Now showing items 1-20 of 7561

    • Advances in archaeomagnetic dating in Britain: New data, new approaches and a new calibration curve

      Batt, Catherine M.; Brown, M.C.; Clelland, Sarah-Jane; Korte, M.; Linford, P.; Outram, Zoe (2017-09)
      Archaeomagnetic dating offers a valuable chronological tool for archaeological investigations, particularly for dating fired material. The method depends on the establishment of a dated record of secular variation of the Earth's magnetic field and this paper presents new and updated archaeomagnetic directional data from the UK and geomagnetic secular variation curves arising from them. The data are taken from publications from the 1950's to the present day; 422 dated entries derived from existing archaeo and geomagnetic databases are re-evaluated and 487 new directions added, resulting in 909 entries with corresponding dates, the largest collection of dated archaeomagnetic directions from a single country. An approach to improving the largest source of uncertainty, the independent dating, is proposed and applied to the British Iron Age, resulting in 145 directions from currently available databases being updated with revised ages and/or uncertainties, and a large scale reassessment of age assignments prior to inclusion into the Magnetic Moments of the Past and GEOMAGIA50 databases. From the significantly improved dataset a new archaeomagnetic dating curve for the UK is derived through the development of a temporally continuous geomagnetic field model, and is compared with previous UK archaeomagnetic dating curves and global field models. The new model, ARCH-UK.1 allows model predictions for any location in the UK with associated uncertainties. It is shown to improve precision and accuracy in archaeomagnetic dating, and to provide new insight into past geomagnetic field changes.
    • A key role for peroxynitrite-mediated inhibition of cardiac ERG (Kv11.1) K+ channels in carbon monoxide–induced proarrhythmic early afterdepolarizations

      Al-Owais, M.M.; Hettiarachchi, N.T.; Kirton, H.M.; Hardy, Matthew E.; Boyle, J.P.; Scragg, J.L.; Steele, D.S.; Peers, C. (2017-11-01)
      Exposure to CO causes early afterdepolarization arrhythmias. Previous studies in rats have indicated that arrhythmias arose as a result of augmentation of the late Na+ current. The purpose of the present study was to examine the basis for CO-induced arrhythmias in guinea pig myocytes in which action potentials (APs) more closely resemble those of human myocytes. Whole-cell current- and voltage-clamp recordings were made from isolated guinea pig myocytes as well as from human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells that express wild-type or a C723S mutant form of ether-a-go-go–related gene (ERG; Kv11.1). We also monitored the formation of peroxynitrite (ONOO−) in HEK293 cells fluorimetrically. CO—applied as the CO-releasing molecule, CORM-2—prolonged the APs and induced early afterdepolarizations in guinea pig myocytes. In HEK293 cells, CO inhibited wild-type, but not C723S mutant, Kv11.1 K+ currents. Inhibition was prevented by an antioxidant, mitochondrial inhibitors, or inhibition of NO formation. CO also raised ONOO− levels, an effect that was reversed by the ONOO− scavenger, FeTPPS [5,10,15,20-tetrakis-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-porphyrinato-iron(III)], which also prevented the CO inhibition of Kv11.1 currents and abolished the effects of CO on Kv11.1 tail currents and APs in guinea pig myocytes. Our data suggest that CO induces arrhythmias in guinea pig cardiac myocytes via the ONOO−-mediated inhibition of Kv11.1 K+ channels.
    • Dynamic Action Potential Restitution Contributes to Mechanical Restitution in Right Ventricular Myocytes From Pulmonary Hypertensive Rats

