Science.gov

Sample records for active variable stiffness

  1. A semi-active magnetorheological fluid mechanism with variable stiffness and damping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greiner-Petter, Christoph; Suryadi Tan, Aditya; Sattel, Thomas

    2014-10-01

    In this paper a semi-active fluid-mechanism is presented, which offers a variable stiffness and damping by utilizing two magnetorheological fluid valves and two springs. The study incorporates the attributes of variable damping and stiffness into one compact device. A model for the magnetical, rheological, fluidical and mechanical behaviour of the whole system is derived. An experimental setup of the proposed system and an appropriate test bench are built in order to study the variable mechanical impedance behaviour with the corresponding simulations. The results proof that the stiffness of the system can be varied among three different values, while its damping is continuously variable.

  2. Performance analysis of a semi-active mount made by a new variable stiffness spring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Azadi, Mojtaba; Behzadipour, Saeed; Faulkner, Garry

    2011-06-01

    A new variable stiffness mount (VSM), is created and its performance is experimentally measured and analyzed. VSMs have extensive applications in the vibration control of machineries including automotive industry. The variable stiffness in this design is realized by the prestress stiffness of a cable-based mechanism at a singular configuration. Changing the prestress, through a piezo actuator and a simple on-off controller, results in significant stiffness change in short time and at low energy costs. The stiffness of the VSM is characterized through static and dynamic tests. The performance of the VSM is then evaluated and compared with an equivalent passive mount in two main areas of transmissibility and shock absorption. The response time of the semi-active VSM is also measured in a realistic scenario. A summary of the performance tests are presented at the end.

  3. Dynamically variable negative stiffness structures.

    PubMed

    Churchill, Christopher B; Shahan, David W; Smith, Sloan P; Keefe, Andrew C; McKnight, Geoffrey P

    2016-02-01

    Variable stiffness structures that enable a wide range of efficient load-bearing and dexterous activity are ubiquitous in mammalian musculoskeletal systems but are rare in engineered systems because of their complexity, power, and cost. We present a new negative stiffness-based load-bearing structure with dynamically tunable stiffness. Negative stiffness, traditionally used to achieve novel response from passive structures, is a powerful tool to achieve dynamic stiffness changes when configured with an active component. Using relatively simple hardware and low-power, low-frequency actuation, we show an assembly capable of fast (<10 ms) and useful (>100×) dynamic stiffness control. This approach mitigates limitations of conventional tunable stiffness structures that exhibit either small (<30%) stiffness change, high friction, poor load/torque transmission at low stiffness, or high power active control at the frequencies of interest. We experimentally demonstrate actively tunable vibration isolation and stiffness tuning independent of supported loads, enhancing applications such as humanoid robotic limbs and lightweight adaptive vibration isolators. PMID:26989771

  4. Variable stiffness and damping semi-active vibration control technology based on magnetorheological fluids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Shiyu; Deng, Huaxia; Zhang, Jin; Sun, ShuaiShuai; Li, Weihua; Wang, Lei

    2013-10-01

    Vibration is a source to induce uncertainty for the measurement. The traditional passive vibration control method has low efficiency and limited working conditions. The active vibration control method is not practical for its power demanding, complexity and instability. In this paper, a novel semi-active vibration control technology based on magnetorheological (MR) fluid is presented with dual variable stiffness and damping capability. Because of the rheological behavior depending on the magnetic field intensity, MR fluid is used in many damping semi-active vibration control systems. The paper proposed a structure to allow the both overall damping and stiffness variable. The equivalent damping and stiffness of the structure are analyzed and the influences of the parameters on the stiffness and damping changing are further discussed.

  5. Dynamically variable negative stiffness structures

    PubMed Central

    Churchill, Christopher B.; Shahan, David W.; Smith, Sloan P.; Keefe, Andrew C.; McKnight, Geoffrey P.

    2016-01-01

    Variable stiffness structures that enable a wide range of efficient load-bearing and dexterous activity are ubiquitous in mammalian musculoskeletal systems but are rare in engineered systems because of their complexity, power, and cost. We present a new negative stiffness–based load-bearing structure with dynamically tunable stiffness. Negative stiffness, traditionally used to achieve novel response from passive structures, is a powerful tool to achieve dynamic stiffness changes when configured with an active component. Using relatively simple hardware and low-power, low-frequency actuation, we show an assembly capable of fast (<10 ms) and useful (>100×) dynamic stiffness control. This approach mitigates limitations of conventional tunable stiffness structures that exhibit either small (<30%) stiffness change, high friction, poor load/torque transmission at low stiffness, or high power active control at the frequencies of interest. We experimentally demonstrate actively tunable vibration isolation and stiffness tuning independent of supported loads, enhancing applications such as humanoid robotic limbs and lightweight adaptive vibration isolators. PMID:26989771

  6. Variable stiffness torsion springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alhorn, Dean C. (Inventor); Polites, Michael E. (Inventor)

    1994-01-01

    In a torsion spring the spring action is a result of the relationships between the torque applied in twisting the spring, the angle through which the torsion spring twists, and the modulus of elasticity of the spring material in shear. Torsion springs employed industrially have been strips, rods, or bars, generally termed shafts, capabable of being flexed by twisting their axes. They rely on the variations in shearing forces to furnish an internal restoring torque. In the torsion springs herein the restoring torque is external and therefore independent of the shearing modulus of elasticity of the torsion spring shaft. Also provided herein is a variable stiffness torsion spring. This torsion spring can be so adjusted as to have a given spring constant. Such variable stiffness torsion springs are extremely useful in gimballed payloads such as sensors, telescopes, and electronic devices on such platforms as a space shuttle or a space station.

  7. Variable stiffness torsion springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alhorn, Dean C. (Inventor); Polites, Michael E. (Inventor)

    1995-01-01

    In a torsion spring the spring action is a result of the relationships between the torque applied in twisting the spring, the angle through which the torsion spring twists, and the modulus of elasticity of the spring material in shear. Torsion springs employed industrially have been strips, rods, or bars, generally termed shafts, capabable of being flexed by twisting their axes. They rely on the variations in shearing forces to furnish an internal restoring torque. In the torsion springs herein the restoring torque is external and therefore independent of the shearing modulus of elasticity of the torsion spring shaft. Also provided herein is a variable stiffness torsion spring. This torsion spring can be so adjusted as to have a given spring constant. Such variable stiffness torsion springs are extremely useful in gimballed payloads such as sensors, telescopes, and electronic devices on such platforms as a space shuttle or a space station.

  8. A new active variable stiffness suspension system using a nonlinear energy sink-based controller

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anubi, Olugbenga Moses; Crane, Carl D.

    2013-10-01

    This paper presents the active case of a variable stiffness suspension system. The central concept is based on a recently designed variable stiffness mechanism which consists of a horizontal control strut and a vertical strut. The horizontal strut is used to vary the load transfer ratio by actively controlling the location of the point of attachment of the vertical strut to the car body. The control algorithm, effected by a hydraulic actuator, uses the concept of nonlinear energy sink (NES) to effectively transfer the vibrational energy in the sprung mass to a control mass, thereby reducing the transfer of energy from road disturbance to the car body at a relatively lower cost compared to the traditional active suspension using the skyhook concept. The analyses and simulation results show that a better performance can be achieved by subjecting the point of attachment of a suspension system, to the chassis, to the influence of a horizontal NES system.

  9. Seismic Response Control Of Structures Using Semi-Active and Passive Variable Stiffness Devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salem, Mohamed M. A.

    Controllable devices such as Magneto-Rheological Fluid Dampers, Electro-Rheological Dampers, and controllable friction devices have been studied extensively with limited implementation in real structures. Such devices have shown great potential in reducing seismic demands, either as smart base isolation systems, or as smart devices for multistory structures. Although variable stiffness devices can be used for seismic control of structures, the vast majority of research effort has been given to the control of damping. The primary focus of this dissertation is to evaluate the seismic control of structures using semi-active and passive variable stiffness characteristics. Smart base isolation systems employing variable stiffness devices have been studied, and two semi-active control strategies are proposed. The control algorithms were designed to reduce the superstructure and base accelerations of seismically isolated structures subject to near-fault and far-field ground motions. Computational simulations of the proposed control algorithms on the benchmark structure have shown that excessive base displacements associated with the near-fault ground motions may be better mitigated with the use of variable stiffness devices. However, the device properties must be controllable to produce a wide range of stiffness changes for an effective control of the base displacements. The potential of controllable stiffness devices in limiting the base displacement due to near-fault excitation without compromising the performance of conventionally isolated structures, is illustrated. The application of passive variable stiffness devices for seismic response mitigation of multistory structures is also investigated. A stiffening bracing system (SBS) is proposed to replace the conventional bracing systems of braced frames. An optimization process for the SBS parameters has been developed. The main objective of the design process is to maintain a uniform inter-story drift angle over the

  10. Semi-active variable stiffness vibration control of vehicle seat suspension using an MR elastomer isolator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Du, Haiping; Li, Weihua; Zhang, Nong

    2011-10-01

    This paper presents a study on continuously variable stiffness control of vehicle seat suspension using a magnetorheological elastomer (MRE) isolator. A concept design for an MRE isolator is proposed in the paper and its behavior is experimentally evaluated. An integrated seat suspension model, which includes a quarter-car suspension and a seat suspension with a driver body model, is used to design a sub-optimal H_{\\infty } controller for an active isolator. The desired control force generated by this active isolator is then emulated by the MRE isolator through its continuously variable stiffness property when the actuating condition is met. The vibration control effect of the MRE isolator is evaluated in terms of driver body acceleration responses under both bump and random road conditions. The results show that the proposed control strategy achieves better vibration reduction performance than conventional on-off control.

  11. Introducing a new semi-active engine mount using force controlled variable stiffness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Azadi, Mojtaba; Behzadipour, Saeed; Faulkner, Gary

    2013-05-01

    This work introduces a new concept in designing semi-active engine mounts. Engine mounts are under continuous development to provide better and more cost-effective engine vibration control. Passive engine mounts do not provide satisfactory solution. Available semi-active and active mounts provide better solutions but they are more complex and expensive. The variable stiffness engine mount (VSEM) is a semi-active engine mount with a simple ON-OFF control strategy. However, unlike available semi-active engine mounts that work based on damping change, the VSEM works based on the static stiffness change by using a new fast response force controlled variable spring. The VSEM is an improved version of the vibration mount introduced by the authors in their previous work. The results showed significant performance improvements over a passive rubber mount. The VSEM also provides better vibration control than a hydromount at idle speed. Low hysteresis and the ability to be modelled by a linear model in low-frequency are the advantages of the VSEM over the vibration isolator introduced earlier and available hydromounts. These specifications facilitate the use of VSEM in the automotive industry, however, further evaluation and developments are needed for this purpose.

  12. The relationship between trunk muscle activation and trunk stiffness: examining a non-constant stiffness gain.

    PubMed

    Brown, Stephen H M; McGill, Stuart M

    2010-12-01

    The relationship between muscle activation, force and stiffness needs to be known to interpret the stability state of the spine. To test the relationship between these variables, a quick release approach was used to match quantified torso stiffness with an EMG activation-based estimate of individual muscle stiffnesses. The relationship between activation, force and stiffness was modelled as k = q x F/l, where k, F and l are muscle stiffness, force and length, respectively, and q is the dimensionless stiffness gain relating these variables. Under the tested experimental scenario, the 'stiffness gain', q, which linked activation with stiffness, demonstrated a decreasing trend with increasing levels of torso muscle activation. This highlights the likelihood that the choice of a single q value may be over simplistic to relate force to stiffness in muscles that control the spine. This has implications for understanding the potential for spine instability in situations requiring high muscular demand.

  13. Variable stiffness materials for reconfigurable surface applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKnight, Geoff; Henry, Chris

    2005-05-01

    Reconfigurable and morphing structures can potentially provide a range of new functionalities including system optimization over broad operational conditions and multi-mission capability. Previous efforts in morphing surfaces have generally focused on small deformation of high stiffness structural materials (e.g. aluminum, CFRP) or large deformation of low stiffness non-structural materials (e.g. elastomers). This paper introduces a new approach to achieving large strains in materials with high elastic moduli (5 to 30+ GPa). The work centers on creating variable stiffness composite materials which exhibit a controllable change in elastic modulus (bending or axial) and large reversible strains (5-15%). Several prototype materials were prepared using a commercial shape memory polymer, and measurements on these materials indicate a controllable change in stiffness as a function of temperature along with large reversible strain accommodation. We have fabricated and tested several design variations of laminar morphing materials which exhibit structural stiffness values of 8-12 GPa, changes in modulus of 15-77x, and large reversible bending strain and recovery of 2% area change in specific sample types. Results indicate that significant controllable changes in stiffness are possible.

  14. Variable stiffness material and structural concepts for morphing applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuder, Izabela K.; Arrieta, Andres F.; Raither, Wolfram E.; Ermanni, Paolo

    2013-11-01

    Morphing, understood as the ability to undergo pronounced shape adaptations to optimally respond to a diversity of operational conditions, has been singled out as a future direction in the pursuit of maximised efficiency of lightweight structures. Whereas a certain degree of adaptivity can be accomplished conventionally by means of mechanical systems, compliance allowing for substantial reversible deformability exhibits far more potential as a morphing strategy. A promising solution to the inherent contradiction between high stiffness and reversible deformation capacity posed by morphing is offered by introducing variable stiffness components. This notion indicates the provision of a controllable range of deformation resistance levels in place of fixed properties, as required by real-time shape adaptation dictated by maximum efficiency under changing external conditions. With special emphasis on the morphing context, the current review aims to identify the main tendencies, undertaking a systematic classification of existing approaches involving stiffness variability. Four broad categories in which variable stiffness has been applied to morphing are therefore distinguished and detailed: material engineering, active mechanical design, semi-active techniques and elastic structural behaviour. Adopting a wide perspective, the study highlights key capabilities, limitations and challenges. The need for attention directed to the variable stiffness strategy is recognised and the significance of intensive research activities in a highly integrated and multidisciplinary environment emphasised if higher maturity stages of the concepts are to be reached. Finally, the potential of emerging directions of semi-active design involving electro-bonded laminates and multi-stable structures is brought into focus.

  15. Biaxial strain and variable stiffness in aponeuroses

    PubMed Central

    Azizi, Emanuel; Roberts, Thomas J

    2009-01-01

    The elastic structures of many muscles include both an extramuscular free tendon as well as a sheet-like aponeurosis. An important distinguishing feature of aponeuroses is that these tendinous structures function as the attachment and insertion surfaces of muscle fascicles and therefore surround a substantial portion of the muscle belly. As a result, aponeuroses must expand both parallel (longitudinal) and perpendicular (transverse) to a muscle's line of action when contracting muscles bulge to maintain a constant volume. In this study, we use biplanar high-speed fluoroscopy to track the strain patterns of the turkey lateral gastrocnemius aponeurosis during active and passive force production in situ. We find that the behaviour of the aponeurosis during passive force production is consistent with uniaxial loading, as aponeuroses stretch only in the longitudinal direction. By contrast, our results show that aponeuroses are stretched in both longitudinal and transverse directions during active force production and that transverse strains are on average 4 times greater than longitudinal strains. Biaxial loading of aponeuroses appears to effectively modulate longitudinal stiffness, as we find the measured stiffness in the longitudinal direction varies in proportion to transverse strain. We conclude that biaxial strain during active force production distinguishes aponeuroses from free tendons and may function to dynamically modulate stiffness along the axis of muscle force production. It is likely that consideration of strains measured only in the longitudinal direction result in an underestimation of aponeurosis stiffness as well as its capacity for elastic energy storage. PMID:19596897

  16. Concept for design of variable stiffness damper

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lohr, J. J.

    1967-01-01

    Damping mechanism, containing polymeric-like materials is applicable to a wide range of shock and vibration. The polymeric-like material changes from a relatively stiff material to a relatively soft, rubbery material in the region of their glass transition temperatures. The energy absorption characteristics and stiffness are controllable with temperature.

  17. Stiff substrates enhance cultured neuronal network activity

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Quan-You; Zhang, Yan-Yan; Xie, Jing; Li, Chen-Xu; Chen, Wei-Yi; Liu, Bai-Lin; Wu, Xiao-an; Li, Shu-Na; Huo, Bo; Jiang, Lin-Hua; Zhao, Hu-Cheng

    2014-01-01

    The mechanical property of extracellular matrix and cell-supporting substrates is known to modulate neuronal growth, differentiation, extension and branching. Here we show that substrate stiffness is an important microenvironmental cue, to which mouse hippocampal neurons respond and integrate into synapse formation and transmission in cultured neuronal network. Hippocampal neurons were cultured on polydimethylsiloxane substrates fabricated to have similar surface properties but a 10-fold difference in Young's modulus. Voltage-gated Ca2+ channel currents determined by patch-clamp recording were greater in neurons on stiff substrates than on soft substrates. Ca2+ oscillations in cultured neuronal network monitored using time-lapse single cell imaging increased in both amplitude and frequency among neurons on stiff substrates. Consistently, synaptic connectivity recorded by paired recording was enhanced between neurons on stiff substrates. Furthermore, spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic activity became greater and more frequent in neurons on stiff substrates. Evoked excitatory transmitter release and excitatory postsynaptic currents also were heightened at synapses between neurons on stiff substrates. Taken together, our results provide compelling evidence to show that substrate stiffness is an important biophysical factor modulating synapse connectivity and transmission in cultured hippocampal neuronal network. Such information is useful in designing instructive scaffolds or supporting substrates for neural tissue engineering. PMID:25163607

  18. High performance composites with active stiffness control.

    PubMed

    Tridech, Charnwit; Maples, Henry A; Robinson, Paul; Bismarck, Alexander

    2013-09-25

    High performance carbon fiber reinforced composites with controllable stiffness could revolutionize the use of composite materials in structural applications. Here we describe a structural material, which has a stiffness that can be actively controlled on demand. Such a material could have applications in morphing wings or deployable structures. A carbon fiber reinforced-epoxy composite is described that can undergo an 88% reduction in flexural stiffness at elevated temperatures and fully recover when cooled, with no discernible damage or loss in properties. Once the stiffness has been reduced, the required deformations can be achieved at much lower actuation forces. For this proof-of-concept study a thin polyacrylamide (PAAm) layer was electrocoated onto carbon fibers that were then embedded into an epoxy matrix via resin infusion. Heating the PAAm coating above its glass transition temperature caused it to soften and allowed the fibers to slide within the matrix. To produce the stiffness change the carbon fibers were used as resistance heating elements by passing a current through them. When the PAAm coating had softened, the ability of the interphase to transfer load to the fibers was significantly reduced, greatly lowering the flexural stiffness of the composite. By changing the moisture content in PAAm fiber coating, the temperature at which the PAAm softens and the composites undergo a reduction in stiffness can be tuned. PMID:23978266

  19. Performance Assessment of a New Variable Stiffness Probing System for Micro-CMMs.

    PubMed

    Alblalaihid, Khalid; Kinnell, Peter; Lawes, Simon; Desgaches, Dorian; Leach, Richard

    2016-01-01

    When designing micro-scale tactile probes, a design trade-off must be made between the stiffness and flexibility of the probing element. The probe must be flexible enough to ensure sensitive parts are not damaged during contact, but it must be stiff enough to overcome attractive surface forces, ensure it is not excessively fragile, easily damaged or sensitive to inertial loads. To address the need for a probing element that is both flexible and stiff, a novel micro-scale tactile probe has been designed and tested that makes use of an active suspension structure. The suspension structure is used to modulate the probe stiffness as required to ensure optimal stiffness conditions for each phase of the measurement process. In this paper, a novel control system is presented that monitors and controls stiffness, allowing two probe stiffness values ("stiff" and "flexible") to be defined and switched between. During switching, the stylus tip undergoes a displacement of approximately 18 µm, however, the control system is able ensure a consistent flexible mode tip deflection to within 12 nm in the vertical axis. The overall uncertainty for three-dimensional displacement measurements using the probing system is estimated to be 58 nm, which demonstrates the potential of this innovative variable stiffness micro-scale probe system. PMID:27070611

  20. Variable stiffness sandwich panels using electrostatic interlocking core

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heath, Callum J. C.; Bond, Ian P.; Potter, Kevin D.

    2016-04-01

    Structural topology has a large impact on the flexural stiffness of a beam structure. Reversible attachment between discrete substructures allows for control of shear stress transfer between structural elements, thus stiffness modulation. Electrostatic adhesion has shown promise for providing a reversible latching mechanism for controllable internal connectivity. Building on previous research, a thin film copper polyimide laminate has been used to incorporate high voltage electrodes to Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) sandwich structures. The level of electrostatic holding force across the electrode interface is key to the achievable level of stiffness modulation. The use of non-flat interlocking core structures can allow for a significant increase in electrode contact area for a given core geometry, thus a greater electrostatic holding force. Interlocking core geometries based on cosine waves can be Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machined from Rohacell IGF 110 Foam core. These Interlocking Core structures could allow for enhanced variable stiffness functionality compared to basic planar electrodes. This novel concept could open up potential new applications for electrostatically induced variable stiffness structures.

  1. Variable stiffness and damping suspension system for train

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Shuaishuai; Deng, Huaxia; Li, Weihua

    2014-03-01

    As the vibration of high speed train becomes fierce when the train runs at high speed, it is crucial to develop a novel suspension system to negotiate train's vibration. This paper presents a novel suspension based on Magnetorheological fluid (MRF) damper and MRF based smart air spring. The MRF damper is used to generate variable damping while the smart air spring is used to generate field-dependent stiffness. In this paper, the two kind smart devices, MRF dampers and smart air spring, are developed firstly. Then the dynamic performances of these two devices are tested by MTS. Based on the testing results, the two devices are equipped to a high speed train which is built in ADAMS. The skyhook control algorithm is employed to control the novel suspension. In order to compare the vibration suppression capability of the novel suspension with other kind suspensions, three other different suspension systems are also considered and simulated in this paper. The other three kind suspensions are variable damping with fixed stiffness suspension, variable stiffness with fixed damping suspension and passive suspension. The simulation results indicate that the variable damping and stiffness suspension suppresses the vibration of high speed train better than the other three suspension systems.

  2. Initial post-buckling of variable-stiffness curved panels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, S. C.; Raju, G.; Weaver, P. M.

    2014-11-01

    Variable-stiffness shells are curved composite structures in which the fibre-reinforcement follow curvilinear paths in space. Having a wider design space than traditional composite shells, they have the potential to improve a wide variety of weight-critical structures. In this paper, a new method for computing the initial post-buckling response of variable-stiffness cylindrical panels is presented, based on the differential quadrature method. Integro-differential governing and boundary equations governing the problem, derived with Koiter's theory (Koiter, 1945), are solved using a mixed generalised differential quadrature (GDQ) and integral quadrature (GIQ) approach. The post-buckling behaviour is determined on the basis of a quadratic expansion of the displacement fields. Orthogonality of the mode-shapes in the expansion series is ensured by a novel use of the Moore-Penrose generalised matrix inverse for solving the GDQ-GIQ equations. The new formulation is validated against benchmark analytical post-buckling results for constant stiffness plates and shells, and compared with non-linear finite-element (FE) analysis for variable-stiffness shells. Stability estimates are found to be in good agreement with incremental FE results in the vicinity of the buckling load, requiring only a fraction of the number of variables used by the current method.

  3. Analysis and Design of Variable Stiffness Composite Cylinders

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tatting, Brian F.; Guerdal, Zafer

    1998-01-01

    An investigation of the possible performance improvements of thin circular cylindrical shells through the use of the variable stiffness concept is presented. The variable stiffness concept implies that the stiffness parameters change spatially throughout the structure. This situation is achieved mainly through the use of curvilinear fibers within a fiber-reinforced composite laminate, though the possibility of thickness variations and discrete stiffening elements is also allowed. These three mechanisms are incorporated into the constitutive laws for thin shells through the use of Classical Lamination Theory. The existence of stiffness variation within the structure warrants a formulation of the static equilibrium equations from the most basic principles. The governing equations include sufficient detail to correctly model several types of nonlinearity, including the formation of a nonlinear shell boundary layer as well as the Brazier effect due to nonlinear bending of long cylinders. Stress analysis and initial buckling estimates are formulated for a general variable stiffness cylinder. Results and comparisons for several simplifications of these highly complex governing equations are presented so that the ensuing numerical solutions are considered reliable and efficient enough for in-depth optimization studies. Four distinct cases of loading and stiffness variation are chosen to investigate possible areas of improvement that the variable stiffness concept may offer over traditional constant stiffness and/or stiffened structures. The initial investigation deals with the simplest solution for cylindrical shells in which all quantities are constant around the circumference of the cylinder. This axisymmetric case includes a stiffness variation exclusively in the axial direction, and the only pertinent loading scenarios include constant loads of axial compression, pressure, and torsion. The results for these cases indicate that little improvement over traditional

  4. Relationship between ankle stiffness structure and muscle activation.

    PubMed

    Lee, Hyunglae; Wang, Shuo; Hogan, Neville

    2012-01-01

    This paper presents a characterization of the structure of ankle stiffness under multiple levels of muscle activation and the relationship between them. A multi-variable impedance estimation method using a wearable ankle robot enabled clear identification of ankle stiffness structure in the space consisting of the sagittal and frontal planes. With visual feedback showing current and target muscle activation levels, all subjects could successfully maintain multiple target levels (5%∼30% of the maximum voluntary contraction level). Stiffness increased with muscle activation, but the increase was more pronounced in the dorsiflexion-plantarflexion direction than in the inversion-eversion direction, which resulted in a characteristic "peanut" shape. The relation between measured muscle activation level and ankle stiffness was evaluated. All subjects showed a highly linear relation not only for the two principal axis directions of the ankle, i.e., dorsiflexion-plantarflexion and inversion-eversion, but also for the average stiffness value of all directions. These major findings were consistent both for the tibialis anterior and triceps surae activation.

  5. Performance Assessment of a New Variable Stiffness Probing System for Micro-CMMs

    PubMed Central

    Alblalaihid, Khalid; Kinnell, Peter; Lawes, Simon; Desgaches, Dorian; Leach, Richard

    2016-01-01

    When designing micro-scale tactile probes, a design trade-off must be made between the stiffness and flexibility of the probing element. The probe must be flexible enough to ensure sensitive parts are not damaged during contact, but it must be stiff enough to overcome attractive surface forces, ensure it is not excessively fragile, easily damaged or sensitive to inertial loads. To address the need for a probing element that is both flexible and stiff, a novel micro-scale tactile probe has been designed and tested that makes use of an active suspension structure. The suspension structure is used to modulate the probe stiffness as required to ensure optimal stiffness conditions for each phase of the measurement process. In this paper, a novel control system is presented that monitors and controls stiffness, allowing two probe stiffness values (“stiff” and “flexible”) to be defined and switched between. During switching, the stylus tip undergoes a displacement of approximately 18 µm, however, the control system is able ensure a consistent flexible mode tip deflection to within 12 nm in the vertical axis. The overall uncertainty for three-dimensional displacement measurements using the probing system is estimated to be 58 nm, which demonstrates the potential of this innovative variable stiffness micro-scale probe system. PMID:27070611

  6. On the development of planar actuators for variable stiffness devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henke, Markus; Gerlach, Gerald

    2013-04-01

    This contribution describes the development, the potential and the limitations of planar actuators for controlling bending devices with variable stiffness. Such structures are supposed to be components of new smart, self-sensing and -controlling composite materials for lightweight constructions. To realize a proper stiffness control, it is necessary to develop reliable actuators with high actuation capabilities based on smart materials. Several actuator designs driven by electroactive polymers (EAPs) are presented and discussed regarding to their applicability in such structures. To investigate the actuators, variable-flexural stiffness devices based on the control of its area moment of inertia were developed. The devices consist of a multi-layer stack of thin, individual plates. Stiffness variation is caused by planar actuators which control the sliding behavior between the layers by form closure structures. Previous investigations have shown that actuators with high actuation potential are needed to ensure reliable connections between the layers. For that reason, two kinds of EAPs Danfoss PolyPower and VHB 4905 by 3M, have been studied as driving unit. These EAP-driven actuators will be compared based on experimental measurements and finite element analyses.

  7. 3D FEA simulation of segmented reinforcement variable stiffness composites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henry, C. P.; McKnight, G. P.; Enke, A.; Bortolin, R.; Joshi, S.

    2008-03-01

    Reconfigurable and morphing structures may provide significant improvement in overall platform performance through optimization over broad operating conditions. The realization of this concept requires structures, which can accommodate the large deformations necessary with modest weight and strength penalties. Other studies suggest morphing structures need new materials to realize the benefits that morphing may provide. To help meet this need, we have developed novel composite materials based on specially designed segmented reinforcement and shape memory polymer matrices that provide unique combinations of deformation and stiffness properties. To tailor and optimize the design and fabrication of these materials for particular structural applications, one must understand the envelope of morphing material properties as a function of microstructural architecture and constituent properties. Here we extend our previous simulations of these materials by using 3D models to predict stiffness and deformation properties in variable stiffness segmented composite materials. To understand the effect of various geometry tradeoffs and constituent properties on the elastic stiffness in both the high and low stiffness states, we have performed a trade study using a commercial FEA analysis package. The modulus tensor is constructed and deformation properties are computed from representative volume elements (RVE) in which all (6) basic loading conditions are applied. Our test matrix consisted of four composite RVE geometries modeled using combinations of 5 SMP and 3 reinforcement elastic moduli. Effective composite stiffness and deformation results confirm earlier evidence of the essential performance tradeoffs of reduced stiffness for increasing reversible strain accommodation with especially heavy dependencies on matrix modulus and microstructural architecture. Furthermore, our results show these laminar materials are generally orthotropic and indicate that previous calculations of

  8. Variable Stiffness Spar Wind-Tunnel Model Development and Testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Florance, James R.; Heeg, Jennifer; Spain, Charles V.; Ivanco, Thomas G.; Wieseman, Carol D.; Lively, Peter S.

    2004-01-01

    The concept of exploiting wing flexibility to improve aerodynamic performance was investigated in the wind tunnel by employing multiple control surfaces and by varying wing structural stiffness via a Variable Stiffness Spar (VSS) mechanism. High design loads compromised the VSS effectiveness because the aerodynamic wind-tunnel model was much stiffer than desired in order to meet the strength requirements. Results from tests of the model include stiffness and modal data, model deformation data, aerodynamic loads, static control surface derivatives, and fuselage standoff pressure data. Effects of the VSS on the stiffness and modal characteristics, lift curve slope, and control surface effectiveness are discussed. The VSS had the most effect on the rolling moment generated by the leading-edge outboard flap at subsonic speeds. The effects of the VSS for the other control surfaces and speed regimes were less. The difficulties encountered and the ability of the VSS to alter the aeroelastic characteristics of the wing emphasize the need for the development of improved design and construction methods for static aeroelastic models. The data collected and presented is valuable in terms of understanding static aeroelastic wind-tunnel model development.

  9. On a high-potential variable flexural stiffness device

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henke, Markus; Gerlach, Gerald

    2013-05-01

    There are great efforts in developing effective composite structures for lightweight constructions for nearly every field of engineering. This concerns for example aeronautics and spacecrafts, but also automotive industry and energy harvesting applications. Modern concepts of lightweight components try to make use of structures with properties which can be adjusted in a controllable was. However, classic composite materials can only slightly adapt to varying environmental conditions because most materials, like carbon or glass-fiber composites show properties which are time-constant and not changeable. This contribution describes the development, the potential and the limitations of novel smart, self-controlling structures which can change their mechanical properties - e.g. their flexural stiffness - by more then one order of magnitude. These structures use a multi-layer approach with a 10-layer stack of 0.75 mm thick polycarbonate. The set-up is analytically described and its mechanical behavior is predicted by finite element analysis done with ABAQUS. The layers are braided together by an array of shape memory alloy (SMA) wires, which can be activated independently. Depending on the temperature applied by the electrical current flowing through the wires and the corresponding contraction the wires can tightly clamp the layers so that they cannot slide against each other due to friction forces. In this case the multilayer acts as rigid beam with high stiffness. If the friction-induced shear stress is smaller than a certain threshold, then the layers can slide over each other and the multilayer becomes compliant under bending load. The friction forces between the layers and, hence, the stiffness of the beam is controlled by the electrical current through the wires. The more separate parts of SMA wires the structure has the larger is the number of steps of stiffness changes of the flexural beam.

  10. Sources of Variability in Musculo-Articular Stiffness Measurement

    PubMed Central

    Ditroilo, Massimiliano; Watsford, Mark; Murphy, Aron; De Vito, Giuseppe

    2013-01-01

    The assessment of musculo-articular stiffness (MAS) with the free-oscillation technique is a popular method with a variety of applications. This study examined the sources of variability (load applied and frequency of oscillation) when MAS is assessed. Over two testing occasions, 14 healthy men (27.7±5.2 yr, 1.82±0.04 m, 79.5±8.4 kg) were measured for isometric maximum voluntary contraction and MAS of the knee flexors using submaximal loads relative to the individual's maximum voluntary contraction (MAS%MVC) and a single absolute load (MASABS). As assessment load increased, MAS%MVC (coefficient of variation (CV)  =  8.1–12.1%; standard error of measurement (SEM)  =  51.6–98.8 Nm−1) and frequency (CV  =  4.8–7.0%; SEM  =  0.060–0.075 s−1) variability increased consequently. Further, similar levels of variability arising from load (CV  =  6.7%) and frequency (CV  =  4.8–7.0%) contributed to the overall MAS%MVC variability. The single absolute load condition yielded better reliability scores for MASABS (CV  =  6.5%; SEM  =  40.2 Nm−1) and frequency (CV  =  3.3%; SEM  =  0.039 s−1). Low and constant loads for MAS assessment, which are particularly relevant in the clinical setting, exhibited superior reliability compared to higher loads expressed as a percentage of maximum voluntary contraction, which are more suitable for sporting situations. Appropriate sample size and minimum detectable change can therefore be determined when prospective studies are carried out. PMID:23667662

  11. The relationships between active extensibility, and passive and active stiffness of the knee flexors.

    PubMed

    Blackburn, J Troy; Padua, Darin A; Riemann, Bryan L; Guskiewicz, Kevin M

    2004-12-01

    Insufficient active knee flexor stiffness may predispose the anterior cruciate ligament to injury. Insufficient passive stiffness may result in insufficient active stiffness. Similarly, higher levels of musculotendinous extensibility may inhibit active and passive muscle stiffness, potentially contributing to an increased risk of injury. The literature is both limited and inconsistent concerning relationships between extensibility, passive stiffness, and active stiffness. Extensibility was measured as the maximal active knee extension angle from a supine position with the hip flexed to 90 degrees . Passive stiffness was calculated as the slope of the moment-angle curve resulting from passive knee extension. Active stiffness was assessed via acceleration associated with damped oscillatory motion about the knee. Stepwise multiple regression indicated that passive stiffness accounted for 25% of active muscle stiffness variance. The linear combination of extensibility and passive stiffness explained only 2% more variance compared to passive stiffness alone. Musculotendinous extensibility was moderately related to passive muscle stiffness, and weakly related to active muscle stiffness. The moderate relationship observed between active and passive stiffness emphasizes the dependence of active muscle stiffness on cross-bridge formation, and the relatively smaller contribution from parallel elastic tissues. Additionally, heightened extensibility does not appear to be a predisposing factor for reduced muscle stiffness. PMID:15491843

  12. Development of a novel variable stiffness and damping magnetorheological fluid damper

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Shuaishuai; Yang, Jian; Li, Weihua; Deng, Huaxia; Du, Haiping; Alici, Gursel

    2015-08-01

    This paper reports a novel magnetorheological fluid (MRF)-based damper, which synergizes the attributes of variable stiffness and damping through the compact assembly of two MRF damping units and a spring. The magnetic field densities of the two damping units were analyzed. After the prototype of the new MRF damper, a hydraulically actuated MTS machine was used to test the damper’s performance, including stiffness variability and damping variability, amplitude-dependent responses and frequency-dependent responses. A new mathematical model was developed to describe the variable stiffness and damping MRF damper. The successful development, experimental testing and modeling of this innovative variable stiffness and damping MRF damper make the true design and implementation of the concept of variable stiffness and damping feasible.

  13. Extracellular Matrix Stiffness Regulates Osteogenic Differentiation through MAPK Activation

    PubMed Central

    Hwang, Jun-Ha; Byun, Mi Ran; Kim, A. Rum; Kim, Kyung Min; Cho, Hang Jun; Lee, Yo Han; Kim, Juwon; Jeong, Mi Gyeong; Hwang, Eun Sook; Hong, Jeong-Ho

    2015-01-01

    Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation is regulated by the extracellular matrix (ECM) through activation of intracellular signaling mediators. The stiffness of the ECM was shown to be an important regulatory factor for MSC differentiation, and transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) was identified as an effector protein for MSC differentiation. However, the detailed underlying mechanism regarding the role of ECM stiffness and TAZ in MSC differentiation is not yet fully understood. In this report, we showed that ECM stiffness regulates MSC fate through ERK or JNK activation. Specifically, a stiff hydrogel matrix stimulates osteogenic differentiation concomitant with increased nuclear localization of TAZ, but inhibits adipogenic differentiation. ERK and JNK activity was significantly increased in cells cultured on a stiff hydrogel. TAZ activation was induced by ERK or JNK activation on a stiff hydrogel because exposure to an ERK or JNK inhibitor significantly decreased the nuclear localization of TAZ, indicating that ECM stiffness-induced ERK or JNK activation is important for TAZ-driven osteogenic differentiation. Taken together, these results suggest that ECM stiffness regulates MSC differentiation through ERK or JNK activation. PMID:26262877

  14. Extracellular Matrix Stiffness Regulates Osteogenic Differentiation through MAPK Activation.

    PubMed

    Hwang, Jun-Ha; Byun, Mi Ran; Kim, A Rum; Kim, Kyung Min; Cho, Hang Jun; Lee, Yo Han; Kim, Juwon; Jeong, Mi Gyeong; Hwang, Eun Sook; Hong, Jeong-Ho

    2015-01-01

    Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation is regulated by the extracellular matrix (ECM) through activation of intracellular signaling mediators. The stiffness of the ECM was shown to be an important regulatory factor for MSC differentiation, and transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) was identified as an effector protein for MSC differentiation. However, the detailed underlying mechanism regarding the role of ECM stiffness and TAZ in MSC differentiation is not yet fully understood. In this report, we showed that ECM stiffness regulates MSC fate through ERK or JNK activation. Specifically, a stiff hydrogel matrix stimulates osteogenic differentiation concomitant with increased nuclear localization of TAZ, but inhibits adipogenic differentiation. ERK and JNK activity was significantly increased in cells cultured on a stiff hydrogel. TAZ activation was induced by ERK or JNK activation on a stiff hydrogel because exposure to an ERK or JNK inhibitor significantly decreased the nuclear localization of TAZ, indicating that ECM stiffness-induced ERK or JNK activation is important for TAZ-driven osteogenic differentiation. Taken together, these results suggest that ECM stiffness regulates MSC differentiation through ERK or JNK activation.

  15. Variable stiffness property study on shape memory polymer composite tube

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Yijin; Sun, Jian; Liu, Yanju; Leng, Jinsong

    2012-09-01

    As a typical smart material, shape memory polymers (SMPs) have the capability of variable stiffness in response to external stimuli, such as heat, electricity, magnetism and solvents. In this research, a shape memory polymer composite (SMPC) tube composed of multi-layered filament wound structures is investigated. The SMPC tube possesses considerable flexibility under high temperature and rigidity under low temperature. Significant changes in effective engineering modulus can be achieved through regulating the environment temperature. Based on the classical laminated-plate theory and Sun’s thick laminate analysis, a 3D theory method is used to study the effective engineering modulus and modulus ratio of the SMPC tube. The tensile test is conducted on the SMPC tube to verify the accuracy of the theoretical method. In addition, the effective engineering modulus and modulus ratio are discussed under different fiber-winding angles and fiber volume fractions of the SMPC tube. The presented analysis provides meaningful guidance to assist the design and manufacture of SMPC tubes in morphing skin applications.

  16. Concurrent design of a morphing aerofoil with variable stiffness bi-stable laminates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuder, I. K.; Fasel, U.; Ermanni, P.; Arrieta, A. F.

    2016-11-01

    Morphing systems able to efficiently adjust their characteristics to resolve the conflicting demands of changing operating conditions offer great potential for enhanced performance and functionality. The main practical challenge, however, consists in combining the desired compliance to accomplish radical reversible geometry modifications at reduced actuation effort with the requirement of high stiffness imposed by operational functions. A potential decoupling strategy entails combining the conformal shape adaptation benefits of distributed compliance with purely elastic stiffness variability provided by embedded bi-stable laminates. This selective compliance can allow for on-demand stiffness adaptation by switching between the stable states of the internal elements. The current paper considers the optimal positioning of the bi-stable components within the structure while assessing the energy required for morphing under aerodynamic loading. Compared to a time-invariant system, activating specific deformation modes permits decreasing the amount of actuation energy, and hence the amount of actuation material to be carried. A concurrent design and optimisation framework is implemented to develop selective configurations targeting different flight conditions. First, an aerodynamically favourable high-lift mode achieves large geometric changes due to reduced actuation demands. This is only possible by virtue of the internally tailored compliance, arising from the stable state switch of the embedded bi-stable components. A second, stiff configuration, targets operation under increased aerodynamic loading. The dynamic adequacy of the design is proved via high fidelity fluid–structure interaction simulations.

  17. The dynamic effect of muscle activation on knee stiffness.

    PubMed

    Ludvig, Daniel; Perreault, Eric J

    2014-01-01

    Adapting limb mechanics in a task and environment dependent manner is one component of human motor control. Joint mechanics have been extensively studied under static postural conditions, but less so under time-varying movement conditions. The limited studies that have investigated joint mechanics during movement, have found a drop in joint stiffness during movement, however the source of this decrease in stiffness remains unknown. Here in this paper we investigate whether time-varying muscle activation, which occurs during volitional movement, can lead to the drop in stiffness seen during movement. We found that under time-varying isometric conditions stiffness dropped when subjects transitioned from extension to flexion and vice-versa, a phenomenon that could not be explained by simply superimposing extension and flexion contractions. These findings suggest that dynamics of muscle activation may be responsible for the complex pattern of stiffness changes seen during simple movements. Furthermore, these results imply that EMG-based estimates of stiffness, which work well for steady-state postural conditions, will need to be augmented to account for the highly non-linear relationship between muscle activation and stiffness before they can also be used to estimate stiffness during dynamic contractions.

  18. Structural Response of Compression-Loaded, Tow-Placed, Variable Stiffness Panels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, K. Chauncey; Guerdal, Zafer; Starnes, James H., Jr.

    2002-01-01

    Results of an analytical and experimental study to characterize the structural response of two compression-loaded variable stiffness composite panels are presented and discussed. These variable stiffness panels are advanced composite structures, in which tows are laid down along precise curvilinear paths within each ply and the fiber orientation angle varies continuously throughout each ply. The panels are manufactured from AS4/977-3 graphite-epoxy pre-preg material using an advanced tow placement system. Both variable stiffness panels have the same layup, but one panel has overlapping tow bands and the other panel has a constant-thickness laminate. A baseline cross-ply panel is also analyzed and tested for comparative purposes. Tests performed on the variable stiffness panels show a linear prebuckling load-deflection response, followed by a nonlinear response to failure at loads between 4 and 53 percent greater than the baseline panel failure load. The structural response of the variable stiffness panels is also evaluated using finite element analyses. Nonlinear analyses of the variable stiffness panels are performed which include mechanical and thermal prestresses. Results from analyses that include thermal prestress conditions correlate well with measured variable stiffness panel results. The predicted response of the baseline panel also correlates well with measured results.

  19. A variable transverse stiffness sandwich structure using fluidic flexible matrix composites (F2MC)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Suyi; Lotfi, Amir; Shan, Ying; Wang, K. W.; Rahn, Christopher D.; Bakis, Charles E.

    2008-03-01

    Presented in this paper is the development of a novel honeycomb sandwich panel with variable transverse stiffness. In this structure, the traditional sandwich face sheets are replaced by the fluidic flexible matrix composite (F2MC) tube layers developed in recent studies. The F2MC layers, combined with the anisotropic honeycomb core material properties, provide a new sandwich structure with variable stiffness properties for transverse loading. In this research, an analytical model is derived based on Lekhitskii's anisotropic pressurized tube solution and Timoshenko beam theory. Experimental investigations are also conducted to verify the analytical findings. A segmented multiple-F2MC-tube configuration is synthesized to increase the variable stiffness range. The analysis shows that the new honeycomb sandwich structure using F2MC tubes of 10 segments can provide a high/low transverse stiffness ratio of 60. Segmentation and stiffness control can be realized by an embedded valve network, granting a fast response time.

  20. Local dynamic stability of spine muscle activation and stiffness patterns during repetitive lifting.

    PubMed

    Graham, Ryan B; Brown, Stephen H M

    2014-12-01

    To facilitate stable trunk kinematics, humans must generate appropriate motor patterns to effectively control muscle force and stiffness and respond to biomechanical perturbations and/or neuromuscular control errors. Thus, it is important to understand physiological variables such as muscle force and stiffness, and how these relate to the downstream production of stable spine and trunk movements. This study was designed to assess the local dynamic stability of spine muscle activation and rotational stiffness patterns using Lyapunov analyses, and relationships to the local dynamic stability of resulting spine kinematics, during repetitive lifting and lowering at varying combinations of lifting load and rate. With an increase in the load lifted at a constant rate there was a trend for decreased local dynamic stability of spine muscle activations and the muscular contributions to spine rotational stiffness; although the only significant change was for the full state space muscle activation stability (p < 0.05). With an increase in lifting rate with a constant load there was a significant decrease in the local dynamic stability of spine muscle activations and the muscular contributions to spine rotational stiffness (p ≤ 0.001 for all measures). These novel findings suggest that the stability of motor inputs and the muscular contributions to spine rotational stiffness can be altered by external task demands (load and lifting rate), and therefore are important variables to consider when assessing the stability of the resulting kinematics.

  1. Variable stiffness and recruitment using nylon actuators arranged in a pennate configuration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kianzad, Soheil; Pandit, Milind; Lewis, Johnathan D.; Berlingeri, Alexander R.; Haebler, Karl J.; Madden, John D. W.

    2015-04-01

    In muscle variable impedance and ability to recruit fibers as needed helps enable actions such as walking and catching. A new biomimetic structure of nylon actuator is presented that imitates the human pennate muscle in structure, ability to vary stiffness and the ability to increase force by recruiting additional fibers. The actuator consists of 16 silver coated nylon coiled fibers attached to a central tendon at an angle of 20°. Each nylon coil produces 20 MPa of stress at constant length and nearly 20% strain at fixed load. Fibers are individually switched ON and OFF using transistors so that each element can be recruited, and the stiffness varied. The amount of input power is controlled with pulse width modulation (PWM) techniques. It is observed that the spring constant of the pennate structure varies from that of its passive state, 503 N/m and a resonance frequency of 1.4 Hz, to 1480 N/m with resonance frequency of 3.1 Hz in the active state where all the fibers are switched on under a 25 N load. Stiffness can be varied by a factor of 9.

  2. Non-crossbridge stiffness in active muscle fibres.

    PubMed

    Colombini, Barbara; Nocella, Marta; Bagni, Maria Angela

    2016-01-01

    Stretching of an activated skeletal muscle induces a transient tension increase followed by a period during which the tension remains elevated well above the isometric level at an almost constant value. This excess of tension in response to stretching has been called 'static tension' and attributed to an increase in fibre stiffness above the resting value, named 'static stiffness'. This observation was originally made, by our group, in frog intact muscle fibres and has been confirmed more recently, by us, in mammalian intact fibres. Following stimulation, fibre stiffness starts to increase during the latent period well before crossbridge force generation and it is present throughout the whole contraction in both single twitches and tetani. Static stiffness is dependent on sarcomere length in a different way from crossbridge force and is independent of stretching amplitude and velocity. Static stiffness follows a time course which is distinct from that of active force and very similar to the myoplasmic calcium concentration time course. We therefore hypothesize that static stiffness is due to a calcium-dependent stiffening of a non-crossbridge sarcomere structure, such as the titin filament. According to this hypothesis, titin, in addition to its well-recognized role in determining the muscle passive tension, could have a role during muscle activity. PMID:26792325

  3. Model-Based Estimation of Active Knee Stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Pfeifer, Serge; Hardegger, Michael; Vallery, Heike; List, Renate; Foresti, Mauro; Riener, Robert; Perreault, Eric J.

    2013-01-01

    Knee joint impedance varies substantially during physiological gait. Quantifying this modulation is critical for the design of transfemoral prostheses that aim to mimic physiological limb behavior. Conventional methods for quantifying joint impedance typically involve perturbing the joint in a controlled manner, and describing impedance as the dynamic relationship between applied perturbations and corresponding joint torques. These experimental techniques, however, are difficult to apply during locomotion without impeding natural movements. In this paper, we propose a method to estimate the elastic component of knee joint impedance that depends on muscle activation, often referred to as active knee stiffness. The method estimates stiffness using a musculoskeletal model of the leg and a model for activation-dependent short-range muscle stiffness. Muscle forces are estimated from measurements including limb kinematics, kinetics and muscle electromyograms. For isometric validation, we compare model estimates to measurements involving joint perturbations; measured stiffness is 17% lower than model estimates for extension, and 42% lower for flexion torques. We show that sensitivity of stiffness estimates to common approaches for estimating muscle force is small in isometric conditions. We also make initial estimates of how knee stiffness is modulated during gait, illustrating how this approach may be used to obtain parameters relevant to the design of transfemoral prostheses. PMID:22275672

  4. Seismic response of torsionally coupled building with passive and semi-active stiffness dampers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mevada, Snehal V.; Jangid, R. S.

    2015-03-01

    The seismic response of single-storey, one-way asymmetric building with passive and semi-active variable stiffness dampers is investigated. The governing equations of motion are derived based on the mathematical model of asymmetric building. The seismic response of the system is obtained by numerically solving the equations of motion using state-space method under different system parameters. The switching and resetting control laws are considered for the semi-active devices. The important parameters considered are eccentricity ratio of superstructure, uncoupled lateral time period and ratio of uncoupled torsional to lateral frequency. The effects of these parameters are investigated on peak lateral, torsional and edge displacements and accelerations as well as on damper control forces. The comparative performance is investigated for asymmetric building installed with passive stiffness and semi-active stiffness dampers. It is shown that the semi-active stiffness dampers reduce the earthquake-induced displacements and accelerations significantly as compared to passive stiffness dampers. Also, the effects of torsional coupling on effectiveness of passive dampers in reducing displacements and accelerations are found to be more significant to the variation of eccentricity as compared to semi-active stiffness dampers.

  5. Optimization of a variable-stiffness skin for morphing high-lift devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thuwis, G. A. A.; Abdalla, M. M.; Gürdal, Z.

    2010-12-01

    One of the possibilities for the next generation of smart high-lift devices is to use a seamless morphing structure. A passive composite variable-stiffness skin as a solution to the dilemma of designing the structure to have high enough stiffness to withstand aerodynamic loading and low stiffness to enable morphing is proposed. The variable-stiffness skin is achieved by allowing for a spatial fibre angle and skin thickness variation on a morphing high-lift system. The stiffness distribution is tailored to influence the deformation of the structure beneficially. To design a realistic stiffness distribution, it is important to take aerodynamic and actuation loads into account during the optimization. A two-dimensional aero-servo-elastic framework is created for this purpose. Skin optimization is performed using a gradient-based optimizer, where sensitivity information is found through application of the adjoint method. The implementation of the aero-servo-elastic environment is addressed and initial optimization results presented. The results indicate that a variable-stiffness skin increases the design space. Moreover, the importance of taking the change in aerodynamic loads due to morphing skin deformation into account during optimization is demonstrated.

  6. Photoinduced variable stiffness of spiropyran-based composites

    SciTech Connect

    Samoylova, E.; Ceseracciu, L.; Allione, M.; Diaspro, A.; Barone, A. C.; Athanassiou, A.

    2011-11-14

    A quantitative demonstration of reversible stiffness upon appropriate light stimulus in a spiropyran-polymeric composite is presented. The polymeric films containing 3% wt. of the photochromic spiropyran were irradiated with alternating ultraviolet and visible light and the storage modulus was measured. A reversible change in modulus of about 7% was observed. The modulus change was attributed to an interaction of the polar merocyanine with the polymeric chains and/or to a variation of effective free volume induced by merocyanine aggregates formed in the polymer upon ultraviolet irradiation. The effect is fully reversed when the merocyanine isomers turn back to the spiropyran state after visible irradiation.

  7. Smart suit with variable stiffness mechanism. 3rd report: development of a prototype and verify the effectiveness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayashi, Toshiaki; Tanaka, Takayuki; Feng, Maria Q.; Okada, Hidetaka

    2005-12-01

    Wearable robots, especially power suits to enhance human activity are one of the most interesting and important topics. This study aims t o develop a wearable robot that is small-size, light-weight for improving human perfor- mance and reducting muscle fatigue. So we proposed smart suit with variable stiffness mechanism that utilize elastic forces for assist and make assistance control by impedance control. Because of to utilize elastic forces for assist, the capacity of the suit do not reliance on weight of actuators and their's energy source well than conventional power suits. In consequence, we think the suit can realize miniaturization and getting light-weight. In a previous study, we verified the effectiveness of smart suit with variable stiffness mechanism by experiments and simulations in order to design the suit which can tune the stiffness of joint mechanically, and had been able to confirm the effectiveness. Based on these results, we design the smart suit with variable stiffness mechanism that be able to control number of working spring by small actuator, and at any knee joint angle, elastic energy occurrence is variable by displacement angle of ankle joint. We could obtain a result of the output per a mass of the suit is more large than conventional power suits. And we confirm that reducting muscle fatigue by experiments on knee bends and walking in case that subjects wear the suit. In this paper, we show the suit that we developed and effectiveness of the suit for human working.

  8. Variable stiffness actuator based on fluidic flexible matrix composites and piezoelectric-hydraulic pump

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Gi-Woo; Li, Suyi; Wang, K. W.

    2010-04-01

    Recently, a new biological-inspired fluidic flexible matrix composite (in short, F2MC) concept has been developed for linear/torsional actuation and structural stiffness tailoring. Although the actuation and the variable stiffness features of the F2MC have been successfully demonstrated individually, their combined functions and full potentials were not yet manifested. In addition, the current hydraulic pressurization systems are bulky and heavy, limiting the potential of the F2MC actuator. To address these issues, we synthesize a new variable stiffness actuator concept that can provide both effective actuation and tunable stiffness (dual-mode), incorporating the F2MC with a compact piezoelectric-hydraulic pump (in short, PHP). This dual-mode mechanism will significantly enhance the potential of the F2MC adaptive structures.

  9. Roll stabilisation of road vehicles using a variable stiffness suspension system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anubi, Olugbenga Moses; Crane, Carl D., III

    2013-12-01

    A variable stiffness architecture is used in the suspension system to counteract the body roll moment, thereby enhancing the roll stability of the vehicle. The variation of stiffness concept uses the 'reciprocal actuation' to effectively transfer energy between a vertical traditional strut and a horizontal oscillating control mass, thereby improving the energy dissipation of the overall suspension. The lateral dynamics of the system is developed using a bicycle model. The accompanying roll dynamics are also developed and validated using experimental data. The positions of the left and right control masses are sequentially allocated to reduce the effective body roll and roll rate. Simulation results show that the resulting variable stiffness suspension system has more than 50% improvement in roll response over the traditional constant stiffness counterparts. The simulation scenarios examined is the fishhook manoeuvre.

  10. Variable Stiffness Panel Structural Analyses With Material Nonlinearity and Correlation With Tests

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wu, K. Chauncey; Gurdal, Zafer

    2006-01-01

    Results from structural analyses of three tow-placed AS4/977-3 composite panels with both geometric and material nonlinearities are presented. Two of the panels have variable stiffness layups where the fiber orientation angle varies as a continuous function of location on the panel planform. One variable stiffness panel has overlapping tow bands of varying thickness, while the other has a theoretically uniform thickness. The third panel has a conventional uniform-thickness [plus or minus 45](sub 5s) layup with straight fibers, providing a baseline for comparing the performance of the variable stiffness panels. Parametric finite element analyses including nonlinear material shear are first compared with material characterization test results for two orthotropic layups. This nonlinear material model is incorporated into structural analysis models of the variable stiffness and baseline panels with applied end shortenings. Measured geometric imperfections and mechanical prestresses, generated by forcing the variable stiffness panels from their cured anticlastic shapes into their flatter test configurations, are also modeled. Results of these structural analyses are then compared to the measured panel structural response. Good correlation is observed between the analysis results and displacement test data throughout deep postbuckling up to global failure, suggesting that nonlinear material behavior is an important component of the actual panel structural response.

  11. Vibration isolation and reduction by spring-stiffness control based on theory of variable structure systems

    SciTech Connect

    Yamaguchi, H.; Shioya, S.; Oda, M.

    1995-12-31

    By controlling spring stiffness, vibration reduction and isolation for the mass-spring system are achieved in this paper. The control algorithm of the spring stiffness is based on the variable structure systems (VSS) theory. The stiffness-controllable spring is achieved by using two straight bars that are hinged to the mass in a line perpendicular to the direction of mass motion and are applied axial force. Since the axial force causes restoring force equivalent to the spring, the stiffness is controlled by the axial force. In the numerical simulations and experiments, the settling time of the impulse response and the displacement transmissibility are investigated. The results show that the proposed method is effective in suppressing shock motion and isolating vibration transmitted from the floor.

  12. Effect of variable particle stiffness on force propagation and mechanical response of a composite granular material.

    PubMed

    Du, Wei; Wang, Dengming; Yang, Yang

    2016-06-01

    The force propagation and mechanical response are important for understanding the elasticity and deformation of a composite granular packings. In this paper, a 2D composite granular layers composed of particles with variable stiffness is proposed, and the effect of stiffness ratio between component particles on mechanical response is mainly considered. The results show that the decrease of stiffness ratio broadens the linear range of mechanical response and enhances the elasticity of the response in a composite granular system, showing a role similar with the friction in a monodisperse granular packings. Furthermore, a phase diagram for the crossover between a single-peaked and a double-peaked response is proposed, in which the critical stiffness ratio corresponding to the occurrence of the crossover decreases with the magnitude of external loading and increases with the friction. Finally, the microscopic mechanism of the crossover of the response is further discussed based on changes in contact network and force network. PMID:27329534

  13. Ti-Ni Rods with Variable Stiffness for Spine Stabilization: Manufacture and Biomechanical Evaluation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brailovski, Vladimir; Facchinello, Yann; Brummund, Martin; Petit, Yvan; Mac-Thiong, Jean-Marc

    2016-03-01

    A new concept of monolithic spinal rods with variable flexural stiffness is proposed to reduce the risk of adjacent segment degeneration and vertebral fracture, while providing adequate stability to the spine. The variability of mechanical properties is generated by locally annealing Ti-Ni shape memory alloy rods. Ten-minute Joule effect annealing allows the restoration of the superelasticity in the heated portion of the rod. Such processing also generates a mechanical property gradient between the heated and the unheated zones. A numerical model simulating the annealing temperature and the distributions of the mechanical properties was developed to optimize the Joule-heating strategy and to modulate the rod's overall flexural stiffness. Subsequently, the rod model was included in a finite element model of a porcine lumbar spine to study the effect of the rod's stiffness profiles on the spinal biomechanics.

  14. Synthesis, Characterization, and Modeling of Nanotube Materials with Variable Stiffness Tethers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frankland, S. J. V.; Herzog, M. N.; Odegard, G. M.; Gates, T. S.; Fay, C. C.

    2004-01-01

    Synthesis, mechanical testing, and modeling have been performed for carbon nanotube based materials. Tests using nanoindentation indicated a six-fold enhancement in the storage modulus when comparing the base material (no nanotubes) to the composite that contained 5.3 wt% of nanotubes. To understand how crosslinking the nanotubes may further alter the stiffness, a model of the system was constructed using nanotubes crosslinked with a variable stiffness tether (VST). The model predicted that for a composite with 5 wt% nanotubes at random orientations, crosslinked with the VST, the bulk Young's modulus was reduced by 30% compared to the noncrosslinked equivalent.

  15. Multi-layer beam with variable stiffness based on electroactive polymers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henke, Markus; Sorber, Jörg; Gerlach, Gerald

    2012-04-01

    The contribution describes a new kind of multi-layer beam with a variable stiffness based on electroactive polymers (EAP). These structures are supposed to be components of new smart, self-sensing and -controlling composite materials for lightweight constructions. Dielectric Elastomer foils from Danfoss PolyPower are used to control the beam's stiffness. The basic idea is to change the area moment of inertia of bending beams. These beams are built up as multi-layer stacks of thin metal or PMMA plates. Its internal structure can be changed by the use of the electroactive polymers for controlling the area moment of inertia. So it is possible to strongly change the stiffness of bending beams up to two orders of magnitude. Thereby, the magnitude of varying the stiffness can be scaled by the number of layers and the number and type of electroactive polymer elements used within the bending beam. The mechanisms for controlling the area moment of inertia are described in detail. Modeling of the mechanical structure including the EAP uses a pseudo rigid-body model, a strain energy model as well as a finite element analysis. The theoretical calculations are verified by experiments. The prototype described here consists of two structural layers. First results show the feasibility of the proposed structure for mechanical components with stiffness control.

  16. Large strain variable stiffness composites for shear deformations with applications to morphing aircraft skins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKnight, G. P.; Henry, C. P.

    2008-03-01

    Morphing or reconfigurable structures potentially allow for previously unattainable vehicle performance by permitting several optimized structures to be achieved using a single platform. The key to enabling this technology in applications such as aircraft wings, nozzles, and control surfaces, are new engineered materials which can achieve the necessary deformations but limit losses in parasitic actuation mass and structural efficiency (stiffness/weight). These materials should exhibit precise control of deformation properties and provide high stiffness when exercised through large deformations. In this work, we build upon previous efforts in segmented reinforcement variable stiffness composites employing shape memory polymers to create prototype hybrid composite materials that combine the benefits of cellular materials with those of discontinuous reinforcement composites. These composites help overcome two key challenges for shearing wing skins: the resistance to out of plane buckling from actuation induced shear deformation, and resistance to membrane deflections resulting from distributed aerodynamic pressure loading. We designed, fabricated, and tested composite materials intended for shear deformation and address out of plane deflections in variable area wing skins. Our designs are based on the kinematic engineering of reinforcement platelets such that desired microstructural kinematics is achieved through prescribed boundary conditions. We achieve this kinematic control by etching sheets of metallic reinforcement into regular patterns of platelets and connecting ligaments. This kinematic engineering allows optimization of materials properties for a known deformation pathway. We use mechanical analysis and full field photogrammetry to relate local scale kinematics and strains to global deformations for both axial tension loading and shear loading with a pinned-diamond type fixture. The Poisson ratio of the kinematically engineered composite is ~3x higher than

  17. Optimal design of variable-stiffness fiber-reinforced composites using cellular automata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Setoodeh, Shahriar

    The growing number of applications of composite materials in aerospace and naval structures along with advancements in manufacturing technologies demand continuous innovations in the design of composite structures. In the traditional design of composite laminates, fiber orientation angles are constant for each layer and are usually limited to 0, 90, and +/-45 degrees. To fully benefit from the directional properties of composite laminates, such limitations have to be removed. The concept of variable-stiffness laminates allows the stiffness properties to vary spatially over the laminate. Through tailoring of fiber orientations and laminate thickness spatially in an optimal fashion, mechanical properties of a part can be improved. In this thesis, the optimal design of variable-stiffness fiber-reinforced composite laminates is studied using an emerging numerical engineering optimization scheme based on the cellular automata paradigm. A cellular automaton (CA) based design scheme uses local update rule for both field variables (displacements) and design variables (lay-up configuration and laminate density measure) in an iterative fashion to convergence to an optimal design. In the present work, the displacements are updated based on the principle of local equilibrium and the design variables are updated according to the optimality criteria for minimum compliance design. A closed form displacement update rule for constant thickness isotropic continua is derived, while for the general anisotropic continua with variable thickness a numeric update rule is used. Combined lay-up and topology design of variable-stiffness flat laminates is performed under the action of in-plane loads and bending loads. An optimality criteria based formulation is used to obtain local design rules for minimum compliance design subject to a volume constraint. It is shown that the design rule splits into a two step application. In the first step an optimal lay-up configuration is computed and in

  18. Variable stiffness actuated prosthetic knee to restore knee buckling during stance: a modeling study.

    PubMed

    Wentink, E C; Koopman, H F J M; Stramigioli, S; Rietman, J S; Veltink, P H

    2013-06-01

    Most modern intelligent knee prosthesis use dampers to modulate dynamic behavior and prevent excessive knee flexion, but they dissipate energy and do not assist in knee extension. Energy efficient variable stiffness control (VSA) can reduce the energy consumption yet effectively modulate the dynamic behavior and use stored energy during flexion to assist in subsequent extension. A principle design of energy efficient VSA in a prosthetic knee is proposed and analyzed for the specific case of rejection of a disturbed stance phase. The concept is based on the principle that the output stiffness of a spring can be changed without changing the energy stored in the elastic elements of the spring. The usability of this concept to control a prosthetic knee is evaluated using a model. Part of the stance phase of the human leg was modeled by a double pendulum. Specifically the rejection of a common disturbance of transfemoral prosthetic gait, an unlocked knee at heel strike, was evaluated. The ranges of spring stiffnesses were determined such that the angular characteristics of a normal stance phase were preserved, but disturbances could also be rejected. The simulations predicted that energy efficient VSA can be useful for the control of prosthetic knees. PMID:23000012

  19. Internal state variable approach for predicting stiffness reductions in fibrous laminated composites with matrix cracks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Jong-Won; Allen, D. H.; Harris, C. E.

    1989-01-01

    A mathematical model utilizing the internal state variable concept is proposed for predicting the upper bound of the reduced axial stiffnesses in cross-ply laminates with matrix cracks. The axial crack opening displacement is explicitly expressed in terms of the observable axial strain and the undamaged material properties. A crack parameter representing the effect of matrix cracks on the observable axial Young's modulus is calculated for glass/epoxy and graphite/epoxy material systems. The results show that the matrix crack opening displacement and the effective Young's modulus depend not on the crack length, but on its ratio to the crack spacing.

  20. Monolithic superelastic rods with variable flexural stiffness for spinal fusion: modeling of the processing-properties relationship.

    PubMed

    Facchinello, Yann; Brailovski, Vladimir; Petit, Yvan; Mac-Thiong, Jean-Marc

    2014-11-01

    The concept of a monolithic Ti-Ni spinal rod with variable flexural stiffness is proposed to reduce the risks associated with spinal fusion. The variable stiffness is conferred to the rod using the Joule-heating local annealing technique. The annealing temperature and the mechanical properties' distributions resulted from this thermal treatment are numerically modeled and experimentally measured. To illustrate the possible applications of such a modeling approach, two case studies are presented: (a) optimization of the Joule-heating strategy to reduce annealing time, and (b) modulation of the rod's overall flexural stiffness using partial annealing. A numerical model of a human spine coupled with the model of the variable flexural stiffness spinal rod developed in this work can ultimately be used to maximize the stabilization capability of spinal instrumentation, while simultaneously decreasing the risks associated with spinal fusion.

  1. Derivatives of a statically reduced stiffness matrix with respect to sizing variables. [for aircraft weight minimization with flutter constraints

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oconnell, R. F.; Hassig, H. J.; Radovcich, N. A.

    1976-01-01

    An expression is obtained for the first derivatives with respect to the sizing variables of a statically reduced stiffness matrix that is a nonlinear function of the sizing variables, where the unreduced stiffness matrix is a linear function of the sizing variables. An accepted procedure to reduce the number of degrees of freedom is to eliminate a number of nodal displacements from the degrees of freedom such that the accuracy of the flutter analysis is not significantly affected. In a typical optimization procedure with flutter constraints, the derivative of the stiffness matrix may be used in a form that contains the characteristic vector of the flutter matrix equation and the transpose of the characteristic vector of the adjoint flutter matrix equation corresponding to a particular solution of the flutter equation.

  2. Wave mixing in coupled phononic crystals via a variable stiffness mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Gil-Yong; Chong, Christopher; Kevrekidis, Panayotis G.; Yang, Jinkyu

    2016-10-01

    We investigate wave mixing effects in a phononic crystal that couples the wave dynamics of two channels -- primary and control ones -- via a variable stiffness mechanism. We demonstrate analytically and numerically that the wave transmission in the primary channel can be manipulated by the control channel's signal. We show that the application of control waves allows the selection of a specific mode through the primary channel. We also demonstrate that the mixing of two wave modes is possible whereby a modulation effect is observed. A detailed study of the design parameters is also carried out to optimize the switching capabilities of the proposed system. Finally, we verify that the system can fulfill both switching and amplification functionalities, potentially enabling the realization of an acoustic transistor.

  3. In-vitro assessment of the stabilization capacity of monolithic spinal rods with variable flexural stiffness: Methodology and examples.

    PubMed

    Facchinello, Yann; Brailovski, Vladimir; Petit, Yvan; Brummund, Martin; Tremblay, Jaelle; Mac-Thiong, Jean-Marc

    2015-01-01

    The concept of a monolithic Ti-Ni spinal rod with variable flexural stiffness is proposed to reduce the risks associated with spinal fusion. The variable stiffness is conferred to the rod using the Joule-heating local annealing technique. To assess the stabilization capacity of such a spinal rod, in vitro experiments on porcine spine models are carried out. This paper describes the methodology followed to evaluate the effect of Ti-Ni rods compared to conventional titanium rods. Validation of the methodology and examples of results obtained are also presented. PMID:26737149

  4. Substrate Stiffness Regulates Proinflammatory Mediator Production through TLR4 Activity in Macrophages.

    PubMed

    Previtera, Michelle L; Sengupta, Amitabha

    2015-01-01

    Clinical data show that disease adversely affects tissue elasticity or stiffness. While macrophage activity plays a critical role in driving disease pathology, there are limited data available on the effects of tissue stiffness on macrophage activity. In this study, the effects of substrate stiffness on inflammatory mediator production by macrophages were investigated. Bone marrow-derived macrophages were grown on polyacrylamide gels that mimicked the stiffness of a variety of soft biological tissues. Overall, macrophages grown on soft substrates produced less proinflammatory mediators than macrophages grown on stiff substrates when the endotoxin LPS was added to media. In addition, the pathways involved in stiffness-regulated proinflammation were investigated. The TLR4 signaling pathway was examined by evaluating TLR4, p-NF-κB p65, MyD88, and p-IκBα expression as well as p-NF-κB p65 translocation. Expression and translocation of the various signaling molecules were higher in macrophages grown on stiff substrates than on soft substrates. Furthermore, TLR4 knockout experiments showed that TLR4 activity enhanced proinflammation on stiff substrates. In conclusion, these results suggest that proinflammatory mediator production initiated by TLR4 is mechanically regulated in macrophages. PMID:26710072

  5. Clipped viscous damping with negative stiffness for semi-active cable damping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, F.; Boston, C.

    2011-04-01

    This paper investigates numerically and experimentally clipped viscous damping with negative stiffness for semi-active cable damping. From simulations it is concluded that unclipped and clipped viscous damping with negative stiffness is equivalent to unclipped and clipped LQR. It is shown that optimized unclipped viscous damping with negative stiffness generates critical cable damping by an anti-node at the actuator position. The resulting curvature at the actuator position is larger than the curvature close to the anchors due to the disturbance forces which may lead to premature cable fatigue at the actuator position. Optimized clipped viscous damping with negative stiffness does not show this drawback, can be implemented using a semi-active damper and produces twice as much cable damping as optimal viscous damping. Close to the optimal tuning, it leads to approximately the same control force as optimal semi-active friction damping with negative stiffness, which explains the superior cable damping. The superior damping results from the negative stiffness that increases the damper motion. Clipped viscous damping with negative stiffness is validated on a strand cable with a magneto-rheological damper. The measured cable damping is twice that achieved by emulated viscous damping, which confirms the numerical results. A tuning rule for clipped viscous damping with negative stiffness of real cables with flexural rigidity is given.

  6. A variable stiffness transverse mode shape memory alloy actuator as a minimally invasive organ positioner

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, W.; Eshghinejad, A.; Azadegan, R.; Cooper, C.; Elahinia, M.

    2013-09-01

    Smart materials have gained a great deal of attention in recent years because of their unique actuation properties. Actuators are needed in the medical field where space is limited. Presented within this work is an organ positioner used to position the esophagus away from the left atrium to avoid the development of an esophageal fistula during atrial fibrillation (afib) ablation procedures. Within this work, a subroutine was implemented into the finite element framework to predict the midspan load capacity of a near equiatomic NiTi specimen in both the super elastic and shape memory regimes. The purpose of the simulations and experimental results was to develop a design envelope for the organ positioning device. The transverse loading experiments were conducted at several different temperatures leading to the ability to design a variable stiffness actuator. This is essential because the actuator must not be too stiff to injure the organ it is positioning. Extended further, geometric perturbations were applied in the virtual model and the entire design envelope was developed. Further, nitinol was tested for safety in the radio-frequency environment (to ensure that local heating will not occur in the ablation environment). With the safety of the device confirmed, a primitive prototype was manufactured and successfully tested in a cadaver. The design of the final device is also presented. The contribution of this work is the presentation of a new type of positoning device for medical purposes (NiTiBOP). In the process a comprehensive model for transverse actuation of an SMA actuator was developed and experimentally verified.

