Individual Agents (individual + agent)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

RenderBots,Multi-Agent Systems for Direct Image Generation

Stefan Schlechtweg
Abstract The term stroke-based rendering collectively describes techniques where images are generated from elements that are usually larger than a pixel. These techniques lend themselves well for rendering artistic styles such as stippling and hatching. This paper presents a novel approach for stroke-based rendering that exploits multi-agent systems. RenderBots are individual agents each of which in general represents one stroke. They form a multi-agent system and undergo a simulation to distribute themselves in the environment. The environment consists of a source image and possibly additional G-buffers. The final image is created when the simulation is finished by having each RenderBot execute its painting function. RenderBot classes differ in their physical behavior as well as their way of painting so that different styles can be created in a very flexible way. [source]

Inhibition of T-cell activation in vitro in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells by pimecrolimus and glucocorticosteroids and combinations thereof

Anthony Winiski
Abstract:, Pimecrolimus is an ascomycin macrolactam derivative that has been recently approved for the topical treatment of atopic dermatitis. In this study we report for the first time on a direct comparison of the inhibitory activity of pimecrolimus and the glucocorticosteroids betamethasone 17-valerate, dexamethasone and hydrocortisone at the level of T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. Stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) systems were used that are either sensitive or resistant to calcineurin inhibitors or glucocorticosteroids. Pimecrolimus and the glucocorticosteroids inhibited dose-dependently T-cell proliferation and cytokine production in a sensitive system (anti-CD3 mAb-stimulated PBMC) with the following rank order of potency: pimecrolimus , betamethasone 17-valerate , dexamethasone > hydrocortisone. In resistant systems (anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28- or Staphylococcal enterotoxin B-stimulated PBMC), pimecrolimus or the glucocorticosteroids alone exerted either no effect, or only a partial inhibitory effect. However, combinations of pimecrolimus with a glucocorticosteroid synergistically and strongly inhibited T-cell proliferation. Taken together, the data indicate that medium potency glucocorticosteroids, such as betamethasone 17-valerate and dexamethasone, are as potent T-cell inhibitors as pimecrolimus. Furthermore, the experimental evidence suggests that combinations of glucocorticosteroids and pimecrolimus could be used clinically to achieve superior therapeutic efficacy, when monotherapy with the individual agents is unsatisfactory. [source]

The Empire Meets the New Deal: Interwar Encounters in Conservation and Regional Planning

Abstract British imperial and American experiences in conservation and planning are providing fresh interdisciplinary challenges for university teaching and research. The Roosevelt administration's ,New Deal' included government-sponsored interventions in soil erosion and water management and sophisticated regional development agendas. Reviewing samples of the latter areas of concern, this article explores the proposition that, although the British Empire was scarcely bereft of comparable interwar programmes and was becoming somewhat preoccupied with centrifugal tendencies, persistent porosity, exhausting struggles with postwar reconstruction, and comprehensive economic depression, New Deal evangelism was in fact variously anticipated, harnessed, challenged and ignored. A discussion of widely separated national and regional examples locates a layered interplay between uneven imperial and US pulsations, independent local manoeuvres, and critical inputs from key individual agents. The most important filters included the presence of comparatively robust bureaucratic infrastructures and the cultivation of international relationships by scientists and technologists. Encounters with convergent revisionism suggest cautionary leads for students, researchers and teachers alike. Reconstructions of selected contexts underline the presence of familiar posturing, opportunism, and astute patriotic deployment during the emergence of modern styles of globalization. [source]

Positioning biologic agents in the treatment of Crohn's disease,

Stephen B. Hanauer MD
Abstract One decade after the emergence of biologic therapy for Crohn's disease (CD), our treatment algorithms are beginning to change. Once reserved for patients with refractory disease, disease unresponsive to conventional therapies, or those requiring multiple courses of corticosteroids, there is increasing evidence that early, aggressive interventions with immunosuppressants or biologic therapies targeting tumor necrosis factor-, or ,-4 integrins can alter the natural history of CD by reducing the transmural complications of structuring and fistulization and the nearly inevitable requisite for surgical resections. More recent trials are beginning to suggest that intervention with combination therapy for selected patients with a poor prognosis may modify the long-term course of CD. Selection of patients with features predicting a complex or progressive course and early, combined intervention is now possible. Future studies are still needed to best identify predictors of response to individual agents with differing mechanisms of action, as well as to optimize the risk-benefit of long-term maintenance therapy. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2009) [source]

