Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 25

Search results for: Elsa Castañeda-Roldan

25 English Learning Speech Assistant Speak Application in Artificial Intelligence

Authors: Albatool Al Abdulwahid, Bayan Shakally, Mariam Mohamed, Wed Almokri


Artificial intelligence has infiltrated every part of our life and every field we can think of. With technical developments, artificial intelligence applications are becoming more prevalent. We chose ELSA speak because it is a magnificent example of Artificial intelligent applications, ELSA speak is a smartphone application that is free to download on both IOS and Android smartphones. ELSA speak utilizes artificial intelligence to help non-native English speakers pronounce words and phrases similar to a native speaker, as well as enhance their English skills. It employs speech-recognition technology that aids the application to excel the pronunciation of its users. This remarkable feature distinguishes ELSA from other voice recognition algorithms and increase the efficiency of the application. This study focused on evaluating ELSA speak application, by testing the degree of effectiveness based on survey questions. The results of the questionnaire were variable. The generality of the participants strongly agreed that ELSA has helped them enhance their pronunciation skills. However, a few participants were unconfident about the application’s ability to assist them in their learning journey.

Keywords: ELSA speak application, artificial intelligence, speech-recognition technology, language learning, english pronunciation

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24 Ethical, Legal, and Societal Aspects of Unmanned Aircraft in Defence

Authors: Benjamyn I. Scott, Bart Custers


Suboptimal adoption of AI in defence organisations carries risks for the protection of the freedom, safety, and security of society. Despite the vast opportunities that defence AI technology presents, there are also a variety of ethical, legal, and societal concerns. To ensure the successful use of AI technology by the military, ethical, legal, and societal aspects (ELSA) need to be considered, and their concerns continuously addressed at all levels. This includes ELSA considerations during the design, manufacturing, and maintenance of AI-based systems, as well as its utilisation via appropriate military doctrine and training. This raises the question of how defence organisations can remain strategically competitive and at the edge of military innovation while respecting the values of their citizens. This paper will explain the set-up and share preliminary results of a 4-year research project commissioned by the National Research Council in the Netherlands on the ethical, legal, and societal aspects of AI in defence. The project plans to develop a future-proof, independent, and consultative ecosystem for the responsible use of AI in the defence domain. In order to achieve this, the lab shall devise a context-dependent methodology that focuses on the ‘analysis’, ‘design’, and ‘evaluation’ of ELSA of AI-based applications within the military context, which include inter alia unmanned aircraft. This is bolstered as the Lab also recognises and complements the existing methods in regards to human-machine teaming, explainable algorithms, and value-sensitive design. Such methods will be modified for the military context and applied to pertinent case studies. These case studies include, among others, the application of autonomous robots (incl. semi-autonomous) and AI-based methods against cognitive warfare. As the perception of the application of AI in the military context, by both society and defence personnel, is important, the Lab will study how these perceptions evolve and vary in different contexts. Furthermore, the Lab will monitor -as they may influence people’s perception- developments in the global technological, military and societal spheres. Although the emphasis of the research project is on different forms of AI in defence, it focuses on several case studies. One of these case studies is on unmanned aircraft, which will also be the focus of the paper. Hence, ethical, legal, and societal aspects of unmanned aircraft in the defence domain will be discussed in detail, including but not limited to privacy issues. Typical other issues concern security (for people, objects, data, or other aircraft), privacy (sensitive data, hindrance, annoyance, data collection, function creep), chilling effects, PlayStation mentality, and PTSD.

Keywords: autonomous weapon systems, unmanned aircraft, human-machine teaming, meaningful human control, value-sensitive design

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23 Choice of Sleeper and Rail Fastening Using Linear Programming Technique

Authors: Luciano Oliveira, Elsa Vásquez-Alvarez


The increase in rail freight transport in Brazil in recent years requires new railway lines and the maintenance of existing ones, which generates high costs for concessionaires. It is in this context that this work is inserted, whose objective is to propose a method that uses Binary Linear Programming for the choice of sleeper and rail fastening, from various options, including the way to apply these materials, with focus to minimize costs. Unit value information, the life cycle each of material type, and service expenses are considered. The model was implemented in commercial software using real data for its validation. The formulated model can be replicated to support decision-making for other railway projects in the choice of sleepers and rail fastening with lowest cost.

Keywords: linear programming, rail fastening, rail sleeper, railway

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22 Phytochemical and Antioxidant Activity Test of Water Fraction Extract of Sisik Naga (Drymoglossum piloselloides) Leaves

Authors: Afifah Nur Aini, Elsa Mega Suryani, Betty Lukiaty


Drymoglossum piloselloides or more commonly known as sisik naga fern is a member of Polipodiaceae Family that is abundant and widely distributed in nature. That being said, there hasn’t been many studies reporting about the benefits of this fern. The aim of this study was to find out the active compounds and antioxidant activity of water fraction extract of sisik naga leaves. The study will be able to optimize the use of this fern in the future. In this study, phytochemical test was done qualitatively by using Mayer, Dragendorff and Wagner reagent for alkaloid test; FeCl3 for phenolic test; Shinoda test for flavonoid; Liebermann-Burchard test for triterprnoid and Forth test for saponin. Antioxidant activity test was done by using 20D spectronic spectrophotometer to determine the percentage of DPPH free radical inhibition. The results showed that water fraction extract of sisik naga leaves contain phenolic and IC50 = 5.44 μg/ml. This means that sisik naga leaves can be used as an antioxidant.

