University General - Research Publications
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Systematic review of pharmacogenomics and adverse drug reactions in paediatric oncology patients.
Many paediatric patients with cancer experience significant chemotherapy side effects. Predisposition to drug reactions is governed by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We performed a systematic review of the literature from 2006 through 2016. Outcomes of interest included patient characteristics, cancer type drug of interest, genes investigated, toxicity identified and genetic polymorphisms implicated. The primary toxicities studied were neurotoxicity cardiotoxicity, osteonecrosis, and thromboembolism and hypersensitivity reactions. The retrieved studies were grouped according to toxicity reported and SNP associations. This review highlights the discoveries to date in pharmacogenomics and paediatric oncology along with highlighting some of the important limitations in the area.
Atopy in people aged 40 years and over: Relation to airflow limitation.
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the role of atopy as a risk factor for COPD. In part, this is attributable to variation in the definitions of airflow limitation and the treatment of people with asthma. OBJECTIVE: To establish whether there is any independent association between atopy and post-bronchodilator airflow limitation in the general population aged 40 years and over. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a general population sample of 2415 people aged 40 years and over in Australia. A history of ever being diagnosed with asthma was elicited by questionnaire. Atopy was defined as any skin prick test weal to common aeroallergens ≥4 mm. Airflow limitation was defined as post-bronchodilator spirometric (FEV1 /FVC) ratio <lower limit of normal. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounding due to age, sex, smoking, race and socio-economic status. RESULTS: The prevalence of atopy, ever diagnosed asthma and post-bronchodilator airflow obstruction was 44.8%, 19.3% and 7.5%, respectively. In the population as a whole, atopy was associated with lower FEV₁ (adjusted difference -0.068L, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.104 to -0.032), FVC (adj. difference -0.043L, 95% CI -0.086 to -0.0009) and post-bronchodilator FEV₁/FVC ratio (adj. difference -0.011, 95% CI -0.017 to -0.0055). The effect of atopy on lung function was no longer apparent when participants who reported ever diagnosed asthma were excluded (FEV₁ -0.011L, [95% CI -0.05 to 0.028L], FVC -0.012L [95% CI -0.060 to 0.036] and FEV₁/FVC ratio -0.0012 [95% CI -0.0072 to 0.0047L]). CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The apparent association between atopy and post-bronchodilator airflow limitation in the general population appears to be explained by the association between atopy and having ever diagnosed asthma and the effect of asthma on lung function.
Short-term (48hours) intravenous serelaxin infusion has no effect on myogenic tone or vascular remodeling in rat mesenteric arteries
BACKGROUND: Short-term IV sRLX (recombinant human relaxin-2) infusion enhances endothelium-dependent relaxation in mesenteric arteries. This is initially underpinned by increased NO followed by a transition to prostacyclin. The effects of short-term IV sRLX treatment on pressure-induced myogenic tone and vascular remodeling in these arteries are unknown. Therefore, we investigated the effects of sRLX infusion on pressure-induced myogenic tone and passive mechanical wall properties in mesenteric arteries. METHODS: Mesenteric artery myogenic tone and passive mechanics were examined after 48-hours and 10-days infusion of sRLX. Potential mechanisms of action were assessed by pressure myography, qPCR, and Western blot analysis. RESULTS: Neither 48-hours nor 10-days sRLX treatment had significant effects on myogenic tone, passive arterial wall stiffness, volume compliance, or axial lengthening. However, in 48-hours sRLX -treated rats, incubation with the NO synthase blocker L-NAME significantly increased myogenic tone (P<.05 vs placebo), demonstrating an increased contribution of NO to the regulation of myogenic tone. eNOS dimerization, but not phosphorylation, was significantly upregulated in the arteries of sRLX -treated rats. CONCLUSION: In mesenteric arteries, 48-hours sRLX treatment upregulates the role of NO in the regulation of myogenic tone by enhancing eNOS dimerization, without altering overall myogenic tone or vascular remodeling.
Dietary analysis and nutritional counselling for caries prevention in dental practise: a pilot study
BACKGROUND: Dental practitioners agree that dietary counselling is essential for caries prevention; however, they provide advice infrequently due to a lack of confidence and competence. This study aimed to improve practises through an online training module exploring the use of a brief counselling method, and a diet assessment of caries risk form. METHODS: Dental practitioners (N = 41) completed a survey on current practises and confidence in providing dietary advice, followed by an online training module. Ten practitioners were involved in recruiting patients, eliciting a diet assessment of caries risk, and using brief counselling techniques with these patients. Patients were followed up at 6 months for a risk assessment review. Dental practitioners also completed a 6-month follow-up survey exploring changes in confidence and perceived barriers. RESULTS: Dental hygienists' confidence improved significantly following the intervention (P < 0.025). Patients showed a significant reduction in high-risk behaviour pertaining to quantity and timing of sugar intake, and significant trends in improvement of behaviours relating to frequency, exposure time and drinking style (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: It appears that a simple online learning module can improve hygienists' confidence in dietary advice provision, and have a positive impact on patient behaviour change, within a relatively short time-frame.
Younger age is a risk factor for regrowth and recurrence of nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas: Results from a single Australian centre.
OBJECTIVE: The natural history of nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas (NFPMA) after surgical resection is variable, with guidelines unable to define the duration of radiological follow-up. In this first Australian series, we identify risk factors for regrowth/recurrence of NFPMA to assist with guiding recommendations for long-term follow-up. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of all radiotherapy-naïve cases with NFPMA resected between 1995 and 2013. PATIENTS: One hundred and twenty-three cases had both ≥2 postoperative scans and ≥12-month follow-up. MEASUREMENTS: Regrowth was defined as any sustained increase in diameter of residual adenoma or recurrence as any new adenoma occurring post complete resection on serial pituitary MRI. RESULTS: Median follow-up time was 48 months (interquartile range [IQR]: 31-86). Overall regrowth/recurrence occurred in 29% (36/123). Regrowth occurred in 40% (30/76) at a median time of 44.5 months (IQR 22-80) compared to recurrence of 12.5% (6/48; P=.003), occurring at a median time of 48 months (IQR 12-96; P=.7). Further treatment was required in 66.7% and 56.7%, respectively (=1.0). Risk factors for regrowth/recurrence by multivariate analysis were presence of residual disease and younger age at presentation. The longest time for regrowth was 168 months (14 years) and recurrence 156 months (13 years). CONCLUSIONS: Presence of postoperative residual adenoma and younger age at presentation are the main predictors of regrowth/recurrence in NFPMA. Long-term serial imaging is required to detect regrowth and recurrence in younger patients and those with residual disease. Most regrowth/recurrences will occur within 10 years of follow-up.
Age at onset and persistence of eczema are related to subsequent risk of asthma and hay fever from birth to 18 years of age
BACKGROUND: Few studies have simultaneously addressed the importance of age of onset and persistence of eczema for the subsequent development of asthma and hay fever, particularly into early adulthood. METHODS: A high-risk birth cohort was recruited comprising 620 infants, who were then followed up frequently until 2 years of age, annually from age 3 to 7, then at 12 and 18 years, to document any episodes of eczema, current asthma, and hay fever. The generalized estimation equation technique was used to examine asthma and hay fever outcomes at 6 (n = 325), 12 (n = 248) and 18 (n = 240) years, when there was consistency of associations across the follow-ups. RESULTS: Very early-onset persistent (onset <6 months, still present from 2 to 5 years) eczema was related to current asthma (adjusted OR = 3.2 [95% CI = 1.7-6.1]), as was very early-onset remitting eczema (onset <6 months but not present from 2-5 years, OR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.0-7.2) and early-onset persistent eczema (onset from 6-24 months, OR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.2-4.7). Late-onset eczema (commenced from 2-5 years) was associated with increased risk of asthma at 12 years (OR = 3.0, 95% CI=1.1-8.2) but not at age 6 years. Only very early-onset persistent eczema was associated with increased risk of hay fever (aOR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.4-4.1). CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Eczema which commences in early infancy and persists into toddler years is strongly associated with asthma, and to a lesser extent hay fever, in high-risk children. If these associations are causal, prevention of early-life eczema might reduce the risk of respiratory allergy.
Can additional N fertiliser ameliorate the elevated CO2-induced depression in grain and tissue N concentrations of wheat on a high soil N background?
Elevated COâ stimulates crop yields but leads to lower tissue and grain nitrogen concentrations [N], raising concerns about grain quality in cereals. To test whether N fertiliser application above optimum growth requirements can alleviate the decline in tissue [N], wheat was grown in a Free Air COâ Enrichment facility in a lowâ rainfall cropping system on high soil N. Crops were grown with and without addition of 50â 60Â kg N/ha in 12 growing environments created by supplemental irrigation and two sowing dates over 3Â years. Elevated COâ increased yield and biomass (on average by 25%) and decreased biomass [N] (3%â 9%) and grain [N] (5%). Nitrogen uptake was greater (20%) in crops grown under elevated COâ . Additional N supply had no effect on yield and biomass, confirming high soil N. Small increases in [N] with N addition were insufficient to offset declines in grain [N] under elevated COâ . Instead, N application increased the [N] in straw and decreased N harvest index. The results suggest that conventional addition of N does not mitigate grain [N] depression under elevated COâ , and lend support to hypotheses that link decreases in crop [N] with biochemical limitations rather than N supply.