  7. Active Stiffness and Strength in People With Unilateral Anterior Shoulder Instability: A Bilateral Comparison

    PubMed Central

    Olds, Margie; McNair, Peter; Nordez, Antoine; Cornu, Christophe

    2011-01-01

    Context: Active muscle stiffness might protect the unstable shoulder from recurrent dislocation. Objective: To compare strength and active stiffness in participants with unilateral anterior shoulder instability and to examine the relationship between active stiffness and functional ability. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: University research laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: Participants included 16 males (age range, 16–40 years; height = 179.4 ± 6.1 cm; mass = 79.1 ± 6.8 kg) with 2 or more episodes of unilateral traumatic anterior shoulder instability. Main Outcome Measure(s): Active stiffness and maximal voluntary strength were measured bilaterally in participants. In addition, quality of life, function, and perceived instability were measured using the Western Ontario Stability Index, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Standardized Shoulder Assessment Form, and Single Alpha Numeric Evaluation, respectively. Results: We found less horizontal adduction strength (t15 = −4.092, P = .001) and less stiffness at 30% (t14 = −3.796, P = .002) and 50% (t12 = −2.341, P = .04) maximal voluntary strength in the unstable than stable shoulder. Active stiffness was not correlated with quality of life, function, or perceived instability (r range, 0.0–0.25; P > .05). Conclusions: The observed reduction in stiffness in the unstable shoulder warrants inclusion of exercises in the rehabilitation program to protect the joint from perturbations that might lead to dislocation. The lack of association between active stiffness and quality of life, function, or perceived instability might indicate that stiffness plays a less direct role in shoulder stability. PMID:22488190

  8. Substrate Stiffness Regulates Proinflammatory Mediator Production through TLR4 Activity in Macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Previtera, Michelle L.; Sengupta, Amitabha

    2015-01-01

    Clinical data show that disease adversely affects tissue elasticity or stiffness. While macrophage activity plays a critical role in driving disease pathology, there are limited data available on the effects of tissue stiffness on macrophage activity. In this study, the effects of substrate stiffness on inflammatory mediator production by macrophages were investigated. Bone marrow–derived macrophages were grown on polyacrylamide gels that mimicked the stiffness of a variety of soft biological tissues. Overall, macrophages grown on soft substrates produced less proinflammatory mediators than macrophages grown on stiff substrates when the endotoxin LPS was added to media. In addition, the pathways involved in stiffness–regulated proinflammation were investigated. The TLR4 signaling pathway was examined by evaluating TLR4, p–NF–κB p65, MyD88, and p–IκBα expression as well as p–NF–κB p65 translocation. Expression and translocation of the various signaling molecules were higher in macrophages grown on stiff substrates than on soft substrates. Furthermore, TLR4 knockout experiments showed that TLR4 activity enhanced proinflammation on stiff substrates. In conclusion, these results suggest that proinflammatory mediator production initiated by TLR4 is mechanically regulated in macrophages. PMID:26710072

  9. Liver stiffness is associated with monocyte activation in HIV-infected Ugandans without viral hepatitis.

    PubMed

    Redd, Andrew D; Wendel, Sarah K; Grabowski, Mary K; Ocama, Ponsiano; Kiggundu, Valerian; Bbosa, Francis; Boaz, Iga; Balagopal, Ashwin; Reynolds, Steven J; Gray, Ronald H; Serwadda, David; Kirk, Gregory D; Quinn, Thomas C; Stabinski, Lara

    2013-07-01

    A high prevalence of liver stiffness, as determined by elevated transient elastography liver stiffness measurement, was previously found in a cohort of HIV-infected Ugandans in the absence of chronic viral hepatitis. Given the role of immune activation and microbial translocation in models of liver disease, a shared immune mechanism was hypothesized in the same cohort without other overt causes of liver disease. This study examined whether HIV-related liver stiffness was associated with markers of immune activation or microbial translocation (MT). A retrospective case-control study of subjects with evidence of liver stiffness as defined by a transient elastography stiffness measurement ≥9.3 kPa (cases=133) and normal controls (n=133) from Rakai, Uganda was performed. Cases were matched to controls by age, gender, HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) status. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), endotoxin IgM antibody, soluble CD14 (sCD14), C-reactive protein (CRP), and D-dimer levels were measured. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted matched odds ratios (adjMOR) and 95% confidence intervals. Higher sCD14 levels were associated with a 19% increased odds of liver stiffness (adjMOR=1.19, p=0.002). In HIV-infected individuals, higher sCD14 levels were associated with a 54% increased odds of having liver stiffness (adjMOR=1.54, p<0.001); however, the opposite was observed in HIV-negative individuals (adjMOR=0.57, p=0.001). No other biomarker was significantly associated with liver stiffness, and only one subject was found to have detectable LPS. Liver stiffness in HIV-infected Ugandans is associated with increased sCD14 indicative of monocyte activation in the absence of viral hepatitis or microbial translocation, and suggests that HIV may be directly involved in liver disease.

  10. Liver Stiffness Is Associated With Monocyte Activation in HIV-Infected Ugandans Without Viral Hepatitis

    PubMed Central

    Wendel, Sarah K.; Grabowski, Mary K.; Ocama, Ponsiano; Kiggundu, Valerian; Bbosa, Francis; Boaz, Iga; Balagopal, Ashwin; Reynolds, Steven J.; Gray, Ronald H.; Serwadda, David; Kirk, Gregory D.; Quinn, Thomas C.; Stabinski, Lara

    2013-01-01

    Abstract A high prevalence of liver stiffness, as determined by elevated transient elastography liver stiffness measurement, was previously found in a cohort of HIV-infected Ugandans in the absence of chronic viral hepatitis. Given the role of immune activation and microbial translocation in models of liver disease, a shared immune mechanism was hypothesized in the same cohort without other overt causes of liver disease. This study examined whether HIV-related liver stiffness was associated with markers of immune activation or microbial translocation (MT). A retrospective case-control study of subjects with evidence of liver stiffness as defined by a transient elastography stiffness measurement ≥9.3 kPa (cases=133) and normal controls (n=133) from Rakai, Uganda was performed. Cases were matched to controls by age, gender, HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) status. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), endotoxin IgM antibody, soluble CD14 (sCD14), C-reactive protein (CRP), and D-dimer levels were measured. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted matched odds ratios (adjMOR) and 95% confidence intervals. Higher sCD14 levels were associated with a 19% increased odds of liver stiffness (adjMOR=1.19, p=0.002). In HIV-infected individuals, higher sCD14 levels were associated with a 54% increased odds of having liver stiffness (adjMOR=1.54, p<0.001); however, the opposite was observed in HIV-negative individuals (adjMOR=0.57, p=0.001). No other biomarker was significantly associated with liver stiffness, and only one subject was found to have detectable LPS. Liver stiffness in HIV-infected Ugandans is associated with increased sCD14 indicative of monocyte activation in the absence of viral hepatitis or microbial translocation, and suggests that HIV may be directly involved in liver disease. PMID:23548102

  11. Bone volume fraction and fabric anisotropy are better determinants of trabecular bone stiffness than other morphological variables.

    PubMed

    Maquer, Ghislain; Musy, Sarah N; Wandel, Jasmin; Gross, Thomas; Zysset, Philippe K

    2015-06-01

    As our population ages, more individuals suffer from osteoporosis. This disease leads to impaired trabecular architecture and increased fracture risk. It is essential to understand how morphological and mechanical properties of the cancellous bone are related. Morphology-elasticity relationships based on bone volume fraction (BV/TV) and fabric anisotropy explain up to 98% of the variation in elastic properties. Yet, other morphological variables such as individual trabeculae segmentation (ITS) and trabecular bone score (TBS) could improve the stiffness predictions. A total of 743 micro-computed tomography (μCT) reconstructions of cubic trabecular bone samples extracted from femur, radius, vertebrae, and iliac crest were analyzed. Their morphology was assessed via 25 variables and their stiffness tensor (CFE) was computed from six independent load cases using micro finite element (μFE) analyses. Variance inflation factors were calculated to evaluate collinearity between morphological variables and decide upon their inclusion in morphology-elasticity relationships. The statistically admissible morphological variables were included in a multiple linear regression model of the dependent variable CFE. The contribution of each independent variable was evaluated (ANOVA). Our results show that BV/TV is the best determinant of CFE(r(2) adj  = 0.889), especially in combination with fabric anisotropy (r(2) adj  = 0.968). Including the other independent predictors hardly affected the amount of variance explained by the model (r(2) adj  = 0.975). Across all anatomical sites, BV/TV explained 87% of the variance of the bone elastic properties. Fabric anisotropy further described 10% of the bone stiffness, but the improvement in variance explanation by adding other independent factors was marginal (<1%). These findings confirm that BV/TV and fabric anisotropy are the best determinants of trabecular bone stiffness and show, against common belief, that other

  12. Design of a variable-stiffness flapping mechanism for maximizing the thrust of a bio-inspired underwater robot.

    PubMed

    Park, Yong-Jai; Huh, Tae Myung; Park, Daegeun; Cho, Kyu-Jin

    2014-09-01

    Compliance can increase the thrust generated by the fin of a bio-inspired underwater vehicle. To improve the performance of a compliant fin, the compliance should change with the operating conditions; a fin should become stiffer as the oscillating frequency increases. This paper presents a novel variable-stiffness flapping (VaSF) mechanism that can change its stiffness to maximize the thrust of a bio-inspired underwater robot. The mechanism is designed on the basis of an endoskeleton structure, composed of compliant and rigid segments alternately connected in series. To determine the attachment point of tendons, the anatomy of a dolphin's fluke is considered. Two tendons run through the mechanism to adjust the stiffness. The fluke becomes stiffer when the tendons are pulled to compress the structure. The thrust generated by a prototype mechanism is measured under different conditions to show that the thrust can be maximized by changing the stiffness. The thrust of the VaSF device can approximately triple at a certain frequency just by changing the stiffness. This VaSF mechanism can be used to improve the efficiency of a bio-inspired underwater robot that uses compliance. PMID:24584214

  13. Design of a variable-stiffness flapping mechanism for maximizing the thrust of a bio-inspired underwater robot.

    PubMed

    Park, Yong-Jai; Huh, Tae Myung; Park, Daegeun; Cho, Kyu-Jin

    2014-09-01

    Compliance can increase the thrust generated by the fin of a bio-inspired underwater vehicle. To improve the performance of a compliant fin, the compliance should change with the operating conditions; a fin should become stiffer as the oscillating frequency increases. This paper presents a novel variable-stiffness flapping (VaSF) mechanism that can change its stiffness to maximize the thrust of a bio-inspired underwater robot. The mechanism is designed on the basis of an endoskeleton structure, composed of compliant and rigid segments alternately connected in series. To determine the attachment point of tendons, the anatomy of a dolphin's fluke is considered. Two tendons run through the mechanism to adjust the stiffness. The fluke becomes stiffer when the tendons are pulled to compress the structure. The thrust generated by a prototype mechanism is measured under different conditions to show that the thrust can be maximized by changing the stiffness. The thrust of the VaSF device can approximately triple at a certain frequency just by changing the stiffness. This VaSF mechanism can be used to improve the efficiency of a bio-inspired underwater robot that uses compliance.

  14. Leg stiffness: comparison between unilateral and bilateral hopping tasks.

    PubMed

    Brauner, Torsten; Sterzing, Thorsten; Wulf, Mathias; Horstmann, Thomas

    2014-02-01

    Leg stiffness is a predictor of athletic performance and injury and typically evaluated during bilateral hopping. The contribution of each limb to bilateral leg stiffness, however, is not well understood. This study investigated leg stiffness during unilateral and bilateral hopping to address the following research questions: (1) does the magnitude and variability of leg stiffness differ between dominant and non-dominant legs? (2) Does unilateral leg stiffness differ from bilateral leg stiffness? and (3) Is bilateral leg stiffness determined by unilateral leg stiffness? Thirty-two physically active males performed repeated hopping tests on a force platform for each of the three conditions: bilateral hopping, unilateral hopping on the dominant leg, and unilateral hopping on the non-dominant leg. Leg stiffness was estimated as the ratio of the peak vertical force and the maximum displacement using a simple 1-D mass-spring model. Neither the magnitude nor variability of leg stiffness differed between dominant and non-dominant limbs. Unilateral leg stiffness was 24% lower than bilateral stiffness and showed less variability between consecutive hops and subjects. Unilateral leg stiffness explained 76% of the variance in bilateral leg stiffness. We conclude that leg stiffness estimates during unilateral hopping are preferable for intervention studies because of their low variability. PMID:24290613

  15. Active Struts With Variable Spring Stiffness and Damping

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farley, Gary L.

    2006-01-01

    An ultrasonic rock-abrasion tool (URAT) was developed using the same principle of ultrasonic/sonic actuation as that of the tools described in two prior NASA Tech Briefs articles: Ultrasonic/ Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors (NPO-20856), Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2001), page 38 and Ultrasonic/ Sonic Mechanisms for Drilling and Coring (NPO-30291), Vol. 27, No. 9 (September 2003), page 65. Hence, like those tools, the URAT offers the same advantages of low power demand, mechanical simplicity, compactness, and ability to function with very small axial loading (very small contact force between tool and rock). Like a tool described in the second of the cited previous articles, a URAT includes (1) a drive mechanism that comprises a piezoelectric ultrasonic actuator, an amplification horn, and a mass that is free to move axially over a limited range and (2) an abrasion tool bit. A URAT tool bit is a disk that has been machined or otherwise formed to have a large number of teeth and an overall shape chosen to impart the desired shape (which could be flat or curved) to the rock surface to be abraded. In operation, the disk and thus the teeth are vibrated in contact with the rock surface. The concentrated stresses at the tips of the impinging teeth repeatedly induce microfractures and thereby abrade the rock. The motion of the tool induces an ultrasonic transport effect that displaces the cuttings from the abraded area. The figure shows a prototype URAT. A piezoelectric-stack/horn actuator is housed in a cylindrical container. The movement of the actuator and bit with respect to the housing is aided by use of mechanical sliders. A set of springs accommodates the motion of the actuator and bit into or out of the housing through an axial range between 5 and 7 mm. The springs impose an approximately constant force of contact between the tool bit and the rock to be abraded. A dust shield surrounds the bit, serving as a barrier to reduce the migration of rock debris to sensitive instrumentation or mechanisms in the vicinity. A bushing at the tool-bit end of the housing reduces the flow of dust into the actuator and retains the bit when no axial load is applied.

  16. Design of a variable-stiffness robotic hand using pneumatic soft rubber actuators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nagase, Jun-ya; Wakimoto, Shuichi; Satoh, Toshiyuki; Saga, Norihiko; Suzumori, Koichi

    2011-10-01

    In recent years, Japanese society has been ageing, engendering a labor shortage of young workers. Robots are therefore expected to be useful in performing tasks such as day-to-day support for elderly people. In particular, robots that are intended for use in the field of medical care and welfare are expected to be safe when operating in a human environment because they often come into contact with people. Furthermore, robots must perform various tasks such as regrasping, grasping of soft objects, and tasks using frictional force. Given these demands and circumstances, a tendon-driven robot hand with a stiffness changing finger has been developed. The finger surface stiffness can be altered by adjusting the input pressure depending on the task. Additionally, the coefficient of static friction can be altered by changing the surface stiffness merely by adjusting the input air pressure. This report describes the basic structure, driving mechanism, and basic properties of the proposed robot hand.

  17. Lifetime vigorous but not light-to-moderate habitual physical activity impacts favorably on carotid stiffness in young adults: the amsterdam growth and health longitudinal study.

    PubMed

    van de Laar, Roel J; Ferreira, Isabel; van Mechelen, Willem; Prins, Martin H; Twisk, Jos W; Stehouwer, Coen D

    2010-01-01

    Higher levels of habitual physical activity favorably impact on arterial stiffness. It is not clear, however, whether lifetime habitual physical activities of different intensities carry the same protective effect and to what extent any such effect is mediated by other biological cardiovascular risk factors. We, therefore, examined longitudinal data on habitual physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors (8 repeated measures between the ages of 13 and 36 years) in 373 subjects in whom stiffness estimates of the carotid artery were assessed at age 36 years using noninvasive ultrasonography. The time spent in habitual physical activities (in minutes per week) throughout the longitudinal period was compared between subjects across tertiles of the following stiffness estimates: beta-stiffness index, distensibility and compliance coefficients, and the Young's elastic modulus. After adjustments for sex, body height, and other lifestyle variables, subjects in the highest tertile of the beta-stiffness index (ie, with stiffer arteries) had spent, on average, throughout the longitudinal period, less time in vigorous (-26.5 [95% CI: -45.9 to -7.1]) but less so in light-to-moderate habitual physical activities (-11.2 [95% CI: -53.5 to 31.1]) as compared with subjects in the lowest tertile. The difference in time spent in vigorous activities was greatly attenuated when further adjusted for blood lipids, cardiorespiratory fitness, fat distribution, resting heart rate, and mean arterial pressure (to -11.2 [95% CI: -29.4 to 7.0]). Similar results were found for the other stiffness estimates. Promoting vigorous intensity physical activities among the healthy young may, therefore, prevent arterial stiffness and related cardiovascular sequelae later in life, partly through its favorable impact on other biological cardiovascular risk factors.

  18. Bill Armstrong memorial session: elastic modulus and strain recovery testing of variable stiffness composites for structural reconfiguration applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKnight, Geoff; Doty, Robert; Herrera, Guillermo; Henry, Chris

    2007-04-01

    Morphing structures have the potential to significantly improve vehicle performance over existing fixed component designs. In this paper, we examine new composite material design approaches to provide combined high stiffness and large reversible deformation. These composites employ shape memory polymers (SMP) matrices combined with segmented metallic reinforcement to create materials with variable stiffness properties and reversible accommodation of relatively large strains. By adjusting the temperature of the sample, the storage modulus can be varied up to 200x. We demonstrate the segmented composite concept in prototype materials made using thermoplastic polyurethane SMP reinforced with interlocking segmented steel platelets. Measured storage moduli varied from 5-12 GPa, below SMP T g, and 0.1-0.5 GPa above SMP T g. The samples demonstrated more than 95% recovery from induced axial strains of 5% at 80°C. Viscoelastic effects are dominant in this regime and we investigate the rate dependence of strain recovery.

  19. Palladin Mediates Stiffness-Induced Fibroblast Activation in the Tumor Microenvironment

    PubMed Central

    McLane, Joshua S.; Ligon, Lee A.

    2015-01-01

    Mechanical properties of the tumor microenvironment have emerged as key factors in tumor progression. It has been proposed that increased tissue stiffness can transform stromal fibroblasts into carcinoma-associated fibroblasts. However, it is unclear whether the three to five times increase in stiffness seen in tumor-adjacent stroma is sufficient for fibroblast activation. In this study we developed a three-dimensional (3D) hydrogel model with precisely tunable stiffness and show that a physiologically relevant increase in stiffness is sufficient to lead to fibroblast activation. We found that soluble factors including CC-motif chemokine ligand (CCL) chemokines and fibronectin are necessary for this activation, and the combination of C-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CCR4) chemokine receptors and β1 and β3 integrins are necessary to transduce these chemomechanical signals. We then show that these chemomechanical signals lead to the gene expression changes associated with fibroblast activation via a network of intracellular signaling pathways that include focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Finally, we identify the actin-associated protein palladin as a key node in these signaling pathways that result in fibroblast activation. PMID:26200861

  20. Investigation of the biomechanical effect of variable stiffness shoe on external knee adduction moment in various dynamic exercises

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The growing ageing population and high prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) in athletes across nations have created a strong demand for improved non-invasive therapeutic alternatives for knee OA. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of the variable stiffness shoe (VSS), a new non-invasive therapeutic approach, on external knee adduction moment (EKAM) in various dynamic exercises. EKAM is believed to have positive correlation with the progression and development of knee OA. Methods Thirty young participants (16 male and 14 female; age 22.6 ± 1.9 years) from National University of Singapore were enrolled in this study. The tested activities were walking, running, drop-landing, and lateral hopping. All the dynamic exercises were recorded simultaneously by the 8-camera VICON Motion Systems (Oxford Metric, UK) with a sampling rate of 100 Hz. Results The results showed that the EKAM was reduced in all the dynamic exercises with the use of VSS. The VSS produced significant reductions in the peak EKAM during walking (4.97%, p = 0.039), running (11.15%, p = 0.011), drop-landing (11.18%, p = 0.038) and lateral hopping (17.34%, p = 0.023) as compared to the control shoe. Conclusions The reduction of EKAM with the use of VSS in various dynamic exercises demonstrates its potential in delaying the onset and the progression of knee OA in early stage of knee OA patients. PMID:24044429

  1. Cellular contractility and extracellular matrix stiffness regulate matrix metalloproteinase activity in pancreatic cancer cells.

    PubMed

    Haage, Amanda; Schneider, Ian C

    2014-08-01

    The pathogenesis of cancer is often driven by local invasion and metastasis. Recently, mechanical properties of the tumor microenvironment have been identified as potent regulators of invasion and metastasis, while matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are classically known as significant enhancers of cancer cell migration and invasion. Here we have been able to sensitively measure MMP activity changes in response to specific extracellular matrix (ECM) environments and cell contractility states. Cells of a pancreatic cancer cell line, Panc-1, up-regulate MMP activities between 3- and 10-fold with increased cell contractility. Conversely, they down-regulate MMP activities when contractility is blocked to levels seen with pan-MMP activity inhibitors. Similar, albeit attenuated, responses are seen in other pancreatic cancer cell lines, BxPC-3 and AsPC-1. In addition, MMP activity was modulated by substrate stiffness, collagen gel concentration, and the degree of collagen cross-linking, when cells were plated on collagen gels ranging from 0.5 to 5 mg/ml that span the physiological range of substrate stiffness (50-2000 Pa). Panc-1 cells showed enhanced MMP activity on stiffer substrates, whereas BxPC-3 and AsPC-1 cells showed diminished MMP activity. In addition, eliminating heparan sulfate proteoglycans using heparinase completely abrogated the mechanical induction of MMP activity. These results demonstrate the first functional link between MMP activity, contractility, and ECM stiffness and provide an explanation as to why stiffer environments result in enhanced cell migration and invasion.

  2. Variable spectra of active galaxies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Halpern, Jules P.

    1988-01-01

    The analysis of EXOSAT spectra of active galaxies are presented. The objects examined for X-ray spectral variability were MR 2251-178 and 3C 120. The results of these investigations are described, as well as additional results on X-ray spectral variability related to EXOSAT observations of active galaxies. Additionally, the dipping X-ray source 4U1624-49 was also investigated.

  3. The Impact of Remote Ischemic Preconditioning on Arterial Stiffness and Heart Rate Variability in Patients with Angina Pectoris.

    PubMed

    Zagidullin, Naufal; Scherbakova, Elena; Safina, Yuliana; Zulkarneev, Rustem; Zagidullin, Shamil

    2016-01-01

    Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) is the set of ischemia episodes that protects against subsequent periods of prolonged ischemia through the cascade of adaptive responses; however, the mechanisms of RIPC are not entirely clear. Here, we aimed to study the impact of RIPC in patients with stable angina pectoris and compare it with healthy individuals with respect to arterial stiffness and heart rate variability. In the randomized, sham-controlled, crossover blind design study, a group of 30 coronary heart disease (CHD) patients (63.9 ± 1.6 years) with stable angina pectoris NYHA II-III and a control group of 20 healthy individuals (58.2 ± 2.49) were both randomly allocated for remote RIPC or sham RIPC. Arterial stiffness, pulse wave velocity (Spygmacor, Australia), and heart rate variability (HRV) were recorded before and after the procedure followed by the crossover examination. In the group of healthy individuals, RIPC showed virtually no impact on the cardiovascular parameters, while, in the CHD group, the systolic and central systolic blood pressure, central pulse pressure, and augmentation decreased, and total power of HRV improved. We conclude that ischemic preconditioning reduces not only systolic blood pressure, but also reduces central systolic blood pressure and improves arterial compliance and heart rate modulation reserve, which may be associated with the antianginal effect of preconditioning. PMID:27348009

  4. The Impact of Remote Ischemic Preconditioning on Arterial Stiffness and Heart Rate Variability in Patients with Angina Pectoris

    PubMed Central

    Zagidullin, Naufal; Scherbakova, Elena; Safina, Yuliana; Zulkarneev, Rustem; Zagidullin, Shamil

    2016-01-01

    Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) is the set of ischemia episodes that protects against subsequent periods of prolonged ischemia through the cascade of adaptive responses; however, the mechanisms of RIPC are not entirely clear. Here, we aimed to study the impact of RIPC in patients with stable angina pectoris and compare it with healthy individuals with respect to arterial stiffness and heart rate variability. In the randomized, sham-controlled, crossover blind design study, a group of 30 coronary heart disease (CHD) patients (63.9 ± 1.6 years) with stable angina pectoris NYHA II-III and a control group of 20 healthy individuals (58.2 ± 2.49) were both randomly allocated for remote RIPC or sham RIPC. Arterial stiffness, pulse wave velocity (Spygmacor, Australia), and heart rate variability (HRV) were recorded before and after the procedure followed by the crossover examination. In the group of healthy individuals, RIPC showed virtually no impact on the cardiovascular parameters, while, in the CHD group, the systolic and central systolic blood pressure, central pulse pressure, and augmentation decreased, and total power of HRV improved. We conclude that ischemic preconditioning reduces not only systolic blood pressure, but also reduces central systolic blood pressure and improves arterial compliance and heart rate modulation reserve, which may be associated with the antianginal effect of preconditioning. PMID:27348009

  5. The Impact of Remote Ischemic Preconditioning on Arterial Stiffness and Heart Rate Variability in Patients with Angina Pectoris.

    PubMed

    Zagidullin, Naufal; Scherbakova, Elena; Safina, Yuliana; Zulkarneev, Rustem; Zagidullin, Shamil

    2016-06-23

    Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) is the set of ischemia episodes that protects against subsequent periods of prolonged ischemia through the cascade of adaptive responses; however, the mechanisms of RIPC are not entirely clear. Here, we aimed to study the impact of RIPC in patients with stable angina pectoris and compare it with healthy individuals with respect to arterial stiffness and heart rate variability. In the randomized, sham-controlled, crossover blind design study, a group of 30 coronary heart disease (CHD) patients (63.9 ± 1.6 years) with stable angina pectoris NYHA II-III and a control group of 20 healthy individuals (58.2 ± 2.49) were both randomly allocated for remote RIPC or sham RIPC. Arterial stiffness, pulse wave velocity (Spygmacor, Australia), and heart rate variability (HRV) were recorded before and after the procedure followed by the crossover examination. In the group of healthy individuals, RIPC showed virtually no impact on the cardiovascular parameters, while, in the CHD group, the systolic and central systolic blood pressure, central pulse pressure, and augmentation decreased, and total power of HRV improved. We conclude that ischemic preconditioning reduces not only systolic blood pressure, but also reduces central systolic blood pressure and improves arterial compliance and heart rate modulation reserve, which may be associated with the antianginal effect of preconditioning.

  6. Force control compensation method with variable load stiffness and damping of the hydraulic drive unit force control system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kong, Xiangdong; Ba, Kaixian; Yu, Bin; Cao, Yuan; Zhu, Qixin; Zhao, Hualong

    2016-05-01

    Each joint of hydraulic drive quadruped robot is driven by the hydraulic drive unit (HDU), and the contacting between the robot foot end and the ground is complex and variable, which increases the difficulty of force control inevitably. In the recent years, although many scholars researched some control methods such as disturbance rejection control, parameter self-adaptive control, impedance control and so on, to improve the force control performance of HDU, the robustness of the force control still needs improving. Therefore, how to simulate the complex and variable load characteristics of the environment structure and how to ensure HDU having excellent force control performance with the complex and variable load characteristics are key issues to be solved in this paper. The force control system mathematic model of HDU is established by the mechanism modeling method, and the theoretical models of a novel force control compensation method and a load characteristics simulation method under different environment structures are derived, considering the dynamic characteristics of the load stiffness and the load damping under different environment structures. Then, simulation effects of the variable load stiffness and load damping under the step and sinusoidal load force are analyzed experimentally on the HDU force control performance test platform, which provides the foundation for the force control compensation experiment research. In addition, the optimized PID control parameters are designed to make the HDU have better force control performance with suitable load stiffness and load damping, under which the force control compensation method is introduced, and the robustness of the force control system with several constant load characteristics and the variable load characteristics respectively are comparatively analyzed by experiment. The research results indicate that if the load characteristics are known, the force control compensation method presented in this

  7. Regulation of astrocyte activity via control over stiffness of cellulose acetate electrospun nanofiber.

    PubMed

    Min, Seul Ki; Jung, Sang Myung; Ju, Jung Hyeon; Kwon, Yeo Seon; Yoon, Gwang Heum; Shin, Hwa Sung

    2015-10-01

    Astrocytes are involved in neuron protection following central nervous system (CNS) injury; accordingly, engineered astrocytes have been investigated for their usefulness in cell therapy for CNS injury. Nanofibers have attracted a great deal of attention in neural tissue engineering, but their mechanical properties greatly influence physiology. Cellulose acetate (CA) has been studied for use in scaffolds owing to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, and good thermal stability. In this study, stiffness of CA nanofibers controlled by heat treatment was shown to regulate astrocyte activity. Adhesion and viability increased in culture as substrate became stiffer but showed saturation at greater than 2 MPa of tensile strength. Astrocytes became more active in terms of increasing intermediate filament glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The results of this study demonstrate the effects of stiffness alone on cellular behaviors in a three-dimensional culture and highlight the efficacy of heat-treated CA for astrocyte culture in that the simple treatment enables control of astrocyte activity. PMID:26091629

  8. Regulation of astrocyte activity via control over stiffness of cellulose acetate electrospun nanofiber.

    PubMed

    Min, Seul Ki; Jung, Sang Myung; Ju, Jung Hyeon; Kwon, Yeo Seon; Yoon, Gwang Heum; Shin, Hwa Sung

    2015-10-01

    Astrocytes are involved in neuron protection following central nervous system (CNS) injury; accordingly, engineered astrocytes have been investigated for their usefulness in cell therapy for CNS injury. Nanofibers have attracted a great deal of attention in neural tissue engineering, but their mechanical properties greatly influence physiology. Cellulose acetate (CA) has been studied for use in scaffolds owing to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, and good thermal stability. In this study, stiffness of CA nanofibers controlled by heat treatment was shown to regulate astrocyte activity. Adhesion and viability increased in culture as substrate became stiffer but showed saturation at greater than 2 MPa of tensile strength. Astrocytes became more active in terms of increasing intermediate filament glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The results of this study demonstrate the effects of stiffness alone on cellular behaviors in a three-dimensional culture and highlight the efficacy of heat-treated CA for astrocyte culture in that the simple treatment enables control of astrocyte activity.

  9. Note: Vibration suppression using tunable vibration absorber based on stiffness variable magneto-rheological gel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shin, Beom-Cheol; Yoon, Jung-Hwan; Kim, Young-Keun; Kim, Kyung-Soo

    2015-10-01

    This paper proposes a novel adaptive tunable vibration absorber (TVA) based on a smart material the magnetorheological gel (MRG) to achieve a wide range of tonal vibration suppression on the primary system to protect any connected sensitive device. The vibration suppression performance of the MRG TVA was analyzed by conducting a modal test of the primary system under different magnetic fields. The experiment verified that the proposed MRG TVA can be controlled to produce 379% of stiffness change or 115% of tuning frequency under just 200 mT magnetic field. The proposed MRG TVA was found to possess a wider tuning frequency range than the TVA based on other smart material such as magnetorheological elastomer.

  10. Matrix stiffness modulates formation and activity of neuronal networks of controlled architectures.

    PubMed

    Lantoine, Joséphine; Grevesse, Thomas; Villers, Agnès; Delhaye, Geoffrey; Mestdagh, Camille; Versaevel, Marie; Mohammed, Danahe; Bruyère, Céline; Alaimo, Laura; Lacour, Stéphanie P; Ris, Laurence; Gabriele, Sylvain

    2016-05-01

    The ability to construct easily in vitro networks of primary neurons organized with imposed topologies is required for neural tissue engineering as well as for the development of neuronal interfaces with desirable characteristics. However, accumulating evidence suggests that the mechanical properties of the culture matrix can modulate important neuronal functions such as growth, extension, branching and activity. Here we designed robust and reproducible laminin-polylysine grid micropatterns on cell culture substrates that have similar biochemical properties but a 100-fold difference in Young's modulus to investigate the role of the matrix rigidity on the formation and activity of cortical neuronal networks. We found that cell bodies of primary cortical neurons gradually accumulate in circular islands, whereas axonal extensions spread on linear tracks to connect circular islands. Our findings indicate that migration of cortical neurons is enhanced on soft substrates, leading to a faster formation of neuronal networks. Furthermore, the pre-synaptic density was two times higher on stiff substrates and consistently the number of action potentials and miniature synaptic currents was enhanced on stiff substrates. Taken together, our results provide compelling evidence to indicate that matrix stiffness is a key parameter to modulate the growth dynamics, synaptic density and electrophysiological activity of cortical neuronal networks, thus providing useful information on scaffold design for neural tissue engineering.

  11. Wing Torsional Stiffness Tests of the Active Aeroelastic Wing F/A-18 Airplane

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lokos, William A.; Olney, Candida D.; Crawford, Natalie D.; Stauf, Rick; Reichenbach, Eric Y.

    2002-01-01

    The left wing of the Active Aeroelastic Wing (AAW) F/A-18 airplane has been ground-load-tested to quantify its torsional stiffness. The test has been performed at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in November 1996, and again in April 2001 after a wing skin modification was performed. The primary objectives of these tests were to characterize the wing behavior before the first flight, and provide a before-and-after measurement of the torsional stiffness. Two streamwise load couples have been applied. The wing skin modification is shown to have more torsional flexibility than the original configuration has. Additionally, structural hysteresis is shown to be reduced by the skin modification. Data comparisons show good repeatability between the tests.

  12. Different Contributions of Physical Activity on Arterial Stiffness between Diabetics and Non-Diabetics

    PubMed Central

    Ando, Jiro; Watanabe, Masafumi; Murasawa, Takahide; Komuro, Issei

    2016-01-01

    Background We compared the contribution of physical activity to the change in arterial stiffness between patients with and without diabetes in ischemic heart disease. Methods We studied 96 (diabetes) and 109 (without diabetes) patients with ischemic heart disease treated by percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Arterial stiffness was assessed by cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) at the first diagnosis of significant coronary ischemia and 6 months after PCI and optimal medical therapy. Physical activity was evaluated using the long form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Results CAVI values increased more for diabetic patients than for non-diabetic. The IPAQ scores did not differ between the two groups. During follow-up, CAVI values did not significantly change in either group. In diabetic patients, the CAVI score for 48 patients did not change (NC-group) and 48 patients improved (Improved-group). Physical activity scores were 937.9 ± 923.2 and 1524.6 ± 1166.2 in the NC- and Improved-groups, respectively. IPAQ scores and uric acid levels significantly affect CAVI improvement after adjusting for age, sex, baseline CAVI, total cholesterol, and estimated glomerular filtration rate. Conclusion Determining factors influencing CAVI improvement during follow-up were significantly different between patients with and without diabetes. IPAQ scores and uric acid levels were significantly correlated with CAVI changes. PMID:27508936

  13. Active pneumatic vibration isolation system using negative stiffness structures for a vehicle seat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Danh, Le Thanh; Ahn, Kyoung Kwan

    2014-02-01

    In this paper, an active pneumatic vibration isolation system using negative stiffness structures (NSS) for a vehicle seat in low excitation frequencies is proposed, which is named as an active system with NSS. Here, the negative stiffness structures (NSS) are used to minimize the vibratory attraction of a vehicle seat. Owing to the time-varying and nonlinear behavior of the proposed system, it is not easy to build an accurate dynamic for model-based controller design. Thus, an adaptive intelligent backstepping controller (AIBC) is designed to manage the system operation for high-isolation effectiveness. In addition, an auxiliary control effort is also introduced to eliminate the effect of the unpredictable perturbations. Moreover, a radial basis function neural network (RBFNN) model is utilized to estimate the optimal gain of the auxiliary control effort. Final control input and the adaptive law for updating coefficients of the approximate series can be obtained step by step using a suitable Lyapunov function. Afterward, the isolation performance of the proposed system is assessed experimentally. In addition, the effectiveness of the designed controller for the proposed system is also compared with that of the traditional backstepping controller (BC). The experimental results show that the isolation effectiveness of the proposed system is better than that of the active system without NSS. Furthermore, the undesirable chattering phenomenon in control effort is quite reduced by the estimation mechanism. Finally, some concluding remarks are given at the end of the paper.

  14. Influence of recreational activity and muscle strength on ulnar bending stiffness in men

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Myburgh, K. H.; Charette, S.; Zhou, L.; Steele, C. R.; Arnaud, S.; Marcus, R.

    1993-01-01

    Bone bending stiffness (modulus of elasticity [E] x moment of inertia [I]), a measure of bone strength, is related to its mineral content (BMC) and geometry and may be influenced by exercise. We evaluated the relationship of habitual recreational exercise and muscle strength to ulnar EI, width, and BMC in 51 healthy men, 28-61 yr of age. BMC and width were measured by single photon absorptiometry and EI by mechanical resistance tissue analysis. Maximum biceps strength was determined dynamically (1-RM) and grip strength isometrically. Subjects were classified as sedentary (S) (N = 13), moderately (M) (N = 18), or highly active (H) (N = 20) and exercised 0.2 +/- 0.2; 2.2 +/- 1.3; and 6.8 +/- 2.3 h.wk-1 (P < 0.001). H had greater biceps (P < 0.0005) and grip strength (P < 0.05), ulnar BMC (P < 0.05), and ulnar EI (P = 0.01) than M or S, who were similar. Amount of activity correlated with grip and biceps strength (r = 0.47 and 0.49; P < 0.001), but not with bone measurements, whereas muscle strength correlated with both EI and BMC (r = 0.40-0.52, P < 0.005). EI also correlated significantly with both BMC and ulnar width (P < 0.0001). Ulnar width and biceps strength were the only independent predictors of EI (r2 = 0.67, P < 0.0001). We conclude that levels of physical activity sufficient to increase arm strength influence ulnar bending stiffness.

  15. Age-related muscle activation profiles and joint stiffness regulation in repetitive hopping.

    PubMed

    Hoffrén, Merja; Ishikawa, Masaki; Rantalainen, Timo; Avela, Janne; Komi, Paavo V

    2011-06-01

    It is well documented that increasing effort during exercise is characterized by an increase in electromyographic activity of the relevant muscles. How aging influences this relationship is a matter of great interest. In the present study, nine young and 24 elderly subjects did repetitive hopping with maximal effort as well as with 50%, 65%, 75% and 90% intensities. During hopping joint kinematics were measured together with electromyographic activity (EMG) from the soleus, gastrocnemius medialis, gastrocnemius lateralis and tibialis anterior muscles. The results showed that agonist activation increased in both age groups with increasing intensity. The highest jumping efficiency (EMG ratio of the braking phase to the push off-phase activation) was achieved with moderate hopping intensities (65-75%) in both the young and in the elderly. Age-comparison showed that elderly subjects had high agonist preactivation but thereafter lower activation during the braking phase. Antagonist coactivation was minimal and did not show age- or intensity-specificity. The elderly had more flexed knees at the instant of ground contact. When intensity increased, the elderly also plantarflexed their ankles more before ground contact. Ankle joint stiffness was lower in elderly subjects only in high hopping intensities (90% and Max). These results confirm that age-specific agonist muscle activation profiles exist during hopping even when exercise intensities are matched on the relative scale. The results suggest further that the elderly can adjust their reduced neuromuscular capacity to match the demands set by different exercise intensities.

  16. Arterial Stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Avolio, Alberto

    2013-01-01

    Stiffness of large arteries has been long recognized as a significant determinant of pulse pressure. However, it is only in recent decades, with the accumulation of longitudinal data from large and varied epidemiological studies of morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease, that it has emerged as an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk. This has generated substantial interest in investigations related to intrinsic causative and associated factors responsible for the alteration of mechanical properties of the arterial wall, with the aim to uncover specific pathways that could be interrogated to prevent or reverse arterial stiffening. Much has been written on the haemodynamic relevance of arterial stiffness in terms of the quantification of pulsatile relationships of blood pressure and flow in conduit arteries. Indeed, much of this early work regarded blood vessels as passive elastic conduits, with the endothelial layer considered as an inactive lining of the lumen and as an interface to flowing blood. However, recent advances in molecular biology and increased technological sophistication for the detection of low concentrations of biochemical compounds have elucidated the highly important regulatory role of the endothelial cell affecting vascular function. These techniques have enabled research into the interaction of the underlying passive mechanical properties of the arterial wall with the active cellular and molecular processes that regulate the local environment of the load-bearing components. This review addresses these emerging concepts. PMID:26587425

  17. THE DIFFERENTIAL REGULATION OF CELL MOTILE ACTIVITY THROUGH MATRIX STIFFNESS AND POROSITY IN THREE DIMENSIONAL COLLAGEN MATRICES

    PubMed Central

    Miron-Mendoza, Miguel; Seemann, Joachim; Grinnell, Frederick

    2010-01-01

    In three dimensional collagen matrices, cell motile activity results in collagen translocation, cell spreading and cell migration. Cells can penetrate into the matrix as well as spread and migrate along its surface. In the current studies, we quantitatively characterize collagen translocation, cell spreading and cell migration in relationship to collagen matrix stiffness and porosity. Collagen matrices prepared with 1 to 4 mg/ml collagen exhibited matrix stiffness (storage modulus measured by oscillating rheometry) increasing from 4 to 60 Pa and matrix porosity (measured by scanning electron microscopy) decreasing from 4 to 1 μm2. Over this collagen concentration range, the consequences of cell motile activity changed markedly. As collagen concentration increased, cells no longer were able to cause translocation of collagen fibrils. Cell migration increased and cell spreading changed from dendritic to more flattened and polarized morphology depending on location of cells within or on the surface of the matrix. Collagen translocation appeared to depend primarily on matrix stiffness, whereas cell spreading and migration were less dependent on matrix stiffness and more dependent on collagen matrix porosity. PMID:20537378

  18. Active noise control using noise source having adaptive resonant frequency tuning through stiffness variation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pla, Frederic G. (Inventor); Rajiyah, Harindra (Inventor); Renshaw, Anthony A. (Inventor); Hedeen, Robert A. (Inventor)

    1995-01-01

    A noise source for an aircraft engine active noise cancellation system in which the resonant frequency of a noise radiating element is tuned to permit noise cancellation over a wide range of frequencies. The resonant frequency of the noise radiating element is tuned by a plurality of force transmitting mechanisms which contact the noise radiating element. Each one of the force transmitting mechanisms includes an expandable element and a spring in contact with the noise radiating element so that excitation of the element varies the spring force applied to the noise radiating element. The elements are actuated by a controller which receives input of a signal proportional to displacement of the noise radiating element and a signal corresponding to the blade passage frequency of the engine's fan. In response, the controller determines a control signal which is sent to the elements and causes the spring force applied to the noise radiating element to be varied. The force transmitting mechanisms can be arranged to either produce bending or linear stiffness variations in the noise radiating element.

  19. Association between arterial stiffness, disease activity and functional impairment in ankylosing spondylitis patients: a cross-sectional study.

    PubMed

    Avram, Claudiu; Drăgoi, Răzvan Gabriel; Popoviciu, Horațiu; Drăgoi, Mihai; Avram, Adina; Amaricăi, Elena

    2016-08-01

    Cardiovascular risk is an important factor for increased morbidity and mortality in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. The aim of this study is to assess arterial stiffness in relation to the disease activity and functional limitation in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Twenty-four patients (mean age 45.8 ± 11.7 years) suffering of ankylosing spondylitis (disease duration 11.1 ± 5.1 years) and 24 gender and age-matched healthy controls were included in the study. Clinical, biological, and functional status of ankylosing spondylitis patients was recorded. Arterial stiffness was assessed by measuring pulse wave velocity (PWV) and pulse wave analysis (PWA) was performed using applanation tonometry. We found significant differences between ankylosing spondylitis patients and healthy controls in regard to PWV (p = 0.047), aortic augmentation pressure-AP (p = 0.028), augmentation index-AIx (p = 0.038) and aortic augmentation index adjusted for heart rate-AIx75 (p = 0.011). PWV and AIx75 were significantly associated with the disease functioning score-BASFI (p = 0.012, r = 0.504; p = 0.041, r = 0.421). Aortic AP and augmentation indexes (AIx and AIx75) were all associated to ASDAS score (p = 0.028, r = 0.448; p = 0.005, r = 0.549; p = 0.025, r = 0.455). Our study showed that ankylosing spondylitis patients have a higher arterial stiffness than the age-matched controls, leading to an increased cardiovascular risk. We found that arterial stiffness is positively associated with disease activity and functional impairment. Chronic spondiloarthropaties should be screened for arterial stiffness, even in the absence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, in order to benefit from primary prevention measures.

  20. Evaluation of stiffness and plastic deformation of active ceramic self-ligating bracket clips after repetitive opening and closure movements

    PubMed Central

    Carneiro, Grace Kelly Martins; Roque, Juliano Alves; Segundo, Aguinaldo Silva Garcez; Suzuki, Hideo

    2015-01-01

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess whether repetitive opening and closure of self-ligating bracket clips can cause plastic deformation of the clip. METHODS: Three types of active/interactive ceramic self-ligating brackets (n = 20) were tested: In-Ovation C, Quicklear and WOW. A standardized controlled device performed 500 cycles of opening and closure movements of the bracket clip with proper instruments and techniques adapted as recommended by the manufacturer of each bracket type. Two tensile tests, one before and one after the repetitive cycles, were performed to assess the stiffness of the clips. To this end, a custom-made stainless steel 0.40 x 0.40 mm wire was inserted into the bracket slot and adapted to the universal testing machine (EMIC DL2000), after which measurements were recorded. On the loading portion of the loading-unloading curve of clips, the slope fitted a first-degree equation curve to determine the stiffness/deflection rate of the clip. RESULTS: The results of plastic deformation showed no significant difference among bracket types before and after the 500 cycles of opening and closure (p = 0.811). There were significant differences on stiffness among the three types of brackets (p = 0.005). The WOW bracket had higher mean values, whereas Quicklear bracket had lower values, regardless of the opening/closure cycle. CONCLUSION: Repetitive controlled opening and closure movements of the clip did not alter stiffness or cause plastic deformation. PMID:26352844

  1. Myo1g is an active player in maintaining cell stiffness in B-lymphocytes.

    PubMed

    López-Ortega, O; Ovalle-García, E; Ortega-Blake, I; Antillón, A; Chávez-Munguía, B; Patiño-López, G; Fragoso-Soriano, R; Santos-Argumedo, L

    2016-05-01

    B-lymphocytes are migrating cells that specialize in antigen presentation, antibody secretion, and endocytosis; these processes implicate the modulation of plasma membrane elasticity. Cell stiffness is a force generated by the interaction between the actin-cytoskeleton and the plasma membrane, which requires the participation of several proteins. These proteins include class I myosins, which are now considered to play a role in controlling membrane-cytoskeleton interactions. In this study, we identified the motor protein Myosin 1g (Myo1g) as a mediator of this phenomenon. The absence of Myo1g decreased the cell stiffness, affecting cell adhesion, cell spreading, phagocytosis, and endocytosis in B-lymphocytes. The results described here reveal a novel molecular mechanism by which Myo1g mediates and regulates cell stiffness in B-lymphocytes. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27106882

  2. Myo1g is an active player in maintaining cell stiffness in B-lymphocytes.

    PubMed

    López-Ortega, O; Ovalle-García, E; Ortega-Blake, I; Antillón, A; Chávez-Munguía, B; Patiño-López, G; Fragoso-Soriano, R; Santos-Argumedo, L

    2016-05-01

    B-lymphocytes are migrating cells that specialize in antigen presentation, antibody secretion, and endocytosis; these processes implicate the modulation of plasma membrane elasticity. Cell stiffness is a force generated by the interaction between the actin-cytoskeleton and the plasma membrane, which requires the participation of several proteins. These proteins include class I myosins, which are now considered to play a role in controlling membrane-cytoskeleton interactions. In this study, we identified the motor protein Myosin 1g (Myo1g) as a mediator of this phenomenon. The absence of Myo1g decreased the cell stiffness, affecting cell adhesion, cell spreading, phagocytosis, and endocytosis in B-lymphocytes. The results described here reveal a novel molecular mechanism by which Myo1g mediates and regulates cell stiffness in B-lymphocytes. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. A comparative analysis of the center of gravity and center of pressure trajectory path lengths in standing posture: an estimation of active stiffness.

    PubMed

    Caron, O; Gelat, T; Rougier, P; Blanchi, J P

    2000-08-01

    The center of foot pressure (CP) motions, representing the net neuromuscular control, was compared to the center of gravity (CG) motions, representing the net performance. The comparison focused on the trajectory path length parameter along the medio-lateral and antero-posterior axes because these two variables depend on amplitude versus frequency relationship. This relationship was used to evaluate the CG motions based on the CP motions. Seven subjects stood still on a force plate with eyes open and eyes closed. The results showed that the ratio of (CP-CG)/CP trajectory path length was personal for each subject. These results suggest different levels of passive (ligaments, elastic properties) and active (reflex activity) stiffness. For some subjects, this ratio was significantly lower for the eyes open condition than for the eyes closed condition, indicating a decrease of the active stiffness for the eyes open condition. Therefore, a CG-CP comparative analysis appeared helpful in understanding the control of balance and necessary to quantify the subjects' net performance. PMID:11757569

  4. Higher Physical Activity Is Associated With Lower Aortic Stiffness but Not With Central Blood Pressure: The ADDITION-Pro Study

    PubMed Central

    Laursen, Anne Sofie Dam; Hansen, Anne-Louise Smidt; Wiinberg, Niels; Brage, Søren; Sandbæk, Annelli; Lauritzen, Torsten; Witte, Daniel R.; Jørgensen, Marit Eika; Johansen, Nanna Borup

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Physical activity is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk. However, improvements in conventional risk factors due to physical activity do not explain its full benefit. Therefore, we examined associations of objectively measured physical activity energy expenditure and intensity with central hemodynamics to provide new insight into the link between physical activity and cardiovascular disease. We analyzed data from 1816 Danes (median age: 66 years) without cardiovascular disease. Physical activity was estimated using combined accelerometry and heart rate monitoring. Aortic stiffness was assessed by applanation tonometry, as aortic pulse wave velocity, and central blood pressure was estimated from radial waveforms. Associations between physical activity energy expenditure and central hemodynamics were examined by linear regression. Furthermore, the consequence of substituting 1 hour sedentary behavior with 1 hour light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on central hemodynamics was examined. Median physical activity energy expenditure was 28.0 kJ/kg/d (IQR: 19.8; 38.7). A 10 kJ/kg/d higher energy expenditure was associated with 0.75% lower aortic pulse wave velocity (CI: −1.47; −0.03). Associations with central systolic blood pressure and central pulse pressure were not statistically significant. We observed no difference in central hemodynamics when substituting 1 hour sedentary behavior with 1 hour light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. In this relatively inactive population, higher physical activity energy expenditure was associated with lower aortic stiffness, while there was no statistically significant association between substitution of activity intensity and central hemodynamics. This suggests that lower aortic stiffness is one of a number of health benefits attributed to higher habitual physical activity. PMID:25654392

  5. Hierarchies of plant stiffness.

    PubMed

    Brulé, Veronique; Rafsanjani, Ahmad; Pasini, Damiano; Western, Tamara L

    2016-09-01

    Plants must meet mechanical as well as physiological and reproductive requirements for survival. Management of internal and external stresses is achieved through their unique hierarchical architecture. Stiffness is determined by a combination of morphological (geometrical) and compositional variables that vary across multiple length scales ranging from the whole plant to organ, tissue, cell and cell wall levels. These parameters include, among others, organ diameter, tissue organization, cell size, density and turgor pressure, and the thickness and composition of cell walls. These structural parameters and their consequences on plant stiffness are reviewed in the context of work on stems of the genetic reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), and the suitability of Arabidopsis as a model system for consistent investigation of factors controlling plant stiffness is put forward. Moving beyond Arabidopsis, the presence of morphological parameters causing stiffness gradients across length-scales leads to beneficial emergent properties such as increased load-bearing capacity and reversible actuation. Tailoring of plant stiffness for old and new purposes in agriculture and forestry can be achieved through bioengineering based on the knowledge of the morphological and compositional parameters of plant stiffness in combination with gene identification through the use of genetics.

  6. Hierarchies of plant stiffness.

    PubMed

    Brulé, Veronique; Rafsanjani, Ahmad; Pasini, Damiano; Western, Tamara L

    2016-09-01

    Plants must meet mechanical as well as physiological and reproductive requirements for survival. Management of internal and external stresses is achieved through their unique hierarchical architecture. Stiffness is determined by a combination of morphological (geometrical) and compositional variables that vary across multiple length scales ranging from the whole plant to organ, tissue, cell and cell wall levels. These parameters include, among others, organ diameter, tissue organization, cell size, density and turgor pressure, and the thickness and composition of cell walls. These structural parameters and their consequences on plant stiffness are reviewed in the context of work on stems of the genetic reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), and the suitability of Arabidopsis as a model system for consistent investigation of factors controlling plant stiffness is put forward. Moving beyond Arabidopsis, the presence of morphological parameters causing stiffness gradients across length-scales leads to beneficial emergent properties such as increased load-bearing capacity and reversible actuation. Tailoring of plant stiffness for old and new purposes in agriculture and forestry can be achieved through bioengineering based on the knowledge of the morphological and compositional parameters of plant stiffness in combination with gene identification through the use of genetics. PMID:27457986

  7. Active load path adaption in a simple kinematic load-bearing structure due to stiffness change in the structure's supports

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gehb, C. M.; Platz, R.; Melz, T.

    2016-09-01

    Load-bearing structures with kinematic functions enable and disable degrees of freedom and are part of many mechanical engineering applications. The relative movement between a wheel and the body of a car or a landing gear and an aircraft fuselage are examples for load-bearing systems with defined kinematics. In most cases, the load is transmitted through a predetermined load path to the structural support interfaces. However, unexpected load peaks or varying health condition of the system's supports, which means for example varying damping and stiffness characteristics, may require an active adjustment of the load path. However, load paths transmitted through damaged or weakened supports can be the reason for reduced comfort or even failure. In this paper a simplified 2D two mass oscillator with two supports is used to numerically investigate the potential of controlled adaptive auxiliary kinematic guidance elements in a load-bearing structure to adapt the load path depending on the stiffness change, representing damage of the supports. The aim is to provide additional forces in the auxiliary kinematic guidance elements for two reasons. On the one hand, one of the two supports that may become weaker through stiffness change will be relieved from higher loading. On the other hand, tilting due to different compliance in the supports will be minimized. Therefore, shifting load between the supports during operation could be an effective option.

  8. Finger Stiffness.

    PubMed

    Oosterhoff, Thijs C H; Nota, Sjoerd P F T; Ring, David

    2015-06-01

    Background Finger stiffness varies substantially in patients with hand and upper extremity illness and can be notably more than expected for a given pathophysiology. In prior studies, pain intensity and magnitude of disability consistently correlate with coping strategies such as catastrophic thinking and kinesiophobia, which can be characterized as overprotectiveness. In this retrospective study we address the primary research question whether patients with finger stiffness are more often overprotective when the primary pathology is outside the hand (e.g. distal radius fracture) than when it is located within the hand. Methods In an orthopaedic hand surgery department 160 patients diagnosed with more finger stiffness than expected for a given pathophysiology or time point of recovery between December 2006 and September 2012 were analyzed to compare the proportion of patients characterized as overprotective for differences by site of pathology: (1) inside the hand, (2) outside the hand, and (3) psychiatric etiology (e.g. clenched fist). Results Among 160 subjects with more finger stiffness than expected, 132 (82 %) were characterized as overprotective including 88 of 108 (81 %) with pathology in the hand, 39 of 44 (89 %) with pathology outside the hand, and 5 of 8 (63 %) with psychiatric etiology. These differences were not significant. Conclusions Overprotectiveness is common in patients with more finger stiffness than expected regardless the site and type of primary pathology. It seems worthwhile to recognize and treat maladaptive coping strategies early during recovery to limit impairment, symptoms, and disability. PMID:26078497

  9. Foreshock Activity during Laboratory Friction Tests using Meter-scale Rock Specimens Inferred from two Apparatuses with Different Stiffness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kawakata, H.; Yoshimitsu, N.; Fukuyama, E.; Yamashita, F.; Mizoguchi, K.; Togo, T.; Doi, I.

    2014-12-01

    Foreshock activity has been reported for large earthquakes. The generation mechanism of these foreshocks is one of the most important keys to understand the initiation of large earthquakes. To simulate earthquakes in laboratory, Fukuyama et al. (2014) developed a meter-scale biaxial friction apparatus, using a large shaking table at NIED. Two rectangular parallelepiped gabbro samples were prepared. The upper one fixed to the outside floor of the shaking table was 1.5 m long, 0.5 m high and 0.5 m wide, and the lower one that moved with the shaking table was 0.5 m longer. The original loading apparatus had a long arm between outside floor and the loading frame with two hinges. We renovated the apparatus to have a shorter arm without hinges in order to make the apparatus stiffer. Stick-slip events were observed during the friction tests with both apparatuses. In this study, we analyzed acoustic emission events using continuously recorded elastic waves during the tests with these two apparatus. The foreshock activity was quite high for the less stiff apparatus, and occurrence rate of foreshocks increased toward a main stick-slip event. In contrast, the activity for the stiffer apparatus was much lower. We consider that the difference in stiffness in the lab should correspond to the tectonic setting in nature. For inter-plate earthquakes, foreshocks were reported to be active. Some foreshocks were migrating, and occurrence rate of foreshocks increased toward the main shocks (e.g., Bouchon et al., 2011; Kato et al., 2012; Ruiz et al., 2014). On the other hand, foreshock activities of inland earthquakes were low, and quiescence prior to main shocks was observed. Further, they occurred at the close vicinity of the hypocenter of main shock (e.g., Doi and Kawakata, 2012; 2013). Considering that the loading systems for inter-plate earthquakes are less stiff than those for inland earthquakes, the stiffness of the loading system should control the foreshock activity.

  10. Programmed electromyographic activity and negative incremental muscle stiffness in monkeys jumping downward.

    PubMed Central

    Dyhre-Poulsen, P; Laursen, A M

    1984-01-01

    We trained monkeys to jump down from different heights, and recorded electromyograms (e.m.g.s) in arm muscles, and ground reaction forces. The landing movements were also recorded by high-speed cinematography. The e.m.g. of the triceps began about 80 ms before landing. The initial burst lasted until about 20 ms after ground contact and was succeeded by bursts of gradually declining amplitude. These discharges were not of reflex origin, because when the monkey was deceived by a collapsible platform, they were time-locked to the expected, not to the true landing. The amplitude of the e.m.g. in the triceps increased with the height of the jump, indicating adaptive control. The timing of the e.m.g. pattern was assumed to be programmed before take off, because it was unaffected by extinction of the light during the fall. The vertical ground reaction force produced by the arms had an inflexion on its rising phase which arose from the very rapid stretch of the muscles which control the wrist. Then came a sharp peak produced mainly by stretch of the triceps. The inflexion and the sharp peak were probably produced by short-range stiffness of the muscles of the upper arm. The torque acting on the elbow joint, and the elbow joint stiffness were calculated from the ground reaction forces and the movement of the arm. The torque was high at impact and gradually declined during the landing. The force produced by the triceps increased sharply, then decreased while it continued to lengthen. Thus, the elbow joint showed high initial stiffness, which then decreased, and finally became negative. This dynamic relation between length and tension was very different from the static length-tension characteristic of skeletal muscles. The observed behaviour of the muscles presumably takes advantage of the resistance of the musculo-skeletal system to transient forces. The observed negative stiffness occurs only during submaximal contractions. We propose that the segmented pattern in the e

  11. Programmed electromyographic activity and negative incremental muscle stiffness in monkeys jumping downward.

    PubMed

    Dyhre-Poulsen, P; Laursen, A M

    1984-05-01

    We trained monkeys to jump down from different heights, and recorded electromyograms (e.m.g.s) in arm muscles, and ground reaction forces. The landing movements were also recorded by high-speed cinematography. The e.m.g. of the triceps began about 80 ms before landing. The initial burst lasted until about 20 ms after ground contact and was succeeded by bursts of gradually declining amplitude. These discharges were not of reflex origin, because when the monkey was deceived by a collapsible platform, they were time-locked to the expected, not to the true landing. The amplitude of the e.m.g. in the triceps increased with the height of the jump, indicating adaptive control. The timing of the e.m.g. pattern was assumed to be programmed before take off, because it was unaffected by extinction of the light during the fall. The vertical ground reaction force produced by the arms had an inflexion on its rising phase which arose from the very rapid stretch of the muscles which control the wrist. Then came a sharp peak produced mainly by stretch of the triceps. The inflexion and the sharp peak were probably produced by short-range stiffness of the muscles of the upper arm. The torque acting on the elbow joint, and the elbow joint stiffness were calculated from the ground reaction forces and the movement of the arm. The torque was high at impact and gradually declined during the landing. The force produced by the triceps increased sharply, then decreased while it continued to lengthen. Thus, the elbow joint showed high initial stiffness, which then decreased, and finally became negative. This dynamic relation between length and tension was very different from the static length-tension characteristic of skeletal muscles. The observed behaviour of the muscles presumably takes advantage of the resistance of the musculo-skeletal system to transient forces. The observed negative stiffness occurs only during submaximal contractions. We propose that the segmented pattern in the e

  12. Semi-active damping with negative stiffness for multi-mode cable vibration mitigation: approximate collocated control solution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, F.; Distl, H.

    2015-11-01

    This paper derives an approximate collocated control solution for the mitigation of multi-mode cable vibration by semi-active damping with negative stiffness based on the control force characteristics of clipped linear quadratic regulator (LQR). The control parameters are derived from optimal modal viscous damping and corrected in order to guarantee that both the equivalent viscous damping coefficient and the equivalent stiffness coefficient of the semi-active cable damper force are equal to their desired counterparts. The collocated control solution with corrected control parameters is numerically validated by free decay tests of the first four cable modes and combinations of these modes. The results of the single-harmonic tests demonstrate that the novel approach yields 1.86 times more cable damping than optimal modal viscous damping and 1.87 to 2.33 times more damping compared to a passive oil damper whose viscous damper coefficient is optimally tuned to the targeted mode range of the first four modes. The improvement in case of the multi-harmonic vibration tests, i.e. when modes 1 and 3 and modes 2 and 4 are vibrating at the same time, is between 1.55 and 3.81. The results also show that these improvements are obtained almost independent of the cable anti-node amplitude. Thus, the proposed approximate real-time applicable collocated semi-active control solution which can be realized by magnetorheological dampers represents a promising tool for the efficient mitigation of stay cable vibrations.

  13. Stiff railguns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weldon, W. F.; Bacon, J. L.; Weeks, D. A.; Zowarka, R. C., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    Stiff guns have been operated with both plasma and solid armatures. A performance gain was seen in the plasma railgun as stiffness was increased. A stiff gun will help to maintain the bore shape and preserve the integrity of the seam between rail and insulator under the extreme asymmetric loads sustained during high-pressure operation. The hydraulically preloaded moly and ceramic gun has been fired six times at pressures as high as 87 ksi, and the bore still holds roughing vacuum up to two hours after the test. The elimination of seam leakage helps control bore erosion associated with plasma reconstitution from the rail and plasma perturbation that might result in loss-initiating instabilities. Reduced rail deflection allows solid and transitioning armatures to track the bore surface. An analysis of the strain energy associated with the deflection of the railgun structure is presented, and this mechanism is found to be a small fraction of the energy associated with armature loss and the rail resistive loss.

  14. Assessing Stride Variables and Vertical Stiffness with GPS-Embedded Accelerometers: Preliminary Insights for the Monitoring of Neuromuscular Fatigue on the Field

    PubMed Central

    Buchheit, Martin; Gray, Andrew; Morin, Jean-Benoit

    2015-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to examine the ability of a GPS-imbedded accelerometer to assess stride variables and vertical stiffness (K), which are directly related to neuromuscular fatigue during field-based high-intensity runs. The ability to detect stride imbalances was also examined. A team sport player performed a series of 30-s runs on an instrumented treadmill (6 runs at 10, 17 and 24 km·h-1) with or without his right ankle taped (aimed at creating a stride imbalance), while wearing on his back a commercially-available GPS unit with an embedded 100-Hz tri-axial accelerometer. Contact (CT) and flying (FT) time, and K were computed from both treadmill and accelerometers (Athletic Data Innovations) data. The agreement between treadmill (criterion measure) and accelerometer-derived data was examined. We also compared the ability of the different systems to detect the stride imbalance. Biases were small (CT and K) and moderate (FT). The typical error of the estimate was trivial (CT), small (K) and moderate (FT), with nearly perfect (CT and K) and large (FT) correlations for treadmill vs. accelerometer. The tape induced very large increase in the right - left foot ∆ in CT, FT and K measured by the treadmill. The tape effect on CT and K ∆ measured with the accelerometers were also very large, but of lower magnitude than with the treadmill. The tape effect on accelerometer-derived ∆ FT was unclear. Present data highlight the potential of a GPS-embedded accelerometer to assess CT and K during ground running. Key points GPS-embedded tri-axial accelerometers may be used to assess contact time and vertical stiffness during ground running. These preliminary results open new perspective for the field monitoring of neuromuscular fatigue and performance in run-based sports PMID:26664264

  15. Development of an Experimental Model to Study the Relationship Between Day-to-Day Variability in Blood Pressure and Aortic Stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Bouissou-Schurtz, Camille; Lindesay, Georges; Regnault, Véronique; Renet, Sophie; Safar, Michel E.; Molinie, Vincent; Dabire, Hubert; Bezie, Yvonnick

    2015-01-01

    We aimed to develop an animal model of long-term blood pressure variability (BPV) and to investigate its consequences on aortic damage. We hypothesized that day-to-day BPV produced by discontinuous treatment of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) by valsartan may increase arterial stiffness. For that purpose, rats were discontinuously treated, 2 days a week, or continuously treated by valsartan (30 mg/kg/d in chow) or placebo. Telemetered BP was recorded during 2 min every 15 min, 3 days a week during 8 weeks to cover the full BP variations in response to the treatment schedule. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) and aortic structure evaluated by immunohistochemistry were investigated in a second set of rats treated under the same conditions. Continuous treatment with valsartan reduced systolic BP (SBP) and reversed the aortic structural alterations observed in placebo treated SHR (decrease of medial cross-sectional area). Discontinuous treatment with valsartan decreased SBP to a similar extent but increased the day-to-day BPV, short term BPV, diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and PWV as compared with continuous treatment. Despite no modifications in the elastin/collagen ratio and aortic thickness, an increase in PWV was observed following discontinuous treatment and was associated with a specific accumulation of fibronectin and its αv-integrin receptor compared with both groups of rats. Taken together the present results indicate that a discontinuous treatment with valsartan is able to induce a significant increase in day-to-day BPV coupled to an aortic phenotype close to that observed in hypertension. This experimental model should pave the way for future experimental and clinical studies aimed at assessing how long-term BPV increases aortic stiffness. PMID:26696902

  16. The test bench for testing torsional stiffness of active anti-roll bar made of extended profiles with rectangular cross-section

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macikowski, K. R.; Kaszuba, S.

    2016-09-01

    The article describes the test bench constructed to determine the characteristics of torsional stiffness of extended rod elements, which can be used, for example, in cars as anti-roll bars. The bench has been designed so as to allow an examination of the samples with variable length and variable cross-sectional dimensions. It is possible to perform tests for different materials. The article contains a detailed description of the mentioned test bench and presentation of the results obtained from preliminary tests.

  17. IS ACTIVE REGION CORE VARIABILITY AGE DEPENDENT?

    SciTech Connect

    Ugarte-Urra, Ignacio; Warren, Harry P.

    2012-12-10

    The presence of both steady and transient loops in active region cores has been reported from soft X-ray and extreme-ultraviolet observations of the solar corona. The relationship between the different loop populations, however, remains an open question. We present an investigation of the short-term variability of loops in the core of two active regions in the context of their long-term evolution. We take advantage of the nearly full Sun observations of STEREO and Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft to track these active regions as they rotate around the Sun multiple times. We then diagnose the variability of the active region cores at several instances of their lifetime using EIS/Hinode spectral capabilities. We inspect a broad range of temperatures, including for the first time spatially and temporally resolved images of Ca XIV and Ca XV lines. We find that the active region cores become fainter and steadier with time. The significant emission measure at high temperatures that is not correlated with a comparable increase at low temperatures suggests that high-frequency heating is viable. The presence, however, during the early stages, of an enhanced emission measure in the ''hot'' (3.0-4.5 MK) and ''cool'' (0.6-0.9 MK) components suggests that low-frequency heating also plays a significant role. Our results explain why there have been recent studies supporting both heating scenarios.

  18. Relationship of serum osteoprotegerin with arterial stiffness, preclinical atherosclerosis, and disease activity in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.

    PubMed

    Serdaroğlu Beyazal, Münevver; Erdoğan, Turan; Türkyılmaz, Aysegül Kücükali; Devrimsel, Gül; Cüre, Medine Cumhur; Beyazal, Mehmet; Sahin, Ismail

    2016-09-01

    Patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) reportedly have a higher mortality and morbidity risk. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) was recently defined as an important cardiovascular (CV) marker in the general population. We aimed to assess the relationship of serum OPG levels with arterial stiffness, carotid intima media thickness (CIMT), and clinical and laboratory data in AS patients. We examined 60 AS patients without CV disease or risk factors and 50 healthy controls. Disease activity was evaluated using the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) and the Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS), whereas functional capacity was evaluated using the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI). Serum OPG levels were measured with the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) was used as an indicator of arterial stiffness, whereas CIMT (examined via carotid ultrasonography) was used to evaluate preclinical atherosclerosis. The mean serum OPG level, PWV, and CIMT were significantly higher in AS patients than in controls (106.7 ± 50.9 vs. 58.1 ± 12.7 pg/mL; 7.4 ± 1.8 vs. 6.2 ± 1.2 m/s; 0.72 ± 0.13 vs. 0.57 ± 0.07 mm, respectively; P < 0.001 for all). In AS patients, the serum OPG levels were not significantly correlated with PWV and CIMT but were significantly correlated with erthrocyte sedimentation rate, BASFI, and ASDAS. AS patients without CV disease or risk exhibited high OPG levels and increased PWV and CIMT values. Although OPG levels were not significantly correlated with PWV or CIMT, future long-term follow-up studies will help define the predictive value of OPG in these patients.

  19. Line and continuum variability in active galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rashed, Y. E.; Eckart, A.; Valencia-S., M.; García-Marín, M.; Busch, G.; Zuther, J.; Horrobin, M.; Zhou, H.

    2015-12-01

    We compared optical spectroscopic and photometric data for 18 active galactic nuclei (AGN) galaxies over two to three epochs, with time intervals of typically 5 to 10 yr. We used the multi-object double spectrograph (MODS) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and compared the spectra with data taken from the SDSS data base and the literature. We found variations in the forbidden oxygen lines as well as in the hydrogen recombination lines of these sources. For four of the sources we found that, within the calibration uncertainties, the variations in continuum and line spectra of the sources are very small. We argue that it is mainly the difference in black hole mass between the samples that is responsible for the different degree of continuum variability. In addition, we found that for an otherwise constant accretion rate the total line variability (dominated by the narrow line contributions) reverberates in a similar way to the continuum variability with a dependence ΔLline ∝ (ΔLcont)3/2. Because this dependence is predominantly expressed in the narrow line emission, the implication is that the part of the source that dominates the luminosity in the narrow line region must be very compact, with a diameter of the order of at least 10 light-years. A comparison with data from the literature shows that these findings describe the variability characteristics of a total of 61 broad and narrow line sources.

  20. Effect of High Impact or Non-impact Loading Activity on Bone Bending Stiffness and Mineral Density

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Liang, Michael T. C.; Arnnud, Sara B.; Steele, Charles R.; Moreno, Alexjandro

    2003-01-01

    Material properties of conical bone, including mineral density (BMD) and its geometry is closely related to its load-carrying capacity. These two primary components determine the strength of conical bone. High impact loading involving acceleration and deceleration movements used in gymnastics induce higher BMD of the affected bone compared to the non-impact acceleration and deceleration movements used in swimming. Study of these two groups of athletes on bone bending stiffness has not been reported. The purpose of this study was to compare differences in bone bending stiffness and BMD between competitive female synchronized swimmers and female gymnasts. Thirteen world class female synchronized swimmers (SYN) and 8 female gymnasts (GYM), mean age 21 +/- 2.9 yr. were recruited for this study. We used a mechanical response tissue analyzer (Gaitscan, NJ) to calculate EI, where E is Young's modulus of elasticity and I is the cross-sectional moment of inertia. EI was obtained from tissue response to a vibration probe placed directly on the skin of the mid-region of tibia and ulna. BMD of the heel and wrist were measured with a probe densitometer (PIXI, Lunor, WI). The SYN were taller than (p < 0.05) the GYM but weighed the same as the GYM. EI obtained from tibia and ulna of the SYN (291 +/- 159 and 41 +/- 19.4, respectively) were not significantly different from thc GYM (285 +/- 140 and 44 +/- 18.3, respectively). BMD of the heel and wrist in GYM were higher than in SYN (p < 0.001). High impact weight-bearing activities promote similar bone strength but greater BMD response than non-impact activities performed in a buoyant environment.

