|Commenced in January 2007||Frequency: Monthly||Edition: International||Paper Count: 77|
In this study, hyaluronic acid (HA) microgels were developed for the goal of protein delivery. First, a hyaluronic acid-tyramine conjugate (HA-TA) was synthesized with a degree of substitution of 13 TA moieties per 100 disaccharide units. Then, HA-TA microdroplets were produced using a water in oil emulsion method and crosslinked in the presence of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Loading capacity and the release kinetics of lysozyme and BSA, as model proteins, were investigated. It was shown that lysozyme, a cationic protein, can be incorporated efficiently in the HA microgels, while the loading efficiency for BSA, as a negatively charged protein, is low. The release profile of lysozyme showed a sustained release over a period of one month. The results demonstrated that the HA-TA microgels are a good carrier for spatial delivery of cationic proteins for biomedical applications.
Flow control valves comprise a silicon flexible membrane that deflects against a substrate, usually made of glass, containing pillars, an outlet hole, and anti-stiction features. However, there is a strong interest in using silicon instead of glass as substrate material, as it would simplify the process flow by allowing the use of well controlled anisotropic etching. Moreover, specific devices demanding a bending of the substrate would also benefit from the inherent outstanding mechanical strength of monocrystalline silicon. Unfortunately, direct Si-Si bonding is not easily achieved with highly structured wafers since residual stress may prevent the good adhesion between wafers. Using a thermoplastic polymer, such as parylene, as intermediate layer is not well adapted to this design as the wafer-to-wafer alignment is critical. An alternative anodic bonding method using an intermediate borosilicate layer has been successfully tested. This layer has been deposited onto the silicon substrate. The bonding recipe has been adapted to account for the presence of the SOI buried oxide and intermediate glass layer in order not to exceed the breakdown voltage. Flow control valves dedicated to infusion of viscous fluids at very high pressure have been made and characterized. The results are compared to previous data obtained using the standard anodic bonding method.
In this paper, there is concentration on collaborative transportation planning (CTP) among multiple carriers with pickup and delivery requests and time windows. This problem is a vehicle routing problem with constraints from standard vehicle routing problems and new constraints from a real-world application. In the problem, each carrier has a finite number of vehicles, and each request is a pickup and delivery request with time window. Moreover, each carrier has reserved requests, which must be served by itself, whereas its exchangeable requests can be outsourced to and served by other carriers. This collaboration among carriers can help them to reduce total transportation costs. A mixed integer programming model is proposed to the problem. To solve the model, a hybrid algorithm that combines Genetic Algorithm and Simulated Annealing (GASA) is proposed. This algorithm takes advantages of GASA at the same time. After tuning the parameters of the algorithm with the Taguchi method, the experiments are conducted and experimental results are provided for the hybrid algorithm. The results are compared with those obtained by a commercial solver. The comparison indicates that the GASA significantly outperforms the commercial solver.
Recent developments in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have begun to attract intense interest. UAVs started to use for many different applications from military to civilian use. Some online retailer and logistics companies are testing the UAV delivery. UAVs have great potentials to reduce cost and time of deliveries and responding to emergencies in a short time. Despite these great positive sides, just a few works have been done for routing of UAVs for package deliveries. As known, transportation of goods from one place to another may have many hazards on delivery route due to falling hazards that can be exemplified as ground objects or air obstacles. This situation refers to wide-range insurance concept. For this reason, deliveries that are made with drones get into the scope of shipping insurance. On the other hand, air traffic was taken into account in the absence of unmanned aerial vehicle. But now, it has been a reality for aerial fields. In this study, the main goal is to conduct risk analysis of package delivery services using drone, based on delivery routes.
