Background: The use of parental donors in pediatric haploidentical hematopoietic cell transplantation is increasing, but research on the psychosocial impact of parental donation is currently limited. We conducted a retrospective, qualitative study to explore parental perceptions of the donation process and the impact of being a donor (or non-donor) on parents’ adjustment and coping with their child’s transplant experience. Methods: Parents/caregivers of children who underwent transplantation with a parental donor or a matched unrelated donor (N = 136) participated in interviews and completed an open-ended questionnaire. Both bereaved parents and parents of survivors were surveyed. Results: Six themes were identified in the data: level of understanding and satisfaction; perception of choice; preparation for donation; perceptions of donation and infusion; benefit-finding; and psychological impact of transplantation. Most parents were satisfied with the information they received and reported a good understanding of transplantation and donation procedures. Parents were divided on perspectives of choice, but their responses reflect that the necessity of saving their child’s life does not allow for choice. They described considerable effort to prepare for transplantation, physically, emotionally, and logistically. Parents acknowledged the psychological impact while identifying positive outcomes that resulted from their child’s transplant journey. Conclusions: Results highlight the unique experiences of parental donors and non-donors from the anticipation phase to the completion of their child’s transplant. Additionally, findings inform supportive care guidance by highlighting the need to assess parental donors’ emotional functioning, provide support post-donation, and conduct bereavement follow-up.
Background Collecting symptom, function and adverse event (AE) data directly from children and adolescents undergoing cancer care is more comprehensive and accurate than relying solely on their caregivers or clinicians for their interpretations. We developed the Pediatric Patient-Reported Outcomes version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (Ped-PRO-CTCAE) measurement system with input from children, parents, and clinicians. Here we report how we determined the recommended Ped-PRO-CTCAE item scoring approach. Methods Scoring approaches compared were 1) at the AE attribute (frequency, severity, interference) using ordinal and dichotomous measures, 2) a weighted composite AE item score by AE attribute (0.5 - frequency; 1.0 - severity; 1.5 - interference), and 3) overall number of AEs endorsed. Associations of each AE attribute, AE item score and overall AE score with the PROMIS® Pediatric measures of anxiety, depressive symptoms, and fatigue were examined. The ability of the overall Ped-Pro-CTCAE AE score to identify patients with PROMIS symptom T-scores worse than reference population scores was assessed. Clinician preference for score information display was elicited through interviews. Results The diverse scoring approaches yielded similar outcomes, including positive correlations of the Ped-PRO-CTCAE attributes, AE item score, and the overall AEs score with the PROMIS Pediatric measures. Clinicians preferred the most granular display of scoring information (actual score reported by the child and corresponding descriptive term). Conclusions Although three scoring approaches yielded similar results, we recommend the AE attribute level of one score per Ped-Pro-CTCAE AE attribute for its simplicity of use in clinical care and research.
We compared psychosocial functioning of children with cancer and their caregivers in several phases of the COVID-19 pandemic to before COVID-19. One or more questionnaires on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) or fatigue of children or distress of their caregivers was available from 1644 families. In children with cancer, HRQoL was stable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Fatigue was slightly lower and sleep somewhat better during the pandemic than before. Caregiver distress was lower in the first pandemic phase, but increased to pre-COVID-19 levels in later phases, indicating that the length and consequences of the pandemic may be weighing on them.
SUMMARY Neutropenia is a generic term that indicates a reduction of neutrophils below the threshold for age and race. This condition encompasses a number of diseases with a wide range of duration and severity. In the present paper, the approach to diagnosis and treatment of neutropenia has been reviewed and implemented with the knowledge acquired during the last decade, by a group of experts, 10 years after the first publication. The diagnostic itinerary highlights the most important tools available to define the type of neutropenia and updates the list of genes causative of the disease. In addition, the present paper underlines the progresses towards a better definition of “primary autoimmune neutropenia” without remission which often hides different diseases. Moreover, indications on how to speed up neutropenia diagnosis and the indications to perform the bone marrow examination in the genetic forms, are given. The management and treatment of the “well-known” diseases and “special situations” are also reviewed giving literature derived and expert opinion-based suggestions tailored on the single patient/diagnosis.
