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Concept: Graded algebra


Background:Plugged ducts are a common, painful condition in lactating women, but no standard treatment is currently available.Objective:This study aimed to evaluate the clinical efficacy of a newly established 6-step recanalization manual therapy (SSRMT) for treating plugged ducts.Methods:This observational study included 3497 lactating women with plugged ducts. The SSRMT comprised the following well-defined steps: (1) preparation, (2) clearing the plugged duct outlets, (3) nipple manipulation, (4) pushing and pressing the areola, (5) pushing and kneading the breast, and (6) checking for residual milk stasis. The response to the treatment was graded as I (complete resolution), II (marked improvement), III (improvement), or IV (no response).Results:Of the 3497 patients, the mean age was 26.7 years and 3284 (93.9%) patients were primiparas. Fever was present in 1231 (35.2%) patients. After a single SSRMT treatment, 3189 (91.2%), 173 (4.9%), and 83 (2.4%) patients achieved grade I, II, and III responses, respectively, with only 52 (1.5%) showing unresponsiveness. For the 308 (8.8% of total) non-grade I patients, a second SSRMT given 3 days later resulted in grade I, II, and III responses in 267 (7.6% of total), 28 (0.8% of total), and 13 (0.4% of total) patients, respectively, and none were absolutely unresponsive. No complications with clinical significance were observed.Conclusion:Based on this large-scale clinical observation, SSRMT appears to be a useful, safe, low-cost treatment for postpartum plugged milk ducts.

Concepts: Scientific method, Milk, Observation, Breast, Mammary gland, Graded algebra, Nipple, Areola


BACKGROUNDS: A pancreatic fistula (PF) is the most relevant complication after a pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD). This retrospective multicentric study attempts to elucidate the risk factors and complications of a PF in a large cohort of patients undergoing a PD for ductal adenocarcinoma. METHODS: Using a survey tool, clinical data of 1325 patients undergoing a PD for ductal adenocarcinoma at 37 institutions, between January 2004 and December 2009, were collected. Peri-operative risk factors associated with PF and its association with morbidity and mortality were assessed. Morbidity and PF were graded according to the ISGPF (International Study group for pancreatic fistula) definition and the Dindo-Clavien classification. RESULTS: Overall PF, mortality, morbidity and relaparotomy rates were 14.3%, 3.8%, 54.4% and 11.7%, respectively. PF occurred more frequently after a pancreaticojejunostomy (PJ) compared with a pancreaticogastrostomy (PG) (16.8% vs. 10.4%; P = 0.0012). Independent risk factors for PF by multivariate analysis were absence of pre-operative diabetes (P = 0.0014), PJ reconstruction (P = 0.0035), soft pancreatic parenchyma (P < 0.0001) and low-volume centre (P = 0.0286). Clinically relevant PF (grade B and C) and severe complications (Dindo-Clavien grade IIIB, IV, V) were significantly more frequent after PJ than PG (71.6% vs. 28.3%; P = 0.030 and 24.8% vs. 19.1%; P = 0.015, respectively). Overall mortality and relaparotomy rates were similar after PG and PJ. CONCLUSIONS: A soft pancreatic parenchyma, the absence of pre-operative diabetes, PJ and low-volume centre are independent risk factors for PF after PD for ductal adenocarcinoma. A significantly higher incidence and clinical severity of PF are associated with PJ.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Mortality rate, Grade, Medical statistics, Actuarial science, Fistula, Clinical death, Graded algebra


Our goal was to determine the extent to which recommendations for primary care practice are informed by high-quality research-based evidence, and the extent to which they are based on evidence of improved health outcomes (patient-oriented evidence). As a substrate for study, we used Essential Evidence, an online, evidence-based, medical reference for generalists. Each of the 721 chapters makes overall recommendations for practice that are graded A, B or C using the Strength of Recommendations Taxonomy (SORT). SORT A represents consistent and good quality patient-oriented evidence; SORT B is inconsistent or limited quality patient-oriented evidence and SORT C is expert opinion, usual practice or recommendations relying on surrogate or intermediate outcomes. Pairs of researchers abstracted the evidence ratings for each chapter in tandem, with discrepancies resolved by the lead author. Of 3251 overall recommendations, 18% were graded ‘A’, 34% were ‘B’ and 49% were ‘C’. Clinical categories with the most ‘A’ recommendations were pregnancy and childbirth, cardiovascular, and psychiatric; those with the least were haematological, musculoskeletal and rheumatological, and poisoning and toxicity. ‘A’ level recommendations were most common for therapy and least common for diagnosis. Only 51% of recommendations are based on studies reporting patient-oriented outcomes, such as morbidity, mortality, quality of life or symptom reduction. In conclusion, approximately half of the recommendations for primary care practice are based on patient-oriented evidence, but only 18% are based on patient-oriented evidence from consistent, high-quality studies.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Graded algebra, Consistency


Expert guideline panelists are sometimes reluctant to offer weak/conditional/contingent recommendations. Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) guidance warns against strong recommendations when confidence in effect estimates is low or very low, suggesting that such recommendations may seldom be justified. We aim to characterize the classification of strength of recommendations and confidence in estimates in World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that used the GRADE approach and graded both strength and confidence (GRADEd).

