Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 29

Search results for: Soma Kanta Baral

29 Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus Co-Infection with Hepatitis B Virus and Baseline Cd4+ T Cell Count among Patients Attending a Tertiary Care Hospital, Nepal

Authors: Soma Kanta Baral

Abstract:

Background: Since 1981, when the first AIDS case was reported, worldwide, more than 34 million people have been infected with HIV. Almost 95 percent of the people infected with HIV live in developing countries. As HBV & HIV share similar routes of transmission by sexual intercourse or drug use by parenteral injection, co-infection is common. Because of the limited access to healthcare & HIV treatment in developing countries, HIV-infected individuals are present late for care. Enumeration of CD4+ T cell count at the time of diagnosis has been useful to initiate the therapy in HIV infected individuals. The baseline CD4+ T cell count shows high immunological variability among patients. Methods: This prospective study was done in the serology section of the Department of Microbiology over a period of one year from august 2012 to July 2013. A total of 13037 individuals subjected for HIV test were included in the study comprising of 4982 males & 8055 females. Blood sample was collected by vein puncture aseptically with standard operational procedure in clean & dry test-tube. All blood samples were screened for HIV as described by WHO algorithm by Immuno-chromatography rapid kits. Further confirmation was done by biokit ELISA method as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. After informed consent, HIV positive individuals were screened for HBsAg by Immuno-chromatography rapid kits (Hepacard). Further confirmation was done by biokit ELISA method as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. EDTA blood samples were collected from the HIV sero-positive individuals for baseline CD4+ T count. Then, CD4+ T cells count was determined by using FACS Calibur Flow Cytometer (BD). Results: Among 13037 individuals screened for HIV, 104 (0.8%) were found to be infected comprising of 69(66.34%) males & 35 (33.65%) females. The study showed that the high infection was noted in housewives (28.7%), active age group (30.76%), rural area (56.7%) & in heterosexual route (80.9%) of transmission. Out of total HIV infected individuals, distribution of HBV co-infection was found to be 6(5.7%). All co- infected individuals were married, male, above the age of 25 years & heterosexual route of transmission. Baseline CD4+ T cell count of HIV infected patient was found higher (mean CD4+ T cell count; 283cells/cu.mm) than HBV co-infected patients (mean CD4+ T cell count; 91 cells/cu.mm). Majority (77.2%) of HIV infected & all co-infected individuals were presented in our center late (CD4+ T cell count;< 350/cu. mm) for diagnosis and care. Majority of co- infected 4 (80%) were late presented with advanced AIDS stage (CD4+ count; <200/cu.mm). Conclusions: The study showed a high percentage of HIV sero-positive & co- infected individuals. Baseline CD4+ T cell count of majority of HIV infected individuals was found to be low. Hence, more sustained and vigorous awareness campaigns & counseling still need to be done in order to promote early diagnosis and management.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, HBsAg, co-infection, CD4+

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28 Prevalence and Effect of Substance Use and Psychological Co-Morbidities in Medical and Dental Students of a Medical University of Nepal

Authors: Nidesh Sapkota, Garima Pudasaini, Dikshya Agrawal, Binav Baral, Umesh Bhagat, Dharanidhar Baral

Abstract:

Background: Medical and Dental students are vulnerable to higher levels of Psychological distress than other age matched peers. Many studies reveals that there is high prevalence of psychoactive substance use and Psychiatric co-morbidities among them. Objectives: -To study the prevalence of substance use among medical and dental students of a Medical University. -To study the prevalence of depression and anxiety in medical and dental students of a Medical University. Materials and Method: A cross-sectional descriptive study in which simple random sampling was done. Semi-structured questionnaire, AUDIT for alcohol use, Fagerstrom test for Nicotine dependence, Cannabis screening test (CAST), Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck’s Anxiety Inventory (BAI) were used for the assessment. Results: Total sample size was 588 in which the mean age of participants was 22±2years. Among them the prevalence of alcohol users was 47.75%(281) in which 32%(90) were harmful users. Among 19.55%(115) nicotine users 56.5%(65), 37.4%(43), 6.1%(7) had low, low to moderate and moderate dependence respectively. The prevalence of cannabis users was 9%(53) with 45.3%(24), 18.9%(10) having low and high addiction respectively. Depressive symptoms were recorded in 25.3%(149) out of which 12.6%(74), 6.5%(38), 5.3%(31), 0.5%(3), 0.5%(3) had mild, borderline, moderate, severe and extreme depressive symptoms respectively. Similarly anxiety was recorded among 7.8%(46) students with 42 having moderate and 4 having severe anxiety symptoms. Among them 6.3%(37) had suicidal thoughts and 4(0.7%) of them had suicide attempt in last one year. Statistically significant association was noted with harmful alcohol users, Depression and suicidal attempts. Similar association was noted between Depression and suicide with moderate use of nicotine. Conclusion: There is high prevalence of Psychoactive substance use and psychiatric co-morbidities noted in the studies sample. Statistically significant association was noted with Psychiatric co-morbidities and substance use.

Keywords: alcohol, cannabis, dependence, depression, medical students

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27 Annular Axi-Symmetric Stagnation Flow of Electrically Conducting Fluid on a Moving Cylinder in the Presence of Axial Magnetic Field

Authors: Deva Kanta Phukan

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An attempt is made where an electrically conducting fluid is injected from a fixed outer cylindrical casing onto an inner moving cylindrical rod. A magnetic field is applied parallel to the axis of the cylindrical rod. The basic governing set of partial differential equations for conservation of mass and momentum are reduced to a set of non-linear ordinary differential equation by introducing similarity transformation, which are integrated numerically. A perturbation solution for the case of large magnetic parameter is derived for constant Reynolds number.

Keywords: annular axi-symmetric stagnation flow, conducting fluid, magnetic field, moving cylinder

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26 Learning from Dendrites: Improving the Point Neuron Model

