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Do people get happier or crankier as they age? Stereotypes of crotchety neighbors aside, scientists have been trying to answer this question for decades, and the results have been conflicting. Now a study of several thousand Americans born between 1885 and 1980 reveals that well-being indeed increases with age--but overall happiness depends on when a person was born. [More]
In seguito alla catastrofe ecologica della Deepwater Horizon, il parlamento europeo lo scorso anno ha avviato una revisione del regolamento per le prospezioni, esplorazioni e produzioni offshore di[...]
What had the legs of a ‘gator and the jaws of a fish? Why, the earliest land animals. Because a new study shows that animals evolved weight-bearing limbs long before they had the chompers to really take advantage of a terrestrial diet. The research is in the journal Integrative and Comparative Biology . [Philip S. L. Anderson, Matt Friedman and Marcello Ruta, Late to the Table: Diversification of Tetrapod Mandibular Biomechanics Lagged Behind the Evolution of Terrestriality ] [More]
Background: Mycobacterium abscessus is a rapidly growing mycobacterium responsible for progressive pulmonary disease, soft tissue and wound infections. The incidence of disease due to M. abscessus has been increasing in Queensland. In a study of Brisbane drinking water, M. abscessus was isolated from ten different locations.The aim of this study was to compare genotypically the M. abscessus isolates obtained from water to those obtained from human clinical specimens. Methods: Between 2007 and 2009, eleven isolates confirmed as M. abscessus were recovered from potable water, one strain was isolated from a rainwater tank and another from a swimming pool and two from domestic taps. Seventy-four clinical isolates referred during the same time period were available for comparison using rep-PCR strain typing (Diversilab). Results: The drinking water isolates formed two clusters with >=97% genetic similarity (Water patterns 1 and 2). The tankwater isolate (WP4), one municipal water isolate (WP3) and the pool isolate (WP5) were distinctly different. Patient isolates formed clusters with all of the water isolates except for WP3. Further patient isolates were unrelated to the water isolates. Conclusion: The high degree of similarity between strains of M. abscessus from potable water and strains causing infection in humans from the same geographical area, strengthens the possibility that drinking water may be the source of infection in these patients.
Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasingly becoming a major public health problem worldwide. Estimating the future burden of diabetes is instrumental to guide the public health response to the epidemic. This study aims to project the prevalence of T2DM among adults in Syria over the period 2003--2022 by applying a modelling approach to the country's own data. Methods: Future prevalence of T2DM in Syria was estimated among adults aged 25 years and older for the period 2003--2022 using the IMPACT Diabetes Model (a discrete-state Markov model). Results: According to our model, the prevalence of T2DM in Syria is projected to double in the period between 2003 and 2022 (from 10% to 21%). The projected increase in T2DM prevalence is higher in men (148%) than in women (93%). The increase in prevalence of T2DM is expected to be most marked in people younger than 55 years especially the 25--34 years age group. Conclusions: The future projections of T2DM in Syria put it amongst countries with the highest levels of T2DM worldwide. It is estimated that by 2022 approximately a fifth of the Syrian population aged 25 years and older will have T2DM.
Background: The diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM) is based on either fasting plasma glucose levels or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Recently, an HbA1c value of >= 48 mmol/mol (6.5%) has been included as an additional test to diagnose DM. The purpose of this study was to validate HbA1c versus OGTT as a method to diagnose DM in vascular surgery patients. Methods: The study population consisted of 345 patients admitted consecutively due to peripheral arterial disease. Sixty-seven patients were previously diagnosed with DM. Glucose levels of OGTT and HbA1c values were analyzed in 275 patients. The OGTT results were categorized into three groups according to the World Health Organization 1999 criteria: 1) DM defined as fasting plasma glucose (FPG) >= 7.0 mmol/L and/or two-hour value (2-h-value) >= 11.1 mmol/L; 2) intermediate hyperglycaemia, which consists of IGT (FPG = 48 mmol/mol (6.5%) detected DM with a 45.5% sensitivity and a 90% specificity compared with the OGTT results. Combining the measurements of the HbA1c value with the fasting plasma glucose level (>=7.0 mmol/L) increased the sensitivity to 64%. The total prevalence of DM and intermediate hyperglycaemia was 85% based on HbA1c values and 45% based on the OGTT. Conclusions: Compared with the OGTT the HbA1c cut-off value of >= 48 mmol/mol (6.5%) had a 45.5% sensitivity to diagnose DM in patients with peripheral arterial disease. OGTT and HbA1c categorized different individuals with DM and intermediate hyperglycaemia. The total prevalence of pathologic glucose metabolism was substantially higher based on HbA1c values than based on OGTT. The high prevalence of DM and intermediate hyperglycaemia when using HbA1c in this study may reflect a high chronic glycaemic burden in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Further studies on vascular surgery patients are needed to identify which method, OGTT or HbA1c, is the better in predicting DM and future clinical development of vascular disease.Trial registration: REK vest 14109
Background: Falls among the elderly are a major public health concern. Therefore, the possibility of a modeling technique which could better estimate fall probability is both timely and needed. Using biomedical, pharmacological and demographic variables as predictors, latent class analysis (LCA) is demonstrated as a tool for the prediction of falls among community dwelling elderly. Methods: Using a retrospective data-set a two-step LCA modeling approach was employed. First, we looked for the optimal number of latent classes for the seven medical indicators, along with the patients' prescription medication and three covariates (age, gender, and number of medications). Second, the appropriate latent class structure, with the covariates, were modeled on the distal outcome (fall/no fall). The default estimator was maximum likelihood with robust standard errors. The Pearson chi-square, likelihood ratio chi-square, BIC, Lo-Mendell-Rubin Adjusted Likelihood Ratio test and the bootstrap likelihood ratio test were used for model comparisons. Results: A review of the model fit indices with covariates shows that a six-class solution was preferred. The predictive probability for latent classes ranged from 84% to 97%. Entropy, a measure of classification accuracy, was good at 90%. Specific prescription medications were found to strongly influence group membership. Conclusions: In conclusion the LCA method was effective at finding relevant subgroups within a heterogenous at-risk population for falling. This study demonstrated that LCA offers researchers a valuable tool to model medical data.
