Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 179

Search results for: Mona M. Salem

29 An Efficient Hardware/Software Workflow for Multi-Cores Simulink Applications

Authors: Asma Rebaya, Kaouther Gasmi, Imen Amari, Salem Hasnaoui

Abstract:

Over these last years, applications such as telecommunications, signal processing, digital communication with advanced features (Multi-antenna, equalization..) witness a rapid evaluation accompanied with an increase of user exigencies in terms of latency, the power of computation… To satisfy these requirements, the use of hardware/software systems is a common solution; where hardware is composed of multi-cores and software is represented by models of computation, synchronous data flow (SDF) graph for instance. Otherwise, the most of the embedded system designers utilize Simulink for modeling. The issue is how to simplify the c code generation, for a multi-cores platform, of an application modeled by Simulink. To overcome this problem, we propose a workflow allowing an automatic transformation from the Simulink model to the SDF graph and providing an efficient schedule permitting to optimize the number of cores and to minimize latency. This workflow goes from a Simulink application and a hardware architecture described by IP.XACT language. Based on the synchronous and hierarchical behavior of both models, the Simulink block diagram is automatically transformed into an SDF graph. Once this process is successfully achieved, the scheduler calculates the optimal cores’ number needful by minimizing the maximum density of the whole application. Then, a core is chosen to execute a specific graph task in a specific order and, subsequently, a compatible C code is generated. In order to perform this proposal, we extend Preesm, a rapid prototyping tool, to take the Simulink model as entry input and to support the optimal schedule. Afterward, we compared our results to this tool results, using a simple illustrative application. The comparison shows that our results strictly dominate the Preesm results in terms of number of cores and latency. In fact, if Preesm needs m processors and latency L, our workflow need processors and latency L'< L.

Keywords: Modeling, workflow, latency, hardware/software system, multi-cores platform, scheduler, SDF graph, Simulink model

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28 Age Estimation and Sex Determination by CT-Scan Analysis of the Hyoid Bone: Application on a Tunisian Population

Authors: M. Belhadj, S. Saadi, N. Haj Salem, S. Ben Jomâa, R. Dhouieb, A. Chadly, M. A. Mesrati

Abstract:

Introduction: The hyoid bone is considered as one of many bones used to identify a missed person. There is a specificity of each population group in human identifications. Objective: To analyze the relationship between age, sex and metric parameters of hyoid bone in Tunisian population sample, using CT-scan. Materials and Methods: A prospective study was conducted in the Department of Forensic Medicine of FattoumaBourguiba Hospital of Monastir-Tunisia during 4 years. A total of 240 samples of hyoid bone were studied. The age of cases ranged from 18 days to 81 years. The specimens were collected only from the deceased of known age. Once dried, each hyoid bone was scanned using CT scan. For each specimen, 10 measurements were taken using a computer program. The measurements consisted of 6 lengths and 4 widths. A regression analysis was used to estimate the relationship between age, sex, and different measurements. For age estimation, a multiple logistic regression was carried out for samples ≤ 35 years. For sex determination, ROC curve was performed. Discriminant value finally retained was based on the best specificity with the best sensitivity. Results: The correlation between real age and estimated age was good (r²=0.72) for samples aged 35 years or less. The unstandardised canonical function equation was estimated using three variables: maximum length of the right greater cornua, length from the middle of the left joint space to the middle of the right joint space and perpendicular length from the centre point of a line between the distal ends of the right and left greater cornua to the centre point of the anterior view of the body of the hyoid bone. For sex determination, the ROC curve analysis reveals that the area under curve was at 81.8%. Discriminant value was 0.451 with a specificity of 73% and sensibility of 79%. The equation function was estimated based on two variables: maximum length of the greater cornua and maximum length of the hyoid bone. Conclusion: The findings of the current study suggest that metric analysis of the hyoid bone may predict the age ≤ 35 years. Sex estimation seems to be more reliable. Further studies dealing with the fusion of the hyoid bone and the current study could help to achieve more accurate age estimation rates.

Keywords: Anthropology, age estimation, CT scan, Tunisia, sex determination

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27 Molecular Diversity of Forensically Relevant Insects from the Cadavers of Lahore

Authors: Babar Ali, Allah Rakha, Sundus Mona, Atif Adnan, Fareeha Arshad

Abstract:

Molecular diversity is the variation in the abundance of species. Forensic entomology is a neglected field in Pakistan. Insects collected from the crime scene should be handled by forensic entomologists who are currently virtually non-existent in Pakistan. Correct identification of insect specimen along with knowledge of their biodiversity can aid in solving many problems related to complicated forensic cases. Inadequate morphological identification and insufficient thermal biological studies limit the entomological utility in Forensic Medicine. Recently molecular identification of entomological evidence has gained attention globally. DNA barcoding is the latest and established method for species identification. Only proper identification can provide a precise estimation of postmortem intervals. Arthropods are known to be the first tourists scavenging on decomposing dead matter. The objective of the proposed study was to identify species by molecular techniques and analyze their phylogenetic importance with barcoded necrophagous insect species of early succession on human cadavers. Based upon this identification, the study outcomes will be the utilization of established DNA bar codes to identify carrion feeding insect species for concordant estimation of post mortem interval. A molecular identification method involving sequencing of a 658bp ‘barcode’ fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (CO1) gene from collected specimens of unknown dipteral species from cadavers of Lahore was evaluated. Nucleotide sequence divergences were calculated using MEGA 7 and Arlequin, and a neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree was generated. Three species were identified, Chrysomya megacephala, Chrysomya saffranea, and Chrysomya rufifacies with low genetic diversity. The fixation index was 0.83992 that suggests a need for further studies to identify and classify forensically relevant insects in Pakistan. There is an exigency demand for further research especially when immature forms of arthropods are recovered from the crime scene.

Keywords: Species Identification, Molecular Diversity, DNA barcoding, forensically relevant

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26 The Impact of Animal-Assisted Pedagogy on Social Participation in Heterogenous Classrooms: A Survey Considering the Pupils Perspective on Animal-Assisted Teaching

Authors: Mona Maria Mombeck

Abstract:

Social participation in heterogeneous classrooms is one of the main goals in inclusive education. Children with special educational needs (SEN) and children with learning difficulties, or behavioural problems not diagnosed as SEN, are more likely to be excluded by other children than others. It is proven that the presence of dogs, as well as contact with dogs, increases the likelihood of positive social behaviour between humans. Therefore, animal-assisted pedagogy may be presumed to be a constructive way of inclusive teaching and facing the challenges of social inclusion in school classes. This study investigates the presence of a friendly dog in heterogeneous groups of pupils in order to evaluate the influence of dogs on facets of social participation of children in school. 30 German pupils, aged from 10 to 14, in four classes were questioned about their social participation before and after they were educated for a year in school with animal-assisted-pedagogy, using the problem-concerned interview method. In addition, the post-interview includes some general questions about the putative differences or similarities of being educated with and without a dog. The interviews were analysed with the qualitative-content-analysis using QDA software. The results showed that a dog has a positive impact on the atmosphere, student relationships, and well-being in class. Regarding the atmosphere, the pupils mainly argued that the improvement was caused by taking into account the dog’s well-being, respecting the dog-related rules, and by emotional self-regulation. It can be supposed that children regard the rules concerning the dog as more relevant to them than rules, not concerning the dog even if they require the same behaviour and goal. Furthermore, a dog has a positive impact on emotional self-regulation and, therefore, on pupil’s behaviour in class and the atmosphere. In terms of the statements about relationships, the dog’s presence was mainly seen to provide both a unifying aim and a uniting topic to talk about. The improved well-being was described as a feeling of joy and peace of mind. Moreover, the teacher was evaluated as more friendly and trustworthy after animal-assisted teaching. Nevertheless, animal-assisted pedagogy can, rarely, cause problems as well, such as jealousy, distraction, or concerns about the well-being of the dog. The study could prove the relevance of animal-assisted pedagogy for facing the challenges of social participation in inclusive education.

Keywords: Inclusive Education, social participation, animal-assisted-pedagogy, human-animal-interactions

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25 A Normalized Non-Stationary Wavelet Based Analysis Approach for a Computer Assisted Classification of Laryngoscopic High-Speed Video Recordings

Authors: Mona K. Fehling, Jakob Unger, Dietmar J. Hecker, Bernhard Schick, Joerg Lohscheller

Abstract:

Voice disorders origin from disturbances of the vibration patterns of the two vocal folds located within the human larynx. Consequently, the visual examination of vocal fold vibrations is an integral part within the clinical diagnostic process. For an objective analysis of the vocal fold vibration patterns, the two-dimensional vocal fold dynamics are captured during sustained phonation using an endoscopic high-speed camera. In this work, we present an approach allowing a fully automatic analysis of the high-speed video data including a computerized classification of healthy and pathological voices. The approach bases on a wavelet-based analysis of so-called phonovibrograms (PVG), which are extracted from the high-speed videos and comprise the entire two-dimensional vibration pattern of each vocal fold individually. Using a principal component analysis (PCA) strategy a low-dimensional feature set is computed from each phonovibrogram. From the PCA-space clinically relevant measures can be derived that quantify objectively vibration abnormalities. In the first part of the work it will be shown that, using a machine learning approach, the derived measures are suitable to distinguish automatically between healthy and pathological voices. Within the approach the formation of the PCA-space and consequently the extracted quantitative measures depend on the clinical data, which were used to compute the principle components. Therefore, in the second part of the work we proposed a strategy to achieve a normalization of the PCA-space by registering the PCA-space to a coordinate system using a set of synthetically generated vibration patterns. The results show that owing to the normalization step potential ambiguousness of the parameter space can be eliminated. The normalization further allows a direct comparison of research results, which bases on PCA-spaces obtained from different clinical subjects.

