Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 28

Search results for: Allan F. Marciano

28 Low Cost Inertial Sensors Modeling Using Allan Variance

Authors: A. A. Hussen, I. N. Jleta

Abstract:

Micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers and gyroscopes are suitable for the inertial navigation system (INS) of many applications due to the low price, small dimensions and light weight. The main disadvantage in a comparison with classic sensors is a worse long term stability. The estimation accuracy is mostly affected by the time-dependent growth of inertial sensor errors, especially the stochastic errors. In order to eliminate negative effect of these random errors, they must be accurately modeled. Where the key is the successful implementation that depends on how well the noise statistics of the inertial sensors is selected. In this paper, the Allan variance technique will be used in modeling the stochastic errors of the inertial sensors. By performing a simple operation on the entire length of data, a characteristic curve is obtained whose inspection provides a systematic characterization of various random errors contained in the inertial-sensor output data.

Keywords: gyroscope, accelerometer, Allan variance, stochastic errors

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27 The Typology of Social Enterprise: Case Study of Community-Development Enterprise in Indonesia

Authors: Aluisius Pratono, Deddy Marciano, Suyanto Suyanto

Abstract:

The emerging model of community development social enterprise is one of the social enterprise models. However, a precise view of the community development enterprise is still lacking. Hence, this study was aimed at deepening the concept of the community development social enterprise model at the place management and development context. Multiple case studies in Indonesia context were observed to explore the typical criteria of the community development enterprise model in place-making practices. The research paradigm used interpretative approach, which involves dialectic process between the researchers and research participants. This study highlights some principles in the community-development enterprise, which cover an entrepreneurial dimension, social goals, participatory governance, and co-management. The result makes a contribution to conceptual literature occurs at the criteria of social enterprises by highlighting the typology of community development enterprise.

Keywords: community development enterprise, social purposes, economic project, participatory governance

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26 Effect of Metarhizium robertsii in Rhipicephalus microplus hemocytes

Authors: Jessica P. Fiorotti, Maria C. Freitas, Caio J. B. Coutinho-Rodrigues, Mariana G. Camargo, Emily S. Mesquita, Amanda R. C. Corval, Ricardo O. B. Bitencourt, Allan F. Marciano, Diva D. Spadacci-Morena, Patricia S. Golo, Isabele C. Angelo, Vania R. E. P. Bittencourt

Abstract:

The bovine tick, Rhipicephalus microplus, is an arthropod of great importance in veterinary medicine leading to anemia, weight loss, animals' leather depreciation and also acting as a vector of many pathogens. In this way, the parasitism causes a loss of 3.24 billion dollars per year in Brazil. Knowingly, entomopathogenic fungi act as natural controller of some arthropods, acting mainly by active penetration through the cuticle. However, it can also act on the hemolymph and through the production of mycotoxins. Hemocytes are responsible for the cellular immune response and participate in the processes of phagocytosis, nodulation and encapsulation and may undergo changes when challenged by pathogens. The aim of the present study was to evaluate changes in R. microplus hemocytes after inoculation of Metarhizium robertsii using transmission electron microscopy. The isolate ARSEF 2575 and 200 engorged R. microplus females were used. The groups were divided into control, in which the females were inoculated with 5 μL of sterile distilled water solution and 0.1% Tween 80, and a group inoculated with 5 μL of fungal suspension at the concentration of 10⁷ conidia mL⁻¹. The experiment was performed in duplicate and each group contained 50 females. Twenty-four hours after fungal inoculation, hemolymph was collected through the cuticle dorsal surface perforation of the tick females. After collection, the hemolymph samples were centrifuged at 500 x g for 3 minutes at 4 °C, the plasma was discarded and the hemocyte pellet was resuspended in 50 μl PBS. The suspension material was fixed in 2% glutaraldehyde in Millonig buffer for three hours. After fixation, the material was centrifuged at 500 x g for 3 minutes, the supernatant was discarded and the cells were resuspended in a wash solution. Subsequently, the cells were post-fixed with 1% osmium tetroxide in phosphate buffer for one hour at room temperature and dehydrated in increasing concentrations of ethanol, and then embedded in Epon resin. The ultrathin sections were examined under the LEO EM 906E transmission electron microscopy at 80kV. The ultrastructural results revealed that.in control group, the cells were considered intact, in which the granulocytes were observed with granules of different electrodensities, intact mitochondria and cytoplasm without vacuolization. In addition, granulocytes showed plasma membrane projections similar to pseudopodia. Plasmatocytes presented as irregularly shaped cells, with the eccentric nucleus, agranular cytoplasm and some cells presented pseudopodia. Nevertheless, in the group exposed to the fungus, most of the cells presented in degeneration. The granulocytes found had fewer granules in the cytoplasm and more vacuoles. Plasmatocytes, after treatment, presented many vacuoles also in the cytoplasm and the lysosomes presented great amount of electrodense material in their interior. Thus, the results suggest that the fungus has a depressant action in the immune system of the tick, not only by the cell degranulation, but also suggesting that this leads to morphological changes in the hemocytes and may even trigger processes such as phagocytosis.

Keywords: Immune response, entomopathogenic fungi, bovine tick, cellular defense

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25 Foodxervices Inc.: Corporate Responsibility and Business as Usual

Authors: Allan Chia, Gabriel Gervais

Abstract:

The case study on FoodXervices Inc shows how businesses need to reinvent and transform themselves in order to adapt and thrive and it also features how an SME can also devote resources to CSR causes. The company, Ng Chye Mong, was set up in 1937 and it went through ups and downs and encountered several failures and successes. In the 1970’s, the management of the company was entrusted to the next generation who continued to manage and expanded the business. In early 2003, the business encountered several challenges. A pair of siblings from the next generation of the Ng family joined the business fulltime and together they set-out to transform the company into FoodXervices Inc. In 2012, they started a charity, Food Bank Singapore Pte Ltd. The authors conducted case study research involving a series of in-depth interviews with the business owner and staff. This case study is an example of how to run a business and coordinate a charity concurrently while mobilising the same resources. The uniqueness of this case is the operational synergy of both the business and charity to promote corporate responsibility causes and initiatives in Singapore.

