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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tree of Life

OneZoom: A Fractal Explorer for the Tree of Life

 Division of Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood J. Rosindell
1*L. J. Harmon2

We Can't See the Trees for the Data Top

Our knowledge of the tree of life—a phylogenetic tree summarizing the evolutionary relationships among all life on Earth—is expanding rapidly. “Mega-trees” with millions of tips (species) are expected to appear imminently (for example, see Unfortunately, there has so far been no practical and intuitive way to explore even the much smaller trees with thousands of tips that are now being routinely produced. Without a way to view megatrees, these wondrous objects, representing the culmination of decades of scientific effort, cannot be fully appreciated. The field really needs a solution to this problem to enable scientists to communicate important evolutionary concepts and data effectively, both to each other and to the general public.
Just like Google Earth changed the way people look at geography, a sophisticated tree of life browser could really change the way we look at the life around us . . . Our advances in understanding evolution are moving really fast now, but the tools for looking at these big trees are lagging behind. (Westneat in[1], February 2009)
Displaying large trees is a hard problem that has so far resisted solution. We are still waiting for the equivalent of a Google Maps. (Page in [2], June 2012)
In this manuscript, we introduce a new approach that solves the problem. Trees with millions of tips, richly embellished with additional data, can now be easily explored within the web browser of any modern hardware with a zooming user interface similar to that used in Google Maps./.../


  • Editorial

Exosomes: Cell Garbage Can, Therapeutic Carrier, or Trojan Horse?

  1. Duncan J. Stewart2
+Author Affiliations
  1. 1 University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada;
  2. 2 Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. * Corresponding author; email:


In multicellular organisms, cells communicate with each other via extracellular molecules such as nucleotides, lipids, short peptides, or proteins. These molecules are released in the extracellular space to bind to receptors on other cells, thus modifying intracellular signaling in the recipient cells. In addition to these single molecules, cells also release in their extracellular environment a series of complex structures called membrane vesicles, which contain numerous proteins, lipids, and even nucleic acids1. Although known for several decades to exist, membrane vesicles have long been thought of as mere cell debris. Over the past few years, however, accumulated evidence has shown that vesicles can affect the cells they encounter by acting as signaling vehicles containing a cell-specific cargo of proteins, lipids, and genetic material that are moved to other cells where they alter function and physiology. The topic of extracellular vesicle-mediated cell-cell communication has now blossomed into a full-fledged field of research.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Claudio Marcos da Silveira

Homenagem da OPAS ao grande e inesquecível Claudio Marcos da Silveira, o Foguinho.

Enviado pelo AMICOR Ayrton Fischmann

Remembering Dr. Cláudio Marcos da Silveira
Dr. Cláudio Marcos da Silveira, a Brazilian epidemiologist who played an important role in the implementation of immunization programs in the Americas, passed away on 28 August 2012 after losing a battle with cancer. He was 76.
Dr Silveira graduated in medicine from the Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre in 1967, and completed his residency in psychiatry at St. Peter’s Hospital. Soon after, he became interested in epidemiology and after completing graduate work in public health at the University of São Paulo; he served as a medical epidemiologist in the Epidemiological Control Unit at the Department of Health and Environment of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, between 1969 and 1975.  From 1975 to 1978, he directed the Biological Research Institute, and was part of the group that advocated for polio vaccination and epidemiological surveillance in Brazil. During this period, Dr Silveira also served as a consultant for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Bangladesh, Latin America and Somalia for the Smallpox Eradication Program. During the 1980s, he received his Master’s degree in Biological Sciences, worked on the Malaria Control Program in the Amazon, and was municipal secretary for Health and Human Services in his native city of Porto Alegre.
In the late 1980’s, he joined the Expanded Immunization (EPI) team at the Pan American Health Organization Headquarters in Washington, DC.  During his years working at PAHO headquarters he collaborated in the development and implementation of several immunization strategies that resulted in the regional control and elimination of various vaccine-preventable diseases, notably the regional elimination of polio and measles, and was one of the main architects of the strategy that eliminated neonatal tetanus as a public health problem in most countries of the Americas.
After retiring from PAHO in 1998, he continued to collaborate as a consultant for PAHO, assisting Latin American and Caribbean countries in the preparation of the Action Plan for the laboratory containment of poliovirus and conducting a review of mumps data in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to determine the clinical safety of different mumps vaccines, among other tasks. His most recent activities as a PAHO consultant included participating in evaluations of Immunization Program of Latin American countries.
Dr. Silveira also loved his country and enjoyed his return to work and live there until his death. Because of his strong technical and scientific background, couple with his kindness, easy smile and dedicated work, his absence is already noticeable for those who worked with him, but also for the public health community as well. He will be sorely missed.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2012 08:11

The book publishing industry

Sellected by the AMICOR Maria Inês Reinert Azambuja
Published: October 30, 2012
PARIS - The book publishing industry is starting to get smaller in order to get stronger.
The announcement on Monday that Random House and Penguin would merge narrows the business to a handful of big publishers, and could set off a long-expected round of consolidation as the industry adapts to the digital marketplace.
John Makinson, the chief executive of Penguin who will serve as chairman of the new company, said that with consolidation inevitable, "we decided it was better to get in early rather than be a follower."
In announcing the agreement, the European owners of Random House and Penguin - Bertelsmann and Pearson, respectively - said Bertelsmann would control 53 percent of the combined entity and Pearson 47 percent. In a statement, Bertelsmann said the deal would most likely conclude in the second half of 2013, after approval from regulators.
The merger will create the largest consumer book publisher in the world, with a global market share of more than 25 percent and a book list that includes contemporary best-sellers like Random House's "Fifty Shades of Grey" and Penguin's backlist of classics from authors like George Orwell./.../

