900 research outputs found

    Individualism, economic development, and democracy as determinants of COVID-19 risk information on 132 government websites

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    Little is known about how governments transparently communicate about COVID-19. This study conducted a content analysis of 132 government COVID-19 websites to identify the salience of health messages (i.e., perceived threat, perceived efficacy, and perceived resilience) and cross-national determinants of information provision. Multinomial logistic regression was used to estimate the relationship between country-level predictors (i.e., economic development, democracy scores, and individualism index) and information salience. The numbers of deaths, discharged patients, and daily new cases were prevalent on the main webpages. Subpages provided information about vulnerability statistics, government responses, and vaccination rates. Less than 10% of governments included messages that may instill self-efficacy. Democratic countries had higher chances of providing threat statistics on subpages, including daily new cases (Relative Risk Ratio, RRR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.16–2.37), mortalities (RRR = 1.69, 95% CI: 1.23–2.33), hospitalizations (RRR = 1.63, 95% CI: 1.12–2.37), and positivity rates (RRR = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.07–2.23). On subpages, democratic governments emphasized information about perceived vulnerability (RRR = 2.36, 95% CI: 1.50–3.73), perceived response efficacy (RRR = 1.48, 95% CI: 1.06–2.06), recovery numbers (RRR = 1.84, 95% CI: 1.31–2.60), and vaccinations (RRR = 2.14, 95% CI: 1.39–3.30). Developed countries reported the number of daily new cases, perceived response efficacy, and vaccination rates on their COVID-19 main pages. Individualism scores predicted the salience of vaccination rates on main pages and the omission of information related to perceived severity and perceived vulnerability. Democracy levels were more predictive of reporting information about perceived severity, perceived response efficacy, and perceived resilience on subpages of dedicated websites. Improving public health agencies’ communication about COVID-19 is warranted

    The impact of secondhand smoke on the development of kidney stone disease is not inferior to that of smoking: a longitudinal cohort study

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    Abstract Background Tobacco use and secondhand smoke (SHS) are risk factors of kidney stone disease (KSD). The hypothesis is that tobacco produces chemicals that increase oxidative stress and vasopressin, which leads to decreased urine output, and contributes to stone formation. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of smoking and SHS on the development of KSD. Materials and methods We analyzed a total of 25,256 volunteers with no history of KSD participated in the Taiwan Biobank. The presence of underlying and follow-up KSD was surveyed by a self-administrated questionnaire. They were classified into three groups on the basis of smoking and SHS exposure, accessed with survey questionnaires; never-smokers with no SHS exposure, never-smokers with SHS exposure and ever-smokers groups. Results KSD was noted in 352 (2.0%), 50 (3.3%) and 240 (4.1%) subjects in the never-smokers with no SHS exposure, never-smokers with SHS exposure and ever-smokers groups, respectively, with a mean follow-up of 4 years. The odds ratio (OR) of KSD was higher in the never-smokers with SHS exposure (OR, 1.622; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.225 to 2.255) and ever-smokers groups (OR, 1.282; 95% CI, 1.044 to 1.574) than in the never-smokers with no SHS exposure group after adjustment of confounders. In addition, never-smokers with SHS exposure had similar effects on the development of KSD than ever-smokers (OR, 1.223; 95% CI, 0.852 to 1.756). Conclusion Our study suggests that both smoking and SHS are a risk factor for developing KSD and that the impact of SHS is not inferior to that of smoking. Trial registration The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Institutional Review Board of Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital (KMUHIRB-E(I)-20,210,058)

    Nontuberculous mycobacterial infection mimicking gynecologic malignancy in a woman living with HIV

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    The weakened immune system in people living with HIV (PLWH) can lead to infectious diseases occurring more aggressively and mimicking the clinical manifestations of malignancies. Mycobacterium sherrisii, a slow-growing nontuberculous mycobacterium, may cause opportunistic infections among PLWH. We present a case of a 41-year-old woman who initially presented with fever, vaginal spotting, and a bulky pelvic mass, raising suspicion of uterine malignancy. Following a surgical resection, she was pathologically diagnosed with leiomyoma and endometriosis. However, during an event of needlestick injury, she was unexpectedly found to be HIV-infected and the CD4 count was 157 cells/µL at diagnosis, which prompted a diagnostic work-up for opportunistic infections. The diagnosis of disseminated M. sherrisii infection was confirmed through cultures and special staining of specimens obtained from the pelvic tumor and blood. Subsequently, she was treated with a combination of ethambutol, azithromycin, and levofloxacin. Two months after treatment, abdominal and pelvic computed tomography revealed no evidence of recurrent tumor or abscess formation. Given the frequent association of pelvic masses with gynecologic malignancies in women living with HIV, it can be challenging to differentiate between a cancerous lesion and an infectious process, emphasizing the need for meticulous investigations to minimize the potential for misdiagnosis

