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This paper reports on the substantial improvement of specimen quality by use of a low voltage (0.05 to ~1 keV), small diameter (~1 μm), argon ion beam following initial preparation using conventional broad-beam ion milling or focused ion beam. The specimens show significant reductions in the amorphous layer thickness and implanted artifacts. The targeted ion milling controls the specimen thickness according to the needs of advanced aberration-corrected and/or analytical transmission electron microscopy applications.
Various medications and devices are available for facilitation of emergent endotracheal intubations (EETIs). The objective of this study was to survey which medications and devices are being utilized for intubation by Canadian physicians.
A clinical scenario-based survey was developed to determine which medications physicians would administer to facilitate EETI, their first choice of intubation device, and backup strategy should their first choice fail. The survey was distributed to Canadian emergency medicine (EM) and intensive care unit (ICU) physicians using web-based and postal methods. Physicians were asked questions based on three scenarios (trauma; pneumonia; heart failure) and responded using a 5-point scale ranging from “always” to “never” to capture usual practice.
The survey response rate was 50.2% (882/1,758). Most physicians indicated a Macintosh blade with direct laryngoscopy would “always/often” be their first choice of intubation device in the three scenarios (mean 85% [79%-89%]) followed by video laryngoscopy (mean 37% [30%-49%]). The most common backup device chosen was an extraglottic device (mean 59% [56%-60%]). The medications most physicians would “always/often” administer were fentanyl (mean 45% [42%-51%]) and etomidate (mean 38% [25%-50%]). EM physicians were more likely than ICU physicians to paralyze patients for EETI (adjusted odds ratio 3.40; 95% CI 2.90-4.00).
Most EM and ICU physicians utilize direct laryngoscopy with a Macintosh blade as a primary device for EETI and an extraglottic device as a backup strategy. This survey highlights variation in Canadian practice patterns for some aspects of intubation in critically ill patients.
Cushing disease (CD) constitutes a challenging condition for the pituitary surgeon. Given the variety of factors affecting outcomes in CD, it is uncertain whether the newer endoscopic technique improves the results of surgery.
A review was conducted of CD cases at our institution between 2000 and 2010. Analysis was done to: determine if surgical technique had an effect on outcome, identify the predictors of outcome and provide details of failed cases. Remission was defined as normal postoperative 24-hour urinary free cortisol (24-h UFC), suppression of morning serum cortisol to <50 nmol/L after 1mg of dexamethasone or being dependent on steroid replacement.
Forty-two patients met our inclusion criteria. Average follow-up period was 33 months. There were 15 macroadenomas and 27 microadenomas. Seventeen patients had an endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery and twenty-five patients had a microscopic transsphenoidal procedure. Long-term overall remission was achieved in 26 (62%) patients. There was no significant difference in remission rates between the two techniques (p value 0.757). Patient's subjective symptomatic improvement and drop of morning serum cortisol in the postoperative period to less than 100 nmol/L correlated with long-term remission (p value 0.0031and 0.0101, respectively) while repeat surgery was the only predictor of the lack of postoperative remission (p value 0.0008).
Revision surgery predicted poor remission rate for CD. Within the power of our study size, there was no difference in outcome between the endoscopic and microscopic approaches. Surgical outcomes should be reviewed in association with remission criteria used in a study.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century it was taught that vaginal hysterectomy could not be performed if the uterus was enlarged, but uterine size was never quantified. Other suggested contraindications included a ‘narrow vagina’ (pubic arch < 90°) and a diminished bituberous diameter (< 8.0 cm). The bituberous diameter represents the distance between the ischial tuberosities (or sitting bones) which are easily palpated when the patient is in the dorsal lithotomy position. Nulliparity and “a uterus that was too high or did not come down” were also considered as contraindications to the vaginal approach, as were “intra-abdominal conditions” such as endometriosis, adhesions, previous pelvic surgery, previous cesarean section, and chronic pelvic pain.
Hysterectomy became the second most common operation performed in the USA in the middle twentieth century, but the complications related to this operation were not re-evaluated until 1982. The Collaborative Review of Sterilization (CREST) from the CDC studied the complications of abdominal and vaginal hysterectomy. For operative indications that could have been performed by either route, abdominal hysterectomy had a complication rate twice that of the vaginal approach.
The science of extra-solar planets is one of the most rapidly changing areas of astrophysics and since 1995 the number of planets known has increased by almost two orders of magnitude. A combination of ground-based surveys and dedicated space missions has resulted in 560-plus planets being detected, and over 1200 that await confirmation. NASA's Kepler mission has opened up the possibility of discovering Earth-like planets in the habitable zone around some of the 100,000 stars it is surveying during its 3 to 4-year lifetime. The new ESA's Gaia mission is expected to discover thousands of new planets around stars within 200 parsecs of the Sun. The key challenge now is moving on from discovery, important though that remains, to characterisation: what are these planets actually like, and why are they as they are?
In the past ten years, we have learned how to obtain the first spectra of exoplanets using transit transmission and emission spectroscopy. With the high stability of Spitzer, Hubble, and large ground-based telescopes the spectra of bright close-in massive planets can be obtained and species like water vapour, methane, carbon monoxide and dioxide have been detected. With transit science came the first tangible remote sensing of these planetary bodies and so one can start to extrapolate from what has been learnt from Solar System probes to what one might plan to learn about their faraway siblings. As we learn more about the atmospheres, surfaces and near-surfaces of these remote bodies, we will begin to build up a clearer picture of their construction, history and suitability for life.
The Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory, EChO, will be the first dedicated mission to investigate the physics and chemistry of Exoplanetary Atmospheres. By characterising spectroscopically more bodies in different environments we will take detailed planetology out of the Solar System and into the Galaxy as a whole.
EChO has now been selected by the European Space Agency to be assessed as one of four M3 mission candidates.
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