High serum vitamin D level correlates with better prognostic indicators in primary melanoma: A pilot study
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Sunlight is a major risk factor for cutaneous melanoma. However, its interaction with melanoma is complex. In particular, vitamin D is a UVB-derived hormone that has been shown to have anti-cancer effects. In this retrospective pilot study we sought to determine an association between the clinicopathological features of melanoma and the patients' corresponding serum vitamin D level. METHODS: In total, 109 primary melanomas diagnosed between 2001 and 2013 were retrospectively identified from our institutional database with a corresponding 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 level estimated within 6 months of diagnosis. Tumour, clinical (age, sex, tumour location) and pathological (thickness, mitosis, ulceration, Clark level, subtype, metastatic status) parameters were correlated with vitamin D. For statistical analysis, an unpaired Student's t-test and anova was used for categorical variables, and Spearman's correlation for continuous variables. RESULTS: Vitamin D level was inversely associated with Breslow thickness as a dichotomous, categorical and continuous variable. The association remained significant when controlled for patient's age and sex (P = 0.026). Vitamin D was higher in non-ulcerated tumours compared with ulcerated tumours (P = 0.006) and in tumours with mitotic rate <1/mm2 compared with ≥1/mm2 (P = 0.036). A significant association was found between vitamin D level and tumour histological subtype (P = 0.019). On subgroup analysis, significant associations were found between superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) and nodular melanoma (P = 0.026), and SSM and acral lentiginous melanoma (P = 0.007). CONCLUSION: A high vitamin D status may benefit prognosis in patients diagnosed with primary melanoma. A prospective cohort analysis with a large sample and controlled for other vitamin D confounders would validate these findings.
Low-dose rituximab and concurrent adjuvant therapy for pemphigus: Protocol and single-centre long-term review of nine patients
Pemphigus is an autoimmune B-cell mediated blistering disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Rituximab has proven effective for the treatment of steroid-refractory pemphigus, although there is controversy over the optimum dosing protocol. Additionally, effective disease control often requires long-term immunosuppression, even in disease-free periods. We present a case series of a single-centre long-term follow up of nine patients with pemphigus, treated with two 500-mg doses of rituximab separated by 14 days along with concurrent adjuvant therapy. In all these patients, low-dose rituximab resulted in B-cell depletion, along with a reduction in blistering disease. Three of these patients required repeat dosing cycles due to either relapsed disease or incomplete disease control following the first dosing cycle, and have remained disease free up to 154 weeks thus far. Six patients developed minor infections during the course of their treatment, but no major complications were observed.
Breast milk polyunsaturated fatty acids: associations with adolescent allergic disease and lung function
BACKGROUND: It has been hypothesized that n-3 PUFA in breast milk may assist immune and lung development. There are very limited data on possible long-term effects on allergic disease and lung function. The aim was to investigate associations of n-3 and n-6 PUFA levels in colostrum and breast milk with allergic disease and lung function at ages 12 and 18 years. METHODS: Polyunsaturated fatty acids were measured in 194 colostrum samples and in 118 three-month expressed breast milk samples from mothers of children enrolled in the Melbourne Atopy Cohort (MACS) Study, a high-risk birth cohort study. Associations with allergic diseases, skin prick tests and lung function assessed at 12 and 18 years were estimated using multivariable regression. RESULTS: Higher levels of n-3 but not n-6 PUFAs in colostrum were associated with a trend towards increased odds of allergic diseases, with strong associations observed for allergic rhinitis at 12 (OR = 5.69[95% CI: 1.83,17.60] per weight%) and 18 years (4.43[1.46,13.39]) and eczema at 18 years (9.89[1.44, 68.49]). Higher levels of colostrum n-3 PUFAs were associated with reduced sensitization (3.37[1.18, 9.6]), mean FEV1 (-166 ml [-332, -1]) and FEV1 /FVC ratio (-4.6%, [-8.1, -1.1]) at 12 years. CONCLUSION: Higher levels of colostrum n-3 PUFAs were associated with increased risks of allergic rhinitis and eczema up to 18 years, and sensitization and reduced lung function at 12 years. As residual confounding may have caused these associations, they should be replicated, but these results could indicate that strategies that increase maternal n-3 PUFA intake may not aid in allergic disease prevention.
Beyond the Storm: Comparison of Clinical Factors, Arrhythmogenic Substrate, and Catheter Ablation Outcomes in Structural Heart Disease Patients With versus Those Without a History of Ventricular Tachycardia Storm.
AIMS: Catheter ablation can be lifesaving in ventricular tachycardia (VT) storm, but the underlying substrate in patients with storm is not well characterized. We sought to compare the clinical factors, substrate, and outcomes differences in patients with sustained monomorphic VT who present for catheter ablation with VT storm versus those with a nonstorm presentation. METHODS: Consecutive ischemic (ICM; n = 554) or nonischemic cardiomyopathy patients (NICM; n = 369) with a storm versus nonstorm presentation were studied (ICM storm 186; NICM storm 101). RESULTS: In ICM, storm compared with nonstorm patients had significantly lower left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF), greater number of antiarrhythmic drug (AAD) failures, slower VTs, greater number of scarred LV segments, higher incidence of anterior, septal, and apical endocardial LV scar (all P < 0.05). However, outcomes in follow-up were similar (12-month ventricular arrhythmia [VA]-free survival: 51% vs. 52%, P = 0.6; survival free of death/transplant 75% vs. 87%, P = 0.7). In addition to the above differences, NICM storm patients were also older; however, the extent and distribution of scar was similar except for a higher incidence of lateral endocardial scar in storm patients (P = 0.05). VA-free survival (36% vs. 47%, P = 0.004) and survival free of death/transplant, however, were worse in NICM storm than nonstorm patients (72% vs. 88%, P = 0.001). NICM storm patients had worse VA-free survival than ICM storm patients. CONCLUSION: There are differences in clinical factors and scar patterns in patients undergoing VT ablation who present with VT storm versus those with a nonstorm presentation. Clinical outcomes are worse in NICM storm patients.
Does serelaxin treatment alter passive mechanical wall properties in small resistance arteries?
The peptide hormone relaxin is recognized for its connective tissue remodeling actions in the reproductive tract during pregnancy and parturition, but it also has vascular remodeling actions independent of pregnancy. Recombinant human relaxin (serelaxin) treatment in male and non-pregnant female rodents enhances passive arterial compliance in the renal vasculature. This review focuses on serelaxin's actions on passive mechanical wall properties in small arteries and highlights the diversity of responses to serelaxin treatment in rodents. Different experimental approaches (duration of serelaxin treatment, rat strain, age) and animal models of disease (obesity, hypertension) will be considered. Most studies in young rodents demonstrate that serelaxin treatment fails to alter passive compliance in resistance-size arteries (mesenteric and femoral arteries and cerebral parenchymal arterioles), suggesting that serelaxin's beneficial effects are minimal in healthy animals. Short-term serelaxin treatment (5d) in aged, obese, and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) is largely without effect on passive mechanical wall properties. However, a longer duration of serelaxin treatment in SHRs (14d) enhances passive compliance in large muscular arteries as well as resistance-size arteries. In conclusion, serelaxin is capable of vascular remodeling. Its actions are vascular bed-dependent, more prominent in disease, and likely requires a longer duration of treatment to be effective.
Sites With Small Impedance Decrease During Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation Are Associated With Recovery of Pulmonary Vein Conduction
OBJECTIVE: To correlate impedance decrease during atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation with lesion durability and PV conduction recovery demonstrated during redo procedures. BACKGROUND: Markers of successful ablation beyond acute conduction block are needed to improve durability of pulmonary vein (PV) isolation (PVI). Local impedance decrease resulting from ablation is a real-time marker of tissue heating and is correlated with lesion creation. METHODS: Impedance changes associated with point-by-point radiofrequency ablation in the PV antra were recorded during 167 consecutive first-time AF ablations. During clinically indicated redo procedures, sites of recovered PV conduction were identified, and were correlated with the impedance change achieved during ablation at these locations during the initial procedure. RESULTS: Redo procedures were performed in 28 patients, in whom 19 sites of recovered PV conduction were documented. Most sites of PV reconnection (58%) occurred along the posterior PV antra. Ablation resulting in impedance decrease <10 ohms during the initial procedure was present in 89% (17/19) of sites with conduction recovery. Regions with adjacent ablation resulting in impedance decrease <10 ohms were associated with a higher rate of conduction recovery (37% vs. 1.5%, P < 0.001). Likewise, patients with PV conduction recovery demonstrated during redo procedure (Group 1) had larger regions where ablation resulted in <10 ohm impedance decrease than patients without PV conduction recovery (Group 2) (21.9 ± 15.5 mm vs. 11.5 ± 2.1 mm, P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Recovered PV conduction occurs predominantly in regions where adjacent ablation applications result in impedance decreases <10 ohms. Impedance-guided ablation strategies may improve durability of PVI.
Vascular actions of relaxin: nitric oxide and beyond
The peptide hormone relaxin regulates the essential maternal haemodynamic adaptations in early pregnancy through direct actions on the renal and systemic vasculature. These vascular actions of relaxin occur mainly through endothelium-derived NO-mediated vasodilator pathways and improvements in arterial compliance in small resistance-size arteries. This work catalysed a plethora of studies which revealed quite heterogeneous responses across the different regions of the vasculature, and also uncovered NO-independent mechanisms of relaxin action. In this review, we first describe the role of endogenous relaxin in maintaining normal vascular function, largely referring to work in pregnant and male relaxin-deficient animals. We then discuss the diversity of mechanisms mediating relaxin action in different vascular beds, including the involvement of prostanoids, VEGF, endothelium-derived hyperpolarisation and antioxidant activity in addition to the classic NO-mediated vasodilatory pathway. We conclude the review with current perspectives on the vascular remodelling capabilities of relaxin. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed section on Recent Progress in the Understanding of Relaxin Family Peptides and their Receptors. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v174.10/issuetoc.
