Major Importance (major + importance)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Medical Sciences

Selected Abstracts

Influence of neurohumoral blockade on heart rate and blood pressure responses to haemorrhage in isoflurane anaesthetized rats

UllmanArticle first published online: 24 DEC 200
Four groups of Sprague,Dawley rats were anaesthetized with isoflurane (ISO) (1.7% end-tidal concentration) in 40% oxygen, and mechanically ventilated. The animals were bled 15 mL kg,1 b.w. from the femoral vein over 10 min, followed by an observation period of 30 min. Ten minutes before haemorrhage each group of animals was pre-treated with intravenous injection/infusion of either: isotonic saline (Group B; CON; n=7), vasopressin V1 -receptor antagonist [d(CH2)5Tyr(Me)AVP; 10 ,g kg,1] (Group C; AVP-a; n=7), the non-selective angiotensin II receptor antagonist saralasin (10 ,g kg,1 min,1) (Group D; SAR; n=7) or hexamethonium (10 mg kg,1) (Group E; HEX; n=7). A separate group of conscious animals were pre-treated with isotonic NaCl and subjected to the same haemorrhage protocol (Group A; AW; n=7). Mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR) and blood gases were observed during the experiments. Only pre-treatment with SAR and HEX reduced MAP significantly. The pre-haemorrhage HR was only affected by HEX, which caused a reduction by 17%. The HR was significantly lower at the end of haemorrhage compared with pre-haemorrhage levels in all groups except that group treated with HEX. In that group the HR changed in the opposite direction. The ability to maintain MAP during haemorrhage, and the post-haemorrhage period, was significantly impaired in the groups treated with AVP-a, SAR or HEX compared with the group receiving NaCl. It is concluded that autonomic nervous activity is of major importance for the maintenance of MAP during isoflurane anaesthesia, whereas circulating angiotensin II and vasopressin levels contribute to a much smaller degree in this regard. General anaesthesia in combination with different degrees of neurohumoral blockade impairs the haemodynamic responses to blood loss, seen in conscious individuals. The impairment involves both the early and late phases during haemorrhage, as well as the post-bleeding recovery period. All three neurohumoral systems (autonomic nervous activity, angiotensin II and vasopressin) are of importance for regulating MAP during and after haemorrhage, although the autonomic nervous outflow appears to contribute to a larger extent. [source]

Diagnosis of motor neuropathy

J. -M.
Motor neuropathy is a clinical entity which leads to consideration of a wide spectrum of peripheral nerve disorders. Firstly, it may be distinguished from other causes of peripheral motor involvement such as muscle diseases and disorders of the neuromuscular junction. Secondly, it may be discussed in two different forms: acute and chronic. Acute chronic neuropathies are mainly observed in Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which electrophysiological studies allow us to recognize the classical demyelinating form and the axonal form. The other causes of acute motor neuropathy are mainly poliomyelitis and porphyrias. Chronic motor neuropathies are mainly observed in motor neuron diseases, mainly amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but also Kennedy's disease and other lower motor neuron diseases which may be inherited or acquired. The other causes are multifocal motor neuropathy and the predominantly motor forms of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. The characterization of these different types of chronic neuropathy is of major importance because of the therapeutic consequences which may lead to the proposal of specific treatments. [source]

Differential sensitivity of sodium channels from the central and peripheral nervous system to the scorpion toxins Lqh-2 and Lqh-3

Haijun Chen
Abstract The scorpion ,-toxins Lqh-2 and Lqh-3, isolated from the venom of the Israeli yellow scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus, were previously shown to be very potent in removing fast inactivation of rat skeletal muscle sodium channels (Chen et al., 2000). Here, we show that tetrodotoxin-sensitive neuronal channels NaV1.2 and NaV1.7, which are mainly expressed in mammalian central and peripheral nervous systems, respectively, are differentially sensitive to these two toxins. rNaV1.2 and hNaV1.7 channels were studied with patch-clamp methods upon expression in mammalian cells. While Lqh-3 was about 100-times more potent in removing inactivation in hNaV1.7 channels compared with rNaV1.2, Lqh-2 was about 20-times more active in the other direction. Site-directed mutagenesis showed that the differences in the putative binding sites for these toxins, the S3-4 linkers of domain 4, are of major importance for Lqh-3, but not for Lqh-2. [source]

Insulin promotes functional induction of silent synapses in differentiating rat neocortical neurons

