The objective of this study was to determine the pattern of congenital cardiac disease among children attending UNTH, Enugu, Nigeria. The nature of these abnormalities and the outcome were also considered. The exact etiology is unknown but genetic and environmental factors tend to be implicated. The difference in the pattern obtained worldwide and few studies in Nigeria could be due to genetic, environmental, socioeconomic, or ethnic origin.
A retrospective analysis of discharged cases in which a review of the cases of all children attending children outpatient clinics including cardiology clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu over a five year period (January 2007-June 2012) was undertaken. All the children presenting with cardiac anomalies were included in the study and the cases were investigated using ECG, X-ray and echocardiography studies.
A total of 31,795 children attended the children outpatient clinics of the hospital over the study period. Of these, seventy one (71) had cardiac diseases. The overall prevalence of cardiac disease is 0.22%. The commonest symptoms were breathlessness, failure to thrive and cyanosis. Almost all types of congenital detects were represented, the commonest being isolated ventricular septal detect (VSD), followed by tetralogy of Fallot. One of these cardiac anomalies presented with Downs’s syndrome and another with VACTERAL association.
The results of this study show that 0.22% per cent of children who attended UNTH in Enugu State had congenital cardiac abnormalities and the commonest forms seen were those with VSD.
Congenital cardiac disease; Prevalence; Pattern; Children; Enugu
Worldwide preeclampsia (PE) is the leading cause of maternal death and affects 5 to 8% of pregnant women. PE is characterized by elevated blood pressure and proteinuria. Doppler Ultrasound (US) evaluation has been considered a useful method for prediction of PE; however, there is no complete data about the most frequently altered US parameters in the pathology. The aim of this study was to evaluate the uterine, umbilical, and the middle cerebral arteries using Doppler US parameters [resistance index (RI), pulsatility index (PI), notch (N), systolic peak (SP) and their combinations] in pregnant women, in order to make a global evaluation of hemodynamic repercussion caused by the established PE.
A total of 102 pregnant Mexican women (65 PE women and 37 normotensive women) were recruited in a cases and controls study. Blood velocity waveforms from uterine, umbilical, and middle cerebral arteries, in pregnancies from 24 to 37 weeks of gestation were recorded by trans-abdominal examination with a Toshiba Ultrasound Power Vision 6000 SSA-370A, with a 3.5 MHz convex transducer. Abnormal general Doppler US profile showed a positive association with PE [odds ratio (OR) = 2.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2 - 7.3, P = 0.021)], and a specificity and predictive positive value of 89.2% and 88.6%, respectively. Other parameters like N presence, RI and PI of umbilical artery, as well as the PI of middle cerebral artery, showed differences between groups (P values < 0.05).
General Doppler US result, as well as N from uterine vessel, RI from umbilical artery, and PI from umbilical and middle cerebral arteries in their individual form, may be considered as tools to determine hemodynamic repercussion caused by PE.
Doppler velocimetry; Preeclampsia; Uterine artery; Umbilical artery; Middle cerebral artery
Food spoilage caused by molds is a severe problem. In food and feed, e.g. dairy products, sourdough bread and silage, lactic acid bacteria are used as starter cultures. Besides lactic and acetic acid, some strains produce other low molecular weight compounds with antifungal activities. One of these metabolites is phenyllactic acid (PLA), well known for its antifungal effect. The inhibitory effect of PLA has only partially been investigated, and the objective of this study was to elucidate in detail the antifungal properties of PLA.
We investigated the outgrowth of individual conidia from Aspergillus niger, Cladosporium cladosporioides and Penicillium roqueforti, and observed the morphologies of resulting colonies on solid media using different acid concentrations. We found that PLA inhibits molds similar to weak acid preservatives. Furthermore, it has an additional activity: at sub-inhibitory concentrations, fungal colonies displayed slower radial growth and inhibited sporulation. The L isoform of PLA is a more potent inhibitor than the D form. Increased expression of phiA was observed during PLA treatment. This gene was initially identified as being induced by Streptomyces-produced macrolide antibiotics, and is shown to be a structural protein in developed cells. This suggests that PhiA may act as a general stress protectant in fungi.
From a food protection perspective, the results of this study support the usage of lactic acid bacteria strains synthesizing PLA as starter cultures in food and feed. Such starter cultures could inhibit spore synthesis, which would be beneficial as many food borne fungi are spread by airborne spores.
Aspergillus niger; Conidia; Lactobacillus; Dairy products; Sourdough; phiA
Vermiculite is the most common soil-free growing substrate used for plants in horticultural and scientific studies due to its high water holding capacity. However, some studies are not suitable to be conducted in it. The described experiments aimed to test the suitability of vermiculite to study the effect of acidity on nodulation and growth of soybean (Glycine max L.).
