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Tiia Kärkkäinen

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Telomere length is increasingly used as a biomarker of long-term life history costs, ageing and future survival prospects. Yet, to have the potential to predict long-term outcomes, telomere length should exhibit a relatively high within-individual repeatability over time, which has been largely overlooked in past studies. To fill this gap, we conducted a meta-analysis on 74 studies reporting longitudinal telomere length assessment in non-mammalian vertebrates, with the aim to establish the current pattern of within-individual repeatability in telomere length and to identify the methodological (e.g. qPCR/TRF, study length) and biological factors (e.g. taxon, wild/captive, age class, species lifespan, phylogeny) that may affect it. While the median within-individual repeatability of telomere length was moderate to high (R = 0.55; 95% CI: 0.05-0.95; N = 82), marked heterogeneity between studies was evident. Measurement method affected strongly repeatability estimate, with TRF-based studies exhibiting high repeatability (R = 0.80; 95% CI: 0.34-0.96; N = 25), while repeatability of qPCR-based studies was only half of that and more variable (R = 0.46; 95% CI: 0.04-0.82; N = 57). While phylogeny explained some variance in repeatability, phylogenetic signal was not significant (λ = 0.32; 95% CI: 0.00-0.83). None of the biological factors investigated here had a statistically significant association with the repeatability of telomere length, being potentially obscured by methodological noise. Our meta-analysis highlights the need to carefully evaluate and consider within-individual repeatability in telomere studies to ensure the robustness of using telomere length as a biomarker of long-term survival and fitness prospects.

Vamshikrishna Gone

and 5 more

Bedaquiline, a novel drug was approved for the treatment of multi-drug resistance tuberculosis (MDR-TB) by the US FDA in 2012. It is majorly caused because of the transmission of multi-resistant strain from a diseased person to a healthy individual and by genetic factors. Safety, efficacy, and bactericidal activity of Bedaquiline were reported in various studies, but the pharmacokinetic analysis of Bedaquiline in clinical settings was unclear. This study serves as evidence for the physicians regarding the pharmacokinetic data and managing drug therapy and for better patient outcome in routine clinical practice. This study is conducted in a total of 58 patients with newly diagnosed, smear-positive, MDR-TB patients who received Bedaquiline as per RNTCP guidelines. Plasma samples were collected after the Bedaquiline administration. The patient samples were analyzed. The pharmacokinetic data were drawn by using software kinetic-2000, version 5.03.The observed Cmax was 2523.08 ng/mL, Tmax was reached at 4 hrs, AUC(0-24) was 21727.1 ng *hr/mL, AUMC (0-24) was 222953.8 ng *hr2/mL. Whereas the half-life of the drug was found at 7 .02 hrs and mean residence time (MRT) was found to be 10.25 hrs respectively. The data was even on the 14th day of therapy. The Cmax is shown to be 5937.1ng/mL reaching the Cmax at about 5 hours. While the AUC(0-24) was found to be 65780 ng *hr/mL. Conclusively, pharmacokinetic parameters were evaluated and found to be within the desired limits with minimal changes. This method can be further used for the quantification of Bedaquiline in routine clinical practice.

Wei Liu

and 7 more

Sofia Feronato

and 2 more

This study evaluates through modeling the possible individual and combined effect of three populational parameters of pathogens (reproduction rate; rate of novelty emergence; and propagule size) on the colonization of new host species – putatively the most fundamental process leading to the emergence of new infectious diseases. The results are analyzed under the theoretical framework of the Stockholm Paradigm using IBM simulations to better understand the evolutionary dynamics of the pathogen population and the possible role of Ecological Fitting. The simulations suggest that all three parameters positively influence the success of colonization of new hosts by a novel parasite population but contrary to the prevailing belief, the rate of novelty emergence (e.g. mutations) is the least important factor. Maximization of all parameters result in a synergetic facilitation of the colonization and emulates the expected scenario for pathogenic microorganisms. The simulations also provide theoretical support for the retention of the capacity of fast-evolving lineages to retro-colonize their previous host species/lineage by ecological fitting. Capacity is, thus, much larger than we can anticipate. Hence, the results support the empirical observations that opportunity of encounter (i.e. the breakdown in mechanisms for ecological isolation) is an fundamental determinant to the emergence of new associations - in special of Emergent Infectious Diseases - and the dynamics of host exploration, as observed in SARS-CoV-2. Insights on the dynamics of Emergent Infectious Diseases derived from the simulations and from the Stockholm Paradigm are discussed.