Keywords: antioxidant activity test, dpph, phytochemical test, drymoglossum piloselloides

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21 Feature Extraction Based on Contourlet Transform and Log Gabor Filter for Detection of Ulcers in Wireless Capsule Endoscopy

Authors: Nimisha Elsa Koshy, Varun P. Gopi, V. I. Thajudin Ahamed


The entire visualization of GastroIntestinal (GI) tract is not possible with conventional endoscopic exams. Wireless Capsule Endoscopy (WCE) is a low risk, painless, noninvasive procedure for diagnosing diseases such as bleeding, polyps, ulcers, and Crohns disease within the human digestive tract, especially the small intestine that was unreachable using the traditional endoscopic methods. However, analysis of massive images of WCE detection is tedious and time consuming to physicians. Hence, researchers have developed software methods to detect these diseases automatically. Thus, the effectiveness of WCE can be improved. In this paper, a novel textural feature extraction method is proposed based on Contourlet transform and Log Gabor filter to distinguish ulcer regions from normal regions. The results show that the proposed method performs well with a high accuracy rate of 94.16% using Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier in HSV colour space.

Keywords: contourlet transform, log gabor filter, ulcer, wireless capsule endoscopy

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20 Forklift Allocation in Warehouse Operations with Restricted Halls

Authors: Mauricio Becerra Fernández, Olga Rosana Romero Quiroga, Elsa Cristina González La Rotta


The logistics facilities design and construction is one of the strategic decisions that critically affects the performance of the company, from the economic perspective and relationship with customers. The case study company is the Colombian logistic sector leader, with over 60 years of experience, with sales of about one hundred twenty million dollars at the end of 2014. The preliminary design for the warehouse layout and operation includes a customer that provides approximately 17% of the profits of the company, considering the possibility of moving two forklifts in the warehouse halls. Some changes were not consider in previous stages of design, operations required forklift with different characteristics, whose size, do not allow the circulation of more than a forklift at a time. Therefore, it is necessary to assess the impact of this restriction on the warehouse operation, so decision makers implement actions to achieve efficient operation. The problem is addressed by recognizing logistics processes, which develop in a warehouse, collection of processes information behavior, the simulation of the current situation using ProModel software, model validation, making adjustments required, experiments design, conclusions and recommendations for the company.

Keywords: design, discrete events simulation, forklift allocation, logistics facilities, warehouse

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19 Come Play with Me: An Exploration of Rough-and-Tumble Play Interactions in Australian Families

Authors: Erin Louise Robinson, Emily Elsa Freeman


Rough-and-tumble play (RTP) is a physical and competitive type of play that parents engage in with their children. While past research has reported RTP to be the preferred play type for western fathers, the frequency of these interactions in Australian families have not been explored. With parental perceptions of play importance playing a major role in the frequency of activity engagement, the present study investigated how perceptions and parent gender impact on RTP play frequency. By utilising child gender in our approach, we also examined the historical trend of boys receiving more physical play interactions with their parents. Three hundred and seventy-nine respondents completed the study with their 0–10-year-old children. The results indicated that, in line with past research, parents engaged more frequently in RTP with their sons than their daughters. While, both mothers and fathers participated in RTP with their children, fathers perceived RTP to be of greater important to their child’s development than mothers did. Moreover, supporting previous findings, this more positive perception of the play was related to greater frequency of RTP in these father-child dyads. Although RTP literature remains heavily focussed on fathers, the fact that mothers are engaging in these interactions as well, establishes the need to explore maternal influences in future research.

Keywords: parenting, play, child development, family, Australia

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18 Antifungal Susceptibility of Yeasts Isolated from Clinical Samples from a Tertiary Hospital from State of Puebla

Authors: Ricardo Munguia-Perez, Nayeli Remigio-Alvarado, M.Miriam Hernandez-Arroyo, Elsa Castañeda-Roldan


Fungi have emerged as important pathogens causing morbidity and mortality mainly in immunosuppressed, malnourished and elderly patients. It has detected an increase in resistance to azoles primarily to fluconazol. The fungal infections have become a problem of public health for the resistance to antifungal agents, they have developed new antifungals with broad-spectrum. The aim of this study was determine the antifungal susceptibility of yeasts isolated from clinical samples (respiratory secretions, exudates, wounds, blood cultures, urine cultures) obtained from inpatients and outpatients of a tertiary hospital from State of Puebla. The antifungal susceptibility of the yeast from several clinical samples were determined by the CLS M44-A disk diffusion methods. 149 samples of yeast were analyzed. All species were 100% susceptible to nystatin and amphotericin B. Candida albicans showed resistance of 95.5 % to fluconazole, 50.7 % to 5-flurocytosine and 55.2 % intermediate susceptibility to ketoconazole. Candida glabrata 81.3 % was susceptibility to ketoconazole and 75 % to fluconazole, for the case of 5-flurocytosine the 56.3 % was susceptible. Candida krusei 100 % was susceptible to ketoconazole, 50 % to fluconazole and 37.5 % to 5-flurocytosine. The internal medicine have greater diversity of yeast, the samples have susceptibility of 64.7% to ketoconazole, 47.1 % to fluconazole and 27.5 % to 5-flurocytosine. Hospitalized patients are more resistant to fluconazole and nystatin, but in the case of outpatients presents resistance to ketoconazole.

