Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 1656 in total

  1. Tam CL, Bonn G, Yeoh SH, Yap CC, Wong CP
    PLoS One, 2016;11(6):e0157730.
    PMID: 27332883 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157730
    Obesity and rates of non-communicable diseases linked to physical inactivity have increased dramatically in Malaysia over the past 20 years. Malaysia has also been identified as one of the least physically active countries in the world with over 60% of adults being essentially sedentary. This study examines the relationship of socio-demographic factors to physical activity among 770 adults from 3 Malaysian states. Physical activity levels were significantly related to ethnicity, gender, age, occupation and educational level. Controlling for inter-relationships among these variables; age, gender, Chinese ethnicity and education level were found to have unique effects on total physical activity, as well as moderate and vigorous exercise. As would be expected, younger people were more physically active, engaging more in both moderate and vigorous types of exercise and males were generally more active than females. Contrary to findings from many developed countries, however, more educated Malaysians were less likely to engage in all types of physical activity. Ethnic Chinese participants, and to a lesser degree Indians also consistently reported lower levels of activity. Possible intervention strategies are discussed that specifically target ethnic and cultural norms related to physical activity. Future research programs exploring barriers to participation and perceptions of physical activity, as well as programs to encourage active life styles among youths are also suggested.
  2. Rafiq MK, Bachmann RT, Rafiq MT, Shang Z, Joseph S, Long R
    PLoS One, 2016;11(6):e0156894.
    PMID: 27327870 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156894
    This study examined the influence of pyrolysis temperature on biochar characteristics and evaluated its suitability for carbon capture and energy production. Biochar was produced from corn stover using slow pyrolysis at 300, 400 and 500°C and 2 hrs holding time. The experimental biochars were characterized by elemental analysis, BET, FTIR, TGA/DTA, NMR (C-13). Higher heating value (HHV) of feedstock and biochars was measured using bomb calorimeter. Results show that carbon content of corn stover biochar increased from 45.5% to 64.5%, with increasing pyrolysis temperatures. A decrease in H:C and O:C ratios as well as volatile matter, coupled with increase in the concentration of aromatic carbon in the biochar as determined by FTIR and NMR (C-13) demonstrates a higher biochar carbon stability at 500°C. It was estimated that corn stover pyrolysed at 500°C could provide of 10.12 MJ/kg thermal energy. Pyrolysis is therefore a potential technology with its carbon-negative, energy positive and soil amendment benefits thus creating win- win scenario.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Rusi, Majid SR
    PLoS One, 2016;11(5):e0154566.
    PMID: 27182595 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154566
    Nanostructured network-like MnO2-NiO composite electrodes were electrodeposited onto stainless steel substrates via different electrodeposition modes, such as chronopotentiometry, chronoamperometry, and cyclic voltammetry, and then subjected to heat treatment at 300°C for metal oxide conversion. X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy were used to study the crystalline natures and morphologies of the deposited films. The electrochemical properties were investigated using cyclic voltammetry and charge/discharge tests. The results revealed that the electrochemical performance of the as-obtained composite electrodes depended on the electrodeposition mode. The electrochemical properties of MnO2-NiO composite electrodes prepared using cyclic voltammetry exhibited the highest capacitance values and were most influenced by the deposition cycle number. The optimum specific capacitance was 3509 Fg-1 with energy and power densities of 1322 Wh kg-1 and 110.5 kW kg-1, respectively, at a current density of 20 Ag-1 in a mixed KOH/K3Fe(CN)6 electrolyte.
  8. Hindia MN, Rahman TA, Ojukwu H, Hanafi EB, Fattouh A
    PLoS One, 2016;11(5):e0155077.
    PMID: 27152423 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155077
    As the enterprise of the "Internet of Things" is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance, sensors are being deployed in an unrestrained manner around the world to make efficient use of this new technological evolution. A recent survey has shown that sensor deployments over the past decade have increased significantly and has predicted an upsurge in the future growth rate. In health-care services, for instance, sensors are used as a key technology to enable Internet of Things oriented health-care monitoring systems. In this paper, we have proposed a two-stage fundamental approach to facilitate the implementation of such a system. In the first stage, sensors promptly gather together the particle measurements of an android application. Then, in the second stage, the collected data are sent over a Femto-LTE network following a new scheduling technique. The proposed scheduling strategy is used to send the data according to the application's priority. The efficiency of the proposed technique is demonstrated by comparing it with that of well-known algorithms, namely, proportional fairness and exponential proportional fairness.
  9. 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.
  10. Reafee W, Salim N, Khan A
    PLoS One, 2016;11(5):e0154848.
    PMID: 27152663 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154848
    The explosive growth of social networks in recent times has presented a powerful source of information to be utilized as an extra source for assisting in the social recommendation problems. The social recommendation methods that are based on probabilistic matrix factorization improved the recommendation accuracy and partly solved the cold-start and data sparsity problems. However, these methods only exploited the explicit social relations and almost completely ignored the implicit social relations. In this article, we firstly propose an algorithm to extract the implicit relation in the undirected graphs of social networks by exploiting the link prediction techniques. Furthermore, we propose a new probabilistic matrix factorization method to alleviate the data sparsity problem through incorporating explicit friendship and implicit friendship. We evaluate our proposed approach on two real datasets, Last.Fm and Douban. The experimental results show that our method performs much better than the state-of-the-art approaches, which indicates the importance of incorporating implicit social relations in the recommendation process to address the poor prediction accuracy.
  11. Ahmed RH, Huri HZ, Al-Hamodi Z, Salem SD, Al-Absi B, Muniandy S
    PLoS One, 2016;11(4):e0154369.
    PMID: 27111895 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154369
    BACKGROUND: Genetic polymorphisms of the Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 (DPP4) gene may play a role in the etiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This study aimed to investigate the possible association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the DPP4 gene in Malaysian subjects with T2DM and evaluated whether they had an effect on the serum levels of soluble dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (sDPP-IV).

