ResearchPad - geographical-regions https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The prevalence of hepatitis C virus in hemodialysis patients in Pakistan: A systematic review and meta-analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14616 Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the most common bloodborne viral infections reported in Pakistan. Frequent dialysis treatment of hemodialysis patients exposes them to a high risk of HCV infection. The main purpose of this paper is to quantify the prevalence of HCV in hemodialysis patients through a systematic review and meta-analysis.MethodsWe systematically searched PubMed, Medline, EMBASE, Pakistani Journals Online and Web of Science to identify studies published between 1 January 1995 and 30 October 2019, reporting on the prevalence of HCV infection in hemodialysis patients. Meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model to obtain pooled estimates. A funnel plot was used in conjunction with Egger’s regression test for asymmetry and to assess publication bias. Meta-regression and subgroup analyses were used to identify potential sources of heterogeneity among the included studies. This review was registered on PROSPERO (registration number CRD42019159345).ResultsOut of 248 potential studies, 19 studies involving 3446 hemodialysis patients were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence of HCV in hemodialysis patients in Pakistan was 32.33% (95% CI: 25.73–39.30; I2 = 94.3%, p < 0.01). The subgroup analysis showed that the prevalence of HCV among hemodialysis patients in Punjab was significantly higher (37.52%; 95% CI: 26.66–49.03; I2 = 94.5, p < 0.01) than 34.42% (95% CI: 14.95–57.05; I2 = 91.3%, p < 0.01) in Baluchistan, 27.11% (95% CI: 15.81–40.12; I2 = 94.5, p < 0.01) in Sindh and 22.61% (95% CI: 17.45–28.2; I2 = 78.6, p < 0.0117) in Khyber Pukhtoonkhuwa.ConclusionsIn this study, we found a high prevalence (32.33%) of HCV infection in hemodialysis patients in Pakistan. Clinically, hemodialysis patients require more attention and resources than the general population. Preventive interventions are urgently needed to decrease the high risk of HCV infection in hemodialysis patients in Pakistan. ]]> <![CDATA[Seasonal characteristics of influenza vary regionally across US]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897716d5eed0c4847d2428

Given substantial regional differences in absolute humidity across the US and our understanding of the relationship between absolute humidity and influenza, we may expect important differences in regional seasonal influenza activity. Here, we assessed cross-seasonal influenza activity by comparing counts of positive influenza A and B rapid test results during the influenza season versus summer baseline periods for the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 influenza years. Our analysis indicates significant regional patterns in cross-seasonal influenza activity, with relatively fewer influenza cases during the influenza season compared to summertime baseline periods in humid areas of the US, particularly in Florida and Hawaii. The cross-seasonal ratios vary from year-to-year and influenza type, but the geographic patterning of the ratios is relatively consistent. Mixed-effects regression models indicated absolute humidity during the influenza season was the strongest predictor of cross-seasonal influenza activity, suggesting a relationship between absolute humidity and cross-seasonal influenza activity. There was also evidence that absolute humidity during the summer plays a role, as well. This analysis suggests that spatial variation in seasonal absolute humidity levels may generate important regional differences in seasonal influenza activity and dynamics in the US.

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<![CDATA[Microplastics in Mediterranean Sea: A protocol to robustly assess contamination characteristics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b267ad5eed0c484289b52

The study of microplastic pollution involves multidisciplinary analyses on a large number of microplastics. Therefore, providing an overview of plastic pollution is time consuming and, despite high throughput analyses, remains a major challenge. The objective of this study is to propose a protocol to determine how many microplastics must be analyzed to give a representative view of the particle size distribution and chemical nature, and calculate the associated margin error. Based on microplastic data from Tara Mediterranean campaign, this approach is explained through different examples. In this particular case, the results show that only 3% of the collected microplastics need to be analyzed to give a precise view on the scale of the North West Mediterranean Basin (error <5%), and 17.7% to give an overview manta per manta (error <10%). This approach could be an important practical contribution to microplastic studies.