Keywords: antifungal, susceptibility, yeast, clinical samples

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17 Anti-Angiogenic Effects of the Macrovipera lebetina obtusa Snake Crude Venom and Obtustatin

Authors: Narine Ghazaryan, Joana Catarina Macedo, Sara Vaz, Naira Ayvazyan, Elsa Logarinho


Macrovipera lebetina obtusa (MLO) is a poisonous snake in Armenia. Obtustatin represents the shortest known monomeric disintegrin, isolated from the snake venom of MLO, and is known to specifically inhibit α1β1 integrin. Its oncostatic effect is due to the inhibition of angiogenesis, which likely arises from α1β1 integrin inhibition in the endothelial cells. To explore the therapeutic potential of the MLO snake venom and obtustatin, we studied activity of obtustatin and MLO venom in vitro, by testing their efficacy in human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC-D) and in vivo, using chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane assay (CAM assay). Our in vitro results showed that obtustatin in comparison with MLO venom did not exhibit cytotoxic activity in HMVEC-D cells in comparison to MLO venom. But in vivo results have shown that 4µg /embryo (90 µM) of obtustatin inhibited angiogenesis induced by FGF2 by 17% while MLO snake venom induced 22% reduction of the angiogenic index. The concentration of obtustatin in the crude MLO venom was 0.3 nM, which is 300.000 times less than the concentration of the obtustatin itself. Given this enormous difference in concentration, it is likely that some components of the crude venom contribute to the observed anti-angiogenic effect. Hypotheses will be ascertained to justify this action: components in the MLO venom may increase obtustatin efficacy or have independent but synergic anti-angiogenic activities.

Keywords: angiogenesis, alpa1 beta 1 integrin, Macrovipera lebetina obtusa, obtustatin

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16 Synthesis and in vitro Characterization of a Gel-Derived SiO2-CaO-P2O5-SrO-Li2O Bioactive Glass

Authors: Mehrnaz Aminitabar, Moghan Amirhosseinian, Morteza Elsa


Bioactive glasses (BGs) are a group of surface-reactive biomaterials used in clinical applications as implants or filler materials in the human body to repair and replace diseased or damaged bone. Sol-gel technique was employed to prepare a SiO2-CaO-P2O5 glass with nominal composition of 58S BG with the addition of Sr and Li modifiers which imparts special properties to the BG. The effect of simultaneous addition of Sr and Li on bioactivity and biocompatibility, proliferation, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of osteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 and antibacterial property against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria were examined. BGs were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy before and after soaking the samples in the simulated body fluid (SBF) for different time intervals to characterize the formation of hydroxyapatite (HA) formed on the surface of BGs. Structural characterization indicated that the simultaneous presence of 5% Sr and 5% Li in 58S-BG composition not only did not retard HA formation because of opposite effect of Sr and Li of the dissolution of BG in the SBF but also, stimulated the differentiation and proliferation of MC3T3-E1s. Moreover, the presence of Sr and Li on dissolution of the ions resulted in an increase in the mean number of DAPI-labeled nuclei which was in good agreement with live/dead assay. The result of antibacterial tests revealed that Sr and Li-substituted 58S BG exhibited a potential antibacterial effect against MRSA bacteria. Because of optimal proliferation and ALP activity of MC3T3-E1cells, proper bioactivity and high antibacterial potential against MRSA, BG-5/5 is suggested as a multifunctional candidate for bone tissue engineering.

Keywords: antibacterial activity, bioactive glass, sol-gel, strontium

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15 The Effect of Simultaneous Doping of Silicate Bioglass with Alkaline and Alkaline-Earth Elements on Biological Behavior

Authors: Tannaz Alimardani, Amirhossein Moghanian, Morteza Elsa


Bioactive glasses (BGs) are a group of surface-reactive biomaterials used in clinical applications as implants or filler materials in the human body to repair and replace diseased or damaged bone. Sol-gel technique was employed to prepare a SiO₂-CaO-P₂O₅ glass with a nominal composition of 58S BG with the addition of Sr and Li modifiers which imparts special properties to the BG. The effect of simultaneous addition of Sr and Li on bioactivity and biocompatibility, proliferation, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of osteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 and antibacterial property against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria were examined. BGs were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy before and after soaking the samples in the simulated body fluid (SBF) for different time intervals to characterize the formation of hydroxyapatite (HA) formed on the surface of BGs. Structural characterization indicated that the simultaneous presence of 5% Sr and 5% Li in 58S-BG composition not only did not retard HA formation because of the opposite effect of Sr and Li of the dissolution of BG in the SBF, but also stimulated the differentiation and proliferation of MC3T3-E1s. Moreover, the presence of Sr and Li on the dissolution of the ions resulted in an increase in the mean number of DAPI-labeled nuclei which was in good agreement with the live/dead assay. The result of antibacterial tests revealed that Sr and Li-substituted 58S bioactive glass exhibited a potential antibacterial effect against MRSA bacteria. Because of optimal proliferation and ALP activity of MC3T3-E1cells, proper bioactivity and high antibacterial potential against MRSA, BG-5/5 is suggested as a multifunctional candidate for bone tissue engineering.

Keywords: alkaline, alkaline earth, bioglass, co-doping, ion release

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14 Comparative Study of Calcium Content on in vitro Biological and Antibacterial Properties of Silicon-Based Bioglass

Authors: Morteza Elsa, Amirhossein Moghanian


The major aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of CaO content on in vitro hydroxyapatite formation, MC3T3 cells cytotoxicity and proliferation as well as antibacterial efficiency of sol-gel derived SiO2–CaO–P2O5 ternary system. For this purpose, first two grades of bioactive glass (BG); BG-58s (mol%: 60%SiO2–36%CaO–4%P2O5) and BG-68s (mol%: 70%SiO2–26%CaO–4%P2O5)) were synthesized by sol-gel method. Second, the effect of CaO content in their composition on in vitro bioactivity was investigated by soaking the BG-58s and BG-68s powders in simulated body fluid (SBF) for time periods up to 14 days and followed by characterization inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. Additionally, live/dead staining, 3-(4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity assays were conducted respectively, as qualitatively and quantitatively assess for cell viability, proliferation and differentiations of MC3T3 cells in presence of 58s and 68s BGs. Results showed that BG-58s with higher CaO content showed higher in vitro bioactivity with respect to BG-68s. Moreover, the dissolution rate was inversely proportional to oxygen density of the BG. Live/dead assay revealed that both 58s and 68s increased the mean number live cells which were in good accordance with MTT assay. Furthermore, BG-58s showed more potential antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. Taken together, BG-58s with enhanced MC3T3 cells proliferation and ALP activity, acceptable bioactivity and significant high antibacterial effect against MRSA bacteria is suggested as a suitable candidate in order to further functionalizing for delivery of therapeutic ions and growth factors in bone tissue engineering.

