981 research outputs found

    Eliminating the LIGO bounds on primordial black hole dark matter

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    Primordial black holes (PBHs) in the mass range (30(30--100) M100)~M_{\odot} are interesting candidates for dark matter, as they sit in a narrow window between microlensing and cosmic microwave background constraints. There are however tight constraints from the binary merger rate observed by the LIGO and Virgo experiments. In deriving these constraints, PBHs were treated as point Schwarzschild masses, while the more careful analysis in an expanding universe we present here, leads to a time-dependent mass. This implies a stricter set of conditions for a black hole binary to form and means that black holes coalesce much more quickly than was previously calculated, namely well before the LIGO/Virgo's observed mergers. The observed binaries are those coalescing within galactic halos, with a merger rate consistent with data. This reopens the possibility for dark matter in the form of LIGO-mass PBHs.Comment: formatting + structure updated, and some arguments have been extended and slightly rewritten for clarity. no changes to the physics or conclusion

    Management of imatinib-resistant CML patients

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    Imatinib has had marked impact on outcomes in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients for all stages of the disease and is endorsed by international treatment guidelines as the first line option. Although imatinib is highly effective and well tolerated, the development of resistance represents a clinical challenge. Since the most frequently identified mechanism of acquired imatinib resistance is bcr-abl kinase domain point mutations, periodic hematologic, cytogenetic, and molecular monitoring is critical throughout imatinib therapy. Once cytogenetic remission is achieved, residual disease can be monitored by bcr-abl transcript levels as assayed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Detection of bcr-abl mutants prior to and during imatinib therapy can aid in risk stratification as well as in determining therapeutic strategies. Thus, mutation screening is indicated in patients lacking or losing hematologic response. Moreover, search for mutations should also be performed when a 3-log reduction of bcr-abl transcripts is not achieved or there is a reproducible increase of transcript levels. In patients harboring mutations which confer imatinib resistance, novel second line tyrosine kinase inhibitors have demonstrated encouraging efficacy with low toxicity. Only the T315I bcr-abl mutant has proved totally resistant to all clinically available bcr-abl inhibitors. Strategies to further increase the rates of complete molecular remissions represent the next frontier in the targeted therapy of CML patients

    Distributed situation awareness in dynamic systems: Theoretical development and application of an ergonomics methodology

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    The purpose of this paper is to propose foundations for a theory of situation awareness based on the analysis of interactions between agents (i.e., both human and non-human) in subsystems. This approach may help promote a better understanding of technology-mediated interaction in systems, as well as helping in the formulation of hypotheses and predictions concerning distributed situation awareness. It is proposed that agents within a system each hold their own situation awareness which may be very different from (although compatible with) other agents. It is argued that we should not always hope for, or indeed want, sharing of this awareness, as different system agents have different purposes. This view marks situation awareness as a 1 dynamic and collaborative process that binds agents together on tasks on a moment-by-moment basis. Implications of this viewpoint for development of a new theory of, and accompanying methodology for, distributed situation awareness are offered

    Common variants of the TCF7L2 gene are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in a UK-resident South Asian population

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    Background Recent studies have implicated variants of the transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) gene in genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes mellitus in several different populations. The aim of this study was to determine whether variants of this gene are also risk factors for type 2 diabetes development in a UK-resident South Asian cohort of Punjabi ancestry. Methods We genotyped four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of TCF7L2 (rs7901695, rs7903146, rs11196205 and rs12255372) in 831 subjects with diabetes and 437 control subjects. Results The minor allele of each variant was significantly associated with type 2 diabetes; the greatest risk of developing the disease was conferred by rs7903146, with an allelic odds ratio (OR) of 1.31 (95% CI: 1.11 – 1.56, p = 1.96 × 10-3). For each variant, disease risk associated with homozygosity for the minor allele was greater than that for heterozygotes, with the exception of rs12255372. To determine the effect on the observed associations of including young control subjects in our data set, we reanalysed the data using subsets of the control group defined by different minimum age thresholds. Increasing the minimum age of our control subjects resulted in a corresponding increase in OR for all variants of the gene (p ≤ 1.04 × 10-7). Conclusion Our results support recent findings that TCF7L2 is an important genetic risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes in multiple ethnic groups

