Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 34

Search results for: Pawel Wolkow

34 Association of Nuclear – Mitochondrial Epistasis with BMI in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Patients

Authors: Agnieszka H. Ludwig-Slomczynska, Michal T. Seweryn, Przemyslaw Kapusta, Ewelina Pitera, Katarzyna Cyganek, Urszula Mantaj, Lucja Dobrucka, Ewa Wender-Ozegowska, Maciej T. Malecki, Pawel Wolkow

Abstract:

Obesity results from an imbalance between energy intake and its expenditure. Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) analyses have led to discovery of only about 100 variants influencing body mass index (BMI), which explain only a small portion of genetic variability. Analysis of gene epistasis gives a chance to discover another part. Since it was shown that interaction and communication between nuclear and mitochondrial genome are indispensable for normal cell function, we have looked for epistatic interactions between the two genomes to find their correlation with BMI. Methods: The analysis was performed on 366 T1DM patients using Illumina Infinium OmniExpressExome-8 chip and followed by imputation on Michigan Imputation Server. Only genes which influence mitochondrial functioning (listed in Human MitoCarta 2.0) were included in the analysis – variants of nuclear origin (MAF > 5%) in 1140 genes and 42 mitochondrial variants (MAF > 1%). Gene expression analysis was performed on GTex data. Association analysis between genetic variants and BMI was performed with the use of Linear Mixed Models as implemented in the package 'GENESIS' in R. Analysis of association between mRNA expression and BMI was performed with the use of linear models and standard significance tests in R. Results: Among variants involved in epistasis between mitochondria and nucleus we have identified one in mitochondrial transcription factor, TFB2M (rs6701836). It interacted with mitochondrial variants localized to MT-RNR1 (p=0.0004, MAF=15%), MT-ND2 (p=0.07, MAF=5%) and MT-ND4 (p=0.01, MAF=1.1%). Analysis of the interaction between nuclear variant rs6701836 (nuc) and rs3021088 localized to MT-ND2 mitochondrial gene (mito) has shown that the combination of the two led to BMI decrease (p=0.024). Each of the variants on its own does not correlate with higher BMI [p(nuc)=0.856, p(mito)=0.116)]. Although rs6701836 is intronic, it influences gene expression in the thyroid (p=0.000037). rs3021088 is a missense variant that leads to alanine to threonine substitution in the MT-ND2 gene which belongs to complex I of the electron transport chain. The analysis of the influence of genetic variants on gene expression has confirmed the trend explained above – the interaction of the two genes leads to BMI decrease (p=0.0308). Each of the mRNAs on its own is associated with higher BMI (p(mito)=0.0244 and p(nuc)=0.0269). Conclusıons: Our results show that nuclear-mitochondrial epistasis can influence BMI in T1DM patients. The correlation between transcription factor expression and mitochondrial genetic variants will be subject to further analysis.

Keywords: body mass index, epistasis, mitochondria, type 1 diabetes

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33 Designing an Exhaust Gas Energy Recovery Module Following Measurements Performed under Real Operating Conditions

Authors: Jerzy Merkisz, Pawel Fuc, Piotr Lijewski, Andrzej Ziolkowski, Pawel Czarkowski

Abstract:

The paper presents preliminary results of the development of an automotive exhaust gas energy recovery module. The aim of the performed analyses was to select the geometry of the heat exchanger that would ensure the highest possible transfer of heat at minimum heat flow losses. The starting point for the analyses was a straight portion of a pipe, from which the exhaust system of the tested vehicle was made. The design of the heat exchanger had a cylindrical cross-section, was 300 mm long and was fitted with a diffuser and a confusor. The model works were performed for the mentioned geometry utilizing the finite volume method based on the Ansys CFX v12.1 and v14 software. This method consisted in dividing of the system into small control volumes for which the exhaust gas velocity and pressure calculations were performed using the Navier-Stockes equations. The heat exchange in the system was modeled based on the enthalpy balance. The temperature growth resulting from the acting viscosity was not taken into account. The heat transfer on the fluid/solid boundary in the wall layer with the turbulent flow was done based on an arbitrarily adopted dimensionless temperature. The boundary conditions adopted in the analyses included the convective condition of heat transfer on the outer surface of the heat exchanger and the mass flow and temperature of the exhaust gas at the inlet. The mass flow and temperature of the exhaust gas were assumed based on the measurements performed in actual traffic using portable PEMS analyzers. The research object was a passenger vehicle fitted with a 1.9 dm3 85 kW diesel engine. The tests were performed in city traffic conditions.

Keywords: waste heat recovery, heat exchanger, CFD simulation, pems

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32 Numerical Simulations for Nitrogen Flow in Piezoelectric Valve

Authors: Pawel Flaszynski, Piotr Doerffer, Jan Holnicki-Szulc, Grzegorz Mikulowski

Abstract:

Results of numerical simulations for transonic flow in a piezoelectric valve are presented. The valve is the main part of an adaptive pneumatic shock absorber. Flow structure in the valve domain and the influence of the flow non-uniformity in the valve on a mass flow rate is investigated. Numerical simulation results are compared with experimental data.

Keywords: pneumatic valve, transonic flow, numerical simulations, piezoelectric valve

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31 Innovative Power Engineering in a Selected Rural Commune

Authors: Pawel Sowa, Joachim Bargiel

Abstract:

This paper presents modern solutions of distributed generation in rural communities aiming at the improvement of energy and environmental security, as well as power supply reliability to important customers (e.g. health care, sensitive consumer required continuity). Distributed sources are mainly gas and biogas cogeneration units, as well as wind and photovoltaic sources. Some examples of their applications in a selected Silesian community are given.

Keywords: energy security, mini energy centres , power engineering, power supply reliability

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30 Leading People in a Digital Era: A Theoretical Study of Challenges and Opportunities of Online Networking Platforms

Authors: Pawel Korzynski

Abstract:

Times where leaders communicate mainly while walking along the hallways have passed away. Currently, millennials, people that were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, extensively use applications based on Web 2.0 model that assumes content creation and edition by all Internet users in a collaborative fashion. Leaders who are willing to engage their subordinates in a digital era, increasingly often use above-mentioned applications. This paper discusses challenges and opportunities that are related to leaders’ online networking. First, online networking-related terms that appeared in literature are analyzed. Then, types of online networking platforms for leaders and ways how these platforms can be used are discussed. Finally, several trends in online networking studies and extrapolation of some findings to leadership are explained.