Two different nutrient solutions (Broughton & Dilworth, and modified Herridge nutrient solutions) with or without MES buffer addition were used to irrigate soybean grown on vermiculite growth substrates. The pH of nutrient solutions was adjusted to either pH 4.0 or 7.0 prior its use. The nodulation and vegetative growth of soybean plants were assessed at 3 and 4 weeks after inoculation.
The unsuitability of presumably inert vermiculite as a physical plant growth substrate for studying the effects of acidity on soybean nodulation and plant growth was illustrated. Nodulation and growth of soybean grown in vermiculite were not affected by irrigation with pH-adjusted nutrient solution either at pH 4.0 or 7.0. This was reasonably caused by the ability of vermiculite to neutralise (buffer) the pH of the supplied nutrient solution (pH 2.0 – 7.0).
Due to its buffering capacity, vermiculite cannot be used as growth support to study the effect of acidity on nodulation and plant growth.
Acidity; Buffer; Nodulation; Soybean; Vermiculite
Classical scrapie in sheep is a fatal neurodegenerative disease associated with the conversion PrPC to PrPSc. Much is known about genetic susceptibility, uptake and dissemination of PrPSc in the body, but many aspects of prion diseases are still unknown. Different proteomic techniques have been used during the last decade to investigate differences in protein profiles between affected animals and healthy controls. We have investigated the protein profiles in serum of sheep with scrapie and healthy controls by SELDI-TOF-MS and LC-MS/MS. Latent Variable methods such as Principal Component Analysis, Partial Least Squares-Discriminant Analysis and Target Projection methods were used to describe the MS data.
The serum proteomic profiles showed variable differences between the groups both throughout the incubation period and at the clinical end stage of scrapie. At the end stage, the target projection model separated the two groups with a sensitivity of 97.8%, and serum amyloid A was identified as one of the protein peaks that differed significantly between the groups.
At the clinical end stage of classical scrapie, ten SELDI peaks significantly discriminated the scrapie group from the healthy controls. During the non-clinical incubation period, individual SELDI peaks were differently expressed between the groups at different time points. Investigations of differences in -omic profiles can contribute to new insights into the underlying disease processes and pathways, and advance our understanding of prion diseases, but comparison and validation across laboratories is difficult and challenging.
Scrapie; SELDI-TOF-MS; PCA; PLS-DA; Target projection; LC-MS/MS; Serum amyloid A; Sheep
The efficacy of bendiocarb against pyrethroid resistant An. gambiae and the residual life of this insecticide on different substrates were evaluated under laboratory and field conditions.
Bioassays according to the WHO (World Health Organization) standard protocol were carried out on different substrates impregnated with bendiocarb. Data were analyzed using a binomial regression model with R software.
A good efficacy of the bendiocarb against pyrethroid resistant An. gambiae and a high variation of its residual life according to the surfaces treated was observed. The probability that a female mosquito died after exposure to a treated substrate was below 80% after 13 weeks for the teak wood; 7 weeks for the wall made with a mixture of sand and cement and 6 weeks for walls made with red clay and those made with a mixture of the red clay and cement.
Considering the residual life of bendiocarb on walls made with red clay, the main substrates treated during IRS campaigns in rural areas in Benin, more than 2 treatments rounds per year would be necessary to achieve a long term efficacy of IRS using bendiocarb in these areas. Financial and logistical resources required to achieve such levels of coverage need more political will from leaders of African endemic countries. While waiting for innovative malaria control tool, alternative insecticides or combinations of insecticides have to be used for insecticide resistance management in Benin.
Indoor residual spraying; Bendiocarb; Residual life; Substrates; Laboratory; Field
In recent years, improving the quality of care for nursing home residents has generated a considerable amount of attention. In response, quality indicators (QIs), based on available evidence and expert consensus, have been identified within the Resident Assessment Instrument – Minimum Data Set 2.0 (RAI-MDS 2.0), and validated as proxy measures for quality of nursing home care. We sought to identify practice sensitive QIs; that is, those QIs believed to be the most sensitive to clinical practice.
We enlisted two experts to review a list of 35 validated QIs and to select those that they believed to be the most sensitive to practice. We then asked separate groups of practicing physicians, nurses, and policy makers to (1) rank the items on the list for overall “practice sensitivity” and then, (2) to identify the domain to which the QI was most sensitive (nursing care, physician care, or policy maker).
