Publications by authors named "Bilal Ahmed"

162 Publications

Overcoming hurdles to intervention studies with autistic children with profound communication difficulties and their families.

Autism 2021 Apr 7:1362361321998916. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Nottingham Trent University, UK.

Lay Abstract: Autistic children who speak few or no words or who have an intellectual disability are the most in need of new understandings and treatments, but the most often left out of the research that can bring these benefits. Researchers perceive difficulties around compliance with instructions, testing, challenging behaviours and family stress. Although research with these children can indeed be difficult, their continuing exclusion is unethical and unacceptable. Drawing on our experiences testing a possible treatment for children with profound autism, we provide 10 practical guidelines related to (1) interacting physically, (2) combining play and testing, (3) responding to challenging behaviour, (4) finding suitable tests, (5) relationships with parents, (6) relationships with siblings, (7) involving stakeholders, (8) planning the testing times, (9) the role of the clinical supervisor and (10) recruiting and retaining participants. We hope that these guidelines will prepare and embolden other research teams to work with profoundly autistic children, ending their historical exclusion from research. These guidelines also could be useful for conducting research with children with intellectual disabilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362361321998916DOI Listing
April 2021

Ophthalmology Residency Match in the Covid-19 Era: Applicant and Program Director Perceptions of the 2020-2021 Application Cycle.

Semin Ophthalmol 2021 Apr 7:1-6. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.

To evaluate the experiences and preferences of ophthalmology residency applicants and program directors (PDs), with emphasis on the effect of COVID-19 as well as recent changes on the application process. Cross-sectional, online surveyParticipants: All applicants to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute ophthalmology residency program, and all United States ophthalmology residency PDs, during the 2020-2021 application cycle. An online survey was distributed to applicants and program directors of the 2020-2021 ophthalmology residency application cycle.Main Outcome Measures: Applicant demographics, application submissions, interview experiences, financial considerations, match results, and suggestions for improvement of the application process. Responses were obtained from 205 applicants (34.9% response rate) and 37 PDs (30.3%). A successful match into an ophthalmology residency was achieved by 144 (83.7%) applicants. Applicants applied to (mean ± SD) 79.7 ± 22.8 ophthalmology residency programs, received 13.1 ± 8.9 invitations to interview, and attended 11.1 ± 5.8 interviews. Most applicants (N = 126; 71.2%) and PDs (N = 22; 78.6%) expressed a preference for in-person interviews over virtual interviews. If given a choice regarding the future direction for interviews, most applicants were unsure (N = 68; 38.4%) or would prefer to hold interviews virtually (N = 62; 35.0%); PDs felt that interviews should go back to being in-person (39.3%) or were unsure (28.6%). Most PDs (N = 21; 72.4%) reported an increased number of applications received by their respective programs this year compared to previous years. While applicants (N = 108; 61.0%) mostly felt that there should not be a cap on the number of applications, 19 (67.9%) PDs supported a limit on application numbers. Applicants spent an average (SD) of $2320.96 ($1172.86) on the application process this year, which is significantly less than 2018-2019 data. The ophthalmology residency application process was especially complex during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many applicants and PDs were glad that interviews were held virtually this year, they were less certain regarding future years. The virtual format led to a significantly lower financial burden for applicants and may lead some to prefer this format in the future; if a hybrid model is offered for virtual/in-person interviews, these two interview modes should be compared equally.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08820538.2021.1906917DOI Listing
April 2021

Stress and work-life balance in undergraduate dental students in Birmingham, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, China.

J Dent Educ 2021 Mar 23. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Oral Surgery, Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry, Birmingham, UK.

Purpose/objectives: Dentistry is a challenging profession, subjecting students to various stressors which can affect well-being. This study in 2019 investigates the relationship between stress and work-life balance in dental students at University of Birmingham and The University of Hong Kong, from two different countries.

Methods: Online anonymous questionnaires were completed by 54 students from Birmingham and 48 students from Hong Kong. Ethical approval was gained by both centres. Quantitative and qualitative data were captured with Likert scales and open questions. Using simple descriptive statistics in SPSS, Pearson chi-square tests determined statistical significance between categorical and quantitative variables (p < 0.05).

Results: The majority of students from University of Birmingham (38.9%) felt "extremely stressed," whereas the majority of students from The University of Hong Kong (45.8%) only felt "slightly stressed" (p < 0.001). Exercise and emotional support appeared to be positive approaches for stress relief. Hong Kong dental students (68.8%) reported a good work-life balance compared to significantly fewer students (24.1%) in University of Birmingham (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Major stressors in this study included examinations and fear of failure. Students found that hobbies and extracurricular activities contributed to a healthier lifestyle. A better work-life balance reduced reported stress levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jdd.12596DOI Listing
March 2021

Biogenic selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) from citrus fruit have anti-bacterial activities.

Sci Rep 2021 Feb 26;11(1):4811. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan.