William Hardie

and 7 more

Pulmonary defects are reported in pectus excavatum but the physiological impact on exercise capacity is unclear. To test the hypothesis that pectus deformities are associated with a pulmonary impairment during exercise we performed a retrospective review on pectus patients in our center who completed a symptom questionnaire, cardiopulmonary exercise test, pulmonary function tests (PFT), and chest magnetic resonance imaging. Of 259 patients studied, dyspnea on exertion and chest pain was reported in 64% and 41% respectively. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2) was reduced in 30% and classified as mild in two-thirds. A pulmonary limitation during exercise was identified in less than 3%. Ventilatory limitations on PFT was found in 26% and classified as mild in 85%. Obstruction was the most common abnormal pattern (11%) followed by a nonspecific ventilatory limitation and restrictive pattern (7% each). There were no differences between patients with normal or abnormal PFT patterns for the anatomic degree of pectus malformation, VO2, or percentage reporting dyspnea or chest pain. Scatter plots demonstrated significant inverse relationships between severity of the pectus deformity with lung volumes on PFT and VO2 but no correlation between the severity of the pectus deformity and lung volumes during exercise. We conclude that resting lung volume measurements were associated with the anatomic degree of pectus severity but respiratory limitations during maximal exercise are uncommon and PFT patterns have poor correlation with symptomatology or VO2. These findings suggest non-respiratory causes are more likely for the high rates of dyspnea and reduced aerobic fitness reported in pectus.
Introduction: Pediatric pulmonary embolism (PE) is rare but associated with adverse outcomes. We aimed to characterize PE cases admitted in a tertiary hospital and to evaluate sensitivity of PE diagnostic prediction tools. Methods: Retrospective, descriptive study of PE cases admitted from 2008 to 2020. Data was collected from hospital records. Patients were grouped according to PE severity and setting (outpatients, inpatients). Associations with demographic characteristics, risk factors, clinical presentation, management and outcomes were analyzed. PE diagnostic prediction tools were applied. Results: 29 PE episodes occurred in 27 patients, 62.9% female, mean age 14.1 years. Most PE were central and massive or submassive. One was diagnosed in autopsy. Outpatients (n=20), admitted for classic PE symptoms, were adolescents; in half the diagnosis had been missed previously. Risk factors included contraceptives (65%), thrombophilia (35%), obesity (20%) and auto-immunity (20%). Inpatients´ PE (n=8), diagnosed during cardiorespiratory deterioration (n=5) or through incidental radiological findings (n=3), were younger and had immobilization (87.5%), complex chronic diseases (75%), infections (75%) and central venous catheter (62.5%) as risk factors. Retrospectively, D-dimer testing and adults’ scores performed better than pediatrics’ scores (sensitivity 92.9-96% vs 85.7- 92.9%). Both pediatrics’ scores missed a case with a positive family history. Discussion: Pediatric PE diagnosis is often delayed or missed. To improve it, the development of pediatric prediction tools as from validated adult scores merits to be explored. We propose that clinical presentation and risk factors may be different in inpatients and outpatients. Family history should be included.
Background: MYCN amplification represents a powerful prognostic factor in neuroblastoma (NB) and may occasionally account for intratumoral heterogeneity. Radiomics is an emerging field of advanced image analysis that aims to extract a large number of quantitative features from standard radiological images, providing valuable clinical information Procedure: In this retrospective study, we aimed to create a radiogenomics model by correlating computed tomography (CT) radiomics analysis with MYCN status and overall survival (OS). NB lesions were segmented on pre-therapy CT scans and radiomics features subsequently extracted using a dedicated library. Dimensionality reduction/features selection approaches were then used for features procession and logistic regression models have been developed for the considered outcome. Results: Seventy-eight patients were included in this study, 24 presented MYCN amplification. In total, 232 radiomics features were extracted. Eight features were selected through Boruta algorithm and 2 features were lastly chosen through Pearson correlation analysis: mean of voxel intensity histogram (p=0.0082) and zone size non-uniformity (p=0.038). Five-times repeated 3-fold cross-validation logistic regression models yielded an Area Under the Curve (AUC) value of 0.879 on the training and 0.865 on the testing set for MYCN. No statistical significant difference has been observed comparing radiomics predicted and actual OS data. Conclusions: CT based radiomics is able to predict MYCN amplification status and OS in NB, paving the way to the in depth analysis of imaging based biomarkers that could enhance outcomes prediction.

