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Treatment of liver fibrosis is very limited as there is currently no effective anti-fibrotic therapy. Spirulina platensis (SP) is a blue-green alga that is widely supplemented in healthy foods. The objective of this study was to determine whether SP supplementation can prevent obesity-induced liver fibrosis in vivo. Male C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to a low-fat or a high-fat (HF)/high-sucrose/high-cholesterol diet or an HF diet supplemented with 2·5 % SP (w/w) (HF/SP) for 16 or 20 weeks. There were no significant differences in body weight, activity, energy expenditure, serum lipids or glucose tolerance between mice on HF and HF/SP diets. However, plasma alanine aminotransferase level was significantly reduced by SP at 16 weeks. Expression of fibrotic markers and trichrome stains showed no differences between HF and HF/SP. Splenocytes isolated from HF/SP fed mice had lower inflammatory gene expression and cytokine secretion compared with splenocytes from HF-fed mice. SP supplementation did not attenuate HF-induced liver fibrosis. However, the expression and secretion of inflammatory genes in splenocytes were significantly reduced by SP supplementation, demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effects of SP in vivo. Although SP did not show appreciable effect on the prevention of liver fibrosis in this mouse model, it may be beneficial for other inflammatory conditions.
Rising costs and the rapidly increasing volume of findings from research in health care are driving the demand for comprehensive information to inform the allocation of resources. Health technology assessment (HTA) applies rigorous processes to provide high-quality synthesized information to policymakers and healthcare payers. HTA involves combining large amounts of research publications to systematically evaluate the properties, effects, and impacts on a topic of interest.
The time and resources required to complete a full HTA are often demanding. There is an opportunity to apply high-performance computing (inclusive of artificial intelligence and machine learning disciplines) to HTA. This project applied high-computing technology to create a research synthesis tool to support HTA and then developed a service that integrates as much relevant data as possible to strengthen HTA. This was a joint project that combined expertise from the areas of health technology, machine learning, information technology, and innovation.
The information gathered for this phased project from HTA subject matter experts and other stakeholders was collated to inform a research synthesis tool and a broader concept of the project.
The results of this study will inform the design of a research synthesis tool that covers the entire HTA process (literature search, screening titles and abstracts, data extraction, quality assessment, and analysis). The collaborators included Alberta Innovates, the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute, the University of Alberta, Cybera, and PolicyWise. Alberta Innovates, which is an accelerator and innovator of research in the province of Alberta, Canada, was the primary source of funding for this project.
This study aimed to investigate associations among spirituality, coping strategies, quality of life (QOL), and the effects of depression and anxiety thereon in cancer patients.
In total, 237 cancer patients referred to a psycho-oncology clinic at a university hospital in Korea were enrolled. After identifying predictors of patient QOL in a stepwise regression model, we developed a hypothetical path model wherein interpersonal coping was considered as a mediating variable between spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL and wherein depression and anxiety affected each of these three variables.
The direct effect of spirituality (meaning/peace) on QOL was 36.7%. In an indirect model, interpersonal coping significantly mediated the relationship between spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL. Depression exerted the largest negative effect on spirituality (meaning/peace), interpersonal coping, and QOL. Anxiety had negative effects on spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL, but a positive effect on interpersonal coping.
Significance of results
Interpersonal coping strategies work as a partial mediator of the relationship between meaning/peace subscales of spirituality and QOL. Effective management of depression may help in achieving better outcomes associated therewith. Greater attention and efforts to improve social connectedness and meaning of life in spiritual well-being may improve the QOL of cancer patients.
To verify the validity of a semiautomated surgical site infection (SSI) surveillance system using electronic screening algorithms in 38 categories of surgery.
A cohort study for validation of semiautomated SSI surveillance system using screening algorithms.
A 1,989-bed tertiary-care referral center in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
A dataset of 40,516 surgical procedures in 38 categories stored in the conventional SSI surveillance registry at the Samsung Medical Center between January 2013 and December 2014 was used as the reference standard. In the semiautomated surveillance system, electronic screening algorithms flagged cases meeting at least 1 of 3 criteria: antibiotic prescription, microbial culture, and infectious disease consultation. Flagged cases were audited by infection preventionists. Analyses of sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value (PPV) were conducted for the semiautomated surveillance system, and its effect on reducing the workload for chart review was evaluated.
