International Science Index

International Journal of Biomedical and Biological Engineering

Assessment of Arterial Stiffness through Measurement of Magnetic Flux Disturbance and Electrocardiogram Signal
Arterial stiffness predicts mortality and morbidity, independently of other cardiovascular risk factors. And it is a major risk factor for age-related morbidity and mortality. The non-invasive industry gold standard measurement system of arterial stiffness utilizes pulse wave velocity method. However, the desktop device is expensive and requires trained professional to operate. The main objective of this research is the proof of concept of the proposed non-invasive method which uses measurement of magnetic flux disturbance and electrocardiogram (ECG) signal for measuring arterial stiffness. The method could enable accurate and easy self-assessment of arterial stiffness at home, and to help doctors in research, diagnostic and prescription in hospitals and clinics. A platform for assessing arterial stiffness through acquisition and analysis of radial artery pulse waveform and ECG signal has been developed based on the proposed method. Radial artery pulse waveform is acquired using the magnetic based sensing technology, while ECG signal is acquired using two dry contact single arm ECG electrodes. The measurement only requires the participant to wear a wrist strap and an arm band. Participants were recruited for data collection using both the developed platform and the industry gold standard system. The results from both systems underwent correlation assessment analysis. A strong positive correlation between the results of the two systems is observed. This study presents the possibility of developing an accurate, easy to use and affordable measurement device for arterial stiffness assessment.
Understanding Nanocarrier Efficacy in Drug Delivery Systems Using Molecular Dynamic
Introduction: The intensive labor and high cost of developing new vehicles for controlled drug delivery highlights the need for a change in their discovery process. Computational models can be used to accelerate experimental steps and control the high cost of experiments. Methods: In this work, to better understand the interaction of anti-cancer drug and the nanocarrier with the cell membrane, we have done molecular dynamics simulation using NAMD. We have chosen paclitaxel for the drug molecule and dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) as a natural phospholipid nanocarrier. Results: Next, center of mass (COM) between molecules and the van der Waals interaction energy close to the cell membrane has been analyzed. Furthermore, the simulation results of the paclitaxel interaction with the cell membrane and the interaction of DPPC as a nanocarrier loaded by the drug with the cell membrane have been compared. Discussion: Analysis by molecular dynamics (MD) showed that not only the energy between the nanocarrier and the cell membrane is low, but also the center of mass amount decreases in the nanocarrier and the cell membrane system during the interaction; therefore they show significantly better interaction in comparison to the individual drug with the cell membrane.
Anonymous Gel-Fluid Transition of Solid Supported Lipids
Solid-supported lipid bilayers are often used as a simple model for studies of biological membranes. The presence of a solid substrate that interacts attractively with lipid head-groups is expected to affect the phase behavior of the supported bilayer. Molecular dynamics simulations of a coarse-grained model are thus performed to investigate the phase behavior of supported one-component lipid bilayer membranes. Our results show that the attraction of the lipid head groups to the substrate leads to a phase behavior that is different from that of a free standing lipid bilayer. In particular, we found that the phase behaviors of the two leaflets are decoupled in the presence of a substrate. The proximal leaflet undergoes a clear gel-to-fluid phase transition at a temperature lower than that of a free standing bilayer, and that decreases with increasing strength of the substrate-lipid attraction. The distal leaflet, however, undergoes a change from a homogeneous liquid phase at high temperatures to a heterogeneous state consisting of small liquid and gel domains, with the average size of the gel domains that increases with decreasing temperature. While the chain order parameter of the proximal leaflet clearly shows a gel-fluid phase transition, the chain order parameter of the distal leaflet does not exhibit a clear phase transition. The decoupling in the phase behavior of the two leaflets is due to a non-symmteric lipid distribution in the two leaflets resulting from the presence of the substrate.
Best Practices for Presentation Attack Detection Evaluation in Voice Biometrics
With the growing number of voice biometrics applications (e.g. banking), it has become necessary to be able to assess and compare different systems’ detection of Presentation Attacks, as attackers could have access to sensitive data. To this end, a common ground is needed to perform comparable security evaluations. There are methodologies to perform generic security evaluations such as the standards ISO/IEC JTC1/SC3 30107 or Common Criteria’s CEM. This contribution has presented the joint of Common Criteria and the standard. With the use of this methodology, future contributions should have a common ground. This paper clarifies the importance of assessing the Presentation Attack Detection capabilities of a voice biometrics system and give tools or recommendations to perform it.
Site-Specific Delivery of Hybrid Upconversion Nanoparticles for Photo-Activated Multimodal Therapies of Glioblastoma
In order to enhance the photodynamic/photothermal therapeutic efficacy on glioblastoma, the functionized upconversion nanoparticles with the capability of converting the deep tissue penetrating near-infrared light into visible wavelength for activating photochemical reaction were developed. The drug-loaded nanoparticles (NPs) were obtained from the self-assembly of oleic acid-coated upconversion nanoparticles along with maleimide-conjugated poly(ethylene glycol)-cholesterol (Mal-PEG-Chol), as the NP stabilizer, and hydrophobic photosensitizers, IR-780 (for photothermal therapy, PTT) and mTHPC (for photodynamic therapy, PDT), in aqueous phase. Both the IR-780 and mTHPC were loaded into the hydrophobic domains within NPs via hydrophobic association. The peptide targeting ligand, angiopep-2, was further conjugated with the maleimide groups at the end of PEG adducts on the NP surfaces, enabling the affinity coupling with the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 of tumor endothelial cells and malignant astrocytes. The drug-loaded NPs with the size of ca 80 nm in diameter exhibit a good colloidal stability in physiological conditions. The in vitro data demonstrate the successful targeting delivery of drug-loaded NPs toward the ALTS1C1 cells (murine astrocytoma cells) and the pronounced cytotoxicity elicited by combinational effect of PDT and PTT. The in vivo results show the promising brain orthotopic tumor targeting of drug-loaded NPs and sound efficacy for brain tumor dual-modality treatment. This work shows great potential for improving photodynamic/photothermal therapeutic efficacy of brain cancer.
