MutationDistiller is a freely available online tool for user-driven analyses of Whole Exome Sequencing data. It offers a user-friendly interface aimed at clinicians and researchers, who are not necessarily bioinformaticians. MutationDistiller combines Mutation- Taster’s pathogenicity predictions with a phenotypebased approach. Phenotypic information is not limited to symptoms included in the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO), but may also comprise clinical diagnoses and the suspected mode of inheritance. The search can be restricted to lists of candidate genes (e.g. virtual gene panels) and by tissue-specific gene expression. The inclusion of GeneOntology (GO) and metabolic pathways facilitates the discovery of hitherto unknown disease genes. In a novel approach, we trained MutationDistiller’s HPO-based prioritization on authentic genotype–phenotype sets obtained from ClinVar and found it to match or outcompete current prioritization tools in terms of accuracy. In the output, the program provides a list of potential disease mutations ordered by the likelihood of the affected genes to cause the phenotype. MutationDistiller provides links to gene-related information from various resources. It has been extensively tested by clinicians and their suggestions have been valued in many iterative cycles of revisions. The tool, a comprehensive documentation and examples are freely available at https://www.mutationdistiller.org/View less
Deep neural networks have led to state-of-the-art results in many medical imaging tasks including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) detection based on structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. However, the network decisions are often perceived as being highly non-transparent, making it difficult to apply these algorithms in clinical routine. In this study, we propose using layer-wise relevance propagation (LRP) to visualize convolutional neural network decisions for AD based on MRI data. Similarly to other visualization methods, LRP produces a heatmap in the input space indicating the importance/relevance of each voxel contributing to the final classification outcome. In contrast to susceptibility maps produced by guided backpropagation (“Which change in voxels would change the outcome most?”), the LRP method is able to directly highlight positive contributions to the network classification in the input space. In particular, we show that (1) the LRP method is very specific for individuals (“Why does this person have AD?”) with high inter-patient variability, (2) there is very little relevance for AD in healthy controls and (3) areas that exhibit a lot of relevance correlate well with what is known from literature. To quantify the latter, we compute size-corrected metrics of the summed relevance per brain area, e.g., relevance density or relevance gain. Although these metrics produce very individual “fingerprints” of relevance patterns for AD patients, a lot of importance is put on areas in the temporal lobe including the hippocampus. After discussing several limitations such as sensitivity toward the underlying model and computation parameters, we conclude that LRP might have a high potential to assist clinicians in explaining neural network decisions for diagnosing AD (and potentially other diseases) based on structural MRI data.View less
The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) can be endogenously activated by binding of melanocyte-stimulating hormones (MSH), which mediates anorexigenic effects. In contrast, the agouti-related peptide (AgRP) acts as an endogenous inverse agonist and suppresses ligand-independent basal signaling activity (orexigenic effects). Binding of ligands to MC4R leads to the activation of different G-protein subtypes or arrestin and concomitant signaling pathways. This receptor is a key protein in the hypothalamic regulation of food intake and energy expenditure and naturally-occurring inactivating MC4R variants are the most frequent cause of monogenic obesity. In general, obesity is a growing problem on a global scale and is of social, medical, and economic relevance. A significant goal is to develop optimized pharmacological tools targeting MC4R without adverse effects. To date, this has not been achieved because of inter alia non-selective ligands across the five functionally different MCR subtypes (MC1-5R). This motivates further investigation of (i) the three-dimensional MC4R structure, (ii) binding mechanisms of various ligands, and (iii) the molecular transfer process of signal transduction, with the aim of understanding how structural features are linked with functional-physiological aspects. Unfortunately, experimentally elucidated structural information is not yet available for theMC receptors, a group of class A G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). We, therefore, generated MC4R homology models and complexes with interacting partners to describe approximate structural properties associated with signaling mechanisms. In addition, molecular insights from pathogenic mutations were incorporated to discriminate more precisely their individual malfunction of the signal transfer mechanism.View less
