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Advances in the fabrication and characterization of polymeric nanomaterials has greatly advanced the miniaturization of soft actuators, creating materials capable of replicating the functional physical behavior previously limited to the macroscale. Here, we demonstrate how a reversible shape-memory polymer actuation can be generated in a single micro/nano object, where the shape change during actuation of an individual fiber can be dictated by programming using an AFM-based method. Electrospinning was used to prepare poly(ε-caprolactone) micro-/nanofibers, which were fixed and crosslinked on a structured silicon wafer. The programming as well as the observation of recovery and reversible displacement of the fiber were performed by vertical three point bending, using an AFM testing platform introduced here. A plateau tip was utilized to improve the stability of the fiber contact and working distance, enabling larger deformations and greater rbSMPA performance. Values for the reversible elongation of εrev = 3.4 ± 0.1% and 10.5 ± 0.1% were obtained for a single micro (d = 1.0 ± 0.2 μm) and nanofiber (d = 300 ± 100 nm) in cyclic testing between the temperatures 10 and 60 °C. The reversible actuation of the nanofiber was successfully characterized for 10 cycles. The demonstration and characterization of individual shape-memory nano and microfiber actuators represents an important step in the creation of miniaturized robotic devices capable of performing complex physical functions at the length scale of cells and structural component of the extracellular matrix.
The macroscale function of multicomponent polymeric materials is dependent on their phase-morphology. Here, we investigate the morphological structure of a multiblock copolymer consisting of poly(L-lactide) and poly(ε-caprolactone) segments (PLLA-PCL), physically cross-linked by stereocomplexation with a low molecular weight poly(D-lactide) oligomer (PDLA). The effects of blend composition and PLLA-PCL molecular structure on the morphology are elucidated by AFM, TEM and SAXS. We identify the formation of a lattice pattern, composed of PLA domains within a PCL matrix, with an average domain spacing d0 = 12 – 19 nm. The size of the PLA domains were found to be proportional to the block length of the PCL segment of the copolymer and inversely proportional to the PDLA content of the blend. Changing the PLLA-PCL / PDLA ratio caused a shift in the melt transition Tm attributed to the PLA stereocomplex crystallites, indicating partial amorphous phase dilution of the PLA and PCL components within the semicrystalline material. By elucidating the phase structure and thermal character of multifunctional PLLA-PCL / PDLA blends, we illustrate how composition affects the internal structure and thermal properties of multicomponent polymeric materials. This study should facilitate the more effective incorporation of a variety of polymeric structural units capable of stimuli responsive phase transitions, where an understanding the phase-morphology of each component will enable the production of multifunctional soft-actuators with enhanced performance.
The origin of malnutrition in older age is multifactorial and risk factors may vary according to health and living situation. The present study aimed to identify setting-specific risk profiles of malnutrition in older adults and to investigate the association of the number of individual risk factors with malnutrition.
Data of four cross-sectional studies were harmonized and uniformly analysed. Malnutrition was defined as BMI < 20 kg/m2 and/or weight loss of >3 kg in the previous 3–6 months. Associations between factors of six domains (demographics, health, mental function, physical function, dietary intake-related problems, dietary behaviour), the number of individual risk factors and malnutrition were analysed using logistic regression.
Community (CD), geriatric day hospital (GDH), home care (HC), nursing home (NH).
CD older adults (n 1073), GDH patients (n 180), HC receivers (n 335) and NH residents (n 197), all ≥65 years.
Malnutrition prevalence was lower in CD (11 %) than in the other settings (16–19 %). In the CD sample, poor appetite, difficulties with eating, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases were associated with malnutrition; in GDH patients, poor appetite and respiratory diseases; in HC receivers, younger age, poor appetite and nausea; and in NH residents, older age and mobility limitations. In all settings the likelihood of malnutrition increased with the number of potential individual risk factors.
The study indicates a varying relevance of certain risk factors of malnutrition in different settings. However, the relationship of the number of individual risk factors with malnutrition in all settings implies comprehensive approaches to identify persons at risk of malnutrition early.
