Displaying publications 21 - 40 of 1449 in total

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  1. Hora B, Keating SM, Chen Y, Sanchez AM, Sabino E, Hunt G, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0157340.
    PMID: 27314585 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157340
    HIV-1 subtypes and drug resistance are routinely tested by many international surveillance groups. However, results from different sites often vary. A systematic comparison of results from multiple sites is needed to determine whether a standardized protocol is required for consistent and accurate data analysis. A panel of well-characterized HIV-1 isolates (N = 50) from the External Quality Assurance Program Oversight Laboratory (EQAPOL) was assembled for evaluation at seven international sites. This virus panel included seven subtypes, six circulating recombinant forms (CRFs), nine unique recombinant forms (URFs) and three group O viruses. Seven viruses contained 10 major drug resistance mutations (DRMs). HIV-1 isolates were prepared at a concentration of 107 copies/ml and compiled into blinded panels. Subtypes and DRMs were determined with partial or full pol gene sequences by conventional Sanger sequencing and/or Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Subtype and DRM results were reported and decoded for comparison with full-length genome sequences generated by EQAPOL. The partial pol gene was amplified by RT-PCR and sequenced for 89.4%-100% of group M viruses at six sites. Subtyping results of majority of the viruses (83%-97.9%) were correctly determined for the partial pol sequences. All 10 major DRMs in seven isolates were detected at these six sites. The complete pol gene sequence was also obtained by NGS at one site. However, this method missed six group M viruses and sequences contained host chromosome fragments. Three group O viruses were only characterized with additional group O-specific RT-PCR primers employed by one site. These results indicate that PCR protocols and subtyping tools should be standardized to efficiently amplify diverse viruses and more consistently assign virus genotypes, which is critical for accurate global subtype and drug resistance surveillance. Targeted NGS analysis of partial pol sequences can serve as an alternative approach, especially for detection of low-abundance DRMs.
  2. Liew KJ, Ramli A, Abd Majid A
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156724.
    PMID: 27315105 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156724
    This paper examines the application of a bootstrap test error estimation of radial basis functions, specifically thin-plate spline fitting, in surface smoothing. The presence of noisy data is a common issue of the point set model that is generated from 3D scanning devices, and hence, point set denoising is one of the main concerns in point set modelling. Bootstrap test error estimation, which is applied when searching for the smoothing parameters of radial basis functions, is revisited. The main contribution of this paper is a smoothing algorithm that relies on a bootstrap-based radial basis function. The proposed method incorporates a k-nearest neighbour search and then projects the point set to the approximated thin-plate spline surface. Therefore, the denoising process is achieved, and the features are well preserved. A comparison of the proposed method with other smoothing methods is also carried out in this study.
  3. Velusamy P, Su CH, Venkat Kumar G, Adhikary S, Pandian K, Gopinath SC, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0157612.
    PMID: 27304672 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157612
    In the current study, facile synthesis of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and sodium alginate capped silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was examined using microwave radiation and aniline as a reducing agent. The biopolymer matrix embedded nanoparticles were synthesized under various experimental conditions using different concentrations of biopolymer (0.5, 1, 1.5, 2%), volumes of reducing agent (50, 100, 150 μL), and duration of heat treatment (30 s to 240 s). The synthesized nanoparticles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy for identification of AgNPs synthesis, crystal nature, shape, size, and type of capping action. In addition, the significant antibacterial efficacy and antibiofilm activity of biopolymer capped AgNPs were demonstrated against different bacterial strains, Staphylococcus aureus MTCC 740 and Escherichia coli MTCC 9492. These results confirmed the potential for production of biopolymer capped AgNPs grown under microwave irradiation, which can be used for industrial and biomedical applications.
  4. N Ahmed M, Abdullah AH, Kaiwartya O
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156885.
    PMID: 27285146 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156885
