Open Access Short Research Article

Does Syncopated Gait Benefit from Central Pattern Generators?

Kristina J. Mayberry, Lorenzo Chiari

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1117-1126
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/8854

Aim: To investigate the feasibility of syncopated (anti-phase) gait, particularly at different walking cadences. We expect it to be more successful at preferred speed because of central pattern generators (CPGs), subcortical neural networks which contribute to gait’s automaticity.
Study Design: Research protocol
Place and Duration of Study: Faculty of Engineering, University of Bologna, Cesena, Italy, May 2011 to March 2012.
Methodology: Ten healthy subjects walked to an auditory metronome beat set to 85%, 100% and 115% of their preferred cadence in a series of one-minute trials. They were instructed to walk in time to the beat for the in-phase condition, so that their heel strike coincided with the beat. For the anti-phase condition, they were instructed to time their heel strike to occur midway between beats. Anterior-posterior acceleration signals, used to calculate heel strike, were measured by an accelerometer worn on the back. The variables cadence variability, jerk (the derivative of acceleration) and harmonic ratio (HR- a measure of gait symmetry and consistency) assessed gait perturbation; phase shift, in degrees, quantified the difference between beats and heel strikes for each step cycle (360º).
Results: Anti-phase gait is possible (average timing of in- and anti-phase heel strikes was 350.3±44.8º and 173.4±65.7º, respectively; P<.001). Cadence variability was lowest at the preferred speed for in-phase gait (slow 12.32±1.16%, preferred 7.54±0.49%, fast 10.85±1.20%, P<.001), but no different for anti-phase gait (slow 12.75±1.04%, preferred 13.84±0.98%, fast 13.26±1.07%, P=.75).
Conclusion: Decreased variability at preferred speed is an indication of CPG facilitation; this was observed during in-phase but not anti-phase gait. The results provide no evidence that CPGs operate preferentially at preferred speed to contribute to locomotor control during anti-phase gait.

Open Access Minireview Article

Traditional Techniques of Underground Water Catchment in the Algerian Sahara

N. Mebrouk, M. I. Hassani, D. Mahammed

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1067-1078
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/8959

In desert regions, the water constitutes an indispensable supply to every human, animal or vegetable life. In the Algerian Sahara, where underground waters are the main exploitable hydric resources, saharian agriculturists make use of several traditional catchment processes.
The first process corresponds to the "Ghout" technique. It is spread in the sandy dune region (erg) of El Oued. Agriculturists create their palm groves at the center of large concentric basins, dug so that the artificial topographic elevation is brought to one meter or less above the water table.
The most usual means to get the water up is still the traditional well (hassi), dug by hand. Its construction and its exploitation do not lead to particular problems, nevertheless, these ordinary wells are badly adapted to reach confined aquifers, especially artesian aquifers. However, well-diggers of Oued Righ took up the challenge, by digging real artesian wells with rudimentary tools.
Another original process of underground water catchments that has been well developed in the Sahara is the digging of "foggaras". This method takes advantage of natural topographic declivity of the ground and the piezometric surface in order to bring the aquifer waters to the surface. The water flows by simple gravity through sub-horizontal draining galleries that lower upper part crests of underground water tables. The water exploitation by these different techniques is a good example of mastery and rational use of natural resources. Today, in strong competition with modern drillings within great pumping discharges, these techniques are fast disappearing. Nevertheless, through new know-how contribution and by adapting modern techniques, these patterns of catchments can make an important contribution to ensure the durable use of water in these arid regions.

Open Access Original Research Article

Missing Data Imputation Using a Regime Switching Technique

Jumlong Vongprasert, Bhusana Premanode, Boonchom Srisa-ard

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1038-1049
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/8637

The purpose of this paper is to develop a regime switching technique to optimise mean and regression of a missing data set whose sample is small in size with a low degree of correlation. The data sets were first generated with a simple random method and later treated with the missing completely at random method (MCAR) in order to simulate complete data sets. We classified the data sets with different scenarios of sample size, degree of correlation and percentage of missing data. Moreover, we performed the tests with the missing data imputation techniques, namely: (i) mean imputation (MI), (ii) regression imputation (RI), (iii) regime switching for mean imputation (RsMI), (iv) regime switching for regression imputation (RsRI), (v) average regime switching between mean and regression imputation (aRsMRI), and (vi) weighted regime switching between mean and regression imputation (wRsMRI). The simulation results showed that in the scenario of small sample size and low degree correlation, wRsMRI techniques outperformed other techniques which use MSE evaluate accuracy.

