Scientifica The latest articles from Hindawi © 2017 , Hindawi Limited . All rights reserved. Restoration and Management of Healthy Wetland Ecosystems Wed, 19 Apr 2017 06:11:12 +0000 Dong Xie, Qiang Wang, Zhongqiang Li, Roger Paulo Mormul, and Liangdong Zhu Copyright © 2017 Dong Xie et al. All rights reserved. An Investigation on the Aggregation and Rheodynamics of Human Red Blood Cells Using High Performance Computations Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:45:55 +0000 Studies on the haemodynamics of human circulation are clinically and scientifically important. In order to investigate the effect of deformation and aggregation of red blood cells (RBCs) in blood flow, a computational technique has been developed by coupling the interaction between the fluid and the deformable RBCs. Parallelization was carried out for the coupled code and a high speedup was achieved based on a spatial decomposition. In order to verify the code’s capability of simulating RBC deformation and transport, simulations were carried out for a spherical capsule in a microchannel and multiple RBC transport in a Poiseuille flow. RBC transport in a confined tube was also carried out to simulate the peristaltic effects of microvessels. Relatively large-scale simulations were carried out of the motion of 49,512 RBCs in shear flows, which yielded a hematocrit of 45%. The large-scale feature of the simulation has enabled a macroscale verification and investigation of the overall characteristics of RBC aggregations to be carried out. The results are in excellent agreement with experimental studies and, more specifically, both the experimental and simulation results show uniform RBC distributions under high shear rates (60–100/s) whereas large aggregations were observed under a lower shear rate of 10/s. Dong Xu, Chunning Ji, Eldad Avital, Efstathios Kaliviotis, Ante Munjiza, and John Williams Copyright © 2017 Dong Xu et al. All rights reserved. Job Satisfaction Analysis in Rural China: A Qualitative Study of Doctors in a Township Hospital Sun, 19 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Background. Township hospitals in China provide rural communities with basic but much needed critical health care services. The doctors working in these hospitals often feel unsatisfied when considering their work schedules and financial rewards. Method. To explore job satisfaction of health workers in a township hospital, a qualitative study was conducted of 39 doctors from five township hospitals in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The goal was to understand the level of job satisfaction of doctors and to make recommendations for improvements. Results. About 75% (28/39) of the doctors expressed negative attitudes related to their work conditions. Slightly more than half (22/39) mentioned they should receive greater compensation for their work and more than one were seriously considering other options. Many participants (35/39) showed their satisfaction about the achievement of serving as a doctor. Conclusion. Their main concerns related to job satisfaction included working conditions, financial rewards, and the doctor’s relationships with patients. Increasing the incomes and fringe benefits of healthcare workers, improving their work conditions, and providing training and continuing education opportunities would help rural clinics retain doctors and eliminate the current unsatisfactory conditions. The findings also highlight the need for the government to increase financial support of township hospitals. Qiwei Chen, Lan Yang, Qiming Feng, and Scott S. Tighe Copyright © 2017 Qiwei Chen et al. All rights reserved. Improving Urban Water Environment in Eastern China by Blending Traditional with Modern Landscape Planning Sun, 12 Mar 2017 06:41:53 +0000 As a fundamental part of greenspace, urban water landscape contributes greatly to the ecological system and at the same time supplies a leisure area for residents. The paper did an analysis on the number of aquatic plant communities, the form of water spaces, and water quality condition by investigating 135 quadrats (90 at amphibious boundary and the land, 45 in the water) in 45 transects of 15 urban and suburban parks. We found that water spaces had monotonous forms with low biodiversity and poor water quality. In addition, urban water landscapes hardly provided ecological functions given excessive construction. Accordingly, a proposition to connect tradition with modernism in the improvement and innovation of urban water landscape planning was put forward, and further, the way to achieve it was explored. By taking Qinhu Wetland Park as a case, the principles and specific planning methods on macro- and microperspectives were discussed to guide the development of urban landscape in eastern China. Jiajie Cao, Junjun Yu, Yuan Tian, Cai Zhao, and Hao Wang Copyright © 2017 Jiajie Cao et al. All rights reserved. Winter Waterbird Community Composition and Use at Created Wetlands in West Virginia, USA Sun, 12 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Information on nonbreeding waterbirds using created wetlands in the Central Appalachian region of the United States is limited. We compared waterbird communities of two managed wetlands, created in 2013 and 2001, in West Virginia. We observed 27 species of waterbirds. Species richness and diversity were generally similar between the wetlands, but species composition and use differed. Branta canadensis (Canada Geese), Anas strepera (Gadwall), Bucephala albeola (Buffleheads), Aythya affinis (Lesser Scaup), and Aythya collaris (Ring-Necked Ducks) used the older wetland most frequently. Disparities in species use were the highest in March. The older wetland differed from the younger in supporting species such as diving ducks, possibly due to differences in size, vegetation, water depth, and microtopography. However, the ability to provide habitat for waterbirds during the winter was determined to be comparable between wetlands, despite their age difference. Hannah L. Clipp, Michael L. Peters, and James T. Anderson Copyright © 2017 Hannah L. Clipp et al. All rights reserved. Methods to Reduce Forest Residue Volume after Timber Harvesting and Produce Black Carbon Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Forest restoration often includes thinning to reduce tree density and improve ecosystem processes and function while also reducing the risk of wildfire or insect and disease outbreaks. However, one drawback of these restoration treatments is that slash is often burned in piles that may damage the soil and require further restoration activities. Pile burning is currently used on many forest sites as the preferred method for residue disposal because piles can be burned at various times of the year and are usually more controlled than broadcast burns. In many cases, fire can be beneficial to site conditions and soil properties, but slash piles, with a large concentration of wood, needles, forest floor, and sometimes mineral soil, can cause long-term damage. We describe several alternative methods for reducing nonmerchantable forest residues that will help remove excess woody biomass, minimize detrimental soil impacts, and create charcoal for improving soil organic matter and carbon sequestration. Deborah S. Page-Dumroese, Matt D. Busse, James G. Archuleta, Darren McAvoy, and Eric Roussel Copyright © 2017 Deborah S. Page-Dumroese et al. All rights reserved. The Effect of Artificial Mowing on the Competition of Phragmites australis and Spartina alterniflora in the Yangtze Estuary Tue, 28 Feb 2017 13:23:04 +0000 Spartina alterniflora Loisel. is one of the most invasive species in the world. However, little is known about the role of artificial mowing in its invasiveness and competiveness. In this work, we studied the effect of mowing on its interspecific interactions with native species Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin ex Steud of the Yangtze Estuary, China. We calculated their relative neighbor effect (RNE) index, effect of relative crowding () index, and interaction strength () index. The results showed that the RNE of Phragmites australis and Spartina alterniflora was 0.354 and 0.619, respectively, and they have competitive interactions. The mowing treatments can significantly influence the RNE of Phragmites australis and Spartina alterniflora on each other. Concretely, the RNE of Spartina alterniflora in the removal treatments was significantly higher than the value in the controls. But the RNE of Phragmites australis in the removal treatments was significantly lower than the value in the controls. Meanwhile, of the two species on the targets was higher in the removal treatments than that in the controls, and the opposite was for . We concluded that artificial mowing could promote the invasion of Spartina alterniflora by increasing its competitive performance compared with native species. Yue Yuan, Chao Zhang, and Dezhi Li Copyright © 2017 Yue Yuan et al. All rights reserved. Simulation of the Effect of Artificial Water Transfer on Carbon Stock of Phragmites australis in the Baiyangdian Wetland, China Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0000 How to explain the effect of seasonal water transfer on the carbon stocks of Baiyangdian wetland is studied. The ecological model of the relationship between the carbon stocks and water depth fluctuation of the reed was established by using STELLA software. For the first time the Michaelis-Menten equation (1) introduced the relation function between the water depth and reed environmental carrying capacity, (2) introduced the concept of suitable growth water depth, and (3) simulated the variation rules of water and reed carbon stocks of artificial adjustment. The model could be used to carry out the research on the optimization design of the ecological service function of the damaged wetland. Xinyong Chen, Fengyi Wang, Jianjian Lu, Hongbo Li, Jing Zhu, and Xiaotong Lv Copyright © 2017 Xinyong Chen et al. All rights reserved. Examining the Potential of Forest Residue-Based Amendments for Post-Wildfire Rehabilitation in Colorado, USA Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Wildfire is a natural disturbance, though elemental losses and changes that occur during combustion and post-fire erosion can have long-term impacts on soil properties, ecosystem productivity, and watershed condition. Here we evaluate the potential of forest residue-based materials to rehabilitate burned soils. We compare soil nutrient and water availability, and plant recovery after application of 37 t ha−1 of wood mulch, 20 t ha−1 of biochar, and the combination of the two amendments with untreated, burned soils. We also conducted a greenhouse trial to examine how biochar influenced soil nutrient and water content under two wetting regimes. The effects of wood mulch on plant-available soil N and water content were significant