[Experimental] List of manuscripts available for review volunteers
15 manuscripts available for review volunteers
July 18, 2017
Background. Advanced treatment of oral cancer increases survival rates; however, it also increases the risk of developing shoulder dysfunction, dysphagia, oral dysfunction, donor site morbidity and psychological issues. This single-arm preliminary pilot study aims to explore the effects of a 6-month early rehabilitation program following reconstructive surgery in oral cancer survivors. Methods. A total of 65 participants were analyzed following reconstructive surgery. Outcome measurements were taken during the first visit, and at one, three and six months after reconstructive surgery. Results. Scapular muscle strength and shoulder range of motion progressively improved during the 6-month follow-up. The mean Disability of the Arms, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score showed significant improvement at 1 month (p=.000). Health related QoL showed significant differences between baseline and 6-months post-surgery scores on global health and on most of the function and symptom scales. The predicted return-to-work rate was 80% at 1 year after the operation. Conclusions. We suggest that early integrated rehabilitation with a follow-up of at least 6 months following reconstructive surgery, is necessary for oral cancer survivors.
July 14, 2017
Background. Providing mobility skills training to manual wheelchair (MWC) users can have a positive impact on community participation, confidence and quality of life. Often such training is restricted or not provided at all because of the expense of, and limited access to, occupational and physical therapists before and after discharge. This is particularly true among older adults, who often have limited access to rehabilitation services and require more time to learn motor skills. A MWC skills training monitored home program, delivered using a computer tablet (mHealth), was developed as an alternative approach to service delivery. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of implementing this mHealth MWC skills training program among older adults. Methods. A 2 x 2 factorial design randomized control trial (RCT) was used to compare the mHealth intervention and control groups, with additional wheeling time as a second factor. Community-dwelling MWC users aged 55 and older, who had used their MWC for less than 2 years and propelled with two hands, were recruited. Feasibility outcomes related to process, resources, management and treatment criteria were collected. Results. Eighteen participants were recruited, with a retention rate of 94%. Mean duration for the first and second in-person training sessions were 90.1 ± 20.5 and 62.1 ± 5.5 minutes, respectively. In the treatment group, 78% achieved the minimum amount of home training (i.e. 300 minutes) over four weeks and 56% achieved the preferred training threshold (i.e. 600 minutes). Trainers reported only 7 minor protocol deviations. No tablets were lost or damaged and there was one incident of tablet malfunction. No injuries or adverse incidents were reported during data collection or training activities. Participants indicated 98% agreement on the post-treatment benefit questionnaire Discussion. Overall, the study protocol enabled implementation of the intervention in a safe, efficient and acceptable manner. Participant recruitment proved to be challenging, particularly gaining access to individuals who might benefit. Resource issue demands were acceptable for administration of the intervention; data collection was more time-consuming than anticipated but could be reduced with minor revisions. Participant retention and home program treatment adherence was high; both participant and trainer burden was acceptable. Treatment group participants reported a positive experience and clinical benefits from training program. The findings suggest a full-scale RCT evaluating the clinical impact of the EPIC Wheels intervention is warranted, provided the recruitment issues are addressed through collaborative partnerships and active recruitment strategies.
July 14, 2017
Background. Individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Diabetic complications have recently been associated with a measure of glucose metabolism known as the hemoglobin glycation index (HGI). Currently there is insufficient information regarding a potential link between HGI and cardiovascular disease. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between HGI and extent of CHD in individuals with diabetes. Methods. This cross-sectional study screened individuals visiting the endocrinology clinic between June 2012 and May 2016 for eligibility. Enrollment criteria included individuals exceeding 21 years of age, with T2D diagnosed in the preceding ten years, who underwent coronary angiography during the study period. Candidates with hemoglobin disorders, pregnancy, and congenital coronary artery abnormalities were excluded. Decision to perform angiography was made by cardiologists according to established clinical criteria. HGI was derived from fasting plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) three months prior to angiography. Participants were classified according to the presence of supranormal (HGI ≥ 0) or subnormal HGI (HGI < 0). Results. Among 423 participants, people with supranormal HGI harbored an increased prevalence of multiple vessel disease relative to those with subnormal HGI (Odds ratio (OR): 3.9, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.64 – 5.98, P < 0.001). Moreover, individuals with supranormal HGI more frequently demonstrated lesions involving the left anterior descending artery (OR: 3.0, 95% CI: 1.97 – 4.66, P < 0.001). The intergroup difference in mean HbA1c was statistically nonsignificant (7.5 ± 1.0 % versus 7.4 ± 1.1 %, P = 0.80). Discussion. This study demonstrated that HGI correlated with the extent of CHD in individuals with diabetes. People with supranormal HGI harbored a higher prevalence of extensive cardiovascular disease compared to those with subnormal HGI. The relationship between HGI and extent of CHD enables cardiovascular risk stratification in at risk individuals. Overall, HGI provides useful information concerning cardiovascular risk in clinical practice.
July 13, 2017
C1q TNF Related Protein 3 (CTRP3) is a relatively novel hormonal factor that is primarily derived from adipose tissue and has anti-diabetic properties. To determine if CTRP3 could play a role in early childhood development, the purpose of this study was to establish the presence of CTRP3 in breast milk (BM) and to determine whether CTRP3 levels were associated with pregravid obesity status of the mother. METHODS: BM was collected from breast feeding mothers who had a pregravid body mass index (BMI) classification of lean (BMI 18-25, n=23 kg/m2) or obese (BMI >30 kg/m2, n=14). Immunoblot analysis of pooled samples from all subjects, confirms the presence of CTRP3 in BM. Individual CTRP3 concentrations were analyzed by ELISA. Additional analyte levels were also measured by commercially available assays: Ghrelin, Insulin, leptin, adiponectin, Interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and glucose. Analyte mean levels in lean and obese mothers were compared using unpaired t-test (parametric) and Mann Whitney U test (non-parametric), as appropriate. RESULTS: The primary finding of this study is that that the adipokine CTRP3 is present in BM and that CTRP3 levels are increased with pregravid obesity. Additionally, this study independently confirmed previous work that BM from obese mothers has a higher concentration of insulin and leptin. Further, no differences were observed in BM between obese and lean mothers in ghrelin, adiponectin, IL-6, TNF-α or glucose levels. CONCLUSION: This study identifies a novel factor in BM, CTRP3, and shows that CTRP3 levels are effected by obesity. Because of the purported insulin sensitizing effect of CTRP3, it is possible that the elevated levels of CTRP3 in the BM of obese mothers may offset negative effects of elevated leptin and insulin levels in the BM of obese mothers. Future studies will need to be conducted to determine the relevance of CTRP3 in BM and to examine the presence of other adipose tissue-derived hormonal factors.
July 13, 2017

