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Medicina, Volume 54, Issue 1 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Angiogenesis, being one of the hallmarks of cancer, has long been the subject of intense study. [...] Read more.
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Research

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Open AccessArticle Effects of Silymarin-Loaded Nanoparticles on HT-29 Human Colon Cancer Cells
Received: 6 July 2017 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
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Abstract
Background and objective: Previous studies have demonstrated the anti-cancer effects of silymarin (SLM). However, the low bioavailability of SLM has restricted its use. This study investigated the toxic effect of nanostructured SLM encapsulated in micelles (Nano-SLM) on the growth of the HT-29
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Background and objective: Previous studies have demonstrated the anti-cancer effects of silymarin (SLM). However, the low bioavailability of SLM has restricted its use. This study investigated the toxic effect of nanostructured SLM encapsulated in micelles (Nano-SLM) on the growth of the HT-29 human colon cancer cell line. Materials and methods: HT-29 cells were treated with 25 μM/mL of SLM or Nano-SLM for 48 h. MTT and colony formation assays were used to assess the cytotoxicity and proliferation of HT-29 cells, respectively. The cells were stained with annexin V/PI for assessment of apoptosis. Results: MTT assays revealed that Nano-SLM treatment was able to exert a more pronounced toxic effect on the HT-29 cells as compared to free SLM treatment (p < 0.01). In the Nano-SLM-treated cells, colony numbers were significantly reduced in comparison to the free SLM-treated cells (p < 0.01). Apoptotic and necrotic indexes of Nano-SLM-treated HT-29 cells were also significantly increased in comparison to those of the free SLM-treated cells (p < 0.01). The viability, proliferation and apoptosis of healthy cells (NIH-3T3 cells) were not changed in response to Nano-SLM or SLM. Conclusions: Our results indicate that Nano-SLM enhances the anti-cancer effects of SLM against human colon cancer cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Knowledge and Attitudes of Postpartum Mothers towards Immunization of Their Children in a Lithuanian Tertiary Teaching Hospital
Received: 19 March 2017 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
Background: Sufficient vaccination coverage among children depends on parents’ knowledge and attitudes towards immunization and their intention to have their children vaccinated. The objective of the study was to evaluate postpartum mothers’ knowledge and attitudes towards children’s immunization. Methods: It was a cross-sectional
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Background: Sufficient vaccination coverage among children depends on parents’ knowledge and attitudes towards immunization and their intention to have their children vaccinated. The objective of the study was to evaluate postpartum mothers’ knowledge and attitudes towards children’s immunization. Methods: It was a cross-sectional survey. The anonymous questionnaire was handed out to postpartum mothers selected at random in the Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kauno Klinikos from March to July of 2014. In total, 300 women were surveyed. Results: The majority (63%) of respondents had higher education. The child was the first one for 49.7% of the mothers. The women indicated that their main sources of information about children’s vaccination were the doctor, the Internet and mass media. Most respondents (87.3%) considered vaccine-preventable diseases to be dangerous but only 57.3% of them knew that vaccines provided efficient protection. Only 57% of the respondents considered vaccines to be safe but 75.3% thought that the benefits of vaccines were greater than the risks. We evaluated the knowledge as good in 36.3%, average in 41.3% and poor in 22.3% of mothers. Most of the respondents (81.3%) planned to immunize their child in the future with all the vaccines included in the national immunization program, however, 72.7% were worried about possible adverse events following vaccination. Of the mothers whose knowledge was evaluated as good, 74.8% had never refused or had doubts about having their child immunized (τ = −0.198, p < 0.001). The mothers with better knowledge were also less likely to be concerned (τ = 0.211, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Evaluation of postpartum mothers’ knowledge and attitudes towards children’s immunization could be the tool for better communication between health professionals and parents leading to increased vaccination rates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Differences in Risk Factors and Prevalence of Vascular Calcification between Pre-Dialysis and Hemodialysis Balkan Nephropathy Patients
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 19 March 2018
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Abstract
Aims: The aim of this study was to compare the risk factors and prevalence of vascular calcification (VC) in pre-dialysis and hemodialysis (HD) patients with Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN) or other kidney diseases (non-BEN). Materials and Methods: The study involved 115
