In this study, the behaviour of derivative properties estimated by equations of state, including isochoric heat capacity, isobaric heat capacity, speed of sound and the Joule-Thomson coefficient for pure compounds and a mixture, have been investigated. The Schmidt-Wagner and Jacobsen-Stewart equations of state were used for predictions of derivative properties of ten different pure compounds from various nonpolar hydrocarbons, nonpolar cyclic hydrocarbons, polar compounds, and refrigerants. The estimations were compared to experimental data. In order to evaluate the behaviour of mixtures, the extended corresponding states principle (ECS) was studied. Analytical relationships were derived for isochoric heat capacity, isobaric heat capacity, the Joule-Thomson coefficient, and the speed of sound. The ECS calculations were compared to the reference surface data of methane + ethane. The ECS principle was found to generate data of high quality.
Thermoset/carbon nanotube (CNT) sheet nanocomposites were successfully fabricated by resistive heating assisted infiltration and cure (RHAIC) of the polymer matrix resin. Resistive heating takes advantage of the electrical and thermal conductivity of CNTs to rapidly and uniformly introduce heat into the CNT sheet. Heating the CNT sheet reduces the viscosity of the polymer resin due to localized temperature rise in close proximity to the resin, which enhances resin flow, penetration, and wetting of the CNT reinforcement. Once the resin infusion process is complete, the applied power is increased to raise the temperature of the CNT sheet, which rapidly cures the polymer matrix. Tensile tests were used to evaluate the mechanical properties of the processed thermoset/CNT sheet nanocomposites. The improved wetting and adhesion of the polymer resin to the CNT reinforcement yield significant improvement of thermoset/CNT nanocomposite mechanical properties. The highest specific tensile strength of bismaleimide(BMI)/CNT sheet nanocomposites was obtained to date was 684 MPa/(g/cm(3)), using 4 V (2 A) for resin infiltration, followed by precure at 10 V (6 A) for 10 min and post curing at 240 °C for 6 h in an oven. The highest specific Young's modulus of BMI/CNT sheet nanocomposite was 71 GPa/(g/cm(3)) using resistive heating infiltration at 8.3 V (4.7 A) for 3 min followed by resistive heating cure at 12.5 V (7 A) for 30 min. In both cases, the CNT sheets were stretched and held in tension to prevent relaxation of the aligned CNTs during the course of RHAIC.
Graphene has attracted a lot of attention for ultracapacitor electrodes because of its high electrical conductivity, high surface area, and superb chemical stability. However, poor volumetric capacitive performance of typical graphene-based electrodes has hindered their practical applications because of the extremely low density. Herein we report a scalable synthesis method of holey graphene (h-Graphene) in a single step without using any catalysts or special chemicals. The film made of the as-synthesized h-Graphene exhibited relatively strong mechanical strength, 2D hole morphology, high density, and facile processability. This scalable one-step synthesis method for h-Graphene is time-efficient, cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, and generally applicable to other two-dimensional materials. The ultracapacitor electrodes based on the h-Graphene show a remarkably improved volumetric capacitance with about 700% increase compared to that of regular graphene electrodes. Modeling on individual h-Graphene was carried out to understand the excellent processability and improved ultracapacitor performance.
Anticoagulation therapy is used in several conditions to prevent or treat thromboembolism. Over the last 40 years, warfarin has been the oral anticoagulant of choice and has been considered the mainstay of treatment. However, its use is limited by a narrow therapeutic index and complex pharmacodynamics, necessitating regular monitoring and dose adjustments. Recently, two new oral anticoagulants--dabigatran etexilate (a direct thrombin inhibitor) and rivaroxiban (a factor Xa inhibitor)--have been approved for use in North America and Europe. Unlike warfarin, dabigatran and rivaroxiban are relatively small molecules that work as anticoagulants by targeting specific single steps of the coagulation cascade. Their advantages, relative to warfarin, include: predictable pharmacokinetics; limited food and drug interactions; rapid onset of action; and, short half-life. They require no monitoring. However, they lack a specific reversal agent. The number of patients taking dabigatran and rivaroxaban is increasing. Therefore, it is inevitable that dentists will be required to perform invasive procedures on this cohort of patients. This paper outlines the various properties of the new oral anticoagulants and the most recent guidelines regarding the management of these dental patients taking these medications.
Piezoresponse force microscopy imaging in conjunction with first-principle calculations provide strong evidence for room-temperature ferroelectricity in epitaxially stabilized hexagonal TbMnO3 thin films, which in the bulk form are with orthorhombic structure. The obtained results demonstrate that new phases and functional properties of complex oxide materials can be strain-engineered using epitaxial growth.
Viral/bacterial infection is proposed as a trigger for the autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD): Graves' disease (GD) and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT). Previous studies in European Caucasian AITD subjects found higher birth rates in the autumn/winter, suggesting those born in the autumn/winter experience increased viral/bacterial exposure after birth, impacting upon immune system development and predisposing to AITD later in life.
Recent studies with proteins indicate that conformational changes and aggregation can occur during ion exchange chromatography (IEC). Such behavior is not usually expected, but could lead to decreased yield and product degradation from both IEC and multi mode chromatography (MMC) that has ligands of both hydrophobic and charged functionalities. In this study, we used hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry to investigate unfolding of the model protein BSA on IEC and MMC surfaces under different solution conditions at 25°C. Increased solvent exposure, indicating greater unfolding relative to that in solution, was found for protein adsorbed on cationic IEC and MMC surfaces in the pH range of 3.0 to 4.5, where BSA has decreased stability in solution. There was no effect of anionic surfaces at pH values in the range from 6.0 to 9.0. Differences of solvent exposure of whole molecules when adsorbed and in solution suggest that adsorbed BSA unfolds at lower pH values and may show aggregation, depending upon pH and the surface type. Measurements on digested peptides showed that classifications of stability can be made for various regions; these are generally retained as pH is changed. When salt was added to MMC systems, where electrostatic interactions would be minimized, less solvent exposure was seen, implying that it is the cationic moieties, rather than the hydrophobic ligands, which cause greater surface unfolding at low salt concentrations. These results suggest that proteins of lower stability may exhibit unfolding and aggregation during IEC and MMC separations, as they can with hydrophobic interaction chromatography.
From 2001 through 2009, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has documented 244 reports of radiation therapy events, of which 228 have resulted from the delivery of radiation beam therapy using linear accelerators (LINACs). Historically, radiation therapy events involving LINACs have not been uniformly reported across the country because LINACs are regulated by state radiation control programs, and reporting requirements vary among states. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Nuclear Material Events Database (NMED) only tracks events involving radioactive materials (RAM). Efforts to track medical events involving LINACs at a national level have begun only recently. This article highlights the importance of tracking and analyzing all medical radiation events in order to improve quality of care and patient safety. An analysis of a subset of the data collected by the NYSDOH from 2001-2009 is presented. This subset consists of only events arising from the use of LINACs in radiation therapy. There are very few publications on errors and error rates in the use of medical accelerators in radiation therapy. This analysis highlights the most common types of errors, causes and contributing factors, areas for improvement and actions taken to bring this information to the regulated community. An error rate of 0.07% per patient receiving radiation treatment is estimated using these data and the New York State Tumor Registry data for the same period. NY State Regulations governing the practice of Radiation Oncology have been revised recently to reflect the increased complexity in the delivery of therapeutic radiation. Collaboration and sharing of data such as those presented here, between federal, state and local regulators, professional organizations such as the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD), American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), American College of Radiology (ACR), American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO), manufacturers of medical radiation equipment and software developers and the regulated community has begun and will contribute to improved quality of care and patient safety.