Open Access Original Research Article

Physico–Chemical Properties and Some Heavy Metal Contents in Public Water Sources in Tuzla and its surrounding, Bosnian and Herzegovina

Aida Crnkić, Almir Šestan, Aldina Kesić, Zorica Hodžić, Indira Šestan

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1050-1056
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/8137

This paper presents the results of physico-chemical parameters and heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd) contents in water sources of public supply of Tuzla and the surrounding area, as alternative sources of water supply. The study area was divided into six (6) sampling sites and their respective position was detected using GPS device (MAGELLAN EXPLORIST 210). The heavy metals were determined using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS), While, the physico-chemical parameters (pH, electrical conductivity (EC), carbonate, total hardness, nitrate (NO3 -N), nitrite (NO2 -N), ammonia (NH3 -N), KMnO4 and chlorides were determined using standard methods. The heavy metal contents: Cu (1-6 μg/L) and Zn (1-2 μg/L). Pb was only detected Simin Han well water at 2 μg/L. Cd was below detection limits in all samples. The levels of Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb in Tuzla and its surrounding alternative drinking sources are within the permissible limits according to the Regulations on the safety of drinking water of Bosnia and Herzegovina and WHO. The physico –chemical properties of the water samples from the study area are within the recommended level of exposure, except for ammonia in the well of Miladije 2 and pH of Miladije 1. Concentrations of the investigated parameters in samples of drinking water alternative sources of public supply of Tuzla and its surrounding area within the allowed limits according to World.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effects of Botanical Origin and Ageing on HMF Content in Bee Honey

Aldina Kesić, Aida Crnkić, Zorica Hodžić, Nadira Ibrišimović, Almir Šestan

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1057-1066
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/8095

Aims: HMF (5-hydroxymethylfurfural) is considered an important quality parameter for honey. Elevated concentrations of HMF in honey provide an indication of origin, storage in poor conditions or age of honey. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of aging and botanical origin of honey on the HMF content in it, as well as to analyze the relationship between the content of HMF and fructose/glucose ratio.
Study Design: In this paper, the HMF levels in different botanical origins of sixty bee honeys from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Acacia: Robinia pseudoacacia, meadow, chestnut: varii, mountain) were analysed; the influence of ageing on HMF formation was also investigated.
Place and Duration of Study: Department of Chemistry, University in Tuzla, between January 2011 and Mart 2011.
Methodology: Determination of HMF content was done by spectrophotometric White method. Content analysis of fructose and glucose in honey samples was performed using the HPLC.
Results: Concentration of HMF in analyzed honey samples ranged from 0.28 mg/kg to 207.45 mg/kg. The HMF formation was correlated with botanical origin, age of honey and fructose/glucose ratio. Samples of 4 year old honey contains on average 52.44% higher HMF than fresh honey samples. These results clearly show that longer storage of honey increases the concentration of HMF. In addition, honey exposure to high temperatures affects content of HMF, which catalyzes the dehydration of fructose to form new quantities of HMF. The formation of HMF and its concentration in honey also depends on the botanical origin of honey. Samples of acacia honey showed the highest average content of HMF. The data obtained were statistically elaborated.
Conclusion: Botanical origin, high temperature and storage significantly affect the content of HMF in honey. There is a negative correlation between the F/G ratio and HMF content in analyzed honey samples.