Keywords: multiscale product, normalization, Wavelet-based analysis, computer assisted classification, high-speed laryngoscopy, vocal fold analysis, phonovibrogram

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24 Influence of Strengthening of Hip Abductors and External Rotators in Treatment of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Authors: Karima Abdel Aty Hassan Mohamed, Manal Mohamed Ismail, Mona Hassan Gamal Eldein, Ahmed Hassan Hussein, Abdel Aziz Mohamed Elsingerg

Abstract:

Background: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is a common musculoskeletal pain condition, especially in females. Decreased hip muscle strength has been implicated as a contributing factor, yet the relationships between pain, hip muscle strength and function are not known. Objective: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of strengthening hip abductors and lateral rotators on pain intensity, function and hip abductor and hip lateral rotator eccentric and concentric torques in patients with PFPS. Methods: Thirty patients had participated in this study; they were assigned into two experimental groups. With age ranged for eighty to thirty five years. Group A consisted of 15 patients (11females and 4 males) with mean age 20.8 (±2.73) years, received closed kinetic chain exercises program, stretching exercises for tight lower extremity soft tissues, and hip strengthening exercises .Group B consisted of 15 patients (12 females and 3 males) with mean age 21.2(±3.27) years, received closed kinetic chain exercises program and stretching exercises for tight lower extremity soft tissues. Treatment was given 2-3times/week, for 6 weeks. Patients were evaluated pre and post treatment for their pain severity, function of knee joint, hip abductors and external rotators concentric/eccentric peak torque. Result: the results revealed that there were significant differences in pain and function between both groups, while there was improvement for all values for both group. Conclusion: Six weeks rehabilitation program focusing on knee strengthening exercises either supplemented by hip strengthening exercises or not effective in improving function, reducing pain and improving hip muscles torque in patients with PFPS. However, adding hip abduction and lateral rotation strengthening exercises seem to reduce pain and improve function more efficiently.

Keywords: Rehabilitation, isokinetic, patellofemoral pain syndrome, hip muscles

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23 Influence of Applied Inorganic and Organic Nitrogen Fertilizers on Nitrogen Forms in Biochar-Treated Soil

Authors: Mohamed Rashad, Eman H. El-Gamal, Maher E. Saleh, Ibrahim Elsokkary, Mona M. Abd El-Latif

Abstract:

Biochar application to calcareous soils could potentially influence the nitrogen dynamics that affect the bioavailability of plants. This study was carried out to investigate the effect of incubation periods on the changes of nitrogen levels (total nitrogen TN and exchangeable ammonium NH₄⁺ and nitrate NO₃⁻) in biochar-treated calcareous soil. The incubation course was extended to 144 days at 30 ± 3 ℃ and at 50% of soil water holding capacity (WHC). Two types of biochars were obtained by pyrolysis at 500 ℃ from rice husk (RHB) and sugarcane bagasse (SCBB). The experiment was planned in a factorial experimental design with three factors (6 periods '24 days for each period' × 3 biochar types 'un-amended, RHB and SCBB' × 3 nitrogen fertilizers 'control, ammonium nitrate; AN and animal manure; AM') in a completely randomized design. The results obtained showed that the highest level of TN was found in the first 24 days of the incubation period in all treatments. However, the amount of TN was decreased with proceeding incubation period up to 144 days and reached to the lowest level at the end of incubation with values of change rate was 17.5, 16.6, and 14.6 g kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ for the un-amended, RHB and SCBB treated soil, respectively. The values of change rate in biochar-soils treated with nitrogen fertilizers were decreased gradually through the whole incubation time from 127.22 to 12.45 g kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ and from 65.00 to 13.43 g kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ for AN and AM respectively, in the case of RHB-soil. While in SCBB-soil, these values were decreased from 70.83 to 12.13 g kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ and from 59.17 to 11.48 g kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ for AN and AM treatments, respectively. The lowest concentration of exchangeable NH₄⁺ was generally found through the period from 24-48 days of incubation. However, the addition of nitrogen fertilizers, enhanced NH₄⁺ production through incubation periods. In the case of RHB-soil, the value of change rate in NH₄⁺ level in the first 24 days of incubation was 0.43 mg kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ and with the addition of AN and AM this value increased to 1.54 and 4.38 mg kg⁻¹ day⁻¹, respectively. In the case of SCBB-soil, the value of change rate in NH₄⁺ level was 0.29 mg kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ which increased to 1.04 mg kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ at the end of incubation, and due to the addition of AN and AM this value increased to 2.78 and 1.90 mg kg⁻¹ day⁻¹ in the first 24 days of incubation period, respectively. However, as compared to the control treatment, the lowest rate of change in NH₄⁺ level was found at the end of incubation. On the other hand, incubation of all biochars-amended soil and treated with AN and AM decreased the concentration levels of NO₃⁻, especially through the first 24-72 days of incubation period. As a result, the values of change rate in NO₃⁻ concentrations in all treatments were almost negative.

Keywords: Biochar, rice husk, sugarcane bagasse, ammonium nitrate, animal manure

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22 Proniosomes as a Carrier for Ocular Drug Delivery

Authors: Rawia M. Khalil, Ghada E. A. Awad, Ghada Abd-Elbary, Mona Basha, Hadeer A. Elhashemy

Abstract:

Background: Bacterial infections of the eye are the clinical conditions responsible for ocular morbidity and blindness. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, due to Staphylococcus aureus. Lomefloxacin HCl (LXN) is a third generation flouroquinolone antibiotic with a broad spectrum against wide range of bacteria and very effective against Staph infections especially in conjunctiva (conjunctivitis). The present study aims to develop and evaluate novel ocular proniosomal gels of Lomefloxacin Hcl (LXN); in order to improve its ocular bioavailability for the management of bacterial conjunctivitis. Materials and methods: Proniosomes were prepared by coacervation phase separation method using different types of nonionic surfactants (Span 60,40,20,Tween 20,40,60,80,Brij 35,98,72) solely and as mixtures with Span® 60. The formed gels were characterized for entrapment efficiency, vesicle size and in vitro drug release. The optimum proniosomal gel; P-LXN 7 were characterized for pH measurement, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) as well as Stability study and microbiological evaluation .The results revealed that only Span 60 was able to form stable LXN proniosomal gel when used individually while the other nonionic surfactants formed gels only in combination with Span 60 at different ratios. The optimum proniosomal gel; P-LXN 7 (Span60:Tween60, 9:1) appeared as spherical shaped vesicles having high entrapment efficiency (>80 %), appropriate vesicle size (187 nm) as well as controlled drug release over 12h. DSC confirmed the amorphous nature and the uniformity of LXN inclusion within the vesicles. Physical stability study did not show any significant changes in appearance or entrapment efficiency or vesicle size after storage for 3 months at 4°C. Ocular irritancy test revealed that P-LXN 7 was safe, well tolerable and suitable for ocular delivery. In vivo antibacterial activity of P-LXN 7 evaluated using the susceptibility test and topical therapy of induced ocular conjunctivitis confirmed the enhanced antibacterial therapeutic efficacy of the LXN-proniosomal gel compared to the commercially available LXN eye drops; Orchacin®. Conclusions: Our results suggest that proniosomal gels could provide a promising carrier of LXN for efficient ocular treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis.

