• Active Aging: Social Entrepreneuring in Local Communities of Five European Countries

      Socci, Marco; orcid: 0000-0001-9093-2167; email: m.socci@inrca.it; Clarke, David; email: clarke.d@chester.ac.uk; Principi, Andrea; orcid: 0000-0003-3701-0539; email: a.principi@inrca.it (MDPI, 2020-04-03)
      Building on the active aging framework, the aim of this study, carried out between 2016 and 2018, is to analyze concrete experiences of older individuals acting as key players of social change in six local communities of five European countries (Bulgaria, Denmark, England, France, Spain). The 19 seniors involved in the study, according to social contexts, individual past experiences, knowledge, and motivations, acted as senior social entrepreneurs, trying to build a pathway towards social solutions for unmet social problems they detected in local communities. Data were collected via templates and questionnaires and analyzed using the thematic analysis. The results highlighted that the 16 local initiatives created by seniors concerned social problems such as food waste, social isolation, multicultural integration, etc. The social solutions implemented by seniors seemed to have the potential to produce social value and, to different degrees, encouraging results and impact. Since this “social experiment” provided evidence that senior social entrepreneuring could be a driver to solve societal problems, policy makers should sustain the spread of both social entrepreneurial mindset and practices at the European level, for catalyzing the active potential of older people for the benefit of European local communities.
    • Analysis of Tilt Effect on Notch Depth Profiling Using Thin-Skin Regime of Driver-Pickup Eddy-Current Sensor

      Lu, Mingyang; email: mingyang.lu@manchester.ac.uk; Meng, Xiaobai; orcid: 0000-0003-0696-4137; email: xiaobai.meng@northampton.ac.uk; Huang, Ruochen; email: ruochen.huang@manchester.ac.uk; Peyton, Anthony; orcid: 0000-0002-5740-348X; email: a.peyton@manchester.ac.uk; Yin, Wuliang; orcid: 0000-0001-5927-3052; email: wuliang.yin@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-08-17)
      Electromagnetic eddy current sensors are commonly used to identify and quantify the surface notches of metals. However, the unintentional tilt of eddy current sensors affects results of size profiling, particularly for the depth profiling. In this paper, based on the eddy current thin-skin regime, a revised algorithm has been proposed for the analytical voltage or impedance of a tilted driver–pickup eddy current sensor scanning across a long ideal notch. Considering the resolution of the measurement, the bespoke driver–pickup, also termed as transmitter–receiver (T-R) sensor is designed with a small mean radius of 1 mm. In addition, the T-R sensor is connected to the electromagnetic instrument and controlled by a scanning stage with high spatial travel resolution, with a limit of 0.2 μm and selected as 0.25 mm. Experiments were conducted for imaging of an aluminium sheet with seven machined long notches of different depths using T-R sensor under different tilt angles. By fitting the measured voltage (both real and imaginary part) with proposed analytical algorithms, the depth profiling of notches is less affected by the tilt angle of sensors. From the results, the depth of notches can be retrieved within a deviation of 10% for tilt angles up to 60 degrees.
    • Anticipated Memories and Adaptation from Past Flood Events in Gregório Creek Basin, Brazil

      Fialho, Hailton César Pimentel; Abreu, Fernando Girardi; Sousa, Bruno José de Oliveira; Souza, Felipe Augusto Arguello; Bhattacharya-Mis, Namrata; Mendiondo, Eduardo Mario; Oliveira, Paulo Tarso Sanches de (MDPI, 2021-12-01)
      In this research we used walking interviews to investigate the measures used by shopkeepers as protection against floods. The concept of anticipated memory has been used to identify the relationship between their learning from previous events and the adaptive measures they have taken to reduce risk of future flooding in Gregório Creek basin. The area is affected by major flooding issues in the city of São Carlos, southeastern Brazil. Twenty-three (23) downtown merchants shared their experience of the extreme rainfall that occurred on 12 January 2020, characterized by a return period of 103 years. Comparing our findings with November 2015 and March 2018 floods (Interviews 37 and 52 respectively), we noted that due to the enhanced level of threat, people had changed their adaptation strategy by increasing the sum of floodgate height more than 4-fold (870 cm to 3830 cm) between 2015 to 2020. Our results showed that despite frequent flooding, the shopkeepers downtown were reluctant to move away from the area; rather, they preferred to improve their individual protection. The substantial increase in the height of the floodgates represents the population’s feedback in the face of a new level of threat.
    • Baseline Behavioral Data and Behavioral Correlates of Disturbance for the Lake Oku Clawed Frog ( Xenopus longipes )