After combining results of all three groups, pressure ulcers were identified as the most practice sensitive QI followed by worsening pain, physical restraint use, the use of antipsychotic medications without a diagnosis of psychosis, and indwelling catheters. When stratified by informant group, although the top five QIs stayed the same, the ranking of the 13 QIs differed by group.
In addition to identifying a reduced and manageable set of QIs for regular reporting, we believe that focusing on these 13 practice sensitive QIs provides both the greatest potential for improving resident function and slowing the trajectory of decline that most residents experience.
Nursing home; Performance measurement; RAI-MDS; Quality indicators
An epidemiological approach to preventing the development or progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is necessary, while few effective preventive measures are currently available. We conducted a community-based, cohort study to identify the factors associated with the development of CKD in the general population.
We examined 1876 local residents of a Japanese community who had an annual health check-up and, of those, 1506 residents judged not to have CKD (473 men and 1033 women) were followed for the development of CKD over 10 years.
The numbers of male and female residents who developed CKD during the follow-up period were 167 (35.3%) and 299 (28.9%), respectively. As compared to those without CKD development, the residents who developed CKD were older, and had a higher body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure, and creatinine in both genders. The rate of CKD development in obese female residents was higher than in non-obese women, but such a difference was not noted in male residents. In addition to age and serum creatinine, we identified BMI as an independently significant factor for the development of CKD in women, but not in men.
Increased BMI is a significant risk factor for the development of CKD in women, and there seems to be a gender difference in the association between increased BMI and the development of CKD in the general population.
Chronic kidney disease; Body mass index; Obesity; General population
The mobile medical unit/polyclinic (MMU/PC) was an essential part of the medical services to support ill or injured Olympic or Paralympics family during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics winter games. The objective of this study was to survey the satisfaction of the clinical staff that completed the training programs prior to deployment to the MMU.
Medical personnel who participated in at least one of the four training programs, including (1) week-end sessions; (2) web-based modules; (3) just-in-time training; and (4) daily simulation exercises were invited to participate in a web-based survey and comment on their level of satisfaction with training program.
A total of 64 (out of 94 who were invited) physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists completed the survey. All participants reported favorably that the MMU/PC training positively impacted their knowledge, skills and team functions while deployed at the MMU/PC during the 2010 Olympic Games. However, components of the training program were valued differently depending on clinical job title, years of experience, and prior experience in large scale events. Respondents with little or no experience working in large scale events (45%) rated daily simulations as the most valuable component of the training program for strengthening competencies and knowledge in clinical skills for working in large scale events.
The multi-phase MMU/PC training was found to be beneficial for preparing the medical team for the 2010 Winter Games. In particular this survey demonstrates the effectiveness of simulation training programs on teamwork competencies in ad hoc groups.
Mobile medical unit; Medical education; Curriculum; 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games
Long-term administration of low-dose aspirin (LDA) is associated with a greater risk of adverse events, including gastroduodenal ulcers. The purpose of this study was to identify the risk factors for and assess the role of medication use in the development of peptic ulcer disease in Japanese patients with no history of peptic ulcers.
Consecutive outpatients receiving LDA (75 mg/day) who underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy between January and December 2010 were enrolled. Clinical parameters, peptic ulcer history, concomitant drugs, the presence of Helicobacter pylori infection, reason for endoscopy, and endoscopic findings were analysed.
Of 226 total patients, 14 (6.2%) were endoscopically diagnosed with peptic ulcer. Age, sex, current smoking status, current alcohol consumption, endoscopic gastric mucosal atrophy, and abdominal symptoms were not significantly associated with peptic ulcers. Diabetes mellitus was more frequent (42.9% vs. 16.5%; P = 0.024) in patients with peptic ulcers than in those without peptic ulcers. Using multiple logistic regression analysis, co-treatment with anticoagulants or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) was significantly associated with increased and decreased risk for peptic ulcer, respectively (odds ratio [OR], 5.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.19 − 28.99; P = 0.03 and OR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.02 − 0.73; P = 0.02, respectively). Co-treatment with additional antiplatelet agents, H2-receptor antagonists, angiotensin II Type 1 receptor blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitor, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was not associated with peptic ulcer development.
The use of PPIs reduces the risk of developing gastric or duodenal ulcers in Japanese patients taking LDA without pre-existing gastroduodenal ulcers. However, this risk is significantly increased in both patients ingesting anticoagulants and patients with diabetes. These results may help identify patients who require intensive prophylaxis against aspirin-induced peptic ulcers.