  1. Positive Association Between Adipose Tissue and Bone Stiffness.

    PubMed

    Berg, R M; Wallaschofski, H; Nauck, M; Rettig, R; Markus, M R P; Laqua, R; Friedrich, N; Hannemann, A

    2015-07-01

    Obesity is often considered to have a protective effect against osteoporosis. On the other hand, several recent studies suggest that adipose tissue may have detrimental effects on bone quality. We therefore aimed to investigate the associations between body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), visceral adipose tissue (VAT) or abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and bone stiffness. The study involved 2685 German adults aged 20-79 years, who participated in either the second follow-up of the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-2) or the baseline examination of the SHIP-Trend cohort. VAT and abdominal SAT were quantified by magnetic resonance imaging. Bone stiffness was assessed by quantitative ultrasound (QUS) at the heel (Achilles InSight, GE Healthcare). The individual risk for osteoporotic fractures was determined based on the QUS-derived stiffness index and classified in low, medium, and high risk. Linear regression models, adjusted for sex, age, physical activity, smoking status, risky alcohol consumption, diabetes, and height (in models with VAT or abdominal SAT as exposure), revealed positive associations between BMI, WC, VAT or abdominal SAT, and the QUS variables broadband-ultrasound attenuation or stiffness index. Moreover, BMI was positively associated with speed of sound. Our study shows that all anthropometric measures including BMI and, WC as well as abdominal fat volume are positively associated with bone stiffness in the general population. As potential predictors of bone stiffness, VAT and abdominal SAT are not superior to easily available measures like BMI or WC.

  2. Modulation of 3D Fibrin Matrix Stiffness by Intrinsic Fibrinogen–Thrombin Compositions and by Extrinsic Cellular Activity

    PubMed Central

    Duong, Haison; Wu, Benjamin

    2009-01-01

    Fibrin is a substance formed through catalytic conversion of coagulation constituents: fibrinogen and thrombin. The kinetics of the two constituents determines the structural properties of the fibrin architecture. We have shown previously that changing the fibrinogen and thrombin concentrations in the final three-dimensional (3D) fibrin matrix influenced cell proliferation and differentiation. In this study, we further examined the effect of changing fibrinogen and thrombin concentrations in the absence or presence of fibroblasts on the structural modulus or stiffness of 3D fibrin matrices. We have prepared fibroblast-free and fibroblast-embedded 3D fibrin matrices of different fibrinogen and thrombin formulations, and tested the stiffness of these constructs using standard mechanical testing assays. Results showed that there was a corresponding increase in stiffness with increasing thrombin and fibrinogen concentrations; the increase was more notable with fibrinogen and to a lesser degree with thrombin. The effect of fibroblasts on the stiffness of the fibrin construct was also examined. We have observed a small increase in the stiffness of the fibroblast-incorporated fibrin construct as they proliferated and exhibited spreading morphology. To our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive report detailing the relationship between fibrinogen and thrombin concentrations, cell proliferation, and stiffness in 3D fibrin matrices. The data obtained may lead to optimally design suitable bioscaffolds where we can control both cell proliferation and structural integrity for a variety of tissue engineering applications. PMID:19309239

  3. Influence of adiposity and physical activity on arterial stiffness in healthy children: the lifestyle of our kids study.

    PubMed

    Sakuragi, Satoru; Abhayaratna, Katrina; Gravenmaker, Karen J; O'Reilly, Christine; Srikusalanukul, Wichat; Budge, Marc M; Telford, Richard D; Abhayaratna, Walter P

    2009-04-01

    Childhood obesity is increasingly prevalent in the community and is related to adverse cardiovascular outcomes during adulthood. In this study of healthy children, we evaluated the influence of adiposity and physical activity on carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), an index of arterial stiffness and a marker of cardiovascular risk in adults. In 573 community-based children (mean age: 10.1+/-0.3 years; 51% boys), we measured body mass index and waist circumference. Percentage body fat was quantitated by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and physical activity levels were assessed using a 20-m shuttle run and 7-day pedometer count, respectively. PWV was estimated by applanation tonometry. In univariate analysis, PWV was positively correlated with body mass index (r=0.34), waist circumference (r=0.32), and percentage body fat (r=0.32; P<0.001 for all) and negatively correlated with CRF (r=-0.23; P<0.001) and pedometer count (r=-0.08; P=0.046). In separate multivariable linear regression models, body mass index, waist circumference, and percentage of body fat were independently and positively associated with PWV (P<0.01 for all) after adjusting for age, sex, systolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and CRF (P<0.01 for all). The influence of CRF on PWV was attenuated after adjusting for adiposity. In conclusion, increased body mass and adiposity and decreased CRF are associated with arterial stiffening in healthy prepubescent children.

  4. Association between bone stiffness and nutritional biomarkers combined with weight-bearing exercise, physical activity, and sedentary time in preadolescent children. A case-control study.

    PubMed

    Herrmann, Diana; Pohlabeln, Hermann; Gianfagna, Francesco; Konstabel, Kenn; Lissner, Lauren; Mårild, Staffan; Molnar, Dénes; Moreno, Luis A; Siani, Alfonso; Sioen, Isabelle; Veidebaum, Toomas; Ahrens, Wolfgang

    2015-09-01

    Physical activity (PA) and micronutrients such as calcium (Ca), vitamin D (25OHD), and phosphate (PO) are important determinants of skeletal development. This case-control study examined the association of these nutritional biomarkers and different PA behaviours, such as habitual PA, weight-bearing exercise (WBE) and sedentary time (SED) with bone stiffness (SI) in 1819 2-9-year-old children from the IDEFICS study (2007-2008). SI was measured on the calcaneus using quantitative ultrasound. Serum and urine Ca and PO and serum 25OHD were determined. Children's sports activities were reported by parents using a standardised questionnaire. A subsample of 1089 children had accelerometer-based PA data (counts per minute, cpm). Moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and SED were estimated. Children with poor SI (below the 15th age-/sex-/height-specific percentile) were defined as cases (N=603). Randomly selected controls (N=1216) were matched by age, sex, and country. Odds ratios (OR) for poor SI were calculated by conditional logistic regression for all biomarkers and PA behaviour variables separately and combined (expressed as tertiles and dichotomised variables, respectively). ORs were adjusted for fat-free mass, dairy product consumption, and daylight duration. We observed increased ORs for no sports (OR=1.39, p<0.05), PA levels below 524 cpm (OR=1.85, p<0.05) and MVPA below 4.2% a day (OR=1.69, p<0.05) compared to WBE, high PA levels (<688 cpm) and high MVPA (6.7%), respectively. SED was not associated with SI. ORs were moderately elevated for low serum Ca and 25OHD. However, biomarkers were not statistically significantly associated with SI and did not modify the association between PA behaviours and SI. Although nutritional biomarkers appear to play a minor role compared to the osteogenic effect of PA and WBE, it is noteworthy that the highest risk for poor SI was observed for no sports or low MVPA combined with lower serum Ca (<2.5 mmol/l) or lower 25OHD (<43.0 nmol/l).

  5. Interaction between pre-landing activities and stiffness regulation of the knee joint musculoskeletal system in the drop jump: implications to performance.

    PubMed

    Horita, T; Komi, P V; Nicol, C; Kyröläinen, H

    2002-11-01

    The purpose of the present study was to investigate the interaction between the pre-landing activities and the stiffness regulation of the knee joint musculoskeletal system and the takeoff speed during a drop jump (DJ). Nine healthy male subjects performed a DJ test from the height of 50 cm. The surface electromyographic (EMG) activity of the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle was recorded to evaluate both the pre-landing and post-landing muscle activation levels. Simultaneous recording of the jumping motion and ground reaction force was performed by a high-speed video camera (100 frames x s(-1)), and a force platform was employed to allow joint moment analysis. Joint stiffness was calculated by a linear regression of the knee joint moment/angle relationship. Elasticity of the knee extensor muscle during DJ was estimated by means of a four-element muscle model consisting of a parallel elastic component, a series elastic component (SEC), a viscous damper, and a contractile element. DJ performance correlated positively with the positive peak power of the knee joint (P < 0.01) and with the moment of the knee joint at the end of stretch (P < 0.01). However, there was no significant relationship between DJ performance and the positive peak power of the ankle joint. The knee joint moment at the end of stretch correlated with the SEC stiffness during the transmission phase from the end of the initial impact to the onset of the concentric action (P < 0.01) and with the maximum rate of isometric force development of the knee extensors (P < 0.01). Multiple regression analysis showed that the SEC stiffness during the transmission phase of the knee joint can be explained by a combination of the pre-activity of the VL muscle and the knee joint angular velocity at touchdown (F = 5.76, P < 0.05). These results seem to emphasize the functional significance of the pre-programmed activity for controlling the subsequent stiffness regulation and then contributing to the performance in DJ

  6. Stiffness is more than just duration and severity: a qualitative exploration in people with rheumatoid arthritis

    PubMed Central

    Dures, Emma; Kirwan, John; Pollock, Jon; Baker, Gill; Edmunds, Avis; Hewlett, Sarah

    2015-01-01

    Objective. Stiffness is internationally recognized as an important indicator of inflammatory activity in RA but is poorly understood and difficult to measure. The aim of this study was to explore the experience of stiffness from the patient perspective. Methods. Semi-structured interviews conducted with 16 RA patients were analysed independently by researchers and pat.ient partners using inductive thematic analysis. Results. Six themes were identified. Part of having RA identified stiffness as a normal consequence of RA, perceived as associated with disease-related aspects such as fluctuating disease activity, other RA symptoms and disease duration. Local and widespread highlighted stiffness occurring not only in joints, but also over the whole body, being more widespread during the morning or flare. Linked to behaviour and environment illustrated factors that influence stiffness, including movement, medications and weather. Highly variable captured the fluctuating nature of stiffness within and between patients and in relation to temporality, duration and intensity. Impacts on daily life emphasized the effect of stiffness on a range of domains, including physical function, quality of life, psychological well-being, activities of daily living and participation in work and leisure activities. Requires self-management detailed self-management strategies targeting both the symptom and its consequences. Conclusion. Patients’ experiences of stiffness were varied, complex and not exclusive to the morning period. Importantly, stiffness was reported in terms of impact rather than the traditional measurement concepts of severity or duration. Based on these findings, further research is needed to develop a patient-centred measure that adequately reflects inflammatory activity. PMID:25231178

  7. Leg stiffness measures depend on computational method.

    PubMed

    Hébert-Losier, Kim; Eriksson, Anders

    2014-01-01

    Leg stiffness is often computed from ground reaction force (GRF) registrations of vertical hops to estimate the force-resisting capacity of the lower-extremity during ground contact, with leg stiffness values incorporated in a spring-mass model to describe human motion. Individual biomechanical characteristics, including leg stiffness, were investigated in 40 healthy males. Our aim is to report and discuss the use of 13 different computational methods for evaluating leg stiffness from a double-legged repetitive hopping task, using only GRF registrations. Four approximations for the velocity integration constant were combined with three mathematical expressions, giving 12 methods for computing stiffness using double integrations. One frequency-based method that considered ground contact times was also trialled. The 13 methods thus defined were used to compute stiffness in four extreme cases, which were the stiffest, and most compliant, consistent and variable subjects. All methods provided different stiffness measures for a given individual, but the between-method variations in stiffness were consistent across the four atypical subjects. The frequency-based method apparently overestimated the actual stiffness values, whereas double integrations' measures were more consistent. In double integrations, the choice of the integration constant and mathematical expression considerably affected stiffness values, as variations during hopping were more or less emphasized. Stating a zero centre of mass position at take-off gave more consistent results, and taking a weighted-average of the force or displacement curve was more forgiving to variations in performance. In any case, stiffness values should always be accompanied by a detailed description of their evaluation methods, as our results demonstrated that computational methods affect calculated stiffness. PMID:24188972

  8. The effects of substrate stiffness on the in vitro activation of macrophages and in vivo host response to poly(ethylene glycol)-based hydrogels

    PubMed Central

    Blakney, Anna K.; Swartzlander, Mark D.; Bryant, Stephanie J.

    2012-01-01

    Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels, modified with RGD, are promising platforms for cell encapsulation and tissue engineering. While these hydrogels offer tunable mechanical properties, the extent of the host response may limit their in vivo applicability. The overall objective was to characterize the effects of hydrogel stiffness on the in vitro macrophage response and in vivo host response. We hypothesized that stiffer substrates induce better attachment, adhesion and increased cell spreading, which elevates the macrophage classically activated phenotype and leads to a more severe foreign body reaction (FBR). PEG-RGD hydrogels were fabricated with compressive moduli of 130, 240 and 840kPa, and the same RGD concentration. Hydrogel stiffness did not impact macrophage attachment, but elicited differences in cell morphology. Cells retained a round morphology on 130kPa substrates, with localized and dense F-actin and localized αV integrin stainings. Contrarily, cells on stiffer substrates were more spread, with filopodia protruding from the cell, a more defined F-actin, and greater αV integrin staining. When stimulated with lipopolysaccharide, macrophages had a classical activation phenotype, with increased expression of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6, however the degree of activation was significantly reduced with the softest hydrogels. A FBR ensued in response to all hydrogels when implanted subcutaneously in mice, but 28 days post-implantation the layer of macrophages at the implant surface was significantly lower in the softest hydrogels. In conclusion, hydrogels with lower stiffness led to reduced macrophage activation and a less severe and more typical FBR, and therefore are more suited for in vivo tissue engineering applications. PMID:22407522

  9. Solar Activity-driven Variability of Instrumental Data Quality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martayan, C.; Smette, A.; Hanuschik, R.; van Der Heyden, P.; Mieske, S.

    2016-06-01

    The unexplained variability of the data quality from Very Large Telescope instruments and the frequency of power cuts have been investigated. Origins for the variability in ambient temperature variations, software, data reduction pipelines and internal to hardware could be discarded. The most probable cause appears to be correlated with the evolution of the cosmic ray rate, and also with solar and terrestrial geomagnetic activity. We report on the consequences of such variability and describe how the observatory infrastructure, instruments and data are affected.

  10. Chronic variable stress activates hematopoietic stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Courties, Gabriel; Dutta, Partha; Iwamoto, Yoshiko; Zaltsman, Alex; von zur Muhlen, Constantin; Bode, Christoph; Fricchione, Gregory L.; Denninger, John; Lin, Charles P.; Vinegoni, Claudio; Libby, Peter; Swirski, Filip K.; Weissleder, Ralph; Nahrendorf, Matthias

    2014-01-01

    Exposure to psychosocial stress is a risk factor for many diseases, including atherosclerosis1,2. While incompletely understood, interaction between the psyche and the immune system provides one potential mechanism linking stress and disease inception and progression. Known crosstalk between the brain and immune system includes the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, which centrally drives glucocorticoid production in the adrenal cortex, and the sympathetic–adrenal–medullary axis, which controls stress–induced catecholamine release in support of the fight–or–flight reflex3,4. It remains unknown however if chronic stress changes hematopoietic stem cell activity. Here we show that stress increases proliferation of these most primitive progenitors, giving rise to higher levels of disease–promoting inflammatory leukocytes. We found that chronic stress induced monocytosis and neutrophilia in humans. While investigating the source of leukocytosis in mice, we discovered that stress activates upstream hematopoietic stem cells. Sympathetic nerve fibers release surplus noradrenaline, which uses the β3 adrenergic receptor to signal bone marrow niche cells to decrease CXCL12 levels. Consequently, elevated hematopoietic stem cell proliferation increases output of neutrophils and inflammatory monocytes. When atherosclerosis–prone ApoE−/− mice encounter chronic stress, accelerated hematopoiesis promotes plaque features associated with vulnerable lesions that cause myocardial infarction and stroke in humans. PMID:24952646

  11. Calculation method for active silencers with a variable section

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Marinescu, V.

    1974-01-01

    By introducing variable section silencers in divergent and convergent sections or elbows of ventilation plants, the length of classical silencers can be reduced. Presented is an original calculation method for active noise silencers with a continuously variable section, as well as calculation relations worked out by this method for eight common practical cases.

  12. Arterial stiffness is higher in older adults with increased perceived fatigue and fatigability during walking.

    PubMed

    Gonzales, Joaquin U; Wiberg, Matthew; Defferari, Elizabeth; Proctor, David N

    2015-01-01

    We investigated whether central and/or peripheral arterial stiffness contributes to increased perceived fatigue during walking in mobility-intact older adults. Arterial stiffness of the common carotid artery and superficial femoral artery (SFA) was measured using Doppler-ultrasound in 45 community-dwelling women and men (60-78yrs). The change in perceived fatigue was measured after a fast-pace 400meter walk test. Adults that rated feeling more tired after walking (n=10) had higher SFA stiffness (p<0.01), but not carotid artery stiffness, than adults that reported feeling more energetic after walking (n=22). The change in perceived fatigue rating was normalized to energy expenditure during walking to determine perceived fatigability. Adults were divided into lower and higher perceived fatigability groups (n=22 per group). Carotid artery stiffness was not different between perceived fatigability groups after adjusting for age, sex, body fat, systolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, daily physical activity levels, and resting diameter. However, SFA stiffness was significantly elevated in the higher as compared to lower perceived fatigability group (β-index: 20.7±1.3 vs. 15.3±1.4U; p=0.02) after adjusting for the abovementioned variables. Moreover, stepwise regression identified SFA β-index to be an independent predictor of perceived fatigability (r(2)=0.38, p<0.01). These results suggest that peripheral arterial stiffness is independently associated with perceived fatigue and fatigability in older adults. PMID:25482474

  13. Climatic variables as indicators of solar activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balybina, A. S.; Karakhanyan, A. A.

    2012-12-01

    Tree-ring analysis is used successfully in studies of solar-terrestrial relations. We consider a linear dependence between the radial increment in conifers in Eastern Siberia and solar activity parameters: the length and amplitude of an 11-year solar cycle in the 20th century. It is shown that the increment in conifers in the region is larger in a longer and lower solar cycle than in a short and high one. A correlation between the increment in the width of annual rings of Pinus sylvestris and Siberian pine and the length of the ascending phase of an 11-year cycle is revealed: the longer the ascending phase, the larger the radial increment in conifers. The dynamics of the annual increment in conifers in the region is inversely related to the cycle amplitude and magnetic disturbances in the main solar cycle.

  14. Effects of the small molecule SIRT1 activator, SRT2104 on arterial stiffness in otherwise healthy cigarette smokers and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus

    PubMed Central

    Venkatasubramanian, Sowmya; Noh, Radzi M; Daga, Shruti; Langrish, Jeremy P; Mills, Nicholas L; Waterhouse, Brian R; Hoffmann, Ethan; Jacobson, Eric W; Lang, Ninian N; Frier, Brian M; Newby, David E

    2016-01-01

    Objective Arterial stiffness increases with age, and is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcome including increased mortality. The effect of the oral small molecule SIRT1 activator, SRT2104, on arterial stiffness was examined in otherwise healthy cigarette smokers and participants with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Methods 24 otherwise healthy cigarette smokers and 15 people with stable type 2 diabetes were randomised in a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial and received 28 days of oral SRT2104 (2.0 g/day) or matched placebo. Blood pressure was measured using non-invasive oscillatory sphygmomanometry. Pulse wave analysis and velocity were measured using applanation tonometry at baseline and the end of each treatment period. Owing to the small sample size and similar trends for both groups, data for the two groups were pooled (post hoc analysis). Results Compared to placebo, treatment with SRT2104 was associated with a significant reduction in augmentation pressure (p=0.0273) and a trend towards improvement in the augmentation index and corrected augmentation index (p>0.05 for both). However, no changes were observed in pulse wave velocity and time to wave reflection (p>0.05). Systolic and diastolic blood pressures remained unchanged throughout the study. Treatment by cohort interaction was not significant for any of the pulse wave parameters, suggesting that the response to SRT2104 in otherwise healthy smokers and people with diabetes was consistent. Conclusions SRT2104 may improve measures of arterial stiffness in otherwise healthy cigarette smokers and in participants with type 2 diabetes. Definitive conclusions are not possible given the small sample size and exploratory nature of this analysis. Trial registration number NCT01031108. PMID:27239324

  15. Stiff Person Syndrome.

    PubMed

    Saigal, Renu; Goyal, Laxmikant; Yadav, Rn; Agrawal, Abhishek; Mital, Pradeep; Patel, Bhavesh

    2015-08-01

    Stiff-person syndrome or Moersch-Woltmann is a very rare and disabling neurologic disorder characterized by muscle rigidity and episodic spasms involving axial and limb musculature. It is an autoimmune disorder resulting in a malfunction of aminobutyric acid mediated inhibitory networks in the central nervous system. We describe a patient of stiff person syndrome. PMID:27604442

  16. Activation of Yes-Associated Protein in Low-Grade Meningiomas Is Regulated by Merlin, Cell Density, and Extracellular Matrix Stiffness.

    PubMed

    Tanahashi, Kuniaki; Natsume, Atsushi; Ohka, Fumiharu; Motomura, Kazuya; Alim, Adiljan; Tanaka, Ichidai; Senga, Takeshi; Harada, Ichiro; Fukuyama, Ryuichi; Sumiyoshi, Naoyuki; Sekido, Yoshitaka; Wakabayashi, Toshihiko

    2015-07-01

    The NF2 gene product Merlin is a protein containing ezrin, radixin, and moesin domains; it is a member of the 4.1 protein superfamily associated with the membrane cytoskeleton and also interacts with cell surface molecules. The mammalian Hippo cascade, a downstream signaling cascade of merlin, inactivates the Yes-associated protein (YAP). Yes-associated protein is activated by loss of the NF2 gene and functions as an oncogene in meningioma cells; however, the factors controlling YAP expression, phosphorylation, and subcellular localization in meningiomas have not been fully elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that merlin expression is heterogeneous in 1 NF2 gene-negative and 3 NF2 gene-positive World Health Organization grade I meningiomas. In the NF2 gene-positive meningiomas, regions with low levels of merlin (tumor rims) had greater numbers of cells with nuclear YAP versus regions with high merlin levels (tumor cores). Merlin expression and YAP phosphorylation were also affected by cell density in the IOMM-Lee and HKBMM human meningioma cell lines; nuclear localization of YAP was regulated by cell density and extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness in IOMM-Lee cells. These results suggest that cell density and ECM stiffness may contribute to the heterogeneous loss of merlin and increased nuclear YAP expression in human meningiomas.

  17. Arterial Stiffness Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Fortier, Catherine; Agharazii, Mohsen

    2016-01-01

    Background Aortic stiffness is a strong predictor of cardiovascular mortality in various clinical conditions. The aim of this review is to focus on the arterial stiffness gradient, to discuss the integrated role of medium-sized muscular conduit arteries in the regulation of pulsatile pressure and organ perfusion and to provide a rationale for integrating their mechanical properties into risk prediction. Summary The physiological arterial stiffness gradient results from a higher degree of vascular stiffness as the distance from the heart increases, creating multiple reflective sites and attenuating the pulsatile nature of the forward pressure wave along the arterial tree down to the microcirculation. The stiffness gradient hypothesis simultaneously explains its physiological beneficial effects from both cardiac and peripheral microcirculatory points of view. The loss or reversal of stiffness gradient leads to the transmission of a highly pulsatile pressure wave into the microcirculation. This suggests that a higher degree of stiffness of medium-sized conduit arteries may play a role in protecting the microcirculation from a highly pulsatile forward pressure wave. Using the ratio of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) to carotid-radial PWV, referred to as PWV ratio, a recent study in a dialysis cohort has shown that the PWV ratio is a better predictor of mortality than the classical carotid-femoral PWV. Key Messages Theoretically, the use of the PWV ratio seems more logical for risk determination than aortic stiffness as it provides a better estimation of the loss of stiffness gradient, which is the unifying hypothesis that explains the impact of aortic stiffness both on the myocardium and on peripheral organs. PMID:27195235

  18. Spatial variability of the dehydrogenase activity in forest soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Błońska, Ewa; Lasota, Jarosław

    2014-05-01

    The aim of this study was to assess the spatial variability of the dehydrogenase activity (DH) in forest soils using geostatistics. We have studied variability soil dehydrogenase and their relationship with variability of some physic-chemical properties. Two study areas (A and B) were set up in southern Poland in the Zlotoryja Forest District. Study areas were covered by different types of vegetation (A- broadleaf forest with beech, ash and sycamore), B- coniferous forest with Norway spruce). The soils were classified as Dystric Cambisols (WRB 2006). The samples for laboratory testing were collected from 49 places on each areas. 15 cm of surface horizon of soil were taken (with previously removed litter). Dehydrogenase activity was marked with Lenhard's method according to the Casida procedure. Soil pH, nitrogen (N) and soil organic carbon (C) content (by LECO CNS 2000 carbon analyzer) was marked. C/N ratio was calculated. Particle size composition was determined using laser diffraction. Statistical analysis were performed using STATISTICA 10 software. Geostatistical analysis and mapping were done by application of GS 9+ (Gamma Design) and Surfer 11 (Golden Software). The activity of DH ranged between 5,02 and 71,20 mg TPP• kg-1 •24 h-1 on the A area and between 0,94 and 16,47 mg TPP• kg-1 •24 h-1. Differences in spatial variability of the analised features were noted. The variability of dehydrogenase activity on the A study area was described by an exponential model, whereas on the B study area the spatial correlation has not been noted. The relationship of dehydrogenase activity with the remaining parameters of soil was noted only in the case of A study area. The variability of organic carbon content on the A and B study areas were described by an exponential model. The variability of nitrogen content on both areas were described by an spherical model.

  19. CHARACTERIZING THE OPTICAL VARIABILITY OF BRIGHT BLAZARS: VARIABILITY-BASED SELECTION OF FERMI ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI

    SciTech Connect

    Ruan, John J.; Anderson, Scott F.; MacLeod, Chelsea L.; Becker, Andrew C.; Davenport, James R. A.; Ivezic, Zeljko; Burnett, T. H.; Kochanek, Christopher S.; Plotkin, Richard M.; Sesar, Branimir; Stuart, J. Scott

    2012-11-20

    We investigate the use of optical photometric variability to select and identify blazars in large-scale time-domain surveys, in part to aid in the identification of blazar counterparts to the {approx}30% of {gamma}-ray sources in the Fermi 2FGL catalog still lacking reliable associations. Using data from the optical LINEAR asteroid survey, we characterize the optical variability of blazars by fitting a damped random walk model to individual light curves with two main model parameters, the characteristic timescales of variability {tau}, and driving amplitudes on short timescales {sigma}-circumflex. Imposing cuts on minimum {tau} and {sigma}-circumflex allows for blazar selection with high efficiency E and completeness C. To test the efficacy of this approach, we apply this method to optically variable LINEAR objects that fall within the several-arcminute error ellipses of {gamma}-ray sources in the Fermi 2FGL catalog. Despite the extreme stellar contamination at the shallow depth of the LINEAR survey, we are able to recover previously associated optical counterparts to Fermi active galactic nuclei with E {>=} 88% and C = 88% in Fermi 95% confidence error ellipses having semimajor axis r < 8'. We find that the suggested radio counterpart to Fermi source 2FGL J1649.6+5238 has optical variability consistent with other {gamma}-ray blazars and is likely to be the {gamma}-ray source. Our results suggest that the variability of the non-thermal jet emission in blazars is stochastic in nature, with unique variability properties due to the effects of relativistic beaming. After correcting for beaming, we estimate that the characteristic timescale of blazar variability is {approx}3 years in the rest frame of the jet, in contrast with the {approx}320 day disk flux timescale observed in quasars. The variability-based selection method presented will be useful for blazar identification in time-domain optical surveys and is also a probe of jet physics.

  20. Characterizing the Optical Variability of Bright Blazars: Variability-based Selection of Fermi Active Galactic Nuclei

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruan, John J.; Anderson, Scott F.; MacLeod, Chelsea L.; Becker, Andrew C.; Burnett, T. H.; Davenport, James R. A.; Ivezić, Željko; Kochanek, Christopher S.; Plotkin, Richard M.; Sesar, Branimir; Stuart, J. Scott

    2012-11-01

    We investigate the use of optical photometric variability to select and identify blazars in large-scale time-domain surveys, in part to aid in the identification of blazar counterparts to the ~30% of γ-ray sources in the Fermi 2FGL catalog still lacking reliable associations. Using data from the optical LINEAR asteroid survey, we characterize the optical variability of blazars by fitting a damped random walk model to individual light curves with two main model parameters, the characteristic timescales of variability τ, and driving amplitudes on short timescales \\hat{\\sigma }. Imposing cuts on minimum τ and \\hat{\\sigma } allows for blazar selection with high efficiency E and completeness C. To test the efficacy of this approach, we apply this method to optically variable LINEAR objects that fall within the several-arcminute error ellipses of γ-ray sources in the Fermi 2FGL catalog. Despite the extreme stellar contamination at the shallow depth of the LINEAR survey, we are able to recover previously associated optical counterparts to Fermi active galactic nuclei with E >= 88% and C = 88% in Fermi 95% confidence error ellipses having semimajor axis r < 8'. We find that the suggested radio counterpart to Fermi source 2FGL J1649.6+5238 has optical variability consistent with other γ-ray blazars and is likely to be the γ-ray source. Our results suggest that the variability of the non-thermal jet emission in blazars is stochastic in nature, with unique variability properties due to the effects of relativistic beaming. After correcting for beaming, we estimate that the characteristic timescale of blazar variability is ~3 years in the rest frame of the jet, in contrast with the ~320 day disk flux timescale observed in quasars. The variability-based selection method presented will be useful for blazar identification in time-domain optical surveys and is also a probe of jet physics.

  1. Model-based estimation of knee stiffness.

    PubMed

    Pfeifer, Serge; Vallery, Heike; Hardegger, Michael; Riener, Robert; Perreault, Eric J

    2012-09-01

    During natural locomotion, the stiffness of the human knee is modulated continuously and subconsciously according to the demands of activity and terrain. Given modern actuator technology, powered transfemoral prostheses could theoretically provide a similar degree of sophistication and function. However, experimentally quantifying knee stiffness modulation during natural gait is challenging. Alternatively, joint stiffness could be estimated in a less disruptive manner using electromyography (EMG) combined with kinetic and kinematic measurements to estimate muscle force, together with models that relate muscle force to stiffness. Here we present the first step in that process, where we develop such an approach and evaluate it in isometric conditions, where experimental measurements are more feasible. Our EMG-guided modeling approach allows us to consider conditions with antagonistic muscle activation, a phenomenon commonly observed in physiological gait. Our validation shows that model-based estimates of knee joint stiffness coincide well with experimental data obtained using conventional perturbation techniques. We conclude that knee stiffness can be accurately estimated in isometric conditions without applying perturbations, which presents an important step toward our ultimate goal of quantifying knee stiffness during gait.

  2. Model-Based Estimation of Knee Stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Pfeifer, Serge; Vallery, Heike; Hardegger, Michael; Riener, Robert; Perreault, Eric J.

    2013-01-01

    During natural locomotion, the stiffness of the human knee is modulated continuously and subconsciously according to the demands of activity and terrain. Given modern actuator technology, powered transfemoral prostheses could theoretically provide a similar degree of sophistication and function. However, experimentally quantifying knee stiffness modulation during natural gait is challenging. Alternatively, joint stiffness could be estimated in a less disruptive manner using electromyography (EMG) combined with kinetic and kinematic measurements to estimate muscle force, together with models that relate muscle force to stiffness. Here we present the first step in that process, where we develop such an approach and evaluate it in isometric conditions, where experimental measurements are more feasible. Our EMG-guided modeling approach allows us to consider conditions with antagonistic muscle activation, a phenomenon commonly observed in physiological gait. Our validation shows that model-based estimates of knee joint stiffness coincide well with experimental data obtained using conventional perturbation techniques. We conclude that knee stiffness can be accurately estimated in isometric conditions without applying perturbations, which presents an important step towards our ultimate goal of quantifying knee stiffness during gait. PMID:22801482

  3. Hamstrings Stiffness and Landing Biomechanics Linked to Anterior Cruciate Ligament Loading

    PubMed Central

    Blackburn, J. Troy; Norcross, Marc F.; Cannon, Lindsey N.; Zinder, Steven M.

    2013-01-01

    Context: Greater hamstrings stiffness is associated with less anterior tibial translation during controlled perturbations. However, it is unclear how hamstrings stiffness influences anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) loading mechanisms during dynamic tasks. Objective: To evaluate the influence of hamstrings stiffness on landing biomechanics related to ACL injury. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Research laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 36 healthy, physically active volunteers (18 men, 18 women; age = 23 ± 3 years, height = 1.8 ± 0.1 m, mass = 73.1 ± 16.6 kg). Intervention(s): Hamstrings stiffness was quantified via the damped oscillatory technique. Three-dimensional lower extremity kinematics and kinetics were captured during a double-legged jump-landing task via a 3-dimensional motion-capture system interfaced with a force plate. Landing biomechanics were compared between groups displaying high and low hamstrings stiffness via independent-samples t tests. Main Outcome Measure(s): Hamstrings stiffness was normalized to body mass (N/m·kg−1). Peak knee-flexion and -valgus angles, vertical and posterior ground reaction forces, anterior tibial shear force, internal knee-extension and -varus moments, and knee-flexion angles at the instants of each peak kinetic variable were identified during the landing task. Forces were normalized to body weight, whereas moments were normalized to the product of weight and height. Results: Internal knee-varus moment was 3.6 times smaller in the high-stiffness group (t22 = 2.221, P = .02). A trend in the data also indicated that peak anterior tibial shear force was 1.1 times smaller in the high-stiffness group (t22 = 1.537, P = .07). The high-stiffness group also demonstrated greater knee flexion at the instants of peak anterior tibial shear force and internal knee-extension and -varus moments (t22 range = 1.729–2.224, P < .05). Conclusions: Greater hamstrings stiffness was associated with landing

  4. Muscle short-range stiffness can be used to estimate the endpoint stiffness of the human arm

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Xiao; Murray, Wendy M.

    2011-01-01

    The mechanical properties of the human arm are regulated to maintain stability across many tasks. The static mechanics of the arm can be characterized by estimates of endpoint stiffness, considered especially relevant for the maintenance of posture. At a fixed posture, endpoint stiffness can be regulated by changes in muscle activation, but which activation-dependent muscle properties contribute to this global measure of limb mechanics remains unclear. We evaluated the role of muscle properties in the regulation of endpoint stiffness by incorporating scalable models of muscle stiffness into a three-dimensional musculoskeletal model of the human arm. Two classes of muscle models were tested: one characterizing short-range stiffness and two estimating stiffness from the slope of the force-length curve. All models were compared with previously collected experimental data describing how endpoint stiffness varies with changes in voluntary force. Importantly, muscle properties were not fit to the experimental data but scaled only by the geometry of individual muscles in the model. We found that force-dependent variations in endpoint stiffness were accurately described by the short-range stiffness of active arm muscles. Over the wide range of evaluated arm postures and voluntary forces, the musculoskeletal model incorporating short-range stiffness accounted for 98 ± 2, 91 ± 4, and 82 ± 12% of the variance in stiffness orientation, shape, and area, respectively, across all simulated subjects. In contrast, estimates based on muscle force-length curves were less accurate in all measures, especially stiffness area. These results suggest that muscle short-range stiffness is a major contributor to endpoint stiffness of the human arm. Furthermore, the developed model provides an important tool for assessing how the nervous system may regulate endpoint stiffness via changes in muscle activation. PMID:21289133

  5. Exercise, Vascular Stiffness, and Tissue Transglutaminase

    PubMed Central

    Steppan, Jochen; Sikka, Gautam; Jandu, Simran; Barodka, Viachaslau; Halushka, Marc K.; Flavahan, Nicholas A.; Belkin, Alexey M.; Nyhan, Daniel; Butlin, Mark; Avolio, Alberto; Berkowitz, Dan E.; Santhanam, Lakshmi

    2014-01-01

    Background Vascular aging is closely associated with increased vascular stiffness. It has recently been demonstrated that decreased nitric oxide (NO)‐induced S‐nitrosylation of tissue transglutaminase (TG2) contributes to age‐related vascular stiffness. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that exercise restores NO signaling and attenuates vascular stiffness by decreasing TG2 activity and cross‐linking in an aging rat model. Methods and Results Rats were subjected to 12 weeks of moderate aerobic exercise. Aging was associated with diminished phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase and phosphorylated vasodilator‐stimulated phosphoprotein abundance, suggesting reduced NO signaling. TG2 cross‐linking activity was significantly increased in old animals, whereas TG2 abundance remained unchanged. These alterations were attenuated in the exercise cohort. Simultaneous measurement of blood pressure and pulse wave velocity (PWV) demonstrated increased aortic stiffness in old rats, compared to young, at all values of mean arterial pressure (MAP). The PWV‐MAP correlation in the old sedentary and old exercise cohorts was similar. Tensile testing of the vessels showed increased stiffness of the aorta in the old phenotype with a modest restoration of mechanical properties toward the young phenotype with exercise. Conclusions Increased vascular stiffness during aging is associated with decreased TG2 S‐nitrosylation, increased TG2 cross‐linking activity, and increased vascular stiffness likely the result of decreased NO bioavailability. In this study, a brief period of moderate aerobic exercise enhanced NO signaling, attenuated TG cross‐linking activity, and reduced ex vivo tensile properties, but failed to reverse functional vascular stiffness in vivo, as measured by PWV. PMID:24721796

  6. Structured variability in Purkinje cell activity during locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Sauerbrei, Britton A.; Lubenov, Evgueniy V.; Siapas, Athanassios G.

    2015-01-01

    Summary The cerebellum is a prominent vertebrate brain structure that is critically involved in sensorimotor function. During locomotion, cerebellar Purkinje cells are rhythmically active, shaping descending signals and coordinating commands from higher brain areas with the step cycle. However, the variation in this activity across steps has not been studied, and its statistical structure, afferent mechanisms, and relationship to behavior remain unknown. Here, using multi-electrode recordings in freely moving rats, we show that behavioral variables systematically influence the shape of the step-locked firing rate. This effect depends strongly on the phase of the step cycle and reveals a functional clustering of Purkinje cells. Furthermore, we find a pronounced disassociation between patterns of variability driven by the parallel and climbing fibers. These results suggest that Purkinje cell activity not only represents step phase within each cycle, but is also shaped by behavior across steps, facilitating control of movement under dynamic conditions. PMID:26291165

  7. Design and Testing of a Dynamically-Tuned Magnetostrictive Spring with Electrically-Controlled Stiffness

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scheidler, Justin; Asnani, Vivake M.; Dapino, Marcelo J.

    2015-01-01

    This paper details the development of an electrically-controlled, variable-stiffness spring based on magnetostrictive materials. The device, termed a magnetostrictive Varispring, can be applied as a semi-active vibration isolator or switched stiffness vibration controller for reducing transmitted vibrations. The Varispring is designed using 1D linear models that consider the coupled electrical response, mechanically-induced magnetic diffusion, and the effect of internal mass on dynamic stiffness. Modeling results illustrate that a Terfenol-D-based Varispring has a rise time almost an order of magnitude smaller and a magnetic diffusion cut-off frequency over two orders of magnitude greater than a Galfenol-based Varispring. The results motivate the use of laminated Terfenol-D rods for a greater stiffness tuning range and increased bandwidth. The behavior of a prototype Varispring is examined under vibratory excitation up to 6 MPa and 25 Hz using a dynamic load frame. For this prototype, stiffness is indirectly varied by controlling the excitation current. Preliminary measurements of continuous stiffness tuning via sinusoidal currents up to 1 kHz are presented. The measurements demonstrate that the Young's modulus of the Terfenol-D rod inside the Varispring can be continuously varied by up to 21.9 GPa. The observed stiffness tuning range is relatively constant up to 500 Hz, but significantly decreases thereafter. The stiffness tuning range can be greatly increased by improving the current and force control such that a more consistent current can be applied and the Varispring can be accurately tested at a more optimal bias stress.

  8. Insights Into the Effects of Internal Variability, External Variability, and Active Sites on Heterogeneous Ice Nucleation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beydoun, H.; Sullivan, R. C.; Polen, M.

    2015-12-01

    Heterogeneous ice nucleation (HIN) remains one of the outstanding problems in cloud physics and atmospheric science. Experimental challenges in properly simulating HIN processes with relevant atmospheric conditions have largely contributed to the absence of a consistent and comprehensive parameterization. Here we formulate a new ice active surface site-based stochastic model of HIN with the unique feature of invoking a continuum assumption on the ice nucleation activity (contact angle) of an aerosol particle's surface. The result is a particle specific property g that defines a distribution of local surface ice nucleation rates. Upon integration this yields a full freezing probability function for an ice nucleating particle. Current cold plate droplet freezing measurements provide a great resource for studying the freezing ability of many atmospheric aerosol systems. A method based on statistical significance and critical area analysis is presented that can resolve the two-dimensional nature of the ice nucleation ability of aerosol particles: variability in active sites and freezing rates along an individual particle's surface, as well as variability between two particles of the same type in an aerosol population. When applied to published experimental data, the method demonstrates its ability to comprehensively interpret droplet freezing spectra of variable particle mass and surface area concentrations. By fitting the high concentration freezing curves to a statistically significant active site density function, the lower concentration freezing curves are successfully fitted via a process of random sampling from the statistically significant distribution. Using the new scheme, comprehensive parameterizations that can track the frozen fraction of cloud droplets in larger atmospheric models are derived.

  9. Winter Eurasian Climate Variability: Role of Cyclone and Anticyclone Activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, C.; Zhang, X.; Guan, Z.

    2012-12-01

    This study investigates variability of extratropical Eurasian cyclone and anticyclone activity by using a modified automated cyclone and anticyclone identification and tracking algorithm. The cyclone and anticyclone activities are quantified by their regionally integrated intensity (CI and ACI) during 1978/79-2011/2012 winter seasons. We found that the time evolutions of the CI and ACI exhibit a general negative correlation of -0.7 between them at a significant level of 99.99%. This anticyclone (cyclone) variability contributes to the substantially large-scale sea level pressure variability over extratropical Eurasian continent, and explains the interannual fluctuation of surface air temperature over mid latitude Eurasia as well as the adjacent continents. The ACI swings from one phase to another, also producing large changes in snow cover extend, snow equivalent water as well as frequency of extreme cold events over the Eurasian continent. The strengthening of anticyclone intensity is preceded by retreated of the October sea-ice extent over Barents-Kara Sea, which associates tightly with an increasing stability at lower troposphere around the Ural Mountains and induces strengthening Eurasian anticyclones activity in the subsequent winter.

  10. Sensitivity of overall vehicle stiffness to local joint stiffness

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chon, Choon T.

    1987-01-01

    How overall vehicle stiffness is affected by local joint stiffness is discussed. By using the principle of virtual work and the minimum strain energy theorem, a closed form expression for the sensitivity coefficient was derived. The insensitivity of the vehicle stiffness to a particular joint, when its stiffness exceeds a certain value (or threshold value), was proven mathematically. In order to investigate the sensitivity of the structure to the joint stiffness, a so-called stick model was created, and the modeling technique is briefly described. Some data on joint stiffness of tested vehicles are also presented.

  11. Variables associated with patient activation in persons with multiple sclerosis.

    PubMed

    Goodworth, Marie-Christine R; Stepleman, Lara; Hibbard, Judith; Johns, Lisa; Wright, Dustin; Hughes, Mary D; Williams, Mitzi J

    2016-01-01

    Identifying variables associated with patient activation in the multiple sclerosis population could serve to facilitate better multiple sclerosis self-management behaviors. Using a cross-sectional survey design, 199 participants were recruited from a multiple sclerosis center in the Southeastern United States. Depression, multiple sclerosis quality of life, and multiple Sclerosis self-efficacy were all significantly correlated with patient activation. Results of a hierarchical regression indicated that patient activation was significantly related to educational attainment, depression, and self-efficacy but not to quality of life. The results suggest several possible targets for intervention to increase patient activation, including health literacy, depression symptoms, and self-efficacy for multiple sclerosis disease management.

  12. Linking geomagnetic activity and polar surface air temperature variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seppala, Annika

    ERA-40 and ECMWF operational surface level air temperature (SAT) data sets from 1957 to 2006 were used to examine polar temperature variations during years with different levels of geomagnetic activity, as defined by the Ap index. Previous modelling work has suggested that NOx produced at high latitudes by energetic particle precipitation can eventually lead to detectable changes in polar SATs. We find that during winter months, ERA-40 and ECMWF polar SATs in years with high Ap index are different than in years with low Ap index; the differences are statistically significant at the 2-sigma level and range up to about ±4.5 K, de-pending on location. The temperature differences are larger when years with wintertime Sudden Stratospheric Warmings are excluded. Solar irradiance variations were taken into account in the analysis. Although using the re-analysis and operational data sets it was not possible to conclusively show that the polar SAT patterns are physically linked by geomagnetic activity, we conclude that geomagnetic activity likely plays a role in modulating polar wintertime surface air temperature patterns. The SAT results were tested against variation in the Quasi Biennial Oscillation (QBO), the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Annular Mode n (SAM). The results suggested that these were not driving the observed polar SAT variability. However, significant uncertainty is introduced by the Northern Annular Mode (NAM) and we could not robustly exclude a chance linkage between sea surface temperature (SST) variability and geomagnetic activity. Examining the physical link between geomagnetic activity and polar surface temperature variability patterns using atmospheric models is an ongoing task.

  13. Objectively measured physical activity and sedentary-time are associated with arterial stiffness in Brazilian young adults

    PubMed Central

    Horta, Bernardo Lessa; Schaan, Beatriz D.; Bielemann, Renata Moraes; Vianna, Carolina Ávila; Gigante, Denise Petrucci; Barros, Fernando C.; Ekelund, Ulf; Hallal, Pedro Curi

    2015-01-01

    Objective To examine the associations between objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time with pulse wave velocity (PWV) in Brazilian young adults. Methods Cross-sectional analysis with participants of the 1982 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort who were followed-up from birth to 30 years of age. Overall physical activity (PA) assessed as the average acceleration (mg), time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA – min/day) and sedentary time (min/day) were calculated from acceleration data. Carotid-femoral PWV (m/s) was assessed using a portable ultrasound. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP/DBP), waist circumference (WC) and body mass index (BMI) were analyzed as possible mediators. Multiple linear regression and g-computation formula were used in the analyses. Results Complete data were available for 1241 individuals. PWV was significantly lower in the two highest quartiles of overall PA (0.26 m/s) compared with the lowest quartile. Participants in the highest quartile of sedentary time had 0.39 m/s higher PWV (95%CI: 0.20; 0.57) than those in the lowest quartile. Individuals achieving ≥30 min/day in MVPA had lower PWV (β = −0.35; 95%CI: −0.56; −0.14). Mutually adjusted analyses between MVPA and sedentary time and PWV changed the coefficients, although results from sedentary time remained more consistent. WC captured 44% of the association between MVPA and PWV. DBP explained 46% of the association between acceleration and PWV. Conclusions Physical activity was inversely related to PWV in young adults, whereas sedentary time was positively associated. Such associations were only partially mediated by WC and DBP. PMID:26386211

  14. Geomagnetic activity and polar surface air temperature variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seppälä, A.; Randall, C. E.; Clilverd, M. A.; Rozanov, E.; Rodger, C. J.

    2009-10-01

    Here we use the ERA-40 and ECMWF operational surface level air temperature data sets from 1957 to 2006 to examine polar temperature variations during years with different levels of geomagnetic activity, as defined by the A p index. Previous modeling work has suggested that NO x produced at high latitudes by energetic particle precipitation can eventually lead to detectable changes in surface air temperatures (SATs). We find that during winter months, polar SATs in years with high A p index are different than in years with low A p index; the differences are statistically significant at the 2-sigma level and range up to about ±4.5 K, depending on location. The temperature differences are larger when years with wintertime Sudden Stratospheric Warmings (SSWs) are excluded. We take into account solar irradiance variations, unlike previous analyses of geomagnetic effects in ERA-40 and operational data. Although we cannot conclusively show that the polar SAT patterns are physically linked by geomagnetic activity, we conclude that geomagnetic activity likely plays a role in modulating wintertime surface air temperatures. We tested our SAT results against variation in the Quasi Biennial Oscillation, the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the Southern Annular Mode. The results suggested that these were not driving the observed polar SAT variability. However, significant uncertainty is introduced by the Northern Annular Mode, and we cannot robustly exclude a chance linkage between sea surface temperature variability and geomagnetic activity.

  15. Kepler Observations of Rapid Optical Variability in Active Galactic Nuclei

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mushotzky, R. F.; Edelson, R.; Baumgartner, W. H.; Gandhi, P.

    2012-01-01

    Over three quarters in 2010 - 2011, Kepler monitored optical emission from four active galactic nuclei (AGN) with approx 30 min sampling, > 90% duty cycle and approx < 0.1% repeatability. These data determined the AGN optical fluctuation power spectral density functions (PSDs) over a wide range in temporal frequency. Fits to these PSDs yielded power law slopes of -2.6 to -3.3, much steeper than typically seen in the X-rays. We find evidence that individual AGN exhibit intrinsically different PSD slopes. The steep PSD fits are a challenge to recent AGN variability models but seem consistent with first order MRI theoretical calculations of accretion disk fluctuations.

  16. [Variability in the flavinogenic activity of Pichia guilliermondi yeasts].

    PubMed

    Shavlovskiĭ, G M; Ksheminskaia, G P; Gumetskiĭ, R Ia

    1975-01-01

    The natural and induced variability of the flavinogenic activity was studied in the strain of Pichia guilliermondii ATCC 9058. The flavinogenic activity of the collection strain showed normal distribution; the amount of riboflavin(RF) accumulated in the medium differed several times in the extreme variants. In the clones with the maximum and minimum accumulation of RF, the distribution of the variants was asymmetric, due to the appearance of the cells with an average flavinogenic activity. The clones have acquired almost the same flavinogenic activity after being transferred eight times on a fresh medium. The asymmetric distribution of the variants according to their flavinogenic activity was found also in the case of the clones obtained from the UV-irradiated cells. The mutants have been isolated, which synthesized 3-30 times more RF than the parent strain in the presence of iron doses optimal for the growth. Five mutants that were most active in producing RF differed in the sensitivity of their flavinogenesis to high concentrations of iron, yeast autolysate, and carbon sources. PMID:1160648

  17. Microenvironment complexity and matrix stiffness regulate breast cancer cell activity in a 3D in vitro model

    PubMed Central

    Cavo, Marta; Fato, Marco; Peñuela, Leonardo; Beltrame, Francesco; Raiteri, Roberto; Scaglione, Silvia

    2016-01-01

    Three-dimensional (3D) cell cultures represent fundamental tools for the comprehension of cellular phenomena both in normal and in pathological conditions. In particular, mechanical and chemical stimuli play a relevant role on cell fate, cancer onset and malignant evolution. Here, we use mechanically-tuned alginate hydrogels to study the role of substrate elasticity on breast adenocarcinoma cell activity. The hydrogel elastic modulus (E) was measured via atomic force microscopy (AFM) and a remarkable range (150–4000 kPa) was obtained. A breast cancer cell line, MCF-7, was seeded within the 3D gels, on standard Petri and alginate-coated dishes (2D controls). Cells showed dramatic morphological differences when cultured in 3D versus 2D, exhibiting a flat shape in both 2D conditions, while maintaining a circular, spheroid-organized (cluster) conformation within the gels, similar to those in vivo. Moreover, we observed a strict correlation between cell viability and substrate elasticity; in particular, the number of MCF-7 cells decreased constantly with increasing hydrogel elasticity. Remarkably, the highest cellular proliferation rate, associated with the formation of cell clusters, occurred at two weeks only in the softest hydrogels (E = 150–200 kPa), highlighting the need to adopt more realistic and a priori defined models for in vitro cancer studies. PMID:27734939

  18. Non-axial muscle stress and stiffness.

    PubMed

    Zahalak, G I

    1996-09-01

    A generalization is developed of the classic two-state Huxley cross-bridge model to account for non-axial active stress and stiffness. The main ingredients of the model are: (i) a relation between the general three-dimensional deformation of an element of muscle and the deformations of the cross-bridges, that assumes macroscopic deformation is transmitted to the myofibrils, (ii) radial as well as axial cross-bridge stiffness, and (iii) variations of the attachment and detachment rates with lateral filament spacing. The theory leads to a generalized Huxley rate equation on the bond-distribution function, n(zeta, theta, t), of the form [equation: see text] where the Dij are the components of the relative velocity gradient and rho and ñ are functions of the polar angle, theta, and time that describe, respectively, the deformation of the myofilament lattice and the distribution of accessible actin sites (both of these functions can be calculated from the macroscopic deformation). Explicit expressions, in terms of n, are derived for the nine components of the active stress tensor, and the 21 non-vanishing components of the active stiffness tensor; the active stress tensor is found to be unsymmetric. The theory predicts that in general non-axial deformations will modify active axial stress and stiffness, and also give rise to non-axial (e.g., shearing) components. Under most circumstances the magnitudes of the non-axial stress and stiffness components will be small compared with the axial and, further, the effects of non-axial deformation rates will be small compared with those of the axial rate. Large transverse deformations may, however, greatly reduce the axial force and stiffness. The theory suggests a significant mechanical role for the non-contractile proteins in muscle, namely that of equilibrating the unsymmetric active stresses. Some simple applications of the theory are provided to illustrate its physical content. PMID:8917737

  19. Vibration Control via Stiffness Switching of Magnetostrictive Transducers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scheidler, Justin J.; Asnani, Vivake M.; Dapino, Marcelo J.

    2016-01-01

    This paper presents a computational study of structural vibration control that is realized by switching a magnetostrictive transducer between high and low stiffness states. Switching is accomplished by either changing the applied magnetic field with a voltage excitation or changing the shunt impedance on the transducer's coil (i.e., the magnetostrictive material's magnetic boundary condition). Switched-stiffness vibration control is simulated using a lumped mass supported by a damper and the magnetostrictive transducer (mount), which is represented by a nonlinear, electromechanical model. Free vibration of the mass is calculated while varying the mount's stiffness according to a reference switched-stiffness vibration control law. The results reveal that switching the magnetic field produces the desired change in stiffness, but also an undesired actuation force that can significantly degrade the vibration control. Hence, a modified switched-stiffness control law that accounts for the actuation force is proposed and implemented for voltage-controlled stiffness switching. The influence of the magnetomechanical bias condition is also discussed. Voltage-controlled stiffness switching is found to introduce damping equivalent to a viscous damping factor up to about 0.25; this is shown to primarily result from active vibration reduction caused by the actuation force. The merit of magnetostrictive switched-stiffness vibration control is then quantified by comparing the results of voltage- and shunt-controlled stiffness switching to the performance of optimal magnetostrictive shunt damping.

  20. Stiff-person syndrome with amphiphysin antibodies

    PubMed Central

    Murinson, Beth B.; Guarnaccia, Joseph B.

    2008-01-01

    Background: Stiff-person syndrome (SPS), formerly Stiff-man syndrome, is a rare autoimmune disease usually exhibiting severe spasms and thoracolumbar stiffness, with very elevated glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (GAD Ab). A paraneoplastic variant, less well characterized, is associated with amphiphysin antibodies (amphiphysin Ab). The objective of this study was to identify distinctive clinical features of amphiphysin Ab-associated SPS. Methods: Records associated with 845 sera tested in the Yale SPS project were examined, and 621 patients with clinically suspected SPS were included in the study. Clinical characteristics were assessed with correction for multiple comparisons. Results: In all, 116 patients had GAD antibodies and 11 patients had amphiphysin Ab; some clinical information was available for 112 and 11 of these patients, respectively. Patients with amphiphysin Ab-associated SPS were exclusively female; mean age was 60. All except one had breast cancer; none had diabetes. Compared to patients with GAD Ab-associated SPS, those with amphiphysin Ab were older (p = 0.02) and showed a dramatically different stiffness pattern (p < 0.0000001) with cervical involvement more likely, p ≤ 0.001. Electromyography showed continuous motor unit activity or was reported positive in eight. Benzodiazepines at high dose (average 50 mg/day diazepam) were partially effective. Four patients were steroid responsive and tumor excision with chemotherapy produced marked clinical improvement in three of five patients. Conclusions: Amphiphysin Ab-associated stiff-person syndrome is strongly associated with cervical region stiffness, female sex, breast cancer, advanced age, EMG abnormalities, and benzodiazepine responsiveness. The condition may respond to steroids and can dramatically improve with cancer treatment. GLOSSARY EAE = experimental autoimmune encephalitis; GAD Ab = glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies; ICC = immunocytochemistry; PERM = progressive variant with

  1. The covariation of independent and dependant variables in neurofeedback: a proposal framework to identify cognitive processes and brain activity variables.

    PubMed

    Micoulaud-Franchi, Jean-Arthur; Quiles, Clélia; Fond, Guillaume; Cermolacce, Michel; Vion-Dury, Jean

    2014-05-01

    This methodological article proposes a framework for analysing the relationship between cognitive processes and brain activity using variables measured by neurofeedback (NF) carried out by functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery (fMRI NF). Cognitive processes and brain activity variables can be analysed as either the dependant variable or the independent variable. Firstly, we propose two traditional approaches, defined in the article as the "neuropsychological" approach (NP) and the "psychophysiology" approach (PP), to extract dependent and independent variables in NF protocols. Secondly, we suggest that NF can be inspired by the style of inquiry used in neurophenomenology. fMRI NF allows participants to experiment with his or her own cognitive processes and their effects on brain region of interest (ROI) activations simultaneously. Thus, we suggest that fMRI NF could be improved by implementing "the elicitation interview method", which allows the investigator to gather relevant verbatim from participants' introspection on subjective experiences.

  2. Linking lake variability, climate, and human activity in Basotu, Tanzania.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Higgins, Lindsey; Westerberg, Lars-Ove; Risberg, Jan

    2016-04-01

    Lake Basotu (4.3697°S, 35.0728°E) is a crater lake in north-central Tanzania. This lake is an important source of freshwater for local people as no perennial rivers are present. Due to intensive agricultural methods and climatic factors, lake level has fluctuated greatly over time. A history of environmental variability of the past 1800 years was established using the diatom record, magnetic parameters, and carbon content from a three meter long sediment core. Fluctuations in modern lake extent (1973 - 2015) were calculated using archived Landsat images and compared to meteorological records and documents of activity around the lake to determine the greatest impacts and their consequences on this essential water resource. Variations in the paleo-record indicate that fluctuations in lake level are not abnormal, however human influence has likely increased the sensitivity of Lake Basotu to climatic fluctuations.

  3. Neuromuscular and stiffness adaptations in division I collegiate baseball players.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Stephen J; Swanik, Charles B; Higginson, Jill S; Kaminski, Thomas W; Swanik, Kathleen A; Kelly, John D; Nazarian, Levon N

    2013-02-01

    To compare bi-lateral shoulder EMG, active and short range glenohumeral stiffness, and examine its correlation to posterior capsule thickness (PCT) in collegiate baseball players. Surface and fine wire EMG was recorded on shoulder and scapular musculature during stiffness testing. Posterior capsule thickness was assessed separately using a diagnostic ultrasound. Serratus anterior EMG area and peak on the dominant arm was significantly greater compared to the non-dominant arm. The dominant arm had significantly greater active and short range glenohumeral stiffness compared to the non-dominant arm. Active glenohumeral stiffness was significantly correlated with PCT, however short range glenohumeral stiffness was not significantly correlated with PCT. Healthy collegiate baseball players present with adaptations of their stiffness regulation strategies. There were also correlations between stiffness and morphologic changes. Our results support the theory that PCT has an impact on the energy absorption capabilities of the shoulder during the deceleration phase of throwing. It also seems that tightening of the series elastic component within the posterior rotator cuff may be causing the increase in short range stiffness on the dominant arm.

  4. Neuromuscular and stiffness adaptations in division I collegiate baseball players.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Stephen J; Swanik, Charles B; Higginson, Jill S; Kaminski, Thomas W; Swanik, Kathleen A; Kelly, John D; Nazarian, Levon N

    2013-02-01

    To compare bi-lateral shoulder EMG, active and short range glenohumeral stiffness, and examine its correlation to posterior capsule thickness (PCT) in collegiate baseball players. Surface and fine wire EMG was recorded on shoulder and scapular musculature during stiffness testing. Posterior capsule thickness was assessed separately using a diagnostic ultrasound. Serratus anterior EMG area and peak on the dominant arm was significantly greater compared to the non-dominant arm. The dominant arm had significantly greater active and short range glenohumeral stiffness compared to the non-dominant arm. Active glenohumeral stiffness was significantly correlated with PCT, however short range glenohumeral stiffness was not significantly correlated with PCT. Healthy collegiate baseball players present with adaptations of their stiffness regulation strategies. There were also correlations between stiffness and morphologic changes. Our results support the theory that PCT has an impact on the energy absorption capabilities of the shoulder during the deceleration phase of throwing. It also seems that tightening of the series elastic component within the posterior rotator cuff may be causing the increase in short range stiffness on the dominant arm. PMID:22898532

  5. ECM stiffness primes the TGFβ pathway to promote chondrocyte differentiation

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Jessica L.; Cooke, Margaret E.; Alliston, Tamara

    2012-01-01

    Cells encounter physical cues such as extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness in a microenvironment replete with biochemical cues. However, the mechanisms by which cells integrate physical and biochemical cues to guide cellular decision making are not well defined. Here we investigate mechanisms by which chondrocytes generate an integrated response to ECM stiffness and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), a potent agonist of chondrocyte differentiation. Primary murine chondrocytes and ATDC5 cells grown on 0.5-MPa substrates deposit more proteoglycan and express more Sox9, Col2α1, and aggrecan mRNA relative to cells exposed to substrates of any other stiffness. The chondroinductive effect of this discrete stiffness, which falls within the range reported for articular cartilage, requires the stiffness-sensitive induction of TGFβ1. Smad3 phosphorylation, nuclear localization, and transcriptional activity are specifically increased in cells grown on 0.5-MPa substrates. ECM stiffness also primes cells for a synergistic response, such that the combination of ECM stiffness and exogenous TGFβ induces chondrocyte gene expression more robustly than either cue alone through a p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase–dependent mechanism. In this way, the ECM stiffness primes the TGFβ pathway to efficiently promote chondrocyte differentiation. This work reveals novel mechanisms by which cells integrate physical and biochemical cues to exert a coordinated response to their unique cellular microenvironment. PMID:22833566

  6. A Variable Light Domain Fluorogen Activating Protein Homodimerizes To Activate Dimethylindole Red

    SciTech Connect

    Senutovitch, Nina; Stanfield, Robyn L.; Bhattacharyya, Shantanu; Rule, Gordon S.; Wilson, Ian A.; Armitage, Bruce A.; Waggoner, Alan S.; Berget, Peter B.

    2012-07-11

    Novel fluorescent tools such as green fluorescent protein analogues and fluorogen activating proteins (FAPs) are useful in biological imaging for tracking protein dynamics in real time with a low fluorescence background. FAPs are single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) selected from a yeast surface display library that produce fluorescence upon binding a specific dye or fluorogen that is normally not fluorescent when present in solution. FAPs generally consist of human immunoglobulin variable heavy (V{sub H}) and variable light (V{sub L}) domains covalently attached via a glycine- and serine-rich linker. Previously, we determined that the yeast surface clone, V{sub H}-V{sub L} M8, could bind and activate the fluorogen dimethylindole red (DIR) but that the fluorogen activation properties were localized to the M8V{sub L} domain. We report here that both nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray diffraction methods indicate the M8V{sub L} forms noncovalent, antiparallel homodimers that are the fluorogen activating species. The M8V{sub L} homodimers activate DIR by restriction of internal rotation of the bound dye. These structural results, together with directed evolution experiments with both V{sub H}-V{sub L} M8 and M8V{sub L}, led us to rationally design tandem, covalent homodimers of M8V{sub L} domains joined by a flexible linker that have a high affinity for DIR and good quantum yields.

  7. In vivo measurement of bending stiffness in fracture healing

    PubMed Central

    Hente, Reiner; Cordey, Jacques; Perren, Stephan M

    2003-01-01

    Background Measurement of the bending stiffness a healing fracture represents a valid variable in the assessment of fracture healing. However, currently available methods typically have high measurement errors, even for mild pin loosening. Furthermore, these methods cannot provide actual values of bending stiffness, which precludes comparisons among individual fractures. Thus, even today, little information is available with regards to the fracture healing pattern with respect to actual values of bending stiffness. Our goals were, therefore: to develop a measurement device that would allow accurate and sensitive measurement of bending stiffness, even in the presence of mild pin loosening; to describe the course of healing in individual fractures; and help to evaluate whether the individual pattern of bending stiffness can be predicted at an early stage of healing. Methods A new measurement device has been developed to precisely measure the bending stiffness of the healing fracture by simulating four-point-bending. The system was calibrated on aluminum models and intact tibiae. The influence of pin loosening on measurement error was evaluated. The system was tested at weekly intervals in an animal experiment to determine the actual bending stiffness of the fracture. Transverse fractures were created in the right tibia of twelve sheep, and then stabilized with an external fixator. At ten weeks, bending stiffness of the tibiae were determined in a four-point-bending test device to validate the in-vivo-measurement data. Results In-vivo bending stiffness can be measured accurately and sensitive, even in the early phase of callus healing. Up to a bending stiffness of 10 Nm/degree, measurement error was below 3.4% for one pin loose, and below 29.3% for four pins loose, respectively. Measurement of stiffness data over time revealed a significant logarithmic increase between the third and seventh weeks, whereby the logarithmic rate of change among sheep was similar, but

  8. Simvastatin Ameliorates Matrix Stiffness-Mediated Endothelial Monolayer Disruption.

    PubMed

    Lampi, Marsha C; Faber, Courtney J; Huynh, John; Bordeleau, Francois; Zanotelli, Matthew R; Reinhart-King, Cynthia A

    2016-01-01

    Arterial stiffening accompanies both aging and atherosclerosis, and age-related stiffening of the arterial intima increases RhoA activity and cell contractility contributing to increased endothelium permeability. Notably, statins are 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors whose pleiotropic effects include disrupting small GTPase activity; therefore, we hypothesized the statin simvastatin could be used to attenuate RhoA activity and inhibit the deleterious effects of increased age-related matrix stiffness on endothelial barrier function. Using polyacrylamide gels with stiffnesses of 2.5, 5, and 10 kPa to mimic the physiological stiffness of young and aged arteries, endothelial cells were grown to confluence and treated with simvastatin. Our data indicate that RhoA and phosphorylated myosin light chain activity increase with matrix stiffness but are attenuated when treated with the statin. Increases in cell contractility, cell-cell junction size, and indirect measurements of intercellular tension that increase with matrix stiffness, and are correlated with matrix stiffness-dependent increases in monolayer permeability, also decrease with statin treatment. Furthermore, we report that simvastatin increases activated Rac1 levels that contribute to endothelial barrier enhancing cytoskeletal reorganization. Simvastatin, which is prescribed clinically due to its ability to lower cholesterol, alters the endothelial cell response to increased matrix stiffness to restore endothelial monolayer barrier function, and therefore, presents a possible therapeutic intervention to prevent atherogenesis initiated by age-related arterial stiffening.

  9. Simvastatin Ameliorates Matrix Stiffness-Mediated Endothelial Monolayer Disruption

    PubMed Central

    Lampi, Marsha C.; Faber, Courtney J.; Huynh, John; Bordeleau, Francois; Zanotelli, Matthew R.; Reinhart-King, Cynthia A.

    2016-01-01

    Arterial stiffening accompanies both aging and atherosclerosis, and age-related stiffening of the arterial intima increases RhoA activity and cell contractility contributing to increased endothelium permeability. Notably, statins are 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors whose pleiotropic effects include disrupting small GTPase activity; therefore, we hypothesized the statin simvastatin could be used to attenuate RhoA activity and inhibit the deleterious effects of increased age-related matrix stiffness on endothelial barrier function. Using polyacrylamide gels with stiffnesses of 2.5, 5, and 10 kPa to mimic the physiological stiffness of young and aged arteries, endothelial cells were grown to confluence and treated with simvastatin. Our data indicate that RhoA and phosphorylated myosin light chain activity increase with matrix stiffness but are attenuated when treated with the statin. Increases in cell contractility, cell-cell junction size, and indirect measurements of intercellular tension that increase with matrix stiffness, and are correlated with matrix stiffness-dependent increases in monolayer permeability, also decrease with statin treatment. Furthermore, we report that simvastatin increases activated Rac1 levels that contribute to endothelial barrier enhancing cytoskeletal reorganization. Simvastatin, which is prescribed clinically due to its ability to lower cholesterol, alters the endothelial cell response to increased matrix stiffness to restore endothelial monolayer barrier function, and therefore, presents a possible therapeutic intervention to prevent atherogenesis initiated by age-related arterial stiffening. PMID:26761203

  10. Vibration control via stiffness switching of magnetostrictive transducers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scheidler, Justin J.; Asnani, Vivake M.; Dapino, Marcelo J.

    2016-04-01

    In this paper, a computational study is presented of structural vibration control that is realized by switching a magneto-strictive transducer between high and low stiffness states. Switching is accomplished by either changing the applied magnetic field with a voltage excitation or changing the shunt impedance on the transducer's coil (i.e., the magneto-strictive material's magnetic boundary condition). Switched-stiffness vibration control is simulated using a lumped mass supported by a damper and the magneto-strictive transducer (mount), which is represented by a nonlinear, electromechanical model. Free vibration of the mass is calculated while varying the mount's stiffness according to a reference switched-stiffness vibration control law. The results reveal that switching the magnetic field produces the desired change in stiffness, but also an undesired actuation force that can significantly degrade the vibration control. Hence, a modified switched-stiffness control law that accounts for the actuation force is proposed and implemented for voltage-controlled stiffness switching. The influence of the magneto-mechanical bias condition is also discussed. Voltage-controlled stiffness switching is found to introduce damping equivalent to a viscous damping factor up to about 0.13; this is shown to primarily result from active vibration reduction caused by the actuation force. The merit of magneto-strictive switched-stiffness vibration control is then quantified by comparing the results of voltage- and shunt-controlled stiffness switching to the performance of optimal magneto-strictive shunt damping. For the cases considered, optimal resistive shunt damping performed considerably better than both voltage- and shunt-controlled stiffness switching.

  11. Vibration Control via Stiffness Switching of Magnetostrictive Transducers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scheidler, Justin J.; Asnani, Vivake M.; Dapino, Marcelo J.

    2016-01-01

    In this paper, a computational study is presented of structural vibration control that is realized by switching a magnetostrictive transducer between high and low stiffness states. Switching is accomplished by either changing the applied magnetic field with a voltage excitation or changing the shunt impedance on the transducer's coil (i.e., the magnetostrictive material's magnetic boundary condition). Switched-stiffness vibration control is simulated using a lumped mass supported by a damper and the magnetostrictive transducer (mount), which is represented by a nonlinear, electromechanical model. Free vibration of the mass is calculated while varying the mount's stiffness according to a reference switched-stiffness vibration control law. The results reveal that switching the magnetic field produces the desired change in stiffness, but also an undesired actuation force that can significantly degrade the vibration control. Hence, a modified switched-stiffness control law that accounts for the actuation force is proposed and implemented for voltage-controlled stiffness switching. The influence of the magneto-mechanical bias condition is also discussed. Voltage-controlled stiffness switching is found to introduce damping equivalent to a viscous damping factor up to about 0.13; this is shown to primarily result from active vibration reduction caused by the actuation force. The merit of magnetostrictive switched-stiffness vibration control is then quantified by comparing the results of voltage- and shunt-controlled stiffness switching to the performance of optimal magnetostrictive shunt damping. For the cases considered, optimal resistive shunt damping performed considerably better than both voltage- and shunt-controlled stiffness switching.

