WorldWideScience

Sample records for improved pcr performance

  1. Emulating a crowded intracellular environment in vitro dramatically improves RT-PCR performance

    Lareu, Ricky R.; Harve, Karthik S.; Raghunath, Michael

    2007-01-01

    The polymerase chain reaction's (PCR) phenomenal success in advancing fields as diverse as Medicine, Agriculture, Conservation, or Paleontology is based on the ability of using isolated prokaryotic thermostable DNA polymerases in vitro to copy DNA irrespective of origin. This process occurs intracellularly and has evolved to function efficiently under crowded conditions, namely in an environment packed with macromolecules. However, current in vitro practice ignores this important biophysical parameter of life. In order to more closely emulate conditions of intracellular biochemistry in vitro we added inert macromolecules into reverse transcription (RT) and PCR. We show dramatic improvements in all parameters of RT-PCR including 8- to 10-fold greater sensitivity, enhanced polymerase processivity, higher specific amplicon yield, greater primer annealing and specificity, and enhanced DNA polymerase thermal stability. The faster and more efficient reaction kinetics was a consequence of the cumulative molecular and thermodynamic effects of the excluded volume effect created by macromolecular crowding

  2. One-stop polymerase chain reaction (PCR): An improved PCR ...

    Yomi

    2011-12-21

    Dec 21, 2011 ... membrane filtration was carried out with a commercial PCR product purification kit (Generay, Shanghai), according to the manufacture's instruction. In brief, 50 µl PCR product was mixed thoroughly with binding buffer, and the resultant mixture was loaded directly onto a silica membrane Gelclean column.

  3. PCR

    Elham

    2013-07-03

    Jul 3, 2013 ... was constructed with competitive strategy by PCR-cloning technique and the limitation range was determined. The PCR products of MTB and IAC were 245 and 660 bp, respectively on .... products' differentiation was easy.

  4. A Nested-Splicing by Overlap Extension PCR Improves Specificity of this Standard Method.

    Karkhane, Ali Asghar; Yakhchali, Bagher; Rastgar Jazii, Ferdous; Bambai, Bijan; Aminzadeh, Saeed; Rahimi, Fatemeh

    2015-06-01

    Splicing by overlap extension (SOE) PCR is used to create mutation in the coding sequence of an enzyme in order to study the role of specific residues in protein's structure and function. We introduced a nested-SOE-PCR (N -SOE-PCR) in order to increase the specificity and generating mutations in a gene by SOE-PCR. Genomic DNA from Bacillus thermocatenulatus was extracted. Nested PCR was used to amplify B. thermocatenulatus lipase gene variants, namely wild type and mutant, using gene specific and mutagenic specific primers, followed by cloning in a suitable vector. Briefly in N-SOE-PCR method, instead of two pairs of primers, three pairs of primers are used to amplify a mutagenic fragment. Moreover, the first and second PCR products are slightly longer than PCR products in a conventional SOE. PCR products obtained from the first round of PCR are used for the second PCR by applying the nested and mutated primers. Following to the purification of the amplified fragments, they will be subject of the further purification and will be used as template to perform the third round of PCR using gene specific primers. In the end, the products will be cloned into a suitable vector for subsequent application. In comparison to the conventional SOE-PCR, the improved method (i.e. N-SOE-PCR) increases the yield and specificity of the products. In addition, the proposed method shows a large reduction in the non-specific products. By applying two more primers in the conventional SOE, the specificity of the method will be improved. This would be in part due to annealing of the primers further inside the amplicon that increases both the efficiency and a better attachment of the primers. Positioning of the primer far from both ends of an amplicon leads to an enhanced binding as well as increased affinity in the third round of amplification in SOE.

  5. PCR performance of a thermostable heterodimeric archaeal DNA polymerase

    Killelea, Tom; Ralec, Céline; Bossé, Audrey; Henneke, Ghislaine

    2014-01-01

    DNA polymerases are versatile tools used in numerous important molecular biological core technologies like the ubiquitous polymerase chain reaction (PCR), cDNA cloning, genome sequencing, and nucleic acid based diagnostics. Taking into account the multiple DNA amplification techniques in use, different DNA polymerases must be optimized for each type of application. One of the current tendencies is to reengineer or to discover new DNA polymerases with increased performance and broadened substrate spectra. At present, there is a great demand for such enzymes in applications, e.g., forensics or paleogenomics. Current major limitations hinge on the inability of conventional PCR enzymes, such as Taq, to amplify degraded or low amounts of template DNA. Besides, a wide range of PCR inhibitors can also impede reactions of nucleic acid amplification. Here we looked at the PCR performances of the proof-reading D-type DNA polymerase from P. abyssi, Pab-polD. Fragments, 3 kilobases in length, were specifically PCR-amplified in its optimized reaction buffer. Pab-polD showed not only a greater resistance to high denaturation temperatures than Taq during cycling, but also a superior tolerance to the presence of potential inhibitors. Proficient proof-reading Pab-polD enzyme could also extend a primer containing up to two mismatches at the 3' primer termini. Overall, we found valuable biochemical properties in Pab-polD compared to the conventional Taq, which makes the enzyme ideally suited for cutting-edge PCR-applications. PMID:24847315

  6. PCR performance of a thermostable heterodimeric archaeal DNA polymerase

    Tom eKillelea

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available DNA polymerases are versatile tools used in numerous important molecular biological core technologies like the ubiquitous polymerase chain reaction (PCR, cDNA cloning, genome sequencing and nucleic acid based diagnostics. Taking into account the multiple DNA amplification techniques in use, different DNA polymerases must be optimized for each type of application. One of the current tendencies is to reengineer or to discover new DNA polymerases with increased performance and broadened substrate spectra. At present, there is a great demand for such enzymes in applications, e.g., forensics or paleogenomics. Current major limitations hinge on the inability of conventional PCR enzymes, such as Taq, to amplify degraded or low amounts of template DNA. Besides, a wide range of PCR inhibitors can also impede reactions of nucleic acid amplification. Here we looked at the PCR performances of the proof-reading D-type DNA polymerase from P. abyssi, Pab-polD. Fragments, 3 kilobases in length, were specifically PCR-amplified in its optimized reaction buffer. Pab-polD showed not only a greater resistance to high denaturation temperatures than Taq during cycling, but also a superior tolerance to the presence of potential inhibitors. Proficient proof-reading Pab-polD enzyme could also extend a primer containing up to two mismatches at the 3’ primer termini. Overall, we found valuable biochemical properties in Pab-polD compared to the conventional Taq, which makes the enzyme ideally suited for cutting-edge PCR-applications.

  7. Real-time PCR improves Helicobacter pylori detection in patients with peptic ulcer bleeding.

    María José Ramírez-Lázaro

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Histological and rapid urease tests to detect H. pylori in biopsy specimens obtained during peptic ulcer bleeding episodes (PUB often produce false-negative results. We aimed to examine whether immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR can improve the sensitivity of these biopsies. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We selected 52 histology-negative formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens obtained during PUB episodes. Additional tests showed 10 were true negatives and 42 were false negatives. We also selected 17 histology-positive biopsy specimens obtained during PUB to use as controls. We performed immunohistochemistry staining and real-time PCR for 16S rRNA, ureA, and 23S rRNA for H. pylori genes on all specimens. RESULTS: All controls were positive for H. pylori on all PCR assays and immunohistochemical staining. Regarding the 52 initially negative biopsies, all PCR tests were significantly more sensitive than immunohistochemical staining (p<0.01. Sensitivity and specificity were 55% and 80% for 16S rRNA PCR, 43% and 90% for ureA PCR, 41% and 80% for 23S rRNA PCR, and 7% and 100% for immunohistochemical staining, respectively. Combined analysis of PCR assays for two genes were significantly more sensitive than ureA or 23S rRNA PCR tests alone (p<0.05 and marginally better than 16S rRNA PCR alone. The best combination was 16S rRNA+ureA, with a sensitivity of 64% and a specificity of 80%. CONCLUSIONS: Real-time PCR improves the detection of H. pylori infection in histology-negative formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy samples obtained during PUB episodes. The low reported prevalence of H. pylori in PUB may be due to the failure of conventional tests to detect infection.

  8. The use of digital PCR to improve the application of quantitative molecular diagnostic methods for tuberculosis.

    Devonshire, Alison S; O'Sullivan, Denise M; Honeyborne, Isobella; Jones, Gerwyn; Karczmarczyk, Maria; Pavšič, Jernej; Gutteridge, Alice; Milavec, Mojca; Mendoza, Pablo; Schimmel, Heinz; Van Heuverswyn, Fran; Gorton, Rebecca; Cirillo, Daniela Maria; Borroni, Emanuele; Harris, Kathryn; Barnard, Marinus; Heydenrych, Anthenette; Ndusilo, Norah; Wallis, Carole L; Pillay, Keshree; Barry, Thomas; Reddington, Kate; Richter, Elvira; Mozioğlu, Erkan; Akyürek, Sema; Yalçınkaya, Burhanettin; Akgoz, Muslum; Žel, Jana; Foy, Carole A; McHugh, Timothy D; Huggett, Jim F

    2016-08-03

    Real-time PCR (qPCR) based methods, such as the Xpert MTB/RIF, are increasingly being used to diagnose tuberculosis (TB). While qualitative methods are adequate for diagnosis, the therapeutic monitoring of TB patients requires quantitative methods currently performed using smear microscopy. The potential use of quantitative molecular measurements for therapeutic monitoring has been investigated but findings have been variable and inconclusive. The lack of an adequate reference method and reference materials is a barrier to understanding the source of such disagreement. Digital PCR (dPCR) offers the potential for an accurate method for quantification of specific DNA sequences in reference materials which can be used to evaluate quantitative molecular methods for TB treatment monitoring. To assess a novel approach for the development of quality assurance materials we used dPCR to quantify specific DNA sequences in a range of prototype reference materials and evaluated accuracy between different laboratories and instruments. The materials were then also used to evaluate the quantitative performance of qPCR and Xpert MTB/RIF in eight clinical testing laboratories. dPCR was found to provide results in good agreement with the other methods tested and to be highly reproducible between laboratories without calibration even when using different instruments. When the reference materials were analysed with qPCR and Xpert MTB/RIF by clinical laboratories, all laboratories were able to correctly rank the reference materials according to concentration, however there was a marked difference in the measured magnitude. TB is a disease where the quantification of the pathogen could lead to better patient management and qPCR methods offer the potential to rapidly perform such analysis. However, our findings suggest that when precisely characterised materials are used to evaluate qPCR methods, the measurement result variation is too high to determine whether molecular quantification

  9. Analytical Performance of Four Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR and Real Time PCR (qPCR Assays for the Detection of Six Leishmania Species DNA in Colombia

    Cielo M. León

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Leishmaniasis comprises a spectrum of parasitic diseases caused by protozoans of the genus Leishmania. Molecular tools have been widely employed for the detection of Leishmania due to its high sensitivity and specificity. However, the analytical performance of molecular platforms as PCR and real time PCR (qPCR including a wide variety of molecular markers has never been evaluated. Herein, the aim was to evaluate the analytical performance of 4 PCR-based assays (designed on four different targets and applied on conventional and real-time PCR platforms. We evaluated the analytical performance of conventional PCR and real time PCR, determining exclusivity and inclusivity, Anticipated Reportable Range (ARR, limit of detection (LoD and accuracy using primers directed to kDNA, HSP70, 18S and ITS-1 targets. We observed that the kDNA was the most sensitive but does not meet the criterion of exclusivity. The HSP70 presented a higher LoD in conventional PCR and qPCR in comparison with the other markers (1 × 101 and 1 × 10-1 equivalent parasites/mL respectively and had a higher coefficient of variation in qPCR. No statistically significant differences were found between the days of the test with the four molecular markers. The present study revealed that the 18S marker presented the best performance in terms of analytical sensitivity and specificity for the qPCR in the species tested (species circulating in Colombia. Therefore, we recommend to explore the analytical and diagnostic performance in future studies using a broader number of species across America.

  10. Analytical Performance of Four Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Real Time PCR (qPCR) Assays for the Detection of Six Leishmania Species DNA in Colombia

    León, Cielo M.; Muñoz, Marina; Hernández, Carolina; Ayala, Martha S.; Flórez, Carolina; Teherán, Aníbal; Cubides, Juan R.; Ramírez, Juan D.

    2017-01-01

    Leishmaniasis comprises a spectrum of parasitic diseases caused by protozoans of the genus Leishmania. Molecular tools have been widely employed for the detection of Leishmania due to its high sensitivity and specificity. However, the analytical performance of molecular platforms as PCR and real time PCR (qPCR) including a wide variety of molecular markers has never been evaluated. Herein, the aim was to evaluate the analytical performance of 4 PCR-based assays (designed on four different targets) and applied on conventional and real-time PCR platforms. We evaluated the analytical performance of conventional PCR and real time PCR, determining exclusivity and inclusivity, Anticipated Reportable Range (ARR), limit of detection (LoD) and accuracy using primers directed to kDNA, HSP70, 18S and ITS-1 targets. We observed that the kDNA was the most sensitive but does not meet the criterion of exclusivity. The HSP70 presented a higher LoD in conventional PCR and qPCR in comparison with the other markers (1 × 101 and 1 × 10-1 equivalent parasites/mL respectively) and had a higher coefficient of variation in qPCR. No statistically significant differences were found between the days of the test with the four molecular markers. The present study revealed that the 18S marker presented the best performance in terms of analytical sensitivity and specificity for the qPCR in the species tested (species circulating in Colombia). Therefore, we recommend to explore the analytical and diagnostic performance in future studies using a broader number of species across America. PMID:29046670

  11. Improving fleet performance

    Ramjist, S.

    2015-01-01

    Use Fleet Initiatives to Improve Overall Fleet Performance . Tightly Integrated with Business Planning (Cause & Effect) . Leverage Strength of Broader Organization - Converge on Standard Business Practices . Ancillary Benefit of Improved Agility.

  12. Improving fleet performance

    Ramjist, S. [Ontario Power Generation, Toronto, ON (Canada)

    2015-07-01

    Use Fleet Initiatives to Improve Overall Fleet Performance . Tightly Integrated with Business Planning (Cause & Effect) . Leverage Strength of Broader Organization - Converge on Standard Business Practices . Ancillary Benefit of Improved Agility.

  13. Performance of automated multiplex PCR using sonication fluid for diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection: a prospective cohort.

    Renz, Nora; Feihl, Susanne; Cabric, Sabrina; Trampuz, Andrej

    2017-12-01

    Sonication of explanted prostheses improved the microbiological diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infections (PJI). We evaluated the performance of automated multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using sonication fluid for the microbiological diagnosis of PJI. In a prospective cohort using uniform definition criteria for PJI, explanted joint prostheses were investigated by sonication and the resulting sonication fluid was analyzed by culture and multiplex PCR. McNemar's Chi-squared test was used to compare the performance of diagnostic tests. Among 111 patients, PJI was diagnosed in 78 (70%) and aseptic failure in 33 (30%). For the diagnosis of PJI, the sensitivity and specificity of periprosthetic tissue culture was 51 and 100%, of sonication fluid culture 58 and 100%, and of sonication fluid PCR 51 and 94%, respectively. Among 70 microorganisms, periprosthetic tissue culture grew 52 (74%), sonication fluid culture grew 50 (71%) and sonication fluid PCR detected 37 pathogens (53%). If only organisms are considered, for which primers are included in the test panel, PCR detected 37 of 58 pathogens (64%). The sonication fluid PCR missed 19 pathogens (predominantly oral streptococci and anaerobes), whereas 7 additional microorganisms were detected only by PCR (including Cutibacterium spp. and coagulase-negative staphylococci). The performance of multiplex PCR using sonication fluid is comparable to culture of periprosthetic tissue or sonication fluid. The advantages of PCR are short processing time (PCR, especially of low-virulent organisms.

  14. Designing multiplex PCR system of Campylobacter jejuni for efficient typing by improving monoplex PCR binary typing method.

    Yamada, Kazuhiro; Ibata, Ami; Suzuki, Masahiro; Matsumoto, Masakado; Yamashita, Teruo; Minagawa, Hiroko; Kurane, Ryuichiro

    2015-01-01

    Campylobacter jejuni is responsible for the majority of Campylobacter infections. As the molecular epidemiological study of outbreaks, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is performed in general. But PFGE has several problems. PCR binary typing (P-BIT) method is a typing method for Campylobacter spp. that was recently developed, and was reported to have a similar discriminatory power and stability to those of PFGE. We modified the P-BIT method from 18 monoplex PCRs to two multiplex PCR systems (mP-BIT). The same results were obtained from monoplex PCRs using original primers and multiplex PCR in the representative isolates. The mP-BIT can analyze 48 strains at a time by using 96-well PCR systems and can identify C. jejuni because mP-BIT includes C. jejuni marker. The typing of the isolates by the mP-BIT and PFGE demonstrated generally concordant results and the mP-BIT method (D = 0.980) has a similar discriminatory power to that of PFGE with SmaI digest (D = 0.975) or KpnI digest (D = 0.987) as with original article. The mP-BIT method is quick, simple and easy, and comes to be able to perform it at low cost by having become a multiplex PCR system. Therefore, the mP-BIT method with two multiplex PCR systems has high potential for a rapid first-line surveillance typing assay of C. jejuni and can be used for routine surveillance and outbreak investigations of C. jejuni in the future. Copyright © 2014 Japanese Society of Chemotherapy and The Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. MCNP Progress & Performance Improvements

    Brown, Forrest B. [Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Bull, Jeffrey S. [Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Rising, Michael Evan [Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)

    2015-04-14

    Twenty-eight slides give information about the work of the US DOE/NNSA Nuclear Criticality Safety Program on MCNP6 under the following headings: MCNP6.1.1 Release, with ENDF/B-VII.1; Verification/Validation; User Support & Training; Performance Improvements; and Work in Progress. Whisper methodology will be incorporated into the code, and run speed should be increased.

  16. Containment performance improvement program

    Beckner, W.; Mitchell, J.; Soffer, L.; Chow, E.; Lane, J.; Ridgely, J.

    1990-01-01

    The Containment Performance Improvement (CPI) program has been one of the main elements in the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) integrated approach to closure of severe accident issues for US nuclear power plants. During the course of the program, results from various probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) studies and from severe accident research programs for the five US containment types have been examined to identify significant containment challenges and to evaluate potential improvements. The five containment types considered are: the boiling water reactor (BMR) Mark I containment, the BWR Mark II containment, the BWR Mark III containment, the pressurized water reactor (PWR) ice condenser containment, and the PWR dry containments (including both subatmospheric and large subtypes). The focus of the CPI program has been containment performance and accident mitigation, however, insights are also being obtained in the areas of accident prevention and accident management

  17. Development of an improved species specific PCR test for detection of Haemophilus parasuis

    Angen, Øystein; Oliveira, Simone; Ahrens, Peter

    2007-01-01

    , the present PCR test was found to be 100% species specific for H. parasuis, in contrast to the PCR test of Oliveira et al., which also tested positive for strains belonging to A. indolicus, A. porcinus, and A. minor, species commonly occurring in the upper respiratory tract. However, when the PCR test...... with representatives of H. parasuis. The test was further evaluated on 55 clinical samples from 16 Danish pigs suspected for being infected with H. parasuis, showing polyserositis or septicemia at autopsy as well as on 492 nasal swabs. The test was compared with the performance of a PCR test earlier published...... by Oliveira et al. [Oliveira, S., Galina, L., Pijoan, C., 2001. Development of a PCR test to diagnose Haemophilus parasuis infections. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 13, 495-501]. The sensitivity of the present PCR test was found to be slightly lower when applied on clinical samples from diseased pigs and 10-fold...

  18. Improved thermal cycling durability and PCR compatibility of polymer coated quantum dot

    Xun Zhe; Guan Yifu; Zhao Xiaoyun

    2013-01-01

    Quantum dots have experienced rapid development in imaging, labeling and sensing in medicine and life science. To be suitable for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, we have tested QD thermal cycling durability and compatibility, which have not been addressed in previous reports. In this study, we synthesized CdSe/ZnS QDs with a surface modification with high-MW amphiphilic copolymers and observed that Mg 2+ ions in the PCR reaction could induce the QDs to precipitate and reduce their fluorescence signal significantly after thermal cycling. To overcome this problem, we used mPEG2000 to conjugate the QD surface for further protection, and found that this modification enables QDs to endure 40 thermal cycles in the presence of other components essential for PCR reactions. We have also identified that QDs have different effects on rTaq and Ex Taq polymerization systems. A high QD concentration could apparently reduce the PCR efficiency, but this inhibition was relieved significantly in the Ex PCR system as the concentration of Ex Taq polymerase was increased. Real-time PCR amplification results showed that QDs could provide a sufficiently measurable fluorescence signal without excessively inhibiting the DNA amplification. Based on this improved thermal cycling durability and compatibility with the PCR system, QDs have the potential to be developed as stable fluorescent sensors in PCR and real-time PCR amplification. (paper)

  19. Improved assay to detect Plasmodium falciparum using an uninterrupted, semi-nested PCR and quantitative lateral flow analysis

    2013-01-01

    Background A rapid, non-invasive, and inexpensive point-of-care (POC) diagnostic for malaria followed by therapeutic intervention would improve the ability to control infection in endemic areas. Methods A semi-nested PCR amplification protocol is described for quantitative detection of Plasmodium falciparum and is compared to a traditional nested PCR. The approach uses primers that target the P. falciparum dihydrofolate reductase gene. Results This study demonstrates that it is possible to perform an uninterrupted, asymmetric, semi-nested PCR assay with reduced assay time to detect P. falciparum without compromising the sensitivity and specificity of the assay using saliva as a testing matrix. Conclusions The development of this PCR allows nucleic acid amplification without the need to transfer amplicon from the first PCR step to a second reaction tube with nested primers, thus reducing both the chance of contamination and the time for analysis to PCR amplicon yield was adapted to lateral flow detection using the quantitative up-converting phosphor (UCP) reporter technology. This approach provides a basis for migration of the assay to a POC microfluidic format. In addition the assay was successfully evaluated with oral samples. Oral fluid collection provides a simple non-invasive method to collect clinical samples. PMID:23433252

  20. In House HSV PCR, Process Improvement and Cost Effectiveness Analysis

    2017-09-15

    TYPE 09/15/2017 Poster 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Cost-Analysis: In-hous(l HSV P(’R capabilities 6. AUTHOR(S) Ma.i Nich() las R CaJT 7. PERFORMING...ABSTRACT 15. SUBJECT TERMS 16. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: 17. LIMIT A TIC ".’ OF 18. NUMBER a. REPORT b. ABSTRACT c. THIS PAGE ABSTRACT OF PAGES 3

  1. Comparison of the performance in detection of HPV infections between the high-risk HPV genotyping real time PCR and the PCR-reverse dot blot assays.

    Zhang, Lahong; Dai, Yibei; Chen, Jiahuan; Hong, Liquan; Liu, Yuhua; Ke, Qiang; Chen, Yiwen; Cai, Chengsong; Liu, Xia; Chen, Zhaojun

    2018-01-01

    A new multiplex real-time PCR assay, the high-risk HPV genotyping real time PCR assay (HR HPV RT-PCR), has been developed to detect 15 high-risk HPV types with respective viral loads. In this report, a total of 684 cervical specimens from women diagnosed with vaginitis were assessed by the HR HPV RT-PCR and the PCR reaction and reverse dot blot (PCR-RDB) assays, using a PCR-sequencing method as a reference standard. A total coincidence of 97.7% between the HR HPV RT PCR and the PCR-RDB assays was determined with a Kappa value of 0.953. The HR HPV RT PCR assay had sensitivity, specificity, and concordance rates (accuracy) of 99.7%, 99.7%, and 99.7%, respectively, as confirmed by PCR-sequencing, while the PCR-RDB assay had respective rates of 98.8%, 97.1%, and 98.0%. The overall rate of HPV infection, determined by PCR-sequencing, in women diagnosed with vaginitis was 49.85%, including 36.26% of single infection and 13.6% of multiple infections. The most common infections among the 15 high-risk HPV types in women diagnosed with vaginitis were HPV-52, HPV-16, and HPV-58, with a total detection rate of 10.23%, 7.75%, and 5.85%, respectively. We conclude that the HR HPV RT PCR assay exhibits better clinical performance than the PCR-RDB assay, and is an ideal alternative method for HPV genotyping. In addition, the HR HPV RT PCR assay provides HPV DNA viral loads, and could serve as a quantitative marker in the diagnosis and treatment of single and multiple HPV infections. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Improvement of a real-time RT-PCR assay for the detection of enterovirus RNA

    Bruynseels Peggy

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract We describe an improvement of an earlier reported real-time RT-PCR assay for the detection of enterovirus RNA, based on the 5' exonuclease digestion of a dual-labeled fluorogenic probe by Taq DNA polymerase. A different extraction method, real-time RT-PCR instrument and primer set were evaluated. Our data show that the optimized assay yields a higher sensitivity and reproducibility and resulted in a significant reduced hands-on time per sample.

  3. Improving construction performance

    1990-03-01

    Design for Constructability's overall purpose was to identify and address changes in the nuclear industry to restore nuclear energy as an attractive option for new generating capacity. As the centerpiece of project control, a comprehensive, stable schedule should organize the project logically to accomplish the project's objectives. A good schedule will: integrate the project team; serve as a communications tool to all members of the project team; and provide a means to monitor and measure project performance

  4. Improved detection of canine Angiostrongylus vasorum infection using real-time PCR and indirect ELISA.

    Jefferies, Ryan; Morgan, Eric R; Helm, Jenny; Robinson, Matthew; Shaw, Susan E

    2011-12-01

    This study reports the development of a real-time PCR assay and an indirect ELISA to improve on current detection of canine Angiostrongylus vasorum infection. A highly specific fluorescent probe-based, real-time PCR assay was developed to target the A. vasorum second internal transcribed spacer region and detected DNA in EDTA blood, lung tissue, broncho-alveolar larvage fluid, endotracheal mucus, pharyngeal swabs and faecal samples. PCR was fast (∼1 h), highly efficient when using EDTA blood samples, consistently detected a single molecule of parasite DNA and did not amplify DNA from other parasitic nematodes or definitive host species. An indirect ELISA was also developed using the soluble protein fraction from adult A. vasorum worms. Some cross-reactive antigen recognition was observed when tested against sera from dogs infected with Crenosoma vulpis (n = 8), Toxocara canis (n = 5) and Dirofilaria immitis (n = 5). This was largely overcome by setting the cut-off for a positive result at an appropriately high level. Field evaluation of the real-time PCR and ELISA was conducted by testing sera and EDTA blood from dogs with suspected A. vasorum infection (n = 148) and compared with the Baermann's larval migration test in faeces. Thirty-one dogs were positive by at least one test. Of these, 20 (65%) were detected by the Baermann method, 18 (58%) by blood PCR, 24 (77%) by ELISA and 28 (90%) by blood PCR and ELISA together. Combined testing using real-time PCR and ELISA therefore improved the detection rate of A. vasorum infection and holds promise for improved clinical diagnosis and epidemiological investigation.

  5. Droplet digital PCR improves absolute quantification of viable lactic acid bacteria in faecal samples.

    Gobert, Guillaume; Cotillard, Aurélie; Fourmestraux, Candice; Pruvost, Laurence; Miguet, Jean; Boyer, Mickaël

    2018-03-14

    Analysing correlations between the observed health effects of ingested probiotics and their survival in digestive tract allows adapting their preparations for food. Tracking ingested probiotic in faecal samples requires accurate and specific tools to quantify live vs dead cells at strain level. Traditional culture-based methods are simpler to use but they do not allow quantifying viable but non-cultivable (VBNC) cells and they are poorly discriminant below the species level. We have set up a viable PCR (vPCR) assay combining propidium monoazide (PMA) treatment and either real time quantitative PCR (qPCR) or droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to quantify a Lactobacillus rhamnosus and two Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei strains in piglet faeces. Adjustments of the PMA treatment conditions and reduction of the faecal sample size were necessary to obtain accurate discrimination between dead and live cells. The study also revealed differences of PMA efficiency among the two L. paracasei strains. Both PCR methods were able to specifically quantify each strain and provided comparable total bacterial counts. However, quantification of lower numbers of viable cells was best achieved with ddPCR, which was characterized by a reduced lower limit of quantification (improvement of up to 1.76 log 10 compared to qPCR). All three strains were able to survive in the piglets' gut with viability losses between 0.78 and 1.59 log 10 /g faeces. This study shows the applicability of PMA-ddPCR to specific quantification of small numbers of viable bacterial cells in the presence of an important background of unwanted microorganisms, and without the need to set up standard curves. It also illustrates the need to adapt PMA protocols according to the final matrix and target strain, even for closely related strains. The PMA-ddPCR approach provides a new tool to quantify bacterial survival in faecal samples from a preclinical and clinical trial. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by

  6. Performance of Droplet Digital PCR in Non-Invasive Fetal RHD Genotyping - Comparison with a Routine Real-Time PCR Based Approach.

    Iveta Svobodová

    Full Text Available Detection and characterization of circulating cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA from maternal circulation requires an extremely sensitive and precise method due to very low cffDNA concentration. In our study, droplet digital PCR (ddPCR was implemented for fetal RHD genotyping from maternal plasma to compare this new quantification alternative with real-time PCR (qPCR as a golden standard for quantitative analysis of cffDNA. In the first stage of study, a DNA quantification standard was used. Clinical samples, including 10 non-pregnant and 35 pregnant women, were analyzed as a next step. Both methods' performance parameters-standard curve linearity, detection limit and measurement precision-were evaluated. ddPCR in comparison with qPCR has demonstrated sufficient sensitivity for analysing of cffDNA and determination of fetal RhD status from maternal circulation, results of both methods strongly correlated. Despite the more demanding workflow, ddPCR was found to be slightly more precise technology, as evaluated using quantitative standard. Regarding the clinical samples, the precision of both methods equalized with decreasing concentrations of tested DNA samples. In case of cffDNA with very low concentrations, variance parameters of both techniques were comparable. Detected levels of fetal cfDNA in maternal plasma were slightly higher than expected and correlated significantly with gestational age as measured by both methods (ddPCR r = 0.459; qPCR r = 0.438.

  7. Can training improve human performance

    Waylett, W.J. Jr.

    1986-01-01

    The nuclear industry has made a significant commitment to improve training through the implementation of performance-based training programs. Senior management expects that human performance improvement will result from this significant resource allocation. The author examines this hypothesis and discusses other issues that may interfere with enhancing human performance through training. The integration of quality improvement concepts to support training is also discussed by the author, who was a pioneer facilitator during the development of Florida Power and Light Company's Quality Improvement Program. Critical success factors are proposed based on the author's experience as a plant manager, training manager and quality facilitator

  8. Improved performance of the industry

    Jeffrey, R.

    1994-01-01

    The remarkable improvements in the performance of AGR stations is illustrated. The underlying reasons for this improvement are discussed, emphasizing both the operational performance factors which have led to higher sustained output and the managerial and cultural changes which have focused attention at all levels on the need to be competitive. It is concluded that the UK nuclear industry has become world class with more improvements to come, an asset to the UK. (Author)

  9. Automated degenerate PCR primer design for high-throughput sequencing improves efficiency of viral sequencing

    Li Kelvin

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background In a high-throughput environment, to PCR amplify and sequence a large set of viral isolates from populations that are potentially heterogeneous and continuously evolving, the use of degenerate PCR primers is an important strategy. Degenerate primers allow for the PCR amplification of a wider range of viral isolates with only one set of pre-mixed primers, thus increasing amplification success rates and minimizing the necessity for genome finishing activities. To successfully select a large set of degenerate PCR primers necessary to tile across an entire viral genome and maximize their success, this process is best performed computationally. Results We have developed a fully automated degenerate PCR primer design system that plays a key role in the J. Craig Venter Institute’s (JCVI high-throughput viral sequencing pipeline. A consensus viral genome, or a set of consensus segment sequences in the case of a segmented virus, is specified using IUPAC ambiguity codes in the consensus template sequence to represent the allelic diversity of the target population. PCR primer pairs are then selected computationally to produce a minimal amplicon set capable of tiling across the full length of the specified target region. As part of the tiling process, primer pairs are computationally screened to meet the criteria for successful PCR with one of two described amplification protocols. The actual sequencing success rates for designed primers for measles virus, mumps virus, human parainfluenza virus 1 and 3, human respiratory syncytial virus A and B and human metapneumovirus are described, where >90% of designed primer pairs were able to consistently successfully amplify >75% of the isolates. Conclusions Augmenting our previously developed and published JCVI Primer Design Pipeline, we achieved similarly high sequencing success rates with only minor software modifications. The recommended methodology for the construction of the consensus

  10. Performance improvement: the organization's quest.

    McKinley, C O; Parmer, D E; Saint-Amand, R A; Harbin, C B; Roulston, J C; Ellis, R A; Buchanan, J R; Leonard, R B

    1999-01-01

    In today's health care marketplace, quality has become an expectation. Stakeholders are demanding quality clinical outcomes, and accrediting bodies are requiring clinical performance data. The Roosevelt Institute's quest was to define and quantify quality outcomes, develop an organizational culture of performance improvement, and ensure customer satisfaction. Several of the organization's leaders volunteered to work as a team to develop a specific performance improvement approach tailored to the organization. To date, over 200 employees have received an orientation to the model and its philosophy and nine problem action and process improvement teams have been formed.

  11. Research to Improve the Efficiency of Double Stereo PCR Microfluidic Chip by Passivating the Inner Surface of Steel Capillary with NOA61.

    Wu, Jian; Guo, Wei; Wang, Chunyan; Yu, Kuanxin; Ma, Ying; Chen, Tao; Li, Yinghui

    2015-06-01

    In this paper, we report the improvement of PCR microfluidic chip efficiency achieved by coating the inner surface of steel capillary microchannel with a 22-µm film of the ultraviolet-solidified NOA61 using a device invented by us. Our results indicate that with this treatment, the roughness of the inside wall of steel capillary was improved from Ra = 0.921 to Ra = 0.254. The contact angle was decreased from about 95° to 56°, and the surface hydrophobicity was also increased. The flow pressure for performing the real-time PCR in the microfluidic chip with modified surface was reduced by twofold (2.11/1) and that resulted in a substantially increased efficiency of PCR. A modification of the microchannel interior surface improved the quality of the on-chip integrated PCR procedure.

  12. Performance improvement - business excellence processes

    Doucett, J. [NB Nuclear Power, Point Lepreau, New Brunswick (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This presentation discusses Performance Improvement which is defined as 'the process of identifying and analyzing important organizational and individual performance gaps, planning for future performance improvement, designing and developing cost-effective and ethically justifiable intervention to close performance gaps, implementing the interventions and evaluating the financial and non-financial results', i.e. making things better. Specifically, it discusses the refurbishment outage at the Point Lepreau Power Plant that began at the end of March 2008. The business risks identified in 2008 were leadership, demographics and management system.

  13. Performance improvement - business excellence processes

    Doucett, J.

    2010-01-01

    This presentation discusses Performance Improvement which is defined as 'the process of identifying and analyzing important organizational and individual performance gaps, planning for future performance improvement, designing and developing cost-effective and ethically justifiable intervention to close performance gaps, implementing the interventions and evaluating the financial and non-financial results', i.e. making things better. Specifically, it discusses the refurbishment outage at the Point Lepreau Power Plant that began at the end of March 2008. The business risks identified in 2008 were leadership, demographics and management system.

  14. Performance of Aspergillus PCR in cerebrospinal fluid for the diagnosis of cerebral aspergillosis.

    Imbert, S; Brossas, J-Y; Palous, M; Joly, I; Meyer, I; Fekkar, A

    2017-11-01

    Cerebral aspergillosis is a rare but often fatal form of invasive aspergillosis that remains difficult to diagnose. The literature has shown the value of Aspergillus PCR in blood-derived samples for the diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis but provides far less information for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in cerebral aspergillosis. Here, we evaluated the usefulness of an Aspergillus PCR assay performed on CSF for the diagnosis of cerebral aspergillosis. This retrospective study involved 72 patients with suspected cerebral aspergillosis for a total of 88 CSF samples in whom CSF Aspergillus PCR was performed. Seventeen patients had proven/probable invasive aspergillosis according to the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycoses Study Group criteria, including 12 cases of proven/probable cerebral aspergillosis. Aspergillus PCR in CSF was positive in nine of the twelve patients with cerebral aspergillosis, i.e. 75% sensitivity. In contrast, CSF culture was positive for Aspergillus in only two patients. In the non-cerebral aspergillosis group (60 patients), PCR was positive in one patient, i.e. 98.3% specificity. In this particular population of high-risk patients with suspicion of cerebral aspergillosis, the disease incidence was 16.7%. Therefore, the positive and negative predictive values of PCR were 90% and 95.2%, respectively. The results of this study indicate that Aspergillus PCR in CSF is an interesting tool that may eliminate the need for cerebral biopsy in patients with suspected cerebral aspergillosis. Copyright © 2017 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Polymerase study: Improved detection of Salmonella and Campylobacter through the optimized use of DNA polymerases in diagnostic real-time PCR

    Søndergaard, Mette Sofie Rousing; Löfström, Charlotta; Al-Habib, Zahra Fares Sayer

    DNA extractions and intermediate or bad with the crude extractions, while TaKaRa ExTaq HS only performed well with the purest extractions of fecal samples and intermediate with semi-automated magnetic beads based extracted fecal samples. In conclusion, our data shows that exchanging the DNA polymerase......Diagnostic analyses of foodborne pathogens are increasingly based on molecular methods such as PCR, which can improve the sensitivity and reduce the analysis time. The core of PCR is the enzyme performing the reaction: the DNA polymerase. Changing the polymerase can influence the sensitivity...... commercially available polymerases and four master mixes in two validated PCR assays, for Campylobacter and Salmonella, respectively, to develop more sensitive, robust and cost effective assays. The polymerases were screened on purified DNA and the five best performing, for each PCR assay, were then applied...

  16. Monitoring and improving the sensitivity of dengue nested RT-PCR used in longitudinal surveillance in Thailand.

    Klungthong, Chonticha; Manasatienkij, Wudtichai; Phonpakobsin, Thipwipha; Chinnawirotpisan, Piyawan; Rodpradit, Prinyada; Hussem, Kittinun; Thaisomboonsuk, Butsaya; Ong-ajchaowlerd, Prapapun; Nisalak, Ananda; Kalayanarooj, Siripen; Buddhari, Darunee; Gibbons, Robert V; Jarman, Richard G; Yoon, In-Kyu; Fernandez, Stefan

    2015-02-01

    AFRIMS longitudinal dengue surveillance in Thailand depends on the nested RT-PCR and the dengue IgM/IgG ELISA. To examine and improve the sensitivity of the nested RT-PCR using a panel of archived samples collected during dengue surveillance. A retrospective analysis of 16,454 dengue IgM/IgG ELISA positive cases collected between 2000 and 2013 was done to investigate the sensitivity of the nested RT-PCR. From these cases, 318 acute serum specimens or extracted RNA, previously found to be negative by the nested RT-PCR, were tested using TaqMan real-time RT-PCR (TaqMan rRT-PCR). To improve the sensitivity of nested RT-PCR, we designed a new primer based on nucleotide sequences from contemporary strains found to be positive by the TaqMan rRT-PCR. Sensitivity of the new nested PCR was calculated using a panel of 87 samples collected during 2011-2013. The percentage of dengue IgM/IgG ELISA positive cases that were negative by the nested RT-PCR varied from 17% to 42% for all serotypes depending on the year. Using TaqMan rRT-PCR, dengue RNA was detected in 194 (61%) of the 318 acute sera or extracted RNA previously found to be negative by the nested RT-PCR. The newly designed DENV-1 specific primer increased the sensitivity of DENV-1 detection by the nested RT-PCR from 48% to 88%, and of all 4 serotypes from 73% to 87%. These findings demonstrate the impact of genetic diversity and signal erosion on the sensitivity of PCR-based methods. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  17. Windows with improved energy performances

    Laustsen, Jacob Birck; Svendsen, Svend

    2003-01-01

    Heat loss through windows represents a considerable part of the total heat loss from houses. However, apart from providing daylight access and view, windows offer a unique potential for solar gain to be exploited during the heating season. Until now valuation of the energy performance of windows...... has primary focused on the heat loss coefficient, U-value. However, as the U-value, especially for the glazing part, has improved considerably during the last years, the total solar energy transmittance, g-value, has become equally important to the total energy performance of windows. Improved energy...... resulted in a window with a positive net energy gain (in short the Net Gain Window), which means that it contributes to the space heating of the building. All improvements are based on existing technology and manufacturing methods. The results from this work show that the energy performances of windows can...

  18. Improved quantification accuracy for duplex real-time PCR detection of genetically modified soybean and maize in heat processed foods

    CHENG Fang

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Real-time PCR technique has been widely used in quantitative GMO detection in recent years.The accuracy of GMOs quantification based on the real-time PCR methods is still a difficult problem,especially for the quantification of high processed samples.To develop the suitable and accurate real-time PCR system for high processed GM samples,we made ameliorations to several real-time PCR parameters,including re-designed shorter target DNA fragment,similar lengths of amplified endogenous and exogenous gene targets,similar GC contents and melting temperatures of PCR primers and TaqMan probes.Also,one Heat-Treatment Processing Model (HTPM was established using soybean flour samples containing GM soybean GTS 40-3-2 to validate the effectiveness of the improved real-time PCR system.Tested results showed that the quantitative bias of GM content in heat processed samples were lowered using the new PCR system.The improved duplex real-time PCR was further validated using processed foods derived from GM soybean,and more accurate GM content values in these foods was also achieved.These results demonstrated that the improved duplex real-time PCR would be quite suitable in quantitative detection of high processed food products.

  19. Multi-laboratory evaluations of the performance of Catellicoccus marimammalium PCR assays developed to target gull fecal sources

    Sinigalliano, Christopher D.; Ervin, Jared S.; Van De Werfhorst, Laurie C.; Badgley, Brian D.; Ballestée, Elisenda; Bartkowiaka, Jakob; Boehm, Alexandria B.; Byappanahalli, Muruleedhara N.; Goodwin, Kelly D.; Gourmelon, Michèle; Griffith, John; Holden, Patricia A.; Jay, Jenny; Layton, Blythe; Lee, Cheonghoon; Lee, Jiyoung; Meijer, Wim G.; Noble, Rachel; Raith, Meredith; Ryu, Hodon; Sadowsky, Michael J.; Schriewer, Alexander; Wang, Dan; Wanless, David; Whitman, Richard; Wuertz, Stefan; Santo Domingo, Jorge W.

    2013-01-01

    Here we report results from a multi-laboratory (n = 11) evaluation of four different PCR methods targeting the 16S rRNA gene of Catellicoccus marimammalium originally developed to detect gull fecal contamination in coastal environments. The methods included a conventional end-point PCR method, a SYBR® Green qPCR method, and two TaqMan® qPCR methods. Different techniques for data normalization and analysis were tested. Data analysis methods had a pronounced impact on assay sensitivity and specificity calculations. Across-laboratory standardization of metrics including the lower limit of quantification (LLOQ), target detected but not quantifiable (DNQ), and target not detected (ND) significantly improved results compared to results submitted by individual laboratories prior to definition standardization. The unit of measure used for data normalization also had a pronounced effect on measured assay performance. Data normalization to DNA mass improved quantitative method performance as compared to enterococcus normalization. The MST methods tested here were originally designed for gulls but were found in this study to also detect feces from other birds, particularly feces composited from pigeons. Sequencing efforts showed that some pigeon feces from California contained sequences similar to C. marimammalium found in gull feces. These data suggest that the prevalence, geographic scope, and ecology of C. marimammalium in host birds other than gulls require further investigation. This study represents an important first step in the multi-laboratory assessment of these methods and highlights the need to broaden and standardize additional evaluations, including environmentally relevant target concentrations in ambient waters from diverse geographic regions.

  20. Techniques for Improving Spelling Performance.

    Saylor, Paul

    Improving spelling performance of college students is a question of insuring that the correct information is in long-term memory and readily retrievable. Any system of spelling instruction should recognize the capacity limits of the sensory register and short-term memory; provide for identification of and concentration on the distinctive features…

  1. Programs to improve plant performance

    Felmus, N.L.

    1987-01-01

    Looking toward the 1990's, we see a period in which our industry will face the challenge of improving the performance of the nuclear plants which are built and operating. The skills and technology are at hand to make good plant performance a reality and we believe the time has come to use them to achieve that end. As reserve margins decline, utilities and their regulators will increasingly seek to tap the unexploited capacity tied up in plants operating below their optimum availability. This paper describes a number of the programs, plant improvements and operations improvements which can yield a significant increase in nuclear plant availability and capacity factor now and into the 1990's. (author)

  2. An Assessment of Air As a Source of DNA Contamination Encountered When Performing PCR

    Witt, Nina; Rodger, Gillian; Vandesompele, Jo; Benes, Vladimir; Zumla, Alimuddin; Rook, Graham A.; Huggett, Jim F.

    2009-01-01

    Sensitive molecular methods, such as the PCR, can detect low-level contamination, and careful technique is required to reduce the impact of contaminants. Yet, some assays that are designed to detect high copy-number target sequences appear to be impossible to perform without contamination, and frequently, personnel or laboratory environment are held responsible as the source. This complicates diagnostic and research analysis when using molecular methods. To investigate the air specifically as...

  3. Sodium bicarbonate improves swimming performance.

    Lindh, A M; Peyrebrune, M C; Ingham, S A; Bailey, D M; Folland, J P

    2008-06-01

    Sodium bicarbonate ingestion has been shown to improve performance in single-bout, high intensity events, probably due to an increase in buffering capacity, but its influence on single-bout swimming performance has not been investigated. The effects of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on 200 m freestyle swimming performance were investigated in elite male competitors. Following a randomised, double blind counterbalanced design, 9 swimmers completed maximal effort swims on 3 separate occasions: a control trial (C); after ingestion of sodium bicarbonate (SB: NaHCO3 300 mg . kg (-1) body mass); and after ingestion of a placebo (P: CaCO3 200 mg . kg (-1) body mass). The SB and P agents were packed in gelatine capsules and ingested 90 - 60 min prior to each 200 m swim. Mean 200 m performance times were significantly faster for SB than C or P (1 : 52.2 +/- 4.7; 1 : 53.7 +/- 3.8; 1 : 54.0 +/- 3.6 min : ss; p bicarbonate were all elevated pre-exercise in the SB compared to C and P trials (p < 0.05). Post-200 m blood lactate concentrations were significantly higher following the SB trial compared with P and C (p < 0.05). It was concluded that SB supplementation can improve 200 m freestyle performance time in elite male competitors, most likely by increasing buffering capacity.

  4. Bitumen nanocomposites with improved performance

    Kosma, Vasiliki

    2017-11-29

    Bitumen-clay nanocomposite binders with styrene-butadienestyrene triblock copolymer, SBS, and combinations of SBS and crumb rubber (CR) with different CR/SBS ratios have been synthesized and characterized. In addition to the binder, samples containing the binder and concrete sand (with a weight ratio 1:9) were prepared. The modified binders were studied in terms of filler dispersion, storage stability, mechanical performance and water susceptibility. We demonstrate that the samples containing nanoclays consistently outperform those based only on the polymer additives. We also find that nanocomposite samples based on a combination of SBS and CR are best, since in addition to other improvements they show excellent storage stability. Our work shows that substituting CR with SBS as a bitumen additive and combining it with inexpensive nanoclays leads to new materials with enhanced performance and improved stability for practical asphalt applications.

  5. Improving engineers' performance with computers

    Purvis, E.E. III

    1984-01-01

    The problem addressed is how to improve the performance of engineers in the design, operation, and maintenance of nuclear power plants. The application of computer science to this problem offers a challenge in maximizing the use of developments outside the nuclear industry and setting priorities to address the most fruitful areas first. Areas of potential benefits include data base management through design, analysis, procurement, construction, operation maintenance, cost, schedule and interface control and planning, and quality engineering on specifications, inspection, and training

  6. Windows with improved energy performance

    Noyé, Peter Anders; Laustsen, Jacob Birck; Svendsen, Svend

    2002-01-01

    According to the Danish energy protocol, Energy 21, one of the goals with highest priority is to reduce the CO2-emission. Energy consumption for domestic heating is a major contributor to the CO2-emission; hence one of the primary efforts to reach the goal is by saving energy in the households...... performances. During the last 20 years the U-value of the glazing part of windows has been improved considerably, but the frame part has not followed the same development with respect to energy performance. Therefore an increasingly large part of the total heat loss through windows is relating to the frame...... part, for which reason, as far as energy efficiency and total economy are concerned, it has become more interesting to further develop frame structures. Traditionally, the energy performance of windows has primarily been characterised by the heat loss coefficient, U-value. However as the heat loss has...

  7. High Throughput Combinatorial Formatting of PcrV Nanobodies for Efficient Potency Improvement*

    De Tavernier, Evelyn; Detalle, Laurent; Morizzo, Erika; Roobrouck, Annelies; De Taeye, Severine; Rieger, Melanie; Verhaeghe, Tom; Correia, Andreia; Van Hegelsom, Rob; Figueirido, Rita; Noens, Jeroen; Steffensen, Søren; Stöhr, Thomas; Van de Velde, Willem; Depla, Erik; Dombrecht, Bruno

    2016-01-01

    Improving potencies through concomitant blockage of multiple epitopes and avid binding by fusing multiple (different) monovalent Nanobody building blocks via linker sequences into one multivalent polypeptide chain is an elegant alternative to affinity maturation. We explored a large and random formatting library of bivalent (combinations of two identical) and biparatopic (combinations of two different) Nanobodies for functional blockade of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PcrV. PcrV is an essential part of the P. aeruginosa type III secretion system (T3SS), and its oligomeric nature allows for multiple complex binding and blocking options. The library screening yielded a large number of promising biparatopic lead candidates, revealing significant (and non-trivial) preferences in terms of Nanobody building block and epitope bin combinations and orientations. Excellent potencies were confirmed upon further characterization in two different P. aeruginosa T3SS-mediated cytotoxicity assays. Three biparatopic Nanobodies were evaluated in a lethal mouse P. aeruginosa challenge pneumonia model, conferring 100% survival upon prophylactic administration and reducing lung P. aeruginosa burden by up to 2 logs. At very low doses, they protected the mice from P. aeruginosa infection-related changes in lung histology, myeloperoxidase production, and lung weight. Importantly, the most potent Nanobody still conferred protection after therapeutic administration up to 24 h post-infection. The concept of screening such formatting libraries for potency improvement is applicable to other targets and biological therapeutic platforms. PMID:27226529

  8. Improved power performance assessment methods

    Frandsen, S; Antoniou, I; Dahlberg, J A [and others

    1999-03-01

    The uncertainty of presently-used methods for retrospective assessment of the productive capacity of wind farms is unacceptably large. The possibilities of improving the accuracy have been investigated and are reported. A method is presented that includes an extended power curve and site calibration. In addition, blockage effects with respect to reference wind speed measurements are analysed. It is found that significant accuracy improvements are possible by the introduction of more input variables such as turbulence and wind shear, in addition to mean wind speed and air density. Also, the testing of several or all machines in the wind farm - instead of only one or two - may provide a better estimate of the average performance. (au)

  9. Performance improvement through management audits

    Arter, D.R.

    1986-01-01

    We should go back to the basics of what a quality assurance program is designed to accomplish and then use that program to provide confidence to the public that actions are correct. The quality assurance management audit, if done responsible with trained people, is the best tool we have to monitor the goal of conducting business safely and correctly. Audit report should be used to project future performance and should not be used as a forum for recommendations. They should be presented in such a manner as to allow the managers involved to continually improve the work activity

  10. Use of amplicon sequencing to improve sensitivity in PCR-based detection of microbial pathogen in environmental samples.

    Saingam, Prakit; Li, Bo; Yan, Tao

    2018-06-01

    DNA-based molecular detection of microbial pathogens in complex environments is still plagued by sensitivity, specificity and robustness issues. We propose to address these issues by viewing them as inadvertent consequences of requiring specific and adequate amplification (SAA) of target DNA molecules by current PCR methods. Using the invA gene of Salmonella as the model system, we investigated if next generation sequencing (NGS) can be used to directly detect target sequences in false-negative PCR reaction (PCR-NGS) in order to remove the SAA requirement from PCR. False-negative PCR and qPCR reactions were first created using serial dilutions of laboratory-prepared Salmonella genomic DNA and then analyzed directly by NGS. Target invA sequences were detected in all false-negative PCR and qPCR reactions, which lowered the method detection limits near the theoretical minimum of single gene copy detection. The capability of the PCR-NGS approach in correcting false negativity was further tested and confirmed under more environmentally relevant conditions using Salmonella-spiked stream water and sediment samples. Finally, the PCR-NGS approach was applied to ten urban stream water samples and detected invA sequences in eight samples that would be otherwise deemed Salmonella negative. Analysis of the non-target sequences in the false-negative reactions helped to identify primer dime-like short sequences as the main cause of the false negativity. Together, the results demonstrated that the PCR-NGS approach can significantly improve method sensitivity, correct false-negative detections, and enable sequence-based analysis for failure diagnostics in complex environmental samples. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. improving performance of laying hens

    A.P Sinurat

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available A trial was conducted in order to study the effect of the supplementation of Avizyme 1500® (Danisco Animal Nutrition, Marlborough, UK on the performance of laying hens for one year. A control diet based on corn – soybean meal was formulated to meet nutrient requirement of ISA Brown laying hens. Two treatments, the control diet (C and C + 1000 g Avizyme/tonne diet were tested. Each diet was fed to 80 birds (20 replicates of 4 birds from 20 to 72 weeks of age, and performances of birds (feed intake, egg production, egg size, egg mass, feed conversion ratio, and egg quality were measured. All data were subject to analyses of variance following the t-test. Results showed that the addition of Avizyme 1500 to the feed reduced feed intake by 4% (P < 0.01, mortality by 75 % or from 15% to 3.75% (P < 0.01 and improved the feed conversion ratio by 3 % (P < 0.05. The high mortality of the control treatment (15% is explained by an E.coli infection that was observed following the post-mortem examination of dead birds. The egg production (HD and HH, egg size and egg mass however were not significantly affected by the Avizyme supplementation. Egg quality (HU, yolk colour score, yolk weight and shell thickness was not significantly affected by Avizyme supplementation. It can be concluded that the supplementation of 1000 g Avizyme /tonne of diet improved feed efficiency and this was mediated via a reduction in feed intake.

  12. Evaluation of an Improved U.S. Food and Drug Administration Method for the Detection of Cyclospora cayetanensis in Produce Using Real-Time PCR.

    Murphy, Helen R; Lee, Seulgi; da Silva, Alexandre J

    2017-07-01

    Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan parasite that causes human diarrheal disease associated with the consumption of fresh produce or water contaminated with C. cayetanensis oocysts. In the United States, foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, including cilantro and raspberries. An improved method was developed for identification of C. cayetanensis in produce at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The method relies on a 0.1% Alconox produce wash solution for efficient recovery of oocysts, a commercial kit for DNA template preparation, and an optimized TaqMan real-time PCR assay with an internal amplification control for molecular detection of the parasite. A single laboratory validation study was performed to assess the method's performance and compare the optimized TaqMan real-time PCR assay and a reference nested PCR assay by examining 128 samples. The samples consisted of 25 g of cilantro or 50 g of raspberries seeded with 0, 5, 10, or 200 C. cayetanensis oocysts. Detection rates for cilantro seeded with 5 and 10 oocysts were 50.0 and 87.5%, respectively, with the real-time PCR assay and 43.7 and 94.8%, respectively, with the nested PCR assay. Detection rates for raspberries seeded with 5 and 10 oocysts were 25.0 and 75.0%, respectively, with the real-time PCR assay and 18.8 and 68.8%, respectively, with the nested PCR assay. All unseeded samples were negative, and all samples seeded with 200 oocysts were positive. Detection rates using the two PCR methods were statistically similar, but the real-time PCR assay is less laborious and less prone to amplicon contamination and allows monitoring of amplification and analysis of results, making it more attractive to diagnostic testing laboratories. The improved sample preparation steps and the TaqMan real-time PCR assay provide a robust, streamlined, and rapid analytical procedure for surveillance, outbreak response, and regulatory testing of foods for

  13. An assessment of air as a source of DNA contamination encountered when performing PCR.

    Witt, Nina; Rodger, Gillian; Vandesompele, Jo; Benes, Vladimir; Zumla, Alimuddin; Rook, Graham A; Huggett, Jim F

    2009-12-01

    Sensitive molecular methods, such as the PCR, can detect low-level contamination, and careful technique is required to reduce the impact of contaminants. Yet, some assays that are designed to detect high copy-number target sequences appear to be impossible to perform without contamination, and frequently, personnel or laboratory environment are held responsible as the source. This complicates diagnostic and research analysis when using molecular methods. To investigate the air specifically as a source of contamination, which might occur during PCR setup, we exposed tubes of water to the air of a laboratory and clean hood for up to 24 h. To increase the chances of contamination, we also investigated a busy open-plan office in the same way. All of the experiments showed the presence of human and rodent DNA contamination. However, there was no accumulation of the contamination in any of the environments investigated, suggesting that the air was not the source of contamination. Even the air from a busy open-plan office was a poor source of contamination for all of the DNA sequences investigated (human, bacterial, fungal, and rodent). This demonstrates that the personnel and immediate laboratory environment are not necessarily to blame for the observed contamination.

  14. Improved sensitivity of circulating tumor DNA measurement using short PCR amplicons

    Andersen, Rikke Fredslund; Spindler, Karen-Lise Garm; Brandslund, Ivan

    2015-01-01

    , however, presents a number of challenges that require attention. The amount of DNA is low and highly fragmented and analyses need to be optimized accordingly. KRAS ARMS-qPCR assays with amplicon lengths of 120 and 85 base pairs, respectively, were compared using positive control material (PCR fragments...

  15. Treatment of PCR products with exonuclease I and heat-labile alkaline phosphatase improves the visibility of combined bisulfite restriction analysis

    Watanabe, Kousuke; Emoto, Noriko; Sunohara, Mitsuhiro; Kawakami, Masanori; Kage, Hidenori; Nagase, Takahide; Ohishi, Nobuya; Takai, Daiya

    2010-01-01

    Research highlights: → Incubating PCR products at a high temperature causes smears in gel electrophoresis. → Smears interfere with the interpretation of methylation analysis using COBRA. → Treatment with exonuclease I and heat-labile alkaline phosphatase eliminates smears. → The elimination of smears improves the visibility of COBRA. -- Abstract: DNA methylation plays a vital role in the regulation of gene expression. Abnormal promoter hypermethylation is an important mechanism of inactivating tumor suppressor genes in human cancers. Combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA) is a widely used method for identifying the DNA methylation of specific CpG sites. Here, we report that exonuclease I and heat-labile alkaline phosphatase can be used for PCR purification for COBRA, improving the visibility of gel electrophoresis after restriction digestion. This improvement is observed when restriction digestion is performed at a high temperature, such as 60 o C or 65 o C, with BstUI and TaqI, respectively. This simple method can be applied instead of DNA purification using spin columns or phenol/chloroform extraction. It can also be applied to other situations when PCR products are digested by thermophile-derived restriction enzymes, such as PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis.

  16. Measuring and improving infrastructure performance

    Committee on Measuring and Improving Infrastructure Performance, National Research Council

    .... Developing a framework for guiding attempts at measuring the performance of infrastructure systems and grappling with the concept of defining good performance are the major themes of this book...

  17. Performance of conventional pcr for screening for strongylus vulgaris on horse farms

    Nielsen, Marianne K.; Wøhlk, Chamilla B.M.; Petersen, Stig L.

      Strongyle parasites are ubiquitous in grazing horses. Of these, the bloodworm Strongylus vulgaris is regarded most pathogenic. Increasing levels of anthelmintic resistance in strongyle parasites has lead to recommendations of decreased treatment intensities, and there is now a pronounced need...... for reliable tools for detection of parasite burdens in general and S. vulgaris in particular. The only method currently available is the larval culture, which is laborious and time-consuming, so veterinary practitioners most often pool samples from several horses together in one culture to save time....... This raises doubts about the reliability of the method. Recently, molecular tools have been developed to detect S. vulgaris in fecal samples. The aim of this study was to compare the performance of a conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay with the traditional larval culture and furthermore test...

  18. Equipment improvements for performance enhancement

    Gaestel, P.; Guesnon, H.; Sauze, G.

