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Postoperative cognitive impairment is among the most common medical complications associated with surgical interventions – particularly in elderly patients. In our aging society, it is an urgent medical need to determine preoperative individual risk prediction to allow more accurate cost–benefit decisions prior to elective surgeries. So far, risk prediction is mainly based on clinical parameters. However, these parameters only give a rough estimate of the individual risk. At present, there are no molecular or neuroimaging biomarkers available to improve risk prediction and little is known about the etiology and pathophysiology of this clinical condition. In this short review, we summarize the current state of knowledge and briefly present the recently started BioCog project (Biomarker Development for Postoperative Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly), which is funded by the European Union. It is the goal of this research and development (R&D) project, which involves academic and industry partners throughout Europe, to deliver a multivariate algorithm based on clinical assessments as well as molecular and neuroimaging biomarkers to overcome the currently unsatisfying situation.
We surveyed hospital epidemiologists at 28 Children’s Hospital Association member hospitals regarding their infection prevention and control programs. We found substantial variability between children’s hospitals in both the structure and the practice of these programs. Research and the development of evidence-based guidelines addressing infection prevention in pediatrics are needed.
Detailed imaging and spectroscopic analysis of the centers of nearby S0 and spiral galaxies shows the existence of “composite bulges”, where both classical bulges and disky pseudobulges coexist in the same galaxy. As part of a search for supermassive black holes in nearby galaxy nuclei, we obtained VLT-SINFONI observations in adaptive-optics mode of several of these galaxies. Schwarzschild dynamical modeling enables us to disentangle the stellar orbital structure of the different central components, and to distinguish the differing contributions of kinematically hot (classical bulge) and kinematically cool (pseudobulge) components in the same galaxy.
We present the KMOS (K-band Multi-Object Spectrograph) Cluster and VIRIAL (VLT IRIFU Absorption Line) Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) programs. KMOS provides 24 arms each feeding an integral field unit (14×14 spaxels of 0.2″ pixels) for IZ, YJ, H and K band near infrared (NIR) medium resolution spectroscopy (R ∼ 3500). Targets are selected from a 7.2′ diameter patrol field. Ultra-deep spectroscopy of ∼ 80 early-type cluster galaxies (∼ 20hr on source) and ∼ 200 (∼ 10hr on source) early-type field galaxies at 1 < z < 2 will dramatically improve the situation at z > 1 for which measurements of stellar velocity dispersions and absorption indices are limited to a few, often relatively young passively evolving galaxies (e.g. Bezanson 2013). In ESO Periods P92 and P93, 15 nights worth of data has been collected for KMOS-Clusters and 6 nights for VIRIAL: this will be supplemented with more data in upcoming semesters. All galaxies have multiband HST imaging including existing or upcoming WFC3 IR imaging, providing stellar mass maps and sizes. Combined with our dispersion measurements, this will allow us to examine the fundamental plane and the dynamical mass of a large sample of z > 1 galaxies for the first time, for both cluster and field galaxies.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing worldwide. The impact of overweight on post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage rates in children and adults is unclear.
Body mass index and post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage were evaluated in all patients treated with tonsillectomy within one year in a tertiary referral centre. Bleeding episodes were categorised according to the Austrian Tonsil Study.
Between June 2011 and June 2012, 300 adults and children underwent tonsillectomy. Post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage occurred in 55 patients. Of those, 29 were type A (history of blood in saliva only, no active bleeding), 15 were type B (active bleeding, treatment under local anaesthesia) and 11 were type C (active bleeding, treatment under general anaesthesia). The return to operating theatre rate was 3.7 per cent. Post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage was more frequent in adolescents and adults than in children. Overweight or obesity was positively correlated with age. Post-tonsillectomy bleeding was recorded in 11.1 per cent of underweight patients, 18.9 per cent of normal weight patients and 18.7 per cent of overweight patients (p = 0.7). Data stratification (according to age and weight) did not alter the post-tonsillectomy bleeding risk (p = 0.8).
Overweight or obesity did not increase the risk of post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage in either children or adults.
Terrestrial meteorite ages indicate that some ice at the Allan Hills blue ice area (AH BIA) may be as old as 2.2 Ma. As such, ice from the AH BIA could potentially be used to extend the ice core record of paleoclimate beyond 800 ka. We collected samples from 5 to 10 cm depth along a 5 km transect through the main icefield and drilled a 225 m ice core (S27) at the midpoint of the transect to develop the climate archive of the AH BIA. Stable water isotope measurements (δD) of the surface chips and of ice core S27 yield comparable signals, indicating that the climate record has not been significantly altered in the surface ice. Measurements of 40Aratm and δ18Oatm taken from ice core S27 and eight additional shallow ice cores constrain the age of the ice to approximately 90–250 ka. Our findings provide a framework around which future investigations of potentially older ice in the AH BIA could be based.