Keywords: social media, digital era, leadership, online networking

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29 Assessment of Exhaust Emissions and Fuel Consumption from Means of Transport in Agriculture

Authors: Jerzy Merkisz, Piotr Lijewski, Pawel Fuc, Maciej Siedlecki, Andrzej Ziolkowski, Sylwester Weymann

Abstract:

The paper discusses the problem of load transport using farm tractors and road tractor units. This type of carriage of goods is often done with farm vehicles. The tests were performed with the PEMS equipment (Portable Emission Measurement System) under actual traffic conditions. The vehicles carried a load of 20000 kg. This research method is one of the most desired because it provides reliable information on the actual vehicle emissions and fuel consumption (carbon balance method). For the tests, a route was selected that simulated a trip from a small town to a food-processing facility located in a city. The analysis of the obtained results gave a clear answer as to what vehicles need to be used for the carriage of this type of cargo in terms of exhaust emissions and fuel consumption.

Keywords: emission, transport, fuel consumption, PEMS

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28 Application of Terminal Sliding Mode Control to the Stabilization of the Indoor Temperature in Buildings

Authors: Pawel Skruch, Marek Dlugosz

Abstract:

The paper starts with a general model of the temperature dynamics in buildings. The modelling approach relies on thermodynamics, in particular heat transfer, principles. The model considers heat loses by conduction and ventilation and internal heat gains. The parameters of the model can be determined uniquely from the geometry of the building and from thermal properties of construction materials. The model is presented using state space notation and this form is used in the control design procedure. A sliding surface is defined by the system output and the desired trajectory. The control law is designed to force the trajectory of the system from any initial condition to the sliding surface in finite time. The trajectory of the system after reaching the sliding surface remains on it. A simulation example is included to verify the approach and to demonstrate the achievable performance improvement by the proposed solution in the temperature control in buildings.

Keywords: modelling, building, temperature dynamics, sliding-mode control, sliding surface

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27 Technical and Economic Environment in the Polish Power System as the Basis for Distributed Generation and Renewable Energy Sources Development

Authors: Pawel Sowa, Joachim Bargiel, Bogdan Mol, Katarzyna Luszcz

Abstract:

The article raises the issue of the development of local renewable energy sources and the production of distributed energy in context of improving the reliability of the Polish Power System and the beneficial impact on local and national energy security. The paper refers to the current problems of local governments in the process of investment in the area of distributed energy projects, and discusses the issues of the future role and cooperation within the local power plants and distributed energy. Attention is paid to the local communities the chance to raise their own resources and management of energy fuels (biomass, wind, gas mining) and improving the local energy balance. The material presented takes the issue of the development of the energy potential of municipalities and future cooperation with professional energy. As an example, practical solutions used in one of the communes in Silesia.

Keywords: distributed generation, mini centers energy, renewable energy sources, reliability of supply of rural commune

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26 Permanent Magnet Generator – One Phase Regime Operation

Authors: Pawel Pistelok

Abstract:

The article presents the concept of an electromagnetic circuit of a 3-phase surface-mounted permanent magnet generator designed for a single phase operation. A cross section of electromagnetic circuit and a field-circuit model of generator used for computations are shown. The paper presents comparative analysis of simulation results obtained for two different versions of generator regarding construction of armature winding. In the first version of generator the voltages generated in each of three winding phases have different rms values (different number of turns in each of phases), three winding phases are connected in series and one phase load is connected to the two output terminals of generator. The second version of generator is very similar, i.e. three winding phases are connected in series and one phase load is powered by generator, but in this version the voltages generated in each of winding phases have exactly the same rms values (the same number of turns in each of phases). The time waveforms of voltages, currents and electromagnetic torques in the airgaps of two machine versions for rated power are shown.

Keywords: permanent magnet generator, permanent magnets, synchronous generator, vibration, course of torque, single phase work, unsymmetrical operation point, serial connection of winding phase

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25 Portfolio Selection with Active Risk Monitoring

Authors: Marc S. Paolella, Pawel Polak

Abstract:

The paper proposes a framework for large-scale portfolio optimization which accounts for all the major stylized facts of multivariate financial returns, including volatility clustering, dynamics in the dependency structure, asymmetry, heavy tails, and non-ellipticity. It introduces a so-called risk fear portfolio strategy which combines portfolio optimization with active risk monitoring. The former selects optimal portfolio weights. The latter, independently, initiates market exit in case of excessive risks. The strategy agrees with the stylized fact of stock market major sell-offs during the initial stage of market downturns. The advantages of the new framework are illustrated with an extensive empirical study. It leads to superior multivariate density and Value-at-Risk forecasting, and better portfolio performance. The proposed risk fear portfolio strategy outperforms various competing types of optimal portfolios, even in the presence of conservative transaction costs and frequent rebalancing. The risk monitoring of the optimal portfolio can serve as an early warning system against large market risks. In particular, the new strategy avoids all the losses during the 2008 financial crisis, and it profits from the subsequent market recovery.

Keywords: comfort, financial crises, portfolio optimization, risk monitoring

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24 Surface Roughness Formed during Hybrid Turning of Inconel Alloy

Authors: Pawel Twardowski, Tadeusz Chwalczuk, Szymon Wojciechowski

Abstract:

Inconel 718 is a material characterized by the unique mechanical properties, high temperature strength, high thermal conductivity and the corrosion resistance. However, these features affect the low machinability of this material, which is usually manifested by the intense tool wear and low surface finish. Therefore, this paper is focused on the evaluation of surface roughness during hybrid machining of Inconel 718. The primary aim of the study was to determine the relations between the vibrations generated during hybrid turning and the formed surface roughness. Moreover, the comparison of tested machining techniques in terms of vibrations, tool wear and surface roughness has been made. The conducted tests included the face turning of Inconel 718 with laser assistance in the range of variable cutting speeds. The surface roughness was inspected with the application of stylus profile meter and accelerations of vibrations were measured with the use of three-component piezoelectric accelerometer. The carried out research shows that application of laser assisted machining can contribute to the reduction of surface roughness and cutting vibrations, in comparison to conventional turning. Moreover, the obtained results enable the selection of effective cutting speed allowing the improvement of surface finish and cutting dynamics.

Keywords: hybrid machining, nickel alloys, surface roughness, turning, vibrations

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23 Microstructure of Ti – AlN Composite Produced by Selective Laser Melting

Authors: Jaroslaw Mizera, Pawel Wisniewski, Ryszard Sitek

Abstract:

Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is an advanced additive manufacturing technique used for producing parts made of wide range of materials such as: austenitic steel, titanium, nickel etc. In the our experiment we produced a Ti-AlN composite from a mixture of titanium and aluminum nitride respectively 70% at. and 30% at. using SLM technique. In order to define the size of powder particles, laser diffraction tests were performed on HORIBA LA-950 device. The microstructure and chemical composition of the composite was examined by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The chemical composition in micro areas of the obtained samples was determined by of EDS. The phase composition was analyzed by X-ray phase analysis (XRD). Microhardness Vickers tests were performed using Zwick/Roell microhardness machine under the load of 0.2kG (HV0.2). Hardness measurements were made along the building (xy) and along the plane of the lateral side of the cuboid (xz). The powder used for manufacturing of the samples had a mean particle size of 41μm. It was homogenous with a spherical shape. The specimens were built chiefly from Ti, TiN and AlN. The dendritic microstructure was porous and fine-grained. Some of the aluminum nitride remained unmelted but no porosity was observed in the interface. The formed material was characterized by high hardness exceeding 700 HV0.2 over the entire cross-section.

