From heterogeneity to harmonization? : Recent trends in European health policy = Da heterogeneidade à harmonização?
- In the European Union (EU), health policy and the institutional reform of health systems have been treated primarily as national affairs, and health care systems within the EU thus differ considerably. However, the health policy field is undergoing a dynamic process of Europeanization. This process is stimulated by the orientation towards a more competitive economy, recently inaugurated and known as the Lisbon Strategy, while the regulatory requirements of the European Economic and Monetary Union are stimulating the Europeanization of health policy. In addition, the so-called open method of coordination, representing a new mode of regulation within the European multi-level system, is applied increasingly to the health policy area. Diverse trends are thus emerging. While the Lisbon Strategy goes along with a strategic upgrading of health policy more generally, health policy is increasingly used to strengthen economic competitiveness. Pressure on Member States is expected to increase to contain costs and promote market-based health care provision. European Union; Health Policy; Health Systems
Response properties of human amygdala subregions : evidence based on functional MRI combined with probabilistic anatomical maps
Simon B. Eickhoff
- The human amygdala is thought to play a pivotal role in the processing of emotionally significant sensory information. The major subdivisions of the human amygdala—the laterobasal group (LB), the superficial group (SF), and the centromedial group (CM)—have been anatomically delineated, but the functional response properties of these amygdala subregions in humans are still unclear. We combined functional MRI with cyto-architectonically defined probabilistic maps to analyze the response characteristics of amygdala subregions in subjects presented with auditory stimuli. We found positive auditory stimulation-related signal changes predominantly in probabilistically defined LB, and negative responses predominantly in SF and CM. In the left amygdala, mean response magnitude in the core area of LB with 90–100% assignment probability was significantly larger than in the core areas of SF and CM. These differences were observed for pleasant and unpleasant stimuli. Our findings reveal that the probabilistically defined anatomical subregions of the human amygdala show distinctive fMRI response patterns. The stronger auditory responses in LB as compared with SF and CM may reflect a predominance of auditory inputs to human LB, similar to many animal species in which the majority of sensory, including auditory, afferents project to this subdivision of the amygdala. Our study indicates that the intrinsic functional differentiation of the human amygdala may be probed using fMRI combined with probabilistic anatomical maps.
Sublinearly space bounded iterative arrays
- Iterative arrays (IAs) are a, parallel computational model with a sequential processing of the input. They are one-dimensional arrays of interacting identical deterministic finite automata. In this note, realtime-lAs with sublinear space bounds are used to accept formal languages. The existence of a proper hierarchy of space complexity classes between logarithmic anel linear space bounds is proved. Furthermore, an optimal spacc lower bound for non-regular language recognition is shown. Key words: Iterative arrays, cellular automata, space bounded computations, decidability questions, formal languages, theory of computation
Heat shock inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced tissue factor activity in human whole blood
- Background During gram-negative sepsis, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces tissue factor expression on monocytes. The resulting disseminated intravascular coagulation leads to tissue ischemia and worsens the prognosis of septic patients. There are indications, that fever reduces the mortality of sepsis, the effect on tissue factor activity on monocytes is unknown. Therefore, we investigated whether heat shock modulates LPS-induced tissue factor activity in human blood. Methods Whole blood samples and leukocyte suspensions, respectively, from healthy probands (n = 12) were incubated with LPS for 2 hours under heat shock conditions (43°C) or control conditions (37°C), respectively. Subsequent to further 3 hours of incubation at 37°C the clotting time, a measure of tissue factor expression, was determined. Cell integrity was verified by trypan blue exclusion test and FACS analysis. Results Incubation of whole blood samples with LPS for 5 hours at normothermia resulted in a significant shortening of clotting time from 357 ± 108 sec to 82 ± 8 sec compared to samples incubated without LPS (n = 12; p < 0.05). This LPS effect was mediated by tissue factor, as inhibition with active site-inhibited factor VIIa (ASIS) abolished the effect of LPS on clotting time. Blockade of protein synthesis using cycloheximide demonstrated that LPS exerted its procoagulatory effect via an induction of tissue factor expression. Upon heat shock treatment, the LPS effect was blunted: clotting times were 312 ± 66 s in absence of LPS and 277 ± 65 s in presence of LPS (n = 8; p > 0.05). Similarly, heat shock treatment of leukocyte suspensions abolished the LPS-induced tissue factor activity. Clotting time was 73 ± 31 s, when cells were treated with LPS (100 ng/mL) under normothermic conditions, and 301 ± 118 s, when treated with LPS (100 ng/mL) and heat shock (n = 8, p < 0.05). Control experiments excluded cell damage as a potential cause of the observed heat shock effect. Conclusion Heat shock treatment inhibits LPS-induced tissue factor activity in human whole blood samples and isolated leukocytes.
CpG oligonucleotide activates Toll-like receptor 9 and causes lung inflammation in vivo
- Background Bacterial DNA containing motifs of unmethylated CpG dinucleotides (CpG-ODN) initiate an innate immune response mediated by the pattern recognition receptor Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9). This leads in particular to the expression of proinflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta). TLR9 is expressed in human and murine pulmonary tissue and induction of proinflammatory mediators has been linked to the development of acute lung injury. Therefore, the hypothesis was tested whether CpG-ODN administration induces an inflammatory response in the lung via TLR9 in vivo. Methods Wild-type (WT) and TLR9-deficient (TLR9-D) mice received CpG-ODN intraperitoneally (1668-Thioat, 1 nmol/g BW) and were observed for up to 6 hrs. Lung tissue and plasma samples were taken and various inflammatory markers were measured. Results In WT mice, CpG-ODN induced a strong activation of pulmonary NFKB as well as a significant increase in pulmonary TNF-alpha and IL-1beta mRNA/protein. In addition, cytokine serum levels were significantly elevated in WT mice. Increased pulmonary content of lung myeloperoxidase (MPO) was documented in WT mice following application of CpG-ODN. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) revealed that CpG-ODN stimulation significantly increased total cell number as well as neutrophil count in WT animals. In contrast, the CpG-ODN-induced inflammatory response was abolished in TLR9-D mice. Conclusion This study suggests that bacterial CpG-ODN causes lung inflammation via TLR9.
