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Neural electrodes have been widely used to monitor neural signals and/or deliver electrical stimulation in the brain. Currently, biodegradable and biocompatible materials have been actively investigated to create temporary electrodes that could degrade after serving their functions for neural recording and stimulation from days to months. The new class of biodegradable electrodes eliminate the necessity of secondary surgery for electrode removal. In this study, we created biodegradable, biocompatible, and implantable magnesium (Mg)-based microelectrodes for in vivo neural recording for the first time. Specifically, conductive poly-3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene (PEDOT) was first deposited onto Mg microwire substrates by electrochemical deposition, and a biodegradable insulating polymer was subsequently sprayed onto the surface of electrodes. The tip of electrodes was designed to be conductive for neural recording and stimulation, while the rest of electrodes was insulated with a polymer that is biocompatible with neural tissue. The impedance of Mg-based microelectrodes and their performance during neural recording in the auditory cortex of a mouse were studied. The results first demonstrated the capability of Mg-based microelectrodes for in vivo recording of multi-unit stimulus-evoked activity in the brain.
Sufian Jusoh, Director and Professor of International Trade and Investment at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies,
Muhammad Faliq Abd Razak, Fellow at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Malaysia is key member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), being one of the key signatories of the Bangkok Declaration in 1976. Malaysia is the only federal country within ASEAN. The country is located in the middle of Southeast Asia, with land borders with Thailand (in the Peninsula Malaysia), Brunei and Indonesia (in Borneo), connected with a bridge and a causeway with Singapore and with sea borders with Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Malaysia has a total population of about 31,187,265 and is an uppermiddle income country with an estimated GDP per capita of USD 9,502. and the total GDP of USD 296.359 billion for the year 2016. In 2017, Malaysia's economy is expected to grow at the rate of more than 4.8 percent.
Despite the earlier setback to its economic development caused by the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s, Malaysia continues to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and also invests abroad through Outward Direct Investment (ODI). Malaysia's ODI flows first exceeded inbound FDI flows in 2005 (USD 6.24 million FDI compared to USD 6.8 million ODI), although this trend changed at the end of 2017 when FDI in flows of USD 9.9 million exceeded ODI flows of 5.6 million. According to the World Bank, Malaysia could attract more vertical FDI due to its current commitments and involvement in higher-quality free trade agreements (FTAs), such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has become the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with the exclusion of the United States, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), which is still being negotiated between the parties. Malaysia relies heavily on trade, with a total of 2016 trade as a percentage of GDP at about 128.1 percent, as is in the case with many ASEAN countries such as Cambodia (127 percent), Singapore (318.4 percent), Thailand (123.1 percent) and Vietnam (184.7 percent). 4 As trade and investment are linked, having a dependable trade and investment regime is key to sustainable economic development in Malaysia.
Social support networks for older persons have been related to health outcomes including differences in psychological wellbeing (PWB). However, the specifics of this relationship remain unclear especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This study investigates the (1) relationship between aspects of social support and PWB among older persons in Ghana and (2) the extent to which this relationship is moderated by their education levels and locational characteristics.
The study included 1,200 community-residing individuals aged 50 years and older who participated in an Aging, Health, Psychological Wellbeing and Health-seeking Behavior Study (AHPWHB) conducted between July 2016 and February 2017. Logistic regression models evaluated the associations of social support and their interactions with education and locational variables in PWB.
Several aspects of meaningful social support: family/friends contacts ( β = 0.958, p < 0.05), couple focused ( β = 0.887, p < 0.001), emotional bonds ( β = 0.658, p < 0.005), attending social events ( β = 0.519, p < 0.001) and remittances from children ( β = 0.394, p < 0.005) significantly related to improved PWB in later life. These associations remained robust and largely strengthened after accounting for respondents’ background and health-related factors. Education and locational characteristics substantially influenced the associations between social support and PWB.
These findings suggest that especially in terms of PWB, aspects of meaningful social support networks are critical elements in later life. Strengthening opportunities for closer interpersonal relations with older persons may enhance their mental health, quality of life and independence.
A Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and explosive (CBRNe) event is an emergency which can result in injury, illness, or loss of life. The emergency department (ED) as a health system is at the forefront of the CBRNe response with staff acting as first receivers. Emergency departments are under-prepared to respond to CBRNe events - recognizing key factors which underlie the ED CBRNe response is crucial to provide evidence-based knowledge to inform policies and, most importantly, clinical practice.
Challenges in detection, decontamination, and diagnosis are associated with the ED CBRNe response when faced with self-presenting patients.