Keywords: Selective Laser Melting, Composite, SEM, microhardness

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22 Improved Postprandial Response and Feeling of Satiety After Consumption of Sour Cherry Pomace Enriched Muffins

Authors: Joanna Bajerska, Sylwia Mildner-Szkudlarz, Pawel Górnas, Dalija Segliņac

Abstract:

Sour cherry pomace (CP) by-products obtained during fruit processing, was used to replace the wheat flour in muffin formula on the levels 20% (CP20) and 30% (CP30). The sensory profile of this muffins were characterized, and their impact on glycemic response and appetite sensation were studied. Randomized crossover study where test subjects were given either plain muffin (PM) or CP20 or CP30 during 2 different occasions. In the first study test muffins with equivalent of 50 g available carbohydrate were consumed. Blood glucose was measured before and up to 120 min after consuming the test muffins. To study satiety response in the second trial of the test muffins (portion 1700 kJ per serve) were ingested. Sensory analysis was performed earlier by a sensory panel consisting of 10 well-trained individuals. It is acceptable to incorporate CP into a muffin formula at concentrations up to 30%. With the CP muffins treatment, the glucose responses were significantly lower at 30, 45 and 60 min of the intervals also the incremental peak glucose was 0.40 mmol/L and 0.60 mmol/L lower than for PM. CP20 and CP30 also improved satiety as compared to PM. CP can be a good functional ingredient of functional bakery products to assist in managing glucose levels and satiety in healthy individuals.

Keywords: muffins, postprandial glucose, sensory analysis, satiety sour cherry pomace

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21 An Approach for Vocal Register Recognition Based on Spectral Analysis of Singing

Authors: Aleksandra Zysk, Pawel Badura

Abstract:

Recognizing and controlling vocal registers during singing is a difficult task for beginner vocalist. It requires among others identifying which part of natural resonators is being used when a sound propagates through the body. Thus, an application has been designed allowing for sound recording, automatic vocal register recognition (VRR), and a graphical user interface providing real-time visualization of the signal and recognition results. Six spectral features are determined for each time frame and passed to the support vector machine classifier yielding a binary decision on the head or chest register assignment of the segment. The classification training and testing data have been recorded by ten professional female singers (soprano, aged 19-29) performing sounds for both chest and head register. The classification accuracy exceeded 93% in each of various validation schemes. Apart from a hard two-class clustering, the support vector classifier returns also information on the distance between particular feature vector and the discrimination hyperplane in a feature space. Such an information reflects the level of certainty of the vocal register classification in a fuzzy way. Thus, the designed recognition and training application is able to assess and visualize the continuous trend in singing in a user-friendly graphical mode providing an easy way to control the vocal emission.

Keywords: classification, singing, spectral analysis, vocal emission, vocal register

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20 Verification of the Necessity of Maintenance Anesthesia with Isoflurane after Induction with Tiletamine-Zolazepam in Dogs Using the Dixon's up-and-down Method

Authors: Sonia Lachowska, Agnieszka Antonczyk, Joanna Tunikowska, Pawel Kucharski, Bartlomiej Liszka

Abstract:

Isoflurane is one of the most commonly used anaesthetic gases in veterinary medicine. Due to its numerous side effects, intravenous anaesthesia is more often used. The combination of tiletamine with zolazepam has proved to be a safe and pharmacologically beneficial combination. Analgesic effect, fast induction time, effective myorelaxation, and smooth recovery are the main advantages of this combination of drugs. In the following study, the authors verified the necessity of isoflurane to maintain anaesthesia in dogs after the use of tiletamine-zolazepam for induction. 12 dogs were selected to the group with the inclusion criteria: ASA (American Society of Anaesthesiology) I or II. Each dog received premedication intramuscularly with medetomidine-butorfanol (10 μg/kg, 0,1 mg/kg respectively). 15 minutes from premedication, preoxygenation lasting 5 minutes was started. Anaesthesia was induced with tiletamine-zolazepam at the dose of 5 mg/kg. Then the dogs were intubated and anaesthesia was maintained with isoflurane. Initially, MAC (Minimum Alveolar Concentration) was set to 0.7 vol.%. After 15 minutes equilibration, MAC was determined using Dixon’s up-and-down method. Painful stimulation including compressions of paw pad, phalange, groin area, and clamping Backhaus on skin. Hemodynamic and ventilation parameters were measured and noted in 2 minutes intervals. In this method, the positive or negative response to the noxious stimulus is estimated and then used to determine the concentration of isoflurane for next patient. The response is only assessed once in each patient. The results show that isoflurane is not necessary to maintain anaesthesia after tiletamine-zolazepam induction. This is clinically important because the side effects resulting from using isoflurane are eliminated.

Keywords: anaesthesia, dog, Isoflurane, The Dixon's up-and-down method, Tiletamine, Zolazepam

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19 Computational Fluid Dynamics Model of Various Types of Rocket Engine Nozzles

Authors: Konrad Pietrykowski, Michal Bialy, Pawel Karpinski, Radoslaw Maczka

Abstract:

The nozzle is an element of the rocket engine in which the conversion of the potential energy of gases generated during combustion into the kinetic energy of the gas stream takes place. The design parameters of the nozzle have a decisive influence on the ballistic characteristics of the engine. Designing a nozzle assembly is, therefore, one of the most responsible stages in developing a rocket engine design. The paper presents the results of the simulation of three types of rocket propulsion nozzles. Calculations were made using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) in ANSYS Fluent software. The next types of nozzles differ in shape. The analysis was made of a conical nozzle, a bell type nozzle with a conical supersonic part and a bell type nozzle. Calculation results are presented in the form of pressure, velocity and kinetic energy distributions of turbulence in the longitudinal section. The courses of these values along the nozzles are also presented. The results show that the cone nozzle generates strong turbulence in the critical section. Which negatively affect the flow of the working medium. In the case of a bell nozzle, the transformation of the wall caused the elimination of flow disturbances in the critical section. This reduces the probability of waves forming before or after the trailing edge. The most sophisticated construction is the bell type nozzle. It allows you to maximize performance without adding extra weight. The bell type nozzle can be used as a starter and auxiliary engine nozzle due to its advantages. The project/research was financed in the framework of the project Lublin University of Technology-Regional Excellence Initiative, funded by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (contract no. 030/RID/2018/19).

