Publications by authors named "Valentina Panetta"

53 Publications

Carbetocin versus oxytocin in caesarean section with high risk of post-partum haemorrhage.

J Prenat Med 2013 Jan;7(1):12-8

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fatebenefratelli Isola Tiberina Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Objectives: the aims of the present study were to compare the haemodynamic effects of oxytocin and carbetocin and to assess the efficacy of these two drugs in terms of blood loss and the additional uterotonic needed in caesarean section at high risk of primary post-partum haemorrhage.

Methods: women in the carbetocin group (group A) received a bolus of 100 μg IV; women in the control group (group B) received 20 IU of oxytocin in 1000 ml of 0,9% Na-Cl solution IV (150 mL/hour). The main parameter evaluated was the haemodynamic effects of drugs and the need for additional uterotonic agents. In addition we compared the drop in haemoglobin level, the uterine tone, the uterine fundal state and the diuresis.

Results: regarding the haemodynamic effects, both drugs have a hypotensive effect, but we found a greater reduction in blood pressure within the oxytocin group. Significantly more women needed additional uterotonic agents in the oxytocin group (23,5% vs 0%, p<0.01), though there was no significant difference in estimated blood loss and in the drop haemoglobin level (p>0.05). There was a significant difference in the diuresis, higher in carbetocin group (1300 ml ± 450 ml vs 1100 ml ± 250 ml, p=0.01).

Conclusions: a single injection of carbetocin appears to be more effective than a continuous infusion of oxytocin to prevent the PPH, with a similar haemodynamic profile and minor antidiuretic effect.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671813PMC
January 2013

Elderly and very elderly patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Strategy for a first line treatment.

Ann Ital Chir 2014 Mar-Apr;85(2):120-8

Aim: Health-status of elderly patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may limit surgical approach; other options are thus auspicable.

Methods: The authors reviewed 98 selected patients, aged 65 to 90 years, with 149 HCC treated between 2002 and 2011. According to the extent of malignancy, health status and treatment, patients were divided into 3 groups. Sixty-one, submitted to major and minor curative resections, were in group A and B while group C included 37 patients, unsuitable for high-risk procedures and percutaneous ablation, submitted to intraoperative-radiofrequency ablation (IRFA) alone or combined with minor resections. Assessment of safety and therapeutic efficacy of this managment was evaluated.

Results: A postoperative mortality rate of 1,02% and an overall survival rate at 5 years of 62.3% were observed. Indeeed matched post-operative morbidity and mortality rates of A, B, C groups were 45%, 8%, 16.21% (p < 0.004) and 9 %, 0%, 0% (p= 0.112 ) respectively. 3 years overall-survival was not statistically different (p= 0.585). However 5 years survival rate and disease-free-survival rate were significantly higher in patients of group A and B (p= 0.003; p< 0.001).

Conclusion: Treatment strategies to minimize treatment-related morbidity and mortality have resulted satisfactory for early and late outcomes of an heterogeneous group of elderly patients with HCC.
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August 2015

Antioxidant status and APOE genotype as susceptibility factors for neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Rejuvenation Res 2013 Feb;16(1):51-6

Casa di Cura San Raffale Cassino & IRCCS San Raffale Pisana, Cassino, Italy.

Different factors interact to develop neurodegeneration in patients with dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders. Oxidative stress and the ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) are associated with significant alteration in lipid metabolism, in turn connected to a variety of neurodegenerative diseases and aging. Thus, a better understanding of the pathogenetic pathways associated with lipid dyshomeostasis may elucidate the causes of neurodegenerative processes. To address this issue, we evaluated the effects of antioxidant status and APOE genotype on neurodegeneration in patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type (AD), with vascular dementia (VaD), and in elderly healthy controls. Eighty-two AD, 42 VaD patients, and 26 healthy controls were recruited and underwent medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTA) assessment, white matter hyperintensities rating (WMH), serum total antioxidant status assaying (TAS), and APOE genotyping. A logistic regression algorithm applied to our data revealed that a 0.01 mmol/L decrease of TAS concentration increased the probability of MTA by 24% (p=0.038) and that carriers of the APOE ε4 allele showed higher WMH scores (p=0.018), confirming that small variations in antioxidant systems homeostasis are associated with relevant modifications of disease risk. Furthermore, in individuals with analogous TAS values, the presence of the ε4 allele increased the predicted probability of having MTA. These outcomes further sustain the interaction of oxidative stress and APOE genotype to neurodegeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/rej.2012.1383DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582293PMC
February 2013

Oral food challenge: safety, adherence to guidelines and predictive value of skin prick testing.

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2012 Dec 29;23(8):755-61. Epub 2012 Oct 29.

