Publications by authors named "Abdullah"

6,297 Publications

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Molecular characterization of Leishmania species from stray dogs and human patients in Saudi Arabia.

Parasitol Res 2021 May 4. Epub 2021 May 4.

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Bari, Italy.

Leishmania major and Leishmania tropica cause cutaneous leishmaniasis in humans and dogs in several parts of the world, with a large number of cases recorded in the Middle East. However, when they occur in sympatry, the role of each species of Leishmania in the epidemiology of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is not clear. To assess the frequency and to identify the species of Leishmania that infect humans and stray dogs in Riyadh and Al-Qaseem (Saudi Arabia), 311 stray dogs and 27 human patients who were suspected for Leishmania infection were examined for CL by a nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR). Seven (25.9%) out of 27 human patients scored positive for Leishmania spp. (i.e., L. major in five patients from Riyadh and L. tropica in two patients from Al-Qaseem). Out of 311 dogs, five (1.6%) were infected by L. tropica. Data herein presented demonstrate the occurrence of L. tropica in dogs and humans in Saudi Arabia, as well as the occurrence of L. major in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-021-07166-zDOI Listing
May 2021

Risk of asthma in children diagnosed with bronchiolitis during infancy: protocol of a longitudinal cohort study linking emergency department-based clinical data to provincial health administrative databases.

BMJ Open 2021 May 3;11(5):e048823. Epub 2021 May 3.

Research Institute, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Introduction: The Canadian Bronchiolitis Epinephrine Steroid Trial (CanBEST) and the Bronchiolitis Severity Cohort (BSC) study enrolled infants with bronchiolitis during the first year of life. The CanBEST trial suggested that treatment of infants with a combined therapy of high-dose corticosteroids and nebulised epinephrine reduced the risk of admission to hospital. Our study aims to-(1) quantify the risk of developing asthma by age 5 and 10 years in children treated with high-dose corticosteroid and epinephrine for bronchiolitis during infancy, (2) identify risk factors associated with development of asthma in children with bronchiolitis during infancy, (3) develop asthma prediction models for children diagnosed with bronchiolitis during infancy.

Methods And Analysis: We propose a longitudinal cohort study in which we will link data from the CanBEST and BSC study with routinely collected data from provincial health administrative databases. Our outcome is asthma incidence measured using a validated health administrative data algorithm. Primary exposure will be treatment with a combined therapy of high-dose corticosteroids and nebulised epinephrine for bronchiolitis. Covariates will include type of viral pathogen, disease severity, medication use, maternal, prenatal, postnatal and demographic factors and variables related to health service utilisation for acute lower respiratory tract infection. The risk associated with development of asthma in children treated with high-dose corticosteroid and epinephrine for bronchiolitis will be assessed using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models. Prediction models will be developed using multivariable logistic regression analysis and internally validated using a bootstrap approach.

Ethics And Dissemination: Our study has been approved by the ethics board of all four participating sites of the CanBEST and BSC study. Finding of the study will be disseminated to the academic community and relevant stakeholders through conferences and peer-reviewed publications.

Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN56745572; Post-results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-048823DOI Listing
May 2021

4-Year Results of the Bolton Relay Proximal Scallop Endograft in the Management of Thoracic and Thoraco-Abdominal Aortic Pathology with Unfavourable Proximal Landing Zone.

J Vasc Surg 2021 Apr 30. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Imperial Vascular Unit, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK; Department of Interventional Radiology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK. Electronic address:

Introduction: Thoracic endovascular aortic repair with a scallop design (scallop-TEVAR) is a useful treatment strategy to extend the proximal landing zone (PLZ), whilst maintaining perfusion to one or more of the supra-aortic trunks when treating aortic pathology with an unfavourable PLZ. The durability of this approach with the Bolton Relay scallop endograft (Terumo Aortic, Sunrise, Florida, United States) has not been established.

Methods: A retrospective review of prospectively collected data on consecutive patients that received scallop-TEVAR in zones 0-2 at a tertiary aortic unit was undertaken. The main outcome was durability, characterised by survival estimates, freedom from reintervention to the thoracic aorta and PLZ, migration and aneurysm sac regression.

Results: Between 2009-2019, 38 patients (71% male; median age of 70 years) underwent scallop-TEVAR for thoracic aortic pathology (n=28, 74%) or as part of thoracoabdominal aneurysm repair (n=10, 26%). The use of scallop-TEVAR significantly extended the PLZ (median 5mm preoperative PLZ vs 26mm extended PLZ, P=0.0001). A total of 41 supra-aortic trunks were perfused with a scallop including the LSA (n=25), LCCA (n=6), neo/IA (n=4), LSA and vertebral (n=1), IA and LCCA (n=2) in conjunction with 15 extra-anatomical bypasses. The PLZ was at Ishimaru zone 0 and 1 in 6 cases (16%), respectively, and zone 2 in 26 cases (68%). Technical success was 98%. The 30-day mortality was 5% (2/38; one death from myocardial infarction and one from multi-organ failure). Minor stroke occurred in three (8%) and temporary spinal cord ischaemia in two (5%) patients. Median follow-up was 4.5 years (0-10.53 years) during which two patients (5%) developed type Ia endoleak and required intervention to the PLZ (one from device-related migration and one from disease progression). All-cause and aorta-related survival was 72% and 85%; freedom from thoracic and PLZ reintervention was 92% and 97%, respectively. There were no cases of early or late thoracic aortic rupture, retrograde type A aortic dissection or supra-aortic trunk occlusion.

