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Isaac Sarfo

and 9 more

Changes in land cover have persisted throughout the history of mankind, and are the direct and indirect consequence of human actions to secure essential resources. Understanding direct and indirect factors that influence land use cover change (LUCC) is essential for modelling future LUCC in developing countries. The study analyses local drivers of LUCC in Southwestern Ghana using the mixed-method approach. The approach aided in identifying key drivers of LUCC, using different research strategies for comparisons through confidence level analysis and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). We used expert interviews, literature review and geostatistical tools to ascertain causative factors triggering such unprecedented changes. Geospatial analysis depicted a decline in forests (-1.65 km2yr-1.) and areas covered by water bodies (-0.55 km2yr-1.). A remarkable increase in built-up (+25.77 km2yr-1.) and farmlands/shrubs (+7.4km2yr-1.) areas were also observed. Population growth, expansion of settlements and infrastructure, coupled with agricultural expansion are at the centre of the LUCC-environment nexus, based on the confidence level table. A steady increase in surface temperature can be attributed to the unprecedented LUCC over the past 50 years. Socio-economic development in Southwestern Ghana is fuelling interest in the relation between LUCC and environmental change. Biophysical, cultural and technological factors are also considered key drivers despite the “medium-to-very low confidence” in results generated. They could potentially impact climate-sensitive sectors that significantly modify land-use systems from the pessimists and optimist’s perspective. We, therefore, propose further analyses of LUCC drivers with medium to very low confidence levels.

Rubab Nafees Ahmed

and 6 more

Background: CRC incidence is increasing in our region. There is no specific CRC control program or national cancer registry in Pakistan. Previously no data has been published on presentation and diagnosis delay of CRC in our region. This study is conducted to determine the factor affecting delay in presentation and diagnosis and to provide baseline information to launch a CRC control program. Primary objective is to determine factor causing delay in diagnosis of CRC. Secondary objective is to evaluate relationship between tumor site and stage of CRC with presenting symptoms and symptom duration. Methods: This project is a prospective cross-sectional study on 113 biopsy-proven CRC patients admitted to the surgical ward of civil hospital Karachi. Results: A total number of participants was 113. Presentation delay was observed in 83.2% of patients. The main reasons for a reported delay in the presentation were lack of patients’ knowledge that these symptoms may be cancer (60.4%), the wrong diagnosis by the primary physician (34.6%), or the patient didn’t want to visit the doctor (0.04%). Most tumors (95%) originated from the sigmoid and rectum. 38.9% and 44.2% of the patients diagnosed at Stage 4 and 3 respectively. Conclusions: This study revealed that CRC patients in Pakistan are facing delays in presentation and diagnosis. This is the reason behind diagnosis at the advanced stage with a poor prognosis. Based on this study findings CRC control program should be introduced to detect CRC at an early stage. Keywords: Colorectal cancer, Colon, Rectum, Cancer, Presentation delay, Diagnosis delay.


and 1 more

Introduction:Gasrtric cancer is a major global public health problem. It is the fourth most common cancer and the second cause of cancer-related deaths worldwire. Despite advances in the field of medical and radiation oncology, surgical resection is crucial intervention and remains the mainstay the gold standard treatment. Recently, the effects of anesthesia method(s) and/or anesthetic agent(s) on survival for different types of cancers gained attention. So we want to summarize the evidences of anesthesia methods and/or anesthetic agents prefererred for gastric cancer surgery on the survival. Material-method: Web of Science software was used for the search and the analysis. To analyse scientific productivity of all scientific papers published about survival of patients due to the anesthesia methods or anesthetic agents on gastric cancer in Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-E) from 1980 to December 5 th, 2020; the date of the search, were searched by using the terms of “gastric cancer”, “survival” and “anesthesia” in the topic search section of the software. Results: Overall fifteeen papers were related to our topic. Four of these studies compared TIVA with general anesthesia; five of these compared general anesthesia with general anesthesia combined with epidural anesthesia/analgesia for gastric cancer, three of these studies investigated effect of anesthetic agents for gastric cells in in vitro conditions. Other publications were review on this topic. Conclusion: The important role of anesthesia in treatment of gastric cancer patients, is still controversial. Further prospective randomized studies are needed.

