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ISSN / EISSN : 1932-6203 / 1932-6203
Published by: Public Library of Science (PLoS) (10.1371)
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Unkyu Yun, Seung-Ah Lee, Won Ah Choi, Seong-Woong Kang, Go Hun Seo, Jung Hwan Lee, Goeun Park, Sujee Lee, Young-Chul Choi,
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0255011

Abstract:
Dystrophinopathy is a group of inherited phenotypes arising from pathogenic variants in DMD. We evaluated the clinical and genetic characteristics of Korean patients with genetically confirmed dystrophinopathy. We retrospectively reviewed medical records (January 2004-September 2020) from the myopathy database maintained at the study hospital and found 227 patients from 218 unrelated families with dystrophinopathy. Clinical phenotypes included 120 (53%) Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) cases, 20 (9%) intermediate phenotype muscular dystrophy (IMD) cases, 65 (29%) Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) cases, 18 (8%) undetermined phenotypes, and 4 (2%) symptomatic carriers. The median ages at symptom onset and diagnosis were 5.0 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 3.8–8.0) and 12.0 years (IQR: 7.0–21.0), respectively. Total manual muscle test (MMT) scores decreased annually in patients with DMD, IMD, and BMD. Overall, when age increased by 1 year, total MMT scores decreased on average by -1.978, -1.681, and -1.303 in patients with DMD (p<0.001), IMD (p<0.001), and BMD (p<0.001), respectively. Exonic deletion and duplication were reported in 147 (67%) and 31 (14%) of the 218 unrelated probands, respectively. A total of 37 different small sequence variants were found in 40 (18%) of the 218 probands. The reading frame rule was applicable to 142 (94%) of the 151 probands. The present results highlight the long-term natural history and genetic spectrum of dystrophinopathy in a large-scale Korean cohort.
Parker Elijah Joshua, Cynthia Ogochukwu Nwauzor, Damian Chukwu Odimegwu, Uzochukwu Gospel Ukachukwu, Rita Onyekachukwu Asomadu,
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0246915

Abstract:
Although aluminum-containing adjuvants are widely used in human vaccination due to their excellent safety profile, they exhibit low effectiveness with many recombinant antigens. This study investigated the adjuvanticity of snail mucin with recombinant Hepatitis B Vaccine (rHBsAg). Twenty-five (25) female mice distributed unbiasedly into 5 groups were used in the study and were administered different rHBsAg/Mucin formulation at 7 days intervals. Blood samples were collected a day following the administration for analysis. The results of liver function and body weight analysis were indications that snail mucin had no adverse effect on the mice. The treatment group (administer mucin and rHBsAg) showed significantly (P<0.05) higher mean titres of anti-HBsAg antibodies when compared with the negative controls and the positive control administered with two doses of rHBsAg after the boost doses (day 28). Furthermore, a comparable immune response to positive control administered with three doses rHBaAG was recorded. In silico prediction, studies of the protein-protein interaction of a homology modelled snail mucus protein and HBsAg gave an indication of enhanced HBV antigen-antibody interaction. Therefore, this study has shown that snail mucin possesses some adjuvant properties and enhances immune response towards rHBsAg vaccine. However, there is a need for further molecular dynamics studies to understand its mechanism of action.
Radan Keil, Štěpán Hlava, , Vladimír Ždímal, Jan Šťovíček, Milan Trojánek, Jiří Drábek, Barbora Frýbová, Vojtěch Petráček,
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0254979

Abstract:
Background and aims SARS-CoV-2 is a worldwide serious health problem. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the number of potentially infectious particles present during endoscopic procedures and find effective tools to eliminate the risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection while performing them. Methods An experimental model which focused on aerosol problematics was made in a specialized laboratory. This model simulated conditions present during endoscopic procedures and monitored the formation of potentially infectious fluid particles from the patient’s body, which pass through the endoscope and are then released into the environment. For this reason, we designed and tested a prototype of a protective cover for the endoscope’s control body to prevent the release and spread of these fluid particles from its working channel. We performed measurements with and without the protective cover of the endoscope’s control body. Results It was found that liquid coming through the working channel of the endoscope with forceps or other instruments inside generates droplets with a diameter in the range of 0.1–1.1 mm and an initial velocity of up to 0.9 m/s. The average number of particles per measurement per whole measured area without a protective cover on the endoscope control body was 51.1; with this protective cover on, the measurement was 0.0, p<0.0001. Conclusions Our measurements proved that fluid particles are released from the working channel of an endoscope when forceps are inserted. A special protective cover for the endoscope control body, made out of breathable material (surgical cap) and designed by our team, was found to eliminate this release of potentially infectious fluid particles.
, Joel Kullberg, Håkan Ahlström,
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0254732

