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Journal of Investigative Medicine ; 71(1):589-590, 2023.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2315680


Purpose of Study: COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has led to a worldwide pandemic with cytokine storm as the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. It is known that pregnant women are at higher risk of viral infections given an alteration in immune response. Mothers who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy are even at higher risk. The infection varies from asymptomatic to severe disease in pregnant women depending upon the degree of inflammation and cytokine storm. At present, limited data are available to show the effects of simultaneous maternal smoking and SARS-CoV-2 infection on the biologic efficacy of human umbilical cord derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). We hypothesized that SARS-CoV-2 infection in combination with smoking of the pregnant mother at the time of delivery will lead to an alteration in the growth and differential potential of cord-derived MSCs. Our aims included collection, isolation and growth of human umbilical cord derived MSCs followed by assessment of their differentiation potential. Methods Used: The study was approved by the Institutional IRB. The umbilical cords were collected from the following groups of pregnant mothers at the time of delivery: Normal (non-smoking and negative SARS-CoV-2 infection), Smoker (smoking with negative SARS-CoV-2), Covid Smoker (smoking with positive SARS-CoV-2 infection) and Covid non-smoker (non-smoking with positive SARS-CoV-2 infection). Plastic adherent cells were harvested from 3 pooled human umbilical cords from each group. These cells were cultured and underwent immunodepletion per International Society for cellular therapy guidelines to isolate MSCs. MSCs were cultured in MSC-culture media to assess the duplication time. Similarly, MSCs were cultured in differentiation media (adipocytes and osteocytes) to assess differentiation time. Summary of Results: Picture shows the duplication and differentiation time from each group. Smoker group showed the longest duplication and differentiation time. Covid non-smoker group showed the shortest duplication and differentiation time. Covid Smoker group showed similar duplication and differentiation time as normal controls. All these results were statistically significant (T-test). Conclusion(s): Maternal smoking and active SARS-CoV-2 infection at the time of delivery alters the growth and differentiation potential of cord-derived MSCs. Further in vitro and in vivo studies are currently in progress to determine how this change effects the biological potential of these cells.

Hormone Research in Paediatrics ; 95(Supplement 2):314-315, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2214146


Background: There is a need to increase digital health literacy in paediatric endocrinology due to the rapid emergence of digital technologies. Massive open online courses (MOOC) provide an opportunity to rapidly increase digital health capabilities at scale, as previously demonstrated in diabetes.1 To our knowledge, there are no comparable examples in the field of growth hormone deficiency. Aim(s): This study evaluates the impact of a new MOOC launched in 2021 entitled 'Telemedicine: Tools to Support Growth Disorders in a Post-COVID Era' by comparing pre- and post-course assessment scores as well as comments received from learners. Method(s): Learners' knowledge in the field was assessed with pre- and post- course surveys via the FutureLearn platform. Learners who completed all ten questions for both the pre- and post-course assessment were included in the analysis. Scores were evaluated by t-test to identify significant knowledge changes. All comments posted by learners on the course discussion forum were evaluated. Result(s): By 17 December 2021, 219 learners had enrolled in the MOOC;31 completed both the pre- and post-course assessments. (Table Presented) Of these evaluated learners, 74% showed improved scores in the post-course assessment, resulting in a mean score increase of 21.25%. No learners achieved 100% in the pre-course assessment, while 12 learners (40%) achieved 100% in the post-course assessment. The highest score increase comparing pre- and post-assessments was 40% in 16% of learners. There was a statistically significant improvement in overall scores, rising from 58.1% +/- 18.9% to 72.6 % +/- 22.4% (p<0.0005) in the post-course assessment. Of the 132 comments analysed, 75 described an increase in knowledge, 39 stated that the course content was appropriate and 10 related to a positive impact on future learning and self-care. Some learners commented on the potential applicability of the course content to other therapeutic areas. Conclusion(s): The MOOC multimodal eLearning model offers an innovative and successful channel to train large numbers of healthcare professionals. Digital health competencies gained included the management of growth disorders through e-health, research and evidence-based methods in eHealth, and e-health codesign. Our results indicate the value of MOOC digital learning to improve digital health literacy on a large scale. Reference 1 Wewer Albrechtsen NJ, et al. BMC Med Educ 17, 97 (2017).

Drug Development and Delivery ; 22(4):18-23, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2012508
International Journal of Preventive Medicine ; 12(1), 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1667498