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Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
With the push towards control and elimination of soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis in low- and middle-income countries, there is a need to develop alternative diagnostic assays that complement the current in-country resources, preferably at a lower cost. Here, we describe a novel high-resolution melt (HRM) curve assay with six PCR primer pairs, designed to sub-regions of the nuclear ribosomal locus. Used within a single reaction and dye detection channel, they are able to discriminate Ancylostoma duodenale, Necator americanus, Strongyloides stercoralis, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiuria and Schistosoma spp. by HRM curve analysis. Here we describe the primers and the results of a pilot assessment whereby the HRM assay was tested against a selection of archived fecal samples from Ghanaian children as characterized by Kato–Katz and real-time PCR analysis with species-specific TaqMan hydrolysis probes. The resulting sensitivity and specificity of the HRM was 80 and 98.6% respectively. We judge the assay to be appropriate in modestly equipped and resourced laboratories. This method provides a potentially cheaper alternative to the TaqMan method for laboratories in lower resource settings. However, the assay requires a more extensive assessment as the samples used were not representative of all target organisms.
We present a method for measuring the shear complex modulus of hydrogels by oscillatory nanoindentation, with unprecedented attention to procedure and uncertainty analysis. The method is verified by testing a typical low-molecular-weight gelator formed from the controlled hydrolysis of glucono-δ-lactone. Nanoindentation results are compared with those obtained by rheometry using both vane-in-cup and parallel-plate fixtures. At 10 Hz, the properties measured by oscillatory nanoindentation were G′ = 38.1 ± 2.8 kPa, tan δ = 0.22 ± 0.02. At the same frequency, the properties measured by rheometry were G′ = 15.3 ± 2.9 kPa, tan δ = 0.11 ± 0.016 (vane-in-cup) and G′ = 7.9 ± 1.1 kPa, tan δ = 0.05 ± 0.004 (parallel-plate). The larger shear modulus measured by nanoindentation is due to the scale of testing. Whereas rheometry characterizes the bulk material response, nanoindentation probes the fibrous network of the gel. The procedure and analysis presented here are valuable for nanoindentation testing of other compliant materials such as hydrogels, soft biological tissue, and food products.
Giant ragweed has been increasing as a major weed of row crops in the last
30 yr, but quantitative data regarding its pattern and mechanisms of spread
in crop fields are lacking. To address this gap, we conducted a Web-based
survey of certified crop advisors in the U.S. Corn Belt and Ontario, Canada.
Participants were asked questions regarding giant ragweed and crop
production practices for the county of their choice. Responses were mapped
and correlation analyses were conducted among the responses to determine
factors associated with giant ragweed populations. Respondents rated giant
ragweed as the most or one of the most difficult weeds to manage in 45% of
421 U.S. counties responding, and 57% of responding counties reported giant
ragweed populations with herbicide resistance to acetolactate synthase
inhibitors, glyphosate, or both herbicides. Results suggest that giant
ragweed is increasing in crop fields outward from the east-central U.S. Corn
Belt in most directions. Crop production practices associated with giant
ragweed populations included minimum tillage, continuous soybean, and
multiple-application herbicide programs; ecological factors included giant
ragweed presence in noncrop edge habitats, early and prolonged emergence,
and presence of the seed-burying common earthworm in crop fields. Managing
giant ragweed in noncrop areas could reduce giant ragweed migration from
noncrop habitats into crop fields and slow its spread. Where giant ragweed
is already established in crop fields, including a more diverse combination
of crop species, tillage practices, and herbicide sites of action will be
critical to reduce populations, disrupt emergence patterns, and select
against herbicide-resistant giant ragweed genotypes. Incorporation of a
cereal grain into the crop rotation may help suppress early giant ragweed
emergence and provide chemical or mechanical control options for
late-emerging giant ragweed.
American Indian children of pre-school age have disproportionally high obesity rates and consequent risk for related diseases. Healthy Children, Strong Families was a family-based randomized trial assessing the efficacy of an obesity prevention toolkit delivered by a mentor v. mailed delivery that was designed and administered using community-based participatory research approaches.
During Year 1, twelve healthy behaviour toolkit lessons were delivered by either a community-based home mentor or monthly mailings. Primary outcomes were child BMI percentile, child BMI Z-score and adult BMI. Secondary outcomes included fruit/vegetable consumption, sugar consumption, television watching, physical activity, adult health-related self-efficacy and perceived health status. During a maintenance year, home-mentored families had access to monthly support groups and all families received monthly newsletters.
Family homes in four tribal communities, Wisconsin, USA.
Adult and child (2–5-year-olds) dyads (n 150).
No significant effect of the mentored v. mailed intervention delivery was found; however, significant improvements were noted in both groups exposed to the toolkit. Obese child participants showed a reduction in BMI percentile at Year 1 that continued through Year 2 (P<0·05); no change in adult BMI was observed. Child fruit/vegetable consumption increased (P=0·006) and mean television watching decreased for children (P=0·05) and adults (P=0·002). Reported adult self-efficacy for health-related behaviour changes (P=0·006) and quality of life increased (P=0·02).
Although no effect of delivery method was demonstrated, toolkit exposure positively affected adult and child health. The intervention was well received by community partners; a more comprehensive intervention is currently underway based on these findings.
