2,154 research outputs found

    Critical Assessment of Single-Use Ureteroscopes in an In Vivo Porcine Model

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    Methods A female pig was placed under general anesthesia and positioned supine, and retrograde access to the renal collecting system was obtained. The LithoVue (Boston Scientific) and Uscope (Pusen Medical) were evaluated by three experienced surgeons, and each surgeon started with a new scope. The following parameters were compared between each ureteroscope: time for navigation to upper and lower pole calyces with and without implements (1.9 F basket, 200 μm laser fiber, and 365 μm laser fiber for upper only) in the working channel and subjective evaluations of maneuverability, irrigant flow through the scope, lever force, ergonomics, and scope optics. Results Navigation to the lower pole calyx was significantly faster with LithoVue compared to Uscope when the working channel was empty (24.3 vs. 49.4 seconds, p < 0.01) and with a 200 μm fiber (63.6 vs. 94.4 seconds, p=0.04), but not with the 1.9 F basket. Navigation to the upper pole calyx was similar for all categories except faster with LithoVue containing the 365 μm fiber (67.1 vs. 99.7 seconds, p=0.02). Subjective assessments of scope maneuverability to upper and lower pole calyces when the scope was empty and with implements favored LithoVue in all categories, as did assessments of irrigant flow, illumination, image quality, and field of view. Both scopes had similar scores of lever force and ergonomics. Conclusions In an in vivo porcine model, the type of single-use ureteroscope employed affected the navigation times and subjective assessments of maneuverability and visualization. In all cases, LithoVue provided either equivalent or superior metrics than Uscope. Further clinical studies are necessary to determine the implications of these findings

    Metabolomic Characterization of Human Model of Liver Rejection Identifies Aberrancies Linked to Cyclooxygenase (COX) and Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS)

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    BACKGROUND Acute liver rejection (ALR), a significant complication of liver transplantation, burdens patients, healthcare payers, and the healthcare providers due to an increase in morbidity, cost, and resources. Despite clinical resolution, ALR is associated with an increased risk of graft loss. A unique protocol of delayed immunosuppression used in our institute provided a model to characterize metabolomic profiles in human ALR. MATERIAL AND METHODS Twenty liver allograft biopsies obtained 48 hours after liver transplantation in the absence of immunosuppression were studied. Hepatic metabolites were quantitated in these biopsies by liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy (LC/MS). Metabolite profiles were compared among: 1) biopsies with reperfusion injury but no histological evidence of rejection (n=7), 2) biopsies with histological evidence of moderate or severe rejection (n=5), and 3) biopsies with histological evidence of mild rejection (n=8). RESULTS There were 133 metabolites consistently detected by LC/MS and these were prioritized using variable importance to projection (VIP) analysis, comparing moderate or severe rejection vs. no rejection or mild rejection using partial least squares discriminant statistical analysis (PLS-DA). Twenty metabolites were identified as progressively different. Further PLS-DA using these metabolites identified 3 metabolites (linoleic acid, γ-linolenic acid, and citrulline) which are associated with either cyclooxygenase or nitric oxide synthase functionality. CONCLUSIONS Hepatic metabolic aberrancies associated with cyclooxygenase and nitric oxide synthase function occur contemporaneous with ALR. Additional studies are required to better characterize the role of these metabolic pathways to enhance utility of the metabolomics approach in diagnosis and outcomes of ALR

    Oil and Gas Projects in the Western Amazon: Threats to Wilderness, Biodiversity, and Indigenous Peoples

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    This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.The western Amazon is the most biologically rich part of the Amazon basin and is home to a great diversity of indigenous ethnic groups, including some of the world’s last uncontacted peoples living in voluntary isolation. Unlike the eastern Brazilian Amazon, it is still a largely intact ecosystem. Underlying this landscape are large reserves of oil and gas, many yet untapped. The growing global demand is leading to unprecedented exploration and development in the region. Without improved policies, the increasing scope and magnitude of planned extraction means that environmental and social impacts are likely to intensify. We review the most pressing oil- and gas-related conservation policy issues confronting the region. These include the need for regional Strategic Environmental Impact Assessments and the adoption of roadless extraction techniques. We also consider the conflicts where the blocks overlap indigenous peoples’ territories