Migration of health workers from relatively poor countries has been sustained for more than half a century. The rationale for migration has been linked to numerous factors relating to the economies and health systems of source and destination countries. The contemporary migration of health workers is also embedded in a longstanding and intensifying culture of migration, centred on the livelihoods of extended households, and a medical culture that is oriented to superior technology and advanced skills. This dual culture is particularly evident in small island states in the Pacific, but is apparent in other significant migrant source countries in the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Family expectations of the benefits of migration indicate that regulating the migration and attrition of health workers necessitates more complex policies beyond those evident within health care systems alone.
Radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer is undergoing an evolution, shifting to the use of heavier ion species. For a plethora of malignancies, current radiotherapy using photons or protons yields marginal benefits in local control and survival. One hypothesis is that these malignancies have acquired, or are inherently radioresistant to low LET radiation. In the last decade, carbon ion radiotherapy facilities have slowly been constructed in Europe and Asia, demonstrating favorable results for many of the malignancies that do poorly with conventional radiotherapy. However, from a radiobiological perspective, much of how this modality works in overcoming radioresistance, and extending local control and survival are not yet fully understood. In this review, we will explain from a radiobiological perspective how carbon ion radiotherapy can overcome the classical and recently postulated contributors of radioresistance (?/? ratio, hypoxia, cell proliferation, the tumor microenvironment and metabolism, and cancer stem cells). Furthermore, we will make recommendations on the important factors to consider, such as anatomical location, in the future design and implementation of clinical trials. With the existing data available we believe that the expansion of carbon ion facilities into the United States is warranted.
Blood pressure (BP) is a heritable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. To investigate genetic associations with systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), and pulse pressure (PP), we genotyped ~50,000 SNPs in up to 87,736 individuals of European ancestry and combined these in a meta-analysis. We replicated findings in an independent set of 68,368 individuals of European ancestry. Our analyses identified 11 previously undescribed associations in independent loci containing 31 genes including PDE1A, HLA-DQB1, CDK6, PRKAG2, VCL, H19, NUCB2, RELA, HOXC@ complex, FBN1, and NFAT5 at the Bonferroni-corrected array-wide significance threshold (p < 6 × 10(-7)) and confirmed 27 previously reported associations. Bioinformatic analysis of the 11 loci provided support for a putative role in hypertension of several genes, such as CDK6 and NUCB2. Analysis of potential pharmacological targets in databases of small molecules showed that ten of the genes are predicted to be a target for small molecules. In summary, we identified previously unknown loci associated with BP. Our findings extend our understanding of genes involved in BP regulation, which may provide new targets for therapeutic intervention or drug response stratification.
Using an alkoxide-based precursor, a strategy for producing highly uniform thin films and multilayers of V2O5 is demonstrated using dip coating. Defect-free and smooth films of V2O5 on different surfaces can be deposited from liquid precursors. We show how pinholes are formed due to heterogeneous nucleation during hydrolysis as the precursor forms a nanofluid. Using knowledge of instability formation often found in composite nanofluid films and the influence of cluster formation on the stability of these films, we show how polymer-precursor mixtures provide optimum uniformity and very low surface roughness in amorphous V2O5 and also orthorhombic V2O5 after crystallization by heating. Pinhole and roughness instability formation during the liquid stage of the nanofluid on gold and ITO substrates is suppressed giving a uniform coating. Practically, understanding evolution pathways that involve dewetting processes, nucleation, decomposition, or hydrolysis in complex nanofluids provides a route for improved uniformity of thin films. The method could be extended to improve the consistency in sequential or iterative multilayer deposits of a range of liquid precursors for functional materials and coatings.
Effective chemotherapeutics for primary systemic tumors have limited access to brain metastases because of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The aim of this study was to develop a strategy for specifically permeabilizing the BBB at sites of cerebral metastases.
Guidelines on the clinical use of growth hormone therapy in adults were issued by the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in August 2003. We conducted a retrospective clinical audit on the use of growth hormone (GH) in Scotland to evaluate the use of these guidelines and their impact on clinical practice. The audit had two phases. In phase I, the impact of NICE criteria on specialist endocrine practice in starting and continuing GH replacement was assessed. In phase II, the reasons why some adults in Scotland with growth hormone deficiency were not on replacement therapy were evaluated.
Radiofrequency (RF) ablation of scar-mediated ventricular tachycardia is limited by the size of lesions achieved with conventional catheters. We examined the gross and histopathology characteristics of warm saline-enhanced radiofrequency (SERF) ablation delivered to left ventricular (LV) infarction scars via a novel catheter employing an extendable infusion needle electrode.
Practical approaches are needed to take advantage of the nanometer-scale mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) at the macroscopic scale. This study was conducted to elucidate the salient factors that can maximize the mechanical properties of nanocomposites fabricated from commercially available CNT sheets. The CNT sheets were modified by stretching to improve CNT alignment and in situ polymerization using polyaniline (PANI), a ?-conjugated conductive polymer, as a binder. The resulting CNT nanocomposites were subsequently postprocessed by hot pressing and/or high temperature treatment to carbonize the PANI as a means to improve mechanical properties. The PANI/CNT nanocomposites demonstrated significant improvement in mechanical properties compared to pristine CNT sheets. The highest specific tensile strength of PANI/stretched CNT nanocomposite was 484 MPa/(g/cm3), which was achieved in a sample with ?42 wt?% of PANI. This specimen was fabricated by in situ polymerization followed by hot pressing. The highest specific Youngs modulus of 17.1 GPa/(g/cm3) was measured on a sample that was hot-pressed and carbonized. In addition, the highest DC-electrical conductivity of 621 S/cm was obtained on a sample prepared by in situ polymerization of PANI on a stretched CNT sheet.
