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In Canada, recreational use of cannabis was legalized in October 2018. This policy change along with recent publications evaluating the efficacy of cannabis for the medical treatment of epilepsy and media awareness about its use have increased the public interest about this agent. The Canadian League Against Epilepsy Medical Therapeutics Committee, along with a multidisciplinary group of experts and Canadian Epilepsy Alliance representatives, has developed a position statement about the use of medical cannabis for epilepsy. This article addresses the current Canadian legal framework, recent publications about its efficacy and safety profile, and our understanding of the clinical issues that should be considered when contemplating cannabis use for medical purposes.
Fasciola jacksoni is a significant contributor to the health and mortality of Asian elephants, particularly those in Sri Lanka. Despite the impact of fascioliasis on elephant populations, it is a neglected veterinary disease with limited taxonomic understanding. Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of F. jacksoni were carried out to evaluate its suggested basal position in the Fasciolidae. Adult worms were collected during post-mortem of elephants, and eggs were collected from living elephants in National parks across Sri Lanka. Using the mitochondrial genes nicotinamide dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1) and cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox1), and a partial 28S ribosomal DNA (28S rDNA), DNA sequences were generated from the F. jacksoni adult and egg material. Maximum likelihood (ML) phylogenetic analyses did not resolve F. jacksoni to be basal to the Fasciolidae. Furthermore, the ML analyses showed that the genus Fasciola was not monophyletic and that F. jacksoni was a sister species to the deer liver fluke Fascioloides magna. A clear framework is required to determine the taxonomic status of F. jacksoni and this current study provides the first detailed application of molecular techniques from multiple hosts across Sri Lanka with the production of reference DNA sequences for this important parasite.
Prenatal sex steroid exposure plays an important role in determining child development. Yet, measurement of prenatal hormonal exposure has been limited by the paucity of newborn/infant data and the invasiveness of fetal hormonal sampling. Here we provide descriptive data from the MIREC-ID study (n=173 girls; 162 boys) on a range of minimally invasive physical indices thought to reflect prenatal exposure to androgens [anogenital distances (AGDs); penile length/width, scrotal/vulvar pigmentation], to estrogens [vaginal maturation index (VMI) – the degree of maturation of vaginal wall cells] or to both androgens/estrogens [2nd-to-4th digit ratio (2D:4D); areolar pigmentation, triceps/sub-scapular skinfold thickness, arm circumference]. VMI was found to be associated with triceps skinfold thickness (β=0.265, P=0.005), suggesting that this marker may be sensitive to estrogen levels produced by adipose tissue in girls. Both estrogenic and androgenic markers (VMI: β=0.338, P=0.031; 2D:4D – right: β=−0.207, P=0.040; left: β=−0.276, P=0.006; AGD-fourchette − β=0.253, P=0.036) were associated with areolar pigmentation in girls, supporting a role for the latter as an index of both androgen and estrogen exposure. We also found AGD-penis (distance from the anus to the penis) to be associated with scrotal pigmentation (β=0.290, P=0.048), as well as right arm circumference (β=0.462, P<0.0001), supporting the notion that these indices may be used together as markers of androgen exposure in boys. In sum, these findings support the use of several physical indices at birth to convey a more comprehensive picture of prenatal exposure to sex hormones.
To characterise subjective symptoms in patients undergoing surgical repair of superior semicircular canal dehiscence.
Questionnaires assessing symptom severity and impact on function and quality of life were administered to patients before superior semicircular canal dehiscence surgery, between June 2011 and March 2016. Questionnaire sections included general quality of life, internal amplified sounds, dizziness and tinnitus, with scores of 0–100 points.
Twenty-three patients completed the questionnaire before surgery. Section scores (mean±standard deviation) were: 38.2 ± 25.2 for general quality of life, 52.5 ± 23.9 for internal amplified sounds, 35.1 ± 28.8 for dizziness, 33.3 ± 30.7 for tinnitus, and 39.8 ± 22.2 for the composite score. Cronbach's α statistic averaged 0.93 (range, 0.84–0.97) across section scores, and 0.83 for the composite score.
The Gopen–Yang Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Questionnaire provides a holistic, patient-centred characterisation of superior semicircular canal dehiscence symptoms. Internal consistency analysis validated the questionnaire and provided a quantitative framework for further optimisation in the clinical setting.