Keywords: branding, Corporate Social Responsibility, charity, family-owned business

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24 The Nexus between Counter Terrorism and Human Rights with a Perspective on Cyber Terrorism

Authors: Allan Munyao Mukuki

Abstract:

The nexus between terrorism and human rights has become a big challenge in the fight against terrorism globally. This is hinged on the fact that terrorism and human rights are interrelated to the extent that, when the former starts, the latter is violated. This direct linkage was recognised in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action as adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna on 25 June 1993 which agreed that acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations are aimed at the destruction of human rights. Hence, terrorism constitutes an assault on our most basic human rights. To this end, the first part of this paper will focus on the nexus between terrorism and human rights and endeavors to draw a co-relation between these two concepts. The second part thereafter will analyse the emerging concept of cyber-terrorism and how it takes place. Further, an analysis of cyber counter-terrorism balanced as against human rights will also be undertaken. This will be done through the analysis of the concept of ‘securitisation’ of human rights as well as the need to create a balance between counterterrorism efforts as against the protection of human rights at all costs. The paper will then concludes with recommendations on how to balance counter-terrorism and human rights in the modern age.

Keywords: Security, Human Rights, Counter-Terrorism, Balance, Cyber-Terrorism, violation

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23 Productivity, Labour Flexibility, and Migrant Workers in Hotels: An Establishment and Departmental Level Analysis

Authors: Natina Yaduma, Allan Williams, Sangwon Park, Andrew Lockwood

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This paper analyses flexible working, and the employment of migrants, as determinants of productivity in hotels. Controlling for the institutional environment, by focussing on a single firm, it analyses data on actual hours worked and outputs, on a weekly basis, over an 8 year period. The unusually disaggregated data allows the paper to examine not only inter-establishment, but also intra-establishment (departmental) variations in productivity, and to compare financial versus physical measures. The findings emphasise the complexity of productivity findings, sometimes contrasting evidence for establishments versus departments, and the positive but scale and measure-specific contributions of both the employment of migrants and flexible working, especially the utilisation of zero hours contracts.

Keywords: labour productivity, physical productivity, financial productivity, numerical flexibility, functional flexibility, migrant employment, cero-contract employment

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22 Phylogenetic Differential Separation of Environmental Samples

Authors: Amber C. W. Vandepoele, Michael A. Marciano

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Biological analyses frequently focus on single organisms, however many times, the biological sample consists of more than the target organism; for example, human microbiome research targets bacterial DNA, yet most samples consist largely of human DNA. Therefore, there would be an advantage to removing these contaminating organisms. Conversely, some analyses focus on a single organism but would greatly benefit from the additional information regarding the other organismal components of the sample. Forensic analysis is one such example, wherein most forensic casework, human DNA is targeted; however, it typically exists in complex non-pristine sample substrates such as soil or unclean surfaces. These complex samples are commonly comprised of not just human tissue but also microbial and plant life, where these organisms may help gain more forensically relevant information about a specific location or interaction. This project aims to optimize a ‘phylogenetic’ differential extraction method that will separate mammalian, bacterial and plant cells in a mixed sample. This is accomplished through the use of size exclusion separation, whereby the different cell types are separated through multiple filtrations using 5 μm filters. The components are then lysed via differential enzymatic sensitivities among the cells and extracted with minimal contribution from the preceding component. This extraction method will then allow complex DNA samples to be more easily interpreted through non-targeting sequencing since the data will not be skewed toward the smaller and usually more numerous bacterial DNAs. This research project has demonstrated that this ‘phylogenetic’ differential extraction method successfully separated the epithelial and bacterial cells from each other with minimal cell loss. We will take this one step further, showing that when adding the plant cells into the mixture, they will be separated and extracted from the sample. Research is ongoing, and results are pending.

Keywords:

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21 The Effect of Relationship Marketing on Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction without Service Providers' Emotional Intelligence: The Case of the Insurance Industry in Ghana

Authors: Frank Frimpong Opuni, Michael Mba Allan, Kwame Adu-Gyamfi, Michael Sarkodie Baffoe

Abstract:

This paper assesses the effect of relationship marketing on service quality and customer satisfaction from the perspective of the moderating role of emotional intelligence in the insurance industry in Ghana. A descriptive quantitative research technique was employed. A random sample of 384 each of customers and service providers in 3 insurance firms in Accra were used as the source of data. According to findings, emotional intelligence makes a strong positive effect on relationship marketing at 5% significance level, r (283) = .817, p = .000. Though relationship marketing makes a strong positive effect on service quality (r = .767, p < .05) and customer satisfaction (r = .647, p < .05), this effect becomes insignificant (p > .05) when the effect of emotional intelligence on relationship marketing is controlled for. It is therefore recommended that insurance firms give priority to equipping their relationship employees with emotional intelligence to maximise service quality and customer satisfaction.

Keywords: Relationship Marketing, Customer Satisfaction, Service Quality, Emotional Intelligence

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20 Detecting Paraphrases in Arabic Text

Authors: Amal Alshahrani, Allan Ramsay

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Paraphrasing is one of the important tasks in natural language processing; i.e. alternative ways to express the same concept by using different words or phrases. Paraphrases can be used in many natural language applications, such as Information Retrieval, Machine Translation, Question Answering, Text Summarization, or Information Extraction. To obtain pairs of sentences that are paraphrases we create a system that automatically extracts paraphrases from a corpus, which is built from different sources of news article since these are likely to contain paraphrases when they report the same event on the same day. There are existing simple standard approaches (e.g. TF-IDF vector space, cosine similarity) and alignment technique (e.g. Dynamic Time Warping (DTW)) for extracting paraphrase which have been applied to the English. However, the performance of these approaches could be affected when they are applied to another language, for instance Arabic language, due to the presence of phenomena which are not present in English, such as Free Word Order, Zero copula, and Pro-dropping. These phenomena will affect the performance of these algorithms. Thus, if we can analysis how the existing algorithms for English fail for Arabic then we can find a solution for Arabic. The results are promising.

Keywords: natural language processing, TF-IDF, cosine similarity, dynamic time warping (DTW)

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19 A Sequential Approach for Random-Effects Meta-Analysis

Authors: Samson Henry Dogo, Allan Clark, Elena Kulinskaya

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The objective in meta-analysis is to combine results from several independent studies in order to create generalization and provide evidence based for decision making. But recent studies show that the magnitude of effect size estimates reported in many areas of research finding changed with year publication and this can impair the results and conclusions of meta-analysis. A number of sequential methods have been proposed for monitoring the effect size estimates in meta-analysis. However they are based on statistical theory applicable to fixed effect model (FEM). For random-effects model (REM), the analysis incorporates the heterogeneity variance, tau-squared and its estimation create complications. In this paper proposed the use of Gombay and Serbian (2005) truncated CUSUM-type test with asymptotically valid critical values for sequential monitoring of REM. Simulation results show that the test does not control the Type I error well, and is not recommended. Further work required to derive an appropriate test in this important area of application.