Drug delivery to target human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) using a nanoparticulate chemotherapeutic formulation that can deliver drugs selectively to AML cancer is hugely needed. In this work, we report the development of a nanoformulation made of polymeric-stabilized multifunctional magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (PMNP) loaded with the anticancer drug Doxorubicin (Dox) as a promising drug carrier to treat AML. [email protected] conjugates simultaneously exhibited high drug content, maximized fluorescence, and excellent release properties. Nanoparticulate uptake and cell death following addition of [email protected] were then evaluated in different types of human AML target cells, as well as on normal human cells. While the unloaded MNPs were not toxic to any of the cells, [email protected] were found to be highly toxic to the different AML cell lines, albeit at different inhibitory concentrations (IC50 values), but showed very little toxicity towards the normal cells. In comparison, free Dox showed significant potency concurrently to all the cell lines, suggesting huge potentials for the use of [email protected] as selective AML anticancer cargos. Live confocal imaging, fluorescence and electron microscopy confirmed that Dox is indeed delivered to the nucleus in relatively short periods of time, causing apoptotic cell death. Importantly, this targeted payload may potentially enhance the effectiveness of the drug in AML patients and may further allow physicians to image leukemic cells exposed to [email protected] using MRI.
Goals and Objectives: A typical analysis of survival data involves the modeling of time-to-event data, such as the time till death. A frailty model is a random effect model for time-to-event data, where the random effect has a multiplicative influence on the baseline hazard function. This article aims to investigate the use of gamma frailty model with concomitant variable in order to individualize the prognostic factors that influence the liver cirrhosis patients’ survival times. Methods: During the one-year study period (May 2008-May 2009), data have been used from the recorded information of patients with liver cirrhosis who were scheduled for liver transplantation and were followed up for at least seven years in Imam Khomeini Hospital in Iran. In order to determine the effective factors for cirrhotic patients’ survival in the presence of latent variables, the gamma frailty distribution has been applied. In this article, it was considering the parametric model, such as Exponential and Weibull distributions for survival time. Data analysis is performed using R software, and the error level of 0.05 was considered for all tests. Results: 305 patients with liver cirrhosis including 180 (59%) men and 125 (41%) women were studied. The age average of patients was 39.8 years. At the end of the study, 82 (26%) patients died, among them 48 (58%) were men and 34 (42%) women. The main cause of liver cirrhosis was found hepatitis 'B' with 23%, followed by cryptogenic with 22.6% were identified as the second factor. Generally, 7-year’s survival was 28.44 months, for dead patients and for censoring was 19.33 and 31.79 months, respectively. Using multi-parametric survival models of progressive and regressive, Exponential and Weibull models with regard to the gamma frailty distribution were fitted to the cirrhosis data. In both models, factors including, age, bilirubin serum, albumin serum, and encephalopathy had a significant effect on survival time of cirrhotic patients. Conclusion: To investigate the effective factors for the time of patients’ death with liver cirrhosis in the presence of latent variables, gamma frailty model with parametric distributions seems desirable.
In this paper, we will present a research about feasibility of implementing unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as 'drones', in logistics. Research is based on available information about current incentives and experiments in application of delivery drones in commercial use. Overview of current pilot projects and literature, as well as an overview of detected challenges, will be compiled and presented. Based on these findings, we will present a conceptual model of business process that implements delivery drones in business to business logistic operations. Business scenario is based on a pharmaceutical supply chain. Simulation modeling will be used to create models for running experiments and collecting performance data. Comparative study of the presented conceptual model will be given. The work will outline the main advantages and disadvantages of implementing unmanned aerial vehicles in delivery services as a supplementary distribution channel along the supply chain.
This paper examines the impact of grammatical differences on simultaneous interpreting from English into Mandarin Chinese by drawing upon an empirical study of professional and student interpreters. The research focuses on the effects of three grammatical categories including passives, adverbial components and noun phrases on simultaneous interpreting. For each category, interpretations of instances in which the grammatical structures are the same across the two languages are compared with interpretations of instances in which the grammatical structures differ across the two languages in terms of content accuracy and delivery appropriateness. The results indicate that grammatical differences have a significant impact on the interpreting performance of both professionals and students.