A cluster of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns was detected in October 2015. Interviews initially identified nut butters, kale, kombucha, chia seeds and nutrition bars as common exposures. Epidemiologic, environmental and traceback investigations were conducted. Thirteen ill people infected with the outbreak strain were identified in 10 states with illness onset during 18 July–22 November 2015. Eight of 10 (80%) ill people reported eating Brand A raw sprouted nut butters. Brand A conducted a voluntary recall. Raw sprouted nut butters are a novel outbreak vehicle, though contaminated raw nuts, nut butters and sprouted seeds have all caused outbreaks previously. Firms producing raw sprouted products, including nut butters, should consider a kill step to reduce the risk of contamination. People at greater risk for foodborne illness may wish to consider avoiding raw products containing raw sprouted ingredients.
We examined the association between a history of smallpox vaccination and immune activation (IA) in a population of antiretroviral therapy-naïve people living with HIV (PLHIV). A cross-sectional study was conducted in Senegal from July 2015 to March 2017. Smallpox vaccination was ascertained by the presence of smallpox vaccine scar and IA by the plasma level of β-2-microglobulin (β2m). The association was analysed using logistic regression and linear regression models. The study population comprised 101 PLHIV born before 1980 with a median age of 47 years (interquartile range (IQR) = 42–55); 57·4% were women. Smallpox vaccine scar was present in 65·3% and the median β2m level was 2·59 mg/l (IQR = 2·06–3·86). After adjustment, the presence of smallpox vaccine scar was not associated with a β2m level ⩾2·59 mg/l (adjusted odds ratio 0·94; 95% confidence interval 0·32–2·77). This result was confirmed by the linear regression model. Our study does not find any association between the presence of smallpox vaccine scar and the β2m level and does not support any association between a previous smallpox vaccination and HIV disease progression. In this study, IA is not a significant determinant of the reported non-targeted effect of smallpox vaccination in PLHIV.
We present a case of a 57-year-old man with congenitally corrected transposition of great vessels who was found to have coronary ostial atresia with cranial flow through left superior vena cava on CT with contrast injection in coronary tributaries. As such, he was ineligible for cardiac resynchronization therapy.
Central nervous system infections (CNSI) are a leading cause of death and long-term disability in children. Using ICD-10 data from 2005 to 2015 from three central hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, we exploited generalized additive mixed models (GAMM) to examine the spatial-temporal distribution and spatial and climatic risk factors of paediatric CNSI, excluding tuberculous meningitis, in this setting. From 2005 to 2015, there were 9469 cases of paediatric CNSI; 33% were ⩽1 year old at admission and were mainly diagnosed with presumed bacterial CNSI (BI) (79%), the remainder were >1 year old and mainly diagnosed with presumed non-bacterial CNSI (non-BI) (59%). The urban districts of HCMC in proximity to the hospitals as well as some outer districts had the highest incidences of BI and non-BI; BI incidence was higher in the dry season. Monthly BI incidence exhibited a significant decreasing trend over the study. Both BI and non-BI were significantly associated with lags in monthly average temperature, rainfall, and river water level. Our findings add new insights into this important group of infections in Vietnam, and highlight where resources for the prevention and control of paediatric CNSI should be allocated.
We compared the impact of a commercial chlorination product (brand name Air RahMat) in stored drinking water to traditional boiling practices in Indonesia. We conducted a baseline survey of all households with children <5 years in four communities, made 11 subsequent weekly home visits to assess acceptability and use of water treatment methods, measured Escherichia coli concentration in stored water, and determined diarrhoea prevalence among children <5 years. Of 281 households surveyed, boiling (83%) and Air RahMat (7%) were the principal water treatment methods. Multivariable log-binomial regression analyses showed lower risk of E. coli in stored water treated with Air RahMat than boiling (risk ratio (RR) 0·75, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·56–1·00). The risk of diarrhoea in children <5 years was lower among households using Air RahMat (RR 0·43, 95% CI 0·19–0·97) than boiling, and higher in households with E. coli concentrations of 1–1000 MPN/100 ml (RR 1·54, 95% CI 1·04–2·28) or >1000 MPN/100 ml (RR 1·86, 95% CI 1·09–3·19) in stored water than in households without detectable E. coli. Although results suggested that Air RahMat water treatment was associated with lower E. coli contamination and diarrhoeal rates among children <5 years than water treatment by boiling, Air RahMat use remained low.
