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Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 3, Revised
Antimalarial Drugs in Ghana: A Case Study on Personal Preferences
Sci 2020, 2(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci2030049 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1262
Abstract
Malaria is a serious infection affecting millions of people in Africa. Our study investigated the personal preferences and applications of antimalarial medicines in Ghana. Based on over 1000 questionnaires distributed in Ghana from January to May 2019, we noticed that although Western medications [...] Read more.
Malaria is a serious infection affecting millions of people in Africa. Our study investigated the personal preferences and applications of antimalarial medicines in Ghana. Based on over 1000 questionnaires distributed in Ghana from January to May 2019, we noticed that although Western medications to fight this disease are widely available, most patients in Ghana prefer treatment with locally produced herbal remedies. This preference appears to be due to a combination of traditional venues for obtaining medicines “on the street” rather than in licensed pharmacies, trust in local and “green” products, extensive advertisement of such local products, and an inherent distrust of imported and synthetic or orthodox medicines. Going local and natural is a trend also observed in other countries across the globe and adds to the acceptance or rejection of drugs regardless of their activity or toxicity. In fact, adverse side effects associated with herbal remedies, such as general weakness, swelling and sore mouth, do not seem to deter the respondents of this study in Ghana. We propose a combination of (a) increasing public awareness of the benefits of modern medicine and (b) an improvement and control of the quality of herbal remedies to raise the standard for the treatment of malaria in countries such as Ghana. Full article
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Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 3, Revised
Organic Molecules: Is It Possible to Distinguish Aromatics from Aliphatics Collected by Space Missions in High-Speed Impacts?
Sci 2020, 2(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci2020041 - 08 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1157
Abstract
A prime site of astrobiological interest within the Solar System is the interior ocean of Enceladus. This ocean has already been shown to contain organic molecules, and is thought to have the conditions necessary for more complex organic biomolecules to emerge and potentially [...] Read more.
A prime site of astrobiological interest within the Solar System is the interior ocean of Enceladus. This ocean has already been shown to contain organic molecules, and is thought to have the conditions necessary for more complex organic biomolecules to emerge and potentially even life itself. This sub-surface ocean has been accessed by Cassini, an unmanned spacecraft that interacted with the water plumes ejected naturally from Enceladus. The encounter speed with these plumes and their contents, was between 5 and 15 km s−1. Encounters at such speeds allow analysis of vapourised material from submicron-sized particles within the plume, but sampling micron-sized particles remains an open question. The latter particles can impact metal targets exposed on the exterior of future spacecraft, producing impact craters lined with impactor residue, which can then be analysed. Although there is considerable literature on how mineral grains behave in such high-speed impacts, and also on the relationship between the crater residue and the original grain composition, far less is known regarding the behaviour of organic particles. Here we consider a deceptively simple yet fundamental scientific question: for impacts at speeds of around 5–6 kms−1 would the impactor residue alone be sufficient to enable us to recognise the signature conferred by organic particles? Furthermore, would it be possible to identify the organic molecules involved, or at least distinguish between aromatic and aliphatic chemical structures? For polystyrene (aromatic-rich) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (solely aliphatic) latex particles impinging at around 5 km s−1 onto metal targets, we find that sufficient residue is retained at the impact site to permit identification of a carbon-rich projectile, but not of the particular molecules involved, nor is it currently possible to discriminate between aromatic-rich and solely aliphatic particles. This suggests that an alternative analytical method to simple impacts on metal targets is required to enable successful collection of organic samples in a fly-by Enceladus mission, or, alternatively, a lower encounter speed is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules to Microbes)
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Open AccessConference ReportPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 2, Revised
Molecules to Microbes
Sci 2020, 2(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci2020020 - 28 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1163
Abstract
How did life begin on Earth? And is there life elsewhere in the Cosmos? Challenging questions, indeed. The series of conferences established by NoR CEL in 2013, addresses these very same questions. The basis for this paper is the summary report of oral [...] Read more.
How did life begin on Earth? And is there life elsewhere in the Cosmos? Challenging questions, indeed. The series of conferences established by NoR CEL in 2013, addresses these very same questions. The basis for this paper is the summary report of oral presentations that were delivered by NoR CEL’s network members during the 2018 Athens conference and, as such, disseminates the latest research which they have put forward. More in depth material can be found by consulting the contributors referenced papers. Overall, the outcome of this conspectus on the conference demonstrates a case for the existence of “probable chemistry” during the prebiotic epoch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules to Microbes)
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Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 3, Revised
Trend Analysis of Temperature Data for Narayani River Basin, Nepal
Sci 2019, 1(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1020049 - 14 Aug 2019
Viewed by 2620
Abstract
Study of spatiotemporal dynamics of temperature is vital to assess changes in climate, especially in the Himalayan region where livelihoods of billions of people living downstream depends on water coming from the melting of snow and glacier ice. To this end, temperature trend [...] Read more.
