This study investigated relationships of a water quality index (WQI) with multiple water quality variables (WQVs), explored variability in water quality over time and space, and established linear and non-linear models predictive of WQI from raw WQVs. Data were processed using Spearman's rank correlation analysis, multiple linear regression, and artificial neural network modeling. Correlation analysis indicated that from a temporal perspective, the WQI, temperature, and zinc, arsenic, chemical oxygen demand, sodium, and dissolved oxygen concentrations increased, whereas turbidity and suspended solids, total solids, nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), and biochemical oxygen demand concentrations decreased with year. From a spatial perspective, an increase with distance of the sampling station from the headwater was exhibited by 10 WQVs: magnesium, calcium, dissolved solids, electrical conductivity, temperature, NO3-N, arsenic, chloride, potassium, and sodium. At the same time, the WQI; Escherichia coli bacteria counts; and suspended solids, total solids, and dissolved oxygen concentrations decreased with distance from the headwater. Lastly, regression and artificial neural network models with high prediction powers (81.2% and 91.4%, respectively) were developed and are discussed.
INTRODUCTION: Several studies have found higher in-hospital mortality for admissions during weekend or off hours, known as "weekend or off-hour effect". However, data for this on Malaysian populations is limited. This study was conducted to analyze the 3-year mortality trend in a secondary hospital and its relation to time and date of admission.
METHODS: The clinical data of 126,627 patients admitted to Taiping Hospital from 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2010 obtained via patient registry database of hospital was analyzed. This study compared mortality during weekdays with weekends, office hours (0800-1700) with off hours (1701-0759), and subanalysis of office hours with evening (1701-2259) or night hours (2300-0759), adjusted for age and gender.
RESULTS: Although the overall staff-to-patient ratio is improving, analyses showed a statistically significant increased risk of mortality for those patients admitted during weekends (OR = 1.22; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.14-1.31) or off hours in a weekday (OR = 1.67; 95% CI = 1.57-1.78). In the comparison between time of admission, there was statistically significant increased risk of mortality for admissions during evening hours (OR = 1.44; 95% CI = 1.28-1.62) and night hours (OR = 1.92; 95% CI = 1.71-2.16). Diseases of cardiovascular and respiratory system remained the top two causes of death over the three years.
CONCLUSION: The risk of mortality is significantly higher as a result of "weekend or off-hour effect". Recognition and intervention addressing these issues will have important implications for the healthcare system setting, hospital staffing and training, quality and timeliness of medical care delivery.
Undertaking behavior is a significant adaptation to social life in enclosed nests. Workers are known to remove dead colony members from the nest. Such behavior prevents the spread of pathogens that may be detrimental to a colony. To date, little is known about the ethological aspects of how termites deal with carcasses.
A central composite design of response surface methodology (RSM) was employed to optimize the extraction time (X1: 266.4-393.6 min) and temperature (X2: 42.9-57.1°C) of Pleurotus ostreatus aqueous extract with high antioxidant activities, namely DPPH radical-scavenging activity, ABTS radical cation inhibition, and ferric reducing/antioxidant power, as well as total phenolic content (TPC). Results showed that the data were adequately fitted into four second-order polynomial models developed by RSM. The extraction time and temperature were found to have significant quadratic effects on antioxidant activities and TPC. The optimal extraction time and temperature were 282.3 min and 42.9°C (DPPH), 393.6 min and 42.9°C (ABTS), 340.4 min and 49.8°C (FRAP), and 347.6 min, 49.7°C (TPC), with corresponding yields of 53.32%, 73.20%, 37.14 mM Fe2+ equivalents/100 g, and 826.33 mg gallic acid equivalents/100 g, respectively. These experimental data were close to their predicted values. The establishment of such a model provides a good experimental basis for employing RSM to optimize the extraction time and temperature for high antioxidant activities from P. ostreatus.
Piroxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug with low aqueous solubility which exhibits polymorphism. The present study was carried out to develop polymorphs of piroxicam with enhanced solubility and dissolution rate by the crystal modification technique using different solvent mixtures prepared with PEG 4000 and PVP K30. Physicochemical characteristics of the modified crystal forms of piroxicam were investigated by X-ray powder diffractometry, FT-IR spectrophotometry and differential scanning calorimetry. Dissolution and solubility profiles of each modified crystal form were studied and compared with pure piroxicam. Solvent evaporation method (method I) produced both needle and cubic shaped crystals. Slow crystallization from ethanol with addition of PEG 4000 or PVP K30 at room temperature (method II) produced cubic crystal forms. Needle forms produced by method I improved dissolution but not solubility. Cubic crystals produced by method I had a dissolution profile similar to that of untreated piroxicam but showed better solubility than untreated piroxicam. Cubic shaped crystals produced by method II showed improved dissolution, without a significant change in solubility. Based on the XRPD results, modified piroxicam crystals obtained by method I from acetone/benzene were cube shaped, which correlates well with the FTIR spectrum; modified needle forms obtained from ethanol/methanol and ethanol/acetone showed a slight shift of FTIR peak that may be attributed to differences in the internal structure or conformation.
A centrifugal compact disc (CD) microfluidic platform with reservoirs, micro-channels, and valves can be employed for implementing a complete immunoassay. Detection or biosensor chambers are either coated for immuno-interaction or a biosensor chip is inserted in them. On microfluidic CDs featuring such multi-step chemical/biological processes, the biosensor chamber must be repeatedly filled with fluids such as enzymes solutions, buffers, and washing solutions. After each filling step, the biosensor chamber needs to be evacuated by a passive siphoning process to prepare it for the next step in the assay. However, rotational speed dependency and limited space on a CD are two big obstacles to performing such repetitive filling and siphoning steps. In this work, a unique thermo-pneumatic (TP) Push-Pull pumping method is employed to provide a superior alternative biosensor chamber filling and evacuation technique. The proposed technique is demonstrated on two CD designs. The first design features a simple two-step microfluidic process to demonstrate the evacuation technique, while the second design shows the filling and evacuation technique with an example sequence for an actual immunoassay. In addition, the performance of the filling and evacuation technique as a washing step is also evaluated quantitatively and compared to the conventional manual bench top washing method. The two designs and the performance evaluation demonstrate that the technique is simple to implement, reliable, easy to control, and allows for repeated push-pulls and thus filling and emptying of the biosensor chamber. Furthermore, by addressing the issue of rotational speed dependency and limited space concerns in implementing repetitive filling and evacuation steps, this newly introduced technique increases the flexibility of the microfluidic CD platform to perform multi-step biological and chemical processes.
As a part of the study to explore the possible strategy for enhancing the shelf life of mango fruits, we investigated the changes in biochemical parameters and activities of ripening associated enzymes of Ashwina hybrid mangoes at 4-day regular intervals during storage at -10°C, 4°C, and 30 ± 1°C. Titratable acidity, vitamin C, starch content, and reducing sugar were higher at unripe state and gradually decreased with the increasing of storage time at all storage temperatures while phenol content, total soluble solid, total sugar, and nonreducing sugar contents gradually increased. The activities of amylase, α-mannosidase, α-glucosidase, and invertase increased sharply within first few days and decreased significantly in the later stage of ripening at 30 ± 1°C. Meanwhile polyphenol oxidase, β-galactosidase, and β-hexosaminidase predominantly increased significantly with the increasing days of storage till later stage of ripening. At -10°C and 4°C, the enzymes as well as carbohydrate contents of storage mango changed slightly up to 4 days and thereafter the enzyme became fully dormant. The results indicated that increase in storage temperature and time correlated with changes in biochemical parameters and activities of glycosidases suggested the suppression of β-galactosidase and β-hexosaminidase might enhance the shelf life of mango fruits.
The design and implementation of a high-speed direct digital frequency synthesizer are presented. A modified Brent-Kung parallel adder is combined with pipelining technique to improve the speed of the system. A gated clock technique is proposed to reduce the number of registers in the phase accumulator design. The quarter wave symmetry technique is used to store only one quarter of the sine wave. The ROM lookup table (LUT) is partitioned into three 4-bit sub-ROMs based on angular decomposition technique and trigonometric identity. Exploiting the advantages of sine-cosine symmetrical attributes together with XOR logic gates, one sub-ROM block can be removed from the design. These techniques, compressed the ROM into 368 bits. The ROM compressed ratio is 534.2:1, with only two adders, two multipliers, and XOR-gates with high frequency resolution of 0.029 Hz. These techniques make the direct digital frequency synthesizer an attractive candidate for wireless communication applications.