Glucocorticoids regulate fundamental processes of the human body and control cellular functions such as cell metabolism, growth, differentiation, and apoptosis. Moreover, endogenous glucocorticoids link the endocrine and immune system and ensure the correct function of inflammatory events during tissue repair, regeneration, and pathogen elimination via genomic and rapid non-genomic pathways. Due to their strong immunosuppressive, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects on immune cells, tissues and organs, glucocorticoids significantly improve the quality of life of many patients suffering from diseases caused by a dysregulated immune system. Despite the multitude and seriousness of glucocorticoid-related adverse events including diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis and infections, these agents remain indispensable, representing the most powerful, and cost-effective drugs in the treatment of a wide range of rheumatic diseases. These include rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, and connective tissue diseases, as well as many other pathological conditions of the immune system. Depending on the therapeutically affected cell type, glucocorticoid actions strongly vary among different diseases. While immune responses always represent complex reactions involving different cells and cellular processes, specific immune cell populations with key responsibilities driving the pathological mechanisms can be identified for certain autoimmune diseases. In this review, we will focus on the mechanisms of action of glucocorticoids on various leukocyte populations, exemplarily portraying different autoimmune diseases as heterogeneous targets of glucocorticoid actions: (i) Abnormalities in the innate immune response play a crucial role in the initiation and perpetuation of giant cell arteritis (GCA). (ii) Specific types of CD4+ T helper (Th) lymphocytes, namely Th1 and Th17 cells, represent important players in the establishment and course of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), whereas (iii) B cells have emerged as central players in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). (iv) Allergic reactions are mainly triggered by several different cytokines released by activated Th2 lymphocytes. Using these examples, we aim to illustrate the versatile modulating effects of glucocorticoids on the immune system. In contrast, in the treatment of lymphoproliferative disorders the pro-apoptotic action of glucocorticoids prevails, but their mechanisms differ depending on the type of cancer. Therefore, we will also give a brief insight into the current knowledge of the mode of glucocorticoid action in oncological treatment focusing on leukemia.View less
Symptoms of schizophrenia (SCZ) are likely to be generated by genetically mediated synaptic dysfunction, which contribute to large-scale functional neural dysconnectivity. Recent electrophysiological studies suggest that this dysconnectivity is present not only at a spatial level but also at a temporal level, operationalized as long-range temporal correlations (LRTCs). Previous research suggests that alpha and beta frequency bands have weaker temporal stability in people with SCZ. This study sought to replicate these findings with high-density electroencephalography (EEG), enabling a spatially more accurate analysis of LRTC differences, and to test associations with characteristic SCZ symptoms and cognitive deficits. A 128-channel EEG was used to record eyes-open resting state brain activity of 23 people with SCZ and 24 matched healthy controls (HCs). LRTCs were derived for alpha (8–12 Hz) and beta (13–25 Hz) frequency bands. As an exploratory analysis, LRTC was source projected using sLoreta. People with SCZ showed an area of significantly reduced beta-band LRTC compared with HCs over bilateral posterior regions. There were no between-group differences in alpha-band activity. Individual symptoms of SCZ were not related to LRTC values nor were cognitive deficits. The study confirms that people with SCZ have reduced temporal stability in the beta frequency band. The absence of group differences in the alpha band may be attributed to the fact that people had, in contrast to previous studies, their eyes open in the current study. Taken together, our study confirms the utility of LRTC as a marker of network instability in people with SCZ and provides a novel empirical perspective for future examinations of network dysfunction salience in SCZ research.View less
Background: For many patients, the general practitioner (GP) is the most important point of contact for obtaining information about a wide range of health topics. However, patients with different characteristics may seek health information from different sources, such as friends or the internet. The relationship between patient characteristics and preferences for information sources is understudied. We investigate which information sources are used by patients for health-related questions and how this relates to patients’ sociodemographics, health, and health literacy.
