption with MetS prevalence as well as with lower levels of HDL cholesterol, higher triglyceride levels and lower ratios of HDL cholesterol/apoA1 and, only in those with BMI <30, LDL cholesterol/apoB (all P <0.001).
Smoking is associated with an increased prevalence of MetS, independent of sex and BMI class. This increased risk is mainly related to lower HDL cholesterol, and higher triglycerides and waist circumference. In addition, smoking was associated with unfavorable changes in apoA1 and apoB, and in lipoprotein particle size.
Please see related commentary: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/196.
Metabolic syndrome; Smoking; HDL; Cholesterol; Apolipoproteins; Triglycerides; Obesity; Cross-sectional; BMI classes
Alcoholic beverages are widely consumed. Depression, the most prevalent mental disorder worldwide, has been related to alcohol intake. We aimed to prospectively assess the association between alcohol intake and incident depression using repeated measurements of alcohol intake.
We followed-up 5,505 high-risk men and women (55 to 80 y) of the PREDIMED Trial for up to seven years. Participants were initially free of depression or a history of depression, and did not have any history of alcohol-related problems. A 137-item validated food frequency questionnaire administered by a dietician was repeated annually to assess alcohol intake. Participants were classified as incident cases of depression when they reported a new clinical diagnosis of depression, and/or initiated the use of antidepressant drugs. Cox regression analyses were fitted over 23,655 person-years.
Moderate alcohol intake within the range of 5 to 15 g/day was significantly associated with lower risk of incident depression (hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 0.72 (0.53 to 0.98) versus abstainers). Specifically, wine consumption in the range of two to seven drinks/week was significantly associated with lower rates of depression (HR (95% CI) = 0.68 (0.47 to 0.98)).
Moderate consumption of wine may reduce the incidence of depression, while heavy drinkers seem to be at higher risk.
Wine; Alcohol; Depression; Cohort
In this article, we give an overview of new technologies for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) and drug resistance, consider their advantages over existing methodologies, broad issues of cost, cost-effectiveness and programmatic implementation, and their clinical as well as public health impact, focusing on the industrialized world. Molecular nucleic-acid amplification diagnostic systems have high specificity for TB diagnosis (and rifampicin resistance) but sensitivity for TB detection is more variable. Nevertheless, it is possible to diagnose TB and rifampicin resistance within a day and commercial automated systems make this possible with minimal training. Although studies are limited, these systems appear to be cost-effective. Most of these tools are of value clinically and for public health use. For example, whole genome sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis offers a powerful new approach to the identification of drug resistance and to map transmission at a community and population level.
Diagnosis; Drug resistance; Tuberculosis; Public health; Whole genome sequencing
Given the uncertainties regarding thyroid nodule assessment and management, physicians require systematically and transparently developed recommendations. This systematic review assesses the quality and consistency of the recommendations of international clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for the diagnosis and management of thyroid nodules and cancer to assist physicians in making appropriate recommendations.
The CPGs on the management of thyroid nodules and cancer published before June 2013 were retrieved. All the reviewed guidelines were in English. Four reviewers independently assessed the rigor of guideline development by using the Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation II (AGREE-II) instrument, and their reported evidence was evaluated.
Ten eligible guidelines were included: nine had been developed by professional organizations, and the remaining guideline was endorsed by an independent regional body. Three guidelines achieved a score of greater than 50% in all six AGREE-II domains. Guidelines scored highest on the measurement of ‘scope and purpose’ (≥61.1% for eight CPGs) and lowest on the measurement of ‘applicability’ (≤38.5% for five CPGs). The overall quality ranged from 3.0 to 6.25 on a seven-point scale on the AGREE-II tool. Most CPG recommendations on the management of thyroid cancer were relatively consistent. Guidelines varied regarding the indication of fine-needle aspiration for thyroid nodules, as well as in their suggestions for postoperative radioiodine ablation.
