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Frascati international research criteria for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are controversial; some investigators have argued that Frascati criteria are too liberal, resulting in a high false positive rate. Meyer et al. recommended more conservative revisions to HAND criteria, including exploring other commonly used methodologies for neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in HIV including the global deficit score (GDS). This study compares NCI classifications by Frascati, Meyer, and GDS methods, in relation to neuroimaging markers of brain integrity in HIV.
Two hundred forty-one people living with HIV (PLWH) without current substance use disorder or severe (confounding) comorbid conditions underwent comprehensive neurocognitive testing and brain structural magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Participants were classified using Frascati criteria versus Meyer criteria: concordant unimpaired [Frascati(Un)/Meyer(Un)], concordant impaired [Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Imp)], or discordant [Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Un)] which were impaired via Frascati criteria but unimpaired via Meyer criteria. To investigate the GDS versus Meyer criteria, the same groupings were utilized using GDS criteria instead of Frascati criteria.
When examining Frascati versus Meyer criteria, discordant Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Un) individuals had less cortical gray matter, greater sulcal cerebrospinal fluid volume, and greater evidence of neuroinflammation (i.e., choline) than concordant Frascati(Un)/Meyer(Un) individuals. GDS versus Meyer comparisons indicated that discordant GDS(Imp)/Meyer(Un) individuals had less cortical gray matter and lower levels of energy metabolism (i.e., creatine) than concordant GDS(Un)/Meyer(Un) individuals. In both sets of analyses, the discordant group did not differ from the concordant impaired group on any neuroimaging measure.
The Meyer criteria failed to capture a substantial portion of PLWH with brain abnormalities. These findings support continued use of Frascati or GDS criteria to detect HIV-associated CNS dysfunction.
Objectives: Studies of neurocognitively elite older adults, termed SuperAgers, have identified clinical predictors and neurobiological indicators of resilience against age-related neurocognitive decline. Despite rising rates of older persons living with HIV (PLWH), SuperAging (SA) in PLWH remains undefined. We aimed to establish neuropsychological criteria for SA in PLWH and examined clinically relevant correlates of SA. Methods: 734 PLWH and 123 HIV-uninfected participants between 50 and 64 years of age underwent neuropsychological and neuromedical evaluations. SA was defined as demographically corrected (i.e., sex, race/ethnicity, education) global neurocognitive performance within normal range for 25-year-olds. Remaining participants were labeled cognitively normal (CN) or impaired (CI) based on actual age. Chi-square and analysis of variance tests examined HIV group differences on neurocognitive status and demographics. Within PLWH, neurocognitive status differences were tested on HIV disease characteristics, medical comorbidities, and everyday functioning. Multinomial logistic regression explored independent predictors of neurocognitive status. Results: Neurocognitive status rates and demographic characteristics differed between PLWH (SA=17%; CN=38%; CI=45%) and HIV-uninfected participants (SA=35%; CN=55%; CI=11%). In PLWH, neurocognitive groups were comparable on demographic and HIV disease characteristics. Younger age, higher verbal IQ, absence of diabetes, fewer depressive symptoms, and lifetime cannabis use disorder increased likelihood of SA. SA reported increased independence in everyday functioning, employment, and health-related quality of life than non-SA. Conclusions: Despite combined neurological risk of aging and HIV, youthful neurocognitive performance is possible for older PLWH. SA relates to improved real-world functioning and may be better explained by cognitive reserve and maintenance of cardiometabolic and mental health than HIV disease severity. Future research investigating biomarker and lifestyle (e.g., physical activity) correlates of SA may help identify modifiable neuroprotective factors against HIV-related neurobiological aging. (JINS, 2019, 25, 507–519)
