Research undertaken by staff affiliated to the Children's University Hospital, Temple Street

Recent Submissions

  • Neonatal Screening in Europe Revisited: An ISNS Perspective on the Current State and Developments Since 2010.

    Loeber, J Gerard; Platis, Dimitris; Zetterström, Rolf H; Almashanu, Shlomo; Boemer, François; Bonham, James R; Borde, Patricia; Brincat, Ian; Cheillan, David; Dekkers, Eugenie; et al. (2021-03-05)
    Neonatal screening (NBS) was initiated in Europe during the 1960s with the screening for phenylketonuria. The panel of screened disorders ("conditions") then gradually expanded, with a boost in the late 1990s with the introduction of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), making it possible to screen for 40-50 conditions using a single blood spot. The most recent additions to screening programmes (screening for cystic fibrosis, severe combined immunodeficiency and spinal muscular atrophy) were assisted by or realised through the introduction of molecular technologies. For this survey, we collected data from 51 European countries. We report the developments between 2010 and 2020 and highlight the achievements reached with the progress made in this period. We also identify areas where further progress can be made, mainly by exchanging knowledge and learning from experiences in neighbouring countries. Between 2010 and 2020, most NBS programmes in geographical Europe matured considerably, both in terms of methodology (modernised) and with regard to the panel of conditions screened (expanded). These developments indicate that more collaboration in Europe through European organisations is gaining momentum. We can only accomplish the timely detection of newborn infants potentially suffering from one of the many rare diseases and take appropriate action by working together.
  • Global Landscape Review of Serotype-Specific Invasive Pneumococcal Disease Surveillance among Countries Using PCV10/13: The Pneumococcal Serotype Replacement and Distribution Estimation (PSERENADE) Project.

    Deloria Knoll, Maria; Bennett, Julia C; Garcia Quesada, Maria; Kagucia, Eunice W; Peterson, Meagan E; Feikin, Daniel R; Cohen, Adam L; Hetrich, Marissa K; Yang, Yangyupei; Sinkevitch, Jenna N; et al. (2021-04-02)
    Serotype-specific surveillance for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is essential for assessing the impact of 10- and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV10/13). The Pneumococcal Serotype Replacement and Distribution Estimation (PSERENADE) project aimed to evaluate the global evidence to estimate the impact of PCV10/13 by age, product, schedule, and syndrome. Here we systematically characterize and summarize the global landscape of routine serotype-specific IPD surveillance in PCV10/13-using countries and describe the subset that are included in PSERENADE. Of 138 countries using PCV10/13 as of 2018, we identified 109 with IPD surveillance systems, 76 of which met PSERENADE data collection eligibility criteria. PSERENADE received data from most (n = 63, 82.9%), yielding 240,639 post-PCV10/13 introduction IPD cases. Pediatric and adult surveillance was represented from all geographic regions but was limited from lower income and high-burden countries. In PSERENADE, 18 sites evaluated PCV10, 42 PCV13, and 17 both; 17 sites used a 3 + 0 schedule, 38 used 2 + 1, 13 used 3 + 1, and 9 used mixed schedules. With such a sizeable and generally representative dataset, PSERENADE will be able to conduct robust analyses to estimate PCV impact and inform policy at national and global levels regarding adult immunization, schedule, and product choice, including for higher valency PCVs on the horizon.
  • Enzyme replacement therapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplant: a new paradigm of treatment in Wolman disease.