It is unfortunately true that clinicians lack the necessary evidence to know how to use medications properly in large sections of the population, and we do not have optimal drugs to use in many Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). NTD’s often disproportionately affect neglected populations such as children and pregnant women. As reliable access to safe, effective preventives and treatments can break the cycle of poverty, illness, and ensuing debility that further perpetuates poverty, it is of paramount importance to investigate and develop new medicines for neglected populations suffering from NTDs. Furthermore, there is not only a need to develop and evaluate novel therapies, but also to ensure that these are affordable, available, and adapted to the communities who need them. With this editorial, the British Pharmacological Society hereby launches a call for high-quality articles focusing on NTDs in special populations, to facilitate the reversal of this dual neglect.
Low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) face unique challenges with regard to the establishment of robust pharmacovigilance systems capable of generating data to inform healthcare policy and practice. These include the limited integration and reliance of pharmacovigilance systems across LMIC despite recent efforts to harmonize pharmacovigilance rules and regulations in several regional economic communities; the need to translate reporting tools into numerous local languages; low numbers of healthcare providers relative to number of patients, with very short consultation times; scarcity of well-trained pharmacovigilance personnel with little or no budgetary support for these activities from national governments; high turnover of pharmacovigilance staff whose training involves a substantial amount of resources; little awareness of pharmacovigilance among healthcare workers, decision makers and consumers; very low spontaneous reporting rates with poor quality reports which hinders robust signal detection analyses; little collaboration between public health programmes and national medicines regulatory authorities; limited investment in pharmacovigilance activities especially during mass drug administration for neglected tropical diseases; high uptake of herbal and traditional medication, mostly by self-medication; disruptive political conflicts jeopardizing fragile systems; and little or no access to drug utilization data which makes it difficult to reliably estimate the true safety risks of medicine use. This review summarises the specific challenges and areas of progress in pharmacovigilance in LMIC with special focus on the situation in Africa.
In order to meet increasing food demands in the future, we will need to improve the current crop productivity. Abiotic stresses like drought and salinity are major factors resulting in crop yield losses and soil degradation worldwide. Recent studies suggest that seaweed-based biostimulants could be a solution for this problem. Here we summarise the current findings of using these biostimulants and highlight current knowledge gaps. Seaweed extracts were shown to enhance nutrient uptake and improve growth performance in crops under stressed and normal conditions. Seaweed extracts contain phytohormones, polysaccharides, polyphenols, lipids, amino acids and proteins. Although it has been shown that some of these compounds are active and have growth-promoting properties on plants, their underlying molecular mechanism of action and optimal applications especially in crops exposed to abiotic stress remains understudied. Seaweed extracts were shown to also improve protein content of crops and contribute to a healthy soil by facilitating water retention, soil aeration and nutrient availability, thereby promoting plant growth. In this paper we review the role of these extracts and their bioactive compounds as plant biostimulants. The targeted application to improve crop performance and the impact of seaweed extracts for enhancing the protein content of crops are discussed.
Salt stress is a major limiting factor that severely affects the survival and growth of crops. It is important to understand the salt tolerance ability of Brassica napus and explore the underlying related genetic resources. We used a high-throughput phenotyping platform to quantify 2,111 image-based traits (i-traits) of a natural population under 3 different salt stress conditions and an intervarietal substitution line (ISL) population under 9 different stress conditions to monitor and evaluate the salt stress tolerance of B. napus over time. We finally identified 928 high-quality i-traits associated with the salt stress tolerance of B. napus. Moreover, we mapped the salt stress-related loci in the natural population via a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and performed a linkage analysis associated with the ISL population, respectively. The results revealed 234 candidate genes associated with salt stress response, and two novel candidate genes, BnCKX5 and BnERF3, were experimentally verified to regulate the salt stress tolerance of B. napus. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using high-throughput phenotyping-based QTL mapping to accurately and comprehensively quantify i-traits associated with B. napus. The mapped loci could be used for genomics-assisted breeding to genetically improve the salt stress tolerance of B. napus.