    Due to the continuous advancements in wireless communication in terms of quality of communication and affordability of the technology, the application area of Mobile Adhoc Networks (MANETs) significantly growing particularly in military and disaster management. Considering the sensitivity of the application areas, security in terms of detection of Denial of Service (DoS) and intrusion has become prime concern in research and development in the area. The security systems suggested in the past has state recognition problem where the system is not able to accurately identify the actual state of the network nodes due to the absence of clear definition of states of the nodes. In this context, this paper proposes a framework based on Finite State Machine (FSM) for denial of service and intrusion detection in MANETs. In particular, an Interruption Detection system for Adhoc On-demand Distance Vector (ID-AODV) protocol is presented based on finite state machine. The packet dropping and sequence number attacks are closely investigated and detection systems for both types of attacks are designed. The major functional modules of ID-AODV includes network monitoring system, finite state machine and attack detection model. Simulations are carried out in network simulator NS-2 to evaluate the performance of the proposed framework. A comparative evaluation of the performance is also performed with the state-of-the-art techniques: RIDAN and AODV. The performance evaluations attest the benefits of proposed framework in terms of providing better security for denial of service and intrusion detection attacks.
  5. Liew TS, Schilthuizen M
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0157069.
    PMID: 27280463 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157069
    Quantitative analysis of organismal form is an important component for almost every branch of biology. Although generally considered an easily-measurable structure, the quantification of gastropod shell form is still a challenge because many shells lack homologous structures and have a spiral form that is difficult to capture with linear measurements. In view of this, we adopt the idea of theoretical modelling of shell form, in which the shell form is the product of aperture ontogeny profiles in terms of aperture growth trajectory that is quantified as curvature and torsion, and of aperture form that is represented by size and shape. We develop a workflow for the analysis of shell forms based on the aperture ontogeny profile, starting from the procedure of data preparation (retopologising the shell model), via data acquisition (calculation of aperture growth trajectory, aperture form and ontogeny axis), and data presentation (qualitative comparison between shell forms) and ending with data analysis (quantitative comparison between shell forms). We evaluate our methods on representative shells of the genera Opisthostoma and Plectostoma, which exhibit great variability in shell form. The outcome suggests that our method is a robust, reproducible, and versatile approach for the analysis of shell form. Finally, we propose several potential applications of our methods in functional morphology, theoretical modelling, taxonomy, and evolutionary biology.
  6. Kuan CS, Ismail R, Kwan Z, Yew SM, Yeo SK, Chan CL, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156119.
    PMID: 27280438 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156119
    A yeast-like organism was isolated from the skin scraping sample of a stasis dermatitis patient in the Mycology Unit Department of Medical Microbiology, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The isolate produced no pigment and was not identifiable using chromogenic agar and API 20C AUX. The fungus was identified as Metschnikowia sp. strain UM 1034, which is close to that of Metschnikowia drosophilae based on ITS- and D1/D2 domain-based phylogenetic analysis. However, the physiology of the strain was not associated to M. drosophilae. This pathogen exhibited low sensitivity to all tested azoles, echinocandins, 5-flucytosine and amphotericin B. This study provided insight into Metschnikowia sp. strain UM 1034 phenotype profiles using a Biolog phenotypic microarray (PM). The isolate utilized 373 nutrients of 760 nutrient sources and could adapt to a broad range of osmotic and pH environments. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the isolation of Metschnikowia non-pulcherrima sp. from skin scraping, revealing this rare yeast species as a potential human pathogen that may be misidentified as Candida sp. using conventional methods. Metschnikowia sp. strain UM 1034 can survive in flexible and diverse environments with a generalist lifestyle.
  7. Abdul Manaf MR, Mustafa M, Abdul Rahman MR, Yusof KH, Abd Aziz NA
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156937.
    PMID: 27280529 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156937
    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Mental health problems are common in old age, but frequently remain undetected and untreated. Mental health problems in the elderly are the result of a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of mental health problems (depression, anxiety, and emotional stress) and their associated factors among the Malay elderly in a rural community of Perak, Malaysia.