Maxwell DeNies

and 2 more

As technological and analytical innovations rapidly advance our ability to reveal increasingly complex biological processes, the importance of understanding the assumptions behind biological measurements and sources of uncertainty are essential for data interpretation. This is particularly important in fields such as cell signaling, as due to its importance for both homeostatic and pathogenic biological processes, a quantitative understanding of the basic mechanisms of these transient events is fundamental to drug development. While developed decades ago, western blotting remains an indispensible research tool to probe cell signaling, protein expression, and protein-protein interactions. While improvements in statistical and methodology reporting have improved data quality, understanding the basic experimental assumptions and visual inspection of western blots provides additional information that is useful when evaluating experimental conclusions. Using agonist-induced receptor post-translational modification as an example we highlight the assumptions of western blotting and showcase how clues from raw western blots can hint at experimental variability that is not captured by statistics and methods that influences quantification. The purpose of this article is not to serve as a detailed review of the technical nuances and caveats of western blotting. Instead using an example we illustrate how experimental assumptions, design, and data normalization can be identified in raw data and influence data interpretation.

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Oktay Ucer

and 3 more

Semih Ak

and 1 more

Background: Hookah is a tobacco product of Middle Eastern origin; however, its popularity increases in Europe and the US. Despite its frequent use, hookah’s potentially detrimental effects are underestimated due to the scarcity of the relevant research. Since septoplasty is one of the most commonly performed procedures of otolaryngology practice, we aimed to investigate the impact of hookah consumption on recovery after septoplasty. Methods: Patients who underwent septoplasty in Sanliurfa Training and Research Hospital Department of Otolaryngology between January 2017 and December 2019 were divided into four groups based on their history of hookah and cigarette smoking. The patients’ prospectively collected data, including demographic features, healing time, and presence or absence of septal perforation during follow-up, were compared between these four groups. Results: The entire cohort included 270 patients. The mean patient age was 29.2±5.8 years. One hundred and thirty-two (48.9%) patients were non-smokers, 96 (35.5%) were cigarette smokers, 27 (10%) were hookah smokers, and 15 (5.6%) consumed both tobacco products regularly. Mean healing time was 10 days, and septal perforation was encountered in 10 patients (3.7%). A comparison of the groups revealed that cigarette smoking did not impact septal perforation rates (p=0.326) but prolonged the healing time. However, hookah smoking with or without cigarette smoking significantly influenced septal perforation rates and healing times. Conclusion: Patients should be questioned about hookah smoking in addition to cigarette smoking before the septoplasty procedure. Patients with a positive history of hookah smoking should be followed closely in terms of delayed healing and increased septal perforation rates.