Low-dose aspirin; Peptic ulcer; Primary prevention; Proton pump inhibitors; Risk factor
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs involved in gene expression regulation by targeting specific regions in the 3′-UTR of the mRNA of their target genes. This binding leads to a decrease in the protein levels of such genes either by mRNA degradation or mRNA destabilization and translation inhibition. The interaction between a miRNA and its target mRNAs is usually studied by co-transfection of a reporter expression vector containing the 3′-UTR region of the mRNA and an inhibitory or precursor molecule for the miRNA. This approach, however, does not measure the direct and physical interaction between a miRNA and a specific mRNA.
RNA molecules corresponding to miR-224 and to the 3′-UTR of SLC4A4 were incubated together and their interaction studied under different binding conditions using electrophoretic mobility shift assays. A direct and specific interaction between miR-224 and SLC4A4 mRNA was observed. This interaction was abolished in the presence of competitors.
In this study, we explored a new application for the electrophoretic mobility shift assay and we demonstrated that it is a useful alternative method to assess, in a direct and specific manner, whether a miRNA binds to a specific predicted target mRNA.
3′-UTR; Binding assay; miRNA; Target validation; EMSA
An elevated PI/I ratio is attributable to increased secretory demand on β-cells. However, the effect of postprandial targeting therapy on proinsulin level is unknown. We evaluated the metabolic effect of glinide and sulfonylurea (SU) using the meal tolerance test (MTT).
MTT was applied to previously untreated Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) subjects. Twenty-two participants were given a test meal (450 kcal). Plasma glucose and insulin were measured at 0 (fasting), 30, 60, 120, and 180 min. Serum proinsulin and C-peptide immunoreactivity (CPR) were measured at 0 and 120 min. Postprandial profile was assessed at baseline and following 3 months treatment with either mitiglinide or glimepiride.
Plasma glucose level at 30, 60, 120, and 180 min was significantly improved by mitiglinide. Whereas, glimepiride showed a significant improve plasma glucose at 0, 180 min. Peak IRI shifted from 120 to 30 min by mitiglinide treatment. The pattern of insulin secretion was not changed by glimepiride treatment. Whereas mitiglinide did not affect the PI/I ratio, glimepiride tended to increase the PI/I ratio. Moreover, although mitiglinide did not affect PI/I ratio as a whole, marked reduction was noted in some patients treated by mitiglinide. PI/I ratio was reduced significantly in the responder group. The responder subgroup exhibited less insulin resistance and higher insulinogenic index at baseline than non-responders. Moreover, the triglyceride level of responders was significantly lower than that of non-responders.
Mitiglinide improved postprandial insulin secretion pattern and thereby suppressed postprandial glucose spike. In T2DM patients with low insulin resistance and low triglyceride, mitiglinide recovered impaired β-cell function from the viewpoint of the PI/I ratio.
Proinsulin; Meal tolerance test; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Glinide
Enteric parasites are the most common cause of parasitic diseases and cause significant morbidity and mortality, particularly in developing countries like Nepal. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence and risk factors of intestinal parasitic infections among school going children of Lalitpur district of Nepal.
A total of 1392 stool samples were collected from school children of two government, two private and two community schools of the same district. The stool samples were examined for evidence of parasitic infections by direct microscopy and confirmed by concentration methods (formal ether sedimentation technique or floatation technique by using Sheather’s sugar solution). Modified Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) staining was performed for the detection of coccidian parasites.
Prevalence of intestinal parasitosis was found to be 16.7%. The highest prevalence rate was seen with Giardia lamblia (7.4%) followed by Entamoeba histolytica (3.4%) and Cyclospora cayetanensis (1.6%). Children aged 11–15 years and the ones belonging to family of agriculture workers were most commonly affected. Hand washing practice and type of drinking water also showed significant difference.
The burden of parasitic infections among the school children, coupled with the poor sanitary conditions in the schools, should be regarded as an issue of public health priority and demands for effective school health programs involving periodic health education and screening.
Giardia lamblia; Intestinal parasite; Nepal; School children
Once a transgenic plant is developed, the selectable marker gene (SMG) becomes unnecessary in the plant. In fact, the continued presence of the SMG in the transgenic plant may cause unexpected pleiotropic effects as well as environmental or biosafety issues. Several methods for removal of SMGs that have been reported remain inaccessible due to protection by patents, while development of new ones is expensive and cost prohibitive. Here, we describe the development of a new vector for producing marker-free plants by simply adapting an ordinary binary vector to the double right border (DRB) vector design using conventional cloning procedures.