Nanotechnology deals with the synthesis of materials and particles at nanoscale with dimensions of 1-100 nm. Biological synthesis of nanoparticles, using microbes and plants, is the most proficient method in terms of ease of handling and reliability. Core objectives of this study were to synthesize metallic nanoparticles using selenium metal salt from citrus fruit extracts, their characterization and evaluation for antimicrobial activities against pathogenic microbes. In methodology, simple green method was implicated using sodium selenite salt solution and citrus fruit extracts of Grapefruit and Lemon as precursors for synthesizing nanoparticles. Brick red color of the solution indicated towards the synthesis of selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs). Nanoparticle's initial characterization was done by UV-Vis Spectrophotometry and later FTIR analysis and DLS graphs via Zetasizer were obtained for the confirmation of different physical and chemical parameters of the nanoparticles. Different concentrations of SeNPs were used for antimicrobial testing against E. coli, M. luteus, B. subtilis and K. pneumoniae comparative with the standard antibiotic Ciprofloxacin. SeNPs possessed significant antimicrobial activities against all the bacterial pathogens used. Conclusively, SeNPs made from citrus fruits can act as potent antibacterial candidates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84099-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7910555PMC
February 2021

Opioids in oral surgery: preliminary findings between Birmingham, UK and Boston, US.

Br Dent J 2021 Feb 12;230(3):159-164. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Department of Oral Surgery, Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry, 5 Mill Pool Way, B5 7EG, Birmingham, UK.

Aims This study aims to review ways in which UK and US practitioners manage post-operative dental pain following oral surgery procedures, focusing on the use of opioids in Boston, US and Birmingham, UK.Methods An anonymous online questionnaire was distributed to clinicians from either Birmingham Dental Hospital, UK and Harvard School of Dental Medicine or Boston University School of Dental Medicine, US. They were invited to fill this out via email link or in person using a tablet provided. Information was collected regarding age, years of experience, area of practice, area of undergraduate training, gender and levels of oral surgery activity. Participants were presented with six clinical scenarios and asked to indicate how they would achieve post-operative analgesia for each.Results A total of 44 responses were received, 22 from each city, including 27 males and 17 females. Fifty-five percent of respondents carried out at least ten weekly oral surgery procedures, with 52% having more than ten years' experience. Forty-one percent were aged greater than 40 years, with 32% less than 30. Boston dentists were 2.1 times (P = 0.016) more likely to opt for opioids than Birmingham dentists. Both cohorts were more likely to choose opioids for invasive surgeries involving flap procedures compared to simple extractions. Among the cases where UK respondents opted for opioids, codeine was chosen in 100% of cases compared to 9% for the US cohort, where the remainder chose more potent opioids (oxycodone, hydrocodone and tramadol).Conclusions Results of this preliminary study show that Boston practitioners were likely to opt for opioids in a higher proportion of cases (19.84%) than Birmingham practitioners (9.42%). Reasons for the discrepancies could be related to how practitioners are trained, patient expectations on pain relief and health policy in the two countries. Dental prescriptions have contributed to the US opioid epidemic and their decreased use will be important in combatting the crisis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-2347-3DOI Listing
February 2021

Nickel excess affects phenology and reproductive attributes of Asterella wallichiana and Plagiochasma appendiculatum growing in natural habitats.

Sci Rep 2021 Feb 9;11(1):3369. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu, 180-006, India.

Bryophytes are potent metal absorbers, thriving well on heavy metal (HM)-polluted soils. Mechanisms controlling uptake, compartmentalization and impacts of HMs on bryophytes life cycle are largely unknown. The current study is an effort to decipher mechanisms of nickel (Ni) excess-induced effects on the phenological events of two bryophytes, Asterella wallichiana and Plagiochasma apendiculatum growing in natural habitats. Observations revealed Ni-excess induced negative impacts on abundance, frequency of occurrence of reproductive organs, population viability and morphological traits, spore viability and physiological attributes of both the liverworts. Results led us conclude that P. appendiculatum survived better with the lowest impact on its life cycle events than A. wallichiana under Ni excess in natural habitats. Our findings collectively provide insights into the previously unknown mechanisms of Ni-induced responses in liverworts with respect to phenological attributes, as well as demonstrate the potential of P. appendiculatum to survive better in Ni excess habitats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73441-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7873240PMC
February 2021

Hypertonic Saline for Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury: A Scoping Review of Impact on Neurological Deterioration.

Neurotrauma Rep 2020 15;1(1):253-260. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Section of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Hypertonic saline (HTS) is a commonly administered agent for intracranial pressure (ICP) control in traumatic brain injury (TBI). The literature on its use is mainly in moderate/severe TBI where invasive ICP monitoring is present. The role of HTS in patients with moderate TBI (mTBI) outside of the intensive care unit (ICU) setting remains unclear. The goal of this scoping review was to provide an overview of the available literature on HTS administration in patients with mTBI without ICP monitoring, assessing its impact on outcome and transitions in care. We performed a scoping systematic review of the literature of MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, BIOSIS, and the Cochrane Databases from inception to July 31, 2020. We searched for those published articles documenting the administration of HTS in patients with mTBI with recorded functional outcome or transitions in hospital care. A two-step review process was conducted in accordance with methodology outlined in the . There were many studies with combined moderate/severe TBI populations. However, most failed to document subgroup analysis for patients with mTBI. Our search strategy identified only one study that documented the administration of HTS in mTBI in which subgroup analysis for mTBI and outcomes were provided. This retrospective cohort study assessed patients with mTBI who did/did not receive prophylactic HTS, finding that those not receiving HTS demonstrated a deterioration in Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score in the first 48 h. However, the HTS group did demonstrate a trend to longer hospital stay and pneumonia. Our scoping review identified a significant gap in knowledge surrounding the use of HTS for patients with mTBI without invasive ICP monitoring. The limited identified literature suggests prophylactic administration prevents clinical deterioration, although this is based on a single study with data available for mTBI sub-analysis. Further studies on HTS in non-monitored patients with mTBI are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neur.2020.0056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7769038PMC
December 2020

Hypertonic Saline for Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury: A Scoping Review of Impact on Neurological Deterioration.

