Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which show significant association at the well-known APOE locus and at nineteen additional loci. Among the functional, disease-associated variants at these loci, missense variants are particularly important because they can be readily investigated in model systems to search for novel therapeutic targets. It is now possible to perform a low-cost search for these "actionable" variants by genotyping the missense variants at known LOAD loci already cataloged on the Exome Variant Server (EVS). In this proof-of-principle study designed to explore the efficacy of this approach, we analyzed three rare EVS variants in APOE, p.L28P, p.R145C and p.V236E, in our case control series of 9114 subjects. p.R145C proved to be too rare to analyze effectively. The minor allele of p.L28P, which was in complete linkage disequilibrium (D' = 1) with the far more common APOE epsilon4 allele, showed no association with LOAD (P = 0.75) independent of the APOE epsilon4 allele. p.V236E was significantly associated with a marked reduction in risk of LOAD (P = 7.5x10-05; OR = 0.10, 0.03 to 0.45). The minor allele of p.V236E, which was in complete linkage disequilibrium (D' = 1) with the common APOE epsilon3 allele, identifies a novel LOAD-associated haplotype (APOE epsilon3b) which is associated with decreased risk of LOAD independent of the more abundant APOE epsilon2, epsilon3 and epsilon4 haplotypes. Follow-up studies will be important to confirm the significance of this association and to better define its odds ratio. The ApoE p.V236E substitution is the first disease-associated change located in the lipid-binding, C-terminal domain of the protein. Thus our study (i) identifies a novel APOE missense variant which may profitably be studied to better understand how ApoE function may be modified to reduce risk of LOAD and (ii) indicates that analysis of protein-altering variants cataloged on the EVS can be a cost-effective way to identify actionable functional variants at recently discovered LOAD loci.
Background: Breast cancer-preventive behaviors are critical for community and women's health. Although many studies have addressed women's knowledge and attitudes toward breast cancer, little information is available about their experiences of breast cancer preventive behaviors. This study aimed to explore the experiences of Iranian women regarding preventive behaviors. Methods: This was a qualitative study. A sample of Iranian women aged 30 years and over was selected purposefully. Data collected through focus group and semi-structured audiotaped interviews and were analyzed by conventional content analysis. Results: The following five main themes emerged from the analysis: attitude toward breast cancer and preventive behaviors, stress management, healthy lifestyle, perceived social support and individual/environmental barriers. The findings showed that women were highly motivated to preventive behaviors of breast cancer but faced considerable challenges. Conclusions: The findings indicated that increased awareness, positive attitudes, stronger motivational factors, and fewer barriers toward preventive behaviors are most important parameters that might encourage women to practice breast cancer-preventive behaviors.
Background: Tuberculosis (TB) control remains a challenge in Malawi despite the National TB Control Program since 1984. This study aimed at measuring patient and health system delays and identifying factors associated with these delays. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 588 pulmonary TB patients was conducted in three TB centres in Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Mzuzu, between July and December 2011 using a semi-structured questionnaire. Patient delay was defined as the time interval between the onset of TB symptom(s) (a common symptom being coughing) to the first visit to any health provider. Health system delay was the interval from the first care-seeking visit at any health provider to the initiation of anti-tuberculosis treatment. Participants were invited to participate in the study during intensive phase of treatment. The characteristics associated with patient and health system delays were analyzed. Results: The median patient delay was 14 days for both new and retreatment TB cases (interquartile range [IQR] 14 - 28 and 7 - 21, respectively). The median health system delay was 59 days (IQR 26 - 108) for new and 40.5 days (IQR 21-90) for retreatment cases. Factors associated with longer patient delay in new cases included primary education (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.2, 95%CI 1.3 - 3.9) and knowledge that more than three weeks of coughing is a sign of TB (AOR 1.9, 1.1 - 3.3). In retreatment cases, distance >10 Km (AOR 3.3, 1.1 - 9.6) and knowledge that more than three weeks of coughing is a sign of TB (AOR 3.7, 1.3 - 10.7; p < 0.05) were significant factors. Making the first visit to a health centre (OR 1.9, 0.9 - 3.8) or a drug store/ traditional healer (OR 5.1, 1.1 - 21.7) in new TB cases were associated with a longer health system delay (p < 0.05) while smear negative (OR 6.4, 1.5 - 28.3), and smear unknown or not done (OR 6.1, 1.3 - 26.9) among retreatment cases were associated with a longer health system delay (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Effective management and new diagnostic techniques t are needed especially among retreatment cases. It is also needed to address geographic barriers to accessing care and increasing TB awareness in the community.