    The Cassava Genome: Current Progress, Future Directions

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    The starchy swollen roots of cassava provide an essential food source for nearly a billion people, as well as possibilities for bioenergy, yet improvements to nutritional content and resistance to threatening diseases are currently impeded. A 454-based whole genome shotgun sequence has been assembled, which covers 69% of the predicted genome size and 96% of protein-coding gene space, with genome finishing underway. The predicted 30,666 genes and 3,485 alternate splice forms are supported by 1.4 M expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Maps based on simple sequence repeat (SSR)-, and EST-derived single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) already exist. Thanks to the genome sequence, a high-density linkage map is currently being developed from a cross between two diverse cassava cultivars: one susceptible to cassava brown streak disease; the other resistant. An efficient genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) approach is being developed to catalog SNPs both within the mapping population and among diverse African farmer-preferred varieties of cassava. These resources will accelerate marker-assisted breeding programs, allowing improvements in disease-resistance and nutrition, and will help us understand the genetic basis for disease resistance

    The World's Rediscovered Species: Back from the Brink?

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    Each year, numerous species thought to have disappeared are rediscovered. Yet, do these rediscoveries represent the return of viable populations or the delayed extinction of doomed species? We document the number, distribution and conservation status of rediscovered amphibian, bird, and mammal species globally. Over the past 122 years, at least 351 species have been rediscovered, most occurring in the tropics. These species, on average, were missing for 61 years before being rediscovered (range of 3–331 years). The number of rediscoveries per year increased over time and the majority of these rediscoveries represent first documentations since their original description. Most rediscovered species have restricted ranges and small populations, and 92% of amphibians, 86% of birds, and 86% of mammals are highly threatened, independent of how long they were missing or when they were rediscovered. Under the current trends of widespread habitat loss, particularly in the tropics, most rediscovered species remain on the brink of extinction

    A Cell Cycle Role for the Epigenetic Factor CTCF-L/BORIS

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    CTCF is a ubiquitous epigenetic regulator that has been proposed as a master keeper of chromatin organisation. CTCF-like, or BORIS, is thought to antagonise CTCF and has been found in normal testis, ovary and a large variety of tumour cells. The cellular function of BORIS remains intriguing although it might be involved in developmental reprogramming of gene expression patterns. We here unravel the expression of CTCF and BORIS proteins throughout human epidermis. While CTCF is widely distributed within the nucleus, BORIS is confined to the nucleolus and other euchromatin domains. Nascent RNA experiments in primary keratinocytes revealed that endogenous BORIS is present in active transcription sites. Interestingly, BORIS also localises to interphase centrosomes suggesting a role in the cell cycle. Blocking the cell cycle at S phase or mitosis, or causing DNA damage, produced a striking accumulation of BORIS. Consistently, ectopic expression of wild type or GFP- BORIS provoked a higher rate of S phase cells as well as genomic instability by mitosis failure. Furthermore, downregulation of endogenous BORIS by specific shRNAs inhibited both RNA transcription and cell cycle progression. The results altogether suggest a role for BORIS in coordinating S phase events with mitosis

    The Athena X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU)