Our analysis showed that the current CPGs varied in methodological quality. More effort is needed to improve the quality of recommendations on the diagnosis and management of thyroid nodules and cancer.
Clinical practice guidelines; Thyroid cancer; Thyroid nodule; Systematic review
Since inflammation has been linked to carcinogenic events, discovery of relevant biomarkers may have important preventative implications. Procalcitonin (ProCT) has been shown to be an important prognostic biomarker in severe inflammatory conditions, but there is no data regarding its biomarker role, if any, beyond the acute phase. In a recent study published in BMC Medicine, Cotoi et al. analyzed whether serum ProCT levels in healthy individuals are associated with mortality outcomes. The results are affirmative in that baseline ProCT was shown to be strongly and independently associated with all-cause and cancer mortality and with the incidence of colon cancer in men. By contrast, the study indicated that high sensitivity C-reactive protein was independently associated with cardiovascular mortality but not with cancer mortality in men. Thus, baseline levels of ProCT appear to have prognostic biomarker implications potentially related to its emerging biomediator action(s).
Biomarker; Carcinogenesis; Mortality; Procalcitonin
Changing perspectives on the natural history of celiac disease (CD), new serology and genetic tests, and amended histological criteria for diagnosis cast doubt on past prevalence estimates for CD. We set out to establish a more accurate prevalence estimate for CD using a novel serogenetic approach.
The human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQ genotype was determined in 356 patients with ‘biopsy-confirmed’ CD, and in two age-stratified, randomly selected community cohorts of 1,390 women and 1,158 men. Sera were screened for CD-specific serology.
Only five ‘biopsy-confirmed’ patients with CD did not possess the susceptibility alleles HLA-DQ2.5, DQ8, or DQ2.2, and four of these were misdiagnoses. HLA-DQ2.5, DQ8, or DQ2.2 was present in 56% of all women and men in the community cohorts. Transglutaminase (TG)-2 IgA and composite TG2/deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) IgA/IgG were abnormal in 4.6% and 5.6%, respectively, of the community women and 6.9% and 6.9%, respectively, of the community men, but in the screen-positive group, only 71% and 75%, respectively, of women and 65% and 63%, respectively, of men possessed HLA-DQ2.5, DQ8, or DQ2.2. Medical review was possible for 41% of seropositive women and 50% of seropositive men, and led to biopsy-confirmed CD in 10 women (0.7%) and 6 men (0.5%), but based on relative risk for HLA-DQ2.5, DQ8, or DQ2.2 in all TG2 IgA or TG2/DGP IgA/IgG screen-positive subjects, CD affected 1.3% or 1.9%, respectively, of females and 1.3% or 1.2%, respectively, of men. Serogenetic data from these community cohorts indicated that testing screen positives for HLA-DQ, or carrying out HLA-DQ and further serology, could have reduced unnecessary gastroscopies due to false-positive serology by at least 40% and by over 70%, respectively.
Screening with TG2 IgA serology and requiring biopsy confirmation caused the community prevalence of CD to be substantially underestimated. Testing for HLA-DQ genes and confirmatory serology could reduce the numbers of unnecessary gastroscopies.
Celiac disease; Diagnosis; Epidemiology; Serology; Transglutaminase; Deamidated gliadin peptide; Immunogenetics; Prevalence
Magnesium plays an essential role in the synthesis and metabolism of vitamin D and magnesium supplementation substantially reversed the resistance to vitamin D treatment in patients with magnesium-dependent vitamin-D-resistant rickets. We hypothesized that dietary magnesium alone, particularly its interaction with vitamin D intake, contributes to serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels, and the associations between serum 25(OH)D and risk of mortality may be modified by magnesium intake level.
We tested these novel hypotheses utilizing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006, a population-based cross-sectional study, and the NHANES III cohort, a population-based cohort study. Serum 25(OH)D was used to define vitamin D status. Mortality outcomes in the NHANES III cohort were determined by using probabilistic linkage with the National Death Index (NDI).
