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Volume 8, June

Diseases, Volume 8, Issue 3 (September 2020) – 11 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The attack of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) severely affected global public health resulting in the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite an enormous amount of scientific research, administrative strategies, and economic measurements, differences still exist in facts, opinions, and implementation methods creating additional layers of complexities and conflicts. In this timely review, we have systematically summarized recent, important, and overall inclusive progress amid controversies about epidemiological studies, biological properties, clinical features, diagnostic methods, treatment modalities, and preventive measurements of COVID-19. This review would illuminate the grey areas for further improvement in the battle for survival. View this paper.
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Review
Glycoprotein G-protein Coupled Receptors in Disease: Luteinizing Hormone Receptors and Follicle Stimulating Hormone Receptors
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 35; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030035 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1269
Abstract
Signal transduction by luteinizing hormone receptors (LHRs) and follicle-stimulating hormone receptors (FSHRs) is essential for the successful reproduction of human beings. Both receptors and the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor are members of a subset of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) described as the glycoprotein hormone [...] Read more.
Signal transduction by luteinizing hormone receptors (LHRs) and follicle-stimulating hormone receptors (FSHRs) is essential for the successful reproduction of human beings. Both receptors and the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor are members of a subset of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) described as the glycoprotein hormone receptors. Their ligands, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) and a structurally related hormone produced in pregnancy, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), are large protein hormones that are extensively glycosylated. Although the primary physiologic functions of these receptors are in ovarian function and maintenance of pregnancy in human females and spermatogenesis in males, there are reports of LHRs or FSHRs involvement in disease processes both in the reproductive system and elsewhere. In this review, we evaluate the aggregation state of the structure of actively signaling LHRs or FSHRs, their functions in reproduction as well as summarizing disease processes related to receptor mutations affecting receptor function or expression in reproductive and non-reproductive tissues. We will also present novel strategies for either increasing or reducing the activity of LHRs signaling. Such approaches to modify signaling by glycoprotein receptors may prove advantageous in treating diseases relating to LHRs or FSHRs function in addition to furthering the identification of new strategies for modulating GPCR signaling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics and Disease)
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Brief Report
Evaluation of Plasma Circulating Cell Free DNA Concentration and Integrity in Patients with Prostate Cancer in Jamaica: A Preliminary Study
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 34; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030034 - 07 Sep 2020
Viewed by 865
Abstract
Background: Cell free circulating DNA (cfcDNA) is a promising diagnostic tool for prostate cancer (PCa). This study aimed to measure the cfcDNA concentration and integrity in PCa patients using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis. This study also assessed the correlation between these [...] Read more.
Background: Cell free circulating DNA (cfcDNA) is a promising diagnostic tool for prostate cancer (PCa). This study aimed to measure the cfcDNA concentration and integrity in PCa patients using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis. This study also assessed the correlation between these molecular biomarkers with total prostate-specific antigen (PSA), Gleason score, prostate volume, and age. Methods: Eleven PCa patients and 9 persons with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) were recruited. Blood samples were collected before prostate biopsy and plasma quantified by qPCR amplification of the ALU 115 DNA sequence, with the ratio of ALU 247 to ALU 115 reflecting cfcDNA integrity. Results: There were no significant differences in median, interquartile range (IQR) cfcDNA concentration or cfcDNA integrity between the patients with PCa (47.9 (214.93) ng/mL; 0.61 (0.49)) and persons with BPH (41.5 (55.13) ng/mL, p = 0.382; 0.67 (0.45), p = 0.342). A weakly positive correlation exists between cfcDNA concentration and total PSA (r = 0.200, p = 0.555) but not with age or Gleason score in PCa patients. Conclusion: cfcDNA concentration was relatively nonsignificantly higher in PCa patients in comparison to persons with BPH, whereas cfcDNA integrity was similar in both groups. Though limited in sample size, this study shows that cfcDNA concentration may be a potentially valuable noninvasive biomarker for the diagnosis of PCa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic and Infectious Diseases)
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Review
The Microbiome as a Therapeutic Target for Multiple Sclerosis: Can Genetically Engineered Probiotics Treat the Disease?
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030033 - 30 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2034
Abstract
There is an increasing interest in the intestinal microbiota as a critical regulator of the development and function of the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems. Experimental work in animal models has provided the foundation for clinical studies to investigate associations between microbiota composition [...] Read more.