Keywords: antibacterial, bioactive glass, hydroxyapatite, proliferation, sol-gel processes

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13 Horse Exposition to Coxiella burnetii in France: Antibody Dynamics in Serum, Environmental Risk Assessment and Potential Links with Symptomatology

Authors: Joulié Aurélien, Isabelle Desjardins, Elsa Jourdain, Sophie Pradier, Dufour Philippe, Elodie Rousset, Agnès Leblond


Q fever is a worldwide zoonosis caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. It may infect a broad range of host species, including horses. Although the role of horses in C. burnetii infections remains unknown, their use as sentinel species may be interesting to better assess the human risk exposure. Thus, we aimed to assess the C. burnetii horse exposition in a French endemic area by describing the antibody dynamics detected in serum; investigating the pathogen circulation in the horse environment, and exploring potential links with unexplained syndromes. Blood samples were collected in 2015 and 2016 on 338 and 294 horses, respectively and analyzed by ELISA. Ticks collected on horses were identified, and C. burnetii DNA detection was performed by qPCR targeting the IS1111 gene. Blood sample analyses revealed a significant increase of the seroprevalence in horses between both years, from 11% [7.67; 14.43] to 25% [20.06; 29.94]. On 36 seropositive horses in 2015 and 73 in 2016, 5 and four respectively showed clinical signs compatible with a C. burnetii infection (i.e., chronic fever or respiratory disorders, unfitness and unexplained weight loss). DNA was detected in almost 40% of ticks (n=59/148 in 2015 and n=103/305 in 2016) and exceptionally in dust samples (n=2/46 in 2015 and n=1/14 in 2016) every year. The C. burnetti detection in both the serum and the environment of horses confirm their exposure to the bacterium. Therefore, consideration should be given to target a relevant sentinel species to better assess the Q fever surveillance depending on the epidemiological context.

Keywords: ELISA, Q fever, qPCR, syndromic surveillance

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12 Comparative Study on the Effect of Substitution of Li and Mg Instead of Ca on Structural and Biological Behaviors of Silicate Bioactive Glass

Authors: Alireza Arab, Morteza Elsa, Amirhossein Moghanian


In this study, experiments were carried out to achieve a promising multifunctional and modified silicate based bioactive glass (BG). The main aim of the study was investigating the effect of lithium (Li) and magnesium (Mg) substitution, on in vitro bioactivity of substituted-58S BG. Moreover, it is noteworthy to state that modified BGs were synthesized in 60SiO2–(36-x)CaO–4P2O5–(x)Li2O and 60SiO2–(36-x)CaO–4P2O5–(x)MgO (where x = 0, 5, 10 mol.%) quaternary systems, by sol-gel method. Their performance was investigated through different aspects such as biocompatibility, antibacterial activity as well as their effect on alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and proliferation of MC3T3 cells. The antibacterial efficiency was evaluated against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. To do so, CaO was substituted with Li2O and MgO up to 10 mol % in 58S-BGs and then samples were immersed in simulated body fluid up to 14 days and then, characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry, and scanning electron microscopy. Results indicated that this modification led to a retarding effect on in vitro hydroxyapatite (HA) formation due to the lower supersaturation degree for nucleation of HA compared with 58s-BG. Meanwhile, magnesium revealed further pronounced effect. The 3-(4,5 dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5 diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and ALP analysis illustrated that substitutions of both Li2O and MgO, up to 5 mol %, had increasing effect on biocompatibility and stimulating proliferation of the pre-osteoblast MC3T3 cells in comparison to the control specimen. Regarding to bactericidal efficiency, the substitution of either Li or Mg for Ca in the 58s BG composition led to statistically significant difference in antibacterial behaviors of substituted-BGs. Meanwhile, the sample containing 5 mol % CaO/Li2O substitution (BG-5L) was selected as a multifunctional biomaterial in bone repair/regeneration due to the improved biocompatibility, enhanced ALP activity and antibacterial efficiency among all of the synthesized L-BGs and M-BGs.

Keywords: alkaline, alkaline earth, bioactivity, biomedical applications, sol-gel processes

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11 Antibacterial Activity and Kinetic Parameters of the Essential Oils of Drypetes Gossweileri S.Moore, Ocimun Gratissimum L. and Cymbopogon Citratus DC Stapf on 5 Multidrug-Resistant Strains of Shigella

Authors: Elsa Makue Nguuffo, Esther Del Florence Moni Ndedi, Jacky Njiki Bikoï, Jean Paul Assam Assam, Maximilienne Ascension Nyegue


