Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 1460 in total

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  1. Levitan CA, Ren J, Woods AT, Boesveldt S, Chan JS, McKenzie KJ, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(7):e101651.
    PMID: 25007343 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101651
    Colors and odors are associated; for instance, people typically match the smell of strawberries to the color pink or red. These associations are forms of crossmodal correspondences. Recently, there has been discussion about the extent to which these correspondences arise for structural reasons (i.e., an inherent mapping between color and odor), statistical reasons (i.e., covariance in experience), and/or semantically-mediated reasons (i.e., stemming from language). The present study probed this question by testing color-odor correspondences in 6 different cultural groups (Dutch, Netherlands-residing-Chinese, German, Malay, Malaysian-Chinese, and US residents), using the same set of 14 odors and asking participants to make congruent and incongruent color choices for each odor. We found consistent patterns in color choices for each odor within each culture, showing that participants were making non-random color-odor matches. We used representational dissimilarity analysis to probe for variations in the patterns of color-odor associations across cultures; we found that US and German participants had the most similar patterns of associations, followed by German and Malay participants. The largest group differences were between Malay and Netherlands-resident Chinese participants and between Dutch and Malaysian-Chinese participants. We conclude that culture plays a role in color-odor crossmodal associations, which likely arise, at least in part, through experience.
  2. Leong CXR, Price JM, Pitchford NJ, van Heuven WJB
    PLoS ONE, 2018;13(10):e0204888.
    PMID: 30300372 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204888
    This paper evaluates a novel high variability phonetic training paradigm that involves presenting spoken words in adverse conditions. The effectiveness, generalizability, and longevity of this high variability phonetic training in adverse conditions was evaluated using English phoneme contrasts in three experiments with Malaysian multilinguals. Adverse conditions were created by presenting spoken words against background multi-talker babble. In Experiment 1, the adverse condition level was set at a fixed level throughout the training and in Experiment 2 the adverse condition level was determined for each participant before training using an adaptive staircase procedure. To explore the effectiveness and sustainability of the training, phonemic discrimination ability was assessed before and immediately after training (Experiments 1 and 2) and 6 months after training (Experiment 3). Generalization of training was evaluated within and across phonemic contrasts using trained and untrained stimuli. Results revealed significant perceptual improvements after just three 20-minute training sessions and these improvements were maintained after 6 months. The training benefits also generalized from trained to untrained stimuli. Crucially, perceptual improvements were significantly larger when the adverse conditions were adapted before each training session than when it was set at a fixed level. As the training improvements observed here are markedly larger than those reported in the literature, this indicates that the individualized phonetic training regime in adaptive adverse conditions (HVPT-AAC) is highly effective at improving speech perception.
  3. Supandi F, van Beek JHGM
    PLoS ONE, 2018;13(9):e0203687.
    PMID: 30208076 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203687
    BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease is a widespread neurodegenerative disorder which affects brain metabolism. Although changes in gene expression during disease are often measured, it is difficult to predict metabolic fluxes from gene expression data. Here we explore the hypothesis that changes in gene expression for enzymes tend to parallel flux changes in biochemical reaction pathways in the brain metabolic network. This hypothesis is the basis of a computational method to predict metabolic flux changes from post-mortem gene expression measurements in Parkinson's disease (PD) brain.

    RESULTS: We use a network model of central metabolism and optimize the correspondence between relative changes in fluxes and in gene expression. To this end we apply the Least-squares with Equalities and Inequalities algorithm integrated with Flux Balance Analysis (Lsei-FBA). We predict for PD (1) decreases in glycolytic rate and oxygen consumption and an increase in lactate production in brain cortex that correspond with measurements (2) relative flux decreases in ATP synthesis, in the malate-aspartate shuttle and midway in the TCA cycle that are substantially larger than relative changes in glucose uptake in the substantia nigra, dopaminergic neurons and most other brain regions (3) shifts in redox shuttles between cytosol and mitochondria (4) in contrast to Alzheimer's disease: little activation of the gamma-aminobutyric acid shunt pathway in compensation for decreased alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase activity (5) in the globus pallidus internus, metabolic fluxes are increased, reflecting increased functional activity.

