Publications by authors named "Samantha M Brown"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Child Protection System Referrals and Responses in Colorado, USA.

Child Maltreat 2021 Apr 26:10775595211012476. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

129263University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.

Although the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has amplified risk factors known to increase children's vulnerability to abuse and neglect, emerging evidence suggests declines in maltreatment reporting and responding following COVID-19 social distancing protocols in the United States. Using statewide administrative data, this study builds on the current state of knowledge to better understand the volume of child protection system (CPS) referrals and responses in Colorado, USA before and during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and to determine whether there were differences in referral and response rates by case characteristics. Results indicated an overall decline in referrals and responses during COVID-19 when compared to the previous year. Declines were specific to case characteristics, such as reporter and maltreatment type. Implications regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child maltreatment reporting and CPS response are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10775595211012476DOI Listing
April 2021

The Co-Occurrence of Child Maltreatment and Intimate Partner Violence in Families: Effects on Children's Externalizing Behavior Problems.

Child Maltreat 2021 Jan 13:1077559520985934. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.

Children exposed to maltreatment are at risk of experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) and behavioral problems. This study examined different forms of family violence that co-occur and their relationship to children's externalizing behaviors across developmental stages (early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence). Longitudinal data ( = 1,987) at baseline and 18 months and 36 months post-baseline from the NSCAW II were used. Mixture modeling was employed in which latent class models estimated subgroups of children who experienced co-occurring forms of family violence; regression models estimated which subgroups of children were at risk of externalizing behaviors. Three latent classes were identified across developmental stages: high family violence, low family violence, and child physical abuse and psychological aggression. For children in early childhood, a fourth class was identified: partner and child physical abuse and child psychological aggression. Results from regression models revealed differences in externalizing scores by class membership across developmental age groups and over time. That distinct classes of child maltreatment and IPV co-occur and differentially impact children's behavior suggests a need for strong prevention and intervention responses to address children's dual maltreatment and IPV exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077559520985934DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8275675PMC
January 2021

Parental buffering in the context of poverty: positive parenting behaviors differentiate young children's stress reactivity profiles.

Dev Psychopathol 2020 12;32(5):1778-1787

Department of Psychology, University of Denver, CO, USA.

Experiencing poverty increases vulnerability for dysregulated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning and compromises long-term health. Positive parenting buffers children from HPA axis reactivity, yet this has primarily been documented among families not experiencing poverty. We tested the theorized power of positive parenting in 124 parent-child dyads recruited from Early Head Start (Mage = 25.21 months) by examining child cortisol trajectories using five samples collected across a standardized stress paradigm. Piecewise latent growth models revealed that positive parenting buffered children's stress responses when controlling for time of day, last stress task completed, and demographics. Positive parenting also interacted with income such that positive parenting was especially protective for cortisol reactivity in families experiencing greater poverty. Findings suggest that positive parenting behaviors are important for protecting children in families experiencing low income from heightened or prolonged physiologic stress reactivity to an acute stressor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420001224DOI Listing
December 2020

Stress and parenting during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Child Abuse Negl 2020 12 20;110(Pt 2):104699. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

School of Social Work, Colorado State University, 1586 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Stress and compromised parenting often place children at risk of abuse and neglect. Child maltreatment has generally been viewed as a highly individualistic problem by focusing on stressors and parenting behaviors that impact individual families. However, because of the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), families across the world are experiencing a new range of stressors that threaten their health, safety, and economic well-being.

Objective: This study examined the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to parental perceived stress and child abuse potential.

Participants And Setting: Participants included parents (N = 183) with a child under the age of 18 years in the western United States.

Method: Tests of group differences and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were employed to assess the relationships among demographic characteristics, COVID-19 risk factors, mental health risk factors, protective factors, parental perceived stress, and child abuse potential.

Results: Greater COVID-19 related stressors and high anxiety and depressive symptoms are associated with higher parental perceived stress. Receipt of financial assistance and high anxiety and depressive symptoms are associated with higher child abuse potential. Conversely, greater parental support and perceived control during the pandemic are associated with lower perceived stress and child abuse potential. Results also indicate racial and ethnic differences in COVID-19 related stressors, but not in mental health risk, protective factors, perceived stress, or child abuse potential.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that although families experience elevated stressors from COVID-19, providing parental support and increasing perceived control may be promising intervention targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104699DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7440155PMC
December 2020

Sociodemographic and substance use characteristics associated with typologies and composition of social support networks among youth experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles, USA.

