Displaying publications 81 - 100 of 1398 in total

  1. Shah I, Adnan R, Wan Ngah WS, Mohamed N
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(4):e0122603.
    PMID: 25849291 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122603
    In this study, iron impregnated activated carbon (FeAC) was synthesized following an oxidation and iron impregnation of activated carbon (AC). Both the AC and FeAC were characterized by pHZPC and FTIR spectroscopy. The removal of Methylene Blue (MB) by AC and FeAC was examined under various experimental conditions. The FeAC showed up to 95% (higher than AC) MB removal in the pH range of 7-10. Although the reaction kinetics was pseudo-second order, the overall rate was controlled by a number of processes such as film diffusion, pore diffusion and intraparticle diffusion. The activation energy values for the MB uptake by AC and FeAC (21.79 and 14.82 kJ/mol, respectively) revealed a physisorption process. In the regeneration study, FeAC has shown consistently ≥ 90% MB removal even up to 10 repeated cycles. The reusable characteristic of the spent FeAC improved the practical use of activated carbon and can be a breakthrough for continuous flow system applications where it can work effectively without any significant reduction in its performance.
  2. Watabe M, Kato TA, Teo AR, Horikawa H, Tateno M, Hayakawa K, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0120183.
    PMID: 25836972 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120183
    Maladaptive social interaction and its related psychopathology have been highlighted in psychiatry especially among younger generations. In Japan, novel expressive forms of psychiatric phenomena such as "modern-type depression" and "hikikomori" (a syndrome of severe social withdrawal lasting for at least six months) have been reported especially among young people. Economic games such as the trust game have been utilized to evaluate real-world interpersonal relationships as a novel candidate for psychiatric evaluations. To investigate the relationship between trusting behaviors and various psychometric scales, we conducted a trust game experiment with eighty-one Japanese university students as a pilot study. Participants made a risky financial decision about whether to trust each of 40 photographed partners. Participants then answered a set of questionnaires with seven scales including the Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS)-6 and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9. Consistent with previous research, male participants trusted partners more than female participants. Regression analysis revealed that LSNS-family (perceived support from family) for male participants, and item 8 of PHQ-9 (subjective agitation and/or retardation) for female participants were associated with participants' trusting behaviors. Consistent with claims by social scientists, our data suggest that, for males, support from family was negatively associated with cooperative behavior toward non-family members. Females with higher subjective agitation (and/or retardation) gave less money toward males and high attractive females, but not toward low attractive females in interpersonal relationships. We believe that our data indicate the possible impact of economic games in psychiatric research and clinical practice, and validation in clinical samples including modern-type depression and hikikomori should be investigated.
  3. Wong LP, Shakir SM, Atefi N, AbuBakar S
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(4):e0122890.
    PMID: 25836366 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122890
    Efforts to stamp dengue in many dengue endemic countries has met little success. There is a need to re-examine and understand how the public at large view the dengue prevention efforts. This study aimed to examine the demographic factors, theoretical constructs of the Health Belief Model and knowledge about dengue and how these influence the practice of dengue prevention.
  4. Yap TW, Chan WK, Leow AH, Azmi AN, Loke MF, Vadivelu J, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0121908.
    PMID: 25799401 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121908
    BACKGROUND: Celiac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated disorder induced by the ingestion of gluten in genetically susceptible persons. The prevalence of CD in Malaysia is unknown. We aim to determine the seroprevalence of CD antibodies and also investigate the correlation between H. pylori infection and CD in the young and healthy multiracial Malaysian population.

    METHODS: Healthy young adult volunteers between the ages of 18-30 years were consecutively recruited from June 2012 to May 2014 at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur. Serum samples from all the participants were tested for anti-gliadin antibody immunoglobulin A/immunoglobulin G (IgA/IgG) and anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG) IgA/IgG. Samples positive for both anti-gliadin and anti-tTG were further validated for anti-human endomysial IgA antibodies (EmA). Serological diagnosis of CD was made when anti-gliadin, anti-tTG and anti-EmA were positive.