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    The X-ray Integral Field Unit (X-IFU) is the high resolution X-ray spectrometer of the ESA Athena X-ray observatory. Over a field of view of 5' equivalent diameter, it will deliver X-ray spectra from 0.2 to 12 keV with a spectral resolution of 2.5 eV up to 7 keV on similar to 5 '' pixels. The X-IFU is based on a large format array of super-conducting molybdenum-gold Transition Edge Sensors cooled at similar to 90 mK, each coupled with an absorber made of gold and bismuth with a pitch of 249 mu m. A cryogenic anti-coincidence detector located underneath the prime TES array enables the non X-ray background to be reduced. A bath temperature of similar to 50 mK is obtained by a series of mechanical coolers combining 15K Pulse Tubes, 4K and 2K Joule-Thomson coolers which pre-cool a sub Kelvin cooler made of a He-3 sorption cooler coupled with an Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerator. Frequency domain multiplexing enables to read out 40 pixels in one single channel. A photon interacting with an absorber leads to a current pulse, amplified by the readout electronics and whose shape is reconstructed on board to recover its energy with high accuracy. The defocusing capability offered by the Athena movable mirror assembly enables the X-IFU to observe the brightest X-ray sources of the sky (up to Crab-like intensities) by spreading the telescope point spread function over hundreds of pixels. Thus the X-IFU delivers low pile-up, high throughput (> 50%), and typically 10 eV spectral resolution at 1 Crab intensities, i.e. a factor of 10 or more better than Silicon based X-ray detectors. In this paper, the current X-IFU baseline is presented, together with an assessment of its anticipated performance in terms of spectral resolution, background, and count rate capability. The X-IFU baseline configuration will be subject to a preliminary requirement review that is scheduled at the end of 2018. The X-IFU will be provided by an international consortium led by France, the Netherlands and Italy, with further ESA member state contributions from Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and contributions from Japan and the United States.Peer reviewe

    Frontally mediated inhibitory processing and white matter microstructure: age and alcoholism effects

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    RationaleThe NOGO P3 event-related potential is a sensitive marker of alcoholism, relates to EEG oscillation in the δ and θ frequency ranges, and reflects activation of an inhibitory processing network. Degradation of white matter tracts related to age or alcoholism should negatively affect the oscillatory activity within the network.ObjectiveThis study aims to evaluate the effect of alcoholism and age on δ and θ oscillations and the relationship between these oscillations and measures of white matter microstructural integrity.MethodsData from ten long-term alcoholics to 25 nonalcoholic controls were used to derive P3 from Fz, Cz, and Pz using a visual GO/NOGO protocol. Total power and across trial phase synchrony measures were calculated for δ and θ frequencies. DTI, 1.5 T, data formed the basis of quantitative fiber tracking in the left and right cingulate bundles and the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum. Fractional anisotropy and diffusivity (λL and λT) measures were calculated from each tract.ResultsNOGO P3 amplitude and δ power at Cz were smaller in alcoholics than controls. Lower δ total power was related to higher λT in the left and right cingulate bundles. GO P3 amplitude was lower and GO P3 latency was longer with advancing age, but none of the time-frequency analysis measures displayed significant age or diagnosis effects.ConclusionsThe relation of δ total power at CZ with λT in the cingulate bundles provides correlational evidence for a functional role of fronto-parietal white matter tracts in inhibitory processing

    Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis due to vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia in middle-income countries

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    Background: Adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccines are extensively used in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Remarkably, cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis due to vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (CVST-VITT) have rarely been reported from LMICs. Aims: We studied the frequency, manifestations, treatment, and outcomes of CVST-VITT in LMICs. Methods: We report data from an international registry on CVST after COVID-19 vaccination. VITT was classified according to the Pavord criteria. We compared CVST-VITT cases from LMICs to cases from high-income countries (HICs). Results: Until August 2022, 228 CVST cases were reported, of which 63 were from LMICs (all middle-income countries [MICs]: Brazil, China, India, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey). Of these 63, 32 (51%) met the VITT criteria, compared to 103 of 165 (62%) from HICs. Only 5 of the 32 (16%) CVST-VITT cases from MICs had definite VITT, mostly because anti-platelet factor 4 antibodies were often not tested. The median age was 26 (interquartile range [IQR] 20–37) versus 47 (IQR 32–58) years, and the proportion of women was 25 of 32 (78%) versus 77 of 103 (75%) in MICs versus HICs, respectively. Patients from MICs were diagnosed later than patients from HICs (1/32 [3%] vs. 65/103 [63%] diagnosed before May 2021). Clinical manifestations, including intracranial hemorrhage, were largely similar as was intravenous immunoglobulin use. In-hospital mortality was lower in MICs (7/31 [23%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 11–40]) than in HICs (44/102 [43%, 95% CI 34–53], p = 0.039). Conclusions: The number of CVST-VITT cases reported from LMICs was small despite the widespread use of adenoviral vaccines. Clinical manifestations and treatment of CVST-VITT cases were largely similar in MICs and HICs, while mortality was lower in patients from MICs.</p
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