Daniela Plitzko
Abstract Long-term synaptic plasticity is thought to underlie synaptic reorganization phenomena that occur during neocortical development. Recently, it has been proposed, that the functional induction of AMPA receptors at silent glutamatergic synapses is of major importance in activity-dependent, developmental plasticity. To investigate the mechanisms involved in the developmental regulation of silent synapses, we analysed the functional maturation of the thalamocortical projection in culture. A large proportion of the thalamocortical synapses were functionally silent at an early stage in vitro. During further differentiation, the incidence of silent synapses decreased drastically, indicating a conversion of silent into functional synapses. Chronic blockade of spontaneous network activity by addition of tetrodotoxin to the culture medium strongly impaired this developmental maturation. Moreover, the developmental decline in the proportion of silent synapses was dramatically accelerated by chronic addition of the neurotrophic factor, insulin. This effect of insulin was partly dependent on spontaneous activity. Thus, insulin appears to be involved in the modulation of long-term developmental plasticity at immature glutamatergic synapses. [source]

IL-15 and IL-16 overexpression in cutaneous T-cell lymphomas: stage-dependent increase in mycosis fungoides progression

K. Asadullah
Abstract: Cytokines are of major importance for the pathogenesis of cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL). Recent data suggested that IL-15 and IL-16 are survival/growth factors for the malignant T cells in these entities. To investigate the expression of IL-15 and IL-16 in mycosis fungoides (MF) and CD30+ pleomorphic T-cell lymphoma in vivo, we established a competitive RT-PCR technique. Analyzing skin biopsies from CTCL patients at different stages in comparison to psoriatic and healthy skin, we found IL-15 and IL-16 mRNA overexpression in both CTCL entities. Remarkably, there was some evidence for a stage-dependent increase during MF progression. We found only slight overexpression in early stage MF, when only few tumor cells are detectable within the infiltrates, whereas marked overexpression was found in more advanced lesions, which are characterized by a higher density of malignant cells. These results suggested that CTCL cells themselves might produce the cytokines. To further elucidate this hypothesis, two CTCL cell lines were analyzed but gave conflicting results. Therefore, the cellular origin of the IL-15 and IL-16 overexpression in CTCL remains unclear. Considering the significant overexpression of IL-15 and IL-16 and their biological capacities it is likely that these cytokines contribute to the tumor development. So, they might be involved in growth and skin homing of CTCL cells. [source]

Thin Film Solar Cells: Materials Science at Interfaces

J. Fritsche
Abstract Interfaces are important for the efficiencies of thin film solar cells. In particular for polycrystalline chalcogenide semiconductors as Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 and CdTe the existing physical concepts, which describe the electronic properties of semiconductor interfaces, are not sufficient. The increased complexity is mostly due to the non-abruptness of the interfaces and the strong tendency for the formation of defects. For the CdTe thin film solar cell a very relevant interface for their operation and efficiency is the CdTe/CdS semiconductor hetero junction. The properties of the semiconductor interfaces have been characterised systematically with photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS/UPS) in integrated ultra high vacuum (UHV) systems for sample preparation and analysis. Withal the key topic is the experimental determination of the band alignment at the semiconductor interfaces. For high efficiency CdTe solar cell production CdCl2 activation is of major importance. The effects of the CdCl2 treatment step on CdTe solar cells had been not completely understood so far. To investigate its influence the activation process has been transferred into the integrated UHV system. We will report about chemical and electronic modifications of the CdTe/CdS hetero interface due to in-situ CdCl2 activation performing sputter depth profiles in combination with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). [source]

Cyclic modelling of the mechanical state produced by shot-peening

I. Lillamand
During low cycle fatigue of shot-peened parts, the competition between the compressive residual stresses and the hardening damage, both of which are produced by cumulated plastic strains, is of major importance for lifetime improvement. In order to take into account these effects in life prediction, the shot-peening treatment must be considered as a first step in the service life of the studied part. The predicted residual stresses provided by the existing shot-peening models are not sufficient when taking account of the induced mechanical state. The proposed methodology in this paper describes the shot-peening process by a new cyclic approach where the Chaboche constitutive equations, commonly used in the aircraft industry, show the best promise. A reversed method is employed to quantify, after shot-peening, the complete mechanical state in line with commonly used life-prediction algorithms. Computations are carried out for a shot-peened TiAl6V4 titanium alloy as used in the low pressure stage compressor of turbo-engine discs. [source]

Shuffling genes around in hot environments: the unique DNA transporter of Thermus thermophilus

