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Nevin Manimala Statistics

Structural determinants of suicide during the global financial crisis in Spain: Integrating explanations to understand a complex public health problem

PLoS One. 2021 Mar 1;16(3):e0247759. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0247759. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Suicide is a complex public health problem in contemporary societies. Macroeconomic downturns derived from the economic crisis have been found to be associated with growing suicide mortality in the United States and in Europe. The present work is aimed to assess the association between the recent economic downturns and suicide patterns using interrupted time series analysis and, particularly, adjusting this relationship by indicators of social cohesion and community values that might provide additional insights on the complex explanation of suicidal trends.

METHODS: We combined suicide, social and economic data extracted from the National Statistics Institute (INE), the Eurostat database, and the World Values Survey to assess the association between the socio-economic factors and trends in suicide rates. To study the association between the financial crisis and changes in suicide rates in Spain, we used interrupted time series analysis (ITSA).

RESULTS: Our findings confirm that suicides increased after the 2011 recession, but remained moderately constant after the 2008 economic downturn. Suicides particularly increased after the 2011 recession in the 10-14, and 45-64 years old intervals between males and females, and apparently in older groups. However, during the 2008-2011 time period suicide rates decreased during working years (specifically among 40-44, 45-49, and 55-59 years old groups). Our results highlight the importance of social protection against unemployment and, to a lesser extent, social protection in disability and family, in reducing suicides, as well as the economic prosperity of the country.

CONCLUSION: This result corroborates that the economic crisis has possibly impacted the growing suicide rates of the most vulnerable groups, but exclusively during the period characterised by economic cuts after the 2011 recession. This study highlights the need to implement tailored policies that protect these collectives against suicide.

PMID:33647025 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0247759

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

Reference intervals of common clinical biochemistry analytes in young Nigerian adults

PLoS One. 2021 Mar 1;16(3):e0247672. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0247672. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Reference intervals are assessment tools for interpretation of clinical test results. These intervals describe the dispersion of test parameter values of apparently healthy persons in defined populations as health status indicators. Using reference intervals obtained and validated in populations outside the geographical region of derivation for medical decision-making may impact negatively on clinical interpretation and patient management. Many countries have established their reference values, current studies on these data for Nigeria are however scarce. Determination of clinical biochemistry reference intervals for young Nigerian adults which is of particular importance in routine clinical management and conduct of clinical trials in response to existing and emerging diseases will add significantly to the existing body of knowledge.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to establish reference intervals for 24biochemistry analytes among Nigerians aged 18 to 26 years.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study among 7,797 consenting male and female military applicants aged 18 to 26 years from 37 States of Nigeria. It was a total study among volunteers for military service. Blood samples were collected and subjected to serological testing for HIV-1 and 2, hepatitis-B, malaria, pregnancy and haematuria to restrict our study population to apparently healthy participants. Biochemical assays were performed on 6,169 participant samples that met the inclusion criteria. Generated data was entered into MS Excel® and exported into SPSS® software version 16 for analysis. Statistical tools used were frequencies, median, mid 95th percentile range with 2.5th and 97.5th percentiles as limits. Reference intervals were estimated using nonparametric methods. No intergender statistical comparison was made.

RESULTS: Complete records were obtained for 6,169 eligible participants. Median values and associated reference intervals were similar in both genders.

CONCLUSION: The findings from this study will help in clinical decision-making and play a significant role in supporting the current global rapid expansion of clinical trials in response to the urgent need for preventive and therapeutic solutions to existing and emerging diseases.

PMID:33647019 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0247672

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

Interspecies chimeric conditions affect the developmental rate of human pluripotent stem cells

