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  • Leino, Timo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2001)
  • Ruotsalainen, Eeva (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Staphylococcus aureus is the second most common bloodstream isolate both in community- and hospital-acquired bacteremias. The clinical course of S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) is determined by its complications, particularly by the development of deep infections and thromboembolic events. Despite the progress of antimicrobial therapy, SAB is still associated with high mortality. However, injection drug users (IDUs) tend to have fewer complications and better prognosis than nonaddicts, especially in endocarditis. The present study was undertaken to investigate epidemiology, treatment and outcome of S. aureus bacteremia and endocarditis in Finland. In particular, differences in bacterial strains and their virulence factors, and host immune responses were compared between IDUs and nonaddicts. In Finland, 5045 SAB cases during 1995-2001 were included using the National Infectious Disease Register maintained by National Public Health Institute. The annual incidence of SAB increased, especially in elderly. While the increase in incidence may partly be explained by better reporting, it most likely reflects a growing population at risk, affected by such factors as age and/or severe comorbidity. Nosocomial infections accounted for 51% of cases, with no change in their proportion during the study period. The 28-day mortality was 17% and remained unchanged over time. A total of 381 patients with SAB were randomized to receive either standard antibiotic treatment or levofloxacin added to standard treatment. Levofloxacin combination therapy did not decrease the mortality, lower the incidence of deep infections, nor did it speed up the recovery during 3 months follow-up. However, patients with a deep infection appeared to benefit from combination therapy with rifampicin, as suggested also by experimental data. Deep infections were found in 84% of SAB patients within one week after randomization, and they appeared to be more common than previously reported. Endocarditis was observed in 74 of 430 patients (17%) with SAB, of whom 20 were IDUs and 54 nonaddicts. Right-sided involvement was diagnosed in 60% of addicts whereas 93% of nonaddicts had left-sided endocarditis. Unexpectedly, IDUs showed extracardiac deep infections, thromboembolic events and severe sepsis with the same frequency as nonaddicts. The prognosis of endocarditis was better among addicts due to their younger age and lack of underlying diseases in agreement with earlier reports. In total, all 44 IDUs with SAB were included and 20 of them had endocarditis. An equal number of nonaddicts with SAB were chosen as group matched controls. Serological tests were not helpful in identifying patients with a deep infection. No individual S. aureus strain dominated in endocarditis among addicts. Characterization of the virulence factors of bacterial strains did not reveal any significant differences in IDUs and nonaddicts.
  • Hakonen, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Pancreatic beta cells produce and secrete insulin into circulation in order to control blood glucose levels. The amount of beta cells is tightly controlled throughout life. If the number or function of beta cells is compromised, glucoregulation does not function properly, leading to dysglycemia. In the case of type 1 diabetes, beta cells are selectively targeted by an autoimmune attack, and die through apoptosis. Type 2 diabetes develops due to peripheral insulin resistance, combined with pancreatic beta cell failure. Individuals with type 2 diabetes show a reduced beta cell mass and increased beta cell apoptosis, leading to a relative lack of insulin. Treatments that replenish beta cell mass in diabetic patients could enable restoration of normal glycemic control and represent a potentially curative therapy. A better understanding of the factors that regulate or protect beta cell mass and function is important for the development of new treatments for all forms of diabetes. The major aim of the present study was to elucidate the role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in beta cell mass regulation and protection against diabetogenic insults. Two mouse models were generated for these studies: one with downregulated EGFR signaling in beta cells through expression of a dominant-negative EGFR mutation, and the other with increased EGFR signaling through expression of constitutively active EGFR in beta cells. In the dominant-negative EGFR mouse model beta cell mass failed to expand during obesity and gestation, suggesting that EGFR signaling is crucial in beta cell mass regulation during these metabolic challenges. Subsequent mechanistic studies identified survivin as a candidate EGFR-regulated target mediating beta cell mass expansion during gestation. EGFR activation during the neonatal period led to increased beta cell proliferation and mass. In contrast, in adults EGFR activation had only a minor effect on beta cell proliferation and mass. Furthermore, EGFR activation protected beta cells against apoptosis in vivo during diabetogenic insults and in vitro when challenged with inflammatory cytokines. Mechanistic studies suggested that EGFR signaling protected isolated islets from cytokine-mediated beta cell death by repressing the proapoptotic protein Bim. In conclusion, EGFR signaling appears to be important in beta cell mass expansion during metabolic challenges. The observation that EGFR stimulation protects against experimental diabetes suggests that enhancing EGFR signaling could prevent or revert beta cell loss in diabetes.