    RESULTS: 562 qualified participants with mean age 24 ± 2.4 years old were recruited into our study. CD was found in 7 participants where most of them were asymptomatic and unaware of their CD status. The median of anti-gliadin and anti-tTG IgA/IgG value was 38.2 U/ml (interquartile range, 28.3-60.4 U/ml) and 49.2 U/ml (interquartile range, 41.1-65.9 U/ml), respectively. Seroprevalence of CD antibodies was 1.9% (6 out of 324) in female while only 0.4% (1 out of 238) in male. Seroprevalence among Malay was 0.8% (2 of 236), Chinese was 1.7% (3 of 177) and Indian was 1.3% (2 of 149). Overall, seroprevalence of CD antibodies in healthy asymptomatic adults in the Malaysian population was 1.25% (95% CI, 0.78%-1.72%). No significant relationship was discovered between CD and H. pylori infection.

    CONCLUSIONS: The seroprevalence of CD antibodies in healthy young adults in the Malaysian population was 1.25% (1 in 100). CD is underdiagnosed and it could be a much greater problem in Malaysia than previously thought.

  5. Babar MI, Ghazali M, Jawawi DN, Bin Zaheer K
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0121344.
    PMID: 25799490 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121344
    Value-based requirements engineering plays a vital role in the development of value-based software (VBS). Stakeholders are the key players in the requirements engineering process, and the selection of critical stakeholders for the VBS systems is highly desirable. Based on the stakeholder requirements, the innovative or value-based idea is realized. The quality of the VBS system is associated with the concrete set of valuable requirements, and the valuable requirements can only be obtained if all the relevant valuable stakeholders participate in the requirements elicitation phase. The existing value-based approaches focus on the design of the VBS systems. However, the focus on the valuable stakeholders and requirements is inadequate. The current stakeholder identification and quantification (SIQ) approaches are neither state-of-the-art nor systematic for the VBS systems. The existing approaches are time-consuming, complex and inconsistent which makes the initiation process difficult. Moreover, the main motivation of this research is that the existing SIQ approaches do not provide the low level implementation details for SIQ initiation and stakeholder metrics for quantification. Hence, keeping in view the existing SIQ problems, this research contributes in the form of a new SIQ framework called 'StakeMeter'. The StakeMeter framework is verified and validated through case studies. The proposed framework provides low-level implementation guidelines, attributes, metrics, quantification criteria and application procedure as compared to the other methods. The proposed framework solves the issues of stakeholder quantification or prioritization, higher time consumption, complexity, and process initiation. The framework helps in the selection of highly critical stakeholders for the VBS systems with less judgmental error.
  6. Muthusamy H, Polat K, Yaacob S
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0120344.
    PMID: 25799141 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120344
    In the recent years, many research works have been published using speech related features for speech emotion recognition, however, recent studies show that there is a strong correlation between emotional states and glottal features. In this work, Mel-frequency cepstralcoefficients (MFCCs), linear predictive cepstral coefficients (LPCCs), perceptual linear predictive (PLP) features, gammatone filter outputs, timbral texture features, stationary wavelet transform based timbral texture features and relative wavelet packet energy and entropy features were extracted from the emotional speech (ES) signals and its glottal waveforms(GW). Particle swarm optimization based clustering (PSOC) and wrapper based particle swarm optimization (WPSO) were proposed to enhance the discerning ability of the features and to select the discriminating features respectively. Three different emotional speech databases were utilized to gauge the proposed method. Extreme learning machine (ELM) was employed to classify the different types of emotions. Different experiments were conducted and the results show that the proposed method significantly improves the speech emotion recognition performance compared to previous works published in the literature.
  7. Abubakr A, Alimon AR, Yaakub H, Abdullah N, Ivan M
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0119756.
    PMID: 25789610 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119756
    The present study aims to evaluate the effects of feeding palm oil by-products based diets on different muscle fatty acid profiles in goats. Thirty-two Cacang × Boer goats were randomly assigned to four dietary treatments: (1) control diet (CD), (2) 80% decanter cake diet (DCD), (3) 80% palm kernel cake diet (PKCD) and (4) CD plus 5% palm oil (PO) supplemented diet (CPOD). After 100 days of feeding, four goats from each group were slaughtered and longissimus dorsi (LD), infraspinatus (IS) and biceps femoris (BF) were sampled for analysis of fatty acids. Goats fed the PKCD had higher (P<0.05) concentration of lauric acid (C12:0) than those fed the other diets in all the muscles tested. Compared to the other diets, the concentrations of palmitic acid (C16:0) and stearic acid (C18:0) were lower (P<0.05) and that of linoleic acid (C18:2 n-6) was higher (P<0.05) in the muscles from goats fed the CD. It was concluded that palm kernel cake and decanter cake can be included in the diet of goats up to 80% with more beneficial than detrimental effects on the fatty acid profile of their meat.