Study of spatiotemporal dynamics of temperature is vital to assess changes in climate, especially in the Himalayan region where livelihoods of billions of people living downstream depends on water coming from the melting of snow and glacier ice. To this end, temperature trend analysis is carried out in Narayani river basin, a major river basin of Nepal characterized by three climatic regions: tropical, subtropical and alpine. Temperature data from six stations located within the basin were analyzed. The elevation of these stations ranges from 460 to 3800 m a.s.l. and the time period of available temperature data ranges from 1960–2015. Multiple regression and empirical mode decomposition (EMD) methods were applied to fill in missing data and to detect trends. Annual as well as seasonal trends were analyzed and a Mann-Kendall test was employed to test the statistical significance of detected trends. Results indicate significant cooling trends before 1970s, and warming trends after 1970s in the majority of the stations. The warming trends range from 0.028 C year1 to 0.035 C year1 with a mean increasing trend of 0.03 C year1 after 1971. Seasonal trends show highest warming trends in the monsoon season followed by winter, pre-monsoon, and the post-monsoon season. However, difference in warming rates between different seasons was not significant. An average temperature lapse rate of −0.006 C m1 with the steepest value (−0.0064 C m1) in pre-monsoon season and least negative (−0.0052 C m1) in winter season was observed for this basin. A comparative analysis of the gap-filled data with freely available global climate datasets show reasonable correlation thus confirming the suitability of the gap filling methods. Full article
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Open AccessReviewPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
New Energy Technologies: Microalgae, Photolysis and Airborne Wind Turbines
Sci 2019, 1(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1020043 - 07 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 705
Abstract
Because of the near-term risk of extreme weather events and other adverse consequences from climate change, and, at least in the longer term, global fossil fuel depletion, there is world-wide interest in shifting to noncarbon energy sources, especially renewable energy (RE). Because of [...] Read more.
Because of the near-term risk of extreme weather events and other adverse consequences from climate change, and, at least in the longer term, global fossil fuel depletion, there is world-wide interest in shifting to noncarbon energy sources, especially renewable energy (RE). Because of possible limitations on conventional renewable energy sources, researchers have looked for ways of overcoming these shortcomings by introducing radically new energy technologies. The largest RE source today is bioenergy, while solar energy and wind energy are regarded as having the largest technical potential. This paper reviews the literature on proposed new technologies for each of these three RE sources: microalgae for bioenergy, photolysis and airborne wind turbines. The main finding is that their proponents have underestimated the difficulties facing their introduction on a very large scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Power Systems Optimization and Renewable Energies Integration)
Open AccessReviewPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
Thermoelectric Materials—Strategies for Improving Device Performance and Its Medical Applications
Sci 2019, 1(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1020037 - 09 Jul 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 990
Abstract
Thermoelectrics, in particular solid-state conversion of heat to electricity and vice versa, is expected to be a key energy harvesting and temperature management solution in coming years. There has been a resurgence in the search for new materials for advanced thermoelectric energy conversion [...] Read more.
Thermoelectrics, in particular solid-state conversion of heat to electricity and vice versa, is expected to be a key energy harvesting and temperature management solution in coming years. There has been a resurgence in the search for new materials for advanced thermoelectric energy conversion applications and to enhance the properties of existing materials. In this paper, we review recent efforts on improving figure-of-merit (ZT) through alloying and nano structuring. As heatsink characteristics dictate the performance of thermoelectric modules, various types of heatsink designs has been investigated. Several reported strategies for improving ZT are critically assessed. A notable increase in figure-of-merit of thermoelectric materials (TE) has opened up new areas of applications especially in the medical field. Peltier cooling devices are widely employed for patient core temperature control, skin cooling, medical device and laboratory equipment cooling. Application of these devices in the medical field both in temperature control and power generation has been studied in detail. It is envisioned that this study will provide profound knowledge on the thermoelectric based materials and its role in medical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wearable Biomedical Systems)
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Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
Nucleolin Interacts and Co-Localizes with Components of Pre-Catalytic Spliceosome Complexes
Sci 2019, 1(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1020033 - 01 Jul 2019
Viewed by 967
Abstract
Nucleolin is an RNA binding protein that is involved in many post-transcriptional regulation steps of messenger RNAs in addition to its nucleolar role in ribosomal RNA transcription and assembly in pre-ribosomes. Acetylated nucleolin was found to be associated with nuclear speckles and to [...] Read more.