A total of 575 SSI events (1·42%) were identified by conventional SSI surveillance. The sensitivity of the semiautomated SSI surveillance was 96·7%, and the PPV of the screening algorithms alone was 4·1%. Semiautomated SSI surveillance reduced the chart review workload of the infection preventionists from 1,283 to 482 person hours per year (a 62·4% decrease).
Compared to conventional surveillance, semiautomated surveillance using electronic screening algorithms followed by chart review of selected cases can provide high-validity surveillance results and can significantly reduce the workload of infection preventionists.
It has not been well established whether dietary folate intake reduces the risk of diabetes development. We aimed to clarify the prospective association between dietary folate intake and type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk among 7333 Korean adults aged 40 years or older who were included in the Multi-Rural Communities Cohort. Dietary folate intake was estimated from all 106 food items listed on a FFQ, not including folate intake from supplements. Two different measurements of dietary folate intake were used: the baseline consumption and the average consumption from baseline until just before the end of follow-up. The association between folate intake and T2D risk was determined through a modified Poisson regression model with a robust error estimator controlling for potential confounders. For 29 745 person years, 319 cases of diabetes were ascertained. In multivariable analyses, dietary folate intake was inversely associated with risk of T2D for women, not for men. For women, the incidence rate ratio of diabetes in the third tertile compared with the first tertile was 0·57 (95 % CI 0·38–0·87, Pfor trend=0·0085) in the baseline consumption model and 0·64 (95 % CI 0·43–0·95, Pfor trend=0·0244) in the average consumption model. These inverse associations was found in both normal fasting blood glucose group and impaired fasting glucose group among women. Among non-users of multinutrients and vitamin supplements, the significant inverse association remained. Thus, higher dietary intake of folate is prospectively associated with lower risk of diabetes for women.
We present the results of the linear polarisation observations of methanol masers at 44 and 95 GHz towards 39 massive star forming regions (Kang et al. 2016). These two lines are observed simultaneously with the 21-m Korean VLBI Network (KVN) telescope in single dish mode. About 60% of the observed showed fractional polarisation of a few percents at least at one of the two transition lines. We note that the linear polarisation of the 44 GHz methanol maser is first detected in this study including single dish and interferometer observations. We find the polarisation properties of these two lines are similar as expected, since they trace similar regions. As a follow-up study, we have carried out the VLBI polarisation observations toward some 44 GHz maser targets using the KVN telescope. We present preliminary VLBI polarisation results of G10.34-0.14, which show consistent polarisation properties in multiple epoch observations.
The HoDoo English game was developed to take advantage of the benefits attributed to on-line games while teaching English to native Korean speakers. We expected to see that the improvements in the subjects’ English language abilities after playing the HoDoo English game would be associated with increased brain functional connectivity in the areas of the brain involved in the language production (Broca’s area) and the understanding (Wernicke’s area) networks. Twelve children, aged nine and ten, were asked to play the on-line English education game for 50 minutes per day, five days per week for twelve weeks. At baseline, and again at the end of twelve weeks of game play, each child’s English language ability was assessed and a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan was conducted. The on-line English education game play effectively improved English language skills, especially in terms of non-verbal pragmatic skills. Following twelve weeks of on-line English education game play, the children showed positive connectivity between Broca’s area and the left frontal cortex as well as between Wernicke’s area and the left parahippocampal gyrus and the right medial frontal gyrus. Changes in pragmatic scores were positively correlated with average peak brain activity in the left parahippocampal gyrus. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report an improvement in English ability and changes in brain activity within language areas after on-line language education game play.
