Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 1398 in total

  1. Gopal K, Nagarajan P, Jedy J, Raj AT, Gnanaselvi SK, Jahan P, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2013;8(6):e67098.
    PMID: 23826202 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067098
    Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a common chronic degenerative disease characterized by progressive aortic dilation and rupture. The mechanisms underlying the role of α-tocopherol and β-carotene on AAA have not been comprehensively assessed. We investigated if α-tocopherol and β-carotene supplementation could attenuate AAA, and studied the underlying mechanisms utilized by the antioxidants to alleviate AAA. Four-months-old Apoe(-/-) mice were used in the induction of aneurysm by infusion of angiotensin II (Ang II), and were orally administered with α-tocopherol and β-carotene enriched diet for 60 days. Significant increase of LDL, cholesterol, triglycerides and circulating inflammatory cells was observed in the Ang II-treated animals, and gene expression studies showed that ICAM-1, VCAM-1, MCP-1, M-CSF, MMP-2, MMP-9 and MMP-12 were upregulated in the aorta of aneurysm-induced mice. Extensive plaques, aneurysm and diffusion of inflammatory cells into the tunica intima were also noticed. The size of aorta was significantly (P = 0.0002) increased (2.24±0.20 mm) in the aneurysm-induced animals as compared to control mice (1.17±0.06 mm). Interestingly, β-carotene dramatically controlled the diffusion of macrophages into the aortic tunica intima, and circulation. It also dissolved the formation of atheromatous plaque. Further, β-carotene significantly decreased the aortic diameter (1.33±0.12 mm) in the aneurysm-induced mice (β-carotene, P = 0.0002). It also downregulated ICAM-1, VCAM-1, MCP-1, M-CSF, MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-12, PPAR-α and PPAR-γ following treatment. Hence, dietary supplementation of β-carotene may have a protective function against Ang II-induced AAA by ameliorating macrophage recruitment in Apoe(-/-) mice.
  2. Bashir S, Teo YY, Naeem S, Ramesh S, Ramesh K
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(7):e0179250.
    PMID: 28678803 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179250
    There has been significant progress in the last few decades in addressing the biomedical applications of polymer hydrogels. Particularly, stimuli responsive hydrogels have been inspected as elegant drug delivery systems capable to deliver at the appropriate site of action within the specific time. The present work describes the synthesis of pH responsive semi-interpenetrating network (semi-IPN) hydrogels of N-succinyl-chitosan (NSC) via Schiff base mechanism using glutaraldehyde as a crosslinking agent and Poly (acrylamide-co-acrylic acid)(Poly (AAm-co-AA)) was embedded within the N-succinyl chitosan network. The physico-chemical interactions were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM). The synthesized hydrogels constitute porous structure. The swelling ability was analyzed in physiological mediums of pH 7.4 and pH 1.2 at 37°C. Swelling properties of formulations with various amounts of NSC/ Poly (AAm-co-AA) and crosslinking agent at pH 7.4 and pH 1.2 were investigated. Hydrogels showed higher swelling ratios at pH 7.4 while lower at pH 1.2. Swelling kinetics and diffusion parameters were also determined. Drug loading, encapsulation efficiency, and in vitro release of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) from the synthesized hydrogels were observed. In vitro release profile revealed the significant influence of pH, amount of NSC, Poly (AAm-co-AA), and crosslinking agent on the release of 5-FU. Accordingly, rapid and large release of drug was observed at pH 7.4 than at pH 1.2. The maximum encapsulation efficiency and release of 5-FU from SP2 were found to be 72.45% and 85.99%, respectively. Kinetics of drug release suggested controlled release mechanism of 5-FU is according to trend of non-Fickian. From the above results, it can be concluded that the synthesized hydrogels have capability to adapt their potential exploitation as targeted oral drug delivery carriers.
  3. Yu F, Bracken CP, Pillman KA, Lawrence DM, Goodall GJ, Callen DF, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(6):e0129190.