Conclusions: Scallop-TEVAR offers a less invasive treatment option to extend the seal zone in selected patients with an unfavourable PLZ, allowing for a durable repair in terms of overall survival and reintervention. Periprocedural stroke remains a principle concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2021.04.027DOI Listing
April 2021

Memristive Behavior of Mixed Oxide Nanocrystal Assemblies.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2021 May 3. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, United States.

Recent advances in memristive nanocrystal assemblies leverage controllable colloidal chemistry to induce a broad range of defect-mediated electrochemical reactions, switching phenomena, and modulate active parameters. The sample geometry of virtually all resistive switching studies involves thin film layers comprising monomodal diameter nanocrystals. Here we explore the evolution of bipolar and threshold resistive switching across highly ordered, solution-processed nanoribbon assemblies and mixtures comprising BaZrO (BZO) and SrZrO (SZO) nanocrystals. The effects of nanocrystal size, packing density, and A-site substitution on operating voltage ( and ) and switching mechanism were studied through a systematic comparison of nanoribbon heterogeneity (i.e., BZO-BZO vs BZO-SZO) and monomodal vs bimodal size distributions (i.e., small-small and small-large). Analysis of the current-voltage response confirms that tip-induced, trap-mediated space-charge-limited current and trap-assisted tunneling processes drive the low- and high-resistance states, respectively. Our results demonstrate that both smaller nanocrystals and heavier alkaline earth substitution decrease the onset voltage and improve stability and state retention of monomodal assemblies and bimodal nanocrystal mixtures, thus providing a base correlation that informs fabrication of solution-processed, memristive nanocrystal assemblies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.1c03722DOI Listing
May 2021

Comparison of arterial blood pressure and cardiac index-based hemodynamic management on cognitive function in elderly patients undergoing spinal surgery: a randomized clinical trial.

Minerva Anestesiol 2021 May 3. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Istanbul Medical Faculty, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.

Background: Postoperative delayed neurocognitive recovery (DNR) is frequent in elderly patients. Prevention of DNR is essential to achieve a better postoperative outcome.

Methods: The aim of the present study was to compare mean arterial pressure (MAP) and cardiac index (CI) based hemodynamic management on early cognitive function in elderly patients undergoing spinal surgery. Sixty patients aged ≥60 years were enrolled. Patients were randomized to one of two groups. In Group MAP, hemodynamic management of patients was performed according to the MAP value. In Group CI, hemodynamic management of patients was performed according to the CI value. In all patients, standard anesthesia method was used and regional cerebral oxygen saturation (rScO2) was measured. Cognitive functions of patients were assessed by Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA) test before surgery and 7 days after surgery. Change in MoCA test (ΔMoCA) was calculated.

Results: Postoperative MoCA score was significantly greater in Group CI (25.2 ± 2.4) than Group MAP (23.9 ± 2.5) (p = 0.046) . The ΔMoCAs were 1 (IQR, 0-3) and 3 (IQR, 2-3.5) in Group CI and MAP respectively (p<0.001). Lowest and average rScO2 values were significantly greater, and the decreased load of rScO2 below the threshold of 10% (AUCΔ10%) and 20% (AUCΔ20%) b elow its baseline were significantly lower in Group CI (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Cardiac index based hemodynamic management provided better postoperative cognitive function and higher intraoperative rScO2 when compared with MAP-based hemodynamic management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0375-9393.21.14759-5DOI Listing
May 2021

Molecular strategies to increase keratinase production in heterologous expression systems for industrial applications.

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 2021 May 3. Epub 2021 May 3.

Enzyme and Microbial Technology Research Centre, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, UPM, 43400, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

Keratinase is an important enzyme that can degrade recalcitrant keratinous wastes to form beneficial recyclable keratin hydrolysates. Keratinase is not only important as an alternative to reduce environmental pollution caused by chemical treatments of keratinous wastes, but it also has industrial significance. Currently, the bioproduction of keratinase from native keratinolytic host is considered low, and this hampers large-scale usage of the enzyme. Straightforward approaches of cloning and expression of recombinant keratinases from native keratinolytic host are employed to elevate the amount of keratinase produced. However, this is still insufficient to compensate for the lack of its large-scale production to meet the industrial demands. Hence, this review aimed to highlight the various sources of keratinase and the strategies to increase its production in native keratinolytic hosts. Molecular strategies to increase the production of recombinant keratinase such as plasmid selection, promoter engineering, chromosomal integration, signal peptide and propeptide engineering, codon optimization, and glycoengineering were also described. These mentioned strategies have been utilized in heterologous expression hosts, namely, Escherichia coli, Bacillus sp., and Pichia pastoris, as they are most widely used for the heterologous propagations of keratinases to further intensify the production of recombinant keratinases adapted to better suit the large-scale demand for them. KEY POINTS: • Molecular strategies to enhance keratinase production in heterologous hosts. • Construction of a prominent keratinolytic host from a native strain. • Patent analysis of keratinase production shows rapid high interest in molecular field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00253-021-11321-yDOI Listing
May 2021

Recombinant Human erythropoietin reduces viability of MCF-7 breast cancer cells from 3D culture without caspase activation.