Dysregulation of aldosterone or cortisol production can predispose to hypertension, as seen in aldosterone-producing adenoma, a form of primary aldosteronism. We investigated the role of microRNA (miRNA) in their production, with particular emphasis on the CYP11B1 (11?-hydroxylase) and CYP11B2 (aldosterone synthase) genes, which produce the enzymes responsible for the final stages of cortisol and aldosterone biosynthesis, respectively. Knockdown of Dicer1, a key enzyme in miRNA maturation, significantly altered CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 expression in a human adrenocortical cell line. Screening of nondiseased human adrenal and aldosterone-producing adenoma samples yielded reproducible but distinctive miRNA expression signatures for each tissue type, with levels of certain miRNA, including microRNA-24 (miR-24), differing significantly between the 2. Bioinformatic analysis identified putative binding sites for several miRNA, including miR-24, in the 3 untranslated region of CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 mRNAs. In vitro manipulation of miR-24 confirmed its ability to modulate CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 expression, as well as cortisol and aldosterone production. This study demonstrates that Dicer-dependent miRNA, including miR-24, can post-transcriptionally regulate expression of the CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 genes. Normal adrenal tissue and aldosterone-producing adenoma differ significantly and reproducibly in their miRNA expression profiles, with miR-24 significantly downregulated in the latter. Adrenal miRNA may, therefore, be a novel and valid target for the therapeutic manipulation of corticosteroid biosynthesis.
Structural manipulation of the two dimensional graphene surface has been of significant interest as a means of tuning the properties of the nanosheets for enhanced performance in various applications. In this report, a straightforward and highly scalable method is presented to prepare bulk quantities of "holey graphenes", which are graphene sheets with holes ranging from a few to tens of nm in average diameter. The approach to their preparation takes advantage of the catalytic properties of silver (Ag) nanoparticles toward the air oxidation of graphitic carbon. In the procedure, Ag nanoparticles were first deposited onto the graphene sheet surface in a facile, controllable, and solvent-free process. The catalyst-loaded graphene samples were then subjected to thermal treatment in air. The graphitic carbons in contact with the Ag nanoparticles were selectively oxidized into gaseous byproducts, such as CO or CO2, leaving holes in the graphene surface. The Ag was then removed by refluxing in diluted nitric acid to obtain the final holey graphene products. The average size of the holes on the graphene was found to correlate with the size of the Ag nanoparticles, which could be controlled by adjusting the silver precursor concentration. In addition, the temperature and time of the air oxidation step, and the catalyst removal treatment conditions were found to strongly affect the morphology of the holes. Characterization results of the holey graphene products suggested that the hole generation might have started from defect-rich regions present on the starting graphene sheets. As a result, the remaining graphitic carbon structures on the holey graphene sheets were highly crystalline, with no significant increase of the overall defect density despite the presence of structural holes. Preliminary experiments are also presented on the use of holey graphene sheets as fillers for polymeric composites. The results indicated that these sheets might be better reinforcing fillers than the starting graphene sheets due to their perforated structure. Other unique potentials of these materials, such as for energy storage applications, are also discussed.
Ischemic mitral regurgitation (IMR) is a subcategory of functional rather than organic, mitral valve (MV) disease. Whether reversible or permanent, left ventricular remodeling creates IMR that is complex and multifactorial. A comprehensive TEE examination in patients with IMR may have important implications for perioperative clinical decision making. Several TEE measures predictive of MV repair failure have been identified. Current practice among most surgeons is to typically repair the MV in patients with IMR. MV replacement is usually reserved for situations in which the valve cannot be reasonably repaired, or repair is unlikely to be tolerated clinically.
Metastasis to the brain results in significant impairment of brain function and poor patient survival. Currently, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is under-utilised in monitoring brain metastases and their effects on brain function. Here, we sought to establish a model of focal brain metastasis in the rat that enables serial multimodal structural and functional MRI studies, and to assess the sensitivity of these approaches to metastatic growth. Female Berlin-Druckrey-IX rats were injected intracerebrally with metastatic ENU1564 cells in the ventroposterior medial nucleus (VPM) of the thalamus, a relay node of the whisker-to-barrel cortex pathway. Animals underwent multimodal structural and vascular MRI, as well as functional MRI of the cortical blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) responses to whisker pad stimulation. T2 , diffusion, magnetisation transfer and perfusion weighted MRI enabled differentiation between a central area of more advanced metastatic growth and penumbral regions of co-optive perivascular micrometastatic growth, with magnetisation transfer MRI being the most sensitive to micrometastatic growth. Areas of cortical BOLD activation in response to whisker pad stimulation were significantly reduced in the hemisphere containing metastases in the VPM. The reduction in BOLD response correlated with metastatic burden in the thalamus, and was sensitive to the presence of smaller metastases than currently detectable clinically. Our findings suggest that multimodal MRI provides greater sensitivity to tumour heterogeneity and micrometastatic growth than single modality contrast-enhanced MRI. Understanding the relationships between these MRI parameters and the underlying pathology may greatly enhance the utility of MRI in diagnosis, staging and monitoring of brain metastasis.
Approaches exploiting trait distribution extremes may be used to identify loci associated with common traits, but it is unknown whether these loci are generalizable to the broader population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with the upper versus the lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-to-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity, including up to 263,407 individuals of European ancestry, we identified 4 new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1 and PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the distribution tails and 7 new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3 and ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we find a large overlap in genetic structure and the distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiological heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
Angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE) occupies a pivotal role in cardiovascular homeostasis. Major loci for plasma ACE have been identified at ACE on Chromosome 17 and at ABO on Chromosome 9. We sought to characterise the genetic architecture of plasma ACE at finer resolution in two populations. We carried out a GWAS in 1810 individuals of Japanese ethnicity; this identified signals at ACE and ABO that together accounted for nearly half of the population variability of the trait. We conducted measured haplotype analysis at the ABO locus in 1425 members of 248 British families using haplotypes of three SNPs, which together tagged the alleles responsible for the principal blood group antigens A1, A2, B and O. Type O alleles were associated with intermediate plasma ACE activity compared to Type A1 alleles (in whom plasma ACE activity was ?36% lower) and Type B alleles (in whom plasma ACE activity was ?36% higher). We demonstrated heterogeneity among A alleles: A2 alleles were associated with plasma ACE activity that was very similar to the O alleles. Variation at ACE accounted for 35% of the trait variance, and variation at ABO accounted for 15%. A further 10% could be ascribed to polygenic effects.
Blockade of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) improves surrogate cardiovascular outcomes, such as left ventricular mass. Animal models of renal disease support a pathological role of mineralocorticoids, in the context of a high sodium intake. We aimed to assess the regulation of mineralocorticoid biosynthesis in patients with CKD.
Adhesive bonding offers many advantages over mechanical fastening, but requires certification before it can be incorporated in primary structures for commercial aviation without disbond-arrestment features or redundant load paths. Surface preparation is widely recognized as the key step to producing robust and predictable adhesive bonds. Surface preparation by laser ablation provides an alternative to the expensive, hazardous, polluting, and less precise practices used currently such as chemical-dip, manual abrasion and grit blast. This report documents preliminary testing of a surface preparation technique using laser ablation as a replacement for the chemical etch and abrasive processes currently applied to Ti-6Al-4V alloy adherends. Surface roughness and surface chemical composition were characterized using interference microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, respectively. A technique for fluorescence visualization was developed which allowed for quantitative failure mode analysis. Wedge crack extension testing in a hot, humid environment indicated the relative effectiveness of various surface treatments. Increasing ablation duty cycle reduced crack propagation and adhesive failure. Single lap shear testing showed an increase in strength and durability as laser ablation duty cycle and power were increased. Chemical analyses showed trends for surface chemical species, which correlated with improved bond strength and durability.
