Antiepileptic Drug-Induced Apoptosis Was Prevented by L-Type Calcium Channel Activator in Cultured Rat Cortical Cells

Authors: Tsuneo Takadera, Masashi Aoki, Naruto Nakanishi

Experimental data have shown that antiepileptic drugs cause neurodegeneration in developing rats. Valproate (VPA) is the drug of choice in primary generalized epilepsies, and carbamazepine (CBZ) is one of the most prescribed drugs in partial seizures. These drugs block sodium channels, thereby reducing sustained repetitive neuronal firing. The intracellular mechanisms whereby AEDs induce neuronal cell death are unclear. We examined whether AEDs induce apoptotic cell death in cultured cortical cells and whether calcium ions are involved in the AED-induced cell death. VPA and CBZ increased apoptotic cell death and induced morphological changes that were characterized by cell shrinkage and nuclear condensation or fragmentation. Incubation of cortical cultures with VPA or CBZ decreased phospho-Akt levels. CBZ decreased the intracellular calcium levels. On the other hand, FPL64176, an L-type calcium channel activator, increased the intracellular calcium levels and prevented the AED-induced apoptosis. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 inhibitors, such as alsterpaullone and azakenpaullone, prevented the AED-induced apoptosis. These results suggest that intracellular calcium level changes are associated with AEDs and apoptosis and that the activation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 is involved in the death of rat cortical neurons.


Journal: Open Journal of Apoptosi
DOI: 10.4236/ojapo.2017.62002 (PDF)
Paper Id: 75307 (metadata)

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Studies of Montmorillonite Mechanochemically Decomposed at Different Water Contents

Author: Koichiro Fujimoto, Kiminori Sato

Clay minerals, as e.g. montmorillonite, abundantly exist in the slip zones such as earthquake faults and landslides. Water contents are an important factor for controlling slip behavior, since montmorillonite contains a considerable amount of water molecules compared with other clay minerals. Here, a series of mechanochemical milling experiments were conducted for montmorillonite at the water contents ranging from 0% to 800%. Decomposition occurs at the water contents below 25% and above 600%, which are well correlated with the consistency limits of montmorillonite reported so far, i.e. shrinkage/plastic and liquid limits, respectively. Montmorillonite is found to be effectively decomposed into amorphous materials at the water contents below the shrinkage/plastic limit. In the region of water content between shrinkage/plastic and liquid limits, decomposition cannot be achieved solely by the mechanochemical treatment. At the water contents higher than the liquid limit, decomposition is again started. The present work demonstrates that the degree of decomposition can be of usefulness for speculating how the water molecules behave in the slip zones in nature.


Journal: Geomaterials
DOI: 10.4236/gm.2017.72004 (PDF)
Paper Id: 75253 (metadata)

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Perspectives of College Students on HPV and Its Causation to Cancer: Are They Misinformed?

Authors: Richard C. McKinnies, Sandra K. Collins, Jennifer S. Sherry, Anthony Fleege, Marcea Walter, Kyle Chamness

This study endeavors to look at the overall level of understanding of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) among college-age students and whether or not they can deduct what types of cancer are directly correlated with the infection. The research will present the disparity in knowledge among the surveyed college students and how the majority of this age group knows very little about HPV’s carcinogenic effects and how it could affect them later in life.


Journal: Advances in Breast Cancer Research
DOI: 10.4236/abcr.2017.62004 (PDF)
Paper Id: 75167 (metadata)

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A 25-Year Experience with a Project-Centered Master in Public Health: Key to Public Health Relevance and Educational Efficacy?

Authors: Philippe Chastonay, Emilien Jeannot, Beat Stoll, Thomas Mattig, Roberto Moretti, Florence Walker, Emmanuel K. Mpinga

The World Health Organization has recognized the shortage of competent public health workforce as a major problem worldwide and claimed an urgent need for action. Training public health personnel, effective in an educational perspective, yet with public health relevance in mind, remains a challenge for university-based programs. We present evaluation data of the 25-year experience of a project-centered, problem-oriented, on-job Master in Public Health program at the University of Geneva. Several data collection strategies were used. First, achievement of learning objectives was investigated through content analysis of students’ reports on personal project, through problem-solving final examinations and through self-reported progress on a professional profile. Second, possible public health impact was estimated through analysis of implemented project. Third, yearly discussions with the successive cohorts use the SWOT grid (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to investigate the students’ perception of the program. Continue reading

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Case Study Evidence and Behavioural Analysis of Residential Energy Consumption in the UK

Authors: Sven Hallin, Elizabeth Hooper, Thomas Weyman-Jones

This paper investigates residential energy consumption in the UK by using a novel and topical approach based on behavioural analysis. A key lesson from recent advances in behavioural economics is that the responses of individuals to both policy incentives and uncertainty may differ from the predictions of classical rational optimising behaviour. By employing a focused case study approach using both quantitative and qualitative response analysis, it considers the motivations of residential householders in the UK to reduce fossil fuel use, with additional perspectives from UK landlords, a global environmental NGO, a senior politician, and two senior stakeholder strategy managers from a large energy company. Our interpretative behavioural analysis shows that a variety of incentives are necessary to encourage behaviour change. However, case study participants largely agree on the beneficial role of government regulation and efforts to “nudge” them in the right direction with regard to their energy use. As a means of more effectively reducing carbon dioxide emissions, we conclude that policy should focus on sustainable energy use. The findings allow us to understand why important recent policy initiatives such as the UK Green Deal failed to achieve their objectives and they suggest lessons for more effective incentive based policy making in the field of residential energy consumption.