Automatic Estimation of the Triangular Vowel Space Area from i-Vectors for Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative dis- order which gradually affects the neurological condition of the patient. In many cases, the disease impairs the reliability of the articulatory system and the ability to pronounce vowels normally. One prominent way to measure the degree of the functioning of the articulatory system is the Vowel Space Area (VSA). However, the typical way to measure it is to manually annotate sustained vowel recordings or phonetically annotated speech utterances of a speaker and then analyze the signals. However, it is often desirable to measure the VSA directly from unlabeled natural speech. Therefore, an automatic model-based system is proposed in this paper to estimate the triangular Vowels Space Area (tVSA) and the underlying corner vowel formant frequencies directly from unlabeled natural speech. The proposed algorithm is able to estimate the tVSA automatically from the speech signals without the need of phonetical or vowel transcriptions. The i-Vectors are extracted from the signals as the speaker’s characteristic representation, from which the speaker’s corner vowel formant frequencies are estimated by regression classifiers. Two regression classifiers, namely Deep Neural Networks (DNN) and Support Vector Regression (SVR), are investigated in this work. The proposed configuration employs the SVR classifier, which is able to predict the corner vowel formant frequencies of the test speakers with R² up to 0.56719 and ρ up to 0.76485.
Development of a Few-View Computed Tomographic Reconstruction Algorithm Using Multi-Directional Total Variation
Compressed sensing (CS) based computed tomographic (CT) reconstruction algorithm utilizes total variation (TV) to transform CT image into sparse domain and minimizes L1-norm of sparse image for reconstruction. Different from the traditional CS based reconstruction which only calculates x-coordinate and y-coordinate TV to transform CT images into sparse domain, we propose a multi-directional TV to transform tomographic image into sparse domain for low-dose reconstruction. Our method considers all possible directions of TV calculations around a pixel, so the sparse transform for CS based reconstruction is more accurate. In 2D CT reconstruction, we use eight-directional TV to transform CT image into sparse domain. Furthermore, we also use 26-directional TV for 3D reconstruction. This multi-directional sparse transform method makes CS based reconstruction algorithm more powerful to reduce noise and increase image quality. To validate and evaluate the performance of this multi-directional sparse transform method, we use both Shepp-Logan phantom and a head phantom as the targets for reconstruction with the corresponding simulated sparse projection data (angular sampling interval is 5 deg and 6 deg, respectively). From the results, the multi-directional TV method can reconstruct images with relatively less artifacts compared with traditional CS based reconstruction algorithm which only calculates x-coordinate and y-coordinate TV. We also choose RMSE, PSNR, UQI to be the parameters for quantitative analysis. From the results of quantitative analysis, no matter which parameter is calculated, the multi-directional TV method, which we proposed, is better.
Implementation of Feeding Task via Learning from Demonstration
In this paper, a Learning From Demonstration (LFD) approach is used to design an autonomous meal-assistant agent. The feeding task is modeled as a mixture of Gaussian distributions. Using the data collected via kinesthetic teaching, the parameters of Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM) are learned using Gaussian Mixture Regression (GMR) and Expectation Maximization (EM) algorithm. Reproduction of feeding trajectories for different environments is obtained by solving a constrained optimization problem. In this method, we show that obstacles can be avoided by robots end-effector by adding a set of extra constraints to the optimization problem. Finally, the performance of the designed meal assistant is evaluated in two feeding scenario experiments: one considering obstacles in the path between the bowl and the mouth and the other without.
Computational Fluid Dynamics Approach for Brain Permeability Computation on a Representative Volume Element
Dealing with glioblastoma is still a challenging problem with a very poor survival rate. Since glioblastoma cells have a highly invasive character, an effective surgical resection is very difficult. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a technique which shows encouraging results with recurrent glioblastoma. Indeed, it allows overcoming the main obstacles to pharmaceutical treatment of tumour, the blood-brain barrier, by injecting a therapeutic agent under positive pressure directly into the parenchyma. A key aspect to reach good results is the ability to predict, in the pre-operative phase, the distribution of the drug inside the tumour. The brain tissue is often considered, from a modelling point of view, as a homogenous and anisotropic porous media where Darcy’s law plays a key role. However, currently available tools, are not able to always provide the user with the correct distribution profile. This is due to several reasons but a major issue is represented by the fact that the brain is a complex and multicomponent media whose constitutive parameters are very difficult to assess. In this scenario, this paper proposes a method to evaluate one of the key parameter, the hydraulic permeability, starting from SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) images. Therefore, a 2D geometry, which closely resembles the one of the white matter, was constructed: the axons were modelled as circles whose diameter was defined according to the frequency distribution found by means of SEM images analysis. Then, the axons were randomly allocated inside defined borders and the extracellular space area fraction was kept in a physiological range 20-30%. To achieve this result, an outward packing method coupled with a disc shrinking technique was implemented. Finally, the resulting geometry was inserted in a 2D conduct whose dimensions and boundary conditions were chosen to ensure a fully developed fluid and a Reynolds Number lesser than 1. The fluid flow through the geometry was computed by solving Navier-Stokes equations within the computational fluid dynamic software package FLUENT (Fluent, Lebanon, NH). The velocity field was averaged on the porous domain to obtain a macroscopic velocity to be coupled with the pressure loss along the porous zone. This homogenization technique was used to evaluate the hydraulic permeability by Darcy’s law. By repeating this process for an increasing number of axons, it was possible to achieve, for the first time at the best of the authors knowledge, two important results: the representative volume element (RVE) size which is about 20x20 µm and then the hydraulic permeability of several cortical fibres (about 10^-15 m²). Both results are in good agreement with other works found in literature suggesting the reliability of the methods and the outcomes. The technique illustrated in this paper can be considered useful on different levels: first, it provides an estimate of the brain samples size that is necessary to analyse to obtain specific parameters, secondly it represents the first attempt to investigate hydraulic permeability of the brain starting from SEM images.
