• Private Finance Initiative in the Healthcare Sector: Trends and Risk Assessment

      Akintoye, Akintola; Chinyio, Ezekiel A. (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2005)
      Abstract: Purpose – The UK Government has now adopted Private Finance Initiative (PFI) as a major vehicle for the delivery of additional resources to the health sector in order to achieve a greater investment in healthcare facilities. The purpose of this paper is to examine the trends and risk assessment of the PFI in the healthcare sector. Design/methodology/approach – The paper employed secondary data and interviews of key participants in two hospital PFI projects to highlight developments in healthcare PFI and the risk management of hospital projects. Findings – The results show that the use of PFI in the provision of healthcare is increasing in terms of number, capital value and size of projects. What emerged in the healthcare PFI project was a usage of a plethora of risk management techniques, albeit to varying degrees. Experience appeared to be the prime risk assessment technique employed, while risk avoidance was first explored before pricing and allocating any residual risks. “Risk prompts”, such as using checklists and risk registers were also useful in the identification of risks. Among all participants, insurance cover and sub-contracting appear to be the most prominent strategies employed for managing out the risks. Originality/value – The negotiations that precede the signing of a healthcare PFI project contract had an impact on the final choice of facilities or their specifications. The two contracting parties sought a balance between an optimal allocation of risks, choice of facilities and project price. Although the risk management techniques being used are generic in nature, there is still no evidence at the moment to show that these are appropriate for PFI projects. It is important that further investigation is undertaken to assess the level of current skills in risk management techniques to deal with PFI projects and the extent to which these techniques are appropriate to tackle complex healthcare PFI projects. (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.)
    • Proactive threat detection for connected cars using recursive Bayesian estimation

      al-Khateeb, Haider; Epiphaniou, Gregory; Reviczky, Adam; Karadimas, Petros; Heidari, Hadi (IEEE, 2017-12-12)
      Upcoming disruptive technologies around autonomous driving of connected cars have not yet been matched with appropriate security by design principles and lack approaches to incorporate proactive preventative measures in the wake of increased cyber-threats against such systems. In this paper, we introduce proactive anomaly detection to a use-case of hijacked connected cars to improve cyber-resilience. Firstly, we manifest the opportunity of behavioural profiling for connected cars from recent literature covering related underpinning technologies. Then, we design and utilise a new dataset file for connected cars influenced by the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS–B) surveillance technology used in the aerospace industry to facilitate data collection and sharing. Finally, we simulate the analysis of travel routes in real-time to predict anomalies using predictive modelling. Simulations show the applicability of a Bayesian estimation technique, namely Kalman Filter. With the analysis of future state predictions based on the previous behaviour, cyber-threats can be addressed with a vastly increased time-window for a reaction when encountering anomalies. We discuss that detecting real-time deviations for malicious intent with predictive profiling and behavioural algorithms can be superior in effectiveness than the retrospective comparison of known-good/known-bad behaviour. When quicker action can be taken while connected cars encounter cyber-attacks, more effective engagement or interception of command and control will be achieved.
    • Problem-based learning: enhancing students learning of building information modelling

      Obi, Lovelin; Moses, Tochukwu; Chukwudi, Obi (University of Wolverhampton, 2018-12-20)
      Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an innovative collaborative process underpinned by digital technologies introduced to improve project performance in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. Growth in industry demands has necessitated BIM inclusion into the Higher Education (HE) curricula as both a pedagogic and practical objective to prepare and develop aspiring Built Environment (BE) professionals with the required competence for contemporary practice. However, comprehension of BIM concepts and developing the skill set required for its application can be overwhelming for students and crucial to mitigating this challenge is the adoption of appropriate learner-centred strategies. Problem-based Learning (PBL) is becoming a widespread strategy to address such concern. This paper evaluates the impact of PBL strategy on students accelerated learning of BIM based on a case study of an undergraduate BIM module. Findings from the study show PBL benefits on students’ knowledge acquisition (cognitive and affective) of BIM concept and development of transferable skills (academic and disciplinary) equipping them with capabilities to become BIM competent and workplace ready for the AEC industry.
    • Problems and potential of mineral magnetic measurements as a soil particle size proxy