    Potter, Jane E; Petts, Gemma; Ghosh, Arunabha; White, Fiona J; Kinsella, Jane L; Hughes, Stephen; Roberts, Jane; Hodgkinson, Adam; Brammeier, Kathryn; Church, Heather; et al. (2021-05-21)
    Background: Wolman disease is a rare, lysosomal storage disorder in which biallelic variants in the LIPA gene result in reduced or complete lack of lysosomal acid lipase. The accumulation of the substrates; cholesterol esters and triglycerides, significantly impacts cellular function. Untreated patients die within the first 12 months of life. Clinically, patients present severely malnourished, with diarrhoea and hepatosplenomegaly, many have an inflammatory phenotype, including with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) had been historically the only treatment available but has a high procedure-related mortality because of disease progression and disease-associated morbidities. More recently, enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with dietary substrate reduction (DSR) has significantly improved patient survival. However, ERT is life long, expensive and its utility is limited by anti-drug antibodies (ADA) and the need for central venous access. Results: We describe five Wolman disease patients diagnosed in infancy that were treated at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital receiving ERT with DSR then HCT-multimodal therapy. In 3/5 an initial response to ERT was attenuated by ADA with associated clinical and laboratory features of deterioration. 1/5 developed anaphylaxis to ERT and the other patient died post HCT with ongoing HLH. All patients received allogeneic HCT. 4/5 patients are alive, and both disease phenotype and laboratory parameters are improved compared to when they were on ERT alone. The gastrointestinal symptoms are particularly improved after HCT, with reduced diarrhoea and vomiting. This allows gradual structured normalisation of diet with improved tolerance of dietary fat. Histologically there are reduced cholesterol clefts, fewer foamy macrophages and an improved villous structure. Disease biomarkers also show improvement with ERT, immunotherapy and HCT. Three patients have mixed chimerism after HCT, indicating a likely engraftment-defect in this condition. Conclusion: We describe combined ERT, DSR and HCT, multimodal treatment for Wolman disease. ERT and DSR stabilises the sick infant and reduces the formerly described prohibitively high, transplant-associated mortality in this condition. HCT abrogates the problems of ERT, namely attenuating ADA, the need for continuing venous access, and continuing high cost drug treatment. HCT also brings improved efficacy, particularly evident in improved gastrointestinal function and histology. Multimodal therapy should be considered a new paradigm of treatment for Wolman disease patients where there is an attenuated response to ERT, and for all patients where there is a well-matched transplant donor, in order to improve long term gut function, tolerance of a normal diet and quality of life.
  • Aetiology, course and treatment of acute tubulointerstitial nephritis in paediatric patients: a cross-sectional web-based survey.

    Wente-Schulz, Sarah; Aksenova, Marina; Awan, Atif; Ambarsari, Cahyani Gita; Becherucci, Francesca; Emma, Francesco; Fila, Marc; Francisco, Telma; Gokce, Ibrahim; Gülhan, Bora; et al. (2021-05-28)
    Thirty-nine physicians from 18 countries responded. 171 patients with acute TIN were included (54% female, median age 12 years). The most frequent causes were tubulointerstitial nephritis and uveitis syndrome in 31% and drug-induced TIN in 30% (the majority of these caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In 28% of patients, no initiating noxae were identified (idiopathic TIN). Median estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) rose significantly from 31 at time of renal biopsy to 86 mL/min/1.73 m2 3-6 months later (p<0.001). After 3-6 months, eGFR normalised in 41% of patients (eGFR ≥90 mL/min/1.73 m2), with only 3% having severe or end-stage impairment of renal function (<30 mL/min/1.73 m2). 80% of patients received corticosteroid therapy. Median eGFR after 3-6 months did not differ between steroid-treated and steroid-untreated patients. Other immunosuppressants were used in 18% (n=31) of patients, 21 of whom received mycophenolate mofetil.
  • Paroxysmal Movement Disorders.

    Harvey, Susan; King, Mary D; Gorman, Kathleen M (2021-06-11)
    Paroxysmal movement disorders (PxMDs) are a clinical and genetically heterogeneous group of movement disorders characterized by episodic involuntary movements (dystonia, dyskinesia, chorea and/or ataxia). Historically, PxMDs were classified clinically (triggers and characteristics of the movements) and this directed single-gene testing. With the advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS), how we classify and investigate PxMDs has been transformed. Next-generation sequencing has enabled new gene discovery (RHOBTB2, TBC1D24), expansion of phenotypes in known PxMDs genes and a better understanding of disease mechanisms. However, PxMDs exhibit phenotypic pleiotropy and genetic heterogeneity, making it challenging to predict genotype based on the clinical phenotype. For example, paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia is most commonly associated with variants in PRRT2 but also variants identified in PNKD, SCN8A, and SCL2A1. There are no radiological or biochemical biomarkers to differentiate genetic causes. Even with NGS, diagnosis rates are variable, ranging from 11 to 51% depending on the cohort studied and technology employed. Thus, a large proportion of patients remain undiagnosed compared to other neurological disorders such as epilepsy, highlighting the need for further genomic research in PxMDs. Whole-genome sequencing, deep-sequencing, copy number variant analysis, detection of deep-intronic variants, mosaicism and repeat expansions, will improve diagnostic rates. Identifying the underlying genetic cause has a significant impact on patient care, modification of treatment, long-term prognostication and genetic counseling. This paper provides an update on the genetics of PxMDs, description of PxMDs classified according to causative gene rather than clinical phenotype, highlighting key clinical features and providing an algorithm for genetic testing of PxMDs.
  • Paediatric Common Infections Pathways: improving antimicrobial stewardship and promoting ambulation for children presenting with common infections to hospitals in the UK and Ireland.

