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    Investigation of the Utility and Safety of Dynamic Computed Tomography with Vasodilators

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    Background: Dynamic computed tomography (CT) angiography is useful for evaluating of hepatic vascularity. Although vasodilators increase hepatic blood flow, the utility of dynamic CT with vasodilators is unclear. Here we investigated the utility and safety of dynamic CT with vasodilators. Methods: A prospective case-control radiographic evaluation using abdominal dynamic CT with and without vasodilator was performed at a single center between October 2015 and September 2016. We compared the CT values in Hounsfield units of the aorta; celiac artery; and common, right, and left hepatic arteries in the arterial phase and the main trunk; right and left branches of the portal vein; and right, middle, and left hepatic veins in the portal phase with and without vasodilators. The region of interest was set in each element of the liver vasculature. Four radiological technologists independently and visually compared the scores of the portal vein (P-score) and hepatic vein (V-score) on a 5-point scale with and without vasodilators. Results: The CT values of arteries and veins using vasodilators were significantly higher than those without vasodilators. With and without vasodilators, the P-scores were 3.1 ± 1.2 and 4.0 ± 1.1 (P < 0.05) and the V-scores were 3.3 ± 1.4 and 4.3 ± 1.0 (P < 0.05). Only one patient with vasodilator use had transient hypotension and recovered immediately without medication. Conclusion: Dynamic CT with vasodilators can provides better visualization of vascular structures

    Relationship Between Difficulties Encountered in School Life or Daily Life by Professional Training College Students and Their Sources of Advice

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    Background: This study attempted to clarify issues regarding difficulties in school life perceived by professional training college students and educational support systems for students including possible developmental disabilities. Methods: We surveyed 953 students enrolled at 9 professional training colleges in Japan by using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire to investigate difficulties during school life, help-seeking preferences, and self-esteem. Difficulties were investigated by using the Self-Cognitive Difficulties Scale, help-seeking preferences were assessed with the Help-Seeking Preferences Scale, and self-esteem was assessed by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. We also investigated the relationship between the Self-Cognitive Difficulties Scale and the sources of advice used by students. Results: Responses were obtained from 863 students, and those of 775 students were considered to be valid. In terms of learning scenarios, 271 students (35.0%) responded that written examinations caused the most difficulties. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and Help-Seeking Preferences Scale were negatively correlated with the Self-Cognitive Difficulties Scale. With respect to the relationship between sub-factors of the Self-Cognitive Difficulties Scale and sources of advice, the students who asked specialists for advice had significantly higher scores for the factors of interpersonal relationships and reading/writing, as well as significantly higher scores for impulsivity and learning-related difficulties. The students who asked their previous high school teachers for advice had significantly higher scores for inattention and reading/writing. Furthermore, the students who asked senior students in the same department for advice had a significantly higher score for learning-related difficulties. Conclusion: Our results suggested that professional training college students with a high Self-Cognitive Difficulties Scale score are more likely to choose a specialist as the source of advice. When providing educational support to professional training college students, it is important to consider the possibility that their sources of advice might differ depending on their individual self-perceived difficulty characteristics

    CPR-IR is an insulin resistance index that is minimally affected by hepatic insulin clearance-A preliminary research

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    Background: Increased hepatic insulin clearance (HIC) is important in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The aim of this study is to analyze an effective insulin resistance (IR) index that is minimally affected by HIC. Methods: Our study involved 20 participants with T2DM and 21 healthy participants without diabetes (Non-DM). Participants underwent a meal tolerance test from which plasma glucose, insulin and serum C-peptide immunoreactivity (CPR) were measured, and HOMA-IR and HIC were calculated. Participants then underwent a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp from which the glucose disposal rate (GDR) was measured. Results: The index CPR-IR = 20/(fasting CPR × fasting plasma glucose) was correlated more strongly with GDR, than was HOMA-IR, and CPR-IR could be used to estimate GDR. In T2DM participants with HIC below the median, HOMA-IR and CPR-IR were equally well correlated with GDR. In T2DM with high HIC, CPR-IR correlated with GDR while HOMA-IR did not. In Non-DM, CPR-IR and HOMA-IR were equally well correlated with GDR regardless of HIC. The mean HIC value in T2DM was significantly higher than that of Non-DM. Conclusions: CPR-IR could be a simple and effective index of insulin resistance for patients with type 2 diabetes that is minimally affected by HIC

