Similarity or distance measures are core components used by distance-based clustering algorithms to cluster similar data points into the same clusters, while dissimilar or distant data points are placed into different clusters. The performance of similarity measures is mostly addressed in two or three-dimensional spaces, beyond which, to the best of our knowledge, there is no empirical study that has revealed the behavior of similarity measures when dealing with high-dimensional datasets. To fill this gap, a technical framework is proposed in this study to analyze, compare and benchmark the influence of different similarity measures on the results of distance-based clustering algorithms. For reproducibility purposes, fifteen publicly available datasets were used for this study, and consequently, future distance measures can be evaluated and compared with the results of the measures discussed in this work. These datasets were classified as low and high-dimensional categories to study the performance of each measure against each category. This research should help the research community to identify suitable distance measures for datasets and also to facilitate a comparison and evaluation of the newly proposed similarity or distance measures with traditional ones.
HIV/AIDS remain a major public health concern in Nigeria. People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) face not only personal medical problems but also social problems associated with the disease such as stigma and discriminatory attitudes. This study provides an insight into HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination against PLWHA in Nigeria.
Kojic acid is widely used to inhibit the browning effect of tyrosinase in cosmetic and food industries. In this work, synthesis of kojic monooleate ester (KMO) was carried out using lipase-catalysed esterification of kojic acid and oleic acid in a solvent-free system. Response Surface Methodology (RSM) based on central composite rotatable design (CCRD) was used to optimise the main important reaction variables, such as enzyme amount, reaction temperature, substrate molar ratio, and reaction time along with immobilised lipase from Candida Antarctica (Novozym 435) as a biocatalyst. The RSM data indicated that the reaction temperature was less significant in comparison to other factors for the production of a KMO ester. By using this statistical analysis, a quadratic model was developed in order to correlate the preparation variable to the response (reaction yield). The optimum conditions for the enzymatic synthesis of KMO were as follows: an enzyme amount of 2.0 wt%, reaction temperature of 83.69°C, substrate molar ratio of 1:2.37 (mmole kojic acid:oleic acid) and a reaction time of 300.0 min. Under these conditions, the actual yield percentage obtained was 42.09%, which is comparably well with the maximum predicted value of 44.46%. Under the optimal conditions, Novozym 435 could be reused for 5 cycles for KMO production percentage yield of at least 40%. The results demonstrated that statistical analysis using RSM can be used efficiently to optimise the production of a KMO ester. Moreover, the optimum conditions obtained can be applied to scale-up the process and minimise the cost.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common complication following kidney transplantation (KT), which could result in losing the graft. This study aims to identify the prevalence of bacterial UTI among KT recipients in Yemen and to determine the predisposing factors associated with post renal transplantation UTI. A cross sectional study included of 150 patients, who underwent KT was conducted between June 2010 and January 2011. A Morning mid-stream urine specimen was collected for culture and antibiotic susceptibility test from each recipient. Bacterial UTI was found in 50 patients (33.3%). The prevalence among females 40.3% was higher than males 29%. The UTI was higher in the age group between 41-50 years with a percentage of 28% and this result was statistically significant. Predisposing factors as diabetes mellitus, vesicoureteral reflux, neurogenic bladder and polycystic kidney showed significant association. High relative risks were found for polycystic kidney = 13.5 and neurogenic bladder = 13.5. The most prevalent bacteria to cause UTI was Escherichia coli represent 44%, followed by Staphylococcus saprophyticus 34%. Amikacin was the most effective antibiotic against gram-negative isolates while Ciprofloxacin was the most effective antibiotic against Staphylococcus saprophyticus. In conclusion, there is high prevalence of bacterial UTI among KT recipients in Yemen. Diabetes mellitus, vesicoureteral reflux, neurogenic bladder, polycystic kidney and calculi were the main predisposing factors.