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<![CDATA[Patterns of intravenous fluid resuscitation use in adult intensive care patients between 2007 and 2014: An international cross-sectional study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf78c

Background

In 2007, the Saline versus Albumin Fluid Evaluation—Translation of Research Into Practice Study (SAFE-TRIPS) reported that 0.9% sodium chloride (saline) and hydroxyethyl starch (HES) were the most commonly used resuscitation fluids in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Evidence has emerged since 2007 that these fluids are associated with adverse patient-centred outcomes. Based on the published evidence since 2007, we sought to determine the current type of fluid resuscitation used in clinical practice and the predictors of fluid choice and determine whether these have changed between 2007 and 2014.

Methods

In 2014, an international, cross-sectional study was conducted (Fluid-TRIPS) to document current patterns of intravenous resuscitation fluid use and determine factors associated with fluid choice. We examined univariate and multivariate associations between patients and prescriber characteristics, geographical region and fluid type. Additionally, we report secular trends of resuscitation fluid use in a cohort of ICUs that participated in both the 2007 and 2014 studies. Regression analysis were conducted to determine changes in the administration of crystalloid or colloid between 2007 and 2014.

Findings

In 2014, a total of 426 ICUs in 27 countries participated. Over the 24 hour study day, 1456/6707 (21.7%) patients received resuscitation fluid during 2716 resuscitation episodes. Crystalloids were administered to 1227/1456 (84.3%) patients during 2208/2716 (81.3%) episodes and colloids to 394/1456 (27.1%) patients during 581/2716 (21.4%) episodes. In multivariate analyses, practice significantly varied between geographical regions. Additionally, patients with a traumatic brain injury were less likely to receive colloid when compared to patients with no trauma (adjusted OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.1 to 0.62; p = 0.003). Patients in the ICU for one or more days where more likely to receive colloid compared to patients in the ICU on their admission date (adjusted OR 1.75; 95% CI 1.27 to 2.41; p = <0.001).

For secular trends in fluid resuscitation, 84 ICUs in 17 countries contributed data. In 2007, 527/1663 (31.7%) patients received fluid resuscitation during 1167 episodes compared to 491/1763 (27.9%) patients during 960 episodes in 2014. The use of crystalloids increased from 498/1167 (42.7%) in 2007 to 694/960 (72.3%) in 2014 (odds ratio (OR) 3.75, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.95 to 4.77; p = <0.001), primarily due to a significant increase in the use of buffered salt solutions. The use of colloids decreased from 724/1167 (62.0%) in 2007 to 297/960 (30.9%) in 2014 (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.43; p = <0.001), primarily due to a decrease in the use of HES, but an overall increase in the use of albumin.

Conclusions

Clinical practices of intravenous fluid resuscitation have changed between 2007 and 2014. Geographical location remains a strong predictor of the type of fluid administered for fluid resuscitation. Overall, there is a preferential use of crystalloids, specifically buffered salt solutions, over colloids. There is now an imperative to conduct a trial determining the safety and efficacy of these fluids on patient-centred outcomes.

Trial registration

Clinicaltrials.gov: Fluid-Translation of research into practice study (Fluid-TRIPS) NCT02002013

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<![CDATA[Association of HIV diversity and virologic outcomes in early antiretroviral treatment: HPTN 052]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf613

Higher HIV diversity has been associated with virologic outcomes in children on antiretroviral treatment (ART). We examined the association of HIV diversity with virologic outcomes in adults from the HPTN 052 trial who initiated ART at CD4 cell counts of 350–550 cells/mm3. A high resolution melting (HRM) assay was used to analyze baseline (pre-treatment) HIV diversity in six regions in the HIV genome (two in gag, one in pol, and three in env) from 95 participants who failed ART. We analyzed the association of HIV diversity in each genomic region with baseline (pre-treatment) factors and three clinical outcomes: time to virologic suppression after ART initiation, time to ART failure, and emergence of HIV drug resistance at ART failure. After correcting for multiple comparisons, we did not find any association of baseline HIV diversity with demographic, laboratory, or clinical characteristics. For the 18 analyses performed for clinical outcomes evaluated, there was only one significant association: higher baseline HIV diversity in one of the three HIV env regions was associated with longer time to ART failure (p = 0.008). The HRM diversity assay may be useful in future studies exploring the relationship between HIV diversity and clinical outcomes in individuals with HIV infection.