    Horner, Carolyne; Cunney, Robert; Demirjian, Alicia; Doherty, Conor; Green, Helen; Mathai, Mathew; McMaster, Paddy; Munro, Alasdair; Paulus, Stéphane; Roland, Damian; et al. (2021-03-12)
    Paediatric common infection pathways have been developed in collaboration between the BSAC and national paediatric groups, addressing the management of cellulitis, lymphadenitis/lymph node abscess, pneumonia/pleural empyema, pyelonephritis, tonsillitis/peritonsillar abscess, otitis media/mastoiditis, pre-septal/post-septal (orbital) cellulitis, and meningitis. Guidance for the management of a child presenting with a petechial/purpuric rash and the infant under 3 months of age with fever is also provided. The aim of these pathways is to support the delivery of high-quality infection management in children presenting to a hospital. The pathways focus on diagnostic approaches, including the recognition of red flags suggesting complex or severe infection requiring urgent intervention, approaches to antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) principles and guidance on safe and timely ambulation aligned with good practice of outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT).
  • Incidence and severity of pertussis hospitalisations in infants aged less than 1 year in 37 hospitals of six EU/EEA countries, results of PERTINENT sentinel pilot surveillance system, December 2015 to December 2018.

    Merdrignac, Lore; Aït El Belghiti, Fatima; Pandolfi, Elisabetta; Jané, Mireia; Murphy, Jane; Fabiánová, Kateřina; García Cenoz, Manuel; Flem, Elmira; Guillot, Sophie; Tozzi, Alberto E; et al. (2021-01)
    IntroductionPERTINENT is a pilot active surveillance system of infants hospitalised with pertussis in six European Union/European Economic Area countries (37 hospitals, seven sites).AimThis observational study aimed to estimate annual pertussis incidence per site from 2016 to 2018 and respective trends between 2017 and 2018. Pertussis cases were described, including their severity.MethodsWe developed a generic protocol and laboratory guidelines to harmonise practices across sites. Cases were hospitalised infants testing positive for Bordetella pertussis by PCR or culture. Sites collected demographic, clinical, laboratory data, vaccination status, and risk/protective factors. We estimated sites' annual incidences by dividing case numbers by the catchment populations.ResultsFrom December 2015 to December 2018, we identified 469 cases (247 males; 53%). The median age, birthweight and gestational age were 2.5 months (range: 0-11.6; interquartile range (IQR): 2.5), 3,280 g (range: 700-4,925; IQR: 720) and 39 weeks (range: 25-42; IQR: 2), respectively. Thirty cases (6%) had atypical presentation either with cough or cyanosis only or with absence of pertussis-like symptoms. Of 330 cases with information, 83 (25%) were admitted to intensive care units including five deceased infants too young to be vaccinated. Incidence rate ratios between 2018 and 2017 were 1.43 in Czech Republic (p = 0.468), 0.25 in Catalonia (p = 0.002), 0.71 in France (p = 0.034), 0.14 in Ireland (p = 0.002), 0.63 in Italy (p = 0.053), 0.21 in Navarra (p = 0.148) and zero in Norway.ConclusionsIncidence appeared to decrease between 2017 and 2018 in all but one site. Enhanced surveillance of hospitalised pertussis in Europe is essential to monitor pertussis epidemiology and disease burden.
  • Barriers and Facilitators for Implementing Paediatric Telemedicine: Rapid Review of User Perspectives.

