Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 9

Search results for: Toshiaki Otsuka

9 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


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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8 Study on Clarification of the Core Technology in a Monozukuri Company

Authors: Nishiyama Toshiaki, Tadayuki Kyountani, Nguyen Huu Phuc, Shigeyuki Haruyama, Oke Oktavianty


It is important to clarify the company’s core technology in product development process to strengthen their power in providing technology that meets the customer requirement. QFD method is adopted to clarify the core technology through identifying the high element technologies that are related to the voice of customer, and offer the most delightful features for customer. AHP is used to determine the importance of evaluating factors. A case study was conducted by using this approach in Japan’s Monozukuri Company (so called manufacturing company) to clarify their core technology based on customer requirements.

Keywords: core technology, QFD, voices of customer, analysis procedure

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7 Reactive Blending of Thermoplastic Starch, Ethylene-1-Butene Rubber, and Chitosan

Authors: Kittisak Jantanasakulwong, Toshiaki Ougizawa


Thermoplastic starch (TPS) was prepared by melt-blending of cassava starch with glycerol (70/30 wt%/wt%) at 130 ◦C for 10 min. Chitosan (CTS) was used as a compatibilizer. TPS/CTS blend was melt-blended with maleic anhydride grafted ethylene-1-butene rubber (EB-MAH) in the composition of 80/20 respectively. Addition of CTS in TPS/EB-MAH blend decreased particles size of EB-MAH rubber to 1µm in TPS matrix. Mechanical properties, solubility, swelling property, morphology, and water contact angle of TPS/EB-MAH blend were improved by CTS incorporation. FTIR confirmed a reaction had occurred between amino groups (-NH2) of CTS and the MAH groups of EB-MAH. This reaction and the enhanced miscibility between TPS and CTS improved morphology and properties of the TPS/EB-MAH/CTS blend.

Keywords: thermoplastic starch, rubber, reactive blending, chitosan

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6 Effect of Blade Shape on the Performance of Wells Turbine for Wave Energy Conversion

Authors: Katsuya Takasaki, Manabu Takao, Toshiaki Setoguchi


Effect of 3-dimensional (3D) blade on the turbine characteristics of Wells turbine for wave energy conversion has been investigated experimentally by model testing under steady flow conditions in the study, in order to improve the peak efficiency and the stall characteristics. The aim of the use of 3D blade is to prevent flow separation on the suction surface near the tip. The chord length is constant with radius and the blade profile changes gradually from mean radius to tip. The proposed blade profiles in the study are NACA0015 from hub to mean radius and NACA0025 at the tip. The performances of Wells turbine with 3D blades has been compared with those of the original Wells turbine, i.e. the turbine with 2-dimensional (2D) blades. As a result, it was concluded that although the peak efficiency of Wells turbine can be improved by the use of the proposed 3D blade, its blade does not overcome the weakness of stalling.

Keywords: fluid machinery, ocean engineering, stall, wave energy conversion, wells turbine

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5 Fabrication of Biosensor Based on Layered Double Hydroxide/Polypyrrole/Carbon Paste Electrode for Determination of Anti-Hypertensive and Prostatic Hyperplasia Drug Terazosin

Authors: Amira M. Hassanein, Nehal A. Salahuddin, Atsunori Matsuda, Toshiaki Hattori, Mona N. Elfiky


New insights into the design of highly sensitive, carbon-based electrochemical sensors are presented in this work. This was achieved by exploring the interesting properties of conductive (Mg/Al) layered double hydroxide- Dodecyl Sulphate/Polypyrrole nanocomposites which were synthesized by in-situ polymerization of pyrrole during the assembly of (Mg/Al) layered double hydroxide, and by employing the anionic surfactant Dodecyl sulphate as a modifier. The morphology and surface area of the nanocomposites changed with the percentage of Pyrrole. Under optimal conditions, the modified carbon paste electrode successfully achieved detection limits of 0.057 and 0.134 nmol.L-1 of Terazosin hydrochloride in pharmaceutical formulation and spiked human serum fluid, respectively. Moreover, the sensors are highly stable, reusable, and free from interference by other commonly present excipients in drug formulations.