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<![CDATA[The Insulin-Like Proteins dILPs-2/5 Determine Diapause Inducibility in Drosophila]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d5ab0ee8fa60b65b0f

Diapause is an actively induced dormancy that has evolved in Metazoa to resist environmental stresses. In temperate regions, many diapausing insects overwinter at low temperatures by blocking embryonic, larval or adult development. Despite its Afro-tropical origin, Drosophila melanogaster migrated to temperate regions of Asia and Europe where females overwinter as adults by arresting gonadal development (reproductive diapause) at temperatures <13°C. Recent work in D. melanogaster has implicated the developmental hormones dILPs-2 and/or dILP3, and dILP5, homologues of vertebrate insulin/insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), in reproductive arrest. However, polymorphisms in timeless (tim) and couch potato (cpo) dramatically affect diapause inducibility and these dILP experiments could not exclude this common genetic variation contributing to the diapause phenotype. Here, we apply an extensive genetic dissection of the insulin signaling pathway which allows us to see both enhancements and reductions in egg development that are independent of tim and cpo variations. We show that a number of manipulations dramatically enhance diapause to ~100%. These include ablating, or reducing the excitability of the insulin-producing cells (IPCs) that express dILPs-2,3,5 employing the dilp2,3,5-/- triple mutant, desensitizing insulin signaling using a chico mutation, or inhibiting dILP2 and 5 in the hemolymph by over-expressing Imaginal Morphogenesis Protein-Late 2 (Imp-L2). In addition, triple mutant dilp2,3,5-/- females maintain high levels of diapause even when temperatures are raised in adulthood to 19°C. However at 22°C, these females all show egg development revealing that the effects are conditional on temperature and not a general female sterility. In contrast, over-expression of dilps-2/5 or enhancing IPC excitability, led to levels of ovarian arrest that approached zero, underscoring dILPs-2 and 5 as key antagonists of diapause.

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<![CDATA[High Summer Temperatures and Mortality in Estonia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2eab0ee8fa60b8370d

Background

On-going climate change is predicted to result in a growing number of extreme weather events—such as heat waves—throughout Europe. The effect of high temperatures and heat waves are already having an important impact on public health in terms of increased mortality, but studies from an Estonian setting are almost entirely missing. We investigated mortality in relation to high summer temperatures and the time course of mortality in a coastal and inland region of Estonia.

Methods

We collected daily mortality data and daily maximum temperature for a coastal and an inland region of Estonia. We applied a distributed lag non-linear model to investigate heat related mortality and the time course of mortality in Estonia.

Results

We found an immediate increase in mortality associated with temperatures exceeding the 75th percentile of summer maximum temperatures, corresponding to approximately 23°C. This increase lasted for a couple of days in both regions. The total effect of elevated temperatures was not lessened by significant mortality displacement.

Discussion

We observed significantly increased mortality in Estonia, both on a country level as well as for a coastal region and an inland region with a more continental climate. Heat related mortality was higher in the inland region as compared to the coastal region, however, no statistically significant differences were observed. The lower risks in coastal areas could be due to lower maximum temperatures and cooling effects of the sea, but also better socioeconomic condition. Our results suggest that region specific estimates of the impacts of temperature extremes on mortality are needed.

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<![CDATA[Income in Multiple Sclerosis Patients with Different Disease Phenotypes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab3ab0ee8fa60bac085

Background

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease with profound heterogeneity in clinical course.

Objective

To analyze sources and levels of income among MS patients in relation to disease phenotype with a special focus on identifying differences/similarities between primary progressive MS (PPMS) and secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

Methods

A total of 6890 MS patients aged 21−64 years and living in Sweden in 2010 were identified for this cross-sectional study. Descriptive statistics, logistic, truncated linear, and zero-inflated negative binomial regression models were used to estimate differences in income between SPMS, PPMS and relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) patients.

Results

RRMS patients earned almost twice as much as PPMS and SPMS patients (on average SEK 204,500, SEK 114,500, and SEK 79,800 in 2010, respectively). The difference in earnings between PPMS and SPMS was not statistically significant when analyzed with multivariable regression. The estimated odds ratio for PPMS patients to have income from earnings was not significantly different from SPMS patients (95% CI 0.98 to 1.59). PPMS and RRMS patients were less likely to receive benefits when compared to SPMS patients (by 6% and 27% lower, respectively).