Background: Chronic airway diseases, like asthma or COPD, are characterized by excessive acetylcholine release and airway remodeling. The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term effect of muscarinic agonists on the phenotype and proliferation of rabbit tracheal airway smooth muscle cells (ASMCs). Methods: ASMCs were serum starved before treatment with muscarinic agonists. Cell phenotype was studied by optical microscopy and indirect immunofluorescence, using smooth muscle alpha-actin, desmin and SM-Myosin Heavy Chain (SM-MHC) antibodies. [N-methyl-3H]scopolamine binding studies were performed in order to assess M3 muscarinic receptor expression on isolated cell membranes. Contractility studies were performed on isolated ASMCs treated with muscarinic agonists. Proliferation was estimated using methyl-[3H]thymidine incorporation, MTT or cell counting methods. Involvement of PI3K and MAPK signalling pathways was studied by cell incubation with the pathway inhibitors LY294002 and PD98059 respectively. Results: Prolonged culture of ASMCs with acetylcholine, carbachol or FBS, reduced the expression of alpha-actin, desmin and SM-MHC compared to cells cultured in serum free medium. Treatment of ASMCs with muscarinic agonists for 3-15 days decreased muscarinic receptor expression and their responsiveness to muscarinic stimulation. Acetylcholine and carbachol induced DNA synthesis and increased cell number, of ASMCs that had acquired a contractile phenotype by 7 day serum starvation. This effect was mediated via a PI3K and MAPK dependent mechanism. Conclusions: Prolonged exposure of rabbit ASMCs to muscarinic agonists decreases the expression of smooth muscle specific marker proteins, down-regulates muscarinic receptors and decreases ASMC contractile responsiveness. Muscarinic agonists are mitogenic, via the PI3K and MAPK signalling pathways.
A gravity inversion method based on the Nettleton-Parasnis technique is used to estimate near surface density in an area without exposed outcrop or where outcrop occurrences do not adequately represent the subsurface rock densities. Its accuracy, however, strongly depends on how efficiently the regional trends and very local (terrain) effects are removed from the gravity anomalies processed. Nettleton's method implemented in a usual inversion scheme and combined with the simultaneous determination of terrain corrections. This method may lead to realistic density estimations of the topographical masses. The author applied this technique in the Bandar Charak (Hormozgan-Iran) with various geological/geophysical properties. These inversion results are comparable to both values obtained from density logs in the mentioned area and other methods like Fractal methods. The calculated densities are 2.4005 gr/cm3. The slightly higher differences between calculated densities and densities of the hand rock samples may be caused by the effect of sediment-filled valleys.
Background: Sitagliptin, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, is currently used to achieve glycemic targets in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The addition of DPP-4 inhibitors to ongoing insulin therapy is expected to reduce insulin dosage, leading to a reduction in the frequency of hypoglycaemia and/or weight gain. Recent studies have demonstrated potential anti-atherosclerotic effects for DPP-4 inhibitors. The aim of the present ongoing study is to assess the effects of sitagliptin on the progression of atherosclerosis in patients with insulin-treated T2DM using carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), an established marker of cardiovascular disease.Methods and Design: The Sitagliptin Preventive study of Intima media thickness Evaluation (SPIKE) is a prospective, randomized, open-label, blinded-endpoint, multicenter, parallel-group, comparative study. Between February 2012 and September 2012, 282 participants who failed to achieve glycemic control despite insulin therapy were recruited at 12 clinics and randomly allocated to the sitagliptin group (n = 142) or the control group (n = 140). Primary outcomes are changes in maximum and mean IMT of the common carotid artery after 24-month treatment period measured by carotid arterial echography. Secondary outcomes include changes in glycemic control, parameters related to beta-cell function and diabetic nephropathy, occurrence of cardiovascular events and adverse events such as hypoglycaemia, and biochemical markers of vascular function.DiscussionThe present study is designed to assess the effects of sitagliptin on the progression of carotid IMT. Results will be available in the near future, and the findings are expected to provide new strategy to prevent atherosclerosis in patients with insulin-treated T2DM.Clinical Trial Registration: UMIN000007396
Background: The apoptosis machinery is a promising target against benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) modulate apoptosis by direct inhibition of caspases. Serenoa Repens (SeR) may be combined with other natural compounds such as Lycopene (Ly) and Selenium (Se) to maximize its therapeutic activity in BPH. We investigated the effects of SeR, Se and Ly, alone or in association, on the expression of four IAPs, cIAP-1, cIAP-2, NAIP and survivin in rats with experimental testosterone-dependent BPH. Moreover, caspase-3, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) have been evaluated.Rats were administered, daily, with testosterone propionate (3 mg/kg/sc) or its vehicle for 14 days. Testosterone injected animals (BPH) were randomized to receive vehicle, SeR (25 mg/kg/sc), Se (3 mg/kg/sc), Ly (1 mg/kg/sc) or the SeR-Se-Ly association for 14 days. Animals were sacrificed and prostate removed for analysis. Results: BPH animals treated with vehicle showed unchanged expression of cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 and increased expression of NAIP, survivin, caspase-3, IL-6 and PSMA levels when compared with sham animals. Immunofluorescence studies confirmed the enhanced expression of NAIP and survivin with a characteristic pattern of cellular localization. SeR-Se-Ly association showed the highest efficacy in reawakening apoptosis; additionally, this therapeutic cocktail significantly reduced IL-6 and PSMA levels. The administration of SeR, Se and Ly significantly blunted prostate overweight and growth; moreover, the SeR-Se-Ly association was most effective in reducing prostate enlargement and growth by 43.3% in treated animals. Conclusions: The results indicate that IAPs may represent interesting targets for drug therapy of BPH.