Methods: A stratified and population-based survey was conducted to investigate health information sources within the German population over 35 years (n = 4144). Sociodemographics, use of technology, health-related indicators, and health literacy (including self-efficacy and action planning), as well as questions regarding the ratings of multiple health-related information sources, were investigated in personal interviews and analyzed using logistic regression.
Results: In our study, GPs were the most important source of information for the patients, followed by medical specialists, pharmacists and the internet. Patient age and number of illnesses were associated with the choice of information source. Furthermore, action planning and self-efficacy for acquiring health knowledge were associated with the selected source of information.
Conclusions: Information provider appears to be an important role for GPs, particularly among old and chronically ill patients. GPs should have the specific capabilities to fill this role and should be trained and referred to accordingly. Selfefficacy and action planning for acquiring health knowledge are important patient factors doctors can use for brief inventions during consultations.View less
Outbreaks of the emerging arbovirus chikungunya virus (CHIKV) affect millions of individuals in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Vector competence can be changed dramatically by single amino acid exchanges located predominantly within the CHIKV E1 and E2 envelope proteins, which are associated with enhanced transmissibility by anthropophilic Aedes mosquitoes. Commonly used reference assays for molecular surveillance cover only a few adaptive mutations within the envelope domains and have not been validated for all CHIKV genotypes. The recognized landscape of CHIKV adaptive mutations is thus likely incomplete. We designed two nested reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assays that cover hot spots of viral adaptation to vectors within the E1 and E2 genomic domains. Primers were designed in conserved genomic regions to allow broad usability across CHIKV genotypes. The sensitivity of both assays was at least equivalent to E1- and E2-based reference assays and robust among CHIKV genotypes at 51.4 IU/reaction (E1, 95% confidence interval [CI], 39.8 to 78.9) and 4.0 IU/reaction (E2, 95% CI, 2.0 to 7.4). Upon analysis of the complete known CHIKV genomic diversity, up to 11 nucleotide mismatches with CHIKV variants occurred under oligonucleotide binding sites of reference assays, potentially limiting assay sensitivity, whereas no critical mismatches occurred in the new assays. Specificity testing with nine alphaviruses representing all serocomplexes showed amplification of Mayaro virus and O’nyong-nyong virus by the E1-based assay, but not by the E2-based assay. The high sensitivity and specificity of the new E2-based assay may allow its diagnostic usage in resource-limited settings. The combined new assays allow improved molecular epidemiological surveillance of CHIKV globally.View less
Only a few years ago, alamandine was found to be a member of the protective arm of the renin-angiotensin system. It turned out to be an endogenous ligand of the G protein-coupled receptor MrgD. So far, MrgD had predominantly been studied in a neuronal context. The expression of the receptor in non-neuronal tissue showed hitherto unknown effects mediated by MrgD, most strikingly alamandine-induced vasodilation. Alamandine being a part of the non-classical renin-angiotensin system, a protective role of receptor activation seemed natural. This review summarizes the different effects of MrgD activation by alamandine in vasculature, in the central nervous system, and in organs as kidney and heart. Alamandine and MrgD are promising novel drug targets to protect the kidney and heart through anti-hypertensive actions.View less
Background: Intramural duodenal hematoma is a rare condition. Different imaging modalities are at hand for diagnosis. Purpose: To identify patients with intramural duodenal hematoma and report imaging findings and clinical courses. Material and Methods: Typical imaging patterns using ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging were carried out on 10 patients. Results: The mean patient age was 7.5 years. The average disease duration was 13 months. Clinical signs of improvement were observed within 16 days. Residues were still detectable at long-term follow-up. Conclusion: For patients with intramural duodenal wall hematoma, diagnosis should be considered early. Typical imaging findings should be known to ensure optimal treatment.View less
