University of Innsbruck
  • Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria
Recent publications
This work is the first to describe the application of Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry for rapid and simple quality control of black truffles. Multivariate analyses (PCA and LDA) of mass spectra provided highly efficient models for the discrimination of four truffle species, namely Tuber melanosporum Vittad., Tuber aestivum Vittad., Tuber uncinatum Chatin and Tuber indicum Cooke et Massee. Full-cross validations showed prediction accuracies up to 99%. Hydrophilic Interaction Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry was used as a reference method and the results of both methods were compared to each other. Multivariate models of the chromatograms also showed excellent results with prediction accuracies of 100%. In a direct comparison of methods, Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry showed minimally lower prediction accuracies, but was significantly faster, more robust and easier to use, making it an excellent choice for rapid quality control of black truffles.
Understanding the developments of energy efficiency in the context of the global energy network is key to advance energy regulation and fight climate change. We develop a global panel dataset on energy usage accounts based on territorial production, final production and consumption over 1997–2014. We apply structural decomposition analysis to isolate energy efficiency changes and study the effectiveness of the European Union Energy Services Directive [2006/32/EC] on energy efficiency. The effectiveness of the Directive is mixed. The different dynamics found among the European Union members result from differences in the ambition of national energy policies and from the structure of their supply chains. The observed trends towards energy efficiency gains and increases in renewable energy shares are not specific to the European Union, but are common among highincome countries. Energy policies in high-income countries are less effective for energy footprints. Our findings are indicative of energy leakage. Energy regulation should account for global supply chains.
Compositional analysis of glass from the medieval castle of San Giuliano (Lazio, Italy), occupied from approximately CE 1050–1250, sheds light on the financial wherewithal and integration of the castle’s elite inhabitants into wider economic networks. Portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) of 261 shards was used to select 32 for further analysis using wavelength dispersive electron microprobe analysis (EMPA-WDS). This compositional analysis documents the pervasive recycling of earlier glass cullet, some of which pre-dates the 4th century CE. Around 20% of the sample comprised primarily plant ash glass, evidencing the penetration of plant-ash glasses into inland sites on the western central Italian peninsula. Almost 60% of the shards were an intermediate glass combining more recent plant ash glasses with recycled natron-based glass cullet derived from the Roman and Early Medieval periods. Compared to glass assemblages from contemporaneous sites, the levels of both recycled and intermediate glasses are quite high, with a concurrent incidence of trace elements that further precluded the manufacture of perfectly translucent glass vessels. This suggests that while the residents of the castle desired glass as a symbol of prestige, they may not have had the economic resources to obtain glass of the highest quality.
Introduction. Pteridines, such as neopterin, biopterin, and tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), may be involved in depression pathophysiology owing to their links to immune-inflammatory response, oxidative and nitrosative stress, and monoaminergic transmission. Nonetheless, studies assessing pteridines in depression are inconsistent. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies comparing blood pteridine concentrations between subjects with depression and healthy controls (HCs). Methods. We searched Embase, MEDLINE, and PsycInfo for articles indexed through November 2021. Study quality was appraised, evaluating age and gender comparability between groups, sample representativeness, and methods to assess depression. Random-effects meta-analyses were carried out, generating pooled standardized mean differences (SMDs). Heterogeneity across studies was estimated using the I2 statistic. Results. Twenty-four studies, involving 3075 subjects, were included. Individuals with depression showed blood neopterin concentrations higher than HCs (k = 19; SMD = 0.36; p < 0.001) with moderate heterogeneity across studies (I2 = 58.2%). No moderating role of age, gender, or type of blood sample was found. Sensitivity analyses showed no impact of inconsistency and quality of studies on findings. Neopterin concentrations were higher among individuals with major depressive disorder compared to HCs (SMD = 0.44; p < 0.001). This held true also when considering only drug-free subjects (SMD = 0.68; p = 0.003). No differences in biopterin concentrations were found between subjects with depression and HCs (k = 5; SMD = –0.35; p = 0.086), though this result was limited by inconsistency of findings (I2 = 77.9%) and quality of studies. Finally, no sufficient data were available for a meta-analysis on BH4. Conclusions. As a whole, our work partly supports the hypothesis of an imbalance of pteridine metabolism in depression.