A patient with no risk factors for malaria was hospitalized in New York City with Plasmodium falciparum infection. After investigating all potential sources of infection, we concluded the patient had been exposed to malaria while hospitalized less than 3 weeks earlier. Molecular genotyping implicated patient-to-patient transmission in a hospital setting.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;37(1):113–115
We reviewed outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center to identify opportunities for antimicrobial stewardship intervention. A definite or possible modification would have been recommended in 60% of courses. Forty-one percent of outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy courses were potentially avoidable, including 22% involving infectious diseases consultation.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(9):1103–1105
We surveyed hospital epidemiologists at 28 Children’s Hospital Association member hospitals regarding their infection prevention and control programs. We found substantial variability between children’s hospitals in both the structure and the practice of these programs. Research and the development of evidence-based guidelines addressing infection prevention in pediatrics are needed.
Nano-sized metallic powders have advantages as fuels including faster, more complete combustion than micron-sized metal powder particles; however, the unpassivated nanoparticles of some metals of interest, such as Al, are pyrophoric and highly reactive, making them difficult to handle. Additionally, metal-hydrides are of great potential interest for a significant gravimetric energy increase without a penalty in the volumetric energy content, as the inclusion of hydrogen in the metallic matrix does not significantly decrease overall density of the material. Reactive metal amorphous powders produced by the sonochemical decomposition and dehydrogenation of an in situ-produced mixed borohydride-tetrahydroaluminate of titanium and containing hydrogen are examined in the current work and show exceptional air-stability and higher energy content than nano-Al. An aerosolized powder burner is used to investigate the combustion behavior of these powders mixed with gaseous fuels to quantify the energy density and reaction rate as compared to commercial aluminum powders in an effort to benchmark the performance of the sonochemically generated amorphous Ti-Al-B powder fuels.
We reviewed patient discharges with outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) to determine whether outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy was modifiable or unnecessary at a large tertiary care children’s hospital. At least one modification definitely or possibly would have been recommended for 78% of episodes. For more than 40% of episodes, outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy was potentially not indicated.
There are many reasons why detection of parasites of medical and veterinary importance is vital and where novel diagnostic and surveillance tools are required. From a medical perspective alone, these originate from a desire for better clinical management and rational use of medications. Diagnosis can be at the individual-level, at close to patient settings in testing a clinical suspicion or at the community-level, perhaps in front of a computer screen, in classification of endemic areas and devising appropriate control interventions. Thus diagnostics for parasitic diseases has a broad remit as parasites are not only tied with their definitive hosts but also in some cases with their vectors/intermediate hosts. Application of current diagnostic tools and decision algorithms in sustaining control programmes, or in elimination settings, can be problematic and even ill-fitting. For example in resource-limited settings, are current diagnostic tools sufficiently robust for operational use at scale or are they confounded by on-the-ground realities; are the diagnostic algorithms underlying public health interventions always understood and well-received within communities which are targeted for control? Within this Special Issue (SI) covering a variety of diseases and diagnostic settings some answers are forthcoming. An important theme, however, throughout the SI is to acknowledge that cross-talk and continuous feedback between development and application of diagnostic tests is crucial if they are to be used effectively and appropriately.
Variation in clinical accuracy of molecular diagnostic methods for cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is commonly observed depending on the sample source, the method of DNA recovery and the molecular test. Few attempts have been made to compare these variables. Two swab and aspirate samples from lesions of patients with suspected CL (n = 105) were evaluated alongside standard diagnosis by microscopic detection of amastigotes or culture of parasites from lesion material. Three DNA extraction methods were compared: Qiagen on swab and aspirate specimens, Isohelix on swabs and Boil/Spin of lesion aspirates. Recovery of Leishmania DNA was evaluated for each sample type by real-time polymerase chain reaction detection of parasitic 18S rDNA, and the diagnostic accuracy of the molecular method determined. Swab sampling combined with Qiagen DNA extraction was the most efficient recovery method for Leishmania DNA, and was the most sensitive (98%; 95% CI: 91–100%) and specific (84%; 95% CI: 64–95%) approach. Aspirated material was less sensitive at 80% (95% CI: 70–88%) and 61% (95% CI: 50–72%) when coupled to Qiagen or Boil-Spin DNA extraction, respectively. Swab sampling of lesions was painless, simple to perform and coupled with standardized DNA extraction enhances the feasibility of molecular diagnosis of CL.
Research and innovation in the diagnosis of infectious and parasitic diseases has led to the development of several promising diagnostic tools, for example in malaria there is extensive literature concerning the use of rapid diagnostic tests. This means policymakers in many low and middle income countries need to make difficult decisions about which of the recommended tools and approaches to implement and scale-up. The test characteristics (e.g. sensitivity and specificity) of the tools alone are not a sufficient basis on which to make these decisions as policymakers need to also consider the best combination of tools, whether the new tools should complement or replace existing diagnostics and who should be tested. Diagnostic strategies need dovetailing to different epidemiology and structural resource constraints (e.g. existing diagnostic pathways, human resources and laboratory capacity). We propose operational modelling to assist with these complex decisions. Projections of patient, health system and cost impacts are essential and operational modelling of the relevant elements of the health system could provide these projections and support rational decisions. We demonstrate how the technique of operational modelling applied in the developing world to support decisions on diagnostics for tuberculosis, could in a parallel way, provide useful insights to support implementation of appropriate diagnostic innovations for parasitic diseases.