and seasonally consistent during the three-year field study. Biochar applied alone had few effects under field conditions, but significantly increased soil pH, Ca, P, and water in the greenhouse. The mulched biochar treatment had the greatest effects on soil N and water availability and increased cover of the most abundant native plant. We found that rehabilitation treatments consisting of forest residue-based products have potential to enhance soil N and water dynamics and plant recovery following severe wildfire and may be justified where erosion risk or water supply protection are crucial. Charles C. Rhoades, Kerri L. Minatre, Derek N. Pierson, Timothy S. Fegel, M. Francesca Cotrufo, and Eugene F. Kelly Copyright © 2017 Charles C. Rhoades et al. All rights reserved. Phragmites australis + Typha latifolia Community Enhanced the Enrichment of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in the Soil of Qin Lake Wetland Sun, 19 Feb 2017 09:41:28 +0000 Aquatic plants play an essential role and are effective in mitigating lake eutrophication by forming complex plant-soil system and retaining total nitrogen (TN) and phosphorus (TP) in soils to ultimately reduce their quantities in aquatic systems. Two main vegetation types (Phragmites australis community and P. australis + Typha latifolia community) of Qin Lake wetland were sampled in this study for the analysis of TN and TP contents and reserves in the wetland soils. The results showed that (1) the consumption effect of Qin Lake wetland on soluble N was much more significant than on soluble P. (2) The efficiency of TN enrichment in wetland soil was enhanced by vegetation covering of P. australis and T. latifolia. (3) Wetland soil P was consumed by P. australis community and this pattern was relieved with the introduction of T. latifolia. (4) According to the grey relativity analysis, the most intensive interaction between plants and soil occurred in summer. In addition, the exchange of N in soil-vegetation system primarily occurred in the 0–15 cm soil layer. Our results indicated that vegetation covering was essential to the enrichment of TN and TP, referring to the biology-related fixation in the wetland soil. Zhiwei Ge, Ran An, Shuiyuan Fang, Pengpeng Lin, Chuan Li, Jianhui Xue, and Shuiqiang Yu Copyright © 2017 Zhiwei Ge et al. All rights reserved. Concentration and Separation of Active Proteins from Potato Industry Waste Based on Low-Temperature Evaporation and Ethanol Precipitation Sun, 19 Feb 2017 07:11:26 +0000 Purpose. Potato fruit juice, a residue of starch industry, contains up to 2.5% [w/w] of proteins that are potentially valuable raw-materials of food, cosmetic, and pharma industries. The recovery of protein from the potato fruit juice is limited by the lack of industrially feasible concentration and separation technologies. The present research thus aimed at development of such process for the separation of active protease inhibitors from potato fruit juice. Methods. Low temperature mechanical vapor recompression evaporation was applied for concentration of potato fruit juice followed by ethanol precipitation for recovery of active proteins. The effects of precipitation temperature and precipitative agents were investigated employing response surface modeling methodology. Results. Concentration of potato fruit juice by evaporation was successful without loss of trypsin inhibition activity. Precipitation using 6.5 M ethanol at low temperature (0–+4°C) was found suitable for the recovery of active protease inhibitors from the concentrate. Piloting at starch industry yielded 50% of total proteins, with a high quantity of active protease inhibitors and a minor inclusion of other proteins. Conclusion. Concentration by low-temperature evaporation, followed by ethanol precipitation of protease inhibitors at optimized temperature, is an attractive option for valorization of potato fruit juice. Sanna Taskila, Mikko Ahokas, Juho Järvinen, Juho Toivanen, and Juha P. Tanskanen Copyright © 2017 Sanna Taskila et al. All rights reserved. A Carbon Cycle Model for the Social-Ecological Process in Coastal Wetland: A Case Study on Gouqi Island, East China Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Coastal wetlands offer many important ecosystem services both in natural and in social systems. How to simultaneously decrease the destructive effects flowing from human activities and maintaining the sustainability of regional wetland ecosystems are an important issue for coastal wetlands zones. We use carbon credits as the basis for regional sustainable developing policy-making. With the case of Gouqi Island, a typical coastal wetlands zone that locates in the East China Sea, a carbon cycle model was developed to illustrate the complex social-ecological processes. Carbon-related processes in natural ecosystem, primary industry, secondary industry, tertiary industry, and residents on the island were identified in the model. The model showed that 36780 tons of carbon is released to atmosphere with the form of CO2, and 51240 tons of carbon is captured by the ecosystem in 2014 and the three major resources of carbon emission are transportation and tourism development and seawater desalination. Based on the carbon-related processes and carbon balance, we proposed suggestions on the sustainable development strategy of Gouqi Island as coastal wetlands zone. Yanxia Li, Lihu Xiong, and Wenjia Zhu Copyright © 2017 Yanxia Li et al. All rights