The application process, which gives shotcrete its name is a robust and established method, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, the spraying process has been significantly enhanced. However, during the last decades no major technical changes have been made. In this study the wet - mix shotcrete process including the dosing of accelerator was investigated. For this, we monitored the concrete and accelerator pressure with 5 sensors in the pumps and pipes, and analysed the accelerator distribution in the hardened shotcrete matrix. The recorded pressure fluctuations clearly indicated that the pumping of the concrete with a double-piston pump led to flow pulsations. The pressure along the accelerator pipes, controlled by a peristaltic pump, was not steady either. However, the accelerator flow pulsation had a higher frequency than that of the concrete flow. This misalignment led to changes in the accelerator to concrete ratio during the spraying process. The impact of these incongruent concrete and accelerator flows on the resulting hardened shotcrete was visually analysed with the use of 0.02 % uranin as fluorescent tracer added to the accelerator. The tracer distribution showed that changes in the accelerator/concrete ratio led to the formation of ‘accelerator layers’, layers with higher accelerator concentrations in the hardened shotcrete. These layers show differences in chemistry, mineralogy and open porosity compared to the rest of the shotcrete matrix. The presence of accelerator enriched layers can have detrimental effects on the shotcrete properties, especially affecting the durability and mechanical performance. In consequence, we recommend a revision of the shotcrete process to eliminate these inhomogeneities.
Pregnancy entails substantial changes in brain structure, primarily reduction in gray matter volume in regions subserving social cognition. Maternal brain size begins to decrease after placental implantation and reaches its minimum at term. Subsequent hypoperfusion of placental tissue and placental dysfunction affect neural remodeling in the maternal brain. In preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome there is evidence that altered neuronal function precedes impaired development of the placenta during the second trimester of pregnancy. Differentiation of these pregnancy-related disorders requires adequate diagnostic and therapeutic measures. Identification of biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid is clinically well established in different neurodegenerative diseases and could contribute to improving diagnostic criteria during pregnancy. In this book chapter we report the detection of beta-amyloid peptides and tau proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid of women with preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome and discuss how structural alterations in the maternal brain could create the basis for placental dysfunction.
Objective Mucinous ovarian carcinoma (MOC) is a rare histotype of ovarian cancer, with low response rates to standard chemotherapy, and very poor survival for patients diagnosed at advanced stage. There is a limited understanding of the MOC immune landscape, and consequently whether immune checkpoint inhibitors could be considered for a subset of patients. Methods We performed multicolor immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence (IF) on tissue microarrays in a cohort of 126 MOC patients. Cell densities were calculated in the epithelial and stromal components for tumor-associated macrophages (CD68+/PD-L1+, CD68+/PD-L1-), T cells (CD3+/CD8-, CD3+/CD8+), putative T-regulatory cells (Tregs, FOXP3+), B cells (CD20+/CD79A+), plasma cells (CD20-/CD79a+), and PD-L1+ and PD-1+ cells, and compared these values with clinical factors. Univariate and multivariable Cox Proportional Hazards assessed overall survival. Unsupervised k-means clustering identified patient subsets with common patterns of immune cell infiltration. Results Mean densities of PD1+ cells, PD-L1- macrophages, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and FOXP3+ Tregs were higher in the stroma compared to the epithelium. Tumors from advanced (Stage III/IV) MOC had greater epithelial infiltration of PD-L1- macrophages, and fewer PD-L1+ macrophages compared with Stage I/II cancers (p = 0.004 and p = 0.014 respectively). Patients with high epithelial density of FOXP3+ cells, CD8+/FOXP3+ cells, or PD-L1- macrophages, had poorer survival, and high epithelial CD79a + plasma cells conferred better survival, all upon univariate analysis only. Clustering showed that most MOC (86%) had an immune depleted (cold) phenotype, with only a small proportion (11/76,14%) considered immune inflamed (hot) based on T cell and PD-L1 infiltrates. Conclusion In summary, MOCs are mostly immunogenically ‘cold’, suggesting they may have limited response to current immunotherapies.