In leaf gas exchange measurements, cuticular conductance to water (gcw) is indistinguishable from and included in stomatal conductance to water vapor (gsw). Here we developed a simple technique to isolate gcw by directly measuring leaf intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci(m)) along with gas exchange during photosynthetic light induction. We derived stomatal conductance to CO2 (gsc(m)) from the Ci(m) independently of gsw. Plotting gsw against gsc(m) during the early induction phase within ~10 min, we found a highly linear relationship with a positive intercept. Assuming negligible cuticular CO2 transport, complete stomatal closure occurs when gsc(m)=0. Then, we considered the residual gsw (i.e., intercept) as gcw. Indeed, these gcw estimates succeeded in correcting the calculation. Our technique, owing to its robustness and increased throughput, will allow for more rapid screening of crops, more reliable gas exchange analysis, and more accurate prediction of plant function under natural environmental conditions.
Climate change has the potential to alter plant reproductive success directly and indirectly through disruptions in animal pollination. Climate models project altered seasonal precipitation patterns and thus the effects of climate change on available resources and pollination services will depend on the season. Plants have evolved reproductive strategies to minimize pollen and resource limitations, and therefore we expect that the disruption of climate change might cause plants to be more pollen limited in seasons that become wetter than they were historically. In this study, we conducted a pollen supplementation experiment within the Global Change Experiment Facility (GCEF) in Central Germany. The GCEF experimentally manipulates future climate based on a realistic scenario of climate change for the region (drier summers and wetter springs and falls) in a native grassland ecosystem. We quantified seed production of two perennial species Dianthus carthusianorum and Scabiosa ochroleuca in response to pollination treatments (control, supplement), climate treatments (ambient and future) and season (summer and fall). Dianthus carthusianorum produced more seeds in future climate conditions independent of the season, but only when given supplemental pollen. Both species showed an increased reproduction in summer compared to the fall. We did not find any evidence for our expectation of higher pollen limitation in the future climate and fall season (i.e. no three-way interaction pollination x season x climate), which might be explained by the high drought tolerance and generalized pollination of our focal plant species. We conclude that plant reproductive success might be limited by the services of animal pollinators in future climates, and have many suggestions for future studies that are necessary to understand the context-dependence and underlying mechanisms of plant reproductive responses to climate.
The trade-off between within-host infection load and transmission to new hosts is predicted to constrain pathogen evolution, and to maintain polymorphism in pathogen populations. The life-history stages and their correlations that underpin infection development may change under coinfection with other parasites as they compete for the same limited host resources. Cross-kingdom interactions are common among pathogens in both natural and cultivated systems yet their impact on disease ecology and evolution are rarely studied. Host plant Plantago lanceolata is naturally infected by both Phompopsis subordinaria, a seed killing fungus, as well as Plantago lanceolata latent virus (PlLV) in the Åland Islands, SW Finland. We performed an inoculation assay to test whether coinfection with PlLV affects performance of two P. subordinaria strains, and the correlation between within-host infection load and transmission potential. The strains differed in the measured life-history traits and their correlations. Moreover, we found that under virus coinfection, within-host infection load of P. subordinaria was lower but transmission potential was higher compared to strains under single infection. The negative correlation between within-host infection load and transmission potential detected under single infection became positive under coinfection with PlLV. In wild populations, within-host infection load was positively associated with within-population disease prevalence. Jointly, our results suggest that the trade-off between within-host infection load and transmission may be strain specific, and that the pathogen life-history that underpin epidemics may change depending on the diversity of infection, generating variation in disease dynamics.