While South Africa has been the chosen host country for over 1,2 million asylum seekers/refugees it has at the same time, been struggling to address the needs of its own people who are still trapped in poverty with little prospects of employment. This limited exploratory, qualitative study was undertaken in Cape Town with a purposive sample of 21 key personnel from various NPOs providing a service to asylum seekers/refugees. Individual in-depth face to face interviews were carried out and the main findings were: Some of the officials at the Department of Home Affairs, health personnel, landlords, school principals, employers, bank officials and police officers were prejudicial in their practices towards asylum seekers/ refugees. The major constraints experienced by NPOs in this study were linked to a lack of funding and minimal government support, strained relationship with the Department of Home Affairs and difficulties in accessing refugees. And finally, the strategies adopted by these NPOs included networking with other service providers, engaging in advocacy, raising community awareness and liaising with government. Thus, more focused intervention strategies are needed to build social cohesion, address prejudices which fuels xenophobic attacks and raise awareness/educate various sectors about refugee rights. Given this burgeoning global problem, social work education and training should include curriculum content on migrant issues. Furthermore, larger studies using mixed methodology approaches would yield more nuanced data and provide for more strategic interventions.
Osteoarthritis affects a lot of people worldwide. Local injection of glucosamine is one of the alternative treatment methods to replenish the natural lubrication of cartilage. However, multiple injections can potentially lead to possible bacterial infection. Therefore, a drug delivery system is desired to reduce the frequencies of injections. A hydrogel is one of the delivery systems that can control the release of drugs. Thermo-reversible hydrogels can be beneficial to the drug delivery system especially in the local injection route because this formulation can change from liquid to gel after getting into human body. Once the gel is in the body, it will slowly release the drug in a controlled manner. In this study, various formulations of Pluronic-based hydrogels were synthesized for the controlled release of glucosamine. One of the challenges of the Pluronic controlled release system is its fast dissolution rate. To overcome this problem, alginate and calcium sulfate (CaSO4) were added to the polymer solution. The characteristics of the hydrogels were investigated including the gelation temperature, gelation time, hydrogel dissolution and glucosamine release mechanism. Finally, a mathematical model of glucosamine release from Pluronic-alginate-hyaluronic acid hydrogel was developed. Our results have shown that crosslinking Pluronic gel with alginate did not significantly extend the dissolution rate of the gel. Moreover, the gel dissolution profiles and the glucosamine release mechanisms were best described using the zeroth-order kinetic model, indicating that the release of glucosamine was primarily governed by the gel dissolution.
Cisplatin (CIS) is one of the most effective an anticancer drug and also toxic to cells by activating oxidative stress. Oleuropein (OLE) has key role against oxidative stress in mammalian cells, but the role of this antioxidant in the toxicity of CIS remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of OLE on CIS-induced liver damages in male rats. With this aim, male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly assigned to one of eight groups: Control group; the group treated with 7 mg/kg/day CIS; the groups treated with 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg/day OLE (i.p.); and the groups treated with OLE for three days starting at 24 h following CIS injection. After 4 days of injections, serum was provided to assess the blood AST, ALT and LDH values. The liver tissues were removed for histological, biochemical (TAC, TOS and MDA) and genotoxic evaluations. In the CIS treated group, the whole liver tissue showed significant histological changes. Also, CIS significantly increased both the incidence of oxidative stress and the induction of 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG). Moreover, the rats taking CIS have abnormal results on liver function tests. However, these parameters reached to the normal range after administration of OLE for 3 days. Finally, OLE demonstrated an acceptable high potential and was effective in attenuating CIS-induced liver injury. In this trial, the 200 mg/kg dose of OLE firstly appeared to induce the most optimal protective response.
The degree to which a public client actively participates in Public Private Partnership (PPP) schemes, is seen as a determinant of the success of the arrangement, and in particular, efficiency in the delivery of the assets of any infrastructure development. The asset delivery is often an early barometer for judging the overall performance of the PPP. Currently, there are no defined descriptors for the degree of such participation. The lack of defined descriptors makes the association between the degree of participation and efficiency of asset delivery, difficult to establish. This is particularly so if an optimum effect is desired. In addition, such an association is important for the strategic decision to embark on any PPP initiative. This paper presents a conceptual model of different levels of participation that characterise PPP schemes. The modelling was achieved by a systematic review of reported sources that address essential aspects and structures of PPP schemes, published from 2001 to 2015. As a precursor to the modelling, the common areas of Public Client Participation (PCP) were investigated. Equity and risk emerged as two dominant factors in the common areas of PCP, and were therefore adopted to form the foundation of the modelling. The resultant conceptual model defines the different states of combined PCP. The defined states provide a more rational basis for establishing how the degree of PCP affects the efficiency of asset delivery in PPP schemes.