Improve Cause-of-Death Reporting

An Intervention to Improve Cause-of-Death Reporting in New York City Hospitals, 2009-2010 CME

Ann Madsen, PhD, MPH; Sayone Thihalolipavan, MD, MPH; Gil Maduro, PhD; Regina Zimmerman, PhD; Ram Koppaka, MD, PhD; Wenhui Li, PhD; Victoria Foster, MPH; Elizabeth Begier, MD, MPH
CME Released: 10/17/2012; Valid for credit through 10/17/2013



Introduction. Poor-quality cause-of-death reporting reduces reliability of mortality statistics used to direct public health efforts. Overreporting of heart disease has been documented in New York City (NYC) and nationwide. Our objective was to evaluate the immediate and longer-term effects of a cause-of-death (COD) educational program that NYC’s health department conducted at 8 hospitals on heart disease reporting and on average conditions per certificate, which are indicators of the quality of COD reporting./.../

State of Public Health in Canada, 2012

The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2012


This report, the Chief Public Health Officer’s fifth on the state of public health in Canada, focuses on how sex and gender influence public health and the health status of Canadians.

Why a report on the state of public health in Canada?

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) has a legislated responsibility to report annually to the Minister of Health and to Parliament on the state of public health.Footnote1 (See the textbox “The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada”) The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the position of Canada’s CPHO were established in 2004 to help protect and improve the health and safety of all Canadians.Footnote1-Footnote3 In 2006, the Public Health Agency of Canada Act confirmed the Agency as a legal entity and further clarified the roles of the CPHO and the Agency.Footnote1 (See the textbox “The role of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.”)/.../
Public health is defined as the organized efforts of society to keep people healthy and prevent injury, illness and premature death. It is the combination of programs, services and policies that protect and promote health.Footnote4

Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing

  • EACPR/AHA Scientific Statement

Clinical Recommendations for Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Data Assessment in Specific Patient Populations

  1. Jonathan Myers13
+Author Affiliations
  1. 1Department of Medical Sciences, Cardiology, I.R.C.C.S. San Donato Hospital, University of Milan, San Donato Milanese, Malan, 2, 20097, Milan, Italy
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, University Leipzig–Heart Center Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  3. 3Department of Cardiology, Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium
  4. 4Department of Prevention and Sports Medicine, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany; Munich Heart Association, Munich, Germany
  5. 5Exercise Pathophysiology Laboratory, Cardiac Rehabilitation Division, S. Maugeri Foundation IRCCS, Scientific Institute of Veruno, Veruno (NO), Italy
  6. 6Research Centre for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Rehabilitation, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Leuven, Belgium
  7. 7Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation – Division of Physical Therapy and Department of Internal Medicine – Division of Cardiology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA
  8. 8Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL, USA
  9. 9Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
  10. 10Department of Medicine, Section on Cardiology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
  11. 11Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, Ochsner Clinical School, The University of Queensland School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA
  12. 12Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA, USA
  13. 13Division of Cardiology, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA.
  1. *Corresponding author. Tel: +39 02 52774966, Fax: +39 02 52774966,
Key Words:
  • AHA Scientific Statements
  • exercise testing
  • ***********************************
  • Introduction

    From an evidence-based perspective, cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPX) is a well-supported assessment technique in both the United States (US) and Europe. The combination of standard exercise testing (ET) (ie, progressive exercise provocation in association with serial electrocardiograms [ECG], hemodynamics, oxygen saturation, and subjective symptoms) and measurement of ventilatory gas exchange amounts to a superior method to: 1) accurately quantify cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), 2) delineate the physiologic system(s) underlying exercise responses, which can be applied as a means to identify the exercise-limiting pathophysiologic mechanism(s) and/or performance differences, and 3) formulate function-based prognostic stratification. Cardiopulmonary ET certainly carries an additional cost as well as competency requirements and is not an essential component of evaluation in all patient populations. However, there are several conditions of confirmed, suspected, or unknown etiology where the data gained from this form of ET is highly valuable in terms of clinical decision making.1/.../

Statins x DM

  • Cardiology Patient Page

Statins and Risk of New-Onset Diabetes Mellitus

  1. Allison B. Goldfine, MD
+Author Affiliations
  1. From the Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (R.V.S.); and Joslin Diabetes Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (A.B.G.).
  1. Correspondence to Allison B. Goldfine, MD, Harvard Medical School, Joslin Diabetes Center, One Joslin Place, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA 02215. E-mail
For any prescription drug, the potential benefits to health must be balanced against potential risks. Understanding these potential risks can help physicians and patients make informed decisions on whether to use a medication. Recently, statins, a class of medications prescribed to treat high cholesterol levels, have been found to modestly increase the risk of developing diabetes mellitus. It is clear that statins can prevent future major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke, and deaths from cardiovascular causes, in patients who have had a previous heart attack or those with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. However, the associations between diabetes mellitus and statin use have raised concerns over the widespread use of statin medications in patients at lower risk for cardiovascular disease. In this Patient Page, we describe the indications for statin therapy, the most common adverse effects, and recent concerns about new-onset diabetes mellitus to help patients and providers make more informed decisions about the use of this important class of medications in at-risk individuals.

Why Should High Cholesterol Be Treated?