Research on occupational cancer epidemiology has been an important area of occupational health in Europe since the early studies were conducted in the United Kingdom in the 1950s and 1960s. During the last decade, occupational cancer research in Europe has gained an international dimension and become increasingly interdisciplinary in nature. At present, occupational exposures might be responsible for 13 to 18% of lung cancers, 2 to 10% of bladder cancers, and 2 to 8% of laryngeal cancers in European men; among women these figures are 1 to 5%, 0 to 5%, and 0 to 1%, respectively. A notable aspect of current occupational cancer research in Europe is the decreasing importance of traditional circumstances of high exposure to recognized occupational carcinogens and the increasing importance of new industries, mainly in the service sector where possible cancer hazards are poorly known. In addition, the political changes in Central and Eastern Europe open new possibilities for the investigation of high-exposure circumstances and occupational cancer in women.
Research on human exposure to acidic aerosols and the health effects of such exposures has substantially strengthened the hypothesis that such aerosols are a causal factor for excesses in human mortality and morbidity that have been previously associated with crude exposure indices such as British Smoke, total suspended particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. Research reported at this symposium also showed that combined exposures to acid aerosols and other ubiquitous air pollutants such as O3, NO2, HNO3, and SO2 produce greater effects in both humans and animals than exposures to each agent separately. The responses reported ranged from physiological functions to lung structure. Furthermore, some of the effects were cumulative with increasing duration of daily exposure and number of repetitive exposures. Critical areas for further research include better definition of the critical temporal parameters affecting exposure and response, effects of mixed pollutant exposures, and pathogenetic mechanisms for acid aerosol-induced chronic lung damage.
In 1976 regional research committees in England and their equivalent in the Welsh Office judged 608 proposals for funding under the locally organised research scheme. Of these, 521 were new proposals and 87 were resubmissions. Medically and dentally qualified applicants made 451 (87%) of the new proposals; nearly two-thirds came from teaching areas and 21% from staff of academic departments. Two hundred and ninety new proposals were approved, 154 rejected, and 77 were referred back for modification. Approval was commoner for applications from teaching areas, from medical staff, and for the less expensive projects. Some regional committees did not support research into the organisation of health services. Under a quarter of the resubmitted projects were rejected. The scheme is not yet used by a wide range of health-care professions. Medical staff in teaching areas still use it most. In some regions prospective researchers, especially those without previous experience, need a comprehensive and easily identifiable counselling service, so that the fund may be exploited in the way originally intended and the number of unsuccessful proposals reduced.
The 1980 Census data provide a valuable resource for health services research on Hispanics. Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the United States and yet there is a paucity of large-scale empirical research on their health care and access needs. This paper describes how the census can assist in: 1) estimating the overall health care needs of this group, 2) identifying target groups within the Hispanic population who may have special health care problems (e.g., children, elderly, pregnant women, etc.); and 3) using other data sources to improve the quality of studies carried out on Hispanics. It also discusses problems in using the census for Hispanic health services research and some strategies for dealing with these problems.
Research in general practice is becoming increasingly popular, and most general practitioners will sooner or later have to decide whether to become involved with clinical trials sponsored by drug companies. This paper outlines the advantages and disadvantages of multicentre research--based on experience of running a research group since the early 1980s--to enable doctors to reach the appropriate decision and to avoid involvement in trials which are either unethical or ineffective.
The recent recognition that Q fever is endemic in Ontario and the known occupational risk of Q fever to research personnel working with sheep prompted a study to determine the prevalence of antibodies to the causative organism, Coxiella burnetti, in animals and staff at a Toronto animal research institute. Of 37 sheep 34 (92%) were found to be seropositive--that is, to have a titre of complement-fixing antibody to the phase II antigen of 1:8 or greater. Of 331 staff members tested, 18% were found to be seropositive, compared with 0.6% of a random sample of Toronto blood donors. The highest rate of seropositivity, 68%, was in the 28 animal attendants tested. Seropositivity was associated with working with sheep or fetal lamb tissue (p less than 0.0001) and with visiting the animal facility (p less than 0.001). Of the 59 seropositive staff members 63% had had no direct contact with sheep. There were 12 clinically apparent cases of Q fever, 2 of which required admission to hospital. Q fever remains a serious occupational hazard to staff working in research laboratories using sheep, even to those with indirect exposure to infected animals.
Access to clinical data is of increasing importance to biomedical research. The pending HIPAA privacy regulations provide specific requirements for the release of protected health information. Under the regulations, biomedical researchers may utilize anonymized data, or adhere to HIPAA requirements regarding protected health information. In order to provide researchers with anonymized data from a clinical research database, we reviewed several published strategies for de-identification of protected health information. Critical analysis with respect to this project suggests that de-identification alone is problematic when applied to clinical research databases. We propose a hybrid system; utilizing secure key escrow, de-identification, and role-based access for IRB approved researchers.
