St. Luke's General Hospital

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    11181 research outputs found

    Computational unravelling of cathodic hydride formation on palladium surfaces

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    Palladium (Pd) is well-known for its role in catalyzing hydrogen-based reduction reactions, owing to its excellent catalytic activity and hydrogen storage ability. Its surface and subsurface structures under electrochemical conditions are vital in understanding the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) mechanism at the Pd cathodes where the most active sites are located on ‘in situ’ formed Pd-hydride layers. In this work, we investigate the process of Pd-hydride formation as well as the step-by-step formation and stability of Pd-hydride/Pd interfaces under electrochemical conditions using first-principles calculations. Our results reveal that among the low-indexed surfaces (111), (110) and (100), the (111) surface is expected to be the most dominant surface in a Pd nanostructure in addition to being the most preferred surface for hydrogen adsorption. Based on calculated Pourbaix diagrams, we can identify the relevant regions close to the equilibrium electrode potential and pH for proton electroreduction and hydrogen evolution, where the Pd surfaces start to be covered by hydrogen adatoms, and when the electrode potential is decreased, there are clear thermodynamic indications for more and more subsurface hydride layers. Overall, the results provide insights into the stability and formation of hydrogen containing Pd surfaces, forming PdH/Pd type interfaces. Our idealized model systems are a first step towards elucidation of relevant active sites on Pd.</p

    Investigating the effect of cure schedules and cure initiators on sustainable composites for large offshore structures

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    This study evaluates the effect of post-cure schedules and cure initiator form on the mechanical properties of Glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) laminates manufactured using an infusible reactive thermoplastic resin. Tensile, flexural, shear and dynamic mechanical analysis tests were conducted. Fractography was also performed. Specimens fabricated using liquid cure initiator and subjected to an elevated temperature post-cure were the control specimens. Ambient cured specimens decreased by no more than 12% in the case of tensile properties (modulus of 90◦ specimens) and by < 14.3% in the case of flexural properties (also modulus in 90◦ specimens). Furthermore, the difference in mechanical properties of 0◦ specimens fabricated using a powder cure initiator was observed to be within ≈ 7% of respective properties of control specimens. In the context of fabricating thick laminates for large-size offshore structures, the results suggest that an extended ambient post-cure cycle in conjunction with an initiator in powder form can be employed instead of an elevated temperature post-cure schedule with initiator in liquid form. This is economically beneficial since it eliminates infrastructure required for elevated temperature curing/post-curing. The risk of porosity induced due to liquid-based initiators is also avoided.</p

    Macroporous resin purification of phenolics from Irish apple pomace: Chemical characterization, and cellular antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities

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    Apple pomace (AP) is a highly prevalent waste product worldwide in the fruit processing sector. This study compared the chemical profile, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities of crude (CE) and an extract purified using XAD-7 resin (PE). The purification process increased the total phenolic content, flavonoids, and tannins by 3.35, 40.31, and 8.87-fold, respectively. The main phenolic compounds identified in PE were phlorizin (20.54 mg/g), chlorogenic acid (10.01 mg/g), and hyperoside (2.77 mg/g). No difference was found between CE and PE in protecting human plasma against oxidation. In human erythrocytes, both CE and PE decreased the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and decreased lipoperoxidation. However, PE had stronger anti-inflammatory effects than CE by promoting HO-1 gene expression, suppressing NO production, and inhibiting IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 mRNA expression in lipopolysaccharide-challenged RAW.264.7 macrophages. Therefore, purifying apple pomace crude extract is a promising approach to boosting valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phenolics.</p

    Correlates of the intention to use a bike library system among New Zealand adolescents from different settlement types

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    Introduction: Bike library systems (BLS) are present in several cities around the world. These systems have been implemented as policies to promote physical activity and health, and to reduce, among others, traffic congestion and air pollution. The implementation of BLS could facilitate the use of bicycle in countries like New Zealand, where the proportion of adolescents using cycling as a mode of transport is quite low. This study examined the correlates of the intention to use a BLS in a sample of New Zealand adolescents living in different settlement types. Methods: Adolescents (n = 2355; age: 13–18 years) from 23 secondary schools in the Otago region, New Zealand participated in this study. Participants completed an online questionnaire reporting their sociodemographic characteristics, transport to school, an interest in BLS and perceptions of cycling in general and cycling to school. Data were examined using multiple linear regression. Results: Overall, 17.1% of adolescents stated that they would use a BLS if it was available in their area. In the regression model, positive correlates of the intention to use a BLS were participant’s age, adolescents liking bicycle riding for recreational purposes, cycling often with friends, and cycling to school being perceived as interesting/pleasant/stimulating and a great way to get some exercise (all p < 0.01). Negative correlates were male gender and having two or more bicycles at home (all p ≤ 0.001). Conclusions: Different sociodemographic, individual and interpersonal factors were identified as significant correlates of the adolescents’ intention to use a BLS. These findings can be used to assist in designing more effective interventions to promote bicycle use among adolescents based on the BLS implementation.</p

