A single-laboratory validation study was completed for the determination of β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine (AEG), and 2,4-diaminobutyric acid (DAB) in bulk natural health product supplements purchased from a health food store in Canada. BMAA and its isomers were extracted with acid hydrolysis to free analytes from protein association. Acid was removed with the residue evaporated to dryness and reconstituted with derivatization using 6-aminoquinolyl-N-hydroxysuccinimidyl carbamate (AccQ-Fluor). Chromatographic separation and detection were achieved using RP ultra-performance LC coupled to a tandem mass spectrometer operated in multiple reaction monitoring mode. Data from biological samples were evaluated for precision and accuracy across different days to ensure repeatability. Accuracy was assessed by spike recovery of biological samples using varying amino acid concentrations, with an average recovery across all samples of 108.6%. The analytical range was found to be 764-0.746 ng/mL prior to derivatization, thereby providing a linear range compatible with potentially widely varying analyte concentrations in commercial health food products. Both the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U. S. Pharmacopeia definitions were evaluated for determining method limits, with the FDA approach found to be most suitable having an LOD of 0.187 ng/mL and LLOQ of 0.746 ng/mL. BMAA in the collected specimens was detected at concentrations lower than 1 μg/g, while AEG and DAB were found at concentrations as high as 100 μg/g. Finding these analytes, even at low concentrations, has potential public health significance and suggests a need to screen such products prior to distribution. The method described provides a rapid, accurate, and precise method to facilitate that screening process., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received April 15, 2015; Accepted by SG June 22, 2015.
Home support workers (HSWs) work in clients’ homes assisting with rehabilitation and activities of daily living. Like all health-care professionals, HSWs are at an increased risk for developing back injuries. Lift devices have been shown to reduce injuries to the worker. Presently, there are few lifting devices for home use that cost under $4000 CDN. Our study involved designing a safe and affordable lift device (retail cost under $2000 CDN) to be used by HSWs in the home and evaluating it in a typical bathroom. Thirty-eight HSWs and three seniors evaluated the BCIT lift, a commercially available lift (BHM Medical Inc.) and the manual method of transfer and lift. Results indicated that the BCIT lift was an improvement over the manual method of transferring, and approximated the more expensive, automatic lift in terms of perceived exertion, ease of use and safety. Feedback provided to the researchers has been incorporated into a new, ergonomically sound and marketable lift device., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 1 February 2003, Revised 27 January 2004, Accepted 23 February 2004, Available online 6 May 2004.
Use of any recycled material helps to maintain a greener environment by keeping waste materials out of the landfills. Recycling practices also can decrease the environmental and economical impact of manufacturing the materials from virgin resources, which reduces the overall carbon footprint of industrial materials and processes. This study examined the use of waste materials such as crushed glass, ground tire rubber, and recycled aggregate in concrete. Compressive strength and elastic modulus were the primary parameters of interest. Results demonstrated that ground tire rubber introduced significant amounts of air into the mix and adversely affected the strength. The introduction of a defoamer was able to successfully remove part of the excess air from the mix, but the proportional strength improvements were not noted implying that air left in the defoamed mixture had undesirable characteristics. Freeze-thaw tests were next performed to understand the nature of air in the defoamed mixtures, and results demonstrated that this air is not helpful in resisting freeze-thaw resistance either. Overall, while lightweight, low-carbon footprint concrete materials seem possible from recycled materials, significant further optimization remains possible., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 4 April 2011; Revised 27 July 2011; Accepted 27 July 2011.
Purpose: Stairways into buildings present a significant environmental barrier for those with mobility impairments. A number of home access solutions that allow users to safely enter and exit the home exist; however, these all have some limitations. The purpose of this work was to develop a novel, inclusive home access solution that integrates a staircase and a lift into one device.
Method: We developed an integrated staircase lift following a structured protocol with stakeholders providing feedback at various stages in the design process, consistent with rehabilitation engineering design methods.
Results: A novel home access device was developed. The integrated staircase-lift has the following features: inclusivity, by a design that provides an option for either use of stairs or a lift; constant availability, with a lift platform always ready for use on either level; and potential aesthetic advantages when integrating the device into an existing home. The potential also exists for emergency descent during a power outage, and self-powered versions.
Conclusions: By engaging stakeholders in a user-centred design process, we were able to gain insight into the limitations of existing home access solutions and get specific feedback on our lift concept. This information strengthened the development of a novel home access device., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Article first published online: July 16, 2015; Issue published: October 26, 2015.
