Open Reading Frame brings together a selection of recent publication highlights from elsewhere in the open access ecosystem. This week we take a look at the past few weeks in medicine.
Anaphylaxis: early recognition and effective treatment
Anaphylaxis – a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction – is an increasing problem in Western countries. With prompt and correct treatment, most people make a full recovery, so it is important that those at risk of anaphylaxis are educated about appropriate prevention and treatment measures. In a review article, Kirsi Järvinen and Jocelyn Celestin outline the triggers, clinical signs and appropriate treatment for anaphylaxis. The authors highlight the important role of the physician in educating patients on prevention strategies, as well as how to recognize the early symptoms of anaphylaxis to allow prompt and effective treatment.
Järvinen and Celestin. Journal of Asthma and Allergy
Can epigenetic testing help promote smoking cessation?
Epigenetic modifications occurring as a result of tobacco exposure are linked to lung cancer development, and new research has been carried out to assess whether providing information about epigenetic risk markers can help promote smoking cessation. The study was carried out in 35 current smokers who were tested for epigenetic modification of the p16 gene, which has previously been linked to lung cancer development. Although 57 percent of participants with high-risk test results reported that the epigenetic test results were more likely to motivate them to stop smoking, cessation rates were similar in the low-risk and high-risk test result groups. The results of this small study suggest that participants have a good understanding of epigenetic risk assessment tools, but further educational interventions maybe required to improve smoking cessation rates.
Shofer et al. BMJ Open Respiratory Research
Epigenetics, macrophages and atherosclerotic disease
Macrophages are immune cells frequently found in atherosclerotic plaques. Now, new research suggests that targeting the macrophage epigenome could be a promising approach for managing atherosclerosis. Using knockout mice, researchers showed that in the absence of the epigenomic enzyme Hdac3, collagen deposition occurs in arterial plaques, contributing to the development of atherosclerosis. Importantly, HDAC3 is also upregulated in ruptured human atherosclerotic lesions. Taken together, these results indicate that targeting the macrophage epigenome could improve outcome for atherosclerotic disease patients, and HDAC3 could represent a novel therapeutic target.
Hoeksema et al. EMBO Molecular Medicine
Preventing colorectal cancer through healthy lifestlyle
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common type of cancer in men and the second most common in women. A number of lifestyle factors increase the risk of developing CRC; these include smoking, physical inactivity and obesity. Now, a meta-analysis has been carried out to bring together evidence on the impact of lifestyle on CRC risk, and to determine whether early diagnosis is effective for secondary prevention. The authors showed that a cholesterol-rich diet and excessive alcohol consumption increase CRC risk, whereas frequently eating pulses, nuts and brown rice is associated with reduced odds of developing CRC. Screening was found to improve early detection, with resulting improvements in prognosis and survival. These findings highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of CRC, as well as screening in at-risk individuals to ensure early detection and better outcomes.
Tárraga López et al. Clinical Medicine Insights: Gastroenterology
Is cesarean birth linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes?
As cesarean section rates increase worldwide, it is important to clarify the associated risks. An analysis of the Danish national registry data has been carried out to investigate subsequent risks of adverse birth outcome following primary ceserean section. Analyzing data from over 800,000 women, the researchers showed that giving birth by ceserean section is associated with a slightly elevated risk of stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy in subsequent pregnancies, but this elevated risk can be accounted for by underlying medical conditions. These analyses indicate that ceserean section is not associated with a significantly elevated risk of future pregnancy complications, and highlight the need for women to consider all options when deciding on the method of delivery.
O’Neill et al. PLOS Medicine
Benign prostatic hyperplasia: predicting α blocker effectiveness
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – an increase in the size of the prostate gland in the absence of cancer – is a common cause of lower urinary tract symptoms in aging men. Alpha-adrenergic antagonists, or α blockers, are often used in the management of BPH. The prostatic urethra is a bent tube, and the prostatic urethral angle (PUA) was recently shown to be associated with urinary symptoms in men with BPH. Building on these findings, new research carried out in China suggests that the PUA measured in men with BPH is associated with improvements in urinary flow following treatment with α blockers. The authors conclude that the PUA could predict the effectiveness of treatment with α blockers, and could be used in the clinic to identify men likely to benefit from this type of treatment.
Hou et al. Drug Design, Development and Therapy
Written by Claire Barnard, Senior Editor for BMC Medicine.