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Beijing, December 23, 2017: The December 2017 issue includes an editorial, five original research articles, one case study, one systematic review and two China Focus articles addressing various topics in family medicine in both China and internationally.

The first featured article in this issue is an original research article entitled "Seguin Form Board as an intelligence tool for young children in an Indian urban slum." by authors Beena Koshy, Hannah Mary Thomas, Prasanna Samuel, Rajiv Sarkar, Scott Kendall and Gagandeep Kang. The Seguin-Form Board Test (SFBT) is an intelligence testing tool that is brief, portable and easy to administer, highlighting its utility as a community screening tool in resource-limited setting. The present study demonstrates acceptable concurrent validity for SFBT as early as three years of age as well as stable properties of the construct with acceptable predictive validity with intelligence assessment at seven years of age, both valuable properties of intelligence assessments in community settings.

The second featured article is an original research article entitled "Assessment of family physicians' knowledge of childhood autism" by Hend Mikhail Salama. The aim of this study is to assess knowledge about autism among family physicians, producing information from Egypt that adds to research base. This study is a cross-sectional descriptive study, it was conducted between January and March 2017, carried out in the family medicine department, faculty of medicine, Suez Canal University in Ismailia city, Egypt. It used questionnaire of Knowledge about Childhood Autism among Healthcare Workers, and the mean score was 11.2+\-3.5. It concluded that there is a lack of knowledge about autism among family physicians; they need more training about autism to increase awareness to improve early detection and intervention for improving the quality of life and care of children with autism.

The study involved 108 people who had Parkinson’s disease for an average of about six years and 31 people of the same age who did not have the disease.

Their blood was tested for caffeine and for 11 byproducts the body makes as it metabolizes caffeine.

They were also tested for mutations in genes that can affect caffeine metabolism.

The two groups consumed about the same amount of caffeine, with an average equivalent to about two cups of coffee per day. But the people with Parkinson’s disease had significantly lower blood levels of caffeine and nine of the 11 byproducts of caffeine in the blood.

The caffeine level was an average of 79 picomoles per 10 microliters for people without Parkinson’s disease, compared to 24 picomoles per 10 microliters for people with the disease.

For one of the byproducts, the level was below the amount that could be detected in more than 50% of the people with Parkinson’s.

In the statistical analysis, Dr. Saiki and colleagues found that the test could be used to reliably identify the people with Parkinson’s disease, with a score of 0.98 where a score of 1 means that all cases are identified correctly.

In the genetic analysis, there were no differences in the caffeine-related genes between the two groups.

“People in the study with more severe stages of the disease did not have lower levels of caffeine in the blood, suggesting that the decrease occurs from the earliest stages of the disease,” said Dr. David Munoz, from the University of Toronto, Canada, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.