      Booth, Colin A.; Fullen, Michael A.; Walden, John; Worsley, Annie T.; Marcinkonis, Saulius; Coker, Akinwale O. (Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, 2008)
      The use of mineral magnetic concentration parameters (cLF, cARM and SIRM) as a potential particle size proxy for soil samples collected from the Isle of Man (British Isles) is explored as an alternative means of normalizing particle size effects. Comparison of soil-related analytical data by correlation analyses between each magnetic parameter and individual particle size classes (i.e. sand, silt and clay), more discrete intervals within classes (e.g. fine sand or medium silt) and cumulative size fractions (e.g. clay + fine silt) are reported. Both cLF and cARM parameters reveal significant (p <0.05; n = 46), but relatively weak (rs = 0.297 and 0.369), associations with clay content, while cLF, cARM and SIRM parameters have no significant relationship with sand and silt content or any discrete or cumulative size fractions. Contrary to earlier research findings, this indicates that magnetic measurements are not always a suitable particle size proxy and it is only certain environments and/or specific settings that are appropriate for granulometric normalization by this technique. However, if future researchers working in other soil settings can identify a formal predictable relationship, the technique is known to offer a simple, reliable, rapid, sensitive, inexpensive and non-destructive approach that could be a valuable particle size proxy for normalizing particle size effects in soil contamination studies.
    • Problems of drought and its management in Yobe State, Nigeria

      Hassan Gana, Abdullahi; Fullen, Michael A.; Oloke, David A. (Elsevier, 2019-01-09)
      Drought poses an enormous global threat to sustainable development and is expected to increase with global climate change. Drought and desertification are major problems in Yobe State (north-east Nigeria). This study investigates the main problems associated with drought in Yobe State. Qualitative methods were employed to investigate socio-economic impacts of drought via Focus Group Discussions (FDG). Farmers and officials from the State Ministry of the Environment were the discussants. Both groups confirmed the frequency and severity of drought in Yobe. However, farmers have practises that cause environmental degradation. Developing a viable and holistic approach to drought mitigation is crucial, to arresting and hopefully reversing environmental degradation. Understanding the causes and consequences of drought will help develop drought mitigation and management strategies. Currently, there is no proper drought mitigation and management framework in Yobe State. This paper introduces the socio-economic and environmental effects of drought and makes recommendations for mitigation and management strategies in Yobe State.
    • PROCESSOS HIDRO-EROSIVOS EM SOLOS DEGRADADOS EM RELEVO DE BAIXA DECLIVIDADE (HYDRO-EROSIVE PROCESSES IN DEGRADED SOILS ON GENTLE SLOPE)

      Fullen, Michael A.; dos Santos Pereira, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Aline Muniz; Jorge, Maria do Carmo Oliveira; Guerra, Antônio José Teixeira (UGB, 2016-06-30)
    • The production and application of hydrogels for wound management: a review

      Gupta, Abhishek; Kowalczuk, Marek; Heaselgrave, Wayne; Britland, Stephen T; Martin, Clare; Radecka, Iza (Elsevier, 2018-12-15)
      Wound treatment has increased in importance in the wound care sector due to the pervasiveness of chronic wounds in the high-risk population including, but not limited to, geriatric population, immunocompromised and obese patients. Furthermore, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes is rapidly growing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global diabetic occurrence has increased from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014. As diabetes becomes a common medical condition, it has also become one of the major causes of chronic wounds which require specialised care to address patients’ unique needs. Wound dressings play a vital role in the wound healing process as they protect the wound site from the external environment. They are also capable of interacting with the wound bed in order to facilitate and accelerate the healing process. Advanced dressings such as hydrogels are designed to maintain a moist environment at the site of application and due to high water content are ideal candidates for wound management. Hydrogels can be used for both exudating or dry necrotic wounds. Additionally, hydrogels also demonstrate other unique features such as softness, malleability and biocompatibility. Nowadays, advanced wound care products make up around $7.1 billion of the global market and their production is growing at an annual rate of 8.3% with the market projected to be worth $12.5 billion by 2022. The presented review focuses on novel hydrogel wound dressings, their main characteristics and their wound management applications. It also describes recent methodologies used for their production and the future potential developments.
    • Production and characterisation of bacterial cellulose hydrogels loaded with curcumin encapsulated in cyclodextrins as wound dressings