Department of Pediatrics, S. Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Background: The diagnostic gold standard of food allergy is the oral food challenge (OFC). Data on severe reactions and drug use during OFC are scarce. Our aims were (i) to investigate the prevalence and spectrum of reactions' severity during OFC and to assess drug use and epinephrine use in anaphylaxis due to OFC; (ii) to investigate the predictive value of the skin prick test wheal size for the outcome of OFCs.

Methods: A retrospective charts review of children undergoing OFC at three Allergy Centres between January 2007 and December 2008 was performed.

Results: A total of 544 OFCs were analysed. Most frequently involved foods were egg, milk and wheat. 254/526 (48.3%) were positive. 167 (65.7%) were defined mild reactions, 81 (31.9%) multiorgan reactions and 6 (2.4%) anaphylaxis. No patients had cardiovascular symptoms. Data on treatments were available in 98.8% OFCs. In half of them antihistamines were used vs. 10% cases in which steroids were preferred. Six children (2.4%) were treated with Epinephrine inhalation, 5 (2%) with beta-2 inhalation, 8 (3.1%) with steroid inhalation. One child was treated with IM Epinephrine + IV fluids. Skin prick tests predictive cut-off were 9 mm for albumen, 7 for yolk, 13 for fresh albumen, 10 for α-lactalbumin, seven for casein, eight for β-lactoglobulin, 20 for cow's milk and 10 for fresh cow's milk.

Conclusion: OFCs performed in controlled settings by expert Allergists are safe. Consideration needs to be given as to whether the Anaphylaxis' Guideline need to be modified when applied in treating patients undergoing OFC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pai.12016DOI Listing
December 2012

Specific oral tolerance induction with raw hen's egg in children with very severe egg allergy: a randomized controlled trial.

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2013 Feb 9;24(1):66-74. Epub 2012 Sep 9.

Department of Paediatrics, Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Benevento, Italy.

Background: Treatment of severe egg allergy is avoidance of hen's egg (HE) and carrying self-injectable epinephrine. Specific oral tolerance induction (SOTI) seems a promising alternative treatment. However, some aspects of SOTI are still considered experimental.

Methods: We evaluated the efficacy and safety of an original 6-month SOTI protocol in children with very severe HE allergy using raw HE emulsion. Twenty children (age range: 5-11 yr) were randomized equally into a SOTI treatment group and a control group. The treatment group started SOTI and underwent a second challenge 6 months later. Control children were kept on an egg-free diet for 6 months and then underwent a second challenge.

Results: After 6 months, 9/10 children of the SOTI group (90%) achieved partial tolerance (at least 10 ml, but <40 ml of raw HE emulsion, in a single dose) and 1 (10%) was able to tolerate only 5 ml (no tolerance). After 6 months, nine control children tested positive to the second challenge at a dose ≤0.9 ml of raw HE emulsion, and one reacted to 1.8 ml (SOTI vs. control group p<0.0001). All children in the SOTI group had side effects, but no child had a grade 5 reaction according to the Sampson grading.

Conclusion: Six months of SOTI with raw HE emulsion resulted in partial tolerance, with regular intake, in a significant percentage of children with severe egg allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-3038.2012.01349.xDOI Listing
February 2013

Molecular spreading and predictive value of preclinical IgE response to Phleum pratense in children with hay fever.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2012 Oct 25;130(4):894-901.e5. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Department of Paediatric Pneumology and Immunology, Charité University Medical Centre, Berlin, Germany.

Background: IgE sensitization against grass pollen is a cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Objective: We sought to investigate the evolution at the molecular level and the preclinical predictive value of IgE responses against grass pollen.

Methods: The German Multicentre Allergy Study examined a birth cohort born in 1990. A questionnaire was administered yearly, and blood samples were collected at 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 13 years of age. Grass pollen-related seasonal allergic rhinitis (SARg) was diagnosed according to nasal symptoms in June/July. Serum IgE antibodies to Phleum pratense extract and 8 P pratense molecules were tested with immune-enzymatic singleplex and multiplex assays, respectively.

Results: One hundred seventy-seven of the 820 examined children had SARg. A weak monomolecular/oligomolecular IgE response to P pratense was observed very frequently before SARg onset. These initial IgE responses increased in concentration and molecular complexity during the preclinical and clinical process. A typical progression of IgE sensitization was observed: Phl p 1 (initiator in >75% of cases); then Phl p 4 and Phl p 5; then Phl p 2, Phl p 6, and Phl p 11; and then Phl p 12 and Phl p 7. At age 3 years, IgE sensitization predicted SARg by age 12 years (positive predictive value, 68% [95% CI, 50% to 82%]; negative predictive value, 84% [95% CI, 80% to 87%]). At this preclinical prediction time, the number of recognized molecules and the serum levels of IgE to P pratense were significantly lower than at 3 or more years after SARg onset.