Background. ‘Who is doing what’ is the ultimate open question in microbiome study. Shotgun metagenomics is often applied to gain knowledge of functional roles for bacteria in microbial communities, where the data can be used to predict protein encoding genes and enzymatic pathways present in the community, sometimes leading to testable hypotheses for microbial function. This study describes a method and basic analysis for a metagenomic adaptation of the double digest restriction site associated DNA sequencing (ddRADseq) protocol for reduced representation metagenome profiling.

Methods. This technique takes advantage of the sequence specificity of restriction endonucleases to construct an Illumina-compatible sequencing library containing DNA fragments that are between a pair of restriction sites located within close proximity. This results in a reduced sequencing library with coverage breadth that can be tuned by size selection. We assessed the performance of the metagenomic ddRADseq approach by applying the full method to human stool samples and generating sequence data.

Results. The ddRADseq data yields a similar estimate of community taxonomic profile as obtained from shotgun metagenome sequencing of the same human stool samples. This reduced representation generated by ddRADseq is also found to be unbiased with regards to the G+C content of the individual species detected.

Discussion. Although ddRADseq does introduce some bias in taxonomic representation, the bias is likely to be small relative to DNA extraction bias. ddRADseq appears feasible and could have value as a tool for metagenome-wide association studies.

July 12, 2017

Background. Child mental health problems are now recognised as a key public health concern. Parenting programs have been developed as one solution to reduce children’s risk of developing mental health problems. However, their potential for widespread dissemination is hindered by low parental engagement, which includes intent to enrol, enrolment, and attendance. To increase parental engagement in preventive parenting programs, we need a better understanding of the predictors of engagement, and the strategies that can be used to enhance engagement.