    METHODS: It was a cross-sectional study. The Malay elderly aged 60 years and above were selected through convenient sampling to give a total of 230 respondents. The Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21) was used to assess the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Bivariate analyses were performed using chi-square tests and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the association between the factors and each of the mental health statuses assessed.

    RESULTS: The results showed that the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress among the elderly respondents was 27.8%, 22.6%, and 8.7%, respectively. The significant factors for depression were single elderly (Adjusted OR = 3.27, 95%CI 1.66, 6.44), living with family (Adjusted OR = 4.98, 95%CI 2.05, 12.10), and poor general health status (Adjusted OR = 2.28, 95%CI 1.20, 4.36). Living with family was the only significant factor for anxiety (Adjusted OR = 2.68, 95%CI 1.09, 6.57). There was no significant factor for stress.

    CONCLUSIONS: Depression and anxiety among the Malay elderly in the rural community were very worrying. More equity in health should be created or strengthened in order to intensify the opportunity to identify, diagnose, and treat those with mental health problems. Living arrangement in the rural community was an important factor that had influenced depression and anxiety. Therefore, further research is recommended for more comprehensive information, as a result of which appropriate intervention can be made.

  8. Abram NK, MacMillan DC, Xofis P, Ancrenaz M, Tzanopoulos J, Ong R, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156481.
    PMID: 27276218 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156481
    Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) aims to avoid forest conversion to alternative land-uses through financial incentives. Oil-palm has high opportunity costs, which according to current literature questions the financial competitiveness of REDD+ in tropical lowlands. To understand this more, we undertook regional fine-scale and coarse-scale analyses (through carbon mapping and economic modelling) to assess the financial viability of REDD+ in safeguarding unprotected forest (30,173 ha) in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain in Malaysian Borneo. Results estimate 4.7 million metric tons of carbon (MgC) in unprotected forest, with 64% allocated for oil-palm cultivations. Through fine-scale mapping and carbon accounting, we demonstrated that REDD+ can outcompete oil-palm in regions with low suitability, with low carbon prices and low carbon stock. In areas with medium oil-palm suitability, REDD+ could outcompete oil palm in areas with: very high carbon and lower carbon price; medium carbon price and average carbon stock; or, low carbon stock and high carbon price. Areas with high oil palm suitability, REDD+ could only outcompete with higher carbon price and higher carbon stock. In the coarse-scale model, oil-palm outcompeted REDD+ in all cases. For the fine-scale models at the landscape level, low carbon offset prices (US $3 MgCO2e) would enable REDD+ to outcompete oil-palm in 55% of the unprotected forests requiring US $27 million to secure these areas for 25 years. Higher carbon offset price (US $30 MgCO2e) would increase the competitiveness of REDD+ within the landscape but would still only capture between 69%-74% of the unprotected forest, requiring US $380-416 million in carbon financing. REDD+ has been identified as a strategy to mitigate climate change by many countries (including Malaysia). Although REDD+ in certain scenarios cannot outcompete oil palm, this research contributes to the global REDD+ debate by: highlighting REDD+ competitiveness in tropical floodplain landscapes; and, providing a robust approach for identifying and targeting limited REDD+ funds.
  9. Nazarbahjat N, Kadir FA, Ariffin A, Abdulla MA, Abdullah Z, Yehye WA
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156022.
    PMID: 27272221 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156022
    A series of new 2-(ethylthio)benzohydrazone derivatives (1-6) were prepared and characterised by IR, 1H NMR, and 13C NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. The newly prepared compounds were screened for their in vitro antioxidant activities using free radical scavenging 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assays. Among them, most powerful antioxidant, compound 1 has been selected in order to illustrate anti-ulcer effect on ethanol-induced gastric mucosal lesions in rats. Four groups of Sprague Dawley rats were respectively treated with 10% Tween 20 as ulcer control group, 20 mg/kg omeprazole as reference group, 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg compound 1 as experimental animals. Macroscopically, ulcer control group showed extensive hemorrhagic lesions of gastric mucosa compared with omeprazole or compound 1. Rats pre-treated with compound 1 showed increased in gastric pH and gastric mucus. Histologically, ulcer control group showed severe damage to gastric mucosa with edema and leucocytes infiltration of submucosal layer. In immunohistochemical analysis, rats which were pre-treated with compound 1 showed up-regulation of HSP70 and down-regulation of Bax proteins. In conclusion, the gastroprotective effect of compound 1 may be due to its antioxidant activity, and/or due to up-regulation of HSP70 and down-regulation of Bax protein in stained tissue section.
  10. Abu Bakar SA, Nadarajah S, Absl Kamarul Adzhar ZA, Mohamed I
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156537.
    PMID: 27272043 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156537
    In this paper, we introduce the R package gendist that computes the probability density function, the cumulative distribution function, the quantile function and generates random values for several generated probability distribution models including the mixture model, the composite model, the folded model, the skewed symmetric model and the arc tan model. These models are extensively used in the literature and the R functions provided here are flexible enough to accommodate various univariate distributions found in other R packages. We also show its applications in graphing, estimation, simulation and risk measurements.
  11. Jaber AA, Khan AH, Syed Sulaiman SA, Ahmad N, Anaam MS
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156258.
    PMID: 27257990 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156258
    BACKGROUND: The health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of Tuberculosis (TB) patients is important because it directly influences the outcome of TB patients in several aspects. The current study aims to evaluate and to find the factors influencing the HRQoL of TB patients in two major TB-prevalent cities (Taiz and Alhodidah) in Yemen.