    1994-01-01

    In order to enhance the reactor availability, several improvements on reactor equipment have been developed: design optimization for stator maintenance replacement in the main alternator; adjustment modification of stator coils in the main alternator for an easier maintenance; improvement of the fuel handling line (pole crane, transfer equipment, loading machine); development of a loose part trapping system in the steam generator secondary circuit. 1 tab

  19. Comparative performance of Aspergillus galactomannan ELISA and PCR in sputum from patients with ABPA and CPA.

    Fayemiwo, Samuel; Moore, Caroline B; Foden, Philip; Denning, David W; Richardson, Malcolm D

    2017-09-01

    Galactomannan (GM) and Aspergillus DNA detection are useful tools for the diagnosis of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA), primarily in blood and bronchoscopy samples. This study aimed to evaluate the utility of both markers for detection of Aspergillus in sputum from patients with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA). ABPA or CPA demographic patient data were retrieved. This retrospective observational audit included 159 patients with at least one sputum pair. 223 sputum sample pairs were analysed, as well as six control samples for GM only. Real time PCR was performed following sputum DNA extraction using the MycAssay™ Aspergillus kit and cycle thresholds were subtracted from 38 to give positive values (transformed Ct, TCt). The mean age of the patients was 61.81years (SD: ±11.06; range 29-100). One hundred and twenty-six (79.2%) had CPA. Cultures were positive for fungi in 13.1% of the samples, and A. fumigatus was the commonest (11.9%) fungus isolated. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC curve) analysis of sputum GM comparing TCt of >0.0, and >2.0 to derive GMI cut-off values showed a cut-off of 6.5. About 50% of sputa with strongly positive PCR values had GM values>6.5. Two of six (33%) control samples had GM indices>6.5. It is not clear that GM determinations in sputum are useful for diagnosis of either CPA or ABPA, or following therapy. Crown Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Improved Strategies and Optimization of Calibration Models for Real-time PCR Absolute Quantification

    Real-time PCR absolute quantification applications rely on the use of standard curves to make estimates of DNA target concentrations in unknown samples. Traditional absolute quantification approaches dictate that a standard curve must accompany each experimental run. However, t...

  1. Utility of 16S rRNA PCR performed on clinical specimens in patient management

    A. Akram

    2017-04-01

    Conclusions: Despite the low diagnostic yield, results of 16S rRNA PCR can still have a significant impact on patient management due to rationalization or cessation of the antimicrobial therapy. The yield of 16S rRNA PCR was highest for heart valves.

  2. Performance of a real-time PCR assay in routine bovine mastitis diagnostics compared with in-depth conventional culture.

    Hiitiö, Heidi; Riva, Rauna; Autio, Tiina; Pohjanvirta, Tarja; Holopainen, Jani; Pyörälä, Satu; Pelkonen, Sinikka

    2015-05-01

    Reliable identification of the aetiological agent is crucial in mastitis diagnostics. Real-time PCR is a fast, automated tool for detecting the most common udder pathogens directly from milk. In this study aseptically taken quarter milk samples were analysed with a real-time PCR assay (Thermo Scientific PathoProof Mastitis Complete-12 Kit, Thermo Fisher Scientific Ltd.) and by semi-quantitative, in-depth bacteriological culture (BC). The aim of the study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the real-time PCR assay in routine use. A total of 294 quarter milk samples from routine mastitis cases were cultured in the national reference laboratory of Finland and examined with real-time PCR. With BC, 251 out of 294 (85.7%) of the milk samples had at least one colony on the plate and 38 samples were considered contaminated. In the PCR mastitis assay, DNA of target species was amplified in 244 samples out of 294 (83.0%). The most common bacterial species detected in the samples, irrespective of the diagnostic method, was the coagulase negative staphylococci (CNS) group (later referred as Staphylococcus spp.) followed by Staphylococcus aureus. Sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) for the PCR assay to provide a positive Staph. aureus result was 97.0 and 95.8% compared with BC. For Staphylococcus spp., the corresponding figures were 86.7 and 75.4%. Our results imply that PCR performed well as a diagnostic tool to detect Staph. aureus but may be too nonspecific for Staphylococcus spp. in routine use with the current cut-off Ct value (37.0). Using PCR as the only microbiological method for mastitis diagnostics, clinical relevance of the results should be carefully considered before further decisions, for instance antimicrobial treatment, especially when minor pathogens with low amount of DNA have been detected. Introducing the concept of contaminated samples should also be considered.

  3. Benchmark for Strategic Performance Improvement.

    Gohlke, Annette

    1997-01-01

    Explains benchmarking, a total quality management tool used to measure and compare the work processes in a library with those in other libraries to increase library performance. Topics include the main groups of upper management, clients, and staff; critical success factors for each group; and benefits of benchmarking. (Author/LRW)

  4. Performance of nested RT-PCR on CSF for tuberculous meningitis diagnosis in HIV-infected patients.

    Gualberto, F A S; Gonçalves, M G; Fukasawa, L O; Santos, A M Ramos Dos; Sacchi, C T; Harrison, L H; Boulware, D R; Vidal, J E

    2017-10-01

    Timely diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection remains a challenge. Despite the current scale-up of the Xpert® MTB/RIF assay, other molecular diagnostic tools are necessary, particularly in referral centres in low- and middle-income countries without Xpert testing. To determine the diagnostic performance of nested real-time polymerase chain reaction (nRT-PCR) in HIV-infected TBM patients categorised according to standardised clinical case definitions. Based on clinical, laboratory and imaging data, HIV-infected patients with suspected TBM were prospectively categorised as 'definite TBM', 'probable TBM', 'possible TBM' or 'not TBM'. We evaluated nRT-PCR sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing TBM among definite TBM cases, and among definite + probable TBM cases. Ninety-two participants were enrolled in the study. nRT-PCR sensitivity for definite TBM (n = 8) was 100% (95%CI 67-100) and 86% (95%CI 60-96) for both definite and probable TBM (n = 6). Assuming that 'not TBM' patients (n = 74) were true-negatives, nRT-PCR specificity was 100% (95%CI 95-100). The possible TBM group (n = 4) had no nRT-PCR positives. The nRT-PCR is a useful rule-in test for HIV-infected patients with TBM according to international consensus case definitions. As nRT-PCR cannot exclude TBM, studies comparing and combining nRT-PCR with other assays are necessary for a rule-out test.

  5. A novel method of selective removal of human DNA improves PCR sensitivity for detection of Salmonella Typhi in blood samples.

    Zhou, Liqing; Pollard, Andrew J

    2012-07-27

    Enteric fever is a major public health problem, causing an estimated 21million new cases and 216,000 or more deaths every year. Current diagnosis of the disease is inadequate. Blood culture only identifies 45 to 70% of the cases and is time-consuming. Serological tests have very low sensitivity and specificity. Clinical samples obtained for diagnosis of enteric fever in the field generally have blood, so that even PCR-based methods, widely used for detection of other infectious diseases, are not a straightforward option in typhoid diagnosis. We developed a novel method to enrich target bacterial DNA by selective removal of human DNA from blood samples, enhancing the sensitivity of PCR tests. This method offers the possibility of improving PCR assays directly using clinical specimens for diagnosis of this globally important infectious disease. Blood samples were mixed with ox bile for selective lysis of human blood cells and the released human DNA was then digested with addition of bile resistant micrococcal nuclease. The intact Salmonella Typhi bacteria were collected from the specimen by centrifugation and the DNA extracted with QIAamp DNA mini kit. The presence of Salmonella Typhi bacteria in blood samples was detected by PCR with the fliC-d gene of Salmonella Typhi as the target. Micrococcal nuclease retained activity against human blood DNA in the presence of up to 9% ox bile. Background human DNA was dramatically removed from blood samples through the use of ox bile lysis and micrococcal nuclease for removal of mammalian DNA. Consequently target Salmonella Typhi DNA was enriched in DNA preparations and the PCR sensitivity for detection of Salmonella Typhi in spiked blood samples was enhanced by 1,000 fold. Use of a combination of selective ox-bile blood cell lysis and removal of human DNA with micrococcal nuclease significantly improves PCR sensitivity and offers a better option for improved typhoid PCR assays directly using clinical specimens in diagnosis of

  6. An improved PCR method for direct identification of Porphyra (Bangiales, Rhodophyta) using conchocelis based on a RUBISCO intergenic spacer

    Wang, Chao; Dong, Dong; Wang, Guangce; Zhang, Baoyu; Peng, Guang; Xu, Pu; Tang, Xiaorong

    2009-09-01

    An improved method of PCR in which the small segment of conchocelis is amplified directly without DNA extraction was used to amplify a RUBISCO intergenic spacer DNA fragment from nine species of red algal genus Porphyra (Bangiales, Rhodophyta), including Porphyra yezoensis (Jiangsu, China), P. haitanensis (Fujian, China), P. oligospermatangia (Qingdao, China), P. katadai (Qingdao, China), P. tenera (Qingdao, China), P. suborboculata (Fujian, China), P. pseudolinearis (Kogendo, Korea), P. linearis (Devon, England), and P. fallax (Seattle, USA). Standard PCR and the method developed here were both conducted using primers specific for the RUBISCO spacer region, after which the two PCR products were sequenced. The sequencing data of the amplicons obtained using both methods were identical, suggesting that the improved PCR method was functional. These findings indicate that the method developed here may be useful for the rapid identification of species of Porphyra in a germplasm bank. In addition, a phylogenetic tree was constructed using the RUBISCO spacer and partial rbcS sequence, and the results were in concordant with possible alternative phylogenies based on traditional morphological taxonomic characteristics, indicating that the RUBISCO spacer is a useful region for phylogenetic studies.

  7. Improvement of the sensitivity and resolution of PCR-SSCP analysis ...

    enced by many parameters, including size and GC content of the PCR product (Li et ... of the gene for vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3) re- ceptor (VDR) to .... phism (FokI) and bone mineral density in premenopausal Ameri- can black and ...

  8. Improved detection of Candida albicans by PCR in blood of neutropenic mice with systemic candidiasis

    A.J.M. Munting-van Deventer; W.H.F. Goessens (Wil); A.F. van Belkum (Alex); H.J. van Vliet; E.W.M. van Etten (Els); H.A. Verbrugh (Henri)

    1995-01-01

    textabstractA PCR using primers aimed at the multicopy gene coding for the small subunit rRNA and resulting in the synthesis of a 180-bp fragment was evaluated for its use in diagnosing invasive candidiasis in comparison with blood culture. With the use of a C.

  9. Methodological approach to organizational performance improvement process

    Buble, Marin; Dulčić, Želimir; Pavić, Ivan

    2017-01-01

    Organizational performance improvement is one of the fundamental enterprise tasks. This especially applies to the case when the term “performance improvement” implies efficiency improvement measured by indicators, such as ROI, ROE, ROA, or ROVA/ROI. Such tasks are very complex, requiring implementation by means of project management. In this paper, the authors propose a methodological approach to improving the organizational performance of a large enterprise.

  10. Methodological approach to organizational performance improvement process

    Marin Buble

    2001-01-01

    Full Text Available Organizational performance improvement is one of the fundamental enterprise tasks. This especially applies to the case when the term “performance improvement” implies efficiency improvement measured by indicators, such as ROI, ROE, ROA, or ROVA/ROI. Such tasks are very complex, requiring implementation by means of project management. In this paper, the authors propose a methodological approach to improving the organizational performance of a large enterprise.

  11. Absolute quantification by droplet digital PCR versus analog real-time PCR

    Hindson, Christopher M; Chevillet, John R; Briggs, Hilary A; Gallichotte, Emily N; Ruf, Ingrid K; Hindson, Benjamin J; Vessella, Robert L; Tewari, Muneesh

    2014-01-01

    Nanoliter-sized droplet technology paired with digital PCR (ddPCR) holds promise for highly precise, absolute nucleic acid quantification. Our comparison of microRNA quantification by ddPCR and real-time PCR revealed greater precision (coefficients of variation decreased by 37–86%) and improved day-to-day reproducibility (by a factor of seven) of ddPCR but with comparable sensitivity. When we applied ddPCR to serum microRNA biomarker analysis, this translated to superior diagnostic performance for identifying individuals with cancer. PMID:23995387

  12. New, Improved Version of the mCOP-PCR Screening System for Detection of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Gene (SMN1) Deletion.

    Shinohara, Masakazu; Ar Rochmah, Mawaddah; Nakanishi, Kenta; Harahap, Nur Imma Fatimah; Niba, Emma Tabe Eko; Saito, Toshio; Saito, Kayoko; Takeuchi, Atsuko; Bouike, Yoshihiro; Nishio, Hisahide

    2017-09-07

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a frequent autosomal recessive disorder, characterized by lower motor neuron loss in the spinal cord. More than 95% of SMA patients show homozygous survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) deletion. We previously developed a screening system for SMN1 deletion based on a modified competitive oligonucleotide priming-PCR (mCOP-PCR) technique. However, non-specific amplification products were observed with mCOP-PCR, which might lead to erroneous interpretation of the screening results. To establish an improved version of the mCOP-PCR screening system without non-specific amplification. DNA samples were assayed using a new version of the mCOP-PCR screening system. DNA samples had already been genotyped by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP), showing the presence or absence of SMN1 exon 7. The new mCOP-PCR method contained a targeted pre-amplification step of the region, including an SMN1-specific nucleotide, prior to the mCOP-PCR step. mCOP-PCR products were electrophoresed on agarose gels. No non-specific amplification products were detected in electrophoresis gels with the new mCOP-PCR screening system. An additional targeted pre-amplification step eliminated non-specific amplification from mCOP-PCR screening.

  13. Improving specificity of Bordetella pertussis detection using a four target real-time PCR.

    Helena Martini

    Full Text Available The incidence of whooping cough, a contagious respiratory disease caused by Bordetella pertussis, is on the rise despite existing vaccination programmes. Similar, though usually milder, respiratory symptoms may be caused by other members of the Bordetella genus: B. parapertussis, B. holmesii, and B. bronchiseptica. Pertussis diagnosis is mostly done using PCR, but the use of multiple targets is necessary in order to differentiate the different Bordetella spp. with sufficient sensitivity and specificity. In this study we evaluate a multiplex PCR assay for the differentiation of B. pertussis from other Bordetella spp., using the targets IS481, IS1001, IS1002, and recA. Moreover, we retrospectively explore the epidemiology of Bordetella spp. infections in Belgium, using the aforementioned assay over a three-year period, from 2013 until 2015.

  14. Improving specificity of Bordetella pertussis detection using a four target real-time PCR

    Detemmerman, Liselot; Soetens, Oriane; Yusuf, Erlangga; Piérard, Denis

    2017-01-01

    The incidence of whooping cough, a contagious respiratory disease caused by Bordetella pertussis, is on the rise despite existing vaccination programmes. Similar, though usually milder, respiratory symptoms may be caused by other members of the Bordetella genus: B. parapertussis, B. holmesii, and B. bronchiseptica. Pertussis diagnosis is mostly done using PCR, but the use of multiple targets is necessary in order to differentiate the different Bordetella spp. with sufficient sensitivity and specificity. In this study we evaluate a multiplex PCR assay for the differentiation of B. pertussis from other Bordetella spp., using the targets IS481, IS1001, IS1002, and recA. Moreover, we retrospectively explore the epidemiology of Bordetella spp. infections in Belgium, using the aforementioned assay over a three-year period, from 2013 until 2015. PMID:28403204

  15. Novel approach for assessing performance of PCR cyclers used for diagnostic testing

    Schoder, D.; Schmalwieser, A.; Schauberger, G.

    2005-01-01

    of thermal homogeneities became most evident at the denaturation level during the first 15 s. At the time point zero, the accurate cyclers showed temperature deviations of 0.5 to 1.5 degrees C, whereas less-accurate cyclers failed to reach the set temperature by 13 to 20 degrees C. Consequently, the two less......As part of a large international project for validation and standardization of PCR, the influence of thermocyclers on PCR was tested. Six brand-new, Peltier technology-driven 96-well thermocyclers were subjected to a novel and stringent in-tube (not block) physical testing. The temperature...

  16. Human performance improvement for nuclear power plants

    2005-01-01

    The IAEA assists NPP operating organizations to improve plant performance through a focus on human performance improvement in areas like organizational and leadership development, senior management decision making, organization and management of HPI programmes including tools needed for effective HPI implementation, safety culture enhancement, knowledge management, personnel selection and staffing, career development, training and development, work design, scheduling and conditions, procedure and other job-aid development and use, effective communications, human performance monitoring, motivation. Many NPP operating organizations in Member States, are not yet achieving the full potential of their NPP technology/equipment regarding safety, operational or economic performance due to human performance weaknesses. The IAEA's HPI (Human Performance Improvement) services provide a means for these organizations to efficiently and effectively learn from international experts and the experiences of others in improving plant performance through human performance improvements. NPP operating organizations can benefit from these services in a number of ways, including requesting a national project, participating in a regional project, or requesting an assist visit. The types of activities provided through these services include assistance in benchmarking practices of successful organizations, providing information exchange and reviews of current practices through assist missions, conducting workshops on focused human performance topics, evaluating current human performance methods, including assistance in implementing self assessment programmes and providing support to safety culture enhancement programmes based on self-assessment

  17. Improving performance on core processes of care.

    Austin, John Matthew; Pronovost, Peter J

    2016-06-01

    This article describes the recent literature on using extrinsic and intrinsic motivators to improve performance on core processes of care, highlighting literature that describes general frameworks for quality improvement work. The literature supporting the effectiveness of extrinsic motivators to improve quality is generally positive for public reporting of performance, with mixed results for pay-for-performance. A four-element quality improvement framework developed by The Armstrong Institute at Johns Hopkins Medicine was developed with intrinsic motivation in mind. The clear definition and communication of goals are important for quality improvement work. Training clinicians in improvement science, such as lean sigma, teamwork, or culture change provides clinicians with the skills they need to drive the improvement work. Peer learning communities offer the opportunity for clinicians to engage with each other and offer support in their work. The transparent reporting of performance helps ensure accountability of performance ranging from individual clinicians to governance. Quality improvement work that is led by and engages clinicians offers the opportunity for the work to be both meaningful and sustainable. The literature supports approaching quality improvement work in a systematic way, including the key elements of communication, infrastructure building, training, transparency, and accountability.

  18. Analytical and clinical performance of the CDC real time RT-PCR assay for detection and typing of dengue virus.

    Gilberto A Santiago

    Full Text Available Dengue is an acute illness caused by the positive-strand RNA dengue virus (DENV. There are four genetically distinct DENVs (DENV-1-4 that cause disease in tropical and subtropical countries. Most patients are viremic when they present with symptoms; therefore, RT-PCR has been increasingly used in dengue diagnosis. The CDC DENV-1-4 RT-PCR Assay has been developed as an in-vitro diagnostic platform and was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA for detection of dengue in patients with signs or symptoms of mild or severe dengue. The primers and probes of this test have been designed to detect currently circulating strains of DENV-1-4 from around the world at comparable sensitivity. In a retrospective study with 102 dengue cases confirmed by IgM anti-DENV seroconversion in the convalescent sample, the RT-PCR Assay detected DENV RNA in 98.04% of the paired acute samples. Using sequencing as a positive indicator, the RT-PCR Assay had a 97.92% positive agreement in 86 suspected dengue patients with a single acute serum sample. After extensive validations, the RT-PCR Assay performance was highly reproducible when evaluated across three independent testing sites, did not produce false positive results for etiologic agents of other febrile illnesses, and was not affected by pathological levels of potentially interfering biomolecules. These results indicate that the CDC DENV-1-4 RT-PCR Assay provides a reliable diagnostic platform capable for confirming dengue in suspected cases.

  19. Analytical and clinical performance of the CDC real time RT-PCR assay for detection and typing of dengue virus.

    Santiago, Gilberto A; Vergne, Edgardo; Quiles, Yashira; Cosme, Joan; Vazquez, Jesus; Medina, Juan F; Medina, Freddy; Colón, Candimar; Margolis, Harold; Muñoz-Jordán, Jorge L

    2013-01-01

    Dengue is an acute illness caused by the positive-strand RNA dengue virus (DENV). There are four genetically distinct DENVs (DENV-1-4) that cause disease in tropical and subtropical countries. Most patients are viremic when they present with symptoms; therefore, RT-PCR has been increasingly used in dengue diagnosis. The CDC DENV-1-4 RT-PCR Assay has been developed as an in-vitro diagnostic platform and was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for detection of dengue in patients with signs or symptoms of mild or severe dengue. The primers and probes of this test have been designed to detect currently circulating strains of DENV-1-4 from around the world at comparable sensitivity. In a retrospective study with 102 dengue cases confirmed by IgM anti-DENV seroconversion in the convalescent sample, the RT-PCR Assay detected DENV RNA in 98.04% of the paired acute samples. Using sequencing as a positive indicator, the RT-PCR Assay had a 97.92% positive agreement in 86 suspected dengue patients with a single acute serum sample. After extensive validations, the RT-PCR Assay performance was highly reproducible when evaluated across three independent testing sites, did not produce false positive results for etiologic agents of other febrile illnesses, and was not affected by pathological levels of potentially interfering biomolecules. These results indicate that the CDC DENV-1-4 RT-PCR Assay provides a reliable diagnostic platform capable for confirming dengue in suspected cases.

  20. Performance improvement program: goals and experience

    Guglielmi, F. [Point Lepreau Generating Station, Maces Bay, New Brunswick (Canada)

    2015-07-01

    Following long 54 month refurbishment outage at Point Lepreau Generating Station, operational performance had fallen below industry standards in a number of areas. Leadership development and succession planning had stalled. Operational focus was low primarily due to the construction focus during refurbishment. Condition of balance of plant was poor including several long standing deficiencies. In order to improve performance, the site implemented a framework based on INPO 12-011: Focus on Improving Behaviours; Set common goals and demonstrate results; Align and engage the organization; Drive to achieve high levels of performance and sustain performance.

  1. Performance improvement program: goals and experience

    Guglielmi, F.

    2015-01-01

    Following long 54 month refurbishment outage at Point Lepreau Generating Station, operational performance had fallen below industry standards in a number of areas. Leadership development and succession planning had stalled. Operational focus was low primarily due to the construction focus during refurbishment. Condition of balance of plant was poor including several long standing deficiencies. In order to improve performance, the site implemented a framework based on INPO 12-011: Focus on Improving Behaviours; Set common goals and demonstrate results; Align and engage the organization; Drive to achieve high levels of performance and sustain performance.

  2. Does Education Reform Improve Job Performance

    Wenger, J

    2003-01-01

    .... Examining military personnel data, which is a highly detailed source of information for recent high school graduate's performance, we find that the quality of Navy recruits improved during the 1990...

  3. Improving Process Heating System Performance v3

    None

    2016-04-11

    Improving Process Heating System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry is a development of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and the Industrial Heating Equipment Association (IHEA). The AMO and IHEA undertook this project as part of an series of sourcebook publications developed by AMO on energy-consuming industrial systems, and opportunities to improve performance. Other topics in this series include compressed air systems, pumping systems, fan systems, steam systems, and motors and drives

  4. Performance improvement plan in customer technical services

    Lachambre, L.

    1995-01-01

    This presentation centred around the philosophy, goals, and initiatives associated with Gaz Metropolitain's performance improvement plan. Various aspects of the plan including customer surveys, new customer service policies, the creation of small working units, the decentralization of the Montreal service department, and customer-harmonized shift schedules were explored. Implementation of new service plans and contracts, the formation of improvement groups related to human resources, human resource and productivity management, leadership training, and the use of performance indicators were also explained

  5. An Adaptive Middleware for Improved Computational Performance

    Bonnichsen, Lars Frydendal

    , we are improving computational performance by exploiting modern hardware features, such as dynamic voltage-frequency scaling and transactional memory. Adapting software is an iterative process, requiring that we continually revisit it to meet new requirements or realities; a time consuming process......The performance improvements in computer systems over the past 60 years have been fueled by an exponential increase in energy efficiency. In recent years, the phenomenon known as the end of Dennard’s scaling has slowed energy efficiency improvements — but improving computer energy efficiency...... is more important now than ever. Traditionally, most improvements in computer energy efficiency have come from improvements in lithography — the ability to produce smaller transistors — and computer architecture - the ability to apply those transistors efficiently. Since the end of scaling, we have seen...

  6. Simple PCR assays improve the sensitivity of HIV-1 subtype B drug resistance testing and allow linking of resistance mutations.

    Jeffrey A Johnson

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The success of antiretroviral therapy is known to be compromised by drug-resistant HIV-1 at frequencies detectable by conventional bulk sequencing. Currently, there is a need to assess the clinical consequences of low-frequency drug resistant variants occurring below the detection limit of conventional genotyping. Sensitive detection of drug-resistant subpopulations, however, requires simple and practical methods for routine testing. METHODOLOGY: We developed highly-sensitive and simple real-time PCR assays for nine key drug resistance mutations and show that these tests overcome substantial sequence heterogeneity in HIV-1 clinical specimens. We specifically used early wildtype virus samples from the pre-antiretroviral drug era to measure background reactivity and were able to define highly-specific screening cut-offs that are up to 67-fold more sensitive than conventional genotyping. We also demonstrate that sequencing the mutation-specific PCR products provided a direct and novel strategy to further detect and link associated resistance mutations, allowing easy identification of multi-drug-resistant variants. Resistance mutation associations revealed in mutation-specific amplicon sequences were verified by clonal sequencing. SIGNIFICANCE: Combined, sensitive real-time PCR testing and mutation-specific amplicon sequencing provides a powerful and simple approach that allows for improved detection and evaluation of HIV-1 drug resistance mutations.

  7. Peer Mentors Can Improve Academic Performance

    Asgari, Shaki; Carter, Frederick, Jr.

    2016-01-01

    The present study examined the relationship between peer mentoring and academic performance. Students from two introductory psychology classes either received (n = 37) or did not receive (n = 36) peer mentoring. The data indicated a consistent improvement in the performance (i.e., grades on scheduled exams) of the mentored group. A similar pattern…

  8. Do Leadership Changes Improve Electoral Performance?

    Helboe Pedersen, H.; Schumacher, G.; Cross, W.; Pilet, J.-B.

    2015-01-01

    Does changing the leader improve a party’s electoral performance? And does it matter who for electoral performance who selects the leader? We hypothesize that in parties with inclusive selectorates leadership change is beneficial because the competition for the leadership is more open, receives more

  9. South Bank Coke Ovens heating performance improvements

    Fraser, A.J. [South Bank Coke Ovens (United Kingdom)

    1995-12-31

    The coke oven batteries at South Bank Coke Ovens had a history of refractory failure, overheating, and poor environmental performance despite repeated attempts to solve the problem. The fundamental design was poor, but previous upgrade attempts had a history of short term improvements followed by renewed decline, suggesting that the problem may not merely with the equipment. An audit of the area showed multiple morale, equipment and communications problems, although a significant proportion of the workforce were interested in improving the situation. A group of those interested in performance improvements was called together and objectives agreed upon. Communications were upgraded and problem walls analysed for their particular weaknesses. A team approach was used for maintenance, leading to slowly improving pushing emission factors. Temperature control equipment ensured better environmental performance and lower electricity consumption. 5 refs., 3 figs.

  10. Improving human performance: Industry factors influencing the ability to perform

    Güera Massyn Romo

    2013-01-01

    Learning interventions and new technologies that aim to improve human performance must take cognisance of industry factors inhibiting human performance. The dynamic and fast pace nature of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the engineering industries do not lend themselves to proper skills planning and management. These industries experience real skills gaps, to some of which they contribute by themselves. This study reports on these performance-inhibiting factors such a...

  11. Performance improvement integration: a whole systems approach.

    Page, C K

    1999-02-01

    Performance improvement integration in health care organizations is a challenge for health care leaders. Required for accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (Joint Commission), performance improvement (PI) can be designed as a sustainable model for performance to survive in a turbulent period. Central Baptist Hospital developed a model for PI that focused on strategy established by the leadership team, delineated responsibility through the organizational structure of shared governance, and accountability for outcomes evidenced through the organization's profitability. Such an approach integrated into the culture of the organization can produce positive financial margins, positive customer satisfaction, and commendations from the Joint Commission.

  12. Do school inspections improve primary school performance?

    Dinand Webbink; Rob Luginbuhl; I. de Wolf

    2007-01-01

    Inspectors from the Dutch Inspectorate of Education inspect primary schools, write inspection reports on each inspected school, and make recommendations as to how each school can improve. We test whether these inspections result in better school performance. Using a fixed-effects model, we find evidence that school inspections do lead to measurably better school performance. Our assessment of school performance is based on the Cito test scores of pupils in their final year of primary school. ...

  13. Analytical and diagnostic performance of a qPCR assay for Ichthyophonus spp. compared to the tissue culture 'gold standard'.

    Lowe, Vanessa C; Hershberger, Paul K; Friedman, Carolyn S

    2018-06-04

    Parasites of the genus Ichthyophonus infect many fish species and have a non-uniform distribution within host tissues. Due in part to this uneven distribution, the comparative sensitivity and accuracy of using molecular-based detection methods versus culture to estimate parasite prevalence is under debate. We evaluated the analytical and diagnostic performance of an existing qPCR assay in comparison to the 'gold standard' culture method using Pacific herring Clupea pallasii with known exposure history. We determined that the assay is suitable for use in this host, and diagnostic specificity was consistently high (>98%) in both heart and liver tissues. Diagnostic sensitivity could not be fully assessed due to low infection rates, but our results suggest that qPCR is not as sensitive as culture under all circumstances. Diagnostic sensitivity of qPCR relative to culture is likely affected by the amount of sample processed. The prevalence values estimated by the 2 methods were not significantly different when sample amounts were equal (heart tissue), but when the assayed sample amounts were unequal (liver tissue), the culture method detected a significantly higher prevalence of the parasite than qPCR. Further, culture of liver also detected significantly more Ichthyophonus infections than culture of heart, suggesting that the density and distribution of parasites in tissues also plays a role in assay sensitivity. This sensitivity issue would be most problematic for fish with light infections. Although qPCR does not detect the presence of a live organism, DNA-based pathogen detection methods provide the opportunity for alternate testing strategies when culture is not possible.

  14. Improving Mobility Performance in Wheelchair Basketball.

    Veeger, Thom T J; De Witte, Annemarie M H; Berger, Monique A M; Van Der Slikke, Rienk M A; Veeger, Dirkjan H E J; Hoozemans, Marco J M

    2017-10-16

    This study aimed to investigate which characteristics of athlete, wheelchair and athlete-wheelchair interface are the best predictors of wheelchair basketball mobility performance. Sixty experienced wheelchair basketball players performed a wheelchair mobility performance test to assess their mobility performance. To determine which variables were the best predictors of mobility performance, forward stepwise linear regression analyses were performed on a set of 33 characteristics, including ten athlete, nineteen wheelchair and four athlete-wheelchair interface characteristics. Eight of the characteristics turned out to be significant predictors of wheelchair basketball mobility performance. Classification, experience, maximal isometric force, wheel axis height and hand rim diameter - which both interchangeable with each other and wheel diameter - camber angle, and the vertical distance between shoulder and rear wheel axis - which was interchangeable with seat height - were positively associated with mobility performance. The vertical distance between the front seat and the footrest was negatively associated with mobility performance. With this insight, coaches and biomechanical specialists are provided with statistical findings to determine which characteristics they could focus on best to improve mobility performance. Six out of eight predictors are modifiable and can be optimized to improve mobility performance. These adjustments could be carried out both in training (maximal isometric force) and in wheelchair configurations (e.g. camber angle).

  15. Quantitative PCR is a Valuable Tool to Monitor the Performance of DNA-Encoded Chemical Library Selections.

    Li, Yizhou; Zimmermann, Gunther; Scheuermann, Jörg; Neri, Dario

    2017-05-04

    Phage-display libraries and DNA-encoded chemical libraries (DECLs) represent useful tools for the isolation of specific binding molecules from large combinatorial sets of compounds. With both methods, specific binders are recovered at the end of affinity capture procedures by using target proteins of interest immobilized on a solid support. However, although the efficiency of phage-display selections is routinely quantified by counting the phage titer before and after the affinity capture step, no similar quantification procedures have been reported for the characterization of DECL selections. In this article, we describe the potential and limitations of quantitative PCR (qPCR) methods for the evaluation of selection efficiency by using a combinatorial chemical library with more than 35 million compounds. In the experimental conditions chosen for the selections, a quantification of DNA input/recovery over five orders of magnitude could be performed, revealing a successful enrichment of abundant binders, which could be confirmed by DNA sequencing. qPCR provided rapid information about the performance of selections, thus facilitating the optimization of experimental conditions. © 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  16. Performance of PCR-reverse blot hybridization assay for detection of rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium leprae.

    Wang, Hye-young; Kim, Hyunjung; Kim, Yeun; Bang, Hyeeun; Kim, Jong-Pill; Hwang, Joo Hwan; Cho, Sang-Nae; Kim, Tae Ue; Lee, Hyeyoung

    2015-10-01

    Drug resistance in Mycobacterium leprae is a significant problem in countries where leprosy is endemic. A sensitive, specific, and high-throughput reverse blot hybridization assay (REBA) for the detection of genotypic resistance to rifampicin (RIF) was designed and evaluated. It has been shown that resistance to RIF in M. leprae involves mutations in the rpoB gene encoding the -subunit of the RNA polymerase. The PCR-REBA simultaneously detects both 6 wild-type regions and 5 different mutations (507 AGC, 513 GTG, 516 TAT, 531 ATG, and 531 TTC) including the most prevalent mutations at positions 507 and 531. Thirty-one clinical isolates provided by Korea Institute of Hansen-s Disease were analyzed by PCR-REBA with RIF resistance of rpoB gene. As a result, missense mutations at codons 507 AGC and 531 ATG with 2-nucleotide substitutions were found in one sample, and a missense mutation at codon 516 TAT and ΔWT6 (deletion of 530-534) was found in another sample. These cases were confirmed by DNA sequence analysis. This rapid, simple, and highly sensitive assay provides a practical alternative to sequencing for genotypic evaluation of RIF resistance in M. leprae.

  17. Goals and experience of performance improvement

    Tan, H. [CNNO, CNNP, Nuclear Power Operations Management Co., Ltd. (China)

    2015-07-01

    Performance improvement was achieved by reasonable arrangement of planned window for related work and optimization of time for important maintenance items, outage quality and duration. Unplanned output loss has been reduced through routine unit management and improvements to both personnel skill and equipment reliability. Planned power generation loss is reduced by controlling planned duration and quality of forced shutdowns and outages, to ensure safe and stable plant operation.

  18. Performance improvement using methodology: case study.

    Harmelink, Stacy

    2008-01-01

    The department of radiology at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center in Sioux City, IA implemented meaningful workflow changes for reducing patient wait times and, at the same time, improved customer and employee satisfaction scores. Lean methodology and the 7 Deadly Wastes, along with small group interaction, was used to evaluate and change the process of a patient waiting for an exam in the radiology department. The most important key to the success of a performance improvement project is the involvement of staff.

  19. Improving human performance in maintenance personnel

    Gonzalez Anez, Francisco; Agueero Agueero, Jorge

    2010-01-01

    The continuous evolution and improvement of safety-related processes has included the analysis, design and development of training plans for the qualification of maintenance nuclear power plant personnel. In this respect, the international references in this area recommend the establishment of systematic qualification programmes for personnel performing functions or carrying out safety related tasks. Maintenance personnel qualification processes have improved significantly, and training plans have been designed and developed based on Systematic Approach to Training methodology to each job position. These improvements have been clearly reflected in recent training programmes with new training material and training facilities focused not only on developing technical knowledge and skills but also on improving attitudes and safety culture. The objectives of maintenance training facilities such as laboratories, mock-ups real an virtual, hydraulic loops, field simulators and other training material to be used in the maintenance training centre are to cover training necessities for initial and continuous qualification. Evidently, all these improvements made in the qualification of plant personnel should be extended to include supplemental personnel (external or contracted) performing safety-related tasks. The supplemental personnel constitute a very spread group, covering the performance of multiple activities entailing different levels of responsibility. Some of these activities are performed permanently at the plant, while others are occasional or sporadic. In order to establish qualification requirements for these supplemental workers, it is recommended to establish a rigorous analysis of job positions and tasks. The objective will be to identify the qualification requirements to assure competence and safety. (authors)

  20. Recent technology on steam turbine performance improvement

    Hirada, M.; Watanabe, E.; Tashiro, H.

    1991-01-01

    Continuous efforts have been made to improve turbine efficiency by applying the latest aerodynamic technologies to meet the energy saving requirement. In recent years, there has been considerable improvement in the field of computational fluid dynamics and these new technologies have been applied to the new blade design for HP, IP and LP turbines. Experimental verification for the new blade in turbine tests has established the overall turbine performance improvement and the excellent correspondence of flow pattern to the predicted value. This paper introduces the latest design technologies for the newly developed high efficiency blade and the verification test results

  1. Design aspects of PHWR for improved performance

    Das, M.

    1989-01-01

    The PHWR fuel bundle is elegantly simple in design consisting of only six components. The unique features of the design include high density natural UO 2 pellets, collapsible zircaloy cladding, no gas plenums and short (50 cm), simple bundle configuration. Over the last 20 years, considerable efforts have been expended and still being continued on development of analytical tools and computer codes generation of technical specifications tests and experimental studies type tests on prototype bundles irradiation of special documented fuel bundles in power reactors and monitoring and analysis of fuel performance. The knowledge thus gained has helped us to modify design requirements, relax technical specifications and to evolve new, improved designs. The PHWR fuel technology in India can now be considered as well proven but there is considerable scope for further improvements both in design and manufacturing. For example, in design, use of thinner wall cladding (to improve burn up) bundle design with graded elements, double dished pellet, improved coatings, use of MOX fuel etc. are being explored. On the manufacturing side emphasis need to be given on maintaining the quality, improvement on production and process control. The use of automation and advances in machine control techniques, for example, using micro processors can effectively contribute to improvements in quality, productivity and lowering of fuel fabrication costs. In this paper, the PHWR fuel design features, different fuel designs evolved, fuel specifications, influence of fabrication variables and future direction in improved fuel performance are discussed. (author) 9 refs., 7 figs

  2. Evaluation of viability PCR performance for assessing norovirus infectivity in fresh-cut vegetables and irrigation water.

    Randazzo, W; López-Gálvez, Francisco; Allende, A; Aznar, R; Sánchez, G

    2016-07-16

    Norovirus (NoV) detection in food and water is mainly carried out by quantitative RT-PCR (RT-qPCR). The inability to differentiate between infectious and inactivated viruses and the resulting overestimation of viral targets is considered a major disadvantage of RT-qPCR. Initially, conventional photoactivatable dyes (i.e. propidium monoazide, PMA and ethidium monoazide, EMA) and newly developed ones (i.e. PMAxx and PEMAX) were evaluated for the discrimination between infectious and thermally inactivated NoV genogroup I (GI) and II (GII) suspensions. Results showed that PMAxx was the best photoactivatable dye to assess NoV infectivity. This procedure was further optimized in artificially inoculated lettuce. Pretreatment with 50μM PMAxx and 0.5% Triton X-100 (Triton) for 10min reduced the signal of thermally inactivated NoV by ca. 1.8 logs for both genogroups in lettuce concentrates. Additionally, this pretreatment reduced the signal of thermally inactivated NoV GI between 1.4 and 1.9 logs in spinach and romaine and lamb's lettuces and by >2 logs for NoV GII in romaine and lamb's lettuce samples. Moreover this pretreatment was satisfactorily applied to naturally-contaminated water samples with NoV GI and GII. Based on the obtained results this pretreatment has the potential to be integrated in routine diagnoses to improve the interpretation of positive NoV results obtained by RT-qPCR. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Improvement of sampling plans for Salmonella detection in pooled table eggs by use of real-time PCR.

    Pasquali, Frédérique; De Cesare, Alessandra; Valero, Antonio; Olsen, John Emerdhal; Manfreda, Gerardo

    2014-08-01

    Eggs and egg products have been described as the most critical food vehicles of salmonellosis. The prevalence and level of contamination of Salmonella on table eggs are low, which severely affects the sensitivity of sampling plans applied voluntarily in some European countries, where one to five pools of 10 eggs are tested by the culture based reference method ISO 6579:2004. In the current study we have compared the testing-sensitivity of the reference culture method ISO 6579:2004 and an alternative real-time PCR method on Salmonella contaminated egg-pool of different sizes (4-9 uninfected eggs mixed with one contaminated egg) and contamination levels (10°-10(1), 10(1)-10(2), 10(2)-10(3)CFU/eggshell). Two hundred and seventy samples corresponding to 15 replicates per pool size and inoculum level were tested. At the lowest contamination level real-time PCR detected Salmonella in 40% of contaminated pools vs 12% using ISO 6579. The results were used to estimate the lowest number of sample units needed to be tested in order to have a 95% certainty not falsely to accept a contaminated lot by Monte Carlo simulation. According to this simulation, at least 16 pools of 10 eggs each are needed to be tested by ISO 6579 in order to obtain this confidence level, while the minimum number of pools to be tested was reduced to 8 pools of 9 eggs each, when real-time PCR was applied as analytical method. This result underlines the importance of including analytical methods with higher sensitivity in order to improve the efficiency of sampling and reduce the number of samples to be tested. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Improved diagnosis of central nervous system tuberculosis by MPB64-Target PCR Diagnóstico da tuberculose do sistema nervoso central por MPB64-Target PCR

    Dil-Afroze

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available Central nervous system (CNS tuberculosis is a serious clinical problem, the treatment of which is sometimes hampered by delayed diagnosis. Clearly, prompt laboratory diagnosis is of vital importance as the spectrum of disease is wideand abnormalities of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF are incredibly variable. Since delayed hypersensitivity is the underlying immune response, bacterial load is very low. The conventional bacteriological methods rarely detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis in CSF and are of limited use in diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis (TBM. This double blind study was, therefore, directed to the molecular analysis of CNS tuberculosis by an in-house-developed PCR targeted for amplification of a 240bp nucleotidesequence coding for MPB64 protein specific for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Based on the clinical criteria, 47 patients with CNS tuberculosis and a control group of 10 patients having non-tubercular lesions of the CNS were included in the study. Analyses were done in three groups; one group consisting of 27 patients of TBM, a second group of 20 patients with intracranial tuberculomas and a third group of 10 patients having non-tubercular lesions of the CNS acted as control. There were no false positive results by PCR and the specificity worked out to be 100%. In the three study groups, routine CSF analysis (cells and chemistry, CSF for AFB smear and culture were negative in all cases. PCR was positive for 21/27 patients (77.7% sensitivity of the first group of TBM patients, 6/20 patients (30% sensitivity of the second group with intracranial tuberculomas were positive by PCR and none was PCR-positive (100% specificity in the third group. Thus, PCR was found to be more sensitive than any other conventional method in the diagnosis of clinically suspected tubercular meningitis.A tuberculose do sistema nervoso central (CNS é um problema clínico sério, cujo tratamento é dificultado pelo diagnóstico tardio. O diagn

  5. Purchasing to improve health systems performance

    Robinson, Ray; Jakubowski, Elke; Figueras, Josep

    2005-01-01

    ... as they formulate purchasing strategies so that they can increase effectiveness and improve performance in their own national context An assessment of the intersecting roles of citizens, the government and the providers * * * Written by leading health policy analysts, this book is essential reading for health policy makers, planners and managers as well as resear...

  6. Improving the Performance of Justice Institutions

    Decker, Klaus; Mohlen, Christian; Varela, David F.

    2011-01-01

    This paper presents a selection of experiences from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in managing justice institutions which are the most relevant for performance improvement of their counterparts in Latin America. The scope of the paper is mostly limited to the courts, but comprises all types of courts: specialized courts as well as courts of general j...

  7. The People Side of Performance Improvement.

    Gerson, Richard F.

    1999-01-01

    Discusses 11 keys to the personal side of performance improvement, including positive attitude, high self esteem and positive self-image, communication skills, lifelong learning, caring about other people, health and well-being, motivation, goal setting, relaxation, visualization, and personal value system. (LRW)

  8. Improving engineering performance by utilizing process indicators

    Roberts, T.E.

    1992-01-01

    The purpose of the work discussed in this paper was to develop engineering performance indicators used to facilitate improvement to the technical quality, cost-effectiveness, and delivery of engineering products and service. This work was specifically tailored for engineering support products and service associated with operating Florida Power and Light Company (FP and L) nuclear plants. The engineering process for the development of plant change packages was reviewed to identify critical in-process activities. Because each engineering project usually deals with a specific component or plant system, the different tasks are usually technically unique and of varying magnitudes. Although each engineering product may employ different analytical techniques or industry code requirements, several activities in documenting the engineering design process are generic. The quality of performance in these activities can be monitored analogously to the steps in a manufacturing process. This concept builds quality concepts into the package in lieu of inspecting package quality at the end of the process. The work has resulted in a valuable self-assessment tool that serves as a basis for engineering process improvements. The indicators are published in a semi-yearly performance report for FP and L contractors as well as FP and L in-house engineering work. Contracts have been set up to base fees on meeting targets established for the performance report. The ability to meet performance targets continues to improve

  9. Visuospatial training improves elementary students' mathematics performance.

    Lowrie, Tom; Logan, Tracy; Ramful, Ajay

    2017-06-01

    Although spatial ability and mathematics performance are highly correlated, there is scant research on the extent to which spatial ability training can improve mathematics performance. This study evaluated the efficacy of a visuospatial intervention programme within classrooms to determine the effect on students' (1) spatial reasoning and (2) mathematics performance as a result of the intervention. The study involved grade six students (ages 10-12) in eight classes. There were five intervention classes (n = 120) and three non-intervention control classes (n = 66). A specifically designed 10-week spatial reasoning programme was developed collaboratively with the participating teachers, with the intervention replacing the standard mathematics curriculum. The five classroom teachers in the intervention programme presented 20 hr of activities aimed at enhancing students' spatial visualization, mental rotation, and spatial orientation skills. The spatial reasoning programme led to improvements in both spatial ability and mathematics performance relative to the control group who received standard mathematics instruction. Our study is the first to show that a classroom-based spatial reasoning intervention improves elementary school students' mathematics performance. © 2017 The British Psychological Society.

  10. Pre-task music improves swimming performance.

    Smirmaul, B P; Dos Santos, R V; Da Silva Neto, L V

    2015-12-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of pre-task music on swimming performance and other psychological variables. A randomized counterbalanced within-subjects (experimental and control condition) design was employed. Eighteen regional level male swimmers performed two 200-m freestyle swimming time trials. Participants were exposed to either 5 minutes of self-selected music (pre-task music condition) or 5 minutes of silence (control condition) and, after 1 minute, performed the swimming task. Swimming time was significantly shorter (-1.44%) in the pre-task music condition. Listening to pre-task music increased motivation to perform the swimming task, while arousal remained unchanged. While fatigue increased after the swimming task in both conditions, vigor, ratings of perceived exertion and affective valence were unaltered. It is concluded, for the first time, that pre-task music improves swimming performance.

  11. Improved diagnostic PCR assay for Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae based on the nucleotide sequence of an outer membrane lipoprotein

    Gram, Trine; Ahrens, Peter

    1998-01-01

    species related to A. pleuropneumoniae or isolated from pigs were assayed. They were all found negative in the PCR, as were tonsil cultures from 50 pigs of an A. pleuropneumoniae-negative herd. The sensitivity assessed by agarose gel analysis of the PCR product was 10(2) CFU/PCR test tube. The specificity...

  12. Improved Low Temperature Performance of Supercapacitors

    Brandon, Erik J.; West, William C.; Smart, Marshall C.; Gnanaraj, Joe

    2013-01-01

    Low temperature double-layer capacitor operation enabled by: - Base acetonitrile / TEATFB salt formulation - Addition of low melting point formates, esters and cyclic ethers center dot Key electrolyte design factors: - Volume of co-solvent - Concentration of salt center dot Capacity increased through higher capacity electrodes: - Zeolite templated carbons - Asymmetric cell designs center dot Continuing efforts - Improve asymmetric cell performance at low temperature - Cycle life testing Motivation center dot Benchmark performance of commercial cells center dot Approaches for designing low temperature systems - Symmetric cells (activated carbon electrodes) - Symmetric cells (zeolite templated carbon electrodes) - Asymmetric cells (lithium titanate/activated carbon electrodes) center dot Experimental results center dot Summary

  13. Cloud Computing for Maintenance Performance Improvement

    Kour, Ravdeep; Karim, Ramin; Parida, Aditya

    2013-01-01

    Cloud Computing is an emerging research area. It can be utilised for acquiring an effective and efficient information logistics. This paper uses cloud-based technology for the establishment of information logistics for railway system which requires information based on data from different data sources (e.g. railway maintenance, railway operation, and railway business data). In order to improve the performance of the maintenance process relevant data from various sources need to be acquired, f...

  14. Performance Characteristics of qPCR Assays Targeting Human- and Ruminant-Associated Bacteroidetes for Microbial Source Tracking across Sixteen Countries on Six Continents

    2013-01-01

    Numerous quantitative PCR assays for microbial fecal source tracking (MST) have been developed and evaluated in recent years. Widespread application has been hindered by a lack of knowledge regarding the geographical stability and hence applicability of such methods beyond the regional level. This study assessed the performance of five previously reported quantitative PCR assays targeting human-, cattle-, or ruminant-associated Bacteroidetes populations on 280 human and animal fecal samples from 16 countries across six continents. The tested cattle-associated markers were shown to be ruminant-associated. The quantitative distributions of marker concentrations in target and nontarget samples proved to be essential for the assessment of assay performance and were used to establish a new metric for quantitative source-specificity. In general, this study demonstrates that stable target populations required for marker-based MST occur around the globe. Ruminant-associated marker concentrations were strongly correlated with total intestinal Bacteroidetes populations and with each other, indicating that the detected ruminant-associated populations seem to be part of the intestinal core microbiome of ruminants worldwide. Consequently tested ruminant-targeted assays appear to be suitable quantitative MST tools beyond the regional level while the targeted human-associated populations seem to be less prevalent and stable, suggesting potential for improvements in human-targeted methods. PMID:23755882

  15. Performance of a Highly Sensitive Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Real-Time PCR Assay for Diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis in a Low-Prevalence Setting: a Prospective Intervention Study.

    Vinuesa, Víctor; Borrás, Rafael; Briones, María Luisa; Clari, María Ángeles; Cresencio, Vicenta; Giménez, Estela; Muñoz, Carmen; Oltra, Rosa; Servera, Emilio; Scheelje, Talia; Tornero, Carlos; Navarro, David

    2018-05-01

    The potential impact of routine real-time PCR testing of respiratory specimens from patients with presumptive tuberculosis in terms of diagnostic accuracy and time to tuberculosis treatment inception in low-prevalence settings remains largely unexplored. We conducted a prospective intervention cohort study. Respiratory specimens from 1,020 patients were examined by acid-fast bacillus smear microscopy, tested by a real-time Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex PCR assay (Abbott RealTi me MTB PCR), and cultured in mycobacterial media. Seventeen patients tested positive by PCR (5 were acid-fast bacillus smear positive and 12 acid-fast bacillus smear negative), and Mycobacterium tuberculosis was recovered from cultures for 12 of them. Patients testing positive by PCR and negative by culture ( n = 5) were treated and deemed to have responded to antituberculosis therapy. There were no PCR-negative/culture-positive cases, and none of the patients testing positive for nontuberculous mycobacteria ( n = 20) yielded a positive PCR result. The data indicated that routine testing of respiratory specimens from patients with presumptive tuberculosis by the RealTi me MTB PCR assay improves the tuberculosis diagnostic yield and may reduce the time to antituberculosis treatment initiation. On the basis of our data, we propose a novel mycobacterial laboratory algorithm for tuberculosis diagnosis. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.

  16. Error review: Can this improve reporting performance?

    Tudor, Gareth R.; Finlay, David B.

    2001-01-01

    AIM: This study aimed to assess whether error review can improve radiologists' reporting performance. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten Consultant Radiologists reported 50 plain radiographs, in which the diagnoses were established. Eighteen of the radiographs were normal, 32 showed an abnormality. The radiologists were shown their errors and then re-reported the series of radiographs after an interval of 4-5 months. The accuracy of the reports to the established diagnoses was assessed. Chi-square test was used to calculate the difference between the viewings. RESULTS: On re-reporting the radiographs, seven radiologists improved their accuracy score, two had a lower score and one radiologist showed no score difference. Mean accuracy pre-education was 82.2%, (range 78-92%) and post-education was 88%, (range 76-96%). Individually, two of the radiologists showed a statistically significant improvement post-education (P < 0.01,P < 0.05). Assessing the group as a whole, there was a trend for improvement post-education but this did not reach statistical significance. Assessing only the radiographs where errors were made on the initial viewing, for the group as a whole there was a 63% improvement post-education. CONCLUSION: We suggest that radiologists benefit from error review, although there was not a statistically significant improvement for the series of radiographs in total. This is partly explained by the fact that some radiologists gave incorrect responses post-education that had initially been correct, thus masking the effect of the educational intervention. Tudor, G.R. and Finlay, D.B. (2001

  17. Cleanliness criteria to improve steam generator performance

    Schwarz, T.; Bouecke, R.; Odar, S.

    2005-01-01

    High steam generator performance is a prerequisite for high plant availability and possible life time extension. The major opponent to that is corrosion and fouling of the heating tubes. Such steam generator degradation problems arise from the continuous ingress of non-volatile contaminants, i.e. corrosion products and salt impurities may accumulate in the steam generators. These impurities have their origin in the secondary side systems. The corrosion products generally accumulate in the steam generators and form deposits not only in the flow restricted areas, such as on top of tube sheet and tube support structure, but also build scales on the steam generator heating tubes. In addition, the tube scales in general affect the steam generator thermal performance, which ultimately causes a reduction of power output. The most effective ways of counteracting all these degradation problems, and thus of improving the steam generator performance is to keep them in clean conditions or, if judged necessary, to plan cleaning measures such as mechanical tube sheet lancing or chemical cleaning. This paper presents a methodology how to assess the cleanliness condition of a steam generator by bringing together all available operational and inspection data such as thermal performance and water chemistry data. By means of this all-inclusive approach the cleanliness condition is quantified in terms of a fouling index. The fouling index allows to monitor the condition of a specific steam generator, compare it to other plants and, finally, to serve as criterion for cleaning measures such as chemical cleaning. The application of the cleanliness criteria and the achieved field results with respect to improvements of steam generator performance will be presented. (author)

  18. Signal Processing for Improved Wireless Receiver Performance

    Christensen, Lars P.B.

    2007-01-01

    This thesis is concerned with signal processing for improving the performance of wireless communication receivers for well-established cellular networks such as the GSM/EDGE and WCDMA/HSPA systems. The goal of doing so, is to improve the end-user experience and/or provide a higher system capacity...... by allowing an increased reuse of network resources. To achieve this goal, one must first understand the nature of the problem and an introduction is therefore provided. In addition, the concept of graph-based models and approximations for wireless communications is introduced along with various Belief...... Propagation (BP) methods for detecting the transmitted information, including the Turbo principle. Having established a framework for the research, various approximate detection schemes are discussed. First, the general form of linear detection is presented and it is argued that this may be preferable...

  19. Restructuring primary care for performance improvement.

    Fawcett, Kenneth J; Brummel, Stacy; Byrnes, John J

    2009-01-01

    Primary care practices can no longer consider ongoing quality assessment and management processes to be optional. There are ever-increasing demands from any number of interested parties for objectively measured proof of outcomes and quality of care. Primary Care Partners (PCP), a 16-site ambulatory affiliate of the Spectrum Health system in Grand Rapids, Michigan, began such a continuous quality improvement (CQI) effort in 2005. The intent was to develop an ongoing systematic process that would raise its performance potential and improve patient outcomes in the areas of chronic disease management and preventive services. This article describes the partnerships PCP established, specific benchmarks and measurements used, processes utilized, and results to date. This could be used as a roadmap for other primary care systems that are working to establish CQI in their daily operations.

  20. Improved performance of the Sao Paulo Pelletron

    Sala, O.; Stier, M.; Acquadro, J.C.

    1981-01-01

    The Sao Paulo Pelletron was the first Pelletron constructed by the NEC and also the first to become operational at the end of 1971. Although the Herb Pelletron design was demonstrated from the beginning to be very good (later this was proven by the successful operation of several larger Pelletrons) our machine did suffer from defects in engineering which limited its performance and its application as a reliable tool for research in nuclear physics. This paper describes some of the improvements which we have introduced to increase the reliability of our Pelletron as a research tool in the University. (orig.)

  1. Improving the molecular diagnosis of Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia abortus infection with a species-specific duplex real-time PCR.

    Opota, Onya; Jaton, Katia; Branley, James; Vanrompay, Daisy; Erard, Veronique; Borel, Nicole; Longbottom, David; Greub, Gilbert

    2015-10-01

    Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia abortus are closely related intracellular bacteria exhibiting different tissue tropism that may cause severe but distinct infection in humans. C. psittaci causes psittacosis, a respiratory zoonotic infection transmitted by birds. C. abortus is an abortigenic agent in small ruminants, which can also colonize the human placenta and lead to foetal death and miscarriage. Infections caused by C. psittaci and C. abortus are underestimated mainly due to diagnosis difficulties resulting from their strict intracellular growth. We developed a duplex real-time PCR to detect and distinguish these two bacteria in clinical samples. The first PCR (PCR1) targeted a sequence of the 16S-23S rRNA operon allowing the detection of both C. psittaci and C. abortus. The second PCR (PCR2) targeted the coding DNA sequence CPSIT_0607 unique to C. psittaci. The two PCRs showed 100 % detection for ≥ 10 DNA copies per reaction (1000 copies ml(- 1)). Using a set of 120 samples, including bacterial reference strains, clinical specimens and infected cell culture material, we monitored 100 % sensitivity and 100 % specificity for the detection of C. psittaci and C. abortus for PCR1. When PCR1 was positive, PCR2 could discriminate C. psittaci from C. abortus with a positive predictive value of 100 % and a negative predictive value of 88 %. In conclusion, this new duplex PCR represents a low-cost and time-saving method with high-throughput potential, expected to improve the routine diagnosis of psittacosis and pregnancy complication in large-scale screening programs and also during outbreaks.

  2. Improving human performance: Industry factors influencing the ability to perform

    Güera Massyn Romo

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available Learning interventions and new technologies that aim to improve human performance must take cognisance of industry factors inhibiting human performance. The dynamic and fast pace nature of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT and the engineering industries do not lend themselves to proper skills planning and management. These industries experience real skills gaps, to some of which they contribute by themselves. This study reports on these performance-inhibiting factors such as the underutilisation of available skills, tolerance for individual preferences, and dynamically, and informally refining a role objective while an employee is occupying a certain role. The important professional skills required by individuals to cope with these real life factors are also explored in the skills gaps management context. Moreover, these industries need a profile they refer to as Special Forces, which denotes a high calibre of worker that possesses well-developed professional skills whilst having advanced technical expertise and sufficient experience. This resource profile is required largely due to the poor management of human resource processes in practice and the current reported lack of adequate skills. Furthermore, this study refers to the recent lack of a working definition for these Special Forces leading to the omitted active development of these profiles in industry today, which appears to become a key human performance inhibiting factor.

  3. Artificial Astrocytes Improve Neural Network Performance

    Porto-Pazos, Ana B.; Veiguela, Noha; Mesejo, Pablo; Navarrete, Marta; Alvarellos, Alberto; Ibáñez, Oscar; Pazos, Alejandro; Araque, Alfonso

    2011-01-01

    Compelling evidence indicates the existence of bidirectional communication between astrocytes and neurons. Astrocytes, a type of glial cells classically considered to be passive supportive cells, have been recently demonstrated to be actively involved in the processing and regulation of synaptic information, suggesting that brain function arises from the activity of neuron-glia networks. However, the actual impact of astrocytes in neural network function is largely unknown and its application in artificial intelligence remains untested. We have investigated the consequences of including artificial astrocytes, which present the biologically defined properties involved in astrocyte-neuron communication, on artificial neural network performance. Using connectionist systems and evolutionary algorithms, we have compared the performance of artificial neural networks (NN) and artificial neuron-glia networks (NGN) to solve classification problems. We show that the degree of success of NGN is superior to NN. Analysis of performances of NN with different number of neurons or different architectures indicate that the effects of NGN cannot be accounted for an increased number of network elements, but rather they are specifically due to astrocytes. Furthermore, the relative efficacy of NGN vs. NN increases as the complexity of the network increases. These results indicate that artificial astrocytes improve neural network performance, and established the concept of Artificial Neuron-Glia Networks, which represents a novel concept in Artificial Intelligence with implications in computational science as well as in the understanding of brain function. PMID:21526157

  4. Artificial astrocytes improve neural network performance.

    Ana B Porto-Pazos

    Full Text Available Compelling evidence indicates the existence of bidirectional communication between astrocytes and neurons. Astrocytes, a type of glial cells classically considered to be passive supportive cells, have been recently demonstrated to be actively involved in the processing and regulation of synaptic information, suggesting that brain function arises from the activity of neuron-glia networks. However, the actual impact of astrocytes in neural network function is largely unknown and its application in artificial intelligence remains untested. We have investigated the consequences of including artificial astrocytes, which present the biologically defined properties involved in astrocyte-neuron communication, on artificial neural network performance. Using connectionist systems and evolutionary algorithms, we have compared the performance of artificial neural networks (NN and artificial neuron-glia networks (NGN to solve classification problems. We show that the degree of success of NGN is superior to NN. Analysis of performances of NN with different number of neurons or different architectures indicate that the effects of NGN cannot be accounted for an increased number of network elements, but rather they are specifically due to astrocytes. Furthermore, the relative efficacy of NGN vs. NN increases as the complexity of the network increases. These results indicate that artificial astrocytes improve neural network performance, and established the concept of Artificial Neuron-Glia Networks, which represents a novel concept in Artificial Intelligence with implications in computational science as well as in the understanding of brain function.

