Latest Articles

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Point of Care Quantitative Assessment of Muscle Health in Older Individuals: An Investigation of Quantitative Muscle Ultrasound and Electrical Impedance Myography Techniques
Geriatrics 2018, 3(4), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics3040092 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background: Muscle health is recognized for its critical role in the functionality and well-being of older adults. Readily accessible, reliable, and inexpensive methods of measuring muscle health are needed to advance research and clinical care. Methods: In this prospective, blinded study, 27 patients
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Background: Muscle health is recognized for its critical role in the functionality and well-being of older adults. Readily accessible, reliable, and inexpensive methods of measuring muscle health are needed to advance research and clinical care. Methods: In this prospective, blinded study, 27 patients underwent quantitative muscle ultrasound (QMUS), standard electrical impedance myography (sEIM), and handheld electrical impedance myography (hEIM) of the anterior thigh musculature by two independent examiners. Subjects also had dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans and standardized tests of physical function and strength. Data were analyzed for intra- and inter-rater reliability, along with correlations with DEXA and physical measures. Results: Measures of intra- and inter-rater reliability were excellent (>0.90) for all QMUS, sEIM, and hEIM parameters except intra-rater reliability of rectus femoris echointensity (0.87–0.89). There were moderate, inverse correlations between QMUS, sEIM, and hEIM parameters and measures of knee extensor strength. Moderate to strong correlations (0.57–0.81) were noted between investigational measures and DEXA-measured fat mass. Conclusions: QMUS, sEIM and hEIM were highly reliable in a controlled, same-day testing protocol. Multiple correlations with measures of strength and body composition were noted for each method. Point-of-care technologies may provide an alternative means of measuring health. Full article
Open AccessReview
Biobanking Organoids or Ground-State Stem Cells?
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(12), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7120555 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Autologous transplantation of human epidermal stem cells cultured in Green’s method is one of the first examples of utilizing adult stem cells in regenerative medicine. Using the same method, we cloned p63-expressing distal airway stem cells and showed their essential role in lung
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Autologous transplantation of human epidermal stem cells cultured in Green’s method is one of the first examples of utilizing adult stem cells in regenerative medicine. Using the same method, we cloned p63-expressing distal airway stem cells and showed their essential role in lung regeneration in a mouse model of acute respiratory distress syndrome. However, adult stem cells of columnar epithelial tissues had until recently evaded all attempts at cloning. To address this issue, we developed a novel technology that enabled cloning ground-state stem cells of the columnar epithelium. The adaption of this technology to clone stem cells of cancer precursors furthered our understanding of the dynamics of processes such as clonal evolution and dominance in Barrett’s esophagus, as well as for testing platforms for chemical screening. Taken together, the properties of these ground-state stem cells, including unlimited propagation, genomic stability, and regio-specificity, make them ideal for regenerative medicine, disease modeling and drug discovery. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Continence Promotion and Successful Aging: The Role of the Multidisciplinary Continence Clinic
Geriatrics 2018, 3(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics3040091 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Incontinence is a common yet under-recognized issue that impacts quality of life, especially for older adults in whom there is often a multifactorial etiology. A retrospective chart review was performed on a representative sample of patients seen at our multidisciplinary continence clinic in
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Incontinence is a common yet under-recognized issue that impacts quality of life, especially for older adults in whom there is often a multifactorial etiology. A retrospective chart review was performed on a representative sample of patients seen at our multidisciplinary continence clinic in Vancouver, Canada from January to December 2017 inclusive. Initial assessment was performed by the nurse continence advisor (NCA) or geriatrician depending on the source of referral. The pelvic floor physiotherapist (PFP) could then be consulted based on perceived need. The average age at assessment was 76 years old (range 29–102), with 82% of patients ≥65 years and 27% ≥85 years old. The majority of patients were referred for bladder incontinence (72%), with the remaining patients referred for bowel incontinence (28%) or pessary care (7%). Referrals came from a variety of sources including physicians (62%), nurses (22%), allied health care providers (12%) and self-referral (5%). Multimorbidity was common, with 40% of patients having a Charlson Comorbidity Index ≥6. The same proportion of patients (40%) were on ≥5 prescription medications. Many patients were functionally dependent for either instrumental activities of daily living (52%) or activities of daily living (25%). Non-pharmacologic treatments were commonly recommended, with the majority of patients counselled on lifestyle changes (88%) and taught Kegel exercises (70%). For patients seen by the geriatrician, modifications were made to non-continence medications in 50% of cases and medical comorbidities were optimized in 39% of cases. In terms of pharmacologic therapy, over-the-counter (OTC) medications were initiated in 45% of patients whereas continence-specific prescription medications were started in 17% of patients. A multidisciplinary continence clinic can play an important role in promoting successful aging by assessing and treating medical causes of incontinence in medically complex older adults. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Meta-Regression Evaluating the Efficacy and Mechanisms of Action of Probiotics and Synbiotics in the Prevention of Surgical Site Infections and Surgery-Related Complications