Saudi J Biol Sci 2021 Apr 11;28(4):2549-2557. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

College of Science, Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University, Saudi Arabia.

Recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) is the erythropoiesis-stimulating hormone that is being used concurrently with chemotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of anemia of cancer. The effect of rHuEPO on cancer cells in 3-dimensional (3D) cultures is not known. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of rHuEPO on the viability of MCF-7 breast cancer cells from 2-dimensional (2D) and 3D cell cultures. The monolayer MCF-7 cells from 2D culture and MCF-7 cell from 3D culture generated by ultra-low adhesive microplate technique, were treated with 0, 0.1, 10, 100 or 200 IU/mL rHuEPO for 24, 48 or 72 h. The effects of rHuEPO on MCF-7 cell viability and proliferation were determined using the (4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assay (MTT), neutral red retention time (NRRT), trypan blue exclusion assay (TBE), DNA fragmentation, acridine orange/propidium iodide staining (AO/PI) assays. The MCF-7 cells for 3D culture were also subjected to caspase assays and cell cycle analysis using flow cytometry. rHuEPO appeared to have greater effect at lowering the viability of MCF-7 cells from 3D than 2D cultures. rHuEPO significantly (p < 0.05) decreased viability and down-regulated the caspase activities of 3D MCF-7 cells in dose- and time-dependent manner. The cell cycle analysis showed that rHuEPO caused MCF-7 cells to enter the subG0/G1 phase. Thus, the study suggests that rHuEPO has a cytostatic effect on the MCF-7 breast cancer cells from 3D culture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2021.01.059DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8071958PMC
April 2021

Child polyvictimization in Zongo communities in Ghana: Young people's reflections on systemic resilience enablers.

Child Abuse Negl 2021 Apr 29:105075. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong, HKU Centennial Campus, Hong Kong. Electronic address:

Purpose: Polyvictimization is often commonplace for young people living in violent communities. The situation is no different for young people in Ghanaian Zongo communities where poverty, social disorder and social vices are prevalent due to structural reasons.

Objective: Using the social ecology approach to resilience, the study sought the perspectives of young people about how systemic aspects of community contribute to their positive development in high-risk communities.

Methods: Following the short narrative approach, 23 young people ages 18-24 from two Zongo communities in Ghana were engaged in qualitative interviews.

Findings: Cultural values of solidarity and peer support were common systemic enablers that facilitated young peoples' resilience. These enablers provided context and resources which ensured their survival in cases of neglect and abuse. Cultural values of solidarity exemplified by care for each other among residents created a safe environment and cultural capital contributed to the young peoples' resilience. Additionally, the "base" within Zongo communities provided a social structure that enabled peer support and promoted young peoples' resilience in the face of polyvictimization experiences.

Conclusion And Implications: The findings shift the resilience discourse from a conception of personality traits to one of collective aspects of community systems. They also identify cultural values of solidarity within the community that provide cultural capital for the social functioning of young people dealing with polyvictimization in high-risk environments. The findings provide pathways for professionals to promote resilience and develop resilience-oriented primary preventive measures for adolescents living in high-risk environments in Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2021.105075DOI Listing
April 2021

Recently-Arrived Afghan Refugee Parents' Perspectives About Parenting, Education and Pediatric Medical and Mental Health Care Services.

J Immigr Minor Health 2021 May 2. Epub 2021 May 2.

Yale National Clinician Scholars Program, PO Box 208088, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA.

Refugee children are at risk for mental/behavioral health problems but may not receive timely diagnosis or care. Parental experiences and perspectives about resources in the US may help guide interventions to improve mental/behavioral health care. In a community-academic partnership, we performed a qualitative study of recently-arrived Afghan refugee parents, using in-depth, semi-structured interviews to characterize experiences with parenting, education, and health care services. A four-person coding team identified, described, and refined themes. We interviewed 19 parents from ten families, with a median residence in the US of 24 months. Four themes emerged; parents described: (1) shifting focus as safety needs changed, (2) acculturation stress, (3) adjustment to an emerging US support system, and (4) appreciation of an engaged health care system. Health and educational providers' appreciation for the process of acculturation among newly-arrived refugee Afghan families may facilitate screening, diagnostic, and intervention strategies to improve care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10903-021-01206-7DOI Listing
May 2021

A comprehensive review on magnetic carbon nanotubes and carbon nanotube-based buckypaper for removal of heavy metals and dyes.

J Hazard Mater 2021 Jul 12;413:125375. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Dawood University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi 74800, Pakistan.