Beate Averhoff
Abstract Natural transformation permits the transport of DNA through bacterial membranes and represents a dominant mode for the transfer of genetic information between bacteria and between microorganisms of distant evolutionary lineages and even between members of different domains. This phenomenon, known as horizontal, or lateral, gene transfer, has been a major force for genome plasticity over evolutionary history, and is largely responsible for the spread of fitness-enhancing traits, including antibiotic resistance and virulence factors. In particular, for adaptation of prokaryotes to extreme environments, lateral gene transfer seems to have played a crucial role. Here, we present a survey of the natural transformation machinery of the thermophile Thermus thermophilus HB27. A tentative model of the transformation machinery comprising of components similar to proteins of type IV pili and type II secretion systems is presented. A comparative discussion of the subunits and the structure of the DNA translocator and the underlying mechanism of transfer of free DNA in T. thermophilus highlights conserved and unique features of the DNA translocator in T. thermophilus. We hypothesize that the extraordinary broad substrate specificity and the high efficiency of the T. thermophilus DNA uptake system is of major importance for thermoadaptation and interdomain DNA transfer in hot environments. [source]

Process-based model for direct and indirect effects of hydrographic conditions on Central Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) egg mortality

Abstract A process-oriented model for the mortality of eggs of cod Gadus morhua in the Central Baltic Sea is developed, based on a synthesis of existing knowledge of the effects of salinity, oxygen and predation by sprat Sprattus sprattus. The models show the importance of the vertical and temporal overlap between eggs and predations. Effects related to the changing buoyancy of the eggs due to age and size of the mother fish, batch number and stock structure are not of major importance for the egg survival of this stock. It is demonstrated that under the present high sprat predation pressure, the observed delay in spawning time has increased egg survival. [source]

The Nordic Volcanological Institute: understanding volcanoes at spreading centres

GEOLOGY TODAY, Issue 2 2009
Kent Brooks
The Nordic countries (known as ,Norden') are not immediately associated with volcanoes: Norway with folded mountains cut by fjords and its offshore oil and gas deposits, Sweden and Finland by the western part of the Baltic shield, a huge area of Precambrian rocks, of which gneisses form a large part, and Denmark, a country of Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks, where glacial, superficial deposits are of major importance. But Norden also includes Iceland, where everyone immediately thinks of volcanoes and glaciers. Clearly volcanological research would be expected to be a major priority for the Icelandic nation. However, in the other Nordic countries old volcanic and other igneous rocks play a significant role, comprising a large part of the Precambrian and Caledonian terrains and being a key to many of the commercial mineral deposits which play a major role in the economies of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Even Denmark, a country of sedimentary rocks has an impressive sequence of Paleogene volcanic ashes and the Faeroe Islands, made up almost entirely of basalts, are part of Denmark. [source]

What happens after diagnosis?

Understanding the experiences of patients with newly-diagnosed bipolar disorder
Abstract Bipolar disorder is chronic condition involving episodes of both depression and elevated mood, associated with significant disability and high relapse rates. Recent estimates suggest a lifetime prevalence of 5%. Little is known about the subjective experiences of patients after receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and the impact of these experiences on patients' willingness and ability to work with their health professionals to find the most effective combination of treatments and to set up self-management plans. Objective, This paper describes a qualitative study exploring the experiences and difficulties faced by patients after they have received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, as expressed online to expert patients trained to provide informed support. Design, Qualitative study. Setting, Online communication within a public health service setting. Participants, Twenty-six participants with recently-diagnosed bipolar disorder communicated online with ,Informed Supporters', people who had been managing their bipolar disorder effectively for 2 years or more, as part of an online psycho-education programme. Results, Participants cited unwanted side-effects of medication, coping with unpleasant symptoms, positive and negative reactions to the diagnosis, identifying early warning signs and triggers of the illness, the loss of a sense of self, uncertainty about their future and stigma as issues of major importance after diagnosis. Conclusions, Personal concerns and difficulties following diagnosis can undermine effective treatment, thwart self-management efforts and interfere with effective functioning. Such data are important for clinicians to take into account when they work in partnership with their patients to fine-tune treatments and help them set up self-management plans. [source]

Markers of ,Authentic Place'?