Depression and anger in fathers of unsettled infants: A community cohort study
AIM: To examine the relationship between unsettled infant behaviour and fathers' depressive symptoms, cognitions surrounding infant sleep (anger, doubt), and personal sleep, in a community cohort. METHODS: Data were collected from 102 fathers of healthy infants at 4 weeks, 4 months and 6 months of age. Measures included father report of infant sleep and crying problems, depressive symptoms, cognitions about infant sleep and own sleep quality and quantity. Data were analysed using adjusted regression models. RESULTS: Sleep problems at 4 months of age were associated with increased depressive symptoms (adjusted mean difference 2.64 (1.27-4.00)), doubt (adjusted mean difference 1.82 (0.40-3.25)), anger (adjusted mean difference 1.86 (0.51-3.20)), poor personal sleep quantity (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.21; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.09-0.51) and quality (adjusted OR 0.20; 95% CI 0.08-0.51); and at 6 months of age, with increased depressive symptoms (adjusted mean difference 2.56 (1.28-3.84)), anger (adjusted mean difference 1.63 (0.40-2.87)), poor personal sleep quantity (adjusted OR 0.14; 95% CI 0.05-0.38) and quality (adjusted OR 0.28; 95% CI 0.11-0.72). Infant cry problems at 4 months were associated with increased anger (adjusted mean difference 1.98 (0.60-3.36)) and doubt (adjusted mean difference 1.55 (0.05-3.05)); and at 6 months, with increased depressive symptoms (adjusted mean difference 3.04 (1.59-4.69)), anger (adjusted mean difference 2.73 (1.29-4.17)) and less personal sleep (adjusted OR 0.22; 95% CI 0.07-0.71). CONCLUSION: Fathers of unsettled infants reported greater anger towards their infant and increased depressive symptoms by 4 months infant age, with these symptoms persisting 2 months later. Evidence-based interventions are needed for these fathers.
Human glandular organoid formation in murine engineering chambers after collagenase digestion and flow cytometry isolation of normal human breast tissue single cells
Women with high mammographic density (MD) are at increased risk of breast cancer (BC) after adjustment for age and body mass index. We have developed a murine biochamber model in which both high MD (HMD) and low MD (LMD) tissue can be propagated. Here, we tested whether cells isolated by collagenase digestion and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) from normal breast can be reconstituted in our biochamber model, which would allow cell-specific manipulations to be tested. Fresh breast tissue was collected from women (n = 7) undergoing prophylactic mastectomy. The tissue underwent collagenase digestion overnight and, in some cases, additional FACS enrichment to obtain mature epithelial, luminal progenitor, mammary stem, and stromal cells. Cells were then transferred bilaterally into biochambers in SCID mice (n = 5-7) and incubated for 6 weeks, before harvesting for histological analyses, and immunohistochemical staining for cytokeratins (CK), vimentin, Ki-67, murine macrophages, and Cleaved Caspase-3. Biochambers inoculated with single cells after collagenase digestion or with flow cytometry contained glandular structures of human origin (human vimentin-positive), which expressed CK-14 and pan-CK, and were proliferating (Ki-67-positive). Glandular structures from the digested tissues were smaller than those in chambers seeded with finely chopped intact mammary tissue. Mouse macrophage infiltration was higher in the chambers arising from digested tissues. Pooled single cells and FACS fractionated cells were viable in the murine biochambers and formed proliferating glandular organoids of human origin. This is among the first report to demonstrate the success of formed human glandular organoids from isolated primary mammary cells in the murine biochamber model.
Cancer beliefs in ethnic minority populations: a review and meta-synthesis of qualitative studies
People from ethnic minorities often experience poorer cancer outcomes, possibly due to later presentation to healthcare and later diagnosis. We aimed to identify common cancer beliefs in minority populations in developed countries, which can affect symptom appraisal and help seeking for symptomatic cancer. Our systematic review found 15 relevant qualitative studies, located in the United Kingdom (six), United States (five), Australia (two) and Canada (two) of African, African-American, Asian, Arabic, Hispanic and Latino minority groups. We conducted a meta-synthesis that found specific emotional reactions to cancer, knowledge and beliefs and interactions with healthcare services as contributing factors in help seeking for a cancer diagnosis. These findings may be useful to inform the development of interventions to facilitate cancer diagnosis in minority populations.
Attitudes and barriers to providing dietary advice: perceptions of dental hygienists and oral health therapists
OBJECTIVES: Effective dietary counselling in a dental setting can significantly reduce the risk of oral disease. However, studies suggest that dental professionals are not instigating dietary advice on a regular basis, and there is a lack of current information of the barriers experienced that limit the delivery of dietary advice. The aim of this study was to investigate the current attitudes and practice behaviours of dental hygienists and oral health therapists in NSW, Australia, regarding dietary advice, and identify the barriers that limit its delivery. METHODS: A convenience sample of dental hygienists and oral health therapists were surveyed using a mail-out questionnaire. The questionnaire investigated the demographic data of participants, the attitudes and practice behaviours of participants, the perceived barriers and current dietary resources accessed by participants. RESULTS: Of 987 dental hygienists and oral health therapists, 426 participants responded. The study results suggest that many dental hygienists and oral health therapists have positive beliefs regarding the importance of dietary counselling. However, there are a multitude of barriers preventing the delivery of dietary advice; these include time, patient compliance, patient knowledge of nutrition topics, personal counselling skills and practitioners' knowledge of nutrition. CONCLUSION: Whilst dental hygienists and oral health therapists recognize the importance of diet and have positive attitudes towards providing dietary advice to patients, this study identified many barriers preventing implementation in practice. This information may be used to develop targeted strategies aimed at overcoming these barriers and improving behaviours.
Antibody responses following incident anal and penile infection with human papillomavirus in teenage men who have sex with men
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at risk for human papillomavirus (HPV)-related anal cancer. Few data exist on antibody responses following incident anogenital infection with HPV in teenage MSM. A cohort of 200 MSM aged 16-20 years from Melbourne, Australia were assessed at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months. At each visit anal and penile swabs were collected for HPV DNA and serum for HPV antibodies for genotypes 6, 11, 16 and 18 (Merck's Multiplex Assays using Luminex). The main outcome, seroconversion, was defined as the detection of HPV antibodies following a negative antibody result for the same HPV type at baseline. The seroincidence rates for HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 were: 19 (95% CI 12-26), 7 (3-12), 4 (1-8) and 6 (3-11) per 100 person-years, respectively. Men who experienced incident anal HPV infections from types 6/11 were significantly more likely to develop serum antibodies to the same HPV type(s) than those who experienced incident anal infections from types 16/18 [73 vs. 18%, odds ratio (OR) = 15, 95% CI: 2-118]. The median time between incident anal HPV infection and seroconversion for HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18 was: 91, 38, 161 and 182 days, respectively. Antibody responses against HPV types 6/11 were significantly more likely to occur following incident anal compared with incident penile infection with HPV types 6/11 (OR = 6, 95% CI: 2-21). The likelihood of antibody responses following anogenital HPV infections depends on the HPV type and site of infection.
Hormonal evaluation in relation to phenotype and genotype in 286 patients with a disorder of sex development from Indonesia
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine the aetiological spectrum of disorders of sex development (DSD) in a large cohort of underprivileged and undiagnosed patients from Indonesia. METHODS: A total of 286 patients with atypical external and/or internal genitalia were evaluated using clinical, hormonal, molecular genetic and histological parameters. RESULTS: The age (years) at presentation was 0-0·5 in 41 (14·3%), >0·5-12 in 181 (63·3%) and >12 in 64 cases (22·4%). 46,XY DSD was most common (68·2%, n = 195), 46,XX DSD was found in 23·4% (n = 67) and sex chromosomal DSD in 8·4% (n = 24). In 61·2% of 46,XX DSD patients, 17·9% of 46,XY DSD patients and all sex chromosome DSD patients (29·4% in total), a final diagnosis was reached based on genetic or histological gonadal tissue evaluation. 17-hydroxyprogesterone and androstenedione levels were the most distinctive parameters in 46,XX DSD patients. In 46,XY DSD, diagnostic groups were identified based on the external masculinization score: androgen action disorder (AAD), unknown male undermasculinization (UMU), and gonadal dysgenesis (GD). LH, FSH and testosterone levels were most informative especially in the older age group. HCG tests were of no additional value as no patients with androgen synthesis disorders were found. Hormonal profiles of patients with sex chromosome DSD and a Y-chromosome sequence containing karyotype showed high levels of LH and FSH, and low levels of AMH, inhibin B and testosterone compared with the normal male range. Gene mutations were found in all patients with CAH, but in only 24·5% and 1·8% of patients with AAD and UMU. In 32% of 46,XY GD patients, copy number variants of different genes were found. CONCLUSION: A stepwise diagnostic approach led to a molecularly or histologically proven final diagnosis in 29·4% of the patients. The most informative parameters were serum levels of 17-hydroxyprogesterone and androstenedione in 46,XX DSD patients, and serum LH, FSH and testosterone levels in 46,XY DSD patients.