      Dias, Jemma E.; email: jemmaedias@gmail.com; Ellis, Charlotte; email: charlotte.ellis@zsl.org; Smith, Tessa E.; email: tessa.smith@chester.ac.uk; Hosie, Charlotte A.; orcid: 0000-0002-3869-2108; email: l.hosie@chester.ac.uk; Tapley, Benjamin; email: ben.tapley@zsl.org; Michaels, Christopher J.; orcid: 0000-0002-4733-8397; email: christopher.michaels@zsl.org (MDPI, 2022-04-19)
      Animal behavior and welfare science can form the basis of zoo animal management. However, even basic behavioral data are lacking for the majority of amphibian species, and species-specific research is required to inform management. Our goal was to develop the first ethogram for the critically endangered frog Xenopus longipes through observation of a captive population of 24 frogs. The ethogram was applied to produce a diurnal activity budget and to measure the behavioral impact of a routine health check where frogs were restrained. In the activity budget, frogs spent the vast majority of time swimming, resting in small amounts of time devoted to feeding, foraging, breathing, and (in males) amplexus. Using linear mixed models, we found no effect of time of day or sex on baseline behavior, other than for breathing, which had a greater duration in females. Linear mixed models indicated significant effects of the health check on duration of swimming, resting, foraging, feeding, and breathing behaviors for all frogs. This indicates a welfare trade-off associated with veterinary monitoring and highlights the importance of non-invasive monitoring where possible, as well as providing candidates for behavioral monitoring of acute stress. This investigation has provided the first behavioral data for this species which can be applied to future research regarding husbandry and management practices.
    • Bayesian Reference Analysis for the Generalized Normal Linear Regression Model

      Tomazella, Vera Lucia Damasceno; orcid: 0000-0002-6780-2089; email: vera@ufscar.br; Jesus, Sandra Rêgo; email: sandrarj@ufba.br; Gazon, Amanda Buosi; orcid: 0000-0001-8140-5496; email: amandagazon@alumni.usp.br; Louzada, Francisco; orcid: 0000-0001-7815-9554; email: louzada@icmc.usp.br; Nadarajah, Saralees; email: saralees.nadarajah@manchester.ac.uk; Nascimento, Diego Carvalho; orcid: 0000-0002-3406-4518; email: diego.nascimento@uda.cl; Rodrigues, Francisco Aparecido; email: francisco@icmc.usp.br; Ramos, Pedro Luiz; orcid: 0000-0002-5387-2457; email: pedrolramos@usp.br (MDPI, 2021-05-12)
      This article proposes the use of the Bayesian reference analysis to estimate the parameters of the generalized normal linear regression model. It is shown that the reference prior led to a proper posterior distribution, while the Jeffreys prior returned an improper one. The inferential purposes were obtained via Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC). Furthermore, diagnostic techniques based on the Kullback–Leibler divergence were used. The proposed method was illustrated using artificial data and real data on the height and diameter of Eucalyptus clones from Brazil.
    • Bedtime Oral Hygiene Behaviours, Dietary Habits and Children’s Dental Health