Consumption of certain berries appears to slow postprandial glucose absorption, attributable to polyphenols, which may benefit exercise and cognition, reduce appetite and/or oxidative stress. This randomised, crossover, placebo-controlled study determined whether polyphenol-rich fruits added to carbohydrate-based foods produce a dose-dependent moderation of postprandial glycaemic, glucoregulatory hormone, appetite and ex vivo oxidative stress responses. Twenty participants (eighteen males/two females; 24 (sd 5) years; BMI: 27 (sd 3) kg/m2) consumed one of five cereal bars (approximately 88 % carbohydrate) containing no fruit ingredients (reference), freeze-dried black raspberries (10 or 20 % total weight; LOW-Rasp and HIGH-Rasp, respectively) and cranberry extract (0·5 or 1 % total weight; LOW-Cran and HIGH-Cran), on trials separated by ≥5 d. Postprandial peak/nadir from baseline (Δmax) and incremental postprandial AUC over 60 and 180 min for glucose and other biochemistries were measured to examine the dose-dependent effects. Glucose AUC0–180 min trended towards being higher (43 %) after HIGH-Rasp v. LOW-Rasp (P=0·06), with no glucose differences between the raspberry and reference bars. Relative to reference, HIGH-Rasp resulted in a 17 % lower Δmax insulin, 3 % lower C-peptide (AUC0–60 min and 3 % lower glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (AUC0–180 min) P<0·05. No treatment effects were observed for the cranberry bars regarding glucose and glucoregulatory hormones, nor were there any treatment effects for either berry type regarding ex vivo oxidation, appetite-mediating hormones or appetite. Fortification with freeze-dried black raspberries (approximately 25 g, containing 1·2 g of polyphenols) seems to slightly improve the glucoregulatory hormone and glycaemic responses to a high-carbohydrate food item in young adults but did not affect appetite or oxidative stress responses at doses or with methods studied herein.
Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe is a concept for a National Aeronautics and Space Administration probe-class space mission that will achieve ground-breaking science in the fields of galaxy evolution, cosmology, Milky Way, and the Solar System. It is the follow-up space mission to Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), boosting its scientific return by obtaining deep 1–4 μm slit spectroscopy for ∼70% of all galaxies imaged by the ∼2 000 deg2 WFIRST High Latitude Survey at z > 0.5. Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy will measure accurate and precise redshifts for ∼200 M galaxies out to z < 7, and deliver spectra that enable a wide range of diagnostic studies of the physical properties of galaxies over most of cosmic history. Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe and WFIRST together will produce a 3D map of the Universe over 2 000 deg2, the definitive data sets for studying galaxy evolution, probing dark matter, dark energy and modifications of General Relativity, and quantifying the 3D structure and stellar content of the Milky Way. Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe science spans four broad categories: (1) Revolutionising galaxy evolution studies by tracing the relation between galaxies and dark matter from galaxy groups to cosmic voids and filaments, from the epoch of reionisation through the peak era of galaxy assembly; (2) Opening a new window into the dark Universe by weighing the dark matter filaments using 3D weak lensing with spectroscopic redshifts, and obtaining definitive measurements of dark energy and modification of General Relativity using galaxy clustering; (3) Probing the Milky Way’s dust-enshrouded regions, reaching the far side of our Galaxy; and (4) Exploring the formation history of the outer Solar System by characterising Kuiper Belt Objects. Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe is a 1.5 m telescope with a field of view of 0.4 deg2, and uses digital micro-mirror devices as slit selectors. It has a spectroscopic resolution of R = 1 000, and a wavelength range of 1–4 μm. The lack of slit spectroscopy from space over a wide field of view is the obvious gap in current and planned future space missions; Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy fills this big gap with an unprecedented spectroscopic capability based on digital micro-mirror devices (with an estimated spectroscopic multiplex factor greater than 5 000). Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy is designed to fit within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration probe-class space mission cost envelope; it has a single instrument, a telescope aperture that allows for a lighter launch vehicle, and mature technology (we have identified a path for digital micro-mirror devices to reach Technology Readiness Level 6 within 2 yr). Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe will lead to transformative science over the entire range of astrophysics: from galaxy evolution to the dark Universe, from Solar System objects to the dusty regions of the Milky Way.
