The Scientific World Journal http://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Change of Soil Organic Carbon Fractions and Water-Stable Aggregates in a Forest-Ecosystem Chronosequence in South China Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:26:55 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/591629/ This study aimed to reveal the dynamics of carbon fractions and protection of soil organic carbon (SOC) along the successional forests. An experiment in south China examined pine forest (PF), pine and broad-leaved mixed forest (PBMF), and monsoon evergreen broadleaf forest (MEBF) which represented the early, middle, and late succession stages, respectively. Soil was sampled at 0–15, 15–30, 30–45, and 45–60 cm depths. Part of the soil samples was used to assess various carbon fractions, including active, slow, and passive organic carbon, and particulate organic carbon (POC) and nitrogen (PON). The others were used to measure the percentage and concentration of water-stable aggregates in four classes (>2000 μm, 250–2000 μm, 53–250 μm, and <53 μm). The results suggested that various carbon fractions and the percentage of active and passive carbon to TOC increased with forest succession. The percentage of water-stable aggregates in >2000 μm (0–15 and 15–30 cm) and <53 μm (45–60 cm) in MEBF was significantly higher than that in PBMF and PF. SOC content of all size-classes of water-stable aggregates in 0–45 cm was significantly increased with forest succession. In conclusion, forest succession contributed to the accumulation of carbon storage, and the increasing percentage of silt- and clay-size (<53 μm) fraction improved the stability of SOM. Hui-Min Xiang, Da-Zhi Wen, Ling-Ling Zhang, and Jiong Li Copyright © 2014 Hui-Min Xiang et al. All rights reserved. Burnout in Medical Residents: A Study Based on the Job Demands-Resources Model Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:19:49 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/673279/ Purpose. Burnout is a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job. The purpose of our cross-sectional study was to estimate the burnout rates among medical residents in the largest Greek hospital in 2012 and identify factors associated with it, based on the job demands-resources model (JD-R). Method. Job demands were examined via a 17-item questionnaire assessing 4 characteristics (emotional demands, intellectual demands, workload, and home-work demands’ interface) and job resources were measured via a 14-item questionnaire assessing 4 characteristics (autonomy, opportunities for professional development, support from colleagues, and supervisor’s support). The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) was used to measure burnout. Results. Of the 290 eligible residents, 90.7% responded. In total 14.4% of the residents were found to experience burnout. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that each increased point in the JD-R questionnaire score regarding home-work interface was associated with an increase in the odds of burnout by 25.5%. Conversely, each increased point for autonomy, opportunities in professional development, and each extra resident per specialist were associated with a decrease in the odds of burnout by 37.1%, 39.4%, and 59.0%, respectively. Conclusions. Burnout among medical residents is associated with home-work interface, autonomy, professional development, and resident to specialist ratio. Panagiotis Zis, Fotios Anagnostopoulos, and Panagiota Sykioti Copyright © 2014 Panagiotis Zis et al. All rights reserved. Seroprevalence and Risk Factors Associated with Hepatitis E Virus Infection in Three Species of Pet Birds in Northwest China Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:35:07 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/296285/ Hepatitis E virus (HEV), the causative agent of hepatitis E, has been reported in a wide variety of animals, including birds, but little is known of HEV infection in pet birds in northwest China. The objective of the present investigation was to examine HEV seroprevalence in three species of pet birds, namely, Eurasian siskin, Oriental skylark, and black-tailed grosbeak from Gansu. Serum samples collected from 685 pet birds from August 2011 to September 2012 were examined independently for the presence of antibodies against HEV. A total of 59 (8.31%) pet birds were tested positive for HEV antibodies by the commercially available enzyme immunoassay kits. Of these, the seroprevalence was diverse in different species pet birds; the most frequent level was 10.83% (39/360) in Eurasian siskin, followed by 6.57% (19/289) in Oriental skylark, and 2.29% (1/36) in black-tailed grosbeak. Age and collecting region of pet birds were the main risk factors associated with HEV infection. The present study firstly revealed the seroprevalence of HEV infection in three species of pet birds in northwest China, which provided the baseline data for taking comprehensive countermeasures and measures for effectively preventing and controlling HEV infection in birds. Wei Cong, Qing-Feng Meng, Xiao-Feng Shan, Wu-Wen Sun, Si-Yuan Qin, Xiao-Xuan Zhang, Si-Yang Huang, and Ai-Dong Qian Copyright © 2014 Wei Cong et al. All rights reserved. Syntheses of Isoxazoline-Carbocyclic Nucleosides and Their Antiviral Evaluation: A Standard Protocol Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:10:54 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/492178/ The current synthesis of racemic purine and pyrimidine isoxazoline-carbocyclic nucleosides is reported, detailing the key-steps for standard and reliable preparations. Improved yields were obtained by the proper tuning of the single synthetic steps, opening the way for the preparation of a variety of novel compounds. Some of the obtained compounds