    CONCLUSION: Our method predicts metabolic changes from gene expression data that correspond in direction and order of magnitude with presently available experimental observations during Parkinson's disease, indicating that the hypothesis may be useful for some biochemical pathways. Lsei-FBA generates predictions of flux distributions in neurons and small brain regions for which accurate metabolic flux measurements are not yet possible.

  4. Gavai AK, Supandi F, Hettling H, Murrell P, Leunissen JA, van Beek JH
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0119016.
    PMID: 25806817 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119016
    Predicting the distribution of metabolic fluxes in biochemical networks is of major interest in systems biology. Several databases provide metabolic reconstructions for different organisms. Software to analyze flux distributions exists, among others for the proprietary MATLAB environment. Given the large user community for the R computing environment, a simple implementation of flux analysis in R appears desirable and will facilitate easy interaction with computational tools to handle gene expression data. We extended the R software package BiGGR, an implementation of metabolic flux analysis in R. BiGGR makes use of public metabolic reconstruction databases, and contains the BiGG database and the reconstruction of human metabolism Recon2 as Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) objects. Models can be assembled by querying the databases for pathways, genes or reactions of interest. Fluxes can then be estimated by maximization or minimization of an objective function using linear inverse modeling algorithms. Furthermore, BiGGR provides functionality to quantify the uncertainty in flux estimates by sampling the constrained multidimensional flux space. As a result, ensembles of possible flux configurations are constructed that agree with measured data within precision limits. BiGGR also features automatic visualization of selected parts of metabolic networks using hypergraphs, with hyperedge widths proportional to estimated flux values. BiGGR supports import and export of models encoded in SBML and is therefore interoperable with different modeling and analysis tools. As an application example, we calculated the flux distribution in healthy human brain using a model of central carbon metabolism. We introduce a new algorithm termed Least-squares with equalities and inequalities Flux Balance Analysis (Lsei-FBA) to predict flux changes from gene expression changes, for instance during disease. Our estimates of brain metabolic flux pattern with Lsei-FBA for Alzheimer's disease agree with independent measurements of cerebral metabolism in patients. This second version of BiGGR is available from Bioconductor.
  5. Gijsberts CM, Groenewegen KA, Hoefer IE, Eijkemans MJ, Asselbergs FW, Anderson TJ, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(7):e0132321.
    PMID: 26134404 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132321
    BACKGROUND: Clinical manifestations and outcomes of atherosclerotic disease differ between ethnic groups. In addition, the prevalence of risk factors is substantially different. Primary prevention programs are based on data derived from almost exclusively White people. We investigated how race/ethnic differences modify the associations of established risk factors with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events.

    METHODS: We used data from an ongoing individual participant meta-analysis involving 17 population-based cohorts worldwide. We selected 60,211 participants without cardiovascular disease at baseline with available data on ethnicity (White, Black, Asian or Hispanic). We generated a multivariable linear regression model containing risk factors and ethnicity predicting mean common carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and a multivariable Cox regression model predicting myocardial infarction or stroke. For each risk factor we assessed how the association with the preclinical and clinical measures of cardiovascular atherosclerotic disease was affected by ethnicity.

    RESULTS: Ethnicity appeared to significantly modify the associations between risk factors and CIMT and cardiovascular events. The association between age and CIMT was weaker in Blacks and Hispanics. Systolic blood pressure associated more strongly with CIMT in Asians. HDL cholesterol and smoking associated less with CIMT in Blacks. Furthermore, the association of age and total cholesterol levels with the occurrence of cardiovascular events differed between Blacks and Whites.

    CONCLUSION: The magnitude of associations between risk factors and the presence of atherosclerotic disease differs between race/ethnic groups. These subtle, yet significant differences provide insight in the etiology of cardiovascular disease among race/ethnic groups. These insights aid the race/ethnic-specific implementation of primary prevention.