There is an increasing interest in the intestinal microbiota as a critical regulator of the development and function of the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems. Experimental work in animal models has provided the foundation for clinical studies to investigate associations between microbiota composition and function and human disease, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Initial work done using an animal model of brain inflammation, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), suggests the existence of a microbiota–gut–brain axis connection in the context of MS, and microbiome sequence analyses reveal increases and decreases of microbial taxa in MS intestines. In this review, we discuss the impact of the intestinal microbiota on the immune system and the role of the microbiome–gut–brain axis in the neuroinflammatory disease MS. We also discuss experimental evidence supporting the hypothesis that modulating the intestinal microbiota through genetically modified probiotics may provide immunomodulatory and protective effects as a novel therapeutic approach to treat this devastating disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gut Microbiome and Human Diseases II)
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Review
Pulmonary Infectious Complications in Children with Hematologic Malignancies and Chemotherapy-Induced Neutropenia
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030032 - 19 Aug 2020
Viewed by 970
Abstract
Infections frequently complicate the treatment course in children with hematologic malignancies undergoing chemotherapy. Febrile neutropenia (FN) remains a major cause of hospital admissions in this population, and respiratory tract is often proven to be the site of infection even without respiratory signs and [...] Read more.
Infections frequently complicate the treatment course in children with hematologic malignancies undergoing chemotherapy. Febrile neutropenia (FN) remains a major cause of hospital admissions in this population, and respiratory tract is often proven to be the site of infection even without respiratory signs and symptoms. Clinical presentation may be subtle due to impaired inflammatory response. Common respiratory viruses and bacteria are widely identified in these patients, while fungi and, less commonly, bacteria are the causative agents in more severe cases. A detailed history, thorough clinical and basic laboratory examination along with a chest radiograph are the first steps in the evaluation of a child presenting signs of a pulmonary infection. After stratifying patient’s risk, prompt initiation of the appropriate empirical antimicrobial treatment is crucial and efficient for the majority of the patients. High-risk children should be treated with an intravenous antipseudomonal beta lactam agent, unless there is suspicion of multi-drug resistance when an antibiotic combination should be used. In unresponsive cases, more invasive procedures, including bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), computed tomography (CT)-guided fine-needle aspiration or open lung biopsy (OLB), are recommended. Overall mortality rate can reach 20% with higher rates seen in cases unresponsive to initial therapy and those under mechanical ventilation. Full article
Article
Fosfomycin, Applying Known Methods and Remedies to A New Era
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030031 - 07 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
The exponential increase in the numbers of isolates of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) creates the need for using novel therapeutic approaches to save the lives of patients. Fosfomycin has long been considered a rational option for the treatment of CRE to be used as [...] Read more.
The exponential increase in the numbers of isolates of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) creates the need for using novel therapeutic approaches to save the lives of patients. Fosfomycin has long been considered a rational option for the treatment of CRE to be used as part of a combined therapy scheme. However, the assessment of fosfomycin susceptibility in the laboratory presents a great challenge due to the discrepancies found between different methodologies. Thus, our goal was to evaluate fosfomycin susceptibility in a group of 150 Enterobacteriaceae bacterial isolates using agar dilution as the gold standard technique to compare the results with those obtained by disk diffusion. We found a fosfomycin susceptibility of 79.3% in general terms. By comparing both methodologies, we reported a categorical agreement of 96% without Very Major Errors (VMEs) or Major Errors (MEs) and 4% of minor Errors (mEs). Our results suggest that fosfomycin could provide a rational alternative treatment for those patients that are infected by a Multidrug-Resistant (MDR) microorganism that is currently untreatable and that the disk diffusion and classical agar dilution techniques are adequate to assess the resistance profile of CRE to fosfomycin. Full article
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Review
“Tomorrow Never Dies”: Recent Advances in Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention Modalities against Coronavirus (COVID-19) amid Controversies
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030030 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3646
Abstract
The outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (2019-nCoV or COVID-19) is responsible for severe health emergency throughout the world. The attack of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is found to be responsible for COVID-19. The World Health Organization has declared the ongoing [...] Read more.
The outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (2019-nCoV or COVID-19) is responsible for severe health emergency throughout the world. The attack of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is found to be responsible for COVID-19. The World Health Organization has declared the ongoing global public health emergency as a pandemic. The whole world fights against this invincible enemy in various capacities to restore economy, lifestyle, and safe life. Enormous amount of scientific research work(s), administrative strategies, and economic measurements are in place to create a successful step against COVID-19. Furthermore, differences in opinion, facts, and implementation methods laid additional layers of complexities in this battle against survival. Thus, a timely overview of the recent, important, and overall inclusive developments against this pandemic is a pressing need for better understanding and dealing with COVID-19. In this review, we have systematically summarized the epidemiological studies, clinical features, biological properties, diagnostic methods, treatment modalities, and preventive measurements related to COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Respiratory Diseases)
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Article
Perceptions on Adherence to Dietary Prescriptions for Adults with Chronic Kidney Disease on Hemodialysis: A Qualitative Study
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030029 - 06 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1412
Abstract
Diet is one of the modifiable lifestyle factors in management of kidney disease. We explored perceptions on adherence to dietary prescriptions for adults with chronic kidney disease on hemodialysis. This was a qualitative descriptive study. Participants were purposively selected at renal clinics/dialysis units [...] Read more.