    PMID: 26061048 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129190
    p53 is a master tumour repressor that participates in vast regulatory networks, including feedback loops involving microRNAs (miRNAs) that regulate p53 and that themselves are direct p53 transcriptional targets. We show here that a group of polycistronic miRNA-like non-coding RNAs derived from small nucleolar RNAs (sno-miRNAs) are transcriptionally repressed by p53 through their host gene, SNHG1. The most abundant of these, sno-miR-28, directly targets the p53-stabilizing gene, TAF9B. Collectively, p53, SNHG1, sno-miR-28 and TAF9B form a regulatory loop which affects p53 stability and downstream p53-regulated pathways. In addition, SNHG1, SNORD28 and sno-miR-28 are all significantly upregulated in breast tumours and the overexpression of sno-miR-28 promotes breast epithelial cell proliferation. This research has broadened our knowledge of the crosstalk between small non-coding RNA pathways and roles of sno-miRNAs in p53 regulation.
  4. Uddin MJ, Khan WA, Amin NS
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(6):e99384.
    PMID: 24927277 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099384
    The unsteady two-dimensional laminar g-Jitter mixed convective boundary layer flow of Cu-water and Al2O3-water nanofluids past a permeable stretching sheet in a Darcian porous is studied by using an implicit finite difference numerical method with quasi-linearization technique. It is assumed that the plate is subjected to velocity and thermal slip boundary conditions. We have considered temperature dependent viscosity. The governing boundary layer equations are converted into non-similar equations using suitable transformations, before being solved numerically. The transport equations have been shown to be controlled by a number of parameters including viscosity parameter, Darcy number, nanoparticle volume fraction, Prandtl number, velocity slip, thermal slip, suction/injection and mixed convection parameters. The dimensionless velocity and temperature profiles as well as friction factor and heat transfer rates are presented graphically and discussed. It is found that the velocity reduces with velocity slip parameter for both nanofluids for fluid with both constant and variable properties. It is further found that the skin friction decreases with both Darcy number and momentum slip parameter while it increases with viscosity variation parameter. The surface temperature increases as the dimensionless time increases for both nanofluids. Nusselt numbers increase with mixed convection parameter and Darcy numbers and decreases with the momentum slip. Excellent agreement is found between the numerical results of the present paper with published results.
  5. Guadamuz TE, Cheung DH, Wei C, Koe S, Lim SH
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(5):e0126658.
    PMID: 25973907 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126658
    BACKGROUND: Poor HIV testing uptake by MSM may be attributable to unique challenges that are localized in Southeast Asia.
    OBJECTIVE: To characterize MSM who never tested for HIV, to identify correlates of never testing, and to elucidate the perceived barriers to HIV testing.
    METHODS: The present study used data from the Asian Internet MSM Sex Survey (AIMSS) and restricted the analysis to 4,310 MSM from the ten member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
    RESULTS: Among MSM participants from ASEAN in our sample, 1290 (29.9%) reported having never been tested for HIV, 471 (10.9%) tested for HIV more than 2 years ago, and 2186 (50.7%) reported their last test date was between 6 months and two years ago, with only 363 (8.4%) of these men having been tested in the past 6 months. In multivariable logistic regression, younger MSM (age 15-22 years old [AOR: 4.60, 95% CI: 3.04-6.96]), MSM with lower education (secondary school or lower [AOR: 1.37, 95% CI: 1.03-1.83]), MSM who identify as bisexual or heterosexual (compared to gay-identified) (AOR: 1.94, 95% CI: 1.60-2.35), and MSM who had never used a condom with male partners (AOR: 1.61, 95% CI: 1.32-1.97) had higher odds of never been HIV tested. Main reason for not being tested was a low risk perception of HIV exposure (n = 390, 30.2%).
    CONCLUSION: Current HIV prevention response must not leave MSM "in the dark," but instead meet them where they are by utilizing the Internet creatively through social media and smart phones. As ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is quickly becoming a reality, so must there be an equally fast and united response to slowing down the HIV epidemics among MSM in ASEAN.
  6. Tan CB, Stephen ID, Whitehead R, Sheppard E
    PLoS ONE, 2012;7(1):e29714.