We developed the DRB vector pMarkfree5.0 by placing the bar gene (representing genes of interest) between two copies of T-DNA right border sequences. The β-glucuronidase (gus) and nptII genes (representing the selectable marker gene) were cloned next followed by one copy of the left border sequence. When tested in a model species (tobacco), this vector system enabled the generation of 55.6% kanamycin-resistant plants by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The frequency of cotransformation of the nptII and bar transgenes using the vector was 66.7%. Using the leaf bleach and Basta assays, we confirmed that the nptII and bar transgenes were coexpressed and segregated independently in the transgenic plants. This enable separation of the transgenes in plants cotransformed using pMarkfree5.0.
The results suggest that the DRB system developed here is a practical and effective approach for separation of gene(s) of interest from a SMG and production of SMG-free plants. Therefore this system could be instrumental in production of “clean” plants containing genes of agronomic importance.
Cotransformation; Double right border; Selectable marker gene free; Removal of SMG
Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a clump of risk factors for development of type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. Menopause and age are thought to predispose women to the development of metabolic syndrome. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of MetS and identify its predominant components among pre-and postmenopausal women in the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana.
Two hundred and fifty (250) Ghanaian women were randomly selected for the study. They were evaluated for the prevalence of metabolic syndrome using the World Health Organization (WHO), National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III), International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Harmonization (H_MS) criteria.
Out of the total subjects, 143 (57.2%) were premenopausal and 107 (42.8%) menopausal. The study population was between the ages of 20–78 years. The overall percentage prevalence of MetS were 14.4%, 25.6%, 29.2% and 30.4% according to the WHO, NCEP-ATP III, IDF and H_MS criteria, respectively. The prevalence was found to increase with age, irrespective of criterion used. Generally, MetS was significantly higher among postmenopausal women (p < 0.05 by all criteria) compared to their premenopausal cohort, but with marked inter-criteria variations. Abdominal obesity, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, triglyceride, very low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride-high density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio were significantly (p < 0.05) different among the two groups of women.
Central obesity, higher blood pressure and raised fasting blood glucose were the predominant components that contributed to the syndrome in Ghanaian women.
The higher prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women is an indication that they are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Therefore women in that group should be monitored for the two conditions and also be advised to adopt healthy lifestyles to minimize the incidence of these conditions.
MetS; Postmenopausal; Adiposity; Premenopausal; Obesity; Cardiovascular disease
Food borne diseases claim more lives and are growing public health concerns. Simple preventive techniques such as adoption and adherence to hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) policy can significantly reduce this disease burden. Though food screening and inspection are done, the ultimate regulation, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, which is known and accepted worldwide, appears not to be popular among food operators in Ghana. This paper examines the level of awareness of the existence of policy on hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) and its adherence to food preparation guidelines among food service providers in Ghana.
The results revealed the mean age of food providers as 33.1 years with a standard deviation of 7.5, range of 18–55 years, more females, in full time employment and with basic education. Of the fifty institutional managers, 42 (84%) were senior officers and had worked for more than five years. Education and type of food operator had strong statistically significant relationship with the implementation of HCCP policy and adherence with food preparation guidelines. The enforcement of HACCP policy and adherence with food safety guidelines was led by the Ghana Tourist Board, Public Health officers, and KMA, respectively. While a majority of food operators 373/450 (83.3%) did not know HACCP policy is part of food safety guidelines, staff of food safety law enforcement 44/50 (88%) confirmed knowing that food operators were not aware of the HACCP policy.
The study documents evidence on the practice of food safety principles or HACCP policy or adherence to food preparation guidelines. Existing food safety guidelines incorporate varying principles of HACCP, however, awareness is low among food operators. The implication is that food production is likely to fall short of acceptable standards and not be wholesome putting consumers at health risk. Repeating this study in rural and urban areas in Ghana is necessary to provide much more evidence to inform food safety guidelines. Further studies on chemical analysis of food and implementing training modules on HACCP policy for food producers and law enforcement agencies may be helpful to improve existing situation.
Hazard analysis and critical control point; Food safety guidelines; Food preparation; Ghana
Mitochondria are the site of oxidative phosphorylation, a process which generates reactive oxygen species (ROS). Elevated ROS levels can lead to oxidative stress, a cellular state implicated in carcinogenesis. It is hypothesized that alternations in mitochondrial (MT) DNA, including heritable MT single nucleotide polymorphisms (MT-SNPs), have the potential to change the capacity of MT function, leading to increased oxidative stress and cancer risk. We investigated if common MT-SNPs and/or haplogroups and are associated with invasive serous ovarian cancer (OvCa) risk.
