2,989 research outputs found

    The immunopathogenesis of tuberculous pericarditis

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    Tuberculous pericarditis is a severe form of extrapulmonary tuberculosis and is the commonest cause of pericardial effusion in high incidence settings. Mortality ranges between 8 and 34%, and it is the leading cause of pericardial constriction in Africa and Asia. Current understanding of the disease is based on models derived from studies performed in the 1940–50s. This review summarises recent advances in the histology, microbiology and immunology of tuberculous pericarditis, with special focus on the effect of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the determinants of constriction

    A Comprehensive Workflow for General-Purpose Neural Modeling with Highly Configurable Neuromorphic Hardware Systems

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    In this paper we present a methodological framework that meets novel requirements emerging from upcoming types of accelerated and highly configurable neuromorphic hardware systems. We describe in detail a device with 45 million programmable and dynamic synapses that is currently under development, and we sketch the conceptual challenges that arise from taking this platform into operation. More specifically, we aim at the establishment of this neuromorphic system as a flexible and neuroscientifically valuable modeling tool that can be used by non-hardware-experts. We consider various functional aspects to be crucial for this purpose, and we introduce a consistent workflow with detailed descriptions of all involved modules that implement the suggested steps: The integration of the hardware interface into the simulator-independent model description language PyNN; a fully automated translation between the PyNN domain and appropriate hardware configurations; an executable specification of the future neuromorphic system that can be seamlessly integrated into this biology-to-hardware mapping process as a test bench for all software layers and possible hardware design modifications; an evaluation scheme that deploys models from a dedicated benchmark library, compares the results generated by virtual or prototype hardware devices with reference software simulations and analyzes the differences. The integration of these components into one hardware-software workflow provides an ecosystem for ongoing preparative studies that support the hardware design process and represents the basis for the maturity of the model-to-hardware mapping software. The functionality and flexibility of the latter is proven with a variety of experimental results

    Ar dreno pašalinimo laikas turi įtakos pirminio spontaninio pneumotorakso pirmojo epizodo gydymo išeitims?

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    Background / objectives. The main treatment option for the first episode of primary spontaneous pneumothorax is chest tube drainage, however, whether delayed chest tube removal might influence the recurrence is unclear.Methods. A prospective study, which included 50 patients, with an initial episode of primary spontaneous pneumothorax was performed. Patients were randomized into two groups according to the chest tube removal time: 1-day and 5-days after the air-leak has stopped. All patients were followed-up for at least six months. Both groups were compared according to the recurrence rate and possible complications.Results. There were 39 (78%) men and the median age was 27 (23–35) years. Successful management with a chest tube was achieved in 43 (86%) patients, others were operated on because of the continuous air-leak or relapse of the pneumothorax after the chest tube was removed. Significant difference was not found comparing groups by age, gender, side, tobacco smoking, alpha-1-antitrypsin level, rate of prolonged air-leak, necessity of surgery, and the mean follow-up time. There was a significant difference between groups in hospitalization time: 1-day group – 6 (4–12), 5-days group – 8 (7–10) days, p = 0.017. Five (20%) patients from 1-day group and 3 (12%) from 5-days group had a recurrence, however the difference was not significant (p = 0.702). There were no significant differences comparing groups by the recurrence time or complications.Conclusions. The recurrence rate of primary spontaneous pneumothorax was higher if the chest tube was removed earlier, however not significantly. More data and longer follow-up are necessary to confirm these findings.Įvadas / tikslas. Pirminis spontaninis pneumotoraksas yra didelė jaunų sveikų žmonių problema. Pleuros ertmės drenavimas – pagrindinis pirminio spontaninio pneumotorakso pirmojo epizodo gydymo būdas. Vis dėlto nėra žinoma, ar dreno buvimo pleuros ertmėje trukmė gali turėti įtakos recidyvų dažniui.Metodai. Atliktas perspektyvusis tyrimas, į kurį įtraukta 50 pacientų. Tiriamiesiems diagnozuotas pirminio spontaninio pneumotorakso pirmasis epizodas. Visi pacientai gydyti drenuojant pleuros ertmę. Pacientai suskirstyti į dvi grupes, atsižvelgiant į dreno pašalinimo laiką: praėjus vienai dienai ar praėjus penkioms dienoms, kai per dreną nustojo skirtis oras. Visi pacientai atokiu laikotarpiu (mažiausiai šešis mėnesius) stebėti dėl galimo recidyvo. Atlikta abiejų grupių recidyvų dažnio ir galimų komplikacijų lyginamoji analizė.Rezultatai. Vidutinis pacientų amžius – 27 (23–35) metai. 78 proc. tiriamųjų – vyrai. Drenavus pleuros ertmę, sėkmingai išgydyti 43 ligoniai (86 %). Kiti tiriamieji dėl besiskiriančio per dreną oro ar dėl rentgenogramoje matomo pakartotinio pneumotorakso, pašalinus dreną, buvo operuoti. Abiejų tiriamųjų grupių duomenys pagal amžių, lytį, pneumotorakso pasireiškimo krūtinės ląstoje pusę, rūkymą, alfa-1 antitripsino koncentraciją kraujyje, ilgesnį oro skyrimąsi per dreną ar operacijos poreikį statistiškai reikšmingai nesiskyrė. Statistiškai reikšmingai skyrėsi abiejų grupių hospitalizacijos trukmė: tiriamieji, kuriems, nustojus per dreną skirtis orui, drenas pašalintas praėjus vienai dienai, ligoninėje gulėjo vidutiniškai 6 (4–12) dienas, o tiriamieji, kuriems drenas pašalintas praėjus penkioms dienoms, – 8 (7–10) dienas (p = 0,017). Penkiems (20 %) pirmosios grupės ir trims (12 %) antrosios grupės pacientams pneumotoraksas recidyvavo (skirtumas statistiškai nereikšmingas (p = 0,702)). Statistiškai nereikšmingas skirtumas nustatytas ir tarp abiejų grupių recidyvo laiko bei komplikacijų.Išvados. Pirminio spontaninio pneumotorakso recidyvų dažnis kiek didesnis, kai drenas ištraukiamas anksčiau, tačiau lyginamųjų grupių skirtumas statistiškai nereikšmingas. Siekiant patvirtinti gautus rezultatus, reikia atlikti didesnės apimties tyrimą, būtina ilgiau stebėti tiriamuosius