Keywords: Ocular Drug Delivery, bacterial conjunctivitis, lomefloxacin HCl, proniosomes

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21 Lock in, Lock Out: A Double Lens Analysis of Local Media Paywall Strategies and User Response

Authors: Mona Solvoll, Ragnhild Kr. Olsen

Abstract:

Background and significance of the study: Newspapers are going through radical changes with increased competition, eroding readerships and declining advertising resulting in plummeting overall revenues. This has lead to a quest for new business models, focusing on monetizing content. This research paper investigates both how local online newspapers have introduced user payment and how the audience has received these changes. Given the role of local media in keeping their communities informed and those in power accountable, their potential impact on civic engagement and cultural integration in local communities, the business model innovations of local media deserves far more research interest. Empirically, the findings are interesting for local journalists, local media managers as well as local advertisers. Basic methodologies: The study is based on interviews with commercial leaders in 20 Norwegian local newspapers in addition to a national survey data from 1600 respondents among local media users. The interviews were conducted in the second half of 2015, while the survey was conducted in September 2016. Theoretically, the study draws on the business model framework. Findings: The analysis indicates that paywalls aim more at reducing digital cannibalisation of print revenue than about creating new digital income. The newspapers are mostly concerned with retaining “old” print subscribers and transform them into digital subscribers. However, this strategy may come at a high price for newspapers if their defensive print strategy drives away younger digital readership and hamper their recruitment potential for new audiences as some previous studies have indicated. Analysis of young reader news habits indicates that attracting the younger audience to traditional local news providers is particularly challenging and that they are more prone to seek alternative news sources than the older audience is. Conclusion: The paywall strategy applied by the local newspapers may be well fitted to stabilise print subscription figures and facilitate more tailored and better services for already existing customers, but far less suited for attracting new ones. The paywall is a short-sighted strategy, which drives away younger readers and paves the road for substitute offerings, particularly Facebook.

Keywords: Business Model, newspapers, paywall, user payment

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20 Formulation, Preparation, and Evaluation of Coated Desloratadine Oral Disintegrating Tablets

Authors: Mohamed A. Etman, Mona G. Abd-Elnasser, Mohamed A. Shams-Eldin, Aly H. Nada

Abstract:

Orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs) are gaining importance as new drug delivery systems and emerged as one of the popular and widely accepted dosage forms, especially for the pediatric and geriatric patients. Their advantages such as administration without water, anywhere, anytime lead to their suitability to geriatric and pediatric patients. They are also suitable for the mentally ill, the bed-ridden and patients who do not have easy access to water. The benefits, in terms of patient compliance, rapid onset of action, increased bioavailability, and good stability make these tablets popular as a dosage form of choice in the current market. These dosage forms dissolve or disintegrate in the oral cavity within a matter of seconds without the need of water or chewing. Desloratadine is a tricyclic antihistaminic, which has a selective and peripheral H1-antagonist action. It is an antagonist at histamine H1 receptors, and an antagonist at all subtypes of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor. Desloratadine is the major metabolite of loratadine. Twelve different placebos ODT were prepared (F1-F12) using different functional excipients. They were evaluated for their compressibility, hardness and disintegration time. All formulations were non sticky except four formulations; namely (F8, F9, F10, F11). All formulations were compressible with the exception of (F2). Variable disintegration times were found ranging between 20 and 120 seconds. It was found that (F12) showed the least disintegration time (20 secs) without showing any sticking which could be due to the use of high percentage of superdisintegrants. Desloratadine showed bitter taste when formulated as ODT without any treatment. Therefore, different techniques were tried in order to mask its bitter taste. Using Eudragit EPO resulted in complete masking of the bitter taste of the drug and increased the acceptability to volunteers. The compressible non sticky formulations (F1, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7 and F12) were subjected to further evaluation tests after addition of coated desloratadine, including weight uniformity, wetting time, and friability testing.. Fairly good weight uniformity values were observed in all the tested formulations. F12 exhibiting the shortest wetting time (14.7 seconds) and consequently the lowest (20 seconds) disintegration time. Dissolution profile showed that 100% desloratadine release was attained after only 2.5 minutes from the prepared ODT (F12) with dissolution efficiency of 95%.

Keywords: Formulations, taste masking, Desloratadine, orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs)

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19 Evaluation of Human Amnion Hemocompatibility as a Substitute for Vessels

Authors: Hassan Niknejad, Ghasem Yazdanpanah, Mona Kakavand

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Objectives: An important issue in tissue engineering (TE) is hemocompatibility. The current engineered vessels are seriously at risk of thrombus formation and stenosis. Amnion (AM) is the innermost layer of fetal membranes that consists of epithelial and mesenchymal sides. It has the advantages of low immunogenicity, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties as well as good mechanical properties. We recently introduced the amnion as a natural biomaterial for tissue engineering. In this study, we have evaluated hemocompatibility of amnion as potential biomaterial for tissue engineering. Materials and Methods: Amnions were derived from placentas of elective caesarean deliveries which were in the gestational ages 36 to 38 weeks. Extracted amnions were washed by cold PBS to remove blood remnants. Blood samples were obtained from healthy adult volunteers who had not previously taken anti-coagulants. The blood samples were maintained in sterile tubes containing sodium citrate. Plasma or platelet rich plasma (PRP) were collected by blood sample centrifuging at 600 g for 10 min. Hemocompatibility of the AM samples (n=7) were evaluated by measuring of activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), prothrombin time (PT), hemolysis, and platelet aggregation tests. P-selectin was also assessed by ELISA. Both epithelial and mesenchymal sides of amnion were evaluated. Glass slide and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) samples were defined as control. Results: In comparison with glass as control (13.3 ± 0.7 s), prothrombin time was increased significantly while each side of amnion was in contact with plasma (p<0.05). There was no significant difference in PT between epithelial and mesenchymal surfaces (17.4 ± 0.7 s vs. 15.8 ± 0.7 s, respectively). However, aPPT was not significantly changed after incubation of plasma with amnion epithelial and mesenchymal surfaces or glass (28.61 ± 1.39 s, 31.4 ± 2.66 s, glass, 30.76 ± 2.53 s, respectively, p>0.05). Amnion surfaces, ePTFE and glass samples have less hemolysis induction than water considerably (p<0.001), in which no differences were detected. Platelet aggregation measurements showed that platelets were less stimulated by the amnion epithelial and mesenchymal sides, in comparison with ePTFE and glass. In addition, reduction in amount of p-selectin, as platelet activation factor, after incubation of samples with PRP indicated that amnion has less stimulatory effects on platelets than ePTFE and glass. Conclusion: Amnion as a natural biomaterial has the potential to be used in tissue engineering. Our results suggest that amnion has appropriate hemocompatibility to be employed as a vascular substitute.

Keywords: Tissue Engineering, Biomaterial, amnion, hemocompatibility

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18 Tension-Free Vaginal Tape Secur (TVT Secur) versus Tension-Free Vaginal Tape-Obturator (TVT-O) from inside to outside in Surgical Management of Genuine Stress Urinary Incontinence

Authors: Ibrahim Mohamed Ibrahim Hassanin, Hany Hassan Mostafa, Mona Mohamed Shaban, Ahlam El Said Kamel

Abstract:

Background: New so-called minimally invasive devices have been developed to limit groin pain after sling placement for treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) to minimize the risk of postoperative pain and organ perforation. A new generation of suburethral slings was described that avoided skin incision to pull out and tension the sling. Evaluation of this device through prospective short-term series has shown controversial results compared with other tension-free techniques. The aim of this study is to compare success rates and complications for tension-free vaginal tape secur (TVT secur) and trans-obturator sub urethral tape inside-out technique (TVT-O) for treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Materials and Methods: Fifty patients with genuine SUI were divided into two groups: group S (n=25) were operated upon using (TVT secur) and group O (n=25) were operated upon using trans-obturator suburethral tape inside-out technique (TVT-O). Success rate, quality of life and postoperative complications such as groin pain, urgency, urine retention and vaginal tape erosion were reported in both groups at one, three, and six months after surgery. Results: As regards objective cure rate at one, three, six months intervals; there was a significant difference between group S (56%, 64%, and 60%), and group O (80%, 88%, and 88%) respectively (P <0.05). As regards subjective cure rate at one, three, six months intervals; there was a significant difference between group S (44%, 44%, and 48%), and group O (76%, 80%, and 80%) respectively (P <0.05). Quality of life (QoL) parameters improved significantly in cured patients with no difference between both groups. As regards complications, group O had a higher frequency of complications than group S; groin pain (12% vs 12% p= 0.05), urgency (4% (1 case) vs 0%), urine retention (8% (2 cases) vs 0%), vaginal tape erosion (4% (1 case) vs 0%). No cases were complicated with wound infection. Conclusion: Compared to TVT secur, TVT-O showed higher subjective and objective cure rates after six months but higher rate of complications. Both techniques were comparable as regards improvement of quality of life after surgery.

