Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Search results for: Tomoyuki Kawada

4 Effects of Forest Bathing on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Parameters in Middle-Aged Males

Authors: Qing Li, Maiko Kobayashi, Shigeyoshi Kumeda, Hiroko Ochiai, Toshiya Ochiai, Takashi Miura, Takahide Kagawa, Michiko Imai, Toshiaki Otsuka, Tomoyuki Kawada

Abstract:

In the present study, we investigated the effects of a forest bathing program on cardiovascular and metabolic parameters. Nineteen healthy male subjects (mean age: 51.3 ± 8.8 years) were selected after obtaining informed consent. These subjects took day trips to a forest park named Akasawa Shizen Kyuyourin, Agematsu, Nagano Prefecture (situated in central Japan), and to an urban area of Nagano Prefecture as a control in August 2015. On both trips, they walked 2.6 km for 80 min each in the morning and afternoon on Saturdays. Blood and urine were sampled in the morning before and after each trip. Cardiovascular and metabolic parameters were measured. Blood pressure and pulse rate were measured by an ambulatory automatic blood pressure monitor. The Japanese version of the profile of mood states (POMS) test was conducted before, during and after the trips. Ambient temperature and humidity were monitoring during the trips. The forest bathing program significantly reduced pulse rate, and significantly increased the score for vigor and decreased the scores for depression, fatigue, and confusion in the POMS test. The levels of urinary noradrenaline and dopamine after forest bathing were significantly lower than those after urban area walking, suggesting the relaxing effect of the forest bathing program. The level of adiponectin in serum after the forest bathing program was significantly greater than that after urban area walking. There was no significant difference in blood pressure between forest and urban area trips during the trips.

Keywords: ambient temperature, blood pressure, forest bathing, forest therapy, human health, POMS, pulse rate

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3 Impact of Building Orientation on Energy Performance of Buildings in Kabul, Afghanistan

Authors: Mustafa Karimi, Chikamoto Tomoyuki

Abstract:

The building sector consumes 36% of total global energy used, whereas only residential buildings are responsible for 22% of that. In residential buildings, energy used for space heating and cooling represents the majority part of the total energy consumption. Although Afghanistan is amongst the lowest in energy usage globally, residential buildings’ energy consumption has caused serious environmental issues, especially in the capital city, Kabul. After decades of war in Afghanistan, redevelopment of the built environment started from scratch in the past years; therefore, to create sustainable urban areas, it is critical to find the most energy-efficient design parameters for buildings that will last for decades. This study aims to assess the impact of building orientation on the energy performance of buildings in Kabul. It is found that the optimal orientation for buildings in Kabul is South and South-southeast, while West-northwest and Northeast orientations are the worst in terms of energy performance. The difference in the total energy consumption between the best and the worst orientation is 17.5%.

Keywords: building orientation, energy consumption, residential buildings, Kabul, environmental issues

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2 Excited State Structural Dynamics of Retinal Isomerization Revealed by a Femtosecond X-Ray Laser

Authors: Przemyslaw Nogly, Tobias Weinert, Daniel James, Sergio Carbajo, Dmitry Ozerov, Antonia Furrer, Dardan Gashi, Veniamin Borin, Petr Skopintsev, Kathrin Jaeger, Karol Nass, Petra Bath, Robert Bosman, Jason Koglin, Matthew Seaberg, Thomas Lane, Demet Kekilli, Steffen Brünle, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Wenting Wu, Christopher Milne, Thomas A. White, Anton Barty, Uwe Weierstall, Valerie Panneels, Eriko Nango, So Iwata, Mark Hunter, Igor Schapiro, Gebhard Schertler, Richard Neutze, Jörg Standfuss

Abstract:

Ultrafast isomerization of retinal is the primary step in a range of photoresponsive biological functions including vision in humans and ion-transport across bacterial membranes. We studied the sub-picosecond structural dynamics of retinal isomerization in the light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin using an X-ray laser. Twenty snapshots with near-atomic spatial and temporal resolution in the femtosecond regime show how the excited all-trans retinal samples conformational states within the protein binding pocket prior to passing through a highly-twisted geometry and emerging in the 13-cis conformation. The aspartic acid residues and functional water molecules in proximity of the retinal Schiff base respond collectively to formation and decay of the initial excited state and retinal isomerization. These observations reveal how the protein scaffold guides this remarkably efficient photochemical reaction.

Keywords: bacteriorhodopsin, free-electron laser, retinal isomerization mechanism, time-resolved crystallography

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1 A High-Throughput Enzyme Screening Method Using Broadband Coherent Anti-stokes Raman Spectroscopy

Authors: Ruolan Zhang, Ryo Imai, Naoko Senda, Tomoyuki Sakai

Abstract:

Enzymes have attracted increasing attentions in industrial manufacturing for their applicability in catalyzing complex chemical reactions under mild conditions. Directed evolution has become a powerful approach to optimize enzymes and exploit their full potentials under the circumstance of insufficient structure-function knowledge. With the incorporation of cell-free synthetic biotechnology, rapid enzyme synthesis can be realized because no cloning procedure such as transfection is needed. Its open environment also enables direct enzyme measurement. These properties of cell-free biotechnology lead to excellent throughput of enzymes generation. However, the capabilities of current screening methods have limitations. Fluorescence-based assay needs applicable fluorescent label, and the reliability of acquired enzymatic activity is influenced by fluorescent label’s binding affinity and photostability. To acquire the natural activity of an enzyme, another method is to combine pre-screening step and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) measurement. But its throughput is limited by necessary time investment. Hundreds of variants are selected from libraries, and their enzymatic activities are then identified one by one by HPLC. The turn-around-time is 30 minutes for one sample by HPLC, which limits the acquirable enzyme improvement within reasonable time. To achieve the real high-throughput enzyme screening, i.e., obtain reliable enzyme improvement within reasonable time, a widely applicable high-throughput measurement of enzymatic reactions is highly demanded. Here, a high-throughput screening method using broadband coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) was proposed. CARS is one of coherent Raman spectroscopy, which can identify label-free chemical components specifically from their inherent molecular vibration. These characteristic vibrational signals are generated from different vibrational modes of chemical bonds. With the broadband CARS, chemicals in one sample can be identified from their signals in one broadband CARS spectrum. Moreover, it can magnify the signal levels to several orders of magnitude greater than spontaneous Raman systems, and therefore has the potential to evaluate chemical's concentration rapidly. As a demonstration of screening with CARS, alcohol dehydrogenase, which converts ethanol and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide oxidized form (NAD+) to acetaldehyde and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide reduced form (NADH), was used. The signal of NADH at 1660 cm⁻¹, which is generated from nicotinamide in NADH, was utilized to measure the concentration of it. The evaluation time for CARS signal of NADH was determined to be as short as 0.33 seconds while having a system sensitivity of 2.5 mM. The time course of alcohol dehydrogenase reaction was successfully measured from increasing signal intensity of NADH. This measurement result of CARS was consistent with the result of a conventional method, UV-Vis. CARS is expected to have application in high-throughput enzyme screening and realize more reliable enzyme improvement within reasonable time.

Keywords: Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy, CARS, directed evolution, enzyme screening, Raman spectroscopy

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