Major Priority (major + priority)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Cocaine Rapid Efficacy Screening Trial (CREST): a paradigm for the controlled evaluation of candidate medications for cocaine dependence

ADDICTION, Issue 2005
Deborah B. Leiderman
ABSTRACT Aim Development of effective medications for the treatment of cocaine dependence remains a major priority for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health. The Cocaine Rapid Efficacy Screening Trial (CREST) paradigm was developed by the Division of Treatment Research and Development (DT R&D) at NIDA with the goal of enhancing pilot clinical trial validity when systematically assessing a range of medications and drug classes for potential utility in treatment of cocaine dependence. Design CREST utilizes a randomized, controlled, parallel group, blinded methodology for comparing one or more marketed medications against a standard, pharmaceutical grade placebo. The trial design is comprised of a flexible 2,4-week screening/baseline period followed by randomization to an 8-week treatment period. Measures Standard measures of outcomes for the CREST included urinary benzoylecgonine (primary metabolite of cocaine), retention, cocaine craving, depression, clinical global impression and HIV-risk behaviors. In order to facilitate comparisons of data from the CREST studies across sites, drug classes and time, standardized procedures, measures and psychosocial counseling were used. Results A total of 19 medications were evaluated in out-patient treatment research clinics in Boston, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia. Conclusions Findings supported decisions to move forward three medications (cabergoline, reserpine, tiagabine) using full-scale, adequately powered, randomized placebo-controlled trial designs. Lessons learned from the CREST experience continue to shape cocaine pharmacotherapy trial design and execution. [source]

The Nordic Volcanological Institute: understanding volcanoes at spreading centres

GEOLOGY TODAY, Issue 2 2009
Kent Brooks
The Nordic countries (known as ,Norden') are not immediately associated with volcanoes: Norway with folded mountains cut by fjords and its offshore oil and gas deposits, Sweden and Finland by the western part of the Baltic shield, a huge area of Precambrian rocks, of which gneisses form a large part, and Denmark, a country of Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks, where glacial, superficial deposits are of major importance. But Norden also includes Iceland, where everyone immediately thinks of volcanoes and glaciers. Clearly volcanological research would be expected to be a major priority for the Icelandic nation. However, in the other Nordic countries old volcanic and other igneous rocks play a significant role, comprising a large part of the Precambrian and Caledonian terrains and being a key to many of the commercial mineral deposits which play a major role in the economies of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Even Denmark, a country of sedimentary rocks has an impressive sequence of Paleogene volcanic ashes and the Faeroe Islands, made up almost entirely of basalts, are part of Denmark. [source]

Transgenic wheat: where do we stand after the first 12 years?

H.D. Shewry Jones
Abstract Wheat was among the last of the major crops to be transformed (in 1992), and transformation is still difficult, with a lower efficiency than that for maize and rice. However, the recent development of Agrobacterium -based systems is set to improve the precision of the process, while new methods of selection, removal of unnecessary DNA sequences, gene targeting and in vivo mutagenesis will make the process cleaner and more acceptable to regulatory authorities and consumers. Our current work is focussed on using transformation to understand and manipulate aspects of grain processing quality, notably dough strength and texture for milling. However, it is clear that a major priority for future work will be to improve nutritional quality, including vitamin and mineral contents for the developing world and starch digestibility and dietary fibre content and composition for developed countries. [source]

Evaluating the role of the dingo as a trophic regulator in Australian ecosystems

Abstract The importance of strongly interactive predators has been demonstrated in many ecosystems, and the maintenance or restoration of species interactions is a major priority in the global conservation of biodiversity. By limiting populations of prey and/or competitors, apex predators can increase the diversity of systems, often exerting influences that cascade through several trophic levels. In Australia, emerging evidence points increasingly towards the dingo (Canis lupus dingo) as a strongly interactive species that has profound effects on ecosystem function. Through predatory and competitive effects, dingoes can alter the abundance and function of mesopredators including the introduced red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cat (Felis catus), and herbivores including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). These effects often benefit populations of native prey, and diversity and biomass of vegetation, but may not occur under all circumstances. For example, the social structure of dingoes is of great importance; a pack subject to minimal human interference regulates its own numbers, and such packs appear to have fewer undesirable impacts such as predation on livestock. Despite abundant observational evidence that the dingo is a strong interactor, there have been few attempts to test its ecological role experimentally. Given the well-recognized importance of species interactions to ecosystem function, it is imperative that such experiments be carried out. To do this, we propose three broad questions: (i) do dingoes limit the abundance of other predators or prey? (ii) do dingoes affect the ecological relationships of other predators or prey (e.g. by altering their spatial or temporal activity patterns)? and (iii) does the removal or reintroduction of dingoes entrain ecological cascades? Finally, we discuss the design of appropriate experiments, using principles that may also be applied to investigate species interactions on other continents. Research might seek to clarify not only the impacts of dingoes at all trophic levels, but also the mechanisms by which these impacts occur. [source]

Rural health care in Malaysia

Kamil Mohamed Ariff
ABSTRACT: Malaysia has a population of 21.2 million of which 44% resides in rural areas. A major priority of healthcare providers has been the enhancement of health of ,disadvantaged' rural communities particularly the rural poor, women, infants, children and the disabled. The Ministry of Health is the main healthcare provider for rural communities with general practitioners playing a complimentary role. With an extensive network of rural health clinics, rural residents today have access to modern healthcare with adequate referral facilities. Mobile teams, the flying doctor service and village health promoters provide healthcare to remote areas. The improvement in health status of the rural population using universal health status indicators has been remarkable. However, differentials in health status continue to exist between urban and rural populations. Malaysia's telemedicine project is seen as a means of achieving health for all rural people. [source]

VA telemental health: Suicide assessment,

Linda Godleski M.D.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) encompasses one of the largest telemental health networks in the world, with over 45,000 videoconferencing and over 5,000 home telemental health encounters annually. Recently, the VA designated suicide prevention as a major priority, with telehealth modalities providing opportunities for remote interventions. Suicide risk assessments, using videoconferencing, are now documented in the literature, as are current studies that find telemental health to be equivalent to face-to-face treatment. Remote assessment of suicidality, however, involves complex legal issues: licensing requirements for remote delivery of care, legal procedures for involuntary detainment and commitment of potentially harmful patients, and liability questions related to the remote nature of the mental health service. VA best practices for remote suicide risk assessment include paradigms for establishing procedures in the context of legal challenges (licensing and involuntary detainment/commitment), for utilizing clinical assessment and triage decision protocols, and for contingency planning to optimize patient care and reduce liability. Published in 2008 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Heterologous GPCR Expression: A Bottleneck to Obtaining Crystal Structures

Emily C. McCusker
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are an important, medically relevant class of integral membrane proteins. Laboratories throughout all disciplines of science devote time and energy into developing practical methods for the discovery, isolation, and characterization of these proteins. Since the crystal structure of rhodopsin was solved 6 years ago, the race to determine high-resolution structures of more GPCRs has gained momentum. Since certain GPCRs are currently produced at sufficient levels for X-ray crystallography trials, it is speculated that heterologous expression of GPCRs may no longer be a bottleneck in obtaining crystal structures. This Review focuses on the current approaches in heterologous expression of GPCRs and explores the problems associated with obtaining crystal structures from GPCRs expressed in different systems. Although milligram amounts of certain GPCRs are attainable, the majority of GPCRs are still either produced at very low levels or not at all. Developing reliable expression techniques for GPCRs is still a major priority for the structural characterization of GPCRs. [source]