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Population genetics of 23 Y-STR markers in Kuwaiti population.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Thu, 12/31/2015 - 07:28
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Population genetics of 23 Y-STR markers in Kuwaiti population.

Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2015 May;16:203-4

Authors: Taqi Z, Alenizi M, Alenizi H, Ismael S, Dukhyil AA, Nazir M, Sanqoor S, Al Harbi E, Al-Jaber J, Theyab J, Moura-Neto RS, Budowle B

PMID: 25643873 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Breaking Up Sedentary Behavior: Perceptions From Cancer Survivors.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Wed, 12/30/2015 - 07:29
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Breaking Up Sedentary Behavior: Perceptions From Cancer Survivors.

Cancer Nurs. 2016 Dec 26;

Authors: Paxton RJ, Anderson A, Sarkar S, Taylor WC

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Limited data exist on the benefits of, barriers to, and potential strategies to break up time spent sitting in cancer survivors. Such data will be meaningful given the consequences of prolonged sitting.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to conduct a mixed-method research study consisting of semistructured telephone interviews to identify recurrent themes associated with prolonged sitting in cancer survivors.
METHODS: African American breast cancer survivors (N = 31) were recruited from a local tumor registry. Telephone interviews were conducted and group consensus processes were used to identify recurrent themes. The a priori categories were benefits, barriers, and potential strategies to breaking up prolonged periods of sitting.
RESULTS: Recurrent themes contributing most to prolonged sitting were leisure time interest (45%: eg, watching television and reading) and health challenges (27%: eg, pain and fatigue). Most (66%) women perceived improved health as benefits to breaking up time spent sitting. Nonetheless, many (41%) survivors reported health (eg, pain and fatigue) as the biggest challenge to interrupt time spent sitting. Engaging in light intensity activities (eg, staying active, keep moving) was the most commonly reported strategy for breaking up prolonged sitting.
CONCLUSIONS: African American breast cancer survivors identified the benefits and barriers to breaking up time spent sitting as well as potential strategies to interrupt time-spent sitting.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Clinicians are integral in promoting breaks from prolonged sitting throughout the initial phases of the cancer continuum. Successful studies will begin with early intervention in the clinical setting, with increasing intensity as survivors transition to the recovery phase.

PMID: 26713501 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Identification of a gene involved in flocculation by whole genome sequencing of Thauera aminoaromatica MZ1T floc-defective mutants.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Wed, 12/30/2015 - 07:29
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Identification of a gene involved in flocculation by whole genome sequencing of Thauera aminoaromatica MZ1T floc-defective mutants.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015 Dec 28;

Authors: Prombutara P, Allen MS

Abstract
Thauera aminoaromatica MZ1T, a floc-forming bacterium isolated from an industrial activated sludge wastewater treatment plant, overproduces exopolysaccharide (EPS) leading to viscous bulking. This phenomenon results in poor sludge settling and dewatering during the clarification process. To identify genes responsible for bacterial flocculation, a whole genome phenotypic sequencing technique was applied. Genomic DNA of MZ1T flocculation-deficient mutants were subjected to massively parallel sequencing. The resultant high-quality reads were assembled and compared to the reference genome of the wild type. We identified nine nonsynonymous mutations and one nonsense mutation putatively involved in EPS biosynthesis. Complementation of the nonsense mutation located in an EPS deacetylase gene restored the flocculating phenotype. The FTIR spectra of EPS isolated from the wild-type showed reduced C=O peak of the N-acetyl group at 1665 cm(-1) as compared to the spectra of MZ1T floc-deficient mutant EPS, suggesting that the WT EPS was partially deacetylated. Gene expression analysis also demonstrated the putative deacetylase gene transcript increased before flocculation occurred. These data suggest that targeting deacetylation processes via direct chemical modification of EPS or enzyme inhibition may prove useful in combating viscous bulking in this and related bacteria.

PMID: 26712552 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Resident assistant training program for increasing alcohol, other drug, and mental health first-aid efforts.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Wed, 12/30/2015 - 07:29
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Resident assistant training program for increasing alcohol, other drug, and mental health first-aid efforts.