      Hardy, Matthew E.; Pervolaraki, E.; Bernus, O.; White, E. (2018-03-12)
      We investigated the steepened dynamic action potential duration (APD) restitution of rats with pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH) and right ventricular (RV) failure and tested whether the observed APD restitution properties were responsible for negative mechanical restitution in these myocytes. PAH and RV failure were provoked in male Wistar rats by a single injection of monocrotaline (MCT) and compared with saline-injected animals (CON). Action potentials were recorded from isolated RV myocytes at stimulation frequencies between 1 and 9Hz. Action potential waveforms recorded at 1Hz were used as voltage clamp profiles (action potential clamp) at stimulation frequencies between 1 and 7Hz to evoke rate-dependent currents. Voltage clamp profiles mimicking typical CON and MCT APD restitution were applied and cell shortening simultaneously monitored. Compared with CON myocytes, MCT myocytes were hypertrophied; had less polarized diastolic membrane potentials; had action potentials that were triggered by decreased positive current density and shortened by decreased negative current density; APD was longer and APD restitution steeper. APD90 restitution was unchanged by exposure to the late Na+-channel blocker (5μM) ranolazine or the intracellular Ca2+ buffer BAPTA. Under AP clamp, stimulation frequency-dependent inward currents were smaller inMCTmyocytes and were abolished by BAPTA. In MCT myocytes, increasing stimulation frequency decreased contraction amplitude when depolarization duration was shortened, to mimic APD restitution, but not when depolarization duration was maintained. We present new evidence that the membrane potential of PAH myocytes is less stable than normal myocytes, being more easily perturbed by external currents. These observations can explain increased susceptibility to arrhythmias. We also present novel evidence that negative APD restitution is at least in part responsible for the negative mechanical restitution in PAH myocytes. Thus, our study links electrical restitution remodeling to a defining mechanical characteristic of heart failure, the reduced ability to respond to an increase in demand.
    • Going Along to get Along: Victimization inc.

      Solas, John (2016)
      It has long been recognized that "when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle" (Burke 1770, p. 146). In order words, all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Edmond Burke made the peril of inaction and dissociation in the midst of wrongdoing clear. When the need to act against victimisation arises, resistance is essential, and should not befall a brave few, for as Burke contended, there is safety in numbers. Despite Burke's advice, social psychological research (most notably by Latané and Darley 1970; Milgam 1974; Zimbardo, Banks and Jaffe 1973) has demonstrated the unreliability of unsolicited prosocial intervention into even the most glaring atrocities. Simply put, the numbers needed to ensure safety may not be there. While the reasons for inaction are both complex and manifold, they invariably point to a lack of supererogation and fiduciary responsibility. People look on rather than intervene either because they do not consider the fate of others their responsibility or business (Zimbardo 2007). Hence, are those who witness rather than contest victimisation innocent bystanders or accomplices? The answer has particular consequences for employees made victims of unscrupulous corporate supervisors, leaders, managers, and, most notably, their followers. This paper examines the moral question that inaction against victimisation in the corporate realm raises.
    • Understanding images in biological and computer vision

      Schofield, A.J.; Gilchrist, I.D.; Bloj, Marina; Leonardis, A.; Bellotto, N. (2018-06-15)
      This issue of Interface Focus is a collection of papers arising out of a Royal Society Discussion meeting entitled ‘Understanding images in biological and computer vision’ held at Carlton Terrace on the 19th and 20th February, 2018. There is a strong tradition of inter-disciplinarity in the study of visual perception and visual cognition. Many of the great natural scientists including Newton [1], Young [2] and Maxwell (see [3]) were intrigued by the relationship between light, surfaces and perceived colour considering both physical and perceptual processes. Brewster [4] invented both the lenticular stereoscope and the binocular camera but also studied the perception of shape-from-shading. More recently, Marr's [5] description of visual perception as an information processing problem led to great advances in our understanding of both biological and computer vision: both the computer vision and biological vision communities have a Marr medal. The recent successes of deep neural networks in classifying the images that we see and the fMRI images that reveal the activity in our brains during the act of seeing are both intriguing. The links between machine vision systems and biology may at sometimes be weak but the similarity of some of the operations is nonetheless striking [6]. This two-day meeting brought together researchers from the fields of biological and computer vision, robotics, neuroscience, computer science and psychology to discuss the most recent developments in the field. The meeting was divided into four themes: vision for action, visual appearance, vision for recognition and machine learning.
    • Allergen immunotherapy for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