    Tully, Louise; Case, Lucinda; Arthurs, Niamh; Sorensen, Jan; Marcin, James P; O'Malley, Grace; Obesity Research and Care Group, School of Physiotherapy, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland. 2W82GO Child and Adolescent Weight Management Service, Children's Health Ireland at Temple Street, Dublin, Ireland. 3Healthcare Outcomes Research Centre, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland. 4Department of Pediatrics, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA, United States. (Open Access Frontiers, 2021-03-17)
    Background: COVID-19 has brought to the fore an urgent need for secure information and communication technology (ICT) supported healthcare delivery, as the pertinence of infection control and social distancing continues. Telemedicine for paediatric care warrants special consideration around logistics, consent and assent, child welfare and communication that may differ to adult services. There is no systematic evidence synthesis available that outlines the implementation issues for incorporating telemedicine to paediatric services generally, or how users perceive these issues. Methods: We conducted a rapid mixed-methods evidence synthesis to identify barriers, facilitators, and documented stakeholder experiences of implementing paediatric telemedicine, to inform the pandemic response. A systematic search was undertaken by a research librarian in MEDLINE for relevant studies. All identified records were blind double-screened by two reviewers. Implementation-related data were extracted, and studies quality appraised using the Mixed-Methods Appraisal Tool. Qualitative findings were analysed thematically and then mapped to the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. Quantitative findings about barriers and facilitators for implementation were narratively synthesised. Results: We identified 27 eligible studies (19 quantitative; 5 mixed-methods, 3 qualitative). Important challenges highlighted from the perspective of the healthcare providers included issues with ICT proficiency, lack of confidence in the quality/reliability of the technology, connectivity issues, concerns around legal issues, increased administrative burden and/or fear of inability to conduct thorough examinations with reliance on subjective descriptions. Facilitators included clear dissemination of the aims of ICT services, involvement of staff throughout planning and implementation, sufficient training, and cultivation of telemedicine champions. Families often expressed preference for in-person visits but those who had tried tele-consultations, lived far from clinics, or perceived increased convenience with technology considered telemedicine more favourably. Concerns from parents included the responsibility of describing their child's condition in the absence of an in-person examination. Discussion: Healthcare providers and families who have experienced tele-consultations generally report high satisfaction and usability for such services. The use of ICT to facilitate paediatric healthcare consultations is feasible for certain clinical encounters and can work well with appropriate planning and quality facilities in place.
  • Pediatric Weight Management Through mHealth Compared to Face-to-Face Care: Cost Analysis of a Randomized Control Trial.

    Tully, Louise; Sorensen, Jan; O'Malley, Grace; Obesity Research and Care Group, Division of Population Health Sciences, School of Physiotherapy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland. 2Healthcare Outcomes Research Centre, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland. 3W82GO Child and Adolescent Weight Management Service, Children's Health Ireland at Temple Street, Dublin, Ireland. #Contributed equally. (JMIR Publications, 2021-09-14)
    Background: Mobile health (mHealth) may improve pediatric weight management capacity and the geographical reach of services, and overcome barriers to attending physical appointments using ubiquitous devices such as smartphones and tablets. This field remains an emerging research area with some evidence of its effectiveness; however, there is a scarcity of literature describing economic evaluations of mHealth interventions. Objective: We aimed to assess the economic viability of using an mHealth approach as an alternative to standard multidisciplinary care by evaluating the direct costs incurred within treatment arms during a noninferiority randomized controlled trial (RCT). Methods: A digitally delivered (via a smartphone app) maintenance phase of a pediatric weight management program was developed iteratively with patients and families using evidence-based approaches. We undertook a microcosting exercise and budget impact analysis to assess the costs of delivery from the perspective of the publicly funded health care system. Resource use was analyzed alongside the RCT, and we estimated the costs associated with the staff time and resources for service delivery per participant. Results: In total, 109 adolescents participated in the trial, and 84 participants completed the trial (25 withdrew from the trial). We estimated the mean direct cost per adolescent attending usual care at €142 (SD 23.7), whereas the cost per adolescent in the mHealth group was €722 (SD 221.1), with variations depending on the number of weeks of treatment completion. The conversion rate for the reference year 2013 was $1=€0.7525. The costs incurred for those who withdrew from the study ranged from €35 to €681, depending on the point of dropout and study arm. The main driver of the costs in the mHealth arm was the need for health professional monitoring and support for patients on a weekly basis. The budget impact for offering the mHealth intervention to all newly referred patients in a 1-year period was estimated at €59,046 using the assessed approach. Conclusions: This mHealth approach was substantially more expensive than usual care, although modifications to the intervention may offer opportunities to reduce the mHealth costs. The need for monitoring and support from health care professionals (HCPs) was not eliminated using this delivery model. Further research is needed to explore the cost-effectiveness and economic impact on families and from a wider societal perspective. Trial registration: NCT01804855;
  • Using genomics to examine the persistence of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 19A in Ireland and the emergence of a sub-clade associated with vaccine failures.