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(12), 556; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7120556 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Intestinal microbiota play an important role in the pathogenesis of surgical site infections (SSIs) and other surgery-related complications (SRCs). Probiotics and synbiotics were found to lower the risk of surgical infections and other surgery-related adverse events. We systematically reviewed the approach based on
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Intestinal microbiota play an important role in the pathogenesis of surgical site infections (SSIs) and other surgery-related complications (SRCs). Probiotics and synbiotics were found to lower the risk of surgical infections and other surgery-related adverse events. We systematically reviewed the approach based on the administration of probiotics and synbiotics to diminish SSIs/SRCs rates in patients undergoing various surgical treatments and to determine the mechanisms responsible for their effectiveness. A systematic literature search in PubMed/MEDLINE/Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from the inception of databases to June 2018 for trials in patients undergoing surgery supplemented with pre/pro/synbiotics and randomized to the intervention versus placebo/no treatment and reporting on primarily: (i) putative mechanisms of probiotic/symbiotic action, and secondarily (ii) SSIs and SRCs outcomes. Random-effect model meta-analysis and meta-regression analysis of outcomes was done. Thirty-five trials comprising 3028 adult patients were included; interventions were probiotics (n = 16) and synbiotics (n = 19 trials). We found that C-reactive protein (CRP) and Interleukin-6 (IL-6) were significantly decreased (SMD: −0.40, 95% CI [−0.79, −0.02], p = 0.041; SMD: −0.41, 95% CI [−0.70, −0.02], p = 0.006, respectively) while concentration of acetic, butyric, and propionic acids were elevated in patients supplemented with probiotics (SMD: 1.78, 95% CI [0.80, 2.76], p = 0.0004; SMD: 0.67, 95% CI [0.37, −0.97], p = 0.00001; SMD: 0.46, 95% CI [0.18, 0.73], p = 0.001, respectively). Meta-analysis confirmed that pro- and synbiotics supplementation was associated with significant reduction in the incidence of SRCs including abdominal distention, diarrhea, pneumonia, sepsis, surgery site infection (including superficial incisional), and urinary tract infection, as well as the duration of antibiotic therapy, duration of postoperative pyrexia, time of fluid introduction, solid diet, and duration of hospital stay (p < 0.05). Probiotics and synbiotics administration counteract SSIs/SRCs via modulating gut-immune response and production of short chain fatty acids. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Semi-Supervised Ridge Regression with Adaptive Graph-Based Label Propagation
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(12), 2636; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8122636 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In order to overcome the drawbacks of the ridge regression and label propagation algorithms, we propose a new semi-supervised classification method named semi-supervised ridge regression with adaptive graph-based label propagation (SSRR-AGLP). Firstly, we present a new adaptive graph-learning scheme and integrate it into
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In order to overcome the drawbacks of the ridge regression and label propagation algorithms, we propose a new semi-supervised classification method named semi-supervised ridge regression with adaptive graph-based label propagation (SSRR-AGLP). Firstly, we present a new adaptive graph-learning scheme and integrate it into the procedure of label propagation, in which the locality and sparsity of samples are considered simultaneously. Then, we introduce the ridge regression algorithm into label propagation to solve the “out of sample” problem. As a consequence, the proposed SSSRR-AGLP integrates adaptive graph learning, label propagation and ridge regression into a unified framework. Finally, an effective iterative updating algorithm is designed for solving the algorithm, and the convergence analysis is also provided. Extensive experiments are conducted on five databases. Through comparing the results with some well-known algorithms, the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed algorithm are demonstrated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dressing Tool Condition Monitoring through Impedance-Based Sensors: Part 2—Neural Networks and K-Nearest Neighbor Classifier Approach
Sensors 2018, 18(12), 4453; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18124453 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This paper presents an approach for impedance-based sensor monitoring of dressing tool condition in grinding by using the electromechanical impedance (EMI) technique. This method was introduced in Part 1 of this work and the purpose of this paper (Part 2) is to achieve