      Kitsaras, George; orcid: 0000-0002-1631-1730; email: georgios.kitsaras@manchester.ac.uk; Goodwin, Michaela; orcid: 0000-0002-0375-3118; email: michaela.goodwin@manchester.ac.uk; Kelly, Michael P.; orcid: 0000-0002-2029-5841; email: mk744@medschl.cam.ac.uk; Pretty, Iain A.; email: iain.a.pretty@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-05-19)
      Background: Oral hygiene behaviours as well as dietary habits before bed can affect children’s dental health resulting in higher prevalence of dental disease. Dental disease can affect children’s health, development and even school performance. If left untreated, dental disease can progress and it can lead to extractions under general anaesthetic causing further distress for children and families. Consistent and appropriate oral hygiene behaviours and dietary habits can prevent dental diseases from occurring in the first place. Objective: This cross-sectional study examines the relationship between oral hygiene behaviours, dietary habits around bedtime and children’s dental health. Methods: A total of 185 parents with children between the ages of 3 and 7 years from deprived areas participated in the study. Data on bedtime routine activities were collected using an automated text-survey system. Children’s dental health status was established through examination of dental charts and dmft (decayed, missed, filled teeth) scores. Results: In total, 52.4% of parents reported that their children’s teeth were brushed every night. The majority of children (58.9%) had dmft scores over zero. In total, 51 (46.7% of children with dmft score over 0 and 27.5% of all children) children had active decay. The mean dmft score for those experiencing decay was 2.96 (SD = 2.22) with an overall mean dmft score of 1.75 (SD = 2.24). There were significant correlations between frequency of tooth brushing, frequency of snacks/drinks before bed and dmft scores (r = −0.584, p 0.001 and r = 0.547, p = 0.001 respectively). Finally, higher brushing frequency was associated with a lower likelihood of a dmft score greater than 0 (Exp(B) = 0.9). Conclusions: Despite families implementing oral hygiene behaviours as part of their bedtime routines those behaviours varied in their consistency. Results of this study highlight the need for additional studies that consider bedtime routine-related activities and especially the combined effects of oral hygiene practices and dietary habits due to their potentially important relationship with children’s dental health.
    • Biocatalytic Silylation: The Condensation of Phenols and Alcohols with Triethylsilanol

      Sparkes, Emily I.; email: emilysparkes11@gmail.com; Egedeuzu, Chisom S.; orcid: 0000-0002-1380-234X; email: chisom.egedeuzu@manchester.ac.uk; Lias, Billie; email: billie.lias@student.manchester.ac.uk; Sung, Rehana; email: rehana.sung@manchester.ac.uk; Caslin, Stephanie A.; email: stephanie.caslin@sky.com; Tabatabaei Dakhili, S. Yasin; email: s.yasin.tabatabaei.d@gmail.com; Taylor, Peter G.; email: peter.taylor@open.ac.uk; Quayle, Peter; email: Peter.Quayle@manchester.ac.uk; Wong, Lu Shin; orcid: 0000-0002-7437-123X; email: l.s.wong@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-07-22)
      Silicatein-α (Silα), a hydrolytic enzyme derived from siliceous marine sponges, is one of the few enzymes in nature capable of catalysing the metathesis of silicon–oxygen bonds. It is therefore of interest as a possible biocatalyst for the synthesis of organosiloxanes. To further investigate the substrate scope of this enzyme, a series of condensation reactions with a variety of phenols and aliphatic alcohols were carried out. In general, it was observed that Silα demonstrated a preference for phenols, though the conversions were relatively modest in most cases. In the two pairs of chiral alcohols that were investigated, it was found that the enzyme displayed a preference for the silylation of the S-enantiomers. Additionally, the enzyme’s tolerance to a range of solvents was tested. Silα had the highest level of substrate conversion in the nonpolar solvents n-octane and toluene, although the inclusion of up to 20% of 1,4-dioxane was tolerated. These results suggest that Silα is a potential candidate for directed evolution toward future application as a robust and selective biocatalyst for organosiloxane chemistry.
    • Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis Situation among Post Tuberculosis Patients in Vietnam: An Observational Study