This paper presents the findings of a study on adsorption of dichlorodiphenythreechloroethen (DDT) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on three nanomaterials including Multi walled Carbon Nanotube (MWNT), nano-clay and nano-alumina. DDT and PCBs are of significant concern due their high toxicity and long environmental half-lives. Experiments were conducted using batch adsorption procedures at different DDT and PCBs concentrations, from 10 to 60 mg/L. The amounts of MWNT, nano-clay and Nano-alumina used were 0.25%, 0.50%, 0.75%, 1%, 2% and 10%. The adsorption of PCBs solution onto the MWNT, nano-clay and nano-alumina was characterized by an initial rapid adsorption which eventually became constant within 22, 20, and 17 hours, respectively. The adsorption of DDT solution onto the MWNT, nano-clay and nano-alumina was also characterized by an initial rapid adsorption which gradually became constant within 22, 22 and 16 hours, respectively. Results of this study indicated that MWNT was a better adsorbent material compared to nano-clay and nano-alumina for both contaminants in this study. While at 10% of MWNT 88.9% and 77% of DDT and PCB were removed by MWNT, respectively. The effect of pH and temperature were also investigated.
Transboundary haze episodes caused by seasonal forest fires have become a recurrent phenomenon in Southeast Asia, with serious environmental, economic, and public health implications. Here we present a cross-sectional survey conducted among people in Kuala Lumpur and surrounds to assess the links between knowledge, attitudes, and practices in relation to the transboundary haze episodes. Of 305 respondents, 125 were amateur athletes participating in a duathlon event and the remainder were surveyed in an inner-city shopping mall. Across the whole sample, people who possessed more factual information about the haze phenomenon showed significantly higher levels of concern. Duathletes were more knowledgeable than non-duathletes and also more concerned about the negative effects of haze, especially on health. For all people who regularly practice outdoor sports (including people interviewed at the shopping mall), higher levels of knowledge and concerned attitudes translated into a greater likelihood of engaging in protective practices, such as cancelling their outdoor training sessions, while those with greater knowledge were more likely to check the relevant air pollution index on a daily basis. Our results indicate that the provision of accurate and timely information about air quality to residents will translate into beneficial practices, at least among particularly exposed individuals, such as amateur athletes who regularly practice outdoor sports.
So far many optimization models based on Nash Bargaining Theory associated with reservoir operation have been developed. Most of them have aimed to provide practical and efficient solutions for water allocation in order to alleviate conflicts among water users. These models can be discussed from two viewpoints: (i) having a discrete nature; and (ii) working on an annual basis. Although discrete dynamic game models provide appropriate reservoir operator policies, their discretization of variables increases the run time and causes dimensionality problems. In this study, two monthly based non-discrete optimization models based on the Nash Bargaining Solution are developed for a reservoir system. In the first model, based on constrained state formulation, the first and second moments (mean and variance) of the state variable (water level in the reservoir) is calculated. Using moment equations as the constraint, the long-term utility of the reservoir manager and water users are optimized. The second model is a dynamic approach structured based on continuous state Markov decision models. The corresponding solution based on the collocation method is structured for a reservoir system. In this model, the reward function is defined based on the Nash Bargaining Solution. Indeed, it is used to yield equilibrium in every proper sub-game, thereby satisfying the Markov perfect equilibrium. Both approaches are applicable for water allocation in arid and semi-arid regions. A case study was carried out at the Zayandeh-Rud river basin located in central Iran to identify the effectiveness of the presented methods. The results are compared with the results of an annual form of dynamic game, a classical stochastic dynamic programming model (e.g. Bayesian Stochastic Dynamic Programming model, BSDP), and a discrete stochastic dynamic game model (PSDNG). By comparing the results of alternative methods, it is shown that both models are capable of tackling conflict issues in water allocation in situations of water scarcity properly. Also, comparing the annual dynamic game models, the presented models result in superior results in practice. Furthermore, unlike discrete dynamic game models, the presented models can significantly reduce the runtime thereby avoiding dimensionality problems.
According to recent researches, angle shear connectors are appropriate to transfer longitudinal shear forces across the steel-concrete interface. Angle steel profile has been used in different positions as L-shaped or C-shaped shear connectors. The application of angle shear connectors in tilted positions is of interest in this study. This study investigates the behaviour of tilted-shaped angle shear connectors under monotonic loading using experimental push out tests. Eight push-out specimens are tested to investigate the effects of different angle parameters on the ultimate load capacity of connectors. Two different tilted angles of 112.5 and 135 degrees between the angle leg and steel beam are considered. In addition, angle sizes and lengths are varied. Two different failure modes were observed consisting of concrete crushing-splitting and connector fracture. By increasing the size of connector, the maximum load increased for most cases. In general, the 135 degrees tilted angle shear connectors have a higher strength and stiffness than the 112.5 degrees type.
