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REVIEW ARTICLES
Parasitic infections in HIV infected individuals: Diagnostic & therapeutic challenges
Veeranoot Nissapatorn, Nongyao Sawangjaroen
December 2011, 134(6):878-897
DOI:10.4103/0971-5916.92633  PMID:22310820
After 30 years of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic, parasites have been one of the most common opportunistic infections (OIs) and one of the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality associated with HIV-infected patients. Due to severe immunosuppression, enteric parasitic pathogens in general are emerging and are OIs capable of causing diarrhoeal disease associated with HIV. Of these, Cryptosporidium parvum and Isospora belli are the two most common intestinal protozoan parasites and pose a public health problem in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. These are the only two enteric protozoan parasites that remain in the case definition of AIDS till today. Leismaniasis, strongyloidiasis and toxoplasmosis are the three main opportunistic causes of systemic involvements reported in HIV-infected patients. Of these, toxoplasmosis is the most important parasitic infection associated with the central nervous system. Due to its complexity in nature, toxoplasmosis is the only parasitic disease capable of not only causing focal but also disseminated forms and it has been included in AIDS-defining illnesses (ADI) ever since. With the introduction of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), cryptosporidiosis, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, strongyloidiasis, and toxoplasmosis are among parasitic diseases reported in association with immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS). This review addresses various aspects of parasitic infections in term of clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic challenges associated with HIV-infection.
  15,010 1,876 19
SPECIAL SECTION - TB DIAGNOSTICS - REVIEW ARTICLES
Challenges in the diagnosis & treatment of miliary tuberculosis
Surendra K Sharma, Alladi Mohan, Abhishek Sharma
May 2012, 135(5):703-730
Miliary tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially lethal disease if not diagnosed and treated early. Diagnosing miliary TB can be a challenge that can perplex even the most experienced clinicians. Clinical manifestations are nonspecific, typical chest radiograph findings may not be evident till late in the disease, high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) shows randomly distributed miliary nodules and is relatively more sensitive. Ultrasonography, CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are useful in discerning the extent of organ involvement by lesions of miliary TB in extra-pulmonary locations. Fundus examination for choroid tubercles, histopathological examination of tissue biopsy specimens, conventional and rapid culture methods for isolation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, drug-susceptibility testing, along with use of molecular biology tools in sputum, body fluids, other body tissues are useful in confirming the diagnosis. Although several prognostic markers have been described which predict mortality, yet untreated miliary TB has a fatal outcome within one year. A high index of clinical suspicion and early diagnosis and timely institution of anti-tuberculosis treatment can be life-saving. Response to first-line anti-tuberculosis drugs is good but drug-induced hepatotoxicity and drug-drug interactions in human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) patients pose significant problems during treatment. However, sparse data are available from randomized controlled trials to define the optimum regimen and duration of treatment in patients with drug-sensitive as well as drug-resistant miliary TB, including those with HIV/AIDS.
  12,477 1,491 -
EDITORIAL
Combating the wrath of viral hepatitis in India
Sandeep Satsangi, Radha K Dhiman
July 2016, 144(1):1-5
DOI:10.4103/0971-5916.193275  PMID:27834318
  10,320 334 -
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Effect of public-private partnership in treatment of sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, India
Suresh Babu Kokku, Bidhubhusan Mahapatra, Saroj Tucker, Niranjan Saggurti, Parimi Prabhakar
February 2014, 139(2):285-293
PMID:24718405
Background & objectives: Providing sexually transmitted infection (STI) services to female sex workers (FSWs) in rural and resource constrained settings is a challenge. This paper describes an approach to address this challenge through a partnership with government health facilities, and examines the effect of this partnership on the utilization of STI services by FSWs in Andhra Pradesh, India. Methods: Partnerships were formed with 46 government clinics located in rural areas for providing STI treatment to FSWs in 2007. Government health facilities were supported by local and State level non-government organizations (NGOs) through provision of medicines, training of medical staff, outreach in the communities, and other coordination activities. Data from programme monitoring and behaviour tracking survey were used to examine the accessibility and acceptability in utilization of STI services from partnership clinics. Results: The number of FSWs accessing services at the partnership clinics increased from 1627 in 2007 to over 15,000 in 2010. The average number of annual visits by FSWs to these clinics in 2010 was 3.4. In opinion surveys, the majority of FSWs accessing services at the partnership clinics expressed confidence that they would continue to receive effective services from the government facilities even if the programme terminates. The overall attitude of FSWs to visit government clinics was more positive among FSWs from partnership clinic areas compared to those from non-partnership clinic areas. Interpretation & conclusions: The partnership mechanism between the NGO-supported HIV prevention programme and government clinic facilities appeared to be a promising opportunity to provide timely and accessible STI services for FSWs living in rural and remote areas.
