Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Addressing Medical Errors in Hand Surgery

 2014 Sep;39(9):1877-1882. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2014.01.027.

Addressing Medical Errors in Hand Surgery.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI; Department of Surgery, Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI; Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI.
  • 2Department of Surgery, Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI; Department of Surgery, Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI; Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI. Electronic address:


Influential think tanks such as the Institute of Medicine have raised awareness about the implications of medical errors. In response, organizations, medical societies, and hospitals have initiated programs to decrease the incidence and prevent adverse effects of these errors. Surgeons deal with the direct implications of adverse events involving patients. In addition to managing the physical consequences, they are confronted with ethical and social issues when caring for a harmed patient. Although there is considerable effort to implement system-wide changes, there is little guidance for hand surgeons on how to address medical errors. Admitting an error by a physician is difficult, but a transparent environment where patients are notified of errors and offered consolation and compensation is essential to maintain physician-patient trust. Furthermore, equipping hand surgeons with a guide for addressing medical errors will help identify system failures, provide learning points for safety improvement, decrease litigation against physicians, and demonstrate a commitment to ethical and compassionate medical care.

A critical reanalysis of the relationship between genomics and well-being

 2014 Aug 25. pii: 201407057. [Epub ahead of print]

A critical reanalysis of the relationship between genomics and well-being.

Author information

  • 1New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, London NW6 1DF, United Kingdom;
  • 2Department of Psychology, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI 48221-3038;
  • 3Systemix Institute, Redmond, WA 98053-5864;
  • 4Psychology and Interdisciplinary Inquiry Area, Saybrook University, San Francisco, CA 94111-1945; Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250;
  • 5Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center, University of Groningen, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands; and Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8062.


Fredrickson et al. [Fredrickson BL, et al. (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110(33):13684-13689] claimed to have observed significant differences in gene expression related to hedonic and eudaimonic dimensions of well-being. Having closely examined both their claims and their data, we draw substantially different conclusions. After identifying some important conceptual and methodological flaws in their argument, we report the results of a series of reanalyses of their dataset. We first applied a variety of exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis techniques to their self-reported well-being data. A number of plausible factor solutions emerged, but none of these corresponded to Fredrickson et al.'s claimed hedonic and eudaimonic dimensions. We next examined the regression analyses that purportedly yielded distinct differential profiles of gene expression associated with the two well-being dimensions. Using the best-fitting two-factor solution that we identified, we obtained effects almost twice as large as those found by Fredrickson et al. using their questionable hedonic and eudaimonic factors. Next, we conducted regression analyses for all possible two-factor solutions of the psychometric data; we found that 69.2% of these gave statistically significant results for both factors, whereas only 0.25% would be expected to do so if the regression process was really able to identify independent differential gene expression effects. Finally, we replaced Fredrickson et al.'s psychometric data with random numbers and continued to find very large numbers of apparently statistically significant effects. We conclude that Fredrickson et al.'s widely publicized claims about the effects of different dimensions of well-being on health-related gene expression are merely artifacts of dubious analyses and erroneous methodology.

Zombie allusions: They just keep on coming™-Using metabolomics

Zombie Ant Fungus 'Knows' its Host

Aug 26, 2014 03:17 PM EDT

"A zombie ant fungus "knows" its host, and only releases brain-controlling chemicals when it finds itself attached to its preferred ant species, according to a new study.
Parasitic fungi from the genus Ophiocordyceps - also known as the "zombie ant fungus" - control their ant hosts by inducing a biting behavior. Although these fungi can infect many different types of insects, they prefer a certain kind of ant in particular, and wait to attack until they find such a desirable host.
Using metabolomics, the researchers could determine precisely the chemical crosstalk between the fungus and the ant brain it grew alongside.
"We could see in the data that the fungus behaved differently in the presence of the ant brain it had co-evolved with," de Bekker said."

Ethical issues in stem cell research and therapy

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2014 Jul 7;5(4):85. [Epub ahead of print]

Ethical issues in stem cell research and therapy.