Arianna Dondi

and 10 more

Background: Asthma exacerbations, a common reason for Pediatric Emergency Department (PED) referral, can be triggered by multiple factors, including infections, air pollution and allergens. Lockdown measures and other public health interventions during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic determined radical changes to behavioral and social habits, that were reflected by a reduction in the transmission of all respiratory pathogens and in the emissions of relevant air pollution anthropogenic sources. Objective: This study aims to describe how restrictions during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic impacted the PED referral for asthma exacerbations and their potentially associated environmental triggers in densely populated urban areas. Methods: PED referrals for acute asthma from 2015 to 2020 were compared to air pollution and pollen data. To this purpose, historical daily concentration records of PM2.5, PM10 (including specific chemical tracers), as well as NO2, C6H6, tree, grass and weed pollen were analyzed. Results: In 2020, asthma-related PED referrals decreased up to 85%, compared to the average referral rate of the previous 5 years (P<0.01). The drastic drop in PED referrals was associated with a reduction of high-priority cases by 50-60%, unlike PED referrals for overall diagnoses, showing a larger contribution for severe outcomes. A concomitant diminished contribution of traffic-related air pollution was shown. Conclusions: The lower rate of asthma exacerbations in childhood can be related to synergic interactions of the multiple effects of lockdown measures which induced lower viral infection rates and decreased exposure to outdoor allergens. The reduction of traffic-related air pollution determined a weakening of inflammatory properties of urban PM.

Maria Schaffer

and 10 more

Purpose: The long-term management of childhood cancer survivors is complex. Electronic health (eHealth) technology has the potential to significantly improve the management of late effects for childhood cancer survivors and assist their General Practitioners (GP) to coordinate their care. We assessed the acceptability of and perceived benefits and barriers to eHealth use amongst survivors, parents, and GPs. Methods: We conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with survivors of childhood cancer, parents of childhood cancer survivors and their nominated GP. We described a hypothetical eHealth tool and asked participants how likely they would use the tool to manage their survivorship care and their perceived benefits and concerns for use of the tool. We used content analysis to synthesise the data using QSR NVivo12. Results: We interviewed 31 survivors (mean age: 27.0), 29 parents (survivors’ mean age: 12.6) and 51 GPs (mean years practising: 28.2). Eighty-five percent of survivors and parents (n=51), and 75% of GPs (n=38) indicated that they would be willing to use an eHealth tool. Survivors and parents reported that an eHealth tool would increase their confidence in their ability, and their GP’s ability, to manage their survivorship care. GPs agreed that an eHealth tool would provide easier access to survivors’ medical information and increase their capacity to provide support during survivorship. 7% of GPs (n= 4) and 43% of survivors (n=26) reported being hesitant to use eHealth tools due to privacy/security concerns. Conclusion: Overall, eHealth tools were reported to be acceptable to childhood cancer survivors, their parents, and their GPs.

Anne Lewerentz

and 2 more

Investigating diversity gradients helps to understand biodiversity drivers and threats. However, one diversity gradient is seldomly assessed, namely how plant species distribute along the depth gradient of lakes. Here, we provide the first in-depth characterization of depth diversity gradients (DDG) of submerged macrophytes across different lakes. We characterize the DDG for additive richness components (alpha, beta, gamma), assess environmental drivers and address temporal change over recent years. We take advantage of yet the largest dataset of macrophyte occurrence along lake depth (274 depth transects across 28 deep lakes) as well as of physio-chemical measurements (12 deep lakes from 2006 to 2017 across Bavaria), provided publicly online by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment. We found a high variability in DDG shapes across the study lakes. The DDG for alpha and gamma richness are predominantly hump-shaped, while beta richness shows a decreasing DDG. Generalized additive mixed-effect models indicate that the maximum alpha richness within the depth transect (Rmax) is significantly influenced by lake area only, whereas for the corresponding depth (Dmax) are influenced by light quality, light quantity and layering depth. Most observed DDGs seem generally stable over recent years. However, for single lakes we found significant linear trends for Rmax and Dmax going into different directions. The observed hump-shaped DDGs agree with three competing hypotheses: the mid-domain effect, the mean-disturbance hypothesis, and the mean-productivity hypothesis. The DDG amplitude seems driven by lake area (thus following known species-area relationships), whereas skewness depended on physio-chemical factors, mainly water transparency and layering depth. Our results provide insights for conservation strategies and for mechanistic frameworks to disentangle competing explanatory hypotheses for the DDG.