Diet is one of the modifiable lifestyle factors in management of kidney disease. We explored perceptions on adherence to dietary prescriptions for adults with chronic kidney disease on hemodialysis. This was a qualitative descriptive study. Participants were purposively selected at renal clinics/dialysis units at national referral hospitals in Kenya. Data were collected using in-depth interviews, note-taking and voice-recording. The data were managed and analyzed thematically in NVIV0-12 computer software. Study participants were 52 patients and 40 family caregivers (42 males and 50 females) aged 20 to 69 years. Six sub-themes emerged in this study: “perceived health benefits”; “ease in implementing prescribed diets”; “cost of prescribed renal diets”; “nutrition information and messages”; “transition to new diets” and “fear of complications/severity of disease”. Both patients and caregivers acknowledged the health benefits of adherence to diet prescriptions. However, there are mixed messages to the patients and caregivers who have challenges with management and acceptability of the prescriptions. Most of them make un-informed dietary decisions that lead to consumption of unhealthy foods with negative outcomes such as metabolic waste accumulation in the patients’ bodies negating the effects of dialysis and undermining the efforts of healthcare system in management of patients with chronic kidney disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic and Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Impact of Acute Kidney Injury on Outcomes of Hospitalizations for Heat Stroke in the United States
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030028 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate the risk factors and the association of acute kidney injury with treatments, complications, outcomes, and resource utilization in patients hospitalized for heat stroke in the United States. Hospitalized patients from years 2003 to 2014 with a primary diagnosis [...] Read more.
This study aims to evaluate the risk factors and the association of acute kidney injury with treatments, complications, outcomes, and resource utilization in patients hospitalized for heat stroke in the United States. Hospitalized patients from years 2003 to 2014 with a primary diagnosis of heat stroke were identified in the National Inpatient Sample dataset. End stage kidney disease patients were excluded. The occurrence of acute kidney injury during hospitalization was identified using the hospital diagnosis code. The associations between acute kidney injury and clinical characteristics, in-hospital treatments, outcomes, and resource utilization were assessed using multivariable analyses. A total of 3346 hospital admissions were included in the analysis. Acute kidney injury occurred in 1206 (36%) admissions, of which 49 (1.5%) required dialysis. The risk factors for acute kidney injury included age 20–39 years, African American race, obesity, chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and rhabdomyolysis, whereas age <20 or ≥60 years were associated with lower risk of acute kidney injury. The need for mechanical ventilation and blood transfusion was higher when acute kidney injury occurred. Acute kidney injury was associated with electrolyte and acid-base derangements, sepsis, acute myocardial infarction, ventricular arrhythmia or cardiac arrest, respiratory, circulatory, liver, neurological, hematological failure, and in-hospital mortality. Length of hospital stay and hospitalization cost were higher in acute kidney injury patients. Approximately one third of heat stroke patients developed acute kidney injury during hospitalization. Acute kidney injury was associated with several complications, and higher mortality and resource utilization. Full article
Brief Report
Impact of Obesity on Ceftriaxone Efficacy
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030027 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1298
Abstract
Background: Ceftriaxone has standard, set dosing regimens that may not achieve adequate serum concentrations in obese patients compared to non-obese patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of obesity on ceftriaxone efficacy when used as definitive monotherapy to [...] Read more.