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This paper presents an approach for impedance-based sensor monitoring of dressing tool condition in grinding by using the electromechanical impedance (EMI) technique. This method was introduced in Part 1 of this work and the purpose of this paper (Part 2) is to achieve an optimal selection of the excitation frequency band based on multi-layer neural networks (MLNN) and k-nearest neighbor classifier (k-NN). The proposed approach was validated on the basis of dressing tool condition information obtained from the monitoring of experimental dressing tests with two industrial stationary single-point dressing tools. Moreover, representative damage indices for diverse damage cases, obtained from impedance signatures at different frequency bands, were taken into account for MLNN data processing. The intelligent system was able to select the most damage-sensitive features based on optimal frequency band. The best models showed a general overall error lower than 2%, thus robustly contributing to the efficient automation of grinding and dressing operations. The promising results of this study foster the EMI-based sensor monitoring approach to fault diagnosis in dressing operations and its effective implementation for industrial grinding process automation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Accuracy Assessment on MODIS (V006), GLASS and MuSyQ Land-Surface Albedo Products: A Case Study in the Heihe River Basin, China
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(12), 2045; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10122045 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This study assessed accuracies of MCD43A3, Global Land-Surface Satellite (GLASS) and forthcoming Multi-source Data Synergized Quantitative Remote Sensing Production system (MuSyQ) albedos using ground observations and Huan Jing (HJ) data over the Heihe River Basin. MCD43A3 and MuSyQ albedos show similar high accuracies
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This study assessed accuracies of MCD43A3, Global Land-Surface Satellite (GLASS) and forthcoming Multi-source Data Synergized Quantitative Remote Sensing Production system (MuSyQ) albedos using ground observations and Huan Jing (HJ) data over the Heihe River Basin. MCD43A3 and MuSyQ albedos show similar high accuracies with identical root mean square errors (RMSE). Nevertheless, MuSyQ albedo is better correlated with ground measurements when sufficient valid observations are available or snow-free. The opposite happens when less than seven valid observations are available. GLASS albedo presents a larger RMSE than MCD43A3 and MuSyQ albedos in comparison with ground measurements. Over surfaces with smaller seasonal variations, MCD43A3 and MuSyQ albedos show smaller RMSEs than GLASS albedo in comparison with HJ albedo. However, for surfaces with larger temporal variations, both RMSEs and R2 of GLASS albedo are comparable with MCD43A3 and MuSyQ. Generally, MCD43A3 and MuSyQ albedos featured the same RMSEs of 0.034 and similar R2 (0.920 and 0.903, respectively), which are better than GLASS albedo (RMSE = 0.043, R2 = 0.787). However, when it comes to comparison with aggregated HJ albedo, MuSyQ and GLASS albedos are with lower RMSEs of 0.027 and 0.032 and higher R2 of 0.900 and 0.898 respectively than MCD43A3 (RMSE = 0.038, R2 = 0.836). Despite the limited geographic region of the study area, they still provide an important insight into the accuracies of three albedo products. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Obtaining a Sustainable Competitive Advantage from Patent Information: A Patent Analysis of the Graphene Industry
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4800; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124800 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Graphene serves as the most disruptive material in the twenty-first century and plays an unsubstitutable role in solving the sustainable development problems of energy crises, water shortages, and environmental pollution. Recently, obtaining a sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) in the field of graphene has
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Graphene serves as the most disruptive material in the twenty-first century and plays an unsubstitutable role in solving the sustainable development problems of energy crises, water shortages, and environmental pollution. Recently, obtaining a sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) in the field of graphene has gained increasing attention from both researchers and practitioners. However, few attempts have been made to summarize the SCA of this field by applying patent information. Basing on a patent-based multi-level perspective (MLP), this study aims to develop an approach to identify SCA in the target technological area by conducting a patent review from the comprehensive perspectives of the macro landscape, meso socio-technical system, and micro niches, and then integrate patent analysis with technology life cycle (TLC) theory to examine patents involving global technological competition. The effectiveness of the approach is verified with a case study on graphene. The results show that the graphene field is an emerging and fast-growing technological field, with an increasing number of patents over the year. The TLC of graphene technology demonstrated an approximate S shape, with China, the U.S., Korea, and Japan filing the largest number of graphene patents. Evidenced by Derwent Manual Codes, we found an increase in consideration given to technological application and material preparation topics over time, and research hotspots and fronts that have SCA. In terms of a leading country or region with SCA, the U.S., with a high foreign patent filing rate, large number of high forward citation patents, strong assignees’ competitive position, and large number of high-strength patents, was still the most powerful leader, with a higher SCA in the graphene industry. Korea also obtained a relatively higher SCA and will be a promising competitor in this field. Although China