  10,133 354 -
REVIEW ARTICLES
Hand hygiene: Back to the basics of infection control
Purva Mathur
November 2011, 134(5):611-620
DOI:10.4103/0971-5916.90985  PMID:22199099
Health care associated infections are drawing increasing attention from patients, insurers, governments and regulatory bodies. This is not only because of the magnitude of the problem in terms of the associated morbidity, mortality and cost of treatment, but also due to the growing recognition that most of these are preventable. The medical community is witnessing in tandem unprecedented advancements in the understanding of pathophysiology of infectious diseases and the global spread of multi-drug resistant infections in health care set-ups. These factors, compounded by the paucity of availability of new antimicrobials have necessitated a re-look into the role of basic practices of infection prevention in modern day health care. There is now undisputed evidence that strict adherence to hand hygiene reduces the risk of cross-transmission of infections. With "Clean Care is Safer Care" as a prime agenda of the global initiative of WHO on patient safety programmes, it is time for developing countries to formulate the much-needed policies for implementation of basic infection prevention practices in health care set-ups. This review focuses on one of the simplest, low cost but least accepted from infection prevention: hand hygiene.
  7,394 1,650 18
CORRESPONDENCES
In vitro evaluation of antibiotics for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from north India
Abhishek Mewara, Vikas Gautam, Harsimran Kaur, Pallab Ray
February 2014, 139(2):319-322
PMID:24718410
  8,361 310 -
CENTENARY REVIEW ARTICLE
Eradicating poliomyelitis: India's journey from hyperendemic to polio-free status
T Jacob John, Vipin M Vashishtha
May 2013, 137(5):881-894
PMID:23760372
India's success in eliminating wild polioviruses (WPVs) has been acclaimed globally. Since the last case on January 13, 2011 success has been sustained for two years. By early 2014 India could be certified free of WPV transmission, if no indigenous transmission occurs, the chances of which is considered zero. Until early 1990s India was hyperendemic for polio, with an average of 500 to 1000 children getting paralysed daily. In spite of introducing trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (tOPV) in the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in 1979, the burden of polio did not fall below that of the pre-EPI era for a decade. One of the main reasons was the low vaccine efficacy (VE) of tOPV against WPV types 1 and 3. The VE of tOPV was highest for type 2 and WPV type 2 was eliminated in 1999 itself as the average per-capita vaccine coverage reached 6. The VE against types 1 and 3 was the lowest in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the force of transmission of WPVs was maximum on account of the highest infant-population density. Transmission was finally interrupted with sustained and extraordinary efforts. During the years since 2004 annual pulse polio vaccination campaigns were conducted 10 times each year, virtually every child was tracked and vaccinated - including in all transit points and transport vehicles, monovalent OPV types 1 and 3 were licensed and applied in titrated campaigns according to WPV epidemiology and bivalent OPV (bOPV, with both types 1 and 3) was developed and judiciously deployed. Elimination of WPVs with OPV is only phase 1 of polio eradication. India is poised to progress to phase 2, with introduction of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), switch from tOPV to bOPV and final elimination of all vaccine-related and vaccine-derived polioviruses. True polio eradication demands zero incidence of poliovirus infection, wild and vaccine.
  7,721 577 2
REVIEW ARTICLES
Current practices in laboratory monitoring of HIV infection
Madhu Vajpayee, Teena Mohan
December 2011, 134(6):801-822
DOI:10.4103/0971-5916.92627  PMID:22310815
After a diagnosis of HIV infection is made, the patient needs to be monitored using both clinical assessment and laboratory markers. HIV/AIDS monitoring is essential in guiding when to recommend initiation of therapy. Clinical monitoring will include staging of the HIV/AIDS disease using either the presence or absence of HIV-related signs and symptoms using the WHO staging system. Various laboratory methods can be used to monitor the disease progression and to guide whether the patient will need antiretroviral therapy or not. Laboratory monitoring for patients who are not on drugs is done to provide information about the stage of illness; to enable the clinician to make decisions on treatment and to give information on prognosis of the patient. Patients on drugs are monitored to assess their response to treatment with antiretroviral drugs and to detect any possible toxicity and improvement associated with the antiretroviral drugs.