      Gupta, A; Keddie, DJ; Kannappan, V; Gibson, H; Khalil, IR; Kowalczuk, M; Martin, C; Shuai, X; Radecka, I (Elsevier, 2019-06-14)
      © 2019 Elsevier Ltd Natural bioactive materials with wound healing properties such as curcumin are attracting interest due to the emergence of resistant bacterial strains. The hydrophobicity of curcumin has been counteracted by using solubility enhancing cyclodextrins. Hydrogels facilitate wound healing due to unique properties and 3D network structures which allows encapsulation of healing agents. In this study, biosynthetic cellulose produced by Gluconacetobacter xylinus (ATCC 23770) was loaded with water soluble curcumin:hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin supramolecular inclusion complex produced by a solvent evaporation method to synthesise hydrogel dressings. The ratios of solvents to solubilise curcumin and hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin were tested for the production of the inclusion complex with optimum encapsulation efficacy. The results confirmed that hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin enhanced the aqueous solubility of curcumin and allowed loading into bacterial cellulose hydrogels. These hydrogels were characterised for wound management applications and exhibited haemocompatability, cytocompatability, anti-staphylococcal and antioxidant abilities and therefore support the potential use of the curcumin:hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin-loaded-bacterial cellulose as hydrogel dressings.
    • Production methods of stacks and hydrogen with associated costs

      Symes, Daniel; Dhir, Aman (Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), 2015-12-03)
      There are currently approximately 50 million tonnes of hydrogen produced annually. This figure is expected to rise over the coming decades with the growth of a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen is currently and predominately used in industry to produce ammonia, hydrogenation of fats and pharmaceutical manufacture. All of these industries will continue to use hydrogen gas, so there will be an increased demand on the volume of hydrogen produced each year if the hydrogen economy is to succeed as an alternative form of energy. Consequently, hydrogen would need to be sourced from more than a single production pathway, and yet be sustainable. Each production pathway has unique benefits and disadvantages, such as cost of production and the purity of hydrogen produced. As a result, new sustainable methods of producing hydrogen are being researched for optimisation and commercialisation. In this article, the authors examine traditional and new routes to production techniques and costs that are associated with them.
    • Production of polyhydroxyalkanoates from waste frying oil by Cupriavidus necator

      Verlinden, Rob A. J.; Hill, David J.; Kenward, Melvin A.; Williams, Craig D.; Piotrowska-Seget, Zofia; Radecka, Iza K. (Springer, 2011)
      Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biopolymers, which can replace petrochemical plastics in many applications. However, these bioplastics are currently far more expensive than petrochemical plastics. Many researchers are investigating the use of inexpensive substrates derived from waste streams. Waste frying oil is abundant and can be used in PHA production without filtration. Cupriavidus necator (formerly known as Ralstonia eutropha) is a versatile organism for the production of PHAs. Small-scale batch fermentation studies have been set up, using different concentrations of pure vegetable oil, heated vegetable oil and waste frying oil. These oils are all rapeseed oils. It has been shown that Cupriavidus necator produced the homopolymer polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) from the rapeseed oils. The achieved PHB concentration from waste frying oil was 1.2 g/l, which is similar to a concentration that can be obtained from glucose. The PHB harvest from pure oil and heated oil was 0.62 g/l and 0.9 g/l respectively. A feed of waste frying oil could thus achieve more biopolymer than pure vegetable oil. While the use of a waste product is beneficial from a life-cycle perspective, PHB is not the only product that can be made from waste oil. The collection of waste frying oil is becoming more widespread, making waste oil a good alternative to purified oil or glucose for PHB production.
    • 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.
    • Progressive failure analysis of CFRP composite laminates under uniaxial tension using a discrete element method

      Wan, L; Ismail, Y; Sheng, Y; Wu, K; Yang, D (SAGE, 2020-09-30)
      This study presents a 3D Discrete Element Method (DEM) model for the progressive failure analysis of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composite materials subjected to uniaxial tensile loading. Particles in the model are packed and bonded in regular patterns (hexagonal or square). The relationship between the bond stiffness and material properties is established based on the average strain energy method. The random distribution of bond strengths calibrated from experiments with a variation of 30% and 10% following a normal distribution law is assigned to the bonds in 0∘ and 90∘ plies to capture random cracks, respectively. Tsai-Hill failure criterion is utilized for the calibration of bond strength of (Formula presented.) plies to predict their failures in composite laminates. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted for predicting the damage initiation and propagation of the cross-ply and Quasi-Isotropic (QI) composite laminates under tensile loading, respectively. Two interface stiffnesses were utilized in the failure prediction of cross-ply composite laminates, and it was found that the numerical results with the interface stiffness calculated from fracture energy are in good, quantitative agreements with the experiments. All the four stages of the failure process of QI composite laminates are well captured by the 3D DEM model, including isolated cracks, inner delamination cracks, outer delamination cracks and final failure.
    • A project management competency framework for industrialised building system (IBS) construction

