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Kosmos
Astronomia Astrofizyka
Inne

Kultura
Sztuka dawna i współczesna, muzea i kolekcje

Metoda
Metodologia nauk, Matematyka, Filozofia, Miary i wagi, Pomiary

Materia
Substancje, reakcje, energia
Fizyka, chemia i inżynieria materiałowa

Człowiek
Antropologia kulturowa Socjologia Psychologia Zdrowie i medycyna

Wizje
Przewidywania Kosmologia Religie Ideologia Polityka

Ziemia
Geologia, geofizyka, geochemia, środowisko przyrodnicze

Życie
Biologia, biologia molekularna i genetyka

Cyberprzestrzeń
Technologia cyberprzestrzeni, cyberkultura, media i komunikacja

Działalność
Wiadomości | Gospodarka, biznes, zarządzanie, ekonomia

Technologie
Budownictwo, energetyka, transport, wytwarzanie, technologie informacyjne

Czasopisma z MDPI

Wydawnictwo MDPI publikuje czasopisma Open Access.

Since their discovery, Parkinsonian toxins (6-hydroxydopamine, MPP+, paraquat, and rotenone) have been widely employed as in vivo and in vitro chemical models of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Alterations in mitochondrial homeostasis, protein quality control pathways, and more recently, autophagy/mitophagy have been implicated in neurotoxin models of PD. Here, we highlight the molecular mechanisms by which different PD toxins dysregulate autophagy/mitophagy and how alterations of these pathways play beneficial or detrimental roles in dopamine neurons. The convergent and divergent effects of PD toxins on mitochondrial function and autophagy/mitophagy are also discussed in this review. Furthermore, we propose new diagnostic tools and discuss how pharmacological modulators of autophagy/mitophagy can be developed as disease-modifying treatments for PD. Finally, we discuss the critical need to identify endogenous and synthetic forms of PD toxins and develop efficient health preventive programs to mitigate the risk of developing PD.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22163 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Since their discovery, Parkinsonian toxins (6-hydroxydopamine, MPP+, paraquat, and rotenone) have been widely employed as in vivo and in vitro chemical models of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Alterations in mitochondrial homeostasis, protein quality control pathways, and more recently, autophagy/mitophagy have been implicated in neurotoxin models of PD. Here, we highlight the molecular mechanisms by which different PD toxins dysregulate autophagy/mitophagy and how alterations of these pathways play beneficial or detrimental roles in dopamine neurons. The convergent and divergent effects of PD toxins on mitochondrial function and autophagy/mitophagy are also discussed in this review. Furthermore, we propose new diagnostic tools and discuss how pharmacological modulators of autophagy/mitophagy can be developed as disease-modifying treatments for PD. Finally, we discuss the critical need to identify endogenous and synthetic forms of PD toxins and develop efficient health preventive programs to mitigate the risk of developing PD.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22163 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Restenosis after intraluminal or open vascular reconstruction remains an important clinical problem. Vascular endothelial cell (EC) injury induced by oxidative stress plays an important role in the development of intimal hyperplasia. In this study, we sought to evaluate the protective effects of Bcl-xl overexpression in vitro on oxidative stress-induced EC injury and the role of the Akt/endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) pathway. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) exposed to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2, 0.5 mM) were used as the experimental oxidative stress model. The Bcl-xl gene was transferred into HUVECs through recombinant adenovirus vector pAdxsi-GFP-Bcl-xl before oxidative treatment. Cell apoptosis was evaluated by Annexin V/propidium iodide and Hoechst staining, caspase-7 and PARP cleavage. Cell viability was assessed using the cell counting kit-8 assay, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunocytochemical detection and the scratching assay. Expressions of Akt, phospho-Akt and eNOS were detected by Western blotting. Our results showed that H2O2 induced apoptosis and decreased the cell viability of HUVECs. Bcl-xl overexpression significantly protected cells from H2O2-induced cell damage and apoptosis and maintained the cell function. Furthermore, the level of phospho-Akt and eNOS protein expression was significantly elevated when pretreated with Bcl-xl gene transferring. These findings suggest that Bcl-xl overexpression exerts an anti-apoptotic and protective effect on EC function. The Akt/eNOS signaling pathway is probably involved in these processes.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22149 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Restenosis after intraluminal or open vascular reconstruction remains an important clinical problem. Vascular endothelial cell (EC) injury induced by oxidative stress plays an important role in the development of intimal hyperplasia. In this study, we sought to evaluate the protective effects of Bcl-xl overexpression in vitro on oxidative stress-induced EC injury and the role of the Akt/endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) pathway. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) exposed to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2, 0.5 mM) were used as the experimental oxidative stress model. The Bcl-xl gene was transferred into HUVECs through recombinant adenovirus vector pAdxsi-GFP-Bcl-xl before oxidative treatment. Cell apoptosis was evaluated by Annexin V/propidium iodide and Hoechst staining, caspase-7 and PARP cleavage. Cell viability was assessed using the cell counting kit-8 assay, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunocytochemical detection and the scratching assay. Expressions of Akt, phospho-Akt and eNOS were detected by Western blotting. Our results showed that H2O2 induced apoptosis and decreased the cell viability of HUVECs. Bcl-xl overexpression significantly protected cells from H2O2-induced cell damage and apoptosis and maintained the cell function. Furthermore, the level of phospho-Akt and eNOS protein expression was significantly elevated when pretreated with Bcl-xl gene transferring. These findings suggest that Bcl-xl overexpression exerts an anti-apoptotic and protective effect on EC function. The Akt/eNOS signaling pathway is probably involved in these processes.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22149 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The relationship between synthetic factors and the resulting structures is critical for rational synthesis of zeolites and related microporous materials. In this paper, we develop a new feature selection method for synthetic factor analysis of (6,12)-ring-containing microporous aluminophosphates (AlPOs). The proposed method is based on a maximum weight and minimum redundancy criterion. With the proposed method, we can select the feature subset in which the features are most relevant to the synthetic structure while the redundancy among these selected features is minimal. Based on the database of AlPO synthesis, we use (6,12)-ring-containing AlPOs as the target class and incorporate 21 synthetic factors including gel composition, solvent and organic template to predict the formation of (6,12)-ring-containing microporous aluminophosphates (AlPOs). From these 21 features, 12 selected features are deemed as the optimized features to distinguish (6,12)-ring-containing AlPOs from other AlPOs without such rings. The prediction model achieves a classification accuracy rate of 91.12% using the optimal feature subset. Comprehensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm, and deep analysis is given for the synthetic factors selected by the proposed method.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22132 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The relationship between synthetic factors and the resulting structures is critical for rational synthesis of zeolites and related microporous materials. In this paper, we develop a new feature selection method for synthetic factor analysis of (6,12)-ring-containing microporous aluminophosphates (AlPOs). The proposed method is based on a maximum weight and minimum redundancy criterion. With the proposed method, we can select the feature subset in which the features are most relevant to the synthetic structure while the redundancy among these selected features is minimal. Based on the database of AlPO synthesis, we use (6,12)-ring-containing AlPOs as the target class and incorporate 21 synthetic factors including gel composition, solvent and organic template to predict the formation of (6,12)-ring-containing microporous aluminophosphates (AlPOs). From these 21 features, 12 selected features are deemed as the optimized features to distinguish (6,12)-ring-containing AlPOs from other AlPOs without such rings. The prediction model achieves a classification accuracy rate of 91.12% using the optimal feature subset. Comprehensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm, and deep analysis is given for the synthetic factors selected by the proposed method.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22132 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Ribonucleoprotein complexes are essential regulatory components in bacteria. In this review, we focus on the carbon storage regulator (Csr) network, which is well conserved in the bacterial world. This regulatory network is composed of the CsrA master regulator, its targets and regulators. CsrA binds to mRNA targets and regulates translation either negatively or positively. Binding to small non-coding RNAs controls activity of this protein. Expression of these regulators is tightly regulated at the level of transcription and stability by various global regulators (RNAses, two-component systems, alarmone). We discuss the implications of these complex regulations in bacterial adaptation.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22117 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Ribonucleoprotein complexes are essential regulatory components in bacteria. In this review, we focus on the carbon storage regulator (Csr) network, which is well conserved in the bacterial world. This regulatory network is composed of the CsrA master regulator, its targets and regulators. CsrA binds to mRNA targets and regulates translation either negatively or positively. Binding to small non-coding RNAs controls activity of this protein. Expression of these regulators is tightly regulated at the level of transcription and stability by various global regulators (RNAses, two-component systems, alarmone). We discuss the implications of these complex regulations in bacterial adaptation.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22117 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Non-contagious, chronic disease has been identified as a global health risk. Poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol, drug and solvent abuse, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet have been identified as important factors affecting the increasing incidence of chronic disease. The following focuses on the circumstance affecting the lifestyle or behavioral choices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote-/very remote Australia. Poor behavioral choices are the result of endogenous characteristics that are influenced by a range of stressful exogenous variables making up the psychosocial determinants including social disenfranchisement, cultural loss, insurmountable tasks, the loss of volitional control and resource constraints. It is shown that poor behavioral choices can be economically rational; especially under highly stressful conditions. Stressful circumstances erode individual capacity to commit to long-term positive health alternatives such as self-investment in education. Policies directed at removing the impediments and providing incentives to behaviors involving better health choices can lead to reductions in smoking and alcohol consumption and improved health outcomes. Multijurisdictional culturally acceptable policies directed at distal variables relating to the psychosocial determinants of health and personal mastery and control can be cost effective. While the content of this paper is focused on the conditions of colonized peoples, it has broader relevance.