  5. Artificial astrocytes improve neural network performance.

    Porto-Pazos, Ana B; Veiguela, Noha; Mesejo, Pablo; Navarrete, Marta; Alvarellos, Alberto; Ibáñez, Oscar; Pazos, Alejandro; Araque, Alfonso

    2011-04-19

    Compelling evidence indicates the existence of bidirectional communication between astrocytes and neurons. Astrocytes, a type of glial cells classically considered to be passive supportive cells, have been recently demonstrated to be actively involved in the processing and regulation of synaptic information, suggesting that brain function arises from the activity of neuron-glia networks. However, the actual impact of astrocytes in neural network function is largely unknown and its application in artificial intelligence remains untested. We have investigated the consequences of including artificial astrocytes, which present the biologically defined properties involved in astrocyte-neuron communication, on artificial neural network performance. Using connectionist systems and evolutionary algorithms, we have compared the performance of artificial neural networks (NN) and artificial neuron-glia networks (NGN) to solve classification problems. We show that the degree of success of NGN is superior to NN. Analysis of performances of NN with different number of neurons or different architectures indicate that the effects of NGN cannot be accounted for an increased number of network elements, but rather they are specifically due to astrocytes. Furthermore, the relative efficacy of NGN vs. NN increases as the complexity of the network increases. These results indicate that artificial astrocytes improve neural network performance, and established the concept of Artificial Neuron-Glia Networks, which represents a novel concept in Artificial Intelligence with implications in computational science as well as in the understanding of brain function.

  6. Improved detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei from non-blood clinical specimens using enrichment culture and PCR: narrowing diagnostic gap in resource-constrained settings.

    Tellapragada, Chaitanya; Shaw, Tushar; D'Souza, Annet; Eshwara, Vandana Kalwaje; Mukhopadhyay, Chiranjay

    2017-07-01

    To evaluate the diagnostic utility of enrichment culture and PCR for improved case detection rates of non-bacteraemic form of melioidosis in limited resource settings. Clinical specimens (n = 525) obtained from patients presenting at a tertiary care hospital of South India with clinical symptoms suggestive of community-acquired pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections, superficial or internal abscesses, chronic skin ulcers and bone or joint infections were tested for the presence of Burkholderia pseudomallei using conventional culture (CC), enrichment culture (EC) and PCR. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of CC and PCR were initially deduced using EC as the gold standard method. Further, diagnostic accuracies of all the three methods were analysed using Bayesian latent class modelling (BLCM). Detection rates of B. pseudomallei using CC, EC and PCR were 3.8%, 5.3% and 6%, respectively. Diagnostic sensitivities and specificities of CC and PCR were 71.4, 98.4% and 100 and 99.4%, respectively in comparison with EC as the gold standard test. With Bayesian latent class modelling, EC and PCR demonstrated sensitivities of 98.7 and 99.3%, respectively, while CC showed a sensitivity of 70.3% for detection of B. pseudomallei. An increase of 1.6% (95% CI: 1.08-4.32%) in the case detection rate of melioidosis was observed in the study population when EC and/or PCR were used in adjunct to the conventional culture technique. Our study findings underscore the diagnostic superiority of enrichment culture and/or PCR over conventional microbiological culture for improved case detection of melioidosis from non-blood clinical specimens. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  7. Investigations for a multi-marker RT-PCR to improve sensitivity of disseminated tumor cell detection.

    Vlems, F.A.; Diepstra, J.H.S.; Cornelissen, I.M.; Ligtenberg, M.J.L.; Wobbes, Th.; Punt, C.J.A.; Krieken, J.H.J.M. van; Ruers, T.J.M.; Muijen, G.N.P. van

    2003-01-01

    BACKGROUND: In order to develop a multi-marker RT-PCR, which as such may be more sensitive than a single marker assay for the detection of disseminated tumor cells, we evaluated six RT-PCR markers: cytokeratin 20 (CK20), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), guanylyl cyclase C (GCC), epidermal growth

  8. Investigations for a multi-marker RT-PCR to improve sensitivity of disseminated tumor cell detection

    Vlems, F. A.; Diepstra, J. H. S.; Cornelissen, I. M. H. A.; Ligtenberg, M. J. L.; Wobbes, Th; Punt, C. J. A.; van Krieken, J. H. J. M.; Ruers, T. J. M.; van Muijen, G. N. P.

    2003-01-01

    In order to develop a multi-marker RT-PCR, which as such may be more sensitive than a single marker assay for the detection of disseminated tumor cells, we evaluated six RT-PCR markers: cytokeratin 20 (CK20), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), guanylyl cyclase C (GCC), epidermal growth factor receptor

  9. A nested PCR approach for improved recovery of archaeal 16S rRNA gene fragments from freshwater samples

    Vissers, E.W.; Bodelier, P.L.E.; Muyzer, G.; Laanbroek, R.

    2009-01-01

    In a survey on the presence of archaea in a number of European lakes, it was found that known archaeal primer sets for PCR were not suited for use in freshwater environment, as some lack selectivity, while others were too selective. A nested PCR was developed for denaturing gradient gel

  10. Significant performance variation among PCR systems in diagnosing congenital toxoplasmosis in São Paulo, Brazil: analysis of 467 amniotic fluid samples

    Thelma Suely Okay

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available INTRODUCTION: Performance variation among PCR systems in detecting Toxoplasma gondii has been extensively reported and associated with target genes, primer composition, amplification parameters, treatment during pregnancy, host genetic susceptibility and genotypes of different parasites according to geographical characteristics. PATIENTS: A total of 467 amniotic fluid samples from T. gondii IgM- and IgG-positive Brazilian pregnant women being treated for 1 to 6 weeks at the time of amniocentesis (gestational ages of 14 to 25 weeks. METHODS: One nested-B1-PCR and three one-round amplification systems targeted to rDNA, AF146527 and the B1 gene were employed. RESULTS: Of the 467 samples, 189 (40.47% were positive for one-round amplifications: 120 (63.49% for the B1 gene, 24 (12.69% for AF146527, 45 (23.80% for both AF146527 and the B1 gene, and none for rDNA. Fifty previously negative one-round PCR samples were chosen by computer-assisted randomization analysis and re-tested (nested-B1-PCR, during which nine additional cases were detected (9/50 or 18%. DISCUSSION: The B1 gene PCR was far more sensitive than the AF146527 PCR, and the rDNA PCR was the least effective even though the rDNA had the most repetitive sequence. Considering that the four amplification systems were equally affected by treatment, that the amplification conditions were optimized for the target genes and that most of the primers have already been reported, it is plausible that the striking differences found among PCR performances could be associated with genetic diversity in patients and/or with different Toxoplasma gondii genotypes occurring in Brazil. CONCLUSION: The use of PCR for the diagnosis of fetal Toxoplasma infections in Brazil should be targeted to the B1 gene when only one gene can be amplified, preferably by nested amplification with primers B22/B23.

  11. MEMS Actuators for Improved Performance and Durability

    Yearsley, James M.

    Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) devices take advantage of force-scaling at length scales smaller than a millimeter to sense and interact with directly with phenomena and targets at the microscale. MEMS sensors found in everyday devices like cell-phones and cars include accelerometers, gyros, pressure sensors, and magnetic sensors. MEMS actuators generally serve more application specific roles including micro- and nano-tweezers used for single cell manipulation, optical switching and alignment components, and micro combustion engines for high energy density power generation. MEMS rotary motors are actuators that translate an electric drive signal into rotational motion and can serve as rate calibration inputs for gyros, stages for optical components, mixing devices for micro-fluidics, etc. Existing rotary micromotors suffer from friction and wear issues that affect lifetime and performance. Attempts to alleviate friction effects include surface treatment, magnetic and electrostatic levitation, pressurized gas bearings, and micro-ball bearings. The present work demonstrates a droplet based liquid bearing supporting a rotary micromotor that improves the operating characteristics of MEMS rotary motors. The liquid bearing provides wear-free, low-friction, passive alignment between the rotor and stator. Droplets are positioned relative to the rotor and stator through patterned superhydrophobic and hydrophilic surface coatings. The liquid bearing consists of a central droplet that acts as the motor shaft, providing axial alignment between rotor and stator, and satellite droplets, analogous to ball-bearings, that provide tip and tilt stable operation. The liquid bearing friction performance is characterized through measurement of the rotational drag coefficient and minimum starting torque due to stiction and geometric effects. Bearing operational performance is further characterized by modeling and measuring stiffness, environmental survivability, and high

  12. Improving cardiac myocytes performance by CNTs platforms

    Valentina eMartinelli

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available The application of nanotechnology to the cardiovascular system has increasingly caught scientists’ attention as a potentially powerful tool for the development of new generation devices able to interface, repair or boost the performance of cardiac tissue. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs are considered as promising materials for nanomedicine applications in general and have been recently tested towards excitable cell growth. CNTs are cylindrically shaped structures made up of rolled-up graphene sheets, with unique electrical, thermal and mechanical properties, able to effectively conducting electrical current in electrochemical interfaces. CNTs-based scaffolds have been recently found to support the in vitro growth of cardiac cells: in particular, their ability to improve cardiomyocytes proliferation, maturation and electrical behavior are making CNTs extremely attractive for the development and exploitation of interfaces able to impact on cardiac cells physiology and function.

  13. Improving performance with accident tolerant-fuels

    Gomes, Daniel S.; Muniz, Rafael O.R.; Giovedi, Claudia; Universidade de São Paulo

    2017-01-01

    After the Fukushima reactor accident, efforts to improve risk management in nuclear operations have included the intensification of research on accident-tolerant fuels (ATFs). In this investigation, the physical properties of recently developed ATFs were compared with those of the current standard fuel, UO 2 - Zr. The goals for innovative fuel design include a rigorous characterization of the thermal, mechanical, and chemical considerations. The intentions are to lengthen the burnup cycle, raise the power density, and improve safety. Fuels must have a high uranium density - above that supported by UO 2 - and possess a coating that exhibits better oxidation resistance than Zircaloys. ATFs such as U 3 Si 2 , UN, and UC contain a higher uranium density and thermal conductivity than UO 2 , providing significant benefits. The ideal combination of fuel and cladding must increase performance in a loss-of-coolant accident. However, U 3 Si 2 , UN, and UC have a disadvantage; their respective swelling rates are higher than that of UO 2 . These ATFs also have thermal conductivities approximately four times higher than that of UO 2 . A study was conducted investigating the hydrogen generated by the oxidation of zirconium alloys in contact with steam using cladding options such as Fe-Cr-Al and silicon carbide. It was confirmed that ferritic alloys offer a better response under severe conditions, because of their mechanical properties as creep rate. The findings of this study indicate that advanced fuels should replace UO 2 - Zr as the fuel system of choice. (author)

  14. Comparative performance of PCR-based assay versus microscopy and culture for the direct detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in clinical respiratory specimens in Lebanon.

    Araj, G F; Talhouk, R S; Itani, L Y; Jaber, W; Jamaleddine, G W

    2000-09-01

    American University of Beirut Medical Center, Lebanon. To assess the performance of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using primers that flank 542 bp within IS6110 in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) vs. microscopy and BACTEC culture, in the diagnosis of tuberculosis. A total of 82 clinical respiratory pulmonary specimens and 73 samples from BACTEC vials were tested by the three methods. Of 24 smear-positive culture-positive (SP-CP) and 11 smear-negative culture-positive (SN-CP) TB specimens, PCR detected 83% and 64%, respectively. Among 17 specimens yielding mycobacteria other than tuberculosis (MOTT), the PCR was positive in 33% SP-CP and 14% SN-CP specimens. Among the 73 BACTEC vials, PCR was positive in 36 of 38 (95%) yielding culture-positive TB, and in one of 20 (5%) yielding culture positive MOTT. None of the 30 smear-negative culture-negative (SN-CN) clinical specimens and 15 of the CN vials were positive by PCR. The overall sensitivity of PCR was 77% and 95% for TB detection in respiratory specimens and BACTEC vials, respectively, and the specificity was 94% in both. Because a substantial number of TB cases are missed, especially in SN-CP specimens, a PCR-based assay utilizing these primers cannot be used reliably, alone, in clinical laboratory diagnosis of mycobacterial respiratory infections.

  15. Performance of a RT-PCR Assay in Comparison to FISH and Immunohistochemistry for the Detection of ALK in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

    Hout, David R; Schweitzer, Brock L; Lawrence, Kasey; Morris, Stephan W; Tucker, Tracy; Mazzola, Rosetta; Skelton, Rachel; McMahon, Frank; Handshoe, John; Lesperance, Mary; Karsan, Aly; Saltman, David L

    2017-08-01

    Patients with lung cancers harboring an activating anaplastic lymphoma kinase ( ALK ) rearrangement respond favorably to ALK inhibitor therapy. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) are validated and widely used screening tests for ALK rearrangements but both methods have limitations. The ALK RGQ RT-PCR Kit (RT-PCR) is a single tube quantitative real-time PCR assay for high throughput and automated interpretation of ALK expression. In this study, we performed a direct comparison of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) lung cancer specimens using all three ALK detection methods. The RT-PCR test (diagnostic cut-off Δ C t of ≤8) was shown to be highly sensitive (100%) when compared to FISH and IHC. Sequencing of RNA detected full-length ALK transcripts or EML4-ALK and KIF5B-ALK fusion variants in discordant cases in which ALK expression was detected by the ALK RT-PCR test but negative by FISH and IHC. The overall specificity of the RT-PCR test for the detection of ALK in cases without full-length ALK expression was 94% in comparison to FISH and sequencing. These data support the ALK RT-PCR test as a highly efficient and reliable diagnostic screening approach to identify patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors are driven by oncogenic ALK.

  16. Improved Detection of Lassa Virus by Reverse Transcription-PCR Targeting the 5′ Region of S RNA▿

    Ölschläger, Stephan; Lelke, Michaela; Emmerich, Petra; Panning, Marcus; Drosten, Christian; Hass, Meike; Asogun, Danny; Ehichioya, Deborah; Omilabu, Sunday; Günther, Stephan

    2010-01-01

    The method of choice for the detection of Lassa virus is reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. However, the high degree of genetic variability of the virus poses a problem with the design of RT-PCR assays that will reliably detect all strains. Recently, we encountered difficulties in detecting some strains from Liberia and Nigeria in a commonly used glycoprotein precursor (GPC) gene-specific RT-PCR assay (A. H. Demby, J. Chamberlain, D. W. Brown, and C. S. Clegg, J. Clin. Microbiol. 32:2898-2903, 1...

  17. Improving chemistry performance in CANDU plants

    Turner, C.; Guzonas, D.

    2010-01-01

    system to facilitate improved chemistry control and to help staff to proactively identify and address emerging issues before they result in a loss of performance. This paper will outline AECL's chemistry control philosophy, and provide specific examples to illustrate how changes to plant design, materials, operational procedures, and chemistry specifications are being implemented to support improved chemistry performance in existing and new-build CANDU® plants. (author)

  18. A performance study on three qPCR quantification kits and their compatibilities with the 6-dye DNA profiling systems.

    Lin, Sze-Wah; Li, Christina; Ip, Stephen C Y

    2018-03-01

    DNA quantification plays an integral role in forensic DNA profiling. Not only does it estimate the total amount of amplifiable human autosomal and male DNA to ensure optimal amplification of target DNA for subsequent analysis, but also assesses the extraction efficiency and purity of the DNA extract. Latest DNA quantification systems even offer an estimate for the degree of DNA degradation in a sample. Here, we report the performance of three new generation qPCR kits, namely Investigator ® Quantiplex HYres Kit from QIAGEN, Quantifiler ® Trio DNA Quantification Kit from Applied Biosystems™, and PowerQuant ® System from Promega, and their compatibilities with three 6-dye DNA profiling systems. Our results have demonstrated that all three kits generate standard curves with satisfactory consistency and reproducibility, and are capable of screening out traces of male DNA in the presence of 30-fold excess of female DNA. They also exhibit a higher tolerance to PCR inhibition than Quantifiler ® Human DNA Quantification Kit from Applied Biosystems™ in autosomal DNA quantification. PowerQuant ® , as compared to Quantiplex HYres and Quantifiler ® Trio, shows a better precision for both autosomal and male DNA quantifications. Quantifiler ® Trio and PowerQuant ® in contrast to Quantiplex HYres offer better correlations with lower discrepancies between autosomal and male DNA quantification, and their additional degradation index features provide a detection platform for inhibited and/or degraded DNA template. Regarding the compatibility between these quantification and profiling systems: (1) both Quantifiler ® Trio and PowerQuant ® work well with GlobalFiler and Fusion 6C, allowing a fairly accurate prediction of their DNA typing results based on the quantification values; (2) Quantiplex HYres offers a fairly reliable IPC system for detecting any potential inhibitions on Investigator 24plex, whereas Quantifiler ® Trio and PowerQuant ® suit better for Global

  19. Performance improvement of optical semiconductor sources

    El Tokhy, M.E.M.E

    2009-01-01

    This thesis has been concerned with a detailed study of nano-technology quantum sources. From these sources, quantum cascaded laser (QCLs) and quantum dot lasers (QDs), are studied theoretically. Block diagram models based on VisSim environment in junction with mathematical models are developed to analyze these kinds of optical sources. The mathematical model is derived to express explicitly the performance of the device, while a block diagram model is implemented which implicitly describe the same device. By using these mathematical models, new expressions are obtained. Accurate and efficient modeling of these sources is being increasingly important in the design and optimization of optical integrated circuits and circuit component. In the case of QCLs, the diagram is used to calculate its characteristics such as potential voltage, output optical power, current, threshold current density, slope efficiency, differential efficiency, and optical gain of these devices. Furthermore, the effect of each parameter of the QCLs, such as number of periods; N p , operating temperature; T, waveguide losses; α w , mirror losses; α m , on its performance are discussed in details. To demonstrate these effects further, the changes in three dimensional are plotted. In another mean, improving the lasing properties of the QCLs through both block diagram and mathematical models is the main scope in this thesis. In order to enhance the performance of the underlined device, mathematical model parameters are tuned to obtain the optimum behavior. Additionally, it is important to model and analyze the effects of these physical parameters on the performance of QCLs. These parameters play the central role in specifying the optical characteristics of the considered laser source. Proposed relation that linked emitted power with QCLs parameters is deduced. Moreover, it is important to have a large amount of radiated power, where increasing the amount of radiated power represents the main

  20. Improved detection of endoparasite DNA in soil sample PCR by the use of anti-inhibitory substances.

    Krämer, F; Vollrath, T; Schnieder, T; Epe, C

    2002-09-26

    Although there have been numerous microbial examinations of soil for the presence of human pathogenic developmental parasite stages of Ancylostoma caninum and Toxocara canis, molecular techniques (e.g. DNA extraction, purification and subsequent PCR) have scarcely been applied. Here, DNA preparations of soil samples artificially contaminated with genomic DNA or parasite eggs were examined by PCR. A. caninum and T. canis-specific primers based on the ITS-2 sequence were used for amplification. After the sheer DNA preparation a high content of PCR-interfering substances was still detectable. Subsequently, two different inhibitors of PCR-interfering agents (GeneReleaser, Bioventures Inc. and Maximator, Connex GmbH) were compared in PCR. Both substances increased PCR sensitivity greatly. However, comparison of the increase in sensitivity achieved with the two compounds demonstrated the superiority of Maximator, which enhanced sensitivity to the point of permitting positive detection of a single A. caninum egg and three T. canis eggs in a soil sample. This degree of sensitivity could not be achieved with GeneReleaser for either parasite Furthermore, Maximator not only increased sensitivity; it also cost less, required less time and had a lower risk of contamination. Future applications of molecular methods in epidemiological examinations of soil samples are discussed/elaborated.

  1. Nanotechnological inventions considerably improve performance characteristics

    VLASOV Vladimir Alexeevich

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The invention «The method of production of carbon nanomaterial (RU 2509053» can be used as an additive for concretes and polymers which significantly improves their performance characteristics. The method of production of carbon nanomaterial consists of the following stages: preliminary preparation of sphagnous moss when it is refined from foreign admixtures, dried up to 10% humidity and ground, then ground material is exposed to pyrolysis under the temperature 850–950оC for 1–2 hours and cooled up to the environment temperature. After that amorphous carbon obtained in pyrolysis is treated with mechanical activation in the variable planetary mill for 7–10 hours. The invention makes it possible to provide increased outcome of nanotubes with high cleanliness. The invention «The method of production of nanodispersed metal powders and alloys of them (RU 2509626» relates to the powder metallurgy. Powder metal chloride or powder mixture at least of two metal chlorides is treated in the environment of the water steam which is supplied in reaction space at the rate of 50–100 ml/min at the temperature 400–800оC at the presence of absorbent carbon or introducing carbon oxide (II obtained during dissolution of formic acid HCOOH. The invention provides reliable production of nanodispersed metal powders and alloys of them from 3-d metal range: Ni, Co, Cu, Fe, Zn which can be used in powder metallurgy to improve baking process, in chemical industry as the fillers of polymers and reaction catalysts; as additives to anticorrosive covers, etc.

  2. Improving performance with accident tolerant-fuels

    Gomes, Daniel S.; Muniz, Rafael O.R.; Giovedi, Claudia, E-mail: dsgomes@ipen.br, E-mail: rafael.orm@gmail.com, E-mail: claudia.giovedi@ctmsp.mar.mil.br [Instituto de Pesquisas Energeticas e Nucleares (IPEN/CNEN-SP), Sao Paulo, SP (Brazil); Universidade de São Paulo (USP), SP (Brazil). Departamento de Engenharia Naval e Oceânica

    2017-07-01

    After the Fukushima reactor accident, efforts to improve risk management in nuclear operations have included the intensification of research on accident-tolerant fuels (ATFs). In this investigation, the physical properties of recently developed ATFs were compared with those of the current standard fuel, UO{sub 2} - Zr. The goals for innovative fuel design include a rigorous characterization of the thermal, mechanical, and chemical considerations. The intentions are to lengthen the burnup cycle, raise the power density, and improve safety. Fuels must have a high uranium density - above that supported by UO{sub 2} - and possess a coating that exhibits better oxidation resistance than Zircaloys. ATFs such as U{sub 3}Si{sub 2}, UN, and UC contain a higher uranium density and thermal conductivity than UO{sub 2}, providing significant benefits. The ideal combination of fuel and cladding must increase performance in a loss-of-coolant accident. However, U{sub 3}Si{sub 2}, UN, and UC have a disadvantage; their respective swelling rates are higher than that of UO{sub 2}. These ATFs also have thermal conductivities approximately four times higher than that of UO{sub 2}. A study was conducted investigating the hydrogen generated by the oxidation of zirconium alloys in contact with steam using cladding options such as Fe-Cr-Al and silicon carbide. It was confirmed that ferritic alloys offer a better response under severe conditions, because of their mechanical properties as creep rate. The findings of this study indicate that advanced fuels should replace UO{sub 2} - Zr as the fuel system of choice. (author)

  3. Evaluation of the performance of quantitative detection of the Listeria monocytogenes prfA locus with droplet digital PCR.

    Witte, Anna Kristina; Fister, Susanne; Mester, Patrick; Schoder, Dagmar; Rossmanith, Peter

    2016-11-01

    Fast and reliable pathogen detection is an important issue for human health. Since conventional microbiological methods are rather slow, there is growing interest in detection and quantification using molecular methods. The droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) is a relatively new PCR method for absolute and accurate quantification without external standards. Using the Listeria monocytogenes specific prfA assay, we focused on the questions of whether the assay was directly transferable to ddPCR and whether ddPCR was suitable for samples derived from heterogeneous matrices, such as foodstuffs that often included inhibitors and a non-target bacterial background flora. Although the prfA assay showed suboptimal cluster formation, use of ddPCR for quantification of L. monocytogenes from pure bacterial cultures, artificially contaminated cheese, and naturally contaminated foodstuff was satisfactory over a relatively broad dynamic range. Moreover, results demonstrated the outstanding detection limit of one copy. However, while poorer DNA quality, such as resulting from longer storage, can impair ddPCR, internal amplification control (IAC) of prfA by ddPCR, that is integrated in the genome of L. monocytogenes ΔprfA, showed even slightly better quantification over a broader dynamic range. Graphical Abstract Evaluating the absolute quantification potential of ddPCR targeting Listeria monocytogenes prfA.

  4. Spatial Modulation Improves Performance in CTIS

    Bearman, Gregory H.; Wilson, Daniel W.; Johnson, William R.

    2009-01-01

    Suitably formulated spatial modulation of a scene imaged by a computed-tomography imaging spectrometer (CTIS) has been found to be useful as a means of improving the imaging performance of the CTIS. As used here, "spatial modulation" signifies the imposition of additional, artificial structure on a scene from within the CTIS optics. The basic principles of a CTIS were described in "Improvements in Computed- Tomography Imaging Spectrometry" (NPO-20561) NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 24, No. 12 (December 2000), page 38 and "All-Reflective Computed-Tomography Imaging Spectrometers" (NPO-20836), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 26, No. 11 (November 2002), page 7a. To recapitulate: A CTIS offers capabilities for imaging a scene with spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution. The spectral disperser in a CTIS is a two-dimensional diffraction grating. It is positioned between two relay lenses (or on one of two relay mirrors) in a video imaging system. If the disperser were removed, the system would produce ordinary images of the scene in its field of view. In the presence of the grating, the image on the focal plane of the system contains both spectral and spatial information because the multiple diffraction orders of the grating give rise to multiple, spectrally dispersed images of the scene. By use of algorithms adapted from computed tomography, the image on the focal plane can be processed into an image cube a three-dimensional collection of data on the image intensity as a function of the two spatial dimensions (x and y) in the scene and of wavelength (lambda). Thus, both spectrally and spatially resolved information on the scene at a given instant of time can be obtained, without scanning, from a single snapshot; this is what makes the CTIS such a potentially powerful tool for spatially, spectrally, and temporally resolved imaging. A CTIS performs poorly in imaging some types of scenes in particular, scenes that contain little spatial or spectral variation. The computed spectra of

  5. Learning to improve path planning performance

    Chen, Pang C.

    1995-04-01

    In robotics, path planning refers to finding a short. collision-free path from an initial robot configuration to a desired configuratioin. It has to be fast to support real-time task-level robot programming. Unfortunately, current planning techniques are still too slow to be effective, as they often require several minutes, if not hours of computation. To remedy this situation, we present and analyze a learning algorithm that uses past experience to increase future performance. The algorithm relies on an existing path planner to provide solutions to difficult tasks. From these solutions, an evolving sparse network of useful robot configurations is learned to support faster planning. More generally, the algorithm provides a speedup-learning framework in which a slow but capable planner may be improved both cost-wise and capability-wise by a faster but less capable planner coupled with experience. The basic algorithm is suitable for stationary environments, and can be extended to accommodate changing environments with on-demand experience repair and object-attached experience abstraction. To analyze the algorithm, we characterize the situations in which the adaptive planner is useful, provide quantitative bounds to predict its behavior, and confirm our theoretical results with experiments in path planning of manipulators. Our algorithm and analysis are sufficiently, general that they may also be applied to other planning domains in which experience is useful

  6. EDUCATIONAL POLICIES AND INITIATIVES FOR IMPROVED PERFORMANCE

    Flavia, CAIA

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available According to Gartner estimates, due to increased variety, speed and data volume, by 2015 there will be a global demand of 4.4 million professionals for real-time analysis of data from sources with different structures, but only one third of the demand will be met. The purpose of this research is to identify possible solutions for improved academic results in the IT domain, considering the time management policies, the content and the student motivations, as well as the business strategy tendencies. These proposals are targeted toward meeting the IT specialists demand. The research is composed of two parts: the first explores the Romanian IT labour market characteristics, while the second investigates the academic education policies that can help mitigate deficiencies and attain higher performance. The deficiencies are identified through a series of statistical research and analysis based on national level databases, adopting a quantitative approach. The policies proposed are supported by a flow model developed considering the students' activity, motivation, traits and results, measured and analysed quantitatively.

  7. Improved Bevatron local injector ion source performance

    Stover, G.; Zajec, E.

    1985-05-01

    Performance tests of the improved Bevatron Local Injector PIG Ion Source using particles of Si 4 + , Ne 3 + , and He 2 + are described. Initial measurements of the 8.4 keV/nucleon Si 4 + beam show an intensity of 100 particle microamperes with a normalized emittance of .06 π cm-mrad. A low energy beam transport line provides mass analysis, diagnostics, and matching into a 200 MHz RFQ linac. The RFQ accelerates the beam from 8.4 to 200 keV/nucleon. The injector is unusual in the sense that all ion source power supplies, the ac distribution network, vacuum control equipment, and computer control system are contained in a four bay rack mounted on insulators which is located on a floor immediately above the ion source. The rack, transmission line, and the ion source housing are raised by a dc power supply to 80 kilovolts above earth ground. All power supplies, which are referenced to rack ground, are modular in construction and easily removable for maintenance. AC power is delivered to the rack via a 21 kVA, 3-phase transformer. 2 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab

  8. Improving Mobility Performance in Wheelchair Basketball

    Veeger, Thom T.J.; De Witte, Annemarie M H; Berger, Monique A M; van der Slikke, Rienk M A; Veeger, Dirkjan H E J; Hoozemans, Marco J M

    2017-01-01

    OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate which characteristics of athlete, wheelchair and athlete-wheelchair interface are the best predictors of wheelchair basketball mobility performance. DESIGN: Sixty experienced wheelchair basketball players performed a wheelchair mobility performance test to

  9. The use of short and long PCR products for improved detection of prunus necrotic ringspot virus in woody plants.

    Rosner, A; Maslenin, L; Spiegel, S

    1997-09-01

    The reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used for detection of prunus necrotic ringspot virus (PNRSV) in dormant peach and almond trees by the application of two different pairs of primers yielding a short and a long product, respectively. The relative amount of the short (200 base pair, bp) product was higher than the longer (785 bp) product. PNRSV was detected better in plant tissues with a low virus concentration (e.g. dormant trees) by amplification of the short PCR product, whereas the long product was product was produced at higher virus titers. Simultaneous amplification of both short and long products was demonstrated using a three-primer mixture in a single reaction tube. In this assay, amplification of either PCR product indicated the presence of PNRSV-specific sequences in the plant tissue examined, thus covering a wide range of virus concentrations in a single test. Dilution of the RNA extracted from infected plant material resulted in a steep decline in the amplification of both short and long PCR products. In contrast, serial dilutions of the intermediate cDNA template differentially affected the amplification patterns: the relative amount of the short product increased whereas that of the long product decreased. These results may explain the preferential amplification of the short PCR product observed in samples containing low virus concentrations.

  10. Using business intelligence to improve performance.

    Wadsworth, Tom; Graves, Brian; Glass, Steve; Harrison, A Marc; Donovan, Chris; Proctor, Andrew

    2009-10-01

    Cleveland Clinic's enterprise performance management program offers proof that comparisons of actual performance against strategic objectives can enable healthcare organization to achieve rapid organizational change. Here are four lessons Cleveland Clinic learned from this initiative: Align performance metrics with strategic initiatives. Structure dashboards for the CEO. Link performance to annual reviews. Customize dashboard views to the specific user.

  11. Performance Evaluation of the Real-Q Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Quantification Kit Using Two Real-Time PCR Systems for Quantifying CMV DNA in Whole Blood.

    Park, Jong Eun; Kim, Ji Youn; Yun, Sun Ae; Lee, Myoung Keun; Huh, Hee Jae; Kim, Jong Won; Ki, Chang Seok

    2016-11-01

    Standardized cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA quantification is important for managing CMV disease. We evaluated the performance of the Real-Q CMV Quantification Kit (Real-Q assay; BioSewoom, Korea) using whole blood (WB), with nucleic acid extraction using MagNA Pure 96 (Roche Diagnostics, Germany). Real-time PCR was performed on two platforms: the 7500 Fast real-time PCR (7500 Fast; Applied Biosystems, USA) and CFX96 real-time PCR detection (CFX96; Bio-Rad, USA) systems. The WHO international standard, diluted with CMV-negative WB, was used to validate the analytical performance. We used 90 WB clinical samples for comparison with the artus CMV RG PCR kit (artus assay; Qiagen, Germany). Limits of detections (LODs) in 7500 Fast and CFX96 were 367 and 479 IU/mL, respectively. The assay was linear from the LOD to 10⁶ IU/mL (R² ≥0.9886). The conversion factors from copies to IU in 7500 Fast and CFX96 were 0.95 and 1.06, respectively. Compared with the artus assay, for values 1,000 copies/mL, 73.3% and 80.6% of samples in 7500 Fast and CFX96, respectively, had real-time PCR platforms.

  12. Numeric definition of the clinical performance of the nested reverse transcription-PCR for detection of hematogenous epithelial cells and correction for specific mRNA of non-target cell origin as evaluated for prostate cancer cells

    Schamhart, Denis; Swinnen, Johannes; Kurth, Karl-Heinz; Westerhof, Alex; Kusters, Ron; Borchers, Holger; Sternberg, Cora

    2003-01-01

    Background: Inappropriate quality management,of reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assays for the detection of blood-borne prostate cancer (PCa) cells hampers clinical conclusions. Improvement of the RT-PCR-methodology for prostate-specific, antigen (PSA) mRNA should focus on an appropriate numeric.

  13. Diagnostic performance of Schistosoma real-time PCR in urine samples from Kenyan children infected with Schistosoma haematobium

    Vinkeles Melchers, Natalie V. S.; van Dam, Govert J.; Shaproski, David

    2014-01-01

    treatment. METHODOLOGY: Previously collected urine samples (N = 390) from 114 preselected proven parasitological and/or clinical S. haematobium positive Kenyan schoolchildren were analyzed by a Schistosoma internal transcribed spacer-based real-time PCR after 14 years of storage. Pre-treatment day......, respectively. Based on the 'gold standard', PCR showed high sensitivity (>92%) as compared to >31% sensitivity for microscopy, both pre- and post-treatment. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Detection and quantification of Schistosoma DNA in urine by real-time PCR was shown to be a powerful and specific diagnostic...

  14. Engaging service providers in improving industry performance

    Oberth, R.

    2012-01-01

    Effective task leadership is the key to achieving results in the nuclear industry and in most other industries. One of the themes of this conference is to discuss how the nuclear industry can undertake Issue-Identification and Definition as a means of 'identifying what needs attention' and then 'defining what needs to be done to make that happen'. I will explore this theme from the perspective of the 'Service Provider' - which by the definition of this conference includes everyone not within an operating utility - meaning 'those involved in everything from inspection and repair to research and plant architecture' - basically the member companies of my association, OCI. Our members take the definition of the roles and responsibilities of the 'Service Provider' community very seriously. In the context of this discussion a key utility function is the early definition of requirements and expectations of Service Providers in supplying to these requirements. Let's explore for a moment the Service Provider role and perspective. Service Providers are by nature pro-active - they seek ways to engage with utilities (and tier one vendors) to solve problems and achieve good outcomes. They come to industry conferences like this one to learn about upcoming utility programs and supply opportunities and how they can improve performance. Service Providers particularly want to hear senior utility people comment on emerging issues even those at the very early identification stage. Some Clarification of Roles is in Order - as that is the focus of this conference: 'Issue-Identification and Definition'. 'Issue-Identification' is the utility's job - it is the utility's role to identify as early as possible 'what needs attention and what their needs and expectations are'. This takes place before service provider engagement. 'Issue-Definition' is more challenging. It means 'determining and prioritizing what needs to be done to deal with the situation at hand'. This typically involves

  15. Improving File System Performance by Striping

    Lam, Terance L.; Kutler, Paul (Technical Monitor)

    1998-01-01

    This document discusses the performance and advantages of striped file systems on the SGI AD workstations. Performance of several striped file system configurations are compared and guidelines for optimal striping are recommended.

  16. Performance samples on academic tasks : improving prediction of academic performance

    Tanilon, Jenny

    2011-01-01

    This thesis is about the development and validation of a performance-based test, labeled as Performance Samples on academic tasks in Education and Child Studies (PSEd). PSEd is designed to identify students who are most able to perform the academic tasks involved in an Education and Child Studies

  17. Sootblowing optimization for improved boiler performance

    James, John Robert; McDermott, John; Piche, Stephen; Pickard, Fred; Parikh, Neel J.

    2012-12-25

    A sootblowing control system that uses predictive models to bridge the gap between sootblower operation and boiler performance goals. The system uses predictive modeling and heuristics (rules) associated with different zones in a boiler to determine an optimal sequence of sootblower operations and achieve boiler performance targets. The system performs the sootblower optimization while observing any operational constraints placed on the sootblowers.

  18. Football to Improve Math and Reading Performance

    Van Klaveren, Chris; De Witte, Kristof

    2015-01-01

    Schools frequently increase the instructional time to improve primary school children's math and reading skills. There is, however, little evidence that math and reading skills are effectively improved by these instruction-time increases. This study evaluates "Playing for Success" (PfS), an extended school day program for underachieving…

  19. Football to improve math and reading performance

    Van Klaveren, Chris; De Witte, Kristof

    2015-01-01

    Schools frequently increase the instructional time to improve primary school children's math and reading skills. There is, however, little evidence that math and reading skills are effectively improved by these instruction-time increases. This study evaluates ‘Playing for Success’ (PfS), an extended

  20. Improved metod of detection and molecular typing of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in clinical sample by PCR without DNA purification

    Rudenko, Natalia; Golovchenko, Maryna; Němec, J.; Volkaert, J.; Mallátová, N.; Grubhoffer, Libor

    2005-01-01

    Roč. 50, č. 1 (2005), s. 31-39 ISSN 0015-5632 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA524/03/1326 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60220518 Keywords : PCR * chelex * amplification Subject RIV: EE - Microbiology, Virology Impact factor: 0.918, year: 2005

  1. Rapid detection of enterovirus in cerebrospinal fluid by a fully-automated PCR assay is associated with improved management of aseptic meningitis in adult patients.

    Giulieri, Stefano G; Chapuis-Taillard, Caroline; Manuel, Oriol; Hugli, Olivier; Pinget, Christophe; Wasserfallen, Jean-Blaise; Sahli, Roland; Jaton, Katia; Marchetti, Oscar; Meylan, Pascal

    2015-01-01

    Enterovirus (EV) is the most frequent cause of aseptic meningitis (AM). Lack of microbiological documentation results in unnecessary antimicrobial therapy and hospitalization. To assess the impact of rapid EV detection in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by a fully-automated PCR (GeneXpert EV assay, GXEA) on the management of AM. Observational study in adult patients with AM. Three groups were analyzed according to EV documentation in CSF: group A = no PCR or negative PCR (n=17), group B = positive real-time PCR (n = 20), and group C = positive GXEA (n = 22). Clinical, laboratory and health-care costs data were compared. Clinical characteristics were similar in the 3 groups. Median turn-around time of EV PCR decreased from 60 h (IQR (interquartile range) 44-87) in group B to 5h (IQR 4-11) in group C (p<0.0001). Median duration of antibiotics was 1 (IQR 0-6), 1 (0-1.9), and 0.5 days (single dose) in groups A, B, and C, respectively (p < 0.001). Median length of hospitalization was 4 days (2.5-7.5), 2 (1-3.7), and 0.5 (0.3-0.7), respectively (p < 0.001). Median hospitalization costs were $5458 (2676-6274) in group A, $2796 (2062-5726) in group B, and $921 (765-1230) in group C (p < 0.0001). Rapid EV detection in CSF by a fully-automated PCR improves management of AM by significantly reducing antibiotic use, hospitalization length and costs. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. 7804 PERFORMANCE OF IMPROVED BEAN VARIETIES IN ...

    Win7Ent

    2013-06-03

    Jun 3, 2013 ... 3. June 2013. ABSTRACT. A project aimed at improving bean production in Kigoma Region was carried out ... Some rain is required during the flowering and pod setting stages [2]. ..... library.ciat.cgiar.org/articulos/ciat/paperb.

  3. Measuring collections effort improves cash performance.

    Shutts, Joe

    2009-09-01

    Having a satisfied work force can lead to an improved collections effort. Hiring the right people and training them ensures employee engagement. Measuring collections effort and offering incentives is key to revenue cycle success.

  4. Performance improvement of professional printing systems : from theory to practice

    Ezzeldin Mahdy Abdelmonem, M.

    2012-01-01

    Performance Improvement of Professional Printing Systems: from theory to practice Markets demand continuously for higher quality, higher speed, and more energy-efficient professional printers. In this thesis, control strategies have been developed to improve the performance of both professional

  5. Performance Results of CMMI-Based Process Improvement

    Gibson, Diane L; Goldenson, Dennis R; Kost, Keith

    2006-01-01

    .... There now is evidence that process improvement using the CMMI Product Suite can result in improvements in schedule and cost performance, product quality, return on investment and other measures of performance outcome...

  6. Can visual arts training improve physician performance?

    Katz, Joel T; Khoshbin, Shahram

    2014-01-01

    Clinical educators use medical humanities as a means to improve patient care by training more self-aware, thoughtful, and collaborative physicians. We present three examples of integrating fine arts - a subset of medical humanities - into the preclinical and clinical training as models that can be adapted to other medical environments to address a wide variety of perceived deficiencies. This novel teaching method has promise to improve physician skills, but requires further validation.

  7. Can Visual Arts Training Improve Physician Performance?

    Katz, Joel T.; Khoshbin, Shahram

    2014-01-01

    Clinical educators use medical humanities as a means to improve patient care by training more self-aware, thoughtful, and collaborative physicians. We present three examples of integrating fine arts — a subset of medical humanities — into the preclinical and clinical training as models that can be adapted to other medical environments to address a wide variety of perceived deficiencies. This novel teaching method has promise to improve physician skills, but requires further validation. PMID:25125749

  8. Improvement of irradiation facilities performance in JMTR

    Kanno, Masaru; Sakurai, Susumu; Honma, Kenzo; Sagawa, Hisashi; Nakazaki, Chousaburo

    1999-01-01

    Various kinds of irradiation facilities are installed in the JMTR for the purpose of irradiation tests on fuels and materials and of producing radioisotopes. The irradiation facilities have been improved so far at every opportunity of new irradiation requirements and of renewing them which reached the design lifetime. Of these irradiation facilities, improvements of the power ramping test facility (BOCA/OSF-1 facility) and the hydraulic rabbit No.2 (HR-2 facility) are described here. (author)

  9. Improving Student Performance Using Nudge Analytics

    Feild, Jacqueline

    2015-01-01

    Providing students with continuous and personalized feedback on their performance is an important part of encouraging self regulated learning. As part of our higher education platform, we built a set of data visualizations to provide feedback to students on their assignment performance. These visualizations give students information about how they…

  10. How Six Sigma Methodology Improved Doctors' Performance

    Zafiropoulos, George

    2015-01-01

    Six Sigma methodology was used in a District General Hospital to assess the effect of the introduction of an educational programme to limit unnecessary admissions. The performance of the doctors involved in the programme was assessed. Ishikawa Fishbone and 5 S's were initially used and Pareto analysis of their findings was performed. The results…

  11. Using Performance Task Data to Improve Instruction

    Abbott, Amy L.; Wren, Douglas G.

    2016-01-01

    Two well-accepted ideas among educators are (a) performance assessment is an effective means of assessing higher-order thinking skills and (b) data-driven instruction planning is a valuable tool for optimizing student learning. This article describes a locally developed performance task (LDPT) designed to measure critical thinking, problem…

  12. Inverse fusion PCR cloning.

    Markus Spiliotis

    Full Text Available Inverse fusion PCR cloning (IFPC is an easy, PCR based three-step cloning method that allows the seamless and directional insertion of PCR products into virtually all plasmids, this with a free choice of the insertion site. The PCR-derived inserts contain a vector-complementary 5'-end that allows a fusion with the vector by an overlap extension PCR, and the resulting amplified insert-vector fusions are then circularized by ligation prior transformation. A minimal amount of starting material is needed and experimental steps are reduced. Untreated circular plasmid, or alternatively bacteria containing the plasmid, can be used as templates for the insertion, and clean-up of the insert fragment is not urgently required. The whole cloning procedure can be performed within a minimal hands-on time and results in the generation of hundreds to ten-thousands of positive colonies, with a minimal background.

  13. Industry activities to improve valve performance

    Callaway, C.

    1996-12-01

    Motor-operated valve issues refuse to go away. For over a decade the industry and the NRC have been focusing extraordinary resources on assuring these special components operate when called upon. Now that industry has fixed the design deficiencies, it is focusing on assuring that they perform their safety function within the current licensing basis for the remainder of plant life. NEI supported the efforts by ASME to develop OMN-1 and was encouraged that the industry and the NRC worked together to develop risk and performance based approaches to maintain MOV performance.

  14. Does Advertising Spending Improve Sales Performance?

    Assaf, A. George; Josiassen, Alexander; Mattila, Anna S.

    2015-01-01

    Hotel managers and investors commonly analyze the impact of advertising spending on firm performance. This paper investigates such an impact using a comprehensive framework incorporating the moderating effects of hotel size and star ratings. We estimated sales performance via dynamic, stochastic...... frontier modelling. Using longitudinal data from a sample of Slovenian and Croatian hotels, we demonstrate that advertising spending has a positive impact on hotel sales performance, and that the relationship strengthens for larger hotels and hotels with higher star ratings. Theoretical and managerial...

  15. Warehouse Performance Improvement at Linfox Logistics Indonesia

    Pratama, Riyan Galuh; Simatupang, Togar M

    2013-01-01

    The objective of this research is to provide alternative solutions for Linfox Logistics Indonesia (LLI) in facing warehouse performance issues. The main warehouse performance indicators called Customer Case Filling on Time (CCFOT) and Case Picking Productivity failed to achieve the target. Several analyses were carried out regarding current dispatch process, value stream mapping, and root causes identification. The results find that much waste occurred in dispatch process. Proposed improvemen...

  16. A Management Tool for Improvement (Improving) IMS Stations Performance

    Mohammad, D.; Pantin, A.; Quintana, E.

    2011-01-01

    IMS-Maintenance is a software under development by the personnel of ARN-CTBT office, intended for the technical management of IMS stations under ARN's responsibility. This software integrates the whole control of the equipment in an IMS station, including the management of consumables used in daily or periodic operation. It permits an easy retrieval (access) of the technical features, suppliers, etc. of each item of the equipment, as well as its maintenance history and scheduled task. Although this project is still in a starting phase, a preliminary version of this software is being used in radionuclide station RN01 (Buenos Aires), having already demonstrated its usefulness and potential for the improvement of IMS station management. (authors)

  17. Improvement of sampling plans for Salmonella detection in pooled table eggs by use of real-time PCR

    Pasquali, Frédérique; De Cesare, Alessandra; Valero, Antonio

    2014-01-01

    Eggs and egg products have been described as the most critical food vehicles of salmonellosis. The prevalence and level of contamination of Salmonella on table eggs are low, which severely affects the sensitivity of sampling plans applied voluntarily in some European countries, where one to five...... pools of 10 eggs are tested by the culture based reference method ISO 6579:2004. In the current study we have compared the testing-sensitivity of the reference culture method ISO 6579:2004 and an alternative real-time PCR method on Salmonella contaminated egg-pool of different sizes (4-9 uninfected eggs...... mixed with one contaminated egg) and contamination levels (10°-10(1), 10(1)-10(2), 10(2)-10(3)CFU/eggshell). Two hundred and seventy samples corresponding to 15 replicates per pool size and inoculum level were tested. At the lowest contamination level real-time PCR detected Salmonella in 40...

  18. Comparison of clinical performance of antigen based-enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and major outer membrane protein (MOMP)-PCR for detection of genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection.

    Nateghi Rostami, Mahmoud; Hossein Rashidi, Batool; Aghsaghloo, Fatemeh; Nazari, Razieh

    2016-06-01

    Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial pathogen worldwide. Early detection and treatment of C.trachomatis genital infection prevent serious reproductive complications. Performances of enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and major outer membrane protein (MOMP)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for diagnosis of genital C.trachomatis infection in women were compared. In this cross sectional study a total of 518 women volunteers were included (33.67±8.3 yrs) who had been referred to Gynecology clinics of Qom province, Iran, were included. Endocervical swab specimens were collected to detect lipopolysaccharide (LPS) antigen in EIA and to amplify MOMP gene of C.trachomatis in PCR. Results were confirmed using ompI nested-PCR. Sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV) were calculated for performance of the tests. Odds ratios were determined using binary logistic regression analysis. In total, 37 (7.14%) cases were positive by EIA and/or MOMP-PCR. All discrepant results were confirmed by nested-PCR. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV values of EIA were 59.46%, 100%, 100% and 96.98%, and those of MOMP-PCR were 97.30%, 100%, 100%, 99.79%, respectively. Reproductive complications including 2.7% ectopic pregnancy, 5.4% stillbirth, 5.4% infertility, and 10.8% PROM were recorded. The risk of developing chlamydiosis was increased 4.8-fold in volunteers with cervicitis (p<0.05; OR 4.80; 95% CI 1.25-18.48). C.trachomatis infection should be regarded in women of reproductive ages especially those with cervicitis. Primary screening of women by using the low cost antigen-EIA is recommended; however, due to the low sensitivity of Ag-EIA, verification of the negative results by a DNA amplification method is needed.

  19. Partnering through Training and Practice to Achieve Performance Improvement

    Lyons, Paul R.

    2010-01-01

    This article presents a partnership effort among managers, trainers, and employees to spring to life performance improvement using the performance templates (P-T) approach. P-T represents a process model as well as a method of training leading to performance improvement. Not only does it add to our repertoire of training and performance management…

  20. Improving operational performance by influencing shopfloor behavior via performance management practices

    de Leeuw, S.L.J.M.; van den Berg, J.P.

    2011-01-01

    It is generally believed that companies applying performance management practices outperform those that do not measure and manage their performance. Studies examining the link between performance management and performance improvement implicitly assume that performance management affects behavior of

  1. Performance improvement by alumina coatings on Y

    Zhou, Z.; Zhou, Nan; Lu, Xiangyang; ten Kate, O.M.; Valdesueiro Gonzalez, D.; van Ommen, J.R.; Hintzen, H.T.J.M.

    2016-01-01

    To improve the thermal stability, Al2O3 has been successfully coated on a Y3Al5O12:Ce3+ (YAG:Ce) phosphor powder host by using the Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) approach in a fluidized bed reactor. Transmission Electron Microscopy

  2. Reactor coolant pump seals: improving their performance

    Pothier, N.E.; Metcalfe, R.

    1986-06-01

    Large CANDU plants are benefitting from transient-resistant four-year reliable reactor coolant pump seal lifetimes, a direct result of AECL's 20-year comprehensive seal improvement program involving R and D staff, manufacturers, and plant designers and operators. An overview of this program is presented, which covers seal modification design, testing, post-service examination, specialized maintenance and quality control. The relevancy of this technology to Light Water Reactor Coolant Pump Seals is also discussed

  3. Improvement an enterprises marketing performance measurement system

    Stanković Ljiljana

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Business conditions in which modern enterprises do business are more and more complex. The complexity of the business environment is caused by activities of external and internal factors, which imposes the need for the turn in management focus. One of key turns is related to the need of adaptation and development of new business performance evaluation systems. The evaluation of marketing contribution to business performance is very important however a complex task as well. The marketing theory and practice indicates the need for developing adequate standards and systems for evaluating the efficiency of marketing decisions. The better understanding of marketing standards and ways that managers use is a very important factor that affects the efficiency of strategic decision-making. The paper presents the results of researching the way in which managers perceive and apply marketing performance measures. The data that were received through the field research sample enabled the consideration of the managers' attitudes on practical ways of implementing marketing performance measurement and identifying measures that managers imply as used mostly in business practice.

  4. Does Negotiation Training Improve Negotiators' Performance?

    ElShenawy, Eman

    2010-01-01

    Purpose: This paper's objective is to test the main effect of negotiation training-level on acquiring negotiation skills. Training level refers to the time a trainee spends in a negotiation training course receiving the standard style and methods of training. Negotiation skills are manifested through trainees' performance after receiving training.…

  5. Improving spelling performance and spelling consciousness

    Cordewener, K.A.H.; Verhoeven, L.T.W.; Bosman, A.M.T.

    2016-01-01

    This study examined the immediate and sustained effects of three training conditions on both spelling performance and spelling consciousness of 72 third-grade low- and high-skilled spellers. Spellers were assigned to a strategy-instruction, self-correction, or no-correction condition. The role of

  6. Improving Spelling Performance and Spelling Consciousness

    Cordewener, Kim A. H.; Verhoeven, Ludo; Bosman, Anna M. T.

    2016-01-01

    This study examined the immediate and sustained effects of three training conditions on both spelling performance and spelling consciousness of 72 third-grade low- and high-skilled spellers. Spellers were assigned to a strategy-instruction, self-correction, or no-correction condition. The role of spelling ability and word characteristic were also…

  7. Tools for Measuring and Improving Performance.

    Jurow, Susan

    1993-01-01

    Explains the need for meaningful performance measures in libraries and the Total Quality Management (TQM) approach to data collection. Five tools representing different stages of a TQM inquiry are covered (i.e., the Shewhart Cycle, flowcharts, cause-and-effect diagrams, Pareto charts, and control charts), and benchmarking is addressed. (Contains…

  8. Improving Student Performance through Parent Involvement.

    Steventon, Candace E.

    A personalized parenting program was implemented to address poor academic performance and low self-esteem of high school students. Student records, the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, the Behavior Evaluation Scale, and teacher surveys were employed to identify and measure academic and/or self-perception growth. Parents participated in an 8-week…

  9. Improving fatigue performance of rail thermite welds

    Jezzini-Aouad, M.; Flahaut, P.; Hariri, S.; Winiar, L.

    2010-06-01

    Rail transport development offers economic and ecological interests. Nevertheless, it requires heavy investments in rolling material and infrastructure. To be competitive, this transportation means must rely on safe and reliable infrastructure, which requires optimization of all implemented techniques and structure. Rail thermite (or aluminothermic) welding is widely used within the railway industry for in-track welding during re-rail and defect replacement. The process provides numerous advantages against other welding technology commonly used. Obviously, future demands on train traffic are heavier axle loads, higher train speeds and increased traffic density. Thus, a new enhanced weld should be developed to prevent accidents due to fracture of welds and to lower maintenance costs. In order to improve such assembly process, a detailed metallurgical study coupled to a thermomechanical modelling of the phenomena involved in the thermite welding process is carried out. Obtained data enables us to develop a new improved thermite weld (type A). This joint is made by modifying the routinely specified procedure (type B) used in a railway rail by a standard gap alumino-thermic weld. Joints of type A and B are tested and compared. Based on experimental temperature measurements, a finite element analysis is used to calculate the thermal residual stresses induced. In the vicinity of the weld, the residual stress patterns depend on the thermal conditions during welding as it also shown by litterature [1, 2]. In parallel, X-Ray diffraction has been used to map the residual stress field that is generated in welded rail of types A and B. Their effect on fatigue crack growth in rail welds is studied. An experimental study based on fatigue tests of rails welded by conventional and improved processes adjudicates on the new advances and results will be shown.

  10. Improving Team Performance: Proceedings of the Rand Team Performance Workshop.

    1980-08-01

    Gene Gloye of ONR said at that time that by highlighting specific content areas for attention, one runs the risk of supporting "research by the yard...Meister The purpose of this paper is to describe how human factors engineering ( HFE ) relates to team performance. HFE is the application of...behavioral principles and data to the design and development of man-machine systems (MMS). HFE activities begin in the very early planning stages of MMS

  11. Benchmark and Continuous Improvement of Performance

    Alina Alecse Stanciu

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available The present Economic Environment is challenge us to perform, to think and re-think our personal strategies in according with our entities strategies, even if we are simply employed or we are entrepreneurs. Is an environment characterised by Volatility, Uncertainity, Complexity and Ambiguity - a VUCA World in which the entities must fight for their position gained in the market, disrupt new markets and new economies, developing their client portofolio, with the Performance as one final goal. The pressure of driving forces known as the 2030 Megatrends: Globalization 2.0, Environmental Crisis and the Scarcity of Resources, Individualism and Value Pluralism, Demographic Change, This paper examines whether using benchmark is an opportunity to increase the competitiveness of Romanian SMEs and the results show that benchmark is therefore a powerful instrument, combining reduced negative impact on the environment with a positive impact on the economy and society.

  12. Performance of human fecal anaerobe-associated PCR-based assays in a multi-laboratory method evaluation study

    A number of PCR-based methods for detecting human fecal material in environmental waters have been developed over the past decade, but these methods have rarely received independent comparative testing. Here, we evaluated ten of these methods (BacH, BacHum-UCD, B. thetaiotaomic...

  13. Does School Choice Improve Student Performance?

    Kaja Høiseth Brugård

    2013-01-01

    This paper studies the relationship between school choice and student performance for high school students in Norway. The analysis exploits both the fact that the degree of school choice formally differs between counties, and detailed information on travelling distances to high schools, which more closely reflects the students' actual school choice possibilities. Information on students' residence, high school location, and the degree of formal school choice is used to estimate the effect on ...

  14. Improving performance by anchoring movement and "nerves".

    Iso-Ahola, Seppo E; Dotson, Charles O; Jagodinsky, Adam E; Clark, Lily C; Smallwood, Lorraine L; Wilburn, Christopher; Weimar, Wendi H; Miller, Matthew W

    2016-10-01

    Golf's governing bodies' recent decision to ban all putting styles "anchoring one end of the club against the body" bridges an important practical problem with psychological theory. We report the first experiment testing whether anchoring provides technical and/or psychological advantage in competitive performance. Many "greats" of professional golf from Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods have argued against anchoring, believing that it takes "nerves" out of competitive performance and therefore artificially levels the playing field. To shed more light on the issue, we tested participants' performance with anchored and unanchored putters under low and high pressure when controlling for the putter length. We found no statistically significant evidence for a technical advantage due to anchoring but a clear psychological advantage: participants who anchored their putters significantly outperformed unanchored counterparts under high, but not low, pressure. Results provide tentative evidence for the ban's justification from a competitive standpoint. However, before any definite conclusions can be made, more research is needed when using high-level golfers. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Analysis of performance of a PCR-based assay to detect DNA of Aspergillus fumigatus in whole blood and serum: a comparative study with clinical samples.

    Bernal-Martínez, Leticia; Gago, Sara; Buitrago, María J; Gomez-Lopez, Alicia; Rodríguez-Tudela, Juan L; Cuenca-Estrella, Manuel

    2011-10-01

    The performance of a real-time PCR-based assay was retrospectively analyzed (according to European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycosis Study Group criteria) in the samples of patients with invasive aspergillosis. A total of 711 serial samples (356 whole-blood and 355 serum samples) from 38 adult patients were analyzed. The Aspergillus fumigatus PCR assay results were positive for 89 of 356 (25%) whole-blood samples and 90 of 355 (25.35%) serum samples. Positive PCR results were seen in 29 of 31 (93.5%) patients for which serum was analyzed and in 31 of 33 (93.9%) cases with whole-blood specimens. Both blood and serum samples were available in 26 cases, and significant differences were not observed in this subgroup of cases. The average number of threshold cycles (C(T)) for positive blood samples was 37.6, and the average C(T) for serum was 37.4. The DNA concentration ranged between 2 and 50 fg per μl of sample, with average DNA concentrations of 10.2 and 11.7 fg in positive blood and serum samples, respectively (P > 0.01). The performance of this PCR-based quantitative assay was similar for both serum and blood samples. We recommend serum samples as the most convenient hematological sample to use for Aspergillus DNA quantification when serial determinations are done.

  16. Hybrid Modeling Improves Health and Performance Monitoring

    2007-01-01

    Scientific Monitoring Inc. was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center to create a new, simplified health-monitoring approach for flight vehicles and flight equipment. The project developed a hybrid physical model concept that provided a structured approach to simplifying complex design models for use in health monitoring, allowing the output or performance of the equipment to be compared to what the design models predicted, so that deterioration or impending failure could be detected before there would be an impact on the equipment's operational capability. Based on the original modeling technology, Scientific Monitoring released I-Trend, a commercial health- and performance-monitoring software product named for its intelligent trending, diagnostics, and prognostics capabilities, as part of the company's complete ICEMS (Intelligent Condition-based Equipment Management System) suite of monitoring and advanced alerting software. I-Trend uses the hybrid physical model to better characterize the nature of health or performance alarms that result in "no fault found" false alarms. Additionally, the use of physical principles helps I-Trend identify problems sooner. I-Trend technology is currently in use in several commercial aviation programs, and the U.S. Air Force recently tapped Scientific Monitoring to develop next-generation engine health-management software for monitoring its fleet of jet engines. Scientific Monitoring has continued the original NASA work, this time under a Phase III SBIR contract with a joint NASA-Pratt & Whitney aviation security program on propulsion-controlled aircraft under missile-damaged aircraft conditions.

  17. Continuing education for performance improvement: a creative approach.

    Collins, Patti-Ann; Hardesty, Ilana; White, Julie L; Zisblatt, Lara

    2012-10-01

    In an effort to improve patient safety and health care outcomes, continuing medical education has begun to focus on performance improvement initiatives for physician practices. Boston University School of Medicine's (BUSM) Continuing Nursing Education Accredited Provider Unit has begun a creative project to award nursing contact hours for nurses' participation in performance improvement activities. This column highlights its initial efforts. Copyright 2012, SLACK Incorporated.

  18. Improving Steam System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry, Second Edition

    None

    2012-02-23

    This sourcebook is designed to provide steam system users with a reference that describes the basic steam system components, outlines opportunities for energy and performance improvements, and discusses the benefits of a systems approach in identifying and implementing these improvement opportunities. The sourcebook is divided into three main sections: steam system basics, performance improvement opportunities, and where to find help.

  19. Improved Safety for Molecular Diagnosis of Classical Rabies Viruses by Use of a TaqMan Real-Time Reverse Transcription-PCR "Double Check" Strategy

    Hoffmann, B.; Freuling, C. M.; Wakeley, P. R.