reserved. Spina Bifida: Pathogenesis, Mechanisms, and Genes in Mice and Humans Mon, 13 Feb 2017 06:45:47 +0000 Spina bifida is among the phenotypes of the larger condition known as neural tube defects (NTDs). It is the most common central nervous system malformation compatible with life and the second leading cause of birth defects after congenital heart defects. In this review paper, we define spina bifida and discuss the phenotypes seen in humans as described by both surgeons and embryologists in order to compare and ultimately contrast it to the leading animal model, the mouse. Our understanding of spina bifida is currently limited to the observations we make in mouse models, which reflect complete or targeted knockouts of genes, which perturb the whole gene(s) without taking into account the issue of haploinsufficiency, which is most prominent in the human spina bifida condition. We thus conclude that the need to study spina bifida in all its forms, both aperta and occulta, is more indicative of the spina bifida in surviving humans and that the measure of deterioration arising from caudal neural tube defects, more commonly known as spina bifida, must be determined by the level of the lesion both in mouse and in man. Siti W. Mohd-Zin, Ahmed I. Marwan, Mohamad K. Abou Chaar, Azlina Ahmad-Annuar, and Noraishah M. Abdul-Aziz Copyright © 2017 Siti W. Mohd-Zin et al. All rights reserved. Composition and Biomass of Aquatic Vegetation in the Poyang Lake, China Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0000 The distribution of aquatic vegetation and associated community diversity and biomass in the Poyang Lake were investigated. The results showed that (1) 43 species of aquatic vascular plants were found in the Poyang Lake watershed which belonged to 22 families; (2) the vegetation of the Poyang Lake scattered in different areas which could be divided into 31 major plant communities and 5 plant zones including amphibian, emergent, floating-leaved, submerged, and floating input; (3) there were 67 aquatic plants in the lake area, and the standing stock (fresh weight) was 1519.41 t. The number of amphibians was the dominant plant species in the Poyang Lake, and the quantity and percentage of amphibians were predominant, which was far more than the other three life forms. Wei Du, Ziqi Li, Zengxin Zhang, Qiu Jin, Xi Chen, and Shanshan Jiang Copyright © 2017 Wei Du et al. All rights reserved. Long-Term Study of the Relationship between Precipitation and Aquatic Vegetation Succession in East Taihu Lake, China Thu, 02 Feb 2017 08:37:51 +0000 Based on long-term rainfall measurements (1956–2012), water level records (1956–2006), and aquatic plants field survey data (1960–2014), the relationship between precipitation and aquatic vegetation succession in east Taihu Lake, China, is studied. Neither abrupt changes nor any trends were found in the annual rainfall series in Taihu Lake during the studied period (1956–2012). However, for seasonal variations, statistically significant decreases are found in spring and autumn, while the rainfall in winter exhibits statistically significant increase. No significant trend was obtained in summer. A “dry” period was detected in our studied period (1963/1964~1978/1979). Total annual rainfall was significantly positively correlated to the number of rain-days () and the water level (). Our results indicate that the variations of rainfall and water level may have an impact on the aquatic plants in Taihu Lake. The dry period may be not suitable for the growth of the aquatic plants. All aquatic plants in Taihu Lake were dramatically reduced in the dry period, especially for submerged macrophytes and floating-leaf macrophytes. Our results may be helpful for the aquatic restoration in the future. Yehui Zhang, Na Yang, Jiawei Xu, and Yixing Yin Copyright © 2017 Yehui Zhang et al. All rights reserved. ISSR Marker Based Population Genetic Study of Melocanna baccifera (Roxb.) Kurz: A Commercially Important Bamboo of Manipur, North-East India Tue, 10 Jan 2017 09:42:58 +0000 Melocanna baccifera (Roxb.) Kurz is an economically important bamboo of North-East India experiencing population depletion in its natural habitats. Genetic variation studies were conducted in 7 populations sampled from 5 districts of Manipur using ISSR molecular markers. The investigation was carried out as a primary step towards developing effective conservation strategies for the protection of bamboo germplasm. ISSR marker analysis showed significant level of genetic variation within the populations as revealed by moderately high average values of Nei’s genetic diversity (H 0.1639), Shannon’s diversity index (I 0.2563), percentage of polymorphic bands (PPB 59.18), total genetic variation ( 0.1961), and genetic diversity within population ( 0.1639). The study also divulged a high genetic variation at species level with Shannon’s diversity index (I), Nei’s genetic diversity (H), and percentage of polymorphic band (PPB%) recorded at 0.3218, 0.1939, and 88.37, respectively. Genetic differentiation among the populations () was merely 19.42% leaving 80.58% of genetic variation exhibited within the populations. The low genetic diversity between populations was consistent with AMOVA. The low genetic differentiation among populations coupled with existence of significantly high genetic diversity at species level indicated the urgent necessity of preserving and protecting all the existing natural bamboo