Background. Fibronectin type III domain-containing (FNDC) proteins fulfill manifold functions in tissue development and regulation of cellular metabolism. FNDC4 was described as anti-inflammatory factor, upregulated in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). FNDC signaling includes direct cell-cell interaction as well as release of bioactive peptides, like shown for FNDC4 or FNDC5. The G-protein-coupled receptor 116 (GPR116) was found as a putative FNDC4 receptor. We here aim to comprehensively analyze the mRNA expression of FNDC1, FNDC3A, FNDC3B, FNDC4, FNDC5, and GPR116 in nonaffected and affected mucosal samples of patients with IBD or colorectal cancer (CRC). Methods. Mucosa samples were obtained from 30 patients undergoing diagnostic colonoscopy or from surgical resection of IBD or CRC. Gene expression was determined by quantitative real-time PCR. In addition, FNDC expression data from publicly available Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) data sets (GDS4296, GDS4515, and GDS5232) were analyzed. Results. Basal mucosal expression revealed higher expression of FNDC3A and FNDC5 in the ileum compared to colonic segments. FNDC1 and FNDC4 were significantly upregulated in IBD. None of the investigated FNDCs was differentially expressed in CRC, just FNDC3A trended to be upregulated. The GEO data set analysis revealed significantly downregulated FNDC4 and upregulated GPR116 in microsatellite unstable (MSI) CRCs. The expression of FNDCs and GPR116 was independent of age and sex. Conclusions. FNDC1 and FNDC4 may play a relevant role in the pathobiology of IBD, but none of the investigated FNDCs is regulated in CRC. GPR116 may be upregulated in advanced or MSI CRC. Further studies should validate the altered FNDC expression results on protein levels and examine the corresponding functional consequences.View less
Background: Elevation of intracranial pressure in idiopathic intracranial hypertension induces an edema of the prelaminar section of the optic nerve (papilledema). Beside the commonly observed optic nerve sheath distention, information on a potential pathology of the retrolaminar section of the optic nerve and the short-term effect of normalization of intracranial pressure on these abnormalities remains scarce.
Methods: In this exploratory study 8 patients diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension underwent a MRI scan (T2 mapping) as well as a diffusion tensor imaging analysis (fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity). In addition, the clinical presentation of headache and its accompanying symptoms were assessed. Intracranial pressure was then normalized by lumbar puncture and the initial parameters (MRI and clinical features) were re-assessed within 26 h.
Results: After normalization of CSF pressure, the morphometric MRI scans of the optic nerve and optic nerve sheath remained unchanged. In the diffusion tensor imaging, the fractional anisotropy value was reduced suggesting a tissue decompression of the optic nerve after lumbar puncture. In line with these finding, headache and most of the accompanying symptoms also improved or remitted within that short time frame.
Conclusion: The findings support the hypothesis that the elevation of intracranial pressure induces a microstructural compression of the optic nerve impairing axoplasmic flow and thereby causing the prelaminar papilledema. The microstructural compression of the optic nerve as well as the clinical symptoms improve within hours of normalization of intracranial pressure.View less
Background: Vitamin D levels may differ between migrant and non-migrant populations, especially among non-western immigrants living in a country with limited sun exposure such as Germany. This study examined serum vitamin D concentration and associated factors among Berliners with and without Turkish background. Methods: Two samples (with and without Turkish roots) were recruited in the inner city of Berlin for a cross-sectional study assessing serum vitamin D concentration. Linear regression analyses were used to examine sociodemographic, lifestyle and medical factors associated with serum vitamin D levels. Results: In the analyses, we included 537 subjects (39% men and 61% women, age 43.2 ± 12.5 (mean ± standard deviation) years) with and 112 without Turkish background (46% men and 54% women, age 46.7 ± 14.6 years). The Turkish sample had lower mean (95%-Confidence Interval) vitamin D levels than the non-Turkish sample: 22.7 nmol/L (21.5;23.9) vs 34.7 nmol/L (31.9;37.5), p < 0.001. In the Turkish female subgroup, veiled women had considerably lower levels than unveiled women: 14.4 nmol/L (11.5;17.3) vs 24.9 nmol/L (23.1;26.7), p < 0.001. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that among the Berliners of Turkish descent, being active less than 150 min per day, and being overweight/obese were independently associated with a lower vitamin D concentration. In the non-migrant sample besides being overweight and obese, female sex was associated with lower vitamin D concentrations. Conclusions: Serum vitamin D levels were considerably low in Berliners of Turkish descent, and especially in veiled women. Potentially modifiable factors of low vitamin D levels were high BMI and low physical activity. These findings should be considered in the development of future public health strategies for subpopulations with Turkish migration background.View less