    Corcoran, M; Mereckiene, J; Cotter, S; Murchan, S; Lo, S W; McGee, L; Breiman, R F; Cunney, R; Humphreys, H; Bentley, S D; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-07-21)
    Background: Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 19A remains a significant cause of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in Ireland despite the successful introduction of a 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in 2010 which reduced the overall incidence of IPD in children. Methods: Invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 19A isolates from the Irish reference laboratory between 2007-08 and 2017-18 were analysed using whole genome sequencing (WGS) to investigate the persistence of this vaccine-preventable serotype. We compared the entire national 19A collection to other international collections using a standardised nomenclature of Global Pneumococcal Sequencing Clusters (GPSC). Results: Expansion of GPSCs and clonal complexes (CCs) may have been associated with vaccine introduction and antimicrobial prescribing policies. A sub-clade of GPSC1-CC320 (n = 25) unique to Ireland, included five of the ten vaccine failures/breakthrough cases identified (p = 0.0086). This sub-clade was not observed in a global GPSC1-CC320 collection. All isolates within the sub-clade (n = 25) contained a galE gene variant rarely observed in a global pneumococcal collection (n = 37/13454, p < 0.001) nor within GPSC1-CC320 (n = 19/227) (p < 0.001). The sub-clade was estimated to have emerged at the start of the PCV-vaccine era (ancestral origin 2000, range 1995-2004) and expanded in Ireland, with most isolated after PCV13 introduction (n = 24/25). Conclusions: The identification of a sub-clade/variant of serotype 19A highlights the benefit of using WGS to analyse genotypes associated with persistence of a preventable serotype of S. pneumoniae. Particularly as this sub-clade identified was more likely to be associated with IPD in vaccinated children than other 19A genotypes. It is possible that changes to the galE gene, which is involved in capsule production but outside of the capsular polysaccharide biosynthesis locus, may affect bacterial persistence within the population. Discrete changes associated with vaccine-serotype persistence should be further investigated and may inform vaccine strategies.
  • Research Output from the Irish Paediatric Hospitals in the Field of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Over 10 Years: A Bibliometric Analysis.

    Alkhatip, Ahmed Abdelaal Ahmed Mahmoud M; Younis, Mohamed; Holmes, Chris; Sallam, Amr (2019-10-22)
    Objective: To the best of our knowledge, no bibliometric studies have characterised the paediatric anaesthesia research in Ireland. In this study, we aim to analyse the research output from two anaesthetic departments in Irish paediatric hospitals. Methods: A Scopus database search was conducted to identify the publications from 2007 to 2018 of the departments of anaesthesia and intensive care medicine in the Children's University Hospital, Temple Street (CUH), and Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin (OLCHC). Results: The Irish publications in paediatric anaesthesia and intensive care included 108 publications. CUH and OLCHC published 37 (34.9%) and 73 (68.8%) documents, respectively, with 6 (5.6%) documents affiliated with both hospitals. The number of original research articles was 28 (75.7%) for CUH versus 46 (63%) for OLCHC. The number of published reviews was 5 (13.5%) for CUH versus 11 (15.1%) for OLCHC. Over the last 2 years (2016, 2017), the number of OLCHC publications was almost double (13 and 14 publications) that of CUH (4 and 6 publications). For CUH, only two publications were in specialised journals. For OLCHC, 18 publications were in specialised journals, in addition to four publications in high-ranked journals. The mean impact factor for CUH publications was 3.78 (standard deviation [SD], 7.19) versus 4.52 (SD, 10.56) for OLCHC. From OLCHC, 20 authors published with a median h-index of 2.00 (interquartile range, 0-4.25), versus 14 authors form CUH with a median h-index of 1.50 (1.00-4.50).
  • A retrospective review of the contribution of rare diseases to paediatric mortality in Ireland.

    Gunne, Emer; McGarvey, Cliona; Hamilton, Karina; Treacy, Eileen; Lambert, Deborah M; Lynch, Sally Ann; Children's Health Ireland, Temple Street, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. (2020-11-04)
    Aims: To ascertain the number of paediatric deaths (0-14 years) with an underlying rare disease in the Republic of Ireland between the years 2006-2016, and to analyse bed usage by a paediatric cohort of rare disease inpatients prior to in-hospital death. Background: Rare diseases are often chronically debilitating and sometimes life-threatening diseases, with the majority (69.9%) of rare diseases being of paediatric onset. The Orphanet database contains information on 6172 unique rare diseases. Under-representation of rare diseases in hospital healthcare coding systems leads to a paucity of rare disease epidemiological data required for healthcare planning. Studies have cited variable incidence rates for rare disease, however the burden of rare diseases to healthcare services still remains unclear. This study represents a thorough effort to identify the percentage of child mortality and paediatric bed usage attributable to rare diseases in the Republic of Ireland, thus addressing a major gap in the rare disease field. Methods: Retrospective analysis of paediatric death registration details for the Republic of Ireland in the 11-year period 2006-2016 from the National Paediatric Mortality Register. Data was subcategorised as Neonatal (0-28 days), Post Neonatal (29 days < 1 year) and older (1-14 years). Bed usage data (ICD-10 code, narrative and usage) of paediatric inpatients who died during hospitalisation from January 2015 to December 2016 was extracted from the National Quality Assurance Improvement System of in-patient data. Orphacodes were assigned to rare disease cases from ICD-10 codes or diagnostic narrative of both datasets. Results: There were 4044 deaths registered from 2006-2016, aged < 15 years, of these 2368 (58.6%) had an underlying rare disease. Stratifying by age group; 55.6% (1140/2050) of neonatal deaths had a rare disease, 57.8% (450/778) post-neonatal, and 64% (778/1216) of children aged 1-14 years. Mortality coding using ICD-10 codes identified 42% of rare disease cases with the remainder identified using death certificate narrative records. Rare disease patients occupied 87% of bed days used by children < 15 years who died during hospitalisation from January 2015 to December 2016. Conclusion: Additional routine rare disease coding is necessary to identify rare diseases within Irish healthcare systems to enable better healthcare planning. Rare disease patients are overrepresented in paediatric mortality statistics and in-patient length of stay during hospital admission prior to death.
  • Correction: A restricted spectrum of missense KMT2D variants cause a multiple malformations disorder distinct from Kabuki syndrome.

