Open AccessReview
Evaluation of the Pharmaceutical Properties and Value of Astragali Radix
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020046 -
Abstract
Astragali Radix (AR), a Chinese materia medica (CMM) known as Huangqi, is an important medicine prescribed in herbal composite formulae (Fufang) by Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners for thousands of years. According to the literature, AR is suggested for patients suffering from “Qi”-
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Astragali Radix (AR), a Chinese materia medica (CMM) known as Huangqi, is an important medicine prescribed in herbal composite formulae (Fufang) by Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners for thousands of years. According to the literature, AR is suggested for patients suffering from “Qi”- and “Blood”-deficiencies, and its clinical effects are reported to be related to anti-cancer cell proliferation, anti-oxidation, relief of complications in cardiovascular diseases, etc. The underlying cell signaling pathways involved in the regulation of these various diseases are presented here to support the mechanisms of action of AR. There are two botanical sources recorded in China Pharmacopoeia (CP, 2015): Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge. Var. mongohlicus, (Bge.) Hsiao, and Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge. (Fam. Leguminosae), whose extracts of dried roots are processed via homogenization-assisted negative pressure cavitation extraction. Geographic factors and extraction methods have impacts on the pharmaceutical and chemical profiles of AR. Therefore, the levels of the major bioactive constituents of AR, including polysaccharides, saponins, and flavonoids, may not be consistent in different batches of extract, and the pharmaceutical efficacy of these bioactive ingredients may vary depending on the source. Therefore, the present review mainly focuses on the consistency of the available sources of AR and extracts and on the investigation of the biological functions and mechanisms of action of AR and of its major bioactive constituents. Furthermore, it will also include a discussion of the most popular AR composite formulae to further elucidate their chemical and biological profiles and understand the pharmaceutical value of AR. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
In Vitro Iron Bioavailability of Brazilian Food-Based by-Products
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020045 -
Abstract
Background: Iron deficiency is a public health problem in many low- and middle-income countries. Introduction of agro-industrial food by-products, as additional source of nutrients, could help alleviate this micronutrient deficiency, provide alternative sources of nutrients and calories in developed countries, and be
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Background: Iron deficiency is a public health problem in many low- and middle-income countries. Introduction of agro-industrial food by-products, as additional source of nutrients, could help alleviate this micronutrient deficiency, provide alternative sources of nutrients and calories in developed countries, and be a partial solution for disposal of agro-industry by-products. Methods: The aim of this study was to determine iron bioavailability of 5 by-products from Brazilian agro-industry (peels from cucumber, pumpkin, and jackfruit, cupuaçu seed peel, and rice bran), using the in vitro digestion/ Caco-2 cell model; with Caco-2 cell ferritin formation as a surrogate marker of iron bioavailability. Total and dialyzable Fe, macronutrients, the concentrations of iron-uptake inhibitors (phytic acid, tannins, fiber) and their correlation with iron bioavailability were also evaluated. Results: The iron content of all by-products was high, but the concentration of iron and predicted bioavailability were not related. Rice bran and cupuaçu seed peel had the highest amount of phytic acid and tannins, and lowest iron bioavailability. Cucumber peels alone, and with added extrinsic Fe, and pumpkin peels with extrinsic added iron, had the highest iron bioavailability. Conclusion: The results suggest that cucumber and pumpkin peel could be valuable alternative sources of bioavailable Fe to reduce iron deficiency in at-risk populations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pharmacological Treatment for Long-Term Patients with Schizophrenia and Its Effects on Sleep in Daily Clinical Practice: A Pilot Study
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020044 -
Abstract
Background: Pharmacological treatment is still the key intervention in the disease management of long-term patients with schizophrenia; however, how it affects sleep and whether gender differences exist remains unclear. Methods: Forty-six long-term outpatients with schizophrenia entered the study. The numbers of antipsychotics, sleep
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Background: Pharmacological treatment is still the key intervention in the disease management of long-term patients with schizophrenia; however, how it affects sleep and whether gender differences exist remains unclear. Methods: Forty-six long-term outpatients with schizophrenia entered the study. The numbers of antipsychotics, sleep medications, antidepressants, and anxiolytics were analyzed. Moreover, all patients were tested using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Correlation analyses were conducted between the medication used and the scores on the two subjective sleep inventories. Results: A large variability, ranging from 0 to 8, in the total number of psychiatric drugs per person was found between the patients. Despite ongoing pharmacological treatment, the patients scored high on the PSQI, but not on the ESS; this indicates that they report problems with sleep, but not with daytime sleepiness. A significant positive correlation between the use of antipsychotics and the ESS score, but not the PSQI score, was found; moreover, no gender differences were found. Conclusions: A large variability exists in the pharmacological treatment of long-term patients with schizophrenia. To date, patients’ sleep problems have been insufficiently treated, and gender differences have not been adequately accounted for in the pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia. More and larger international clinical studies are warranted to verify the findings of the present preliminary pilot study before any firm conclusions can be drawn and before any changes to the drug treatment of male and female patients with schizophrenia can be recommended. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Laser Acupuncture and Heart Rate Variability—Scientific Considerations