Combined Treatment of PARP-1 Inhibitor and Carbon Ion or Gamma Exposure Reduces the Metastatic Potential in Cultured Human Cells
Hadron therapy using high Linear Energy Transfer (LET) ion beam is producing promising clinical results worldwide. The major advantages are its ability to kill radio-resistant tumor and its anti-metastatic activity. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) inhibitors have been widely used as radiosensitizer, but its role in metastasis is unknown. The purpose of our study was to investigate the effect of PARP-1 depletion in combination with either Carbon Ion Beam (CIB) or gamma irradiation on metastatic potential of cultured cancerous cells. A549 cells were irradiated with CIB (0-4Gy) or gamma (0, 2, 4, 6 and 10 Gy) with and without PARP-1 inhibition. The metastatic potential of the cells was determined by cell migratory assay, expression, and activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9, expression of Cadherin, Fibronectin, and Vimentin. CIB exposure reduced migratory property and activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 significantly. CIB with PARP-1 inhibition reduced cell migration and Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMPs) activity in a synergistic manner. Expression of MMPs was also down-regulated in CIB and combined treatment. On the contrary, MMP- 2 and MMP-9 activity was significantly increased in gamma irradiated cells but decreased upon combined treatment of gamma and PARP-1 inhibitor. MMPs expression and migration was reduced when gamma irradiation was combined with PARP-1 inhibition. Thus, our study clearly demonstrates that PARP-1 inhibition in combination with either high or low LET can significantly suppress metastatic potential in cancer cells and thereby can be a promising tool in controlling metastatic cancers.
Hybrid Manufacturing System to Produce 3D Structures for Osteochondral Tissue Regeneration
One utmost challenge in Tissue Engineering is the production of 3D constructs capable of mimicking the functional hierarchy of native tissues. This is well stated for osteochondral tissue due to the complex mechanical functional unit based on the junction of articular cartilage and bone. Thus, the aim of the present study was to develop a new additive manufacturing system coupling micro-extrusion with hydrogels printing. An integrated system was developed with 2 main features: (i) the printing of up to three distinct hydrogels; (ii) in coordination with the printing of a thermoplastic structural support. The hydrogel printing module was projected with a ‘revolver-like’ system, where the hydrogel selection was made by a rotating mechanism. The hydrogel deposition was then controlled by pressured air input. The use of specific components approved for medical use was incorporated in the material dispensing system (Nordson EDF Optimum® fluid dispensing system). The thermoplastic extrusion modulus enabled the control of required extrusion temperature through electric resistances in the polymer reservoir and the extrusion system. After testing and upgrades, a hydrogel modulus with 3 syringes (3cm3 capacity each), with a pressure range of 0-2.5bar, a rotational speed of 0-5rpm, and working with needles from 200-800µm was obtained. This modulus was successfully coupled to the extrusion system that presented a temperature up to 300˚C, a pressure range of 0-12bar, and working with nozzles from 200-500µm. The applied motor could provide a velocity range 0-2000mm/min. Although, there are distinct printing requirements for hydrogels and polymers, the novel system could develop hybrid scaffolds, combining the 2 moduli. The morphological analysis showed high reliability (n=5) between the theoretical and obtained filament and pore size (350µm and 300µm vs. 342±4µm and 302±3µm, p>0.05, respectively) of the polymer; and multi-material 3D constructs were successfully obtained. Human tissues present very distinct and complex structures regarding their mechanical properties, organization, composition and dimensions. For osteochondral regenerative medicine, a multiphasic scaffold is required as subchondral bone and overlying cartilage must regenerate at the same time. Thus, a scaffold with 3 layers (bone, intermediate and cartilage parts) can be a promising approach. The developed system may give a suitable solution to construct those hybrid scaffolds with enhanced properties. The present novel system is a step-forward regarding osteochondral tissue engineering due to its ability to generate layered mechanically stable implants through the double-printing of hydrogels with thermoplastics.