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Aims: The aim of this study was to compare the risk factors and prevalence of vascular calcification (VC) in pre-dialysis and hemodialysis (HD) patients with Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN) or other kidney diseases (non-BEN). Materials and Methods: The study involved 115 patients, 32 pre-dialysis and 83 HD patients, separated into groups of BEN and non-BEN patients. In addition to interviews, objective examinations and laboratory analyses, VC was assessed using Adragao score. Results: Patients with BEN were significantly older in both groups, while pre-dialysis BEN patients had significantly lower systolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol and phosphorus levels, but higher urinary excretion of phosphorus than non-BEN patients. These differences were lost in HD groups. In pre-dialysis patients, prevalence of VC was lower in BEN than in non-BEN group and mean VC score differed significantly between them (2.8 (1.7) vs. 4.6 (1.8); p = 0.009). No significant difference in VC score was found between BEN and non-BEN patients on HD. Multivariate analysis showed that in pre-dialysis patients VC score >4 was associated with lower iPTH and higher serum cholesterol level, but in the HD group with higher serum triglyceride level and longer HD vintage. Conclusions: Lower prevalence of risk factors for VC in the BEN than non-BEN patients was found in pre-dialysis but not in HD group and this was reflected in the prevalence and severity of VC in the groups. Prevalence of VC and mean VC score were significantly lower in pre-dialysis BEN than in non-BEN patients but not for those on HD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Incidence and Mortality Patterns of Acute Myeloid Leukemia in Belgrade, Serbia (1999–2013)
Received: 2 September 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
Introduction: To assess incidence and mortality trends of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in Belgrade (Serbia) in a 15-year period (from 1999 to 2013). Material and Methods: Data were obtained from the Cancer Registry of Serbia, Institute of Public Health of Serbia. Standardized
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Introduction: To assess incidence and mortality trends of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in Belgrade (Serbia) in a 15-year period (from 1999 to 2013). Material and Methods: Data were obtained from the Cancer Registry of Serbia, Institute of Public Health of Serbia. Standardized incidence and mortality rates per 100,000 inhabitants were calculated by direct standardization method using World Standard Population. Analysis of raw data indicated single-digit numbers per year and per 5-year age cohorts. Therefore, we merged years of diagnosis to three-year intervals, creating so-called “moving averages”. We also merged study population to 10-year age cohorts. Results: Both incidence and mortality rates increased with age, i.e., the lowest rates were observed in the youngest age groups and the highest rates were observed in oldest age groups. In all age groups, except the youngest (15–24 years), AML incidence was statistically significantly higher in men compared with women. Average age-adjusted incidence was 2.73/100,000 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.28–3.71). Average age-adjusted mortality was 1.81/100,000 (95% CI 1.30–2.26). Overall, there were no significant changes in incidence trend. Age-adjusted incidence rates had increasing tendency among men aged 65–74 years (B = 0.80, standard error (SE) = 0.11; p = 0.005) and in total population aged 65–74 years (B = 0.41, SE = 0.09; p = 0.023). Increasing tendency in incidence of AML among women was observed in age group >75 years (B = 0.63, SE = 0.14; p = 0.019). No changes of mortality trend were observed. Conclusion: There was no significant change in trends of AML from 1999 to 2013 in the population of Belgrade. Full article
Open AccessArticle Prevalence and Risk Factors of Amblyopia among Refractive Errors in an Eastern European Population
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 17 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
Background and objective: Amblyopia is the leading cause of visual impairment in children and adults and is very common during childhood. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence and the risk factors of amblyopia in a pediatric population with refractive
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Background and objective: Amblyopia is the leading cause of visual impairment in children and adults and is very common during childhood. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence and the risk factors of amblyopia in a pediatric population with refractive errors from an Eastern European country. Materials and methods: A total of 1231 children aged 5–16 years, who had refractive errors and were examined from January to August 2017, were enrolled in a cross-sectional population-based study. Every child underwent a complete ophthalmological exam. Amblyopia was defined as a visual acuity (VA) of less than 0.63. The study respected the Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study (MEPEDS) criteria for defining amblyopia (MEPEDS, 2008). Parents participated in a face-to-face interview. The questionnaire contained details about their family history of amblyopia; the child’s maternal nutritional status in the preconception period; their history of maternal smoking or work in a toxic environment; the child’s birth, and the child’s history of congenital naso-lacrimal duct obstruction (CNLDO). Results: Amblyopia was identified in 2.8% of the participants. The ocular conditions hyperopia (p = 0.0079), astigmatism (p = 0.046), anisometropia (p < 0.001), esotropia (p < 0.001), exotropia (p = 0.0195), and CNLDO (p < 0.001), as well as a family history of amblyopia (p < 0.001), were associated with amblyopia. The non-ocular risk factors for amblyopia that were found in the study included low birth weight (p < 0.0009), prematurity (p < 0.001), an Apgar score under 7 (p = 0.0008), maternal age, maternal smoking history or work in toxic environment (p < 0.001), and maternal body mass index in the preconception period (p < 0.003). Conclusions: Some of the risk factors we identified for amblyopia are modifiable factors. This is an important observation as an adequate health education program can provide the relevant information for future mothers that will allow for a better management of the condition. We also wanted to highlight the need for amblyopia screening starting from the age of 3 years in case of significant parental refractive errors, strabismus, prematurity, and maternal risk factors. Full article