High intake of total, dietary or supplemental magnesium was independently associated with significantly reduced risks of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency respectively. Intake of magnesium significantly interacted with intake of vitamin D in relation to risk of both vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. Additionally, the inverse association between total magnesium intake and vitamin D insufficiency primarily appeared among populations at high risk of vitamin D insufficiency. Furthermore, the associations of serum 25(OH)D with mortality, particularly due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and colorectal cancer, were modified by magnesium intake, and the inverse associations were primarily present among those with magnesium intake above the median.
Our preliminary findings indicate it is possible that magnesium intake alone or its interaction with vitamin D intake may contribute to vitamin D status. The associations between serum 25(OH)D and risk of mortality may be modified by the intake level of magnesium. Future studies, including cohort studies and clinical trials, are necessary to confirm the findings.
Magnesium intake; Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels; Vitamin D insufficiency; Vitamin D deficiency; Parathyroid hormone; Mortality; Colorectal cancer; Cardiovascular diseases
Following US Food and Drugs Administration approval in July 2012 of daily oral tenofovir and emtricitabine for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection in high-risk individuals in the USA, there has been much controversy about the implementation of this PrEP regimen in other countries throughout the world, and in Europe in particular. In this review, we focus on the challenges and opportunities of a daily oral PrEP regimen to curb the rising incidence of HIV infection in high-risk groups, and particularly in men who have sex with men. A number of issues would need to be addressed before PrEP could be implemented, including assessing the real effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of daily PrEP, the sustainability of daily adherence, the risk of selecting resistance, the long-term safety, and the risk of change in sexual behavior that might offset the benefit of PrEP. Alternatives to a daily oral PrEP regimen are being explored.
HIV; Tenofovir; Emtricitabine; Men who have sex with men; Intermittent; PrEP; Adherence
Over the last few years, accumulating data have implicated a role for ferritin as a signaling molecule and direct mediator of the immune system. Hyperferritinemia is associated with a multitude of clinical conditions and with worse prognosis in critically ill patients.
There are four uncommon medical conditions characterized by high levels of ferritin, namely the macrophage activation syndrome (MAS), adult onset Still’s disease (AOSD), catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (cAPS) and septic shock, that share a similar clinical and laboratory features, and also respond to similar treatments, suggesting a common pathogenic mechanism. Ferritin is known to be a pro-inflammatory mediator inducing expression of pro-inflammatory molecules, yet it has opposing actions as a pro-inflammatory and as an immunosuppressant. We propose that the exceptionally high ferritin levels observed in these uncommon clinical conditions are not just the product of the inflammation but rather may contribute to the development of a cytokine storm.
Here we review and compare four clinical conditions and the role of ferritin as an immunomodulator. We would like to propose including these four conditions under a common syndrome entity termed “Hyperferritinemic Syndrome”.
Hyperferritinemia; Macrophage activation syndrome (MAS); Adult onset Still’s disease (AOSD); Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (cAPS); Septic shock
RTS,S is the most advanced candidate malaria vaccine but it is only partially protective and the causes of inter-individual variation in efficacy are poorly understood. Here, we investigated whether peripheral blood monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratios (ML ratio), previously shown to correlate with clinical malaria risk, could account for differences in RTS,S efficacy among phase II trial participants in Africa.
Of 11 geographical sites where RTS,S has been evaluated, pre-vaccination ML ratios were only available for trial participants in Kilifi, Kenya (N = 421) and Lambarene, Gabon (N = 189). Using time to first clinical malaria episode as the primary endpoint we evaluated the effect of accounting for ML ratio on RTS,S vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria by Cox regression modeling.