At the Seoul National University accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) laboratory, we are planning to develop an automated sample preparation system for higher throughput of radiocarbon dating. This system will consist of several sections, including a combustion line, CO2 trap, graphitization system, and so on. We usually collect CO2 by cryogenic trapping. However, since handling liquid nitrogen is expected to be rather difficult, we are interested in replacing the cryogenic method with the molecular sieve method for the collection of CO2. In this study, we compare the performance of the cryogenic trapping method and molecular sieve method. Zeolite 13X is used as a molecular sieve, and as test samples we use the oxalic acid standard (NIST SRM 4990C), high-purity graphite powder, and archaeological charcoals. The pMC values and the radiocarbon ages (BP) obtained from samples prepared by the above 2 methods are very similar. We especially focused on the memory effect of the molecular sieve, meaning the CO2 contamination from a previous sample, which can cause errors in age determination. To reduce this effect, we flowed He gas through a zeolite container for several minutes at a high temperature before the CO2 was introduced. By the adding this step, we have obtained more reliable results.
During the past decade, carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) has emerged and spread across the world.1 The major carbapenemase enzymes currently being reported are KPC, NDM-1, VIM, IMP, and OXA.2 Because carbapenemase can be effectively transmitted via mobile genetic elements, and current therapeutic options for CPE infections are extremely limited, CPE may be one of the most serious contemporary threats to public health. However, very little is known about the characteristics of CPE carriage during hospitalization. The aims of this study were to investigate the clearance rate of CPE carriage and determine the number of consecutive negative cultures required to confirm CPE clearance. We also examined CPE transmission among hospitalized patients.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1361–1362
To determine the influence of early pain relief for patients with suspected appendicitis on the diagnostic performance of surgical residents.
A prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted for patients with suspected appendicitis. The patients were randomized to receive placebo (normal saline intravenous [IV]) infusions over 5 minutes or the study drug (morphine 5 mg IV). All of the clinical evaluations by surgical residents were performed 30 minutes after administration of the study drug or placebo. After obtaining the clinical probability of appendicitis, as determined by the surgical residents, abdominal computed tomography was performed. The primary objective was to compare the influence of IV morphine on the ability of surgical residents to diagnose appendicitis.
A total of 213 patients with suspected appendicitis were enrolled. Of these patients, 107 patients received morphine, and 106 patients received placebo saline. The negative appendectomy percentages in each group were similar (3.8% in the placebo group and 3.2% in the pain control group, p=0.62). The perforation rates in each group were also similar (18.9% in the placebo group and 14.3% in the pain control group, p=0.75). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that the overall diagnostic accuracy in each group was similar (the area under the curve of the placebo group and the pain control group was 0.63 v. 0.61, respectively, p=0.81).
Early pain control in patients with suspected appendicitis does not affect the diagnostic performance of surgical residents.
Cataract, defined as opacity of the lens in one or both eyes, is a major cause of blindness throughout the world, and not uncommon, particularly in the elderly population. However, congenital cataracts are rare and occur with a frequency of 30 cases in 100,000 births. About one-third of the cases fall into the group inherited without systemic abnormality. Importantly, congenital cataracts produce deprivation amblyopia, refractive amblyopia, and retinal detachment, leading to lifelong visual impairment. Successful management is dependent on early diagnosis and referral for surgery when indicated. Here we present a case of hereditary bilateral cataracts in a dizygotic twin detected on prenatal ultrasound examinations and postnatally confirmed as congenital cataracts associated with posterior lenticonus.
In this study, we demonstrate blue organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with a dual emitting layer (EML) configuration consisting of fluorescent and phosphorescent emitting materials. We investigated the influence of dopants on the electrical and optical characteristics of devices when controlling the fluorescent dopant concentration. The current density and luminance of device B doped with 12wt% BCzVBi was 141.6 mA/cm2 and 6582 cd/m2 at 10V, respectively. In addition, a maximum luminous efficiency of 8.11 cd/A, was achieved from device B. The corresponding Commission Internationale de l’E´ clairage (CIExy) coordinates of device D doped with 5wt% BCzVBi were (0.143, 0.255) at 6V.