was shown to be catching-up very rapidly in the total number of graphene patents, the apparent innovation gaps in the foreign patent filing rate, high value patents, and Industry-University-Research Collaboration will obviously hamper Chinese catch-up efforts for obtaining SCA. As for patentees, the most powerful leaders with a higher SCA represented by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, International Business Machines Corp, and Nanotek Instruments Inc were identified. In addition, most of the high strength patents were owned by the above patentees. Further, valuable contributions to the understanding of SCA in graphene technology were summarized. First, the proposed patent-based MLP provides a new and comprehensive analytical framework for review research, as well as SCA analysis, and extends its research perspectives. Second, it introduces patent indicators to the previous MLP model, and provides a new theoretical perspective for the study of technological innovation in the previous MLP model. Third, this paper employs the TLC theory to explore the dynamic SCA in the given technology field, which further develops the concept of the MLP model from the temporal dimension. Finally, future research directions were demonstrated. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first systematic review of this field using patent analysis, comprehensively acknowledging the current technological competition and development in the graphene field and that of the future, and can be applied to various other emerging technology fields. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Forest Cover in Northeast China from Chinese HJ-1 Satellite Data Using an Object-Based Algorithm
Sensors 2018, 18(12), 4452; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18124452 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Forest plays a significant role in the global carbon budget and ecological processes. The precise mapping of forest cover can help significantly reduce uncertainties in the estimation of terrestrial carbon balance. A reliable and operational method is necessary for a rapid regional forest
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Forest plays a significant role in the global carbon budget and ecological processes. The precise mapping of forest cover can help significantly reduce uncertainties in the estimation of terrestrial carbon balance. A reliable and operational method is necessary for a rapid regional forest mapping. In this study, the goal relies on mapping forest and subcategories in Northeast China through the use of high spatio-temporal resolution HJ-1 imagery and time series vegetation indices within the context of an object-based image analysis and decision tree classification. Multi-temporal HJ-1 images obtained in a single year provide an opportunity to acquire phenology information. By analyzing the difference of spectral and phenology information between forest and non-forest, forest subcategories, decision trees using threshold values were finally proposed. The resultant forest map has a high overall accuracy of 0.91 ± 0.01 with a 95% confidence interval, based on the validation using ground truth data from field surveys. The forest map extracted from HJ-1 imagery was compared with two existing global land cover datasets: GlobCover 2009 and MCD12Q1 2009. The HJ-1-based forest area is larger than that of MCD12Q1 and GlobCover and more closely resembles the national statistics data on forest area, which accounts for more than 40% of the total area of the Northeast China. The spatial disagreement primarily occurs in the northern part of the Daxing’an Mountains, Sanjiang Plain and the southwestern part of the Songliao Plain. The compared result also indicated that the forest subcategories information from global land cover products may introduce large uncertainties for ecological modeling and these should be cautiously used in various ecological models. Given the higher spatial and temporal resolution, HJ-1-based forest products could be very useful as input to biogeochemical models (particularly carbon cycle models) that require accurate and updated estimates of forest area and type. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Association between Adherence to the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top and Sleep Quality in College Students
Nutrients 2018, 10(12), 1996; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121996 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This study aimed to elucidate the association between adherence to the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top (Food Guide score) and sleep quality in Japanese college students. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 175 Japanese college students aged 19–22 years in the eastern part
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This study aimed to elucidate the association between adherence to the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top (Food Guide score) and sleep quality in Japanese college students. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 175 Japanese college students aged 19–22 years in the eastern part of Gunma Prefecture to examine the association between the Food Guide score and sleep quality. A self-administered diet history questionnaire and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index were used to assess habitual dietary intake and sleep quality, respectively. In the fully adjusted model, the odds ratios for poor sleep quality in the middle and highest tertile categories of the Food Guide score were 0.50 (95% confidence interval, 0.18–1.37) and 0.30 (95% confidence interval, 0.11–0.84), respectively, compared with those in the lowest tertile category (p for trend = 0.033). A well-balanced diet may be associated with good sleep quality in Japanese college students. Full article
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