Keywords: layered double hydroxide, polypyrrole, terazosin hydrochloride, square-wave adsorptive anodic stripping voltammetry

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4 Synthesis of Pd Nanoparticles Confined in Graphene Oxide Framework as Nano Catalyst with Improved Activity and Recyclability in Suzuki-Miyaura Cross-Coupling Reaction

Authors: Thuy Phuong Nhat Tran, Ashutosh Thakur, Toshiaki Taniike


Recently, covalently linked graphene oxide frameworks (GOFs) have attracted considerable attention in gas absorbance and water purification as well-defined microporous materials. In spite of their potential advantages such as a controllable pore dimension, adjustable hydrophobicity, and structural stability, these materials have been scarcely employed in heterogeneous catalysis. Here we demonstrate a novel and facile method to synthesize Pd nanoparticles (NPs) confined in a GOF ([email protected]). The GOF with uniform interlayer space was obtained by the intercalation of diboronic acid between graphene oxide layers. It was found that Pd NPs were generated inside the graphitic gallery spaces of the GOF, and thus, formed Pd NPs were well-dispersed with a narrow particle size distribution. The synthesized [email protected] emerged as an efficient nanocatalyst based on its superior performance (product yield and recyclability) toward Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction in both polar and apolar solvents, which has been hardly observed for previously reported graphene-based Pd nanocatalysts. Furthermore, the rational comparison of the catalytic performance between two kinds of [email protected] (Pd NPs encapsulated in a diboronic ester-intercalated GOF and in a monoboronic ester-intercalated GOF) firmly confirmed the essential role of a rigid framework design in the stabilization of Pd NPs. Based on these results, the covalently assembled GOF was proposed as a promising scaffold for hosting noble metal NPs to construct desired [email protected] nanocatalysts with improved activity and durability.

Keywords: graphene oxide framework, palladium nanocatalyst, pore confinement, Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction

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3 Synthesis of TiO₂/Graphene Nanocomposites with Excellent Visible-Light Photocatalytic Activity Based on Chemical Exfoliation Method

Authors: Nhan N. T. Ton, Anh T. N. Dao, Kouichirou Katou, Toshiaki Taniike


Facile electron-hole recombination and the broad band gap are two major drawbacks of titanium dioxide (TiO₂) when applied in visible-light photocatalysis. Hybridization of TiO₂ with graphene is a promising strategy to lessen these pitfalls. Recently, there have been many reports on the synthesis of TiO₂/graphene nanocomposites, in most of which graphene oxide (GO) was used as a starting material. However, the reduction of GO introduced a large number of defects on the graphene framework. In addition, the sensitivity of titanium alkoxide to water (GO usually contains) significantly obstructs the uniform and controlled growth of TiO₂ on graphene. Here, we demonstrate a novel technique to synthesize TiO₂/graphene nanocomposites without the use of GO. Graphene dispersion was obtained through the chemical exfoliation of graphite in titanium tetra-n-butoxide with the aid of ultrasonication. The dispersion was directly used for the sol-gel reaction in the presence of different catalysts. A TiO₂/reduced graphene oxide (TiO₂/rGO) nanocomposite, which was prepared by a solvothermal method from GO, and the commercial TiO₂-P25 were used as references. It was found that titanium alkoxide afforded the graphene dispersion of a high quality in terms of a trace amount of defects and a few layers of dispersed graphene. Moreover, the sol-gel reaction from this dispersion led to TiO₂/graphene nanocomposites featured with promising characteristics for visible-light photocatalysts including: (I) the formation of a TiO₂ nano layer (thickness ranging from 1 nm to 5 nm) that uniformly and thinly covered graphene sheets, (II) a trace amount of defects on the graphene framework (low ID/IG ratio: 0.21), (III) a significant extension of the absorption edge into the visible light region (a remarkable extension of the absorption edge to 578 nm beside the usual edge at 360 nm), and (IV) a dramatic suppression of electron-hole recombination (the lowest photoluminescence intensity compared to reference samples). These advantages were successfully demonstrated in the photocatalytic decomposition of methylene blue under visible light irradiation. The TiO₂/graphene nanocomposites exhibited 15 and 5 times higher activity than TiO₂-P25 and the TiO₂/rGO nanocomposite, respectively.

Keywords: chemical exfoliation, photocatalyst, TiO₂/graphene, sol-gel reaction

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2 Enhancement Effect of Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticle-Based MRI Contrast Agent at Different Concentrations and Magnetic Field Strengths