Concepts: Grade, World Health Organization, Graded algebra, Graded vector space


The use of laparoscopy for liver surgery is increasing rapidly. The Second International Consensus Conference on Laparoscopic Liver Resections (LLR) was held in Morioka, Japan, from October 4 to 6, 2014 to evaluate the current status of laparoscopic liver surgery and to provide recommendations to aid its future development. Seventeen questions were addressed. The first 7 questions focused on outcomes that reflect the benefits and risks of LLR. These questions were addressed using the Zurich-Danish consensus conference model in which the literature and expert opinion were weighed by a 9-member jury, who evaluated LLR outcomes using GRADE and a list of comparators. The jury also graded LLRs by the Balliol Classification of IDEAL. The jury concluded that MINOR LLRs had become standard practice (IDEAL 3) and that MAJOR liver resections were still innovative procedures in the exploration phase (IDEAL 2b). Continued cautious introduction of MAJOR LLRs was recommended. All of the evidence available for scrutiny was of LOW quality by GRADE, which prompted the recommendation for higher quality evaluative studies. The last 10 questions focused on technical questions and the recommendations were based on literature review and expert panel opinion. Recommendations were made regarding preoperative evaluation, bleeding controls, transection methods, anatomic approaches, and equipment. Both experts and jury recognized the need for a formal structure of education for those interested in performing major laparoscopic LLR because of the steep learning curve.

Concepts: Evaluation, Surgery, Laparoscopic surgery, Expert, Laparoscopy, Learning curve, Graded algebra, Expert witness


The binary approach to the diagnosis of Chronic Bronchitis (CB) is a major barrier to the study of the disease. We investigated whether severity of productive cough can be graded using symptoms and presence of fixed airflow obstruction (FAO), and whether the severity correlates with health status, exposures injurious to the lung, biomarkers of inflammation, and measures of airway wall thickening. Findings from a cross-sectional sample of 1,422 participants from the Lovelace Smokers Cohort (LSC) were validated in 4,488 participants from the COPDGene cohort (COPDGene). Health status was based on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, and Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey. Circulating CC16 levels were quantified by ELISA (LSC), and airway wall thickening was measured using computed tomography (COPDGene). FAO was defined as postbronchodilator FEV1/FVC <0.7. The presence and duration of productive cough and presence of FAO or wheeze were graded into Healthy Smokers, Productive Cough (PC), Chronic PC, PC with Signs of Airflow Obstruction, and Chronic PC with Signs of Airflow Obstruction. In both cohorts, higher grade of severity correlated with lower health status, greater frequency of injurious exposures, greater airway wall thickening, and lower circulating CC16 levels. Further, longitudinal follow-up suggested that disease resolution can occur at every grade of severity but is more common in groups of lower severity and least common once airway remodeling develops. Therefore, severity of productive cough can be graded based on symptoms and FAO and early intervention may benefit patients by changing the natural history of disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Asthma, Grade, Cough, Bronchitis, Graded algebra, Graded vector space


Goblet cell carcinoid tumors are amphicrine tumors whose biological behavior ranges from indolent to highly aggressive, depending on tumor grade. Current grading systems for these tumors are based on identifying an adenocarcinoma arising in the setting of a goblet cell carcinoid tumor, which distinguishes this tumor from other gastrointestinal tract adenocarcinomas. Because goblet cell tumors are predominantly tumors of mucin secreting cells, we propose that they be classified as goblet cell adenocarcinomas, and graded using a methodology that has parallels in colorectal adenocarcinoma grading. We graded a large series of goblet cell adenocarcinomas by assessing the proportion of the tumor that demonstrates tubular or clustered growth. Histologic grade correlated with overall survival independent of stage, with median overall survival of 204, 86, and 29 months for low-grade, intermediate-grade, and high-grade goblet cell adenocarcinomas, respectively. Tumor stage also correlated with overall survival. We also graded the tumors according to previously proposed grading systems, and found that these systems are valid, in that they segregate patients according to prognosis.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Grade, Colorectal cancer, Adenocarcinoma, Pattern grading, Carcinoid, Graded algebra