  7,439 660 6
CENTENARY REVIEW ARTICLE
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
VK Vijayan
February 2013, 137(2):251-269
PMID:23563369
The global prevalence of physiologically defined chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adults aged >40 yr is approximately 9-10 per cent. Recently, the Indian Study on Epidemiology of Asthma, Respiratory Symptoms and Chronic Bronchitis in Adults had shown that the overall prevalence of chronic bronchitis in adults >35 yr is 3.49 per cent. The development of COPD is multifactorial and the risk factors of COPD include genetic and environmental factors. Pathological changes in COPD are observed in central airways, small airways and alveolar space. The proposed pathogenesis of COPD includes proteinase-antiproteinase hypothesis, immunological mechanisms, oxidant-antioxidant balance, systemic inflammation, apoptosis and ineffective repair. Airflow limitation in COPD is defined as a postbronchodilator FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 sec) to FVC (forced vital capacity) ratio <0.70. COPD is characterized by an accelerated decline in FEV1. Co morbidities associated with COPD are cardiovascular disorders (coronary artery disease and chronic heart failure), hypertension, metabolic diseases (diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome and obesity), bone disease (osteoporosis and osteopenia), stroke, lung cancer, cachexia, skeletal muscle weakness, anaemia, depression and cognitive decline. The assessment of COPD is required to determine the severity of the disease, its impact on the health status and the risk of future events (e.g., exacerbations, hospital admissions or death) and this is essential to guide therapy. COPD is treated with inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, oral theophylline and oral phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor. Non pharmacological treatment of COPD includes smoking cessation, pulmonary rehabilitation and nutritional support. Lung volume reduction surgery and lung transplantation are advised in selected severe patients. Global strategy for the diagnosis, management and prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease guidelines recommend influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations.
  5,669 2,362 -
SPECIAL SECTION - HAEMOGLOBINOPATHIES - REVIEW ARTICLES
Abnormal haemoglobins: Detection & characterization
Henri Wajcman, Kamran Moradkhani
October 2011, 134(4):538-546
PMID:22089618
Haemoglobin (Hb) abnormalities though quite frequent, are generally detected in populations during surveys and programmes run for prevention of Hb disorders. Several methods are now available for detection of Hb abnormalities. In this review, the following are discussed: (i) the methods used for characterization of haemoglobin disorders; (ii) the problems linked to diagnosis of thalassaemic trait; (iii) the strategy for detection of common Hb variants; and (iv) the difficulties in identification of rare variants. The differences between developing and industrialized countries for the strategies employed in the diagnosis of abnormal haemoglobins are considered. We mention the limits and pitfalls for each approach and the necessity to characterize the abnormalities using at least two different methods. The recommended strategy is to use a combination of cation-exchange high performance chromatography (CE-HPLC), capillary electrophoresis (CE) and when possible isoelectric focusing (IEF). Difficult cases may demand further investigations requiring specialized protein and/or molecular biology techniques.
  6,575 1,249 -
CENTENARY REVIEW ARTICLE
Tuberculosis: From an incurable scourge to a curable disease - journey over a millennium
Surendra K Sharma, Alladi Mohan
March 2013, 137(3):455-493
PMID:23640554
Globally, tuberculosis (TB) still remains a major public health problem. India is a high TB burden country contributing to 26 per cent of global TB burden. During 1944-1980, TB became treatable and short-course chemotherapy emerged as the standard of care. When TB elimination seemed possible in the early 1980s, global human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic resulted in a resurgence of TB. Widespread occurrence of multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB (M/XDR-TB) is threatening to destabilize TB control globally. Atypical clinical presentation still poses a challenge. Disseminated, miliary and cryptic TB are being increasingly recognized. Availability of newer imaging modalities has allowed more efficient localization of lesions and use of image guided procedures has facilitated definitive diagnosis of extrapulmonary TB. Introduction of liquid culture, rapid drug-susceptibility testing (DST), molecular diagnostic methods has helped in rapid detection, speciation and DST profiling of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. While treatment of TB and HIV-TB co-infection has become simpler, efforts are on to shorten the treatment duration. However, drug toxicities and drug-drug interactions still constitute a significant challenge. Recently, there has been better understanding of anti-TB drug-induced hepatotoxicity and its frequent confounding by viral hepatitis, especially, in resource-constrained settings; and immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) in HIV-TB. Quest for newer biomarkers for predicting a durable cure, relapse, discovery/repurposing of newer anti-TB drugs, development of newer vaccines continues to achieve the goal of eliminating TB altogether by 2050.
