593 research outputs found

    'Pick a Skipper': an evaluation of a designated driver program to prevent alcohol related injury in a regional Australian city

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    The 'Community Mobilization for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Injury' (COMPARI) project undertook a designated driver intervention for young adults, known as 'Pick-a-Skipper', in the regional Western Australian city of Geraldton, which has a population of ~25 000. The first component of the program was a television advertising campaign encouraging people to 'Pick-a-Skipper' if they were going out to drink. The second component of the program comprised a promotion targeting nightclub patrons. The drivers of two or more passengers were provided with free soft drink all night by the nightclub. The 'Picka-Skipper' campaign succeeded in persuading a significant number of those young Geraldton drinkers, who were intending to drive to and from their location of drinking, to select non-drinking drivers as 'Skippers' before they began consuming alcohol. It was also found that the mass media component was much more important in the success of the program than the on-site licensed premises component; that males were significantly less likely to select a 'Skipper' and more likely to undertake high-risk-taking behaviour; that inaccurate knowledge about 'Skippers' was also associated with high-risk-taking behaviour and accurate knowledge of the 'Skipper' concept was associated with increased frequency of 'Skipper' selection; and that passengers defined as 'high-risk takers' are more likely to increase their consumption of alcohol if they have designated a driver. The study indicates that an extensive media campaign, providing positive images and utility knowledge on designating a non-drinking driver, can have a significant impact on drinking and driving behaviour in a local community

    Network-constrained models of liberalized electricity markets: the devil is in the details

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    Numerical models for electricity markets are frequently used to inform and support decisions. How robust are the results? Three research groups used the same, realistic data set for generators, demand and transmission network as input for their numerical models. The results coincide when predicting competitive market results. In the strategic case in which large generators can exercise market power, the predicted prices differed significantly. The results are highly sensitive to assumptions about market design, timing of the market and assumptions about constraints on the rationality of generators. Given the same assumptions the results coincide. We provide a checklist for users to understand the implications of different modelling assumptions.Market power, Electricity, Networks, Numeric models, Model comparison

    Cops, drugs and the community: establishing consultative harm reduction structures in two Western Australian locations

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    In Australia a police project incorporating four parallel trials was established to test a new model of illicit drug law enforcement, which gives greater emphasis to harm reduction at the community level. The project was based on a community-policing model developed in the United Kingdom and involved establishing a community based consultation structure comprising an implementation oriented Drug Action Team (DAT) and support oriented Drug Reference Group (DRG). Two of the trials operated in Western Australia: one in Geraldton, a small regional city; and the other in Mirrabooka, a large, diverse, metropolitan region within Perth. The project officers were faced with a number of challenges and had to develop strategies to overcome these. One of the important issues was the effect of continual changes in membership of DATs, and consequent fluctuating levels of enthusiasm and commitment. The size and composition of the DATs also had an impact on how they operated. Other issues included the management of different agency agendas and recognition that the project would only operate for a limited time. How the project officers dealt with these issues in their development of the DAT/DRG model and how the two trial sites incorporated harm reduction into illicit drug policing are presented and discussed

    Quercetin prevents progression of disease in elastase/LPS-exposed mice by negatively regulating MMP expression

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    Abstract Background Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic bronchitis, emphysema and irreversible airflow limitation. These changes are thought to be due to oxidative stress and an imbalance of proteases and antiproteases. Quercetin, a plant flavonoid, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. We hypothesized that quercetin reduces lung inflammation and improves lung function in elastase/lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-exposed mice which show typical features of COPD, including airways inflammation, goblet cell metaplasia, and emphysema. Methods Mice treated with elastase and LPS once a week for 4 weeks were subsequently administered 0.5 mg of quercetin dihydrate or 50% propylene glycol (vehicle) by gavage for 10 days. Lungs were examined for elastance, oxidative stress, inflammation, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity. Effects of quercetin on MMP transcription and activity were examined in LPS-exposed murine macrophages. Results Quercetin-treated, elastase/LPS-exposed mice showed improved elastic recoil and decreased alveolar chord length compared to vehicle-treated controls. Quercetin-treated mice showed decreased levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, a measure of lipid peroxidation caused by oxidative stress. Quercetin also reduced lung inflammation, goblet cell metaplasia, and mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and muc5AC. Quercetin treatment decreased the expression and activity of MMP9 and MMP12 in vivo and in vitro, while increasing expression of the histone deacetylase Sirt-1 and suppressing MMP promoter H4 acetylation. Finally, co-treatment with the Sirt-1 inhibitor sirtinol blocked the effects of quercetin on the lung phenotype. Conclusions Quercetin prevents progression of emphysema in elastase/LPS-treated mice by reducing oxidative stress, lung inflammation and expression of MMP9 and MMP12.http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/78260/1/1465-9921-11-131.xmlhttp://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/78260/2/1465-9921-11-131.pdfPeer Reviewe

