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Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have more cognitive impairments. However, the etiologies are not fully clear. Plasma homocysteine levels and vascular burden rise in CKD; meanwhile, high homocysteine levels and vascular factors are known risk factors of dementia in non-CKD patients. Thus, we aimed to investigate the association between homocysteine, vascular burden and cognitive impairment in CKD and to see if the effect of elevated homocysteine on cognitive impairment mediated by vascular factor.
146 patients with CKD and 69 normal comparisons were recruited. Cognitive function was evaluated by comprehensive neuropsychological tests assessing processing speed, executive function, language, visuospatial function, memory, and attention domains. Vascular burden was assessed by Framinghan cardiovascular risk scale (FCRS) which indicates risk of atherosclerotic diseases including stroke.
In controlled analysis, patients with CKD had lower scores in all cognitive domains, and had higher homocysteine levels (18.5±6.4 vs. 9.8±2.9, p< 0.0001) and FCRS(17.0±4.7 vs. 14.0±4.7, p< 0.0001). Among patients with CKD, higher homocysteine levels (p=0.026) were associated with lower score on digit symbol task which is related to processing speed and executive function with controlling for age, sex, education and stage of CKD. The association persisted (p=0.047) after controlling for vascular risks.
Patients with CKD had extensive cognitive impairments. Elevated homocysteine levels may be an risk factor, which is independent of vascular burden, of cognitive impairment on processing speed and executive function. Further studies to investigate if normalization of homocysteine can improve cognitive function will be suggested.
Voice restoration after laryngopharyngectomy can be achieved with an autologous ileocolic flap. We have observed that the length of the flap influences vocal outcome. This investigation aimed to evaluate the association between ileocolic flap length and vocal quality after laryngopharyngectomy.
The charts of patients who underwent voice rehabilitation with an ileocolic flap after laryngopharyngectomy between 1 January 2011 and 30 December 2012 were abstracted. The length of ileum segment in the ileocolic flap was stratified, and voice outcome was evaluated three months post-operatively, while adjusting for confounding variables.
There was a significant association between flap length and loudness, maximum phonation time and sound pressure level (p < 0.05). All three parameters were best in the 10 cm length group.
Voice rehabilitation after laryngopharyngectomy is possible with an ileocolic flap. The optimal ileocolic flap contains a 10 cm ileum segment. Complications are frequent but amenable to revision surgery.
During two legionellosis outbreak investigations, one at a geriatric centre and the other in high-rise housing for seniors, it was observed that additional cases of legionellosis occurred in nearby smaller residential settings. This apparent geographical cluster of legionellosis occurred in the same general area of a community water storage tank. No potential airborne sources in or near the area could be identified, but a community water system storage tank that was centrally located among case residences spurred an investigation of water-quality factors in the identified investigation area. Conditions conducive for Legionella growth, particularly low chlorine residuals, were found. The rate of legionellosis among residents aged ⩾50 years in the investigation areas (61·0 and 64·1/100 000) was eight times higher than in the rest of the service area (9·0/100 000) and almost 20 times higher than the statewide annual average incidence rate (3·2/100 000). A water mains flushing programme in the area was launched by the water utility, and water samples taken before and during flushing found L. pneumophila.
There is increasing recognition that, in addition to negative psychological consequences of trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), some individuals may develop post-traumatic growth (PTG) following such experiences. To date, however, data regarding the prevalence, correlates and functional significance of PTG in population-based samples are lacking.
Data were analysed from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, a contemporary, nationally representative survey of 3157 US veterans. Veterans completed a survey containing measures of sociodemographic, military, health and psychosocial characteristics, and the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory-Short Form.
We found that 50.1% of all veterans and 72.0% of veterans who screened positive for PTSD reported at least ‘moderate’ PTG in relation to their worst traumatic event. An inverted U-shaped relationship was found to best explain the relationship between PTSD symptoms and PTG. Among veterans with PTSD, those with PTSD reported better mental functioning and general health than those without PTG. Experiencing a life-threatening illness or injury and re-experiencing symptoms were most strongly associated with PTG. In multivariable analysis, greater social connectedness, intrinsic religiosity and purpose in life were independently associated with greater PTG.