Nucleolin is an RNA binding protein that is involved in many post-transcriptional regulation steps of messenger RNAs in addition to its nucleolar role in ribosomal RNA transcription and assembly in pre-ribosomes. Acetylated nucleolin was found to be associated with nuclear speckles and to co-localize with the splicing factor SC35. Previous nuclear pull down of nucleolin identified several splicing components and factors involved in RNA polymerase II transcription associated with nucleolin. In this report, we show that these splicing components are specifics of the pre-catalytic A and B spliceosomes, while proteins recruited in the Bact, C and P complexes are absent from the nucleolin interacting proteins. Furthermore, we show that acetylated nucleolin co-localized with P-SF3B1, a marker of co-transcriptional active spliceosomes. P-SF3B1 complexes can be pulled down with nucleolin specific antibodies. Interestingly, the alternative splicing of Fibronectin at the IIICS and EDB sites was affected by nucleolin depletion. These data are consistent with a model where nucleolin could be a factor bridging RNA polymerase II transcription and assembly of pre-catalytic spliceosome similarly to its function in the co-transcriptional maturation of pre-rRNA. Full article
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Open AccessReviewPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
LC-NMR for Natural Products Analysis: A Journey from an Academic Curiosity to a Robust Analytical Tool
Sci 2019, 1(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1010031 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 896
Abstract
LC–NMR combines the advantage of the outstanding separation power of liquid chromatography (LC) and the superior structural elucidating capability of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). NMR has proved that it is a standout detector for LC by providing maximum structural information about plant originated [...] Read more.
LC–NMR combines the advantage of the outstanding separation power of liquid chromatography (LC) and the superior structural elucidating capability of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). NMR has proved that it is a standout detector for LC by providing maximum structural information about plant originated extracts particularly in its isolating ability of isomeric (same molecular formula) and/or isobaric (same molecular weight) compounds as compared to other detectors. The present review provides an overview of the LC–NMR developmental trends and its application in natural products analysis. The different LC–NMR operational modes are described, as well as how technical improvements assist in establishing this powerful technique as an important analytical tool in the analysis of complex plant-derived compounds. On-flow, stop-flow and loop-storage modes, as well as the new offline mode LC–SPE–NMR and capLC-NMR configurations that avoid the ingestion of expensive deuterated solvents throughout the experiment are mentioned. Utilization of cryogenic probe and microprobe technologies which are the other important promising approaches for guaranteeing the sensitivity issues are also described. Concluding remarks and future outlooks are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
Health Insurance Coverage Before and After the Affordable Care Act
Sci 2019, 1(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1010030 - 10 Jun 2019
Viewed by 954
Abstract
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is at the crossroads. It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of the ACA in order to make rational decisions about the ongoing healthcare reform, but existing research into its effect on health insurance status in the United [...] Read more.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is at the crossroads. It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of the ACA in order to make rational decisions about the ongoing healthcare reform, but existing research into its effect on health insurance status in the United States is insufficient and descriptive. Using data from the National Health Interview Surveys from 2009 to 2015, this study examines changes in health insurance status and its determinants before the ACA in 2009, during its partial implementation in 2010–2013, and after its full implementation in 2014 and 2015. The results of trend analysis indicate a significant increase in national health insurance rate from 82.2% in 2009 to 89.4% in 2015. Logistic regression analyses confirm the similar impact of age, gender, race, marital status, nativity, citizenship, education, and poverty on health insurance status before and after the ACA. Despite similar effects across years, controlling for other variables, youth aged 26 or below, the foreign-born, Asians, and other races had a greater probability of gaining health insurance after the ACA than before the ACA; however, the odds of obtaining health insurance for Hispanics and the impoverished rose slightly during the partial implementation of the ACA but somewhat declined after the full implementation of the ACA starting in 2014. These findings should be taken into account by the U.S. government in deciding the fate of the ACA. Full article
Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
Relevancy of Nizatidine Release from Floating Tablets with Viscosity of Various Cellulose Ethers
Sci 2019, 1(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1010022 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1412
Abstract
Nizatidine is a gastroprotective drug with a short biological half-life and narrow absorption window. This study aimed at developing floating tablets of nizatidine using various HPMC viscosity grades, namely K4M, E4M, K15 and K200M. Directly compressed tablets revealed an excellent uniformity in hardness, [...] Read more.