Despite the rich biodiversity of the African continent and the tremendous progress so far made in food production, Africa is still struggling with the problems of food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition. To combat these problems, the production and consumption of nutritious and safe foods need to be promoted. This cannot be achieved without reliable data on the quantity and quality of nutrients and other components provided through these foods. Food composition data (FCD) are compiled as food composition tables (FCT) or food composition databases (FCDB). These are subsequently used for a variety of purposes, ranging from clinical practice, research, public health/education, food industry to planning and policy, as well as nutrition monitoring and surveillance. To perform these functions effectively, the importance of reliable FCT/FCDB cannot be overemphasised. Poor quality FCT/FCDB have serious consequences on the health of the population, and provide skew evidence towards developing nutrition and health-related policies. The present paper reviews different methods to generate FCT/FCDB, their importance and use in assisting nutrition/dietetic professionals in solving Africa's nutrition problems; current status of FCT/FCDB generation, compilation and dissemination in Africa, constraint to their use by professionals and the role of FAO/INFOODS/AFROFOODS and other stakeholders towards improvement and future initiatives. The information provided will create awareness on the need for up-to-date and high-quality FCT/FCDB and facilitate the identification of data gaps and prioritisation of future efforts in FCD generation, compilation and dissemination in Africa and subsequent strategies for the alleviation of the food and nutrition problems in Africa.
We reviewed all patients who were supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and/or ventricular assist device at our institution in order to describe diagnostic characteristics and assess mortality.
A retrospective cohort study was performed including all patients supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and/or ventricular assist device from our first case (8 October, 1998) through 25 July, 2016. The primary outcome of interest was mortality, which was modelled by the Kaplan–Meier method.
A total of 223 patients underwent 241 extracorporeal membrane oxygenation runs. Median support time was 4.0 days, ranging from 0.04 to 55.8 days, with a mean of 6.4±7.0 days. Mean (±SD) age at initiation was 727.4 days (±146.9 days). Indications for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were stratified by primary indication: cardiac extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (n=175; 72.6%) or respiratory extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (n=66; 27.4%). The most frequent diagnosis for cardiac extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients was hypoplastic left heart syndrome or hypoplastic left heart syndrome-related malformation (n=55 patients with HLHS who underwent 64 extracorporeal membrane oxygenation runs). For respiratory extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, the most frequent diagnosis was congenital diaphragmatic hernia (n=22). A total of 24 patients underwent 26 ventricular assist device runs. Median support time was 7 days, ranging from 0 to 75 days, with a mean of 15.3±18.8 days. Mean age at initiation of ventricular assist device was 2530.8±660.2 days (6.93±1.81 years). Cardiomyopathy/myocarditis was the most frequent indication for ventricular assist device placement (n=14; 53.8%). Survival to discharge was 42.2% for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients and 54.2% for ventricular assist device patients. Kaplan–Meier 1-year survival was as follows: all patients, 41.0%; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients, 41.0%; and ventricular assist device patients, 43.2%. Kaplan–Meier 5-year survival was as follows: all patients, 39.7%; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients, 39.7%; and ventricular assist device patients, 43.2%.
This single-institutional 18-year review documents the differential probability of survival for various sub-groups of patients who require support with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ventricular assist device. The indication for mechanical circulatory support, underlying diagnosis, age, and setting in which cannulation occurs may affect survival after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and ventricular assist device. The Kaplan–Meier analyses in this study demonstrate that patients who survive to hospital discharge have an excellent chance of longer-term survival.
Mahr & Csibra (M&C) propose that episodic memory evolved to support epistemic authority in social communication. We argue for a more parsimonious interpretation whereby episodic memory subserves a broader preparatory function for both social and non-social behavior. We conclude by highlighting that functional accounts of episodic memory may need to consider the complex interrelations between self and subjective time.