PTG is prevalent among US veterans, particularly among those who screen positive for PTSD. These results suggest that there may be a ‘positive legacy’ of trauma that has functional significance for veterans. They further suggest that interventions geared toward helping trauma-exposed US veterans process their re-experiencing symptoms, and to develop greater social connections, sense of purpose and intrinsic religiosity may help promote PTG in this population.
We have developed a low cost and convenient approach to fabricate ITO-comparable transparent electrodes by using solution process of silver nanowires mixed with poly peroxotitanic acid (PPT) gel. The PPT gel is applied to connect the dispersed silver nanowires to preserve its high conductivity while remaining transparency and reducing surface roughness of the transparent electrode. The silver nanowires were synthesized via a modified polyol method, and the PPT gels were prepared by sol-gel method in appropriate concentrations. After applying the PPT gels, the sheet resistance of the transparent electrodes was improved from 192 Ω/□ to 44.7 Ω/□ with a transmittance of 81 %. And the roughness (RMS) was decreased from 106.3 nm to 48.1 nm. The PPT gel also improved the reliability of the proposed electrodes, which the conductivity was remained after general atmospheric storage of 6 months. We also demonstrate an Alq3 based OLED with the proposed transparent electrodes.
We investigated lactate dehydrogenase isoenzyme patterns in the cyst fluid of auricular pseudocysts and autogenous blood, to assist the diagnosis of auricular pseudocyst.
Twenty patients with auricular pseudocysts participated in this study conducted in Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital between February 2007 and June 2010. Patterns of lactate dehydrogenase in cyst fluid and autogenous blood were analysed.
Levels of lactate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 were lower in auricular pseudocysts than in autogenous blood, whereas levels of lactate dehydrogenase 4 and 5 were higher; this difference was statistically significant (p < 0.001).
Lactate dehydrogenase isoenzyme patterns in auricular pseudocyst fluid indicated higher percentage distributions of lactate dehydrogenase 4 and 5 and lower percentage distributions of lactate dehydrogenase 1 and 2. An effective laboratory method of evaluating the different lactate dehydrogenase isoenzyme components was developed; this method may improve the accuracy of auricular pseudocyst diagnosis.
We study a reaction diffusion system that models the dynamics of two species that display
inter-species competition and intra-species cooperation. We find that there are between
three and six different equilibrium states and a variety of possible travelling wave
solutions that can connect them. After examining the travelling waves that are generated
in three different ecologically-relevant initial value problems, we construct asymptotic
solutions in the limit λ ≪ 1 (fast diffusion, slow reaction for the
second species relative to the first).
In this study, a novel procedure has been developed for predicting the notched strengths of composite plates each with a center hole. In this approach, the stress distribution of a composite plate with a center hole is first obtained by a finite element analysis, in which the experimental notched strength is applied at the boundary of the finite element model. Secondly, the point stress criterion (PSC) is used to find the characteristic length for each plate with different size of hole by an interpolation of the finite element analysis results. The characteristic length is then expressed as an empirical function of the hole size as well as the width of the plate. Finally, the notched strengths of composite plates are predicted based on the empirical function and the finite element analysis results incorporated with the principle of superposition in elasticity. For validation, three different cases from the literatures are adopted for comparison. It is shown that the predicted notched strengths by this new methodology agree well with both the experimental results and the results from analytical solutions based PSC.
We report production of a self-injected, collimated (8 mrad divergence), 600 pC bunch of electrons with energies up to 350 MeV from a petawatt laser-driven plasma accelerator in a plasma of electron density ne = 1017 cm−3, an order of magnitude lower than previous self-injected laser-plasma accelerators. The energy of the focused drive laser pulse (150 J, 150 fs) was distributed over several hot spots. Simulations show that these hot spots remained independent over a 5 cm interaction length, and produced weakly nonlinear plasma wakes without bubble formation capable of accelerating pre-heated (~1 MeV) plasma electrons up to the observed energies. The required pre-heating is attributed tentatively to pre-pulse interactions with the plasma.
This paper reports on light filtering devices based on a-SiC:H tandem pi´n/pin heterostructures. The spectral sensitivity is analyzed. Steady state optical bias with different wavelengths, are applied from each front and back sides and the photocurrent is measured. Results show that it is possible to control the sensitivity of the device and to tune a specific wavelength range by combining radiations with complementary light penetration depths. The transfer characteristics effects due to changes in the front and back optical bias wavelength are discussed.