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Mohammed Al-Sadawi

and 7 more

Abstract: Background: This meta-analysis assessed the relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and echocardiographic parameters of diastolic dysfunction (DD), which are used in the assessment of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF). Methods: We searched the databases including Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and EBSCO CINAHL from inception up to December 26th, 2020. The search was not restricted to time, publication status or language. Comparisons were made between patients with OSA, diagnosed in-laboratory polysomnography (PSG) or home sleep apnea testing (HSAT), and patients without OSA in relation to established markers of diastolic dysfunction. Results: Primary search identified 2512 studies. A total of 18 studies including 2509 participants were included. The two groups were free of conventional cardiovascular risk factors. Significant structural changes were observed between the two groups. Patients with OSA exhibited greater LAVI (3.94 CI [0.8, 7.07]; p=0.000) and left ventricular mass index (11.10 CI [2.56,19.65]; p=0.000) as compared to control group. The presence of OSA was also associated with more prolonged DT (10.44 ms CI [0.71,20.16]; p=0.04), IVRT (7.85 ms CI[4.48, 11.22]; p=0.000), and lower E/A ratio (-0.62 CI [-1,-0.24]; p=0.001) suggestive of early DD. The E/e’ ratio (0.94 CI[0.44, 1.45]; p=0.000) was increased. Conclusion: An association between OSA and echocardiographic parameters of DD was detected that was independent of conventional cardiovascular risk factors. OSA may be independently associated with DD perhaps due to higher LV mass. Investigating the role of CPAP therapy in reversing or ameliorating diastolic dysfunction is recommended.

Huseyin Kazan

and 6 more

Objective: To investigate the factors, especially preoperative urinalysis, predicting postoperative early infection after retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS) in 1-2 cm renal stones. Methods: Of the 642 patients who underwent RIRS between September 2013 and July 2019, 289 patients with a total stone size of 1-2 cm were included in the study. Patients were divided into two groups as with and without postoperative urinary tract infection. The demographic data and perioperative findings of all patients were retrospectively reviewed. Sterile urine cultures were obtained in all patients during the preoperative 30-day period and urine analysis values were included in the data. Results: Urinary system infection (UTI) was seen in 20 (6.9%) of 289 patients. Patient demographics were similar between groups. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of stone diameter and stone localization (median diameter 13.5 vs 15, p=0.285). Patients with postoperative UTI had a higher rate of UTI history (55% vs 20.5%, p=0.000) and longer operative times (62.5 vs 60 min., p=0.008). Rate of pyuria, leukocyte esterase and nitrite positivity were observed more frequently in patients with postoperative UTI. In multivariate analysis, UTI history, prolonged operative time, and nitrite positivity were found to be independent risk factors for postoperative UTI. Conclusion: Nitrite positivity in preoperative urinanalysis, history of UTI and prolonged operation time are the factors that predict the postoperative infection in RIRS for stones between 1-2 cm.

Gunter Sturm

and 38 more

Background: There is controversy whether taking β-blockers or ACE inhibitors (ACEI) is a risk factor for more severe systemic insect sting reactions (SSR) and whether it increases the number or severity of adverse events (AE) during venom immunotherapy (VIT). Methods: In this open, prospective, observational, multicenter trial, we recruited patients with a history of a SSR and indication for VIT. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate whether patients taking β-blockers or ACEI show more systemic AE during VIT compared to patients without such treatment. Results: In total, 1,425 patients were enrolled and VIT was performed in 1,342 patients. Of all patients included, 388 (27.2%) took antihypertensive (AHT) drugs (10.4% took β-blockers, 11.9% ACEI, 5.0% β-blockers and ACEI). Only 5.6% of patients under AHT treatment experienced systemic AE during VIT as compared with 7.4% of patients without these drugs (OR: 0.74, 95% CI: 0.43–1.22, p=0.25). The severity of the initial sting reaction was not affected by the intake of β-blockers or ACEI (OR: 1.14, 95% CI: 0.89–1.46, p=0.29). In total, 210 (17.7%) patients were re-stung during VIT and 191 (91.0%) tolerated the sting without systemic symptoms. Of the 19 patients with VIT treatment failure, 4 took β-blockers, none an ACEI. Conclusions: This trial provides robust evidence that taking β-blockers or ACEI does neither increase the frequency of systemic AE during VIT nor aggravate SSR. Moreover, results suggest that these drugs do not impair effectiveness of VIT. (Funded by Medical University of Graz, Austria; number, NCT04269629)