Risk factors associated with incident sexually transmitted infections in HIV-positive patients in the Australian HIV Observational Database: a prospective cohort study
OBJECTIVES: We established a subcohort of HIV-positive individuals from 10 sexual health clinics within the Australian HIV Observational Database (AHOD). The aim of this study was to assess demographic and other factors that might be associated with an incident sexually transmitted infection (STI). METHODS: The cohort follow-up was from March 2010 to March 2013, and included patients screened at least once for an STI. We used survival methods to determine time to first new and confirmed incident STI infection (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or genital warts). Factors evaluated included sex, age, mode of HIV exposure, year of AHOD enrolment, hepatitis B or C coinfection, time-updated CD4 cell count, time-updated HIV RNA viral load, and prior STI diagnosis. RESULTS: There were 110 first incident STI diagnoses observed over 1015 person-years of follow-up, a crude rate of 10.8 [95% confidence interval (CI) 9.0-13.0] per 100 person-years. Factors independently associated with increased risk of incident STI included younger age [≥ 50 vs. 30-39 years old, adjusted hazards ratio (aHR) 0.4; 95% CI 0.2-0.8; P < 0.0001]; prior STI infection (aHR 2.5; 95% CI 1.6-3.8; P < 0.001), and heterosexual vs. men who have sex with men (MSM) as the likely route of exposure (aHR 0.2; 95% CI 0.1-0.6; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of individualsbeing treated with antiretroviral drugs, those who were MSM, who were 30-39 years old, and who had a prior history of STI, were at highest risk of a further STI diagnosis.
Why attend a memory clinic? What do patients and their families want and/or expect?
OBJECTIVE: To explore which symptoms led people to seek a memory clinic assessment and what they wanted and expected from that assessment. Did the patient and family want and/or expect diagnostic disclosure and, if so, why? METHODS: Patients scheduled for memory clinic appoint-ments received two questionnaires by post prior to clinic attendance - one for the patient, one for the next-of- kin - regarding symptomatology, wants, expectations and rationale. RESULTS: Ninety-two per cent of patients (n = 47) and 88% (n = 43) of next-of-kin wanted the patient to be informed of the diagnosis; 84% (n = 43) of patients and 86% (n = 42) of next-of-kin expected the patient to be informed. Rationales for diagnostic disclosure were categorised under themes of planning, treatment, information, coping strategies and rights. CONCLUSIONS: Patients and families want diagnostic disclosure in order to plan, receive treatment, receive help and learn strategies to cope. This knowledge is seen as the patient's right.
The frequency of mucosal-associated invariant T cells is selectively increased in dermatitis herpetiformis
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are a novel subset of innate-like T-cells that are enriched in mucosal tissues. Their presence in human skin has only recently been recognised. We describe the expression of skin-tropic molecules on human skin MAIT cells at steady state and investigate their contribution to various dermatoses with known T-cell involvement. METHODS: To examine the expression of skin-tropic molecules by MAIT cells at steady state, we performed a flow cytometric analysis of blood and skin samples from healthy donors. To investigate any potential wider contribution of MAIT cells to skin disease, we examined psoriasis, alopecia areata and dermatitis herpetiformis biopsies using immunofluorescent staining to identify the proportion of T-cells expressing MAIT cell surface markers. RESULTS: We found that MAIT cells constituted a small population of T-cells in normal human skin, similar to the percentage found in peripheral blood. Like other skin T-cells, skin MAIT cells expressed high levels of the skin-associated markers, cutaneous lymphocyte antigen and CD103. In psoriasis and alopecia areata the proportion of MAIT cells was similar to that found in normal skin, but in dermatitis herpetiformis it was significantly elevated. CONCLUSIONS: The expression of skin-tropic molecules by skin MAIT cells is consistent with their resident status in normal human skin. Our results suggest that MAIT cells may play a role in the pathogenesis of dermatitis herpetiformis.
Time-dependent activation of prostacyclin and nitric oxide pathways during continuous i.v. infusion of serelaxin (recombinant human H2 relaxin)
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In the RELAX-AHF trial, a 48 h i.v. serelaxin infusion reduced systemic vascular resistance in patients with acute heart failure. Consistent with preclinical studies, serelaxin augments endothelial vasodilator function in rat mesenteric arteries. Little is known about the contribution of endothelium-derived relaxing factors after a longer duration of continuous serelaxin treatment. Here we have assessed vascular reactivity and mechanistic pathways in mesenteric arteries and veins and the aorta after 48 or 72 h continuous i.v. infusion of serelaxin. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Male rats were infused with either placebo or serelaxin (13.3 μg·kg(-1) ·h(-1) ) via the jugular vein using osmotic minipumps. Vascular function was assessed using wire myography. Changes in gene and protein expression and 6-keto PGF1α levels were determined by quantitative PCR, Western blot and ELISA respectively. KEY RESULTS: Continuous i.v. serelaxin infusion augmented endothelium-dependent relaxation in arteries (mesenteric and aorta) but not in mesenteric veins. In mesenteric arteries, 48 h i.v. serelaxin infusion increased basal NOS activity, associated with increased endothelial NOS (eNOS) expression. Interestingly, phosphorylated-eNOS(Ser1177) , eNOS and basal NOS activity were reduced in mesenteric arteries following 72 h serelaxin treatment. At 72 h, serelaxin treatment improved bradykinin-mediated relaxation through COX2-derived PGI2 production. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Continuous i.v. serelaxin infusion enhanced endothelial vasodilator function in arteries but not in veins. The underlying mediator at 48 h was NO but there was a transition to PGI2 by 72 h. Activation of the PGI2 -dependent pathway is key to the prolonged vascular response to serelaxin treatment.
Is There a Role for the ThinPrep Imaging System in Reporting Anal Cytology?
BACKGROUND: The ThinPrep Imaging System (TIS) is an accurate time-saving method of reading cervical ThinPrep slides in screening programs. As anal and cervical cytology are morphologically similar, TIS can potentially be used for anal cytology. We assessed the performance of TIS on anal ThinPrep slides from homosexual men in a natural history study of human papillomavirus-related anal abnormalities. METHODS: Four hundred nineteen anal cytology slides were processed by TIS and classified by a cytologist as either No further review (slide archived) or Manual review (slide requiring full manual screen). The results were compared with the original manual screening report for all slides and specifically for those screening episodes accompanied by a high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) on concurrent biopsy. RESULTS: One hundred seventy six of 419 (42.0%) slides were classified as No further review, with a trend of decreasing proportions as the degree of severity of the cytological abnormality increased. Thirteen (27.7%) slides with an original unsatisfactory report were classified as No further review. Eighty two (92.1%) of those with biopsy HSIL and cytological abnormality were classified for Manual review, including all 45 (100%) with cytological HSIL. CONCLUSION: The cervical algorithm of TIS performed best on anal samples when HSIL was present both cytologically and histologically. The 27.7% unsatisfactory slides classified as No further review may indicate need for use of different criteria from cervical cytology. Because of the high prevalence of abnormalities, and hence the large proportion of slides needing manual review, the cytologist time-saving would compare unfavorably with use of TIS in cervical screening.
FcRn mediates fast recycling of endocytosed albumin and IgG from early macropinosomes in primary macrophages
(COMPANY BIOLOGISTS LTD, 2020-03-01)
The neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) rescues albumin and IgG from degradation following endocytosis and thereby extends the half-life of these plasma proteins. However, the pathways for the uptake of these soluble FcRn ligands, and the recycling itinerary of the FcRn-ligand complexes, have not been identified in primary cells. Here, we have defined the recycling of human albumin and IgG in primary mouse macrophages selectively expressing the human FcRn. Albumin is internalised by macropinocytosis; in the absence of FcRn, internalised albumin is rapidly degraded, while in the presence of FcRn albumin colocalises to SNX5-positive membrane domains and is partitioned into tubules emanating from early macropinosomes for delivery in transport carriers to the plasma membrane. Soluble monomeric IgG was also internalised by macropinocytosis and rapidly recycled by the same pathway. In contrast, the fate of IgG bound to surface Fcγ receptors differed from monomeric IgG endocytosed by macropinocytosis. Overall, our findings identify a rapid recycling pathway for FcRn ligands from early macropinosomes to the cell surface of primary cells.
Changes in the modes of twin birth in Victoria, 1983-2015
OBJECTIVES: To examine changes in the modes of delivery of twins in Victoria over 33 years. DESIGN: Retrospective population-based study. SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: All twin births in Victoria, 1 January 1983 - 31 December 2015. MAJOR OUTCOMES: Mode of birth (vaginal, planned or unplanned caesarean delivery); indications for caesarean delivery. RESULTS: During 1983-2015, 32 187 twin pregnancies ended in live or stillbirths in Victoria. The proportion of twins born by caesarean delivery increased from 24% (156 twin deliveries) in 1983 to 71% (782 deliveries) in 2015. The proportion of twin births by planned caesarean delivery with twin pregnancy as the sole indication for caesarean delivery increased across this period from 1.8% (12 twin deliveries) to 21% (231 deliveries). The proportion of twin births by caesarean delivery and the proportion of caesarean twin deliveries with twin pregnancy as the principal indication each differed between Victorian regions. CONCLUSION: During 1983-2015, the proportion of twins born in Victoria by caesarean delivery increased almost threefold, mostly because caesarean delivery has become the preferred mode of birth for twin pregnancies. Regional differences in the delivery of twins suggest that the number of caesarean deliveries can be reduced with appropriate system and training support.
Initiation of vasopressor infusions via peripheral versus central access in patients with early septic shock: A retrospective cohort study
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether the initiation of vasopressor infusions via peripheral venous catheters (PVC) compared to central venous catheters (CVC) in ED patients with early septic shock was associated with differences in processes of care and outcomes. METHODS: We conducted a post-hoc analysis of the ARISE trial. We compared participants who had a vasopressor infusion first commenced via a PVC versus a CVC. The primary outcome was 90 day mortality. RESULTS: We studied 937 participants. Of these, 389 (42%) had early vasopressor infusion commenced via a PVC and 548 (58%) via a CVC. Trial participants who received a vasopressor infusion via a PVC were more severely ill, with higher median (interquartile range [IQR]) Acute Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE II) scores (17 [13-23] versus 16 [12-21], P = 0.003), and higher median (IQR) lactate (mmol/L) (3.6 [1.9-5.8] versus 2.5 [1.5-4.5], P < 0.001). After adjusting for baseline covariates, the estimated odds ratio for mortality for PVC-treated patients was 1.26 (95% confidence interval 0.95-1.67, P = 0.11). Trial participants who had vasopressors commenced via PVC had a shorter median (IQR) time to commencement of antimicrobials (55 [32-96] versus 71.5 [39-119] min, P < 0.001) and a shorter median (IQR) time to commencement of vasopressors (2.4 [1.3-3.9] versus 4.9 [3.5-6.6] h, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The practice of commencing a vasopressor infusion via a PVC was common in the ARISE trial and more frequent in trial participants with higher severity of illness. Commencement of a vasopressor infusion via a PVC was associated with some improvements in processes of care and, after adjustment, was not associated with an increased risk of death.
