The effectiveness of orthosis as a treatment for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Orthosis is a non-invasive method of treatment for patients with scoliosis, in which prescribed individuals undergo correction of spinal misalignment with the support of a brace. For Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) specifically, which occurs in youth during critical stages of bone development, it is essential to improve the spine’s condition as much as possible before the body fully matures. Although orthosis does not aim to correct the misalignment, it has been proven that bracing will aid in slowing down the progression of deformity. However, a common concern is that the spinal curve will regress back to its original state upon removal of the brace at the end of the treatment period. The aim of this paper therefore is to determine the capabilities of orthosis as a standalone intervention for patients with AIS. A systematic review was performed by consulting the search engines of PubMed Google Scholar and JSTOR, as well as the databases of Medline and OVID. Clinical studies were limited to cohort trials published within the last twenty years which targeted populations of youth to determine the Cobb angle’s rate of progression, regression, and spinal curvature of these patients. When comparing orthosis treatment conditions to the absence of intervention in both short-term and long-term cases, it was evident that there are benefits to the corrective forces applied by the brace that outweigh potential drawbacks. Thus, orthosis has been found to significantly decrease the Cobb angle, making it an effective tool for spinal correction.

“Playing breathalyser roulette”: Taking a breath sample without reasonable suspicion and Charter implications

Various organizations and governments throughout Canada have attempted to reduce impaired driving through public awareness campaigns as well as governmental policy. In September 2018 the Government of Canada amended the Criminal Code of Canada [Code] using Bill C-46, increasing the powers of peace officers. Code Section 320.27(2) now allows peace officers to request a breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver without needing reasonable suspicion of impairment. The legislation is aimed at preventing drivers from playing “breathalyser roulette” (Solomon & Chamberlain, 2018, p. 5) and the perception that they can conceal their drinking successfully and thus will be unlikely to be required by a peace officer to take a breathalyser test to assess sobriety. Aspects of the legislation however, may be incompatible with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [Charter]. This paper analyses whether or not Code Section 320.27(2) is compatible with Section 8 of the Charter that protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure. As a future legal challenge is highly possible, this analysis was conducted to evaluate if the legislation is likely to be upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). It was determined after legal analysis that although Code Section 320.27(2) is likely not compatible with the Charter as it fails to pass the reasonableness standard as found in R v Bernshaw (1995), it will probably be upheld as a reasonable limit under Section 1 of the Charter after Oakes Test analysis, a legal test to evaluate whether legislation is a reasonable limit or unconstitutional. The legislation is as minimally impairing on Charter rights as possible and helps to achieve a pressing and substantial legislative objective. Oakes Test analysis however, would be impacted if the Government fails show compelling evidence in justifying why the infringements on Charter rights is necessary for public safety. This legislation, upheld as a reasonable limit, will allow peace officers to request breathalyser samples in more cases, which will hopefully further deter impaired driving.

Effects of antibiotics on colonic neurons of the myenteric plexus in wild Peromyscus mice

A community of trillions of commensal bacteria inhabit the gastrointestinal tract, collectively known as the intestinal microbiota. The gut microbes are essential for the development and functioning of the enteric nervous system. Approximately two-thirds of the cell bodies of all enteric neurons are gathered in the myenteric plexus, an intricate network of neurons and glial cells that primarily regulate gut neuromuscular activity. Studies in laboratory mice have observed that antibiotic treatment leads to a reduction in microbial abundance and diversity within the intestine, and these findings are correlated with enteric nervous system structural abnormalities. Specifically, antibiotic-treated mice have an abnormal myenteric plexus, which is characterized by a reduction in myenteric neuron numbers and ganglia area. However, it is unknown whether these effects occur in wild Peromyscus mice that are exposed to a natural bacterial flora. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of antibiotic exposure on the colonic neurons of the myenteric plexus in wild Peromyscus mice. Thirty-two wild-caught adult male Peromyscus mice were divided into control and antibiotic-treated groups. Whole mount preparations of longitudinal muscle with adherent myenteric plexus were prepared and alterations in colonic neuron and ganglia numbers were assessed by immunohistochemistry analysis. Antibiotic-treatment reduced the total number of colonic enteric neurons/mm2 and the total number of ganglia per myenteric plexus. Our results suggest that antibiotic-induced microbial dysbiosis affects the colonic neurons and ganglia of wild Peromyscus mice similarly to laboratory mice. We showed that the antibiotic-driven changes in neuronal density and ganglia arrangement are inducible in wild Peromyscus species that are exposed to real world bacteria.