    PMID: 22253762 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029714
    East Asian and white Western observers employ different eye movement strategies for a variety of visual processing tasks, including face processing. Recent eye tracking studies on face recognition found that East Asians tend to integrate information holistically by focusing on the nose while white Westerners perceive faces featurally by moving between the eyes and mouth. The current study examines the eye movement strategy that Malaysian Chinese participants employ when recognizing East Asian, white Western, and African faces. Rather than adopting the Eastern or Western fixation pattern, Malaysian Chinese participants use a mixed strategy by focusing on the eyes and nose more than the mouth. The combination of Eastern and Western strategies proved advantageous in participants' ability to recognize East Asian and white Western faces, suggesting that individuals learn to use fixation patterns that are optimized for recognizing the faces with which they are more familiar.
  7. Haque E, Banik U, Monwar T, Anthony L, Adhikary AK
    PLoS ONE, 2018;13(3):e0194516.
    PMID: 29590206 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194516
    Human adenovirus type 3 (HAdV-3) respiratory infections occurs worldwide in both children and adults, leading to severe morbidity and mortality, particularly in the paediatric age group and especially in neonates. During HAdV infection, neutralizing antibodies are formed against the epitopes located in the hyper variable regions (HVRs) of the hexon protein. These neutralizing antibodies provide protection against reinfection by viruses of the same type. Therefore it is reasonable to speculate that variations of HAdV-3 in the HVRs could impair the immunity acquired by previous infection with a different strain with variation in its HVRs. HAdV-3 has recently become the major agent of acute respiratory infection worldwide, being responsible for 15% to 87% of all adenoviral respiratory infections. However, despite the increased prevalence of HAdV-3 as respiratory pathogen, the diversity of hexon proteins in circulating strains remains unexplored. This study was designed to explore the variation in HVRs of hexon among globally distributed strains of HAdV-3 as well as to discover possible relationship among them, thus possibly shedding light on the cause for the increased prevalence of HAdV-3. In this study, for the first time we analysed the hexon proteins of all 248 available strains of HAdV-3 from the NCBI database and compared them with those of the HAdV-3 prototype (GB stain). We found that the HVRs of HAdV-3 strains circulating worldwide were highly heterogeneous and have been mutating continuously since -their original isolation. Based on their immense heterogeneity, the strains can be categorized into 25 hexon variants (3Hv-1 to 3Hv-25), 4 of which (3Hv-1 to 3Hv-4) comprises 80% of the strains. This heterogeneity may explain why HAdV-3 has become the most prevalent HAdVs type worldwide. The heterogeneity of hexon proteins also shows that the development of a vaccine against HAdV-3 might be challenging. The data on hexon variants provided here may be useful for the future epidemiological study of HAdV-3 infection.
  8. Al-Saiagh W, Tiun S, Al-Saffar A, Awang S, Al-Khaleefa AS
    PLoS ONE, 2018;13(12):e0208695.
    PMID: 30571777 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208695
    Word sense disambiguation (WSD) is the process of identifying an appropriate sense for an ambiguous word. With the complexity of human languages in which a single word could yield different meanings, WSD has been utilized by several domains of interests such as search engines and machine translations. The literature shows a vast number of techniques used for the process of WSD. Recently, researchers have focused on the use of meta-heuristic approaches to identify the best solutions that reflect the best sense. However, the application of meta-heuristic approaches remains limited and thus requires the efficient exploration and exploitation of the problem space. Hence, the current study aims to propose a hybrid meta-heuristic method that consists of particle swarm optimization (PSO) and simulated annealing to find the global best meaning of a given text. Different semantic measures have been utilized in this model as objective functions for the proposed hybrid PSO. These measures consist of JCN and extended Lesk methods, which are combined effectively in this work. The proposed method is tested using a three-benchmark dataset (SemCor 3.0, SensEval-2, and SensEval-3). Results show that the proposed method has superior performance in comparison with state-of-the-art approaches.