Conclusions: The IgE response against grass pollen molecules can start years before disease onset as a weak monosensitization or oligosensitization phenomenon. It can increase in serum concentration and complexity through a "molecular spreading" process during preclinical and early clinical disease stages. Testing IgE sensitization at a preclinical stage facilitates prediction of seasonal allergic rhinitis at its molecular monosensitization or oligosensitization stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2012.05.053DOI Listing
October 2012

A new model for conservative food challenge in children with immunoglobulin E-mediated cow's milk allergy.

Isr Med Assoc J 2012 Jan;14(1):18-23

Department of Pediatrics, S. Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Background: The diagnostic gold standard for food allergy is an oral food challenge (OFC) with the suspected food. Usually, an OFC is stopped at the onset of mild objective symptoms for fear of severe reactions, but there is no consensus on this issue.

Objectives: To investigate the effectiveness and side effects of a new model of oral milk challenge in order to increase the diagnostic accuracy of cow's milk protein allergy and reduce the number of useless elimination diets. This model is characterized by a conservative diagnostic protocol and "step-up cow's milk dosing." The secondary aim was to investigate possible factors influencing severe reactions.

Methods: Sixty-six children (median age 1 year, range 1-18) with suspected immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated cow's milk allergy performed a conservative OFC, i.e., the OFC was continued even in the presence of subjective, even repeated, or mild local or multiple organ objective symptoms. If the first objective reaction occurred when the quantity of milk was > 10 ml, the investigator would decide whether to continue the OFC or prescribe a gradual increase in milk feeding at home.

Results: Symptoms developed during the OFC in 42.4% of the children. Local, generalized and severe generalized reactions developed in 11 (16.7%), 11 (16.7%) and 6 (9.1%) children, respectively. Only 14/28 (50%) who developed objective symptoms during the OFC were considered to be affected by cow's milk allergy. In the remaining 14 both subjective and objective symptoms developed and the OFC was continued without further symptoms. Epinephrine was administered to 6 of the 28 children (21.4%) who developed objective symptoms. All but one had subjective symptoms following the early doses of milk, whereas all children who later tolerated milk had their first subjective or mild symptoms following doses > or = 10 ml.

Conclusions: This new model of OFC criteria led to frequent severe allergic reactions; hence its use in daily practice seems inadvisable. However, our study provides evidence that a severe allergic reaction does not invariably occur if, the offending food continues to be administered after the onset of symptoms. If mild symptoms appear at doses > 10 ml, continued milk administration, on the same day or in subsequent days, seems to facilitate the development of tolerance and may reduce the number of useless elimination diets.
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January 2012

Copper in Alzheimer's disease: a meta-analysis of serum, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid studies.

J Alzheimers Dis 2012 ;30(4):981-4

Department of Neurology, Campus Biomedico University, Rome, Italy.

This contribution reviews and corrects data from our previous meta-analysis, which appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in 2011 concerning the role of copper in Alzheimer's disease. We repeated the meta-analysis after excluding four of the five studies from our laboratory to avoid possible bias in the result. In addition, we included two studies on serum copper levels in Alzheimer's disease not previously considered. The results indicate higher levels of copper in Alzheimer's disease patients than in controls, confirming our previous conclusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-2012-120244DOI Listing
May 2013

Risk factors for severe pediatric food anaphylaxis in Italy.

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2011 Dec 19;22(8):813-9. Epub 2011 Sep 19.

Department of Pediatrics, San Camillo de Lellis Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Background: Little is known about the cause of food-induced anaphylaxis in children or about the factors that might affect its clinical severity.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the cause of food-induced anaphylaxis in children in Italy and to identify factors that could influence the appearance of symptoms and the severity of anaphylaxis.

Methods: One hundred and sixty-three children with anaphylaxis consecutively attending 29 outpatient allergy clinics throughout Italy were enrolled in this prospective study. Information about past anaphylaxis episodes was collected with a standardized questionnaire. Food sensitization was evaluated by skin-prick test.

Results: A clinical history of asthma increased the risk of wheezing [odds ratio (OR) 2.2; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-4.5] and respiratory arrest (OR 6.9; 95% CI 1.4-34.2). A clinical history of chronic/relapsing gastrointestinal symptoms increased the risk of vomiting (OR 2.1; 95% CI 0.9-4.3), hypotension (OR 7.9; 95% CI 1.9-32.0), and bradycardia/cardiac arrest (OR 9.2; 95% CI 0.9-91.3). The severity of present and previous episodes was similar only in patients with mild or moderate anaphylaxis. Peanut and egg were the most frequent causes of severe anaphylaxis.