    2010-01-01

    To improve the diagnosis of classical rabies virus with molecular methods, a validated, ready-to-use, real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assay was developed. In a first step, primers and 6-carboxyfluorescien-labeled TaqMan probes specific for rabies virus were selected from the consensus...... sequence of the nucleoprotein gene of 203 different rabies virus sequences derived from GenBank. The selected primer-probe combination was highly specific and sensitive. During validation using a sample set of rabies virus strains from the virus archives of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI; Germany......), the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA; United Kingdom), and the DTU National Veterinary Institute (Lindholm, Denmark), covering the global diversity of rabies virus lineages, it was shown that both the newly developed assay and a previously described one had some detection failures. This was overcome...

  20. Quantitative Real-Time PCR using the Thermo Scientific Solaris qPCR Assay

    Ogrean, Christy; Jackson, Ben; Covino, James

    2010-01-01

    The Solaris qPCR Gene Expression Assay is a novel type of primer/probe set, designed to simplify the qPCR process while maintaining the sensitivity and accuracy of the assay. These primer/probe sets are pre-designed to >98% of the human and mouse genomes and feature significant improvements from previously available technologies. These improvements were made possible by virtue of a novel design algorithm, developed by Thermo Scientific bioinformatics experts. Several convenient features have been incorporated into the Solaris qPCR Assay to streamline the process of performing quantitative real-time PCR. First, the protocol is similar to commonly employed alternatives, so the methods used during qPCR are likely to be familiar. Second, the master mix is blue, which makes setting the qPCR reactions easier to track. Third, the thermal cycling conditions are the same for all assays (genes), making it possible to run many samples at a time and reducing the potential for error. Finally, the probe and primer sequence information are provided, simplifying the publication process. Here, we demonstrate how to obtain the appropriate Solaris reagents using the GENEius product search feature found on the ordering web site (www.thermo.com/solaris) and how to use the Solaris reagents for performing qPCR using the standard curve method. PMID:20567213

  1. The improvement of performances for PWR fuels

    Debes

    2001-01-01

    UO 2 fuels used in French nuclear power plants are authorized for values of burn-ups up to 52 GWj/t. Constant technological progress concerning pellets, cladding, and the design of the assembly has led to better performance and a broader safety margin. EDF is gathering all the elements to qualify and back its demand to increase the limit burn-up to 65 GWj/t in 2004 and to 70 GWj/t in 2008. For the same amount of energy produced, this policy of higher burn-ups will allow: - a reduction of the number of spent fuel assemblies, - a direct economic spare by using less fuel assemblies, - a reduction of personnel dosimetry because of longer irradiation campaigns, and - less quantity of residual plutonium produced. (A.C.)

  2. Improving UV Resistance of High Performance Fibers

    Hassanin, Ahmed

    High performance fibers are characterized by their superior properties compared to the traditional textile fibers. High strength fibers have high modules, high strength to weight ratio, high chemical resistance, and usually high temperature resistance. It is used in application where superior properties are needed such as bulletproof vests, ropes and cables, cut resistant products, load tendons for giant scientific balloons, fishing rods, tennis racket strings, parachute cords, adhesives and sealants, protective apparel and tire cords. Unfortunately, Ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes serious degradation to the most of high performance fibers. UV lights, either natural or artificial, cause organic compounds to decompose and degrade, because the energy of the photons of UV light is high enough to break chemical bonds causing chain scission. This work is aiming at achieving maximum protection of high performance fibers using sheathing approaches. The sheaths proposed are of lightweight to maintain the advantage of the high performance fiber that is the high strength to weight ratio. This study involves developing three different types of sheathing. The product of interest that need be protected from UV is braid from PBO. First approach is extruding a sheath from Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) loaded with different rutile TiO2 % nanoparticles around the braid from the PBO. The results of this approach showed that LDPE sheath loaded with 10% TiO2 by weight achieved the highest protection compare to 0% and 5% TiO2. The protection here is judged by strength loss of PBO. This trend noticed in different weathering environments, where the sheathed samples were exposed to UV-VIS radiations in different weatheromter equipments as well as exposure to high altitude environment using NASA BRDL balloon. The second approach is focusing in developing a protective porous membrane from polyurethane loaded with rutile TiO2 nanoparticles. Membrane from polyurethane loaded with 4

  3. Efficacy of a Template Creation Approach for Performance Improvement

    Lyons, Paul R.

    2011-01-01

    This article presents the training and performance improvement approach, performance templates (P-T), and provides empirical evidence to support the efficacy of P-T. This approach involves a partnership among managers, trainers, and employees in the creation, use, and improvement of guides to affect the performance of critical tasks in the…

  4. Material Biocompatibility for PCR Microfluidic Chips

    Kodzius, Rimantas; Chang, Donald Choy; Gong, Xiuqing; Wen, Weijia; Wu, Jinbo; Xiao, Kang; Yi, Xin

    2010-01-01

    As part of the current miniaturization trend, biological reactions and processes are being adapted to microfluidics devices. PCR is the primary method employed in DNA amplification, its miniaturization is central to efforts to develop portable devices for diagnostics and testing purposes. A problem is the PCR-inhibitory effect due to interaction between PCR reagents and the surrounding environment, which effect is increased in high-surface-are-to-volume ration microfluidics. In this study, we evaluated the biocompatibility of various common materials employed in the fabrication of microfluidic chips, including silicon, several kinds of silicon oxide, glasses, plastics, wax, and adhesives. Two-temperature PCR was performed with these materials to determine their PCR-inhibitory effect. In most of the cases, addition of bovine serum albumin effectively improved the reaction yield. We also studied the individual PCR components from the standpoint of adsorption. Most of the materials did not inhibit the DNA, whereas they did show noticeable interaction with the DNA polymerase. Our test, instead of using microfluidic devices, can be easily conducted in common PCR tubes using a standard bench thermocycler. Our data supports an overview of the means by which the materials most bio-friendly to microfluidics can be selected.

  5. Material Biocompatibility for PCR Microfluidic Chips

    Kodzius, Rimantas

    2010-04-23

    As part of the current miniaturization trend, biological reactions and processes are being adapted to microfluidics devices. PCR is the primary method employed in DNA amplification, its miniaturization is central to efforts to develop portable devices for diagnostics and testing purposes. A problem is the PCR-inhibitory effect due to interaction between PCR reagents and the surrounding environment, which effect is increased in high-surface-are-to-volume ration microfluidics. In this study, we evaluated the biocompatibility of various common materials employed in the fabrication of microfluidic chips, including silicon, several kinds of silicon oxide, glasses, plastics, wax, and adhesives. Two-temperature PCR was performed with these materials to determine their PCR-inhibitory effect. In most of the cases, addition of bovine serum albumin effectively improved the reaction yield. We also studied the individual PCR components from the standpoint of adsorption. Most of the materials did not inhibit the DNA, whereas they did show noticeable interaction with the DNA polymerase. Our test, instead of using microfluidic devices, can be easily conducted in common PCR tubes using a standard bench thermocycler. Our data supports an overview of the means by which the materials most bio-friendly to microfluidics can be selected.

  6. Improved human performance through appropriate work scheduling

    Morisseau, D.S.; Lewis, P.M.; Persensky, J.J.

    1987-01-01

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has had a policy, Generic Letter 82-12, on hours of work since 1982. The policy states that licensees should establish controls to prevent situations where fatigue could reduce the ability of operating personnel to perform their duties safely (USNRC 1982). While that policy does give guidance on hours of work and overtime, it does not address periods of longer than 7 days or work schedules other than the routine 8-hour day, 40-hour week. Recognizing that NRC policy could provide broader guidance for shift schedules and hours of overtime work, the Division of Human Factors Safety conducted a project with Pacific Northwest Laboratories (PNL) to help the NRC better understand the human factors principles and issues concerning hours of work so that the NRC could consider updating their policy as necessary. The results of this project are recommendations for guidelines and limits for periods of 14 days, 28 days, and 1 year to take into account the cumulative effects of fatigue. In addition, routine 12-hour shifts are addressed. This latter type of shift schedule has been widely adopted in the petroleum and chemical industries and several utilities operating nuclear power plants have adopted it as well. Since this is the case, it is important to consider including guidelines for implementing this type of schedule. This paper discusses the bases for the PNL recommendations which are currently being studied by the NRC

  7. Baking oven improvement by performance modelling

    1994-04-01

    The first phase of the project included both the derivation of an oven model and the development of a portable, rapid-response heat-flux sensor. Heat flux (defined as the instantaneous rate of heat flow per unit at the surface of the baking biscuit and expressed in W/cm[sup 2]) has been shown to be a more useful measure of oven performance than temperature alone. Fixed-point heat-flux sensors have already been developed and marketed, but a need was expressed at the start of this project for a travelling sensor which could be used to construct a more detailed picture of heat-flux variation in an oven. The travelling monitor developed can be used to measure variations in the heat flux experienced at the surface of products being baked in a travelling oven, both when oven conditions are fixed and when they are varied. It can also be used to identify the optimum locations within an oven for fixed heat-flux probes. It has been used effectively throughout the project for both purposes. Fuel savings of 18% and 21%, respectively, were achieved with two ovens. (author)

  8. Hardfacing and packings for improved valve performance

    Aikin, J.A.; Patrick, J.N.F.; Inglis, I.

    2003-01-01

    The CANDU Owners Group (COG), Chemistry, Materials and Components (CMC) Program has supported an ongoing program on valve maintenance and performance for several years. An overview is presented of recent work on iron-based hardfacing, packing qualification, friction testing of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) packings, and an investigation of re-torquing valve packing. Based on this program, two new valve-packing materials have been qualified for use in CANDU stations. By doing this, CANDU maintenance can avoid having only one packing qualified for station use, as well as assess the potential impact of the industry trend towards using lower gland loads. The results from corrosion tests by AECL and the coefficient of friction studies at Battelle' s tribology testing facilities on Delcrome 910, an iron-based hardfacing alloy, indicate it is an acceptable replacement for Stellite 6 under certain conditions. This information can be used to update in-line valve purchasing specifications. The renewed interest in friction characteristics, and environmental qualification (EQ) of packing containing PTFE has resulted in a new test program in these areas. The COG-funded valve programs have resulted in modifications to design specifications for nuclear station in-line valves and have led to better maintenance practices and valve reliability. In the end, this means lower costs and cheaper electricity. (author)

  9. Improving Vaginal Examinations Performed by Midwives

    Rhoda S. Muliira

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available A vaginal examination (VE is an essential part of midwifery care, and is routinely performed when assessing the progress of labour. As evidence shows that during labour women may find VEs unpleasant,embarrassing and sometimes painful, the aim of this article is to review literature on the use of VEs during labour and to synthesise information from the available literature on how to provide an effective VE. The studies considered were retrieved from three databases (the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature [CINAHL], SCOPUS and MEDLINE using the following search terms: “VEs in labour”, “midwives and use of VEs” and “women experiences of VEs in labour”. The literature reviewed suggests that midwives are not careful about VEs. Therefore, a concerted effort is needed to pay attention to the frequency of VEs, the management ofpain and distress, information-giving and the preferences of the patient, so that the patient can feel in control during a VE.

  10. Comparison of clinical performance of antigen basedenzyme immunoassay (EIA and major outer membrane protein (MOMP-PCR for detection of genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection

    Mahmoud Nateghi Rostami

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Background: Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial pathogen worldwide. Early detection and treatment of C.trachomatis genital infection prevent serious reproductive complications. Objective: Performances of enzyme immunoassay (EIA and major outer membrane protein (MOMP-polymerase chain reaction (PCR for diagnosis of genital C.trachomatis infection in women were compared. Materials and Methods: In this cross sectional study a total of 518 women volunteers were included (33.67±8.3 yrs who had been referred to Gynecology clinics of Qom province, Iran, were included. Endocervical swab specimens were collected to detect lipopolysaccharide (LPS antigen in EIA and to amplify MOMP gene of C.trachomatis in PCR. Results were confirmed using ompI nested-PCR. Sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV and negative predictive values (NPV were calculated for performance of the tests. Odds ratios were determined using binary logistic regression analysis. Results: In total, 37 (7.14% cases were positive by EIA and/or MOMP-PCR. All discrepant results were confirmed by nested-PCR. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV values of EIA were 59.46%, 100%, 100% and 96.98%, and those of MOMPPCR were 97.30%, 100%, 100%, 99.79%, respectively. Reproductive complications including 2.7% ectopic pregnancy, 5.4% stillbirth, 5.4% infertility, and 10.8% PROM were recorded. The risk of developing chlamydiosis was increased 4.8-fold in volunteers with cervicitis (p<0.05; OR 4.80; 95% CI 1.25-18.48. Conclusion: C.trachomatis infection should be regarded in women of reproductive ages especially those with cervicitis. Primary screening of women by using the low cost antigen-EIA is recommended; however, due to the low sensitivity of Ag-EIA, verification of the negative results by a DNA amplification method is needed.

  11. Performance of rapid diagnostic test, blood-film microscopy and PCR for the diagnosis of malaria infection among febrile children from Korogwe District, Tanzania

    Mahende, Coline; Ngasala, Billy; Lusingu, John

    2016-01-01

    with fever and/or history of fever in the previous 48 h attending outpatient clinics. Blood samples were collected for identification of Plasmodium falciparum infection using histidine-rich-protein-2 (HRP-2)-based malaria RDT, light microscopy and conventional PCR. Results: A total of 867 febrile patients......Background: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) and light microscopy are still recommended for diagnosis to guide the clinical management of malaria despite difficult challenges in rural settings. The performance of these tests may be affected by several factors, including malaria prevalence and intensity...... of transmission. The study evaluated the diagnostic performance of malaria RDT, light microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in detecting malaria infections among febrile children at outpatient clinic in Korogwe District, northeastern Tanzania. Methods: The study enrolled children aged 2-59 months...

  12. Analysis of Light Gathering Abilities of Dynamically Solidified Micro-lenses, and Their Implementation to Improve Sensitivity of Fluorescent PCR Micro-detectors.

    Wu, Jian; Guo, Wei; Wang, Chunyan; Yu, Kuanxin; Chen, Tao; Li, Yinghui

    2015-06-01

    Fluorescent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is becoming the preferred method of quantitative analysis due to its high specificity and sensitivity. We propose to use a new kind of micro-lens, dynamically solidified with optic glue, to improve the sensitivity of fluorescent PCR micro-detector. We developed light ray track equations for these lenses and used them to calculate relative light intensity distribution curve for stimulation lenses and illumination point probability distribution curve for detection lenses. We manufactured dynamically solidified micro-lenses using optic glue NOA61, and measured their light gathering ability. Lenses with radius/thickness (R/H) ratio of 4 reached light focusing ratio of 3.85 (stimulation lens) and photon collection efficiency of 0.86 (detection lens). We then used dynamically solidified lenses in PCR fluorescence micro-detector and analyzed their effect on the detector sensitivity. We showed that the use of dynamically solidified micro-lenses with R/H = 4 resulted in over 4.4-fold increased sensitivity of the detector.

  13. Complex Heat Exchangers for Improved Performance

    Bran, Gabriela Alejandra

    propagates along the channel. However, the sinusoidal behavior on one of the fluids does not fully translate to the other gets damped by the wall and the heat transfer coefficients that can be barely seen on the other flow. A scaling analysis and a parametric study were performed to determine the influence the different parameters on the system have on the time a heat exchanger takes to reach steady state. The results show the dependency of tst* (time a system takes to reach steady state) on the dimensionless parameters M, C, NTUh, NTUc, and Cw. t st* depends linearly on C and Cw, and it is a power function of M. It was also shown that tst* has a logarithmic dependency on NTUh and NTUc. A correlation was generated to approximate the time a system takes to reach steady state for systems where C w heat exchanger with the specific application of solar energy storage was also investigated. This application involves a counter-flow heat exchanger with a reacting flow in one of the channels, and it includes varying properties, heat generation, varying heat transfer coefficient, and axial conduction. The application for this reactor heat exchanger is on solar energy storage, and the goals is to heat up steam to 650 °C by using the ammonia synthesis heat of reaction. One of the concerns for this system is the start-up time and also how disturbances in reacting flow can affect the steam outlet temperature. The transient behavior during the system start-up was presented. In order to achieve the desired outlet steam temperature at a reasonable time, the system must operate at high gas mass flow rates. If the inlet temperature of the gas suffers a step change, it affects the reaction rate as well as the outlet steam temperature. A small perturbation on the gas mass flow rate has an effect on the profile shape. However, the maximum temperature reached by the gas due to reaction is not affected, and consequently, it has little effect on the steam temperature. Axial conduction in the

  14. Performance Improvement Quarterly. Volume 15, Number 1, 2002

    2002-01-01

    Performance Improvement Quarterly (PIQ) is a peer-reviewed journal whose goal is to stimulate professional discussion in the field and to advance the discipline of performance technology through the publication of scholarly works...

  15. Molecular diagnostic PCR handbook

    Viljoen, G.J.; Crowther, J.R.; Nel, L.H.

    2005-01-01

    The uses of nucleic acid-directed methods have increased significantly in the past five years and have made important contributions to disease control country programmes for improving national and international trade. These developments include the more routine use of PCR as a diagnostic tool in veterinary diagnostic laboratories. However, there are many problems associated with the transfer and particularly, the application of this technology. These include lack of consideration of: the establishment of quality-assured procedures, the required set-up of the laboratory and the proper training of staff. This can lead to a situation where results are not assured. This book gives a comprehensive account of the practical aspects of PCR and strong consideration is given to ensure its optimal use in a laboratory environment. This includes the setting-up of a PCR laboratory; Good Laboratory Practice and standardised PCR protocols to detect animal disease pathogens. Examples of Standard Operating Procedures as used in individual specialist laboratories and an outline of training materials necessary for PCR technology transfer are presented. The difficulties, advantages and disadvantages in PCR applications are explained and placed in context with other test systems. Emphasis is placed on the use of PCR for detection of pathogens, with a particular focus on diagnosticians and scientists from the developing world. It is hoped that this book will enable readers from various disciplines and levels of expertise to better judge the merits of PCR and to increase their skills and knowledge in order to assist in a more logical, efficient and assured use of this technology

  16. Improving Manufacturing Performance in South Africa : Report of the ...

    1995-01-01

    Improving Manufacturing Performance in South Africa : Report of the Industrial Strategy Project. Couverture du livre Improving Manufacturing Performance in South Africa. Author(s):. Avril Joffe, David Kaplan, Raphael Kaplinsky et David Lewis. Publisher(s):. UCT Press, CRDI. January 1, 1995. ISBN: Épuisé. 264 pages.

  17. Glucocorticoids improve high-intensity exercise performance in humans

    Casuso, Rafael A; Melskens, Lars; Bruhn, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    It was investigated whether oral dexamethasone (DEX) administration improves exercise performance by reducing the initial rate of muscle fatigue development during dynamic exercise.......It was investigated whether oral dexamethasone (DEX) administration improves exercise performance by reducing the initial rate of muscle fatigue development during dynamic exercise....

  18. Improvement of Wind Farm Performance by Means of Spinner Anemometry

    Friis Pedersen, Troels; Demurtas, Giorgio; Gottschall, Julia

    This report is a project report on the EUDP research project SpinnerFarm. The objectives of the project were to improve software and hardware on the spinner anemometer concept and to demonstrate improvement of wind farm performance by opitmized yaw control. The hardware was improved by a more...

  19. Experience of safety and performance improvement for fuel handling equipment

    Gyoon Chang, Sang; Hee Lee, Dae

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to provide experience of safety and performance improvement of fuel handling equipment for nuclear power plants in Korea. The fuel handling equipment, which is used as an important part of critical processes during the refueling outage, has been improved to enhance safety and to optimize fuel handling procedures. Results of data measured during the fuel reloading are incorporated into design changes. The safety and performance improvement for fuel handling equipment could be achieved by simply modifying the components and improving the interlock system. The experience provided in this study can be useful lessons for further improvement of the fuel handling equipment. (authors)

  20. Improve strategic supplier performance using DMAIC to develop a Quality Improvement Plan

    Jardim, Kevin P.

    Supplier performance that meets the requirements of the customer has long plagued quality professionals. Despite the vast efforts by organizations to improve supplier performance, little has been done to standardize the plan to improve performance. This project presents a guideline and problem-solving strategy using a Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) structured tool that will assist in the management and improvement of supplier performance. An analysis of benchmarked Quality Improvement Plans indicated that this topic needs more focus on how to accomplish improved supplier performance. This project is part of a growing body of supplier continuous improvement efforts. With the input of Zodiac Aerospace quality professionals this project's results provide a solution to Quality Improvement Plans and show objective evidence of its benefits. This project contributes to the future research on similar topics.

  1. Inhibitory effect of common microfluidic materials on PCR outcome

    Kodzius, Rimantas

    2013-10-10

    In this study, we established a simple method for evaluating the PCR compatibility of various common materials employed when fabricating microfluidic chips, including silicon, several kinds of silicon oxide, glasses, plastics, wax, and adhesives. Two-temperature PCR was performed with these materials to determine their PCR-inhibitory effect. In most cases, adding bovine serum albumin effectively improved the reaction yield. We also studied the individual PCR components from the standpoint of adsorption. Most of the materials did not inhibit the DNA, although they noticeably interacted with the polymerase. We provide a simple method of performing PCR-compatibility testing of materials using inexpensive instrumentation that is common in molecular biology laboratories. Furthermore, our method is direct, being performed under actual PCR conditions with high temperature. Our results provide an overview of materials that are PCR-friendly for fabricating microfluidic devices. The PCR reaction, without any additives, performed best with pyrex glass, and it performed worst with PMMA or acrylic glue materials.

  2. Inhibitory effect of common microfluidic materials on PCR outcome

    Kodzius, Rimantas; Xiao, Kang; Wu, Jinbo; Yi, Xin; Gong, Xiuqing; Foulds, Ian G.; Wen, Weijia

    2013-01-01

    In this study, we established a simple method for evaluating the PCR compatibility of various common materials employed when fabricating microfluidic chips, including silicon, several kinds of silicon oxide, glasses, plastics, wax, and adhesives. Two-temperature PCR was performed with these materials to determine their PCR-inhibitory effect. In most cases, adding bovine serum albumin effectively improved the reaction yield. We also studied the individual PCR components from the standpoint of adsorption. Most of the materials did not inhibit the DNA, although they noticeably interacted with the polymerase. We provide a simple method of performing PCR-compatibility testing of materials using inexpensive instrumentation that is common in molecular biology laboratories. Furthermore, our method is direct, being performed under actual PCR conditions with high temperature. Our results provide an overview of materials that are PCR-friendly for fabricating microfluidic devices. The PCR reaction, without any additives, performed best with pyrex glass, and it performed worst with PMMA or acrylic glue materials.

  3. Training Attentional Control Improves Cognitive and Motor Task Performance.

    Ducrocq, Emmanuel; Wilson, Mark; Vine, Sam; Derakshan, Nazanin

    2016-10-01

    Attentional control is a necessary function for the regulation of goal-directed behavior. In three experiments we investigated whether training inhibitory control using a visual search task could improve task-specific measures of attentional control and performance. In Experiment 1 results revealed that training elicited a near-transfer effect, improving performance on a cognitive (antisaccade) task assessing inhibitory control. In Experiment 2 an initial far-transfer effect of training was observed on an index of attentional control validated for tennis. The principal aim of Experiment 3 was to expand on these findings by assessing objective gaze measures of inhibitory control during the performance of a tennis task. Training improved inhibitory control and performance when pressure was elevated, confirming the mechanisms by which cognitive anxiety impacts performance. These results suggest that attentional control training can improve inhibition and reduce taskspecific distractibility with promise of transfer to more efficient sporting performance in competitive contexts.

  4. Comparison of the clinical performances of the AdvanSure HPV Screening Real-Time PCR, the Abbott Real-Time High-Risk HPV Test, and the Hybrid Capture High-Risk HPV DNA Test for Cervical Cancer Screening.

    Chung, Hae-Sun; Hahm, Chorong; Lee, Miae

    2014-09-01

    The clinical performance of three human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA commercial assays for cervical cancer screening was evaluated; the AdvanSure HPV Screening Real-Time PCR (AdvanSure PCR; LG Life Sciences) that was developed recently for the detection of both high-risk and low-risk genotypes, the Abbott RealTime High-Risk HPV Test (Abbott PCR; Abbott Molecular) and the Hybrid Capture High-Risk HPV DNA test (HC2; Qiagen). The three different HPV DNA tests were compared using cytology samples obtained from 619 women who underwent routine cervical cancer screening. The gold-standard assay was histopathological confirmation of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia of grade 2 or worse. The clinical sensitivities of the AdvanSure PCR, the Abbott PCR and the HC2 for the detection of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia of grade 2 or worse were 95.5%, 95.5% and 100%, respectively, while the clinical specificities were 61.6%, 86.4% and 83.3%, respectively. There were no significant differences in the clinical sensitivities of the Abbott PCR and the AdvanSure PCR compared to the HC2. The clinical specificities of the Abbott PCR and the AdvanSure PCR for the detection of HPV types 16/18 were 97.8% and 98.5%, respectively. For cervical cancer screening, all three tests showed relatively good clinical sensitivities, but the AdvanSure PCR had lower clinical specificity than the Abbott PCR and the HC2. The AdvanSure PCR and the Abbott PCR assays have the advantage of being automated and the ability to distinguish between HPV types 16/18 and other HPV types. The two real-time PCR assays could be useful tools in HPV testing for cervical cancer screening. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Impeller inlet geometry effect on performance improvement for centrifugal pumps

    Luo, Xianwu; Zhang, Yao; Peng, Junqi; Xu, Hongyuan; Yu, Weiping

    2008-01-01

    This research treats the effect of impeller inlet geometry on performance improvement for a boiler feed pump, who is a centrifugal pump having specific speed of 183 m.m 3 min -1 .min -1 and close type impeller with exit diameter of 450 mm. The hydraulic performance and cavitation performance of the pump have been tested experimentally. In order to improve the pump, five impellers have been considered by extending the blade leading edge or applying much larger blade angle at impeller inlet compared with the original impeller. The 3-D turbulent flow inside those pumps has been analyzed basing on RNG k-ε turbulence model and VOF cavitation model. It is noted that the numerical results are fairly good compared with the experiments. Based on the experimental test and numerical simulation, the following conclusions can be drawn: (1) Impeller inlet geometry has important influence on performance improvement in the case of centrifugal pump. Favorite effects on performance improvement have been achieved by both extending the blade leading edge and applying much larger blade angle at impeller inlet: (2) It is suspected that the extended leading edge have favorite effect for improving hydraulic performance, and the much larger blade angle at impeller inlet have favorite effect for improving cavitation performance for the test pump: (3) Uniform flow upstream of impeller inlet is helpful for improving cavitation performance of the pump

  6. Impeller inlet geometry effect on performance improvement for centrifugal pumps

    Luo, Xianwu; Zhang, Yao; Peng, Junqi; Xu, Hongyuan [Tsinghua University, Beijing (China); Yu, Weiping [Zhejiang Pump Works, Zhejiang (China)

    2008-10-15

    This research treats the effect of impeller inlet geometry on performance improvement for a boiler feed pump, who is a centrifugal pump having specific speed of 183 m.m{sup 3}min{sup -1}.min{sup -1} and close type impeller with exit diameter of 450 mm. The hydraulic performance and cavitation performance of the pump have been tested experimentally. In order to improve the pump, five impellers have been considered by extending the blade leading edge or applying much larger blade angle at impeller inlet compared with the original impeller. The 3-D turbulent flow inside those pumps has been analyzed basing on RNG k-{epsilon} turbulence model and VOF cavitation model. It is noted that the numerical results are fairly good compared with the experiments. Based on the experimental test and numerical simulation, the following conclusions can be drawn: (1) Impeller inlet geometry has important influence on performance improvement in the case of centrifugal pump. Favorite effects on performance improvement have been achieved by both extending the blade leading edge and applying much larger blade angle at impeller inlet: (2) It is suspected that the extended leading edge have favorite effect for improving hydraulic performance, and the much larger blade angle at impeller inlet have favorite effect for improving cavitation performance for the test pump: (3) Uniform flow upstream of impeller inlet is helpful for improving cavitation performance of the pump

  7. Benchmarking and performance improvement at Rocky Flats Technology Site

    Elliott, C.; Doyle, G.; Featherman, W.L.

    1997-03-01

    The Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site has initiated a major work process improvement campaign using the tools of formalized benchmarking and streamlining. This paper provides insights into some of the process improvement activities performed at Rocky Flats from November 1995 through December 1996. It reviews the background, motivation, methodology, results, and lessons learned from this ongoing effort. The paper also presents important gains realized through process analysis and improvement including significant cost savings, productivity improvements, and an enhanced understanding of site work processes

  8. High performance of a new PCR-based urine assay for HPV-DNA detection and genotyping.

    Tanzi, Elisabetta; Bianchi, Silvia; Fasolo, Maria Michela; Frati, Elena R; Mazza, Francesca; Martinelli, Marianna; Colzani, Daniela; Beretta, Rosangela; Zappa, Alessandra; Orlando, Giovanna

    2013-01-01

    Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing has been proposed as a means of replacing or supporting conventional cervical screening (Pap test). However, both methods require the collection of cervical samples. Urine sample is easier and more acceptable to collect and could be helpful in facilitating cervical cancer screening. The aim of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of urine testing compared to conventional cervical smear testing using a PCR-based method with a new, designed specifically primer set. Paired cervical and first voided urine samples collected from 107 women infected with HIV were subjected to HPV-DNA detection and genotyping using a PCR-based assay and a restriction fragment length polymorphism method. Sensitivity, specificity, Positive Predictive Value (PPV), and Negative Predictive Value (NPV) were calculated using the McNemar's test for differences. Concordance between tests was assessed using the Cohen's unweighted Kappa (k). HPV DNA was detected in 64.5% (95% CI: 55.1-73.1%) of both cytobrush and urine samples. High concordance rates of HPV-DNA detection (k = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.90-1.0) and of high risk-clade and low-risk genotyping in paired samples (k = 0.80; 95% CI: 0.67-0.92 and k = 0.74; 95% CI: 0.60-0.88, respectively) were observed. HPV-DNA detection in urine versus cervix testing revealed a sensitivity of 98.6% (95% CI: 93.1-99.9%) and a specificity of 97.4% (95% CI: 87.7-99.9%), with a very high NPV (97.4%; 95% CI: 87.7-99.9%). The PCR-based assay utilized in this study proved highly sensitive and specific for HPV-DNA detection and genotyping in urine samples. These data suggest that a urine-based assay would be a suitable and effective tool for epidemiological surveillance and, most of all, screening programs. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Indonesian Private University Lecturer Performance Improvement Model to Improve a Sustainable Organization Performance

    Suryaman

    2018-01-01

    Lecturer performance will affect the quality and carrying capacity of the sustainability of an organization, in this case the university. There are many models developed to measure the performance of teachers, but not much to discuss the influence of faculty performance itself towards sustainability of an organization. This study was conducted in…

  10. DNA polymerase hybrids derived from the family-B enzymes of Pyrococcus furiosus and Thermococcus kodakarensis: improving performance in the polymerase chain reaction.

    Elshawadfy, Ashraf M; Keith, Brian J; Ee Ooi, H'Ng; Kinsman, Thomas; Heslop, Pauline; Connolly, Bernard A

    2014-01-01

    The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is widely applied across the biosciences, with archaeal Family-B DNA polymerases being preferred, due to their high thermostability and fidelity. The enzyme from Pyrococcus furiosus (Pfu-Pol) is more frequently used than the similar protein from Thermococcus kodakarensis (Tkod-Pol), despite the latter having better PCR performance. Here the two polymerases have been comprehensively compared, confirming that Tkod-Pol: (1) extends primer-templates more rapidly; (2) has higher processivity; (3) demonstrates superior performance in normal and real time PCR. However, Tkod-Pol is less thermostable than Pfu-Pol and both enzymes have equal fidelities. To understand the favorable properties of Tkod-Pol, hybrid proteins have been prepared. Single, double and triple mutations were used to site arginines, present at the "forked-point" (the junction of the exonuclease and polymerase channels) of Tkod-Pol, at the corresponding locations in Pfu-Pol, slightly improving PCR performance. The Pfu-Pol thumb domain, responsible for double-stranded DNA binding, has been entirely replaced with that from Tkod-Pol, again giving better PCR properties. Combining the "forked-point" and thumb swap mutations resulted in a marked increase in PCR capability, maintenance of high fidelity and retention of the superior thermostability associated with Pfu-Pol. However, even the arginine/thumb swap mutant falls short of Tkod-Pol in PCR, suggesting further improvement within the Pfu-Pol framework is attainable. The significance of this work is the observation that improvements in PCR performance are easily attainable by blending elements from closely related archaeal polymerases, an approach that may, in future, be extended by using more polymerases from these organisms.

  11. Parametric Study for MOV Performance Improvement Using PPM Program

    Lee, Seungho; Seon, Juhyoung; Han, Bongsub [SOOSAN INDUSTRIES, Seoul (Korea, Republic of)

    2016-10-15

    Nuclear power plants mainly use Air Operated Valve(hereinafter referred to as AOV) and Motor Operator Valve(hereinafter referred to as MOV) for protecting system, blocking and controlling flow. Field test(static, dynamic test) results and performance prediction program are used to evaluate if MOV currently installed on nuclear power plants has the operational performance. The improvement of operating performance for Flexible Gate valve was confirmed on changing input variables of performance program(PPM). here are several methods through reviewing design basis, changes operating procedures and maintenance work of stem(or packing, etc.) to improve operating performance of MOV generally installed in the nuclear power plants. This study verified the changes of the MOV operating performance through the improvement of stem and hydraulic parts(seat, guide etc.). Especially, MOV operating performance was much greater improved when the Disk Seat Angle was decreasing. Generally, improvement work to minimize friction of seat, disk and guide is limited and dynamic diagnostic testing has to be performed with change in valve factor for improvement of hydraulic parts.

  12. Studies on Parameters Influencing the Performance of Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR in Detecting Prunus Necrotic Ringpot Virus (PNRSV

    M. Usta

    2005-08-01

    Full Text Available In order to have a more detailed understanding of the various factors influencing a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR, a number of important parameters such as Mg+2, primer, enzyme concentration and others were optimized for the detection of Prunus necrotic ringspot virus (PNRSV. Using a PNRSV isolate with a pair of primers, complementary DNA of viral genome as template, and an appropriate enzyme together with magnesium chloride, the following optimal conditions were identified: primer concentration between 0.2 and 0.0002 pmol µl-1 and 0.06–2 units µl-1 for Taq DNA polymerase enzyme for a 50 µl reaction volume when other parameters were optimum; magnesium chloride concentration less than 2.5 mM; dNTP concentration between 1 and 10 mM. The optimum cDNA amount should be ~360 ng for a 50 µl reaction mixture. When these optimized concentrations and/or values of the main PCR parameters were brought together for a new RT-PCR, a clear and a reliable PNRSV detection having no background was performed from both growth-chamber and field-grown PNRSV-infected plants.

  13. Analytical Performances of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 RNA-Based Amplix® Real-Time PCR Platform for HIV-1 RNA Quantification

    Christian Diamant Mossoro-Kpinde

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Objectives. We evaluated the performances of Amplix real-time PCR platform developed by Biosynex (Strasbourg, France, combining automated station extraction (Amplix station 16 Dx and real-time PCR (Amplix NG, for quantifying plasma HIV-1 RNA by lyophilized HIV-1 RNA-based Amplix reagents targeting gag and LTR, using samples from HIV-1-infected adults from Central African Republic. Results. Amplix real-time PCR assay showed low limit of detection (28 copies/mL, across wide dynamic range (1.4–10 log copies/mL, 100% sensitivity and 99% specificity, high reproducibility, and accuracy with mean bias < 5%. The assay showed excellent correlations and concordance of 95.3% with the reference HIV-1 RNA load assay (Roche, with mean absolute bias of +0.097 log copies/mL by Bland-Altman analysis. The assay was able to detect and quantify the most prevalent HIV-1 subtype strains and the majority of non-B subtypes, CRFs of HIV-1 group M, and HIV-1 groups N and O circulating in Central Africa. The Amplix assay showed 100% sensitivity and 99.6% specificity to diagnose virological failure in clinical samples from antiretroviral drug-experienced patients. Conclusions. The HIV-1 RNA-based Amplix real-time PCR platform constitutes sensitive and reliable system for clinical monitoring of HIV-1 RNA load in HIV-1-infected children and adults, particularly adapted to intermediate laboratory facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.

  14. Improving the environmental performance of biofuels with industrial symbiosis

    Martin, Michael; Eklund, Mats

    2011-01-01

    In the production of biofuels for transport many critics have argued about the poor energy efficiency and environmental performance of the production industries. Optimism is thus set on the production of second generation biofuels, while first generation biofuels continue to dominate worldwide. Therefore it is interesting to consider how the environmental performance of first generation biofuel industries can be improved. The field of industrial symbiosis offers many possibilities for potential improvements in the biofuel industry and theories from this research field are used in this paper to highlight how environmental performance improvements can be accomplished. This comes in the form of by-product synergies and utility synergies which can improve material and energy handling. Furthermore, the processes and products can gain increased environmental performance improvements by the adaption of a renewable energy system which will act as a utility provider for many industries in a symbiotic network. By-products may thereafter be upcycled through biogas production processes to generate both energy and a bio-fertilizer. A case study of an actual biofuel industrial symbiosis is also reviewed to provide support for these theories. -- Highlights: → By-product and utility synergies may improve the production processes of biofuel industries for reduced energy consumption and improved environmental performance. → Upcycling tenants can make use of wastes to upgrade waste to a valuable product and/or energy source. → Energy systems for biofuel production have a large influence on the performance of biofuel industries.

  15. Improved activity and pH stability of E-coli ATCC 11105 penicillin acylase by error-prone PCR

    Balci, Huseyin; Ozturk, Merve Tuzlakoglu; Pijning, Tjaard; Ozturk, Saliha Issever; Gumusel, Fusun

    Penicillin G acylase is the key enzyme used in the industrial production of β-lactam antibiotics. This enzyme hydrolyzes penicillin G and related β-lactam antibiotics releasing 6-aminopenicillanic acid, which is an intermediate in the production of semisynthetic penicillins. To improve the enzymatic

  16. Improving Performances in the Public Sector: The Scientific ...

    Improving Performances in the Public Sector: The Scientific Management Theory ... adopts the principles for enhanced productivity, efficiency and the attainment of ... of the public sector, as observed and reported by several scholars over time.

  17. Information Distribution in Complex Systems to Improve Team Performance

    Sperling, Brian K; Pritchett, Amy; Estrada, Arthur; Adam, Gina E

    2006-01-01

    .... Specifically, this study hypothesizes that providing task specific information to individual team members will improve coordination and decision-making, and therefore team performance, at time-critical tasks...

  18. Alternative Frameworks for Improving Government Organizational Performance: A Comparative Analysis

    Simon, Cary

    1997-01-01

    .... Six major frameworks emerging in the U.S. since 1980, applicable to the public sector, and designed to enhance organizational change toward improved performance are reviewed and analyzed: Total Quality; 'Excellence...

  19. Maintenance of hyperglycaemia does not improve performance in a ...

    a glucose clamp, improves 100 km cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Design. .... each TT, subjects were permitted to ingest water ad libitum. statistical .... The effects of normal and glucose syrup work diets on the ... Fructose and glucose ...

  20. Improving the performance parameters of metal cylindrical grid shell ...

    Improving the performance parameters of metal cylindrical grid shell structures. ... Finite element models are designed taking into account minimization of production and ... The force factors and deformation parameters of the basic circuits of a ...

  1. Improved Laser performance through Planar Waveguide Technology Development

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — We propose a laser technology development to improve efficiency and performance for a variety of science applications including: Lunar Ice, 2-Step Laser Tandem Mass...

  2. Improving Fan System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry

    2003-04-01

    This is one of a series of sourcebooks on motor-driven equipment produced by the Industrial Technologies Program. It provides a reference for industrial fan systems users, outlining opportunities to improve fan system performance.

  3. Using international experience to improve performance of nuclear power plants

    Calori, F.; Csik, B.J.; Strickert, R.J.

    1989-01-01

    Information on performance achievements will assist nuclear power plant operating organizations to develop initiatives for improved or continued high performance of their plants. The paper describes the activities of the IAEA in reviewing and analysing the reasons for good performance by contacting operating organizations identified by its Power Reactor Information System as showing continued good performance. Discussions with operations personnel of utilities have indicated practices which have a major positive impact on good performance and which are generally common to all well performing organizations contacted. The IAEA also promotes further activities directed primarily to the achievement of standards of excellence in nuclear power operation. These are briefly commented

  4. Transgene detection by digital droplet PCR.

    Dirk A Moser

    Full Text Available Somatic gene therapy is a promising tool for the treatment of severe diseases. Because of its abuse potential for performance enhancement in sports, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA included the term 'gene doping' in the official list of banned substances and methods in 2004. Several nested PCR or qPCR-based strategies have been proposed that aim at detecting long-term presence of transgene in blood, but these strategies are hampered by technical limitations. We developed a digital droplet PCR (ddPCR protocol for Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1 detection and demonstrated its applicability monitoring 6 mice injected into skeletal muscle with AAV9-IGF1 elements and 2 controls over a 33-day period. A duplex ddPCR protocol for simultaneous detection of Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1 and Erythropoietin (EPO transgenic elements was created. A new DNA extraction procedure with target-orientated usage of restriction enzymes including on-column DNA-digestion was established. In vivo data revealed that IGF1 transgenic elements could be reliably detected for a 33-day period in DNA extracted from whole blood. In vitro data indicated feasibility of IGF1 and EPO detection by duplex ddPCR with high reliability and sensitivity. On-column DNA-digestion allowed for significantly improved target detection in downstream PCR-based approaches. As ddPCR provides absolute quantification, it ensures excellent day-to-day reproducibility. Therefore, we expect this technique to be used in diagnosing and monitoring of viral and bacterial infection, in detecting mutated DNA sequences as well as profiling for the presence of foreign genetic material in elite athletes in the future.

  5. Performances and improvement of copper-hydrazine complexation deoxidising resin

    Liu Fenfen; Zhang Hao; Sun Haijun; Liu Xiaojie

    2012-01-01

    Copper-hydrazine complexation deoxidising resin is tested to examine its performances including effluent water quality and capacity of deoxidisation. By the means of changing the resin type and regeneration, the deoxidising capacity of the resin can be improved to 13 times more than before. At the same time, physical performances of the resin are also greatly improved while maintaining its velocity of deoxidisation and effluent quality. (authors)

  6. Improved operational performance through the use of business planning tools

    Hoelscher, H.L.

    1996-01-01

    Improved operational performance at Point Beach Nuclear Plant is based on a focused business plan. Quantitative goals that compare past performance with the performance of potential competitors are the basis of the business plan. This establishes goals for the nuclear power business unit which support corporate goals. Strategies and objectives are then developed to meet the established goals. To continue support for these strategies and objectives, individual performance plans are developed for all management personnel. These performance management plans identify individual contributor actions to support the goals, and also provide periodic feedback for changes to better prioritize individual actions. Performance criteria are also established to measure progress toward achieving the goals. The author also has a program to provide incentives for improved performance based upon success of the organization in achieving established goals

  7. Improved Method for the Detection and Quantification of Naegleria fowleri in Water and Sediment Using Immunomagnetic Separation and Real-Time PCR

    Bonnie J. Mull

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM is a rare and typically fatal infection caused by the thermophilic free-living ameba, Naegleria fowleri. In 2010, the first confirmed case of PAM acquired in Minnesota highlighted the need for improved detection and quantification methods in order to study the changing ecology of N. fowleri and to evaluate potential risk factors for increased exposure. An immunomagnetic separation (IMS procedure and real-time PCR TaqMan assay were developed to recover and quantify N. fowleri in water and sediment samples. When one liter of lake water was seeded with N. fowleri strain CDC:V212, the method had an average recovery of 46% and detection limit of 14 amebas per liter of water. The method was then applied to sediment and water samples with unknown N. fowleri concentrations, resulting in positive direct detections by real-time PCR in 3 out of 16 samples and confirmation of N. fowleri culture in 6 of 16 samples. This study has resulted in a new method for detection and quantification of N. fowleri in water and sediment that should be a useful tool to facilitate studies of the physical, chemical, and biological factors associated with the presence and dynamics of N. fowleri in environmental systems.

  8. Biochar Improves Performance of Plants for Mine Soil Revegetation

    Biochar (the solid by-product of pyrolysis of biomass), has the potential to improve plant performance for revegetation of mine soils by improving soil chemistry, fertility, moisture holding capacity and by binding heavy metals. We investigated the effect of gasified conifer sof...

  9. Performance improvement of silicon solar cells by nanoporous silicon coating

    Dzhafarov T. D.

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available In the present paper the method is shown to improve the photovoltaic parameters of screen-printed silicon solar cells by nanoporous silicon film formation on the frontal surface of the cell using the electrochemical etching. The possible mechanisms responsible for observed improvement of silicon solar cell performance are discussed.

  10. Modification of the BAX System PCR assay for detecting Salmonella in beef, produce, and soy protein isolate. Performance Tested Method 100201.

    Peng, Linda X; Wallace, Morgan; Andaloro, Bridget; Fallon, Dawn; Fleck, Lois; Delduco, Dan; Tice, George

    2011-01-01

    The BAX System PCR assay for Salmonella detection in foods was previously validated as AOAC Research Institute (RI) Performance Tested Method (PTM) 100201. New studies were conducted on beef and produce using the same media and protocol currently approved for the BAX System PCR assay for E. coli O157:H7 multiplex (MP). Additionally, soy protein isolate was tested for matrix extension using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-Bacteriological Analytical Manual (FDA-BAM) enrichment protocols. The studies compared the BAX System method to the U.S. Department of Agriculture culture method for detecting Salmonella in beef and the FDA-BAM culture method for detecting Salmonella in produce and soy protein isolate. Method comparison studies on low-level inoculates showed that the BAX System assay for Salmonella performed as well as or better than the reference method for detecting Salmonella in beef and produce in 8-24 h enrichment when the BAX System E. coli O157:H7 MP media was used, and soy protein isolate in 20 h enrichment with lactose broth followed by 3 h regrowth in brain heart infusion broth. An inclusivity panel of 104 Salmonella strains with diverse serotypes was tested by the BAX System using the proprietary BAX System media and returned all positive results. Ruggedness factors involved in the enrichment phase were also evaluated by testing outside the specified parameters, and none of the factors examined affected the performance of the assay.

  11. Perceptual learning improves visual performance in juvenile amblyopia.

    Li, Roger W; Young, Karen G; Hoenig, Pia; Levi, Dennis M

    2005-09-01

    To determine whether practicing a position-discrimination task improves visual performance in children with amblyopia and to determine the mechanism(s) of improvement. Five children (age range, 7-10 years) with amblyopia practiced a positional acuity task in which they had to judge which of three pairs of lines was misaligned. Positional noise was produced by distributing the individual patches of each line segment according to a Gaussian probability function. Observers were trained at three noise levels (including 0), with each observer performing between 3000 and 4000 responses in 7 to 10 sessions. Trial-by-trial feedback was provided. Four of the five observers showed significant improvement in positional acuity. In those four observers, on average, positional acuity with no noise improved by approximately 32% and with high noise by approximately 26%. A position-averaging model was used to parse the improvement into an increase in efficiency or a decrease in equivalent input noise. Two observers showed increased efficiency (51% and 117% improvements) with no significant change in equivalent input noise across sessions. The other two observers showed both a decrease in equivalent input noise (18% and 29%) and an increase in efficiency (17% and 71%). All five observers showed substantial improvement in Snellen acuity (approximately 26%) after practice. Perceptual learning can improve visual performance in amblyopic children. The improvement can be parsed into two important factors: decreased equivalent input noise and increased efficiency. Perceptual learning techniques may add an effective new method to the armamentarium of amblyopia treatments.

  12. Assessing the performance of multiplexed tandem PCR for the diagnosis of pathogenic genotypes of Theileria orientalis using pooled blood samples from cattle.

    Gebrekidan, Hagos; Gasser, Robin B; Stevenson, Mark A; McGrath, Sean; Jabbar, Abdul

    2017-02-01

    Oriental theileriosis caused by multiple genotypes of Theileria orientalis is an important tick-borne disease of bovines. Here, we assessed the performance of an established multiplexed tandem PCR (MT-PCR) for the diagnosis of the two recognized, pathogenic genotypes (chitose and ikeda) of T. orientalis in cattle using pooled blood samples. We used a total of 265 cattle blood samples, which were divided into two groups according to previous MT-PCR results for individual samples. Samples in group 1 (n = 155) were from a herd with a relatively high prevalence of T. orientalis infection; and those in group 2 (n = 110) were from four herds with a low prevalence. For group 1, 31 and 15 batches of five- and ten-pooled samples (selected at random), respectively, were formed. For group 2, 22 and 11 batches of five- and ten-pooled samples (selected at random), respectively, were formed. DNAs from individual pooled samples in each batch and group were then tested by MT-PCR. For group 1, the apparent prevalences estimated using the 31 batches of five-pooled samples (97%) and 15 batches of ten-pooled samples (100%) were significantly higher compared with individual samples (75%). For group 2, higher apparent prevalences (9% and 36%) were also recorded for the 22 and 11 batches of pooled samples, respectively, compared with individual samples (7%). Overall, the average infection intensity recorded for the genotypes of chitose and ikeda were considerably lower in pooled compared with individual samples. The diagnostic specificities of MT-PCR were estimated at 95% and 94%, respectively, when batches of five- and ten-pooled samples were tested, and 94% for individual samples. The diagnostic sensitivity of this assay was estimated at 98% same for all individual, five- and ten-pooled samples. This study shows that screening batches of five- and ten-pooled blood samples from cattle herds are similar to those obtained for individual samples, and, importantly, that the reduced cost

  13. Maintenance performance improvement with System Dynamics : A Corrective Maintenance showcase

    Deenen, R.E.M.; Van Daalen, C.E.; Koene, E.G.C.

    2008-01-01

    This paper presents a case study of an analysis of a Corrective Maintenance process to realize performance improvement. The Corrective Maintenance process is supported by SAP, which has indicated the performance realisation problem. System Dynamics is used in a Group Model Building process to

  14. Does Multiple Intelligence Improve Performance? Evidence from a ...

    This study reports the findings of a study that investigated the relationship between multiple intelligence (MI) and academic performance in higher education. It addresses one question: does MI improve academic performance? Taking the case of the finalist cohort of the university's Faculty of Education of the academic year ...

  15. Linear Motion Systems. A Modular Approach for Improved Straightness Performance

    Nijsse, G.J.P.

    2001-01-01

    This thesis deals with straight motion systems. A modular approach has been applied in order to find ways to improve the performance. The main performance parameters that are considered are position accuracy, repeatability and, to a lesser extent, cost. Because of the increasing requirements to

  16. Improving Employee Satisfaction Priority through Performance Control Matrix

    Shun-Hsing Chen

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available The study addresses Performance Control Matrix (PCM to determine service quality items of priority for improvement. Most businesses focus on customer satisfaction when undertaking surveys of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, while generally neglecting employee satisfaction. Therefore, this study develops an integrated model to improve service quality in Taiwanese finance industry employees. A questionnaire is designed to determine the priority of improvement objectives derived from certain questionnaire items that fall into the improvement zone of the PCM. Ten items are found to fall into the improvement zone of the PCM. The present results show that the finance industry employees surveyed in Taiwan were dissatisfied with their job security, salaries, annual bonus, and fair distribution of operational profits. The ten improvement items mostly belong to two dimensions - ‘Pay and Benefits’ and ‘Motivation’. The managers of the financial institutions should seek to improve these quality attributes by devoting more resources to these items, thus promoting employee satisfaction.

  17. Physician Perceptions of Performance Feedback in a Quality Improvement Activity.

    Eden, Aimee R; Hansen, Elizabeth; Hagen, Michael D; Peterson, Lars E

    2017-10-01

    Physician performance and peer comparison feedback can affect physician care quality and patient outcomes. This study aimed to understand family physician perspectives of the value of performance feedback in quality improvement (QI) activities. This study analyzed American Board of Family Medicine open-ended survey data collected between 2004 and 2014 from physicians who completed a QI module that provided pre- and post-QI project individual performance data and peer comparisons. Physicians made 3480 comments in response to a question about this performance feedback, which were generally positive in nature (86%). Main themes that emerged were importance of accurate feedback data, enhanced detail in the content of feedback, and ability to customize peer comparison groups to compare performance to peers with similar patient populations or practice characteristics. Meaningful and tailored performance feedback may be an important tool for physicians to improve their care quality and should be considered an integral part of QI project design.

  18. (Too) optimistic about optimism: the belief that optimism improves performance.

    Tenney, Elizabeth R; Logg, Jennifer M; Moore, Don A

    2015-03-01

    A series of experiments investigated why people value optimism and whether they are right to do so. In Experiments 1A and 1B, participants prescribed more optimism for someone implementing decisions than for someone deliberating, indicating that people prescribe optimism selectively, when it can affect performance. Furthermore, participants believed optimism improved outcomes when a person's actions had considerable, rather than little, influence over the outcome (Experiment 2). Experiments 3 and 4 tested the accuracy of this belief; optimism improved persistence, but it did not improve performance as much as participants expected. Experiments 5A and 5B found that participants overestimated the relationship between optimism and performance even when their focus was not on optimism exclusively. In summary, people prescribe optimism when they believe it has the opportunity to improve the chance of success-unfortunately, people may be overly optimistic about just how much optimism can do. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved.

  19. Healthcare Analytics: Creating a Prioritized Improvement System with Performance Benchmarking.

    Kolker, Eugene; Kolker, Evelyne

    2014-03-01

    The importance of healthcare improvement is difficult to overstate. This article describes our collaborative work with experts at Seattle Children's to create a prioritized improvement system using performance benchmarking. We applied analytics and modeling approaches to compare and assess performance metrics derived from U.S. News and World Report benchmarking data. We then compared a wide range of departmental performance metrics, including patient outcomes, structural and process metrics, survival rates, clinical practices, and subspecialist quality. By applying empirically simulated transformations and imputation methods, we built a predictive model that achieves departments' average rank correlation of 0.98 and average score correlation of 0.99. The results are then translated into prioritized departmental and enterprise-wide improvements, following a data to knowledge to outcomes paradigm. These approaches, which translate data into sustainable outcomes, are essential to solving a wide array of healthcare issues, improving patient care, and reducing costs.

  20. Sodium bicarbonate ingestion increases glycolytic contribution and improves performance during simulated taekwondo combat.

    Lopes-Silva, João Paulo; Da Silva Santos, Jonatas Ferreira; Artioli, Guilherme Giannini; Loturco, Irineu; Abbiss, Chris; Franchini, Emerson

    2018-04-01

    To investigate the effect of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO 3 ) on performance and estimated energy system contribution during simulated taekwondo combat. Nine taekwondo athletes completed two experimental sessions separated by at least 48 h. Athletes consumed 300 mg/kg body mass of NaHCO 3 or placebo (CaCO 3 ) 90 min before the combat simulation (three rounds of 2 min separated by 1 min passive recovery), in a double-blind, randomized, repeated-measures crossover design. All simulated combat was filmed to quantify the time spent fighting in each round. Lactate concentration [La - ] and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured before and after each round, whereas heart rate (HR) and the estimated contribution of the oxidative (W OXI ), ATP (adenosine triphosphate)-phosphocreatine (PCr) (W PCR ), and glycolytic (W [ La - ] ) systems were calculated during the combat simulation. [La - ] increased significantly after NaHCO 3 ingestion, when compared with the placebo condition (+14%, P = 0.04, d = 3.70). NaHCO 3 ingestion resulted in greater estimated glycolytic energy contribution in the first round when compared with the placebo condition (+31%, P = 0.01, d = 3.48). Total attack time was significantly greater after NaHCO 3 when compared with placebo (+13%, P = 0.05, d = 1.15). W OXI , W PCR , VO 2 , HR and RPE were not different between conditions (P > 0.05). NaHCO 3 ingestion was able to increase the contribution of glycolytic metabolism and, therefore, improve performance during simulated taekwondo combat.

  1. Implementing a Nurse Manager Profile to Improve Unit Performance.

    Krugman, Mary E; Sanders, Carolyn L

    2016-06-01

    Nurse managers face significant pressures in the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Staying current with multiple sources of data, including reports that detail institutional and unit performance outcomes, is particularly challenging. A Nurse Manager Customized Profile was developed at a western academic hospital to provide a 1-page visual of pertinent data to help managers and director supervisors focus coaching to improve unit performance. Use of the Decisional Involvement Scale provided new insights into measuring manager performance.

  2. New software for improving performance in wind farm operations

    Collins, Mark [Ekho for Wind (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    The performance of wind farms depends on multiple field and business systems. This makes operational planning difficult because of so many data being in separate systems, duplication of data and the impossibility of gathering all relevant data together in one place. The aim of this paper is to present a new software, Ekho for Wind, which helps improve performance in wind farm operations by providing features such as high level views, performance analysis, downtime tracking, quality data management and forecast generation. This new software provides operational intelligence which offers incentives for continuous improvement. Ekho for Wind can bring such benefits as maximization of generation, increased lifetime of assets, minimization of costs and increased profitability. This presentation introduced a new software for improving the performance of wind farms and the lifetime of assets, resulting in significant payback.

  3. Benchmarking and Performance Improvement at Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site

    Elliott, C. [Kaiser-Hill Co., LLC, Golden, CO (United States)], Doyle, D. [USDOE Rocky Flats Office, Golden, CO (United States)], Featherman, W.D. [Project Performance Corp., Sterline, VA (United States)

    1997-12-31

    The Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (RFETS) has initiated a major work process improvement campaign using the tools of formalized benchmarking and streamlining. This paper provides insights into some of the process improvement activities performed at Rocky Flats from November 1995 through December 1996. It reviews the background, motivation, methodology, results, and lessons learned from this ongoing effort. The paper also presents important gains realized through process analysis and improvement including significant cost savings, productivity improvements, and an enhanced understanding of site work processes.

  4. Five training sessions improves 3000 meter running performance.

    Riiser, A; Ripe, S; Aadland, E

    2015-12-01

    The primary aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of two weeks of endurance training on 3000-meter running performance. Secondary we wanted to assess the relationship between baseline running performance and change in running performance over the intervention period. We assigned 36 military recruits to a training group (N.=28) and a control group. The training group was randomly allocated to one of three sub-groups: 1) a 3000 meter group (test race); 2) a 4x4-minutes high-intensity interval group; 3) a continuous training group. The training group exercised five times over a two-week period. The training group improved its 3000 meter running performance with 50 seconds (6%) compared to the control group (P=0.003). Moreover, all sub-groups improved their performance by 37 to 73 seconds (4-8%) compared to the control group (Ptraining group. We conclude that five endurance training sessions improved 3000 meter running performance and the slowest runners achieved the greatest improvement in running performance.

  5. Quantitative (real-time) PCR

    Denman, S.E.; McSweeney, C.S.

    2005-01-01

    Many nucleic acid-based probe and PCR assays have been developed for the detection tracking of specific microbes within the rumen ecosystem. Conventional PCR assays detect PCR products at the end stage of each PCR reaction, where exponential amplification is no longer being achieved. This approach can result in different end product (amplicon) quantities being generated. In contrast, using quantitative, or real-time PCR, quantification of the amplicon is performed not at the end of the reaction, but rather during exponential amplification, where theoretically each cycle will result in a doubling of product being created. For real-time PCR, the cycle at which fluorescence is deemed to be detectable above the background during the exponential phase is termed the cycle threshold (Ct). The Ct values obtained are then used for quantitation, which will be discussed later

  6. Do clinical safety charts improve paramedic key performance indicator results? (A clinical improvement programme evaluation).

    Ebbs, Phillip; Middleton, Paul M; Bonner, Ann; Loudfoot, Allan; Elliott, Peter

    2012-07-01

    Is the Clinical Safety Chart clinical improvement programme (CIP) effective at improving paramedic key performance indicator (KPI) results within the Ambulance Service of New South Wales? The CIP intervention area was compared with the non-intervention area in order to determine whether there was a statistically significant improvement in KPI results. The CIP was associated with a statistically significant improvement in paramedic KPI results within the intervention area. The strategies used within this CIP are recommended for further consideration.

  7. Performance Improvement of a Centrifugal Compressor by Passive Means

    N. Sitaram

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The present experimental investigation deals with performance improvement of a low-speed centrifugal compressor by inexpensive passive means such as turbulence generator placed at different positions and partial shroud near the rotor blade tip. The experiments are carried out at three values of tip clearance, namely 2.2%, 5.1%, and 7.9% of rotor blade height at the exit. Performance tests are carried out for a total of 13 configurations. From these measurements, partial shroud is found to give the best performance. The improvement in the compressor performance may be due to the reduction of tip leakage flows by the small extension of partial shroud (2 mm on the pressure surface side. Although there is nominal change in performance due to turbulence generator (TG, TG has beneficial effect of increased operating range.