The temperature dependence of the density, dynamic viscosity and ionic conductivity of several deep eutectic solvents (DESs) containing ammonium-based salts and hydrogen bond donvnors (polyol type) are investigated. The temperature-dependent electrolyte viscosity as a function of molar conductivity is correlated by means of Walden's rule. The oxidation of ferrocene (Fc/Fc+) and reduction of cobaltocenium (Cc+/Cc) at different temperatures are studied by cyclic voltammetry and potential-step chronoamperometry in DESs. For most DESs, chronoamperometric transients are demonstrated to fit an Arrhenius-type relation to give activation energies for the diffusion of redox couples at different temperatures. The temperature dependence of the measured conductivities of DES1 and DES2 are better correlated with the Vogel-Tamman-Fulcher equation. The kinetics of the Fc/Fc+ and Cc+/Cc electrochemical systems have been investigated over a temperature range from 298 to 338 K. The heterogeneous electron transfer rate constant is then calculated at different temperatures by means of a logarithmic analysis. The glycerol-based DES (DES5) appears suitable for further testing in electrochemical energy storage devices.
A novel method is proposed to study the behavior and phase formation of a Si+C compacted pellet under centrifugal acceleration in a hybrid reaction. Si+C as elemental mixture in the form of a pellet is embedded in a centrifugal tube. The pellet assembly and tube are exposed to the sudden thermal energy of a thermite reaction resulted in a hybrid reaction. The hybrid reaction of thermite and Si+C produced unique phases. X-ray diffraction pattern (XRD) as well as microstructural and elemental analyses are then investigated. XRD pattern showed formation of materials with possible electronic and magnetic properties. The cooling rate and the molten particle viscosity mathematical model of the process are meant to assist in understanding the physical and chemical phenomena took place during and after reaction. The results analysis revealed that up to 85% of materials converted into secondary products as ceramics-matrix composite.
Schistosomiasis is one of the most common neglected tropical diseases, especially in the developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America, with Nigeria having the greatest number of cases of schistosomiasis worldwide. This community-based study aims to evaluate the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) regarding schistosomiasis among rural Hausa communities in Kano State, Nigeria.
Lignosus rhinocerotis (Cooke) Ryvarden (tiger milk mushroom) has long been known for its nutritional and medicinal benefits among the local communities in Southeast Asia. However, the molecular and genetic basis of its medicinal and nutraceutical properties at transcriptional level have not been investigated. In this study, the transcriptome of L. rhinocerotis sclerotium, the part with medicinal value, was analyzed using high-throughput Illumina HiSeqTM platform with good sequencing quality and alignment results. A total of 3,673, 117, and 59,649 events of alternative splicing, novel transcripts, and SNP variation were found to enrich its current genome database. A large number of transcripts were expressed and involved in the processing of gene information and carbohydrate metabolism. A few highly expressed genes encoding the cysteine-rich cerato-platanin, hydrophobins, and sugar-binding lectins were identified and their possible roles in L. rhinocerotis were discussed. Genes encoding enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of glucans, six gene clusters encoding four terpene synthases and one each of non-ribosomal peptide synthetase and polyketide synthase, and 109 transcribed cytochrome P450 sequences were also identified in the transcriptome. The data from this study forms a valuable foundation for future research in the exploitation of this mushroom in pharmacological and industrial applications.
Vapor phase transport (VPT) assisted by mixture of methanol and acetone via thermal evaporation of brass (CuZn) was used to prepare un-doped and Al-doped zinc oxide (ZnO) nanostructures (NSs). The structure and morphology were characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). Photoluminescence (PL) properties of un-doped and Al-doped ZnO showed significant changes in the optical properties providing evidence for several types of defects such as zinc interstitials (Zni), oxygen interstitials (Oi), zinc vacancy (Vzn), singly charged zinc vacancy (VZn-), oxygen vacancy (Vo), singly charged oxygen vacancy (Vo+) and oxygen anti-site defects (OZn) in the grown NSs. The Al-doped ZnO NSs have exhibited shifted PL peaks at near band edge (NBE) and red luminescence compared to the un-doped ZnO. The Raman scattering results provided evidence of Al doping into the ZnO NSs due to peak shift from 145 cm-1 to an anomalous peak at 138 cm-1. Presence of enhanced Raman signal at around 274 and 743 cm-1 further confirmed Al in ZnO NSs. The enhanced D and G band in all Al-doped ZnO NSs shows possible functionalization and doping process in ZnO NSs.