Dynamic Conformal Arc versus Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy for Image Guided Stereotactic Radiotherapy of Cranial Lesion
Purpose: Dynamic conformal arc (DCA) and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) are two treatment techniques commonly used for stereotactic radiosurgery/radiotherapy of cranial lesions. IMRT plans usually give better dose conformity while DCA plans have better dose fall off. Rapid dose fall off is preferred for radiotherapy of cranial lesions, but dose conformity is also important. For certain lesions, DCA plans have good conformity, while for some lesions, the conformity is just unacceptable with DCA plans, and IMRT has to be used. The choice between the two may not be apparent until each plan is prepared and dose indices compared. We described a deviation index (DI) which is a measurement of the deviation of the target shape from a sphere, and test its functionality to choose between the two techniques. Method and Materials: From May 2015 to May 2017, our institute has performed stereotactic radiotherapy for 105 patients treating a total of 115 lesions (64 DCA plans and 51 IMRT plans). Patients were treated with the Varian Clinac iX with HDMLC. Brainlab Exactrac system was used for patient setup. Treatment planning was done with Brainlab iPlan RT Dose (Version 4.5.4). DCA plans were found to give better dose fall off in terms of R50% (R50% (DCA) = 4.75 Vs R50% (IMRT) = 5.242) while IMRT plans have better conformity in terms of treatment volume ratio (TVR) (TVR(DCA) = 1.273 Vs TVR(IMRT) = 1.222). Deviation Index (DI) is proposed to better facilitate the choice between the two techniques. DI is the ratio of the volume of a 1 mm shell of the PTV and the volume of a 1 mm shell of a sphere of identical volume. DI will be close to 1 for a near spherical PTV while a large DI will imply a more irregular PTV. To study the functionality of DI, 23 cases were chosen with PTV volume ranged from 1.149 cc to 29.83 cc, and DI ranged from 1.059 to 3.202. For each case, we did a nine field IMRT plan with one pass optimization and a five arc DCA plan. Then the TVR and R50% of each case were compared and correlated with the DI. Results: For the 23 cases, TVRs and R50% of the DCA and IMRT plans were examined. The conformity for IMRT plans are better than DCA plans, with majority of the TVR(DCA)/TVR(IMRT) ratios > 1, values ranging from 0.877 to1.538. While the dose fall off is better for DCA plans, with majority of the R50%(DCA)/ R50%(IMRT) ratios < 1. Their correlations with DI were also studied. A strong positive correlation was found between the ratio of TVRs and DI (correlation coefficient = 0.839), while the correlation between the ratio of R50%s and DI was insignificant (correlation coefficient = -0.190). Conclusion: The results suggest DI can be used as a guide for choosing the planning technique. For DI greater than a certain value, we can expect the conformity for DCA plans to become unacceptably great, and IMRT will be the technique of choice.
Secured Embedding of Patient's Confidential Data in Electrocardiogram Using Chaotic Maps and Sample Value Difference Approach
This paper presents a chaotic map based approach for secured embedding of patient’s confidential data in electrocardiogram (ECG) signal. The chaotic map generates predefined locations through the use of selective control parameters. The sample value difference method effectually hides the confidential data in ECG sample pairs at these predefined locations. Evaluation of proposed method on all 48 records of MIT-BIH arrhythmia ECG database demonstrates that the embedding does not alter the diagnostic features of cover ECG. The secret data imperceptibility in stego-ECG is evident through various statistical and clinical performance measures. Statistical metrics comprise of Percentage Root Mean Square Difference (PRD) and Peak Signal to Noise Ratio (PSNR). Further, a comparative analysis between proposed method and existing approaches was also performed. The results clearly demonstrated the superiority of proposed method.
Optimal Electrocardiogram Sampling Frequency for Multiscale Entropy Based Heart Rate Variability
Multiscale entropy (MSE) is an extensively used index to provide a general understanding of multiple complexity of physiologic mechanism of heart rate variability (HRV) that operates on a wide range of time scales. Accurate selection of electrocardiogram (ECG) sampling frequency is an essential concern for clinically significant HRV quantification. High ECG sampling rate increase memory requirements and processing time whereas low sampling rate degrade signal quality and result in clinically misinterpreted HRV. In this work, the impact of ECG sampling frequency on MSE based HRV have been quantified. MSE measures are found to be sensitive to ECG sampling frequency and effect of sampling frequency will be a function of time scale.
Comparison of Breast Surface Doses for Full-Field Digital Mammography and Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Using Breast Phantoms
Background: Full field digital mammography (FFDM) is widely used in diagnosis of breast cancer. Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) has recently been introduced into the clinic and is being used for screening for breast cancer in the general population. Hence, the radiation dose delivered to the patients involved in an imaging protocol is of utmost concern. Aim: To compare the surface radiation dose (ESD) of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) and full-field digital mammography (FFDM) by using breast phantoms. Method: We analyzed the average entrance surface dose (ESD) of FFDM and DBT by using breast phantoms. Optically Stimulated luminescent Dosimeters (OSLD) were placed in a tissue-equivalent Breast phantom at difference sites of interest. Absorbed dose measurements were obtained after digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) and full-field digital mammography (FFDM) exposures. Results: An automatic exposure control (AEC) is proposed for surface dose measurement during DBT and FFDM. The mean ESD values for DBT and FFDM were 6.37 mGy and 3.51mGy, respectively. Using of OSLD measured for surface dose during DBT and FFDM. There were 19.87 mGy and 11.36 mGy, respectively. The surface exposure dose of DBT could possibly be increased by two times with FFDM. Conclusion: The radiation dose from DBT was higher than that of FFDM and the difference in dose between AEC and OSLD measurements at phantom surface.
Analysis of Wall Deformation of the Arterial Plaque Models: Effects of Viscoelasticity
Viscoelastic wall properties of the arterial plaques change as the disease progresses, and estimation of wall viscoelasticity can provide a valuable assessment tool for plaque rupture prediction. Cross section of the stenotic coronary artery was modeled based on the IVUS image, and the finite element analysis was performed to get wall deformation under pulsatile pressure. The effects of viscoelastic parameters of the plaque on luminal diameter variations were explored. The result showed that decrease of viscous effect reduced the phase angle between the pressure and displacement waveforms, and phase angle was dependent on the viscoelastic properties of the wall. Because the viscous effect of tissue components could be identified using the phase angle difference, wall deformation waveform analysis may be applied to predict plaque wall composition change and vascular wall disease progression.