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020043 -
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Open AccessArticle
Phytochemistry, Antioxidant, and Hepatoprotective Potential of Acanthospermum hispidum DC Extracts against Diethylnitrosamine-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020042 -
Abstract
Background: Burkina Faso is classified among the countries with a high prevalence (˃12%) of hepatitis. Hepatic diseases, such as cirrhosis—related to alcoholism—and hepatitis B and C, are the cause of the increase in cases of liver cancer. They promote the development of cancer
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Background: Burkina Faso is classified among the countries with a high prevalence (˃12%) of hepatitis. Hepatic diseases, such as cirrhosis—related to alcoholism—and hepatitis B and C, are the cause of the increase in cases of liver cancer. They promote the development of cancer by decreasing the natural cell death, causing problems with DNA repair, or by increasing the production of free radical toxins to the cell. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were nearly 639,000 deaths from liver cancer worldwide in 2014, hence the need to search for natural hepatoprotective molecules. Objective: To evaluate the hepatoprotective potential of Acanthospermum hispidum extracts on rats and the antioxidant capacity of extracts in vitro and in vivo, and to perform phytochemistry. Methods: The ethanolic and aqueous extracts of the whole Acanthospermum hispidum plant were used to evaluate hepatoprotection. The hepatotoxin used in our case was diethylenitrosamine. The animals were divided into groups of six. The sera of the treated animals were used for the determination of transaminases, and the liver homogenates were used for the determination of antioxidant. The total phenol and flavonoid contents, and the antioxidant properties of the extracts, were evaluated in vitro. Results: The results of the in vitro antioxidant tests showed good antioxidant activity of the ethanolic extract, using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) test (0.08 ± 0.0018 μg/mL) and 2,2′-azinobis (3-ethylbenzolin-6-sulphonate) (ABTS) (246.05 ± 1.55 mmol TE/g). The in vivo tests showed, through the evaluation of the antioxidant in vivo and the biochemical parameters, that the ethanolic extract with the highest phenolic content had a good hepatoprotective capacity. Conclusions: The antioxidant activity of Acanthopermum hispidum extracts would justify the observed hepatoprotective activity. These results confirmed that the plant is used in the treatment of liver diseases in traditional medicine in Burkina Faso. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bibliometric Analysis of Traditional Chinese Medicine Scientific Production between 1982 and 2016 Indexed in PubMed
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020041 -
Abstract
Background: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may be understood as a system of sensations and findings designed to establish the functional vegetative state of the body. This state may be treated by several therapeutic methods such as acupuncture, Chinese pharmacotherapy, dietetics, Tuina, and
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Background: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may be understood as a system of sensations and findings designed to establish the functional vegetative state of the body. This state may be treated by several therapeutic methods such as acupuncture, Chinese pharmacotherapy, dietetics, Tuina, and Qigong. Nowadays, as a result of several evidence-based reported beneficial effects over specific pathological conditions, there is an increasing tendency to integrate some of these practices in Western medicine. The main goal of this study was to perform a bibliometric analysis of TCM scientific production between 1982 and 2016 indexed in PubMed, by analyzing several parameters including time and location distribution, publication quality, experimental design, and treatment methods. Methods: The methodology was based on the quantitative inventory of published scientific research indexed in PubMed medical subject headings (MeSH), sorted within the broad term “Traditional Chinese Medicine” and integrating the following criteria as limit filters: “Species: Humans”, “Article Type: Clinical Trial”. In addition, the articles’ triage was ruled by temporal limitations set between 1945 and 2016. Results: The overall analysis of data allowed observation of an average annual growth of approximately 33%, with a productive peak of 122 articles in 2007. The scientific production was distributed in 27 countries, led by China (76.1%), followed by the United States of America (3.0%) and South Korea (2.1%). A significant amount of references were published in Chinese journals: more than 50%; however, these journals had a low impact factor. The most cited treatments in the keywords section of the articles were phytotherapy (55%) and acupuncture (40%). Conclusion: The increasing demand for TCM seems to be due to factors such as lower side effects and greater efficacy in some patients not responding well to conventional therapy. As a result, a considerable amount of TCM science-based literature has been produced, supporting the rational integration of these practices in Western healthcare systems and research. Our results show that the quality of TCM research and inherent publications have been increasing over the last decades, with a higher incidence of studies published in well-ranked journals. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective
Rationalism, Empiricism, and Evidence-Based Medicine: A Call for a New Galenic Synthesis
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020040 -
Abstract
Thirty years after the rise of the evidence-based medicine (EBM) movement, formal training in philosophy remains poorly represented among medical students and their educators. In this paper, I argue that EBM’s reception in this context has resulted in a privileging of empiricism over
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Thirty years after the rise of the evidence-based medicine (EBM) movement, formal training in philosophy remains poorly represented among medical students and their educators. In this paper, I argue that EBM’s reception in this context has resulted in a privileging of empiricism over rationalism in clinical reasoning with unintended consequences for medical practice. After a limited review of the history of medical epistemology, I argue that a solution to this problem can be found in the method of the 2nd-century Roman physician Galen, who brought empiricism and rationalism together in a synthesis anticipating the scientific method. Next, I review several of the problems that have been identified as resulting from a staunch commitment to empiricism in medical practice. Finally, I conclude that greater epistemological awareness in the medical community would precipitate a Galenic shift toward a more epistemically balanced, scientific approach to clinical research. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Does the World Need Plant Medicines?
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020039 -
Open AccessReview
Use of Plant and Herb Derived Medicine for Therapeutic Usage in Cardiology
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020038 -
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have become prominent in mortality and morbidity rates. Prevalent cardiovascular conditions, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and oxidative stress, are increasing at an alarming rate. Conventional drugs have been associated with adverse effects, suggesting a need for an alternative measure to
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Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have become prominent in mortality and morbidity rates. Prevalent cardiovascular conditions, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and oxidative stress, are increasing at an alarming rate. Conventional drugs have been associated with adverse effects, suggesting a need for an alternative measure to ameliorate CVD. A number of plant- and herb-derived preventative food and therapeutic drugs for cardiovascular conditions are progressively used for their various benefits. Naturally derived food and drugs have fewer side effects because they come from natural elements; preventative food, such as grape seed, inhibits changes of histopathology and biomarkers in vital organs whereas therapeutic drugs, for instance Xanthone, improve heart functions by suppressing oxidative stress of myocyte. This review closely examines the various plant- and herb-derived drugs that have assumed an essential role in treating inflammation and oxidative stress for prevalent cardiovascular conditions. Furthermore, the use of plant-derived medicine with other synthetic particles, such as nanoparticles, for targeted therapy is investigated for its effective clinical use in the future. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Anti-Parasitic Activities of Allium sativum and Allium cepa against Trypanosoma b. brucei and Leishmania tarentolae
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020037 -
Abstract
Background: Garlics and onions have been used for the treatment of diseases caused by parasites and microbes since ancient times. Trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis are a concern in many areas of the world, especially in poor countries. Methods:Trypanosoma brucei brucei and Leishmania tarentolae
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Background: Garlics and onions have been used for the treatment of diseases caused by parasites and microbes since ancient times. Trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis are a concern in many areas of the world, especially in poor countries. Methods:Trypanosoma brucei brucei and Leishmania tarentolae were used to investigate the anti-parasitic effects of dichloromethane extracts of Allium sativum (garlic) and Allium cepa (onion) bulbs. As a confirmation of known antimicrobial activities, they were studied against a selection of G-negative, G-positive bacteria and two fungi. Chemical analyses were performed using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS). Results: Chemical analyses confirmed the abundance of several sulfur secondary metabolites in garlic and one (zwiebelane) in the onion extract. Both extracts killed both types of parasites efficiently and inhibited the Trypanosoma brucei trypanothione reductase irreversibly. In addition, garlic extract decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential in trypanosomes. Garlic killed the fungi C. albicans and C. parapsilosis more effectively than the positive control. The combinations of garlic and onion with common trypanocidal and leishmanicidal drugs resulted in a synergistic or additive effect in 50% of cases. Conclusion: The mechanism for biological activity of garlic and onion appears to be related to the amount and the profile of sulfur-containing compounds. It is most likely that vital substances inside the parasitic cell, like trypanothione reductase, are inhibited through disulfide bond formation between SH groups of vital redox compounds and sulfur-containing secondary metabolites. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antiproliferative and Antioxidant Activities of Two Extracts of the Plant Species Euphorbia dendroides L.