The mangrove forests of Southeast Asia are highly biodiverse and provide multiple ecosystem services upon which millions of people depend. Mangroves enhance fisheries and coastal protection, and store among the highest densities of carbon of any ecosystem globally. Mangrove forests have experienced extensive deforestation owing to global demand for commodities, and previous studies have identified the expansion of aquaculture as largely responsible. The proportional conversion of mangroves to different land use types has not been systematically quantified across Southeast Asia, however, particularly in recent years. In this study we apply a combined geographic information system and remote sensing method to quantify the key proximate drivers (i.e., replacement land uses) of mangrove deforestation in Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2012. Mangrove forests were lost at an average rate of 0.18% per year, which is lower than previously published estimates. In total, more than 100,000 ha of mangroves were removed during the study period, with aquaculture accounting for 30% of this total forest change. The rapid expansion of rice agriculture in Myanmar, and the sustained conversion of mangroves to oil palm plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia, are identified as additional increasing and under-recognized threats to mangrove ecosystems. Our study highlights frontiers of mangrove deforestation in the border states of Myanmar, on Borneo, and in Indonesian Papua. To implement policies that conserve mangrove forests across Southeast Asia, it is essential to consider the national and subnational variation in the land uses that follow deforestation.
In the last four years, Malaysia has had three outbreaks of chikungunya virus infection. The first two occurred in Perak in 2006.The third began in Johor in early 2008. The genome of the viruses suggests that on each occasion a different virus was introduced into the population. The first outbreak in Bagan Panchor was due to an Asian genotype virus. The second in the Kinta district of Perak in late 2006 was due to a Central/East African genotype virus. Contact tracing was even able to discover the patient who was the source of the virus from the Indian subcontinent. The third outbreak in Johor was also of a Central/East African strain of virus, but introduced independently. The epidemiology of that outbreak is described in this issue of the MJM.
An outdoor soil burial test was carried out to evaluate the degradation of commercially available LDPE carrier bags in natural soil for up to 2 years. Biodegradability of low density polyethylene films in soil was monitored using both optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). After 7-9 months of soil exposure, microbial colonization was evident on the film surface. Exposed LDPE samples exhibit progressive changes towards degradation after 17-22 months. SEM images reveal signs of degradation such as exfoliation and formation of cracks on film leading to disintegration. The possible degradation mode and consequences on the use and disposal of LDPE films is discussed.
Myospila pudica pudica (Stein, 1915) (Diptera: Muscidae) was recorded for the first time in Malaysia during a forensic entomological study conducted at a forested area of Forensic Science Simulation Site, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor. This species can be differentiated from other species of its genus by having R1 setulose on dorsal surface and R4+5 more or less setulose dorsally and ventrally. The legs, including tarsi, are testaceous yellow and palpi blackish. Lateral and ventral surface of scutellum bare below the level of bristles and the third antennal segment is brownish yellow. Other features including the diverging of inner margin of lower squama from scutellum margin. This is also the first report on the occurence of M. pudica pudica (Stein, 1915) on animal carcass.
The efficacy and residual efficacy of commercial baits, Quick Bayt (0.5% w/w imidacloprid) and Agita (10.0% w/w thiamethoxam) against synanthropic flies were evaluated under field conditions. Efficacy was evaluated based on knockdown percentage (KD %). The bait efficacy and residual efficacy evaluation were conducted for a period of 3 weeks and 6 weeks respectively. Baits were applied onto bait targets and placed on fly-count targets to facilitate the counting of flies. All baits were applied according to the manufacturer's recommended application rate. Three replicate treatments for each type of bait were placed at the study site each week. The number of flies feeding on baits and the knocked down flies were counted and collected. The efficacy of Agita and Quick Bayt did not differ significantly (t-test, P>0.05) over the 3-week period, even though Quick Bayt had a slightly higher KD% than Agita. In the residual efficacy evaluation, the (knockdown) KD% of Quick Bayt was consistent at around 36% for the first five weeks but dropped to 33.8 +/- 0.4% on the sixth week. The KD% for Agita on the first week was 33.6 +/- 12.2% and remained relatively consistent for the first 4 weeks at around 31%. KD% dropped to 16.7 +/- 3.3% on week 5 and to 15.7 +/- 1.2% on week 6. The difference in residual efficacy of the two baits was significant (t-test, p < 0.05).