  • Partanen, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Cancer progresses towards malignancy by gradual acquisition of genetic lesions that activate proto-oncogenes and inactivate tumor suppressor genes. Loss of cell polarity and cell-cell contacts are common in advanced solid cancers and often indicate aggressive disease and high metastatic potential of the primary tumor. However, the role of epithelial integrity, formed by the coordinated interplay between specialized cell adhesions and cell polarity, in the initiation of human cancers has been less clear. The major aim of this study was to explore the role of epithelial integrity as a tumor suppressor mechanism in human and murine mammary epithelial cells. The mammary gland is a unique organ, where most of its development occurs post-natally and is affected by cyclical hormonal activity. Consequently, the mammary gland needs to accommodate vast amounts of cell proliferation and tissue remodeling without compromising proliferation control. Using a three-dimensional cell culture model recapitulating many aspects of the mammary epithelium in vitro, we observed that formation of intact epithelial integrity could protect cells from excess proliferation induced by the c-Myc oncoprotein. Furthermore, disruption of epithelial integrity by loss of the apico-basal polarity gene and tumor suppressor Lkb1, restored the ability of c-Myc to induce cell cycle progression. Correspondingly, loss of Lkb1 from mouse mammary epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo led to widespread loss of epithelial integrity, as demonstrated by loss of apico-basal polarity, basement membrane (BM) deterioration and increased side branching. Furthermore, while loss of Lkb1 alone did not induce tumor formation in the mouse mammary gland, it synergized with c-Myc leading to dramatically increased tumorigenesis. Interestingly, the synergy between Lkb1 loss and c-Myc was observed to involve deregulation of serine-protease Hepsin, a BM degrading protease also implicated in human cancers. A second aim of this study was to study the mechanisms of c-Myc-induced sensitization to apoptosis and how it is modulated by epithelial integrity. We found that c-Myc induces apoptotic sensitivity specifically to TNF-related death inducing ligand (TRAIL) through activation of pro-apoptotic protein Bak and amplification of mitochondrial apoptotic signaling. Also, the apoptotic function of c-Myc was modulated by the epithelial integrity while mechanisms of c-Myc-induced apoptotic sensitivity was not. Finally, we also observed that shRNA-mediated downregulation of human orthologues of Drosophila epithelial integrity regulators causes disruption cell proliferation control leading to excess proliferation but interestingly, also to synthetic lethal phenotypes in combination with c-Myc activation. The findings presented in this thesis thus propose that the structural organization of epithelial cells as an intact epithelial integrity can modulate the action of single oncogenes, in this case c-Myc, and present an important barrier for tumor formation.