Input red, green and blue pulsed communication channels are transmitted together, each one in a specific bit sequence and the multiplex signal is analyzed. By superimposing appropriate background and depending on the channel/background wavelength combinations, the device behaves as a long- or a short- pass filter, producing signal attenuation, or as an amplifier, producing signal gain. A physical model is presented to support the filter properties of the device.
Over the past decade, the PV industry has witnessed tremendous growth in manufacturing scale and technology advancement, with PV generated electricity cost ever approaching grid parity. Among them, Si based thin film technology has made substantial progress in demonstrating its inherent advantages in lower material cost, ease of manufacturing and higher energy yield, etc. More recently, reduced product prices and competing technologies from crystalline silicon and other thin film technologies have made amorphous and microcrystalline silicon based thin film technology very challenging, and requires further increase in module efficiency and decrease in manufacturing cost. As one of the few companies in the world with significant manufacturing capacity for tandem thin film Si PV products, Chint Solar (Astronergy) has been at the forefront of technology development for the mass production of large-scale (Gen. 5, 1.43m2) Si thin film solar modules in the last 5 years. We will review major technology advancements which have been mass production proven and led to the mass produced tandem silicon thin film module with 10.0% plus stabilized efficiency, along with the field performance of those modules.
We report formation of thin silicon oxide films on the silicon surfaces by combination of oxygen radical and high pressure H2O vapor heat treatment for passivation of silicon surfaces at a low temperature. Oxygen plasma was generated by 13.56 MHz radio frequency induction-coupled remote plasma with mixed gases of O2 and Ar at 2 sccm, 2x10-2 Pa and at a power of 50 W. Oxygen radical was produced from the plasma via a metal mesh closing plasma in the reactor. The top surfaces of 20 Wcm n-type silicon substrates with the rear surface coated by thermally grown SiO2 layers were exposed by oxygen radical from 1 to 5 min to oxidize the silicon surface. The samples were subsequently annealed with 9.0x105 Pa H2O vapor heat treatment at 260oC for 3 h. The effective minority carrier lifetime estimated using photo-induced carrier microwave absorption system in the case of 635 nm light illumination at 1.5 mW/cm2 to the top surface increased from 1.3x10-4 to 5.1x10-4s as the oxygen radical treatment duration increased from 1 to 5 min. The recombination velocity decreased from 380 to 90 cm/s. 500 kHz capacitance response with bias gate voltages characteristics of metal oxide semiconductor structure resulted in the effective oxide thicknesses (EOT) ranging from 1.3 to 1.7 nm. These results indicate a capability of thin oxide formation and effective passivation of silicon surfaces at a low temperature.
We summarize our research studies on the synthesis of silicon and germanium nanocrystals and their application to the growth of a variety of thin films, spanning the range from fully disordered amorphous up to fully ordered crystalline. All these films are deposited in a standard radio-frequency glow discharge system at low temperature (~200 °C). We show how the plasma synthesis of silicon nanocrystals, initially a side effect of powder formation, has become over the years an exciting field of research which has opened the way to new opportunities in the field of materials deposition and their application to optoelectronic devices. Our results suggest that epitaxy requires the melting/amorphization of the nanocrystals upon impact on the substrate, the subsequent epitaxial growth being favored on (100) c-Si substrates. As a consequence, the control of the impact energy is a critical aspect of the growth which will require new strategies such as the use of tailored voltage waveforms.
We have investigated the effect of varying the film thickness on the surface orientation texturing in polycrystalline Si films obtained via mixed-phase solidification (MPS) of initially a-Si precursor films on SiO2. It is found that, for a given number of MPS exposure cycles, the degree of (100)-surface texturing is reduced as the film thickness is increased. We discuss how this trend can be accounted for by the previously proposed thermodynamic model of MPS, wherein a decreasing local solid/liquid interface curvature with increasing film thickness is identified as the primary cause for decreasing the influence which anisotropic solid-Si/SiO2 interfacial energies have on the survivability of the grains. This, in turn, leads to other factors becoming more significant in determining the grains that survive the MPS cycle, thereby reducing the degree of (100)-surface texturing in the resulting films.