  6,335 1,165 -
STATUS REPORT
Rationalizing antibiotic use to limit antibiotic resistance in India +
Nirmal K Ganguly, NK Arora, Sujith J Chandy, Mohamed Nadeem Fairoze, J.P S Gill, Usha Gupta, Shah Hossain, Sadhna Joglekar, PC Joshi, Manish Kakkar, Anita Kotwani, Ashok Rattan, H Sudarshan, Kurien Thomas, Chand Wattal, Alice Easton, Ramanan Laxminarayan
September 2011, 134(3):281-294
PMID:21985810
Antibiotic resistance, a global concern, is particularly pressing in developing nations, including India, where the burden of infectious disease is high and healthcare spending is low. The Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP) was established to develop actionable policy recommendations specifically relevant to low- and middle-income countries where suboptimal access to antibiotics - not a major concern in high-income countries - is possibly as severe a problem as is the spread of resistant organisms. This report summarizes the situation as it is known regarding antibiotic use and growing resistance in India and recommends short and long term actions. Recommendations aim at (i) reducing the need for antibiotics; (ii) lowering resistance-enhancing drug pressure through improved antibiotic targeting, and (iii) eliminating antibiotic use for growth promotion in agriculture. The highest priority needs to be given to (i) national surveillance of antibiotic resistance and antibiotic use - better information to underpin decisions on standard treatment guidelines, education and other actions, as well as to monitor changes over time; (ii) increasing the use of diagnostic tests, which necessitates behavioural changes and improvements in microbiology laboratory capacity; (iii) setting up and/or strengthening infection control committees in hospitals; and (iv) restricting the use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic uses in agriculture. These interventions should help to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance, improve public health directly, benefit the populace and reduce pressure on the healthcare system. Finally, increasing the types and coverage of childhood vaccines offered by the government would reduce the disease burden enormously and spare antibiotics.
  5,934 1,271 -
REVIEW ARTICLES
Biomarkers for the management of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
Lakshmi Tanuja Petla, Rosy Chikkala, KS Ratnakar, Vijayalakshmi Kodati, V Sritharan
July 2013, 138(1):60-67
PMID:24056556
Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a pregnancy related disorder characterized by hypertension and proteinuria noticeable after 20 wk of gestation. It is a leading cause of maternal and foetal mortality and morbidity worldwide. The aetiology of the disease is unknown, but recent studies have revealed that this disorder appears to originate in placenta and is characterized by widespread maternal endothelial dysfunction. Till date, delivery of placenta is the only cure for the disease. So, there is a need for the identification of highly specific and sensitive biochemical markers that would allow early identification of patients at risk and thus help in providing proper prenatal care. Several promising biomarkers have been proposed, alone or in combination, that may help in predicting women who are likely to develop PE. Maternal serum concentrations of these biomarkers either increase or decrease in PE during gestation. This review focuses on the various biomarkers available and their utility in predicting pre-eclampsia.