Industrial effluents contain several organic and inorganic contaminants. Among others, dyes and heavy metals introduce a serious threat to drinking waterbodies. These pollutants can be noxious or carcinogenic in nature, and harmful to humans and different aquatic species. Therefore, it is of high importance to remove heavy metals and dyes to reduce their environmental toxicity. This has led to an extensive research for the development of novel materials and techniques for the removal of heavy metals and dyes. One route to the removal of these pollutants is the utilization of magnetic carbon nanotubes (CNT) as adsorbents. Magnetic carbon nanotubes hold remarkable properties such as surface-volume ratio, higher surface area, convenient separation methods, etc. The suitable characteristics of magnetic carbon nanotubes have led them to an extensive search for their utilization in water purification. Along with magnetic carbon nanotubes, the buckypaper (BP) membranes are also favorable due to their unique strength, high porosity, and adsorption capability. However, BP membranes are mostly used for salt removal from the aqueous phase and limited literature shows their applications for removal of heavy metals and dyes. This study focuses on the existence of heavy metal ions and dyes in the aquatic environment, and methods for their removal. Various fabrication approaches for the development of magnetic-CNTs and CNT-based BP membranes are also discussed. With the remarkable separation performance and ultra-high-water flux, magnetic-CNTs, and CNT-based BP membranes have a great potential to be the leading technologies for water treatment in future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125375DOI Listing
July 2021

Influence of Sintering Temperature of Kaolin, Slag, and Fly Ash Geopolymers on the Microstructure, Phase Analysis, and Electrical Conductivity.

Materials (Basel) 2021 Apr 26;14(9). Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Synchrotron Light Research Institute, Muang, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, Thailand.

This paper clarified the microstructural element distribution and electrical conductivity changes of kaolin, fly ash, and slag geopolymer at 900 °C. The surface microstructure analysis showed the development in surface densification within the geopolymer when in contact with sintering temperature. It was found that the electrical conductivity was majorly influenced by the existence of the crystalline phase within the geopolymer sample. The highest electrical conductivity (8.3 × 10 Ωm) was delivered by slag geopolymer due to the crystalline mineral of gehlenite (3CaAlSiO). Using synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence, the high concentration Ca boundaries revealed the appearance of gehlenite crystallisation, which was believed to contribute to development of denser microstructure and electrical conductivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma14092213DOI Listing
April 2021

A Review on Current Trends of Polymers in Orthodontics: BPA-Free and Smart Materials.

Polymers (Basel) 2021 Apr 27;13(9). Epub 2021 Apr 27.

BioInspired Device and Tissue Engineering Research Group, School of Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai 81300, Malaysia.

Polymeric materials have always established an edge over other classes of materials due to their potential applications in various fields of biomedical engineering. Orthodontics is an emerging field in which polymers have attracted the enormous attention of researchers. In particular, thermoplastic materials have a great future utility in orthodontics, both as aligners and as retainer appliances. In recent years, the use of polycarbonate brackets and base monomers bisphenol A glycerolate dimethacrylate (bis-GMA) has been associated with the potential release of bisphenol A (BPA) in the oral environment. BPA is a toxic compound that acts as an endocrine disruptor that can affect human health. Therefore, there is a continuous search for non-BPA materials with satisfactory mechanical properties and an esthetic appearance as an alternative to polycarbonate brackets and conventional bis-GMA compounds. This study aims to review the recent developments of BPA-free monomers in the application of resin dental composites and adhesives. The most promising polymeric smart materials are also discussed for their relevance to future orthodontic applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/polym13091409DOI Listing
April 2021

Potential for Natural Fiber Reinforcement in PLA Polymer Filaments for Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Additive Manufacturing: A Review.

Polymers (Basel) 2021 Apr 27;13(9). Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia, UPM Serdang, Selangor 43400, Malaysia.

In this review, the potential of natural fiber and kenaf fiber (KF) reinforced PLA composite filament for fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D-printing technology is highlighted. Additive manufacturing is a material-processing method in which the addition of materials layer by layer creates a three-dimensional object. Unfortunately, it still cannot compete with conventional manufacturing processes, and instead serves as an economically effective tool for small-batch or high-variety product production. Being preformed of composite filaments makes it easiest to print using an FDM 3D printer without or with minimum alteration to the hardware parts. On the other hand, natural fiber-reinforced polymer composite filaments have gained great attention in the market. However, uneven printing, clogging, and the inhomogeneous distribution of the fiber-matrix remain the main challenges. At the same time, kenaf fibers are one of the most popular reinforcements in polymer composites. Although they have a good record on strength reinforcement, with low cost and light weight, kenaf fiber reinforcement PLA filament is still seldom seen in previous studies. Therefore, this review serves to promote kenaf fiber in PLA composite filaments for FDM 3D printing. To promote the use of natural fiber-reinforced polymer composite in AM, eight challenges must be solved and carried out. Moreover, some concerns arise to achieve long-term sustainability and market acceptability of KF/PLA composite filaments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/polym13091407DOI Listing
April 2021

Understanding the Differential Impact of Vegetation Measures on Modeling the Association between Vegetation and Psychotic and Non-Psychotic Disorders in Toronto, Canada.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 Apr 28;18(9). Epub 2021 Apr 28.

School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada.