Lead is among the heavy metals and it is one of the highly toxic metals, recognized in most countries. This metal accumulates in animal organs as liver and kidney. The present investigation provides the concentrations of lead in cow's meat and different animal organs collected from three Egyptian environments. The results revealed that lead levels in muscle, liver, kidney, spleen and heart in industrial areas were higher than those detected in the same organs of other two areas (heavy traffic and rural), which recorded mean values of 3.0091, 1.7070, 1.8609, 0.6401 and 0.5332 mg/kg, respectively, followed by traffic areas, 2.9166, 1.4443, 1.6967, 0.4042 and 0.4103 mg/kg, respectively. The corresponding values of rural areas were 1.8895, 0.9550, 0.9117, 0.3215 and 0.2856 mg/kg, in the same order. It could be recommended that monitoring and evaluation of lead levels in meat at regular intervals are very important.
Liver segmentation from medical images poses more challenges than analogous segmentations of other organs. This contribution introduces a liver segmentation method from a series of computer tomography images. Overall, we present a novel method for segmenting liver by coupling density matching with shape priors. Density matching signifies a tracking method which operates via maximizing the Bhattacharyya similarity measure between the photometric distribution from an estimated image region and a model photometric distribution. Density matching controls the direction of the evolution process and slows down the evolving contour in regions with weak edges. The shape prior improves the robustness of density matching and discourages the evolving contour from exceeding liver’s boundaries at regions with weak boundaries. The model is implemented using a modified distance regularized level set (DRLS) model. The experimental results show that the method achieves a satisfactory result. By comparing with the original DRLS model, it is evident that the proposed model herein is more effective in addressing the over segmentation problem. Finally, we gauge our performance of our model against matrices comprising of accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity.
Liver cancer is one of the common diseases that cause the death. Early detection is important to diagnose and reduce the incidence of death. Improvements in medical imaging and image processing techniques have significantly enhanced interpretation of medical images. Computer-Aided Diagnosis (CAD) systems based on these techniques play a vital role in the early detection of liver disease and hence reduce liver cancer death rate. This paper presents an automated CAD system consists of three stages; firstly, automatic liver segmentation and lesion’s detection. Secondly, extracting features. Finally, classifying liver lesions into benign and malignant by using the novel contrasting feature-difference approach. Several types of intensity, texture features are extracted from both; the lesion area and its surrounding normal liver tissue. The difference between the features of both areas is then used as the new lesion descriptors. Machine learning classifiers are then trained on the new descriptors to automatically classify liver lesions into benign or malignant. The experimental results show promising improvements. Moreover, the proposed approach can overcome the problems of varying ranges of intensity and textures between patients, demographics, and imaging devices and settings.
Presently, it is necessary to ensure the sustainable development of passenger and freight transport. Increasing performance of road freight has had a negative impact to environment and society. It is therefore necessary to increase the competitiveness of intermodal transport, which is more environmentally friendly. The study describes the effectiveness of logistical centers realization for companies and society and research how the partial internalization of external costs reflected in the efficient use of these centers and increase the competitiveness of intermodal transport to road freight. In our research, we use the method of comparative analysis and market research to describe the advantages of logistic centers for their users as well as for society as a whole. Method normal costing is used for calculation infrastructure and total costs, method of conversion costing for determine the external costs. We modelled total society costs for road freight transport and inter modal transport chain (we assumed that most of the traffic is carried by rail) with different loading schemes for condition in the Slovak Republic. Our research has shown that higher utilization of inter modal transport chain do good not only for society, but for companies providing freight services too. Increase in use of inter modal transport chain can bring many benefits to society that do not bring direct immediate financial return. They often bring the multiplier effects, such as greater use of environmentally friendly transport mode and reduce the total society costs.
The aim of this work is to build a model based on tissue characterization that is able to discriminate pathological and non-pathological regions from three-phasic CT images. With our research and based on a feature selection in different phases, we are trying to design a neural network system with an optimal neuron number in a hidden layer. Our approach consists of three steps: feature selection, feature reduction, and classification. For each region of interest (ROI), 6 distinct sets of texture features are extracted such as: first order histogram parameters, absolute gradient, run-length matrix, co-occurrence matrix, autoregressive model, and wavelet, for a total of 270 texture features. When analyzing more phases, we show that the injection of liquid cause changes to the high relevant features in each region. Our results demonstrate that for detecting HCC tumor phase 3 is the best one in most of the features that we apply to the classification algorithm. The percentage of detection between pathology and healthy classes, according to our method, relates to first order histogram parameters with accuracy of 85% in phase 1, 95% in phase 2, and 95% in phase 3.
