Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 14

Search results for: Eiji Nakamachi

14 Development of Three-Dimensional Bio-Reactor Using Magnetic Field Stimulation to Enhance PC12 Cell Axonal Extension

Authors: Eiji Nakamachi, Ryota Sakiyama, Koji Yamamoto, Yusuke Morita, Hidetoshi Sakamoto


The regeneration of injured central nerve network caused by the cerebrovascular accidents is difficult, because of poor regeneration capability of central nerve system composed of the brain and the spinal cord. Recently, new regeneration methods such as transplant of nerve cells and supply of nerve nutritional factor were proposed and examined. However, there still remain many problems with the canceration of engrafted cells and so on and it is strongly required to establish an efficacious treating method of a central nerve system. Blackman proposed the electromagnetic stimulation method to enhance the axonal nerve extension. In this study, we try to design and fabricate a new three-dimensional (3D) bio-reactor, which can load a uniform AC magnetic field stimulation on PC12 cells in the extracellular environment for enhancement of an axonal nerve extension and 3D nerve network generation. Simultaneously, we measure the morphology of PC12 cell bodies, axons, and dendrites by the multiphoton excitation fluorescence microscope (MPM) and evaluate the effectiveness of the uniform AC magnetic stimulation to enhance the axonal nerve extension. Firstly, we designed and fabricated the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation bio-reactor. For the AC magnetic stimulation system, we used the laminated silicon steel sheets for a yoke structure of 3D chamber, which had a high magnetic permeability. Next, we adopted the pole piece structure and installed similar specification coils on both sides of the yoke. We searched an optimum pole piece structure using the magnetic field finite element (FE) analyses and the response surface methodology. We confirmed that the optimum 3D chamber structure showed a uniform magnetic flux density in the PC12 cell culture area by using FE analysis. Then, we fabricated the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation bio-reactor by adopting analytically determined specifications, such as the size of chamber and electromagnetic conditions. We confirmed that measurement results of magnetic field in the chamber showed a good agreement with FE results. Secondly, we fabricated a dish, which set inside the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation of bio-reactor. PC12 cells were disseminated with collagen gel and could be 3D cultured in the dish. The collagen gel were poured in the dish. The collagen gel, which had a disk shape of 6 mm diameter and 3mm height, was set on the membrane filter, which was located at 4 mm height from the bottom of dish. The disk was full filled with the culture medium inside the dish. Finally, we evaluated the effectiveness of the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation to enhance the nurve axonal extension. We confirmed that a 6.8 increase in the average axonal extension length of PC12 under the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation at 7 days culture in our bio-reactor, and a 24.7 increase in the maximum axonal extension length. Further, we confirmed that a 60 increase in the number of dendrites of PC12 under the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation. Finally, we confirm the availability of our uniform AC magnetic stimulation bio-reactor for the nerve axonal extension and the nerve network generation.

Keywords: nerve regeneration, axonal extension , PC12 cell, magnetic field, three-dimensional bio-reactor

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13 Visco-Hyperelastic Finite Element Analysis for Diagnosis of Knee Joint Injury Caused by Meniscal Tearing

Authors: Eiji Nakamachi, Tsuyoshi Eguchi, Sayo Yamamoto, Yusuke Morita, H. Sakamoto