    METHODS: A prospective study was conducted, and all TB patients meeting the HRQoL criteria were asked to complete the HRQoL SF-36 survey. The records of TB patients were examined for disease confirmation, and a follow-up was consequently performed for patients during treatment between March 2013 and February 2014 in Taiz and Alhodidah Cities. HRQol scores were calculated by using QM scoring software version 4.5, in which the physical component score (PCS) and mental component score (MCS) were obtained. The scores obtained between 47-53 normal based score (NBS) were considered equivalent to the US normal score. Low scores indicate the poor health situation of TB patients.

    RESULTS: A total of 243 TB patients enrolled in the study at the beginning of the treatment. A total of 235 and 197 TB patients completed the questionnaire at the end of the intensive phase (I.P.) and continuation phase (C.P.), respectively. The final dropout rate was 16.2%. The mean PCS and MCS scores at the beginning of treatment were low, thus showing the poor health situation of TB patients. The mean PCS scores at the beginning of treatment, end of I.P., and end of treatment were (36.1), (44.9), and (48), respectively. Moreover, the mean MCS score at the beginning of treatment, end of I.P., and end of treatment were (35.1), (42.2), and (44.3), respectively. The result shows that significant increases are observed at the end of I.P. for PCS and MCS because of the treatment and slight changes at the end of C.P. Despite this finding, the MCS score remains below the normal range (47), thus indicating a significant risk of depression among TB patients. Furthermore, general linear repeated measure ANOVA was performed for selected variables, to examine the changes of PCS and MCS over time. It was found that Alhodiah city, chewing khat habit, stigmatization, and duration of treatment more than six months were greatly associated with low mean MCS score of TB patient, indicating great risk of depression which may result in poor treatment outcome.

    CONCLUSION: TB patients in Yemen were found to have poor QoL, with a significant likelihood of depression. Highly risk depression was found among TB patients in Alhodiah city, khat chewers, stigmatization and having a duration of treatment more than 6 months. Therefore, additional efforts should be made to improve their QoL because it may affect the final clinical outcome of patients.