  8. Ang LF, Por LY, Yam MF
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0111859.
    PMID: 25789757 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111859
    An amperometric enzyme-electrode was introduced where glucose oxidase (GOD) was immobilized on chitosan membrane via crosslinking, and then fastened on a platinum working electrode. The immobilized enzyme showed relatively high retention activity. The activity of the immobilized enzyme was influenced by its loading, being suppressed when more than 0.6 mg enzyme was used in the immobilization. The biosensor showing the highest response to glucose utilized 0.21 ml/cm2 thick chitosan membrane. The optimum experimental conditions for the biosensors in analysing glucose dissolved in 0.1 M phosphate buffer (pH 6.0) were found to be 35°C and 0.6 V applied potential. The introduced biosensor reached a steady-state current at 60 s. The apparent Michaelis-Menten constant ([Formula: see text]) of the biosensor was 14.2350 mM, and its detection limit was 0.05 mM at s/n > 3, determined experimentally. The RSD of repeatability and reproducibility of the biosensor were 2.30% and 3.70%, respectively. The biosensor was showed good stability; it retained ~36% of initial activity after two months of investigation. The performance of the biosensors was evaluated by determining the glucose content in fruit homogenates. Their accuracy was compared to that of a commercial glucose assay kit. There was no significance different between two methods, indicating the introduced biosensor is reliable.
  9. Nithya R, Ahmed SA, Hoe CH, Gopinath SC, Citartan M, Chinni SV, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0118668.
    PMID: 25774907 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118668
    Salmonellosis, a communicable disease caused by members of the Salmonella species, transmitted to humans through contaminated food or water. It is of paramount importance, to generate accurate detection methods for discriminating the various Salmonella species that cause severe infection in humans, including S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A. Here, we formulated a strategy of detection and differentiation of salmonellosis by a multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay using S. Typhi non-protein coding RNA (sRNA) genes. With the designed sequences that specifically detect sRNA genes from S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A, a detection limit of up to 10 pg was achieved. Moreover, in a stool-seeding experiment with S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A, we have attained a respective detection limit of 15 and 1.5 CFU/mL. The designed strategy using sRNA genes shown here is comparatively sensitive and specific, suitable for clinical diagnosis and disease surveillance, and sRNAs represent an excellent molecular target for infectious disease.
  10. Mansur S, Ishak A, Pop I
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0117733.
    PMID: 25760733 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117733
    The magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) stagnation point flow of a nanofluid over a permeable stretching/shrinking sheet is studied. Numerical results are obtained using boundary value problem solver bvp4c in MATLAB for several values of parameters. The numerical results show that dual solutions exist for the shrinking case, while for the stretching case, the solution is unique. A stability analysis is performed to determine the stability of the dual solutions. For the stable solution, the skin friction is higher in the presence of magnetic field and increases when the suction effect is increased. It is also found that increasing the Brownian motion parameter and the thermophoresis parameter reduces the heat transfer rate at the surface.
  11. Chidan Kumar CS, Loh WS, Chandraju S, Win YF, Tan WK, Quah CK, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(3):e0119440.
    PMID: 25742494 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119440
    A series of N-ethyl phthalimide esters 4(a-n) were synthesized and characterized by spectroscopic studies. Further, the molecular structure of majority of compounds were analysed by single crystal X-ray diffraction studies. The X-ray analysis revealed the importance of substituents on the crystal stability and molecular packing. All the synthesized compounds were tested for in vitro antioxidant activity by DPPH radical scavenging, FRAP and CUPRAC methods. Few of them have shown good antioxidant activity.
  12. Ong HS, Rahim MS, Firdaus-Raih M, Ramlan EI
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(8):e0134520.
