52 research outputs found

    Having Fun in Learning Formal Specifications

    Full text link
    There are many benefits in providing formal specifications for our software. However, teaching students to do this is not always easy as courses on formal methods are often experienced as dry by students. This paper presents a game called FormalZ that teachers can use to introduce some variation in their class. Students can have some fun in playing the game and, while doing so, also learn the basics of writing formal specifications in the form of pre- and post-conditions. Unlike existing software engineering themed education games such as Pex and Code Defenders, FormalZ takes the deep gamification approach where playing gets a more central role in order to generate more engagement. This short paper presents our work in progress: the first implementation of FormalZ along with the result of a preliminary users' evaluation. This implementation is functionally complete and tested, but the polishing of its user interface is still future work

    Vascular remodeling and intimal hyperplasia in a novel murine model of arteriovenous fistula failure

    Get PDF
    ObjectiveThe arteriovenous fistula (AVF) still suffers from a high number of failures caused by insufficient outward remodeling and intimal hyperplasia (IH) formation from which the exact mechanism is largely unknown. A suitable animal model is of vital importance in the unraveling of the underlying pathophysiology. However, current murine models of AVF failure do not incorporate the surgical configuration that is commonly used in humans. Because the hemodynamic profile is one of the key determinants that play a role in vascular remodeling in the AVF, it is preferable to use this same configuration in an animal model. Here we describe a novel murine model of AVF failure in which the configuration (end-to-side) is similar to what is most frequently performed in humans.MethodsAn AVF was created in 45 C57BL/6 mice by anastomosing the end of a branch of the external jugular vein to the side of the common carotid artery with interrupted sutures. The AVFs were harvested and analyzed histologically at days 7, 14, and 28. Identical veins of unoperated-on mice served as controls. Intravenous near-infrared fluorescent fluorophores were used to assess the patency of the fistula.ResultsThe patency rates at days 7, 14, and 28 days were 88%, 90%, and 50%, respectively. The mean circumference increased up to day 14, with a maximum 1.4-fold increase at day 7 compared with the control group (1.82 ± 0.7 vs 1.33 ± 0.3 mm; P = .443). Between days 14 and 28, the circumference remained constant (2.36 ± 0.2 vs 2.45 ± 0.2 mm; P = .996). At 7 days after surgery, the intimal area consisted mainly of an acellular layer that was structurally analogous to a focal adherent thrombus. Starting at 14 days after surgery, venous IH increased significantly compared with the unoperated-on group (14 days: 115,090 ± 22,594 μm2, 28 days: 234,619 ± 47,828 μm2, unoperated group: 2368 ± 1056 μm2; P = .001 and P < .001, respectively) and was mainly composed of cells positive for α-smooth muscle actin. We observed leukocytes in the adventitial side of the vein at all time points.ConclusionsOur novel murine AVF model, which incorporates a clinically relevant configuration of the anastomosis, displays similar features that are characteristic of failing human AVFs. Moreover, our findings suggest that coagulation and inflammation could both potentially play an important role in the formation of IH and subsequent AVF failure. Near-infrared fluoroscopy was a suitable alternative for conventional imaging techniques. This murine AVF-model is a valuable addition to the AVF animal model arsenal.Clinical RelevanceThe autologous arteriovenous fistula is considered the preferred choice for vascular access in hemodialysis. However, this type of vascular access suffers from a high failure rate, of which the exact pathophysiology is poorly understood. The use of a clinically relevant murine model provides us with a tool to unravel the pathophysiology and also to develop new therapeutic strategies that can improve the patency of the arteriovenous fistula in hemodialysis patients

    Occupational exposure to gases/fumes and mineral dust affect DNA methylation levels of genes regulating expression