were also evaluated against a wide variety of DNA and RNA viruses including HIV. No specific antiviral activity was observed in the cases at hand. Novel compounds were prepared for future biological tests. Paolo Quadrelli, Naiara Vazquez Martinez, Roberto Scrocchi, Antonino Corsaro, and Venerando Pistarà Copyright © 2014 Paolo Quadrelli et al. All rights reserved. Levenberg-Marquardt Method for the Eigenvalue Complementarity Problem Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:22:38 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/307823/ The eigenvalue complementarity problem (EiCP) is a kind of very useful model, which is widely used in the study of many problems in mechanics, engineering, and economics. The EiCP was shown to be equivalent to a special nonlinear complementarity problem or a mathematical programming problem with complementarity constraints. The existing methods for solving the EiCP are all nonsmooth methods, including nonsmooth or semismooth Newton type methods. In this paper, we reformulate the EiCP as a system of continuously differentiable equations and give the Levenberg-Marquardt method to solve them. Under mild assumptions, the method is proved globally convergent. Finally, some numerical results and the extensions of the method are also given. The numerical experiments highlight the efficiency of the method. Yuan-yuan Chen and Yan Gao Copyright © 2014 Yuan-yuan Chen and Yan Gao. All rights reserved. Linear Discrete Pursuit Game with Phase Constraints Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/435103/ We consider a linear pursuit game of one pursuer and one evader whose motions are described by different-type linear discrete systems. Position of the evader satisfies phase constraints: , where is a subset of . We considered two cases: (1) controls of the players satisfy geometric constraints, and (2) controls of the players satisfy total constraints. Terminal set is a subset of and it is assumed to have a nonempty interior. Game is said to be completed if at some step ; thus, the evader has not the right to leave set . To construct the control of the pursuer, at each step , we use the value of the control parameter of the evader at the step . We obtain sufficient conditions of completion of pursuit from certain initial positions of the players in finite time interval and construct a control for the pursuer in explicit form. Asqar Raxmanov and Gafurjan Ibragimov Copyright © 2014 Asqar Raxmanov and Gafurjan Ibragimov. All rights reserved. Clinicopathologic Correlation of Oral Lichen Planus and Oral Lichenoid Lesions: A Preliminary Study Wed, 29 Oct 2014 08:33:22 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/746874/ Oral lichen planus (OLP) and oral lichenoid lesions (OLL) are clinically and histologically similar lesions but their treatment planning and prognosis are different. The review of the literature indicates numerous criteria to distinguish these two lesions; however there is a lot of inconsistency. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the correlation of histopathology and clinical OLP and OLL diagnosis and to clarify which histopathologic criteria could best distinguish these two diagnoses. A retrospective study showed that clinically diagnosed 92 OLPs and 14 OLLs have been confirmed histopathologically in 52.2% and 42.9% of cases, respectively. In addition, histopathology showed statistically significant more eosinophils (), plasma cells (), and granulocytes () in OLL than OLP. To establish histopathological diagnosis of OLP and OLL it should be mandatory to define the type of cells in mononuclear infiltrate, which can be associated more accurately with clinical feature and patient history. Therefore, currently accepted diagnostic criteria for OLP and OLL should be modified and validated on a larger number of patients taking into account particular distinguishing histopathological features. Marinka Mravak-Stipetić, Božana Lončar-Brzak, Iva Bakale-Hodak, Ivan Sabol, Sven Seiwerth, Martina Majstorović, and Magdalena Grce Copyright © 2014 Marinka Mravak-Stipetić et al. All rights reserved. Evaluation of Cytotoxicity and Genotoxicity of Acacia aroma Leaf Extracts Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:38:11 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/380850/ Acacia aroma, native plant from San Luis, Argentina, is commonly used as antiseptic and for healing of wounds. The present study was conducted to investigate the in vitro cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of hot aqueous extract (HAE) and ethanolic extract (EE) of A. aroma. The cytotoxic activity was assayed by neutral red uptake assay on Vero cell. Cell treatment with a range from 100 to 5000 μg/mL of HAE and EE showed that 500 μg/mL and 100 μg/mL were the maximum noncytotoxic concentrations, respectively. The CC50 was 658 μg/mL for EE and 1020 μg/mL for HAE. The genotoxicity was tested by the single-cell gel electrophoresis comet assay. The results obtained in the evaluation of DNA cellular damage exposed to varied concentrations of the HAE showed no significant genotoxic effect at range of 1–20 mg/mL. The EE at 20 mg/mL showed moderate genotoxic effect related to the increase of the DNA percentage contained in tail of the comet; DNA was classified in category 2. At concentrations below 5 mg/mL, the results of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Acacia aroma guarantee the safety at cell and genomic level. However further studies are needed for longer periods including animal models to confirm the findings. C. M. Mattana, M. A. Cangiano, L. E. Alcaráz, A. Sosa, F. Escobar, C. Sabini, L. Sabini, and A. L. Laciar Copyright © 2014 C. M. Mattana et al. All rights reserved. Deflection of Resilient Materials for Reduction of Floor Impact