Rapid progress in biotechnology has introduced a host of pressing ethical and policy issues pertaining to stem cell research. In this review, we provide an overview of the most significant issues with which the stem cell research community should be familiar. We draw on a sample of the bioethics and scientific literatures to address issues that are specific to stem cell research and therapy, as well as issues that are important for stem cell research and therapy but also for translational research in related fields, and issues that apply to all clinical research and therapy. Although debate about the moral status of the embryo in human embryonic stem cell research continues to have relevance, the discovery of other highly multipotent stem cell types and alternative methods of isolating and creating highly multipotent stem cells has raised new questions and concerns. Induced pluripotent stem cells hold great promise, but care is needed to ensure their safety in translational clinical trials, despite the temptation to move quickly from bench to bedside. A variety of highly multipotent stem cells - such as mesenchymal stem/stromal cells and stem cells derived from amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, adipose tissue, or urine - present the opportunity for widespread biobanking and increased access. With these increased opportunities, however, come pressing policy issues of consent, control, and justice. The imperatives to minimize risks of harm, obtain informed consent, reduce the likelihood of the therapeutic misconception, and facilitate sound translation from bench to bedside are not unique to stem cell research; their application to stem cell research and therapy nonetheless merits particular attention. Because stem cell research is both scientifically promising and ethically challenging, both the application of existing ethical frameworks and careful consideration of new ethical implications are necessary as this broad and diverse field moves forward.

"A majority of those from poorer families believed that their children were healthy if someone else is heavier than their children."

Overweight Children? Not According to Parents, Study Shows

By Julie S | Aug 27, 2014

"The findings showed that parents are viewing their children's weight based on the appearance of their peers, which are not healthy at all. This makes overweight a norm as the population continues to increase in weight. A majority of those from poorer families believed that their children were healthy if someone else is heavier than their children."

Sarcopenia: monitoring, molecular mechanisms, and physical intervention

 2014 Aug 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Sarcopenia: monitoring, molecular mechanisms, and physical intervention.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physical Education, University of Zielona Gora, Zielona Gora, Poland.


According to European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) sarcopenia includes both a loss of muscle strength and a decline in functional quality in addition to the loss of muscle protein mass. In order to develop strategies to prevent and treat sarcopenia, the risk factors and causes of sarcopenia must be identified. Age-related muscle loss is characterized by the contribution of multiple factors, and there is growing evidence for a prominent role of low-grade chronic inflammation in sarcopenia. The elderly who are less physically active are more likely to have lower skeletal muscle mass and strength and are at increased risk of developing sarcopenia. Resistance training added to aerobic exercise or high-intensity interval training promote numerous changes in skeletal muscle, many of which may help to prevent or reverse sarcopenia. In this review, we provided a current information on definition and monitoring, molecular mechanisms, and physical intervention to counteract sarcopenia.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The psychology of martyrdom: Making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of a cause

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2014 Sep;107(3):494-515. doi: 10.1037/a0036855.

The psychology of martyrdom: Making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of a cause.

Author information

  • 1Département de Psychologie.
  • 2Department of Psychology, Carleton University.
  • 3Department of Psychology.
  • 4Department of Psychology, University of Maryland.


Martyrdom is defined as the psychological readiness to suffer and sacrifice one's life for a cause. An integrative set of 8 studies investigated the concept of martyrdom by creating a new tool to quantitatively assess individuals' propensity toward self-sacrifice. Studies 1A-1C consisted of psychometric work attesting to the scale's unidimensionality, internal consistency, and temporal stability while examining its nomological network. Studies 2A-2B focused on the scale's predictive validity, especially as it relates to extreme behaviors and suicidal terrorism. Studies 3-5 focused on the influence of self-sacrifice on automatic decision making, costly and altruistic behaviors, and morality judgments. Results involving more than 2,900 participants from different populations, including a terrorist sample, supported the proposed conceptualization of martyrdom and demonstrated its importance for a vast repertoire of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral phenomena. Implications and future directions for the psychology of terrorism are discussed. 

Fungal Culture and Sensitisation in Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder: What Does It Tell Us?

 2014 Aug 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Fungal Culture and Sensitisation in Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder: What Does It Tell Us?