Authors: Alexander Vandesompele, Joni Dambre

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The diversity in dendritic arborization, as first illustrated by Santiago Ramon y Cajal, has always suggested a role for dendrites in the functionality of neurons. In the past decades, thanks to new recording techniques and optical stimulation methods, it has become clear that dendrites are not merely passive electrical components. They are observed to integrate inputs in a non-linear fashion and actively participate in computations. Regardless, in simulations of neural networks dendritic structure and functionality are often overlooked. Especially in a machine learning context, when designing artificial neural networks, point neuron models such as the leaky-integrate-and-fire (LIF) model are dominant. These models mimic the integration of inputs at the neuron soma, and ignore the existence of dendrites. In this work, the LIF point neuron model is extended with a simple form of dendritic computation. This gives the LIF neuron increased capacity to discriminate spatiotemporal input sequences, a dendritic functionality as observed in another study. Simulations of the spiking neurons are performed using the Bindsnet framework. In the common LIF model, incoming synapses are independent. Here, we introduce a dependency between incoming synapses such that the post-synaptic impact of a spike is not only determined by the weight of the synapse, but also by the activity of other synapses. This is a form of short term plasticity where synapses are potentiated or depressed by the preceding activity of neighbouring synapses. This is a straightforward way to prevent inputs from simply summing linearly at the soma. To implement this, each pair of synapses on a neuron is assigned a variable,representing the synaptic relation. This variable determines the magnitude ofthe short term plasticity. These variables can be chosen randomly or, more interestingly, can be learned using a form of Hebbian learning. We use Spike-Time-Dependent-Plasticity (STDP), commonly used to learn synaptic strength magnitudes. If all neurons in a layer receive the same input, they tend to learn the same through STDP. Adding inhibitory connections between the neurons creates a winner-take-all (WTA) network. This causes the different neurons to learn different input sequences. To illustrate the impact of the proposed dendritic mechanism, even without learning, we attach five input neurons to two output neurons. One output neuron isa regular LIF neuron, the other output neuron is a LIF neuron with dendritic relationships. Then, the five input neurons are allowed to fire in a particular order. The membrane potentials are reset and subsequently the five input neurons are fired in the reversed order. As the regular LIF neuron linearly integrates its inputs at the soma, the membrane potential response to both sequences is similar in magnitude. In the other output neuron, due to the dendritic mechanism, the membrane potential response is different for both sequences. Hence, the dendritic mechanism improves the neuron’s capacity for discriminating spa-tiotemporal sequences. Dendritic computations improve LIF neurons even if the relationships between synapses are established randomly. Ideally however, a learning rule is used to improve the dendritic relationships based on input data. It is possible to learn synaptic strength with STDP, to make a neuron more sensitive to its input. Similarly, it is possible to learn dendritic relationships with STDP, to make the neuron more sensitive to spatiotemporal input sequences. Feeding structured data to a WTA network with dendritic computation leads to a significantly higher number of discriminated input patterns. Without the dendritic computation, output neurons are less specific and may, for instance, be activated by a sequence in reverse order.

Keywords: dendritic computation, spiking neural networks, point neuron model

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25 Synthesis and Characterization of Zr and V Co-Doped BaTiO₃ Ceramic

Authors: Kanta Maan Sangwan, Neetu Ahlawat, Rajender Singh Kundu

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BaZrTiO3 ceramics having high dielectric constant and low dielectric loss are interesting material for being used as commercial capacitor applications. BZT (BaZrTiO3) has attracted attentions for their many applications for the microwave technology as the doping of Zr4+ on Ti4+ has advantage to the stability of the system. In the present work, co-doping of Zr and V with BaTiO3 ceramics was synthesized by the conventional solid state reaction technique and sintered at 1200 K for 6 hours, and their structural and ferroelectric properties were studied. The XRD (x-ray diffraction) pattern of BZT (BaZrTiO3) ceramics shows that the crystalline sample is single phase tetragonal structure with P4mm space group. The result revealed that Zr ion enters the unit cell maintaining the perovskite structure of BZT ceramics and the impedance spectroscopy of the sample performed in selected frequency and temperature range.

Keywords: ferroelectric, impedance spectroscopy, space group, tetragonal

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24 Text Mining Analysis of the Reconstruction Plans after the Great East Japan Earthquake

Authors: Minami Ito, Akihiro Iijima

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On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred off the coast of Sanriku, Japan. It is important to build a sustainable society through the reconstruction process rather than simply restoring the infrastructure. To compare the goals of reconstruction plans of quake-stricken municipalities, Japanese language morphological analysis was performed by using text mining techniques. Frequently-used nouns were sorted into four main categories of “life”, “disaster prevention”, “economy”, and “harmony with environment”. Because Soma City is affected by nuclear accident, sentences tagged to “harmony with environment” tended to be frequent compared to the other municipalities. Results from cluster analysis and principle component analysis clearly indicated that the local government reinforces the efforts to reduce risks from radiation exposure as a top priority.

Keywords: eco-friendly reconstruction, harmony with environment, decontamination, nuclear disaster

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23 Rehabilitation Robot in Primary Walking Pattern Training for SCI Patient at Home

Authors: Taisuke Sakaki, Toshihiko Shimokawa, Nobuhiro Ushimi, Koji Murakami, Yong-Kwun Lee, Kazuhiro Tsuruta, Kanta Aoki, Kaoru Fujiie, Ryuji Katamoto, Atsushi Sugyo

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Recently attention has been focused on incomplete spinal cord injuries (SCI) to the central spine caused by pressure on parts of the white matter conduction pathway, such as the pyramidal tract. In this paper, we focus on a training robot designed to assist with primary walking-pattern training. The target patient for this training robot is relearning the basic functions of the usual walking pattern; it is meant especially for those with incomplete-type SCI to the central spine, who are capable of standing by themselves but not of performing walking motions. From the perspective of human engineering, we monitored the operator’s actions to the robot and investigated the movement of joints of the lower extremities, the circumference of the lower extremities, and exercise intensity with the machine. The concept of the device was to provide mild training without any sudden changes in heart rate or blood pressure, which will be particularly useful for the elderly and disabled. The mechanism of the robot is modified to be simple and lightweight with the expectation that it will be used at home.

Keywords: training, rehabilitation, SCI patient, welfare, robot

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22 Investigation of Suspected Viral Hepatitis Outbreaks in North India

Authors: Mini P. Singh, Manasi Majumdar, Kapil Goyal, Pvm Lakshmi, Deepak Bhatia, Radha Kanta Ratho

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India is endemic for Hepatitis E virus and frequent water borne outbreaks are reported. The conventional diagnosis rests on the detection of serum anti-HEV IgM antibodies which may take 7-10 days to develop. Early diagnosis in such a situation is desirable for the initiation of prompt control measures. The present study compared three diagnostic methods in 60 samples collected during two suspected HEV outbreaks in the vicinity of Chandigarh, India. The anti-HEV IgM, HEV antigen and HEV-RNA could be detected in serum samples of 52 (86.66%), 16 (26.66%) and 18 (30%) patients respectively. The suitability of saliva samples for antibody detection was also evaluated in 21 paired serum- saliva samples. A total of 15 serum samples showed the presence of anti HEV IgM antibodies, out of which 10 (10/15; 66.6%) were also positive for these antibodies in saliva samples (χ2 = 7.636, p < 0.0057), thus showing a concordance of 76.91%. The positivity of reverse transcriptase PCR and HEV antigen detection was 100% within one week of illness which declined to 5-10% thereafter. The outbreak was attributed to HEV Genotype 1, Subtype 1a and the clinical and environmental strains clustered together. HEV antigen and RNA were found to be an early diagnostic marker with 96.66% concordance. The results indicate that the saliva samples can be used as an alternative to serum samples in an outbreak situation.

Keywords: HEV-antigen, outbreak, phylogenetic analysis, saliva

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21 A Comparative Evaluation of Antioxidant Activity of in vivo and in vitro Raised Holarrhena antidysenterica Linn.

Authors: Gayatri Nahak, Satyajit Kanungo, Rajani Kanta Sahu

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Holarrhena antidysenterica Linn. (Apocynaceae) is a typical Indian medicinal plant popularly known as “Indrajav”. Traditionally the plant has been considered a popular remedy for the treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, intestinal worms and the seeds of this plant are also used as an anti-diabetic remedy. In the present study axillary shoot multiplication, callus induction and shoot regeneration from callus culture were obtained on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with different concentrations and combinations of plant growth regulators. Then in vivo and in vitro grown healthy plants were selected for study of antioxidant activity through DPPH and OH methods. Significantly higher antioxidant activity and phenol contents were observed in vitro raised plant in comparison to in vivo plants. The findings indicated the greater amount of phenolic compounds leads to more potent radical scavenging effect as shown in in vitro raised plant in comparison to in vivo plants which showed the ability to utilize tissue culture techniques towards development of desired bioactive metabolites from in vitro culture as an alternative way to avoid using endangered plants in pharmaceutical purposes.

