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Permafrost occupies 20 million square kilometres of Earth’s high-latitude and high-altitude landscapes. These regions are sensitive to climate change and human activities; hence, permafrost research is of considerable scientific and societal importance. However, the results of this research are generally not known by the general public. Communicating scientific concepts is an increasingly important task in the research world. Different ways to engage learners and incorporate narratives in teaching materials exist, yet they are generally underused. Here we report on an international scientific outreach project called “Frozen-Ground Cartoons”, which aims at making permafrost science accessible and fun for students, teachers, and parents through the creation of comic strips. We present the context in which the project was initiated, as well as recent education and outreach activities. The future phases of the project primarily involve a series of augmented reality materials, such as maps, photos, videos, and 3D drawings. With this project we aim to foster understanding of permafrost research among broader audiences, inspire future permafrost researchers, and raise public and science community awareness of polar science, education, outreach, and engagement.
The goal of this study was to perform in situ electrochemical polymerization of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) in peripheral nerves to create a soft, precisely located injectable conductive polymer electrode for bi-directional communication. Intraneural PEDOT polymerization was performed to target both outer and inner fascicles via custom fabricated 3D printed cuff electrodes and monomer injection strategies using a combination electrode-cannula system. Electrochemistry, histology, and laser light sheet microscopy revealed the presence of PEDOT at specified locations inside of peripheral nerve. This work demonstrates the potential for using in situ PEDOT electrodeposition as an injectable electrode for recording and stimulation of peripheral nerves.
The ability to interface electronic materials with the peripheral nervous system is required for stimulation and monitoring of neural signals. Thus, the design and engineering of robust neural interfaces that maintain material-tissue contact in the presence of material or tissue micromotion offer the potential to conduct novel measurements and develop future therapies that require chronic interface with the peripheral nervous system. However, such remains an open challenge given the constraints of existing materials sets and manufacturing approaches for design and fabrication of neural interfaces. Here, we investigated the potential to leverage a rapid prototyping approach for the design and fabrication of nerve cuffs that contain supporting features to mechanically stabilize the interaction between cuff electrodes and peripheral nerve. A hybrid 3D printing and robotic-embedding (i.e., pick-and-place) system was used to design and fabricate silicone nerve cuffs (800 µm diameter) containing conforming platinum (Pt) electrodes. We demonstrate that the electrical impedance of the cuff electrodes can be reduced by deposition of the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) on cuff electrodes via a post-processing electropolymerization technique. The computer-aided design and manufacturing approach was also used to design and integrate supporting features to the cuff that mechanically stabilize the interface between the cuff electrodes and the peripheral nerve. Both ‘self-locking’ and suture-assisted locking mechanisms are demonstrated based on the principle of making geometric alterations to the cuff opening via 3D printing. Ultimately, this work shows 3D printing offers considerable opportunity to integrate supporting features, and potentially even novel electronic materials, into nerve cuffs that can support the design and engineering of next generation neural interfaces.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
Children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at a risk for neurodevelopmental delays. Current guidelines recommend systematic evaluation and management of neurodevelopmental outcomes with referral for early intervention services. The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial represents the largest cohort of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome ever assembled. Data on life events and resource utilisation have been collected annually. We sought to determine the type and prevalence of early intervention services used from age 1 to 4 years and factors associated with utilisation of services.
Data from 14-month neurodevelopmental assessment and annual medical history forms were used. We assessed the impact of social risk and geographic differences. Fisher exact tests and logistic regression were used to evaluate associations.
Annual medical history forms were available for 302 of 314 children. Greater than half of the children (52–69%) were not receiving services at any age assessed, whereas 20–32% were receiving two or more therapies each year. Utilisation was significantly lower in year 4 (31%) compared with years 1–3 (with a range from 40 to 48%) (p<0.001). Social risk factors were not associated with the use of services at any age but there were significant geographic differences. Significant delay was reported by parents in 18–43% of children at ages 3 and 4.
Despite significant neurodevelopmental delays, early intervention service utilisation was low in this cohort. As survival has improved for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, attention must shift to strategies to optimise developmental outcomes, including enrolment in early intervention when merited.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a frequent reason for emergency department visits. According to current guidelines either rate- or rhythm-control are acceptable therapeutic options in such situations. In this report, we present the complicated clinical course of a patient with AF and a rapid ventricular response. Because of paroxysmal AF, the patient was on chronic oral anticoagulation therapy with warfarin. Pharmacological treatment was ineffective to control ventricular rate, and immediate synchronized electrical cardioversion was performed. One hour later, the patient complained of chest pain in combination with marked ST-segment elevation in the anterior leads. Cardiac catheterization with optical coherence tomography disclosed plaque rupture in the left main coronary artery without other significant stenosis. Stent implantation was performed successfully. During the course of the hospital stay, the patient remained asymptomatic and the ST-segment elevations resolved. However, despite treatment with amiodarone it was not possible to keep the patient permanently in sinus rhythm. Therefore, a biventricular pacemaker was implanted and AV node ablation performed.