      Dhami, S.; Nurmatov, U.; Arasi, S.; Khan, T.; Asaria, M.; Zaman, Hadar; Agarwal, A.; Netuveli, G.; Roberts, G.; Pfaar, O.; Muraro, A.; Ansotegui, I.J.; Calderon, M.; Cingi, C.; Durham, S.; van Wijk, R.G.; Halken, S.; Hamelmann, E.; Hellings, P.; Jacobsen, L.; Knol, E.; Larenas-Linnemann, D.; Lin, S.; Maggina, P.; Mosges, R.; Oude Elberink, H.; Pajno, G.; Pawankar, R.; Pastorello, E.; Penagos, M.; Pitsios, C.; Rotiroti, G.; Timmermans, F.; Tsilochristou, O.; Varga, E.M.; Schmidt-Weber, C.; Wilkinson, J.; Williams, A.; Worm, M.; Zhang, L.; Sheikh, A. (2017-11)
      Background: The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is in the process of developing Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy (AIT) for Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis. To inform the development of clinical recommendations, we undertook a systematic review to assess the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of AIT in the management of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. Methods: We searched nine international biomedical databases for published, in-progress, and unpublished evidence. Studies were independently screened by two reviewers against predefined eligibility criteria and critically appraised using established instruments. Our primary outcomes of interest were symptom, medication,and combined symptom and medication scores. Secondary outcomes of interest included cost-effectiveness and safety. Data were descriptively summarized and then quantitatively synthesized using random-effects meta-analyses. Results: We identified 5960 studies of which 160 studies satisfied our eligibility criteria. There was a substantial body of evidence demonstrating significant reductions in standardized mean differences (SMD) of symptom (SMD -0.53, 95% CI -0.63,-0.42), medication (SMD -0.37, 95% CI -0.49, -0.26), and combined symptom and medication (SMD -0.49, 95% CI -0.69, -0.30) scores while on treatment that were robust to prespecified sensitivity analyses. There was in comparison a more modest body of evidence on effectiveness post-discontinuation of AIT, suggesting a benefit in relation to symptom scores.Conclusions: AIT is effective in improving symptom, medication, and combined symptom and medication scores in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis while on treatment, and there is some evidence suggesting that these benefits are maintained in relation to symptom scores after discontinuation of therapy.
    • Challenges in the implementation of the EAACI AIT guidelines: A situational analysis of current provision of allergen immunotherapy

      Ryan, D.; van Wijk, R.G.; Angier, E.; Kristiansen, M.; Zaman, Hadar; Sheikh, A.; Cardona, V.; Vidal, C.; Warner, A.; Agache, I.; Arasi, S.; Fernandez-Rivas, M.; Halken, S.; Jutel, M.; Lau, S.; Pajno, G.; Pfaar, O.; Roberts, G.; Sturm, G.; Varga, E.M.; van Ree, R.; Muraro, A. (2018-04)
      Purpose: The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) has produced Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy (AIT). We sought to gauge the preparedness of primary care to participate in the delivery of AIT in Europe. Methods: We undertook a mixed‐methods, situational analysis. This involved a purposeful literature search and two surveys: one to primary care clinicians and the other to a wider group of stakeholders across Europe. Results: The 10 papers identified all pointed out gaps or deficiencies in allergy care provision in primary care. The surveys also highlighted similar concerns, particularly in relation to concerns about lack of knowledge, skills, infrastructural weaknesses, reimbursement policies and communication with specialists as barriers to evidence‐based care. Almost all countries (92%) reported the availability of AIT. In spite of that, only 28% and 44% of the countries reported the availability of guidelines for primary care physicians and specialists, respectively. Agreed pathways between specialists and primary care physicians were reported as existing in 32%‐48% of countries. Reimbursement appeared to be an important barrier as AIT was only fully reimbursed in 32% of countries. Additionally, 44% of respondents considered accessibility to AIT and 36% stating patient costs were barriers. Conclusions: Successful working with primary care providers is essential to scaling‐up AIT provision in Europe, but to achieve this, the identified barriers must be overcome. Development of primary care interpretation of guidelines to aid patient selection, establishment of disease management pathways and collaboration with specialist groups are required as a matter of urgency.
    • Allergen immunotherapy for allergic asthma: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