Conclusions: A clinical history of asthma and chronic/relapsing gastrointestinal symptoms (probably linked to food allergy) may predict the development of respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms and the severity of anaphylaxis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01200.xDOI Listing
December 2011

Institutional authorisation and accreditation of Transfusion Services and Blood Donation Sites: results of a national survey.

Blood Transfus 2011 Oct 31;9(4):436-54. Epub 2011 May 31.

National Blood Centre, National Institute of Health, Rome Units of Immunohaematology, Transfusion Medicine and Clinical Pathology, San Giovanni Calibita Fatebenefratelli Hospital, AFAR, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: The aim of the survey described in this article was to determine decisional and strategic factors useful for redefining minimum structural, technological and organisational requisites for transfusion structures, as well as for the production of guidelines for accreditation of transfusion structures by the National Blood Centre.

Materials And Methods: A structured questionnaire containing 65 questions was sent to all Transfusion Services in Italy. The questions covered: management of the quality system, accreditation, conformity with professional standards, structural and technological requisites, as well as potential to supply transfusion medicine-related health care services. All the questionnaires returned underwent statistical analysis.

Results: Replies were received from 64.7% of the Transfusion Services. Thirty-nine percent of these had an ISO 9001 certificate, with marked differences according to geographical location; location-related differences were also present for responses to other questions and were confirmed by multivariate statistical analysis. Over half of the Transfusion Services (53.6%) had blood donation sites run by donor associations. The statistical analysis revealed only one statistically significant difference between these donation sites: those connected to certified Transfusion Services were more likely themselves to have ISO 9001 certification than those connected to services who did not have such certification.

Conclusions: The data collected in this survey are representative of the Italian national transfusion system. A re-definition of the authorisation and accreditation requisites for transfusion activities must take into account European and national legislation when determining these requisites in order to facilitate their effective applicability, promote their efficient fulfilment and enhance the development of homogeneous and transparent quality systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2450/2011.0025-10DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3200415PMC
October 2011

Rebuilding the labor curve during neuraxial analgesia.

J Obstet Gynaecol Res 2011 Nov 16;37(11):1532-9. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

Intensive Care Unit and Anesthesiology, Fatebenefratelli Association for Research, Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Isola Tiberina, Rome, Italy.

Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the pattern of labor progression among nulliparous women under neuraxial analgesia to obtain a new, specific reference labor curve and to compare the different effects of epidural and combined spinal epidural (CSE) analgesia on the progression of labor.

Material And Methods: This perspective cohort study was carried out in the Obstetrics and Gynecology tertiary care unit. Six hundred nulliparous parturients were enrolled. A total of 545 nulliparous women were assigned to receive either epidural (272) or CSE (273) analgesia during labor.

Results: The mean duration of the first stage was 4 h and 30 min (SD 1.52 h) and the mean duration of the second stage was 1 h and 10 min (SD 0.43). In the second stage, the CSE analgesia labors showed an overall faster progression compared to the epidural labors but both lasted longer than the duration reported by Zhang (53 min) and Friedman (39 min). Both the first and the second-stage duration were significantly lower if neuraxial analgesia was performed as a CSE procedure with respect to the simple epidural procedure (first stage 4 h and 1 min vs. 4 h and 60 min, P = 0.043; second stage 1 h and 5 min vs 1 h and 15 min, P = 0.0356).

Conclusions: The pattern of labor progression in contemporary obstetrics differs significantly from the Friedman curve. Based on these observations, we can obtain a more comprehensive knowledge of the partogram's modifications due to the analgesia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01568.xDOI Listing
November 2011

Subcutaneous immunotherapy and pharmacotherapy in seasonal allergic rhinitis: a comparison based on meta-analyses.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011 Oct 26;128(4):791-799.e6. Epub 2011 May 26.

Pediatric Pneumology and Immunology Department, Charité Medical University, Berlin, Germany.

Background: Allergen-specific subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) of seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) is usually considered a "second-line," slow-acting, disease-modifying treatment.

Objective: We sought to test whether SCIT is as effective as antisymptomatic treatment in the control of symptoms in patients with SAR in the first year of treatment.

Methods: We reviewed meta-analyses with 5 or more randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of SCIT or antisymptomatic treatment in patients with SAR. We then selected trials measuring the total nasal symptom score (TNSS), the total symptom score (TSS), or both during the first pollen season after treatment initiation. Efficacy was determined as the percentage reduction in TSSs and TNSSs obtained with active treatment compared with placebo (relative clinical impact [RCI]) and the standardized mean difference (SMD) of treatment verses placebo (effect size [ES]).