Keywords: Holarrhena antidysenterica, in vitro, in vivo, antioxidant activity

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20 Glaucoma Detection in Retinal Tomography Using the Vision Transformer

Authors: Sushish Baral, Pratibha Joshi, Yaman Maharjan

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Glaucoma is a chronic eye condition that causes vision loss that is irreversible. Early detection and treatment are critical to prevent vision loss because it can be asymptomatic. For the identification of glaucoma, multiple deep learning algorithms are used. Transformer-based architectures, which use the self-attention mechanism to encode long-range dependencies and acquire extremely expressive representations, have recently become popular. Convolutional architectures, on the other hand, lack knowledge of long-range dependencies in the image due to their intrinsic inductive biases. The aforementioned statements inspire this thesis to look at transformer-based solutions and investigate the viability of adopting transformer-based network designs for glaucoma detection. Using retinal fundus images of the optic nerve head to develop a viable algorithm to assess the severity of glaucoma necessitates a large number of well-curated images. Initially, data is generated by augmenting ocular pictures. After that, the ocular images are pre-processed to make them ready for further processing. The system is trained using pre-processed images, and it classifies the input images as normal or glaucoma based on the features retrieved during training. The Vision Transformer (ViT) architecture is well suited to this situation, as it allows the self-attention mechanism to utilise structural modeling. Extensive experiments are run on the common dataset, and the results are thoroughly validated and visualized.

Keywords: glaucoma, vision transformer, convolutional architectures, retinal fundus images, self-attention, deep learning

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19 Soret and Dufour's Effects on Mixed Convection Unsteady MHD Boundary Layer Flow over a Stretching Sheet Embedded in a Porous Medium with Chemically Reactive Spices

Authors: Deva Kanta Phukan

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An investigation is made to carry out to study the thermal-diffusion and diffusion thermo-effects in hydro-magnetic unsteady flow by a mixed convection boundary layer past an impermeable vertical stretching sheet embedded in a conducting fluid-saturated porous medium in the presence of a chemical reaction effect. The velocity of stretching surface, the surface temperature and the concentration are assumed to vary linearly with the distance along the surface. The governing partial differential equations are transformed in to self similar unsteady equations using similarity transformations and solved numerically by the Runge kutta fourth order scheme in association with the shooting method for the whole transient domain from the initial state to the final steady state flow. Numerical results for the velocity, temperature, the concentration, the skin friction , and the Nusselt and Sherwood numbers are shown graphically for various flow parameters. The results reveal that there is a smooth transition of flow from unsteady state to the final steady state. A special case of our results is in good agreement with an earlier published work.

Keywords: heat and mass transfer, boundary layer flow, porous media, magnetic field, Soret number, Dufour’s number

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18 Extraction and Uses of Essential Oil

Authors: Ram Prasad Baral

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A large number of herb materials contain Essential Oils with extensive bioactivities. Acknowledging the importance of plants and its medicinal value, extraction of Essential Oil had been done using Steam Distillation method. In this project, Steam Distillation was used to extract oil from different plant materials like Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert, Artemisia Vulgaris L, Rhododendron anthopogon D. Don, Cymbopogon nardus L, Andropogon nardus, Cinnamomum tamala, Juniperus spp, Cymbopohonflexuosus flexuous, Mantha Arvensia, Nardostachys Jatamansi, Wintergreen Essential Oil, and Valeriana Officinalis. Research has confirmed centuries of practical use of essential oils, and we now know that the 'fragrant pharmacy' contains compounds with an extremely broad range of biochemical effects. Essential oils are so termed as they are believed to represent the very essence of odor and flavor. The recovery of Essential Oil from the raw botanical starting material is very important since the quality of the oil is greatly influenced during this step. There is a variety of methods for obtaining volatile oils from plants. Steam distillation method was found to be one of the promising techniques for the extraction of essential oil from plants as reputable distiller will preserve the original qualities of the plant. The distillation was conducted in Clevenger apparatus in which boiling, condensing, and decantation was done. Analysis of essential oil was done using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer apparatus, which gives evaluates essential oil qualitatively and quantitatively. The volume of essential oil obtained was changing with respect to temperature and time of heating.

Keywords: Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert, Artemisia Vulgaris L, Rhododendron anthopogon D. Don, Cymbopogon nardus L, Andropogon nardus, Cinnamomum tamala, Juniperus spp, Cymbopohonflexuosus flexuous, Mantha

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17 Survey of Some Important Nepalese and Russian Anti-Diabetic Herbs

Authors: Ram Prasad Baral, Vinogradov Dmitriy Valerievich, Rameshwar Adhikari

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Diabetes has posed a great threat to the human health worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. The disease has basically rooted from the dramatically changed way of living of the present day human civilization as our living has deviated from what the nature has adapted us for. In this context, due to availability of wide range of climatic condition and hence the wide spectrum of biodiversity, Nepal is blessed with a valuable reservoir of medicinal herbs. These assets have been utilized and developed practices in traditional medicines and Ayurvedic way of treatment over several thousand years in the region. It has been established since ancient times that each and every plant has a specific medicinal value. There are many plants’ products which have been utilized in Ayurvedic medicine for the effective treatment of diabetes. The medicaments are less expensive and pose practically no side effects. In this work, we report a general survey of anti-diabetic properties of some medicinal herbs with pronounced effects and their applications. The plants covered in this study originate from far western region of Nepal and include Ficus racemosa, Momordica charantia, Azadirachta indica, Helieteres isora, Saraca asoca, Ichnocarpus frutescens, Tinospora sinensis, Commiphora mukul, Coccinia grandis, and Hippophae salicifolia.

Keywords: Ficus racemosa, Momordica charantia, Azadirachta indica, Helieteres isora, Saraca asoca, Ichnocarpus frutescens, Tinospora sinensis, Commiphora mukul, Coccinia grandis, Hippophae salicifolia

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16 Integrated Thermal Control to Improve Workers' Intellectual Concentration in Office Environment

Authors: Kimi Ueda, Kosuke Sugita, Soma Kawamoto, Hiroshi Shimoda, Hirotake Ishii, Fumiaki Obayashi, Kazuhiro Taniguchi, Ayaka Suzuki

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The authors have focused on the thermal difference between office rooms and break rooms, and proposed an integrated thermal control method to improve workers’ intellectual concentration. First, a trial experiment was conducted to verify the effect of temperature difference on workers’ intellectual concentration with using two experimental rooms; a thermally neutral break room and a cooler office room. As the result of the experiment, it was found that the thermal difference had a significant effect on improving their intellectual concentration. Workers, however, often take a short break at their desks without moving to a break room, so that the thermal difference cannot be given to them. So utilization of airflow was proposed as an integrated thermal control method instead of the temperature difference to realize the similar effect. Concretely, they are exposed to airflow when working in order to reduce their effective temperature while it is weakened when taking a break. Another experiment was conducted to confirm the effect of the airflow control on their intellectual concentration. As the result of concentration index and questionnaire survey, their intellectual concentration was significantly improved in the integrated thermal controlled environment. It was also found that most of them felt more comfortable and had higher motivation and higher degree of concentration in the environment.