    An Essential Difference between the Flavonoids MonoHER and Quercetin in Their Interplay with the Endogenous Antioxidant Network

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    Antioxidants can scavenge highly reactive radicals. As a result the antioxidants are converted into oxidation products that might cause damage to vital cellular components. To prevent this damage, the human body possesses an intricate network of antioxidants that pass over the reactivity from one antioxidant to another in a controlled way. The aim of the present study was to investigate how the semi-synthetic flavonoid 7-mono-O-(β-hydroxyethyl)-rutoside (monoHER), a potential protective agent against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, fits into this antioxidant network. This position was compared with that of the well-known flavonoid quercetin. The present study shows that the oxidation products of both monoHER and quercetin are reactive towards thiol groups of both GSH and proteins. However, in human blood plasma, oxidized quercetin easily reacts with protein thiols, whereas oxidized monoHER does not react with plasma protein thiols. Our results indicate that this can be explained by the presence of ascorbate in plasma; ascorbate is able to reduce oxidized monoHER to the parent compound monoHER before oxidized monoHER can react with thiols. This is a major difference with oxidized quercetin that preferentially reacts with thiols rather than ascorbate. The difference in selectivity between monoHER and quercetin originates from an intrinsic difference in the chemical nature of their oxidation products, which was corroborated by molecular quantum chemical calculations. These findings point towards an essential difference between structurally closely related flavonoids in their interplay with the endogenous antioxidant network. The advantage of monoHER is that it can safely channel the reactivity of radicals into the antioxidant network where the reactivity is completely neutralized

    Epistatic Interactions Alter Dynamics of Multilocus Gene-for-Gene Coevolution

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    Fitness costs associated with resistance or virulence genes are thought to play a key role in determining the dynamics of gene-for-gene (GFG) host-parasite coevolution. However, the nature of interactions between fitness effects of multiple resistance or virulence genes (epistasis) has received less attention. To examine effects of the functional form of epistasis on the dynamics of GFG host-parasite coevolution we modified a classic multilocus GFG model framework. We show that the type of epistasis between virulence genes largely determines coevolutionary dynamics, and that coevolutionary fluctuations are more likely with acceleratingly costly (negative) than with linear or deceleratingly costly (positive) epistasis. Our results demonstrate that the specific forms of interaction between multiple resistance or virulence genes are a crucial determinant of host-parasite coevolutionary dynamics

    Cerebral microcirculation and histological mapping after severe head injury: a contusion and acceleration experimental model

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    Background: Cerebral microcirculation after severe head injury is heterogeneous and temporally variable. Microcirculation is dependent upon the severity of injury, and it is unclear how histology relates to cerebral regional blood flow. Objective: This study assesses the changes of cerebral microcirculation blood flow over time after an experimental brain injury model in sheep and contrasts these findings with the histological analysis of the same regions with the aim of mapping cerebral flow and tissue changes after injury. Methods: Microcirculation was quantified using flow cytometry of color microspheres injected under intracardiac ultrasound to ensure systemic and homogeneous distribution. Histological analysis used amyloid precursor protein staining as a marker of axonal injury. A mapping of microcirculation and axonal staining was performed using adjacent layers of tissue from the same anatomical area, allowing flow and tissue data to be available from the same anatomical region. A mixed effect regression model assessed microcirculation during 4 h after injury, and those results were then contrasted to the amyloid staining qualitative score. results: Microcirculation values for each subject and tissue region over time, including baseline, ranged between 20 and 80 ml/100 g/min with means that did not differ statistically from baseline flows. However, microcirculation values for each subject and tissue region were reduced from baseline, although their confidence intervals crossing the horizontal ratio of 1 indicated that such reduction was not statistically significant. Histological analysis demonstrated the presence of moderate and severe score on the amyloid staining throughout both hemispheres. conclusion: Microcirculation at the ipsilateral and contralateral site of a contusion and the ipsilateral thalamus and medulla showed a consistent decline over time. Our data suggest that after severe head injury, microcirculation in predefined areas of the brain is reduced from baseline with amyloid staining in those areas reflecting the early establishment of axonal injuryJudith Bellapart, Kylie Cuthbertson, Kimble Dunster, Sara Diab, David G. Platts, Owen Christopher Raffel, Levon Gabrielian, Adrian Barnett, Jenifer Paratz, Rob Boots and John F. Frase