    Population genetics of trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense: clonality and diversity within and between foci

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    African trypanosomes are unusual among pathogenic protozoa in that they can undergo their complete morphological life cycle in the tsetse fly vector with mating as a non-obligatory part of this development. Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, which infects humans and livestock in East and Southern Africa, has classically been described as a host-range variant of the non-human infective Trypanosoma brucei that occurs as stable clonal lineages. We have examined T. b. rhodesiense populations from East (Uganda) and Southern (Malawi) Africa using a panel of microsatellite markers, incorporating both spatial and temporal analyses. Our data demonstrate that Ugandan T. b. rhodesiense existed as clonal populations, with a small number of highly related genotypes and substantial linkage disequilibrium between pairs of loci. However, these populations were not stable as the dominant genotypes changed and the genetic diversity also reduced over time. Thus these populations do not conform to one of the criteria for strict clonality, namely stability of predominant genotypes over time, and our results show that, in a period in the mid 1990s, the previously predominant genotypes were not detected but were replaced by a novel clonal population with limited genetic relationship to the original population present between 1970 and 1990. In contrast, the Malawi T. b. rhodesiense population demonstrated significantly greater diversity and evidence for frequent genetic exchange. Therefore, the population genetics of T. b. rhodesiense is more complex than previously described. This has important implications for the spread of the single copy T. b. rhodesiense gene that allows human infectivity, and therefore the epidemiology of the human disease, as well as suggesting that these parasites represent an important organism to study the influence of optional recombination upon population genetic dynamics

    Learning to prescribe - pharmacists' experiences of supplementary prescribing training in England

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    Background: The introduction of non-medical prescribing for professions such as pharmacy and nursing in recent years offers additional responsibilities and opportunities but attendant training issues. In the UK and in contrast to some international models, becoming a non-medical prescriber involves the completion of an accredited training course offered by many higher education institutions, where the skills and knowledge necessary for prescribing are learnt. Aims: to explore pharmacists' perceptions and experiences of learning to prescribe on supplementary prescribing (SP) courses, particularly in relation to inter-professional learning, course content and subsequent use of prescribing in practice. Methods: A postal questionnaire survey was sent to all 808 SP registered pharmacists in England in April 2007, exploring demographic, training, prescribing, safety culture and general perceptions of SP. Results: After one follow-up, 411 (51%) of pharmacists responded. 82% agreed SP training was useful, 58% agreed courses provided appropriate knowledge and 62% agreed that the necessary prescribing skills were gained. Clinical examination, consultation skills training and practical experience with doctors were valued highly; pharmacology training and some aspects of course delivery were criticised. Mixed views on inter-professional learning were reported – insights into other professions being valued but knowledge and skills differences considered problematic. 67% believed SP and recent independent prescribing (IP) should be taught together, with more diagnostic training wanted; few pharmacists trained in IP, but many were training or intending to train. There was no association between pharmacists' attitudes towards prescribing training and when they undertook training between 2004 and 2007 but earlier cohorts were more likely to be using supplementary prescribing in practice. Conclusion: Pharmacists appeared to value their SP training and suggested improvements that could inform future courses. The benefits of inter-professional learning, however, may conflict with providing professionspecific training. SP training may be perceived to be an instrumental 'stepping stone' in pharmacists' professional project of gaining full IP status