Keywords: computational fluid dynamics, nozzle, rocket engine, supersonic flow

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18 A Survey of the Sleep-Disturbed Bedroom Environmental Factors and the Occupants Bedroom Windows or Door Opening Behaviors

Authors: Chenxi Liao, Mizuho Akimoto, Mariya Bivolarova, Sekhar Chandra, Xiaojun Fan, Li Lan, Jelle Laverge, Pawel Wargocki

Abstract:

The bedroom environment plays an important role in maintaining good sleep quality, which is vital for humans health and next-day performance. A survey of the sleep-disturbed bedroom environmental factors and the occupants’ bedroom windows (BW) or bedroom door (BD) opening behaviors was launched in the capital region of Denmark in 2020 by an online questionnaire. People were asked if they were disturbed by too warm temperature, too cool temperature, noise, or stuffy air during sleep. Also, they reported their BW or the BD opening behaviors in the morning, afternoon, evening, and during sleep. A total of 512 responses were received. Too warm temperature was reported the most among the four sleep-disturbed factors, following too cool temperature, noise, and stuffy air. Whether or not opening BW or the BD was commonly used to improve or change the bedroom environment. The respondents who were disturbed by too warm temperature during sleep opened BW for a longer time in the morning compared to those who were never disturbed by it (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.01-1.62). Those who were disturbed by too cool temperatures tended to open BW less frequently in the morning (OR, 1.24; 95% CI, 0.97-1.57). They preferred keeping BW open in the whole day if they realized stuffy air disturbing their sleep, although only a few of them still opened BW during sleep. Those who were disturbed by too cool temperature (OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.63-0.92) and noise (OR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.66-0.96) were more likely to sleep with the BD open in a lesser frequency. Opening BW, increasing ventilation rates, could relieve disturbing by stuffy air during sleep, but induced other sleep-disturbed factors such as too cool in winter and noise. Also, opening BW only when people were not sleep was not sufficient to exempt disturbing by stuffy air during sleep. Using mechanical ventilation in bedrooms is necessary to ensure good air quality and meanwhile to avoid thermal discomfort and noise during sleep. Future studies are required to figure out the required flow rate of fresh air of mechanical ventilation during sleep.

Keywords: bedroom environmental, survey, occupants behaviors, windows, door

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17 Magnetic Nanoparticles Coated with Modified Polysaccharides for the Immobilization of Glycoproteins

Authors: Kinga Mylkie, Pawel Nowak, Marta Z. Borowska

Abstract:

The most important proteins in human serum responsible for drug binding are human serum albumin (HSA) and α1-acid glycoprotein (AGP). The AGP molecule is a glycoconjugate containing a single polypeptide chain composed of 183 amino acids (the core of the protein), and five glycan branched chains (sugar part) covalently linked by an N-glycosidic bond with aspartyl residues (Asp(N) -15, -38, -54, -75, - 85) of polypeptide chain. This protein plays an important role in binding alkaline drugs, a large group of drugs used in psychiatry, some acid drugs (e.g., coumarin anticoagulants), and neutral drugs (steroid hormones). The main goal of the research was to obtain magnetic nanoparticles coated with biopolymers in a chemically modified form, which will have highly reactive functional groups able to effectively immobilize the glycoprotein (acid α1-glycoprotein) without losing the ability to bind active substances. The first phase of the project involved the chemical modification of biopolymer starch. Modification of starch was carried out by methods of organic synthesis, leading to the preparation of a polymer enriched on its surface with aldehyde groups, which in the next step was coupled with 3-aminophenylboronic acid. Magnetite nanoparticles coated with starch were prepared by in situ co-precipitation and then oxidized with a 1 M sodium periodate solution to form a dialdehyde starch coating. Afterward, the reaction between the magnetite nanoparticles coated with dialdehyde starch and 3-aminophenylboronic acid was carried out. The obtained materials consist of a magnetite core surrounded by a layer of modified polymer, which contains on its surface dihydroxyboryl groups of boronic acids which are capable of binding glycoproteins. Magnetic nanoparticles obtained as carriers for plasma protein immobilization were fully characterized by ATR-FTIR, TEM, SEM, and DLS. The glycoprotein was immobilized on the obtained nanoparticles. The amount of mobilized protein was determined by the Bradford method.

Keywords: glycoproteins, immobilization, magnetic nanoparticles, polysaccharides

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16 Detection of Phoneme [S] Mispronounciation for Sigmatism Diagnosis in Adults

Authors: Michal Krecichwost, Zauzanna Miodonska, Pawel Badura

Abstract:

The diagnosis of sigmatism is mostly based on the observation of articulatory organs. It is, however, not always possible to precisely observe the vocal apparatus, in particular in the oral cavity of the patient. Speech processing can allow to objectify the therapy and simplify the verification of its progress. In the described study the methodology for classification of incorrectly pronounced phoneme [s] is proposed. The recordings come from adults. They were registered with the speech recorder at the sampling rate of 44.1 kHz and the resolution of 16 bit. The database of pathological and normative speech has been collected for the study including reference assessments provided by the speech therapy experts. Ten adult subjects were asked to simulate a certain type of stigmatism under the speech therapy expert supervision. In the recordings, the analyzed phone [s] was surrounded by vowels, viz: ASA, ESE, ISI, SPA, USU, YSY. Thirteen MFCC (mel-frequency cepstral coefficients) and RMS (root mean square) values are calculated within each frame being a part of the analyzed phoneme. Additionally, 3 fricative formants along with corresponding amplitudes are determined for the entire segment. In order to aggregate the information within the segment, the average value of each MFCC coefficient is calculated. All features of other types are aggregated by means of their 75th percentile. The proposed method of features aggregation reduces the size of the feature vector used in the classification. Binary SVM (support vector machine) classifier is employed at the phoneme recognition stage. The first group consists of pathological phones, while the other of the normative ones. The proposed feature vector yields classification sensitivity and specificity measures above 90% level in case of individual logo phones. The employment of a fricative formants-based information improves the sole-MFCC classification results average of 5 percentage points. The study shows that the employment of specific parameters for the selected phones improves the efficiency of pathology detection referred to the traditional methods of speech signal parameterization.