We studied the stellar populations, distribution of dark matter, and dynamical structure of a sample of 25 early-type galaxies in the Coma and Abell~262 clusters. We derived dynamical mass-to-light ratios and dark matter densities from orbit-based dynamical models, complemented by the ages, metallicities, and α-element abundances of the galaxies from single stellar population models. Most of the galaxies have a significant detection of dark matter and their halos are about 10 times denser than in spirals of the same stellar mass. Calibrating dark matter densities to cosmological simulations we find assembly redshifts zDM ≈ 1–3. The dynamical mass that follows the light is larger than expected for a Kroupa stellar initial mass function, especially in galaxies with high velocity dispersion σeff inside the effective radius reff. We now have 5 of 25 galaxies where mass follows light to 1–3 reff, the dynamical mass-to-light ratio of all the mass that follows the light is large (≈ 8–10 in the Kron-Cousins R band), the dark matter fraction is negligible to 1–3 reff. This could indicate a ‘massive’ initial mass function in massive early-type galaxies. Alternatively, some of the dark matter in massive galaxies could follow the light very closely suggesting a significant degeneracy between luminous and dark matter.
We have studied strained Si layers grown on Si1-xGex virtual substrate (VS) by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). Aberration-corrected HRTEM coupled with geometric phase analysis (GPA) provides precise measurements of strain. Different parameters are investigated: the VS composition (x=20, 30, 40 and 50%) and the s-Si layer thickness. Finite element method simulations confirm our measurements. Measurements and simulations lead to the conclusion that the strain state of the deposited layer is independent of the layer thickness. We apply the technique to measuring strains in the channel region of a p-MOSFET and show that the technique is a promising metrological tool for nanoelectronic devices.
Erbium(III) doped TiO2 nanofibers (Er2Ti2O7) have been synthesized by electrospinning mixtures of polymers, metal-containing materials, and erbium acetate. These electrospun nanofibers were subsequently annealed at temperatures of 550, 750, 950, and 1150 oC to remove the organics and leave behind the metal oxides. The crystal structure and optical properties of the nanofiber pyrochlores were investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and Fourier transformation IR (FTIR) spectroscopy. Different crystal structures were formed by controlling the annealing conditions. XRD data are compared with near-IR spectra to better understand the effects of annealing temperature on the Er (III) thermally-excited selective optical emission process.
In its recently adopted Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding, the World Health Assembly called for urgent action in addressing the barriers to optimal feeding practices. This paper examines mothers’ concerns about milk insufficiency as a major contributor to suboptimal infant feeding decisions, using survey data from periurban areas of two Bolivian cities. Mothers in the lowland modernizing city of Santa Cruz were more likely than mothers in the highland traditional city of Cochabamba to express concern about insufficient milk, and also less likely to feed their infants according to international recommendations. Furthermore, perceived milk insufficiency was particularly common among mothers of infants younger than 6 months of age – an age at which infants are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of breast-feeding cessation and complementary feeding initiation. The paper concludes with policy, programme and research recommendations to address the critical problem of perceived insufficient breast milk.
Background. A defining feature of personality disorder (PD) is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that is stable over time. Follow-up and follow-along studies have shown considerable diagnostic instability of PDs, however, even over short intervals. What, then, about personality disorder is stable? The purpose of this study was to determine the stability of impairment in psychosocial functioning in patients with four different PDs, in contrast to patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and no PD, prospectively over a 2-year period.
Method. Six hundred treatment-seeking or treated patients were recruited primarily from clinical services in four metropolitan areas of the Northeastern USA. Patients were assigned to one of five diagnostic groups: schizotypal (STPD) (n=81), borderline (BPD) (n=155), avoidant (AVPD) (n=137), or obsessive–compulsive (OCPD) (n=142) personality disorders or MDD and no PD (n=85), based on the results of semi-structured interview assessments and self-report measures. Impairment in psychosocial functioning was measured using the Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation (LIFE) at baseline and at three follow-up assessments.
Results. Significant improvement in psychosocial functioning occurred in only three of seven domains of functioning and was largely the result of improvements in the MDD and no PD group. Patients with BPD or OCPD showed no improvement in functioning overall, but patients with BPD who experienced change in personality psychopathology showed some improvement in functioning. Impairment in social relationships appeared most stable in patients with PDs.
Conclusion. Impairment in functioning, especially social functioning, may be an enduring component of personality disorder.
Hydroxyapatite formed from low temperature setting calcium phosphate cements (CPC) are currently been used for various orthopaedic applications. CPCs are attractive candidates for the development of scaffolds for bone tissue engineering, since they are moldable, resorbable, set at physiological temperature without the use of toxic chemicals, and can be processed in an operating room setting. However they may have mechanical disadvantages which seriously limit them to non-load bearing orthopaedic applications. The aim of the present study was to develop composites from polyphosphazenes and calcium deficient hydroxyapatite precursors to form poorly crystalline hydroxyapatite-polymer composites. Composites were formed from calcium deficient hydroxyapatite precursors (Ca/P – 1.5, 1.6) and biodegradable polyphosphazenes, poly[bis(ethyl alanato)phosphazene] (PNEA) and poly[(50%ethyl alanato) (50%methyl phenoxy)phosphazene] (PNEA50mPh50) at physiological temperature. The results demonstrated that poorly crystalline hydroxyapatite that resembled the mineral component of bone was formed in the presence of biodegradable polyphosphazenes. The surface morphology of all the four composites was identical with a porous microstructure. The composites supported the adhesion and proliferation of osteoblast like MC3T3-E1 cells making them potential candidates for bone tissue engineering.