Prev Sci. 2015 May;16(4):508-17

Authors: Thombs DL, Gonzalez JM, Osborn CJ, Rossheim ME, Suzuki S

Abstract
In college and university residence halls, resident assistants (RAs) are expected to serve as first-aid providers to students who may have alcohol, other drug, mental health, and academic problems. Despite this responsibility, evidence-based, first-aid programs have not been developed and tested for the RA workforce. The current study examined effects of an investigational first-aid program designed specifically for RAs. The online Peer Hero Training program is a novel approach to RA training in its use of interactive video dramatizations of incidents involving substance-using or distressed residents. A 9-month randomized trial conducted on eight US campuses compared RAs who participated in the Peer Hero Training program to RAs who received training-as-usual. Participation in the Peer Hero Training program significantly increased RA first-aid efforts for residential students who may have had alcohol, other drug, mental health, or academic problems 6 months after baseline. Compared with those in the training-as-usual condition, RAs in the Peer Hero Training program made more than 10 times as many first-aid efforts for possible alcohol problems, almost 14 times the number of first-aid efforts for possible drug use, almost 3 times the number of first-aid efforts for possible mental health problems, and 3 times the number of first-aid efforts for academic problems. There was no evidence that measured RA attitudes mediated the effects of the intervention. Results of this preliminary evaluation trial suggest that online training using interactive video dramatizations is a viable approach to strengthening RAs' ability to provide alcohol, other drugs, and mental health first-aid to undergraduates.

PMID: 25322950 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Emerging therapeutics for targeting Akt in cancer.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Tue, 12/29/2015 - 07:29
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Emerging therapeutics for targeting Akt in cancer.

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2016;21:757-768

Authors: Gdowski A, Panchoo M, Treuren TV, Basu A

Abstract
The ultimate goal of cancer therapeutic research is to develop effective, targeted therapeutics that exploit the vulnerabilities of cancer cells. The three isoforms of Akt, also known as protein kinase B (PKB), are important mediators of various pathways that transmit mitogenic signals from the cell's exterior to the effector proteins of the cell's interior. Due to Akt\\\\\\\'s importance in cell functions such as growth, proliferation and cell survival, many cancer cells rely on this pathway to aid in their survival. This dependence can lead to chemoresistance and selection of more adapted populations of cancer cells. Thus, it is important to understand the functional significance of isoform specificity and its relation to chemoresistance. In this review, we have summarized recent studies on Akt isoform specific regulation as well as each isoform's role in chemoresistance, emphasizing their potential as targets for cancer therapy. We have also condensed ongoing clinical studies involving various types of Akt inhibitors while highlighting the type of study, rationale and co-therapies involved in identifying Akt isoforms as promising therapeutic targets.

PMID: 26709804 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Prevalence of Metformin Use and the Associated Risk of Metabolic Acidosis in US Diabetic Adults With CKD: A National Cross-Sectional Study.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Sat, 12/26/2015 - 07:32
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Prevalence of Metformin Use and the Associated Risk of Metabolic Acidosis in US Diabetic Adults With CKD: A National Cross-Sectional Study.

Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Dec;94(51):e2175

Authors: Kuo CC, Yeh HC, Chen B, Tsai CW, Lin YS, Huang CC

Abstract
The use of metformin in chronic kidney disease (CKD) population has been intensely debated with conflicting evidence. Large population studies are needed to inform risk assessment and therapeutic decision-making. We evaluated the associations among metformin, metabolic acidosis, and CKD in a 10-year nationally representative noninstitutionalized civilian population in the United States.In this cross-sectional study, a total of 2279 diabetic adults aged 20 years or older in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 to 2012 were included and had measurements of serum bicarbonate, sodium, potassium, and chloride. The exposure was metformin use. The outcome was subclinical and severe metabolic acidosis defined by serum bicarbonate <23 mEq/L and anion gap > 16mEq/L and by serum bicarbonate < 20 mEq/L, respectively.The prevalence of metformin use decreased from 67.2% among CKD-1 and -2, 40.6% among CKD-3, to 1.3% among advanced CKD-4 and -5. Across CKD stages up to CKD-3b, we observed a tendency of lower levels of serum bicarbonate that was significant in metformin users with CKD-2 and CKD-3a and marginally significant with CKD-3b compared to nonmetformin users. The corresponding tendency of higher anion gap in metformin users with the estimated glomerular filtration rate >60 mL/min/1.73 m was also observed. In multiple linear regression analysis, metformin was significantly associated with decreased serum bicarbonate levels (β = -0.45, 95% CI: -0.73, -0.17) and increased serum anion gap levels (β = 0.40, 95% CI: 0.19, 0.61). The adjusted odds ratio of subclinical high anion gap and severe metabolic acidosis for metformin users was 1.68 (95% CI: 1.11, 2.55) and 1.31 (0.49, 3.47), respectively. The association between metformin and serum bicarbonate was significantly modified by CKD status. No interaction was found between metformin and CKD stages for serum anion gap and acidosis.Metformin is associated with subclinical metabolic acidosis but not with severe metabolic acidosis. The propensity of serum bicarbonate-lowering effect was intensified in advanced CKD; however, such tendency was not associated with the risk of clinically defined acidosis. Our findings highlight a potential of cautious expansion of metformin use among CKD-3b patients with diabetes meriting further investigations.