    Artificial intelligence and classic methods to segment and characterize spherical objects in micrographs of industrial emulsions

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    The stability of emulsions is a critical concern across multiple industries, including food products, agricultural formulations, petroleum, and pharmaceuticals. Achieving prolonged emulsion stability is challenging and depends on various factors, with particular emphasis on droplet size, shape, and spatial distribution. Addressing this issue necessitates an effective investigation of these parameters and finding solutions to enhance emulsion stability. Image analysis offers a powerful tool for researchers to explore these characteristics and advance our understanding of emulsion instability in different industries. In this review, we highlight the potential of state-of-the-art deep learning-based approaches in computer vision and image analysis to extract relevant features from emulsion micrographs. A comprehensive summary of classic and cutting-edge techniques employed for characterizing spherical objects, including droplets and bubbles observed in micrographs of industrial emulsions, has been provided. This review reveals significant deficiencies in the existing literature regarding the investigation of highly concentrated emulsions. Despite the practical importance of these systems, limited research has been conducted to understand their unique characteristics and stability challenges. It has also been identified that there is a scarcity of publications in multimodal analysis and a lack of a complete automated in-line emulsion characterization system. This review critically evaluates the existing challenges and presents prospective directions for future advancements in the field, aiming to address the current gaps and contribute to the scientific progression in this area.</p

    Integrated care competencies and their association with cross-cultural competence among registered nurses: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey

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    Aim: To examine the association between the integrated care competencies and cross-cultural competence of registered nurses prior to the integration of social and healthcare services in Finland. Design: A descriptive correlational cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted. Methods: A simple random sample of 10,000 registered nurses was drawn from the Finnish Central Register of Valvira (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health); 7000 of them were sent the online questionnaire, and a total of 1232 registered nurses participated in the study. We collected data using background questions, revised versions of the Competent Workforce for the Future tool in the four domains of client orientation, responsibility for personal or relative's welfare, fluency and clarity of services and access to the services and of the Cross-Cultural Competence of Healthcare Professional tool in the four domains of motivation/curiosity, attitude, skill and emotion/empathy. Results: Participants demonstrated a high level of integrated care competencies (mean = 4.00,SD ± 0.49).Anassociation was observed between integrated care competencies and their domains of skills, motivation/curiosity, emotions/empathy, and cross-cultural competence (p< 0.001). Female sex, older age, more working experience, employment in the private sector, and higher self-rated competence for working in a multicultural environment were positively associated with higher integrated care competencies. Conclusion: It is recommended that nurse managers and nurse educators emphasize the development of registered nurses' cross-cultural competence alongside integrated care competencies to meet the needs of different individuals and communities when providing integrated care. Patient or Public Contribution: Finnish registered nurses including all types of nurses, midwives and paramedics working the public and private healthcare, were involved in this study by responding to the online survey.</p

    Experimentally investigating the pressure drop of liquid-liquid Taylor flows over varying viscosity ratios

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    Micro-capillary liquid-liquid Taylor flows have emerged as a promising new platform for achieving higher heat and mass transfer compared to single-phase flows. In any application benefiting from such flows, pressure drop is a fundamental characteristic in evaluating the required input power in order to achieve an optimum configuration. Despite several attempts to develop an all-encompassing model to estimate pressure drop in immiscible liquid-liquid flows, existing models are still limited to narrow ranges of Reynolds, Capillary and Weber numbers and are insufficiently accurate over a wide range of viscosity ratios. To push the limits, the present study proposes a new expression for interfacial pressure drop based on experimental investigations over a wide range of Capillary (3 × 10− 4 ≤ CaC ≤ 7.6 × 10− 2), Reynolds (0.1 ≤ ReC ≤ 49) and Weber (7 × 10− 4 ≤ We ≤ 1.5) numbers while continuous to dispersed viscosity ratio (μC/μD) spanned from 0.058 to 23.2. To obtain these ranges, five distinct liquid-liquid fluid combinations were examined within a capillary of diameter 800 µm. A novel experimental setup is employed in this study to ensure high accuracy and repeatability of the measurements. The strengths and weaknesses of existing models are identified and a more fundamental understanding of predicting pressure drop in Taylor flow regimes is developed. The new model uses standard Hagen–Poiseuille flow theory in combination with an empirical optimized term for predicting the effect of differential Laplace pressure between leading/trailing caps of dispersed phase droplets. This correlation fits the experimental data within ± 20 % and can provide a prediction certainty for estimating pressure drop in applications that deal with such flows.</p