  6,165 1,038 -
CENTENARY REVIEW ARTICLE
Helicobacter pylori infection in India from a western perspective
Selvi Thirumurthi, David Y Graham
October 2012, 136(4):549-562
PMID:23168695
Helicobacter pylori is a common bacterial infectious disease whose manifestations predominately affect the gastrointestinal tract. India is the prototypical developing country as far as H. pylori infection is concerned and more than 20 million Indians are estimated to suffer from peptic ulcer disease. Considering the high level of medical research and of the pharmaceutical industry, one would expect that India would be the source of much needed information regarding new therapies and approaches that remain effective in the presence of antimicrobial resistance, new methods to reliably prevent reinfection, and the development of therapeutic and preventive vaccines. Here we discuss H. pylori as a problem in India with an emphasis on H. pylori infection as a serious transmissible infectious disease. We discuss the pros and cons of eradication of H. pylori from the entire population and come down on the side of eradication. The available data from India regarding antimicrobial use and resistance as well as the effectiveness of various treatments are discussed. Rigorous ongoing studies to provide current regional antibiotic resistance patterns coupled with data concerning the success rate with different treatment regimens are needed to guide therapy. A systematic approach to identify reliably effective (e.g., 90% or greater treatment success) cost-effective regimens is suggested as well as details of regimens likely to be effective in India. H. pylori is just one of the health care problems faced in India, but one where all the resources are on hand to understand and solve it.
  6,294 509 -
REVIEW ARTICLE
The need for obtaining accurate nationwide estimates of diabetes prevalence in India - Rationale for a national study on diabetes
RM Anjana, MK Ali, R Pradeepa, M Deepa, M Datta, R Unnikrishnan, M Rema, V Mohan
April 2011, 133(4):369-380
PMID:21537089
According to the World Diabetes Atlas, India is projected to have around 51 million people with diabetes. However, these data are based on small sporadic studies done in some parts of the country. Even a few multi-centre studies that have been done, have several limitations. Also, marked heterogeneity between States limits the generalizability of results. Other studies done at various time periods also lack uniform methodology, do not take into consideration ethnic differences and have inadequate coverage. Thus, till date there has been no national study on the prevalence of diabetes which are truly representative of India as a whole. Moreover, the data on diabetes complications is even more scarce. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a large well-planned national study, which could provide reliable nationwide data, not only on prevalence of diabetes, but also on pre-diabetes, and the complications of diabetes in India. A study of this nature will have enormous public health impact and help policy makers to take action against diabetes in India.
  5,825 839 -
REVIEW ARTICLES
Microbicides: A new hope for HIV prevention
Nutan , Satish K Gupta
December 2011, 134(6):939-949
DOI:10.4103/0971-5916.92639  PMID:22310826
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is a global health concern. To control its transmission, safe sex has been proposed as one of the strategies. Microbicides- intravaginal/intrarectal topical formulations of anti-HIV agents have also been proposed to prevent HIV transmission. Microbicides would provide protection by directly inactivating HIV or preventing the attachment, entry or replication of HIV in susceptible target cells as well as their dissemination from target cells present in semen or the host cells lining the vaginal/rectal wall to other migratory cells. Microbicides must be safe, effective following vaginal or rectal administration, and should cause minimal or no genital symptoms or inflammations following long-term repeated usage. However, a safe and efficacious anti-HIV microbicide is not yet available despite the fact that more than 60 candidate agents have been identified to have in vitro activity against HIV, several of which have advanced to clinical testing. Nonetheless, proof-of-concept of microbicides has been established based on the results of recent CAPRISA 004 clinical trials. In this article, the trends and challenges in the development of effective and safe microbicides to combat HIV transmission are reviewed.
  6,139 473 9
Diagnosis & treatment of tuberculosis in HIV co-infected patients
C Padmapriyadarsini, G Narendran, Soumya Swaminathan
December 2011, 134(6):850-865
DOI:10.4103/0971-5916.92630  PMID:22310818
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) associated tuberculosis (TB) remains a major global public health challenge, with an estimated 1.4 million patients worldwide. Co-infection with HIV leads to challenges in both the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis. Further, there has been an increase in rates of drug resistant tuberculosis, including multi-drug (MDR-TB) and extensively drug resistant TB (XDRTB), which are difficult to treat and contribute to increased mortality. Because of the poor performance of sputum smear microscopy in HIV-infected patients, newer diagnostic tests are urgently required that are not only sensitive and specific but easy to use in remote and resource-constrained settings. The treatment of co-infected patients requires antituberculosis and antiretroviral drugs to be administered concomitantly; challenges include pill burden and patient compliance, drug interactions, overlapping toxic effects, and immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. Also important questions about the duration and schedule of anti-TB drug regimens and timing of antiretroviral therapy remain unanswered. From a programmatic point of view, screening of all HIV-infected persons for TB and vice-versa requires good co-ordination and communication between the TB and AIDS control programmes. Linkage of co-infected patients to antiretroviral treatment centres is critical if early mortality is to be prevented. We present here an overview of existing diagnostic strategies, new tests in the pipeline and recommendations for treatment of patients with HIV-TB dual infection.