Sound Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:36:46 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/612608/ Recently, many residents living in apartment buildings in Korea have been bothered by noise coming from the houses above. In order to reduce noise pollution, communities are increasingly imposing bylaws, including the limitation of floor impact sound, minimum thickness of floors, and floor soundproofing solutions. This research effort focused specifically on the deflection of resilient materials in the floor sound insulation systems of apartment houses. The experimental program involved conducting twenty-seven material tests and ten sound insulation floating concrete floor specimens. Two main parameters were considered in the experimental investigation: the seven types of resilient materials and the location of the loading point. The structural behavior of sound insulation floor floating was predicted using the Winkler method. The experimental and analytical results indicated that the cracking strength of the floating concrete floor significantly increased with increasing the tangent modulus of resilient material. The deflection of the floating concrete floor loaded at the side of the specimen was much greater than that of the floating concrete floor loaded at the center of the specimen. The Winkler model considering the effect of modulus of resilient materials was able to accurately predict the cracking strength of the floating concrete floor. Jung-Yoon Lee and Jong-Mun Kim Copyright © 2014 Jung-Yoon Lee and Jong-Mun Kim. All rights reserved. Analysis of the Influence of Cracked Sleepers under Static Loading on Ballasted Railway Tracks Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:06:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/363547/ The principal causes of cracking in prestressed concrete sleepers are the dynamic loads induced by track irregularities and imperfections in the wheel-rail contact and the in-phase and out-of-phase track resonances. The most affected points are the mid-span and rail-seat sections of the sleepers. Central and rail-seat crack detection require visual inspections, as legislation establishes, and involve sleepers’ renewal even though European Normative considers that thicknesses up to 0.5 mm do not imply an inadequate behaviour of the sleepers. For a better understanding of the phenomenon, the finite element method constitutes a useful tool to assess the effects of cracking from the point of view of structural behaviour in railway track structures. This paper intends to study how the cracks at central or rail-seat section in prestressed concrete sleepers influence the track behaviour under static loading. The track model considers three different sleeper models: uncracked, cracked at central section, and cracked at rail-seat section. These models were calibrated and validated using the frequencies of vibration of the first three bending modes obtained from an experimental modal analysis. The results show the insignificant influence of the central cracks and the notable effects of the rail-seat cracks regarding deflections and stresses. Laura Montalbán Domingo, Clara Zamorano Martín, Cristina Palenzuela Avilés, and Julia I. Real Herráiz Copyright © 2014 Laura Montalbán Domingo et al. All rights reserved. Full-Length Sequence Analysis of Chloroquine Resistance Transporter Gene in Plasmodium falciparum Isolates from Sabah, Malaysia Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:41:12 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/935846/ Chloroquine resistance (CQR) in falciparum malaria was identified to be associated with several mutations in the chloroquine resistance transporter gene (pfcrt) that encodes the transmembrane transporter in digestive vacuole membrane of the parasite. This study aimed to investigate the point mutations across the full-length pfcrt in Plasmodium falciparum isolates in Sabah, Malaysia. A total of 31 P. falciparum positive samples collected from Keningau, Kota Kinabalu, and Kudat, Sabah, were analyzed. pfcrt was PCR amplified and cloned prior to sequence analysis. This study showed that all the previously described 10 point mutations associated with CQR at codons 72, 74, 75, 76, 97, 220, 271, 326, 356, and 371 were found with different prevalence. Besides, two novel point mutations, I166V and H273N, were identified with 22.5% and 19.3%, respectively. Three haplotypes, namely, CVMNK (29%), CVIET (3.2%), and SVMNT (67.7%), were identified. High prevalence of SVMNT among P. falciparum isolates from Sabah showed that these isolates are closer to the P. falciparum isolates from Papua New Guinea rather than to the more proximal Southeast Asian CVIET haplotype. Full-length analysis of pfcrt showed that chloroquine resistant P. falciparum in Sabah is still prevalent despite the withdrawal of chloroquine usage since 1979. Lii Lian Tan, Tiek Ying Lau, William Timothy, and Dhanaraj Prabakaran Copyright © 2014 Lii Lian Tan et al. All rights reserved. Measurements of Soil Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Two Maize Agroecosystems at Harvest under Different Tillage Conditions Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:45:33 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/141345/ In this study a comparison of the soil CO2 fluxes emitted from two maize (Zea mays L.) fields with the same soil type was performed. Each field was treated with a different tillage technique: conventional tillage (30 cm depth ploughing) and no-tillage. Measurements were performed in the Po Valley (Italy) from September to October 2012, covering both pre- and postharvesting conditions, by means of two identical systems based on automatic static soil chambers. Main results show that no-tillage technique caused higher CO2 emissions than conventional tillage (on