A panel of 64 MT-SNPs designed to tag all common variation in the European MT genome (minor allele frequency (MAF) >1%, r^2 >0.8) was genotyped in study participants of European descent using the Sequenom MassARRAY iPlex Gold® system (Sequenom Inc, CA, USA). Invasive serous OvCa cases (n = 405) and frequency age-matched controls (n = 445) were drawn from a population-based case-control study of OvCa in western Canada. Binary logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (C.I.) for carriage of the minor versus major allele by case-control status. MitoTool was used to test the relationship between European haplogroup status and case-control status using Fisher’s exact test.
The most significant disease-SNP association was for rs2857285, a synonymous MT-SNP in ND4 (OR = 4.84, 95% CI: 1.03–22.68, P = 0.045). After adjustment for multiple testing using a Bonferroni correction of the Type 1 error this MT-SNP was not significant. No other MT-SNP had a P-value < 0.05. European haplogroup status was not associated with case status. Most MT-SNPs (73%) genotyped had a MAF <5%.
Common European MT-SNPs (MAF > 5%) and haplogroups were not associated with invasive serous OvCa risk in this study; however, most European MT-SNPs have a low MAF (<5%), which we were underpowered to adequately assess. Larger studies are needed to clarify the role of low MAF MT-SNPs (MAF < 5%) in invasive serous OvCa risk.
Mitochondrial DNA; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Epithelial ovarian cancer; Serous ovarian cancer; Haplogroup; Heritable risk; European
Little is known about the prevalence and correlates of depression among Australian women. This systematic review of depression among women in Australia, the largest identified to date, highlights the prevalence and correlates of depression across the life span.
The report adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement (PRISMA). Six health related databases were selected: Medline, PsychInfo, SCOPUS, Cinhal, Informit and Cochrane Systematic Reviews. 1,888 initial articles were found, and 111 articles were considered relevant for review. Prevalence rates of depression among women ranged from 2.6% to 43.9%. Higher rates were reported for younger women, or specific population groups. Most significant correlates included, age, adverse life events, tobacco use, sole motherhood, and previous mental health problems.
Limitations include the scope of the investigation’s aims and inclusion criteria, and the failure to identify gender specific data in most studies. Publication bias was likely, given that only papers reported (or translated) in English were included. Despite the breadth of information available, there were noticeable gaps in the literature. Some studies reported on affective disorders, but did not specifically report on depression; it is concluded that each mental illness warrants separate investigation. It was also common for studies to report a total prevalence rate without separating gender. This report recommends that it is vital to separate male and female data. The report concludes that more research is needed among mid-age women, Indigenous women, non-heterosexual women and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women.
Gender; Mental health; Age-span; Abuse; Diverse
Brain imaging studies and knock-out animal models have derived substantial abetment for dopamine receptor (DR) subtypes as potential candidates in susceptibility to addictive disorders, including alcohol dependence (AD). Various association studies that compared the frequencies of alleles of the dopamine D1, D2, D3 and D4 receptor genes between alcohol dependent and control subjects have produced suggestive results, though some of them are discordant in nature. In the absence of genetic data from Indian population, we evaluated genetic association of three polymorphisms namely rs4532 in DRD1, rs6280 in DRD3 and 120 bp duplication in 1.2 kb upstream region of DRD4 with AD.
A total of 90 cases (alcohol dependent males) and 122 age and ethnicity matched healthy male controls were recruited in the study by following DSM-IV criteria. Three polymorphisms, namely rs4532 in DRD1, rs6280 in DRD3 and 120 bp duplication in 1.2 kb upstream region of DRD4 were selected (based on minor allele frequency and available literature) for genotyping by PCR-RFLP/LP method. Allele and genotype frequencies of these genetic markers were compared using Pearson’s χ2 test followed by risk assessment using odds ratio. Statistical analysis of clinical parameters such as AUDIT scores of case subjects was also performed.
Statistically significant associations of polymorphisms in DRD1 and DRD4 with alcoholism were found.
Our results underscore that genetic variations in dopamine receptors D1 and D4 may influence genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Unavailability of comparative data from Indian population and small sample size necessitate replication of results in an independent cohort.
Alcohol dependence; Dopamine receptors; Polymorphisms; Case–control study; Genetic association
Recent epidemiological studies have suggested that some insulin analogues could be associated with an increased risk of cancer. The aim of this retrospective study was to examine whether patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) using insulin glargine have a higher tumor stage of breast carcinoma in comparison to patients using other types of insulin.
We performed a chart review of 79 surgically treated breast carcinoma patients (mean age of 66.5 years; range 38-86 years) who were on insulin. Insulin glargine was used in 13 patients, while the other 66 patients were on other types of insulin. Clinical and histopathology characteristics of patients on glargine versus other types of insulin were compared using a chi-square test and non-parametric statistical analysis.
