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The Keio Twin Research Center (KoTReC) was established in 2009 at Keio University to combine two longitudinal cohort projects — the Keio Twin Study (KTS) for adolescence and adulthood and the Tokyo Twin Cohort Project (ToTCoP) for infancy and childhood. KoTReC also conducted a two-time panel study of self-control and psychopathology in twin adolescence in 2012 and 2013 and three independent anonymous cross-sectional twin surveys (ToTcross) before 2012 — the ToTCross, the Junior and Senior High School Survey and the High School Survey. This article introduces the recent research designs of KoTReC and its publications.
Many medical procedures such as brachytherapy, thermal ablations, and biopsies are performed using needle-based procedures. In this work, 3D manipulation of an active needle realized by multiple Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuators was first predicted by Finite Element Analyses (FEA), and then demonstrated by a fabricate prototype. The FEA results were validated by planar deflection of an active needle. A similar FEA was developed to predict 3D manipulation of the active needle. For 17-gage needle, a maximum of 26° reversible deflection was achieved in 3D space via actuation forces of a 0.127 mm SMA wire. A scaled prototype was also developed and tested to show the feasibility of developing a 3D steering active needle with multiple actuators.
High dietary energy density (ED) has been associated with weight gain. However, little is known about the long-term effects of ED on weight changes among free-living subjects, particularly in Japanese and other Asian populations. In this study, we assessed dietary habits and weight changes in participants (5778 males and 7440 females, 35–69 years old) of the Takayama study. ED was estimated using a validated FFQ at baseline only. Information on body weight (BW) was obtained by self-administered questionnaires at baseline and follow-up. Mean BW difference in 9·8 years was 17 (se 4221) g for men and −210 (se 3889) g for women. In men, ED was positively associated with BW at follow-up after controlling for age, BW, height, physical activity score, alcohol consumption, energy intake, years of education at the baseline and change of smoking status during the follow-up. On average, men in the highest quartile of ED (>5·322 kJ/g (>1·272 kcal/g)) gained 138 (se 111) g, whereas men in the lowest ED (<1·057) lost 22 (se 111) g (Pfor trend=0·01). The association between ED and BW gain was stronger in men with normal weight. In women, the association between ED and weight change was not statistically significant. In conclusion, contrary to some studies that report an association between ED and weight gain in the overweight only, our data suggest that high-ED diets may be associated with weight gain in the lean population as well, at least in male subjects.
Insufficient nutrition during the perinatal period causes structural alterations in humans and experimental animals, leading to increased vulnerability to diseases in later life. Japanese quail, Coturnix japonica, in which partial (8–10%) egg white was withdrawn (EwW) from eggs before incubation had lower birth weights than controls (CTs). EwW birds also had reduced hatching rates, smaller glomeruli and lower embryo weight. In EwW embryos, the surface condensate area containing mesenchymal cells was larger, suggesting that delayed but active nephrogenesis takes place. In mature EwW quail, the number of glomeruli in the cortical region (mm2) was significantly lower (CT 34.7±1.4, EwW 21.0±1.2); capillary loops showed focal ballooning, and mesangial areas were distinctly expanded. Immunoreactive cell junction proteins, N-cadherin and podocin, and slit diaphragms were clearly seen. With aging, the mesangial area and glomerular size continued to increase and were significantly larger in EwW quail, suggesting compensatory hypertrophy. Furthermore, apoptosis measured by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling analysis was higher in EwWs than in CTs on embryonic day 15 and postnatal day 4 (D4). Similarly, plasma glucocorticoid (corticosterone) was higher (P<0.01) on D4 in EwW quail. These results suggest that although nephrogenic activity is high in low-nutrition quail during the perinatal period, delayed development and increased apoptosis may result in a lower number of mature nephrons. Damaged or incompletely mature mesangium may trigger glomerular injury, leading in later life to nephrosclerosis. The present study shows that birds serve as a model for ‘fetal programming,’ which appears to have evolved phylogenetically early.
Pillared-graphene is one of nanocarbon hybrids. It consists of graphene sheets and carbon nanotubes (CNTs); the latter are bonded vertically to the former. In order to investigate the hardness of pillared-graphene, indentation simulations are performed using a molecular dynamics method. It is revealed that the hardness of pillared-graphene increases with increasing the diameter of the CNTs, whereas it decreases with increasing the distance between CNTs or temperature. Such tendencies can be understood by considering the deformations of graphene and CNTs individually.