  12. Al-Medhwahi M, Hashim F, Ali BM, Sali A
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156880.
    PMID: 27257964 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156880
    The rapid expansion of wireless monitoring and surveillance applications in several domains reinforces the trend of exploiting emerging technologies such as the cognitive radio. However, these technologies have to adjust their working concepts to consider the common characteristics of conventional wireless sensor networks (WSNs). The cognitive radio sensor network (CRSN), still an immature technology, has to deal with new networks that might have different types of data, traffic patterns, or quality of service (QoS) requirements. In this paper, we design and model a new cognitive radio-based medium access control (MAC) algorithm dealing with the heterogeneous nature of the developed networks in terms of either the traffic pattern or the required QoS for the node applications. The proposed algorithm decreases the consumed power on several fronts, provides satisfactory levels of latency and spectrum utilization with efficient scheduling, and manages the radio resources for various traffic conditions. An intensive performance evaluation is conducted to study the impact of key parameters such as the channel idle time length, node density, and the number of available channels. The performance evaluation of the proposed algorithm shows a better performance than the comparable protocols. Moreover, the results manifest that the proposed algorithm is suitable for real time monitoring applications.
  13. Al-Nahari A, Mohamad MM
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156670.
    PMID: 27258013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156670
    Decreasing the route rediscovery time process in reactive routing protocols is challenging in mobile ad hoc networks. Links between nodes are continuously established and broken because of the characteristics of the network. Finding multiple routes to increase the reliability is also important but requires a fast update, especially in high traffic load and high mobility where paths can be broken as well. The sender node keeps re-establishing path discovery to find new paths, which makes for long time delay. In this paper we propose an improved multipath routing protocol, called Receiver-based ad hoc on demand multipath routing protocol (RB-AOMDV), which takes advantage of the reliability of the state of the art ad hoc on demand multipath distance vector (AOMDV) protocol with less re-established discovery time. The receiver node assumes the role of discovering paths when finding data packets that have not been received after a period of time. Simulation results show the delay and delivery ratio performances are improved compared with AOMDV.
  14. Rosli R, Ming LC, Abd Aziz N, Manan MM
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0155385.
    PMID: 27249414 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155385
    BACKGROUND: Spontaneous reporting on adverse drug reactions (ADR) has been established in Malaysia since 1987, and although these reports are monitored by the Malaysia drug monitoring authority, the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau, information about ADRs in the paediatric patient population still remains unexplored. The aims of this study, therefore, were to characterize the ADRs reported in respect to the Malaysian paediatric population and to relate the data to specific paediatric age groups.

    METHODS: Data on all ADRs reported to the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau between 2000 and 2013 for individuals aged from birth to 17 years old were analysed with respect to age and gender, type of reporter, suspected medicines (using the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification), category of ADR (according to system organ class) as well as the severity of the ADR.

    RESULTS: In total, 11,523 ADR reports corresponding to 22,237 ADRs were analysed, with half of these reporting one ADR per report. Vaccines comprised 55.7% of the 11,523 ADR reports with the remaining being drug related ADRs. Overall, 63.9% of ADRs were reported for paediatric patients between 12 and 17 years of age, with the majority of ADRs reported in females (70.7%). The most common ADRs reported were from the following system organ classes: application site disorders (32.2%), skin and appendages disorders (20.6%), body as a whole general disorders (12.8%) and central and peripheral nervous system disorders (11.2%). Meanwhile, ADRs in respect to anti-infectives for systemic use (2194/5106; 43.0%) were the most frequently reported across all age groups, followed by drugs from the nervous system (1095/5106; 21.4%). Only 0.28% of the ADR cases were reported as fatal. A large proportion of the reports were received from healthcare providers in government health facilities.

    DISCUSSION: ADR reports concerning vaccines and anti-infectives were the most commonly reported in children, and are mainly seen in adolescents, with most of the ADRs manifesting in skin reactions. The majority of the ADR reports were received from nurses in the public sector, reporting ADRs associated with vaccine administration. The low fatality rate of ADR cases reported could potentially be caused by reporting bias due to the very low reporting percentage from the private healthcare institutions. This study indicates that ADR rates among Malaysian children are higher than in developed countries. Constant ADR reporting and monitoring, especially in respect to paediatric patients, should be undertaken to ensure their safety.