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020036 -
Abstract
Background: These days, the desire for naturally occurring antioxidants has significantly increased, especially for use in foodstuffs, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products, to replace synthetic antioxidants that are regularly constrained due to their carcinogenicity. Methods: The study in hand aimed to appraise the
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Background: These days, the desire for naturally occurring antioxidants has significantly increased, especially for use in foodstuffs, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products, to replace synthetic antioxidants that are regularly constrained due to their carcinogenicity. Methods: The study in hand aimed to appraise the antioxidant effect of two Euphorbia dendroides extracts using reducing power, anti-peroxidation, and DPPH (1,1 Diphenyl 2 Pycril Hydrazil) scavenging essays, in addition to the anticancer activity against two tumor cell lines, namely C6 (rat brain tumor)cells, and Hela (human uterus carcinoma)cell lines. Results: The results indicated that the ethyl acetate extract exhibited antiradical activity of 29.49%, higher than that of n-butanol extract (18.06%) at 100 µg/mL but much lower than that of gallic acid (78.21%).The ethyl acetate extract exhibits better reducing capacity and lipid peroxidation inhibitory activity compared to n-butanol extract but less than all tested standards. Moreover, the ethyl acetate extract was found to have an antiproliferative activity of more than 5-FU (5-fluoro-Uracil) against C6 cells at 250 µg/mL with IC50 and IC75 of 113.97, 119.49 µg/mL, respectively, and good cytotoxic activity against the Hela cell lines at the same concentration. The HPLC-TOF-MS (high performance liquid chromatography-Time-of-flight-Mass Spectrometry) analyses exposed the presence of various compounds, among which Gallic and Chlorogenic acids functioned as major compounds. Conclusions: The two extracts exhibited moderate anticancer abilities and behaved somewhat as average antioxidant agents. Based on the total phenolics and flavonoids contents, as well as HPLC results, it could be concluded that antiproliferative and antioxidant activities depend upon the content of different phenolics and flavonoids. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Review of Evidence for a Therapeutic Application of Traditional Japanese Kampo Medicine for Oral Diseases/Disorders
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020035 -
Abstract
Kampo medicines prescribed by specialized medical practitioners and Japanese physicians have gradually reemerged in Japan as alternatives to Western medications. Kampo formulations are composed of several plant extracts and, as such, the broad variety of phytochemicals they contain likely act synergistically to provide
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Kampo medicines prescribed by specialized medical practitioners and Japanese physicians have gradually reemerged in Japan as alternatives to Western medications. Kampo formulations are composed of several plant extracts and, as such, the broad variety of phytochemicals they contain likely act synergistically to provide their beneficial effects. Kampo medicines have traditionally been prescribed for a number of health conditions, including chronic hepatitis, bronchial asthma, anemia, etc. The aim of this article is to review the beneficial effects of Kampos with respect to oral health. Pertinent papers published between 1970 and 2017 were retrieved by searching in PubMed, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, and Scopus using key words followed by evaluation of the relevant articles. In vitro studies have identified a number of properties that give credence to the potential of Kampos for treating or preventing oral diseases/disorders. Given their anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, they may be promising agents for controlling periodontal diseases, oral mucositis, xerostomia, and drug-induced gingival overgrowth. Since some oral diseases have a complex etiology that involves microbial pathogens and the host immune response, agents with dual functionality such as Kampo phytochemicals may offer a therapeutic advantage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Beneficial Effect of Ocimum sanctum (Linn) against Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension in Rats
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020034 -
Abstract
Background: The study was designed to explore any beneficial effect of Ocimum sanctum (Linn) (OS) in experimental pulmonary hypertension (PH) in rats. OS is commonly known as “holy basil” and “Tulsi” and is used in the Indian System of Medicine as antidiabetic, antioxidant,