  6. Nathan AM, Rani F, Lee RJ, Zaki R, Westerhout C, Sam IC, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(10):e111162.
    PMID: 25360811 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111162
    Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) are an important cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in low income countries. The aim of this study was to determine risk factors of life-threatening LRTIs in hospitalised children in Malaysia.
  7. Beck SV, Carvalho GR, Barlow A, Rüber L, Hui Tan H, Nugroho E, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(7):e0179557.
    PMID: 28742862 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179557
    The complex climatic and geological history of Southeast Asia has shaped this region's high biodiversity. In particular, sea level fluctuations associated with repeated glacial cycles during the Pleistocene both facilitated, and limited, connectivity between populations. In this study, we used data from two mitochondrial and three anonymous nuclear markers to determine whether a fresh/brackish water killifish, Aplocheilus panchax, Hamilton, 1822, could be used to further understand how climatic oscillations and associated sea level fluctuations have shaped the distribution of biota within this region, and whether such patterns show evidence of isolation within palaeodrainage basins. Our analyses revealed three major mitochondrial clades within A. panchax. The basal divergence of A. panchax mitochondrial lineages was approximately 3.5 Ma, whilst the subsequent divergence timings of these clades occurred early Pleistocene (~2.6 Ma), proceeding through the Pleistocene. Continuous phylogeographic analysis showed a clear west-east dispersal followed by rapid radiation across Southeast Asia. Individuals from Krabi, just north of the Isthmus of Kra, were more closely related to the Indian lineages, providing further evidence for a freshwater faunal disjunction at the Isthmus of Kra biogeographic barrier. Our results suggest that Sulawesi, across the Wallace Line, was colonised relatively recently (~30 ka). Nuclear DNA is less geographically structured, although Mantel tests indicated that nuclear genetic distances were correlated with geographic proximity. Overall, these results imply that recent gene flow, as opposed to historical isolation, has been the key factor determining patterns of nuclear genetic variation in A. panchax, however, some evidence of historical isolation is retained within the mitochondrial genome. Our study further validates the existence of a major biogeographic boundary at the Kra Isthmus, and also demonstrates the use of widely distributed fresh/brackishwater species in phylogeographic studies, and their ability to disperse across major marine barriers in relatively recent time periods.
  8. Chew M, Abdul Rahim A, bin Haji Ross O
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(6):e99072.
    PMID: 24914642 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099072
    A new anthurid isopod from dead coral rubble and stones in the intertidal area of Pulau Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia, is described. It is placed in a new genus and species, Tinggianthura alba. Tinggianthura is characterized by: (1) subtriangular carpus shape of pereopods 4-7, (2) pereopod 1 propodus palm without prominent tooth or steps and (3) maxillipedal palp 2-articled.
  9. Tan SK, Leung WK, Tang ATH, Zwahlen RA
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(10):e0185951.
    PMID: 29016682 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185951
    BACKGROUND: Mandibular setback osteotomies potentially lead to narrowing of the pharyngeal airways, subsequently resulting in post-surgical obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

    OBJECTIVE: To summarize current evidence from systematic reviews that has evaluated pharyngeal airway changes after mandibular setback with or without concomitant upper jaw osteotomies.

    METHODOLOGY: PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases were searched with no restriction of language or date. Systematic reviews studying changes in pharyngeal airway dimensions and respiratory parameters after mandibular setback with or without concomitant upper jaw osteotomies have been identified, screened for eligibility, included and analyzed in this study.

    RESULTS: Six systematic reviews have been included. While isolated mandibular setback osteotomies result in reduced oropharyngeal airway dimensions, the reduction is lesser in cases with concomitant upper jaw osteotomies. Only scarce evidence exists currently to what happens to naso- and hypo-pharyngeal airways. There is no evidence for post-surgical OSA, even though some studies reported reduced respiratory parameters after single-jaw mandibular setback with or without concomitant upper jaw osteotomies.

    CONCLUSION: Although mandibular setback osteotomies reduce pharyngeal airway dimensions, evidence confirming post-surgical OSA was not found. Nevertheless, potential post-surgical OSA should be taken into serious consideration during the treatment planning of particular orthognathic cases. As moderate evidence exists that double-jaw surgeries lead to less compromised post-surgical pharyngeal airways, they should be considered as the method of choice especially in cases with severe dentoskeletal Class III deformity.

    STUDY REGISTRATION: PROSPERO (registration number: CRD42016046484).