Method. Employing a PRISMA method, we conducted a systematic review of the predictors of parent engagement and engagement enhancement strategies in preventive parenting programs. Key inclusion criteria included: (1) the intervention is directed primarily at the parent, (2) parent age >18 years, and the article is (3) written in English and (4) published between 2004-2016. Stouffer’s method of combining p-values was used to determine whether associations between variables were reliable.

Results. Twenty-three articles reported a variety of predictors of parental engagement and engagement strategies. Only one of eleven predictors (child mental health symptoms) demonstrating a reliable association with enrolment (Stouffer’s p<.01).

Discussion. There was a lack of consistent evidence for predictors of parental engagement. Nonetheless, preliminary evidence suggests that engagement enhancement strategies modelled on Health Behaviour Theories (e.g. Health Belief Model; Theory of Planned Behaviour) may increase parents’ engagement.

July 9, 2017
There is currently unprecedented interest in quantifying variation in thermal physiology among organisms in order to understand and predict the biological impacts of climate change. A key parameter in this quantification of thermal physiology is the performance or value of a trait, across individuals or species, at a common temperature (temperature normalisation). An increasingly popular model for fitting thermal performance curves to data – the Sharpe-Schoolfield equation – can yield strongly inflated estimates of temperature-normalised trait values. These deviations occur whenever a key thermodynamic assumption of the model is violated, i.e. when the enzyme governing the performance of the trait is not fully functional at the chosen reference temperature. Using data on 1,758 thermal performance curves across a wide range of species, we identify the conditions that exacerbate this inflation. We then demonstrate that these biases can compromise tests to detect metabolic cold adaptation, which requires comparison of fitness or trait performance of different species or genotypes at some fixed low temperature. Finally, we suggest alternative methods for obtaining unbiased estimates of temperature-normalised trait values for meta-analyses of thermal performance across species in climate change impact studies.
July 8, 2017
Influenza A is an important contagious viral disease, affecting all age groups worldwide. Influenza comprises different strains owing to the variable regions; however the extracellular peptide of matrix-2 protein (M2e), present on the surface of the influenza A virus is known to be the conserved antigen in all strains. Because it is a conserved region, the M2e is a strategic target against the influenza A virus. Antibodies play an important role in combatting and controlling viral diseases, such as influenza. There are several advantages to thefor use of immunoglobulin Y (IgY) antibodies; such as a less invasive manufacturing process, the ease of isolation, higher affinity compared to the IgG antibodies, and their cost-effectiveness. Up until now, although specific IgY production has been performed for different strains of influenza A, including a wide variety of agents, a study has not yet been specifically conducted on the M2e peptide to the best of our knowledge. Thus, the objective of this study was the production, purification, and characterization of IgY antibodies through the use of a 24 amino acid-long M2 peptide sequence for the first time. IgY antibodies were obtained from the eggs of immunized hens with the M2e peptide usingpolyethylene glycol-6000 extraction and affinity chromatography. Purified antibodies were characterized via an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, spectrophotometric assay, SDS-Page assay and Western blot analysis. As a result, specificity of obtained antibodies against M2e peptides; reactions of antibodies with H3N2 and H1N1 viruses and purity of antibodies were shown using ELISA method, Western Blotting analysis and SDS-Page, respectively.Obtained antibodies may have a potential to contribute to the development of alternative strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the influenza A virus in future.
July 8, 2017

Background The radish cultivars were famous for containing natural red pigment (Red Radish pigment), as produced in Chongqing Fuling, named red pigment radish. However, genetic resources of red pigment radish are scarcely paid attention in recent years. Thus, the molecular mechanisms for red pigment formation is necessary and urgent to investigate, thereby enriching the genetic resources of red pigment radish.

Methods In this study, fleshy root transcriptomes of six different color radishes with differential pigment content were obtained using NGS sequencing and de novo assembly respectively. Subsequently, phylogenetic relationship of these radishes was constructed using concatenate method. In addition, comparative transcriptomics analysis was also used to identify putative candidate genes involved in red pigment synthesis in red pigment radish.