    PMID: 26258940 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134520
    The unique programmability of nucleic acids offers alternative in constructing excitable and functional nanostructures. This work introduces an autonomous protocol to construct DNA Tetris shapes (L-Shape, B-Shape, T-Shape and I-Shape) using modular DNA blocks. The protocol exploits the rich number of sequence combinations available from the nucleic acid alphabets, thus allowing for diversity to be applied in designing various DNA nanostructures. Instead of a deterministic set of sequences corresponding to a particular design, the protocol promotes a large pool of DNA shapes that can assemble to conform to any desired structures. By utilising evolutionary programming in the design stage, DNA blocks are subjected to processes such as sequence insertion, deletion and base shifting in order to enrich the diversity of the resulting shapes based on a set of cascading filters. The optimisation algorithm allows mutation to be exerted indefinitely on the candidate sequences until these sequences complied with all the four fitness criteria. Generated candidates from the protocol are in agreement with the filter cascades and thermodynamic simulation. Further validation using gel electrophoresis indicated the formation of the designed shapes. Thus, supporting the plausibility of constructing DNA nanostructures in a more hierarchical, modular, and interchangeable manner.
  13. Al-Gumaei YA, Noordin KA, Reza AW, Dimyati K
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(8):e0135137.
    PMID: 26258522 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135137
    Spectrum scarcity is a major challenge in wireless communications systems requiring efficient usage and utilization. Cognitive radio network (CRN) is found as a promising technique to solve this problem of spectrum scarcity. It allows licensed and unlicensed users to share the same licensed spectrum band. Interference resulting from cognitive radios (CRs) has undesirable effects on quality of service (QoS) of both licensed and unlicensed systems where it causes degradation in received signal-to-noise ratio (SIR) of users. Power control is one of the most important techniques that can be used to mitigate interference and guarantee QoS in both systems. In this paper, we develop a new approach of a distributed power control for CRN based on utility and pricing. QoS of CR user is presented as a utility function via pricing and a distributed power control as a non-cooperative game in which users maximize their net utility (utility-price). We define the price as a real function of transmit power to increase pricing charge of the farthest CR users. We prove that the power control game proposed in this study has Nash Equilibrium as well as it is unique. The obtained results show that the proposed power control algorithm based on a new utility function has a significant reduction in transmit power consumption and high improvement in speed of convergence.
  14. Choo MK, El-Bassel N, Adam PC, Gilbert L, Wu E, West BS, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(8):e0118422.
    PMID: 26244844 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118422
    Fishermen in Southeast Asia have been found to be highly vulnerable to HIV, with research evidence highlighting the role of sexual risk behaviors. This study aims to estimate the rate of HIV as well as hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among Malaysian fishermen, and the risky sexual and injection drug use behaviors that may contribute to these infections. The study also includes an assessment of socio-demographic, occupational and behavioral correlates of testing positive for HIV or HCV, and socio-demographic and occupational correlates of risk behaviors. The study had a cross-sectional design and recruited 406 fishermen through respondent-driven sampling (RDS). Participants self-completed a questionnaire and provided biological specimens for HIV and HCV testing. We conducted and compared results of analyses of both unweighted data and data weighted with the Respondent-Driven Sampling Analysis Tool (RDSAT). Of the participating fishermen, 12.4% were HIV positive and 48.6% had HCV infection. Contrary to expectations and findings from previous research, most fishermen (77.1%) were not sexually active. More than a third had a history of injection drug use, which often occurred during fishing trips on commercial vessels and during longer stays at sea. Of the fishermen who injected drugs, 42.5% reported unsafe injection practices in the past month. Reporting a history of injection drug use increased the odds of testing HIV positive by more than 6 times (AOR = 6.22, 95% CIs [2.74, 14.13]). Most fishermen who injected drugs tested positive for HCV. HCV infection was significantly associated with injection drug use, being older than 25 years, working on a commercial vessel and spending four or more days at sea per fishing trip. There is an urgent need to strengthen current harm reduction and drug treatment programs for Malaysian fishermen who inject drugs, especially among fishermen who work on commercial vessels and engage in deep-sea fishing.
  15. Rokunuzzaman M, Islam MT, Arshad H, Jit Singh M, Misran N
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(7):e0132530.
    PMID: 26177376 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132530
    This paper addresses the performance evaluation of a modified square loop antenna design for UHF RFID applications that is excited through a narrow feed line connected to a square loop, an impedance matching network. The square loop dimensions are modified to reach a conjugate impedance matching. A gap is fixed between the feed-lines to link the chip. To achieve impedance matching, the structures of the feed-line are optimized accordingly. In addition, the antenna consists of a straightforward geometry. An 11.9-meter maximum read range is achieved using a compact size of 80 × 44 mm2 and 3.2 W for the effective isotropic radiated power. Additional findings reveal that the proposed tag antenna is able to provide a stable resonance response in the near field of a large metallic surface.
