2,415 research outputs found

    Frequency Dependent Specific Heat from Thermal Effusion in Spherical Geometry

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    We present a novel method of measuring the frequency dependent specific heat at the glass transition applied to 5-polyphenyl-4-ether. The method employs thermal waves effusing radially out from the surface of a spherical thermistor that acts as both a heat generator and thermometer. It is a merit of the method compared to planar effusion methods that the influence of the mechanical boundary conditions are analytically known. This implies that it is the longitudinal rather than the isobaric specific heat that is measured. As another merit the thermal conductivity and specific heat can be found independently. The method has highest sensitivity at a frequency where the thermal diffusion length is comparable to the radius of the heat generator. This limits in practise the frequency range to 2-3 decades. An account of the 3omega-technique used including higher order terms in the temperature dependency of the thermistor and in the power generated is furthermore given.Comment: 17 pages, 15 figures, Substantially revised versio

    Multiple Linear Regression Model for Estimating the Price of a Housing Unit

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    This paper uses the respective unit costs, over fifteen (15) years, of selected Housing Unit Major Components (HUMC): cement, iron rods, aluzinc roofing sheets, coral paint, wood and sand, to develop Multiple Linear Regression Model (MLRM) for determining Housing Unit Price (HUP) for one-bedroom and two-bedroom housing units. In the modeling, the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) normality assumption which could introduce errors in the statistical analyses was dealt with by log transformation of the data, ensuring the data is normally distributed and there is no correlation between them. Minimisation of Sum of Squares Error method was used to derive the model coefficients. The resultant MLRM is:  Ŷi MLRM = (X'X)-1 X'Y(xi') where X is the sample data matrix. The specific model for one-bedroom housing unit is loge (HUPMLRM)1-Bed = 1.017 – 2.225 x 10-5 x CC + 2.512 x 10-6 x CS + 6.016 x 10-4 x CIR  +  1.985 x  10-4 x CR + 5.694 x 10-4 x CP -7.437 x 10-4 x CW and that for two-bedroom housing unit is loge (HUPMLRM)2-Bed = 5.760 – 7.501 x 10-7 x CC + 2.935 x 10-6 x CS + 1.898 x 10-3 x CIR  +  6.695 x 10-4 x CR - 9.157 x 10-3 x CP +6.136 x 10-3 x CW, where CC, CS, CIR, CR, CP and CW are costs of the total quantity of cement, sand, iron rods, roofing, paint and wood respectively. The MLRM was validated by using it to estimate the known HUP in the 15.5th year. From the results, the percentage absolute deviations of the estimated HUP from the known HUP are 1.27% and 2.02% for one-bedroom and two-bedroom housing units respectively, which are satisfactory. The novel approach presented in this paper is a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge in modeling. Keywords: Multiple Regression Analysis, Housing Unit Major Components, Housing Unit Pric

    Inflammatory status and cartilage regenerative potential of synovial fibroblasts from patients with osteoarthritis and chondropathy.

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    OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the inflammatory status and the cartilage regenerative potential of pathological synovial fibroblasts from patients with osteoarthritis (OA) compared with non-inflamed synovium (NS)-derived cells from patients with chondropathy. METHODS: The inflammatory cell phenotype was investigated based on the constitutive and inducible surface expression and secretion of various effector molecules using flow cytometry or ELISA assays. The capacity of cells to produce cartilage-like extracellular matrix was assessed using acid Alcian blue staining and type II collagen immunostaining after treatment with transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1). RESULTS: OA and NS fibroblasts consistently expressed CD29, CD44, CD49e, CD54, CD90 and CD106. Expression of high-affinity receptors for IL-4, IL-15, CXCL8 and CXCL12 was also detected but only intracellularly. All types of fibroblasts spontaneously released abundant amounts of CXCL12, CCL2, IL-6 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1, while the production of IL-11, TGF-beta1, matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) and MMP-9 was detected at moderate levels. Several other secreted factors remained undetectable. No statistically significant differences were noted between the two groups of fibroblasts. Treatment with the proinflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) up-regulated the same set of surface and secreted molecules, including CD54, CD106, membrane IL-15, CCL2 and CCL5. Under TGF-beta1 treatment and adipogenic culture conditions, both OA and NS fibroblasts displayed chondrogenic and adipocytic activities that were reduced in OA compared with NS cells. CONCLUSIONS: OA synovial fibroblasts did not display a distinct activated inflammatory phenotype compared with NS cells. However, they did differ in their reduced ability to produce cartilage-like matrix. This difference may be an additional important factor contributing to OA pathogenesis

    Steam Package Boiler Expert System for Control and Maintenance of Fertilizer Plants using Rule-Base Fuzzy Logic

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    Generally, expert systems have been found very useful and even in fertilizer plants it has been deployed in handling operations in critical sections, such as material handling systems, online detection systems, granulation, air compressor among others. This paper presents research work for steam package boiler expert system for control and maintenance of fertilizer plants using rule-base fuzzy logic hybrid system, which has not been benefited much from expert system. The system handles cause of boiler failures in terms of controlling and maintaining the functional chemical components of the boiler drum and feed water parameters. validation on the system consistency, correctness, and its precision with six (6) steam package boiler parameters test value cases was conducted involving fourteen (14) fertilizer plant boiler domain partitioners. The boiler drum and feed water qualities with less or higher test value worst-cases validates the boiler system, showing each of the parameters bar turns red, as displayed on the boilers panel, while on test value best-cases, validates the system, displaying green on the boilers panel bar as users entered the right value of parameters as design specification. The expert system prevents damaged and malfunctioning as control the alkalinity, prevent scaling, both mechanica

    rAAV2/5 Gene-Targeting to Rods: Dose-Dependent Efficiency and Complications Associated With Different Promoters