As the current biotherapeutic market is dominated by antibodies, the design of different antibody formats, like bispecific antibodies, is critical to the advancement of the field. In contrast to monovalent antibodies, which consist of two identical antigen-binding sites, bispecific antibodies can target two different epitopes by containing two different antigen-binding sites. Thus, the rise of new formats as successful therapeutics has reignited the interest in advancing and facilitating the efficient production of bispecific antibodies. Here, we investigate the influence of point mutations in the antigen-binding site, the paratope, on heavy and light chain pairing preferences by using molecular dynamics simulations. In agreement with experiments, we find that specific residues in the antibody variable domain (Fv), i.e., the complementarity-determining region (CDR) L3 and H3 loops, determine heavy and light chain pairing preferences. Excitingly, we observe substantial population shifts in CDR-H3 and CDR-L3 loop conformations in solution accompanied by a decrease in bispecific IgG yield. These conformational changes in the CDR3 loops induced by point mutations also influence all other CDR loop conformations and consequentially result in different CDR loop states in solution. However, besides their effect on the obtained CDR loop ensembles, point mutations also lead to distinct interaction patterns in the VH-VL interface. By comparing the interaction patterns among all investigated variants, we observe specific contacts in the interface that drive heavy and light chain pairing. Thus, these findings have broad implications in the field of antibody engineering and design because they provide a mechanistic understanding of antibody interfaces, by identifying critical factors driving the pairing preferences, and thus can help to advance the design of bispecific antibodies.
The spatiotemporal inhomogeneity of the total column NO2 amounts (TCN) in the Seoul Metropolitan Area (SMA), Korea, was quantitatively assessed through year-round (October 2019–May 2021) TROPOMI and ground-based Pandora measurements. The average TCN over the SMA was comparable to that of major Chinese megacities, being consistently high (> 0.8 DU; Dobson Unit) during the daytime (10–17 local standard time). The autocorrelation scores of the Pandora-measured TCNs demonstrated high temporal variability attributed to the spatial inhomogeneity of NO2 emissions within the SMA and near-surface advection. Accordingly, the adequate temporal collocation range for Pandora measurements for the intercomparison with the satellite sensors was considered to be ± 5 min to avoid significant uncertainty from the temporal variability (RMSE < 0.1 DU, R² > 0.96). TROPOMI showed better agreement with conventionally collocated Pandora measurements (0.73 < R² < 0.76, 26–29% negative bias) than the other two satellite sensors (OMI and OMPS) attributed to its highest spatial resolution. The application of the wind-based collocation revealed that the TROPOMI showed a greater negative bias on the upwind side, which was less affected by anthropogenic emissions from the urban area, than the downwind side, and the increasing distance of the TROPOMI pixel from Pandora was the most critical factor deteriorating the intercomparison scores. The FRESCO-S TROPOMI cloud algorithm update to FRESCO-wide yielded a general increase in TROPOMI TCN, especially in the partially cloudy pixels, leaving only 11% (downwind) and 29% (upwind) negative bias from coincident Pandora measurements. Furthermore, the wind-based collocation method revealed the spatial distribution pattern of NOX (NO + NO2) emissions in the SMA, with significant emission sources in the northeastern and southeastern sides of the ground-based Pandora site in Seoul.