Author information

  • Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Institute for Lung Health, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK,


Collectively asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and cystic fibrosis (CF) are very common, important causes of disease and ill health. Filamentous fungal colonisation of the airways can occur in all three disease groups, although the clinical relevance is unclear. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a well-recognised severe complication of airway colonisation associated primarily with Aspergillus fumigatus. Fungal colonisation may have a deleterious effect without fulfilling all the diagnostic criteria of ABPA; however, a lack of standardisation in processing respiratory samples hampers comparisons. Whilst mycology laboratory accreditation programs are common, most countries have no national standard guidelines for processing respiratory samples. Fungal recovery from sputum in CF, asthma and COPD can be around 40, 54 and 49 %, respectively. Isolation of fungi from sputum has been associated with reduced lung function in asthma and CF, although no such associations have been found in COPD. It is unclear whether fungal colonisation contributes to lower lung function or is a marker of more severe lung disease and aggressive therapy. Fungal sensitisation may contribute to the persistence of active respiratory symptoms; however, the exact prevalence is unclear. Sensitisation to A. fumigatus has been associated with reduced lung function in asthma, COPD and CF. It has suggested that both skin prick tests and specific IgE measurement by the ImmunoCAP system should be used in diagnoses of allergy, due to discordance in test results; however, there is currently no widely adopted consensus as to which fungi to test for.

Intact or Broken-apart RNA: An Alternative Concept for ALK Fusion Screening in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

 2014 Aug 22. [Epub ahead of print]

Intact or Broken-apart RNA: An Alternative Concept for ALK Fusion Screening in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer(NSCLC).

Author information

  • 1*Department of Pathology †Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Hellenic Foundation for Cancer Research ∥Department of Medical Oncology, "Papageorgiou" Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki School of Medicine ¶Department of Pathology, "Papageorgiou" Hospital, Thessaloniki §Second Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Oncology, Attikon University Hospital #Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital "Aglaia Kyriakou" ††Second Department of Medical Oncology, Hygeia Hospital, Athens, Greece ‡Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT **Department of Pathology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.


Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) break-apart fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) is currently used in diagnostics for the selection of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients to receive crizotinib. We evaluated ALK status in NSCLC with a novel ALK mRNA test based on the break-apart FISH concept, which we called break-apart transcript (BAT) test. ALK5' and ALK3' transcript patterns were established with qPCR for ALK-expressing controls including fusion-negative neuroblastomas, as well as fusion-positive anaplastic large cell lymphomas and NSCLC. The BAT test was evaluated on 271 RNA samples from routinely processed paraffin NSCLC tissues. Test results were compared with ALK FISH (n=121), immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis (n=86), and automated quantitative analysis (AQUA, n=83). On the basis of the nonoverlapping ALK BAT patterns in ALK-expressing controls (P<0.0001), 8/174 adenocarcinomas (4.6%) among 259 informative NSCLC were predicted as fusion positive. Overall concordance for paired method results was high (94.1% to 98.8%) but mainly concerned negative prediction because of the limited availability of positive-matched cases. Tumors with 100% cytoplasmic IHC staining of any intensity (n=3) were positive for AQUA, FISH, and BAT test; tumors with lower IHC positivity and different staining patterns were AQUA-negative. Upon multiple reevaluations, ALK gene status was considered as originally misinterpreted by FISH in 3/121 cases (2.5%). Tumors with >4 ALK gene copies were associated with longer overall survival upon first-line chemotherapy. In conclusion, application of the ALK BAT test on routinely processed NSCLC tissues yields the same fusion partner independent information as ALK break-apart FISH but is more robust and cost-effective. The BAT concept may be considered for the development of further drug-predictive translocation tests.

How feedback biases give ineffective medical treatments a good reputation

 2014 Aug 21;16(8):e193. doi: 10.2196/jmir.3214.

How feedback biases give ineffective medical treatments a good reputation.

Author information

  • 1Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm, Sweden.