average 2.78 and 0.79 μmol CO2 m−2 s−1, resp.). This result is likely due to decomposition of the organic litter left on the ground of the no-tillage site and thus to an increased microbial and invertebrate respiration. On the other hand, fuel consumption of conventional tillage technique is greater than no-tillage consumptions. For these reasons this result cannot be taken as general. More investigations are needed to take into account all the emissions related to the field management cycle. Gerosa Giacomo, Finco Angelo, Boschetti Fabio, Brenna Stefano, and Marzuoli Riccardo Copyright © 2014 Gerosa Giacomo et al. All rights reserved. Hemifacial Spasm and Neurovascular Compression Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:15:26 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/349319/ Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is characterized by involuntary unilateral contractions of the muscles innervated by the ipsilateral facial nerve, usually starting around the eyes before progressing inferiorly to the cheek, mouth, and neck. Its prevalence is 9.8 per 100,000 persons with an average age of onset of 44 years. The accepted pathophysiology of HFS suggests that it is a disease process of the nerve root entry zone of the facial nerve. HFS can be divided into two types: primary and secondary. Primary HFS is triggered by vascular compression whereas secondary HFS comprises all other causes of facial nerve damage. Clinical examination and imaging modalities such as electromyography (EMG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are useful to differentiate HFS from other facial movement disorders and for intraoperative planning. The standard medical management for HFS is botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) injections, which provides low-risk but limited symptomatic relief. The only curative treatment for HFS is microvascular decompression (MVD), a surgical intervention that provides lasting symptomatic relief by reducing compression of the facial nerve root. With a low rate of complications such as hearing loss, MVD remains the treatment of choice for HFS patients as intraoperative technique and monitoring continue to improve. Alex Y. Lu, Jacky T. Yeung, Jason L. Gerrard, Elias M. Michaelides, Raymond F. Sekula Jr., and Ketan R. Bulsara Copyright © 2014 Alex Y. Lu et al. All rights reserved. The Effect of Different Parameters on the Development of Compressive Strength of Oil Palm Shell Geopolymer Concrete Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:14:42 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/898536/ This paper presents the experimental results of an on-going research project on geopolymer lightweight concrete using two locally available waste materials—low calcium fly ash (FA) and oil palm shell (OPS)—as the binder and lightweight coarse aggregate, respectively. OPS was pretreated with three different alkaline solutions of sodium hydroxide (NaOH), potassium hydroxide, and sodium silicate as well as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) for 30 days; afterwards, oil palm shell geopolymer lightweight concrete (OPSGPC) was cast by using both pretreated and untreated OPSs. The effect of these solutions on the water absorption of OPS, and the development of compressive strength in different curing conditions of OPSGPC produced by pretreated OPS were investigated; subsequently the influence of NaOH concentration, alkaline solution to FA ratio (A/FA), and different curing regimes on the compressive strength and density of OPSGPC produced by untreated OPS was inspected. The 24-hour water absorption value for OPS pretreated with 20% and 50% PVA solution was about 4% compared to 23% for untreated OPS. OPSGPC produced from OPS treated with 50% PVA solution produced the highest compressive strength of about 30 MPa in ambient cured condition. The pretreatment with alkaline solution did not have a significant positive effect on the water absorption of OPS aggregate and the compressive strength of OPSGPC. The result revealed that a maximum compressive strength of 32 MPa could be obtained at a temperature of 65°C and curing period of 4 days. This investigation also found that an A/FA ratio of 0.45 has the optimum amount of alkaline liquid and it resulted in the highest level of compressive strength. Ramin Hosseini Kupaei, U. Johnson Alengaram, and Mohd Zamin Jumaat Copyright © 2014 Ramin Hosseini Kupaei et al. All rights reserved. Effects of a Multidisciplinary Educational Rehabilitative Intervention in Breast Cancer Survivors: The Role of Body Image on Quality of Life Outcomes Tue, 28 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/451935/ In breast cancer survivors, own body image may change due to physical and psychological reasons, worsening women’s living. The aim of the study was to investigate whether body image may affect the functional and quality of life outcomes after a multidisciplinary and educational rehabilitative intervention in sixty women with primary nonmetastatic breast cancer who have undergone conservative surgery. To assess the quality of life was administered The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Study Group on Quality of Life core questionnaire, while to investigate the psychological features and self-image were administered the following scales: the Body Image Scale, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. To assess the recovery of the function of the shoulder were administered: the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand Questionnaire and the Constant-Murley Score. Data were collected at the baseline, at the end of the intervention, and at 3-month follow-up. We found a general improvement in the outcomes related to quality of life, and physical and psychological features after treatment (P < 0.001). During follow-up period, a higher further improvement in women without alterations in body image in respect of those with an altered self-perception of their own body was found (P = 0.01). In conclusion, the body image may influence the efficacy of a rehabilitative intervention, especially in the short term of follow-up. Giovanni Morone, Marco Iosa, Augusto Fusco, Antonella Scappaticci, Maria Rosaria Alcuri, Vincenzo Maria Saraceni, Stefano Paolucci, and Teresa Paolucci Copyright © 2014 Giovanni Morone et al. All rights reserved. Elevational Patterns of Plant Richness in the Taibai Mountain, China Tue, 28 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/309053/ The elevational distribution of plant diversity is a popular issue in ecology and biogeography, and several studies have examined the determinants behind plant diversity patterns. In this study, using published data of the local flora of Taibai Mountain, we explored the effects of spatial and climatic factors on plant species richness. We also evaluated Rapoport’s elevational rule by examining the relationship between elevational range size and midpoint. Species richness patterns were regressed against area, middle domain effect (MDE), mean annual temperature (MAT), and mean annual precipitation (MAP). The results showed that richness of overall plants, seed plants, bryophytes, and ferns all showed hump-shaped patterns along the elevational gradient, although the absolute elevation of richness peaks differed in different plant groups. Species richness of each plant group was all associated strongly with MAT and MAP. In addition to climatic factors, overall plants and seed plants were more related to area in linear regression models, while MDE was a powerful explanatory variable for bryophytes. Rapoport’s elevational rule on species richness was not supported. Our study suggests that a combined interaction of spatial and climatic factors influences the elevational patterns of plant species richness on Taibai Mountain, China. Lili Tang, Tanbao Li, Dengwu Li, and Xiaxia Meng Copyright © 2014 Lili Tang et al. All rights reserved. Prolonging the Lifetime of Wireless Sensor Networks Interconnected to Fixed Network Using Hierarchical Energy Tree Based Routing Algorithm Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:52:34 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/158420/ This research work proposes a mathematical model for the lifetime of wireless sensor networks (WSN). It also proposes an energy efficient routing algorithm for WSN called hierarchical energy tree based routing algorithm (HETRA) based on hierarchical energy tree constructed using the available energy in each node. The energy efficiency is further augmented by reducing the packet drops using exponential congestion control algorithm (TCP/EXP). The algorithms are evaluated in WSNs interconnected to fixed network with seven distribution patterns, simulated in ns2 and compared with the existing algorithms based on the parameters such as number of data packets, throughput, network lifetime, and data packets average network lifetime product. Evaluation and simulation results show that the combination of HETRA and TCP/EXP maximizes longer network lifetime in all the patterns. The lifetime of the network with HETRA algorithm has increased approximately 3.2 times that of the network implemented with AODV. M. Kalpana, R. Dhanalakshmi, and P. Parthiban Copyright © 2014 M. Kalpana et al. All rights reserved. An Evolved Wavelet Library Based on Genetic Algorithm Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:55:06 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/494319/ As the size of the images being captured increases, there is a need for a robust algorithm for image compression which satiates the bandwidth limitation of the transmitted channels and preserves the image resolution without considerable loss in the image quality. Many conventional image compression algorithms use wavelet transform which can significantly reduce the number of bits needed to represent a pixel and the process of quantization and thresholding further increases the compression. In this paper the authors evolve two sets of wavelet filter coefficients using genetic algorithm (GA), one for the whole image portion except the edge areas and the other for the portions near the edges in the image (i.e., global and local filters). Images are initially separated into several groups based on their frequency content, edges, and textures and the wavelet filter coefficients are evolved separately for each group. As there is a possibility of the GA settling in local maximum, we introduce a new shuffling operator to prevent the GA from this effect. The GA used to evolve filter coefficients primarily focuses on maximizing the peak signal to noise ratio (PSNR). The evolved filter coefficients by the proposed method outperform the existing methods by a 0.31 dB improvement in the average PSNR and a 0.39 dB improvement in the maximum PSNR. D. Vaithiyanathan, R. Seshasayanan, K. Kunaraj, and J. Keerthiga Copyright © 2014 D. Vaithiyanathan et al. All rights reserved. Cognitive Inference Device for Activity Supervision in the Elderly Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:16:37 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/125618/ Human activity, life span, and quality of life are enhanced by innovations in science and technology. Aging individual needs to take advantage of these developments to lead a self-regulated life. However, maintaining a self-regulated life at old age involves a high degree of risk, and the elderly often fail at this goal. Thus, the objective of our study is to investigate the feasibility of implementing a cognitive inference device (CI-device) for effective activity supervision in the elderly. To