    A Case Report of an Accessory and Cavitated Uterine Mass Treated with Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

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    Accessory and Cavitated Uterine Mass (ACUM) is a condition defined by the presence of a non-communicating uterine mass close to the insertion of the round ligament. ACUM is a rare M?llerian anomaly found in young women and is diagnosed by the presents of a central cavity in the uterus, lined by functional endometrium, and surrounded by a ring of smooth muscle. In most cases, surgical treatment is recommended due to severe dysmenorrhea. Herein, we present a case of a woman with severe dysmenorrhea since adolescence which was not relieved with any form of hormonal treatment. ACUM was suspected preoperatively based on MRI findings, and she was treated with total laparoscopic hysterectomy. A uterine mass was found at the insertion of the right round ligament during surgery. All her symptoms improved after resection

    Comparison of Causative Variant Prioritization Tools Using Next-generation Sequencing Data in Japanese Patients with Mendelian Disorders

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    Background: During the investigation of causative variants of Mendelian disorders using next-generation sequencing, the enormous number of possible candidates makes the detection process complex, and the use of multidimensional methods is required. Although the utility of several variant prioritization tools has been reported, their effectiveness in Japanese patients remains largely unknown. Methods: We selected 5 free variant prioritization tools (PhenIX, hiPHIVE, Phen-Gen, eXtasy-order statistics, and eXtasy-combined max) and assessed their effectiveness in Japanese patient populations. To compare these tools, we conducted 2 studies: one based on simulated data of 100 diseases and another based on the exome data of 20 in-house patients with Mendelian disorders. To this end we selected 100 pathogenic variants from the “Database of Pathogenic Variants (DPV)” and created 100 variant call format (VCF) files that each had pathogenic variants based on reference human genome data from the 1000 Genomes Project. The later “in-house” study used exome data from 20 Japanese patients with Mendelian disorders. In both studies, we utilized 1-5 terms of “Human Phenotype Ontology” as clinical information. Results: In our analysis based on simulated disease data, the detection rate of the top 10 causative variants was 91% for hiPHIVE, and 88% for PhenIX, based on 100 sets of simulated disease VCF data. Also, both software packages detected 82% of the top 1 causative variants. When we used data from our in-house patients instead, we found that these two programs (PhenIX and hiPHIVE) produced higher detection rates than the other three systems in our study. The detection rate of the top 1 causative variant was 71.4% for PhenIX, 65.0% for hiPHIVE. Conclusion: The rates of detecting causative variants in two Exomizer software packages, hiPHIVE and PhenIX, were higher than for the other three software systems we analyzed, with respect to Japanese patients

    Frequent Transposition of Multiple Insertion Sequences in Geobacillus kaustophilus HTA426

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    Geobacillus kaustophilus HTA426 is a thermophilic bacterium whose genome harbors numerous insertion sequences (IS). This study was initially conducted to generate mutant genes for thermostable T7 RNA polymerase in G. kaustophilus; however, relevant experiments unexpectedly identified that the organism transposed multiple IS elements and produced derivative cells that expressed a silent gene via transposition. The transposed elements were diverse and included members of the IS4, IS701, IS1634, and ISLre2 families. The transposition was relatively active at elevated temperatures and generated 4–9 bp of direct repeats at insertion sites. Transposition was more frequent in proliferative cells than in stationary cells but was comparable between both cells when sigX, which encodes an extra-cytoplasmic function sigma factor, was forcibly expressed. Southern blot analysis indicated that IS transposition occurred under growth inhibitory conditions by diverse stressors; however, IS transposition was not detected in cells that were cultured under growth non-inhibitory conditions. These observations suggest that G. kaustophilus enhances IS transposition via sigX-dependent stress responses when proliferative cells were prevented from active propagation. Considering Geobacillus spp. are highly adaptive bacteria that are remarkably distributed in diverse niches, it is possible that these organisms employ IS transposition for environmental adaptation via genetic diversification. Thus, this study provides new insights into adaptation strategies of Geobacillus spp. along with implications for strong codependence between mobile genetic elements and highly adaptive bacteria for stable persistence and evolutionary diversification, respectively. This is also the first report to reveal active IS elements at elevated temperatures in thermophiles and to suggest a sigma factor that governs IS transposition