Medical treatments with no direct effect (like homeopathy) or that cause harm (like bloodletting) are common across cultures and throughout history. How do such treatments spread and persist? Most medical treatments result in a range of outcomes: some people improve while others deteriorate. If the people who improve are more inclined to tell others about their experiences than the people who deteriorate, ineffective or even harmful treatments can maintain a good reputation.


The intent of this study was to test the hypothesis that positive outcomes are overrepresented in online medical product reviews, to examine if this reputational distortion is large enough to bias people's decisions, and to explore the implications of this bias for the cultural evolution of medical treatments.


We compared outcomes of weight loss treatments and fertility treatments in clinical trials to outcomes reported in 1901 reviews on Amazon. Then, in a series of experiments, we evaluated people's choice of weight loss diet after reading different reviews. Finally, a mathematical model was used to examine if this bias could result in less effective treatments having a better reputation than more effective treatments.


Data are consistent with the hypothesis that people with better outcomes are more inclined to write reviews. After 6 months on the diet, 93% (64/69) of online reviewers reported a weight loss of 10 kg or more while just 27% (19/71) of clinical trial participants experienced this level of weight change. A similar positive distortion was found in fertility treatment reviews. In a series of experiments, we show that people are more inclined to begin a diet with many positive reviews, than a diet with reviews that are representative of the diet's true effect. A mathematical model of medical cultural evolution shows that the size of the positive distortion critically depends on the shape of the outcome distribution.


Online reviews overestimate the benefits of medical treatments, probably because people with negative outcomes are less inclined to tell others about their experiences. This bias can enable ineffective medical treatments to maintain a good reputation.

"...seeking and receiving negative feedback via social networking sites can increase risk for disordered eating attitudes..."

 2014 Jul 25. doi: 10.1002/eat.22336. [Epub ahead of print]

Ask and you shall receive: Desire and receipt of feedback via Facebook predicts disordered eating concerns.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.



The current study examined whether certain types of Facebook content (i.e., status updates, comments) relate to eating concerns and attitudes.


We examined the effects of seeking and receiving negative feedback via Facebook on disordered eating concerns in a sample of 185 undergraduate students followed for approximately 4 weeks.


Results indicated that individuals with a negative feedback seeking style who received a high number of comments on Facebook were more likely to report disordered eating attitudes four weeks later. Additionally, individuals who received extremely negative comments in response to their personally revealing status updates were more likely to report disordered eating concerns four weeks later.


Results of the current study provide preliminary evidence that seeking and receiving negative feedback via social networking sites can increase risk for disordered eating attitudes, and suggest that reducing maladaptive social networking usage may be an important target for prevention and intervention efforts aimed at reducing disordered eating attitudes.

"...prolonged sedentary behavior was independently associated with an increased risk of incident endometrial, colorectal, breast, and lung cancers..."

 2014 Aug 25;9(8):e105709. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105709. eCollection 2014.

Sedentary Behavior and Incident Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies.

Author information

  • 1Department of Oncology, The Affiliated Jiangyin Hospital of Southeast University Medical College, Jiangyin, China.
  • 2Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway; MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
  • 3MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.



Sedentary behavior is ubiquitous in modern adults' daily lives and it has been suggested to be associated with incident cancer. However, the results have been inconsistent. In this study, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies to clarify the association between sedentary behavior and incident cancer.


PubMed and Embase databases were searched up to March 2014. All prospective cohort studies on the association between sedentary behavior and incident cancer were included. The summary relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using random effect model.


A total of 17 prospective studies from 14 articles, including a total of 857,581 participants and 18,553 cases, were included in the analysis for sedentary behavior and risk of incident cancer. The overall meta-analysis suggested that sedentary behavior increased risk of cancer (RR = 1.20, 95%CI = 1.12-1.28), with no evidence of heterogeneity between studies (I2 = 7.3%, P = 0.368). Subgroup analyses demonstrated that there were statistical associations between sedentary behavior and some cancer types (endometrial cancer: RR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.08-1.53; colorectal cancer: RR = 1.30, 95%CI = 1.12-1.49; breast cancer: RR = 1.17, 95%CI = 1.03-1.33; lung cancer: RR = 1.27, 95%CI = 1.06-1.52). However, there was no association of sedentary behavior with ovarian cancer (RR = 1.26, 95%CI = 0.87-1.82), renal cell carcinoma (RR = 1.11, 95%CI = 0.87-1.41) or non-Hodgkin lymphoid neoplasms (RR = 1.09, 95%CI = 0.82-1.43).


