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Med. Sci., Volume 7, Issue 8 (August 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) This review will highlight the insights gained into the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying PCOS, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview
Contemporary and Novel Imaging Studies for the Evaluation of Erectile Dysfunction
Med. Sci. 2019, 7(8), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/medsci7080087 - 09 Aug 2019
Viewed by 431
Abstract
Traditionally, it was thought that the pathogenesis of erectile dysfunction (ED) can be divided into psychological and organic factors. However, recent literature supports the development and progression of ED due to multidimensional alterations of a complex interplay of central and peripheral systems, from [...] Read more.
Traditionally, it was thought that the pathogenesis of erectile dysfunction (ED) can be divided into psychological and organic factors. However, recent literature supports the development and progression of ED due to multidimensional alterations of a complex interplay of central and peripheral systems, from neural cognitive and efferent networks to loco-regional neuro-hormonal factors which are responsible for impaired penile vascular hemodynamics and ensuing lack of, or suboptimal, blood flow into the penis and/or veno-occlusive dysfunction. It is recognised that ED is strongly correlated with cardiovascular health and published clinical guidelines advocate screening for cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in men presenting with ED. Over the past few decades, various imaging modalities have been developed and utilised to provide objective evaluation for ED to better characterise the state of penile health and exclude psychogenic components. The following article evaluates current and emerging imaging diagnostic tools for ED. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Men's Sexual Health)
Open AccessReview
Origins and Impact of Psychological Traits in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Med. Sci. 2019, 7(8), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/medsci7080086 - 05 Aug 2019
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) exhibit compromised psychiatric health. Independent of obesity, women with PCOS are more susceptible to have anxiety and depression diagnoses and other neuropsychiatric disorders. During pregnancy women with PCOS display high circulating androgen levels that may cause prenatal [...] Read more.
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) exhibit compromised psychiatric health. Independent of obesity, women with PCOS are more susceptible to have anxiety and depression diagnoses and other neuropsychiatric disorders. During pregnancy women with PCOS display high circulating androgen levels that may cause prenatal androgen exposure affecting the growing fetus and increasing the risk of mood disorders in offspring. Increasing evidence supports a non-genetic, maternal contribution to the development of PCOS and anxiety disorders in the next generation. Prenatal androgenized rodent models reflecting the anxiety-like phenotype of PCOS in the offspring, found evidence for the altered placenta and androgen receptor function in the amygdala, together with changes in the expression of genes associated with emotional regulation and steroid receptors in the amygdala and hippocampus. These findings defined a previously unknown mechanism that may be critical in understanding how maternal androgen excess can increase the risk of developing anxiety disorders in daughters and partly in sons of PCOS mothers. Maternal obesity is another common feature of PCOS causing an unfavorable intrauterine environment which may contribute to psychiatric problems in the offspring. Whether environmental factors such as prenatal androgen exposure and obesity increase the offspring’s susceptibility to develop psychiatric ill-health will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
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Open AccessReview
The Use of MRI and PET Imaging Studies for Prostate Cancer Management: Brief Update, Clinical Recommendations, and Technological Limitations
Med. Sci. 2019, 7(8), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/medsci7080085 - 05 Aug 2019
Viewed by 585
Abstract
Multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) using prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) targeting ligands have been adopted as a new standard of imaging modality in the management of prostate cancer (PCa). Technological advances with hybrid and advanced computer-assisted technologies such [...] Read more.
Multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) using prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) targeting ligands have been adopted as a new standard of imaging modality in the management of prostate cancer (PCa). Technological advances with hybrid and advanced computer-assisted technologies such as MR/PET, MR/US, multi-parametric US, and robotic biopsy systems, have resulted in improved diagnosis and staging of patients in various stages of PCa with changes in treatment that may be considered “personalized”. Whilst newer clinical trials incorporate these novel imaging modalities into study protocols and as long-term data matures, patients should be made aware of the potential benefits and harm related to these technologies. Published literature needs to report longer-term treatment efficacy, health economic outcomes, and adverse effects. False positives and negatives of these imaging modalities have the potential to cause harm and the limitations of these technologies should be appreciated. The role of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) and a shared-decision-making model are important to ensure that all aspects of the novel imaging modalities are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Men's Sexual Health)
Open AccessReview
The Role of the Brain in the Pathogenesis and Physiology of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Med. Sci. 2019, 7(8), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/medsci7080084 - 02 Aug 2019
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive endocrine disorder, affecting at least 10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is typically characterized by the presence of at least two of the three cardinal features of hyperandrogenemia (high circulating androgen levels), oligo- or [...] Read more.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive endocrine disorder, affecting at least 10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is typically characterized by the presence of at least two of the three cardinal features of hyperandrogenemia (high circulating androgen levels), oligo- or anovulation, and cystic ovaries. Hyperandrogenemia increases the severity of the condition and is driven by increased luteinizing hormone (LH) pulse secretion from the pituitary. Indeed, PCOS women display both elevated mean LH levels, as well as an elevated frequency of LH pulsatile secretion. The abnormally high LH pulse frequency, reflective of a hyperactive gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neural circuit, suggests a neuroendocrine basis to either the etiology or phenotype of PCOS. Several studies in preclinical animal models of PCOS have demonstrated alterations in GnRH neurons and their upstream afferent neuronal circuits. Some rodent PCOS models have demonstrated an increase in GnRH neuron activity that correlates with an increase in stimulatory GABAergic innervation and postsynaptic currents onto GnRH neurons. Additional studies have identified robust increases in hypothalamic levels of kisspeptin, another potent stimulator of GnRH neurons. This review outlines the different brain and neuroendocrine changes in the reproductive axis observed in PCOS animal models, discusses how they might contribute to either the etiology or adult phenotype of PCOS, and considers parallel findings in PCOS women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
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Open AccessReview
Immunotherapies and Targeted Therapies in the Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
Med. Sci. 2019, 7(8), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/medsci7080083 - 30 Jul 2019
Viewed by 633
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer deaths, and while mortality has largely improved in the developed world, five-year survival for metastatic disease remains dismally low at only 15%. Fortunately, nearly a dozen targeted therapies and immunotherapies have been FDA [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer deaths, and while mortality has largely improved in the developed world, five-year survival for metastatic disease remains dismally low at only 15%. Fortunately, nearly a dozen targeted therapies and immunotherapies have been FDA approved in the past decade for certain patient profiles with metastatic CRC (mCRC), and many others are under development. Checkpoint inhibitors such as pembrolizumab have proven effective at extending survival for mismatch repair (MMR)-deficient and high microsatellite instability (MSI) mCRC patients. In combination with chemotherapy in first- and second-line treatment, antiangiogenic (anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VGEF)) agent bevacizumab has been shown to increase mCRC survival. Anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) agents panitumumab and cetuximab, in combination with chemotherapy, have also prolonged survival among KRAS and all RAS wild-type mCRC patients. Among these patients, anti-EGFR therapy has been found to be more efficacious than bevacizumab. Improved selectivity has allowed small-molecule receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitors to target VEGF and EGFR with greater efficacy and tolerability. Combinations of immunotherapies, RTKs, monoclonal antibodies, and cytotoxic drugs are being investigated to provide broad-spectrum protection against relapse by simultaneously targeting many cancer hallmarks. Lastly, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) therapy has shown promise for HER2-positive mCRC patients, though larger clinical trials are required to secure FDA approval. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer and Cancer-Related Research)
Open AccessArticle
TRPV1 Antagonists as Novel Anti-Diabetic Agents: Regulation of Oral Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Secretion Through Reduction of Low-Grade Inflammation?
Med. Sci. 2019, 7(8), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/medsci7080082 - 24 Jul 2019
Viewed by 587
Abstract
With a global prevalence among adults over 18 years of age approaching 9%, Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has reached pandemic proportions and represents a major unmet medical need. To date, no disease modifying treatment is available for T2DM patients. Accumulating evidence suggest [...] Read more.
With a global prevalence among adults over 18 years of age approaching 9%, Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has reached pandemic proportions and represents a major unmet medical need. To date, no disease modifying treatment is available for T2DM patients. Accumulating evidence suggest that the sensory nervous system is involved in the progression of T2DM by maintaining low-grade inflammation via the vanilloid (capsaicin) receptor, Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid-1 (TRPV1). In this study, we tested the hypothesis that TRPV1 is directly involved in glucose homeostasis in rodents. TRPV1 receptor knockout mice (Trpv1−/−) and their wild-type littermates were kept on high-fat diet for 15 weeks. Moreover, Zucker obese rats were given the small molecule TRPV1 antagonist, N-(4-Tertiarybutylphenyl)-4-(3-cholorphyridin-2-yl)tetrahydropyrazine-1(2H)-carbox-amide (BCTC), per os twice-a-day or vehicle for eight days. Oral glucose tolerance and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was improved by both genetic inactivation (Trpv1−/− mice) and pharmacological blockade (BCTC) of TRPV1. In the obese rat, the improved glucose tolerance was accompanied by a reduction in inflammatory markers in the mesenteric fat, suggesting that blockade of low-grade inflammation contributes to the positive effect of TRPV1 antagonism on glucose metabolism. We propose that TRPV1 could be a promising therapeutic target in T2DM by improving glucose intolerance and correcting dysfunctional insulin secretion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting TRP Channels: from Drug Development to Clinical Trials)
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