  12. The active liquid Earth - importance of temporal and spatial variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arheimer, Berit

    2016-04-01

    The Planet Earth is indeed liquid and active - 71 percent of its surface is water-covered and this water never rests. Thanks to the water cycle, our planet's water supply is constantly moving from one place to another and from one form to another. Only 2.5% of the water is freshwater and it exists in the air as water vapor; it hits the ground as rain and snow; it flows on the surface from higher to lower altitudes in rivers, lakes, and glaciers; and it flows in the ground in soil, aquifers, and in all living organisms until it reaches the sea. On its way over the Earth's crust, some returns quickly to vapor again, while some is trapped and exposed to many "fill and spill" situations for a long journey. The variability in the water balance is crucial for hydrological understanding and modelling. The water cycle may appear simple, but magnitudes and rates in fluxes are very different from one place to another, resulting from variable drivers such as solar energy, precipitation and gravity in co-evolution with geology, soil, vegetation and fauna. The historical evolution, the temporal fluxes and diversity in space continue to fascinate hydrological scientists. Specific physical processes may be well known, but their boundary conditions, interactions and rate often remain unknown at a specific site and are difficult to monitor in nature. This results in mysterious features where trends in drivers do not match runoff, like the Sahelian Paradox or discharge to the Arctic Ocean. Humans have always interfered with the water cycle and engineering is fundamental for water regulation and re-allocation. Some 80% of the river flow from the northern part of the Earth is affected by fragmentation of the river channels by dams. In water management, there is always a tradeoff between upstream and downstream activities, not only regarding total water quantities but also for temporal patterns and water quality aspects. Sharing a water resource can generate conflicts but geopolitical

  13. Boundary Stiffness Regulates Fibroblast Behavior in Collagen Gels

    PubMed Central

    John, Jeffrey; Quinlan, Angela Throm; Silvestri, Chiara; Billiar, Kristen

    2010-01-01

    Recent studies have illustrated the profound dependence of cellular behavior on the stiffness of 2D culture substrates. The goal of this study was to develop a method to alter the stiffness cells experience in a standard 3D collagen gel model without affecting the physiochemical properties of the extracellular matrix. A device was developed utilizing compliant anchors (0.048–0.64 N m−1) to tune the boundary stiffness of suspended collagen gels in between the commonly utilized free and fixed conditions (zero and infinite stiffness boundary stiffness). We demonstrate the principle of operation with finite element analyses and a wide range of experimental studies. In all cases, boundary stiffness has a strong influence on cell behavior, most notably eliciting higher basal tension and activated force (in response to KCl) and more pronounced remodeling of the collagen matrix at higher boundary stiffness levels. Measured equibiaxial forces for gels seeded with 3 million human foreskin fibroblasts range from 0.05 to 1 mN increasing monotonically with boundary stiffness. Estimated force per cell ranges from 17 to 100 nN utilizing representative volume element analysis. This device provides a valuable tool to independently study the effect of the mechanical environment of the cell in a 3D collagen matrix. PMID:20012205

  14. A Comparison of Total and Intrinsic Muscle Stiffness Among Flexors and Extensors of the Ankle, Knee and Elbow

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lemoine, Sandra M.

    1997-01-01

    This study examined 3 methods that assessed muscle stiffness. Muscle stiffness has been quantified by tissue reactive force (transverse stiffness), vibration, and force (or torque) over displacement. Muscle stiffness also has two components: reflex (due to muscle sensor activity) and intrinsic (tonic firing of motor units, elastic nature of actin and myosin cross bridges, and connective tissue). This study compared three methods of measuring muscle stiffness of agonist-antagonist muscle pairs of the ankle, knee and elbow.

  15. Nonlinear vibration of thick stiff fabric with small flexural stiffness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, J.-P.; Wang, S.-Z.; Wu, W.-Y.; Gu, H.-B.

    2008-02-01

    Dynamic behaviour of fabric is very complex during weaving, dyeing and finishing processes. Thick stiff fabric vibration has great influence not only on the fabric itself but also on the performance of machine. The theoretic analysis for the nonlinear free vibration of thick stiff fabric with small flexural stiffness is put forward in the paper. The nonlinear partial differential equation is derived by applying the flexible thin plate theory, and then transformed into nonlinear ordinary differential equation by the Galerkin method. The approximate analytical solution is obtained by the homotopy perturbation method.

  16. The acute effect of maximal exercise on central and peripheral arterial stiffness indices and hemodynamics in children and adults.

    PubMed

    Melo, Xavier; Fernhall, Bo; Santos, Diana A; Pinto, Rita; Pimenta, Nuno M; Sardinha, Luís B; Santa-Clara, Helena

    2016-03-01

    This study compared the effects of a bout of maximal running exercise on arterial stiffness in children and adults. Right carotid blood pressure and artery stiffness indices measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), compliance and distensibility coefficients, stiffness index α and β (echo-tracking), contralateral carotid blood pressure, and upper and lower limb and central/aortic PWV (applanation tonometry) were taken at rest and 10 min after a bout of maximal treadmill running in 34 children (7.38 ± 0.38 years) and 45 young adults (25.22 ± 0.91 years) having similar aerobic potential. Two-by-two repeated measures analysis of variance and analysis of covariance were used to detect differences with exercise between groups. Carotid pulse pressure (PP; η(2) = 0.394) increased more in adults after exercise (p < 0.05). Compliance (η(2) = 0.385) decreased in particular in adults and in those with high changes in distending pressure, similarly to stiffness index α and β. Carotid PWV increased more in adults and was related to local changes in PP but not mean arterial pressure (MAP). Stiffness in the lower limbs decreased (η(2) = 0.115) but apparently only in those with small MAP changes (η(2) = 0.111). No significant exercise or group interaction effects were found when variables were adjusted to height. An acute bout of maximal exercise can alter arterial stiffness and hemodynamics in the carotid artery and within the active muscle beds. Arterial stiffness and hemodynamic response to metabolic demands during exercise in children simply reflect their smaller body size and may not indicate a particular physiological difference compared with adults. PMID:26842667

  17. Variability of single trial brain activation predicts fluctuations in reaction time.

    PubMed

    Bender, Stephan; Banaschewski, Tobias; Roessner, Veit; Klein, Christoph; Rietschel, Marcella; Feige, Bernd; Brandeis, Daniel; Laucht, Manfred

    2015-03-01

    Brain activation stability is crucial to understanding attention lapses. EEG methods could provide excellent markers to assess neuronal response variability with respect to temporal (intertrial coherence) and spatial variability (topographic consistency) as well as variations in activation intensity (low frequency variability of single trial global field power). We calculated intertrial coherence, topographic consistency and low frequency amplitude variability during target P300 in a continuous performance test in 263 15-year-olds from a cohort with psychosocial and biological risk factors. Topographic consistency and low frequency amplitude variability predicted reaction time fluctuations (RTSD) in a linear model. Higher RTSD was only associated with higher psychosocial adversity in the presence of the homozygous 6R-10R dopamine transporter haplotype. We propose that topographic variability of single trial P300 reflects noise as well as variability in evoked cortical activation patterns. Dopaminergic neuromodulation interacted with environmental and biological risk factors to predict behavioural reaction time variability.

  18. Epidemic variability in hierarchical geographical networks with human activity patterns.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Zhi-Dan; Liu, Ying; Tang, Ming

    2012-06-01

    Recently, some studies have revealed that non-Poissonian statistics of human behaviors stem from the hierarchical geographical network structure. On this view, we focus on epidemic spreading in the hierarchical geographical networks and study how two distinct contact patterns (i.e., homogeneous time delay (HOTD) and heterogeneous time delay (HETD) associated with geographical distance) influence the spreading speed and the variability of outbreaks. We find that, compared with HOTD and null model, correlations between time delay and network hierarchy in HETD remarkably slow down epidemic spreading and result in an upward cascading multi-modal phenomenon. Proportionately, the variability of outbreaks in HETD has the lower value, but several comparable peaks for a long time, which makes the long-term prediction of epidemic spreading hard. When a seed (i.e., the initial infected node) is from the high layers of networks, epidemic spreading is remarkably promoted. Interestingly, distinct trends of variabilities in two contact patterns emerge: high-layer seeds in HOTD result in the lower variabilities, the case of HETD is opposite. More importantly, the variabilities of high-layer seeds in HETD are much greater than that in HOTD, which implies the unpredictability of epidemic spreading in hierarchical geographical networks.

  19. A comparison of muscle stiffness and musculoarticular stiffness of the knee joint in young athletic males and females.

    PubMed

    Wang, Dan; De Vito, Giuseppe; Ditroilo, Massimiliano; Fong, Daniel T P; Delahunt, Eamonn

    2015-06-01

    The objective of this study was to investigate the gender-specific differences in peak torque (PT), muscle stiffness (MS) and musculoarticular stiffness (MAS) of the knee joints in a young active population. Twenty-two male and twenty-two female recreational athletes participated. PT of the knee joint extensor musculature was assessed on an isokinetic dynamometer, MS of the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle was measured in both relaxed and contracted conditions, and knee joint MAS was quantified using the free oscillation technique. Significant gender differences were observed for all dependent variables. Females demonstrated less normalized PT (mean difference (MD)=0.4Nm/kg, p=0.005, η(2)=0.17), relaxed MS (MD=94.2N/m, p<.001, η(2)=0.53), contracted MS (MD=162.7N/m, p<.001, η(2)=0.53) and MAS (MD=422.1N/m, p<.001, η(2)=0.23) than males. MAS increased linearly with the external load in both genders with males demonstrating a significantly higher slope (p=0.019) than females. The observed differences outlined above may contribute to the higher knee joint injury incidence and prevalence in females when compared to males.

  20. Microtubules regulate GEF-H1 in response to extracellular matrix stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Heck, Jessica N.; Ponik, Suzanne M.; Garcia-Mendoza, Maria G.; Pehlke, Carolyn A.; Inman, David R.; Eliceiri, Kevin W.; Keely, Patricia J.

    2012-01-01

    Breast epithelial cells sense the stiffness of the extracellular matrix through Rho-mediated contractility. In turn, matrix stiffness regulates RhoA activity. However, the upstream signaling mechanisms are poorly defined. Here we demonstrate that the Rho exchange factor GEF-H1 mediates RhoA activation in response to extracellular matrix stiffness. We demonstrate the novel finding that microtubule stability is diminished by a stiff three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrix, which leads to the activation of GEF-H1. Surprisingly, activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway did not contribute to stiffness-induced GEF-H1 activation. Loss of GEF-H1 decreases cell contraction of and invasion through 3D matrices. These data support a model in which matrix stiffness regulates RhoA through microtubule destabilization and the subsequent release and activation of GEF-H1. PMID:22593214

  1. Diagnostic for two-mode variable valve activation device

    SciTech Connect

    Fedewa, Andrew M

    2014-01-07

    A method is provided for diagnosing a multi-mode valve train device which selectively provides high lift and low lift to a combustion valve of an internal combustion engine having a camshaft phaser actuated by an electric motor. The method includes applying a variable electric current to the electric motor to achieve a desired camshaft phaser operational mode and commanding the multi-mode valve train device to a desired valve train device operational mode selected from a high lift mode and a low lift mode. The method also includes monitoring the variable electric current and calculating a first characteristic of the parameter. The method also includes comparing the calculated first characteristic against a predetermined value of the first characteristic measured when the multi-mode valve train device is known to be in the desired valve train device operational mode.

  2. DETERIORATION IN BIOMECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF THE VAGINA FOLLOWING IMPLANTATION OF A HIGH STIFFNESS PROLAPSE MESH

    PubMed Central

    Feola, Andrew; Abramowitch, Steven; Jallah, Zegbeh; Stein, Suzan; Barone, William; Palcsey, Stacy; Moalli, Pamela

    2012-01-01

    Objective Define the impact of prolapse mesh on the biomechanical properties of the vagina by comparing the prototype Gynemesh PS (Ethicon, Somerville, NJ) to 2 new generation lower stiffness meshes, SmartMesh (Coloplast, Minneapolis, MN) and UltraPro (Ethicon). Design A study employing a non-human primate model Setting University of Pittsburgh Population 45 parous rhesus macaques Methods Meshes were implanted via sacrocolpexy after hysterectomy and compared to Sham. Because its stiffness is highly directional UltraPro was implanted in two directions: UltraPro Perpendicular (less stiff) and UltraPro Parallel (more stiff), with the indicated direction referring to the blue orientation lines. The mesh-vaginal complex (MVC) was excised en toto after 3 months. Main Outcome Measures Active mechanical properties were quantified as contractile force generated in the presence of 120 mM KCl. Passive mechanical properties (a tissues ability to resist an applied force) were measured using a multi-axial protocol. Results Vaginal contractility decreased 80% following implantation with the Gynemesh PS (p=0.001), 48% after SmartMesh (p=0.001), 68% after UltraPro parallel (p=0.001) and was highly variable after UltraPro perpendicular (p =0.16). The tissue contribution to the passive mechanical behavior of the MVC was drastically reduced for Gynemesh PS (p=0.003) but not SmartMesh (p=0.9) or UltraPro independent of the direction of implantation (p=0.68 and p=0.66, respectively). Conclusions Deterioration of the mechanical properties of the vagina was highest following implantation with the stiffest mesh, Gynemesh PS. Such a decrease associated with implantation of a device of increased stiffness is consistent with findings from other systems employing prostheses for support. PMID:23240801

  3. Use of component analyses to identify active variables in treatment packages for children with feeding disorders.

    PubMed Central

    Cooper, L J; Wacker, D P; McComas, J J; Brown, K; Peck, S M; Richman, D; Drew, J; Frischmeyer, P; Millard, T

    1995-01-01

    We evaluated the separate components in treatment packages for food refusal of 4 young children. First, treatment packages were implemented until food acceptance improved. Next, a component analysis was conducted within a multielement or reversal design to identify the active components that facilitated food acceptance. The results indicated that escape extinction was always identified as an active variable when assessed; however, other variables, including positive reinforcement and noncontingent play, were also identified as active variables for 2 of the children. The results suggest that the component analysis was useful for identifying variables that affected food acceptance. PMID:7601802

  4. The association between oxidative stress, activator protein-1, inflammatory, total antioxidant status and artery stiffness and the efficacy of olmesartan in elderly patients with mild-to-moderate essential hypertension.

    PubMed

    Liu, Qunwei; Han, Limin; Du, Qiufan; Zhang, Ming; Zhou, Shenghua; Shen, Xiangqian

    2016-01-01

    This study investigated the change of oxidative stress, activator protein-1 (AP-1), inflammatory, total antioxidant status (TAS) and artery stiffness, and explored the relationship between these characteristics and the efficacy of olmesartan intervention in elderly patients with mild-to-moderate essential hypertension (EH). In total, 386 elderly patients with EH and 353 normotensive controls were recruited. All study subjects had oxidative stress markers, AP-1, inflammatory factors, TAS and brancial-ankle artery pulse wave velocity (ba-PWV) measured. In total, 193 elderly patients with EH were randomized to olmesartan and were matched with 193 normotensive controls to observe the change of index above mentioned before and after the treatment. Compared with the controls, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and TAS were significantly reduced in patients with EH, and malondialdehyde (MDA), AP-1, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (Hs-CRP), Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 (MCP-1), heart rate, endothelin-1 (ET-1), TAS and ba-PWV were significantly increased (P < 0.01 for all). Pearson's correlation analysis showed that SOD and TAS were negatively related to AP-1 (P < 0.05 for all), and that blood pressure (BP), age, MDA, Hs-CRP, MCP-1, ET-1 were positively related to AP-1 (P < 0.01 for all). Multivariate linear regression analysis showed that BP, SOD, MDA, AP-1, Hs-CRP, MCP-1, ET-1, TAS, heart rate and age were independent risk factors for ba-PWV. After treatment with olmesartan, SOD and TAS were increased, while BP, heart rate, AP-1 and inflammatory factors were reduced with significant improvement in ba-PWV (P < 0.05 for all). More increase of arterial stiffness was reported in elderly hypertensive patients with greater oxidative stress, inflammatory, AP-1, heart rate, and lower TAS. Higher oxidative stress, AP-1 and inflammatory may predict higher arterial stiffness. Olmesartan may increase TAS, yet inhibit oxidative stress, AP-1, inflammatory, and heart rate with

  5. Morphological Computation of Haptic Perception of a Controllable Stiffness Probe

    PubMed Central

    Sornkarn, Nantachai; Dasgupta, Prokar; Nanayakkara, Thrishantha

    2016-01-01

    When people are asked to palpate a novel soft object to discern its physical properties such as texture, elasticity, and even non-homogeneity, they not only regulate probing behaviors, but also the co-contraction level of antagonistic muscles to control the mechanical impedance of fingers. It is suspected that such behavior tries to enhance haptic perception by regulating the function of mechanoreceptors at different depths of the fingertips and proprioceptive sensors such as tendon and spindle sensors located in muscles. In this paper, we designed and fabricated a novel two-degree of freedom variable stiffness indentation probe to investigate whether the regulation of internal stiffness, indentation, and probe sweeping velocity (PSV) variables affect the accuracy of the depth estimation of stiff inclusions in an artificial silicon phantom using information gain metrics. Our experimental results provide new insights into not only the biological phenomena of haptic perception but also new opportunities to design and control soft robotic probes. PMID:27257814

  6. Morphological Computation of Haptic Perception of a Controllable Stiffness Probe.

    PubMed

    Sornkarn, Nantachai; Dasgupta, Prokar; Nanayakkara, Thrishantha

    2016-01-01

    When people are asked to palpate a novel soft object to discern its physical properties such as texture, elasticity, and even non-homogeneity, they not only regulate probing behaviors, but also the co-contraction level of antagonistic muscles to control the mechanical impedance of fingers. It is suspected that such behavior tries to enhance haptic perception by regulating the function of mechanoreceptors at different depths of the fingertips and proprioceptive sensors such as tendon and spindle sensors located in muscles. In this paper, we designed and fabricated a novel two-degree of freedom variable stiffness indentation probe to investigate whether the regulation of internal stiffness, indentation, and probe sweeping velocity (PSV) variables affect the accuracy of the depth estimation of stiff inclusions in an artificial silicon phantom using information gain metrics. Our experimental results provide new insights into not only the biological phenomena of haptic perception but also new opportunities to design and control soft robotic probes. PMID:27257814

  7. Variation in Rubisco content and activity under variable climatic factors.

    PubMed

    Galmés, Jeroni; Aranjuelo, Iker; Medrano, Hipólito; Flexas, Jaume

    2013-11-01

    The main objective of the present review is to provide a compilation of published data of the effects of several climatic conditions on Rubisco, particularly its activity, state of activation, and concentration, and its influence on leaf gas exchange and photosynthesis. The environmental conditions analyzed include drought, salinity, heavy metals, growth temperature, and elevated [O3], [CO2], and ultraviolet-B irradiance. The results show conclusive evidence for a major negative effect on activity of Rubisco with increasing intensity of a range of abiotic stress factors. This decrease in the activity of Rubisco is associated with down-regulation of the activation state of the enzyme (e.g., by de-carbamylation and/or binding of inhibitory sugar phosphates) in response to drought or high temperature. On the contrary, the negative effects of low temperature, heavy metal stress (cadmium), ozone, and UV-B stress on Rubisco activity are associated with changes in the concentration of Rubisco. Notably, in response to all environmental factors, the regulation of in vivo CO2 assimilation rate was related to Rubisco in vitro parameters, either concentration and/or carboxylation, depending on the particular stress. The importance of the loss of Rubisco activity and its repercussion on plant photosynthesis are discussed in the context of climate change. It is suggested that decreased Rubisco activity will be a major effect induced by climate change, which will need to be considered in any prediction model on plant productivity in the near future.

  8. Stiffness after total knee arthroplasty.

    PubMed

    Manrique, Jorge; Gomez, Miguel M; Parvizi, Javad

    2015-04-01

    Stiffness after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) adversely affects outcome and impacts patient function. Various risk factors for stiffness after TKA have been identified, including reduced preoperative knee range of motion, history of prior knee surgery, etiology of arthritis, incorrect positioning or oversizing of components, and incorrect gap balancing. Mechanical and associated causes, such as infection, arthrofibrosis, complex regional pain syndrome, and heterotopic ossification, secondary gain issues have also been identified. Management of stiffness following TKA can be challenging. The condition needs to be assessed and treated in a staged manner. A nonsurgical approach is the first step. Manipulation under anesthesia may be considered within the first 3 months after the index TKA, if physical therapy fails to improve the range of motion. Beyond this point, consideration should be given to surgical intervention such as lysis of adhesions, either arthroscopically or by open arthrotomy. If the cause of stiffness is deemed to be surgical error, such as component malpositioning, revision arthroplasty is indicated. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the various aspects of management of stiffness after TKA.

  9. Intra-Individual Variability of Physical Activity in Older Adults With and Without Mild Alzheimer's Disease.

    PubMed

    Watts, Amber; Walters, Ryan W; Hoffman, Lesa; Templin, Jonathan

    2016-01-01

    Physical activity shows promise for protection against cognitive decline in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease (AD). To better understand barriers to adoption of physical activity in this population, a clear understanding of daily and weekly activity patterns is needed. Most accelerometry studies report average physical activity over an entire wear period without considering the potential importance of the variability of physical activity. This study evaluated individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity and determined whether these differences could be predicted by AD status, day of wear, age, gender, education, and cardiorespiratory capacity. Physical activity was measured via accelerometry (Actigraph GT3X+) over one week in 86 older adults with and without AD (n = 33 and n = 53, respectively). Mixed-effects location-scale models were estimated to evaluate and predict individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity. Results indicated that compared to controls, participants with AD averaged 21% less activity, but averaged non-significantly greater intra-individual variability. Women and men averaged similar amounts of physical activity, but women were significantly less variable. The amount of physical activity differed significantly across days of wear. Increased cardiorespiratory capacity was associated with greater average amounts of physical activity. Investigation of individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity provided insight into differences by AD status, days of monitor wear, gender, and cardiovascular capacity. All individuals regardless of AD status were equally consistent in their physical activity, which may have been due to a highly sedentary sample and/or the early disease stage of those participants with AD. These results highlight the value of considering individual differences in both the amount and

  10. Intra-Individual Variability of Physical Activity in Older Adults With and Without Mild Alzheimer's Disease.

    PubMed

    Watts, Amber; Walters, Ryan W; Hoffman, Lesa; Templin, Jonathan

    2016-01-01

    Physical activity shows promise for protection against cognitive decline in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease (AD). To better understand barriers to adoption of physical activity in this population, a clear understanding of daily and weekly activity patterns is needed. Most accelerometry studies report average physical activity over an entire wear period without considering the potential importance of the variability of physical activity. This study evaluated individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity and determined whether these differences could be predicted by AD status, day of wear, age, gender, education, and cardiorespiratory capacity. Physical activity was measured via accelerometry (Actigraph GT3X+) over one week in 86 older adults with and without AD (n = 33 and n = 53, respectively). Mixed-effects location-scale models were estimated to evaluate and predict individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity. Results indicated that compared to controls, participants with AD averaged 21% less activity, but averaged non-significantly greater intra-individual variability. Women and men averaged similar amounts of physical activity, but women were significantly less variable. The amount of physical activity differed significantly across days of wear. Increased cardiorespiratory capacity was associated with greater average amounts of physical activity. Investigation of individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity provided insight into differences by AD status, days of monitor wear, gender, and cardiovascular capacity. All individuals regardless of AD status were equally consistent in their physical activity, which may have been due to a highly sedentary sample and/or the early disease stage of those participants with AD. These results highlight the value of considering individual differences in both the amount and

  11. MIGRAINE, CAROTID STIFFNESS AND GENETIC POLYMORPHISM.

    PubMed

    Kes, Vanja Basić; Jurasić, Miljenka-Jelena; Zavoreo, Iris; Corić, Lejla; Rotim, Kresimir

    2015-12-01

    Recently migraine has been associated with increased arterial stiffness, procoagulant state, increased incidence of cerebral white matter lesions (WML) and stroke. Our aim was to compare the characteristics of migraineurs to headache free controls regarding their functional carotid ultrasound parameters. Sixty patients (45 women) with migraine (mean age 40.42 ± 10.61 years) were compared with 45 controls (30 women) with no prior history of repeating headache (mean age 38.94 ± 5.46 years) using E-tracking software on Alpha 10 ultrasound platform. Student's t-test was used on statistical analysis with alpha < 0.05. All tested carotid vascular parameters were worse in patients with migraine including increased intima-media thickness, greater carotid diameter and carotid diameter change, as well as several arterial stiffness indices. Additionally, patients with migraine had greater incidence of homozygous mutations for procoagulant genes (MTHFR (C677T), PAI-1 and ACE I/D) than expected. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging of the brain showed WML in 11 patients, four of them migraine with aura patients. Since we established increased carotid stiffness and higher frequency of procoagulant gene mutations in migraineurs, we propose prospective ultrasound monitoring in such patients, especially those with detected WML, in order to timely commence more active and specific preventive stroke management strategies.

  12. Molecular Cues Guiding Matrix Stiffness in Liver Fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Saneyasu, Takaoki; Akhtar, Riaz

    2016-01-01

    Tissue and matrix stiffness affect cell properties during morphogenesis, cell growth, differentiation, and migration and are altered in the tissue remodeling following injury and the pathological progression. However, detailed molecular mechanisms underlying alterations of stiffness in vivo are still poorly understood. Recent engineering technologies have developed powerful techniques to characterize the mechanical properties of cell and matrix at nanoscale levels. Extracellular matrix (ECM) influences mechanical tension and activation of pathogenic signaling during the development of chronic fibrotic diseases. In this short review, we will focus on the present knowledge of the mechanisms of how ECM stiffness is regulated during the development of liver fibrosis and the molecules involved in ECM stiffness as a potential therapeutic target for liver fibrosis. PMID:27800489

  13. Age-Related Variability in Cortical Activity during Language Processing

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fridriksson, Julius; Morrow, K. Leigh; Moser, Dana; Baylis, Gordon C.

    2006-01-01

    Purpose: The present study investigated the extent of cortical activity during overt picture naming using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Method: Participants comprised 20 healthy, adult participants with ages ranging from 20 to 82 years. While undergoing fMRI, participants completed a picture-naming task consisting of 60…

  14. Composite sizing and ply orientation for stiffness requirements using a large finite element structural model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Radovcich, N. A.; Gentile, D. P.

    1989-01-01

    A NASTRAN bulk dataset preprocessor was developed to facilitate the integration of filamentary composite laminate properties into composite structural resizing for stiffness requirements. The NASCOMP system generates delta stiffness and delta mass matrices for input to the flutter derivative program. The flutter baseline analysis, derivative calculations, and stiffness and mass matrix updates are controlled by engineer defined processes under an operating system called CBUS. A multi-layered design variable grid system permits high fidelity resizing without excessive computer cost. The NASCOMP system uses ply layup drawings for basic input. The aeroelastic resizing for stiffness capability was used during an actual design exercise.

  15. ARTHROSCOPIC TREATMENT OF ELBOW STIFFNESS

    PubMed Central

    Vieira, Luis Alfredo Gómez; Dal Molin, Fabio Farina; Visco, Adalberto; Fernandes, Luis Filipe Daneu; dos Santos, Murilo Cunha Rafael; Cardozo Filho, Nivaldo Souza; Gómez Cordero, Nicolas Gerardo

    2015-01-01

    To present the arthroscopic surgical technique and the evaluation of the results from this technique for treating elbow stiffness. Methods: Between April 2007 and January 2010, ten elbows of ten patients with elbow stiffness underwent arthroscopic treatment to release the range of motion. The minimum follow-up was 11 months, with an average of 27 months. All the patients were male and their average age was 32.8 years (ranging from 22 to 48 years). After the arthroscopic treatment, they were followed up weekly in the first month and every three months thereafter. The clinical evaluation was made using the criteria of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Results: All the patients were satisfied with the results from the arthroscopic treatment. The average UCLA score was 33.8 points. Conclusion: Arthroscopic treatment for elbow stiffness is a minimally invasive surgical technique that was shown to be efficient for treating this complication. PMID:27027027

  16. Concept of variable activation energy and its validity in nonisothermal kinetics.

    PubMed

    Tan, Guanglei; Wang, Qi; Zheng, Hongxia; Zhao, Wei; Zhang, Song; Liu, Zhongsuo

    2011-06-01

    The concept of variable activation energy in solid-state kinetics under nonisothermal conditions has been suffering from doubt and controversy. Rate equations of nonisothermal kinetics of solid decomposition, which involve the factors of thermodynamics conditions, pressure of gaseous product, structure parameters of solid, and/or extent of conversion, are derived from the models of the interface reaction, the diffusion of gaseous product, and the nuclei growth of the solid product, respectively. The definition of the validity function in the rate equations represents the influence of the factors on the reaction rate. A function of variable activation energy depending on the validity function is also developed. The changing trend and degree of activation energy are extrapolated from the function of variable activation energy and based on the data of nonisothermal thermal decomposition of calcium carbonate. It is shown that the concept of variable activation energy is meaningfully applicable to solid-state reactions under nonisothermal conditions.

  17. Lase Ultrasonic Web Stiffness tester

    SciTech Connect

    Tim Patterson, Ph.D., IPST at Ga Tech

    2009-01-12

    The objective is to provide a sensor that uses non-contact, laser ultrasonics to measure the stiffness of paper during the manufacturing process. This will allow the manufacturer to adjust the production process in real time, increase filler content, modify fiber refining and as result produce a quality product using less energy. The sensor operates by moving back and forth across the paper web, at pre-selected locations firing a laser at the sheet, measuring the out-of-plane velocity of the sheet then using that measurement to calculate sheet stiffness.

  18. Physically Active Adults: An Analysis of the Key Variables That Keep Them Moving

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Downs, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    Background: A large proportion of adults are insufficiently physically active, and researchers have yet to determine the factors that enable individuals to maintain adequate levels of physical activity throughout adulthood. Purpose: This study sought to identify the key variables linked with consistent physical activity in adulthood as elucidated…

  19. Arterial Stiffness and Cardiovascular Therapy

    PubMed Central

    Janić, Miodrag; Lunder, Mojca; Šabovič, Mišo

    2014-01-01

    The world population is aging and the number of old people is continuously increasing. Arterial structure and function change with age, progressively leading to arterial stiffening. Arterial stiffness is best characterized by measurement of pulse wave velocity (PWV), which is its surrogate marker. It has been shown that PWV could improve cardiovascular event prediction in models that included standard risk factors. Consequently, it might therefore enable better identification of populations at high-risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The present review is focused on a survey of different pharmacological therapeutic options for decreasing arterial stiffness. The influence of several groups of drugs is described: antihypertensive drugs (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, diuretics, and nitrates), statins, peroral antidiabetics, advanced glycation end-products (AGE) cross-link breakers, anti-inflammatory drugs, endothelin-A receptor antagonists, and vasopeptidase inhibitors. All of these have shown some effect in decreasing arterial stiffness. Nevertheless, further studies are needed which should address the influence of arterial stiffness diminishment on major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (MACCE). PMID:25170513

  20. A novel, variable angle guide grid for neuronal activity studies

    PubMed Central

    Talbot, Thomas; Ide, David; Liu, Ning; Turchi, Janita

    2011-01-01

    Introduction: Surgically implanted chambers with removable grids are routinely used for studying patterns of neuronal activity in primate brains; however, accessing target tissues is significantly constrained by standard grid designs. Typically, grids are configured with a series of guide holes drilled vertically, parallel to the walls of the chamber, thus targeted sites are limited to those in line vertically with one of the guide holes. Methods: By using the three-dimensional modeling software, a novel grid was designed to reach the targeted sites far beyond the standard reach of the chamber. The grid was fabricated using conventional machining techniques and three-dimensional printing. Results: A pilot study involving microinjection of the magnetic resonance (MR) contrast agent gadolinium into the discrete regions of interest (ROIs) in the temporal cortex of an awake, behaving monkey demonstrated the effectiveness of this new design of the guide grid. Using multiple different angles of approach, we were readily able to access 10 injection sites, which were up to 5 mm outside the traditional, orthogonal reach of the chamber. PMID:22319479

  1. Exploratory factor analysis for differentiating sensory and mechanical variables related to muscle-tendon unit elongation

    PubMed Central

    Chagas, Mauro H.; Magalhães, Fabrício A.; Peixoto, Gustavo H. C.; Pereira, Beatriz M.; Andrade, André G. P.; Menzel, Hans-Joachim K.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Background Stretching exercises are able to promote adaptations in the muscle-tendon unit (MTU), which can be tested through physiological and biomechanical variables. Identifying the key variables in MTU adaptations is crucial to improvements in training. Objective To perform an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) involving the variables often used to evaluate the response of the MTU to stretching exercises. Method Maximum joint range of motion (ROMMAX), ROM at first sensation of stretching (FSTROM), peak torque (torqueMAX), passive stiffness, normalized stiffness, passive energy, and normalized energy were investigated in 36 participants during passive knee extension on an isokinetic dynamometer. Stiffness and energy values were normalized by the muscle cross-sectional area and their passive mode assured by monitoring the EMG activity. Results EFA revealed two major factors that explained 89.68% of the total variance: 53.13% was explained by the variables torqueMAX, passive stiffness, normalized stiffness, passive energy, and normalized energy, whereas the remaining 36.55% was explained by the variables ROMMAX and FSTROM. Conclusion This result supports the literature wherein two main hypotheses (mechanical and sensory theories) have been suggested to describe the adaptations of the MTU to stretching exercises. Contrary to some studies, in the present investigation torqueMAX was significantly correlated with the variables of the mechanical theory rather than those of the sensory theory. Therefore, a new approach was proposed to explain the behavior of the torqueMAX during stretching exercises. PMID:27437715

  2. Severity of Osteoarthritis Is Associated with Increased Arterial Stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Kals, Jaak; Zilmer, Mihkel; Paapstel, Kaido; Märtson, Aare

    2016-01-01

    Objective. Osteoarthritis (OA) is associated with increased cardiovascular comorbidity and mortality. Evidence is lacking about whether arterial stiffness is involved in OA. The objective of our study was to find out associations between OA, arterial stiffness, and adipokines. Design. Seventy end-stage knee and hip OA patients (age 62 ± 7 years) and 70 asymptomatic controls (age 60 ± 7 years) were investigated using the applanation tonometry to determine their parameters of arterial stiffness. Serum adiponectin, leptin, and matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3) levels were determined using the ELISA method. Correlation between variables was determined using Spearman's rho. Multiple regression analysis with a stepwise selection procedure was employed. Results. Radiographic OA grade was positively associated with increased carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV) (r = 0.272, p = 0.023). We found that OA grade was also associated with leptin and MMP-3 levels (rho = −0.246, p = 0.040 and rho = 0.235, p = 0.050, resp.). In addition, serum adiponectin level was positively associated with augmentation index and inversely with large artery elasticity index (rho = 0.293, p = 0.006 and rho = −0.249, p = 0.003, resp.). Conclusions. Our results suggest that OA severity is independently associated with increased arterial stiffness and is correlated with expression of adipokines. Thus, increased arterial stiffness and adipokines might play an important role in elevated cardiovascular risk in end-stage OA. PMID:27493667

  3. Calculating individual and total muscular translational stiffness: a knee example.

    PubMed

    Cashaback, Joshua G A; Pierrynowski, Michael R; Potvin, Jim R

    2013-06-01

    Research suggests that the knee joint may be dependent on an individual muscle's translational stiffness (KT) of the surrounding musculature to prevent or compensate for ligament tearing. Our primary goal was to develop an equation that calculates KT. We successfully derived such an equation that requires as input: a muscle's coordinates, force, and stiffness acting along its line of action. This equation can also be used to estimate the total joint muscular KT, in three orthogonal axes (AP: anterior-posterior; SI: superior-inferior; ML: medial-lateral), by summating individual muscle KT contributions for each axis. We then compared the estimates of our equation, using a commonly used knee model as input, to experimental data. Our total muscular KT predictions (44.0 N/mm), along the anterior/posterior axis (AP), matched the experimental data (52.2 N/mm) and was well within the expected variability (22.6 N/mm). We then estimated the total and individual muscular KT in two postures (0 deg and 90 deg of knee flexion), with muscles mathematically set to full activation. For both postures, total muscular KT was greatest along the SI-axis. The extensors provided the greatest KT for each posture and axis. Finally, we performed a sensitivity analysis to explore the influence of each input on the equation. It was found that pennation angle had the largest effect on SI KT, while muscle line of action coordinates largely influenced AP and ML muscular KT. This equation can be easily embedded within biomechanical models to calculate the individual and total muscular KT for any joint.

  4. Direct measurement of human ankle stiffness during quiet standing: the intrinsic mechanical stiffness is insufficient for stability

    PubMed Central

    Loram, Ian D; Lakie, Martin

    2002-01-01

    During quiet standing the human ‘inverted pendulum’ sways irregularly. In previous work where subjects balanced a real inverted pendulum, we investigated what contribution the intrinsic mechanical ankle stiffness makes to achieve stability. Using the results of a plausible model, we suggested that intrinsic ankle stiffness is inadequate for providing stability. Here, using a piezo-electric translator we applied small, unobtrusive mechanical perturbations to the foot while the subject was standing freely. These short duration perturbations had a similar size and velocity to movements which occur naturally during quiet standing, and they produced no evidence of any stretch reflex response in soleus, or gastrocnemius. Direct measurement confirms our earlier conclusion; intrinsic ankle stiffness is not quite sufficient to stabilise the body or pendulum. On average the directly determined intrinsic stiffness is 91 ± 23 % (mean ± s.d.) of that necessary to provide minimal stabilisation. The stiffness was substantially constant, increasing only slightly with ankle torque. This stiffness cannot be neurally regulated in quiet standing. Thus we attribute this stiffness to the foot, Achilles’ tendon and aponeurosis rather than the activated calf muscle fibres. Our measurements suggest that the triceps surae muscles maintain balance via a spring-like element which is itself too compliant to guarantee stability. The implication is that the brain cannot set ankle stiffness and then ignore the control task because additional modulation of torque is required to maintain balance. We suggest that the triceps surae muscles maintain balance by predictively controlling the proximal offset of the spring-like element in a ballistic-like manner. PMID:12482906

  5. Estimation of Quasi-Stiffness of the Human Knee in the Stance Phase of Walking

    PubMed Central

    Shamaei, Kamran; Sawicki, Gregory S.; Dollar, Aaron M.

    2013-01-01

    Biomechanical data characterizing the quasi-stiffness of lower-limb joints during human locomotion is limited. Understanding joint stiffness is critical for evaluating gait function and designing devices such as prostheses and orthoses intended to emulate biological properties of human legs. The knee joint moment-angle relationship is approximately linear in the flexion and extension stages of stance, exhibiting nearly constant stiffnesses, known as the quasi-stiffnesses of each stage. Using a generalized inverse dynamics analysis approach, we identify the key independent variables needed to predict knee quasi-stiffness during walking, including gait speed, knee excursion, and subject height and weight. Then, based on the identified key variables, we used experimental walking data for 136 conditions (speeds of 0.75–2.63 m/s) across 14 subjects to obtain best fit linear regressions for a set of general models, which were further simplified for the optimal gait speed. We found R2 > 86% for the most general models of knee quasi-stiffnesses for the flexion and extension stages of stance. With only subject height and weight, we could predict knee quasi-stiffness for preferred walking speed with average error of 9% with only one outlier. These results provide a useful framework and foundation for selecting subject-specific stiffness for prosthetic and exoskeletal devices designed to emulate biological knee function during walking. PMID:23533662

  6. Variability-based Active Galactic Nucleus Selection Using Image Subtraction in the SDSS and LSST Era

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choi, Yumi; Gibson, Robert R.; Becker, Andrew C.; Ivezić, Željko; Connolly, Andrew J.; MacLeod, Chelsea L.; Ruan, John J.; Anderson, Scott F.

    2014-02-01

    With upcoming all-sky surveys such as LSST poised to generate a deep digital movie of the optical sky, variability-based active galactic nucleus (AGN) selection will enable the construction of highly complete catalogs with minimum contamination. In this study, we generate g-band difference images and construct light curves (LCs) for QSO/AGN candidates listed in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 public catalogs compiled from different methods, including spectroscopy, optical colors, variability, and X-ray detection. Image differencing excels at identifying variable sources embedded in complex or blended emission regions such as Type II AGNs and other low-luminosity AGNs that may be omitted from traditional photometric or spectroscopic catalogs. To separate QSOs/AGNs from other sources using our difference image LCs, we explore several LC statistics and parameterize optical variability by the characteristic damping timescale (τ) and variability amplitude. By virtue of distinguishable variability parameters of AGNs, we are able to select them with high completeness of 93.4% and efficiency (i.e., purity) of 71.3%. Based on optical variability, we also select highly variable blazar candidates, whose infrared colors are consistent with known blazars. One-third of them are also radio detected. With the X-ray selected AGN candidates, we probe the optical variability of X-ray detected optically extended sources using their difference image LCs for the first time. A combination of optical variability and X-ray detection enables us to select various types of host-dominated AGNs. Contrary to the AGN unification model prediction, two Type II AGN candidates (out of six) show detectable variability on long-term timescales like typical Type I AGNs. This study will provide a baseline for future optical variability studies of extended sources.

  7. Variability-based active galactic nucleus selection using image subtraction in the SDSS and LSST era

    SciTech Connect

    Choi, Yumi; Gibson, Robert R.; Becker, Andrew C.; Ivezić, Željko; Connolly, Andrew J.; Ruan, John J.; Anderson, Scott F.; MacLeod, Chelsea L.

    2014-02-10

    With upcoming all-sky surveys such as LSST poised to generate a deep digital movie of the optical sky, variability-based active galactic nucleus (AGN) selection will enable the construction of highly complete catalogs with minimum contamination. In this study, we generate g-band difference images and construct light curves (LCs) for QSO/AGN candidates listed in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 public catalogs compiled from different methods, including spectroscopy, optical colors, variability, and X-ray detection. Image differencing excels at identifying variable sources embedded in complex or blended emission regions such as Type II AGNs and other low-luminosity AGNs that may be omitted from traditional photometric or spectroscopic catalogs. To separate QSOs/AGNs from other sources using our difference image LCs, we explore several LC statistics and parameterize optical variability by the characteristic damping timescale (τ) and variability amplitude. By virtue of distinguishable variability parameters of AGNs, we are able to select them with high completeness of 93.4% and efficiency (i.e., purity) of 71.3%. Based on optical variability, we also select highly variable blazar candidates, whose infrared colors are consistent with known blazars. One-third of them are also radio detected. With the X-ray selected AGN candidates, we probe the optical variability of X-ray detected optically extended sources using their difference image LCs for the first time. A combination of optical variability and X-ray detection enables us to select various types of host-dominated AGNs. Contrary to the AGN unification model prediction, two Type II AGN candidates (out of six) show detectable variability on long-term timescales like typical Type I AGNs. This study will provide a baseline for future optical variability studies of extended sources.

  8. Rapid X-Ray Variability of Active Galaxies. Ph.D. Thesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tennant, A. F., Jr.

    1983-01-01

    Active galactic nuclei are luminous sources of X-rays. The thesis that the X-rays are generated within 10 gravitational radii from the central object is tested. A very sensitive search for rapid ( 1 day) X-ray variability from active galaxies was made.

  9. Left anterior cingulate activity predicts intra-individual reaction time variability in healthy adults.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Beth P; Pinar, Ari; Fornito, Alex; Nandam, L Sanjay; Hester, Robert; Bellgrove, Mark A

    2015-06-01

    Within-subject, or intra-individual, variability in reaction time (RT) is increasingly recognised as an important indicator of the efficiency of attentional control, yet there have been few investigations of the neural correlates of trial-to-trial RT variability in healthy adults. We sought to determine the neural correlates of intra-individual RT variability during a go/no-go response inhibition task in 27 healthy, male participants. We found that reduced trial-to-trial RT variability (i.e. greater response stability) was significantly associated with greater activation in the left pregenual anterior cingulate. These results support the role of the left anterior cingulate in the dynamic control of attention and efficient response selection. Greater understanding of intra-individual RT variability and top-down attentional control in healthy adults may help to inform disorders that impact executive/attentional control, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia. PMID:25791710

  10. Substrate stiffness regulates solubility of cellular vimentin

    PubMed Central

    Murray, Maria E.; Mendez, Melissa G.; Janmey, Paul A.

    2014-01-01

    The intermediate filament protein vimentin is involved in the regulation of cell behavior, morphology, and mechanical properties. Previous studies using cells cultured on glass or plastic substrates showed that vimentin is largely insoluble. Although substrate stiffness was shown to alter many aspects of cell behavior, changes in vimentin organization were not reported. Our results show for the first time that mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), endothelial cells, and fibroblasts cultured on different-stiffness substrates exhibit biphasic changes in vimentin detergent solubility, which increases from nearly 0 to 67% in hMSCs coincident with increases in cell spreading and membrane ruffling. When imaged, the detergent-soluble vimentin appears to consist of small fragments the length of one or several unit-length filaments. Vimentin detergent solubility decreases when these cells are subjected to serum starvation, allowed to form cell–cell contacts, after microtubule disruption, or inhibition of Rac1, Rho-activated kinase, or p21-activated kinase. Inhibiting myosin or actin assembly increases vimentin solubility on rigid substrates. These data suggest that in the mechanical environment in vivo, vimentin is more dynamic than previously reported and its assembly state is sensitive to stimuli that alter cellular tension and morphology. PMID:24173714

  11. Physical activity, functional capacity, and step variability during walking in people with lower-limb amputation.

    PubMed

    Lin, Suh-Jen; Winston, Katie D; Mitchell, Jill; Girlinghouse, Jacob; Crochet, Karleigh

    2014-01-01

    Physical activity is important for general health. For an individual with amputation to sustain physical activity, certain functional capacity might be needed. Gait variability is related to the incidence of falls. This study explored the relationship between physical activity and a few common performance measures (six-minute walk test, step length variability, step width variability, and comfortable walking speed) in individuals with unilateral lower-limb amputation. Twenty individuals completed the study (age: 50±11yrs). Twelve of them had transtibial amputation, seven had transfemoral amputation, and one had through-knee amputation. Gait data was collected by the GaitRite instrumented walkway while participants performed a 3-min comfortable walking trial followed by a six-minute walk test. Physical activity was indicated by the mean of 7-day step counts via a pedometer. Gait variability was calculated by the coefficient of variation. Pearson correlation analysis was conducted between physical activity level and the 4 performance measures. Significance level was set at 0.05. Physical activity correlates strongly to comfortable walking speed (r=0.76), six-minute walk distance (r=0.67), and correlates fairly to step width variability (r=0.44). On the contrary, physical activity is inversely related to step length variability of the prosthetic leg (r=-0.46) and of the sound leg (r=-0.47). Having better functional capacity and lateral stability might enable an individual with lower-limb amputation to engage in a higher physical activity level, or vise versa. However, our conclusions are only preliminary as limited by the small sample size. PMID:24731451

  12. Physical activity, functional capacity, and step variability during walking in people with lower-limb amputation.

    PubMed

    Lin, Suh-Jen; Winston, Katie D; Mitchell, Jill; Girlinghouse, Jacob; Crochet, Karleigh

    2014-01-01

    Physical activity is important for general health. For an individual with amputation to sustain physical activity, certain functional capacity might be needed. Gait variability is related to the incidence of falls. This study explored the relationship between physical activity and a few common performance measures (six-minute walk test, step length variability, step width variability, and comfortable walking speed) in individuals with unilateral lower-limb amputation. Twenty individuals completed the study (age: 50±11yrs). Twelve of them had transtibial amputation, seven had transfemoral amputation, and one had through-knee amputation. Gait data was collected by the GaitRite instrumented walkway while participants performed a 3-min comfortable walking trial followed by a six-minute walk test. Physical activity was indicated by the mean of 7-day step counts via a pedometer. Gait variability was calculated by the coefficient of variation. Pearson correlation analysis was conducted between physical activity level and the 4 performance measures. Significance level was set at 0.05. Physical activity correlates strongly to comfortable walking speed (r=0.76), six-minute walk distance (r=0.67), and correlates fairly to step width variability (r=0.44). On the contrary, physical activity is inversely related to step length variability of the prosthetic leg (r=-0.46) and of the sound leg (r=-0.47). Having better functional capacity and lateral stability might enable an individual with lower-limb amputation to engage in a higher physical activity level, or vise versa. However, our conclusions are only preliminary as limited by the small sample size.

  13. Variables associated with upper extremity function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

    PubMed

    Janssen, Mariska M H P; Hendriks, Jan C M; Geurts, Alexander C H; de Groot, Imelda J M

    2016-09-01

    Preserving upper extremity (UE) function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is extremely important as it is related to independence and quality of life. For clinical decision making, knowledge of variables associated with UE function is necessary. This knowledge is, however, limited. Therefore, this study aims to gain more insight into the variables associated with UE function in DMD. Data from an international web-based questionnaire on UE function, obtained from 213 DMD patients, were used. Six dependent variables regarding UE function were used in multivariable linear regression analyses. In addition, 26 independent variables regarding patient characteristics, medication, therapy, supportive aids, pain, stiffness and participation were used. Twelve independent variables showed a significant relation to UE function. Variables with a negative relation to UE function were: later disease stage, occurrence of scoliosis, higher age, use of UE splints, more frequent stiffness complaints, more limitations due to stiffness, more frequent elbow pain, and having physical therapy. A positive relation with UE function was seen for going to school or work, use of corticosteroids, higher BMI, and higher age at diagnosis. These variables explained 56-81 % of the variation of the different measures of UE function. Knowledge of variables associated with UE function is very important in the clinical management of DMD patients. The results of this study suggest that corticosteroid use and participation in school and work related activities are positively related to UE function in DMD patients, as well as reducing pain and stiffness and preventing scoliosis.

  14. Variables associated with upper extremity function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

    PubMed

    Janssen, Mariska M H P; Hendriks, Jan C M; Geurts, Alexander C H; de Groot, Imelda J M

    2016-09-01

    Preserving upper extremity (UE) function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is extremely important as it is related to independence and quality of life. For clinical decision making, knowledge of variables associated with UE function is necessary. This knowledge is, however, limited. Therefore, this study aims to gain more insight into the variables associated with UE function in DMD. Data from an international web-based questionnaire on UE function, obtained from 213 DMD patients, were used. Six dependent variables regarding UE function were used in multivariable linear regression analyses. In addition, 26 independent variables regarding patient characteristics, medication, therapy, supportive aids, pain, stiffness and participation were used. Twelve independent variables showed a significant relation to UE function. Variables with a negative relation to UE function were: later disease stage, occurrence of scoliosis, higher age, use of UE splints, more frequent stiffness complaints, more limitations due to stiffness, more frequent elbow pain, and having physical therapy. A positive relation with UE function was seen for going to school or work, use of corticosteroids, higher BMI, and higher age at diagnosis. These variables explained 56-81 % of the variation of the different measures of UE function. Knowledge of variables associated with UE function is very important in the clinical management of DMD patients. The results of this study suggest that corticosteroid use and participation in school and work related activities are positively related to UE function in DMD patients, as well as reducing pain and stiffness and preventing scoliosis. PMID:27314968

  15. Natural variation in embryo mechanics: gastrulation in Xenopus laevis is highly robust to variation in tissue stiffness

    PubMed Central

    von Dassow, Michelangelo; Davidson, Lance A.

    2009-01-01

    How sensitive is morphogenesis to the mechanical properties of embryos? To estimate an upper bound on the sensitivity of early morphogenetic movements to tissue mechanical properties, we assessed natural variability in the apparent stiffness among gastrula-stage Xenopus laevis embryos. We adapted micro-aspiration methods to make repeated, non-destructive measurements of apparent tissue stiffness in whole embryos. Stiffness varied by close to a factor of 2 among embryos within a single clutch. Variation between clutches was of similar magnitude. On the other hand, the direction of change in stiffness over the course of gastrulation was the same in all embryos and in all clutches. Neither pH nor salinity – two environmental factors we predicted could affect variability in nature – affected tissue stiffness. Our results indicate that gastrulation in X. laevis is robust to at least two-fold variation in tissue stiffness. PMID:19097119

  16. The solar magnetic activity band interaction and instabilities that shape quasi-periodic variability.

    PubMed

    McIntosh, Scott W; Leamon, Robert J; Krista, Larisza D; Title, Alan M; Hudson, Hugh S; Riley, Pete; Harder, Jerald W; Kopp, Greg; Snow, Martin; Woods, Thomas N; Kasper, Justin C; Stevens, Michael L; Ulrich, Roger K

    2015-04-07

    Solar magnetism displays a host of variational timescales of which the enigmatic 11-year sunspot cycle is most prominent. Recent work has demonstrated that the sunspot cycle can be explained in terms of the intra- and extra-hemispheric interaction between the overlapping activity bands of the 22-year magnetic polarity cycle. Those activity bands appear to be driven by the rotation of the Sun's deep interior. Here we deduce that activity band interaction can qualitatively explain the 'Gnevyshev Gap'—a well-established feature of flare and sunspot occurrence. Strong quasi-annual variability in the number of flares, coronal mass ejections, the radiative and particulate environment of the heliosphere is also observed. We infer that this secondary variability is driven by surges of magnetism from the activity bands. Understanding the formation, interaction and instability of these activity bands will considerably improve forecast capability in space weather and solar activity over a range of timescales.

  17. The solar magnetic activity band interaction and instabilities that shape quasi-periodic variability

    PubMed Central

    McIntosh, Scott W.; Leamon, Robert J.; Krista, Larisza D.; Title, Alan M.; Hudson, Hugh S.; Riley, Pete; Harder, Jerald W.; Kopp, Greg; Snow, Martin; Woods, Thomas N.; Kasper, Justin C.; Stevens, Michael L.; Ulrich, Roger K.

    2015-01-01

    Solar magnetism displays a host of variational timescales of which the enigmatic 11-year sunspot cycle is most prominent. Recent work has demonstrated that the sunspot cycle can be explained in terms of the intra- and extra-hemispheric interaction between the overlapping activity bands of the 22-year magnetic polarity cycle. Those activity bands appear to be driven by the rotation of the Sun's deep interior. Here we deduce that activity band interaction can qualitatively explain the ‘Gnevyshev Gap'—a well-established feature of flare and sunspot occurrence. Strong quasi-annual variability in the number of flares, coronal mass ejections, the radiative and particulate environment of the heliosphere is also observed. We infer that this secondary variability is driven by surges of magnetism from the activity bands. Understanding the formation, interaction and instability of these activity bands will considerably improve forecast capability in space weather and solar activity over a range of timescales. PMID:25849045

  18. Long-term X-Ray Variability of Typical Active Galactic Nuclei in the Distant Universe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, G.; Brandt, W. N.; Luo, B.; Xue, Y. Q.; Bauer, F. E.; Sun, M. Y.; Kim, S.; Schulze, S.; Zheng, X. C.; Paolillo, M.; Shemmer, O.; Liu, T.; Schneider, D. P.; Vignali, C.; Vito, F.; Wang, J.-X.

    2016-11-01

    We perform long-term (≈15 years, observed-frame) X-ray variability analyses of the 68 brightest radio-quiet active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in the 6 Ms Chandra Deep Field-South survey; the majority are in the redshift range of 0.6–3.1, providing access to penetrating rest-frame X-rays up to ≈10–30 keV. Of the 68 sources, 24 are optical spectral type I AGNs, and the rest (44) are type II AGNs. The timescales probed in this work are among the longest for X-ray variability studies of distant AGNs. Photometric analyses reveal widespread photon flux variability: 90% of AGNs are variable above a 95% confidence level, including many X-ray obscured AGNs and several optically classified type II quasars. We characterize the intrinsic X-ray luminosity ({L}{{X}}) and absorption ({N}{{H}}) variability via spectral fitting. Most (74%) sources show {L}{{X}} variability; the variability amplitudes are generally smaller for quasars. A Compton-thick candidate AGN shows variability of its high-energy X-ray flux, indicating the size of reflecting material to be ≲0.3 pc. {L}{{X}} variability is also detected in a broad absorption line quasar. The {N}{{H}} variability amplitude for our sample appears to rise as time separation increases. About 16% of sources show {N}{{H}} variability. One source transitions from an X-ray unobscured to obscured state, while its optical classification remains type I; this behavior indicates the X-ray eclipsing material is not large enough to obscure the whole broad-line region.

  19. Mechanism of leg stiffness adjustment for hopping on surfaces of different stiffnesses.

    PubMed

    Farley, C T; Houdijk, H H; Van Strien, C; Louie, M

    1998-09-01

    When humans hop in place or run forward, leg stiffness is increased to offset reductions in surface stiffness, allowing the global kinematics and mechanics to remain the same on all surfaces. The purpose of the present study was to determine the mechanism for adjusting leg stiffness. Seven subjects hopped in place on surfaces of different stiffnesses (23-35,000 kN/m) while force platform, kinematic, and electromyographic data were collected. Leg stiffness approximately doubled between the most stiff surface and the least stiff surface. Over the same range of surfaces, ankle torsional stiffness increased 1.75-fold, and the knee became more extended at the time of touchdown (2.81 vs. 2.65 rad). We used a computer simulation to examine the sensitivity of leg stiffness to the observed changes in ankle stiffness and touchdown knee angle. Our model consisted of four segments (foot, shank, thigh, head-arms-trunk) interconnected by three torsional springs (ankle, knee, hip). In the model, an increase in ankle stiffness 1.75-fold caused leg stiffness to increase 1.7-fold. A change in touchdown knee angle as observed in the subjects caused leg stiffness to increase 1.3-fold. Thus both joint stiffness and limb geometry adjustments are important in adjusting leg stiffness to allow similar hopping on different surfaces.

  20. Effects of reaction time variability and age on brain activity during Stroop task performance.

    PubMed

    Tam, Angela; Luedke, Angela C; Walsh, Jeremy J; Fernandez-Ruiz, Juan; Garcia, Angeles

    2015-09-01

    Variability in reaction time during task performance may reflect fluctuations in attention and cause reduced performance in goal-directed tasks, yet it is unclear whether the mechanisms behind this phenomenon change with age. Using fMRI, we tested young and cognitively healthy older adults with the Stroop task to determine whether aging affects the neural mechanisms underlying intra-individual reaction time variability. We found significant between-group differences in BOLD activity modulated by reaction time. In older adults, longer reaction times were associated with greater activity in frontoparietal attentional areas, while in younger adults longer reaction times were associated with greater activity in default mode network areas. Our results suggest that the neural correlates of reaction time variability change with healthy aging, reinforcing the concept of functional plasticity to maintain high cognitive function throughout the lifespan.

  1. The Use of Polyacrylamide Hydrogels to Study the Effects of Matrix Stiffness on Nuclear Envelope Properties.

    PubMed

    Minaisah, Rose-Marie; Cox, Susan; Warren, Derek T

    2016-01-01

    Matrix-derived mechanical cues influence cell proliferation, motility, and differentiation. Recent findings clearly demonstrate that the nuclear envelope (NE) adapts and remodels in response to mechanical signals, including matrix stiffness, yet a plethora of studies have been performed on tissue culture plastic or glass that have a similar stiffness to cortical bone. Using methods that allow modulation of matrix stiffness will provide further insight into the role of the NE in physiological conditions and the impact of changes in stiffness observed during ageing and disease on cellular function. In this chapter, we describe the polyacrylamide hydrogel system, which allows fabrication of hydrogels with variable stiffness to better mimic the environment experienced by cells in most tissues of the body.

  2. Chromospherically active stars. II - HD 82558, a young single BY Draconis variable

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fekel, Francis C.; Bopp, Bernard W.; Africano, John L.; Goodrich, Bret D.; Palmer, Leigh Hunter

    1986-01-01

    It is presently noted that the HD 82558 chromospherically active star is a young and rapidly rotating K2 V single BY Draconis variable with very strong far-UV emission features and an H-alpha line filled to the continuum level by emission. HD 82558 has constant velocity and is not a member of the Hyades Supercluster. Its light curve behavior, which appears to have been stable for several hundred rotation cycles, is reminiscent of that of the young, rapidly rotating, single K V variable H II 1883 in the Pleiades; this stability may be characteristic of young, single, chromospherically active stars.

  3. Ensemble spectral variability study of Active Galactic Nuclei from the XMM-Newton serendipitous source catalogue

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Serafinelli, R.; Vagnetti, F.; Middei, R.

    2016-02-01

    The variability of the X-Ray spectra of active galactic nuclei (AGN) usually includes a change of the spectral slope. This has been investigated for a small sample of local AGNs by Sobolewska and Papadakis [1], who found that slope variations are well correlated with flux variations, and that the spectra are typically steeper in the bright phase (softer when brighter behaviour). Not much information is available for the spectral variability of high-luminosity AGNs and quasars. In order to investigate this phenomenon, we use data from the XMM-Newton Serendipitous Source Catalogue, Data Release 5, which contains X- Ray observations for a large number of active galactic nuclei in a wide luminosity and redshift range, for several different epochs. This allows to perform an ensemble analysis of the spectral variability for a large sample of quasars. We quantify the spectral variability through the spectral variability parameter β, defined by Trevese and Vagnetti [2] as the ratio between the change in spectral slope and the corresponding logarithmic flux variation. We find that the spectral variability of quasars has a softer when brighter behaviour, similarly to local AGNs.

  4. Variability of foE in the equatorial ionosphere with solar activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe, O. E.; Rabiu, A. B.; Adeniyi, J. O.

    2013-01-01

    This research examined the variability of foE in the equatorial ionosphere with solar activity within the equatorial ionospheric anomaly region. Ionosonde data recorded at Ouagadougou (lat. 12.4°N, long. 1.5°W and magnetic dip 1.43°N) were engaged to study the transient variations of the critical frequency of the E-layer (foE) and its dependence on solar activity. The study revealed that foE increases with the increase in solar intensity of the sun. The variability of the foE decreases with increases in the solar activity. The maximum value of the foE is at local noon when the ionosphere is stable; the variability at this local time is minimal. The minimum value of the foE is at sunrise and sunset, at this period on local time the equatorial ionosphere recorded its maxima variability. Irrespective of the degree of solar activity, foE is observed to be maximum in June solstice, followed by the equinoxes and minimum in December solstice. Equinoctial asymmetry occurred in the variation of the relative standard deviation of foE with maximum in September/March equinox for low/high solar activity.

  5. X-ray spectra and time variability of active galactic nuclei

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mushotzky, R. F.

    1984-01-01

    The X-ray spectra of broad line active galactic nuclei (AGN) of all types (Seyfert I's, NELG's, broadline radio galaxies) are well fit by a power law in the .5 to 100 keV band of man energy slope alpha = .68 + or - .15. There is, as yet, no strong evidence for time variability of this slope in a given object. The constraints that this places on simple models of the central energy source are discussed. BL Lac objects have quite different X-ray spectral properties and show pronounced X-ray spectral variability. On time scales longer than 12 hours most radio quiet AGN do not show strong, delta I/I .5, variability. The probability of variability of these AGN seems to be inversely related to their luminosity. However characteristics timescales for variability have not been measured for many objects. This general lack of variability may imply that most AGN are well below the Eddington limit. Radio bright AGN tend to be more variable than radio quiet AGN on long, tau approx 6 month, timescales.

  6. Tissue stiffness dictates development, homeostasis, and disease progression.

    PubMed

    Handorf, Andrew M; Zhou, Yaxian; Halanski, Matthew A; Li, Wan-Ju

    2015-01-01

    Tissue development is orchestrated by the coordinated activities of both chemical and physical regulators. While much attention has been given to the role that chemical regulators play in driving development, researchers have recently begun to elucidate the important role that the mechanical properties of the extracellular environment play. For instance, the stiffness of the extracellular environment has a role in orienting cell division, maintaining tissue boundaries, directing cell migration, and driving differentiation. In addition, extracellular matrix stiffness is important for maintaining normal tissue homeostasis, and when matrix mechanics become imbalanced, disease progression may ensue. In this article, we will review the important role that matrix stiffness plays in dictating cell behavior during development, tissue homeostasis, and disease progression.

  7. Tissue Stiffness Dictates Development, Homeostasis, and Disease Progression

    PubMed Central

    Handorf, Andrew M; Zhou, Yaxian; Halanski, Matthew A; Li, Wan-Ju

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Tissue development is orchestrated by the coordinated activities of both chemical and physical regulators. While much attention has been given to the role that chemical regulators play in driving development, researchers have recently begun to elucidate the important role that the mechanical properties of the extracellular environment play. For instance, the stiffness of the extracellular environment has a role in orienting cell division, maintaining tissue boundaries, directing cell migration, and driving differentiation. In addition, extracellular matrix stiffness is important for maintaining normal tissue homeostasis, and when matrix mechanics become imbalanced, disease progression may ensue. In this article, we will review the important role that matrix stiffness plays in dictating cell behavior during development, tissue homeostasis, and disease progression. PMID:25915734

  8. Leg and Joint Stiffness in Children with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy during Level Walking

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Ting-Ming; Huang, Hsing-Po; Li, Jia-Da; Hong, Shih-Wun; Lo, Wei-Ching; Lu, Tung-Wu

    2015-01-01

    Individual joint deviations are often identified in the analysis of cerebral palsy (CP) gait. However, knowledge is limited as to how these deviations affect the control of the locomotor system as a whole when striving to meet the demands of walking. The current study aimed to bridge the gap by describing the control of the locomotor system in children with diplegic CP in terms of their leg stiffness, both skeletal and muscular components, and associated joint stiffness during gait. Twelve children with spastic diplegia CP and 12 healthy controls walked at a self-selected pace in a gait laboratory while their kinematic and forceplate data were measured and analyzed during loading response, mid-stance, terminal stance and pre-swing. For calculating the leg stiffness, each of the lower limbs was modeled as a non-linear spring, connecting the hip joint center and the corresponding center of pressure, with varying stiffness that was calculated as the slope (gradient) of the axial force vs. the deformation curve. The leg stiffness was further decomposed into skeletal and muscular components considering the alignment of the lower limb. The ankle, knee and hip of the limb were modeled as revolute joints with torsional springs whose stiffness was calculated as the slope of the moment vs. the angle curve of the joint. Independent t-tests were performed for between-group comparisons of all the variables. The CP group significantly decreased the leg stiffness but increased the joint stiffness during stance phase, except during terminal stance where the leg stiffness was increased. They appeared to rely more on muscular contributions to achieve the required leg stiffness, increasing the muscular demands in maintaining the body posture against collapse. Leg stiffness plays a critical role in modulating the kinematics and kinetics of the locomotor system during gait in the diplegic CP. PMID:26629700

  9. Leg and Joint Stiffness in Children with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy during Level Walking.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ting-Ming; Huang, Hsing-Po; Li, Jia-Da; Hong, Shih-Wun; Lo, Wei-Ching; Lu, Tung-Wu

    2015-01-01

    Individual joint deviations are often identified in the analysis of cerebral palsy (CP) gait. However, knowledge is limited as to how these deviations affect the control of the locomotor system as a whole when striving to meet the demands of walking. The current study aimed to bridge the gap by describing the control of the locomotor system in children with diplegic CP in terms of their leg stiffness, both skeletal and muscular components, and associated joint stiffness during gait. Twelve children with spastic diplegia CP and 12 healthy controls walked at a self-selected pace in a gait laboratory while their kinematic and forceplate data were measured and analyzed during loading response, mid-stance, terminal stance and pre-swing. For calculating the leg stiffness, each of the lower limbs was modeled as a non-linear spring, connecting the hip joint center and the corresponding center of pressure, with varying stiffness that was calculated as the slope (gradient) of the axial force vs. the deformation curve. The leg stiffness was further decomposed into skeletal and muscular components considering the alignment of the lower limb. The ankle, knee and hip of the limb were modeled as revolute joints with torsional springs whose stiffness was calculated as the slope of the moment vs. the angle curve of the joint. Independent t-tests were performed for between-group comparisons of all the variables. The CP group significantly decreased the leg stiffness but increased the joint stiffness during stance phase, except during terminal stance where the leg stiffness was increased. They appeared to rely more on muscular contributions to achieve the required leg stiffness, increasing the muscular demands in maintaining the body posture against collapse. Leg stiffness plays a critical role in modulating the kinematics and kinetics of the locomotor system during gait in the diplegic CP. PMID:26629700

  10. Leg and Joint Stiffness in Children with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy during Level Walking.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ting-Ming; Huang, Hsing-Po; Li, Jia-Da; Hong, Shih-Wun; Lo, Wei-Ching; Lu, Tung-Wu

    2015-01-01

    Individual joint deviations are often identified in the analysis of cerebral palsy (CP) gait. However, knowledge is limited as to how these deviations affect the control of the locomotor system as a whole when striving to meet the demands of walking. The current study aimed to bridge the gap by describing the control of the locomotor system in children with diplegic CP in terms of their leg stiffness, both skeletal and muscular components, and associated joint stiffness during gait. Twelve children with spastic diplegia CP and 12 healthy controls walked at a self-selected pace in a gait laboratory while their kinematic and forceplate data were measured and analyzed during loading response, mid-stance, terminal stance and pre-swing. For calculating the leg stiffness, each of the lower limbs was modeled as a non-linear spring, connecting the hip joint center and the corresponding center of pressure, with varying stiffness that was calculated as the slope (gradient) of the axial force vs. the deformation curve. The leg stiffness was further decomposed into skeletal and muscular components considering the alignment of the lower limb. The ankle, knee and hip of the limb were modeled as revolute joints with torsional springs whose stiffness was calculated as the slope of the moment vs. the angle curve of the joint. Independent t-tests were performed for between-group comparisons of all the variables. The CP group significantly decreased the leg stiffness but increased the joint stiffness during stance phase, except during terminal stance where the leg stiffness was increased. They appeared to rely more on muscular contributions to achieve the required leg stiffness, increasing the muscular demands in maintaining the body posture against collapse. Leg stiffness plays a critical role in modulating the kinematics and kinetics of the locomotor system during gait in the diplegic CP.

  11. Chromospheric activity in Delta Scuti stars - The suspected variable Tau Cygni

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fracassini, M.; Pasinetti Fracassini, L. E.; Mariani, A.; Pastori, L.; Teays, T. J.

    1991-01-01

    High-resolution IUE spectra of the suspected variable Tau Cyg were obtained to search for a possible variability of the Mg II h, k double-peaked emission. The observations, spanning an interval of about 6.3 h, have shown flux excursions within or just near 15 percent, a value suggested as the detection limit of actual variations with IUE spectra. A variability, difficult to explain, could be present in the ratios Fk2v/Fk2r. The emission fluxes seem to be higher than those of the Delta Scuti variables Rho Pup and Beta Cas. This comparison could give some insights on the possible role of the convection on the pulsational and chromospheric activities of Tau Cyg. A positive correlation between the total emission fluxes and the rotational velocities of these stars was found.

  12. Dynamic phototuning of 3D hydrogel stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Stowers, Ryan S.; Allen, Shane C.; Suggs, Laura J.

    2015-01-01

    Hydrogels are widely used as in vitro culture models to mimic 3D cellular microenvironments. The stiffness of the extracellular matrix is known to influence cell phenotype, inspiring work toward unraveling the role of stiffness on cell behavior using hydrogels. However, in many biological processes such as embryonic development, wound healing, and tumorigenesis, the microenvironment is highly dynamic, leading to changes in matrix stiffness over a broad range of timescales. To recapitulate dynamic microenvironments, a hydrogel with temporally tunable stiffness is needed. Here, we present a system in which alginate gel stiffness can be temporally modulated by light-triggered release of calcium or a chelator from liposomes. Others have shown softening via photodegradation or stiffening via secondary cross-linking; however, our system is capable of both dynamic stiffening and softening. Dynamic modulation of stiffness can be induced at least 14 d after gelation and can be spatially controlled to produce gradients and patterns. We use this system to investigate the regulation of fibroblast morphology by stiffness in both nondegradable gels and gels with degradable elements. Interestingly, stiffening inhibits fibroblast spreading through either mesenchymal or amoeboid migration modes. We demonstrate this technology can be translated in vivo by using deeply penetrating near-infrared light for transdermal stiffness modulation, enabling external control of gel stiffness. Temporal modulation of hydrogel stiffness is a powerful tool that will enable investigation of the role that dynamic microenvironments play in biological processes both in vitro and in well-controlled in vivo experiments. PMID:25646417

  13. Gulf Coast hurricane activity and climate variability during the last half of the Holocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lane, P.; Donnelly, J. P.

    2011-12-01

    The dominant timescales of variability in a 4500-year sediment-based storm chronology from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico are identified, and relationships between storm frequency and climate are explored. Changes in the frequency of large storm surge deposits in the record likely represent variability in the intensity distribution of hurricanes impacting the site during the late Holocene. Significant variability at approximately 200 and 1000-year timescales that was detected in the storm record is shared by numerous Holocene climate records including reconstructions of Loop Current penetration into the Gulf of Mexico. Intense storm landfalls were most frequent around 3.7 ka, between 2.7 and 2.4 ka, and around 0.7 ka when foraminiferal proxies of mixed layer depth indicate a more permanent residence of the Loop Current within the northeastern Gulf. Migrations of the Loop Current would exercise control over regional hurricane activity by changing the thermal structure of the upper ocean and influencing the role of storm-induced upwelling on hurricane intensification. Other factors that influenced regional and Atlantic basin-wide hurricane activity include the El Niño/Southern Oscillation and the position of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. Many authors have suggested that bicentennial and millennial-scale climate variability may have been driven ultimately by changes in solar irradiance. Thus, low-frequency variability in Atlantic hurricane activity may be an expression of the climate system's response to exogenous forcing.

  14. Anatomic and Pathologic Variability During Radiotherapy for a Hybrid Active Breath-Hold Gating Technique

    SciTech Connect

    Glide-Hurst, Carri K.; Gopan, Ellen; Hugo, Geoffrey D.

    2010-07-01

    Purpose: To evaluate intra- and interfraction variability of tumor and lung volume and position using a hybrid active breath-hold gating technique. Methods and Materials: A total of 159 repeat normal inspiration active breath-hold CTs were acquired weekly during radiotherapy for 9 lung cancer patients (12-21 scans per patient). A physician delineated the gross tumor volume (GTV), lungs, and spinal cord on the first breath-hold CT, and contours were propagated semiautomatically. Intra- and interfraction variability of tumor and lung position and volume were evaluated. Tumor centroid and border variability were quantified. Results: On average, intrafraction variability of lung and GTV centroid position was <2.0 mm. Interfraction population variability was 3.6-6.7 mm (systematic) and 3.1-3.9 mm (random) for the GTV centroid and 1.0-3.3 mm (systematic) and 1.5-2.6 mm (random) for the lungs. Tumor volume regressed 44.6% {+-} 23.2%. Gross tumor volume border variability was patient specific and demonstrated anisotropic shape change in some subjects. Interfraction GTV positional variability was associated with tumor volume regression and contralateral lung volume (p < 0.05). Inter-breath-hold reproducibility was unaffected by time point in the treatment course (p > 0.1). Increases in free-breathing tidal volume were associated with increases in breath-hold ipsilateral lung volume (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The breath-hold technique was reproducible within 2 mm during each fraction. Interfraction variability of GTV position and shape was substantial because of tumor volume and breath-hold lung volume change during therapy. These results support the feasibility of a hybrid breath-hold gating technique and suggest that online image guidance would be beneficial.