      Nguyen, Ngoc Thi Bich; email: ngocn4@hotmail.com; Le Ngoc, Huy; orcid: 0000-0003-2706-4760; email: huy.lengochmu@gmail.com; Nguyen, Nhung Viet; email: vietnhung@yahoo.com; Dinh, Luong Van; email: dinhvanluong66@gmail.com; Nguyen, Hung Van; email: hungmtb75@gmail.com; Nguyen, Huyen Thi; email: huyennguyen0406@gmail.com; Denning, David W.; orcid: 0000-0001-5626-2251; email: ddenning@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-06-30)
      This study provides a brief view of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA) in the post-tuberculosis treatment community in Vietnam, a high burden tuberculosis (TB) country. In three months in late 2019, 70 post-TB patients managed at Vietnam National Lung Hospital were enrolled. Of these, 38 (54.3%) had CPA. The male/female ratio was 3/1 (28 males and ten females). CPA patients had a mean age of 59 ± 2.3 years (95%CI 54.4–63.6). The mean Body mass index (BMI) was 19.0 ± 0.5 (18.0–20.0) and 16 of 38 (42.1%) patients had concurrent diseases, the most common of which were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes. Twenty-six patients (68.4%) developed hemoptysis, 21 (55.3%) breathlessness, and weight loss was seen in 30 (78.9%). Anaemia was seen in 15 (39.5%) and 27 of 38 (71.1%) patients had an elevated C-reactive protein (CRP). The most common radiological findings were multiple cavities (52.6%) and pleural thickening (42.7%), followed by aspergilloma (29.0%) and non-specific infiltrates. There were five of 38 patients (13.2%) with a cavity containing a fungal ball on the chest X-ray, but when the high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) was examined, the number of patients with fungal balls rose to 11 (28.9%). Overall, 34 of 38 (89.5%) cases had an elevated Aspergillus IgG with an optical density ≥ 1, and in 2 cases, it was 0.9–1.0 (5%), borderline positive. In nine patients (23.7%) Aspergillus fumigatus was cultured from sputum. CPA is an under-recognised problem in Vietnam and other high burden TB countries, requiring a different diagnostic approach and treatment and careful management. HRCT and Aspergillus IgG serum test are recommended as initial diagnostic tools for CPA diagnosis.
    • Climate Change Adaptation on Small Island States: An Assessment of Limits and Constraints

      Leal Filho, Walter; Krishnapillai, Murukesan; Sidsaph, Henry; Nagy, Gustavo J.; Luetz, Johannes M.; Dyer, Jack; Otoara Ha’apio, Michael; Havea, Peni Hausia; Raj, Kushaal; Singh, Priyatma; et al. (MDPI, 2021-05-31)
      Small Island States (SIDS) are among the nations most exposed to climate change (CC) and are characterised by a high degree of vulnerability. Their unique nature means there is a need for more studies focused on the limits to CC adaptation on such fragile nations, particularly regarding their problems and constraints. This paper addressed a perceived need for research into the limitations of adaptation on SIDS, focusing on the many unique restrictions. To this end, the study identified and described the adaptation limits they have by using a review of the literature and an analysis of case studies from a sample of five SIDS in the Caribbean and Pacific regions (Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Cook Islands, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Tonga). This research’s findings showed that an adaptable SIDS is characterised by awareness of various values, appreciation and understanding of a diversity of impacts and vulnerabilities, and acceptance of certain losses through change. The implications of this paper are two-fold. It explains why island nations continue to suffer from the impacts of CC and suggest some of the means via which adequate policies may support SIDS in their efforts to cope with the threats associated with a changing climate. This study concluded that, despite the technological and ecological limits (hard limits) affecting natural systems, adaptation to CC is limited by such complex forces and societal factors (soft limits) that more adequate adaptation strategies could overcome.
    • Comprehensive Library Generation for Identification and Quantification of Endometrial Cancer Protein Biomarkers in Cervico-Vaginal Fluid