Awards, Qualifications in the Analysis of Higher Education Systems, The Significance of Degrees
Although the power to award degrees lies at the heart of the concept of a university, neither it nor degrees themselves have attracted much scholarly attention. The paper contends that award-conferment provides an interface of major importance between higher education and its environment; and that the awards themselves can serve as rich and informative (yet often coded) indicators of the relationship between the two. For awards to be seen in this way, the paper argues, two conditions are required: the conceptual independence of awards in their own right has to be recognised as entities distinct from courses of study; and instrumentalist views have to be sufficiently prevalent to make it meaningful to treat an award as specifying a set of purposes and intended outcomes (that is to say, as an ,end'potentially achievable by various ,means'). These conditions, it is suggested, only tend to arise in particular social circumstances, specifically those of mass higher education. Having illustrated these points by considering certain changes of usage in the terms used for higher education awards (degree, qualification, etc), the paper concludes with a tentative sketch of a framework by which to analyse the various ways in which awards might contribute to the workings of HE as a system. [source]

Human error driving the development of a checklist for foreign material exclusion in the nuclear industry

Patrik Kenger
In this article we describe an approach to develop a checklist for foreign material exclusion. Foreign material is material that should not be part of, or supplied with, the product because it can affect the performance of, for example, nuclear fuel rods of nuclear plants. The research itself was initiated by the presence of different types of human errors. Specifically in the nuclear industry, where there is zero tolerance for errors, work to continuously improve safety and quality is of major importance. Our approach should support such work. As a theoretical base, we have considered team errors as well as individual errors. The suggested practical approach is based on foreign materials that originate in or are introduced into a product or a process. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Hum Factors Man 17: 283,298, 2007. [source]

Glucuronidation of olanzapine by cDNA-expressed human UDP-glucuronosyltransferases and human liver microsomes

Kristian Linnet
Abstract Olanzapine is a widely used, newer antipsychotic agent, which is metabolized by various pathways: hydroxylation and N -demethylation by cytochrome P450, N -oxidation by flavin monooxygenase and direct glucuronidation. In vivo studies have pointed towards the latter pathway as being of major importance. Accordingly, the glucuronidation reaction was studied in vitro using cDNA-expressed human UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) enzymes and a pooled human liver microsomal preparation (HLM). Glucuronidated olanzapine was determined by HPLC after acid or enzymatic hydrolysis. The following UGT-isoenzymes were screened for their ability to glucuronidate olanzapine: 1A1, 1A3, 1A4, 1A6, 1A9, 2B7 and 2B15. Only UGT1A4 was able to glucuronidate olanzapine obeying saturation kinetics. The Km value was 227,,mol/l (SE 43), i.e. of the same order of magnitude as for other psychotropic drugs, and the Vmax value was 2370,pmol/(min,mg) (SE 170). Glucuronidation was also mediated by the HLM preparation, but a saturation level was not reached. The olanzapine glucuronidation reaction was inhibited by several drugs known as substrates for UGT1A4, e.g. amitriptyline, trifluoperazine and lamotrigine. Thus, competition for glucuronidation by UGT1A4 represents a possibility for drug,drug interactions in subjects receiving several of these psychotropic drugs at the same time. Whether such possible interactions are of any clinical importance may await further studies in patients. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

The impact of groundwater,surface water interactions on the water balance of a mesoscale lowland river catchment in northeastern Germany

Stefan Krause
Abstract The glacially formed northeastern German lowlands are characterized by extensive floodplains, often interrupted by relatively steep moraine hills. The hydrological cycle of this area is governed by the tight interaction of surface water dynamics and the corresponding directly connected shallow groundwater aquifer. Runoff generation processes, as well as the extent and spatial distribution of the interaction between surface water and groundwater, are controlled by floodplain topography and by surface water dynamics. A modelling approach based on extensive experimental analyses is presented that describes the specific water balance of lowland areas, including the interactions of groundwater and surface water, as well as reflecting the important role of time-variable shallow groundwater stages for runoff generation in floodplains. In the first part, experimental investigations of floodplain hydrological characteristics lead to a qualitative understanding of the water balance processes and to the development of a conceptual model of the water balance and groundwater dynamics of the study area. Thereby model requirements which allow for an adequate simulation of the floodplain hydrology, considering also interactions between groundwater and surface water have been characterized. Based on these analyses, the Integrated Modelling of Water Balance and Nutrient Dynamics (IWAN) approach has been developed. This consists of coupling the surface runoff generation and soil water routines of the deterministic, spatially distributed hydrological model WASIM-ETH-I with the three-dimensional finite-difference-based numerical groundwater model MODFLOW and Processing MODFLOW. The model was applied successfully to a mesoscale subcatchment of the Havel River in northeast Germany. It was calibrated for two small catchments (1·4 and 25 km2), where the importance of the interaction processes between groundwater and surface waters and the sensitivity of several controlling parameters could be quantified. Validation results are satisfying for different years for the entire 198 km2 catchment. The model approach was further successfully tested for specific events. The experimental area is a typical example of a floodplain-dominated landscape. It was demonstrated that the lateral flow processes and the interactions between groundwater and surface water have a major importance for the water balance and periodically superimposed on the vertical runoff generation. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Snow density variations: consequences for ground-penetrating radar