The unadjusted efficacy of RTS,S in this combined dataset was 47% (95% confidence interval (CI) 26% to 62%, P <0.001). However, RTS,S efficacy decreased with increasing ML ratio, ranging from 67% (95% CI 64% to 70%) at an ML ratio of 0.1 to 5% (95% CI -3% to 13%) at an ML ratio of 0.6. The statistical interaction between RTS,S vaccination and ML ratio was still evident after adjustment for covariates associated with clinical malaria risk in this dataset.
The results suggest that stratification of study participants by ML ratio, easily measured from full differential blood counts before vaccination, might help identify children who are highly protected and those that are refractory to protection with the RTS,S vaccine. Identifying causes of low vaccine efficacy among individuals with high ML ratio could inform strategies to improve overall RTS,S vaccine efficacy.
ClinicalTrials.Gov numbers NCT00380393 and NCT00436007
Malaria; Vaccine; Monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio
Despite its high incidence and devastating outcomes, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has no specific treatment, with effective therapy currently limited to minimizing potentially harmful ventilation and avoiding a positive fluid balance. Many pharmacological therapies have been investigated with limited success to date. In this review article we provide a state-of-the-art update on recent and ongoing trials, as well as reviewing promising future pharmacological therapies in ARDS.
Acute lung injury; Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are important events that carry significant consequences for patients. Some patients experience frequent exacerbations, and are now recognized as a distinct clinical subgroup, the ‘frequent exacerbator’ phenotype. This is relatively stable over time, occurs across disease severity, and is associated with poorer health outcomes. These patients are therefore a priority for research and treatment. The pathophysiology underlying the frequent exacerbator phenotype is complex, with increased airway and systemic inflammation, dynamic lung hyperinflation, changes in lower airway bacterial colonization and a possible increased susceptibility to viral infection. Frequent exacerbators are also at increased risk from comorbid extrapulmonary diseases including cardiovascular disease, gastroesophageal reflux, depression, osteoporosis and cognitive impairment. Overall these patients have poorer health status, accelerated forced expiratory volume over 1 s (FEV1) decline, worsened quality of life, and increased hospital admissions and mortality, contributing to increased exacerbation susceptibility and perpetuation of the frequent exacerbator phenotype. This review article sets out the definition and importance of the frequent exacerbator phenotype, with a detailed examination of its pathophysiology, impact and interaction with other comorbidities.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Exacerbations; Frequent exacerbator phenotype; Comorbidities
Considerable variety in how patients respond to treatments, driven by differences in their geno- and/ or phenotypes, calls for a more tailored approach. This is already happening, and will accelerate with developments in personalized medicine. However, its promise has not always translated into improvements in patient care due to the complexities involved. There are also concerns that advice for tests has been reversed, current tests can be costly, there is fragmentation of funding of care, and companies may seek high prices for new targeted drugs. There is a need to integrate current knowledge from a payer’s perspective to provide future guidance. Multiple findings including general considerations; influence of pharmacogenomics on response and toxicity of drug therapies; value of biomarker tests; limitations and costs of tests; and potentially high acquisition costs of new targeted therapies help to give guidance on potential ways forward for all stakeholder groups. Overall, personalized medicine has the potential to revolutionize care. However, current challenges and concerns need to be addressed to enhance its uptake and funding to benefit patients.
Biomarkers; Drug development; Genomics; Genotyping; Healthcare policy; Pharmacogenetics precision medicine; Personalized medicine; Health authorities; Rational use of medicines; Reimbursement; Targeted treatments
The inflammatory mediator procalcitonin (PCT) has previously been associated with prognosis in myocardial infarction, cancer and sepsis patients. The importance of PCT in the general population is currently unknown. Our aim was to assess the relationship between plasma PCT and the risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in apparently healthy individuals with no previous history of cardiovascular disease or cancer.
We performed a prospective, population-based study on 3,322 individuals recruited from the Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort, with a median follow-up time of 16.2 years. Plasma PCT, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), triglycerides and cystatin C were measured at baseline and a thorough risk factor assessment was performed for all subjects. The primary end-points of the study were all-cause mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular mortality.