      Njoku, Kelechi; orcid: 0000-0001-6528-3476; email: kelechi.njoku@manchester.ac.uk; Chiasserini, Davide; email: davide.chiasserini@unipg.it; Geary, Bethany; orcid: 0000-0002-5592-5532; email: bethany.geary@manchester.ac.uk; Pierce, Andrew; email: andrew.pierce@manchester.ac.uk; Jones, Eleanor R.; email: eleanor.jones-3@manchester.ac.uk; Whetton, Anthony D.; orcid: 0000-0002-1098-3878; email: tony.whetton@manchester.ac.uk; Crosbie, Emma J.; orcid: 0000-0003-0284-8630; email: emma.crosbie@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-07-28)
      Endometrial cancer is the most common gynaecological malignancy in high-income countries and its incidence is rising. Early detection, aided by highly sensitive and specific biomarkers, has the potential to improve outcomes as treatment can be provided when it is most likely to effect a cure. Sequential window acquisition of all theoretical mass spectra (SWATH-MS), an accurate and reproducible platform for analysing biological samples, offers a technological advance for biomarker discovery due to its reproducibility, sensitivity and potential for data re-interrogation. SWATH-MS requires a spectral library in order to identify and quantify peptides from multiplexed mass spectrometry data. Here we present a bespoke spectral library of 154,206 transitions identifying 19,394 peptides and 2425 proteins in the cervico-vaginal fluid of postmenopausal women with, or at risk of, endometrial cancer. We have combined these data with a library of over 6000 proteins generated based on mass spectrometric analysis of two endometrial cancer cell lines. This unique resource enables the study of protein biomarkers for endometrial cancer detection in cervico-vaginal fluid. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with unique identifier PXD025925.
    • Conducting Behavioural Research in the Zoo: A Guide to Ten Important Methods, Concepts and Theories

      Rose, Paul E.; orcid: 0000-0002-5375-8267; email: p.rose@exeter.ac.uk; Riley, Lisa M.; orcid: 0000-0003-1918-4623; email: Lisa.Riley@winchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-08-10)
      Behavioural research in zoos is commonplace and is used in the diagnosis and treatment of potential husbandry and management challenges. Robust methods that allow valid data collection and analysis constitute an evidence-based approach to animal care. Understanding behaviour is essential to improving animal management, and behavioural research is therefore popular, with a wide choice of behavioural methodologies and theories available. This review outlines ten methodological approaches, concepts or theories essential to zoo science that are based around behavioural observation. This list is not exhaustive but aims to define and describe key areas of consideration when planning and implementing a zoo-based behavioural project. We discuss the application of well-established methods (the construction of ethograms, use of time–activity patterns and measurement of space/enclosure use) as well as evaluating newer or less-widely applied analytical techniques, such as behavioural diversity indices, social networks analysis and Qualitative Behavioural Assessment. We also consider the importance of fundamental research methods, the application of pure science to understand and interpret zoo animal behaviour (with a review of a Tinbergian approach) and consideration of meta-analyses. The integration of observational techniques into experiments that aim to identify the cause and effect of behavioural performance is then explored, and we examine the assimilation of behavioural methods used in studies of environmental enrichment. By systematically studying animal behaviour, we can attempt to understand the welfare of individual animals in captivity, and here we present an example of our reviewed approaches to this area of zoo science. Combining multiple methodologies can lead to a greater understanding of behaviour and welfare, creating robust research, progressing husbandry and advancing conservation strategies. Collaborations between zoological collections and academic researchers (e.g., in Higher Education Institutions) can further refine and enhance the validity of research and husbandry practice alike.
    • Correction: Wiśniewska et al. Heterospecific Fear and Avoidance Behaviour in Domestic Horses ( Equus caballus ). Animals 2021, 11, 3081