Task Based Functional Connectivity within Reward Network in Food Image Viewing Paradigm Using Functional MRI
Activation of reward and satiety networks in the brain while processing palatable food cues, as well as functional connectivity during rest has been studied using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the brain in various obesity phenotypes. However, functional connectivity within the reward and satiety network during food cue processing is understudied. 14 obese individuals underwent two fMRI scans during viewing of Macronutrient Picture System images. Each scan included two blocks of images of High Sugar/High Fat (HSHF), High Carbohydrate/High Fat (HCHF), Low Sugar/Low Fat (LSLF) and also non-food images. Seed voxels within seven food reward relevant ROIs: Insula, putamen and cingulate, precentral, parahippocampal, medial frontal and superior temporal gyri were isolated based on a prior meta-analysis. Beta series correlation for task-related functional connectivity between these seed voxels and the rest of the brain was computed. Voxel-level differences in functional connectivity were calculated between: first and the second scan; individuals who saw novel (N=7) vs. Repeated (N=7) images in the second scan; and between the HC/HF, HSHF blocks vs LSLF and non-food blocks. Computations and analysis showed that during food image viewing, reward network ROIs showed significant functional connectivity with each other and with other regions responsible for attentional and motor control, including inferior parietal lobe and precentral gyrus. These functional connectivity values were heightened among individuals who viewed novel HS/HF images in the second scan. In the second scan session, functional connectivity was reduced within the reward network but increased within attention, memory and recognition regions, suggesting habituation to reward properties and increased recollection of previously viewed images. In conclusion it can be inferred that Functional Connectivity within reward network and between reward and other brain regions, varies by important experimental conditions during food photography viewing, including habituation to shown foods.
A Flexible Space-Efficient Tool to Find Exact and Approximate Overlaps for De Novo Genome Assemblers
Finding overlaps between sequences in the context of de novo genome assembly is one of the most time- and space-consuming stages. While most assembler engineers adapt the exact matching to find overlaps between the input sequences in order to build a string graph, others may prefer to tackle the approximate version of the overlap problem hoping to avoid error-detecting stages. We provide a flexible tool, Approximate Overlap Finder (AOF), which groups and completes recent practically-fast and space-efficient algorithms to solve both versions (exact and approximate) of the overlap problem. Two previously-presented solutions demonstrate good results in terms of time and space in finding exact overlaps and hamming-distance-based approximate overlaps respectively in a multi-threading environment. AOF groups these tools and adds the necessary ability to find edit-distance-based approximate overlaps to these tools. When finding edit-distance-based approximate overlaps, AOF runs efficiently when matching cases are limited since it is based on the pigeonhole principle and its performance improves dramatically when the minimal length of an overlap increases. Moreover, AOF can process large data sets which cannot be handled by other solutions due to their high space-consumption.
Optimization of Process Parameters for Peroxidase Production by Ensifer Species
Given the high utility of peroxidase in several industrial processes, the search for novel microorganisms with enhanced peroxidase production capacity is of keen interest. This study investigated the process conditions for optimum peroxidase production by Ensifer sp, new ligninolytic proteobacteria with peroxidase production potential. Also, some agricultural residues were valorized for peroxidase production under solid state fermentation. Peroxidase production was optimum at an initial medium pH 7, incubation temperature of 30 °C and agitation speed of 100 rpm using alkali lignin fermentation medium supplemented with guaiacol as the most effective inducer and ammonium sulphate as the best inorganic nitrogen. Optimum peroxidase production by Ensifer sp. was attained at 48 h with specific productivity of 12.76 ± 1.09 U mg⁻¹. Interestingly, probable laccase production was observed with optimum specific productivity of 12.76 ± 0.45 U mg⁻¹ at 72 h. The highest peroxidase yield was observed with sawdust as solid substrate under solid state fermentation. In conclusion, Ensifer sp. possesses the capacity for enhanced peroxidase production that can be exploited for various biotechnological applications.
Mathematical Model for Biomolecules-Microwave Interaction–Comparison of Experimental Measurements with the Model Predictions
In connection with microwave interaction with the bio-molecules, microwave power absorption by this bio- molecules were studied. A mathematical model was developed to explain the behavior of these bio-molecules while interacting with the microwaves This model explains very well the behavior at resonance frequency as well as at off – resonance frequency. With the help of this model characterizing equation for the total attenuation function α(ω) was derived. The theory postulated with the help of this equation was then applied to experimental data. It was found that the postulated theory very well explains the behavior of the bio-molecules reported in that experimental data. Comparison of the two give the same results, so it was concluded that the attenuation function α(ω) is always an increasing function of microwave frequency when the vibrating bio-molecules are at resonance and a decreasing function of the frequency when vibrating bio- molecules are at off –resonance.
Method of Cluster Based Cross-Domain Knowledge Acquisition for Biologically Inspired Design
Biologically inspired design inspires inventions and new technologies in the field of engineering by mimicking functions, principles, and structures in the biological domain. To deal with the obstacles of cross-domain knowledge acquisition in the existed biologically inspired design process, functional semantic clustering based on functional feature semantic correlation and environmental constraint clustering composition based on environmental characteristic constraining adaptability are proposed. Knowledge cell clustering algorithm, and the corresponding prototype system is developed. Finally, the effectiveness of the method is verified by the visual prosthetic device design.