  • Takkunen, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    In epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), epithelial cells acquire traits typical for mesenchymal cells, dissociate their cell-cell junctions and gain the ability to migrate. EMT is essential during embryogenesis, but may also mediate cancer progression. Basement membranes are sheets of extracellular matrix that support epithelial cells. They have a major role in maintaining the epithelial phenotype and, in cancer, preventing cell migration, invasion and metastasis. Laminins are the main components of basement membranes and may actively contribute to malignancy. We first evaluated the differences between cell lines obtained from oral squamous cell carcinoma and its recurrence. As the results indicated a change from epithelial to fibroblastoid morphology, E-cadherin to N-cadherin switch, and change in expression of cytokeratins to vimentin intermediate filaments, we concluded that these cells had undergone EMT. We further induced EMT in primary tumour cells to gain knowledge of the effects of transcription factor Snail in this cell model. The E-cadherin repressors responsible for the EMT in these cells were ZEB-1, ZEB-2 and Snail, and ectopic expression of Snail was able to augment the levels of ZEB-1 and ZEB-2. We produced and characterized two monoclonal antibodies that specifically recognized Snail in cell lines and patient samples. By immunohistochemistry, Snail protein was found in mesenchymal tissues during mouse embryonal development, in fibroblastoid cells of healing skin wounds and in fibromatosis and sarcoma specimens. Furthermore, Snail localized to the stroma and borders of tumour cell islands in colon adenocarcinoma, and in laryngeal and cervical squamous cell carcinomas. Immunofluorescence labellings, immunoprecipitations and Northern and Western blots showed that EMT induced a progressive downregulation of laminin-332 and laminin-511 and, on the other hand, an induction of mesenchymal laminin-411. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that Snail could directly bind upstream to the transcription start sites of both laminin α5 and α4 chain genes, thus regulating their expression. The levels of integrin α6β4, a receptor for laminin-332, as well as the hemidesmosomal complex proteins HD1/plectin and BP180 were downregulated in EMT-experienced cells. The expression of Lutheran glycoprotein, a specific receptor for laminin-511, was diminished, whereas the levels of integrins α6β1 and α1β1 and integrin-linked kinase were increased. In quantitative cell adhesion assays, the cells adhered potently to laminin-511 and fibronectin, but only marginally to laminin-411. Western blots and immunoprecipitations indicated that laminin-411 bound to fibronectin and could compromise cell adhesion to fibronectin in a dose-dependent manner. EMT induced a highly migratory and invasive tendency in oral squamous carcinoma cells. Actin-based adhesion and invasion structures, podosomes and invadopodia, were detected in the basal cell membranes of primary tumour and spontaneously transformed cancer cells, respectively. Immunofluorescence labellings showed marked differences in their morphology, as podosomes organized a ring structure with HD1/plectin, αII-spectrin, talin, focal adhesion kinase and pacsin 2 around the core filled with actin, cortactin, vinculin and filamin A. Invadopodia had no division between ring and core and failed to organize the ring proteins, but instead assembled tail-like, narrow actin cables that showed a talin-tensin switch. Time-lapse live-cell imaging indicated that both podosomes and invadopodia were long-lived entities, but the tails of invadopodia vigorously propelled in the cytoplasm and were occasionally released from the cell membrane. Invadopodia could also be externalized outside the cytoplasm, where they still retained the ability to degrade matrix. In 3D confocal imaging combined with in situ gelatin zymography, the podosomes of primary tumour cells were large, cylindrical structures that increased in time, whereas the invadopodia in EMT-driven cells were smaller, but more numerous and degraded the underlying matrix in significantly larger amounts. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching revealed that the substructures of podosomes were replenished more rapidly with new molecules than those of invadopodia. Overall, our results indicate that EMT has a major effect on the transcription and synthesis of both intra- and extracellular proteins, including laminins and their receptors, and on the structure and dynamics of oral squamous carcinoma cells.
