1,051 research outputs found

    Entomological and functional role of floral strips in an organic apple orchard: Hymenopteran parasitoids as a case study

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    Habitat manipulation techniques improve the availability of resources required by natural enemies to increase their effectiveness. This study focused on the effects of floral strips on Hymenopteran parasitoid presence. The experiments were conducted during spring 2007 in one organic low-input apple orchard located in south-eastern France. The density and the diversity of parasitic wasps collected from sown floral strips were higher than those from mown plants. The family of parasitic wasps of Braconidae was strongly dominant, followed by Mymaridae and Pteromalidae. By studying 26 flowering species, the greatest diversity and density of parasitic wasps were collected from Potentilla reptans, Achillea millefolium, Trifolium repens and Torilis arvensis. In terms of the early flowering plants, the most important results were observed in Euphorbia helioscopia, Senecio vulgaris and Veronica persica. To give an idea of the functional role of these plants, we studied the parasitic wasps of the diapausing larvae (cocoon) of codling moth Cydia pomonella. We recorded three emerged species: Ascogaster quadridentata, Pristomerus vulnerator and the hyperparasite Perilampus fulvicornis. However, none of these species have been observed on the 26 studied plants. Hence, this result may be suggesting that the studied plants do not have a functional role concerning these parasitoids. These studies may be advantageous for biological control programs in order to select flowering plant species attracting parasitic wasps specific to fruit pests

    The iBRA (implant breast reconstruction evaluation) study: protocol for a prospective multi-centre cohort study to inform the feasibility, design and conduct of a pragmatic randomised clinical trial comparing new techniques of implant-based breast reconstruction.

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    BACKGROUND: Implant-based breast reconstruction (IBBR) is the most commonly performed reconstructive procedure in the UK. The introduction of techniques to augment the subpectoral pocket has revolutionised the procedure, but there is a lack of high-quality outcome data to describe the safety or effectiveness of these techniques. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are the best way of comparing treatments, but surgical RCTs are challenging. The iBRA (implant breast reconstruction evaluation) study aims to determine the feasibility, design and conduct of a pragmatic RCT to examine the effectiveness of approaches to IBBR. METHODS/DESIGN: The iBRA study is a trainee-led research collaborative project with four phases:Phase 1 - a national practice questionnaire (NPQ) to survey current practicePhase 2 - a multi-centre prospective cohort study of patients undergoing IBBR to evaluate the clinical and patient-reported outcomesPhase 3- an IBBR-RCT acceptability survey and qualitative work to explore patients' and surgeons' views of proposed trial designs and candidate outcomes.Phase 4 - phases 1 to 3 will inform the design and conduct of the future RCT All centres offering IBBR will be encouraged to participate by the breast and plastic surgical professional associations (Association of Breast Surgery and British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons). Data collected will inform the feasibility of undertaking an RCT by defining current practice and exploring issues surrounding recruitment, selection of comparator arms, choice of primary outcome, sample size, selection criteria, trial conduct, methods of data collection and feasibility of using the trainee collaborative model to recruit patients and collect data. DISCUSSION: The preliminary work undertaken within the iBRA study will determine the feasibility, design and conduct of a definitive RCT in IBBR. It will work with the trainee collaborative to build capacity by creating an infrastructure of research-active breast and plastic surgeons which will facilitate future high-quality research that will ultimately improve outcomes for all women seeking reconstructive surgery. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN37664281

    Serum transthyretin and risk of cognitive decline and dementia: 22-year longitudinal study

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    Serum transthyretin (TTR) may be an early biomarker for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders (ADRD). We investigated associations of TTR measured at baseline with cognitive decline and incident ADRD and whether TTR trajectories differ between ADRD cases and non-cases, over 22 years before diagnosis. A total of 6024 adults aged 45-69 in 1997-1999 were followed up until 2019. TTR was assessed three times, and 297 cases of dementia were recorded. Higher TTR was associated with higher cognitive function at baseline; however, TTR was unrelated to subsequent change in cognitive function. TTR at baseline did not predict ADRD risk (hazard ratio per SD TTR (4.8 mg/dL) = 0.97; 95% confidence interval: 0.94-1.00). Among those later diagnosed with ADRD, there was a marginally steeper downward TTR trajectory than those free of ADRD over follow-up (P=0.050). Our findings suggest TTR is not neuroprotective. The relative decline in TTR level in the preclinical stage of ADRD is likely to be a consequence of disease processes

