Experimental production of infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis: comparison of serological and immunological responses using pili fractions of Moraxella bovis.
The effect of vaccinating cattle and mice on the development of keratoconjunctivitis was studied. Cattle were vaccinated with whole cells, disrupted cells and pili fractions of three strains of Moraxella bovis. Mice were vaccinated with pili fractions of three strains. The resistance of all vaccinated animals was challenged with virulent cultures of M. bovis. In an attempt to correlate the response seen after vaccination and challenge with a pili fraction of M. bovis, vaccinated cattle and mice were grouped on the basis of signs of disease manifested and compared on the basis of serological responses. Serum samples were tested for antibodies by a gel diffusion precipitin test. A greater number of the sera of resistant cattle had antibodies to the homologous pili antigen than those of vaccinated nonresistant cattle. Cattle vaccinated with disrupted cells were not resistant to infectious bovine kerato-conjuctivitis and their sera lacked antibodies against the pili antigens. Vaccinated mice were more resistant to infectious bovine kerato-conjuctivitis and their sera lacked antibodies against the pili antigens. Vaccinated mice were more resistant to challenge exposure by homologous than heterologous cultures. A greater number of the sera of resistant mice had antibodies to pili antigens than nonresistant mice. (+info)
A genetic model of substrate deprivation therapy for a glycosphingolipid storage disorder.
Inherited defects in the degradation of glycosphingolipids (GSLs) cause a group of severe diseases known as GSL storage disorders. There are currently no effective treatments for the majority of these disorders. We have explored a new treatment paradigm, substrate deprivation therapy, by constructing a genetic model in mice. Sandhoff's disease mice, which abnormally accumulate GSLs, were bred with mice that were blocked in their synthesis of GSLs. The mice with simultaneous defects in GSL synthesis and degradation no longer accumulated GSLs, had improved neurologic function, and had a much longer life span. However, these mice eventually developed a late-onset neurologic disease because of accumulation of another class of substrate, oligosaccharides. The results support the validity of the substrate deprivation therapy and also highlight some limitations. (+info)
The changing criterion design.
This article describes and illustrates with two case studies a relatively novel form of the multiple-baseline design called the changing criterion design. It also presents the design's formal requirements, and suggests target behaviors and circumstances for which the design might be useful. (+info)
Defining and analysing symptom palliation in cancer clinical trials: a deceptively difficult exercise.
The assessment of symptom palliation is an essential component of many treatment comparisons in clinical trials, yet an extensive literature search revealed no consensus as to its precise definition, which could embrace relief of symptoms, time to their onset, duration, degree, as well as symptom control and prevention. In an attempt to assess the importance of these aspects and to compare different methods of analysis, we used one symptom (cough) from a patient self-assessment questionnaire (the Rotterdam Symptom Checklist) in a large (>300 patient) multicentre randomized clinical trial (conducted by the Medical Research Council Lung Cancer Working Party) of palliative chemotherapy in small-cell lung cancer. The regimens compared were a two-drug regimen (2D) and a four-drug regimen (4D). No differences were seen between the regimens in time of onset of palliation or its duration. The degree of palliation was strongly related to the initial severity: 90% of the patients with moderate or severe cough at baseline reported improvement, compared with only 53% of those with mild cough. Analyses using different landmark time points gave conflicting results: the 4D regimen was superior at 1 month and at 3 months, whereas at 2 months the 2D regimen appeared superior. When improvement at any time up to 3 months was considered, the 4D regimen showed a significant benefit (4D 79%, 2D 60%, P = 0.02). These findings emphasize the need for caution in interpreting results, and the importance of working towards a standard definition of symptom palliation. The current lack of specified criteria makes analysis and interpretation of trial results difficult, and comparison across trials impossible. A standard definition of palliation for use in the analysis of clinical trials data is proposed, which takes into account aspects of onset, duration and degree of palliation, and symptom improvement, control and prevention. (+info)
Making Medicaid managed care research relevant.