  • Helve, Otto (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    The aim of the present thesis was to study the role of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) in clearance of fetal lung fluid in the newborn infant by measurement of airway epithelial expression of ENaC, of nasal transepithelial potential difference (N-PD), and of lung compliance (LC). In addition, the effect of postnatal dexamethasone on airway epithelial ENaC expression was measured in preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). The patient population was formed of selected term newborn infants born in the Department of Obstetrics (Studies II-IV) and selected preterm newborn infants treated in the neonatal intensive care unit of the Hospital for Children and Adolescents (Studies I and IV) of the Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland. A small population of preterm infants suffering from BPD was included in Study I. Studies I, III, and IV included airway epithelial measurement of ENaC and in Studies II and III, measurement of N-PD and LC. In Study I, ENaC expression analyses were performed in the Research Institute of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In the following studies, analyses were performed in the Scientific Laboratory of the Hospital for Children and Adolescents. N-PD and LC measurements were performed at bedside in these hospitals. In term newborn infants, the percentage of amiloride-sensitive N-PD, a surrogate for ENaC activity, measured during the first 4 postnatal hours correlates positively with LC measured 1 to 2 days postnatally. Preterm infants with BPD had, after a therapeutic dose of dexamethasone, higher airway epithelial ENaC expression than before treatment. These patients were subsequently weaned from mechanical ventilation, probably as a result of the clearance of extra fluid from the alveolar spaces. In addition, we found that in preterm infants ENaC expression increases with gestational age (GA). In preterm infants, ENaC expression in the airway epithelium was lower than in term newborn infants. During the early postnatal period in those born both preterm and term airway epithelial βENaC expression decreased significantly. Term newborn infants delivered vaginally had a significantly smaller airway epithelial expression of αENaC after the first postnatal day than did those delivered by cesarean section. The functional studies showed no difference in N-PD between infants delivered vaginally and by cesarean section. We therefore conclude that the low airway epithelial expression of ENaC in the preterm infant and the correlation of N-PD with LC in the term infant indicate a role for ENaC in the pathogenesis of perinatal pulmonary adaptation and neonatal respiratory distress. Because dexamethasone raised ENaC expression in preterm infants with BPD, and infants were subsequently weaned from ventilator therapy, we suggest that studies on the treatment of respiratory distress in the preterm infant should include the induction of ENaC activity.
  • Niittyvuopio, Riitta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Essential thrombocythaemia (ET) is a myeloproliferative disease (MPD) characterized by thrombocytosis, i.e. a constant elevation of platelet count. Thrombocytosis may appear in MPDs (ET, polycythaemia vera, chronic myeloid leukaemia, myelofibrosis) and as a reactive phenomenon. The differential diagnosis of thrombocytosis is important, because the clinical course, need of therapy, and prognosis are different in patients with MPDs and in those with reactive thrombocytosis. ET patients may remain asymptomatic for years, but serious thrombohaemorrhagic and pregnancy-related complications may occur. The complications are difficult to predict. The aims of the present study were to evaluate the diagnostic findings, clinical course, and prognostic factors of ET. The present retrospective study consists of 170 ET patients. Two thirds had a platelet count < 1000 x 109/l. The diagnosis was supported by an increased number of megakaryocytes with an abnormal morphology in a bone marrow aspirate, aggregation defects in platelet function studies, and the presence of spontaneous erythroid and/or megakaryocytic colony formation in in vitro cultures of haematopoietic progenitors. About 70 % of the patients had spontaneous colony formation, while about 30 % had a normal growth pattern. Only a fifth of the patients remained asymptomatic. Half had a major thrombohaemorrhagic complication. The proportion of the patients suffering from thrombosis was as high as 45 %. About a fifth had major bleedings. Half of the patients had microvascular symptoms. Age over 60 years increased the risk of major bleedings, but the occurrence of thrombotic complications was similar in all age groups. Male gender, smoking in female patients, the presence of any spontaneous colony formation, and the presence of spontaneous megakaryocytic colony formation in younger patients were identified as risk factors for thrombosis. Pregnant ET patients had an increased risk of complications. Forty-five per cent of the pregnancies were complicated and 38 % of them ended in stillbirth. Treatment with acetylsalicylic acid alone or in combination with platelet lowering drugs improved the outcome of the pregnancy. The present findings about risk factors in ET as well as treatment outcome in the pregnancies of ET patients should be taken into account when planning treatment strategies for Finnish patients.