  10. Tan SK, Leung WK, Tang ATH, Zwahlen RA
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(7):e0181146.
    PMID: 28749983 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181146
    BACKGROUND: Mandibular advancement surgery may positively affect pharyngeal airways and therefore potentially beneficial to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

    OBJECTIVE: To collect evidence from published systematic reviews that have evaluated pharyngeal airway changes related to mandibular advancement with or without maxillary procedures.

    METHODOLOGY: PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library were searched without limiting language or timeline. Eligible systematic reviews evaluating changes in pharyngeal airway dimensions and respiratory parameters after mandibular advancement with or without maxillary surgery were identified and included.

    RESULTS: This overview has included eleven systematic reviews. Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) increases linear, cross-sectional plane and volumetric measurements of pharyngeal airways significantly (p<0.0001), while reducing the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) significantly (p<0.0001). Two systematic reviews included primary studies that have evaluated single-jaw mandibular advancement, but did not discuss their effect onto pharyngeal airways. Based on the included primary studies of those systematic reviews, single-jaw mandibular advancement was reported to significantly increase pharyngeal airway dimensions (p<0.05); however, conclusive long-term results were lacking.

    CONCLUSION: MMA increases pharyngeal airway dimensions and is beneficial to patients suffering from OSA. However, more evidence is still needed to draw definite conclusion related to the effect of single-jaw mandibular advancement osteotomies on pharyngeal airways.

  11. Suraida AR, Ibrahim M, Zunaina E
    PLoS ONE, 2018;13(1):e0191134.
    PMID: 29324896 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191134
    OBJECTIVES: To compare the anterior ocular segment biometry among Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) with no diabetic retinopathy (DR) and non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), and to evaluate the correlation of anterior ocular segment biometry with HbA1c level.

    METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan from November 2013 till May 2016 among Type 2 DM patients (DM with no DR and DM with NPDR). The patients were evaluated for anterior ocular segment biometry [central corneal thickness (CCT), anterior chamber width (ACW), angle opening distance (AOD) and anterior chamber angle (ACA)] by using Anterior Segment Optical Coherence Tomography (AS-OCT). Three ml venous blood was taken for the measurement of HbA1c.

    RESULTS: A total of 150 patients were included in this study (DM with no DR: 50 patients, DM with NPDR: 50 patients, non DM: 50 patients as a control group). The mean CCT and ACW showed significant difference among the three groups (p < 0.001 and p = 0.015 respectively). Based on post hoc result, there were significant mean difference of CCT between non DM and DM with NPDR (mean difference 36.14 μm, p < 0.001) and also between non DM and DM with no DR (mean difference 31.48 μm, p = 0.003). The ACW was significantly narrower in DM with NPDR (11.39 mm SD 0.62) compared to DM with no DR (11.76 mm SD 0.53) (p = 0.012). There were no significant correlation between HbA1c and all the anterior ocular segment biometry.

    CONCLUSION: Diabetic patients have significantly thicker CCT regardless of retinopathy status whereas ACW was significantly narrower in DM with NPDR group compared to DM with no DR. There was no significant correlations between HbA1c and all anterior ocular segment biometry in diabetic patients regardless of DR status.