Open Access Original Research Article

Evaluation of the Paper Quality of Antibacterial Discs Commercially Available in Nigeria

P. M. Eze, E. E. Ajaegbu, C. O. Esimone

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1079-1087
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/9078

Aim: A wide range of antibacterial discs are commercially available in Nigeria that are either manufactured locally or imported. The quality of papers used in the manufacture of these discs can play a considerable role in their performance during antibiotic susceptibility testing, as there may be variations in the quality and characteristics of papers used by different manufacturers. This study was undertaken to evaluate and compare the quality of papers used in the manufacture of six brands of commercially available antibiotic discs in Nigeria.
Methodology: In the evaluation of the disc-paper qualities of the brands under study, parameters like paper thickness, weight, diameter, and water absorbability were used in comparing the various brands.
Results: Variations were observed in the thicknesses, weights, water absorbabilities and diameters of the disc-papers of all the brands of antibiotic discs under study. These variations will grossly affect the results of antibiotic susceptibility tests when different brands of antibiotic discs with different paper qualities are used.
Conclusion: It is imperative that the use of a specified disc paper is necessary for standardizing the performances of the products of various manufacturers and also, regulatory agencies should establish specifications for which manufacturers must comply as to the nature and quality of papers used in the manufacture of antibiotic discs.

Open Access Original Research Article

Performance of Broilers Fed Vegetable Based Diets Supplemented with Organic Acids and Methionine as Growth Promoter Source and Antibiotics

Md. Masud Rana, Md. Nur Hossain, Md. Khoshnade Rabby, Md. Sazedul Karim Sarkar, Md. Shawkat Ali

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1105-1116
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/7237

Aims/Objectives: The investigation assessed and compared the performance of broilers fed on a vegetable based (VB) diet supplementation of antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) and organic acids (OA) either independently or in combination.
Study Design: Cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: The experiment was conducted at Bangladesh Agricultural University Poultry Farm, Mymensingh with 72 as hatched day old (Cobb 500) broilers and continued for 35 days during the period of 22 October to 25 November, 2012.
Methodology: Broilers were equally and randomly distributed into four treatment groups. Vegetable based (control), VB+AGP, VB+OA and VB+AGP+OA respectively. Each group of birds had three replications and 6 broilers constituted a replication. In all replication body weight and feed consumption were recorded at day old chick (DOC) and seven days interval.
Results: It was found that the live weight on VB (control) diet was lower (P<0.01) (855.33g/b) and that on other groups (VB+AGP, VB+OA, VB+AGP+OA) were 978.67g/b, 1008.67g/b and 982.33g/b respectively at 35 days of age. The feed consumption during the experimental period was 1692.01g/b, 1805.65g/b, 1702.00g/b and 1774.34g/b respectively. The feed conversion efficiency were also lower in VB (control) diet than those of VB+AGP, VB+OA and VB+AGP+OA diets throughout the experimental period. At 35 days of age, feed conversions were 2.53, 2.37, 2.33 and 2.41 on VB (control), VB+AGP, VB+OA and VB+AGP+OA diets respectively. It was also found that the total cost of production per kg live broilers was Tk. 107.77, 97.91, 91.39 and 96.73 on VB, VB+AGP, VB+OA and VB+AGP+OA diets respectively. Significant differences were obtained for live weight and breast meat among all dietary groups.
Conclusion: The results of the study revealed that organic acids might be used as a substitute of antibiotic in vegetable based diet for safe meat production from broiler.

Open Access Original Research Article

Occurrence of Malaria in Children under Five Years: Knowledge, Attitudes and Perceptions among Mothers in a Nigerian Semi-Urban Area

R. S. Houmsou, E. U. Amuta, B. E. Wama, T. D. Hile, J. B. Bingbeng

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1127-1134
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/7559