Considerable debate exists on whether exposure to vegetation cover is associated with better mental health outcomes. Past studies could not accurately capture people's exposure to surrounding vegetation and heavily relied on non-spatial models, where the spatial autocorrelation and latent covariates could not be adjusted. Therefore, a suite of five different vegetation measures was used to separately analyze the association between vegetation cover and the number of psychotic and non-psychotic disorder cases in the neighborhoods of Toronto, Canada. Three satellite-based and two area-based vegetation measures were used to analyze these associations using Poisson lognormal models under a Bayesian framework. Healthy vegetation cover was found to be negatively associated with both psychotic and non-psychotic disorders. Results suggest that the satellite-based indices, which can measure both the density and health of vegetation cover and are also adjusted for urban and environmental perturbations, could be better alternatives to simple ratio- and area-based measures for understanding the effect of vegetation on mental health. A strong dominance of spatially structured latent covariates was found in the models, highlighting the importance of adopting a spatial approach. This study can provide critical guidelines for selecting appropriate vegetation measures and developing spatial models for future population-based epidemiological research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094713DOI Listing
April 2021

Quantum and Electromagnetic Fields in Our Universe and Brain: A New Perspective to Comprehend Brain Function.

Brain Sci 2021 Apr 28;11(5). Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia.

The concept of wholeness or oneness refers to not only humans, but also all of creation. Similarly, consciousness may not wholly exist inside the human brain. One consciousness could permeate the whole universe as limitless energy; thus, human consciousness can be regarded as limited or partial in character. According to the limited consciousness concept, humans perceive projected waves or wave-vortices as a waveless item. Therefore, human limited consciousness collapses the wave function or energy of particles; accordingly, we are only able to perceive them as particles. With this "limited concept", the wave-vortex or wave movement comes into review, which also seems to have a limited concept, i.e., the limited projected wave concept. Notably, this wave-vortex seems to embrace photonic light, as well as electricity and anything in between them, which gives a sense of dimension to our brain. These elements of limited projected wave-vortex and limitless energy (consciousness) may coexist inside our brain as electric (directional pilot wave) and quantum (diffused oneness of waves) brainwaves, respectively, with both of them giving rise to one brain field. Abnormality in either the electrical or the quantum field or their fusion may lead to abnormal brain function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050558DOI Listing
April 2021

Improved Hydrophobicity of Macroalgae Biopolymer Film Incorporated with Kenaf Derived CNF Using Silane Coupling Agent.

Molecules 2021 Apr 13;26(8). Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Chemistry Institute, Federal University of Uberlandia-UFU, Uberlândia 38400-902, Brazil.

Hydrophilic behaviour of carrageenan macroalgae biopolymer, due to hydroxyl groups, has limited its applications, especially for packaging. In this study, macroalgae were reinforced with cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) isolated from kenaf bast fibres. The macroalgae CNF film was after that treated with silane for hydrophobicity enhancement. The wettability and functional properties of unmodified macroalgae CNF films were compared with silane-modified macroalgae CNF films. Characterisation of the unmodified and modified biopolymers films was investigated. The atomic force microscope (AFM), SEM morphology, tensile properties, water contact angle, and thermal behaviour of the biofilms showed that the incorporation of Kenaf bast CNF remarkably increased the strength, moisture resistance, and thermal stability of the macroalgae biopolymer films. Moreover, the films' modification using a silane coupling agent further enhanced the strength and thermal stability of the films apart from improved water-resistance of the biopolymer films compared to unmodified films. The morphology and AFM showed good interfacial interaction of the components of the biopolymer films. The modified biopolymer films exhibited significantly improved hydrophobic properties compared to the unmodified films due to the enhanced dispersion resulting from the silane treatment. The improved biopolymer films can potentially be utilised as packaging materials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082254DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8069814PMC
April 2021

Strategies Regarding High-Temperature Applications w.r.t Strength, Toughness, and Fatigue Life for SA508 Alloy.

Materials (Basel) 2021 Apr 13;14(8). Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Key Laboratory for Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China.

In this work, the stabilities of secondary phases, including carbides, brittle phases, and inclusions, were simulated by computational thermodynamics. Calphad strategical optimization is preferable for all steel alloys regarding energy resource consumption during manufacturing and processing. The alloy composition has been changed to enhance the strength, hardenability, and longevity of a reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steel by computing the phase equilibrium calculations and predicting mechanical properties such as yield and tensile strengths hardness and martensitic and bainitic volume fractions. The stabilities of the pro-eutectoid carbides (cementite), inclusions, and brittle phases in SA508 steel are critical to the toughness and fatigue life related to the crack initiation and expansion of this steel. Overall, the simulations presented in this paper explain the mechanisms that can affect the fatigue resistance and toughness of steel and offer a possible solution to controlling these properties at elevated temperatures by optimizing the steel composition and heat treatment process parameters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma14081953DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8069931PMC
April 2021

Bio-Based Plasticized PVA Based Polymer Blend Electrolytes for Energy Storage EDLC Devices: Ion Transport Parameters and Electrochemical Properties.

Materials (Basel) 2021 Apr 16;14(8). Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Hameed Majid Advanced Polymeric Materials Research Lab., Physics Department, College of Science, University of Sulaimani, Qlyasan Street, Sulaimani 46001, Iraq.

