Year of publication
- Methodik (2002)
- Die vegetationskundliche und strukturelle Zuordnung der Lebensraumtypen erfolgt nach der vorrangig von Braun-Blanquet entwickelten Vegetationsklassifizierung, einer hierarchischen Gliederung der Vegetationstypen (Syntaxonomie), die die Ebenen der Assoziation, des Verbandes, der Ordnung und der Klasse umfasst. Hierbei ist die Assoziation die grundlegende Einheit, in der die Pflanzengesellschaften zusammengefasst werden, die sich durch gleiche charakteristische Arten(gruppen)kombinationen auszeichnen. Der Verband vereinigt ähnliche Assoziationen. Das sind bereits umfassendere, jedoch standörtlich noch recht einheitliche Vegetationseinheiten. In Ordnungen werden ähnliche Verbände zusammengefasst. Die Klasse vereinigt ähnliche Ordnungen.
- Contrasting disease patterns in seropositive and seronegative neuromyelitis optica: A multicentre study of 175 patients (2012)
- BACKGROUND: The diagnostic and pathophysiological relevance of antibodies to aquaporin-4 (AQP4-Ab) in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) has been intensively studied. However, little is known so far about the clinical impact of AQP4-Ab seropositivity. OBJECTIVE: To analyse systematically the clinical and paraclinical features associated with NMO spectrum disorders in Caucasians in a stratified fashion according to the patients' AQP4-Ab serostatus. METHODS: Retrospective study of 175 Caucasian patients (AQP4-Ab positive in 78.3%). RESULTS: Seropositive patients were found to be predominantly female (p < 0.0003), to more often have signs of co-existing autoimmunity (p < 0.00001), and to experience more severe clinical attacks. A visual acuity of ≤ 0.1 during acute optic neuritis (ON) attacks was more frequent among seropositives (p < 0.002). Similarly, motor symptoms were more common in seropositive patients, the median Medical Research Council scale (MRC) grade worse, and MRC grades ≤ 2 more frequent, in particular if patients met the 2006 revised criteria (p < 0.005, p < 0.006 and p < 0.01, respectively), the total spinal cord lesion load was higher (p < 0.006), and lesions ≥ 6 vertebral segments as well as entire spinal cord involvement more frequent (p < 0.003 and p < 0.043). By contrast, bilateral ON at onset was more common in seronegatives (p < 0.007), as was simultaneous ON and myelitis (p < 0.001); accordingly, the time to diagnosis of NMO was shorter in the seronegative group (p < 0.029). The course of disease was more often monophasic in seronegatives (p < 0.008). Seropositives and seronegatives did not differ significantly with regard to age at onset, time to relapse, annualized relapse rates, outcome from relapse (complete, partial, no recovery), annualized EDSS increase, mortality rate, supratentorial brain lesions, brainstem lesions, history of carcinoma, frequency of preceding infections, oligoclonal bands, or CSF pleocytosis. Both the time to relapse and the time to diagnosis was longer if the disease started with ON (p < 0.002 and p < 0.013). Motor symptoms or tetraparesis at first myelitis and > 1 myelitis attacks in the first year were identified as possible predictors of a worse outcome. CONCLUSION: This study provides an overview of the clinical and paraclinical features of NMOSD in Caucasians and demonstrates a number of distinct disease characteristics in seropositive and seronegative patients
- Results from the CERN pilot CLOUD experiment (2010)
- During a 4-week run in October–November 2006, a pilot experiment was performed at the CERN Proton Synchrotron in preparation for the Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets (CLOUD) experiment, whose aim is to study the possible influence of cosmic rays on clouds. The purpose of the pilot experiment was firstly to carry out exploratory measurements of the effect of ionising particle radiation on aerosol formation from trace H2SO4 vapour and secondly to provide technical input for the CLOUD design. A total of 44 nucleation bursts were produced and recorded, with formation rates of particles above the 3 nm detection threshold of between 0.1 and 100 cm -3 s -1, and growth rates between 2 and 37 nm h -1. The corresponding H2O concentrations were typically around 106 cm -3 or less. The experimentally-measured formation rates and htwosofour concentrations are comparable to those found in the atmosphere, supporting the idea that sulphuric acid is involved in the nucleation of atmospheric aerosols. However, sulphuric acid alone is not able to explain the observed rapid growth rates, which suggests the presence of additional trace vapours in the aerosol chamber, whose identity is unknown. By analysing the charged fraction, a few of the aerosol bursts appear to have a contribution from ion-induced nucleation and ion-ion recombination to form neutral clusters. Some indications were also found for the accelerator beam timing and intensity to influence the aerosol particle formation rate at the highest experimental SO2 concentrations of 6 ppb, although none was found at lower concentrations. Overall, the exploratory measurements provide suggestive evidence for ion-induced nucleation or ion-ion recombination as sources of aerosol particles. However in order to quantify the conditions under which ion processes become significant, improvements are needed in controlling the experimental variables and in the reproducibility of the experiments. Finally, concerning technical aspects, the most important lessons for the CLOUD design include the stringent requirement of internal cleanliness of the aerosol chamber, as well as maintenance of extremely stable temperatures (variations below 0.1 °C)