Effective communication is a critical part of managing an emergency. During an emergency, the ways in which health agencies normally communicate warnings may not reach all of the intended audience. Not all communities are the same, and households within communities are diverse. Because different communities prefer different communication methods, community leaders and emergency planners need to know their communities’ preferred methods for seeking information about an emergency. This descriptive report explores findings from previous community assessments that have collected information on communication preferences, including television (TV), social media, and word-of-mouth (WoM) delivery methods. Data were analyzed from 12 Community Assessments for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPERs) conducted from 2014-2017 that included questions regarding primary and trusted communication sources. A CASPER is a rapid needs assessment designed to gather household-based information from a community. In 75.0% of the CASPERs, households reported TV as their primary source of information for specific emergency events (range = 24.0%-83.1%). Households reporting social media as their primary source of information differed widely across CASPERs (3.2%-41.8%). In five of the CASPERs, nearly one-half of households reported WoM as their primary source of information. These CASPERs were conducted in response to a specific emergency (ie, chemical spill, harmful algal bloom, hurricane, and flood). The CASPERs conducted as part of a preparedness activity had lower percentages of households reporting WoM as their primary source of information (8.3%-10.4%). The findings in this report demonstrate the need for emergency plans to include hybrid communication models, combining traditional methods with newer technologies to reach the broadest audience. Although TV was the most commonly reported preferred source of information, segments of the population relied on social media and WoM messaging. By using multiple methods for risk communication, emergency planners are more likely to reach the whole community and engage vulnerable populations that might not have access to, trust in, or understanding of traditional news sources. Multiple communication channels that include user-generated content, such as social media and WoM, can increase the timeliness of messaging and provide community members with message confirmation from sources they trust encouraging them to take protective public health actions.
WolkinAF, SchnallAH, NakataNK, EllisEM. Getting the Message Out: Social Media and Word-of-Mouth as Effective Communication Methods during Emergencies. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(1):89–94.
Epidemiological studies have indicated that dietary patterns during pregnancy are associated with adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes such as hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP), gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), preterm birth (PTB) and low birth weight (LBW). However, the results of these studies are varied and inconsistent. The present study aimed to assess the association between dietary patterns and the risk of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Systematic review and meta-analysis. Seven databases were searched for articles. Two reviewers performed the study selection and data extraction. A random-effects model was used to estimate pooled effect sizes of eligible studies.
Studies conducted all over the world were incorporated.
The review focused on pregnant women.
A total of twenty-one studies were identified. Adherence to a healthy dietary pattern (intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains) was significantly associated with lower odds (OR; 95 % CI) of pre-eclampsia (0·78; 0·70, 0·86; I2=39·0 %, P=0·178), GDM (0·78; 0·56, 0·99; I2=68·6 %, P=0·013) and PTB (0·75; 0·57, 0·93; I2=89·6 %, P=0·0001).
Our review suggests that dietary patterns with a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fish are associated with a decreased likelihood of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. Further research should be conducted in low-income countries to understand the impact of limited resources on dietary intake and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Decades of fetal programming research indicates that we may be able to map the origins of many physical, psychological, and medical variations and morbidities before the birth of the child. While great strides have been made in identifying associations between prenatal insults, such as undernutrition or psychosocial stress, and negative developmental outcomes, far less is known about how adaptive responses to adversity regulate the developing phenotype to match stressful conditions. As the application of epigenetic methods to human behavior has exploded in the last decade, research has begun to shed light on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in explaining how prenatal conditions shape later susceptibilities to mental and physical health problems. In this review, we describe and attempt to integrate two dominant fetal programming models: the cumulative stress model (a disease-focused approach) and the match–mismatch model (an evolutionary–developmental approach). In conjunction with biological sensitivity to context theory, we employ these two models to generate new hypotheses regarding epigenetic mechanisms through which prenatal and postnatal experiences program child stress reactivity and, in turn, promote development of adaptive versus maladaptive phenotypic outcomes. We conclude by outlining priority questions and future directions for the fetal programming field.