Keywords: airflow, evaluation experiment, intellectual concentration, thermal difference

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15 Effects of the Different Recovery Durations on Some Physiological Parameters during 3 X 3 Small-Sided Games in Soccer

Authors: Samet Aktaş, Nurtekin Erkmen, Faruk Guven, Halil Taskin

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This study aimed to determine the effects of 3 versus 3 small-sided games (SSG) with different recovery times on soma physiological parameters in soccer players. Twelve soccer players from Regional Amateur League volunteered for this study (mean±SD age, 20.50±2.43 years; height, 177.73±4.13 cm; weight, 70.83±8.38 kg). Subjects were performing soccer training for five days per week. The protocol of the study was approved by the local ethic committee in School of Physical Education and Sport, Selcuk University. The subjects were divided into teams with 3 players according to Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test. The field dimension was 26 m wide and 34 m in length. Subjects performed two times in a random order a series of 3 bouts of 3-a-side SSGs with 3 min and 5 min recovery durations. In SSGs, each set were performed with 6 min duration. The percent of maximal heart rate (% HRmax), blood lactate concentration (LA) and Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale points were collected before the SSGs and at the end of each set. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures. Significant differences were found between %HRmax in before SSG and 1st set, 2nd set, and 3rd set in both SSG with 3 min recovery duration and SSG with 5 min recovery duration (p<0.05). Means of %HRmax in SSG with 3 min recovery duration at both 1st and 2nd sets were significantly higher than SSG with 5 min recovery duration (p<0.05). No significant difference was found between sets of either SSGs in terms of LA (p>0.05). LA in SSG with 3 min recovery duration was higher than SSG with 5 min recovery duration at 2nd sets (p<0.05). RPE in soccer players was not different between SSGs (p>0.05).In conclusion, this study demonstrates that exercise intensity in SSG with 3 min recovery durations is higher than SSG with 5 min recovery durations.

Keywords: small-sided games, soccer, heart rate, lactate

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14 Factors Associated with Contraceptive Use and Nonuse, among Currently Married Young (15-24 Years) Women in Nepal

Authors: Bishnu Prasad Dulal, Sushil Chandra Baral, Radheshyam Bhattarai, Meera Tandan

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Background: Non-use of contraceptives is a leading cause of unintended pregnancy. This study was done to explore the potential predictors of contraceptive used by young women, and the findings can inform policy makers to design the program to reduce unintended pregnancy for younger women who have a longer time of fecundity. Methodology: A nationally representative cross-sectional household survey was conducted by Health Research and Social Development Forum in 2012. Total 2259 currently married young women (15-24 years) were selected for the analysis out of 8578 women of reproductive age interviewed from the total 10260 households using systematic sampling. Binary logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with the use of modern contraceptive methods. Findings: The prevalence of modern contraceptive methods among young women was 25.2 %. Use of contraceptives was significantly associated with age at first marriage <15 year of age (OR:1.95) and ever delivered (OR: 1.8). Muslim women were significantly less likely to use contraceptives. Development region, wealth quintile, and awareness of abortion site were also statistically associated factors to use of contraceptives. Conclusion: The prevalence of contraceptives uses among young married women (25.2%) was lower than national prevalence (43%) of contraceptives use among married women of reproductive age. Our analysis focused on examining the association between women’s characteristics-related factors and use and nonuse of modern contraceptives. Awareness of safe abortion site is significantly associated while level of education was not. It is an interesting finding but difficult to interpret which needs further analysis on the basis of education. Maybe due to the underlying socio-religious practice of Muslim people, they had lower use of contraceptives. Programmers and policy makers could better help young women by increasing intervention activities to have a regular use of contraceptive-covering poor, Dalit and Muslim, and low aged women in order to reduce unintended pregnancy.

Keywords: unintended pregnancy, contraceptive, young women, Nepal

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13 Action Potential of Lateral Geniculate Neurons at Low Threshold Currents: Simulation Study

Authors: Faris Tarlochan, Siva Mahesh Tangutooru

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Lateral Geniculate Nucleus (LGN) is the relay center in the visual pathway as it receives most of the input information from retinal ganglion cells (RGC) and sends to visual cortex. Low threshold calcium currents (IT) at the membrane are the unique indicator to characterize this firing functionality of the LGN neurons gained by the RGC input. According to the LGN functional requirements such as functional mapping of RGC to LGN, the morphologies of the LGN neurons were developed. During the neurological disorders like glaucoma, the mapping between RGC and LGN is disconnected and hence stimulating LGN electrically using deep brain electrodes can restore the functionalities of LGN. A computational model was developed for simulating the LGN neurons with three predominant morphologies, each representing different functional mapping of RGC to LGN. The firings of action potentials at LGN neuron due to IT were characterized by varying the stimulation parameters, morphological parameters and orientation. A wide range of stimulation parameters (stimulus amplitude, duration and frequency) represents the various strengths of the electrical stimulation with different morphological parameters (soma size, dendrites size and structure). The orientation (0-1800) of LGN neuron with respect to the stimulating electrode represents the angle at which the extracellular deep brain stimulation towards LGN neuron is performed. A reduced dendrite structure was used in the model using Bush–Sejnowski algorithm to decrease the computational time while conserving its input resistance and total surface area. The major finding is that an input potential of 0.4 V is required to produce the action potential in the LGN neuron which is placed at 100 µm distance from the electrode. From this study, it can be concluded that the neuroprostheses under design would need to consider the capability of inducing at least 0.4V to produce action potentials in LGN.

Keywords: Lateral Geniculate Nucleus, visual cortex, finite element, glaucoma, neuroprostheses

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12 Adsorption: A Decision Maker in the Photocatalytic Degradation of Phenol on Co-Catalysts Doped TiO₂

Authors: Dileep Maarisetty, Janaki Komandur, Saroj S. Baral

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In the current work, photocatalytic degradation of phenol was carried both in UV and visible light to find the slowest step that is limiting the rate of photo-degradation process. Characterization such as XRD, SEM, FT-IR, TEM, XPS, UV-DRS, PL, BET, UPS, ESR and zeta potential experiments were conducted to assess the credibility of catalysts in boosting the photocatalytic activity. To explore the synergy, TiO₂ was doped with graphene and alumina. The orbital hybridization with alumina doping (mediated by graphene) resulted in higher electron transfer from the conduction band of TiO₂ to alumina surface where oxygen reduction reactions (ORR) occur. Besides, the doping of alumina and graphene introduced defects into Ti lattice and helped in improving the adsorptive properties of modified photo-catalyst. Results showed that these defects promoted the oxygen reduction reactions (ORR) on the catalyst’s surface. ORR activity aims at producing reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS species oxidizes the phenol molecules which is adsorbed on the surface of photo-catalysts, thereby driving the photocatalytic reactions. Since mass transfer is considered as rate limiting step, various mathematical models were applied to the experimental data to probe the best fit. By varying the parameters, it was found that intra-particle diffusion was the slowest step in the degradation process. Lagergren model gave the best R² values indicating the nature of rate kinetics. Similarly, different adsorption isotherms were employed and realized that Langmuir isotherm suits the best with tremendous increase in uptake capacity (mg/g) of TiO₂-rGO-Al₂O₃ as compared undoped TiO₂. This further assisted in higher adsorption of phenol molecules. The results obtained from experimental, kinetic modelling and adsorption isotherms; it is concluded that apart from changes in surface, optoelectronic and morphological properties that enhanced the photocatalytic activity, the intra-particle diffusion within the catalyst’s pores serve as rate-limiting step in deciding the fate of photo-catalytic degradation of phenol.