A. Lundberg
Abstract Reliable hydrological forecasts of snowmelt runoff are of major importance for many areas. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) measurements are used to assess snowpack water equivalent for planning of hydropower production in northern Sweden. The travel time of the radar pulse through the snow cover is recorded and converted to snow water equivalent (SWE) using a constant snowpack mean density from the drainage basin studied. In this paper we improve the method to estimate SWE by introducing a depth-dependent snowpack density. We used 6 years measurements of peak snow depth and snowpack mean density at 11 locations in the Swedish mountains. The original method systematically overestimates the SWE at shallow depths (+25% for 0·5 m) and underestimates the SWE at large depths (,35% for 2·0 m). A large improvement was obtained by introducing a depth,density relation based on average conditions for several years, whereas refining this by using separate relations for individual years yielded a smaller improvement. The SWE estimates were substantially improved for thick snow covers, reducing the average error from 162 ± 23 mm to 53 ± 10 mm for depth range 1·2,2·0 m. Consequently, the introduction of a depth-dependent snow density yields substantial improvements of the accuracy in SWE values calculated from GPR data. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Statistical characterization of the spatial variability of soil moisture in a cutover peatland

Richard M. Petrone
Abstract Soil moisture is a significant variable in its importance to the validation of hydrological models, but it is also the one defining variable that ties in all components of the surface energy balance and as such is of major importance to climate models and their surface schemes. Changing the scale of representation (e.g. from the observation to modelling scale) can further complicate the description of the spatial variability in any hydrological system. We examine this issue using soil moisture and vegetation cover data collected at two contrasting spatial scales and at three different times in the snow-free season from a cutover peat bog in Cacouna, Québec. Soil moisture was measured using Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) over 90 000 m2 and 1200 m2 grids, at intervals of 30 and 2 m respectively. Analyses of statistical structure, variance and spatial autocorrelation were conducted on the soil moisture data at different sampling resolutions and over different grid sizes to determine the optimal spatial scale and sampling density at which these data should be represented. Increasing the scale of interest without adequate resolution in the measurement can lead to significant inconsistency in the representation of these variables. Furthermore, a lack of understanding of the nature of the variability of soil moisture at different scales may produce spurious representation in a modelling context. The analysis suggests that in terms of the distribution of soil moisture, the extent of sampling within a grid is not as significant as the density, or spacing, of the measurements. Both the scale and resolution of the sampling scheme have an impact on the mean of the distribution. Only approximately 60% of the spatial pattern in soil moisture of both the large and small grid is persistent over time, suggesting that the pattern of moisture differs for wetting and drying cycles. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

The impact of climate change on birds

IBIS, Issue 2004
Humphrey Q. P. Crick
Weather is of major importance for the population dynamics of birds, but the implications of climate change have only recently begun to be addressed. There is already compelling evidence that birds have been affected by recent climate changes. This review suggests that although there is a substantial body of evidence for changes in the phenology of birds, particularly of the timing of migration and of nesting, the consequences of these responses for a species' population dynamics is still an area requiring in-depth research. The potential for phenological miscuing (responding inappropriately to climate change, including a lack of response) and for phenological disjunction (in which a bird species becomes out of synchrony with its environment) are beginning to be demonstrated, and are also important areas for further research. The study of climatically induced distributional change is currently at a predictive modelling stage, and will need to develop methods for testing these predictions. Overall, there is a range of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that could potentially inhibit adaptation to climate change and these are a high priority for research. [source]

Explaining qualifications in audit reports using a support vector machine methodology

Michael Doumpos
The verification of whether the financial statements of a firm represent its actual position is of major importance for auditors, who should provide a qualified report if they conclude that the financial statements fail to meet this requirement. This paper implements support vector machines (SVMs) to develop models that may support auditors in this task. Linear and non-linear models are developed and their performance is analysed using training samples of different size and out-of-sample/out-of-time data. The results show that all SVM models are capable of distinguishing between qualified and unqualified financial statements with satisfactory accuracy. The performance of the models over time is also explored. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