  15. Chan Phooi M'ng J, Mehralizadeh M
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156338.
    PMID: 27248692 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156338
    The motivation behind this research is to innovatively combine new methods like wavelet, principal component analysis (PCA), and artificial neural network (ANN) approaches to analyze trade in today's increasingly difficult and volatile financial futures markets. The main focus of this study is to facilitate forecasting by using an enhanced denoising process on market data, taken as a multivariate signal, in order to deduct the same noise from the open-high-low-close signal of a market. This research offers evidence on the predictive ability and the profitability of abnormal returns of a new hybrid forecasting model using Wavelet-PCA denoising and ANN (named WPCA-NN) on futures contracts of Hong Kong's Hang Seng futures, Japan's NIKKEI 225 futures, Singapore's MSCI futures, South Korea's KOSPI 200 futures, and Taiwan's TAIEX futures from 2005 to 2014. Using a host of technical analysis indicators consisting of RSI, MACD, MACD Signal, Stochastic Fast %K, Stochastic Slow %K, Stochastic %D, and Ultimate Oscillator, empirical results show that the annual mean returns of WPCA-NN are more than the threshold buy-and-hold for the validation, test, and evaluation periods; this is inconsistent with the traditional random walk hypothesis, which insists that mechanical rules cannot outperform the threshold buy-and-hold. The findings, however, are consistent with literature that advocates technical analysis.
  16. Heydari M, Othman F, Taghieh M
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156276.
    PMID: 27248152 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156276
    Optimal operation of water resources in multiple and multipurpose reservoirs is very complicated. This is because of the number of dams, each dam's location (Series and parallel), conflict in objectives and the stochastic nature of the inflow of water in the system. In this paper, performance optimization of the system of Karun and Dez reservoir dams have been studied and investigated with the purposes of hydroelectric energy generation and providing water demand in 6 dams. On the Karun River, 5 dams have been built in the series arrangements, and the Dez dam has been built parallel to those 5 dams. One of the main achievements in this research is the implementation of the structure of production of hydroelectric energy as a function of matrix in MATLAB software. The results show that the role of objective function structure for generating hydroelectric energy in weighting method algorithm is more important than water supply. Nonetheless by implementing ε- constraint method algorithm, we can both increase hydroelectric power generation and supply around 85% of agricultural and industrial demands.
  17. Fransen HP, Peeters PH, Beulens JW, Boer JM, de Wit GA, Onland-Moret NC, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0156609.
    PMID: 27244088 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156609
    BACKGROUND: A healthy diet is important for normal growth and development. Exposure to undernutrition during important developmental periods such as childhood and adolescence can have effects later in life. Inhabitants of the west of the Netherlands were exposed to severe undernutrition during the famine in the last winter of the second World War (1944-1945).

    OBJECTIVE: We investigated if exposure of women to the Dutch famine during childhood and adolescence was associated with an unhealthy lifestyle later in life.

    DESIGN: We studied 7,525 women from the Prospect-EPIC cohort, recruited in 1993-97 and aged 0-18 years during the Dutch famine. An individual famine score was calculated based on self-reported information about experience of hunger and weight loss. We investigated the association between famine exposure in early life and four lifestyle factors in adulthood: smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity level and a Mediterranean-style diet.

    RESULTS: Of the 7,525 included women, 46% were unexposed, 38% moderately exposed and 16% severely exposed to the Dutch famine. Moderately and severely exposed women were more often former or current smokers compared to women that did not suffer from the famine: adjusted prevalence ratio 1.10 (95% CI: 1.05; 1.14) and 1.18 (1.12; 1.25), respectively. They also smoked more pack years than unexposed women. Severely exposed women were more often physically inactive than unexposed women, adjusted prevalence ratio 1.32 (1.06; 1.64). Results did not differ between exposure age categories (0-9 and 10-17 years). We found no associations of famine exposure with alcohol consumption and no dose-dependent relations with diet.

    CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to famine early in female life may be associated with higher prevalence of smoking and physical inactivity later in life, but not with unhealthy diet and alcohol consumption.