    Physicochemical characterization and genotoxicity of the broad class of carbon nanotubes and nanofibers used or produced in US facilities

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    Background Carbon nanotubes and nanofibers (CNT/F) have known toxicity but simultaneous comparative studies of the broad material class, especially those with a larger diameter, with computational analyses linking toxicity to their fundamental material characteristics was lacking. It was unclear if all CNT/F confer similar toxicity, in particular, genotoxicity. Nine CNT/F (MW #1-7 and CNF #1-2), commonly found in exposure assessment studies of U.S. facilities, were evaluated with reported diameters ranging from 6 to 150 nm. All materials were extensively characterized to include distributions of physical dimensions and prevalence of bundled agglomerates. Human bronchial epithelial cells were exposed to the nine CNT/F (0-24 mu g/ml) to determine cell viability, inflammation, cellular oxidative stress, micronuclei formation, and DNA double-strand breakage. Computational modeling was used to understand various permutations of physicochemical characteristics and toxicity outcomes. Results Analyses of the CNT/F physicochemical characteristics illustrate that using detailed distributions of physical dimensions provided a more consistent grouping of CNT/F compared to using particle dimension means alone. In fact, analysis of binning of nominal tube physical dimensions alone produced a similar grouping as all characterization parameters together. All materials induced epithelial cell toxicity and micronuclei formation within the dose range tested. Cellular oxidative stress, DNA double strand breaks, and micronuclei formation consistently clustered together and with larger physical CNT/F dimensions and agglomerate characteristics but were distinct from inflammatory protein changes. Larger nominal tube diameters, greater lengths, and bundled agglomerate characteristics were associated with greater severity of effect. The portion of tubes with greater nominal length and larger diameters within a sample was not the majority in number, meaning a smaller percentage of tubes with these characteristics was sufficient to increase toxicity. Many of the traditional physicochemical characteristics including surface area, density, impurities, and dustiness did not cluster with the toxicity outcomes. Conclusion Distributions of physical dimensions provided more consistent grouping of CNT/F with respect to toxicity outcomes compared to means only. All CNT/F induced some level of genotoxicity in human epithelial cells. The severity of toxicity was dependent on the sample containing a proportion of tubes with greater nominal lengths and diameters

    Ongoing Phenotypic and Genomic Changes in Experimental Coevolution of RNA Bacteriophage Qβ and Escherichia coli

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    According to the Red Queen hypothesis or arms race dynamics, coevolution drives continuous adaptation and counter-adaptation. Experimental models under simplified environments consisting of bacteria and bacteriophages have been used to analyze the ongoing process of coevolution, but the analysis of both parasites and their hosts in ongoing adaptation and counter-adaptation remained to be performed at the levels of population dynamics and molecular evolution to understand how the phenotypes and genotypes of coevolving parasite–host pairs change through the arms race. Copropagation experiments with Escherichia coli and the lytic RNA bacteriophage Qβ in a spatially unstructured environment revealed coexistence for 54 days (equivalent to 163–165 replication generations of Qβ) and fitness analysis indicated that they were in an arms race. E. coli first adapted by developing partial resistance to infection and later increasing specific growth rate. The phage counter-adapted by improving release efficiency with a change in host specificity and decrease in virulence. Whole-genome analysis indicated that the phage accumulated 7.5 mutations, mainly in the A2 gene, 3.4-fold faster than in Qβ propagated alone. E. coli showed fixation of two mutations (in traQ and csdA) faster than in sole E. coli experimental evolution. These observations suggest that the virus and its host can coexist in an evolutionary arms race, despite a difference in genome mutability (i.e., mutations per genome per replication) of approximately one to three orders of magnitude
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