• Three-dimensional oscillation of an acoustic microbubble between two rigid curved plates

      Manmi, Kawa; Aziz, Imad; Arjunan, Arun; Rostam, Saeed; Abdolrahman, Dadvand (Springer, 2021-12-31)
      Understanding the near boundary acoustic oscillation of microbubbles is critical for the effective design of ultrasonic biomedical devices and surface cleaning technologies. Accordingly, this study investigates the three-dimensional microbubble oscillation between two curved rigid plates experiencing a planar acoustic field using boundary integral method (BIM). The numerical model is validated via comparison with the nonlinear oscillation of the bubble governed by the modified Rayleigh-Plesset equation and with the axisymmetric model for an acoustic microbubble in infinite fluid domain. Then, the influence of the wave direction and horizontal standoff distance (h) on the bubble dynamics (including jet velocity, jet direction, centroid movement, total energy, and Kelvin impulse) is evaluated. It was concluded that the jet velocity, the maximum radius and the total energy of the bubble are not significantly influenced by the wave direction, while the jet direction and the high-pressure region depend strongly on it. More importantly, it was found that the jet velocity and the high-pressure region around the jet in acoustic bubble are drastically larger than their counterparts in the gas bubble.
    • Exploring pharmacy students’ knowledge and understanding of eating disorders and their impact on mental health and quality of life

      Mahmood, Aqsa; Ball, Patrick; Morrissey, Hana (Innovare Academic Sciences, 2021-09-15)
      Objective: Eating disorders are a group of mental illnesses that are long-term and potentially life-threatening, affecting individuals’ physical and emotional health and wellbeing. They commonly exist alongside other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and are associated with a significant reduction in an individual's quality of life and life expectancy. They are poorly understood, and cases may be undiagnosed and thus untreated. This can result in damage to multiple organs, including the brain, heart, and kidneys. Methods: This was an online questionnaire-based study, which consisted of 21 open and closed-ended questions. Participants were from years 1 to 4 of the MPharm course at the University of Wolverhampton. Results: Fourty two completed surveys were returned. The results of the study revealed that pharmacy students lacked knowledge of eating disorders, which was also illustrated in previously conducted studies amongst other healthcare professions students. Therefore, it is evident that the current education about eating disorders is insufficient in many undergraduate healthcare courses and there is room for improvement. Conclusion: Improving future pharmacist’s knowledge about eating disorders would assist better and earlier identification of patients with such conditions, allowing timely support.
    • Protein mimicry and the design of bioactive cell penetrating peptides: The genesis of STOPSPERM bioportides

      Howl, John; Silva, Joana; Fardilha, Margarida; Jones, Sarah; Langel, Ulo (Springer, 2021-12-31)
      The mature spermatozoon, a highly differentiated cell equipped for the sole purpose of fertilisation, lacks the protein machinery required for conventional endocytotic mechanisms. Perhaps contrary to expectation, cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) rapidly translocate across the unique sperm plasma membrane to accrete within distinct intracellular compartments. Confocal microscopy, employing red-fluorescent CPPs and bioportides, is a convenient platform to study this membrane translocation process. In the virtual absence of genetic expression, rapid physiological responses of human sperm are dependent upon protein-protein interactions that may be regulated by post-translational modifications including phosphorylation. This chapter provides an outline of the design of bioactive CPPs, or bioportides, which include protein-mimetic sequences from the interaction domains of sperm proteins. Protocols are included which enable the biological assessment of the impact of bioportides upon the viability and motility of spermatozoa.
    • All you need to know about sperm RNAs