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5971 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Non-contagious, chronic disease has been identified as a global health risk. Poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol, drug and solvent abuse, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet have been identified as important factors affecting the increasing incidence of chronic disease. The following focuses on the circumstance affecting the lifestyle or behavioral choices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote-/very remote Australia. Poor behavioral choices are the result of endogenous characteristics that are influenced by a range of stressful exogenous variables making up the psychosocial determinants including social disenfranchisement, cultural loss, insurmountable tasks, the loss of volitional control and resource constraints. It is shown that poor behavioral choices can be economically rational; especially under highly stressful conditions. Stressful circumstances erode individual capacity to commit to long-term positive health alternatives such as self-investment in education. Policies directed at removing the impediments and providing incentives to behaviors involving better health choices can lead to reductions in smoking and alcohol consumption and improved health outcomes. Multijurisdictional culturally acceptable policies directed at distal variables relating to the psychosocial determinants of health and personal mastery and control can be cost effective. While the content of this paper is focused on the conditions of colonized peoples, it has broader relevance.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5971 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Background: The Caserta and Naples areas in Campania Region experience heavy environmental contamination due to illegal waste disposal and burns, thus representing a valuable setting to develop a general model of human contamination with dioxins (PCDDs-PCDFs) and dioxin-like-PCBs (dl-PCBs). Methods: 94 breastfeeding women (aged 19–32 years; mean age 27.9 ± 3.0) were recruited to determine concentrations of PCDDs-PCDFs and dl-PCBs in their milk. Individual milk samples were collected and analyzed according to standard international procedures. A generalized linear model was used to test potential predictors of pollutant concentration in breast milk: age, exposure to waste fires, cigarette smoking, diet, and residence in high/low risk area (defined at high/low environmental pressure by a specific 2007 WHO report). A Structural Equation Model (SEM) analysis was carried out by taking into account PCDDs-PCDFs and dl-PCBs as endogenous variables and age, waste fires, risk area and smoking as exogenous variables. Results: All milk samples were contaminated by PCDDs-PCDFs (8.6 pg WHO-TEQ/98g fat ± 2.7; range 3.8–19) and dl-PCBs (8.0 pg WHO-TEQ/98g fat ± 3.7; range 2.5–24), with their concentrations being associated with age and exposure to waste fires (p < 0.01). Exposure to fires resulted in larger increases of dioxins concentrations in people living in low risk areas than those from high risk areas (p < 0.01). Conclusions: A diffuse human exposure to persistent organic pollutants was observed in the Caserta and Naples areas. Dioxins concentration in women living in areas classified at low environmental pressure in 2007 WHO report was significantly influenced by exposure to burns.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5953 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Background: The Caserta and Naples areas in Campania Region experience heavy environmental contamination due to illegal waste disposal and burns, thus representing a valuable setting to develop a general model of human contamination with dioxins (PCDDs-PCDFs) and dioxin-like-PCBs (dl-PCBs). Methods: 94 breastfeeding women (aged 19–32 years; mean age 27.9 ± 3.0) were recruited to determine concentrations of PCDDs-PCDFs and dl-PCBs in their milk. Individual milk samples were collected and analyzed according to standard international procedures. A generalized linear model was used to test potential predictors of pollutant concentration in breast milk: age, exposure to waste fires, cigarette smoking, diet, and residence in high/low risk area (defined at high/low environmental pressure by a specific 2007 WHO report). A Structural Equation Model (SEM) analysis was carried out by taking into account PCDDs-PCDFs and dl-PCBs as endogenous variables and age, waste fires, risk area and smoking as exogenous variables. Results: All milk samples were contaminated by PCDDs-PCDFs (8.6 pg WHO-TEQ/98g fat ± 2.7; range 3.8–19) and dl-PCBs (8.0 pg WHO-TEQ/98g fat ± 3.7; range 2.5–24), with their concentrations being associated with age and exposure to waste fires (p < 0.01). Exposure to fires resulted in larger increases of dioxins concentrations in people living in low risk areas than those from high risk areas (p < 0.01). Conclusions: A diffuse human exposure to persistent organic pollutants was observed in the Caserta and Naples areas. Dioxins concentration in women living in areas classified at low environmental pressure in 2007 WHO report was significantly influenced by exposure to burns.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5953 2013/11/11 - 04:05

