ISSN / EISSN : 19326203 / 19326203
Current Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS) (10.1371)
Total articles ≅ 223,705
Google Scholar h5-index: 180
Latest articles in this journal
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0222572
Abstract:Cigarettes and their by-products (i.e., smoke; ash) are a complex, dynamic, and reactive mixture of around 5,000 chemicals. Cigarette smoking potentially harms nearly every organ of the human body, causes innumerable diseases, and impacts the health of smokers and those interacting with the smokers. Smoking brings greater health problems in the long-term like increased risk of stroke and brain damage. For students, peer pressure is one of the key factors contributing to cigarette smoking. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis assessed the impact of peer pressure on cigarette smoking among high school and university students in Ethiopia. An extensive search of key databases including Cochrane Library, PubMed, Google Scholar, Hinari, Embase and Science Direct was conducted to identify and access articles published on the prevalence of cigarette smoking by high school and university students in Ethiopia. The search period for articles was conducted from 21st September, 2018 to 25th December 25, 2018. All necessary data were extracted using a standardized data extraction checklist. Quality and risk of bias of studies were assessed using standardized tools. Heterogeneity between the included studies was assessed using Cochrane Q-test statistic and I2 test. To estimate the pooled prevalence of cigarette smoking, a random effects model was fitted. The impact of peer pressure on cigarette smoking was determined and was reported in Odds Ratio (OR) with 95% Confidence Interval (CI). Meta-analysis was conducted using Stata software. From 175 searched articles, 19 studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria and were included in this study. The pooled prevalence of cigarette smoking among Ethiopian high school and university students was 15.9% (95% CI: 12.21, 19.63). Slightly higher prevalence of cigarette smoking was noted among university students [17.35% (95% CI: 13.21, 21.49)] as compared to high school students [12.77% (95% CI: 6.72%, 18.82%)]. The current aggregated meta-analysis revealed that peer pressure had a significant influence on cigarette smoking (OR: 2.68 (95% CI: 2.37, 3.03). More than one sixth of the high school and university students in Ethiopia smoke cigarette. Students who had peer pressure from their friends were more likely to smoke cigarette. Therefore, school-based intervention programs are needed to reduce the high prevalence of cigarette smoking among students in Ethiopia.
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0223329
Abstract:This study aimed to evaluate the clinical manifestations and health risks associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and its impact on quality of life (QOL) in Pakistan. A detailed cross-sectional study was conducted on PCOS among women of reproductive age visiting the gynecology and obstetrics and endocrinology departments at primary and tertiary care hospitals located in Abbottabad, Kohat, and Islamabad. In total, 440 patients meeting the inclusion criteria were included. A checklist was specifically designed to identify symptoms and health risks, including adverse drug reactions, complications, irrational prescription or underprescription, and drug–drug interactions. The Short Form-12 questionnaire was used to evaluate the QOL of patients with PCOS. Data collected were analyzed for descriptive and inferential statistics using chi-square test, analysis of variance, and post hoc analysis. All patients exhibited the cardinal symptoms of PCOS, including obesity (n = 352, 80%), acne (n = 296, 67.3), hirsutism (n = 299, 68%), hyperglycemia (n = 278, 63.2%), and irregular menstruation (n = 316, 71.8%). Ultrasonography confirmed that 268 (61%) patients had multiple cysts of >10 mm in diameter. Patients with untreated PCOS exhibited a high prevalence of health risks including hypertension (n = 87, 19.8%), diabetes (n = 268, 60.9%), sleep apnea (n = 11, 2.5%), infertility (n = 146, 33.2%), increased endometrial thickness (n = 21, 4.8%), miscarriages (n = 68, 15.5%), high cholesterol level (n = 85, 19.3%), and hyperandrogenism (n = 342, 77.7%). Most patients exhibited low QOL scores (n = 374, 85%), with depression being the largest contributor to low QOL. Apart from novel results, this study found an association between depression and low QOL in patients with PCOS, suggesting the need for reviewing the management guidelines and psychological health assessment of women with PCOS.
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0224000
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0223363
Abstract:This study aimed to identify the relationships between clinical impairments and gait deviations in children with cerebral palsy (CP). A retrospective convenience sample of 367 children with CP was selected (3–18 years old) and divided in two groups based on clinical symptomatology [unilateral (uCP) / bilateral CP (bCP), (n = 167/200)]. All children underwent a three-dimensional gait analysis and a standardized clinical examination. Gait was inspected on a vector level (all sagittal motions combined), and an individual joint level (pelvis, hip, knee and ankle joint motions). Statistical non-parametric mapping was applied to identify specific parts of the gait cycle displaying relationships between the gait deviations of both groups and the impairment scores of spasticity, weakness, selectivity, and passive range of motion. Impairment scores were summarized in two ways: a) composite impairment scores (e.g. combined spasticity of all assessed muscles acting around the hip, knee and ankle joints) and b) joint specific impairment scores (e.g. spasticity of the muscles acting around the knee joint). Results showed that the vector and most of the individual motions were related to the composite scores. Direct and carry-over relationships were found between certain individual motions and joint impairment scores (around the same or neighboring joints, respectively). All correlations were more prominent for children with bCP compared to uCP, especially regarding the relationships of gait deviations with weakness and reduced selectivity. In conclusion, this study enabled the mapping of relationships between clinical impairments and gait deviations in children with CP, by identifying specific parts of the gait cycle that are related to each of these impairments. These results provide a comprehensive description of these relationships, while simultaneously highlighting the differences between the two CP groups. Integration of these findings could lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of gait deviations and, eventually, support individualized treatment planning.
