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Audette M.C.,Kings College | Challis J.R.G.,Kings College | Challis J.R.G.,University of Toronto | Challis J.R.G.,Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research | And 5 more authors.
Endocrinology | Year: 2011

Clinically, approximately 30% of women who receive synthetic glucocorticoids (sGC) for risk of preterm labor carry to term. In vitro studies have shown that sGC acutely regulate the placental system A amino acid transporter, but there are no comparable data in vivo. Hence, the objective of our study was to examine the acute [embryonic day (E)15.5] and longer-term (E17.5 and E18.5) consequences of midgestation antenatal sGC [dexamethasone (DEX); 0.1 mg/kg on E13.5 and E14.5] on placental system A-mediated transfer in the mouse (measured in vivo as maternal-fetal unidirectional 14C-methylaminoisobutyric acid transfer per gram of placenta). System A transfer and Slc38a mRNA expression significantly increased from E12.5 to E18.5 (P < 0.05), corresponding to increased fetal growth. DEX treatment had no acute effect at E15.5 or longer-term effect at E17.5 but significantly decreased system A-mediated transfer before term (E18.5; P < 0.05) in placentae of male and female fetuses. There was no effect of DEX on Slc38a gene expression. Administration of DEX in this regime had no effect on birth weight. We conclude that sGC treatment in midgestation leads to a substantial decrease in placental system A-mediated transport in late gestation, suggesting that prenatal sGC therapy may lead to a reduction in availability of neutral amino acids to the fetus if gestation persists to term. Copyright © 2011 by The Endocrine Society. Source

Henrich N.,Providence Health Care Research Institute | Holmes B.,Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research | Prystajecky N.,BC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory | Prystajecky N.,University of British Columbia
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

In association with the development of new microbial tests for source water quality (SWQ), focus groups with members of the public were conducted to gain insight into their perceptions of SWQ, behaviours and contaminants they think pose the greatest threat to its quality, and what/how they want to know about SWQ. Discussions revealed a low concern about SWQ in general, and in particular about microbial contamination. Participants identified behaviours that threaten SWQ, barriers to changing behaviour and suggestions for inducing change. A strong desire was expressed for water quality information to be interpreted and communicated in terms of how SWQ may impact human health and how their actions should be altered in response to test results. The information can be used to inform communication strategies and possibly impact policies associated with water quality testing and implementation of new tests. More broadly, awareness of the public’s understanding and beliefs about source water can be used in working with the public to adopt water-friendly behaviours, influence the content and methods of communicating with the public about water issues and water quality, and could contribute to the direction of future research and investment into water technologies to align with the public's priorities. © 2015 Henrich et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

Henrich N.,Center for Health Evaluation and Outcome science | Holmes B.,Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research | Isaac-Renton J.,British Columbia Public Health Microbiology Reference Laboratory | Prystajecky N.,British Columbia Public Health Microbiology Reference Laboratory
Environment International | Year: 2016

Adoption of molecular-based water quality tests has been limited despite their advantage over traditional culture-based tests. A better understanding of the factors affecting adoption of these tests is needed for effective implementation. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) was used to analyze interviews with policy makers, watershed managers and laboratory managers in British Columbia (BC), Canada about their perceptions of molecular water tests currently under development in order to assess readiness for adoption and identify factors that may impact implementation. Many of the CFIR constructs were addressed by study participants, thus confirming their validity in the water-testing context. Other constructs were not mentioned, which suggests that awareness about these constructs need to be increased to ensure that they are incorporated into implementation strategies. In general, there was much enthusiasm for the new tests, which were seen to provide valuable information that could enable improved management of watersheds and treatment of source water. However, prior to adopting the tests, stakeholders would require evidence supporting the tests' validity and reliability, would need to assess the complexity of introducing the tests into laboratories and water sampling processes, and would require support interpreting the test results. Even if all the aforementioned issues are satisfactorily addressed, the tests may not be adopted unless regulations and policies were changed to allow the use of these test results to inform decision making. The results support that implementation of new technologies, such as these water quality tests, need to address potential barriers that could hinder uptake despite the advantages of the new product. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Petraglia F.,University of Siena | Imperatore A.,University of Siena | Challis J.R.G.,University of Toronto | Challis J.R.G.,Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
Endocrine Reviews | Year: 2010

The complex mechanisms controlling human parturition involves mother, fetus, and placenta, and stress is a key element activating a series of physiological adaptive responses. Preterm birth is a clinical syndrome that shares several characteristics with term birth. A major role for the neuroendocrine mechanisms has been proposed, and placenta/membranes are sources for neurohormones and peptides. Oxytocin (OT) is the neurohormone whose major target is uterine contractility and placenta represents a novel source that contributes to the mechanisms of parturition. The CRH/urocortin (Ucn) family is another important neuroendocrine pathway involved in term and preterm birth. The CRH/Ucn family consists of four ligands: CRH, Ucn, Ucn2, and Ucn3. These peptides have a pleyotropic function and are expressed by human placenta and fetal membranes. Uterine contractility, blood vessel tone, and immune function are influenced by CRH/Ucns during pregnancy and undergo major changes at parturition. Among the others, neurohormones, relaxin, parathyroid hormone-related protein, opioids, neurosteroids, and monoamines are expressed and secreted from placental tissues at parturition. Preterm birth is the consequence of a premature and sustained activation of endocrine and immune responses. A preterm birth evidence for a premature activation of OT secretion as well as increased maternal plasma CRH levels suggests a pathogenic role of these neurohormones. A decrease of maternal serum CRH-binding protein is a concurrent event. At midgestation, placental hypersecretion of CRH or Ucn has been proposed as a predictive marker of subsequent preterm delivery. While placenta represents the major source for CRH, fetus abundantly secretes Ucn and adrenal dehydroepiandrosterone in women with preterm birth. The relevant role of neuroendocrine mechanisms in preterm birth is sustained by basic and clinic implications. Copyright © 2010 by The Endocrine Society. Source

Henrich N.,Center for Health Evaluation and Outcome science | Henrich N.,University of British Columbia | Holmes B.,University of British Columbia | Holmes B.,Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, a vaccine was made available to all Canadians. Despite efforts to promote vaccination, the public's intent to vaccinate remained low. In order to better understand the public's resistance to getting vaccinated, this study addressed factors that influenced the public's decision making about uptake. To do this, we used a relatively novel source of qualitative data - comments posted on-line in response to news articles on a particular topic. This study analysed 1,796 comments posted in response to 12 articles dealing with H1N1 vaccine on websites of three major Canadian news sources. Articles were selected based on topic and number of comments. A second objective was to assess the extent to which on-line comments can be used as a reliable data source to capture public attitudes during a health crisis. The following seven themes were mentioned in at least 5% of the comments (% indicates the percentage of comments that included the theme): fear of H1N1 (18.8%); responsibility of media (17.8%); government competency (17.7%); government trustworthiness (10.7%); fear of H1N1 vaccine (8.1%); pharmaceutical companies (7.6%); and personal protective measures (5.8%). It is assumed that the more frequently a theme was mentioned, the more that theme influenced decision making about vaccination. These key themes for the public were often not aligned with the issues and information officials perceived, and conveyed, as relevant in the decision making process. The main themes from the comments were consistent with results from surveys and focus groups addressing similar issues, which suggest that on-line comments do provide a reliable source of qualitative data on attitudes and perceptions of issues that emerge in a health crisis. The insights derived from the comments can contribute to improved communication and policy decisions about vaccination in health crises that incorporate the public's views. © 2011 Henrich, Holmes. Source

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