INTRODUCTION Emergency departments (EDs) are opportune places for tobacco control interventions. The ‘Tobacco Control in an Urban Emergency Department’(TED) study, ISRCTN41527831, originally evaluated the effect of motivational interviewing on-site plus up to four booster telephone calls on 12-month abstinence. This study’s aim was to evaluate the effect of the intervention on 7-day point-prevalence abstinence at 10 years follow-up (primary outcome) as well as on repeated point-prevalence abstinence at 1, 3, 6, 12 months and at 10 years (continual smoking abstinence, secondary outcome). METHODS At the 10 years follow-up and after informed consent, study participants responded to a mailed questionnaire. The primary outcome was analyzed in observed-only and in all-cases analyses. The secondary outcomes were analyzed using a multiple adjusted GLMM for binary outcomes. RESULTS Out of 1012 TED-study participants, 986 (97.4%) were alive and 231 (23.4% of 986) responded to the follow-up at 10 years. For observed-only and all-cases analyses, the effect of the baseline intervention on 7-day point-prevalence abstinence at the 10 years follow-up was statistically non-significant. However, when taking into account all repeated measures, the intervention significantly influenced continual abstinence with odds ratio 1.32 (95% CI: 1.01–1.73; p=0.042). Baseline motivation, perceived self-efficacy to stop smoking, and nicotine dependency were independently associated with long-term continual smoking abstinence (all p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS A conventional analysis failed to confirm a significant effect of the EDinitiated tobacco control intervention on the point-prevalence abstinence at 10 years. Results from a more integrative analysis nonetheless indicated an enduring intervention effect on continual abstinence among smokers first encountered in the emergency department setting 10 years earlier.View less
Background: The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of periprosthetic tissue culture in blood culture bottles (BCB) for periprosthetic joint infection (PJI).
Methods: PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase were systematically searched for eligible studies evaluating the diagnostic performance of periprosthetic tissue culture in BCB for the diagnosis of PJI. The pooled data were analysed by Meta-Disc software.
Results: Four studies with a total of 1071 patients were included in this meta-analysis. The summarized estimates showed that periprosthetic tissue culture in BCB may be of great value in PJI diagnosis with a pooled sensitivity of 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI]; 0.66–0.75), specificity of 0.97 (95% CI: 0.95–0.98); positive likelihood ratio (PLR) of 20.98 (95% CI: 11.52–38.2); negative likelihood ratio (NLR) of 0.28 (95% CI: 0.20–0.40); and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) of 92.26 (95% CI: 43.93–193.78).
Conclusions: The present meta-analysis showed that periprosthetic tissue in BCB improves the results of microorganism cultures, with a sensitivity of 70% and a specificity of 97%. However, more large-scale, well-performed studies are needed to verify our findings.View less
Hypertension is ranked as the third cause of disability-adjusted life-years. The percentage of the population suffering from hypertension will continue to increase over the next years. Renovascular disease is one of the most common causes of secondary hypertension. Vascular changes seen in hypertension are partially based on dysfunctional calcium signaling. This signaling can be studied using calcium indicators (loading dyes and genetically encoded calcium indicators; GECIs). Most progress in development has been seen in GECIs, which are used in an increasing number of publications concerning calcium signaling in vasculature and the kidney. The use of transgenic mouse models expressing GECIs will facilitate new possibilities to study dysfunctional calcium signaling in a cell type-specific manner, thus helping to identify more specific targets for treatment of (renal) hypertension.View less
BACKGROUND: Serum antibodies against myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein (MOG-IgG) are detectable in a proportion of patients with acute or relapsing neuroinflammation. It is unclear, if neuro-axonal damage occurs only in an attack-dependent manner or also progressively. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate longitudinally intra-retinal layer changes in eyes without new optic neuritis (ON) in MOG-IgG-seropositive patients.
