Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows investigators and clinicians to observe the anatomy and injuries of the cerebral white matter (CWM) in dogs. However, dynamic images based on the diffusion tensor (DT) technique are required to assess fiber tract integrity of the CWM. Diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) produces a three-dimensional representation in which data are displayed on a colored map obtained from the anisotropy of water molecules in the CWM tracts. Fractional anisotropy (FA) is a value that measures changes in water diffusion, which can occur if the CWM tracts are displaced, disrupted, or infiltrated. The goal of this study was to determine the feasibility of DTT for in vivo examination of the normal appearance of CWM in dogs through visual and quantitative analysis of the most representative CWM tracts. Nine tractographies were performed on healthy dogs using a 3T MRI scanner. T1- and T2-weighted images and DTI were acquired at different planes. Using DTT, three-dimensional reconstructions were obtained. Fractional ansisotropy and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of the right and left corticospinal tracts, corpus callosum, cingulum, and right and left fronto-occipital fasciculus were determined. Tract reconstructions were similar in 8/9 healthy dogs. Values for FA and ADC were similar in all the dogs. In one dog, tract reconstructions were inhomogeneous; these were displaced because it had larger lateral ventricles. Findings indicated that DTT is a feasible technique for in vivo study of CWM in dogs and that it complements information from conventional MRI.
A cluster of adverse events following immunization (AEFI) represents a stress test for an immunization program. The community can suspect on vaccine-related reaction leading to mistrust on the immunization program. An immunization anxiety-related reaction is one of the hypotheses to be tested and can be reasonably accepted when the vaccine-related and immunization error-related reactions are ruled out and no coincidental events can explain the cases. Immunization program approaches widely accepted to understand and respond to adverse events are root-cause analysis and systems analysis. Psychiatric cognitive frame will support the root-cause analysis assigning a causal relationship to individual temporary disorders of the affected vaccinees. Communication will focus on vaccine safety and absence of errors in the immunization program. Systems analysis addresses the whole context considering the fear spread as a systemic threat. Socio-psychological frame offers a broader opportunity to understand and respond to a specific community. Management is based on communication to change community belief in misperceptions of vaccine risks and support the idea of immunization as a causal factor, different from the vaccine. Communities can consider use of psychiatric labels, Mass Psychogenic Illness or Mass Hysteria, as an act of inconsiderateness. Labels like immunization anxiety-related reactions in clusters or collective immunization anxiety-related reactions are recommended to bridge the causal perception of the community with the result of the scientific investigation of the cases.
Significant progress has been recently achieved in the development of Plasmodium vivax challenge infections in humans, which are essential for vaccine and drug testing. With the goal of accelerating clinical development of malaria vaccines, the outcome of infections experimentally induced in naïve and semi-immune volunteers by infected mosquito bites was compared.
Precise, reliable and real-time financial information is critical for added-value financial services after the economic turmoil from which markets are still struggling to recover. Since the Web has become the most significant data source, intelligent crawlers based on Semantic Technologies have become trailblazers in the search of knowledge combining natural language processing and ontology engineering techniques. In this paper, we present the SONAR extension approach, which will leverage the potential of knowledge representation by extracting, managing, and turning scarce and disperse financial information into well-classified, structured, and widely used XBRL format-oriented knowledge, strongly supported by a proof-of-concept implementation and a thorough evaluation of the benefits of the approach.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy (IT) is widely used to treat allergic diseases. The molecular mechanisms have not been clarified yet completely. The present work was undertaken to analyze the effect of IT in the activation of NF-?B.
Automated medical diagnosis systems based on knowledge-oriented descriptions have gained momentum with the emergence of semantic descriptions. The objective of this paper is to propose a normalized design that solves some of the problems which have been detected by authors in previous tools. The authors bring together two different technologies to develop a new clinical decision support system: description logics aimed at developing inference systems to improve decision support for the prevention, treatment and management of illness and semantic technologies. Because of its new design, the system is capable of obtaining improved diagnostics compared with previous efforts. However, this evaluation is more focused in the computational performance, giving as result that description logics is a good solution with small data sets. In this paper, we provide a well-structured ontology for automated diagnosis in the medical field and a three-fold formalization based on Description Logics with the use of Semantic Web technologies.
We assessed the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a mixture of three synthetic peptides derived from the Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite protein formulated in Montanide ISA 720 or Montanide ISA 51. Forty healthy malaria-naive volunteers were allocated to five experimental groups (A-E): four groups (A-D) were immunized intramuscularly with 50 and 100 ?g/dose injections of a mixture of N, R, and C peptides formulated in the two different adjuvants at 0, 2, and 4 months and one group was administered placebo. Vaccines were immunogenic, safe, well tolerated, and no serious adverse events related to the vaccine occurred. Seroconversion occurred in > 90% of the vaccines and antibodies recognized the sporozoite protein on immunofluorescent antibody test. Vaccines in Montanide ISA 51 showed a higher sporozoite protein recognition and interferon production. Results encourage further testing of the vaccine protective efficacy.