This report shows a simple solution cast methodology to prepare plasticized polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/methylcellulose (MC)-ammonium iodide (NHI) electrolyte at room temperature. The maximum conducting membrane has a conductivity of 3.21 × 10 S/cm. It is shown that the number density, mobility and diffusion coefficient of ions are enhanced by increasing the glycerol. A number of electric and electrochemical properties of the electrolyte-impedance, dielectric properties, transference numbers, potential window, energy density, specific capacitance () and power density-were determined. From the determined electric and electrochemical properties, it is shown that PVA: MC-NHI proton conducting polymer electrolyte (PE) is adequate for utilization in energy storage device (ESD). The decrease of charge transfer resistance with increasing plasticizer was observed from Bode plot. The analysis of dielectric properties has indicated that the plasticizer is a novel approach to increase the number of charge carriers. The electron and ion transference numbers were found. From the linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) response, the breakdown voltage of the electrolyte is determined. From Galvanostatic charge-discharge (GCD) measurement, the calculated values are found to drop with increasing the number of cycles. The increment of internal resistance is shown by equivalent series resistance () plot. The energy and power density were studied over 250 cycles that results to the value of 5.38-3.59 Wh/kg and 757.58-347.22 W/kg, respectively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma14081994DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8074153PMC
April 2021

Assessment of Aqueous Extraction Methods on Extractable Organic Matter and Hydrophobic/Hydrophilic Fractions of Virgin Forest Soils.

Molecules 2021 Apr 23;26(9). Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Faculty of Education & Graduate School of Engineering, Soka University, 1-236 Tangi-Machi, Hachioji-Shi 192-8577, Tokyo, Japan.

The assessment of water-extractable organic matter using an autoclave can provide useful information on physical, chemical, and biological changes within the soil. The present study used virgin forest soils from Chini Forest Reserve, Langkawi Island, and Kenyir Forest Reserve (Malaysia), extracted using different extraction methods. The dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total dissolved nitrogen (TDN), total dissolved phosphorus (TDP), and ammonium-nitrate content were higher in the autoclave treatments, up to 3.0, 1.3, 1.2, and 1.4 times more than by natural extraction (extracted for 24 h at room temperature). Overall, the highest extractable DOC, TDN, TDP, ammonium and nitrate could be seen under autoclaved conditions 121 °C 2×, up to 146.74 mg C/L, 8.97 mg N/L, 0.23 mg P/L, 5.43 mg N mg/L and 3.47 N mg/L, respectively. The soil extracts became slightly acidic with a higher temperature and longer duration. Similar trends were observed in the humic and nonhumic substances, where different types of soil extract treatments influenced the concentrations of the fractions. Different soil extraction methods can provide further details, thus widening the application of soil extracts, especially in microbes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092480DOI Listing
April 2021

Thymoquinone Is a Multitarget Single Epidrug That Inhibits the UHRF1 Protein Complex.

Genes (Basel) 2021 Apr 22;12(5). Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Cancer and Mutagenesis Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia.

Silencing of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) through epigenetic mechanisms, mainly via abnormal promoter DNA methylation, is considered a main mechanism of tumorigenesis. The abnormal DNA methylation profiles are transmitted from the cancer mother cell to the daughter cells through the involvement of a macromolecular complex in which the ubiquitin-like containing plant homeodomain (PHD), and an interesting new gene (RING) finger domains 1 (UHRF1), play the role of conductor. Indeed, UHRF1 interacts with epigenetic writers, such as DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1), histone methyltransferase G9a, erasers like histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1), and functions as a hub protein. Thus, targeting UHRF1 and/or its partners is a promising strategy for epigenetic cancer therapy. The natural compound thymoquinone (TQ) exhibits anticancer activities by targeting several cellular signaling pathways, including those involving UHRF1. In this review, we highlight TQ as a potential multitarget single epidrug that functions by targeting the UHRF1/DNMT1/HDAC1/G9a complex. We also speculate on the possibility that TQ might specifically target UHRF1, with subsequent regulatory effects on other partners.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes12050622DOI Listing
April 2021

Targeting Post-Translational Modifications of the p73 Protein: A Promising Therapeutic Strategy for Tumors.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Apr 15;13(8). Epub 2021 Apr 15.

King Fahd Medical Research Center, Cancer and Mutagenesis Unit, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia.

The tumor suppressor p73 is a member of the p53 family and is expressed as different isoforms with opposing properties. The TAp73 isoforms act as tumor suppressors and have pro-apoptotic effects, whereas the ΔNp73 isoforms lack the N-terminus transactivation domain and behave as oncogenes. The TAp73 protein has a high degree of similarity with both p53 function and structure, and it induces the regulation of various genes involved in the cell cycle and apoptosis. Unlike those of the gene, the mutations in the gene are very rare in tumors. Cancer cells have developed several mechanisms to inhibit the activity and/or expression of , from the hypermethylation of its promoter to the modulation of the ratio between its pro- and anti-apoptotic isoforms. The p73 protein is also decorated by a panel of post-translational modifications, including phosphorylation, acetylation, ubiquitin proteasomal pathway modifications, and small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO)ylation, that regulate its transcriptional activity, subcellular localization, and stability. These modifications orchestrate the multiple anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic functions of TAp73, thereby offering multiple promising candidates for targeted anti-cancer therapies. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the different pathways implicated in the regulation of TAp73 at the post-translational level. This review also highlights the growing importance of targeting the post-translational modifications of TAp73 as a promising antitumor strategy, regardless of p53 status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081916DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8071514PMC
April 2021

Elevated-Temperature Performance, Combustibility and Fire Propagation Index of Fly Ash-Metakaolin Blend Geopolymers with Addition of Monoaluminium Phosphate (MAP) and Aluminum Dihydrogen Triphosphate (ATP).

