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Open AccessReview
Advanced EUS Guided Tissue Acquisition Methods for Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2018, 10(2), 54; doi:10.3390/cancers10020054 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Pancreas cancer is a lethal cancer as the majority patients are diagnosed at an advanced incurable stage. Despite improvements in diagnostic modalities and management strategies, including surgery and chemotherapies, the outcome of pancreas cancer remains poor. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is an important imaging
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Pancreas cancer is a lethal cancer as the majority patients are diagnosed at an advanced incurable stage. Despite improvements in diagnostic modalities and management strategies, including surgery and chemotherapies, the outcome of pancreas cancer remains poor. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is an important imaging tool for pancreas cancer. For decades, resected pancreas cancer and other cancer specimens have been used to identify tissue biomarkers or genomics for precision therapy; however, only 20% of patients undergo surgery, and thus, this framework is not useful for unresectable pancreas cancer. With advancements in needle technologies, tumor specimens can be obtained at the time of tissue diagnosis. Tumor tissue can be used for development of personalized cancer treatment, such as performing whole exome sequencing and global genomic profiling of pancreas cancer, development of tissue biomarkers, and targeted mutational assays for precise chemotherapy treatment. In this review, we discuss the recent advances in tissue acquisition of pancreas cancer. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sensor-Based Assessment of Soil Salinity during the First Years of Transition from Flood to Sprinkler Irrigation
Sensors 2018, 18(2), 616; doi:10.3390/s18020616 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A key issue for agriculture in irrigated arid lands is the control of soil salinity, and this is one of the goals for irrigated districts when changing from flood to sprinkling irrigation. We combined soil sampling, proximal electromagnetic induction, and satellite data to
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A key issue for agriculture in irrigated arid lands is the control of soil salinity, and this is one of the goals for irrigated districts when changing from flood to sprinkling irrigation. We combined soil sampling, proximal electromagnetic induction, and satellite data to appraise how soil salinity and its distribution along a previously flood-irrigated field evolved after its transformation to sprinkling. We also show that the relationship between NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) and ECe (electrical conductivity of the soil saturation extracts) mimics the production function between yield and soil salinity. Under sprinkling, the field had a double crop of barley and then sunflower in 2009 and 2011. In both years, about 50% of the soil of the entire studied field—45 ha—had ECe < 8 dS m−1, i.e., allowing barley cultivation, while the percent of surface having ECe ≥ 16 dS m−1 increased from 8.4% in 2009 to 13.7% in 2011. Our methodology may help monitor the soil salinity oscillations associated with irrigation management. After quantifying and mapping the soil salinity in 2009 and 2011, we show that barley was stunted in places of the field where salinity was higher. Additionally, the areas of salinity persisted after the subsequent alfalfa cropping in 2013. Application of differential doses of water to the saline patches is a viable method to optimize irrigation water distribution and lessen soil salinity in sprinkler-irrigated agriculture. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Experimental Study on the Palatability Impacts of Potable Water as a Hydronic Medium
Water 2018, 10(2), 218; doi:10.3390/w10020218 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Hydronic systems installed in buildings utilize water to transport thermal energy within the building for heating and cooling purposes. These systems can be closed loop, where the water is chemically treated and circulated indefinitely, or they can be open loop, where the water
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Hydronic systems installed in buildings utilize water to transport thermal energy within the building for heating and cooling purposes. These systems can be closed loop, where the water is chemically treated and circulated indefinitely, or they can be open loop, where the water is not treated and is effluxed as a result of occupant activities, such as bathing or cooking. Water in an open loop system may circulate within the system for a limited time before it is extracted from the system by occupant activities and replaced with new water from the local water supply. The implementation of open loop hydronic systems is becoming more common in multi-unit residential buildings, even though a number of questions regarding the use of such systems remain unanswered. One concern regarding the use of circulated potable water for heating purposes is the potential effects on the occupant perceptions of the palatability of the service water being delivered to their suites. In an open-loop HVAC system (Heating Ventilating, Air Conditioning System), heating water is subject to repeated thermal cycles and continuous recirculation, which creates the potential for chemical alterations of the materials present in the water or leaching of materials from the equipment and piping. Through the use of Flavor Profile Analysis (FPA) established by the American Water Works Association, and a multi-unit HVAC system constructed in a controlled environment, the palatability effects of the operational system were evaluated for a number of scenarios. The collected feedback from the study participants was then tabulated to quantify the impacts of using potable water as a recirculating heating medium on the perceptions of the occupants. The resulting observations led us to conclude that utilizing potable water as a heating medium has a negligible effect on the palatability of water in the system for average retention times under one day, and a non-objectionable, but noticeable, effect for higher average retention times. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Sediment Impact on the Risk of River Diversion during Dam Construction: A Simulation-Based Project Study on the Jing River, China
Water 2018, 10(2), 217; doi:10.3390/w10020217 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Dams are vital for water resource utilization, and river diversion is key for dam construction safety. As sandy river basins are important exploitation areas that have special diversion features, the impact of sediment on the risk of river diversion during dam construction should