Neurotrauma Rep 2020 15;1(1):253-260. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Section of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Hypertonic saline (HTS) is a commonly administered agent for intracranial pressure (ICP) control in traumatic brain injury (TBI). The literature on its use is mainly in moderate/severe TBI where invasive ICP monitoring is present. The role of HTS in patients with moderate TBI (mTBI) outside of the intensive care unit (ICU) setting remains unclear. The goal of this scoping review was to provide an overview of the available literature on HTS administration in patients with mTBI without ICP monitoring, assessing its impact on outcome and transitions in care. We performed a scoping systematic review of the literature of MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, BIOSIS, and the Cochrane Databases from inception to July 31, 2020. We searched for those published articles documenting the administration of HTS in patients with mTBI with recorded functional outcome or transitions in hospital care. A two-step review process was conducted in accordance with methodology outlined in the . There were many studies with combined moderate/severe TBI populations. However, most failed to document subgroup analysis for patients with mTBI. Our search strategy identified only one study that documented the administration of HTS in mTBI in which subgroup analysis for mTBI and outcomes were provided. This retrospective cohort study assessed patients with mTBI who did/did not receive prophylactic HTS, finding that those not receiving HTS demonstrated a deterioration in Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score in the first 48 h. However, the HTS group did demonstrate a trend to longer hospital stay and pneumonia. Our scoping review identified a significant gap in knowledge surrounding the use of HTS for patients with mTBI without invasive ICP monitoring. The limited identified literature suggests prophylactic administration prevents clinical deterioration, although this is based on a single study with data available for mTBI sub-analysis. Further studies on HTS in non-monitored patients with mTBI are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neur.2020.0056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7769038PMC
December 2020

Impact of metal-oxide nanoparticles on growth, physiology and yield of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) modulated by Azotobacter salinestris strain ASM.

Environ Pollut 2021 Jan 2;269:116218. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, 202002, India.

The current study for the first time demonstrates the interference of a free-living, N-fixing, and nanoparticle (NP) tolerant Azotobacter salinestris strain ASM recovered from metal-polluted soil with tomato plant-metal oxide NPs (ZnO, CuO, AlO and TiO) interactions in a sandy clay loam soil system with bulk materials as control. Tomato plants were grown till full maturity in soils amended with 20-2000 mg kg of each metal-oxide NP with and without seed biopriming and root-inoculation of A. salinestris. A. salinestris was found metabolically active, producing considerably high amounts of bioactive indole-3-acetic-acid, morphologically unaffected, and with low alteration of cell membrane permeability under 125-1500 μgml of NPs. However, ZnO-NPs slightly alter bacterial membrane permeability. Besides, A. salinestris secreted significantly higher amounts of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) even under NP exposure, which could entrap the NPs and form metal-EPS complex as revealed and quantified by SEM-EDX. NPs were also found adsorbed on bacterial biomass. EPS stabilized the NPs and provided negative zeta potential to NPs. Following soil application, A. salinestris improved the plant performance and augmented the yield of tomato fruits and lycopene content even in NPs stressed soils. Interestingly, A. salinestris inoculation enhanced photosynthetic pigment formation, flower attributes, plant and fruit biomass, and reduced proline level. Bacterial inoculation also reduced the NP's uptake and accumulation significantly in vegetative organs and fruits. The organ wise order of NP's internalization was roots > shoots > fruits. Conclusively, A. salinestris inoculation could be an alternative to increase the production of tomato in metal-oxide NPs contaminated soils.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.116218DOI Listing
January 2021

Drug-Eluting Balloon for Management of Coronary In-Stent Restenosis in a South Asian Population: Experience From a Tertiary-Care Hospital in Pakistan.

J Invasive Cardiol 2021 Feb 6;33(2):E127-E134. Epub 2020 Dec 6.

Aga Khan University Hospital, Section of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Main Stadium Road, Karachi, Sindh 75500, Pakistan.

Background: Emerging evidence suggests that the South Asian (SA) population has an increased rate of in-stent stenosis (ISR) after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) when compared with other ethnicities. Drug-eluting balloons (DEBs) have emerged as a viable option for the treatment of ISR. However, data describing the outcomes of DEB-PCI in the SA population are limited. Since the magnitude of the problem is high in the SA population, it is essential to evaluate the outcomes of DEB-PCI for ISR.

Methods: In this cohort study, we investigated the incidence of target-lesion revascularization (TLR) and major adverse cardiac event (MACE) after PCI with DEB for ISR at 1 year and at long-term follow-up in Pakistani patients. From January 2010 to January 2019, a total of 147 ISR lesions in 112 patients were treated with DEB-PCI at our center.

Results: The incidence of clinically driven TLR and MACE after a 1-year follow-up was 15.2% and 16.1%, respectively. At mean long-term follow-up of 2.73 ± 2.14 years, the TLR and MACE rates were 26.8% and 35.7%, respectively. The major predictors for TLR were diffuse and occlusive ISR types, DEB for a recurrent restenosis lesion, and the presence of ≥3 traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Conclusions: The high rates of follow-up TLR and MACE reported in this study may suggest that the outcomes of DEB-PCI for ISR in the SA population may be unsatisfactory. With the increasing use of DEBs, it is imperative to further investigate DEB-PCI outcomes in the SA population with large, prospective studies.
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February 2021

Biosorption of heavy metals by dry biomass of metal tolerant bacterial biosorbents: an efficient metal clean-up strategy.