A long-term mountain station series of tropospheric 14C data for the period 1959 to 1984 is presented. This series is considered representative of the higher altitude14C level over central Europe. Even tree-ring 14C levels from a rural ground level site in southern Germany are consistently lower (by Δ14Cdepression = −15‰ if compared with the mountain station summer average in atmospheric CO2). The rural tree-ring series is considered to represent the additional continental Suess effect at ground level without local contamination. This Suess effect decreases gradually with the distance from the ground (ie, source) level. We therefore estimate the additional continental Suess effect in the vegetation period to be Δ14Cdepression = −5‰ for the mountain station and −20‰) for a rural ground level site, respectively. Based on this assumption, yearly mean tropospheric 14C levels corrected for fossil fuel contamination and representative of the Northern Hemisphere are provided for use in global carbon cycle models.
With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and the continued use of IED’s employing TATP for delivering these threats, there is a real need for explosives detection at trace levels. This work describes the fabrication and characterization of metal oxide nanowires used as catalysts for the detection of energetic materials at trace levels. Recently, several oxide nanowires, based on zinc oxide and copper oxide, have been incorporated into our solid-state gas sensors as catalysts. These nanowire catalysts produced a dramatic increase in sensor response with improved selectivity for threat molecules of interest. The improved responses were attributed to a large increase in surface area available for catalyst/analyte interaction. Zinc oxide and copper oxide nanowires were grown by hydrothermal and controlled oxidation reactions, and were characterized using XRD, XPS and SEM to determine extent of crystallinity, oxidation state and morphology. Results indicated that energetic materials such as TATP and 2-6 DNT could be detected at the part per billion level using these nanowire catalysts. Other oxide nanowires are being considered as catalysts for the detection of explosives and are discussed as well.
A sensor which detects mechanical stresses and stores the position and the strength of these loads by color change of embedded quantum dots (QDs) is presented. The top and bottom electrodes of the sensor are inkjet-printed which leads to a fast and accurate deposition of thin (approx. 50 - 300 nm) and conductive layers. The used silver and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythio-phene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) inks are optimized in terms of printability and opportunities of functionality forming without influencing the active layer of the sensor. The active layer of the sensor is spin-coated and consists of the QDs embedded in semi-conducting poly(9-vinylcarba-zole) (PVK). The hole transport characteristic of PVK and the band level alignment of the used materials ensures the preferred injection of only one type of charge carrier into the QDs. As a result the mechanical stress is visualized by a decreasing in photoluminescence (PL) of the QDs.
Reconstruction with a vascularised flap provides the most reliable outcome, with post-operative cerebrospinal fluid leak rates of less than 5 per cent. This article aims to review and summarise the critical technical aspects of the vascularised flaps most commonly used for skull base reconstruction.
Vascularised flaps are classified as intranasal or extranasal. The intranasal group includes the Hadad–Bassagaisteguy nasoseptal flap, the Caicedo reverse nasoseptal flap, the nasoseptal rescue flap, the posteriorly or anteriorly based lateral wall flaps, and the middle turbinate flap. Extranasal flaps include the transfrontal pericranial and transpterygoid temporoparietal flaps.
The Hadad–Bassagaisteguy nasoseptal flap is overwhelmingly favoured for reconstructing extensive defects of anterior, middle and posterior cranial base. Its pertinent technical features are described. However, it is essential to master the skills required for the various extranasal or regional vascularised flaps because each can offer a reconstructive alternative for specific patients, especially when open approaches are needed and/or intranasal vascularised flaps are not feasible.
Cellular networks are ubiquitous in nature. Most engineered materials are polycrystalline microstructures composed of a myriad of small grains separated by grain boundaries, thus comprising cellular networks. The recently discovered grain boundary character distribution (GBCD) is an empirical distribution of the relative length (in 2D) or area (in 3D) of interface with a given lattice misorientation and normal. During the coarsening, or growth, process, an initially random grain boundary arrangement reaches a steady state that is strongly correlated to the interfacial energy density. In simulation, if the given energy density depends only on lattice misorientation, then the steady state GBCD and the energy are related by a Boltzmann distribution. This is among the simplest non-random distributions, corresponding to independent trials with respect to the energy. Why does such simplicity emerge from such complexity? Here we describe an entropy based theory which suggests that the evolution of the GBCD satisfies a Fokker-Planck Equation, an equation whose stationary state is a Boltzmann distribution.
