AbstractWe investigated the incidence and risk factors of late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the fellow eye (FE) without significant drusen of patients with unilateral exudative macular neovascularization (MNV). In this retrospective study, 241 eligible patients who were followed-up for more than 3 years were enrolled. We analyzed the incidence and hazard ratios (HRs) of late AMD in the FE according to demographic and ophthalmologic variables. Hypopigmentation on color fundus photography (CFP) corresponds to shallow irregular RPE elevation (SIRE), so-called “double-layer sign” and/or “attenuation or disruption of RPE and/or ellipsoid zone” on OCT. The 5-year incidence of FE exudative MNV conversion was 8.6%. The 5-year incidence of FE exudative MNV of large hypopigmentation (≥ 0.5 disc area; DA) and small hypopigmentation (< 0.5 DA) on CFP, and SIRE (≥ 1000 µm) and small RPE elevation (< 1000 µm) on OCT were 36.2%, 14.2%, 55.0%, and 15.6%, respectively. The multivariate Cox proportional hazard model revealed that large hypopigmentation, small hypopigmentation, SIRE, and small RPE elevation showed HRs of 23.230, 8.037, 132.589, and 41.823 for FE exudative MNV occurrence, respectively. Hypopigmentation on CFP and SIRE on OCT could represent the same lesion. Even small hypopigmentation and small RPE elevation were significant risk factors for progression to exudative MNV.
AbstractTo evaluate the expiratory sounds produced during swallowing recorded simultaneously with videofluorographic examination of swallowing (VF) using fast Fourier transform (FFT), and to examine the relationship between dysphagia and its acoustic characteristics. A total of 348 samples of expiratory sounds were collected from 61 patients with dysphagia whose expiratory sounds were recorded during VF. The VF results were evaluated by one dentist and categorized into three groups: safe group (SG), penetration group (PG), and aspiration group (AG). The duration and maximum amplitude of expiratory sounds produced were measured as the domain characteristics on the time waveform of these sounds and compared among the groups. Time window-length appropriate for FFT and acoustic discriminate values (AD values) of SG, PG, and AG were also investigated. The groups were analyzed using analysis of variance and Scheffé's multiple comparison method. The maximum amplitude of SG was significantly smaller than those of PG and AG. The mean duration in SG (2.05 s) was significantly longer than those in PG (0.84 s) and AG (0.96 s). The AD value in SG was significantly lower than those in PG and AG. AD value detects penetration or aspiration, and can be useful in screening for dysphagia.
AbstractThe biosorptive potentials of three aquatics-based biosorbents, including shells of a bivalve mollusk and scales of two fish species for Pb removal from aqueous solutions were evaluated, for the first time. A Box–Behnken design with the response surface methodology was used to investigate the effects of the seven important variables (contact time, temperature, initial concentration, dosage, size, salinity and pH) on the sorption capacity of the sorbents. Among the seven studied factors, the effects of biosorbent dosage, initial concentration and pH were significant for all the response variables, while biosorbent size was not significant for any of the responses. The initial concentration was the most influential factor. The presence of Pb ions on the surfaces of the biosorbents after the adsorption was clearly confirmed by the SEM–EDX and XRF analyses. The maximum sorption capacities of the biosorbents were comparable to the literature and the descending order was as follows: scales of Rutilus kutum and Oncorhynchus mykiss and the shells of Cerastoderma glaucum. The isotherm studies revealed Langmuir model applicability for the Pb adsorption by R. kutum and O. mykiss scales, while Freundlich model was fitted to the adsorption C. glaucum shells.
AbstractA twenty-year-old idea from network science is that vaccination campaigns would be more effective if high-contact individuals were preferentially targeted. Implementation is impeded by the ethical and practical problem of differentiating vaccine access based on a personal characteristic that is hard-to-measure and private. Here, we propose the use of occupational category as a proxy for connectedness in a contact network. Using survey data on occupation-specific contact frequencies, we calibrate a model of disease propagation in populations undergoing varying vaccination campaigns. We find that vaccination campaigns that prioritize high-contact occupational groups achieve similar infection levels with half the number of vaccines, while also reducing and delaying peaks. The paper thus identifies a concrete, operational strategy for dramatically improving vaccination efficiency in ongoing pandemics.
AbstractThe burden of diabetes mellitus (DM) and associated complications is increasing worldwide, affecting many organ functionalities including submandibular glands (SMG). The present study aims to investigate the potential ameliorative effect of glycyrrhizic acid (GA) on diabetes-induced SMG damage. Experimental evaluation of GA treatment was conducted on a rat model of type I diabetes. Animals were assigned to three groups; control, diabetic and GA treated diabetic groups. After 8 weeks, the SMG was processed for assessment of oxidative stress markers, autophagy related proteins; LC3, Beclin-1 and P62, vascular regulator ET-1, aquaporins (AQPs 1.4 and 5), SIRT1 protein expressions in addition to LC3 and AQP5 mRNA expressions. Also, parenchymal structures of the SMG were examined. GA alleviated the diabetes-induced SMG damage via restoring the SMG levels of oxidative stress markers and ET-1 almost near to the normal levels most probably via regulation of SIRT1, AQPs and accordingly LC-3, P62 and Beclin-1levels. GA could be a promising candidate for the treatment of diabetes-induced SMG damage via regulating oxidative stress, autophagy and angiogenesis.