Materials (Basel) 2021 Apr 15;14(8). Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Geopolymer and Green Technology, Center of Excellence (CEGeoGTech), Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Kangar 01000, Malaysia.

Thermal performance, combustibility, and fire propagation of fly ash-metakaolin (FA-MK) blended geopolymer with the addition of aluminum triphosphate, ATP (Al(HPO)), and monoaluminium phosphate, MAP (AlPO) were evaluated in this paper. To prepare the geopolymer mix, fly ash and metakaolin with a ratio of 1:1 were added with ATP and MAP in a range of 0-3% by weight. The fire/heat resistance was evaluated by comparing the residual compressive strengths after the elevated temperature exposure. Besides, combustibility and fire propagation tests were conducted to examine the thermal performance and the applicability of the geopolymers as passive fire protection. Experimental results revealed that the blended geopolymers with 1 wt.% of ATP and MAP exhibited higher compressive strength and denser geopolymer matrix than control geopolymers. The effect of ATP and MAP addition was more obvious in unheated geopolymer and little improvement was observed for geopolymer subjected to elevated temperature. ATP and MAP at 3 wt.% did not help in enhancing the elevated-temperature performance of blended geopolymers. Even so, all blended geopolymers, regardless of the addition of ATP and MAP, were regarded as the noncombustible materials with negligible (0-0.1) fire propagation index.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma14081973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8071267PMC
April 2021

Performance of LDBio WB and ICT Antibody Detection in Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis.

J Fungi (Basel) 2021 Apr 18;7(4). Epub 2021 Apr 18.

Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Division of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Biology, School of Biological Sciences, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester M23 9LT, UK.

The detection of antibody has a key role in the diagnosis of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis. Western blot (WB) and immunochromatography (ICT) lateral flow detection of antibody can be used as confirmatory and screening assays but their comparative performance in TB patients is not known. This study investigated the performance of these assays among 88 post-tuberculosis patients with suspected CPA. Sensitivity, specificity, receiver operating curve (ROC), area under-curve (AUC) and the agreement between two assays were evaluated. Both WB and ICT showed good sensitivity (80% and 85%, respectively) for detection of antibodies. Substantial agreement (0.716) between these assays was also obtained. The highest AUC result (0.804) was achieved with the combination of WB and ICT. The global intensity of WB correlated with the severity of symptoms in CPA group ( = 0.001). The combination of WB and ICT may increase specificity in CPA diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jof7040311DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8073219PMC
April 2021

Design of Experiment on Concrete Mechanical Properties Prediction: A Critical Review.

Materials (Basel) 2021 Apr 9;14(8). Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Center of Excellence Geopolymer and Green Technology, Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Kangar 01000, Malaysia.

Concrete mix design and the determination of concrete performance are not merely engineering studies, but also mathematical and statistical endeavors. The study of concrete mechanical properties involves a myriad of factors, including, but not limited to, the amount of each constituent material and its proportion, the type and dosage of chemical additives, and the inclusion of different waste materials. The number of factors and combinations make it difficult, or outright impossible, to formulate an expression of concrete performance through sheer experimentation. Hence, design of experiment has become a part of studies, involving concrete with material addition or replacement. This paper reviewed common design of experimental methods, implemented by past studies, which looked into the analysis of concrete performance. Several analysis methods were employed to optimize data collection and data analysis, such as analysis of variance (ANOVA), regression, Taguchi method, Response Surface Methodology, and Artificial Neural Network. It can be concluded that the use of statistical analysis is helpful for concrete material research, and all the reviewed designs of experimental methods are helpful in simplifying the work and saving time, while providing accurate prediction of concrete mechanical performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma14081866DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8070172PMC
April 2021

Highly Sensitive Twin Resonance Coupling Refractive Index Sensor Based on Gold- and MgF-Coated Nano Metal Films.

Biosensors (Basel) 2021 Apr 2;11(4). Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Department of EECE, Faculty of Electronic Engineering, Menoufia University, Menouf 32951, Egypt.

A plasmonic material-coated circular-shaped photonic crystal fiber (C-PCF) sensor based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is proposed to explore the optical guiding performance of the refractive index (RI) sensing at 1.7-3.7 μm. A twin resonance coupling profile is observed by selectively infiltrating liquid using finite element method (FEM). A nano-ring gold layer with a magnesium fluoride (MgF2) coating and fused silica are used as plasmonic and base material, respectively, that help to achieve maximum sensing performance. RI analytes are highly sensitive to SPR and are injected into the outmost air holes of the cladding. The highest sensitivity of 27,958.49 nm/RIU, birefringence of 3.9 × 10-4, resolution of 3.70094 × 10-5 RIU, and transmittance dip of -34 dB are achieved. The proposed work is a purely numerical simulation with proper optimization. The value of optimization has been referred to with an experimental tolerance value, but at the same time it has been ensured that it is not fabricated and tested. In summary, the explored C-PCF can widely be eligible for RI-based sensing applications for its excellent performance, which makes it a solid candidate for next generation biosensing applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bios11040104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8066326PMC
April 2021

The Dynamic Responses of Oil Palm Leaf and Root Metabolome to Phosphorus Deficiency.

Metabolites 2021 Apr 2;11(4). Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor 43400, Malaysia.