Results: The weighted mean RCI of SCIT on TNSSs (-34.7% ± 6.8%) was higher than those of mometasone (-31.7% ± 16.7%, P < .00001) and montelukast (-6.3% ± 3.0%, P < .00001). The weighted mean RCI of SCIT on TSSs (-32.9% ± 12.7%) was higher than that of desloratadine (-12.0% ± 5.1%, P < .00001). The overall ES of SCIT in terms of TNSSs (SMD, -0.94; 95% CI, -1.45 to -0.43) was similar to that of mometasone (SMD, -0.47; 95% CI, -0.63 to -0.32; P > .05) and higher than that of montelukast (SMD, -0.24; 95% CI, -0.33 to -0.16; P < .05). The overall ES of SCIT in terms of TSSs (SMD, -0.86; 95% CI, -1.17 to -0.55) was comparable with that of desloratadine (SMD, -1.00; 95% CI, -1.68 to -0.32; P > .05).

Conclusions: Our data provide indirect but consistent evidence that SCIT is at least as potent as pharmacotherapy in controlling the symptoms of SAR as early as the first season of treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2011.03.049DOI Listing
October 2011

Effects of hemochromatosis and transferrin gene mutations on iron dyshomeostasis, liver dysfunction and on the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Neurobiol Aging 2012 Aug 21;33(8):1633-41. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

Department of Neuroscience, University Campus Biomedico, Rome, Italy.

It is now accepted that transition metals, such as iron and copper, are involved in the pathogenesis of the Alzheimer's disease (AD) through their participation in toxic oxidative phenomena. In this context, hemochromatosis (Hfe) and transferrin (Tf) genes are of particular importance, since they play a key role in iron homeostasis. Also, signs of liver distress which accompany metal dysmetabolisms have been shown to be linked to AD. In order to investigate whether and how all these factors are interconnected, in this study we have explored the relationship of the gene variants of Hfe H63D and C282Y and of Tf C2 with serum markers of iron status (iron, ferritin, TF, TF-saturation, ceruloplasmin -CP-, CP and TF serum concentrations (CP/TF) ratio), and of liver function (albumin, transaminases, prothrombin time-prothrombin time (PT)) in a sample of 160 AD patients and 79 healthy elderly controls. Albumin resulted in lower, PT longer and AST/ALT higher ratios in AD patients than in controls, indicating a distress of the liver. Also TF was lower and ferritin higher in AD. Multiple logistic regression backward analyses, performed to evaluate the effects of our biochemical variables upon the probability of developing AD, revealed that a one-unit TF serum-decrease increases the probability of AD by 80%, a one-unit albumin serum-decrease reduces this probability by 20%, and a one-unit increase of AST/ALT ratio generates a 4-fold probability increase. Patients who were carriers of the H63D mutation showed higher levels of iron, lower levels of TF and CP and higher CP/TF ratios, a panel resembling hemochromatosis. This picture was found neither in H63D non-carrier patients, nor in healthy controls. Our results suggest the existence of a link between Hfe mutations and iron abnormalities that increases the probability of developing AD when accompanied by a distress of the liver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.03.005DOI Listing
August 2012

Copper in Alzheimer's disease: a meta-analysis of serum,plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid studies.

J Alzheimers Dis 2011 ;24(1):175-85

Department of Neurology, Campus Biomedico University, Rome, Italy.

There is an ongoing debate on the involvement of systemic copper (Cu) dysfunctions in Alzheimer's disease (AD), and clinical studies comparing Cu levels in serum, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD patients with those of healthy controls have delivered non-univocal and often conflicting results. In an attempt to evaluate whether Cu should be considered a potential marker of AD, we applied meta-analysis to a selection of 26 studies published in the literature. Meta-analysis is a quantitative method that combines the results of independent reports to distinguish between small effects and no effects, random variations, variations in sample used, or in different analytical approaches. The subjects' sample obtained by merging studies was a pooled total of 761 AD subjects and 664 controls for serum Cu studies, 205 AD subjects and 167 controls for plasma Cu, and of 116 AD subjects and 129 controls for CSF Cu. Our meta-analysis of serum data showed that AD patients have higher levels of serum Cu than healthy controls. Plasma data did not allow conclusions, due to their high heterogeneity, but the meta-analysis of the combined serum and plasma studies confirmed higher Cu levels in AD. The analysis of CSF data, instead, revealed no difference between AD patients and controls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-2010-101473DOI Listing
March 2012

Free copper distinguishes mild cognitive impairment subjects from healthy elderly individuals.

