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Rapid, point-of-care tests for Syphilis

An international research team, led by scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in Montreal, has demonstrated that rapid and point-of-care tests (POC) for syphilis are as accurate as conventional laboratory tests. The findings, which were published in PLoS ONE, call for a major change in approach to syphilis testing and recommend replacing first-line laboratory tests with POC tests globally, especially in resource-limited settings.

“There is a need to embrace rapid and POC tests for syphilis in global settings,” argues Dr. Nitika Pant Pai, the study’s senior and corresponding author, clinical researcher at the RI-MUHC and assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University. “This meta-analysis generates global evidence across all populations for POC tests for syphilis and is the first to use sophisticated analyses to explore the accuracy of POC tests compared to the best reference standards.”

Currently, syphilis is screened using conventional laboratory-based tests that can take up to three weeks to deliver results. These tests require chemical agents, trained staff and a continuous supply of electricity, which are not readily available in some parts of the world. Rapid and POC tests can be performed on a simple finger stick sample one patient at a time, and the results communicated to the patient within 20 minutes, saving time and helping doctors order confirmatory tests and rapidly flagging patients who need treatment.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the rod-like bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is transmitted between sexual partners through direct contact with a Syphilis sore. It may also be transmitted from mother to foetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis. “As well timely screening and treatment in first trimester is extremely important for pregnant women to prevent still births, pre-term births and mother-to-child transmission of syphilis,” adds Yalda Jafari, the study’s first author and a former master’s student of Dr. Pant Pai.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), syphilis remains a global problem with an estimated 12 million people infected each year. Furthermore approximately 90% of those infected do not know it, and this is the driving force behind the worldwide epidemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) often refers to syphilis as the “great imitator,” because many of its symptoms are similar to other diseases.

“Our study has major worldwide implications for populations living in rural areas with limited access to healthcare,” says Dr. Pant Pai. “These tests offer the potential to expedite first line screening in settings where people have no access to a primary care physician or where laboratories take more than a week to deliver results.”

About this study

The study entitled “Are Treponema pallidum Specific Rapid and Point-of-Care Tests for Syphilis Accurate Enough for Screening in Resource Limited Settings? Evidence from a Meta-Analysis”, was coauthored by

Yalda Jafari (Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Canada); Rosanna W. Peeling (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK); Sushmita Shivkumar (Clinical Epidemiology and McGill University , Canada); Christiane Claessens (Institut national de santé publique, Canada); Lawrence Joseph (Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, McGill University/RI-MUHC and Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Canada); and Nitika Pant Pai (Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, McGill University and RI-MUHC, Canada).

This work was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Click on the link below to access the PDF:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0054695

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Contact Information

Contact: Julie Robert
Organization: McGill University Health Centre
Office Phone: 514-934-1934 (ext. 71381)

Trust Makes You Delusional and That’s Not All Bad

Trusting partners remember transgressions in ways that benefit the relationship

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February 27, 2013 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

EVANSTON, Ill. — Trust fools you into remembering that your partner was more considerate and less hurtful than he or she actually was.  

New research from Northwestern University and Redeemer University College (Ontario, Canada) is the first to systematically examine the role of trust in biasing memories of transgressions in romantic partnerships. 

People who are highly trusting tended to remember transgressions in a way that benefits the relationship, remembering partner transgressions as less severe than they originally reported them to be. People low on trust demonstrated the opposite pattern, remembering partner transgressions as being more severe than how they originally reported them to be. 

“One of the ways that trust is so good for relationships is that it makes us partly delusional,” said Eli J. Finkel, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Northwestern.

Laura B. Luchies, lead author of the study, said the current psychological reality of your relationship isn’t what actually happened in the past, but rather the frequently distorted memory of what actually happened.  

“You can remember your partner as better or as worse than he/she really was, and those biased memories are important determinants of how you think about your partner and your relationship,” she said.

Researchers have long known that trust is crucial to a well-functioning relationship.  

“This research presents a newer, deeper understanding,” Finkel said. “It reveals that trust yields relationship-promoting distortions of the past.”

Said Luchies, assistant professor of psychology at Redeemer University College: “If you talk to people who really trust their partner now, they forget some of the negative things their partner did in the past. If they don’t trust their partner much, they remember their partner doing negative things that the partner never actually did. They tend to misremember.” 

Trust and Biased Memory of Transgressions in Romantic Relationships” was published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In addition to Luchies and Finkel, co-authors include Jennifer Wieselquist; Caryl E. Rusbult of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Madoka Kumashiro of Goldsmiths, University of London; and Paul W. Eastwick of the University of Texas at Austin. 

– See more at: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/02/trust-makes-you-delusional-and-thats-not-all-bad.html#sthash.q4w5R56H.dpuf


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