Adiponectin has been associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus and possibly fetal growth. Our aim was to assess the association between the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) and the birth sizes. We investigated four SNPs of ADIPOQ (rs182052, rs2241766, rs1501299, and rs266729) and birth height and weight in 237 healthy full-term neonates. The neonates with the rs182052 G allele had a greater birth weight (p = .043 in the dominant model) and a higher ponderal index (p = .028 in the additive model). The rs2241766 G allele was associated with a greater birth weight (p = .016 in the recessive model). In a logistic regression analysis, the homozygotes for the rs182052 G allele and those for the rs2241766 G allele showed a significant association with a greater birth weight above 90 percentile (OR 2.75, 95% CI 1.13–6.70 and OR 5.15, 95% CI 1.66–15.99, respectively). In conclusion, we found an association between rs182052 and rs2241766 and birth weight and ponderal index among healthy neonates and suggested that adiponectin might have some roles in fetal growth.
Using immunostaining methodology, we traced the axonal projection of FMRFamide (Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2)-like immunoreactive (LI) medial neurosecretory cells (MNCs) and lateral neurosecretory cells (LNCs) from the brain into the ventral nerve cord (VNC) and retrocerebral complex in Bombyx mori (L.) (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae). Of the seven pairs of FMRFamide-LI MNCs, one pair extended its axons from the brain pars intercerebralis into the VNC ipsilateral connective where they appeared to terminate. The axons of the remaining MNCs ran through decussation in the brain median region and contralateral nervi corporis cardiaci (NCC) I out of the brain, and eventually innervated the contralateral corpus cardiacum (CC). Axons from the single pair of FMRFamide-LI LNCs projected into the ipsilateral NCC II fused with NCC I without decussation in the brain, and finally terminated in the CC. These results suggest that transport of the FMRFamide-like neuropeptide from may be related to the modulation of functions such as gut contraction in MNCs terminating in the VNC, and regulation of production and/or secretion of specific hormones such as juvenile hormone in MNCs and LNCs terminating in the CC.
We investigated microstructures, compositional distributions, and electrical properties of dielectric CaCu3Ti4O12 (CCTO) thin films deposited on Pt/TiO2/SiO2/Si substrates from 700 to 800 °C by pulsed laser deposition. With increasing the deposition temperature from 700 to 750 °C, the dielectric constants (εr) of CCTO films were greatly enhanced from ∼300 to ∼2000 at 10 kHz, respectively. However, the εr values of CCTO films were gradually decreased above 750 °C, which was surely attributable to the formation of a TiO2-rich dead layer at the interface between CCTO and Pt electrode. Compositional analyses by Auger electron spectroscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and electron energy loss spectroscopy revealed that the TiO2-rich dead layer became thicker because of severe Cu diffusion from CCTO films to Pt electrode. The leakage current behaviors of CCTO films are in good agreement with Poole–Frenkel conduction mechanism, where both the TiO2-rich dead layer and rutile TiO2 nanocrystalline particles are considered to play a role of charge trapping centers.
The effects of tannic acid (TA) supplementation (0·02 %, wt/wt) were compared with the effects of clofibrate (CF) supplementation (0·02 %, wt/wt) in apo E-deficient (apo E− / −) mice fed a AIN-76 semi-synthetic diet (normal diet) over 20 weeks. The mice were monitored for the modulation of hepatic mRNA expression and the activities of lipid-regulating enzymes. Both TA and CF supplementation lowered hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) activity and prevented atherosclerotic lesion formation in comparison with the control group. Hepatic carnitine palmitoyl transferase and β-oxidation activities were significantly higher in the TA and CF groups than in the control group. Both CF and TA supplementation resulted in significant decreases in hepatic HMGR mRNA levels in association with its enzyme activity. However, in contrast to CF supplementation, TA supplementation seemed to decrease the accumulation of hepatic lipids in the apo E− / − mice without increasing liver weight. These results suggest that the overall effect of TA is more desirable than CF for the alleviation of hepatic lipogenesis and atherogenesis in apo E− / − mice.
We have studied the growth of microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si) and amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) by layer by layer deposition technique, where the deposition and the radical exposure are done alternatively. He or hydrogen plasma exposure gives rise to the etching effect of both μc-Si and a-Si:H even though the etch rate by He plasma is much smaller. The long exposure of hydrogen radical on a-Si:H gives rise to the formation of μc-Si at low substrate temperature (Ts), whereas the hydrogen content decreases at high Ts. The growth mechanism of the crystallite is proposed on the basis of experimental results.