Conclusion

Our findings argue for similarities between PPMS and SPMS and highlight the socioeconomic importance of preventing RRMS patients convert to SPMS.

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<![CDATA[Prognostic Value and Implication for Chemotherapy Treatment of ABCB1 in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer: A Meta-Analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9dbab0ee8fa60b67af5

Background

Chemotherapy resistance is reported to correlate with up-regulation of anti-tumor agent transporter ABCB1 (p-gp) in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), but the results remain controversial. To reconcile the results, a systematic review followed by meta-analysis was performed to assess the association between high ABCB1 status or ABCB1 gene variants and overall survival (OS), progression free survival (PFS), and total response rate (TR) in patients with EOC.

Materials and Methods

Electronic searches were performed using Pubmed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Chinese Wanfang databases from January 1990 to February 2016. Summary hazard ratio (HR), risk ratio (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were combined using fixed or random-effects models as appropriate.

Results

Thirty-eight retrospective studies of 8607 cases qualified for meta-analysis were identified. Our results suggested that ABCB1 over-expression was significantly associated with unfavorable OS (HR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.25–1.90), PFS (HR = 1.49; 95% CI, 1.22–1.82) and TR (RR = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.54–0.75). After adjustment for age, clinical stage, residual disease, histological type and tumor grade, high ABCB1 status remained to be a significant risk factor for adverse OS and PFS. Patients with recurrent ABCB1 positivity suffered from poorer OS than those with primary ABCB1 positivity. However, stratified by chemotherapy regimen, inverse correlation between high ABCB1 status and poor OS, PFS and TR were only found in patients underwent platinum-based chemotherapy but not in patients received standard platinum/paclitaxel-based chemotherapy. No evidence was found for any association between ABCB1 gene polymorphisms and OS, PFS or TR.

Conclusion

High ABCB1 status is significantly associated with chemo-resistance and poor prognosis in patients with EOC. Large-scale, prospective studies are needed to assess the clinical value of ABCB1 expression in EOC more accurately.

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<![CDATA[Demographics, Management Strategies, and Problems in ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction from the Standpoint of Emergency Medicine Specialists: A Survey-Based Study from Seven Geographical Regions of Turkey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa9ab0ee8fa60ba89ed

Background

This study aimed to explore the ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) management practices of emergency medicine specialists working in various healthcare institutions of seven different geographical regions of Turkey, and to examine the characteristics of STEMI presentation and patient admissions in these regions.

Methods

We included 225 emergency medicine specialists working in all geographical regions of Turkey. We e-mailed them a 20-item questionnaire comprising questions related to their STEMI management practices and characteristics of STEMI presentation and patient admissions.

Results

The regions were not significantly different with respect to primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) resources (p = 0.286). Sixty six point two percent (66.2%) of emergency specialists stated that patients presented to emergency within 2 hours of symptom onset. Forty three point six percent (43.6%) of them contacted cardiology department within 10 minutes and 47.1% within 30 minutes. In addition, 68.3% of the participants improved themselves through various educational activities. The Southeastern Anatolian region had the longest time from symptom onset to emergency department admission and the least favorable hospital admission properties, not originating from physicians or 112 emergency healthcare services.

Conclusion

Seventy point seven percent (70.7%) of the emergency specialists working in all geographical regions of Turkey comply with the latest guidelines and current knowledge about STEMI care; they also try to improve themselves, and receive adequate support from 112 emergency healthcare services and cardiologists. While inter-regional gaps between the number of primary PCI capable centers and quality of STEMI care progressively narrow, there are still issues to address, such as delayed patient presentation after symptoms onset and difficulties in patient admission.