While the doubling of life expectancy in developed countries during the 20th century can be attributed mostly to decreases in child mortality, the trillions of dollars spent on biomedical research by governments, foundations and corporations over the past sixty years are also yielding longevity dividends in both working and retired population. Biomedical progress will likely increase the healthy productive lifespan and the number of years of government support in the old age. In this paper we introduce several new parameters that can be applied to established models of economic growth: the biomedical progress rate, the rate of clinical adoption and the rate of change in retirement age. The biomedical progress rate is comprised of the rejuvenation rate (extending the productive lifespan) and the non-rejuvenating rate (extending the lifespan beyond the age at which the net contribution to the economy becomes negative). While staying within the neoclassical economics framework and extending the overlapping generations (OLG) growth model and assumptions from the life cycle theory of saving behavior, we provide an example of the relations between these new parameters in the context of demographics, labor, households and the firm.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5936 2013/11/11 - 04:05

While the doubling of life expectancy in developed countries during the 20th century can be attributed mostly to decreases in child mortality, the trillions of dollars spent on biomedical research by governments, foundations and corporations over the past sixty years are also yielding longevity dividends in both working and retired population. Biomedical progress will likely increase the healthy productive lifespan and the number of years of government support in the old age. In this paper we introduce several new parameters that can be applied to established models of economic growth: the biomedical progress rate, the rate of clinical adoption and the rate of change in retirement age. The biomedical progress rate is comprised of the rejuvenation rate (extending the productive lifespan) and the non-rejuvenating rate (extending the lifespan beyond the age at which the net contribution to the economy becomes negative). While staying within the neoclassical economics framework and extending the overlapping generations (OLG) growth model and assumptions from the life cycle theory of saving behavior, we provide an example of the relations between these new parameters in the context of demographics, labor, households and the firm.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5936 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The recent U.S. Congressional mandate for creating drug-free learning environments in elementary and secondary schools stipulates that education reform rely on accountability, parental and community involvement, local decision making, and use of evidence-based drug prevention programs. By necessity, this charge has been paralleled by increased interest in demonstrating that drug prevention programs net tangible benefits to society. One pressing concern is precisely how to integrate traditional scientific methods of program evaluation with economic measures of “cost efficiency”. The languages and methods of each respective discipline don’t necessarily converge on how to establish the true benefits of drug prevention. This article serves as a primer for conducting economic analyses of school-based drug prevention programs. The article provides the reader with a foundation in the relevant principles, methodologies, and benefits related to conducting economic analysis. Discussion revolves around how economists value the potential costs and benefits, both financial and personal, from implementing school-based drug prevention programs targeting youth. Application of heterogeneous costing methods coupled with widely divergent program evaluation findings influences the feasibility of these techniques and may hinder utilization of these practices. Determination of cost-efficiency should undoubtedly become one of several markers of program success and contribute to the ongoing debate over health policy.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5908 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The recent U.S. Congressional mandate for creating drug-free learning environments in elementary and secondary schools stipulates that education reform rely on accountability, parental and community involvement, local decision making, and use of evidence-based drug prevention programs. By necessity, this charge has been paralleled by increased interest in demonstrating that drug prevention programs net tangible benefits to society. One pressing concern is precisely how to integrate traditional scientific methods of program evaluation with economic measures of “cost efficiency”. The languages and methods of each respective discipline don’t necessarily converge on how to establish the true benefits of drug prevention. This article serves as a primer for conducting economic analyses of school-based drug prevention programs. The article provides the reader with a foundation in the relevant principles, methodologies, and benefits related to conducting economic analysis. Discussion revolves around how economists value the potential costs and benefits, both financial and personal, from implementing school-based drug prevention programs targeting youth. Application of heterogeneous costing methods coupled with widely divergent program evaluation findings influences the feasibility of these techniques and may hinder utilization of these practices. Determination of cost-efficiency should undoubtedly become one of several markers of program success and contribute to the ongoing debate over health policy.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5908 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Campylobacteriosis is infection caused by the bacteria Campylobacter spp. and is considered a major public health concern. Campylobacter spp. have been identified as one of the most common causative agents of bacterial gastroenteritis. They are typically considered a foodborne pathogen and have been shown to colonise the intestinal mucosa of all food-producing animals. Much emphasis has been placed on controlling the foodborne pathway of exposure, particularly within the poultry industry, however, other environmental sources have been identified as important contributors to human infection. This paper aims to review the current literature on the sources of human exposure to Campylobacter spp. and will cover contaminated poultry, red meat, unpasteurised milk, unwashed fruit and vegetables, compost, wild bird faeces, sewage, surface water, ground water and drinking water. A comparison of current Campylobacter spp. identification methods from environmental samples is also presented. The review of literature suggests that there are multiple and diverse sources for Campylobacter infection. Many environmental sources result in direct human exposure but also in contamination of the food processing industry. This review provides useful information for risk assessment.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5886 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Campylobacteriosis is infection caused by the bacteria Campylobacter spp. and is considered a major public health concern. Campylobacter spp. have been identified as one of the most common causative agents of bacterial gastroenteritis. They are typically considered a foodborne pathogen and have been shown to colonise the intestinal mucosa of all food-producing animals. Much emphasis has been placed on controlling the foodborne pathway of exposure, particularly within the poultry industry, however, other environmental sources have been identified as important contributors to human infection. This paper aims to review the current literature on the sources of human exposure to Campylobacter spp. and will cover contaminated poultry, red meat, unpasteurised milk, unwashed fruit and vegetables, compost, wild bird faeces, sewage, surface water, ground water and drinking water. A comparison of current Campylobacter spp. identification methods from environmental samples is also presented. The review of literature suggests that there are multiple and diverse sources for Campylobacter infection. Many environmental sources result in direct human exposure but also in contamination of the food processing industry. This review provides useful information for risk assessment.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5886 2013/11/11 - 04:05

This paper introduces a compact optical information storage sensing system. Applications of this system include longitudinal surface plasmon resonance detection of gold nanorods with a single femtosecond laser in three-dimensional space as well as data storage. A diffractive optical element (DOE) is applied in the system to separate the recording-reading beam from the servo beam. This allows us to apply a single laser and one objective lens in a single optical path for the servo beam and the recording-reading beam. The optical system has a linear region of 8 λ, which is compatible with current DVD servo modules. The wavefront error of the optical system is below 0.03 λrms. The minimum grating period of the DOE is 13.4 µm, and the depth of the DOE is 1.2 µm, which makes fabrication of it possible. The DOE is also designed to conveniently control the layer-selection process, as there is a linear correlation between the displacement of the DOE and the layer-selection distance. The displacement of DOE is in the range of 0–6.045 mm when the thickness of the layer-selection is 0.3 mm. Experiments were performed and the results have been verified.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15409 2013/11/11 - 04:05