J Alzheimers Dis 2011 ;23(2):239-48

Department of Neuroscience, AFaR - Osp. Fatebenefratelli, Isola Tiberina, Rome, Italy.

In patients affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD), serum copper not bound to ceruloplasmin ('free' copper) appears elevated, slightly but significantly enough to distinguish AD patients from healthy elderly subjects. In this paper we tested the hypothesis that this is also the case for individuals affected by mild cognitive impairment (MCI). A sample of 83 MCI subjects were compared with 100 elderly control subjects in terms of levels of serum copper, free copper, ceruloplasmin, apolipoprotein E4 genotype (APOE4), iron, transferrin, and total antioxidant capacity (TRAP). The groups were also compared in terms of demographic and cardiovascular risk factors. The comparison with an additional group of 105 mild to moderate AD patients was also evaluated. The possible effects of copper dysfunction on cognitive decline were evaluated by multinomial logistic regression analysis. A linear regression model was applied to define the role of metals and antioxidant dysfunction in explaining Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) variations. APOE4 and free copper differentiated the MCI group from the healthy control group. The probability of acquiring MCI increased by about 24% for each free copper unit (μmol/L) increment. APOE4 and free copper differentiated the MCI group also from the AD group. APOE4 and free copper appeared associated to MMSE worsening, as did age and gender. These results suggest that free copper can help in discriminating MCI subjects from healthy controls, but not on an individual basis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-2010-101098DOI Listing
May 2011

Retina in rheumatic diseases: standard full field and multifocal electroretinography in hydroxychloroquine retinal dysfunction.

Clin Exp Optom 2011 May;94(3):276-83

Centre of Ocular Electrophysiology, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Rome Sapienza, Italy.

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare full-field electroretinography (ERG) and multifocal electroretinography (mfERG) results in detecting retinal dysfunction in a large number of asymptomatic patients treated with hydroxychloroquine (Hy).

Methods: Fifty eyes in 50 patients with rheumatic diseases who had been using Hy for a period of time ranging from 30 months to 15 years, and 25 eyes in 25 healthy controls, were evaluated. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated to determine the sensitivity and specificity of abnormal values in patients compared to the normal controls.

Results: Signal depression was observed on the mfERG of Hy-treated patients. The most prevalent pattern was pericentral loss (19 eyes, 54.3 per cent), followed by full-field loss (11 eyes, 31.4 per cent), and central loss (five eyes, 14.3 per cent). Conversely, depression of the amplitude responses to the full field ERG was observed in only 16 per cent of the cases. The areas under the ROC curves ranged from 0.4056 to 0.9012, with the mfERG values having the largest areas, whereas the full-field ERG curves had the smallest area. The mfERG responses yielded the greatest sensitivity and specificity. In particular, the P1-N1 wave amplitude (ring 2) and root mean square (RMS) amplitude (ring 1) had specificities of 76 and 88 per cent, respectively, at sensitivities of 90 and 86 per cent.

Conclusion: A statistically significant retinal functional impairment was demonstrated by mfERG in the central two to 10 degrees in Hy-treated patients. Therefore, mfERG may provide an objective measurement of retinal dysfunction in patients receiving Hy therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1444-0938.2010.00476.xDOI Listing
May 2011

Burnout in nonhospital psychiatric residential facilities.

Psychiatr Serv 2009 Nov;60(11):1547-51

Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, San Giovanni di Dio, Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.

Objective: This study evaluated levels and risk factors of burnout in a sample of mental health professionals employed in nonhospital psychiatric residential facilities of northern Italy.

Methods: Nurses, nurse assistants, and educators completed a questionnaire evaluating demographic variables, burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory), job characteristics (Job Diagnostic Survey), workload, relationships with colleagues, and support from supervising coordinators. A total of 202 (83% response rate) questionnaires were analyzed. Logistic linear regressions were used to estimate predictors of burnout dimensions.

Results: Burnout risk was widespread. Low feedback about job performance, poor support from coordinators, and young age predicted emotional exhaustion. Low feedback about job performance predicted feelings of depersonalization. Low task identity and young age predicted reduced feelings of personal accomplishment.

Conclusions: Interventions to prevent burnout among employees should be developed. These include providing feedback about performance, clearly identifying the tasks of the job, and providing support.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/ps.2009.60.11.1547DOI Listing
November 2009

Correlation between skin prick test using commercial extract of cow's milk protein and fresh milk and food challenges.

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2007 Nov;18(7):583-8

Department of Paediatrics, San Camillo de Lellis Hospital, Rome, Italy.