Keywords: computer-aided pronunciation evaluation, sibilants, sigmatism diagnosis, speech processing

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15 Repeatable Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Substrates from SERSitive for Wide Range of Chemical and Biological Substances

Authors: Monika Ksiezopolska-Gocalska, Pawel Albrycht, Robert Holyst

Abstract:

Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is a technique used to analyze very low concentrations of substances in solutions, even in aqueous solutions - which is its advantage over IR. This technique can be used in the pharmacy (to check the purity of products); forensics (whether at a crime scene there were any illegal substances); or medicine (serving as a medical test) and lots more. Due to the high potential of this technique, its increasing popularity in analytical laboratories, and simultaneously - the absence of appropriate platforms enhancing the SERS signal (crucial to observe the Raman effect at low analyte concentration in solutions (1 ppm)), we decided to invent our own SERS platforms. As an enhancing layer, we have chosen gold and silver nanoparticles, because these two have the best SERS properties, and each has an affinity for the other kind of particles, which increases the range of research capabilities. The next step was to commercialize them, which resulted in the creation of the company ‘SERSitive.eu’ focusing on production of highly sensitive (Ef = 10⁵ – 10⁶), homogeneous and reproducible (70 - 80%) substrates. SERStive SERS substrates are made using the electrodeposition of silver or silver-gold nanoparticles technique. Thanks to a very detailed analysis of data based on studies optimizing such parameters as deposition time, temperature of the reaction solution, applied potential, used reducer, or reagent concentrations using a standardized compound - p-mercaptobenzoic acid (PMBA) at a concentration of 10⁻⁶ M, we have developed a high-performance process for depositing precious metal nanoparticles on the surface of ITO glass. In order to check a quality of the SERSitive platforms, we examined the wide range of the chemical compounds and the biological substances. Apart from analytes that have great affinity to the metal surfaces (e.g. PMBA) we obtained very good results for those fitting less the SERS measurements. Successfully we received intensive, and what’s more important - very repetitive spectra for; amino acids (phenyloalanine, 10⁻³ M), drugs (amphetamine, 10⁻⁴ M), designer drugs (cathinone derivatives, 10⁻³ M), medicines and ending with bacteria (Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli) and fungi.

Keywords: nanoparticles, Raman spectroscopy, SERS, SERS applications, SERS substrates, SERSitive

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14 Analysis of the Operating Load of Gas Bearings in the Gas Generator of the Turbine Engine during a Deceleration to Dash Maneuver

Authors: Zbigniew Czyz, Pawel Magryta, Mateusz Paszko

Abstract:

The paper discusses the status of loads acting on the drive unit of the unmanned helicopter during deceleration to dash maneuver. Special attention was given for the loads of bearings in the gas generator turbine engine, in which will be equipped a helicopter. The analysis was based on the speed changes as a function of time for manned flight of helicopter PZL W3-Falcon. The dependence of speed change during the flight was approximated by the least squares method and then determined for its changes in acceleration. This enabled us to specify the forces acting on the bearing of the gas generator in static and dynamic conditions. Deceleration to dash maneuvers occurs in steady flight at a speed of 222 km/h by horizontal braking and acceleration. When the speed reaches 92 km/h, it dynamically changes an inclination of the helicopter to the maximum acceleration and power to almost maximum and holds it until it reaches its initial speed. This type of maneuvers are used due to ineffective shots at significant cruising speeds. It is, therefore, important to reduce speed to the optimum as soon as possible and after giving a shot to return to the initial speed (cruising). In deceleration to dash maneuvers, we have to deal with the force of gravity of the rotor assembly, gas aerodynamics forces and the forces caused by axial acceleration during this maneuver. While we can assume that the working components of the gas generator are designed so that axial gas forces they create could balance the aerodynamic effects, the remaining ones operate with a value that results from the motion profile of the aircraft. Based on the analysis, we can make a compilation of the results. For this maneuver, the force of gravity (referring to statistical calculations) respectively equals for bearing A = 5.638 N and bearing B = 1.631 N. As overload coefficient k in this direction is 1, this force results solely from the weight of the rotor assembly. For this maneuver, the acceleration in the longitudinal direction achieved value a_max = 4.36 m/s2. Overload coefficient k is, therefore, 0.44. When we multiply overload coefficient k by the weight of all gas generator components that act on the axial bearing, the force caused by axial acceleration during deceleration to dash maneuver equals only 3.15 N. The results of the calculations are compared with other maneuvers such as acceleration and deceleration and jump up and jump down maneuvers. This work has been financed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Keywords: gas bearings, helicopters, helicopter maneuvers, turbine engines

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13 Development of the Squamate Egg Tooth on the Basis of Grass Snake Natrix natrix Studies

Authors: Mateusz Hermyt, Pawel Kaczmarek, Weronika Rupik

Abstract:

The egg tooth is a crucial structure during hatching of lizards and snakes. In contrast to birds, turtles, crocodiles, and monotremes, egg tooth of squamate reptiles is a true tooth sharing common features of structure and development with all the other teeth of vertebrates. The egg tooth; however, due to its function, exhibits structural differences in relation to regular teeth. External morphology seems to be important in the context of phylogenetic relationships within Squamata but up to date, there is scarce information concerning structure and development of the egg tooth at the submicroscopical level. In presented studies detailed analysis of the egg tooth development in grass snake has been performed with the usage of light (including fluorescent), transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Grass snake embryo’s heads have been used in our studies. Grass snake is common snake species occurring in most of Europe including Poland. The grass snake is characterized by the presence of single unpaired egg tooth (as in most squamates) in contrast to geckos and dibamids possessing paired egg teeth. Studies show changes occurring on the external morphology, tissue and cellular levels of differentiating egg tooth. The egg tooth during its development changes its curvature. Initially, faces directly downward and in the course of its differentiation, it gradually changes to rostro-ventral orientation. Additionally, it forms conical dentinal protrusions on the sides. Histological analysis showed that egg tooth development occurs in similar steps in relation to regular teeth. It undergoes initiation, bud, cap and bell morphological stages. Analyses focused on describing morphological changes in hard tissues (mainly dentin and predentin) of egg tooth and in cells which enamel organ consists of. It included: outer enamel epithelium, stratum intermedium, inner enamel epithelium, odontoblasts, and cells of dental pulp. All specimens used in the study were captured according to the Polish regulations concerning the protection of wild species. Permission was granted by the Local Ethics Commission in Katowice (41/2010; 87/2015) and the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Katowice (WPN.6401.257.2015.DC).