Keywords: stress urinary incontinence, trans-vaginal tape-obturator, TVT Secur, TVT-O

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17 Structural Investigation of the GAF Domain Protein BPSL2418 from Burkholderia pseudomallei

Authors: Mona G. Alharbi

Abstract:

A new family of methionine-sulfoxide reductase (Msr) was recently discovered and was named free methionine sulfoxide reductase (fRMsr). This family includes enzymes with a reductase activity toward the free R isomer of a methionine sulfoxide substrate. The fRMsrs have a GAF domain topology, a domain, which was previously identified as having in some cases a cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase activity. The classification of fRMsrs as GAF domains revealed a new function can be added to the GAF domain family. Interestingly the four members identified in the fRMsr family share the GAF domain structure and the presence of three conserved cysteines in the active site with free R methionine sulfoxide substrate specificity. This thesis presents the crystal structures of reduced, free Met-SO substrate-bound and MES-bound forms of a new fRMsr from Burkholderia pseudomallei (BPSL2418). BPSL2418 was cloned, overexpressed and purified to enable protein crystallization. The crystallization trials for reduced, Met-SO-bound and MES-bound forms of BPSL2418 were prepared and reasonable crystals of each form were produced. The crystal structures of BPSL2418MES, BPSL2418Met-SO and BPSL2418Reduced were solved at 1.18, 1.4 and 2.0Å, respectively by molecular replacement. The BPSL2418MES crystal belongs to space group P 21 21 21 while BPSL2418Met-SO and BPSL2418Reduced crystals belong to space group P 1 21 1. All three forms share the GAF domain structure of six antiparallel β-strands and four α-helices with connecting loops. The antiparallel β-strands (β1, β2, β5 and β6) are located in the center of the BPSL2418 structure flanked on one side by a three α-helices (α1, α2 and α4) and on the other side by a (loop1, β3, loop2, α3, β4 loop4) unit where loop4 forms a capping flap and covers the active site. The structural comparison of the three forms of BPSL2418 indicates that the catalytically important cysteine is CYS109, where the resolving cysteine is CYS75, which forms a disulfide bond with CYS109. They also suggest that the third conserved cysteine in the active site, CYS85, which is located in α3, is a non-essential cysteine for the catalytic function but it may play a role in the binding of the substrate. The structural comparison of the three forms reveals that conformational changes appear in the active site particularly involving loop4 and CYS109 during catalysis. The 3D structure of BPSL2418 shows strong structure similarity to fRMsrs enzymes, which further suggests that BPSL2418 acts as a free Met-R-SO reductase and shares the catalytic mechanism of fRMsr family.

Keywords: Burkholderia pseudomallei, GAF domain protein, methionine sulfoxide reductase, protein crystallization

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16 Exploring the Contribution of Dynamic Capabilities to a Firm's Value Creation: The Role of Competitive Strategy

Authors: Mona Rashidirad, Hamid Salimian

Abstract:

Dynamic capabilities, as the most considerable capabilities of firms in the current fast-moving economy may not be sufficient for performance improvement, but their contribution to performance is undeniable. While much of the extant literature investigates the impact of dynamic capabilities on organisational performance, little attention has been devoted to understand whether and how dynamic capabilities create value. Dynamic capabilities as the mirror of competitive strategies should enable firms to search and seize new ideas, integrate and coordinate the firm’s resources and capabilities in order to create value. A careful investigation to the existing knowledge base remains us puzzled regarding the relationship among competitive strategies, dynamic capabilities and value creation. This study thus attempts to fill in this gap by empirically investigating the impact of dynamic capabilities on value creation and the mediating impact of competitive strategy on this relationship. We aim to contribute to dynamic capability view (DCV), in both theoretical and empirical senses, by exploring the impact of dynamic capabilities on firms’ value creation and whether competitive strategy can play any role in strengthening/weakening this relationship. Using a sample of 491 firms in the UK telecommunications market, the results demonstrate that dynamic sensing, learning, integrating and coordinating capabilities play a significant role in firm’s value creation, and competitive strategy mediates the impact of dynamic capabilities on value creation. Adopting DCV, this study investigates whether the value generating from dynamic capabilities depends on firms’ competitive strategy. This study argues a firm’s competitive strategy can mediate its ability to derive value from its dynamic capabilities and it explains the extent a firm’s competitive strategy may influence its value generation. The results of the dynamic capabilities-value relationships support our expectations and justify the non-financial value added of the four dynamic capability processes in a highly turbulent market, such as UK telecommunications. Our analytical findings of the relationship among dynamic capabilities, competitive strategy and value creation provide further evidence of the undeniable role of competitive strategy in deriving value from dynamic capabilities. The results reinforce the argument for the need to consider the mediating impact of organisational contextual factors, such as firm’s competitive strategy to examine how they interact with dynamic capabilities to deliver value. The findings of this study provide significant contributions to theory. Unlike some previous studies which conceptualise dynamic capabilities as a unidimensional construct, this study demonstrates the benefits of understanding the details of the link among the four types of dynamic capabilities, competitive strategy and value creation. In terms of contributions to managerial practices, this research draws attention to the importance of competitive strategy in conjunction with development and deployment of dynamic capabilities to create value. Managers are now equipped with solid empirical evidence which explains why DCV has become essential to firms in today’s business world.

Keywords: Value Creation, dynamic capabilities, competitive strategy, resource based theory

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15 Analysis of Reduced Mechanisms for Premixed Combustion of Methane/Hydrogen/Propane/Air Flames in Geometrically Modified Combustor and Its Effects on Flame Properties

Authors: E. Salem

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Combustion has been used for a long time as a means of energy extraction. However, in recent years, there has been a further increase in air pollution, through pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, acid etc. In order to solve this problem, there is a need to reduce carbon and nitrogen oxides through learn burning modifying combustors and fuel dilution. A numerical investigation has been done to investigate the effectiveness of several reduced mechanisms in terms of computational time and accuracy, for the combustion of the hydrocarbons/air or diluted with hydrogen in a micro combustor. The simulations were carried out using the ANSYS Fluent 19.1. To validate the results “PREMIX and CHEMKIN” codes were used to calculate 1D premixed flame based on the temperature, composition of burned and unburned gas mixtures. Numerical calculations were carried for several hydrocarbons by changing the equivalence ratios and adding small amounts of hydrogen into the fuel blends then analyzing the flammable limit, the reduction in NOx and CO emissions, then comparing it to experimental data. By solving the conservations equations, several global reduced mechanisms (2-9-12) were obtained. These reduced mechanisms were simulated on a 2D cylindrical tube with dimensions of 40 cm in length and 2.5 cm diameter. The mesh of the model included a proper fine quad mesh, within the first 7 cm of the tube and around the walls. By developing a proper boundary layer, several simulations were performed on hydrocarbon/air blends to visualize the flame characteristics than were compared with experimental data. Once the results were within acceptable range, the geometry of the combustor was modified through changing the length, diameter, adding hydrogen by volume, and changing the equivalence ratios from lean to rich in the fuel blends, the results on flame temperature, shape, velocity and concentrations of radicals and emissions were observed. It was determined that the reduced mechanisms provided results within an acceptable range. The variation of the inlet velocity and geometry of the tube lead to an increase of the temperature and CO2 emissions, highest temperatures were obtained in lean conditions (0.5-0.9) equivalence ratio. Addition of hydrogen blends into combustor fuel blends resulted in; reduction in CO and NOx emissions, expansion of the flammable limit, under the condition of having same laminar flow, and varying equivalence ratio with hydrogen additions. The production of NO is reduced because the combustion happens in a leaner state and helps in solving environmental problems.

Keywords: hydrogenation, combustor, equivalence-ratio, premixed flames

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14 Hybrid Precoder Design Based on Iterative Hard Thresholding Algorithm for Millimeter Wave Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output Systems

Authors: Ridha Bouallegue, Salem Hasnaoui, Ameni Mejri, Moufida Hajjaj

Abstract:

The technology advances have most lately made the millimeter wave (mmWave) communication possible. Due to the huge amount of spectrum that is available in MmWave frequency bands, this promising candidate is considered as a key technology for the deployment of 5G cellular networks. In order to enhance system capacity and achieve spectral efficiency, very large antenna arrays are employed at mmWave systems by exploiting array gain. However, it has been shown that conventional beamforming strategies are not suitable for mmWave hardware implementation. Therefore, new features are required for mmWave cellular applications. Unlike traditional multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) systems for which only digital precoders are essential to accomplish precoding, MIMO technology seems to be different at mmWave because of digital precoding limitations. Moreover, precoding implements a greater number of radio frequency (RF) chains supporting more signal mixers and analog-to-digital converters. As RF chain cost and power consumption is increasing, we need to resort to another alternative. Although the hybrid precoding architecture has been regarded as the best solution based on a combination between a baseband precoder and an RF precoder, we still do not get the optimal design of hybrid precoders. According to the mapping strategies from RF chains to the different antenna elements, there are two main categories of hybrid precoding architecture. Given as a hybrid precoding sub-array architecture, the partially-connected structure reduces hardware complexity by using a less number of phase shifters, whereas it sacrifices some beamforming gain. In this paper, we treat the hybrid precoder design in mmWave MIMO systems as a problem of matrix factorization. Thus, we adopt the alternating minimization principle in order to solve the design problem. Further, we present our proposed algorithm for the partially-connected structure, which is based on the iterative hard thresholding method. Through simulation results, we show that our hybrid precoding algorithm provides significant performance gains over existing algorithms. We also show that the proposed approach reduces significantly the computational complexity. Furthermore, valuable design insights are provided when we use the proposed algorithm to make simulation comparisons between the hybrid precoding partially-connected structure and the fully-connected structure.