The significant role of corticosteroids in hypertension and cardiovascular disease highlights the importance of the adrenal gland in these disorders. The ability to correlate corticosteroid production with adrenal volume offers a novel research tool and intermediate phenotype in cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to develop and validate the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in adrenal volume assessment and investigate whether this associates with corticosteroid production.
To understand the mechanical properties of amorphous carbon (a-C)/boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) nanostructures, in situ mechanical tests are conducted inside a transmission electron microscope equipped with an integrated atomic force microscope system. The nanotube structure is modified with amorphous carbon deposited by controlled electron beam irradiation. We demonstrate multiple in situ tensile, compressive, and lap shear tests with a-C/BNNT hybrid nanostructures. The tensile strength of the a-C/BNNT hybrid nanostructure is 5.29 GPa with about 90 vol% of a-C. The tensile strength and strain of the end-to-end joint structure with a-C welding is 0.8 GPa and 5.2% whereas the lap shear strength of the side-by-side joint structure with a-C is 0.25 GPa.
Access to health care in developing countries, the main destinations of medical tourists, is notoriously uneven, and often becoming more so. Medical tourism, urban bias and privatisation have combined to exacerbate this trend. This is exemplified in both Thailand and India, where regional areas have been disadvantaged by the migration of health-care workers to hospitals focusing on medical tourism, neo-liberal national financial provision for medical tourism (and related tourism campaigns) and evidence of trickle-down gains is lacking. Medical tourism challenges rather than complements local health care providers, distorts national health care systems, and raises critical national economic, ethical and social questions.
The purpose of this work is to investigate possible smaller, less-dense fiducial markers implantable into the prostate for target localization and patient repositioning verification in an on-board kV-kV imaging system on a proton gantry. The experiments used a pelvic phantom and a variety of commercially available fiducial markers: CIVCO carbon marker of ?; 1 × 3 mm, gold seed markers of ?; 0.8 × 3 mm and ?; 1.2 × 3 mm, and IBA Visicoil helical gold linear markers in diameters of 0.35, 0.50, 0.75 and 1.15 mm. Two orthogonal on-board kV imagers were arranged for digital radiographic imaging of the phantom through the lateral and anterior-posterior directions. The contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) for a given marker was calculated and used as a quantitative measure of its visibility. The patient entrance skin exposure (ESE) was measured and parameterized for kVp, mAs and source-to-surface distance. The ratio of CNR to ESE was first introduced to characterize the efficiency for imaging a marker using a given x-ray technique in order to optimize the markers visibility and simultaneously minimize the x-ray imaging dose. If CNR > 2, which corresponds to a significance p < 0.05, is required for acceptable visibility, the carbon marker and the smallest Visicoil marker are not suitable for imaging through dense bone but the others are capable of being employed in the clinic. It is predicted that other markers in development should have a greater thickness than equivalent of 0.14 mm thick gold in order to produce the acceptable visibility in the lateral kV imaging. The linear Visicoil marker of ?; 0.50 × 5 mm is most suitable for kV imaging in the prostate for proton therapy as it induces the least proton dose perturbation amongst the acceptable markers. An optimal range of 120-130 kVp and 40-80 mAs is determined using the maximal CNR/ESE and CNR > 2 for laterally imaging this marker in the prostate.
Mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonists improve cardiovascular outcomes in patients with heart failure complicating acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and in chronic heart failure. It is unclear whether these beneficial effects are due solely to aldosterone blockade, as MR has a similar affinity for cortisol. We examined the relationships between plasma and urinary steroid hormones and left ventricular (LV) remodelling in patients with LV dysfunction following AMI.
We describe a method for extending radial distribution functions obtained from molecular simulations of pure and mixed molecular fluids to arbitrary distances. The method allows total correlation function integrals to be reliably calculated from simulations of relatively small systems. The long-distance behavior of radial distribution functions is determined by requiring that the corresponding direct correlation functions follow certain approximations at long distances. We have briefly described the method and tested its performance in previous communications [R. Wedberg, J. P. OConnell, G. H. Peters, and J. Abildskov, Mol. Simul. 36, 1243 (2010); Fluid Phase Equilib. 302, 32 (2011)], but describe here its theoretical basis more thoroughly and derive long-distance approximations for the direct correlation functions. We describe the numerical implementation of the method in detail, and report numerical tests complementing previous results. Pure molecular fluids are here studied in the isothermal-isobaric ensemble with isothermal compressibilities evaluated from the total correlation function integrals and compared with values derived from volume fluctuations. For systems where the radial distribution function has structure beyond the sampling limit imposed by the system size, the integration is more reliable, and usually more accurate, than simple integral truncation.
Insulin stimulates endothelial NO synthesis, at least in part mediated by phosphorylation and activation of endothelial NO synthase at Ser1177 and Ser615 by Akt. We have previously demonstrated that insulin-stimulated NO synthesis is inhibited under high culture glucose conditions, without altering Ca(2+)-stimulated NO synthesis or insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of eNOS. This indicates that stimulation of endothelial NO synthase phosphorylation may be required, yet not sufficient, for insulin-stimulated nitric oxide synthesis. In the current study we investigated the role of supply of the eNOS substrate, L-arginine as a candidate parallel mechanism underlying insulin-stimulated NO synthesis in cultured human aortic endothelial cells. Insulin rapidly stimulated L-arginine transport, an effect abrogated by incubation with inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase or infection with adenoviruses expressing a dominant negative mutant Akt. Furthermore, supplementation of endothelial cells with extracellular L-arginine enhanced insulin-stimulated NO synthesis, an effect reversed by co-incubation with the L-arginine transport inhibitor, L-lysine. Basal L-arginine transport was significantly increased under high glucose culture conditions, yet insulin-stimulated L-arginine transport remained unaltered. The increase in L-arginine transport elicited by high glucose was independent of the expression of the cationic amino acid transporters, hCAT1 and hCAT2 and not associated with any changes in the activity of ERK1/2, Akt or protein kinase C (PKC). We propose that rapid stimulation of L-arginine transport contributes to insulin-stimulated NO synthesis in human endothelial cells, yet attenuation of this is unlikely to underlie the inhibition of insulin-stimulated NO synthesis under high glucose conditions.
Blood pressure is a heritable trait influenced by several biological pathways and responsive to environmental stimuli. Over one billion people worldwide have hypertension (?140?mm?Hg systolic blood pressure or? ?90?mm?Hg diastolic blood pressure). Even small increments in blood pressure are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. This genome-wide association study of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which used a multi-stage design in 200,000 individuals of European descent, identified sixteen novel loci: six of these loci contain genes previously known or suspected to regulate blood pressure (GUCY1A3-GUCY1B3, NPR3-C5orf23, ADM, FURIN-FES, GOSR2, GNAS-EDN3); the other ten provide new clues to blood pressure physiology. A genetic risk score based on 29 genome-wide significant variants was associated with hypertension, left ventricular wall thickness, stroke and coronary artery disease, but not kidney disease or kidney function. We also observed associations with blood pressure in East Asian, South Asian and African ancestry individuals. Our findings provide new insights into the genetics and biology of blood pressure, and suggest potential novel therapeutic pathways for cardiovascular disease prevention.