Auto Rickshaw Impacts with Pedestrians: A Computational Analysis of Post-Collision Kinematics and Injury Mechanics
Motor vehicle related pedestrian road traffic collisions are a major road safety challenge, since they are a leading cause of death and serious injury worldwide, contributing to a third of the global disease burden. The auto rickshaw, which is a common form of urban transport in many developing countries, plays a major transport role, both as a vehicle for hire and private use. The most common auto rickshaws are quite unlike the typical four wheel motor vehicle, is typically characterised by 3-wheels, a non-tilting sheet-metal body or open frame construction, a canvas roof and side curtains, a small driver’s cabin, handlebar controls and a passenger space at the rear. Given the propensity, in developing countries, for auto rickshaws to be used in mixed cityscapes, where pedestrians and vehicles share the roadway, the potential for auto rickshaw impacts with pedestrians are relatively high. Whilst auto rickshaws are used in some Western countries, their limited number and spatial separation from pedestrian walkways, as a result of city planning has not resulted in significant accident statistics. Thus, auto rickshaws have not been subject to the vehicle impact related pedestrian crash kinematic analyses and/or injury mechanics assessment, typically associated with motor vehicle development in Western Europe, North America, and Japan. This present study presents a parametric analysis of auto rickshaw related pedestrian impacts by computational simulation, using a Finite Element model of an auto rickshaw and an LS-DYNA 50th percentile male Hybrid III Anthropometric Test Device (dummy). Parametric variables include auto rickshaw impact velocity, auto rickshaw impact area (front centre or offset) and relative pedestrian impact position (front, side, and rear). The output data of each impact simulation was correlated against reported injury metrics, Head Injury Criterion (front, side, and rear), Neck Injury Criteria (front, side, and rear), Abbreviated Injury Scale and reported risk level and adds greater understanding to the issue of auto rickshaw related pedestrian injury risk. The parametric analyses suggest that pedestrians are subject to a relatively high risk of injury during impacts with an auto rickshaw at velocities of 20 km/h or greater, which during some of the impact simulations may even risk fatalities. The present study provides valuable evidence for informing a series of recommendations and guidelines for making the auto rickshaw safer during collisions with pedestrians. Whilst it is acknowledged that the present research findings are based in the field of safety engineering and may over represent injury risk, compared to 'real world' accidents, many of the simulated interactions produced injury response values significantly greater than current threshold curves and thus, justify their inclusion in the study. To reduce the injury risk level and increase the safety of the auto rickshaw, there should be a reduction in the velocity of the auto rickshaw and, or, consideration of engineering solutions, such as retro fitting injury mitigation technologies to those auto rickshaw contact areas which are the subject of the greatest risk of producing pedestrian injury.
A Sui Generis Technique to Detect Pathogens in Post-Partum Breast Milk Using Image Processing Techniques
Mother’s milk provides the most superior source of nutrition to a child. There is no other substitute to the mother’s milk. Postpartum secretions like breast milk can be analyzed on the go for testing the presence of any harmful pathogen before a mother can feed the child or donate the milk for the milk bank. Since breast feeding is one of the main causes for transmission of diseases to the newborn, it is mandatory to test the secretions. In this paper, we describe the detection of pathogens like E-coli, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Zika and Ebola virus through an innovative method, in which we are developing a unique chip for testing the mother’s milk sample. The chip will contain an antibody specific to the target pathogen that will show a color change if there are enough pathogens present in the fluid that will be considered dangerous. A smart-phone camera will then be acquiring the image of the strip and using various image processing techniques we will detect the color development due to antigen antibody interaction within 5 minutes, thereby not adding to any delay, before the newborn is fed or prior to the collection of the milk for the milk bank. If the target pathogen comes positive through this method, then the health care provider can provide adequate treatment to bring down the number of pathogens. This will reduce the postpartum related mortality and morbidity which arises due to feeding infectious breast milk to own child.
Trastuzumab Decorated Bioadhesive Nanoparticles for Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy
Brest cancer, up-regulated with human epidermal growth factor receptor type-2 (HER-2) led to the concept of developing HER-2 targeted anticancer therapeutics. Docetaxel-loaded D-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol succinate 1000 conjugated chitosan (TPGS-g-chitosan) nanoparticles were prepared with or without Trastuzumab decoration. The particle size and entrapment efficiency of conventional, non-targeted and targeted nanoparticles were found to be in the range of 126-186 nm and 74-78% respectively. In-vitro, MDA-MB-231 cells showed that docetaxel-loaded non-targeted and HER-2 receptor targeted TPGS-g-chitosan nanoparticles have enhanced the cellular uptake and cytotoxicity with a promising bioadhesion property, in comparison to conventional nanoparticles. The IC50 values of non-targeted and targeted nanoparticles from cytotoxic assay were found to be 43 and 223 folds higher than DocelTM. The in-vivo pharmacokinetic study showed 2.33, and 2.82-fold enhancement in relative bioavailability of docetaxel for non-targeted and HER-2 receptor targeted nanoparticles, respectively than DocelTM, and after i.v administration, non-targeted and targeted nanoparticle achieved 3.48 and 5.94 times prolonged half-life in comparison to DocelTM. The area under the curve (AUC), relative bioavailability (FR) and mean residence time (MRT) were found to be higher for non-targeted and targeted nanoparticles compared to DocelTM. Further, histopathology results of non-targeted and targeted nanoparticles showed less toxicity on vital organs such as lungs, liver, and kidney compared to DocelTM.