The present meta-analysis suggested that prolonged sedentary behavior was independently associated with an increased risk of incident endometrial, colorectal, breast, and lung cancers, but not with ovarian cancer, renal cell carcinoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoid neoplasms.

Astrophysicists' Conversational Connections on Twitter

 2014 Aug 25;9(8):e106086. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106086. eCollection 2014.

Astrophysicists' Conversational Connections on Twitter.

Author information

  • 1School of Mathematics and Computing, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom; Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland.
  • 2Dept. of Information and Library Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America; École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l'information, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada.
  • 3École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l'information, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada.
  • 4ZBW Leibniz Information Center for Economics and Christian Albrechts University Kiel, Kiel, Germany.


Because Twitter and other social media are increasingly used for analyses based on altmetrics, this research sought to understand what contexts, affordance use, and social activities influence the tweeting behavior of astrophysicists. Thus, the presented study has been guided by three research questions that consider the influence of astrophysicists' activities (i.e., publishing and tweeting frequency) and of their tweet construction and affordance use (i.e. use of hashtags, language, and emotions) on the conversational connections they have on Twitter. We found that astrophysicists communicate with a variety of user types (e.g. colleagues, science communicators, other researchers, and educators) and that in the ego networks of the astrophysicists clear groups consisting of users with different professional roles can be distinguished. Interestingly, the analysis of noun phrases and hashtags showed that when the astrophysicists address the different groups of very different professional composition they use very similar terminology, but that they do not talk to each other (i.e. mentioning other user names in tweets). The results also showed that in those areas of the ego networks that tweeted more the sentiment of the tweets tended to be closer to neutral, connecting frequent tweeting with information sharing activities rather than conversations or expressing opinions.

From Imperial College London: Smartphone breast applications - What's the evidence?

 2014 Aug 18. pii: S0960-9776(14)00136-2. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2014.07.006. [Epub ahead of print]

Smartphone breast applications - What's the evidence?

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London, UK. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London, UK. Electronic address:
  • 3Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, UK. Electronic address:
  • 4Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, UK. Electronic address:
  • 5Department of Breast Surgery, Imperial College London, UK. Electronic address:
  • 6Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, UK. Electronic address:



There are around 40,000 healthcare applications (apps) available for smartphones. Apps have been reviewed in many specialties. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in females with almost 1.38 million new cases a year worldwide. Despite the high prevalence of breast disease, apps in this field have not been reviewed to date. We have evaluated apps relevant to breast disease with an emphasis on their evidence base (EB) and medical professional involvement (MPI).


Searching the major app stores (apple iTunes, Google Play, BlackBerry World, Windows Phone) using the most common breast symptoms and diseases identified relevant apps. Extracted data for each app included target consumer, disease focus, app function, documentation of any EB, documentation of MPI in development, and potential safety concerns.


One-hundred-and-eighty-five apps were reviewed. The majority focused on breast cancer (n = 139, 75.1%). Educational (n = 94) and self-assessment tools (n = 30) were the most common functions demonstrated. EB and MPI was identified in 14.2% and 12.8% of apps respectively. Potential safety concerns were identified in 29 (15.7%) apps.


There is a lack of EB and MPI in the development of current breast apps. Safety concerns highlight the need for regulation, full authorship disclosure and clinical trials. A robust framework for identifying high quality applications is necessary. This will address the current barrier pertaining to a lack of consumer confidence in their use and further aid to promote their widespread implementation within healthcare.

"...nations may be able to improve the subjective quality of life of people without increasing material wealth or natural resource consumption by increasing gender equality in politics and changing public spending priorities."

Soc Sci Res. 2014 Nov;48:48-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.05.004. Epub 2014 May 15.