Keywords: Meta-analysis, random-effects model, sequential test, temporal changes in effect sizes

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18 Application and Assessment of Artificial Neural Networks for Biodiesel Iodine Value Prediction

Authors: Raquel M. de Sousa, Sofiane Labidi, Allan Kardec D. Barros, Alex O. Barradas Filho, Aldalea L. B. Marques

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Several parameters are established in order to measure biodiesel quality. One of them is the iodine value, which is an important parameter that measures the total unsaturation within a mixture of fatty acids. Limitation of unsaturated fatty acids is necessary since warming of a higher quantity of these ones ends in either formation of deposits inside the motor or damage of lubricant. Determination of iodine value by official procedure tends to be very laborious, with high costs and toxicity of the reagents, this study uses an artificial neural network (ANN) in order to predict the iodine value property as an alternative to these problems. The methodology of development of networks used 13 esters of fatty acids in the input with convergence algorithms of backpropagation type were optimized in order to get an architecture of prediction of iodine value. This study allowed us to demonstrate the neural networks’ ability to learn the correlation between biodiesel quality properties, in this case iodine value, and the molecular structures that make it up. The model developed in the study reached a correlation coefficient (R) of 0.99 for both network validation and network simulation, with Levenberg-Maquardt algorithm.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Networks, Biodiesel, prediction, iodine value

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17 From a Distance: A Grounded Theory Study of Incarcerated Filipino Elderly's Separation Anxiety

Authors: Allan B. de Guzman, Rochelle Gabrielle R. Gatan, Ira Bianca Mae G. Gesmundo, Astley Justine H. Golosinda

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Background: While in prison, the elderly, like the younger prisoners, face specific problems and deprivations arising directly from their imprisonment, one of which is forced separation from family and loved ones. Despite the numerous studies that examined the impact of separation and separation anxiety on the emotions and behavior of young individuals, little is known about separation anxiety in the elderly population. Objective: This grounded theory study purports to describe the process of separation anxiety among incarcerated Filipino elderly men. Method: Individual interviews and participant observations were conducted with 25 incarcerated elderly Filipino men who are first-time prisoners, sentenced to lifetime imprisonment and were analyzed using constant comparative method. Results: Following Strauss and Corbin’s protocol, a four-part process emerged to describe the studied layer of human experience. The Tectonic Model of Separation Anxiety among incarcerated Filipino elderly men comprises of four phases: Winkling, Wilting, Weeding, and Weaving. Conclusion: This study has inductively and creatively explored the process of separation anxiety among the Filipino incarcerated elderly men. Findings of this study invite nurses and other clinicians to identify developmentally appropriate strategies and interventions for this vulnerable and neglected sector of society.

Keywords: Elderly, Grounded theory, Filipino, separation anxiety, incarcerated

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16 A Proposed Plan for the Viral Marketing of Sporting Products and Services to Social Media Users in the Arab World

Authors: Ahmed F. Abdel Qader

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Viral marketing has resulted in a lot of excitement recently as a novel technology in the field of marketing. The need of porting institutions to attract new customers for sporting products and services has increased, especially as many international and Arab clubs rely on them for most of their funding. These organizations, especially clubs, have outlets for selling their products and services; therefore, they are in need for new approaches that are related to modern communication and innovative distribution methods that can depend on the present audience in conveying e-ads to other users in light of the increase in social media users in the Arab world. This study aims at developing a marketing plan for sporting products and services through viral marketing of social media users. The researcher used the descriptive method. The sample consisted of 1991 social media users in 13 Arab countries. The questionnaire consisted of five themes and 42 items. Allan Dib 'one-page marketing plan' was used to develop the sporting products and services marketing plan. The study found that participants reported watching e-ads of sporting products and services that appeared during browsing social media pages; Facebook was the most used means for receiving ads about sporting products and services; sharing the product’s ad depends on the availability of incentives; purchasing sporting products and services takes place after a recommendation by a relative or a friend; and their evaluation of sporting products and services depends on the experiences of other people. The study recommends that the proposed plan should be used in marketing sporting products and services.

Keywords: Social Media, Viral Marketing, arab world, sporting products

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15 Algorithm for Quantification of Pulmonary Fibrosis in Chest X-Ray Exams

Authors: Guilherme Giacomini, Marcela de Oliveira, Fernando Antonio Bacchim Neto, Allan Felipe Fattori Alves, Maria Eugênia Dela Rosa, Diana Rodrigues De Pina, Ana Luiza Menegatti Pavan

Abstract:

It is estimated that each year one death every 10 seconds (about 2 million deaths) in the world is attributed to tuberculosis (TB). Even after effective treatment, TB leaves sequelae such as, for example, pulmonary fibrosis, compromising the quality of life of patients. Evaluations of the aforementioned sequel are usually performed subjectively by radiology specialists. Subjective evaluation may indicate variations inter and intra observers. The examination of x-rays is the diagnostic imaging method most accomplished in the monitoring of patients diagnosed with TB and of least cost to the institution. The application of computational algorithms is of utmost importance to make a more objective quantification of pulmonary impairment in individuals with tuberculosis. The purpose of this research is the use of computer algorithms to quantify the pulmonary impairment pre and post-treatment of patients with pulmonary TB. The x-ray images of 10 patients with TB diagnosis confirmed by examination of sputum smears were studied. Initially the segmentation of the total lung area was performed (posteroanterior and lateral views) then targeted to the compromised region by pulmonary sequel. Through morphological operators and the application of signal noise tool, it was possible to determine the compromised lung volume. The largest difference found pre- and post-treatment was 85.85% and the smallest was 54.08%.

Keywords: Radiology, Algorithm, Tuberculosis, x-rays exam

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14 Mg and MgN₃ Cluster in Diamond: Quantum Mechanical Studies

Authors: T. S. Almutairi, Paul May, Neil Allan

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The geometrical, electronic and magnetic properties of the neutral Mg center and MgN₃ cluster in diamond have been studied theoretically in detail by means of an HSE06 Hamiltonian that includes a fraction of the exact exchange term; this is important for a satisfactory picture of the electronic states of open-shell systems. Another batch of the calculations by GGA functionals have also been included for comparison, and these support the results from HSE06. The local perturbations in the lattice by introduced Mg defect are restricted in the first and second shell of atoms before eliminated. The formation energy calculated with HSE06 and GGA of single Mg agrees with the previous result. We found the triplet state with C₃ᵥ is the ground state of Mg center with energy lower than the singlet with C₂ᵥ by ~ 0.1 eV. The recent experimental ZPL (557.4 nm) of Mg center in diamond has been discussed in the view of present work. The analysis of the band-structure of the MgN₃ cluster confirms that the MgN₃ defect introduces a shallow donor level in the gap lying within the conduction band edge. This observation is supported by the EMM that produces n-type levels shallower than the P donor level. The formation energy of MgN₂ calculated from a 2NV defect (~ 3.6 eV) is a promising value from which to engineer MgN₃ defects inside the diamond. Ion-implantation followed by heating to about 1200-1600°C might induce migration of N related defects to the localized Mg center. Temperature control is needed for this process to restore the damage and ensure the mobilities of V and N, which demands a more precise experimental study.