A systematic review was carried out in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). An in-depth search strategy was devised to identify studies which focused on the ED and CBRNe events. The inclusion criteria were stringent in terms of the environment (ED), participants (first receivers), situation (CBRNe response), and actions (detection, decontamination, and diagnosis). Fifteen databases and topic-specific journals were searched. Studies were critically appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT). Papers were thematically coded and synthesized using NVivo 10 (QSR International Ltd, Melbourne, Australia).
Sixty-seven full-text papers were critically appraised using the MMAT; 70% were included (n = 60) as medium- or high-quality studies. Data were grouped into four themes: preparedness, response, decontamination, and personal protective equipment (PPE) problems.
This study has recognized the ED as a system which depends on four key factors - preparedness, response, decontamination, and PPE problems - which highlight challenges, uncertainties, inconsistencies, and obstacles associated with the ED CBRNe response. This review suggests that response planning and preparation should be considered at three levels: organizational (policies and procedures); technological (decontamination, communication, security, clinical care, and treatment); and individual (willingness to respond, PPE, knowledge, and competence). Finally, this study highlighted that there was a void specific to detection and diagnosis of CBRNe exposure on self-presenting patients in the ED.
The review identified concerns for both knowledge and behaviors which suggests that a systems approach would help understand the ED response to CBRNe events more effectively. The four themes provide an evidence-based summary for the state of science in ED CBRNe response, which can be used to inform future policies and clinical procedures.
RazakS, HignettS, BarnesJ. Emergency Department Response to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive Events: A Systematic Review. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(5):543–549.
Tropical bamboos persist in a wide range of light conditions and quickly respond to changes in light availability. However, the mechanisms underpinning this ability remain unknown. In order to test the hypothesis that the modular and hollow culm architecture of bamboos explains their performance in a wide range of light environments, we determined the allometric relationships of two dominant bamboo species of the upper hill dipterocarp forests of Malaysia, Gigantochloa ligulata (n = 29) and Schizostachyum grande (n = 25), via destructive sampling. We also monitored biomass turnover of bamboos and woody trees in 24 permanent plots (1.92 ha in total) over a one-year period. Compared with woody trees, bamboo culms attained 1.5 times the height and their clumps supported four times as much total leaf area at the same above-ground biomass. In addition, at a given height, bamboo clumps had six times larger crown projection area than trees while having a similar amount of total leaf area per unit of crown projection area. Finally, bamboos’ biomass turnover rate was three times higher than trees, and G. ligulata increased its specific rate of biomass increase after canopy disturbance, while trees decreased. We conclude that the unique architecture of bamboos allows them to persist under closed forest canopy light conditions and to respond to gap formation via high biomass turnover rate.
Bouillon cubes are widely consumed by poor households in sub-Saharan Africa. Because their main ingredient is salt, bouillon cubes could be a good source of iodine if iodized salt is used in their production and if their consumption by target groups is high. Our objective was to measure the iodine content of bouillon cubes, estimate their daily intake in school-aged children and evaluate their potential contribution to iodine intakes.
In a cross-sectional study, we measured urinary iodine concentrations (UIC) and estimated total daily iodine intakes. We administered a questionnaire on usage of bouillon cubes. We measured the iodine content of bouillon cubes, household salt, drinking-water and milk products.
Primary schools in northern Ghana.
Schoolchildren aged 6–13 years.
Among school-aged children (n 250), median (interquartile range) UIC and estimated iodine intake were 242 (163–365) µg/l and 129 (85–221) µg/d, indicating adequate iodine status. Median household salt iodine concentration (n 100) was only 2·0 (0·83–7·4) µg/g; 72 % of samples contained <5 µg iodine/g. Iodine concentrations in drinking-water and milk-based drinks were negligible. Median iodine content of bouillon cubes was 31·8 (26·8–43·7) µg/g, with large differences between brands. Estimated median per capita consumption of bouillon cubes was 2·4 (1·5–3·3) g/d and median iodine intake from bouillon cubes was 88 (51–110) µg/d.
Despite low household coverage with iodized salt, iodine nutrition in school-aged children is adequate and an estimated two-thirds of their dietary iodine is obtained from bouillon cubes.
The effects of annealing temperatures on the structure and photocurrent response of nanoporous iron oxide film prepared by anodization of iron foil in an ethylene glycol, NH4F, and H2O electrolyte were studied. The as-anodized anodic film was found to be rather amorphous and crystallized to predominantly α-Fe2O3 upon annealing in nitrogen. Nitrogen was used as to reduce the thickening of the barrier layer which affects the photocurrent response of the oxide. However, annealing must be done above 300 °C to produce crystalline oxide but must be kept lower than 500 °C since high temperature promotes grain growth, destroying the nanoporous structure and also thickens the barrier layer, which significantly reduce the photocurrent of the film. Sample annealed at 450 °C in nitrogen has the highest photocurrent of 1.04 mA/cm2 (0.5 V versus Ag/AgCl in 1 M NaOH) compared to 0.13 mA/cm2 at 0.5 V for air-annealed sample.