Aims: The present study aims to evaluate the kinetic parameters of essential oils (EOs) and combinations fromDrypetes gossweileri Stem Bark, Ocimum gratissimum leaves, Cymbopogon citratusleaves after evaluation of their antibacterial activityonmultidrug-resistant strains ofShigella. Material and Methods:fiveclinical strains of Shigellaisolated from patients with diarrhoeaincluding Shigella flexneri, and 4 otherstrains of Shigella sppwere selected. Their antibiotic profile was established using agar test diffusion with seven antibiotics belonging to seven classes.EOs were extracted from each plant using hydrodistillation process. The activity of Ciprofloxacin®, OEs, and their combination formulatedinthe followingratios(w/w/w): C1: 1/1/1; C2: 2/1/1; C3: 1/2/1, C4:1/1/2 was evaluated microdilution assay. The various interactions of OEs in the different combinations were determined then the OE and the most active combination were retained to determine their kinetic parameters on S. flexneri. Results: Antibiotic susceptibility tests revealed that most Shigella isolates (n = 4) were resistant to six antibiotics tested. Ciprofloxacin (40%), Nalidixic acid (60%), Tetracycline (80%), Amoxicillin (100%), Cefotaxime (80%), Erythromycin (100%), and Cotrimoxazole (80%) were the profiles found in the different strains of Shigella. About the antibacterial activity of OEs, Drypetes gossweileriOE and C2 combination had shown a higher Shigellicide property with a Minimal Inhibitory Concentration(MIC) respectivelyranging from 0.078 mg/mL to 0.312 mg/mL and 0.012 to 1.562 mg/mL. Combinations of OEs showed various interactions whose synergistic effects were mostly encountered. The best deactivation was obtained by the combination C2 at 16 MIC withb= 1.962. Conclusion: the susceptibility of Shigella to OEs and their combinations justifies their use in traditional medicine in the treatment of shigellosis.

Keywords: shigella, multidrug-resistant, EOs, kinetic

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10 Systematic Analysis of Immune Response to Biomaterial Surface Characteristics

Authors: Florian Billing, Soren Segan, Meike Jakobi, Elsa Arefaine, Aliki Jerch, Xin Xiong, Matthias Becker, Thomas Joos, Burkhard Schlosshauer, Ulrich Rothbauer, Nicole Schneiderhan-Marra, Hanna Hartmann, Christopher Shipp


The immune response plays a major role in implant biocompatibility, but an understanding of how to design biomaterials for specific immune responses is yet to be achieved. We aimed to better understand how changing certain material properties can drive immune responses. To this end, we tested immune response to experimental implant coatings that vary in specific characteristics. A layer-by-layer approach was employed to vary surface charge and wettability. Human-based in vitro models (THP-1 macrophages and primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCS)) were used to assess immune responses using multiplex cytokine analysis, flow cytometry (CD molecule expression) and microscopy (cell morphology). We observed dramatic differences in immune response due to specific alterations in coating properties. For example altering the surface charge of coating A from anionic to cationic resulted in the substantial elevation of the pro-inflammatory molecules IL-1beta, IL-6, TNF-alpha and MIP-1beta, while the pro-wound healing factor VEGF was significantly down-regulated. We also observed changes in cell surface marker expression in relation to altered coating properties, such as CD16 on NK Cells and HLA-DR on monocytes. We furthermore observed changes in the morphology of THP-1 macrophages following cultivation on different coatings. A correlation between these morphological changes and the cytokine expression profile is ongoing. Targeted changes in biomaterial properties can produce vast differences in immune response. The properties of the coatings examined here may, therefore, be a method to direct specific biological responses in order to improve implant biocompatibility.

Keywords: biomaterials, coatings, immune system, implants

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9 Comparative Evaluation on in vitro Bioactivity, Proliferation and Antibacterial Efficiency of Sol-Gel Derived Bioactive Glass Substituted by Li and Mg

Authors: Amirhossein Moghanian, Morteza Elsa, Mehrnaz Aminitabar


Modified bioactive glass has been considered as a promising multifunctional candidate in bone repair and regeneration due to its attractive properties. The present study mainly aims to evaluate how the individual substitution of lithium (L-BG) and magnesium (M-BG) for calcium can affect the in vitro bioactivity of sol-gel derived substituted 58S bioactive glass (BG); and to present one composition in both of the 60SiO2–(36-x)CaO–4P₂O₅–(x)Li₂O and 60SiO₂ –(36-x)CaO–4P₂O₅–(x)MgO quaternary systems (where x= 0, 5, 10 mol.%) with improved biocompatibility, enhanced alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and the most efficient antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus bacteria. To address these aims, and study the effect of CaO/Li₂O and CaO/MgO substitution up to 10 mol % in 58S-BGs, the samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy after immersion in simulated body fluid up to 14 days. Results indicated that substitution of either CaO/ Li₂O and CaO/ MgO had a retarding effect on in vitro hydroxyapatite (HA) formation due to the lower supersaturation degree for nucleation of HA compared with 58s-BG. Meanwhile, magnesium had a more pronounced effect. The 3-(4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) assays showed that both substitutions of CaO/ Li₂O and CaO/ MgO up to 5mol % in 58s-BGs led to increased biocompatibility and stimulated proliferation of the pre-osteoblast MC3T3 cells with respect to the control. On the other hand, the substitution of either Li or Mg for Ca in the 58s BG composition resulted in improved bactericidal efficiency against MRSA bacteria. Taken together, sample 58s-BG with 5 mol % CaO/Li₂O substitution (BG-5L) was considered as a multifunctional biomaterial in bone repair/regeneration with improved biocompatibility, enhanced ALP activity as well as significant antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria.

Keywords: alkaline, alkaline earth, bioactivity, biomedical applications, sol-gel processes

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8 Translation and Adaptation of the Assessment Instrument “Kiddycat” for European Portuguese

Authors: Elsa Marta Soares, Ana Rita Valente, Cristiana Rodrigues, Filipa Gonçalves