Keywords: empirical marker method, generalised gradient approximation, Heyd–Scuseria–Ernzerhof screened hybrid functional, zero phono line

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13 Simultaneous Detection of Dopamine and Uric Acid in the Presence of Ascorbic Acid at Physiological Level Using Anodized Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube–Poldimethylsiloxane Paste Electrode

Authors: Angelo Gabriel Buenaventura, Allan Christopher Yago

Abstract:

A carbon paste electrode (CPE) composed of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube (MWCNT) conducting particle and Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) binder was used for simultaneous detection of Dopamine (DA) and Uric Acid (UA) in the presence of Ascorbic Acid (AA) at physiological level. The MWCNT-PDMS CPE was initially activated via potentiodynamic cycling in a basic (NaOH) solution, which resulted in enhanced electrochemical properties. Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy measurements revealed a significantly lower charge transfer resistance (Rct) for the OH--activated MWCNT-PDMS CPE (Rct = 5.08kΩ) as compared to buffer (pH 7)-activated MWCNT-PDMS CPE (Rct = 25.9kΩ). Reversibility analysis of Fe(CN)63-/4- redox couple of both Buffer-Activated CPE and OH--Activated CPE showed that the OH—Activated CPE have peak current ratio (Ia/Ic) of 1.11 at 100mV/s while 2.12 for the Buffer-Activated CPE; this showed an electrochemically reversible behavior for Fe(CN)63-/4- redox couple even at relatively fast scan rate using the OH--activated CPE. Enhanced voltammetric signal for DA and significant peak separation between DA and UA was obtained using the OH--activated MWCNT-PDMS CPE in the presence of 50 μM AA via Differential Pulse Voltammetry technique. The anodic peak currents which appeared at 0.263V and 0.414 V were linearly increasing with increasing concentrations of DA and UA, respectively. The linear ranges were obtained at 25 μM – 100 μM for both DA and UA. The detection limit was determined to be 3.86 μM for DA and 5.61 μM for UA. These results indicate a practical approach in the simultaneous detection of important bio-organic molecules using a simple CPE composed of MWCNT and PDMS with base anodization as activation technique.

Keywords: Dopamine, ascorbic acid, uric acid, anodization, carbon paste electrodes

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12 Energy Performance Gaps in Residences: An Analysis of the Variables That Cause Energy Gaps and Their Impact

Authors: Amrutha Kishor

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Today, with the rising global warming and depletion of resources every industry is moving toward sustainability and energy efficiency. As part of this movement, it is nowadays obligatory for architects to play their part by creating energy predictions for their designs. But in a lot of cases, these predictions do not reflect the real quantities of energy in newly built buildings when operating. These can be described as ‘Energy Performance Gaps’. This study aims to determine the underlying reasons for these gaps. Seven houses designed by Allan Joyce Architects, UK from 1998 until 2019 were considered for this study. The data from the residents’ energy bills were cross-referenced with the predictions made with the software SefairaPro and from energy reports. Results indicated that the predictions did not match the actual energy usage. An account of how energy was used in these seven houses was made by means of personal interviews. The main factors considered in the study were occupancy patterns, heating systems and usage, lighting profile and usage, and appliances’ profile and usage. The study found that the main reasons for the creation of energy gaps were the discrepancies in occupant usage and patterns of energy consumption that are predicted as opposed to the actual ones. This study is particularly useful for energy-conscious architectural firms to fine-tune the approach to designing houses and analysing their energy performance. As the findings reveal that energy usage in homes varies based on the way residents use the space, it helps deduce the most efficient technological combinations. This information can be used to set guidelines for future policies and regulations related to energy consumption in homes. This study can also be used by the developers of simulation software to understand how architects use their product and drive improvements in its future versions.

Keywords: Environmental Design, Energy Efficient Design, architectural simulation, energy performance gaps

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11 Howard Mold Count of Tomato Pulp Commercialized in the State of São Paulo, Brazil

Authors: M. B. Atui, A. M. Silva, M. A. M. Marciano, M. I. Fioravanti, V. A. Franco, L. B. Chasin, A. R. Ferreira, M. D. Nogueira

Abstract:

Fungi attack large amount of fruits and those who have suffered an injury on the surface are more susceptible to the growth, as they have pectinolytic enzymes that destroy the edible portion forming an amorphous and soft dough. The spores can reach the plant by the wind, rain and insects and fruit may have on its surface, besides the contaminants from the fruit trees, land and water, forming a flora composed mainly of yeasts and molds. Other contamination can occur for the equipment used to harvest, for the use of boxes and contaminated water to the fruit washing, for storage in dirty places. The hyphae in tomato products indicate the use of raw materials contaminated or unsuitable hygiene conditions during processing. Although fungi are inactivated in heat processing step, its hyphae remain in the final product and search for detection and quantification is an indicator of the quality of raw material. Howard Method count of fungi mycelia in industrialized pulps evaluates the amount of decayed fruits existing in raw material. The Brazilian legislation governing processed and packaged products set the limit of 40% of positive fields in tomato pulps. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of the tomato pulp sold in greater São Paulo, through a monitoring during the four seasons of the year. All over 2010, 110 samples have been examined; 21 were taking in spring, 31 in summer, 31 in fall and 27 in winter, all from different lots and trademarks. Samples have been picked up in several stores located in the city of São Paulo. Howard method was used, recommended by the AOAC, 19th ed, 2011 16:19:02 technique - method 965.41. Hundred percent of the samples contained fungi mycelia. The count average of fungi mycelia per season was 23%, 28%, 8,2% and 9,9% in spring, summer, fall and winter, respectively. Regarding the spring samples of the 21 samples analyzed, 14.3% were off-limits proposed by the legislation. As for the samples of the fall and winter, all were in accordance with the legislation and the average of mycelial filament count has not exceeded 20%, which can be explained by the low temperatures during this time of the year. The acquired samples in the summer and spring showed high percentage of fungal mycelium in the final product, related to the high temperatures in these seasons. Considering that the limit of 40% of positive fields is accepted for the Brazilian Legislation (RDC nº 14/2014), 3 spring samples (14%) and 6 summer samples (19%) will be over this limit and subject to law penalties. According to gathered data, 82% of manufacturers of this product manage to keep acceptable levels of fungi mycelia in their product. In conclusion, only 9.2% samples were for the limits established by Resolution RDC. 14/2014, showing that the limit of 40% is feasible and can be used by these segment industries. The result of the filament count mycelial by Howard method is an important tool in the microscopic analysis since it measures the quality of raw material used in the production of tomato products.