The skin prick test (SPT) is regarded as an important diagnostic measure in the diagnostic work-up of cow's milk protein allergy. It is not known whether commercial extracts have any advantage over fresh milk. The aims of the study were to (i) compare the diagnostic capacity of SPTs for the three main cow's milk proteins (alpha-lactalbumin, casein and beta-lactoglobulin) with fresh milk and (ii) determine a cut-off that discriminates between allergic and tolerant children in a controlled food challenge. A study was carried out on 104 children consecutively attending two paediatric allergy clinics for suspected cow's milk allergy. A clinical history, SPTs with fresh cow's milk and commercial extracts of its three main proteins and a challenge test were performed on all the children. A study of the validity of the prick test was also performed by taking different cut-off points for fresh milk and its proteins. Twenty-eight of 104 challenge tests (26.9%) were positive. At a cut-off point of 3 mm, fresh milk showed the greatest negative predictive value (98%), whereas casein showed the greatest positive predictive value (PPV, 85%). Calculation of 95% predicted probabilities using logistic regression revealed predictive decision points of 12 mm for lactalbumin, 9 mm for casein, 10 mm for beta-lactoglobulin and 15 mm for fresh cow's milk. We found that the greater the number of positive SPTs for milk proteins, the more likely the positive response to challenge. Having a positive SPT for all three milk proteins had PPV of 92.3% and would seem more clinically useful than any cut-off. Both fresh milk and cow's milk extract of the three main proteins could be useful in the diagnostic work-up of cow's milk allergy. Finding positivity to all three cow's milk proteins seems to be a simpler and more useful way of avoiding oral food challenges.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-3038.2007.00564.xDOI Listing
November 2007

Gut microbiota and development of atopic eczema in 3 European birth cohorts.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007 Aug 29;120(2):343-50. Epub 2007 Jun 29.

Department of Clinical Bacteriology, St George's, University of London, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Stimulation of the immune system by gut microbes might prevent allergy development.

Objective: The present study examined the hypothesis that sensitization to food allergens and atopic eczema are influenced by the infantile intestinal colonization pattern.

Methods: Infants were recruited perinatally in Göteborg (n = 116), London (n = 108), and Rome (n = 100). Commensal bacteria were identified to the genus or species level in rectal (3 days) and quantitative stool cultures (7, 14, and 28 days and 2, 6, and 12 months of age). At 18 months of age, atopic eczema and total and food-specific IgE levels were assessed. These outcomes were modeled in relation to time to colonization with 11 bacterial groups and to ratios of strict anaerobic to facultative anaerobic bacteria and gram-positive to gram-negative bacteria at certain time points. Study center, mode of delivery, parity, and infant diet were included as covariates.

Results: Neither atopic eczema nor food-specific IgE by 18 months of age were associated with time of acquisition of any particular bacterial group. Cesarean section delayed colonization by Escherichia coli and Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium species, giving way to, for example, Clostridium species. Lack of older siblings was associated with earlier colonization by Clostridium species and lower strict anaerobic/facultative anaerobic ratio at 12 months.

Conclusions: This study does not support the hypothesis that sensitization to foods or atopic eczema in European infants in early life is associated with lack of any particular culturable intestinal commensal bacteria.

Clinical Implications: The nature of the microbial stimulus required for protection from allergy remains to be identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2007.05.018DOI Listing
August 2007

Consumption of fish, butter and margarine during pregnancy and development of allergic sensitizations in the offspring: role of maternal atopy.

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2006 Mar;17(2):94-102

Department of Pediatrics, San Camillo de Lellis Hospital, Rome, Italy.

It has been suggested that changes in dietary habits, particularly increased consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and decreased consumption of omega-3 PUFAs may explain the increase in atopic disease seen in recent years. Furthermore, it seems possible that it is mainly prenatal or very early life environmental factors that influence the development of allergic diseases. It has also been suggested that intrauterine risk factors may act differently if mother themselves suffer from allergic disease. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the consumption of fish, butter and margarine during pregnancy might influence the development of allergic sensitizations in the offspring. The study population was divided into the offspring of allergic and non-allergic mothers. This was a retrospective cohort study enrolling 295 offspring of allergic mothers and 693 of non-allergic mothers. Information regarding maternal intake of fish, butter and margarine during pregnancy as well as other prenatal and perinatal confounding factors were retrospectively assessed by parental report via a standardized questionnaire. Atopy was determined by skin-prick tests (SPT) to eight prevalent inhalant allergens and two foods. In the allergic mothers' group there is no clear correlation between maternal intakes of fish, butter and margarine and sensitizations to food or inhalants. In the non-allergic mothers' group there was no correlation between butter and margarine intake and food or inhalant sensitizations. On the contrary, a protective effect of fish intake on SPT positivity was observed. In particular, frequent maternal intake ('2-3 times/wk or more') of fish reduced the risk of food sensitizations by over a third (aOR 0.23; 95% CI: 0.08-0.69). A similar trend, even if not significant, was found for inhalants. Finally, even in the whole study population, i.e. allergic group plus non-allergic group, there was a similar trend between increased consumption of fish and decreased prevalence of SPT positivity for foods. This study shows that frequent intake of fish during pregnancy may contrast the development of SPT sensitizations for foods in the offspring of mothers without atopic disease. Therefore, larger prospective studies are needed, enrolling mothers with and without allergic disease, to confirm these results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-3038.2005.00367.xDOI Listing
March 2006

Measurement of body surface area in atopic dermatitis using specific PC software (ScoradCard).