      Laili, Izatul; Abdul-Aziz, Abdul-Rashid; Suresh, Subashini; Renukappa, Suresh; Enshassi, Adnan (International Journal of Technology, 2019-07-29)
      The Malaysian government has been promoting the use of the industrialised building system (IBS) for construction projects since 2003. Worldwide, there are a number of project management competency standards available, but they are generic in nature. This study was conducted to devise a competency framework suitable for industrialised building system (IBS) construction projects. A three-pronged mixed research method comprising qualitative interviews, a quantitative questionnaire survey and face-to-face validation was adopted. The competencies generated were classified as primary and secondary, and assigned to the various initial, planning, implementation, monitoring and closing construction life cycle phases. The proposal fills a gap in the project management landscape by testing and combining academic and non-academic literature with the ‘emergent’ competencies from the interviews. These are used in conjunction with conventional project management wisdom. IBS is increasingly being applied worldwide, although under different terminologies; therefore, the framework could also potentially be of use beyond Malaysia.
    • Prolactinoma as a cause of persistent hyperprolactinemia in 6-Pyruvoyl-tetrahydropterin synthase deficiency

      Almasseri, Zainab; Nicolas- Jilwan, Manal; Almadani, Ahmad; Al-Owain, Mohammad; Gama, Rousseau; Ainuddin Sulaiman, Raashda (Sciaccess Publishers LLC, 2020-07-14)
      6-Pyruvoyl-tetrahydropterin synthase (PTPS) deficiency results in depletion of the brain neuro-transmitters serotonin and dopamine. Since dopamine is the physiological inhibitor of pituitary prolactin secretion, hyperprolactinemia is common in patients with PTPS deficiency. Serum prolactin concentrations are used for the monitoring and optimization of L-Dopa therapy. We report three adult patients with PTPS deficiency who had persistent hyperprolactinemia unresponsive to high dose L-Dopa therapy, and pituitary imaging confirmed microadenoma. In the presence of prolactinoma, serum prolactin is an unreliable tool for treatment monitoring in these patients. This report emphasizes the need to exclude other causes of hyperprolactinemia including prolactinoma, in patients who are compliant with optimized L-Dopa treatment and their prolactin levels remain significantly high.
    • Proline derived guanidine catalysts forge extensive H-bonded architectures: a solution and solid state study

      Al-Taie, Zahraa S; Anetts, Simon R; Christensen, Jeppe; Coles, Simon J; Horton, Peter N; Evans, Daniel M; Jones, Leigh F; de Kleijne, Frank FJ; Ledbetter, Shaun M; Mehdar, Yassin TH; et al. (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2020-06-11)
      The preparation of a range of amino acid derived guanidine organocatalysts is reported together with their application to the Michael addition of 2-hydroxy-1,4-napthoquinone to b-nitrostyrene, achieving a maximum ee of 56%. Some insight into the mechanism was sought by using X-ray crystallography and a detailed study of the intra- and intermolecular hydrogen bonding is reported.
    • The proper strategy to compress and protect plasmid DNA in the Pluronic L64-electropulse system for enhanced intramuscular gene delivery

      He, Yutong; Liu, Yili; Sun, Zhe; Tang, James Zhenggui; Gao, Rong; Wang, Gang (Oxford Academic, 2019-01-31)
      Intramuscular expression of functional proteins is a promising strategy for therapeutic purposes. Previously, we developed an intramuscular gene delivery method by combining Pluronic L64 and optimized electropulse, which is among the most efficient methods to date. However, plasmid DNAs (pDNAs) in this method were not compressed, making them unstable and inefficient in vivo. We considered that a proper compression of pDNAs by an appropriate material should facilitate gene expression in this L64-electropulse system. Here, we reported our finding of such a material, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a natural compound in green teas, which could compress and protect pDNAs and significantly increase intramuscular gene expression in the L64-electropulse system. Meanwhile, we found that polyethylenimine (PEI) could also slightly improve exogenous gene expression in the optimal procedure. By analysing the characteristic differences between EGCG and PEI, we concluded that negatively charged materials with strong affinity to nucleic acids and/or other properties suitable for gene delivery, such as EGCG, are better alternatives than cationic materials (like PEI) for muscle-based gene delivery. The results revealed that a critical principle for material/pDNA complex benefitting intramuscular gene delivery/expression is to keep the complex negatively charged. This proof-of-concept study displays the breakthrough in compressing pDNAs and provides a principle and strategy to develop more efficient intramuscular gene delivery systems for therapeutic applications.
    • Properties of concrete incorporating fine recycled aggregate