populations in the region. Heikrujam Nilkanta, Thoungamba Amom, Leimapokpam Tikendra, Hamidur Rahaman, and Potshangbam Nongdam Copyright © 2017 Heikrujam Nilkanta et al. All rights reserved. Physicochemical Process, Crustacean, and Microcystis Biomass Changes In Situ Enclosure after Introduction of Silver Carp at Meiliang Bay, Lake Taihu Thu, 05 Jan 2017 12:45:36 +0000 In order to control cyanobacteria blooms with silver carp in Lake Taihu, an in situ experiment was carried out by stocking silver carp at a biomass of 35, 70, and 150 g  and no carp control in waterproof enclosures. Physicochemical water parameters and biomass of plankton were measured in enclosures to evaluate the suitable stocking density of silver carp for relieving internal nutrients and constraining cyanobacteria growth in Lake Taihu. It is found that the 35 g  silver carp group and 70 g  silver carp group presented lower total phosphorus, lower chlorophyll-a, and higher water transparency. Increased nitrogen to phosphorus ratio, which indicated the result of algae decline in fish presence enclosures, was attributed to decline of phosphorus. Phosphorus decline also exerted limitation on reestablish of cyanobacteria bloom. Crustacean zooplankton biomass and Microcystis biomass decreased significantly in fish presence enclosures. Silver carp could be more effective to regulate algae bloom in enclosures with dense cyanobacteria. Therefore, nonclassic manipulation is supposed to be appropriate method to get rid of cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Taihu by stocking 35 to 70 g  silver carp in application. Chengjie Yin, Longgen Guo, Chunlong Yi, Congqiang Luo, and Leyi Ni Copyright © 2017 Chengjie Yin et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Hydrologic Alteration on the Community Succession of Macrophytes at Xiangyang Site, Hanjiang River, China Tue, 03 Jan 2017 08:27:49 +0000 With the intensification of human activities over the past three decades in China, adverse effects on river ecosystem become more serious especially in the Hanjiang River. Xiangyang site is an important spawn ground for four domestic fishes in the downstream region of Hanjiang River. Based on the field survey results of macrophytes during 1997–2000 and 2013-2014, community succession of aquatic macrophytes at Xiangyang site was evaluated and discussed. Two-key ecologic-related hydrologic characteristics, flow regime and water level, were identified as the main influence factors. The EFC (environmental flow components) parameters were adopted to evaluate the alteration of flow regimes at Xiangyang site during 1941–2013. Evaluation results demonstrate a highly altered flow process after being regulated by reservoir. The flow patterns tend to be an attenuation process with no large floods occurring but a higher monthly low flow. Furthermore, the water level decreased and fluctuation reduced after the dam was built, which caused the decrease of biomass but favored the submerged macrophytes during 1995–2009. However, with the water level increasing after 2010 and gently fluctuating, due to uplift by the hydraulic projects downstream as well as the flow attenuation, the dominant position of submerged macrophytes will be weakened. Na Yang, Yehui Zhang, and Kai Duan Copyright © 2017 Na Yang et al. All rights reserved. Photomediated Larvicidal Activity of Pheophorbide a against Cercaria Larvae of Fasciola gigantica Tue, 03 Jan 2017 06:35:48 +0000 Fasciolosis is a parasitic disease caused by Fasciola gigantica. The freshwater snail Lymnaea acuminata is the intermediate host of F. gigantica which cause endemic fasciolosis in the northern part of India. To investigate larvicidal activity of pure and laboratory extracted pheophorbide a (Pa) against cercaria larvae of F. gigantica, data were analyzed in different spectra of visible light, sunlight, and laboratory conditions. Photostimulation of chlorophyll derivative pheophorbide a (Pa) caused time and concentration dependent larvicidal activity against cercaria larvae of F. gigantica. Larvicidal activity of pure Pa under 650 nm and 400–650 nm (8 h LC50 0.006 mg/10 mL) was more pronounced than extracted Pa under same irradiations (650 nm LC50 0.12 mg/10 mL, 400–650 nm LC50 0.14 mg/10 mL). Lowest toxicity of pure (8 h LC50 0.14 mg/10 mL) and extracted Pa (8 h LC50 1.25 mg/10 mL) was noted under 400 nm. Pa was found to be toxic in laboratory conditions also. The results presented in this paper indicate that pheophorbide a possess potential larvicidal activity against Fasciola gigantica larvae in different wavelengths of visible light, sunlight, and laboratory conditions. Divya Jyoti Singh, Vinay Kumar Singh, and D. K. Singh Copyright © 2017 Divya Jyoti Singh et al. All rights reserved. Incident Reporting Behaviours and Associated Factors among Nurses Working in Gondar University Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia Wed, 28 Dec 2016 13:38:23 +0000 Background. A comprehensive and systematic approach to incident reporting would help learn from errors and adverse events within a healthcare facility. Objective. The aim of the study was to assess incident reporting behaviours and associated factors among nurses. Methods. An institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted from April 14 to 29, 2015. Simple random sampling technique was used to select the study participants. Data were coded, entered into Epi Info 7, and exported to SPSS version 20 software for