PLoS Comput Biol. 2021 Mar 1;17(3):e1008778. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008778. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Human pluripotent stem cells hold significant promise for regenerative medicine. However, long differentiation protocols and immature characteristics of stem cell-derived cell types remain challenges to the development of many therapeutic applications. In contrast to the slow differentiation of human stem cells in vitro that mirrors a nine-month gestation period, mouse stem cells develop according to a much faster three-week gestation timeline. Here, we tested if co-differentiation with mouse pluripotent stem cells could accelerate the differentiation speed of human embryonic stem cells. Following a six-week RNA-sequencing time course of neural differentiation, we identified 929 human genes that were upregulated earlier and 535 genes that exhibited earlier peaked expression profiles in chimeric cell cultures than in human cell cultures alone. Genes with accelerated upregulation were significantly enriched in Gene Ontology terms associated with neurogenesis, neuron differentiation and maturation, and synapse signaling. Moreover, chimeric mixed samples correlated with in utero human embryonic samples earlier than human cells alone, and acceleration was dose-dependent on human-mouse co-culture ratios. The altered gene expression patterns and developmental rates described in this report have implications for accelerating human stem cell differentiation and the use of interspecies chimeric embryos in developing human organs for transplantation.

PMID:33647016 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008778

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

Assessment of transparency indicators across the biomedical literature: How open is open?

PLoS Biol. 2021 Mar 1;19(3):e3001107. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001107. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Recent concerns about the reproducibility of science have led to several calls for more open and transparent research practices and for the monitoring of potential improvements over time. However, with tens of thousands of new biomedical articles published per week, manually mapping and monitoring changes in transparency is unrealistic. We present an open-source, automated approach to identify 5 indicators of transparency (data sharing, code sharing, conflicts of interest disclosures, funding disclosures, and protocol registration) and apply it across the entire open access biomedical literature of 2.75 million articles on PubMed Central (PMC). Our results indicate remarkable improvements in some (e.g., conflict of interest [COI] disclosures and funding disclosures), but not other (e.g., protocol registration and code sharing) areas of transparency over time, and map transparency across fields of science, countries, journals, and publishers. This work has enabled the creation of a large, integrated, and openly available database to expedite further efforts to monitor, understand, and promote transparency and reproducibility in science.

PMID:33647013 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001107

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

Public Baseline and shared response structures support the theory of antibody repertoire functional commonality

PLoS Comput Biol. 2021 Mar 1;17(3):e1008781. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008781. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

The naïve antibody/B-cell receptor (BCR) repertoires of different individuals ought to exhibit significant functional commonality, given that most pathogens trigger an effective antibody response to immunodominant epitopes. Sequence-based repertoire analysis has so far offered little evidence for this phenomenon. For example, a recent study estimated the number of shared (‘public’) antibody clonotypes in circulating baseline repertoires to be around 0.02% across ten unrelated individuals. However, to engage the same epitope, antibodies only require a similar binding site structure and the presence of key paratope interactions, which can occur even when their sequences are dissimilar. Here, we search for evidence of geometric similarity/convergence across human antibody repertoires. We first structurally profile naïve (‘baseline’) antibody diversity using snapshots from 41 unrelated individuals, predicting all modellable distinct structures within each repertoire. This analysis uncovers a high (much greater than random) degree of structural commonality. For instance, around 3% of distinct structures are common to the ten most diverse individual samples (‘Public Baseline’ structures). Our approach is the first computational method to find levels of BCR commonality commensurate with epitope immunodominance and could therefore be harnessed to find more genetically distant antibodies with same-epitope complementarity. We then apply the same structural profiling approach to repertoire snapshots from three individuals before and after flu vaccination, detecting a convergent structural drift indicative of recognising similar epitopes (‘Public Response’ structures). We show that Antibody Model Libraries derived from Public Baseline and Public Response structures represent a powerful geometric basis set of low-immunogenicity candidates exploitable for general or target-focused therapeutic antibody screening.

PMID:33647011 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008781

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

The impact of ivermectin on onchocerciasis in villages co-endemic for lymphatic filariasis in an area of onchocerciasis recrudescence in Burkina Faso

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021 Mar 1;15(3):e0009117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009117. eCollection 2021 Mar.