  9. Yang TY, Dehghantanha A, Choo KK, Muda Z
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(3):e0150300.
    PMID: 26982207 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150300
    Instant messaging (IM) has changed the way people communicate with each other. However, the interactive and instant nature of these applications (apps) made them an attractive choice for malicious cyber activities such as phishing. The forensic examination of IM apps for modern Windows 8.1 (or later) has been largely unexplored, as the platform is relatively new. In this paper, we seek to determine the data remnants from the use of two popular Windows Store application software for instant messaging, namely Facebook and Skype on a Windows 8.1 client machine. This research contributes to an in-depth understanding of the types of terrestrial artefacts that are likely to remain after the use of instant messaging services and application software on a contemporary Windows operating system. Potential artefacts detected during the research include data relating to the installation or uninstallation of the instant messaging application software, log-in and log-off information, contact lists, conversations, and transferred files.
  10. Al-Samman AM, Azmi MH, Rahman TA, Khan I, Hindia MN, Fattouh A
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(12):e0164944.
    PMID: 27992445 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164944
    This work proposes channel impulse response (CIR) prediction for time-varying ultra-wideband (UWB) channels by exploiting the fast movement of channel taps within delay bins. Considering the sparsity of UWB channels, we introduce a window-based CIR (WB-CIR) to approximate the high temporal resolutions of UWB channels. A recursive least square (RLS) algorithm is adopted to predict the time evolution of the WB-CIR. For predicting the future WB-CIR tap of window wk, three RLS filter coefficients are computed from the observed WB-CIRs of the left wk-1, the current wk and the right wk+1 windows. The filter coefficient with the lowest RLS error is used to predict the future WB-CIR tap. To evaluate our proposed prediction method, UWB CIRs are collected through measurement campaigns in outdoor environments considering line-of-sight (LOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) scenarios. Under similar computational complexity, our proposed method provides an improvement in prediction errors of approximately 80% for LOS and 63% for NLOS scenarios compared with a conventional method.
  11. Lim SH, Mburu G, Bourne A, Pang J, Wickersham JA, Wei CKT, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(9):e0182838.
    PMID: 28902857 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182838
    OBJECTIVE: We examined willingness to use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Malaysia.

    METHODS: An online survey of 990 MSM was conducted between March and April 2016. Eligibility criteria included being biological male, Malaysian citizen, 18 years of age or above, identifying as MSM, and being HIV negative or unknown status. Participants' demographics, sexual and drug use behaviors, attitudes towards PrEP, and preferences regarding future access to PrEP were collected. Bivariate analysis and logistic regression were performed to determine factors associated with willingness to use PrEP.

    RESULTS: Fewer than half of participants (44%) knew about PrEP before completing the survey. Overall, 39% of the sample were willing to take PrEP. Multivariate logistic regression indicated that Malay men (AOR: 1.73, 95% CI:1.12, 2.70), having 2 or more male anal sex partners in the past 6 months (AOR: 1.98, 95% CI: 1.29, 3.05), previous knowledge of PrEP (AOR: 1.40, 95%CI: 1.06, 1.86), lack of confidence in practising safer sex (AOR: 1.36, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.81), and having ever paid for sex with a male partner (AOR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.91) were independently associated with greater willingness to use PrEP, while men who identified as heterosexual were less willing to use PrEP (AOR, 0.36, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.97). Majority of participants preferred to access PrEP at affordable cost below 100 Malaysian Ringgit (USD25) per month from community based organisations followed by private or government hospitals.

    CONCLUSIONS: Overall, MSM in Malaysia reported a relatively low level of willingness to use PrEP, although willingness was higher among those previously aware of PrEP. There is a need to provide PrEP at affordable cost, increase demand and awareness of PrEP, and to provide access to this preventative medication via diverse, integrated and tailored sexual health services.

  12. Rajamoorthy Y, Radam A, Taib NM, Rahim KA, Munusamy S, Wagner AL, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2019;14(4):e0215125.