In this study, we aim to reveal the relationship between the meniscal tearing and the articular cartilage injury of knee joint by using the dynamic explicit finite element (FE) method. Meniscal injuries reduce its functional ability and consequently increase the load on the articular cartilage of knee joint. In order to prevent the induction of osteoarthritis (OA) caused by meniscal injuries, many medical treatment techniques, such as artificial meniscus replacement and meniscal regeneration, have been developed. However, it is reported that these treatments are not the comprehensive methods. In order to reveal the fundamental mechanism of OA induction, the mechanical characterization of meniscus under the condition of normal and injured states is carried out by using FE analyses. At first, a FE model of the human knee joint in the case of normal state – ‘intact’ - was constructed by using the magnetron resonance (MR) tomography images and the image construction code, Materialize Mimics. Next, two types of meniscal injury models with the radial tears of medial and lateral menisci were constructed. In FE analyses, the linear elastic constitutive law was adopted for the femur and tibia bones, the visco-hyperelastic constitutive law for the articular cartilage, and the visco-anisotropic hyperelastic constitutive law for the meniscus, respectively. Material properties of articular cartilage and meniscus were identified using the stress-strain curves obtained by our compressive and the tensile tests. The numerical results under the normal walking condition revealed how and where the maximum compressive stress occurred on the articular cartilage. The maximum compressive stress and its occurrence point were varied in the intact and two meniscal tear models. These compressive stress values can be used to establish the threshold value to cause the pathological change for the diagnosis. In this study, FE analyses of knee joint were carried out to reveal the influence of meniscal injuries on the cartilage injury. The following conclusions are obtained. 1. 3D FE model, which consists femur, tibia, articular cartilage and meniscus was constructed based on MR images of human knee joint. The image processing code, Materialize Mimics was used by using the tetrahedral FE elements. 2. Visco-anisotropic hyperelastic constitutive equation was formulated by adopting the generalized Kelvin model. The material properties of meniscus and articular cartilage were determined by curve fitting with experimental results. 3. Stresses on the articular cartilage and menisci were obtained in cases of the intact and two radial tears of medial and lateral menisci. Through comparison with the case of intact knee joint, two tear models show almost same stress value and higher value than the intact one. It was shown that both meniscal tears induce the stress localization in both medial and lateral regions. It is confirmed that our newly developed FE analysis code has a potential to be a new diagnostic system to evaluate the meniscal damage on the articular cartilage through the mechanical functional assessment.

Keywords: finite element analysis, hyperelastic constitutive law, knee joint injury, meniscal tear, stress concentration

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12 Using Probe Person Data for Travel Mode Detection

Authors: Muhammad Awais Shafique, Eiji Hato, Hideki Yaginuma


Recently GPS data is used in a lot of studies to automatically reconstruct travel patterns for trip survey. The aim is to minimize the use of questionnaire surveys and travel diaries so as to reduce their negative effects. In this paper data acquired from GPS and accelerometer embedded in smart phones is utilized to predict the mode of transportation used by the phone carrier. For prediction, Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Adaptive boosting (AdaBoost) are employed. Moreover a unique method to improve the prediction results from these algorithms is also proposed. Results suggest that the prediction accuracy of AdaBoost after improvement is relatively better than the rest.

Keywords: accelerometer, AdaBoost, GPS, mode prediction, support vector machine

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11 A Review of Travel Data Collection Methods

Authors: Muhammad Awais Shafique, Eiji Hato


Household trip data is of crucial importance for managing present transportation infrastructure as well as to plan and design future facilities. It also provides basis for new policies implemented under Transportation Demand Management. The methods used for household trip data collection have changed with passage of time, starting with the conventional face-to-face interviews or paper-and-pencil interviews and reaching to the recent approach of employing smartphones. This study summarizes the step-wise evolution in the travel data collection methods. It provides a comprehensive review of the topic, for readers interested to know the changing trends in the data collection field.

Keywords: computer, smartphone, telephone, travel survey

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10 Revisiting the Fiscal Theory of Sovereign Risk from the DSGE View

Authors: Eiji Okano, Kazuyuki Inagaki


We revisit Uribe's `Fiscal Theory of Sovereign Risk' advocating that there is a trade-off between stabilizing inflation and suppressing default. We develop a class of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model with nominal rigidities and compare two de facto inflation stabilization policies, optimal monetary policy and optimal monetary and fiscal policy with the minimizing interest rate spread policy which completely suppress the default. Under the optimal monetary and fiscal policy, not only the nominal interest rate but also the tax rate work to minimize welfare costs through stabilizing inflation. Under the optimal monetary both inflation and output gap are completely stabilized although those are fluctuating under the optimal monetary policy. In addition, volatility in the default rate under the optimal monetary policy is considerably lower than one under the optimal monetary policy. Thus, there is not the SI-SD trade-off. In addition, while the minimizing interest rate spread policy makes inflation rate severely volatile, the optimal monetary and fiscal policy stabilize both the inflation and the default. A trade-off between stabilizing inflation and suppressing default is not so severe what pointed out by Uribe.