Three-dimensional (3-D) optical modeling based on Finite Element Method of single, double, and triple junction thin-film silicon solar cells is presented. The combination of front periodic gratings with optimal geometrical parameters and rear ZnO/Ag reflector constitutes an efficient light trapping scheme for solar cells in superstrate (pin) configuration. The application of optimized trapezoidal 1-D and 2-D gratings resulted in 25.5% (1-D case) and 32.5% (2-D case) increase in photo-current density with respect to the flat solar cell. The application of inverted pyramidal 2-D gratings in double and triple junction silicon solar cells with very thin absorber layers resulted in a photo-current density > 11 mA/cm2 and > 9 mA/cm2, respectively.
In this contribution, we study the increase in metalorganic-low pressure chemical vapor deposited (MO-LPCVD) ZnO thin films conductivity by hydrogen plasma post-treatment. We show that this improvement is linked to defect passivation at grain boundaries, decreasing the electron traps density and resulting in the almost complete suppression of the electron scattering at grain boundaries. For a 2 μm thick non-intentionally doped ZnO layer, electron mobility reaches after treatment values close to 60 cm2V-1s-1 (corresponding to an increase of 100%), with a carrier density still as low as 3 x1019 cm-3 (+1.5 x1019 cm-3). Such layers have an absorbance below 2-3% in the range of 400 to 1100 nm making them among the most transparent and conductive materials reported so far. In addition, we demonstrate that hydrogen plasma post-treated ZnO layers can be used as front electrode for producing highly transparent and conductive electrodes. Eventually, it is shown that hydrogen plasma treatment can also be used on the complete thin film solar cell stack (back contact and silicon device) to improve the cell performances.
We report formation of thin aluminum oxide AlOx films on the silicon surface by a simple method of Al metal evaporation in oxygen gas atmosphere. 520 μm thick 30-Ωcm p-type-silicon substrates with a top bare surface and a rear surface coated with 100 nm thick thermally grown SiO2 layers were prepared. AlOx films were formed on the top surfaces by Al metal evaporation up to 20 s in oxygen gas atmosphere at 0.8 Pa with a flow rate of 3 sccm. Samples were subsequently annealed with 9.0x105 Pa H2O vapor at 260°C for 3 h. Measurement of capacitance response to a modulation voltage at 500 kHz as a function of bias gate voltages C-V revealed that AlOx films had the effective oxide thickness ranging from 2.0 and 2.6 nm were formed. C-V measurements also revealed that negative fixed charges were accumulated with a density of 5x1012 cm-2 in AlOx films. Photo-induced carrier microwave absorption measurement resulted in a high minority carrier effective lifetime τeff of 3.6x10-4 s comparable to that of 4.1x10-4 s for thermally grown SiO2 passivation. Field effect passivation was probably caused by negative charges in AlOx so that the surface recombination velocity decreased to 70 cm/s. X-ray reflectivity analysis indicated that the interfacial layer like SiOx was formed between AlOx and Si substrate. High pressure H2O vapor heat annealing caused increase in the density and decrease in the thickness of AlOx layers, although it increased the density and thickness of the interfacial SiOx layer thickness. H2O vapor treatment is effective to improve the quality of nanometer thick AlOxlayer.
Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens, Geraniaceae) has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and promotes wound healing. Similarly, Ganoderma tsugae (Ganodermataceae), Codonopsis pilosula (Campanulaceae) and Angelica sinensis (Apiaceae) are traditional Chinese herbs associated with immunomodulatory functions. In the present study, a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted to examine whether the Chinese medicinal herb complex, RG-CMH, which represents a mixture of rose geranium and extracts of G. tsugae, C. pilosula and A. sinensis, can improve the immune cell count of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to prevent leucopenia and immune impairment that usually occurs during cancer therapy. A total of fifty-eight breast cancer patients who received chemotherapy or radiotherapy were enrolled. Immune cell levels in patient serum were determined before, and following, 6 weeks of cancer treatment for patients receiving either an RG-CMH or a placebo. Administration of RG-CMH was associated with a significant reduction in levels of leucocytes from 31·5 % for the placebo group to 13·4 % for the RG-CMH group. Similarly, levels of neutrophils significantly decreased from 35·6 % for the placebo group to 11·0 % for the RG-CMH group. RG-CMH intervention was also associated with a decrease in levels of T cells, helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells compared with the placebo group. However, these differences between the two groups were not statistically significant. In conclusion, administration of RG-CMH to patients receiving chemotherapy/radiotherapy may have the capacity to delay, or ease, the reduction in levels of leucocytes and neutrophils that are experienced by patients during cancer treatment.