Keywords: ORR, phenol degradation, photo-catalyst, rate kinetics

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11 In Silico Screening, Identification and Validation of Cryptosporidium hominis Hypothetical Protein and Virtual Screening of Inhibitors as Therapeutics

Authors: Arpit Kumar Shrivastava, Subrat Kumar, Rajani Kanta Mohapatra, Priyadarshi Soumyaranjan Sahu

Abstract:

Computational approaches to predict structure, function and other biological characteristics of proteins are becoming more common in comparison to the traditional methods in drug discovery. Cryptosporidiosis is a major zoonotic diarrheal disease particularly in children, which is caused primarily by Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum. Currently, there are no vaccines for cryptosporidiosis and recommended drugs are not effective. With the availability of complete genome sequence of C. hominis, new targets have been recognized for the development of effective and better drugs and/or vaccines. We identified a unique hypothetical epitopic protein in C. hominis genome through BLASTP analysis. A 3D model of the hypothetical protein was generated using I-Tasser server through threading methodology. The quality of the model was validated through Ramachandran plot by PROCHECK server. The functional annotation of the hypothetical protein through DALI server revealed structural similarity with human Transportin 3. Phylogenetic analysis for this hypothetical protein also showed C. hominis hypothetical protein (CUV04613) was the closely related to human transportin 3 protein. The 3D protein model is further subjected to virtual screening study with inhibitors from the Zinc Database by using Dock Blaster software. Docking study reported N-(3-chlorobenzyl) ethane-1,2-diamine as the best inhibitor in terms of docking score. Docking analysis elucidated that Leu 525, Ile 526, Glu 528, Glu 529 are critical residues for ligand–receptor interactions. The molecular dynamic simulation was done to access the reliability of the binding pose of inhibitor and protein complex using GROMACS software at 10ns time point. Trajectories were analyzed at each 2.5 ns time interval, among which, H-bond with LEU-525 and GLY- 530 are significantly present in MD trajectories. Furthermore, antigenic determinants of the protein were determined with the help of DNA Star software. Our study findings showed a great potential in order to provide insights in the development of new drug(s) or vaccine(s) for control as well as prevention of cryptosporidiosis among humans and animals.

Keywords: cryptosporidium hominis, hypothetical protein, molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulation

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10 Modelling of Heat Transfer during Controlled Cooling of Thermo-Mechanically Treated Rebars Using Computational Fluid Dynamics Approach

Authors: Rohit Agarwal, Mrityunjay K. Singh, Soma Ghosh, Ramesh Shankar, Biswajit Ghosh, Vinay V. Mahashabde

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Thermo-mechanical treatment (TMT) of rebars is a critical process to impart sufficient strength and ductility to rebar. TMT rebars are produced by the Tempcore process, involves an 'in-line' heat treatment in which hot rolled bar (temperature is around 1080°C) is passed through water boxes where it is quenched under high pressure water jets (temperature is around 25°C). The quenching rate dictates composite structure consisting (four non-homogenously distributed phases of rebar microstructure) pearlite-ferrite, bainite, and tempered martensite (from core to rim). The ferrite and pearlite phases present at core induce ductility to rebar while martensitic rim induces appropriate strength. The TMT process is difficult to model as it brings multitude of complex physics such as heat transfer, highly turbulent fluid flow, multicomponent and multiphase flow present in the control volume. Additionally the presence of film boiling regime (above Leidenfrost point) due to steam formation adds complexity to domain. A coupled heat transfer and fluid flow model based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has been developed at product technology division of Tata Steel, India which efficiently predicts temperature profile and percentage martensite rim thickness of rebar during quenching process. The model has been validated with 16 mm rolling of New Bar mill (NBM) plant of Tata Steel Limited, India. Furthermore, based on the scenario analyses, optimal configuration of nozzles was found which helped in subsequent increase in rolling speed.

Keywords: boiling, critical heat flux, nozzles, thermo-mechanical treatment

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9 Angiogenic, Cytoprotective, and Immunosuppressive Properties of Human Amnion and Chorion-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Authors: Kenichi Yamahara, Makiko Ohshima, Shunsuke Ohnishi, Hidetoshi Tsuda, Akihiko Taguchi, Toshihiro Soma, Hiroyasu Ogawa, Jun Yoshimatsu, Tomoaki Ikeda

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We have previously reported the therapeutic potential of rat fetal membrane(FM)-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) using various rat models including hindlimb ischemia, autoimmune myocarditis, glomerulonephritis, renal ischemia-reperfusion injury, and myocardial infarction. In this study, 1) we isolated and characterized MSCs from human amnion and chorion; 2) we examined their differences in the expression profile of growth factors and cytokines; and 3) we investigated the therapeutic potential and difference of these MSCs using murine hindlimb ischemia and acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) models. Isolated MSCs from both amnion and chorion layers of FM showed similar morphological appearance, multipotency, and cell-surface antigen expression. Conditioned media obtained from amnion- and chorion-derived MSCs inhibited cell death caused by serum starvation or hypoxia in endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes. Amnion and chorion MSCs secreted significant amounts of angiogenic factors including HGF, IGF-1, VEGF, and bFGF, although differences in the cellular expression profile of these soluble factors were observed. Transplantation of human amnion or chorion MSCs significantly increased blood flow and capillary density in a murine hindlimb ischemia model. In addition, compared to human chorion MSCs, human amnion MSCs markedly reduced T-lymphocyte proliferation with the enhanced secretion of PGE2, and improved the pathological situation of a mouse model of GVHD disease. Our results highlight that human amnionand chorion-derived MSCs, which showed differences in their soluble factor secretion and angiogenic/immuno-suppressive function, could be ideal cell sources for regenerative medicine.