This research examines the relations between tournament-based incentives and corporate cash holdings and the value of cash. We find robust evidence that tournament-based incentives are positively related to cash holdings and the value of cash. Moreover, the effect of tournament-based incentives on the value of cash is stronger for financially constrained firms. Our evidence indicates that as tournament-based incentives motivate riskier corporate policy choices that lead to not only larger expected shareholder value but also greater cash-flow uncertainty, firms increase cash holdings to cushion potential liquidity shortfalls that may cause underinvestment.
Establishing an evidence-based diagnostic system informed by the biological (dys)function of the nervous system is a major priority in psychiatry. This objective, however, is often challenged by difficulties in identifying homogeneous clinical populations. Melancholia, a biological and endogenous subtype for major depressive disorder, presents a canonical test case in the search of biological nosology.
We employed a unique combination of naturalistic functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigms – resting state and free viewing of emotionally salient films – to search for neurobiological signatures of depression subtypes. fMRI data were acquired from 57 participants; 17 patients with melancholia, 17 patients with (non-melancholic) major depression and 23 matched healthy controls.
Patients with melancholia showed a prominent loss of functional connectivity in hub regions [including ventral medial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and superior temporal gyrus] during natural viewing, and in the posterior cingulate cortex while at rest. Of note, the default mode network showed diminished reactivity to external stimuli in melancholia, which correlated with the severity of anhedonia. Intriguingly, the subgenual ACC, a potential target for treating depression with deep brain stimulation (DBS), showed divergent changes between the two depression subtypes, with increased connectivity in the non-melancholic and decreased connectivity in the melancholic subsets.
These findings reveal neurobiological changes specific to depression subtypes during ecologically valid behavioural conditions, underscoring the critical need to respect differing neurobiological processes underpinning depressive subtypes.
The Vibrio cholerae O1 (VCO1) El Tor biotype appeared during the seventh cholera pandemic starting in 1961, and new variants of this biotype have been identified since the early 1990s. This pandemic has affected Vietnam, and a large outbreak was reported in southern Vietnam in 2010. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analyses (MLVA) were used to screen 34 VCO1 isolates from the southern Vietnam 2010 outbreak (23 patients, five contact persons, and six environmental isolates) to determine if it was genetically distinct from 18 isolates from outbreaks in southern Vietnam from 1999 to 2004, and two isolates from northern Vietnam (2008). Twenty-seven MLVA types and seven PFGE patterns were identified. Both analyses showed that the 2008 and 2010 isolates were distinctly clustered and separated from the 1999–2004 isolates.
We present a novel motorized semi-autonomous mobile hospital bed guided by a human operator and a reactive navigation algorithm. The proposed reactive navigation algorithm is launched when the sensory device detects that the hospital bed is in the potential danger of collision. The semi-autonomous hospital bed is able to safely and quickly deliver critical neurosurgery (head trauma) patients to target locations in dynamic uncertain hospital environments such as crowded hospital corridors while avoiding en-route steady and moving obstacles. We do not restrict the nature or the motion of the obstacles, meaning that the shapes of the obstacles may be time-varying or deforming and they may undergo arbitrary motions. The only information available to the navigation system is the current distance to the nearest obstacle. Performance of the proposed navigation algorithm is verified via theoretical studies. Simulation and experimental results also confirm the performance of the reactive navigation algorithm in real world scenarios.
We investigated an outbreak of 396 Salmonella enterica serotype I 4,5,12:i:- infections to determine the source. After 7 weeks of extensive hypothesis-generation interviews, no refined hypothesis was formed. Nevertheless, a case-control study was initiated. Subsequently, an iterative hypothesis-generation approach used by a single interviewing team identified brand A not-ready-to-eat frozen pot pies as a likely vehicle. The case-control study, modified to assess this new hypothesis, along with product testing indicated that the turkey variety of pot pies was responsible. Review of product labels identified inconsistent language regarding preparation, and the cooking instructions included undefined microwave wattage categories. Surveys found that most patients did not follow the product's cooking instructions and did not know their oven's wattage. The manufacturer voluntarily recalled pot pies and improved the product's cooking instructions. This investigation highlights the value of careful hypothesis-generation and the risks posed by frozen not-ready-to-eat microwavable foods.