Keywords: sovereign risk, optimal monetary policy, fiscal theory of the price level, DSGE

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9 Combustion Improvements by C4/C5 Bio-Alcohol Isomer Blended Fuels Combined with Supercharging and EGR in a Diesel Engine

Authors: Yasufumi Yoshimoto, Enkhjargal Tserenochir, Eiji Kinoshita, Takeshi Otaka


Next generation bio-alcohols produced from non-food based sources like cellulosic biomass are promising renewable energy sources. The present study investigates engine performance, combustion characteristics, and emissions of a small single cylinder direct injection diesel engine fueled by four kinds of next generation bio-alcohol isomer and diesel fuel blends with a constant blending ratio of 3:7 (mass). The tested bio-alcohol isomers here are n-butanol and iso-butanol (C4 alcohol), and n-pentanol and iso-pentanol (C5 alcohol). To obtain simultaneous reductions in NOx and smoke emissions, the experiments employed supercharging combined with EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation). The boost pressures were fixed at two conditions, 100 kPa (naturally aspirated operation) and 120 kPa (supercharged operation) provided with a roots blower type supercharger. The EGR rates were varied from 0 to 25% using a cooled EGR technique. The results showed that both with and without supercharging, all the bio-alcohol blended diesel fuels improved the trade-off relation between NOx and smoke emissions at all EGR rates while maintaining good engine performance, when compared with diesel fuel operation. It was also found that regardless of boost pressure and EGR rate, the ignition delays of the tested bio-alcohol isomer blends are in the order of iso-butanol > n-butanol > iso-pentanol > n-pentanol. Overall, it was concluded that, except for the changes in the ignition delays the influence of bio-alcohol isomer blends on the engine performance, combustion characteristics, and emissions are relatively small.

Keywords: alternative fuel, butanol, diesel engine, EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation), next generation bio-alcohol isomer blended fuel, pentanol, supercharging

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8 Chemical Kinetics and Computational Fluid-Dynamics Analysis of H2/CO/CO2/CH4 Syngas Combustion and NOx Formation in a Micro-Pilot-Ignited Supercharged Dual Fuel Engine

Authors: Ulugbek Azimov, Nearchos Stylianidis, Nobuyuki Kawahara, Eiji Tomita


A chemical kinetics and computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) analysis was performed to evaluate the combustion of syngas derived from biomass and coke-oven solid feedstock in a micro-pilot ignited supercharged dual-fuel engine under lean conditions. For this analysis, a new reduced syngas chemical kinetics mechanism was constructed and validated by comparing the ignition delay and laminar flame speed data with those obtained from experiments and other detail chemical kinetics mechanisms available in the literature. The reaction sensitivity analysis was conducted for ignition delay at elevated pressures in order to identify important chemical reactions that govern the combustion process. The chemical kinetics of NOx formation was analyzed for H2/CO/CO2/CH4 syngas mixtures by using counter flow burner and premixed laminar flame speed reactor models. The new mechanism showed a very good agreement with experimental measurements and accurately reproduced the effect of pressure, temperature and equivalence ratio on NOx formation. In order to identify the species important for NOx formation, a sensitivity analysis was conducted for pressures 4 bar, 10 bar and 16 bar and preheat temperature 300 K. The results show that the NOx formation is driven mostly by hydrogen based species while other species, such as N2, CO2 and CH4, have also important effects on combustion. Finally, the new mechanism was used in a multidimensional CFD simulation to predict the combustion of syngas in a micro-pilot-ignited supercharged dual-fuel engine and results were compared with experiments. The mechanism showed the closest prediction of the in-cylinder pressure and the rate of heat release (ROHR).

Keywords: syngas, chemical kinetics mechanism, internal combustion engine, NOx formation

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7 Evaluation of Different Anticoagulant Effects on Flow Properties of Human Blood Using Falling Needle Rheometer

Authors: Hiroki Tsuneda, Takamasa Suzuki, Hideki Yamamoto, Kimito Kawamura, Eiji Tamura, Katharina Wochner, Roberto Plasenzotti