DM type 1 and DM type 2 was present in 14 and 65 patients, respectively. The mean tumor size was 2.98 cm. The TNM tumor stage at diagnosis was not higher among patients on glargine compared to patients on other types of insulin (T1/T2 85% vs. 68%, T3/T4 15% vs. 32%, p = 0.32; N1 54% vs. 58%, p = 0.80; M1 8% vs. 6%, respectively). No significant differences between both study groups (glargine vs. other types of insulin) were found in the ages of the patients, their BMI, tumor histology, grade, number of metastatic lymph nodes, hormone receptors or HER-2 status.
We could not show that patients with DM using insulin glargine have a higher tumor stage of breast carcinoma in comparison to those using other types of insulin.
Diabetes mellitus; Insulin; Oncology; Breast
To identify published letters to the editor (LTE) written in response to randomized controlled trials (RCTs), determine the topics addressed in the letters, and to examine if these topics were affected by the characteristics and results of the RCTs.
Comparative cross-sectional study of a representative sample of RCTs from a set of high-impact medical journals (BMJ, Lancet, NEJM, JAMA, and Annals of Internal Medicine). RCTs and their published LTE were searched from these 5 journals in 2007. Data were collected on RCTs and their characteristics (author affiliation, funding source, intervention, and effect on the primary outcome) and the topics addressed in published LTE related to these RCTs. Analysis included chi-square and regression analysis (RCT characteristics) and thematic analysis (LTE topics).
Of 334 identified RCTs, 175 trials had at least one LTE. Of these, 381 published LTE were identified. Most RCTs, tested drug interventions (68%), were funded by government (54%) or industry (33%), and described an intervention that had a positive impact on the primary outcome (62%). RCT authors were primarily affiliated with an academic centre (78%). Ninety percent of the 623 LTE topics concerned methodological issues regarding the analysis, intervention, and population in the RCT. There was a significant association between funding source and impact on outcomes (p = 0.002) or type of intervention tested (p = 0.001) in these trials. Clinical and “Other” LTE topics were more likely to be published in response to a government funded RCT (p = 0.005 and p = 0.033, respectively); no other comparisons were significant.
This study showed that most LTE are about methodological topics, but found little evidence to support that these topics are affected by the characteristics or results of the RCTs. The lack of association may be explained by editorial censorship as a small proportion of LTE that are submitted are actually published.
Letters to the editor; Randomized controlled trials; Journalogy
Phytoplasmas are phloem-limited phytopathogenic wall-less bacteria and represent a major threat to agriculture worldwide. They are transmitted in a persistent, propagative manner by phloem-sucking Hemipteran insects. For gene expression studies based on mRNA quantification by RT-qPCR, stability of housekeeping genes is crucial. The aim of this study was the identification of reference genes to study the effect of phytoplasma infection on gene expression of two leafhopper vector species. The identified reference genes will be useful tools to investigate differential gene expression of leafhopper vectors upon phytoplasma infection.
The expression profiles of ribosomal 18S, actin, ATP synthase β, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and tropomyosin were determined in two leafhopper vector species (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), both healthy and infected by “Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris” (chrysanthemum yellows phytoplasma strain, CYP). Insects were analyzed at three different times post acquisition, and expression stabilities of the selected genes were evaluated with BestKeeper, geNorm and Normfinder algorithms. In Euscelidius variegatus, all genes under all treatments were stable and could serve as reference genes. In Macrosteles quadripunctulatus, BestKeeper and Normfinder analysis indicated ATP synthase β, tropomyosin and GAPDH as the most stable, whereas geNorm identified reliable genes only for early stages of infection.
In this study a validation of five candidate reference genes was performed with three algorithms, and housekeeping genes were identified for over time transcript profiling of two leafhopper vector species infected by CYP. This work set up an experimental system to study the molecular basis of phytoplasma multiplication in the insect body, in order to elucidate mechanisms of vector specificity. Most of the sequences provided in this study are new for leafhoppers, which are vectors of economically important plant pathogens. Phylogenetic indications were also drawn from sequence analysis of these genes.
“Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris”; Euscelidius variegatus; Macrosteles quadripunctulatus; Insect vectors; Housekeeping genes; BestKeeper; geNorm; Normfinder
Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) is offered to patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) in the oil-rich countries in the Gulf region without adequate understanding of their perceptions, preferences or pain experiences. This study aimed to explore the pain experience and mobility limitation as well as the patient’s decision making process to undertake TKA among women with knee pain in the waiting list for surgery.
Five focus group discussions were conducted comprised of 39 women with severe knee OA from the waiting list for TKA in the only orthopaedic hospital in Kuwait. Discussions were recorded, transcribed and coded for themes to identify the factors considered to be important in decision-making for TKA.