Men had higher PCT levels compared to women. In Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, plasma lipids, renal function, body mass index and smoking, baseline PCT was associated with all-cause mortality and cancer mortality in men. The hazard ratio (HR) for men with PCT levels within the highest compared with the lowest quartile was 1.52 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07 to 2.16; P = 0.024) for all-cause mortality and 2.37 (95% CI 1.36 to 4.14; P = 0.006) for cancer mortality. Additionally, men with increased plasma PCT were found to be at a higher risk to develop colon cancer (HR per 1 SD increase = 1.49 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.95); P = 0.005). In multivariate Cox regression analyses with mutual adjustments for PCT and hsCRP, PCT was independently associated with cancer death (HR per 1 SD increase = 1.28 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.49); P = 0.001) and hsCRP with cardiovascular death (HR per 1 SD increase = 1.42 (95% CI 1.11 to 1.83); P = 0.006) in men. We found no significant correlations between baseline PCT or hsCRP and incident cancer or cardiovascular death in women.
We disclose for the first time important independent associations between PCT and the risk for all-cause and cancer mortality in apparently healthy men. Our findings warrant further investigation into the mechanisms underlying the relationship between PCT and cancer.
Procalcitonin; Inflammation; Cancer; Cardiovascular disease; CRP; Mortality
MitoQ is a mitochondria-targeted derivative of the antioxidant ubiquinone, with antioxidant and anti-apoptotic functions. Reactive oxygen species are involved in many inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease. In this study, we assessed the therapeutic effects of MitoQ in a mouse model of experimental colitis and investigated the possible mechanisms underlying its effects on intestinal inflammation.
Reactive oxygen species levels and mitochondrial function were measured in blood mononuclear cells of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The effects of MitoQ were evaluated in a dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis mouse model. Clinical and pathological markers of disease severity and oxidative injury, and levels of inflammatory cytokines in mouse colonic tissue were measured. The effect of MitoQ on inflammatory cytokines released in the human macrophage-like cell line THP-1 was also analyzed.
Cellular and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species levels in mononuclear cells were significantly higher in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (P <0.003, cellular reactive oxygen species; P <0.001, mitochondrial reactive oxygen species). MitoQ significantly ameliorated colitis in the dextran sulfate sodium-induced mouse model in vivo, reduced the increased oxidative stress response (malondialdehyde and 3-nitrotyrosine formation), and suppressed mitochondrial and histopathological injury by decreasing levels of inflammatory cytokines IL-1 beta and IL-18 (P <0.001 and P <0.01 respectively). By decreasing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, MitoQ also suppressed activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome that was responsible for maturation of IL-1 beta and IL-18. In vitro studies demonstrated that MitoQ decreases IL-1 beta and IL-18 production in human THP-1 cells.
Taken together, our results suggest that MitoQ may have potential as a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of acute phases of inflammatory bowel disease.
Dextran sulfate sodium; Interleukin-1 beta; Interleukin-18; MitoQ;NLRP-3 inflammasome; Reactive oxygen species
Prospective cohort studies of prehypertension and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are controversial after adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors. This meta-analysis evaluated the association between prehypertension and CVD morbidity.
Databases (PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library) and conference proceedings were searched for prospective cohort studies with data on prehypertension and cardiovascular morbidity. Two independent reviewers assessed the reports and extracted data. The relative risks (RRs) of CVD, coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke morbidity were calculated and reported with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). Subgroup analyses were conducted on blood pressure, age, gender, ethnicity, follow-up duration, number of participants and study quality.