BACKGROUND: Mammographic density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer and is highly variable, but, to date, few studies have examined density in Asian women, particularly those in low and middle-income Asian countries where genetic and lifestyle determinants may be significantly different.
METHODS: A total of 1,240 women who attended an opportunistic mammogram screening programme were eligible for analysis. Mammographic density was estimated using a fully-automated thresholding method and differences across ethnic groups were examined using linear regression in 205 randomly selected Chinese women, 138 Malay and 199 Indian women.
RESULTS: Percent density was significantly higher in Chinese women (28.5%; 95% CI 27.0%, 30.0%) compared to Malay (24.2%; 95% CI 22.5%, 26.0%) and Indian (24.3%; 95% CI 22.8%, 25.7%) women (p<0.001), after adjustment for age, BMI, menopausal status, parity and age at first full term pregnancy. Correspondingly, adjusted nondense area was significantly lower in Chinese (72.2cm2; 95% CI 67.9cm2, 76.5cm2) women compared to Malay (92.1cm2; 95% CI 86.9cm2, 97.2cm2) and Indian (97.7cm2; 95% CI 93.4cm2, 101.9cm2) women (p<0.001), but dense area did not differ across the three ethnic groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that higher percent density and lower nondense area reflect the higher incidence of breast cancer in Chinese compared to Malay and Indian women in Malaysia. Known lifestyle determinants of mammographic density do not fully account for the ethnic variations observed in mammographic density in this Asian cohort.
Mycobacterium abscessus group subsp., such as M. massiliense, M. abscessus sensu stricto and M. bolletii, are an environmental organism found in soil, water and other ecological niches, and have been isolated from respiratory tract infection, skin and soft tissue infection, postoperative infection of cosmetic surgery. To determine the unique genetic feature of M. massiliense, we sequenced the complete genome of M. massiliense type strain JCM 15300 (corresponding to CCUG 48898). Comparative genomic analysis was performed among Mycobacterium spp. and among M. abscessus group subspp., showing that additional ß-oxidation-related genes and, notably, the mammalian cell entry (mce) operon were located on a genomic island, M. massiliense Genomic Island 1 (MmGI-1), in M. massiliense. In addition, putative anaerobic respiration system-related genes and additional mycolic acid cyclopropane synthetase-related genes were found uniquely in M. massiliense. Japanese isolates of M. massiliense also frequently possess the MmGI-1 (14/44, approximately 32%) and three unique conserved regions (26/44; approximately 60%, 34/44; approximately 77% and 40/44; approximately 91%), as well as isolates of other countries (Malaysia, France, United Kingdom and United States). The well-conserved genomic island MmGI-1 may play an important role in high growth potential with additional lipid metabolism, extra factors for survival in the environment or synthesis of complex membrane-associated lipids. ORFs on MmGI-1 showed similarities to ORFs of phylogenetically distant M. avium complex (MAC), suggesting that horizontal gene transfer or genetic recombination events might have occurred within MmGI-1 among M. massiliense and MAC.
Tuberculosis (TB) still constitutes a major public health problem in Malaysia. The identification and genotyping based characterization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) isolates causing the disease is important to determine the effectiveness of the control and surveillance programs.
Among numerous artificial intelligence approaches, k-Nearest Neighbor algorithms, genetic algorithms, and artificial neural networks are considered as the most common and effective methods in classification problems in numerous studies. In the present study, the results of the implementation of a novel hybrid feature selection-classification model using the above mentioned methods are presented. The purpose is benefitting from the synergies obtained from combining these technologies for the development of classification models. Such a combination creates an opportunity to invest in the strength of each algorithm, and is an approach to make up for their deficiencies. To develop proposed model, with the aim of obtaining the best array of features, first, feature ranking techniques such as the Fisher's discriminant ratio and class separability criteria were used to prioritize features. Second, the obtained results that included arrays of the top-ranked features were used as the initial population of a genetic algorithm to produce optimum arrays of features. Third, using a modified k-Nearest Neighbor method as well as an improved method of backpropagation neural networks, the classification process was advanced based on optimum arrays of the features selected by genetic algorithms. The performance of the proposed model was compared with thirteen well-known classification models based on seven datasets. Furthermore, the statistical analysis was performed using the Friedman test followed by post-hoc tests. The experimental findings indicated that the novel proposed hybrid model resulted in significantly better classification performance compared with all 13 classification methods. Finally, the performance results of the proposed model was benchmarked against the best ones reported as the state-of-the-art classifiers in terms of classification accuracy for the same data sets. The substantial findings of the comprehensive comparative study revealed that performance of the proposed model in terms of classification accuracy is desirable, promising, and competitive to the existing state-of-the-art classification models.