  • Höckerstedt, Anna Illike (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)
  • Ståhlberg, Kaarlo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The purpose of this study was to deepen our knowledge of the combined use of estramustine and radiotherapy in the treatment of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is a common disease, with a high variability between subjects in its malignant potential. In many cases, the disease is an incidental finding with little or no clinical significance. In other cases, however, prostate cancer may be an aggressive malignant disease, which, if the initial treatment fails, lacks an effective cure and may lead to severe symptoms, metastasis, and death despite all treatment. In many cases, the methods of treatment available at the moment provide cure or significant regression of symptoms, but often at the cost of considerable side effects. Estramustine, a cytostatic drug used for treating advanced cancer of the prostate, has been shown to inhibit prostate cancer progression and also to increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to radiotherapy. The goals of this study were, first, to find out whether it is possible to use either estramustine or an antibody against estramustine binding protein as carrier molecules for bringing therapeutic radioisotopes into prostate cancer cells, and, secondly, to gain more understanding of the mechanisms behind the known radiosensitising effect of estramustine. Estramustine and estramustine binding protein antibody were labelled with iodine-125 to study the biodistribution of these substances in mice. In the first experiment, both of the substances accumulated in the prostate, but radioiodinated estramustine also showed affinity to the liver and the lungs. Since the radiolabelled antibody was found out to accumulate more selectively to the prostate, we studied its biodistribution in nude mice with DU-145 human prostate cancer implants. In this experiment, the prostate and the tumour accumulated more radioactivity than other organs, but we concluded that the difference in the dose of radiation compared to other organs was not sufficient for the radioiodinated antibody to be advocated as a carrier molecule for treating prostate cancer. Mice with similar DU-145 prostate cancer implants were then treated with estramustine and external beam irradiation, with and without neoadjuvant estramustine treatment. The tumours responded to the treatment as expected, showing the radiation potentiating effect of estramustine. In the third experiment, this effect was found without an increase in the amount of apoptosis in the tumour cells, despite previous suggestions to the contrary. In the fourth experiment, we gave a similar treatment to the mice with DU-145 tumours. A reduction in proliferation was found in the groups treated with radiotherapy, and an increased amount of tumour hypoxia and tumour necrosis in the group treated with both neoadjuvant estramustine and radiation. This finding is contradictory to the suggestion that the radiation sensitising effect of estramustine could be attributed to its angiogenic activity.
  • Tillonen, Jyrki (Helsingin yliopisto, 2000)
  • Nikkarinen, Tuuli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2002)
  • Keski-Säntti, Harri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    For optimal treatment planning, a thorough assessment of the metastatic status of mucosal squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) is required. Current imaging methods do not allow the recognition of all patients with metastatic disease. Therefore, elective treatment of the cervical lymph nodes is usually given to patients in whom the risk of subclinical metastasis is estimated to exceed 15-20%. The objective of this study was to improve the pre-treatment evaluation of patients diagnosed with HNSCC. Particularly, we aimed at improving the identification of patients who will benefit from elective neck treatment. Computed tomography (CT) of the chest and abdomen was performed prospectively for 100 patients diagnosed with HNSCC. The findings were analysed to clarify the indications for this examination in this patient group. CT of the chest influenced the treatment approach in 3% of patients, while CT of the abdomen did not reveal any significant findings. Our results suggest that CT of the chest and abdomen is not indicated routinely for patients with newly diagnosed HNSCC but can be considered in selected cases. Retrospective analysis of 80 patients treated for early stage squamous cell carcinoma of the oral tongue was performed to investigate the potential benefits of elective neck treatment and to examine whether histopathological features of the primary tumour could be used in the prediction of occult metastases, local recurrence, or/and poor survival. Patients who had received elective neck treatment had significantly fewer cervical recurrences during the follow-up when compared to those who only had close observation of the cervical lymph nodes. Elective neck treatment did not result in survival benefit, however. Of the histopathological parameters examined, depth of infiltration and pT-category (representing tumour diameter) predicted occult cervical metastasis, but only the pT-category predicted local recurrence. Depth of infiltration can be used in the identification of at risk patients but no clear cut-off value separating high-risk and low-risk patients was found. None of the histopathological parameters examined predicted survival. Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy was studied as a means of diagnosing patients with subclinical cervical metastases. SLN biopsy was applied to 46 patients who underwent elective neck dissection for oral squamous cell carcinoma. In addition, SLN biopsy was applied to 13 patients with small oral cavity tumours who were not intended to undergo elective neck dissection because of low risk of occult metastasis. The sensitivity of SLN biopsy for finding subclinical cervical metastases was found to be 67%, when SLN status was compared to the metastatic status of the rest of the neck dissection specimen. Of the patients not planned to have elective neck dissection, SLN biopsy revealed cervical metastasis in 15% of the patients. Our results suggest that SLN biopsy can not yet entirely replace elective neck dissection in the treatment of oral cancer, but it seems beneficial for patients with low risk of metastasis who are not intended for elective neck treatment according to current treatment protocols.