    Associations of sedentary behaviour, physical activity, blood pressure and anthropometric measures with cardiorespiratory fitness in children with cerebral palsy

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    Background - Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have poor cardiorespiratory fitness in comparison to their peers with typical development, which may be due to low levels of physical activity. Poor cardiorespiratory fitness may contribute to increased cardiometabolic risk. Purpose - The aim of this study was to determine the association between sedentary behaviour, physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness in children with CP. An objective was to determine the association between cardiorespiratory fitness, anthropometric measures and blood pressure in children with CP. Methods- This study included 55 ambulatory children with CP [mean (SD) age 11.3 (0.2) yr, range 6-17 yr; Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I and II]. Anthropometric measures (BMI, waist circumference and waist-height ratio) and blood pressure were taken. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using a 10 m shuttle run test. Children were classified as low, middle and high fitness according to level achieved on the test using reference curves. Physical activity was measured by accelerometry over 7 days. In addition to total activity, time in sedentary behaviour and light, moderate, vigorous, and sustained moderate-to-vigorous activity (≥10 min bouts) were calculated. Results - Multiple regression analyses revealed that vigorous activity (β = 0.339, p<0.01), sustained moderate-to-vigorous activity (β = 0.250, p<0.05) and total activity (β = 0.238, p<0.05) were associated with level achieved on the shuttle run test after adjustment for age, sex and GMFCS level. Children with high fitness spent more time in vigorous activity than children with middle fitness (p<0.05). Shuttle run test level was negatively associated with BMI (r2 = -0.451, p<0.01), waist circumference (r2 = -0.560, p<0.001), waist-height ratio (r2 = -0.560, p<0.001) and systolic blood pressure (r2 = -0.306, p<0.05) after adjustment for age, sex and GMFCS level. Conclusions - Participation in physical activity, particularly at a vigorous intensity, is associated with high cardiorespiratory fitness in children with CP. Low cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk

    Horizontal DNA transfer mechanisms of bacteria as weapons of intragenomic conflict

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    Horizontal DNA transfer (HDT) is a pervasive mechanism of diversification in many microbial species, but its primary evolutionary role remains controversial. Much recent research has emphasised the adaptive benefit of acquiring novel DNA, but here we argue instead that intragenomic conflict provides a coherent framework for understanding the evolutionary origins of HDT. To test this hypothesis, we developed a mathematical model of a clonally descended bacterial population undergoing HDT through transmission of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and genetic transformation. Including the known bias of transformation toward the acquisition of shorter alleles into the model suggested it could be an effective means of counteracting the spread of MGEs. Both constitutive and transient competence for transformation were found to provide an effective defence against parasitic MGEs; transient competence could also be effective at permitting the selective spread of MGEs conferring a benefit on their host bacterium. The coordination of transient competence with cell-cell killing, observed in multiple species, was found to result in synergistic blocking of MGE transmission through releasing genomic DNA for homologous recombination while simultaneously reducing horizontal MGE spread by lowering the local cell density. To evaluate the feasibility of the functions suggested by the modelling analysis, we analysed genomic data from longitudinal sampling of individuals carrying Streptococcus pneumoniae. This revealed the frequent within-host coexistence of clonally descended cells that differed in their MGE infection status, a necessary condition for the proposed mechanism to operate. Additionally, we found multiple examples of MGEs inhibiting transformation through integrative disruption of genes encoding the competence machinery across many species, providing evidence of an ongoing "arms race." Reduced rates of transformation have also been observed in cells infected by MGEs that reduce the concentration of extracellular DNA through secretion of DNases. Simulations predicted that either mechanism of limiting transformation would benefit individual MGEs, but also that this tactic's effectiveness was limited by competition with other MGEs coinfecting the same cell. A further observed behaviour we hypothesised to reduce elimination by transformation was MGE activation when cells become competent. Our model predicted that this response was effective at counteracting transformation independently of competing MGEs. Therefore, this framework is able to explain both common properties of MGEs, and the seemingly paradoxical bacterial behaviours of transformation and cell-cell killing within clonally related populations, as the consequences of intragenomic conflict between self-replicating chromosomes and parasitic MGEs. The antagonistic nature of the different mechanisms of HDT over short timescales means their contribution to bacterial evolution is likely to be substantially greater than previously appreciated