      Dhami, S.; Kakourou, A.; Asamoah, F.; Agache, I.; Lau, S.; Jutel, M.; Muraro, A.; Roberts, G.; Akdis, C.A.; Bonini, M.; Cavkaytar, O.; Flood, B.; Gajdanowicz, P.; Izuhara, K.; Kalayci, O.; Mosges, R.; Palomares, O.; Pfaar, O.; Smolinska, S.; Sokolowska, M.; Asaria, M.; Netuveli, G.; Zaman, Hadar; Akhlaq, A.; Sheikh, A. (2017-11)
      Background:To inform the development of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology’s (EAACI) Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy (AIT) for allergic asthma, we assessed the evidence on the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety of AIT. Methods:We performed a systematic review, which involved searching nine data-bases. Studies were screened against predefined eligibility criteria and critically appraised using established instruments. Data were synthesized using random-effects meta-analyses.Results:98 studies satisfied the inclusion criteria. Short-term symptom scores were reduced with a standardized mean difference (SMD) of 1.11 (95% CI 1.66, 0.56). This was robust to a prespecified sensitivity analyses, but there was evidence suggestive of publication bias. Short-term medication scores were reduced SMD 1.21 (95% CI 1.87, 0.54), again with evidence of potential publication bias. There was no reduction in short-term combined medication and symptom scores SMD 0.17 (95% CI 0.23, 0.58), but one study showed a beneficial long-term effect. For secondary outcomes, subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) improved quality of life and decreased allergen-specific airway hyperreactivity (AHR), but this was not the case for sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). There were no consistent effects on asthma control, exacerbations, lung function, and nonspecific AHR. AIT resulted in a modest increased risk of adverse events (AEs). Although relatively uncommon, systemic AEs were more frequent with SCIT; however no fatalities were reported. The limited evidence on cost-effectiveness was mainly available for sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) and this suggested that SLIT is likely to be cost-effective. Conclusions: AIT can achieve substantial reductions in short-term symptom and medication scores in allergic asthma. It was however associated with a modest increased risk of systemic and local AEs. More data are needed in relation to secondary outcomes, longer-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
    • EAACI guidelines on allergen immunotherapy: Hymenoptera venom allergy

      Sturm, G.J.; Varga, E.M.; Roberts, G.; Mosbech, H.; Bilo, M.B.; Akdis, C.A.; Antolın-Amerigo, D.; Cichocka-Jarosz, E.; Gawlik, R.; Jakob, T.; Kosnik, M.; Lange, J.; Mingomataj, E.; Mitsias, D.I.; Ollert, M.; Oude Elberink, J.N.G.; Pfaar, O.; Pitsios, C.; Pravettoni, V.; Rueff, F.; Sin, B.A.; Agache, I.; Angier, E.; Arasi, S.; Calderon, M.A.; Fernandez-Rivas, M.; Halken, S.; Jutel, M.; Lau, S.; Pajno, G.B.; van Ree, R.; Ryan, D.; Spranger, O.; van Wijk, R.G.; Dhami, S.; Zaman, H.; Sheikh, A.; Muraro, A. (2018-04-16)
      Hymenoptera venom allergy is a potentially life‐threatening allergic reaction following a honeybee, vespid, or ant sting. Systemic‐allergic sting reactions have been reported in up to 7.5% of adults and up to 3.4% of children. They can be mild and restricted to the skin or moderate to severe with a risk of life‐threatening anaphylaxis. Patients should carry an emergency kit containing an adrenaline autoinjector, H1‐antihistamines, and corticosteroids depending on the severity of their previous sting reaction(s). The only treatment to prevent further systemic sting reactions is venom immunotherapy. This guideline has been prepared by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology's (EAACI) Taskforce on Venom Immunotherapy as part of the EAACI Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy initiative. The guideline aims to provide evidence‐based recommendations for the use of venom immunotherapy, has been informed by a formal systematic review and meta‐analysis and produced using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE II) approach. The process included representation from a range of stakeholders. Venom immunotherapy is indicated in venom‐allergic children and adults to prevent further moderate‐to‐severe systemic sting reactions. Venom immunotherapy is also recommended in adults with only generalized skin reactions as it results in significant improvements in quality of life compared to carrying an adrenaline autoinjector. This guideline aims to give practical advice on performing venom immunotherapy. Key sections cover general considerations before initiating venom immunotherapy, evidence‐based clinical recommendations, risk factors for adverse events and for relapse of systemic sting reaction, and a summary of gaps in the evidence.
    • Allergen immunotherapy for insect venom allergy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