This paper introduces a compact optical information storage sensing system. Applications of this system include longitudinal surface plasmon resonance detection of gold nanorods with a single femtosecond laser in three-dimensional space as well as data storage. A diffractive optical element (DOE) is applied in the system to separate the recording-reading beam from the servo beam. This allows us to apply a single laser and one objective lens in a single optical path for the servo beam and the recording-reading beam. The optical system has a linear region of 8 λ, which is compatible with current DVD servo modules. The wavefront error of the optical system is below 0.03 λrms. The minimum grating period of the DOE is 13.4 µm, and the depth of the DOE is 1.2 µm, which makes fabrication of it possible. The DOE is also designed to conveniently control the layer-selection process, as there is a linear correlation between the displacement of the DOE and the layer-selection distance. The displacement of DOE is in the range of 0–6.045 mm when the thickness of the layer-selection is 0.3 mm. Experiments were performed and the results have been verified.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15409 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Due to its efficiency, reliability and better channel and resource utilization, cooperative transmission technologies have been attractive options in underwater as well as terrestrial sensor networks. Their performance can be further improved if merged with forward error correction (FEC) techniques. In this paper, we propose and analyze a retransmission protocol named Cooperative-Hybrid Automatic Repeat reQuest (C-HARQ) for underwater acoustic sensor networks, which exploits both the reliability of cooperative ARQ (CARQ) and the efficiency of incremental redundancy-hybrid ARQ (IR-HARQ) using rate-compatible punctured convolution (RCPC) codes. Extensive Monte Carlo simulations are performed to investigate the performance of the protocol, in terms of both throughput and energy efficiency. The results clearly reveal the enhancement in performance achieved by the C-HARQ protocol, which outperforms both CARQ and conventional stop and wait ARQ (S&W ARQ). Further, using computer simulations, optimum values of various network parameters are estimated so as to extract the best performance out of the C-HARQ protocol.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15385 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Due to its efficiency, reliability and better channel and resource utilization, cooperative transmission technologies have been attractive options in underwater as well as terrestrial sensor networks. Their performance can be further improved if merged with forward error correction (FEC) techniques. In this paper, we propose and analyze a retransmission protocol named Cooperative-Hybrid Automatic Repeat reQuest (C-HARQ) for underwater acoustic sensor networks, which exploits both the reliability of cooperative ARQ (CARQ) and the efficiency of incremental redundancy-hybrid ARQ (IR-HARQ) using rate-compatible punctured convolution (RCPC) codes. Extensive Monte Carlo simulations are performed to investigate the performance of the protocol, in terms of both throughput and energy efficiency. The results clearly reveal the enhancement in performance achieved by the C-HARQ protocol, which outperforms both CARQ and conventional stop and wait ARQ (S&W ARQ). Further, using computer simulations, optimum values of various network parameters are estimated so as to extract the best performance out of the C-HARQ protocol.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15385 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Future wireless communications are heading towards an all-Internet Protocol (all-IP) design, and will rely on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to manage services, such as voice over IP (VoIP). The centralized architecture of traditional SIP has numerous disadvantages for mobile ad hoc services that may be possibly overcome by advanced peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies initially developed for the Internet. In the context of mobile sensing, P2PSIP protocols facilitate decentralized and fast communications with sensor-enabled terminals. Nevertheless, in order to make P2PSIP protocols feasible in mobile sensing networks, it is necessary to minimize overhead transmissions for signaling purposes, which reduces the battery lifetime. In this paper, we present a solution to improve the management of wireless overlay networks by defining an adaptive algorithm for the calculation of refresh time. The main advantage of the proposed algorithm is that it takes into account new parameters, such as the delay between nodes, and provides satisfactory performance and reliability levels at a much lower management overhead than previous approaches. The proposed solution can be applied to many structured P2P overlays or P2PSIP protocols. We evaluate it with Kademlia-based distributed hash tables (DHT) and dSIP.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15364 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Future wireless communications are heading towards an all-Internet Protocol (all-IP) design, and will rely on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to manage services, such as voice over IP (VoIP). The centralized architecture of traditional SIP has numerous disadvantages for mobile ad hoc services that may be possibly overcome by advanced peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies initially developed for the Internet. In the context of mobile sensing, P2PSIP protocols facilitate decentralized and fast communications with sensor-enabled terminals. Nevertheless, in order to make P2PSIP protocols feasible in mobile sensing networks, it is necessary to minimize overhead transmissions for signaling purposes, which reduces the battery lifetime. In this paper, we present a solution to improve the management of wireless overlay networks by defining an adaptive algorithm for the calculation of refresh time. The main advantage of the proposed algorithm is that it takes into account new parameters, such as the delay between nodes, and provides satisfactory performance and reliability levels at a much lower management overhead than previous approaches. The proposed solution can be applied to many structured P2P overlays or P2PSIP protocols. We evaluate it with Kademlia-based distributed hash tables (DHT) and dSIP.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15364 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is a well-established optical biosensor technology with many proven applications in the study of molecular interactions as well as in surface and material science. SPR is usually applied in the label-free mode which may be advantageous in cases where the presence of a label may potentially interfere with the studied interactions per se. However, the fundamental challenges of label-free SPR in terms of limited sensitivity and specificity are well known. Here we present a new concept called label-enhanced SPR, which is based on utilizing strongly absorbing dye molecules in combination with the evaluation of the full shape of the SPR curve, whereby the sensitivity as well as the specificity of SPR is significantly improved. The performance of the new label-enhanced SPR method was demonstrated by two simple model assays: a small molecule assay and a DNA hybridization assay. The small molecule assay was used to demonstrate the sensitivity enhancement of the method, and how competitive assays can be used for relative affinity determination. The DNA assay was used to demonstrate the selectivity of the assay, and the capabilities in eliminating noise from bulk liquid composition variations.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15348 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is a well-established optical biosensor technology with many proven applications in the study of molecular interactions as well as in surface and material science. SPR is usually applied in the label-free mode which may be advantageous in cases where the presence of a label may potentially interfere with the studied interactions per se. However, the fundamental challenges of label-free SPR in terms of limited sensitivity and specificity are well known. Here we present a new concept called label-enhanced SPR, which is based on utilizing strongly absorbing dye molecules in combination with the evaluation of the full shape of the SPR curve, whereby the sensitivity as well as the specificity of SPR is significantly improved. The performance of the new label-enhanced SPR method was demonstrated by two simple model assays: a small molecule assay and a DNA hybridization assay. The small molecule assay was used to demonstrate the sensitivity enhancement of the method, and how competitive assays can be used for relative affinity determination. The DNA assay was used to demonstrate the selectivity of the assay, and the capabilities in eliminating noise from bulk liquid composition variations.