    Use of intraventricular ribbon gauze to reduce particulate emboli during aortic valve replacement

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    BACKGROUND: The incidence of cerebrovascular accidents following aortic valve surgery remains a devastating complication. The aim of this study was to determine the number of potential embolic material arising during aortic valve replacement and to examine the efficacy of using ribbon gauze in the left ventricle during removal of the native valve and decalcification of the aortic annulus. METHODS: Ribbon gauze was inserted into the left ventricular cavity prior to aortic valve excision in an unselected, prospectively studied series of 30 patients undergoing aortic valve replacement. A further 30 lengths of ribbon gauze were soaked in the pericardiotomy blood of the same patients and all were subjected to histological analysis. RESULTS: The median number of tissue fragments from the aortic valve replacement group was significantly higher than in the control group 5 (0–18) versus 0 (0–1) (p = 3.6 × 10(-5)). The size of tissue fragments varied between 0.1 and 9.0 mm with a mean of 0.61 ± 1.12 mm and a median of 0.2 mm. There was a significantly higher number of tissue fragments associated with patients having surgery for aortic stenosis when compared with patients who had aortic regurgitation with median of 5 (0–18) versus 0 (0–3) (p = 0.8 × 10(-3)). CONCLUSION: Significant capture of particulate debris by the intraventricular ribbon gauze suggests that the technique of left ventricular ribbon gauze insertion during aortic valve excision has merit

    Cardiac Troponin T and Troponin i in the General Population: Comparing and Contrasting Their Genetic Determinants and Associations with Outcomes

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    Background: There is great interest in widening the use of high-sensitivity cardiac troponins for population cardiovascular disease (CVD) and heart failure screening. However, it is not clear whether cardiac troponin T (cTnT) and troponin I (cTnI) are equivalent measures of risk in this setting. We aimed to compare and contrast (1) the association of cTnT and cTnI with CVD and non-CVD outcomes, and (2) their determinants in a genome-wide association study. Methods: High-sensitivity cTnT and cTnI were measured in serum from 19 501 individuals in Generation Scotland Scottish Family Health Study. Median follow-up was 7.8 years (quartile 1 to quartile 3, 7.1-9.2). Associations of each troponin with a composite CVD outcome (1177 events), CVD death (n=266), non-CVD death (n=374), and heart failure (n=216) were determined by using Cox models. A genome-wide association study was conducted using a standard approach developed for the cohort. Results: Both cTnI and cTnT were strongly associated with CVD risk in unadjusted models. After adjusting for classical risk factors, the hazard ratio for a 1 SD increase in log transformed troponin was 1.24 (95% CI, 1.17-1.32) and 1.11 (1.04-1.19) for cTnI and cTnT, respectively; ratio of hazard ratios 1.12 (1.04-1.21). cTnI, but not cTnT, was associated with myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease. Both cTnI and cTnT had strong associations with CVD death and heart failure. By contrast, cTnT, but not cTnI, was associated with non-CVD death; ratio of hazard ratios 0.77 (0.67-0.88). We identified 5 loci (53 individual single-nucleotide polymorphisms) that had genome-wide significant associations with cTnI, and a different set of 4 loci (4 single-nucleotide polymorphisms) for cTnT. Conclusions: The upstream genetic causes of low-grade elevations in cTnI and cTnT appear distinct, and their associations with outcomes also differ. Elevations in cTnI are more strongly associated with some CVD outcomes, whereas cTnT is more strongly associated with the risk of non-CVD death. These findings help inform the selection of an optimal troponin assay for future clinical care and research in this setting

    Cardiovascular effects of sub-daily levels of ambient fine particles: a systematic review