  18. Heinrichs J, Scheben A, Bechteler J, Lee GE, Schäfer-Verwimp A, Hedenäs L, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0156301.
    PMID: 27244582 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156301
    Cambay amber originates from the warmest period of the Eocene, which is also well known for the appearance of early angiosperm-dominated megathermal forests. The humid climate of these forests may have triggered the evolution of epiphytic lineages of bryophytes; however, early Eocene fossils of bryophytes are rare. Here, we present evidence for lejeuneoid liverworts and pleurocarpous mosses in Cambay amber. The preserved morphology of the moss fossil is inconclusive for a detailed taxonomic treatment. The liverwort fossil is, however, distinctive; its zig-zagged stems, suberect complicate-bilobed leaves, large leaf lobules, and small, deeply bifid underleaves suggest a member of Lejeuneaceae subtribe Lejeuneinae (Harpalejeunea, Lejeunea, Microlejeunea). We tested alternative classification possibilities by conducting divergence time estimates based on DNA sequence variation of Lejeuneinae using the age of the fossil for corresponding age constraints. Consideration of the fossil as a stem group member of Microlejeunea or Lejeunea resulted in an Eocene to Late Cretaceous age of the Lejeuneinae crown group. This reconstruction is in good accordance with published divergence time estimates generated without the newly presented fossil evidence. Balancing available evidence, we describe the liverwort fossil as the extinct species Microlejeunea nyiahae, representing the oldest crown group fossil of Lejeuneaceae.
  19. Al-Majedy YK, Al-Amiery AA, Kadhum AA, Mohamad AB
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0156625.
    PMID: 27243231 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156625
    The synthesis of derivatives of 4-Methylumbelliferone (4-MUs), which are structurally interesting antioxidants, was performed in this study. The modification of 4-Methylumbelliferone (4-MU) by different reaction steps was performed to yield the target compounds, the 4-MUs. The 4-MUs were characterized by different spectroscopic techniques (Fourier transform infrared; FT-IR and Nuclear magnetic resonance; NMR) and micro-elemental analysis (CHNS). The in vitro antioxidant activity of the 4-MUs was evaluated in terms of their free radical scavenging activities against 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), Nitric oxide radical scavenging activity assay, chelating activity and their (FRAP) ferric-reducing antioxidant power, which were compared with a standard antioxidant. Our results reveal that the 4-MUs exhibit excellent radical scavenging activities. The antioxidant mechanisms of the 4-MUs were also studied. Density Function Theory (DFT)-based quantum chemical studies were performed with the basis set at 3-21G. Molecular models of the synthesized compounds were studied to understand the antioxidant activity. The electron levels, namely HOMO (highest occupied molecular orbital) and LUMO (lowest unoccupied molecular orbital), for these synthesized antioxidants were also studied.
  20. Hematpoor A, Liew SY, Chong WL, Azirun MS, Lee VS, Awang K
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0155265.
    PMID: 27152416 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155265
    Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus are vectors of dengue fever and West Nile virus diseases. This study was conducted to determine the toxicity, mechanism of action and the binding interaction of three active phenylpropanoids from Piper sarmentosum (Piperaceae) toward late 3rd or early 4th larvae of above vectors. A bioassay guided-fractionation on the hexane extract from the roots of Piper sarmentosum led to the isolation and identification of three active phenylpropanoids; asaricin 1, isoasarone 2 and trans-asarone 3. The current study involved evaluation of the toxicity and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition of these compounds against Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus larvae. Asaricin 1 and isoasarone 2 were highly potent against Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus larvae causing up to 100% mortality at ≤ 15 μg/mL concentration. The ovicidal activity of asaricin 1, isoasarone 2 and trans-asarone 3 were evaluated through egg hatching. Asaricin 1 and isoasarone 2 showed potent ovicidal activity. Ovicidal activity for both compounds was up to 95% at 25μg/mL. Asaricin 1 and isoasarone 2 showed strong inhibition on acetylcholinesterase with relative IC50 values of 0.73 to 1.87 μg/mL respectively. These findings coupled with the high AChE inhibition may suggest that asaricin 1 and isoasarone 2 are neuron toxic compounds toward Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus. Further computational docking with Autodock Vina elaborates the possible interaction of asaricin 1 and isoasarone 2 with three possible binding sites of AChE which includes catalytic triads (CAS: S238, E367, H480), the peripheral sites (PAS: E72, W271) and anionic binding site (W83). The binding affinity of asaricin 1 and isoasarone 2 were relatively strong with asaricin 1 showed a higher binding affinity in the anionic pocket.
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