421 research outputs found

    Genomics knowledge and attitudes among European public health professionals. Results of a cross-sectional survey

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    Background The international public health (PH) community is debating the opportunity to incorporate genomic technologies into PH practice. A survey was conducted to assess attitudes of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) members towards their role in the implementation of public health genomics (PHG), and their knowledge and attitudes towards genetic testing and the delivery of genetic services. Methods EUPHA members were invited via monthly newsletter and e-mail to take part in an online survey from February 2017 to January 2018. A descriptive analysis of knowledge and attitudes was conducted, along with a univariate and multivariate analysis of their determinants. Results Five hundred and two people completed the questionnaire, 17.9% were involved in PHG activities. Only 28.9% correctly identified all medical conditions for which there is (or not) evidence for implementing genetic testing; over 60% thought that investing in genomics may divert economic resources from social and environmental determinants of health. The majority agreed that PH professionals may play different roles in incorporating genomics into their activities. Better knowledge was associated with positive attitudes towards the use of genetic testing and the delivery of genetic services in PH (OR = 1.48; 95% CI 1.01–2.18). Conclusions Our study revealed quite positive attitudes, but also a need to increase awareness on genomics among European PH professionals. Those directly involved in PHG activities tend to have a more positive attitude and better knowledge; however, gaps are also evident in this group, suggesting the need to harmonize practice and encourage greater exchange of knowledge among professionals

    Measurement of the spin temperature of optically cooled nuclei and GaAs hyperfine constants in GaAs/AlGaAs quantum dots

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    Deep cooling of electron and nuclear spins is equivalent to achieving polarization degrees close to 100% and is a key requirement in solid state quantum information technologies. While polarization of individual nuclear spins in diamond and SiC reaches 99% and beyond, it has been limited to 60-65% for the nuclei in quantum dots. Theoretical models have attributed this limit to formation of coherent "dark" nuclear spin states but experimental verification is lacking, especially due to the poor accuracy of polarization degree measurements. Here we measure the nuclear polarization in GaAs/AlGaAs quantum dots with high accuracy using a new approach enabled by manipulation of the nuclear spin states with radiofrequency pulses. Polarizations up to 80% are observed - the highest reported so far for optical cooling in quantum dots. This value is still not limited by nuclear coherence effects. Instead we find that optically cooled nuclei are well described within a classical spin temperature framework. Our findings unlock a route for further progress towards quantum dot electron spin qubits where deep cooling of the mesoscopic nuclear spin ensemble is used to achieve long qubit coherence. Moreover, GaAs hyperfine material constants are measured here experimentally for the first time

    Spintronics: Fundamentals and applications

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    Spintronics, or spin electronics, involves the study of active control and manipulation of spin degrees of freedom in solid-state systems. This article reviews the current status of this subject, including both recent advances and well-established results. The primary focus is on the basic physical principles underlying the generation of carrier spin polarization, spin dynamics, and spin-polarized transport in semiconductors and metals. Spin transport differs from charge transport in that spin is a nonconserved quantity in solids due to spin-orbit and hyperfine coupling. The authors discuss in detail spin decoherence mechanisms in metals and semiconductors. Various theories of spin injection and spin-polarized transport are applied to hybrid structures relevant to spin-based devices and fundamental studies of materials properties. Experimental work is reviewed with the emphasis on projected applications, in which external electric and magnetic fields and illumination by light will be used to control spin and charge dynamics to create new functionalities not feasible or ineffective with conventional electronics.Comment: invited review, 36 figures, 900+ references; minor stylistic changes from the published versio

    Implications of the HIV testing protocol for refusal bias in seroprevalence surveys

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    BACKGROUND: HIV serosurveys have become important sources of HIV prevalence estimates, but these estimates may be biased because of refusals and other forms of non-response. We investigate the effect of the post-test counseling study protocol on bias due to the refusal to be tested. METHODS: Data come from a nine-month prospective study of hospital admissions in Addis Ababa during which patients were approached for an HIV test. Patients had the choice between three consent levels: testing and post-test counseling (including the return of HIV test results), testing without post-test counseling, and total refusal. For all patients, information was collected on basic sociodemographic background characteristics as well as admission diagnosis. The three consent levels are used to mimic refusal bias in serosurveys with different post-test counseling study protocols. We first investigate the covariates of consent for testing. Second, we quantify refusal bias in HIV prevalence estimates using Heckman regression models that account for sample selection. RESULTS: Refusal to be tested positively correlates with admission diagnosis (and thus HIV status), but the magnitude of refusal bias in HIV prevalence surveys depends on the study protocol. Bias is larger when post-test counseling and the return of HIV test results is a prerequisite of study participation (compared to a protocol where test results are not returned to study participants, or, where there is an explicit provision for respondents to forego post-test counseling). We also find that consent for testing increased following the introduction of antiretroviral therapy in Ethiopia. Other covariates of refusal are age (non-linear effect), gender (higher refusal rates in men), marital status (lowest refusal rates in singles), educational status (refusal rate increases with educational attainment), and counselor. CONCLUSION: The protocol for post-test counseling and the return of HIV test results to study participants is an important consideration in HIV prevalence surveys that wish to minimize refusal bias. The availability of ART is likely to reduce refusal rates

    Antibacterial Characterization of Novel Synthetic Thiazole Compounds against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius

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    Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a commensal organism of companion animals that is a significant source of opportunistic infections in dogs. With the emergence of clinical isolates of S. pseudintermedius (chiefly methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP)) exhibiting increased resistance to nearly all antibiotic classes, new antimicrobials and therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Thiazole compounds have been previously shown to possess potent antibacterial activity against multidrug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus of human and animal concern. Given the genetic similarity between S. aureus and S. pseudintermedius, this study explores the potential use of thiazole compounds as novel antibacterial agents against methicillin-sensitive S. pseudintermedius (MSSP) and MRSP. A broth microdilution assay confirmed these compounds exhibit potent bactericidal activity (at sub-microgram/mL concentrations) against both MSSA and MRSP clinical isolates while the MTS assay confirmed three compounds (at 10 μg/mL) were not toxic to mammalian cells. A time-kill assay revealed two derivatives rapidly kill MRSP within two hours. However, this rapid bactericidal activity was not due to disruption of the bacterial cell membrane indicating an alternative mechanism of action for these compounds against MRSP. A multistep resistance selection analysis revealed compounds 4 and 5 exhibited a modest (twofold) shift in activity over ten passages. Furthermore, all six compounds (at a subinihibitory concentration) demonstrated the ability to re-sensitize MRSP to oxacillin, indicating these compounds have potential use for extending the therapeutic utility of β-lactam antibiotics against MRSP. Metabolic stability analysis with dog liver microsomes revealed compound 3 exhibited an improved physicochemical profile compared to the lead compound. In addition to this, all six thiazole compounds possessed a long post-antibiotic effect (at least 8 hours) against MRSP. Collectively the present study demonstrates these synthetic thiazole compounds possess potent antibacterial activity against both MSSP and MRSP and warrant further investigation into their use as novel antimicrobial agents

    Differential effects of alprazolam and clonazepam on the immune system and blood vessels of non-stressed and stressed adult male albino rats

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    Benzodiazepines belongs to one of the most commonly used anxiolytic and anticonvulsant drugs in the world. Full description of toxic effects on different organs is lacking for nearly all the current benzodiazepines. The aim of the current work was to study the immunologic and vascular changes induced by sub-chronic administration of alprazolam and clonazepam in non-stressed and stressed adult male albino rats. Forty-two adult male albino rats were divided into 6 groups (I): (Ia) Negative control rats, (Ib): Positive control rats received distilled water, (II): Stressed rats, (III): Non-stressed rats received daily oral dose of clonazepam (0.5 mg/kg), (IV): Stressed rats received daily oral dose of clonazepam (0.5 mg/kg), (V): Non-stressed rats received daily oral dose of alprazolam (0.3 mg/kg). (VI): Stressed rats received daily oral dose of alprazolam (0.3 mg/kg). At the end of the 4th week, total leukocyte count (WBCs) and differential count were determined, anti-sheep RBC antibody (Anti-SRBC) titer and interleukin-2 (IL-2) level were assessed, thymus glands, lymph nodes, spleens and abdominal aortae were submitted to histopathological examination. Alprazolam was found to induce a significant increase in neutrophil count and a significant decrease in lymphocytes, anti-SRBC titer and IL-2 level with severe depletion of the splenic, thymal and nodal lymphocytes, accompanied by congestion and eosinophilic vasculitis of all organs tested in comparison to clonazepam treated rats. Stress enhanced the toxic effects. It was concluded that the immune system and blood vessels can be adversely affected to a greater extent by short-term chronic administration of alprazolam than by clonazepam, and these toxic effects are aggravated by stress

    The Prometastatic Microenvironment of the Liver

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    The liver is a major metastasis-susceptible site and majority of patients with hepatic metastasis die from the disease in the absence of efficient treatments. The intrahepatic circulation and microvascular arrest of cancer cells trigger a local inflammatory reaction leading to cancer cell apoptosis and cytotoxicity via oxidative stress mediators (mainly nitric oxide and hydrogen peroxide) and hepatic natural killer cells. However, certain cancer cells that resist or even deactivate these anti-tumoral defense mechanisms still can adhere to endothelial cells of the hepatic microvasculature through proinflammatory cytokine-mediated mechanisms. During their temporary residence, some of these cancer cells ignore growth-inhibitory factors while respond to proliferation-stimulating factors released from tumor-activated hepatocytes and sinusoidal cells. This leads to avascular micrometastasis generation in periportal areas of hepatic lobules. Hepatocytes and myofibroblasts derived from portal tracts and activated hepatic stellate cells are next recruited into some of these avascular micrometastases. These create a private microenvironment that supports their development through the specific release of both proangiogenic factors and cancer cell invasion- and proliferation-stimulating factors. Moreover, both soluble factors from tumor-activated hepatocytes and myofibroblasts also contribute to the regulation of metastatic cancer cell genes. Therefore, the liver offers a prometastatic microenvironment to circulating cancer cells that supports metastasis development. The ability to resist anti-tumor hepatic defense and to take advantage of hepatic cell-derived factors are key phenotypic properties of liver-metastasizing cancer cells. Knowledge on hepatic metastasis regulation by microenvironment opens multiple opportunities for metastasis inhibition at both subclinical and advanced stages. In addition, together with metastasis-related gene profiles revealing the existence of liver metastasis potential in primary tumors, new biomarkers on the prometastatic microenvironment of the liver may be helpful for the individual assessment of hepatic metastasis risk in cancer patients
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