From National Service to Global Player: Transforming the Organizational Logic of a Public Broadcaster

André Spicer
abstract We present organizational logics as a meso-level construct that lies between institutional theory's field-level logics and the sense-making activities of individual agents in organizations. We argue that an institutional logic can be operationalized empirically using the concept of a discourse , that is, a coherent symbolic system articulating what constitutes legitimate, reasonable, and effective conduct in, around, and by organizations. An organization may, moreover, be simultaneously exposed to several institutional logics that make up its broader ideational environment. Taking these three observations together enables us to consider an organizational logic as a spatially and temporally localized configuration of diverse discourses. We go on to show how organizational logics were transformed in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation between 1953 and 1999 by examining the changing discourses that appeared in the Corporation's annual reports. We argue that these discourses were modified through three main forms of discursive agency: (1) undertaking acts of ironic accommodation between competing discourses; (2) building chains of equivalence between the potentially contradictory discourses; and (3) reconciling new and old discourses through pragmatic acts of ,bricolage'. We found that, using these forms of discursive agency, a powerful coalition of actors was able to transform the dominant organizational logic of the ABC from one where the Corporation's initial mission was to serve national interests through public service to one that was ultimately focused on participating in a globalized media market. Finally, we note that discursive resources could be used as the basis for resistance by less powerful agents, although further research is necessary to determine exactly how more powerful and less powerful agents interact around the establishment of an organizational logic. [source]

Cytotoxicity and apoptosis enhancement in brain tumor cells upon coadministration of paclitaxel and ceramide in nanoemulsion formulations

Ankita Desai
Abstract The objective of this study was to examine augmentation of therapeutic activity in human glioblastoma cells with combination of paclitaxel (PTX) and the apoptotic signaling molecule, C6 -ceramide (CER), when administered in novel oil-in-water nanoemulsions. The nanoemulsions were formulated with pine-nut oil, which has high concentrations of essential polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). Drug-containing nanoemulsions were characterized for particle size, surface charge, and the particle morphology was examined with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Epi-fluorescent microscopy was used to analyze nanoemulsion-encapsulated rhodamine-labeled PTX and NBD-labeled CER uptake and distribution in U-118 human glioblastoma cells. Cell viability was assessed with the MTS (formazan) assay, while apoptotic activity of PTX and CER was evaluated with caspase-3/7 activation and flow cytometry. Nanoemulsion formulations with the oil droplet size of approximately 200 nm in diameter were prepared with PTX, CER, and combination of the two agents. When administered to U-118 cells, significant enhancement in cytotoxicity was observed with combination of PTX and CER as compared to administration of individual agents. The increase in cytotoxicity correlated with enhancement in apoptotic activity in cells treated with combination of PTX and CER. The results of these studies show that oil-in-water nanoemulsions can be designed with combination therapy for enhancement of cytotoxic effect in brain tumor cells. In addition, PTX and CER can be used together to augment therapeutic activity, especially in aggressive tumor models such as glioblastoma. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association J Pharm Sci 97:2745,2756, 2008 [source]

Prospective, open-label, comparative study of clindamycin 1%/benzoyl peroxide 5% gel with adapalene 0.1% gel in Asian acne patients: efficacy and tolerability

H-C Ko
Abstract Background, Used as individual agents, topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide are known to be effective in treatment of acne. Clindamycin phosphate 1% with benzoyl peroxide 5% (CDP/BPO) is a new combination gel, made by rationale, in that combination drug is more effective than either ingredients used alone. Adapalene 0.1% (ADA) is the third-generation retinoid, shown to be as effective as other topical retinoid with well tolerability. Objectives, To compare the efficacy and tolerability in combination of CDP/BPO in comparison with ADA in Asian patients with mild to moderate acne vulgaris. Methods, Total of 69 patients, including 31 patients for CDP/BPO group and 38 for ADA group, with mild to moderate acne vulgaris were enrolled for a 12-week prospective, randomized, open-label comparative study of topical agents. Efficacy was assessed by lesion counts, acne grading system, and global improvement. Adverse events were also evaluated in scale of 0 (none) to 3 (severe). Results, Both CDP/BPO and ADA were effective in reducing lesion counts and acne severity scale and showed significant global improvement. However, CDP/BPO offered greater efficacy against inflammatory lesions than ADA. Both drugs were well tolerated with minimal adverse drug reactions. Conclusion, Combination formulation of CDP/BPO and ADA were shown to be both effective in decreasing total, inflammatory, and non-inflammatory lesion counts along with well tolerability in Asian patients with mild to moderate acne vulgaris. Conflicts of interest None declared [source]