The transfer matrix method applied to steel sheet pile walls

D. A. Kort
Abstract This paper proposes two subgrade reaction models for the analysis of steel sheet pile walls based on the transfer matrix method. In the first model a plastic hinge is generated when the maximum moment in the retaining structure is exceeded. The second model deals with a beam with an asymmetrical cross-section that can bend in two directions. In the first part of this paper the transfer matrix method is explained on the basis of a simple example. Further the development of two computer models is described: Plaswall and Skewwall. The second part of this paper deals with an application of both models. In the application of Plaswall the effect of four current earth pressure theories to the subgrade reaction method is compared to a finite element calculation. It is shown that the earth pressure theory is of major importance on the calculation result of a sheet pile wall both with and without a plastic hinge. In the application of Skewwall the effectiveness of structural measures to reduce oblique bending is investigated. The results are compared to a 3D finite element calculation. It is shown that with simple structural measures the loss of structural resistance due to oblique bending can be reduced. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Solution of non-linear dispersive wave problems using a moving finite element method

Abigail Wacher
Abstract The solution of the fully non-linear time-dependent two-dimensional shallow water equations is considered. Dispersive effects due to the Coriolis forces are taken into account. Such effects are of major importance in geophysical fluid dynamics applications. The recently proposed string gradient weighted moving finite element method is extended for this class of problems. This method simultaneously determines, at each time step, the solution of the governing partial differential equations and an optimal location of the finite element nodes. It has previously been applied to non-dispersive wave problems; here its performance under the demanding conditions of large Coriolis forces, inducing large mesh and field rotation, is studied. Optimal rates of convergence are obtained. Results for some example problems of water hump release are presented. Non-linear and linearized solutions are compared. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Glutamate and the glutamate receptor system: a target for drug action

Stefan Bleich
Abstract Glutamate is the most important excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. In the process, glutamate fulfills numerous physiological functions, but also plays an important role in the pathophysiology of different neurological and psychiatric diseases, especially when an imbalance in glutamatergic neurotransmission occurs. Under certain conditions, glutamate has a toxic action resulting from an activation of specific glutamate receptors, which leads to acute or chronic death of nerve cells. Such mechanisms are currently under discussion in acute neuronal death within the context of hypoxia, ischaemia and traumas, as well as in chronic neurodegenerative or neurometabolic diseases, idiopathic parkinsonian syndrome, Alzheimer's dementia and Huntington's disease. It is hoped that glutamate antagonists will lead to novel therapies for these diseases, whereby the further development of glutamate antagonists for blocking disease-specific subtypes of glutamate receptors may be of major importance in the future. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Altered skin blood perfusion in areas with non blanchable erythema: an explorative study

Margareta Lindgren
Abstract Non blanchable erythema, i.e. stage I pressure ulcer, is common in patients in acute and geriatric care and in nursing homes. Research has shown that this type of lesions is prone to develop into more severe pressure ulcers. The peripheral skin blood perfusion is of major importance for the development of pressure ulcers. The aim of this study was to explore the peripheral skin blood perfusion over time, in areas with non blanchable erythema and in corresponding undamaged areas on the opposite side of the body. A total of 19 measurements were performed, over time, using a laser Doppler perfusion imager. The blood flow distribution profiles over areas with non blanchable erythema and undamaged skin were found to be different. As the area of the non blanchable erythema decreased, the blood perfusion distribution profiles gradually became more heterogeneous; an area of high blood perfusion in the centre of the lesions was seen and the perfusion successively decreased closer to the edge. These results indicate that there are differences in blood perfusion between skin areas of non blanchable erythema and undamaged skin. The results also indicate that the visible redness in areas with non blanchable erythema is related to altered blood perfusion. The skin blood perfusion also seems to increase in relation to the size of the non blanchable erythema. [source]