Background: The assessment of feelings and attitudes of preschool children in relation to stuttering is crucial. Negative experiences can lead to anxiety, worry or frustration. To avoid the worsening of attitudes and feelings related to stuttering, it is important the early detection in order to intervene as soon as possible through an individualized intervention plan. Then it is important to have Portuguese instruments that allow this assessment. Aims: The aim of the present study is to realize the translation and adaptation of the Communication Attitude Test for Children in Preschool Age and Kindergarten (KiddyCat) for EP. Methodology: For the translation and adaptation process, a methodological study was carried out with the following steps: translation, back translation, assessment by a committee of experts and pre-test. This abstract describes the results of the first two phases of this process. The translation was accomplished by two bilingual individuals without experience in health and any knowledge about the instrument. One of them was an English teacher and the other one a Translator. The back-translation was conducted by two Senior Class Teachers that live in United Kingdom without any knowledge in health and about the instrument. Results and Discussion: In translation there were differences in semantic equivalences of various expressions and concepts. A discussion between the two translators, mediated by the researchers, allowed to achieve the consensus version of the translated instrument. Taking into account the original version of KiddyCAT the results demonstrated that back-translation versions were similar to the original version of this assessment instrument. Although the back-translators used different words, they were synonymous, maintaining semantic and idiomatic equivalences of the instrument’s items. Conclusion: This project contributes with an important resource that can be used in the assessment of feelings and attitudes of preschool children who stutter. This was the first phase of the research; expert panel and pretest are being developed. Therefore, it is expected that this instrument contributes to an holistic therapeutic intervention, taking into account the individual characteristics of each child.

Keywords: assessment, feelings and attitudes, preschool children, stuttering

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7 Effect of Motor Imagery of Truncal Exercises on Trunk Function and Balance in Early Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors: Elsa Reethu, S. Karthik Babu, N. Syed


Background: Studies in the past focused on the additional benefits of action observation in improving upper and lower limb functions and improving activities of daily living when administered along with conventional therapy. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of literature proving the effects of motor imagery of truncal exercise in improving trunk control in patients with stroke. Aims/purpose: To study the effect of motor imagery of truncal exercises on trunk function and balance in early stroke. Methods: A total of 24 patients were included in the study. 12 were included in the experimental group and 12 were included in control group Trunk function was measured using Trunk Control Test (TCT), Trunk Impairment Scale Verheyden (TIS Verheyden) and Trunk Impairment Scale Fujiwara (TIS Fujiwara). The balance was assessed using Brunel Balance Assessment (BBA) and Tinetti POMA. For the experimental group, each session was for 30 minutes of physical exercises and 15 minutes of motor imagery, once a day, six times a week for 3 weeks and prior to the exercise session, patients viewed a video tape of all the trunk exercises to be performed for 15minutes. The control group practiced the trunk exercises alone for the same duration. Measurements were taken before, after and 4 weeks after intervention. Results: The effect of treatment in motor imagery group showed better improvement when compared with control group when measured after 3 weeks on values of static sitting balance, dynamic balance, total TIS (Verheyden) score, BBA, Tinetti balance and gait with a large effect size of 0.86, 1.99, 1.69, 1.06, 1.63 and 0.97 respectively. The moderate effect size was seen in values of TIS Fujiwara (0.58) and small effect size was seen on TCT (0.12) and TIS coordination component (0.13).at the end of 4 weeks after intervention, the large effect size was identified on values of dynamic balance (2.06), total TIS score (1.59) and Tinetti balance (1.24). The moderate effect size was observed on BBA (0.62) and Tinetti gait (0.72). Conclusion: Trunk motor imagery is effective in improving trunk function and balance in patients with stroke and has a carryover effect in the aspects of mobility. The therapy gain that was observed during the time of discharge was seen to be maintained at the follow-up levels.

Keywords: stroke, trunk rehabilitation, trunk function, balance, motor imagery

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6 Effects of Intergenerational Social Mobility on General Health, Oral Health and Physical Function among Older Adults in England

Authors: Alejandra Letelier, Anja Heilmann, Richard G. Watt, Stephen Jivraj, Georgios Tsakos


Background: Socioeconomic position (SEP) influences adult health. People who experienced material disadvantages in childhood or adulthood tend to have higher adult disease levels than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. Even so, life is a dynamic process and contains a series of transitions that could lead people through different socioeconomic paths. Research on social mobility takes this into account by adopting a trajectory approach, thereby providing a long-term view of the effect of SEP on health. Aim: The aim of this research examines the effects of intergenerational social mobility on adult general health, oral health and functioning in a population aged 50 and over in England. Methods: This study is based on the secondary analysis of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Using cross-sectional data, nine social trajectories were created based on parental and adult occupational socio-economic position. Regression models were used to estimate the associations between social trajectories and the following outcomes: adult self-rated health, self-rated oral health, oral health related quality of life, total tooth loss and grip strength; while controlling for socio-economic background and health related behaviours. Results: Associations with adult SEP were generally stronger than with childhood SEP, suggesting a stronger influence of proximal rather than distal SEP on health and oral health. Compared to the stable high group, being in the low SEP groups in childhood and adulthood was associated with poorer health and oral health for all examined outcome measures. For adult self-rated health and edentulousness, graded associations with social mobility trajectories were observed. Conclusion: Intergenerational social mobility was associated with self-rated health and total tooth loss. Compared to only those who remained in a low SEP group over time reported worse self-rated oral health and oral health related quality of life, and had lower grip strength measurements. Potential limitations in relation to data quality will be discussed.

Keywords: social determinants of oral health, social mobility, socioeconomic position and oral health, older adults oral health

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5 In vitro and in vivo Infectivity of Coxiella burnetii Strains from French Livestock

Authors: Joulié Aurélien, Jourdain Elsa, Bailly Xavier, Gasqui Patrick, Yang Elise, Leblond Agnès, Rousset Elodie, Sidi-Boumedine Karim