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    A prerequisite for using corrective gene therapy to treat humans with inherited retinal degenerative diseases that primarily affect rods is to develop viral vectors that target specifically this population of photoreceptors. The delivery of a viral vector with photoreceptor tropism coupled with a rod-specific promoter is likely to be the safest and most efficient approach to target expression of the therapeutic gene to rods. Three promoters that included a fragment of the proximal mouse opsin promoter (mOP), the human G-protein-coupled receptor protein kinase 1 promoter (hGRK1), or the cytomegalovirus immediate early enhancer combined with the chicken β actin proximal promoter CBA were evaluated for their specificity and robustness in driving GFP reporter gene expression in rods, when packaged in a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector of serotype 2/5 (AAV2/5), and delivered via subretinal injection to the normal canine retina. Photoreceptor-specific promoters (mOP, hGRK1) targeted robust GFP expression to rods, whereas the ubiquitously expressed CBA promoter led to transgene expression in the retinal pigment epithelium, rods, cones and rare Müller, horizontal and ganglion cells. Late onset inflammation was frequently observed both clinically and histologically with all three constructs when the highest viral titers were injected. Cone loss in the injected regions of the retinas that received the highest titers occurred with both the hGRK1 and CBA promoters. Efficient and specific rod transduction, together with preservation of retinal structure was achieved with both mOP and hGRK1 promoters when viral titers in the order of 1011 vg ml–1 were used

    Evidence for the evolutionary steps leading to mecA-mediated ß-lactam resistance in staphylococci

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    The epidemiologically most important mechanism of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus is associated with mecA–an acquired gene encoding an extra penicillin-binding protein (PBP2a) with low affinity to virtually all β-lactams. The introduction of mecA into the S. aureus chromosome has led to the emergence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) pandemics, responsible for high rates of mortality worldwide. Nonetheless, little is known regarding the origin and evolution of mecA. Different mecA homologues have been identified in species belonging to the Staphylococcus sciuri group representing the most primitive staphylococci. In this study we aimed to identify evolutionary steps linking these mecA precursors to the β-lactam resistance gene mecA and the resistance phenotype. We sequenced genomes of 106 S. sciuri, S. vitulinus and S. fleurettii strains and determined their oxacillin susceptibility profiles. Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis of the core genome was performed to assess the genetic relatedness of the isolates. Phylogenetic analysis of the mecA gene homologues and promoters was achieved through nucleotide/amino acid sequence alignments and mutation rates were estimated using a Bayesian analysis. Furthermore, the predicted structure of mecA homologue-encoded PBPs of oxacillin-susceptible and -resistant strains were compared. We showed for the first time that oxacillin resistance in the S. sciuri group has emerged multiple times and by a variety of different mechanisms. Development of resistance occurred through several steps including structural diversification of the non-binding domain of native PBPs; changes in the promoters of mecA homologues; acquisition of SCCmec and adaptation of the bacterial genetic background. Moreover, our results suggest that it was exposure to β-lactams in human-created environments that has driven evolution of native PBPs towards a resistance determinant. The evolution of β-lactam resistance in staphylococci highlights the numerous resources available to bacteria to adapt to the selective pressure of antibiotics

    The longitudinal link between visual acuity and health-related quality of life in patients with diabetic retinopathy

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>This study characterized the degree of change in health-related quality of life (HRQL) associated with change in visual acuity among patients with diabetic retinopathy.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Data are from a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of ruboxistaurin for vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy. Visual acuity was quantified as letters on the ETDRS visual acuity chart. HRQL was assessed with the 25-Item Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ-25) and the SF-36. Patients were categorized into groups based on visual acuity change from baseline to month 18. HRQL change of these groups was compared using general linear models. Regression analyses examined visual acuity change defined continuously.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Patients (N = 535) were primarily Caucasian (81.9%) and male (64.1%); mean age = 59.3 years. Compared to patients whose visual acuity did not change, the group with > 10 letters vision loss had significantly greater decreases in all VFQ-25 subscales except ocular pain. SF-36 change scores did not correspond as closely to change in vision. Change in visual acuity defined continuously was significantly associated with change in all VFQ-25 scales except ocular pain (p < 0.0001).</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Change in visual acuity was associated with corresponding changes in HRQL among patients with diabetic retinopathy. Previous research has often defined vision loss as a loss of at least 15 letters on the ETDRS visual acuity chart. In the current study, however, a loss of at least 10 letters was associated with substantial declines in HRQL domains such as driving, dependency, role limitations, and mental health. These findings suggest that patients who experience vision loss of at least 10 letters may be appropriate targets of future research and clinical intervention.</p

    Approximate square-root-time relaxation in glass-forming liquids

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    We present data for the dielectric relaxation of 43 glass-forming organic liquids, showing that the primary (alpha) relaxation is often close to square-root-time relaxation. The better an inverse power-law description of the high-frequency loss applies, the more accurately is square-root-time relaxation obeyed. These findings suggest that square-root-time relaxation is generic to the alpha process, once a common view, but since long believed to be incorrect. Only liquids with very large dielectric losses deviate from this picture by having consistently narrower loss peaks. As a further challenge to the prevailing opinion, we find that liquids with accurate square-root-time relaxation cover a wide range of fragilities
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