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<![CDATA[Coherence of Influenza Surveillance Data across Different Sources and Age Groups, Beijing, China, 2008-2015]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf8ab0ee8fa60bc3b35

Influenza is active during the winter and spring in the city of Beijing, which has a typical temperate climate with four clear distinct seasons. The clinical and laboratory surveillance data for influenza have been used to construct critical indicators for influenza activities in the community, and previous studies have reported varying degrees of association between laboratory-confirmed influenza specimens and outpatient consultation rates of influenza-like illness in subtropical cities. However, few studies have reported on this issue for cities in temperate regions, especially in developing countries. Furthermore, the mechanism behind age-specific seasonal epidemics remains unresolved, although it has been widely discussed. We utilized a wavelet analysis method to monitor the coherence of weekly percentage of laboratory-confirmed influenza specimens with the weekly outpatient consultation rates of influenza-like illness in Beijing, China. We first examined the seasonal pattern of laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A (subtyped into seasonal A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) and pandemic virus A(H1N1) pdm09) and influenza B separately within the period from 2008–2015; then, we detected the coherence of clinical and laboratory surveillance data in this district, specially examining weekly time series of age-specific epidemics of influenza-like illnesses in the whole study period for three age categories (age 0–5, 5–15 and 25–60). We found that influenza A and B were both active in winter but were not always seasonally synchronous in Beijing. Synchronization between age ranges was found in most epidemic peaks from 2008–2015. Our findings suggested that peaks of influenza-like illness in individuals aged 0–5 and 5–15 years consistently appeared ahead of those of adults, implying the possibility that schoolchildren may lead epidemic fluctuations.

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<![CDATA[Frequency of Epstein - Barr Virus in Patients Presenting with Acute Febrile Illness in Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dabeab0ee8fa60bafae4

Background

Most acute febrile illnesses (AFI) are usually not associated with a specific diagnosis because of limitations of available diagnostics. This study reports on the frequency of EBV viremia and viral load in children and adults presenting with febrile illness in hospitals in Kenya.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A pathogen surveillance study was conducted on patients presenting with AFI (N = 796) at outpatient departments in 8 hospitals located in diverse regions of Kenya. Enrollment criterion to the study was fever without a readily diagnosable infection. All the patients had AFI not attributable to the common causes of fever in Kenyan hospitals, such as malaria or rickettsiae, leptospira, brucella and salmonella and they were hence categorized as having AFI of unknown etiology. EBV was detected in blood using quantitative TaqMan-based qPCR targeting a highly conserved BALF5 gene. The overall frequency of EBV viremia in this population was 29.2%, with significantly higher proportion in younger children of <5years (33.8%, p = 0.039) compared to patients aged ≥5 years (26.3% for 5–15 years or 18.8% for >15 years). With respect to geographical localities, the frequency of EBV viremia was higher in the Lake Victoria region (36.4%), compared to Kisii highland (24.6%), Coastal region (22.2%) and Semi-Arid region (25%). Furthermore, patients from the malaria endemic coastal region and the Lake Victoria region presented with significantly higher viremia than individuals from other regions of Kenya.

Conclusions/Significance

This study provides profiles of EBV in patients with AFI from diverse eco-regions of Kenya. Of significant interest is the high frequency of EBV viremia in younger children. The observed high frequencies of EBV viremia and elevated viral loads in residents of high malaria transmission areas are probably related to malaria induced immune activation and resultant expansion of EBV infected B-cells.

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<![CDATA[Evaluation of Immunofluorescence Antibody Test Used for the Diagnosis of Canine Leishmaniasis in the Mediterranean Basin: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadaab0ee8fa60bb9a42

With an expected sensitivity (Se) of 96% and specificity (Sp) of 98%, the immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT) is frequently used as a reference test to validate new diagnostic methods and estimate the canine leihmaniasis (CanL) true prevalence in the Mediterranean basin. To review the diagnostic accuracy of IFAT to diagnose CanL in this area with reference to its Se and Sp and elucidate the potential causes of their variations, a systematic review was conducted (31 studies for the 26-year period). Three IFAT validation methods stood out: the classical contingency table method, methods based on statistical models and those based on experimental studies. A variation in the IFAT Se and Sp values and cut-off values was observed. For the classical validation method based on a meta-analysis, the Se of IFAT was estimated in this area as 89.86% and 31.25% in symptomatic and asymptomatic dogs, respectively. The Sp of IFAT was estimated in non-endemic and endemic areas as 98.12% and 96.57%, respectively. IFAT can be considered as a good standard test in non-endemic areas for CanL, but its accuracy declines in endemic areas due to the complexity of the disease. Indeed, the accuracy of IFAT is due to the negative results obtained in non-infected dogs from non-endemic areas and to the positive results obtained in sera of symptomatic dogs living in endemic areas. But IFAT results are not unequivocal when it comes to determining CanL infection on asymptomatic dogs living in endemic areas. Statistical methods might be a solution to overcome the lack of gold standard, to better categorize groups of animals investigated, to assess optimal cut-off values and to allow a better estimate of the true prevalence aiming information on preventive/control measures for CanL.