George Angelidis

and 3 more

COVID-19 and nuclear cardiology: Introducing the ‘’forward” virtual visit Angelidis G, Valotassiou V, Psimadas D, Georgoulias PNuclear Medicine Laboratory, University of Thessaly, Larissa, GreeceWe read with great interest the recent review article by Kaushik A, et al. concerning the potential role of digital health applications in the present pandemic situation [1]. As the authors noted, alternative tools are needed for the optimal management of cardiovascular patients, avoiding unnecessary visits to health care facilities. The severe acute respiratory syndrome – coronavirus – 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can invade the cardiovascular cells, potentially causing life-threatening cardiac impairment [2]. In particular, patients with pre-existing cardiovascular diseases are characterized by a higher risk of adverse cardiovascular events. Therefore, most of those referred for nuclear cardiology techniques are expected to be at higher risk of developing serious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) complications. However, the performance of the individually required diagnostic and follow-up procedures is important [3].Telemedicine applications have been used in public health emergencies, leading to several advantages in terms of safety and efficacy. In the field of nuclear cardiology, the initial evaluation of patients’ history and clinical features can take place remotely (‘’forward” virtual visit). This approach seems to be patient-centred (permitting an adequate case assessment) and conducive to self-quarantine (protecting patients, healthcare professionals, and the community from viral exposure). Importantly, possible clinical presentations of COVID-19 may be evaluated during the ‘’forward” virtual visit, as well as information regarding travel and exposure histories. Moreover, local epidemiological information may be used to adjust screening pattern, and special measures could be developed (such as isolation in dedicated ‘’hot” rooms) for patients with high-risk features. After the performance of the examination, telemedicine applications could be also used for the consultation with the patients.Telemedicine applications may contribute to a better adjustment of nuclear cardiology services under the current demanding circumstances. Of course, no telemedicine programme can be created overnight, but this approach may be of value not only during the next months but also after the end of COVID-19 pandemic [4]. For example, our nuclear medicine laboratory is located in central Greece providing services to inhabitants of mountain villages, and nearby small islands. Consequently, the use of telemedicine applications could aid our practice in the future as well, particularly during the winter months when travelling by car or sea travels may be extremely demanding.

Attila Mokánszki

and 8 more

Background Retinoblastoma (Rb) is a malignant tumor of the developing retina that affects children before the age of five years in association with inherited or early germline mutations of the RB1 gene. The genetic predisposition is also related with second primary malignancies arising de novo, or following radiotherapy which have become the leading cause of death in retinoblastoma survivors. Procedure We describe a retinoblastoma case with a novel RB1 and a synchronous MET aberration. Our goal was to identify all germline and somatic genetic alterations in available tissue samples from different time periods and to reconstruct their clonal relations using next generation sequencing (NGS). We also used structural and functional prediction of the mutant RB and MET proteins to find interactions between the defected proteins with potential causative role in the development of this uniqe form of retinoblastoma. Results In this study we detected a retinoblastoma case of non-parental origin with a novel RB1 c.2548C>T;p.(Gln850Ter) and a synchronous MET c.3029C>T;p.(Thr1010Ile) germline mutations. Following bilateral retinoblastoma the boy further developed at least four different manifestations of two independent osteosarcomas. Both histopathology and NGS findings supported the independent nature of a chondroblastic osteosarcoma of the irradiated facial bone followed by an osteoblastic sarcoma of the leg (tibia). Conclusions Because of the expanding number of registered Rb cases, the novel rare cases publication is very important to understand the molecular mechanism of this malignancy. We reported a novel form of Rb and consequential chondroblastic and osteoblastic osteosarcoma, the latter one developing pulmonary metastatses.