A natural source of medicine, Enicosanthellum pulchrum is a tropical plant which belongs to the family Annonaceae. In this study, methanol extract from the leaves and stems of this species was evaluated for its gastroprotective potential against mucosal lesions induced by ethanol in rats. Seven groups of rats were assigned, groups 1 and 2 were given Tween 20 (10% v/v) orally. Group 3 was administered omeprazole 20 mg/kg (10% Tween 20) whilst the remaining groups received the leaf and stem extracts at doses of 150 and 300 mg/kg, respectively. After an additional hour, the rats in groups 2-7 received ethanol (95% v/v; 8 mL/kg) orally while group 1 received Tween 20 (10% v/v) instead. Rats were sacrificed after 1 h and their stomachs subjected to further studies. Macroscopically and histologically, group 2 rats showed extremely severe disruption of the gastric mucosa compared to rats pre-treated with the E. pulchrum extracts based on the ulcer index, where remarkable protection was noticed. Meanwhile, a significant percentage of inhibition was shown with the stem extract at 62% (150 mg/kg) and 65% (300 mg/kg), whilst the percentage with the leaf extract at doses of 150 and 300 mg/kg was 63% and 75%, respectively. An increase in mucus content, nitric oxide, glutathione, prostaglandin E2, superoxide dismutase, protein and catalase, and a decrease in malondialdehyde level compared to group 2 were also obtained. Furthermore, immunohistochemical staining of groups 4-7 exhibited down-regulation of Bax and up-regulation of Hsp70 proteins. The methanol extract from the leaves and the stems showed notable gastroprotective potential against ethanol.
The FCGR3 locus encoding the low affinity activating receptor FcγRIII, plays a vital role in immunity triggered by cellular effector and regulatory functions. Copy number of the genes FCGR3A and FCGR3B has previously been reported to affect susceptibility to several autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory conditions. However, such genetic association studies often yield inconsistent results; hence require assays that are robust with low error rate. We investigated the accuracy and efficiency in estimating FCGR3 CNV by comparing Sequenom MassARRAY and paralogue ratio test-restriction enzyme digest variant ratio (PRT-REDVR). In addition, since many genetic association studies of FCGR3B CNV were carried out using real-time quantitative PCR, we have also included the evaluation of that method's performance in estimating the multi-allelic CNV of FCGR3B. The qPCR assay exhibited a considerably broader distribution of signal intensity, potentially introducing error in estimation of copy number and higher false positive rates. Both Sequenom and PRT-REDVR showed lesser systematic bias, but Sequenom skewed towards copy number normal (CN = 2). The discrepancy between Sequenom and PRT-REDVR might be attributed either to batch effects noise in individual measurements. Our study suggests that PRT-REDVR is more robust and accurate in genotyping the CNV of FCGR3, but highlights the needs of multiple independent assays for extensive validation when performing a genetic association study with multi-allelic CNVs.
Separation of proteins based on the physicochemical properties with different molecular weight and isoelectric points would be more accurate. In the current research, the 45-day-old seedlings were treated with 0 (control) and 12 dS m(-1) of sodium chloride in the hydroponic system. After 15 days of salt exposure, the total protein of the fresh leaves and roots was extracted and analyzed using two-dimensional electrophoresis system (2-DE). The analysis led to the detection of 32 induced proteins (19 proteins in leaf and 13 proteins in the root) as well as 12 upregulated proteins (four proteins in leaf and eight proteins in the root) in the salt-treated plants. Of the 44 detected proteins, 12 were sequenced, and three of them matched with superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase and ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate oxygenase whereas the rest remained unknown. The three known proteins associate with plants response to environmental stresses and could represent the general stress proteins in the present study too. In addition, the proteomic feedback of different accessions of A. paniculata to salt stress can potentially be used to breed salt-tolerant varieties of the herb.