METHODS: We included 38 eyes of 24 patients without ON during follow-up (F/U) [median years (IQR)] 1.9 (1.0-2.2) and 56 eyes of 28 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC). The patient group's eyes included 18 eyes without (EyeON-) and 20 eyes with history of ON (EyeON+). Using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), we acquired peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (pRNFL) and volumes of combined ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer (GCIP), inner nuclear layer (INL), and macular volume (MV). High-contrast visual acuity (VA) was assessed at baseline.
RESULTS: At baseline in EyeON-, pRNFL (94.3 ± 15.9 μm, p = 0.36), INL (0.26 ± 0.03 mm3, p = 0.11), and MV (2.34 ± 0.11 mm3, p = 0.29) were not reduced compared to HC; GCIP showed thinning (0.57 ± 0.07 mm3; p = 0.008), and VA was reduced (logMAR 0.05 ± 0.15 vs. - 0.09 ± 0.14, p = 0.008) in comparison to HC. Longitudinally, we observed pRNFL thinning in models including all patient eyes (annual reduction - 2.20 ± 4.29 μm vs. - 0.35 ± 1.17 μm, p = 0.009) in comparison to HC. Twelve EyeON- with other than ipsilateral ON attacks ≤ 6 months before baseline showed thicker pRNFL at baseline and more severe pRNFL thinning in comparison to 6 EyeON- without other clinical relapses.
CONCLUSIONS: We observed pRNFL thinning in patients with MOG-IgG during F/U, which was not accompanied by progressive GCIP reduction. This effect could be caused by a small number of EyeON- with other than ipsilateral ON attacks within 6 months before baseline. One possible interpretation could be a reduction of the swelling, which could mean that MOG-IgG patients show immune-related swelling in the CNS also outside of an attack's target area.View less
Background: Tumorigenesis is a multi-step process which is accompanied by substantial changes in genome organization. The development of these changes is not only a random process, but rather comprise specific DNA regions that are prone to the reorganization process. Results: We have analyzed previously published SNP arrays from three different cancer types (pancreatic adenocarcinoma, breast cancer and metastatic melanoma) and from non-malignant control samples. We calculated segmental copy number variations as well as breakpoint regions. Some of these regions were not randomly involved in genome reorganization since we detected fifteen of them in at least 20% of all tumor samples and one region on chromosome 9 where 43% of tumors have a breakpoint. Further, the top-15 breakpoint regions show an association to known fragile sites. The relevance of these common breakpoint regions was further confirmed by analyzing SNP arrays from 917 cancer cell lines. Conclusion: Our analyses suggest that genome reorganization is common in tumorigenesis and that some breakpoint regions can be found across all cancer types, while others exclusively occur in specific entities.View less
Background: The oral mucosa has an important role in maintaining barrier integrity at the gateway to the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Smoking is a strong environmental risk factor for the common oral inflammatory disease periodontitis and oral cancer. Cigarette smoke affects gene methylation and expression in various tissues. This is the first epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) that aimed to identify biologically active methylation marks of the oral masticatory mucosa that are associated with smoking. Results: Ex vivo biopsies of 18 current smokers and 21 never smokers were analysed with the Infinium Methylation EPICBeadChip and combined with whole transcriptome RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq; 16 mio reads per sample) of the same samples. We analysed the associations of CpG methylation values with cigarette smoking and smoke pack year (SPY) levels in an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Nine CpGs were significantly associated with smoking status, with three CpGs mapping to the genetic region of CYP1B1 (cytochrome P450 family 1 subfamily B member 1; best p = 5.5 × 10−8) and two mapping to AHRR (aryl-hydrocarbon receptor repressor; best p = 5.9 × 10−9). In the SPY analysis, 61 CpG sites at 52 loci showed significant associations