Inorganic phosphate (Pi) starvation is an important abiotic constraint that affects plant cellular homeostasis, especially in tropical regions with high acidic soil and less solubilizable Pi. In the current work, oil palm seedlings were hydroponically maintained under optimal Pi-supply and no Pi-supply conditions for 14 days, and metabolites were measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), from leaves and roots, after seven and 14 days of treatment, to investigate biochemical pathways in relation to P-utilizing strategy. After seven days of limited Pi, plant leaves showed increased levels of most soluble sugars, and after 14 days, the sugars' level decrease, except for erythritol, mannose, fructose, and glucose, which showed the highest levels. Rather in root samples, there were different but overlapping alterations, mainly on sugars, amino acids, and organic acids. The leaf sample was shown to have the highest response of sugars with myo-inositol playing a vital role in the redistribution of sugars, while maltose levels increased, indicating active degradation of starch in the root. High levels of glycerol and stearate in both roots and leaves suggest the metabolism of storage lipids for cellular energy during Pi-deficient conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo11040217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8066361PMC
April 2021

A Decision Support Model for Hotel Recommendation Based on the Online Consumer Reviews Using Logarithmic Spherical Hesitant Fuzzy Information.

Entropy (Basel) 2021 Apr 6;23(4). Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Department of Mathematics, Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Mardan 23200, Pakistan.

Spherical hesitant fuzzy sets have recently become more popular in various fields. It was proposed as a generalization of picture hesitant fuzzy sets and Pythagorean hesitant fuzzy sets in order to deal with uncertainty and fuzziness information. Technique of Aggregation is one of the beneficial tools to aggregate the information. It has many crucial application areas such as decision-making, data mining, medical diagnosis, and pattern recognition. Keeping in view the importance of logarithmic function and aggregation operators, we proposed a novel algorithm to tackle the multi-attribute decision-making (MADM) problems. First, novel logarithmic operational laws are developed based on the logarithmic, t-norm, and t-conorm functions. Using these operational laws, we developed a list of logarithmic spherical hesitant fuzzy weighted averaging/geometric aggregation operators to aggregate the spherical hesitant fuzzy information. Furthermore, we developed the spherical hesitant fuzzy entropy to determine the unknown attribute weight information. Finally, the design principles for the spherical hesitant fuzzy decision-making have been developed, and a practical case study of hotel recommendation based on the online consumer reviews has been taken to illustrate the validity and superiority of presented approach. Besides this, a validity test is conducted to reveal the advantages and effectiveness of developed approach. Results indicate that the proposed method is suitable and effective for the decision process to evaluate their best alternative.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/e23040432DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8067595PMC
April 2021

jacksoni Population Crash and Impending Extinction due to Environmental Perturbation and Human-Wildlife Conflict.

Animals (Basel) 2021 Apr 6;11(4). Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Nerus 21030, Malaysia.

The critically endangered Malayan tiger ( jacksoni), with an estimated population of less than 200 individuals left in isolated rainforest habitats in Malaysia, is in an intermediate population crash leading to extinction in the next decade. The population has decreased significantly by illegal poaching, environmental perturbation, roadkill, and being captured during human-wildlife conflicts. Forty-five or more individuals were extracted from the wild (four animals captured due to conflict, one death due to canine distemper, one roadkilled, and 39 poached) in the 12 years between 2008-2019. The Malayan tigers are the first wildlife species to test positive for COVID-19 and are subject to the Canine Distemper Virus. These anthropogenic disturbances (poaching and human-tiger conflict) and environmental perturbation (decreasing habitat coverage and quality) have long been identified as impending extinction factors. Roadkill and infectious diseases have emerged recently as new confounding factors threatening Malayan tiger extinction in the near future. Peninsular Malaysia has an existing Malayan tiger conservation management plan; however, to enhance the protection and conservation of Malayan tigers from potential extinction, the authority should reassess the existing legislation, regulation, and management plan and realign them to prevent further population decline, and to better enable preparedness and readiness for the ongoing pandemic and future threats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11041032DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8067357PMC
April 2021

Integrated Approach for Species Identification and Quality Analysis for Using DNA Barcoding and HPLC.

Plants (Basel) 2021 Apr 7;10(4). Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Science, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor Bahru 81310, Malaysia.

is a precious herb in Southeast Asia that is traditionally used as a health supplement and has been extensively commercialized due to its claimed therapeutic properties in boosting a healthy female reproductive system. Indigenous people used these plants by boiling the leaves; however, in recent years it has been marketed as powdered or capsuled products. Accordingly, accuracy in determination of the authenticity of these modern herbal products has faced great challenges. Lack of authenticity is a public health risk because incorrectly used herbal species can cause adverse effects. Hence, any measures that may aid product authentication would be beneficial. Given the widespread use of herbal products, the current study focuses on authenticity testing via an integral approach of DNA barcoding and qualitative analysis using HPLC. This study successfully generated DNA reference barcodes ( and L) for var. and . The DNA barcode that was generated was then used to identify species of in herbal medicinal products, while HPLC was utilized to determine their quality. The findings through the synergistic approach (DNA barcode and HPLC) implemented in this study indicate the importance of both methods in providing the strong evidence required for the identification of true species and to examine the authenticity of such herbal medicinal products.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants10040717DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8067811PMC
April 2021