PMID: 26705203 [PubMed - in process]

Harnessing Data to Assess Equity of Care by Race, Ethnicity and Language.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Sat, 12/26/2015 - 07:32
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Harnessing Data to Assess Equity of Care by Race, Ethnicity and Language.

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015;13(1)

Authors: Gracia A, Cheirif J, Veliz J, Reyna M, Vecchio M, Aryal S

Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Determine any disparities in care based on race, ethnicity and language (REaL) by utilizing inpatient (IP) core measures at Texas Health Resources, a large, faith-based, non-profit health care delivery system located in a large, ethnically diverse metropolitan area in Texas. These measures, which were established by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Joint Commission (TJC), help to ensure better accountability for patient outcomes throughout the U.S. health care system.
METHODS: Sample analysis to understand the architecture of race, ethnicity and language (REaL) variables within the Texas Health clinical database, followed by development of the logic, method and framework for isolating populations and evaluating disparities by race (non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, Native American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Asian and Other); ethnicity (Hispanic and non-Hispanic); and preferred language (English and Spanish). The study is based on use of existing clinical data for four inpatient (IP) core measures: Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI), Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Pneumonia (PN) and Surgical Care (SCIP), representing 100% of the sample population. These comprise a high number of cases presenting in our acute care facilities. Findings are based on a sample of clinical data (N = 19,873 cases) for the four inpatient (IP) core measures derived from 13 of Texas Health's wholly-owned facilities, formulating a set of baseline data.
RESULTS: Based on applied method, Texas Health facilities consistently scored high with no discernable race, ethnicity and language (REaL) disparities as evidenced by a low percentage difference to the reference point (non-Hispanic White) on IP core measures, including: AMI (0.3%-1.2%), CHF (0.7%-3.0%), PN (0.5%-3.7%), and SCIP (0-0.7%).

PMID: 26703665 [PubMed - in process]

Understanding Melanocyte Stem Cells for Disease Modeling and Regenerative Medicine Applications.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Sat, 12/26/2015 - 07:32
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Understanding Melanocyte Stem Cells for Disease Modeling and Regenerative Medicine Applications.

Int J Mol Sci. 2015;16(12):30458-30469

Authors: Mull AN, Zolekar A, Wang YC

Abstract
Melanocytes in the skin play an indispensable role in the pigmentation of skin and its appendages. It is well known that the embryonic origin of melanocytes is neural crest cells. In adult skin, functional melanocytes are continuously repopulated by the differentiation of melanocyte stem cells (McSCs) residing in the epidermis of the skin. Many preceding studies have led to significant discoveries regarding the cellular and molecular characteristics of this unique stem cell population. The alteration of McSCs has been also implicated in several skin abnormalities and disease conditions. To date, our knowledge of McSCs largely comes from studying the stem cell niche of mouse hair follicles. Suggested by several anatomical differences between mouse and human skin, there could be distinct features associated with mouse and human McSCs as well as their niches in the skin. Recent advances in human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) research have provided us with useful tools to potentially acquire a substantial amount of human McSCs and functional melanocytes for research and regenerative medicine applications. This review highlights recent studies and progress involved in understanding the development of cutaneous melanocytes and the regulation of McSCs.

PMID: 26703580 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Association Between Healthcare Provider Type and Intent to Breastfeed Among Expectant Mothers.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Fri, 12/25/2015 - 07:29
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Association Between Healthcare Provider Type and Intent to Breastfeed Among Expectant Mothers.