Established ways to keep donor's interest alive

J. Ringwald
Background, The future demographic changes will be associated with an enhancement of the worldwide shortage of blood. The ageing of the population in developed countries is associated with a decrease in young individuals being potentially eligible to donate blood and an increase in older individuals who might be in the need of blood transfusion. Therefore, the retention of active blood donors (BD) is becoming more important. A substantial increase in blood donations could be achieved by a relatively small increase in BD return. It is the task of blood donation services (BDSs) to elaborate specific and adequate measures to increase the BD's likelihood to return. Successful BD retention programmes are viable to ensure a sufficient supply with blood and blood components at present and the upcoming years. Aims, To give recommendations for BD retention strategies based on a survey of potential and established measures how BD's interest could be kept alive. Methods, With focus on the last decade, literature about internal and external influences on BD's intention to regular blood donation and their actual return behaviour was reviewed. Furthermore, a special aspect was drawn on published articles about established or potential measures to increase BD's return-rate. Based on this information, different ways how BD's interest could be kept alive were suggested. Results, Overall, individuals of younger age (< 30,40 years), women, those with a lower education level are less likely to return to blood donation. External influences of friends, family or co-workers are import for starting a BD career. To become a committed BD, however, a high level of intrinsic motivation is needed. To keep BD's interest alive for a long time, BDSs should focus on the following to increase the satisfaction of the BD: Make blood donation a good experience and as convenient as possible, reduce adverse events and anxiety, and train and motivate your staff. This could be further supported by an intensive and active communication with the BDs right from the start, the application of loyalty builders to establish BD identity, and the appropriate use of incentives. Finally, temporarily deferred BDs should ask to return personally and advertisement programmes for repeat BDs should appeal on personal motivation and moral norms. However, BDS should always try to adapt their measures on their target population considering that people are different all around the world. Moreover, some promotion programmes should be even tailored for distinct subgroups of BDs to have a successful outcome. Conclusions, There is quite a number of ways to keep BDs interest alive and to start a career as a regular and committed BD. In this context, the self-identification as a BD is definitely of major importance. BDSs are challenged to support this developmental process. They have to make sure that blood donation is associated with a good experience for the BD, making him or her feeling good and happy. [source]

Evidence for the importance of odour-perception in the parasitoid Rhopalicus tutela (Walker) (Hym., Pteromalidae)

E. M. Pettersson
Possible host location mechanisms in the chalcid wasp Rhopalicus tutela (Walker) (Hym., Pteromalidae), a parasitoid of the eight-spined spruce bark beetle, Ips typographus (L.) (Col., Scolytidae), were examined. This was carried out in order to repeat and complement former studies on parallel parasitoid,scolytid systems that had contradictory results. Morphological examinations of the parasitoid antennae were made using both scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Possible functions of the sensilla placodea (multiporous plate sensillum), and other sensilla present on the antennae, have been indicated. For the first time, the placoid sensilla in a pteromalid parasitoid have shown porous walls and numerous innervations, which are typical characteristics for chemoreceptors. Previously the placoid sensilla have been suggested to be an infrared receptor. In order to test the chemoreceptive ability of R. tutela females and males, a synthetic reference blend was analysed by combined gas chromatography and electroantennographic detector (GC-EAD). Their sensitivity to host-related volatiles (such as certain pheromone components and oxygenated monoterpenes) was significantly greater than that for host-tree-related compounds (monoterpene hydrocarbons). Employing an infrared thermo-scanner, the current study failed to detect ,hot spots' associated with susceptible hosts beneath the bark. Results from electrophysiology and electron microscopy revealed clear odour-perceptive functions of the parasitoid antennae. These results strongly support the major importance of volatiles in host location by the bark beetle parasitoid R. tutela. [source]

The diet of blue whiting, hake, horse mackerel and mackerel off Portugal

H. N. Cabral
This paper deals with the diets of blue whiting Micromesistius poutassou (Risso 1810), hake Merluccius merluccius (L. 1758), horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus (L. 1758), and mackerel Scomber scombrus (L. 1758) off Portugal and explores variations in fish length, water depth, latitude and season. All four species feed on fish; however, hake and mackerel are the first and second most important predators, respectively, blue whiting being the most important fish prey for both species. The diets of blue whiting and horse mackerel are composed mainly of crustaceans. Diet variations according to predator fish size are more important than either latitude or depth. In the diets of blue whiting, hake and horse mackerel, prey importance increases with predator size. For blue whiting and horse mackerel, diet variations with fish length and water depth are correlated: small fish are closely associated with coastal areas where they feed on copepods and decapod larvae. Seasonality in the diet is apparent for blue whiting, hake and mackerel. For blue whiting, the decapod Pasiphaea sivado is the most important prey in summer and autumn, being replaced by the euphausid Meganyctiphanes norvegica in winter. In the diet of hake, seasonality was characterised by the major importance of Macroramphosus scolopax in autumn, whereas the diet of mackerel consisted of zooplankton in summer, fish and decapods in autumn and decapod larvae in winter. Seasonal changes in the diet of horse mackerel correspond to a higher diversity of prey in autumn compared to other seasons (although euphausids are the main prey in all seasons). Seasonality in feeding activity is not as marked for the other species as it is for horse mackerel; the percentage of empty stomachs of horse mackerel is greatest in winter, when spawning takes place at the Portuguese coast. [source]