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15348 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Temperatures of hot section components in today’s gas turbine engines reach as high as 1,500 °C, making in situ monitoring of the severe temperature gradients within the engine rather difficult. Therefore, there is a need to develop instrumentation (i.e., thermocouples and strain gauges) for these turbine engines that can survive these harsh environments. Refractory metal and ceramic thin film thermocouples are well suited for this task since they have excellent chemical and electrical stability at high temperatures in oxidizing atmospheres, they are compatible with thermal barrier coatings commonly employed in today’s engines, they have greater sensitivity than conventional wire thermocouples, and they are non-invasive to combustion aerodynamics in the engine. Thin film thermocouples based on platinum:palladium and indium oxynitride:indium tin oxynitride as well as their oxide counterparts have been developed for this purpose and have proven to be more stable than conventional type-S and type-K thin film thermocouples. The metallic and ceramic thin film thermocouples described within this paper exhibited remarkable stability and drift rates similar to bulk (wire) thermocouples.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15324 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Temperatures of hot section components in today’s gas turbine engines reach as high as 1,500 °C, making in situ monitoring of the severe temperature gradients within the engine rather difficult. Therefore, there is a need to develop instrumentation (i.e., thermocouples and strain gauges) for these turbine engines that can survive these harsh environments. Refractory metal and ceramic thin film thermocouples are well suited for this task since they have excellent chemical and electrical stability at high temperatures in oxidizing atmospheres, they are compatible with thermal barrier coatings commonly employed in today’s engines, they have greater sensitivity than conventional wire thermocouples, and they are non-invasive to combustion aerodynamics in the engine. Thin film thermocouples based on platinum:palladium and indium oxynitride:indium tin oxynitride as well as their oxide counterparts have been developed for this purpose and have proven to be more stable than conventional type-S and type-K thin film thermocouples. The metallic and ceramic thin film thermocouples described within this paper exhibited remarkable stability and drift rates similar to bulk (wire) thermocouples.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15324 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Low-cost GPS receivers provide geodetic positioning information using the NMEA protocol, usually with eight digits for latitude and nine digits for longitude. When these geodetic coordinates are converted into Cartesian coordinates, the positions fit in a quantization grid of some decimeters in size, the dimensions of which vary depending on the point of the terrestrial surface. The aim of this study is to reduce the quantization errors of some low-cost GPS receivers by using a Kalman filter. Kinematic tractor model equations were employed to particularize the filter, which was tuned by applying Monte Carlo techniques to eighteen straight trajectories, to select the covariance matrices that produced the lowest Root Mean Square Error in these trajectories. Filter performance was tested by using straight tractor paths, which were either simulated or real trajectories acquired by a GPS receiver. The results show that the filter can reduce the quantization error in distance by around 43%. Moreover, it reduces the standard deviation of the heading by 75%. Data suggest that the proposed filter can satisfactorily preprocess the low-cost GPS receiver data when used in an assistance guidance GPS system for tractors. It could also be useful to smooth tractor GPS trajectories that are sharpened when the tractor moves over rough terrain.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15307 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The vibration of a violin bridge is a dynamic contact vibration with two interfaces: strings-bridge, and bridge feet-top plate. In this paper, the mobility of an isolated bridge under in-plane excitation is explored using finite element modeling based on the contact vibration model. Numerical results show that the dynamic contact stiffness in the two contact interfaces has a great impact on the bridge mobility. A main resonance peak is observed in the frequency range of 2–3 kHz in the frequency response of the isolated bridge when the contact stiffness is smaller than a critical threshold. The main resonance peak frequency is affected by the contact stiffness as well. In order to verify the numerical findings, a novel experimental system is then designed on the basis of a piezoelectric dynamometer for bridge mobility analysis. Experimental results confirm the impact of the dynamic contact stiffness on the bridge mobility.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15290 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The paper presents a multifunctional joint sensor with measurement adaptability for biological engineering applications, such as gait analysis, gesture recognition, etc. The adaptability is embodied in both static and dynamic environment measurements, both of body pose and in motion capture. Its multifunctional capabilities lay in its ability of simultaneous measurement of multiple degrees of freedom (MDOF) with a single sensor to reduce system complexity. The basic working mode enables 2DOF spatial angle measurement over big ranges and stands out for its applications on different joints of different individuals without recalibration. The optional advanced working mode enables an additional DOF measurement for various applications. By employing corrugated tube as the main body, the sensor is also characterized as flexible and wearable with less restraints. MDOF variations are converted to linear displacements of the sensing elements. The simple reconstruction algorithm and small outputs volume are capable of providing real-time angles and long-term monitoring. The performance assessment of the built prototype is promising enough to indicate the feasibility of the sensor.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15274 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The paper presents a multifunctional joint sensor with measurement adaptability for biological engineering applications, such as gait analysis, gesture recognition, etc. The adaptability is embodied in both static and dynamic environment measurements, both of body pose and in motion capture. Its multifunctional capabilities lay in its ability of simultaneous measurement of multiple degrees of freedom (MDOF) with a single sensor to reduce system complexity. The basic working mode enables 2DOF spatial angle measurement over big ranges and stands out for its applications on different joints of different individuals without recalibration. The optional advanced working mode enables an additional DOF measurement for various applications. By employing corrugated tube as the main body, the sensor is also characterized as flexible and wearable with less restraints. MDOF variations are converted to linear displacements of the sensing elements. The simple reconstruction algorithm and small outputs volume are capable of providing real-time angles and long-term monitoring. The performance assessment of the built prototype is promising enough to indicate the feasibility of the sensor.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15274 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Gene silencing through RNA interference (RNAi) is gaining momentum for crustaceans, both in basic research and for commercial development. RNAi has proven instrumental in a growing number of crustacean species, revealing the functionality of novel crustacean genes essential among others to development, growth, metabolism and reproduction. Extensive studies have also been done on silencing of viral transcripts in crustaceans, contributing to the understanding of the defense mechanisms of crustaceans and strategies employed by viruses to overcome these. The first practical use of gene silencing in aquaculture industry has been recently achieved, through manipulation of a crustacean insulin-like androgenic gland hormone. This review summarizes the advancements in the use of RNAi in crustaceans, and assesses the advantages of this method, as well as the current hurdles that hinder its large-scale practice.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4425/4/4/620 2013/11/11 - 04:05