OBJECTIVE: To help researchers better understand Medicaid managed care and the kinds of research studies that will be both feasible and of value to policymakers and program staff. The article builds on our experience researching Medicaid managed care to provide insight for researchers who want to be policy relevant. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We draw four lessons from our work on Medicaid managed care in seven states. First, these are complex programs that differ substantially across states. Second, each program faces common challenges and issues. The need to address common design elements involving program eligibility, managed care and provider contracting, beneficiary enrollment, education, marketing, and administration and oversight provides a vehicle that researchers can use to help understand states and to provide them with relevant insight. Third, well-designed case studies can provide invaluable descriptive insights. Such case studies suggest that providing effective descriptions of state programs and experience, monitoring information on program performance and tradeoffs, and insight on implementation and design are all valuable products of such studies that have considerable potential to be converted into policy-actionable advice. And fourth, some questions demand impact studies but the structure of Medicaid managed care poses major barriers to such studies. CONCLUSIONS: Many challenges confront researchers seeking to develop policy-relevant research on managed care. Researchers need to confront these challenges in turn by developing second-best approaches that will provide timely insight into important questions in a relatively defensible and rigorous way in the face of many constraints. If researchers do not, others will, and researchers may find their contributions limited in important areas for policy debate. (+info)
A simulation study of confounding in generalized linear models for air pollution epidemiology.
Confounding between the model covariates and causal variables (which may or may not be included as model covariates) is a well-known problem in regression models used in air pollution epidemiology. This problem is usually acknowledged but hardly ever investigated, especially in the context of generalized linear models. Using synthetic data sets, the present study shows how model overfit, underfit, and misfit in the presence of correlated causal variables in a Poisson regression model affect the estimated coefficients of the covariates and their confidence levels. The study also shows how this effect changes with the ranges of the covariates and the sample size. There is qualitative agreement between these study results and the corresponding expressions in the large-sample limit for the ordinary linear models. Confounding of covariates in an overfitted model (with covariates encompassing more than just the causal variables) does not bias the estimated coefficients but reduces their significance. The effect of model underfit (with some causal variables excluded as covariates) or misfit (with covariates encompassing only noncausal variables), on the other hand, leads to not only erroneous estimated coefficients, but a misguided confidence, represented by large t-values, that the estimated coefficients are significant. The results of this study indicate that models which use only one or two air quality variables, such as particulate matter [less than and equal to] 10 microm and sulfur dioxide, are probably unreliable, and that models containing several correlated and toxic or potentially toxic air quality variables should also be investigated in order to minimize the situation of model underfit or misfit. (+info)
Variability in meta-analytic results concerning the value of cholesterol reduction in coronary heart disease: a meta-meta-analysis.
Despite official support for the efficacy of cholesterol reduction, considerable controversy exists, and meta-analyses of this topic have produced conflicting results. The authors assessed the variability of meta-analyses, evaluating the cardiovascular value of cholesterol reduction while attempting to explain the variability. Metaanalyses were identified by electronic search and citation tracking. Included were those conducted prior to 1995 that dealt with cholesterol reduction and total mortality, cardiovascular mortality, or nonfatal cardiovascular disease. In addition to extracting odds ratios for total mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and nonfatal cardiovascular disease, the authors encoded methodological variables, publication variables, and data concerning investigators' backgrounds. Twenty-three meta-analyses were reviewed, and 15 concluded that cholesterol reduction was beneficial. Summary odds ratios for total mortality were heterogeneous, generally failing to support the value of cholesterol reduction. Odds ratios depended on inclusion criteria and investigator variables. Odds ratios for cardiovascular mortality and for nonfatal cardiovascular disease were more homogeneous and supported the value of cholesterol reduction. Methodologically better meta-analyses tended to report more beneficial odds ratios. Although "supportiveness" of the value of cholesterol reduction was associated with inclusion/exclusion criteria and publication variables, the primary outcome variable related to supportiveness was the statistical significance of the odds ratios for cardiovascular mortality. (+info)
Contralateral fracture of the proximal femur. Implications for planning trials.
In three consecutive years 462 patients over the age of 60 years presented at Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand, with a fracture of the proximal femur. Within two years, 11 (2.4%) returned with a fracture of the contralateral femur. If the effectiveness of any form of treatment aiming at reducing the incidence of contralateral fracture were subjected to a trial, a sample size of 5000, randomly distributed equally between treatment and placebo groups, would be needed for the trial to have a power of 80% to detect a reduction. (+info)