    Get PDF
    Many workers are daily exposed to occupational agents like gases/fumes, mineral dust or biological dust, which could induce adverse health effects. Epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, have been suggested to play a role. We therefore aimed to identify differentially methylated regions (DMRs) upon occupational exposures in never-smokers and investigated if these DMRs associated with gene expression levels. To determine the effects of occupational exposures independent of smoking, 903 never-smokers of the LifeLines cohort study were included. We performed three genome-wide methylation analyses (Illumina 450 K), one per occupational exposure being gases/fumes, mineral dust and biological dust, using robust linear regression adjusted for appropriate confounders. DMRs were identified using comb-p in Python. Results were validated in the Rotterdam Study (233 never-smokers) and methylation-expression associations were assessed using Biobank-based Integrative Omics Study data (n = 2802). Of the total 21 significant DMRs, 14 DMRs were associated with gases/fumes and 7 with mineral dust. Three of these DMRs were associated with both exposures (RPLP1 and LINC02169 (2x)) and 11 DMRs were located within transcript start sites of gene expression regulating genes. We replicated two DMRs with gases/fumes (VTRNA2-1 and GNAS) and one with mineral dust (CCDC144NL). In addition, nine gases/fumes DMRs and six mineral dust DMRs significantly associated with gene expression levels. Our data suggest that occupational exposures may induce differential methylation of gene expression regulating genes and thereby may induce adverse health effects. Given the millions of workers that are exposed daily to occupational exposures, further studies on this epigenetic mechanism and health outcomes are warranted

    Attribution of the heavy rainfall events leading to severe flooding in Western Europe during July 2021

    Get PDF
    In July 2021 extreme rainfall across Western Europe caused severe flooding and substantial impacts, including over 200 fatalities and extensive infrastructure damage within Germany and the Benelux countries. After the event, a hydrological assessment and a probabilistic event attribution analysis of rainfall data were initiated and complemented by discussing the vulnerability and exposure context. The global mean surface temperature (GMST) served as a covariate in a generalised extreme value distribution fitted to observational and model data, exploiting the dependence on GMST to estimate how anthropogenic climate change affects the likelihood and severity of extreme events. Rainfall accumulations in Ahr/Erft and the Belgian Meuse catchment vastly exceeded previous observed records. In regions of that limited size the robust estimation of return values and the detection and attribution of rainfall trends are challenging. However, for the larger Western European region it was found that, under current climate conditions, on average one rainfall event of this magnitude can be expected every 400 years at any given location. Consequently, within the entire region, events of similar magnitude are expected to occur more frequently than once in 400 years. Anthropogenic climate change has already increased the intensity of the maximum 1-day rainfall event in the summer season by 3–19 %. The likelihood of such an event to occur today compared to a 1.2 ∘ C cooler climate has increased by a factor of 1.2–9. Models indicate that intensity and frequency of such events will further increase with future global warming. While attribution of small-scale events remains challenging, this study shows that there is a robust increase in the likelihood and severity of rainfall events such as the ones causing extreme impacts in July 2021 when considering a larger region

    Attribution of the heavy rainfall events leading to severe flooding in Western Europe during July 2021

    Get PDF
    In July 2021 extreme rainfall across Western Europe caused severe flooding and substantial impacts, including over 200 fatalities and extensive infrastructure damage within Germany and the Benelux countries. After the event, a hydrological assessment and a probabilistic event attribution analysis of rainfall data were initiated and complemented by discussing the vulnerability and exposure context. The global mean surface temperature (GMST) served as a covariate in a generalised extreme value distribution fitted to observational and model data, exploiting the dependence on GMST to estimate how anthropogenic climate change affects the likelihood and severity of extreme events. Rainfall accumulations in Ahr/Erft and the Belgian Meuse catchment vastly exceeded previous observed records. In regions of that limited size the robust estimation of return values and the detection and attribution of rainfall trends are challenging. However, for the larger Western European region it was found that, under current climate conditions, on average one rainfall event of this magnitude can be expected every 400 years at any given location. Consequently, within the entire region, events of similar magnitude are expected to occur more frequently than once in 400 years. Anthropogenic climate change has already increased the intensity of the maximum 1-day rainfall event in the summer season by 3–19 %. The likelihood of such an event to occur today compared to a 1.2 ^{\circ }C cooler climate has increased by a factor of 1.2–9. Models indicate that intensity and frequency of such events will further increase with future global warming. While attribution of small-scale events remains challenging, this study shows that there is a robust increase in the likelihood and severity of rainfall events such as the ones causing extreme impacts in July 2021 when considering a larger region

    Resectability and Ablatability Criteria for the Treatment of Liver Only Colorectal Metastases:Multidisciplinary Consensus Document from the COLLISION Trial Group