    Common health assets protocol: a mixed-methods, realist evaluation and economic appraisal of how community-led organisations (CLOs) impact on the health and well-being of people living in deprived areas

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    Introduction: This research investigates how community-led organisations’ (CLOs’) use of assets-based approaches improves health and well-being, and how that might be different in different contexts. Assets-based approaches involve ‘doing with’ rather than ‘doing to’ and bring people in communities together to achieve positive change using their own knowledge, skills and experience. Some studies have shown that such approaches can have a positive effect on health and well-being. However, research is limited, and we know little about which approaches lead to which outcomes and how different contexts might affect success. Methods and analysis: Using a realist approach, we will work with 15 CLOs based in disadvantaged communities in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A realist synthesis of review papers, and a policy analysis in different contexts, precedes qualitative interviews and workshops with stakeholders, to find out how CLOs’ programmes work and identify existing data. We will explore participants’ experiences through: a Q methodology study; participatory photography workshops; qualitative interviews and measure outcomes using a longitudinal survey, with 225 CLO participants, to assess impact for people who connect with the CLOs. An economic analysis will estimate costs and benefits to participants, for different contexts and mechanisms. A ‘Lived Experience Panel’ of people connected with our CLOs as participants or volunteers, will ensure the appropriateness of the research, interpretation and reporting of findings. Ethics and dissemination: This project, research tools and consent processes have been approved by the Glasgow Caledonian University School of Health and Life Sciences Ethics Committee, and affirmed by Ethics Committees at Bournemouth University, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of East London. Common Health Assets does not involve any National Health Service sites, staff or patients. Findings will be presented through social media, project website, blogs, policy briefings, journal articles, conferences and visually in short digital stories, and photographic exhibitions

    The promoter polymorphism -232C/G of the PCK1 gene is associated with type 2 diabetes in a UK-resident South Asian population

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    Background: The PCK1 gene, encoding cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK-C), has previously been implicated as a candidate gene for type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility. Rodent models demonstrate that over-expression of Pck1 can result in T2D development and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the promoter region of human PCK1 (-232C/G) has exhibited significant association with the disease in several cohorts. Within the UK-resident South Asian population, T2D is 4 to 6 times more common than in indigenous white Caucasians. Despite this, few studies have reported on the genetic susceptibility to T2D in this ethnic group and none of these has investigated the possible effect of PCK1 variants. We therefore aimed to investigate the association between common variants of the PCK1 gene and T2D in a UK-resident South Asian population of Punjabi ancestry, originating predominantly from the Mirpur area of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. \ud \ud Methods: We used TaqMan assays to genotype five tagSNPs covering the PCK1 gene, including the -232C/G variant, in 903 subjects with T2D and 471 normoglycaemic controls. \ud \ud Results: Of the variants studied, only the minor allele (G) of the -232C/G SNP demonstrated a significant association with T2D, displaying an OR of 1.21 (95% CI: 1.03 - 1.42, p = 0.019). \ud \ud Conclusion: This study is the first to investigate the association between variants of the PCK1 gene and T2D in South Asians. Our results suggest that the -232C/G promoter polymorphism confers susceptibility to T2D in this ethnic group. \ud \ud Trial registration: UKADS Trial Registration: ISRCTN38297969

    OpenEP: A Cross-Platform Electroanatomic Mapping Data Format and Analysis Platform for Electrophysiology Research.