frame the CI-device, we propose a device design framework along with an inference algorithm and implement the designs through an artificial neural model with different configurations, mapping the CI-device’s functions to minimise the device’s prediction error. An analysis and discussion are then provided to validate the feasibility of CI-device implementation for activity supervision in the elderly. Nilamadhab Mishra, Chung-Chih Lin, and Hsien-Tsung Chang Copyright © 2014 Nilamadhab Mishra et al. All rights reserved. Biopsy of Different Oral Soft Tissues Lesions by KTP and Diode Laser: Histological Evaluation Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:40:16 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/761704/ Introduction. Oral biopsy aims to obtain clear and safe diagnosis; it can be performed by scalpel or laser. The controversy in this latter application is the thermal alteration due to tissue heating. The aim of this study is the histological evaluation of margins of “in vivo” biopsies collected by diode and KTP lasers. Material and Methods. 17 oral benign lesions biopsies were made by diode 808 nm (SOL, DenMatItalia, Italy) and KTP 532 nm (SmartLite, DEKA, Italy). Samples were observed at OM LEICA DM 2000; margin alterations were evaluated through Leica Application Suite 3.4. Results. Epithelial and connective damages were assessed for each pathology with an average of 0.245 mm and a standard deviation of ±0.162 mm in mucoceles, 0.382 mm ± 0.149 mm in fibromas, 0.336 mm ± 0.106 mm in hyperkeratosis, 0.473 mm ± 0.105 mm in squamous hyperplasia, 0.182 mm in giant cell granuloma, and 0.149 mm in melanotic macula. Discussion. The histologic aspect of lesions influenced the response to laser, whereas the greater inflammation and cellularity were linked with the higher thermal signs. Many artifacts were also associated to histologic procedures. Conclusion. Both tested lasers permitted sure histologic diagnosis. However, it is suggested to enlarge biopsies of about 0.5 mm, to avoid thermal alterations, especially in inflammatory lesions like oral lichen planus. Umberto Romeo, Claudia Russo, Gaspare Palaia, Rossella Lo Giudice, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Paolo Visca, Guido Migliau, and Alberto De Biase Copyright © 2014 Umberto Romeo et al. All rights reserved. Physical Mapping of the 5S and 18S rDNA in Ten Species of Hypostomus Lacépède 1803 (Siluriformes: Loricariidae): Evolutionary Tendencies in the Genus Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:29:26 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/943825/ Hypostomus is a diverse group with unclear aspects regarding its biology, including the mechanisms that led to chromosome diversification within the group. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with 5S and 18S rDNA probes was performed on ten Hypostomini species. Hypostomus faveolus, H. cochliodon, H. albopunctatus, H. aff. paulinus, and H. topavae had only one chromosome pair with 18S rDNA sites, while H. ancistroides, H. commersoni, H. hermanni, H. regani, and H. strigaticeps had multiple 18S rDNA sites. Regarding the 5S rDNA genes, H. ancistroides, H. regani, H. albopunctatus, H. aff. paulinus, and H. topavae had 5S rDNA sites on only one chromosome pair and H. faveolus, H. cochliodon, H. commersoni, H. hermanni, and H. strigaticeps had multiple 5S rDNA sites. Most species had 18S rDNA sites in the telomeric region of the chromosomes. All species but H. cochliodon had 5S rDNA in the centromeric/pericentromeric region of one metacentric pair. Obtained results are discussed based on existent phylogenies for the genus, with comments on possible dispersion mechanisms to justify the variability of the rDNA sites in Hypostomus. Vanessa Bueno, Paulo César Venere, Jocicléia Thums Konerat, Cláudio Henrique Zawadzki, Marcelo Ricardo Vicari, and Vladimir Pavan Margarido Copyright © 2014 Vanessa Bueno et al. All rights reserved. The In Vitro Effect of Ivermectin on the Activity of Trehalose Synthesis Pathway Enzymes and Their mRNA Expression in the Muscle of Adult Female Ascaris suum (Nematoda) Mon, 27 Oct 2014 09:03:31 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/936560/ The in vitro effect of ivermectin lethal dose on the activity of trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (TPS) and phosphatase (TPP) and the expression of their mRNA (tps1, tps2, and tpp genes) in the muscle of adult female Ascaris suum was investigated. The presence of ivermectin in the medium caused a decrease in TPS and TPP activities during the experiment compared with the start and control groups. The exception was the group of worms grown for 8 hours in a IVM solution, in which there was a little higher TPS activity than in the control. Real-time qPCR analysis showed reduced expression of tps1 and tps2, and unchanged tpp expression after 20 hours of incubation relative to the expression at time zero. Relative to the appropriate control groups, the expression of tps2 gene was slight increased but the other two genes were reduced after 8-hours of IVM-treatment. Then the expression of all three genes was lower at the end of cultivation. The level of gene expression was positively correlated with the activity of specific enzymes. In the case of tpp gene there was only a weak correlation. Prolonged exposure to ivermectin was effective in lowering TPS and TPP activity and their mRNA expression. However, the drug did not block the pathway. Małgorzata Dmitryjuk, Elżbieta Łopieńska-Biernat, and Ewa Anna Zaobidna Copyright © 2014 Małgorzata Dmitryjuk et al. All rights reserved. Safety Identifying of Integral Abutment Bridges under Seismic and Thermal Loads Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:18:39 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/757608/ Integral