ApoA-I deficiency enhances acute inflammatory responses after experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

Cerebral vascular injury is a common phenomenon after traumatic brain injury (TBI), with complications including vascular inflammation, decreased cerebral blood flow, and increased vessel tortuosity. Promoting cerebrovascular health may therefore be a useful therapeutic intervention after TBI. ApoA-I, the major protein constituent of circulating high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are an attractive target due to its vasoprotective and anti-inflammatory roles in periphery vessels, but little is known on whether these benefits extend to the brain. To address this gap in knowledge, this study was designed to test the novel hypothesis that ApoA-I deficiency would worsen acute vascular and inflammatory outcomes in mice after Closed-Head Impact Model of Engineered Rotational Acceleration (CHIMERA) TBI. ApoA-I Knockout (ApoA-I KO) and WT mice underwent single moderate-severe TBI. Histopathological outcomes at 6hr and 2 days (2D) post-injury were assessed. ApoA-I KO mice exhibited greater Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1 (ICAM-1), a marker for vascular permeability, in the cortex at 2D post-TBI compared to WT controls, and a subtle increase in brain pro-inflammatory cytokine levels. These results suggest the role of ApoA-I in protecting against TBI induced inflammation.

Diatom analysis: Reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, and impact of modern research

The purpose of this paper is to review the theoretical and laboratory techniques which underpin diatom analysis and its ability to help determine death by drowning in a forensic context. Diatom analysis involves the recovery of diatoms (unicellular algae present in most natural bodies of water) which may be inhaled as part of a drowning medium (water) by an individual who has drowned prior to death. This literature review evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the diatom analysis technique in the forensic context and evaluates recent research to discern whether it can be considered a reliable and valid forensic technique today. It is important to establish clarity, as much of the original research conducted throughout the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s have conflicting conclusions regarding the validity and reliability of diatom analysis. This literature review will show that modern research techniques used as part of the diatom analysis method have been able to reduce false positive results, increased the ability to distinguish between true and false positives, and found ways to mitigate many of the weaknesses noted in earlier research. Although some weaknesses such as diatom introduction into bodies prior to death and some details surrounding false positive results remain outstanding concerns, it can be seen in the literature that, when combined with existing strengths like seasonal variability and environmental specificity, diatom analysis is a valuable forensic tool, whose reliability has been strengthened by modern research, and can be relied upon to establish a definitive diagnosis of death by drowning.

Historical perspectives on neurodevelopmental disorders: the merging of us and them

Attitudes towards neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) have transformed and fluctuated throughout history, often reflecting the societal culture of the time. Although individuals with NDDs are presently more valued than they have ever been, there are historic and current perspectives and events which have propelled the study of NDDs in both positive and negative directions. The notion of disability originated in Antiquity, where infants with “physical deformities” were deemed unworthy of societal membership. Despite later community inclusion in the Middle Ages, disability was perceived to result from demonic possession or punishment. Subsequently, individuals with NDDs were placed in institutions designed for physical and social isolation. The Enlightenment marked the first positive shift in attitudes and treatment towards those with disabilities, as proponents advocated for the removal of inhumane institutional conditions. The humane movement, moreover, contrasted the long-held belief that individuals with disabilities were “inferior” and “dumb” by illustrating that children with NDDs were capable of learning and worthy of education. The Industrial Revolution reversed these progressive ideas by associating disability with inefficiency. Further, during World War II (WWII), the eugenics movement propagated the belief that NDDs blemished a strong nation, which inculcated widespread support for the forced sterilization and mass murder of individuals with NDDs. Global legislation was instated post-war to protect the rights of those with NDDs. These progressive ideas, originating from the humane movement, fostered the many educational methodologies and opportunities now available for children with NDDs. Though current perspectives towards NDDs have vastly improved, there is greater confusion regarding the moral implications of advancing research in biotechnology for genetic engineering and testing. While benefits exist, there is a potential for the emergence of a modern eugenics movement in the 21st century. The obscurity of this dilemma poses serious moral questions that must be considered within the historical context of perspectives on NDDs.