Background: Tacrolimus is a widely used calcineurin inhibitor in kidney transplantation. It is available as twice-daily Prograf(R) (Tac-BID) and once-daily Advagraf(R) (Tac-OD). Although therapeutically equivalent, some patients require dose adjustments to achieve similar trough concentrations [C0] after conversion. Tacrolimus exposure is affected by ethnicity in the de novo setting but the role of ethnicity in determining dose requirements and adjustments after conversion is unknown. Methods: In this study, 496 renal transplant recipients (RTRs) were prospectively converted from Tac-BID to Tac-OD, with dose adjustments targeted to achieve similar [C0] at 12 months post-conversion. Renal function, acute rejection and Tac dose adjustments by ethnicity were analyzed. Results: There were similar numbers of recipients from living and deceased donors. The mean transplant duration was 7 years. Of the RTRs, 60% were Caucasian and 40% were identified as belonging to an ethnic minority. There was no change in estimated renal function (eGFR) post-conversion to Tac-OD. At 12 months, 35/488 (7%) RTRs were receiving a reduced dose, 101/488 (21%) required a dose increase of which 77 (16%) were receiving at least a 30% increase in dose over baseline. The percentage of those in ethnic groups requiring a dose increase of >30% varied from 8.0% for South Asians to 27.5% for East Asians (P = 0.03), despite East Asians having a similar baseline dose of Tac-BID (3.59 mg/day) compared to the entire cohort (3.53 mg/day). Conclusions: Ethnicity may play an important role in dosing requirements when converting from Tac-BID to Tac-OD, unrelated to baseline dose. Further investigation is required to determine the reasons for ethnic variability when patients are converted between tacrolimus preparations.
Background: Health professionals' behaviour is a key component in compliance with evidence-based recommendations. Opinion leaders are an oft-used method of influencing such behaviours in implementation studies, but reliably and cost effectively identifying them is not straightforward. Survey and questionnaire based data collection methods have potential and carefully chosen items can - in theory - both aid identification of opinion leaders and help in the design of an implementation strategy itself. This study compares two methods of identifying opinion leaders for behaviour-change interventions. Methods: Healthcare professionals working in a single UK mental health NHS Foundation Trust were randomly allocated to one of two questionnaires. The first, slightly longer questionnaire, asked for multiple nominations of opinion leaders, with specific information about the nature of the relationship with each nominee. The second, shorter version, asked simply for a list of named "champions" but no more additional information. We compared, using Chi Square statistics, both the questionnaire response rates and the number of health professionals likely to be influenced by the opinion leaders (i.e. the "coverage" rates) for both questionnaire conditions. Results: Both questionnaire versions had low response rates: only 15% of health professionals named colleagues in the longer questionnaire and 13% in the shorter version. The opinion leaders identified by both methods had a low number of contacts (range of coverage, 2-6 each). There were no significant differences in response rates or coverage between the two identification methods. Conclusions: The low response and population coverage rates for both questionnaire versions suggest that alternative methods of identifying opinion leaders for implementation studies may be more effective. Future research should seek to identify and evaluate alternative, non-questionnaire based, methods of identifying opinion leaders in order to maximise their potential in organisational behaviour change interventions.
Background: Diabetes and obesity have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. with rates consistently higher among Hispanics as compared to non-Hispanic whites. Among Hispanic women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), 50% will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years of the index pregnancy. Although randomised controlled trials among adults with impaired glucose tolerance have shown that diet and physical activity reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, such programs have not been tested in high-risk postpartum women. The overall goal of this randomised controlled trial is to test the efficacy of a culturally and linguistically modified, individually-tailored lifestyle intervention to reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among postpartum Hispanic women with a history of abnormal glucose tolerance during pregnancy. Methods: Hispanic pregnant women who screen positive for GDM will be recruited and randomly assigned to a Lifestyle Intervention (n = 150) or a Health & Wellness (control) Intervention (n = 150). Multimodal contacts (i.e., in-person, telephone, and mailed materials) will be used to deliver the intervention from late pregnancy (29 weeks gestation) to 12 months postpartum. Targets of the intervention are to achieve Institute of Medicine Guidelines for postpartum weight loss; American Congress of Obstetrician and Gynecologist guidelines for physical activity; and American Diabetes Association guidelines for diet. The intervention draws from Social Cognitive Theory and the Transtheoretical Model and addresses the specific cultural and environmental challenges faced by low-income Hispanic women. Assessments will be conducted at enrollment, and at 6-weeks, 6-months, and 12-months postpartum by trained bicultural and bilingual personnel blinded to the intervention arm. Efficacy will be assessed via postpartum weight loss and biomarkers of insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk. Changes in physical activity and diet will be measured via 7-day actigraph data and three unannounced 24-hour dietary recalls at each assessment time period.DiscussionHispanic women are the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. and have the highest rates of sedentary behavior and postpartum diabetes after a diagnosis of GDM. This randomised trial uses a high-reach, low-cost strategy that can readily be translated into clinical practice in underserved and minority populations.Trial registration: NCT01679210