Environ Monit Assess 2020 Dec 1;192(12):801. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, 202002, India.

Heavy metals discharge at an unrestrained rate from various industries into the environment pose serious human health problems. Considering this, the present study aimed at exploring the metal biosorbing potentials of bacterial strains recovered from polluted soils. The bacterial strains (CPSB1, BM2 and CAZ3) belonging to genera Pseudomonas, Bacillus and Azotobacter expressing multi-metal tolerance ability were identified to species level as P. aeruginosa, B. subtilis and A. chroococcum, respectively, by 16S rRNA partial gene sequence analysis. The biosorption of cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, lead and zinc by three dead bacterial genera were studied as a function of metal concentration, variable pH of the medium and reaction (contact) time. The three bacterial strains exhibited a tremendous metal removal ability which continued even at the highest tested concentration of some metals. Later, a decline in the percentage of biosorbed metals was recorded as the metal concentration was increased with the simultaneous generation of a driving force to overcome mass transfer resistance for movement of metal ions between the solution and the surface of adsorbent. Among test bacteria, B. subtilis biosorbed a maximum of 96% chromium at 25 μg mL while the maximum percentage (91%) of biosorbed metals recorded at 400 μg Cd mL was observed for P. aeruginosa. The sorption of metal ions by dead biomass of three bacterial genera at optimum conditions followed the order-(i) B. subtilis BM2: Pb > Cu > Ni > Cd > Cr, (ii) A. chroococcum CAZ3: Cr > Cd > Cu > Ni > Pb and (iii) P. aeruginosa CPSB1: Cd > Cr > Ni > Cu > Pb > Zn. It was found that the optimum pH for metal adsorption ranged between pH 8 and 9 which, however, declined substantially at pH 5.0 for all three bacterial strains. In general, the biosorption of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni and Pb by B. subtilis and A. chroococcum and such metals along with Zn by P. aeruginosa occurred maximally up to 60 min of bacterial growth. The adsorption data with regard to five metals provide an outstanding fit to the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. The biosorptive ability of three bacterial genera correlated strongly (r > 0.9) with each metal. The bacteria belonging to two Gram-negative genera Pseudomonas (P. aeruginosa) and Azotobacter (A. chroococcum) and one Gram-positive genus Bacillus (B. subtilis) demonstrated exceptional metal removal efficiency and, hence, provides a comprehensive understanding of metal-bacteria sorption process which in effect paves the way for detoxifying/removing metals from contaminated environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-020-08758-5DOI Listing
December 2020

Rock 'n' knoll in the mouth: A man with a lump on the hard palate.

Aust J Gen Pract 2020 12;49(12):845-846

BSc (Hons), MBChB, FRACGP, Senior General Practitioner, Arafura Medical Clinics, NT.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.31128/AJGP-02-20-5234DOI Listing
December 2020

Copper Nanoparticles as Growth Promoter, Antioxidant and Anti-Bacterial Agents in Poultry Nutrition: Prospects and Future Implications.

Biol Trace Elem Res 2020 Nov 20. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

Institute of Animal and Dairy Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Copper (Cu) is a vital trace mineral involved in many physiological functions of the body. In the poultry industry, copper sulfate is being used as a major source of Cu. Copper in the bulk form is less available in the body, and much of its amount excreted out with feces causing environmental pollution and economic loss. The application of nanotechnology offers promise to address these issues by making nanoparticles. Copper nanoparticles (Cu-NP) are relatively more bioavailable due to their small size and high surface to volume ratio. Although, there is limited research on the use of Cu-NP in the poultry industry. Some researchers have pointed out the importance of Cu-NP as an effective alternative of chemical, anti-bacterial agents, and growth promoters. The effect of Cu-NP depends on their size, dose rate and the synthesis method. Apart from there, high bioavailability Cu-NP exhibited positive effects on the immunity of the birds. However, some toxic effects of Cu-NP have also been reported. Further investigations are essentially required to provide mechanistic insights into the role of Cu-NP in the avian physiology and their toxicological properties. This review aims to highlight the potential effects of Cu-NP on growth, immune system, antioxidant status, nutrient digestibility, and feed conversion ratio in poultry. Moreover, we have also discussed the future implications of Cu-NP as a growth promoter and alternative anti-bacterial agents in the poultry industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12011-020-02485-1DOI Listing
November 2020

Diabetes Mellitus Does Not Predict Discharge in Hospitalized Patients With Acute Pyelonephritis: A Study From Karachi, Pakistan.

Cureus 2020 Oct 18;12(10):e11024. Epub 2020 Oct 18.

Medicine, Aga Khan University, Karachi, PAK.