      Wiśniewska, Anna; orcid: 0000-0003-1127-2960; Janczarek, Iwona; orcid: 0000-0001-9032-8840; Wilk, Izabela; orcid: 0000-0001-7958-2303; Tkaczyk, Ewelina; orcid: 0000-0003-4495-7413; Mierzicka, Martyna; Stanley, Christina R.; orcid: 0000-0002-5053-4831; Górecka-Bruzda, Aleksandra; orcid: 0000-0002-2770-2278; email: a.gorecka@igbzpan.pl (MDPI, 2022-08-10)
      The authors wish to make the following correction to this paper [...]
    • Cortical Visual Impairment in Childhood: ‘Blindsight’ and the Sprague Effect Revisited

      Leisman, Gerry; orcid: 0000-0002-9975-7331; email: g.leisman@alumni.manchester.ac.uk; Machado, Calixto; orcid: 0000-0002-0539-5844; email: braind@infomed.sld.cu; Melillo, Robert; email: drrm1019@aol.com (MDPI, 2021-09-27)
      The paper discusses and provides support for diverse processes of brain plasticity in visual function after damage in infancy and childhood in comparison with injury that occurs in the adult brain. We provide support and description of neuroplastic mechanisms in childhood that do not seemingly exist in the same way in the adult brain. Examples include the ability to foster the development of thalamocortical connectivities that can circumvent the lesion and reach their cortical destination in the occipital cortex as the developing brain is more efficient in building new connections. Supporting this claim is the fact that in those with central visual field defects we can note that the extrastriatal visual connectivities are greater when a lesion occurs earlier in life as opposed to in the neurologically mature adult. The result is a significantly more optimized system of visual and spatial exploration within the ‘blind’ field of view. The discussion is provided within the context of “blindsight” and the “Sprague Effect”.
    • COVID-19 and Dentistry

      Devlin, Hugh; email: hugh.devlin@manchester.ac.uk; Soltani, Parisa; orcid: 0000-0002-9273-5279; email: p.soltani@dnt.mui.ac.ir (MDPI, 2021-06-21)
      Dentistry is a healthcare profession requiring close contacts between the dental practitioner and the patient. In particular, many dental procedures generate aerosols and droplets which are proved to be the major transmission route for COVID-19.
    • Data-Driven Dispatching Rules Mining and Real-Time Decision-Making Methodology in Intelligent Manufacturing Shop Floor with Uncertainty

      Zhang, Liping; email: zhangliping@wust.edu.cn; Hu, Yifan; email: huyifan@wust.edu.cn; Tang, Qiuhua; email: tangqiuhua@wust.edu.cn; Li, Jie; email: jie.li-2@manchester.ac.uk; Li, Zhixiong; email: zhixiong.li@yonsei.ac.kr (MDPI, 2021-07-15)
      In modern manufacturing industry, the methods supporting real-time decision-making are the urgent requirement to response the uncertainty and complexity in intelligent production process. In this paper, a novel closed-loop scheduling framework is proposed to achieve real-time decision making by calling the appropriate data-driven dispatching rules at each rescheduling point. This framework contains four parts: offline training, online decision-making, data base and rules base. In the offline training part, the potential and appropriate dispatching rules with managers’ expectations are explored successfully by an improved gene expression program (IGEP) from the historical production data, not just the available or predictable information of the shop floor. In the online decision-making part, the intelligent shop floor will implement the scheduling scheme which is scheduled by the appropriate dispatching rules from rules base and store the production data into the data base. This approach is evaluated in a scenario of the intelligent job shop with random jobs arrival. Numerical experiments demonstrate that the proposed method outperformed the existing well-known single and combination dispatching rules or the discovered dispatching rules via metaheuristic algorithm in term of makespan, total flow time and tardiness.
    • Discovering the Arrow of Time in Machine Learning