      Khatib, Jamal M. (Elsevier, 2005)
      The properties of concrete containing fine recycled aggregate are investigated. Recycled aggregate consisted of crushed concrete (CC) or crushed brick (CB) with particles less than 5 mm in diameter. The free water/cement ratio was kept constant for all mixes. The fine aggregate in concrete was replaced with 0%, 25%, 50% and 100% CC or CB. Generally, there is strength reduction of 15–30% for concrete containing CC. However, concrete incorporating up to 50% CB exhibits similar long-term strength to that of the control. Even at 100% replacement of fine aggregate with CB, the reduction in strength is only 10%. Beyond 28 days of curing, the rate of strength development in concrete containing either CC or CB is higher than that of the control indicating further cementing action in the presence of fine recycled aggregate. More shrinkage and expansion occur in concrete containing CC or CB.
    • Properties of Titanium Dental Implant Models made by Laser Processing

      Laoui, Tahar; Santos, Edson Costa; Shiomia, Masanari; Morita, M.; Shaik, S. K.; Tolochko, Nikolay K.; Abe, F.; Takahashi, M. (Professional Engineering Publishing, 2006)
      This article discusses the influence of various process parameters on the characteristics of titanium dental implants made by laser-forming techniques involving both laser sintering and laser melting. The implant models have a porous surface structure to increase bone-osseointegration and a compact core to provide the required mechanical strength. Models in the shapes of rod and cone were built using a continuous wave (CW) laser yielding a threshold compressive force as high as 1000 N after a postsintering treatment in a vacuum furnace at 1200°C for 1.5 h. Using selective laser melting with the pulsed laser, the best parameters were found to be: scan speed of 6 mm/s, laser peak power of 1 kW, and hatching pitch of 0.4 mm yielding a tensile strength of 300 MPa and torsional fatigue strength of 100 MPa. To improve the surface wear resistance of the titanium models, laser gas nitriding using CW Nd:YAG laser was applied. The formed TiN layers had a sponge-like structure with a thickness varying from 30 to 60 μm. The hardness measured at ε20 μm from the surface varied from 1000 to 600 HV by changing the scan speed from 1 to 16 mm/s.
    • Prophylactic antibiotic use in orthopaedic surgery - is it worth it?

      Patel, Bhavini; Morrissey, Hana; Rahman, Ayesha (EJBPS, 2018-08-01)
      Introduction: The administration of pre-operative prophylactic antibiotic is widely accepted in decreasing the risk of developing surgical site infections in orthopaedic surgery. The choice of antibiotic, duration, dosage and use of antibiotic laden bone cement varies substantially in clinical practise. Aims: This meta-analysis was conducted to assess the association of antibiotic choice, duration and dosage on the prevalence of surgical site infections in different types of orthopaedic surgery (hip replacements, knee arthroplasty, spinal surgery, ankle and foot surgery, shoulder surgery) and the identification of causative microorganisms. Methods: A literature search was performed in MEDLINE databases, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register published in the Cochrane Library, and Science Direct from January 2000-February 2018. Outcomes of interest included presence of post-operative surgical site infections. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool was used to assess the risk of bias, extract outcomes of interest and to identify studies for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Results: The literature search revealed 169 studies out of which 18 studies were analysed and ultimately six studies in total were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled data investigating the post-operative deep surgical site infections rates favouring the use of prophylactic antibiotics (p=0.03). Only one study showed statistical significance (p=0.041) favouring the usage of high dosage antibiotic loaded bone cement in hemiarthroplasty procedures. Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis recommends the use of high-dose antibiotic loaded bone cement and prophylactic oral antibiotics concurrently and as indicated, to prevent surgical site infections in hemiarthroplasties. The duration of prophylactic antibiotic use should be restricted to 24 hours commenced preoperatively or within 1-2 hours from incision. This systematic review also highlights the urgent need for more double blind RCT to validate the prophylactic use of antibiotics.