Matern Child Health J. 2015 Dec 23;

Authors: Balyakina E, Fulda KG, Franks SF, Cardarelli KM, Hinkle K

Abstract
Background The primary purpose of this study was to determine the association between type of healthcare provider delivering prenatal care and intent to exclusively breastfeed. Methods A self-report survey was administered to 455 expectant mothers. Logistic regression was performed to determine the association between prenatal care provider type [obstetrician; other primary care physician (family doctor/general practitioner/internist/or other physician); midwife/nurse midwife; more than one provider; and other] with intent to breastfeed (exclusive/non-exclusive). Results Having a midwife/nurse midwife as a prenatal care provider was associated with intent to breastfeed compared to having an obstetrician (OR 2.544, 95 % CI 1.385-4.675). There was no difference in intent between women with another primary care physician and an obstetrician. Women with another type of health care provider, no prenatal care from a health professional, or no knowledge of who is providing prenatal care were less likely to intend to breastfeed (OR 0.228, CI 0.068-0.766) as compared to those with an obstetrician. Discussion/Conclusions Provider type is associated with intent to breastfeed among pregnant women. Women's intent to breastfeed is an important predictor of breastfeeding initiation, continuation, and duration that may be assessed by healthcare providers during the prenatal period. A consideration of what features of provider care are associated with improved breastfeeding outcomes and characteristics of women seeking prenatal care with midwives may serve to formulate future prenatal care policies and education during prenatal care visits.

PMID: 26699790 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Neuritin 1 promotes retinal ganglion cell survival and axonal regeneration following optic nerve crush.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Wed, 12/23/2015 - 06:44
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Neuritin 1 promotes retinal ganglion cell survival and axonal regeneration following optic nerve crush.

Cell Death Dis. 2015;6:e1661

Authors: Sharma TP, Liu Y, Wordinger RJ, Pang IH, Clark AF

Abstract
Neuritin 1 (Nrn1) is an extracellular glycophosphatidylinositol-linked protein that stimulates axonal plasticity, dendritic arborization and synapse maturation in the central nervous system (CNS). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the neuroprotective and axogenic properties of Nrn1 on axotomized retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in vitro and on the in vivo optic nerve crush (ONC) mouse model. Axotomized cultured RGCs treated with recombinant hNRN1 significantly increased survival of RGCs by 21% (n=6-7, P<0.01) and neurite outgrowth in RGCs by 141% compared to controls (n=15, P<0.05). RGC transduction with AAV2-CAG-hNRN1 prior to ONC promoted RGC survival (450%, n=3-7, P<0.05) and significantly preserved RGC function by 70% until 28 days post crush (dpc) (n=6, P<0.05) compared with the control AAV2-CAG-green fluorescent protein transduction group. Significantly elevated levels of RGC marker, RNA binding protein with multiple splicing (Rbpms; 73%, n=5-8, P<0.001) and growth cone marker, growth-associated protein 43 (Gap43; 36%, n=3, P<0.01) were observed 28 dpc in the retinas of the treatment group compared with the control group. Significant increase in Gap43 (100%, n=5-6, P<0.05) expression was observed within the optic nerves of the AAV2-hNRN1 group compared to controls. In conclusion, Nrn1 exhibited neuroprotective, regenerative effects and preserved RGC function on axotomized RGCs in vitro and after axonal injury in vivo. Nrn1 is a potential therapeutic target for CNS neurodegenerative diseases.

PMID: 25719245 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Rebound coagulopathy in patients with snakebite presenting with marked initial coagulopathy.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Tue, 12/22/2015 - 07:29
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Rebound coagulopathy in patients with snakebite presenting with marked initial coagulopathy.