      Santiago, Joana; Silva, Joana; Howl, John; Santos, Manuel; Fardilha, Margarida (Oxford University Press, 2021-12-31)
      Background: Spermatogenesis generates a small and highly specialized type of cell that is apparently incapable of transcription and translation. For many years, this dogma was supported by the assumption that (i) the compact sperm nucleus, resulting from the substitution of histones by protamine during spermatogenesis, renders the genome inaccessible to the transcriptional machinery; and (ii) the loss of most organelles, including endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes, limits or prevents translational activity. Despite these observations, several types of coding and non-coding RNAs have been identified in human sperm. Their functional roles, particularly during fertilization and embryonic development, are only now becoming apparent. Objective and rationale: This review aimed to summarize current knowledge of the origin, types, and functional roles of sperm RNAs, and to evaluate the clinical benefits of employing these transcripts as biomarkers of male fertility and reproductive outcomes. The possible contribution of sperm RNAs to both intergenerational and transgenerational phenotypic inheritance is also addressed. Search methods: A comprehensive literature search on PubMed was conducted using the search terms ‘sperm’ AND ‘RNA’. Searches focussed upon articles written in English and published prior to August 2020. Outcomes: The development of more sensitive and accurate RNA technologies, including RNA-seq, has enabled the identification and characterization of numerous transcripts in human sperm. Though a majority of these RNAs likely arise during spermatogenesis, other data support an epididymal origin of RNA transmitted to maturing sperm by extracellular vesicles. A minority may also be synthesized by de novo transcription in mature sperm, since a small portion of the sperm genome remains packed by histones. This complex RNA population has important roles in paternal chromatin packaging, sperm maturation and capacitation, fertilization, early embryogenesis, and developmental maintenance. In recent years, additional lines of evidence from animal models support a role for sperm RNAs in intergenerational and transgenerational inheritance, modulating both the genotype and phenotype of progeny. Importantly, several reports indicate that the sperm RNA content of fertile and infertile men differs considerably, and is strongly modulated by the environment, lifestyle, and pathological states. Wider implications: Transcriptional profiling has considerable potential for the discovery of fertility biomarkers. Understanding the role of sperm transcripts and comparing the sperm RNA fingerprint of fertile and infertile men could help to elucidate the regulatory pathways contributing to male factor infertility. Such data might also provide a molecular explanation for several causes of idiopathic male fertility. Ultimately, transcriptional profiling may be employed to optimize ART procedures and overcome some of the underlying causes of male infertility, ensuring the birth of healthy children
    • Mortality and morbidity associated with PEG insertion in England between 2007 and 2019

      Steed, Helen; Kamran, Umair; Varyani, Femi; Brookes, Matthew; Trudgill, Nigel (BMJ, 2021-12-31)
    • Improved patient selection for PEG insertion in England between 2007-2019

      Steed, Helen; Kamran, Umair; Varyani, Fumi; Brookes, Matthew; Trudgil, Nigel (BMJ, 2021-12-31)
    • Identifying critical dimensions for project success in R&D public sector using Delphi study and validation techniques

      Hanif, Huma; Hanif, Aamer; Ahsan, Ali; Sadiq, Ali Safaa; Mirjalili, Seyedali; Alkazemi, Basem (IEEE, 2021-09-13)
      In the current century, organizations face ever increasing dynamic ecosystems and are constantly devising strategies to meet their challenges. These include the implementation of the right organizational structure and avoid project schedule delays to achieve projects’ success. Unfortunately, the classification of significant project success dimensions in the R&D public sector environment is still an elusive concept. This study adopts a multi-dimensional qualitative and quantitative approach to explore the critical dimensions of organizational structure and schedule management that enhance or hinder the project success in R&D of public sector organizations. In Phase 1, a Delphi Study is conducted, and results of reliability and other tests are the input of Phase 2. On the basis of these tests, variables have been selected for the next phase or final questionnaire. In Phase 2, through a survey of 285 responses in a public sector R&D environment, the proposed framework is validated by conducting face, content and construct validity. The results indicated that formalization, specialization, differentiation, coordination mechanism, decentralization and authority of managers have a significant effect on the schedule management and successful execution of R&D projects; whereas, centralization and departmentalization do not correlate strongly. The results also imply that decentralized organizational structures (organic) are more preferable than centralized structures (mechanistic) for the execution of R&D projects when proposed timelines are to be met timely. The proposed framework will act as a supporting mechanism for engineering managers to deal with organizational structure and schedule management factors in a highly uncertain R&D environment where projects deviate frequently from their anticipated timeline.
    • Public Twitter data and transport network status