A variety of different diseases affect the synovium, including infection, noninfectious immunologic inflammatory conditions, degenerative arthroses, crystal deposits, trauma, and tumors. Tumors of the synovium are relatively uncommon. Any mesenchymal tumor may arise in the synovium, but most recapitulate its normal counterpart including synoviocytes, blood vessels, fat, and fibrous tissue. These tumors can arise in any synovial lined structures both within joints and in extraarticular locations. Most synovial tumors are benign. Malignant tumors are rare but important to recognize because many are aggressive and must be treated appropriately. Among common nonneoplastic conditions that affect the synovium and surrounding structures are crystal deposits such as monosodium urate crystals, calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals, and hydroxyapatite crystals. These crystal deposits may be asymptomatic or cause severe pain or chronic joint destruction. Their accurate identification is important to guide appropriate therapy.
Raised blood pressure (BP) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have identified 47 distinct genetic variants robustly associated with BP, but collectively these explain only a few percent of the heritability for BP phenotypes. To find additional BP loci, we used a bespoke gene-centric array to genotype an independent discovery sample of 25,118 individuals that combined hypertensive case-control and general population samples. We followed up four SNPs associated with BP at our p < 8.56 × 10(-7) study-specific significance threshold and six suggestively associated SNPs in a further 59,349 individuals. We identified and replicated a SNP at LSP1/TNNT3, a SNP at MTHFR-NPPB independent (r(2) = 0.33) of previous reports, and replicated SNPs at AGT and ATP2B1 reported previously. An analysis of combined discovery and follow-up data identified SNPs significantly associated with BP at p < 8.56 × 10(-7) at four further loci (NPR3, HFE, NOS3, and SOX6). The high number of discoveries made with modest genotyping effort can be attributed to using a large-scale yet targeted genotyping array and to the development of a weighting scheme that maximized power when meta-analyzing results from samples ascertained with extreme phenotypes, in combination with results from nonascertained or population samples. Chromatin immunoprecipitation and transcript expression data highlight potential gene regulatory mechanisms at the MTHFR and NOS3 loci. These results provide candidates for further study to help dissect mechanisms affecting BP and highlight the utility of studying SNPs and samples that are independent of those studied previously even when the sample size is smaller than that in previous studies.
Higher field strength magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is becoming increasingly available and offers improved image quality; however, the clinical usefulness of this technique for the demonstration of surgically treatable functional pituitary adenomas has not been clearly established.
The combined thickness of the intima and media of the carotid artery (carotid intima-medial thickness, CIMT) is associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke. Previous studies indicate that carotid intima-medial thickness is a significantly heritable phenotype, but the responsible genes are largely unknown. Hexose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH) is a microsomal enzyme whose activity regulates corticosteroid metabolism in the liver and adipose tissue; variability in measures of corticosteroid metabolism within the normal range have been associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease. We performed a genetic association study in 854 members of 224 families to assess the relationship between polymorphisms in the gene coding for hexose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PD) and carotid intima-medial thickness.
Various radiotherapy planning methods for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) have been proposed to decrease normal tissue toxicity. We compare IMRT, adaptive IMRT, proton therapy (IMPT), and adaptive IMPT for SCCHN.
Microwave irradiation was shown to be an effective energy source for the rapid decomposition of organic metal salts (such as silver acetate) in a solid mixture with various carbon and noncarbon substrates under completely solvent-free conditions. The rapid and local Joule heating of microwave absorbing substrates (i.e., carbon-based) resulted in the instantaneous formation of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles on the substrate surfaces within seconds of microwave exposure. Other less absorbing substrates (such as hexagonal boron nitride) required longer exposure times for the salt decomposition to occur. Details of the effects of microwave reaction time, temperature, power, and other experimental parameters were investigated and discussed. The solvent-free microwave method was shown to be widely applicable to various organic metal salts with different substrates including single- and multiwalled carbon nanotubes, graphene, expanded graphite, hexagonal boron nitride and silica-alumina particles, forming substrate-supported metal (e.g., Ag, Au, Co, Ni, Pd, Pt) or metal oxide (e.g., Fe?O?, MnO, TiO?) nanoparticles in high yields within short duration of microwave irradiation. The method was also successfully applied to large structural substrates such as nanotube yarns, further suggesting its application potential and versatility. To demonstrate one potential application, we successfully used both carbon nanotube powder and yarn samples decorated with Ag nanoparticles prepared via the above method to improve data acquisition in surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy.
Proton radiotherapy is a relatively scarce treatment modality in radiation oncology, with only nine centers currently operating in the United States. Funded by Public Law 107-248, the University of Pennsylvania and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center have developed a remote proton radiation therapy solution with the goals of improving access to proton radiation therapy for Department of Defense (DoD) beneficiaries while minimizing treatment delays and time spent away from home/work (time savings of up to 3 weeks per patient).
Eplerenone is claimed to be a more selective blocker of the mineralocorticoid receptor than spironolactone being associated with fewer antiandrogenic side-effects. We compared the efficacy, safety and tolerability of eplerenone versus spironolactone in patients with hypertension associated with primary aldosteronism.
Advances in the sensitivity of molecular techniques during the 1990s led to a flurry of studies that supported the existence of extra-adrenal sites of aldosterone production in various tissues including the brain and the heart. Subsequent work was often conflicting or ambiguous, leading many to question whether extra-adrenal aldosterone was of any physiological importance, or whether it even existed. In this article, we review these studies and, in light of this evidence, discuss whether the current lack of interest in extra-adrenal aldosterone biosynthesis is justified.
Polymorphisms in 11-? hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11?-HSD1, encoded by HSD11B1) have been reported to be associated with obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors, such as type II diabetes and hypertension. Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular death associated with these factors but has significant additional heritability, the cause of which is undetermined. The 11?-HSD1 is believed to maintain tonic inhibition of the mineralocorticoid receptor in cardiomyocytes, and mineralocorticoid receptor activation is involved in the pathophysiology of LVH. We assessed the association between polymorphisms in the HSD11B1 gene and left ventricular mass (LVM) in 248 families ascertained through a proband with hypertension.
Two categories of cardiac stem cells (CSCs) with predominantly myogenic (mCSC) and vasculogenic (vCSC) properties have been characterized in the human heart. However, it is unknown whether functionally competent CSCs of both classes are present in the myocardium of patients affected by end-stage cardiac failure, and whether these cells can be harvested from relatively small myocardial samples.