To examine the prevalence of human pathogens carried by rats in urban areas in Hanoi and Hai Phong, Vietnam, we live-trapped 100 rats in January 2011 and screened them for a panel of bacteria and viruses. Antibodies against Leptospira interrogans (22·0%), Seoul virus (14·0%) and rat hepatitis E virus (23·0%) were detected in rats, but antibodies against Yersinia pestis were not detected. Antibodies against L. interrogans and Seoul virus were found only in adult rats. In contrast, antibodies to rat hepatitis E virus were also found in juvenile and sub-adult rats, indicating that the transmission mode of rat hepatitis E virus is different from that of L. interrogans and Seoul virus. Moreover, phylogenetic analyses of the S and M segments of Seoul viruses found in Rattus norvegicus showed that Seoul viruses from Hai Phong and Hanoi formed different clades. Human exposure to these pathogens has become a significant public health concern.
Non-typhoidal Salmonella are an important but poorly characterized cause of paediatric diarrhoea in developing countries. We conducted a hospital-based case-control study in children aged <5 years in Ho Chi Minh City to define the epidemiology and examine risk factors associated with Salmonella diarrhoeal infections. From 1419 diarrhoea cases and 571 controls enrolled between 2009 and 2010, 77 (5·4%) diarrhoea cases were stool culture-positive for non-typhoidal Salmonella. Salmonella patients were more likely to be younger than controls (median age 10 and 12 months, respectively) [odds ratio (OR) 0·97; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·94–0·99], to report a recent diarrhoeal contact (8·1% cases, 1·8% controls; OR 5·98, 95% CI 1·8–20·4) and to live in a household with >2 children (cases 20·8%, controls 10·2%; OR 2·32, 95% CI 1·2–4·7). Our findings indicate that Salmonella are an important cause of paediatric gastroenteritis in this setting and we suggest that transmission may occur through direct human contact in the home.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) has a significant impact on the patients’ quality of life (QOL). This is an initial literature review of QOL in patients with BDD, examining the extent of QOL impairments, the impact of psychiatric comorbidity on QOL, and the effect of treatment on QOL in BDD. Studies were identified through PubMed, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO searches from 1960–2011 using the keywords: “quality of life,” “body dysmorphic disorder,” “dysmorphophobia,” and “body image.” Studies included in this review were selected using specific criteria by two authors reaching consensus. Most BDD research studies have used symptom severity measures mainly to study BDD and its treatments. BBD with or without comorbidities is significantly associated with poor QOL and functioning. Studies show that treatment of BDD, either by psychopharmacological treatments such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or cognitive behavior therapy, might have positive effects on QOL, although these results need to be replicated in larger studies. In conclusion, QOL could add significant value to the assessment of BDD if used as one of the primary measures in research and clinical work in BDD, by providing more information and clearer understanding on the impact of the illness on satisfaction with activities of daily life and overall sense of wellbeing before and after treatment.
In the past two decades, the growing global demand for solar energy has spurred scientific interest in alternative technologies to conventional silicon. In particular, CuIn1-xGaxSe2 (CIGS) has emerged as a competitor. We have developed a scalable deposition technique using RF magnetron sputtering of quaternary CIGS. Notably, the resulting films do not require postselenization, reducing processing time and cost. We have fabricated devices above 10% efficiency using this approach, showing its promise as a production method for highperformance CIGS photovoltaics. However, the morphology of the sputtered CIGS layer is markedly different from conventional evaporated films; grain sizes vary through the thickness of the film, with numerous small grains dominating at the Mo/CIGS interface that then either terminate or grow in an inverted-pyramid fashion to form large, columnar grains at the CIGS/CdS interface.
To better understand the origin of this morphology, we have studied the growth behavior of the CIGS layer using a combination of atomic force microscopy and electron microscopy to observe initial nucleation and grain growth behavior of quaternary-sputtered CIGS. We also discuss the effects of interfacial layers at the Mo/CIGS interface, demonstrating a novel wetting layer that conformally coats the Mo surface.
The domestic poultry population in Vietnam has been vaccinated against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 since 2005. Since then, outbreaks have continued to occur without a clear understanding of the mechanisms involved. The general objective of this study was to understand the epidemiology of the disease in the context of vaccination and to draw some conclusions about vaccination efficacy in the domestic poultry population of the Red River Delta area. Five cross-sectional surveys to measure the serological and virological prevalence in vaccinated and unvaccinated poultry were performed from the end of 2008 to June 2010. The global seroprevalence was 24% (95% confidence interval 19·9–28·2). Determinants of vaccine immunogenicity were identified separately in chickens and ducks as well as determinants of the seroconversion in unvaccinated birds. The results highlight the difficulties in maintaining good flock immunity in poultry populations using inactivated vaccine in the field with two vaccination rounds per year, and in preventing circulation of virus in co-existing unvaccinated poultry.