A new approach is proposed to analyze Bremsstrahlung X-rays that are emitted from laser-produced plasmas (LPP) and are measured by a stack type spectrometer. This new method is based on a spectral tomographic reconstruction concept with the variational principle for optimization, without referring to the electron energy distribution of a plasma. This approach is applied to the analysis of some experimental data obtained at a few major laser facilities to demonstrate the applicability of the method. Slope temperatures of X-rays from LPP are determined with a two-temperature model, showing different spectral characteristics of X-rays depending on laser properties used in the experiments.
Although human paranasal sinuses are critical organs for nitric oxide production, little information is available regarding the role of arginase in alterations of arginine metabolism and nasal nitric oxide levels that may be informative for classifying chronic rhinosinusitis subtypes.
The expression and localisation of arginase and nitric oxide synthase isoforms in paranasal sinus mucosa were examined, and the fractional exhaled nitric oxide was measured in chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps (n=18) and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (n = 27) patients.
Increased arginase-2 activities in chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps patients were associated with significantly lower levels of nasal fractional exhaled nitric oxide. Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps patients showed significant NOS2 messenger RNA upregulation with concomitant higher levels of oral and nasal fractional exhaled nitric oxide.
These results indicate that fractional exhaled nitric oxide is a valid marker for differentiating chronic rhinosinusitis phenotypes based on a delicate balance between arginase and nitric oxide synthase activities in nitric oxide production.
Generally, indium-tin-oxides (ITO) thin film is prepared by the sputtering process with ITO target, but only 20% of ITO yielded from the target is deposited on the substrate. Namely, about 80% ITO is exhausted by the deposition elsewhere far from the substrate. The recycling process is limited so that ca 20% ITO of the starting target is lost without any recovery. Even if the recycling of ITO has been carried out in this process, we should prepare ITO target of 5 times more than apparent use of ITO on film. If we change it to printing process from the sputtering, the reduction in ITO use is expected as ca. 50%, considering the increase in film thickness by printing. Our target technology also includes ITO nanoink for the project. As a result, monodispersed ITO nanoparticles (NPs) with a cubic shape were fabricated by using quaternary ammonium hydroxide-assisted metal hydroxide organogels. These NPs have perfect uniformity in size with beautiful shape, and perfect single crystalline structure including Sn. As we were attempted to make thin film with ITO nanoink, it was successfully fabricated below 200 nm in thickness and the resistivity was drastically decreased below 1.0 x 10-3 Ω cm after heat treatments. GZO nanoink as substitute of ITO has also been developed.
The Keio Twin Research Center has conducted two longitudinal twin cohort projects and has collected three independent and anonymous twin data sets for studies of phenotypes related to psychological, socio-economic, and mental health factors. The Keio Twin Study has examined adolescent and adult cohorts, with a total of over 2,400 pairs of twins and their parents. DNA samples are available for approximately 600 of these twin pairs. The Tokyo Twin Cohort Project has followed a total of 1,600 twin pairs from infancy to early childhood. The large-scale cross-sectional twin study (CROSS) has collected data from over 4,000 twin pairs, from 3 to 26 years of age, and from two high school twin cohorts containing a total of 1,000 pairs of twins. These data sets of anonymous twin studies have mainly targeted academic performance, attitude, and social environment. The present article introduces the research designs and major findings of our center, such as genetic structures of cognitive abilities, personality traits, and academic performances, developmental effects of genes and environment on attitude, socio-cognitive ability and parenting, genes x environment interaction on attitude and conduct problem, and statistical methodological challenges and so on. We discuss the challenges in conducting twin research in Japan.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station accident and restoration works have produced significant volume of radioactive waste. The waste has very different characteristics from usual radioactive waste produced in nuclear power stations and it requires extensive research and development for management of the waste. R&D works such as analysis of the waste properties, hydrogen generation by radiolysis and diffusion in a storage vessel and corrosion of storage vessels, etc. have been performed for characterization and safe storage of the waste. The detailed R&D plan for processing and disposal waste will be established by the end of FY2012.