  • Hirvonen, Meeli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Objectives: To evaluate the applicability of visual feedback posturography (VFP) for quantification of postural control, and to characterize the horizontal angular vestibulo-ocular reflex (AVOR) by use of a novel motorized head impulse test (MHIT). Methods: In VFP, subjects standing on a platform were instructed to move their center of gravity to symmetrically placed peripheral targets as fast and accurately as possible. The active postural control movements were measured in healthy subjects (n = 23), and in patients with vestibular schwannoma (VS) before surgery (n = 49), one month (n = 17), and three months (n = 36) after surgery. In MHIT we recorded head and eye position during motorized head impulses (mean velocity of 170º/s and acceleration of 1 550º/s²) in healthy subjects (n = 22), in patients with VS before surgery (n = 38) and about four months afterwards (n = 27). The gain, asymmetry and latency in MHIT were calculated. Results: The intraclass correlation coefficient for VFP parameters during repeated tests was significant (r = 0.78-0.96; p < 0.01), although two of four VFP parameters improved slightly during five test sessions in controls. At least one VFP parameter was abnormal pre- and postoperatively in almost half the patients, and these abnormal preoperative VFP results correlated significantly with abnormal postoperative results. The mean accuracy in postural control in patients was reduced pre- and postoperatively. A significant side difference with VFP was evident in 10% of patients. In the MHIT, the normal gain was close to unity, the asymmetry in gain was within 10%, and the latency was a mean ± standard deviation 3.4 ± 6.3 milliseconds. Ipsilateral gain or asymmetry in gain was preoperatively abnormal in 71% of patients, whereas it was abnormal in every patient after surgery. Preoperative gain (mean ± 95% confidence interval) was significantly lowered to 0.83 ± 0.08 on the ipsilateral side compared to 0.98 ± 0.06 on the contralateral side. The ipsilateral postoperative mean gain of 0.53 ± 0.05 was significantly different from preoperative gain. Conclusion: The VFP is a repeatable, quantitative method to assess active postural control within individual subjects. The mean postural control in patients with VS was disturbed before and after surgery, although not severely. Side difference in postural control in the VFP was rare. The horizontal AVOR results in healthy subjects and in patients with VS, measured with MHIT, were in agreement with published data achieved using other techniques with head impulse stimuli. The MHIT is a non-invasive method which allows reliable clinical assessment of the horizontal AVOR.