Resident perceptions of opportunity for communication and contribution to care planning in residential aged care
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Irrespective of age, communication is a tool of expression and a key daily activity meeting the human need for social interaction and connection. The introduction of consumer-directed care (CDC) emphasises the importance of communication to provide consumers with the opportunity to exercise choice over the care they receive. As consumer-directed care progresses, it is hypothesised that the feasibility of shared decision-making and care planning in residential aged care will be largely determined by the communication opportunities afforded to the residents. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore resident perceptions of the opportunities they have to communicate, including the opportunity to express their care preferences and contribute opinions about their care. DESIGN: A qualitative inductive design was adopted. METHODS: An individual interview format was used to gather the perspectives of 102 residents. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis to generate themes illustrating patterns in participant views. FINDINGS: Overall, residents desired increased involvement in their care planning and increased opportunity for more meaningful communication and social opportunities. Residents described the negative impact of the communication difficulties they face on their communication and the need for support and activities to be tailored to residents' individual communication needs. CONCLUSIONS: To facilitate resident participation in CDC and meet resident desire for increased social communication, further investment in resources to support resident-staff communication and accommodate residents' individual communication needs is required. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: By highlighting communication as a stand-alone activity and a priority of residents, the findings of this study raise the profile of communication and demonstrate the need for explicit allocation of care time and specialist services to support resident-staff communication and social communication in residential aged care. Such support must be tailored to meet residents' individual communication needs and be coupled with increased staff training in providing communication support. Without facilitating resident communication and increasing the opportunity to communicate, shared decision-making and care planning in residential aged care consistent with person-centred and consumer-directed models of care will be limited.
Tranexamic acid modulates the cellular immune profile after traumatic brain injury in mice without hyperfibrinolysis
BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is known to promote immunosuppression, making patients more susceptible to infection, yet potentially exerting protective effects by inhibiting central nervous system (CNS) reactivity. Plasmin, the effector protease of the fibrinolytic system, is now recognized for its involvement in modulating immune function. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of plasmin and tranexamic acid (TXA) on the immune response in wild-type and plasminogen-deficient (plg-/- ) mice subjected to TBI. METHODS: Leukocyte subsets in lymph nodes and the brain in mice post TBI were evaluated by flow cytometry and in blood with a hemocytometer. Immune responsiveness to CNS antigens was determined by Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Spot (ELISpot) assay. Fibrinolysis was determined by thromboelastography and measuring D-dimer and plasmin-antiplasmin complex levels. RESULTS: Plg-/- mice, but not plg+/+ mice displayed increases in both the number and activation of various antigen-presenting cells and T cells in the cLN 1 week post TBI. Wild-type mice treated with TXA also displayed increased cellularity of the cLN 1 week post TBI together with increases in innate and adaptive immune cells. These changes occurred despite the absence of systemic hyperfibrinolysis or coagulopathy in this model of TBI. Importantly, neither plg deficiency nor TXA treatment enhanced the autoreactivity within the CNS. CONCLUSION: In the absence of systemic hyperfibrinolysis, plasmin deficiency or blockade with TXA increases migration and proliferation of conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) and various antigen-presenting cells and T cells in the draining cervical lymph node (cLN) post TBI. Tranexamic acid might also be clinically beneficial in modulating the inflammatory and immune response after TBI, but without promoting CNS autoreactivity.
Common mechanisms of executive attention underlie executive function and effortful control in children
Executive Function (EF) and Effortful Control (EC) have traditionally been viewed as distinct constructs related to cognition and temperament during development. More recently, EF and EC have been implicated in top-down self-regulation - the goal-directed control of cognition, emotion, and behavior. We propose that executive attention, a limited-capacity attentional resource subserving goal-directed cognition and behavior, is the common cognitive mechanism underlying the self-regulatory capacities captured by EF and EC. We addressed three related questions: (a) Do behavioral ratings of EF and EC represent the same self-regulation construct? (b) Is this self-regulation construct explained by a common executive attention factor as measured by performance on cognitive tasks? and (c) Does the executive attention factor explain additional variance in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) problems to behavioral ratings of self-regulation? Measures of performance on complex span, general intelligence, and response inhibition tasks were obtained from 136 preadolescent children (M = 11 years, 10 months, SD = 8 months), along with self- and parent-reported EC, and parent-reported EF, and ADHD problems. Results from structural equation modeling demonstrated that behavioral ratings of EF and EC measured the same self-regulation construct. Cognitive tasks measured a common executive attention factor that significantly explained 30% of the variance in behavioral ratings of self-regulation. Executive attention failed to significantly explain additional variance in ADHD problems beyond that explained by behavioral ratings of self-regulation. These findings raise questions about the utility of task-based cognitive measures in research and clinical assessment of self-regulation and psychopathology in developmental samples.
The Interplay Between Multisensory Associative Learning and IQ in Children
This study assessed the developmental profile of unisensory and multisensory processes, and their contribution to children's intellectual abilities (8- and 11-year olds, N = 38, compared to adults, N = 19) using a simple audiovisual detection task and three incidental associative learning tasks with different sensory signals: visual-verbal with pseudowords, novel audiovisual, and visual-visual. The level of immaturity throughout childhood was dependent on both, the sensory signal type and the task. Associative learning was significantly enhanced with verbal sounds, compared to novel audiovisual and unisensory visual learning. Visual-verbal learning was also the best predictor of children's general intellectual abilities. The results demonstrate a separate developmental trajectory for visual and verbal multisensory processes and independent contributions to the development of cognitive abilities throughout childhood.
Communal responsibility: a history of health collectives in Australia
Healthcare encompasses multiple discourses to which health professionals, researchers, patients, carers and lay individuals contribute. Networks of patients and non-professionals often act collectively to build capacity, enhance access to resources, develop understanding and improve provision of care. This article explores the concept of health collectives and three notable examples that have had an enduring and profound impact in the Australian context.
Sexually transmissible infections among transgender men and women attending Australian sexual health clinics.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate rates of HIV infection, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and infectious syphilis in transgender men and women in Australia; to compare these rates with those for cisgender people. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, comparative analysis of de-identified health data. SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: We analysed data for 1260 transgender people (404 men, 492 women, 364 unrecorded gender), 78 108 cisgender gay and bisexual men, and 309 740 cisgender heterosexual people who attended 46 sexual health clinics across Australia during 2010-2017. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: First-visit test positivity for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), stratified by patient group and year; demographic and behavioural factors associated with having STIs. RESULTS: 14 of 233 transgender men (6.0%) and 34 of 326 transgender women (10%) tested during first clinic visits were chlamydia-positive; nine transgender men (4%) and 28 transgender women (8.6%) were gonorrhoea-positive. One of 210 tested transgender men (0.5%) and ten of 324 tested transgender women (3.1%) were diagnosed with infectious syphilis; 14 transgender men (3.5%) and 28 transgender women (5.7%) were HIV-positive at their first visit. The only significant change in prevalence of an STI among transgender patients during the study period was the increased rate of gonorrhoea among transgender women (from 3.1% to 9.8%). Compared with cisgender gay and bisexual men, transgender men were less likely (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.29-0.71; P = 0.001) and transgender women as likely (aOR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.73-1.32; P = 0.92) to be diagnosed with a bacterial STI; compared with heterosexual patients, transgender men were as likely (aOR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.46-1.13; P = 0.16) and transgender women more likely (aOR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.16-2.10; P = 0.003) to receive a first-visit bacterial STI diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: The epidemiology of STIs in transgender people attending Australian sexual health clinics differs from that of cisgender patients. Gender details must be captured by health data systems to facilitate appropriate delivery of sexual health care.
Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD using minimal resources: An economic analysis
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to compare the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of home and centre-based pulmonary rehabilitation for adults with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). METHODS: Prospective economic analyses were undertaken from a health system perspective alongside a randomized controlled equivalence trial in which participants referred to pulmonary rehabilitation undertook a standard 8-week outpatient centre-based or a new home-based programme. Participants underwent clinical assessment prior to programme commencement, immediately following completion and 12 months following programme completion. They provided data for utility (quality-adjusted life years (QALY) determined using SF6D (utility scores for health states) calculated from 36-Item Short Form Health Survey version 2) and effectiveness (change in distance walked on 6-min walk test (Δ6MWD) following pulmonary rehabilitation ). Individual-level cost data for the 12 months following programme completion was sourced from healthcare administration and government databases. RESULTS: Between-group mean difference point estimates for cost (-$4497 (95% CI: -$12 250 to $3257), utility (0.025 (-0.038 to 0.086) QALY) and effectiveness (14 m (-11 to 39) Δ6MWD) favoured the home-based group. Cost-utility analyses demonstrated 63% of estimates falling in the dominant southeast quadrant and the probability that the new home-based model was cost-effective at a $0 threshold for willingness to pay was 78%. Results were robust to a range of sensitivity analyses. Programme completion was associated with significantly lower healthcare costs in the following 12 months. CONCLUSION: Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation provides a cost-effective alternative model for people with COPD who cannot access traditional centre-based programmes.