  12. Amin L, Azad MA, Gausmian MH, Zulkifli F
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(1):e86174.
    PMID: 24489695 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086174
    The objective of this paper is to assess the attitude of Malaysian stakeholders to genetically modified (GM) salmon and to identify the factors that influence their acceptance of GM salmon using a structural equation model. A survey was carried out on 434 representatives from various stakeholder groups in the Klang Valley region of Malaysia. Public attitude towards GM salmon was measured using self-developed questionnaires with seven-point Likert scales. The findings of this study have confirmed that public attitudes towards GM salmon is a complex issue and should be seen as a multi-faceted process. The most important direct predictors for the encouragement of GM salmon are the specific application-linked perceptions about religious acceptability of GM salmon followed by perceived risks and benefits, familiarity, and general promise of modern biotechnology. Encouragement of GM salmon also involves the interplay among other factors such as general concerns of biotechnology, threatening the natural order of things, the need for labeling, the need for patenting, confidence in regulation, and societal values. The research findings can serve as a database that will be useful for understanding the social construct of public attitude towards GM foods in a developing country.
  13. Adnan AI, Hanapi ZM, Othman M, Zukarnain ZA
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(1):e0170273.
    PMID: 28121992 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170273
    Due to the lack of dependency for routing initiation and an inadequate allocated sextant on responding messages, the secure geographic routing protocols for Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have attracted considerable attention. However, the existing protocols are more likely to drop packets when legitimate nodes fail to respond to the routing initiation messages while attackers in the allocated sextant manage to respond. Furthermore, these protocols are designed with inefficient collection window and inadequate verification criteria which may lead to a high number of attacker selections. To prevent the failure to find an appropriate relay node and undesirable packet retransmission, this paper presents Secure Region-Based Geographic Routing Protocol (SRBGR) to increase the probability of selecting the appropriate relay node. By extending the allocated sextant and applying different message contention priorities more legitimate nodes can be admitted in the routing process. Moreover, the paper also proposed the bound collection window for a sufficient collection time and verification cost for both attacker identification and isolation. Extensive simulation experiments have been performed to evaluate the performance of the proposed protocol in comparison with other existing protocols. The results demonstrate that SRBGR increases network performance in terms of the packet delivery ratio and isolates attacks such as Sybil and Black hole.
  14. Al-Mekhlafi ZG, Hanapi ZM, Othman M, Zukarnain ZA
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(1):e0167423.
    PMID: 28056020 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167423
    Recently, Pulse Coupled Oscillator (PCO)-based travelling waves have attracted substantial attention by researchers in wireless sensor network (WSN) synchronization. Because WSNs are generally artificial occurrences that mimic natural phenomena, the PCO utilizes firefly synchronization of attracting mating partners for modelling the WSN. However, given that sensor nodes are unable to receive messages while transmitting data packets (due to deafness), the PCO model may not be efficient for sensor network modelling. To overcome this limitation, this paper proposed a new scheme called the Travelling Wave Pulse Coupled Oscillator (TWPCO). For this, the study used a self-organizing scheme for energy-efficient WSNs that adopted travelling wave biologically inspired network systems based on phase locking of the PCO model to counteract deafness. From the simulation, it was found that the proposed TWPCO scheme attained a steady state after a number of cycles. It also showed superior performance compared to other mechanisms, with a reduction in the total energy consumption of 25%. The results showed that the performance improved by 13% in terms of data gathering. Based on the results, the proposed scheme avoids the deafness that occurs in the transmit state in WSNs and increases the data collection throughout the transmission states in WSNs.
  15. Sarwar A, Katas H, Samsudin SN, Zin NM
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(4):e0123084.
    PMID: 25928293 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123084
    Recently, the attention of researchers has been drawn toward the synthesis of chitosan derivatives and their nanoparticles with enhanced antimicrobial activities. In this study, chitosan derivatives with different azides and alkyne groups were synthesized using click chemistry, and these were further transformed into nanoparticles by using the ionotropic gelation method. A series of chitosan derivatives was successfully synthesized by regioselective modification of chitosan via an azide-alkyne click reaction. The amino moieties of chitosan were protected during derivatization by pthaloylation and subsequently unblocked at the end to restore their functionality. Nanoparticles of synthesized derivatives were fabricated by ionic gelation to form complexes of polyanionic penta-sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) and cationic chitosan derivatives. Particle size analysis showed that nanoparticle size ranged from 181.03 ± 12.73 nm to 236.50 ± 14.32 nm and had narrow polydispersity index and positive surface charge. The derivatives and corresponding nanoparticles were evaluated in vitro for antibacterial and antifungal activities against three gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and three fungal strains, respectively. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of all derivatives ranged from 31.3 to 250 µg/mL for bacteria and 188 to1500 µg/mL for fungi and was lower than that of native chitosan. The nanoparticles with MIC ranging from 1.56 to 25 µg/mLfor bacteria and 94 to 750 µg/mL for fungi exhibited higher activity than the chitosan derivatives. Chitosan O-(1-methylbenzene) triazolyl carbamate and chitosan O-(1-methyl phenyl sulfide) triazolyl carbamate were the most active against the tested bacterial and fungal strains. The hemolytic assay on erythrocytes and cell viability test on two different cell lines (Chinese hamster lung fibroblast cells V79 and Human hepatic cell line WRL68) demonstrated the safety; suggesting that these derivatives could be used in future medical applications. Chitosan derivatives with triazole functionality, synthesized by Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition, and their nanoparticles showed significant enhancement in antibacterial and antifungal activities in comparison to those associated with native, non-altered chitosan.
  16. Mubarak N, Hatah E, Aris MAM, Shafie AA, Zin CS
    PLoS ONE, 2019;14(5):e0216563.
    PMID: 31075110 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216563
    BACKGROUND: The general problem is lack of inter-professional collaboration and the way private primary care responds to manage chronic diseases in Malaysia. Absence of prescription review, inadequate patient education, the highest percentage of prescribing errors and half of the chronic disease patients are nonadherent. Medicines are the most common and life long used interventions in chronic diseases. Hence, the need to manage medicine in chronic diseases becomes obligatory. As both general practitioner and community pharmacist can dispense medications, this has resulted in a business rivalry. There is a need to build consensus among various healthcare stakeholders for a collaborative medication therapy management model (CMTM) where community pharmacist has an active role in chronic care.