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<![CDATA[Genetic Structure of Modern Durum Wheat Cultivars and Mediterranean Landraces Matches with Their Agronomic Performance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab4ab0ee8fa60bac5e1

A collection of 172 durum wheat landraces from 21 Mediterranean countries and 20 modern cultivars were phenotyped in 6 environments for 14 traits including phenology, biomass, yield and yield components. The genetic structure of the collection was ascertained with 44 simple sequence repeat markers that identified 448 alleles, 226 of them with a frequency lower than 5%, and 10 alleles per locus on average. In the modern cultivars all the alleles were fixed in 59% of the markers. Total genetic diversity was HT = 0.7080 and the genetic differentiation value was GST = 0.1730. STRUCTURE software allocated 90.1% of the accessions in five subpopulations, one including all modern cultivars, and the four containing landrace related to their geographic origin: eastern Mediterranean, eastern Balkans and Turkey, western Balkans and Egypt, and western Mediterranean. Mean yield of subpopulations ranged from 2.6 t ha-1 for the western Balkan and Egyptian landraces to 4.0 t ha-1 for modern cultivars, with the remaining three subpopulations showing similar values of 3.1 t ha-1. Modern cultivars had the highest number of grains m-2 and harvest index, and the shortest cycle length. The diversity was lowest in modern cultivars (HT = 0.4835) and highest in landraces from the western Balkans and Egypt (HT = 0.6979). Genetic diversity and AMOVA indicated that variability between subpopulations was much lower (17%) than variability within them (83%), though all subpopulations had similar biomass values in all growth stages. A dendrogram based on simple sequence repeat data matched with the clusters obtained by STRUCTURE, improving this classification for some accessions that have a large admixture. landraces included in the subpopulation from the eastern Balkans and Turkey were separated into two branches in the dendrogram drawn with phenotypic data, suggesting a different origin for the landraces collected in Serbia and Macedonia. The current study shows a reliable relationship between genetic and phenotypic population structures, and the connection of both with the geographic origin of the landraces.

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<![CDATA[Can spatial patterns along climatic gradients predict ecosystem responses to climate change? Experimenting with reaction-diffusion simulations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcc11

Following a predicted decline in water resources in the Mediterranean Basin, we used reaction-diffusion equations to gain a better understanding of expected changes in properties of vegetation patterns that evolve along the rainfall transition between semi-arid and arid rainfall regions. Two types of scenarios were investigated: the first, a discrete scenario, where the potential consequences of climate change are represented by patterns evolving at discrete rainfall levels along a rainfall gradient. This scenario concerns space-for-time substitutions characteristic of the rainfall gradient hypothesis. The second, a continuous scenario, represents explicitly the effect of rainfall decline on patterns which evolved at different rainfall levels along the rainfall gradient prior to the climate change. The eccentricity of patterns that emerge through these two scenarios was found to decrease with decreasing rainfall, while their solidity increased. Due to their inverse modes of change, their ratio was found to be a highly sensitive indicator for pattern response to rainfall decline. An eccentricity ratio versus rainfall (ER:R) line was generalized from the results of the discrete experiment, where ERs above this line represent developed (recovered) patterns and ERs below this line represent degraded patterns. For the rainfall range of 1.2 to 0.8 mm/day, the continuous rainfall decline experiment with ERs that lie above the ER:R line, yielded patterns less affected by rainfall decline than would be expected according to the discrete representation of ecosystems’ response. Thus, for this range, space-for-time substitution represents an overestimation of the consequences of the expected rainfall decline. For rainfall levels below 0.8 mm/day, eccentricity ratios from the discrete and continuous experiments practically converge to the same trend of pattern change along the ER:R line. Thus, the rainfall gradient hypothesis may be valid for regions characterized by this important rainfall range, which typically include desert fringe ecosystems.