The liver is the strongest regenerating organ of the organism, and even with 2/3 surgically removed, it can regenerate completely. Hence liver cirrhosis may only develop when the regenerating system is off. We present the results of a comparative study of structural and functional characteristics of rat liver tissue under the conditions of toxic liver cirrhosis development, induced by carbon tetrachloride, and its prevention/treatment by natural compounds with antioxidant and immune stimulating action. Studies were made on Wister rats, weighing 120~140 g. Grape seeds extracts, separately and in combination with well-known anticirrhotic drug ursodeoxycholic acid (Urdoxa), have demonstrated effectiveness in prevention of liver cirrhosis development and its treatment.
Knowledge is increasingly recognised in this, the knowledge era, as a strategic resource, by public sector organisations, in view of the public sector reform initiatives. People and knowledge play a vital role in attaining improved organisational performance and high service quality. Many government departments in the public sector have started to realise the importance of knowledge management in streamlining their operations and processes. This study focused on knowledge management in the public healthcare service organisations, where the concept of service provider competitiveness pales to insignificance, considering the huge challenges emanating from the healthcare and public sector reforms. Many government departments are faced with challenges of improving organisational performance and service delivery, improving accountability, making informed decisions, capturing the knowledge of the aging workforce, and enhancing partnerships with stakeholders. The purpose of this paper is to examine the knowledge management practices of the Gauteng Department of Health in South Africa, in order to understand how knowledge management practices influence improvement in organisational performance and healthcare service delivery. This issue is explored through a review of literature on dominant views on knowledge management and healthcare service delivery, as well as results of interviews with, and questionnaire responses from, the general staff of the Gauteng Department of Health. Web-based questionnaires, face-to-face interviews and organisational documents were used to collect data. The data were analysed using both the quantitative and qualitative methods. The central question investigated was: To what extent can the conditions required for successful knowledge management be observed, in order to improve organisational performance and healthcare service delivery in the Gauteng Department of Health. The findings showed that the elements of knowledge management capabilities investigated in this study, namely knowledge creation, knowledge sharing and knowledge application, have a positive, significant relationship with all measures of organisational performance and healthcare service delivery. These findings thus indicate that by employing knowledge management principles, the Gauteng Department of Health could improve its ability to achieve its operational goals and objectives, and solve organisational and healthcare challenges, thereby improving organisational performance and enhancing healthcare service delivery in Gauteng.
An appropriate project delivery system (PDS) is crucial to the success of a construction projects. Case-based Reasoning (CBR) is a useful support for PDS selection. However, the traditional CBR approach represents cases as attribute-value vectors without taking relations among attributes into consideration, and could not calculate the similarity when the structures of cases are not strictly same. Therefore, this paper solves this problem by adopting the Relational Case-based Reasoning (RCBR) approach for PDS selection, considering both the structural similarity and feature similarity. To develop the feature terms of the construction projects, the criteria and factors governing PDS selection process are first identified. Then feature terms for the construction projects are developed. Finally, the mechanism of similarity calculation and a case study indicate how RCBR works for PDS selection. The adoption of RCBR in PDS selection expands the scope of application of traditional CBR method and improves the accuracy of the PDS selection system.
We present our approach on using continuous delivery pattern for release management. One of the key practices of agile and lean teams is the continuous delivery of new features to stakeholders. The main benefits of this approach lie in the ability to release new applications rapidly which has real strategic impact on the competitive advantage of an organization. Organizations that successfully implement Continuous Delivery have the ability to evolve rapidly to support innovation, provide stable and reliable software in more efficient ways, decrease the amount of resources need for maintenance, and lower the software delivery time and costs. One of the objectives of this paper is to elaborate a case study where IT division of Central Securities Depository Institution (MKK) of Turkey apply Continuous Delivery pattern to improve release management process.