      Dhami, S.; Zaman, Hadar; Varga, E.M.; Sturm, G.J.; Muraro, A.; Akdis, C.A.; Antolın-Amerigo, D.; Bilo, M.B.; Bokanovic, D.; Calderon, M.A.; Cichocka-Jarosz, E.; Oude Elberink, J.N.G.; Gawlik, R.; Jakob, T.; Kosnik, M.; Lange, J.; Mingomataj, E.; Mitsias, D.I.; Mosbech, H.; Ollert, M.; Pfaar, O.; Pitsios, C.; Pravettoni, V.; Roberts, G.; Rueff, F.; Sin, B.A.; Asaria, M.; Netuveli, G.; Sheikh, A. (2017-02-17)
      Background The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is in the process of developing the EAACI Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy (AIT) for the management of insect venom allergy. To inform this process, we sought to assess the effectiveness, cost‐effectiveness and safety of AIT in the management of insect venom allergy. Methods We undertook a systematic review, which involved searching 15 international biomedical databases for published and unpublished evidence. Studies were independently screened and critically appraised using established instruments. Data were descriptively summarized and, where possible, meta‐analysed. Results Our searches identified a total of 16 950 potentially eligible studies; of which, 17 satisfied our inclusion criteria. The available evidence was limited both in volume and in quality, but suggested that venom immunotherapy (VIT) could substantially reduce the risk of subsequent severe systemic sting reactions (OR = 0.08, 95% CI 0.03–0.26); meta‐analysis showed that it also improved disease‐specific quality of life (risk difference = 1.41, 95% CI 1.04–1.79). Adverse effects were experienced in both the build‐up and maintenance phases, but most were mild with no fatalities being reported. The very limited evidence found on modelling cost‐effectiveness suggested that VIT was likely to be cost‐effective in those at high risk of repeated systemic sting reactions and/or impaired quality of life. Conclusions The limited available evidence suggested that VIT is effective in reducing severe subsequent systemic sting reactions and in improving disease‐specific quality of life. VIT proved to be safe and no fatalities were recorded in the studies included in this review. The cost‐effectiveness of VIT needs to be established.
    • Validation of a novel particle isolation procedure using particle doped tissue samples

      Patel, J.; Lal, S.; Wilshaw, Stacy-Paul; Hall, R.M.; Tipper, J.L. (2018-06)
      A novel particle isolation method for tissue samples was developed and tested using particle-doped peri-articular tissues from ovine cadavers. This enabled sensitivity of the isolation technique to be established by doping tissue samples of 0.25 g with very low particle volumes of 2.5 µm3 per sample. Image analysis was used to verify that the method caused no changes to particle size or morphologies.
    • Millennial Chinese consumers' perceived destination brand value

      Luo, J.; Dey, B.L.; Yalkin, C.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Punjaisri, K.; Huang, Y.; Yen, D.A. (2018-07)
      There has been a substantial rise in the number of Chinese tourists, with the Chinese millennials being important influencers. Yet very little is known about their tourism behavior, particularly how their perceived destination brand values influence their destination loyalty. This study brings in the consumers’ perceived brand value concept from the branding literature to investigate Chinese millennial tourists’ destination loyalty. An online survey was adopted to collect data from 287 Chinese millennial tourists. The findings offer insight into the relative effects of five dimensions of tourists’ perceived destination brand values on their destination loyalty. The findings also extend existing tourism literature, showing the moderating effects of destination brand globality, destination status (domestic vs. international) and national brand attitude on the said relationships. Managerial implications to better target Chinese millennials are discussed together with future research directions.
    • Entrepreneurial orientation, environmental sustainability and new venture performance: Does stakeholder integration matter?