    METHOD: Ten DPP4 SNPs were genotyped by TaqMan genotyping assays in 314 subjects with T2DM and 235 controls. Of these, 71 metabolic syndrome (MetS) subjects were excluded from subsequent analysis. The odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence interval (CIs) were calculated using multiple logistic regression for the association between the SNPs of DPP4 and T2DM. In addition, the serum levels of sDPP-IV were investigated to evaluate the association of the SNPs of DPP4 with the sDPP-IV levels.

    RESULTS: Dominant, recessive, and additive genetic models were employed to test the association of DPP4 polymorphisms with T2DM, after adjusting for age, race, gender and BMI. The rs12617656 was associated with T2DM in Malaysian subjects in the recessive genetic model (OR = 1.98, p = 0.006), dominant model (OR = 1.95, p = 0.008), and additive model (OR = 1.63, p = 0.001). This association was more pronounced among Malaysian Indians, recessive (OR = 3.21, p = 0.019), dominant OR = 3.72, p = 0.003) and additive model (OR = 2.29, p = 0.0009). The additive genetic model showed that DPP4 rs4664443 and rs7633162 polymorphisms were associated with T2DM (OR = 1.53, p = 0.039), and (OR = 1.42, p = 0.020), respectively. In addition, the rs4664443 G>A polymorphism was associated with increased sDPP-IV levels (p = 0.042) in T2DM subjects.

    CONCLUSIONS: DPP4 polymorphisms were associated with T2DM in Malaysian subjects, and linked to variations in sDPP-IV levels. In addition, these associations were more pronounced among Malaysian Indian subjects.

  12. Yazdani S, Yusof R, Karimian A, Mitsukira Y, Hematian A
    PLoS One, 2016;11(4):e0151326.
    PMID: 27096925 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151326
    Image segmentation of medical images is a challenging problem with several still not totally solved issues, such as noise interference and image artifacts. Region-based and histogram-based segmentation methods have been widely used in image segmentation. Problems arise when we use these methods, such as the selection of a suitable threshold value for the histogram-based method and the over-segmentation followed by the time-consuming merge processing in the region-based algorithm. To provide an efficient approach that not only produce better results, but also maintain low computational complexity, a new region dividing based technique is developed for image segmentation, which combines the advantages of both regions-based and histogram-based methods. The proposed method is applied to the challenging applications: Gray matter (GM), White matter (WM) and cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) segmentation in brain MR Images. The method is evaluated on both simulated and real data, and compared with other segmentation techniques. The obtained results have demonstrated its improved performance and robustness.
  13. Liew SM, Khoo EM, Ho BK, Lee YK, Omar M, Ayadurai V, et al.
    PLoS One, 2016;11(6):e0157631.
    PMID: 27336440 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157631
    BACKGROUND: The increasing incidence and geographical distribution of dengue has had significant impact on global healthcare services and resources. This study aimed to determine the factors associated with dengue-related mortality in a cohort of Malaysian patients.

    METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients in the Malaysian National Dengue Registry of 2013. The outcome measure was dengue-related mortality. Associations between sociodemographic and clinical variables with the outcome were analysed using multivariate analysis.

