Indigenous Australian

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is one of the most common acquired surgical conditions of childhood.  Diagnosis of appendicitis remains difficult.  Much work has been done on validation of clinical scores to reduce the number of unnecessary surgeries and radiographic tests while maintaining a high sensitivity for disease.  However, no score performs well enough in practice to reduce these risks (Kulik et al., 2013).  It is also known that appendicitis has a familial predominance, but little is known about the genetic factors that may increase a certain child's risk for the condition (Oldmeadow et al., 2009). 

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Clostridium Difficile Colitis

Clostridium difficile, also known as "C. diff," is a species of bacteria that causes severe diarrhea and other intestinal disease when competing bacteria in the gut have been wiped out by antibiotics (see Wikipedia entry). In rare cases a C. diff infection can progress to toxic megacolon which can be life-threatening. In a very small percentage of the adult population C. difficile bacteria naturally reside in the gut. Other people accidentally ingest spores of the bacteria while patients in a hospital or nursing home.

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Depression

Depression accounts for substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide and risk of experiencing it may have a genetic component.  Depressive disorders manifest along a gradient from mild to severe.[1]  Electronic health record (EHR) data linked to large, multi-site biobanks[2] facilitate exploration of the genetic component of depression.

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Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

An algorithm for finding patients with diverticulosis, and of those, patients who also have diverticulitis, and to also find control patients.  Control patients will have had a colonoscopy but have no evidence of diverticula.

Simple NLP (a portable program is posted here, with instructions, and support is availabe from NU as needed) of colonoscopy reports is the gold standard algorithm, but if the text of colonoscopy reports is not available, an alternate algorithm using CPT & ICD-9 codes can be used, which is also posted.

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Herpes Zoster

Herpes zoster, also known as zoster or shingles, is caused by a virus called varicella zoster virus (VZV). Initial infection with the virus causes chickenpox. After chickenpox resolves the virus continues to resides in certain nerve cells. It may remain latent for many years. It may also re-activate, many years later, and cause shingles which is a painful skin rash. How the virus remains latent in the body is not well understood.

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