A safe and reproducible Plasmodium vivax infectious challenge method is required to evaluate the efficacy of malaria vaccine candidates. Seventeen healthy Duffy (+) and five Duffy (-) subjects were randomly allocated into three (A-C) groups and were exposed to the bites of 2-4 Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium vivax derived from three donors. Duffy (-) subjects were included as controls for each group. Clinical manifestations of malaria and parasitemia were monitored beginning 7 days post-challenge. All Duffy (+) volunteers developed patent malaria infection within 16 days after challenge. Prepatent period determined by thick smear, was longer for Group A (median 14.5 d) than for Groups B and C (median 10 d/each). Infected volunteers recovered rapidly after treatment with no serious adverse events. The bite of as low as two P. vivax-infected mosquitoes provides safe and reliable infections in malaria-naive volunteers, suitable for assessing antimalarial and vaccine efficacy trials.
Little information is available on the effect of allergen-specific immunotherapy on airway responsiveness and markers in exhaled air. The aims of this study were to assess the safety of immunotherapy with purified natural Alt a1 and its effect on airway responsiveness to direct and indirect bronchoconstrictor agents and markers in exhaled air.
Successful establishment of a Plasmodium vivax sporozoite challenge model in humans is described. Eighteen healthy adult, malaria-naïve volunteers were randomly allocated to Groups A-C and exposed to 3 +/- 1, 6 +/- 1, and 9 +/- 1 bites of Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes infected with P. vivax, respectively. Seventeen volunteers developed signs and symptoms consistent with malaria, and geometric mean prepatent periods of 11.1 days (9.3-11) for Group A; 10.8 days (9.8-11.9) for Group B; and 10.6 days (8.7-12.4) for Group C, with no statistically significant difference among groups (Kruskal-Wallis, P = 0.70). One volunteer exposed to eight mosquito bites did not develop a parasitemia. No differences in parasite density were observed and all individuals successfully recovered after anti-malarial treatment. None of the volunteers developed parasite relapses within an 18-month follow-up. In conclusion, malaria-naive volunteers can be safely and reproducibly infected with bites of 2-10 An. albimanus mosquitoes carrying P. vivax sporozoites. This challenge method is suitable for vaccine and anti-malarial drug testing.
Many clinical studies have suggested a beneficial effect of GB virus type C (GBV-C) on the course of HIV-1 infection, but the mechanisms involved in such amelioration are not clear. As recent evidence has implicated cellular activation in HIV-1 pathogenesis, we investigated the effect of GBV-C viremia on T-cell activation in early HIV-1 infection.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory, disabling disease of the CNS. A recent study has estimated the annual cost of MS in Europe at euro12.5 billion. There is no definitive cure for the disease. Immunomodulatory therapies, such as IFN-beta and glatiramer acetate, are only partially effective. Various new therapies in the final stages of clinical trials are being developed in the absence of efficacy biomarkers. Hence, there is a pressing need for identification of MS treatment response biomarkers. The focus of the multicenter research initiative United Europeans for the development of pharmacogenomics in MS (UEPHA*MS) is to promote and improve training opportunities in the novel supradisciplinary area of pharmacogenomics, biomarker research and systems biology applied to MS. UEPHA*MS is a Marie Curie Initial Training network funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. The main scientific goals of this network are both to enhance our knowledge of the mechanisms determining response outcomes of existing immunomodulatory therapies and to identify novel therapeutic opportunities. UEPHA*MS is composed of 11 internationally recognized research teams from five countries with an assortment of expertise in complementary disciplines. The UEPHA*MS network will provide a coherent and internationally competitive platform for the training of young scientists based on multidisciplinary state-of-the-art laboratory-based and network-wide activities. This network will be instrumental in priming young scientists for Europes collective effort toward improved provision of healthcare based on personalized medicine.
Allelic specific gene expression (ASGE) appears to be an important factor in human phenotypic variability and as a consequence, for the development of complex traits and diseases. In order to study ASGE across the human genome, we have performed a study in which genotyping was coupled with an analysis of ASGE by screening 11,500 SNPs using the Mapping 10 K Array to identify differential allelic expression. We found that from the 5,133 SNPs that were suitable for analysis (heterozygous in our sample and expressed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells), 2,934 (57%) SNPs had differential allelic expression. Such SNPs were equally distributed along human chromosomes and biological processes. We validated the presence or absence of ASGE in 18 out 20 SNPs (90%) randomly selected by real time PCR in 48 human subjects. In addition, we observed that SNPs close to -but not included in- segmental duplications had increased levels of ASGE. Finally, we found that transcripts of unknown function or non-coding RNAs, also display ASGE: from a total of 2,308 intronic SNPs, 1510 (65%) SNPs underwent differential allelic expression. In summary, ASGE is a widespread mechanism in the human genome whose regulation seems to be far more complex than expected.
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