Keywords: amnion, chorion, fetal membrane, mesenchymal stem cells

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8 Nutrition Transition in Bangladesh: Multisectoral Responsiveness of Health Systems and Innovative Measures to Mobilize Resources Are Required for Preventing This Epidemic in Making

Authors: Shusmita Khan, Shams El Arifeen, Kanta Jamil

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Background: Nutrition transition in Bangladesh has progressed across various relevant socio-demographic contextual issues. For a developing country like Bangladesh, its is believed that, overnutrition is less prevalent than undernutrition. However, recent evidence suggests that a rapid shift is taking place where overweight is subduing underweight. With this rapid increase, for Bangladesh, it will be challenging to achieve the global agenda on halting overweight and obesity. Methods: A secondary analysis was performed from six successive national demographic and health surveys to get the trend on undernutrition and overnutrition for women from reproductive age. In addition, national relevant policy papers were reviewed to determine the countries readiness for whole of the systems approach to tackle this epidemic. Results: Over the last decade, the proportion of women with low body mass index (BMI<18.5), an indicator of undernutrition, has decreased markedly from 34% to 19%. However, the proportion of overweight women (BMI ≥25) increased alarmingly from 9% to 24% over the same period. If the WHO cutoff for public health action (BMI ≥23) is used, the proportion of overweight women has increased from 17% in 2004 to 39% in 2014. The increasing rate of obesity among women is a major challenge to obstetric practice for both women and fetuses. In the long term, overweight women are also at risk of future obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and heart disease. These diseases have serious impact on health care systems. Costs associated with overweight and obesity involves direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services related to obesity. Indirect costs relate to morbidity and mortality costs including productivity. Looking at the Bangladesh Health Facility Survey, it is found that the country is bot prepared for providing nutrition-related health services, regarding prevention, screening, management and treatment. Therefore, if this nutrition transition is not addressed properly, Bangladesh will not be able to achieve the target of the NCD global monitoring framework of the WHO. Conclusion: Addressing this nutrition transition requires contending ‘malnutrition in all its forms’ and addressing it with integrated approaches. Whole of the systems action is required at all levels—starting from improving multi-sectoral coordination to scaling up nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive mainstreamed interventions keeping health system in mind.

Keywords: nutrition transition, Bangladesh, health system, undernutrition, overnutrition, obesity

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7 Governing Ecosystem Services for Poverty Reduction: Empirical Evidences from Purulia District, India

Authors: Soma Sarkar

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A number of authors have recently argued that there are strong links between ecosystem services and sustainable development, particularly development efforts that aim to reduce rural poverty. We see two distinct routes by which the science of ecosystem services can contribute to both nature conservation and sustainable development. First, a thorough accounting of ecosystem services and a better understanding of how and at what rates ecosystems produce these services can be used to motivate payment for nature conservation. At least part of the generated funds can be used to compensate people who suffer lost economic opportunities to protect these services. For example, if rural poor are asked to take actions that reduce farm productivity to protect and regulate water supply, those farmers could be compensated for the reduced productivity they experience. When the benefits of natural ecosystems are explicitly quantified, those benefits are more valued both by the people who directly interact with the ecosystems and the governmental and other agencies that would have to pay for substitute sources of these services if these ecosystems should become impaired. Appreciating the value of ecosystem services can motivate increased conservation investment to prevent having to pay for substitutes later. This approach could be characterized as a ‘‘government investment’’ approach because the payments will generally come from beneficiaries outside of the local area, and a governmental or other agency is typically responsible for collecting and redistributing the funds. Second, a focus on the conservation of ecosystem services could improve the success of projects that attempt to both conserve nature and improve the welfare of the rural poor by fostering markets for the goods and services that local people produce or extract from ecosystems. These projects could be characterized as more ‘‘community based’’ because the goal is to foster the more organic, or grassroots, development of cottage industries, such as ecotourism, or the production of non-timber forest products, that are enhanced by better protection of local ecosystems. Using this framework, we discuss the factors that may have contributed to failure or success for several projects in the district of Purulia, one of the most backward districts of India and inhabited by indigenous group of people. A large majority of people in this district are dependent on environment based incomes for their sustenance. The erosion of natural resource base owing to poor governance in the district has led to the reductions in the household incomes of these people. The scale of our analysis is local or project level. The plight of poor has little to do with the production functions of ecosystem services. But for rural poor, at the local level, the status of ecosystem services can make a big difference in their daily lives.

Keywords: ecosystem services, governance, rural poor, community based natural resource management

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6 High Throughput Virtual Screening against ns3 Helicase of Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)

Authors: Soma Banerjee, Aamen Talukdar, Argha Mandal, Dipankar Chaudhuri

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Japanese Encephalitis is a major infectious disease with nearly half the world’s population living in areas where it is prevalent. Currently, treatment for it involves only supportive care and symptom management through vaccination. Due to the lack of antiviral drugs against Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), the quest for such agents remains a priority. For these reasons, simulation studies of drug targets against JEV are important. Towards this purpose, docking experiments of the kinase inhibitors were done against the chosen target NS3 helicase as it is a nucleoside binding protein. Previous efforts regarding computational drug design against JEV revealed some lead molecules by virtual screening using public domain software. To be more specific and accurate regarding finding leads, in this study a proprietary software Schrödinger-GLIDE has been used. Druggability of the pockets in the NS3 helicase crystal structure was first calculated by SITEMAP. Then the sites were screened according to compatibility with ATP. The site which is most compatible with ATP was selected as target. Virtual screening was performed by acquiring ligands from databases: KinaseSARfari, KinaseKnowledgebase and Published inhibitor Set using GLIDE. The 25 ligands with best docking scores from each database were re-docked in XP mode. Protein structure alignment of NS3 was performed using VAST against MMDB, and similar human proteins were docked to all the best scoring ligands. The low scoring ligands were chosen for further studies and the high scoring ligands were screened. Seventy-three ligands were listed as the best scoring ones after performing HTVS. Protein structure alignment of NS3 revealed 3 human proteins with RMSD values lesser than 2Å. Docking results with these three proteins revealed the inhibitors that can interfere and inhibit human proteins. Those inhibitors were screened. Among the ones left, those with docking scores worse than a threshold value were also removed to get the final hits. Analysis of the docked complexes through 2D interaction diagrams revealed the amino acid residues that are essential for ligand binding within the active site. Interaction analysis will help to find a strongly interacting scaffold among the hits. This experiment yielded 21 hits with the best docking scores which could be investigated further for their drug like properties. Aside from getting suitable leads, specific NS3 helicase-inhibitor interactions were identified. Selection of Target modification strategies complementing docking methodologies which can result in choosing better lead compounds are in progress. Those enhanced leads can lead to better in vitro testing.

Keywords: antivirals, docking, glide, high-throughput virtual screening, Japanese encephalitis, ns3 helicase

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5 Solution Thermodynamics, Photophysical and Computational Studies of TACH2OX, a C-3 Symmetric 8-Hydroxyquinoline: Abiotic Siderophore Analogue of Enterobactin