Open AccessArticle Eating Patterns and Food Choices of Latvian Infants during Their First Year of Life
Received: 7 August 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Introduction: Pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood are periods of rapid growth and development. The role of nutrition is very important during these critical growth and development periods. The aim of the study was to investigate infant feeding practices through the first year
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Introduction: Pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood are periods of rapid growth and development. The role of nutrition is very important during these critical growth and development periods. The aim of the study was to investigate infant feeding practices through the first year of life in Latvia, and to compare feeding practices with nutritional guidelines in Latvia and other European countries. Methods: We analysed cross-sectional study data from food frequency questionnaires with additional questions on breastfeeding and complementary feeding introduction. A total of 266 infants from all Latvian regions from birth to 1-year-old were included in the study. Breastfeeding rates were assessed by month of age. Complementary feeding was assessed using three age groups (0–3.9 months, 4–6.9 months, and 7–12.9 months), whereas two groups were used to assess food frequency and portion sizes (0–5.9 months and 6–12.9 months). Results: The breastfeeding rate during the first month of life was 89%. At 6 months, 68% of infants received breast milk, but by 12 months, only 45% still received breast milk. Complementary foods were introduced at a mean age of 5 months (standard deviation = 1). Before 4 months of age, 9% of infants were receiving complementary food, the majority (85%) between 4 and 6 months of age. There were 6% of infants who were introduced to complementary foods after 7 months of age. First complementary food choices were mainly porridge (64%), vegetables (21%), and fruits (10%). After 6 months of age, foods from almost all food groups were present in each infant diet at least once per day, such as vegetables (85%), potatoes (85%), fruits (81%), dairy (78%), and meat (73%), less than once per day—grains (88%), fats (73%), cow’s milk (66%), eggs (45%), fish (36%), and legumes (28%). Conclusion: Breastfeeding rate during first months of life is high in Latvia. Breastfeeding was sustained at the age of 6 months, in the highest rate among Baltic countries. However, only 45% continued breastfeeding at the age of 12 months, in accordance with WHO recommendations. A guideline on complementary feeding is followed by the majority of parents. There are deviations from guidelines in inclusion of some foods in the diet and frequency of consumption. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Population-Based Surveillance Study on the Epidemiology of Hepatitis C in Estonia
Received: 18 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
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Abstract
Background and objective: The hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients serve as a reservoir for transmission of the disease to others and are at risk of developing chronic hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Although the epidemiological data of high rate HCV infection have
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Background and objective: The hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients serve as a reservoir for transmission of the disease to others and are at risk of developing chronic hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Although the epidemiological data of high rate HCV infection have been obtained in many countries, such data are insufficient in Estonia. Therefore, the aim of the study was to analyze country-specific data on HCV patients. Materials and methods: Data about age, gender, diagnosis, possible risk factors, coinfections, HCV genotypes, liver fibrosis stages and extrahepatic manifestations were collected from 518 patients. Results: The most common risk factors for hepatitis C were injection drug use and tattooing in the 30–39 and 40–49 year age groups, and blood transfusion in the 50–59 and 60–69 year age groups. The other risk factors established were profession-related factors and sexual contact. The prevailing viral genotype among the HCV infected patients was genotype 1 (69% of the patients) followed by genotype 3 (25%). Genotypes 1 and 3 correlated with blood transfusions before 1994, drug injections and tattooing. Conclusions: Our study provides the best representation of genotype distribution across Estonia. As a result of the study, valuable data has been collected on hepatitis C patients in Estonia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Salt Consumption in Latvian Population: A Pilot Study
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
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Abstract
Background and objective: High dietary sodium intake is associated with multiple health risks, and the average sodium intake in Latvia is higher than the World Health Organization has recommended. In Latvia, no study so far has combined self-reported dietary data on sodium