Background: Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the synaptic scaffolding gene SHANK2 are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, their impact on the function of human neurons is unknown. Derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from affected individuals permits generation of live neurons to answer this question. Methods: We generated iPSCs by reprogramming dermal fibroblasts of neurotypic and ASD-affected donors. To isolate the effect of SHANK2, we used CRISPR/Cas9 to knock out SHANK2 in control iPSCs and correct a heterozygous nonsense mutation in ASD-affected donor iPSCs. We then derived cortical neurons from SOX1+ neural precursor cells differentiated from these iPSCs. Using a novel assay that overcomes line-to-line variability, we compared neuronal morphology, total synapse number, and electrophysiological properties between SHANK2 mutants and controls. Results: Relative to controls, SHANK2 mutant neurons have increased dendrite complexity, dendrite length, total synapse number (1.5-2-fold), and spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current (sEPSC) frequency (3-7.6-fold). Conclusions: ASD-associated heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in SHANK2 increase synaptic connectivity among human neurons by increasing synapse number and sEPSC frequency. This is partially supported by increased dendrite length and complexity, providing evidence that SHANK2 functions as a suppressor of dendrite branching during neurodevelopment.
Significant increases in excess all-cause mortality, particularly in the elderly, were observed during the winter of 2014/15 in England. With influenza A(H3N2) the dominant circulating influenza A subtype, this paper determines the contribution of influenza to this excess controlling for weather. A standardised multivariable Poisson regression model was employed with weekly all-cause deaths the dependent variable for the period 2008–2015. Adjusting for extreme temperature, a total of 26 542 (95% CI 25 301–27 804) deaths in 65+ and 1942 (95% CI 1834–2052) in 15–64-year-olds were associated with influenza from week 40, 2014 to week 20, 2015. This is compatible with the circulation of influenza A(H3N2). It is the largest estimated number of influenza-related deaths in England since prior to 2008/09. The findings highlight the potential health impact of influenza and the important role of the annual influenza vaccination programme that is required to protect the population including the elderly, who are vulnerable to a severe outcome.
Objectives: Preterm children demonstrate deficits in executive functions including inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility; however, their goal setting abilities (planning, organization, strategic reasoning) remain unclear. This study compared goal setting abilities between very preterm (VP: <30 weeks/<1250 grams) and term born controls during late childhood. Additionally, early risk factors (neonatal brain abnormalities, medical complications, and sex) were examined in relationship to goal setting outcomes within the VP group. Methods: Participants included 177 VP and 61 full-term born control children aged 13 years. Goal setting was assessed using several measures of planning, organization, and strategic reasoning. Parents also completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function. Regression models were performed to compare groups, with secondary analyses adjusting for potential confounders (sex and social risk), and excluding children with major neurosensory impairment and/or IQ<70. Within the VP group, regression models were performed to examine the relationship between brain abnormalities, medical complications, and sex, on goal setting scores. Results: The VP group demonstrated a clear pattern of impairment and inefficiency across goal setting measures, consistent with parental report, compared with their full-term born peers. Within the VP group, moderate/severe brain abnormalities on neonatal MRI predicted adverse goal setting outcomes at 13. Conclusions: Goal setting difficulties are a significant area of concern in VP children during late childhood. These difficulties are associated with neonatal brain abnormalities, and are likely to have functional consequences academically, socially and vocationally. (JINS, 2018, 24, 372–381)
Objectives: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disproportionately affects Hispanics/Latinos in the United States, yet little is known about neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in this group. We compared the rates of NCI in large well-characterized samples of HIV-infected (HIV+) Latinos and (non-Latino) Whites, and examined HIV-associated NCI among subgroups of Latinos. Methods: Participants included English-speaking HIV+ adults assessed at six U.S. medical centers (194 Latinos, 600 Whites). For overall group, age: M=42.65 years, SD=8.93; 86% male; education: M=13.17, SD=2.73; 54% had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. NCI was assessed with a comprehensive test battery with normative corrections for age, education and gender. Covariates examined included HIV-disease characteristics, comorbidities, and genetic ancestry. Results: Compared with Whites, Latinos had higher rates of