A method for improving the performance of gradient systems for diffusion-weighted MRI
Daniel C. Alexander
- The MR signal is sensitive to diffusion. This effect can be increased by the use of large, balanced bipolar gradients. The gradient systems of MR scanners are calibrated at installation and during regular servicing visits. Because the measured apparent diffusion constant (ADC) depends on the square of the amplitude of the diffusion sensitizing gradients, errors in the gradient calibration are exaggerated. If the error is varying among the different gradient axes, it will affect the estimated degree of anisotropy. To assess the gradient calibration accuracy in a whole-body MRI scanner, ADC values were calculated for a uniform water phantom along each gradient direction while monitoring the temperature. Knowledge of the temperature allows the expected diffusion constant of water to be calculated independent of the MRI measurement. It was found that the gradient axes (±x, ±y, ±z) were calibrated differently, resulting in offset ADC values. A method is presented to rescale the amplitude of each of the six principal gradient axes within the MR pulse sequence. The scaling factor is the square root of the ratio of the expected and observed diffusion constants. In addition, fiber tracking results in the human brain were noticeably affected by improving the gradient system calibration. Magn Reson Med 58:763–768, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Keywords: diffusion tensor imaging, apparent diffusion constant, magnetic field gradient, fibre tracking, anisotropy
Validation and data characteristics of methane and nitrous oxide profiles observed by MIPAS and processed with Version 4.61 algorithm
Claude C. Camy-Peyret
Martine De Mazière
- The ENVISAT validation programme for the atmospheric instruments MIPAS, SCIAMACHY and GOMOS is based on a number of balloon-borne, aircraft, satellite and ground-based correlative measurements. In particular the activities of validation scientists were coordinated by ESA within the ENVISAT Stratospheric Aircraft and Balloon Campaign or ESABC. As part of a series of similar papers on other species [this issue] and in parallel to the contribution of the individual validation teams, the present paper provides a synthesis of comparisons performed between MIPAS CH4 and N2O profiles produced by the current ESA operational software (Instrument Processing Facility version 4.61 or IPF v4.61, full resolution MIPAS data covering the period 9 July 2002 to 26 March 2004) and correlative measurements obtained from balloon and aircraft experiments as well as from satellite sensors or from ground-based instruments. In the middle stratosphere, no significant bias is observed between MIPAS and correlative measurements, and MIPAS is providing a very consistent and global picture of the distribution of CH4 and N2O in this region. In average, the MIPAS CH4 values show a small positive bias in the lower stratosphere of about 5%. A similar situation is observed for N2O with a positive bias of 4%. In the lower stratosphere/upper troposphere (UT/LS) the individual used MIPAS data version 4.61 still exhibits some unphysical oscillations in individual CH4 and N2O profiles caused by the processing algorithm (with almost no regularization). Taking these problems into account, the MIPAS CH4 and N2O profiles are behaving as expected from the internal error estimation of IPF v4.61 and the estimated errors of the correlative measurements.
Yearbook : 2006/2007 / Institute for Law and Finance, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Distinct causal influences of parietal versus frontal areas on human visual cortex: evidence from concurrent TMS-fMRI
Christian C. Ruff
- It has often been proposed that regions of the human parietal and/or frontal lobe may modulate activity in visual cortex, for example, during selective attention or saccade preparation. However, direct evidence for such causal claims is largely missing in human studies, and it remains unclear to what degree the putative roles of parietal and frontal regions in modulating visual cortex may differ. Here we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) concurrently, to show that stimulating right human intraparietal sulcus (IPS, at a site previously implicated in attention) elicits a pattern of activity changes in visual cortex that strongly depends on current visual context. Increased intensity of IPS TMS affected the blood oxygen level–dependent (BOLD) signal in V5/MT+ only when moving stimuli were present to drive this visual region, whereas TMS-elicited BOLD signal changes were observed in areas V1–V4 only during the absence of visual input. These influences of IPS TMS upon remote visual cortex differed significantly from corresponding effects of frontal (eye field) TMS, in terms of how they related to current visual input and their spatial topography for retinotopic areas V1–V4. Our results show directly that parietal and frontal regions can indeed have distinct patterns of causal influence upon functional activity in human visual cortex. Key words: attention, frontal cortex, functional magnetic resonance imaging, parietal cortex, top--down, transcranial magnetic stimulation
Parton recombination and fluctuations of conserved charges
- We study various fluctuation and correlation signals of the deconfined state using a dynamical recombination approach (quark Molecular Dynamics, qMD). We analyse charge ratio fluctuations, charge transfer fluctuations and baryon-strangeness correlations as a function of the center of mass energy with a set of central Pb+Pb/Au+Au events from AGS energies on (Elab = 4 AGeV) up to the highest RHIC energy available (V sNN = 200 GeV) and as a function of time with a set of central Au+Au qMD events at V sNN = 200 GeV with and without applying our hadronization procedure. For all studied quantities, the results start from values compatible with a weakly coupled QGP in the early stage and end with values compatible with the hadronic result in the final state. We show that the loss of the signal occurs at the same time as hadronization and trace it back to the dynamical recombination process implemented in our model.