The characteristics of macroinvertebrate community structure can effectively reflect the health status of lake ecosystem and the quality of the lake ecological environment. It is of great significance to identify the limiting factors of macroinvertebrate community structure for the maintenance of lake ecosystem health. In this study, the community composition of macroinvertebrate assemblages and their relationships with environmental variables in 13 small lakes within Linhuan Lake was investigated. Self-organizing map, K-means clustering analysis, principal component analysis, pearson correlation analysis, and redundancy analysis were used to analyze the correlation and variability between macroinvertebrates community index and environmental factors. The results showed that the environmental variables (pH, total phosphorus, nitrate, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, chemical oxygen demand, and ammonium) had a significant effect on the classification of macroinvertebrate community. Molluscs were significantly negatively correlated with pH and chlorophyll a, while annelids and aquatic insects were significantly positively correlated with chlorophyll a and dissolved oxygen. Species richness and Shannon’s diversity of macroinvertebrates were significantly negatively correlated with total phosphorus while biomass of macroinvertebrates was significantly negatively correlated with pH. High alkalinity characteristics and eutrophication of the lake have a serious impact on the macroinvertebrate community. Human interference and unreasonable industrial and surface runoff from agricultural farms destroy the ecological environment and affect the community structure of macroinvertebrate. Thus, the improvement of the macroinvertebrate’s community structure should be carried out by improving the Lianhuan Lake watershed ecological environment and controlling watershed environmental pollution.
Investigating the determinants of reproductive biology of fishes is an essential component of biological research. Breeding pattern was investigated to determine the impact of exotic Oreochromis niloticus on the native congeneric Oreochromis macrochir in the upper Kabompo River. Gonado-somatic index and sex ratio was used to investigate the breeding pattern in both invaded (where O. niloticus is present) and uninvaded (where O. niloticus is absent) sections of the river. Oreochromis macrochir was the only native congeneric species found in both sections. Results showed that the overall gonado-somatic index means for both sexes of O. macrochir in both sections were similar. For O. niloticus in invaded section indicated all year reproduction though reduced spawning in cold season (May-June), but with increased spawning activity in wet season (February-March). In O. macrochir, males and females were found breeding in both dry and wet seasons only, as for cold season no reproduction was recorded. Sex ratio (females: males) was 1:1.3 and 1:1.7 for O. niloticus and O. macrochir respectively, and both significantly deviated from the sex ratio of 1:1 (ꭓ2=8.42 and 9.37; p<0.05). Oreochromis niloticus formed the most abundant fish caught 221(63.5%) than O. macrochir 127(36.5%). Our study has revealed that O. niloticus was able to spawn in all seasons with 23% higher breeding population than O. macrochir, which explains the suppression in the abundance. We expect O. niloticus to invade further downstream of the Kabompo River due to natural dispersion.
Abstract Predator/Parasitoid functional response is one of the main tools used to study predation behaviour, and in assessing the potential of biological control candidates. It is generally accepted that predator learning in prey searching and manipulation can produce the appearance of type III functional response. Holling proposed that in the presence of alternative prey, at some point the predator would shift the preferred prey, leading to the appearance of a sigmoid function that characterized that functional response. This is supported by the analogy between enzyme kinetics and functional response that Holling used as the basis for developing this theory. However, after several decades, sigmoidal functional responses appear in the absence of alternative prey in most of the biological taxa studied. Here, we propose modelling the effect of learning on the functional response by using the explicit incorporation of learning curves in the parameters of the Holling functional response, the attack rate (a), and the manipulation time (h). We then study how the variation in the parameters of the learning curves causes variations in the shape of the functional response curve. We found that the functional response product of learning can be either type I, II or III, depending on what parameters act on the organism, and how much it can learn throughout the length of the study. Therefore the presence of other types of curves should not be automatically associated with the absence of learning. These results are important from an ecological point of view because when type III functional response is associated with learning, it is generally accepted that it can operate as a stabilizing factor in population dynamics. Our results, to the contrary, suggest that depending on how it acts, it may even be destabilizing by generating the appearance of functional responses close to type I.