Biodegradable polymeric nanofibers are of great interest as scaffolds for tissue engineering and drug delivery due to their extremely high surface area, high aspect ratio and similarity in structure to the extracellular matrix (ECM). Polyphosphazenes due to their synthetic flexibility, wide range of physico-chemical properties, non-toxic and neutral degradation products and excellent biocompatibility are suitable candidates for biomedical applications. The objective of the present study was to develop and evaluate composite nanofibers of a biodegradable polyphosphazene, poly[bis(ethyl alanato)phosphazene] (PNEA) and nanocrystals of hydroxyapatite (nHAp) via electrospinning. A suspension of nHAp in dimethyl formamide (DMF) sonicated with PNEA solution in tetrahydrofuran (THF) was used to develop composite nanofiber matrices via electrospinning at ambient conditions. In the present study the theoretical loading of nHAp was varied from 50%-90% (w/w) to PNEA. The nHAp content (actual loading of nHAp) of the composite nanofibers was determined by gravimetric estimation. The composite nanofibers were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), gravimetry and energy dispersive X-ray mapping. This study demonstrated the feasibility of developing novel composite nanofibers of biodegradable polyphosphazenes with more than 50% (w/w) loading of nHAp on and within the nanofibers.
We have previously demonstrated that blending biodegradable glycine co-substituted polyphosphazenes with poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLAGA) results in novel biomaterials with versatile properties. The study showed that the degradation rate of polyphosphazene/PLAGA blends can be effectively controlled by varying the blend composition while at the same time the degradation products of polyphosphazenes effectively neutralized the acidic degradation products of PLAGA. In the present study, novel blends of hydrophobic, biodegradable polyphosphazene, poly[bis(ethyl alanato) phosphazene] (PNEA) and PLAGA (LA: GA; 85:15) were developed as candidates for bone tissue engineering applications. Two different blend compositions were developed by blending PNEA and PLAGA having weight ratios of 25:75 (Blend-1) and 50:50 (Blend-2) by the mutual solvent technique using dichloromethane as the solvent. The miscibility of the blends was determined using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Surface analysis of the blends by SEM revealed a smooth uniform surface for Blend-1, whereas Blend-2 showed evidence of phase separation. PNEA is not completely miscible with PLAGA, as evidenced from DSC and FT-IR measurements. The osteocompatibilities of Blend-1 and Blend-2 were compared to those of parent polymers by following the adhesion and proliferation of primary rat osteoblast cells on two dimensional (2-D) polymer and blend films over a 21 day period in culture. Blend films showed significantly higher cell numbers on the surface compared to PLAGA and PNEA films.
At present, new high-k dielectric materials are being intensively investigated to replace the silicon dioxide as gate dielectric for the next generation of electronic devices. Several candidate materials (such as ZrO2, HfO2, Al2O3) and deposition processes are currently under investigation. Because the layer thickness which is required in the next generations of devices is of the order of few nanometers, a precise determination and control of layer thickness will be mandatory. Although spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) is well established non-contact, non-destructive and precise technique for determining thickness and optical properties of thin films, it becomes more difficult to obtain this information unambiguously and simultaneously for ultra-thin films with traditional SE alone because of possible high correlations between film structure and optical properties. The grazing x-ray reflectometry (XRR) is a complementary nondestructive optical technique and can be used to unambiguously determine ultra thin film thickness accurately. Combined with ellipsometry technique together, it will provide a promising way to characterize high-k gate dielectrics including thickness, roughness, interfacial layers and material composition information etc. In this paper, the principles for both SE and XRR will be briefly reviewed and limitation of each technique will be discussed. Following the high-k gate dielectric exploration and development, examples of using the combined SE/XRR techniques will be presented.
In the quest for ever smaller transistor dimensions, the well-known and reliable SiO2 gate dielectric material needs to be replaced by alternatives whith higher dielectric constants in order to reduce the gate leakage. Candidate materials are metal oxides such as HfO2. Themost promising deposition techniques, next to Physical Vapor Deposition, appear to be ALCVD and MOCVD. In this paper, we compare the most important characteristics of layers from both proces techniques and assess their relevance to gate stack applications: density, crystallisation, impurities, growth mechanism, interfacial layers, dielectric constant, mobility. Although we find some minor differences, layers from both techniques mostly show striking similarities in many aspects, both positive and negative.
Transparent electronics is an embryonic technology whose objective is the realization of invisible electronic circuits. We have recently reported the fabrication of a novel n-channel transparent thin-film transistor (TTFT).  This ZnO-based TTFT is highly transparent and exhibits electrical characteristics that appear to be suitable for implementation as a transparent select-transistor in each pixel of an active-matrix liquid-crystal display. Moreover, the processing technology used to fabricate this device is relatively simple and appears to be compatible with inexpensive glass substrate technology. The objective of the work reported herein is to summarize some of our recent TTFT electrical performance results. Materials, processing, and device structure details related to these devices appear in future publications.