abutment bridges (IABs) have many advantages over conventional bridges in terms of strength and maintenance cost. Due to the integrity of these structures uniform thermal and seismic loads are known important ones on the structure performance. Although all bridge design codes consider temperature and earthquake loads separately in their load combinations for conventional bridges, the thermal load is an “always on” load and, during the occurrence of an earthquake, these two important loads act on bridge simultaneously. Evaluating the safety level of IABs under combination of these loads becomes important. In this paper, the safety of IABs—designed by AASHTO LRFD bridge design code—under combination of thermal and seismic loads is studied. To fulfill this aim, first the target reliability indexes under seismic load have been calculated. Then, these analyses for the same bridge under combination of thermal and seismic loads have been repeated and the obtained reliability indexes are compared with target indexes. It is shown that, for an IAB designed by AASHTO LRFD, the indexes have been reduced under combined effects. So, the target level of safety during its design life is not provided and the code’s load combination should be changed. Narges Easazadeh Far and Majid Barghian Copyright © 2014 Narges Easazadeh Far and Majid Barghian. All rights reserved. Fundamental Studies of Novel Zwitterionic Hybrid Membranes: Kinetic Model and Mechanism Insights into Strontium Removal Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:17:31 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/485820/ A series of zwitterionic hybrid membranes were prepared via the ring opening of 1,3-propanesultone with the amine groups in the chains of TMSPEDA and a subsequent sol-gel process. Their kinetic models for strontium removal were investigated using three two-parameter kinetic equations (i.e., Lagergren pseudo-first order, pseudo-second order, and Elovich models). Adsorption mechanism was evaluated using intraparticle diffusion model, diffusion-chemisorption model, and Boyd equation. It was found that the adsorption of strontium ions on these zwitterionic hybrid membranes fitted well with the Lagergren pseudo-second order model. Mechanism insights suggested that diffusion-chemisorption was one of the main adsorption mechanisms. Boyd equation exhibited that film-diffusion mechanism might be the control process during the starting period. These findings are very useful in strontium removal from the stimulated radioactive wastewater. Wen Zhu, Junsheng Liu, and Meng Li Copyright © 2014 Wen Zhu et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility and Governance on Its Credit Ratings Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:17:21 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/305452/ This study reviews the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate governance on its credit rating. The result of regression analysis to credit ratings with relevant primary independent variables shows that both factors have significant effects on it. As we have predicted, the signs of both regression coefficients have a positive sign (+) proving that corporates with excellent CSR and governance index (CGI) scores have higher credit ratings and vice versa. The results show nonfinancial information also may have effects on corporate credit rating. The investment on personal data protection could be an example of CSR/CGI activities which have positive effects on corporate credit ratings. Dong-young Kim and JeongYeon Kim Copyright © 2014 Dong-young Kim and JeongYeon Kim. All rights reserved. Management of Head and Neck Pseudoaneurysms: A Review of 33 Consecutive Cases Mon, 27 Oct 2014 06:59:01 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/419803/ Background. Endosaccular coiling, vessel occlusion, stenting, stent-assisted coiling, and flow diversion are all endovascular treatment options for pseudoaneurysms (PAs) of the head and neck. We explore different clinical situations in which these were selected for PA management at a single institution. Methods. Over a period of ten years, 33 patients presented to our hospital with PAs of the head and neck. Their outcomes and procedural complications are discussed. Results. We observed a complication rate of 18.2% (6 of 33), consisting predominantly of infarcts following vessel occlusion. As measured by the modified Rankin Scale, 25 (75.8%) patients had achieved favorable outcomes on discharge. A single patient who was treated with stent-assisted coiling expired following procedural complications. Conclusions. In our series, most patients with traumatic/iatrogenic PAs were successfully treated with parent vessel sacrifice. When parent vessel occlusion is not an option, stenting with or without coiling, or flow diversion, may also be safe and effective alternatives. Eliza Anderson, Nohra Chalouhi, Aaron Dumont, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Mario Zanaty, Robert Rosenwasser, Robert M. Starke, and Pascal Jabbour Copyright © 2014 Eliza Anderson et al. All rights reserved. Achyranthes aspera Root Extracts Induce Human Colon Cancer Cell (COLO-205) Death by Triggering the Mitochondrial Apoptosis Pathway and S Phase Cell Cycle Arrest Mon, 27 Oct 2014 06:43:08 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/129697/ Achyranthes aspera (AA) has been used traditionally for the cure of various disorders. However, the action of root extracts of AA as anticancer agent and its cellular mechanism remain unclear. The aim was to screen the antitumor effect of ethanolic (EAA) and aqueous (AAA) root extracts on the growth of colon cancer COLO-205 cells by testing their cytotoxicity, followed by their effect on clonogenicity, migration, and induction of apoptosis. Mechanisms leading to apoptosis