Keywords: hatching, organogenesis, reptile, Squamata

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12 Features of Normative and Pathological Realizations of Sibilant Sounds for Computer-Aided Pronunciation Evaluation in Children

Authors: Zuzanna Miodonska, Michal Krecichwost, Pawel Badura

Abstract:

Sigmatism (lisping) is a speech disorder in which sibilant consonants are mispronounced. The diagnosis of this phenomenon is usually based on the auditory assessment. However, the progress in speech analysis techniques creates a possibility of developing computer-aided sigmatism diagnosis tools. The aim of the study is to statistically verify whether specific acoustic features of sibilant sounds may be related to pronunciation correctness. Such knowledge can be of great importance while implementing classifiers and designing novel tools for automatic sibilants pronunciation evaluation. The study covers analysis of various speech signal measures, including features proposed in the literature for the description of normative sibilants realization. Amplitudes and frequencies of three fricative formants (FF) are extracted based on local spectral maxima of the friction noise. Skewness, kurtosis, four normalized spectral moments (SM) and 13 mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCC) with their 1st and 2nd derivatives (13 Delta and 13 Delta-Delta MFCC) are included in the analysis as well. The resulting feature vector contains 51 measures. The experiments are performed on the speech corpus containing words with selected sibilant sounds (/ʃ, ʒ/) pronounced by 60 preschool children with proper pronunciation or with natural pathologies. In total, 224 /ʃ/ segments and 191 /ʒ/ segments are employed in the study. The Mann-Whitney U test is employed for the analysis of stigmatism and normative pronunciation. Statistically, significant differences are obtained in most of the proposed features in children divided into these two groups at p < 0.05. All spectral moments and fricative formants appear to be distinctive between pathology and proper pronunciation. These metrics describe the friction noise characteristic for sibilants, which makes them particularly promising for the use in sibilants evaluation tools. Correspondences found between phoneme feature values and an expert evaluation of the pronunciation correctness encourage to involve speech analysis tools in diagnosis and therapy of sigmatism. Proposed feature extraction methods could be used in a computer-assisted stigmatism diagnosis or therapy systems.

Keywords: computer-aided pronunciation evaluation, sigmatism diagnosis, speech signal analysis, statistical verification

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11 Preparation of Silver and Silver-Gold, Universal and Repeatable, Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Platforms from SERSitive

Authors: Pawel Albrycht, Monika Ksiezopolska-Gocalska, Robert Holyst

Abstract:

Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is a technique of growing importance not only in purely scientific research related to analytical chemistry. It finds more and more applications in broadly understood testing - medical, forensic, pharmaceutical, food - and everywhere works perfectly, on one condition that SERS substrates used for testing give adequate enhancement, repeatability, and homogeneity of SERS signal. This is a problem that has existed since the invention of this technique. Some laboratories use as SERS amplifiers colloids with silver or gold nanoparticles, others form rough silver or gold surfaces, but results are generally either weak or unrepeatable. Furthermore, these structures are very often highly specific - they amplify the signal only of a small group of compounds. It means that they work with some kinds of analytes but only with those which were used at a developer’s laboratory. When it comes to research on different compounds, completely new SERS 'substrates' are required. That underlay our decision to develop universal substrates for the SERS spectroscopy. Generally, each compound has different affinity for both silver and gold, which have the best SERS properties, and that's what depends on what signal we get in the SERS spectrum. Our task was to create the platform that gives a characteristic 'fingerprint' of the largest number of compounds with very high repeatability - even at the expense of the intensity of the enhancement factor (EF) (possibility to repeat research results is of the uttermost importance). As specified above SERS substrates are offered by SERSitive company. Applied method is based on cyclic potentiodynamic electrodeposition of silver or silver-gold nanoparticles on the conductive surface of ITO-coated glass at controlled temperature of the reaction solution. Silver nanoparticles are supplied in the form of silver nitrate (AgNO₃, 10 mM), gold nanoparticles are derived from tetrachloroauric acid (10 mM) while sodium sulfite (Na₂O₃, 5 mM) is used as a reductor. To limit and standardize the size of the SERS surface on which nanoparticles are deposited, photolithography is used. We secure the desired ITO-coated glass surface, and then etch the unprotected ITO layer which prevents nanoparticles from settling at these sites. On the prepared surface, we carry out the process described above, obtaining SERS surface with nanoparticles of sizes 50-400 nm. The SERSitive platforms present highly sensitivity (EF = 10⁵-10⁶), homogeneity and repeatability (70-80%).

Keywords: electrodeposition, nanoparticles, Raman spectroscopy, SERS, SERSitive, SERS platforms, SERS substrates

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10 First Documented Anesthesia with Use of Low Doses of Tiletamine-Zolazepam Combination in Ovoviparous Amazon Tree Boa Undergoing Emergency Coeliotomy-Case Report

Authors: Krzysztof Buczak, Sonia Lachowska, Pawel Kucharski, Agnieszka Antonczyk

Abstract:

Tiletamine - zolazepam combination is increasingly used in veterinary anaesthesiology in wild animals, including snakes. The available literature shows a lack of information about anesthesia in this mixture in ovoviviparous snakes. The studies show the possibility of using the combination at a dose of 20 mg/kg or more for snake immobilization. This paper presents an anesthetic protocol with the use of a combination of tiletamine - zolazepam at the dose of 10 mg/kg intramuscularly and maintenance with inhalant anesthesia with isoflurane in pure oxygen. The objective of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of the anesthetic protocol to proceed with coeliotomy in Amazon Tree Boa. The patient was a five years old bicolor female Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus) with dystocia. The clinical examination reveals significant emaciation (bodyweight 520g), high degree of dehydration, heart rate (HR = 60 / min), pale mucous membranes and poor reactivity. Meloxicam (1 mg/kg) and tramadol (10 mg/kg) were administered subcutaneously and the patient was placed in an incubator with access to fresh oxygen. Four hours later, the combination of tiletamine - zolazepam (10 mg/kg) was administered intramuscularly for induction of anesthesia. The snake was intubated and connected to inhalant anesthesia equipment. For maintenance, the anesthesia isoflurane in pure oxygen was used due to apnea, which occurs 30 minutes after the induction semi-closed system was attached and the ventilator was turned on (PCV system, four breaths per minute, 8 cm of H2O). Cardiopulmonary parameters (HR, RR, SPO2, ETCO2, ETISO) were assessed throughout the procedure. During the entire procedure, the operating room was heated to a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the hose was placed on a heating mat, which maintained a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. For 15 minutes after induction, the loss of muscle tone was observed from the head to the tail. Induction of general anesthesia was scored as good because of the possibility of intubation. During the whole procedure, the heart rate was at the rate of 58 beats per minute (bpm). Ventilation parameters were stable throughout the procedure. The recovery period lasts for about 4 hours after the end of general anesthesia. The muscle tension returned from tail to head. The snake started to breathe spontaneously within 1,5 hours after the end of general anesthesia. The protocol of general anesthesia with the combination of tiletamine- zolazepam with a dose of 10 mg/kg is useful for proceeding with the emergency coeliotomy in maintenance with isoflurane in oxygen. Further study about the impact of the combination of tiletamine- zolazepam for the recovery period is needed.