      Kasmire, J.; orcid: 0000-0003-2684-6330; email: j.kasmire@manchester.ac.uk; Zhao, Anran; email: ofzhaoar@gmail.com (MDPI, 2021-10-22)
      Machine learning (ML) is increasingly useful as data grow in volume and accessibility. ML can perform tasks (e.g., categorisation, decision making, anomaly detection, etc.) through experience and without explicit instruction, even when the data are too vast, complex, highly variable, full of errors to be analysed in other ways. Thus, ML is great for natural language, images, or other complex and messy data available in large and growing volumes. Selecting ML models for tasks depends on many factors as they vary in supervision needed, tolerable error levels, and ability to account for order or temporal context, among many other things. Importantly, ML methods for tasks that use explicitly ordered or time-dependent data struggle with errors or data asymmetry. Most data are (implicitly) ordered or time-dependent, potentially allowing a hidden `arrow of time’ to affect ML performance on non-temporal tasks. This research explores the interaction of ML and implicit order using two ML models to automatically classify (a non-temporal task) tweets (temporal data) under conditions that balance volume and complexity of data. Results show that performance was affected, suggesting that researchers should carefully consider time when matching appropriate ML models to tasks, even when time is only implicitly included.
    • Discovery and Evaluation of Protein Biomarkers as a Signature of Wellness in Late-Stage Cancer Patients in Early Phase Clinical Trials

      Geary, Bethany; orcid: 0000-0002-5592-5532; email: bethany.geary@manchester.ac.uk; Peat, Erin; email: erin.peat@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk; Dransfield, Sarah; email: sarah.dransfield@christie.nhs.uk; Cook, Natalie; orcid: 0000-0003-2606-1082; email: natalie.cook17@nhs.net; Thistlethwaite, Fiona; orcid: 0000-0002-4832-7008; email: fiona.thistlethwaite@nhs.net; Graham, Donna; email: donna.graham8@nhs.net; Carter, Louise; email: louise.carter24@nhs.net; Hughes, Andrew; email: Andrew.hughes@manchester.ac.uk; Krebs, Matthew G.; email: matthew.krebs@manchester.ac.uk; Whetton, Anthony D.; orcid: 0000-0002-1098-3878; email: tony.whetton@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-05-18)
      TARGET (tumour characterisation to guide experimental targeted therapy) is a cancer precision medicine programme focused on molecular characterisation of patients entering early phase clinical trials. Performance status (PS) measures a patient’s ability to perform a variety of activities. However, the quality of present algorithms to assess PS is limited and based on qualitative clinician assessment. Plasma samples from patients enrolled into TARGET were analysed using the mass spectrometry (MS) technique: sequential window acquisition of all theoretical fragment ion spectra (SWATH)-MS. SWATH-MS was used on a discovery cohort of 55 patients to differentiate patients into either a good or poor prognosis by creation of a Wellness Score (WS) that showed stronger prediction of overall survival (p = 0.000551) compared to PS (p = 0.001). WS was then tested against a validation cohort of 77 patients showing significant (p = 0.000451) prediction of overall survival. WS in both sets had receiver operating characteristic curve area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.76 (p = 0.002) and 0.67 (p = 0.011): AUC of PS was 0.70 (p = 0.117) and 0.55 (p = 0.548). These signatures can now be evaluated further in larger patient populations to assess their utility in a clinical setting.
    • DNA Interaction with a Polyelectrolyte Monolayer at Solution—Air Interface