    Clinical and laboratory predictors for disease progression in patients with COVID-19: A multi-center cohort study

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    Background: Reliable clinical and laboratory predictors of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease progression could help to identify the subset of patients who are susceptible to severe symptoms. This study sought to identify the predictors for disease progression in patients with COVID-19. Methods: This study recruited consecutive patients from four hospitals between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021. Demographic characteristics, laboratory results, and clinical outcomes were collected. Results: Among the 239 enrolled patients, 39.3% (94/239) experienced in-hospital disease progression. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that coronary arterial disease (CAD) (OR, 4.15; 95% C.I., 1.47–11.66), cerebrovascular attack (CVA) (OR, 12.98; 95% C.I., 1.30–129.51), platelet count  median value of (OR, 2.25; 95% C.I., 1.02–4.99) were independent factors associated with COVID-19 progression. Patients who underwent disease progression at days 1, 4, and 7 presented lower lymphocyte counts and higher CRP levels, compared to patients without disease progression. Conclusions: The study revealed that in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, comorbidity with CAD and CVA, low platelet count, and elevated CRP levels were independently associated with disease progression. Compared with patients without disease progression, those with disease progression presented persistently low lymphocyte counts and elevated CRP levels

    Piperlongumine Induces Cellular Apoptosis and Autophagy via the ROS/Akt Signaling Pathway in Human Follicular Thyroid Cancer Cells

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    Thyroid cancer (TC) is the most common endocrine malignancy. Recently, the global incidence of TC has increased rapidly. Differentiated thyroid cancer includes papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC), which are the most common types of TC. Although PTCs and FTCs exert good prognoses and high survival rates, FTCs tend to be more aggressive than PTCs. There is an urgent need to improve patient outcomes by developing effective therapeutic agents for FTCs. Piperlongumine exerts anti-cancer effects in various human carcinomas, including human anaplastic TCs and PTCs. However, the anti-cancer effects of piperlongumine in FTCs and the underlying mechanisms are yet to be elucidated. Therefore, in the present study, we evaluated the effect of piperlongumine on cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, and autophagy in FTC cells with flowcytometry and Western blot. We observed that piperlongumine caused growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis induction, and autophagy elevation in FTC cells. Activities of reactive oxygen species and the downstream PI3K/Akt pathway were the underlying mechanisms involved in piperlongumine mediated anti-FTC effects. Advancements in our understanding of the effects of piperlongumine in FTC hold promise for the development of novel therapeutic strategies

    Gene expression of Na+/K+-ATPase alpha-isoforms and FXYD proteins and potential modulatory mechanisms in euryhaline milkfish kidneys upon hypoosmotic challenges

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    Euryhaline milkfish (Chanos chanos) is an important economic species in Taiwan and is able to survive in both seawater (SW) and fresh water (FW). Upon salinity changes, euryhaline fish kidneys play a crucial role in osmoregulation. During this process, Na+/K + -ATPase (NKA) mainly functions in providing the driving force for the other ion-transporting systems. In the milkfish, NKA activities have been widely studied, yet the isoforms and modulatory mechanisms of the NKA α-subunits are unknown. Hence, this study was undertaken to reveal potential modulatory mechanisms, including the isoform composition of NKA α-subunits and FXYD proteins (the modulators of NKA), of NKA expression/activity in milkfish kidneys in response to salinity changes. Four isoforms (CcNKA α1a, α1c, α2, and α3) of NKA α-subunits with distinct tissue distribution were identified in milkfish. Among them, Ccnka α1a and Ccfxyd2 were predominantly expressed in the kidney. Upon salinity challenge, parallel expression patterns were found in renal Ccnka α1a and Ccfxyd2, showing an increase in the FW-acclimated milkfish but not in the SW-acclimated group. After transfer, no matter from SW to FW or FW to SW, most of the renal Ccnka and Ccfxyd genes (particularly Ccnka α1a and Ccfxyd2) significantly changed. Overall, these results suggest that the NKA activity of milkfish kidneys may be modulated via CcNKA α1a and CcFXYD2 for osmoregulation in response to salinity challenges

    The effect of a helmet type, home-use low-level light therapy device for chemotherapy-induced alopecia: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