Pooled data included the results from 468,561 participants from 18 prospective cohort studies. Prehypertension elevated the risks of CVD (RR = 1.55; 95% CI = 1.41 to 1.71); CHD (RR = 1.50; 95% CI = 1.30 to 1.74); and stroke (RR = 1.71; 95% CI = 1.55 to 1.89). In the subgroup analyses, even for low-range prehypertension, the risk of CVD was significantly higher than for optimal BP (RR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.32 to 1.62), and further increased with high-range prehypertension (RR = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.41 to 2.31). The relative risk was significantly higher in the high-range prehypertensive populations than in the low-range populations (χ2= 5.69, P = 0.02). There were no significant differences among the other subgroup analyses (P>0.05).
Prehypertension, even in the low range, elevates the risk of CVD after adjusting for multiple cardiovascular risk factors.
Prehypertension; Cardiovascular diseases; Morbidity; Meta-analysis
Vitamin D and the components of humoral immunity play important roles in human health. Older people have lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) serum levels than younger adults. We aimed to determine the levels of 25(OH)D serum concentrations in healthy senior citizens and to study their relationship to the levels of components of humoral immunity.
A total of 1,470 healthy Swiss men and women, 60 years or older, were recruited for this study. A total of 179 subjects dropped out of the study because of elevated serum concentrations of C-reactive protein. Fasting blood sera were analyzed for 25(OH)D with the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and for parathyroid hormone (PTH), immunoglobulins and complement C4 and C3 concentrations with immunoassays. The percentage of participants in each of the four 25(OH)D deficiency groups - severely deficient (<10 ng/ml), deficient (10 to 20), insufficient (21 to 29 ng/ml) and normal (>=30 ng/ml) - were statistically compared. The relationship of the major components of the humoral system and age with 25(OH)D levels was also assessed.
About 66% of the subjects had insufficient levels of 25(OH)D. Normal levels of 25(OH)D were found in 26.1% of the subjects of which 21% were males and 30.5% were females (total study population). Severely deficient levels of 25(OH)D were found in 7.98% of the total study population. Low levels of 25(OH)D were positively associated with IgG2 (P = 0.01) and with C4 (P = 0.02), yet were inversely related to levels of IgG1 and IgA (P < 0.05) and C3 (P = 0.01). Serum levels of total IgA, IgG, IgG2 and IgG4 peaked together with 25(OH)D during late summer.
Approximately two-thirds of the healthy, older Swiss population presented with Vitamin D insufficiency. The incremental shift in IgA and C3 levels might not necessarily reflect a deranged humoral immune defense; however, given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, the importance of this condition in humoral immunity will be worth looking at more closely. This study supports the role of vitamin D in the competent immune system.
25(OH)D; Immunoglobulins; IgA; Complement; Humoral immunity; Sunlight exposure; Older people
It has long been debated whether Asperger’s Syndrome (ASP) should be considered part of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or whether it constitutes a unique entity. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV) differentiated ASP from high functioning autism. However, the new DSM-5 umbrellas ASP within ASD, thus eliminating the ASP diagnosis. To date, no clear biomarkers have reliably distinguished ASP and ASD populations. This study uses EEG coherence, a measure of brain connectivity, to explore possible neurophysiological differences between ASP and ASD.
Voluminous coherence data derived from all possible electrode pairs and frequencies were previously reduced by principal components analysis (PCA) to produce a smaller number of unbiased, data-driven coherence factors. In a previous study, these factors significantly and reliably differentiated neurotypical controls from ASD subjects by discriminant function analysis (DFA). These previous DFA rules are now applied to an ASP population to determine if ASP subjects classify as control or ASD subjects. Additionally, a new set of coherence based DFA rules are used to determine whether ASP and ASD subjects can be differentiated from each other.
Using prior EEG coherence based DFA rules that successfully classified subjects as either controls or ASD, 96.2% of ASP subjects are classified as ASD. However, when ASP subjects are directly compared to ASD subjects using new DFA rules, 92.3% ASP subjects are identified as separate from the ASD population. By contrast, five randomly selected subsamples of ASD subjects fail to reach significance when compared to the remaining ASD populations. When represented by the discriminant variable, both the ASD and ASD populations are normally distributed.