Iterative Reconstruction Techniques as a Dose Reduction Tool in Pediatric Computed Tomography Imaging: A Phantom Study
Background and Purpose: Computed Tomography (CT) scans have become the largest source of radiation in radiological imaging. The purpose of this study was to compare the quality of pediatric Computed Tomography (CT) images reconstructed using Filtered Back Projection (FBP) with images reconstructed using different strengths of Iterative Reconstruction (IR) technique, and to perform a feasibility study to assess the use of IR techniques as a dose reduction tool. Materials and Methods: An anthropomorphic phantom representing a 5-year old child was scanned, in two stages, using a Siemens Somatom CT unit. In stage one, scans of the head, chest and abdomen were performed using standard protocols recommended by the scanner manufacturer. Images were reconstructed using FBP and 5 different strengths of IR. Contrast-to-Noise Ratios (CNR) were calculated from average CT number and its standard deviation measured in regions of interest created in the lungs, bone, and soft tissues regions of the phantom. Paired t-test and the one-way ANOVA were used to compare the CNR from FBP images with IR images, at p = 0.05 level. The lowest strength value of IR that produced the highest CNR was identified. In the second stage, scans of the head was performed with decreased mA(s) values relative to the increase in CNR compared to the standard FBP protocol. CNR values were compared in this stage using Paired t-test at p = 0.05 level. Results: Images reconstructed using IR technique had higher CNR values (p < 0.01.) in all regions compared to the FBP images, at all strengths of IR. The CNR increased with increasing IR strength of up to 3, in the head and chest images. Increases beyond this strength were insignificant. In abdomen images, CNR continued to increase up to strength 5. The results also indicated that, IR techniques improve CNR by a up to factor of 1.5. Based on the CNR values at strength 3 of IR images and CNR values of FBP images, a reduction in mA(s) of about 20% was identified. The images of the head acquired at 20% reduced mA(s) and reconstructed using IR at strength 3, had similar CNR as FBP images at standard mA(s). In the head scans of the phantom used in this study, it was demonstrated that similar CNR can be achieved even when the mA(s) is reduced by about 20% if IR technique with strength of 3 is used for reconstruction. Conclusions: The IR technique produced better image quality at all strengths of IR in comparison to FBP. IR technique can provide approximately 20% dose reduction in pediatric head CT while maintaining the same image quality as FBP technique.
The Validation of RadCalc for Clinical Use: An Independent Monitor Unit Verification Software
In the matter of patient treatment planning quality assurance in 3D conformational therapy (3D-CRT) and volumetric arc therapy (VMAT or RapidArc), the independent monitor unit verification calculation (MUVC) is an indispensable part of the process. Concerning 3D-CRT treatment planning, the MUVC can be performed manually applying the standard ESTRO formalism. However, due to the complex shape and the amount of beams in advanced treatment planning technic such as RapidArc, the manual independent MUVC is inadequate. Therefore, commercially available software such as RadCalc can be used to perform the MUVC in complex treatment planning been. Indeed, RadCalc (version 6.3 LifeLine Inc.) uses a simplified Clarkson algorithm to compute the dose contribution for individual RapidArc fields to the isocenter. The purpose of this project is the validation of RadCalc in 3D-CRT and RapidArc for treatment planning dosimetry quality assurance at Antoine Lacassagne center (Nice, France). Firstly, the interfaces between RadCalc and our treatment planning systems (TPS) Isogray (version 4.2) and Eclipse (version13.6) were checked for data transfer accuracy. Secondly, we created test plans in both Isogray and Eclipse featuring open fields, wedges fields, and irregular MLC fields. These test plans were transferred from TPSs according to the radiotherapy protocol of DICOM RT to RadCalc and the linac via Mosaiq (version 2.5). Measurements were performed in water phantom using a PTW cylindrical semiflex ionisation chamber (0.3 cm³, 31010) and compared with the TPSs and RadCalc calculation. Finally, 30 3D-CRT plans and 40 RapidArc plans created with patients CT scan were recalculated using the CT scan of a solid PMMA water equivalent phantom for 3D-CRT and the Octavius II phantom (PTW) CT scan for RapidArc. Next, we measure the doses delivered into these phantoms for each plan with a 0.3 cm³ PTW 31010 cylindrical semiflex ionisation chamber (3D-CRT) and 0.015 cm³ PTW PinPoint ionisation chamber (Rapidarc). For our test plans, good agreements were found between calculation (RadCalc and TPSs) and measurement (mean: 1.3%; standard deviation: ± 0.8%). Regarding the patient plans, the measured doses were compared to the calculation in RadCalc and in our TPSs. Moreover, RadCalc calculations were compared to Isogray and Eclispse ones. Agreements better than (2.8%; ± 1.2%) were found between RadCalc and TPSs. As for the comparison between calculation and measurement the agreement for all of our plans was better than (2.3%; ± 1.1%). The independent MU verification calculation software RadCal has been validated for clinical use and for both 3D-CRT and RapidArc techniques. The perspective of this project includes the validation of RadCal for the Tomotherapy machine installed at centre Antoine Lacassagne.
Iron(III)-Tosylate Doped PEDOT and PEG: A Nanoscale Conductivity Study of an Electrochemical System with Biosensing Applications
The addition of PEG of different molecular weights has important effects on the physical, electrical and electrochemical properties of Iron(III)-Tosylate doped PEDOT. This particular polymer can be easily spin coated over plastic discs, optimizing thickness and uniformity of the PEDOT-PEG films. The conductivity and morphological analysis of the hybrid PEDOT-PEG polymer by four-point probe (4PP), twelve-point probe (12PP), and conductive AFM (C-AFM) show strong effects of the PEG doping. Moreover, the conductive films kinetics at the nanoscale, in response to different bias voltages, change radically depending on the PEG molecular weight. The hybrid conductive films show also interesting electrochemical properties, making the PEDOT PEG doping appealing for biosensing applications both for EIS-based and amperometric affinity/catalytic biosensors.