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>While the effects of daily fine particulate exposure (PM) have been well reviewed, the epidemiological and physiological evidence of cardiovascular effects associated to sub-daily exposures has not. We performed a theoretical model-driven systematic non-meta-analytical literature review to document the association between PM sub-daily exposures (≤6 hours) and arrhythmia, ischemia and myocardial infarction (MI) as well as the likely mechanisms by which sub-daily PM exposures might induce these acute cardiovascular effects. This review was motivated by the assessment of the risk of exposure to elevated sub-daily levels of PM during fireworks displays.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Medline and Elsevier's EMBase were consulted for the years 1996-2008. Search keywords covered potential cardiovascular effects, the pollutant of interest and the short duration of the exposure. Only epidemiological and experimental studies of adult humans (age > 18 yrs) published in English were reviewed. Information on design, population and PM exposure characteristics, and presence of an association with selected cardiovascular effects or physiological assessments was extracted from retrieved articles.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Of 231 articles identified, 49 were reviewed. Of these, 17 addressed the relationship between sub-daily exposures to PM and cardiovascular effects: five assessed ST-segment depression indicating ischemia, eight assessed arrhythmia or fibrillation and five considered MI. Epidemiologic studies suggest that exposure to sub-daily levels of PM is associated with MI and ischemic events in the elderly. Epidemiological studies of sub-daily exposures suggest a plausible biological mechanism involving the autonomic nervous system while experimental studies suggest that vasomotor dysfunction may also relate to the occurrence of MI and ischemic events.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>Future studies should clarify associations between cardiovascular effects of sub-daily PM exposure with PM size fraction and concurrent gaseous pollutant exposures. Experimental studies appear more promising for elucidating the physiological mechanisms, time courses and causes than epidemiological studies which employ central pollution monitors for measuring effects and for assessing their time course. Although further studies are needed to strengthen the evidence, given that exposure to sub-daily high levels of PM (for a few hours) is frequent and given the suggestive evidence that sub-daily PM exposures are associated with the occurrence of cardiovascular effects, we recommend that persons with cardiovascular diseases avoid such situations.</p

    The RAPID-CTCA trial (Rapid Assessment of Potential Ischaemic Heart Disease with CTCA) - a multicentre parallel-group randomised trial to compare early computerised tomography coronary angiography versus standard care in patients presenting with suspected or confirmed acute coronary syndrome: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

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    BACKGROUND: Emergency department attendances with chest pain requiring assessment for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are a major global health issue. Standard assessment includes history, examination, electrocardiogram (ECG) and serial troponin testing. Computerised tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) enables additional anatomical assessment of patients for coronary artery disease (CAD) but has only been studied in very low-risk patients. This trial aims to investigate the effect of early CTCA upon interventions, event rates and health care costs in patients with suspected/confirmed ACS who are at intermediate risk. METHODS/DESIGN: Participants will be recruited in about 35 tertiary and district general hospitals in the UK. Patients ≥18 years old with symptoms with suspected/confirmed ACS with at least one of the following will be included: (1) ECG abnormalities, e.g. ST-segment depression >0.5 mm; (2) history of ischaemic heart disease; (3) troponin elevation above the 99(th) centile of the normal reference range or increase in high-sensitivity troponin meeting European Society of Cardiology criteria for 'rule-in' of myocardial infarction (MI). The early use of ≥64-slice CTCA as part of routine assessment will be compared to standard care. The primary endpoint will be 1-year all-cause death or recurrent type 1 or type 4b MI at 1 year, measured as the time to such event. A number of secondary clinical, process and safety endpoints will be collected and analysed. Cost effectiveness will be estimated in terms of the lifetime incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year gained. We plan to recruit 2424 (2500 with ~3% drop-out) evaluable patients (1212 per arm) to have 90% power to detect a 20% versus 15% difference in 1-year death or recurrent type 1 MI or type 4b MI, two-sided p < 0.05. Analysis will be on an intention-to-treat basis. The relationship between intervention and the primary outcome will be analysed using Cox proportional hazard regression adjusted for study site (used to stratify the randomisation), age, baseline Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events score, previous CAD and baseline troponin level. The results will be expressed as a hazard ratio with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals and p value. DISCUSSION: The Rapid Assessment of Potential Ischaemic Heart Disease with CTCA (RAPID-CTCA) trial will recruit 2500 participants across about 35 hospital sites. It will be the first study to investigate the role of CTCA in the early assessment of patients with suspected or confirmed ACS who are at intermediate risk and including patients who have raised troponin measurements during initial assessment. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN19102565 . Registered on 3 October 2014. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02284191