Keywords: Fungi, Method, tomato, howard, pulps

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10 Climate Change Impact Due to Timber Product Imports in the UK

Authors: Juan A. Ferriz-Papi, Allan L. Nantel, Talib E. Butt

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Buildings are thought to consume about 50% of the total energy in the UK. The use stage in a building life cycle has the largest energy consumption, although different assessments are showing that the construction can equal several years of maintenance and operations. The selection of materials with lower embodied energy is very important to reduce this consumption. For this reason, timber is one adequate material due to its low embodied energy and the capacity to be used as carbon storage. The use of timber in the construction industry is very significant. Sawn wood, for example, is one of the top 5 construction materials consumed in the UK according to National Statistics. Embodied energy for building products considers the energy consumed in extraction and production stages. However, it is not the same consideration if this product is produced locally as when considering the resource produced further afield. Transport is a very relevant matter that profoundly influences in the results of embodied energy. The case of timber use in the UK is important because the balance between imports and exports is far negative, industry consuming more imported timber than produced. Nearly 80% of sawn softwood used in construction is imported. The imports-exports deficit for sawn wood accounted for more than 180 million pounds during the first four-month period of 2016. More than 85% of these imports come from Europe (83% from the EU). The aim of this study is to analyze climate change impact due to transport for timber products consumed in the UK. An approximate estimation of energy consumed and carbon emissions are calculated considering the timber product’s import origin. The results are compared to the total consumption of each product, estimating the impact of transport on the final embodied energy and carbon emissions. The analysis of these results can help deduce that one big challenge for climate change is the reduction of external dependency, with the associated improvement of internal production of timber products. A study of different types of timber products produced in the UK and abroad is developed to understand the possibilities for this country to improve sustainability and self-management. Reuse and recycle possibilities are also considered.

Keywords: Climate Change, Transport, Timber, Co2 Emissions, embodied energy

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9 Ischemic Stroke Detection in Computed Tomography Examinations

Authors: Allan F. F. Alves, Fernando A. Bacchim Neto, Guilherme Giacomini, Marcela de Oliveira, Ana L. M. Pavan, Maria E. D. Rosa, Diana R. Pina

Abstract:

Stroke is a worldwide concern, only in Brazil it accounts for 10% of all registered deaths. There are 2 stroke types, ischemic (87%) and hemorrhagic (13%). Early diagnosis is essential to avoid irreversible cerebral damage. Non-enhanced computed tomography (NECT) is one of the main diagnostic techniques used due to its wide availability and rapid diagnosis. Detection depends on the size and severity of lesions and the time spent between the first symptoms and examination. The Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) is a subjective method that increases the detection rate. The aim of this work was to implement an image segmentation system to enhance ischemic stroke and to quantify the area of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke lesions in CT scans. We evaluated 10 patients with NECT examinations diagnosed with ischemic stroke. Analyzes were performed in two axial slices, one at the level of the thalamus and basal ganglion and one adjacent to the top edge of the ganglionic structures with window width between 80 and 100 Hounsfield Units. We used different image processing techniques such as morphological filters, discrete wavelet transform and Fuzzy C-means clustering. Subjective analyzes were performed by a neuroradiologist according to the ASPECTS scale to quantify ischemic areas in the middle cerebral artery region. These subjective analysis results were compared with objective analyzes performed by the computational algorithm. Preliminary results indicate that the morphological filters actually improve the ischemic areas for subjective evaluations. The comparison in area of the ischemic region contoured by the neuroradiologist and the defined area by computational algorithm showed no deviations greater than 12% in any of the 10 examination tests. Although there is a tendency that the areas contoured by the neuroradiologist are smaller than those obtained by the algorithm. These results show the importance of a computer aided diagnosis software to assist neuroradiology decisions, especially in critical situations as the choice of treatment for ischemic stroke.

Keywords: Image Processing, fuzzy c-means, ischemic stroke, CT scans

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8 Communities as a Source of Evidence: A Case of Advocating for Improved Human Resources for Health in Uganda

Authors: Asinguza P. Allan

Abstract:

The Advocacy for Better Health aims to equip citizens with enabling environment and systems to effectively advocate for strong action plans to improve health services. This is because the 2020 Government target for Uganda to transform into a middle income country will be achieved if investment is made in keeping the population healthy and productive. Citizen participation as an important foundation for change has been emphasized to gather data through participatory rural appraisal and inform evidence-based advocacy for recruitment and motivation of human resources. Citizens conduct problem ranking during advocacy forums on staffing levels and health worker absenteeism. Citizens prioritised inadequate number of midwives and absenteeism. On triangulation, health worker to population ratio in Uganda remains at 0.25/1,000 which is far below the World Health Organization (WHO) threshold of 2.3/1,000. Working with IntraHealth, the project advocated for recruitment of critical skilled staff (doctors and midwives) and scale up health workers motivation strategy to reduce Uganda’s Neonatal Mortality Rate of 22/1,000 and Maternal Mortality Ratio of 320/100,000. Government has committed to increase staffing to 80% by 2018 (10 districts have passed ordinances and revived use of duty rosters to address health worker absenteeism. On the other hand, the better health advocacy debate has been elevated with need to increase health sector budget allocations from 8% to 10%. The project has learnt that building a body of evidence from citizens enhances the advocacy agenda. Communities will further monitor government commitments to reduce Neonatal Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio. The project has learnt that interface meeting between duty bearers and the community allows for immediate feedback and the process is a strong instrument for empowerment. It facilitates monitoring and performance evaluation of services, projects and government administrative units (like district assemblies) by the community members themselves. This, in turn, makes the human resources in health to be accountable, transparent and responsive to communities where they work. This, in turn, promotes human resource performance.