Movement and demographic rates are critical to the persistence of populations in space and time. Despite their importance, estimates of these processes are often derived from a limited number of populations spanning broad habitat or environmental gradients. With increasing appreciation of the role fine-scale environmental variation in microgeographic adaptation, there is need and value to assessing within-site variation in movement, growth, and demographic rates. In this study, we analyze three years of spatial capture-recapture data collected from a mixed-use deciduous forest site in central Ohio, USA. Study plots were situated in mature forest on a slope and in successional forest on a ridge but were separated by less than 100-m distance. Our data showed that the density of salamanders was less on ridges, which corresponded with greater distance between nearest neighbors, less overlap in core use areas, greater space-use, and greater shifts in activity centers when compared to salamander occupying the slope habitat. However, these differences were moderate. In contrast, we estimated growth rates of salamanders occupying the ridge to be significantly greater than salamander on the slope. These differences result in ridge salamanders reaching maturity more than one year earlier than slope salamanders, increasing their lifetime fecundity by as much as 43%. The patterns we observed in space use and growth are likely the result of density-dependent processes, reflecting differences in resource availability or quality. Our study highlights how fine-scale, within-site, variation can shape population demographics. As research into the demographic and population consequences of climate change and habitat loss and alteration continue, future research should take care to acknowledge the role that fine-scale variation may play, especially for organisms with small home ranges or limited vagility.
Research that has been conducted documenting species richness patterns on tropical mountains has resulted in conflicting observations: monotonic declines with increasing elevation, monotonic increase with increasing elevation, and a mid-elevation ‘bulge.’ Currently, it is unclear if these differences are due to environmental differences associated with the various study areas, the taxonomic groups or ecological groups (e.g., growth form) sampled, or the scale of the study area along an elevation gradient. Because of the difficulty in sampling and identifying canopy-dwelling plants, the number of inventories quantifying tropical epiphytes is relatively limited and recent. In this study, we provide a detailed qualitative and quantitative assessment of the vascular epiphyte flora and its spatial distribution on Volcán Maderas, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua, including weather and environmental measurements along the entire elevation gradient of the volcano. We sampled epiphytes in five distinct forest types associated with increasing elevation as follows: dry forest, humid forest, wet forest, cloud forest, and elfin forest Five weather stations were placed along the elevation gradient for us to relate observed patterns to environmental conditions. A hump-shaped species richness pattern was detected for all vascular epiphytes at approximately 1000 m in elevation (cloud forest), yet species abundance increased with increasing elevation. In total we obtained 206 unique species identifications of vascular epiphytes belonging to 26 families and 73 genera. The most species-rich family was the Orchidaceae with 55 species for the entire elevation gradient, followed by Bromeliaceae (29 species), Araceae (23), Polypodiaceae (25), Dryopteridaceae (16), and Piperaceae (11), with all other families respresented by fewer than 10 species each. We found that richness patterns differ phylogenetically within epiphytes, possibly due to different adaptive strategies, and species for the most part appear to be narrowly distributed within specific habitat zones along the elevation gradient.
A novel adaptive refined grid search strategy is developed for representative characterization of process feasible region boundaries and accurate estimation of its hypervolume. In particular, a linked list data structure adopted from the field of computer science is used to maintain the grid connectivity information. A uniform perturbation scheme is used to refine the search only near boundaries. The volumetric flexibility index FI_V is calculated directly from a summation of feasible hypercubes in the grid, without the need to apply shape reconstruction techniques. The proposed adaptive grid search strategy can capture complex region shapes with reduced sampling costs and without randomness for better reproducibility. Operational flexibility is optimized traditionally at a process scale. A case study on refrigerant selection is presented to demonstrated that the developed strategy could be combined within a computer-aided molecular design framework for operational flexibility optimization in molecular scale.
In this study, a CFD mathematical model has been developed for catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) of biomass. The multi-phase fluid flow, and the inter-phase momentum and energy transfer processes were modelled with Eulerian multi-phase formulas. The biomass catalyst fast pyrolysis reactions were described by using a two-stage, semi-global model. Specified secondary tar catalytic cracking process, which considers both intrinsic reaction rates and mass transfer process are embedded to the developed model by user-defined function (UDF). The developed model has then been employed to investigate the effects of structural properties of catalyst, such as specific internal area, average size of active sites, pore diameter, and tortuosity, on products yields and composition. The influences of adsorption capability of tar molecule on catalyst surface and external film mass transfer were also analyzed. The developed model can be employed for further research and engineering designs of the catalyst pyrolysis of carbonaceous materials.