    METHOD: This study utilized modified e-Delphi method to build consensus. A validated e-Delphi survey was administered to a purposive sample of 29 experts. Consensus was pre-defined to be the point where >85% of the experts fall in either agree or strongly agree category for each statement. The inter-expert agreement was computed in both rounds using Intra-class correlation coefficient and Kendall's W. Delphi operates in an iterative fashion till there comes stability in responses. At the end of each round, experts were provided aggregate response, their own response and choice to change their response in the light of aggregate response.

    RESULTS: Response rate was 70.73% and 100% in 1st and 2nd round, respectively. Consensus was achieved on 119/132 statements which mainly referred to the need, structural and regulatory aspects of CMTM model in Malaysia. However, there were some flashpoints on dispensing separation and means to finance this model. Stability in response of experts was achieved after 2nd round; hence, no next round was executed.

    CONCLUSION: Overall, the study findings witnessed the expert panel's support for the CMTM model. Study helped to sketch CMTM model and facilitated development of some recommendations to the authorities which may help to formulate a policy to bring CPs under a working relationship with GPs. Hence, this study should be taken as a call for redefining of the roles of CPs and GPs in Malaysia.

  17. Klaus A, Strube C, Röper KM, Radespiel U, Schaarschmidt F, Nathan S, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2018;13(4):e0195584.
    PMID: 29630671 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195584
    Understanding determinants shaping infection risk of endangered wildlife is a major topic in conservation medicine. The proboscis monkey, Nasalis larvatus, an endemic primate flagship species for conservation in Borneo, is endangered through habitat loss, but can still be found in riparian lowland and mangrove forests, and in some protected areas. To assess socioecological and anthropogenic influence on intestinal helminth infections in N. larvatus, 724 fecal samples of harem and bachelor groups, varying in size and the number of juveniles, were collected between June and October 2012 from two study sites in Malaysian Borneo: 634 samples were obtained from groups inhabiting the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (LKWS), 90 samples were collected from groups of the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary (LBPMS), where monkeys are fed on stationary feeding platforms. Parasite risk was quantified by intestinal helminth prevalence, host parasite species richness (PSR), and eggs per gram feces (epg). Generalized linear mixed effect models were applied to explore whether study site, group type, group size, the number of juveniles per group, and sampling month predict parasite risk. At the LBPMS, prevalence and epg of Trichuris spp., strongylids, and Strongyloides spp. but not Ascaris spp., as well as host PSR were significantly elevated. Only for Strongyloides spp., prevalence showed significant changes between months; at both sites, the beginning rainy season with increased precipitation was linked to higher prevalence, suggesting the external life cycle of Strongyloides spp. to benefit from humidity. Higher prevalence, epgs, and PSR within the LBPMS suggest that anthropogenic factors shape host infection risk more than socioecological factors, most likely via higher re-infection rates and chronic stress. Noninvasive measurement of fecal parasite stages is an important tool for assessing transmission dynamics and infection risks for endangered tropical wildlife. Findings will contribute to healthcare management in nature and in anthropogenically managed environments.
  18. Wong LP, Raja Muhammad Yusoff RN, Edib Z, Sam IC, Zimet GD
    PLoS ONE, 2016 09 22;11(9):e0163156.
    PMID: 27656876 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163156
    The National HPV Immunization Programme, which offers free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to teenaged female students, was launched in Malaysia in 2010. HPV vaccination paired with adequate knowledge about HPV infection provides the best protection against cervical cancer. To identify the level of knowledge and the health beliefs towards HPV and the HPV vaccine among HPV-vaccinated female students in Malaysia. A nationwide cross-sectional survey among 14 years old female students who had received three doses of the HPV vaccine was conducted in 32 randomly selected schools from 13 states and 3 federal territories in Malaysia between February 2013 and April 2013. Among 2482 respondents, knowledge about HPV infection and the HPV vaccine was extremely poor. The mean total knowledge score was