To compare the mean of anteroposterior (AP) measurements of the uterus in longitudinal and oblique transverse planes, and the pulsatility index (PI) and resistive index (RI) of the uterine artery and superficial skin wound artery between patients taking Channa striatus and placebo.
The paper aims to examine the influence of human resource management (HRM) practices on bank efficiency using Malmquist index of total factor productivity. The model comprises HRM index that represents the quality of HRM practices. The results are decomposed into three efficiency scores, namely, technical efficiency, pure efficiency, and scale efficiency. In this study, panel data for 44 banks in Bangladesh are used for the period 2008-2013. This paper reveals that foreign banks are ahead in converting the influence of HRM practices into efficiency scores (0.946>0.833). On the other hand, domestic banks performed better than foreign banks in terms of pure efficiency and scale efficiency. But, in terms of technical efficiency, the domestic banks are regressed by 6.7% annually whereas foreign banks are progressed with a yearly value of 5.8%. The results are robust, because the Mann-Whitney test and Kruskall-Wallis test (non-parametric tests) also confirm the same results. This study emphasizes HRM practices in the banking industry to ensure efficiency in the long-term scenario. Domestic banks are suggested to ensure continuous development in HRM practices in order to compete with foreign banks.
Pedestrian overflow causes queuing delay and in turn, is controlled by the capacity of a facility. Flow control or blocking control takes action to avoid queues from building up to extreme values. Thus, in this paper, the problem of pedestrian flow control in open outdoor walking facilities in equilibrium condition is investigated using M/M/c/K queuing models. State dependent service rate based on speed and density relationship is utilized. The effective rate of the Poisson arrival process to the facility is determined so as there is no overflow of pedestrians. In addition, the use of the state dependent queuing models to the design of the facilities and the effect of pedestrian personal capacity on the design and the traffic congestion are discussed. The study does not validate the sustainability of adaptation of Western design codes for the pedestrian facilities in the countries like Bangladesh.
In many parts of Southeast Asia, the HIV-1 epidemic has been driven by the sharing of needles and equipment among intravenous drug users (IDUs). Over the last few decades, many studies have proven time and again that the diversity of HIV-1 epidemics can often be linked to the route of infection transmission. That said, the diversity and complexity of HIV-1 molecular epidemics in the region have been increasing at an alarming rate, due in part to the high tendency of the viral RNA to recombine. This scenario was exemplified by the discovery of numerous circulating recombinant forms (CRFs), especially in Thailand and Malaysia. In this study, we characterized a novel CRF designated CRF74_01B, which was identified in six epidemiologically unlinked IDUs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The near-full length genomes were composed of CRF01_AE and subtype B', with eight breakpoints dispersed in the gag-pol and nef regions. Remarkably, this CRF shared four and two recombination hotspots with the previously described CRF33_01B and the less prevalent CRF53_01B, respectively. Genealogy-based Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of CRF74_01B genomic regions showed that it is closely related to both CRF33_01B and CRF53_01B. This observation suggests that CRF74_01B was probably a direct descendent from specific lineages of CRF33_01B, CRF53_01B and subtype B' that could have emerged in the mid-1990s. Additionally, it illustrated the active recombination processes between prevalent HIV-1 subtypes and recombinants in Malaysia. In summary, we report a novel HIV-1 genotype designated CRF74_01B among IDUs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The characterization of the novel CRF74_01B is of considerable significance towards the understanding of the genetic diversity and population dynamics of HIV-1 circulating in the region.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is commonly associated with various negative health outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of personality and social support on health-related quality of life in patients with chronic kidney disease. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is the quality of life studied in relation to health, and it provides important information of patients' coping with their health issues.
BACKGROUND: Article 20 of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control calls for a cross-country surveillance of tobacco use through population-based surveys. We aimed to provide country-level prevalence estimates for current smoking and current smokeless tobacco use and to assess social determinants of smoking.
METHODS: Data from Demographic and Health Surveys done between 2005 and 2012, among men and women from nine North African, Central and West Asian countries and six Latin American and Caribbean countries were analyzed. Weighted country-level prevalence rates were estimated for 'current smoking' and 'current use of smokeless tobacco (SLT) products' among men and women. In each country, social determinants of smoking among men and women were assessed by binary logistic regression analyses by including men's and women's sampling weights to account for the complex survey design.