analysis. A multivariate logistic regression model was fitted and adjusted odds ratio with 95% confidence interval was used to determine the strength of association. Results. The proportion of nurses who reported incidents was 25.4%. Training on incident reporting (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) [95% CI] 2.96 [1.34–6.26]), reason to report (to help patient) (AOR [95% CI] 3.08 [1.70–5.59]), fear of administrative sanctions (AOR [95% CI] 0.27 [0.12–0.58]), fear of legal penalty (AOR [95% CI] 0.09 [0.03–0.21]), and fear of loss of prestige among colleagues (AOR [95% CI] 0.25 [0.12–0.53]) were significantly associated factors with the incident reporting behaviour of nurses. Conclusion and Recommendation. The proportion of nurses who reported incidents was very low. Establishing a system which promotes incident reporting is vital. Eshetu Haileselassie Engeda Copyright © 2016 Eshetu Haileselassie Engeda. All rights reserved. Comparison of Proposed Modified and Original Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Scores in Predicting ICU Mortality: A Prospective, Observational, Follow-Up Study Sun, 25 Dec 2016 12:22:34 +0000 Background. The sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score has been recommended to triage critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). This study aimed to compare the performance of our proposed MSOFA and original SOFA scores in predicting ICU mortality. Methods. This prospective observational study was conducted on 250 patients admitted to the ICU. Both tools scores were calculated at the beginning, 24 hours of ICU admission, and 48 hours of ICU admission. Diagnostic odds ratio and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve were used to compare the two scores. Results. MSOFA and SOFA predicted mortality similarly with an area under the ROC curve of 0.837, 0.992, and 0.977 for MSOFA 1, MSOFA 2, and MSOFA 3, respectively, and 0.857, 0.988, and 0.988 for SOFA 1, SOFA 2, and SOFA 3, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of MSOFA 1 in cut-off point 8 were 82.9% and 68.4%, respectively, MSOFA 2 in cut-off point 9.5 were 94.7% and 97.1%, respectively, and MSOFA 3 in cut-off point of 9.3 were 97.4% and 93.1%, respectively. There was a significant positive correlation between the MSOFA 1 and the SOFA 1 (: 0.942), 24 hours (: 0.972), and 48 hours (: 0.960). Conclusion. The proposed MSOFA and the SOFA scores had high diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity for predicting mortality. Afshin Gholipour Baradari, Hassan Sharifi, Abolfazl Firouzian, Maryam Daneshiyan, Mohsen Aarabi, Yaser Talebiyan Kiakolaye, Seyed Mahmood Nouraei, Alieh Zamani Kiasari, Mohammad Reza Habibi, Amir Emami Zeydi, and Faegheh Sadeghi Copyright © 2016 Afshin Gholipour Baradari et al. All rights reserved. Impact of Auxins on Vegetative Propagation through Stem Cuttings of Couroupita guianensis Aubl.: A Conservation Approach Mon, 19 Dec 2016 08:33:49 +0000 The present study explores the potential of exogenous auxins in the development of adventitious shoots and roots from shoot cuttings of Couroupita guianensis (Nagalingam), a threatened tree. Experiments were conducted to assess the effect of various concentrations of auxins on shoot and root morphological traits of stem cuttings in the greenhouse. Amongst the auxins tested, significant effects on number of shoot buds’ induction and their growth were observed with α-Naphthalene Acetic Acid (NAA) treated nodal cuttings. Cent percentage of the stem cuttings of C. guianensis were rooted and shoots were induced when pretreated with 400 mg L−1 NAA for 5 min. Maximum 79% of stem cuttings responded to pretreatment of 300 mg L−1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) for 5 min, and 75% of stem cuttings induced shoots with 400 mg L−1 indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). Presence of at least 5 nodes on stem cuttings was found to be prerequisite for root and shoot induction. About 92% of plants were survived under natural soil conditions raised from the stem cuttings. This is the first report of vegetative propagation of C. guianensis through stem cuttings which could be used for conservation strategy and sustainable utilization of this threatened medicinal tree. Mahipal S. Shekhawat and M. Manokari Copyright © 2016 Mahipal S. Shekhawat and M. Manokari. All rights reserved. Effectiveness of Laser Therapy in the Management of Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis: A Systematic Review Sun, 18 Dec 2016 14:34:39 +0000 Objectives. Laser therapy is a promising new treatment for patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS). However, the clinical effect and security issue of laser therapy remain controversial. This systematic review was conducted to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and security of laser treatment in RAS patients. Methods. Five electronic databases were searched (MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, ScienceDirect, the Cochrane Library, and Web of Science) to identify all studies that were about randomized controlled clinical trials, involving the effect of laser therapy in RAS patients. Conclusion. Twenty-three studies were retained for full-text analysis after screening the titles and abstracts of potential articles, but only 10 studies satisfied the inclusion criteria after the full texts were reviewed. The included studies reported a comparison of the