    Get PDF
    The guidelines for metastatic colorectal cancer crudely state that the best local treatment should be selected from a 'toolbox' of techniques according to patient- and treatment-related factors. We created an interdisciplinary, consensus-based algorithm with specific resectability and ablatability criteria for the treatment of colorectal liver metastases (CRLM). To pursue consensus, members of the multidisciplinary COLLISION and COLDFIRE trial expert panel employed the RAND appropriateness method (RAM). Statements regarding patient, disease, tumor and treatment characteristics were categorized as appropriate, equipoise or inappropriate. Patients with ECOG≤2, ASA≤3 and Charlson comorbidity index ≤8 should be considered fit for curative-intent local therapy. When easily resectable and/or ablatable (stage IVa), (neo)adjuvant systemic therapy is not indicated. When requiring major hepatectomy (stage IVb), neo-adjuvant systemic therapy is appropriate for early metachronous disease and to reduce procedural risk. To downstage patients (stage IVc), downsizing induction systemic therapy and/or future remnant augmentation is advised. Disease can only be deemed permanently unsuitable for local therapy if downstaging failed (stage IVd). Liver resection remains the gold standard. Thermal ablation is reserved for unresectable CRLM, deep-seated resectable CRLM and can be considered when patients are in poor health. Irreversible electroporation and stereotactic body radiotherapy can be considered for unresectable perihilar and perivascular CRLM 0-5cm. This consensus document provides per-patient and per-tumor resectability and ablatability criteria for the treatment of CRLM. These criteria are intended to aid tumor board discussions, improve consistency when designing prospective trials and advance intersociety communications. Areas where consensus is lacking warrant future comparative studies.</p

    Colorectal liver metastases: Surgery versus thermal ablation (COLLISION) - a phase III single-blind prospective randomized controlled trial

    Get PDF
    Background: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and microwave ablation (MWA) are widely accepted techniques to eliminate small unresectable colorectal liver metastases (CRLM). Although previous studies labelled thermal ablation inferior to surgical resection, the apparent selection bias when comparing patients with unresectable disease to surgical candidates, the superior safety profile, and the competitive overall survival results for the more recent reports mandate the setup of a randomized controlled trial. The objective of the COLLISION trial is to prove non-inferiority of thermal ablation compared to hepatic resection in patients with at least one resectable and ablatable CRLM and no extrahepatic disease. Methods: In this two-arm, single-blind multi-center phase-III clinical trial, six hundred and eighteen patients with at least one CRLM (≤3cm) will be included to undergo either surgical resection or thermal ablation of appointed target lesion(s) (≤3cm). Primary endpoint is OS (overall survival, intention-to-treat analysis). Main secondary endpoints are overall disease-free survival (DFS), time to progression (TTP), time to local progression (TTLP), primary and assisted technique efficacy (PTE, ATE), procedural morbidity and mortality, length of hospital stay, assessment of pain and quality of life (QoL), cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) and quality-adjusted life years (QALY). Discussion: If thermal ablation proves to be non-inferior in treating lesions ≤3cm, a switch in treatment-method may lead to a reduction of the post-procedural morbidity and mortality, length of hospital stay and incremental costs without compromising oncological outcome for patients with CRLM. Trial registration:NCT03088150 , January 11th 2017

    Factors Associated with Revision Surgery after Internal Fixation of Hip Fractures

    Get PDF
    Background: Femoral neck fractures are associated with high rates of revision surgery after management with internal fixation. Using data from the Fixation using Alternative Implants for the Treatment of Hip fractures (FAITH) trial evaluating methods of internal fixation in patients with femoral neck fractures, we investigated associations between baseline and surgical factors and the need for revision surgery to promote healing, relieve pain, treat infection or improve function over 24 months postsurgery. Additionally, we investigated factors associated with (1) hardware removal and (2) implant exchange from cancellous screws (CS) or sliding hip screw (SHS) to total hip arthroplasty, hemiarthroplasty, or another internal fixation device. Methods: We identified 15 potential factors a priori that may be associated with revision surgery, 7 with hardware removal, and 14 with implant exchange. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards analyses in our investigation. Results: Factors associated with increased risk of revision surgery included: female sex, [hazard ratio (HR) 1.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25-2.50; P = 0.001], higher body mass index (fo
    corecore