    Cuvertino, Sara; Hartill, Verity; Colyer, Alice; Garner, Terence; Nair, Nisha; Al-Gazali, Lihadh; Canham, Natalie; Faundes, Victor; Flinter, Frances; Hertecant, Jozef; et al. (2020-03-23)
    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
  • A restricted spectrum of missense KMT2D variants cause a multiple malformations disorder distinct from Kabuki syndrome.

    Cuvertino, Sara; Hartill, Verity; Colyer, Alice; Garner, Terence; Nair, Nisha; Al-Gazali, Lihadh; Canham, Natalie; Faundes, Victor; Flinter, Frances; Hertecant, Jozef; et al. (2020-01-17)
    Purpose: To investigate if specific exon 38 or 39 KMT2D missense variants (MVs) cause a condition distinct from Kabuki syndrome type 1 (KS1). Methods: Multiple individuals, with MVs in exons 38 or 39 of KMT2D that encode a highly conserved region of 54 amino acids flanked by Val3527 and Lys3583, were identified and phenotyped. Functional tests were performed to study their pathogenicity and understand the disease mechanism. Results: The consistent clinical features of the affected individuals, from seven unrelated families, included choanal atresia, athelia or hypoplastic nipples, branchial sinus abnormalities, neck pits, lacrimal duct anomalies, hearing loss, external ear malformations, and thyroid abnormalities. None of the individuals had intellectual disability. The frequency of clinical features, objective software-based facial analysis metrics, and genome-wide peripheral blood DNA methylation patterns in these patients were significantly different from that of KS1. Circular dichroism spectroscopy indicated that these MVs perturb KMT2D secondary structure through an increased disordered to ɑ-helical transition. Conclusion: KMT2D MVs located in a specific region spanning exons 38 and 39 and affecting highly conserved residues cause a novel multiple malformations syndrome distinct from KS1. Unlike KMT2D haploinsufficiency in KS1, these MVs likely result in disease through a dominant negative mechanism.
  • Storytelling and poetry in the time of coronavirus.

    Barrett, Elizabeth; Dickson, Melissa; Hayes-Brady, Clare; Wheelock, Harriet (2020-05-14)
    The coronavirus crisis occurs at a time when many clinicians have already experienced burnout. One in three Irish doctors were suffering from burnout in the 2019 National Study of Wellbeing of Hospital Doctors in Ireland; rates are also high in Irish Psychiatry. We present a perspective on the use of narrative in medicine and recognise that storytelling, and the patient history are very much at the heart of medicine. Clinician storytelling, such as Schwartz Rounds and Balint group work, has very much come to the fore in Irish Psychiatry and in training. Projects such as MindReading have explored overlaps between clinicians, humanities experts and experts by experience. We give an overview of some approaches from the movement around narrative in medicine to bolster this. We explore why clinicians write as ways to support identification, catharsis and a way to process experiences. Clinicians and patients may also use literature and poetry to promote coping. The historical context and practical strategies are highlighted, particularly with reference to poetry use during the current crisis.
  • Heterozygous loss-of-function variants of MEIS2 cause a triad of palatal defects, congenital heart defects, and intellectual disability.