Low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma was first described more than 20 years ago. Subsequently, it was discovered to carry the recurrent chromosomal translocation t(7;16)(q33;p11) encoding a FUS-CREB3L2 fusion oncoprotein. Molecular tests for this pathognomonic gene fusion can confirm the identity of histologic variants (such as hyalinizing spindle cell tumor with giant rosettes) and suggest that some cases of sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma may represent a high-grade version of this entity. We present a case of an ossifying tumor of the perineum that required an open biopsy and fluorescent in situ hybridization testing for FUS and CREB3L2 for diagnosis as a variant of low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma. Subsequent excision revealed characteristic areas with collagen rosettes as well as foci of heterotopic ossification. Significant ossification, which is well documented in entities such as synovial sarcoma, ossifying fibromyxoid tumor, and extraskeletal osteosarcoma, has not been reported previously in low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma. This case demonstrates the value of having a distinctive confirmatory molecular pathology test for diagnosis and expands our knowledge of the histologic variants possible in low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma.
Photon radiotherapy has been the standard adjuvant treatment for stage I seminoma. Single-dose carboplatin therapy and observation have emerged as alternative options due to concerns for acute toxicities and secondary malignancies from radiation. In this institutional review board-approved study, we compared photon and proton radiotherapy for stage I seminoma and the predicted rates of excess secondary malignancies for both treatment modalities.
Aldosterone biosynthesis is not only altered in rare mendelian disorders. Recent evidence suggests that common polymorphisms in the genes mediating the final stages of aldosterone and cortisol production (CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 respectively) are also associated with milder alterations in adrenal corticosteroid biosynthesis. These abnormalities consist of a decrease in adrenal 11?- hydroxylase activity and a subtle, life-long excess of aldosterone secretion which may lead to long-term cardiovascular risks. An interaction between the CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 genes may exist but is yet to be elucidated. This article describes the studies which highlight the importance of adrenal steroid synthesis in the development of hypertension and cardiovascular dysfunction as well as the role of common polymorphisms in adrenal synthetic genes in altering corticosteroid biosynthesis.
Hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry (HXMS) coupled to proteolytic digestion has been used to probe the conformation of bovine ?-lactoglobulin (BLG), bovine ?-lactalbumin (BLA), and human serum albumin (HSA) in solution and while adsorbed to the hydrophobic interaction chromatography media Phenyl Sepharose 6FF. All three proteins show evidence of EX1 exchange kinetics, indicating a loss of stability on the surface. HX protection patterns for all three proteins also indicate that the unfolded form is only partially solvent exposed. The hydrogen-deuterium exchange patterns of BLG and BLA on the surface suggest a structure that resembles each proteins respective solution phase molten globule state. The low stability of Domain II of HSA observed on Phenyl Sepharose 6FF also suggests a link to solution stability because Domain II is frequently cited as the least stable domain in solution unfolding pathways. COREX, an algorithm used to compute protein folding stabilities, correctly predicts solution hydrogen-deuterium exchange patterns for BLG and offers insight into its adsorbed phase stabilities but is unreliable for BLA predictions. The results of this work demonstrate a link between solution-phase local stability patterns and the nature of partially unfolded states that proteins can adopt on HIC surfaces.
Hyponatremia is a common electrolyte disorder in patients with heart failure (HF) associated with cognitive dysfunction and increased mortality and rehospitalization rates. Loop diuretics worsen renal function, produce neurohormonal activation, and induce electrolyte imbalances. Lixivaptan is a selective, oral vasopressin V(2) -receptor antagonist that improves hyponatremia by promoting electrolyte-free aquaresis without significant side effects. The Treatment of Hyponatremia Based on Lixivaptan in NYHA Class III/IV Cardiac Patient Evaluation (BALANCE) study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial designed to evaluate the effects of lixivaptan on serum sodium in patients hospitalized with worsening heart failure (target N= 650), signs of congestion and serum sodium concentrations <135 mEq/L. Other endpoints include assessment of dyspnea, body weight, cognitive function, and days of hospital-free survival. Patients are randomized 1:1 to lixivaptan or matching placebo for 60 days, with a 30-day safety follow-up. Doses of lixivaptan or placebo are adjusted based on serum sodium and volume status. Lixivaptan was shown to increase serum sodium and reduce body weight, without renal dysfunction or hypokalemia. BALANCE seeks to address unmet questions regarding the use of vasopressin antagonists including their effects on cognitive function and clinical outcomes in patients with hyponatremia and worsening heart failure.
Height is a classic complex trait with common variants in a growing list of genes known to contribute to the phenotype. Using a genecentric genotyping array targeted toward cardiovascular-related loci, comprising 49,320 SNPs across approximately 2000 loci, we evaluated the association of common and uncommon SNPs with adult height in 114,223 individuals from 47 studies and six ethnicities. A total of 64 loci contained a SNP associated with height at array-wide significance (p < 2.4 × 10(-6)), with 42 loci surpassing the conventional genome-wide significance threshold (p < 5 × 10(-8)). Common variants with minor allele frequencies greater than 5% were observed to be associated with height in 37 previously reported loci. In individuals of European ancestry, uncommon SNPs in IL11 and SMAD3, which would not be genotyped with the use of standard genome-wide genotyping arrays, were strongly associated with height (p < 3 × 10(-11)). Conditional analysis within associated regions revealed five additional variants associated with height independent of lead SNPs within the locus, suggesting allelic heterogeneity. Although underpowered to replicate findings from individuals of European ancestry, the direction of effect of associated variants was largely consistent in African American, South Asian, and Hispanic populations. Overall, we show that dense coverage of genes for uncommon SNPs, coupled with large-scale meta-analysis, can successfully identify additional variants associated with a common complex trait.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. We hypothesized that the level of proteinuria would correlate with left ventricular mass, providing a potential link between elevated protein excretion, left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and the increased mortality seen in patients with CKD. In order to do this, we assessed the determinants of left ventricular mass, measured using cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, in patients with CKD.
The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of incorporating Web-based application sharing of virtual medical simulation software within a multipoint video teleconference (VTC) as a training tool in graduate medical education.
Hypertension is a heritable and major contributor to the global burden of disease. The sum of rare and common genetic variants robustly identified so far explain only 1%-2% of the population variation in BP and hypertension. This suggests the existence of more undiscovered common variants. We conducted a genome-wide association study in 1,621 hypertensive cases and 1,699 controls and follow-up validation analyses in 19,845 cases and 16,541 controls using an extreme case-control design. We identified a locus on chromosome 16 in the 5 region of Uromodulin (UMOD; rs13333226, combined P value of 3.6 × 10?¹¹). The minor G allele is associated with a lower risk of hypertension (OR [95%CI]: 0.87 [0.84-0.91]), reduced urinary uromodulin excretion, better renal function; and each copy of the G allele is associated with a 7.7% reduction in risk of CVD events after adjusting for age, sex, BMI, and smoking status (H.R.?=?0.923, 95% CI 0.860-0.991; p?=?0.027). In a subset of 13,446 individuals with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) measurements, we show that rs13333226 is independently associated with hypertension (unadjusted for eGFR: 0.89 [0.83-0.96], p?=?0.004; after eGFR adjustment: 0.89 [0.83-0.96], p?=?0.003). In clinical functional studies, we also consistently show the minor G allele is associated with lower urinary uromodulin excretion. The exclusive expression of uromodulin in the thick portion of the ascending limb of Henle suggests a putative role of this variant in hypertension through an effect on sodium homeostasis. The newly discovered UMOD locus for hypertension has the potential to give new insights into the role of uromodulin in BP regulation and to identify novel drugable targets for reducing cardiovascular risk.