Adolescent cancer patient referral patterns in British Columbia

Recent studies have suggested that adolescent cancer may have better survival outcomes when treated at paediatric centres, which better emphasize enrolment in clinical trials and have more capacity to support the social and emotional needs of adolescents. This study investigated 616 cancer cases in adolescents aged 15-18 from 1995 to 2010 in British Columbia, Canada with data from the Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer Survivors Research (CAYACS) Program of the BC Cancer Research Agency (BCCA). This study examined whether referrals to the adult centres BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) or BCCA were influenced by age, socioeconomic status, rurality, seasonality, radiotherapy treatment, different diagnoses based on the International Classification of Childhood Cancer (ICCC), and driving time to each centre. Between 1995 and 2010, only 27% of adolescent cancer patients in BC were referred to the BCCH, the only paediatric oncology centre in BC. Rural patients might have limited accessibility to BCCH, despite referral, due to travel restrictions and costs. As a result, patients are less likely to be referred to their closest cancer treatment centre as driving time increases (OR 0.995, P= 1.9e-10). Odds ratios of each modifier to BCCA or BCCH were calculated using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models in R Studio 3.5.1. Overall, 80% of younger adolescent (age 15-16) were referred to BCCH and only 14% of older adolescents (age 17-18) were referred to BCCH, which suggested that older adolescents were less likely than younger adolescents to be referred to BCCH (P= <2e-16). Additionally, leukaemia and Central Nervous System (CNS) cancer patients were more likely than all other patients to be referred to BCCH (P= 0.0014). The study of referral patterns is an essential factor when determining adolescent cancer survival rate.

Nanomedicine: the use of nanoparticles to treat acute traumatic spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are difficult to treat without using traditional invasive methods that are not always precise or efficient. Traditional methods used to treat SCIs often involve targeting a broad area in close proximity to the specific locality of the injury as opposed to direct targeting. Recent studies suggest the use of nanoparticles can be a viable way to treat SCIs. Nanoparticles are nanotechnological devices that operate on a nanometre (1x 10-9m) scale, varying in dimension from 1-100nm. They can be designed to target an assigned area with a high degree of specificity, thus ensuring that the affected area is treated with maximum proficiency. This article will explore the properties of silica nanoparticles, polymer nanoparticles, and chondroitinase ABC-(chABC)-releasing nanoparticles to determine whether they present a non-invasive alternative treatment for acute traumatic spinal cord injuries (tSCIs). A review of the literature suggests that the use of multifunctional silica-polymer nanoparticles can plausibly treat SCIs by maximizing the beneficial characteristics of both materials. Silica nanoparticles have a zero-order drug-releasing property which provides efficacious targeting, and when combined with polyethylene glycol (PEG) this polymer increases aqueous stability and retention of the nanoparticle, which protects the loaded drug when it crosses the blood-brain barrier to target the SCI. In addition, chABC-releasing nanoparticles show promising results in treating SCIs due to their ability to remove glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and promote nerve regeneration, potentially decreasing the healing time of SCIs. Overall, the application of nanoparticles provides a potential non-invasive treatment method for SCIs in mice models. However, further research needs to be done to explore the potential medical applications of nanoparticles regarding human SCIs.

Variation in the efficacy of remote cameras used to monitor wildlife

Wildlife cameras allow conservation scientists to monitor wildlife. However, there are performance limitations associated with wildlife cameras that must be understood prior to their use. This study compared two wildlife camera models, the Spypoint Solar Trail and the Reconyx Hyperfire 2, on behalf of Calgary Captured, a collaborative project between the Miistakis Institute and the City of Calgary to determine wildlife occupancy in Calgary’s Natural Area Parks. The camera models were set up in pairs at 10 sites. There was no significant difference in detections of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) or coyotes (Canis latrans) by either model, but the Reconyx cameras successfully captured two species that the Spypoint model failed to detect: bobcat (Lynx rufus) and deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). The Reconyx cameras had fewer trap days because the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries supplied by Calgary Captured consistently failed in cold weather, whereas the Spypoint cameras’ solar panels continued to function through the duration of the study. Despite having had fewer trap days, the Reconyx cameras captured more species than did the Spypoint cameras. There was no significant difference in the number of false positives and false negatives produced by the two models, but only the Spypoint cameras produced malfunctioned images. For projects like Calgary Captured, the Reconyx Hyperfire 2 is a more effective camera model than the Spypoint Solar Trail because it captures more species and is less prone to malfunction. The results of this study also highlight the importance of choosing appropriate batteries and settings for the camera model in question to ensure successful use.

Body dysmorphic disorder and face processing

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental disorder where an individual becomes so fixated on an exaggerated flaw in their image that it interferes with their daily lives. Current research shows that patients with BDD have deficits in visually processing faces and bodies, such that they rely on local (detail-oriented) processing. By contrast, the typical person processes faces as a whole using global (holistic) processing. This reliance on local processing may be a mechanism through which patients with BDD focus on minute flaws in their appearance, exacerbating their symptomatology. Furthermore, patients with BDD are more likely to incorrectly perceive others’ facial expressions as being negative, further contributing to their emotional symptoms. Well-known treatments for BDD, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy, are effective, but do not target the patient’s visual processing deficits. Targeting the visual processing deficits could help alleviate the symptoms of BDD and decrease the chances of relapse. Future research should target BDD’s distressing symptoms and visual processing deficits, creating a better treatment program.