Within a control-ASD dichotomy, an ASP population falls closer to ASD than controls. However, when compared directly with ASD, an ASP population is distinctly separate. The ASP population appears to constitute a neurophysiologically identifiable, normally distributed entity within the higher functioning tail of the ASD population distribution. These results must be replicated with a larger sample given their potentially immense clinical, emotional and financial implications for affected individuals, their families and their caregivers.
Asperger’s syndrome; Autism spectrum disorder; Connectivity; Discriminant function analysis; EEG; GMM; Mixture modeling; Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified; PDD-nos; PCA; Principal components analysis; Spectral coherence
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α inhibitors are increasingly being used in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Because this chronic intestinal disorder often affects women of fertile age, it is essential to assess the effect of biologics on pregnancy outcome.
We performed a systematic review of the English-language literature to investigate if treatment with TNF-α blockers during pregnancy in women with IBD increases the risk of spontaneous abortions, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, congenital malformations, or risk of infections in the offspring. Of 552 articles and abstracts reviewed, 58 articles or abstracts with unique content were identified and included in this systematic review. However, most presentations were case reports or case series supplied by a limited number of observational studies. No randomized controlled studies were available.
TNF-α inhibitors do not seem to affect either outcome of pregnancy in mothers with IBD, or the outcome in the offspring (congenital malformations and immunosuppression). Further, recent data have not identified any increased risk of infections in the first year of life in the offspring of mothers who received biologics, even in combination with immunomodulators (thiopurines).
From the present systematic review, no association was found between administration of TNF inhibitors for IBD during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcome or congenital abnormalities. Further, no increased relative risk of infections has been reported in the first year of life in offspring of mothers who received biologics. Biologics should be discontinued during pregnancy solely if the IBD is in remission using the same stopping criteria as for patients with IBD in general, as uncontrolled activity of IBD may expose the mother and child to a risk greater than those only potentially coming from the use of TNF-α inhibitors. In such cases, inoculation of the offspring with live vaccines is contraindicated until the biologic agent is no longer detectable in the child’s circulation.
Biologics; Crohn’s disease; IBD; Lactation; Pregnancy; Ulcerative colitis
The relevance of physical activity (PA) for combating cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in children has been highlighted, but to date there has been no large-scale study analyzing that association in children aged ≤9 years of age. This study sought to evaluate the associations between objectively-measured PA and clustered CVD risk factors in a large sample of European children, and to provide evidence for gender-specific recommendations of PA.
Cross-sectional data from a longitudinal study in 16,224 children aged 2 to 9 were collected. Of these, 3,120 (1,016 between 2 to 6 years, 2,104 between 6 to 9 years) had sufficient data for inclusion in the current analyses. Two different age-specific and gender-specific clustered CVD risk scores associated with PA were determined. First, a CVD risk factor (CRF) continuous score was computed using the following variables: systolic blood pressure (SBP), total triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC)/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) ratio, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and sum of two skinfolds (score CRFs). Secondly, another CVD risk score was obtained for older children containing the score CRFs + the cardiorespiratory fitness variable (termed score CRFs + fit). Data used in the current analysis were derived from the IDEFICS (‘Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS’) study.
In boys <6 years, the odds ratios (OR) for CVD risk were elevated in the least active quintile of PA (OR: 2.58) compared with the most active quintile as well as the second quintile for vigorous PA (OR: 2.91). Compared with the most active quintile, older children in the first, second and third quintiles had OR for CVD risk score CRFs + fit ranging from OR 2.69 to 5.40 in boys, and from OR 2.85 to 7.05 in girls.
PA is important to protect against clustering of CVD risk factors in young children, being more consistent in those older than 6 years. Healthcare professionals should recommend around 60 and 85 min/day of moderate-to-vigorous PA, including 20 min/day of vigorous PA.
Please see related commentary: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/173.