Authors: B. K. Kanungo, Monika Thakur, Minati Baral

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8-hydroxyquinoline, (8HQ), experiences a renaissance due to its utility as a building block in metallosupramolecular chemistry and its versatile use of its derivatives in various fields of analytical chemistry, materials science, and pharmaceutics. It forms stable complexes with a variety of metal ions. Assembly of more than one such unit to form a polydentate chelator enhances its coordinating ability and the related properties due to the chelate effect resulting in high stability constant. Keeping in view the above, a nonadentate chelator N-[3,5-bis(8-hydroxyquinoline-2-amido)cyclohexyl]-8-hydroxyquinoline-2-carboxamide, (TACH2OX), containing a central cis,cis-1,3,5-triaminocyclohexane appended to three 8-hydroxyquinoline at 2-position through amide linkage is developed, and its solution thermodynamics, photophysical and Density Functional Theory (DFT) studies were undertaken. The synthesis of TACH2OX was carried out by condensation of cis,cis-1,3,5-triaminocyclohexane, (TACH) with 8‐hydroxyquinoline‐2‐carboxylic acid. The brown colored solid has been fully characterized through melting point, infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance, electrospray ionization mass and electronic spectroscopy. In solution, TACH2OX forms protonated complexes below pH 3.4, which consecutively deprotonates to generate trinegative ion with the rise of pH. Nine protonation constants for the ligand were obtained that ranges between 2.26 to 7.28. The interaction of the chelator with two trivalent metal ion Fe3+ and Al3+ were studied in aqueous solution at 298 K. The metal-ligand formation constants (ML) obtained by potentiometric and spectrophotometric method agree with each other. The protonated and hydrolyzed species were also detected in the system. The in-silico studies of the ligand, as well as the complexes including their protonated and deprotonated species assessed by density functional theory technique, gave an accurate correlation with each observed properties such as the protonation constants, stability constants, infra-red, nmr, electronic absorption and emission spectral bands. The nature of electronic and emission spectral bands in terms of number and type were ascertained from time-dependent density functional theory study and the natural transition orbitals (NTO). The global reactivity indices parameters were used for comparison of the reactivity of the ligand and the complex molecules. The natural bonding orbital (NBO) analysis could successfully describe the structure and bonding of the metal-ligand complexes specifying the percentage of contribution in atomic orbitals in the creation of molecular orbitals. The obtained high value of metal-ligand formation constants indicates that the newly synthesized chelator is a very powerful synthetic chelator. The minimum energy molecular modeling structure of the ligand suggests that the ligand, TACH2OX, in a tripodal fashion firmly coordinates to the metal ion as hexa-coordinated chelate displaying distorted octahedral geometry by binding through three sets of N, O- donor atoms, present in each pendant arm of the central tris-cyclohexaneamine tripod.

Keywords: complexes, DFT, formation constant, TACH2OX

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4 Fiberoptic Intubation Skills Training Improves Emergency Medicine Resident Comfort Using Modality

Authors: Nicholus M. Warstadt, Andres D. Mallipudi, Oluwadamilola Idowu, Joshua Rodriguez, Madison M. Hunt, Soma Pathak, Laura P. Weber

Abstract:

Endotracheal intubation is a core procedure performed by emergency physicians. This procedure is a high risk, and failure results in substantial morbidity and mortality. Fiberoptic intubation (FOI) is the standard of care in difficult airway protocols, yet no widespread practice exists for training emergency medicine (EM) residents in the technical acquisition of FOI skills. Simulation on mannequins is commonly utilized to teach advanced airway techniques. As part of a program to introduce FOI into our ED, residents received hands-on training in FOI as part of our weekly resident education conference. We hypothesized that prior to the hands-on training, residents had little experience with FOI and were uncomfortable with using fiberoptic as a modality. We further hypothesized that resident comfort with FOI would increase following the training. The education intervention consisted of two hours of focused airway teaching and skills acquisition for PGY 1-4 residents. One hour was dedicated to four case-based learning stations focusing on standard, pediatric, facial trauma, and burn airways. Direct, video, and fiberoptic airway equipment were available to use at the residents’ discretion to intubate mannequins at each station. The second hour involved direct instructor supervision and immediate feedback during deliberate practice for FOI of a mannequin. Prior to the hands-on training, a pre-survey was sent via email to all EM residents at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. The pre-survey asked how many FOI residents have performed in the ED, OR, and on a mannequin. The pre-survey and a post-survey asked residents to rate their comfort with FOI on a 5-point Likert scale ("extremely uncomfortable", "somewhat uncomfortable", "neither comfortable nor uncomfortable", "somewhat comfortable", and "extremely comfortable"). The post-survey was administered on site immediately following the training. A two-sample chi-square test of independence was calculated comparing self-reported resident comfort on the pre- and post-survey (α ≤ 0.05). Thirty-six of a total of 70 residents (51.4%) completed the pre-survey. Of pre-survey respondents, 34 residents (94.4%) had performed 0, 1 resident (2.8%) had performed 1, and 1 resident (2.8%) had performed 2 FOI in the ED. Twenty-five residents (69.4%) had performed 0, 6 residents (16.7%) had performed 1, 2 residents (5.6%) had performed 2, 1 resident (2.8%) had performed 3, and 2 residents (5.6%) had performed 4 FOI in the OR. Seven residents (19.4%) had performed 0, and 16 residents (44.4%) had performed 5 or greater FOI on a mannequin. 29 residents (41.4%) attended the hands-on training, and 27 out of 29 residents (93.1%) completed the post-survey. Self-reported resident comfort with FOI significantly increased in post-survey compared to pre-survey questionnaire responses (p = 0.00034). Twenty-one of 27 residents (77.8%) report being “somewhat comfortable” or “extremely comfortable” with FOI on the post-survey, compared to 9 of 35 residents (25.8%) on the pre-survey. We show that dedicated FOI training is associated with increased learner comfort with such techniques. Further direction includes studying technical competency, skill retention, translation to direct patient care, and optimal frequency and methodology of future FOI education.

Keywords: airway, emergency medicine, fiberoptic intubation, medical simulation, skill acquisition

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3 Synthesis of Carbon Nanotubes from Coconut Oil and Fabrication of a Non Enzymatic Cholesterol Biosensor

Authors: Mitali Saha, Soma Das

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The fabrication of nanoscale materials for use in chemical sensing, biosensing and biological analyses has proven a promising avenue in the last few years. Cholesterol has aroused considerable interest in recent years on account of its being an important parameter in clinical diagnosis. There is a strong positive correlation between high serum cholesterol level and arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and myocardial infarction. Enzyme-based electrochemical biosensors have shown high selectivity and excellent sensitivity, but the enzyme is easily denatured during its immobilization procedure and its activity is also affected by temperature, pH, and toxic chemicals. Besides, the reproducibility of enzyme-based sensors is not very good which further restrict the application of cholesterol biosensor. It has been demonstrated that carbon nanotubes could promote electron transfer with various redox active proteins, ranging from cytochrome c to glucose oxidase with a deeply embedded redox center. In continuation of our earlier work on the synthesis and applications of carbon and metal based nanoparticles, we have reported here the synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CCNT) by burning coconut oil under insufficient flow of air using an oil lamp. The soot was collected from the top portion of the flame, where the temperature was around 6500C which was purified, functionalized and then characterized by SEM, p-XRD and Raman spectroscopy. The SEM micrographs showed the formation of tubular structure of CCNT having diameter below 100 nm. The XRD pattern indicated the presence of two predominant peaks at 25.20 and 43.80, which corresponded to (002) and (100) planes of CCNT respectively. The Raman spectrum (514 nm excitation) showed the presence of 1600 cm-1 (G-band) related to the vibration of sp2-bonded carbon and at 1350 cm-1 (D-band) responsible for the vibrations of sp3-bonded carbon. A nonenzymatic cholesterol biosensor was then fabricated on an insulating Teflon material containing three silver wires at the surface, covered by CCNT, obtained from coconut oil. Here, CCNTs worked as working as well as counter electrodes whereas reference electrode and electric contacts were made of silver. The dimensions of the electrode was 3.5 cm×1.0 cm×0.5 cm (length× width × height) and it is ideal for working with 50 µL volume like the standard screen printed electrodes. The voltammetric behavior of cholesterol at CCNT electrode was investigated by cyclic voltammeter and differential pulse voltammeter using 0.001 M H2SO4 as electrolyte. The influence of the experimental parameters on the peak currents of cholesterol like pH, accumulation time, and scan rates were optimized. Under optimum conditions, the peak current was found to be linear in the cholesterol concentration range from 1 µM to 50 µM with a sensitivity of ~15.31 μAμM−1cm−2 with lower detection limit of 0.017 µM and response time of about 6s. The long-term storage stability of the sensor was tested for 30 days and the current response was found to be ~85% of its initial response after 30 days.