Flow property of human blood is one of the important factors on the prevention of the circulatory condition such as a high blood pressure, a diabetes mellitus, and a cardiac infarction. However, the measurement of flow property of human blood, especially blood viscosity, is not so easy, because of their coagulation or aggregation behaviors after taking a sample from blood vessel. In the experiment, some kinds of anticoagulant were added into the human blood to avoid its solidification. Anticoagulant used in the blood test has been chosen for each purpose of blood test, for anticoagulant effect on blood is different mechanism for each. So that, there is a problem that the evaluation of measured blood property with different anticoagulant is so difficult. Therefore, it is so important to make clear the difference of anticoagulant effect on the blood property. In the previous work, a compact-size falling needle rheometer (FNR) has been developed in order to measure the flow property of human blood such as a flow curve, an apparent viscosity. It was found that FNR system can apply to a rheometer or a viscometry for various experimental conditions for not only human blood but also mammalians blood. In this study, the measurements of human blood viscosity with different anticoagulant (EDTA and Heparin) were carried out using newly developed FNR system. The effect of anticoagulant on blood viscosity was also tested by using the standard liquid for each. The accuracy on the viscometry was also tested by using the standard liquid for calibrating materials (JS-10, JS-20) and observed data have satisfactory agreement with reference data around 1.0% at 310K. The flow curve of six males and females with different anticoagulant were measured using FNR. In this experiment, EDTA and Heparin were chosen as anticoagulant for blood. Heparin can inhibit the coagulation of human blood by activating the body of anti-thrombin. To examine the effect of human blood viscosity on anticoagulant, flow curve was measured at high shear rate (>350s-1), and apparent viscosity of each person were determined with different anticoagulant. The apparent viscosity of human blood with heparin was 2%-9% higher than that with EDTA. However, the difference of blood viscosity for two anticoagulants for same blood was different for each. Further discussion, we need the consideration of effect on other physical property, such as cellular component and plasma component.

Keywords: falling-needle rheometer, human blood, viscosity, anticoagulant

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6 Electromagnetic-Mechanical Stimulation on PC12 for Enhancement of Nerve Axonal Extension

Authors: E. Nakamachi, K. Matsumoto, K. Yamamoto, Y. Morita, H. Sakamoto


In recently, electromagnetic and mechanical stimulations have been recognized as the effective extracellular environment stimulation technique to enhance the defected peripheral nerve tissue regeneration. In this study, we developed a new hybrid bioreactor by adopting 50 Hz uniform alternative current (AC) magnetic stimulation and 4% strain mechanical stimulation. The guide tube for nerve regeneration is mesh structured tube made of biodegradable polymer, such as polylatic acid (PLA). However, when neural damage is large, there is a possibility that peripheral nerve undergoes necrosis. So it is quite important to accelerate the nerve tissue regeneration by achieving enhancement of nerve axonal extension rate. Therefore, we try to design and fabricate the system that can simultaneously load the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation and the stretch stimulation to cells for enhancement of nerve axonal extension. Next, we evaluated systems performance and the effectiveness of each stimulation for rat adrenal pheochromocytoma cells (PC12). First, we designed and fabricated the uniform AC magnetic field system and the stretch stimulation system. For the AC magnetic stimulation system, we focused on the use of pole piece structure to carry out in-situ microscopic observation. We designed an optimum pole piece structure using the magnetic field finite element analyses and the response surface methodology. We fabricated the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation system as a bio-reactor by adopting analytically determined design specifications. We measured magnetic flux density that is generated by the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation system. We confirmed that measurement values show good agreement with analytical results, where the uniform magnetic field was observed. Second, we fabricated the cyclic stretch stimulation device under the conditions of particular strains, where the chamber was made of polyoxymethylene (POM). We measured strains in the PC12 cell culture region to confirm the uniform strain. We found slightly different values from the target strain. Finally, we concluded that these differences were allowable in this mechanical stimulation system. We evaluated the effectiveness of each stimulation to enhance the nerve axonal extension using PC12. We confirmed that the average axonal extension length of PC12 under the uniform AC magnetic stimulation was increased by 16 % at 96 h in our bio-reactor. We could not confirm that the axonal extension enhancement under the stretch stimulation condition, where we found the exfoliating of cells. Further, the hybrid stimulation enhanced the axonal extension. Because the magnetic stimulation inhibits the exfoliating of cells. Finally, we concluded that the enhancement of PC12 axonal extension is due to the magnetic stimulation rather than the mechanical stimulation. Finally, we confirmed that the effectiveness of the uniform AC magnetic field stimulation for the nerve axonal extension using PC12 cells.