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<![CDATA[Guidance in author instructions of hematology and oncology journals: A cross sectional and longitudinal study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db59ab0ee8fa60bdf16d

Background

The debate about the value of biomedical publications led to recommendations for improving reporting quality. It is unclear to what extent these recommendations have been endorsed by journals. We analyzed whether specific recommendations were included in author instructions, which journal characteristics were associated with their endorsement, how endorsement of the domains changed and whether endorsement was associated with change of impact factor between 2010 and 2015.

Methods

We considered two study samples consisting of “Hematology” and “Oncology” journals of the Journal Citation Report 2008 and 2014, respectively. We extracted information regarding endorsement of the (1) recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, of (2) reporting guidelines, (3) requirement for trial registration and (4) disclosure of conflicts of interest. Data extraction was done by reading the author instructions before conducting a text search with keywords. We calculated a global generalized linear mixed effects model for endorsement of each of the four domains followed by separate multivariable logistic regression models and a longitudinal analysis. We defined endorsement as the author instructions saying that they approve the use of the recommendations.

Results

In 2015, the ICMJE recommendations were mentioned in author instructions of 156 journals (67.5%). CONSORT was referred to by 77 journals (33.3%); MOOSE, PRISMA, STARD and STROBE were referred to by less than 15% of journals. There were 99 journals (42.9%) that recommended or required trial registration, 211 (91.3%) required authors to disclose conflicts of interest. Journal impact factor, journal start year and geographical region were positively associated with endorsement of any of the four domains. The overall endorsement of all domains increased between 2010 and 2015. The endorsement of any domain in 2010 seemed to be associated with an increased impact factor in 2014.

Conclusion

Hematology and oncology journals endorse major recommendations to various degrees. Endorsement is increasing slowly over time and might be positively associated with the journals’ impact factor.

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<![CDATA[Seasonal activity, vector relationships and genetic analysis of mosquito-borne Stratford virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc708

There are many gaps to be filled in our understanding of mosquito-borne viruses, their relationships with vectors and reservoir hosts, and the environmental drivers of seasonal activity. Stratford virus (STRV) belongs to the genus Flavivirus and has been isolated from mosquitoes and infected humans in Australia but little is known of its vector and reservoir host associations. A total of 43 isolates of STRV from mosquitoes collected in New South Wales between 1995 and 2013 was examined to determine the genetic diversity between virus isolates and their relationship with mosquito species. The virus was isolated from six mosquito species; Aedes aculeatus, Aedes alternans, Aedes notoscriptus, Aedes procax, Aedes vigilax, and Anopheles annulipes. While there were distinct differences in temporal and spatial activity of STRV, with peaks of activity in 2006, 2010 and 2013, a sequence homology of 95.9%–98.4% was found between isolates and the 1961 STRV prototype with 96.2%–100% identified among isolates. Temporal differences but no apparent nucleotide divergence by mosquito species or geographic location was evident. The result suggests the virus is geographically widespread in NSW (albeit only from coastal regions) and increased local STRV activity is likely to be driven by reservoir host factors and local environmental conditions influencing vector abundance. While STRV may not currently be associated with major outbreaks of human disease, with the potential for urbanisation and climate change to increase mosquito-borne disease risks, and the possibility of genomic changes which could produce pathogenic strains, understanding the drivers of STRV activity may assist the development of strategic response to public health risks posed by zoonotic flaviviruses in Australia.

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<![CDATA[Decreasing Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Thailand in the Past Decade: Evidence from the 2014 National Survey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daaaab0ee8fa60ba8f1e

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects ≥ 180 million individuals worldwide especially those living in developing countries. Recent advances in direct-acting therapeutics promise effective treatments for chronic HCV carriers, but only if the affected individuals are identified. Good treatment coverage therefore requires accurate epidemiological data on HCV infection. In 2014, we determined the current prevalence of HCV in Thailand to assess whether over the past decade the significant number of chronic carriers had changed. In total, 5964 serum samples from Thai residents between 6 months and 71 years of age were obtained from 7 provinces representing all 4 geographical regions of Thailand and screened for the anti-HCV antibody. Positive samples were further analyzed using RT-PCR, sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis to identify the prevailing HCV genotypes. We found that 56 (0.94%) samples tested positive for anti-HCV antibody (mean age = 36.6±17.6 years), while HCV RNA of the core and NS5B subgenomic regions was detected in 23 (41%) and 19 (34%) of the samples, respectively. The seropositive rates appeared to increase with age and peaked in individuals 41–50 years old. These results suggested that approximately 759,000 individuals are currently anti-HCV-positive and that 357,000 individuals have viremic HCV infection. These numbers represent a significant decline in the prevalence of HCV infection. Interestingly, the frequency of genotype 6 variants increased from 8.9% to 34.8%, while the prevalence of genotype 1b declined from 27% to 13%. These most recent comprehensive estimates of HCV burden in Thailand are valuable towards evidence-based treatment coverage for specific population groups, appropriate allocation of resources, and improvement in the national public health policy.