Wilderness Environ Med. 2015 Jun;26(2):211-5

Authors: Witham WR, McNeill C, Patel S

Abstract
OBJECTIVE: An estimated 70% of patients with pit viper snakebites require antivenom to treat serious complications such as coagulopathy. Evidence-based guidance is limited for the appropriate administration of Crotalinae Polyvalent Immune Fab (FabAV) and the duration of laboratory follow-up. The objective of our study was to assess the incidence of marked and recurrent envenomation coagulopathy at our trauma center and identify practice patterns that may prevent serious complications.
METHODS: A retrospective case review was conducted over a 3-year period on patients treated for symptomatic snakebite injury. Case records were reviewed for the inclusion criteria of international normalized ratio (INR) greater than 2.0. The exclusion criterion was limited to patients receiving anticoagulant therapy.
RESULTS: In all, 61 patients were identified on retrospective chart review and 3 patients (4.9%) met inclusion criteria. Two of the 3 patients had marked rebound coagulopathy requiring readmission and additional treatment. In our small series, 2 patients presenting after crotaline envenomation with increased INR (>6.0), decreased fibrinogen (<60 mg/dL), and decreased platelet count (<100,000/mL) had recurrent coagulopathy and were asymptomatic, and recurrence was noted only with follow-up laboratory testing. All patients responded positively within a matter of hours to repeat FabAV administration, with resolution of rebound coagulopathy.
CONCLUSIONS: We recommend periodic monitoring of patients with increased INR, decreased fibrinogen, and decreased platelet count. Patients should be monitored for 10 to 14 days after envenomation to identify asymptomatic rebound coagulopathy. Prompt readministration of FabAV appears to correct the coagulopathy.

PMID: 25758759 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Maryland Alcohol Sales Tax and Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Natural Experiment.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Sun, 12/20/2015 - 06:57

Maryland Alcohol Sales Tax and Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Natural Experiment.

Am J Prev Med. 2015 Nov 17;

Authors: Staras SA, Livingston MD, Wagenaar AC

Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Sexually transmitted infections are common causes of morbidity and mortality, including infertility and certain types of cancer. Alcohol tax increases may decrease sexually transmitted infection rates overall and differentially across population subgroups by decreasing alcohol consumption in general and prior to sex, thus decreasing sexual risk taking and sexually transmitted infection acquisition. This study investigated the effects of a Maryland increase in alcohol beverage sales tax on statewide gonorrhea and chlamydia rates overall and within age, gender, and race/ethnicity subpopulations.
METHODS: This study used an interrupted time series design, including multiple cross-state comparisons, to examine the effects of the 2011 alcohol tax increase in Maryland on chlamydia and gonorrhea cases reported to the U.S. National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System for January 2003 to December 2012 (N=120 repeated monthly observations, analyzed in 2015). Effects were assessed with Box-Jenkins autoregressive moving average models with structural parameters.
RESULTS: After the alcohol-specific sales tax increase, gonorrhea rates decreased 24% (95% CI=11%, 37%), resulting in 1,600 fewer statewide gonorrhea cases annually. Cohen's d indicated a substantial effect of the tax increase on gonorrhea rates (range across control group models, -1.25 to -1.42). The study did not find evidence of an effect on chlamydia or differential effects across age, race/ethnicity, or gender subgroups.
CONCLUSIONS: Results strengthen the evidence from prior studies of alcohol taxes influencing gonorrhea rates and extend health prevention effects from alcohol excise to sales taxes. Alcohol tax increases may be an efficient strategy for reducing sexually transmitted infections.

PMID: 26683415 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Abuse liability of the dietary supplement dimethylamylamine.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Sat, 12/19/2015 - 07:19
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Abuse liability of the dietary supplement dimethylamylamine.

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Jan 1;146:97-102

Authors: Dolan SB, Gatch MB

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) is a component of many dietary supplements and has recently been associated with numerous adverse effects, prompting the US military and World Anti-Doping Agency to ban its use as a supplement. The current study aimed to elucidate the abuse liability profile of DMAA.
METHODS: Dose-response studies of DMAA were performed with Swiss-Webster mice in locomotor and conditioned place-preference assays. The discriminative stimulus effects of DMAA were investigated in Sprague-Dawley rats trained to discriminate either cocaine or methamphetamine from saline.
RESULTS: DMAA produced dose-dependent locomotor depression and fully substituted for cocaine and partially substituted for methamphetamine. In the conditioned place-preference assay, DMAA produced an inverted-U-shaped dose-response curve, with intermediate doses producing significant place preference.
CONCLUSIONS: The cocaine- and methamphetamine-like discriminative stimulus effects and the conditioned place preference produced by DMAA suggest that is has potential for abuse. These findings in combination with reports of substantial adverse effects of DMAA in humans suggest that control of DMAA may warrant further consideration.