Life satisfaction across nations: The effects of women's political status and public priorities.

Author information

  • 1Department of Sociology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1291, United States. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Sociology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, United States. Electronic address:


Feminist scholars suggest that improving the quality of life of individuals living in nations around the world may be more readily achieved by increasing women's political power and by reorienting public-policy priorities, than by focusing primarily on economic growth. These considerations raise the question of which characteristics of societies are associated with the quality of life of the people in those societies. Here, we address this issue empirically by statistically analyzing cross-national data. We assess the effects of gender equality in the political sphere, as well as a variety of other factors, on the subjective well-being of nations, as indicated by average self-reported levels of life satisfaction. We find that people report the highest levels of life satisfaction in nations where women have greater political representation, where military spending is low, and where health care spending is high, controlling for a variety of other factors. GDP per capita, urbanization, and natural resource exploitation are not clearly associated with life satisfaction. These findings suggest that nations may be able to improve the subjective quality of life of people without increasing material wealth or natural resource consumption by increasing gender equality in politics and changing public spending priorities.

"Religiosity in China seems to be a continuous and pluralized construct rather than a dichotomous concept."

 2014 Aug 25. [Epub ahead of print]


Author information

  • 1 Department of Education and Management for Adolescents and Children Beijing, Youth Politics College.


Summary.-The religiosity of people describing themselves as 'nonbelievers' was explored in a Chinese sample. 578 students (310 women, 268 men; M age = 23.5 yr., SD = 3.3) participated in the study. The extent of religious beliefs was measured by the Religiosity subscale of the Social Axiom Survey (SAS). The results indicated that while nonbelievers generally neither believed nor disbelieved in the existence of a supreme being, they did believe that religion has some positive effects-providing a meaning to life as well as helping to keep moral standards. Religiosity in China seems to be a continuous and pluralized construct rather than a dichotomous concept.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Alcohol Use during Pregnancy: Considerations for Australian Policy

 2014 Sep 19;29(6):540-8. doi: 10.1080/19371918.2014.890150.

Alcohol Use during Pregnancy: Considerations for Australian Policy.

Author information

  • a National Drug Research Institute, Health Sciences, Curtin University , Perth , Australia.


Although there is an extensive recorded history of concerns related to alcohol exposed pregnancies and possible outcomes of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in recent scientific literature, Australia has only recently begun to accurately or systematically diagnose and record these conditions, or to provide comprehensive, coordinated, policy-guided funding, prevention, and treatment. This article discusses some considerations that can guide policy development within the Australian context including the social context and determinates of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the need to consider the issue as one that goes beyond the decision making of individual women. The article also identifies the contribution of research to guide evidence-based policy development, including emerging evidence of epigenetics, and systematic reviews for prevention. Other policy considerations include costs, and the possibility of the prevention paradox applying to this field, with its associated impact on costs and focus of prevention.

Identification of a new stem cell population which generates Drosophila flight muscles

 2014 Aug 18:e03126. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03126. [Epub ahead of print]

Identification of a new stem cell population which generates Drosophila flight muscles.

Author information

  • 1Department of Developmental Biology and Genetics, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore, India.
  • 2BioCenter, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
  • 3Department of Developmental Biology and Genetics, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore,


How myoblast populations are regulated for the formation of muscles of different sizes is an essentially unanswered question. The large flight muscles of Drosophila develop from adult muscle progenitor (AMP) cells set-aside embryonically. The thoracic segments are all allotted the same small AMP number, while those associated with the wing-disc proliferate extensively to give rise to over 2500 myoblasts. An initial amplification occurs through symmetric divisions and is followed by a switch to asymmetric divisions in which the AMPs self-renew and generate post-mitotic myoblasts. Notch signaling controls the initial amplification of AMPs, while the switch to asymmetric division additionally requires Wingless, which regulates Numb expression in the AMP lineage. In both cases, the epidermal tissue of the wing imaginal disc acts as a niche expressing the ligands Serrate and Wingless. The disc-associated AMPs are a novel muscle stem cell population that orchestrates the early phases of adult flight muscle development.