  5,228 1,129 21
SPECIAL SECTION - HAEMOGLOBINOPATHIES - REVIEW ARTICLES
Past, present & future scenario of thalassaemic care & control in India
Ishwar C Verma, Renu Saxena, Sudha Kohli
October 2011, 134(4):507-521
PMID:22089615
The first case of thalassaemia, described in a non-Mediterranean person, was from India. Subsequently, cases of thalassaemia were documented in all parts of India. Centres for care of thalassaemics were started in the mid-1970s in Mumbai and Delhi, and then in other cities. The parent's associations, with the help of International Thalassemia Federation, greatly helped in improving the care of thalassaemics. Obtaining blood for transfusion was difficult, but the Indian Red Cross Society and the parent's associations played a crucial role in arranging voluntary donations of blood. Chelation with deferoxamine was used sparingly due to the high cost. The Indian physicians conducted trials with deferiprone, and the drug was first approved and marketed in India. Deferasirox is also now being administered. Studies of physical and pubertal growth documented significant retardation, suggesting that generally patients receive inadequate chelation and transfusions. Bone marrow transplantation is available at a number of centres, and cord blood stem cell storage facilities have been established. Information about mutations in different parts of India is available, and ThalInd, an Indian database has been set up. There is a need to set up preimplantation genetic diagnosis and non-invasive prenatal diagnosis. It is argued that too much emphasis should not be placed on premarital screening. The focus should be on screening pregnant women to yield immediate results in reducing the burden of this disorder. Care of thalassaemia has been included in the 12 th 5-year Plan of the Government of India. Many States now provide blood transfusions and chelation free of cost. Although inadequacies in care of thalassaemia remain, but the outlook is bright, and the stage is set for initiating a control programme in the high risk States.
  5,662 549 -
REVIEW ARTICLES
New approaches & technologies of venomics to meet the challenge of human envenoming by snakebites in India
David A Warrell, José María Gutiérrez, Juan J Calvete, David Williams
July 2013, 138(1):38-59
PMID:24056555
The direct estimate of 46,000 snakebite deaths in India in 2005 (1 for every 2 HIV/AIDS deaths), based on verbal autopsies, renders unrealistic the total of only 47,000 snakebite deaths in the whole world in 2010, obtained indirectly as part of the "Global Burden of Disease 2010" study. Persistent underestimation of its true morbidity and mortality has made snakebite the most neglected of all the WHO's "neglected tropical diseases", downgrading its public health importance. Strategies to address this neglect should include the improvement of antivenom, the only specific antidote to envenoming. To accommodate increased understanding of geographical intraspecific variation in venom composition and the range of snake species that are medically important in India, the design of antivenoms (choice of venom sources and species coverage) should be reconsidered. Methods of preclinical and clinical testing should be improved. The relatively new science of venomics involves techniques and strategies for assessing the toxin composition of snake venoms directly through proteomics-centred approaches or indirectly via high-throughput venom gland transcriptomics and bioinformatic analysis. Antivenomics is translational venomics: a proteomics-based protocol to quantify the extent of cross-reactivity of antivenoms against homologous and heterologous venoms. These approaches could revolutionize the preclinical assessment of antivenom efficacy, leading to a new generation of antivenoms that are clinically more effective.