  • Anttila, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    This thesis utilises an evidence-based approach to critically evaluate and summarize effectiveness research on physiotherapy, physiotherapy-related motor-based interventions and orthotic devices in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). It aims to assess the methodological challenges of the systematic reviews and trials, to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions in current use, and to make suggestions for future trials Methods: Systematic reviews were searched from computerized bibliographic databases up to August 2007 for physiotherapy and physiotherapy-related interventions, and up to May 2003 for orthotic devices. Two reviewers independently identified, selected, and assessed the quality of the reviews using the Overview Quality Assessment Questionnaire complemented with decision rules. From a sample of 14 randomized controlled trials (RCT) published between January 1990 and June 2003 we analysed the methods of sampling, recruitment, and comparability of groups; defined the components of a complex intervention; identified outcome measures based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF); analysed the clinical interpretation of score changes; and analysed trial reporting using a modified 33-item CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) checklist. The effectiveness of physiotherapy and physiotherapy-related interventions in children with diagnosed CP was evaluated in a systematic review of randomised controlled trials that were searched from computerized databases from January 1990 up to February 2007. Two reviewers independently assessed the methodological quality, extracted the data, classified the outcomes using the ICF, and considered the level of evidence according to van Tulder et al. (2003). Results: We identified 21 reviews on physiotherapy and physiotherapy-related interventions and five on orthotic devices. These reviews summarized 23 or 5 randomised controlled trials and 104 or 27 observational studies, respectively. Only six reviews were of high quality. These found some evidence supporting strength training, constraint-induced movement therapy or hippotherapy, and insufficient evidence on comprehensive interventions. Based on the original studies included in the reviews on orthotic devices we found some short-term effects of lower limb casting on passive range of movement, and of ankle-foot orthoses on equinus walk. Long term effects of lower limb orthoses have not been studied. Evidence of upper limb casting or orthoses is conflicting. In the sample of 14 RCTs, most trials used simple randomisation, complemented with matching or stratification, but only three specified the concealed allocation. Numerous studies provided sufficient details on the components of a complex intervention, but the overlap of outcome measures across studies was poor and the clinical interpretation of observed score changes was mostly missing. Almost half (48%) of the applicable CONSORT-based items (range 28 32) were reported adequately. Most reporting inadequacies were in outcome measures, sample size determination, details of the sequence generation, allocation concealment and implementation of the randomization, success of assessor blinding, recruitment and follow-up dates, intention-to-treat analysis, precision of the effect size, co-interventions, and adverse events. The systematic review identified 22 trials on eight intervention categories. Four trials were of high quality. Moderate evidence of effectiveness was established for upper extremity treatments on attained goals, active supination and developmental status, and of constraint-induced therapy on the amount and quality of hand use and new emerging behaviours. Moderate evidence of ineffectiveness was found for strength training's effect on walking speed and stride length. Conflicting evidence was found for strength training's effect on gross motor function. For the other intervention categories the evidence was limited due to the low methodological quality and the statistically insignificant results of the studies. Conclusions: The high-quality reviews provide both supportive and insufficient evidence on some physiotherapy interventions. The poor quality of most reviews calls for caution, although most reviews drew no conclusions on effectiveness due to the poor quality of the primary studies. A considerable number of RCTs of good to fair methodological and reporting quality indicate that informative and well-reported RCTs on complex interventions in children and adolescents with CP are feasible. Nevertheless, methodological improvement is needed in certain areas of the trial design and performance, and the trial authors are encouraged to follow the CONSORT criteria. Based on RCTs we established moderate evidence for some effectiveness of upper extremity training. Due to limitations in methodological quality and variations in population, interventions and outcomes, mostly limited evidence on the effectiveness of most physiotherapy interventions is available to guide clinical practice. Well-designed trials are needed, especially for focused physiotherapy interventions.
  • Kettunen, Johannes (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Obesity increases the risk for several conditions, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoarthirits and certain types of cancer. Twin- and family studies have shown that there is a major genetic component in the determination of body mass. In recent years several technological and scientific advance have been made in obesity research. For instance, novel replicated loci have been revealed by a number of genome wide association studies. This thesis aimed to investigate the association of genetic factors and obesity-related quantitative traits. The first study investigated the role of the lactase gene in anthropometric traits. We genetically defined lactose persistence by genotyping 31 720 individuals of European descent. We found that lactase persistence was significantly correlated with weight and body mass index but not with height. In the second study we performed the largest whole genome linkage scan for body mass index to date. The sample consisted of 4401 twin families and 10 535 individuals from six European countries. We found supporting evidence for two loci (3q29 and 7q36). We observed that the heritability estimate increased substantially when additional family members were removed from the analyses, which suggests reduced environmental variance in the twin sample. In the third study we assessed metabonomic, transcriptomic and genomic variation in a Finnish population cohort of 518 individuals. We formed gene expression networks to portray pathways and showed that a set of highly correlated genes of an inflammatory pathway associated with 80 serum metabolites (of 134 quantified measures). Strong association was found, for example, with several lipoprotein subclasses. We inferred causality by using genetic variation as anchors. The expression of the network genes was found to be dependent on the circulatory metabolite concentrations.