    PMID: 30964934 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215125
    BACKGROUND: In Malaysia, one million individuals are estimated to be infected with the hepatitis B virus. A vaccine for infants has been compulsory since 1989, whereas those born before 1989 need to spend their own money to be vaccinated in private clinics or hospitals. The aim of this study was to investigate and ascertain the determinants of willingness to pay (WTP) for adult hepatitis B vaccine in Selangor, Malaysia.

    METHODS: In 2016, 728 households were selected through a stratified, two stage cluster sample and interviewed. Willingness to pay for hepatitis B vaccine was estimated using the Contingent Valuation Method, and factors affecting WTP were modelled with logit regression.

    RESULTS: We found that 273 (37.5%) of the households were willing to pay for hepatitis B vaccination. The mean and median of WTP was estimated at Ringgit Malaysia (RM)303 (approximately US$73) for the three dose series. The estimated WTP was significantly greater in those with higher levels of education, among Malays and Chinese (compared to others, predominantly Indians), and for those with greater perceived susceptibility to hepatitis B virus infection. Other factors-perceived severity, barriers, benefits and cues to action-were not significantly associated with WTP for adult hepatitis B vaccination.

    CONCLUSION: Additional resources are needed to cover the households that are not willing to pay for hepatitis B vaccination. More awareness (particularly in regards to hepatitis B virus susceptibility) could change the national perception towards self-paid hepatitis B virus vaccination and increase hepatitis B vaccine coverage.

  13. Fujinuma J, Harrison RD
    PLoS ONE, 2012;7(5):e37321.
    PMID: 22615977 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037321
    Edge-effects greatly extend the area of tropical forests degraded through human activities. At Pasoh, Peninsular Malaysia, it has been suggested that soil disturbance by highly abundant wild pigs (Sus scrofa), which feed in adjacent Oil Palm plantations, may have mediated the invasion of Clidemia hirta (Melastomataceae) into the diverse tropical lowland rain forest. To investigate this hypothesis, we established three 1 km transects from the forest/Oil Palm plantation boundary into the forest interior. We recorded the distribution of soil disturbance by wild pigs, C. hirta abundance, and environmental variables. These data were analyzed using a hierarchical Bayesian model that incorporated spatial auto-correlation in the environmental variables. As predicted, soil disturbance by wild pigs declined with distance from forest edge and C. hirta abundance was correlated with the level of soil disturbance. Importantly there was no effect of distance on C. hirta abundance, after controlling for the effect of soil disturbance. Clidemia hirta abundance was also correlated with the presence of canopy openings, but there was no significant association between the occurrence of canopy openings and distance from the edge. Increased levels of soil disturbance and C. hirta abundance were still detectable approximately 1 km from the edge, demonstrating the potential for exceptionally large-scale animal mediated edge effects.
  14. Uthirajoo E, Ramiah H, Kanesan J, Reza AW
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(7):e101862.
    PMID: 25033049 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101862
    For the first time, a new circuit to extend the linear operation bandwidth of a LTE (Long Term Evolution) power amplifier, while delivering a high efficiency is implemented in less than 1 mm2 chip area. The 950 µm × 900 µm monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifier (PA) is fabricated in a 2 µm InGaP/GaAs process. An on-chip analog pre-distorter (APD) is designed to improve the linearity of the PA, up to 20 MHz channel bandwidth. Intended for 1.95 GHz Band 1 LTE application, the PA satisfies adjacent channel leakage ratio (ACLR) and error vector magnitude (EVM) specifications for a wide LTE channel bandwidth of 20 MHz at a linear output power of 28 dBm with corresponding power added efficiency (PAE) of 52.3%. With a respective input and output return loss of 30 dB and 14 dB, the PA's power gain is measured to be 32.5 dB while exhibiting an unconditional stability characteristic from DC up to 5 GHz. The proposed APD technique serves to be a good solution to improve linearity of a PA without sacrificing other critical performance metrics.
  15. Wee WY, Tan TK, Jakubovics NS, Choo SW
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(3):e0152682.
