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Auckland, New Zealand

Wong W.K.,University of Auckland | Upton A.,Labtests | Thomas M.G.,University of Auckland
Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases | Year: 2013

Background: Chronic toxoplasmosis has been shown to be strongly associated with a range of neuropsychiatric effects including schizophrenia and suicide. However there have not been any prospective, community-based studies of the neuropsychiatric effects of acute toxoplasmosis in adult immunocompetent patients. Methods: Adult patients with a positive serum IgM anti-Toxoplasma gondii test result, in the context of an acute illness with lymphadenopathy, were invited to complete a questionnaire seeking information relating to the nature, severity, and duration of symptoms in the months following the diagnosis of acute toxoplasmosis. Results: Laboratory testing identified a total of 187 adults who had a positive serum IgM anti-T. gondii test result between 1 January and 30 November 2011. Consent to contact 108/187 (58%) patients was provided by their family doctor; 37 (34%) of these 108 patients completed and returned the questionnaire. Questionnaires from the 31/108 (29%) patients who reported swollen lymph nodes during their illness were included in the study. Fatigue (90%), headache (74%), difficulty concentrating (52%), and muscle aches (52%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. These symptoms commonly persisted for at least 4 weeks. Twenty-seven of 31 (87%) subjects reported a moderate or severe reduction in their overall physical and mental health during the first 2 months of illness. Conclusions: Acute toxoplasmosis in immunocompetent adults commonly causes moderately severe neuropsychiatric symptoms that might result from replication of the organism in the central nervous system with consequent effects on brain function. Patients should be advised that such symptoms are common and reassured that they usually resolve completely within a few months. © 2013 Informa Healthcare.

Park T.I.-H.,University of Auckland | Monzo H.,University of Auckland | Mee E.W.,Auckland City Hospital | Bergin P.S.,Auckland City Hospital | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

The ability to culture neural progenitor cells from the adult human brain has provided an exciting opportunity to develop and test potential therapies on adult human brain cells. To achieve a reliable and reproducible adult human neural progenitor cell (AhNPC) culture system for this purpose, this study fully characterized the cellular composition of the AhNPC cultures, as well as the possible changes to this in vitro system over prolonged culture periods. We isolated cells from the neurogenic subventricular zone/hippocampus (SVZ/HP) of the adult human brain and found a heterogeneous culture population comprised of several types of post-mitotic brain cells (neurons, astrocytes, and microglia), and more importantly, two distinct mitotic cell populations; the AhNPCs, and the fibroblast-like cells (FbCs). These two populations can easily be mistaken for a single population of AhNPCs, as they both proliferate under AhNPC culture conditions, form spheres and express neural progenitor cell and early neuronal markers, all of which are characteristics of AhNPCs in vitro. However, despite these similarities under proliferating conditions, under neuronal differentiation conditions, only the AhNPCs differentiated into functional neurons and glia. Furthermore, AhNPCs showed limited proliferative capacity that resulted in their depletion from culture by 5-6 passages, while the FbCs, which appear to be from a neurovascular origin, displayed a greater proliferative capacity and dominated the long-term cultures. This gradual change in cellular composition resulted in a progressive decline in neurogenic potential without the apparent loss of self-renewal in our cultures. These results demonstrate that while AhNPCs and FbCs behave similarly under proliferative conditions, they are two different cell populations. This information is vital for the interpretation and reproducibility of AhNPC experiments and suggests an ideal time frame for conducting AhNPC-based experiments. © 2012 Park et al.

Upton A.,Labtests | Bromhead C.,Aotea Pathology Ltd | Whiley D.M.,University of Queensland
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2013

The Roche cobas 4800 CT/NG assay is a commonly used commercial system for screening for Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection, and previous studies have shown the method to be highly sensitive and specific for urogenital samples. We present the first confirmed clinical N. gonorrhoeae false-positive result using the cobas 4800 NG assay, obtained from testing a pharyngeal swab sample and caused by cross-reaction with a commensal Neisseria strain. Copyright © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.

Aims: Streptococcus pyogenes or group A streptococcus (GAS) is a common cause of vulvo-vaginitis in pre-pubertal females but is uncommonly isolated from the vaginal swabs of adult females. We aimed to describe the clinical and laboratory findings of adult females with GAS isolated from vaginal swabs in a community and hospital laboratory. Methods: Over a 19 week period the two laboratories identified females ≥15 years of age with GAS isolated from vaginal swabs. At least 2 weeks after reporting, the referring doctor or midwife was telephoned by the authors for clinical information or the clinical notes were reviewed. Laboratory data were also collected. Results: One hundred adult females with GAS isolated from vaginal swabs were identified from approximately 4500-5000 community laboratory and 20 from approximately 2000 hospital laboratory swabs. Community patients were more likely to have presented with vaginal symptoms such as discharge, while hospital patients were more likely to have ascending infection related to pregnancy/recent delivery. Of the community patients, 15% were asymptomatic compared with 5% of the hospital patients. Review of Gram stain and culture quantification was not found to be particularly useful for discriminating between clinical infection and asymptomatic colonisation. Conclusions: Isolation of GAS from the vaginal swabs of adult females is uncommon. In the community setting it may represent infection with vulvo-vaginitis or asymptomatic colonisation. In the hospital setting, its isolation is frequently associated with pregnancy-related infectious complications. © 2013 Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.

Barron J.,Labtests
Journal of Clinical Pathology | Year: 2010

The aim of this article is to provide knowledge of the origin of catecholamines and metabolites so that there can be an informed approach to the methods for biochemical screening for a possible phaeochromocytoma; The article includes a review of catecholamine and metadrenaline metabolism, with methods used in biochemical screening. In the adrenal medulla and a phaeochromocytoma, catecholamines continuously leak from chromaffin granules into the cytoplasm and are converted to metadrenalines. For a phaeochromocytoma to become biochemically detectable, metnoradrenaline secretion needs to rise fourfold, whereas noradrenaline secretion needs to rise 15-fold. The prevalence of a sporadic phaeochromocytoma is low; therefore false-positive results exceed truepositive results. Assay sensitivity is high because it is important not to miss a possible phaeochromocytoma. The use of urine or plasma fractionated metadrenalines as the first-line test has been recommended due to improved sensitivity. A negative result excludes a phaeochromocytoma. Only after a sporadic phaeochromocytoma has been diagnosed biochemically is it cost effective to request imaging. Sensitivities and specificities of the assays differ according to pre-test probabilities of the presence of a phaeochromocytoma, with hereditary and incidentalomas having a higher pre-test probability than sporadic phaeochromocytoma. In conclusion, in screening for a possible phaeochromocytoma, biochemical investigations should be completed first to exclude or establish the diagnosis. The preferred biochemical screening test is fractionated metadrenalines, including methoxytyramine so as not to miss dopamine-secreting tumours.

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