Authors: Bimali Sanjeevani Weerakoon, Toshiaki Osuga, Takehisa Konishi


Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agents (MRI-CM) are significant in the clinical and biological imaging as they have the ability to alter the normal tissue contrast, thereby affecting the signal intensity to enhance the visibility and detectability of images. Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles, coated with dextran or carboxydextran are currently available for clinical MR imaging of the liver. Most SPIO contrast agents are T2 shortening agents and Resovist (Ferucarbotran) is one of a clinically tested, organ-specific, SPIO agent which has a low molecular carboxydextran coating. The enhancement effect of Resovist depends on its relaxivity which in turn depends on factors like magnetic field strength, concentrations, nanoparticle properties, pH and temperature. Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the impact of field strength and different contrast concentrations on enhancement effects of Resovist. The study explored the MRI signal intensity of Resovist in the physiological range of plasma from T2-weighted spin echo sequence at three magnetic field strengths: 0.47 T (r1=15, r2=101), 1.5 T (r1=7.4, r2=95), and 3 T (r1=3.3, r2=160) and the range of contrast concentrations by a mathematical simulation. Relaxivities of r1 and r2 (L mmol-1 Sec-1) were obtained from a previous study and the selected concentrations were 0.05, 0.06, 0.07, 0.08, 0.09, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 mmol/L. T2-weighted images were simulated using TR/TE ratio as 2000 ms /100 ms. According to the reference literature, with increasing magnetic field strengths, the r1 relaxivity tends to decrease while the r2 did not show any systematic relationship with the selected field strengths. In parallel, this study results revealed that the signal intensity of Resovist at lower concentrations tends to increase than the higher concentrations. The highest reported signal intensity was observed in the low field strength of 0.47 T. The maximum signal intensities for 0.47 T, 1.5 T and 3 T were found at the concentration levels of 0.05, 0.06 and 0.05 mmol/L, respectively. Furthermore, it was revealed that, the concentrations higher than the above, the signal intensity was decreased exponentially. An inverse relationship can be found between the field strength and T2 relaxation time, whereas, the field strength was increased, T2 relaxation time was decreased accordingly. However, resulted T2 relaxation time was not significantly different between 0.47 T and 1.5 T in this study. Moreover, a linear correlation of transverse relaxation rates (1/T2, s–1) with the concentrations of Resovist can be observed. According to these results, it can conclude that the concentration of SPIO nanoparticle contrast agents and the field strengths of MRI are two important parameters which can affect the signal intensity of T2-weighted SE sequence. Therefore, when MR imaging those two parameters should be considered prudently.

Keywords: Concentration, resovist, field strength, relaxivity, signal intensity

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1 Sustaining Efficiency in Electricity Distribution to Enhance Effective Human Security for the Vulnerable People in Ghana

Authors: Anthony Nyamekeh-Armah Adjei, Toshiaki Aoki


The unreliable and poor efficiency of electricity distribution leading to frequent power outages and high losses are the major challenge facing the power distribution sector in Ghana. Distribution system routes electricity from the power generating station at a higher voltage through the transmission grid and steps it down through the low voltage lines to end users. Approximately all electricity problems and disturbances that have increased the call for renewable and sustainable energy in recent years have their roots in the distribution system. Therefore, sustaining electricity distribution efficiency can potentially contribute to the reserve of natural energy resources use in power generation, reducing greenhouse gas emission (GHG), decreasing tariffs for consumers and effective human security. Human Security is a people-centered approach where individual human being is the principal object of concern, focuses on protecting the vital core of all human lives in ways for meeting basic needs that enhance the safety and protection of individuals and communities. The vulnerability is the diminished capacity of an individual or group to anticipate, resist and recover from the effect of natural, human-induced disaster. The research objectives are to explore the causes of frequent power outages to consumers, high losses in the distribution network and the effect of poor electricity distribution efficiency on the vulnerable (poor and ordinary) people that mostly depend on electricity for their daily activities or life to survive. The importance of the study is that in a developing country like Ghana where raising a capital for new infrastructure project is difficult, it would be beneficial to enhance the efficiency that will significantly minimize the high energy losses, reduce power outage, to ensure safe and reliable delivery of electric power to consumers to secure the security of people’s livelihood. The methodology used in this study is both interview and questionnaire survey to analyze the response from the respondents on causes of power outages and high losses facing the electricity company of Ghana (ECG) and its effect on the livelihood on the vulnerable people. Among the outcome of both administered questionnaire and the interview survey from the field were; poor maintenance of existing sub-stations, use of aging equipment, use of poor distribution infrastructure and poor metering and billing system. The main observation of this paper is that the poor network efficiency (high losses and power outages) affects the livelihood of the vulnerable people. Therefore, the paper recommends that policymakers should insist on all regulation guiding electricity distribution to improve system efficiency. In conclusion, there should be decentralization of off-grid solar PV technologies to provide a sustainable and cost-effective, which can increase daily productivity and improve the quality of life of the vulnerable people in the rural communities.

Keywords: electricity efficiency, high losses, human security, power outage

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