    PMID: 27031249 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152682
    Mycobacterium brisbanense is a member of Mycobacterium fortuitum third biovariant complex, which includes rapidly growing Mycobacterium spp. that normally inhabit soil, dust and water, and can sometimes cause respiratory tract infections in humans. We present the first whole-genome analysis of M. brisbanense UM_WWY which was isolated from a 70-year-old Malaysian patient. Molecular phylogenetic analyses confirmed the identification of this strain as M. brisbanense and showed that it has an unusually large genome compared with related mycobacteria. The large genome size of M. brisbanense UM_WWY (~7.7Mbp) is consistent with further findings that this strain has a highly variable genome structure that contains many putative horizontally transferred genomic islands and prophage. Comparative analysis showed that M. brisbanense UM_WWY is the only Mycobacterium species that possesses a complete set of genes encoding enzymes involved in the urea cycle, suggesting that this soil bacterium is able to synthesize urea for use as plant fertilizers. It is likely that M. brisbanense UM_WWY is adapted to live in soil as its primary habitat since the genome contains many genes associated with nitrogen metabolism. Nevertheless, a large number of predicted virulence genes were identified in M. brisbanense UM_WWY that are mostly shared with well-studied mycobacterial pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium abscessus. These findings are consistent with the role of M. brisbanense as an opportunistic pathogen of humans. The whole-genome study of UM_WWY has provided the basis for future work of M. brisbanense.
  16. Oong XY, Ng KT, Tan JL, Chan KG, Kamarulzaman A, Chan YF, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(1):e0170610.
    PMID: 28129386 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170610
    Reassortment of genetic segments between and within influenza B lineages (Victoria and Yamagata) has been shown to generate novel reassortants with unique genetic characteristics. Based on hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes, recent surveillance study has identified reassortment properties in B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus, which is currently used in the WHO-recommended influenza vaccine. To understand the potential reassortment patterns for all gene segments, four B/Phuket/3073/2013-like viruses and two unique reassortants (one each from Yamagata and Victoria) detected in Malaysia from 2012-2014 were subjected to whole-genome sequencing. Each gene was phylogenetically classified into lineages, clades and sub-clades. Three B/Phuket/3073/2013-like viruses from Yamagata lineage were found to be intra-clade reassortants, possessing PA and NA genes derived from Stockholm/12-like sub-clade, while the remaining genes from Wisconsin/01-like sub-clade (both sub-clades were within Yamagata Clade 3/Yam-3). However, the other B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus had NS gene that derived from Stockholm/12-like sub-clade instead of Wisconsin/01-like sub-clade. One inter-clade reassortant had Yamagata Clade 2/Yam-2-derived HA and NP, and its remaining genes were Yam-3-derived. Within Victoria Clade 1/Vic-1 in Victoria lineage, one virus had intra-clade reassortment properties: HA and PB2 from Vic-1B sub-clade, MP and NS from a unique sub-clade "Vic-1C", and the remaining genes from Vic-1A sub-clade. Although random reassortment event may generate unique reassortants, detailed phylogenetic classification of gene segments showed possible genetic linkage between PA and NA genes in B/Phuket/3073/2013-like viruses, which requires further investigation. Understanding on reassortment patterns in influenza B evolution may contribute to future vaccine design.
  17. Ak N, Koo HC, Hamid Jan JM, Mohd Nasir MT, Tan SY, Appukutty M, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(10):e0138247.
    PMID: 26473369 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138247
    Diets rich in whole grain are associated with several health benefits. Little is known however, about whole grain consumption patterns in Malaysia. The aim of this study was to assess whole grain intakes and dietary source in Malaysian children and adolescents.
  18. Clements GR, Lynam AJ, Gaveau D, Yap WL, Lhota S, Goosem M, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(12):e115376.