    RESULTS: There were 43 347 cases of which 13081 were serologically confirmed. The mean age was 30.0 years (SD 15.7); 60.2% were male. The incidence of dengue increased towards the later part of the calendar year. There were 92 probable dengue mortalities, of which 41 were serologically confirmed. Multivariate analysis in those with positive serology showed that increasing age (OR 1.03; CI:1.01-1.05), persistent vomiting (OR 13.34; CI: 1.92-92.95), bleeding (OR 5.84; CI 2.17-15.70) and severe plasma leakage (OR 66.68; CI: 9.13-487.23) were associated with mortality. Factors associated with probable dengue mortality were increasing age (OR 1.04; CI:1.03-1.06), female gender (OR 1.53; CI:1.01-2.33), nausea and/or vomiting (OR 1.80; CI:1.17-2.77), bleeding (OR 3.01; CI:1.29-7.04), lethargy and/or restlessness (OR 5.97; CI:2.26-15.78), severe plasma leakage (OR 14.72; CI:1.54-140.70), and shock (OR 1805.37; CI:125.44-25982.98), in the overall study population.

    CONCLUSIONS: Older persons and those with persistent vomiting, bleeding or severe plasma leakage, which were associated with mortality, at notification should be monitored closely and referred early if indicated. Doctors and primary care practitioners need to detect patients with dengue early before they develop these severe signs and symptoms.

  14. 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.
  15. 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.

  16. Watanabe M, Roth TL, Bauer SJ, Lane A, Romick-Rosendale LE
    PLoS One, 2016;11(5):e0156318.
    PMID: 27232336 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156318
    A variety of wildlife species maintained in captivity are susceptible to iron storage disease (ISD), or hemochromatosis, a disease resulting from the deposition of excess iron into insoluble iron clusters in soft tissue. Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is one of the rhinoceros species that has evolutionarily adapted to a low-iron diet and is susceptible to iron overload. Hemosiderosis is reported at necropsy in many African black and Sumatran rhinoceroses but only a small number of animals reportedly die from hemochromatosis. The underlying cause and reasons for differences in susceptibility to hemochromatosis within the taxon remains unclear. Although serum ferritin concentrations have been useful in monitoring the progression of ISD in many species, there is some question regarding their value in diagnosing hemochromatosis in the Sumatran rhino. To investigate the metabolic changes during the development of hemochromatosis and possibly increase our understanding of its progression and individual susceptibility differences, the serum metabolome from a Sumatran rhinoceros was investigated by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics. The study involved samples from female rhinoceros at the Cincinnati Zoo (n = 3), including two animals that died from liver failure caused by ISD, and the Sungai Dusun Rhinoceros Conservation Centre in Peninsular Malaysia (n = 4). Principal component analysis was performed to visually and statistically compare the metabolic profiles of the healthy animals. The results indicated that significant differences were present between the animals at the zoo and the animals in the conservation center. A comparison of the 43 serum metabolomes of three zoo rhinoceros showed two distinct groupings, healthy (n = 30) and unhealthy (n = 13). A total of eighteen altered metabolites were identified in healthy versus unhealthy samples. Results strongly suggest that NMR-based metabolomics is a valuable tool for animal health monitoring and may provide insight into the progression of this and other insidious diseases.
  17. Tan T, Ong WS, Rajasekaran T, Nee Koo K, Chan LL, Poon D, et al.
    PLoS One, 2016;11(5):e0156008.
    PMID: 27231951 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156008
    PURPOSE: Elderly cancer patients are at increased risk for malnutrition. We aim to identify comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) based clinical factors associated with increased nutritional risk and develop a clinical scoring system to identify nutritional risk in elderly cancer patients.

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: CGA data was collected from 249 Asian patients aged 70 years or older. Nutritional risk was assessed based on the Nutrition Screening Initiative (NSI) checklist. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were applied to assess the association between patient clinical factors together with domains within the CGA and moderate to high nutritional risk. Goodness of fit was assessed using Hosmer-Lemeshow test. Discrimination ability was assessed based on the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC). Internal validation was performed using simulated datasets via bootstrapping.

    RESULTS: Among the 249 patients, 184 (74%) had moderate to high nutritional risk. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified stage 3-4 disease (Odds Ratio [OR] 2.54; 95% CI, 1.14-5.69), ECOG performance status of 2-4 (OR 3.04; 95% CI, 1.57-5.88), presence of depression (OR 5.99; 95% CI, 1.99-18.02) and haemoglobin levels <12 g/dL (OR 3.00; 95% CI 1.54-5.84) as significant independent factors associated with moderate to high nutritional risk. The model achieved good calibration (Hosmer-Lemeshow test's p = 0.17) and discrimination (AUC = 0.80). It retained good calibration and discrimination (bias-corrected AUC = 0.79) under internal validation.

    CONCLUSION: Having advanced stage of cancer, poor performance status, depression and anaemia were found to be predictors of moderate to high nutritional risk. Early identification of patients with these risk factors will allow for nutritional interventions that may improve treatment tolerance, quality of life and survival outcomes.