  5,057 482 -
HIV & immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS)
Surendra K Sharma, Manish Soneja
December 2011, 134(6):866-877
DOI:10.4103/0971-5916.92632  PMID:22310819
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation in HIV-infected patients leads to recovery of CD4+T cell numbers and restoration of protective immune responses against a wide variety of pathogens, resulting in reduction in the frequency of opportunistic infections and prolonged survival. However, in a subset of patients, dysregulated immune response after initiation of ART leads to the phenomenon of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS). The hallmark of the syndrome is paradoxical worsening of an existing infection or disease process or appearance of a new infection/disease process soon after initiation of therapy. The overall incidence of IRIS is unknown, but is dependent on the population studied and the burden of underlying opportunistic infections. The immunopathogenesis of the syndrome is unclear and appears to be result of unbalanced reconstitution of effector and regulatory T-cells, leading to exuberant inflammatory response in patients receiving ART. Biomarkers, including interferon-γ (INF-γ), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), C-reactive protein (CRP) and inter leukin (IL)-2, 6 and 7, are subject of intense investigation at present. The commonest forms of IRIS are associated with mycobacterial infections, fungi and herpes viruses. Majority of patients with IRIS have a self-limiting disease course. ART is usually continued and treatment for the associated condition optimized. The overall mortality associated with IRIS is low; however, patients with central nervous system involvement with raised intracranial pressures in cryptococcal and tubercular meningitis, and respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have poor prognosis and require aggressive management including corticosteroids. Paradigm shifts in management of HIV with earlier initiation of ART is expected to decrease the burden of IRIS in developed countries; however, with enhanced rollout of ART in recent years and the enormous burden of opportunistic infections in developing countries like India, IRIS is likely to remain an area of major concern.
  3,722 1,196 14
Endometriosis, a modern syndrome
Ivo Brosens, Giuseppe Benagiano
June 2011, 133(6):581-593
PMID:21727656
The identification of endometriosis has been a subject of intense debate over the last decade. There is, however, no doubt that Thomas Cullen was the first to describe endometriosis and adenomyosis as one disease characterized by the presence of endometrium-like tissue outside the uterine cavity. With the introduction of laparoscopy in the early 1960s three different clinical presentations of endometriosis were distinguished: peritoneal, deep adenomyotic and cystic ovarian. As soon as synthetic steroids became available, pioneer clinicians started utilizing these in an attempt to replace radical surgery by a medical treatment. While medical therapy may resort in relief, in most cases the current approach consists of a combination of medical and surgical therapy. While the pathogenesis of endometriosis is still enigmatic and complex, there is increasing evidence that endometriosis is part of a uterine reproductive dysfunction syndrome. For prevention of complications, it is very important that diagnosis is made as early as possible in a woman's life.
  3,703 1,208 -
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW & META-ANALYSIS
PCR versus serology for diagnosing Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection: A systematic review & meta-analysis
Lei Zhang, Zhi-Yong Zong, Yan-Bin Liu, Hui Ye, Xiao-Ju Lv
September 2011, 134(3):270-280
PMID:21985809
Background & objectives : Diagnosis for Mycoplasma pneumoniae usually relies on serological tests. PCR technology has some advantages but also limitations. The optimal selection for these tests still needs discussion. This paper reviews the overall diagnostic accuracy of PCR versus serological assays for diagnosis of M. pneumoniae infections and to identify factors associated with heterogeneity of results. Methods : MEDLINE and Embase databases were searched. Articles meeting the selection criteria were retrieved for data collection and analysis. Studies were assessed for methodological quality using QUADAS. Hierarchial summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) model was used to estimate summary ROC curve. Results : Initial meta-analysis showed a summary estimate of sensitivity (SEN) 0.62 (95% CI, 0.45-0.76), and specificity (SPE) 0.96 (95% CI, 0.93-0.98). Subgroup analyses were performed to identify factors associated with heterogeneity. For different gene targets, reference standards, subjects (children or adults) and different PCR types, these aspects can generate results of heterogeneity. The 16s rDNA target and adult subjects and real-time PCR may have better test results for PCR. Interpretation & conclusions : Commercial PCR tests generated consistent results with high specificity but a lower and more variable sensitivity. The findings suggest commercial PCR tests having superiorities in diagnosing M. pneumoniae infections but still cannot replace serology. PCR plus serology could be good screening tests for reliable and accurate diagnosis of M. pneumoniae.