      Almohammad, A; Georgakis, P (IEEE, 2020-09-22)
      Twitter data can be collected and analysed to be used for predicting the status of a transport network at a given time and geographic location (e.g. forecasting disruptions, congestions, or road closures). However, this requires geolocating the tweets to define the parts of the transport network which may be related to these tweets. This paper investigates the relationship between the actual transport network status, with that being synthesised using public Twitter data in the Greater Manchester conurbation. Therefore, it answers the following question: are the sentiments of tweets around the incidents and accidents areas (or bounding boxes) different from the sentiments of tweets in the seamless traffic areas?. According to the used research methodology, analysis techniques, and sentiment detection APIs, it has been concluded that there is no significant difference between the sentiments in the tweets regardless the prevailing traffic conditions of the locations the tweets refer to.
    • Guest editorial

      Oloke, David (Emerald, 2020-01-28)
    • Profiling gene expression dynamics underpinning conventional testing approaches to better inform pre-clinical evaluation of an age appropriate spironolactone formulation

      Russell, C; Hussain, M; Huen, D; Rahman, AS; Mohammed, AR; Aston Pharmacy School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK. (Taylor and Francis, 2020-11-01)
      There is a need to accelerate paediatric formulation evaluation and enhance quality of early stage data in drug development to alleviate the information pinch point present between formulation development and clinical evaluation. This present work reports application of DNA microarrays as a high throughput screening tool identifying markers for prediction of bioavailability and formulation driven physiological responses. With a focus on enhancing paediatric medicine provision, an oral liquid spironolactone suspension was formulated addressing a paediatric target product profile. Caco-2 cells cultured on transwell inserts were implemented in transport assays in vitro and DNA microarrays were used to examine gene expression modulation. Wistar rats were used to derive in vivo bioavailability data. In vitro, genomic, and in vivo data sets were concurrently evaluated linking drug transport and the genomic fingerprint generated by spironolactone formulation exposure. Significant changes in gene expression are reported as a result of formulation exposure. These include genes coding for ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, solute carrier (SLC) transporters, cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, and carboxylesterase enzymes. Genomic findings better inform pre-clinical understanding of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic responses to spironolactone and its active metabolites than current in vitro drug transport assays alone.
    • Analysis of the porous structures from laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing

      Wang, Chang; Hazlehurst, Kevin; Arjunan, Arun; Shen, Lida (IOS Press, 2021-09-05)
      Open and closed porous structures with lattice and honeycomb geometry can be built using laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing processes. The porous structures can be used to tailor the mechanical properties of a component or provide other functionality, such as for bone ingrowth in medical implants. Porous structures were created and analysed in this paper both physically and using finite element modelling. It was found that the accuracy of the built parts was reasonable and within the manufacturing processes general tolerance of +/- 50 μm. However, it was noticeable that the corners of the square shape pores were naturally filleted by the manufacturing process. The finite element model was developed using ANSYS software, stress concentrations were observed in the porous structures under loading. In addition to this, fragments of the material were present on the internal surfaces of the pores, which were formed from partially melted powder particles.
    • Flood dynamics: A geoecological approach using historical cartography and giscience in the city of petrópolis (Βrazil)

      Fernandes, Manoel do C.; Heesom, David; Fullen, Michael A.; Antunes, Fernando S. (European Association of Geographers, EUROGEO ivzw, 2020-09-18)
      Dynamics, structure and function are geoecological characteristics that define landscapes. These characteristics help explain landscape processes, such as floods. This article analyses geoecological variables to understand flood dynamics in the original historical district of Petrópolis City (Brazil). Concepts and techniques of historical cartography and GIScience were used to analyse geoecological variables in three river basins (Quitandinha, Palatino and Piabanha) within the study area. Each basin had a river island which was excavated and removed. The Quitandinha River Basin had the largest river island (965 m2), the highest Edification Index (44.12%) and the most favourable geomorphological indices for the occurrence of floods. Hence, the basin recorded 93% of flood events within the three basins. Multiple geoecological variables influence flood dynamics. In this urban landscape, changes in the drainage network, intensified by disorderly urbanization and geomorphological processes, are extremely important in understanding flooding processes.
    • Experimental and artificial intelligence modelling study of oil palm trunk sap fermentation