    Investigation into pedestrian exposure to near-vehicle exhaust emissions

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Inhalation of diesel particulate matter (DPM) is known to have a negative impact on human health. Consequently, there are regulations and standards that limit the maximum concentrations to which persons may be exposed and the maximum concentrations allowed in the ambient air. However, these standards consider steady exposure over large spatial and time scales. Due to the nature of many vehicle exhaust systems, pedestrians in close proximity to a vehicle's tailpipe may experience events where diesel particulate matter concentrations are high enough to cause acute health effects for brief periods of time.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>In order to quantify these exposure events, instruments which measure specific exhaust constituent concentrations were placed near a roadway and connected to the mouth of a mannequin used as a pedestrian surrogate. By measuring concentrations at the mannequin's mouth during drive-by events with a late model diesel truck, a representative estimate of the exhaust constituent concentrations to which a pedestrian may be exposed was obtained. Typical breathing rates were then multiplied by the measured concentrations to determine the mass of pollutant inhaled.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>The average concentration of diesel particulate matter measured over the duration of a single drive-by test often exceeded the low concentrations used in human clinical studies which are known to cause acute health effects. It was also observed that higher concentrations of diesel particulate matter were measured at the height of a stroller than were measured at the mouth of a mannequin.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Diesel particulate matter concentrations during drive-by incidents easily reach or exceed the low concentrations that can cause acute health effects for brief periods of time. For the case of a particularly well-tuned late-model year vehicle, the mass of particulate matter inhaled during a drive-by incident is small compared to the mass inhaled daily at ambient conditions. On a per breath basis, however, the mass of particulate matter inhaled is large compared to the mass inhaled at ambient conditions. Finally, it was determined that children, infants, or people breathing at heights similar to that of a passing vehicle's tailpipe may be exposed to higher concentrations of particulate matter than those breathing at higher locations, such as adults standing up.</p

    High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin and the Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction.

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    Background: The introduction of more sensitive cardiac troponin assays has led to increased recognition of myocardial injury in acute illnesses other than acute coronary syndrome. The Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction recommends high-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) testing and classification of patients with myocardial injury based on aetiology, but the clinical implications of implementing this guideline are not well understood. Methods: In a stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial, we implemented a hs-cTn assay and the recommendations of the Universal Definition in 48,282 consecutive patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome. In a pre-specified secondary analysis, we compared the primary outcome of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death and secondary outcome of non-cardiovascular death at one year across diagnostic categories. Results: Implementation increased the diagnosis of type 1 myocardial infarction by 11% (510/4,471), type 2 myocardial infarction by 22% (205/916), and acute and chronic myocardial injury by 36% (443/1,233) and 43% (389/898), respectively. Compared to those without myocardial injury, the rate of the primary outcome was highest in those with type 1 myocardial infarction (cause-specific hazard ratio [csHR] 5.64, 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.12 to 6.22), but was similar across diagnostic categories, whereas non-cardiovascular deaths were highest in those with acute myocardial injury (csHR 2.65, 95%CI 2.33 to 3.01). Despite modest increases in anti-platelet therapy and coronary revascularization after implementation in patients with type 1 myocardial infarction, the primary outcome was unchanged (csHR 1.00, 95%CI 0.82 to 1.21). Increased recognition of type 2 myocardial infarction and myocardial injury did not lead to changes in investigation, treatment or outcomes. Conclusions: Implementation of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin and the recommendations of the Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction identified patients at high-risk of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular events, but was not associated with consistent increases in treatment or improved outcomes. Trials of secondary prevention are urgently required to determine whether this risk is modifiable in patients without type 1 myocardial infarction. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov Unique Identifier: NCT0185212
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