  8. Framework for continuous performance improvement in small drinking water systems.

    Bereskie, Ty; Haider, Husnain; Rodriguez, Manuel J; Sadiq, Rehan

    2017-01-01

    Continuous performance improvement (CPI) can be a useful approach to overcome water quality problems impacting small communities. Small drinking water systems (SDWSs) struggle to meet regulatory requirements and often lack the economic and human resource flexibility for immediate improvement. A CPI framework is developed to provide SDWS managers and operators an approach to gauge their current performance against similar systems and to track performance improvement from the implementation of the new technologies or innovations into the future. The proposed CPI framework incorporates the use of a water quality index (WQI) and functional performance benchmarking to evaluate and compare drinking water quality performance of an individual water utility against that of a representative benchmark. The results are then used to identify and prioritize the most vulnerable water quality indicators and subsequently identify and prioritize performance improvement strategies. The proposed CPI framework has been demonstrated using data collected from SDWSs in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Canada and using the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) WQI. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. The Genesis of a Trauma Performance Improvement Plan.

    Pidgeon, Kristopher

    2015-01-01

    The purpose of this article is to assist the trauma medical and program director with developing a performance improvement and patients safety plan (PIPS), which is a required component of a successful trauma verification process by the American College of Surgeons. This article will review trauma quality standards and will describe in detail the required elements of a successful trauma center's performance improvement plan including a written comprehensive plan that outlines the mission and vision of the PIPS Program, authority of the PIPS Program, PIPS Program Committee reporting structure to the other hospital committees, list of required PIPS multidisciplinary team members, the operational components of the utilized data management system (trauma registry), list of indicators/audit filters, levels of review, peer determinations, corrective action plan with implementation, event resolution, and reevaluation. Strategies to develop a successful trauma performance improvement plan are presented.

  10. Performance analysis and improvement of WPAN MAC for home networks.

    Mehta, Saurabh; Kwak, Kyung Sup

    2010-01-01

    The wireless personal area network (WPAN) is an emerging wireless technology for future short range indoor and outdoor communication applications. The IEEE 802.15.3 medium access control (MAC) is proposed to coordinate the access to the wireless medium among the competing devices, especially for short range and high data rate applications in home networks. In this paper we use analytical modeling to study the performance analysis of WPAN (IEEE 802.15.3) MAC in terms of throughput, efficient bandwidth utilization, and delay with various ACK policies under error channel condition. This allows us to introduce a K-Dly-ACK-AGG policy, payload size adjustment mechanism, and Improved Backoff algorithm to improve the performance of the WPAN MAC. Performance evaluation results demonstrate the impact of our improvements on network capacity. Moreover, these results can be very useful to WPAN application designers and protocol architects to easily and correctly implement WPAN for home networking.

  11. Performance Analysis and Improvement of WPAN MAC for Home Networks

    Saurabh Mehta

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available The wireless personal area network (WPAN is an emerging wireless technology for future short range indoor and outdoor communication applications. The IEEE 802.15.3 medium access control (MAC is proposed to coordinate the access to the wireless medium among the competing devices, especially for short range and high data rate applications in home networks. In this paper we use analytical modeling to study the performance analysis of WPAN (IEEE 802.15.3 MAC in terms of throughput, efficient bandwidth utilization, and delay with various ACK policies under error channel condition. This allows us to introduce a K-Dly-ACK-AGG policy, payload size adjustment mechanism, and Improved Backoff algorithm to improve the performance of the WPAN MAC. Performance evaluation results demonstrate the impact of our improvements on network capacity. Moreover, these results can be very useful to WPAN application designers and protocol architects to easily and correctly implement WPAN for home networking.

  12. Carbohydrate mouth rinse: does it improve endurance exercise performance?

    Painelli Vitor

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract It is well known that carbohydrate (CHO supplementation can improve performance in endurance exercises through several mechanisms such as maintenance of glycemia and sparing endogenous glycogen as well as the possibility of a central nervous-system action. Some studies have emerged in recent years in order to test the hypothesis of ergogenic action via central nervous system. Recent studies have demonstrated that CHO mouth rinse can lead to improved performance of cyclists, and this may be associated with the activation of brain areas linked to motivation and reward. These findings have already been replicated in other endurance modalities, such as running. This alternative seems to be an attractive nutritional tool to improve endurance exercise performance.

  13. The impact of multi-criteria performance measurement on business performance improvement

    Kasie, Fentahun Moges; Belay, Alemu Moges

    2013-01-01

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between multi-criteria performance measurement (MCPM) practice and business performance improvement using the raw data collected from 33 selected manufacturing companies. In addition, it proposes modified MCPM model as an effective approach to improve business performance of manufacturing companies. Design/methodology/approach:Research paper. Primary and secondary data were collected using questionnaire survey, interview an...

  14. Improving Building Performance through Integrating Constructability in the Design Process

    Ezzat Othman, Ayman Ahmed

    2011-01-01

    The traditional procurment approaches commonly adopted in construction projects and the involvement of multitude of various project participants with diverse objectives, skills and interests tended to separate design from construction.This separation obstructs contractors from providing designers with construction feedback and suggestions for design improvement, which ultimately hampers the improvement of building performance. Because of the importance of the design phase and the vit...

  15. LP turbine retrofit modernization: Improvements in performance and operation

    Groenedaal, J.C.; Fowls, L.G.; Subbiah, R.; Maxwell, B.P.; Persson, B.

    1996-01-01

    Westinghouse Electric Corporation retrofitted six low pressure (LP) nuclear turbine rotors and associated blade path components at Ringhals 1, a 1960's vintage English Electric (GEC) unit located near Varobacka, Sweden, and operated by Vattenfall AB. This achieved significant performance improvements and provided improved mechanical features over the original equipment. This paper, discusses design, manufacture, installation, operation and project coordination. The retrofit processes employed for these units can be applied to any potential customers units

  16. Bacillus subtilis strain specificity affects performance improvement in broilers.

    Rhayat, L; Jacquier, V; Brinch, K S; Nielsen, P; Nelson, A; Geraert, P-A; Devillard, E

    2017-07-01

    The study reports the effects on broiler performance of a newly isolated Bacillus subtilis strain, which is phylogenetically not closely related to already well-described strains of B. subtilis. In the first experiment, birds were reared in battery cages and exposed to C. perfringens. An increase in growth performance was observed with the strain when compared to the challenged animals. Three additional growth trials were conducted to 35 d of age, in different rearing conditions (genetic breeds, corn-soybean meal-based diet with or without animal proteins, in presence or absence of phytase, on fresh or used litter) to investigate the efficacy and the specificity of this new B. subtilis strain on the improvement of BWG and FCR of broilers in comparison with a B. subtilis-based DFM already used in the field. Whatever the rearing conditions tested, the new B. subtilis strain led to an average 3.2% improvement in feed conversion ratio or bodyweight. Comparatively, the commercial Bacillus strain significantly improved broiler performance in only one trial out of 3 with an average improvement reaching 2%. All these results indicate that this new B. subtilis strain consistently improves broiler performances. © 2017 Poultry Science Association Inc.

  17. Outage preparation milestones - A tool to improve planned outage performance

    Laplatney, Jere; Hwang, Euiyoub

    2006-01-01

    Sustainable development of Nuclear Energy depends heavily on excellent performance of the existing fleet which in turn depend heavily on the performance of planned outages. Nuclear Power Plants who have successfully undertaken outage optimization projects have demonstrated than an effective Outage Preparation Milestone program is a key component of their improvement programs. This paper will provide background into the field of 'Outage Optimization' including the philosophy, general approach, and results obtained in the U. S. industry. The significant safety improvements afforded by properly implementing outage improvement programs will be explained. Some specific examples of outage improvements will be given including the adoption of a strong Outage Preparation Milestone Program. The paper will then describe the attributes of an effective Outage Preparation Milestone Program and list a set of specific key milestones. The key milestones are defined and the reasons for each are explained. Suggested due dates for each key milestone relative to the outage start date are provided. Successful implementation of an Outage Preparation Milestone program depends heavily upon the management tools and methods used to assure that the organization meets the milestones on time and in a quality fashion. These include methods to handle cases where milestones are not met - either partially or fully. KHNP is investigating implementing an improved Outage Preparation Milestone program for its fleet of reactors as part of its overall program to improve its performance of planned outages

  18. Lightning Performance on Overhead Distribution Lines : After Improvement Field Observation

    Reynaldo Zoro

    2009-11-01

    Full Text Available Two feeders of 20 kV overhead distribution lines which are located in a high lightning density area are chosen to be observed as a field study due to their good lightning performance after improvement of lightning protection system. These two feeders used the new overhead ground wire and new line arrester equipped with lightning counter on the main lines. The significant reduced of lines outages are reported. Study was carried out to observe these improvements by comparing to the other two feeders line which are not improved and not equipped yet with the ground wire and line arrester. These two feeders located in the nearby area. Two cameras were installed to record the trajectory of the lightning strikes on the improved lines. Lightning peak currents are measured using magnetic tape measurement system installed on the grounding lead of lightning arrester. Lightning overvoltage calculations are carried out by using several scenarios based on observation results and historical lightning data derived from lightning detection network. Lightning overvoltages caused by indirect or direct strikes are analyzed to get the lightning performance of the lines. The best scenario was chosen and performance of the lines were improved significantly by installing overhead ground wire and improvement of lightning arrester installation.

  19. Prioritising indicators in improving supply chain performance using fuzzy AHP

    Govindan, Kannan; Mangla, Sachin Kumar; Luthra, Sunil

    2017-01-01

    In this contribution, we aim to prioritise the indicators to enhance the organisational supply chain’s (SC) effectiveness from an industrial perspective. It will help industries to develop strategies for managing the SC effectively and ensuring improvement in performance continuously. To achieve...... this, this work proposes to use a two-phase research methodology. First, 36 SC performance improvement indicators are recognised from a literature survey and from field and industrial expert’s inputs. Secondly, a structural model is proposed using the fuzzy analytical hierarchy process (AHP...

  20. Network Performance Improvement under Epidemic Failures in Optical Transport Networks

    Fagertun, Anna Manolova; Ruepp, Sarah Renée

    2013-01-01

    In this paper we investigate epidemic failure spreading in large- scale GMPLS-controlled transport networks. By evaluating the effect of the epidemic failure spreading on the network, we design several strategies for cost-effective network performance improvement via differentiated repair times....... First we identify the most vulnerable and the most strategic nodes in the network. Then, via extensive simulations we show that strategic placement of resources for improved failure recovery has better performance than randomly assigning lower repair times among the network nodes. Our OPNET simulation...... model can be used during the network planning process for facilitating cost- effective network survivability design....

  1. Improvements in operational safety performance of the Magnox power stations

    Marchese, C.J. [BNFL Magnox Generation, Berkeley (United Kingdom)

    2000-10-01

    In the 43 years since commencement of operation of Calder Hall, the first Magnox power station, there remain eight Magnox stations and 20 reactors still in operation, owned by BNFL Magnox Generation. This paper describes how the operational safety performance of these stations has significantly improved over the last ten years. This has been achieved against a background of commercial competition introduced by privatization and despite the fact that the Magnox base design belongs to the past. Finally, the company's future plans for continued improvements in operational safety performance are discussed. (author)

  2. Improve data integration performance by employing metadata management utility

    Wei, M.; Sung, A.H. [New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center, Socorro, NM (United States)

    2005-07-01

    This conference paper explored ways of integrating petroleum and exploration data obtained from different sources in order to provide more comprehensive data for various analysis purposes and to improve the integrity and consistency of integrated data. This paper proposes a methodology to enhance oil and gas industry data integration performance by cooperating data management utilities in Microsoft SQL Server database management system (DBMS) for small scale data integration without support of commercial software. By semi-automatically capturing metadata, data sources are investigated in detail, data quality problems are partially cleansed, and the performance of data integration is improved. 20 refs., 7 tabs., 1 fig.

  3. A simple method for normalization of DNA extraction to improve the quantitative detection of soil-borne plant pathogenic oomycetes by real-time PCR.

    Li, M; Ishiguro, Y; Kageyama, K; Zhu, Z

    2015-08-01

    Most of the current research into the quantification of soil-borne pathogenic oomycetes lacks determination of DNA extraction efficiency, probably leading to an incorrect estimation of DNA quantity. In this study, we developed a convenient method by using a 100 bp artificially synthesized DNA sequence derived from the mitochondrion NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 gene of Thunnus thynnus as a control to determine the DNA extraction efficiency. The control DNA was added to soils and then co-extracted along with soil genomic DNA. DNA extraction efficiency was determined by the control DNA. Two different DNA extraction methods were compared and evaluated using different types of soils, and the commercial kit was proved to give more consistent results. We used the control DNA combined with real-time PCR to quantify the oomycete DNAs from 12 naturally infested soils. Detectable target DNA concentrations were three to five times higher after normalization. Our tests also showed that the extraction efficiencies varied on a sample-to-sample basis and were simple and useful for the accurate quantification of soil-borne pathogenic oomycetes. Oomycetes include many important plant pathogens. Accurate quantification of these pathogens is essential in the management of diseases. This study reports an easy method utilizing an external DNA control for the normalization of DNA extraction by real-time PCR. By combining two different efficient soil DNA extraction methods, the developed quantification method dramatically improved the results. This study also proves that the developed normalization method is necessary and useful for the accurate quantification of soil-borne plant pathogenic oomycetes. © 2015 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

  4. Good practices for improved nuclear power plant performance

    1989-04-01

    This report provides an overview of operational principles, practice and improvements which have contributed to good performance of eight selected world nuclear power stations. The IAEA Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) was used to identify a population of good performers. It is recognized that there are many other good performing nuclear power stations not included in this report. Specific criteria described in the introduction were used in selecting these eight stations. The information contained in this report was obtained by the staff from IAEA, Division of Nuclear Power. This was accomplished by visits to the stations and visits to a number of utility support groups and three independent organizations which provide support to more than one utility. The information in this report is intended as an aid for operating organizations to identify possible improvement initiatives to enhance plant performance. Figs and tabs

  5. Teacher’s comprehensive training strategy for improving didactics performance

    Pozas, W. J

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available The paper describes a Teacher’s comprehensive training strategy for improving didactics performance, together with its theoretical foundations. The strategy is structured into several dimensions related to teachers’ development (lesson planning, continuing education and research. It is organized into two phases and seven stages intended to improve leadership in the teaching-learning process. The finding are the expression of a comprehensive approach to school organization at Services Polytechnic School “Horacio Cobiellas Domínguez” resulting in teachers’ academic and scientific development and a significant growth of the staff scientific potentials manifested in scientific forum enrolment. The resulting impact should lead to a general use of the proposed strategy in the Polytechnic school web. Key words: professional performance, pedagogic professional performance, didactic professional performance, teachers’ developmental strategy

  6. Managing Human Performance to Improve Nuclear Facility Operation

    2013-01-01

    One of the IAEA's statutory objectives is to 'seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.' One way this objective is achieved is through the publication of a range of technical series. Two of these are the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series and the IAEA Safety Standards Series. According to Article III.A.6 of the IAEA Statute, the safety standards establish 'standards of safety for protection of health and minimization of danger to life and property'. The safety standards include the Safety Fundamentals, Safety Requirements and Safety Guides. These standards are written primarily in a regulatory style, and are binding on the IAEA for its own programmes. The principal users are the regulatory bodies in Member States and other national authorities. The IAEA Nuclear Energy Series comprises reports designed to encourage and assist R and D on, and application of, nuclear energy for peaceful uses. This includes practical examples to be used by owners and operators of utilities in Member States, implementing organizations, academia, and government officials, among others. This information is presented in guides, reports on technology status and advances, and best practices for peaceful uses of nuclear energy based on inputs from international experts. The IAEA Nuclear Energy Series complements the IAEA Safety Standards Series. IAEA Nuclear Energy Series No. NG-G-2.1, Managing Human Resources in the Field of Nuclear Energy, was published in 2009. In that publication, four interrelated objectives of the management of human resources were identified and discussed: ensuring that nuclear industry personnel have the necessary competence for their jobs; effectively organizing work activities; anticipating human resource needs; and monitoring and continually improving performance. This publication addresses the fourth objective and, in particular, summarizes good practices in the area of managing human performance

  7. Microsatellite instability typing in serum and tissue of patients with colorectal cancer: comparing real time PCR with hybridization probe and high-performance liquid chromatography.

    Mokarram, P; Rismanchi, M; Alizadeh Naeeni, M; Mirab Samiee, S; Paryan, M; Alipour, A; Honardar, Z; Kavousipour, S; Naghibalhossaini, F; Mostafavi-Pour, Z; Monabati, A; Hosseni, S V; Shamsdin, S A

    2014-05-01

    Allelic variation of BAT-25 (a 25-repeat quasimonomorphic poly T) and BAT-26 (a 26-repeat quasimonomorphic polyA) loci as two mononucleotide microsatellite markers, were analyzed with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) compared with Real-Time PCR using hybridization probes. BAT-26 and BAT-25 markers were used to determine an appropriate screening technique with high sensitivity and specificity to diagnose microsatellite instability (MSI) status in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). One of the pathways in colorectal tumor genesis is microsatellite instability (MSI+). MSI is detected in about 15% of all CRCs; 3% are of these are associated with Lynch syndrome and the other 12% are caused by sporadic. Colorectal tumors with MSI have distinctive features compared with microsatellite stable tumors. Due to the high percentage of MSI+ CRC in Iran, screening of this type of CRC is imperative. Two markers were analyzed in tissues and sera of 44 normal volunteers and tumor and matched normal mucosal tissues as well as sera of 44 patients with sporadic CRC. The sensitivity and specificity of BAT-26 with real time PCR method (Hybridization probe) were 100% in comparison with sequencing method as the gold standard, while HPLC had a lower sensitivity and specificity. According to HPLC data, BAT-26 was more sensitive than BAT-25 in identifying MSI tumors. Therefore, MSI typing using the BAT-26 hybridization probe method compared to HPLC could be considered as an accurate method for diagnosing MSI in CRC tumors but not in serum circulating DNAs.

  8. Thermal diagnostics in power plant to improve performance

    Meister, H.

    1995-01-01

    The improvement of older power plants by changing poor performing components is a cost effective method to increase the capacity of the units. The necessary information for the detection of components that are to be replaced can be obtained from heat rate and component tests with accuracy instrumentation. The discussed methods and tools provided by ABB Were used with success in several power plants in Europe. These tools are in the process of permanent improvement and can be used in almost any type of power plant. Due to the reasons discussed above, there is a high potential for improvement of a lot of power plants in the next decade. (author)

  9. Access Agent Improving The Performance Of Access Control Lists

    Thelis R. S.

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available The main focus of the proposed research is maintaining the security of a network. Extranet is a popular network among most of the organizations where network access is provided to a selected group of outliers. Limiting access to an extranet can be carried out using Access Control Lists ACLs method. However handling the workload of ACLs is an onerous task for the router. The purpose of the proposed research is to improve the performance and to solidify the security of the ACLs used in a small organization. Using a high performance computer as a dedicated device to share and handle the router workload is suggested in order to increase the performance of the router when handling ACLs. Methods of detecting and directing sensitive data is also discussed in this paper. A framework is provided to help increase the efficiency of the ACLs in an organization network using the above mentioned procedures thus helping the organizations ACLs performance to be improved to be more secure and the system to perform faster. Inbuilt methods of Windows platform or Software for open source platforms can be used to make a computer function as a router. Extended ACL features allow the determining of the type of packets flowing through the router. Combining these mechanisms allows the ACLs to be improved and perform in a more efficient manner.

  10. Improving Steam System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry

    2002-06-01

    The sourcebook is a reference for industrial steam system users, outlining opportunities to improve steam system performance. This Sourcebook is designed to provide steam system users with a reference that describes the basic steam system components, outlines opportunities for energy and performance improvements, and discusses the benefits of a systems approach in identifying and implementing these improvement opportunities. The Sourcebook is divided into the following three main sections: Section 1: Steam System Basics--For users unfamiliar with the basics of steam systems, or for users seeking a refresher, a brief discussion of the terms, relationships, and important system design considerations is provided. Users already familiar with industrial steam system operation may want to skip this section. This section describes steam systems using four basic parts: generation, distribution, end use, and recovery. Section 2: Performance Improvement Opportunities--This section discusses important factors that should be considered when industrial facilities seek to improve steam system performance and to lower operating costs. This section also provides an overview of the finance considerations related to steam system improvements. Additionally, this section discusses several resources and tools developed by the U. S. Department of Energy's (DOE) BestPractices Steam Program to identify and assess steam system improvement opportunities. Section 3: Programs, Contacts, and Resources--This section provides a directory of associations and other organizations involved in the steam system marketplace. This section also provides a description of the BestPractices Steam Program, a directory of contacts, and a listing of available resources and tools, such as publications, software, training courses, and videos.

  11. Improvement programme of safety performance indicators (SPIs) in Korea

    Lee, S.Y.

    2001-01-01

    KINS has developed and used Safety Performance Indicators (SPIs), which are count based and composed of 10 indicators in 8 areas, to monitor the trend of performance of NPPs in Korea since 1997. However, the limited usage of SPIs and the increasing worldwide interest on SPIs became the motivation of the SPI improvement programme in Korea. Korea is planning to establish plant performance evaluation programme through analysis of SPI and result of inspection. The SPI improvement programme is a part of the plant performance evaluation programme and includes study on performance evaluation areas, indicator categories, selection and development of indicators, redefinition of indicators and introduction of graphical display system. The selected performance evaluation areas are general performance, reactor safety and radiation safety. Each area will have categories as sub-areas and a total of six categories are selected. One or two indicators for each category are determined or will be developed to make a set of Safety Performance Indicators. Also, a graphic display system will be introduced to extend the usage of SPIs. (author)

  12. Breeding of lager yeast with Saccharomyces cerevisiae improves stress resistance and fermentation performance.

    Garcia Sanchez, Rosa; Solodovnikova, Natalia; Wendland, Jürgen

    2012-08-01

    Lager beer brewing relies on strains collectively known as Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, which are hybrids between S. cerevisiae and S. eubayanus-like strains. Lager yeasts are particularly adapted to low-temperature fermentations. Selection of new yeast strains for improved traits or fermentation performance is laborious, due to the allotetraploid nature of lager yeasts. Initially, we have generated new F1 hybrids by classical genetics, using spore clones of lager yeast and S. cerevisiae and complementation of auxotrophies of the single strains upon mating. These hybrids were improved on several parameters, including growth at elevated temperature and resistance against high osmolarity or high ethanol concentrations. Due to the uncertainty of chromosomal make-up of lager yeast spore clones, we introduced molecular markers to analyse mating-type composition by PCR. Based on these results, new hybrids between a lager and an ale yeast strain were isolated by micromanipulation. These hybrids were not subject to genetic modification. We generated and verified 13 hybrid strains. All of these hybrid strains showed improved stress resistance as seen in the ale parent, including improved survival at the end of fermentation. Importantly, some of the strains showed improved fermentation rates using 18° Plato at 18-25°C. Uniparental mitochondrial DNA inheritance was observed mostly from the S. cerevisiae parent. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  13. A real-time PCR assay with improved specificity for detection and discrimination of all clinically relevant Bordetella species by the presence and distribution of three Insertion Sequence elements

    Ossewaarde Jacobus M

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background In Dutch laboratories molecular detection of B. pertussis and B. parapertussis is commonly based on insertion sequences IS481 and IS1001, respectively. Both IS elements are more widely spread among Bordetella species. Both Bordetella holmesii, and B. bronchiseptica can harbour IS481. Also, IS1001 is found among B. bronchiseptica. IS481, and IS1001 based PCR thus lacks specificity when used for detection of specific Bordetella spp. Findings We designed a PCR based on IS1002, another IS element that is present among Bordetella species, and exploited it as a template in combination with PCR for IS481, and IS1001. In combining the PCRs for IS481, IS1001, and IS1002, and including an inhibition control, we were able to detect and discriminate all clinically relevant Bordetella species. Conclusions We developed an improved PCR method for specific detection of B. pertussis, B. parapertussis, B. holmesii, and B. bronchiseptica.

  14. Runtime buffer management to improve the performance in irregular ...

    S¯adhan¯a Vol. 40, Part 4, June 2015, pp. 1117–1137. c Indian Academy of Sciences. Runtime buffer management to improve the performance in irregular Network-on-Chip architecture. UMAMAHESWARI S1,∗, MEGANATHAN D2 and. RAJA PAUL PERINBAM J3. 1Department of Information Technology, Anna University, ...

  15. Size-based scheduling to improve web performance

    Harchol-Balter, M.; Schroeder, B.; Bansal, N.; Agrawal, M.

    2003-01-01

    Is it possible to reduce the expected response time of every request at a web server, simply by changing the order in which we schedule the requests? That is the question we ask in this paper.This paper proposes a method for improving the performance of web servers servicing static HTTP requests.

  16. Performance improvement CME for quality: challenges inherent to the process.

    Vakani, Farhan Saeed; O'Beirne, Ronan

    2015-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the perspective debates upon the real-time challenges for a three-staged Performance Improvement Continuing Medical Education (PI-CME) model, an innovative and potential approach for future CME, to inform providers to think, prepare and to act proactively. In this discussion, the challenges associated for adopting the American Medical Association's three-staged PI-CME model are reported. Not many institutions in USA are using a three-staged performance improvement model and then customizing it to their own healthcare context for the specific targeted audience. They integrate traditional CME methods with performance and quality initiatives, and linking with CME credits. Overall the US health system is interested in a structured PI-CME model with the potential to improve physicians practicing behaviors. Knowing the dearth of evidence for applying this structured performance improvement methodology into the design of CME activities, and the lack of clarity on challenges inherent to the process that learners and providers encounter. This paper establishes all-important first step to render the set of challenges for a three-staged PI-CME model.

  17. Developing a system engineering program to improve performance and reliability

    Keuter, D.

    1985-01-01

    After several maintenance, operational, and equipment problems last year, Trojan set out on a mission to improve plant performance and reliability by strengthening its on-site engineering organization. This paper presents Trojan's plans in developing an on-site system engineering organization

  18. Coaching as a Performance Improvement Tool at School

    Yirci, Ramazan; Karakose, Turgut; Kocabas, Ibrahim

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to examine the current literature and have an insight about coaching as a performance improvement tool at school. In today's world, schools have to survive and keep their organizational success in the highest level because of the high expectations from school stakeholders. Taking place in such a fierce competitive…

  19. Warning Signals for Poor Performance Improve Human-Robot Interaction

    van den Brule, Rik; Bijlstra, Gijsbert; Dotsch, Ron; Haselager, Pim; Wigboldus, Daniel HJ

    2016-01-01

    The present research was aimed at investigating whether human-robot interaction (HRI) can be improved by a robot’s nonverbal warning signals. Ideally, when a robot signals that it cannot guarantee good performance, people could take preventive actions to ensure the successful completion of the

  20. Improving health worker performance : in search of promising practices

    Dieleman, M.A.; Harnmeijer, JW

    2006-01-01

    Qualified and motivated human resources (HR) are essential for adequate health service provision, but HR shortages have now reached critical levels in many resource-poor settings, especially in rural areas. Strategies improving performance are essential to address shortages of the existing

  1. Educational Technology Research Journals: Performance Improvement Quarterly, 2001-2010

    Mayer, Alisha Rasmussen; Francis, Jenifer; Harrison, J. Buckley; McPhillen, Ammon S.; West, Richard E.

    2012-01-01

    This article is an analysis of "Performance Improvement Quarterly" (PIQ) for the years 2001-2010. The intent was to examine the article types used, the authors who contributed the most to the journal, the topics the journal most commonly focused on, and the citation frequency of the journal's articles. The analysis revealed that…

  2. Undergraduate Medical Academic Performance is Improved by Scientific Training

    Zhang, Lili; Zhang, Wei; Wu, Chong; Liu, Zhongming; Cai, Yunfei; Cao, Xingguo; He, Yushan; Liu, Guoxiang; Miao, Hongming

    2017-01-01

    The effect of scientific training on course learning in undergraduates is still controversial. In this study, we investigated the academic performance of undergraduate students with and without scientific training. The results show that scientific training improves students' test scores in general medical courses, such as biochemistry and…

  3. Driving Performance Improvements by Integrating Competencies with Human Resource Practices

    Lee, Jin Gu; Park, Yongho; Yang, Gi Hun

    2010-01-01

    This study explores the issues in the development and application of a competency model and provides implications for more precise integration of competencies into human resource (HR) functions driving performance improvement. This research is based on a case study from a Korean consumer corporation. This study employed document reviews,…

  4. Improving the Individual Work Performance Questionnaire using Rasch analysis.

    Koopmans, L.; Bernaards, C.M.; Hildebrandt, V.H.; Buuren, S. van; Beek, A.J. van der; Vet, H.C.W. de

    2014-01-01

    Recently, the Individual Work Performance Questionnaire (IWPQ) version 0.2 was developed using Rasch analysis. The goal of the current study was to improve targeting of the IWPQ scales by including additional items. The IWPQ 0.2 (original) and 0.3 (including additional items) were examined using

  5. Motivation to Avoid Loss Improves Implicit Skill Performance

    Chon, Danbee; Thompson, Kelsey R.; Reber, Paul J.

    2018-01-01

    Implicit learning reflects learning from experience that occurs without intention or awareness of the information acquired and is hypothesized to contribute to skill acquisition by improving performance with practice. The role of motivation has not been examined because this kind of memory is represented outside awareness. We manipulated…

  6. Improvement on the Performance of Canal Network and Method of ...

    This paper presents the required improvement on the performance of canal network and method of on-farm water application systems at Tunga-Kawo irrigation scheme, Wushishi, Niger state. The problems of poor delivery of water to the farmland were identified to include erosion of canal embarkment, lack of water ...

  7. Can Near-Peer Teaching Improve Academic Performance?

    Williams, Brett; Fowler, James

    2014-01-01

    Near peer teaching is becoming increasingly popular within healthcare education. The experiences and effects of near-peer teaching upon the near-peer teachers' academic performance are poorly understood. In order to address this, the objective of this study was to examine whether a near-peer teaching program improved the overall clinical unit…

  8. Influence of age on reproductive performance of the Improved Boer ...

    Influence of age on reproductive performance of the Improved Boer goat doe. JA Erasmus, AJ Fourie, JJ Venter. Abstract. No Abstract. Full Text: EMAIL FREE FULL TEXT EMAIL FREE FULL TEXT · DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT · AJOL African Journals Online. HOW TO USE AJOL... for Researchers · for ...

  9. Performance in physiology evaluation: possible improvement by active learning strategies.

    Montrezor, Luís H

    2016-12-01

    The evaluation process is complex and extremely important in the teaching/learning process. Evaluations are constantly employed in the classroom to assist students in the learning process and to help teachers improve the teaching process. The use of active methodologies encourages students to participate in the learning process, encourages interaction with their peers, and stimulates thinking about physiological mechanisms. This study examined the performance of medical students on physiology over four semesters with and without active engagement methodologies. Four activities were used: a puzzle, a board game, a debate, and a video. The results show that engaging in activities with active methodologies before a physiology cognitive monitoring test significantly improved student performance compared with not performing the activities. We integrate the use of these methodologies with classic lectures, and this integration appears to improve the teaching/learning process in the discipline of physiology and improves the integration of physiology with cardiology and neurology. In addition, students enjoy the activities and perform better on their evaluations when they use them. Copyright © 2016 The American Physiological Society.

  10. Active Learning Improves Student Performance in a Respiratory Physiology Lab

    Wolf, Alex M.; Liachovitzky, Carlos; Abdullahi, Abass S.

    2015-01-01

    This study assessed the effectiveness of the introduction of active learning exercises into the anatomy and physiology curriculum in a community college setting. Specifically, the incorporation of a spirometry-based respiratory physiology lab resulted in improved student performance in two concepts (respiratory volumes and the hallmarks of…

  11. Improving Performance in a Second Year Chemistry Course: An ...

    NJD

    Improving Performance in a Second Year Chemistry. Course: An Evaluation of a Tutorial Scheme on the. Learning of Chemistry. Bette Davidowitza* and Marissa Rollnickb**. aDepartment of Chemistry, University of Cape Town, South Africa. bSchool of Education, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Received 11 ...

  12. Introducing Model Predictive Control for Improving Power Plant Portfolio Performance

    Edlund, Kristian Skjoldborg; Bendtsen, Jan Dimon; Børresen, Simon

    2008-01-01

    This paper introduces a model predictive control (MPC) approach for construction of a controller for balancing the power generation against consumption in a power system. The objective of the controller is to coordinate a portfolio consisting of multiple power plant units in the effort to perform...... reference tracking and disturbance rejection in an economically optimal way. The performance function is chosen as a mixture of the `1-norm and a linear weighting to model the economics of the system. Simulations show a significant improvement of the performance of the MPC compared to the current...

  13. Improving the performance of a filling line based on simulation

    Jasiulewicz-Kaczmarek, M.; Bartkowiak, T.

    2016-08-01

    The paper describes the method of improving performance of a filling line based on simulation. This study concerns a production line that is located in a manufacturing centre of a FMCG company. A discrete event simulation model was built using data provided by maintenance data acquisition system. Two types of failures were identified in the system and were approximated using continuous statistical distributions. The model was validated taking into consideration line performance measures. A brief Pareto analysis of line failures was conducted to identify potential areas of improvement. Two improvements scenarios were proposed and tested via simulation. The outcome of the simulations were the bases of financial analysis. NPV and ROI values were calculated taking into account depreciation, profits, losses, current CIT rate and inflation. A validated simulation model can be a useful tool in maintenance decision-making process.

  14. Reducing the occurrence of plant events through improved human performance

    Ross, T.; Burkhart, A.D.

    1993-01-01

    During a routine control room surveillance, the reactor operator is distracted by an alarming secondary annunciator and a telephone call. When the reactor operator resumes the surveillance, he inadvertently performs the procedural steps out of order. This causes a reportable nuclear event. How can procedure-related human performance problems such as this be prevented? The question is vitally important for the nuclear industry. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office for Analysis and Evaluation of Operational Data observed, open-quotes With the perceived reduction in the number of events caused by equipment failures, INPO and other industry groups and human performance experts agree that a key to continued improvement in plant performance and safety is improved human performance.close quotes In fact, open-quotes more than 50% of the reportable events occurring at nuclear power plants involve human error.close quotes Prevention (or correction) of a human performance problem is normally based on properly balancing the following three factors: (1) supervisory involvement; (2) personnel training; and (3) procedures. The nuclear industry is implementing a formula known as ACME, which better balances supervisory involvement, personnel training, and procedures. Webster's New World Dictionary defines acme as the highest point, the peak. ACME human performance is the goal: ACME Adherence to and use of procedures; Self-Checking; Management Involvement; and Event Investigations

  15. PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT STRATEGIES USED BY MANAGERS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR

    Raþiu Patricia

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract: There are many situations in professional life when for various reasons we are employed in jobs that do not meet our emotional expectations our professional capabilities, our passions and therefore performance on that job will not be high. Analysis of the causes of under-utilization of human potential and adoption of appropriate strategies according to employee needs help reduce staff turnover costs. The main objective of the present paper consists in identifying managerial strategies which contribute to the improvement of the employees’ performances by stimulating their motivation, and the extent to which they are used in the managerial practice. Based on literature review we realized an integrated model and developed a classification, that present our own vision regarding performance improvement strategies. Our classification divides strategies for improving employees’ performances into four main groups: by employees’ development, by rewarding employees, by modifying the job description, by employee involvement in the organization. Starting from this model, through two types of questionnaires we have made an empirical research among managers as well as among office personnel, in order to capture both perspectives regarding the pursued objectives. For the present paper we will present only research results obtained for performance improvement strategies by employees’ development because support a higher degree of generality and do not depend on the organization characteristics. A quantitative data analize from the two samples show that there are differences between managers and employees perception when it comes to strategies used in their organizations and also manager did not know which determines employees to strive in order to improve their performance and obtain better results. The strategies to improve the employee’s performances, proposed within this article have the role to show the fact that managers cannot

  16. Public sector benchmarking and performance improvement : what is the link and can it be improved?

    Tillema, Sandra

    2010-01-01

    Benchmarking is often used in the public sector as a way of driving up performance. This article explains why benchmarking does not necessarily lead to better performance and why it can generate unwanted consequences. The article recommends ways of improving the link between benchmarking and

  17. Improving co-running program’s performance on CMP

    Tian Dawei

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Chip multi-processor (CMP has become the most common processor in the current cluster and desktop computer, and it is also the current development direction. On CMP, programs usually co-running with each other. However, programs commonly interfere with each other. Some time the interference takes big effect, which cause serious drop down of performance. In order to avoid the serious performance interference, programs should be scheduled reasonably to different socket to improve the program’s performance and system’s utilization. In this paper we propose a new scheduling method to realize a more reasonable scheduling. We do not only consider the LLC miss rate, but also consider the LLC reference of the programs. By the information of LLC reference and LLC miss rate, we schedule programs to different sockets, which realize a reasonable scheduling. The experiment result show that making use of the scheduling method proposed by our paper, program’s performance can improve 4%, because the performance improve is realized by on-chip resource, which is a big contribution.

  18. Performance indicators: A tool for continuous quality improvement

    Nidhi M Bhatnagar

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Background: Performance monitoring is an important tool which can be used for setting priorities for process improvement. At our centre, we have been monitoring every step in the processes, right from inventory of consumables (both critical and routine to number of donors reactive for TTI. We conducted a study to measure the impact of monitoring Performance Indicators and how it could be used as a tool for Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI. Materials and Methods: The present study was a retrospective study where the performance indicator (PI data of blood bank was analyzed for over four years. For certain parameters, benchmarks or thresholds were set that represented warning limits or action limits. The yearly data were collated from monthly data. "Shifts" or "Trends", if any, were identified and Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA taken accordingly. At the end, outcomes of the analysis were charted. Results: After the yearly data evaluation, outcomes obtained were used to plan, correct and amend processes and systems in the blood center. It was observed that the workload of the center showed an upward trend. This helped us to plan for the purchase of consumables and management of manpower. The monitoring of usage and discard of blood helped in the efficient management of blood stocks. The need for any new equipment could also be judged by the trends in workload. Conclusion: Performance indicators are indispensible tools which various stakeholders in the Blood Transfusion centres should implement to improve on quality performance.

  19. Performance indicators: A tool for continuous quality improvement.

    Bhatnagar, Nidhi M; Soni, Shital; Gajjar, Maitrey; Shah, Mamta; Shah, Sangita; Patel, Vaidehi

    2016-01-01

    Performance monitoring is an important tool which can be used for setting priorities for process improvement. At our centre, we have been monitoring every step in the processes, right from inventory of consumables (both critical and routine) to number of donors reactive for TTI. We conducted a study to measure the impact of monitoring Performance Indicators and how it could be used as a tool for Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). The present study was a retrospective study where the performance indicator (PI) data of blood bank was analyzed for over four years. For certain parameters, benchmarks or thresholds were set that represented warning limits or action limits. The yearly data were collated from monthly data. Shifts or Trends, if any, were identified and Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) taken accordingly. At the end, outcomes of the analysis were charted. After the yearly data evaluation, outcomes obtained were used to plan, correct and amend processes and systems in the blood center. It was observed that the workload of the center showed an upward trend. This helped us to plan for the purchase of consumables and management of manpower. The monitoring of usage and discard of blood helped in the efficient management of blood stocks. The need for any new equipment could also be judged by the trends in workload. Performance indicators are indispensible tools which various stakeholders in the Blood Transfusion centres should implement to improve on quality performance.

  20. Improving Sustainability Performance for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP Projects

    Liyin Shen

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Improving sustainability performance in developing infrastructure projects is an important strategy for pursuing the mission of sustainable development. In recent years, the business model of public-private-partnership (PPP is promoted as an effective approach in developing infrastructure projects. It is considered that the distribution of the contribution on project investment between private and public sectors is one of the key variables affecting sustainability performance of PPP-type projects. This paper examines the impacts of the contribution distribution between public and private sectors on project sustainability performance. A model named the sustainability performance-based evaluation model (SPbEM is developed for assisting the assessment of the level of sustainability performance of PPP projects. The study examines the possibility of achieving better sustainability through proper arrangement of the investment distribution between the two primary sectors in developing PPP-type infrastructure projects.

  1. A Mathematical Model to Improve the Performance of Logistics Network

    Muhammad Izman Herdiansyah

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The role of logistics nowadays is expanding from just providing transportation and warehousing to offering total integrated logistics. To remain competitive in the global market environment, business enterprises need to improve their logistics operations performance. The improvement will be achieved when we can provide a comprehensive analysis and optimize its network performances. In this paper, a mixed integer linier model for optimizing logistics network performance is developed. It provides a single-product multi-period multi-facilities model, as well as the multi-product concept. The problem is modeled in form of a network flow problem with the main objective to minimize total logistics cost. The problem can be solved using commercial linear programming package like CPLEX or LINDO. Even in small case, the solver in Excel may also be used to solve such model.Keywords: logistics network, integrated model, mathematical programming, network optimization

  2. Improving the performance of IPMCs with a gradient in thickness

    Zhao, Yang; Xu, Bing; Zheng, Gaofeng; Zheng, Jianyi; Qiu, Xiaochun; Zhuang, Mingfeng; Sun, Daoheng

    2013-01-01

    An ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC) is a kind of electro-active polymer. Due to the properties of low driving voltage, large deformation, flexibility and lightness, it is becoming one of the more popular from a diversity of smart materials. In this study, a novel structure of Nafion ® film is proposed to improve the performance of an IPMC. IPMC samples with a gradient structure in thickness are fabricated and their performance is investigated to confirm the validity of the gradient structure. The deformation displacement and the blocking force are compared under AC and DC voltage by experiments. The results indicate that the structure of gradient in thickness would improve the performance both in deformation displacement and blocking force. (paper)

  3. Diet-Induced Ketosis Improves Cognitive Performance in Aged Rats

    Xu, Kui; Sun, Xiaoyan; Eroku, Bernadette O.; Tsipis, Constantinos P.; Puchowicz, Michelle A.; LaManna, Joseph C.

    2010-01-01

    Aging is associated with increased susceptibility to hypoxic/ischemic insult and declines in behavioral function which may be due to attenuated adaptive/defense responses. We investigated if diet-induced ketosis would improve behavioral performance in the aged rats. Fischer 344 rats (3- and 22-month-old) were fed standard (STD) or ketogenic (KG) diet for 3 weeks and then exposed to hypobaric hypoxia. Cognitive function was measured using the T-maze and object recognition tests. Motor function was measured using the inclined-screen test. Results showed that KG diet significantly increased blood ketone levels in both young and old rats. In the aged rats, the KG diet improved cognitive performance under normoxic and hypoxic conditions; while motor performance remained unchanged. Capillary density and HIF-1α levels were elevated in the aged ketotic group independent of hypoxic challenge. These data suggest that diet-induced ketosis may be beneficial in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions. PMID:20204773

  4. Performance improvements on passive activated charcoal 222Rn samplers

    Wei Suxia

    1996-01-01

    Improvements have been made on passive activated charcoal 222 Rn samplers with sintered metal filters. Based on the samplers of good adaptability to temperature and humidity developed before, better charcoal was selected to further improve their performance in radon absorption ability and moisture-resistance. And charcoal quantity in samplers was strictly controlled. The integration time constant of the improved samplers was about 4.3 days. As the sampler was combined with gamma spectrometer to measure radon concentration, the calibration factor was 0.518 min -1 ·Bq -1 ·m 3 for samplers of 7 days exposure time, and the minimum detectable concentration 0.28 Bq·m -3 if counting time for both background and sample is 1000 minutes. The improved samplers are suited to accurately determine the indoor and outdoor average radon concentration under conditions of great variation in temperature and humidity

  5. Effectively managing nuclear risk through human performance improvement

    Coe, R.P.

    2004-01-01

    Full text: The US commercial nuclear industry has just completed an outstanding decade of plant performance. Safety levels and electric production are at unprecedented high levels and continue to exceed even high industry goals. Nuclear energy continues to keep the highest priority on performance improvement programs and highly trained/qualified people that maintain its record setting safety and reliability of operations. While the industry has maintained a consistently high level of performance, the advent of deregulation and the consolidation of NPP ownership, as well as the current climate of concern about both rising energy costs and availability of power, has raised the standard for nuclear energy's level of competitiveness in today's market place. The resulting challenge is how to more effectively manage risk and improve performance even further in a generally high performing organization. Newer technology and more training by themselves are not the answer. Rather, the answer will lie in the human side of the organization and management's ability to tap into the unused potential of employee commitment and productivity. It is people who offer the greatest potential for organizational success. Given the fact that human performance has been demonstrated to yield higher rates of return than physical capital, it makes good business sense to determine how to encourage the behaviors in the workplace to manage the risk that will accompany efforts to boost the nuclear industry to new heights of excellence. This means effectively developing a performance improvement culture through identifying measurable performance indicators and determining how behaviors can best be influenced to improve those indicators. It also means seeing a culture of performance improvement and risk management as a strategic planning tool rather than a solution to a particular problem. One of the most effective ways to develop this culture of performance improvement and effectively managing risk

  6. Improved molecular detection of Babesia infections in animals using a novel quantitative real-time PCR diagnostic assay targeting mitochondrial DNA.

    Qurollo, Barbara A; Archer, Nikole R; Schreeg, Megan E; Marr, Henry S; Birkenheuer, Adam J; Haney, Kaitlin N; Thomas, Brittany S; Breitschwerdt, Edward B

    2017-03-07

    Babesiosis is a protozoal, tick transmitted disease found worldwide in humans, wildlife and domesticated animals. Commonly used approaches to diagnose babesiosis include microscopic examination of peripheral blood smears, detection of circulating antibodies and PCR. To screen and differentiate canine Babesia infections many PCR assays amplify the 18S rRNA gene. These sequences contain hypervariable regions flanked by highly conserved regions allowing for amplification of a broad-range of Babesia spp. However, differences in the 18S rRNA gene sequence of distantly related clades can make it difficult to design assays that will amplify all Babesia species while excluding the amplification of other eukaryotes. By targeting Babesia mitochondrial genome (mtDNA), we designed a novel three primer qPCR with greater sensitivity and broader screening capabilities to diagnose and differentiate Babesia spp. Using 13 Babesia mtDNA sequences, a region spanning two large subunit rRNA gene fragments (lsu5-lsu4) was aligned to design three primers for use in a qPCR assay (LSU qPCR) capable of amplifying a wide range of Babesia spp. Plasmid clones were generated and used as standards to determine efficiency, linear dynamic range and analytical sensitivity. Animals naturally infected with vector-borne pathogens were tested retrospectively and prospectively to determine relative clinical sensitivity and specificity by comparing the LSU qPCR to an established 18S rDNA qPCR. The LSU qPCR efficiencies ranged between 92 and 100% with the limit of detection at five copies/reaction. The assay did not amplify mammalian host or other vector-borne pathogen gDNA except Cytauxzoon felis (a feline protozoal pathogen). The LSU qPCR assay amplified 12 different Babesia. sp. and C. felis from 31/31 (100%) archived samples, whereas the 18S qPCR amplified only 26/31 (83.9%). By prospective analysis, 19/394 diagnostic accessions (4.8%) were LSU qPCR positive, compared to 11/394 (2.8%) 18S rDNA qPCR

  7. Measuring performance improvement: total organizational commitment or clinical specialization.

    Caron, Aleece; Jones, Paul; Neuhauser, Duncan; Aron, David C

    2004-01-01

    Resources for hospitals are limited when they are faced with multiple publicly reported performance measures as tools to assess quality. The leadership in these organizations may choose to focus on 1 or 2 of these outcomes. An alternative approach is that the leadership may commit resources or create conditions that result in improved quality over a broad range of measures. We used aggregated data on mortality, length of stay, and obstetrical outcomes from Greater Cleveland Health Quality Choice data to test these theories. We used Pearson correlation analysis to determine of outcomes were correlated with one another. We used repeated-measures ANOVA to determine if an association existed between outcome and time and outcome and hospital. All of the outcomes across all hospitals demonstrate a trend of overall improvement. Both the Pearson and ANOVA result support the hypothesis for the organization-wide approach to quality improvement. Hospital that make improvements in one clinical area trend to make improvements in others. Hospitals that produce improvements in limited clinical or administrative areas may not have completely adopted CQI into their culture or may not have yet realized the benefits of their organizational commitments, but use some of the concepts to improve quality outcomes.

  8. Improving the Performance of the Extreme-scale Simulator

    Engelmann, Christian [ORNL; Naughton III, Thomas J [ORNL

    2014-01-01

    Investigating the performance of parallel applications at scale on future high-performance computing (HPC) architectures and the performance impact of different architecture choices is an important component of HPC hardware/software co-design. The Extreme-scale Simulator (xSim) is a simulation-based toolkit for investigating the performance of parallel applications at scale. xSim scales to millions of simulated Message Passing Interface (MPI) processes. The overhead introduced by a simulation tool is an important performance and productivity aspect. This paper documents two improvements to xSim: (1) a new deadlock resolution protocol to reduce the parallel discrete event simulation management overhead and (2) a new simulated MPI message matching algorithm to reduce the oversubscription management overhead. The results clearly show a significant performance improvement, such as by reducing the simulation overhead for running the NAS Parallel Benchmark suite inside the simulator from 1,020\\% to 238% for the conjugate gradient (CG) benchmark and from 102% to 0% for the embarrassingly parallel (EP) and benchmark, as well as, from 37,511% to 13,808% for CG and from 3,332% to 204% for EP with accurate process failure simulation.

  9. Effectively Managing Nuclear Risk Through Human Performance Improvement

    Coe, Richard; Lake, Patricia

    2003-01-01

    The U.S. commercial nuclear industry has just completed an outstanding decade of plant performance. Safety levels and electric production are at unprecedented high levels and continue to exceed even high industry goals. Nuclear energy continues to keep the highest priority on performance improvement programs and highly trained and qualified people that maintain its record setting safety and reliability of operations. While the industry has maintained a high level of performance, the advent of deregulation and the consolidation of nuclear power plant ownership, as well as the current climate for concern about both rising energy costs and the availability of power, have raised the standard for nuclear energy's level of competitiveness in today's market place. The resulting challenge is how to more effectively manage risk and to improve performance even further in a generally high-performing industry. One of the most effective ways to develop this culture is to apply the principles of Hum an Performance Technology, or HPT. HPT is a relatively new field. Its principles are derived from the research and practice of behavioral and cognitive psychologists, instructional technologists, training designers, organizational developers, and various human resource specialists. Using the principles of HPT can help the nuclear industry successfully meet ever-changing environmental and business demands

  10. Citrus Flavonoid Supplementation Improves Exercise Performance in Trained Athletes

    Elvera Overdevest, Jeroen A. Wouters, Kevin H.M. Wolfs, Job J.M. van Leeuwen, Sam Possemiers

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Previous studies have shown that polyphenol supplementation may be an effective strategy to improve exercise performance, due to their antioxidant character and ability to stimulate NO production. These properties may contribute to exercise performance, yet no conclusive research has been performed in exploring the direct effects of citrus flavonoids on human exercise performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess whether supplementation of a customized citrus flavonoid (CF extract for 4 weeks improves cycling time-trial performance in trained male athletes. In a double-blind, randomized, parallel study, 39 healthy, trained males were given a daily dose of either 500 mg of a customized citrus flavonoid extract (CF or a placebo for 4 weeks. Exercise performance was tested by means of a time-trial test on a cycle ergometer, during which participants had to generate as much power as possible for duration of 10 minutes. Absolute power output significantly increased with 14.9 ± 3.9 W after 4 weeks of CF supplementation, corresponding with a 5.0% increase, compared to 3.8 ± 3.2 W (1.3% increase in placebo (p < 0.05. In addition, oxygen consumption/power ratio significantly decreased in the CF group compared to placebo (p = 0.001, and a trend was found in the change in peak power output in CF (18.2 ± 23.2 W versus placebo (-28.4 ± 17.6 W; p = 0.116. The current study is the first convincing report that citrus flavonoid supplementation can improve exercise performance, as shown by a significant increase in power output during the exercise test.

  11. Improving creativity performance by short-term meditation

    2014-01-01

    Background One form of meditation intervention, the integrative body-mind training (IBMT) has been shown to improve attention, reduce stress and change self-reports of mood. In this paper we examine whether short-term IBMT can improve performance related to creativity and determine the role that mood may play in such improvement. Methods Forty Chinese undergraduates were randomly assigned to short-term IBMT group or a relaxation training (RT) control group. Mood and creativity performance were assessed by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) questionnaire respectively. Results As predicted, the results indicated that short-term (30 min per day for 7 days) IBMT improved creativity performance on the divergent thinking task, and yielded better emotional regulation than RT. In addition, cross-lagged analysis indicated that both positive and negative affect may influence creativity in IBMT group (not RT group). Conclusions Our results suggested that emotion-related creativity-promoting mechanism may be attributed to short-term meditation. PMID:24645871

  12. Neurofeedback training improves attention and working memory performance.

    Wang, Jinn-Rong; Hsieh, Shulan

    2013-12-01

    The present study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of the frontal-midline theta (fmθ) activity uptraining protocol on attention and working memory performance of older and younger participants. Thirty-two participants were recruited. Participants within each age group were randomly assigned to either the neurofeedback training (fmθ uptraining) group or the sham-neurofeedback training group. There was a significant improvement in orienting scores in the older neurofeedback training group. In addition, there was a significant improvement in conflict scores in both the older and young neurofeedback training groups. However, alerting scores failed to increase. In addition, the fmθ training was found to improve working memory function in the older participants. The results further showed that fmθ training can modulate resting EEG for both neurofeedback groups. Our study demonstrated that fmθ uptraining improved attention and working memory performance and theta activity in the resting state for normal aging adults. In addition, younger participants also benefited from the present protocol in terms of improving their executive function. The current findings contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying neurofeedback training in cognitive function, and suggest that the fmθ uptraining protocol is an effective intervention program for cognitive aging. Copyright © 2013 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Improving the Individual Work Performance Questionnaire using Rasch analysis.

    Koopmans, L.; Bernaards, C.M.; Hildebrandt, V.H.; Buuren, S. van; Beek, A.J. van der; Vet, H.C.W. de

    2014-01-01

    Recently, the Individual Work Performance Questionnaire (IWPQ) version 0.2 was developed using Rasch analysis. The goal of the current study was to improve targeting of the IWPQ scales by including additional items. The IWPQ 0.2 (original) and 0.3 (including additional items) were examined using Rasch analysis. Additional items that showed misfit or did not improve targeting were removed from the IWPQ 0.3, resulting in a final IWPQ 1.0. Subsequently, the scales showed good model fit and relia...

  14. Microchannel electron multiplier: improvement in gain performances and detection dynamics

    Audier, M.; Delmotte, J.C.; Boutot, J.P.

    1978-01-01

    The performances of an MCP are a function of its geometrical characteristics (diameter d and ratio 1/d of a channel, useful area) and of the applied voltage. Gain and mean output current are limited by saturation phenomena. By using a particular cascaded MCP's configuration, it is possible to simultaneously improve the gain, its associated fluctuations and the detection dynamics (detected level, counting rate). For gains 10 6 7 , the fluctuations, can be kept as low as 20% and an improvement by a factor > 10 can be obtained on the detection dynamics [fr

  15. The Social Responsibility Performance Outcomes Model: Building Socially Responsible Companies through Performance Improvement Outcomes.

    Hatcher, Tim

    2000-01-01

    Considers the role of performance improvement professionals and human resources development professionals in helping organizations realize the ethical and financial power of corporate social responsibility. Explains the social responsibility performance outcomes model, which incorporates the concepts of societal needs and outcomes. (LRW)

  16. The better model to predict and improve pediatric health care quality: performance or importance-performance?

    Olsen, Rebecca M; Bryant, Carol A; McDermott, Robert J; Ortinau, David

    2013-01-01

    The perpetual search for ways to improve pediatric health care quality has resulted in a multitude of assessments and strategies; however, there is little research evidence as to their conditions for maximum effectiveness. A major reason for the lack of evaluation research and successful quality improvement initiatives is the methodological challenge of measuring quality from the parent perspective. Comparison of performance-only and importance-performance models was done to determine the better predictor of pediatric health care quality and more successful method for improving the quality of care provided to children. Fourteen pediatric health care centers serving approximately 250,000 patients in 70,000 households in three West Central Florida counties were studied. A cross-sectional design was used to determine the importance and performance of 50 pediatric health care attributes and four global assessments of pediatric health care quality. Exploratory factor analysis revealed five dimensions of care (physician care, access, customer service, timeliness of services, and health care facility). Hierarchical multiple regression compared the performance-only and the importance-performance models. In-depth interviews, participant observations, and a direct cognitive structural analysis identified 50 health care attributes included in a mailed survey to parents(n = 1,030). The tailored design method guided survey development and data collection. The importance-performance multiplicative additive model was a better predictor of pediatric health care quality. Attribute importance moderates performance and quality, making the importance-performance model superior for measuring and providing a deeper understanding of pediatric health care quality and a better method for improving the quality of care provided to children. Regardless of attribute performance, if the level of attribute importance is not taken into consideration, health care organizations may spend valuable

  17. Improving Physical Task Performance with Counterfactual and Prefactual Thinking.

    Hammell, Cecilia; Chan, Amy Y C

    2016-01-01

    Counterfactual thinking (reflecting on "what might have been") has been shown to enhance future performance by translating information about past mistakes into plans for future action. Prefactual thinking (imagining "what might be if…") may serve a greater preparative function than counterfactual thinking as it is future-orientated and focuses on more controllable features, thus providing a practical script to prime future behaviour. However, whether or not this difference in hypothetical thought content may translate into a difference in actual task performance has been largely unexamined. In Experiment 1 (n = 42), participants performed trials of a computer-simulated physical task, in between which they engaged in either task-related hypothetical thinking (counterfactual or prefactual) or an unrelated filler task (control). As hypothesised, prefactuals contained more controllable features than counterfactuals. Moreover, participants who engaged in either form of hypothetical thinking improved significantly in task performance over trials compared to participants in the control group. The difference in thought content between counterfactuals and prefactuals, however, did not yield a significant difference in performance improvement. Experiment 2 (n = 42) replicated these findings in a dynamic balance task environment. Together, these findings provide further evidence for the preparatory function of counterfactuals, and demonstrate that prefactuals share this same functional characteristic.

  18. Improved automated perimetry performance following exposure to Mozart.

    Fiorelli, V Macedo Batista; Kasahara, N; Cohen, R; França, A Santucci; Della Paolera, M; Mandia, C; de Almeida, G Vicente

    2006-05-01

    To evaluate the performance on automated perimetry (AP) after listening to a Mozart sonata in normal subjects naive to AP. 60 naive normal subjects underwent AP (SITA 24-2). The study group (30 subjects) underwent AP after listening to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major and the control group (30 subjects) underwent AP without previous exposure to the music. The study group had significantly less fixation loss, false positive, and false negative rates compared to controls (p Mozart seems to improve AP performance in normal naive subjects.

  19. The experience of liquid radwaste evaporator performance improvement

    Kwon, S. H.

    1997-01-01

    Ulchin NPP has only one monobloc evaporation column which treated all radwaste liquid for two units. Since commercial operation in 1988 the evaporator performance is very poor. I think that the bad condition of evaporator is because of the bad quality of liquid radwaste, the large volume of liquid radwaste to treated, the poor skill of operation and some mistake in equipment design. Because of above conditions the average released activity by liquid radwaste is 35.153mCi/year in last eight years(1988∼1995). So it is necessary that we have to improve the evaporator performance and to reduce the liquid radwaste volume to evaporate

  20. Improvement of tokamak performance by injection of electrons

    Ono, Masayuki.

    1992-12-01

    Concepts for improving tokamak performance by utilizing injection of hot electrons are discussed. Motivation of this paper is to introduce the research work being performed in this area and to refer the interested readers to the literature for more detail. The electron injection based concepts presented here have been developed in the CDX, CCT, and CDX-U tokamak facilities. The following three promising application areas of electron injection are described here: 1. Non-inductive current drive, 2. Plasma preionization for tokamak start-up assist, and 3. Charging-up of tokamak flux surfaces for improved plasma confinement. The main motivation for the dc-helicity injection current drive is in its efficiency that, in theory, is independent of plasma density. This property makes it attractive for driving currents in high density reactor plasmas

  1. Using storyboards to make your performance improvement plan come alive.

    Pfaadt, M

    1998-01-01

    The key to successfully using storyboarding within the PI plan is to create a storyboard for each activity as it is completed. Our agency waited until JCAHO was almost upon us. The historical preservation of activities as they occur will create an archive of activities for your PI committee and staff as well as for surveyors. The storyboard's second purpose is the communication of activities to the staff. Take the opportunity to use the boards as educational activities for the staff. Performance Improvement can many times be a frightening, or at best frustrating and uncomfortable activity for staff personnel. Bringing the PI plan alive through the use of storyboards accomplishes many goals as well as helps all staff see how Performance Improvement really makes a difference.

  2. Combined Space and Water Heating: Next Steps to Improved Performance

    Schoenbauer, B. [NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership, Minneapolis, MN (United States); Bohac, D. [NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership, Minneapolis, MN (United States); Huelman, P. [NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership, Minneapolis, MN (United States)

    2016-07-13

    A combined space- and water-heating (combi) system uses a high-efficiency direct-vent burner that eliminates safety issues associated with natural draft appliances. Past research with these systems shows that using condensing water heaters or boilers with hydronic air handling units can provide both space and water heating with efficiencies of 90% or higher. Improved controls have the potential to reduce complexity and improve upon the measured performance. This project demonstrates that controls can significantly benefit these first-generation systems. Laboratory tests and daily load/performance models showed that the set point temperature reset control produced a 2.1%-4.3% (20-40 therms/year) savings for storage and hybrid water heater combi systems operated in moderate-load homes.