effectiveness between the laser treatment and placebo laser therapy (or conventional drug therapy) when managing the RAS patients. It can be concluded that laser therapy has the superiority in relieving ulcer pain and shortening healing time when compared with placebo group or medical treatment group. Although laser therapy is a promising effective treatment for RAS, high-quality clinical studies with large sample size must be further performed to confirm the effectiveness of this therapy. Min Han, Hui Fang, Quan-Li Li, Ying Cao, Rong Xia, and Zhi-Hong Zhang Copyright © 2016 Min Han et al. All rights reserved. Numerical Response of Migratory Shorebirds to Prey Distribution in a Large Temperate Arid Wetland, China Tue, 13 Dec 2016 14:20:31 +0000 Wuliangsuhai Lake provides important breeding and stopover habitats for shorebirds. The health of this wetland ecosystem is rapidly deteriorating due to eutrophication and water pollution and environmental management is urgently needed. To explore the connections among ecosystem health, prey density, and shorebird populations, we conducted surveys of both the benthic macroinvertebrates and shorebirds in the shorebird habitat of the wetland during the 2011 autumn migration season. The abundance of both shorebirds and benthic macroinvertebrates varied significantly in both space and time. Our data showed a clear association between shorebird populations and the density of benthic macroinvertebrates, which explained 53.63% of the variation in shorebird abundance. The prey density was strongly affected by environmental factors, including water and sediment quality. Chironomidae were mainly found at sites with higher total phosphorus, but with lower sediment concentrations of Cu. Lymnaeidae were mainly found at sites with a higher pH, lower salinity, and lower concentrations of total phosphorus and Cu. Habitats with very high concentrations of total phosphorus, heavy metals, or salinity were not suitable for benthic macroinvertebrates. Our findings suggest that the reductions of nutrient and heavy metal loadings are crucial in maintaining the ecological function of Wuliangsuhai as a stopover habitat for migratory shorebirds. Yamian Zhang, Yi Zhu, Aojie Zuo, Li Wen, and Guangchun Lei Copyright © 2016 Yamian Zhang et al. All rights reserved. D-Amino Acids in the Nervous and Endocrine Systems Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:14:40 +0000 Amino acids are important components for peptides and proteins and act as signal transmitters. Only L-amino acids have been considered necessary in mammals, including humans. However, diverse D-amino acids, such as D-serine, D-aspartate, D-alanine, and D-cysteine, are found in mammals. Physiological roles of these D-amino acids not only in the nervous system but also in the endocrine system are being gradually revealed. N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are associated with learning and memory. D-Serine, D-aspartate, and D-alanine can all bind to NMDA receptors. H2S generated from D-cysteine reduces disulfide bonds in receptors and potentiates their activity. Aberrant receptor activity is related to diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and schizophrenia. Furthermore, D-amino acids are detected in parts of the endocrine system, such as the pineal gland, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pancreas, adrenal gland, and testis. D-Aspartate is being investigated for the regulation of hormone release from various endocrine organs. Here we focused on recent findings regarding the synthesis and physiological functions of D-amino acids in the nervous and endocrine systems. Yoshimitsu Kiriyama and Hiromi Nochi Copyright © 2016 Yoshimitsu Kiriyama and Hiromi Nochi. All rights reserved. Histogenesis of the Oesophagus of Guinea Fowl (Numida meleagris) at Prehatch and Posthatch Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:20:50 +0000 The histogenesis of the primordial oesophagus was studied to determine the period in which the tunics of the oesophagus developed and became functional in the helmeted guinea fowl (Numida meleagris). Eighteen embryos and nine keets were studied at prehatch and posthatch, respectively. Simple columnar epithelium surrounded by mesenchymal cells was obvious at the 8th day of embryonic development. By the 19th day of embryonic development, the four tunics, tunica mucosa, submucosa, tunica muscularis, and tunica adventitia/serosa, were beginning to differentiate from the mesenchymal cells and also the primordial oesophageal glands appeared as clusters of cells that invaginate from the epithelium. By the 27th day, the tunics were clearly differentiated and the primordial glands were fully developed as evident with positive reaction to Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS). The tunics of the muscularis were not well developed till at posthatch. This study therefore concludes that the primordial oesophagus is active at the late incubation due to mucin secretion by mucous glands but fully functional at posthatch since the tunica muscularis is completely developed at posthatch. Innocent Jonah Gosomji, Sulaiman Olawoye Salami, James Oliver Nzalak, Muhammed Umar Kawu, Emmanuel Vandi Tizhe, Yilzem George Gurumyen, and Edward Christopher Dung Copyright © 2016 Innocent Jonah Gosomji et al. All rights reserved. The Development of Criteria for the Selection of Chinese Peer Educators in HIV Management: A Delphi Study Thu, 24 Nov 