Gene silencing through RNA interference (RNAi) is gaining momentum for crustaceans, both in basic research and for commercial development. RNAi has proven instrumental in a growing number of crustacean species, revealing the functionality of novel crustacean genes essential among others to development, growth, metabolism and reproduction. Extensive studies have also been done on silencing of viral transcripts in crustaceans, contributing to the understanding of the defense mechanisms of crustaceans and strategies employed by viruses to overcome these. The first practical use of gene silencing in aquaculture industry has been recently achieved, through manipulation of a crustacean insulin-like androgenic gland hormone. This review summarizes the advancements in the use of RNAi in crustaceans, and assesses the advantages of this method, as well as the current hurdles that hinder its large-scale practice.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4425/4/4/620 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The air quality in Taiwan, at present, is determined by a pollution standard index (PSI) that is applied to areas of possible serious air pollution and Air Quality Total Quantity Control Districts (AQTQCD). Many studies, both in Taiwan and in other countries have examined the characteristics and levels of air pollution with PSI. This study uses air quality data collected from eight automatic air quality monitoring stations in an AQTQCD in central Taiwan and discusses the correlation between air quality variables with statistical analysis in an attempt to accurately reflect the difference of air quality observed by each monitoring station as well as to establish an air quality classification system suitable for the whole Taiwan. After using factor analysis (FA), seven air pollutants are grouped into three factors: organic, photochemical, and fuel. These three factors are the dominant ones in regards to the air quality of central Taiwan. Cluster analysis is used to classify air quality in central Taiwan into five clusters to present different characteristics and pollution degrees of air quality. This research results should serve as a reference for those involved in the review of air quality management effectiveness and/or the enactment of management control strategies.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/4/4/349 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The air quality in Taiwan, at present, is determined by a pollution standard index (PSI) that is applied to areas of possible serious air pollution and Air Quality Total Quantity Control Districts (AQTQCD). Many studies, both in Taiwan and in other countries have examined the characteristics and levels of air pollution with PSI. This study uses air quality data collected from eight automatic air quality monitoring stations in an AQTQCD in central Taiwan and discusses the correlation between air quality variables with statistical analysis in an attempt to accurately reflect the difference of air quality observed by each monitoring station as well as to establish an air quality classification system suitable for the whole Taiwan. After using factor analysis (FA), seven air pollutants are grouped into three factors: organic, photochemical, and fuel. These three factors are the dominant ones in regards to the air quality of central Taiwan. Cluster analysis is used to classify air quality in central Taiwan into five clusters to present different characteristics and pollution degrees of air quality. This research results should serve as a reference for those involved in the review of air quality management effectiveness and/or the enactment of management control strategies.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/4/4/349 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The Tigecycline Evaluation and Surveillance Trial (T.E.S.T.) was initiated in 2004 to longitudinally monitor the activity of the broad-spectrum glycylcycline antimicrobial tigecycline, and a suite of comparator agents, against an array of clinically important bacterial pathogens worldwide. In this report, we examine the activity of tigecycline and comparators against a collection of 13,245 clinical isolates, both Gram-positive (n = 4,078 and Gram-negative (n = 9,167), collected from 27 centres in Italy between 2004 and 2011. Susceptibility was established according to Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute guidelines. Tigecycline and linezolid exhibited very good activity against Gram-positive pathogens, with MIC90s ranging from 0.06 to 0.25 mg/L and 1–4 mg/L, respectively; vancomycin and the carbapenems also showed good activity against select Gram-positive pathogens. Tigecycline was the most active agent against Gram-negative pathogens (except P. aeruginosa), with MIC90s ranging from 0.25–2 mg/L (16 mg/L for P. aeruginosa). Amikacin and the carbapenems also possessed good activity against many Gram-negative pathogens here. ESBL-positive E. coli increased in prevalence from 2004 to 2011, while ESBL-positive Klebsiella spp., vancomycin-resistant enterococci and MRSA decreased in prevalence. Linezolid, tigecycline and vancomycin susceptibility were very stable over the course of this study, while susceptibility to ampicillin, piperacillin-tazobactam, ceftriaxone and levofloxacin varied over time according to pathogen; minocycline and cefepime susceptibility among several pathogens decreased during this study.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/6/11/1381 2013/11/11 - 04:05