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Background: The study was designed to explore any beneficial effect of Ocimum sanctum (Linn) (OS) in experimental pulmonary hypertension (PH) in rats. OS is commonly known as “holy basil” and “Tulsi” and is used in the Indian System of Medicine as antidiabetic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, adaptogenic, and cardioprotective. Methods: Monocrotaline (MCT) administration caused development of PH in rats after 28 days and rats were observed for 42 days. Treatments (sildenafil; 175 µg/kg, OS; 200 mg/kg) were started from day 29 after the development of PH and continued for 14 days. Parameters to assess the disease development and effectiveness of interventions were echocardiography, right and left ventricular systolic pressures, and right ventricular end diastolic pressure, percentage medial wall thickness (%MWT) of pulmonary artery, oxidative stress markers in lung tissue, NADPH oxidase (Nox-1) protein expression in lung, and mRNA expression of Bcl2 and Bax in right ventricular tissue. Results: OS (200 mg/kg) treatment ameliorated increased lung weight to body weight ratio, right ventricular hypertrophy, increased RVSP, and RVoTD/AoD ratio. Moreover, OS treatment decreases Nox-1 expression and increases expression of Bcl2/Bax ratio caused by MCT. Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that OS has therapeutic ability against MCT-induced PH in rat which are attributed to its antioxidant effect. The effect of OS was comparable with sildenafil. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Antioxidant Potential of Extracts Obtained from Macro- (Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus vesiculosus and Bifurcaria bifurcata) and Micro-Algae (Chlorella vulgaris and Spirulina platensis) Assisted by Ultrasound
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020033 -
Abstract
Background: Natural antioxidants, which can replace synthetic ones due to their potential implications for health problems in children, have gained significant popularity. Therefore, the antioxidant potential of extracts obtained from three brown macroalgae (Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus vesiculosus and Bifurcaria bifurcata)
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Background: Natural antioxidants, which can replace synthetic ones due to their potential implications for health problems in children, have gained significant popularity. Therefore, the antioxidant potential of extracts obtained from three brown macroalgae (Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus vesiculosus and Bifurcaria bifurcata) and two microalgae (Chlorella vulgaris and Spirulina platensis) using ultrasound-extraction as an innovative and green approach was evaluated. Methods: Algal extracts were obtained by ultrasound-assisted extraction using water/ethanol (50:50, v:v) as the extraction solvent. The different extracts were compared based on their antioxidant potential, measuring the extraction yield, the total phenolic content (TPC) and the antioxidant activity. Results: Extracts from Ascophyllum nodosum (AN) and Bifurcaria bifurcata (BB) showed the highest antioxidant potential compared to the rest of the samples. In particular, BB extract presented the highest extraction (35.85 g extract/100 g dry weight (DW)) and total phenolic compounds (TPC) (5.74 g phloroglucinol equivalents (PGE)/100 g DW) yields. Regarding the antioxidant activity, macroalgae showed again higher values than microalgae. BB extract had the highest antioxidant activity in the ORAC, DPPH and FRAP assays, with 556.20, 144.65 and 66.50 µmol Trolox equivalents (TE)/g DW, respectively. In addition, a correlation among the antioxidant activity and the TPC was noted. Conclusions: Within the obtained extracts, macroalgae, and in particular BB, are more suitable to be used as sources of phenolic antioxidants to be included in products for human consumption. The relatively low antioxidant potential, in terms of polyphenols, of the microalgae extracts studied in the present work makes them useless for possible industrial applications compared to macroalgae, although further in vivo studies evaluating the real impact of antioxidants from both macro- and micro-algae at the cellular level should be conducted. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Dosimetric Implications of Computerised Tomography-Only versus Magnetic Resonance-Fusion Contouring in Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020032 -
Abstract
Background: Magnetic resonance (MR)-fusion contouring is the standard of care in prostate stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for target volume localisation. However, the planning computerised tomography (CT) scan continues to be used for dose calculation and treatment planning and verification. Discrepancies between the planning
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Background: Magnetic resonance (MR)-fusion contouring is the standard of care in prostate stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for target volume localisation. However, the planning computerised tomography (CT) scan continues to be used for dose calculation and treatment planning and verification. Discrepancies between the planning MR and CT scans may negate the benefits of MR-fusion contouring and it adds a significant resource burden. We aimed to determine whether CT-only contouring resulted in a dosimetric detriment compared with MR-fusion contouring in prostate SBRT planning. Methods: We retrospectively compared target volumes and SBRT plans for 20 patients treated clinically with MR-fusion contouring (standard of care) with those produced by re-contouring using CT data only. Dose was 36.25 Gy in 5 fractions. CT-only contouring was done on two occasions blind to MR data and reviewed by a separate observer. Primary outcome was the difference in rectal volume receiving 36 Gy or above. Results: Absolute target volumes were similar: 63.5 cc (SD ± 27.9) versus 63.2 (SD ± 26.5), Dice coefficient 0.86 (SD ± 0.04). Mean difference in apex superior-inferior position was 1.1 (SD ± 3.5; CI: −0.4–2.6). Small dosimetric differences in favour of CT-only contours were seen, with the mean rectal V36 Gy 0.3 cc (95% CI: 0.1–0.5) lower for CT-only contouring. Conclusions: Prostate SBRT can be successfully planned without MR-fusion contouring. Consideration can be given to omitting MR-fusion from the prostate SBRT workflow, provided reference to diagnostic MR imaging is available. Development of MR-only work flow is a key research priority to gain access to the anatomical fidelity of MR imaging. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Gene-Therapeutic Strategies Targeting Angiogenesis in Peripheral Artery Disease