Accelerometers; Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Physical activity; Younger children
The association between physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk factors in children has been the focus of research for over two decades. The majority of this research has focused on children over 10 years of age with little information on very young children. The data recently published in BMC Medicine by Jiménez-Pavón and colleagues suggest that adverse cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profiles, as indicated by a clustered risk score for the metabolic syndrome, are evident in very young children (two to six years of age), but differ between the sexes. The authors evaluated the relationship of CVD risk profiles and protective levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and concluded that boys aged six years or younger needed >60 minutes of MVPA per day, whereas boys from six to nine years of age needed >80 minutes of MVPA per day; girls in either age group needed approximately 15 minutes less. Therefore, when clinicians recommend physical activity for children they should evaluate “at risk” children on a case-by-case basis rather than using generalized guidelines.
Please see related research: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/172.
Blood pressure; Lipids; Glucose intolerance; Body fat; Accelerometry; Cardiometabolic risk factors
Previous studies have suggested that there may be an association between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of developing immune-mediated diseases.
We analyzed a database of linked statistical records of hospital admissions and death registrations for the whole of England (from 1999 to 2011). Rate ratios for immune-mediated disease were determined, comparing vitamin D deficient cohorts (individuals admitted for vitamin D deficiency or markers of vitamin D deficiency) with comparison cohorts.
After hospital admission for either vitamin D deficiency, osteomalacia or rickets, there were significantly elevated rates of Addison’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, chronic active hepatitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes mellitus, pemphigoid, pernicious anemia, primary biliary cirrhosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, thyrotoxicosis, and significantly reduced risks for asthma and myxoedema.
This study shows that patients with vitamin D deficiency may have an increased risk of developing some immune-mediated diseases, although we cannot rule out reverse causality or confounding. Further study of these associations is warranted and these data may aid further public health studies.
Vitamin D; Immune disease; Hospital episode statistics
All rigorous primary cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines recommend absolute CVD risk scores to identify high- and low-risk patients, but laboratory testing can be impractical in low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of this study was to compare the ranking performance of a simple, non-laboratory-based risk score to laboratory-based scores in various South African populations.
We calculated and compared 10-year CVD (or coronary heart disease (CHD)) risk for 14,772 adults from thirteen cross-sectional South African populations (data collected from 1987 to 2009). Risk characterization performance for the non-laboratory-based score was assessed by comparing rankings of risk with six laboratory-based scores (three versions of Framingham risk, SCORE for high- and low-risk countries, and CUORE) using Spearman rank correlation and percent of population equivalently characterized as ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk. Total 10-year non-laboratory-based risk of CVD death was also calculated for a representative cross-section from the 1998 South African Demographic Health Survey (DHS, n = 9,379) to estimate the national burden of CVD mortality risk.
Spearman correlation coefficients for the non-laboratory-based score with the laboratory-based scores ranged from 0.88 to 0.986. Using conventional thresholds for CVD risk (10% to 20% 10-year CVD risk), 90% to 92% of men and 94% to 97% of women were equivalently characterized as ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk using the non-laboratory-based and Framingham (2008) CVD risk score. These results were robust across the six risk scores evaluated and the thirteen cross-sectional datasets, with few exceptions (lower agreement between the non-laboratory-based and Framingham (1991) CHD risk scores). Approximately 18% of adults in the DHS population were characterized as ‘high CVD risk’ (10-year CVD death risk >20%) using the non-laboratory-based score.
We found a high level of correlation between a simple, non-laboratory-based CVD risk score and commonly-used laboratory-based risk scores. The burden of CVD mortality risk was high for men and women in South Africa. The policy and clinical implications are that fast, low-cost screening tools can lead to similar risk assessment results compared to time- and resource-intensive approaches. Until setting-specific cohort studies can derive and validate country-specific risk scores, non-laboratory-based CVD risk assessment could be an effective and efficient primary CVD screening approach in South Africa.
Cardiovascular disease; Prevention; Cholesterol; Stroke; Coronary heart disease