    PMID: 25521297 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115376
    Habitat destruction and overhunting are two major drivers of mammal population declines and extinctions in tropical forests. The construction of roads can be a catalyst for these two threats. In Southeast Asia, the impacts of roads on mammals have not been well-documented at a regional scale. Before evidence-based conservation strategies can be developed to minimize the threat of roads to endangered mammals within this region, we first need to locate where and how roads are contributing to the conversion of their habitats and illegal hunting in each country. We interviewed 36 experts involved in mammal research from seven Southeast Asian countries to identify roads that are contributing the most, in their opinion, to habitat conversion and illegal hunting. Our experts highlighted 16 existing and eight planned roads - these potentially threaten 21% of the 117 endangered terrestrial mammals in those countries. Apart from gathering qualitative evidence from the literature to assess their claims, we demonstrate how species-distribution models, satellite imagery and animal-sign surveys can be used to provide quantitative evidence of roads causing impacts by (1) cutting through habitats where endangered mammals are likely to occur, (2) intensifying forest conversion, and (3) contributing to illegal hunting and wildlife trade. To our knowledge, ours is the first study to identify specific roads threatening endangered mammals in Southeast Asia. Further through highlighting the impacts of roads, we propose 10 measures to limit road impacts in the region.
  19. Voracek M, Rieder S, Stieger S, Swami V
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(7):e0131795.
    PMID: 26161803 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131795
    Combined heredity of surnames and physique, coupled with past marriage patterns and trade-specific physical aptitude and selection factors, may have led to differential assortment of bodily characteristics among present-day men with specific trade-reflecting surnames (Tailor vs. Smith). Two studies reported here were partially consistent with this genetic-social hypothesis, first proposed by Bäumler (1980). Study 1 (N = 224) indicated significantly higher self-rated physical aptitude for prototypically strength-related activities (professions, sports, hobbies) in a random sample of Smiths. The counterpart effect (higher aptitude for dexterity-related activities among Tailors) was directionally correct, but not significant, and Tailor-Smith differences in basic physique variables were nil. Study 2 examined two large total-population-of-interest datasets (Austria/Germany combined, and UK: N = 7001 and 20,532) of men's national high-score lists for track-and-field events requiring different physiques. In both datasets, proportions of Smiths significantly increased from light-stature over medium-stature to heavy-stature sports categories. The predicted counterpart effect (decreasing prevalences of Tailors along these categories) was not supported. Related prior findings, the viability of possible alternative interpretations of the evidence (differential positive selection for trades and occupations, differential endogamy and assortative mating patterns, implicit egotism effects), and directions for further inquiry are discussed in conclusion.
  20. Ng ST, Tey NP, Asadullah MN
    PLoS ONE, 2017;12(2):e0171799.
    PMID: 28187153 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171799
    OBJECTIVE: The world population is aging rapidly and the well-being of older people is of great interest. Therefore, this study investigates the determinants of life satisfaction among the oldest-old (i.e. individuals aged 80 or over) in China.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: We use the 2011/2012 Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey data (n = 6530) for this paper. Logistic regression is used to analyse the effects of socio-demographic, economic, health, instrumental activities of daily living, family and community factors on life satisfaction and depression among the oldest-old in China.

    RESULTS: Our analysis confirms the significance of many factors affecting life satisfaction among the oldest-old in China. Factors that are correlated with life satisfaction include respondent's sex, education, place of residence, self-rated health status, cognitive ability (using mini mental state examination), regular physical examination, perceived relative economic status, access to social security provisions, commercialized insurances, living arrangements, and number of social services available in the community (p<0.05 for all these variables). Although life satisfaction is negatively associated with instrumental activities of daily living (β = -0.068, 95%CI = -.093-.043), and depression (β = -0.463, 95%CI = -.644-.282), the overall effect of self-rated health status is positive (p<0.001). This confirms the primacy of health as the determinant of well-being among the oldest-old.

    CONCLUSIONS: Majority of the oldest-old in China rated their life satisfaction as good or very good. Our findings show that health and economic status are by far the most significant predictors of life satisfaction. Our finding on the primacy of health and relative income as determinants of well-being among the oldest-old, and the greater influence of self-rated health status over objective health measures is consistent with the findings of many past studies. Our results suggest that efforts should be directed at enhancing family support as well as health and social service provisions in the community to improve life satisfaction of older people.

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