In fact, a full sterilization of commercially-produced liquid nitrogen contaminated with different pathogens is not possible. The aim of this study was to compare the viability of human pronuclear oocytes subjected to cooling by direct submerging of open carrier in liquid nitrogen versus submerging in clean liquid air (aseptic system). One- and three-pronuclei stage embryos (n = 444) were cryopreserved by direct plunging into liquid nitrogen (vitrified) in ethylene glycol (15%), dimethylsulphoxide (15%) and 0.2M sucrose. Oocytes were exposed in 20, 33, 50 and 100% vitrification solution for 2, 1 and 1 min, and 30-50 s, respectively at room temperature. Then first part of oocytes (n = 225) were directly plunged into liquid nitrogen, and second part of oocytes (n = 219) into liquid air. Oocytes were thawed rapidly at a speed of 20,000 °C/min and then subsequently were placed into a graded series of sucrose solutions (0.5, 0.25, 0.12 and 0.06M) at 2.5 min intervals and cultured in vitro for 3 days. In both groups, the rate of high-quality embryos (Grade 6A: 6 blastomeres, no fragmentation; Grade 8A: 8 blastomeres, no fragmentation; Grade 8A compacting: 8 blastomeres, beginning of compacting) was noted. The rates of high-quality embryos developed from one-pronuclear oocytes vitrified by cooling in liquid nitrogen and liquid air were: 39.4% ± 0.6 and 38.7% ± 0.8, respectively (P > 0.1). These rates for three-pronuclear oocytes were: 45.8 ± 0.8% and 52.0 ± 0.7%, respectively (P < 0.05). In conclusion, vitrification by direct submerging of oocytes in clean liquid air (aseptic system) is a good alternative for using of not sterile liquid nitrogen.

Concepts: Temperature, Liquid, Glass transition, Ethylene glycol, Liquid nitrogen, Cryobiology, Graded algebra


OBJECTIVE The authors of recent concussion guidelines have sought to form a consensus on injury management, but it is unclear if they have been effective in conveying this information to the public. Many parents and athletes obtain medical recommendations via the Internet. This review is aimed at evaluating consistency between online resources and published guideline statements in postconcussion return-to-play (RTP) decisions. METHODS Five websites were selected through a Google search for RTP after concussion, including a federal government institution (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website, a national high school association (National Federation of State High School Associations) website, a popular nationally recognized medical website for patients (WebMD), a popular parent-driven website for parents of children who participate in sports (MomsTeam), and the website of a private concussion clinic (Sports Concussion Institute), along with a university hospital website (University of Michigan Medicine). Eight specific items from the Zurich Sport Concussion Consensus Statement 2012 were used as the gold standard for RTP recommendations. Three independent reviewers graded each website for each of the 8 recommendations (A = states guideline recommendations appropriately; B = mentions guideline recommendation; C = does not mention guideline recommendation; F = makes inappropriate recommendation). RESULTS A grade of A was assigned for 45.8% of the recommendations, B for 25.0%, C for 25.0%, and F for 4.2%. All the websites were assigned an A grade for the recommendation of no RTP on the day of injury. Only 1 website (WebMD) mentioned medication usage in conjunction with the Zurich statement, and only 2 websites (Sports Concussion Institute and University of Michigan Medicine) mentioned appropriate management of persistent symptoms. None of these websites commented correctly on all 8 guideline recommendations. CONCLUSIONS Online resources are inconsistent in relaying guideline recommendations for RTP and provide a potential source of confusion in the management of concussion for athletes and their parents, which can result in inappropriate RTP decisions.

Concepts: Medicine, Grade, Ethics, High school, World Wide Web, Website, Morality, Graded algebra


The occurrence of dampness and mold in the indoor environment is associated with respiratory-related disease outcomes. Thus, it is pertinent to know the magnitude of such indoor environment problems to be able to estimate the potential health impact in the population. In the present study, the moisture damage in 10,112 Norwegian dwellings was recorded based on building inspection reports. The levels of moisture damage were graded based on a condition class (CC), where CC0 is immaculate and CC1 acceptable (actions not required), while CC2 and CC3 indicate increased levels of damage that requires action. Of the 10,112 dwellings investigated, 3125 had verified moisture or mold damage. This amounts to 31% of the surveyed dwellings. Of these, 27% had CC2 as the worst grade, whereas 4% had CC3 as the worst grade level. The room types and building structures most prone to moisture damage were (in rank order) crawl spaces, basements, un-insulated attics, cooling rooms, and bathrooms. The high proportion of homes with moisture damage indicate a possible risk for respiratory diseases in a relatively large number of individuals, even if only the more extensive moisture damages and those located in rooms where occupants spend the majority of their time would have a significant influence on adverse health effects.

Concepts: Respiratory disease, Grade, Building, House, Damage, Graded algebra, Rooms, Basement