Keywords: nerve cell PC12, axonal extension, nerve regeneration, electromagnetic-mechanical stimulation, bioreactor

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5 Childhood Obesity in Japan: Trends in Obesity Prevalence among Japanese Kids under 17 Years Old from 2007 to 2016

Authors: Houda Mnif Sellami, Toshi Umehara, Yuriko Yamazaki, Reie Matoba, Anna Sakashita, Yoshimi Abe, Hiroyuki Otake, Satoko Morita, Yoshitaka Akiyama, Chieko Morisawa, Eiji Omura, Masako Yazawa, Yoshie Koike, Mitsugu Tokunaga, Seiki Wada, Shinya Minagawa, Masafumi Matsuda


Childhood obesity has been, for decades, a very serious public health problem worldwide. Some Asian countries have already reached alarming rates, as lifestyle changed dramatically in this part of the world. In many concerned countries, strategies including educational, promotional and awareness-raising activities have been established to combat obesity within kids. Objective: To estimate the obesity and also the underweight trends of Japanese kids from 5 to 17 years, by single year of age and by gender, over the last decade. Methods We used the data from the cross-sectional annual Nationwide surveys (National Nutrition Survey, Japan, Ministry of education, culture, sports, science and technology) conducted from 2007 to 2016. We compared trajectories of obesity prevalence, with the data on sex and age groups. We also analyzed energy and macronutrients intakes of Japanese kids using Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare-Japan annual data, from 2007 to 2014. Results: From 2007 to 2016, Boys obesity was higher than Girls obesity for the over 6 YO participants. Both Boys and Girls obesity trends had 2 peaks of prevalence at (11-13 YO) and then at (15-16 YO). From 2007 to 2012, Kids obesity decreased considerably in both sex and all year of age; then obesity decline was more modest till 2016.On the other side, Kids underweight prevalence increased in both sexes. The macronutrients analyze couldn’t show an evident association between obesity trends and foods intake. Conclusion: Japanese kids’ obesity has been decreased since 2007, in opposition to some other countries reports. We didn’t find an observed association with food intake using Health Ministry data; we need further investigation to estimate energy intake, lifestyle and physical activity by year of age to know whether there is any possible relation.

Keywords: childhood, Japan, obesity, underweight

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4 Direct Current Electric Field Stimulation against PC12 Cells in 3D Bio-Reactor to Enhance Axonal Extension

Authors: E. Nakamachi, S. Tanaka, K. Yamamoto, Y. Morita


In this study, we developed a three-dimensional (3D) direct current electric field (DCEF) stimulation bio-reactor for axonal outgrowth enhancement to generate the neural network of the central nervous system (CNS). By using our newly developed 3D DCEF stimulation bio-reactor, we cultured the rat pheochromocytoma cells (PC12) and investigated the effects on the axonal extension enhancement and network generation. Firstly, we designed and fabricated a 3D bio-reactor, which can load DCEF stimulation on PC12 cells embedded in the collagen gel as extracellular environment. The connection between the electrolyte and the medium using salt bridges for DCEF stimulation was introduced to avoid the cell death by the toxicity of metal ion. The distance between the salt bridges was adopted as the design variable to optimize a structure for uniform DCEF stimulation, where the finite element (FE) analyses results were used. Uniform DCEF strength and electric flux vector direction in the PC12 cells embedded in collagen gel were examined through measurements of the fabricated 3D bio-reactor chamber. Measurement results of DCEF strength in the bio-reactor showed a good agreement with FE results. In addition, the perfusion system was attached to maintain pH 7.2 ~ 7.6 of the medium because pH change was caused by DCEF stimulation loading. Secondly, we disseminated PC12 cells in collagen gel and carried out 3D culture. Finally, we measured the morphology of PC12 cell bodies and neurites by the multiphoton excitation fluorescence microscope (MPM). The effectiveness of DCEF stimulation to enhance the axonal outgrowth and the neural network generation was investigated. We confirmed that both an increase of mean axonal length and axogenesis rate of PC12, which have been exposed 5 mV/mm for 6 hours a day for 4 days in the bioreactor. We found following conclusions in our study. 1) Design and fabrication of DCEF stimulation bio-reactor capable of 3D culture nerve cell were completed. A uniform electric field strength of average value of 17 mV/mm within the 1.2% error range was confirmed by using FE analyses, after the structure determination through the optimization process. In addition, we attached a perfusion system capable of suppressing the pH change of the culture solution due to DCEF stimulation loading. 2) Evaluation of DCEF stimulation effects on PC12 cell activity was executed. The 3D culture of PC 12 was carried out adopting the embedding culture method using collagen gel as a scaffold for four days under the condition of 5.0 mV/mm and 10mV/mm. There was a significant effect on the enhancement of axonal extension, as 11.3% increase in an average length, and the increase of axogenesis rate. On the other hand, no effects on the orientation of axon against the DCEF flux direction was observed. Further, the network generation was enhanced to connect longer distance between the target neighbor cells by DCEF stimulation.