  3. Microinjection molding of microsystem components: new aspects in improving performance

    Yang, Can; Yin, Xiao-Hong; Cheng, Guang-Ming

    2013-01-01

    Microinjection molding (µIM) is considered to be one of the most flexible, reliable and cost effective manufacturing routes to form plastic micro-components for microsystems. The molding machine, mold tool fabrication, material selection and process controlling in this specific field have been greatly developed over the past decades. This review aims to present the new trends towards improving micro-component performance by reviewing the latest developments in this area and by considering potential directions. The key concerns in product and mold designing, essential factors in simulation, and micro-morphology and resultant properties are evaluated and discussed. In addition, the applications, variant processes and outlook for µIM are presented. Throughout this review, decisive considerations in seeking improved performance for microsystem components are highlighted. (topical review)

  4. An Accurate Link Correlation Estimator for Improving Wireless Protocol Performance

    Zhao, Zhiwei; Xu, Xianghua; Dong, Wei; Bu, Jiajun

    2015-01-01

    Wireless link correlation has shown significant impact on the performance of various sensor network protocols. Many works have been devoted to exploiting link correlation for protocol improvements. However, the effectiveness of these designs heavily relies on the accuracy of link correlation measurement. In this paper, we investigate state-of-the-art link correlation measurement and analyze the limitations of existing works. We then propose a novel lightweight and accurate link correlation estimation (LACE) approach based on the reasoning of link correlation formation. LACE combines both long-term and short-term link behaviors for link correlation estimation. We implement LACE as a stand-alone interface in TinyOS and incorporate it into both routing and flooding protocols. Simulation and testbed results show that LACE: (1) achieves more accurate and lightweight link correlation measurements than the state-of-the-art work; and (2) greatly improves the performance of protocols exploiting link correlation. PMID:25686314

  5. On analyzing colour constancy approach for improving SURF detector performance

    Zulkiey, Mohd Asyraf; Zaki, Wan Mimi Diyana Wan; Hussain, Aini; Mustafa, Mohd. Marzuki

    2012-04-01

    Robust key point detector plays a crucial role in obtaining a good tracking feature. The main challenge in outdoor tracking is the illumination change due to various reasons such as weather fluctuation and occlusion. This paper approaches the illumination change problem by transforming the input image through colour constancy algorithm before applying the SURF detector. Masked grey world approach is chosen because of its ability to perform well under local as well as global illumination change. Every image is transformed to imitate the canonical illuminant and Gaussian distribution is used to model the global change. The simulation results show that the average number of detected key points have increased by 69.92%. Moreover, the average of improved performance cases far out weight the degradation case where the former is improved by 215.23%. The approach is suitable for tracking implementation where sudden illumination occurs frequently and robust key point detection is needed.

  6. MALDI-TOF MS performance compared to direct examination, culture, and 16S rDNA PCR for the rapid diagnosis of bone and joint infections.

    Lallemand, E; Coiffier, G; Arvieux, C; Brillet, E; Guggenbuhl, P; Jolivet-Gougeon, A

    2016-05-01

    The rapid identification of bacterial species involved in bone and joint infections (BJI) is an important element to optimize the diagnosis and care of patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for the rapid diagnosis of bone infections, directly on synovial fluid (SF) or on crushed osteoarticular samples (CS). From January to October 2013, we prospectively analyzed 111 osteoarticular samples (bone and joint samples, BJS) from 78 patients in care at the University Hospital of Rennes, France. The diagnosis procedure leading to the sample collection was linked to a suspicion of infection, inflammatory disease, arthritis, or for any bone or joint abnormalities. Standard bacteriological diagnosis and molecular biology analysis [16S rRNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing] were conducted. In addition, analysis by MALDI-TOF MS was performed directly on the osteoarticular samples, as soon as the amount allowed. Culture, which remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of BJI, has the highest sensitivity (85.9 %) and remains necessary to test antimicrobial susceptibility. The 16S rDNA PCR results were positive in the group with positive BJI (28.6 %) and negative in the group without infection. Direct examination remains insensitive (31.7 %) but more effective than MALDI-TOF MS directly on the sample (6.3 %). The specificity was 100 % in all cases, except for culture (74.5 %). Bacterial culture remains the gold standard, especially enrichment in blood bottles. Direct analysis of bone samples with MALDI-TOF MS is not useful, possibly due to the low inoculum of BJS.

  7. Cooling improves the writing performance of patients with writer's cramp.

    Pohl, Christoph; Happe, Jörg; Klockgether, Thomas

    2002-11-01

    Cooling of hand and forearm muscles by immersion in 15 degrees C cold water for 5 minutes improved the writing performance of patients with writer's cramp. Since abnormal processing of muscle spindle afferent discharges contributes to the pathology of writer's cramp, this effect might result from a reduction in muscle spindle activity by lowering muscle temperature. Cooling is a simple, cheap, and safe procedure, providing temporary relief for patients with writer's cramp. Copyright 2002 Movement Disorder Society

  8. Deep Recurrent Convolutional Neural Network: Improving Performance For Speech Recognition

    Zhang, Zewang; Sun, Zheng; Liu, Jiaqi; Chen, Jingwen; Huo, Zhao; Zhang, Xiao

    2016-01-01

    A deep learning approach has been widely applied in sequence modeling problems. In terms of automatic speech recognition (ASR), its performance has significantly been improved by increasing large speech corpus and deeper neural network. Especially, recurrent neural network and deep convolutional neural network have been applied in ASR successfully. Given the arising problem of training speed, we build a novel deep recurrent convolutional network for acoustic modeling and then apply deep resid...

  9. Sensorimotor Adaptability Training Improves Motor and Dual-Task Performance

    Bloomberg, J.J.; Peters, B.T.; Mulavara, A.P.; Brady, R.; Batson, C.; Cohen, H.S.

    2009-01-01

    The overall objective of our project is to develop a sensorimotor adaptability (SA) training program designed to facilitate recovery of functional capabilities when astronauts transition to different gravitational environments. The goal of our current study was to determine if SA training using variation in visual flow and support surface motion produces improved performance in a novel sensory environment and demonstrate the retention characteristics of SA training.

  10. A collaborative brain-computer interface for improving human performance.

    Yijun Wang

    Full Text Available Electroencephalogram (EEG based brain-computer interfaces (BCI have been studied since the 1970s. Currently, the main focus of BCI research lies on the clinical use, which aims to provide a new communication channel to patients with motor disabilities to improve their quality of life. However, the BCI technology can also be used to improve human performance for normal healthy users. Although this application has been proposed for a long time, little progress has been made in real-world practices due to technical limits of EEG. To overcome the bottleneck of low single-user BCI performance, this study proposes a collaborative paradigm to improve overall BCI performance by integrating information from multiple users. To test the feasibility of a collaborative BCI, this study quantitatively compares the classification accuracies of collaborative and single-user BCI applied to the EEG data collected from 20 subjects in a movement-planning experiment. This study also explores three different methods for fusing and analyzing EEG data from multiple subjects: (1 Event-related potentials (ERP averaging, (2 Feature concatenating, and (3 Voting. In a demonstration system using the Voting method, the classification accuracy of predicting movement directions (reaching left vs. reaching right was enhanced substantially from 66% to 80%, 88%, 93%, and 95% as the numbers of subjects increased from 1 to 5, 10, 15, and 20, respectively. Furthermore, the decision of reaching direction could be made around 100-250 ms earlier than the subject's actual motor response by decoding the ERP activities arising mainly from the posterior parietal cortex (PPC, which are related to the processing of visuomotor transmission. Taken together, these results suggest that a collaborative BCI can effectively fuse brain activities of a group of people to improve the overall performance of natural human behavior.

  11. Improving performance and reducing costs of cooling towers

    Bartz, J.A.

    1992-01-01

    Cooling towers represent a significant capital investment at a steam electric power station. In addition, deficiencies in thermal performance can result in major operating penalties of fuel cost, replacement energy, and capacity addition. This paper summarizes two recent EPRI research projects aimed at reducing thermal performance deficiencies and decreasing installed costs of evaporative cooling towers. First, EPRI Research Project 2113, Cooling Tower Performance Prediction and Improvement, is summarized. This project has resulted in published data sets on the measured thermal performance characteristics of a variety of cooling tower packings, computer codes to predict tower performance, and computer code validation through large-scale tower performance measurements. Principal results are contained in an EPRIGEMS software module, Cooling Tower Advisor. This PC- based software contains a tutorial plus codes to predict tower thermal performance, arranged in a user-friendly format. The second EPRI effort, Research Project 2819-10/11, Fabric Structures for Power Plant Applications, has resulted in designs and costs of large structures with shells constructed of recently-developed fabrics. Primary power plant applications for such structures are the shells of natural draft cooling towers and coal-pile covers. Fabric structures offer low initial cost, acceptable life, and seismic superiority, among other advantages. Detailed conceptual designs and installed cost data are reviewed. 8 refs., 9 figs., 3 tabs

  12. Clinical performance improvement series. Classic CQI integrated with comprehensive disease management as a model for performance improvement.

    Joshi, M S; Bernard, D B

    1999-08-01

    In recent years, health and disease management has emerged as an effective means of delivering, integrating, and improving care through a population-based approach. Since 1997 the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) has utilized the key principles and components of continuous quality improvement (CQI) and disease management to form a model for health care improvement that focuses on designing best practices, using best practices to influence clinical decision making, changing processes and systems to deploy and deliver best practices, and measuring outcomes to improve the process. Experience with 28 programs and more than 14,000 patients indicates significant improvement in outcomes, including high physician satisfaction, increased patient satisfaction, reduced costs, and improved clinical process and outcome measures across multiple diseases. DIABETES DISEASE MANAGEMENT: In three months a UPHS multidisciplinary diabetes disease management team developed a best practice approach for the treatment of all patients with diabetes in the UPHS. After the program was pilot tested in three primary care physician sites, it was then introduced progressively to additional practice sites throughout the health system. The establishment of the role of the diabetes nurse care managers (certified diabetes educators) was central to successful program deployment. Office-based coordinators ensure incorporation of the best practice protocols into routine flow processes. A disease management intranet disseminates programs electronically. Outcomes of the UPHS health and disease management programs so far demonstrate success across multiple dimensions of performance-service, clinical quality, access, and value. The task of health care leadership today is to remove barriers and enable effective implementation of key strategies, such as health and disease management. Substantial effort and resources must be dedicated to gain physician buy-in and achieve compliance. The

  13. Improvement of sludge removal performance for steam generators

    Nishida, K.; Sakai, K.; Ito, H.; Tanahashi, A.; Nakao, F.

    2002-01-01

    Scale, mainly consisting of magnetite, flows on the secondary side of steam generators (SGs), causing the formation of concentrations of impurities on the tubesheet (TS), increasing the fouling of tube heat transfer, and blocking the broached egg crates (BEC) on the tube support plates (TSP). Accumulation of sludge on the tubesheet forms environment in which impurities are highly concentrated on the tubes. And we have experienced tube degradation, in the past, from the concentration of impurities. In Japan, the first tubesheet sludge lancing, via water jets, was done at the Mihama-2 plant in 1975. And that is why this pile sludge becomes hard depending on time, removal made an effort toward removal with CECIL* (in bundle cleaning system) us very difficulty. However, sludge remained in localized areas and it had possibility of concentration. So that we improve the CECIL for the purpose of removing it, and we improved removal performance of the device. In addition to the improvement of CECIL, we install a sludge collector in order to decrease accumulation of sludge on the tubesheet. This paper introduces these improvements in sludge removal performance. (authors)

  14. Performance Improvement of Solar Water Stills by Using Reflectors

    Humphrey Hamusonde Maambo

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The lack of safe and clean drinking water sources is one of the problems faced in most rural communities in Zambia. Water in these communities is mostly obtained from shallow wells and rivers. However, this water might be potentially contaminated with harmful substances such as pathogenic bacteria and therefore, unsafe for drinking. Solar water distillation represents an important alternative to palliate problems of fresh water shortages. Solar water stills can be used to eliminate harmful substances from contaminated water by treating it using free solar energy before it can be consumed. Therefore, there is a need to improve solar still performance to produce a greater quantity of safe drinking water. One possible method to improve performance is through adding reflectors to solar stills. Reflectors improve performance by increasing the quantity of distillate by about 22.3 % at a water depth of 15 mm and about 2 9% at a water depth of 10 mm when compared to the distillate produced from a still without reflectors. The water produced using solar stills with reflectors was tested and adhered to World Health Organization (WHO drinking water standards. This implies that solar distillation with reflectors could be adopted at a larger scale to produce safer drinking water at a reduced cost.

  15. Undergraduate medical academic performance is improved by scientific training.

    Zhang, Lili; Zhang, Wei; Wu, Chong; Liu, Zhongming; Cai, Yunfei; Cao, Xingguo; He, Yushan; Liu, Guoxiang; Miao, Hongming

    2017-09-01

    The effect of scientific training on course learning in undergraduates is still controversial. In this study, we investigated the academic performance of undergraduate students with and without scientific training. The results show that scientific training improves students' test scores in general medical courses, such as biochemistry and molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, and even English. We classified scientific training into four levels. We found that literature reading could significantly improve students' test scores in general courses. Students who received scientific training carried out experiments more effectively and published articles performed better than their untrained counterparts in biochemistry and molecular biology examinations. The questionnaire survey demonstrated that the trained students were more confident of their course learning, and displayed more interest, motivation and capability in course learning. In summary, undergraduate academic performance is improved by scientific training. Our findings shed light on the novel strategies in the management of undergraduate education in the medical school. © 2017 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 45(5):379-384, 2017. © 2017 The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

  16. Integrating patient satisfaction into performance measurement to meet improvement challenges.

    Smith, J E; Fisher, D L; Endorf-Olson, J J

    2000-05-01

    A Value Compass has been proposed to guide health care data collection. The "compass corners" represent the four types of data needed to meet health care customer expectations: appropriate clinical outcomes, improved functional status, patient satisfaction, and appropriate costs. Collection of all four types of data is necessary to select processes in need of improvement, guide improvement teams, and monitor the success of improvement efforts. INTEGRATED DATA AT BRYANLGH: BryanLGH Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, has adopted multiple performance measurement systems to collect clinical outcome, financial, and patient satisfaction data into integrated databases. Data integration allows quality professionals at BryanLGH to identify quality issues from multiple perspectives and track the interrelated effects of improvement efforts. A CASE EXAMPLE: Data from the fourth quarter of 1997 indicated the need to improve processes related to cesarean section (C-section) deliveries. An interdisciplinary team was formed, which focused on educating nurses, physicians, and the community about labor support measures. Physicians were given their own rates of C-section deliveries. The C-section rate decreased from 27% to 19%, but per-case cost increased. PickerPLUS+ results indicated that BryanLGH obstetric patients reported fewer problems with receiving information than the Picker norm, but they reported more problems with the involvement of family members and friends. The data collected so far have indicated a decrease in the C-section rate and a need to continue to work on cost and psychosocial issues. A complete analysis of results was facilitated by integrated performance management systems. Successes have been easily tracked over time, and the need for further work on related processes has been clearly identified.

  17. Alpha neurofeedback training improves SSVEP-based BCI performance

    Wan, Feng; Nuno da Cruz, Janir; Nan, Wenya; Wong, Chi Man; Vai, Mang I.; Rosa, Agostinho

    2016-06-01

    Objective. Steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP)-based brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) can provide relatively easy, reliable and high speed communication. However, the performance is still not satisfactory, especially in some users who are not able to generate strong enough SSVEP signals. This work aims to strengthen a user’s SSVEP by alpha down-regulating neurofeedback training (NFT) and consequently improve the performance of the user in using SSVEP-based BCIs. Approach. An experiment with two steps was designed and conducted. The first step was to investigate the relationship between the resting alpha activity and the SSVEP-based BCI performance, in order to determine the training parameter for the NFT. Then in the second step, half of the subjects with ‘low’ performance (i.e. BCI classification accuracy <80%) were randomly assigned to a NFT group to perform a real-time NFT, and the rest half to a non-NFT control group for comparison. Main results. The first step revealed a significant negative correlation between the BCI performance and the individual alpha band (IAB) amplitudes in the eyes-open resting condition in a total of 33 subjects. In the second step, it was found that during the IAB down-regulating NFT, on average the subjects were able to successfully decrease their IAB amplitude over training sessions. More importantly, the NFT group showed an average increase of 16.5% in the SSVEP signal SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) and an average increase of 20.3% in the BCI classification accuracy, which was significant compared to the non-NFT control group. Significance. These findings indicate that the alpha down-regulating NFT can be used to improve the SSVEP signal quality and the subjects’ performance in using SSVEP-based BCIs. It could be helpful to the SSVEP related studies and would contribute to more effective SSVEP-based BCI applications.

  18. Clinical audit training improves undergraduates' performance in root canal therapy.

    Fong, J Y M; Tan, V J H; Lee, J R; Tong, Z G M; Foong, Y K; Tan, J M E; Parolia, A; Pau, A

    2017-12-20

    To evaluate the effectiveness of clinical audit-feedback cycle as an educational tool in improving the technical quality of root canal therapy (RCT) and compliance with record keeping performed by dental undergraduates. Clinical audit learning was introduced in Year 3 of a 5-year curriculum for dental undergraduates. During classroom activities, students were briefed on clinical audit, selected their audit topics in groups of 5 or 6 students, and prepared and presented their audit protocols. One chosen topic was RCT, in which 3 different cohorts of Year 3 students conducted retrospective audits of patients' records in 2012, 2014 and 2015 for their compliance with recommended record keeping criteria and their performance in RCT. Students were trained by and calibrated against an endodontist (κ ≥ 0.8). After each audit, the findings were reported in class, and recommendations were made for improvement in performance of RCT and record keeping. Students' compliance with published guidelines was presented and their RCT performances in each year were compared using the chi-square test. Overall compliance with of record keeping guidelines was 44.1% in 2012, 79.6% in 2014 and 94.6% in 2015 (P = .001). In the 2012 audit, acceptable extension, condensation and the absence of mishap were observed in 72.4, 75.7% and 91.5%; in the 2014 audit, 95.1%, 64.8% and 51.4%; and in 2015 audit, 96.4%, 82.1% and 92.8% of cases, respectively. In 2015, 76.8% of root canal fillings met all 3 technical quality criteria when compared to 48.6% in 2014 and 44.7% in 2012 (P = .001). Clinical audit-feedback cycle is an effective educational tool for improving dental undergraduates' compliance with record keeping and performance in the technical quality of RCT. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Using Shadow Page Cache to Improve Isolated Drivers Performance

    Hao Zheng

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available With the advantage of the reusability property of the virtualization technology, users can reuse various types and versions of existing operating systems and drivers in a virtual machine, so as to customize their application environment. In order to prevent users’ virtualization environments being impacted by driver faults in virtual machine, Chariot examines the correctness of driver’s write operations by the method of combining a driver’s write operation capture and a driver’s private access control table. However, this method needs to keep the write permission of shadow page table as read-only, so as to capture isolated driver’s write operations through page faults, which adversely affect the performance of the driver. Based on delaying setting frequently used shadow pages’ write permissions to read-only, this paper proposes an algorithm using shadow page cache to improve the performance of isolated drivers and carefully study the relationship between the performance of drivers and the size of shadow page cache. Experimental results show that, through the shadow page cache, the performance of isolated drivers can be greatly improved without impacting Chariot’s reliability too much.

  20. Using shadow page cache to improve isolated drivers performance.

    Zheng, Hao; Dong, Xiaoshe; Wang, Endong; Chen, Baoke; Zhu, Zhengdong; Liu, Chengzhe

    2015-01-01

    With the advantage of the reusability property of the virtualization technology, users can reuse various types and versions of existing operating systems and drivers in a virtual machine, so as to customize their application environment. In order to prevent users' virtualization environments being impacted by driver faults in virtual machine, Chariot examines the correctness of driver's write operations by the method of combining a driver's write operation capture and a driver's private access control table. However, this method needs to keep the write permission of shadow page table as read-only, so as to capture isolated driver's write operations through page faults, which adversely affect the performance of the driver. Based on delaying setting frequently used shadow pages' write permissions to read-only, this paper proposes an algorithm using shadow page cache to improve the performance of isolated drivers and carefully study the relationship between the performance of drivers and the size of shadow page cache. Experimental results show that, through the shadow page cache, the performance of isolated drivers can be greatly improved without impacting Chariot's reliability too much.

  1. Engaging clinical nurses in quality and performance improvement activities.

    Albanese, Madeline P; Evans, Dietra A; Schantz, Cathy A; Bowen, Margaret; Disbot, Maureen; Moffa, Joseph S; Piesieski, Patricia; Polomano, Rosemary C

    2010-01-01

    Nursing performance measures are an integral part of quality initiatives in acute care; however, organizations face numerous challenges in developing infrastructures to support quality improvement processes and timely dissemination of outcomes data. At the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, a Magnet-designated organization, extensive work has been conducted to incorporate nursing-related outcomes in the organization's quality plan and to integrate roles for clinical nurses into the Department of Nursing and organization's core performance-based programs. Content and strategies that promote active involvement of nurses and prepare them to be competent and confident stakeholders in quality initiatives are presented. Engaging clinical nurses in the work of quality and performance improvement is essential to achieving excellence in clinical care. It is important to have structures and processes in place to bring meaningful data to the bedside; however, it is equally important to incorporate outcomes into practice. When nurses are educated about performance and quality measures, are engaged in identifying outcomes and collecting meaningful data, are active participants in disseminating quality reports, and are able to recognize the value of these activities, data become one with practice.

  2. Elasticity improves handgrip performance and user experience during visuomotor control.

    Mace, Michael; Rinne, Paul; Liardon, Jean-Luc; Uhomoibhi, Catherine; Bentley, Paul; Burdet, Etienne

    2017-02-01

    Passive rehabilitation devices, providing motivation and feedback, potentially offer an automated and low-cost therapy method, and can be used as simple human-machine interfaces. Here, we ask whether there is any advantage for a hand-training device to be elastic, as opposed to rigid, in terms of performance and preference. To address this question, we have developed a highly sensitive and portable digital handgrip, promoting independent and repetitive rehabilitation of grasp function based around a novel elastic force and position sensing structure. A usability study was performed on 66 healthy subjects to assess the effect of elastic versus rigid handgrip control during various visuomotor tracking tasks. The results indicate that, for tasks relying either on feedforward or on feedback control, novice users perform significantly better with the elastic handgrip, compared with the rigid equivalent (11% relative improvement, 9-14% mean range; p  training devices.

  3. Audits and their effectiveness in improving plant performance

    Callen, L.J.

    1986-01-01

    For several years, the NRC's performance appraisal teams (PATs) have been assessing the effectiveness of the various audit programs established by operating nuclear power plants. A major focus of the PAT assessments is on the audit programs mandated by 10 CFR, technical specifications, industry codes and standards, and NRC operating license conditions. These audits are typically performed by a plant's quality assurance organization, and program oversight is often provided at the corporate level by a safety review committee. The scope of these audit programs is broad, typically including such functional areas as maintenance, operations, health physics, emergency preparedness, training, procurement, and security. For an audit program to be truly effective in improving plant performance beyond the minimum level established by regulatory requirements, the audits must first be effective in identifying deficiencies that go beyond minimum regulatory requirements. The PAT experience to date is that typical industry audit programs are not designed to identify these types of deficiencies

  4. Multi-focal Vision and Gaze Control Improve Navigation Performance

    Kolja Kuehnlenz

    2008-11-01

    Full Text Available Multi-focal vision systems comprise cameras with various fields of view and measurement accuracies. This article presents a multi-focal approach to localization and mapping of mobile robots with active vision. An implementation of the novel concept is done considering a humanoid robot navigation scenario where the robot is visually guided through a structured environment with several landmarks. Various embodiments of multi-focal vision systems are investigated and the impact on navigation performance is evaluated in comparison to a conventional mono-focal stereo set-up. The comparative studies clearly show the benefits of multi-focal vision for mobile robot navigation: flexibility to assign the different available sensors optimally in each situation, enhancement of the visible field, higher localization accuracy, and, thus, better task performance, i.e. path following behavior of the mobile robot. It is shown that multi-focal vision may strongly improve navigation performance.

  5. Improved rate control for electron-beam evaporation and evaluation of optical performance improvements.

    Gevelber, Michael; Xu, Bing; Smith, Douglas

    2006-03-01

    A new deposition-rate-control and electron-beam-gun (e-gun) strategy was developed that significantly reduces the growth-rate variations for e-beam-deposited SiO2 coatings. The resulting improvements in optical performance are evaluated for multilayer bandpass filters. The adverse effect of uneven silica-source depletion on coating spectral performances during long deposition runs is discussed.

  6. Perspectives on containment performance improvement based on the IPEs

    Lehner, J.R.; Lin, C.C.; Pratt, W.T. [Brookhaven National Lab., Upton, NY (United States)] [and others

    1995-04-01

    Generic Letter 88-20, {open_quotes}Individual Plant Examination (IPE) for Severe Accident Vulnerabilities - 10CFR 50.54(f),{close_quotes} was issued by the NRC on November 23, 1988. In addition to assessing the core damage frequency from severe accidents, licensees were requested to report the results of their analyses regarding containment performance. Supplements to the Generic Letter forwarded technical insights obtained by the NRC staff through its Containment Performance Improvement (CPI) program. At this time, most of the IPEs have been submitted by the licensees. In a follow-on effort to support regulatory activities, the NRC staff with assistance from Brookhaven National Laboratory, has initiated a program involving a global examination of the containment performance results documented in the IPEs. The objective is to identify insights of potential generic safety significance relative to plant design, operation and maintenance, as well as to assess response to the previously forwarded CPI insights. The containment performance results of the IPEs are being categorized for commonalities and differences for different reactor and containment types. Preliminary results show that not only differences in plant design but also the methods, data, boundary conditions, and assumptions used in the different IPEs have a major impact on the containment performance results obtained. This paper presents preliminary results regarding the differences in containment performance observed in the IPEs and discusses some of the underlying reasons for these differences.

  7. Nested-PCR using MPB64 fragment improves the diagnosis of pleural and meningeal tuberculosis Nested-PCR usando o fragmento MPB64 melhora o diagnóstico da tuberculose pleural e meníngea

    Luiz C. Martins

    2000-06-01

    Full Text Available Fluids in which Mycobacterium tuberculosis are seldom found, such as pleural and cerebrospinal liquids, are good candidates to be studied using PCR techniques. We detail our experience with a PCR assay applied to pleural and cerebrospinal fluids using the primer MPB64. Seventy three specimens were analyzed: 30 pleural fluids (PF, 26 pleural biopsies (PB and 17 cerebrospinal fluids (CSF. The gold standard for the diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis was the positive culture for M. tuberculosis in CSF. Tuberculous pleural effusion was diagnosed when cultures of PF and/or PB were positive for M. tuberculosis, or the PB histology showed granulomas. Our results, compared to the gold standards employed, showed a sensitivity of 70%, specificity of 88%, positive predictive value of 82% and negative predictive value of 80%. The high specificity of the MPB64 fragment while still retaining a good sensitivity makes it very well suited for pleural and cerebrospinal tuberculosis diagnosis.O Mycobacterium tuberculosis é raramente encontrado em fluidos como o líquido pleural e o cérebroespinhal, tornando estas localizações de difícil diagnóstico. Apresentamos nossa experiência com uma técnica de PCR aplicada a líquido pleural e cerebroespinhal com o uso do primer MPB64. Sessenta e três espécimes foram analisados: 30 líquidos pleurais (PF, 26 biópsias pleurais (PB e 17 líquidos cerebroespinhais (CSF. O gold standard para o diagnóstico de meningite tuberculosa foi a cultura positiva para M. tuberculosis no CSF. Tuberculose pleural era diagnosticada quando culturas do PF e/ou PB eram positivas para M. tuberculosis, ou a histologia da PB mostrava granulomas. Nossos resultados, comparados aos gold standards empregados, mostram sensitividade de 70%, especificidade de 88%, valor preditivo positivo de 82% e valor preditivo negativo de 80%. A elevada especificidade e boa sensibilidade do fragmento MPB64 o transformam em um bom parâmetro para o diagn

  8. Presence of Spotters Improves Bench Press Performance: A Deception Study.

    Sheridan, Andrew; Marchant, David C; Williams, Emily L; Jones, Hollie S; Hewitt, Phil A; Sparks, S Andy

    2017-10-24

    Sheridan, A, Marchant, DC, Williams, EL, Jones, HS, Hewitt, PA, and Sparks, SA. Presence of spotters improves bench press performance: a deception study. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2017-Resistance exercise is a widely used method of physical training in both recreational exercise and athletic populations. The use of training partners and spotters during resistance exercise is widespread, but little is known about the effect of the presence of these individuals on exercise performance. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effect of spotter presence on bench press performance. Twelve recreationally trained participants (age, 21.3 ± 0.8 years, height, 1.82 ± 0.1 m, and weight, 84.8 ± 11.1 kg) performed 2 trials of 3 sets to failure at 60% of 1 repetition maximum on separate occasions. The 2 trials consisted of spotters being explicitly present or hidden from view (deception). During the trials, total repetitions (reps), total weight lifted, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), and self-efficacy were measured. Total reps and weight lifted were significantly greater with spotters (difference = 4.5 reps, t = 5.68, p < 0.001 and difference = 209.6 kg, t = 5.65, p < 0.001, respectively). Although RPE and local RPE were significantly elevated in the deception trials (difference = 0.78, f = 6.16, p = 0.030 and difference = 0.81, f = 5.89, p = 0.034, respectively), self-efficacy was significantly reduced (difference = 1.58, f = 26.90, p < 0.001). This study demonstrates that resistance exercise is improved by the presence of spotters, which is facilitated by reduced RPE and increased self-efficacy. This has important implications for athletes and clients, who should perform resistance exercise in the proximity of others, to maximize total work performed.

  9. Improved iodine status is associated with improved mental performance of schoolchildren in Benin.

    van den Briel, T; West, C E; Bleichrodt, N; van de Vijver, F J; Ategbo, E A; Hautvast, J G

    2000-11-01

    An adequate iodine supply in utero and shortly after birth is known to be crucial to an individual's physical and mental development. The question of whether iodine supplementation later in life can exert a favorable influence on the mental performance of iodine-deficient populations was addressed in various studies, but with contradictory results. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of an improvement in iodine status on mental and psychomotor performance of schoolchildren (7-11 y) who were moderately to severely iodine deficient. The study, which was originally planned as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled intervention, was carried out in an iodine-deficient population of schoolchildren (n = 196) in northern Benin. As the population began to have access to iodized salt during the 1-y intervention period, the study population was split post hoc-on the basis of urinary iodine concentrations-into a group with improved iodine status and a group with unchanged iodine status. Changes in mental and psychomotor performance over the intervention period were compared. Children with increased urinary iodine concentrations had a significantly greater increase in performance on the combination of mental tests than did the group with no change in urinary iodine concentrations. An improvement in iodine status, rather than iodine status itself, determined mental performance in this population, which was initially iodine deficient. These findings suggest a "catch-up" effect in terms of mental performance.

  10. Performance of two quantitative PCR methods for microbial source tracking of human sewage and implications for microbial risk assessment in recreational waters

    Before new, rapid quantitative PCR (qPCR) methods for recreational water quality assessment and microbial source tracking (MST) can be useful in a regulatory context, an understanding of the ability of the method to detect a DNA target (marker) when the contaminant soure has been...

  11. Performance of PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the Helicobacter pylori ureB gene in differentiating gene variants

    Colding, H; Hartzen, S H; Mohammadi, M

    2003-01-01

    Recently, PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) of the urease genes of Helicobacter pylori was evaluated in a meta-analysis; acceptable discriminatory indices of the ureAB and C genes were found. In the present investigation, we found a discriminatory index of 0.95 for 191...... is comparable to typing of other H. pylori urease genes....

  12. Improving Docking Performance Using Negative Image-Based Rescoring.

    Kurkinen, Sami T; Niinivehmas, Sanna; Ahinko, Mira; Lätti, Sakari; Pentikäinen, Olli T; Postila, Pekka A

    2018-01-01

    Despite the large computational costs of molecular docking, the default scoring functions are often unable to recognize the active hits from the inactive molecules in large-scale virtual screening experiments. Thus, even though a correct binding pose might be sampled during the docking, the active compound or its biologically relevant pose is not necessarily given high enough score to arouse the attention. Various rescoring and post-processing approaches have emerged for improving the docking performance. Here, it is shown that the very early enrichment (number of actives scored higher than 1% of the highest ranked decoys) can be improved on average 2.5-fold or even 8.7-fold by comparing the docking-based ligand conformers directly against the target protein's cavity shape and electrostatics. The similarity comparison of the conformers is performed without geometry optimization against the negative image of the target protein's ligand-binding cavity using the negative image-based (NIB) screening protocol. The viability of the NIB rescoring or the R-NiB, pioneered in this study, was tested with 11 target proteins using benchmark libraries. By focusing on the shape/electrostatics complementarity of the ligand-receptor association, the R-NiB is able to improve the early enrichment of docking essentially without adding to the computing cost. By implementing consensus scoring, in which the R-NiB and the original docking scoring are weighted for optimal outcome, the early enrichment is improved to a level that facilitates effective drug discovery. Moreover, the use of equal weight from the original docking scoring and the R-NiB scoring improves the yield in most cases.

  13. Clinical performance feedback and quality improvement opportunities for perioperative physicians

    Kaye AD

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Alan David Kaye,1 Olutoyin J Okanlawon,2 Richard D Urman21Department of Anesthesiology, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, 2Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston MA, USAAbstract: Clinical performance feedback is an important component of the ongoing development and education of health care practitioners. For physicians, feedback about their clinical practice and outcomes is central to developing both confidence and competence at all stages of their medical careers. Cultural and financial infrastructures need to be in place, and the concept of feedback needs to be readily embraced and encouraged by clinical leadership and other stakeholders. The "buy-in" includes the expectation and view that feedback occurs on a routine basis, and those engaged in the process are both encouraged to participate and held accountable. Feedback must be part of an overarching quality improvement and physician education agenda; it is not meant to be an isolated, fragmented initiative that is typically undermined by lack of resources or systemic barriers to gaining improvement within programs. Effective feedback should be an integral part of clinical practice. Anesthesiologists and other perioperative physicians are identifying specialty-specific indicators that can be used when creating a broader quality improvement agenda. Placing a more immediate formal feedback strategy that focuses on goal-oriented behavior is rapidly becoming a mainstay. Physicians may use their individual feedback reports for reflection and designing personal development plans as lifelong learners and leaders in improving patient care.Keywords: physician education, outcomes measurement, performance improvement, anesthesiology

  14. Performance evaluation of cobas HBV real-time PCR assay on Roche cobas 4800 System in comparison with COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan HBV Test.

    Kim, Hanah; Hur, Mina; Bae, Eunsin; Lee, Kyung-A; Lee, Woo-In

    2018-02-19

    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) is important for the diagnosis and management of HBV infection. We evaluated the analytical performance of the cobas HBV NAAT (Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Mannheim, Germany) on the cobas 4800 System in comparison with COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan HBV Test (CAP/CTM HBV). Precision was evaluated using three levels of cobas HBV/HCV/HIV-1 Control Kit, and linearity was evaluated across the anticipated measuring range (10.0-1.0×109 IU/mL) at seven levels using clinical samples. Detection capability, including limit of blank (LOB), limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantitation (LOQ), was verified using the 4th WHO International Standard for HBV DNA for NAT (NIBSC code: 10/266). Correlation between the two systems was compared using 205 clinical samples (102 sera and 103 EDTA plasma). Repeatability and total imprecision (coefficient of variation) ranged from 0.5% to 3.8% and from 0.5% to 3.5%, respectively. Linearity (coefficient of determination, R2) was 0.999. LOB, LOD and LOQ were all acceptable within the observed proportion rate (85%). Correlation was very high between the two systems in both serum and plasma samples (correlation coefficient [r]=0.995). The new cobas HBV real-time PCR assay on the cobas 4800 System showed reliable analytical performances.

  15. Implementation of renal key performance indicators: promoting improved clinical practice.

    Toussaint, Nigel D; McMahon, Lawrence P; Dowling, Gregory; Soding, Jenny; Safe, Maria; Knight, Richard; Fair, Kathleen; Linehan, Leanne; Walker, Rowan G; Power, David A

    2015-03-01

    In the Australian state of Victoria, the Renal Health Clinical Network (RHCN) of the Department of Health Victoria established a Renal Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Working Group in 2011. The group developed four KPIs related to chronic kidney disease and dialysis. A transplant working group of the RHCN developed two additional KPIs. The aim was to develop clinical indicators to measure performance of renal services to drive service improvement. A data collection and benchmarking programme was established, with data provided monthly to the Department using a purpose-designed website portal. The KPI Working Group is responsible for analysing data each quarter and ensuring indicators remain accurate and relevant. Each indicator has clear definitions and targets, and assess (i) patient education, (ii) timely creation of vascular access for haemodialysis, (iii) proportion of patients dialysing at home, (iv) incidence of dialysis-related peritonitis, (v) incidence of pre-emptive renal transplantation, and (vi) timely listing of patients for deceased donor transplantation. Most KPIs have demonstrated improved performance over time with limited gains notably in two: the proportion of patients dialysing at home (KPI 3) and timely listing patients for transplantation (KPI 6). KPI implementation has been established in Victoria for 2 years, providing performance data without additional funding. The six Victorian KPIs are measurable, relevant and modifiable, and implementation relies on enthusiasm and goodwill of physicians and nurses involved in collecting data. The KPIs require further evaluation, but adoption of a similar programme by other jurisdictions could lead to improved national outcomes. © 2014 Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology.

  16. Towards Effective Educational Politics through Improving the Performance Measurement System

    Tuuli Reisberg

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Educational field is impelled to increase performance and quality, financial discipline, strategic behaviour and its goals in order to enhance “effectiveness”. As a result the incorporation of private sector management practices into the educational field is taking place. But it is important to notice that a proliferation of private managerial practices into the educational field goes along with a conflict-laden and contradictory process. Education provides an important area of implementation for techniques of performance evaluation aimed at improving the performance of public services. One of the most common conceptual frameworks in measuring organisational performance takes the form of a production function where the educational institution is seen as analogous to a company transforming inputs into outputs and outcomes through a production process. But the problems and the vagueness in determining educational system’s inputs, outputs and outcomes cause difficulties in making political decisions and that is why clear policy prescriptions have been difficult to derive. The purpose of this article is to create a discussion whether performance measurement should be a part of decision-making in educational politics. The authors debate about incorporating private sector management practices into the educational field. The debate is based on the example of evaluating the social impact in the educational field and the performance of teachers’ work in the educational system. The article consists of three parts. Firstly, the theoretical background of the performance measurement in educational field is discussed. Secondly, the important criteria for performance measurement design and political issues are argued. Thirdly, the evaluated shortcomings in Estonian educational organisations, which restrict them to be effective, are brought out. Relieving some of these shortcomings could be in authority of Estonian educational politics.

  17. Improving the photovoltaic performance of perovskite solar cells with acetate

    Zhao, Qian; Li, G. R.; Song, Jian; Zhao, Yulong; Qiang, Yinghuai; Gao, X. P.

    2016-01-01

    In an all-solid-state perovskite solar cell, methylammonium lead halide film is in charge of generating photo-excited electrons, thus its quality can directly influence the final photovoltaic performance of the solar cell. This paper accentuates a very simple chemical approach to improving the quality of a perovskite film with a suitable amount of acetic acid. With introduction of acetate ions, a homogeneous, continual and hole-free perovskite film comprised of high-crystallinity grains is obtained. UV-visible spectra, steady-state and time-resolved photoluminescence (PL) spectra reveal that the obtained perovskite film under the optimized conditions shows a higher light absorption, more efficient electron transport, and faster electron extraction to the adjoining electron transport layer. The features result in the optimized perovskite film can provide an improved short-circuit current. The corresponding solar cells with a planar configuration achieves an improved power conversion efficiency of 13.80%, and the highest power conversion efficiency in the photovoltaic measurements is up to 14.71%. The results not only provide a simple approach to optimizing perovskite films but also present a novel angle of view on fabricating high-performance perovskite solar cells. PMID:27934924

  18. Towards improving construction labor productivity and projects’ performance

    Mostafa E. Shehata

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Proper management of resources in construction projects can yield substantial savings in time and cost. As construction is a labor-intensive industry, this paper focuses on labor productivity in the construction industry. This study considers the current state-of-the-art issues relevant to this subject. It covers the construction labor productivity definitions, aspects, measurements, factors affecting it, different techniques used for measuring it and modeling techniques. The main outcome from the literature is that there is no standard definition of productivity. This study provides a guide for necessary steps required to improve construction labor productivity and consequently, the project performance. It can help improve the overall performance of construction projects through the implementation of the concept of benchmarks. Also, it gives an up to date concept of loss of productivity measurement for construction productivity claims. Two major case studies, from the literature, are presented to show construction labor productivity rates, factors affecting construction labor productivity and how to improve it.

  19. Improving the photovoltaic performance of perovskite solar cells with acetate.

    Zhao, Qian; Li, G R; Song, Jian; Zhao, Yulong; Qiang, Yinghuai; Gao, X P

    2016-12-09

    In an all-solid-state perovskite solar cell, methylammonium lead halide film is in charge of generating photo-excited electrons, thus its quality can directly influence the final photovoltaic performance of the solar cell. This paper accentuates a very simple chemical approach to improving the quality of a perovskite film with a suitable amount of acetic acid. With introduction of acetate ions, a homogeneous, continual and hole-free perovskite film comprised of high-crystallinity grains is obtained. UV-visible spectra, steady-state and time-resolved photoluminescence (PL) spectra reveal that the obtained perovskite film under the optimized conditions shows a higher light absorption, more efficient electron transport, and faster electron extraction to the adjoining electron transport layer. The features result in the optimized perovskite film can provide an improved short-circuit current. The corresponding solar cells with a planar configuration achieves an improved power conversion efficiency of 13.80%, and the highest power conversion efficiency in the photovoltaic measurements is up to 14.71%. The results not only provide a simple approach to optimizing perovskite films but also present a novel angle of view on fabricating high-performance perovskite solar cells.

  20. Anesthesia report card - a customizable tool for performance improvement.

    Peccora, Christian D; Gimlich, Robert; Cornell, Richard P; Vacanti, Charles A; Ehrenfeld, Jesse M; Urman, Richard D

    2014-09-01

    Measuring and providing performance feedback to physicians has gained momentum not only as a way to comply with regulatory requirements, but also as a way to improve patient care. Measurement of structural, process, and outcome metrics in a reliable, evidence-based, specialty-specific manner maximizes the probability of improving physician performance. The manner in which feedback is provided influences whether the measurement tool will be successful in changing behavior. We created an innovative reporting tool template for anesthesiology practitioners designed to provide detailed, continuous feedback covering many aspects of clinical practice. The literature regarding quality metric measurement and feedback strategies was examined to design a reporting tool that could provide high quality information and result in improved performance of clinical and academic tasks. A committee of department leaders and information technology professionals was tasked with determining the measurement criteria and infrastructure needed to generate these reports. Data was collected in a systematic, unbiased manner, and reports were populated with information from multiple databases and software systems. Feedback would be based on frequently updated information and allow for analysis of historical performance as well as comparison amongst peers. A template for an anesthesia report card was created. Categories included compliance, credentialing and qualifications, education, clinical and operating room responsibilities, and academic achievements. Physicians were able to choose to be evaluated in some of the categories and had to meet a minimum number of criteria within each category. This allowed for customization to each practitioner's practice. Criteria were derived from the measures of academic and clinical proficiency, as well as quality metrics. Criteria were objective measures and data gathering was often automated. Reports could be generated that were updated daily and provided

  1. The impact of multi-criteria performance measurement on business performance improvement

    Fentahun Moges Kasie

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between multi-criteria performance measurement (MCPM practice and business performance improvement using the raw data collected from 33 selected manufacturing companies. In addition, it proposes modified MCPM model as an effective approach to improve business performance of manufacturing companies. Design/methodology/approach:Research paper. Primary and secondary data were collected using questionnaire survey, interview and observation of records. The methodology is to evaluate business performances of sampled manufacturing companies and the extent of utilization of crucial non-financial (lagging and non-financial (leading performance measures. The positive correlation between financial business performance and practice of MCPM is clearly shown using Pearson’s correlation coefficient analysis. Findings –This research paper indicates that companies which measure their performance using important financial and non-financial measures achieve better business performance. Even though certain companies are currently using non-financial measures, the researchers have learned that these financial measures were not integrated with each other, financial measures and strategic objectives. Research limitations/implications: The limitation of this paper is that the number of surveyed companies is small to make generalization and they are found in a single country. Further researches which incorporate a large number of companies from various developing nations are suggested to minimize the limitation of this research.Practical Implication: The paper shows that multi-dimensional performance measures with the inclusion of key leading indicator are essential to predict the future environment. But cost-accounting based financial measures are inadequate to do so. These are shown practically using Pearson’s correlation coefficient analysis. Originality/value: The significance of multi

  2. New MEA Materials for Improved DMFC Performance, Durability and Cost

    Fletcher, James H. [University of North Florida; Campbell, Joseph L. [University of North Florida; Cox, Philip [University of North Florida; Harrington, William J. [University of North Florida

    2013-09-16

    Abstract Project Title: New MEA Materials for Improved DMFC Performance, Durability and Cost The University of North Florida (UNF)--with project partners the University of Florida, Northeastern University, and Johnson Matthey--has recently completed the Department of Energy (DOE) project entitled “New MEA Materials for Improved DMFC Performance, Durability and Cost”. The primary objective of the project was to advance portable fuel cell MEA technology towards the commercial targets as laid out in the DOE R&D roadmap by developing a passive water recovery MEA (membrane electrode assembly). Developers at the University of North Florida identified water management components as an insurmountable barrier to achieving the required system size and weight necessary to achieve the energy density requirements of small portable power applications. UNF developed an innovative “passive water recovery” MEA for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) which provides a path to system simplification and optimization. The passive water recovery MEA incorporates a hydrophobic, porous, barrier layer within the cathode electrode, so that capillary pressure forces the water produced at the cathode through holes in the membrane and back to the anode. By directly transferring the water from the cathode to the anode, the balance of plant is very much simplified and the need for heavy, bulky water recovery components is eliminated. At the heart of the passive water recovery MEA is the UNF DM-1 membrane that utilizes a hydrocarbon structure to optimize performance in a DMFC system. The membrane has inherent performance advantages, such as a low methanol crossover (high overall efficiency), while maintaining a high proton conductivity (good electrochemical efficiency) when compared to perfluorinated sulfonic acid membranes such as Nafion. Critically, the membrane provides an extremely low electro-osmotic drag coefficient of approximately one water molecule per proton (versus the 2-3 for

  3. Lean methodology for performance improvement in the trauma discharge process.

    O'Mara, Michael Shaymus; Ramaniuk, Aliaksandr; Graymire, Vickie; Rozzell, Monica; Martin, Stacey

    2014-07-01

    High-volume, complex services such as trauma and acute care surgery are at risk for inefficiency. Lean process improvement can reduce health care waste. Lean allows a structured look at processes not easily amenable to analysis. We applied lean methodology to the current state of communication and discharge planning on an urban trauma service, citing areas for improvement. A lean process mapping event was held. The process map was used to identify areas for immediate analysis and intervention-defining metrics for the stakeholders. After intervention, new performance was assessed by direct data evaluation. The process was completed with an analysis of effect and plans made for addressing future focus areas. The primary area of concern identified was interservice communication. Changes centering on a standardized morning report structure reduced the number of consult questions unanswered from 67% to 34% (p = 0.0021). Physical therapy rework was reduced from 35% to 19% (p = 0.016). Patients admitted to units not designated to the trauma service had 1.6 times longer stays (p miscommunication exists around patient education at discharge. Lean process improvement is a viable means of health care analysis. When applied to a trauma service with 4,000 admissions annually, lean identifies areas ripe for improvement. Our inefficiencies surrounded communication and patient localization. Strategies arising from the input of all stakeholders led to real solutions for communication through a face-to-face morning report and identified areas for ongoing improvement. This focuses resource use and identifies areas for improvement of throughput in care delivery.

  4. Game elements improve performance in a working memory training task

    Manuel Ninaus

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available The utilization of game elements in a non-game context is currently used in a vast range of different domains. However, research on game elements’ effects in cognitive tasks is still sparse. Thus, in this study we implemented three game elements, namely, progress bar, level indicator, and a thematic setting, in a working memory training task. We evaluated the impact of game elements on user performance and perceived state of flow when compared to a conventional version of the task. Participants interacting with game elements showed higher scores in the working memory training task than participants from a control group who completed the working memory training task without the game elements. Moreover, game elements facilitated the individuals’ performance closer to their maximum working memory capacity. Finally, the perceived flow did not differ between the two groups, which indicates that game elements can induce better performance without changing the perception of being “in the zone”, that is without an increase in anxiety or boredom. This empirical study indicates that certain game elements can improve the performance and efficiency in a working memory task by increasing users’ ability and willingness to train at their optimal performance level. 

  5. Evaluating and improving nuclear power plant operating performance

    1999-07-01

    This report aims to provide the basis for improvements in the understanding of nuclear power plants operation and ideas for improving future productivity. The purpose of the project was to identify good practices of operating performance at a few of the world's most productive plants. This report was prepared through a series of consultants meetings, a specialists meeting and an Advisory Group meeting with participation of experts from 23 Member States. The report is based on self-assessment of half a dozen plants that have been chosen as representatives of different reactor types in as many different countries, and the views and assessment of the participants on good practices influencing plant performance. Three main areas that influence nuclear power plant availability and reliability were identified in the discussions: (1) management practices, (2) personnel characteristics, and (3) working practices. These areas cover causes influencing plant performance under plant management control. In each area the report describes factors or good practices that positively influence plant availability. The case studies, presented in annexes, contain the plant self-assessment of areas that influence their availability and reliability. Six plants are represented in the case studies: (1) Dukovany (WWER, 1760 MW) in the Czech Republic; (2) Blayais (PWR, 3640 MW) in France; (3) Paks (WWER, 1840 MW) in Hungary; (4) Wolsong 1 (PHWR, 600 MW) in the Republic of Korea; (5) Trillo 1 (PWR, 1066 MW) in Spain; and (6) Limerick (BWR, 2220 MW) in the United States of America

  6. Evaluating and improving nuclear power plant operating performance

    NONE

    1999-07-01

    This report aims to provide the basis for improvements in the understanding of nuclear power plants operation and ideas for improving future productivity. The purpose of the project was to identify good practices of operating performance at a few of the world`s most productive plants. This report was prepared through a series of consultants meetings, a specialists meeting and an Advisory Group meeting with participation of experts from 23 Member States. The report is based on self-assessment of half a dozen plants that have been chosen as representatives of different reactor types in as many different countries, and the views and assessment of the participants on good practices influencing plant performance. Three main areas that influence nuclear power plant availability and reliability were identified in the discussions: (1) management practices, (2) personnel characteristics, and (3) working practices. These areas cover causes influencing plant performance under plant management control. In each area the report describes factors or good practices that positively influence plant availability. The case studies, presented in annexes, contain the plant self-assessment of areas that influence their availability and reliability. Six plants are represented in the case studies: (1) Dukovany (WWER, 1760 MW) in the Czech Republic; (2) Blayais (PWR, 3640 MW) in France; (3) Paks (WWER, 1840 MW) in Hungary; (4) Wolsong 1 (PHWR, 600 MW) in the Republic of Korea; (5) Trillo 1 (PWR, 1066 MW) in Spain; and (6) Limerick (BWR, 2220 MW) in the United States of America Figs, tabs

  7. Improving Software Performance in the Compute Unified Device Architecture

    Alexandru PIRJAN

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper analyzes several aspects regarding the improvement of software performance for applications written in the Compute Unified Device Architecture CUDA. We address an issue of great importance when programming a CUDA application: the Graphics Processing Unit’s (GPU’s memory management through ranspose ernels. We also benchmark and evaluate the performance for progressively optimizing a transposing matrix application in CUDA. One particular interest was to research how well the optimization techniques, applied to software application written in CUDA, scale to the latest generation of general-purpose graphic processors units (GPGPU, like the Fermi architecture implemented in the GTX480 and the previous architecture implemented in GTX280. Lately, there has been a lot of interest in the literature for this type of optimization analysis, but none of the works so far (to our best knowledge tried to validate if the optimizations can apply to a GPU from the latest Fermi architecture and how well does the Fermi architecture scale to these software performance improving techniques.

  8. Performance improvement tool for Thai make–to–order manufacturing

    Apichat Sopadang

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a framework to improve a performance of shop floor control for Thai make-to-order (MTO smalland medium enterprises (SMEs. Integrated definition for function modeling is exploited to explore activities and relate ofcomponents. In-depth interview with experts and practitioners in the case study is provided useful information. The empiricalstudy is evaluated to suit for using the finalized SHEN model as a benchmark. Factor analysis is performed to find simplifiedinformation from variables. The data are collected from experience respondents by using a designed questionnaire. Eachobserved variable is assigned to test validity and reliability by factor loading and Cronbach’s alpha, respectively. The resultsshow that finalized SHEN can use as a performance improvement tool for Thai MTO SMEs. For example principle 11 is tested.Each observed variable has covariance value between 0.380-0.873. The value of reliability Cronbach’s alpha for this factoris shown 0.869. Based on the scree plot, it is asserted that 5 observed variables are correctly formed in the same principle.

  9. Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Integrating From the Nanoscale

    Roco, M.C.; Bainbridge, W.S.

    2002-01-01

    In the early decades of the twenty-first century, concentrated efforts can unify science based on the unity of nature, thereby advancing the combination of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and new humane technologies based in cognitive science. Converging technologies integrated from the nanoscale could determine a tremendous improvement in human abilities and societal outcomes. This is a broad, cross cutting, emerging, and timely opportunity of interest to individuals, society, and humanity in the long term.About eighty scientific leaders, industry experts, and policy makers across a range of fields have contributed to develop a vision for the potential to improve human physical, mental, and social capabilities through the convergence of the four technologies. Six major themes have emerged: (a) The broad potential of converging technologies; (b) Expanding human cognition and communication; (c) Improving human health and physical capabilities; (d) Enhancing group and societal outcomes; (e) National security, and (f) Unifying science and education. This article summarizes the observations, conclusions, and recommendations made in the report (Roco and Bainbridge, eds., 2002. Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance, NSF-DOC Report, June 2002, Arlington VA, USA)

  10. Shark skin-inspired designs that improve aerodynamic performance.

    Domel, August G; Saadat, Mehdi; Weaver, James C; Haj-Hariri, Hossein; Bertoldi, Katia; Lauder, George V

    2018-02-01

    There have been significant efforts recently aimed at improving the aerodynamic performance of aerofoils through the modification of their surfaces. Inspired by the drag-reducing properties of the tooth-like denticles that cover the skin of sharks, we describe here experimental and simulation-based investigations into the aerodynamic effects of novel denticle-inspired designs placed along the suction side of an aerofoil. Through parametric modelling to query a wide range of different designs, we discovered a set of denticle-inspired surface structures that achieve simultaneous drag reduction and lift generation on an aerofoil, resulting in lift-to-drag ratio improvements comparable to the best-reported for traditional low-profile vortex generators and even outperforming these existing designs at low angles of attack with improvements of up to 323%. Such behaviour is enabled by two concurrent mechanisms: (i) a separation bubble in the denticle's wake altering the flow pressure distribution of the aerofoil to enhance suction and (ii) streamwise vortices that replenish momentum loss in the boundary layer due to skin friction. Our findings not only open new avenues for improved aerodynamic design, but also provide new perspective on the role of the complex and potentially multifunctional morphology of shark denticles for increased swimming efficiency. © 2018 The Author(s).

  11. Infrared Illuminated CdZnTe detectors with improved performance

    Ivanov, V.; Loutchanski, A.; Dorogov, P.; Khinoverov, S.

    2013-06-01

    It was found that IR illumination of a properly chosen wavelength and intensity can significantly improve spectrometric characteristics of CdZnTe quasi-hemispherical detectors [1]. Improving of the spectrometric characteristics is due to improvement of uniformity of charge collection by the detector volume. For operation at room temperature the optimal wavelength of IR illumination is about 940 nm, but for operation at lower temperature of -20 deg. C the optimal wavelengths of IR illumination is about 1050 nm. Infrared illumination can be performed using conventional low-power IR LEDs. Application of SMD LEDs allows produce miniature detection probes with IR illuminated CdZnTe detectors. We have fabricated and tested a variety of detection probes with CdZnTe quasi-hemispherical detectors from the smallest with volumes of 1-5 mm 3 to larger with volumes of 1.5 cm 3 and 4.0 cm 3 . The use of IR illumination significantly improves spectrometric characteristics of the probes operating at room temperature, especially probes with detectors of large volumes. The probe with the detector of 4 cm 3 without IR illumination had energy resolution of 24.2 keV at 662 keV and of 12.5 keV with IR illumination. (authors)

  12. Improving Seismic Data Accessibility and Performance Using HDF Containers

    Evans, B. J. K.; Wang, J.; Yang, R.

    2017-12-01

    The performance of computational geophysical data processing and forward modelling relies on both computational and data. Significant efforts on developing new data formats and libraries have been made the community, such as IRIS/PASSCAL and ASDF in data, and programs and utilities such as ObsPy and SPECFEM. The National Computational Infrastructure hosts a national significant geophysical data collection that is co-located with a high performance computing facility and provides an opportunity to investigate how to improve the data formats from both a data management and a performance point of view. This paper investigates how to enhance the data usability in several perspectives: 1) propose a convention for the seismic (both active and passive) community to improve the data accessibility and interoperability; 2) recommend the convention used in the HDF container when data is made available in PH5 or ASDF formats; 3) provide tools to convert between various seismic data formats; 4) provide performance benchmark cases using ObsPy library and SPECFEM3D to demonstrate how different data organization in terms of chunking size and compression impact on the performance by comparing new data formats, such as PH5 and ASDF to traditional formats such as SEGY, SEED, SAC, etc. In this work we apply our knowledge and experience on data standards and conventions, such as CF and ACDD from the climate community to the seismology community. The generic global attributes widely used in climate community are combined with the existing convention in the seismology community, such as CMT and QuakeML, StationXML, SEGY header convention. We also extend such convention by including the provenance and benchmarking records so that the r user can learn the footprint of the data together with its baseline performance. In practise we convert the example wide angle reflection seismic data from SEGY to PH5 or ASDF by using ObsPy and pyasdf libraries. It quantitatively demonstrates how the

  13. Titan I propulsion system modeling and possible performance improvements

    Giusti, Oreste

    This thesis features the Titan I propulsion systems and offers data-supported suggestions for improvements to increase performance. The original propulsion systems were modeled both graphically in CAD and via equations. Due to the limited availability of published information, it was necessary to create a more detailed, secondary set of models. Various engineering equations---pertinent to rocket engine design---were implemented in order to generate the desired extra detail. This study describes how these new models were then imported into the ESI CFD Suite. Various parameters are applied to these imported models as inputs that include, for example, bi-propellant combinations, pressure, temperatures, and mass flow rates. The results were then processed with ESI VIEW, which is visualization software. The output files were analyzed for forces in the nozzle, and various results were generated, including sea level thrust and ISP. Experimental data are provided to compare the original engine configuration models to the derivative suggested improvement models.

  14. THE PUZZLE TECHNIQUE, COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRATEGY TO IMPROVE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

    M.ª José Mayorga Fernández

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available This  article  presents  an  innovative  experience  carried  out  in  the  subject Pedagogical Bases of Special Education, a 4.5 credit core subject taught at the second year of the Degree in Physical Education Teacher Training (to be extinguish, based on the use of a methodological strategic in accordance with the new demands of the EEES. With the experience we pursue a double purpose: firstly, to present the technique of jigsaw or puzzle as a useful methodological strategy for university learning and, on the other hand, to show whether this strategy improves students results. Comparing the results with students previous year results shows that the performance of students who participated in the innovative experience has improved considerably, increasing their motivation and involvement towards the task.

  15. Improving the precision of genotype selection in wheat performance trials

    Giovani Benin

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The aim of this study was to verify whether using the Papadakis method improves model assumptions and experimental accuracy in field trials used to determine grain yield for wheat lineages indifferent Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU regions. Grain yield data from 572 field trials at 31 locations in the VCU Regions 1, 2, 3 and 4 in 2007-2011 were used. Each trial was run with and without the use of the Papadakis method. The Papadakis method improved the indices of experimental precision measures and reduced the number of experimental repetitions required to predict grain yield performance among the wheat genotypes. There were differences among the wheat adaptation regions in terms of the efficiency of the Papadakis method, the adjustment coefficient of the genotype averages and the increases in the selective accuracy of grain yield.

  16. Special report. New products that improve officer performance, safety.

    1991-12-01

    The need for products that improve performance of security officers is counterbalanced these days by budgetary constraints. While this may limit major investments in security systems and personnel, less costly improvements or innovations might be worth considering. In this report, we will discuss four advances that may be valuable not only in hospital security, but in other industries as well. One of them, a smoke filter, was originally developed for the hotel industry. Another, a drug detection device, may replace the use of undercover agents or drug-sniffing' dogs in certain circumstances. The third new product is an economical patrol vehicle for parking facilities which might replace more costly vehicles such as golf carts or cars. The fourth product, a roving CCTV camera, is actually being tested at a Midwest medical center and may allow you to monitor areas of parking garages with cameras instead of officers on patrol.