    Verheije, Rosalind; Kupchik, Gabriel S; Isidor, Bertrand; Kroes, Hester Y; Lynch, Sally Ann; Hawkes, Lara; Hempel, Maja; Gelb, Bruce D; Ghoumid, Jamal; D'Amours, Guylaine; et al. (2018-10-05)
    Deletions on chromosome 15q14 are a known chromosomal cause of cleft palate, typically co-occurring with intellectual disability, facial dysmorphism, and congenital heart defects. The identification of patients with loss-of-function variants in MEIS2, a gene within this deletion, suggests that these features are attributed to haploinsufficiency of MEIS2. To further delineate the phenotypic spectrum of the MEIS2-related syndrome, we collected 23 previously unreported patients with either a de novo sequence variant in MEIS2 (9 patients), or a 15q14 microdeletion affecting MEIS2 (14 patients). All but one de novo MEIS2 variant were identified by whole-exome sequencing. One variant was found by targeted sequencing of MEIS2 in a girl with a clinical suspicion of this syndrome. In addition to the triad of palatal defects, heart defects, and developmental delay, heterozygous loss of MEIS2 results in recurrent facial features, including thin and arched eyebrows, short alae nasi, and thin vermillion. Genotype-phenotype comparison between patients with 15q14 deletions and patients with sequence variants or intragenic deletions within MEIS2, showed a higher prevalence of moderate-to-severe intellectual disability in the former group, advocating for an independent locus for psychomotor development neighboring MEIS2.
  • Enterovirus and parechovirus meningitis in infants younger than 90 days old in the UK and Republic of Ireland: a British Paediatric Surveillance Unit study.

    Kadambari, Seilesh; Braccio, Serena; Ribeiro, Sonia; Allen, David J; Pebody, Richard; Brown, David; Cunney, Robert; Sharland, Mike; Ladhani, Shamez (2018-12-08)
    Objectives: This study aimed to prospectively collect detailed clinical information for all enterovirus (EV) and human parechovirus (HPeV) meningitis cases in infants aged <90 days in the UK and Ireland. Participants, design and setting: Prospective, active national surveillance during July 2014 to July 2015 through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit. Reporting paediatricians completed questionnaires requesting information on clinical presentation, investigations, management and outcomes at hospital discharge and after 12 months. Main outcome measures: To describe the clinical burden of EV and HPeV meningitis in infants aged <90 days. Results: During the 13-month surveillance period, 703 cases (668 EV, incidence0.79/1,000 live- births; 35 HPeV, 0.04/1,000 live-births) were identified. The most common clinical presentations were fever (EV: 570/668(85%); HPeV: 28/35(80%)), irritability (EV: 441/668(66%); HPeV: 23/35(66%)) and reduced feeding (EV: 363/668(54%); HPeV 23/35(66%)). Features of circulatory shock were present in 27% (182/668) of EV and 43% (15/35) of HPeV cases. Overall, 11% (76/668) of EV and 23% (8/35) of HPeV cases required intensive care support. Nearly all cases (678/703, 96%) were confirmed by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) PCR, with 52% (309/600) having normal CSF white cell count for age. Two infants with EV meningitis died (2/668, 0.3%) and four survivors (4/666, 0.6%) had long-term complications at 12 months' follow-up. Infants with HPeV meningitis survived without sequelae. Overall 189 infants had a formal hearing test and none had sensorineural hearing loss. Conclusion: The incidence of laboratory-confirmed EV/HPeV meningitis in young infants is more than twice that for bacterial meningitis. Less than 1% will develop severe neurological complications or die of their infection. Further studies are required to formally assess long-term neurodevelopmental sequelae.
  • Potential Coverage of the 4CMenB Vaccine against Invasive Serogroup B Isolated from 2009 to 2013 in the Republic of Ireland.

