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Concept: Otitis media


Acute otitis media (AOM) is a leading cause of visits to physicians and of antibiotic prescriptions for young children. We systematically reviewed studies on all-cause AOM episodes and physician visits in which impact was attributed to pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, either as efficacy or effectiveness. Of 18 relevant publications found, most used the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (7vCRM). The efficacy of 7vCRM against all-cause AOM episodes or visits was 0%-9% in randomized trials and 17%-23% in nonrandomized trials. In observational database studies, physician visits for AOM were already declining in the 3-5 years before 7vCRM introduction (mean change, -15%; range, +14% to -24%) and continued to decline afterward (mean, -19%; range, +7% to -48%). This vaccine provides some protection against OM, but other factors have also contributed to the recent decline in OM incidence. Future effectiveness studies should thus use better-controlled methods to estimate the true impact of vaccination on AOM.

Concepts: Medicine, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Vaccine, Vaccination, Randomized controlled trial, Vaccination schedule, Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Otitis media


The development of minimally invasive procedures such as the balloon dilation Eustachian tuboplasty (BET) is an alternative to the grommet tympanum membrane. BET is applied in the cases where, after elimination of all factors influencing the ET and middle ear functioning, no sufficient improvement is observed. The aim of this study was to present the therapeutic benefits of the BET method in the treatment of ETD caused by disorders in the middle ear ventilation. The BET procedure was offered to four patients (3 men and 1 woman) after subjective, physical, otorhinolaryngological and audiometric examinations including pure tone audiometry, tympanometry and pressure-swallow test. As the method was novel, preinterventional CT angiography of the carotid arteries was performed in all patients. Any complications were noticed during and after the procedure (bleeding or damage of regional mucosa) in any patients. Our clinical studies assessed the feasibility and safety of the BET during a short-term period-only a 6-week observation. Although patients revealed a significant improvement of ET score, longer long-term studies are necessary to determine whether this method will demonstrate lasting benefits and safety in the treatment of chronic Eustachian tube dysfunction. In other investigations, improvement was found to be time dependent.

Concepts: Scientific method, Auditory system, Common carotid artery, Middle ear, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Ear, Patulous Eustachian tube


Shewanella spp. are saprophytic bacteria that are part of the marine microflora in warm climates and are rarely pathogenic. However, Shewanella spp. infections are being increasingly reported, and there has been no comprehensive review of the literature describing these infections. This article reports 16 cases of Shewanella spp. infections in Martinique since 1997 and reviews another 239 cases reported in the literature since 1973. Patients experienced soft tissue infections, ear infection, or abdominal and biliary tract infections. A skin or mucosal portal of entry was found for 53% of the patients and exposure to the marine environment was reported for 44%; 79% of patients had an underlying condition. Bacteriema were frequent (28%). Most (87%) patients recovered, although ear infections can become chronic. Death occurred in 13% of the patients. Most Shewanella spp. isolates are susceptible to cefotaxime (95%), piperacillin and tazobactam (98%), gentamicin (99%), and ciprofloxacin (94%).

Concepts: Immune system, Disease, Bacteria, Microbiology, Infection, Report, Otitis media, Detritivore


Background Limiting the duration of antimicrobial treatment constitutes a potential strategy to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance among children with acute otitis media. Methods We assigned 520 children, 6 to 23 months of age, with acute otitis media to receive amoxicillin-clavulanate either for a standard duration of 10 days or for a reduced duration of 5 days followed by placebo for 5 days. We measured rates of clinical response (in a systematic fashion, on the basis of signs and symptomatic response), recurrence, and nasopharyngeal colonization, and we analyzed episode outcomes using a noninferiority approach. Symptom scores ranged from 0 to 14, with higher numbers indicating more severe symptoms. Results Children who were treated with amoxicillin-clavulanate for 5 days were more likely than those who were treated for 10 days to have clinical failure (77 of 229 children [34%] vs. 39 of 238 [16%]; difference, 17 percentage points [based on unrounded data]; 95% confidence interval, 9 to 25). The mean symptom scores over the period from day 6 to day 14 were 1.61 in the 5-day group and 1.34 in the 10-day group (P=0.07); the mean scores at the day-12-to-14 assessment were 1.89 versus 1.20 (P=0.001). The percentage of children whose symptom scores decreased more than 50% (indicating less severe symptoms) from baseline to the end of treatment was lower in the 5-day group than in the 10-day group (181 of 227 children [80%] vs. 211 of 233 [91%], P=0.003). We found no significant between-group differences in rates of recurrence, adverse events, or nasopharyngeal colonization with penicillin-nonsusceptible pathogens. Clinical-failure rates were greater among children who had been exposed to three or more children for 10 or more hours per week than among those with less exposure (P=0.02) and were also greater among children with infection in both ears than among those with infection in one ear (P<0.001). Conclusions Among children 6 to 23 months of age with acute otitis media, reduced-duration antimicrobial treatment resulted in less favorable outcomes than standard-duration treatment; in addition, neither the rate of adverse events nor the rate of emergence of antimicrobial resistance was lower with the shorter regimen. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Research Resources; number, NCT01511107 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Disease, Infectious disease, Infection, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Common cold, Otitis externa