Health Soc Care Community 2020 03 30;28(2):533-543. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Youth experiencing homelessness are a vulnerable population with increased behavioural health risks. Social networks are a consistent correlate of youths' substance use behaviours. However, less is known about the reciprocal relationships among these constructs. This study classified youth experiencing homelessness according to their social support network type (e.g. instrumental, emotional, service) and composition (e.g. family, peers, service staff) and linked their membership in these social network classes to sociodemographic and substance use characteristics. Four waves of cross-sectional data were collected between October 2011 and June 2013 from youth experiencing homelessness, ages 14-29, at three drop-in centres in Los Angeles, CA (N = 1,046). This study employed latent class analysis to identify subgroups of youth experiencing homelessness according to the type and composition of their social support networks. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were then conducted to identify the sociodemographic and substance use characteristics associated with social support network class membership. Five latent classes of youths' social support networks were identified: (a) high staff emotional and service support; (b) high home-based peer and family emotional, service and instrumental support; (c) moderate street- and home-based peer emotional support; (d) low or no support and (e) high home-based peer and family emotional and instrumental support. Multinomial logistic regression models indicated that race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, literal homelessness, former foster care experience, depression, heroin and marijuana use were significant correlates of social support network class membership. Results indicate distinct classes of social support networks among youth experiencing homelessness, with certain sociodemographic and substance use characteristics implicated in youths' social networks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12886DOI Listing
March 2020

Child, Family, and Case Characteristics Associated With Reentry Into Out-of-Home Care Among Children and Youth Involved With Child Protection Services.

Child Maltreat 2020 05 20;25(2):162-171. Epub 2019 Aug 20.

Larimer County Department of Human Services, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

Many children and youth with child protection services (CPS) involvement enter out-of-home care. The aims of this study were to examine rates of reentry and risk factors associated with reentry into out-of-home care among children and youth involved in the child protection (reported for abuse/neglect) and youth-in-conflict (reported for behavioral issues) programs. This study used administrative data from Colorado's Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System, which contains information on all children and youth who enter Colorado's CPS. Of the 14,461 children and youth in the child protection program and 2,353 children and youth in the youth-in-conflict program, 14.7% and 35.1%, respectively, reentered into out-of-home care. Families' prior history of CPS involvement and current CPS case characteristics better explained reentry into out-of-home care than child and family demographic characteristics alone. Understanding risk factors associated with reentry into out-of-home care is critical to inform the prevention of child maltreatment recurrence and ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and youth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077559519869395DOI Listing
May 2020

Pregnancy Attitudes and Contraceptive Use among Young Adults with Histories of Foster Care.

Child Youth Serv Rev 2018 Nov 10;94:284-289. Epub 2018 Oct 10.

Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver; 2148 S. High Street, Denver, CO 80208.

Introduction: This study examined pregnancy attitudes and contraceptive use among young adults with histories of foster care.

Methods: 209 female and male young adults, aged 18-22, with histories of foster care were interviewed about their intentions and feelings towards pregnancy. Respondents were then categorized as having pro-pregnancy (i.e., having positive pregnancy intentions happy feelings about pregnancy), ambivalent (either intentions happy feelings), or anti-pregnancy (no intentions unhappy feelings) attitudes. Participants also reported their past-year contraceptive use, and the relationship between pregnancy attitudes and contraceptive use was subsequently explored for the overall sample, and by sex and history of pregnancy using Chi-square tests.

Results: Only 13.4% of participants had positive pregnancy intentions, though 41.9% reported that they would feel happy with a pregnancy. Over half (55.9%) of participants were anti-pregnancy, a third (32.8%) were ambivalent and 11.3% were pro-pregnancy. Compared to females, males were more likely to have positive pregnancy intentions (18.6% vs. 7.8%, = .03) and to be pro-pregnancy (16.5% vs. 5.6%, = .04). No differences in pregnancy attitudes were found as a function of pregnancy history. Consistent contraceptive use was significantly associated with pregnancy attitudes; 22.2% of pro-pregnancy participants reported consistent contraceptive use versus 52.9% of ambivalent and 62.2% of anti-pregnancy participants.

