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Schistosomiasis is an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms of the genus Schistosoma. Treatment is solely dependent on praziquantel. In the face of the worldwide dimension, projects have been initiated to develop new chemotherapies. Due to their proven druggability, G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are promising targets for anthelmintics. However, to identify candidate receptors, a deeper understanding of GPCR signalling in schistosome biology is essential. Comparative transcriptomics of paired and unpaired worms and their gonads revealed 59 differentially regulated GPCR-coding genes putatively involved in neuronal processes. In general, the diversity among GPCRs and their integral membrane topology make it difficult to characterize and deorphanize these receptors. To overcome existing limitations, we performed a pilot approach and utilized the innovative Membrane-Anchored Ligand And Receptor yeast two-hybrid system (MALAR-Y2H) to associate potential neuropeptide ligands with their cognate receptors. Here, we demonstrated the ability to express full-length GPCRs of Schistosoma mansoni in a heterologous yeast-based system. Additionally, we localized GPCRs and chimeras of neuropeptides fused to the WBP1 transmembrane domain of yeast to the plasma membrane of yeast cells. Reporter gene assays indicated ligand-receptor binding, which allowed us to identify certain neuropeptides as potential ligands for two GPCRs, which had been found before to be differentially expressed in schistosomes in a pairing-dependent manner. Thus, the MALAR-Y2H system appears suitable to unravel schistosome GPCR–ligand interactions. Besides its relevance for understanding schistosome biology, identifying and characterizing GPCR–ligand interaction will also contribute to applied research aspects.
Positive symptoms are a useful predictor of aggression in schizophrenia. Although a similar pattern of abnormal brain structures related to both positive symptoms and aggression has been reported, this observation has not yet been confirmed in a single sample.
To study the association between positive symptoms and aggression in schizophrenia on a neurobiological level, a prospective meta-analytic approach was employed to analyze harmonized structural neuroimaging data from 10 research centers worldwide. We analyzed brain MRI scans from 902 individuals with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia and 952 healthy controls.
The result identified a widespread cortical thickness reduction in schizophrenia compared to their controls. Two separate meta-regression analyses revealed that a common pattern of reduced cortical gray matter thickness within the left lateral temporal lobe and right midcingulate cortex was significantly associated with both positive symptoms and aggression.
These findings suggested that positive symptoms such as formal thought disorder and auditory misperception, combined with cognitive impairments reflecting difficulties in deploying an adaptive control toward perceived threats, could escalate the likelihood of aggression in schizophrenia.
Evidence from randomised controlled trials supports beneficial effects of total dairy products on body weight, fat and lean mass, but evidence on associations of dairy types with distributions of body fat and lean mass is limited. We aimed to investigate associations of total and different types of dairy products with markers of adiposity, and body fat and lean mass distribution. We evaluated cross-sectional data from 12 065 adults aged 30–65 years recruited to the Fenland Study between 2005 and 2015 in Cambridgeshire, UK. Diet was assessed with an FFQ. We estimated regression coefficients (or percentage differences) and their 95 % CI using multiple linear regression models. The medians of milk, yogurt and cheese consumption were 293 (interquartile range (IQR) 146–439), 35·3 (IQR 8·8–71·8) and 14·6 (IQR 4·8–26·9) g/d, respectively. Low-fat dairy consumption was inversely associated with visceral:subcutaneous fat ratio estimated with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (–2·58 % (95 % CI –3·91, –1·23 %) per serving/d). Habitual consumption per serving/d (200 g) of milk was associated with 0·33 (95 % CI 0·19, 0·46) kg higher lean mass. Other associations were not significant after false discovery correction. Our findings suggest that the influence of milk consumption on lean mass and of low-fat dairy consumption on fat mass distribution may be potential pathways for the link between dairy consumption and metabolic risk. Our cross-sectional findings warrant further research in prospective and experimental studies in diverse populations.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), diagnostics are not always available in remote areas. Hospitals and healthcare centres are often too far from the community, and waiting times are up to a few hours even for relatively simple procedures. Moreover, travelling to the healthcare centre and taking the diagnostic test is frequently unaffordable. Point of Care Tests (POCTs) can improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of the diagnostics by providing the test at the time and place of patient care. Although many POCTs have been developed already, there remain challenges to enable the healthcare workers (HCW) and the patients to use the device in practice. In this paper, we aim to provide a systemic overview of the barriers and opportunities for the adoption of use and acceptance of the results of POCTs based on the literature. The barriers and opportunities were clustered into six themes and used to draw out recommendations for the future design.