Q fever is a worldwide zoonosis caused by the gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Following the recent outbreaks in the Netherlands, a hyper virulent clone was found to be the cause of severe human cases of Q fever. In livestock, Q fever clinical manifestations are mainly abortions. Although the abortion rates differ between ruminant species, C. burnetii’s virulence remains understudied, especially in enzootic areas. In this study, the infectious potential of three C. burnetii isolates collected from French farms of small ruminants were compared to the reference strain Nine Mile (in phase II and in an intermediate phase) using an in vivo (CD1 mice) model. Mice were challenged with 105 live bacteria discriminated by propidium monoazide-qPCR targeting the icd-gene. After footpad inoculation, spleen and popliteal lymph node were harvested at 10 days post-inoculation (p.i). The strain invasiveness in spleen and popliteal nodes was assessed by qPCR assays targeting the icd-gene. Preliminary results showed that the avirulent strains (in phase 2) failed to pass the popliteal barrier and then to colonize the spleen. This model allowed a significant differentiation between strain’s invasiveness on biological host and therefore identifying distinct virulence profiles. In view of these results, we plan to go further by testing fifteen additional C. burnetii isolates from French farms of sheep, goat and cattle by using the above-mentioned in vivo model. All 15 strains display distant MLVA (multiple-locus variable-number of tandem repeat analysis) genotypic profiles. Five of the fifteen isolates will bee also tested in vitro on ovine and bovine macrophage cells. Cells and supernatants will be harvested at day1, day2, day3 and day6 p.i to assess in vitro multiplication kinetics of strains. In conclusion, our findings might help the implementation of surveillance of virulent strains and ultimately allow adapting prophylaxis measures in livestock farms.

Keywords: Q fever, invasiveness, ruminant, virulence

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4 Tourism and Sport: The Acknowledgment of a Strong Relationship for the Environment Framed in a Literature Review

Authors: Rute Martins, Margarida Mascarenhas, Elsa Pereira


The importance between sport and the natural environment was researched through a systematic literature in order to analyse the available scientific articles on the association of sport -angling also the physical activity, active leisure and recreation- and environmental behaviour. The collected data were gathered within the last five years (from 2013 to April 2018) in the Scopus, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, Sage, Green Leaf Online Library, GreenFile (EBSCO) and Wiley online Library databases. The content analysis based on the qualitative methods employed in this study was made with Nvivo software. Regarding only the inclusion of scientific articles, more than half of the collected papers highlighted tourism as the main area where sports is being researched with regard to the environmental theme. Thus, it is possible to extract a perspective of the orientations of the ecological concerns in the sports tourism industry. As such, in the winter sports, the climate change is already an identified issue, wondering about the impact of the environment on the sports practice. In this context, there is a focus on the possible adaptative strategies, researching the characteristics of the sports tourist and the winter sports industry. Regarding the natural parks and protected areas (such as reefs), most of the research is on the environmental impact of the sports tourism, choosing the conservation and the protection of nature as the core topics. The research of the sports tourist profile is addressed by many articles, where the motives for practice and the environmental values are being scanned, and relations to the recreation specialization, environmental responsibility, environmental education, and place-attachment concepts are being made. Regarding the sustainable management, the sports tourism study area is approaching the research in a more holistic way; exploring the stakeholder’s interconnection, focusing on landscape planning and environmentally sustainable practices of sport tourism organizations. The natural parks, protected areas, coral reefs, and snow areas serve as the preferred case-studies for investigating the environmental impact and the ecotourism, in particular, studied through hiking and diving in the great majority. The results of the study are a valuable resource to understand the importance of the sports tourism in the environmental and sustainable action along with the need of embracing all stakeholders within the relationship between the sport and the natural environment.

Keywords: ecotourism, environmental behaviour, outdoor recreation, sport tourism

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3 Secondary Prisonization and Mental Health: A Comparative Study with Elderly Parents of Prisoners Incarcerated in Remote Jails

Authors: Luixa Reizabal, Inaki Garcia, Eneko Sansinenea, Ainize Sarrionandia, Karmele Lopez De Ipina, Elsa Fernandez


Although the effects of incarceration in prisons close to prisoners’ and their families’ residences have been studied, little is known about the effects of remote incarceration. The present study shows the impact of secondary prisonization on mental health of elderly parents of Basque prisoners who are incarcerated in prisons located far away from prisoners’ and their families’ residences. Secondary prisonization refers to the effects that imprisonment of a family member has on relatives. In the study, psychological effects are analyzed by means of comparative methodology. Specifically, levels of psychopathology (depression, anxiety, and stress) and positive mental health (psychological, social, and emotional well-being) are studied in a sample of parents over 65 years old of prisoners incarcerated in prisons located a long distance away (concretely, some of them in a distance of less than 400 km, while others farther than 400 km) from the Basque Country. The dataset consists of data collected through a questionnaire and from a spontaneous speech recording. The statistical and automatic analyses show that levels of psychopathology and positive mental health of elderly parents of prisoners incarcerated in remote jails are affected by the incarceration of their sons or daughters. Concretely, these parents show higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress and lower levels of emotional (but not psychological or social) wellbeing than parents with no imprisoned daughters or sons. These findings suggest that parents with imprisoned sons or daughters suffer the impact of secondary prisonization on their mental health. When comparing parents with sons or daughters incarcerated within 400 kilometers from home and parents whose sons or daughters are incarcerated farther than 400 kilometers from home, the latter present higher levels of psychopathology, but also higher levels of positive mental health (although the difference between the two groups is not statistically significant). These findings might be explained by resilience. In fact, in traumatic situations, people can develop a force to cope with the situation, and even present a posttraumatic growth. Bearing in mind all these findings, it could be concluded that secondary prisonization implies for elderly parents with sons or daughters incarcerated in remote jails suffering and, in consequence, that changes in the penitentiary policy applied to Basque prisoners are required in order to finish this suffering.