PMID: 25481853 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

The Role of Cerebral Oxygenation and Regional Cerebral Blood Flow on Tolerance to Central Hypovolemia.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Fri, 12/18/2015 - 07:29

The Role of Cerebral Oxygenation and Regional Cerebral Blood Flow on Tolerance to Central Hypovolemia.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2015 Dec 16;:ajpregu.00367.2015

Authors: Kay VL, Rickards CA

Abstract
Tolerance to central hypovolemia is highly variable, and accumulating evidence suggests that protection of anterior cerebral blood flow (CBF) is not an underlying mechanism. We hypothesized that individuals with high tolerance to central hypovolemia would exhibit protection of cerebral oxygenation (ScO2), and prolonged preservation of CBF in the posterior versus anterior cerebral circulation. Eighteen subjects (7M/11F) completed a presyncopal-limited lower body negative pressure (LBNP) protocol (3 mmHg/min onset rate). ScO2 (via near-infrared spectroscopy), middle and posterior cerebral artery velocity (MCAv, PCAv), and arterial pressure were measured continuously. Subjects who completed ≥70mmHg LBNP were classified as high tolerant (HT; N=7), and low tolerant (LT; N=11) if they completed ≤60 mmHg LBNP. The minimum difference in LBNP tolerance between groups was 193 s. Despite similar reductions in mean MCAv in both groups, ScO2 decreased in LT subjects from -15 mmHg LBNP (P=0.002; Cohens d=1.8), but was maintained at baseline values until -75 mmHg LBNP in HT subjects (P<0.001; Cohens d=2.2); ScO2 was lower at -30 and -45 mmHg LBNP in LT subjects (P≤0.02; Cohens d≥1.1). Similarly, mean PCAv decreased below baseline from -30 mmHg LBNP in LT subjects (P=0.004; Cohens d=1.0), but remained unchanged from baseline in HT subjects until -75 mmHg (P=0.006; Cohens d=2.0); PCAv was lower at -30 and -45 mmHg LBNP in LT subjects (P≤0.01; Cohens d≥0.94). Individuals with higher tolerance to central hypovolemia exhibit prolonged preservation of CBF in the posterior cerebral circulation, and sustained cerebral tissue oxygenation, both associated with a delay in the onset of presyncope.

PMID: 26676249 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

World military expenditures and global cardiovascular mortality.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Fri, 12/18/2015 - 07:29

World military expenditures and global cardiovascular mortality.

J Public Health Policy. 2015 Dec 17;

Authors: Brenner MH

Abstract
Can we estimate the consequences of world military expenditures for the physical and mental health of nations that produce and purchase armaments? If anxiety and fear are promoting military expenditures, then those sentiments may well reflect poorer mental health and war-related stress as it influences cardiovascular illness rates. Further, extensive military expenditure by a society implies that other societal needs are allocated fewer resources, including nutrition, water and sanitation, health care, and economic development. We use a model focused on military expenditures to predict cardiovascular mortality in world samples of industrialized and developing countries over 2000-2011. The cardiovascular mortality model controls for economic development, smoking, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and carbon dioxide emissions. Military expenditures as proportion of gross domestic product show significant positive relations to cardiovascular disease mortality in linear multiple regression analyses, using both cross-sectional and pooled cross-sectional time-series approaches.Journal of Public Health Policy advance online publication, 17 December 2015; doi:10.1057/jphp.2015.43.

PMID: 26675148 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Combination of tolfenamic acid and curcumin induces colon cancer cell growth inhibition by modulating reactive oxygen species and specific transcription factors.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Fri, 12/18/2015 - 07:29

Combination of tolfenamic acid and curcumin induces colon cancer cell growth inhibition by modulating reactive oxygen species and specific transcription factors.