Soft conducting elastomers have been prepared from polydimethylsiloxane-polyethyleneglycol (PDMS-PEG) copolymer and surfactant-stabilized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The copolymer was chain-extended with PDMS of molecular weight 17.2 kg mol-1 in order to obtain a crosslinkable PDMS with molecular weight around 20 – 30 kg mol-1. MWCNTs were treated with surfactant and sonicated for better dispersion in the polymer matrix. The conductivity and mechanical properties of conducting elastomers were thoroughly investigated including stress and strain at break. The developed conducting elastomers showed high conductivity combined with inherent softness. The high conductivity and softness, PDMS-PEG copolymers with incorporated MWCNTs hold great promises as compliant and highly stretchable electrodes for stretchable devices such as electro-mechanical transducers.
Segmented nanoporous WO3 is prepared via anodization with an electrolyte containing 1 M Na2SO4 and 0.07–0.7 g of NH4F. Annealing (500 °C for 1 h) was also performed to induce crystallinity in WO3. More pores (50–80 nm in diameter) and thicker porous layer were formed by increasing the amount of NH4F (400 nm for 0.3 g of NH4F). However, further increase of the NH4F amount to 0.5 and 0.7 g did not increase the porous layer thickness. Segmented nanoporous structure formation was attributed to the dissolution of anodic oxide by H+ and F− ions in the electrolyte, as well as the healing process induced by the electric field. The photocatalytic activity of the WO3 samples was evaluated through degradation of methyl orange solution. The as-anodized sample showed lower photocatalytic ability in comparison with the annealed sample because of the amorphous behavior of as-anodized WO3.
Incineration or disposal of carbon fiber waste from the aircraft industry leads to serious energy consumption and environmental pollution. The use of this waste as reinforcement is a wise approach to appreciate the high performance of the carbon fiber. In this study, the sliding wear and frictional behavior of recycled carbon fiber prepreg (rCFP) reinforced polypropylene (PP) prepared via melt compounding method using an internal mixer were studied. The samples were categorized into PP reinforced by carbon fiber with resin (A) and carbon fiber without resin (B). Pin-on-disc method was utilized to evaluate the effect of rCFP content and physical condition of fibers on tribological performance of the composites. The results were supported by morphological analyses using scanning electron microscopy. It was found that polymer composites B for rCFP without resin exhibited better tribological performance than composites category-A. The addition of rCFP into PP was observed to increase its wear resistance with minimum coefficient of friction achieved at 3 wt% of rCFP content for both polymer composites.
It was Tuesday, 20 November 2007. As I stood together with my fellow ASEAN High Level Task Force (HLTF) colleagues in the imposing Banyan Ballroom of Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore to witness the signing ceremony of the ASEAN Charter, I could not help feeling a deep sense of satisfaction.
There was every justification to rejoice at a job well done. We have managed to complete our work within the stipulated 11-month time frame. We have proven what a dedicated collective effort could achieve within ASEAN by acting together.
The event itself was epochal for ASEAN. It marked a significant stage in the evolution of the 40-year-old regional organisation.
CRITICISMS OF THE CHARTER
Critics of ASEAN however, were quick to highlight the inadequacies of the Charter. It was belittled as merely a “compendium of ASEAN's existing principles and agreements already developed and in force in the last four decades”. It was criticised as not being “bold and visionary” enough and “a huge let-down”. The Charter, it was asserted; contained “no single big idea or single overarching policy to revitalise ASEAN's appeal to its 500 million people”. Particular criticisms were directed at the absence of specific provisions in the Charter on the mobilisation of resources including the setting up of a “Special Fund” to narrow the development gap within ASEAN as recommended by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG). The retention of the principle of consensus in decision-making and non-interference was also criticised as being not progressive or forward-looking. There was no provision for suspension or expulsion of members for non-compliance. Even ASEAN's attempt at defining and developing its own identity was ridiculed. The various “blemishes” it suffers would eventually relegate the Charter to nothing more than “a piece of paper”. In the wider context, comparisons were made between ASEAN and the EU, by looking at what had been achieved by ASEAN on the basis of the Charter, with the EU in Europe.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHARTER
These criticisms need to be addressed. Some of the critics did not fully appreciate the complexity of ASEAN including how ASEAN works as an evolving regional organisation. ASEAN's institutional building initiatives and improvement of its organisational structure through the Charter process were not fully understood. They also failed to appreciate the totality of the whole exercise.