Keywords: coconut oil, CCNT, cholesterol, biosensor

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2 Molecular Characterization and Arsenic Mobilization Properties of a Novel Strain IIIJ3-1 Isolated from Arsenic Contaminated Aquifers of Brahmaputra River Basin, India

Authors: Soma Ghosh, Balaram Mohapatra, Pinaki Sar, Abhijeet Mukherjee

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Microbial role in arsenic (As) mobilization in the groundwater aquifers of Brahmaputra river basin (BRB) in India, severely threatened by high concentrations of As, remains largely unknown. The present study, therefore, is a molecular and ecophysiological characterization of an indigenous bacterium strain IIIJ3-1 isolated from As contaminated groundwater of BRB and application of this strain in several microcosm set ups differing in their organic carbon (OC) source and terminal electron acceptors (TEA), to understand its role in As dissolution under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Strain IIIJ3-1 was found to be a new facultative anaerobic, gram-positive, endospore-forming strain capable of arsenite (As3+) oxidation and dissimilatory arsenate (As5+) reduction. The bacterium exhibited low genomic (G+C)% content (45 mol%). Although, its 16S rRNA gene sequence revealed a maximum similarity of 99% with Bacillus cereus ATCC 14579(T) but the DNA-DNA relatedness of their genomic DNAs was only 49.9%, which remains well below the value recommended to delimit different species. Abundance of fatty acids iC17:0, iC15:0 and menaquinone (MK) 7 though corroborates its taxonomic affiliation with B. cereus sensu-lato group, presence of hydroxy fatty acids (HFAs), C18:2, MK5 and MK6 marked its uniqueness. Besides being highly As resistant (MTC=10mM As3+, 350mM As5+), metabolically diverse, efficient aerobic As3+ oxidizer; it exhibited near complete dissimilatory reduction of As5+ (1 mM). Utilization of various carbon sources with As5+ as TEA revealed lactate to serve as the best electron donor. Aerobic biotransformation assay yielded a lower Km for As3+ oxidation than As5+ reduction. Arsenic homeostasis was found to be conferred by the presence of arr, arsB, aioB, and acr3(1) genes. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis of this bacterium revealed reduction in cell size upon exposure to As and formation of As-rich electron opaque dots following growth with As3+. Incubation of this strain with sediment (sterilised) collected from BRB aquifers under varying OC, TEA and redox conditions revealed that the strain caused highest As mobilization from solid to aqueous phase under anaerobic condition with lactate and nitrate as electron donor and acceptor, respectively. Co-release of highest concentrations of oxalic acid, a well known bioweathering agent, considerable fold increase in viable cell counts and SEM-EDX and X-ray diffraction analysis of the sediment after incubation under this condition indicated that As release is consequent to microbial bioweathering of the minerals. Co-release of other elements statistically proves decoupled release of As with Fe and Zn. Principle component analysis also revealed prominent role of nitrate under aerobic and/or anaerobic condition in As release by strain IIIJ3-1. This study, therefore, is the first to isolate, characterize and reveal As mobilization property of a strain belonging to the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group isolated from highly As contaminated aquifers of Brahmaputra River Basin.

Keywords: anaerobic microcosm, arsenic rich electron opaque dots, Arsenic release, Bacillus strain IIIJ3-1

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1 Complex Dynamics in a Morphologically Heterogeneous Biological Medium

Authors: Turky Al-Qahtani, Roustem Miftahof

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Introduction: Under common assumptions of excitabi-lity, morphological (cellular) homogeneity, and spatial structural anomalies added as required, it has been shown that biological systems are able to display travelling wave dynamics. Being not self-sustainable, existence depends on the electrophysiological state of transmembrane ion channels and it requires an extrinsic/intrinsic periodic source. However, organs in the body are highly multicellular, heterogeneous, and their functionality is the outcome of electro-mechanical conjugation, rather than excitability only. Thus, peristalsis in the gut relies on spatiotemporal myoelectrical pattern formations between the mechanical, represented by smooth muscle cells (SM), and the control, comprised of a chain of primary sensory and motor neurones, components. Synaptically linked through the afferent and efferent pathways, they form a functional unit (FU) of the gut. Aims: These are: i) to study numerically the complex dynamics, and ii) to investigate the possibility of self-sustained myoelectrical activity in the FU. Methods: The FU recreates the following sequence of physiological events: deformation of mechanoreceptors of located in SM; generation and propagation of electrical waves of depolarisation - spikes - along the axon to the soma of the primary neurone; discharge of the primary neurone and spike propagation towards the motor neurone; burst of the motor neurone and transduction of spikes to SM, subsequently producing forces of contraction. These are governed by a system of nonlinear partial and ordinary differential equations being a modified version of the Hodgkin-Huxley model and SM fibre mechanics. In numerical experiments; the source of excitation is mechanical stretches of SM at a fixed amplitude and variable frequencies. Results: Low frequency (0.5 < v < 2 Hz) stimuli cause the propagation of spikes in the neuronal chain and, finally, the generation of active forces by SM. However, induced contractions are not sufficient to initiate travelling wave dynamics in the control system. At frequencies, 2 < v < 4 Hz, multiple low amplitude and short-lasting contractions are observed in SM after the termination of stretching. For frequencies (0.5 < v < 4 Hz), primary and sensory neurones demonstrate strong connectivity and coherent electrical activity. Significant qualitative and quantitative changes in dynamics of myoelectical patterns with a transition to a self-organised mode are recorded with the high degree of stretches at v = 4.5 Hz. Increased rates of deformation lead to the production of high amplitude signals at the mechanoreceptors with subsequent self-sustained excitation within the neuronal chain. Remarkably, the connection between neurones weakens resulting in incoherent firing. Further increase in a frequency of stimulation (v > 4.5 Hz) has a detrimental effect on the system. The mechanical and control systems become disconnected and exhibit uncoordinated electromechanical activity. Conclusion: To our knowledge, the existence of periodic activity in a multicellular, functionally heterogeneous biological system with mechano-electrical dynamics, such as the FU, has been demonstrated for the first time. These findings support the notion of possible peristalsis in the gut even in the absence of intrinsic sources - pacemaker cells. Results could be implicated in the pathogenesis of intestinal dysrythmia, a medical condition associated with motor dysfunction.

Keywords: complex dynamics, functional unit, the gut, dysrythmia

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