      Ezzatzadegan, L; Yusof, R; Morad, NA; Shabanzadeh, P; Muda, NS; Borhani, TN (MDPI, 2021-04-11)
      Five major operations for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomasses into bioethanol are pre-treatment, detoxification, hydrolysis, fermentation, and distillation. The fermentation process is a significant biological step to transform lignocellulose into biofuel. The interactions of biochemical networks and their uncertainty and nonlinearity that occur during fermentation processes are major problems for experts developing accurate bioprocess models. In this study, mechanical processing and pre-treatment on the palm trunk were done before fermentation. Analysis was performed on the fresh palm sap and the fermented sap to determine the composition. The analysis for total sugar content was done using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and the percentage of alcohols by volume was determined using gas chromatography (GC). A model was also developed for the fermentation process based on the Adaptive-Network-Fuzzy Inference System (ANFIS) combined with particle swarm optimization (PSO) to predict bioethanol production in biomass fermentation of oil palm trunk sap. The model was used to find the best experimental conditions to achieve the maximum bioethanol concentration. Graphical sensitivity analysis techniques were also used to identify the most effective parameters in the bioethanol process.
    • Technical and commercial challenges of proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells

      Alaswad, A; Omran, A; Sodre, JR; Wilberforce, T; Pignatelli, G; Dassisti, M; Baroutaji, A; Olabi, AG (MDPI, 2020-12-29)
      This review critically evaluates the latest trends in fuel cell development for portable and stationary fuel cell applications and their integration into the automotive industry. Fast start-up, high efficiency, no toxic emissions into the atmosphere and good modularity are the key advantages of fuel cell applications. Despite the merits associated with fuel cells, the high cost of the technology remains a key factor impeding its widespread commercialization. Therefore, this review presents detailed information into the best operating conditions that yield maximum fuel cell performance. The paper recommends future research geared towards robust fuel cell geometry designs, as this determines the cell losses, and material characterization of the various cell components. When this is done properly, it will support a total reduction in the cost of the cell which in effect will reduce the total cost of the system. Despite the strides made by the fuel cell research community, there is a need for public sensitization as some people have reservations regarding the safety of the technology. This hurdle can be overcome if there is a well-documented risk assessment, which also needs to be considered in future research activities.
    • A review on failure modes of wind turbine components

      Olabi, Abdul Ghani; Wilberforce, Tabbi; Elsaid, Khaled; Sayed, Enas Taha; Salameh, Tareq; Abdelkareem, Mohammad Ali; Baroutaji, Ahmad (MDPI, 2021-08-24)
      To meet the increasing energy demand, renewable energy is considered the best option. Its patronage is being encouraged by both the research and industrial community. The main driving force for most renewable systems is solar energy. It is abundant and pollutant free compared to fossil products. Wind energy is also considered an abundant medium of energy generation and often goes hand in hand with solar energy. The last few decades have seen a sudden surge in wind energy compared to solar energy due to most wind energy systems being cost effective compared to solar energy. Wind turbines are often categorised as large or small depending on their application and energy generation output. Sustainable materials for construction of different parts of wind turbines are being encouraged to lower the cost of the system. The turbine blades and generators perform crucial roles in the overall operation of the turbines; hence, their material composition is very critical. Today, most turbine blades are made up of natural fiber-reinforced polymer (NFRP) as well as glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP). Others are also made from wood and some metallic materials. Each of the materials introduced has specific characteristics that affect the system’s efficiency. This investigation explores the influence of these materials on turbine efficiency. Observations have shown that composites reinforced with nanomaterials have excellent mechanical characteristics. Carbon nanotubes have unique characteristics that may make them valuable in wind turbine blades in the future. It is possible to strengthen carbon nanotubes with various kinds of resins to get a variety of different characteristics. Similarly, the end-of-life treatment methods for composite materials is also presented.
    • Systematic review of psychological and educational interventions used to improving adherence in diabetes and depression patients