Otitis media is the most common reason U.S. children receive antibiotics. The requisite 7- to 10-day course of oral antibiotics can be challenging to deliver in children, entails potential systemic toxicity, and encourages selection of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. We developed a drug delivery system that, when applied once to the tympanic membrane through the external auditory canal, delivers an entire course of antimicrobial therapy to the middle ear. A pentablock copolymer poloxamer 407-polybutylphosphoester (P407-PBP) was designed to flow easily during application and then to form a mechanically strong hydrogel on the tympanic membrane. U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved chemical permeation enhancers within the hydrogel assisted flux of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin across the membrane. This drug delivery system completely eradicated otitis media from nontypable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) in 10 of 10 chinchillas, whereas only 62.5% of animals receiving 1% ciprofloxacin alone had cleared the infection by day 7. The hydrogel system was biocompatible in the ear, and ciprofloxacin was undetectable systemically (in blood), confirming local drug delivery and activity. This fast-gelling hydrogel could improve compliance, minimize side effects, and prevent systemic distribution of antibiotics in one of the most common pediatric illnesses, possibly minimizing the development of antibiotic resistance.

Concepts: Medicine, Bacteria, Auditory system, Otitis media, Ear, Penicillin, Clostridium difficile, Haemophilus influenzae


Otitis media (OM) is the most common childhood bacterial infection, and leading cause of conductive hearing loss. Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a major bacterial pathogen for OM. OM characterized by the presence of overactive inflammatory responses is due to the aberrant production of inflammatory mediators including C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 5 (CXCL5). The molecular mechanism underlying induction of CXCL5 by NTHi is unknown. Here we show that NTHi up-regulates CXCL5 expression by activating IKKβ-IκBα and p38 MAPK pathways via NF-κB nuclear translocation-dependent and -independent mechanism in middle ear epithelial cells. Current therapies for OM are ineffective due to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant NTHi strains and risk of side effects with prolonged use of immunosuppressant drugs. In this study, we show that curcumin, derived from Curcuma longa plant, long known for its medicinal properties, inhibited NTHi-induced CXCL5 expression in vitro and in vivo. Curcumin suppressed CXCL5 expression by direct inhibition of IKKβ phosphorylation, and inhibition of p38 MAPK via induction of negative regulator MKP-1. Thus, identification of curcumin as a potential therapeutic for treating OM is of particular translational significance due to the attractiveness of targeting overactive inflammation without significant adverse effects.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Bacteria, Infection, Chemokine, Otitis media, Haemophilus influenzae, Turmeric


The aim of this study was to quantify the excess cases of pediatric and maternal disease, death, and costs attributable to suboptimal breastfeeding rates in the United States. Using the current literature on the associations between breastfeeding and health outcomes for nine pediatric and five maternal diseases, we created Monte Carlo simulations modeling a hypothetical cohort of U.S. women followed from age 15 to age 70 years and their children from birth to age 20 years. We examined disease outcomes using (a) 2012 breastfeeding rates and (b) assuming that 90% of infants were breastfed according to medical recommendations. We measured annual excess cases, deaths, and associated costs, in 2014 dollars, using a 2% discount rate. Annual excess deaths attributable to suboptimal breastfeeding total 3,340 (95% confidence interval [1,886 to 4,785]), 78% of which are maternal due to myocardial infarction (n = 986), breast cancer (n = 838), and diabetes (n = 473). Excess pediatric deaths total 721, mostly due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (n = 492) and necrotizing enterocolitis (n = 190). Medical costs total $3.0 billion, 79% of which are maternal. Costs of premature death total $14.2 billion. The number of women needed to breastfeed as medically recommended to prevent an infant gastrointestinal infection is 0.8; acute otitis media, 3; hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infection, 95; maternal hypertension, 55; diabetes, 162; and myocardial infarction, 235. For every 597 women who optimally breastfeed, one maternal or child death is prevented. Policies to increase optimal breastfeeding could result in substantial public health gains. Breastfeeding has a larger impact on women’s health than previously appreciated.