FINDINGS: Prevalence of smoking among men was higher than 40% in Armenia (63.1%), Moldova (51.1%), Ukraine (52%), Azerbaijan (49.8 %), Kyrgyz Republic (44.3 %) and Albania (42.52%) but the prevalence of smoking among women was less than 10% in most countries except Ukraine (14.81%) and Jordan (17.96%). The prevalence of smokeless tobacco use among men and women was less than 5% in all countries except among men in the Kyrgyz Republic (10.6 %). Smoking was associated with older age, lower education and poverty among men and higher education and higher wealth among women. Smoking among both men and women was associated with unskilled work, living in urban areas and being single.
CONCLUSION: Smoking among men was very high in Central and West Asian countries. Social pattern of smoking among women that was different from men in education and wealth should be considered while formulating tobacco control policies in some Central and West Asian countries.
This paper puts forward a new automatic clustering algorithm based on Multi-Objective Particle Swarm Optimization and Simulated Annealing, "MOPSOSA". The proposed algorithm is capable of automatic clustering which is appropriate for partitioning datasets to a suitable number of clusters. MOPSOSA combines the features of the multi-objective based particle swarm optimization (PSO) and the Multi-Objective Simulated Annealing (MOSA). Three cluster validity indices were optimized simultaneously to establish the suitable number of clusters and the appropriate clustering for a dataset. The first cluster validity index is centred on Euclidean distance, the second on the point symmetry distance, and the last cluster validity index is based on short distance. A number of algorithms have been compared with the MOPSOSA algorithm in resolving clustering problems by determining the actual number of clusters and optimal clustering. Computational experiments were carried out to study fourteen artificial and five real life datasets.
This paper presents a bee colony optimisation (BCO) algorithm to tackle the vehicle routing problem with time window (VRPTW). The VRPTW involves recovering an ideal set of routes for a fleet of vehicles serving a defined number of customers. The BCO algorithm is a population-based algorithm that mimics the social communication patterns of honeybees in solving problems. The performance of the BCO algorithm is dependent on its parameters, so the online (self-adaptive) parameter tuning strategy is used to improve its effectiveness and robustness. Compared with the basic BCO, the adaptive BCO performs better. Diversification is crucial to the performance of the population-based algorithm, but the initial population in the BCO algorithm is generated using a greedy heuristic, which has insufficient diversification. Therefore the ways in which the sequential insertion heuristic (SIH) for the initial population drives the population toward improved solutions are examined. Experimental comparisons indicate that the proposed adaptive BCO-SIH algorithm works well across all instances and is able to obtain 11 best results in comparison with the best-known results in the literature when tested on Solomon's 56 VRPTW 100 customer instances. Also, a statistical test shows that there is a significant difference between the results.
It is important to predict the incipient fault in transformer oil accurately so that the maintenance of transformer oil can be performed correctly, reducing the cost of maintenance and minimise the error. Dissolved gas analysis (DGA) has been widely used to predict the incipient fault in power transformers. However, sometimes the existing DGA methods yield inaccurate prediction of the incipient fault in transformer oil because each method is only suitable for certain conditions. Many previous works have reported on the use of intelligence methods to predict the transformer faults. However, it is believed that the accuracy of the previously proposed methods can still be improved. Since artificial neural network (ANN) and particle swarm optimisation (PSO) techniques have never been used in the previously reported work, this work proposes a combination of ANN and various PSO techniques to predict the transformer incipient fault. The advantages of PSO are simplicity and easy implementation. The effectiveness of various PSO techniques in combination with ANN is validated by comparison with the results from the actual fault diagnosis, an existing diagnosis method and ANN alone. Comparison of the results from the proposed methods with the previously reported work was also performed to show the improvement of the proposed methods. It was found that the proposed ANN-Evolutionary PSO method yields the highest percentage of correct identification for transformer fault type than the existing diagnosis method and previously reported works.
The environment of the Straits of Malacca receives pollution as a result of various industrial and anthropogenic sources, making systematic studies crucial in determining the prevailing water quality. Present study concerns concentrations of natural radionuclides and heavy metals in marine fish (Rastrelliger kanagurta) collected from the Straits of Malacca, since aquatic stock form an important source of the daily diet of the surrounding populace. Assessment was made of the concentrations of key indicator radionuclides (226Ra, 232Th, 40K) and heavy metals (As, Mn, Fe, Cr, Ni, Zn, Cu, Co, Sr, Al, Hg and Pb) together with various radiation indices linked to the consumption of seafish. The annual effective dose for all detected radionuclides for all study locations has been found to be within UNSCEAR acceptable limits as has the associated life-time cancer risk. The overall contamination of the sampled fish from heavy metals was also found to be within limits of tolerance.