only 3.56 (SD ± 1.76), out of a possible score of 10. The majority of respondents were unaware that vaccinating boys with HPV can help protect girls against HPV infection (91.6%), HPV cannot be cured (81.6%) and that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (70.3%). Most of the respondents had the misconception that only females get HPV (95.1%), and that the HPV vaccine eliminates the need for Pap smear tests (68.3%). Most respondents (91.6%) believed that they would not get an HPV infection. Almost half of the respondents (42.9%) held the misconception that HPV infection could not lead to serious illness. Findings revealed poor knowledge about both HPV and the HPV vaccine, low perceived susceptibility to HPV infection and misinformation about HPV infection among HPV-vaccinated girls. Therefore, it is essential to increase the knowledge and awareness of health risks regarding HPV infection among teenaged girls who have received the HPV vaccine.
  19. Hossain ME, Jassim WA, Zilany MS
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(3):e0150415.
    PMID: 26967160 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150415
    Sensorineural hearing loss occurs due to damage to the inner and outer hair cells of the peripheral auditory system. Hearing loss can cause decreases in audibility, dynamic range, frequency and temporal resolution of the auditory system, and all of these effects are known to affect speech intelligibility. In this study, a new reference-free speech intelligibility metric is proposed using 2-D neurograms constructed from the output of a computational model of the auditory periphery. The responses of the auditory-nerve fibers with a wide range of characteristic frequencies were simulated to construct neurograms. The features of the neurograms were extracted using third-order statistics referred to as bispectrum. The phase coupling of neurogram bispectrum provides a unique insight for the presence (or deficit) of supra-threshold nonlinearities beyond audibility for listeners with normal hearing (or hearing loss). The speech intelligibility scores predicted by the proposed method were compared to the behavioral scores for listeners with normal hearing and hearing loss both in quiet and under noisy background conditions. The results were also compared to the performance of some existing methods. The predicted results showed a good fit with a small error suggesting that the subjective scores can be estimated reliably using the proposed neural-response-based metric. The proposed metric also had a wide dynamic range, and the predicted scores were well-separated as a function of hearing loss. The proposed metric successfully captures the effects of hearing loss and supra-threshold nonlinearities on speech intelligibility. This metric could be applied to evaluate the performance of various speech-processing algorithms designed for hearing aids and cochlear implants.
  20. Islam MA, Jassim WA, Cheok NS, Zilany MS
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(7):e0158520.
    PMID: 27392046 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158520
    Speaker identification under noisy conditions is one of the challenging topics in the field of speech processing applications. Motivated by the fact that the neural responses are robust against noise, this paper proposes a new speaker identification system using 2-D neurograms constructed from the responses of a physiologically-based computational model of the auditory periphery. The responses of auditory-nerve fibers for a wide range of characteristic frequency were simulated to speech signals to construct neurograms. The neurogram coefficients were trained using the well-known Gaussian mixture model-universal background model classification technique to generate an identity model for each speaker. In this study, three text-independent and one text-dependent speaker databases were employed to test the identification performance of the proposed method. Also, the robustness of the proposed method was investigated using speech signals distorted by three types of noise such as the white Gaussian, pink, and street noises with different signal-to-noise ratios. The identification results of the proposed neural-response-based method were compared to the performances of the traditional speaker identification methods using features such as the Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients, Gamma-tone frequency cepstral coefficients and frequency domain linear prediction. Although the classification accuracy achieved by the proposed method was comparable to the performance of those traditional techniques in quiet, the new feature was found to provide lower error rates of classification under noisy environments.
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