Concepts: Infant, Disease, Death, Myocardial infarction, Breastfeeding, Pediatrics, Otitis media, Sudden infant death syndrome


Acute otitis media (AOM) is among the most common pediatric diseases, and the most frequent reason for antibiotic treatment in children. Risk of AOM is dependent on environmental and host factors, as well as a significant genetic component. We identify genome-wide significance at a locus on 6q25.3 (rs2932989, Pmeta=2.15 × 10(-09)), and show that the associated variants are correlated with the methylation status of the FNDC1 gene (cg05678571, P=1.43 × 10(-06)), and further show it is an eQTL for FNDC1 (P=9.3 × 10(-05)). The mouse homologue, Fndc1, is expressed in middle ear tissue and its expression is upregulated upon lipopolysaccharide treatment. In this first GWAS of AOM and the largest OM genetic study to date, we identify the first genome-wide significant locus associated with AOM.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Bacteria, Genome-wide association study, Eustachian tube, Otitis media


BACKGROUND: The Finnish Invasive Pneumococcal disease (FinIP) vaccine trial was designed to assess the effectiveness of a pneumococcal vaccine containing ten serotype-specific polysaccharides conjugated to Haemophilus influenzae protein D, tetanus toxoid, and diphtheria toxoid as the carrier proteins (PHiD-CV10) against invasive pneumococcal disease. METHODS: In this cluster-randomised, double-blind trial, children aged younger than 19 months received PHiD-CV10 in 52 clusters or hepatitis vaccines as control in 26 clusters. Infants aged younger than 7 months at the first vaccination received either a 3+1 or a 2+1 vaccination schedule, children aged 7-11 months received a 2+1 schedule, and those 12-18 months of age received a two-dose schedule. The primary and secondary objectives were to assess vaccine effectiveness against culture-confirmed invasive pneumococcal disease due to any of the ten vaccine serotypes for the 3+1 and 2+1 schedules, respectively, in children who received at least one PHiD-CV10 dose before 7 months of age. Masked follow-up of pneumococcal disease lasted from the first vaccination (from February, 2009, to October, 2010) to January 31, 2012. Invasive disease data were retrieved from data accumulated in the national infectious diseases register. This trial and the nested acute otitis media trial are registered with, numbers NCT00861380 and NCT00839254, respectively. FINDINGS: 47 369 children were enrolled from February, 2009, to October, 2010. 30 528 participants were assessed for the primary objective. 13 culture-confirmed vaccine-type cases of invasive pneumococcal disease were detected: none in the PHiD-CV10 3+1 group, one in the PHiD-CV10 2+1 group, and 12 in the control groups. The estimates for vaccine effectiveness were 100% (95% CI 83-100) for PHiD-CV10 3+1 and 92% (58-100) for PHiD-CV10 2+1 groups. Two cases of any culture-confirmed invasive disease irrespective of serotype were detected in combined PHiD-CV10 infant cohorts compared with 14 in the corresponding control cohorts (vaccine effectiveness 93%, 75-99). In catch-up cohorts, seven cases of invasive disease were reported, all in the control group: two cases in the children enrolled at 7-11 months of age; and five cases in children enrolled at 12-18 months of age (vaccine effectiveness 100%, 79-100). Non-fatal serious adverse events suspected to be vaccine-related were reported via routine post-immunisation safety surveillance in 18 children. INTERPRETATION: This nationwide trial showed high PHiD-CV10 effectiveness against invasive pneumococcal disease when given in different schedules. For the first time, effectiveness of a 2+1 schedule in infants was confirmed in a clinical trial. FUNDING: GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA and National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland.

Concepts: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Vaccine, Vaccination, Otitis media, Haemophilus influenzae


The human pathogen Haemophilus influenzae causes mainly respiratory tract infections such as acute otitis media in children and exacerbations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We recently revealed the crystal structure of H. influenzeae protein E (PE), a multifunctional adhesin that is involved in direct interactions with lung epithelial cells and host proteins. Based upon the PE structure we here suggest a hypothetical binding pocket that is compatible in size with a hemin molecule. An H. influenzae mutant devoid of PE bound significantly less hemin in comparison to the PE-expressing wild type counterpart. In addition, E. coli expressing PE at the surface resulted in a hemin-binding phenotype. An interaction between hemin and recombinant soluble PE was also demonstrated by native-PAGE and UV-visible spectrophotometry. Surface plasmon resonance revealed an affinity (Kd) of 1.6×10(-6)M for the hemin-PE interaction. Importantly, hemin that was bound to PE at the H. influenzae surface, was donated to co-cultured luciferase-expressing H. influenzae that were starved of hemin. When hemin is bound to PE it thus may serve as a storage pool for H. influenzae. To our knowledge this is the first report showing that H. influenzae can share hemin via a surface-located outer membrane protein.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Lung, Pneumonia, Escherichia coli, Otitis media, Surface plasmon resonance, Haemophilus influenzae