With their continuous growth, understanding how plant shapes form is fundamentally linked to understanding how growth rates are controlled across different regions of the plant. Much of a plant's architecture is generated in shoots and roots, where fast growth in tips contrasts with slow growth in supporting stalks. Shapes can be determined by where the boundaries between fast- and slow-growing regions are positioned, determining whether tips elongate, branch, or cease to grow. Across plants, there is a diversity in the cell wall chemistry through which growth operates. However, prototypical morphologies, such as tip growth and branching, suggest there are common dynamic constraints in localizing chemical growth catalysts. We have used Turing-type reaction-diffusion mechanisms to model this spatial localization and the resulting growth trajectories, characterizing the chemistry-growth feedback necessary for maintaining tip growth and for inducing branching. The mechanism defining the boundaries between fast- and slow-growing regions not only affects tip shape, it must be able to form new boundaries when the pattern-forming dynamics break symmetry, for instance in the branching of a tip. In previous work, we used an arbitrary concentration threshold to switch between two dynamic regimes of the growth catalyst in order to define growth boundaries. Here, we present a chemical dynamic basis for this threshold, in which feedback between two pattern-forming mechanisms controls the extent of the regions in which fast growth occurs. This provides a general self-contained mechanism for growth control in plant morphogenesis (not relying on external cues) which can account for both simple tip extension and symmetry-breaking branching phenomena., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 7 December 2011, Revised 6 March 2012, Accepted 21 March 2012, Available online 28 March 2012.
Innovative wheelchairs allow individuals to change position easily for comfort and social situations. While these wheelchairs are beneficial in multiple ways, the effects of position changes on blood pressure might exacerbate hypotension and cerebral hypoperfusion, particularly in those with spinal cord injury (SCI) who can have injury to autonomic nerves that regulate cardiovascular control. Conversely, cardiovascular benefits may be obtained with lowered seating. Here we investigate the effect of moderate changes in wheelchair position on orthostatic cardiovascular and cerebrovascular reflex control.Nineteen individuals with SCI and ten neurologically-intact controls were tested in supine and seated positions (neutral, lowered, and elevated) in the Elevation™ wheelchair. Participants with SCI were stratified into two groups by the severity of injury to cardiovascular autonomic pathways. Beat-to-beat blood pressure, heart rate and middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity (MCAv) were recorded non-invasively.Supine blood pressure and MCAv were reduced in individuals with lesions to autonomic pathways, and declined further with standard seating compared to those with preserved autonomic control. Movement to the elevated position triggered pronounced blood pressure and MCAv falls in those with autonomic lesions, with minimum values significantly reduced compared to the seated and lowered positions. The cumulative duration spent below supine blood pressure was greatest in this group. Lowered seating bolstered blood pressure in those with lesions to autonomic pathways.Integrity of the autonomic nervous system is an important variable that affects cardiovascular responses to orthostatic stress and should be considered when individuals with SCI or autonomic dysfunction are selecting wheelchairs.This work was supported in part by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of British Columbia and the Yukon (V.E.C)., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received: December 14, 2016 ; Accepted: June 12, 2017 ; Published: June 30, 2017
In this study, an eco-friendly scheme to resolve the silica associated challenges encountered in processing bamboo for biorefineries was evaluated. Bamboo chips were pretreated with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) at low temperature to completely extract silica and partially extract hemicelluloses for follow up conventional kraft pulping or bioethanol production. Silica and hemicellulose in the alkaline pre-extraction liquor (APEL) were sequentially isolated through carbon dioxide (CO2) and ethanol precipitation. High purity (> 99.8%) amorphous silica particles were recovered by carbonating the effluent at 60oC to a pH of 8.2 with CO2. The CO2 adsorption capacity of the APEL was determined to be 7.15g CO2 per liter. After recovering more than 96% of available silica in the APEL, hemicellulose in the CO2-treated liquor was subsequently separated. This study demonstrated the feasibility of pre-extraction and recovery of silica and hemicellulose to alleviate the silica challenges, thereby allowing to expand bamboo as a feedstock for industrial processes., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Manuscript received October 11, 2016; Accepted December 12, 2016.