This study provided data by a simple method of acquiring information related to ambulance response time (ART) and determined whether it met the international standards of ART. Additionally, this paper also compared the duration of ART at this hospital before and after the implementation of an Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) program. The ART, which started when details like phone number of the caller, exact location of the incident and the nature of the main complaint were received and ended when the emergency team arrived at the scene of the incident. The parameters recorded include call processing time, time taken to prepare the team and time taken to travel to the scene. The results of the study revealed that the ART for the university hospital (HUSM) was at 913.2 +/- 276.5 seconds (mean +/- SD) and it was far below the international standard of ART as a benchmark of a good ambulance service. However, the study suggested that the EMD program that was recently implemented at the HUSM gave a significantly improvement to the ART score.
Pneumocephalus or collection of air in the intracranial cavity can occur after trauma or surgery. However, delayed pneumocephalus occurring months after the initial injury is not common. We would like to report a case of spontaneous traumatic pneumoencephalocele presenting with transient recurrent hemiparesis 14 months after the initial trauma.
Ovitrap surveillance was conducted in a selected urban area and suburban area, ie. Taman Permai Indah(TPI) and Kampung Pasir Gebu (KPG) in Penang for 14 months. It was found that Aedes albopictus was the most abundant Aedes species in both study areas, even though a small percentage of Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus were found to breed simultaneously in the same ovitrap. This study indicated that the main dengue vector was Ae. albopictus. A strong correlation was found between rainfall and egg population in both of the study sites (r = 0.982 and r = 0.918).
The dynamics of a periodically delta-kicked Hamiltonian system moving at low speed (i.e., at speed much less than the speed of light) is studied numerically. In particular, the trajectory of the system predicted by Newtonian mechanics is compared with the trajectory predicted by special relativistic mechanics for the same parameters and initial conditions. We find that the Newtonian trajectory, although close to the relativistic trajectory for some time, eventually disagrees completely with the relativistic trajectory, regardless of the nature (chaotic, nonchaotic) of each trajectory. However, the agreement breaks down very fast if either the Newtonian or relativistic trajectory is chaotic, but very much slower if both the Newtonian and relativistic trajectories are nonchaotic. In the former chaotic case, the difference between the Newtonian and relativistic values for both position and momentum grows, on average, exponentially. In the latter nonchaotic case, the difference grows much slower, for example, linearly on average.
We monitored the reproductive status of all trees with diameters at breast height (dbh) >30 cm in a 40-ha plot at Pasoh, west Malaysia, and investigated the individual fecundity of 15 Shorea acuminata Dyer (Dipterocarpaceae) trees using seed-trapping methods during two consecutive general flowering periods in 2001 (GF2001) and 2002 (GF2002). The proportion of flowering trees was higher, and not dependent on size, in GF2002 (84.2%), than in GF2001 (54.5%), when flowering mainly occurred in trees with a dbh < or =70 cm. Fecundity parameters of individual trees per event varied widely (221,000-35,200,000 flowers, 0-139,000 mature seeds, and 1.04-177 kg total dry matter mass of fruit (TDM) per tree). Monotonic increases with increasing tree size were observed for flower production and TDM amongst trees up to 90 cm in dbh, but not for mature seed production or for any of these parameters amongst larger trees. The pattern of reproductive investment during the two consecutive reproductive events clearly differed between medium-sized and large trees; the former concentrated their reproductive investment in one of the reproductive events whereas the latter allocated their investment more evenly to both reproductive events. Our results suggest size-related differences in the resource allocation pattern for reproduction.