Keywords: Human Resources, Advocacy, evidence, Empowerment

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7 Literary Words of Foreign Origin as Social Markers in Jeffrey Archer's Novels Speech Portrayals

Authors: Tatiana Ivushkina

Abstract:

The paper is aimed at studying the use of literary words of foreign origin in modern fiction from a sociolinguistic point of view, which presupposes establishing correlation between this category of words in a speech portrayal or narrative and a social status of the speaker, verifying that it bears social implications and serves as a social marker or index of socially privileged identity in the British literature of the 21-st century. To this end, there were selected literary words of foreign origin in context (60 contexts) and subjected to careful examination. The study is carried out on two novels by Jeffrey Archer – Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less and A Prisoner of Birth – who, being a graduate from Oxford, represents socially privileged classes himself and gives a wide depiction of characters with different social backgrounds and statuses. The analysis of the novels enabled us to categorize the selected words into four relevant groups. The first represented by terms (commodity, debenture, recuperation, syringe, luminescence, umpire, etc.) serves to unambiguously indicate education, occupation, a field of knowledge in which a character is involved or a situation of communication. The second group is formed of words used in conjunction with their Germanic counterparts (perspiration – sweat, padre – priest, convivial – friendly) to contrast social position of the characters: literary words serving as social indices of upper class speakers whereas their synonyms of Germanic origin characterize middle or lower class speech portrayals. The third class of words comprises socially marked words (verbs, nouns, and adjectives), or U-words (the term first coined by Allan Ross and Nancy Mitford), the status acquired in the course of social history development (elegant, excellent, sophistication, authoritative, preposterous, etc.). The fourth includes words used in a humorous or ironic meaning to convey the narrator’s attitude to the characters or situation itself (ministrations, histrionic, etc.). Words of this group are perceived as 'alien', stylistically distant as they create incongruity between style and subject matter. Social implication of the selected words is enhanced by French words and phrases often accompanying them.

Keywords: Social Context, British literature of the XXI century, literary words of foreign origin, social meaning

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6 Effectiveness Assessment of a Brazilian Larvicide on Aedes Control

Authors: Ana Paula S. A. Correa, Allan K. R. Galardo, Josiane N. Muller, Jose B. P. Lima, Tatiane A. Barbosa, Evan P. Ferro, Wellington M. Dos Santos, Edinaldo C. Rego

Abstract:

The susceptibility status of an insect population to any larvicide depends on several factors such includes genetic constitution, environmental conditions and others. The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of three important viral diseases, Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya. The frequent outbreaks of those diseases in different parts of Brazil demonstrate the importance of testing the susceptibility of vectors in different environments. Since the control of this mosquito leads to the control of disease, alternatives for vector control that value the different Brazilian environmental conditions are needed for effective actions. The aim of this study was to evaluate a new commercial formulation of Bacillus thuringiensis israelenses (DengueTech: Brazilian innovative technology) in the Brazilian Legal Amazon considering the climate conditions. Semi-field tests were conducted in the Institute of Scientific and Technological Research of the State of Amapa in two different environments, one in a shaded area and the other exposed to sunlight. The mosquito larvae were exposed to larvicide concentration and a control; each group was tested in three containers of 40 liters each. To assess persistence 50 third instar larvae of Aedes aegypti laboratory lineages (Rockefeller) and 50 larvae of Aedes aegypti collected in the municipality of Macapa, Brazil’s Amapa state, were added weekly and after 24 hours the mortality was assessed. In total 16 tests were performed, where 12 were done with replacement of water (1/5 of the volume, three times per week). The effectiveness of the product was determined through mortality of ≥ 80%, as recommend by the World Health Organization. The results demonstrated that high-water temperatures (26-35 °C) on the containers influenced the residual time of the product, where the maximum effect achieved was 21 days in the shaded area; and no effectiveness of 60 days was found in any of the tests, as expected according to the larvicide company. The test with and without water replacement did not present significant differences in the mortality rate. Considering the different environments and climate, these results stimulate the need to test larvicide and its effectiveness in specific environmental settings in order to identify the parameters required for better results. Thus, we see the importance of semi-field researches considering the local climate conditions for a successful control of Aedes aegypti.

Keywords: vector control, aedes aegypti, bioassay, larvicida

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5 Evaluation of Occupational Doses in Interventional Radiology

Authors: Fernando Antonio Bacchim Neto, Allan Felipe Fattori Alves, Maria Eugênia Dela Rosa, Regina Moura, Diana Rodrigues De Pina

Abstract:

Interventional Radiology is the radiology modality that provides the highest dose values to medical staff. Recent researches show that personal dosimeters may underestimate dose values in interventional physicians, especially in extremities (hands and feet) and eye lens. The aim of this work was to study radiation exposure levels of medical staff in different interventional radiology procedures and estimate the annual maximum numbers of procedures (AMN) that each physician could perform without exceed the annual limits of dose established by normative. For this purpose LiF:Mg,Ti (TLD-100) dosimeters were positioned in different body regions of the interventional physician (eye lens, thyroid, chest, gonads, hand and foot) above the radiological protection vests as lead apron and thyroid shield. Attenuation values for lead protection vests were based on international guidelines. Based on these data were chosen as 90% attenuation of the lead vests and 60% attenuation of the protective glasses. 25 procedures were evaluated: 10 diagnostics, 10 angioplasty, and 5-aneurysm treatment. The AMN of diagnostic procedures was 641 for the primary interventional radiologist and 930 for the assisting interventional radiologist. For the angioplasty procedures, the AMN for primary interventional radiologist was 445 and for assisting interventional radiologist was 1202. As for the procedures of aneurism treatment, the AMN for the primary interventional radiologist was 113 and for the assisting interventional radiologist were 215. All AMN were limited by the eye lens doses already considering the use of protective glasses. In all categories evaluated, the higher dose values are found in gonads and in the lower regions of professionals, both for the primary interventionist and for the assisting, but the eyes lens dose limits are smaller than these regions. Additional protections as mobile barriers, which can be positioned between the interventionist and the patient, can decrease the exposures in the eye lens, providing a greater protection for the medical staff. The alternation of professionals to perform each type of procedure can reduce the dose values received by them over a period. The analysis of dose profiles proposed in this work showed that personal dosimeters positioned in chest might underestimate dose values in other body parts of the interventional physician, especially in extremities and eye lens. As each body region of the interventionist is subject to different levels of exposure, dose distribution in each region provides a better approach to what actions are necessary to ensure the radiological protection of medical staff.