    Exploitation of Tolerance of Wheat Kernel Weight and Shape-Related Traits from Aegilops tauschii under Heat and Combined Heat-Drought Stresses

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    Kernel weight and shape-related traits are inherited stably and increase wheat yield. Narrow genetic diversity limits the progress of wheat breeding. Here, we evaluated kernel weight and shape-related traits and applied genome-wide association analysis to a panel of wheat multiple synthetic derivative (MSD) lines. The MSD lines harbored genomic fragments from Aegilops tauschii. These materials were grown under optimum conditions in Japan, as well as under heat and combined heat–drought conditions in Sudan. We aimed to explore useful QTLs for kernel weight and shape-related traits under stress conditions. These can be useful for enhancing yield under stress conditions. MSD lines possessed remarkable genetic variation for all traits under all conditions, and some lines showed better performance than the background parent Norin 61. We identified 82 marker trait associations (MTAs) under the three conditions; most of them originated from the D genome. All of the favorable alleles originated from Ae. tauschii. For the first time, we identified markers on chromosome 5D associated with a candidate gene encoding a RING-type E3 ubiquitin–protein ligase and expected to have a role in regulating wheat seed size. Our study provides important knowledge for the improvement of wheat yield under optimum and stress conditions. The results emphasize the importance of Ae. tauschii as a gene reservoir for wheat breeding

    Pediatric Respiratory Virus Infections During the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Region Without Active Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Circulation

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    Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections were not prevalent in Yonago and its vicinity during autumn 2020, and the relative frequencies of pathogen-induced respiratory infections during this period are unclear. Methods: We collected 109 nasopharyngeal swabs from 93 pediatric patients who visited Tottori University Hospital between October 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. These samples were comprehensively tested for 18 pathogens with the FilmArray® respiratory panel test (v2.1) using nested real-time polymerase chain reaction, and the frequency of pathogens detected per month was calculated. In addition, we compared the duration of fever and the blood test results of patients infected with each pathogen or multiple pathogens. Results: Of the 109 samples, 42 were obtained from female patients and 67 from male patients (median age, 3 years; range, 0-15 years). Overall, 62 patients (56.9%) had a fever ≥ 38 °C at the time of examination, and the median duration of fever ≥ 38 °C was 2 days (1-12). During the study period, the highest number of samples (22) were collected in November 2020. Among samples that tested positive, the most common pathogens were rhino/enteroviruses (52 samples; 76.5%), followed by adenoviruses (7 samples; 10.3%), coronavirus NL63 (6 samples; 8.8%), coronavirus OC43, parainfluenza virus type 1, and parainfluenza virus type 2 (1 sample each; 1.5% each). The duration of fever was significantly longer in adenovirus-infected patients than in patients infected with other viruses (P < 0.05). Hemoglobin and sodium levels were also significantly lower among the adenovirus-infected patients. However, these variations were mostly within the normal range. No clinically meaningful differences were found between rhino/enterovirus-infected and non-rhino/enterovirus-infected cases, between coronavirus NL63-infected and non-coronavirus NL63-infected cases, and between cases with multiple- and single-pathogen infections. Conclusion: Rhino/enteroviruses were the most common viruses causing respiratory tract infections in areas without endemic SARS-CoV-2

    Spearmint Extract Containing Rosmarinic Acid Suppresses Amyloid Fibril Formation of Proteins Associated with Dementia

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    Neurological dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia are thought to be caused in part by the formation and deposition of characteristic insoluble fibrils of polypeptides such as amyloid beta (Aβ), Tau, and/or α-synuclein (αSyn). In this context, it is critical to suppress and remove such aggregates in order to prevent and/or delay the progression of dementia in these ailments. In this report, we investigated the effects of spearmint extract (SME) and rosmarinic acid (RA; the major component of SME) on the amyloid fibril formation reactions of αSyn, Aβ, and Tau proteins in vitro. SME or RA was added to soluble samples of each protein and the formation of fibrils was monitored by thioflavin T (ThioT) binding assays and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We also evaluated whether preformed amyloid fibrils could be dissolved by the addition of RA. Our results reveal for the first time that SME and RA both suppress amyloid fibril formation, and that RA could disassemble preformed fibrils of αSyn, Aβ, and Tau into non-toxic species. Our results suggest that SME and RA may potentially suppress amyloid fibrils implicated in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia in vivo, as well

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