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0222885
Abstract:The purpose of our present study was to assess the prognostic impact of FDG PET-CT after induction chemotherapy for patients with inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This retrospective study included 50 patients with inoperable stage II/III NSCLC from January 2012 to July 2015. They were treated for curative intent with induction chemotherapy, followed by concomitant chemoradiation therapy or sequential radiation therapy. FDG PET-CT scans were acquired at initial staging (PET1) and after the last cycle of induction therapy (PET2). Five parameters were evaluated on both scans: SUVmax, SUVpeak, SUVmean, TLG, MTV, and their respective deltas. The prognostic value of each parameter for overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) was evaluated with Cox proportional-hazards regression models. Median follow-up was 19 months. PET1 parameters, clinical and histopathological data were not predictive of the outcome. TLG2 and ΔTLG were prognostic factors for OS. TLG2 was the only prognostic factor for PFS. For OS, log-rank test showed that there was a better prognosis for patients with TLG2< 69g (HR = 7.1, 95%CI 2.8–18, p = 0.002) and for patients with ΔTLG< -81% after induction therapy (HR = 3.8, 95%CI 1.5–9.6, p = 0.02). After 2 years, the survival rate was 89% for the patients with low TLG2 vs 52% for the others. We also evaluated a composite parameter considering both MTV2 and ΔSUVmax. Patients with MTV2> 23cc and ΔSUVmax> -55% had significantly shorter OS than the other patients (HR = 5.7, 95%CI 2.1–15.4, p< 0.01). Post-induction FDG PET might be an added value to assess the patients’ prognosis in inoperable stage II/III NSCLC. TLG, ΔTLG as well as the association of MTV and ΔSUVmax seemed to be valuable parameters, more accurate than clinical, pathological or pretherapeutic imaging data.
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0223360
Abstract:Under the current policy decision making paradigm we make or evaluate a policy decision by intervening different socio-economic parameters and analyzing the impact of those interventions. This process involves identifying the causal relation between interventions and outcomes. Matching method is one of the popular techniques to identify such causal relations. However, in one-to-one matching, when a treatment or control unit has multiple pair assignment options with similar match quality, different matching algorithms often assign different pairs. Since all the matching algorithms assign pairs without considering the outcomes, it is possible that with the same data and same hypothesis, different experimenters can reach different conclusions creating an uncertainty in policy decision making. This problem becomes more prominent in the case of large-scale observational studies as there are more pair assignment options. Recently, a robust approach has been proposed to tackle the uncertainty that uses an integer programming model to explore all possible assignments. Though the proposed integer programming model is very efficient in making robust causal inference, it is not scalable to big data observational studies. With the current approach, an observational study with 50,000 samples will generate hundreds of thousands binary variables. Solving such integer programming problem is computationally expensive and becomes even worse with the increase of sample size. In this work, we consider causal inference testing with binary outcomes and propose computationally efficient algorithms that are adaptable for large-scale observational studies. By leveraging the structure of the optimization model, we propose a robustness condition that further reduces the computational burden. We validate the efficiency of the proposed algorithms by testing the causal relation between the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) and non-index readmissions (i.e., readmission to a hospital that is different from the hospital that discharged the patient) from the State of California Patient Discharge Database from 2010 to 2014. Our result shows that HRRP has a causal relation with the increase in non-index readmissions. The proposed algorithms proved to be highly scalable in testing causal relations from large-scale observational studies.
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0223783
Abstract:Starch is synthesized from a series of reactions catalyzed by enzymes. ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) initiates the synthesis pathway and synthesizes ADP-glucose, the substrate of starch synthase (SS), of which SSIV is an isoform. Mutations of the AGPase subunit and SSIV-coding genes affect starch content and cause variation in the number of granules. Here, we pyramided the functional mutation alleles of the AGPase subunit gene TaAGP.L-B1 and the SSIV-coding gene TaSSIVb-D to elucidate their synergistic effects on other key starch biosynthesis genes and their impact on starch content. Both the TaAGP.L-B1 and TaSSIVb-D genes were expressed in wheat grain development, and the expression level of TaAGP.L-B1 was higher than that of TaSSIVb-D. The TaAGP.L-B1 gene was downregulated in the agp.L-B1 single and agp.L-B1/ssIV-D double mutants at 12 to 18 days after flowering (DAF). TaSSIVb-D expression was significantly reduced at 6 DAF in both ssIV-D single and double mutants. In the agp.L-B1/ssIV-D double mutant, TaGBSSII was upregulated, while TaAGPSS, TaSSI, and TaSBEII were downregulated. Under the interaction of these genes, the total starch and amylopectin contents were significantly decreased in agp.L-B1 and agp.L-B1/ssIV-D mutants. The results suggested that the mutations of TaAGP.L-B1 and TaSSIVb-D genes resulted in variation in the expression patterns of the other four starch synthetic genes and led to a reduction in starch and amylopectin contents. These mutants could be used further as germplasm for resistant starch analysis.