Keywords: PC12, DCEF stimulation, 3D bio-reactor, axonal extension, neural network generation

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3 The Role of Cognitive Control and Social Camouflage Associated with Social Anxiety Autism Spectrum Conditions

Authors: Siqing Guan, Fumiyo Oshima, Eiji Shimizu, Nozomi Tomita, Toru Takahashi, Hiroaki Kumano


Risk factors for social anxiety in autism spectrum conditions involve executive attention, emotion regulation, and thought regulation as processes of cognitive dysregulation. Social camouflaging behaviors as strategies used to mask and/or compensate for autism characteristics during social interactions in autism spectrum conditions have also been emphasized. However, the role of cognitive dysregulation and social camouflaging related to social anxiety in autism spectrum conditions has not been clarified. Whether these factors are specific to social anxiety in autism spectrum conditions or common to social anxiety independent of autism spectrum conditions needs to be clarified. Here, we explored risk factors specific to social anxiety in autism spectrum conditions and general risk factors for social anxiety independent of autism spectrum conditions. From the Japanese participants in early adulthood (age=18~39) of the online survey in Japan, those who exceeded the Japanese version Autism-Spectrum Quotient cutoff (33 points or more )were divided into the autism spectrum conditions group (ASC; N=255, mean age=32.08, SD age=5.16)and those who did not exceed the cutoff were divided into the non-autism spectrum conditions group (Non-ASC; N=255, mean age=31.70, SD age=5.09). Using the Japanese versions of the Social Phobia Scale, the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale, and the Short Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale, a composite score for social anxiety was calculated using a method of principal. We also measured emotional control difficulties using the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, executive attention using the Effortful Control Scale for Adults, rumination using the Rumination-Reflection Questionnaire, and worry using the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. This study was passed through the review of the Ethics Committee. No conflicts of interest. Multiple regression analysis with forced entry method was used to predict social anxiety in the ASC and non-ASC groups separately, based on executive attention, emotion dysregulation, worry, rumination, and social camouflage. In the ASC group, emotion dysregulation (β=.277, p<.001), worry (β=.162, p<.05), assimilation (β=.308, p<.001) and masking (β=.275, p<.001) were significant predictors of social anxiety (F (7,247) = 45.791, p <.001, R2=.565). In the non-ASC groups,emotion dysregulation (β=.171, p<.05), worry (β=.344,p <.001), assimilation (β=.366,p <.001) and executive attention (β=-.132,p <.05) were significant predictors of social anxiety (F (7,207) =47.333, p <.001, R2=.615).The findings suggest that masking was shown to be a risk factor for social anxiety specific to autism spectrum conditions, while emotion dysregulation, worry, and assimilation were shown to be common risk factors for social anxiety, regardless of autism spectrum conditions. In addition, executive attention is a risk factor for social anxiety without autism spectrum conditions.

Keywords: autism spectrum, cognitive control, social anxiety, social camouflaging

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2 Circle of Learning Using High-Fidelity Simulators Promoting a Better Understanding of Resident Physicians on Point-of-Care Ultrasound in Emergency Medicine

