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Mechatronic products are widely spread today, but their development still is a challenge. In addition, with the trend of individualisation, not only one solution must be designed but multiple configurations are needed to fulfil customer-specific requirements. To reduce cost and development time, usually existing products are adapted for this purpose. Even though a lot of knowledge is already available through the previous product version, because of multiple disciplines that must be considered in mechatronic systems, even redesign processes are complex. To support the adaption of mechatronic products to changed requirements, an approach to systematically reuse the knowledge available from previous product versions is proposed in this contribution. Through multidisciplinary behaviour optimisation, the solution space is reduced to build an adapted product meeting the new requirements. The approach is explained in detail and illustrated with the example of an electric window regulator and the results are discussed thoroughly.
Colleges and universities around the world engaged diverse strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Baylor University, a community of ˜22,700 individuals, was 1 of the institutions which resumed and sustained operations. The key strategy was establishment of multidisciplinary teams to develop mitigation strategies and priority areas for action. This population-based team approach along with implementation of a “Swiss Cheese” risk mitigation model allowed small clusters to be rapidly addressed through testing, surveillance, tracing, isolation, and quarantine. These efforts were supported by health protocols including face coverings, social distancing, and compliance monitoring. As a result, activities were sustained from August 1 to December 8, 2020. There were 62,970 COVID-19 tests conducted with 1435 people testing positive for a positivity rate of 2.28%. A total of 1670 COVID-19 cases were identified with 235 self-reports. The mean number of tests per week was 3500 with approximately 80 of these positive (11/d). More than 60 student tracers were trained with over 120 personnel available to contact trace, at a ratio of 1 per 400 university members. The successes and lessons learned provide a framework and pathway for similar institutions to mitigate the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and sustain operations during a global pandemic.
Lee and Schwarz propose that grounded procedures can also be related to connection rather than separation. Drawing on consumer behavior research, we point to different grounded procedures of connection – in terms of the motor actions involved, their salient properties, and their motivational conditions – and discuss how procedures of separation may be affected by the procedures of connection that precede them.
Dietary fibers (DF) are considered as beneficial nutrients for health. Current data suggest that their interaction with the gut microbiota largely contributes to their physiological effects. The FiberTAG project(1) innovates in searching for new biomarkers reflecting the health effect of dietary fibers, including chitin-glucan (CG, extracted from the fungal exoskeleton Aspergillus niger). CG improves metabolic disorders associated with obesity in mice, but its effect on gut microbiota composition and function has never been evaluated in vivo in humans.
Materials and Methods
CG (KitoZyme, Belgium) was given to healthy volunteers (n = 15), during three weeks (4.5g/day). Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) metabolites released in breath were analyzed using SYFT methodology. Fatty acid (FA) profiling was assessed in stool samples, by gas-liquid chromatography(2). The gut microbiome was analyzed by Illumina sequencing (V5-V6 region of 16S rRNA).
Three weeks of CG supplementation was well tolerated and lead to changes in the kinetics of breath VOC, especially the short-chain fatty acid, alcohols and alkanes. Fecal vaccenic acid, produced upon the bacterial metabolism of fatty acids, was significantly increased by CG. Several bacterial genera were correlated with breath VOC (i.e. 2 methylbutyric acid and RuminococcaceaeUCG005). Moreover, Roseburia, often presented as a butyrate producer, was positively correlated with the production of a rumenic acid isomer “cis-9,cis-11-18:2”.
We show that breath VOC analysis, a non-invasive methodology, reveals characteristics of microbiota-CG interactions. We also show that CG selectively changes the profile of FA metabolites, in favor of vaccenic acid, another bioactive metabolite produced by Roseburia, prone to act on host physiology. This study will help to establish a set of new biomarkers linking insoluble DF and gut microbiota, with focus on their interest in human health.
Background: A number of small intervention studies suggested that a Mediterranean diet (MedD) and physical activity can lower the risk for breast cancer. LIBRE is the first large multicenter RCT to test the effect of these lifestyle factors on the incidence of breast cancer in women at risk because of BRCA mutations(1). LIBRE also offers to unravel underlying mechanisms such as the role of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) for beneficial effects of such lifestyle interventions.
Methods: We examined the effect of the lifestyle intervention on the production of SCFA measured in feces by gas chromatography. From the ongoing LIBRE trial we included all complete datasets (171 women; mean age 44 ± 11 years). Both women with and without previous breast cancer diagnosis were recruited (diseased; non-diseased). The participants were randomized into an intervention group (IG) trained for MedD and physical activity, and a usual care control group (CG). Adherence to the MedD was assessed at baseline and after 3 months (V1) using the validated Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) and the EPIC food frequency questionnaire (FFQ).