The Tigecycline Evaluation and Surveillance Trial (T.E.S.T.) was initiated in 2004 to longitudinally monitor the activity of the broad-spectrum glycylcycline antimicrobial tigecycline, and a suite of comparator agents, against an array of clinically important bacterial pathogens worldwide. In this report, we examine the activity of tigecycline and comparators against a collection of 13,245 clinical isolates, both Gram-positive (n = 4,078 and Gram-negative (n = 9,167), collected from 27 centres in Italy between 2004 and 2011. Susceptibility was established according to Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute guidelines. Tigecycline and linezolid exhibited very good activity against Gram-positive pathogens, with MIC90s ranging from 0.06 to 0.25 mg/L and 1–4 mg/L, respectively; vancomycin and the carbapenems also showed good activity against select Gram-positive pathogens. Tigecycline was the most active agent against Gram-negative pathogens (except P. aeruginosa), with MIC90s ranging from 0.25–2 mg/L (16 mg/L for P. aeruginosa). Amikacin and the carbapenems also possessed good activity against many Gram-negative pathogens here. ESBL-positive E. coli increased in prevalence from 2004 to 2011, while ESBL-positive Klebsiella spp., vancomycin-resistant enterococci and MRSA decreased in prevalence. Linezolid, tigecycline and vancomycin susceptibility were very stable over the course of this study, while susceptibility to ampicillin, piperacillin-tazobactam, ceftriaxone and levofloxacin varied over time according to pathogen; minocycline and cefepime susceptibility among several pathogens decreased during this study.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/6/11/1381 2013/11/11 - 04:05

This paper deals with the attitude estimation of a rigid body equipped with angular velocity sensors and reference vector sensors. A quaternion-based nonlinear observer is proposed in order to fuse all information sources and to obtain an accurate estimation of the attitude. It is shown that the observer error dynamics can be separated into two passive subsystems connected in “feedback”. Then, this property is used to show that the error dynamics is input-to-state stable when the measurement disturbance is seen as an input and the error as the state. These results allow one to affirm that the observer is “robustly stable”. The proposed observer is evaluated in real-time with the design and implementation of an Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) based on low-cost MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) Inertial Measure Unit (IMU) and magnetic sensors and a 16-bit microcontroller. The resulting estimates are compared with a high precision motion system to demonstrate its performance.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15138 2013/11/09 - 01:41

Stem cell-derived hepatocytes represent promising models to study human liver biology and disease. This concise review discusses the recent progresses in the field, with a focus on human liver disease, drug metabolism and virus infection.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22011 2013/11/09 - 01:41