Results 4,488 one-to-one orthologs were obtained between six different fleshy root color radishes. Results of phylogenetic analysis indicated that red pigment radish were grouped into one clade from two different cultivars, while the white skin with white flesh cultivar located at the base clade of cultivar radishes. Molecular evolution analysis showed that 58, 68 and 105 genes were identified under selection using Branch site model, Branch model and Clade model respectively along the linage of red pigment radish. Further analysis showed that 12 genes may be considered as candidate genes involved in red pigment formation, including transcription factors comprised of KUA1, bHLH155, ERF4 and ERF012.

Discussion Our transcriptome data will provide the valuable genetic resources for further study on red pigment radish. Phylogenetic relationship obtained from our transcriptome data showed that molecular classifications of cultivar radish group are in consistent with the traditional taxonomic classifications based on root skin and flesh color. And 12 putative candidate genes identified from molecular evolution analysis should be considered further to uncover the genetic mechanism for red pigment formation. Together, our study may open the door for investigating the molecular evolution of red pigment radish cultivars.

July 3, 2017
Background: To date, Rehabilitative Ultrasound Imaging (RUSI) comparison of the abdominal wall muscle tissue of elite and amateur basketball players has not been carried out. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate and compare with RUSI the abdominal wall muscles thickness and interrecti distance (IRD) between elite and amateur basketball players.
Methods: After a sample size calculation, a cross-sectional observational study was performed from February to June 2017, following the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) guidelines. A total sample of 32 healthy basketball players (age: 23.0 ± 8.5 y; height: 1.89 ± 14.25 m; weight: 86.6 ± 15.5 kg; body mass index, BMI: 22.8 ± 2.6 kg/m2) was recruited and divided in two groups: professional elite basketball players from Spanish 1st Division league club (n =16) and amateur basketball players from an entertainment Spanish division (n = 16). Sociodemographic data such as age (y), height (m), weight (kg) and BMI (kg/m2) were recorded. Furthermore, Nijmegen questionnaire were registered in order to measure the respiratory distress scores. A diagnostic ultrasound tool with a 7 to 14-MHz-range linear transducer was used for B mode ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound images of the external oblique (EO), internal oblique (IO), transversus abdominis (TrAb) and rectus anterior (RA) muscles thickness as well as the IRD were measured and analyzed by the ImageJ software.
Results: Sociodemographic data did not show statistically significant differences (P > .05) for age between both groups. Nevertheless, statistically significant differences (P < .05) with greater height, weight and Nijmegen scores were shown in favor of the elite basketball players with regards to the amateur basketball players. Ultrasound measurements of the abdominal wall muscles showed statistically significant differences (P < .05) for IRD and left TrAb thickness increase as well as right and left EO thickness decrease in favor of the elite versus amateur basketball players. The rest of measurements did not show any statistically significant difference (P > .05).
Conclusions: In conclusion, IRD and TrAb thickness increases as well as EO thickness reduction are shown in elite with respect to amateur basketball players. Furthermore, the presence of normalized higher respiratory distress scores should be considered in future RUSI studies of athletic professional categories.
June 30, 2017
Crustaceans such as Aristeus varidens, Funchalia woodwardi, Glyphus marsupialis, Heterocarpus grimaldi, Solenocera africana, Plesionika martia and Parapeneus longirostris, form an important component of Northern Benguela Ecosystem (NBE) food web. However, relatively little is known about the ecology and the trophic interactions of these crustaceans in the NBE. In this study we assessed the trophic resource use and portioning among these crustacean species using stable isotope measurements of their tissues. Samples were collected during bottom trawls surveys of the coast of Namibia. Carbon isotope values indicated differences in habitat utilization among the seven species. There were indications that crustaceans become specialist at shallow and deeper waters. The development of specialisation was evident among the seven crustacean species, but interspecific competition was also high for the midwater taxa e.g. A.varidens, F. woodwardi, G. marsupialis, P. longirostris and P. martia. Much of the specialisation corresponded to decreases in the overall isotopic niche size, suggesting that resource availability is the main driver of specialisation in these systems at shallower and deeper water depths. This study showed that that while interspecific competition is likely important in shaping the trophic interactions, resource availability constraints and depth are also relevant. It is therefore important that species-specific traits requirements are considered when developing conservation efforts that consider trophic interactions, especially when prey bases and depth distribution differs among species.
June 26, 2017
Background: Intravenous thrombolysis treatment following acute ischaemic stroke can reduce disability and increase the survival rate. Previous studies have reported only good or poor recovery situations without quantifying the degree of recovery. We designed a functional recovery analysis to predict the recovery probability in acute ischaemic stroke patients who were considering intravenous thrombolysis treatment. Methods: We enrolled 131 acute ischaemic stroke patients undergoing intravenous thrombolysis from 2011 to 2015 at the Medical Centre in northern Taiwan. The 54 acute ischaemic stroke patients who received intravenous thrombolysis treatment at another community hospital were used as a validation dataset. A modified Rankin Score ≤2 after 3 months of follow-up was defined as favourable recovery. We used multivariate logistic regression with forward selection to construct a nomogram. Results: The functional recovery model for intravenous thrombolysis included age and the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score as variables in the nomogram. A 5.23% increase in the functional recovery probability occurred for every one year reduction in age, and a 13.57% increase in the functional recovery probability occurred for every NIHSS score reduction. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the model in the validation dataset were 71.79%, 86.67% and 75.93%, respectively, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.867. Discussion: This nomogram may help physicians individually assess the recovery probability before patients undergo emergency intravenous thrombolysis. Patients who are predicted to have a higher poor recovery chance may opt to select aggressive intra-arterial recanalization treatment.
June 26, 2017
This paper formulates a novel problem on graphs: find the minimal subset of edges in a fully connected graph, such that the resulting graph contains all spanning trees for a set of specifed sub-graphs. This formulation is motivated by an un-supervised dependency grammar induction problem from the field of computational linguistics. We present a reduction to some known problems and algorithms from graph theory, provide computational complexity results, and describe a provably efficient approximation algorithm.
June 26, 2017