Keywords: alternating minimization, hybrid precoding, iterative hard thresholding, low-complexity, millimeter wave communication, partially-connected structure

Procedia PDF Downloads 174
13 Examining the Investment Behavior of Arab Women in the Stock Market

Authors: Razan Salem

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Gender plays a vital role in the stock markets because men and women differ in their behavior when investing in stocks. Accordingly, the role of gender differences in investment behavior is an increasingly important strand in the field of behavioral finance research. The investment behaviors of women relative to men have been examined in the behavioral finance literature, mainly for comparison purposes. Women's roles in the stock market have not been examined in the behavioral finance literature, however, particularly with respect to the Arab region. This study aims to contribute towards a better understanding of the investment behavior of Arab women (in regards to their risk tolerance, investment confidence, and investment literacy levels) relative to Arab men; using a sample from Arab women and men investors living in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. In order to achieve the study's main aim, the researcher used non-parametric tests, as Mann-Whitney U test, along with frequency distribution analysis to analyze the study’s primary data. The researcher distributed close-ended online questionnaires to a sample of 550 Arab male and female individuals investing in stocks in both Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The results confirm that the sample Arab women invest less in stocks compared to Arab men due to their risk-averse behaviors and limited confidence levels. The results also reveal that due to Arab women’s very low investment literacy levels, they fear from taking the risk and invest often in stocks relative to Arab men. Overall, the study’s main variables (risk tolerance, investment confidence, and investment literacy levels) have a combined effect on the investment behavior of Arab women and their limited participation in the stock market. Hence, this study is one of the very first studies that indicate the combined effect of the three main variables (which are usually studied separately in the existing literature) on the investment behavior of women, particularly Arab women. This study makes three important contributions to the growing literature on gender differences in investment behavior. First, while the behavioral finance literature documents evidence on gender differences in investment behaviors in many developed countries, there are very limited studies that investigate such differences in Arab countries. Arab women investors, generally, are ignored from the behavioral finance literature due probably to cultural barriers and data collection difficulties. Thus, this study extends the literature to include Arab women and their investment behaviors when trading stock relative to Arab men. Moreover, the study associates women investment literacy and confidence levels with their financial risk behaviors and participation in the stock market. This study provides direct evidence on Arab women's investment behaviors when trading stocks. Overall, studying Arab women investors is important to investigate whether the investment behavior identified for Western women investors are also found in Arab women investors.

Keywords: stock markets, Gender Differences, Arab women, investment behavior

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12 British Female Muslim Converts: An Investigation into Their De-Conversions from Islam

Authors: Mona Alyedreessy

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This study, which is based on a qualitative study sample of thirty-four British converts from different ages, ethnicities, social classes, areas and religious backgrounds in London, investigates the common challenges, problems and abuse in the name of Islam that many British female Muslim converts experienced during their time as Muslims, which caused them to leave the faith. It is an important study, as it creates an awareness of the weaknesses found in western Muslim societies and in various Islamic educational programs that causes people to leave Islam and contribute towards its negative reputation in the media. The women in this study shared common problems regarding gender and racial discrimination, identity development, feminism, marriage, parenting, Muslim culture, isolation, extremism, belonging and practising Islam in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies with differing sacrifices and consequences that caused them to de-convert. The study argues that many of the personal, religious and social problems female Muslim converts experience are due to a lack of knowledge about Islam and their rights as Muslim women, which often results in them being vulnerable and influenced by the opinions, attitudes and actions of uneducated, abusive, non-practising and extremist Muslims. For example, it was found that young female converts in particular were often taken advantage of and manipulated into believing that many negative actions displayed by patriarchal Muslim husbands were a part of Islam. This created much confusion, especially when their husbands used specific Quran texts and Hadiths to justify their abuse, authority and attitudes that made them miserable. As a result and based on the positive experiences of some converts, the study found that obtaining a broad Islamic education that started with an intimate study of the Prophet Muhammad’s biography alongside being guided by the teachings of western Muslim scholars contributed greatly towards a more enjoyable conversion journey, as women were able to identify and avoid problematic Muslims and abuse in the name of Islam. This in turn helped to create a healthier family unit and Muslim society. Those who enjoyed being Muslims were able to create a balanced western Muslim identity by negotiating and applying their own morals and western values to their understanding of The Prophet’s biography and The Quran and integrated Islamic values into their own secular western environments that were free from foreign cultural practices. The outcomes of the study also highlight some effective modern approaches to da’wah based on the teachings of The Prophet Mohammad and other prophets for young Arab and Asian Muslims who marry, study and live among non-Muslims and converts.

Keywords: Muslims, abuse, apostasy, converts

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11 Predicting Mortality among Acute Burn Patients Using BOBI Score vs. FLAMES Score

Authors: S. Moustafa El Shanawany, I. Labib Salem, F. Mohamed Magdy Badr El Dine, H. Tag El Deen Abd Allah

Abstract:

Thermal injuries remain a global health problem and a common issue encountered in forensic pathology. They are a devastating cause of morbidity and mortality in children and adults especially in developing countries, causing permanent disfigurement, scarring and grievous hurt. Burns have always been a matter of legal concern in cases of suicidal burns, self-inflicted burns for false accusation and homicidal attempts. Assessment of burn injuries as well as rating permanent disabilities and disfigurement following thermal injuries for the benefit of compensation claims represents a challenging problem. This necessitates the development of reliable scoring systems to yield an expected likelihood of permanent disability or fatal outcome following burn injuries. The study was designed to identify the risk factors of mortality in acute burn patients and to evaluate the applicability of FLAMES (Fatality by Longevity, APACHE II score, Measured Extent of burn, and Sex) and BOBI (Belgian Outcome in Burn Injury) model scores in predicting the outcome. The study was conducted on 100 adult patients with acute burn injuries admitted to the Burn Unit of Alexandria Main University Hospital, Egypt from October 2014 to October 2015. Victims were examined after obtaining informed consent and the data were collected in specially designed sheets including demographic data, burn details and any associated inhalation injury. Each burn patient was assessed using both BOBI and FLAMES scoring systems. The results of the study show the mean age of patients was 35.54±12.32 years. Males outnumbered females (55% and 45%, respectively). Most patients were accidently burnt (95%), whereas suicidal burns accounted for the remaining 5%. Flame burn was recorded in 82% of cases. As well, 8% of patients sustained more than 60% of total burn surface area (TBSA) burns, 19% of patients needed mechanical ventilation, and 19% of burnt patients died either from wound sepsis, multi-organ failure or pulmonary embolism. The mean length of hospital stay was 24.91±25.08 days. The mean BOBI score was 1.07±1.27 and that of the FLAMES score was -4.76±2.92. The FLAMES score demonstrated an area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.95 which was significantly higher than that of the BOBI score (0.883). A statistically significant association was revealed between both predictive models and the outcome. The study concluded that both scoring systems were beneficial in predicting mortality in acutely burnt patients. However, the FLAMES score could be applied with a higher level of accuracy.

Keywords: burns, Flames, outcome, BOBI, scoring systems

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10 The Hidden Mechanism beyond Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) Potent in vivo and in vitro Anti-Inflammatory Activity

Authors: Shahira M. Ezzat, Marwa I. Ezzat, Mona M. Okba, Esther T. Menze, Ashraf B. Abdel-Naim, Shahnas O. Mohamed

Abstract:

Background: In order to decrease the burden of the high cost of synthetic drugs, it is important to focus on phytopharmaceuticals. The aim of our study was to search for the mechanism of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) anti-inflammatory potential and to correlate it to its biophytochemicals. Methods: Various extracts viz. water, 50%, 70%, 80%, and 90% ethanol were prepared from ginger rhizomes. Fractionation of the aqueous extract (AE) was accomplished using Diaion HP-20. In vitro anti-inflammatory activity of the different extracts and isolated compounds was evaluated by protein denaturation inhibition, membrane stabilization, protease inhibition, and anti-lipoxygenase assays. In vivo anti-inflammatory activity of AE was estimated by assessment of rat paw oedema after carrageenan injection. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), certain inflammation markers (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1α, IL-1β, INFr, MCP-1MIP, RANTES, and Nox) levels and MPO activity in the paw edema exudates were measured. Total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was also determined. Histopathological alterations of paw tissues were scored. Results: All the tested extracts showed significant (p < 0.1) anti-inflammatory activities. The highest percentage of heat induced albumin denaturation (66%) was exhibited by the 50% ethanol (250 μg/ml). The 70 and 90% ethanol extracts (500 μg/ml) were more potent as membrane stabilizers (34.5 and 37%, respectively) than diclofenac (33%). The 80 and 90% ethanol extracts (500 μg/ml) showed maximum protease inhibition (56%). The strongest anti-lipoxygenase activity was observed for the AE. It showed more significant lipoxygenase inhibition activity than that of diclofenac (58% and 52%, respectively) at the same concentration (125 μg/ml). Fractionation of AE yielded four main fractions (Fr I-IV) which showed significant in vitro anti-inflammatory. Purification of Fr-III and IV led to the isolation of 6-poradol (G1), 6-shogaol (G2); methyl 6- gingerol (G3), 5-gingerol (G4), 6-gingerol (G5), 8-gingerol (G6), 10-gingerol (G7), and 1-dehydro-6-gingerol (G8). G2 (62.5 ug/ml), G1 (250 ug/ml), and G8 (250 ug/ml) exhibited potent anti-inflammatory activity in all studied assays, while G4 and G5 exhibited moderate activity. In vivo administration of AE ameliorated rat paw oedema in a dose-dependent manner. AE (at 200 mg/kg) showed significant reduction (60%) of PGE2 production. The AE at different doses (at 25-200 mg/kg) showed significant reduction in inflammatory markers except for IL-1α. AE (at 25 mg/kg) is superior to indomethacin in reduction of IL-1β. Treatment of animals with the AE (100, 200 mg/kg) or indomethacin (10 mg/kg) showed significant reduction in TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, and RANTES levels, and MPO activity by about (31, 57 and 32% ) (65, 60 and 57%) (27, 41 and 28%) (23, 32 and 23%) (66, 67 and 67%) respectively. AE at 100 and 200 mg/kg was equipotent to indomethacin in reduction of NOₓ level and in increasing the TAC. Histopathological examination revealed very few inflammatory cells infiltration and oedema after administration of AE (200 mg/kg) prior to carrageenan. Conclusion: Ginger anti-inflammatory activity is mediated by inhibiting macrophage and neutrophils activation as well as negatively affecting monocyte and leukocyte migration. Moreover, it produced dose-dependent decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and replenished the total antioxidant capacity. We strongly recommend future investigations of ginger in the potential signal transduction pathways.

Keywords: anti-lipoxygenase activity, inflammatory markers

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9 From Victim to Ethical Agent: Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol as Post-Traumatic Writing

Authors: Mona Salah El-Din Hassanein

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Faced with a sudden, unexpected, and overwhelming event, the individual's normal cognitive processing may cease to function, trapping the psyche in "speechless terror", while images, feelings and sensations are experienced with emotional intensity. Unable to master such situation, the individual becomes a trauma victim who will be susceptible to traumatic recollections like intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and repetitive re-living of the primal event in a way that blurs the distinction between past and present, and forecloses the future. Trauma is timeless, repetitious, and contagious; a trauma observer could fall prey to "secondary victimhood". Central to the process of healing the psychic wounds in the aftermath of trauma is verbalizing the traumatic experience (i.e., putting it into words) – an act which provides a chance for assimilation, testimony, and reevaluation. In light of this paradigm, this paper proposes a reading of Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol, written shortly after his release from prison, as a post-traumatic text which traces the disruptive effects of the traumatic experience of Wilde's imprisonment for homosexual offences and the ensuing reversal of fortune he endured. Post-traumatic writing demonstrates the process of "working through" a trauma which may lead to the possibility of ethical agency in the form of a "survivor mission". This paper draws on fundamental concepts and key insights in literary trauma theory which is characterized by interdisciplinarity, combining the perspectives of different fields like critical theory, psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, history, and social studies. Of particular relevance to this paper are the concepts of "vicarious traumatization" and "survivor mission", as The Ballad of Reading Gaol was written in response to Wilde's own prison trauma and the indirect traumatization he experienced as a result of witnessing the execution of a fellow prisoner whose story forms the narrative base of the poem. The Ballad displays Wilde's sense of mission which leads him to recognize the social as well as ethical implications of personal tragedy. Through a close textual analysis of The Ballad of Reading Gaol within the framework of literary trauma theory, the paper aims to: (a) demonstrate how the poem's thematic concerns, structure and rhetorical figures reflect the structure of trauma; (b) highlight Wilde's attempts to come to terms with the effects of the cataclysmic experience which transformed him into a social outcast; and (c) show how Wilde manages to transcend the victim status and assumes the role of ethical agent to voice a critique of the Victorian penal system and the standards of morality underlying the cruelties practiced against wrong doers and to solicit social action.

Keywords: ballad of reading of reading, post-traumatic writing, trauma theory, Wilde

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8 Influence of Urban Design on Pain and Disability in Women with Chronic Low Back Pain in Urban Cairo

Authors: Maha E. Ibrahim, Mona Abdel Aziz

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Background: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) in urban communities represents a challenge to healthcare systems worldwide. The traditional biomedical approach to back pain has been particularly inadequate. Failure of the biomedical model to explain the poor correlation between pain and disability on the one hand, and biological and physical factors that explain those symptoms on the other has led to the adoption of the biopsychosocial model, to recognize the reciprocal influence of physical, social and psychological factors implicated in CLBP, a condition that shows higher prevalence among women residing in urban areas. Urban design of the built community has been shown to exert a significant influence on physical and psychological health. However, little research has investigated the relationship between elements of the built environment, and the level of pain and disability of women with CLBP. As Egypt embarks on building a new capital city, and new settlements proliferate, better understanding of this relationship could greatly reduce the economic and human costs of this widespread medical problem for women. Methods: This study was designed as an exploratory mixed qualitative and quantitative study. Twenty-Six women with CLBP living in two neighborhoods in Cairo, different in their urban structure, but adjacent in their locations (Old Maadi and New Maadi) were interviewed using semi-structured interviews (8 from Old Maadi and 18 from New Maadi). Located in the South of Cairo, New Maadi is a neighborhood with the characteristic modern urban style (narrow streets and tall, adjacent buildings), while Old Maadi is known for being greener, quieter and more relaxed than the usual urban districts of Cairo. The interviews examined their perceptions of the built environment, including building shapes and colors and street light, as well as their sense of safety and comfort, and how it affects their physical and psychological health in general, and their back condition in particular. In addition, they were asked to rate their level of pain and to fill the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) to rate their level of disability and psychological status, respectively. Results: Women in both districts had moderate to severe pain and moderate disability with no significant differences between the two districts. However, those living in New Maadi had significantly worse scores on the GHQ-12 than those living in Old Maadi. Most women did not feel that specific elements of the built environment affected their back pain, however, they expressed distress of the elements that were ugly, distorted or damaged, especially where there were no ways of avoiding or fixing them. Furthermore, most women affirmed that the unsightly and uncomfortable elements of their neighborhoods affected their mood states and were a constant source of stress. Conclusion: This exploratory study concludes that elements of the urban built environment do not exert a direct effect on CLBP. However, the perception of women regarding these elements does affect their mood states, and their levels of stress, making them a possible indirect cause of increased suffering in these women.

Keywords: Disability, Built Environment, chronic back pain, urban Cairo

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7 Impact of Stress and Protein Malnutrition on the Potential Role of Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate in Providing Protection from Nephrotoxicity and Hepatotoxicity Induced by Aluminum in Rats

Authors: Azza A. Ali, Mona G. Khalil, Hemat A. Elariny, Shereen S. El Shaer

Abstract:

Background: Aluminium (Al) is very abundant metal in the earth’s crust. It is a constituent of cooking utensils, medicines, cosmetics, some foods and food additives. Salts of Al are widely used in the treatment of drinking water for purification purposes. Excessive and prolonged exposure to Al causes oxidative stress and impairment of many physiological functions. Its accumulation in liver and kidney causes hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Social isolation (SI) or Protein malnutrition (PM) also increases oxidative stress and may enhance the toxicity of Al as well as the degeneration in liver and kidney. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant catechin in green tea and has strong antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory activities and can protect against oxidative stress-induced degenerations. Objective: To study the influence of stress or PM on Al-induced nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity in rats, as well as on the potential role of EGCG in providing protection. Methods: Rats received daily AlCl3 (70 mg/kg, IP) for three weeks (Al-toxicity groups) except one normal control group received saline. Al-toxicity groups were divided into four treated and four untreated groups; treated rats received EGCG (10 mg/kg, IP) together with AlCl3. One group of both treated and untreated rats served as control for each of them, and the others were subjected to either stress (mild using isolation or high using electric shock) or to PM (10% casein diet). Specimens of liver and kidney were used for assessment of levels of inflammatory mediators as TNF-α, IL6β, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), oxidative stress (MDA, SOD, TAC, NO), Caspase-3 and for DNA fragmentation as well as for histopathological examinations. Biochemical changes were also measured in the serum as total lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, proteins, bilirubin, creatinine and urea as well as the level of Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and lactate deshydrogenase (LDH). Results: Nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity induced by Al were enhanced in rats exposed to stress and to PM. The influence of stress was more pronounced than PM. Al-toxicity was indicated by the increase in liver and kidney MDA, NO, TNF-α, IL-6β, NF-κB, caspase-3, DNA fragmentation and in ALT, AST, ALP, LDH and total lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, proteins, bilirubin, creatinine and urea levels, together with the decrease in total proteins, SOD, TAC. EGCG provided protection against hazards of Al as indicated by the decrease in MDA, NO, TNF-α, IL-6β, NF-κB, caspase-3 and DNA fragmentation as well as in levels of ALT, AST, ALP, LDH and total lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, proteins, bilirubin, creatinine and urea in liver and kidney, together with the increase in total proteins, SOD, TAC and confirmed by histopathological examinations. It provided more pronounced protection in high stressful conditions than in mild one than in PM. Conclusion: Stress have a bad impact on Al-induced nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity more than PM. Thus it can clarify and maximize the role of EGCG in providing protection. Consequently, administration of EGCG is advised with excessive Al-exposure to avoid nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity especially in populations more subjected to stress or PM.