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0223625
Abstract:Fitting cochlear implants, especially the precise determination of electrical hearing thresholds, is a time-consuming and complex task for patients as well as audiologists. Aim of the study was to develop a method that enables cochlear implant (CI) patients to determine their electrical hearing thresholds precisely and independently. Applicability and impact of this method on speech perception in noise at soft speech levels were evaluated. An adaptive psychoacoustic procedure for precise hearing threshold determination (precT) was implemented using MatLab (MathWorks) and a graphical user interface was created. Sound signals were calibrated with a CIC4-Implant-Decoder. Study design: A prospective study including 15 experienced adult cochlear implant users was conducted. Electrical hearing thresholds were determined using the automated precT procedure (auto-precT). Speech perception in noise at 50 dB SPL presentation levels was measured for three conditions: (P1) T-levels kept at the previously established T-levels; (P2) T-levels set to the hearing thresholds determined using auto-precT application; (P3) T-levels set 10 cu below the values determined with auto-precT. All subjects were able to perform the auto-precT application independently. T-levels were altered on average by an absolute value of 10.5 cu using auto-precT. Median speech reception thresholds were significantly improved from 2.5 dB SNR (P1) to 1.6 dB SNR (P2, p = 0.02). Speech perception was lowest using the globally lowered T-levels, median 2.9 dB SNR (P3, not significant compared to P1 and P2). The applicability of the developed auto-precT application was confirmed in the present clinical study. Patients benefited from adjusting previously established T-levels to the threshold levels determined by the auto-precT application. The integration of the application in the clinical fitting routine as well as a remote fitting software approach is recommended. Furthermore, future possibilities of auto-precT include the implementation of the application on tablets or smart phones.
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0221538
Abstract:Brain metastasis is a major distant metastasis occurring in patients with advanced breast cancer, and is associated with poor prognosis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have a strong influence on various oncological functions and have been reported as potential biomarkers for detecting distant metastasis. Specific biomarkers and unique miRNAs for brain metastasis have yet to be reported. The aim of this study was to identify novel miRNAs in serum, to assist in the diagnosis of brain metastasis in patients with advanced breast cancer. We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of patients with breast cancer and collected clinical data. In addition, we evaluated serum miRNA profiles in patients with breast cancer, with and without brain metastasis, using high-sensitivity microarrays. All patients underwent computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging brain imaging tests. A total of 51 serum samples from patients with breast cancer and brain metastasis, stored in the National Cancer Center Biobank, were used, and 28 serum samples were obtained from controls without brain metastasis. Two miRNAs, miR-4428 and miR-4480, could significantly distinguish patients with brain metastasis, with area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) values of 0.779 and 0.781, respectively, while a combination of miR-4428 and progesterone receptor had an AUC value of 0.884. No significant correlations were identified between the expression levels of these two miRNAs in serum and clinical data. We conclude that serum miR-4428 and miR-4480 may be useful as biomarkers for predicting brain metastasis in patients with breast cancer.
PLOS ONE, Volume 14; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0223772
Abstract:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to motor weakness. There is no cure, and treatment focuses on slowing down progression, which is achieved by a multidisciplinary approach. Hence, it is vital to understand the population needs for an optimal management of the disease. To evaluate the current status of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the region of Catalonia, how the disease is managed and its direct medical costs. Records corresponding to 841 patients diagnosed between the year 2007 and 2017 were analysed in a retrospective population-based study, including data from primary care centres, hospitals (inpatient and outpatient care), extended care facilities and mental health centres. Mean diagnosis age was 66.11 years (SD = 12.61) and 52.79% of admitted patients were males. On average, 14.91 months elapsed between diagnosis and death, and the mean age of death was 72.64 years (SD = 12.00). Patients were admitted 10.70 times per year, mostly into primary care (86.50%), although most expenses were concentrated in hospital inpatient care. The mean cost per patient per year was €1,168. The 83.24% of patients had more than 4 systems affected by chronic conditions. Primary care is of utmost importance in ALS attention in Catalonia, which may have a direct impact in reducing hospitalisation costs. Nonetheless, the expenses linked to inpatient care represent the biggest portion of total costs. Patients’ healthcare usage patterns and the high proportion of patients with multiple chronic conditions should be taken into account in order to adapt and improve guidelines and healthcare systems.