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2004 Feb;15(1):89-92

Pediatric Allergology Unit, Sandro Pertini Hospital, Via Nomentana 352, 00141 Rome, Italy.

In skin diseases, evaluation of involved surface area is a crucial factor in grading the degree of severity. We examined the reliability of body surface area assessment and relative inter-observer and intra-observer variability using new software (ScoraCard), specifically designed to evaluate automatically the extension of the involved area in the SCORAD index. Twenty pediatricians, untrained in the evaluation of skin disease, estimated the percentage of surface area involved in photo-tests of two children with artificial well-delimited lesions, at first by sight and then through software. As "gold standard" the exact amount of pixels was counted for the whole body surface of the children, for the different body zones and for the painted artificial lesions, expressed as percentage of the respective zone. For photo 1, gold standard was 38.06% and median percentage was 43.44% (95% CI 40.7-46.21) by sight (p = 0.002) and 37.99% (95% CI 36.04-39.94) by ScoradCard (p = 0.79). For photo 2, gold standard was 27.84%, median percentage was 30.44% (95% CI 28.25-32.63) by sight (p = 0.047) and 27.8% (95% CI 26.55-29.04) by ScoradCard (p = 0.79). The level of agreement (kappa statistic), cumulative for the two photo tests, was 0.38 (fair agreement) by sight method and 0.67 (good agreement) by ScoradCard. Among the 10 pediatricians who repeated the computer aided evaluation 3 months apart, the intra-observer variability was not significantly different: the median percentage was 31.5% (95% CI 27.0-49.4) at time 0 and 29.0% (95% CI 26.7-47.2) 3 months later (p = 0.76). This new software could be a useful tool in evaluating skin lesions extension, minimizing inter- and intra-observer variability, which is an important goal in multi-centre studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.0905-6157.2003.00088.xDOI Listing
February 2004

Hay fever and asthma in relation to markers of infection in the United States.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002 Sep;110(3):381-7

Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome.

Background: The hygiene hypothesis proposes that declining exposure to infections is implicated in the rising trend of allergy and asthma.

Objective: We sought to test this hypothesis by examining the relationship of hay fever, asthma, and atopic sensitization with markers of infection in a large general population sample of the United States.

Methods: We analyzed the data of 33,994 US residents recorded in a public database of a nationally representative cross-sectional survey (Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994). The variables examined were sociodemographic information, lifetime diagnosis and age at first diagnosis of hay fever or asthma, current skin sensitization to 9 airborne allergens and peanut, and current serology for Toxoplasma gondii, herpes simplex viruses type 1 and 2, and hepatitis A, B, and C viruses.

Results: Hay fever (adjusted odds ratio, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.18-0.41; P <.001) and asthma (adjusted odds ratio, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.31-0.66; P <.001) were less frequent in subjects seropositive for hepatitis A virus (HAV), T gondii, and herpes simplex virus 1 versus seronegative subjects after adjusting for age, sex, race, urban residence, census region, family size, income, and education. Skin sensitization to peanut and to all the airborne allergens examined, except for cockroach, was less frequent among HAV-seropositive versus HAV-seronegative subjects younger than 40 years of age. The prevalence of hay fever and asthma diagnosed at or before 18 years of age in HAV-seronegative subjects increased progressively from 2.7% (95% CI, 0.7%-4.7%) and 0.4% (95% CI, 0.1%-1.6%), respectively, in cohorts born before 1920 to 8.5% (95% CI, 7.3%-9.7%) and 5.8% (95% CI, 4.8%-6.8%), respectively, in cohorts born in the 1960s, whereas they remained constant at around 2% in all cohorts of HAV-seropositive subjects.

Conclusion: In the United States serologic evidence of acquisition of certain infections, mainly food-borne and orofecal infection, is associated with a lower probability of having hay fever and asthma. Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data support the hypothesis that hygiene is a major factor contributing to the increase in hay fever, asthma, and atopic sensitization in westernized countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1067/mai.2002.126658DOI Listing
September 2002