Discussion: In this exploratory study, few participants held pro-pregnancy attitudes and a high percentage of participants who were anti-pregnancy did not use contraception consistently. Although studies with larger samples examining this topic are needed, professionals should distinguish between young adults' intentions and feelings about pregnancy in an effort to better address contraceptive needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.10.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6519940PMC
November 2018

Adverse childhood experiences and their relationship to complex health profiles among child welfare-involved children: A classification and regression tree analysis.

Health Serv Res 2019 08 10;54(4):902-911. Epub 2019 May 10.

Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Butler Institute for Families, Denver, Colorado.

Objective: To identify the clustering of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that best characterize child welfare-involved children with known complex health concerns.

Data Source: Multi-informant data were obtained from Wave I of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II).

Study Design: This study used a cross-sectional design and classification and regression tree (CART) analyses.

Data Collection: Data were collected from families with children, aged birth to 17, investigated for child maltreatment and their child protective services caseworkers, including demographic characteristics of the children, their histories of adversity, and a wide range of health concerns.

Principal Findings: Results indicate that for children between the ages of six and 17, experiences of physical abuse alone, as well as experiences of physical abuse combined with having a caregiver with mental illness, are most strongly associated with complex health concerns. For children aged 2-5 years, results suggest that caregiver mental illness is a key adverse experience associated with complex health concerns.

Conclusions: Identifying specific combinations of ACEs may be a critical next step for child- and youth-serving agencies to allow providers to better calculate risk of health problems among children exposed to adversity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.13166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6606552PMC
August 2019

The co-occurrence of adverse childhood experiences among children investigated for child maltreatment: A latent class analysis.

Child Abuse Negl 2019 01 22;87:18-27. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Department of Psychology, University of Denver, 2155 S. Race St., Denver, CO 80208, USA. Electronic address:

Children investigated for maltreatment are particularly vulnerable to experiencing multiple adversities. Few studies have examined the extent to which experiences of adversity and different types of maltreatment co-occur in this most vulnerable population of children. Understanding the complex nature of childhood adversity may inform the enhanced tailoring of practices to better meet the needs of maltreated children. Using cross-sectional data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II (N=5870), this study employed latent class analysis to identify subgroups of children who had experienced multiple forms of maltreatment and associated adversities among four developmental stages: birth to 23 months (infants), 2-5 (preschool age), 6-10 (school age), and 11-18 years-old (adolescents). Three latent classes were identified for infants, preschool-aged children, and adolescents, and four latent classes were identified for school-aged children. Among infants, the groups were characterized by experiences of (1) physical neglect/emotional abuse/caregiver treated violently, (2) physical neglect/household dysfunction, and (3) caregiver divorce. For preschool-aged children, the groups included (1) physical neglect/emotional abuse/caregiver treated violently, (2) physical neglect/household dysfunction, and (3) emotional abuse. Children in the school-age group clustered based on experiencing (1) physical neglect/emotional neglect and abuse/caregiver treated violently, (2) physical neglect/household dysfunction, (3) emotional abuse, and (4) emotional abuse/caregiver divorce. Finally, adolescents were grouped based on (1) physical neglect/emotional abuse/household dysfunction, (2) physical abuse/emotional abuse/household dysfunction, and (3) emotional abuse/caregiver divorce. The results indicate distinct classes of adversity experienced among children investigated for child maltreatment, with both stability across developmental periods and unique age-related vulnerabilities. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.11.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7780306PMC
January 2019

Erratum to: Prospective Associations Between Peer Victimization and Dispositional Mindfulness in Early Adolescence.

Prev Sci 2017 05;18(4):490

Stress, Early Experiences, and Development Research Center, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11121-017-0765-5DOI Listing
May 2017

Prospective Associations Between Peer Victimization and Dispositional Mindfulness in Early Adolescence.

Prev Sci 2017 05;18(4):481-489

Stress, Early Experiences, and Development Research Center, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA.