Purpose: To assess the technical outcome and local tumor control of multi-probe stereotactic radiofrequency ablation (SRFA) in a large series of patients. Furthermore, to determine factors accounting for adverse outcomes. Material and methods: Between 2003 and 2018, 865 patients were treated by SRFA for 2653 primary and metastatic liver tumors with a median tumor size of 2.0 cm (0.5 - 19 cm). Primary technical efficacy (PTE) and local recurrence (LR) were evaluated, and possible predictors for adverse events analyzed using uni- and multi-variable binary logistic regression. Results: Overall, 2553 of 2653 tumors were successfully ablated at initial SRFA resulting in a PTE rate of 96.2%. Predictors of lower PTE rates were age > 70 years, tumor size > 5 cm, number of probes, location close to liver capsule/organs and segment II. LR occurred in 220 of 2653 tumors (8.3%) with the following predictors: age, tumor type/size, conglomerates, segments I/IVa/IVb, number of probes and location close to major vessels/bile duct. Multivariable analysis revealed tumor size > 5 cm (odds ratio [OR] 3.153), age > 70 years (OR 1.559), and location in segment II (OR 1.772) as independent prognostic factors for PTE, whereas tumor location close to major vessels (OR 1.653) and in segment IVb (OR 2.656) were identified as independent prognostic factors of LR. Conclusions: Stereotactic RFA is an attractive option in the management of primary or metastatic liver tumors with good local tumor control, even in large tumors. The presented prognostic factors for adverse local oncological outcome might help to stratify unfavorable tumors for ablation.
Image-guided percutaneous ablation techniques represent an attractive local therapy for the treatment of colorectal liver metastases (CLM) given its low risk of severe complications, which allows for early initiation of adjuvant therapies and spare functional liver parenchyma, allowing repeated treatments at the time of recurrence. However, ablation does not consistently achieve similar oncological outcomes to surgery, with the latter being currently considered the first-line local treatment modality in international guidelines. Recent application of computer-assisted ablation planning, guidance, and intra-procedural response assessment has improved percutaneous ablation outcomes. In addition, the evolving understanding of tumor molecular profiling has brought to light several biological factors associated with oncological outcomes following local therapies. The standardization of ablation procedures, the understanding of previously unknown biological factors affecting ablation outcomes, and the evidence by ongoing prospective clinical trials are poised to change the current perspective and indications on the use of ablation for CLM.
Objectives: This study aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of stereotactic radiofrequency ablation (SRFA) in patients with hepatocellular adenomas (HCA). Methods: Retrospective analyses of all patients referred for SRFA treatment at our institution between January 2010 and October 2020 revealed 14 patients (10 women; mean age 34.4 [range, 17-73 years]) with 38 HCAs treated through 18 ablation sessions. Ablations were considered successful if a safety margin >5 mm was achieved. Demographic, interventional, and outcome data were collected and analyzed. Primary and secondary technical efficacy rates were assessed based on follow-up images consisting of contrast-enhanced CT or MR scans. Results: The mean tumor size was 22 mm (range, 7-75 mm). Overall, 37/38 (97.4%) tumors were successfully ablated at the initial SRFA (primary efficacy rate of 97.4%). The median follow-up duration was 49.6 months. No deaths or adenoma-related complications (hemorrhage or malignant transformation) were observed. Disease-free survival rates at 1, 3, and 5 years from the date of the first SRFA were 100%, 85.8%, and 85.8%, respectively. Two patients developed new distant tumors retreated with consecutive re-ablation. No major complications occurred during any of the 18 ablation sessions. Conclusions: Percutaneous thermal ablation is efficient in the treatment of HCAs and may thus be considered a valid first-line treatment option. In addition, SRFA allows for an effective, minimally invasive treatment of large and multiple hepatic tumors within one session.
Alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) is a major cause of liver disease and represents a global burden, as treatment options are scarce. Whereas 90% of ethanol abusers develop alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD), only a minority evolves to steatohepatitis and cirrhosis. Alcohol increases lipogenesis and suppresses lipid-oxidation implying steatosis, although the key role of intestinal barrier integrity and microbiota in ALD has recently emerged. Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (Bt) is a prominent member of human and murine intestinal microbiota, and plays important functions in metabolism, gut immunity, and mucosal barrier. We aimed to investigate the role of Bt in the genesis of ethanol-induced liver steatosis. Bt DNA was measured in feces of wild-type mice receiving a Lieber-DeCarli diet supplemented with an increase in alcohol concentration. In a second step, ethanol-fed mice were orally treated with living Bt, followed by analysis of intestinal homeostasis and histological and biochemical alterations in the liver. Alcohol feeding reduced Bt abundance, which was preserved by Bt oral supplementation. Bt-treated mice displayed lower hepatic steatosis and triglyceride content. Bt restored mucosal barrier and reduced LPS translocation by enhancing mucus thickness and production of Mucin2. Furthermore, Bt up-regulated Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) expression and restored ethanol-induced Fibroblast growth factor 15 (FGF15) down-regulation. Lipid metabolism was consequently affected as Bt administration reduced fatty acid synthesis (FA) and improved FA oxidation and lipid exportation. Moreover, treatment with Bt preserved the mitochondrial fitness and redox state in alcohol-fed mice. In conclusion, recovery of ethanol-induced Bt depletion by oral supplementation was associated with restored intestinal homeostasis and ameliorated experimental ALD. Bt could serve as a novel probiotic to treat ALD in the future.
Introduction: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical and radiological outcomes of patients treated with the TFN-Advanced™ Proximal Femoral Nailing system (TFNA¸ DePuy Synthes, West Chester, PA) including intra- and postoperative complications. Materials and methods: All patients with an acute proximal femur fracture consequently treated with a TFNA between September 2014 and December 2018 were evaluated. Clinical and radiological data were assessed for intra- and postoperative complications, including treatment failure. In addition, intra- and postoperative X-rays were used to determine the position of the implant, and any migration, via tip-apex-distance (TAD) and the caput-collum-diaphyseal angle (CCD). The accuracy of the fracture reduction was rated by both observers according to Baumgartners criteria. Results: 275 consecutive patients (mean age 77.5 ± 14.1; 70.2% female) were included. The predominant OTA/AO fracture classification was 31A2 (140 cases, 50.7%). The average surgical time was 69 min (± 39.8). The reduction quality was good in 253 cases (92.0%) and acceptable in 22 cases (8.0%). In 18 cases, a pre-defined primary outcome parameter (6.5%) was recorded after a mean of 8.2 ± 8.0 months. During the observational period, 19 patients (6.9%) required a total of 23 additional surgeries. Implant removal was not considered a failure in the absence of pain. Significant group differences were observed with younger age (p = 0.001), lower Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI)-score (p = 0.041) and lower rate of osteoporosis (p = 0.015) in the failure group. There were no cases of cut-out or cut-through among the patients who underwent augmentation as part of osteosynthesis. Conclusions: Proximal femur fractures treated with the TFNA show low complication rates and high levels of radiological healing. Implant-related complications might be more common in patients with younger age, a lower CCI-score and lower frequency of osteoporosis. Usage of cement augmentation could potentially be beneficial to reduce postoperative cut-through and cut-out.
Differentiation of central disorders of hypersomnolence (DOH) is challenging but important for patient care. This study aimed to investigate whether biomarkers derived from sleep structure evaluated both by manual scoring as well as with artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms allow distinction of patients with different DOH. We included video-polysomnography data of 40 narcolepsy type 1 (NT1), 26 narcolepsy type 2 (NT2), 23 idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) patients and 54 subjects with subjective excessive daytime sleepiness (sEDS). Sleep experts manually scored sleep stages. A previously validated AI algorithm was employed to obtain automatic hypnograms and hypnodensity graphs (where each epoch is represented as a mixture of sleep stage probabilities). One-thousand-three features describing sleep architecture and instability were extracted from manual/automatic hypnogram and hypnodensity graphs. After feature selection, random forest classifiers were trained and tested in a 5-fold-cross-validation scheme to distinguish groups pairwise (NT1-vs-NT2, NT1-vs-IH, …) and single groups from the pooled remaining ones (NT1-vs-rest, NT2-vs-rest,…). The accuracy/F1-score values obtained in the test sets were: 0.74±0.04/0.79±0.05 (NT1-vs-NT2), 0.89±0.09/0.91±0.08 (NT1-vs-IH), 0.93±0.06/0.91±0.07 (NT1-vs-sEDS), 0.88±0.04/0.80±0.07 (NT1-vs-rest), 0.65±0.10/0.70±0.09 (NT2-vs-IH), 0.72±0.12/0.60±0.10 (NT2-vs-sEDS), 0.54±0.19/0.38±0.13 (NT2-vs-rest), 0.57±0.11/0.35±0.18 (IH-vs-sEDS), 0.71±0.08/0.35±0.10 (IH-vs-rest) and 0.76±0.08/0.71±0.13 (sEDS-vs-rest). The results confirm previous findings on sleep instability in NT1 patients and show that combining manual and automatic AI-based sleep analysis could be useful for better distinction of NT2 from IH, but no precise sleep biomarker of NT2 or IH could be identified. Validation in a larger and multi-centric cohort is needed to confirm these findings.