The variation of the molecular architecture of multiblock copolymers has enabled the introduction of functional behaviour and the control of key mechanical properties. In the current study, we explore the synergistic relationship of two structural components in a shape-memory material formed of a multiblock copolymer with crystallizable poly(ε-caprolactone) and crystallizable poly[oligo(3S-iso-butylmorpholine-2,5-dione)] segments (PCL-PIBMD). The thermal and structural properties of PCL-PIBMD films were compared with PCL-PU and PIBMD-PU, investigated by means of DSC, SAXS and WAXS measurements. The shape-memory properties were quantified by cyclic, thermomechanical tensile tests, where deformation strains up to 900% were applied for programming PCL-PIBMD films at 50 °C. Toluene vapor treatment experiments demonstrated that the temporary shape was fixed mainly by glassy PIBMD domains at strains lower than 600%, with the PCL contribution to fixation increasing to 42±2% at programming strains of 900%. This study into the shape-memory mechanism of PCL-PIBMD provides insight into the structure-function relation in multiblock copolymers with both crystallizable and glassy switching segments.
To examine variation in antibiotic coverage and detection of resistant pathogens in community-onset pneumonia.
A total of 128 hospitals in the Veterans Affairs health system.
Hospitalizations with a principal diagnosis of pneumonia from 2009 through 2010.
We examined proportions of hospitalizations with empiric antibiotic coverage for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PAER) and with initial detection in blood or respiratory cultures. We compared lowest- versus highest-decile hospitals, and we estimated adjusted probabilities (AP) for patient- and hospital-level factors predicting coverage and detection using hierarchical regression modeling.
Among 38,473 hospitalizations, empiric coverage varied widely across hospitals (MRSA lowest vs highest, 8.2% vs 42.0%; PAER lowest vs highest, 13.9% vs 44.4%). Detection rates also varied (MRSA lowest vs highest, 0.5% vs 3.6%; PAER lowest vs highest, 0.6% vs 3.7%). Whereas coverage was greatest among patients with recent hospitalizations (AP for anti-MRSA, 54%; AP for anti-PAER, 59%) and long-term care (AP for anti-MRSA, 60%; AP for anti-PAER, 66%), detection was greatest in patients with a previous history of a positive culture (AP for MRSA, 7.9%; AP for PAER, 11.9%) and in hospitals with a high prevalence of the organism in pneumonia (AP for MRSA, 3.9%; AP for PAER, 3.2%). Low hospital complexity and rural setting were strong negative predictors of coverage but not of detection.
Hospitals demonstrated widespread variation in both coverage and detection of MRSA and PAER, but probability of coverage correlated poorly with probability of detection. Factors associated with empiric coverage (eg, healthcare exposure) were different from those associated with detection (eg, microbiology history). Providing microbiology data during empiric antibiotic decision making could better align coverage to risk for resistant pathogens and could promote more judicious use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Population-based registries report 95% 5-year survival for children undergoing surgery for CHD. This study investigated paediatric cardiac surgical outcomes in the Australian indigenous population.
All children who underwent cardiac surgery between May, 2008 and August, 2014 were studied. Demographic information including socio-economic status, diagnoses and co-morbidities, and treatment and outcome data were collected at time of surgery and at last follow-up.
A total of 1528 children with a mean age 3.4±4.6 years were studied. Among them, 123 (8.1%) children were identified as indigenous, and 52.7% (62) of indigenous patients were in the lowest third of the socio-economic index compared with 28.2% (456) of non-indigenous patients (p⩽0.001). The indigenous sample had a significantly higher Comprehensive Aristotle Complexity score (indigenous 9.4±4.2 versus non-indigenous 8.7±3.9, p=0.04). The probability of having long-term follow-up did not differ between groups (indigenous 93.8% versus non-indigenous 95.6%, p=0.17). No difference was noted in 30-day mortality (indigenous 3.2% versus non-indigenous 1.4%, p=0.13). The 6-year survival for the entire cohort was 95.9%. The Cox survival analysis demonstrated higher 6-year mortality in the indigenous group – indigenous 8.1% versus non-indigenous 5.0%; hazard ratio (HR)=2.1; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.1, 4.2; p=0.03. Freedom from surgical re-intervention was 79%, and was not significantly associated with the indigenous status (HR=1.4; 95% CI: 0.9, 1.9; p=0.11). When long-term survival was adjusted for the Comprehensive Aristotle Complexity score, no difference in outcomes between the populations was demonstrated (HR=1.6; 95% CI: 0.8, 3.2; p=0.19).