Keywords: Radiation Protection, Interventional Radiology, occupationally exposed individual, hemodynamic

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4 The Residual Efficacy of Etofenprox WP on Different Surfaces for Malaria Control in the Brazilian Legal Amazon

Authors: Ana Paula S. A. Correa, Allan K. R. Galardo, Luana A. Lima, Talita F. Sobral, Josiane N. Muller, Jessica F. S. Barroso, Nercy V. R. Furtado, Ednaldo C. Rêgo., Jose B. P. Lima

Abstract:

Malaria is a public health problem in the Brazilian Legal Amazon. Among the integrated approaches for anopheline control, the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) remains one of the main tools in the basic strategy applied in the Amazonian States, where the National Malaria Control Program currently uses one of the insecticides from the pyrethroid class, the Etofenprox WP. Understanding the residual efficacy of insecticides on different surfaces is essential to determine the spray cycles, in order to maintain a rational use and to avoid product waste. The aim of this study was to evaluate the residual efficacy of Etofenprox - VECTRON ® 20 WP on surfaces of Unplastered Cement (UC) and Unpainted Wood (UW) on panels, in field, and in semi-field evaluation of Brazil’s Amapa State. The evaluation criteria used was the cone bioassay test, following the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended method, using plastic cones and female mosquitos of Anopheles sp. The tests were carried out in laboratory panels, semi-field evaluation in a “test house” built in the Macapa municipality, and in the field in 20 houses, being ten houses per surface type (UC and UW), in an endemic malaria area in Mazagão’s municipality. The residual efficacy was measured from March to September 2017, starting one day after the spraying, repeated monthly for a period of six months. The UW surface presented higher residual efficacy than the UC. In fact, the UW presented a residual efficacy of the insecticide throughout the period of this study with a mortality rate above 80% in the panels (= 95%), in the "test house" (= 86%) and in field houses ( = 87%). On the UC surface it was observed a mortality decreased in all the tests performed, with a mortality rate of 45, 47 and 29% on panels, semi-field and in field, respectively; however, the residual efficacy ≥ 80% only occurred in the first evaluation after the 24-hour spraying bioassay in the "test house". Thus, only the UW surface meets the specifications of the World Health Organization Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES) regarding the duration of effective action (three to six months). To sum up, the insecticide residual efficacy presented variability on the different surfaces where it was sprayed. Although the IRS with Etofenprox WP was efficient on UW surfaces, and it can be used in spraying cycles at 4-month intervals, it is important to consider the diversity of houses in the Brazilian Legal Amazon, in order to implement alternatives for vector control, including the evaluation of new products or different formulations types for insecticides.

Keywords: vector control, insecticide, Anopheles, bioassay

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3 Waveguiding in an InAs Quantum Dots Nanomaterial for Scintillation Applications

Authors: Katherine Dropiewski, Michael Yakimov, Vadim Tokranov, Allan Minns, Pavel Murat, Serge Oktyabrsky

Abstract:

InAs Quantum Dots (QDs) in a GaAs matrix is a well-documented luminescent material with high light yield, as well as thermal and ionizing radiation tolerance due to quantum confinement. These benefits can be leveraged for high-efficiency, room temperature scintillation detectors. The proposed scintillator is composed of InAs QDs acting as luminescence centers in a GaAs stopping medium, which also acts as a waveguide. This system has appealing potential properties, including high light yield (~240,000 photons/MeV) and fast capture of photoelectrons (2-5ps), orders of magnitude better than currently used inorganic scintillators, such as LYSO or BaF2. The high refractive index of the GaAs matrix (n=3.4) ensures light emitted by the QDs is waveguided, which can be collected by an integrated photodiode (PD). Scintillation structures were grown using Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) and consist of thick GaAs waveguiding layers with embedded sheets of modulation p-type doped InAs QDs. An AlAs sacrificial layer is grown between the waveguide and the GaAs substrate for epitaxial lift-off to separate the scintillator film and transfer it to a low-index substrate for waveguiding measurements. One consideration when using a low-density material like GaAs (~5.32 g/cm³) as a stopping medium is the matrix thickness in the dimension of radiation collection. Therefore, luminescence properties of very thick (4-20 microns) waveguides with up to 100 QD layers were studied. The optimization of the medium included QD shape, density, doping, and AlGaAs barriers at the waveguide surfaces to prevent non-radiative recombination. To characterize the efficiency of QD luminescence, low temperature photoluminescence (PL) (77-450 K) was measured and fitted using a kinetic model. The PL intensity degrades by only 40% at RT, with an activation energy for electron escape from QDs to the barrier of ~60 meV. Attenuation within the waveguide (WG) is a limiting factor for the lateral size of a scintillation detector, so PL spectroscopy in the waveguiding configuration was studied. Spectra were measured while the laser (630 nm) excitation point was scanned away from the collecting fiber coupled to the edge of the WG. The QD ground state PL peak at 1.04 eV (1190 nm) was inhomogeneously broadened with FWHM of 28 meV (33 nm) and showed a distinct red-shift due to self-absorption in the QDs. Attenuation stabilized after traveling over 1 mm through the WG, at about 3 cm⁻¹. Finally, a scintillator sample was used to test detection and evaluate timing characteristics using 5.5 MeV alpha particles. With a 2D waveguide and a small area of integrated PD, the collected charge averaged 8.4 x10⁴ electrons, corresponding to a collection efficiency of about 7%. The scintillation response had 80 ps noise-limited time resolution and a QD decay time of 0.6 ns. The data confirms unique properties of this scintillation detector which can be potentially much faster than any currently used inorganic scintillator.

Keywords: Quantum Dots, GaAs, molecular beam epitaxy, InAs, III-V semiconductor

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2 Automatic Identification of Pectoral Muscle

Authors: Allan F. F. Alves, Guilherme Giacomini, Marcela de Oliveira, Ana L. M. Pavan, Maria E. D. Rosa, Fernando A. B. Neto, Andre P. Trindade, Diana R. De Pina

Abstract:

Mammography is a worldwide image modality used to diagnose breast cancer, even in asymptomatic women. Due to its large availability, mammograms can be used to measure breast density and to predict cancer development. Women with increased mammographic density have a four- to sixfold increase in their risk of developing breast cancer. Therefore, studies have been made to accurately quantify mammographic breast density. In clinical routine, radiologists perform image evaluations through BIRADS (Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System) assessment. However, this method has inter and intraindividual variability. An automatic objective method to measure breast density could relieve radiologist’s workload by providing a first aid opinion. However, pectoral muscle is a high density tissue, with similar characteristics of fibroglandular tissues. It is consequently hard to automatically quantify mammographic breast density. Therefore, a pre-processing is needed to segment the pectoral muscle which may erroneously be quantified as fibroglandular tissue. The aim of this work was to develop an automatic algorithm to segment and extract pectoral muscle in digital mammograms. The database consisted of thirty medio-lateral oblique incidence digital mammography from São Paulo Medical School. This study was developed with ethical approval from the authors’ institutions and national review panels under protocol number 3720-2010. An algorithm was developed, in Matlab® platform, for the pre-processing of images. The algorithm uses image processing tools to automatically segment and extract the pectoral muscle of mammograms. Firstly, it was applied thresholding technique to remove non-biological information from image. Then, the Hough transform is applied, to find the limit of the pectoral muscle, followed by active contour method. Seed of active contour is applied in the limit of pectoral muscle found by Hough transform. An experienced radiologist also manually performed the pectoral muscle segmentation. Both methods, manual and automatic, were compared using the Jaccard index and Bland-Altman statistics. The comparison between manual and the developed automatic method presented a Jaccard similarity coefficient greater than 90% for all analyzed images, showing the efficiency and accuracy of segmentation of the proposed method. The Bland-Altman statistics compared both methods in relation to area (mm²) of segmented pectoral muscle. The statistic showed data within the 95% confidence interval, enhancing the accuracy of segmentation compared to the manual method. Thus, the method proved to be accurate and robust, segmenting rapidly and freely from intra and inter-observer variability. It is concluded that the proposed method may be used reliably to segment pectoral muscle in digital mammography in clinical routine. The segmentation of the pectoral muscle is very important for further quantifications of fibroglandular tissue volume present in the breast.

Keywords: Hough transform, active contour, fibroglandular tissue, pectoral muscle

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1 Tool for Maxillary Sinus Quantification in Computed Tomography Exams

Authors: Guilherme Giacomini, Marcela de Oliveira, Fernando Antonio Bacchim Neto, Allan Felipe Fattori Alves, Diana Rodrigues De Pina, Ana Luiza Menegatti Pavan, José Ricardo de Arruda Miranda, Seizo Yamashita

Abstract:

The maxillary sinus (MS), part of the paranasal sinus complex, is one of the most enigmatic structures in modern humans. The literature has suggested that MSs function as olfaction accessories, to heat or humidify inspired air, for thermoregulation, to impart resonance to the voice and others. Thus, the real function of the MS is still uncertain. Furthermore, the MS anatomy is complex and varies from person to person. Many diseases may affect the development process of sinuses. The incidence of rhinosinusitis and other pathoses in the MS is comparatively high, so, volume analysis has clinical value. Providing volume values for MS could be helpful in evaluating the presence of any abnormality and could be used for treatment planning and evaluation of the outcome. The computed tomography (CT) has allowed a more exact assessment of this structure, which enables a quantitative analysis. However, this is not always possible in the clinical routine, and if possible, it involves much effort and/or time. Therefore, it is necessary to have a convenient, robust, and practical tool correlated with the MS volume, allowing clinical applicability. Nowadays, the available methods for MS segmentation are manual or semi-automatic. Additionally, manual methods present inter and intraindividual variability. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop an automatic tool to quantity the MS volume in CT scans of paranasal sinuses. This study was developed with ethical approval from the authors’ institutions and national review panels. The research involved 30 retrospective exams of University Hospital, Botucatu Medical School, São Paulo State University, Brazil. The tool for automatic MS quantification, developed in Matlab®, uses a hybrid method, combining different image processing techniques. For MS detection, the algorithm uses a Support Vector Machine (SVM), by features such as pixel value, spatial distribution, shape and others. The detected pixels are used as seed point for a region growing (RG) segmentation. Then, morphological operators are applied to reduce false-positive pixels, improving the segmentation accuracy. These steps are applied in all slices of CT exam, obtaining the MS volume. To evaluate the accuracy of the developed tool, the automatic method was compared with manual segmentation realized by an experienced radiologist. For comparison, we used Bland-Altman statistics, linear regression, and Jaccard similarity coefficient. From the statistical analyses for the comparison between both methods, the linear regression showed a strong association and low dispersion between variables. The Bland–Altman analyses showed no significant differences between the analyzed methods. The Jaccard similarity coefficient was > 0.90 in all exams. In conclusion, the developed tool to quantify MS volume proved to be robust, fast, and efficient, when compared with manual segmentation. Furthermore, it avoids the intra and inter-observer variations caused by manual and semi-automatic methods. As future work, the tool will be applied in clinical practice. Thus, it may be useful in the diagnosis and treatment determination of MS diseases. Providing volume values for MS could be helpful in evaluating the presence of any abnormality and could be used for treatment planning and evaluation of the outcome. The computed tomography (CT) has allowed a more exact assessment of this structure which enables a quantitative analysis. However, this is not always possible in the clinical routine, and if possible, it involves much effort and/or time. Therefore, it is necessary to have a convenient, robust and practical tool correlated with the MS volume, allowing clinical applicability. Nowadays, the available methods for MS segmentation are manual or semi-automatic. Additionally, manual methods present inter and intraindividual variability. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop an automatic tool to quantity the MS volume in CT scans of paranasal sinuses. This study was developed with ethical approval from the authors’ institutions and national review panels. The research involved 30 retrospective exams of University Hospital, Botucatu Medical School, São Paulo State University, Brazil. The tool for automatic MS quantification, developed in Matlab®, uses a hybrid method, combining different image processing techniques. For MS detection, the algorithm uses a Support Vector Machine (SVM), by features such as pixel value, spatial distribution, shape and others. The detected pixels are used as seed point for a region growing (RG) segmentation. Then, morphological operators are applied to reduce false-positive pixels, improving the segmentation accuracy. These steps are applied in all slices of CT exam, obtaining the MS volume. To evaluate the accuracy of the developed tool, the automatic method was compared with manual segmentation realized by an experienced radiologist. For comparison, we used Bland-Altman statistics, linear regression and Jaccard similarity coefficient. From the statistical analyses for the comparison between both methods, the linear regression showed a strong association and low dispersion between variables. The Bland–Altman analyses showed no significant differences between the analyzed methods. The Jaccard similarity coefficient was > 0.90 in all exams. In conclusion, the developed tool to automatically quantify MS volume proved to be robust, fast and efficient, when compared with manual segmentation. Furthermore, it avoids the intra and inter-observer variations caused by manual and semi-automatic methods. As future work, the tool will be applied in clinical practice. Thus, it may be useful in the diagnosis and treatment determination of MS diseases.

Keywords: support vector machine, maxillary sinus, region growing, volume quantification

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