Keywords: automatic spontaneous speech analysis, elderly parents, machine learning, positive mental health, psychopathology, remote incarceration, secondary prisonization

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2 A Quadratic Model to Early Predict the Blastocyst Stage with a Time Lapse Incubator

Authors: Cecile Edel, Sandrine Giscard D'Estaing, Elsa Labrune, Jacqueline Lornage, Mehdi Benchaib


Introduction: The use of incubator equipped with time-lapse technology in Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) allows a continuous surveillance. With morphocinetic parameters, algorithms are available to predict the potential outcome of an embryo. However, the different proposed time-lapse algorithms do not take account the missing data, and then some embryos could not be classified. The aim of this work is to construct a predictive model even in the case of missing data. Materials and methods: Patients: A retrospective study was performed, in biology laboratory of reproduction at the hospital ‘Femme Mère Enfant’ (Lyon, France) between 1 May 2013 and 30 April 2015. Embryos (n= 557) obtained from couples (n=108) were cultured in a time-lapse incubator (Embryoscope®, Vitrolife, Goteborg, Sweden). Time-lapse incubator: The morphocinetic parameters obtained during the three first days of embryo life were used to build the predictive model. Predictive model: A quadratic regression was performed between the number of cells and time. N = a. T² + b. T + c. N: number of cells at T time (T in hours). The regression coefficients were calculated with Excel software (Microsoft, Redmond, WA, USA), a program with Visual Basic for Application (VBA) (Microsoft) was written for this purpose. The quadratic equation was used to find a value that allows to predict the blastocyst formation: the synthetize value. The area under the curve (AUC) obtained from the ROC curve was used to appreciate the performance of the regression coefficients and the synthetize value. A cut-off value has been calculated for each regression coefficient and for the synthetize value to obtain two groups where the difference of blastocyst formation rate according to the cut-off values was maximal. The data were analyzed with SPSS (IBM, Il, Chicago, USA). Results: Among the 557 embryos, 79.7% had reached the blastocyst stage. The synthetize value corresponds to the value calculated with time value equal to 99, the highest AUC was then obtained. The AUC for regression coefficient ‘a’ was 0.648 (p < 0.001), 0.363 (p < 0.001) for the regression coefficient ‘b’, 0.633 (p < 0.001) for the regression coefficient ‘c’, and 0.659 (p < 0.001) for the synthetize value. The results are presented as follow: blastocyst formation rate under cut-off value versus blastocyst rate formation above cut-off value. For the regression coefficient ‘a’ the optimum cut-off value was -1.14.10-3 (61.3% versus 84.3%, p < 0.001), 0.26 for the regression coefficient ‘b’ (83.9% versus 63.1%, p < 0.001), -4.4 for the regression coefficient ‘c’ (62.2% versus 83.1%, p < 0.001) and 8.89 for the synthetize value (58.6% versus 85.0%, p < 0.001). Conclusion: This quadratic regression allows to predict the outcome of an embryo even in case of missing data. Three regression coefficients and a synthetize value could represent the identity card of an embryo. ‘a’ regression coefficient represents the acceleration of cells division, ‘b’ regression coefficient represents the speed of cell division. We could hypothesize that ‘c’ regression coefficient could represent the intrinsic potential of an embryo. This intrinsic potential could be dependent from oocyte originating the embryo. These hypotheses should be confirmed by studies analyzing relationship between regression coefficients and ART parameters.

Keywords: ART procedure, blastocyst formation, time-lapse incubator, quadratic model

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1 Cross Cultural Adaptation and Content Validation of the Assessment Instrument Preschooler Awareness of Stuttering Survey

Authors: Catarina Belchior, Catarina Martins, Sara Mendes, Ana Rita S. Valente, Elsa Marta Soares


Introduction: The negative feelings and attitudes that a person who stutters can develop are extremely relevant when considering assessment and intervention in Speech and Language Therapy. This relates to the fact that the person who stutters can experience feelings such as shame, fear and negative beliefs when communicating. Considering the complexity and importance of integrating diverse aspects in stuttering intervention, it is central to identify those emotions as early as possible. Therefore, this research aimed to achieve the translation, adaptation to European Portuguese and to analyze the content validation of the Preschooler Awareness Stuttering Survey (Abbiati, Guitar & Hutchins, 2015), an instrument that allows the assessment of the impact of stuttering on preschool children who stutter considering feelings and attitudes. Methodology: Cross-sectional descriptive qualitative research. The following methodological procedures were followed: translation, back-translation, panel of experts and pilot study. This abstract describes the results of the first three phases of this process. The translation was accomplished by two Speech Language Therapists (SLT). Both professionals have more than five years of experience and are users of English language. One of them has a broad experience in the field of stuttering. Back-translation was conducted by two bilingual individuals without experience in health or any knowledge about the instrument. The panel of experts was composed by 3 different SLT, experts in the field of stuttering. Results and Discussion: In the translation and back-translation process it was possible to verify differences in semantic and idiomatic equivalences of several concepts and expressions, as well as the need to include new information to enhance the understanding of the application of the instrument. The meeting between the two translators and the researchers allowed the achievement of a consensus version that was used in back-translation. Considering adaptation and content validation, the main change made by the experts was the conceptual equivalence of the questions and answers of the instrument's sheets. Considering that in the translated consensus version the questions began with various nouns such as 'is' or 'the cow' and that the answers did not contain the adverb 'much' as in the original instrument, the panel agreed that it would be more appropriate if the questions all started with 'how' and that all the answers should present the adverb 'much'. This decision was made to ensure that the translate instrument would be similar to the original and so that the results obtained could be comparable between the original and the translated instrument. There was also elaborated one semantic equivalence between concepts. The panel of experts found that all other items and specificities of the instrument were adequate, concluding the adequacy of the instrument considering its objectives and its intended target population. Conclusion: This research aspires to diversify the existing validated resources in this scope, adding a new instrument that allows the assessment of preschool children who stutter. Consequently, it is hoped that this instrument will provide a real and reliable assessment that can lead to an appropriate therapeutic intervention according to the characteristics and needs of each child.

Keywords: stuttering, assessment, feelings and attitudes, speech language therapy

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