Obesity is globally prevalent and highly heritable, but its underlying genetic factors remain largely elusive. To identify genetic loci for obesity susceptibility, we examined associations between body mass index and ? 2.8 million SNPs in up to 123,865 individuals with targeted follow up of 42 SNPs in up to 125,931 additional individuals. We confirmed 14 known obesity susceptibility loci and identified 18 new loci associated with body mass index (P < 5 × 10??), one of which includes a copy number variant near GPRC5B. Some loci (at MC4R, POMC, SH2B1 and BDNF) map near key hypothalamic regulators of energy balance, and one of these loci is near GIPR, an incretin receptor. Furthermore, genes in other newly associated loci may provide new insights into human body weight regulation.
Low surface energy copoly(imide siloxane)s were generated via condensation polymerization reactions. The generated materials were characterized spectroscopically, thermally, mechanically, and via contact angle goniometry. The decrease in tensile modulus and opaque appearance of copoly(imide siloxane) films indicated phase segregation in the bulk. Preferential surface partitioning of the siloxane moieties was verified by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and increased advancing water contact angle values (theta(A)). Pristine copoly(imide siloxane) surfaces typically exhibited theta(A) values of 111 degrees and sliding angles from 27 degrees to >60 degrees. The surface properties of these copoly(imide siloxane) films were further altered using laser ablation patterning (frequency-tripled Nd:YAG laser, 355 nm). Laser-etched square pillar arrays (25 microm pillars with 25 microm interspaces) changed theta(A) by up to 64 degrees. Theta(A) values approaching 175 degrees and sliding angles from 1 degree to 15 degrees were observed. ATR-IR spectroscopy and XPS indicated polymer chain scission reactions occurred as a result of laser ablation. Initial particle adhesion studies revealed that the copoly(imide siloxane)s outperformed the corresponding homopolyimides and that laser ablation patterning further enhanced this result.
The QRS interval, from the beginning of the Q wave to the end of the S wave on an electrocardiogram, reflects ventricular depolarization and conduction time and is a risk factor for mortality, sudden death and heart failure. We performed a genome-wide association meta-analysis in 40,407 individuals of European descent from 14 studies, with further genotyping in 7,170 additional Europeans, and we identified 22 loci associated with QRS duration (P < 5 × 10(-8)). These loci map in or near genes in pathways with established roles in ventricular conduction such as sodium channels, transcription factors and calcium-handling proteins, but also point to previously unidentified biologic processes, such as kinase inhibitors and genes related to tumorigenesis. We demonstrate that SCN10A, a candidate gene at the most significantly associated locus in this study, is expressed in the mouse ventricular conduction system, and treatment with a selective SCN10A blocker prolongs QRS duration. These findings extend our current knowledge of ventricular depolarization and conduction.
Using genome-wide association, we identify common variants at 2p12-p13, 6q26, 17q23 and 19q13 associated with serum creatinine, a marker of kidney function (P = 10(-10) to 10(-15)). Of these, rs10206899 (near NAT8, 2p12-p13) and rs4805834 (near SLC7A9, 19q13) were also associated with chronic kidney disease (P = 5.0 x 10(-5) and P = 3.6 x 10(-4), respectively). Our findings provide insight into metabolic, solute and drug-transport pathways underlying susceptibility to chronic kidney disease.
Copy number variants (CNVs) account for a major proportion of human genetic polymorphism and have been predicted to have an important role in genetic susceptibility to common disease. To address this we undertook a large, direct genome-wide study of association between CNVs and eight common human diseases. Using a purpose-designed array we typed approximately 19,000 individuals into distinct copy-number classes at 3,432 polymorphic CNVs, including an estimated approximately 50% of all common CNVs larger than 500 base pairs. We identified several biological artefacts that lead to false-positive associations, including systematic CNV differences between DNAs derived from blood and cell lines. Association testing and follow-up replication analyses confirmed three loci where CNVs were associated with disease-IRGM for Crohns disease, HLA for Crohns disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, and TSPAN8 for type 2 diabetes-although in each case the locus had previously been identified in single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based studies, reflecting our observation that most common CNVs that are well-typed on our array are well tagged by SNPs and so have been indirectly explored through SNP studies. We conclude that common CNVs that can be typed on existing platforms are unlikely to contribute greatly to the genetic basis of common human diseases.
This study sought to assess, for the first time, the relationship between serum concentrations of the soluble interleukin-1 receptor family member ST2 (sST2) and serial change in left ventricular (LV) function after acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
There is a linear relationship between resting heart rate (HR) and mortality in normotensive and untreated hypertensive individuals. However, it is not clear whether HR is a marker of increased risk in hypertensive patients on treatment. We investigated the relationship between HR and mortality in patients with hypertension. We analyzed baseline HR, final HR, and HR change during follow-up in patients attending the Glasgow Blood Pressure Clinic. Using a threshold of 80 bpm, we classified patients into those who had a consistently high (high-high) or low (low-low) HR or patients whose HR increased (low-high) or decreased (high-low) over time. Survival analysis was carried out using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, smoking, rate-limiting therapy, systolic blood pressure, and serum cholesterol. For each beat of HR change there was a 1% change in mortality risk. The highest risk of an all-cause event was associated with patients who had increased their HR by >or=5 bpm at the end of follow-up (1.51 [95% CI: 1.03 to 2.20]; P=0.035). Compared with low-low patients, high-high patients had a 78% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality (HR: 1.78 [95% CI: 1.31 to 2.41]; P<0.001). Cardiovascular mortality showed a similar pattern of results. Rate-limiting therapy did not have an independent effect on outcomes in this analysis. Change in HR achieved during follow-up of hypertensive patients is a better predictor of risk than baseline or final HR. After correction for rate-limiting therapy, HR remained a significant independent risk factor.
Through our existing partnership, our research program has leveraged the benefits of proton radiation therapy through the development a robust telemedicine solution for remote proton therapy planning. Our proof-of-concept system provides a cost-effective and functional videoconferencing desktop platform for both ad-hoc and scheduled communication, as well as a robust interface for data collaboration (application-sharing of a commercial radiation treatment planning package). Over a 2-year period, our evaluation of this model has highlighted the inherent benefits of this affordable remote treatment planning solution, i.e., (1) giving physicians the ability to remotely participate in refining and generating proton therapy plans via a secure and robust Internet2 VPN tunnel to the University of Pennsylvanias commercial proton treatment planning package; (2) allowing cancer-care providers sending patients to a proton treatment facility to participate in treatment planning decisions by enabling referring or accepting providers to initiate ad-hoc, point-to-point communication with their counterparts to clarify and resolve issues arising before or during patient treatment; and thus (3) allowing stewards of an otherwise highly centralized resource the ability to encourage wider participation with and referrals to sparsely located proton treatment centers by adapting telemedicine techniques that allow sharing of proton therapy planning services. We believe that our elegant and very affordable approach to remote proton treatment planning opens the door to greater worldwide referrals to the scarce resource of proton treatment units and wide-ranging scientific collaboration, both nationally and internationally.