Without gains in nutritional outcomes, it is unlikely that school feeding programmes (SFP) could improve cognition and academic performance of schoolchildren despite the improvements in school enrolment. We compared the nutrient intake adequacy and Fe and nutritional status of SFP and non-SFP participants in a cross-sectional survey involving 383 schoolchildren (aged 5–13 years). Quantitative 24 h recalls and weighed food records, repeated in 20 % subsample, were used to estimate energy and nutrient intakes adjusted for day-to-day variations. The probability of adequacy (PA) was calculated for selected micronutrients and the mean of all PA (MPA) was calculated. The concentrations of Hb, serum ferritin, and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) and anthropometric measurements were used to determine Fe and nutritional status. Energy and nutrient intakes and their adequacies were significantly higher among SFP participants (P< 0·001). The MPA of micronutrients was significantly higher among SFP participants (0·61 v. 0·18; P< 0·001), and the multiple-micronutrient-fortified corn soya blend was a key contributor to micronutrient adequacy. In SFP participants, 6 g/l higher Hb concentrations (P< 0·001) and about 10 % points lower anaemia prevalence (P= 0·06) were observed. The concentration of sTfR was significantly lower among SFP participants (11·2 v. 124 mg/l; P= 0·04); however, there was no difference in the prevalence of Fe deficiency and Fe-deficiency anaemia between SFP and non-SFP participants. There was also no significant difference in the prevalence of thinness, underweight and stunting. In conclusion, the present results indicate that school feeding is associated with higher intakes and adequacies of energy and nutrients, but not with the prevalence of Fe and nutritional status indicators. The results also indicate an important role for micronutrient-dense foods in the achievement of micronutrient adequacy within SFP.
The present study aimed to identify dietary patterns and determine the relationship between dietary patterns and cognitive ability among 12- to 13 year-old Malay adolescents in the urban areas of Gombak district in Selangor, Malaysia.
Data on sociodemographic background were obtained from parents. Height and weight were measured and BMI-for-age was determined. Adolescents were interviewed on their habitual dietary intakes using a semi-quantitative FFQ. Cognitive ability was assessed using the Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability in a one-to-one manner. Dietary patterns were constructed using principal component analysis based on thirty-eight food groups of the semi-quantitative FFQ.
Urban secondary public schools in the district of Gombak in Selangor, Malaysia.
Malay adolescents aged 12 to 13 years (n 416).
The mean general cognitive ability score was 101·8 (sd 12·4). Four major dietary patterns were identified and labelled as ‘refined-grain pattern’, ‘snack-food pattern’, ‘plant-based food pattern’ and ‘high-energy food pattern’. These dietary patterns explained 39·1 % of the variance in the habitual dietary intakes of the adolescents. The refined-grain pattern was negatively associated with processing speed, which is a construct of general cognitive ability. The high-energy food pattern was negatively associated with general cognitive ability, perceptual reasoning and processing speed. Monthly household income and parents’ educational attainment were positively associated with all of the cognitive measures. In multivariate analysis, only the high-energy food pattern was found to contribute significantly towards general cognitive ability after controlling for socio-economic status.
Consumption of foods in the high-energy food pattern contributed towards general cognitive ability after controlling for socio-economic status. However, the contribution was small.
A cross-sectional study was conducted from 10 January to 9 April 2012, to determine the seroprevalence of tuberculosis (TB) of all captive Asian elephants and their handlers in six locations in Peninsular Malaysia. In addition, trunk-wash samples were examined for tubercle bacillus by culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). For 63 elephants and 149 elephant handlers, TB seroprevalence was estimated at 20·4% and 24·8%, respectively. From 151 trunk-wash samples, 24 acid-fast isolates were obtained, 23 of which were identified by hsp65-based sequencing as non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific PCR was positive in the trunk-wash samples from three elephants which were also seropositive. Conversely, the trunk wash from seven seropositive elephants were PCR negative. Hence, there was evidence of active and latent TB in the elephants and the high seroprevalence in the elephants and their handlers suggests frequent, close contact, two-way transmission between animals and humans within confined workplaces.
Shock appears to complicate acute myocardial infarction (AMI) more often during the hot summer in Kuwait, than it does in winter. The aim of this study was to define the forms of shock, investigate its frequency, and evaluate the effects of fluid therapy.
Material and Methods
In a 3 month period during the hot summer of 1980, 21 shock patients (pts.) (18 male, 3 female) with AMI were studied. Their average age was 55 years (yrs.) (range 30–82), all had definite AMI (18 anterior, 3 inferior) and at least 3 known criteria of shock. Observations were made for 24 hours (hrs.) in the CCU, within one hour of admission. Initial hemodynamic pressures were obtained and hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Hct) and serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) on blood samples were estimated.