Prevalence and Associated Factors of Stunting among 6-59 Months Children in Pastoral Community of Korahay Zone, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia 2016
Background: Stunting is one of the most important public health problems in Ethiopia with an estimated 44.4% of children less than five years of age are stunted. Thus, this study aimed to assess prevalence and associated factors of stunting among 6-59 months children in pastoral community of Korahay Zone, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia. Objective of the study: To assess prevalence and associated factors of stunting among 6-59 months children in pastoral community of Korahay Zone, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia, 2016. Methods: Community based cross sectional study design was done among 770 children in pastoral community of Korahay Zone. Systematic sampling techniques were used to select households and took child mother pair from each selected households. Data was collected using pre-tested and structured questionnaire. Odds ratio with 95% confidence interval was used to assess level of significance. Result: Prevalence of stunting among 6-59 months age children was 31.9%. Sex (AOR: 1.47, 95%CI 1.02, 2.11), age (AOR: 2.10, 95%CI 1.16, 3.80), maternal education (AOR: 3.42, 95%CI 1.58, 7.41), maternal occupation (AOR: 3.10, 95%CI 1.85, 5.19), monthly income (AOR: 1.47, 95%CI 1.03, 2.09), PNC visits (AOR: 1.59, 95%CI 1.07, 2.37), source of water (AOR: 3.41, 95%CI 1.96, 5.93), toilet availability (AOR: 1.71, 95%CI 1.13, 2.58), first milk feeding (AOR: 3.37, 95%CI 2.27, 5.02) and bottle feeding (AOR: 2.07, 95%CI 1.34, 3.18) were significant predictors of stunting. Conclusion and recommendations: Prevalence of stunting among 6-59 months children was high 31.9%. Lack maternal education, not feeding first milk, unsafe water supply, absence toilet availability and bottle feeding can increase the risk of stunting. So, educating mothers on child feeding practice, sanitation and important of first milk can reduce stunting.
Liver Regeneration of Small in situ Injury
Liver is the center of detoxification and exposed to toxic metabolites all the time. It is highly regenerative after injury, with the ability to restore even after 70% partial hepatectomy. Most of the previous studies were using hepatectomy as injury models for liver regeneration study. There is limited understanding of small-scale liver injury, which can be caused by either low dose drug consumption or hepatocyte routine metabolism. Although these small in situ injuries do not cause immediate symptoms, repeated injuries will lead to aberrant wound healing in liver. Therefore, the cellular dynamics during liver regeneration is critical for our understanding of liver regeneration mechanism. We aim to study the liver regeneration of small-scale in situ liver injury in transgenic mice labeling actin (Lifeact-GFP). Previous studies have been using sample sections and biopsies of liver, which lack real-time information. In order to trace every individual hepatocyte during the regeneration process, we have developed and optimized an intravital imaging system that allows in vivo imaging of mouse liver for consecutive 5 days, allowing real-time cellular tracking and quantification of hepatocytes. We used femtosecond-laser ablation to make controlled and repeatable liver injury model, which mimics the real-life small in situ liver injury. This injury model is the first case of its kind for in vivo study on liver. We found that small-scale in situ liver injury is repaired by the coordination of hypertrophy and migration of hepatocytes. Hypertrophy is only transient at initial phase, while migration is the main driving force to complete the regeneration process. From cellular aspect, Akt/mTOR pathway is activated immediately after injury, which leads to transient hepatocyte hypertrophy. From mechano-sensing aspect, the actin cable, formed at apical surface of wound proximal hepatocytes, provides mechanical tension for hepatocyte migration. This study provides important information on both chemical and mechanical signals that promote liver regeneration of small in situ injury. We conclude that hypertrophy and migration play a dominant role at different stages of liver regeneration.
Characterization of WNK2 Role on Glioma Cells Vesicular Traffic
Autophagy is a recycling and degradative system suggested to be a major cell death pathway in cancer cells. Autophagy pathway is interconnected with the endocytosis pathways sharing the same ultimate lysosomal destination. Lysosomes are crucial regulators of cell homeostasis, responsible to downregulate receptor signalling and turnover. It seems highly likely that derailed endocytosis can make major contributions to several hallmarks of cancer. WNK2, a member of the WNK (with-no-lysine [K]) subfamily of protein kinases, had been found downregulated by its promoter hypermethylation, and has been proposed to act as a specific tumour-suppressor gene in brain tumors. Although some contradictory studies indicated WNK2 as an autophagy modulator, its role in cancer cell death is largely unknown. There is also growing evidence for additional roles of WNK kinases in vesicular traffic. Aim: To evaluate the role of WNK2 in autophagy and endocytosis on glioma context. Methods: Wild-type (wt) A172 cells (WNK2 promoter-methylated), and A172 transfected either with an empty vector (Ev) or with a WNK2 expression vector, were used to assess the cellular basal capacities to promote autophagy, through western blot and flow-cytometry analysis. Additionally, we evaluated the effect of WNK2 on general endocytosis trafficking routes by immunofluorescence. Results: The re-expression of ectopic WNK2 did not interfere with autophagy-related protein light chain 3 (LC3-II) expression levels as well as did not promote mTOR signaling pathway alteration when compared with Ev or wt A172 cells. However, the restoration of WNK2 resulted in a marked increase (8 to 92,4%) of Acidic Vesicular Organelles formation (AVOs). Moreover, our results also suggest that WNK2 cells promotes delay in uptake and internalization rate of cholera toxin B and transferrin ligands. Conclusions: The restoration of WNK2 interferes in vesicular traffic during endocytosis pathway and increase AVOs formation. This results also suggest the role of WNK2 in growth factor receptor turnover related to cell growth and homeostasis and associates one more time, WNK2 silencing contribution in genesis of gliomas.