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Background and objective: High dietary sodium intake is associated with multiple health risks, and the average sodium intake in Latvia is higher than the World Health Organization has recommended. In Latvia, no study so far has combined self-reported dietary data on sodium and potassium intake with objective measurements in 24-h urine samples. This pilot study aimed to cross-validate both methods and to assess any possible factors interfering with the collection of samples and data in large, population-based future studies of sodium and potassium intake in Latvian adults. Materials and methods: A stratified random sample of healthy Latvian adults aged 19–64 (n = 30) was drawn. Dietary data of sodium and potassium was collected using one 24-h dietary recall and a two-day food diary. Sodium and potassium excretion was measured by one 24-h urinary collection. Results: Median intake of sodium and potassium based on dietary data was 2276.4 mg/day (interquartile range (IQR), 1683.3–3979.4) and 2172.0 mg/day (IQR, 1740.6–3506.5), respectively. Median intake of sodium and potassium based on urinary data was 3500.3 mg/day (IQR, 2191.0–5535.0) and 2965.4 mg/day (IQR, 2530.2–3749.9), respectively. Urinary data showed significantly higher results than dietary records (Wilcoxon signed rank test, p = 0.023). Only 13% of the subjects did not exceed the WHO-recommended limit of 2000 mg of sodium per day, and only 33% consumed at least the recommended allowance of 3510 mg of potassium per day. Median intake of salt was 8.8 g/day (IQR, 5.5–13.8) (according to urinary data). Conclusions: The findings from the present study showed considerable underestimation of dietary sodium and potassium intake based on self-reported dietary data. Urinary data revealed more accurate results, and showed that Latvian adults exceed the amount of salt recommended and consume less potassium than recommended. The pilot study also showed that the chosen methods are adequate for implementation in large, population-based studies to evaluate dietary intake of salt, sodium, and potassium in populations of Latvian adults. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Point of Care Diagnostics for HIV in Resource Limited Settings: An Overview
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a global health problem. Early diagnosis, rapid antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation and monitoring of viral load are the key strategies for effective HIV management. Many people in resource limited settings where timely access to medical care is a
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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a global health problem. Early diagnosis, rapid antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation and monitoring of viral load are the key strategies for effective HIV management. Many people in resource limited settings where timely access to medical care is a challenge and healthcare infrastructure is poor have no access to laboratory facilities and diagnosis is dependent on the presence of point of care (POC) devices. POC instruments have shown to be easy to operate, maintain and transport and can easily be operated by less skilled health workers. Additionally, POC tests do not require laboratory technicians to operate. POC devices have resulted in a growing number of people testing for HIV and thereby receiving treatment early. In recent years, there has been great improvement in the development of POC technologies for early HIV diagnosis, HIV viral load and cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) measurement. This review discusses POC technologies that are currently available and in the pipeline for diagnosing and monitoring HIV. We also give an overview of the technical and commercialization challenges in POC diagnostics for HIV. Full article
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Open AccessReview Angiogenesis: Managing the Culprits behind Tumorigenesis and Metastasis
Received: 18 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
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Abstract
Deregulated angiogenesis has been identified as a key contributor in a number of pathological conditions including cancer. It is a complex process, which involves highly regulated interaction of multiple signalling molecules. The pro-angiogenic signalling molecule, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its cognate
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Deregulated angiogenesis has been identified as a key contributor in a number of pathological conditions including cancer. It is a complex process, which involves highly regulated interaction of multiple signalling molecules. The pro-angiogenic signalling molecule, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its cognate receptor 2 (VEGFR-2), which is often highly expressed in majority of human cancers, plays a central role in tumour angiogenesis. Owing to the importance of tumour vasculature in carcinogenesis, tumour blood vessels have emerged as an excellent therapeutic target. The anti-angiogenic therapies have been shown to arrest growth of solid tumours through multiple mechanisms, halting the expansion of tumour vasculature and transient normalization of tumour vasculature which help in the improvement of blood flow resulting in more uniform delivery of cytotoxic agents to the core of tumour mass. This also helps in reduction of hypoxia and interstitial pressure leading to reduced chemotherapy resistance and more uniform delivery of cytotoxic agents at the targeted site. Thus, complimentary combination of different agents that target multiple molecules in the angiogenic cascade may optimize inhibition of angiogenesis and improve clinical benefit in the cancer patients. This review provides an update on the current trend in exploitation of angiogenesis pathways as a strategy in the treatment of cancer. Full article
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