Abstract:
Background We evaluated how carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) and the echogenicity of the intima-media (IM-GSM), measured by ultrasound, were related to body composition, evaluated by both traditional imaging techniques, as well as with a new voxel-based “Imiomics” technique. Methods In 321 subjects all aged 50 years in the POEM study, IMT and IM-GSM were measured together with a DXA scan for determination of fat and lean mass. Also a whole-body MRI scan was performed and the body volume was divided into >1 million voxels in a standardized fashion. IMT and IM-GSM were related to each of these voxels to create a 3D-view of how these measurements were related to size of each part of the body. Results IM-GSM was inversely related to almost all traditional measurements of body composition, like fat and lean mass, liver fat, visceral and subcutaneous fat, but this was not seen for IMT. Using Imiomics, IMT was positively related to the intraabdominal fat volume, as well of the leg skeletal muscle in women. In males, IMT was mainly positively related to the leg skeletal muscle volume. IM-GSM was inversely related to the volume of the SAT in the upper part of the body, leg skeletal muscle, the liver and intraabdominal fat in both men and women. Conclusion The voxel-based Imiomics technique provided a detailed view of how the echogenicity of the carotid artery wall was related to body composition, being inversely related to the volume of the major fat depots, as well as leg skeletal muscle.
Benjamin Philip Crossey, Gray Atherton,
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0254017

Abstract:
Moving in time with others—interpersonal coordination—increases affiliation, helping behaviours and gives rise to a host of other prosocial outcomes. Recent research suggests that merely imagining coordination may lead to similar social effects. In the present study, participants were asked to imagine walking with a crowd in a coordinated (versus uncoordinated) way to explore the effects of imagined coordination on individuals’ perceptions of themselves and the crowd. Imagined coordination led to greater levels of deindividuation and affiliation. That is, participants were less likely to report seeing themselves as unique individuals, instead viewing themselves as a part of a group (deindividuation) and more likely to report a sense of emotional closeness (affiliation) with the imagined group. Deindividuation partially mediated the effect of imagined coordination on affiliation. This work establishes that imagined synchrony can be employed online to foster prosocial attitudes towards groups of people, and that a process of deindividuation might mediate this effect.
, M. J. P. A. Janssens, J. A. M. van der Post, C. M. Licht
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0255040

Abstract:
Background During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic there was an urgent need for accelerated review of COVID-19 research by Medical Research Ethics Committees (MRECs). In the Netherlands this led to the implementation of so-called ‘fast-track-review-procedures’ (FTRPs) to enable a swift start of urgent and relevant research. The objective of this study is to evaluate FTRPs of MRECs in the Netherlands during the COVID-19 pandemic and to compare them with the regular review procedures (RRPs). Methods and findings An explanatory sequential mixed method study was conducted. Online questionnaires and four group interviews were conducted among MREC representatives and investigators of COVID-19 research. In addition, data from a national research registration system was requested. Main outcome measures are differences in timelines, quality of the review and satisfaction between FTRPs and RRPs. The total number of review days was shorter in FTRP (median 10.5) compared to RRPs (median 98.0). Review days attributable to the MRECs also declined in FTRPs (median 8.0 versus 50.0). This shortening can be explained by installing ad hoc (sub)committees, full priority given to COVID-19 research, regular research put on hold, online review meetings and administrative leniency. The shorter timelines did not affect the perceived quality of the review and ethical and legal aspects were not weighted differently. Both MREC representatives and investigators were generally satisfied with the review of COVID-19 research. Weaknesses identified were the lack of overview of COVID-19 research and central collaboration and coordination, the delay of review of regular research, and limited reachability of secretariats. Conclusions This study shows that accelerated review is feasible during emergency situations. We did not find evidence that review quality was compromised and both investigators and MRECs were content with the FTRP. To improve future medical ethical review during pandemic situations and beyond, distinguishing main and side issues, working digitally, and (inter)national collaboration and coordination are important.
SunJu Kim, Moonkyoung Park,
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0254995

Abstract:
The prevalence of chronic disease associated with unhealthy lifestyles has been increasing worldwide. Health professionals have recognized that self-management programs (SMPs) can provide health benefits by promoting health behaviors, especially when applied to individuals with lifestyle-related chronic disease. This review performed a meta-analysis of the features of SMPs using randomized studies and analyzed the magnitude of the combined effects of self-management on behavioral modification. We searched the PubMed, CINAHL, ScienceDirect, SCOPUS, Web of Science, Embase, Cochrane Library, DBpia, and KISS to identify randomized trials that evaluated the behavioral outcomes of SMPs. Subgroup analyses were performed for program duration, providers, type of comparisons, and program settings. We selected 25 studies (N = 5,681) to perform analyses with random-effects models. The effect sizes of SMPs were small but significant for physical activity (standardized difference in means [SDM] = 0.25), dietary habits (SDM = 0.28), and health responsibility (SDM = 0.18), and not significant for stress management and smoking behaviors. A short-term SMPs (less than 12 weeks) was indicated as being effective in modifying physical activity, dietary habits, and health responsibility, while the program effects on dietary habits were significant only with expert-delivered education and when compared with inactive controls. The findings of this study indicate that SMPs can effectively improve physical activity, dietary habits, and health responsibility in individuals with chronic disease, with a small but significant effect size. Future studies should explore the effects of SMPs on stress management and smoking cessation and assess the long-term maintenance of healthy lifestyles in individuals with lifestyle-related chronic disease.
Sameer Joshi, Emily Thoday-Kennedy, Hans D. Daetwyler, Matthew Hayden, German Spangenberg,
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0254908

