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Concurrent three-dimensional imaging of the renal vascular and tubular systems on the whole-kidney scale with capillary level resolution is labor-intensive and technically difficult. Approaches based on vascular corrosion casting and X-ray micro computed tomography (μCT), for example, suffer from vascular filling artifacts and necessitate imaging with an additional modality to acquire tubules. In this work, we report on a new sample preparation, image acquisition, and quantification protocol for simultaneous vascular and tubular μCT imaging of whole, uncorroded mouse kidneys. The protocol consists of vascular perfusion with the water-soluble, aldehyde-fixable, polymeric X-ray contrast agent XlinCA, followed by laboratory-source μCT imaging and structural analysis using the freely available Fiji/ImageJ software. We achieved consistent filling of the entire capillary bed and staining of the tubules in the cortex and outer medulla. After imaging at isotropic voxel sizes of 3.3 and 4.4 μm, we segmented vascular and tubular systems and quantified luminal volumes, surface areas, diffusion distances, and vessel path lengths. This protocol permits the analysis of vascular and tubular parameters with higher reliability than vascular corrosion casting, less labor than serial sectioning and leaves tissue intact for subsequent histological examination with light and electron microscopy.
The consistent association between therapeutic alliance and outcome underlines the importance of identifying factors which predict the development of a positive alliance. However, only few studies have examined the association between pretreatment characteristics and alliance formation in patients with schizophrenia.
The study examined whether symptoms and insight would predict the therapeutic alliance in psychotherapy of schizophrenia. Further, the associations and differences between patient and therapist alliance ratings were studied.
Eighty patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders received manual-based psychotherapy. Assessment of symptoms and insight was conducted at baseline, and questionnaire-based alliance ratings were obtained three weeks into treatment. Patient and therapist alliance ratings were examined separately.
Patient and therapist alliance ratings were not significantly correlated (r = 0.17). Patient ratings of the alliance were significantly higher than the ratings of their therapists (d = 0.73). More insight in psychosis significantly predicted higher patient ratings of the alliance. Less positive and negative symptoms were significant predictors of higher therapist alliance ratings.
The findings indicate that symptoms and insight have an influence on the therapeutic alliance in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Patients' and therapists' perceptions of the alliance do not seem to demonstrate much convergence.
Simultaneous PET/MR/EEG (Positron Emission Tomography – Magnetic Resonance – Electroencephalography), a new tool for the investigation of neuronal networks in the human brain, is presented here within the framework of the European Union Project TRIMAGE. The trimodal, cost-effective PET/MR/EEG imaging tool makes use of cutting edge technology both in PET and in MR fields. A novel type of magnet (1.5T, non-cryogenic) has been built together with a PET scanner that makes use of the most advanced photodetectors (i.e., SiPM matrices), scintillators matrices (LYSO) and digital electronics. The combined PET/MR/EEG system is dedicated to brain imaging and has an inner diameter of 260 mm and an axial Field-of-View of 160 mm.
It enables the acquisition and assessment of molecular metabolic information with high spatial and temporal resolution in a given brain simultaneously. The dopaminergic system and the glutamatergic system in schizophrenic patients are investigated via PET, the same physiological/pathophysiological conditions with regard to functional connectivity, via fMRI, and its electrophysiological signature via EEG. In addition to basic neuroscience questions addressing neurovascular-metabolic coupling, this new methodology lays the foundation for individual physiological and pathological fingerprints for a wide research field addressing healthy aging, gender effects, plasticity and different psychiatric and neurological diseases.
The preliminary performances of two components of the imaging tool (PET and MR) are discussed. Initial results of the search of possible candidates for suitable schizophrenia biomarkers are also presented as obtained with PET/MR systems available to the collaboration.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) offers the potential to increase the ability to customise large-scale plastic components. However, a substantial amount of manual work is still required during the customisation process, both in design and manufacturing.
This paper looks into how the additive manufacturing of mass customised large-scale products can be supported. Data was collected through interaction with industrial partners and potential customers in a case study regarding the customisation of kayaks.
As a result, the paper proposes a model-based methodology which combines design automation with a user interface.
The results point to the benefit of the proposed methodology in terms of design efficiency, as well as in terms of displaying results to the end user in an understandable format.
The polyphenol quercetin may prevent CVD due to its antihypertensive and vasorelaxant properties. We investigated the effects of quercetin after regular intake on blood pressure (BP) in overweight-to-obese patients with pre-hypertension and stage I hypertension. In addition, the potential mechanisms responsible for the hypothesised effect of quercetin on BP were explored. Subjects (n 70) were randomised to receive 162 mg/d quercetin from onion skin extract powder or placebo in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled cross-over trial with 6-week treatment periods separated by a 6-week washout period. Before and after the intervention, ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) and office BP were measured; urine and blood samples were collected; and endothelial function was measured by EndoPAT technology. In the total group, quercetin did not significantly affect 24 h ABP parameters and office BP. In the subgroup of hypertensives, quercetin decreased 24 h systolic BP by −3·6 mmHg (P=0·022) when compared with placebo (mean treatment difference, −3·9 mmHg; P=0·049). In addition, quercetin significantly decreased day-time and night-time systolic BP in hypertensives, but without a significant effect in inter-group comparison. In the total group and also in the subgroup of hypertensives, vasoactive biomarkers including endothelin-1, soluble endothelial-derived adhesion molecules, asymmetric dimethylarginine, angiotensin-converting enzyme activity, endothelial function, parameters of oxidation, inflammation, lipid and glucose metabolism were not affected by quercetin. In conclusion, supplementation with 162 mg/d quercetin from onion skin extract lowers ABP in patients with hypertension, suggesting a cardioprotective effect of quercetin. The mechanisms responsible for the BP-lowering effect remain unclear.