Authors: Takamitsu Kodama, Eiji Kawamoto


Introduction: Ultrasound in emergency room has advantages of safer, faster, repeatable and noninvasive. Especially focused Point-Of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) is used daily for prompt and accurate diagnoses, for quickly identifying critical and life-threatening conditions. That is why ultrasound has demonstrated its usefulness in emergency medicine. The true value of ultrasound has been once again recognized in recent years. It is thought that all resident physicians working at emergency room should perform an ultrasound scan to interpret signs and symptoms of deteriorating patients in the emergency room. However, a practical education on ultrasound is still in development. To resolve this issue, we established a new educational program using high-fidelity simulators and evaluated the efficacy of this course. Methods: Educational program includes didactic lectures and skill stations in half-day course. Instructor gives a lecture on POCUS such as Rapid Ultrasound in Shock (RUSH) and/or Focused Assessment Transthoracic Echo (FATE) protocol at the beginning of the course. Then, attendees are provided for training of scanning with cooperation of normal simulated patients. In the end, attendees learn how to apply focused POCUS skills at clinical situation using high-fidelity simulators such as SonoSim® (SonoSim, Inc) and SimMan® 3G (Laerdal Medical). Evaluation was conducted through surveillance questionnaires to 19 attendees after two pilot courses. The questionnaires were focused on understanding course concept and satisfaction. Results: All attendees answered the questionnaires. With respect to the degree of understanding, 12 attendees (number of valid responses: 13) scored four or more points out of five points. High-fidelity simulators, especially SonoSim® was highly appreciated to enhance learning how to handle ultrasound at an actual practice site by 11 attendees (number of valid responses: 12). All attendees encouraged colleagues to take this course because the high level of satisfaction was achieved. Discussion: Newly introduced educational course using high-fidelity simulators realizes the circle of learning to deepen the understanding on focused POCUS by gradual stages. SonoSim® can faithfully reproduce scan images with pathologic findings of ultrasound and provide experimental learning for a growth number of beginners such as resident physicians. In addition, valuable education can be provided if it is used combined with SimMan® 3G. Conclusions: Newly introduced educational course using high-fidelity simulators is supposed to be effective and helps in providing better education compared with conventional courses for emergency physicians.

Keywords: point-of-care ultrasound, high-fidelity simulators, education, circle of learning

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1 Predicting Long-Term Performance of Concrete under Sulfate Attack

Authors: Elakneswaran Yogarajah, Toyoharu Nawa, Eiji Owaki


Cement-based materials have been using in various reinforced concrete structural components as well as in nuclear waste repositories. The sulfate attack has been an environmental issue for cement-based materials exposed to sulfate bearing groundwater or soils, and it plays an important role in the durability of concrete structures. The reaction between penetrating sulfate ions and cement hydrates can result in swelling, spalling and cracking of cement matrix in concrete. These processes induce a reduction of mechanical properties and a decrease of service life of an affected structure. It has been identified that the precipitation of secondary sulfate bearing phases such as ettringite, gypsum, and thaumasite can cause the damage. Furthermore, crystallization of soluble salts such as sodium sulfate crystals induces degradation due to formation and phase changes. Crystallization of mirabilite (Na₂SO₄:10H₂O) and thenardite (Na₂SO₄) or their phase changes (mirabilite to thenardite or vice versa) due to temperature or sodium sulfate concentration do not involve any chemical interaction with cement hydrates. Over the past couple of decades, an intensive work has been carried out on sulfate attack in cement-based materials. However, there are several uncertainties still exist regarding the mechanism for the damage of concrete in sulfate environments. In this study, modelling work has been conducted to investigate the chemical degradation of cementitious materials in various sulfate environments. Both internal and external sulfate attack are considered for the simulation. In the internal sulfate attack, hydrate assemblage and pore solution chemistry of co-hydrating Portland cement (PC) and slag mixing with sodium sulfate solution are calculated to determine the degradation of the PC and slag-blended cementitious materials. Pitzer interactions coefficients were used to calculate the activity coefficients of solution chemistry at high ionic strength. The deterioration mechanism of co-hydrating cementitious materials with 25% of Na₂SO₄ by weight is the formation of mirabilite crystals and ettringite. Their formation strongly depends on sodium sulfate concentration and temperature. For the external sulfate attack, the deterioration of various types of cementitious materials under external sulfate ingress is simulated through reactive transport model. The reactive transport model is verified with experimental data in terms of phase assemblage of various cementitious materials with spatial distribution for different sulfate solution. Finally, the reactive transport model is used to predict the long-term performance of cementitious materials exposed to 10% of Na₂SO₄ for 1000 years. The dissolution of cement hydrates and secondary formation of sulfate-bearing products mainly ettringite are the dominant degradation mechanisms, but not the sodium sulfate crystallization.

Keywords: thermodynamic calculations, reactive transport, radioactive waste disposal, PHREEQC

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