Background: Ceftriaxone has standard, set dosing regimens that may not achieve adequate serum concentrations in obese patients compared to non-obese patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of obesity on ceftriaxone efficacy when used as definitive monotherapy to treat infections. Methods: This retrospective cohort included adult inpatients treated with ceftriaxone monotherapy for ≥72 h between July 01, 2015–July 31, 2017. Patients were excluded if their infection lacked source control within 72 h or if they had polymicrobial infections requiring more than one antibiotic for definitive therapy. The primary outcome was the rate of clinical failure between obese versus non-obese patients, defined as a composite of (1) change in definitive therapy > 72 h due to clinical worsening; (2) residual leukocytosis (white blood cell count (WBC) > 10 × 109/L) > 72 h after treatment initiation; (3) presence of a fever (single temperature > 100.9 °F) > 72 h after treatment initiation; or (4) readmission within 30 days due to re-infection with the same organism. Results: A total of 101 patients were included in the study: 39 obese and 62 non-obese. The most common indications for ceftriaxone were urinary tract (52.5%), respiratory tract (24.8%), and bloodstream (24.8%) infections. The most commonly isolated organisms were Escherichia coli (48.5%) and Klebsiella species (15.8%). Most patients received 1g every 24 h. Clinical failure was observed in 61.5% of obese patients versus 40.3% of non-obese patients (p = 0.038). Conclusion: Obese patients treated with ceftriaxone were more likely to experience clinical failure when compared to non-obese patients. Further analyses are warranted to determine if weight-based dosing is required in obese patients treated with ceftriaxone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Infectious Disease)
Article
Short-Term Effect of a New Oral Sodium Hyaluronate Formulation on Knee Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 26; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030026 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1518
Abstract
Objective: the aim of this pilot study was to test the short-term effect of oral supplementation with a sodium hyaluronate with a large spectrum of molecular weights (FS-HA®) on the symptoms and functionality of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: 60 subjects affected [...] Read more.
Objective: the aim of this pilot study was to test the short-term effect of oral supplementation with a sodium hyaluronate with a large spectrum of molecular weights (FS-HA®) on the symptoms and functionality of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: 60 subjects affected by clinical and/or radiological diagnosis of symptomatic knee OA were consecutively enrolled in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. At randomization visit, at day 28 (visit 2), and day 56 (visit 3), the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), the Lequesne Functional Index (LFI) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain (VAS-p) were administered to the enrolled patients. Then, patients were asked how many times they used rescue medications (non-steroidal antinflammatory drugs–NSAIDs and/or anti-pain drugs) during the previous 4 weeks. Finally, the range of knee joint motion (ROM) was also instrumentally measured. Results: In FS-HA® treated subjects, VAS-p, pain and total WOMAC score, LFI and ROM significantly improved compared to the baseline values (p < 0.05). At 60 days, the VAS-p and the pain WOMAC score were significantly lower after FS-HA® treatment when compared with placebo as well (p < 0.05). The FS-HA® treated subjects significantly reduced the weekly use of NSAIDs and/or antipain drugs when compared to the placebo-treated ones (p < 0.05). Conclusion: the oral supplementation with a FS-HA® characterized by a large spectrum of molecular weight was associated with a short-term improvement in symptomatology and functionality of osteoarthritis-affected knees, and associated with a reduction in the use of NSAIDS and anti-pain drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exclusive Papers of the Editorial Board Members (EBMs) of Diseases)
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Article
Reduced Skeletal Muscle Volume and Increased Skeletal Muscle Fat Deposition Characterize Diabetes in Individuals after Pancreatitis: A Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study
Diseases 2020, 8(3), 25; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/diseases8030025 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1309
Abstract
Background: Skeletal muscle has been implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes but it has never been investigated in diabetes after pancreatitis. The aim was to investigate the relationship between psoas muscle volume (PMV) and diabetes in individuals after pancreatitis, as well [...] Read more.
Background: Skeletal muscle has been implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes but it has never been investigated in diabetes after pancreatitis. The aim was to investigate the relationship between psoas muscle volume (PMV) and diabetes in individuals after pancreatitis, as well as its associations with ectopic fat phenotypes and insulin traits. Methods: Individuals after an attack of pancreatitis and healthy individuals were studied in a cross-sectional fashion. All participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging, based on which PMV, skeletal muscle fat deposition (SMFD), as well as liver and intra-pancreatic fat depositions were derived. Fasting and postprandial blood samples were collected to calculate indices of insulin sensitivity and secretion. Linear regression analyses were conducted, adjusting for possible confounders (age, sex, body composition, comorbidities, use of insulin, and others). Results: A total of 153 participants were studied. PMV was significantly decreased in the diabetes group compared with healthy controls (β = −30.0, p = 0.034 in the most adjusted model). SMFD was significantly inversely associated with PMV (β = −3.1, p < 0.001 in the most adjusted model). The Matsuda index of insulin sensitivity was significantly directly associated with PMV (β = 1.6, p = 0.010 in the most adjusted model). Conclusions: Diabetes in individuals after pancreatitis is characterized by reduced PMV. Reduced PMV is associated with increased SMFD and decreased insulin sensitivity in individuals after pancreatitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipids, Health, and Diseases: The Interplay)
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