Nazanin Kermani

and 12 more

Background. Patients with severe asthma may have a greater risk of dying from COVID-19 disease. Angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) and the enzyme proteases, transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and FURIN, are needed for viral attachment and invasion into host cells. Methods. We examined microarray mRNA expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2 and FURIN in sputum, bronchial brushing and bronchial biopsies of the European U-BIOPRED cohort. Clinical parameters and molecular phenotypes, including asthma severity, sputum inflammatory cells, lung functions, oral corticosteroid (OCS) use, and transcriptomic-associated clusters, were examined in relation to gene expression levels. Results. ACE2 levels were significantly increased in sputum of severe asthma compared to mild-moderate asthma. In multivariate analyses, sputum ACE2 levels were positively associated with OCS use and male gender. Sputum FURIN levels were significantly related to neutrophils (%) and the presence of severe asthma. In bronchial brushing samples, TMPRSS2 levels were positively associated with male gender and body mass index, whereas FURIN levels with male gender and blood neutrophils. In bronchial biopsies, TMPRSS2 levels were positively related to blood neutrophils. The neutrophilic molecular phenotype characterised by high inflammasome activation expressed significantly higher FURIN levels in sputum than the eosinophilic Type 2-high or the pauci-granulocytic oxidative phosphorylation phenotypes. Conclusion. Levels of ACE2 and FURIN may differ by clinical or molecular phenotypes of asthma. Sputum FURIN expression levels were strongly associated with neutrophilic inflammation and with inflammasome activation. This might indicate the potential for a greater morbidity and mortality outcome from SARS-CoV-2 infection in neutrophilic severe asthma.

Mehmet Pehlivaoğlu

and 5 more

Aim: This study evaluated the effect of intracavitary levobupivacaine infusion diluted with locally applied isotonic solution for pain control in cystoscopy. Methods: Included in this study are 100 patients who had previously undergone transurethral tumor resection for bladder tumor and were followed up by cystoscopy. The patients were randomized into five groups (n = 20). In the first, second, third, and fourth groups, 4, 6, 8, and 10 mL of levobupivacaine HCl (5.0 mg/mL) were mixed with 26, 24, 22, and 20 mL of isotonic solution, respectively. Hence, the total mixture was 30 mL for each group. The fifth group was the control group. In this group, the standard method commonly used in most clinics was utilized. That is, a gel containing Cathejell-2% lidocaine (25 mg lidocaine) was applied. Cystoscopic interventions were performed with a 17.5 Fr rigid cystoscope and 0°, 30°, and 70° lens. During cystoscopy and 30 min later, the pain status of patients was assessed using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and patient satisfaction was questioned. Results: The mean VAS score during and after the cystoscopy procedure was significantly lower in the levobupivacaine groups compared to the lidocaine group. In addition, patient satisfaction in the levobupivacaine groups was significantly higher than in the lidocaine group. No drug-related side-effects were observed in all groups. Conclusion: Thus, levobupivacaine is a more effective drug than lidocaine alone to control pain during cystoscopy. The use of levobupivacaine is recommended to prevent possible complications of general anesthesia by eliminating the need for the aforementioned as well as its cost-saving advantage.

Yanhui Dong

and 4 more

Groundwater age is often used to estimate groundwater recharge through a simplified analytical approach. This estimated recharge is thought to be representative of the mean recharge between the point of entry and the sampling point. However, given the complexity in actual recharge, whether the mean recharge is reasonable is still unclear. This study examined the validity of the method to estimate long-term average groundwater recharge and the possibility of obtaining reasonable spatial recharge pattern. We first validated our model in producing reasonable age distributions using a constant flux boundary condition. We then generated different flow fields and age patterns by using various spatially-varying flux boundary conditions with different magnitudes and wavelengths. Groundwater recharge was estimated and analyzed afterwards using the method at the spatial scale. We illustrated the main findings with a field example in the end. Our results suggest that we can estimate long-term average groundwater recharge with 10% error in many parts of an aquifer. The size of these areas decreases with the increase in both the amplitude and the wavelength. The chance of obtaining a reasonable groundwater recharge is higher if an age sample is collected from the middle of an aquifer and at downstream areas. Our study also indicates that the method can also be used to estimate local groundwater recharge if age samples are collected close to the water table. However, care must be taken to determine groundwater age regardless of conditions.

Xinyi Guan

and 4 more

Adriana Bustamante

and 3 more

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