      Chirkov, Nikolay S.; email: n.chirkov@spbu.ru; Campbell, Richard A.; orcid: 0000-0002-6296-314X; email: richard.campbell@manchester.ac.uk; Michailov, Alexander V.; orcid: 0000-0003-3273-6170; email: mav030655@gmail.com; Vlasov, Petr S.; email: petr_vlasov@mail.ru; Noskov, Boris A.; email: b.noskov@spbu.ru (MDPI, 2021-08-22)
      The formation of ordered 2D nanostructures of double stranded DNA molecules at various interfaces attracts more and more focus in medical and engineering research, but the underlying intermolecular interactions still require elucidation. Recently, it has been revealed that mixtures of DNA with a series of hydrophobic cationic polyelectrolytes including poly(N, N-diallyl-N-hexyl-N-methylammonium) chloride (PDAHMAC) form a network of ribbonlike or threadlike aggregates at the solution—air interface. In the present work, we adopt a novel approach to confine the same polyelectrolyte at the solution—air interface by spreading it on a subphase with elevated ionic strength. A suite of techniques–rheology, microscopy, ellipsometry, and spectroscopy–are applied to gain insight into main steps of the adsorption layer formation, which results in non-monotonic kinetic dependencies of various surface properties. A long induction period of the kinetic dependencies after DNA is exposed to the surface film results only if the initial surface pressure corresponds to a quasiplateau region of the compression isotherm of a PDAHMAC monolayer. Despite the different aggregation mechanisms, the micromorphology of the mixed PDAHMAC/DNA does not depend noticeably on the initial surface pressure. The results provide new perspective on nanostructure formation involving nucleic acids building blocks.
    • Do Gender and Gender Role Orientation Make a Difference in the Link between Role Demands and Family Interference with Work for Taiwanese Workers?

      Lu, Luo; orcid: 0000-0001-6533-0447; email: luolu@ntu.edu.tw; Chang, Ting-Ting; email: tinapc@ms24.hinet.net; Kao, Shu-Fang; email: d89227002@gmail.com; Cooper, Cary L.; email: cary.cooper@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-09-17)
      Based on the gender role orientation perspective, this study extends the resource depletion mechanism that links role demands to family interference with work by testing the moderating effects of gender and gender role orientation (egalitarian vs. traditional) on the relationships. Analysis of the data from 251 employees in Taiwan revealed two significant three-way interactive effects. Specifically, for men, the positive relationship between work demands and family-to-work conflict (FWC) was stronger for egalitarian than traditional individuals. For women, the positive relationship between family demands and FWC was stronger for egalitarian than traditional individuals. We also found a significant two-way interactive effect; that is, within the egalitarian group, the positive relationship between work demands and FWC was stronger for women than men. Our findings, thus, suggest both within-gender and between-gender variations in the links between work-to-family demands and conflict, jointly affected by the individual’s gender and gender role orientation. Contextualized within the cultural traditions of a Chinese society, we highlight the precarious position that egalitarian men and women (especially women) find for themselves in fulfilling work duties and family roles. The theoretical and managerial implications are also discussed.
    • DRL-Assisted Resource Allocation for NOMA-MEC Offloading with Hybrid SIC

      Li, Haodong; orcid: 0000-0001-8184-400X; email: haodong.li@manchester.ac.uk; Fang, Fang; orcid: 0000-0002-6582-6570; email: fang.fang@durham.ac.uk; Ding, Zhiguo; orcid: 0000-0001-5280-384X; email: zhiguo.ding@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-05-14)
      Multi-access edge computing (MEC) and non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) are regarded as promising technologies to improve the computation capability and offloading efficiency of mobile devices in the sixth-generation (6G) mobile system. This paper mainly focused on the hybrid NOMA-MEC system, where multiple users were first grouped into pairs, and users in each pair offloaded their tasks simultaneously by NOMA, then a dedicated time duration was scheduled to the more delay-tolerant user for uploading the remaining data by orthogonal multiple access (OMA). For the conventional NOMA uplink transmission, successive interference cancellation (SIC) was applied to decode the superposed signals successively according to the channel state information (CSI) or the quality of service (QoS) requirement. In this work, we integrated the hybrid SIC scheme, which dynamically adapts the SIC decoding order among all NOMA groups. To solve the user grouping problem, a deep reinforcement learning (DRL)-based algorithm was proposed to obtain a close-to-optimal user grouping policy. Moreover, we optimally minimized the offloading energy consumption by obtaining the closed-form solution to the resource allocation problem. Simulation results showed that the proposed algorithm converged fast, and the NOMA-MEC scheme outperformed the existing orthogonal multiple access (OMA) scheme.