Huntingtons disease (HD) is a hereditary disorder involving the central nervous system. Its effects are devastating, to the affected person as well as his family. The Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at Indiana University (IU) plays an integral part in Huntingtons research by providing computerized repositories of HD family information for researchers and families. The National Huntingtons Disease Research Roster, founded in 1979 at IU, and the Huntingtons Disease in Venezuela Project database contain information that has proven to be invaluable in the worldwide field of HD research. This paper addresses the types of information stored in each database, the pedigree database program (MEGADATS) used to manage the data, and significant findings that have resulted from access to the data.
Presented is a conceptual framework for planning intervention-related research. Altogether, nine steps in the process of developing and evaluating public health interventions are specified. This process is dynamic and iterative, and all steps are not always required, or need follow in sequence. The framework can be used to set research priorities by verifying where there is sufficient knowledge to move forward and by identifying critical information gaps. It can also help select appropriate research designs, as each step is characterized by certain types of studies. Greater effort is required to move beyond descriptive epidemiological and behavioural studies, to intervention studies. Field trials of public health interventions require particular attention as they are often neglected, despite their significance for public health policy and practice.
Neuroscience as a distinct discipline or research programme has been a rather recent event in most Chinese universities and in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. However, the last few years have witnessed increased funding and an improved research environment for neuroscience, both of which facilitated an influx of Chinese neuroscientists trained abroad. In this review, we have highlighted some recent research advances made by neuroscientists in China. Based on our own expertise, this review is focused mainly on findings that have contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying brain development, neural plasticity and cognitive processes, and neural degeneration.
In the past 5 years, China has increased its efforts in the field of stem cell research and practice. Basic research mainly focuses on bone marrow and embryonic stem cells. Clinical applications of stem cells in the treatment of acute heart failure, acute liver failure and lower limb ischaemia have been reported by many hospitals. China enacted its ‘Ethical Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research’ in 2003. At present, China has the most liberal and favourable environments for human embryonic stem cell research.
Forensic odontology has established itself as an important and often indispensable science in medicolegal matters and in particular in identification of the dead. Much of its expertise is drawn from clinical experience based on basic research and advances in knowledge in dentistry in general. There has also been, particularly during the past two decades, an increasing body of research in specifically forensic dental matters and these studies form the subject of this review. Progress in this field, as in others, will depend upon development of training pathways and research facilities in our dental schools.
The discovery in the mid-1970s that occupational exposures to pesticides could diminish or destroy the fertility of workers sparked concern about the effects of hazardous substances on male reproductive health. More recently, there is evidence that sperm quantity and quality may have declined worldwide, that the incidence of testicular cancer has progressively increased in many countries, and that other disorders of the male reproductive tract such as hypospadias and cryptorchidism may have also increased. There is growing concern that occupational factors and environmental chemical exposures, including in utero and childhood exposures to compounds with estrogenic activity, may be correlated with these observed changes in male reproductive health and fertility. We review the evidence and methodologies that have contributed to our current understanding of environmental effects on male reproductive health and fertility and discuss the methodologic issues which confront investigators in this area. One of the greatest challenges confronting researchers in this area is assessing and comparing results from existing studies. We elaborate recommendations for future research. Researchers in the field of male reproductive health should continue working to prioritize hazardous substances; elucidate the magnitude of male reproductive health effects...
For centuries, the colonial governments used a combination of race and ethnic characteristics to subjugate and control people of color, and scientists of the day provided evidence of the "natural order of things" to support national policies of domination, segregation and control. There have been many examples of events in the past 70 years to suggest that achievements by ethnic peoples are not genetically determined and that race and ethnicity are merely terms to describe external features, language, culture, social mores and folklore. BiDil was the first drug in this country approved by the FDA for use in a single "race" after a clinical trial that enrolled only members of that race. Thus arose the question of the efficacy of doing race-based research in humans. In order for this kind of research to have any scientific basis, each individually defined or self-declared race would have to have a 100% pure gene pool, and the data show that the gene pool among whites, blacks and Hispanics in America is very heterogeneous. This makes for far greater similarities among U.S. citizens than any perceived differences, and genomic science has failed to support the concept of racial categories in medicine. Scientists involved with the first mapping of the human genome have noted that there is no basis in the genetic code for race. That being the case...