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020031 -
Abstract
The World Health Organization announced that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death globally, representing 31% of all global deaths. Coronary artery disease (CAD) affects approximately 5% of the US population aged 40 years and older. With an age-adjusted prevalence of
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The World Health Organization announced that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death globally, representing 31% of all global deaths. Coronary artery disease (CAD) affects approximately 5% of the US population aged 40 years and older. With an age-adjusted prevalence of approximately 12%, peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects at least 8 to 12 million Americans. Both CAD and PAD are caused by mainly atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of arteries over the years by lipid deposition in the vascular bed. Despite the significant advances in interventions for revascularization and intensive medical care, patients with CAD or PAD who undergo percutaneous transluminal angioplasty have a persistent high rate of myocardial infarction, amputation, and death. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed for these patients. To overcome this unmet need, therapeutic angiogenesis using angiogenic growth factors has evolved in an attempt to stimulate the growth of new vasculature to compensate for tissue ischemia. After nearly 20 years of investigation, there is growing evidence of successful or unsuccessful gene therapy for ischemic heart and limb disease. This review will discuss basic and clinical data of therapeutic angiogenesis studies employing angiogenic growth factors for PAD patients and will draw conclusions on the basis of our current understanding of the biological processes of new vascularization. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Biopsychosocial Assessment of Pain with Thermal Imaging of Emotional Facial Expression in Breast Cancer Survivors
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020030 -
Abstract
Background: Recent research has evaluated psychological and biological characteristics associated with pain in survivors of breast cancer (BC). Few studies consider their relationship with inflammatory activity. Voluntary facial expressions modify the autonomic activity and this may be useful in the hospital environment
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Background: Recent research has evaluated psychological and biological characteristics associated with pain in survivors of breast cancer (BC). Few studies consider their relationship with inflammatory activity. Voluntary facial expressions modify the autonomic activity and this may be useful in the hospital environment for clinical biopsychosocial assessment of pain. Methods: This research compared a BC survivors group under integral treatment (Oncology, Psychology, Nutrition) with a control group to assess the intensity of pain, behavioral interference, anxiety, depression, temperament-expression, anger control, social isolation, emotional regulation, and alexithymia and inflammatory activity, with salivary interleukin 6 (IL-6). Then, a psychophysiological evaluation through repeated measures of facial infrared thermal imaging (IRT) and hands in baseline—positive facial expression (joy)—negative facial expression (pain)—relaxation (diaphragmatic breathing). Results: The results showed changes in the IRT (p < 0.05) during the execution of facial expressions in the chin, perinasal, periorbital, frontal, nose, and fingers areas in both groups. No differences were found in the IL-6 level among the aforementioned groups, but an association with baseline nasal temperature (p < 0.001) was observable. The BC group had higher alexithymia score (p < 0.01) but lower social isolation (p < 0.05), in comparison to the control group. Conclusions: In the low- and medium-concentration groups of IL-6, the psychophysiological intervention proposed in this study has a greater effect than on the high concentration group of IL-6. This will be considered in the design of psychological and psychosocial interventions for the treatment of pain. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Acupuncture as Add-On Treatment of the Positive, Negative, and Cognitive Symptoms of Patients with Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020029 -
Abstract
Background: Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder that has a large impact on patients’ lives. In addition to Western medicine, the use of additional treatments, such as acupuncture, in treating the positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms is increasing. Methods: We conducted a systematic