The global urban transition increasingly positions cities as important influencers in determining sustainability outcomes. Urban sustainability literature tends to focus on the built environment as a solution space for reducing energy and materials demand; however, equally important is the consumption characteristics of the people who occupy the city. While size of dwelling and motor vehicle ownership are partially influenced by urban form, they are also influenced by cultural and socio-economic characteristics. Dietary choices and purchases of consumable goods are almost entirely driven by the latter. Using international field data that document urban ways of living, I develop lifestyle archetypes coupled with ecological footprint analysis to develop consumption benchmarks in the domains of: food, buildings, consumables, transportation, and water that correspond to various levels of demand on nature’s services. I also explore the dimensions of transformation that would be needed in each of these domains for the per capita consumption patterns of urban dwellers to achieve ecological sustainability. The dimensions of transformation needed commensurate with ecological carrying capacity include: a 73% reduction in household energy use, a 96% reduction in motor vehicle ownership, a 78% reduction in per capita vehicle kilometres travelled, and a 79% reduction in air kilometres travelled., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received: 20 December 2014 ; Revised: 15 March 2015 ; Accepted: 8 April 2015 ; Published: 21 April 2015.
Commercial bamboo chips were pre-treated with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solutions to completely extract silica and partially extract hemicelluloses prior to kraft pulping. Reaction temperatures of 80–100 °C, times of 1–5 h, and NaOH charges of 6–18% were explored. With increasing pre-extraction severity, all silica and up to 50% of hemicelluloses in raw chips could be extracted without degrading cellulose and lignin. The chips from select extractions were cooked using the kraft process with varying effective alkali (EA) charges. Pre-extraction resulted in significant improvement in the delignification of chips during subsequent kraft pulping, offering an option to reduce the EA charge or the H-factor. The pulp yield was similar to the control while the drainage resistance of pulp from pre-extracted chips was slightly improved. Physical strength properties of pulps made from pre-extracted chips showed lower tensile index and higher tear index as compared with the control runs. Moreover, silica was no more a problem for chemical recovery and production of high-grade pulp. Extracted silica and hemicelluloses in the alkaline extraction liquor (AEL) can be used as a potential raw material for value-added products., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 19 February 2016; Revised 13 June 2016; Accepted 19 June 2016; Available online 15 July 2016.
Attic air ventilation can be influenced by various vent considerations. In addition to vent ratio and location of roof vents, attic insulation thickness can be considered as an influential factor in attic air flow and temperature distribution. Most existing building codes do have a minimum requirement for venting parameters and type and thickness of the insulation used. In this paper, the effect of insulation thickness in attic ventilation rate, attic air temperature and heating and cooling loads in a mild climatic zone is studied. A typical mild climate summer and winter temperatures and solar radiations data are used for 24 hours transient conjugate heat transfer simulations. Results show that solar radiation has significant impact on the amount and the pattern of airflow in attic. An increase in attic insulation yields a decrease in attic ventilation during winter period, but has no effect in summer period for the climate considered. In general, the higher the attic insulation thickness is the lower the building takes advantage of solar gain during winter period, but higher insulation levels tend to be advantageous during summer cooling period., Peer reviewed article, Published. Available online 30 December 2015.
The effect of gross fiber characteristics on enzyme accessibility and hydrolysis of Douglas fir kraft pulp substrates was investigated. The average fiber size and coarseness of the substrate had a significant effect on the enzyme adsorption capacity. This was primarily due to the increased specific surface area of small fibers and fines. The observed adsorption capacities were in agreement with the hydrolysis rates and yields because the substrates with the lower average fiber size were hydrolyzed both at a faster rate and more completely. The observed changes in fiber-length distribution and fiber coarseness suggested that the effect of fiber size was most influential during the initial stages of hydrolysis. The small fibers and fines present in heterogeneous, lignocellulosic substrates were hydrolyzed rapidly, yielding a high initial rate of hydrolysis., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 27 January 1999; Revised 10 June 1999; Accepted 15 June 1999; Available online 1 November 1999.
In an effort to improve the antibiotic elution characteristics of the prosthesis of antibiotic-loaded acrylic cement, an in vitro study was conducted. Tobramycin-loaded bone cement blocks of three different surface patterns with different surface area-to-volume ratios were used. The elution of tobramycin over a 2-month period was investigated. There was a gradual decline in the tobramycin elution rate over time. The surface pattern with the increased surface area-to-volume ratio showed a significant increase in the tobramycin elution rate over the first week of the study. The surface pattern with ridges but no change in the surface area-to-volume ratio did not result in a statistically significant increase in the tobramycin elution rate., Peer-reviewed article, Published.