AbstractDespite significant insights into the neural mechanisms of acute placebo responses, less is known about longer-term placebo responses, such as those seen in clinical trials, or their interactions with brain disease. We examined brain correlates of placebo responses in a randomized trial of a then controversial and now disproved endovascular treatment for multiple sclerosis. Patients received either balloon or sham extracranial venoplasty and were followed for 48 weeks. Venoplasty had no therapeutic effect, but a subset of both venoplasty- and sham-treated patients reported a transient improvement in health-related quality of life, suggesting a placebo response. Placebo responders did not differ from non-responders in total MRI T2 lesion load, count or location, nor were there differences in normalized brain volume, regional grey or white matter volume or cortical thickness (CT). However, responders had higher lesion activity. Graph theoretical analysis of CT covariance showed that non-responders had a more small-world-like CT architecture. In non-responders, lesion load was inversely associated with CT in somatosensory, motor and association areas, precuneus, and insula, primarily in the right hemisphere. In responders, lesion load was unrelated to CT. The neuropathological process in MS may produce in some a cortical configuration less capable of generating sustained placebo responses.
AbstractThe maize (Zea mays) stem is a biological structure that must balance both biotic and structural load bearing duties. These competing requirements are particularly relevant in the design of new bioenergy crops. Although increased stem digestibility is typically associated with a lower structural strength and higher propensity for lodging, with the right balance between structural and biological activities it may be possible to design crops that are high-yielding and have digestible biomass. This study investigates the hypothesis that geometric factors are much more influential in determining structural strength than tissue properties. To study these influences, both physical and in silico experiments were used. First, maize stems were tested in three-point bending. Specimen-specific finite element models were created based on x-ray computed tomography scans. Models were validated by comparison with experimental data. Sensitivity analyses were used to assess the influence of structural parameters such as geometric and material properties. As hypothesized, geometry was found to have a much stronger influence on structural stability than material properties. This information reinforces the notion that deficiencies in tissue strength could be offset by manipulation of stalk morphology, thus allowing the creation of stalks which are both resilient and digestible.
AbstractSri Lanka is an important hub connecting Asia-Africa-Europe maritime routes. It receives abundant but uneven spatiotemporal distribution of rainfall and has evident seasonal water shortages. Monitoring water area changes in inland lakes and reservoirs plays an important role in guiding the development and utilisation of water resources. In this study, a rapid surface water extraction model based on the Google Earth Engine remote sensing cloud computing platform was constructed. By evaluating the optimal spectral water index method, the spatiotemporal variations of reservoirs and inland lakes in Sri Lanka were analysed. The results showed that Automated Water Extraction Index (AWEIsh) could accurately identify the water boundary with an overall accuracy of 99.14%, which was suitable for surface water extraction in Sri Lanka. The area of the Maduru Oya Reservoir showed an overall increasing trend based on small fluctuations from 1988 to 2018, and the monthly area of the reservoir fluctuated significantly in 2017. Thus, water resource management in the dry zone should focus more on seasonal regulation and control. From 1995 to 2015, the number and area of lakes and reservoirs in Sri Lanka increased to different degrees, mainly concentrated in arid provinces including Northern, North Central, and Western Provinces. Overall, the amount of surface water resources have increased.
AbstractThere is a lack of an established antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance system in animal welfare centers. Therefore, the AMR prevalence in shelter dogs is rarely known. Herein, we conducted a survey in animal shelters in Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, in the Kanto Region, Japan, to ascertain the AMR status of Escherichia coli (E. coli) prevalent in shelter dogs. E. coli was detected in the fecal samples of all 61 and 77 shelter dogs tested in Chiba and Kanagawa, respectively. The AMR was tested against 20 antibiotics. E. coli isolates derived from 16.4% and 26.0% of samples from Chiba and Kanagawa exhibited resistance to at least one antibiotic, respectively. E. coli in samples from Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures were commonly resistant to ampicillin, piperacillin, streptomycin, kanamycin, tetracycline, and nalidixic acid; that from the Kanagawa Prefecture to cefazolin, cefotaxime, aztreonam, ciprofloxacin, and levofloxacin and that from Chiba Prefecture to chloramphenicol and imipenem. Multidrug-resistant bacteria were detected in 18 dogs from both regions; β-lactamase genes (blaTEM, blaDHA-1, blaCTX-M-9 group CTX-M-14), quinolone-resistance protein genes (qnrB and qnrS), and mutations in quinolone-resistance-determining regions (gyrA and parC) were detected. These results could partially represent the AMR data in shelter dogs in the Kanto Region of Japan.
AbstractThe world is still heavily using nonconventional energy sources, which are worryingly based on carbon. The step is now alternative energy sources hoping that they will be more environmentally friendly. One of the important energy conversion forms by using these sources is photovoltaic solar systems. These type of power plants is on the increase in everyday on the world. Before investment a solar power plant in a specified region, a techno-economic analyse is performed for that power plant by using several meteorological data like solar irradiance and ambient temperature. However, this analyses generally lacks evaluation on effects of climatic and geographical conditions. In this work, 5 years of data of 27 grid-connected photovoltaic power plants are investigated, which are installed on seven different climate types in Turkey. Firstly, the power plants are categorized considering the tilt angles and Köppen–Gieger climate classification. The performance evaluations of the plants are mainly conducted using monthly average efficiencies and specific yields. The monthly average efficiencies, which were classified using the tilts and climate types were from 12 to 17%, from 12 to 16% and from 13 to 15% for tilts 30°/10°, 25° and 20°, respectively. The variation in the specific yields decrease with elevation as y(x) = − 0.068x + 1707.29 (kWh/kWp). As the performances of photovoltaic systems for some locations within the Csb climatic regions may relatively lower than some other regions with same climate type. Thus, techno-economic performance for PVPP located in this climate classification should be carefully treated.