Keywords: rats, stress, Aluminum, nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, protein malnutrition, epigallocatechin-3-gallate

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6 Optical Vortex in Asymmetric Arcs of Rotating Intensity

Authors: Mona Mihailescu, Rebeca Tudor, Irina A. Paun, Cristian Kusko, Eugen I. Scarlat, Mihai Kusko

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Specific intensity distributions in the laser beams are required in many fields: optical communications, material processing, microscopy, optical tweezers. In optical communications, the information embedded in specific beams and the superposition of multiple beams can be used to increase the capacity of the communication channels, employing spatial modulation as an additional degree of freedom, besides already available polarization and wavelength multiplexing. In this regard, optical vortices present interest due to their potential to carry independent data which can be multiplexed at the transmitter and demultiplexed at the receiver. Also, in the literature were studied their combinations: 1) axial or perpendicular superposition of multiple optical vortices or 2) with other laser beam types: Bessel, Airy. Optical vortices, characterized by stationary ring-shape intensity and rotating phase, are achieved using computer generated holograms (CGH) obtained by simulating the interference between a tilted plane wave and a wave passing through a helical phase object. Here, we propose a method to combine information through the reunion of two CGHs. One is obtained using the helical phase distribution, characterized by its topological charge, m. The other is obtained using conical phase distribution, characterized by its radial factor, r0. Each CGH is obtained using plane wave with different tilts: km and kr for CGH generated from helical phase object and from conical phase object, respectively. These reunions of two CGHs are calculated to be phase optical elements, addressed on the liquid crystal display of a spatial light modulator, to optically process the incident beam for investigations of the diffracted intensity pattern in far field. For parallel reunion of two CGHs and high values of the ratio between km and kr, the bright ring from the first diffraction order, specific for optical vortices, is changed in an asymmetric intensity pattern: a number of circle arcs. Both diffraction orders (+1 and -1) are asymmetrical relative to each other. In different planes along the optical axis, it is observed that this asymmetric intensity pattern rotates around its centre: in the +1 diffraction order the rotation is anticlockwise and in the -1 diffraction order, the rotation is clockwise. The relation between m and r0 controls the diameter of the circle arcs and the ratio between km and kr controls the number of arcs. For perpendicular reunion of the two CGHs and low values of the ratio between km and kr, the optical vortices are multiplied and focalized in different planes, depending on the radial parameter. The first diffraction order contains information about both phase objects. It is incident on the phase masks placed at the receiver, computed using the opposite values for topological charge or for the radial parameter and displayed successively. In all, the proposed method is exploited in terms of constructive parameters, for the possibility offered by the combination of different types of beams which can be used in robust optical communications.

Keywords: Computer Generated Holograms, asymmetrical diffraction orders, conical phase distribution, optical vortices, spatial light modulator

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5 WhatsApp as a Public Health Management Tool in India

Authors: Drishti Sharma, Mona Duggal

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Background: WhatsApp can serve as a cost-effective, scalable, convenient, and popular medium for public health management related communication in the developing world where the existing system of communication is top-down and slow. The product supports sending and receiving a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice/video calls. With growing number of users of smartphones and improving access and penetration of internet, the scope of information technology remains immense in resolving the hurdles faced by traditional public health system. Poor infrastructure, gap in digital literacy, faulty documentation, strict organizational hierarchy and slow movement of information across desks and offices- all these, make WhatsApp an efficient prospect to complement the existing system for communication, feedback and leadership for public health system in India. Objective: This study investigates the benefits, challenges and limitations associated with WhatsApp usage as a public health management tool. Methods: The study was conducted within the Chandigarh Union Territory. We used a qualitative approach and conducted individual semi-structured interviews and group interviews (n = 10). Participants included medical officers (n 20), Program managers (n = 4), academicians (n=2) and administrators (n=2). Thematic and content qualitative analyses were conducted. Message log of the WhatsApp group of one of the health program was assessed. Results: Medical Officers said that WhatsApp helped them remain in touch with the program officer. They could easily give feedback and highlight those challenges which needed immediate intervention from the program managers, hence they felt supported. Also, the application helped them share pictures of their activities (meetings and field activities) with the group which they thought inspired others and gave themselves immense satisfaction. Also, it helped build stronger relationships and better coordination among themselves, the same being important in team events. For program managers, it had become a portal for coordinating large scale campaigns. Its reach and the fact that the feedback is real-time make WhatsApp ideal for district level events. Though the easy informal connectivity made them answerable to their staff but it also provided them with flexibility in operations. It turned out to be an important portal for sharing outcome and goals related feedback (both positive and negative) to the team. To be sure, using WhatsApp for the purpose of public health program presents considerable challenges, including technological barriers, organizational challenges, gender issues, confidentiality concerns and unplanned aftereffects. Nevertheless, its advantages in a low-cost setting make it an efficient alternative. Conclusion: WhatsApp has become an integral part of our lives. Use of this app for public health program management within closed groups looks promising and useful. At the same time, addressing the challenges involved would make its usage safer.

Keywords: Communication, Public Health Management, Mobile Technology, WhatsApp

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4 Business Intelligence Dashboard Solutions for Improving Decision Making Process: A Focus on Prostate Cancer

Authors: Mona Isazad Mashinchi, Davood Roshan Sangachin, Francis J. Sullivan, Dietrich Rebholz-Schuhmann

Abstract:

Background: Decision-making processes are nowadays driven by data, data analytics and Business Intelligence (BI). BI as a software platform can provide a wide variety of capabilities such as organization memory, information integration, insight creation and presentation capabilities. Visualizing data through dashboards is one of the BI solutions (for a variety of areas) which helps managers in the decision making processes to expose the most informative information at a glance. In the healthcare domain to date, dashboard presentations are more frequently used to track performance related metrics and less frequently used to monitor those quality parameters which relate directly to patient outcomes. Providing effective and timely care for patients and improving the health outcome are highly dependent on presenting and visualizing data and information. Objective: In this research, the focus is on the presentation capabilities of BI to design a dashboard for prostate cancer (PC) data that allows better decision making for the patients, the hospital and the healthcare system related to a cancer dataset. The aim of this research is to customize a retrospective PC dataset in a dashboard interface to give a better understanding of data in the categories (risk factors, treatment approaches, disease control and side effects) which matter most to patients as well as other stakeholders. By presenting the outcome in the dashboard we address one of the major targets of a value-based health care (VBHC) delivery model which is measuring the value and presenting the outcome to different actors in HC industry (such as patients and doctors) for a better decision making. Method: For visualizing the stored data to users, three interactive dashboards based on the PC dataset have been developed (using the Tableau Software) to provide better views to the risk factors, treatment approaches, and side effects. Results: Many benefits derived from interactive graphs and tables in dashboards which helped to easily visualize and see the patients at risk, better understanding the relationship between patient's status after treatment and their initial status before treatment, or to choose better decision about treatments with fewer side effects regarding patient status and etc. Conclusions: Building a well-designed and informative dashboard is related to three important factors including; the users, goals and the data types. Dashboard's hierarchies, drilling, and graphical features can guide doctors to better navigate through information. The features of the interactive PC dashboard not only let doctors ask specific questions and filter the results based on the key performance indicators (KPI) such as: Gleason Grade, Patient's Age and Status, but may also help patients to better understand different treatment outcomes, such as side effects during the time, and have an active role in their treatment decisions. Currently, we are extending the results to the real-time interactive dashboard that users (either patients and doctors) can easily explore the data by choosing preferred attribute and data to make better near real-time decisions.