Oxidative stress, inflammation and risk of neurodegeneration in a population sample
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Inflammation and oxidative stress (OS) have been clearly linked to neurodegeneration. However, studies investigating the associations between peripheral markers of inflammation and cognitive decline have produced mixed results. This is possibly due to the fact that markers are typically tested individually despite the fact that biologically they function interactively. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the association between a combination of OS/inflammation markers and outcomes including mild cognitive impairment (MCI) diagnosis, cognitive decline and hippocampal atrophy. METHODS: Oxidative stress/inflammation status was assessed in 380 older community-living individuals. Thirteen blood markers were assayed. Principal component analysis (PCA) of all markers was conducted to identify the more salient inflammatory components. Associations between significant principal components, MCI diagnosis, previous change in Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score and hippocampal atrophy were investigated through logistic and linear multiple regression. RESULTS: Two factors (PC1 and PC2) reflecting predominantly broad pro-inflammatory activity and two factors (PC3 and PC4) reflecting predominantly OS activity were identified by PCA analysis. PC3 and PC4 were predictive of MCI. PC3 was also predictive of prior MMSE change. PC1, PC2 and PC3 were significantly associated with hippocampal atrophy. CONCLUSIONS: Combined analysis of complex and interacting biomarkers revealed a protective association between antioxidant activity and MCI that is consistent with lifestyle factors shown to reduce risk of cognitive decline. OS and broad systemic inflammation were also found to be associated with hippocampal atrophy further highlighting the benefits of the PCA methodology applied in this study.
Leadership and career development curriculum in Australian dental and oral health programmes
INTRODUCTION: There is very little evidence of dental schools offering leadership or career development training for students. Given that tertiary students come from diverse backgrounds with differing experiences, it is important that all students learn skills that improve their employability by preparing them for a range of career paths and equipping them with the confidence to lead their profession into the future. This study mapped current leadership and career development training in dental education programmes throughout Australia, focusing on the capacity, barriers and enablers. METHODS: In 2018, an electronic survey was sent to the Program Convenors of all nineteen dental programmes in Australia. Survey questions were sourced from existing literature and the current regulatory competencies. RESULTS: Whilst the majority of respondents (n = 17, 89% response rate) indicated that their programmes included both leadership training (72%) and career development activities (88%), it is clear that the content focus, hours allocated and assessment items vary widely across the country. Further, curriculum appeared to focus almost exclusively on clinical work, which does not provide an avenue for students to explore alternative, non-clinical career options or pathways or develop their skills beyond treating individual patients. Time constraints and ideological differences were reported as the biggest barriers to implementing leadership and career development curricula. CONCLUSION: Despite an inconsistent approach nationally, it appears there is an opportunity for faculty across institutions to collaborate, potentially to develop a set of leadership and career development competencies and best practice teaching and learning activities.
Exercise initiated during pregnancy in rats born growth restricted alters placental mTOR and nutrient transporter expression
KEY POINTS: Fetal growth is dependent on effective placental nutrient transportation, which is regulated by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 modulation of nutrient transporter expression. These transporters are dysregulated in pregnancies affected by uteroplacental insufficiency and maternal obesity. Nutrient transporters and mTOR were altered in placentae of mothers born growth restricted compared to normal birth weight dams, with maternal diet- and fetal sex-specific responses. Exercise initiated during pregnancy downregulated mTOR protein expression, despite an increase in mTOR activation in male associated placentae, and reduced nutrient transporter gene abundance, which was also dependent on maternal diet and fetal sex. Limited changes were characterized with exercise initiated before and continued throughout pregnancy in nutrient transporter and mTOR expression. Maternal exercise during pregnancy differentially regulated mTOR and nutrient transporters in a diet- and sex-specific manner, which likely aimed to improve late gestational placental growth and neonatal survival. ABSTRACT: Adequate transplacental nutrient delivery is essential for fetoplacental development. Intrauterine growth restriction and maternal obesity independently alter placental nutrient transporter expression. Although exercise is beneficial for maternal health, limited studies have characterized how the timing of exercise initiation influences placental nutrient transport. Therefore, this study investigated the impact of maternal exercise on placental mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and nutrient transporter expression in growth restricted mothers and whether these outcomes were dependent on maternal diet or fetal sex. Uteroplacental insufficiency or sham surgery was induced on embryonic day (E) 18 in Wistar-Kyoto rats. F1 offspring were fed a chow or high-fat diet from weaning and at 16 weeks were randomly allocated to an exercise protocol: sedentary, exercised prior to and during pregnancy, or exercised during pregnancy only. Females were mated with normal males (20 weeks) and F2 placentae collected at E20. Exercise during pregnancy only, reduced mTOR protein expression in all groups and increased mTOR activation in male associated placentae. Exercise during pregnancy only, decreased the expression of amino acid transporters in a diet- and sex-specific manner. Maternal growth restriction altered mTOR and system A amino acid transporter expression in a sex- and diet-specific manner. These data highlight that maternal exercise initiated during pregnancy alters placental mTOR expression, which may directly regulate amino acid transporter expression, to a greater extent than exercise initiated prior to and continued during pregnancy, in a diet- and fetal sex-dependent manner. These findings highlight that the timing of exercise initiation is important for optimal placental function.
Testosterone therapy to prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus in at-risk men (T4DM): Design and implementation of a double-blind randomized controlled trial
BACKGROUND: Low circulating testosterone is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in overweight men with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). AIMS: To determine in a multi-centre, double-blinded placebo-controlled randomized trial whether testosterone treatment combined with lifestyle intervention (Weight Watchers) relative to lifestyle intervention alone reduces T2DM incidence and improves glucose tolerance at 2 years. STUDY POPULATION: Overweight or obese men aged 50-74 years with a serum testosterone of ≤14 nmol/L and IGT or newly diagnosed T2DM established by an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). SETTING, DRUG AND PROTOCOL: Six Australian capital city-based tertiary care centres. Participants were randomized 1:1 and injected with testosterone undecanoate (1000 mg/4 mL) or vehicle (4 mL castor oil), at baseline, 6 weeks and 3-monthly thereafter. PRIMARY ENDPOINTS: (a) Proportion of participants with 2-hour OGTT ≥11.1 mmol/L at 2 years, and (b) a difference at 2 years ≥0.6 mmol/L in the mean 2-hour OGTT glucose between treatments. SECONDARY ENDPOINTS: Fasting insulin, HbA1c, body composition, maximal handgrip strength; sexual function and lower urinary tract symptoms; serum sex steroids and sex hormone binding globulin; mood and psychosocial function; adherence to lifestyle intervention; and healthcare utilization and costs. SAFETY: Overseen by an Independent Data Safety Monitoring Committee. Haematocrit, lipids and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are assessed 6-monthly and information relating to haematological, urological and cardiovascular adverse events from each clinic visit. SUB-STUDIES: (a) Changes in bone density and micro-architecture, (b) motivation and behaviour, (c) telomere length, (d) extended treatment up to 4 years, and (e) hypothalamo-pituitary testicular axis recovery at treatment end.
Outcomes in patients with peripheral vascular disease following percutaneous coronary intervention
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in a contemporary setting, and to determine whether use of drug-eluting stents (DESs) improves outcomes. BACKGROUND: PVD was an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes following PCI in the bare-metal stent (BMS) era. It is not known whether outcomes in these patients have improved with advances in interventional techniques and stent technology, as they have for the general population. METHODS: Eighteen thousand three hundred and eighty patients undergoing PCI from an Australian registry between 2005 and 2013 were studied. Clinical and procedural data, 30-day and 12-month outcomes were compared in those with and without a reported history of PVD. Outcomes were also compared between patients with PVD who received DES and those who received BMS. Long-term mortality was compared using Australian National Death Index (NDI) linkage. RESULTS: Patients with PVD (n = 1,251, 6.8%) were older and had more prevalent diabetes, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, heart failure, renal impairment, ostial lesions, left main, and multi-vessel disease (p < 0.001). Patients with PVD had significantly higher rates of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) compared with those without PVD, in-hospital (5.7% vs. 4.1%, p < 0.008), at 30-days (8.6% vs. 5.8%, p < 0.001) and at 12-months (24.6% vs. 13.2%, p < 0.001). At 4.9 ± 2.6 years follow-up, there was significantly greater mortality in the PVD group. PVD patients who received DES experienced significantly less MACE than PVD patients treated with BMS at 30-days (4.8 vs. 10.1%, p < 0.001) and 12-months (19.4 vs. 26.4%, p < 0.005). CONCLUSIONS: PVD is an independent predictor of adverse outcomes in patients undergoing PCI. PVD patient who received DES had improved outcomes compared with those receiving BMS.
Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy for people newly diagnosed with HIV infection in Australia: trends and predictors, 2004-2015
OBJECTIVES: To determine trends in and predictors of early treatment for people newly diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in Australia. DESIGN, SETTING: Retrospective cohort analysis of routinely collected longitudinal data from 44 sexual health clinics participating in the Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance (ACCESS) program. PARTICIPANTS: Patients diagnosed with HIV infections, January 2004 - June 2015. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Commencement of antiretroviral therapy within 6 months of HIV diagnosis (early treatment); demographic, clinical, and risk group characteristics of patients associated with early treatment; trends in early treatment, by CD4+ cell count at diagnosis. RESULTS: 917 people were diagnosed with HIV infections, their median age was 34 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 27-43 years), and 841 (92%) were men; the median CD4+ cell count at diagnosis was 510 cells/μL (IQR, 350-674 cells/μL). The proportion of patients who received early treatment increased from 17% (15 patients) in 2004-06 to 20% (34 patients) in 2007-09, 34% (95 patients) in 2010-12, and 53% (197 patients) in 2013-15 (trend, P < 0.001). The probability of early treatment, which increased with time, was higher for patients with lower CD4+ cell counts and higher viral loads at diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of people newly diagnosed with HIV in sexual health clinics in Australia who received treatment within 6 months of diagnosis increased from 17% to 53% during 2004-2015, reflecting changes in the CD4+ cell count threshold in treatment guidelines. Nevertheless, further strategies are needed to maximise the benefits of treatment to prevent viral transmission and morbidity.