Oncotarget. 2015 Dec 10;

Authors: Sankpal UT, Nagaraju GP, Gottipolu SR, Hurtado M, Jordan CG, Simecka JW, Shoji M, El-Rayes B, Basha R

Abstract
Curcumin (Cur) has been extensively studied in several types of malignancies including colorectal cancer (CRC); however its clinical application is greatly affected by low bioavailability. Several strategies to improve the therapeutic response of Cur are being pursued, including its combination with small molecules and drugs. We investigated the therapeutic efficacy of Cur in combination with the small molecule tolfenamic acid (TA) in CRC cell lines. TA has been shown to inhibit the growth of human cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, via targeting the transcription factor specificity protein1 (Sp1) and suppressing survivin expression. CRC cell lines HCT116 and HT29 were treated with TA and/or Cur and cell viability was measured 24-72 hours post-treatment. While both agents caused a steady reduction in cell viability, following a clear dose/ time-dependent response, the combination of TA+Cur showed higher growth inhibition when compared to either single agent. Effects on apoptosis were determined using flow cytometry (JC-1 staining to measure mitochondrial membrane potential), Western blot analysis (c-PARP expression) and caspase 3/7 activity. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were measured by flow cytometry and the translocation of NF-kB into the nucleus was determined using immunofluorescence. Results showed that apoptotic markers and ROS activity were significantly upregulated following combination treatment, when compared to the individual agents. This was accompanied by decreased expression of Sp1, survivin and NF-kB translocation. The combination of TA+Cur was more effective in HCT116 cells than HT29 cells. These results demonstrate that TA may enhance the anti-proliferative efficacy of Cur in CRC cells.

PMID: 26672603 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Bilateral symmetrical supernumerary heads of biceps brachii with rare pectoralis major insertion.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Thu, 12/17/2015 - 07:29
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Bilateral symmetrical supernumerary heads of biceps brachii with rare pectoralis major insertion.

Surg Radiol Anat. 2015 Apr;37(3):299-302

Authors: Fraser PR, Howard LW, Rosales AA, Guttmann GD

Abstract
During a routine dissection of a 51-year-old Caucasian male cadaver, bilateral symmetrical supernumerary heads (SH) of the biceps brachii muscles with insertion into the pectoralis major (PM) muscles were discovered. Multiple case reports have documented supernumerary heads for the biceps brachii; however, none have shown bilateral insertion into the pectoralis major. This study describes a previously undocumented variation of the SH that has potential for clinical impact. Healthcare providers could be confounded by patients presenting with shoulder pain or muscle tears as a result of the anomaly. Furthermore, MRI studies on patients with possible shoulder muscle tears could reveal unexpected results. Such cases would warrant consideration of SH anomaly and treatment should be adjusted accordingly. The significant bulk and angle of the SH insertion on the PM we observed changes force vectors which would have an unknown effect in performance, surgical interventions and pain syndromes. A second biceps brachii anomaly was observed on the left brachium in addition to the bilateral SH. We postulate that these variants provide the potential for clinical complications regarding muscular injury to these aforementioned muscle groups.

PMID: 24817560 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Internal validation of human mitochondrial DNA quantification using real-time PCR.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Thu, 12/17/2015 - 07:29
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Internal validation of human mitochondrial DNA quantification using real-time PCR.

J Forensic Sci. 2014 Jul;59(4):1049-56

Authors: Sprouse ML, Phillips NR, Kavlick MF, Roby RK

Abstract
The quantity of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) template added for amplification and subsequent dye terminator reactions is critical for obtaining quality sequence data. Validation of a human mtDNA real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay demonstrated its high degree of reproducibility and precision as well as an extremely sensitive threshold of detection (0.0001 pg/μL or approximately six human mtDNA copies/μL). A study of 35 nonprobative bone and teeth evidence samples revealed that 20 pg of mtDNA template is recommended for successful HV1 and HV2 sequence analysis; however, as little as 0.013 pg can generate a full mtDNA profile when using enhanced amplification reactions. The assay can also detect PCR inhibition and is useful for identifying samples that may benefit from re-purification. Overall, the assay is an excellent method to quantify mtDNA and is useful for determining the best analytical approach for successful sequencing.

PMID: 24708529 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

A Novel Method of Determining the Functional Effects of a Minor Genetic Modification of a Protein.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Tue, 12/15/2015 - 11:13

A Novel Method of Determining the Functional Effects of a Minor Genetic Modification of a Protein.