    Optimisation of low temperature (8ᵒC) enzymatic hydrolysis of acid whey using design of experiments (DOE) for the generation of thermally stable whey protein hydrolysates

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    The impact of enzymatic hydrolysis at 8ᵒC of liquid whey protein concentrate (WPC35) derived from acid casein manufacture using Prolyve 1000®, a microbial protease preparation, under free-fall pH conditions on the physicochemical and the thermal stability properties of the resultant hydrolysates was investigated. The hydrolysis process was optimised using a design of experiments (DOE) approach. Eleven hydrolysates (H1–H11) were generated using 3 factors x 2 levels, i.e., enzyme:substrate (E:S) 0.25–1.00% (v/w), starting pH 7.5–9.0 and incubation time 10–96 h. Hydrolysate degree of hydrolysis (DH) values ranged from 0.75 (H10) to 4.74% (H6) which increased to 1.91 (H10) and 7.24% (H6) following subsequent thermal processing (mimicking the evaporation process) at 54ᵒC x 15 min and 64ᵒC x 10 min. The apparent viscosity (ηapp) of all hydrolysates was measured to assess their heat stability during heating at 85ᵒC for up to 20 min, this was shown to be E:S and pH-dependent. While the unhydrolysed samples formed a gel on heating at ~74-80ᵒC. Following DOE analysis, it was found that E:S had a significant impact on the DH, the extent of intact protein degradation (�g) and the thermal stability. The �g following processing at 64ᵒC showed a strong correlation (R2 = 0.924; p < 0.001) with ηapp, and thus this parameter may be used to predict the thermal stability of the hydrolysate samples. The optimised hydrolysis conditions for the generation of heat stable WPC35 hydrolysates during 8◦C incubation were achieved using an E:S = 0.625% at a starting pH = 8.65. Performance of protein hydrolysis reactions at low temperature has potential to enhance process sustainability.</p

    An age-cohort simulation model for generating COVID-19 scenarios: A study from Ireland’s pandemic response ✩

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    The COVID-19 pandemic presented an immediate need for the Irish Government to establish modelling capacity in order to inform public health decision making. A broad-based interdisciplinary team was created at short notice, drawing together related expertise from the academic and health sectors. This paper documents one of a number of modelling solutions developed by the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG), which advised the Irish Government on COVID-19 responses during the pandemic. The model inputs included surveillance data, epidemiological data, demographic data, vaccination schedules, vaccine efficacy estimates, estimates of social contacts, and new variant data. Outputs from the model supported policy discussions, including: decisions on the timing of public health restrictions, simulating the effects of school reopening on overall disease transmission, exploring the impact of vaccination across different age cohorts, and generating scenarios on the plausible impact on cases caused by the Omicron variant. An innovative aspect of the solution was the use of a modular design, with three benefits: (1) it enabled a simplification of the disease transmission structure; (2) it provided a practical workflow to coordinate activities; and (3) it speeded up the process of scenario generation and the requirement to provide timely and informative scenario analysis to support Ireland’s pandemic response. Given the paper’s applied and practical focus, it presents a record of modelling and scenario outputs as they were developed, presented and deployed during the actual outbreak - therefore all simulation results and scenarios are documented “as they happened”, and without the benefit of hindsight.</p

    A tasty solution to packaging waste? life cycle assessment of edible coffee cups

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    Edible cups have been proposed as a solution to littering and plastic pollution arising from disposal of 500 billion beverage cups each year. We applied life cycle assessment and a littering indicator to benchmark the environmental performance of edible cups against mainstream cup types made from paper, polylactic acid (PLA), polystyrene (PS) and reusable cups made from polypropylene (PP) and steel. Various end-of-life treatment scenarios were analysed. Across most impact categories, edible cups incur the largest burdens, and reusable cups the smallest (if reused at least 54 times). Under default assumptions, per cup use, climate change burdens ranged from 0.004 to 0.1 kg CO2 equivalent, eutrophication burdens ranged from 6.26 × 10–6 to 4.21 × 10–4 kg N, fossil resource depletion burdens ranged from 0.05 to 0.284 MJ and water depletion burdens ranged from 0.002 to 0.437 m3 . However, if edible cups are eaten after use and substitute a similar snack then their use could incur negligible environmental impact. Furthermore, edible cups demonstrate low littering potential and thus could play a role in transition towards more sustainable coffee consumption.</p


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