The choice of appropriate animal models for the initial in vivo testing of potential anticonvulsant compounds is one of the most important steps in the successful search for new antiepileptic drugs. The purpose of this paper is to describe the most important aspects to take into account when performing the maximal electroshock seizure (MES) test in the routine laboratory screening of new antiepileptics: the conventional and threshold MES test experimental procedures, the factors affecting experimental data (laboratory conditions, administration vehicles and drug formulations, time after drug administration, and stimulus duration and site of stimulation) and the assessment of anticonvulsant activity are discussed.
Recombinant human insulin was encapsulated within alginate microspheres by the emulsification/internal gelation technique with the objective of preserving protein stability during encapsulation procedure. The influence of process and formulation parameters was evaluated on the morphology and encapsulation efficiency of insulin. The in vitro release of insulin from microspheres was studied under simulated gastrointestinal conditions and the in vivo activity of protein after processing was assessed by subcutaneous administration of extracted insulin from microspheres to streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Microspheres mean diameter, ranging from 21 to 287 m, decreased with the internal phase ratio, emulsifier concentration, mixer rotational speed and increased with alginate concentration. Insulin encapsulation efficiency, near 75%, was not affected by emulsifier concentration, mixer rotational speed and zinc/insulin hexamer molar ratio but decreased either by increasing internal phase ratio and calcium/alginate mass ratio or by decreasing acid/calcium molar ratio and alginate concentration. A high insulin release, above 75%, was obtained at pH 1.2 and under simulated intestinal pH a complete dissolution of microspheres occurred. Extracted insulin from microspheres decreased hyperglycemia of diabetic rats proving to be bioactive and showing that encapsulation in alginate microspheres using the emulsification/internal gelation is an appropriate method for protein encapsulation.
Colorectal polyps are important precursors to colon cancer, a major health problem. Colon capsule endoscopy is a safe and minimally invasive examination procedure, in which the images of the intestine are obtained via digital cameras on board of a small capsule ingested by a patient. The video sequence is then analyzed for the presence of polyps. We propose an algorithm that relieves the labor of a human operator analyzing the frames in the video sequence. The algorithm acts as a binary classifier, which labels the frame as either containing polyps or not, based on the geometrical analysis and the texture content of the frame.We assume that the polyps are characterized as protrusions that are mostly round in shape. Thus, a best fit ball radius is used as a decision parameter of the classifier. We present a statistical performance evaluation of our approach on a data set containing over 18 900 frames from the endoscopic video sequences of five adult patients. The algorithm achieves 47% sensitivity per frame and 81% sensitivity per polyp at a specificity level of 90%. On average, with a video sequence length of 3747 frames, only 367 false positive frames need to be inspected by an operator.
Sperm storage in males and females was studied for the deepwater shark Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis. In males, sperm is stored in the seminal vesicle from early maturity stages until mating. The epithelium of the seminal vesicle secretes an acid mucopolysaccharide that might preserve sperm until it is released. The oviducal gland (OG) presents the four distinct zones described for other elasmobranchs: club, papillary, baffle and terminal. Mature, pregnant, resting and regenerating females are able to store sperm in the terminal zone. Sperm was found within sperm storage tubules (SSTs), involved by a secretory matrix. The localization of SSTs deeper in the OG suggests long-term sperm storage, which is in agreement with the long reproductive cycle described for this species. Sperm storage is an advantage for this deepwater species that presents sexual segregation and lives in a food-constrained environment, increasing the efficiency in reproduction.
Since the start of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in December 2019, pharmacists worldwide are playing a key role adopting innovative strategies to minimize the adverse impact of the pandemic.
To identify and describe core services provided by the pharmacist during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A literature search was performed in MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, and LILACS for studies published between December 1st, 2019 and May 20th, 2020 without language restriction. Studies that reported services provided by pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic were included. Two independent authors performed study selection and data extraction with a consensus process. The pharmacist's intervention identified in the included studies were described based on key domains in the DEPICT v.2.
A total of 1,189 records were identified, of which 11 studies fully met the eligibility criteria. Most of them were conducted in the United States of America (n=4) and China (n=4). The most common type of publication were letters (n=4) describing the workplace of the pharmacist in hospitals (n=8). These findings showed the different roles of pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as disease prevention and infection control, adequate storage and drug supply, patient care and support for healthcare professionals. Pharmacists' interventions were mostly conducted for healthcare professionals and patients (n=7), through one-to-one contact (n=11), telephone (n=6) or video conference (n=5). The pharmacists' main responsibility was to provide drug information for healthcare professionals (n=7) as well as patient counseling (n=8).
A reasonable number of studies that described the role of the pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic were found. All studies reported actions taken by pharmacists, although without providing a satisfactory description. Thus, future research with more detailed description as well as an evaluation of the impact of pharmacist intervention is needed in order to guide future actions in this and-or other pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19; pharmacists; pharmaceutical services; review
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