Results: At baseline there was no difference in SCFA levels between the groups. In the IG the MEDAS score increased substantially by 2.5 points (p < 0.001), in the CG only mildly by 0.4 points (p < 0.05). Correspondingly, the intake of fibers increased solely in the IG. In the course of the study the amount of caproic acid decreased in the control group (p < 0.001). At V1 non-diseased women showed higher amounts of acetic acid (p = 0.042), n-butyric acid (p = 0.023), n-valeric acid (p = 0.018) and iso-valeric acid (p = 0.031). There were several correlations between the intake of different fibers and fecal SCFA. For example, the sum of poly- and oligosaccharides correlated with acetic acid (p = 0.001; r = 0.316), propionic acid (p = 0.034; r = 0,251), n-butyric acid (p = 0.010; r = 0.316) and iso-valeric acid (p = 0.012; r = 0.306). There was no correlation between the MEDAS and SCFA.
Discussion: A lifestyle change towards a MedD and increased physical activity did not change the levels of SCFA in feces, although an increase of fiber intake was documented in the IG. To further analyze SCFA metabolism in this target population, gut microbiota composition and function (metabolites) are currently analyzed.
The Compact Lightweight Absolute Radiometer (CLARA) is orbiting Earth on-board the Norwegian NorSat-1 micro-satellite since 14th of July 2017. The first light total solar irradiance (TSI) measurement result of CLARA is 1360.18 W m−2 for the so far single reliable Channel B. Channel A and C measured significantly lower (higher) TSI values and were found being sensitive to satellite pointing instabilities. These channels most likely suffer from electrical interference between satellite components and CLARA, an effect that is currently under investigation. Problems with the satellite attitude control currently inhibit stable pointing of CLARA to the Sun.
Consent to research with decision-making capacity for research (DMC-R) is normally a requirement for study participation. Although the symptoms of schizophrenia and related psychoses are known to affect decision-making capacity for treatment (DMC-T), we know little about their effect on DMC-R.
We aimed to determine if DMC-R differs from DMC-T in proportion and associated symptoms in an in-patient sample of people with schizophrenia and related psychoses.
Cross-sectional study of psychiatric in-patients admitted for assessment and/or treatment of schizophrenia and related psychoses. We measured DMC-R and DMC-T using ‘expert judgement’ clinical assessment guided by the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research, the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Treatment and the legal framework of the Mental Capacity Act (2005), in addition to symptoms of psychosis.
There were 84 participants in the study. Half the participants had DMC-R (51%, 95% CI 40–62%) and a third had DMC-T (31%, 95% CI 21–43%) and this difference was statistically significant (P < 0.01). Thought disorder was most associated with lacking DMC-R (odds ratio 5.72, 95% CI 2.01–16.31, P = 0.001), whereas lack of insight was most associated with lacking DMC-T (odds ratio 26.34, 95% CI 3.60–192.66, P = 0.001). With the exception of improved education status and better DMC-R, there was no effect of sociodemographic variables on either DMC-R or DMC-T.
We have shown that even when severely unwell, people with schizophrenia and related psychoses in in-patient settings commonly retain DMC-R despite lacking DMC-T. Furthermore, different symptoms have different effects on decision-making abilities for different decisions. We should not view in-patient psychiatric settings as a research ‘no-go area’ and, where appropriate, should recruit in these settings.
International guidelines advocate depression screening in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and other chronic illnesses, but evidence is lacking.
To test the differential efficacy of written patient-targeted feedback v. no written patient feedback after depression screening.
Patients with CHD or hypertension from three cardiology settings were randomised and screened for depression (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01879111). Compared with the control group, where only cardiologists received written feedback, in the intervention group both cardiologists and patients received written feedback regarding depression status. Depression severity was measured 1 month (primary outcome) and 6 months after screening.
The control group (n = 220) and the patient-feedback group (n = 155) did not differ in depression severity 1 month after screening. Six months after screening, the patient-feedback group showed significantly greater improvements in depression severity and was twice as likely to seek information about depression compared with the control group.
Patient-targeted feedback in addition to screening has a significant but small effect on depression severity after 6 months and may encourage patients to take an active role in the self-management of depression.
Aerogels are a promising material for aerospace applications and have recently been explored for biomedical applications also. In both environments, exposure to radiation is inevitable, such as from radiation in space or, radiation-based sterilization and tracking of implants. X-ray radiation, in particular, is of a concern. Here, polyurea-crosslinked silica aerogel (PCSA) samples were exposed to approximately 170- and 500-Gy X-irradiation at room temperature under varying environmental conditions and characterized using electron spin resonance (ESR) technique. Results obtained for PCSA were compared with those from polyether-ether ketone (PEEK) and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) which served as benchmarks for this study. PEEK is known to be very radiation resistant, while UHMWPE is known to be less radiation resistant. All materials (PCSA, PEEK, and UHMWPE) were exposed to the same treatments and exposure conditions. Two exposure times were tested: 10 min and 30 min which corresponded to “low” and “high” conditions, as well as comparisons of nitrogen vs. air environments during exposure and post-exposure storage. Results showed significant quantities of free radicals produced in PCSA after exposure to X-irradiation which scaled with radiation dosage; quantities were in-between those produced in PEEK and UHMWPE. The storage conditions (air vs. nitrogen) also played an important role in the free radical levels detected and are reported in this study.