  15. Effects of meals and physical activity on blood pressure variability in elderly patients. A preliminary study.

    PubMed

    Tsuchihashi, T; Abe, I; Tsukashima, A; Kobayashi, K; Fujishima, M

    1990-12-01

    Twenty-four-hour blood pressure (BP) was determined noninvasively in 11 ambulatory (active group, 78 +/- 2 years old) and 11 bedridden (passive group, 79 +/- 2 years old) elderly patients. Postprandial reduction in BP was evident in both groups. BP variability during the daytime was significantly greater in the active group than in the passive group. Consequently, only patients of the passive group showed a significant day-night difference in BP and a significant circadian rhythm of BP as well. We conclude the following: 1) postprandial reduction in BP contributes to BP variability during daytime in elderly patients, 2) the greater BP variability seen in ambulatory patients obscures the day-night rhythm of BP, and 3) the day-night rhythm of BP exists in bedridden patients.

  16. The correlation between mineralization degree and bone tissue stiffness in the porcine mandibular condyle.

    PubMed

    Willems, Nop M B K; Mulder, Lars; den Toonder, Jaap M J; Zentner, Andrej; Langenbach, Geerling E J

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to correlate the local tissue mineral density (TMD) with the bone tissue stiffness. It was hypothesized that these variables are positively correlated. Cancellous and cortical bone samples were derived from ten mandibular condyles taken from 5 young and 5 adult female pigs. The bone tissue stiffness was assessed in three directions using nanoindentation. At each of three tested sides 5 indents were made over the width of 5 single bone elements, resulting in a total number of 1500 indents. MicroCT was used to determine the local TMD at the indented sites. The TMD and the bone tissue stiffness were higher in bone from the adult animals than from the young ones, but did not differ between cancellous and cortical bone. In the adult group, both the TMD and the bone tissue stiffness were higher in the center than at the surface of the bone elements. The mean TMD, thus ignoring the local mineral distribution, had a coefficient of determination (R(2)) with the mean bone tissue stiffness of 0.55, p < 0.05, whereas the correlation between local bone tissue stiffness and the concomitant TMD appeared to be weak (R (2) 0.07, p < 0.001). It was concluded that the mineralization degree plays a larger role in bone tissue stiffness in cancellous than in cortical bone. Our data based on bone from the mandibular condyle suggest that the mineralization degree is not a decisive determinant of the local bone tissue stiffness.

  17. Heart Rate Variability in Nonlinear Rats with Different Orientation and Exploratory Activity in the Open Field.

    PubMed

    Kur'yanova, E V; Teplyi, D L; Zhukova, Yu D; Zhukovina, N V

    2015-12-01

    The basic behavioral activity of nonlinear rats was evaluated from the sum of crossed peripheral and central squares and peripheral and central rearing postures in the open fi eld test. This index was low (<20 episodes), intermediate (20-29 episodes), or high (>30 episodes). Male rats with high score of orientation and exploratory activity were characterized by higher indexes of total heart rate variability than rats with low or intermediate activity. Specimens with a greater contribution of VLF waves into the total power spectrum of heart rate variability were shown to dominate among the rats with high behavioral activity. Our results are consistent with the notions of a suprasegmental nature of VLF waves.

  18. Endothelial cell substrate stiffness influences neutrophil transmigration via myosin light chain kinase-dependent cell contraction.

    PubMed

    Stroka, Kimberly M; Aranda-Espinoza, Helim

    2011-08-11

    A vast amount of work has been dedicated to the effects of shear flow and cytokines on leukocyte transmigration. However, no studies have explored the effects of substrate stiffness on transmigration. Here, we investigated important aspects of endothelial cell contraction-mediated neutrophil transmigration using an in vitro model of the vascular endothelium. We modeled blood vessels of varying mechanical properties using fibronectin-coated polyacrylamide gels of varying physiologic stiffness, plated with human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) monolayers, which were activated with tumor necrosis factor-α. Interestingly, neutrophil transmigration increased with increasing substrate stiffness below the endothelium. HUVEC intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression, stiffness, cytoskeletal arrangement, morphology, and cell-substrate adhesion could not account for the dependence of transmigration on HUVEC substrate stiffness. We also explored the role of cell contraction and observed that large holes formed in endothelium on stiff substrates several minutes after neutrophil transmigration reached a maximum. Further, suppression of contraction through inhibition of myosin light chain kinase normalized the effects of substrate stiffness by reducing transmigration and eliminating hole formation in HUVECs on stiff substrates. These results provide strong evidence that neutrophil transmigration is regulated by myosin light chain kinase-mediated endothelial cell contraction and that this event depends on subendothelial cell matrix stiffness. PMID:21652678

  19. The Main Sources of Intersubject Variability in Neuronal Activation for Reading Aloud

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kherif, Ferath; Josse, Goulven; Seghier, Mohamed L.; Price, Cathy J.

    2009-01-01

    The aim of this study was to find the most prominent source of intersubject variability in neuronal activation for reading familiar words aloud. To this end, we collected functional imaging data from a large sample of subjects (n = 76) with different demographic characteristics such as handedness, sex, and age, while reading. The…

  20. Rolling bearing stiffness in arbitrary direction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Zhusan; Sun, Xinde; Wu, Linfeng

    1992-06-01

    This paper presents a new concept of rolling bearing stiffness in arbitrary direction, which is necessary to the investigation of rotor-bearing dynamics. It includes the axial stiffness and the arbitrary radial stiffness of the rolling bearing. Based on elasticity theory and the geometrical parameters of the bearing, the approximate formulas of the axial stiffness, the arbitrary radial stiffness, and the inner ring displacements are derived. Furthermore, the paper also discusses the effects of the loads, the radial clearance, and the load distribution parameters on the rolling bearing stiffness. In order to verify the model and the computer program, an example of a ball bearing is analyzed in detail. It shows that the model and the program are reliable and the results are consistent with the data supplied by the U.S. Air Force Aeropropulsion Laboratory.

  1. Physical Activity of Malaysian Primary School Children: Comparison by Sociodemographic Variables and Activity Domains.

    PubMed

    Wong, Jyh Eiin; Parikh, Panam; Poh, Bee Koon; Deurenberg, Paul

    2016-07-01

    This study describes the physical activity of primary school children according to sociodemographic characteristics and activity domains. Using the Malaysian South East Asian Nutrition Surveys data, 1702 children aged 7 to 12 years were included in the analysis. Physical activity was reported as a total score and categorized into low, medium, and high levels based on Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children. Higher overall activity scores were found in boys, younger age, non-Chinese ethnicity, and normal body mass index category. Sex, age, and ethnicity differences were found in structured or organized, physical education, and outside-of-school domain scores. Transport-related scores differed by age group, ethnicity, household income, and residential areas but not among the three physical activity levels. Participation of girls, Chinese, and older children were low in overall and almost all activity domains. Sociodemographic characteristics are important factors to consider in increasing the different domains of physical activity among Malaysian children. PMID:27257293

  2. Leg stiffness adjustment for a range of hopping frequencies in humans.

    PubMed

    Hobara, Hiroaki; Inoue, Koh; Muraoka, Tetsuro; Omuro, Kohei; Sakamoto, Masanori; Kanosue, Kazuyuki

    2010-02-10

    The purpose of the present study was to determine how humans adjust leg stiffness over a range of hopping frequencies. Ten male subjects performed in place hopping on two legs, at three frequencies (1.5, 2.2, and 3.0Hz). Leg stiffness, joint stiffness and touchdown joint angles were calculated from kinetic and/or kinematics data. Electromyographic activity (EMG) was recorded from six leg muscles. Leg stiffness increased with an increase in hopping frequency. Hip and knee stiffnesses were significantly greater at 3.0Hz than at 1.5Hz. There was no significant difference in ankle stiffness among the three hopping frequencies. Although there were significant differences in EMG activity among the three hopping frequencies, the largest was the 1.5Hz, followed by the 2.2Hz and then 3.0Hz. The subjects landed with a straighter leg (both hip and knee were extended more) with increased hopping frequency. These results suggest that over the range of hopping frequencies we evaluated, humans adjust leg stiffness by altering hip and knee stiffness. This is accomplished by extending the touchdown joint angles rather than by altering neural activity.

  3. The Role of the Autonomic Nervous System in the Regulation of Aortic Stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Barrett, Sharon M.L.; Evans, Sarah V.; Cheriyan, Joseph; McEniery, Carmel M.; Wilkinson, Ian B.

    2016-01-01

    The autonomic nervous system is important in regulating blood pressure, but whether it regulates aortic stiffness is more contentious. We conducted 3 studies in young, healthy individuals to address this important question. Study 1 was a cross-sectional study of 347 subjects with detailed measurements of hemodynamics and heart rate variability. In study 2, 9 subjects were given a bolus of intravenous nicotinic ganglion blocker, pentolinium, or saline in a random order and hemodynamics and heart rate variability were assessed before and after. In study 3, changes in hemodynamics and heart rate variability were assessed during stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system with the use of isometric handgrip exercise in 12 subjects. Study 1: aortic pulse wave velocity (P=0.003) was lowest in the subjects with the highest parasympathetic activity, but after adjusting for mean arterial pressure, the effect was abolished (P=0.3). Study 2: after pentolinium, sympathetic and parasympathetic activity fell (P=0.001 for both), mean arterial pressure, and heart rate increased (P=0.004 and P=0.04, respectively), but there was no change in pulse wave velocity in comparison to placebo (P=0.1). Study 3: during handgrip exercise, sympathetic activity (P=0.003), mean arterial pressure (P<0.0001), and aortic pulse wave velocity increased (P=0.013). However, pulse wave velocity adjusted for mean arterial pressure did not change (P=0.1). The main finding of these studies is that in young healthy subjects, the autonomic nervous system does not have a pressure-independent role in the regulation of aortic stiffness. However, these findings may not apply to patients with increased sympathetic tone or hypertension. PMID:27672029

  4. Extracellular matrix stiffness dictates Wnt expression through integrin pathway.

    PubMed

    Du, Jing; Zu, Yan; Li, Jing; Du, Shuyuan; Xu, Yipu; Zhang, Lang; Jiang, Li; Wang, Zhao; Chien, Shu; Yang, Chun

    2016-02-08

    It is well established that extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness plays a significant role in regulating the phenotypes and behaviors of many cell types. However, the mechanism underlying the sensing of mechanical cues and subsequent elasticity-triggered pathways remains largely unknown. We observed that stiff ECM significantly enhanced the expression level of several members of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in both bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and primary chondrocytes. The activation of β-catenin by stiff ECM is not dependent on Wnt signals but is elevated by the activation of integrin/ focal adhesion kinase (FAK) pathway. The accumulated β-catenin then bound to the wnt1 promoter region to up-regulate the gene transcription, thus constituting a positive feedback of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. With the amplifying effect of positive feedback, this integrin-activated β-catenin/Wnt pathway plays significant roles in mediating the enhancement of Wnt signal on stiff ECM and contributes to the regulation of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and primary chondrocyte phenotype maintenance. The present integrin-regulated Wnt1 expression and signaling contributes to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of cell behaviors by ECM elasticity.

  5. Extracellular matrix stiffness dictates Wnt expression through integrin pathway

    PubMed Central

    Du, Jing; Zu, Yan; Li, Jing; Du, Shuyuan; Xu, Yipu; Zhang, Lang; Jiang, Li; Wang, Zhao; Chien, Shu; Yang, Chun

    2016-01-01

    It is well established that extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness plays a significant role in regulating the phenotypes and behaviors of many cell types. However, the mechanism underlying the sensing of mechanical cues and subsequent elasticity-triggered pathways remains largely unknown. We observed that stiff ECM significantly enhanced the expression level of several members of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in both bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and primary chondrocytes. The activation of β-catenin by stiff ECM is not dependent on Wnt signals but is elevated by the activation of integrin/ focal adhesion kinase (FAK) pathway. The accumulated β-catenin then bound to the wnt1 promoter region to up-regulate the gene transcription, thus constituting a positive feedback of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. With the amplifying effect of positive feedback, this integrin-activated β-catenin/Wnt pathway plays significant roles in mediating the enhancement of Wnt signal on stiff ECM and contributes to the regulation of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation and primary chondrocyte phenotype maintenance. The present integrin-regulated Wnt1 expression and signaling contributes to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of cell behaviors by ECM elasticity. PMID:26854061

  6. Modifiable Risk Factors for Increased Arterial Stiffness in Outpatient Nephrology

    PubMed Central

    Elewa, Usama; Fernandez-Fernandez, Beatriz; Alegre, Raquel; Sanchez-Niño, Maria D.; Mahillo-Fernández, Ignacio; Perez-Gomez, Maria Vanessa; El-Fishawy, Hussein; Belal, Dawlat; Ortiz, Alberto

    2015-01-01

    Arterial stiffness, as measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), is an independent predictor of cardiovascular events and mortality. Arterial stiffness increases with age. However, modifiable risk factors such as smoking, BP and salt intake also impact on PWV. The finding of modifiable risk factors may lead to the identification of treatable factors, and, thus, is of interest to practicing nephrologist. We have now studied the prevalence and correlates of arterial stiffness, assessed by PWV, in 191 patients from nephrology outpatient clinics in order to identify modifiable risk factors for arterial stiffness that may in the future guide therapeutic decision-making. PWV was above normal levels for age in 85/191 (44.5%) patients. Multivariate analysis showed that advanced age, systolic BP, diabetes mellitus, serum uric acid and calcium polystyrene sulfonate therapy or calcium-containing medication were independent predictors of PWV. A new parameter, Delta above upper limit of normal PWV (Delta PWV) was defined to decrease the weight of age on PWV values. Delta PWV was calculated as (measured PWV) - (upper limit of the age-adjusted PWV values for the general population). Mean±SD Delta PWV was 0.76±1.60 m/sec. In multivariate analysis, systolic blood pressure, active smoking and calcium polystyrene sulfonate therapy remained independent predictors of higher delta PWV, while age, urinary potassium and beta blocker therapy were independent predictors of lower delta PWV. In conclusion, arterial stiffness was frequent in nephrology outpatients. Systolic blood pressure, smoking, serum uric acid, calcium-containing medications, potassium metabolism and non-use of beta blockers are modifiable factors associated with increased arterial stiffness in Nephrology outpatients. PMID:25880081

  7. Intersubject variability in fearful face processing: the link between behavior and neural activation.

    PubMed

    Doty, Tracy J; Japee, Shruti; Ingvar, Martin; Ungerleider, Leslie G

    2014-12-01

    Stimuli that signal threat show considerable variability in the extents to which they enhance behavior, even among healthy individuals. However, the neural underpinning of this behavioral variability is not well understood. By manipulating expectation of threat in an fMRI study of fearful versus neutral face categorization, we uncovered a network of areas underlying variability in threat processing in healthy adults. We explicitly altered expectations by presenting face images at three different expectation levels: 80 %, 50 %, and 20 %. Subjects were instructed to report as quickly and accurately as possible whether the face was fearful (signaled threat) or not. An uninformative cue preceded each face by 4 s. By taking the difference between reaction times (RTs) to fearful and neutral faces, we quantified an overall fear RT bias (i.e., faster to fearful than to neutral faces) for each subject. This bias correlated positively with late-trial fMRI activation (8 s after the face) during unexpected-fearful-face trials in bilateral ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the left subgenual cingulate cortex, and the right caudate nucleus, and correlated negatively with early-trial fMRI activation (4 s after the cue) during expected-neutral-face trials in bilateral dorsal striatum and the right ventral striatum. These results demonstrate that the variability in threat processing among healthy adults is reflected not only in behavior, but also in the magnitude of activation in medial prefrontal and striatal regions that appear to encode affective value.

  8. The Main Sources of Intersubject Variability in Neuronal Activation for Reading Aloud

    PubMed Central

    Kherif, Ferath; Josse, Goulven; Seghier, Mohamed L.; Price, Cathy J.

    2009-01-01

    The aim of this study was to find the most prominent source of intersubject variability in neuronal activation for reading familiar words aloud. To this end, we collected functional imaging data from a large sample of subjects (n = 76) with different demographic characteristics such as handedness, sex, and age, while reading. The subject-by-subject error variance was estimated from a one-sample t test (on all 76 subjects) and was reduced to a lower dimension using principal components decomposition. A Gaussian Mixture Model was then applied to dissociate different subgroups of subjects that explained the main sources of variability in the data. This resulted in the identification of four different subject groups. The comparison of these subgroups to the subjects' demographic details showed that age had a significant effect on the subject partitioning. In addition, a region-by-group dissociation in the dorsal and the ventral inferior frontal cortex was consistent with previously reported dissociations in semantic and nonsemantic reading strategies. In contrast to these significant findings, the groupings did not differentiate subjects on the basis of either sex or handedness, nor did they segregate the subjects with right- versus left-lateralized reading activation. We therefore conclude that, of the variables tested, age and reading strategy were the most prominent source of variability in activation for reading familiar words aloud. PMID:18702580

  9. Intersubject Variability in Fearful Face Processing: The Link Between Behavior and Neural Activation

    PubMed Central

    Doty, Tracy J.; Japee, Shruti; Ingvar, Martin; Ungerleider, Leslie G.

    2014-01-01

    Stimuli that signal threat show considerable variability in the extent to which they enhance behavior, even among healthy individuals. However, the neural underpinning of this behavioral variability is not well understood. By manipulating expectation of threat in an fMRI study of fearful vs. neutral face categorization, we uncovered a network of areas underlying variability in threat processing in healthy adults. We explicitly altered expectation by presenting face images at three different expectation levels: 80%, 50%, and 20%. Subjects were instructed to report as fast and as accurately as possible whether the face was fearful (signaled threat) or not. An uninformative cue preceded each face by 4 seconds (s). By taking the difference between response times (RT) to fearful compared to neutral faces, we quantified an overall fear RT bias (i.e. faster to fearful than neutral faces) for each subject. This bias correlated positively with late trial fMRI activation (8 s after the face) during unexpected fearful face trials in bilateral ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the left subgenual cingulate cortex, and the right caudate nucleus and correlated negatively with early trial fMRI activation (4 s after the cue) during expected neutral face trials in bilateral dorsal striatum and the right ventral striatum. These results demonstrate that the variability in threat processing among healthy adults is reflected not only in behavior but also in the magnitude of activation in medial prefrontal and striatal regions that appear to encode affective value. PMID:24841078

  10. Intersubject variability in fearful face processing: the link between behavior and neural activation.

    PubMed

    Doty, Tracy J; Japee, Shruti; Ingvar, Martin; Ungerleider, Leslie G

    2014-12-01

    Stimuli that signal threat show considerable variability in the extents to which they enhance behavior, even among healthy individuals. However, the neural underpinning of this behavioral variability is not well understood. By manipulating expectation of threat in an fMRI study of fearful versus neutral face categorization, we uncovered a network of areas underlying variability in threat processing in healthy adults. We explicitly altered expectations by presenting face images at three different expectation levels: 80 %, 50 %, and 20 %. Subjects were instructed to report as quickly and accurately as possible whether the face was fearful (signaled threat) or not. An uninformative cue preceded each face by 4 s. By taking the difference between reaction times (RTs) to fearful and neutral faces, we quantified an overall fear RT bias (i.e., faster to fearful than to neutral faces) for each subject. This bias correlated positively with late-trial fMRI activation (8 s after the face) during unexpected-fearful-face trials in bilateral ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the left subgenual cingulate cortex, and the right caudate nucleus, and correlated negatively with early-trial fMRI activation (4 s after the cue) during expected-neutral-face trials in bilateral dorsal striatum and the right ventral striatum. These results demonstrate that the variability in threat processing among healthy adults is reflected not only in behavior, but also in the magnitude of activation in medial prefrontal and striatal regions that appear to encode affective value. PMID:24841078

  11. Use of Variable Pressure Suits, Intermittent Recompression and Nitrox Breathing Mixtures during Lunar Extravehicular Activities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gernhardt, Michael L.; Abercromby, Andrew F.

    2009-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the use of variable pressure suits, intermittent recompression and Nitrox breathing mixtures to allow for multiple short extravehicular activities (EVAs) at different locations in a day. This new operational concept of multiple short EVAs requires short purge times and shorter prebreathes to assure rapid egress with a minimal loss of the vehicular air. Preliminary analysis has begun to evaluate the potential benefits of the intermittent recompression, and Nitrox breathing mixtures when used with variable pressure suits to enable reduce purges and prebreathe durations.

  12. Ensemble X-ray variability of active galactic nuclei at intermediate and long time lags

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vagnetti, Fausto; Middei, Riccardo

    2016-08-01

    We present a variability analysis for a sample of 2700 active galactic nuclei extracted from the latest release of the XMM-Newton serendipitous source catalogue. The structure function of this sample increases up to rest-frame time lags of about 5 years. Moreover, comparing observations performed by the XMM-Newton and ROSAT satellites, we are able to extend the X-ray structure function to 20 years rest-frame, showing a further increase of variability without any evidence of a plateau. Our results are compared with similar analyses in the optical band, and discussed in relation to the physical sizes of the emitting regions.

  13. Timing and Variability of Galactose Metabolic Gene Activation Depend on the Rate of Environmental Change

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Bo; Ott, William; Josić, Krešimir; Bennett, Matthew R.

    2015-01-01

    Modulation of gene network activity allows cells to respond to changes in environmental conditions. For example, the galactose utilization network in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is activated by the presence of galactose but repressed by glucose. If both sugars are present, the yeast will first metabolize glucose, depleting it from the extracellular environment. Upon depletion of glucose, the genes encoding galactose metabolic proteins will activate. Here, we show that the rate at which glucose levels are depleted determines the timing and variability of galactose gene activation. Paradoxically, we find that Gal1p, an enzyme needed for galactose metabolism, accumulates more quickly if glucose is depleted slowly rather than taken away quickly. Furthermore, the variability of induction times in individual cells depends non-monotonically on the rate of glucose depletion and exhibits a minimum at intermediate depletion rates. Our mathematical modeling suggests that the dynamics of the metabolic transition from glucose to galactose are responsible for the variability in galactose gene activation. These findings demonstrate that environmental dynamics can determine the phenotypic outcome at both the single-cell and population levels. PMID:26200924

  14. Stability and variability: indicators for passive stability and active control in a rhythmic task.

    PubMed

    Wei, Kunlin; Dijkstra, Tjeerd M H; Sternad, Dagmar

    2008-06-01

    Using a rhythmic task where human subjects bounced a ball with a handheld racket, fine-grained analyses of stability and variability extricated contributions from open-loop control, noise strength, and active error compensation. Based on stability analyses of a stochastic-deterministic model of the task--a surface contacting the ball by periodic movements--open-loop or dynamic stability was assessed by the acceleration of the racket at contact. Autocovariance analyses of model and data were further used to gauge the contributions of open-loop stability and noise strength. Variability and regression analyses estimated active error compensation. Empirical results demonstrated that experienced actors exploited open-loop stability more than novices, had lower noise strength, and applied more active error compensations. By manipulating the model parameter coefficient of restitution, task stability was varied and showed that actors graded these three components as a function of task stability. It is concluded that actors tune into task stability when stability is high but use more active compensation when stability is reduced. Implications for the neural underpinnings for passive stability and active control are discussed. Further, results showed that stability and variability are not simply the inverse of each other but contain more quantitative information when combined with model analyses.

  15. Interannual variability of tropical cyclone activity and regional Hadley circulation over the Northeastern Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Gan; Wang, Zhuo

    2015-04-01

    The interannual variability of the regional Hadley circulation (HC) and tropical cyclone (TC) activity over the Northeastern Pacific (NEP) was investigated. The interannual variability of the HC in the NEP hurricane season is found dominated by a mode (M1EP) regulating the strength and meridional extent of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. M1EP has a more robust correlation with NEP TC activity than the El Niño-Southern Oscillation sea surface temperature indices. The strong correlation is attributed to the impacts of M1EP on environmental conditions. In addition, the leading mode of the Atlantic HC, which has an anticorrelation with M1EP, also strongly impacts NEP TC activity. The findings, together with Zhang and Wang (2013), highlight the role of the HC in controlling the variability of TC activity as well as the interbasin connection between the NEP and the Atlantic. The regional HC is thus recommended as a useful metric to benchmark models in simulating TC activity.

  16. Parallel inhibition of active force and relaxed fiber stiffness by caldesmon fragments at physiological ionic strength and temperature conditions: additional evidence that weak cross-bridge binding to actin is an essential intermediate for force generation.

    PubMed Central

    Kraft, T; Chalovich, J M; Yu, L C; Brenner, B

    1995-01-01

    Previously we showed that stiffness of relaxed fibers and active force generated in single skinned fibers of rabbit psoas muscle are inhibited in parallel by actin-binding fragments of caldesmon, an actin-associated protein of smooth muscle, under conditions in which a large fraction of cross-bridges is weakly attached to actin (ionic strength of 50 mM and temperature of 5 degrees C). These results suggested that weak cross-bridge attachment to actin is essential for force generation. The present study provides evidence that this is also true for physiological ionic strength (170 mM) at temperatures up to 30 degrees C, suggesting that weak cross-bridge binding to actin is generally required for force generation. In addition, we show that the inhibition of active force is not a result of changes in cross-bridge cycling kinetics but apparently results from selective inhibition of weak cross-bridge binding to actin. Together with our previous biochemical, mechanical, and structural studies, these findings support the proposal that weak cross-bridge attachment to actin is an essential intermediate on the path to force generation and are consistent with the concept that isometric force mainly results from an increase in strain of the attached cross-bridge as a result of a structural change associated with the transition from a weakly bound to a strongly bound actomyosin complex. This mechanism is different from the processes responsible for quick tension recovery that were proposed by Huxley and Simmons (Proposed mechanism of force generation in striated muscle. Nature. 233:533-538.) to represent the elementary mechanism of force generation. Images FIGURE 1 PMID:7647245

  17. Acute exercise modifies titin phosphorylation and increases cardiac myofilament stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Müller, Anna E.; Kreiner, Matthias; Kötter, Sebastian; Lassak, Philipp; Bloch, Wilhelm; Suhr, Frank; Krüger, Martina

    2014-01-01

    Titin-based myofilament stiffness is largely modulated by phosphorylation of its elastic I-band regions N2-Bus (decreases passive stiffness, PT) and PEVK (increases PT). Here, we tested the hypothesis that acute exercise changes titin phosphorylation and modifies myofilament stiffness. Adult rats were exercised on a treadmill for 15 min, untrained animals served as controls. Titin phosphorylation was determined by Western blot analysis using phosphospecific antibodies to Ser4099 and Ser4010 in the N2-Bus region (PKG and PKA-dependent. respectively), and to Ser11878 and Ser 12022 in the PEVK region (PKCα and CaMKIIδ-dependent, respectively). Passive tension was determined by step-wise stretching of isolated skinned cardiomyocytes to sarcomere length (SL) ranging from 1.9 to 2.4 μm and showed a significantly increased PT from exercised samples, compared to controls. In cardiac samples titin N2-Bus phosphorylation was significantly decreased by 40% at Ser4099, however, no significant changes were observed at Ser4010. PEVK phosphorylation at Ser11878 was significantly increased, which is probably mediated by the observed exercise-induced increase in PKCα activity. Interestingly, relative phosphorylation of Ser12022 was substantially decreased in the exercised samples. Surprisingly, in skeletal samples from acutely exercised animals we detected a significant decrease in PEVK phosphorylation at Ser11878 and an increase in Ser12022 phosphorylation; however, PKCα activity remained unchanged. In summary, our data show that a single exercise bout of 15 min affects titin domain phosphorylation and titin-based myocyte stiffness with obviously divergent effects in cardiac and skeletal muscle tissues. The observed changes in titin stiffness could play an important role in adapting the passive and active properties of the myocardium and the skeletal muscle to increased physical activity. PMID:25477822

  18. [Influence of different combination of mental activity and respiratory cycle on heart rate variability].

    PubMed

    Sun, F L; Li, D M; Li, G Y

    1996-03-01

    By means of spectral analysis of P-R interval, different characteristics of heart rate variability in different form of respiratory exercise was observed. The results of observation on 32 volunteers showed that mental activity that affected respiration can influence the function of autonomic nerve system in a different way. When the mind was concentrated at the inspiration, the function of autonomic nerve system was kept in balance, and both the sympathetic and the vagal activities enhanced significantly and while mind concentrated at the expiration could induce a reduction of vagal activity so as to produce marked change in the sympathovagal balance.

  19. Arterial stiffness of lifelong Japanese female pearl divers.

    PubMed

    Tanaka, Hirofumi; Tomoto, Tsubasa; Kosaki, Keisei; Sugawara, Jun

    2016-05-15

    Japanese female pearl divers called Ama specialize in free diving in the cold sea for collecting foods and pearls in oysters. Exercising in the water combined with marked bradycardia and pressor responses provides a circulatory challenge to properly buffer or cushion elevated cardiac pulsations. Because Ama perform repeated free dives throughout their lives, it is possible that they may have adapted similar arterial structure and function to those seen in diving mammals. We compared arterial stiffness of lifelong Japanese pearl divers with age-matched physically inactive adults living in the same fishing villages. A total of 115 Japanese female pearl divers were studied. Additionally, 50 physically inactive adults as well as 33 physically active adults (participating in community fitness programs) living in the same coastal villages were also studied. There were no differences in age (∼65 yr), body mass index, and brachial blood pressure between the groups. Measures of arterial stiffness, cardio-ankle vascular index and β-stiffness index were lower (P < 0.05) in pearl divers and physically active adults than in their physically inactive peers. Augmentation pressure and augmentation index adjusted for the heart rate of 75 beats/min were lower (P < 0.05) in pearl divers than in other groups. These results indicate that lifelong Japanese pearl divers demonstrate reduced arterial stiffness and arterial wave reflection compared with age-matched physically inactive peers living in the same fishing villages. PMID:26984889

  20. Leg stiffness during phases of countermovement and take-off in vertical jump.

    PubMed

    Struzik, Artur; Zawadzki, Jerzy

    2013-01-01

    With respect to cyclic movements such as human gait, running or hopping, leg stiffness is a little variable parameter. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in leg stiffness during the phase of countermovement and take-off when performing a single maximum counter-movement jump. Kistler force plates and a BTS SMART system for comprehensive motion analysis were employed in the study. The study covered a group of 12 athletes from university basketball teams. Leg stiffness was calculated in those parts of countermovement and take-off phases where its level is relatively constant and the relationship F(Δl) is similar to linear one. Mean total stiffness (±SD) in both legs in the countermovement phase amounted to 6.5 ± 1.5 kN/m, whereas during the take-off phase this value was 6.9 ± 1 kN/m. No statistically significant differences were found between leg stiffness during the countermovement phase and takeoff phase in the study group at the level of significance set at α = 0.05. This suggests that the leg stiffness in phase of countermovement and phase of take-off are much similar to each other, despite different function of both phases. Similar to cyclic movements, leg stiffness turned out relatively constant when performing a single vertical jump. There are also reported statistically significant correlations between body mass, body height, length of lower limbs and leg stiffness. The stiffness analysed by the authors should be understood as quasi-stiffness because the measurements of ΔF(Δl) were made during transient states where inertia and dumping forces are likely to affect the final result.

  1. Cerebral Small Vessel Disease and Arterial Stiffness: Tsunami Effect in the Brain?

    PubMed Central

    Saji, Naoki; Toba, Kenji; Sakurai, Takashi

    2016-01-01

    Background Cerebral small vessel diseases, including silent lacunar infarcts, white matter hyperintensities, and microbleeds, pose a risk for cerebrovascular disease, cognitive impairment, and the geriatric syndrome via effects on arterial stiffness. However, the vascular, physiological, and metabolic roles of arterial stiffness in cerebral small vessel diseases remain unclear. Summary Arterial stiffness can be assessed using various indicators such as the ankle-brachial index, pulse wave velocity, cardio-ankle vascular index, and augmentation index. Arterial stiffness is independently associated with all components of cerebral small vessel disease including silent lacunar infarcts, white matter hyperintensities, and microbleeds, although there are some methodological differences between the various surrogate markers. Evidence of arterial stiffness indicates microvessel arteriosclerosis presenting with vascular endothelial dysfunction. Further, vascular narrowing due to atherosclerosis and vascular stiffness due to lipohyalinosis can accelerate the pulse waves. This hemodynamic stress, pulsatile pressure, or blood pressure variability can cause a ‘tsunami effect’ towards the cerebral parenchyma and lead to cerebral small vessel disease. Previous studies have shown that silent lacunar infarcts and white matter hyperintensities are strongly associated with arterial stiffness. However, the association between microbleeds and arterial stiffness remains controversial, as there are two vessel mechanisms related to microbleeds: cerebral amyloid angiopathy and hypertensive small vessel disease. Key Messages Cerebral small vessel disease with associated arterial stiffness is a risk factor for silent cerebral lesions, stroke, and cognitive impairment. Improvement of the living environment, management of risk factors, and innovation and development of novel drugs that improve arterial stiffness may suppress the progression of cerebral small vessel disease, and may reduce

  2. Host-seeking activity of ixodid ticks in relation to weather variables.

    PubMed

    Hubálek, Zdenek; Halouzka, Jirí; Juricová, Zina

    2003-12-01

    Ixodid ticks were monitored in a temperate deciduous broad-leaved forest in South Moravia (Czech Republic). Relative abundance of the ticks collected before noon (10.00-12.00 h) was compared to several weather variables (air and soil temperatures, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed, and derived values) using the Pearson correlation coefficient. The tick numbers were found to be most closely related to the amplitude of the soil (-5 cm) temperature between 07 h and 14 h (TSamp, in Ixodes ricinus), and the soil temperature (TS) at noon (in Haemaphysalis concinna) or in the morning (Dermacentor reticulatus). While a growing amplitude in TSamp caused an increased host-seeking activity of I. ricinus and H. concinna, it suppressed the activity of D. reticulatus, a tick species mainly occurring in colder seasons of the year in Central Europe. The air temperature (TA) and relative humidity (RH) were also closely related to the tick activity, whereas rainfall and wind speed remained largely uncorrelated with the activity of the three tick species. Multiple linear regression on several variables (TSamp, TA, TS, TA-TS, RH) explained 48% of the variance in I. ricinus, 47% in H. concinna, and 38% in D. reticulatus. Predictive two-variable regression models of relative abundance in host-seeking ticks were based on morning temperature (TA or TS) and morning RH as the most important environmental factors: they explained 32% (I. ricinus), 39% (H. concinna), and 35% (D. reticulatus) of the variance.

  3. Ensemble X-ray variability of active galactic nuclei. II. Excess variance and updated structure function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vagnetti, F.; Middei, R.; Antonucci, M.; Paolillo, M.; Serafinelli, R.

    2016-09-01

    Context. Most investigations of the X-ray variability of active galactic nuclei (AGN) have been concentrated on the detailed analyses of individual, nearby sources. A relatively small number of studies have treated the ensemble behaviour of the more general AGN population in wider regions of the luminosity-redshift plane. Aims: We want to determine the ensemble variability properties of a rich AGN sample, called Multi-Epoch XMM Serendipitous AGN Sample (MEXSAS), extracted from the fifth release of the XMM-Newton Serendipitous Source Catalogue (XMMSSC-DR5), with redshift between ~0.1 and ~5, and X-ray luminosities in the 0.5-4.5 keV band between ~1042 erg/s and ~1047 erg/s. Methods: We urge caution on the use of the normalised excess variance (NXS), noting that it may lead to underestimate variability if used improperly. We use the structure function (SF), updating our previous analysis for a smaller sample. We propose a correction to the NXS variability estimator, taking account of the light curve duration in the rest frame on the basis of the knowledge of the variability behaviour gained by SF studies. Results: We find an ensemble increase of the X-ray variability with the rest-frame time lag τ, given by SF ∝ τ0.12. We confirm an inverse dependence on the X-ray luminosity, approximately as SF ∝ LX-0.19. We analyse the SF in different X-ray bands, finding a dependence of the variability on the frequency as SF ∝ ν-0.15, corresponding to a so-called softer when brighter trend. In turn, this dependence allows us to parametrically correct the variability estimated in observer-frame bands to that in the rest frame, resulting in a moderate (≲15%) shift upwards (V-correction). Conclusions: Ensemble X-ray variability of AGNs is best described by the structure function. An improper use of the normalised excess variance may lead to an underestimate of the intrinsic variability, so that appropriate corrections to the data or the models must be applied to prevent

  4. RMS Spectral Modelling - a powerful tool to probe the origin of variability in Active Galactic Nuclei

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mallick, Labani; Dewangan, Gulab chand; Misra, Ranjeev

    2016-07-01

    The broadband energy spectra of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are very complex in nature with the contribution from many ingredients: accretion disk, corona, jets, broad-line region (BLR), narrow-line region (NLR) and Compton-thick absorbing cloud or TORUS. The complexity of the broadband AGN spectra gives rise to mean spectral model degeneracy, e.g, there are competing models for the broad feature near 5-7 keV in terms of blurred reflection and complex absorption. In order to overcome the energy spectral model degeneracy, the most reliable approach is to study the RMS variability spectrum which connects the energy spectrum with temporal variability. The origin of variability could be pivoting of the primary continuum, reflection and/or absorption. The study of RMS (Root Mean Square) spectra would help us to connect the energy spectra with the variability. In this work, we study the energy dependent variability of AGN by developing theoretical RMS spectral model in ISIS (Interactive Spectral Interpretation System) for different input energy spectra. In this talk, I would like to present results of RMS spectral modelling for few radio-loud and radio-quiet AGN observed by XMM-Newton, Suzaku, NuSTAR and ASTROSAT and will probe the dichotomy between these two classes of AGN.

  5. Long-term variability of active galactic nuclei from the "Planck" catalog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Volvach, A. E.; Kardashev, N. S.; Larionov, M. G.; Volvach, L. N.

    2016-07-01

    A complete sample of 104 bright active galactic nuclei (AGNs) from the "Planck" catalog (early results) were observed at 36.8 GHz with the 22-m radio telescope of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory (CrAO).Variability indices of the sources at this frequency were determined based on data from theWMAP space observatory, theMetsa¨ hovi RadioObservatory (Finland), and the CrimeanAstrophysical Observatory. New observational results confirm that the variability of these AGNs is stronger in the millimeter than at other radio wavelengths. The variability indices probably change as a result of the systematic decrease in the AGN flux densities in the transition to the infrared. Some radio sources demonstrate significant flux-density variations, including decreases, which sometimes cause them to fall out of the analysed sample. The change of the variability index in the millimeter is consistent with the suggestion that this variability is due to intrinsic processes in binary supermassive black holes at an evolutionary stage close to coalescence. All 104 of the sources studied are well known objects that are included in various radio catalogs and have flux densities exceeding 1 Jy at 36.8 GHz.

  6. Controls on interannual variability in lightning-caused fire activity in the western US

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abatzoglou, John T.; Kolden, Crystal A.; Balch, Jennifer K.; Bradley, Bethany A.

    2016-04-01

    Lightning-caused wildfires account for a majority of burned area across the western United States (US), yet lightning remains among the more unpredictable spatiotemporal aspects of the fire environment and a challenge for both modeling and managing fire activity. A data synthesis of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, climate and fire data across the western US from 1992 to 2013 was conducted to better understand geographic variability in lightning-caused wildfire and the factors that influence interannual variability in lightning-caused wildfire at regional scales. Distinct geographic variability occurred in the proportion of fires and area burned attributed to lightning, with a majority of fires in the interior western US attributed to lightning. Lightning ignition efficiency was highest across the western portion of the region due to the concomitance of peak lightning frequency and annual nadir in fuel moisture in mid-to-late summer. For most regions the number of total and dry lightning strikes exhibited strong interannual correlation with the number of lightning-caused fires, yet were a poor predictor of area burned at regional scales. Commonality in climate-fire relationships for regional annual area burned by lightning- versus human-ignited fires suggests climate conditions, rather than lightning activity, are the predominant control of interannual variability in area burned by lightning-caused fire across much of the western US.

  7. Matrix Stiffness Corresponding to Strictured Bowel Induces a Fibrogenic Response in Human Colonic Fibroblasts

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Laura A.; Rodansky, Eva S.; Sauder, Kay L.; Horowitz, Jeffrey C.; Mih, Justin D.; Tschumperlin, Daniel J.; Higgins, Peter D.

    2013-01-01

    Background Crohn’s disease is characterized by repeated cycles of inflammation and mucosal healing which ultimately progress to intestinal fibrosis. This inexorable progression towards fibrosis suggests that fibrosis becomes inflammation-independent and auto-propagative. We hypothesized that matrix stiffness regulates this auto-propagation of intestinal fibrosis. Methods The stiffness of fresh ex vivo samples from normal human small intestine, Crohn’s disease strictures, and the unaffected margin were measured with a microelastometer. Normal human colonic fibroblasts were cultured on physiologically normal or pathologically stiff matrices corresponding to the physiological stiffness of normal or fibrotic bowel. Cellular response was assayed for changes in cell morphology, α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) staining, and gene expression. Results Microelastometer measurements revealed a significant increase in colonic tissue stiffness between normal human colon and Crohn’s strictures as well as between the stricture and adjacent tissue margin. In Ccd-18co cells grown on stiff matrices corresponding to Crohn’s strictures, cellular proliferation increased. Pathologic stiffness induced a marked change in cell morphology and increased αSMA protein expression. Growth on a stiff matrix induced fibrogenic gene expression, decreased matrix metalloproteinase and pro-inflammatory gene expression, and was associated with nuclear localization of the transcriptional cofactor MRTF-A. Conclusions Matrix stiffness, representative of the pathological stiffness of Crohn’s strictures, activates human colonic fibroblasts to a fibrogenic phenotype. Matrix stiffness affects multiple pathways suggesting the mechanical properties of the cellular environment are critical to fibroblast function and may contribute to autopropagation of intestinal fibrosis in the absence of inflammation, thereby contributing to the intractable intestinal fibrosis characteristic of Crohn’s disease. PMID

  8. The posttraumatic stiff elbow: an update.

    PubMed

    Mellema, Jos J; Lindenhovius, Anneluuk L C; Jupiter, Jesse B

    2016-06-01

    Posttraumatic elbow stiffness is a disabling condition that remains challenging to treat despite improvement of our understanding of the pathogenesis of posttraumatic contractures and new treatment regimens. This review provides an update and overview of the etiology of posttraumatic elbow stiffness, its classification, evaluation, nonoperative and operative treatment, and postoperative management.

  9. Nonparticipatory Stiffness in the Male Perioral Complex

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chu, Shin-Ying; Barlow, Steven M.; Lee, Jaehoon

    2009-01-01

    Purpose: The objective of this study was to extend previous published findings in the authors' laboratory using a new automated technology to quantitatively characterize nonparticipatory perioral stiffness in healthy male adults. Method: Quantitative measures of perioral stiffness were sampled during a nonparticipatory task using a…

  10. Curvature dependent modulation of fish fin stiffness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nguyen, Khoi; Yu, Ning; Bandi, Mahesh; Venkadesan, Madhusudhan; Mandre, Shreyas

    Propulsion and maneuvering ability of fishes depends on the stiffness of their fins. However, increasing stiffness by simply adding material to thicken the fin would incur a substantial energetic cost associated with flapping the fin. We propose that fishes increase stiffness of the fin not by building thicker fins, but by geometrically coupling out-of-plane bending of the fin's rays with in-plane stretching of a stiff membrane that connects the rays. We present a model of fin elasticity for ray-finned fish, where we decompose the fin into a series of elastic beams (rays) with springy interconnections (membrane). In one limit, where the membranes are infinitely extensible, the fin's stiffness is no more than the sum of the stiffness of individual rays. At the other limit of an inextensible membrane, fin stiffness reaches an asymptotic maximum. The asymptote value increases monotonically with curvature. We propose that musculature at the base of the fin controls fin curvature, and thereby modulates stiffness.

  11. A time to search: finding the meaning of variable activation energy.

    PubMed

    Vyazovkin, Sergey

    2016-07-28

    This review deals with the phenomenon of variable activation energy frequently observed when studying the kinetics in the liquid or solid phase. This phenomenon commonly manifests itself through nonlinear Arrhenius plots or dependencies of the activation energy on conversion computed by isoconversional methods. Variable activation energy signifies a multi-step process and has a meaning of a collective parameter linked to the activation energies of individual steps. It is demonstrated that by using appropriate models of the processes, the link can be established in algebraic form. This allows one to analyze experimentally observed dependencies of the activation energy in a quantitative fashion and, as a result, to obtain activation energies of individual steps, to evaluate and predict other important parameters of the process, and generally to gain deeper kinetic and mechanistic insights. This review provides multiple examples of such analysis as applied to the processes of crosslinking polymerization, crystallization and melting of polymers, gelation, and solid-solid morphological and glass transitions. The use of appropriate computational techniques is discussed as well.

  12. Early and current physical activity: relationship with intima-media thickness and metabolic variables in adulthood

    PubMed Central

    Lima, Manoel C. S.; Barbosa, Maurício F.; Diniz, Tiego A.; Codogno, Jamile S.; Freitas, Ismael F.; Fernandes, Rômulo A.

    2014-01-01

    Background: It is unclear whether early physical activity has a greater influence on intima-media thickness and metabolic variables than current physical activity. Objective: To analyze the relationship between current and early physical activity, metabolic variables, and intima-media thickness measures in adults. Method: The sample was composed of 55 healthy subjects of both sexes (33 men and 22 women). Total body fat and trunk fat were estimated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Carotid and femoral intima-media thickness were measured using a Doppler ultrasound device. A 12-hour fasting blood sample collection was taken (fasting glucose and lipid profile). Early physical activity was assessed through face-to-face interview, and the current physical activity was assessed by pedometer (Digi-Walker Yamax, SW200), which was used for a period of seven days. Results: Current physical activity was negatively related to total cholesterol (rho=-0.31), while early physical activity was negatively related to triglycerides (rho=-0.42), total cholesterol (rho=-0.28), very low density lipoprotein (rho=-0.44), and carotid intima-media thickness (rho=-0.50). In the multivariate model, subjects engaged in sports activities during early life had lower values of very low density lipoprotein (b=-8.74 [b=-16.1; -1.47]) and carotid intima-media thickness (b=-0.17 [95%CI: -0.28; -0.05]). Conclusion: Early 95%CI physical activity has a significant influence on carotid intima-media thickness, regardless of the current physical activity. PMID:25372009

  13. Assessing the impact of climate variability and human activities on streamflow variation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, J.; Zhang, H.; Wang, Y.; Zhu, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Water resources in river systems have been changing under the impact of both climate variability and human activities. Assessing the respective impact on decadal streamflow variation is important for water resource management. By using an elasticity-based method and calibrated TOPMODEL and VIC hydrological models, we quantitatively isolated the relative contributions that human activities and climate variability made to decadal streamflow changes in Jinghe basin, located in the northwest of China. This is an important watershed of Shaanxi Province that supplies drinking water for a population of over 6 million people. The results showed that the maximum value of the moisture index (E0/P) was 1.91 and appeared in 1991-2000 and that the decreased speed of streamflow was higher since 1990. The average annual streamflow from 1990 to 2010 was reduced by 26.96 % compared with the multi-year average value. The estimates of climate variability and the impact of human activities on streamflow decreases from the hydrological models were similar to those from the elasticity-based method. The maximum contribution value of human activities was appeared in 1981-1990 due to the effects of soil and water conservation measures and irrigation water withdrawal. Climate variability made the greatest contribution to reduction in 1991-2000, the values of which were 99 and 40.4 % when averaged over the three methods. We emphasized various source of errors and uncertainties that may occur in the hydrological model (parameter and structural uncertainty) and elasticity-based method (model parameter) in climate change impact studies.

  14. Assessing the impact of climate variability and human activities on streamflow variation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, Jianxia; Zhang, Hongxue; Wang, Yimin; Zhu, Yuelu

    2016-04-01

    Water resources in river systems have been changing under the impact of both climate variability and human activities. Assessing the respective impact on decadal streamflow variation is important for water resource management. By using an elasticity-based method and calibrated TOPMODEL and VIC hydrological models, we quantitatively isolated the relative contributions that human activities and climate variability made to decadal streamflow changes in the Jinghe basin, located in the northwest of China. This is an important watershed of the Shaanxi province that supplies drinking water for a population of over 6 million people. The results showed that the maximum value of the moisture index (E0/P) was 1.91 and appeared in 1991-2000, and the decreased speed of streamflow was higher since 1990 compared with 1960-1990. The average annual streamflow from 1990 to 2010 was reduced by 26.96 % compared with the multiyear average value (from 1960 to 2010). The estimates of the impacts of climate variability and human activities on streamflow decreases from the hydrological models were similar to those from the elasticity-based method. The maximum contribution value of human activities was 99 % when averaged over the three methods, and appeared in 1981-1990 due to the effects of soil and water conservation measures and irrigation water withdrawal. Climate variability made the greatest contribution to streamflow reduction in 1991-2000, the values of which was 40.4 %. We emphasized various source of errors and uncertainties that may occur in the hydrological model (parameter and structural uncertainty) and elasticity-based method (model parameter) in climate change impact studies.

  15. Rolling Element Bearing Stiffness Matrix Determination (Presentation)

    SciTech Connect

    Guo, Y.; Parker, R.

    2014-01-01

    Current theoretical bearing models differ in their stiffness estimates because of different model assumptions. In this study, a finite element/contact mechanics model is developed for rolling element bearings with the focus of obtaining accurate bearing stiffness for a wide range of bearing types and parameters. A combined surface integral and finite element method is used to solve for the contact mechanics between the rolling elements and races. This model captures the time-dependent characteristics of the bearing contact due to the orbital motion of the rolling elements. A numerical method is developed to determine the full bearing stiffness matrix corresponding to two radial, one axial, and two angular coordinates; the rotation about the shaft axis is free by design. This proposed stiffness determination method is validated against experiments in the literature and compared to existing analytical models and widely used advanced computational methods. The fully-populated stiffness matrix demonstrates the coupling between bearing radial, axial, and tilting bearing deflections.

  16. Active galactic nucleus X-ray variability in the XMM-COSMOS survey

    SciTech Connect

    Lanzuisi, G.; Ponti, G.; Salvato, M.; Brusa, M.; Nandra, P. K.; Merloni, A.; Rosario, D.; Hasinger, G.; Sanders, D.; Cappelluti, N.; Comastri, A.; Gilli, R.; Bongiorno, A.; Lusso, E.; Steinhardt, C.; Silverman, J.; Schramm, M.; Trump, J.; and others

    2014-02-01

    We used the observations carried out by XMM in the COSMOS field over 3.5 yr to study the long term variability of a large sample of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) (638 sources) in a wide range of redshifts (0.1 < z < 3.5) and X-ray luminosities (10{sup 41} < L {sub 0.5-10} <10{sup 45.5}). Both a simple statistical method to assess the significance of variability and the Normalized Excess Variance (σ{sub rms}{sup 2}) parameter were used to obtain a quantitative measurement of the variability. Variability is found to be prevalent in most AGNs, whenever we have good statistics to measure it, and no significant differences between type 1 and type 2 AGNs were found. A flat (slope –0.23 ± 0.03) anti-correlation between σ{sub rms}{sup 2} and X-ray luminosity is found when all significantly variable sources are considered together. When divided into three redshift bins, the anti-correlation becomes stronger and evolving with z, with higher redshift AGNs being more variable. We prove, however, that this effect is due to the pre-selection of variable sources: when considering all of the sources with an available σ{sub rms}{sup 2} measurement, the evolution in redshift disappears. For the first time, we were also able to study long term X-ray variability as a function of M {sub BH} and Eddington ratio for a large sample of AGNs spanning a wide range of redshifts. An anti-correlation between σ{sub rms}{sup 2} and M {sub BH} is found, with the same slope of anti-correlation between σ{sub rms}{sup 2} and X-ray luminosity, suggesting that the latter may be a by-product of the former. No clear correlation is found between σ{sub rms}{sup 2} and the Eddington ratio in our sample. Finally, no correlation is found between the X-ray σ{sub rms}{sup 2} and optical variability.

  17. Predicting passive and active tissue:plasma partition coefficients: interindividual and interspecies variability.

    PubMed

    Ruark, Christopher D; Hack, C Eric; Robinson, Peter J; Mahle, Deirdre A; Gearhart, Jeffery M

    2014-07-01

    A mechanistic tissue composition model incorporating passive and active transport for the prediction of steady-state tissue:plasma partition coefficients (K(t:pl)) of chemicals in multiple mammalian species was used to assess interindividual and interspecies variability. This approach predicts K(t:pl) using chemical lipophilicity, pKa, phospholipid membrane binding, and the unbound plasma fraction, together with tissue fractions of water, neutral lipids, neutral and acidic phospholipids, proteins, and pH. Active transport K(t:pl) is predicted using Michaelis-Menten transport parameters. Species-specific biological properties were identified from 126 peer reviewed journal articles, listed in the Supporting Information, for mouse, rat, guinea pig, rabbit, beagle dog, pig, monkey, and human species. Means and coefficients of variation for biological properties were used in a Monte Carlo analysis to assess variability. The results show K(t:pl) interspecies variability for the brain, fat, heart, kidney, liver, lung, muscle, red blood cell, skin, and spleen, but uncertainty in the estimates obscured some differences. Compounds undergoing active transport are shown to have concentration-dependent K(t:pl). This tissue composition-based mechanistic model can be used to predict K(t:pl) for organic chemicals across eight species and 10 tissues, and can be an important component in drug development when scaling K(t:pl) from animal models to humans.

  18. EPSPS variability, gene expression, and enzymatic activity in glyphosate-resistant biotypes of Digitaria insularis.

    PubMed

    Galeano, E; Barroso, A A M; Vasconcelos, T S; López-Rubio, A; Albrecht, A J P; Victoria Filho, R; Carrer, H

    2016-01-01

    Weed resistance to herbicides is a natural phenomenon that exerts selection on individuals in a population. In Brazil, glyphosate resistance was recently detected in Digitaria insularis. The objective of this study was to elucidate mechanisms of weed resistance in this plant, including genetic variability, allelism, amino acid substitutions, gene expression, and enzymatic activity levels. Most of these have not previously been studied in this species. D. insularis DNA sequences were used to analyze genetic variability. cDNA from resistant and susceptible plants was used to identify mutations, alleles, and 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) expression, using real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. In addition, EPSPS activity was measured. We found a decrease in genetic variability between populations related to glyphosate application. Substitutions from proline to threonine and tyrosine to cysteine led to a decrease in EPSPS affinity for the glyphosate. In addition, the EPSPS enzymatic activity was slightly higher in resistant plants, whereas EPSPS gene expression was almost identical in both biotypes, suggesting feedback regulation at different levels. To conclude, our results suggest new molecular mechanisms used by D. insularis to increase glyphosate resistance. PMID:27525929

  19. EPSPS variability, gene expression, and enzymatic activity in glyphosate-resistant biotypes of Digitaria insularis.

    PubMed

    Galeano, E; Barroso, A A M; Vasconcelos, T S; López-Rubio, A; Albrecht, A J P; Victoria Filho, R; Carrer, H

    2016-08-12

    Weed resistance to herbicides is a natural phenomenon that exerts selection on individuals in a population. In Brazil, glyphosate resistance was recently detected in Digitaria insularis. The objective of this study was to elucidate mechanisms of weed resistance in this plant, including genetic variability, allelism, amino acid substitutions, gene expression, and enzymatic activity levels. Most of these have not previously been studied in this species. D. insularis DNA sequences were used to analyze genetic variability. cDNA from resistant and susceptible plants was used to identify mutations, alleles, and 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) expression, using real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. In addition, EPSPS activity was measured. We found a decrease in genetic variability between populations related to glyphosate application. Substitutions from proline to threonine and tyrosine to cysteine led to a decrease in EPSPS affinity for the glyphosate. In addition, the EPSPS enzymatic activity was slightly higher in resistant plants, whereas EPSPS gene expression was almost identical in both biotypes, suggesting feedback regulation at different levels. To conclude, our results suggest new molecular mechanisms used by D. insularis to increase glyphosate resistance.

  20. On the achievable performance using variable geometry active secondary suspension systems in commercial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evers, Willem-Jan; Besselink, Igo; Teerhuis, Arjan; Nijmeijer, Henk

    2011-10-01

    There is a need to further improve driver comfort in commercial vehicles. The variable geometry active suspension offers an interesting option to achieve this in an energy efficient way. However, the optimal control strategy and the overal performance potential remains unclear. The aim of this paper is to quantify the level of performance improvement that can theoretically be obtained by replacing a conventional air sprung cabin suspension design with a variable geometry active suspension. Furthermore, the difference between the use of a linear quadratic (LQ) optimal controller and a classic skyhook controller is investigated. Hereto, an elementary variable geometry actuator model and experimentally validated four degrees of freedom quarter truck model are adopted. The results show that the classic skyhook controller gives a relatively poor performance while a comfort increase of 17-28% can be obtained with the LQ optimal controller, depending on the chosen energy weighting. Furthermore, an additional 75% comfort increase and 77% energy cost reduction can be obtained, with respect to the fixed gain energy optimal controller, using condition-dependent control gains. So, it is concluded that the performance potential using condition-dependent controllers is huge, and that the use of the classic skyhook control strategy should, in general, be avoided when designing active secondary suspensions for commercial vehicles.

  1. Musculotendinous stiffness of triceps surae, maximal rate of force development, and vertical jump performance.

    PubMed

    Driss, Tarak; Lambertz, Daniel; Rouis, Majdi; Jaafar, Hamdi; Vandewalle, Henry

    2015-01-01

    The relationships between ankle plantar flexor musculotendinous stiffness (MTS) and performance in a countermovement vertical jump (CMJ) and maximal rate of torque development (MRTD) were studied in 27 active men. MTS was studied by means of quick releases at 20 (S0.2), 40 (S0.4), 60 (S0.6), and 80% (S0.8) of maximal voluntary torque (T(MVC)). CMJ was not correlated with strength indices but was positively correlated with MRTD/BM, S 0.4/BM. The slope α 2 and intercept β 2 of the torque-stiffness relationships from 40 to 80% T(MVC) were correlated negatively (α 2) and positively (β 2) with CMJ. The different stiffness indices were not correlated with MRTD. The prediction of CMJ was improved by the introduction of MRTD in multiple regressions between CMJ and stiffness. CMJ was also negatively correlated with indices of curvature of the torque-stiffness relationship. The subjects were subdivided in 3 groups in function of CMJ (groups H, M, and L for high, medium, and low performers, resp.). There was a downward curvature of the torque-stiffness relationship at high torques in group H or M and the torque-stiffness regression was linear in group L only. These results suggested that torque-stiffness relationships with a plateau at high torques are more frequent in the best jumpers.

  2. The interday reliability of ankle, knee, leg, and vertical musculoskeletal stiffness during hopping and overground running.

    PubMed

    Joseph, Corey W; Bradshaw, Elizabeth J; Kemp, Justin; Clark, Ross A

    2013-08-01

    A number of methods are used to measure lower extremity musculoskeletal stiffness, but there is a paucity of research examining the reliability of these techniques. Therefore, we investigated the reliability of vertical, leg, knee, and ankle stiffness during overground running and hopping in 20 active men. Participants were required to run on a 10 m overground runway at 3.83 m/s (actual; 3.35 ± 0.12 m/s) and to hop in place at 2.2 Hz (actual; 2.37 ± 0.03 Hz), and at a self-selected frequency (actual; 2.05 ± 0.12 Hz) and at 2.2 Hz (actual; 2.39 ± 0.04 Hz). Reliability was determined using the intraclass correlation coefficient, coefficient of variation, mean differences, and Cohen's effect sizes. There was good reliability for vertical stiffness, moderate reliability for leg stiffness, and poor reliability for knee and ankle stiffness during the running task. Similar results were observed during the 2.2 Hz hopping tasks, with good reliability displayed for vertical stiffness and poor reliability for ankle and knee stiffness. In conclusion, our results suggest that vertical stiffness is a reliable measure when running at 3.83 m/s and hopping at 2.2 Hz.

  3. Information content of neural networks with self-control and variable activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bollé, D.; Amari, S. I.; Dominguez Carreta, D. R. C.; Massolo, G.

    2001-02-01

    A self-control mechanism for the dynamics of neural networks with variable activity is discussed using a recursive scheme for the time evolution of the local field. It is based upon the introduction of a self-adapting time-dependent threshold as a function of both the neural and pattern activity in the network. This mechanism leads to an improvement of the information content of the network as well as an increase of the storage capacity and the basins of attraction. Different architectures are considered and the results are compared with numerical simulations.

  4. Measurement of the local aortic stiffness by a non-invasive bioelectrical impedance technique.

    PubMed

    Collette, Mathieu; Lalande, Alain; Willoteaux, Serge; Leftheriotis, Georges; Humeau, Anne

    2011-04-01

    Aortic stiffness measurement is well recognized as an independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Recently, a simple method has been proposed for the evaluation of the local aortic stiffness (AoStiff) using a non-invasive bioelectrical impedance (BI) technique. This approach relies on a novel interpretation of the arterial stiffness where AoStiff is computed from the measurement of two new BI variables: (1) the local aortic flow resistance (AoRes) exerted by the drag forces onto the flow; (2) the local aortic wall distensibility (AoDist). Herein, we propose to detail and compare these three indices with the reference pulse wave velocity (PWV) measurement and the direct assessment of the aortic drag forces (DF) and distensibility (DS) obtained by the magnetic resonance imaging technique. Our results show a significant correlation between AoStiff and PWV (r = 0.79; P < 0.0001; 120 patients at rest; mean age 44 ± 16 years), and also between AoRes and DF (r = 0.95; P = 0.0011) and between AoDist and DS (r = 0.93; P = 0.0022) on eight patients at rest (mean age 52 ± 19 years). These first results suggest that local aortic stiffness can be explored reliably by the BI technique.

  5. The Difference between Stiffness and Quasi-stiffness in the Context of Biomechanical Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Rouse, Elliott J.; Gregg, Robert D.; Hargrove, Levi J.; Sensinger, Jonathon W.

    2014-01-01

    The ankle contributes the majority of mechanical power during walking and is a frequently studied joint in biomechanics. Specifically, researchers have extensively investigated the torque-angle relationship for the ankle during dynamic tasks, such as walking and running. The slope of this relationship has been termed the “quasi-stiffness.” However, over time, researchers have begun to interchange the concepts of quasi-stiffness and stiffness. This is an especially important distinction as researchers currently begin to investigate the appropriate control systems for recently developed powered prosthetic legs. The quasi-stiffness and stiffness are distinct concepts in the context of powered joints, and are equivalent in the context of passive joints. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the difference between the stiffness and quasi-stiffness using a simple impedance controlled inverted pendulum model and a more sophisticated biped walking model, each with the ability to modify the trajectory of an impedance controller’s equilibrium angle position. In both cases, stiffness values are specified by the controller and the quasi-stiffness are shown during a single step. Both models have widely varying quasi-stiffness but each have a single stiffness value. Therefore, from this simple modeling approach, the differences and similarities between these two concepts are elucidated. PMID:23212310

  6. How crouch gait can dynamically induce stiff-knee gait.

    PubMed

    van der Krogt, Marjolein M; Bregman, Daan J J; Wisse, Martijn; Doorenbosch, Caroline A M; Harlaar, Jaap; Collins, Steven H

    2010-04-01

    Children with cerebral palsy frequently experience foot dragging and tripping during walking due to a lack of adequate knee flexion in swing (stiff-knee gait). Stiff-knee gait is often accompanied by an overly flexed knee during stance (crouch gait). Studies on stiff-knee gait have mostly focused on excessive knee muscle activity during (pre)swing, but the passive dynamics of the limbs may also have an important effect. To examine the effects of a crouched posture on swing knee flexion, we developed a forward-dynamic model of human walking with a passive swing knee, capable of stable cyclic walking for a range of stance knee crouch angles. As crouch angle during stance was increased, the knee naturally flexed much less during swing, resulting in a 'stiff-knee' gait pattern and reduced foot clearance. Reduced swing knee flexion was primarily due to altered gravitational moments around the joints during initial swing. We also considered the effects of increased push-off strength and swing hip flexion torque, which both increased swing knee flexion, but the effect of crouch angle was dominant. These findings demonstrate that decreased knee flexion during swing can occur purely as the dynamical result of crouch, rather than from altered muscle function or pathoneurological control alone.

  7. Stiffness control of balance in quiet standing.

    PubMed

    Winter, D A; Patla, A E; Prince, F; Ishac, M; Gielo-Perczak, K

    1998-09-01

    Our goal was to provide some insights into how the CNS controls and maintains an upright standing posture, which is an integral part of activities of daily living. Although researchers have used simple performance measures of maintenance of this posture quite effectively in clinical decision making, the mechanisms and control principles involved have not been clear. We propose a relatively simple control scheme for regulation of upright posture that provides almost instantaneous corrective response and reduces the operating demands on the CNS. The analytic model is derived and experimentally validated. A stiffness model was developed for quiet standing. The model assumes that muscles act as springs to cause the center-of-pressure (COP) to move in phase with the center-of-mass (COM) as the body sways about some desired position. In the sagittal plane this stiffness control exists at the ankle plantarflexors, in the frontal plane by the hip abductors/adductors. On the basis of observations that the COP-COM error signal continuously oscillates, it is evident that the inverted pendulum model is severely underdamped, approaching the undamped condition. The spectrum of this error signal is seen to match that of a tuned mass, spring, damper system, and a curve fit of this "tuned circuit" yields omega n the undamped natural frequency of the system. The effective stiffness of the system, Ke, is then estimated from Ke = I omega n2, and the damping B is estimated from B = BW X I, where BW is the bandwidth of the tuned response (in rad/s), and I is the moment of inertia of the body about the ankle joint. Ten adult subjects were assessed while standing quietly at three stance widths: 50% hip-to-hip distance, 100 and 150%. Subjects stood for 2 min in each position with eyes open; the 100% stance width was repeated with eyes closed. In all trials and in both planes, the COP oscillated virtually in phase (within 6 ms) with COM, which was predicted by a simple 0th order spring

  8. Active optics: variable curvature mirrors for ELT laser guide star refocusing systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Challita, Zalpha; Hugot, Emmanuel; Madec, Fabrice; Ferrari, Marc; Le Mignant, David; Vivès, Sébastien; Cuby, Jean-Gabriel

    2011-10-01

    The future generation of Extremely Large Telescopes will require a complex combination of technologies for adaptive optics (AO) systems assisted by laser guide stars (LGS). In this context, the distance from the LGS spot to the telescope pupil ranges from about 80 to 200 km, depending on the Sodium layer altitude and the elevation of the telescope. This variation leads to a defocusing effect on the LGS wave-front sensor which needs to be compensated. We propose an active mirror able to compensate for this variation, based on an original optical design including this active optics component. This LGS Variable Curvature Mirror (LGS-VCM) is a 120 mm spherical active mirror able to achieve 820 μm deflection sag with an optical quality better than 150 nm RMS, allowing the radius of curvature variation from F/12 to F/2. Based on elasticity theory, the deformation of the metallic mirror is provided by an air pressure applied on a thin meniscus with a variable thickness distribution. In this article, we detail the analytical development leading to the specific geometry of the active component, the results of finite element analysis and the expected performances in terms of surface error versus the range of refocalisation. Three prototypes have been manufactured to compare the real behavior of the mirror and the simulations data. Results obtained on the prototypes are detailed, showing that the deformation of the VCM is very close to the simulation, and leads to a realistic active concept.

  9. Inferior frontal cortex activity is modulated by reward sensitivity and performance variability.

    PubMed

    Fuentes-Claramonte, Paola; Ávila, César; Rodríguez-Pujadas, Aina; Costumero, Víctor; Ventura-Campos, Noelia; Bustamante, Juan Carlos; Rosell-Negre, Patricia; Barrós-Loscertales, Alfonso

    2016-02-01

    High reward sensitivity has been linked with motivational and cognitive disorders related with prefrontal and striatal brain function during inhibitory control. However, few studies have analyzed the interaction among reward sensitivity, task performance and neural activity. Participants (N=57) underwent fMRI while performing a Go/No-go task with Frequent-go (77.5%), Infrequent-go (11.25%) and No-go (11.25%) stimuli. Task-associated activity was found in inhibition-related brain regions, with different activity patterns for right and left inferior frontal gyri (IFG): right IFG responded more strongly to No-go stimuli, while left IFG responded similarly to all infrequent stimuli. Reward sensitivity correlated with omission errors in Go trials and reaction time (RT) variability, and with increased activity in right and left IFG for No-go and Infrequent-go stimuli compared with Frequent-go. Bilateral IFG activity was associated with RT variability, with reward sensitivity mediating this association. These results suggest that reward sensitivity modulates behavior and brain function during executive control.

  10. [Analysis of scalp potential activity and heart rate variability during volitional control of heart beat].

    PubMed

    Yu, Xiao-Lin; Zhang, Jian-Bao; Wang, Jue

    2009-07-01

    In the study the changes of scalp potential and cardiac autonomic nervous system during volitional control of heart beat are explored with the wavelet packet parameters and approximate entropy (ApEn) of Electroencephalogram (EEG) and heart rate variability. The results show that volition can control heart beat and the changes of brain activity are earlier than that of autonomic activity. But its control of heart beat is very different from the motor nervous system because different cortical positions are respectively concerned during the quick and slow control of heart beat. The pre-central areas of brain are correlated with parasympathetic activity by which HR is controlled to slow down. The post-central areas of brain are correlated with sympathetic activity by which HR is controlled to accelerate.

  11. Optimal strategies for observation of active galactic nuclei variability with Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giomi, Matteo; Gerard, Lucie; Maier, Gernot

    2016-07-01

    Variable emission is one of the defining characteristic of active galactic nuclei (AGN). While providing precious information on the nature and physics of the sources, variability is often challenging to observe with time- and field-of-view-limited astronomical observatories such as Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs). In this work, we address two questions relevant for the observation of sources characterized by AGN-like variability: what is the most time-efficient way to detect such sources, and what is the observational bias that can be introduced by the choice of the observing strategy when conducting blind surveys of the sky. Different observing strategies are evaluated using simulated light curves and realistic instrument response functions of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), a future gamma-ray observatory. We show that strategies that makes use of very small observing windows, spread over large periods of time, allows for a faster detection of the source, and are less influenced by the variability properties of the sources, as compared to strategies that concentrate the observing time in a small number of large observing windows. Although derived using CTA as an example, our conclusions are conceptually valid for any IACTs facility, and in general, to all observatories with small field of view and limited duty cycle.

  12. A SEARCH FOR FAST X-RAY VARIABILITY FROM ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI USING SWIFT

    SciTech Connect

    Pryal, Matthew; Falcone, Abe; Stroh, Michael

    2015-03-20

    Blazars are a class of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) known for their very rapid variabilty in the high energy regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Despite this known fast variability, X-ray observations have generally not revealed variability in blazars with rate doubling or halving timescales less than approximately 15 minutes. Since its launch, the Swift X-ray Telescope has obtained 0.2–10 keV X-ray data on 143 AGNs, including blazars, through intense target of opportunity observations that can be analyzed in a multiwavelength context and used to model jet parameters, particularly during flare states. We have analyzed this broad Swift data set in a search for short timescale variability in blazars that could limit the size of the emission region in the blazar jet. While we do find several low-significance possible flares with potential indications of rapid variability, we find no strong evidence for rapid (<15 minutes) doubling or halving times in flares in the soft X-ray energy band for the AGNs analyzed.

  13. Broad Hβ Emission-line Variability in a Sample of 102 Local Active Galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Runco, Jordan N.; Cosens, Maren; Bennert, Vardha N.; Scott, Bryan; Komossa, S.; Malkan, Matthew A.; Lazarova, Mariana S.; Auger, Matthew W.; Treu, Tommaso; Park, Daeseong

    2016-04-01

    A sample of 102 local (0.02 ≤ z ≤ 0.1) Seyfert galaxies with black hole masses MBH > 107M⊙ was selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and observed using the Keck 10 m telescope to study the scaling relations between MBH and host galaxy properties. We study profile changes of the broad Hβ emission line within the three to nine year time frame between the two sets of spectra. The variability of the broad Hβ emission line is of particular interest, not only because it is used to estimate MBH, but also because its strength and width are used to classify Seyfert galaxies into different types. At least some form of broad-line variability (in either width or flux) is observed in the majority (∼66%) of the objects, resulting in a Seyfert-type change for ∼38% of the objects, likely driven by variable accretion and/or obscuration. The broad Hβ line virtually disappears in 3/102 (∼3%) extreme cases. We discuss potential causes for these changing look active galactic nuclei. While similar dramatic transitions have previously been reported in the literature, either on a case-by-case basis or in larger samples focusing on quasars at higher redshifts, our study provides statistical information on the frequency of Hβ line variability in a sample of low-redshift Seyfert galaxies.