Front Cardiovasc Med. 2015;2:35

Authors: Nagwekar J, Duggal D, Midde K, Rich R, Liang J, Kazmierczak K, Huang W, Fudala R, Gryczynski I, Gryczynski Z, Szczesna-Cordary D, Borejdo J

Abstract
Contraction of muscles results from the ATP-coupled cyclic interactions of the myosin cross-bridges with actin filaments. Macroscopic parameters of contraction, such as maximum tension, speed of shortening, or ATPase activity, are unlikely to reveal differences between the wild-type and mutated (MUT) proteins when the level of transgenic protein expression is low. This is because macroscopic measurements are made on whole organs containing trillions of actin and myosin molecules. An average of the information collected from such a large assembly is bound to conceal any differences imposed by a small fraction of MUT molecules. To circumvent the averaging problem, the measurements were done on isolated ventricular myofibril (MF) in which thin filaments were sparsely labeled with a fluorescent dye. We isolated a single MF from a ventricle, oriented it vertically (to be able measure the orientation), and labeled 1 in 100,000 actin monomers with a fluorescent dye. We observed the fluorescence from a small confocal volume containing approximately three actin molecules. During the contraction of a ventricle actin constantly changes orientation (i.e., the transition moment of rigidly attached fluorophore fluctuates in time) because it is repetitively being "kicked" by myosin cross-bridges. An autocorrelation functions (ACFs) of these fluctuations are remarkably sensitive to the mutation of myosin. We examined the effects of Alanine to Threonine (A13T) mutation in the myosin regulatory light chain shown by population studies to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is an appropriate example, because mutation is expressed at only 10% in the ventricles of transgenic mice. ACFs were either "Standard" (Std) (decaying monotonically in time) or "Non-standard" (NStd) (decaying irregularly). The sparse labeling of actin also allowed the measurement of the spatial distribution of actin molecules. Such distribution reflects the interaction of actin with myosin cross-bridges and is also remarkably sensitive to myosin mutation. The result showed that the A13T mutation caused 9% ACFs and 9% of spatial distributions of actin to be NStd, while the remaining 91% were Std, suggesting that the NStd performances were executed by the MUT myosin heads and that the Std performances were executed by non-MUT myosin heads. We conclude that the method explored in this study is a sensitive and valid test of the properties of low prevalence mutations in sarcomeric proteins.

PMID: 26664906 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Dopamine agonist resistance-related endocan promotes angiogenesis and cells viability of prolactinomas.

Recent Research Articles from UNTHSC - Tue, 12/15/2015 - 11:13

Dopamine agonist resistance-related endocan promotes angiogenesis and cells viability of prolactinomas.

Endocrine. 2015 Dec 12;

Authors: Cai L, Leng ZG, Guo YH, Lin SJ, Wu ZR, Su ZP, Lu JL, Wei LF, Zhuge QC, Jin K, Wu ZB

Abstract
Dopamine agonists (DAs) are the first-line treatment of prolactinomas. They function through the dopamine 2 receptor (D2R) in the tumor cells. Endocan, also called endothelial cell-specific molecule-1 (ESM1), has been described as a marker of neoangiogenesis. However, whether ESM1 promotes the resistance of prolactinomas to DA therapy is largely unknown. In our study, 25 patients with prolactinomas were divided into resistant- and sensitive- groups according to the clinical response to bromocriptine. We found that ESM1-microvessel density of resistant prolactinomas was significantly higher than that of sensitive prolactinomas (47.9 ± 11.6, n = 8, vs 13.1 ± 2.8, n = 17, p = 0.0006), indicating that ESM1 was a DA resistance-related gene. Immunostaining showed that ESM1 was expressed in tumor vessels and sporadic tumor cells, and ESM1 was overlapped with the Smooth Muscle Actin (SMA) and von Willebrand Factor (VWF) in the tumor vessels. Silencing of ESM1 markedly suppressed the viability of GH3 and MMQ cells in vitro, and furthermore, significantly increased the sensitivity of GH3 and MMQ cells to DA treatment. Additionally, silencing of ESM1 down-regulated the angiogenesis-associated genes, such as VEGFR2, FGF2, CD34, CD31, VWF, and EGFR. Knockdown of ESM1 decreased endothelial tube formation of HUVECs, and significantly increased the sensitivity of HUVECs to Avastin treatment. Therefore, we first demonstrate that DA resistance-related ESM1 promotes the angiogenesis and tumor cells growth of prolactinomas, suggesting that ESM1 may be a novel therapeutic target for prolactinomas.

PMID: 26662185 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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