The Australasian Resuscitation In Sepsis Evaluation: FLUid or vasopressors In Emergency Department Sepsis, a multicentre observational study (ARISE FLUIDS observational study): Rationale, methods and analysis plan
OBJECTIVE: There is uncertainty about the optimal i.v. fluid volume and timing of vasopressor commencement in the resuscitation of patients with sepsis and hypotension. We aim to study current resuscitation practices in EDs in Australia and New Zealand (the Australasian Resuscitation In Sepsis Evaluation: FLUid or vasopressors In Emergency Department Sepsis [ARISE FLUIDS] observational study). METHODS: ARISE FLUIDS is a prospective, multicentre observational study in 71 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. It will include adult patients presenting to the ED during a 30 day period with suspected sepsis and hypotension (systolic blood pressure <100 mmHg) despite at least 1000 mL fluid resuscitation. We will obtain data on baseline demographics, clinical and laboratory variables, all i.v. fluid given in the first 24 h, vasopressor use, time to antimicrobial administration, admission to intensive care, organ failure and in-hospital mortality. We will specifically describe (i) the volume of fluid administered at the following time points: when meeting eligibility criteria, in the first 6 h, at 24 h and prior to vasopressor commencement and (ii) the frequency and timing of vasopressor use in the first 6 h and at 24 h. Screening logs will provide reliable estimates of the proportion of ED patients meeting eligibility criteria for a subsequent randomised controlled trial. DISCUSSION: This multicentre, observational study will provide insight into current haemodynamic resuscitation practices in patients with sepsis and hypotension as well as estimates of practice variation and patient outcomes. The results will inform the design and feasibility of a multicentre phase III trial of early haemodynamic resuscitation in patients presenting to ED with sepsis and hypotension.
Targeting the vascular dysfunction: Potential treatments for preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific disorder, primarily characterized by new-onset hypertension in combination with a variety of other maternal or fetal signs. The pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the disease are still not entirely clear. Systemic maternal vascular dysfunction underlies the clinical features of preeclampsia. It is a result of oxidative stress and the actions of excessive anti-angiogenic factors, such as soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase, soluble endoglin, and activin A, released by a dysfunctional placenta. The vascular dysfunction then leads to impaired regulation and secretion of relaxation factors and an increase in sensitivity/production of constrictors. This results in a more constricted vasculature rather than the relaxed vasodilated state associated with normal pregnancy. Currently, the only effective "treatment" for preeclampsia is delivery of the placenta and therefore the baby. Often, this means a preterm delivery to save the life of the mother, with all the attendant risks and burdens associated with fetal prematurity. To lessen this burden, there is a pressing need for more effective treatments that target the maternal vascular dysfunction that underlies the hypertension. This review details the vascular effects of key drugs undergoing clinical assessment as potential treatments for women with preeclampsia.
Maximising data value and avoiding data waste: a validation study in stroke research
(AUSTRALASIAN MED PUBL CO LTD, 2019-01-14)
OBJECTIVES: To determine the feasibility of linking data from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry (AuSCR), the National Death Index (NDI), and state-managed databases for hospital admissions and emergency presentations; to evaluate data completeness and concordance between datasets for common variables. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: Cohort design; probabilistic/deterministic data linkage of merged records for patients treated in hospital for stroke or transient ischaemic attack from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Descriptive statistics for data matching success; concordance of demographic variables common to linked databases; sensitivity and specificity of AuSCR in-hospital death data for predicting NDI registrations. RESULTS: Data for 16 214 patients registered in the AuSCR during 2009-2013 were linked with one or more state datasets: 15 482 matches (95%) with hospital admissions data, and 12 902 matches (80%) with emergency department presentations data were made. Concordance of AuSCR and hospital admissions data exceeded 99% for sex, age, in-hospital death (each κ = 0.99), and Indigenous status (κ = 0.83). Of 1498 registrants identified in the AuSCR as dying in hospital, 1440 (96%) were also recorded by the NDI as dying in hospital. In-hospital death in AuSCR data had 98.7% sensitivity and 99.6% specificity for predicting in-hospital death in the NDI. CONCLUSION: We report the first linkage of data from an Australian national clinical quality disease registry with routinely collected data from several national and state government health datasets. Data linkage enriches the clinical registry dataset and provides additional information beyond that for the acute care setting and quality of life at follow-up, allowing clinical outcomes for people with stroke (mortality and hospital contacts) to be more comprehensively assessed.
Association between visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid examination and high-risk human papillomavirus infection, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Trichomonas vaginalis in Papua New Guinea
BACKGROUND: Papua New Guinea (PNG) has among the highest estimated burdens of cervical cancer globally but currently has no national cervical screening program. Visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA) is a low-cost screening strategy endorsed by the World Health Organization that has been adopted in many low-resource settings but not previously evaluated in PNG. AIM: To evaluate the association between VIA examination findings and high-risk HPV (hrHPV) infection; and the impact of concomitant genital Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Trichomonas vaginalis on the interpretation of VIA findings. METHODS: A prospective clinical cohort study among women aged 30-59 years attending Well Woman Clinics in PNG. Main outcome measures were VIA examination findings and laboratory-confirmed hrHPV, C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae and T. vaginalis. RESULTS: A total of 614 women were enrolled, of whom 87.5% (537/614) underwent VIA, and 12.5% (77/614) did not due to pre-existing cervicitis or inability to visualise the transformation zone. Among the 537 women who underwent VIA, 21.6% were VIA positive, 63.7% VIA negative, and 14.7% had indeterminate findings. The prevalence of hrHPV infection (n = 614) was 14.7%; C. trachomatis, 7.5%; N. gonorrhoeae, 8.0%; and T. vaginalis, 15.0%. VIA positive women were more likely to have HPV16 (odds ratio: 5.0; 95%CI: 1.6-15.6; P = 0.006) but there was no association between HPV18/45, all hrHPV types (combined), C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae or T. vaginalis. CONCLUSIONS: VIA positivity was associated with HPV16, but not with other hrHPV infections, nor with genital C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae or T. vaginalis in this setting.
Diagnostic application of kidney allograft-derived absolute cell-free DNA levels during transplant dysfunction
Graft-derived cell-free DNA (donor-derived cell-free DNA) is an emerging marker of kidney allograft injury. Studies examining the clinical validity of this biomarker have previously used the graft fraction, or proportion of total cell-free DNA that is graft-derived. The present study evaluated the diagnostic validity of absolute measurements of graft-derived cell-free DNA, as well as calculated graft fraction, for the diagnosis of graft dysfunction. Plasma graft-derived cell-free DNA, total cell-free DNA, and graft fraction were correlated with biopsy diagnosis as well as individual Banff scores. Sixty-one samples were included in the analysis. For the diagnosis of antibody mediated rejection, the receiver-operator characteristic area under the curves of graft-derived cell-free DNA and graft fraction were 0.91 (95% CI 0.82-0.98) and 0.89 (95% CI 0.79-0.98), respectively. Both measures did not diagnose borderline or type 1A cellular mediated rejection. Graft fraction was associated with a broader range of Banff lesions, including lesions associated with cellular mediated rejection, while graft-derived cell-free DNA appeared more specific for antibody mediated rejection. Limitations of this study include a small sample size and lack of a validation cohort. The capacity for absolute quantification, and lower barriers to implementation of this methodology recommend it for further study.
A profile of the language and cognitive skills contributing to oral inferential comprehension in young children with developmental language disorder.
BACKGROUND: Children with developmental language disorder (DLD) demonstrate poor oral inferential comprehension. Research investigating the skills that underpin oral inferential comprehension in young children with DLD is necessary in order to better understand and improve inferential comprehension in this population. AIMS: To profile the language and cognitive skills that contribute to oral inferential comprehension in young children with DLD. METHODS & PROCEDURES: Seventy-six children aged 5-6 years with a diagnosis of DLD were assessed on a wide range of language and cognitive measures. Oral inferential comprehension of narrative was the primary outcome measure. OUTCOMES & RESULTS: Narrative macrostructure and microstructure, literal comprehension, vocabulary, phonological loop, and theory of mind were significant predictors of inferential comprehension in bivariate analyses. However, multivariate regression analysis indicated that only narrative retell macrostructure and theory of mind contributed a significant amount of unique variance to inferential comprehension. CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: This study profiled the skills contributing to oral inferential comprehension in young children with DLD, to support the clinical and theoretical understanding of the ability in this population. The findings have implications for future intervention studies.
The extent and predictability of the biodiversity-carbon correlation.
Protecting biomass carbon stocks to mitigate climate change has direct implications for biodiversity conservation. Yet, evidence that a positive association exists between carbon density and species richness is contrasting. Here, we test how this association varies (1) across spatial extents and (2) as a function of how strongly carbon and species richness depend on environmental variables. We found the correlation weakens when moving from larger extents, e.g. realms, to narrower extents, e.g. ecoregions. For ecoregions, a positive correlation emerges when both species richness and carbon density vary as functions of the same environmental variables (climate, soil, elevation). In 20% of tropical ecoregions, there are opportunities to pursue carbon conservation with direct biodiversity co-benefits, while other ecoregions require careful planning for both species and carbon to avoid potentially perverse outcomes. The broad assumption of a linear relationship between carbon and biodiversity can lead to undesired outcomes.