Background To increase safety in elite alpine ski racing Injury Surveillance Systems were implemented and preventive measures introduced. However, studies analysing the change in athletes’ injury risk by controlling for their exposure are still scarce. Objectives This study aimed to describe and analyse the risk of in-competition severe injury events (SIE comp ) in elite alpine ski racing. Methods Data recorded in the Austrian Ski Federation’s Injury Surveillance System were used to analyse the SIE comp incidence. Information on athletes’ competition exposure was obtained from the official website of the International Ski Federation. In 23 seasons, 2333 skier seasons were recorded for the Austrian Ski Team. Within a total of 114,531 runs 169 SIE comp occurred. Generalised Estimating Equation for Poisson Regressions were applied. Results The SIE comp incidence per 1000 runs was 1.48 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.26–1.73] for elite alpine ski racers and 2.21 (95% CI 1.79–2.75) for the subgroup of World Cup racers. A significant sex difference was detected for the subgroup of junior racers with a higher risk for female athletes [risk ratio (RR): 2.97, 95% CI 1.46–6.05]. Between the seasons of 1997 and 2020, the seasonal SIE comp incidence increased by a factor of 2.67 for elite alpine ski racers and 3.53 for World Cup racers. Downhill (2.75, 95% CI 2.18–3.47) had the highest SIE comp incidence, followed by super-G (1.94, 95% CI 1.30–2.88), giant slalom (1.40, 95% CI 1.06–1.85), and slalom (0.64, 95% CI 0.43–0.96). Conclusion Although many preventive measures have been implemented in elite alpine ski racing, the risk of SIE comp has increased over the last two decades.
Background The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in pediatric patients with underlying malignancies remains controversial. However, in an era in which the survival rates for children with malignancies have increased significantly and several recent reports have demonstrated effective ECMO use in children with cancer, we aimed to estimate the outcome and complications of ECMO treatment in these children. Methods We searched MEDLINE, Embase and CINAHL databases for studies on the use ECMO in pediatric patients with an underlying malignancy from inception to September 2020. This review was conducted in adherence to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis statement. Study eligibility was independently assessed by two authors and disagreements resolved by a third author. Included studies were evaluated for quality using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale (NOS). Random effects meta-analyses (DerSimonian and Laird) were performed. The primary outcomes were mortality during ECMO or hospital mortality. Results Thirteen retrospective, observational cohort studies were included, most of moderate quality (625 patients). The commonest indication for ECMO was severe respiratory failure (92%). Pooled mortality during ECMO was 55% (95% confidence interval [CI], 47–63%) and pooled hospital mortality was 60% (95% CI 54–67%). Although heterogeneity among the included studies was low, confidence intervals were large. In addition, the majority of the data were derived from registries with overlapping patients which were excluded for the meta-analyses to prevent resampling of the same participants across the included studies. Finally, there was a lack of consistent complications reporting among the studies. Conclusion Significantly higher mortalities than in general PICU patients was reported with the use of ECMO in children with malignancies. Although these results need to be interpreted with caution due to the lack of granular data, they suggest that ECMO appears to represents a viable rescue option for selected patients with underlying malignancies. There is an urgent need for additional data to define patients for whom ECMO may provide benefit or harm.