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) and vitamin D deficiency are related to insulin resistance and impaired beta cell function, with heightened risk for future development of diabetes. We evaluated the impact of vitamin D supplementation on markers of glucose metabolism and cardio metabolic risk in Asian women with former GDM and hypovitaminosis D. In this double blind, randomized controlled trial, 26 participants were randomized to receive either daily 4000 IU vitamin D3 or placebo capsules. 75 g Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) and biochemistry profiles were performed at baseline and 6 month visits. Mathematical models, using serial glucose, insulin and C peptide measurements from OGTT, were employed to calculate insulin sensitivity and beta cell function. Thirty three (76%) women with former GDM screened had vitamin D level of <50 nmol/L at baseline. Supplementation, when compared with placebo, resulted in increased vitamin D level (+51.1 nmol/L vs 0.2 nmol/L, p<0.001) and increased fasting insulin (+20% vs 18%, p = 0.034). The vitamin D group also demonstrated a 30% improvement in disposition index and an absolute 0.2% (2 mmol/mol) reduction in HbA1c. There was no clear change in insulin sensitivity or markers of cardio metabolic risk. This study highlighted high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Asian women with former GDM. Six months supplementation with 4000 IU of vitamin D3 safely restored the vitamin D level, improved basal pancreatic beta-cell function and ameliorated the metabolic state. There was no effect on markers of cardio metabolic risk. Further mechanistic studies exploring the role of vitamin D supplementation on glucose homeostasis among different ethnicities may be needed to better inform future recommendations for these women with former GDM at high risk of both hypovitaminosis D and future diabetes.
Antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotics are frequently used to maintain plasmid vectors in bacterial hosts such as Escherichia coli. Due to the risk of spread of antibiotic resistance, the regulatory authorities discourage the use of antibiotic resistance genes/antibiotics for the maintenance of plasmid vectors in certain biotechnology applications. Overexpression of E. coli endogenous fabI gene and subsequent selection on Triclosan has been proposed as a practical alternative to traditional antibiotic selection systems. Unfortunately, overexpression of fabI cannot be used to select medium-copy number plasmids, typically used for the expression of heterologous proteins in E. coli. Here we report that Vibrio cholera FabV, a functional homologue of E. coli FabI, can be used as a suitable marker for the selection and maintenance of both high and medium-copy number plasmid vectors in E. coli.
Carotid sinus syndrome is the association of carotid sinus hypersensitivity with syncope, unexplained falls and drop attacks in generally older people. We evaluated cardiac sympathetic innervation in this disorder in individuals with carotid sinus syndrome, asymptomatic carotid sinus hypersensitivity and controls without carotid sinus hypersensitivity.
The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Malaysia has been estimated at 2.5% of the adult population. Our objective, satisfying one of the directives of the WHO Framework for Global Action on Viral Hepatitis, was to forecast the HCV disease burden in Malaysia using modelling methods.
Cancer patients seek alternative remedies such as traditional medicinal plants for safe and effective treatment and help overcome the side effects of conventional therapy. Current knowledge indicates that extracts of Strobilanthes crispus of the Acanthaceae family exhibit potent anticancer properties in vitro and are non-toxic in vivo. S. crispus was also reported to be protective against chemical hepatocarcinogenesis. We previously showed that a bioactive fraction of S. crispus leaves also synergized with tamoxifen to cause apoptosis of human breast cancer cell lines without damaging non-malignant epithelial cells. The present study aimed to evaluate the antitumor effect of S. crispus dichloromethane fraction (F3) using N-methyl-N-Nitrosourea (NMU)-induced rat mammary tumor model. Tumor regression was observed in 75% of the rats following 8-week oral administration of F3 with no secondary tumour formation and no signs of anemia or infection. However, no improvement in the liver and renal function profiles was observed. Major constituents of F3 were identified as lutein, 131-hydroxy-132-oxo-pheophytin a, campesterol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol, pheophytin a and 132-hydroxy-pheophytin a. These compounds however, may not significantly contribute to the antitumor effect of F3.
The rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae is a serious pathogen that jeopardises the world's most important food-security crop. Ten common Malaysian rice varieties were examined for their morphological, physiological and genomic responses to this rice blast pathogen. qPCR quantification was used to assess the growth of the pathogen population in resistant and susceptible rice varieties. The chlorophyll content and photosynthesis were also measured to further understand the disruptive effects that M. oryzae has on infected plants of these varieties. Real-time PCR was used to explore the differential expression of eight blast resistance genes among the ten local varieties. Blast disease has destructive effects on the growth of rice, and the findings of our study provide evidence that the Pikh, Pi9, Pi21, and Osw45 genes are involved in defence responses in the leaves of Malaysian rice at 31 h after inoculation with M. oryzae pathotype P7.2. Both the chlorophyll content and photosynthesis were reduced, but the levels of Pikh gene expression remained constant in susceptible varieties, with a developed pathogen population and mild or severe symptoms. The Pi9, Pi21, and Osw45 genes, however, were simultaneously upregulated in infected rice plants. Therefore, the presence of the Pikh, Pi9, Pi21, and Osw45 genes in the germplasm is useful for improving the resistance of rice varieties.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) is a foodborne pathogen that causes typhoid fever and infects only humans. The ability of S. Typhi to survive outside the human host remains unclear, particularly in human carrier strains. In this study, we have investigated the catabolic activity of a human carrier S. Typhi strain in both planktonic and biofilm cells using the high-throughput Biolog Phenotype MicroArray, Minimum Biofilm Eradication Concentration (MBEC) biofilm inoculator (96-well peg lid) and whole genome sequence data. Additional strains of S. Typhi were tested to further validate the variation of catabolism in selected carbon substrates in the different bacterial growth phases. The analyzes of the carbon utilization data indicated that planktonic cells of the carrier strain, S. Typhi CR0044 could utilize a broader range of carbon substrates compared to biofilm cells. Pyruvic acid and succinic acid which are related to energy metabolism were actively catabolised in the planktonic stage compared to biofilm stage. On the other hand, glycerol, L-fucose, L-rhamnose (carbohydrates) and D-threonine (amino acid) were more actively catabolised by biofilm cells compared to planktonic cells. Notably, dextrin and pectin could induce strong biofilm formation in the human carrier strain of S. Typhi. However, pectin could not induce formation of biofilm in the other S. Typhi strains. Phenome data showed the utilization of certain carbon substrates which was supported by the presence of the catabolism-associated genes in S. Typhi CR0044. In conclusion, the findings showed the differential carbon utilization between planktonic and biofilm cells of a S. Typhi human carrier strain. The differences found in the carbon utilization profiles suggested that S. Typhi uses substrates mainly found in the human biliary mucus glycoprotein, gallbladder, liver and cortex of the kidney of the human host. The observed diversity in the carbon catabolism profiles among different S. Typhi strains has suggested the possible involvement of various metabolic pathways that might be related to the virulence and pathogenesis of this host-restricted human pathogen. The data serve as a caveat for future in-vivo studies to investigate the carbon metabolic activity to the pathogenesis of S. Typhi.
Phytochemicals from Pseuduvaria species have been reported to display a wide range of biological activities. In the present study, a known benzopyran derivative, (6E,10E) isopolycerasoidol (1), and a new benzopyran derivative, (6E,10E) isopolycerasoidol methyl ester (2), were isolated from a methanol extract of Pseuduvaria monticola leaves. The structures of the isolated compounds were elucidated by spectroscopic methods including 1D and 2D NMR, IR, UV, and LCMS-QTOF, and by comparison with previously published data. The anti-proliferative and cytotoxic effects of these compounds on human breast cancer cell-lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) and a human normal breast epithelial cell line (MCF-10A) were investigated. MTT results revealed both (1) and (2) were efficient in reducing cell viability of breast cancer cells. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that (1) and (2) induced cell death via apoptosis, as demonstrated by an increase in phosphotidylserine exposure. Both compounds elevated ROS production, leading to reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and increased plasma membrane permeability in breast cancer cells. These effects occurred concomitantly with a dose-dependent activation of caspase 3/7 and 9, a down-regulation of the anti-apoptotic gene BCL2 and the accumulation of p38 MAPK in the nucleus. Taken together, our data demonstrate that (1) and (2) induce intrinsic mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in human breast cancer cells, which provides the first pharmacological evidence for their future development as anticancer agents.
A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) is a set of mobile, decentralized, and self-organizing nodes that are used in special cases, such as in the military. MANET properties render the environment of this network vulnerable to different types of attacks, including black hole, wormhole and flooding-based attacks. Flooding-based attacks are one of the most dangerous attacks that aim to consume all network resources and thus paralyze the functionality of the whole network. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to investigate the capability of a danger theory-based artificial immune algorithm called the mobile dendritic cell algorithm (MDCA) to detect flooding-based attacks in MANETs. The MDCA applies the dendritic cell algorithm (DCA) to secure the MANET with additional improvements. The MDCA is tested and validated using Qualnet v7.1 simulation tool. This work also introduces a new simulation module for a flooding attack called the resource consumption attack (RCA) using Qualnet v7.1. The results highlight the high efficiency of the MDCA in detecting RCAs in MANETs.