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High-performance mullite-based composite ceramics were prepared successfully using natural kaolin and alumina as raw materials and ZrO2 as an additive. The influence of sintering temperature and ZrO2 content on the sintering behaviour and mechanical properties of zirconia-toughened mullite ceramics was studied systematically. With increasing sintering temperature from 1450°C to 1560°C, the primary phases of as-sintered composite ceramics were mullite and corundum with a small amount of ZrO2, and the bulk density of the composite ceramics increased from 2.29 to 2.72 g cm–3. Furthermore, the ZrO2 phase transition promoted transgranular fracture, and ZrO2 grains were pinned at the grain boundaries, thereby enhancing the mechanical strength of the composite ceramics. Moreover, the AZS12 sample, with 12 wt.% ZrO2 and sintered at 1560°C, had the greatest flexural strength and fracture toughness of 91.6 MPa and 2.47 MPa m–1/2, respectively. Adding ZrO2 to the composite ceramics increased their flexural strength by ~37.6%.
The role of diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) has become increasingly important in the preoperative mapping of brain white matter. Recently, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) driven DTT has provided the ability to evaluate the spatial relationship between the corticospinal tract (CST) and motor resection tumor boundaries. The main objective of this study was improvement of the preoperative assessment of the CST in patients with gliomas involving the motor cortical areas.
Seventeen patients with gliomas involving motor cortical areas underwent 3 dimensions (3D) T1-weighted imaging for anatomical referencing, using both fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). We used the fast-marching tractography (FMT) algorithm to define the 3D connectivity maps within the whole brain using seed points selected in the white matter adjacent to the location of fMRI activation. The target region of interest (ROI) was placed in the cerebral peduncle. Karnofsky performance status (KPS) scores were evaluated for each patient before and after surgery.
The CST of a total seventeen patients were successfully tracked by choosing seed and target ROI on the path of the fibers. What is more, DTT can indicate preoperatively the possibility for total glioma removal or the maximum extent of surgical resection. The postoperative average KPS score for the seventeen patients enrolled increased by more than 10 points.
Incorporation of fMRI driven DTT showed a maximum benefit in surgical treatment of gliomas. Our study of the assessment precision should enhance the accuracy of glioma operations with a resulting improvement in postoperative patient outcome.
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