Peer victimization is associated with several mental health and behavioral problems during childhood and adolescence. Identifying prospective associations between victimization and factors known to protect against these problems may ultimately contribute to more precise developmental models for victimization's role in behavioral and mental health. This study tested prospective associations between peer victimization and dispositional mindfulness, defined by non-judgmental and accepting awareness of the constant stream of lived experience, during early adolescence. It was hypothesized that victimization would predict lower levels of mindfulness over a 4-month period. Study participants were 152 seventh and eighth grade students (female = 51%, Caucasian = 35%, Hispanic/Latino = 34%, African-American = 13%, and multi-ethnic or other = 18%) participating in a social-emotional learning intervention feasibility trial. A structural equation model tested associations between mindfulness, victimization, and covariates at baseline, and mindfulness and victimization at 4-month posttest. As hypothesized, baseline victimization predicted significantly lower levels of mindfulness at 4-month posttest. Baseline mindfulness did not predict victimization. Results may reflect victimized youths' mindful awareness being recurrently diverted away from the present moment due to thoughts of prior and/or impending victimization. Study implications may include implementing mindful awareness practices as an intervention strategy for victimized youth to enhance and/or restore this promotive factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11121-017-0750-zDOI Listing
May 2017

Childhood adversity and the risk of substance use and delinquency: The role of protective adult relationships.

Child Abuse Negl 2017 Jan 22;63:211-221. Epub 2016 Nov 22.

Colorado State University, School of Social Work, 137 Education, 1586 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1586, United States. Electronic address:

Youth involved in the child welfare system experience multiple early adversities that can contribute to increased risk of substance use and delinquency. Although adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been associated with poorer behavioral outcomes among youth, less is known about the possible protective factors that may influence the relationship between early adversity and risk-taking behavior. This study examined whether protective adult relationships moderated the link between cumulative ACEs and substance use and delinquency after controlling for demographic characteristics in child welfare-involved youth. The sample included 1054 youth, ages 11-17, from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II who were in the first wave of data collection. Results showed that protective adult relationships moderated the relationship between ACEs and substance use, but not for delinquency. Specifically, under lower levels of protective adult relationships, cumulative ACEs related to increased substance use among youth. Implications for child welfare practices to target youths' support systems are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.11.006DOI Listing
January 2017

Thought suppression as a mediator of the association between depressed mood and prescription opioid craving among chronic pain patients.

J Behav Med 2016 Feb 7;39(1):128-38. Epub 2015 Sep 7.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Tate Turner Kuralt Bldg. 325 Pittsboro St #3550, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599, USA.

Emerging research suggests that prescription opioid craving is associated with negative mood and depression, but less is known about cognitive factors linking depressive symptoms to opioid craving among adults with chronic pain. The present cross-sectional study examined thought suppression as a mediator of the relation between depression and prescription opioid craving in a sample of chronic pain patients receiving long-term opioid pharmacotherapy. Data were obtained from 115 chronic pain patients recruited from primary care, pain, and neurology clinics who had taken prescription opioids daily or nearly every day for ≥90 days prior to assessment. In this sample, 60 % of participants met DSM-IV criteria for current major depressive disorder. Depressed mood (r = .36, p < .001) and thought suppression (r = .33, p < .001) were significantly correlated with opioid craving. Multivariate path analyses with bootstrapping indicated the presence of a significant indirect effect of thought suppression on the association between depressed mood and opioid craving (indirect effect = .09, 95 % CI .01, .20). Sensitivity analyses showed a similar indirect effect of suppression linking major depressive disorder diagnosis and opioid craving. Attempts to suppress distressing and intrusive thoughts may result in increased craving to use opioids among chronic pain patients with depressive symptoms. Results highlight the need for interventions that mitigate thought suppression among adults with pain and mood disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10865-015-9675-9DOI Listing
February 2016

An Exploratory Factor Analysis of Coping Styles and Relationship to Depression Among a Sample of Homeless Youth.

Community Ment Health J 2015 Oct 29;51(7):818-27. Epub 2015 Mar 29.

School of Social Work, University of Texas, 1925 San Jacinto Blvd. D3510, Austin, TX, 78712-0358, USA.