  14. A computational model of the response of adherent cells to stretch and changes in substrate stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Lutchen, Kenneth R.; Suki, Béla

    2014-01-01

    Cells in the body exist in a dynamic mechanical environment where they are subject to mechanical stretch as well as changes in composition and stiffness of the underlying extracellular matrix (ECM). However, the underlying mechanisms by which cells sense and adapt to their dynamic mechanical environment, in particular to stretch, are not well understood. In this study, we hypothesized that emergent phenomena at the level of the actin network arising from active structural rearrangements driven by nonmuscle myosin II molecular motors play a major role in the cellular response to both stretch and changes in ECM stiffness. To test this hypothesis, we introduce a simple network model of actin-myosin interactions that links active self-organization of the actin network to the stiffness of the network and the traction forces generated by the network. We demonstrate that such a network replicates not only the effect of changes in substrate stiffness on cellular traction and stiffness and the dependence of rate of force development by a cell on the stiffness of its substrate, but also explains the physical response of adherent cells to transient and cyclic stretch. Our results provide strong indication that network phenomena governed by the active reorganization of the actin-myosin structure plays an important role in cellular mechanosensing and response to both changes in ECM stiffness and externally applied mechanical stretch. PMID:24408996

  15. Revisiting a possible relationship between solar activity and Earth rotation variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abarca del Rio, R.; Gambis, D.

    2011-10-01

    A variety of studies have searched to establish a possible relationship between the solar activity and earth variations (Danjon, 1958-1962; Challinor, 1971; Currie, 1980, Gambis, 1990). We are revisiting previous studies (Bourget et al, 1992, Abarca del Rio et al, 2003, Marris et al, 2004) concerning the possible relationship between solar activity variability and length of day (LOD) variations at decadal time scales. Assuming that changes in AAM for the entire atmosphere are accompanied by equal, but opposite, changes in the angular momentum of the earth it is possible to infer changes in LOD from global AAM time series, through the relation : delta (LOD) (ms) = 1.68 10^29 delta(AAM) (kgm2/s) (Rosen and Salstein, 1983), where δ(LOD) is given in milliseconds. Given the close relationship at seasonal to interannual time's scales between LOD and the Atmospheric Angular Momentum (AAM) (see Abarca del Rio et al., 2003) it is possible to infer from century long atmospheric simulations what may have been the variability in the associated LOD variability throughout the last century. In the absence of a homogeneous century long LOD time series, we take advantage of the recent atmospheric reanalyzes extending since 1871 (Compo, Whitaker and Sardeshmukh, 2006). The atmospheric data (winds) of these reanalyzes allow computing AAM up to the top of the atmosphere; though here only troposphere data (up to 100 hPa) was taken into account.

  16. "Contact" of nanoscale stiff films.

    PubMed

    Yang, Fut K; Zhang, Wei; Han, Yougun; Yoffe, Serge; Cho, Yungchi; Zhao, Boxin

    2012-06-26

    We investigated the contact behaviors of a nanoscopic stiff thin film bonded to a compliant substrate and derived an analytical solution for determining the elastic modulus of thin films. Microscopic contact deformations of the gold and polydopamine thin films (<200 nm) coated on polydimethylsiloxane elastomers were measured by indenting a soft tip and analyzed in the framework of the classical plate theory and Johnson-Kendall-Roberts (JKR) contact mechanics. The analysis of this thin film contact mechanics focused on the bending and stretching resistance of thin films and is fundamentally different from conventional indentation measurements where the focus is on the fracture and compression of the films. The analytical solution of the elastic modulus of nanoscopic thin films was validated experimentally using 50 and 100 nm gold thin films coated on polydimethylsiloxane elastomers. The technical application of this analysis was further demonstrated by measuring the elastic modulus of thin films of polydopamine, a recently discovered biomimetic universal coating material. Furthermore, the method presented here is able to quantify the contact behaviors of nanoscopic thin films, effectively providing fundamental design parameters, the elastic modulus, and the work of adhesion, crucial for transferring them effectively into practical applications. PMID:22616836

  17. 3D Printing Variable Stiffness Foams Using Viscous Thread Instability.

    PubMed

    Lipton, Jeffrey I; Lipson, Hod

    2016-08-09

    Additive manufacturing of cellular structures has numerous applications ranging from fabrication of biological scaffolds and medical implants, to mechanical weight reduction and control over mechanical properties. Various additive manufacturing processes have been used to produce open regular cellular structures limited only by the resolution of the printer. These efforts have focused on printing explicitly designed cells or explicitly planning offsets between strands. Here we describe a technique for producing cellular structures implicitly by inducing viscous thread instability when extruding material. This process allows us to produce complex cellular structures at a scale that is finer than the native resolution of the printer. We demonstrate tunable effective elastic modulus and density that span two orders of magnitude. Fine grained cellular structures allow for fabrication of foams for use in a wide range of fields ranging from bioengineering, to robotics to food printing.

  18. 3D Printing Variable Stiffness Foams Using Viscous Thread Instability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lipton, Jeffrey I.; Lipson, Hod

    2016-08-01

    Additive manufacturing of cellular structures has numerous applications ranging from fabrication of biological scaffolds and medical implants, to mechanical weight reduction and control over mechanical properties. Various additive manufacturing processes have been used to produce open regular cellular structures limited only by the resolution of the printer. These efforts have focused on printing explicitly designed cells or explicitly planning offsets between strands. Here we describe a technique for producing cellular structures implicitly by inducing viscous thread instability when extruding material. This process allows us to produce complex cellular structures at a scale that is finer than the native resolution of the printer. We demonstrate tunable effective elastic modulus and density that span two orders of magnitude. Fine grained cellular structures allow for fabrication of foams for use in a wide range of fields ranging from bioengineering, to robotics to food printing.

  19. 3D Printing Variable Stiffness Foams Using Viscous Thread Instability

    PubMed Central

    Lipton, Jeffrey I.; Lipson, Hod

    2016-01-01

    Additive manufacturing of cellular structures has numerous applications ranging from fabrication of biological scaffolds and medical implants, to mechanical weight reduction and control over mechanical properties. Various additive manufacturing processes have been used to produce open regular cellular structures limited only by the resolution of the printer. These efforts have focused on printing explicitly designed cells or explicitly planning offsets between strands. Here we describe a technique for producing cellular structures implicitly by inducing viscous thread instability when extruding material. This process allows us to produce complex cellular structures at a scale that is finer than the native resolution of the printer. We demonstrate tunable effective elastic modulus and density that span two orders of magnitude. Fine grained cellular structures allow for fabrication of foams for use in a wide range of fields ranging from bioengineering, to robotics to food printing. PMID:27503148

  20. 3D Printing Variable Stiffness Foams Using Viscous Thread Instability.

    PubMed

    Lipton, Jeffrey I; Lipson, Hod

    2016-01-01

    Additive manufacturing of cellular structures has numerous applications ranging from fabrication of biological scaffolds and medical implants, to mechanical weight reduction and control over mechanical properties. Various additive manufacturing processes have been used to produce open regular cellular structures limited only by the resolution of the printer. These efforts have focused on printing explicitly designed cells or explicitly planning offsets between strands. Here we describe a technique for producing cellular structures implicitly by inducing viscous thread instability when extruding material. This process allows us to produce complex cellular structures at a scale that is finer than the native resolution of the printer. We demonstrate tunable effective elastic modulus and density that span two orders of magnitude. Fine grained cellular structures allow for fabrication of foams for use in a wide range of fields ranging from bioengineering, to robotics to food printing. PMID:27503148

  1. Cross-Linked Nanotube Materials with Variable Stiffness Tethers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frankland, Sarah-Jane V.; Odegard, Gregory M.; Herzog, Matthew N.; Gates, Thomas S.; Fay, Catherine C.

    2004-01-01

    The constitutive properties of a cross-linked single-walled carbon nanotube material are predicted with a multi-scale model. The material is modeled as a transversely isotropic solid using concepts from equivalent-continuum modeling. The elastic constants are determined using molecular dynamics simulation. Some parameters of the molecular force field are determined specifically for the cross-linker from ab initio calculations. A demonstration of how the cross-linked nanotubes may affect the properties of a nanotube/polyimide composite is included using a micromechanical analysis.

  2. Removal of visual feedback alters muscle activity and reduces force variability during constant isometric contractions.

    PubMed

    Baweja, Harsimran S; Patel, Bhavini K; Martinkewiz, Julie D; Vu, Julie; Christou, Evangelos A

    2009-07-01

    The purpose of this study was to compare force accuracy, force variability and muscle activity during constant isometric contractions at different force levels with and without visual feedback and at different feedback gains. In experiment 1, subjects were instructed to accurately match the target force at 2, 15, 30, 50, and 70% of their maximal isometric force with abduction of the index finger and maintain their force even in the absence of visual feedback. Each trial lasted 22 s and visual feedback was removed from 8-12 to 16-20 s. Each subject performed 6 trials at each target force, half with visual gain of 51.2 pixels/N and the rest with a visual gain of 12.8 pixels/N. Force error was calculated as the root mean square error of the force trace from the target line. Force variability was quantified as the standard deviation and coefficient of variation (CVF) of the force trace. The EMG activity of the agonist (first dorsal interosseus; FDI) was measured with bipolar surface electrodes placed distal to the innervation zone. Independent of visual gain and force level, subjects exhibited lower force error with the visual feedback condition (2.53 +/- 2.95 vs. 2.71 +/- 2.97 N; P < 0.01); whereas, force variability was lower when visual feedback was removed (CVF: 4.06 +/- 3.11 vs. 4.47 +/- 3.14, P < 0.01). The EMG activity of the FDI muscle was higher during the visual feedback condition and this difference increased especially at higher force levels (70%: 370 +/- 149 vs. 350 +/- 143 microV, P < 0.01). Experiment 2 examined whether the findings of experiment 1 were driven by the higher force levels and proximity in the gain of visual feedback. Subjects performed constant isometric contractions with the abduction of the index finger at an absolute force of 2 N, with two distinct feedback gains of 15 and 3,000 pixels/N. In agreement with the findings of experiment 1, subjects exhibited lower force error in the presence of visual feedback especially when the feedback

  3. Causes and Consequences of Variability in Drug Transporter Activity in Pediatric Drug Therapy.

    PubMed

    Rodieux, Frédérique; Gotta, Verena; Pfister, Marc; van den Anker, Johannes N

    2016-07-01

    Drug transporters play a key role in mediating the uptake of endo- and exogenous substances into cells as well as their efflux. Therefore, variability in drug transporter activity can influence pharmaco- and toxicokinetics and be a determinant of drug safety and efficacy. In children, particularly in neonates and young infants, the contribution of tissue-specific drug transporters to drug absorption, distribution, and excretion may differ from that in adults. In this review 5 major factors and their interdependence that may influence drug transporter activity in children are discussed: developmental differences, genetic polymorphisms, pediatric comorbidities, interacting comedication, and environmental factors. Even if data are sparse, altered drug transporter activity due to those factors have been associated with clinically relevant differences in drug disposition, efficacy, and safety in pediatric patients. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in drug transporter-encoding genes were the most studied source of drug transporter variability in children. However, in the age group where drug transporter activity has been reported to differ from that in adults, namely neonates and young infants, hardly any studies have been performed. Longitudinal studies in this young population are required to investigate the age- and disease-dependent genotype-phenotype relationships and relevance of drug transporter drug-drug interactions. Physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling approaches can integrate drug- and patient-specific parameters, including drug transporter ontogeny, and may further improve in silico predictions of pediatric-specific pharmacokinetics. PMID:27385174

  4. Relation between QT interval variability and muscle sympathetic nerve activity in normal subjects.

    PubMed

    El-Hamad, Fatima; Lambert, Elisabeth; Abbott, Derek; Baumert, Mathias

    2015-10-01

    Beat-to-beat variability of the QT interval (QTV) is sought to provide an indirect noninvasive measure of sympathetic nerve activity, but a formal quantification of this relationship has not been provided. In this study we used power contribution analysis to study the relationship between QTV and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA). ECG and MSNA were recorded in 10 healthy subjects in the supine position and after 40° head-up tilt. Power spectrum analysis was performed using a linear autoregressive model with two external inputs: heart period (RR interval) variability (RRV) and MSNA. Total and low-frequency power of QTV was decomposed into contributions by RRV, MSNA, and sources independent of RRV and MSNA. Results show that the percentage of MSNA power contribution to QT is very small and does not change with tilt. RRV power contribution to QT power is notable and decreases with tilt, while the greatest percentage of QTV is independent of RRV and MSNA in the supine position and after 40° head-up tilt. In conclusion, beat-to-beat QTV in normal subjects does not appear to be significantly affected by the rhythmic modulations in MSNA following low to moderate orthostatic stimulation. Therefore, MSNA oscillations may not represent a useful surrogate for cardiac sympathetic nerve activity at moderate levels of activation, or, alternatively, sympathetic influences on QTV are complex and not quantifiable with linear shift-invariant autoregressive models. PMID:26276814

  5. Physiotherapy assessment of shoulder stiffness and how it influences management

    PubMed Central

    Russell, Sarah

    2015-01-01

    Common causes of shoulder stiffness include osteoarthritis, trauma, rheumatological conditions and stiffness secondary to soft tissue adaptation. Physiotherapy assessment of the stiff shoulder aims to ascertain the key causative factors of stiffness to inform effective management planning. Identification of whether a patient presents with pain or stiffness as their predominant symptom further guides treatment selection. The current evidence base underpins a management algorithm which has been developed to guide the assessment and management of patients presenting with shoulder stiffness. PMID:27582980

  6. Sway‐dependent changes in standing ankle stiffness caused by muscle thixotropy

    PubMed Central

    Sakanaka, Tania E.; Lakie, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Key points The passive stiffness of the calf muscles contributes to standing balance, although the properties of muscle tissue are highly labile.We investigated the effect of sway history upon intrinsic ankle stiffness and demonstrated reductions in stiffness of up to 43% during conditions of increased baseline sway.This sway dependence was most apparent when using low amplitude stiffness‐measuring perturbations, and the short‐range stiffness component was smaller during periods of high sway.These characteristics are consistent with the thixotropic properties of the calf muscles causing the observed changes in ankle stiffness.Periods of increased sway impair the passive stabilization of standing, demanding more active neural control of balance. Abstract Quiet standing is achieved through a combination of active and passive mechanisms, consisting of neural control and intrinsic mechanical stiffness of the ankle joint, respectively. The mechanical stiffness is partly determined by the calf muscles. However, the viscoelastic properties of muscle are highly labile, exhibiting a strong dependence on movement history. By measuring the effect of sway history upon ankle stiffness, the present study determines whether this lability has consequences for the passive stabilization of human standing. Ten subjects stood quietly on a rotating platform whose axis was collinear with the ankle joint. Ankle sway was increased by slowly tilting this platform in a random fashion, or decreased by fixing the body to a board. Ankle stiffness was measured by using the same platform to simultaneously apply small, brief perturbations (<0.6 deg; 140 ms) at the same time as the resulting torque response was recorded. The results show that increasing sway reduces ankle stiffness by up to 43% compared to the body‐fixed condition. Normal quiet stance was associated with intermediate values. The effect was most apparent when using smaller perturbation amplitudes to measure stiffness (0

  7. Aortic Stiffness, Cerebrovascular Dysfunction, and Memory

    PubMed Central

    Cooper, Leroy L.; Mitchell, Gary F.

    2016-01-01

    Background Aortic stiffness is associated with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events and cognitive decline. This mini-review focuses on relations of aortic stiffness with microvascular dysfunction and discusses the contribution of abnormal pulsatile hemodynamics to cerebrovascular damage and cognitive decline. We also provide a rationale for considering aortic stiffness as a putative and important contributor to memory impairment in older individuals. Summary Aging is associated with stiffening of the aorta but not the muscular arteries, which reduces wave reflection and increases the transmission of pulsatility into the periphery. Aortic stiffening thereby impairs a protective mechanism that shields the peripheral microcirculation from excessive pulsatility within downstream target organs. Beyond midlife, aortic stiffness increases rapidly and exposes the cerebral microcirculation to abnormal pulsatile mechanical forces that are associated with microvascular damage and remodeling in the brain. Aortic stiffening and high-flow pulsatility are associated with alterations in the microvasculature of the brain; however, a mechanistic link between aortic stiffness and memory has not been established. We showed that in a community-based sample of older individuals, cerebrovascular resistance and white matter hyperintensities - markers of cerebrovascular remodeling and damage - mediated the relation between higher aortic stiffness and lower performance on memory function tests. These data suggest that microvascular and white matter damage associated with excessive aortic stiffness contribute to impaired memory function with advancing age. Key Messages Increasing evidence suggests that vascular etiologies - including aortic stiffness and microvascular damage - contribute to memory impairment and the pathogenesis of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Interventions that reduce aortic stiffness may delay memory decline among older individuals. PMID:27752478

  8. Variability and Stability in Daily Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity among 10 Year Old Children

    PubMed Central

    Pereira, Sara; Gomes, Thayse Natacha; Borges, Alessandra; Santos, Daniel; Souza, Michele; dos Santos, Fernanda K.; Chaves, Raquel N.; Katzmarzyk, Peter T.; Maia, José A. R.

    2015-01-01

    Day-to-day variability and stability of children’s physical activity levels across days of the week are not well understood. Our aims were to examine the day-to-day variability of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), to determine factors influencing the day-to-day variability of MVPA and to estimate stability of MVPA in children. The sample comprises 686 Portuguese children (10 years of age). MVPA was assessed with an accelerometer, and BMI was computed from measured height and weight. Daily changes in MVPA and their correlates (gender, BMI, and maturity) were modeled with a multilevel approach, and tracking was calculated using Foulkes & Davies γ. A total of 51.3% of boys and 26.2% of girls achieved 60 min/day of MVPA on average. Daily MVPA was lower during the weekend (23.6% of boys and 13.6% of girls comply with the recommended 60 min/day of MVPA) compared to weekdays (60.8% and 35.4%, boys and girls, respectively). Normal weight children were more active than obese children and no effect was found for biological maturation. Tracking is low in both boys (γ = 0.59 ± 0.01) and girls (γ = 0.56 ± 0.01). Children’s MVPA levels during a week are highly unstable. In summary, boys are more active than girls, maturation does not affect their MVPA, and obese children are less likely to meet 60 min/day of MVPA. These results highlight the importance of providing opportunities for increasing children’s daily MVPA on all days of week, especially on the weekend. PMID:26262632

  9. Design of a multilevel Active Power Filter for More Electrical Airplane variable frequency systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guerreiro, Joel Filipe; Pomilio, Jose Antenor; Busarello, Tiago Davi Curi

    This paper presents the design and simulation of an Aeronautical Active Power Filter (AAPF) for a Variable Speed Variable Frequency (VSVF) advanced aircraft electric power system. The purposes of the AAPF are to mitigate current harmonics, to improve the source power factor and to mitigate the effects of unbalanced loads. Regarding the fact that the Aircraft Electrical Power System (AEPS) frequency may vary between 360 Hz and 900 Hz, and the load dynamics is often modified, an enhanced filtering technique is required. The designed AAPF topology is an asymmetrical multilevel inverter (AMI), which control strategy is based on the Conservative Power Theory (CPT) and synchronized by a Kalman Filter Phase-Locked Loop (KF-PLL). The above configuration renders the AAPF very robust and effective to its purpose. Accurate simulation results on Matlab/Simulink platform verify the feasibility of the proposed AAPF and the high performance of the control strategy during steady-state and dynamic operations.

  10. The photometric variability of the chromospherically active binary star HD 80715

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strassmeier, Klaus G.; Hooten, James T.; Hall, Douglas S.; Fekel, Francis C.

    1989-01-01

    Differential UBVRI photometry of the double-lined BY Dra system HD 80715 (K3 V + K3 V) obtained in December 1987 is presented. The star is found to be a variable with a full amplitude of 0.06 mag in V and a period similar or equal to the orbital period of 3.804 days. The mechanism of the variability is interpreted as rotational modulation due to dark starspots. In an attempt to detect chromospheric activity, high-resolution CCD spectra were obtained at Ca II H and K and at Fe I 6430 A and Ca I 6439 A, the photospheric lines normally used for Doppler imaging. HD 80715 shows double H and K emission features at a constant flux level for each component.

  11. Activation of peripheral opioid receptors has no effect on heart rate variability.

    PubMed

    Ellidokuz, Ender; Kaya, Dayimi; Uslan, Ihsan; Celik, Ataç; Esen, Ali Metin; Barutça, Irfan

    2008-06-01

    Opioid receptors involved in regulating the motility of the gastrointestinal tract have been localized in both contractile and neuronal tissues. Trimebutine, a peripheral opioid receptor agonist, modulates gastrointestinal motor activity in both directions and also may act on cardiac tissue. This study investigated the effects of trimebutine in clinical doses on cardiac autonomic functions with heart rate variability. The effect of trimebutine on cardiac autonomic outflows was evaluated in 11 healthy subjects. Trimebutine (200 mg) or placebo was administered orally at random in a double-blind, cross-over manner. Continuous electrocardiography recordings were obtained before and after drug administration during three states: rest, controlled breathing, and a hand grip exercise. Heart rate variability analysis showed that there was no significant difference between subjects administered with placebo or trimebutine throughout rest, controlled breathing, or the hand grip exercise. We concluded that trimebutine, in clinical doses, has no significant effect on cardiac autonomic functions. PMID:18449593

  12. Variability and trends in Southern Ocean eddy activity in 1/12° ocean model simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Patara, Lavinia; Böning, Claus W.; Biastoch, Arne

    2016-05-01

    The response of eddy kinetic energy (EKE) to the strengthening of Southern Hemisphere winds occurring since the 1950s is investigated with a global ocean model having a resolution of 1/12° in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current domain. The simulations expose regional differences in the relative importance of stochastic and wind-related contributions to interannual EKE changes. In the Pacific and Indian sectors the model captures the EKE variability observed since 1993 and confirms previous hypotheses of a lagged response to regional wind stress anomalies. Here the multidecadal trend in wind stress is reflected in an increase in EKE typically exceeding 5 cm2 s-2 decade-1. In the western Atlantic, EKE variability is mostly stochastic, is weakly correlated with wind fluctuations, and its multidecadal trends are close to zero. The nonuniform distribution of wind-related changes in the eddy activity could affect the regional patterns of ocean circulation and biogeochemical responses to future climate change.

  13. Temporal and spatial variability of soil biological activity at European scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mallast, Janine; Rühlmann, Jörg

    2015-04-01

    The CATCH-C project aims to identify and improve the farm-compatibility of Soil Management Practices including to promote productivity, climate change mitigation and soil quality. The focus of this work concentrates on turnover conditions for soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is fundamental for the maintenance of quality and functions of soils while SOM storage is attributed a great importance in terms of climate change mitigation. The turnover conditions depend on soil biological activity characterized by climate and soil properties. Soil biological activity was investigated using two model concepts: a) Re_clim parameter within the ICBM (Introductory Carbon Balance Model) (Andrén & Kätterer 1997) states a climatic factor summarizing soil water storage and soil temperature and its influence on soil biological activity. b) BAT (biological active time) approach derived from model CANDY (CArbon and Nitrogen Dynamic) (Franko & Oelschlägel 1995) expresses the variation of soil moisture, soil temperature and soil aeration as a time scale and an indicator of biological activity for soil organic matter (SOM) turnover. During an earlier stage both model concepts, Re_clim and BAT, were applied based on a monthly data to assess spatial variability of turnover conditions across Europe. This hampers the investigation of temporal variability (e.g. intra-annual). The improved stage integrates daily data of more than 350 weather stations across Europe presented by Klein Tank et al. (2002). All time series data (temperature, precipitation and potential evapotranspiration and soil texture derived from the European Soil Database (JRC 2006)), are used to calculate soil biological activity in the arable layer. The resulting BAT and Re_clim values were spatio-temporal investigated. While "temporal" refers to a long-term trend analysis, "spatial" includes the investigation of soil biological activity variability per environmental zone (ENZ, Metzger et al. 2005 representing similar

  14. Materials analogue of zero-stiffness structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumar, Arun; Subramaniam, Anandh

    2011-04-01

    Anglepoise lamps and certain tensegrities are examples of zero-stiffness structures. These structures are in a state of neutral equilibrium with respect to changes in configuration of the system. Using Eshelby's example of an edge dislocation in a thin plate that can bend, we report the discovery of a non-trivial new class of material structures as an analogue to zero-stiffness structures. For extended positions of the edge dislocation in these structures, the dislocation experiences a zero image force. Salient features of these material structures along with the key differences from conventional zero-stiffness structures are pointed out.

  15. “Smooth Muscle Cell Stiffness Syndrome”—Revisiting the Structural Basis of Arterial Stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Sehgel, Nancy L.; Vatner, Stephen F.; Meininger, Gerald A.

    2015-01-01

    In recent decades, the pervasiveness of increased arterial stiffness in patients with cardiovascular disease has become increasingly apparent. Though, this phenomenon has been well documented in humans and animal models of disease for well over a century, there has been surprisingly limited development in a deeper mechanistic understanding of arterial stiffness. Much of the historical literature has focused on changes in extracellular matrix proteins—collagen and elastin. However, extracellular matrix changes alone appear insufficient to consistently account for observed changes in vascular stiffness, which we observed in our studies of aortic stiffness in aging monkeys. This led us to examine novel mechanisms operating at the level of the vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC)—that include increased cell stiffness and adhesion to extracellular matrix—which that may be interrelated with other mechanisms contributing to arterial stiffness. We introduce these observations as a new concept—the Smooth Muscle Cell Stiffness Syndrome (SMCSS)—within the field of arterial stiffness and posit that stiffening of vascular cells impairs vascular function and may contribute stiffening to the vasculature with aging and cardiovascular disease. Importantly, this review article revisits the structural basis of arterial stiffness in light of these novel findings. Such classification of SMCSS and its contextualization into our current understanding of vascular mechanics may be useful in the development of strategic therapeutics to directly target arterial stiffness. PMID:26635621

  16. Matrix Stiffness Modulates Proliferation, Chemotherapeutic Response and Dormancy in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells

    PubMed Central

    Schrader, Jörg; Gordon-Walker, Timothy T; Aucott, Rebecca L; van Deemter, Mariëlle; Quaas, Alexander; Walsh, Shaun; Benten, Daniel; Forbes, Stuart J; Wells, Rebecca G; Iredale, John P

    2010-01-01

    There is increasing evidence that the physical environment is a critical mediator of tumor behavior. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) develops within an altered biomechanical environment and increasing matrix stiffness is a strong predictor of HCC development. The aim of this study was to establish whether changes in matrix stiffness, which are characteristic of inflammation and fibrosis, regulate HCC cell proliferation and chemotherapeutic response. Using an in vitro system of “mechanically-tunable” matrix-coated polyacrylamide gels, matrix stiffness was modeled across a pathophysiologically-relevant range, corresponding to values encountered in normal and fibrotic livers. Results Increasing matrix stiffness was found to promote HCC cell proliferation. The proliferative index (assessed by Ki67 staining) of Huh7 and HepG2 cells was 2.7-fold and 12.2-fold higher, respectively, when the cells were cultured on stiff (12kPa) versus soft (1kPa) supports. This was associated with stiffness-dependent regulation of basal and HGF-stimulated mitogenic signaling through extracellular regulated kinase (ERK), protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). β1-integrin and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) were found to modulate stiffness-dependent HCC cell proliferation. Following treatment with cisplatin, we observed reduced apoptosis in HCC cells cultured on a stiff versus soft (physiological) supports. Interestingly, however, surviving cells from soft supports had significantly higher clonogenic capacity than surviving cells from a stiff microenvironment. This was associated with enhanced expression of cancer stem cell markers, including CD44, CD133, c-kit, CXCR4, octamer-4 (OCT4) and NANOG. Conclusion Increasing matrix stiffness promotes proliferation and chemotherapeutic resistance, whereas a soft environment induces reversible cellular dormancy and stem cell characteristics in HCC. This has implications for both the treatment of

  17. A new method of measuring the stiffness of astronauts' EVA gloves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mousavi, Mehdi; Appendino, Silvia; Battezzato, Alessandro; Bonanno, Alberto; Chen Chen, Fai; Crepaldi, Marco; Demarchi, Danilo; Favetto, Alain; Pescarmona, Francesco

    2014-04-01

    Hand fatigue is one of the most important problems of astronauts during their missions to space. This fatigue is due to the stiffness of the astronauts' gloves known as Extravehicular Activity (EVA) gloves. The EVA glove has a multilayered, bulky structure and is pressurized against the vacuum of space. In order to evaluate the stiffness of EVA gloves, different methods have been proposed in the past. In particular, the effects of wearing an EVA glove on the performance of the hands have been published by many researchers to represent the stiffness of the EVA glove. In this paper, a new method for measuring the stiffness of EVA gloves is proposed. A tendon-actuated finger probe is designed and used as an alternative to the human index finger in order to be placed inside an EVA glove and measure its stiffness. The finger probe is equipped with accelerometers, which work as tilt sensors, to measure the angles of its phalanges. The phalanges are actuated by applying different amount of torque using the tendons of the finger probe. Moreover, a hypobaric glove box is designed and realized to simulate the actual operating pressure of the EVA glove and to measure its stiffness in both pressurized and non-pressurized conditions. In order to prove the right performance of the proposed finger probe, an Orlam-DM EVA glove is used to perform a number of tests. The equation of stiffness for the PIP joint of this glove is extracted from the results acquired from the tests. This equation presents the torque required to flex the middle phalanx of the glove. Then, the effect of pressurization on the stiffness is highlighted in the last section. This setup can be used to measure the stiffness of different kinds of EVA gloves and allows direct, numerical comparison of their stiffness.

  18. Impacts of Climate Change/Variability and Human Activities on Contemporary Vegetation Productivity across Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ugbaje, S. U.; Odeh, I. A.; Bishop, T.

    2015-12-01

    Vegetation productivity is increasingly being impacted upon by climate change/variability and anthropogenic activities, especially in developing countries, where many livelihoods depend on the natural resource base. Despite these impacts, the individual and combined roles of climate and anthropogenic factors on vegetation dynamics have rarely been quantified in many ecosystems and regions of the world. This paper analyzes recent trend in vegetation productivity across Africa and quantified the relative roles of climate change/variability and human activities in driving this trend over 2000-2014 using net primary productivity (NPP) as an indicator. The relative roles of these factors to vegetation productivity change were quantified by comparing the trend slope (p<0.1) and total change in interannual actual NPP (NPPA), potential NPP (NPPP), and human appropriated NPP (NPPH). NPP significantly increased across Africa relative to NPP decline, though the extent of NPP decline is also quite appreciable. Whereas estimated NPP declined by 207 Tg C over 140 X 104 km of land area, vegetation productivity was estimated to improve by 1415 Tg C over 786 X 104 km of land area. NPP improvement is largely concentrated in equatorial and northern hemispheric Africa, while subequatorial Africa exhibited the most NPP decline. Generally, anthropogenic activities dominated climate change/variability in improving or degrading vegetation productivity. Of the estimated total NPP gained over the study period, 32.6, 8.8, and 58.6 % were due to individual human, climate and combined impacts respectively. The contributions of the factors to NPP decline in the same order are: 50.7, 16.0 and 33.3 %. The Central Africa region is where human activities had the greatest impact on NPP improvement; whereas the Sahel and the coastlines of west northern Africa are areas associated with the greatest influence of climate-driven NPP gain. Areas with humans dominating NPP degradation include eastern

  19. Association between Heart Rate Variability, Blood Pressure and Autonomic Activity in Cyclic Alternating Pattern during Sleep

    PubMed Central

    Kondo, Hideaki; Ozone, Motohiro; Ohki, Noboru; Sagawa, Yohei; Yamamichi, Keiichirou; Fukuju, Mitsuki; Yoshida, Takeshi; Nishi, Chikako; Kawasaki, Akiko; Mori, Kaori; Kanbayashi, Takashi; Izumi, Motomori; Hishikawa, Yasuo; Nishino, Seiji; Shimizu, Tetsuo

    2014-01-01

    Study Objectives: Cyclic alternating pattern (CAP) is frequently followed by changes in heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP), but the sequential associations between CAP and autonomic nerve activity have not been studied. The study aimed to reveal the precise changes in heart rate variability (HRV) during phase A of the CAP cycle. Design: Polysomnography was recorded according to the CAP Atlas (Terzano, 2002), and BP and electrocardiogram were simultaneously recorded. The complex demodulation method was used for analysis of HRV and evaluation of autonomic nerve activity. Setting: Academic sleep laboratory. Participants: Ten healthy males. Measurements and Results: The increase in HR (median [first quartile – third quartile]) for each subtype was as follows: A1, 0.64 (-0.30 to 1.69), A2, 1.44 (0.02 to 3.79), and A3, 6.24 (2.53 to 10.76) bpm (A1 vs. A2 P < 0.001, A1 vs. A3 P < 0.001, A2 vs. A3 P < 0.001). The increase in BP for each subtype was as follows: A1, 1.23 (-2.04 to 5.75), A2, 1.76 (-1.46 to 9.32), and A3, 12.51 (4.75 to 19.94) mm Hg (A1 vs. A2 P = 0.249, A1 vs. A3 P < 0.001, A2 vs. A3 P < 0.001). In all of phase A, the peak values for HR and BP appeared at 4.2 (3.5 to 5.4) and 8.4 (7.0 to 10.3) seconds, respectively, after the onset of phase A. The area under the curve for low-frequency and high-frequency amplitude significantly increased after the onset of CAP phase A (P < 0.001) and was higher in the order of subtype A3, A2, and A1 (P < 0.001). Conclusions: All phase A subtypes were accompanied with increased heart rate variability, and the largest heart rate variability was seen in subtype A3, while a tendency for less heart rate variability was seen in subtype A1. Citation: Kondo H; Ozone M; Ohki N; Sagawa Y; Yamamichi K; Fukuju M; Yoshida T; Nishi C; Kawasaki; Mori; Kanbayashi T; Izumi M; Hishikawa Y; Nishino S; Shimizu T. Association between heart rate variability, blood pressure and autonomic activity in cyclic alternating pattern during sleep

  20. Is passive metatarsophalangeal joint stiffness related to leg stiffness, vertical stiffness and running economy during sub-maximal running?

    PubMed

    Man, Hok Sum; Lam, Wing Kai; Lee, Justin; Capio, Catherine M; Leung, Aaron Kam Lun

    2016-09-01

    This study examined whether passive metatarsophalangeal joints (MPJ) stiffness was associated with leg stiffness (Kleg) vertical stiffness (Kvert) and running economy (RE) during sub-maximal running. Nine male experienced runners underwent passive MPJ stiffness measurements in standing and sitting positions followed by sub-maximal running on an instrumented treadmill. With the individual foot position properly aligned, the MPJ passive stiffness in both sitting (MPJsit) and standing positions (MPJstand) were measured with a computerized dynamometer. Data were collected at a running speed of 2.78m/s, representing a stabilized level of energy expenditure. Pedar pressure insole was used to determine the contact time (tc) and peak reaction force for the calculation of Kleg and Kvert. A respiratory gas analysis system was used to estimate the RE. Bivariate correlation test was performed to examine the correlation among MPJ stiffness, contact time, Kleg, Kvert, and RE. The results showed that MPJsit and MPJstand were inversely correlated with RE (p=0.04, r=-0.68 to -0.69), suggesting that stiffer MPJ improves RE. In addition, MPJsit was correlated positively with Kleg (p<0.01, r=0.87),Kvert (p=0.03, r=0.70) but inversely with tc (p=0.02, r=-0.76), while MPJstand was correlated positively with the Kvert (p=0.02, r=0.77). These findings suggested that strength of toe plantar flexors provides stability and agility in the stance phase for more effective and faster forward movement.

  1. Interannual variability of tropical cyclone activity in the southern South China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zuki, Zabani M.; Lupo, Anthony R.

    2008-03-01

    A study of tropical storm activity in the southern South China Sea region was carried out for the period of 1960 to 2006 using data obtained from the UNISYS website archive, which was provided to them from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JWTC) best track data. This study was motivated by two particularly costly storms that impacted Malaysia during the 1996-2001 period. This study demonstrated that November and December were the most active months for tropical cyclone activity in this region. A majority of these storms attained tropical storm intensity. Also, a majority of the tropical cyclones originated within the study area near Malaysia as opposed to moving into the area. The long-term trend showed that there has been a slight increase in tropical cyclone activity in the region, but the trend was not statistically significant. A study of the interannual variability revealed that there was more (less) tropical cyclone activity in the region during La Niña (El Niño) years. Longer-term variability, such as that related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, was not found in the analysis here. Using spectral methods confirms that there was significant El Niño-related variability in climatological quantities such as monthly sea surface temperatures or pressures. Finally, the background climatological state was examined in order to determine whether or not the atmosphere in the region was more conducive to tropical cyclone formation or maintenance during active years. It was found that the most active years were associated with warmer SSTs in the study region, relatively weak 200-850 hPa wind shear, a warm-core structure, more water vapor, and more cyclonic low-level relative vorticity, and these were all La Niña-type years. Nonactive years were associated with weaker wind shear, less water vapor, and a more anticyclonic (vorticity) background, regardless of whether the SSTs were warmer or cooler, and most of these were El Niño-type years.

  2. Compact, Stiff, Remotely-Actuable Quick-Release Clamp

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsai, Ted W. (Inventor)

    2000-01-01

    The present invention provides a clamp that is compact and lightweight, yet provides high holding strength and stiffness or rigidity. The clamp uses a unique double slant interface design which provides mechanical advantages to resist forces applied to the clamp member as the load increases. The clamp allows for rapid and remote-activated release of the clamp jaws by applying only a small operating force to an over-center lock/release mechanism, such as by pulling a manual tether.

  3. Intra-Individual Variability of Physical Activity in Older Adults With and Without Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

    PubMed Central

    Hoffman, Lesa; Templin, Jonathan

    2016-01-01

    Physical activity shows promise for protection against cognitive decline in older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To better understand barriers to adoption of physical activity in this population, a clear understanding of daily and weekly activity patterns is needed. Most accelerometry studies report average physical activity over an entire wear period without considering the potential importance of the variability of physical activity. This study evaluated individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity and determined whether these differences could be predicted by AD status, day of wear, age, gender, education, and cardiorespiratory capacity. Physical activity was measured via accelerometry (Actigraph GT3X+) over one week in 86 older adults with and without AD (n = 33 and n = 53, respectively). Mixed-effects location-scale models were estimated to evaluate and predict individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity. Results indicated that compared to controls, participants with AD averaged 21% less activity, but averaged non-significantly greater intra-individual variability. Women and men averaged similar amounts of physical activity, but women were significantly less variable. The amount of physical activity differed significantly across days of wear. Increased cardiorespiratory capacity was associated with greater average amounts of physical activity. Investigation of individual differences in the amount and intra-individual variability of physical activity provided insight into differences by AD status, days of monitor wear, gender, and cardiovascular capacity. All individuals regardless of AD status were equally consistent in their physical activity, which may have been due to a highly sedentary sample and/or the early disease stage of those participants with AD. These results highlight the value of considering individual differences in both the amount

  4. Fullerenol Nanoparticles with Structural Activity Induce Variable Intracellular Actin Filament Morphologies.

    PubMed

    Jin, Junjiang; Dong, Ying; Wang, Ying; Xia, Lin; Gu, Weihong; Bai, Xue; Chang, Yanan; Zhang, Mingyi; Chen, Kui; Li, Juan; Zhao, Lina; Xing, Gengmei

    2016-06-01

    Fullerenol nanoparticles are promising for various biological applications; many studies have shown that they induce variable and diverse biological effects including side effects. Separation and purification of two fractions of fullerenols has demonstrated that they have varied chemical structures on the surfaces of their carbon cages. Actin is an important structural protein that is able to transform functional structures under varied physiological conditions. We assessed the abilities of the two fractions of fullerenols to attach to actin and induce variable morphological features in actin filament structures. Specifically the fullerenol fraction with a surface electric charge of -1.913 ± 0.008q (x10(-6) C) has percentages of C-OH and C=O on the carbon cage of 16.14 ± 0.60 and 17.55 ± 0.69. These features allow it to form intermolecular hydrogen bonds with actin at a stoichiometric ratio of four fullerenols per actin subunit. Molecular simulations revealed these specific binding sites and binding modes in atomic details in the interaction between the active fullerenol and actin filament. Conversely, these interactions were not possible for the other fraction of fullerenol with that percentages of C-OH and C=O on the carbon cage were 15.59 ± 0.01 and 1.94 ± 0.11. Neither sample induced appreciable cytotoxicity or acute cell death. After entering cells, active fullerenol binding to actin induces variable morphological features and may transform ATP-actin to ADP-actin. These changes facilitate the binding of ADF/cofilin, allowing cofilin to sever actin filaments to form cofilin/actin/fullerenol rods. Our findings suggest that fullerenol with structural activity binding disturbs actin filament structure, which may inhibit locomotion of cell or induce chronic side effects in to cells. PMID:27319217

  5. Variability in nucleus accumbens activity mediates age-related suboptimal financial risk taking

    PubMed Central

    Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R.; Kuhnen, Camelia M.; Yoo, Daniel J.; Knutson, Brian

    2010-01-01

    As human life expectancy continues to rise, financial decisions of aging investors may have an increasing impact on the global economy. In this study, we examined age differences in financial decisions across the adult life span by combining functional neuroimaging with a dynamic financial investment task. During the task, older adults made more suboptimal choices than younger adults when choosing risky assets. This age-related effect was mediated by a neural measure of temporal variability in nucleus accumbens activity. These findings reveal a novel neural mechanism by which aging may disrupt rational financial choice. PMID:20107069

  6. Variability in AIRS CO2 during active and break phases of Indian summer monsoon.

    PubMed

    Revadekar, J V; Ravi Kumar, K; Tiwari, Yogesh K; Valsala, Vinu

    2016-01-15

    Due to human activities, the atmospheric concentration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) has been rising extensively since the Industrial Revolution. Indian summer monsoon (ISM) has a dominant westerly component from ocean to land with a strong tendency to ascend and hence may have role in CO2 distribution in lower and middle troposphere over Indian sub-continent. A substantial component of ISM variability arises from the fluctuations on the intra-seasonal scale between active and break phases which correspond to strong and weak monsoon circulation. In view of the above, an attempt is made in this study to examine the AIRS/AQUA satellite retrieved CO2 distribution in response to atmospheric circulation with focus on active and break phase. Correlation analysis indicates the increase in AIRS CO2 linked with strong monsoon circulation. Study also reveals that anomalous circulation pattern during active and break phase show resemblance with high and low values of AIRS CO2. Homogeneous monsoon regions of India show substantial increase in CO2 levels during active phase. Hilly regions of India show strong contrast in CO2 and vertical velocity during active and break phases.

  7. Variability in the Southern Annular Mode determines wildfire activity in Patagonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holz, Andrés; Veblen, Thomas T.

    2011-07-01

    Under the current global warming trend, wildfire activity is expected to decrease in biomass-limited fire regimes but increase in drought-limited fire regimes with abundant biomass. We examined the effects of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) on interannual variability in wildfire activity in xeric woodland and temperate rainforest ecosystems across a latitudinal range of 10° in temperate southwestern South America (SSA). Based on 42 fire history sites based on nearly 600 fire-scarred trees (the largest available dataset of annually resolved tree-ring records of fire activity in the Southern Hemisphere), we show that years of widespread fire in both xeric woodland and rainforest ecosystems are associated with positive departures of SAM. The association of positive SAM with increased fire activity is explained by the teleconnection of SAM to spring drought across most of SSA. During the late 20th century, only the rainforest ecosystem shows a strong increase in fire activity, which is consistent both with upward trends in SAM and with warming conditions. We attribute the lack of increased burning in the xeric woodland environment to socioeconomic factors and fire behavior (low severity) that facilitate more effective fire suppression in the xeric woodland habitat. Given projected future increases in SAM and the associated warm-dry trend, wildfire activity in much of SSA is likely to increase during the 21st century.

  8. Matrix stiffness affects endocytic uptake of MK2-inhibitor peptides.

    PubMed

    Brugnano, Jamie L; Panitch, Alyssa

    2014-01-01

    In this study, the role of substrate stiffness on the endocytic uptake of a cell-penetrating peptide was investigated. The cell-penetrating peptide, an inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein kinase activated protein kinase II (MK2), enters a primary mesothelial cell line predominantly through caveolae. Using tissue culture polystyrene and polyacrylamide gels of varying stiffness for cell culture, and flow cytometry quantification and enzyme-linked immunoassays (ELISA) for uptake assays, we showed that the amount of uptake of the peptide is increased on soft substrates. Further, peptide uptake per cell increased at lower cell density. The improved uptake seen on soft substrates in vitro better correlates with in vivo functional studies where 10-100 µM concentrations of the MK2 inhibitor cell penetrating peptide demonstrated functional activity in several disease models. Additional characterization showed actin polymerization did not affect uptake, while microtubule polymerization had a profound effect on uptake. This work demonstrates that cell culture substrate stiffness can play a role in endocytic uptake, and may be an important consideration to improve correlations between in vitro and in vivo drug efficacy.

  9. Matrix Stiffness Affects Endocytic Uptake of MK2-Inhibitor Peptides

    PubMed Central

    Brugnano, Jamie L.; Panitch, Alyssa

    2014-01-01

    In this study, the role of substrate stiffness on the endocytic uptake of a cell-penetrating peptide was investigated. The cell-penetrating peptide, an inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein kinase activated protein kinase II (MK2), enters a primary mesothelial cell line predominantly through caveolae. Using tissue culture polystyrene and polyacrylamide gels of varying stiffness for cell culture, and flow cytometry quantification and enzyme-linked immunoassays (ELISA) for uptake assays, we showed that the amount of uptake of the peptide is increased on soft substrates. Further, peptide uptake per cell increased at lower cell density. The improved uptake seen on soft substrates in vitro better correlates with in vivo functional studies where 10–100 µM concentrations of the MK2 inhibitor cell penetrating peptide demonstrated functional activity in several disease models. Additional characterization showed actin polymerization did not affect uptake, while microtubule polymerization had a profound effect on uptake. This work demonstrates that cell culture substrate stiffness can play a role in endocytic uptake, and may be an important consideration to improve correlations between in vitro and in vivo drug efficacy. PMID:24400117

  10. Determination of ball bearing dynamic stiffness

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beatty, R. F.; Rowan, B. F.

    1982-01-01

    The dynamic radial stiffness characteristics of rolling element bearings are currently determined by analytical methods that have not been experimentally verified. These bearing data are vital to rotating machinery design integrity because accurate critical speeds and rotor stability predictions are highly dependent on the bearing stiffness. A tester was designed capable of controlling the bearing axial preload, speed, and rotor unbalance. The rotor and support structures were constructed to permit critical speeds that are predominantly determined by a 57 mm test bearing. A curve of calculated critical speed versus stiffness was used to determine the actual bearing stiffness from the empirical data. The results of extensive testing are used to verify analytical predictions, increase confidence in existing bearing computer programs, and to serve as a data base for efforts to correct these programs.

  11. [A contribution to "stiff man" syndrome].

    PubMed

    Belian, T; Harms, L

    1990-05-01

    A patient with the clinical symptoms of the "Stiff-man"-syndrome, but an atypical course was introduced. Symptoms and course were compared with similar cases mentioned in literature. The "Stiff-man"-syndrome is probably a disease of central origin affecting the relationship between inhibitory and excitatory regulation of the muscle tonus, especially the exteroceptive reflex mechanisms. Several pathological processes of the CNS can be held responsible for the disturbance of the balance in this regulatory system. PMID:2167489

  12. Quantification of Myocardial Stiffness using Magnetic Resonance Elastography in Right Ventricular Hypertrophy: Initial Feasibility in Dogs

    PubMed Central

    da Silveira, Juliana S; Scansen, Brian A; Wassenaar, Peter A; Raterman, Brian; Eleswarpu, Chethan; Jin, Ning; Mo, Xiaokui; White, Richard D; Bonagura, John D; Kolipaka, Arunark

    2015-01-01

    Introduction Myocardial stiffness is an important determinant of cardiac function and is currently invasively and indirectly assessed by catheter angiography. This study aims to demonstrate the feasibility of quantifying right ventricular (RV) stiffness noninvasively using cardiac magnetic resonance elastography (CMRE) in dogs with severe congenital pulmonary valve stenosis (PVS) causing RV hypertrophy, and compare it to remote myocardium in the left ventricle (LV). Additionally, correlations between stiffness and selected pathophysiologic indicators from transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging were explored. Methods In-vivo CMRE was performed on nine dogs presenting severe congenital PVS using a 1.5T MRI scanner. T1-MOLLI, T2-prepared-bSSFP, gated-cine GRE-MRE and LGE (PSIR) sequences were used to acquire a basal short-axis slice. RV and LV-free-wall (FW) stiffness measurements were compared against each other and also correlated to ventricular mass, RV and LV FW thickness, T1 and T2 relaxation times, and extracellular volume fraction (ECV). Peak transpulmonary pressure gradient and myocardial strain were also acquired on eight dogs by TTE and correlated to RV-FW systolic stiffness. Potential correlations were evaluated by Spearman’s rho (rs). Results RV-FW stiffness was found to be significantly higher than the LV-FW stiffness both during end-systole (ES) (p=0.002) and end-diastole (ED) (p=0.029). Significant correlations were observed between RV-FW ES and LV-FW ED stiffness versus ECV (rs=0.75; p-value=0.05). Non-significant moderate correlations were found between LV-FW ES (rs=0.54) and RV-FW ED (rs=0.61) versus ECV. Furthermore, non-significant correlations were found between RV or LV-FW stiffness and the remaining variables (rs<0.54; p-value>0.05). Conclusion This study demonstrates the feasibility of determining RV stiffness. The positive correlations between stiffness and ECV might indicate some interdependence between

  13. OroSTIFF: Face-referenced measurement of perioral stiffness in health and disease.

    PubMed

    Chu, Shin-Ying; Barlow, Steven M; Kieweg, Douglas; Lee, Jaehoon

    2010-05-28

    A new device and automated measurement technology known as OroSTIFF is described to characterize non-participatory perioral stiffness in healthy adults for eventual application to patients with orofacial movement disorders associated with neuromotor disease, traumatic injury, or congenital clefts of the upper lip. Previous studies of perioral biomechanics required head stabilization for extended periods of time during measurement, which precluded sampling patients with involuntary body/head movements (dyskinesias), or pediatric subjects. The OroSTIFF device is face-referenced and avoids the complications associated with head-restraint. Supporting data of non-participatory perioral tissue stiffness using OroSTIFF are included from 10 male and 10 female healthy subjects. The OroSTIFF device incorporates a pneumatic glass air cylinder actuator instrumented for pressure, and an integrated subminiature displacement sensor to encode lip aperture. Perioral electromyograms were simultaneously sampled to confirm passive muscle state for the superior and inferior divisions of the orbicularis oris muscles. Perioral stiffness, derived as a quotient from resultant force (DeltaF) and interangle span (DeltaX), was modeled with multilevel regression techniques. Real-time calculation of the perioral stiffness function demonstrated a significant quadratic relation between imposed interangle stretch and resultant force. This stiffness growth function also differed significantly between males and females. This study demonstrates the OroSTIFF 'proof-of-concept' for cost-effective non-invasive stimulus generation and derivation of perioral stiffness in a group of healthy unrestrained adults, and a case study to illustrate the dose-dependent effects of Levodopa on perioral stiffness in an individual with advanced Parkinson's disease who exhibited marked dyskinesia and rigidity.

  14. ACTIVE LEARNING TO OVERCOME SAMPLE SELECTION BIAS: APPLICATION TO PHOTOMETRIC VARIABLE STAR CLASSIFICATION

    SciTech Connect

    Richards, Joseph W.; Starr, Dan L.; Miller, Adam A.; Bloom, Joshua S.; Butler, Nathaniel R.; Berian James, J.; Brink, Henrik; Long, James P.; Rice, John

    2012-01-10

    Despite the great promise of machine-learning algorithms to classify and predict astrophysical parameters for the vast numbers of astrophysical sources and transients observed in large-scale surveys, the peculiarities of the training data often manifest as strongly biased predictions on the data of interest. Typically, training sets are derived from historical surveys of brighter, more nearby objects than those from more extensive, deeper surveys (testing data). This sample selection bias can cause catastrophic errors in predictions on the testing data because (1) standard assumptions for machine-learned model selection procedures break down and (2) dense regions of testing space might be completely devoid of training data. We explore possible remedies to sample selection bias, including importance weighting, co-training, and active learning (AL). We argue that AL-where the data whose inclusion in the training set would most improve predictions on the testing set are queried for manual follow-up-is an effective approach and is appropriate for many astronomical applications. For a variable star classification problem on a well-studied set of stars from Hipparcos and Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, AL is the optimal method in terms of error rate on the testing data, beating the off-the-shelf classifier by 3.4% and the other proposed methods by at least 3.0%. To aid with manual labeling of variable stars, we developed a Web interface which allows for easy light curve visualization and querying of external databases. Finally, we apply AL to classify variable stars in the All Sky Automated Survey, finding dramatic improvement in our agreement with the ASAS Catalog of Variable Stars, from 65.5% to 79.5%, and a significant increase in the classifier's average confidence for the testing set, from 14.6% to 42.9%, after a few AL iterations.

  15. Numerical assessment of the stiffness index.

    PubMed

    Epstein, Sally; Vergnaud, Anne-Claire; Elliott, Paul; Chowienczyk, Phil; Alastruey, Jordi

    2014-01-01

    Elevated systemic vascular stiffness is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It has been suggested that the time difference between the two characteristic peaks of the digital volume pulse (DVP) measured at the finger using photoplethysmography is related to the stiffness of the arterial tree, and inversely proportional to the stiffness index (SI). However, the precise physical meaning of the SI and its relation to aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV) is yet to be ascertained. In this study we investigated numerically the effect of changes in arterial wall stiffness, peripheral resistances, peripheral compliances or peripheral wave reflections on the SI and aPWV. The SI was calculated from the digital area waveform simulated using a nonlinear one-dimensional model of pulse wave propagation in a 75-artery network, which includes the larger arteries of the hand. Our results show that aPWV is affected by changes in aortic stiffness, but the SI is primarily affected by changes in the stiffness of all conduit vessels. Thus, the SI is not a direct substitute for aPWV. Moreover, our results suggest that peripheral reflections in the upper body delay the time of arrival of the first peak in the DVP. The second peak is predominantly caused by the impedance mismatch within the 75 arterial segments, rather than by peripheral reflections.

  16. Stiffness of Railway Soil-Steel Structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Machelski, Czesław

    2015-12-01

    The considerable influence of the soil backfill properties and that of the method of compacting it on the stiffness of soil-steel structures is characteristic of the latter. The above factors (exhibiting randomness) become apparent in shell deformation measurements conducted during construction and proof test loading. A definition of soil-shell structure stiffness, calculated on the basis of shell deflection under the service load, is proposed in the paper. It is demonstrated that the stiffness is the inverse of the deflection influence function used in structural mechanics. The moving load methodology is shown to be useful for testing, since it makes it possible to map the shell deflection influence line also in the case of group loads (concentrated forces), as in bridges. The analyzed cases show that the shell's span, geometry (static scheme) and the height of earth fill influence the stiffness of the structure. The soil-steel structure's characteristic parameter in the form of stiffness k is more suitable for assessing the quality of construction works than the proposed in code geometric index ω applied to beam structures. As shown in the given examples, parameter k is more effective than stiffness parameter λ used to estimate the deformation of soil-steel structures under construction. Although the examples concern railway structures, the methodology proposed in the paper is suitable also for road bridges.

  17. Motor activity as an unbiased variable to assess anaphylaxis in allergic rats

    PubMed Central

    Abril-Gil, Mar; Garcia-Just, Alba; Cambras, Trinitat; Pérez-Cano, Francisco J; Castellote, Cristina; Franch, Àngels

    2015-01-01

    The release of mediators by mast cells triggers allergic symptoms involving various physiological systems and, in the most severe cases, the development of anaphylactic shock compromising mainly the nervous and cardiovascular systems. We aimed to establish variables to objectively study the anaphylactic response (AR) after an oral challenge in an allergy model. Brown Norway rats were immunized by intraperitoneal injection of ovalbumin with alum and toxin from Bordetella pertussis. Specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E antibodies were developed in immunized animals. Forty days after immunization, the rats were orally challenged with the allergen, and motor activity, body temperature and serum mast cell protease concentration were determined. The anaphylaxis induced a reduction in body temperature and a decrease in the number of animal movements, which was inversely correlated with serum mast cell protease release. In summary, motor activity is a reliable tool for assessing AR and also an unbiased method for screening new anti-allergic drugs. PMID:25716015

  18. Essential Oil Composition of Phagnalon sordidum (L.) from Corsica, Chemical Variability and Antimicrobial Activity.

    PubMed

    Brunel, Marion; Vitrac, Caroline; Costa, Jean; Mzali, Fatima; Vitrac, Xavier; Muselli, Alain

    2016-03-01

    The chemical composition of Phagnalon sordidum (L.) essential oil was investigated for the first time using gas chromatography and chromatography/mass spectrometry. Seventy-six compounds, which accounted for 87.9% of the total amount, were identified in a collective essential oil of P. sordidum from Corsica. The main essential oil components were (E)-β-caryophyllene (14.4%), β-pinene (11.0%), thymol (9.0%), and hexadecanoic acid (5.3%). The chemical compositions of essential oils from 19 Corsican locations were investigated. The study of the chemical variability using statistical analysis allowed identifying direct correlation between the three populations of P. sordidum widespread in Corsica and the essential oil compositions they produce. The in vitro antimicrobial activity of P. sordidum essential oil was evaluated and it exhibited a notable activity on a large panel of clinically significant microorganisms.

  19. Variable Camber Continuous Aerodynamic Control Surfaces and Methods for Active Wing Shaping Control

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nguyen, Nhan T. (Inventor)

    2016-01-01

    An aerodynamic control apparatus for an air vehicle improves various aerodynamic performance metrics by employing multiple spanwise flap segments that jointly form a continuous or a piecewise continuous trailing edge to minimize drag induced by lift or vortices. At least one of the multiple spanwise flap segments includes a variable camber flap subsystem having multiple chordwise flap segments that may be independently actuated. Some embodiments also employ a continuous leading edge slat system that includes multiple spanwise slat segments, each of which has one or more chordwise slat segment. A method and an apparatus for implementing active control of a wing shape are also described and include the determination of desired lift distribution to determine the improved aerodynamic deflection of the wings. Flap deflections are determined and control signals are generated to actively control the wing shape to approximate the desired deflection.

  20. Motor activity as an unbiased variable to assess anaphylaxis in allergic rats.

    PubMed

    Abril-Gil, Mar; Garcia-Just, Alba; Cambras, Trinitat; Pérez-Cano, Francisco J; Castellote, Cristina; Franch, Àngels; Castell, Margarida

    2015-10-01

    The release of mediators by mast cells triggers allergic symptoms involving various physiological systems and, in the most severe cases, the development of anaphylactic shock compromising mainly the nervous and cardiovascular systems. We aimed to establish variables to objectively study the anaphylactic response (AR) after an oral challenge in an allergy model. Brown Norway rats were immunized by intraperitoneal injection of ovalbumin with alum and toxin from Bordetella pertussis. Specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E antibodies were developed in immunized animals. Forty days after immunization, the rats were orally challenged with the allergen, and motor activity, body temperature and serum mast cell protease concentration were determined. The anaphylaxis induced a reduction in body temperature and a decrease in the number of animal movements, which was inversely correlated with serum mast cell protease release. In summary, motor activity is a reliable tool for assessing AR and also an unbiased method for screening new anti-allergic drugs.

  1. Characterizing biological variability in livestock blood cholinesterase activity for biomonitoring organophosphate nerve agent exposure

    SciTech Connect

    Halbrook, R.S.; Shugart, L.R.; Watson, A.P.; Munro, N.B.; Linnabary, R.D. )

    1992-09-01

    A biomonitoring protocol, using blood cholinesterase (ChE) activity in livestock as a monitor of potential organophosphate nerve agent exposure during the planned destruction of US unitary chemical warfare agent stockpiles, is described. The experimental design included analysis of blood ChE activity in individual healthy sheep, horses, and dairy and beef cattle during a 10- to 12-month period. Castrated and sexually intact males, pregnant and lactating females, and adult and immature animals were examined through at least one reproductive cycle. The same animals were used throughout the period of observation and were not exposed to ChE-inhibiting organophosphate or carbamate compounds. A framework for an effective biomonitoring protocol within a monitoring area includes establishing individual baseline blood ChE activity for a sentinel group of 6 animals on the bases of blood samples collected over a 6-month period, monthly collection of blood samples for ChE-activity determination during monitoring, and selection of adult animals as sentinels. Exposure to ChE-inhibiting compounds would be suspected when all blood ChE activity of all animals within the sentinel group are decreased greater than 20% from their own baseline value. Sentinel species selection is primarily a logistical and operational concern; however, sheep appear to be the species of choice because within-individual baseline ChE activity and among age and gender group ChE activity in sheep had the least variability, compared with data from other species. This protocol provides an effective and efficient means for detecting abnormal depressions in blood ChE activity in livestock and can serve as a valuable indicator of the extent of actual plume movement and/or deposition in the event of organophosphate nerve agent release.

  2. Changes in the Hurst Exponent of Heart Rate Variability during Physical Activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aoyagi, Naoko; Kiyono, Ken; Struzik, Zbigniew R.; Yamamoto, Yoshiharu

    2005-08-01

    We examine fractal scaling properties of heart rate variability using detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA), during physical activity in healthy subjects. We analyze 11 records of healthy subjects, which include both usual daily activity and experimental exercise. The subjects were asked to ride on a bicycle ergometer for 2.5 hours, and maintained a heartbeat interval of 500-600 ms. In order to estimate the long-range correlation in the series of heartbeat intervals during controlled physical activity, we apply DFA to the data set with the third-order polynomial trend removed. For all records during exercise, we observe a characteristic crossover phenomenon at ≈ 300 beats. The scaling exponent in the range > 300 beats (> 3 minutes) during exercise decreases and tends to be closer to white noise (≈ 0.5), which corresponds to uncorrelated behavior. The long-range scaling exponent during exercise is significantly lower than that during daily activity in this range. Contrary to the currently held view, our results indicate a breakdown in long-range correlations and 1/f-like scaling, rather than the increase in the Hurst exponent characteristic of a (congestive) increase in afterload and observed, e.g., in congestive heart failure (CHF) patients. Further, our results suggest an increased load imbalance induced departure from critical-like behavior, which has recently been reported in healthy human heart rate during daily activity.

  3. Effect of process variables on the production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates by activated sludge

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Polyhydroxyalkanoates are known to be temporarily stored by microorganisms in activated sludge, especially in anaerobic-aerobic processes. Due to the problems resulted from the disposals of plastic wastes and excess sludge of wastewater treatment plants, the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates by treating activated sludge and determining the effect of process variables were the main issues of this paper. In this research, an anaerobic-aerobic sequencing batch reactor was used to make microorganism adapted and a batch aerobic reactor was used for enriching them. The variables affecting polyhydroxyalkanoates production including aeration time, sludge retention time, and volatile fatty acids concentration of the influent in sequencing batch reactor, and also carbon to nitrogen ratio and cultivation time in polymer production reactor, were investigated using Taguchi statistical approach to determine optimum conditions. The maximum polymer production of 29% was achieved at sludge retention time of 5–10 days, aeration time of 2 hours, supplementation of 40% of volatile fatty acids in the influent and increasing of carbon to nitrogen ratio of polymer production reactor to above 25 g/g. Based on the results, in optimum conditions, the volatile fatty acids concentration which increased the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates up to 49% was the most effective variable. Carbon to nitrogen ratio, sludge retention time and aeration time were ranked as the next affecting parameters. Although the polyhydroxyalkanoates content achieved in present study is much lower than that by pure culture, but the proposed method may still serve well as an environmental friendly means to convert waste into valuable product. PMID:23369512

  4. Environmental, dietary, demographic, and activity variables associated with biomarkers of exposure for benzene and lead.

    PubMed

    Roy, A; Georgopoulos, P G; Ouyang, M; Freeman, N; Lioy, P J

    2003-11-01

    Classification and regression tree methods represent a potentially powerful means of identifying patterns in exposure data that may otherwise be overlooked. Here, regression tree models are developed to identify associations between blood concentrations of benzene and lead and over 300 variables of disparate type (numerical and categorical), often with observations that are missing or below the quantitation limit. Benzene and lead are selected from among all the environmental agents measured in the NHEXAS Region V study because they are ubiquitous, and they serve as paradigms for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals, two classes of environmental agents that have very different properties. Two sets of regression models were developed. In the first set, only environmental and dietary measurements were employed as predictor variables, while in the second set these were supplemented with demographic and time-activity data. In both sets of regression models, the predictor variables were regressed on the blood concentrations of the environmental agents. Jack-knife cross-validation was employed to detect overfitting of the models to the data. Blood concentrations of benzene were found to be associated with: (a) indoor air concentrations of benzene; (b) the duration of time spent indoors with someone who was smoking; and (c) the number of cigarettes smoked by the subject. All these associations suggest that tobacco smoke is a major source of exposure to benzene. Blood concentrations of lead were found to be associated with: (a) house dust concentrations of lead; (b) the duration of time spent working in a closed workshop; and (c) the year in which the subject moved into the residence. An unexpected finding was that the regression trees identified time-activity data as better predictors of the blood concentrations than the measurements in environmental and dietary media.

  5. Physical activity, mindfulness meditation, or heart rate variability biofeedback for stress reduction: a randomized controlled trial.

    PubMed

    van der Zwan, Judith Esi; de Vente, Wieke; Huizink, Anja C; Bögels, Susan M; de Bruin, Esther I

    2015-12-01

    In contemporary western societies stress is highly prevalent, therefore the need for stress-reducing methods is great. This randomized controlled trial compared the efficacy of self-help physical activity (PA), mindfulness meditation (MM), and heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-BF) in reducing stress and its related symptoms. We randomly allocated 126 participants to PA, MM, or HRV-BF upon enrollment, of whom 76 agreed to participate. The interventions consisted of psycho-education and an introduction to the specific intervention techniques and 5 weeks of daily exercises at home. The PA exercises consisted of a vigorous-intensity activity of free choice. The MM exercises consisted of guided mindfulness meditation. The HRV-BF exercises consisted of slow breathing with a heart rate variability biofeedback device. Participants received daily reminders for their exercises and were contacted weekly to monitor their progress. They completed questionnaires prior to, directly after, and 6 weeks after the intervention. Results indicated an overall beneficial effect consisting of reduced stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and improved psychological well-being and sleep quality. No significant between-intervention effect was found, suggesting that PA, MM, and HRV-BF are equally effective in reducing stress and its related symptoms. These self-help interventions provide easily accessible help for people with stress complaints. PMID:26111942

  6. Physical activity, mindfulness meditation, or heart rate variability biofeedback for stress reduction: a randomized controlled trial.

    PubMed

    van der Zwan, Judith Esi; de Vente, Wieke; Huizink, Anja C; Bögels, Susan M; de Bruin, Esther I

    2015-12-01

    In contemporary western societies stress is highly prevalent, therefore the need for stress-reducing methods is great. This randomized controlled trial compared the efficacy of self-help physical activity (PA), mindfulness meditation (MM), and heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-BF) in reducing stress and its related symptoms. We randomly allocated 126 participants to PA, MM, or HRV-BF upon enrollment, of whom 76 agreed to participate. The interventions consisted of psycho-education and an introduction to the specific intervention techniques and 5 weeks of daily exercises at home. The PA exercises consisted of a vigorous-intensity activity of free choice. The MM exercises consisted of guided mindfulness meditation. The HRV-BF exercises consisted of slow breathing with a heart rate variability biofeedback device. Participants received daily reminders for their exercises and were contacted weekly to monitor their progress. They completed questionnaires prior to, directly after, and 6 weeks after the intervention. Results indicated an overall beneficial effect consisting of reduced stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and improved psychological well-being and sleep quality. No significant between-intervention effect was found, suggesting that PA, MM, and HRV-BF are equally effective in reducing stress and its related symptoms. These self-help interventions provide easily accessible help for people with stress complaints.

  7. The variability of the trunk forward bending in standing activities during work vs. leisure time.

    PubMed

    Villumsen, Morten; Madeleine, Pascal; Jørgensen, Marie Birk; Holtermann, Andreas; Samani, Afshin

    2017-01-01

    High level of occupational physical activity (PA), contrary to leisure time activities, is generally associated with detrimental health outcomes. We hypothesized that this contrast may be associated with a different pattern of exposure variability in PA, e.g., forward bending of the trunk. The study was conducted on 657 blue-collar workers. Two accelerometers were used to identify the body posture and forward bending of the trunk during work and leisure time. The pattern of forward bending was analyzed using exposure variation analysis (EVA). The recordings comprised of 2.6 ± 0.97 working days in average, with 19.9 ± 8.1 h work and 22.9 ± 8.9 h leisure. The standard deviation and entropy of the EVA profile indicated 11% and 6% (for about 80% of subjects) less variable pattern during work compared with the leisure time, respectively. These new findings contribute to the understanding the paradoxical outcomes of PA during work and leisure. PMID:27633222

  8. Observing Campaign to Monitor Magnetically-Active Dwarfs for Long-Term Variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Templeton, Matthew R.

    2009-10-01

    Dr. Styliani (Stella) Kafka of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institute of Washington, requests AAVSO observers to perform long-term photometric monitoring on a number of magnetically active dwarf stars, with an observing frequency of one observation every three days taken with one or more filters. When multiple filters are available, the preferred observations are (in order of precedence): Rc, V, Ic, and B. Please observe such that you obtain a signal to noise of at least 50 (100 or higher is preferred). These objects are all nearby dwarfs known or suspected to have magnetic activity, primarily of the UV Ceti (flare star) or BY Draconis subtypes. Long-term photometric monitoring of these objects will be used in conjunction with other multiwavelength observations from ground-based facilities including the Magellan 6.5-meter and DuPont 2.5-meter telescopes in Chile to understand the long-term magnetic activity cycles of these stars. Such a study can reveal information about the physical natures of these stars, but also about their near space environments and habitability for life. These objects are red, and the variability amplitudes are low, often well below 0.1 magnitudes. The long-term variability due to stellar activity cycles may be much lower. Photometric accuracy rather than the number of observations are key to the success of this project. Unaccounted-for atmospheric effects such as extinction will likely overwhelm any long-term signal from these stars. Observers are strongly urged to fully calibrate their systems and to carefully reduce and transform their photometry to standard photometric passbands, including corrections for airmass/atmospheric extinction. Parameters for 40 objects are given. Observations should be submitted to the AAVSO International Database.

  9. Postural constraints on movement variability.

    PubMed

    Lametti, Daniel R; Ostry, David J

    2010-08-01

    Movements are inherently variable. When we move to a particular point in space, a cloud of final limb positions is observed around the target. Previously we noted that patterns of variability at the end of movement to a circular target were not circular, but instead reflected patterns of limb stiffness-in directions where limb stiffness was high, variability in end position was low, and vice versa. Here we examine the determinants of variability at movement end in more detail. To do this, we have subjects move the handle of a robotic device from different starting positions into a circular target. We use position servocontrolled displacements of the robot's handle to measure limb stiffness at the end of movement and we also record patterns of end position variability. To examine the effect of change in posture on movement variability, we use a visual motor transformation in which we change the limb configuration and also the actual movement target, while holding constant the visual display. We find that, regardless of movement direction, patterns of variability at the end of movement vary systematically with limb configuration and are also related to patterns of limb stiffness, which are likewise configuration dependent. The result suggests that postural configuration determines the base level of movement variability, on top of which control mechanisms can act to further alter variability.

  10. Modeling and simulating the neuromuscular mechanisms regulating ankle and knee joint stiffness during human locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Maculan, Marco; Pizzolato, Claudio; Reggiani, Monica; Farina, Dario

    2015-01-01

    This work presents an electrophysiologically and dynamically consistent musculoskeletal model to predict stiffness in the human ankle and knee joints as derived from the joints constituent biological tissues (i.e., the spanning musculotendon units). The modeling method we propose uses electromyography (EMG) recordings from 13 muscle groups to drive forward dynamic simulations of the human leg in five healthy subjects during overground walking and running. The EMG-driven musculoskeletal model estimates musculotendon and resulting joint stiffness that is consistent with experimental EMG data as well as with the experimental joint moments. This provides a framework that allows for the first time observing 1) the elastic interplay between the knee and ankle joints, 2) the individual muscle contribution to joint stiffness, and 3) the underlying co-contraction strategies. It provides a theoretical description of how stiffness modulates as a function of muscle activation, fiber contraction, and interacting tendon dynamics. Furthermore, it describes how this differs from currently available stiffness definitions, including quasi-stiffness and short-range stiffness. This work offers a theoretical and computational basis for describing and investigating the neuromuscular mechanisms underlying human locomotion. PMID:26245321

  11. Estimation of axial stiffness of plant fibres from compaction of non-woven mats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gamstedt, E. K.; Bommier, E.; Madsen, B.