The paper presents the results of numerical modeling of thermomechanical stresses and thermal fields for conditions of erosion-resistant electrode coatings of magnetically controlled MEMS switches with W-Ti-Cu structure at local temperature and electric current influence in axially symmetrical approximation. It is shown that the introduction of titan interlayer (30-100 nm) in the coating with W-Ti-Cu structure results in considerable (more than two times) decrease of internal thermomechanical stresses between layers that increases coating resistance to delamination. It is established that there is an optimum value of Ti layer thickness at which the minimum thermomechanical stresses are provided.
Dynamical effects of non-conservative forces in long, defect free atomic wires are investigated. Current flow through these wires is simulated and we find that during the initial transient, the kinetic energies of the ions are contained in a small number of phonon modes, closely clustered in frequency. These phonon modes correspond to the waterwheel modes determined from preliminary static calculations. The static calculations allow one to predict the appearance of non-conservative effects in advance of the more expensive real-time simulations. The ion kinetic energy redistributes across the band as non-conservative forces reach a steady state with electronic frictional forces. The typical ion kinetic energy is found to decrease with system length, increase with atomic mass, and its dependence on bias, mass and length is supported with a pen and paper model. This paper highlights the importance of non-conservative forces in current carrying devices and provides criteria for the design of stable atomic wires.
We present a novel method to build a coarse-grained (CG) model based on the Mori-Zwanzig (MZ) formalism that reproduces kinetics. Our approach leads to the computation of a generalized Langevin equation (GLE), which includes the memory kernel and the fluctuation that are consistent with brute force molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Our CG model based on the MZ formalism successfully reproduces kinetics, i.e. the distribution of first passage times (FPT) and velocity autocorrelation functions (VACF), for alanine dipeptide. In addition, we show that the memory part of the CG model of GLE is essential to reproduce kinetics. In other words, the Markovian model fails to reproduce brute force MD results, whereas the GLE model succeeds.
In the developing of scaffolds for cell culture, a large number of architectures with different combinations of properties should be tested to determine the best. This can be costly in time, money and materials. In this paper we have proposed an optimization model that aims to maximize the growth of osteoblasts on polymeric scaffolds by regulating their properties and architecture. Based on the optimization model it was implemented a genetic algorithm to calculate the architecture and properties of the scaffolds. The fiber diameter, pore diameter, porosity, Young's modulus and contact angle of the scaffolds were calculated through four electrospinning parameters: voltage (kV), concentration (% w/v), flow rate (ml/h) and distance (cm). A fitness value was assigned to each scaffold and the highest one was chosen as the best condition for osteoblast growth. The preliminary results obtained by the Genetic Algorithm were consistent with the tendencies reported experimentally in other studies. Also, the methodology established here can be easily adapted to different types of polymers and cells. Finally, the optimization model can be applied not only by means of heuristic method, like a Genetic Algorithm, but also by exact methods.
We study the stability of small amplitude harmonic perturbation at the interface of a gel material surrounded by air. The equations describing the system's dynamics are solved using classical perturbation methods. Assuming that the amplitude decays over time, we establish conditions for the system to return to its equilibrium state. The proposed model includes the effect of the boundary conditions and can be extended to more general situation in which the material is surrounded by an arbitrary fluid.
Determining upconversion parameters is of high interest in laser material development. For many materials these parameters cannot be directly measured by experimental methods. These upconversion coefficients appear as unknown parameters in the laser rate equations, which are a system of coupled nonlinear differential equations that are used to model the dynamics of population densities in different energy levels. In this paper we propose the well-established system theoretic tools pertaining to the system inversion to be applied in this case. The unknown parameters can be considered as the inputs and the fluorescence signals can be considered as the outputs of the dynamical system. Therefore the determination of the unknown upconversion rates in the system equations from the output data is a classical system inversion problem. In this paper we demonstrate how to compute the unknown coefficients in the rate equations from the experimental emission data utilizing this method.
In this work we introduce an optimization–based method for the coupling of nonlocal and local diffusion problems. Our approach is formulated as a control problem where the states are the solutions of the nonlocal and local equations, the controls are the nonlocal volume constraint and the local boundary condition, and the objective of the optimization is a matching functional for the state variables in the intersection of the nonlocal and local domains. For finite element discretizations we present numerical results in a one–dimensional setting; though preliminary, our tests show the consistency and efficacy of the method, and provide the basis for realistic simulations.