ABSTRACT

In Burkina Faso, onchocerciasis was no longer a public health problem when the WHO Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa closed at the end in 2002. However, epidemiological surveillance carried out from November 2010 to February of 2011, showed a recrudescence of infection in the Cascades Region. This finding was made at a time when ivermectin, a drug recommended for the treatment of both onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis, had been distributed in this area since 2004 for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis. It was surprising that ivermectin distributed for treating lymphatic filariasis had not prevented the recrudescence of onchocerciasis. Faced with this situation, the aim of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of ivermectin on the onchocerciasis parasite. The percentage reduction in microfilarial load after treatment with ivermectin was used as a proxy measure for assessing possible resistance. A cohort study was carried out with 130 individuals who had tested positive for microfilariae of Onchocerca volvulus in 2010 using microscopic examination of skin-snip biopsies from five endemic villages. Subjects were followed from July 2011 to June 2012. The microfilarial load of each individual was enumerated by skin-snip biopsy in 2010, prior to the first ivermectin treatment against onchocerciasis under community guidelines. All individuals received two ivermectin treatments six months apart. In 2012, the microfilarial loads were determined again, six months after the second round of ivermectin and the reductions in parasite loads were calculated to measure the impact of the drug. The percentage reduction of the microfilarial loads ranged from 87% to 98% in the villages. In all villages, there was a statistically significant difference between the average microfilarial loads in 2010 and 2012. The level of reduction of microfilarial loads suggests that ivermectin is effective against the recrudescent population of O. volvulus in Cascades Region of Burkina Faso. Further investigations would be necessary to determine the causes of the recrudescence of onchocerciasis. (For French language abstract, see S1 Alternative Language Abstract-Translation of the Abstract into French by the authors.).

PMID:33647010 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0009117

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

Types of Parenchymal Changes Diagnosed on DMSA Scans of Kidneys Affected by Different Grades of Vesicoureteral Reflux

Med Sci Monit. 2021 Mar 1;27:e929617. doi: 10.12659/MSM.929617.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND Renal parenchymal damage and scarring usually is associated with urinary tract infection (UTI), whereas the impact of vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) on the kidneys is unclear. We aimed to compare kidneys with all grades of VUR (grades Io-V) and those without VUR by using direct radionuclide cystography, voiding cystourethrography, and findings from 99mTc-DMSA scintigraphy (DMSA scan). MATERIAL AND METHODS The present analysis included 253 renal ureteral units (RUU) from 129 children with VUR and recurrent UTI and children with a single febrile UTI associated with abnormal ultrasonographic findings. The 6 grades of VUR (Io, I, II, III, IV, and V) and 35 RUUs without VUR were divided into 4 groups: 1. Non-dilated VUR (grades Io-II); 2. Mildly dilated VUR (grade III); 3. Dilated VUR (grades IV-V); and 4. The control group. RESULTS DMSA scanning showed significant differences between the groups with non-dilated VUR, grade III VUR, grades IV-V VUR, and the control group in kidney width (χ²=30.5; P<0.001); position and shape (χ²=30.6; P<0.001); intensity of activity (χ²=38.1; P<0.001); distribution of activity (χ²=34.5; P<0.001); and existence of scars (χ²=16; P<0.001). The probability of abnormalities on DMSA scans increased with the VUR grade. However, inside the groups of dilated and non-dilated VUR we found no significant statistical differences between those characteristics. CONCLUSIONS Our results indicate that kidneys without VUR or with non-dilated lateral VUR and dilated VUR on the contralateral side represent 2 different categories of parenchymal changes.

PMID:33647007 | DOI:10.12659/MSM.929617

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

A Novel Fast CT Perfusion Core-Penumbra Mismatch Score: Correlation With Stroke Outcome

Neurologist. 2021 Mar 4;26(2):41-46. doi: 10.1097/NRL.0000000000000315.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Advanced neuroimaging can identify patients who can most benefit from reperfusion treatment, discriminating between ischemic core and penumbra area in a quick and accurate manner. Despite core-penumbra mismatch being an independent prognostic factor, computed tomography perfusion (CTP) assessment is still debated in hyperacute decision-making. The authors aimed to study a novel CTP mismatch score in emergency settings and to investigate its relation with clinical outcome in acute ischemic stroke patients treated with intravenous thrombolysis (IVT).