  3,830 1,068 -
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Rare manifestations of sarcoidosis in modern era of new diagnostic tools
Surendra K Sharma, Manish Soneja, Abhishek Sharma, Mehar C Sharma, Smriti Hari
May 2012, 135(5):621-629
Background & objectives: Growing body of literature on sarcoidosis in India has led to an increased awareness of the disease. With the advent of better imaging tools hitherto under-recognized manifestations of sarcoidosis are likely to be better recognized. We sought to study the rare clinical and radiological manifestations (<5%) in patients with sarcoidosis. Methods: Retrospective review of records of 164 patients with histopathologically proven sarcoidosis seen over six years in a tertiary care centre in north India, was done. Results: Fifty four rare manifestations were observed in 164 patients. Acute presentation in the form of Lofgren syndrome was seen in eight (4.9%) and Heerfordt's syndrome in two (1.2%) patients. Musculoskeletal manifestations included chronic sarcoid arthritis in three (1.8%), deforming arthritis and bone erosion in one (0.6%) each. Rare initial presentation with dilated cardiomyopathy in one (0.6%), complete heart block in two (1.2%), bilateral sequential facial nerve palsy in two (1.2%), and pyrexia of unknown origin was seen in one (0.6%) patient. Other rare manifestations included chronic respiratory failure in one (0.6%), dysphagia in one (0.6%), sicca syndrome in five (3%), massive splenomegaly in one (0.6%), portal hypertension in two (1.2%), hypersplenism, gastric sarcoidosis, ninth and tenth cranial nerve palsies, moderate pericardial effusion and nephrocalcinosis in one (0.6%) each, and pulmonary artery hypertension in two (1.2%) patients. Rare radiological manifestations included moderate pleural effusion in two (1.2%), pleural thickening in five (3%), calcification of intrathoracic lymph nodes in four (2.4%), alveolar (nodular) sarcoidosis in three (1.8%), and myocardial uptake of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (F-18 FDG) in two (1.2%) patients. Fourteen patients had airways obstruction and behaved typically like seasonal bronchial asthma with excellent response to corticosteroids. Interpretation & conclusions: Increased awareness of rare manifestations will facilitate better management of these patients. With increasing use of modern diagnostic tools, manifestations hitherto considered rare, are likely to be recognized more frequently in the future.
  4,233 657 -
REVIEW ARTICLE
Umbilical cord blood: Current status & promise for the future
David McKenna, Jayesh Sheth
September 2011, 134(3):261-269
PMID:21985808
Umbilical cord blood (UCB) has been shown to be a suitable source of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) for haematopoietic reconstitution. An increase in the number of UCB transplants indicates an expansion of utility in a broad spectrum of disease conditions. Along with the advantages, UCB also has limitations, and hence several investigators are working to further optimize UCB for this use. Beyond haematopoietic transplantation, additional potential applications of UCB include immunotherapy, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. UCB banking has improved with time largely due to involvement of professional organizations and their published standards. However, accreditation of these organizations remains voluntary, and in India three of ten banks are public with the remaining being private. Only one public and one private bank are American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredited in India. Government agencies need to provide regulatory and safety oversight, which is lacking in serveral countries. Public policy regarding UCB is in its infancy throughout most of the world. Ethical issues, including access to UCB banking and use as therapy for diseases other than haematological and metabolic disorders are in the early phase of trials and remain speculative.
  3,876 978 -
REVIEW ARTICLES
Visceral leishmaniasis: Experimental models for drug discovery
Suman Gupta, Nishi
January 2011, 133(1):27-39
PMID:21321417
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) or kala-azar is a chronic protozoan infection in humans associated with significant global morbidity and mortality. The causative agent is a haemoflagellate protozoan Leishmania donovani, an obligate intracellular parasite that resides and multiplies within macrophages of the reticulo-endothelial system. Most of the existing anti-leishmanial drugs have serious side effects that limit their clinical application. As an alternate strategy, vaccination is also under experimental and clinical trials. The in vitro evaluation designed to facilitate rapid testing of a large number of drugs has been focussed on the promastigotes milt little attention on the clinically relevant parasite stage, amastigotes. Screening designed to closely reflect the situation in vivo is currently time consuming, laborious, and expensive, since it requires intracellular amastigotes and animal model. The ability to select transgenic Leishmania expressing reporter proteins, such as the green fluorescent proteins (GFP) or the luciferase opened up new possibilities for the development of drug screening models. Many experimental animal models like rodents, dogs and monkeys have been developed, each with specific features, but none accurately reproduces what happens in humans. Available in vitro and in vivo methodologies for antileishmanial drug screening and their respective advantages and disadvantages are reviewed.
  4,027 781 -
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