    Effect of Dietary Components on Larval Life History Characteristics in the Medfly (Ceratitis capitata: Diptera, Tephritidae)

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    Background: The ability to respond to heterogenous nutritional resources is an important factor in the adaptive radiation of insects such as the highly polyphagous Medfly. Here we examined the breadth of the Medfly’s capacity to respond to different developmental conditions, by experimentally altering diet components as a proxy for host quality and novelty. Methodology/Principal Findings: We tested responses of larval life history to diets containing protein and carbohydrate components found in and outside the natural host range of this species. A 40% reduction in the quantity of protein caused a significant increase in egg to adult mortality by 26.5%±6% in comparison to the standard baseline diet. Proteins and carbohydrates had differential effects on larval versus pupal development and survival. Addition of a novel protein source, casein (i.e. milk protein), to the diet increased larval mortality by 19.4%±3% and also lengthened the duration of larval development by 1.93±0.5 days in comparison to the standard diet. Alteration of dietary carbohydrate, by replacing the baseline starch with simple sugars, increased mortality specifically within the pupal stage (by 28.2%±8% and 26.2%±9% for glucose and maltose diets, respectively). Development in the presence of the novel carbohydrate lactose (milk sugar) was successful, though on this diet there was a decrease of 29.8±1.6 µg in mean pupal weight in comparison to pupae reared on the baseline diet. Conclusions: The results confirm that laboratory reared Medfly retain the ability to survive development through a wide range of fluctuations in the nutritional environment. We highlight new facets of the responses of different stages of holometabolous life histories to key dietary components. The results are relevant to colonisation scenarios and key to the biology of this highly invasive species

    Predicting live birth, preterm and low birth weight infant after in-vitro fertilisation: a prospective study of 144018 treatment cycles

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    Background The extent to which baseline couple characteristics affect the probability of live birth and adverse perinatal outcomes after assisted conception is unknown. Methods and Findings We utilised the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority database to examine the predictors of live birth in all in vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycles undertaken in the UK between 2003 and 2007 (n = 144,018). We examined the potential clinical utility of a validated model that pre-dated the introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) as compared to a novel model. For those treatment cycles that resulted in a live singleton birth (n = 24,226), we determined the associates of potential risk factors with preterm birth, low birth weight, and macrosomia. The overall rate of at least one live birth was 23.4 per 100 cycles (95% confidence interval [CI] 23.2–23.7). In multivariable models the odds of at least one live birth decreased with increasing maternal age, increasing duration of infertility, a greater number of previously unsuccessful IVF treatments, use of own oocytes, necessity for a second or third treatment cycle, or if it was not unexplained infertility. The association of own versus donor oocyte with reduced odds of live birth strengthened with increasing age of the mother. A previous IVF live birth increased the odds of future success (OR 1.58, 95% CI 1.46–1.71) more than that of a previous spontaneous live birth (OR 1.19, 95% CI 0.99–1.24); p-value for difference in estimate &#60;0.001. Use of ICSI increased the odds of live birth, and male causes of infertility were associated with reduced odds of live birth only in couples who had not received ICSI. Prediction of live birth was feasible with moderate discrimination and excellent calibration; calibration was markedly improved in the novel compared to the established model. Preterm birth and low birth weight were increased if oocyte donation was required and ICSI was not used. Risk of macrosomia increased with advancing maternal age and a history of previous live births. Infertility due to cervical problems was associated with increased odds of all three outcomes—preterm birth, low birth weight, and macrosomia. Conclusions Pending external validation, our results show that couple- and treatment-specific factors can be used to provide infertile couples with an accurate assessment of whether they have low or high risk of a successful outcome following IVF

    Biphasic synovial sarcoma in the cervical spine: Case report

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    Synovial sarcoma is a rare malignant neoplasm of soft tissue that typically arising near large joints of the upper and lower extremities in young adult males. Only 3% of these neoplasms have been found to arise in the head and neck region. To our knowledge, there are limited reports in the literature of this neoplasm in the cervical spine
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