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Dams are vital for water resource utilization, and river diversion is key for dam construction safety. As sandy river basins are important exploitation areas that have special diversion features, the impact of sediment on the risk of river diversion during dam construction should be assessed. Diversion uncertainty is the origin of diversion risk, and sediment uncertainty changes the storage and discharge patterns of the diversion system. Two Gumbel–Hougaard (GH) copula functions are adopted to couple the random variables of flood and sediment, so that the sediment impacts on diversion storage and discharge can be obtained by the sampling of flood peaks. Based on variable coupling and sediment amendment, a method of Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) with a water balance calculation can quantitatively assess the risk of sandy river diversion, by evaluating the probability of upstream cofferdam overtopping. By introducing one diversion project on the Jing River in China with a clear water contrast, the risk values of dam construction diversion with or without sediment impacts can be obtained. Results show that the MCS method is feasible for diversion risk assessment; sediment has a negative impact on the risk of river diversion during dam construction, and this degradation effect is more evident for high-assurance diversion schemes. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effect of a Fibroin Enzymatic Hydrolysate on Memory Improvement: A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Study
Nutrients 2018, 10(2), 233; doi:10.3390/nu10020233 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The consumption of a specifically prepared silk fibroin protein enzymatic hydrolysate (FPEH) has been reported to improve cognitive function in healthy humans. The objective of the current study is to evaluate the dose-dependent effects of the FPEH on memory. Healthy adults with an
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The consumption of a specifically prepared silk fibroin protein enzymatic hydrolysate (FPEH) has been reported to improve cognitive function in healthy humans. The objective of the current study is to evaluate the dose-dependent effects of the FPEH on memory. Healthy adults with an average age of approximately 55 years were administered doses of 0, 280, 400 and 600 mg of FPEH per day in two divided doses for 3 weeks. The Rey–Kim Auditory Verbal Learning Test and the Rey–Kim Complex Figure Test of the Rey–Kim Memory Test were used to evaluate memory at baseline and after 3 weeks. The scores for each test were combined into the memory quotient score (MQ). Learning gradient, memory maintenance, retrieval efficacy, and drawing/recall scores were also compared. After 3 weeks of FPEH, dose-dependent increases were observed for the MQ, the learning gradient, the numbers of words remembered, the retrieval efficiency, and drawing/recall. The optimal dose for FPEH was 400 or 600 mg, depending on the end point measured. No adverse effects were reported. FPEH significantly improved measurements of memory in healthy adults by 3 weeks at doses over 280 mg daily, with an apparent plateau effect at 400–600 mg daily. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Dimensionally Specific Capture of Attention: Implications for Saliency Computation
Vision 2018, 2(1), 9; doi:10.3390/vision2010009 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Observers automatically orient to a sudden change in the environment. This is demonstrated experimentally using exogenous cues, which prioritize the analysis of subsequent targets appearing nearby. This effect has been attributed to the computation of saliency, obtained by combining features specific signals, which
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Observers automatically orient to a sudden change in the environment. This is demonstrated experimentally using exogenous cues, which prioritize the analysis of subsequent targets appearing nearby. This effect has been attributed to the computation of saliency, obtained by combining features specific signals, which then feed back to drive attention to the salient location. An alternative possibility is that cueing directly effects target-evoked sensory responses in a feed-forward manner. We examined the effects of luminance and equiluminant color cues in a dual task paradigm, which required both a motion and a color discrimination. Equiluminant color cues improved color discrimination more than luminance cues, but luminance cues improved motion discrimination more than equiluminant color cues. This suggests that the effects of exogenous cues are dimensionally specific and may not depend entirely on the computation of a dimension general saliency signal. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Antimicrobial Efficiency of Metallurgical Slags for Application in Building Materials and Products
Buildings 2018, 8(2), 33; doi:10.3390/buildings8020033 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The article deals with studying the antimicrobial efficiency of finely ground metallurgical slags, such as granulated blast-furnace slag with specific surface areas of 340 (1Sa) and 520 m2/kg (1Sb), air cooled blast-furnace slag (2S), demetallized steel slag (3S), calcareous ladle slag
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The article deals with studying the antimicrobial efficiency of finely ground metallurgical slags, such as granulated blast-furnace slag with specific surface areas of 340 (1Sa) and 520 m2/kg (1Sb), air cooled blast-furnace slag (2S), demetallized steel slag (3S), calcareous ladle slag (4S), and copper slag (5S). The efficiency was tested on microbial representatives, such as: Gram-positive bacteria—Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Micrococcus luteus; Gram-negative bacteria—Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Serratia marcescens; yeasts—Candida utilis, Rhodotorula glutinis; and microscopic filamentous fungi—Aspergillus niger, Penicillium funiculosum, Chaetomium globosum, Alternaria alternata, Trichoderma viride, Cladosporium herbarum. The efficiency was determined by dilution methods in agar growth media so that the resulting concentration of the tested slags was 10, 20, 40, and 60%. The antibacterial efficiency of the slags decreased in the order: S4 > S3 > S2 > S1a = S1b > S5, while their anti-yeast efficiency decreased in the order S4 > S1a = S1b = S3 > S2 > S5. Microscopic filamentous fungi were selectively sensitive to the slags; therefore, there is only an approximate order of efficiency of S4 > S3 = S1a = S1b > S5 > S2. Application of metallurgical slags into building materials and products provide them with increasing resistance against biodeterioration. Full article

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