The need for mouse models, with their well-developed genetics and similarity to human physiology and anatomy, is clear and their central role in furthering our understanding of human disease is readily apparent in the literature. Mice carrying mutations that alter developmental pathways or cellular function provide model systems for analyzing defects in comparable human disorders and for testing therapeutic strategies. Mutant mice also provide reproducible, experimental systems for elucidating pathways of normal development and function. Two programs, the Eye Mutant Resource and the Translational Vision Research Models, focused on providing such models to the vision research community are described herein. Over 100 mutant lines from the Eye Mutant Resource and 60 mutant lines from the Translational Vision Research Models have been developed. The ocular diseases of the mutant lines include a wide range of phenotypes, including cataracts, retinal dysplasia and degeneration, and abnormal blood vessel formation. The mutations in disease genes have been mapped and in some cases identified by direct sequencing. Here, we report 3 novel alleles of Crxtvrm65, Rp1tvrm64, and Rpe65tvrm148 as successful examples of the TVRM program, that closely resemble previously reported knockout models.
Despite the growth of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and western herbal medicine (WHM) research in Australia, little is known
about how ethics committees (HRECs) assess the ethics of TCM or WHM research. The objectives of this study were to examine the experiences
of TCM and WHM researchers and HRECs with the evaluation of ethics applications. Two cross-sectional surveys were undertaken of HRECs and
TCM and WHM researchers in Australia. Anonymous self-completion questionnaires were administered to 224 HRECs and 117 researchers.
A response confirming involvement in TCM or WHM research applications was received from 20 HRECs and 42 researchers.
The most frequent ethical issues identified by HRECs related to herbal products including information gaps relating to mode of action of herbal
medicines and safety when combining herbal ingredients. Researchers concurred that they were frequently requested
to provide additional information on multiple aspects including safety relating to the side effects of herbs and herb-drug interactions.
Overall adherence with the principles of ethical conduct was high among TCM and WHM researchers although
our study did identify the need for additional information regarding assessment of risk and risk management.
Synthetic Biology is a surging area of contemporary life science based research that is rapidly evolving by virtue of its multidisciplinary composition and applications. Biology never before has seen such a gold rush and demonstrated potential for knowledge based economy. The area of synthetic biology is in a nascent and tender stage, however issues pertaining to open access to research versus the monopolistic intellectual property regime (specifically patents) have already started raising concerns in the emerging bio-based economy. The present study critically analyses the comparative benefits as well as lacunas of open access to research and patenting issues. It is noteworthy that both approaches for synthetic biology development have to co-exist in order to optimally benefit the society at large.
This paper presents “Craniux,” an open-access, open-source software framework for brain-machine interface (BMI) research. Developed in LabVIEW, a high-level graphical programming environment, Craniux offers both out-of-the-box functionality and a modular BMI software framework that is easily extendable. Specifically, it allows researchers to take advantage of multiple features inherent to the LabVIEW environment for on-the-fly data visualization, parallel processing, multithreading, and data saving. This paper introduces the basic features and system architecture of Craniux and describes the validation of the system under real-time BMI operation using simulated and real electrocorticographic (ECoG) signals. Our results indicate that Craniux is able to operate consistently in real time, enabling a seamless work flow to achieve brain control of cursor movement. The Craniux software framework is made available to the scientific research community to provide a LabVIEW-based BMI software platform for future BMI research and development.
Stem cell banks are increasingly recognized as an essential resource of biological materials for both basic and translational stem cell research. By providing transnational access to quality controlled and ethically sourced stem cell lines, stem cell banks seek to foster international collaboration and innovation. However, given that national stem cell banks operate under different policy, regulatory and commercial frameworks, the transnational sharing of stem cell materials and data can be complicating. This paper will provide an overview of the most pressing challenges regarding the governance of stem cell banks, and the difficulties in designing regulatory and commercial frameworks that foster stem cell research. Moreover, the paper will shed light on the numerous international initiatives that have arisen to help harmonize and standardize stem cell banking and research processes to overcome such challenges.
Cancer therapy selects for cancer cells resistant to treatment, a process that is fundamentally evolutionary. To what extent, however, is the evolutionary perspective employed in research on therapeutic resistance and relapse? We analyzed 6,228 papers on therapeutic resistance and/or relapse in cancers and found that the use of evolution terms in abstracts has remained at about 1% since the 1980s. However, detailed coding of 22 recent papers revealed a higher proportion of papers using evolutionary methods or evolutionary theory, although this number is still less than 10%. Despite the fact that relapse and therapeutic resistance is essentially an evolutionary process, it appears that this framework has not permeated research. This represents an unrealized opportunity for advances in research on therapeutic resistance.