Journal: Open Journal of Energy Efficiency
DOI: 10.4236/ojee.2017.61002 (PDF)
Paper Id: 75139 (metadata)

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The Effects of Altruism and Social Background in an Online-Based, Pay-What-You-Want Situation

Authors: Hanna Peschla, Augustin Suessmair, Gerd Meier

Pay-What-You-Want (PWYW) is a participative pricing mechanism that leaves it up to the customer to choose a purchase price. Presently, the factors that influence customers’ willingness to pay are still not completely understood. This study examines the degree to which willingness to pay in an anonymous PWYW purchase situation on the Internet is influenced by the social motif of altruism and communication that as a part of the purchase price, will be donated to a charitable institution identified in advance. We hypothesized that altruism as well as a social background exerted an increasing impact on willingness to pay. A specific purchase situation in which the social background was manipulated was simulated by using online surveys. Altruism was measured using a 7-point Likert-type scale. The sample consisted of 403 participants, predominantly students and young adult employees. Continue reading

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A Comparative Survey on Arabic Stemming: Approaches and Challenges

Authors: Mohammad Mustafa, Afag Salah Eldeen, Sulieman Bani-Ahmad, Abd Elrahman Elfaki

Arabic, as one of the Semitic languages, has a very rich and complex morphology, which is radically different from the European and the East Asian languages. The derivational system of Arabic, is therefore, based on roots, which are often inflected to compose words, using a spectacular and a relatively large set of Arabic morphemes affixes, e.g., antefixs, prefixes, suffixes, etc. Stemming is the process of rendering all the inflected forms of word into a common canonical form. Stemming is one of the early and major phases in natural processing, machine translation and information retrieval tasks. A number of Arabic language stemmers were proposed. Examples include light stemming, morphological analysis, statistical-based stemming, N-grams and parallel corpora (collections). Motivated by the reported results in the literature, this paper attempts to exhaustively review current achievements for stemming Arabic texts. A variety of algorithms are discussed. The main contribution of the paper is to provide better understanding among existing approaches with the hope of building an error-free and effective Arabic stemmer in the near future.


Journal: Intelligent Information Management
DOI: 10.4236/iim.2017.92003 (PDF)
Paper Id: 75067 (metadata)

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Evaluation of SEBS Algorithm for Estimation of Daily Evapotranspiration Using Landsat-8 Dataset in a Semi-Arid Region of Central Iran

Authors: Mohsen Mohammadian, Ramin Arfania, Hossein Sahour

Evapotranspiration is one the most important parameters in the hydrological cycle and plays a significant role in energy balance of the earth’s surface. Traditional field-based measurements approaches for calculation of daily evapotranspiration are valid only for local scales. Using advanced remote sensing technology, the spatial distribution of evapotranspiration may now be quantified more accurately. At the present study, daily evapotranspiration is estimated using Landsat 8 datasets based on the Surface Energy Balance System (SEBS) algorithm over the Zayanderud Dam area in central Iran. For this purpose, three Landsat 8 datasets in the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 covering the study area were atmospherically corrected using the FLAASH approach. The biophysical parameters of the earth’s surface for SEBS algorithm, such as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), Leaf area index (LAI), fractional vegetation cover (FC) were extracted from the visible and near infrared bands and land surface temperature was computed from thermal bands the Landsat 8 datasets. The spatial distribution of daily ET was provided separately for each year. Continue reading

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Pregnant Women’s Knowledge Gaps about Breastfeeding in Northern Portugal

Authors: Alexandrina Cardoso, Abel Paiva e Silva, Heimar Marín

Introduction: To explore Portuguese pregnant women’ knowledge on breastfeeding and to correlate knowledge scores with the socio-demographic variables. Methods: A cross-sectional design was used to assess 621 pregnant women’ knowledge on breastfeeding at three health centers in the North of Portugal. The face-to-face interviewing was used to collected data using a clinical instrument composed by 18 knowledge breastfeeding descriptors. The reliability of the instrument was very good (KR-20 = 0.88). Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to examine pregnant women’ knowledge and the relation with socio-demographics variables. Results: Pregnant women were found to be more knowledgeable in benefits of breastfeeding. In 14 knowledge descriptors more than 60% of pregnant women revealed lack of knowledge. The most usual lack of knowledge concerned how to increase lactation and how to deal with breastfeeding complications. The pregnant women more knowledgeable were the oldest, with higher education, and with previous experience on breastfeeding. Discussion: Pregnant women revealed a significant lack of knowledge to support basic breastfeeding decisions. The focus of care should emphasize on the younger, the first-time mothers and less well-educated women as particular vulnerable and poorer prepared groups concerning breastfeeding knowledge.


Journal: Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
DOI: 10.4236/ojog.2017.73039 (PDF)
Paper Id: 74972 (metadata)

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Improving Performance and Enhancing Introductory Statistics Using Projects

Authors: Joy D’Andrea, Rebecca Wooten

Introductory Statistics is a course taught in various community colleges, state colleges, and universities. Implementation of projects in this course has been shown to enhance students’ learning; in addition to increasing the ability of educators to assess students’ learning outcomes in detail. These projects are often inquiry-based and require a balance between flexibility and efficiency. Maintaining balance has provided the students’ opportunities through exploration and learner autonomy. In exploration, a student seeks new methods and options through experimenting. In this paper, we will discuss the benefits of exploration required by projects given in an introductory statistics course. The details of five different projects discussed in this paper—illustrate the practical influence that they could have on higher statistics courses.


Journal: American Journal of Computational Mathematics
DOI: 10.4236/ajcm.2017.71002 (PDF)
Paper Id: 74948 (metadata)

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