METHODS: Neuroimaging and clinical data of 226 consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients were analyzed. The study population was divided into 5 different CTP scores: (0) without perfusion deficit, (1) only penumbra, (2) penumbra > core, (3) core ≥ penumbra, (4) only core. For differences in outcome between treated and nontreated patients, and among CTP core-penumbra groups to be assessed, the authors have evaluated the outcome in terms of National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and modified Rankin scale (mRS) at discharge and symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage.

RESULTS: A decrease in NIHSS was statistically greater in IVT-treated patients compared to nontreated patients showing only penumbra (ΔNIHSS%: 80.0% vs. 50.0%; P=0.0023) or no perfusion deficit (ΔNIHSS%: 89.4% vs. 61.5%; P=0.027) on CTP maps. The same trend was found in other groups without significant difference. A significant correlation was found in IVT patients between core/penumbra score and outcome in terms of ΔNIHSS (Kendall τ=-0.19; P=0.004).

CONCLUSIONS: The authors proposed a novel immediate CTP assessment to score perfusion mismatch in emergency settings to guide clinicians’ decision-making for aggressive treatment and to prevent stroke-related disability.

PMID:33646988 | DOI:10.1097/NRL.0000000000000315

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

Phospholipase A2 and Ischemic Stroke Etiology

Neurologist. 2021 Mar 4;26(2):32-35. doi: 10.1097/NRL.0000000000000329.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2), which is involved in the inflammatory atherosclerotic process, has emerged as an independent risk factor for atheromatous vascular events. Its impact on coronary disease has already been demonstrated, however, its influence in cerebrovascular etiology is still unknown. We aimed to observe and describe the potential association between Lp-PLA2 levels and the etiologic subtype of ischemic stroke.

METHODS: Unicentric, observational, and prospective cohort study of consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke, admitted in a comprehensive stroke center. Patients with incomplete investigation or coexisting causes were excluded. Lp-PLA2 was dosed in peripheral blood between day 3 and 14 postevent with “Lp-PLA2-SNIBE” kit. Statistical significance was set for P<0.05.

RESULTS: A total of 96 patients were enrolled, with mean age of 75.31±11.88 years, 41 males (42.7%); 12.5% with lacunar stroke, 16.7% atherothrombotic, 46.9% cardioembolic, and 24% embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS). The level of Lp-PLA2 was different between etiologies (F=2.982, P=0.035), being lower in ESUS (143.3±42.8 ng/mL). There were no significant associations with previous vascular risk factors, history of ischemic stroke and modified-Rankin scale (mRS) score 3 months postevent. In ESUS patients, Lp-PLA2 was not associated with cervical ultrasound findings or frequent supraventricular extrasystoles.

CONCLUSIONS: Lp-PLA2 levels are different between etiologic subtypes of ischemic stroke, being lower in ESUS patients. The results of this study reinforce the existence of distinct pathophysiological mechanisms in patients with ESUS. Multicenter clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to clarify the role Lp-PLA2 on the etiology of stroke.

PMID:33646986 | DOI:10.1097/NRL.0000000000000329

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Nevin Manimala Statistics

Human Skin Gloss Perception based on Texture Statistics

IEEE Trans Image Process. 2021 Mar 1;PP. doi: 10.1109/TIP.2021.3061276. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

We propose objective, image-based techniques for quantitative evaluation of facial skin gloss that is consistent with human judgments. We use polarization photography to obtain separate images of surface and subsurface reflections, and rely on psychophysical studies to uncover and separate the influence of the two components on skin gloss perception. We capture images of facial skin at two levels, macro-scale (whole face) and meso-scale (skin patch), before and after cleansing. To generate a broad range of skin appearances for each subject, we apply photometric image transformations to the surface and subsurface reflection images. We then use linear regression to link statistics of the surface and subsurface reflections to the perceived gloss obtained in our empirical studies. The focus of this paper is on within-subject gloss perception, that is, on visual differences among images of the same subject. Our analysis shows that the contrast of the surface reflection has a strong positive influence on skin gloss perception, while the darkness of the subsurface reflection (skin tone) has a weaker positive effect on perceived gloss. We show that a regression model based on the concatenation of statistics from the two reflection images can successfully predict relative gloss differences.

PMID:33646950 | DOI:10.1109/TIP.2021.3061276