  17. Improving productivity and firm performance with enterprise resource planning

    Beheshti, Hooshang M.; Beheshti, Cyrus M.

    2010-11-01

    Productivity is generally considered to be the efficient utilisation of organisational resources and is measured in terms of the efficiency of a worker, company or nation. Focusing on efficiency alone, however, can be harmful to the organisation's long-term success and competitiveness. The full benefits of productivity improvement measures are realised when productivity is examined from two perspectives: operational efficiency (output/input) of an individual worker or a business unit as well as performance (effectiveness) with regard to end user or customer satisfaction. Over the years, corporations have adopted new technology to integrate business activities in order to achieve both effectiveness and efficiency in their operations. In recent years, many firms have invested in enterprise resource planning (ERP) in order to integrate all business activities into a uniform system. The implementation of ERP enables the firm to reduce the transaction costs of the business and improve its productivity, customer satisfaction and profitability.

  18. Bayesian image reconstruction for improving detection performance of muon tomography.

    Wang, Guobao; Schultz, Larry J; Qi, Jinyi

    2009-05-01

    Muon tomography is a novel technology that is being developed for detecting high-Z materials in vehicles or cargo containers. Maximum likelihood methods have been developed for reconstructing the scattering density image from muon measurements. However, the instability of maximum likelihood estimation often results in noisy images and low detectability of high-Z targets. In this paper, we propose using regularization to improve the image quality of muon tomography. We formulate the muon reconstruction problem in a Bayesian framework by introducing a prior distribution on scattering density images. An iterative shrinkage algorithm is derived to maximize the log posterior distribution. At each iteration, the algorithm obtains the maximum a posteriori update by shrinking an unregularized maximum likelihood update. Inverse quadratic shrinkage functions are derived for generalized Laplacian priors and inverse cubic shrinkage functions are derived for generalized Gaussian priors. Receiver operating characteristic studies using simulated data demonstrate that the Bayesian reconstruction can greatly improve the detection performance of muon tomography.

  19. A conceptual model to improve performance in virtual teams

    Shopee Dube

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Background: The vast improvement in communication technologies and sophisticated project management tools, methods and techniques has allowed geographically and culturally diverse groups to operate and function in a virtual environment. To succeed in this virtual environment where time and space are becoming increasingly irrelevant, organisations must define new ways of implementing initiatives. This virtual environment phenomenon has brought about the formation of virtual project teams that allow organisations to harness the skills and knowhow of the best resources, irrespective of their location. Objectives: The aim of this article was to investigate performance criteria and develop a conceptual model which can be applied to enhance the success of virtual project teams. There are no clear guidelines of the performance criteria in managing virtual project teams. Method: A qualitative research methodology was used in this article. The purpose of content analysis was to explore the literature to understand the concept of performance in virtual project teams and to summarise the findings of the literature reviewed. Results: The research identified a set of performance criteria for the virtual project teams as follows: leadership, trust, communication, team cooperation, reliability, motivation, comfort and social interaction. These were used to conceptualise the model. Conclusion: The conceptual model can be used in a holistic way to determine the overall performance of the virtual project team, but each factor can be analysed individually to determine the impact on the overall performance. The knowledge of performance criteria for virtual project teams could aid project managers in enhancing the success of these teams and taking a different approach to better manage and coordinate them.

  20. Improving retention and performance in civil society in Uganda

    Paydos Michael

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract This article is the second article in the Human Resources for Health journal's first quarterly feature. The series of seven articles has been contributed by Management Sciences for Health (MSH under the theme of leadership and management in public health and will be published article-by-article over the next few weeks. The journal invited Dr Manuel M. Dayrit, Director of the WHO Department of Human Resources for Health and former Minister of Health for the Philippines to launch the feature with an opening editorial to be found in the journal's blog. This article – number two in the series – describes the experience of the Family Life Education Programme (FLEP, a reproductive health program that provides community-based health services through 40 clinics in five districts of Uganda, in improving retention and performance by using the Management Sciences for Health (MSH Human Resource Management Rapid Assessment Tool. A few years ago, the FLEP of Busoga Diocese began to see an increase in staff turnover and a decrease in overall organizational performance. The workplace climate was poor and people stopped coming for services even though there were few other choices in the area. An external assessment found the quality of the health care services provided was deficient. An action plan to improve their human resource management (HRM system was developed and implemented. To assess the strengths and weaknesses of their system and to develop an action plan, they used the Rapid Assessment Tool. The tool guides users through a process of prioritizing and action planning after the assessment is done. By implementing the various recommended changes, FLEP established an improved, responsive HRM system. Increased employee satisfaction led to less staff turnover, better performance, and increased utilization of health services. These benefits were achieved by cost-effective measures focused on professionalizing the organization's approach to HRM.

  1. Improvement of multiprocessing performance by using optical centralized shared bus

    Han, Xuliang; Chen, Ray T.

    2004-06-01

    With the ever-increasing need to solve larger and more complex problems, multiprocessing is attracting more and more research efforts. One of the challenges facing the multiprocessor designers is to fulfill in an effective manner the communications among the processes running in parallel on multiple multiprocessors. The conventional electrical backplane bus provides narrow bandwidth as restricted by the physical limitations of electrical interconnects. In the electrical domain, in order to operate at high frequency, the backplane topology has been changed from the simple shared bus to the complicated switched medium. However, the switched medium is an indirect network. It cannot support multicast/broadcast as effectively as the shared bus. Besides the additional latency of going through the intermediate switching nodes, signal routing introduces substantial delay and considerable system complexity. Alternatively, optics has been well known for its interconnect capability. Therefore, it has become imperative to investigate how to improve multiprocessing performance by utilizing optical interconnects. From the implementation standpoint, the existing optical technologies still cannot fulfill the intelligent functions that a switch fabric should provide as effectively as their electronic counterparts. Thus, an innovative optical technology that can provide sufficient bandwidth capacity, while at the same time, retaining the essential merits of the shared bus topology, is highly desirable for the multiprocessing performance improvement. In this paper, the optical centralized shared bus is proposed for use in the multiprocessing systems. This novel optical interconnect architecture not only utilizes the beneficial characteristics of optics, but also retains the desirable properties of the shared bus topology. Meanwhile, from the architecture standpoint, it fits well in the centralized shared-memory multiprocessing scheme. Therefore, a smooth migration with substantial

  2. Expectation of having consumed caffeine can improve performance and mood.

    Dawkins, Lynne; Shahzad, Fatima-Zahra; Ahmed, Suada S; Edmonds, Caroline J

    2011-12-01

    We explored whether caffeine, and expectation of having consumed caffeine, affects attention, reward responsivity and mood using double-blinded methodology. 88 participants were randomly allocated to 'drink-type' (caffeinated/decaffeinated coffee) and 'expectancy' (told caffeinated/told decaffeinated coffee) manipulations. Both caffeine and expectation of having consumed caffeine improved attention and psychomotor speed. Expectation enhanced self-reported vigour and reward responsivity. Self-reported depression increased at post-drink for all participants, but less in those receiving or expecting caffeine. These results suggest caffeine expectation can affect mood and performance but do not support a synergistic effect. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Droplet Digital™ PCR Next-Generation Sequencing Library QC Assay.

    Heredia, Nicholas J

    2018-01-01

    Digital PCR is a valuable tool to quantify next-generation sequencing (NGS) libraries precisely and accurately. Accurately quantifying NGS libraries enable accurate loading of the libraries on to the sequencer and thus improve sequencing performance by reducing under and overloading error. Accurate quantification also benefits users by enabling uniform loading of indexed/barcoded libraries which in turn greatly improves sequencing uniformity of the indexed/barcoded samples. The advantages gained by employing the Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR™) library QC assay includes the precise and accurate quantification in addition to size quality assessment, enabling users to QC their sequencing libraries with confidence.

  4. Performance of the Improvements of the CAESAR Robot

    Riaan Stopforth

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Robots are able to enter concealed and unstable environments inaccessible to rescuers. Previous Urban Search And Rescue (USAR robots have experienced problems with malfunction of communication systems, traction systems, control and telemetry. These problems were accessed and improved in developing a prototype robot called CAESAR, which is an acronym for Contractible Arms Elevating Search And Rescue. Problems encountered with previous USAR robots are discussed. The mechanical, sensory and communication systems that were used on CAESAR are briefly explained. Each system was separately tested by performed experiments. Results of field tests and the robot performance experienced during a disaster scenario that was created are discussed. The capabilities of CAESAR are explained in these tests to determine if some of the problems experienced previously are solved.

  5. Westinghouse fuel manufacturing systems: a step change in performance improvements

    Mutyala, Meena

    2009-01-01

    Today's competitive electrical generation industry demands that nuclear power plant operators minimize total operating costs, including fuel cycle cost while maintaining flawless fuel performance. The mission of Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel is to be the industry's most responsive supplier of flawless, value added fuel products and services, as judged by our customers. As nuclear is fast becoming the choice of many countries, existing manufacturing plants and facilities are once again running at full capacity. In this context Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel is committed to deliver a step change in performance improvement worldwide through its manufacturing operations by the introduction of a set of fundamentals collectively named the 'Westinghouse Fuel Manufacturing System' (WFMS), whose key principles are discussed in this paper. (author)

  6. Improvements in EMC performance of inverter-fed motor drives

    Zhong, E.; Lipo, T.A.

    1995-01-01

    An experimental investigation of conducted radio-noise emission from a conventional pulse width modulated (PWM) inverter of medium power feeding an induction motor is described. It is determined that the inverter system generates considerable impulse currents through the power leads feeding the system resulting in serious conducted electromagnetic interference (EMI) problems and significant voltage waveform distortion in the power system. The dominant emission sources in the system are identified. A proposed model of the drive system for the purpose of evaluation of EMI are developed. Several low-cost strategies for improvement in EMC performance of the PWM inverter are then proposed. Experimental results demonstrate that disturbance from the modified system can be dramatically reduced and that the EMC performance of the system has come very close to meeting the IEC CISPR and FCC limits on conducted emissions for digital devices

  7. Prioritising Investments in Marketing Activities to Improve Business Performance

    Martensen, Anne; Mouritsen, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to prioritise investments in marketing activities based on their effect on business performance (BP). On the basis of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model adapted to a marketing context, four generic marketing activities are structured in two...... dimensions: (1) Small m: marketing strategy and marketing implementation and (2) big M: cross-functional coordination and innovation. Big M and small m interact and influence BP similarly. When considering investing in marketing activities to improve financial performance, the first priority is to recruit...... and retain competent employees and the second, to collect, disseminate and act upon market insight in the form of measurement of effectiveness and production of intelligence. These provide resources for the development of a customer-oriented marketing strategy that in turn helps innovation and cross...

  8. Comparison of Simplexa universal direct PCR with cytotoxicity assay for diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection: performance, cost, and correlation with disease.

    Landry, Marie L; Ferguson, David; Topal, Jeffrey

    2014-01-01

    Simplexa Clostridium difficile universal direct PCR, a real-time PCR assay for the detection of the C. difficile toxin B (tcdB) gene using the 3M integrated cycler, was compared with a two-step algorithm which includes the C. Diff Chek-60 glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) antigen assay followed by cytotoxin neutralization. Three hundred forty-two liquid or semisolid stools submitted for diagnostic C. difficile testing, 171 GDH antigen positive and 171 GDH antigen negative, were selected for the study. All samples were tested by the C. Diff Chek-60 GDH antigen assay, cytotoxin neutralization, and Simplexa direct PCR. Of 171 GDH-positive samples, 4 were excluded (from patients on therapy or from whom duplicate samples were obtained) and 88 were determined to be true positives for toxigenic C. difficile. Of the 88, 67 (76.1%) were positive by the two-step method and 86 (97.7%) were positive by PCR. Seventy-nine were positive by the GDH antigen assay only. Of 171 GDH antigen-negative samples, none were positive by PCR. One antigen-negative sample positive by the cytotoxin assay only was deemed a false positive based on chart review. Simplexa C. difficile universal direct PCR was significantly more sensitive for detecting toxigenic C. difficile bacteria than cytotoxin neutralization (P = 0.0002). However, most PCR-positive/cytotoxin-negative patients did not have clear C. difficile disease. The estimated cost avoidance provided by a more rapid molecular diagnosis was outweighed by the cost of isolating and treating PCR-positive/cytotoxin-negative patients. The costs, clinical consequences, and impact on nosocomial transmission of treating and/or isolating patients positive for toxigenic C. difficile by PCR but negative for in vivo toxin production merit further study.

  9. Aromatherapy Improves Work Performance Through Balancing the Autonomic Nervous System.

    Huang, Lin; Capdevila, Lluis

    2017-03-01

    This study analyzed the efficacy of aromatherapy in improving work performance and reducing workplace stress. The initial sample comprised 42 administrative university workers (M age  = 42.21 years, standard deviation = 7.12; 10 male). All sessions were performed in a university computer classroom. The participants were randomly assigned into an aromatherapy group (AG) and a control group (CG), and they were invited to participate in a specific session only once. They were seated in front of a computer. During the intervention period, some oil diffusers were switched on and were in operation throughout the session with petitgrain essential oil for AG sessions and a neutral oil (almond) for CG sessions. At the same time, participants completed a computer task on a specific Web site typing on their keyboard until they had finished it. The single times were different for all participants and were recorded on the Web site as "performance time." Before and after the intervention, participants completed anxiety and mood state questionnaires (the Stait-Trait Anxiety Inventory [STAI] and the Profile of Mood States [POMS]). Heart-rate variability (HRV) was measured before (PRE), during (20-25 min), and after (POS) the intervention to analyze autonomic nervous system regulation. The AG performed the Web site task 2.28 min faster than the CG (p = 0.05). The two groups showed differences in the following HRV parameters: low frequency (p = 0.05), high frequency (p = 0.02), standard deviation of all RR intervals (p = 0.05), and root mean square of differences (p = 0.02). All participants in all groups showed a decrease from PRE to POST for STAI (p Aromatherapy (inhaling petitgrain essential oil) can improve performance in the workplace. These results could be explained by an autonomic balance on the sympathetic/parasympathetic system through a combined action of the petitgrain main components (linalyl acetate, linalool, and myrcene). The final

  10. Training improves laparoscopic tasks performance and decreases operator workload.

    Hu, Jesse S L; Lu, Jirong; Tan, Wee Boon; Lomanto, Davide

    2016-05-01

    It has been postulated that increased operator workload during task performance may increase fatigue and surgical errors. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) is a validated tool for self-assessment for workload. Our study aims to assess the relationship of workload and performance of novices in simulated laparoscopic tasks of different complexity levels before and after training. Forty-seven novices without prior laparoscopic experience were recruited in a trial to investigate whether training improves task performance as well as mental workload. The participants were tested on three standard tasks (ring transfer, precision cutting and intracorporeal suturing) in increasing complexity based on the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) curriculum. Following a period of training and rest, participants were tested again. Test scores were computed from time taken and time penalties for precision errors. Test scores and NASA-TLX scores were recorded pre- and post-training and analysed using paired t tests. One-way repeated measures ANOVA was used to analyse differences in NASA-TLX scores between the three tasks. NASA-TLX score was lowest with ring transfer and highest with intracorporeal suturing. This was statistically significant in both pre-training (p NASA-TLX scores mirror the changes in test scores for the three tasks. Workload scores decreased significantly after training for all three tasks (ring transfer = 2.93, p NASA-TLX score is an accurate reflection of the complexity of simulated laparoscopic tasks in the FLS curriculum. This also correlates with the relationship of test scores between the three tasks. Simulation training improves both performance score and workload score across the tasks.

  11. Dentate Gyrus circuitry features improve performance of sparse approximation algorithms.

    Panagiotis C Petrantonakis

    Full Text Available Memory-related activity in the Dentate Gyrus (DG is characterized by sparsity. Memory representations are seen as activated neuronal populations of granule cells, the main encoding cells in DG, which are estimated to engage 2-4% of the total population. This sparsity is assumed to enhance the ability of DG to perform pattern separation, one of the most valuable contributions of DG during memory formation. In this work, we investigate how features of the DG such as its excitatory and inhibitory connectivity diagram can be used to develop theoretical algorithms performing Sparse Approximation, a widely used strategy in the Signal Processing field. Sparse approximation stands for the algorithmic identification of few components from a dictionary that approximate a certain signal. The ability of DG to achieve pattern separation by sparsifing its representations is exploited here to improve the performance of the state of the art sparse approximation algorithm "Iterative Soft Thresholding" (IST by adding new algorithmic features inspired by the DG circuitry. Lateral inhibition of granule cells, either direct or indirect, via mossy cells, is shown to enhance the performance of the IST. Apart from revealing the potential of DG-inspired theoretical algorithms, this work presents new insights regarding the function of particular cell types in the pattern separation task of the DG.

  12. Improved Functional Performance in Geriatric Patients During Hospital Stay

    Karlsen, Anders; Loeb, Mads Rohde; Andersen, Kristine Bramsen

    2017-01-01

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this work was to evaluate the time course of changes in strength and functional performance in elderly hospitalized medical patients. DESIGN: This was a prospective observational study in elderly medical patients of age 65 years or older at a geriatric department.Measurement......OBJECTIVE: The aim of this work was to evaluate the time course of changes in strength and functional performance in elderly hospitalized medical patients. DESIGN: This was a prospective observational study in elderly medical patients of age 65 years or older at a geriatric department.......Measurements were obtained on days 2 to 4, day 5 to 8, and days 9 to 13. Functional performance was measured with De Morton Mobility Index (DEMMI) test and a 30-second chair stand test (30-s CST). Muscular strength was measured with handgrip strength. Activity level was determined with accelerometry (Activ...... in 30-s CST (P performance of the lower extremities in geriatric patients improves moderately over the time of a hospital stay...

  13. Future thinking instructions improve prospective memory performance in adolescents.

    Altgassen, Mareike; Kretschmer, Anett; Schnitzspahn, Katharina Marlene

    2017-07-01

    Studies on prospective memory (PM) development in adolescents point to age-related increases through to adulthood. The goal of the present study was to examine whether instructing adolescents to engage in an episodic prospection of themselves executing future actions (i.e., future thinking) when forming an intention would improve their PM performance and reduce age-related differences. Further, we set out to explore whether future thinking instructions result in stronger memory traces and/or stronger cue-context associations by evaluating retrospective memory for the PM cues after task completion and monitoring costs during PM task processing. Adolescents and young adults were allocated to either the future thinking, repeated-encoding or standard condition. As expected, adolescents had fewer correct PM responses than young adults. Across age groups, PM performance in the standard condition was lower than in the other encoding conditions. Importantly, the results indicate a significant interaction of age by encoding condition. While adolescents benefited most from future thinking instructions, young adults performed best in the repeated-encoding condition. The results also indicate that the beneficial effects of future thinking may result from deeper intention-encoding through the simulation of future task performance.

  14. Diagnostic performance of a multiple real-time PCR assay in patients with suspected sepsis hospitalized in an internal medicine ward.

    Pasqualini, Leonella; Mencacci, Antonella; Leli, Christian; Montagna, Paolo; Cardaccia, Angela; Cenci, Elio; Montecarlo, Ines; Pirro, Matteo; di Filippo, Francesco; Cistaro, Emma; Schillaci, Giuseppe; Bistoni, Francesco; Mannarino, Elmo

    2012-04-01

    Early identification of causative pathogen in sepsis patients is pivotal to improve clinical outcome. SeptiFast (SF), a commercially available system for molecular diagnosis of sepsis based on PCR, has been mostly used in patients hospitalized in hematology and intensive care units. We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy and clinical usefulness of SF, compared to blood culture (BC), in 391 patients with suspected sepsis, hospitalized in a department of internal medicine. A causative pathogen was identified in 85 patients (22%). Sixty pathogens were detected by SF and 57 by BC. No significant differences were found between the two methods in the rates of pathogen detection (P = 0.74), even after excluding 9 pathogens which were isolated by BC and were not included in the SF master list (P = 0.096). The combination of SF and BC significantly improved the diagnostic yield in comparison to BC alone (P < 0.001). Compared to BC, SF showed a significantly lower contamination rate (0 versus 19 cases; P < 0.001) with a higher specificity for pathogen identification (1.00, 95% confidence interval [CI] of 0.99 to 1.00, versus 0.94, 95% CI of 0.90 to 0.96; P = 0.005) and a higher positive predictive value (1.00, 95% CI of 1.00 to 0.92%, versus 0.75, 95% CI of 0.63 to 0.83; P = 0.005). In the subgroup of patients (n = 191) who had been receiving antibiotic treatment for ≥24 h, SF identified more pathogens (16 versus 6; P = 0.049) compared to BC. These results suggest that, in patients with suspected sepsis, hospitalized in an internal medicine ward, SF could be a highly valuable adjunct to conventional BC, particularly in patients under antibiotic treatment.

  15. Improving estimates of water resources in a semi-arid region by assimilating GRACE data into the PCR-GLOBWB hydrological model

    Tangdamrongsub, Natthachet; Steele-Dunne, Susan C.; Gunter, Brian C.; Ditmar, Pavel G.; Sutanudjaja, Edwin H.; Sun, Yu; Xia, Ting; Wang, Zhongjing

    2017-04-01

    An accurate estimation of water resources dynamics is crucial for proper management of both agriculture and the local ecology, particularly in semi-arid regions. Imperfections in model physics, uncertainties in model land parameters and meteorological data, as well as the human impact on land changes often limit the accuracy of hydrological models in estimating water storages. To mitigate this problem, this study investigated the assimilation of terrestrial water storage variation (TWSV) estimates derived from the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) data using an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) approach. The region considered was the Hexi Corridor in northern China. The hydrological model used for the analysis was PCR-GLOBWB, driven by satellite-based forcing data from April 2002 to December 2010. The impact of the GRACE data assimilation (DA) scheme was evaluated in terms of the TWSV, as well as the variation of individual hydrological storage estimates. The capability of GRACE DA to adjust the storage level was apparent not only for the entire TWSV but also for the groundwater component. In this study, spatially correlated errors in GRACE data were taken into account, utilizing the full error variance-covariance matrices provided as a part of the GRACE data product. The benefits of this approach were demonstrated by comparing the EnKF results obtained with and without taking into account error correlations. The results were validated against in situ groundwater data from five well sites. On average, the experiments showed that GRACE DA improved the accuracy of groundwater storage estimates by as much as 25 %. The inclusion of error correlations provided an equal or greater improvement in the estimates. In contrast, a validation against in situ streamflow data from two river gauges showed no significant benefits of GRACE DA. This is likely due to the limited spatial and temporal resolution of GRACE observations. Finally, results of the GRACE DA study

  16. Play for Performance: Using Computer Games to Improve Motivation and Test-Taking Performance

    Dennis, Alan R.; Bhagwatwar, Akshay; Minas, Randall K.

    2013-01-01

    The importance of testing, especially certification and high-stakes testing, has increased substantially over the past decade. Building on the "serious gaming" literature and the psychology "priming" literature, we developed a computer game designed to improve test-taking performance using psychological priming. The game primed…

  17. Device Engineering Towards Improved Tin Sulfide Solar Cell Performance and Performance Reproducibility

    Steinmann, Vera; Chakraborty, Rupak; Rekemeyer, Paul; Siol, Sebastian; Martinot, Loic; Polizzotti, Alex; Yang, Chuanxi; Hartman, Katy; Gradecak, Silvija; Zakutayev, Andriy; Gordon, Roy G.; Buonassisi, Tonio

    2016-11-21

    As novel absorber materials are developed and screened for their photovoltaic (PV) properties, the challenge remains to rapidly test promising candidates in high-performing PV devices. There is a need to engineer new compatible device architectures, including the development of novel transparent conductive oxides and buffer layers. Here, we consider the two approaches of a substrate-style and a superstrate-style device architecture for novel thin-film solar cells. We use tin sulfide as a test absorber material. Upon device engineering, we demonstrate new approaches to improve device performance and performance reproducibility.

  18. Location decision strategies for improving SMME business performance

    Shereen Barnard

    2011-12-01

    relationship between electricity tariffs and business performance. Employment and business performance attained the strongest positive relationship; indicating that business owners regarded employment as an important factor to consider when searching for suitable business premises. The relationship between location and business performance obtained the lowest positive correlation. Originality and value of the research: Research on South African SMMEs regarding location decisions and the specific factors identified in this study has not been done previously in South Africa. Therefore, because evidence exists that the macro-environmental factors influence location decisions to varying degrees, this study can provide SMME owners with insight into the factors influencing location choice. It is vital that business owners consider these factors as they could influence business performance, and ultimately, business survival. An increased awareness of the importance of the aspects discussed in this study could consequently lead to improved performance in the SMME sector.

  19. Optimal setpoint generation for improved fuel temperature performance

    Johns, R.M.; Edwards, R.M.

    1995-01-01

    Nuclear power plant systems feature a high degree of non-linearity and high noise level, and the performance of conventional control systems may degrade when power plants operate under a wide range of conditions, such as startup, test, shutdown, etc. The conventional control system is not intended for nuclear power plant full-range operation. This is the reason that, at present, nuclear power plants rely on manual operations for most wide-range control and only use automatic control around nominal conditions. The availability of new powerful control techniques and mathematical tools has motivated an expanding research effort toward the development of the advanced hybrid feedforward-feedback control system. The planned command input is based on the analysis of a system model in some form in order to improve the performance of the overall system. The use of a feedforward optimal controller to improve the fuel temperature response to a step change in desired reactor power is being demonstrated. The Penn State TRIGA reactor is used as the basis of the reactor model so that validation of the controller may be shown

  20. Combined Space and Water Heating: Next Steps to Improved Performance

    Schoenbauer, B. [NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership, Minneapolis, MN (United States); Bohac, D. [NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership, Minneapolis, MN (United States); Huelman, P. [NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership, Minneapolis, MN (United States)

    2016-07-13

    A combined space- and water-heating (combi) system uses a high-efficiency direct-vent burner that eliminates safety issues associated with natural draft appliances. Past research with these systems shows that using condensing water heaters or boilers with hydronic air handling units can provide both space and water heating with efficiencies of 90% or higher. Improved controls have the potential to reduce complexity and improve upon the measured performance. This project demonstrates that controls can significantly benefit these first-generation systems. Laboratory tests and daily load/performance models showed that the set point temperature reset control produced a 2.1%–4.3% (20–40 therms/year) savings for storage and hybrid water heater combi systems operated in moderate-load homes. The full modulation control showed additional savings over set point control (in high-load homes almost doubling the savings: 4%–5% over the no-control case). At the time of installation the reset control can be implemented for $200–$400, which would provide paybacks of 6–25 years for low-load houses and 3–15 years for high-load houses. Full modulation implementation costs would be similar to the outdoor reset and would provide paybacks of 5-½–20 years for low-load houses and 2-½–10 years for high-load houses.

  1. Continuous improvement of the MHTGR safety and competitive performance

    Eichenberg, T.W.; Etzel, K.T.; Mascaro, L.L.; Rucker, R.A.

    1992-05-01

    An increase in reactor module power from 350 to 450 MW(t) would markedly improve the economics of the Modular High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (MHTGR). The higher power level was recommended as the result of an in-depth cost reduction study undertaken to compete with the declining price of fossil fuel. The safety assessment confirms that the high level of safety, which relies on inherent characteristics and passive features, is maintained at the elevated power level. Preliminary systems, nuclear, and safety performance results are discussed for the recommended 450 MW(t) design. Optimization of plant parameters and design modifications accommodated the operation of the steam generator and circulator at the higher power level. Events in which forced cooling is lost, designated as conduction cooldowns are described in detail. For the depressurized conduction cooldown, without full helium inventory, peak fuel temperatures are significantly lowered. A more negative temperature coefficient of reactivity was achieved while maintaining an adequate fuel cycle and reactivity control. Continual improvement of the MHTGR delivers competitive performance without relinquishing the high safety margins demanded of the next generation of power plants

  2. Advanced digital technology - improving nuclear power plant performance through maintainability

    Ford, J.L.; Senechal, R.R.; Altenhein, G.D.; Harvey, R.P.

    1998-01-01

    In today's energy sector there is ever increasing pressure on utilities to operate power plants at high capacity factors. To ensure nuclear power is competitive into the next century, it is imperative that strategic design improvements be made to enhance the performance of nuclear power plants. There are a number of factors that affect a nuclear power plant's performance; lifetime maintenance is one of the major contributors. The maturing of digital technology has afforded ABB the opportunity to make significant design improvements in the area of maintainability. In keeping with ABB's evolutionary advanced nuclear plant design approach, digital technology has systematically been incorporated into the control and protection systems of the most recent Korean nuclear units in operation and under construction. One example of this was the multi-functional design team approach that was utilized for the development of ABB's Digital Plant Protection System (DPPS). The design team consisted of engineers, maintenance technicians, procurement specialists and manufacturing personnel in order to provide a complete perspective on all facets of the design. The governing design goals of increased reliability and safety, simplicity of design, use of off-the-shelf products and reduced need for periodic surveillance testing were met with the selection of proven ABB-Advant Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) as the heart of the DPPS. The application of digital PLC technology allows operation for extended periods without requiring routine maintenance or re-calibration. A well documented commercial dedication program approved by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC) as part of the System 80+ TM Advanced Light Water Reactor Design Certification Program, allowed the use of off-the shelf products in the design of the safety protection system. In addition, a number of mechanical and electrical improvements were made which support maintainability. The result is a DPPS

  3. Conceptual Designs for the Performance Improvement of APR1400 SIT and Preliminary Performance Evaluation

    Chu, In-Cheol; Kwon, Tae-Soon; Song, Chul-Hwa

    2008-01-01

    Some evolutionary type PWRs such as APR1400 and APWR adopt advanced safety injection tank (SIT). The SIT of APR1400 has a fluidic device (FD) which passively controls ECC water injection flow rate into reactor coolant system during refill and reflood phases of LB-LOCA (i.e., a high injection flow rate during the refill phase and a low injection flow rate during the reflood phase). The benefit of the FD is the elimination of the function of low pressure safety injection pump from the safety injection system. The flow controlling performance of the APR1400 FD was evaluated using a prototypical full-scale test facility, called VAPER (Valve Performance Evaluation Rig). Even though the performance of the APR1400 FD satisfied major design and licensing requirements, further improvement of the performance is expected such as the extension of total injection period, the delay of nitrogen gas discharge. Several conceptual designs have been being drawn out in order to improve the performance of the APR1400 SIT. The performance of some designs was evaluated using a small scale SIT test rig. The present paper introduces some of the conceptual designs and shows the performance evaluation experimental results

  4. Carbohydrate ingestion improves performance of a new reliable test of soccer performance.

    Currell, Kevin; Conway, Steve; Jeukendrup, Asker E

    2009-02-01

    The aim of the study was to investigate the reliability of a new test of soccer performance and evaluate the effect of carbohydrate (CHO) on soccer performance. Eleven university footballers were recruited and underwent 3 trials in a randomized order. Two of the trials involved ingesting a placebo beverage, and the other, a 7.5% maltodextrin solution. The protocol comprised a series of ten 6-min exercise blocks on an outdoor Astroturf pitch, separated by the performance of 2 of the 4 soccer-specific tests, making the protocol 90 min in duration. The intensity of the exercise was designed to be similar to the typical activity pattern during soccer match play. Participants performed skill tests of dribbling, agility, heading, and shooting throughout the protocol. The coefficients of variation for dribbling, agility, heading, and shooting were 2.2%, 1.2%, 7.0%, and 2.8%, respectively. The mean combined placebo scores were 42.4 +/- 2.7 s, 43.1 +/- 3.7 s, 210 +/- 34 cm, and 212 +/- 17 points for agility, dribbling, heading, and kicking, respectively. CHO ingestion led to a combined agility time of 41.5 +/- 0.8 s, for dribbling 41.7 +/- 3.5 s, 213 +/- 11 cm for heading, and 220 +/- 5 points for kicking accuracy. There was a significant improvement in performance for dribbling, agility, and shooting (p soccer performance, and ingesting CHO leads to an improvement in soccer performance.

  5. Packaging of active fiber composites for improved sensor performance

    Melnykowycz, M; Barbezat, M; Koller, R; Brunner, A J

    2010-01-01

    Active fiber composites (AFC) composed of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) fibers embedded in an epoxy matrix and sandwiched between two interdigitated electrodes provide a thin and flexible smart material device which can act as a sensor or actuator. The thin profiles of AFC make them ideal for integration in glass or carbon fiber composite laminates. However, due to the low tensile limit of the PZT fibers, AFC can fail at strains below the tensile limit of many composites. This makes their use as a component in an active laminate design somewhat undesirable. In the current work, tensile testing of smart laminates composed of AFC integrated in glass fiber laminates was conducted to assess the effectiveness of different packaging strategies for improving AFC sensor performance at high strains relative to the tensile limit of the AFC. AFC were encased in carbon fiber, silicon, and pre-stressed carbon fiber to improve the tensile limit of the AFC when integrated in glass fiber laminates. By laminating AFC with pre-stressed carbon fiber, the tensile limit and strain sensor ability of the AFC were significantly improved. Acoustic emission monitoring was used and the results show that PZT fiber breakage was reduced due to the pre-stressed packaging process

  6. Improving human object recognition performance using video enhancement techniques

    Whitman, Lucy S.; Lewis, Colin; Oakley, John P.

    2004-12-01

    Atmospheric scattering causes significant degradation in the quality of video images, particularly when imaging over long distances. The principle problem is the reduction in contrast due to scattered light. It is known that when the scattering particles are not too large compared with the imaging wavelength (i.e. Mie scattering) then high spatial resolution information may be contained within a low-contrast image. Unfortunately this information is not easily perceived by a human observer, particularly when using a standard video monitor. A secondary problem is the difficulty of achieving a sharp focus since automatic focus techniques tend to fail in such conditions. Recently several commercial colour video processing systems have become available. These systems use various techniques to improve image quality in low contrast conditions whilst retaining colour content. These systems produce improvements in subjective image quality in some situations, particularly in conditions of haze and light fog. There is also some evidence that video enhancement leads to improved ATR performance when used as a pre-processing stage. Psychological literature indicates that low contrast levels generally lead to a reduction in the performance of human observers in carrying out simple visual tasks. The aim of this paper is to present the results of an empirical study on object recognition in adverse viewing conditions. The chosen visual task was vehicle number plate recognition at long ranges (500 m and beyond). Two different commercial video enhancement systems are evaluated using the same protocol. The results show an increase in effective range with some differences between the different enhancement systems.

  7. Improved performance of the control scheme for IUAC superconducting Linac

    Sahu, B.K.; Suman, S.K.; Kumar, R.

    2015-01-01

    Since many years energized ion beams from linac are being delivered routinely for scheduled experiments using all the three accelerating modules of linac along with super buncher and rebuncher. Major efforts are dedicated to improve the performance of the control scheme to minimise the down time of the linac during operation. Earlier, a number of developments were carried out to improve the dynamics of the control scheme. The most significant of them is the piezoelectric actuator based tuning mechanism which is implemented in all the operational resonators of second and third accelerating modules of superconducting linac. This has helped us to bridge the gap between the accelerating fields achieved during Q measurement at 6 W of helium power and during phase locking of the resonator during beam operation at a given RF power (∼120W). The piezoelectric actuator based tuner is also instrumental to reduce the unlocking rate of the resonators. Pulse width modulation (PWM) control based helium gas operated tuner is implemented in few resonators to improve phase locking performance. CAMAC based distributed control scheme is upgraded to VME based distributed control without changing the existing client interface to maintain uniformity between the Pelletron and linac control. Python code support has been implemented to protect the resonators against high forward power during unlocking. This is also integrated with the display status of the resonators for monitoring. A frequency to voltage converter is incorporated in control scheme to monitor the frequency error. This has helped us to develop a scheme for automatic phase locking of the cavities using piezoelectric actuator based tuner control. (author)

  8. Neck-cooling improves repeated sprint performance in the heat

    Caroline eSunderland

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available The present study evaluated the effect of neck-cooling during exercise on repeated sprint ability in a hot environment. Seven team-sport playing males completed two experimental trials involving repeated sprint exercise (5 x 6 s before and after two 45 min bouts of a football specific intermittent treadmill protocol in the heat (33.0  0.2 ºC; 53 ± 2% relative humidity. Participants wore a neck-cooling collar in one of the trials (CC. Mean power output and peak power output declined over time in both trials but were higher in CC (540 ± 99 v 507 ± 122W, d = 0.32; 719 ± 158 v 680 ± 182 W, d = 0.24 respectively. The improved power output was particularly pronounced (d = 0.51 – 0.88 after the 2nd 45 min bout but the CC had no effect on % fatigue. The collar lowered neck temperature and the thermal sensation of the neck (P 0.05. There were no trial differences but interaction effects were demonstrated for prolactin concentration and rating of perceived exertion (RPE. Prolactin concentration was initially higher in the collar cold trial and then was lower from 45 minutes onwards (interaction trial x time P=0.04. RPE was lower during the football intermittent treadmill protocol in the collar cold trial (interaction trial x time P = 0.01. Neck-cooling during exercise improves repeated sprint performance in a hot environment without altering physiological or neuroendocrinological responses. RPE is reduced and may partially explain the performance improvement.

  9. Multi-laboratory survey of qPCR enterococci analysis method performance in U.S. coastal and inland surface waters

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) has become a frequently used technique for quantifying enterococci in recreational surface waters, but there are...

  10. Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in extrapulmonary biopsy samples using PCR targeting IS6110, rpoB, and nested-rpoB PCR Cloning.

    Meghdadi, Hossein; Khosravi, Azar D; Ghadiri, Ata A; Sina, Amir H; Alami, Ameneh

    2015-01-01

    Present study was aimed to examine the diagnostic utility of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and nested PCR techniques for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) DNA in samples from patients with extra pulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB). In total 80 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples comprising 70 samples with definite diagnosis of EPTB and 10 samples from known non- EPTB on the basis of histopathology examination, were included in the study. PCR amplification targeting IS6110, rpoB gene and nested PCR targeting the rpoB gene were performed on the extracted DNAs from 80 FFPE samples. The strong positive samples were directly sequenced. For negative samples and those with weak band in nested-rpoB PCR, TA cloning was performed by cloning the products into the plasmid vector with subsequent sequencing. The 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the estimates of sensitivity and specificity were calculated for each method. Fourteen (20%), 34 (48.6%), and 60 (85.7%) of the 70 positive samples confirmed by histopathology, were positive by rpoB-PCR, IS6110-PCR, and nested-rpoB PCR, respectively. By performing TA cloning on samples that yielded weak (n = 8) or negative results (n = 10) in the PCR methods, we were able to improve their quality for later sequencing. All samples with weak band and 7 out of 10 negative samples, showed strong positive results after cloning. So nested-rpoB PCR cloning revealed positivity in 67 out of 70 confirmed samples (95.7%). The sensitivity of these combination methods was calculated as 95.7% in comparison with histopathology examination. The CI for sensitivity of the PCR methods were calculated as 11.39-31.27% for rpoB-PCR, 36.44-60.83% for IS6110- PCR, 75.29-92.93% for nested-rpoB PCR, and 87.98-99.11% for nested-rpoB PCR cloning. The 10 true EPTB negative samples by histopathology, were negative by all tested methods including cloning and were used to calculate the specificity of the applied methods. The CI for 100

  11. Use of real-time PCR on faecal samples for detection of sub-clinical Salmonella infection in cattle did not improve the detection sensitivity compared to conventional bacteriology

    Jensen, Annette Nygaard; Nielsen, L.R.; Baggesen, Dorte Lau

    2013-01-01

    bacteriological culture-reference method (BCRM) on cattle faecal samples for detection of sub-clinical Salmonella infections in cattle. Thirty faecal samples were artificially contaminated with either 10 or 50CFU of one of five strains of S. Dublin (SD) and S. Typhimurium (ST). The overall detection sensitivity...... of both rt-PCR and BCRM was 100% for ST and 78% for SD. Furthermore, 163 faecal samples from cattle herds with suspected Salmonella infection were tested to compare the relative performance of rt-PCR to BCRM on samples from naturally infected herds. The relative sensitivity of rt-PCR was 20% (3/15 BCRM...... positive samples) while the relative specificity and accuracy was 99% and 92%, respectively. Both methods had limitations for detecting low levels of SD (...

  12. Does correcting astigmatism with toric lenses improve driving performance?

    Cox, Daniel J; Banton, Thomas; Record, Steven; Grabman, Jesse H; Hawkins, Ronald J

    2015-04-01

    Driving is a vision-based activity of daily living that impacts safety. Because visual disruption can compromise driving safety, contact lens wearers with astigmatism may pose a driving safety risk if they experience residual blur from spherical lenses that do not correct their astigmatism or if they experience blur from toric lenses that rotate excessively. Given that toric lens stabilization systems are continually improving, this preliminary study tested the hypothesis that astigmats wearing toric contact lenses, compared with spherical lenses, would exhibit better overall driving performance and driving-specific visual abilities. A within-subject, single-blind, crossover, randomized design was used to evaluate driving performance in 11 young adults with astigmatism (-0.75 to -1.75 diopters cylinder). Each participant drove a highly immersive, virtual reality driving simulator (210 degrees field of view) with (1) no correction, (2) spherical contact lens correction (ACUVUE MOIST), and (3) toric contact lens correction (ACUVUE MOIST for Astigmatism). Tactical driving skills such as steering, speed management, and braking, as well as operational driving abilities such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and foot and arm reaction time, were quantified. There was a main effect for type of correction on driving performance (p = 0.05). Correction with toric lenses resulted in significantly safer tactical driving performance than no correction (p driving safety from no correction (p = 0.118). Operational tests differentiated corrected from uncorrected performance for both spherical (p = 0.008) and toric (p = 0.011) lenses, but they were not sensitive enough to differentiate toric from spherical lens conditions. Given previous research showing that deficits in these tactical skills are predictive of future real-world collisions, these preliminary data suggest that correcting low to moderate astigmatism with toric lenses may be important to driving safety. Their

  13. A review of hospital characteristics associated with improved performance.

    Brand, Caroline A; Barker, Anna L; Morello, Renata T; Vitale, Michael R; Evans, Sue M; Scott, Ian A; Stoelwinder, Johannes U; Cameron, Peter A

    2012-10-01

    The objective of this review was to critically appraise the literature relating to associations between high-level structural and operational hospital characteristics and improved performance. The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (Ovid), CINAHL, proQuest and PsychINFO were searched for articles published between January 1996 and May 2010. Reference lists of included articles were reviewed and key journals were hand searched for relevant articles. and data extraction Studies were included if they were systematic reviews or meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, controlled before and after studies or observational studies (cohort and cross-sectional) that were multicentre, comparative performance studies. Two reviewers independently extracted data, assigned grades of evidence according to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines and critically appraised the included articles. Data synthesis Fifty-seven studies were reported within 12 systematic reviews and 47 observational articles. There was heterogeneity in use and definition of performance outcomes. Hospital characteristics investigated were environment (incentives, market characteristics), structure (network membership, ownership, teaching status, geographical setting, service size) and operational design (innovativeness, leadership, organizational culture, public reporting and patient safety practices, information technology systems and decision support, service activity and planning, workforce design, staff training and education). The strongest evidence for an association with overall performance was identified for computerized physician order entry systems. Some evidence supported the associations with workforce design, use of financial incentives, nursing leadership and hospital volume. There is limited, mainly low-quality evidence, supporting the associations between hospital characteristics and healthcare performance. Further characteristic-specific systematic reviews are

  14. Does plyometric training improve strength performance? A meta-analysis.

    Sáez-Sáez de Villarreal, Eduardo; Requena, Bernardo; Newton, Robert U

    2010-09-01

    Majority of the research suggests plyometric training (PT) improves maximal strength performance as measured by 1RM, isometric MVC or slow velocity isokinetic testing. However, the effectiveness of PT depends upon various factors. A meta-analysis of 15 studies with a total of 31 effect sizes (ES) was carried out to analyse the role of various factors on the effects of PT on strength performance. The inclusion criteria for the analysis were: (a) studies using PT programs for lower limb muscles; (b) studies employing true experimental design and valid and reliable measurements; (c) studies including sufficient data to calculate ES. When subjects can adequately follow plyometric exercises, the training gains are independent of fitness level. Subjects in either good or poor physical condition, benefit equally from plyometric work, also men obtain similar strength results to women following PT. In relation to the variables of program design, training volume of less than 10 weeks and with more than 15 sessions, as well as the implementation of high-intensity programs, with more than 40 jumps per session, were the strategies that seem to maximize the probability to obtain significantly greater improvements in performance (p<0.05). In order to optimise strength enhancement, the combination of different types of plyometrics with weight-training would be recommended, rather than utilizing only one form (p<0.05). The responses identified in this analysis are essential and should be considered by the strength and conditioning professional with regard to the most appropriate dose-response trends for PT to optimise strength gains.

  15. Performance Improvement of a Radioactive Forced Circulation Evaporator System

    Zaki, A.A.; Hala, A.A.; Othman, E.A.

    2016-01-01

    Evaporation is a proven method for treatment of liquid radioactive wastes providing both good decontamination and high concentration. In a radioactive waste treatment plant a forced circulation evaporator is used to reduce the volume of radioactive liquid wastes arising from different applications of nuclear industries. The safe operation, limiting the composition of the liquid radioactive waste at a prescribed value, with high performance efficiency, requires good control for the evaporator operating pressure and the level of liquid waste inside the separator part of the evaporator. The aim of this work was to improve the safety and performance of a forced-circulation evaporator used in a liquid radioactive wastes treatment plant. In this respect, a level controller system for this type of evaporator was designed, where proportional (P), proportional Integral (PI) and deadbeat response controllers for the separator level system were suggested. More over, an ideal 2×2(2 inputs and 2 outputs )de coupler controller for controlling the operating pressure and the product composition was developed. Computer results demonstrated that the deadbeat response has been success fully obtained from the developed separator control system. The maximum over shoot in the unit-step response curve was reduce d to 25 % and the settling time also was reduced to more than the half; about 26 minutes using Ziegler-Nichols tuning technique.The designed de coupling controller has been found effective in achieving a good trade-off between stability and performance

  16. Chicken Essence Improves Exercise Performance and Ameliorates Physical Fatigue

    Wen-Ching Huang

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Chicken essence (CE is a liquid nutritional supplement made from cooking whole chickens. In traditional Chinese medicine, CE is used to support health, promote healing, increase metabolism, and relieve fatigue. However, few studies have examined the effect of CE on exercise performance and physical fatigue. We aimed to evaluate the potential beneficial effects of CE on fatigue and ergogenic functions following physical challenge in mice. Male ICR mice were divided into four groups to receive vehicle or CE by oral gavage at 0, 845, 1690, or 4225 mg/kg/day for 4 weeks. Exercise performance and anti-fatigue function were evaluated by forelimb grip strength, exhaustive swimming time, and levels of physical fatigue-related biomarkers serum lactate, ammonia, glucose, and creatine kinase (CK after physical challenge. CE supplementation dose-dependently elevated endurance and grip strength. CE supplementation significantly decreased lactate, ammonia, and CK levels after physical challenge. Tissue glycogen content, an important energy source for exercise, was significantly increased with CE supplementation. In addition, CE supplementation had few subchronic toxic effects. The supplementation with CE can have a wide spectrum of bioactivities on health promotion, performance improvement and anti-fatigue.

  17. Improved electrochemical performance of hierarchical porous carbon/polyaniline composites

    Hu Juan; Wang Huanlei; Huang Xiao

    2012-01-01

    Highlights: ► Polyaniline-coated hierarchical porous carbon (HPC) composites have been synthesized by in situ polymerization. ► The HPC/polyaniline composite has significantly better electrochemical capacitance performance than pure HPC and polyaniline. ► The amount of polyaniline loading has a significant effect on the composites’ electrochemical performances. - Abstract: Polyaniline (PANI)-coated hierarchical porous carbon (HPC) composites (HPC/PANI) for use as supercapacitor electrodes were prepared by in situ chemical oxidation polymerization at 273 K of an aniline solution containing well-dispersed HPC particles. After polymerization, a thin layer of PANI was coated on the surface of the HPC particles, which was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), transmission electron microscope (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Compared to pure PANI and HPC, the electrochemical capacitance performance of the composites was significantly improved. The highest specific capacitance of the composites obtained is 478 F g −1 at 1 mV s −1 , which is more than twice as that of pure PANI and three times as that of pure HPC. Because of the influence from the hierarchical pore structure of the carbon material, the calculated specific capacitance of PANI in the composite (pseudocapacitance contribution from PANI) is almost one magnitude higher than that of pure PANI.

  18. Improving scanner wafer alignment performance by target optimization

    Leray, Philippe; Jehoul, Christiane; Socha, Robert; Menchtchikov, Boris; Raghunathan, Sudhar; Kent, Eric; Schoonewelle, Hielke; Tinnemans, Patrick; Tuffy, Paul; Belen, Jun; Wise, Rich

    2016-03-01

    In the process nodes of 10nm and below, the patterning complexity along with the processing and materials required has resulted in a need to optimize alignment targets in order to achieve the required precision, accuracy and throughput performance. Recent industry publications on the metrology target optimization process have shown a move from the expensive and time consuming empirical methodologies, towards a faster computational approach. ASML's Design for Control (D4C) application, which is currently used to optimize YieldStar diffraction based overlay (DBO) metrology targets, has been extended to support the optimization of scanner wafer alignment targets. This allows the necessary process information and design methodology, used for DBO target designs, to be leveraged for the optimization of alignment targets. In this paper, we show how we applied this computational approach to wafer alignment target design. We verify the correlation between predictions and measurements for the key alignment performance metrics and finally show the potential alignment and overlay performance improvements that an optimized alignment target could achieve.

  19. Microstructured Electrolyte Membranes to Improve Fuel Cell Performance

    Wei, Xue

    Fuel cells, with the advantages of high efficiency, low greenhouse gas emission, and long lifetime are a promising technology for both portable power and stationary power sources. The development of efficient electrolyte membranes with high ionic conductivity, good mechanical durability and dense structure at low cost remains a challenge to the commercialization of fuel cells. This thesis focuses on exploring novel composite polymer membranes and ceramic electrolytes with the microstructure engineered to improve performance in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), respectively. Polymer/particle composite membranes hold promise to meet the demands of DMFCs at lower cost. The structure of composite membranes was controlled by aligning proton conducting particles across the membrane thickness under an applied electric field. The field-induced structural changes caused the membranes to display an enhanced water uptake, proton conductivity, and methanol permeability in comparison to membranes prepared without an applied field. Although both methanol permeability and proton conductivity are enhanced by the applied field, the permeability increase is relatively lower than the proton conductivity improvement, which results in enhanced proton/methanol selectivity and improved DMFC performance. Apatite ceramics are a new class of fast ion conductors being studied as alternative SOFC electrolytes in the intermediate temperature range. An electrochemical/hydrothermal deposition method was developed to grow fully dense apatite membranes containing well-developed crystals with c-axis alignment to promote ion conductivity. Hydroxyapatite seed crystals were first deposited onto a metal substrate electrochemically. Subsequent ion substitution during the hydrothermal growth process promoted the formation of dense, fully crystalline films with microstructure optimal for ion transport. The deposition parameters were systematically investigated, such as

  20. Virtual reality training improves da Vinci performance: a prospective trial.

    Cho, Jae Sung; Hahn, Koo Yong; Kwak, Jung Myun; Kim, Jin; Baek, Se Jin; Shin, Jae Won; Kim, Seon Hahn

    2013-12-01

    The DV-Trainer™ (a virtual reality [VR] simulator) (Mimic Technologies, Inc., Seattle, WA) is one of several different robotic surgical training methods. We designed a prospective study to determine whether VR training could improve da Vinci(®) Surgical System (Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA) performance. Surgeons (n=12) were enrolled using a randomized protocol. Groups 1 (VR training) and 2 (control) participated in VR and da Vinci exercises. Participants' time and moving distance were combined to determine a composite score: VR index=1000/(time×moving distance). The da Vinci exercises included needle control and suturing. Procedure time and error were measured. A composite index (DV index) was computed and used to measure da Vinci competency. After the initial trial with both the VR and da Vinci exercises, only Group 1 was trained with the VR simulator following our institutional curriculum for 3 weeks. All members of both groups then participated in the second trial of the VR and da Vinci exercises and were scored in the same way as in the initial trial. In the initial trial, there was no difference in the VR index (Group 1 versus Group 2, 8.9 ± 3.3 versus 9.4 ± 3.7; P=.832) and the DV index (Group 1 versus Group 2, 3.85 ± 0.73 versus 3.66 ± 0.65; P=.584) scores between the two groups. At the second time point, Group 1 showed increased VR index scores in comparison with Group 2 (19.3 ± 4.5 versus 9.7 ± 4.1, respectively; P=.001) and improved da Vinci performance skills as measured by the DV index (5.80 ± 1.13 versus 4.05 ± 1.03, respectively; P=.028) and by suturing time (7.1 ± 1.54 minutes versus 10.55 ± 1.93 minutes, respectively; P=.018). We found that VR simulator training can improve da Vinci performance. VR practice can result in an early plateau in the learning curve for robotic practice under controlled circumstances.

  1. Long-Term Heating to Improve Receiver Performance

    Glatzmaier, Greg C.; Cable, Robert; Newmarker, Marc

    2017-06-27

    The buildup of hydrogen in the heat transfer fluid (HTF) that circulates through components of parabolic trough power plants decreases receiver thermal efficiency, and ultimately, it decreases plant performance and electricity output. The generation and occurrence of hydrogen in the HTF provides the driving force for hydrogen to permeate from the HTF through the absorber tube wall and into the receiver annulus. Getters adsorb hydrogen from the annulus volume until they saturate and are no longer able to maintain low hydrogen pressure. The increase in hydrogen pressure within the annulus significantly degrades thermal performance of the receiver and decreases overall power-plant efficiency. NREL and Acciona Energy North America (Acciona) are developing a method to control the levels of dissolved hydrogen in the circulating HTF. The basic approach is to remove hydrogen from the expansion tanks of the HTF subsystem at a rate that maintains hydrogen in the circulating HTF to a target level. Full-plant steady-state models developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) predict that if hydrogen is removed from the HTF within the expansion tanks, the HTF that circulates through the collector field remains essentially free of hydrogen until the HTF returns to the power block in the hot headers. One of the key findings of our modeling is the prediction that hydrogen will reverse-permeate out of the receiver annulus if dissolved hydrogen in the HTF is kept sufficiently low. To test this prediction, we performed extended heating of an in-service receiver that initially had high levels of hydrogen in its annulus. The heating was performed using NREL's receiver test stand. Results of our testing showed that receiver heat loss steadily decreased with daily heating, resulting in a corresponding improvement in receiver thermal efficiency.

  2. Application of reverse transcription-PCR and real-time PCR in nanotoxicity research.

    Mo, Yiqun; Wan, Rong; Zhang, Qunwei

    2012-01-01

    Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique to determine the expression level of target genes and is widely used in biomedical science research including nanotoxicology studies for semiquantitative analysis. Real-time PCR allows for the detection of PCR amplification in the exponential growth phase of the reaction and is much more quantitative than traditional RT-PCR. Although a number of kits and reagents for RT-PCR and real-time PCR are commercially available, the basic principles are the same. Here, we describe the procedures for total RNA isolation by using TRI Reagent, for reverse transcription (RT) by M-MLV reverse transcriptase, and for PCR by GoTaq(®) DNA Polymerase. And real-time PCR will be performed on an iQ5 multicolor real-time PCR detection system by using iQ™ SYBR Green Supermix.

  3. Improving performances of suboptimal greedy iterative biclustering heuristics via localization.

    Erten, Cesim; Sözdinler, Melih

    2010-10-15

    Biclustering gene expression data is the problem of extracting submatrices of genes and conditions exhibiting significant correlation across both the rows and the columns of a data matrix of expression values. Even the simplest versions of the problem are computationally hard. Most of the proposed solutions therefore employ greedy iterative heuristics that locally optimize a suitably assigned scoring function. We provide a fast and simple pre-processing algorithm called localization that reorders the rows and columns of the input data matrix in such a way as to group correlated entries in small local neighborhoods within the matrix. The proposed localization algorithm takes its roots from effective use of graph-theoretical methods applied to problems exhibiting a similar structure to that of biclustering. In order to evaluate the effectivenesss of the localization pre-processing algorithm, we focus on three representative greedy iterative heuristic methods. We show how the localization pre-processing can be incorporated into each representative algorithm to improve biclustering performance. Furthermore, we propose a simple biclustering algorithm, Random Extraction After Localization (REAL) that randomly extracts submatrices from the localization pre-processed data matrix, eliminates those with low similarity scores, and provides the rest as correlated structures representing biclusters. We compare the proposed localization pre-processing with another pre-processing alternative, non-negative matrix factorization. We show that our fast and simple localization procedure provides similar or even better results than the computationally heavy matrix factorization pre-processing with regards to H-value tests. We next demonstrate that the performances of the three representative greedy iterative heuristic methods improve with localization pre-processing when biological correlations in the form of functional enrichment and PPI verification constitute the main performance

  4. Improvement of Sprint Performance in Wheelchair Sportsmen With Caffeine Supplementation.

    Graham-Paulson, Terri S; Perret, Claudio; Watson, Phil; Goosey-Tolfrey, Victoria L

    2016-03-01

    Caffeine can be beneficial during endurance and repeated-sprint exercise in able-bodied individuals performing leg or whole-body exercise. However, little evidence exists regarding its effects during upper-body exercise. This study therefore aimed to investigate the effects of caffeine on sprint (SPR) and 4-min maximal-push (PUSH) performance in wheelchair sportsmen. Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, 12 male wheelchair rugby players (age 30.0 ± 7.7 y, body mass 69.6 ± 15.3 kg, training 11.1 ± 3.5 h/wk) completed 2 exercise trials, separated by 7-14 d, 70 min after ingestion of 4 mg/kg caffeine (CAF) or dextrose placebo (PLA). Each trial consisted of four 4-min PUSHes and 3 sets of 3 × 20-m SPRs, each separated by 4 min rest. Participants responded to the Felt Arousal (a measure of perceived arousal), Feeling (a measure of the affective dimension of pleasure/displeasure), and rating-of-perceived-exertion (RPE) scales. Salivary caffeine secretion rates were measured. Average SPR times were faster during CAF than PLA during SPR 1 and SPR 2 (P = .037 and .016). There was no influence of supplementation on PUSHes 2-4 (P > .099); however, participants pushed significantly farther during PUSH 1 after CAF than after PLA (mean ± SD 677 ± 107 and 653 ± 118 m, P = .047). There was no influence of CAF on arousal or RPE scores (P > .132). Feeling scores improved over the course of the CAF trial only (P = .017) but did not significantly differ between trials (P > .167). Pre-warm-up (45 min postingestion) salivary CAF secretion rates were 1.05 ± 0.94 and 0.08 ± 0.05 μg/min for CAF and PLA, respectively. Acute CAF supplementation can improve both 20-m-sprint performance and a 1-off bout of short-term endurance performance in wheelchair sportsmen.

  5. Improved real-time PCR assay for detection of the quarantine potato pathogen, Synchytrium endobioticum, in zonal centrifuge extracts from soil and in plants

    Gent-Pelzer, van M.P.E.; Krijger, M.C.; Bonants, P.J.M.

    2010-01-01

    Real-time PCR was used for quantitative detection of the potato pathogen, Synchytrium endobioticum, in different substrates: zonal centrifuge extracts, warts and different plant parts of potato. Specific primers and a TaqMan probe, designed from the internal transcribed spacer region of the

  6. Control Performance Management in Industrial Automation Assessment, Diagnosis and Improvement of Control Loop Performance

    Jelali, Mohieddine

    2013-01-01

    Control Performance Management in Industrial Automation provides a coherent and self-contained treatment of a group of methods and applications of burgeoning importance to the detection and solution of problems with control loops that are vital in maintaining product quality, operational safety, and efficiency of material and energy consumption in the process industries. The monograph deals with all aspects of control performance management (CPM), from controller assessment (minimum-variance-control-based and advanced methods), to detection and diagnosis of control loop problems (process non-linearities, oscillations, actuator faults), to the improvement of control performance (maintenance, re-design of loop components, automatic controller re-tuning). It provides a contribution towards the development and application of completely self-contained and automatic methodologies in the field. Moreover, within this work, many CPM tools have been developed that goes far beyond available CPM packages. Control Perform...

  7. Organic photovoltaic cells: from performance improvement to manufacturing processes.

    Youn, Hongseok; Park, Hui Joon; Guo, L Jay

    2015-05-20

    Organic photovoltaics (OPVs) have been pursued as a next generation power source due to their light weight, thin, flexible, and simple fabrication advantages. Improvements in OPV efficiency have attracted great attention in the past decade. Because the functional layers in OPVs can be dissolved in common solvents, they can be manufactured by eco-friendly and scalable printing or coating technologies. In this review article, the focus is on recent efforts to control nanomorphologies of photoactive layer and discussion of various solution-processed charge transport and extraction materials, to maximize the performance of OPV cells. Next, recent works on printing and coating technologies for OPVs to realize solution processing are reviewed. The review concludes with a discussion of recent advances in the development of non-traditional lamination and transfer method towards highly efficient and fully solution-processed OPV. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  8. Operator/contractor teamwork is the key to performance improvement

    Robins, K.B.; Roberts, J.D.M.