global NCI (42% vs. 54%), and domain NCI in executive function, learning, recall, working memory, and processing speed. Latinos also fared worse than Whites on current and historical HIV-disease characteristics, and nadir CD4 partially mediated ethnic differences in NCI. Yet, Latinos continued to have more global NCI [odds ratio (OR)=1.59; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.13–2.23; p<.01] after adjusting for significant covariates. Higher rates of global NCI were observed with Puerto Rican (n=60; 71%) versus Mexican (n=79, 44%) origin/descent; this disparity persisted in models adjusting for significant covariates (OR=2.40; CI=1.11–5.29; p=.03). Conclusions: HIV+ Latinos, especially of Puerto Rican (vs. Mexican) origin/descent had increased rates of NCI compared with Whites. Differences in rates of NCI were not completely explained by worse HIV-disease characteristics, neurocognitive comorbidities, or genetic ancestry. Future studies should explore culturally relevant psychosocial, biomedical, and genetic factors that might explain these disparities and inform the development of targeted interventions. (JINS, 2018, 24, 163–175)
Nuclear history always compels. Scholars (and readers) can immerse themselves in the existential threat posed by the atomic bomb and its successor weapons, the tantalizing prospect of carbon-free energy, or the study of a natural phenomenon deeply at odds with our everyday experience of the world. There is thus always something profound at stake when we write nuclear history – be it physical, economic or intellectual. And while it may seem that the end of the Cold War should have diminished the academic attention accorded to the subject, it actually just allowed the historiography to evolve. To the wealth of technical and political studies that once dominated nuclear history, we can now add a host of excellent cultural, environmental, literary and transnational studies. Those of us who entered the field shortly after the break-up of the Soviet Union have been able to follow these developments first-hand, from the initial uncertainty of where nuclear history would go without its original raison d’être to seeing the possibilities opened up in a post-Cold War world. The books under review here provide important and timely additions to this historiography. Luis A. Campos's Radium and the Secret Life provides a rigorous and compelling account of the uses of radium in early twentieth-century biology; Timothy J. Jorgensen's Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation offers an accessible and illuminating analysis of the benefits and risks of radiation. The books also make for a fascinating juxtaposition. They complement each other well, but also contain some intriguing differences that allow us to reflect on the nature of nuclear history in the early twenty-first century.
In autumn 2014, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) cases presenting with severe respiratory or neurological disease were described in countries worldwide. To describe the epidemiology and virological characteristics of EV-D68 in England, we collected clinical information on laboratory-confirmed EV-D68 cases detected in secondary care (hospitals), between September 2014 and January 2015. In primary care (general practitioners), respiratory swabs collected (September 2013–January 2015) from patients presenting with influenza-like illness were tested for EV-D68. In secondary care 55 EV-D68 cases were detected. Among those, 45 cases had clinical information available and 89% (40/45) presented with severe respiratory symptoms. Detection of EV-D68 among patients in primary care increased from 0.4% (4/1074; 95% CI 0.1–1.0) (September 2013–January 2014) to 0.8% (11/1359; 95% CI 0.4–1.5) (September 2014–January 2015). Characterization of EV-D68 strains circulating in England since 2012 and up to winter 2014/2015 indicated that those strains were genetically similar to those detected in 2014 in USA. We recommend reinforcing enterovirus surveillance through screening respiratory samples of suspected cases.
The objective of this investigation was to utilize the first-principles molecular dynamics computational approach to investigate the lithiation characteristics of empty silicon clathrates (Si46) for applications as potential anode materials in lithium-ion batteries. The energy of formation, volume expansion, and theoretical capacity were computed for empty silicon clathrates as a function of Li. The theoretical results were compared against experimental data of long-term cyclic tests performed on half-cells using electrodes fabricated from Si46 prepared using a Hofmann-type elimination–oxidation reaction. The comparison revealed that the theoretically predicted capacity (of 791.6 mAh/g) agreed with experimental data (809 mAh/g) that occurred after insertion of 48 Li atoms. The calculations showed that overlithiation beyond 66 Li atoms can cause large volume expansion with a volume strain as high as 120%, which may correlate to experimental observations of decreasing capacities from the maximum at 1030 mAh/g to 553 mA h/g during long-term cycling tests. The finding suggests that overlithiation beyond 66 Li atoms may have caused damage to the cage structure and led to lower reversible capacities.