    2014-03-01

    Plant fibres are known to show a large variability in stiffness, which makes it time-consuming to experimentally characterize this property by conventional tensile testing. In this work, an alternative method is used, where the average fibre stiffness is back-calculated from compaction tests of in-plane randomly oriented fibre mats. The model by Toll is used to relate the load-displacement curve from the test to the Young modulus of the fibre, taking into account the natural variability in fibre cross section. Several tests have been performed on hemp fibre mats and compared with results from single-fibre tensile testing. The average back-calculated Young's modulus of the fibres was 45 GPa, whereas the average value from tensile testing ranged from 30 to 60 GPa. The straightforward compaction test can be useful in ranking of fibre stiffness, provided that the mat is composed of well-separated fibres and not of twisted yarns.

  12. Stiffness matrix determination of composite materials using lamb wave group velocity measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Putkis, O.; Croxford, A. J.

    2013-04-01

    The use of Lamb waves in Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) and Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is gaining popularity due to their ability to travel long distances without significant attenuation, therefore offering large area inspections with a small number of sensors. The design of a Lamb-wave-based NDE/SHM system for composite materials is more complicated than for metallic materials due to the directional dependence of Lamb wave propagation characteristics such as dispersion and group velocity. Propagation parameters can be theoretically predicted from known material properties, specifically the stiffness matrix and density. However, in practice it is difficult to obtain the stiffness matrix of a particular material or structure with high accuracy, hence introducing errors in theoretical predictions and inaccuracies in the resulting propagation parameters. Measured Lamb wave phase velocities can be used to infer the stiffness matrix, but the measurements are limited to the principal directions due to the steering effect (different propagation directions of phase and corresponding group velocities). This paper proposes determination of the stiffness matrix from the measured group velocities, which can be unambiguously measured in any direction. A highly anisotropic carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer plate is chosen for the study. The influence of different stiffness matrix elements on the directional group velocity profile is investigated. Thermodynamic Simulated Annealing (TSA) is used as a tool for inverse, multi variable inference of the stiffness matrix. A good estimation is achieved for particular matrix elements.

  13. Musculoskeletal stiffness changes linearly in response to increasing load during walking gait.

    PubMed

    Caron, Robert R; Lewis, Cara L; Saltzman, Elliot; Wagenaar, Robert C; Holt, Kenneth G

    2015-04-13

    Development of biologically inspired exoskeletons to assist soldiers in carrying load is a rapidly expanding field. Understanding how the body modulates stiffness in response to changing loads may inform the development of these exoskeletons and is the purpose of the present study. Seventeen subjects walked on a treadmill at a constant preferred walking velocity while nine different backpack loading conditions ranging from 12.5% to 40% bodyweight (BW) were introduced in an ascending and then descending order. Kinematic data were collected using Optotrak, a 3D motion analysis system, and used to estimate the position of the center of mass (COM). Two different estimates of stiffness were computed for the stance phase of gait. Both measures of stiffness were positively and linearly related to load magnitudes, with the slopes of the relationships being larger for the descending than the ascending conditions. These results indicate that changes in mechanical stiffness brought about in the musculoskeletal system vary systematically during increases in load to ensure that critical kinematic variables measured in a previous publication remain invariant (Caron et al., 2013). Changes in stiffness and other kinematics measured at the 40% BW condition suggest a boundary in which gait stiffness control limit is reached and a new gait pattern is required. Since soldiers are now carrying up to 96% of body weight, the need for research with even heavier loads is warranted. These findings have implications on the development of exoskeletons to assist in carrying loads. PMID:25678200

  14. Seasonal Variability in Boreal Wildfire Activity Associated with Landscape Patterns of Burned Area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrett, K. M.; Kasischke, E. S.

    2012-12-01

    Wildfire is the most prominent disturbance in the boreal forest, effecting changes in stand age and vegetation composition often over thousands of square kilometers. The effect of wildfire on ecosystem structure and function depends heavily on the seasonality of the burn, and periods of seasonally high fire activity are highly sporadic. The majority of area in Alaska that burns in a fire season does so during relatively short periods of high fire activity. These periods, which can be determined from active fire detections or fire management agency data records, are caused by elevated air temperatures and low precipitation which decrease fuel moisture and encourage the spread of fire. While fire fronts dominate during periods of low fire activity, more active periods have a higher proportion of residual burning which remains after a front has passed through. Residual burning is likely responsible for the extensive combustion of surface organic materials in the boreal forest, which can lead to post-fire changes in dominant vegetation type. Seasonal variations in fire activity are therefore an important factor in the mosaic of severity conditions across large burned areas and shifts in land cover over successional time scales. The purpose of this study is to characterize the temporal and spatial variability in periods of seasonal high fire activity that influence patterns of burned area. In large burns, unburned areas within a fire scar may serve as an important seed stock during post-fire recruitment. These areas may also feedback to future fire regimes through the preservation of more fire-resistant vegetation in unburned "islands".

  15. Geographic Variability and Anti-Staphylococcal Activity of the Chrysophaentins and Their Synthetic Fragments

    PubMed Central

    Keffer, Jessica L.; Hammill, Jared T.; Lloyd, John R.; Plaza, Alberto; Wipf, Peter; Bewley, Carole A.

    2012-01-01

    Drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a continuing public health concern, both in the hospital and community settings. Antibacterial compounds that possess novel structural scaffolds and are effective against multiple S. aureus strains, including current drug-resistant ones, are needed. Previously, we have described the chrysophaentins, a family of bisdiarylbutene macrocycles from the chrysophyte alga Chrysophaeum taylori that inhibit the growth of S. aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). In this study we have analyzed the geographic variability of chrysophaentin production in C. taylori located at different sites on the island of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, and identified two new linear chrysophaentin analogs, E2 and E3. In addition, we have expanded the structure activity relationship through synthesis of fragments comprising conserved portions of the chrysophaentins, and determined the antimicrobial activity of natural chrysophaentins and their synthetic analogs against five diverse S. aureus strains. We find that the chrysophaentins show similar activity against all S. aureus strains, regardless of their drug sensitivity profiles. The synthetic chrysophaentin fragments indeed mimic the natural compounds in their spectrum of antibacterial activity, and therefore represent logical starting points for future medicinal chemistry studies of the natural products and their analogs. PMID:22822360

  16. An application of the active time model to multiple concurrent variable-interval schedules.

    PubMed

    Brown, Emily Kathryn; Cleaveland, J Mark

    2009-06-01

    The current experiment investigates whether an active time model can account for anomalous results that have emerged from multiple schedule, concurrent variable-interval (VI) VI experiments. The model assumes that (1) during concurrent VI VI training pigeons learn a function that relates time since the most immediate response, i.e., active time, to changeover probabilities and (2) that molar preference is the result of an interaction between inter-response time frequencies and the learned active time changeover functions. Pigeons were trained under a concurrent VI 30-s VI 30-s schedule and a concurrent VI 60-s VI 60-s schedule. Probes were conducted in which VI 30-s and VI 60-s stimuli were paired. During these probes, birds allocated choices equally to the stimuli. The active time model accurately fit individual subject data. In contrast data were not fit by a variant of scalar expectancy theory proposed by Gibbon [Gibbon, J., 1995. Dynamics of time matching: arousal makes better seem worse. Psychon. Bull. Rev. 2, 208-215].

  17. Heart rate variability is related to self-reported physical activity in a healthy adolescent population.

    PubMed

    Henje Blom, Eva; Olsson, Erik M G; Serlachius, Eva; Ericson, Mats; Ingvar, Martin

    2009-08-01

    This study investigated whether there is a relationship between heart rate variability (HRV) versus lifestyle and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in a population of healthy adolescents. HRV is as an index of tonic autonomic activity and in adults HRV is related to lifestyle and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but it is not known if this is the case in adolescents. HRV was registered for 4 min in sitting position in 99 healthy adolescents (age range 15 years 11 months-17 years 7 months) and repeated after 6 months. On both occasions there were significant correlations (P < 0.05) between physical activity and HRV, with respective r values: high frequency (HF) 0.26, 0.30; low frequency power (LF) 0.35, 0.29 and the standard deviation of inter-beat intervals (SDNN) 0.28, 0.37. There was no significant interaction between first and second measurements. In contrast, there were no correlations to sleeping patterns, eating habits and smoking. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease [body mass index (BMI = weight (kg)/length in m(2)), systolic blood pressure and p-glucose] did not show any repeatable significant correlations to HRV. Multiple regression models showed that physical activity was a predictor for HF, LF and SDNN in both measurements. In conclusion HF, LF and SDNN were reproducible after 6 months and were related to physical activity on both occasions.

  18. Variability of corticosteroid responses during exercise stress in active and sedentary middle-aged males.

    PubMed

    White, J A; Ismail, A H; Bottoms, G D

    1975-04-01

    Two groups of middle-aged male subjects (both N=11), one active (mean age 44.6 years) and one sedentary (mean age 43.7 years), undertook a graded exercise stress test on a bicycle ergometer in the post-absorptive state. Blood serum corticosteroid levels were measured at the following stages of metabolism; at rest, under conditions of submaximal and "maximal' exercise and during recovery. The active group showed no significant change in mean serum corticosteroid levels from resting values, during exercise and recovery. However the sedentary group displayed a significant increase in mean serum corticosteroid levels from a resting value of 5.81 plus or minus 0.41 mub-g/100 ml. (mean plus or minus S.E.) to 7.83 plus or minus 0.71 mug/100 ml. during "maximal' exercise (p smaller than 0.05), which was maintained throughout recovery 7.82 plus or minus 0.70 ug/100 ml (p smaller than 0.05). Futhermore the active group demonstrated significantly lower mean serum corticosteroid levels compared with the sedentary group under conditions of submaximal (p smaller than 0.05) and "maximal' (p smaller than 0.01) exercise and during recovery (p smaller than 0.01). It was concluded that the variability in the response patterns of serum corticosteroids during exercise stress in active and sedentary middle-aged males, reflected the physiological differences observed between the two groups of subjects.

  19. Vascular Smooth Muscle Sirtuin-1 Protects Against Diet-Induced Aortic Stiffness.

    PubMed

    Fry, Jessica L; Al Sayah, Leona; Weisbrod, Robert M; Van Roy, Isabelle; Weng, Xiang; Cohen, Richard A; Bachschmid, Markus M; Seta, Francesca

    2016-09-01

    Arterial stiffness, a major cardiovascular risk factor, develops within 2 months in mice fed a high-fat, high-sucrose (HFHS) diet, serving as a model of human metabolic syndrome, and it is associated with activation of proinflammatory and oxidant pathways in vascular smooth muscle (VSM) cells. Sirtuin-1 (SirT1) is an NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase regulated by the cellular metabolic status. Our goal was to study the effects of VSM SirT1 on arterial stiffness in the context of diet-induced metabolic syndrome. Overnight fasting acutely decreased arterial stiffness, measured in vivo by pulse wave velocity, in mice fed HFHS for 2 or 8 months, but not in mice lacking SirT1 in VSM (SMKO). Similarly, VSM-specific genetic SirT1 overexpression (SMTG) prevented pulse wave velocity increases induced by HFHS feeding, during 8 months. Administration of resveratrol or S17834, 2 polyphenolic compounds known to activate SirT1, prevented HFHS-induced arterial stiffness and were mimicked by global SirT1 overexpression (SirT1 bacterial artificial chromosome overexpressor), without evident metabolic improvements. In addition, HFHS-induced pulse wave velocity increases were reversed by 1-week treatment with a specific, small molecule SirT1 activator (SRT1720). These beneficial effects of pharmacological or genetic SirT1 activation, against HFHS-induced arterial stiffness, were associated with a decrease in nuclear factor kappa light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB) activation and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1) and p47phox protein expressions, in aorta and VSM cells. In conclusion, VSM SirT1 activation decreases arterial stiffness in the setting of obesity by stimulating anti-inflammatory and antioxidant pathways in the aorta. SirT1 activators may represent a novel therapeutic approach to prevent arterial stiffness and associated cardiovascular complications in overweight/obese individuals with metabolic syndrome. PMID:27432859

  20. Waves in geomaterials exhibiting negative stiffness behaviour

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esin, Maxim; Dyskin, Arcady; Pasternak, Elena

    2016-04-01

    Negative stiffness denotes the type of material behaviour when the force applied to the body decreases the body's deformation increases. Some geomaterials, for instance, rocks, demonstrate behaviour of this type at certain loads: during the compression tests the loading curves exhibit descending branch (post-peak softening). One of the possible mechanisms of the negative stiffness appearance in geomaterials is rotation of non-spherical grains. It is important to emphasize that in this case the descending branch may be reversible given that the testing machine is stiff enough (in general case it means an importance of boundary conditions). Existence of geomaterials with a negative modulus associated with rotations may have significant importance. In particular, important is understanding of the wave propagation in such materials. We study the stability of geomaterials with negative stiffness inclusions and wave propagation in it using two approaches: Cosserat continuum and discrete mass-spring models. In both cases we consider the rotational degrees of freedom in addition to the conventional translational ones. We show that despite non positiveness of the energy the materials with negative stiffness elements can be stable if certain conditions are met. In the case of Cosserat continuum the Cosserat shear modulus (the modulus relating the non-symmetrical part of shear stress and internal rotations) is allowed to assume negative values as long as its value does not exceed the value of the standard (positive) shear modulus. In the case of discrete mass-spring systems (with translational and rotational springs) the concentration of negative stiffness springs and the absolute values of negative spring stiffness are limited. The critical concentration when the system loses stability and the amplitude of the oscillations tends to infinity is equal to 1/2 and 3/5 for two- and three-dimensional cases respectively.

  1. Dynamic control of muscle stiffness and H reflex modulation during hopping and jumping in man.

    PubMed Central

    Dyhre-Poulsen, P; Simonsen, E B; Voigt, M

    1991-01-01

    1. The objective of the study was to evaluate the functional effects of reflexes on muscle mechanics during natural voluntary movements. The excitability of the H (Hoffmann) reflex was used as a measure of the excitability of the central component of the stretch reflex. 2. We recorded EMG, ground reaction forces and the H reflex in the soleus muscle in humans while landing from a downward jump, during drop jumping and during hopping. The movements were also recorded by high-speed cinematography. 3. The EMG pattern was adapted to the motor task. When landing the EMG in the soleus muscle and in the anterior tibial muscle showed preinnervation and alternating activity after touch down. When hopping there was little preinnervation in the soleus muscle, and the activity was initiated about 45 ms after touch down by a peak and continued unbroken until lift off. In the drop jumps the EMG pattern depended on the jumping style used by the subject. 4. The H reflex in the soleus muscle was strongly modulated in a manner appropriate to the requirements of the motor task. During landing from a downward jump the H reflex was low at touch down whereas while hopping it was high at touch down. During drop jumping it was variable and influenced by the jumping technique. 5. Muscle stiffness in the ankle joint was negative after touch down when landing, but always positive when hopping. 6. It is suggested that during landing the alternating EMG pattern after touch down was programmed and little influenced by reflexes. During hopping reflexes could contribute to the initial peak and the EMG during lift off. 7. The programmed EMG activity and the suppression of the H reflex while landing probably contribute to the development of the negative stiffness and change the muscles from a spring to a damping unit. PMID:1890636

  2. Dynamic, six-axis stiffness matrix characteristics of the intact intervertebral disc and a disc replacement.

    PubMed

    Holsgrove, Timothy P; Gill, Harinderjit S; Miles, Anthony W; Gheduzzi, Sabina

    2015-11-01

    Thorough pre-testing is critical in assessing the likely in vivo performance of spinal devices prior to clinical use. However, there is a lack of data available concerning the dynamic testing of lumbar (porcine model) total disc replacements in all six axes under preload conditions. The aim of this study was to provide new data comparing porcine lumbar spinal specimen stiffness between the intact state and after the implantation of an unconstrained total disc replacement, in 6 degrees of freedom. The dynamic, stiffness matrix testing of six porcine lumbar isolated disc specimens was completed using triangle waves at a test frequency of 0.1 Hz. An axial preload of 500 N was applied during all testing. Specimens were tested both in the intact condition and after the implantation of the total disc replacement. Sixteen key stiffness terms were identified for the comparison of the intact and total disc replacement specimens, comprising the 6 principal stiffness terms and 10 key off-axis stiffness terms. The total disc replacement specimens were significantly different to the intact specimens in 12 of these key terms including all six principal stiffness terms. The implantation of the total disc replacement resulted in a mean reduction in the principal stiffness terms of 100%, 91%, and 98% in lateral bending, flexion-extension, and axial rotation, respectively. The novel findings of this study have demonstrated that the unconstrained, low-friction total disc replacement does not replicate the stiffness of the intact specimens. It is likely that other low-friction total disc replacements would produce similar results due to stiffness being actively minimised as part of the design of low-friction devices, without the introduction of stiffening elements or mechanisms to more accurately replicate the mechanical properties of the natural intervertebral disc. This study has demonstrated, for the first time, a method for the quantitative comparative mechanical function

  3. Medial Tibiofemoral-Joint Stiffness in Males and Females Across the Lifespan

    PubMed Central

    Aronson, Patricia; Rijke, Arie; Hertel, Jay; Ingersoll, Christopher D.

    2014-01-01

    Context: Analyzing ligament stiffness between males and females at 3 maturational stages across the lifespan may provide insight into whether changes in ligament behavior with aging may contribute to joint laxity. Objective: To compare the stiffness of the medial structures of the tibiofemoral joint and the medial collateral ligament to determine if there are differences at 3 distinct ages and between the sexes. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 108 healthy and physically active volunteers with no previous knee surgery, no acute knee injury, and no use of exogenous hormones in the past 6 months participated. They were divided into 6 groups based on sex and age (8–10, 18–40, 50–75 years). Main Outcome Measure(s): Ligament stiffness of the tibiofemoral joint was measured with an arthrometer in 0° and 20° of tibiofemoral-joint flexion. The slope values of the force-strain line that represents stiffness of the medial tibiofemoral joint at 0° and the medial collateral ligament at 20° of flexion were obtained. Results: When height and mass were controlled, we found a main effect (P < .001) for age group: the 8- to 10-year olds were less stiff than both the 18- to 40- and the 50- to 75-year-old groups. No effects of sex or tibiofemoral-joint position on stiffness measures were noted when height and mass were included as covariates. Conclusions: Prepubescent medial tibiofemoral-joint stiffness was less than postpubescent knee stiffness. Medial tibiofemoral-joint stiffness was related to height and mass after puberty in men and women. PMID:24955624

  4. Medial Tibiofemoral-Joint Stiffness in Males and Females Across the Lifespan.

    PubMed

    Aronson, Patricia; Rijke, Arie; Hertel, Jay; Ingersoll, Christopher D

    2014-02-12

    Context : Analyzing ligament stiffness between males and females at 3 maturational stages across the lifespan may provide insight into whether changes in ligament behavior with aging may contribute to joint laxity. Objective : To compare the stiffness of the medial structures of the tibiofemoral joint and the medial collateral ligament to determine if there are differences at 3 distinct ages and between the sexes. Design : Cross-sectional study. Setting : Laboratory. Patients or Other Participants : A total of 108 healthy and physically active volunteers with no previous knee surgery, no knee injury, and no use of exogenous hormones in the past 6 months participated. They were divided into 6 groups based on sex and age (8-10, 18-40, 50-75 years). Main Outcome Measure(s) : Ligament stiffness of the tibiofemoral joint was measured with an arthrometer in 0° and 20° of tibiofemoral-joint flexion. The slope values of the force-strain line that represents stiffness of the medial tibiofemoral joint at 0° and the medial collateral ligament at 20° of flexion were obtained. Results : When height and mass were controlled, we found a main effect (P < .001) for age group: the 8- to 10-year olds were less stiff than both the 18- to 40- and the 50- to 75-year-old groups. No effects of sex or tibiofemoral-joint position on stiffness measures were noted when height and mass were included as covariates. Conclusions : Prepubescent medial tibiofemoral-joint stiffness was less than postpubescent knee stiffness. Medial tibiofemoral-joint stiffness was related to height and mass after puberty in men and women.

  5. MEASURING X-RAY VARIABILITY IN FAINT/SPARSELY SAMPLED ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI

    SciTech Connect

    Allevato, V.; Paolillo, M.; Papadakis, I.; Pinto, C.

    2013-07-01

    We study the statistical properties of the normalized excess variance of variability process characterized by a ''red-noise'' power spectral density (PSD), as in the case of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). We perform Monte Carlo simulations of light curves, assuming both a continuous and a sparse sampling pattern and various signal-to-noise ratios (S/Ns). We show that the normalized excess variance is a biased estimate of the variance even in the case of continuously sampled light curves. The bias depends on the PSD slope and on the sampling pattern, but not on the S/N. We provide a simple formula to account for the bias, which yields unbiased estimates with an accuracy better than 15%. We show that the normalized excess variance estimates based on single light curves (especially for sparse sampling and S/N < 3) are highly uncertain (even if corrected for bias) and we propose instead the use of an ''ensemble estimate'', based on multiple light curves of the same object, or on the use of light curves of many objects. These estimates have symmetric distributions, known errors, and can also be corrected for biases. We use our results to estimate the ability to measure the intrinsic source variability in current data, and show that they could also be useful in the planning of the observing strategy of future surveys such as those provided by X-ray missions studying distant and/or faint AGN populations and, more in general, in the estimation of the variability amplitude of sources that will result from future surveys such as Pan-STARRS and LSST.

  6. LONG-TERM OPTICAL CONTINUUM COLOR VARIABILITY OF NEARBY ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI

    SciTech Connect

    Sakata, Yu; Minezaki, Takeo; Yoshii, Yuzuru; Uchimoto, Yuka Katsuno; Sugawara, Shota; Kobayashi, Yukiyasu; Koshida, Shintaro; Aoki, Tsutomu; Tomita, Hiroyuki; Enya, Keigo; Suganuma, Masahiro

    2010-03-01

    We examine whether the spectral energy distribution of optical continuum emission of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) changes during flux variation, based on accurate and frequent monitoring observations of 11 nearby Seyfert galaxies and QSOs carried out in the B, V, and I bands for seven years by the MAGNUM telescope. The multi-epoch flux data in any two different bands obtained on the same night show a very tight linear flux-to-flux relationship for all target AGNs. The flux of the host galaxy within the photometric aperture is carefully estimated by surface brightness fitting to available high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope images and MAGNUM images. The flux of narrow emission lines in the photometric bands is also estimated from available spectroscopic data. We find that the non-variable component of the host galaxy plus narrow emission lines for all target AGNs is located on the fainter extension of the linear regression line of multi-epoch flux data in the flux-to-flux diagram. This result strongly indicates that the spectral shape of AGN continuum emission in the optical region ({approx}4400-7900 A) does not systematically change during flux variation. The trend of spectral hardening that optical continuum emission becomes bluer as it becomes brighter, which has been reported by many studies, is therefore interpreted as the domination of the variable component of the nearly constant spectral shape of an AGN as it brightens over the non-variable component of the host galaxy plus narrow lines, which is usually redder than AGN continuum emission.

  7. The variability in DMSP content and DMSP lyase activity in marine dinoflagellates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caruana, Amandine M. N.; Malin, Gill

    2014-01-01

    More than 20 years ago Maureen Keller and co-workers published a study that identified dinoflagellates as an important marine phytoplankton group with respect to the production of dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP). Here, we present a synthesis and analysis of all the DMSP and DMSP lyase activity (DLA) measurements currently available for dinoflagellates. The data cover 110 species and strains and reveal over 6 orders of magnitude variability in intracellular DMSP concentrations and substantial variations in DLA in 23 strains. Inter-specific variability was explored with reference to a range of biological characteristics. The presence of a theca did not appear to be related to DMSP concentration but there was a potential relationship with toxicity (P = 0.06) and bioluminescent species produced significantly lower concentrations (P < 0.01) than non-bioluminescent ones. DMSP concentrations were related to plastid types (P < 0.05); dinoflagellates with haptophyte-like plastids contained lower amounts of DMSP than those with peridinin plastids (P < 0.01), whereas those containing cryptomonad-like plastids tended to have higher DMSP concentrations. Heterotrophic dinoflagellates were also considered given their importance in the natural environment. They are the only heterotrophs known to synthesise DMSP and this ability may support the theory that they are of photosynthetic origin. However, the heterotrophic species investigated so far suggest wide variability in DMSP content and the species Oxyrrhis marina had no detectable DMSP. The oceanic province of origin significantly affected the DMSP concentrations (P < 0.05) with higher DMSP content observed in dinoflagellates from the Mediterranean province, the Kuroshio Current province and the East Coastal Australian province. Overall this study supports the concept that DMSP-containing dinoflagellates are an important potential source of DMS to the global atmosphere and highlights current gaps in knowledge.

  8. Measuring X-Ray Variability in Faint/Sparsely Sampled Active Galactic Nuclei

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allevato, V.; Paolillo, M.; Papadakis, I.; Pinto, C.

    2013-07-01

    We study the statistical properties of the normalized excess variance of variability process characterized by a "red-noise" power spectral density (PSD), as in the case of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). We perform Monte Carlo simulations of light curves, assuming both a continuous and a sparse sampling pattern and various signal-to-noise ratios (S/Ns). We show that the normalized excess variance is a biased estimate of the variance even in the case of continuously sampled light curves. The bias depends on the PSD slope and on the sampling pattern, but not on the S/N. We provide a simple formula to account for the bias, which yields unbiased estimates with an accuracy better than 15%. We show that the normalized excess variance estimates based on single light curves (especially for sparse sampling and S/N < 3) are highly uncertain (even if corrected for bias) and we propose instead the use of an "ensemble estimate," based on multiple light curves of the same object, or on the use of light curves of many objects. These estimates have symmetric distributions, known errors, and can also be corrected for biases. We use our results to estimate the ability to measure the intrinsic source variability in current data, and show that they could also be useful in the planning of the observing strategy of future surveys such as those provided by X-ray missions studying distant and/or faint AGN populations and, more in general, in the estimation of the variability amplitude of sources that will result from future surveys such as Pan-STARRS and LSST.

  9. Controlling Knee Swing Initiation and Ankle Plantarflexion With an Active Prosthesis on Level and Inclined Surfaces at Variable Walking Speeds

    PubMed Central

    Simon, Ann M.; Young, Aaron J.; Hargrove, Levi J.

    2014-01-01

    Improving lower-limb prostheses is important to enhance the mobility of amputees. The purpose of this paper is to introduce an impedance-based control strategy (consisting of four novel algorithms) for an active knee and ankle prosthesis and test its generalizability across multiple walking speeds, walking surfaces, and users. The four algorithms increased ankle stiffness throughout stance, decreased knee stiffness during terminal stance, as well as provided powered ankle plantarflexion and knee swing initiation through modifications of equilibrium positions of the ankle and knee, respectively. Seven amputees (knee disarticulation and transfemoral levels) walked at slow, comfortable, and hurried speeds on level and inclined (10°) surfaces. The prosthesis was tuned at their comfortable level ground walking speed. We further quantified trends in prosthetic knee and ankle kinematics, and kinetics across conditions. Subjects modulated their walking speed by ±25% (average) from their comfortable speeds. As speed increased, increasing ankle angles and velocities as well as stance phase ankle power and plantarflexion torque were observed. At slow and comfortable speeds, plantarflexion torque was increased on the incline. At slow and comfortable speeds, stance phase positive knee power was increased and knee torque more flexor on the incline. As speed increased, knee torque became less flexor on the incline. These algorithms were shown to generalize well across speed, produce gait mechanics that compare favorably with non-amputee data, and display evidence of scalable device function. They have the potential to reduce the challenge of clinically configuring such devices and increase their viability during daily use. PMID:27170878

  10. Linking systemic arterial stiffness among adolescents to adverse childhood experiences.

    PubMed

    Klassen, Stephen A; Chirico, Daniele; O'Leary, Deborah D; Cairney, John; Wade, Terrance J

    2016-06-01

    Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked with cardiovascular disease and early mortality among adults. Most research examines this relationship retrospectively. Examining the association between ACEs and children's cardiovascular health is required to understand the time course of this association. We examined the relationship between ACEs exposure and ECG-to-toe pulse wave velocity (PWV), a measure of systemic arterial stiffness that is strongly related to cardiovascular mortality among adults. PWV (distance/transit time; m/s) was calculated using transit times from the ECG R-wave to the pulse wave contour at the toe. Transit times were collected over 15 heartbeats and the distance from the sternal notch to the left middle toe was used. A total of 221 children (119 females) aged 10-14 years participated in data collection of PWV, hemodynamic and anthropometric variables. Parents of these children completed a modified inventory of ACEs taken from the Childhood Trust Events Survey. Multivariable regression assessed the relationship between ACEs group (<4 ACEs versus ≥4 ACEs) and PWV. Analyses yielded an ACEs group by sex interaction, with males who experienced four or more ACEs having higher PWV (p<0.01). This association was independent of hemodynamic, anthropometric and sociodemographic variables (R(2)=0.346; p<0.01). Four or more ACEs is associated with greater arterial stiffness in male children aged 10-14 years. Addressing stress and trauma exposure in childhood is an important target for public health interventions to reduce early cardiovascular risk. PMID:27107504

  11. Single-trial prediction of reaction time variability from MEG brain activity.

    PubMed

    Ohata, Ryu; Ogawa, Kenji; Imamizu, Hiroshi

    2016-06-02

    Neural activity prior to movement onset contains essential information for predictive assistance for humans using brain-machine-interfaces (BMIs). Even though previous studies successfully predicted different goals for upcoming movements, it is unclear whether non-invasive recording signals contain the information to predict trial-by-trial behavioral variability under the same movement. In this paper, we examined the predictability of subsequent short or long reaction times (RTs) from magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals in a delayed-reach task. The difference in RTs was classified significantly above chance from 550 ms before the go-signal onset using the cortical currents in the premotor cortex. Significantly above-chance classification was performed in the lateral prefrontal and the right inferior parietal cortices at the late stage of the delay period. Thus, inter-trial variability in RTs is predictable information. Our study provides a proof-of-concept of the future development of non-invasive BMIs to prevent delayed movements.

  12. Single-trial prediction of reaction time variability from MEG brain activity

    PubMed Central

    Ohata, Ryu; Ogawa, Kenji; Imamizu, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    Neural activity prior to movement onset contains essential information for predictive assistance for humans using brain-machine-interfaces (BMIs). Even though previous studies successfully predicted different goals for upcoming movements, it is unclear whether non-invasive recording signals contain the information to predict trial-by-trial behavioral variability under the same movement. In this paper, we examined the predictability of subsequent short or long reaction times (RTs) from magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals in a delayed-reach task. The difference in RTs was classified significantly above chance from 550 ms before the go-signal onset using the cortical currents in the premotor cortex. Significantly above-chance classification was performed in the lateral prefrontal and the right inferior parietal cortices at the late stage of the delay period. Thus, inter-trial variability in RTs is predictable information. Our study provides a proof-of-concept of the future development of non-invasive BMIs to prevent delayed movements. PMID:27250872

  13. Investigating the variability of active galactic nuclei using combined multi-quarter Kepler data

    SciTech Connect

    Revalski, Mitchell; Nowak, Dawid; Wiita, Paul J.; Wehrle, Ann E.; Unwin, Stephen C.

    2014-04-10

    We used photometry from the Kepler satellite to characterize the variability of four radio-loud active galactic nuclei (AGNs) on timescales from years to minutes. The Kepler satellite produced nearly continuous high precision data sets which provided better temporal coverage than possible with ground based observations. We have now accumulated 11 quarters of data, eight of which were reported in our previous paper. In addition to constructing power spectral densities (PSDs) and characterizing the variability of the last three quarters, we have linked together the individual quarters using a multiplicative scaling process, providing data sets spanning ∼2.8 yr with >98% coverage at a 30 minute sampling rate. We compute PSDs on these connected data sets that yield power law slopes at low frequencies in the approximate range of –1.5 to –2.0, with white noise seen at higher frequencies. These PSDs are similar to those of both the individual quarters and to those of ground-based optical observations of other AGNs. We also have explored a PSD binning method intended to reduce a bias toward shallow slope fits by evenly distributing the points within the PSDs. This tends to steepen the computed PSD slopes, especially when the low frequencies are relatively poorly fit. We detected flares lasting several days in which the brightness increased by ∼15%-20% in one object, as well a smaller flare in another. Two AGNs showed only small, ∼1%-2%, fluctuations in brightness.

  14. Single-trial prediction of reaction time variability from MEG brain activity.

    PubMed

    Ohata, Ryu; Ogawa, Kenji; Imamizu, Hiroshi

    2016-01-01

    Neural activity prior to movement onset contains essential information for predictive assistance for humans using brain-machine-interfaces (BMIs). Even though previous studies successfully predicted different goals for upcoming movements, it is unclear whether non-invasive recording signals contain the information to predict trial-by-trial behavioral variability under the same movement. In this paper, we examined the predictability of subsequent short or long reaction times (RTs) from magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals in a delayed-reach task. The difference in RTs was classified significantly above chance from 550 ms before the go-signal onset using the cortical currents in the premotor cortex. Significantly above-chance classification was performed in the lateral prefrontal and the right inferior parietal cortices at the late stage of the delay period. Thus, inter-trial variability in RTs is predictable information. Our study provides a proof-of-concept of the future development of non-invasive BMIs to prevent delayed movements. PMID:27250872

  15. Intraseasonal variability of wintertime frontal activity and its relationship with precipitation anomalies in the vicinity of South America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blázquez, Josefina; Solman, Silvina A.

    2016-04-01

    The intraseasonal variability of the frontal activity and its connection with the variability of the atmospheric circulation and precipitation in the Southern Hemisphere is studied. The frontal activity is defined as the relative vorticity times the local temperature gradient. A band-pass filter was applied to retain the intraseasonal timescales. An empirical orthogonal function analysis was applied to the filtered frontal activity anomalies. The two main modes show positive and negative centers located mainly over the southern Pacific Ocean and South American sector and are in quadrature with each other. A similar pattern was found when the main modes of intraseasonal variability of the 500 hPa geopotential height were projected on the frontal activity, suggesting that the variability of fronts are influenced by the variability of the large scale atmospheric circulation. Moreover, the precipitation anomalies projected on the main modes of both frontal activity and 500 hPa geopotential height show similar structures, especially over the southern Pacific Ocean and South America, which may indicate that the variability of fronts controls the variability of precipitation. The lagged regression of the time series of the frontal activity areally-averaged over one of the centers of action against the frontal activity anomaly field shows at lags -8 and 8 a similar pattern, suggesting a period of around 17 days for each mode. Moreover, lagged regression between times series of frontal activity and precipitation anomalies reveals an opposite pattern between southeastern South America and southern Chile, being precipitation anomalies over these two regions anti-correlated due to the frontal activity.

  16. Post-traumatic knee stiffness: surgical techniques.

    PubMed

    Pujol, N; Boisrenoult, P; Beaufils, P

    2015-02-01

    Post-traumatic knee stiffness and loss of range of motion is a common complication of injuries to the knee area. The causes of post-traumatic knee stiffness can be divided into flexion contractures, extension contractures, and combined contractures. Post-traumatic stiffness can be due to the presence of dense intra-articular adhesions and/or fibrotic transformation of peri-articular structures. Various open and arthroscopic surgical treatments are possible. A precise diagnosis and understanding of the pathology is mandatory prior to any surgical treatment. Failure is imminent if all pathologies are not addressed correctly. From a general point of view, a flexion contracture is due to posterior adhesions and/or anterior impingement. On the other hand, extension contractures are due to anterior adhesions and/or posterior impingement. This overview will describe the different modern surgical techniques for treating post-traumatic knee stiffness. Any bony impingements must be treated before soft tissue release is performed. Intra-articular stiff knees with a loss of flexion can be treated by an anterior arthroscopic arthrolysis. Extra-articular pathology causing a flexion contracture can be treated by open or endoscopic quadriceps release. Extension contractures can be treated by arthroscopic or open posterior arthrolysis. Postoperative care (analgesia, rehabilitation) is essential to maintaining the range of motion obtained intra-operatively.

  17. Theorems and Application of Local Activity of CNN with Five State Variables and One Port

    PubMed Central

    Xiong, Gang; Dong, Xisong; Xie, Li; Yang, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Coupled nonlinear dynamical systems have been widely studied recently. However, the dynamical properties of these systems are difficult to deal with. The local activity of cellular neural network (CNN) has provided a powerful tool for studying the emergence of complex patterns in a homogeneous lattice, which is composed of coupled cells. In this paper, the analytical criteria for the local activity in reaction-diffusion CNN with five state variables and one port are presented, which consists of four theorems, including a serial of inequalities involving CNN parameters. These theorems can be used for calculating the bifurcation diagram to determine or analyze the emergence of complex dynamic patterns, such as chaos. As a case study, a reaction-diffusion CNN of hepatitis B Virus (HBV) mutation-selection model is analyzed and simulated, the bifurcation diagram is calculated. Using the diagram, numerical simulations of this CNN model provide reasonable explanations of complex mutant phenomena during therapy. Therefore, it is demonstrated that the local activity of CNN provides a practical tool for the complex dynamics study of some coupled nonlinear systems. PMID:22611440

  18. Active imaging lens with real-time variable resolution and constant field of view

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parent, Jocelyn; Thibault, Simon

    2010-08-01

    We present a lens with a constant total field of view and real-time variable resolution in certain zones of interest. This smart imaging lens uses an active optical element to modify as desired the local distortion. This way, while keeping the total field of view constant, the resolution can be increased in a zone of interest, at the expense of decreasing it somewhere in the remaining part of the field of view. We first present the concept of this lens, using a deformable mirror as the active surface. Computer simulations are done with Zemax in which a magnifying power of 2 in a zone of interest representing 10% of the full field of view is achieved, using a f=12.5 mm lens and a F/# of 18. Different combinations of theses parameters would allow different performances and results. We then present experimental results of this lens with a prototype built using a ferrofluidic deformable mirror as the active element. Experimental results of a zone of increased resolution with a magnification of 1.32 and a zone of decreased resolution with a magnification of 0.80 are obtained.

  19. Long-Term Starspot Activity of the Eclipsing Variable System CG Cyg

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kozhevnikova, A. V.; Alekseev, I. Yu.; Kozhevnikov, V. P.; Svechnikov, M. A.

    2005-07-01

    Photometric observations of the eclipsing variable system CG Cyg (G9+K3, P=0 d .63), which belongs to a group of short-period, chromospherically active RS CVn type stars with the same type of activity as the sun, have been made over two seasons in 2003 and 2004. The spotting of the star’s surface is modelled using the original observations together with photometric data published since 1965. In every season the spots were concentrated near the equator and covered up to 18% of the star’s entire surface, while the temperature difference between the quiescent photosphere and the spotted regions was 2100 K. Cyclical variations in the total area and average latitude of the spots, as well as flip-flop of the active longitudes, are suspected. Latitudinal drift of the spots during a cycle and differential rotation of the star are discovered. The following orbital elements are obtained: M1 = 0.93 M⊙, M2 = 0.81 M⊙, R1 = 1.01 R⊙, and R2 = 0.82 R⊙.

  20. Chlamydial metabolism revisited: interspecies metabolic variability and developmental stage-specific physiologic activities.

    PubMed

    Omsland, Anders; Sixt, Barbara Susanne; Horn, Matthias; Hackstadt, Ted

    2014-07-01

    Chlamydiae are a group of obligate intracellular bacteria comprising important human and animal pathogens as well as symbionts of ubiquitous protists. They are characterized by a developmental cycle including two main morphologically and physiologically distinct stages, the replicating reticulate body and the infectious nondividing elementary body. In this review, we reconstruct the history of studies that have led to our current perception of chlamydial physiology, focusing on their energy and central carbon metabolism. We then compare the metabolic capabilities of pathogenic and environmental chlamydiae highlighting interspecies variability among the metabolically more flexible environmental strains. We discuss recent findings suggesting that chlamydiae may not live as energy parasites throughout the developmental cycle and that elementary bodies are not metabolically inert but exhibit metabolic activity under appropriate axenic conditions. The observed host-free metabolic activity of elementary bodies may reflect adequate recapitulation of the intracellular environment, but there is evidence that this activity is biologically relevant and required for extracellular survival and maintenance of infectivity. The recent discoveries call for a reconsideration of chlamydial metabolism and future in-depth analyses to better understand how species- and stage-specific differences in chlamydial physiology may affect virulence, tissue tropism, and host adaptation.

  1. Variability in automatic activation as an unobtrusive measure of racial attitudes: a bona fide pipeline?

    PubMed

    Fazio, R H; Jackson, J R; Dunton, B C; Williams, C J

    1995-12-01

    The research examines an unobtrusive measure of racial attitudes based on the evaluations that are automatically activated from memory on the presentation of Black versus White faces. Study 1, which concerned the technique's validity, obtained different attitude estimates for Black and White participants and also revealed that the variability among White participants was predictive of other race-related judgments and behavior. Study 2 concerned the lack of correspondence between the unobtrusive estimates and Modern Racism Scale (MRS) scores. The reactivity of the MRS was demonstrated in Study 3. Study 4 observed an interaction between the unobtrusive estimates and an individual difference in motivation to control prejudiced reactions when predicting MRS scores. The theoretical implications of the findings for consideration of automatic and controlled components of racial prejudice are discussed, as is the status of the MRS.

  2. A new approach to the variability characterization of active galactic nuclei

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Middei, R.; Vagnetti, F.; Antonucci, M.; Serafinelli, R.

    2016-02-01

    The normalized excess variance is a popular method used by many authors to estimate the variability of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), especially in the X-ray band. We show that this estimator is affected by the cosmological time dilation, so that it should be appropriately corrected when applied to AGN samples distributed in wide redshift intervals. We propose a formula to modify this estimator, based on the use of the structure function. To verify the presence of the cosmological effect and the reliability of the proposed correction, we use data extracted from the XMM-Newton Serendipitous Source Catalogue, data release 5 (XMMSSC-DR5), and cross-matched with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey quasar catalogue, of data release 7 and 12.

  3. Active notch filter network with variable notch depth, width and frequency

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Black, J. M. (Inventor)

    1980-01-01

    An active notch filter having independently adjustable notch frequency, width, and depth is provided by three equal capacitors connected in series with an operational amplifier (connected in a voltage follower configuration), a potentiometer across the series connected capacitors for notch depth adjustment, and a potentiometer (for notch frequency connected across the center capacitor); with its tap connected to receive a voltage feedback signal from a variable voltage divider comprised of another potentiometer for notch width. Adjusting the voltage dividing potentiometer will independently set the notch width, and adjusting the tap on the potentiometer across the center capacitor will independently adjust the notch frequency of the filter. A second operational amplifier connected in a voltage follower configuration may be used to connect the voltage divider output to the adjustable tap of the potentiometer across the center capacitor.

  4. Efficacy of Carraguard®-Based Microbicides In Vivo Despite Variable In Vitro Activity

    PubMed Central

    Turville, Stuart G.; Aravantinou, Meropi; Miller, Todd; Kenney, Jessica; Teitelbaum, Aaron; Hu, Lieyu; Chudolij, Anne; Zydowsky, Tom M.; Piatak, Michael; Bess, Julian W.; Lifson, Jeffrey D.; Blanchard, James; Gettie, Agegnehu; Robbiani, Melissa

    2008-01-01

    Anti-HIV microbicides are being investigated in clinical trials and understanding how promising strategies work, coincident with demonstrating efficacy in vivo, is central to advancing new generation microbicides. We evaluated Carraguard® and a new generation Carraguard-based formulation containing the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 (PC-817). Since dendritic cells (DCs) are believed to be important in HIV transmission, the formulations were tested for the ability to limit DC-driven infection in vitro versus vaginal infection of macaques with RT-SHIV (SIVmac239 bearing HIV reverse transcriptase). Carraguard showed limited activity against cell-free and mature DC-driven RT-SHIV infections and, surprisingly, low doses of Carraguard enhanced infection. However, nanomolar amounts of MIV-150 overcame enhancement and blocked DC-transmitted infection. In contrast, Carraguard impeded infection of immature DCs coincident with DC maturation. Despite this variable activity in vitro, Carraguard and PC-817 prevented vaginal transmission of RT-SHIV when applied 30 min prior to challenge. PC-817 appeared no more effective than Carraguard in vivo, due to the limited activity of a single dose of MIV-150 and the dominant barrier effect of Carraguard. However, 3 doses of MIV-150 in placebo gel at and around challenge limited vaginal infection, demonstrating the potential activity of a topically applied NNRTI. These data demonstrate discordant observations when comparing in vitro and in vivo efficacy of Carraguard-based microbicides, highlighting the difficulties in testing putative anti-viral strategies in vitro to predict in vivo activity. This work also underscores the potential of Carraguard-based formulations for the delivery of anti-viral drugs to prevent vaginal HIV infection. PMID:18776937

  5. Mechanochemical model of cell migration on substrates of varying stiffness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lai, Tanny; Chiam, K.-H.

    2011-12-01

    Cells propel themselves along a substrate by organizing structures at the leading edge called lamellipodia that contain the actin network, myosin, integrin, and other proteins. In this article, we describe a quantitative model that couples the response of stretch-sensitive proteins in the lamellipodia to the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton, therefore allowing the cell to respond to different substrate stiffnesses. Using this model, we predict the various phases of dynamics possible, including continuous protrusion, unstable retractions leading to ruffling, and periodic protrusion-retraction cycles. We explain the necessary conditions for each type of migratory behavior to occur. In particular, we show that, for periodic protrusion-retraction cycles to occur, the stiffness of the substrate must be high, the myosin-dependent maturation rate of nascent to focal adhesions must be high, and the myosin-independent integrin activation rate must be low. In addition, we also predict the dynamics expected at a given substrate stiffness, leading to a quantitative explanation of experimental data that showed that periodic protrusion-retraction cycles disappear when cells are placed on soft substrates. We also suggest experiments with downregulating α actinin and/or talin and upregulating p130Cas and make predictions on what types of migratory dynamics will be observed.

  6. Influencing factors of transient elastography in detecting liver stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Shan, Rong; Yin, Hong; Yang, Wenjuan; Li, Jianzhi; Zhang, Meifang; Zhao, Min; Shao, Jiang; Wang, Aiguang

    2016-01-01

    Liver stiffness, which correlates well with liver fibrosis stage, can be measured noninvasively by transient elastography, also known as Fibroscan. The present study aimed to determine the independent factors influencing Fibroscan detection by multiple regression analysis. A total of 181 patients who required liver biopsy were enrolled. Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) was detected by Fibroscan on the day of liver biopsy, while clinical information and routine biochemical examination results were also collected. Correlation was analyzed by Spearman's correlation, and multiple regression analysis was performed to analyze the independent influencing factors. The results demonstrated that platelet (PLT) levels, serum albumin (ALB), prothrombin activity (PTA) and body mass index (BMI) were independent predictors of liver stiffness. The contribution of these four predictors to the regression equation was in the following descending order: PLT (negative correlation) > ALB (negative correlation) > PTA (negative correlation) > BMI (positive correlation). In conclusion, the parameters of PLT, ALB, PTA and BMI are independent predicting factors affecting Fibroscan detection. Therefore, the diagnosis and evaluation of liver fibrosis should comprehensively consider the results of Fibroscan, and clinical and laboratory examinations.

  7. Personal Exposure to Household Particulate Matter, Household Activities and Heart Rate Variability among Housewives

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Ya-Li; Chen, Hua-Wei; Han, Bor-Cheng; Liu, Chien-Wei; Chuang, Hsiao-Chi; Lin, Lian-Yu; Chuang, Kai-Jen

    2014-01-01

    Background The association between indoor air pollution and heart rate variability (HRV) has been well-documented. Little is known about effects of household activities on indoor air quality and HRV alteration. To investigate changes in HRV associated with changes in personal exposure to household particulate matter (PM) and household activities. Methods We performed 24-h continuous monitoring of electrocardiography and measured household PM exposure among 50 housewives. The outcome variables were log10-transformed standard deviation of normal-to-normal (NN) intervals (SDNN) and the square root of the mean of the sum of the squares of differences between adjacent NN intervals (r-MSSD). Household PM was measured as the mass concentration of PM with an aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm (PM2.5). We used mixed-effects models to examine the association between household PM2.5 exposure and log10-transformed HRV indices. Results After controlling for potential confounders, an interquartile range change in household PM2.5 with 1- to 4-h mean was associated with 1.25–4.31% decreases in SDNN and 0.12–3.71% decreases in r-MSSD. Stir-frying, cleaning with detergent and burning incense may increase household PM2.5 concentrations and modify the effects of household PM2.5 on HRV indices among housewives. Conclusions Indoor PM2.5 exposures were associated with decreased SDNN and r-MSSD among housewives, especially during stir-frying, cleaning with detergent and burning incense. PMID:24594880

  8. Variable X-Ray and UV emission from AGB stars: Accretion activity associated with binarity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sahai, Raghvendra; Sanz-Forcada, Jorge; Sánchez Contreras, Carmen

    2016-07-01

    Almost all of our current understanding of the late evolutionary stages of (1 — 8) Mʘ stars is based on single-star models. However, binarity can drastically affect late stellar evolution, producing dramatic changes in the history and geometry of mass loss that occurs in stars as they evolve off the AGB to become planetary nebulae (PNe). A variety of binary models have been proposed, which can lead to the generation of accretion disks and magnetic fields, which in turn produce the highly collimated jets that have been proposed as the primary agents for the formation of bipolar and multipolar PNe. However, observational evidence of binarity in AGB stars is sorely lacking simply these stars are very luminous and variable, invalidating standard techniques for binary detection. Using an innovative technique of searching for UV emission from AGB stars with GALEX, we have identified a class of AGB stars with far- ultraviolet excesses (fuvAGB stars), that are likely candidates for active accretion associated with a binary companion. We have carried out a pilot survey for X-ray emission from fuvAGB stars. The X-ray fluxes are found to vary in a stochastic or quasi-periodic manner on roughly hour-long times-scales, and simultaneous UV observations show similar variations in the UV fluxes. We discuss several models for the X-ray emission and its variability and find that the most likely scenario for the origin of the X-ray (and FUV) emission involves accretion activity around a main-sequence companion star, with confinement by strong magnetic fields associated with the companion and/or an accretion disk around it.

  9. Hyper-damping properties of a stiff and stable linear oscillator with a negative stiffness element

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antoniadis, I.; Chronopoulos, D.; Spitas, V.; Koulocheris, D.

    2015-06-01

    A simple, stiff, statically and dynamically stable linear oscillator incorporating a negative stiffness element is used as a template to provide a generic theoretical basis for a novel vibration damping and isolation concept. This oscillator is designed to present the same overall static stiffness, the same mass and to use the same damping element as a reference classical linear SDoF oscillator. Thus, no increase of the structure mass or the viscous damping is needed, as in the case of a traditional linear isolator, no decrease of the overall structure stiffness is required as in the case of 'zero-stiffness' oscillators with embedded negative stiffness elements. The difference from these two templates consists entirely in the proper redistribution and reallocation of the stiffness and the damping elements of the system. Once such an oscillator is optimally designed, it is shown to exhibit an extraordinary apparent damping ratio, which is even several orders of magnitude higher than that of the original SDoF system, especially in cases where the original damping of the SDoF system is extremely low. This extraordinary damping behavior is a result of the phase difference between the positive and the negative stiffness elastic forces, which is in turn a consequence of the proper redistribution of the stiffness and the damping elements. This fact ensures that an adequate level of elastic forces exists throughout the entire frequency range, able to counteract the inertial and the excitation forces. Consequently, a resonance phenomenon, which is inherent in the original linear SDoF system, cannot emerge in the proposed oscillator. The optimal parameter selection for the design of the negative stiffness oscillator is discussed. To further exhibit the advantages that such a design can generate, the suggested oscillator is implemented within a periodic acoustic metamaterial structure, inducing a radical increase in the damping of the propagating acoustic waves. The concept

  10. Impact of pubertal development and physical activity on heart rate variability in overweight and obese children in Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Chen, Su-Ru; Chiu, Hung-Wen; Lee, Yann-Jinn; Sheen, Tzong-Chi; Jeng, Chii

    2012-08-01

    Child obesity is frequently associated with dysfunction of autonomic nervous system. Children in pubertal development were suggested to be vulnerable to autonomic nervous system problems such as decrease of heart rate variability from dysregulation of metabolic control. This study explored the influence of pubertal development on autonomic nervous system function in overweight and obese children and the concurrent effects of their physical activity. Eighty-four overweight or obese children and 87 normal weighted controls were recruited. Autonomic nervous system function was studied by measuring heart rate variability. Results showed that the overweight/obese children had significantly lower heart rate variability. Overweight/obese children in puberty had significantly lower heart rate variability which was positively correlated with their physical activity levels. In conclusion, overweight/obesity adversely affects the autonomic nervous system function of children especially during their pubertal development. Overweight/obese children should be encouraged to engage in physical activities during puberty to improve their autonomic nervous system function.

  11. The influence of fixation delay on mitotic activity and flow cytometric cell cycle variables.

    PubMed

    Bergers, E; Jannink, I; van Diest, P I; Cuesta, M A; Meyer, S; van Mourik, J C; Baak, J P

    1997-01-01

    Proliferation variables such as mitotic activity and the percentage of S-phase cells have been shown to be of prognostic value in many tumors, especially in breast cancer. However, some studies reported a decrease in mitotic activity caused by delay in fixation of the tissue. In contrast, other studies showed that the identifiability of mitotic figures decreases after fixation delay, but the total number of mitotic figures and also the percentage of S-phase cells remain unchanged. Most studies have been done on small numbers of experimental tumors, thus introducing the risk of selection bias. The aim of this study was to reinvestigate the influence of fixation delay on mitotic activity and cell cycle variables assessed by flow cytometry in an adequate number of resected human tissues to reach firmer conclusions. Resection specimens of 19 and 21 cases, respectively, for the mitotic activity estimate and the flow cytometric percentage of S-phase calculation were collected directly from the operating theater using lung, breast, and intestinal cancers and normal intestinal mucosa. The tissues were cut in pieces, and from each specimen, pieces were fixed in 4% buffered formaldehyde (for mitosis counting) as well as snap frozen (for flow cytometry) immediately after excision, as well as after a fixation delay of 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 18, and 24 hours. Moreover, during the fixation delay, one series from each specimen was kept in the refrigerator and the second at room temperature. Thus, a total of 304 (19 X 16) and 336 (21 X 16) specimens were investigated for the mitotic activity estimate and the percentage of S-phase cells calculation, respectively. With regard to the estimation of the mitotic activity, both clear and doubtful mitotic figures were registered separately, obtaining an "uncorrected" and "corrected" (for doubtful mitotic figures) mitotic activity estimate. The percentage of S-phase cells was obtained by cell cycle analysis of flow cytometric DNA-histograms. The

  12. Can Indian Ocean SST variability impact TC activity in the South Pacific? A Spatial Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Magee, Andrew D.; Verdon-Kidd, Danielle C.; Kiem, Anthony S.

    2015-04-01

    Tropical Cyclones (TCs) represent a significant natural hazard to the 15 island nations and 2.7 million inhabitants of the South Pacific, accounting for 76% of reported disasters in the region since 1950. This vast area, dominated by the coupled ocean-atmosphere interactions of the South Pacific fuels the highly variable nature of TCs (both spatially and temporally), leading to difficulties in planning for and responding to these extreme events. While it is well known that the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) plays a significant role in modulating the background state on which TCs form, there are other large-scale climate drivers operating on annual timescales or longer within the South Pacific (e.g. ENSO Modoki and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation) and outside the Pacific Basin (e.g. the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode) that may also influence TC formation. In response to this issue, the impact of these large-scale climate drivers upon the spatial characteristics of tropical cyclogenesis is assessed for the South Pacific region (5o-35oS, 145oE-130oW) over a 67-year period (1945-2011). It is shown, that in addition to the impact of 'Pacific-centric' climate drivers, eastern Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures significantly impact the spatial characteristics of tropical cyclogenesis in the South Pacific. In particular, warming (cooling) in the eastern Indian Ocean is found to result in an eastward (westward) shift in the average location of tropical cyclogenesis in the South Pacific (up to 712km between extreme phases). One mechanism that may account for this east/west modulation of TC activity in the South Pacific is the propagation of warmer water from the Timor Sea through the Coral Sea to the Pacific, resulting in a strengthening of the Pacific Warm Pool and associated meteorological characteristics connected with tropical cyclogenesis. Understanding how other large-scale climate modes interact with Indian Ocean processes is important

  13. Physical Activity Is Linked to Greater Moment-To-Moment Variability in Spontaneous Brain Activity in Older Adults.

    PubMed

    Burzynska, Agnieszka Z; Wong, Chelsea N; Voss, Michelle W; Cooke, Gillian E; Gothe, Neha P; Fanning, Jason; McAuley, Edward; Kramer, Arthur F

    2015-01-01

    Higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and physical activity (PA) in old age are associated with greater brain structural and functional integrity, and higher cognitive functioning. However, it is not known how different aspects of lifestyle such as sedentariness, light PA (LI-PA), or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MV-PA) relate to neural activity in aging. In addition, it is not known whether the effects of PA on brain function differ or overlap with those of CRF. Here, we objectively measured CRF as oxygen consumption during a maximal exercise test and measured PA with an accelerometer worn for 7 days in 100 healthy but low active older adults (aged 60-80 years). We modeled the relationships between CRF, PA, and brain functional integrity using multivariate partial least squares analysis. As an index of functional brain integrity we used spontaneous moment-to-moment variability in the blood oxygenation level-dependent signal (SDBOLD), known to be associated with better cognitive functioning in aging. We found that older adults who engaged more in LI-PA and MV-PA had greater SDBOLD in brain regions that play a role in integrating segregated functional domains in the brain and benefit from greater CRF or PA, such as precuneus, hippocampus, medial and lateral prefrontal, and temporal cortices. Our results suggest that engaging in higher intensity PA may have protective effects on neural processing in aging. Finally, we demonstrated that older adults with greater overall WM microstructure were those showing more LI-PA and MV-PA and greater SDBOLD. We conclude that SDBOLD is a promising correlate of functional brain health in aging. Future analyses will evaluate whether SDBOLD is modifiable with interventions aimed to increase PA and CRF in older adults.

  14. Physical Activity Is Linked to Greater Moment-To-Moment Variability in Spontaneous Brain Activity in Older Adults

    PubMed Central

    Burzynska, Agnieszka Z.; Wong, Chelsea N.; Voss, Michelle W.; Cooke, Gillian E.; Gothe, Neha P.; Fanning, Jason; McAuley, Edward; Kramer, Arthur F.

    2015-01-01

    Higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and physical activity (PA) in old age are associated with greater brain structural and functional integrity, and higher cognitive functioning. However, it is not known how different aspects of lifestyle such as sedentariness, light PA (LI-PA), or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MV-PA) relate to neural activity in aging. In addition, it is not known whether the effects of PA on brain function differ or overlap with those of CRF. Here, we objectively measured CRF as oxygen consumption during a maximal exercise test and measured PA with an accelerometer worn for 7 days in 100 healthy but low active older adults (aged 60–80 years). We modeled the relationships between CRF, PA, and brain functional integrity using multivariate partial least squares analysis. As an index of functional brain integrity we used spontaneous moment-to-moment variability in the blood oxygenation level-dependent signal (SDBOLD), known to be associated with better cognitive functioning in aging. We found that older adults who engaged more in LI-PA and MV-PA had greater SDBOLD in brain regions that play a role in integrating segregated functional domains in the brain and benefit from greater CRF or PA, such as precuneus, hippocampus, medial and lateral prefrontal, and temporal cortices. Our results suggest that engaging in higher intensity PA may have protective effects on neural processing in aging. Finally, we demonstrated that older adults with greater overall WM microstructure were those showing more LI-PA and MV-PA and greater SDBOLD. We conclude that SDBOLD is a promising correlate of functional brain health in aging. Future analyses will evaluate whether SDBOLD is modifiable with interventions aimed to increase PA and CRF in older adults. PMID:26244873

  15. Differences in lower-body stiffness between levels of netball competition.

    PubMed

    Pruyn, Elizabeth C; Watsford, Mark L; Murphy, Aron J

    2015-05-01

    There are many notable differences in physical and skill attributes between competition levels, especially in team sports. Stiffness is an important mechanical factor to measure when considering athletic performance and injury incidence. Active vertical stiffness (K(vert)) during hopping and passive stiffness during lying and standing were measured during the preseason period for 46 female netballers (24.0 ± 3.7 years, 72.2 ± 7.6 kg, 175.2 ± 6.7 cm). Participants were classified as elite, sub-elite, representative or recreational based on their current level of competition. A 1-way analysis of variance revealed that elite players possessed significantly higher K(vert) than recreational players (p = 0.018). Large effect sizes (ES) suggested that elite players also possessed higher K(vert) than sub-elite (d = 1.11) and representative (d = 1.11) players. A number of large and moderate ES were also present when comparing the passive stiffness of elite players to their lower-ranked counterparts. The results of this study suggest that elite players possess higher levels of active stiffness when compared with their lower-ranked counterparts. The differences in stiffness levels may contribute to a player's ability to physically perform at an elite level and also provide one explanation into elevated rates of injury at higher levels of competition.

  16. Matrix stiffness-mediated effects on stemness characteristics occurring in HCC cells.

    PubMed

    You, Yang; Zheng, Qiongdan; Dong, Yinying; Xie, Xiaoying; Wang, Yaohui; Wu, Sifan; Zhang, Lan; Wang, Yingcong; Xue, Tongchun; Wang, Zhiming; Chen, Rongxin; Wang, Yanhong; Cui, Jiefeng; Ren, Zhenggang

    2016-05-31

    Matrix stiffness as an important physical attribute of extracellular matrix exerts significant impacts on biological behaviors of cancer cells such as growth, proliferation, motility, metabolism and invasion. However, its influence on cancer stemness still remains elusive. Here, we explore whether matrix stiffness-mediated effects on stemness characteristics occur in HCC cells. As the substrate stiffness increased, HCC cells exhibited high proportion of cells with CD133(+)/EpCAM(+), high expression levels of CD133, EpCAM, Nanog and SOX2, greater self-renewing ability and oxaliplatin resistance. Simultaneously, their phosphorylation levels of Akt and mTOR, as well as p-4E-BP and SOX2 expressions were also obviously upregulated. Conversely, knockdown of integrin β1 partially attenuated higher stiffness-mediated stemness characteristics in HCC cells, and reversed the phosphorylation levels of Akt and mTOR, and expressions of p-4E-BP and SOX2, suggesting that integrin β1 may deliver higher stiffness signal into HCC cells and activate mTOR signaling pathway. Additionally, mTOR inhibitor suppressed the mTOR phosphorylation level and expression levels of p-4E-BP and SOX2 in HCC cells grown on higher stiffness substrate, as well as depressed their stemness properties significantly, favoring a regulating role of mTOR signaling pathway in matrix stiffness-mediated effects on stemness. In summary, matrix stiffness may be involved in the process of stemness regulation via activating integrin β1/Akt/mTOR/SOX2 signaling pathway. To the best of our knowledge, this study first reveals a novel regulating pathway to direct the stemness characteristics in HCC cells.

  17. Running with a load increases leg stiffness.

    PubMed

    Silder, Amy; Besier, Thor; Delp, Scott L

    2015-04-13

    Spring-mass models have been used to characterize running mechanics and leg stiffness in a variety of conditions, yet it remains unknown how running while carrying a load affects running mechanics and leg stiffness. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that running with a load increases leg stiffness. Twenty-seven subjects ran at a constant speed on a force-measuring treadmill while carrying no load, and while wearing weight vests loaded with 10%, 20%, and 30% of body weight. We measured lower extremity motion and created a scaled musculoskeletal model of each subject, which we used to estimate lower extremity joint angles and leg length. We estimated dimensionless leg stiffness as the ratio of the peak vertical ground reaction force (normalized to body weight) and the change in stance phase leg length (normalized to leg length at initial foot contact). Leg length was calculated as the distance from the center of the pelvis to the center-of-pressure under the foot. We found that dimensionless leg stiffness increased when running with load (p=0.001); this resulted from an increase in the peak vertical ground reaction force (p<0.001) and a smaller change in stance phase leg length (p=0.025). When running with load, subjects had longer ground contact times (p<0.020), greater hip (p<0.001) and knee flexion (p=0.048) at the time of initial foot contact, and greater peak stance phase hip, knee, and ankle flexion (p<0.05). Our results reveal that subjects run in a more crouched posture and with higher leg stiffness to accommodate an added load.

  18. Running with a load increases leg stiffness.

    PubMed

    Silder, Amy; Besier, Thor; Delp, Scott L

    2015-04-13

    Spring-mass models have been used to characterize running mechanics and leg stiffness in a variety of conditions, yet it remains unknown how running while carrying a load affects running mechanics and leg stiffness. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that running with a load increases leg stiffness. Twenty-seven subjects ran at a constant speed on a force-measuring treadmill while carrying no load, and while wearing weight vests loaded with 10%, 20%, and 30% of body weight. We measured lower extremity motion and created a scaled musculoskeletal model of each subject, which we used to estimate lower extremity joint angles and leg length. We estimated dimensionless leg stiffness as the ratio of the peak vertical ground reaction force (normalized to body weight) and the change in stance phase leg length (normalized to leg length at initial foot contact). Leg length was calculated as the distance from the center of the pelvis to the center-of-pressure under the foot. We found that dimensionless leg stiffness increased when running with load (p=0.001); this resulted from an increase in the peak vertical ground reaction force (p<0.001) and a smaller change in stance phase leg length (p=0.025). When running with load, subjects had longer ground contact times (p<0.020), greater hip (p<0.001) and knee flexion (p=0.048) at the time of initial foot contact, and greater peak stance phase hip, knee, and ankle flexion (p<0.05). Our results reveal that subjects run in a more crouched posture and with higher leg stiffness to accommodate an added load. PMID:25728581

  19. Variable enzymatic activity of prokaryotes under different hydrological settings in a river floodplain of the Danube

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sieczko, Anna; Meisterl, Karin; Peduzzi, Peter

    2013-04-01

    This study tackles the role of different hydrological settings in a river-floodplain for organic matter processing by bacteria. Sampling locations in the Danube river-floodplain near Vienna (Austria) were chosen in a way that they represent a gradient of connectivity to the main river. We focused on the influence of variable hydrological connectivity and retention on microbial substrate utilization in the different subsystems of this river-floodplain section. We investigated extracellular enzymatic activity (EEA) both associated with particles (PA) and in the ambient water (FL). The activity of six enzymes was assessed: enzymes involved in the metabolism of carbon (β-d-glucosidase, α-d-glucosidase, β-d-xylosidase, cellobiohydrolase), peptide (endopeptidase [Endo]) and for degradation of refractory lignin material (phenol oxidase [PhOx]). We hypothesized that the degree of connectivity and water exchange in floodplain lakes influences prokaryotic enzymatic activity and productivity both on particles and in the surrounding water. The strong correlation between endopeptidase and phenol oxidase of the FL fraction in all locations suggests a tight coupling of enzymes responsible for utilization of labile and refractory material. Our results indicate that particle-associated bacterial growth in frequently flooded locations was supported by allochthonous carbon derived from polysaccharide hydrolysis, whereas in isolated locations, bacterial biomass was fuelled with carbon obtained largely from lignin utilization. This implies that prolonged residence time in isolated locations allows more refractory material to be utilized. Most of the enzymes (PA and FL) did not show clear dependencies on the degree of connectivity. However, phenol oxidase displayed an interesting pattern: activity of PhOx in ambient water decreased, whereas PA PhOx increased, together with the degree of connectivity. The study also demonstrates enhanced metabolism of the PA bacterial community and a

  20. Elastic-Stiffness Coefficients of Titanium Diboride

    PubMed Central

    Ledbetter, Hassel; Tanaka, Takaho

    2009-01-01

    Using resonance ultrasound spectroscopy, we measured the monocrystal elastic-stiffness coefficients, the Voigt Cij, of TiB2. With hexagonal symmetry, TiB2 exhibits five independent Cij: C11, C33, C44, C12, C13. Using Voigt-Reuss-Hill averaging, we converted these monocrystal values to quasiisotropic (polycrystal) elastic stiffnesses. Briefly, we comment on effects of voids. From the Cij, we calculated the Debye characteristic temperature, the Grüneisen parameter, and various sound velocities. Our study resolves the enormous differences between two previous reports of TiB2’s Cij. PMID:27504232

  1. Elastic Stiffness of a Skyrmion Crystal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nii, Y.; Kikkawa, A.; Taguchi, Y.; Tokura, Y.; Iwasa, Y.

    2014-12-01

    We observe the elastic stiffness and ultrasonic absorption of a Skyrmion crystal in the chiral-lattice magnet MnSi. The Skyrmion crystal lattice exhibits a stiffness 3 orders of magnitude smaller than that of the atomic lattice of MnSi, being as soft as the flux line lattice in type-II superconductors. The observed anisotropic elastic responses are consistent with the cylindrical shape of the Skyrmion spin texture. Phenomenological analysis reveals that the spin-orbit coupling is responsible for the emergence of anisotropic elasticity in the Skyrmion lattice.

  2. The geovisualisation window of the temporal and spatial variability for Volunteered Geographic Information activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Medynska-Gulij, Beata; Myszczuk, Miłosz

    2012-11-01

    This study presents an attempt to design geographical visualisation tools that allow to tackle the immensity of spatial data provided by Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), both in terms of temporal and spatial aspects. In accordance with the assumptions made at the conceptual stage, the final action was the implementation of the window entitled ‘Geovisualisation of the Panoramio.com Activities in District of Poznan 2011’ into the web browser. The concept has been based on a division of the geovisualisation window into three panels, of which the most important - in order to capture spatial variability - have statistical maps at the general level (dot map and choropleth map), while at the detailed level - a dot map on a topographic reference map or tourist map. For two ranges, temporal variability is presented by graphs, while a review of attributes of individual activities of the social website in question is set forward in the table panel. The element that visually interlinks all of the panels is the emphasised individual activity. Problemem podjetym w tych badaniach stało sie wykorzystanie metod z nurtu geograficznej wizualizacji do wskazania cech fenomenu VGI w zakresie zmiennosci czasowo-przestrzennej. Zgodnie z załozeniami poczynionymi w etapie koncepcyjnym finalnym działaniem stało sie zaimplementowanie do przegladarki internetowej okna pod tytułem: ”Geowizualizacja aktywnosci społecznosci Panoramio.com w powiecie poznanskim w 2011 roku”. Koncepcja została oparta na podziale okna geowizualizacji na trzy panele, z których najwazniejsze znaczenie dla uchwycenia zmiennosci przestrzennej na poziomie ogólnym ma kartogram, natomiast na poziomie szczegółowym mapa kropkowa wyswietlana na podkładzie mapy topograficznej lub turystycznej. Zmiennosc czasowa w dwóch zakresach prezentuja wykresy, a przeglad atrybutów poszczególnych aktywnosci prezentowanego portalu społecznosciowego zapewnia tabela. Elementem spajajacym wizualnie wszystkie

  3. Variability in Saponin Content, Cancer Antiproliferative Activity and Physicochemical Properties of Concentrated Agave Sap.

    PubMed

    Santos-Zea, Liliana; Rosas-Pérez, Aratza Mireya; Leal-Díaz, Ana María; Gutiérrez-Uribe, Janet A

    2016-08-01

    Concentrated agave sap (CAS) has gained popularity as an unrefined sweetener. It is obtained by boiling "aguamiel" that contains phytochemicals with diverse bioactivities. Saponins have been the most widely studied agave phytochemicals due to their cancer antiproliferative effect but their concentration may vary due to maturity of the agave plant and collection site. In this study, 18 CAS samples produced in different states of Mexico were analyzed using multivariate methods to determine which physicochemical or phytochemical parameters were responsible for variation. Additionally, extracts with different saponin profiles were tested to determine possible correlations with antiproliferative activity. Total soluble solids, pH, and water activity were similar to those reported for other agave sweeteners. Antioxidant capacity of samples was correlated to browning index. Eleven steroidal saponins were found in CAS samples and they were the main source of variability. Magueyoside B, a kammogenin tetraglycoside, was the most abundant saponin in all samples. With respect to bioactivity, multivariate analysis indicated that magueyoside B and a gentrogenin tetraglycoside were compounds strongly related with bioactivity. CAS from Hidalgo, Puebla, and Veracruz had higher concentration of magueyoside B than from the other kamogenin tetraglycoside found in the samples from other Mexican states. These results could be used as a first approach to characterize and standardize CAS to validate the potential health benefits derived from its consumption. PMID:27376349

  4. Roche tomography of cataclysmic variables - VII. The long-term magnetic activity of AE Aqr

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hill, C. A.; Watson, C. A.; Steeghs, D.; Dhillon, V. S.; Shahbaz, T.

    2016-06-01

    We present a long-term study of the secondary star in the cataclysmic variable AE Aqr, using Roche tomography to indirectly image starspots on the stellar surface spanning 8 years of observations. The seven maps show an abundance of spot features at both high and low latitudes. We find that all maps have at least one large high-latitude spot region, and we discuss its complex evolution between maps, as well as its compatibility with current dynamo theories. Furthermore, we see the apparent growth in fractional spot coverage, fs, around 45° latitude over the duration of observations, with a persistently high fs near latitudes of 20°. These bands of spots may form as part of a magnetic activity cycle, with magnetic flux tubes emerging at different latitudes, similar to the `butterfly' diagram for the Sun. We discuss the nature of flux tube emergence in close binaries, as well as the activity of AE Aqr in the context of other stars.