      Bashir, Tibyan; Morrissey, Hana; Ball, Patrick (Archives of Global Professionals, 2021-09-01)
      Diabetes is a life-long chronic condition that is an established risk factor for the development of comorbid depression and possibly affecting medication adherence. Psychological and educational interventions are reported efficacious by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in treating depression associated with a comorbid condition. As depression is associated with low adherence rates to treatment regimens, improving depression outcomes could improve adherence and therefore glycaemic control. A search strategy was conducted on search engines Google Scholar, PubMed, and Cochrane library for clinical trials. A total of 10 Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were identified which investigated the effects of psychological and educational interventions on Type 2 diabetic patients with comorbid depression. Outcomes measured were depression and glycaemic control. Evidence from the 10 RCTs with 5759 participants suggests that psychological and educational intervention improved depression outcomes substantially and glycaemic control to an extent. Depression outcomes results were significant: standard mean deviation (SMD) was -0.39 (95% CI -0.62, -0.15); I2= 81%) p<0.001. Diabetes outcomes were not seen to be significant, SMD was -0.14 (95% CI -0.32, 0.03); I2= 44%) p=0.12. Psychological and educational interventions are effective in improving depression symptoms significantly and may assist in glycaemic control. Further research is required using larger sample sizes that could be generalized and representative of the whole population.
    • Trustworthy and efficient routing algorithm for IoT-FinTech applications using non-linear Lévy Brownian generalized normal distribution optimization

      Sadiq, Ali Safaa; Dehkordi, Amin Abdollahi; Mirjalili, Seyedali; Too, Jingwei; Pillai, Prashant (IEEE, 2021-09-02)
      The huge advancement in the field of communication has pushed the innovation pace towards a new concept in the context of Internet of Things (IoT) named IoT for Financial Technology applications (IoT-FinTech). The main intention is to leverage the businesses’ income and reducing cost by facilitating the benefits enabled by IoT-FinTech technology. To do so, some of the challenging problems that mainly related to routing protocols in such highly dynamic, unreliable (due to mobility) and widely distributed network need to be carefully addressed. This paper therefore focuses on developing a new trustworthy and efficient routing mechanism to be used in routing data traffic over IoT-FinTech mobile networks. A new Non-linear Lévy Brownian Generalized Normal Distribution Optimization (NLBGNDO) algorithm is proposed to solve the problem of finding an optimal path from source to destination sensor nodes to be used in forwarding FinTech’s related data. We also propose an objective function to be used in maintaining trustworthiness of the selected relay-node candidates by introducing a trust-based friendship mechanism to be measured and applied during each selection process. The formulated model also considering node’s residual energy, experienced response time, and inter-node distance (to figure out density/sparsity ratio of sensor nodes). Results demonstrate that our proposed mechanism could maintain very wise and efficient decisions over the selection period in comparison with other methods.
    • The role of plants and soil properties in the enzyme activities of substrates on hard coal mine spoil heaps

      Kompała-Bąba, A; Bierza, W; Sierka, E; Błońska, A; Besenyei, L; Woźniak, G; Faculty of Natural Sciences, Institute of Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Protection, University of Silesia in Katowice, Jagiellońska 28, 40-032, Katowice, Poland. (Springer, 2021-03-04)
      Knowledge about biotic (plant species diversity, biomass) and/or abiotic (physicochemical substrate parameters) factors that determine enzyme activity and functional diversity of the substrate on hard coal spoil heaps is limited. Spontaneously developed vegetation patches dominated by herbaceous species commonly occurring on these spoil heaps: grasses (Poa compressa, Calamagrostis epigejos) and forbs (Daucus carota, Tussilago farfara), were examined. The activity of dehydrogenase and alkaline phosphatase was twice as high in plots dominated by grass species compared with those dominated by forbs. Significant positive correlations were found between the activity of dehydrogenase and alkaline phosphatase with pH, available P, soil moisture, and water holding capacity and negative correlations between the activity of urease and soil organic carbon. Strong positive correlations were found between values for Shannon–Wiener diversity index, evenness, species richness and soil functional diversity in plots dominated by grasses. We found that the soil physicochemical parameters had a greater impact on enzyme activity of the substrate than plant biomass and species diversity. However, grasses, through their extensive root system, more effectively increased enzyme activity and health of the substrate than other herbaceous species, and as they stabilize the substrate and form dense plant cover, they can be recommended for reclamation purposes.
    • UK Joint Advisory Group consensus statements for training and certification in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography

      Steed, Helen; Siau, Keith; Keane, Geri; Caddy, Grant; Church, Nick; Martin, Harry; McCrudden, Raymond; Neville, Peter; Oppong, Kofi; Rasheed, Ashraf; et al. (Thieme Open, 2021-12-31)
      Introduction: Despite the high-risk nature of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a robust and standardised credentialing process to ensure competency before independent practice is lacking worldwide. On behalf of the Joint Advisory Group (JAG), we aimed to develop evidence-based recommendations to form the framework of ERCP training and certification in the UK. Methods: Under the oversight of the JAG, a modified Delphi process was conducted with stakeholder representation from the British Society of Gastroenterology, Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons, trainees and trainers. Recommendations on ERCP training and certification were formulated after formal literature review and appraised using the GRADE tool. These were subjected to electronic voting to achieve consensus. Accepted statements were peer-reviewed by JAG and relevant Specialist Advisory Committees before incorporation into the ERCP certification pathway. Results: In total, 27 recommendation statements were generated for the following domains: definition of competence (9 statements), acquisition of competence (8 statements), assessment of competence (6 statements) and post-certification support (4 statements). The consensus process led to the following criteria for ERCP certification: 1) performing ≥300 hands-on procedures; 2) attending a JAG-accredited ERCP skills course; 3) in modified Schutz 1-2 procedures: achieving native papilla cannulation rate ≥80%, complete bile duct clearance ≥70%, successful stenting of distal biliary strictures ≥75%, physically unassisted in ≥80% of cases; 4) 30-day post-ERCP pancreatitis rates ≤5%; 5) satisfactory performance in formative and summative direct observation of procedural skills (DOPS) assessments. Conclusion: JAG certification in ERCP has been developed following evidence-based consensus to quality assure training and to ultimately improve future standards of ERCP practice.
    • Differences in the on-and off-tumor microbiota between right-and left-sided colorectal cancer

      Phipps, O; Quraishi, MN; Dickson, EA; Steed, H; Kumar, A; Acheson, AG; Beggs, AD; Brookes, MJ; Al-Hassi, HO; Research Institute in Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton WV1 1LY, UK. (MDPI, 2021-05-20)
      This study aims to determine differences in the on-and off-tumor microbiota between patients with right-and left-sided colorectal cancer. Microbiome profiling of tumor and tumor-adjacent biopsies from patients with right-sided (n = 17) and left-sided (n = 7) colorectal adenocarcinoma was performed using 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing. Off-tumor alpha and beta diversity were significantly different between right-and left-sided colorectal cancer patients. However, no differences in on-tumor diversity were observed between tumor locations. Comparing the off-tumor microbiota showed the right colon to be enriched with species of the Lachnoclostridium, Selenomonas, and Ruminococcus genera. Whereas the left colon is enriched with Epsilonbacteraeota phylum, Campylobacteria class, and Pasteurellales and Campylobacterales orders, in contrast, the on-tumor microbiota showed relatively fewer differences in bacterial taxonomy between tumor sites, with left tumors being enriched with Methylophilaceae and Vadin BE97 families and Alloprevotella, Intestinibacter, Romboutsia, and Ruminococcus 2 genera. Patients with left-sided colorectal cancer had large taxonomic differences between their paired on-and off-tumor microbiota, while patients with right-sided colorectal cancer showed relatively fewer taxonomic differences. Collectively, this suggests that the right and left colon show distinctive bacterial populations; however, the presence of a colonic tumor leads to a more consistent microbiota between locations.