    Mulhall, Robert M; Bennett, Desiree; Cunney, Robert; Borrow, Ray; Lucidarme, Jay; Findlow, Jamie; Jolley, Keith A; Bray, James; Maiden, Martin C J; Moschioni, Monica; et al. (2018-08-22)
    Neisseria meningitidis is a common cause of bacterial meningitis in children and young adults worldwide. The 4CMenB vaccine (Bexsero), developed to combat meningococcal serogroup B (MenB) disease, contains subcapsular antigens that may induce immunity against strains of N. meningitidis, regardless of serogroup. Owing to differential levels of expression and peptide diversity in vaccine antigens across meningococcal strains, the meningococcal antigen typing system (MATS) was developed to estimate the potential MenB strain coverage of 4CMenB. Prior to introducing the 4CMenB vaccine into routine use, we sought to estimate the potential 4CMenB coverage against invasive MenB strains isolated in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) over four consecutive epidemiological years. MATS was applied to a panel of 105 invasive MenB strains isolated during July 2009 to June 2013. Sequence data characterizing the multilocus sequence typing (MLST) alleles and the major 4CMenB target peptides were extracted from isolate genome sequence data, hosted in the Bacterial Isolate Sequencing database (BIGSdb). MATS data indicated that 4CMenB may induce protective immunity against 69.5% (95% confidence interval [CI95%], 64.8% to 84.8%) of circulating MenB strains. Estimated coverage was highest against the most prevalent disease-causing lineage, cc41/44, where the most frequently observed sequence types, ST-154 and ST-41 (21% of isolates, collectively), were typically covered by three antigens. No significant temporal trends were observed. Overall, these data provide a baseline of strain coverage prior to the introduction of 4CMenB and indicate that a decrease in invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is predicted following the introduction of 4CMenB into the routine infant immunization schedule in the RoI.IMPORTANCE The meningococcal antigen typing system (MATS) is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that measures both the levels of expression and the immune reactivity of the three recombinant 4CMenB antigens. Together with PorA variable-region sequence data, this system provides an estimation of how susceptible MenB isolates are to killing by 4CMenB vaccine-induced antibodies. Assays based on subcapsular antigen phenotype analyses, such as MATS, are important in situations where conventional vaccine coverage estimations are not possible. Subcapsular antigens are typically highly diverse across strains, and vaccine coverage estimations would require unfeasibly large efficacy trials and screening of an exhaustive strain panel for antibody functional activity. Here, MATS was applied to all invasive meningococcal serogroup B (MenB) strains isolated over four consecutive epidemiological years (n = 105) and predicted reasonably high 4CMenB vaccine coverage in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Resolution of a Protracted Serogroup B Meningococcal Outbreak with Whole-Genome Sequencing Shows Interspecies Genetic Transfer.

    Mulhall, Robert M; Brehony, Carina; O'Connor, Lois; Meyler, Kenneth; Jolley, Keith A; Bray, James; Bennett, Desiree; Maiden, Martin C J; Cunney, Robert (2016-01-01)
    A carriage study was undertaken (n 112) to ascertain the prevalence of Neisseria spp. following the eighth case of invasive meningococcal disease in young children (5 to 46 months) and members of a large extended indigenous ethnic minority Traveller family (n 123), typically associated with high-occupancy living conditions. Nested multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was employed for case specimen extracts. Isolates were genome sequenced and then were assembled de novo and deposited into the Bacterial Isolate Genome Sequencing Database (BIGSdb). This facilitated an expanded MLST approach utilizing large numbers of loci for isolate characterization and discrimination. A rare sequence type, ST-6697, predominated in disease specimens and isolates that were carried (n 8/14), persisting for at least 44 months, likely driven by the high population density of houses (n 67/112) and trailers (n 45/112). Carriage for Neisseria meningitidis (P < 0.05) and Neisseria lactamica (P < 0.002) (2-sided Fisher’s exact test) was more likely in the smaller, more densely populated trailers. Meningococcal carriage was highest in 24- to 39-year-olds (45%, n 9/20). Evidence of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) was observed in four individuals cocolonized by Neisseria lactamica and Neisseria meningitidis. One HGT event resulted in the acquisition of 26 consecutive N. lactamica alleles. This study demonstrates how housing density can drive meningococcal transmission and carriage, which likely facilitated the persistence of ST-6697 and prolonged the outbreak. Whole-genome MLST effectively distinguished between highly similar outbreak strain isolates, including those isolated from person-toperson transmission, and also highlighted how a few HGT events can distort the true phylogenetic relationship between highly similar clonal isolates.
  • cgMLST characterisation of invasive Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C and W strains associated with increasing disease incidence in the Republic of Ireland.

    Mulhall, Robert M; Bennett, Desiree E; Bratcher, Holly B; Jolley, Keith A; Bray, James E; O'Lorcain, Piaras P; Cotter, Suzanne M; Maiden, Martin C J; Cunney, Robert J (2019-01-01)
    Since 2013 MenC and MenW disease incidence and associated mortality rates have increased in the Republic of Ireland. From 2002/2003 to 2012/2013, the average annual MenC incidence was 0.08/100,000, which increased to 0.34/100,000 during 2013/2014 to 2017/18, peaking in 2016/17 (0.72/100,000) with an associated case fatality rate (CFR) of 14.7%. MenW disease incidence has increased each year from 0.02/100,000 in 2013/2014, to 0.29/100,000 in 2017/18, with an associated CFR of 28.6%. We aimed to characterise and relate recent MenC isolates to the previously prevalent MenC:cc11 ET-15 clones, and also characterise and relate recent MenW isolates to the novel 'Hajj' clones.

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