Abstract:
Drought is one of the most severe and unpredictable abiotic stresses, occurring at any growth stage and affecting crop yields worldwide. Therefore, it is essential to develop drought tolerant varieties to ensure sustainable crop production in an ever-changing climate. High-throughput digital phenotyping technologies in tandem with robust screening methods enable precise and faster selection of genotypes for breeding. To investigate the use of digital imaging to reliably phenotype for drought tolerance, a genetically diverse safflower population was screened under different drought stresses at Agriculture Victoria’s high-throughput, automated phenotyping platform, Plant Phenomics Victoria, Horsham. In the first experiment, four treatments, control (90% field capacity; FC), 40% FC at initial branching, 40% FC at flowering and 50% FC at initial branching and flowering, were applied to assess the performance of four safflower genotypes. Based on these results, drought stress using 50% FC at initial branching and flowering stages was chosen to further screen 200 diverse safflower genotypes. Measured plant traits and dry biomass showed high correlations with derived digital traits including estimated shoot biomass, convex hull area, caliper length and minimum area rectangle, indicating the viability of using digital traits as proxy measures for plant growth. Estimated shoot biomass showed close association having moderately high correlation with drought indices yield index, stress tolerance index, geometric mean productivity, and mean productivity. Diverse genotypes were classified into four clusters of drought tolerance based on their performance (seed yield and digitally estimated shoot biomass) under stress. Overall, results show that rapid and precise image-based, high-throughput phenotyping in controlled environments can be used to effectively differentiate response to drought stress in a large numbers of safflower genotypes.
Kotaro Miura, Yoshinori Katsumata, Takashi Kawakami, Hidehiko Ikura, Toshinobu Ryuzaki, Yasuyuki Shiraishi, Shogo Fukui, Michiyuki Kawakami, Takashi Kohno, Kazuki Sato, et al.
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0255180

Abstract:
The efficacy of extensive balloon pulmonary angioplasty (BPA) beyond hemodynamic improvement in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) patients has been verified. However, the relationship between extensive BPA in CTEPH patients after partial hemodynamic improvement and exercise tolerance or quality of life (QOL) remains unclear. We prospectively enrolled 22 CTEPH patients (66±10 years, females: 59%) when their mean pulmonary artery pressure initially decreased to <30 mmHg during BPA sessions. Hemodynamic and echocardiographic data, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, and QOL scores using the 36-item short form questionnaire (SF-36) were evaluated at enrollment (entry), just after the final BPA session (finish), and at the 6-month follow-up (follow-up). We analyzed whether extensive BPA improves exercise capacity and QOL scores over time. Moreover, the clinical characteristics leading to improvement were elucidated. The peak oxygen uptake (VO2) showed significant improvement at entry, finish, and follow-up (17.3±5.5, 18.4±5.9, and 18.9±5.3 mL/kg/min, respectively; P<0.001). Regarding the QOL, the physical component summary (PCS) scores significantly improved (32±11, 38±13, and 43±13, respectively; P<0.001), but the mental component summary scores remained unchanged. Linear regression analysis revealed that age and a low peak VO2 at entry were predictors of improvement in peak VO2, while low PCS scores and low TAPSE at entry were predictors of improvement in PCS scores. In conclusion, extensive BPA led to improved exercise tolerance and physical QOL scores, even in CTEPH patients with partially improved hemodynamics.
Takashi Matsuo, , Rika Ishida, Takayuki Minami, Takahiro Yoshikawa
Published: 23 July 2021
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0255272

Abstract:
The alterations in neural activity related to the improvement of cognitive performance, which would be leading to better academic performance, remain poorly understood. In the present study, we assessed neural activity related to the improvement of task performance resulting from academic rewards. Twenty healthy male volunteers participated in this study. All participants performed four sessions of a 1-back-Stroop task under both target and control conditions. An image indicating that the task performance of each participant was above average and categorized as being at almost the highest level was presented immediately after each session under the target condition, whereas a control image did not indicate task performance. Neural activity during the 1-back-Stroop task was recorded by magnetoencephalography. The correction rate of the 1-back-Stroop task in the final session relative to that in the first under the target condition was increased compared with the control condition. Correlation analysis revealed that the decreases in alpha band power in right Brodmann’s area (BA) 47 and left BA 7 were positively associated with the increased correction rate caused by the target condition. These findings are expected to contribute to a better understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying the improvement of cognitive performance.
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