of the quantity of smoking with changes in methylation values. Here, the most significant association located to the gene CYP1B1, with p = 4.0 × 10−10. RNA-Seq data showed significantly increased expression of CYP1B1 in smokers compared to non-smokers (p = 2.2 × 10−14), together with 13 significantly upregulated transcripts. Six transcripts were significantly downregulated. No differential expression was observed for AHRR. In vitro studies with gingival fibroblasts showed that cigarette smoke extract directly upregulated the expression of CYP1B1. Conclusion: This study validated the established role of CYP1B1 and AHRR in xenobiotic metabolism of tobacco smoke and highlights the importance of epigenetic regulation for these genes. For the first time, we give evidence of this role for the oral masticatory mucosa.View less
We report on a case of very rare autosomal recessive cholesteryl ester storage disease due to lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LALD). LALD is caused by mutations in the lysosomal acid lipase A (LIPA) gene resulting in cholesteryl ester accumulation in liver, spleen, and macrophages. It can lead to liver failure, accelerated atherosclerosis and premature death. Until recently, treatment options were limited to lipid-lowering medications to control dyslipidemia. Presently, a long-term enzyme replacement therapy with Sebelipase alfa, a recombinant human lysosomal acid lipase, is available for patients with LALD. Our patient's condition became conspicuous at the age of two due to a xanthogranuloma of the chin together with increased lipid levels, elevated liver enzymes and hepatomegaly. It took another five years until our patient was diagnosed with LALD after genetic testing. A bi-weekly therapy with intravenous Sebelipase alfa was started at the age of 26 years. It led to normalization of lipid levels, reduction of liver enzymes and beginning regression of hepatomegaly in the absence of adverse drug reactions after 46 infusions. Since LALD can take a fatal course even in patients with a long-term stable condition, it is essential to identify affected patients early and to treat them appropriately by enzyme replacement therapy. LALD should be suspected in patients with low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in conjunction with elevated liver enzymes or hepatomegaly. A registry for LALD patients shall help to advance our understanding of the disease as well as improve patient care (NCT01633489).View less
BACKGROUND: Core outcome sets (COS) are being developed in many clinical areas to increase the quality and comparability of clinical trial results as well as to ensure their relevance for patients. A COS represents an agreed standardized set of outcomes that describes the minimum that should be consistently reported in all clinical trials of a defined area. It comprises a core domain set (defining what core outcomes should be measured) and a core measurement set (defining measurement/assessment instruments for each core domain). For pressure ulcer prevention trials a COS is lacking. The great heterogeneity of reported outcomes in this field indicates the need for a COS. METHODS/DESIGN: The first part of this project aims to develop a core domain set by following established methods, which incorporates four steps: (1) definition of the scope, (2) conducting a scoping review, (3) organizing facilitated workshops with service users, (4) performing Delphi surveys and establishing consensus in a face-to-face meeting with different stakeholders. DISCUSSION: After achieving consensus on the core domain set, further work will be undertaken to determine a corresponding core measurement set. This will lead to better pressure ulcer prevention research in the future. There are a number of methodological challenges in the field of COS development. To meet these challenges and to ensure a high-quality COS, the OUTPUTS project affiliates to current standards and works in close collaboration with international experts and with existing international service user groups. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The OUTPUTs project is registered in the COMET database: ( http://www.comet-initiative.org/studies/details/283 ). Registered on 2015.View less