The aldosterone to renin ratio (ARR) is a marker of aldosterone excess, widely used to screen for primary aldosteronism (PA). The significance of a raised ARR in normotensive and hypertensive subjects and the phenotypic and familial factors affecting it are unclear.
Two classes of compounds, thiocarbamates 1 and triazoles 2, have been identified as HIV RT RNase H inhibitors using a novel FRET-based HTS assay. The potent analogs in each series exhibited selectivity and were active in cell-based assays. In addition, saturable, 1:1 stoichiometric binding to target was established and time of addition studies were consistent with inhibition of RT-mediated HIV replication.
Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) devices are a guideline-recommended treatment option for a small subset of advanced heart failure patients. MCS has the potential to become more prominent in the management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes (AHFS) as device technology advances and as clinical trials consistently discover neutral or harmful effects with pharmacologic therapies hypothesized to be beneficial in this population. While it is now possible to identify AHFS patients who are at high risk of death, the therapeutic options available to improve their long-term outcomes are limited. MCS therapy in this population offers a "bridge to recovery" strategy; these patients may have viable myocardium that responds favorably to the influence of MCS on neurohormones, cytokines, and/or reverse remodeling. Patients at high risk for mortality who have a substantial likelihood of benefiting from MCS can be easily identified using standard clinical criteria developed from large observational databases. MCS technology is rapidly evolving, and risks related to implantation are declining. It is evident that rigorous clinical trial testing of the potential risks, benefits, and economic implications of MCS in patients with AHFS will need to be conducted before the "routine" application of this aggressive therapy. This paper examines the rationale for conducting trials of MCS devices in patients with AHFS, and it explores considerations for patient selection and appropriate endpoints. This manuscript was generated from discussions on this issue during the third international meeting of the International Working Group on AHFS held in Washington, DC, April 8-9, 2006.
To identify loci affecting the electrocardiographic QT interval, a measure of cardiac repolarisation associated with risk of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death, we conducted a meta-analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) including 3,558 subjects from the TwinsUK and BRIGHT cohorts in the UK and the DCCT/EDIC cohort from North America. Five loci were significantly associated with QT interval at P<1x10(-6). To validate these findings we performed an in silico comparison with data from two QT consortia: QTSCD (n = 15,842) and QTGEN (n = 13,685). Analysis confirmed the association between common variants near NOS1AP (P = 1.4x10(-83)) and the phospholamban (PLN) gene (P = 1.9x10(-29)). The most associated SNP near NOS1AP (rs12143842) explains 0.82% variance; the SNP near PLN (rs11153730) explains 0.74% variance of QT interval duration. We found no evidence for interaction between these two SNPs (P = 0.99). PLN is a key regulator of cardiac diastolic function and is involved in regulating intracellular calcium cycling, it has only recently been identified as a susceptibility locus for QT interval. These data offer further mechanistic insights into genetic influence on the QT interval which may predispose to life threatening arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.
Aldosterone plays an important role in electrolyte and blood pressure homeostasis. Our studies have focused on the role of aldosterone in essential hypertension. We have shown that plasma aldosterone and ARR are heritable characteristics and that aldosterone concentrations in older subjects are inversely correlated with birthweight and positively correlated with blood pressure. Aldosterone levels are also associated with polymorphic variation in the CYP11B2 gene, which encodes aldosterone synthase, the enzyme responsible for aldosterone production. Interestingly, CYP11B2 polymorphisms are also associated with less efficient activity of 11beta-hydroxylase, encoded by the neighbouring, highly homologous CYP11B1 gene. We propose that a digenic effect leads to increased aldosterone production, with inefficient 11beta-hydroxylation causing a long-term increase in ACTH drive to the adrenal gland and enhanced expression of CYP11B2, thereby resulting in chronically raised aldosterone secretion in response to factors such as angiotensin II and potassium. In susceptible subjects this is likely, over many years, to result in hypertension with relative aldosterone excess.
Animal models suggest that explanations for the association of low birthweight with adult hypertension may include chronic activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal or renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axes. In humans, low birthweight predicts elevated plasma cortisol, but associations with aldosterone have not been reported. We measured aldosterone in serum samples from 205 men and 106 women from 67 to 78 years of age, from Hertfordshire, UK, for whom birthweight was recorded. Participants underwent an overnight low-dose (0.25 mg) dexamethasone suppression test and a low-dose (1 mug) ACTH (corticotropin) stimulation test and were genotyped for the -344 C/T polymorphism of the CYP11B2 gene encoding aldosterone synthase. Median aldosterone was 6.22 ng/dL (range 0.15 to 38.74) and was higher in men than women (P<0.0001). Higher aldosterone levels after both dexamethasone and ACTH stimulation were associated with higher blood pressure (r=0.20, P=0.001; r=0.33, P<0.0001, respectively) and with lower birthweight (r=-0.16, P=0.008; r=-0.21, P=0.001, respectively). These associations remained significant after adjusting for age, gender, obesity, and genotype. Our findings supplement previous evidence that aldosterone is an important regulator of blood pressure and suggest that factors in early life that retard fetal growth and program activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in humans result not only in higher glucocorticoid activity but also in increased mineralocorticoid activity.
Anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug development has been challenged by a lack of experience with inhibitors inclusive of in vitro, animal model, and clinical study. This manuscript outlines activity and correlation across such a spectrum of models and into clinical trials with a novel selective nonstructural protein 5B (NS5B) polymerase inhibitor, HCV796. Enzyme assays yielded median inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) values of 0.01 to 0.14 microM for genotype 1, with half maximal effective concentration (EC(50)s) of 5 nM and 9 nM against genotype 1a and 1b replicons. In the chimeric mouse model, a 2.02 +/- 0.55 log reduction in HCV titer was seen with monotherapy, whereas a suboptimal dose of 30 mg/kg three times per day in combination with interferon demonstrated a 2.44 log reduction (P = 0.001 versus interferon alone) Clinical outcomes in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin have revealed additive efficacy in treatment naïve patients. Abnormal liver function test results were observed in 8% of HCV-796 patients treated for over 8 weeks, resulting in suspension of further trial activity. Conclusion: The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase inhibitor HCV796 demonstrated potent anti-HCV activity consistently through enzyme inhibition assays, subgenomic replicon, and chimeric mouse studies. Strong correlations of outcomes in the mouse model were seen with subsequent clinical trials, including a plateau in dose-related antiviral activity and additive impact from combination therapy with interferon. These outcomes demonstrate the utility of the range of in vitro and in vivo models now available for anti-HCV drug development and support the potential utility of polymerase inhibitors in future combination therapies for HCV treatment.
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