Direct analysis of clinical relevant single bacterial cells from cerebrospinal fluid during bacterial meningitis by means of micro-Raman spectroscopy

Michaela Harz
Abstract Bacterial meningitis is a relevant public health concern. Despite the availability of modern treatment strategies it is still a life-threatening disease that causes significant morbidity and mortality. Therefore, an initial treatment approach plays an important role. For in-time identification of specific bacterial pathogens of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and emerged antimicrobial and adjunctive treatment, microbiological examination is of major importance. This contribution spotlights the potential of micro-Raman spectroscopy as a biomedical assay for direct analysis of bacteria in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with bacterial meningitis. The influence of miscellaneous artificial environments on several bacterial species present during bacterial meningitis was studied by means of Raman spectroscopy. The application of chemometric data interpretation via hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) allows for the differentiation of in vitro cultured bacterial cells and can also be achieved on a single cell level. Moreover as proof of principle the investigation of a CSF sample obtained from a patient with meningococcal meningitis showed that the cerebrospinal fluid matrix does not mask the Raman spectrum of a bacterial cell notably since via chemometric analysis with HCA an identification of N. meningitidis cells from patients with bacterial meningitis could be achieved. (© 2009 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Sperm competition and maternal effects differentially influence testis and sperm size in Callosobruchus maculatus

Abstract The evolutionary factors affecting testis size are well documented, with sperm competition being of major importance. However, the factors affecting sperm length are not well understood; there are no clear theoretical predictions and the empirical evidence is inconsistent. Recently, maternal effects have been implicated in sperm length variation, a finding that may offer insights into its evolution. We investigated potential proximate and microevolutionary factors influencing testis and sperm size in the bruchid beetle Callosobruchus maculatus using a combined approach of an artificial evolution experiment over 90 generations and an environmental effects study. We found that while polyandry seems to select for larger testes, it had no detectable effect on sperm length. Furthermore, population density, a proximate indicator of sperm competition risk, was not significantly associated with sperm length or testis size variation. However, there were strong maternal effects influencing sperm length. [source]

Floodplain agricultural systems: functionality, heritage and conservation

H.F. Cook
Abstract Floodplain infrastructural features reduce flood risk and have the potential to enhance habitat, biodiversity, water quality and provide societal benefits. Man-made water management systems common in southern England are both flood tolerant and form part of the functional floodplain. Historic floodplain features should be incorporated into agri-environmental policy, as climate change and increasing climate variability makes flood detention areas ever more desirable. Of major importance are floodplain meadows, grazing marshes, water meadows and riparian vegetation, and there is a trend to restore river channels to more natural conditions. This paper describes the operation of historic floodplain water management systems and considers the features associated with canals and mills. The major themes in achieving conservation and restoration goals are presented, and it is demonstrated that a refinement of policies on the ground is required. [source]


Anton Montsant
Diatoms are unicellular brown algae that likely arose from the endocytobiosis of a red alga into a single-celled heterotroph and that constitute an algal class of major importance in phytoplankton communities around the globe. The first whole-genome sequence from a diatom species, Thalassiosira pseudonana Hasle et Heimdal, was recently reported, and features that are central to diatom physiology and ecology, such as silicon and nitrogen metabolism, iron uptake, and carbon concentration mechanisms, were described. Following this initial study, the basic cellular systems controlling cell signaling, gene expression, cytoskeletal structures, and response to stress have been cataloged in an attempt to obtain a global view of the molecular foundations that sustain such an ecologically successful group of organisms. Comparative analysis with several microbial, plant, and metazoan complete genome sequences allowed the identification of putative membrane receptors, signaling proteins, and other components of central interest to diatom ecophysiology and evolution. Thalassiosira pseudonana likely perceives light through a novel phytochrome and several cryptochrome photoreceptors; it may lack the conserved RHO small-GTPase subfamily of cell-polarity regulators, despite undergoing polarized cell-wall synthesis; and it possesses an unusually large number of heat-shock transcription factors, which may indicate the central importance of transcriptional responses to environmental stress. The availability of the complete gene repertoire will permit a detailed biochemical and genetic analysis of how diatoms prosper in aquatic environments and will contribute to the understanding of eukaryotic evolution. [source]