Keywords: Business Intelligence, Decision Making, Healthcare, Prostate Cancer, dashboard, value-based healthcare

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3 Participation of Titanium Influencing the Petrological Assemblage of Mafic Dyke: Salem, South India

Authors: Ayoti Banerjee, Meenakshi Banerjee

Abstract:

The study of metamorphic reaction textures is important in contributing to our understanding of the evolution of metamorphic terranes. Where preserved, they provide information on changes in the P-T conditions during the metamorphic history of the rock, and thus allow us to speculate on the P-T-t evolution of the terrane. Mafic dykes have attracted the attention of petrologists because they act as window to mantle. This rock represents a mafic dyke of doleritic composition. It is fine to medium grained in which clinopyroxene are enclosed by the lath shaped plagioclase grains to form spectacular ophitic texture. At places, sub ophitic texture was also observed. Grains of pyroxene and plagioclase show very less deformation typically plagioclase showing deformed lamella along with plagioclase-clinopyroxene-phyric granoblastic fabric within a groundmass of feldspar microphenocrysts and Fe–Ti oxides. Both normal and reverse zoning were noted in the plagioclase laths. The clinopyroxene grains contain exsolved phases such as orthopyroxene, plagioclase, magnetite, ilmenite along the cleavage traces and the orthopyroxene lamella form granules in the periphery of the clinopyroxene grains. Garnet corona also develops preferentially around plagioclase at the contact of clinopyroxene, ilmenite or magnetite. Tiny quartz and K-fs grains showed symplectic intergrowth with garnet at a few places. The product quartz formed along with garnet rims the coronal garnet and the reacting clinopyroxene. Thin amphibole corona formed along the periphery of deformed plagioclase and clinopyroxene occur as patches over the magmatic minerals. The amphibole coronas cannot be assigned to a late magmatic stage and are interpreted as reactive being restricted to the contact between clinopyroxene and plagioclase, thus postdating the crystallization of both. The amphibole and garnet do not share grain boundary in the entire rock and is thus pointing towards simultaneous crystallization. Olivine is absent. Spectacular myrmekitic growth of orthoclase and quartz rimming the plagioclase is consistent with the potash metasomatic effects that is also found in other rocks of this region. These textural features are consistent with a phase of fluid induced metamorphism (retrogression). But the appearance of coronal garnet and amphibole exclusive of each other reflects the participation if Ti as the prime reason. Presence of Ti as a reactant phase is a must for amphibole forming reactions whereas it is not so in case of garnet forming reactions although the reactants are the same plagioclase and clinopyroxene in both cases. These findings are well validated by petrographical and textural analysis. In order to obtain balanced chemical reactions that explain formation of amphibole and garnet in the mafic dyke rocks a matrix operation technique called Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) was adopted utilizing the measured chemical compositions of the minerals. The computer program C-Space was used for this purpose and the required compositional matrix. Data fed to C-Space was after doing cation-calculation of the oxide percentages obtained from EPMA analysis. The Garnet-Clinopyroxene geothermometer yielded a temperature of 650 degrees Celsius. The Garnet-Clinopyroxene-Plagioclase geobarometer and Al-in amphibole yielded roughly 7.5 kbar pressure.

Keywords: corona, dolerite, geothermometer, metasomatism, metamorphic reaction texture, retrogression

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2 Comparative Study on the Influence of Different Drugs against Aluminium- Induced Nephrotoxicity and Hepatotoxicity in Rats

Authors: Azza A. Ali, Toqa M. Elnahhas, Abeer I. Abd El-Fattah, Mona M. Kamal, Karema Abu-Elfotuh

Abstract:

Background: Environmental pollution with the different aluminium (Al) containing compounds especially those in industrial waste water exposes people to higher than normal levels of Al that represents an environmental risk factor. Cosmetics, Al ware, and containers are also sources of Al besides some foods and food additives. In addition to its known neurotoxicity, Al affects other body structures like skeletal system, blood cells, liver and kidney. Accumulation of Al in kidney and liver induces nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a pseudo-vitamin substance primarily present in the mitochondria. It is a powerful antioxidant and acts as radical scavenger. Wheat grass is a natural product that contains carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and cardiovascular protection activities. Cocoa is an excellent source of iron, potent antioxidants and can protect against many diseases. Vinpocetine is an antioxidant and anti inflammatory while zinc is an essential trace element involved in cell division and its deficiency is observed in many types of liver disease. Objective: To evaluate and compare the potency of different drugs (CoQ10, wheatgrass, cocoa, vinpocetine and zinc) against nephro- and hepato-toxicity induced by Al in rats. Methods: Rats were divided to seven groups and received daily for three weeks either saline for control group or AlCl3 (70 mg/kg, IP) for Al-toxicity model groups. Five groups of Al-toxicity model (treated groups) were orally received together with Al each of the following; CoQ10 (200mg/kg), wheat grass (100mg/kg), cocoa powder (24mg/kg), vinpocetine (20mg/kg) or zinc (32mg/kg). Biochemical changes in the serum level of Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), lactate deshydrogenase (LDH) as well as total bilirubin, lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, proteins, creatinine and urea were measured. Liver and kidney specimens from all groups were also collected for the assessment of hepatic and nephrotic level of inflammatory mediators (TNF-α, IL-6β, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), Caspase-3, oxidative parameters (MDA, SOD, TAC, NO) and DNA fragmentation. Histopathological changes in liver and kidney were also evaluated. Results: Three weeks of AlCl3 (70 mg/kg, IP) exposure induced nephro- and hepato-toxicity in rats. Treatment by the all used drugs showed protection against hazards of AlCl3. The protective effects were indicated by the significant decrease in ALT, AST, ALP, LDH as well as total bilirubin, lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, creatinine and urea levels which were increased by Al. Liver and kidney of the treated groups showed decrease in MDA, NO, TNF-α, IL-6β, NF-κB, caspase-3 and DNA fragmentation which were increased by Al, together with significant increase in total proteins, SOD and TAC which were decreased by Al. The protection against both nephro- and hepato-toxicity was more pronounced especially with CoQ10 and wheat grass than the other used drugs. Histopathological examinations confirmed the biochemical results of toxicity and of protection. Conclusion: Protection from nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity and the consequent degenerations induced by Al can be achieved by using different drugs as CoQ10, wheatgrass, cocoa, vinpocetine and zinc, but CoQ10 as well as wheat grass possesses the most superior protection.

Keywords: Aluminum, nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, zinc, coenzyme Q10, cocoa, wheatgrass, vinpocetine

Procedia PDF Downloads 181
1 Microfabrication and Non-Invasive Imaging of Porous Osteogenic Structures Using Laser-Assisted Technologies

Authors: Irina Alexandra Paun, Mona Mihailescu, Marian Zamfirescu, Catalin Romeo Luculescu, Adriana Maria Acasandrei, Cosmin Catalin Mustaciosu, Roxana Cristina Popescu, Maria Dinescu

Abstract:

A major concern in bone tissue engineering is to develop complex 3D architectures that mimic the natural cells environment, facilitate the cells growth in a defined manner and allow the flow transport of nutrients and metabolic waste. In particular, porous structures of controlled pore size and positioning are indispensable for growing human-like bone structures. Another concern is to monitor both the structures and the seeded cells with high spatial resolution and without interfering with the cells natural environment. The present approach relies on laser-based technologies employed for fabricating porous biomimetic structures that support the growth of osteoblast-like cells and for their non-invasive 3D imaging. Specifically, the porous structures were built by two photon polymerization –direct writing (2PP_DW) of the commercially available photoresists IL-L780, using the Photonic Professional 3D lithography system. The structures consist of vertical tubes with micrometer-sized heights and diameters, in a honeycomb-like spatial arrangement. These were fabricated by irradiating the IP-L780 photoresist with focused laser pulses with wavelength centered at 780 nm, 120 fs pulse duration and 80 MHz repetition rate. The samples were precisely scanned in 3D by piezo stages. The coarse positioning was done by XY motorized stages. The scanning path was programmed through a writing language (GWL) script developed by Nanoscribe. Following laser irradiation, the unexposed regions of the photoresist were washed out by immersing the samples in the Propylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether Acetate (PGMEA). The porous structures were seeded with osteoblast like MG-63 cells and their osteogenic potential was tested in vitro. The cell-seeded structures were analyzed in 3D using the digital holographic microscopy technique (DHM). DHM is a marker free and high spatial resolution imaging tool, where the hologram acquisition is performed non-invasively i.e. without interfering with the cells natural environment. Following hologram recording, a digital algorithm provided a 3D image of the sample, as well as information about its refractive index, which is correlated with the intracellular content. The axial resolution of the images went down to the nanoscale, while the temporal scales ranged from milliseconds up to hours. The hologram did not involve sample scanning and the whole image was available in one frame recorded going over 200μm field of view. The digital holograms processing provided 3D quantitative information on the porous structures and allowed a quantitative analysis of the cellular response in respect to the porous architectures. The cellular shape and dimensions were found to be influenced by the underlying micro relief. Furthermore, the intracellular content gave evidence on the beneficial role of the porous structures in promoting osteoblast differentiation. In all, the proposed laser-based protocol emerges as a promising tool for the fabrication and non-invasive imaging of porous constructs for bone tissue engineering. Acknowledgments: This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS-UEFISCDI, project PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-2534 (contract 97 from 01/10/2015) and by UEFISCDI PN-II-PT-PCCA no. 6/2012. A part of this work was performed in the CETAL laser facility, supported by the National Program PN 16 47 - LAPLAS IV.

Keywords: laser, Biomimetic, Holography, osteoblast, two photon polymerization

Procedia PDF Downloads 173