2016 07:42:26 +0000 To develop an expert consensus opinion of the criteria for selection of peer educator for HIV/AIDS care program, twenty experts were invited to complete a two-round Delphi consultation. Response rates of the panelists for the first and second rounds were both 100%, and the authority coefficient of the experts was 0.75. Experts achieved consensus on a total of nine items (75%) on completion of the study. The Precedence Chart Method was used to calculate the weight of each indicator, and then a priority list was generated accordingly. This study provides the initial selection criteria for HIV/AIDS peer educators in Shanghai as well as in China. Yan Qiu, Jiayin Shen, and Hongzhou Lu Copyright © 2016 Yan Qiu et al. All rights reserved. Plantar Pressure Distribution among Older Persons with Different Types of Foot and Its Correlation with Functional Reach Distance Thu, 17 Nov 2016 13:47:19 +0000 Background. Changes in biomechanical structures of human foot are common in the older person, which may lead to alteration of foot type and plantar pressure distribution. We aimed to examine how foot type affects the plantar pressure distribution and to determine the relationship between plantar pressure distribution and functional reach distance in older persons. Methods. Fifty community-dwelling older persons (age: ) were categorized into three groups based on the Foot Posture Index. The plantar pressure () and contact area were analyzed using Footscan® RSScan platform. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the plantar pressure between foot types and Spearman’s correlation coefficient was used to correlate plantar pressure with the functional reach distance. Results. There were significant differences of in the forefoot area across all foot types. The post hoc analysis found significantly lower in the pronated foot compared to the supinated foot. A high linear rank correlation was found between functional reach distance and of the rearfoot region of the supinated foot. Conclusions. These findings suggested that types of the foot affect the plantar maximal pressure in older persons with functional reach distance showing some associations. Aisyah Mohd Said, Maria Justine, and Haidzir Manaf Copyright © 2016 Aisyah Mohd Said et al. All rights reserved. Antioxidant and Antihyperglycemic Properties of Three Banana Cultivars (Musa spp.) Sun, 30 Oct 2016 07:13:15 +0000 Background. This study sought to investigate the antioxidant and antihyperglycemic properties of Musa sapientum (Latundan banana) (MSL), Musa acuminata (Cavendish banana) (MAC), and Musa acuminate (Red Dacca) (MAR). Materials and Methods. The sugar, starch, amylose, and amylopectin contents and glycemic index (GI) of the three banana cultivars were determined. Furthermore, total phenol and vitamin C contents and α-amylase and α-glucosidase inhibitory effects of banana samples were also determined. Results. MAC and MAR had the highest starch, amylose, and amylopectin contents and estimated glycemic index (eGI) with no significant different while MSL had the lowest. Furthermore, MAR (1.07 mg GAE/g) had a higher total phenol content than MAC (0.94 mg GAE/g) and MSL (0.96 mg GAE/g), while there was no significant difference in the vitamin C content. Furthermore, MAR had the highest α-amylase (IC50 = 3.95 mg/mL) inhibitory activity while MAC had the least (IC50 = 4.27 mg/mL). Moreover, MAC and MAR inhibited glucosidase activity better than MSL (IC50 3.47 mg/mL). Conclusion. The low sugar, GI, amylose, and amylopectin contents of the three banana cultivars as well as their α-amylase and α-glucosidase inhibitory activities could be possible mechanisms and justification for their recommendation in the management of type-2 diabetes. Bukola C. Adedayo, Ganiyu Oboh, Sunday I. Oyeleye, and Tosin A. Olasehinde Copyright © 2016 Bukola C. Adedayo et al. All rights reserved. Reduced Dental Plaque Formation in Dogs Drinking a Solution Containing Natural Antimicrobial Herbal Enzymes and Organic Matcha Green Tea Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:43:35 +0000 The results of an exploratory, multicenter clinical study confirmed the hypothesis that a novel, natural, and safe oral care product (OCP) reduced the rate of plaque formation on teeth of dogs consuming the OCP (antimicrobial plant-derived enzymes, organic matcha green tea, cultured dextrose, sodium bicarbonate, and ascorbic acid) compared to controls. Healthy dogs without periodontitis, of varying breeds, sex, and age, were recruited and enrolled, using nonrandomized stratification methods, into a control and treatment groups. Treatment group dogs drank only water into which OCP was suspended, for 28 days. Control group dogs drank their normal household water. On day 0 all teeth were cleaned by a veterinarian and gingivitis was assessed. On days 14, 21, and 28 plaque index, plaque thickness, gingivitis, freshness of breath, and general health were assessed. Over the 28 days of study, dogs on the OCP had significant reduction in plaque index and plaque thickness compared to controls. By day 14 OCP reduced plaque formation by 37%; the 28-day reduction in plaque index and coverage averaged 22% with no measurable gingivitis or calculus. Conclusion. Using the OCP attenuated dental plaque formation when consumed as normal drinking water and in the absence of other modes of oral care. Michael I. Lindinger Copyright © 2016 Michael I. Lindinger. All rights reserved.