The changing face of epidemiology of invasive fungal disease in Europe

MYCOSES, Issue 3 2009
Cornelia Lass-Flörl
Summary Invasive fungal diseases (IFDs) are an increasingly common complication in critically ill patients in Europe and are frequently fatal. Because of changes in treatment strategies and the increased use of antifungal prophylaxis, the epidemiology of IFDs has changed substantially in recent years and infections due to Candida species are no longer the majority in many institutions. In contrast, the emergence of non- Candida IFDs such as aspergillosis, zygomycosis and fusariosis has increased. European surveys indicate that Candida albicans is responsible for more than half the cases of invasive candidaemia; however, the occurrence of non- albicans -related IFDs appears to be increasing. Rates of IFD-related mortality in Europe depend on the pathogen, geographical location and underlying patient characteristics, with rates ranging from 28 to 59% for Candida infections and from 38 to 80% for invasive aspergillosis. Early initiation of antifungal therapy is critical for improving outcomes; however, this is complicated by the difficulty in diagnosing IFDs rapidly and accurately. The introduction of new extended-spectrum azole antifungal agents (e.g. voriconazole, posaconazole) and echinocandins (e.g. micafungin, caspofungin, anidulafungin) has increased the number of therapeutic options for early therapy. Choice between agents should be based on a variety of factors, including spectrum of activity, adverse events, drug interactions, route of administration, clinical efficacy of individual agents and local epidemiology. [source]

Employee empowerment in manufacturing: a study of organisations in the UK

Anna Psoinos
Based on a postal survey and interviews, this paper analyses employee empowerment in the UK manufacturing industry, including how it is pursued and perceived, and the key factors that determine success. Success seems to depend on far-reaching changes in procedures, hierarchies and reward structures. This need to mobilise individual agents and structure reconfirms the agency-structure duality. [source]

Case for postoperative surveillance following colorectal cancer resection

Tim R. Worthington
Over 4 years have elapsed since the first National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines were published for the management of patients after potentially curative resection of colorectal cancer. New information has now been published indicating that more intensive follow up than was originally recommended might provide a survival benefit for patients. This new information should be considered when formulating new NHMRC guidelines. In particular, meta-analyses of published individual trials have suggested a survival advantage that was not evident in the individual studies. There have been significant developments in chemotherapy with new individual agents and use of agents in combination that have proved far more effective than previous protocols. The therapeutic effect of these developments is the downstaging of some patients with metastatic disease, which was previously unresectable, to undergo resection. Furthermore, there is now some evidence that palliation of patients with advanced disease is more effective if commenced before the development of symptoms and this needs to be considered in the assessment of the benefits of follow up. There have been limited studies of cost-effectiveness, but international analyses suggest that the costs associated with more intensive follow-up regimes are within the accepted cost parameters associated with the management of many other conditions. [source]

Clinical trial experience around the globe: Focus on calcium-channel blockers

William B. White M.D.
Abstract Although certain classes of drugs appear to possess benefits apart from their blood-pressure lowering capability, reduction of blood pressure remains the single most important action of antihypertensive therapy. Calcium-channel blockers (CCBs) have long been recognized as potent agents for hypertension therapy. This is especially true for the prevention of stroke in hypertensive patients as evidenced from the Systolic Hypertension in Europe (Syst-Eur) and Systolic Hypertension in China (Syst-China) trials with a long acting dihydropyridine CCB. The same can be said for beta blockers in patients post myocardial infarction. However, most recent clinical trials have underscored the necessity of multiple drug therapy to achieve the goals of blood pressure reduction coupled with outcomes reduction. For example, the many recent large-scale clinical trials have required an average of three or more agents to achieve goal. Thus, the paradigm for hypertension management has been altered to determine the best treatment regimen rather than the best initial agent. While response rates to individual agents across a wide spectrum of patients vary little, not all drugs are equally suited as companion products. In this article, we discuss the most recent outcome trials with the long acting CCBs alone or in combination with other drugs. The evidence shows that calcium antagonists remain an important part of hypertension management, including in those individuals at risk of cardiac and cerebrovascular events. [source]