Introduction The incidence of acute pyelonephritis (APN) in the diabetic population is comparatively higher and tends to be more complicated, with serious outcomes. Although complicated pyelonephritis (PN) needs hospital admission and intravenous antibiotics, the magnitude of hospital stay due to comorbidities is limited. This study's aim was to assess the impact of diabetes mellitus on length of hospital stay among patients with PN. Methods We did a retrospective data review of 520 randomly selected hospitalized patients of PN from March 2015 to December 2019 from a tertiary care center. Electronic medical records were used for identifying medical conditions through ICD-10 coding. Length of stay (LOS) was categorized as < five days and ≥ five days. Chi-squared tests were used to compare categorical parameters. Logistic regression models were used for multivariate analyses. Results The study included 520 patients with PN; 194 (37.3 %) men and 326 (62.7%) women. Overall, there were 353 (67.8 %) and 167 (32.1 %) patients with LOS < five and ≥ five days respectively. Most of the patients had lower urinary tract symptoms (90%); among them, the majority (92%) were discharged within five days. Likewise, half of the patients had diabetes (51.2); among them, 53% were discharged after five days. Older age (OR:1.7, 95%CI: 1.1 - 2.6), upper urinary tract symptoms (OR:1.6, 95%CI: 1.1 - 2.4), lower urinary tract symptoms (OR:1.9, 95%CI: 1.1 - 3.5), creatinine greater than 1.5 mg/dl (OR:1.6, 95% CI: 1.1 - 2.4) was positively associated with LOS ≥ 5 days after adjusting for other covariates. Diabetes mellitus was not found to be associated with LOS ≥ 5 days (OR: 0.9, 95%CI: 0.8 - 1.5). Conclusion In patients with acute PN, diabetes mellitus is not independently associated with prolonged hospital stay beyond five days.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.11024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7671293PMC
October 2020

Mini-Review: molecular elucidations of hutchinson-gilford progeria syndrome: A hope for managing horrors of premature aging in children.

Pak J Pharm Sci 2020 May;33(3):1179-1182

Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome (or Progeria) is an exceptionally rare genetic disorder in children. It is caused by a rare point mutation in the lamin gene. It encodes lamin A protein, resulting in the de-shaping of nuclear membrane. This altered structure of the nuclear membrane renders the nucleus unstable. The shortened lifespan of the nucleus makes the cell liable for rapid ageing. Children are healthy by appearance when they are born but the signs appear after 12-24 months of age. Cardiovascular system is greatly affected which became a reason for the death of most of the patients of progeria. Stiffened joints disturb the bone movements; and alopecia affects the appearance of the patient. Rate of occurrence of the disease is one per four hundred thousand of people, though both sexes are equally affected.
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May 2020

Physiological disruption, structural deformation and low grain yield induced by neonicotinoid insecticides in chickpea: A long term phytotoxicity investigation.

Chemosphere 2021 Jan 21;262:128388. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Department of Botany and Microbiology, College of Science, King Saud University, P.O. 2455, Riyadh, 11451, Saudi Arabia.

Arbitrary use of insecticides in agricultural practices cause severe environmental hazard that adversely affects the growth and productivity of edible crops. Considering theses, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the toxicological potential of two neonicotinoid insecticides, imidacloprid (IMID) and thiamethoxam (THIA) using chickpea as a test crop. Application of insecticides at three varying doses revealed a gradual decrease in biological performance of chickpea plants which however, varied noticeably among insecticides and their doses. Significant (P ≤ 0.05) decline in germination efficiency, length of plant organs under in vitro condition was observed in a dose related manner. Among insecticides, 300 μgIMIDkg (3X dose) maximally and significantly (P ≤ 0.05) inhibited germination efficiency, vigor index, length, dry matter accumulation, photosynthetic pigment formation, nodule volume and mass, nutrient uptake, grain yield and protein over untreated control. In contrast, 75 μgTHIAkg (3X dose) considerably declined the leghaemoglobin content, shoot phosphorus and root nitrogen. Enhanced expression of stress biomarkers including proline, malondialdehyde (MDA), and antioxidant defence enzymes was noticed in the presence of insecticides. For instance, at 3X IMID, shoot proline, MDA, ascorbate peroxidase (APX), guaiacol peroxidase (GPX) and peroxidase (POD) were increased significantly (P ≤ 0.05) by 66%, 81%, 36% and 35%, respectively. Additionally, electrolyte leakage was maximally (77%) increased at 3X dose of IMID, whereas, HO in foliage was maximally accumulated (0.0156 μ moles min g fw) at 3X dose of THIA which was 58% greater than untreated foliage. A clear distortion/damage in tip and surface of roots and ultrastructural deformation in xylem and phloem of plant tissues as indication of insecticidal phytotoxicity was observed under scanning electron microscope (SEM). For oxidative stress and cytotoxicity assessment, root tips were stained with a combination of acridine orange and propidium iodide, and Evan blue dyes and examined. Confocal laser scanning microscopic (CLSM) images of roots revealed a 10-fold and 13.5-fold increase in red and blue fluorescence when 3X IMID treated roots were assessed quantitatively. Conclusively, the present investigation recommends that a careful and protected approach should be adopted before the application of insecticides in agricultural ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.128388DOI Listing
January 2021

Prescribing Patterns of Antihypertensive Medications in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review.

Asia Pac J Public Health 2021 01 21;33(1):14-22. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.

Hypertension is highly prevalent, but its pharmacological management has not been well evaluated in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This review examined the prescribing patterns of antihypertensives in LMICs. Data were extracted from a total of 26 studies spanning the time period 2000 to 2018. In 10 studies, calcium channel blockers (CCBs) were the most frequently prescribed medication for managing hypertension (range = 33% to 72%); in six studies, renin angiotensin system (RAS) blockers (range = 25% to 83%); in five studies, diuretics (range = 39% to 99%); and in five studies, β-blockers (BBs; range = 26% to 49%) were the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive medications. Prescribing sedatives and sublingual administration of captopril for controlling hypertension was also reported in 3 studies. Only 10 studies presented their findings in light of national or international guidelines. This review calls for further antihypertensive utilization and dispensation studies and a better understanding of clinician's perception and practice of hypertension management guidelines in LMICs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1010539520965280DOI Listing
January 2021

Malignant Melanoma: Skin Cancer-Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment.

Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr 2020 ;30(4):291-297

Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan.

Melanoma is a skin cancer caused by a malignancy of melanocytes. Incidence of melanoma is rapidly increasing worldwide, which results in public health problems. Primary extracutaneous melanomas can be ocular, gastrointestinal, mucosal, leptomeningeal, genitourinary, and lymphatic. The relationship between exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and development of melanoma is intensively acute and complex, and intermittent sun exposure greatly increases the risk of melanoma. It is the fifth most common type of cancer in men number and the sixth most common in women. The diagnosis of melanoma is made through clinical assessment of the pigmented by health care professionals. Architectural features of malignant melanoma including asymmetry, confluence of growth, marked cellularity, and poor circumscription. The cytological feature of malignant melanoma include an irregular and thick nuclear membrane and prominent nucleoli. The preventive measures include reducing exposure to UV light and the sun. The early detection of skin cancer greatly reduces both short- and long-term morbidity and mortality. The treatment and follow-up with the doctor for melanoma patients may differ because of the stage of the tumor and the primary lesion. The typical therapy for malignant melanoma is surgical excision, immunotherapy such as interleukin 2 (IL-2), gene therapy, and biochemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2020028454DOI Listing
January 2020

Gut-brain axis: A matter of concern in neuropsychiatric disorders…!

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2021 Jan 3;104:110051. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular & Cerebrovascular Medicine, Drug Target & Drug Discovery Center, School of Pharmacy, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province 211166, PR China. Electronic address:

The gut microbiota is composed of a large number of microbes, usually regarded as commensal bacteria. It has become gradually clear that gastrointestinal microbiota affects gut pathophysiology and the central nervous system (CNS) function by modulating the signaling pathways of the microbiota-gut-brain (MGB) axis. This bidirectional MGB axis communication primarily acts through neuroendocrine, neuroimmune, and autonomic nervous systems (ANS) mechanisms. Accumulating evidence reveals that gut microbiota interacts with the host brain, and its modulation may play a critical role in the pathology of neuropsychiatric disorders. Recently, neuroscience research has established the significance of gut microbiota in the development of brain systems that are essential to stress-related behaviors, including depression and anxiety. Application of modulators of the MGB, such as psychobiotics (e.g., probiotics), prebiotics, and specific diets, may be a promising therapeutic approach for neuropsychiatric disorders. The present review article primarily focuses on the relevant features of the disturbances of the MGB axis in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders and its potential mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.110051DOI Listing
January 2021

Inhibition of Hepatitis B Virus with the Help of CRISPR/Cas9 Technology.

Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr 2020 ;30(3):273-278

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan.

Hepatitis B infection caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a serious health issue worldwide. Existing therapeutic strategies hardly eradicate HBV infections, and they fail to attain complete cure. Advanced treatment strategies are urgently needed to successfully terminate further spread of HBV infection and eliminate hidden reservoirs of virus. Recently, a novel RNA-guided gene editing tool, known as the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated nuclease 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) system, has been established. It facilitates site-specific mutagenesis and reveals a new way to develop applicable techniques for disease treatment, such as extermination of infectious agents like HBV This study highlights the current developments in CRISPR/Cas9 technology and its importance for target-specific inhibition of HBV genome. Benefits, challenges, feasible solutions, and proposed guidelines for forthcoming study in CRISPR/Cas9 are described to highlight the possible cures of and treatments for chronic HBV infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2020028453DOI Listing
January 2020

CRISPR/Cas: A Successful Tool for Genome Editing in Animal Models.

Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr 2020 ;30(3):239-243

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan.

CRISPR/Cas9 is an innovative molecular tool that is utilized in advanced biological applications. This review focuses on modifying the genomes of a wide range of animals by CRISPR/Cas9 for greater usability and higher efficiency, providing an overview of the function and mechanism of this system and the utilization of this system for medicinal research. The type II CRISPR-Cas system is found in the Enterobacteriaceae bacteria family, which uses this system as a defense against invading phages and plasmids. This system can be engineered to direct its action toward a targeted site for the modification of a specific genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2020028791DOI Listing
January 2020

The influence of gender on career aspirations of University of Birmingham dental students and junior trainees in the West Midlands.

Br Dent J 2020 06;228(12):933-937

Professor Emeritus in Dental Public Health, University of Birmingham School of Dentistry, UK.

Aims To investigate the gender differences among University of Birmingham dental students and dental core trainees (junior trainees within four years of graduation) in the West Midlands, and to assess career aspirations and working patterns.Methods A questionnaire was distributed to 189 dental students in years 2, 3 and 4 and to 24 dental core trainees. Data were collected in July 2017 by means of a paper questionnaire. A pilot of 40 questionnaires was carried out to ensure the validity of the questionnaire. All data were processed with Microsoft Excel.Results Seventy percent of individuals indicated work-life balance was their reason for choosing dentistry, made up of 25% males and 45% females. A larger percentage of female dentists opted to work in dental practice-based settings. Twenty-three percent of undergraduates want to specialise in the future, two-thirds of which were female. In comparison, 83% of the dental core trainees in our cohort want to specialise - 60% of males and 100% of females. The remaining 40% of male dental core trainees answered 'unsure' rather than 'no'. Restorative dentistry, orthodontics and oral surgery were the most popular choice of specialist training. Oral surgery was chosen by nearly twice as many females as males. Paediatric dentistry was selected mostly by females.Conclusion Women are making up a greater percentage of dental students at the University of Birmingham; their career aspirations and working patterns could have future implications for workforce planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-1704-6DOI Listing
June 2020

Association of Infant and Child Feeding Index with Undernutrition in Children Aged 6-59 Months: A Cross-Sectional Study in the Maldives.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2020 07 14;103(1):515-519. Epub 2020 May 14.