- Results from the CERN pilot CLOUD experiment (2009)
- During a 4-week run in October–November 2006, a pilot experiment was performed at the CERN Proton Synchrotron in preparation for the CLOUD1 experiment, whose aim is to study the possible influence of cosmic rays on clouds. The purpose of the pilot experiment was firstly to carry out exploratory measurements of the effect of ionising particle radiation on aerosol formation from trace H2SO4 vapour and secondly to provide technical input for the CLOUD design. A total of 44 nucleation bursts were produced and recorded, with formation rates of particles above the 3 nm detection threshold of between 0.1 and 100 cm−3s−1, and growth rates between 2 and 37 nm h−1. The corresponding H2SO4 concentrations were typically around 106 cm−3 or less. The experimentally-measured formation rates and H2SO4 concentrations are comparable to those found in the atmosphere, supporting the idea that sulphuric acid is involved in the nucleation of atmospheric aerosols. However, sulphuric acid alone is not able to explain the observed rapid growth rates, which suggests the presence of additional trace vapours in the aerosol chamber, whose identity is unknown. By analysing the charged fraction, a few of the aerosol bursts appear to have a contribution from ion-induced nucleation and ion-ion recombination to form neutral clusters. Some indications were also found for the accelerator beam timing and intensity to influence the aerosol particle formation rate at the highest experimental SO2 concentrations of 6 ppb, although none was found at lower concentrations. Overall, the exploratory measurements provide suggestive evidence for ion-induced nucleation or ion-ion recombination as sources of aerosol particles. However in order to quantify the conditions under which ion processes become significant, improvements are needed in controlling the experimental variables and in the reproducibility of the experiments. Finally, concerning technical aspects, the most important lessons for the CLOUD design include the stringent requirement of internal cleanliness of the aerosol chamber, as well as maintenance of extremely stable temperatures (variations below 0.1°C).
- The L76V mutation in HIV-1 protease is potentially associated with hypersusceptibility to protease inhibitors Atazanavir and Saquinavir: is there a clinical advantage? (2011)
- Background: Although being considered as a rarely observed HIV-1 protease mutation in clinical isolates, the L76V-prevalence increased 1998-2008 in some European countries most likely due to the approval of Lopinavir, Amprenavir and Darunavir which can select L76V. Beside an enhancement of resistance, L76V is also discussed to confer hypersusceptibility to the drugs Atazanavir and Saquinavir which might enable new treatment strategies by trying to take advantage of particular mutations. Results: Based on a cohort of 47 L76V-positive patients, we examined if there might exist a clinical advantage for L76V-positive patients concerning long-term success of PI-containing regimens in patients with limited therapy options. Genotypic- and phenotypic HIV-resistance tests from 47 mostly multi-resistant, L76V-positive patients throughout Germany were accomplished retrospectively 1999-2009. Five genotype-based drug-susceptibility predictions received from online interpretation-tools for Atazanavir, Saquinavir, Amprenavir and Lopinavir, were compared to phenotype-based predictions that were determined by using a recombinant virus assay along with a Virtual Phenotype™(Virco). The clinical outcome of the L76V-adapted follow-up therapy was determined by monitoring viral load for 96 weeks. Conclusions: In this analysis, the mostly used interpretation systems overestimated the L76V-mutation concerning Atazanavir- and SQV resistance. In fact, a clear benefit in drug susceptibility for these drugs was observed in phenotype analysis after establishment of L76V. More importantly, long-term therapy success was significantly higher in patients receiving Atazanavir and/or Saquinavir plus one L76V-selecting drug compared to patients without L76V-selecting agents (p = 0.002). In case of L76V-occurrence ATV and/or SQV may represent encouraging options for patients in deep salvage situations.
- Safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab therapy in patients with different autoimmune diseases: experience from a national registry (GRAID) (2011)
- Introduction Evidence from a number of open-label, uncontrolled studies has suggested that rituximab may benefit patients with autoimmune diseases who are refractory to standard of care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab in several standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases (within rheumatology, nephrology, dermatology and neurology) other than rheumatoid arthritis or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a real-life clinical setting. Methods Patients who received rituximab having shown an inadequate response to standard of care had their safety and clinical outcomes data retrospectively analysed as part of the German Registry of Autoimmune Diseases. The main outcome measures were safety and clinical response, as judged at the discretion of the investigators. Results A total of 370 patients (299 patient-years) with various autoimmune diseases (23.0% with systemic lupus erythematosus, 15.7% antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides, 15.1% multiple sclerosis and 10.0% pemphigus) from 42 centres received a mean dose of 2440 mg of rituximab over a median (range) of 194 (180 to 1407) days. The overall rate of serious infections was 5.3 per 100 patient-years during rituximab therapy. Opportunistic infections were infrequent across the whole study population, and mostly occurred in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. There were 11 deaths (3.0% of patients) after rituximab treatment (mean 11.6 months after first infusion, range 0.8 to 31.3 months), with most of the deaths caused by infections. Overall (n = 293), 13.3% of patients showed no response, 45.1% showed a partial response and 41.6% showed a complete response. Responses were also reflected by reduced use of glucocorticoids and various immunosuppressives during rituximab therapy and follow-up compared with before rituximab. Rituximab generally had a positive effect on patient well-being (physician's visual analogue scale; mean improvement from baseline of 12.1 mm). Conclusions Data from this registry indicate that rituximab is a commonly employed, well-tolerated therapy with potential beneficial effects in standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases, and support the results from other open-label, uncontrolled studies. Additional file 1: Supplemental tables. Table A1. Duration of follow-up from first rituximab infusion to last control visit by diagnosis. Table A2. Number of rituximab infusions by diagnosis.
- Evolution of particle composition in CLOUD nucleation experiments (2012)
- Sulphuric acid, ammonia, amines, and oxidised organics play a crucial role in nanoparticle formation in the atmosphere. In this study, we investigate the composition of nucleated nanoparticles formed from these compounds in the CLOUD chamber experiments at CERN. The investigation is carried out via analysis of the particle hygroscopicity, ethanol affinity, oxidation state, and ion composition. Hygroscopicity was studied by a hygroscopic tandem differential mobility analyser and a cloud condensation nuclei counter, ethanol affinity by an organic differential mobility analyser and particle oxidation level by a high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer. The ion composition was studied by an atmospheric pressure interface time-of-flight mass spectrometer. The volume fraction of the organics in the particles during their growth from sizes of a few nanometers to tens of nanometers was derived from measured hygroscopicity assuming the Zdanovski-Stokes-Robinson relationship, and compared to values gained from the spectrometers. The ZSR-relationship was also applied to obtain the measured ethanol affinities during the particle growth, which were used to derive the volume fractions of sulphuric acid and the other inorganics (e.g. ammonium salts). In the presence of sulphuric acid and ammonia, particles with a mobility diameter of 150 nm were chemically neutralised to ammonium sulphate. In the presence of oxidation products of pinanediol, the organic volume fraction of freshly nucleated particles increased from 0.4 to ∼0.9, with an increase in diameter from 2 to 63 nm. Conversely, the sulphuric acid volume fraction decreased from 0.6 to 0.1 when the particle diameter increased from 2 to 50 nm. The results provide information on the composition of nucleated aerosol particles during their growth in the presence of various combinations of sulphuric acid, ammonia, dimethylamine and organic oxidation products.