Evaluating the effectiveness of a nutrition assistant role in a head and neck cancer clinic
AIM: Acute toxicities secondary to (chemo)radiation for head and neck cancer can substantially impact nutritional intake. Nutrition is usually managed by dietitians, although time constraints may limit capacity to sufficiently deal with complex nutritional issues. The aim of the present study was to determine the effectiveness of a nutrition assistant performing screening and intervention of patients in a multidisciplinary head and neck clinic. METHODS: A model of care was developed to guide nutrition assistant practice within the clinic, with training provided to nutrition assistants prior to the clinic's implementation. Outcomes, including amount of dietitian time managing high risk patients, weight change over the duration of treatment, timing of initiation of enteral feeding and patient satisfaction were compared with pre- and post-implementation of the nutrition assistant role. RESULTS: Ninety-one patients were included, 43 pre-implementation and 48 post-implementation. Overall, (n = 21, 44%) of patients met criteria for nutrition assistant screening or intervention. Mean weight change between groups was comparable both during (-5.6% vs -4.7%, P = 0.3) and post-radiotherapy (-6.6% vs -6.49%, P = 0.9). Following implementation of the role significant improvement was found for overall patient satisfaction (4.0 ± 1.1 vs 4.6 ± 0.61, P = 0.03), and the dimensions: patient-perceived benefit (3.8 ± 0.69 vs 4.4 ± 0.62, P < 0.01) and dietitian/nutrition-assistant interpersonal skills (3.91 ± 1.1 vs 4.6 ± 0.55, P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: The nutrition assistant role resulted in improved patient satisfaction and maintenance of nutritional outcomes demonstrating the effectiveness of this role in supporting the management of head and neck cancer patients within a multidisciplinary treatment clinic.
Aiming for the elimination of viral hepatitis in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands and Territories: Where are we now and barriers to meeting World Health Organization targets by 2030
Viral hepatitis affects more than 320 million people globally, leading to significant morbidity and mortality due to liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). More than 248 million people (3.2% globally) are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), and an estimated 80 million people (1.1% globally) are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). In 2015, more than 700 000 deaths were directly attributable to HBV, and nearly 500 000 deaths were attributable to HCV infection; 2-5% of HBV-infected people develop HCC per annum irrespective of the presence of cirrhosis, whereas 1-5% HCV-infected people with advanced fibrosis develop HCC per annum. The rapidly escalating global mortality related to HBV and HCV related viral hepatitis to be the 7th leading cause of death worldwide in 2013, from 10th leading cause in 1990. Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Countries and Territories fall within the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region, which has a high prevalence of viral hepatitis and related morbidity, particularly HBV. Remarkably, in this region, HBV-related mortality is greater than for tuberculosis, HIV infection, and malaria combined. The region provides a unique contrast in viral hepatitis prevalence, health system resources, and approaches taken to achieve World Health Organization global elimination targets for HBV and HCV infection. This review highlights the latest evidence in viral hepatitis epidemiology and explores the health resources available to combat viral hepatitis, focusing on the major challenges and critical needs to achieve elimination in Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island Countries and Territories.
Neurological effects of iron supplementation in infancy: finding the balance between health and harm in iron-replete infants
(ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2018-02-01)
Iron mediates many biochemical processes in neural networks that proliferate during brain development. Insufficient iron causes irreversible neurodevelopmental deficits, and most high-income countries recommend that infants older than 4-6 months receive additional iron via food fortification or supplementation to prevent iron-deficiency anaemia. Now that the prevalence of iron-deficiency anaemia in children has decreased to less than 10% in most developed countries, concerns that the recommended intakes far exceed those required to prevent iron-deficiency anaemia have been raised, and emerging evidence suggests that iron overexposure could be linked to adverse outcomes later in life. In this Viewpoint, we discuss the importance of iron for neurodevelopment, investigate the biochemical markers used to assess iron stores, summarise the disparity in public health policies among high-income countries, and discuss the potential association between iron overexposure and adverse neurological outcomes later in life. We present a case for new studies to establish the optimal amount of iron that both prevents deficiency and reduces the potential risk of long-term negative health outcomes.
Water availability moderates N-2 fixation benefit from elevated [CO2]: A 2-year free-air CO2 enrichment study on lentil (Lens culinaris MEDIK.) in a water limited agroecosystem
Increased biomass and yield of plants grown under elevated [CO2 ] often corresponds to decreased grain N concentration ([N]), diminishing nutritional quality of crops. Legumes through their symbiotic N2 fixation may be better able to maintain biomass [N] and grain [N] under elevated [CO2 ], provided N2 fixation is stimulated by elevated [CO2 ] in line with growth and yield. In Mediterranean-type agroecosystems, N2 fixation may be impaired by drought, and it is unclear whether elevated [CO2 ] stimulation of N2 fixation can overcome this impact in dry years. To address this question, we grew lentil under two [CO2 ] (ambient ~400 ppm and elevated ~550 ppm) levels in a free-air CO2 enrichment facility over two growing seasons sharply contrasting in rainfall. Elevated [CO2 ] stimulated N2 fixation through greater nodule number (+27%), mass (+18%), and specific fixation activity (+17%), and this stimulation was greater in the high than in the low rainfall/dry season. Elevated [CO2 ] depressed grain [N] (-4%) in the dry season. In contrast, grain [N] increased (+3%) in the high rainfall season under elevated [CO2 ], as a consequence of greater post-flowering N2 fixation. Our results suggest that the benefit for N2 fixation from elevated [CO2 ] is high as long as there is enough soil water to continue N2 fixation during grain filling.
A population-based cost-effectiveness study of early genetic testing in severe epilepsies of infancy
OBJECTIVE: The severe epilepsies of infancy (SEI) are a devastating group of disorders that pose a major care and economic burden on society; early diagnosis is critical for optimal management. This study sought to determine the incidence and etiologies of SEI, and model the yield and cost-effectiveness of early genetic testing. METHODS: A population-based study was undertaken of the incidence, etiologies, and cost-effectiveness of a whole exome sequencing-based gene panel (targeted WES) in infants with SEI born during 2011-2013, identified through electroencephalography (EEG) and neonatal databases. SEI was defined as seizure onset before age 18 months, frequent seizures, epileptiform EEG, and failure of ≥2 antiepileptic drugs. Medical records, investigations, MRIs, and EEGs were analyzed, and genetic testing was performed if no etiology was identified. Economic modeling was performed to determine yield and cost-effectiveness of investigation of infants with unknown etiology at epilepsy onset, incorporating targeted WES at different stages of the diagnostic pathway. RESULTS: Of 114 infants with SEI (incidence = 54/100 000 live births/y), the etiology was determined in 76 (67%): acquired brain injuries (n = 14), focal cortical dysplasias (n = 14), other brain malformations (n = 17), channelopathies (n = 11), chromosomal (n = 9), metabolic (n = 6), and other genetic (n = 5) disorders. Modeling showed that incorporating targeted WES increased diagnostic yield compared to investigation without targeted WES (48/86 vs 39/86). Early targeted WES had lower total cost ($677 081 U.S. dollars [USD] vs $738 136 USD) than late targeted WES. A pathway with early targeted WES and limited metabolic testing yielded 7 additional diagnoses compared to investigation without targeted WES (46/86 vs 39/86), with lower total cost ($455 597 USD vs $661 103 USD), lower cost per diagnosis ($9904 USD vs $16 951 USD), and a dominant cost-effectiveness ratio. SIGNIFICANCE: Severe epilepsies occur in 1 in 2000 infants, with the etiology identified in two-thirds, most commonly malformative. Early use of targeted WES yields more diagnoses at lower cost. Early genetic diagnosis will enable timely administration of precision medicines, once developed, with the potential to improve long-term outcome.
WordDriver-1: evaluating the efficacy of an app-supported decoding intervention for children with reading impairment.
BACKGROUND: Fluent word reading is a key characteristic of skilled reading, yet most children with reading disorders have impaired word-reading skills. Previous research has demonstrated that multi-component interventions targeting phonemic awareness and the alphabetic principle are effective for children with reading disorders. However, about 25% of children fail to respond to these interventions. While it has been difficult to isolate the active ingredient, the findings of some studies suggest that tasks targeting phonological recoding and orthographic processing are essential elements in improving decoding. AIMS: To develop and evaluate an intervention that specifically targets phonological recoding and orthographic processing (a decoding intervention) for children with persistent word-reading impairment. METHODS & PROCEDURES: A single-subject crossover design with multiple treatments was used to examine the efficacy of the decoding intervention (15 × 20-min sessions) compared with a language intervention that controlled for individual therapy time. Eight children (aged 7:6-8:11 years) with persistent word-reading impairment were randomly assigned to one of two intervention sequences. The effect of the decoding intervention was evaluated by (1) changes in decoding accuracy measured by performance on researcher-developed non-word lists; and (2) generalization to other standardized measures of reading. OUTCOMES & RESULTS: The results showed that all participants demonstrated significant gains in non-word reading on researcher-developed non-word lists and standardized measures of non-word-reading accuracy and efficiency. Trends for improvement on standardized measures of word-reading efficiency, text-reading accuracy and reading comprehension were observed. CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: This decoding intervention significantly improved non-word decoding skills in all participants who had not responded to previous reading interventions. As such, it may be an efficient adjunct to the first stage of reading interventions for this population. The relative lack of generalization to other word-reading skills may have been due to the nature of the outcome measures, the short intervention time and/or additional delays in participant orthographic processing skills.