Background: Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) can locate transcription factor binding sites on genomic scale. Although many models and programs are available to call peaks, none has dominated its competition in comparison studies. Results: We propose a rigorous statistical model, the normal-exponential two-peak (NEXT-peak) model, which parallels the physical processes generating the empirical data, and which can naturally incorporate mappability information. The model therefore estimates total strength of binding (even if some binding locations do not map uniquely into a reference genome, effectively censoring them); it also assigns an error to an estimated binding location. The comparison study with existing programs on real ChIP-seq datasets (STAT1, NRSF, and ZNF143) demonstrates that the NEXT-peak model performs well both in calling peaks and locating them. The model also provides a goodness-of-fit test, to screen out spurious peaks and to infer multiple binding events in a region. Conclusions: The NEXT-peak program calls peaks on any test dataset about as accurately as any other, but provides unusual accuracy in the estimated location of the peaks it calls. NEXT-peak is based on rigorous statistics, so its model also provides a principled foundation for a more elaborate statistical analysis of ChIP-seq data.
Background: Ulcerative colitis (UC) often occurs in women of childbearing age. Compared to Western countries, however, few studies have investigated the impact of UC on the progress of pregnancy in Asian populations. Methods: We retrospectively examined 91 pregnancies in 64 patients with UC experienced at our hospital and related institutions from 1991 to 2011, focusing on the relationship between the progression of UC during pregnancy, progress of the pregnancy itself, and the treatment of UC. Results: In 80 of 91 pregnancies the patient had already been diagnosed with UC at the time she became pregnant, of whom 31 (38.8%) experienced exacerbation during pregnancy. Regarding severity, moderate or severe active-stage disease during pregnancy was seen in 13.7% of those who had been in remission at the onset of pregnancy versus 58.6% of those who had been in the active stage at onset (OR 8.9: 95%CI 3.0~26.4; P<0.01). The incidence of miscarriage or abortion was 9.8% in pregnancies in which UC was in remission at onset versus 31% in those in which it was in the active stage at onset (OR 4.1: 95%CI 1.2~13.9; P=0.02). Among patients, 62.5% were receiving pharmaceutical treatment at onset of pregnancy. Exacerbation during pregnancy occurred in 26.5% of the group who continued to receive the same treatment during pregnancy versus 56.3% of those with a dose decrease or discontinuation after onset (OR 3.6: 95%CI 1.0~12.4; P=0.04). Conclusions: UC patients wishing to conceive should do so when in remission and continue appropriate pharmaceutical treatment during pregnancy.
Background: Human milk contains a diverse population of bacteria that likely influences colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract. Recent studies, however, have been limited to characterization of this microbial community by 16S rRNA analysis. In the present study, a metagenomic approach using Illumina sequencing of a pooled milk sample (ten donors) was employed to determine the genera of bacteria and the types of bacterial open reading frames in human milk that may influence bacterial establishment and stability in this primal food matrix. The human milk metagenome was also compared to that of breastfed and formula-fed infants' feces (n = 5, each) and mothers' feces (n = 3) at the phylum level and at a functional level using open reading frame abundance. Additionally, immune-modulatory bacterial-DNA motifs were also searched for within human milk. Results: The bacterial community in human milk contained over 360 prokaryotic genera, with sequences aligning predominantly to the phyla of Proteobacteria (65%) and Firmicutes (34%), and the genera of Pseudomonas (61.1%), Staphylococcus (33.4%) and Streptococcus (0.5%). From assembled human milk-derived contigs, 30,128 open reading frames were annotated and assigned to functional categories. When compared to the metagenome of infants' and mothers' feces, the human milk metagenome was less diverse at the phylum level, and contained more open reading frames associated with nitrogen metabolism, membrane transport and stress response (P < 0.05). The human milk metagenome also contained a similar occurrence of immune-modulatory DNA motifs to that of infants' and mothers' fecal metagenomes. Conclusions: Our results further expand the complexity of the human milk metagenome and enforce the benefits of human milk ingestion on the microbial colonization of the infant gut and immunity. Discovery of immune-modulatory motifs in the metagenome of human milk indicates more exhaustive analyses of the functionality of the human milk metagenome are warranted.