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    BACKGROUND: Electroanatomic mapping systems are used to support electrophysiology research. Data exported from these systems is stored in proprietary formats which are challenging to access and storage-space inefficient. No previous work has made available an open-source platform for parsing and interrogating this data in a standardized format. We therefore sought to develop a standardized, open-source data structure and associated computer code to store electroanatomic mapping data in a space-efficient and easily accessible manner. METHODS: A data structure was defined capturing the available anatomic and electrical data. OpenEP, implemented in MATLAB, was developed to parse and interrogate this data. Functions are provided for analysis of chamber geometry, activation mapping, conduction velocity mapping, voltage mapping, ablation sites, and electrograms as well as visualization and input/output functions. Performance benchmarking for data import and storage was performed. Data import and analysis validation was performed for chamber geometry, activation mapping, voltage mapping and ablation representation. Finally, systematic analysis of electrophysiology literature was performed to determine the suitability of OpenEP for contemporary electrophysiology research. RESULTS: The average time to parse clinical datasets was 400 ± 162 s per patient. OpenEP data was two orders of magnitude smaller than compressed clinical data (OpenEP: 20.5 ± 8.7 Mb, vs clinical: 1.46 ± 0.77 Gb). OpenEP-derived geometry metrics were correlated with the same clinical metrics (Area: R 2 = 0.7726, P < 0.0001; Volume: R 2 = 0.5179, P < 0.0001). Investigating the cause of systematic bias in these correlations revealed OpenEP to outperform the clinical platform in recovering accurate values. Both activation and voltage mapping data created with OpenEP were correlated with clinical values (mean voltage R 2 = 0.8708, P < 0.001; local activation time R 2 = 0.8892, P < 0.0001). OpenEP provides the processing necessary for 87 of 92 qualitatively assessed analysis techniques (95%) and 119 of 136 quantitatively assessed analysis techniques (88%) in a contemporary cohort of mapping studies. CONCLUSIONS: We present the OpenEP framework for evaluating electroanatomic mapping data. OpenEP provides the core functionality necessary to conduct electroanatomic mapping research. We demonstrate that OpenEP is both space-efficient and accurately representative of the original data. We show that OpenEP captures the majority of data required for contemporary electroanatomic mapping-based electrophysiology research and propose a roadmap for future development

    Advancing animal tuberculosis surveillance using culture-independent long-read whole-genome sequencing

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    Acknowledgments Some of the figures (Figures 4–6 and Supplementary Material S1) were generated using BioRender and draw.io, respectively. Funding The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This research was funded by the Wellcome Foundation (grant #222941/Z/21/Z), the South African Medical Research Council, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Wild Animal Health Fund [S005651 and S007355], the National Research Foundation South African Research Chair Initiative [grant #86949], and MHM was supported by Wellcome Trust (grant #216634/Z/19/Z). AGL is supported by the EDCTP TESA III network (CSA2020NoE-3104).Peer reviewedPublisher PD

    Growth Arrest of BCR-ABL Positive Cells with a Sequence-Specific Polyamide-Chlorambucil Conjugate

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    Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is characterized by the presence of a constitutively active Abl kinase, which is the product of a chimeric BCR-ABL gene, caused by the genetic translocation known as the Philadelphia chromosome. Imatinib, a selective inhibitor of the Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase, has significantly improved the clinical outcome of patients with CML. However, subsets of patients lose their response to treatment through the emergence of imatinib-resistant cells, and imatinib treatment is less durable for patients with late stage CML. Although alternative Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitors have been developed to overcome drug resistance, a cocktail therapy of different kinase inhibitors and additional chemotherapeutics may be needed for complete remission of CML in some cases. Chlorambucil has been used for treatment of B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin's and Hodgkin's disease. Here we report that a DNA sequence-specific pyrrole-imidazole polyamide-chlorambucil conjugate, 1R-Chl, causes growth arrest of cells harboring both unmutated BCR-ABL and three imatinib resistant strains. 1R-Chl also displays selective toxicities against activated lymphocytes and a high dose tolerance in a murine model