School of Food Science, Jiangsu Food & Pharmaceutical Science College, Huai'an, Jiangsu, China.

Adequate dietary intake is critically important for child growth and development. This study aimed to analyze the prevalence of undernutrition and its association with infant and child feeding index (ICFI). This cross-sectional study was conducted among children (younger than5 years) and their mothers from Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives. The data were obtained by interviewing the children's mothers via pretested questionnaires. Infant and child feeding index scores were calculated from the dietary information. Weight-for-age -scores (WAZ), length/height-for-age -scores (LAZ/HAZ), and weight-for-length/height -scores were calculated from anthropometric data taken according to the WHO criterion. Linear regression tests were used to find the association of nutritional status with ICFI scores. A total of 800 children and their mothers participated in this study. The prevalence of underweight, stunting, and wasting was 24.6%, 32.4%, and 16.3%, respectively. The mean ICFI scores (13.0) of children aged 6-8 months were better than those of children in other age-groups. In food groups, the intake of fish was higher among the respondents, whereas the consumption of vegetables and fruits was lower. Infant and child feeding index scores were significantly associated ( < 0.05) with WAZ and LAZ/HAZ after adjustment for confounders. Overall, the findings showed that Maldivian children consumed the limited number of food items that resulted in an inadequate intake of nutrients which further resulted in the high prevalence of malnutrition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.19-0972DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7356416PMC
July 2020

A 32-Year-Old Man With Chronic Left Ventricular Dysfunction.

JAMA Cardiol 2020 06;5(6):726-727

Warren Alpert School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.0295DOI Listing
June 2020

Progress Toward Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination - Worldwide, 2000-2018.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 May 1;69(17):515-520. Epub 2020 May 1.

Maternal and neonatal tetanus* (MNT) remains a major public health problem, with an 80%-100% case-fatality rate among neonates, especially in areas with poor immunization coverage and limited access to clean deliveries (i.e., delivery in a health facility or assisted by medically trained attendants in sanitary conditions) and umbilical cord care (1). In 1989, the World Health Assembly endorsed the elimination of neonatal tetanus (NT), and in 1999, the initiative was relaunched and renamed the MNT elimination initiative, targeting 59 priority countries (1). Elimination strategies include 1) achieving ≥80% coverage with ≥2 doses of tetanus toxoid-containing vaccine (TTCV) among women of reproductive age through routine immunization of pregnant women and supplementary immunization activities (SIAs)** in high-risk areas and districts; 2) achieving care at ≥70% of deliveries by a skilled birth attendant (SBA); and 3) enhancing surveillance for NT cases (1). This report summarizes progress toward achieving MNT elimination during 2000-2018. Coverage with ≥2 doses of TTCV (2 doses of tetanus toxoid [TT2+] or 2 doses of tetanus-diphtheria toxoid [Td2+]) among women of reproductive age increased by 16%, from 62% in 2000 to 72% in 2018. By December 2018, 52 (88%) of 59 priority countries had conducted TTCV SIAs, vaccinating 154 million (77%) of 201 million targeted women of reproductive age with TT2+/Td2+. Globally, the percentage of deliveries assisted by SBAs increased from 62% during 2000-2005 to 81% during 2013-2018, and estimated neonatal tetanus deaths decreased by 85%, from 170,829 in 2000 to 25,000 in 2018. By December 2018, 45 (76%) of 59 priority countries were validated by WHO as having achieved MNT elimination. To achieve elimination in the remaining 14 countries and sustain elimination in countries that have achieved it, implementation of MNT elimination strategies needs to be maintained and strengthened, and TTCV booster doses need to be included in country immunization schedules as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) (2). In addition, integration of maternal, newborn, and child health services with vaccination services is needed, as well as innovative approaches to target hard-to-reach areas for tetanus vaccination and community engagement to strengthen surveillance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6917a2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7206986PMC
May 2020

Phenylpropanoid Pathway Engineering: An Emerging Approach towards Plant Defense.

Pathogens 2020 Apr 23;9(4). Epub 2020 Apr 23.

State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Areas, College of horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Xianyang 712100, China.