Keywords: anesthesia, corallus hortulanus, ovoviparous, snake, tiletamine, zolazepam

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9 Simulation Research of the Aerodynamic Drag of 3D Structures for Individual Transport Vehicle

Authors: Pawel Magryta, Mateusz Paszko

Abstract:

In today's world, a big problem of individual mobility, especially in large urban areas, occurs. Commonly used grand way of transport such as buses, trains or cars do not fulfill their tasks, i.e. they are not able to meet the increasing mobility needs of the growing urban population. Additional to that, the limitations of civil infrastructure construction in the cities exist. Nowadays the most common idea is to transfer the part of urban transport on the level of air transport. However to do this, there is a need to develop an individual flying transport vehicle. The biggest problem occurring in this concept is the type of the propulsion system from which the vehicle will obtain a lifting force. Standard propeller drives appear to be too noisy. One of the ideas is to provide the required take-off and flight power by the machine using the innovative ejector system. This kind of the system will be designed through a suitable choice of the three-dimensional geometric structure with special shape of nozzle in order to generate overpressure. The authors idea is to make a device that would allow to cumulate the overpressure using the a five-sided geometrical structure that will be limited on the one side by the blowing flow of air jet. In order to test this hypothesis a computer simulation study of aerodynamic drag of such 3D structures have been made. Based on the results of these studies, the tests on real model were also performed. The final stage of work was a comparative analysis of the results of simulation and real tests. The CFD simulation studies of air flow was conducted using the Star CD - Star Pro 3.2 software. The design of virtual model was made using the Catia v5 software. Apart from the objective to obtain advanced aviation propulsion system, all of the tests and modifications of 3D structures were also aimed at achieving high efficiency of this device while maintaining the ability to generate high value of overpressures. This was possible only in case of a large mass flow rate of air. All these aspects have been possible to verify using CFD methods for observing the flow of the working medium in the tested model. During the simulation tests, the distribution and size of pressure and velocity vectors were analyzed. Simulations were made with different boundary conditions (supply air pressure), but with a fixed external conditions (ambient temp., ambient pressure, etc.). The maximum value of obtained overpressure is 2 kPa. This value is too low to exploit the power of this device for the individual transport vehicle. Both the simulation model and real object shows a linear dependence of the overpressure values obtained from the different geometrical parameters of three-dimensional structures. Application of computational software greatly simplifies and streamlines the design and simulation capabilities. This work has been financed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Keywords: aviation propulsion, CFD, 3d structure, aerodynamic drag

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8 The Charge Exchange and Mixture Formation Model in the ASz-62IR Radial Aircraft Engine

Authors: Pawel Magryta, Tytus Tulwin, Paweł Karpiński

Abstract:

The ASz62IR engine is a radial aircraft engine with 9 cylinders. This object is produced by the Polish company WSK "PZL-KALISZ" S.A. This is engine is currently being developed by the above company and Lublin University of Technology. In order to provide an effective work of the technological development of this unit it was decided to made the simulation model. The model of ASz-62IR was developed with AVL BOOST software which is a tool dedicated to the one-dimensional modeling of internal combustion engines. This model can be used to calculate parameters of an air and fuel flow in an intake system including charging devices as well as combustion and exhaust flow to the environment. The main purpose of this model is the analysis of the charge exchange and mixture formation in this engine. For this purpose, the model consists of elements such: as air inlet, throttle system, compressor connector, charging compressor, inlet pipes and injectors, outlet pipes, fuel injection and model of fuel mixing and evaporation. The model of charge exchange and mixture formation was based on the model of mass flow rate in intake and exhaust pipes, and also on the calculation of gas properties values like gas constant or thermal capacity. This model was based on the equations to describe isentropic flow. The energy equation to describe flow under steady conditions was transformed into the mass flow equation. In the model the flow coefficient μσ was used, that varies with the stroke/valve opening and was determined in a steady flow state. The geometry of the inlet channels and other key components was mapped with reference to the technical documentation of the engine and empirical measurements of the structure elements. The volume of elements on the charge flow path between the air inlet and the exhaust outlet was measured by the CAD mapping of the structure. Taken from the technical documentation, the original characteristics of the compressor engine was entered into the model. Additionally, the model uses a general model for the transport of chemical compounds of the mixture. There are 7 compounds used, i.e. fuel, O2, N2, CO2, H2O, CO, H2. A gasoline fuel of a calorific value of 43.5 MJ/kg and an air mass fraction for stoichiometric mixture of 14.5 were used. Indirect injection into the intake manifold is used in this model. The model assumes the following simplifications: the mixture is homogenous at the beginning of combustion, accordingly, mixture stoichiometric coefficient A/F remains constant during combustion, combusted and non-combusted charges show identical pressures and temperatures although their compositions change. As a result of the simulation studies based on the model described above, the basic parameters of combustion process, charge exchange, mixture formation in cylinders were obtained. The AVL Boost software is very useful for the piston engine performance simulations. This work has been financed by the Polish National Centre for Research and Development, INNOLOT, under Grant Agreement No. INNOLOT/I/1/NCBR/2013.

Keywords: aviation propulsion, AVL Boost, engine model, charge exchange, mixture formation

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7 Immersive and Non-Immersive Virtual Reality Applied to the Cervical Spine Assessment

Authors: Pawel Kiper, Alfonc Baba, Mahmoud Alhelou, Giorgia Pregnolato, Michela Agostini, Andrea Turolla

Abstract:

Impairment of cervical spine mobility is often related to pain triggered by musculoskeletal disorders or direct traumatic injuries of the spine. To date, these disorders are assessed with goniometers and inclinometers, which are the most popular devices used in clinical settings. Nevertheless, these technologies usually allow measurement of no more than two-dimensional range of motion (ROM) quotes in static conditions. Conversely, the wide use of motion tracking systems able to measure 3 to 6 degrees of freedom dynamically, while performing standard ROM assessment, are limited due to technical complexities in preparing the setup and high costs. Thus, motion tracking systems are primarily used in research. These systems are an integral part of virtual reality (VR) technologies, which can be used for measuring spine mobility. To our knowledge, the accuracy of VR measure has not yet been studied within virtual environments. Thus, the aim of this study was to test the reliability of a protocol for the assessment of sensorimotor function of the cervical spine in a population of healthy subjects and to compare whether using immersive or non-immersive VR for visualization affects the performance. Both VR assessments consisted of the same five exercises and random sequence determined which of the environments (i.e. immersive or non-immersive) was used as first assessment. Subjects were asked to perform head rotation (right and left), flexion, extension and lateral flexion (right and left side bending). Each movement was executed five times. Moreover, the participants were invited to perform head reaching movements i.e. head movements toward 8 targets placed along a circular perimeter each 45°, visualized one-by-one in random order. Finally, head repositioning movement was obtained by head movement toward the same 8 targets as for reaching and following reposition to the start point. Thus, each participant performed 46 tasks during assessment. Main measures were: ROM of rotation, flexion, extension, lateral flexion and complete kinematics of the cervical spine (i.e. number of completed targets, time of execution (seconds), spatial length (cm), angle distance (°), jerk). Thirty-five healthy participants (i.e. 14 males and 21 females, mean age 28.4±6.47) were recruited for the cervical spine assessment with immersive and non-immersive VR environments. Comparison analysis demonstrated that: head right rotation (p=0.027), extension (p=0.047), flexion (p=0.000), time (p=0.001), spatial length (p=0.004), jerk target (p=0.032), trajectory repositioning (p=0.003), and jerk target repositioning (p=0.007) were significantly better in immersive than non-immersive VR. A regression model showed that assessment in immersive VR was influenced by height, trajectory repositioning (p<0.05), and handedness (p<0.05), whereas in non-immersive VR performance was influenced by height, jerk target (p=0.002), head extension, jerk target repositioning (p=0.002), and by age, head flex/ext, trajectory repositioning, and weight (p=0.040). The results of this study showed higher accuracy of cervical spine assessment when executed in immersive VR. The assessment of ROM and kinematics of the cervical spine can be affected by independent and dependent variables in both immersive and non-immersive VR settings.