The extent to which measures of coping adequately capture the ways that homeless youth cope with challenges, and the influence these coping styles have on mental health outcomes, is largely absent from the literature. This study tests the factor structure of the Coping Scale using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and then investigates the relationship between coping styles and depression using hierarchical logistic regression with data from 201 homeless youth. Results of the EFA indicate a 3-factor structure of coping, which includes active, avoidant, and social coping styles. Results of the hierarchical logistic regression show that homeless youth who engage in greater avoidant coping are at increased risk of meeting criteria for major depressive disorder. Findings provide insight into the utility of a preliminary tool for assessing homeless youths' coping styles. Such assessment may identify malleable risk factors that could be addressed by service providers to help prevent mental health problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10597-015-9870-8DOI Listing
October 2015

Multiple victimizations before and after leaving home associated with PTSD, depression, and substance use disorder among homeless youth.

Child Maltreat 2015 May 14;20(2):115-24. Epub 2014 Dec 14.

Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA.

Exposure to multiple forms of maltreatment during childhood is associated with serious mental health consequences among youth in the general population, but limited empirical attention has focused on homeless youth-a population with markedly high rates of childhood maltreatment followed by elevated rates of street victimization. This study investigated the rates of multiple childhood abuses (physical, sexual, and emotional abuse) and multiple street victimizations (robbery, physical assault, and sexual assault) and examined their relative relationships to mental health outcomes (meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression, and substance use disorder) among a large (N = 601) multisite sample of homeless youth. Approximately 79% of youth retrospectively reported multiple childhood abuses (two or more types) and 28% reported multiple street victimizations (two or more types). Each additional type of street victimization nearly doubled youths' odds for meeting criteria for substance use disorder. Furthermore, each additional type of childhood abuse experienced more than doubled youths' odds for meeting criteria for PTSD. Both multiple abuses and multiple street victimizations were associated with an approximate twofold increase in meeting depression criteria. Findings suggest the need for screening, assessment, and trauma-informed services for homeless youth who consider multiple types of abuse and victimization experiences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1077559514562859DOI Listing
May 2015

Heterologous expression of a basic elicitin from Phytophthora cryptogea in Phytophthora infestans increases its ability to cause leaf necrosis in tobacco.

Microbiology (Reading) 1998 Dec;144 ( Pt 12):3343-3349

Division of Infection and Immunity, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Joseph Black Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.

The cry-b sequence, encoding a basic elicitin (cryptogein B) from Phytophthora cryptogea, was co-transformed into Phytophthora infestans. The copy number of the cry-b sequence varied in co-transformants. Nevertheless, in all cases the alien elicitin gene was transcribed, translated and the protein secreted in vitro from such transformants. Moreover, the secreted cryptogein B from P. infestans co-transformants increased their ability to cause a hypersensitive-response-like necrosis of tobacco leaves. It was thus concluded that the transfer of a single gene encoding a basic elicitin from one Phytophthora species to another can dramatically alter the phenotypic interaction of the transformed species with tobacco.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/00221287-144-12-3343DOI Listing
December 1998

Ultrastructural analysis of the sporozoite of Cryptosporidium parvum.

Microbiology (Reading) 1998 Dec;144 ( Pt 12):3249-3255

Division of Infection and Immunity, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Joseph Black Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.

Cryopreparation of live sporozoites and oocysts of the apicomplexan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum, followed by transmission electron microscopy, was undertaken to show the 3D arrangement of organelles, their number and distribution. Profiles of parasites obtained from energy-filtering transmission electron microscopy of serial sections provided 3D reconstructions from which morphometric data and stereo images were derived. The results suggest that sporozoites have a single rhoptry containing an organized lamellar body, no mitochondria or conventional Golgi apparatus, and one or two crystalline bodies. Micronemes were shown to be spherical, numerous and apically located, and to account for 0.8% of the total cell volume. Dense granules were less numerous, larger, accounted for 5.8% of the cell volume, and were located more posteriorly than micronemes. A structure juxtaposed to the nucleus with similarities to the plastid-like organelle reported for other members of the Apicomplexa was observed. The detailed analysis illustrates the advantages of cryopreparation in retaining ultrastructural fidelity of labile or difficult to preserve structures such as the sporozoite of Cryptosporidium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/00221287-144-12-3249DOI Listing
December 1998
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