Several processing methods were developed and evaluated for synthesizing empty silicon clathrates. A solution synthesis method based on the Hofmann-elimination oxidation reaction was successfully utilized to produce 20 mg of empty Si46. Half-cells using the Si46 electrodes were successfully cycled for 1000 cycles at rate of 5.3C. The capacity of the Si46 electrode in long-term tests was 675 mAh/g at the 4th cycle, but increased to 809 mAh/g at 50 cycles. The corresponding Coulombic efficiency was better than 99%. The capacity dropped from 809 to 553 mAh/g after 1000 cycles while maintaining a 99% Coulombic efficiency. In comparison, a Ba8Al8Si38 electrode could be cycled for about 200 cycles with a lower capacity and Coulombic efficiency. Potential applications of empty silicon clathrates as anode materials in Li-ion batteries are discussed.
Seasonal respiratory infections place an increased burden on health services annually. We used a sentinel emergency department syndromic surveillance system to understand the factors driving respiratory attendances at emergency departments (EDs) in England. Trends in different respiratory indicators were observed to peak at different points during winter, with further variation observed in the distribution of attendances by age. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed acute respiratory infection and bronchitis/bronchiolitis ED attendances in patients aged 1–4 years were particularly sensitive indicators for increasing respiratory syncytial virus activity. Using near real-time surveillance of respiratory ED attendances may provide early warning of increased winter pressures in EDs, particularly driven by seasonal pathogens. This surveillance may provide additional intelligence about different categories of attendance, highlighting pressures in particular age groups, thereby aiding planning and preparation to respond to acute changes in EDs, and thus the health service in general.
The Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis formerly ranged across South-east Asia. Hunting and habitat loss have made it one of the rarest large mammals and the species faces extinction despite decades of conservation efforts. The number of individuals remaining is unknown as a consequence of inadequate methods and lack of funds for the intensive field work required to estimate the population size of this rare and solitary species. However, all information indicates that numbers are low and declining. A few individuals persist in Borneo, and three tiny populations remain on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and show evidence of breeding. Rhino Protection Units are deployed at all known breeding sites but poaching and a presumed low breeding rate remain major threats. Protected areas have been created for the rhinoceros and other in situ conservation efforts have increased but the species has continued to go locally extinct across its range. Conventional captive breeding has also proven difficult; from a total of 45 Sumatran rhinoceros taken from the wild since 1984 there were no captive births until 2001. Since then only two pairs have been actively bred in captivity, resulting in four births, three by the same pair at the Cincinnati Zoo and one at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Sumatra, with the sex ratio skewed towards males. To avoid extinction it will be necessary to implement intensive management zones, manage the metapopulation as a single unit, and develop advanced reproductive techniques as a matter of urgency. Intensive census efforts are ongoing in Bukit Barisan Selatan but elsewhere similar efforts remain at the planning stage.
Schistosomiasis is a significant cause of human morbidity and mortality. We performed a genome-wide transcriptional survey of liver biopsies obtained from Chinese patients with chronic schistosomiasis only, or chronic schistosomiasis with a current or past history of viral hepatitis B. Both disease groups were compared with patients with no prior history or indicators of any liver disease. Analysis showed in the main, downregulation in gene expression, particularly those involved in signal transduction via EIF2 signalling and mTOR signalling, as were genes associated with cellular remodelling. Focusing on immune associated pathways, genes were generally downregulated. However, a set of three genes associated with granulocytes, MMP7, CLDN7, CXCL6 were upregulated. Differential gene profiles unique to schistosomiasis included the gene Granulin which was decreased despite being generally considered a marker for liver disease, and IGBP2 which is associated with increased liver size, and was the most upregulated gene in schistosomiasis only patients, all of which presented with hepatomegaly. The unique features of gene expression, in conjunction with previous reports in the murine model of the cellular composition of granulomas, granuloma formation and recovery, provide an increased understanding of the molecular immunopathology and general physiological processes underlying hepatic schistosomiasis.