The substantial discrepancy between mentalising in experimental settings v. real-life social interactions hinders the understanding of the neural basis of real-life social cognition and of social impairments in psychiatric disorders.
To determine the neural mechanisms underlying naturalistic mentalising in individuals with and without autism spectrum disorder.
We investigated mentalising with a new video-based functional magnetic resonance imaging task in 20 individuals with autism spectrum disorder and 22 matched healthy controls.
Naturalistic mentalising implicated regions of the traditional mentalising network (medial prefrontal cortex, temporoparietal junction), and additionally the insula and amygdala. Moreover, amygdala activity predicted implicit mentalising performance on an independent behavioural task. Compared with controls, the autism spectrum disorder group did not show differences in neural activity within classical mentalising regions. They did, however, show reduced amygdala activity and a reduced correlation between amygdala activity and mentalising accuracy on the behavioural task, compared with controls.
These findings highlight the crucial role of the amygdala in making accurate implicit mental state inferences in typical development and in the social cognitive impairments of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
Shadowgraphy was employed to study snow saltation in boundary-layer wind tunnel experiments with fresh, naturally deposited snow. The shadowgraphy method allowed for a temporally and spatially high-resolution investigation of snow particle characteristics within a measurement area of up to 50 mm × 50 mm. Snow particle size and number characteristics, and their variation with height in the saltation layer, were analysed. The following observations and findings were made for the saltation layer: (1) the particle number decreases exponentially with height, (2) the mean particle diameter is fairly constant, with a very slight tendency to decrease with height, (3) the maximum particle diameter decreases linearly with height, and (4) the snow particle size distribution can be adequately described by gamma probability density functions. The shape and scale parameters of the gamma distribution were found to vary systematically, though only slightly, with height over ground and between experiments with different snowpack characteristics.
Of the two authors of Dialektik der Aufklärung, Theodor W. Adorno is by far the more influential philosopher. Born in Frankfurt in 1903, he lived his first eleven years in the same street on which Arthur Schopenhauer had once resided. His father, Oscar Wiesengrund, owned a successful wine business; his mother, Maria Calvelli-Adorno della Piana, had been an opera singer. It was only when Adorno emigrated to America, in 1938, that he replaced the patronymic Wiesengrund with the less German-sounding surname taken from his mother. Maria's unmarried sister, Agathe, a well-known pianist, also lived with the family, and within this environment Adorno developed a passion for music. Indeed, for a while he even considered becoming a professional composer: in 1925, after having completed a PhD in philosophy at the tender age of twenty, he moved to Vienna to study composition with Alban Berg, who, like his master Arnold Schönberg, was among the most famous avant-garde composers of the day. But Adorno, though not without musical talent, lacked genuine creativity, and he soon returned to Frankfurt — and to philosophy. In this field, he possessed an originality and mental penetration matched by few. He never lost his interest in music, however, and a significant part of his oeuvre is devoted to the topic.
The Nazi ascent to power in 1933 robbed the Jewish philosopher of his teaching position at the University of Frankfurt and forced him into exile in Britain. He stayed there for the next five years — not, as he had hoped, as a university lecturer, but as a PhD student at Merton College, Oxford. His subsequent emigration to America was facilitated by Max Horkheimer.
The year 1788 stands out in the history of German philosophy for being the year in which Kant's Kritik der praktischen Vernunft was published, in Riga, and Arthur Schopenhauer was born, down the Baltic coast in Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), on 22 February. This contingent conjunction of the two philosophers’ lives was a happy coincidence, since Schopenhauer would in due course become one of Kant's most devoted followers (as well as one of his most stringent critics). Their lives were markedly different, though, and can perhaps be taken as symptomatic of the larger differences between the Enlightenment and the Romantic age that followed it: whereas Kant's life was well-regulated, governed by duty and rational insight, and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, Schopenhauer's was, at least for its first forty-five years, restless, effervescent, and diverse.
Schopenhauer's father, Heinrich, was a merchant and shipowner who moved the family to Hamburg for business reasons in 1793, when Prussia annexed the free city of Danzig. This was but the first major upheaval in the life of the philosopher, who continued to travel extensively in his childhood and youth, picking up fluent competence in foreign languages as he went, and gaining the education and experience required to follow in his father's footsteps. Arthur spent two years in Le Havre (1797–99), for example, and even enrolled for three months at a boarding school in London (1803).