Ugur Balkanci

and 2 more

An Unusual Case of Necrotizing Pneumonia Presenting with Acute Kidney InjuryUgur Berkay Balkanci, MDSchool of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MNDavid J. Sas, DODivision of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MinnesotaNadir Demirel, MDDivision of Pediatric Pulmonology, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MinnesotaCorresponding Author:Nadir Demirel, MDDivision of Pediatric Pulmonology200 First Street SWRochester, MN 55906Tel. No.: 5075380754Fax No.: 5072840727Demirel.nadir@mayo.eduKey words: postinfectious glomerulonephritis, pneumothorax, complications, complicated pneumoniaFinancial Disclosure: The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.Funding: No external funding.Short title: “An unusual case of necrotizing pneumonia”To the Editor:Lower respiratory tract infections are the most common reason for hospitalization in the pediatric age group in the United States. Although pneumonia is prevalent, complicated pneumonia such as empyema, lung abscess and necrotizing pneumonia (NP) is uncommon in children1. The prevalence of complicated pneumococcal pneumonia decreased significantly after the introduction of the thirteen-valent pneumococcal vaccine in 20101. NP in the pediatric population is a severe disease characterized by extensive destruction and liquefaction of the lung tissue resulting in loss of the pulmonary parenchymal architecture, cavitation of the lung, and pleural involvement. Renal complications of complicated pneumonia are rare and mostly reported as atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)2. Post-infectious glomerulonephritis (PIGN) is an unexpected complication of bacterial pneumonia3.We report a six-year-old otherwise healthy fully vaccinated girl with a 4-day history of fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, non-bloody diarrhea, and poor oral intake. Parents reported decreased urine output and dark-colored urine on the day of admission. Initial evaluation revealed serum creatinine of 5.01 mg/dL and blood urea nitrogen of 86 mg/dL, elevated acute phase reactants suggesting acute kidney injury (AKI) in the setting of an undiagnosed acute infectious process. The patient was admitted with decreased effective circulatory volume. Urinalysis revealed hematuria with <25% dysmorphic red blood cells (RBCs), proteinuria, pyuria, and RBC casts and granular casts, suggestive of acute glomerulonephritis.She was started on intermittent hemodialysis at day 2 of admission to address uremia, fluid overload, and hyperphosphatemia. A renal biopsy revealed diffuse exudative glomerulonephritis, consistent with infection-related glomerulonephritis. ASO, Anti-DNase B were negative; C3, C4 levels were low. She was treated with pulse IV methylprednisolone 10mg/kg/day for three days. The first 5 days in the hospital, the patient remained afebrile and her lung exam was normal without respiratory symptoms.On day six of admission, she developed acute right-sided chest pain and shortness of breath during hemodialysis. Chest x-ray (CXR) revealed a large right-sided tension pneumothorax, prompting therapeutic chest tube placement. Repeat CXR revealed reexpansion of the right lung and a significant right upper lobe consolidation with an ovoid hyperlucency and an air-fluid level. A chest CT scan confirmed the diagnosis of NP with multiple cavities (Image).Flexible bronchoscopy was performed with bronchoalveolar lavage revealing 42% neutrophils and negative cultures. She was treated with broad spectrum intravenous antibiotics.During admission, she developed hypertension, well-controlled with scheduled enalapril and amlodipine, as well as isradipine as needed. On day 14 of admission, hemodialysis was discontinued as kidney function improved, and chest tube was removed. She was discharged at day 26 of admission on intravenous ceftriaxone and oral metronidazole to complete 30 days of treatment. A repeat chest CT at end of treatment showed complete resolution of NP. Renal functions and blood pressure normalized on follow up.NP is characterized by persistent high fevers and prolonged hospitalizations even with appropriate antibiotic treatment1. Most often, NP affects immunocompetent children with no underlying risk factors4. The pathophysiology of this complication is acute liquefactive necrosis of the lung parenchyma which results in the development of pneumatoceles4. The most common pathogen causing NP is Streptococcus pneumoniae followed by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Other rarer bacterial and viral pathogens are Mycoplasma pneumonia, Influenza, and Adenovirus1. Identifying the microbiologic pathogen can be challenging and is only made in 50% of