  18. Abdul Majid H, Ramli L, Ying SP, Su TT, Jalaludin MY, Abdul Mohsein NA
    PLoS One, 2016;11(5):e0155447.
    PMID: 27187889 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155447
    Optimal nutrition is essential for healthy growth during adolescence. This study aims to investigate the baseline nutritional intake of Malaysian adolescents by gender, body mass index, and places of residence, both urban and rural. A cohort study was conducted consisting of 794 adolescents (aged 13-years) attending 15 public secondary schools from the Central (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor) and Northern (Perak) Regions of Peninsular Malaysia. Qualified dietitians conducted a 7-day historical assessment of habitual food intakes. Facilitated by flipcharts and household measurement tools, detailed information on portion sizes and meal contents were recorded. Nutritionist Pro™ Diet Analysis software was also used to analyze the dietary records.The mean age of the adolescents was 12.86 ± 0.33 y; the mean energy intake was 1659.0 ± 329.6 kcal/d. Males had significantly (P < .001) higher energy intake than females (1774.0 ± 369.8 vs 1595.2 ± 320.6 kcal/d); adolescents in rural schools consumed more energy and cholesterol (P < .001) compared to adolescents in urban schools (1706.1 ± 377.7 kcal/d and 244.1 ± 100.2 mg/d, respectively). Obese adolescents in rural schools consumed more energy and sugar (1987.6 ± 374.0 kcal/d and 48.9 ± 23.0 g/d) (p-value <0.001).The dietary intake of normal weight versus obese adolescents differs by the location of their school. Thus, the implementation of a structured and tailored intervention is recommended to help minimize this nutritional inequality.
  19. Nordin N, Fadaeinasab M, Mohan S, Mohd Hashim N, Othman R, Karimian H, et al.
    PLoS One, 2016;11(5):e0154023.
    PMID: 27136097 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154023
    Drug resistance presents a challenge in chemotherapy and has attracted research interest worldwide and particular attention has been given to natural compounds to overcome this difficulty. Pulchrin A, a new compound isolated from natural products has demonstrated novel potential for development as a drug. The identification of pulchrin A was conducted using several spectroscopic techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance, liquid chromatography mass spectrometer, infrared and ultraviolet spectrometry. The cytotoxicity effects on CAOV-3 cells indicates that pulchrin A is more active than cisplatin, which has an IC50 of 22.3 μM. Significant changes in cell morphology were present, such as cell membrane blebbing and formation of apoptotic bodies. The involvement of phosphatidylserine (PS) in apoptosis was confirmed by Annexin V-FITC after a 24 h treatment. Apoptosis was activated through the intrinsic pathway by activation of procaspases 3 and 9 as well as cleaved caspases 3 and 9 and ended at the executioner pathway, with the occurrence of DNA laddering. Apoptosis was further confirmed via gene and protein expression levels, in which Bcl-2 protein was down-regulated and Bax protein was up-regulated. Furthermore, the CAOV-3 cell cycle was disrupted at the G0/G1 phase, leading to apoptosis. Molecular modeling of Bcl-2 proteins demonstrated a high- binding affinity, which inhibited the function of Bcl-2 proteins and led to cell death. Results of the current study can shed light on the development of new therapeutic agents, particularly, human ovarian cancer treatments.
  20. Kumar S, Ratnavelu K
    PLoS One, 2016;11(6):e0157633.
    PMID: 27322645 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157633
    Scholars (n = 580) from 69 countries who had contributed articles in the field of Economics during the year 2015 participated in a survey that gauged their perceptions of various aspects of co-authorship, including its benefits, motivations, working relationships, order of authorship and association preferences. Among the main findings, significant differences emerged in the proportion of co-authored papers based on age, gender and number of years the researchers had spent in their present institution. Female scholars had a greater proportion of co-authored papers than male scholars. Respondents considered improved quality of paper, contribution of mutual expertise, and division of labor as the biggest benefits of and motivation for co-authorship. Contrary to common perceptions that Economics researchers used a predominantly alphabetical order of authorship, our study found that a considerable percentage of respondents (34.5%) had practiced an order of authorship based on the significance of the authors' contribution to the work. The relative importance of tasks differed significantly according to whether researchers co-authored as mentors or co-authored as colleagues. Lastly, researchers were found to associate, to varying degrees, with other researchers based on socio-academic parameters, such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, professional position and friendship. The study indicates that Economics authors perceive co-authorship as a rewarding endeavor. Nonetheless, the level of contribution and even the choice of association itself as a co-author depends to a great extent on the type of working relationship and socio-academic factors.
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