Background: The perioperative period is important for patient outcome. Colorectal cancer surgery can lead to metastatic disease due to release of disseminated tumor cells and the induction of surgical stress response. To explore the overall effects on surgically-induced changes in serum composition, in vitro model systems are useful.

Methods: A systematic search in Pubmed and Embase was performed to identify studies describing in vitro models used to investigate cancer cell growth/proliferation, cell migration, cell invasion and cell death of serum taken pre- and postoperatively from patients undergoing colorectal tumor resection.

Results: Two authors (MG and TK) independently reviewed 870 identified studies and identified 5 studies, which fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Disagreements were solved by discussion. All studies investigated cell proliferation and cell invasion, whereas three studies investigated cell migration, and only one study investigated cell death/apoptosis. One study investigated postoperative peritoneal infection due to anastomotic leak, one study investigated mode of anesthesia (general anesthesia with volatile or intravenous anesthetics), and one study investigated preoperative intervention with granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GMCSF). In all studies an increased proliferation, cell migration and invasion was demonstrated after surgery. Anesthetics with propofol and intervention with GMCSF significantly reduced postoperative cell proliferation, whereas peritoneal infection enhanced the invasive capability of tumor cells.

Conclusion: This study suggests that in vitro cell models are useful and reliable tools to explore the effect of surgery on colorectal cancer cell proliferation and metastatic ability. The models should therefore be considered as additional tests to investigate the effects of perioperative interventions.

June 14, 2017

Objectives. To examine maternal functioning and wellbeing as important aspects of a family’s adaptation to chronic paediatric conditions, in particular, children with diabetes.

Method. This cross-sectional study investigated the difference between the perceived quality of life of mothers of children with diabetes (n=63) and mothers of children without diabetes (n=114). The study also examined the role of self-efficacy, relationship satisfaction, number of social support providers, and satisfaction with social support in predicting quality of life.

Results. Mothers who had a child with diabetes had lower quality of life measured by general health, vitality, social functioning, role-emotional, and mental health than mothers that did not have a child with diabetes. Self-efficacy, relationship satisfaction, and social support were significant predictors of quality of life (mental health domain).

Conclusion. In order to enhance their psychological wellbeing, mothers of children with diabetes require adequate psychosocial support. Other implications for research and potential interventions are discussed.

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