Aims: This study was conducted to determine the occurrence of malaria among children underfive years and to assess the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of the children’s mothers regarding malaria and preventive measures.
Study design: The study was cross-sectional in design.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was conducted in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State, Nigeria, between May-September 2012.
Methodology: Children under five years that attended three hospitals (Atuna, NKST and General Hospital) for malaria diagnosis with their respective mothers were enrolled for the study. Thin and Thick blood films were prepared for parasitological examination. Questionnaires were administered to children’s mothers to collect socio-demographic data, knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding malaria and preventive measures.
Results: Of the 220 children examined, 14.50% (32/220) were infected with malaria. Males and females were similarly infected (14.50% vs 14.60%) with no significant difference (χ2=0.000, p=.989). With regards to the socio-demographic data of the children’s mothers, malaria was 100.00% (4/4) (χ2=24.40, p=.000) among children whose mothers were within the age group [41-50] years and among children whose mothers are divorced, 45.50% (5/11) (χ2=12.50, p=.006). Occurrence of malaria was high among children whose mothers claimed to have attained a tertiary level of education, 17.80% (16/90) (χ2= 1.37, p=.503) and among children whose mothers are traders, 25.00% (13/52) (χ2= 8.27; p=.142), with no significant difference. Children’s mothers had good knowledge of: malaria, 99.50% (219/220) (χ2= 1.45, p=.484); its vectors, 79.50% (175/220) (χ2=14.82, p=.001) and aetiological agent, 74.52% (164/220) (χ2=63.15, p=.000). Likewise, 90.90% (200/220) of the children’s mothers perceived that high temperature was a common malaria symptom (χ2= 23.66, p=.000) and 70.31% (161/220) of them always referred their children to a hospital for treatment (χ2=70.81, p=.000). With regards to the mothers’ attitude towards prevention, 85.53% (188/220) used Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) as preventive methods (χ2= 16.38, p=.003).
Conclusion: This study is the first epidemiologic study on childhood malaria in the area and it adds to the existing data on malaria in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Mothers of the children had good knowledge of malaria and its aetiological agent, as well as its vector. They also had good attitudes and perceptions towards the use of preventive measures. It is recommended that concerted efforts should be built between the Government and the private sector to scale-up the distribution of ITNs to households so as to significantly reduce the occurrence of malaria in children under five years.

Open Access Review Article

Soil Hydrophobicity: An Overview

Idowu Ezekiel Olorunfemi, Temitope Akinwale Ogunrinde, Johnson Toyin Fasinmirin

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1003-1037
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/7325

Water is the most precious resource to Agriculture. The occurrence of soil hydrophobicity has drastically reduced the amount of water available for plant growth and crop production. Hydrophobicity is a phenomenon that reduces the affinity of soils for water. It occurs when the soil is not completely wettable. This paper presents a brief review of the method/characterization, impacts and amelioration/treatment of soil hydrophobicity. It also reviews the general causes and characteristics of soil hydrophobicity: organic matter decomposition, heating of the soils by wildfires, fungal and microbial activities, growth of particular vegetation species and soil characteristics. Adequate knowledge of these causes will be valuable in providing means of treating and cushioning the effects of soil hydrophobicity.

Open Access Review Article

Health Related Quality of Life in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome

Anna Postolova, Omid Dorani, Kimberly Brown, Allycin Powell-Hicks, George Dous, Bret Becker, Waguih William IsHak

Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, Page 1088-1104
DOI: 10.9734/JSRR/2014/7748

Purpose: The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is characterized by obesity, dyslipidemia (high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol), hyperglycemia, and hypertension. With the constantly increasing epidemic of metabolic syndrome in the US population, our purpose is to review the impact of metabolic syndrome on health related quality of life (HRQOL).
Methods: A literature search was conducted on articles in the English language on the Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed, and Cochrane databases from 2002 to 2011. The abstracts of 622 relevant articles were reviewed for accordance with our criteria, resulting in 80 selections that broadly addressed MetS or the involved disorders. Twenty-one papers with studies using HRQOL measurement were selected for inclusion in this review.
Results: Metabolic syndrome negatively impacts health related quality of life. Two of the conditions comprising metabolic syndrome, obesity and hyperglycemia, have the most negative effects on HRQOL. The consequences are most prevalent in the physical component of HRQOL.
Conclusions: The negative impact of metabolic syndrome on HRQOL affects a large proportion of the population. Further research is needed to guide in the prevention and proper treatment of MetS in order to improve patients’ HRQOL.