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    Abstract Background Alopecia is one of the most common adverse effects of chemotherapy. It reduces the patient’s self-esteem and quality of life and the effect of therapy. Scalp cooling is the only verified current method for prevention but success is not guaranteed, particularly after receiving anthracycline-based combinations. Low-level light therapy has been clinically proven to inhibit the progress of androgenic alopecia. A previous study using human subjects shows limited benefits for low-level light therapy for patients who suffer chemotherapy-induced alopecia but an increase in the number of probes and the optimization of light sources may improve the efficacy. This study determines the efficacy of low-level light therapy for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced hair loss for patients with breast cancer using a randomized controlled trial. Methods One hundred six eligible breast cancer patients were randomly distributed into a low-level light therapy group and a control group, after receiving chemotherapy. Subjects in the low-level light therapy group received 12 courses of intervention within 4 weeks. Subjects in the control group received no intervention but were closely monitored. The primary outcome is measured as the difference in the hair count in a target area between the baseline and at the end of week 4, as measured using a phototrichogram (Sentra scalp analyzer). The secondary outcomes include the change in hair count at the end of week 1, week 2, and week 3 and hair width at the end of week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4, as measured using a phototrichogram, and the change in distress, the quality of life, and self-esteem due to chemotherapy-induced alopecia, at the end of week 4, as measured using a questionnaire. Discussion This study improves cancer patients’ quality of life and provides clinical evidence. Trial registration Registered at ClinicalTrials.gov— NCT05397457 on 1 June 2022

    Sodium Glucose Cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) Inhibitor Ameliorate Metabolic Disorder and Obesity Induced Cardiomyocyte Injury and Mitochondrial Remodeling

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    Sodium-glucose transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2is) exert significant cardiovascular and heart failure benefits in type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) patients and can help reduce cardiac arrhythmia incidence in clinical practice. However, its effect on regulating cardiomyocyte mitochondria remain unclear. To evaluate its effect on myocardial mitochondria, C57BL/6J mice were divided into four groups, including: (1) control, (2) high fat diet (HFD)-induced metabolic disorder and obesity (MDO), (3) MDO with empagliflozin (EMPA) treatment, and (4) MDO with glibenclamide (GLI) treatment. All mice were sacrificed after 16 weeks of feeding and the epicardial fat secretome was collected. H9c2 cells were treated with the different secretomes for 18 h. ROS production, Ca2+ distribution, and associated proteins expression in mitochondria were investigated to reveal the underlying mechanisms of SGLT2is on cardiomyocytes. We found that lipotoxicity, mitochondrial ROS production, mitochondrial Ca2+ overload, and the levels of the associated protein, SOD1, were significantly lower in the EMPA group than in the MDO group, accompanied with increased ATP production in the EMPA-treated group. The expression of mfn2, SIRT1, and SERCA were also found to be lower after EMPA-secretome treatment. EMPA-induced epicardial fat secretome in mice preserved a better cardiomyocyte mitochondrial biogenesis function than the MDO group. In addition to reducing ROS production in mitochondria, it also ameliorated mitochondrial Ca2+ overload caused by MDO-secretome. These findings provide evidence and potential mechanisms for the benefit of SGLT2i in heart failure and arrhythmias

    Factors Affecting the Potential Efficacy of Intrauterine Platelet-Rich Plasma Infusion on Thin Endometrium in Women with Recurrent Implantation Failure

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    Optimizing endometrial thickness (EMT) is crucial for successful embryo implantation, but enhancing thin endometrium remains a significant challenge. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)-derived therapies have emerged as a promising approach in reproductive medicine due to their capacity to facilitate tissue repair and regeneration. This study aims to identify the risk factors associated with the failure of intrauterine PRP infusion for thin endometrium in women with recurrent implantation failure (RIF). We retrospectively reviewed data from 77 women with RIF, all exhibiting an EMT of p = 0.04, OR: 3.16; 95% CI: 1.03–9.67). Additionally, the number of previous uterine surgeries emerged as a prognostic factor for pregnancy failure following PL infusion (p = 0.02, OR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.12–3.64). Our findings suggest that an extremely thin EMT and a history of numerous uterine surgeries can impede successful pregnancy, even when an optimal EMT is achieved following PRP infusion

    Recent advances in processing technology to reduce 5-hydroxymethylfurfural in foods

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    Background 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) is a neo-formed contaminant arising in foods during thermal processing, especially under acidic conditions. Exposure to 5-HMF is inevitable for human beings since it is widespread in foods, including honey, bread, beer, coffee, fruit juices, and black garlic. The many studies published to date have shown that 5-HMF displays diverse effects on human health, including carcinogenicity, neoplastic transformation, and hepato- and nephrotoxicity, and antioxidant activity. Therefore, reducing the amount of 5-HMF in foods has become an important food safety issue. Scope and approach This review introduces the formation and biological effects of 5-HMF in food, and summarizes the methods developed in recent years for mitigating 5-HMF formation or for removing 5-HMF from foods, including ultraviolet irradiation, phytochemical addition, yeast fermentation, vacuum treatment, microwave heating, non-thermal processing, and formula adjustment. Key findings and conclusions According to the available evidence, the effects of 5-HMF on health are closely correlated with dose, though more research is needed to clarify many aspects. In addition, the testing of food sensory attributes should be critically considered when evaluating 5-HMF elimination approaches in order to increase their applications in the food industry
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