Keywords: virtual reality, cervical spine, motion analysis, range of motion, measurement validity

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6 Fighting the Crisis with 4.0 Competences: Higher Education Projects in the Times of Pandemic

Authors: Jadwiga Fila, Mateusz Jezowski, Pawel Poszytek

Abstract:

The outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic started the times of crisis full of uncertainty, especially in the field of transnational cooperation projects based on the international mobility of their participants. This is notably the case of Erasmus+ Program for higher education, which is the flagship European initiative boosting cooperation between educational institutions, businesses, and other actors, enabling students and staff mobility, as well as strategic partnerships between different parties. The aim of this abstract is to study whether competences 4.0 are able to empower Erasmus+ project leaders in sustaining their international cooperation in times of global crisis, widespread online learning, and common project disruption or cancellation. The concept of competences 4.0 emerged from the notion of the industry 4.0, and it relates to skills that are fundamental for the current labor market. For the aim of the study presented in this abstract, four main 4.0 competences were distinguished: digital, managerial, social, and cognitive competence. The hypothesis for the study stipulated that the above-mentioned highly-developed competences may act as a protective shield against the pandemic challenges in terms of projects’ sustainability and continuation. The objective of the research was to assess to what extent individual competences are useful in managing projects in times of crisis. For this purpose, the study was conducted, involving, among others, 141 Polish higher education project leaders who were running their cooperation projects during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic (Mar-Nov 2020). The research explored the self-perception of the above-mentioned competences among Erasmus+ project leaders and the contextual data regarding the sustainability of the projects. The quantitative character of data permitted validation of scales (Cronbach’s Alfa measure), and the use of factor analysis made it possible to create a distinctive variable for each competence and its dimensions. Finally, logistic regression was used to examine the association of competences and other factors on project status. The study shows that the project leaders’ competence profile attributed the highest score to digital competence (4.36 on the 1-5 scale). Slightly lower values were obtained for cognitive competence (3.96) and managerial competence (3.82). The lowest score was accorded to one specific dimension of social competence: adaptability and ability to manage stress (1.74), which proves that the pandemic was a real challenge which had to be faced by project coordinators. For higher education projects, 10% were suspended or prolonged because of the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas 90% were undisrupted (continued or already successfully finished). The quantitative analysis showed a positive relationship between the leaders’ levels of competences and the projects status. In the case of all competences, the scores were higher for project leaders who finished projects successfully than for leaders who suspended or prolonged their projects. The research demonstrated that, in the demanding times of the COVID-19 pandemic, competences 4.0, to a certain extent, do play a significant role in the successful management of Erasmus+ projects. The implementation and sustainability of international educational projects, despite mobility and sanitary obstacles, depended, among other factors, on the level of leaders’ competences.

Keywords: Competences 4.0, COVID-19 pandemic, Erasmus+ Program, international education, project sustainability

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5 The Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor and Stem Cell Factor Levels in Serum of Adolescent and Young Adults with Mood Disorders: A Two Year Follow-Up Study

Authors: Aleksandra Rajewska-Rager, Maria Skibinska, Monika Dmitrzak-Weglarz, Natalia Lepczynska, Pawel Kapelski, Joanna Pawlak, Joanna Hauser

Abstract:

Introduction: Inflammation and cytokines have emerged as a promising target in mood disorders research; however there are still very limited numbers of study regarding inflammatory alterations among adolescents and young adults with mood disorders. The Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF) and Stem Cell Factor (SCF) are the pleiotropic cytokines which may play an important role in mood disorders pathophysiology. The aim of this study was to investigate levels of these factors in serum of adolescent and young adults with mood disorders compared to healthy controls. Subjects: We involved 79 patients aged 12-24 years in 2-year follow-up study with a primary diagnosis of mood disorders: bipolar disorder (BP) and unipolar disorder with BP spectrum. Study group includes 23 males (mean age 19.08, SD 3.3) and 56 females (18.39, SD 3.28). Control group consisted 35 persons: 7 males (20.43, SD 4.23) and 28 females (21.25, SD 2.11). Clinical diagnoses according to DSM-IV-TR criteria were assessed using Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL) and Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (SCID) in young adults respectively. Clinical assessment includes evaluation of clinical factors and symptoms severity (rated using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and Young Mania Rating Scale). Clinical and biological evaluations were made at control visits respectively at baseline (week 0), euthymia (at month 3 or 6) and after 12 and 24 months. Methods: Serum protein concentration was determined by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA) method. Human MIF and SCF DuoSet ELISA kits were used. In the analyses non-parametric tests were used: Mann-Whitney U test, Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA, Friedman’s ANOVA, Wilcoxon signed rank test, Spearman correlation. We defined statistical significance as p < 0.05. Results: Comparing MIF and SCF levels between acute episode of depression/hypo/mania at baseline and euthymia (at month 3 or 6) we did not find any statistical differences. At baseline patients with age above 18 years old had decreased MIF level compared to patients younger than 18 years. MIF level at baseline positively correlated with age (p=0.004). Positive correlations of SCF level at month 3 and 6 with depression or mania occurrence at month 24 (p=0.03 and p=0.04, respectively) was detected. Strong correlations between MIF and SCF levels at baseline (p=0.0005) and month 3 (p=0.03) were observed. Discussion: Our results did not show any differences in MIF and SCF levels between acute episode of depression/hypo/mania and euthymia in young patients. Further studies on larger groups are recommended. Grant was founded by National Science Center in Poland no 2011/03/D/NZ5/06146.

Keywords: cytokines, MIF, mood disorders, SCF

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