  16. Rusi, Chan PY, Majid SR
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(7):e0129780.
    PMID: 26158447 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129780
    The composite metal oxide electrode films were fabricated using ex situ electrodeposition method with further heating treatment at 300°C. The obtained composite metal oxide film had a spherical structure with mass loading from 0.13 to 0.21 mg cm(-2). The structure and elements of the composite was investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX). The electrochemical performance of different composite metal oxides was studied by cyclic voltammetry (CV) and galvanostatic charge-discharge (CD). As an active electrode material for a supercapacitor, the Co-Mn composite electrode exhibits a specific capacitance of 285 Fg(-1) at current density of 1.85 Ag(-1) in 0.5 M Na2SO4 electrolyte. The best composite electrode, Co-Mn electrode was then further studied in various electrolytes (i.e., 0.5 M KOH and 0.5 M KOH/0.04 M K3Fe(CN) 6 electrolytes). The pseudocapacitive nature of the material of Co-Mn lead to a high specific capacitance of 2.2 x 10(3) Fg(-1) and an energy density of 309 Whkg(-1) in a 0.5 M KOH/0.04 M K3Fe(CN) 6 electrolyte at a current density of 10 Ag(-1). The specific capacitance retention obtained 67% of its initial value after 750 cycles. The results indicate that the ex situ deposited composite metal oxide nanoparticles have promising potential in future practical applications.
  17. Lim J, Bhoo-Pathy N, Sothilingam S, Malek R, Sundram M, Tan GH, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(6):e0130820.
    PMID: 26098884 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130820
    To determine the lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) profile and factors affecting its degree of severity including cardiovascular risk profile, age, ethnicity, education level and prostate volume in a multiethnic Asian setting.
  18. 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.
  19. Saini S, Zakaria N, Rambli DR, Sulaiman S
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(5):e0127833.
    PMID: 25978493 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127833
    The high-dimensional search space involved in markerless full-body articulated human motion tracking from multiple-views video sequences has led to a number of solutions based on metaheuristics, the most recent form of which is Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO). However, the classical PSO suffers from premature convergence and it is trapped easily into local optima, significantly affecting the tracking accuracy. To overcome these drawbacks, we have developed a method for the problem based on Hierarchical Multi-Swarm Cooperative Particle Swarm Optimization (H-MCPSO). The tracking problem is formulated as a non-linear 34-dimensional function optimization problem where the fitness function quantifies the difference between the observed image and a projection of the model configuration. Both the silhouette and edge likelihoods are used in the fitness function. Experiments using Brown and HumanEva-II dataset demonstrated that H-MCPSO performance is better than two leading alternative approaches-Annealed Particle Filter (APF) and Hierarchical Particle Swarm Optimization (HPSO). Further, the proposed tracking method is capable of automatic initialization and self-recovery from temporary tracking failures. Comprehensive experimental results are presented to support the claims.
  20. Mitchell CL, Yeager RD, Johnson ZJ, D'Annunzio SE, Vogel KR, Werner T
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(5):e0127569.
    PMID: 25978397 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127569
    Insect resistance to toxins exerts not only a great impact on our economy, but also on the ecology of many species. Resistance to one toxin is often associated with cross-resistance to other, sometimes unrelated, chemicals. In this study, we investigated mushroom toxin resistance in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster (Meigen). This fruit fly species does not feed on mushrooms in nature and may thus have evolved cross-resistance to α-amanitin, the principal toxin of deadly poisonous mushrooms, due to previous pesticide exposure. The three Asian D. melanogaster stocks used in this study, Ama-KTT, Ama-MI, and Ama-KLM, acquired α-amanitin resistance at least five decades ago in their natural habitats in Taiwan, India, and Malaysia, respectively. Here we show that all three stocks have not lost the resistance phenotype despite the absence of selective pressure over the past half century. In response to α-amanitin in the larval food, several signs of developmental retardation become apparent in a concentration-dependent manner: higher pre-adult mortality, prolonged larva-to-adult developmental time, decreased adult body size, and reduced adult longevity. In contrast, female fecundity nearly doubles in response to higher α-amanitin concentrations. Our results suggest that α-amanitin resistance has no fitness cost, which could explain why the resistance has persisted in all three stocks over the past five decades. If pesticides caused α-amanitin resistance in D. melanogaster, their use may go far beyond their intended effects and have long-lasting effects on ecosystems.
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