To sustainably improve cleaning of high-touch surfaces (HTSs) in acute-care hospitals using a multimodal approach to education, reduction of barriers to cleaning, and culture change for environmental services workers.
The study was conducted in 2 academic acute-care hospitals, 2 community hospitals, and an academic pediatric and women’s hospital.
Frontline environmental services workers.
A 5-module educational program, using principles of adult learning theory, was developed and presented to environmental services workers. Audience response system (ARS), videos, demonstrations, role playing, and graphics were used to illustrate concepts of and the rationale for infection prevention strategies. Topics included hand hygiene, isolation precautions, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning protocols, and strategies to overcome barriers. Program evaluation included ARS questions, written evaluations, and objective assessments of occupied patient room cleaning. Changes in hospital-onset C. difficile infection (CDI) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteremia were evaluated.
On average, 357 environmental service workers participated in each module. Most (93%) rated the presentations as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ and agreed that they were useful (95%), reported that they were more comfortable donning/doffing PPE (91%) and performing hand hygiene (96%) and better understood the importance of disinfecting HTSs (96%) after the program. The frequency of cleaning individual HTSs in occupied rooms increased from 26% to 62% (P < .001) following the intervention. Improvement was sustained 1-year post intervention (P < .001). A significant decrease in CDI was associated with the program.
A novel program that addressed environmental services workers’ knowledge gaps, challenges, and barriers was well received and appeared to result in learning, behavior change, and sustained improvements in cleaning.
Temporary excavations during the construction of the Glendoe Hydro Scheme above Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland exposed a clay-rich fault gouge in Dalradian Supergroup psammite. The gouge coincides with the mapped trace of the subvertical Sronlairig Fault, a feature related in part to the Great Glen and Ericht–Laidon faults, which had been interpreted to result from brittle deformation during the Caledonian orogeny (c. 420–390 Ma). Exposure of this mica-rich gouge represented an exceptional opportunity to constrain the timing of the gouge-producing movement on the Sronlairig Fault using isotopic analysis to date the growth of authigenic (essentially synkinematic) clay mineralization. A series of fine-size separates was isolated prior to K–Ar analysis. Novel, capillary-encapsulated X-ray diffraction analysis was employed to ensure nearly perfect, random orientation and to facilitate the identification and quantification of mica polytypes. Coarser size fractions are composed of greater proportions of the 2M1 illite polytype. Finer size fractions show increasing proportions of the 1M illite polytype, with no evidence of 2M1 illite in the finest fractions. A series of Illite Age Analysis plots produced excellent R2 values with calculated mean ages of 296 ± 7 Ma (Late Carboniferous–Early Permian) for the oldest (2M1) illite and 145 ± 7 Ma (Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous) for the youngest (1M) illite. The Late Carboniferous–Early Permian (Faulting event 1) age may represent resetting of earlier-formed micas or authigenesis during dextral displacement of the Great Glen Fault Zone (GGFZ). Contemporaneous WNW(NW)–ESE(SE) extension was important for basin development and hydrocarbon migration in the Pentland Firth and Moray Firth regions. The Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous (Faulting event 2) age corresponds with Moray Firth Basin development and indicates that the GGFZ and related structures may have acted to partition the active extension in the Moray Firth region from relative inactivity in the Pentland Firth area at this time. These new age dates demonstrate the long-lived geological activity on the GGFZ, particularly so in post-Caledonian times where other isotopic evidence for younger tectonic overprints is lacking.