Emergency applications of rescue blankets go far beyond protection from hypothermia. In this review alternative applicabilities of these remarkable multifunctional tools were highlighted. Newly fabricated rescue blankets prove impressive robustness. The high tensile strength along with its low weight enable further applications, e.g. immobilization of injured extremities, splinting, wound dressing, a makeshift chest seal in sucking chest wounds, amongst others. Furthermore, the foil can be used as a vapour barrier, as eye protection and it can even be used to construct a stopgap bivouac sack, as alternative tool for transportation in the remote area and a wind shield or a water reservoir in the wilderness. During search-and-rescue missions the light reflection from the gold surface enhances visibility and increases the chance to be found. Rescue blankets are essential parts of first aid kits and backpacks in alpine and wilderness environment with multifunctional applicabilities. In this commentary to a review we want to evaluate the numerous applicabilities of rescue blankets in the treatment of emergencies by wilderness medicine and pre-hospital EMS.
Background We aimed to create a questionnaire to assess the health-related quality of life including functioning, symptoms, and general health status of adult patients with current or previous COVID-19. Here, we report on Phase I and II of the development. Methods Internationally recognized methodology for questionnaire development was followed. In Phase I, a comprehensive literature review was performed to identify relevant COVID-19 issues. Decisions for inclusion, exclusion, and data extraction were completed independently in teams of two and then compared. The resulting issues were discussed with health care professionals (HCPs) and current and former COVID-19 patients. The input of HCPs and patients was carefully considered, and the list of issues updated. In Phase II, this updated list was operationalized into items/questions. Results The literature review yielded 3342 publications, 339 of which were selected for full-text review, and 75 issues were identified. Discussions with 44 HCPs from seven countries and 52 patients from six countries showed that psychological symptoms, worries, and reduced functioning lasted the longest for patients, and there were considerable discrepancies between HCPs and patients concerning the importance of some of the symptoms. The final list included 73 issues, which were operationalized into an 80-item questionnaire. Conclusion The resulting COVID-19 questionnaire covers health–related quality of life issues relevant to COVID-19 patients and is available in several languages. The next steps include testing of the applicability and patients’ acceptability of the questionnaire (Phase IIIA) and preliminary psychometric testing (Phase IIIB).
Background Pain occurs in the majority of patients with late onset Pompe disease (LOPD) and is associated with a reduced quality of life. The aim of this study was to analyse the pain characteristics and its relation to a small nerve fiber involvement in LOPD patients. Methods In 35 patients with LOPD under enzyme replacement therapy without clinical signs of polyneuropathy (19 females; 51 ± 15 years), pain characteristics as well as depressive and anxiety symptoms were assessed using the PainDetect questionnaire (PDQ) and the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS), respectively. Distal skin biopsies were analysed for intraepidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD) and compared to age- and gender-matched reference data. Skin biopsies from 20 healthy subjects served as controls to assure validity of the morphometric analysis. Results Pain was reported in 69% of the patients with an average intensity of 4.1 ± 1.1 on the numeric rating scale (NRS; anchors: 0–10). According to PDQ, neuropathic pain was likely in one patient, possible in 29%, and unlikely in 67%. Relevant depression and anxiety symptoms occurred in 31% and 23%, respectively, and correlated with pain intensity. Distal IENFD (3.98 ± 1.95 fibers/mm) was reduced in 57% of the patients. The degree of IENFD reduction did not correlate with the durations of symptoms to ERT or duration of ERT to biopsy. Conclusions Pain is a frequent symptom in treated LOPD on ERT, though a screening questionnaire seldom indicated neuropathic pain. The high frequency of small nerve fiber pathology in a treated LOPD cohort was found regardless of the presence of pain or comorbid risk factors for SFN and needs further exploration in terms of clinical context, exact mechanisms and when developing novel therapeutic options for LOPD.
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Robert Hafner
  • Institute of Geography
Martin Senn
  • Department of Political Sciences
Markus Canazei
  • Institute of Psychology
Frank Welz
  • Department of Sociology
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Address
Innrain 52, 6020, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria
Head of institution
Tilmann Märk
Website
http://www.uibk.ac.at
Phone
+43 512 507-0