The indigenous population experienced higher late mortality. This apparent relationship is explained by increased patient complexity, which may reflect negative social and environmental factors.
Strategies for the involvement of primary care in the management of patients with presumed or diagnosed dementia are heterogeneous across Europe. We wanted to explore attitudes of primary care physicians (PCPs) when managing dementia: (i) the most popular cognitive tests, (ii) who had the right to initiate or continue cholinesterase inhibitor or memantine treatment, and (iii) the relationship between the permissiveness of these rules/guidelines and PCP's approach in the dementia investigations and assessment.
Key informant survey. Setting: Primary care practices across 25 European countries. Subjects: Four hundred forty-five PCPs responded to a self-administered questionnaire. Two-step cluster analysis was performed using characteristics of the informants and the responses to the survey. Main outcome measures: Two by two contingency tables with odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were used to assess the association between categorical variables. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to assess the association of multiple variables (age class, gender, and perceived prescription rules) with the PCPs’ attitude of “trying to establish a diagnosis of dementia on their own.”
Discrepancies between rules/guidelines and attitudes to dementia management was found in many countries. There was a strong association between the authorization to prescribe dementia drugs and pursuing dementia diagnostic work-up (odds ratio, 3.45; 95% CI 2.28–5.23).
Differing regulations about who does what in dementia management seemed to affect PCP's engagement in dementia investigations and assessment. PCPs who were allowed to prescribe dementia drugs also claimed higher engagement in dementia work-up than PCPs who were not allowed to prescribe.
An olive oil bioactive extract (OBE) rich in bioactive compounds like polyphenols, triterpenic acids, long-chain fatty alcohols, unsaturated hydrocarbons, tocopherols and sterols was tested (0, 0·08, 0·17, 0·42 and 0·73 % OBE) in diets fed to sea bream (Sparus aurata) (initial weight: 5·4 (sd 1·2) g) during a 90-d trial (four replicates). Fish fed diets containing 0·17 and 0·42 % OBE were 5 % heavier (61·1 (sd 1·6) and 60·3 (sd 1·1) g, respectively) than those of the control group (57·0 (sd 0·7) g), although feed conversion ratio and specific feed intake did not vary. There were no differences in lipid peroxidation (LPO) levels, catalase, glutathione reductase and glutathione S-transferase activities in the intestine and liver, although there was a tendency of lower intestinal and hepatic LPO levels in fish fed OBE diets. No differences in villus size were found among treatments, whereas goblet cell density in the control group was on average14·3 % lower than in fish fed OBE diets. The transcriptomic profiling of intestinal markers, covering different biological functions like (i) cell differentiation and proliferation, (ii) intestinal permeability, (iii) enterocyte mass and epithelial damage, (iv) IL and cytokines, (v) pathogen recognition receptors and (vi) mitochondria function, indicated that among the eighty-eight evaluated genes, twenty-nine were differentially expressed (0·17 % OBE diet), suggesting that the additive has the potential of improving the condition and defensive role of the intestine by enhancing the maturation of enterocytes, reducing oxidative stress, improving the integrity of the intestinal epithelium and enhancing the intestinal innate immune function, as gene expression data indicated.
The main question that Firestone & Scholl (F&S) pose is whether “what and how we see is functionally independent from what and how we think, know, desire, act, and so forth” (sect. 2, para. 1). We synthesize a collection of concerns from an interdisciplinary set of coauthors regarding F&S's assumptions and appeals to intuition, resulting in their treatment of visual perception as context-free.
In the United States alone, ∼14,000 children are hospitalised annually with acute heart failure. The science and art of caring for these patients continues to evolve. The International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was held on February 4 and 5, 2015. The 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was funded through the Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program Endowment, a philanthropic collaboration between All Children’s Hospital and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF). Sponsored by All Children’s Hospital Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program, the International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit assembled leaders in clinical and scientific disciplines related to paediatric heart failure and created a multi-disciplinary “think-tank”. The purpose of this manuscript is to summarise the lessons from the 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute, to describe the “state of the art” of the treatment of paediatric cardiac failure, and to discuss future directions for research in the domain of paediatric cardiac failure.