Nizatidine is a gastroprotective drug with a short biological half-life and narrow absorption window. This study aimed at developing floating tablets of nizatidine using various HPMC viscosity grades, namely K4M, E4M, K15 and K200M. Directly compressed tablets revealed an excellent uniformity in hardness, thickness and weight and nizatidine was evenly distributed within the matrix floating tablets. Buoyancy study revealed floating lag time as low as 18–38 s, and tablets remain buoyant for upto 24 h. However, the later depended upon viscosity grade of HPMC and that the higher the viscosity, the less was the total floating time. In vitro dissolution indicated viscosity dependent nizatidine release from the floating tablets. HPMC K4M and E4M based floating tablets released almost 100% drug in 12 h, whilst higher viscosity polymers such as K15 and K200M only released 81.88% and 75.81% drug, respectively. The drug release followed non-Fickian diffusion from tablets formulated with K4M, K15 and K200M, whilst super case II transport was observed with E4M based tablets. More interestingly, K4M and E4M polymers have similar viscosity yet exhibited different drug release mechanism. This was attributed to the difference in degree of substitution of methoxyl- and hydroxypropoxyl- groups on polymer backbone. Full article
Open AccessReviewPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
Endocrine Disrupting Compounds Removal Methods from Wastewater in the United Kingdom: A Review
Sci 2019, 1(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1010015.v1 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 871
Abstract
Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are contaminants with estrogenic or androgenic activity that negatively impact human and animal communities. These compounds have become one of the significant concerns for wastewater treatment in recent decades. Several studies have evaluated EDC removal methods from wastewater across [...] Read more.
Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are contaminants with estrogenic or androgenic activity that negatively impact human and animal communities. These compounds have become one of the significant concerns for wastewater treatment in recent decades. Several studies have evaluated EDC removal methods from wastewater across the globe including the United Kingdom (UK). Accordingly, the current study reviews EDC removal methods from municipal/domestic wastewater in the United Kingdom (UK) for the period of 2010–2017. The research highlights that despite the relative efficacy of existing chemical and physical methods for removing certain EDCs from wastewater there is emerging evidence supporting the need for more widespread application of nature-based and biological approaches, particularly the use of biofilms. The analysis reveals that there have been relatively few research studies on EDC removal methods have been carried out in the UK in the 2010–2017 period and none of the research focused on EDC removal using biofilms. Finally, this review suggests that more research is needed to remove EDCs, particularly through the application of biofilms, from municipal wastewater in current scenarios. Full article
Open AccessArticlePost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
Perspectives on Agricultural Land Use Conversion and Food Security in Rural Ghana
Sci 2019, 1(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1010014.v1 - 18 Mar 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 752
Abstract
Rapid peri-urbanization has resulted in increasing demand for and pressure on peri-urban lands at the expense of agricultural lands. Households’ decision to convert from agricultural land uses to residential and commercial land uses is driven by a myriad of factors, ranging from social [...] Read more.
Rapid peri-urbanization has resulted in increasing demand for and pressure on peri-urban lands at the expense of agricultural lands. Households’ decision to convert from agricultural land uses to residential and commercial land uses is driven by a myriad of factors, ranging from social to economic, in the Asante-Akim South district of the Asante region, Ghana. The paper examined the effects of agricultural land use trade-off on food production in the district. Using a triangulation of qualitative and quantitative methods, 115 household respondents were proportionately sampled from three selected communities in the district, for the collection of data through the administration of questionnaires. The data were subjected to the Pearson’s chi-square, embedded in the SPSS V.16, to test for association among the variables. We report that the increasing rate of agricultural land uses conversions was as a result of increasing demand for residential and commercial land usage at the expense of agricultural land uses. Converting prime agricultural lands into other land uses was seen as profitable to agricultural expansion. A re-examination of the district land use plans by the Ghanaian Physical (Town and Country) Planning Department in tandem with the Lands Commission is therefore recommended. Full article
Open AccessCommunicationPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1, Original
Synthesis of A Silver Nanowire Array on Cu-BTC MOF Micropillars
Sci 2019, 1(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1010004.v1 - 30 Nov 2018
Viewed by 967
Abstract
An array of Ag nanowires has been prepared from a facile, templated approach on Cu(BTC) (1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylic acid) metal organic framework (MOF) micropillars. The Ag-deposited scaffolding material may be used to prepare electronic or optoelectronic devices for various applications. Full article
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