  5. Single Chain Variable Fragment against Nicastrin Inhibits the γ-Secretase Activity*

    PubMed Central

    Hayashi, Ikuo; Takatori, Sho; Urano, Yasuomi; Iwanari, Hiroko; Isoo, Noriko; Osawa, Satoko; Fukuda, Maiko A.; Kodama, Tatsuhiko; Hamakubo, Takao; Li, Tong; Wong, Philip C.; Tomita, Taisuke; Iwatsubo, Takeshi

    2009-01-01

    γ-Secretase is a membrane protein complex that catalyzes intramembrane proteolysis of a variety of substrates including the amyloid β precursor protein of Alzheimer disease. Nicastrin (NCT), a single-pass membrane glycoprotein that harbors a large extracellular domain, is an essential component of the γ-secretase complex. Here we report that overexpression of a single chain variable fragment (scFv) against NCT as an intrabody suppressed the γ-secretase activity. Biochemical analyses revealed that the scFv disrupted the proper folding and the appropriate glycosyl maturation of the endogenous NCT, which are required for the stability of the γ-secretase complex and the intrinsic proteolytic activity, respectively, implicating the dual role of NCT in the γ-secretase complex. Our results also highlight the importance of the calnexin cycle in the functional maturation of the γ-secretase complex. The engineered intrabodies may serve as rationally designed, molecular targeting tools for the discovery of novel actions of the membrane proteins. PMID:19684016

  6. Variable Activation of the DNA Damage Response Pathways in Patients Undergoing SPECT Myocardial Perfusion Imaging

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Shijun; Liang, Grace; Ong, Sang-Ging; Han, Leng; Sanchez-Freire, Veronica; Lee, Andrew S.; Vasanawala, Minal; Segall, George; Wu, Joseph C.

    2015-01-01

    Background Although single photon emission computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging (SPECT MPI) has improved the diagnosis and risk stratification of patients with suspected coronary artery disease, it remains a primary source of low dose radiation exposure for cardiac patients. To determine the biological effects of low dose radiation from SPECT MPI, we measured the activation of the DNA damage response pathways using quantitative flow cytometry and single cell gene expression profiling. Methods and Results Blood samples were collected from patients before and after SPECT MPI (n=63). Overall, analysis of all recruited patients showed no marked differences in the phosphorylation of proteins (H2AX, p53, and ATM) following SPECT. The majority of patients also had either down-regulated or unchanged expression in DNA damage response genes at both 24 and 48 hours post-SPECT. Interestingly, a small subset of patients with increased phosphorylation also had significant up-regulation of genes associated with DNA damage, whereas those with no changes in phosphorylation had significant down-regulation or no difference, suggesting that some patients may potentially be more sensitive to low dose radiation exposure. Conclusions Our findings showed that SPECT MPI resulted in a variable activation of the DNA damage response pathways. Although only a small subset of patients had increased protein phosphorylation and elevated gene expression post-imaging, continued care should be taken to reduce radiation exposure to both patients and operators. PMID:25609688

  7. Variability in Saponin Content, Cancer Antiproliferative Activity and Physicochemical Properties of Concentrated Agave Sap.

    PubMed

    Santos-Zea, Liliana; Rosas-Pérez, Aratza Mireya; Leal-Díaz, Ana María; Gutiérrez-Uribe, Janet A

    2016-08-01

    Concentrated agave sap (CAS) has gained popularity as an unrefined sweetener. It is obtained by boiling "aguamiel" that contains phytochemicals with diverse bioactivities. Saponins have been the most widely studied agave phytochemicals due to their cancer antiproliferative effect but their concentration may vary due to maturity of the agave plant and collection site. In this study, 18 CAS samples produced in different states of Mexico were analyzed using multivariate methods to determine which physicochemical or phytochemical parameters were responsible for variation. Additionally, extracts with different saponin profiles were tested to determine possible correlations with antiproliferative activity. Total soluble solids, pH, and water activity were similar to those reported for other agave sweeteners. Antioxidant capacity of samples was correlated to browning index. Eleven steroidal saponins were found in CAS samples and they were the main source of variability. Magueyoside B, a kammogenin tetraglycoside, was the most abundant saponin in all samples. With respect to bioactivity, multivariate analysis indicated that magueyoside B and a gentrogenin tetraglycoside were compounds strongly related with bioactivity. CAS from Hidalgo, Puebla, and Veracruz had higher concentration of magueyoside B than from the other kamogenin tetraglycoside found in the samples from other Mexican states. These results could be used as a first approach to characterize and standardize CAS to validate the potential health benefits derived from its consumption.

  8. Cancer Cell Stiffness: Integrated Roles of Three-Dimensional Matrix Stiffness and Transforming Potential

    PubMed Central

    Baker, Erin L.; Lu, Jing; Yu, Dihua; Bonnecaze, Roger T.; Zaman, Muhammad H.

    2010-01-01

    While significant advances have been made toward revealing the molecular mechanisms that influence breast cancer progression, much less is known about the associated cellular mechanical properties. To this end, we use particle-tracking microrheology to investigate the interplay among intracellular mechanics, three-dimensional matrix stiffness, and transforming potential in a mammary epithelial cell (MEC) cancer progression series. We use a well-characterized model system where human-derived MCF10A MECs overexpress either ErbB2, 14-3-3ζ, or both ErbB2 and 14-3-3ζ, with empty vector as a control. Our results show that MECs possessing ErbB2 transforming potential stiffen in response to elevated matrix stiffness, whereas non-transformed MECs or those overexpressing only 14-3-3ζ do no exhibit this response. We further observe that overexpression of ErbB2 alone is associated with the highest degree of intracellular sensitivity to matrix stiffness, and that the effect of transforming potential on intracellular stiffness is matrix-stiffness-dependent. Moreover, our intracellular stiffness measurements parallel cell migration behavior that has been previously reported for these MEC sublines. Given the current knowledge base of breast cancer mechanobiology, these findings suggest that there may be a positive relationship among intracellular stiffness sensitivity, cell motility, and perturbed mechanotransduction in breast cancer. PMID:20923638

  9. Cancer cell stiffness: integrated roles of three-dimensional matrix stiffness and transforming potential.

    PubMed

    Baker, Erin L; Lu, Jing; Yu, Dihua; Bonnecaze, Roger T; Zaman, Muhammad H

    2010-10-01

    While significant advances have been made toward revealing the molecular mechanisms that influence breast cancer progression, much less is known about the associated cellular mechanical properties. To this end, we use particle-tracking microrheology to investigate the interplay among intracellular mechanics, three-dimensional matrix stiffness, and transforming potential in a mammary epithelial cell (MEC) cancer progression series. We use a well-characterized model system where human-derived MCF10A MECs overexpress either ErbB2, 14-3-3ζ, or both ErbB2 and 14-3-3ζ, with empty vector as a control. Our results show that MECs possessing ErbB2 transforming potential stiffen in response to elevated matrix stiffness, whereas non-transformed MECs or those overexpressing only 14-3-3ζ do no exhibit this response. We further observe that overexpression of ErbB2 alone is associated with the highest degree of intracellular sensitivity to matrix stiffness, and that the effect of transforming potential on intracellular stiffness is matrix-stiffness-dependent. Moreover, our intracellular stiffness measurements parallel cell migration behavior that has been previously reported for these MEC sublines. Given the current knowledge base of breast cancer mechanobiology, these findings suggest that there may be a positive relationship among intracellular stiffness sensitivity, cell motility, and perturbed mechanotransduction in breast cancer.

  10. A novel smart rotor support with shape memory alloy metal rubber for high temperatures and variable amplitude vibrations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Yanhong; Zhang, Qicheng; Zhang, Dayi; Scarpa, Fabrizio; Liu, Baolong; Hong, Jie

    2014-12-01

    The work describes the design, manufacturing and testing of a smart rotor support with shape memory alloy metal rubber (SMA-MR) elements, able to provide variable stiffness and damping characteristics with temperature, motion amplitude and excitation frequency. Differences in damping behavior and nonlinear stiffness between SMA-MR and more traditional metal rubber supports are discussed. The mechanical performance shown by the prototype demonstrates the feasibility of using the SMA-MR concept for active vibration control in rotordynamics, in particular at high temperatures and large amplitude vibrations.

  11. Assessment of Liver and Spleen Stiffness in Patients With Myelofibrosis Using FibroScan and Shear Wave Elastography.

    PubMed

    Webb, Muriel; Shibolet, Oren; Halpern, Zamir; Nagar, Meital; Amariglio, Ninette; Levit, Stella; Steinberg, David M; Santo, Erwin; Salomon, Ophira

    2015-09-01

    Liver stiffness and spleen stiffness in patients with myelofibrosis have traditionally been assessed through manual palpation and thus influenced by interobserver variability. In this article, for the first time, liver stiffness and spleen stiffness of patients with myelofibrosis were evaluated through FibroScan and shear wave elastography (SWE). Nine patients with myelofibrosis comprised the study group. They were compared with 11 patients with liver cirrhosis and 8 healthy volunteers. Before the FibroScan study, all patients underwent ultrasound study to delineate the left intercostal space for validated measurements. In patients with myelofibrosis, the mean stiffness of the spleen was 41.3 and 32.9 kilopascals (kPa) through FibroScan and SWE, respectively. The mean stiffness of the liver was 7.8 kPa through FibroScan and 10.4 kPa through SWE. The stiffness of the spleen in patients with cirrhosis was even higher, reaching a mean of 58.5 kPa through FibroScan and 40.5 kPa through SWE. The means were considerably lower among the healthy controls (13.5 and 18.1 kPa, respectively). The correlation between spleen stiffness among the patients with cirrhosis is negative and opposite in direction (r = -0.35) in comparison with the patients with myelofibrosis (r = 0.78). Among the patients with liver cirrhosis and myelofibrosis, spleen size was weakly related to spleen stiffness as assessed through SWE (r = 0.49) but had almost no relation to the FibroScan measure (r = 0.13). The FibroScan and SWE of the spleen have little ability to distinguish between the patients with myelofibrosis and cirrhosis, but they do differentiate both patient groups from the healthy controls. The stiffness of spleen and liver as measured through FibroScan and SWE was not correlated to the longevity of myelofibrosis.

  12. Spatial and temporal variability in microbial activities of coastal acid saline soils of Goa, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahajan, G. R.; Manjunath, B. L.; Latare, A. M.; D'Souza, R.; Vishwakarma, S.; Singh, N. P.

    2015-11-01

    The aim of the present investigation was to study the spatio-temporal variability of the microbial activities in coastal saline soils (locally called Khazan) of Goa, India (west coast region). The coastal soil salinity is a major constraint for reduced crop yields and abandonment of farming in these areas. Three replicated global positioning based soil samples (0-0.20 m depth) from each of four salinity groups i.e. non-saline (EC=0.08±0.06 dS m-1), weakly saline (EC=2.04±0.06 dS m-1), moderately saline (EC=3.50±0.57 dS m-1) and strongly saline (EC=5.49±0.49 dS m-1) during three seasons-monsoon, post-monsoon and pre-monsoon were collected. Soil microbial activity in terms of soil microbial carbon (MBC), MBC as a fraction of soil organic carbon (SOC) (MBC/SOC), basal soil respiration (BSR), metabolic quotient (qCO2) and soil enzyme activities-dehydrogenase, phosphatase and urease was tested. In all the seasons, the soil cationic composition depended significantly (p<0.01) on salinity levels and the exchangeable sodium (Na) was the second most dominant among the tested cations. The MBC, MBC/SOC and BSR reduced significantly with increasing salinity, whereas qCO2 increased with increased salinity levels. In general, MBC, MBC/SOC and BSR and soil enzyme activities were observed as: salinity levels-strongly saline < moderately saline < weakly saline < non-saline and season-post-monsoon > monsoon > during pre-monsoon season. The mean MBC and MBC/SOC of non-saline soils were 1.61 and 2.28 times higher than that of strongly saline soils, whereas qCO2 of strongly saline soils was 2.4 times higher than that of non-saline soils. This indirectly indicates the salinity stress on the soil microorganisms. Irrespective of season, the soil enzyme activities decreased significantly (p<0.05) with increasing salinity levels. Suitable countermeasures needs to be taken up to alleviate the depressive salinity effect on the microbial and activity for the sustainable crop production in

  13. Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior: Independent Associations With Body Composition Variables in Brazilian Children.

    PubMed

    Ferrari, Gerson Luis de Moraes; Oliveira, Luis Carlos; Araujo, Timoteo Leandro; Matsudo, Victor; Barreira, Tiago V; Tudor-Locke, Catrine; Katzmarzyk, Peter

    2015-08-01

    This study aimed to analyze the independent associations of accelerometer-determined sedentary behavior, physical activity, and steps/day with body composition variables in Brazilian children. 485 children wore accelerometers for 7 days. Variables included time in sedentary behavior and different physical activity intensities (light, moderate, vigorous, or moderate-to-vigorous) and steps/day. Body fat percentage was measured using a bioelectrical impedance scale, and BMI was calculated. Children spent 55.7% of the awake portion of the day in sedentary behavior, 37.6% in light physical activity, 4.6% in moderate physical activity, and 1.9% in vigorous physical activity. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and steps/day were negatively associated with body composition (BMI and body fat percentage) variables, independent of sex and sedentary behavior. Beta values were higher for vigorous physical activity than moderate physical activity. Vigorous physical activity was negatively associated with BMI (β-.1425) and body fat percentage (β-.3082; p < .0001). In boys, there were significant negative associations between moderate, vigorous, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and steps/day with body composition, and in girls, there was only a negative association with vigorous physical activity, independent of sedentary behavior. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and steps/day (in boys), but especially vigorous physical activity (in boys and girls), are associated with body composition, independent of sedentary behavior. Sedentary behavior was not related with any of the body composition variables once adjusted for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

  14. Variable transposition of eight maize activator (ac) elements located on the short arm of chromosome 1.

    PubMed

    Sheridan, William F

    2011-09-01

    Eight Activator (Ac) transposable elements mapped to the maize chromosome arm 1S were assessed for Ac transposition rates. For each of the Ac stocks, plants homozygous for the single Ac element and the Ds reporter r1-sc:m3 on chromosome 10 were crossed as females by a homozygous r1-sc:m3 tester color-converted W22 line. The resulting ears produced mostly coarsely spotted kernels and a low frequency of either near-colorless fine-spotted kernels or nonspotted kernels. The relative frequency of these two types of near-colorless kernels differed among the eight Ac stocks. The extent to which increased Ac dosage results in nonspotted kernels may be Ac-specific. Although all of the Ac elements are in near-isogenic inbred W22 lines, they varied to a large extent in their transposition frequency. These differences might possibly result from structural differences among the Ac elements. Because one pair of Ac elements derived from Ac33 on chromosome arm 5S differed about 13-fold in transposition frequency and a second pair of Ac elements derived from Ac12 on chromosome arm 1S differed about 3-fold in transposition frequency, this is not a likely explanation for all eight Ac elements. The data presented here support the notion that the differences in transposition frequency of the eight Ac elements may be a reflection of variability in Ac transcription or accessibility of the transposase to the Ac element, resulting from differences in the chromatin environments wherein the Ac elements are located. This is the first report of variability in transposition rates among different Ac donor lines.

  15. Variability in Obtaining Institutional Review Board Approval for Quality Improvement Activities in Residency Programs

    PubMed Central

    Conforti, Lisa N.; Hess, Brian J.; Ross, Kathryn M.; Lynn, Lorna A.; Holmboe, Eric S.

    2012-01-01

    Introduction Quality improvement (QI) activities are an important part of residency training. National studies are needed to inform best practices in QI training and experience for residents. The impact of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process on such studies is not well described. Methods This observational study looked at time, length, comfort level, and overall quality of experience for 42 residency training programs in obtaining approval or exemption for a nationally based educational QI study. Results For the 42 programs in the study, the time period to IRB approval/exemption was highly variable, ranging from less than 1 week to 56.5 weeks; mean and median time was approximately 18 weeks (SD, 10.8). Greater reported comfort with the IRB process was associated with less time to obtain approval (r  =  −.50; P < .01; 95% CI, −0.70 to −0.23). A more positive overall quality of experience with the IRB process was also associated with less time to obtain IRB approval (r  =  −.60; P < .01; 95% CI, −0.74 to −0.36). Discussion The IRB process for residency programs initiating QI studies shows considerable variance that is not explained by attributes of the projects. New strategies are needed to assist and expedite IRB processes for QI research in educational settings and reduce interinstitutional variability and increase comfort level among educators with the IRB process. PMID:23451318

  16. Drivers of Time-Activity Budget Variability during Breeding in a Pelagic Seabird

    PubMed Central

    Rishworth, Gavin M.; Tremblay, Yann; Green, David B.; Connan, Maëlle; Pistorius, Pierre A.

    2014-01-01

    During breeding, animal behaviour is particularly sensitive to environmental and food resource availability. Additionally, factors such as sex, body condition, and offspring developmental stage can influence behaviour. Amongst seabirds, behaviour is generally predictably affected by local foraging conditions and has therefore been suggested as a potentially useful proxy to indicate prey state. However, besides prey availability and distribution, a range of other variables also influence seabird behavior, and these need to be accounted for to increase the signal-to-noise ratio when assessing specific characteristics of the environment based on behavioural attributes. The aim of this study was to use continuous, fine-scale time-activity budget data from a pelagic seabird (Cape gannet, Morus capensis) to determine the influence of intrinsic (sex and body condition) and extrinsic (offspring and time) variables on parent behaviour during breeding. Foraging trip duration and chick provisioning rates were clearly sex-specific and associated with chick developmental stage. Females made fewer, longer foraging trips and spent less time at the nest during chick provisioning. These sex-specific differences became increasingly apparent with chick development. Additionally, parents in better body condition spent longer periods at their nests and those which returned later in the day had longer overall nest attendance bouts. Using recent technological advances, this study provides new insights into the foraging behaviour of breeding seabirds, particularly during the post-guarding phase. The biparental strategy of chick provisioning revealed in this study appears to be an example where the costs of egg development to the female are balanced by paternal-dominated chick provisioning particularly as the chick nears fledging. PMID:25551620

  17. Microbial contribution to carbon biogeochemistry in the Central Mediterranean Sea: Variability of activities and biomass

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    La Ferla, Rosabruna; Azzaro, Filippo; Azzaro, Maurizio; Caruso, Gabriella; Decembrini, Franco; Leonardi, Marcella; Maimone, Giovanna; Monticelli, Luis S.; Raffa, Francesco; Santinelli, Chiara; Zaccone, Renata; Ribera d'Alcalà, Maurizio

    2005-08-01

    This paper concerns the current debate as to whether oceans are heterotrophic or autotrophic environments. Microbes are responsible for the assimilation and remineralization of CO 2 in the sea and microbial processes are involved in the Earth climatic change. The variability of microbial biomass and activities were studied in the Mediterranean Sea which represents a suitable basin for mapping the trophic regimes by the study of biogeochemical processes. The surveys were carried out in the epi-, meso- and bathy-pelagic zones of the Central Mediterranean Sea from 1996 to 2002. Bacterial abundance, leucine aminopeptidase (LAP) and β-glucosidase (β-GLU) activities, bacterial carbon production (BCP), community respiration (R) and primary production (PP) were the main parameters investigated. Biomass and activities seasonally varied in epipelagic and, to some extent, in meso- and bathy-pelagic layers too and several trophic ratios were determined, showing different scenarios in the different areas and seasons. In the euphotic layer, bacterial growth efficiency (BGE) widely ranged between 4% and 50% showing a decreasing trend from estuaries towards pelagic areas in alignment with the trophic gradient from the Northern Adriatic to the Ionian Sea. However, BGE did not correlate to PP and temperature. The Central Mediterranean Sea showed different trophic regimes in the examined areas and seasons. In the Northern Adriatic Sea in winter, the trophic balance appeared to move towards autotrophy and a positive C budget resulted. An opposite scenario happened in summer when the trophic balance moved to heterotrophy and a negative C budget occurred. In the Ionian Sea, the overall balance turned always towards remineralization. However, on annual time scale, the Central Mediterranean Sea seems to show a tendency towards a heterotrophic system.

  18. Variability in Physical Activity Assessed with Accelerometer Is an Independent Predictor of Mortality in CHF Patients

    PubMed Central

    Melin, Michael; Hagerman, Inger; Gonon, Adrian; Gustafsson, Thomas; Rullman, Eric

    2016-01-01

    Aims Patients with heart failure often display a distinct pattern of walking characterized by short step-length and frequent short pauses. In the current study we sought to explore if qualitative aspects of movement have any additive value to established factors to predict all-cause mortality in patients with advanced heart failure. Methods and results 60 patients with advanced heart failure (NYHA III, peak VO2 <20 ml/kg and LVEF <35%) underwent symptom-limited CPX, echocardiography and routine chemistry. Physical activity was assessed using an accelerometer worn attached to the waist during waking hours for 7 consecutive days. The heart-failure survival score (HFSS) was calculated for each patient. All accelerometer-derived variables were analyzed with regard to all-cause mortality and added to a baseline model utilizing HFSS scores. HFSS score was significantly associated with the incidence of death (P<0.001; c-index 0.71; CI, 0.67–0.73). The addition of peak skewness to the HFSS model significantly improved the predictive ability with an increase in c-index to 0.74 (CI, 0.69–0.78), likelihood ratio P<0.02, establishing skewness as a predictor of increased event rates when accounting for baseline risk. Conclusion The feature skewness, a measure of asymmetry in the intensity level of periods of high physical activity, was identified to be predictive of all-cause mortality independent of the established prognostic model–HFSS and peak VO2. The findings from the present study emphasize the use of accelerometer analysis in clinical practice to make more accurate prognoses in addition to extract features of physical activity relevant to functional classification. PMID:27054323

  19. [Anaesthetic management of Stiff Man syndrome].

    PubMed

    Marín, T; Hernando, D; Kinast, N; Churruca, I; Sabate, S

    2015-04-01

    Stiff Man syndrome or stiff-person syndrome is a rare autoimmune disorder. It is characterized by increased axial muscular tone and limb musculature, and painful spasms triggered by stimulus. The case is presented of a 44-year-old man with stiff-person syndrome undergoing an injection of botulinum toxin in the urethral sphincter under sedation. Before induction, all the surgical team were ready in order to minimise the anaesthetic time. The patient was monitored by continuous ECG, SpO2 and non-invasive blood pressure. He was induced with fractional dose of propofol 150 mg, fentanyl 50 μg and midazolam 1mg. Despite careful titration, the patient had an O2 saturation level of 90%,which was resolved by manual ventilation. There was no muscle rigidity or spasm during the operation. Post-operative recovery was uneventful and the patient was discharged 2 days later. A review of other cases is presented. The anaesthetic concern in patients with stiff-person syndrome is the interaction between the anaesthetic agents, the preoperative medication, and the GABA system. For a safe anaesthetic management, total intravenous anaesthesia is recommended instead of inhalation anaesthetics, as well as the close monitoring of the respiratory function and the application of the electrical nerve stimulator when neuromuscular blockers are used. PMID:25060949

  20. Vibrating Beam With Spatially Periodic Stiffness

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Townsend, John S.

    1989-01-01

    Report presents theoretical analysis of vibrations of simply supported beam, bending stiffness varying about steady value, sinusoidally with position along length. Problem of practical importance because related to vibrations of twisted-pair electric-power transmission lines. Twists promote nonuniform shedding of vortexes and prevents resonant accumulation of vibrational energy from wind.

  1. Elastin in large artery stiffness and hypertension.

    PubMed

    Wagenseil, Jessica E; Mecham, Robert P

    2012-06-01

    Large artery stiffness, as measured by pulse wave velocity, is correlated with high blood pressure and may be a causative factor in essential hypertension. The extracellular matrix components, specifically the mix of elastin and collagen in the vessel wall, determine the passive mechanical properties of the large arteries. Elastin is organized into elastic fibers in the wall during arterial development in a complex process that requires spatial and temporal coordination of numerous proteins. The elastic fibers last the lifetime of the organism but are subject to proteolytic degradation and chemical alterations that change their mechanical properties. This review discusses how alterations in the amount, assembly, organization, or chemical properties of the elastic fibers affect arterial stiffness and blood pressure. Strategies for encouraging or reversing alterations to the elastic fibers are addressed. Methods for determining the efficacy of these strategies, by measuring elastin amounts and arterial stiffness, are summarized. Therapies that have a direct effect on arterial stiffness through alterations to the elastic fibers in the wall may be an effective treatment for essential hypertension.

  2. Substrate stiffness regulates cellular uptake of nanoparticles.

    PubMed

    Huang, Changjin; Butler, Peter J; Tong, Sheng; Muddana, Hari S; Bao, Gang; Zhang, Sulin

    2013-04-10

    Nanoparticle (NP)-bioconjugates hold great promise for more sensitive disease diagnosis and more effective anticancer drug delivery compared with existing approaches. A critical aspect in both applications is cellular internalization of NPs, which is influenced by NP properties and cell surface mechanics. Despite considerable progress in optimization of the NP-bioconjugates for improved targeting, the role of substrate stiffness on cellular uptake has not been investigated. Using polyacrylamide (PA) hydrogels as model substrates with tunable stiffness, we quantified the relationship between substrate stiffness and cellular uptake of fluorescent NPs by bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs). We found that a stiffer substrate results in a higher total cellular uptake on a per cell basis, but a lower uptake per unit membrane area. To obtain a mechanistic understanding of the cellular uptake behavior, we developed a thermodynamic model that predicts that membrane spreading area and cell membrane tension are two key factors controlling cellular uptake of NPs, both of which are modulated by substrate stiffness. Our experimental and modeling results not only open up new avenues for engineering NP-based cancer cell targets for more effective in vivo delivery but also contribute an example of how the physical environment dictates cellular behavior and function.

  3. [Anaesthetic management of Stiff Man syndrome].

    PubMed

    Marín, T; Hernando, D; Kinast, N; Churruca, I; Sabate, S

    2015-04-01

    Stiff Man syndrome or stiff-person syndrome is a rare autoimmune disorder. It is characterized by increased axial muscular tone and limb musculature, and painful spasms triggered by stimulus. The case is presented of a 44-year-old man with stiff-person syndrome undergoing an injection of botulinum toxin in the urethral sphincter under sedation. Before induction, all the surgical team were ready in order to minimise the anaesthetic time. The patient was monitored by continuous ECG, SpO2 and non-invasive blood pressure. He was induced with fractional dose of propofol 150 mg, fentanyl 50 μg and midazolam 1mg. Despite careful titration, the patient had an O2 saturation level of 90%,which was resolved by manual ventilation. There was no muscle rigidity or spasm during the operation. Post-operative recovery was uneventful and the patient was discharged 2 days later. A review of other cases is presented. The anaesthetic concern in patients with stiff-person syndrome is the interaction between the anaesthetic agents, the preoperative medication, and the GABA system. For a safe anaesthetic management, total intravenous anaesthesia is recommended instead of inhalation anaesthetics, as well as the close monitoring of the respiratory function and the application of the electrical nerve stimulator when neuromuscular blockers are used.

  4. 49 CFR 213.359 - Track stiffness.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ..., DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TRACK SAFETY STANDARDS Train Operations at Track Classes 6 and Higher § 213.359 Track stiffness. (a) Track shall have a sufficient vertical strength to withstand the maximum vehicle loads generated at maximum permissible train speeds, cant deficiencies and surface defects. For...

  5. 49 CFR 213.359 - Track stiffness.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ..., DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TRACK SAFETY STANDARDS Train Operations at Track Classes 6 and Higher § 213.359 Track stiffness. (a) Track shall have a sufficient vertical strength to withstand the maximum vehicle loads generated at maximum permissible train speeds, cant deficiencies and surface defects. For...

  6. 49 CFR 213.359 - Track stiffness.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ..., DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TRACK SAFETY STANDARDS Train Operations at Track Classes 6 and Higher § 213.359 Track stiffness. (a) Track shall have a sufficient vertical strength to withstand the maximum vehicle loads generated at maximum permissible train speeds, cant deficiencies and surface defects. For...

  7. 49 CFR 213.359 - Track stiffness.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ..., DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TRACK SAFETY STANDARDS Train Operations at Track Classes 6 and Higher § 213.359 Track stiffness. (a) Track shall have a sufficient vertical strength to withstand the maximum vehicle loads generated at maximum permissible train speeds, cant deficiencies and surface defects. For...

  8. Aging impairs smooth muscle-mediated regulation of aortic stiffness: a defect in shock absorption function?

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Yuan Z.; Saphirstein, Robert J.; Yamin, Rina; Suki, Bela

    2014-01-01

    Increased aortic stiffness is an early and independent biomarker of cardiovascular disease. Here we tested the hypothesis that vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) contribute significantly to aortic stiffness and investigated the mechanisms involved. The relative contributions of VSMCs, focal adhesions (FAs), and matrix to stiffness in mouse aorta preparations at optimal length and with confirmed VSMC viability were separated by the use of small-molecule inhibitors and activators. Using biomechanical methods designed for minimal perturbation of cellular function, we directly quantified changes with aging in aortic material stiffness. An alpha adrenoceptor agonist, in the presence of NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME) to remove interference of endothelial nitric oxide, increases stiffness by 90–200% from baseline in both young and old mice. Interestingly, increases are robustly suppressed by the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 in young but not old mice. Phosphotyrosine screening revealed, with aging, a biochemical signature of markedly impaired agonist-induced FA remodeling previously associated with Src signaling. Protein expression measurement confirmed a decrease in Src expression with aging. Thus we report here an additive model for the in vitro biomechanical components of the mouse aortic wall in which 1) VSMCs are a surprisingly large component of aortic stiffness at physiological lengths and 2) regulation of the VSMC component through FA signaling and hence plasticity is impaired with aging, diminishing the aorta's normal shock absorption function in response to stressors. PMID:25128168

  9. Prediction of extracellular matrix stiffness in engineered heart valve tissues based on nonwoven scaffolds.

    PubMed

    Engelmayr, George C; Sacks, Michael S

    2008-08-01

    The in vitro development of tissue engineered heart valves (TEHV) exhibiting appropriate structural and mechanical characteristics remains a significant challenge. An important step yet to be addressed is establishing the relationship between scaffold and extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanical properties. In the present study, a composite beam model accounting for nonwoven scaffold-ECM coupling and the transmural collagen concentration distribution was developed, and utilized to retrospectively estimate the ECM effective stiffness in TEHV specimens incubated under static and cyclic flexure conditions (Engelmayr Jr et~al. in Biomaterials 26(2):175-187 2005). The ECM effective stiffness was expressed as the product of the local collagen concentration and the collagen specific stiffness (i.e., stiffness/concentration), and was related to the overall TEHV effective stiffness via an empirically determined scaffold-ECM coupling parameter and measured transmural collagen concentration distributions. The scaffold-ECM coupling parameter was determined by flexural mechanical testing of polyacrylamide gels (i.e., ECM analogs) of variable stiffness and associated scaffold-polyacrylamide gel composites (i.e., engineered tissue analogs). The transmural collagen concentration distributions were quantified from fluorescence micrographs of picro-sirius red stained TEHV sections. As suggested by a previous structural model of the nonwoven scaffold (Engelmayr Jr and Sacks in J Biomech Eng 128(4):610-622, 2006), nonwoven scaffold-ECM composites did not follow a traditional rule of mixtures. The present study provided further evidence that the primary mode of reinforcement in nonwoven scaffold-ECM composites is an increase in the number fiber-fiber bonds with a concomitant increase in the effective stiffness of the spring-like fiber segments. Simulations of potential ECM deposition scenarios using the current model indicated that the present approach is sensitive to the specific time

  10. Hydrothermal activity at slow-spreading ridges: variability and importance of magmatic controls

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Escartin, Javier

    2016-04-01

    Hydrothermal activity along mid-ocean ridge axes is ubiquitous, associated with mass, chemical, and heat exchanges between the deep lithosphere and the overlying envelopes, and sustaining chemiosynthetic ecosystems at the seafloor. Compared with hydrothermal fields at fast-spreading ridges, those at slow spreading ones show a large variability as their location and nature is controlled or influenced by several parameters that are inter-related: a) tectonic setting, ranging from 'volcanic systems' (along the rift valley floor, volcanic ridges, seamounts), to 'tectonic' ones (rift-bounding faults, oceanic detachment faults); b) the nature of the host rock, owing to compositional heterogeneity of slow-spreading lithosphere (basalt, gabbro, peridotite); c) the type of heat source (magmatic bodies at depth, hot lithosphere, serpentinization reactions); d) and the associated temperature of outflow fluids (high- vs.- low temperature venting and their relative proportion). A systematic review of the distribution and characteristics of hydrothermal fields along the slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge suggests that long-lived hydrothermal activity is concentrated either at oceanic detachment faults, or along volcanic segments with evidence of robust magma supply to the axis. A detailed study of the magmatically robust Lucky Strike segment suggests that all present and past hydrothermal activity is found at the center of the segment. The association of these fields to central volcanos, and the absence of indicators of hydrothermal activity along the remaining of the ridge segment, suggests that long-lived hydrothermal activity in these volcanic systems is maintained by the enhanced melt supply and the associated magma chamber(s) required to build these volcanic edifices. In this setting, hydrothermal outflow zones at the seafloor are systematically controlled by faults, indicating that hydrothermal fluids in the shallow crust exploit permeable fault zones to circulate. While

  11. Neural control of leg stiffness during hopping in boys and men.

    PubMed

    Oliver, J L; Smith, P M

    2010-10-01

    The purpose of the study was to investigate whether boys and men utilise different control strategies whilst hopping. Eleven boys (11-12yr old) and ten men completed hopping at 1.5Hz, 3.0Hz and at their preferred frequency. A footswitch measured contact and flight times, from which leg stiffness was calculated. Simultaneously, surface electromyograms (EMGs) of selected lower limb muscles were recorded and quantified for each 30ms period during the first 120ms post-ground contact. At 1.5Hz there were no differences between the groups in relative stiffness or muscle activity. At 3.0Hz men had significantly shorter contact times (P=0.013), longer flight times (P=0.002), greater relative stiffness (P=0.01) and significantly greater soleus (P=0.012) and vastus lateralis (P<0.001) activity during the initial 30ms post-ground contact. At the preferred frequency men hopped significantly faster than the boys (P=0.007), with greater leg stiffness (P<0.01) and with more extensor activity in most time periods. Boys and men demonstrated similar control strategies when hopping at a slow frequency, but when hopping frequency increased men were able to better increase feedforward and reflex muscle activity to hop with greater relative stiffness.

  12. Where’s the Noise? Key Features of Spontaneous Activity and Neural Variability Arise through Learning in a Deterministic Network

    PubMed Central

    Hartmann, Christoph; Lazar, Andreea; Nessler, Bernhard; Triesch, Jochen

    2015-01-01

    Even in the absence of sensory stimulation the brain is spontaneously active. This background “noise” seems to be the dominant cause of the notoriously high trial-to-trial variability of neural recordings. Recent experimental observations have extended our knowledge of trial-to-trial variability and spontaneous activity in several directions: 1. Trial-to-trial variability systematically decreases following the onset of a sensory stimulus or the start of a motor act. 2. Spontaneous activity states in sensory cortex outline the region of evoked sensory responses. 3. Across development, spontaneous activity aligns itself with typical evoked activity patterns. 4. The spontaneous brain activity prior to the presentation of an ambiguous stimulus predicts how the stimulus will be interpreted. At present it is unclear how these observations relate to each other and how they arise in cortical circuits. Here we demonstrate that all of these phenomena can be accounted for by a deterministic self-organizing recurrent neural network model (SORN), which learns a predictive model of its sensory environment. The SORN comprises recurrently coupled populations of excitatory and inhibitory threshold units and learns via a combination of spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) and homeostatic plasticity mechanisms. Similar to balanced network architectures, units in the network show irregular activity and variable responses to inputs. Additionally, however, the SORN exhibits sequence learning abilities matching recent findings from visual cortex and the network’s spontaneous activity reproduces the experimental findings mentioned above. Intriguingly, the network’s behaviour is reminiscent of sampling-based probabilistic inference, suggesting that correlates of sampling-based inference can develop from the interaction of STDP and homeostasis in deterministic networks. We conclude that key observations on spontaneous brain activity and the variability of neural responses can be

  13. Where's the Noise? Key Features of Spontaneous Activity and Neural Variability Arise through Learning in a Deterministic Network.

    PubMed

    Hartmann, Christoph; Lazar, Andreea; Nessler, Bernhard; Triesch, Jochen

    2015-12-01

    Even in the absence of sensory stimulation the brain is spontaneously active. This background "noise" seems to be the dominant cause of the notoriously high trial-to-trial variability of neural recordings. Recent experimental observations have extended our knowledge of trial-to-trial variability and spontaneous activity in several directions: 1. Trial-to-trial variability systematically decreases following the onset of a sensory stimulus or the start of a motor act. 2. Spontaneous activity states in sensory cortex outline the region of evoked sensory responses. 3. Across development, spontaneous activity aligns itself with typical evoked activity patterns. 4. The spontaneous brain activity prior to the presentation of an ambiguous stimulus predicts how the stimulus will be interpreted. At present it is unclear how these observations relate to each other and how they arise in cortical circuits. Here we demonstrate that all of these phenomena can be accounted for by a deterministic self-organizing recurrent neural network model (SORN), which learns a predictive model of its sensory environment. The SORN comprises recurrently coupled populations of excitatory and inhibitory threshold units and learns via a combination of spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) and homeostatic plasticity mechanisms. Similar to balanced network architectures, units in the network show irregular activity and variable responses to inputs. Additionally, however, the SORN exhibits sequence learning abilities matching recent findings from visual cortex and the network's spontaneous activity reproduces the experimental findings mentioned above. Intriguingly, the network's behaviour is reminiscent of sampling-based probabilistic inference, suggesting that correlates of sampling-based inference can develop from the interaction of STDP and homeostasis in deterministic networks. We conclude that key observations on spontaneous brain activity and the variability of neural responses can be

  14. Where's the Noise? Key Features of Spontaneous Activity and Neural Variability Arise through Learning in a Deterministic Network.

    PubMed

    Hartmann, Christoph; Lazar, Andreea; Nessler, Bernhard; Triesch, Jochen

    2015-12-01

    Even in the absence of sensory stimulation the brain is spontaneously active. This background "noise" seems to be the dominant cause of the notoriously high trial-to-trial variability of neural recordings. Recent experimental observations have extended our knowledge of trial-to-trial variability and spontaneous activity in several directions: 1. Trial-to-trial variability systematically decreases following the onset of a sensory stimulus or the start of a motor act. 2. Spontaneous activity states in sensory cortex outline the region of evoked sensory responses. 3. Across development, spontaneous activity aligns itself with typical evoked activity patterns. 4. The spontaneous brain activity prior to the presentation of an ambiguous stimulus predicts how the stimulus will be interpreted. At present it is unclear how these observations relate to each other and how they arise in cortical circuits. Here we demonstrate that all of these phenomena can be accounted for by a deterministic self-organizing recurrent neural network model (SORN), which learns a predictive model of its sensory environment. The SORN comprises recurrently coupled populations of excitatory and inhibitory threshold units and learns via a combination of spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) and homeostatic plasticity mechanisms. Similar to balanced network architectures, units in the network show irregular activity and variable responses to inputs. Additionally, however, the SORN exhibits sequence learning abilities matching recent findings from visual cortex and the network's spontaneous activity reproduces the experimental findings mentioned above. Intriguingly, the network's behaviour is reminiscent of sampling-based probabilistic inference, suggesting that correlates of sampling-based inference can develop from the interaction of STDP and homeostasis in deterministic networks. We conclude that key observations on spontaneous brain activity and the variability of neural responses can be

  15. Arterial Stiffness and Chronic Kidney Disease

    PubMed Central

    Garnier, Anne-Sophie; Briet, Marie

    2016-01-01

    Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health concern due to the high prevalence of associated cardiovascular (CV) disease. CV mortality is 10-30 times higher in end-stage renal disease patients than in the age-adjusted general population. The last 20 years have been marked by a huge effort in the characterization of the vascular remodeling process associated with CKD and its consequences on the renal, CV and general prognosis. By comparison with patients with normal renal function, with or without hypertension, an increase in large artery stiffness has been described in end-stage renal disease as well as in CKD stages 2-5. Most clinical studies are consistent with the observation that damage to large arteries may contribute to the high incidence of CV disease. By contrast, the impact of large artery stiffening and remodeling on CKD progression is still a matter of debate. Concomitant exposure to other CV risk factors, including diabetes, seems to play a major role in the association between aortic stiffness and estimated GFR. The conflicting results obtained from longitudinal studies designed to evaluate the impact of baseline aortic stiffness on GFR progression are detailed in the present review. Only pulse pressure, central and peripheral, is almost constantly associated with incident CKD and GFR decline. Kidney transplantation improves patients’ CV prognosis, but its impact on arterial stiffness is still controversial. Donor age, living kidney donation and mean blood pressure appear to be the main determinants of improvement in aortic stiffness after kidney transplantation. PMID:27195244

  16. Human motor control consequences of thixotropic changes in muscular short-range stiffness.

    PubMed

    Axelson, H W; Hagbarth, K E

    2001-08-15

    1. The primary aim of the present study was to explore whether in healthy subjects the muscle contractions required for unrestrained voluntary wrist dorsiflexions are adjusted in strength to thixotropy-dependent variations in the short-range stiffness encountered in measurements of passive torque resistance to imposed wrist dorsiflexions. 2. After a period of rest, only the first movement in a series of passive wrist dorsiflexions of moderate amplitude exhibited clear signs of short-range stiffness in the torque response. During analogous types of voluntary movements, the extensor EMG during the first movement after rest showed a steep initial rise of activity, which apparently served to compensate for the short-range stiffness. 3. The passive torque resistance to minute repetitive wrist dorsiflexions (within the range of short-range stiffness) was markedly reduced after various types of mechanical agitation. During analogous low-amplitude voluntary wrist dorsiflexions the extensor EMG signals were weaker after than before agitation. 4. Mechanical agitation also led to enhancement of passive dorsiflexion movements induced by weak constant torque pulses. In an analogous way, the movement-generating capacity of weak voluntary extensor activations (as determined by EMG recordings) was greatly enhanced by mechanical agitation. 5. The signals from a force transducer probe pressed against the wrist flexor tendons--during passive wrist dorsiflexions--revealed short-range stiffness responses which highly resembled those observed in the torque measurements, suggesting that the latter to a large extent emanated from the stretched, relaxed flexor muscles. During repetitive stereotyped voluntary wrist dorsiflexions, a close correspondence was observed between the degree of short-range stiffness as sensed by the wrist flexor tension transducer and the strength of the initial extensor activation required for movement generation. 6. The results provide evidence that the central

  17. Numerically Generated Tangent Stiffness Matrices for Geometrically Non-Linear Structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lebofsky, Sonia

    The aim of this thesis is to develop a general numerical solution method for geometrically non-linear structures. Most common work involves tedious derivations of analytic tangent stiffness matrices. The major objective of the current work is to develop a numerically generated tangent stiffness matrix that allows for a general and easily implementable solution method. The thesis begins with the definition of the tangent stiffness matrix and a discussion of the Newton-Raphson incremental-iterative method typically used to solve geometrically non-linear problems. This is followed by a detailed description of how the tangent stiffness matrix is numerically generated using complex variable differentiation to approximate sensitivities. The thesis proceeds with details of the solution method applied to three different structural elements: 3D truss, membrane, and 3D beam. These discussions include numeric examples for each type of structure, the results of which are compared with the literature and ANSYS solutions. The results from the present work show that solutions obtained using the general numerically generated tangent stiffness matrix are accurate. While computational effort is increased, the method is especially attractive in the context of research involving small finite element models.

  18. Does short-term whole-body vibration training affect arterial stiffness in chronic stroke? A preliminary study.

    PubMed

    Yule, Christie E; Stoner, Lee; Hodges, Lynette D; Cochrane, Darryl J

    2016-03-01

    [Purpose] Previous studies have shown that stroke is associated with increased arterial stiffness that can be diminished by a program of physical activity. A novel exercise intervention, whole-body vibration (WBV), is reported to significantly improve arterial stiffness in healthy men and older sedentary adults. However, little is known about its efficacy in reducing arterial stiffness in chronic stroke. [Subjects and Methods] Six participants with chronic stroke were randomly assigned to 4 weeks of WBV training or control followed by cross-over after a 2-week washout period. WBV intervention consisted of 3 sessions of 5 min intermittent WBV per week for 4 weeks. Arterial stiffness (carotid arterial stiffness, pulse wave velocity [PWV], pulse and wave analysis [PWA]) were measured before/after each intervention. [Results] No significant improvements were reported with respect to carotid arterial stiffness, PWV, and PWA between WBV and control. However, carotid arterial stiffness showed a decrease over time following WBV compared to control, but this was not significant. [Conclusion] Three days/week for 4 weeks of WBV seems too short to elicit appropriate changes in arterial stiffness in chronic stroke. However, no adverse effects were reported, indicating that WBV is a safe and acceptable exercise modality for people with chronic stroke.

  19. Does short-term whole-body vibration training affect arterial stiffness in chronic stroke? A preliminary study

    PubMed Central

    Yule, Christie E.; Stoner, Lee; Hodges, Lynette D.; Cochrane, Darryl J.

    2016-01-01

    [Purpose] Previous studies have shown that stroke is associated with increased arterial stiffness that can be diminished by a program of physical activity. A novel exercise intervention, whole-body vibration (WBV), is reported to significantly improve arterial stiffness in healthy men and older sedentary adults. However, little is known about its efficacy in reducing arterial stiffness in chronic stroke. [Subjects and Methods] Six participants with chronic stroke were randomly assigned to 4 weeks of WBV training or control followed by cross-over after a 2-week washout period. WBV intervention consisted of 3 sessions of 5 min intermittent WBV per week for 4 weeks. Arterial stiffness (carotid arterial stiffness, pulse wave velocity [PWV], pulse and wave analysis [PWA]) were measured before/after each intervention. [Results] No significant improvements were reported with respect to carotid arterial stiffness, PWV, and PWA between WBV and control. However, carotid arterial stiffness showed a decrease over time following WBV compared to control, but this was not significant. [Conclusion] Three days/week for 4 weeks of WBV seems too short to elicit appropriate changes in arterial stiffness in chronic stroke. However, no adverse effects were reported, indicating that WBV is a safe and acceptable exercise modality for people with chronic stroke. PMID:27134400

  20. Inward-attention meditation increases parasympathetic activity: a study based on heart rate variability.

    PubMed

    Wu, Shr-Da; Lo, Pei-Chen

    2008-10-01

    Phenomenon of the heart rate variability (HRV) during various meditation techniques has been reported. However, most of these techniques emphasized the skill of slow breathing (<0.15 Hz). This paper reports our study on HRV during meditation which emphasizes inward attention. Inward attention has been an important approach for the Zen-meditation practitioners to enter into transcendental consciousness. Two groups of subjects were investigated, 10 experimental subjects with Zen-meditation experience and 10 control subjects without any meditation experience. We analyzed HRV both in time and frequency domains. The results revealed both common and different effects on HRV between inward-attention meditation and normal rest. The major difference of effects between two groups were the decrease of LF/HF ratio and LF norm as well as the increase of HF norm, which suggested the benefit of a sympathovagal balance toward parasympathetic activity. Moreover, we observed regular oscillating rhythms of the heart rate when the LF/HF ratio was small under meditation. According to previous studies, regular oscillations of heart rate signal usually appeared in the low-frequency band of HRV under slow breathing. Our findings showed that such regular oscillations could also appear in the high-frequency band of HRV but with smaller amplitude.

  1. Active flow control integrated diffuser (afcid) for increased energy efficiency in variable air volume systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Der Schijff, Hermanus P.

    Variable air volume (VAV) air terminals are designed to save energy by reducing airflow into a given space based on occupancy and required load. Systems are typically designed to operate at peak load, however as load is reduced, performance is compromised due to inadequate throw. As a result, fans are installed to adjust for the losses, negating many of the energy savings. Additionally flow is vectored by the use of vanes, a basic passive type of flow control. An experimental investigation was performed to study the application of flow control on that of a HVAC diffuser using synthetic jets distributed evenly along the diffuser edge parallel to the flow field. The study was conducted on a 1:3 scale typical office space (150 ft2), which included a simulated scale HVAC system supplied by compressed air. Two different jet blowing ratios were investigated for system loads of 60% and 90%. The flow field was established using hot wire anemometry and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). This study demonstrates the effectiveness of synthetic jet based active flow control at controlling airflow, showing ability to affect throw parameters for changing flow rates within the test chamber. Vectoring of up to 20% and improvement in jet spread of 200% was demonstrated. The use of such devices has the potential to improve air quality and air distribution in building while simultaneously lowering energy demands of HVAC systems.

  2. [Metabolic states at athletes in the strenuous muscular activity of variable character].

    PubMed

    Volkov, N I; Tambovtseva, R V; Iurikov, R V

    2012-01-01

    Investigated dynamics of metabolic conditions at athletes in strenuous muscular activity of variable character. The sportsmen of high qualification specializing in bicycle and skating sports, performed in vitro work on a bicycle ergometer at level of critical power at the maximum consumption of oxygen. In two additional series of experiences each of examinees has performed work on critical power by the initial accelerations making 28% from limiting duration of exercise of 45 and 108 seconds. At work on critical power on a course of performance of exercise consecutive change of metabolic conditions with a phase initial a log-period, fast exponential increase to level of the critical power, the subsequent maintenance of critical power and final dissociation of functions of an aerobic metabolism at increase of local exhaustion was traced. It is established that the most effective concerning work maintenance at level of critical power are short-term (no more than 10 s) initial accelerations on the power corresponding to 45-second limiting exercises: these accelerations stimulate development of functions of an aerobic metabolism and don't lead to exhaustion anaerobic resources and to development of the expressed local exhaustion in the end of work.

  3. Non-linear modelling and control of semi-active suspensions with variable damping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Huang; Long, Chen; Yuan, Chao-Chun; Jiang, Hao-Bin

    2013-10-01

    Electro-hydraulic dampers can provide variable damping force that is modulated by varying the command current; furthermore, they offer advantages such as lower power, rapid response, lower cost, and simple hardware. However, accurate characterisation of non-linear f-v properties in pre-yield and force saturation in post-yield is still required. Meanwhile, traditional linear or quarter vehicle models contain various non-linearities. The development of a multi-body dynamics model is very complex, and therefore, SIMPACK was used with suitable improvements for model development and numerical simulations. A semi-active suspension was built based on a belief-desire-intention (BDI)-agent model framework. Vehicle handling dynamics were analysed, and a co-simulation analysis was conducted in SIMPACK and MATLAB to evaluate the BDI-agent controller. The design effectively improved ride comfort, handling stability, and driving safety. A rapid control prototype was built based on dSPACE to conduct a real vehicle test. The test and simulation results were consistent, which verified the simulation.

  4. OBLIQUE SHOCKS AS THE ORIGIN OF RADIO TO GAMMA-RAY VARIABILITY IN ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI

    SciTech Connect

    Hughes, Philip A.; Aller, Margo F.; Aller, Hugh D. E-mail: mfa@umich.edu

    2011-07-10

    The 'shock in jet' model for centimeter-waveband blazar variability is revisited, allowing for arbitrary shock orientation with respect to the jet flow direction, and both random and ordered magnetic field. It is shown that oblique shocks can explain events with swings in polarization position angle much less than the 90{sup 0} associated with transverse structures, while retaining the general characteristics of outbursts, including spectral behavior and level of peak percentage polarization. Models dominated by a force-free, minimum energy magnetic field configuration (essentially helical) display a shallow rise in percentage polarization and frequency-dependent swing in polarization position angle not in agreement with the results of single-dish monitoring observations, implying that the field is predominantly random in the quiescent state. Outbursts well explained by the 'shock in jet' model are present during {gamma}-ray flaring in several sources, supporting the idea that shock events are responsible for activity from the radio to {gamma}-ray bands.

  5. Validation of 1985-1997 Active Cavity Radiometer Spacecraft Measurements of Total Solar Irradiance Variability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Robert B., III; Wilson, Robert S.

    1998-01-01

    Since 1978, long-term variations in the total solar irradiance (solar constant) have been monitored using spacecraft radiometers, at the 0.01% precision level. The irradiance measurements were performed from the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite [ERBS], Nimbus-7, Solar Maximum Mission [SMM], Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite [UARS], European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA), Solar and Heliospheric Observatory [SOHO], and the Space Shuttle Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science [ATLAS] spacecraft platforms. Radiometer responses can drift or shift at precision levels of a few hundreds of a percent. In-flight calibration sources are not available to detect radiometer response changes at radiometric accuracy or precision levels near the 0.01% (0.1 W/sq m) level. Inconsistent trends among the sets were used to identify possible instrumental drifts or shifts which may be incorrectly interpreted as solar irradiance changes while consistent trends among the different measurement sets were used to detect long-term irradiance variability components. In this paper, 1991-1998 corresponding ERBS, UARS, SOHO, and ATLAS irradiance measurements are inter-compared with each other as well as with the ERBS empirical irradiance fit. The empirical irradiance fit is based upon 10.7-cm solar radio flux (F10) and photometric sunspot index (PSI), indices of solar magnetic activity. Analyses of recent data sets identified no long-term shifts and drifts in the ERBS, SOHO, or UARS data sets. The typical value of the total solar irradiance is approximately 1365 Watts per meter squared (W/sq m).

  6. The contribution of pre-stimulus neural oscillatory activity to spontaneous response time variability

    PubMed Central

    Bompas, Aline; Sumner, Petroc; Muthumumaraswamy, Suresh D.; Singh, Krish D.; Gilchrist, Iain D.

    2015-01-01

    Large variability between individual response times, even in identical conditions, is a ubiquitous property of animal behavior. However, the origins of this stochasticity and its relation to action decisions remain unclear. Here we focus on the state of the perception–action network in the pre-stimulus period and its influence on subsequent saccadic response time and choice in humans. We employ magnetoencephalography (MEG) and a correlational source reconstruction approach to identify the brain areas where pre-stimulus oscillatory activity predicted saccadic response time to visual targets. We find a relationship between future response time and pre-stimulus power, but not phase, in occipital (including V1), parietal, posterior cingulate and superior frontal cortices, consistently across alpha, beta and low gamma frequencies, each accounting for between 1 and 4% of the RT variance. Importantly, these correlations were not explained by deterministic sources of variance, such as experimental factors and trial history. Our results further suggest that occipital areas mainly reflect short-term (trial to trial) stochastic fluctuations, while the frontal contribution largely reflects longer-term effects such as fatigue or practice. Parietal areas reflect fluctuations at both time scales. We found no evidence of lateralization: these effects were indistinguishable in both hemispheres and for both saccade directions, and non-predictive of choice — a finding with fundamental consequences for models of action decision, where independent, not coupled, noise is normally assumed. PMID:25482267

  7. Chemical variability and antioxidant activity of Limbarda crithmoides L. essential oil from Corsica.

    PubMed

    Andreani, Stéphane; De Cian, Marie-Cecile; Paolini, Julien; Desjobert, Jean-Marie; Costa, Jean; Muselli, Alain

    2013-11-01

    The chemical compositions of 25 Corsican Limbarda crithmoides ssp. longifolia essential oils were investigated for the first time using GC-FID, GC/MS, and NMR analyses. Altogether, 65 compounds were identified, accounting for 90.0-99.3% of the total oil compositions. The main components were p-cymene (1; 15.1-34.6%), 3-methoxy-p-cymenene (4; 11.8-28.5%), 2,5-dimethoxy-p-cymenene (5; 5.9-16.4%), thymol methyl ether (6; 1.3-14.9%), α-phellandrene (2; 0.9-11.9%), and α-pinene (3; 0.2-13.4%). The chemical variability of the Corsican oil samples was studied using multivariate statistical analysis, which allowed the discrimination of two main clusters. A direct correlation between the water salinities of the plant locations and the chemical compositions of the L. crithmoides essential oils was evidenced. Indeed, essential oils rich in 1 (30.4-34.6%) were found in samples growing in the wetlands of the southern oriental coast, which exhibit high salinity levels (24.4±0.2-33.9±0.2 ppt), and essential oils with lower contents of 1 (15.1-27.3%) were isolated form samples growing in the wetlands of northern Corsica, which exhibit lower salinity levels (10.90±0.20-15.47±0.15 ppt). The antioxidant potential of L. crithmoides essential oil was also investigated, by assessing the DPPH(.) - and ABTS(.+) -scavenging activities and the reducing power of ferric ions, and was found to be interesting. Moreover, using bioassay-guided fractionation of the essential oil, a higher antioxidant activity was obtained for the oxygenated fraction and both ester and alcohol subfractions. PMID:24243615

  8. Regional Heat Sources and the Active and Break Phases of Boreal Summer Intraseasonal Variability

    SciTech Connect

    Annamalai, H; Sperber, K R

    2003-12-15

    The boreal summer intraseasonal variability (BSISV) associated with the 30-50 day mode is represented by the co-existence of three components, poleward propagation of convection over the Indian and tropical west Pacific longitudes and eastward propagation along the equator. The hypothesis that the three components influence each other has been investigated using observed OLR, NCEP-NCAR reanalysis, and solutions from an idealized linear model. The null hypothesis is that the three components are mutually independent. Cyclostationary EOF (CsEOF) analysis is applied on filtered OLR to extract the life-cycle of the BSISV. The dominant mode of CsEOF is significantly tied to observed rainfall over the Indian subcontinent. The components of the heating patterns from CsEOF analysis serve as prescribed forcings for the linear model. This allows us to ascertain which heat sources and sinks are instrumental in driving the large-scale monsoon circulation during the BSISV life-cycle. We identify three new findings: (1) the circulation anomalies that develop as a Rossby wave response to suppressed convection over the equatorial Indian Ocean associated with the previous break phase of the BSISV precondition the ocean-atmosphere system in the western Indian Ocean and trigger the next active phase of the BSISV, (2) the development of convection over the tropical west Pacific forces descent anomalies to the west. This, in conjunction with the weakened cross-equatorial flow due to suppressed convective anomalies over the equatorial Indian Ocean reduce the tropospheric moisture over the Arabian Sea, and promote westerly wind anomalies that do not recurve over India. As a result the low-level cyclonic vorticity shifts from India to southeast Asia and break conditions are initiated over India, and (3) the circulation anomalies forced by equatorial Indian Ocean convective anomalies significantly influence the active/break phases over the tropical west Pacific. Our model solutions support

  9. Secular variability of the geocoronal Balmer-alpha brightness: magnetic activity and possible human influences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kerr, R. B.; Garcia, R.; He, X.; Noto, J.; Lancaster, R. S.; Tepley, C. A.; González, S. A.; Friedman, J.; Doe, R. A.; Lappen, M.; McCormack, B.

    2001-12-01

    Measurements of the geocoronal Balmer-alpha (Hα) brightness taken between 1983 and 1994 at the Arecibo Observatory (18.35°N, 66.75°W) occasionally display aperiodic brightness variations that we attribute to a local response of exospheric hydrogen abundance to geomagnetic activity. Approximately twofold Hα brightness enhancements in the days following moderate storm onset conditions are demonstrated, and the absolute brightness during these events is significantly greater than modeled brightness based on quiet geomagnetic conditions. Although there are no direct measurements of the line center solar Lyman beta (Ly β) flux that pumps Hα during these events, the magnitude of the brightness enhancements and the temporal reproducibility of the phenomena (following onset of all storms in our data) make it likely that the enhanced Hα brightness is due to enhanced column abundances of hydrogen in the exosphere above Arecibo and not to sporadic increases in the solar Ly β flux. Increased hydrogen abundance due to thermal expansion of the midlatitude atmosphere following propagation of the auroral heating event cannot account for the entire enhancement. The data also suggest that Hα brightness has become systematically stronger from 1984 to 1994, independent of solar cycle variability or variations due to geomagnetic activity. An increase of ~3% per year, may be attributable to real change in the geocoronal hydrogen column abundance during the period, and is possibly a consequence of increasing hydrogenous species concentrations in the lower atmosphere. The enhancement of geocoronal Hα brightness between 1984 and 1994 may be the consequence of increasing methane in the troposphere and may signal that the effects of methane deposition in the lower atmosphere have propagated throughout the atmosphere.

  10. Williams syndrome predisposes to vascular stiffness modified by antihypertensive use and copy number changes in NCF1.

    PubMed

    Kozel, Beth A; Danback, Joshua R; Waxler, Jessica L; Knutsen, Russell H; de Las Fuentes, Lisa; Reusz, Gyorgy S; Kis, Eva; Bhatt, Ami B; Pober, Barbara R

    2014-01-01

    Williams syndrome is caused by the deletion of 26 to 28 genes, including elastin, on human chromosome 7. Elastin insufficiency leads to the cardiovascular hallmarks of this condition, namely focal stenosis and hypertension. Extrapolation from the Eln(+/-) mouse suggests that affected people may also have stiff vasculature, a risk factor for stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiac death. NCF1, one of the variably deleted Williams genes, is a component of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase complex and is involved in the generation of oxidative stress, making it an interesting candidate modifier for vascular stiffness. Using a case-control design, vascular stiffness was evaluated by pulse wave velocity in 77 Williams cases and matched controls. Cases had stiffer conducting vessels than controls (P<0.001), with increased stiffness observed in even the youngest children with Williams syndrome. Pulse wave velocity increased with age at comparable rates in cases and controls, and although the degree of vascular stiffness varied, it was seen in both hypertensive and normotensive Williams participants. Use of antihypertensive medication and extension of the Williams deletion to include NCF1 were associated with protection from vascular stiffness. These findings demonstrate that vascular stiffness is a primary vascular phenotype in Williams syndrome and that treatment with antihypertensives or agents inhibiting oxidative stress may be important in managing patients with this condition, potentially even those who are not overtly hypertensive.

  11. Rapid, low-level X-ray variability in active late-type dwarfs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ambruster, Carol W.; Sciortino, Salvatore; Golub, L.

    1987-01-01

    A sensitive new statistical analysis method was used to establish certain properties of quiescent X-ray variability in a sample of 19 late-type dwarfs. Sixteen stars proved to be significantly variable. The typical amplitude of the fluctuations was about 30 percent. Variability time scales ranged from about 150 s for 40 Eri C to lower limits as large as 2000 s. Neither the amplitudes nor the time scales of the X-ray variability appeared to depend on position along the main sequence.

  12. Variability Selected Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei in the 4 Ms Chandra Deep Field-South

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, M.; Brandt, W. N.; Xue, Y. Q.; Paolillo, D. M.; Alexander, F. E.; Bauer, F. E.; Lehmer, B. D.; Luo, B.; Shemmer, O.; Schneider, D. P.; Vignail, C.

    2012-01-01

    The 4 Ms Chandra Deep Field-South (CDF-S) and other deep X-ray surveys have been highly effective at selecting active galactic nuclei (AGN). However, cosmologically distant low-luminosity AGN (LLAGN) have remained a challenge to identify due to significant contribution from the host galaxy. We identify long-term X ray variability (approx. month years, observed frame) in 20 of 92 CDF-S galaxies spanning redshifts approx equals 00.8 - 1.02 that do not meet other AGN selection criteria. We show that the observed variability cannot be explained by X-ray binary populations or ultraluminous X-ray sources, so the variability is most likely caused by accretion onto a supermassive black hole. The variable galaxies are not heavily obscured in general, with a stacked effective power-law photon index of Gamma(sub Stack) approx equals 1.93 +/- 0.13, and arc therefore likely LLAGN. The LLAGN tend to lie it factor of approx equal 6-89 below the extrapolated linear variability-luminosity relation measured for luminous AGN. This may he explained by their lower accretion rates. Variability-independent black-hole mass and accretion-rate estimates for variable galaxies show that they sample a significantly different black hole mass-accretion-rate space, with masses a factor of 2.4 lower and accretion rates a factor of 22.5 lower than variable luminous AGNs at the same redshift. We find that an empirical model based on a universal broken power-law power spectral density function, where the break frequency depends on SMBH mass and accretion rate, roughly reproduces the shape, but not the normalization, of the variability-luminosity trends measured for variable galaxies and more luminous AGNs.

  13. A review on in situ stiffness adjustment methods in MEMS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Laat, M. L. C.; Pérez Garza, H. H.; Herder, J. L.; Ghatkesar, M. K.

    2016-06-01

    In situ stiffness adjustment in microelectromechanical systems is used in a variety of applications such as radio-frequency mechanical filters, energy harvesters, atomic force microscopy, vibration detection sensors. In this review we provide designers with an overview of existing stiffness adjustment methods, their working principle, and possible adjustment range. The concepts are categorized according to their physical working principle. It is concluded that the electrostatic adjustment principle is the most applied method, and narrow to wide ranges in stiffness can be achieved. But in order to obtain a wide range in stiffness change, large, complex devices were designed. Mechanical stiffness adjustment is found to be a space-effective way of obtaining wide changes in stiffness, but these methods are often discrete and require large tuning voltages. Stiffness adjustment through stressing effects or change in Young’s modulus was used only for narrow ranges. The change in second moment of inertia was used for stiffness adjustment in the intermediate range.

  14. Chain stiffness regulates entropy-templated perfect mixing at single-nanoparticle level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Zihan; Lu, Ce; Dong, Bojun; Xu, Guoxi; Ji, Chengcheng; Zhao, Kongyin; Yan, Li-Tang

    2015-12-01

    The mixing on a single-particle level of chemically incompatible nanoparticles is an outstanding challenge for many applications. Burgeoning research activity suggests that entropic templating is a potential strategy to address this issue. Herein, using systematic computer simulations of model nanoparticle systems, we show that the entropy-templated interfacial organization of nanoparticles significantly depends on the stiffness of tethered chains. Unexpectedly, the optimal chain stiffness can be identified wherein a system exhibits the most perfect mixing for a certain compression ratio. Our simulations demonstrate that entropic templating regulated by chain stiffness precisely reflects various entropic repulsion states that arise from typical conformation regimes of semiflexible chains. The physical mechanism of the chain stiffness effect is revealed by analyzing the entropic repulsion states of tethered chains and quantitatively estimating the resulting entropy penalties, which provides direct evidence that supports the key role of entropic transition in the entropic templating strategy, as suggested in experiments. Moreover, the model nanoparticle systems are found to evolve into binary nanoparticle superlattices by remixing at extremely high stiffness. The findings facilitate the wide application of the entropic templating strategy in creating interfacially reactive nanomaterials with ordered structures on the single-nanoparticle level as well as mechanomutable responses.The mixing on a single-particle level of chemically incompatible nanoparticles is an outstanding challenge for many applications. Burgeoning research activity suggests that entropic templating is a potential strategy to address this issue. Herein, using systematic computer simulations of model nanoparticle systems, we show that the entropy-templated interfacial organization of nanoparticles significantly depends on the stiffness of tethered chains. Unexpectedly, the optimal chain stiffness can

  15. Titin stiffness modifies the force-generating region of muscle sarcomeres

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yong; Lang, Patrick; Linke, Wolfgang A.

    2016-01-01

    The contractile units of striated muscle, the sarcomeres, comprise the thick (myosin) and thin (actin) filaments mediating active contraction and the titin filaments determining “passive” elasticity. We hypothesized that titin may be more active in muscle contraction by directly modulating thick-filament properties. We used single-myofibril mechanical measurements and atomic force microscopy of individual sarcomeres to quantify the effects of sarcomere strain and titin spring length on both the inter-filament lattice spacing and the lateral stiffness of the actin-myosin overlap zone (A-band). We found that strain reduced the lattice spacing similarly in sarcomeres with stiff (rabbit psoas) or compliant titin (rabbit diaphragm), but increased A-band lateral stiffness much more in psoas than in diaphragm. The strain-induced alterations in A-band stiffness that occur independently of lattice spacing effects may be due to titin stiffness-sensing by A-band proteins. This mechanosensitivity could play a role in the physiologically important phenomenon of length-dependent activation of striated muscle. PMID:27079135

  16. Identification of Active Galactic Nuclei through HST optical variability in the GOODS South field

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pouliasis, Ektoras; Georgantopoulos; Bonanos, A.; HCV Team

    2016-08-01

    This work aims to identify AGN in the GOODS South deep field through optical variability. This method can easily identify low-luminosity AGN. In particular, we use images in the z-band obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope with the ACS/WFC camera over 5 epochs separated by ~45 days. Aperture photometry has been performed using SExtractor to extract the lightcurves. Several variability indices, such as the median absolute deviation, excess variance, and sigma were applied to automatically identify the variable sources. After removing artifacts, stars and supernovae from the variable selected sample and keeping only those sources with known photometric or spectroscopic redshift, the optical variability was compared to variability in other wavelengths (X-rays, mid-IR, radio). This multi-wavelength study provides important constraints on the structure and the properties of the AGN and their relation to their hosts. This work is a part of the validation of the Hubble Catalog of Variables (HCV) project, which has been launched at the National Observatory of Athens by ESA, and aims to identify all sources (pointlike and extended) showing variability, based on the Hubble Source Catalog (HSC, Whitmore et al. 2015). The HSC version 1 was released in February 2015 and includes 80 million sources imaged with the WFPC2, ACS/WFC, WFC3/UVIS and WFC3/IR cameras.

  17. WASTE SOLIDIFICATION BUILDING BENCH SCALE HIGH ACTIVITY WASTE SIMULANT VARIABILITY STUDY FY2008

    SciTech Connect

    Hansen, E; Timothy Jones, T; Tommy Edwards, T; Alex Cozzi, A

    2009-03-20

    The primary objective of this task was to perform a variability study of the high activity waste (HAW) acidic feed to determine the impact of feed variability on the quality of the final grout and on the mixability of the salt solution into the dry powders. The HAW acidic feeds were processed through the neutralization/pH process, targeting a final pH of 12. These fluids were then blended with the dry materials to make the final waste forms. A secondary objective was to determine if elemental substitution for cost prohibitive or toxic elements in the simulant affects the mixing response, thus providing a more economical simulant for use in full scale tests. Though not an objective, the HAW simulant used in the full scale tests was also tested and compared to the results from this task. A statistically designed test matrix was developed based on the maximum molarity inputs used to make the acidic solutions. The maximum molarity inputs were: 7.39 HNO{sub 3}, 0.11618 gallium, 0.5423 silver, and 1.1032 'other' metals based on their NO{sub 3}{sup -} contribution. Substitution of the elements aluminum for gallium and copper for silver was also considered in this test matrix, resulting in a total of 40 tests. During the NaOH addition, the neutralization/pH adjustment process was controlled to a maximum temperature of 60 C. The neutralized/pH adjusted simulants were blended with Portland cement and zircon flour at a water to cement mass ratio of 0.30. The mass ratio of zircon flour to Portland cement was 1/12. The grout was made using a Hobart N-50 mixer running at low speed for two minutes to incorporate and properly wet the dry solids with liquid and at medium speed for five minutes for mixing. The resulting fresh grout was measured for three consecutive yield stress measurements. The cured grout was measured for set, bleed, and density. Given the conditions of preparing the grout in this task, all of the grouts were visually well mixed prior to preparing the grouts for

  18. Impact of climate variability and anthropogenic activity on streamflow in the Three Rivers Headwater Region, Tibetan Plateau, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiang, Chong; Li, Daiqing; Gao, Yanni; Liu, Wenfeng; Zhang, Linbo

    2016-05-01

    Under the impacts of climate variability and human activities, there is violent fluctuation for streamflow in the large basins in China. Therefore, it is crucial to separate the impacts of climate variability and human activities on streamflow fluctuation for better water resources planning and management. In this study, the Three Rivers Headwater Region (TRHR) was chosen as the study area. Long-term hydrological data for the TRHR were collected in order to investigate the changes in annual runoff during the period of 1956-2012. The nonparametric Mann-Kendall test, moving t test, Pettitt test, Mann-Kendall-Sneyers test, and the cumulative anomaly curve were used to identify trends and change points in the hydro-meteorological variables. Change point in runoff was identified in the three basins, which respectively occurred around the years 1989 and 1993, dividing the long-term runoff series into a natural period and a human-induced period. Then, the hydrologic sensitivity analysis method was employed to evaluate the effects of climate variability and human activities on mean annual runoff for the human-induced period based on precipitation and potential evapotranspiration. In the human-induced period, climate variability was the main factor that increased (reduced) runoff in LRB and YARB (YRB) with contribution of more than 90 %, while the increasing (decreasing) percentage due to human activities only accounted for less than 10 %, showing that runoff in the TRHR is more sensitive to climate variability than human activities. The intra-annual distribution of runoff shifted gradually from a double peak pattern to a single peak pattern, which was mainly influenced by atmospheric circulation in the summer and autumn. The inter-annual variation in runoff was jointly controlled by the East Asian monsoon, the westerly, and Tibetan Plateau monsoons.

  19. Variability for Categorical Variables

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kader, Gary D.; Perry, Mike

    2007-01-01

    Introductory statistics textbooks rarely discuss the concept of variability for a categorical variable and thus, in this case, do not provide a measure of variability. The impression is thus given that there is no measurement of variability for a categorical variable. A measure of variability depends on the concept of variability. Research has…

  20. Stiffness and mass matrices for shells of revolution (SAMMSOR II)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tillerson, J. R.; Haisler, W. E.

    1974-01-01

    Utilizing element properties, structural stiffness and mass matrices are generated for as many as twenty harmonics and stored on magnetic tape. Matrices generated constitute input data to be used by other stiffness of revolution programs. Variety of boundary and loading conditions can be employed without having to create new mass and stiffness matrices for each case.