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<![CDATA[Measuring and Modeling the Effect of Surface Moisture on the Spectral Reflectance of Coastal Beach Sand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d4ab0ee8fa60b65293

Surface moisture is an important supply limiting factor for aeolian sand transport, which is the primary driver of coastal dune development. As such, it is critical to account for the control of surface moisture on available sand for dune building. Optical remote sensing has the potential to measure surface moisture at a high spatio-temporal resolution. It is based on the principle that wet sand appears darker than dry sand: it is less reflective. The goals of this study are (1) to measure and model reflectance under controlled laboratory conditions as function of wavelength () and surface moisture () over the optical domain of 350–2500 nm, and (2) to explore the implications of our laboratory findings for accurately mapping the distribution of surface moisture under natural conditions. A laboratory spectroscopy experiment was conducted to measure spectral reflectance (1 nm interval) under different surface moisture conditions using beach sand. A non-linear increase of reflectance upon drying was observed over the full range of wavelengths. Two models were developed and tested. The first model is grounded in optics and describes the proportional contribution of scattering and absorption of light by pore water in an unsaturated sand matrix. The second model is grounded in soil physics and links the hydraulic behaviour of pore water in an unsaturated sand matrix to its optical properties. The optical model performed well for volumetric moisture content 24% ( 0.97), but underestimated reflectance for between 24–30% ( 0.92), most notable around the 1940 nm water absorption peak. The soil-physical model performed very well ( 0.99) but is limited to 4% 24%. Results from a field experiment show that a short-wave infrared terrestrial laser scanner ( = 1550 nm) can accurately relate surface moisture to reflectance (standard error 2.6%), demonstrating its potential to derive spatially extensive surface moisture maps of a natural coastal beach.

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<![CDATA[Global Variability in Reported Mortality for Critical Illness during the 2009-10 Influenza A(H1N1) Pandemic: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression to Guide Reporting of Outcomes during Disease Outbreaks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf2ab0ee8fa60bc174b

Purpose

To determine how patient, healthcare system and study-specific factors influence reported mortality associated with critical illness during the 2009–2010 Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic.

Methods

Systematic review with meta-regression of studies reporting on mortality associated with critical illness during the 2009–2010 Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic.

Data Sources

Medline, Embase, LiLACs and African Index Medicus to June 2009-March 2016.

Results

226 studies from 50 countries met our inclusion criteria. Mortality associated with H1N1-related critical illness was 31% (95% CI 28–34). Reported mortality was highest in South Asia (61% [95% CI 50–71]) and Sub-Saharan Africa (53% [95% CI 29–75]), in comparison to Western Europe (25% [95% CI 22–30]), North America (25% [95% CI 22–27]) and Australia (15% [95% CI 13–18]) (P<0.0001). High income economies had significantly lower reported mortality compared to upper middle income economies and lower middle income economies respectively (P<0.0001). Mortality for the first wave was non-significantly higher than wave two (P = 0.66). There was substantial variability in reported mortality among the specific subgroups of patients: unselected critically ill adults (27% [95% CI 24–30]), acute respiratory distress syndrome (37% [95% CI 32–44]), acute kidney injury (44% [95% CI 26–64]), and critically ill pregnant patients (10% [95% CI 5–19]).

Conclusion

Reported mortality for outbreaks and pandemics may vary substantially depending upon selected patient characteristics, the number of patients described, and the region and economic status of the outbreak location. Outcomes from a relatively small number of patients from specific regions may lead to biased estimates of outcomes on a global scale.

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