    1996-01-01

    The contract strategies developed by the two major E and P companies operating in the North Sea emphasize teamwork between operator and contractors to achieve the common goal of maximizing project value. These strategies have had significant repercussions across the whole industry. This paper compares these strategies and concludes that although they are structurally different, they have the same fundamental objectives. It describes the evolution of what these operators consider to be their core business, with the resultant changing roles for both operator and contractor staff. Several examples of results achieved through implementing these changes are described, highlighting the need for a structured performance measurement system to quantify the success of these initiatives. Finally, the potential for even greater efficiency improvements through further industry-wide cooperation is emphasized

  9. Confirmation test on confinement performance of improved glove box

    Miura, S.; Kanazawa, J.; Nakajima, M.; Sakuno, K.; Miyata, H.

    1995-01-01

    Glove boxes are used at nuclear facilities to confine radioactive materials by ensuring a high level of airtightness and negative internal pressure. The allowable rate of air leakage is 0.1% vol/hr or less at the pre-service inspection. The negative pressure value is normally maintained at about -30 mm H 2 O. Structural strength and confinement reliability of glove boxes during earthquake are major concerns, and most important glove boxes are designed to withstand seismic class A events is Japan. This paper describes vibration tests done to confirm that improve large-sized glove boxes maintain their confinement performance and structural strength even during earthquake and that the design analysis methods used are appropriate. (author). 1 ref., 6 figs., 3 tabs

  10. The EXPLORER gravitational wave antenna: recent improvements and performances

    Astone, P; Bonifazi, P; Carelli, P; Castellano, M G; Cavallari, G; Coccia, E; Cosmelli, C; D'Antonio, S; Fafone, V; Federici, G; Minenkov, Y; Modestino, G; Modena, I; Moleti, A; Pizzella, G; Pallottino, G V; Quintieri, L; Rocchi, A; Ronga, F; Terenzi, R; Torrioli, G; Visco, M

    2002-01-01

    Since the beginning of 2000 the EXPLORER gravity wave (GW) detector has been operated continuously after a stop devoted to improve the apparatus. The antenna has been equipped with a new read-out. The use of a new transducer, characterized by a very small gap, and a dc-SQUID with a high coupling, led to a better sensitivity and a larger bandwidth. The EXPLORER sensitivity in terms of spectral noise amplitude, at present (June 2001), is 10 sup - sup 2 sup 0 Hz sup - sup 1 sup / sup 2 over a bandwidth of 35 Hz and 3 x 10 sup - sup 2 sup 1 Hz sup - sup 1 sup / sup 2 with a bandwidth of about 6 Hz, corresponding to a sensitivity to short conventional GW bursts of h = 4 x 10 sup - sup 1 sup 9. The performance is stable and the apparatus is taking data with a duty cycle in excess of 80%.

  11. The EXPLORER gravitational wave antenna: recent improvements and performances

    Astone, P; Bassan, M; Bonifazi, P; Carelli, P; Castellano, M G; Cavallari, G; Coccia, E; Cosmelli, C; D'Antonio, S; Fafone, V; Federici, G; Minenkov, Y; Modestino, G; Modena, I; Moleti, A; Pizzella, G; Pallottino, G V; Quintieri, L; Rocchi, A; Ronga, F; Terenzi, R; Torrioli, G; Visco, M

    2002-01-01

    Since the beginning of 2000 the EXPLORER gravity wave (GW) detector has been operated continuously after a stop devoted to improve the apparatus. The antenna has been equipped with a new read-out. The use of a new transducer, characterized by a very small gap, and a dc-SQUID with a high coupling, led to a better sensitivity and a larger bandwidth. The EXPLORER sensitivity in terms of spectral noise amplitude, at present (June 2001), is 10 -20 Hz -1/2 over a bandwidth of 35 Hz and 3 x 10 -21 Hz -1/2 with a bandwidth of about 6 Hz, corresponding to a sensitivity to short conventional GW bursts of h = 4 x 10 -19 . The performance is stable and the apparatus is taking data with a duty cycle in excess of 80%

  12. Albendazole nanocrystals with improved pharmacokinetic performance in mice.

    Paredes, Alejandro J; Bruni, Sergio Sánchez; Allemandi, Daniel; Lanusse, Carlos; Palma, Santiago D

    2018-02-01

    Albendazole (ABZ) is a broad-spectrum antiparasitic agent with poor aqueous solubility, which leads to poor/erratic bioavailability and therapeutic failures. Here, we aimed to produce a novel formulation of ABZ nanocrystals (ABZNC) and assess its pharmacokinetic performance in mice. Results/methodology: ABZNC were prepared by high-pressure homogenization and spray-drying processes. Redispersion capacity and solid yield were measured in order to obtain an optimized product. The final particle size was 415.69±7.40 nm and the solid yield was 72.32%. The pharmacokinetic parameters obtained in a mice model for ABZNC were enhanced (p < 0.05) with respect to the control formulation. ABZNC with improved pharmacokinetic behavior were produced by a simple, inexpensive and potentially scalable methodology.

  13. Improving reservoir performance using new 'smart' well technology

    Roggensack, W.D.; Matthews, C.M.

    1997-01-01

    The technologies that were available in the past to improve reservoir performance include 3-D seismic, coiled tubing, horizontal wells, and PCP's. Future enabling technologies will also include multi-lateral wells, 'smart' wells, underbalanced drilling, and downhole fluids processing. A description of 'smart' well technology was given, defined as well completions which facilitate downhole monitoring and control of production to achieve maximum reserves recovery. The current development for 'smart' wells is focused on offshore and subsea wells for marginal field development and work-over mitigation, with the emphasis in system design for production control of horizontal and multi-lateral wells. Basic 'smart' well configuration, instrumentation and monitoring systems, applications of 'smart' well technology in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, and future developments and applications for the technology in general, were also discussed. 30 figs

  14. Self-assessed performance improves statistical fusion of image labels

    Bryan, Frederick W.; Xu, Zhoubing; Asman, Andrew J.; Allen, Wade M.; Reich, Daniel S.; Landman, Bennett A.

    2014-01-01

    . Statistical fusion resulted in statistically indistinguishable performance from self-assessed weighted voting. The authors developed a new theoretical basis for using self-assessed performance in the framework of statistical fusion and demonstrated that the combined sources of information (both statistical assessment and self-assessment) yielded statistically significant improvement over the methods considered separately. Conclusions: The authors present the first systematic characterization of self-assessed performance in manual labeling. The authors demonstrate that self-assessment and statistical fusion yield similar, but complementary, benefits for label fusion. Finally, the authors present a new theoretical basis for combining self-assessments with statistical label fusion

  15. Self-assessed performance improves statistical fusion of image labels

    Bryan, Frederick W., E-mail: frederick.w.bryan@vanderbilt.edu; Xu, Zhoubing; Asman, Andrew J.; Allen, Wade M. [Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37235 (United States); Reich, Daniel S. [Translational Neuroradiology Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 (United States); Landman, Bennett A. [Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37235 (United States); Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37235 (United States); and Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37235 (United States)

    2014-03-15

    . Statistical fusion resulted in statistically indistinguishable performance from self-assessed weighted voting. The authors developed a new theoretical basis for using self-assessed performance in the framework of statistical fusion and demonstrated that the combined sources of information (both statistical assessment and self-assessment) yielded statistically significant improvement over the methods considered separately. Conclusions: The authors present the first systematic characterization of self-assessed performance in manual labeling. The authors demonstrate that self-assessment and statistical fusion yield similar, but complementary, benefits for label fusion. Finally, the authors present a new theoretical basis for combining self-assessments with statistical label fusion.

  16. Design and performance of the CDC real-time reverse transcriptase PCR swine flu panel for detection of 2009 A (H1N1) pandemic influenza virus.

    Shu, Bo; Wu, Kai-Hui; Emery, Shannon; Villanueva, Julie; Johnson, Roy; Guthrie, Erica; Berman, LaShondra; Warnes, Christine; Barnes, Nathelia; Klimov, Alexander; Lindstrom, Stephen

    2011-07-01

    Swine influenza viruses (SIV) have been shown to sporadically infect humans and are infrequently identified by the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after being received as unsubtypeable influenza A virus samples. Real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (rRT-PCR) procedures for detection and characterization of North American lineage (N. Am) SIV were developed and implemented at CDC for rapid identification of specimens from cases of suspected infections with SIV. These procedures were utilized in April 2009 for detection of human cases of 2009 A (H1N1) pandemic (pdm) influenza virus infection. Based on genetic sequence data derived from the first two viruses investigated, the previously developed rRT-PCR procedures were optimized to create the CDC rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel for detection of the 2009 A (H1N1) pdm influenza virus. The analytical sensitivity of the CDC rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel was shown to be 5 copies of RNA per reaction and 10(-1.3 - -0.7) 50% infectious doses (ID(50)) per reaction for cultured viruses. Cross-reactivity was not observed when testing human clinical specimens or cultured viruses that were positive for human seasonal A (H1N1, H3N2) and B influenza viruses. The CDC rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel was distributed to public health laboratories in the United States and internationally from April 2009 until June 2010. The CDC rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel served as an effective tool for timely and specific detection of 2009 A (H1N1) pdm influenza viruses and facilitated subsequent public health response implementation.

  17. Evaluation of PCR for cutaneous leishmaniasis diagnosis and species identification using filter paper samples in Panama, Central America.

    Miranda, A; Saldaña, A; González, K; Paz, H; Santamaría, G; Samudio, F; Calzada, J E

    2012-09-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a major vectorborne disease in Panama. In this study, the diagnostic performance and usefulness of two DNA extraction procedures from skin scraping samples collected on FTA filter paper for subsequent PCR diagnosis of CL was evaluated. A positive CL laboratory diagnosis was based on a positive parasitological test (Giemsa-stained smears or in vitro culture) and/or positive PCR test performed from skin scrapings collected in TE buffer (PCR-TE). Of 100 patients with skin lesions suggestive of CL, 82 (82%) were confirmed as CL positive. The sensitivity was calculated for each of the PCR approaches from samples collected on filter paper. The highest sensitivity was achieved by PCR-FTA processed by Chelex 100 (PCR-Chelex) (0.94). PCR-FTA extracted using the FTA purification reagent presented a lower sensitivity (0.60). Good concordance between routine PCR-TE and PCR-Chelex was observed (percent agreement=0.88, κ index=0.65). In conclusion, use of FTA filter paper for skin scraping collection combined with PCR is a reliable and convenient method for CL diagnosis in Panama, with comparable performance to the routine PCR method and with improved sensitivity compared with those of conventional parasitological methods. Copyright © 2012 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Optimization Controller for Mechatronic Sun Tracking System to Improve Performance

    Mustafa Engin

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available An embedded system that contains hardware and software was developed for two-axis solar tracking system to improve photovoltaic panel utilization. The hardware section of the embedded system consists of a 32-bit ARM core microcontroller, motor driver circuits, a motion control unit, pyranometer, GPS receiver, and an anemometer. The real-time control algorithm enables the solar tracker to operate automatically without external control as a stand-alone system, combining the advantages of the open-loop and the closed-loop control methods. The pyranometer is employed to continuously send radiation data to the controller if the measured radiation is above the lower radiation limit the photovoltaic panel can generate power, guaranteeing the solar tracking process to be highly efficient. The anemometer is utilized in the system to ensure that the solar tracking procedure halts under high wind speed conditions to protect the entire system. Latitude, longitude, altitude, date, and real-time clock data are provided by GPS receiver. The algorithm calculates solar time using astronomical equations with GPS data and converts it to pulse-width modulated motor control signal. The overall objective of this study is to develop a control algorithm that improves performance and reliability of the two-axis solar tracker, focusing on optimization of the controller board, drive hardware, and software.

  19. Improving Ballistic Performance of Polyurethane Foam by Nanoparticle Reinforcement

    M. F. Uddin

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available We report improving ballistic performance of polyurethane foam by reinforcing it with nanoscale TiO2 particles. Particles were dispersed through a sonic cavitation process and the loading of particles was 3 wt% of the total polymer. Once foams were reinforced, sandwich panels were made and impacted with fragment simulating projectiles (FSPs in a 1.5-inch gas gun. Projectile speed was set up to have complete penetration of the target in each experiment. Test results have indicated that sandwich with nanophased cores absorbed about 20% more kinetic energy than their neat counterpart. The corresponding increase in ballistic limit was around 12% over the neat control samples. The penetration phenomenon was also monitored using a high-speed camera. Analyses of digital images showed that FSP remained inside the nanophased sandwich for about 7 microseconds longer than that of a neat sandwich demonstrating improved energy absorption capability of the nanoparticle reinforced core. Failure modes for energy absorption have been investigated through a microscope and high-speed images.

  20. Qinshan CANDU NPP outage performance improvement through benchmarking

    Jiang Fuming

    2005-01-01

    With the increasingly fierce competition in the deregulated Energy Market, the optimization of outage duration has become one of the focal points for the Nuclear Power Plant owners around the world. People are seeking various ways to shorten the outage duration of NPP. Great efforts have been made in the Light Water Reactor (LWR) family with the concept of benchmarking and evaluation, which great reduced the outage duration and improved outage performance. The average capacity factor of LWRs has been greatly improved over the last three decades, which now is close to 90%. CANDU (Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor) stations, with its unique feature of on power refueling, of nuclear fuel remaining in the reactor all through the planned outage, have given raise to more stringent safety requirements during planned outage. In addition, the above feature gives more variations to the critical path of planned outage in different station. In order to benchmarking again the best practices in the CANDU stations, Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company (TQNPC) have initiated the benchmarking program among the CANDU stations aiming to standardize the outage maintenance windows and optimize the outage duration. The initial benchmarking has resulted the optimization of outage duration in Qinshan CANDU NPP and the formulation of its first long-term outage plan. This paper describes the benchmarking works that have been proven to be useful for optimizing outage duration in Qinshan CANDU NPP, and the vision of further optimize the duration with joint effort from the CANDU community. (authors)

  1. Improving Ballistic Performance of Polyurethane Foam by Nanoparticle Reinforcement

    Uddin, M.F.; Zainuddin, S.; Mahfuz, H.; Jeelani, S.

    2009-01-01

    We report improving ballistic performance of polyurethane foam by reinforcing it with nano scale TiO 2 particles. Particles were dispersed through a sonic cavitation process and the loading of particles was 3 wt % of the total polymer. Once foams were reinforced, sandwich panels were made and impacted with fragment simulating projectiles (FSPs) in a 1.5-inch gas gun. Projectile speed was set up to have complete penetration of the target in each experiment. Test results have indicated that sandwich with nano phased cores absorbed about 20% more kinetic energy than their neat counterpart. The corresponding increase in ballistic limit was around 12% over the neat control samples. The penetration phenomenon was also monitored using a high-speed camera. Analyses of digital images showed that FSP remained inside the nano phased sandwich for about 7 microseconds longer than that of a neat sandwich demonstrating improved energy absorption capability of the nanoparticle reinforced core. Failure modes for energy absorption have been investigated through a microscope and high-speed images.

  2. Commitment to COT verification improves patient outcomes and financial performance.

    Maggio, Paul M; Brundage, Susan I; Hernandez-Boussard, Tina; Spain, David A

    2009-07-01

    After an unsuccessful American College of Surgery Committee on Trauma visit, our level I trauma center initiated an improvement program that included (1) hiring new personnel (trauma director and surgeons, nurse coordinator, orthopedic trauma surgeon, and registry staff), (2) correcting deficiencies in trauma quality assurance and process improvement programs, and (3) development of an outreach program. Subsequently, our trauma center had two successful verifications. We examined the longitudinal effects of these efforts on volume, patient outcomes and finances. The Trauma Registry was used to derive data for all trauma patients evaluated in the emergency department from 2001 to 2007. Clinical data analyzed included number of admissions, interfacility transfers, injury severity scores (ISS), length of stay, and mortality for 2001 to 2007. Financial performance was assessed for fiscal years 2001 to 2007. Data were divided into patients discharged from the emergency department and those admitted to the hospital. Admissions increased 30%, representing a 7.6% annual increase (p = 0.004), mostly due to a nearly fivefold increase in interfacility transfers. Severe trauma patients (ISS >24) increased 106% and mortality rate for ISS >24 decreased by 47% to almost half the average of the National Trauma Database. There was a 78% increase in revenue and a sustained increase in hospital profitability. A major hospital commitment to Committee on Trauma verification had several salient outcomes; increased admissions, interfacility transfers, and acuity. Despite more seriously injured patients, there has been a major, sustained reduction in mortality and a trend toward decreased intensive care unit length of stay. This resulted in a substantial increase in contribution to margin (CTM), net profit, and revenues. With a high level of commitment and favorable payer mix, trauma center verification improves outcomes for both patients and the hospital.

  3. Clinical Assessment of a Nocardia PCR-Based Assay for Diagnosis of Nocardiosis.

    Rouzaud, Claire; Rodriguez-Nava, Véronica; Catherinot, Emilie; Méchaï, Frédéric; Bergeron, Emmanuelle; Farfour, Eric; Scemla, Anne; Poirée, Sylvain; Delavaud, Christophe; Mathieu, Daniel; Durupt, Stéphane; Larosa, Fabrice; Lengelé, Jean-Philippe; Christophe, Jean-Louis; Suarez, Felipe; Lortholary, Olivier; Lebeaux, David

    2018-06-01

    The diagnosis of nocardiosis, a severe opportunistic infection, is challenging. We assessed the specificity and sensitivity of a 16S rRNA Nocardia PCR-based assay performed on clinical samples. In this multicenter study (January 2014 to April 2015), patients who were admitted to three hospitals and had an underlying condition favoring nocardiosis, clinical and radiological signs consistent with nocardiosis, and a Nocardia PCR assay result for a clinical sample were included. Patients were classified as negative control (NC) (negative Nocardia culture results and proven alternative diagnosis or improvement at 6 months without anti- Nocardia treatment), positive control (PC) (positive Nocardia culture results), or probable nocardiosis (positive Nocardia PCR results, negative Nocardia culture results, and no alternative diagnosis). Sixty-eight patients were included; 47 were classified as NC, 8 as PC, and 13 as probable nocardiosis. PCR results were negative for 35/47 NC patients (74%). For the 12 NC patients with positive PCR results, the PCR assay had been performed with respiratory samples. These NC patients had chronic bronchopulmonary disease more frequently than did the NC patients with negative PCR results (8/12 patients [67%] versus 11/35 patients [31%]; P = 0.044). PCR results were positive for 7/8 PC patients (88%). There were 13 cases of probable nocardiosis, diagnosed solely using the PCR results; 9 of those patients (69%) had lung involvement (consolidation or nodule). Nocardia PCR testing had a specificity of 74% and a sensitivity of 88% for the diagnosis of nocardiosis. Nocardia PCR testing may be helpful for the diagnosis of nocardiosis in immunocompromised patients but interpretation of PCR results from respiratory samples is difficult, because the PCR assay may also detect colonization. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.

  4. Improving Operational Risk Management Using Business Performance Management Technologies

    Bram Pieket Weeserik

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Operational Risk Management (ORM comprises the continuous management of risks resulting from: human actions, internal processes, systems, and external events. With increasing requirements, complexity and a growing volume of risks, information systems provide benefits for integrating risk management activities and optimizing performance. Business Performance Management (BPM technologies are believed to provide a solution for effective Operational Risk Management by offering several combined technologies including: work flow, data warehousing, (advanced analytics, reporting and dashboards. BPM technologies can be integrated with an organization’s Planning & Control cycle and related to strategic objectives. This manuscript aims to show how ORM can benefit from BPM technologies via the development and practical validation of a new maturity model. The B4ORM maturity model was developed following the Design Science Research approach. The maturity model relates specific maturity levels of ORM processes with BPM technologies applicable for a specific maturity stage. There appears to be a strong relationship (0.78 with ORM process maturity and supporting BPM technologies. The B4ORM maturity model as described in this manuscript provides an ideal path of BPM technologies related to six distinctive stages of ORM, leading towards technologies suitable for continuous improvement of ORM processes and organization-wide integration.

  5. Hypoxic training methods for improving endurance exercise performance

    Jacob A. Sinex

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Endurance athletic performance is highly related to a number of factors that can be altered through altitude and hypoxic training including increases in erythrocyte volume, maximal aerobic exercise capacity, capillary density, and economy. Physiological adaptations in response to acute and chronic exposure to hypoxic environments are well documented and range from short-term detrimental effects to longer-term adaptations that can improve performance at altitude and in sea-level competitions. Many altitude and hypoxic training protocols have been developed, employing various combinations of living and training at sea-level, low, moderate, and high altitudes and utilizing natural and artificial altitudes, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Several factors have been identified that are associated with individual responses to hypoxic training, and techniques for identifying those athletes most likely to benefit from hypoxic training continue to be investigated. Exposure to sufficiently high altitude (2000–3000 m for more than 12 h/day, while training at lower altitudes, for a minimum of 21 days is recommended. Timing of altitude training related to competition remains under debate, although general recommendations can be considered.

  6. Non toxic additives for improved fabric filter performance

    Bustard, C.J.; Baldrey, K.E.; Ebner, T.G. [ADA Technologies, Inc., Englewood, CO (United States)] [and others

    1995-11-01

    The overall objective of this three-phase Small Business innovative Research (SBIR) program funded by the Department of Energy pittsburgh Energy Technology Center (PETC) is to commercialize a technology based upon the use of non-toxic, novel flue gas conditioning agents to improve particulate air toxic control and overall fabric filter performance. The ultimate objective of the Phase II program currently in progress is to demonstrate that the candidate additives are successful at full-scale on flue gas from a coal-fired utility boiler. This paper covers bench-scale field tests conducted during the period February through May, 1995. The bench-scale additives testing was conducted on a flue gas slipstream taken upstream of the existing particulate control device at a utility power plant firing a Texas lignite coal. These tests were preceded by extensive testing with additives in the laboratory using a simulated flue gas stream and re-dispersed flyash from the same power plant. The bench-scale field testing was undertaken to demonstrate the performance with actual flue gas of the bet candidate additives previously identified in the laboratory. Results from the bench-scale tests will be used to establish operating parameters for a larger-scale demonstration on either a single baghouse compartment or a full baghouse at the same site.

  7. Improving the performance of jaggery making unit using solar energy

    Lakshmi Pathi Jakkamputi

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The thermal performance of open earth pan furnace used conventionally for preparing jaggery (gur is very low. Dry bagasse is used as a fuel to produce heat in a combustion process in the open earth furnace. The energy loss due to inefficient combustion process, the energy loss through exhaust gases and other losses due to furnace wall, convection and radiation bring the thermal efficiency of open earth pan furnace to a low value. Certain quantity of energy produced in combustion process is used to sensibly heat the sugarcane juice to its evaporation temperature. Solar collectors can supply the sensible heat required to raise the sugarcane juice temperature up to its boiling point, thereby reducing the total quantity of heat required in preparing the jaggery. Solar drier can be used to supply hot air required for the combustion process to burn the bagasse in more efficient manner. This paper presents analytical calculations done to study the performance improvement of the jaggery making unit using solar collector and solar drier.

  8. Energy extraction from atmospheric turbulence to improve flight vehicle performance

    Patel, Chinmay Karsandas

    Small 'bird-sized' Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have now become practical due to technological advances in embedded electronics, miniature sensors and actuators, and propulsion systems. Birds are known to take advantage of wind currents to conserve energy and fly long distances without flapping their wings. This dissertation explores the possibility of improving the performance of small UAVs by extracting the energy available in atmospheric turbulence. An aircraft can gain energy from vertical gusts by increasing its lift in regions of updraft and reducing its lift in downdrafts - a concept that has been known for decades. Starting with a simple model of a glider flying through a sinusoidal gust, a parametric optimization approach is used to compute the minimum gust amplitude and optimal control input required for the glider to sustain flight without losing energy. For small UAVs using optimal control inputs, sinusoidal gusts with amplitude of 10--15% of the cruise speed are sufficient to keep the aircraft aloft. The method is then modified and extended to include random gusts that are representative of natural turbulence. A procedure to design optimal control laws for energy extraction from realistic gust profiles is developed using a Genetic Algorithm (GA). A feedback control law is designed to perform well over a variety of random gusts, and not be tailored for one particular gust. A small UAV flying in vertical turbulence is shown to obtain average energy savings of 35--40% with the use of a simple control law. The design procedure is also extended to determine optimal control laws for sinusoidal as well as turbulent lateral gusts. The theoretical work is complemented by experimental validation using a small autonomous UAV. The development of a lightweight autopilot and UAV platform is presented. Flight test results show that active control of the lift of an autonomous glider resulted in approximately 46% average energy savings compared to glides with fixed

  9. Caffeinated energy drinks improve volleyball performance in elite female players.

    Pérez-López, Alberto; Salinero, Juan José; Abian-Vicen, Javier; Valadés, David; Lara, Beatriz; Hernandez, Cesar; Areces, Francisco; González, Cristina; Del Coso, Juan

    2015-04-01

    The objective of this study is to determine the effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on female volleyball players' performance. Thirteen elite female volleyball players ingested 3 mg·kg of caffeine with an energy drink or the same drink without caffeine (placebo drink) in a double-blind and randomized study. Then, participants performed the following: standing spike, jumping spike, spike jump, blocking jump, squat jump, countermovement jump, manual dynamometry, and the agility t-test. A simulated volleyball game was played, videotaped, and notated afterward. In comparison to the placebo drink, the ingestion of the caffeinated energy drink increased the ball velocity in the standing spike (19.2 ± 2.1 vs 19.7 ± 1.9 m·s, P = 0.023) and in the jumping spike (17.9 ± 2.2 vs 18.8 ± 2.2 m·s, P = 0.038) and the jump height in the squat jump (28.1 ± 3.2 vs 29.4 ± 3.6 cm, P = 0.028), countermovement jump (32.0 ± 4.6 vs 33.1 ± 4.5 cm, P = 0.018), spike jump (43.3 ± 4.7 vs 44.4 ± 5.0 cm, P = 0.025), and block jump (35.2 ± 5.1 vs 36.1 ± 5.1 cm, P = 0.044). Furthermore, the caffeinated energy drink decreased the time needed to complete the agility t-test (11.1 ± 0.5 vs 10.9 ± 0.3 s, P = 0.036). During the game, the volleyball actions categorized as successful were more frequent with the caffeinated energy drink (34% ± 9% vs 45% ± 9%, P volleyball players. Increased physical performance led to improved accuracy during an actual volleyball match.

  10. Competitive Strategies and Improved Performance of Selected Nigeria Telecommunication Companies

    Waidi Adeniyi Akingbad

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract The influence of globalization in telecommunication companies has greatly increased the level of competition in the industry and they are forced to be competitive to survive. Different types of strategies are put in place in order to be profitable and competitive. All these strategies are directed to attract, retain and maintain customers for continuous profitability. However, majority of them hardly measure the impact of their strategic innovation on their customers. The paper seeks to explore the influence of competitive strategies embarked upon by selected telecommunication companies in Nigeria on their performance. The paper also examines how competitive strategies could be implemented for improved customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty. Three null hypotheses were postulated to test the relationship between lower prices and customer satisfaction, uninterrupted trunk services and customer loyalty, and customer complaint handling and retention. Only customers using telephone service were selected as respondents from Lagos State. The state was stratified in to 20 local government council area and questionnaires were distributed to 125 respondents in each of them. The completion rate of the questionnaire in each of them is between 103 and 110. Survey research design was adopted to carry out the study. A structured questionnaire was designed and validated through the construct validity and tested for confirmation using the KMO measure of sampling adequacy. It was also made reliable using Cronbach’s Alpha test. From the study, findings revealed relationship between competitive strategies and customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty. The findings revealed that there is a relationship between competitive strategies, its constituents and performance of telecommunication companies. It is recommended that universal mobile telecommunication services (UMTS operators should adopt the culture of competitive strategies since it can

  11. Improved Fatigue Performance of Threaded Drillstring Connections by Cold Rolling

    Kristoffersen, Steinar

    2002-01-01

    pits inside the pipe. Therefore, an optimisation of the roll geometry and rolling parameters was not possible. However, a significant fatigue life improvement was achieved. Based on experiments, a roller with similar profile as the thread root is recommended. A rolling force of maximum 20 kN is recommended to minimise the possibility of damaging the thread profile. Shallow cracks were observed typically when 5% of the fatigue life had expired. Re-rolling after 50% of expected improved fatigue life, when also short cracks were observed in the notch roots further increased the fatigue improvement. Pretensioned small steel specimens with a notch were used to simulate cold rolled threads. The specimens were fatigue tested in tension with minimum load close to zero. Pretensioning increased the fatigue life from approximately 50 000 cycles to an infinite number of cycles. In these tests non-propagating cracks of typically 0.4 mm length were found. The benefit from pretensioning gradually disappeared with increasing mean stress. FE analyses indicated that an almost instant relaxation of residual stresses to a level with no monotonic strain hardening from preloading would take place when cycled at moderate mean stress. Cycled at low mean stress, an instant relaxation of the surface layer was found in analysis. All observations from notched pretensioned fatigue specimens were in good agreement with the available literature. However, preloading was found to be strain rate dependent in tests where a pretension load held for 2 minutes gave a longer fatigue life than a sinusoidal loading-unloading cycle performed over a one minute interval. Strain hardening was found not contributing to the fatigue life improvement, whereas the polishing effect from improved surface quality after cold rolling increased the fatigue initiation period. However, residual stress and subsequent early crack closure was the dominating effect at moderate cyclic mean loads. The material data required to

  12. Improvement of performance of ultra-high performance concrete based composite material added with nano materials

    Pang Jinchang

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC, a kind of composite material characterized by ultra high strength, high toughness and high durability. It has a wide application prospect in engineering practice. But there are some defects in concrete. How to improve strength and toughness of UHPC remains to be the target of researchers. To obtain UHPC with better performance, this study introduced nano-SiO2 and nano-CaCO3 into UHPC. Moreover, hydration heat analysis, X-Ray Diffraction (XRD, mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP and nanoindentation tests were used to explore hydration process and microstructure. Double-doped nanomaterials can further enhance various mechanical performances of materials. Nano-SiO2 can promote early progress of cement hydration due to its high reaction activity and C-S-H gel generates when it reacts with cement hydration product Ca(OH2. Nano-CaCO3 mainly plays the role of crystal nucleus effect and filling effect. Under the combined action of the two, the composite structure is denser, which provides a way to improve the performance of UHPC in practical engineering.

  13. Measuring US Army medical evacuation: Metrics for performance improvement.

    Galvagno, Samuel M; Mabry, Robert L; Maddry, Joseph; Kharod, Chetan U; Walrath, Benjamin D; Powell, Elizabeth; Shackelford, Stacy

    2018-01-01

    The US Army medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) community has maintained a reputation for high levels of success in transporting casualties from the point of injury to definitive care. This work served as a demonstration project to advance a model of quality assurance surveillance and medical direction for prehospital MEDEVAC providers within the Joint Trauma System. A retrospective interrupted time series analysis using prospectively collected data was performed as a process improvement project. Records were reviewed during two distinct periods: 2009 and 2014 to 2015. MEDEVAC records were matched to outcomes data available in the Department of Defense Trauma Registry. Abstracted deidentified data were reviewed for specific outcomes, procedures, and processes of care. Descriptive statistics were applied as appropriate. A total of 1,008 patients were included in this study. Nine quality assurance metrics were assessed. These metrics were: airway management, management of hypoxemia, compliance with a blood transfusion protocol, interventions for hypotensive patients, quality of battlefield analgesia, temperature measurement and interventions, proportion of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients with hypoxemia and/or hypotension, proportion of traumatic brain injury patients with an appropriate assessment, and proportion of missing data. Overall survival in the subset of patients with outcomes data available in the Department of Defense Trauma Registry was 97.5%. The data analyzed for this study suggest overall high compliance with established tactical combat casualty care guidelines. In the present study, nearly 7% of patients had at least one documented oxygen saturation of less than 90%, and 13% of these patients had no documentation of any intervention for hypoxemia, indicating a need for training focus on airway management for hypoxemia. Advances in battlefield analgesia continued to evolve over the period when data for this study was collected. Given the inherent high

  14. Improving Site-Specific Radiological Performance Assessments - 13431

    Tauxe, John; Black, Paul; Catlett, Kate; Lee, Robert; Perona, Ralph; Stockton, Tom; Sully, Mike

    2013-01-01

    An improved approach is presented for conducting complete and defensible radiological site-specific performance assessments (PAs) to support radioactive waste disposal decisions. The basic tenets of PA were initiated some thirty years ago, focusing on geologic disposals and evaluating compliance with regulations. Some of these regulations were inherently probabilistic (i.e., addressing uncertainty in a quantitative fashion), such as the containment requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) 40 CFR 191, Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level and Transuranic Radioactive Wastes, Chap. 191.13 [1]. Methods of analysis were developed to meet those requirements, but at their core early PAs used 'conservative' parameter values and modeling approaches. This limited the utility of such PAs to compliance evaluation, and did little to inform decisions about optimizing disposal, closure and long-term monitoring and maintenance, or, in general, maintaining doses 'as low as reasonably achievable' (ALARA). This basic approach to PA development in the United States was employed essentially unchanged through the end of the 20. century, principally by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Performance assessments developed in support of private radioactive waste disposal operations, regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and its agreement states, were typically not as sophisticated. Discussion of new approaches to PA is timely, since at the time of this writing, the DOE is in the midst of revising its Order 435.1, Radioactive Waste Management [2], and the NRC is revising 10 CFR 61, Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste [3]. Over the previous decade, theoretical developments and improved computational technology have provided the foundation for integrating decision analysis (DA) concepts and objective-focused thinking, plus a Bayesian approach to

  15. Improving Site-Specific Radiological Performance Assessments - 13431

    Tauxe, John; Black, Paul; Catlett, Kate; Lee, Robert; Perona, Ralph; Stockton, Tom; Sully, Mike [Neptune and Company, Inc., Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544 (United States)

    2013-07-01

    An improved approach is presented for conducting complete and defensible radiological site-specific performance assessments (PAs) to support radioactive waste disposal decisions. The basic tenets of PA were initiated some thirty years ago, focusing on geologic disposals and evaluating compliance with regulations. Some of these regulations were inherently probabilistic (i.e., addressing uncertainty in a quantitative fashion), such as the containment requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) 40 CFR 191, Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level and Transuranic Radioactive Wastes, Chap. 191.13 [1]. Methods of analysis were developed to meet those requirements, but at their core early PAs used 'conservative' parameter values and modeling approaches. This limited the utility of such PAs to compliance evaluation, and did little to inform decisions about optimizing disposal, closure and long-term monitoring and maintenance, or, in general, maintaining doses 'as low as reasonably achievable' (ALARA). This basic approach to PA development in the United States was employed essentially unchanged through the end of the 20. century, principally by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Performance assessments developed in support of private radioactive waste disposal operations, regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and its agreement states, were typically not as sophisticated. Discussion of new approaches to PA is timely, since at the time of this writing, the DOE is in the midst of revising its Order 435.1, Radioactive Waste Management [2], and the NRC is revising 10 CFR 61, Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste [3]. Over the previous decade, theoretical developments and improved computational technology have provided the foundation for integrating decision analysis (DA) concepts and objective-focused thinking, plus

  16. Why do employees take more initiatives to improve their performance after co-developing performance measures? A field study

    Groen, B.A.C.; Wouters, M.J.F.; Wilderom, C.P.M.

    2012-01-01

    Performance measurements may stimulate employee initiatives to improve operational performance, especially when employees themselves participate in the development of their own departmental performance measures. Using the theory of planned behavior, we examine why this occurs in a beverage

  17. Why do employees take more initiatives to improve their performance after co-developing performance measures? A field study.

    Groen, B.A.C.; Wouters, Marc; Wilderom, Celeste P.M.

    2012-01-01

    Performance measurements may stimulate employee initiatives to improve operational performance, especially when employees themselves participate in the development of their own departmental performance measures. Using the theory of planned behavior, we examine why this occurs in a beverage

  18. Roasted sesame hulls improve broiler performance without affecting carcass characteristics

    Kamel Z. Mahmoud

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of using graded levels of roasted sesame hulls (RSH on growth performance and meat quality characteristics in broiler chickens. A total of 360 day-old Lohmann chicks were randomly allocated into 24 floor pens and raised over 42 days. One of four dietary treatments was assigned to each group of six pens in a completely randomized fashion. The chicks in the control group were fed a corn-soybean based diet (RSH-0, while the chicks in treatments two, three, and four were fed graded levels of RSH at 4% (RSH-4, 8% (RSH-8, and 12% (RSH-12, respectively. Diets were formulated to meet broiler chicks’ requirements according to the National Research Council for both starter and finisher rations. The results showed that RSH inclusion increased (P<0.05 feed intake and final body weight without adversely affecting the feed conversion ratio. Broiler chicks fed RSH-12 had heavier (P<0.05 breast and leg cuts compared to the control-fed group with no change to their chemical composition. Water holding capacity (WHC, cooking loss (CL, and shear force (SF reported similar results in all dietary groups. The chemical composition of both thigh and breast cuts was not affected by the RSH. After one day of thawing, colour coordinates of breast cuts behaved similarly in all dietary groups. The results of this study suggest that the addition of RSH to broiler diets up to 12% improves their growth performance; nevertheless, carcass characteristics and meat quality showed no alterations compared to the control-fed group.

  19. Quality improvement using the Baldrige Criteria for Organizational Performance Excellence.

    DeJong, Douglas J

    2009-06-01

    The criteria needed to achieve the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) are described. The MBNQA was created in 1987 to recognize quality and performance and to encourage excellence in American companies. In 2003, Saint Luke's Hospital, the largest hospital in the Saint Luke's Health System, received the MBNQA. In the years since, the hospital has continued to use the Baldrige approach and has pursued the award on the health-system level. The Baldrige Criteria for Organizational Performance Excellence provide a framework that focuses on obtaining the highest levels of organizational excellence. These criteria consist of seven categories-leadership; strategic planning; focus on patients, customers, and markets; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; work-force focus; process management; and results. At Saint Luke's Hospital, a category leader was designated for each of the seven categories in order to fully apply the criteria to the organization. Pharmacy leaders worked closely with each category leader to ensure that the appropriate format was being followed and to contribute positively to the written application and the site visit conducted by MBNQA examiners. The MBNQA involves its own vernacular and pattern. Effort should be made to fully understand and embrace the path that the organization's leaders have chosen. Departmental activities should be placed in front of an individual's leadership so that he or she can play an active part in demonstrating quality-improvement success stories. The criteria for the MBNQA are structured around seven categories that form a framework by which any organization or department can structure its own pursuit of quality and excellence. Pharmacy leaders can play an important role in the successful pursuit of quality within their organization.

  20. Improving growth performance in calves under hot weather conditions

    Emara, S.S.M.

    2009-01-01

    The main objectives of the present study were to evaluate the effect of some supplement such as dried live yeast DLY (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), DLY + vitamin E and / or dried whey milk (DWM) on blood constituents and thyroid activity in relation to some immune indices and growth performance of calves under hot weather conditions. The ambient temperature and relative humidity averaged 36.9±4 degree C and 43-58 % during day and 29±4 degree C and 60-68 % during night, respectively, which were equivalent to temperature humidity index of 86-89 during day and 78-80 during night . The present study included three experiments as follows. Experiment 1 : Six female bovine Baladi calves of 8-10 months old and 100 kg initial body weight (IBW) were used during two periods. In the first period, the calves were offered the basal diet for one month and considered as a control period. In the second period, the same calves were fed the same basal diet which supplemented with 15 g / calf/ day DLY for one month and considered as treated period. The obtained results indicated that supplementation of DLY reduced significantly the respiration rate (RR) and rectal temperature (RT) as well as serum lipids profile including total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL- cholesterol) very low density lipoprotein (VLDL-cholesterol) triglycerides and phospholipids.The second and third experiments were carried out for improving growth performance of heat-stressed bovine baladi calves by adding DLY and vitamine E (alpha-tocopherol) to their diet in experiment 2 and dried whey milk (DWM) in experiment 3.

  1. Solar multi-conjugate adaptive optics performance improvement

    Zhang, Zhicheng; Zhang, Xiaofang; Song, Jie

    2015-08-01

    In order to overcome the effect of the atmospheric anisoplanatism, Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO), which was developed based on turbulence correction by means of several deformable mirrors (DMs) conjugated to different altitude and by which the limit of a small corrected FOV that is achievable with AO is overcome and a wider FOV is able to be corrected, has been widely used to widen the field-of-view (FOV) of a solar telescope. With the assistance of the multi-threaded Adaptive Optics Simulator (MAOS), we can make a 3D reconstruction of the distorted wavefront. The correction is applied by one or more DMs. This technique benefits from information about atmospheric turbulence at different layers, which can be used to reconstruct the wavefront extremely well. In MAOS, the sensors are either simulated as idealized wavefront gradient sensors, tip-tilt sensors based on the best Zernike fit, or a WFS using physical optics and incorporating user specified pixel characteristics and a matched filter pixel processing algorithm. Only considering the atmospheric anisoplanatism, we focus on how the performance of a solar MCAO system is related to the numbers of DMs and their conjugate heights. We theoretically quantify the performance of the tomographic solar MCAO system. The results indicate that the tomographic AO system can improve the average Strehl ratio of a solar telescope by only employing one or two DMs conjugated to the optimum altitude. And the S.R. has a significant increase when more deformable mirrors are used. Furthermore, we discuss the effects of DM conjugate altitude on the correction achievable by the MCAO system, and present the optimum DM conjugate altitudes.

  2. Carbohydrate mouth rinse does not improve repeated sprint performance

    Leandro Ricardo Altimari

    2013-09-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of a carbohydrate mouth rinse on the repeated sprint ability (RSA of young soccer players. Nine youth soccer players (15.0 ± 1.5 years; 60.7 ± 4.84 kg; 1.72 ± 0.05 m; 20.5 ± 1.25 kg/m2 were selected. The athletes were submitted to an RSA test consisting of six sprints of 40 m (going/return = 20 m + 20 m, separated by 20 s of passive recovery, under three experimental conditions: carbohydrate mouth rinse (CHO or placebo (PLA and control (CON. The mouth rinses containing CHO or PLA were administered 5 min and immediately before the beginning of the test in doses of 100 mL. The best sprint time (RSAbest, mean sprint time (RSAmean, and drop-off in sprint performance (fatigue index were determined for the different treatments. One-not identify significant differences (p> 0.05 in RSAbest (CHO way ANOVA for repeated measures did = 7.30 ± 0.31 s; PLA = 7.30 ± 0.30 s; CON = 7.26 ±0.16 s, RSA mean (CHO = 7.71 ± 0.30 s; PLA = 7.71 ± 0.25 s; CON = 7.66 ± 0.24s, or fatigue index (CHO = 5.58 ± 2.16%; PLA = 5.77 ± 3.04%; CON = 5.55 ±3.72%. The results suggest that a carbohydrate mouth rinse does not improve the repeated sprint performance of young soccer players.

  3. Improving the performance of minimizers and winnowing schemes.

    Marçais, Guillaume; Pellow, David; Bork, Daniel; Orenstein, Yaron; Shamir, Ron; Kingsford, Carl

    2017-07-15

    The minimizers scheme is a method for selecting k -mers from sequences. It is used in many bioinformatics software tools to bin comparable sequences or to sample a sequence in a deterministic fashion at approximately regular intervals, in order to reduce memory consumption and processing time. Although very useful, the minimizers selection procedure has undesirable behaviors (e.g. too many k -mers are selected when processing certain sequences). Some of these problems were already known to the authors of the minimizers technique, and the natural lexicographic ordering of k -mers used by minimizers was recognized as their origin. Many software tools using minimizers employ ad hoc variations of the lexicographic order to alleviate those issues. We provide an in-depth analysis of the effect of k -mer ordering on the performance of the minimizers technique. By using small universal hitting sets (a recently defined concept), we show how to significantly improve the performance of minimizers and avoid some of its worse behaviors. Based on these results, we encourage bioinformatics software developers to use an ordering based on a universal hitting set or, if not possible, a randomized ordering, rather than the lexicographic order. This analysis also settles negatively a conjecture (by Schleimer et al. ) on the expected density of minimizers in a random sequence. The software used for this analysis is available on GitHub: https://github.com/gmarcais/minimizers.git . gmarcais@cs.cmu.edu or carlk@cs.cmu.edu. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com

  4. Leveraging EHRs to improve hospital performance: the role of management.

    Adler-Milstein, Julia; Woody Scott, Kirstin; Jha, Ashish K

    2014-11-01

    Recent studies fail to find a consistent relationship between adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and improved hospital performance. We sought to examine whether the quality of hospital management modifies the association between EHR adoption and outcomes related to cost and quality. Retrospective study of a random sample of US acute care hospitals. Management quality was assessed via phone interviews with clinical managers predominantly from cardiac units in a random sample of 325 hospitals using a validated scale of management practices in 4 areas: operations, performance monitoring, target setting, and talent management. American Hospital Association InformationTechnology Supplement data captured whether or not these hospitals had at least a basic EHR. Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) outcomes included risk-adjusted 30-day mortality, average length-of-stay, and average payment per discharge measured using MedPAR data. Ordinary least squares regressions assessed whether management quality modifies the relationship between EHR adoption and AMI outcomes. While we found no association between EHR adoption and our outcomes, management quality modified the relationship in the predicted direction. For length of stay, the coefficient on the interaction between EHR and management was -1.48 (P = .05) and for payment, it was -7786.74 (P = .014). We did not find strong evidence of effect modification for mortality (coefficient = -0.05; P = .37). Coupled with ongoing policy efforts to achieve nationwide EHR adoption is a growing unease that our national investment may not result in better, more efficient care. Our study is among the first to offer empirical evidence that management quality may help explain why some hospitals see substantial gains from EHR adoption while others do not.

  5. Performance studies and improvements of CMS distributed data transfers

    Bonacorsi, D; Flix, J; Kaselis, R; Magini, N; Letts, J; Sartirana, A

    2012-01-01

    CMS computing needs reliable, stable and fast connections among multi-tiered distributed infrastructures. CMS experiment relies on File Transfer Services (FTS) for data distribution, a low level data movement service responsible for moving sets of files from one site to another, while allowing participating sites to control the network resource usage. FTS servers are provided by Tier-0 and Tier-1 centers and used by all the computing sites in CMS, subject to established CMS and sites setup policies, including all the virtual organizations making use of the Grid resources at the site, and properly dimensioned to satisfy all the requirements for them. Managing the service efficiently needs good knowledge of the CMS needs for all kind of transfer routes, and the sharing and interference with other VOs using the same FTS transfer managers. This contribution deals with a complete revision of all FTS servers used by CMS, customizing the topologies and improving their setup in order to keep CMS transferring data to the desired levels, as well as performance studies for all kind of transfer routes, including overheads measurements introduced by SRM servers and storage systems, FTS server misconfigurations and identification of congested channels, historical transfer throughputs per stream, file-latency studies,… This information is retrieved directly from the FTS servers through the FTS Monitor webpages and conveniently archived for further analysis. The project provides an interface for all these values, to ease the analysis of the data.

  6. Simulations of backgate sandwich nanowire MOSFETs with improved device performance

    Zhao Hengliang; Zhu Huilong; Zhong Jian; Ma Xiaolong; Wei Xing; Zhao Chao; Chen Dapeng; Ye Tianchun

    2014-01-01

    We propose a novel backgate sandwich nanowire MOSFET (SNFET), which offers the advantages of ETSOI (dynamic backgate voltage controllability) and nanowire FETs (good short channel effect). A backgate is used for threshold voltage (V t ) control of the SNFET. Compared with a backgate FinFET with a punch-through stop layer (PTSL), the SNFET possesses improved device performance. 3D device simulations indicate that the SNFET has a three times larger overdrive current, a ∼75% smaller off leakage current, and reduced subthreshold swing (SS) and DIBL than those of a backgate FinFET when the nanowire (NW) and the fin are of equal width. A new process flow to fabricate the backgate SNFET is also proposed in this work. Our analytical model suggests that V t control by the backgate can be attributed to the capacitances formed by the frontgate, NW, and backgate. The SNFET devices are compatible with the latest state-of-the-art high-k/metal gate CMOS technology with the unique capability of independent backgate control for nFETs and pFETs, which is promising for sub-22 nm scaling down. (semiconductor devices)

  7. Biomechanical modelling and evaluation of construction jobs for performance improvement.

    Parida, Ratri; Ray, Pradip Kumar

    2012-01-01

    Occupational risk factors, such as awkward posture, repetition, lack of rest, insufficient illumination and heavy workload related to construction-related MMH activities may cause musculoskeletal disorders and poor performance of the workers, ergonomic design of construction worksystems was a critical need for improving their health and safety wherein a dynamic biomechanical models were required to be empirically developed and tested at a construction site of Tata Steel, the largest steel making company of India in private sector. In this study, a comprehensive framework is proposed for biomechanical evaluation of shovelling and grinding under diverse work environments. The benefit of such an analysis lies in its usefulness in setting guidelines for designing such jobs with minimization of risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and enhancing correct methods of carrying out the jobs leading to reduced fatigue and physical stress. Data based on direct observations and videography were collected for the shovellers and grinders over a number of workcycles. Compressive forces and moments for a number of segments and joints are computed with respect to joint flexion and extension. The results indicate that moments and compressive forces at L5/S1 link are significant for shovellers while moments at elbow and wrist are significant for grinders.

  8. Improved Ant Colony Clustering Algorithm and Its Performance Study

    Gao, Wei

    2016-01-01

    Clustering analysis is used in many disciplines and applications; it is an important tool that descriptively identifies homogeneous groups of objects based on attribute values. The ant colony clustering algorithm is a swarm-intelligent method used for clustering problems that is inspired by the behavior of ant colonies that cluster their corpses and sort their larvae. A new abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm using a data combination mechanism is proposed to improve the computational efficiency and accuracy of the ant colony clustering algorithm. The abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm is used to cluster benchmark problems, and its performance is compared with the ant colony clustering algorithm and other methods used in existing literature. Based on similar computational difficulties and complexities, the results show that the abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm produces results that are not only more accurate but also more efficiently determined than the ant colony clustering algorithm and the other methods. Thus, the abstraction ant colony clustering algorithm can be used for efficient multivariate data clustering. PMID:26839533

  9. Improving secondary clarifier performance at the Oakville Oil Refinery

    Edwards, S.M.; Bagley, D.M.

    2002-01-01

    The purpose of this study was threefold: to investigate the relationship between settleability and the physical properties of activated sludge, to correlate settleability and key operational parameters such as chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration at the aeration basin inlet and to determine potential operational improvements to the Oakville Oil Refinery Wastewater Treatment Plant. Nine separate sets of stirred sludge-settling tests were conducted over a six-month period to measure settleability. The stirred sludge volume index (SSVI), the zone settling constants, and the Zheng-Bagley compression constants were determined. State point analyses were conducted to determine the maximum solids flux of the clarifiers. The concentrations of Al, Mn, Mg, Fe, Ca, Na, and K were determined to identify potential correlations to settling characteristics. Extracellular polymeric substances were extracted from the sludge and analyzed for the same reason. The performance of the clarifiers was highly variable during the period examined. As the refinery process flows and effluent streams changed, influent COD increased, from an average of 180mg/L to 600mg/L. Concurrently the settleability of the sludge decreased from excellent (SSVI = 68mL/g) to very poor (150mL/g), perhaps as the result of under aeration. State point analyses indicated that the clarifiers are under-sized for process upsets of this magnitude. (author)

  10. Improving secondary clarifier performance at the Oakville Oil Refinery

    Edwards, S.M.; Bagley, D.M. [Univ. of Toronto, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Toronto, Ontario (Canada)

    2002-06-15

    The purpose of this study was threefold: to investigate the relationship between settleability and the physical properties of activated sludge, to correlate settleability and key operational parameters such as chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration at the aeration basin inlet and to determine potential operational improvements to the Oakville Oil Refinery Wastewater Treatment Plant. Nine separate sets of stirred sludge-settling tests were conducted over a six-month period to measure settleability. The stirred sludge volume index (SSVI), the zone settling constants, and the Zheng-Bagley compression constants were determined. State point analyses were conducted to determine the maximum solids flux of the clarifiers. The concentrations of Al, Mn, Mg, Fe, Ca, Na, and K were determined to identify potential correlations to settling characteristics. Extracellular polymeric substances were extracted from the sludge and analyzed for the same reason. The performance of the clarifiers was highly variable during the period examined. As the refinery process flows and effluent streams changed, influent COD increased, from an average of 180mg/L to 600mg/L. Concurrently the settleability of the sludge decreased from excellent (SSVI = 68mL/g) to very poor (150mL/g), perhaps as the result of under aeration. State point analyses indicated that the clarifiers are under-sized for process upsets of this magnitude. (author)

  11. Improving the thermal performance of the US residential window stock

    Brown, R.E.; Arasteh, D.K.; Eto, J.H.

    1992-05-01

    Windows have typically been the least efficient thermal component in the residential envelope, but technology advances over the past decade have helped to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of window products. While the thermal performance of these advanced technology windows can be easily characterized for a particular building application, few precise estimates exist of their aggregate impact on national or regional energy use. Policy-makers, utilities, researchers and the fenestration industry must better understand these products` ultimate conservation potential in order to determine the value of developing new products and initiating programs to accelerate their market acceptance. This paper presents a method to estimate the conservation potential of advanced window technologies, combining elements of two well-known modeling paradigms: supply curves of conserved energy and residential end-use forecasting. The unique features include: detailed descriptions of the housing stock by region and vintage, state-of-the-art thermal descriptions of window technologies, and incorporation of market effects to calculate achievable conservation potential and timing. We demonstrate the methodology by comparing, for all new houses built between 1990 and 2010, the conservation potential of very efficient, high R-value ``superwindows`` in the North Central federal region and spectrally-selective low-emissivity (moderate Revalue and solar transmittance) windows in California.

  12. Improved Performance in Mammalian Cell Perfusion Cultures by Growth Inhibition.

    Wolf, Moritz K F; Closet, Aurélie; Bzowska, Monika; Bielser, Jean-Marc; Souquet, Jonathan; Broly, Hervé; Morbidelli, Massimo

    2018-05-21

    Mammalian cell perfusion cultures represent a promising alternative to the current fed-batch technology for the production of various biopharmaceuticals. Long-term operation at a fixed viable cell density (VCD) requires a viable culture and a constant removal of excessive cells. Product loss in the cell removing bleed stream deteriorates the process yield. In this study, the authors investigate the use of chemical and environmental growth inhibition on culture performance by either adding valeric acid (VA) to the production media or by reducing the culture temperature (33.0 °C) with respect to control conditions (36.5 °C, no VA). Low temperature significantly reduces cellular growth, thus, resulting in lower bleed rates accompanied by a reduced product loss of 11% compared to 26% under control conditions. Additionally, the cell specific productivity of the target protein improves and maintained stable leading to media savings per mass of product. VA shows initially an inhibitory effect on cellular growth. However, cells seemed to adapt to the presence of the inhibitor resulting in a recovery of the cellular growth. Cell cycle and Western blot analyses support the observed results. This work underlines the role of temperature as a key operating variable for the optimization of perfusion cultures. © 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  13. Intentional Weight Loss Improved Performance in Obese Ischaemic Heart Patient

    Geiker, Nina; Myint, Khin Swe; Heck, Patrick

    2014-01-01

    Aims: The risk of heart failure (HF) increases with BMI, but paradoxically obesity has been associated with reduced mortality in patients with HF. The effect of intentional or therapeutic weight loss on HF is not well known. We examined the effect of weight loss induced by low energy diet (LED......) on physical performance and cardiovascular risk factors in obese patients with moderate-to-severe HF and/or ischaemic heart disease (IHD). Methods and Results: Results from two weight loss interventions at two centres, one in Denmark (DK - 12 week intervention in 21 subjects (14 LED, 7 controls)) and one.......1 in the intervention group versus -22.1% ± 25.6 in the control group (P=0.000). Treatment also improved triglycerides (P=0.000), very low lipoprotein (P=0.001) and C-reactive protein (P=0.010). Conclusion: Weight loss induced by LED in obese patients with moderate-to-severe HF or IHD resulted in clinically significant...

  14. Tablet computer enhanced training improves internal medicine exam performance.

    Baumgart, Daniel C; Wende, Ilja; Grittner, Ulrike

    2017-01-01

    Traditional teaching concepts in medical education do not take full advantage of current information technology. We aimed to objectively determine the impact of Tablet PC enhanced training on learning experience and MKSAP® (medical knowledge self-assessment program) exam performance. In this single center, prospective, controlled study final year medical students and medical residents doing an inpatient service rotation were alternatingly assigned to either the active test (Tablet PC with custom multimedia education software package) or traditional education (control) group, respectively. All completed an extensive questionnaire to collect their socio-demographic data, evaluate educational status, computer affinity and skills, problem solving, eLearning knowledge and self-rated medical knowledge. Both groups were MKSAP® tested at the beginning and the end of their rotation. The MKSAP® score at the final exam was the primary endpoint. Data of 55 (tablet n = 24, controls n = 31) male 36.4%, median age 28 years, 65.5% students, were evaluable. The mean MKSAP® score improved in the tablet PC (score Δ + 8 SD: 11), but not the control group (score Δ- 7, SD: 11), respectively. After adjustment for baseline score and confounders the Tablet PC group showed on average 11% better MKSAP® test results compared to the control group (plearning to their respective training programs.

  15. metrological performance improvement of a superconducting cable test station

    Montenero, Giuseppe; Ballarino, Amalia

    The work presented in this PhD thesis concerns the metrological performance improvement of a superconducting cable test station based on superconducting transformers. The main cable’s parameter to be assessed –as a function of temperature and magnetic field– is the critical current, i.e. beyond this limit the phase transition to the normal state occurs. Ramping the current at levels in the order of the tens of kA can be achieved with superconducting transformers at moderate capital and operational cost. But, issues such as (i) accurate/precise measurements and (ii) monitoring of the secondary current during the device operation have to be addressed. In this regard, the goals of the thesis are the design, prototyping, and validation of a new cryogenic current transducer and effective monitoring system for test stations transformer-based. Among the available transducers for current sensing at room temperature, the DC current transformer (DCCT) provides measurement accuracy in the order of the hundreds of ...

  16. Performance analysis of PV plants: Optimization for improving profitability

    Díez-Mediavilla, M.; Alonso-Tristán, C.; Rodríguez-Amigo, M.C.; García-Calderón, T.; Dieste-Velasco, M.I.

    2012-01-01

    Highlights: ► Real PV production from two 100 kW p grid-connected installations is conducted. ► Data sets on production were collected over an entire year. ► Economic results highlight the importance of properly selecting the system components. ► Performance of PV plants is directly related to improvements of all components. - Abstract: A study is conducted of real PV production from two 100 kW p grid-connected installations located in the same area, both of which experience the same fluctuations in temperature and radiation. Data sets on production were collected over an entire year and both installations were compared under various levels of radiation. The installations were assembled with mono-Si panels, mounted on the same support system, and the power supply was equal for the inverter and the measurement system; the same parameters were also employed for the wiring, and electrical losses were calculated in both cases. The results, in economic terms, highlight the importance of properly selecting the system components and the design parameters for maximum profitability.

  17. Mistaken identity of a PCR target proposed for identification of Mycoplasma bovis and the effect of sequence variation on assay performance

    Background. Mycoplasma bovis is an important cause of disease in cattle and has recently emerged as a primary disease agent in bison. Because the bacterium requires specialized growth conditions many diagnostic laboratories use PCR to replace or complement traditional isolation and identification ...

  18. Mistaken identity of an open reading frame proposed for PCR-based identification of Mycoplasma bovis and the effect of polymorphisms and insertions on assay performance

    Mycoplasma bovis is an important cause of disease in cattle and bison. Because the bacterium requires specialized growth conditions many diagnostic laboratories routinely use PCR to replace or complement conventional isolation and identification methods. A frequently used target of such assays is th...

  19. Photopolymerized materials and patterning for improved performance of neural prosthetics

    Tuft, Bradley William

    Neural prosthetics are used to replace or substantially augment remaining motor and sensory functions of neural pathways that were lost or damaged due to physical trauma, disease, or genetics. However, due to poor spatial signal resolution, neural prostheses fail to recapitulate the intimate, precise interactions inherent to neural networks. Designing materials and interfaces that direct de novo nerve growth to spatially specific stimulating elements is, therefore, a promising method to enhance signal specificity and performance of prostheses such as the successful cochlear implant (CI) and the developing retinal implant. In this work, the spatial and temporal reaction control inherent to photopolymerization was used to develop methods to generate micro and nanopatterned materials that direct neurite growth from prosthesis relevant neurons. In particular, neurite growth and directionality has been investigated in response to physical, mechanical, and chemical cues on photopolymerized surfaces. Spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) serve as the primary neuronal model as they are the principal target for CI stimulation. The objective of the research is to rationally design materials that spatially direct neurite growth and to translate fundamental understanding of nerve cell-material interactions into methods of nerve regeneration that improve neural prosthetic performance. A rapid, single-step photopolymerization method was developed to fabricate micro and nanopatterned physical cues on methacrylate surfaces by selectively blocking light with photomasks. Feature height is readily tuned by modulating parameters of the photopolymerizaiton including initiator concentration and species, light intensity, separation distance from the photomask, and radiation exposure time. Alignment of neural elements increases significantly with increasing feature amplitude and constant periodicity, as well as with decreasing periodicity and constant amplitude. SGN neurite alignment strongly

  20. Evidence from Scientific Literature about Improved Academic Performance

    Studies that measure school conditions using an index of several variables consistently show improved scores on standardized tests as school conditions improve. On the other hand, schools with major unmet repair needs and fewer custodial workers per square