Pathogens hitting the plant cell wall is the first impetus that triggers the phenylpropanoid pathway for plant defense. The phenylpropanoid pathway bifurcates into the production of an enormous array of compounds based on the few intermediates of the shikimate pathway in response to cell wall breaches by pathogens. The whole metabolomic pathway is a complex network regulated by multiple gene families and it exhibits refined regulatory mechanisms at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and post-translational levels. The pathway genes are involved in the production of anti-microbial compounds as well as signaling molecules. The engineering in the metabolic pathway has led to a new plant defense system of which various mechanisms have been proposed including salicylic acid and antimicrobial mediated compounds. In recent years, some key players like phenylalanine ammonia lyases (PALs) from the phenylpropanoid pathway are proposed to have broad spectrum disease resistance (BSR) without yield penalties. Now we have more evidence than ever, yet little understanding about the pathway-based genes that orchestrate rapid, coordinated induction of phenylpropanoid defenses in response to microbial attack. It is not astonishing that mutants of pathway regulator genes can show conflicting results. Therefore, precise engineering of the pathway is an interesting strategy to aim at profitably tailored plants. Here, this review portrays the current progress and challenges for phenylpropanoid pathway-based resistance from the current prospective to provide a deeper understanding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040312DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7238016PMC
April 2020

Destruction of Cell Topography, Morphology, Membrane, Inhibition of Respiration, Biofilm Formation, and Bioactive Molecule Production by Nanoparticles of Ag, ZnO, CuO, TiO, and AlO toward Beneficial Soil Bacteria.

ACS Omega 2020 Apr 1;5(14):7861-7876. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India.

The unregulated discharge of nanoparticles (NPs) from various nanotechnology industries into the environment is expected to alter the composition and physiological functions of soil microbiota. Considering this knowledge gap, the impact of five NPs (Ag, ZnO, CuO, AlO, and TiO) differing in size and morphology on growth behavior and physiological activity of , , , and were investigated. Various biochemical and microscopic approaches were adopted. Interestingly, all bacterial strains were found sensitive to Ag-NPs and ZnO-NPs but showed tolerance toward CuO, AlO, and TiO-NPs. The loss of cellular respiration due to NPs was coupled with a reduction in population size. ZnO-NPs at 387.5 μg mL had a maximum inhibitory impact on and reduced its population by 72%. Under Ag-NP stress, the reduction in IAA secretion by bacterial strains followed the order (74%) > (63%) > (49%). The surface of bacterial cells had small- or large-sized aggregates of NPs. Also, numerous gaps, pits, fragmented, and disorganized cell envelopes were visible. Additionally, a treated cell surface appeared corrugated with depressions and alteration in cell length and a strong heterogeneity was noticed under atomic force microscopy (AFM). For instance, NPs induced cell roughness for followed the order 12.6 nm (control) > 58 nm (Ag-NPs) > 41 nm (ZnO-NPs). TEM analysis showed aberrant morphology, cracking, and disruption of the cell envelope with extracellular electron-dense materials. Increased permeability of the inner cell membrane caused cell death and lowered EPS production. Ag-NPs and ZnO-NPs also disrupted the surface adhering ability of bacteria, which varied with time and concentration of NPs. Conclusively, a plausible mechanism of NP toxicity to bacteria has been proposed to understand the mechanistic basis of ecological interaction between NPs and resourceful bacteria. These results also emphasize to develop strategies for the safe disposal of NPs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.9b04084DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7160826PMC
April 2020

Pharmacogenetic study of ACE, AGT, CYP11B1, CYP11B2 and eNOS gene variants in hypertensive patients from Faisalabad, Pakistan.

J Pak Med Assoc 2020 Apr;70(4):624-629

Health Biotechnology Division, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Objective: To investigate the association of genetic variants of renin angiotensin aldosterone system, endothelial nitric oxide synthase and 11-beta-hydroxylase genes, and the drug efficacy of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker.

Methods: This two time-point study was conducted from April to November 2016 at Allied Hospital, Faisalabad and National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad, and comprised of hypertensive patients taking angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker who were followed up for 12 weeks. Baseline and follow-up clinical and biochemical parameters were measured for all patients. Total 11 polymorphisms were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction, polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism and amplification-refractory mutation system-polymerase chain reaction assays. Data was divided into baseline and follow-up groups, while the latter group was further divided into responding and non-responding subgroups on the basis of patient response to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker drugs. Data was analysed using SPSS 20.

Results: Of the 45 patients, 25(55.5%) were females and 20(44.5%) were males. There was a significant reduction in the systolic blood pressure (p=0.004) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p<0.001) from the baseline to the follow-up. Systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced in the responding group (p=0.003), while diastolic blood pressure (p=0.121) was not significantly different. There was no effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme, angiotensinogen, 11-beta-hydroxylase, aldosterone synthase and endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene polymorphisms on angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker efficacy.

Conclusions: Inter-individual response to angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker was found to be independent of genetic polymorphisms in renin angiotensin aldosterone system, endothelial nitric oxide synthase and 11-beta-hydroxylase genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5455/JPMA.6666DOI Listing
April 2020

Molecular docking and ¬in-silico study of natural antagonists of ER-alpha receptor: Potential candidates against breast cancer.

Pak J Pharm Sci 2020 Mar;33(2):733-738

Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan.

Breast cancer is affecting the women in both developing and non-developing countries in a dangerous ratio. Estrogen receptor alpha (ER-α) controls a number of physiological processes. Its over expression is seen in breast cancer. Estrogen positive breast cancer can be treated by hormone therapy, that's why we focused on anti-estrogen natural molecules. A library of 5022 phytochemicals was searched, and selected top molecules based on their drug scoring. Fulvestrant was used as the reference drug. 4 molecules showed more drug scoring than the standard and these include Kushenol K, Flavobin, Kushenol N and CHEMBL66996 in descending order. All these molecules were further assessed for their other biological activities and found better than the standard. Therefore, these compounds may be used effectively as antagonists of ER-alpha receptor and as potential candidates against breast cancer.
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March 2020