For more than three decades, topical cocaine has been used to confirm the diagnosis and hydroxyamphetamine to localise the causative lesion in oculosympathetic palsy or Horner's syndrome. More recently, other drugs have demonstrated the ability to point to the diagnosis or anatomical site. Apraclonidine and phenylephrine, given their similar diagnostic efficacy and increased availability, may have superseded cocaine and hydroxyamphetamine as first-line pharmacological testing agents in Horner's syndrome.
Background. In South Africa white men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer (PCa), coloured (mixed ancestry) men have an intermediate incidence, and low incidences are reported for black and Asian men. It has been suggested that ethnic differences in incidence and mortality of PCa are related to genetic variations in genes that regulate androgen metabolism. We investigated the role of genetic variants in the androgen metabolism genes and the probability of developing PCa in South African coloured and white men.
Methods. Genotype and allele counts and frequencies of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CYP3A5, CYP3A4 and CYP3A43 were assessed in coloured men (160 case individuals, 146 control individuals) and white men (121 case individuals, 141control individuals).
Results. A genetic association indicating an increased probability of developing PCa was observed with the G allele of the SNPrs2740574 in CYP3A4 in coloured men, the A allele of rs776746 (CYP3A5) and the G allele of rs2740574 (CYP3A4) in white men, and the G allele of rs2740574 and the C allele of rs501275 (CYP3A43) in the combined ethnic groups analysis. In addition, we identified allele combinations (termed haplotypes) with significantly higher frequencies in the PCa case individuals than in the control individuals.
Conclusions. The findings support the role of variants in genes that regulate androgen metabolism and the probability of developing PCa. The study paves the way to identify other genetic associations in South African men, and to establish genetic profiles that could be used to determine disease progression and prognosis.
Background. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in South Africa. An increase in the burden of stroke is predicted as the population is undergoing a rapid epidemiological transition with increased exposure to, and development of, stroke risk factors, together with aging of the population.
Objective. The objective was to update the guideline published in 2000, to place the recommendations within the current South African context, and to grade evidence according to the level of scientific rigour.
Recommendations. Ideally, all patients with acute stroke should be managed in a dedicated stroke unit. There is ample evidence that protocol-driven multidisciplinary stroke unit care within a hospital improves recovery from stroke. Treatment in a stroke unit has been shown to reduce mortality as well as reduce the likelihood of dependency after stroke. An effective stroke service requires the establishment of a seamless network consisting of acute stroke units, post-acute care and rehabilitation, and further care in the community. Primary preventive measures reduce stroke incidence and should be universally available and actively promoted at all levels of health care in South Africa. Successful care of a stroke patient begins with recognition by the public and health professionals that stroke should be considered an emergency. Avoiding delay should be the major aim of the prehospital phase of acute stroke care. Acute stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) should be treated as a medical emergency and evaluated with minimum delay. General supportive treatment is emphasised and is directed at maintaining homeostasis and the treatment of complications. Intravenous thrombolytic therapy with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is an accepted therapy for acute ischaemic stroke within 4.5 hours of onset of symptoms, but can only be administered at centres with specific resources. Awareness and treatment of the neurological and systemic complications of acute stroke are an integral part of management. Patients with suspected TIA and minor stroke with early spontaneous recovery should be evaluated as soon as possible after an event. Brain imaging is recommended, and non-invasive imaging of the cervicocephalic vessels should be performed urgently and routinely as part of the evaluation. Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is recommended for patients with severe (70 - 99%) ipsilateral stenosis, and the procedure should be performed as soon as possible after the last ischaemic event - ideally within 2 weeks - in centres with a peri-operative complication rate (all strokes and death) of less than 6%. Survivors of a TIA or stroke have an increased risk of another stroke, which is a major source of increased mortality and morbidity. Secondary prevention strategies are aimed at reducing this risk. Stroke rehabilitation is a goal-orientated process that attempts to obtain maximum function in patients who have had strokes and who suffer from a combination of physical, cognitive and language disabilities.