- Breaking tolerance to the natural human liver autoantigen cytochrome P450 2D6 by virus infection (2008)
- Autoimmune liver diseases, such as autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and primary biliary cirrhosis, often have severe consequences for the patient. Because of a lack of appropriate animal models, not much is known about their potential viral etiology. Infection by liver-tropic viruses is one possibility for the breakdown of self-tolerance. Therefore, we infected mice with adenovirus Ad5 expressing human cytochrome P450 2D6 (Ad-2D6). Ad-2D6–infected mice developed persistent autoimmune liver disease, apparent by cellular infiltration, hepatic fibrosis, “fused” liver lobules, and necrosis. Similar to type 2 AIH patients, Ad-2D6–infected mice generated type 1 liver kidney microsomal–like antibodies recognizing the immunodominant epitope WDPAQPPRD of cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). Interestingly, Ad-2D6–infected wild-type FVB/N mice displayed exacerbated liver damage when compared with transgenic mice expressing the identical human CYP2D6 protein in the liver, indicating the presence of a stronger immunological tolerance in CYP2D6 mice. We demonstrate for the first time that infection with a virus expressing a natural human autoantigen breaks tolerance, resulting in a chronic form of severe, autoimmune liver damage. Our novel model system should be instrumental for studying mechanisms involved in the initiation, propagation, and precipitation of virus-induced autoimmune liver diseases.
- Molecular understanding of sulphuric acid–amine particle nucleation in the atmosphere (2013)
- Nucleation of aerosol particles from trace atmospheric vapours is thought to provide up to half of global cloud condensation nuclei1. Aerosols can cause a net cooling of climate by scattering sunlight and by leading to smaller but more numerous cloud droplets, which makes clouds brighter and extends their lifetimes2. Atmospheric aerosols derived from human activities are thought to have compensated for a large fraction of the warming caused by greenhouse gases2. However, despite its importance for climate, atmospheric nucleation is poorly understood. Recently, it has been shown that sulphuric acid and ammonia cannot explain particle formation rates observed in the lower atmosphere3. It is thought that amines may enhance nucleation4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, but until now there has been no direct evidence for amine ternary nucleation under atmospheric conditions. Here we use the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) chamber at CERN and find that dimethylamine above three parts per trillion by volume can enhance particle formation rates more than 1,000-fold compared with ammonia, sufficient to account for the particle formation rates observed in the atmosphere. Molecular analysis of the clusters reveals that the faster nucleation is explained by a base-stabilization mechanism involving acid–amine pairs, which strongly decrease evaporation. The ion-induced contribution is generally small, reflecting the high stability of sulphuric acid–dimethylamine clusters and indicating that galactic cosmic rays exert only a small influence on their formation, except at low overall formation rates. Our experimental measurements are well reproduced by a dynamical model based on quantum chemical calculations of binding energies of molecular clusters, without any fitted parameters. These results show that, in regions of the atmosphere near amine sources, both amines and sulphur dioxide should be considered when assessing the impact of anthropogenic activities on particle formation.
- Development of a primary care-based complex care management intervention for chronically ill patients at high risk for hospitalization: a study protocol (2010)
- Background: Complex care management is seen as an approach to face the challenges of an ageing society with increasing numbers of patients with complex care needs. The Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom has proposed a framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions that will be used to develop and evaluate a primary care-based complex care management program for chronically ill patients at high risk for future hospitalization in Germany. Methods and design: We present a multi-method procedure to develop a complex care management program to implement interventions aimed at reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations for primary care patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or chronic heart failure and a high likelihood of hospitalization. The procedure will start with reflection about underlying precipitating factors of hospitalizations and how they may be targeted by the planned intervention (pre-clinical phase). An intervention model will then be developed (phase I) based on theory, literature, and exploratory studies (phase II). Exploratory studies are planned that entail the recruitment of 200 patients from 10 general practices. Eligible patients will be identified using two ways of 'case finding': software based predictive modelling and physicians' proposal of patients based on clinical experience. The resulting subpopulations will be compared regarding healthcare utilization, care needs and resources using insurance claims data, a patient survey, and chart review. Qualitative studies with healthcare professionals and patients will be undertaken to identify potential barriers and enablers for optimal performance of the complex care management program. Discussion: This multi-method procedure will support the development of a primary care-based care management program enabling the implementation of interventions that will potentially reduce avoidable hospitalizations.