Experiencing knee pain was central to daily living and affected patients and their families. Mobility limitation was shaped by a strong sense of expected obligation to take care of the family. Two major sources of TKA delay were identified; one was due to late clinical advice to undergo TKA which was the result of receiving several consultations from different clinicians each of whom tried the medical management for OA. The second delay occurred after the clinical advice for TKA and was mainly due to ambivalence of patients because of fear of the operation and the lack of information about TKA that resulted in unclear expectations of the surgery.
Both verbal and written information about TKA should be provided as part of preoperative rehabilitation. This is critical to improve doctor-patient interactions and facilitate informed decision about the procedure and thus achieve patient-centered healthcare.
Knee; Pain; Kuwait; Arthroplasty; Middle East
Construction of artificial polyepitope antigens is one of the most promising strategies for developing more efficient and safer vaccines evoking T-cell immune responses. Epitope rearrangements and utilization of certain spacer sequences have been proven to greatly influence the immunogenicity of polyepitope constructs. However, despite numerous efforts towards constructing and evaluating artificial polyepitope immunogens as well as despite numerous computational methods elaborated to date for predicting T-cell epitopes, peptides binding to TAP and for antigen processing prediction, only a few computational tools were currently developed for rational design of polyepitope antigens.
Here we present a PolyCTLDesigner program that is intended for constructing polyepitope immunogens. Given a set of either known or predicted T-cell epitopes the program selects N-terminal flanking sequences for each epitope to optimize its binding to TAP (if necessary) and joins resulting oligopeptides into a polyepitope in a way providing efficient liberation of potential epitopes by proteasomal and/or immunoproteasomal processing. And it also tries to minimize the number of non-target junctional epitopes resulting from artificial juxtaposition of target epitopes within the polyepitope. For constructing polyepitopes, PolyCTLDesigner utilizes known amino acid patterns of TAP-binding and proteasomal/immunoproteasomal cleavage specificity together with genetic algorithm and graph theory approaches. The program was implemented using Python programming language and it can be used either interactively or through scripting, which allows users familiar with Python to create custom pipelines.
The developed software realizes a rational approach to designing poly-CTL-epitope antigens and can be used to develop new candidate polyepitope vaccines. The current version of PolyCTLDesigner is integrated with our TEpredict program for predicting T-cell epitopes, and thus it can be used not only for constructing the polyepitope antigens based on preselected sets of T-cell epitopes, but also for predicting cytotoxic and helper T-cell epitopes within selected protein antigens. PolyCTLDesigner is freely available from the project’s web site: http://tepredict.sourceforge.net/PolyCTLDesigner.html.
T-cell epitope; Polyepitope; Cytotoxic T cell; Transporters associated with antigen processing; Proteasome; Directed weighted graph; Travelling salesman problem
Maize (Zea mays ssp. mays L.), as the most important plant for staple food of several million people, animal feed and bioenergy productions, is widely cultivated around the world. Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) are widely used as molecular markers in maize genetics and breeding, but only two thousands pairs of SSRs have been published currently, which hardly satisfies for the increasing needs of geneticists and breeders. Furthermore, the increasing studies have revealed that SSRs also play a vital role in functional regulation and evolution. It is fortunate that the development of sequencing technology and bio-software provides the basis for characterization and development of SSRs in maize.
In this study, MISA was applied to identify overall 179,681 SSRs in maize reference genome B73, with an average distance of 11.46 Kbp. Their distributions within the genome in different regions were non-random, and the density followed in a descending order of UTR, promotor, intron, intergenic and CDS. Meanwhile, 82,694 (46.02%) SSRs with unique flanking sequences were selected, and then applied to analyze the polymorphism of next-generation sequencing data from 345 maize inbred lines and data from maize reference genome B73. There were 58,946 SSRs with length information results in ten or more than ten genomes, accounting for 71.28% of SSRs with unique flanking sequences, while 55,621 SSRs had polymorphism, with an average PIC value of 0.498. 250 pairs of SSR primers in different genomic regions covering all maize chromosomes were randomly chosen for the experimental validation, with an average PIC value of 0.63 in 11 elite maize inbred lines.
Our work provided insight into the non-random distribution spatterns and compositions of SSRs in different regions of maize genome, and also developed more polymorphic SSR markers using next-generation sequencing reads. The genome-wide SSRs polymorphism markers could be useful for genetic analysis and marker-assisted selection in breeding practice, and it was also proved to be high efficient for molecular marker development via next-generation sequencing reads.
Maize; Simple sequence repeat (SSR); Genome; Next-generation sequence; Polymorphism