and cell cycle arrest were also investigated by expression studies of caspase-9, caspase-3, Bax, Bcl-2, p16, p21, and p27 genes, followed by flow cytometric analysis for cell cycle distribution. Cytotoxicity screening of AA extracts indicated greater cytotoxic activity of AAA extract against COLO-205 cells. A series of events marked by apoptosis revealed loss of cell viability, chromatin condensation, and DNA fragmentation in AAA treated cells to a greater extent. The mRNA expression levels of caspase-9, caspase-3, Bax, p16, p21, and p27 were markedly increased in the AAA treated cells, along with decreased Bcl-2 expression. The cell cycle arrest at S phase was detected by flow cytometric analysis after treatment with AAA. Overall the study signifies the aqueous extracts as a promising therapeutic candidate against cancer. Shagun Arora and Simran Tandon Copyright © 2014 Shagun Arora and Simran Tandon. All rights reserved. The Assessment of Cholinesterase from the Liver of Puntius Javanicus as Detection of Metal Ions Mon, 27 Oct 2014 06:31:36 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/571094/ Crude extract of ChE from the liver of Puntius javanicus was purified using procainamide-sepharyl 6B. S-Butyrylthiocholine iodide (BTC) was selected as the specific synthetic substrate for this assay with the highest maximal velocity and lowest biomolecular constant at 53.49 µmole/min/mg and 0.23 mM, respectively, with catalytic efficiency ratio of 0.23. The optimum parameter was obtained at pH 7.5 and optimal temperature in the range of 25 to 30°C. The effect of different storage condition was assessed where ChE activity was significantly decreased after 9 days of storage at room temperature. However, ChE activity showed no significant difference when stored at 4.0, 0, and −25°C for 15 days. Screening of heavy metals shows that chromium, copper, and mercury strongly inhibited P. javanicus ChE by lowering the activity below 50%, while several pairwise combination of metal ions exhibited synergistic inhibiting effects on the enzyme which is greater than single exposure especially chromium, copper, and mercury. The results showed that P. javanicus ChE has the potential to be used as a biosensor for the detection of metal ions. Mohd Khalizan Sabullah, Mohd Rosni Sulaiman, Mohd Yunus Abd Shukor, Mohd Arif Syed, Nor Aripin Shamaan, Ariff Khalid, and Siti Aqlima Ahmad Copyright © 2014 Mohd Khalizan Sabullah et al. All rights reserved. Preparation and Characterization of Novel PBAE/PLGA Polymer Blend Microparticles for DNA Vaccine Delivery Mon, 27 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/385135/ Context. Poly(beta-amino ester) (PBAE) with its pH sensitiveness and Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) with huge DNA cargo capacity in combination prove to be highly efficient as DNA delivery system. Objective. To study the effectiveness of novel synthesized PBAE polymer with PLGA blend at different ratios in DNA vaccine delivery. Methods. In the present study, multifunctional polymer blend microparticles using a combination of PLGA and novel PBAE polymers A1 (bis(3-(propionyloxy)propyl)3,3′-(propane-1,3-diyl-bis(methylazanediyl))dipropanoate) and A2 (bis(4-(propionyloxy)butyl)3,3′-(ethane-1,2-diyl-bis(isopropylazanediyl))dipropanoate) at different ratios (85 : 15, 75 : 25, and 50 : 50) were prepared by double emulsion solvent removal method. The microparticles were characterized for cytotoxicity, transfection efficiency, and DNA encapsulation efficiency. Result. It was evident from results that among the microparticles prepared with PLGA/PBAE blend the PLGA : PBAE at 85 : 15 ratio was found to be more effective combination than the microparticles prepared with PLGA alone in terms of transfection efficiency and better DNA integrity. Microparticles made of PLGA and PBAE A1 at 85 : 15 ratio, respectively, were found to be less toxic when compared with microparticles prepared with A2 polymer. Conclusion. The results encourage the use of the synthesized PBAE polymer in combination with PLGA as an effective gene delivery system. Meenashi Vanathi Balashanmugam, Sivagurunathan Nagarethinam, Hitesh Jagani, Venkata Rao Josyula, Abdulmohsen Alrohaimi, and Nayanabhirama Udupa Copyright © 2014 Meenashi Vanathi Balashanmugam et al. All rights reserved. Enhanced Production and Characterization of a Solvent Stable Amylase from Solvent Tolerant Bacillus tequilensis RG-01: Thermostable and Surfactant Resistant Mon, 27 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/972763/ Ten bacterial strains isolated from the soil samples in the presence of cyclohexane were screened for amylase production. Among them, culture RG-01 was adjudged as the best amylase producer and was identified as Bacillus tequilensis from MTCC, Chandigarh. The isolate showed maximum amylase production (8100 U/mL) in the presence of starch, peptone, and Ca2+ ions at 55°C pH 7.0 within 24 h of incubation. The enzyme was stable in the presence of n-dodecane, isooctane, n-decane, xylene, toluene, n-hexane, n-butanol, and cyclohexane, respectively. The presence of benzene, methanol, and ethanol marginally reduced the amylase stability, respectively. The enzyme was showed it 100% activity at 55°C and pH 7.0 with 119% and 127% stability at 55°C and pH 7.0, respectively. The enzyme was also stable in the presence of SDS, Tween-40, Tween-60, and Tween-80 (1%) and was found stimulatory effect, respectively. Only Triton-X-100 showed a moderate inhibitory effect (5%) on amylase activity. This isolate (Bacillus tequilensis RG-01) may be useful in several industrial applications owing to its thermotolerant and organic solvents and surfactants resistance characteristics. Soni Tiwari, Neha Shukla, Pooja Mishra, and Rajeeva Gaur Copyright © 2014 Soni Tiwari et al. All rights reserved.