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Background: Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder that has a large impact on patients’ lives. In addition to Western medicine, the use of additional treatments, such as acupuncture, in treating the positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms is increasing. Methods: We conducted a systematic review on the use of acupuncture as an add-on treatment for patients with schizophrenia that are in regular care, with a special focus on the treatment of the often accompanying sleep disorders. In this study, we searched the Medline, ScienceDirect, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and ERIC databases with a cut-off date of 31 December 2017, thereby following the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) protocol. Results: Our search resulted in 26 eligible studies with 1181 patients with schizophrenia who received acupuncture treatment. Most studies showed limited evidence for the use of acupuncture as add-on therapy in the treatment of the positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms, but beneficial effects have been reported in the treatment of the accompanying sleep disorders. Conclusions: Limited evidence was found for the use of acupuncture as add-on therapy in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia; however, positive results were found in the treatment of sleep disorders, but this result needs to be confirmed in large, randomized, controlled trials. Full article
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Open AccessHypothesis
Benveniste’s Experiments Explained by a Non-Conventional Experimenter Effect
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020028 -
Abstract
Background: Benveniste’s biology experiments suggested the existence of molecular-like effects without molecules (“memory of water”). In this article, it is proposed that these disputed experiments could have been the consequence of a previously unnoticed and non-conventional experimenter effect. Methods: A probabilistic modelling is
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Background: Benveniste’s biology experiments suggested the existence of molecular-like effects without molecules (“memory of water”). In this article, it is proposed that these disputed experiments could have been the consequence of a previously unnoticed and non-conventional experimenter effect. Methods: A probabilistic modelling is built in order to describe an elementary laboratory experiment. A biological system is modelled with two possible states (“resting” and “activated”) and exposed to two experimental conditions labelled “control” and “test”, but both are biologically inactive. The modelling takes into account not only the biological system, but also the experimenters. In addition, an outsider standpoint is adopted to describe the experimental situation. Results: A classical approach suggests that, after experiment completion, the “control” and “test” labels of biologically-inactive conditions should both be associated with the “resting” state (i.e., no significant relationship between labels and system states). However, if the fluctuations of the biological system are also considered, a quantum-like relationship emerges and connects labels and system states (analogous to a biological “effect” without molecules). Conclusions: No hypotheses about water properties or other exotic explanations are needed to describe Benveniste’s experiments, including their unusual features. This modelling could be extended to other experimental situations in biology, medicine, and psychology. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Genetic Variations Associated with Sleep Disorders in Patients with Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review
Medicines 2018, 5(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5020027 -
Abstract
Background: Schizophrenic patients commonly suffer from sleep disorders which are associated with acute disease severity, worsening prognoses and a poorer quality of life. Research is attempting to disentangle the complex interplay between schizophrenia and sleep disturbances by focusing not only on demographic and
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Background: Schizophrenic patients commonly suffer from sleep disorders which are associated with acute disease severity, worsening prognoses and a poorer quality of life. Research is attempting to disentangle the complex interplay between schizophrenia and sleep disturbances by focusing not only on demographic and clinical characteristics, but also on the identification of genetic factors. Methods: Here, we performed a systematic literature review on the topic of genetic variations in sleep-disordered schizophrenic patients in an attempt to identify high quality investigations reporting scientifically sound and clinically useful data. For this purpose, we conducted a thorough search of PubMed, ScienceDirect and GoogleScholar databases, according to the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) protocol. Results: Our search yielded 11 eligible studies. Certain genetic variations were reported to be associated with schizophrenia-related sleep disorders. Antipsychotic-induced restless legs syndrome was linked to polymorphisms located on CLOCK, BTBD9, GNB3, and TH genes, clozapine-induced somnolence was correlated with polymorphisms of HNMT gene, while insomnia was associated with variants of the MTNR1 gene. Conclusions: There are significant genetic associations between schizophrenia and co-morbid sleep disorders, implicating the circadian system, dopamine and histamine metabolism and signal transduction pathways. Full article
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