      Amankwah-Amoah, J.; Danso, A.; Adomako, Samuel (2018)
      Previous research has theorised that the link between entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and performance is mediated by environmental sustainability orientation (ESO). However, firm- level factors that may moderate this relationship are lacking. This paper attempts to fill this gap by examining how and when EO enhances new venture performance by considering ESO as mediator and stakeholder integration as an important contingent factor. Using primary data obtained from 242 chief executive officers (CEOs)/entrepreneurs, we found that the indirect relationship between EO and new venture performance is strengthened at high levels of stakeholder integration. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed
    • DNA damage protection by bulk and nano forms of quercetin in lymphocytes of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exposed to the food mutagen 2-amino-3-methylimidazo [4,5-f]quinolone (IQ)

      Habas, Khaled S.A.; Abdulmwli, Mhamoued; Demir, E.; Jacob, B.K.; Najafzadeh, Mojgan; Anderson, Diana (2018-10)
      Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in humans, describes a group of lung conditions characterised by airflow limitation that is poorly reversible. The airflow limitation usually progresses slowly and is related to an abnormal inflammatory response of the lung to toxic particles. COPD is characterised by oxidative stress and an increased risk of lung carcinoma. The 2-amino-3-methylimidazo [4,5-f]quinoline (IQ) is one of a number of mutagenic/carcinogenic heterocyclic amines found mainly in well-cooked meats which are thus part of the regular diet. Antioxidants are very important in order to protect the cells against oxidative damage. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of IQ on the level of DNA damage and susceptibility to a potent mutagen in peripheral blood cells of COPD patients. DNA damage and the frequency of micronuclei (MNi) were evaluated using the Comet and micronucleus assays, respectively. Differential expressions of both mRNA and protein of the endogenous antioxidant enzyme catalase were evaluated with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Western blot analysis, respectively. Furthermore, the effect of bulk and nano forms of quercetin and their combination with IQ were examined. Results of the present study clearly demonstrated that MNi frequency in the peripheral blood lymphocytes exhibited a positive correlation with the DNA damage as evident from the different Comet assay parameters. Increase of the endogenous antioxidant catalase also showed there was a stimulation of this enzyme system by IQ. Whereas, the endogenous antioxidant quercetin significantly reduced oxidative stress in COPD patients and healthy individuals.
    • Financial sector development and smart cities: The Indian case

      Arora, Rashmi (2018)
      The paper examines the level of financial development of initial twenty shortlisted smart cities in India. • Results of the study revealed high inter-state and intra-state inequality as the cities with high FSI values and those with low FSI values are both located in the developed western and southern states. • A similar mixed picture emerges even for the less developed low income states such as Madhya Pradesh. • The study also highlighted large inter-state variations across the smart cities in financial development. • For a holistic approach to smart city development, a vibrant and developed financial sector is required.
    • Antibiotic functionalised polymers reduce bacterial biofilm and bioburden in a simulated infection of the cornea

      Doroshenko, N.; Rimmer, Stephen; Hoskins, Richard; Garg, P.; Swift, Thomas; Spencer, H.L.M.; Lord, Rianne M.; Katsikogianni, Maria G.; Pownall, D.; MacNeil, S.; Douglas, C.W.I.; Shepherd, J. (2018)
      Microbial keratitis can arise from penetrating injuries to the cornea. Corneal trauma promotes bacterial attachment and biofilm growth, which decrease the effectiveness of antimicrobials against microbial keratitis. Improved therapeutic efficacy can be achieved by reducing microbial burden prior to antimicrobial therapy. This paper assesses a highly-branched poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) with vancomycin end groups (HB-PNIPAM-van), for reducing bacterial attachment and biofilm formation. The polymer lacked antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, but significantly inhibited biofilm formation (p = 0.0008) on plastic. Furthermore, pre-incubation of S. aureus cells with HB-PNIPAM-van reduced cell attachment by 50% and application of HB-PNIPAM-van to infected ex vivo rabbit corneas caused a 1-log reduction in bacterial recovery, compared to controls (p = 0.002). In conclusion, HB-PNIPAM-van may be a useful adjunct to antimicrobial therapy in the treatment of corneal infections.
    • Modelling of an industrial naphtha isomerization reactor and development and assessment of a new isomerization process

      Ahmed, A.M.; Jarullah, A.T.; Abed, F.M.; Mujtaba, Iqbal M. (2018)
      Naphtha isomerization is an important issue in petroleum industries and it has to be a simple and cost effective technology for producing clean fuel with high gasoline octane number. In this work, based on real industrial data, a detailed process model is developed for an existing naphtha isomerization reactor of Baiji North Refinery (BNR) of Iraq which involves estimation of the kinetic parameters of the reactor. The optimal values of the kinetic parameters are estimated via minimizing the sum of squared errors between the predicted and the experimental data of BNR. Finally, a new isomerization process (named as AJAM process) is proposed and using the reactor model developed earlier, the reactor condition is optimized which maximizes the yield and research octane number (RON) of the reactor.
    • Performance analysis of a medium-sized industrial reverse osmosis brackish water desalination plant