cases1. In our case, we did not isolate the causative microorganism. NP typically resolves without residual morbidity, even after a protracted course1,4.Pleural involvement is almost universal in NP, and the course of pleural disease often determines duration and outcome, particularly as it relates to the complication of bronchopleural fistula (BPF)1. BPF is most likely due to the necrotic development of a connection between bronchial space and pleural space4. BPF formation is associated with a significantly longer hospital stay in children with NP4. Yet, most cases heal without surgical intervention4. Tension pneumothorax has been observed as a rare complication of NP1.Renal involvement in complicated pneumonia is rare. Atypical HUS has been reported as a complication of pneumonia, particularly associated with empyema. (most commonly due to invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae)2. In a case series of 37 cases of atypical HUS, 34 patients (92%) had pneumonia with 10 patients (29%) with NP5. Less commonly, pneumonia can be associated with PIGN. PIGN is the most common glomerulonephritis in children worldwide. Pneumonia-associated PIGN is rare. In a case series from the US, PIGN accounted for 0.15% of admissions for pneumonia and 0.39% of admissions for glomerulonephritis6. Pneumonia-associated PIGN is known to be caused by various bacterial pathogens including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Nocardia, and Coxiella burnetii3. Different from the usual presentation of the PIGN (in which the time interval between a pharyngeal group A Streptococcal infection and PIGN is 6 to 10 days), pneumonia-associated PIGN is usually concomitant with the pulmonary disease3,6.Our case is unusual in several ways: pneumonia-associated PIGN typically presents with respiratory symptoms first, and acute kidney injury developing during the course of pneumonia3. More surprisingly, the patient developed NP which is characterized by even more severe respiratory symptoms1. Yet, our patient presented without respiratory complaints and pneumonia became apparent only after the development of pneumothorax. We could only identify 2 cases of pneumonia-associated PIGN who presented with renal involvement before pulmonary complaints6,7. Also, previous cases in the literature of pneumonia-associated PIGN report mostly a non-complicated course of pulmonary disease3,6. In a case series of 11 children with pneumonia-associated PIGN, only one case developed a small empyema6. Similarly, the majority of the reported cases of pneumonia-associated PIGN describe a benign course of renal disease3,6. Our patient’s kidney failure progressed rapidly, and she required 2 weeks of intermittent hemodialysis and a three-day course of pulse steroid therapy. At present, systemic corticosteroids are not recommended for patients with complicated pneumonia. A Cochrane review including 17 randomized controlled trials, of which four were conducted on children, found that corticosteroid therapy reduced mortality and morbidity in adults with severe CAP, and morbidity, but not mortality, in adults and children with non-severe CAP1. We speculate that pulse steroid treatment may have modified the course of NP in our patient.This case suggests an atypical presentation of NP with predominant renal complications is possible. Pediatricians should be aware of renal complications of respiratory diseases. Systemic steroids should be considered in the treatment of NP.References:1. de Benedictis FM, Kerem E, Chang AB, Colin AA, Zar HJ, Bush A. Complicated pneumonia in children. Lancet 2020;396:786-798.2. Spinale JM, Ruebner RL, Kaplan BS, Copelovitch L. Update on Streptococcus pneumoniae associated hemolytic uremic syndrome. Curr Opin Pediatr 2013;25:203-208.3. Carceller Lechón F, de la Torre Espí M, Porto Abal R, Écija Peiró JL. Acute glomerulonephritis associated with pneumonia: a review of three cases. Pediatr Nephrol 2010;25:161-164.4. Sawicki GS, Lu FL, Valim C, Cleveland RH, Colin AA. Necrotising pneumonia is an increasingly detected complication of pneumonia in children. Eur Respir J 2008;31:1285-1291.5. Banerjee R, Hersh AL, Newland J, Beekmann SE, Polgreen PM, Bender J, Shaw J, Copelovitch L, Kaplan BS, Shah SS. Streptococcus pneumoniae-associated Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Among Children in North America. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2011;30:736-739.6. Srivastava T, Warady BA, Alon US. Pneumonia-associated acute glomerulonephritis. Clin Nephrol 2002;57:175-182.7. Schachter J, Pomeranz A, Berger I, Wolach B. Acute glomerulonephritis secondary to lobar pneumonia. Int J Pediatr Nephrol 1987;8:211-214.

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