      Al-Obaidi, M.A.; Alsarayreh, A.A.; Al-Hroub, A.M.; Alsadaie, S.; Mujtaba, Iqbal M. (2018)
      The implementation of Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology is noticeably increased to produce freshwater from brackish and seawater resources. In this work, performance analysis of a multistage multi pass medium-sized spiral wound brackish water RO (BWRO) desalination plant (1200 m³/day) of Arab Potash Company (APC) located in Jordan is evaluated using modelling and simulation. For this purpose, a mathematical model for the spiral wound RO process based on the principles of solution diffusion model is developed. The model is then used to simulate the operating conditions of low-salinity brackish water RO (BWRO) desalination plant. The results obtained are then compared against the real industrial data of BWRO desalination plant of APC which shows a high-level of consistency. Finally, the model is used to analysis the impact of the operating parameters such as salinity, pressure, temperature, and flow rate on the plant performance. The sensitivity analysis confirms that both feed flow rate and operating pressure as the critical parameters that positively affect the product salinity.
    • Cyber Threat Intelligence from Honeypot Data using Elasticsearch

      AL-Mohannadi, Hamad; Awan, Ifan U.; Al Hamar, J.; Cullen, Andrea J.; Disso, Jules P.; Armitage, Lorna (2018-05-18)
      Cyber attacks are increasing in every aspect of daily life. There are a number of different technologies around to tackle cyber-attacks, such as Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), firewalls, switches, routers etc., which are active round the clock. These systems generate alerts and prevent cyber attacks. This is not a straightforward solution however, as IDSs generate a huge volume of alerts that may or may not be accurate: potentially resulting in a large number of false positives. In most cases therefore, these alerts are too many in number to handle. In addition, it is impossible to prevent cyber-attacks simply by using tools. Instead, it requires greater intelligence in order to fully understand an adversary’s motive by analysing various types of Indicator of Compromise (IoC). Also, it is important for the IT employees to have enough knowledge to identify true positive attacks and act according to the incident response process. In this paper, we have proposed a new threat intelligence technique which is evaluated by analysing honeypot log data to identify behaviour of attackers to find attack patterns. To achieve this goal, we have deployed a honeypot on an AWS cloud to collect cyber incident log data. The log data is analysed by using elasticsearch technology namely an ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana) stack.
    • Chemerin: A multifaceted adipokine involved in metabolic disorders

      Helfer, Gisela; Wu, Q-F. (2018-05-30)
      Metabolic syndrome is a global public health problem and predisposes individuals to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Although the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated, accumulating evidence has uncovered a critical role of adipokines. Chemerin, encoded by the gene Rarres2, is a newly discovered adipokine involved in inflammation, adipogenesis, angiogenesis and energy metabolism. In humans, local and circulating levels of chemerin are positively correlated with body mass index and obesity-related biomarkers. In this review, we discuss both peripheral and central roles of chemerin in regulating body metabolism. In general, chemerin is upregulated in obese and diabetic animals. Previous studies by gain or loss of function show an association of chemerin with adipogenesis, glucose homeostasis, food intake and body weight. In the brain, the hypothalamus integrates peripheral afferent signals including adipokines to regulate appetite and energy homeostasis. Chemerin increases food intake in seasonal animals by acting on hypothalamic stem cells, the tanycytes. In peripheral tissues, chemerin increases cell expansion, inflammation and angiogenesis in adipose tissue, collectively resulting in adiposity. While chemerin signalling enhances insulin secretion from pancreatic islets, contradictory results have been reported on how chemerin links to obesity and insulin resistance. Given the association of chemerin with obesity comorbidities in humans, advances in translational research targeting chemerin are expected to mitigate metabolic disorders. Together, the exciting findings gathered in the last decade clearly indicate a crucial multifaceted role for chemerin in the regulation of energy balance, making it a promising candidate for urgently needed pharmacological treatment strategies for obesity.