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Usefulness of Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide-Guided Treatment in Patients with Asthma-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Overlap  [PDF]
Taisuke Akamatsu, Toshihiro Shirai, Yuko Tanaka, Hirofumi Watanabe, Yoshinari Endo, Yukiko Shimoda, Takahito Suzuki, Rie Noguchi, Mika Saigusa, Akito Yamamoto, Yuichiro Shishido, Takefumi Akita, Satoru Morita, Kazuhiro Asada
Open Journal of Respiratory Diseases (OJRD) , 2018, DOI: 10.4236/ojrd.2018.81001
Background: Some patients present clinical features of both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which has led to the recent proposal of asthma-COPD overlap (ACO) as a diagnosis. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a candidate biomarker to diagnose ACO. We assessed the effect of an add-on treatment with budesonide/formoterol (BUD/FM) combination in patients with ACO, which was diagnosed by FeNO. Methods: This was a prospective, single-arm, open-label, before and after comparison study. Subjects included 83 patients with COPD who attended outpatient clinics for routine checkups at Shizuoka General Hospital between June and November 2016. All patients fulfilled the GOLD definition of COPD and were receiving long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) or LAMA/long-acting β2 agonist (LABA) combinations. After an 8-week run-in period, BUD/FM was added to the patients with FeNO levels of ≥35 ppb, defined as having ACO. For patients receiving LAMA/LABA, BUD/FM was added after the discontinuation of LABA. The modified British Medical Research Council (mMRC) score, COPD assessment test (CAT) score, spirometric indices, forced oscillation parameters, and FeNO were assessed before and after 8 weeks of BUD/ FM add-on treatment. Results: Twenty-four patients (28.9%) had FeNO levels ≥ 35 ppb, and 17 patients completed the study (mean age: 73 years and GOLD I/II/III/IV, 5/10/1/1). The mean CAT scores significantly improved (9.2 to 5.4, p = 0.015) and 10 patients (58.8%) showed ≥2 points improvement, a minimal clinically important difference. The mean FeNO levels significantly decreased from 63.0 to 34.3 ppb (p < 0.006). However, there were no changes in mMRC scores, spirometric indices, or forced oscillation parameters. Conclusions: FeNO-guided treatment with BUD/FM improves symptoms in patients with ACO.
Effects of Quality and Price Appeals on Consumers’ Internal Reference Prices and Quality Perceptions  [PDF]
Miyuri Shirai
Modern Economy (ME) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/me.2014.58076
Abstract: Marketers frequently appeal to consumers through “high quality” and “low price” cues that are placed together in retail advertisements. We call this type of approach the “high quality and low price” (HQLP) appeal. Few studies have investigated how HQLP appeal influences consumers’ evaluations. In this paper, we analyze the effects of HQLP appeal on internal reference prices and quality perceptions in two retailer contexts: expensive and inexpensive stores. The results showed that consumers’ evaluations are influenced by both the HQLP appeal and the retailer context. For an expensive store, the appeal generated similar levels of expected price and willingness-to-pay (WTP), higher purchase intention for the expected prices, and lower quality perception. The inexpensive store generated an expected price lower than WTP, higher purchase intention for the expected price, and higher quality perception. Therefore the HQLP appeal works better for an inexpensive store than an expensive store.
Fairness Norms and the Incidence of Environmental Subsidy  [PDF]
Toshihiro Uchida
Modern Economy (ME) , 2012, DOI: 10.4236/me.2012.36100
Abstract: Although fairness concerns are frequently discussed in the real world environmental politics, their effects are relatively neglected in the environmental economics literature. Using a survey method, this paper attempts to reveal how fairness norms affect the incidence of subsidy both in the short-run and long-run. The results indicate that statutory incidence (legal right to receive subsidy) affects people’s fairness norms on who should receive subsidy. In particular it is considered unfair for a firm to receive a part of the subsidy when it is legally granted to the consumer side. If firms avoid behaviors that are considered unfair, the tax and subsidy equivalence theorem may not hold under this situation. The survey results also reveal that fairness norms affect the incidence of subsidy in the long-run, in a sense that the allocation of gains that are generated due to subsidy is affected. People find it fair if allocation is made in proportion to firms’ own effort. Therefore, if an increase in profit is achieved by activities directly supported by subsidy, people find it less justifiable for firms to keep all the gains by themselves and thus firms may be forced to share the gains with consumers.
Using Patents in Promotional Activities  [PDF]
Toshihiro Tsuchihashi
Theoretical Economics Letters (TEL) , 2016, DOI: 10.4236/tel.2016.65094
Abstract: A traditional view of patents and patenting shows a trade-off between the benefit of appropriation and the cost of information revelation. However, firms may benefit from information revelation to consumers because patents can provide credible information about the firms ability to develop new technologies and produce good quality products. In fact, we frequently observe that many firms use their patents for promotion in a variety of industries, including foods, cosmetics, and electronic devices. We construct a simple model to study a usage of patents in promotion activities, a promotional patent, and investigate an advantage for a firm to employ a promotional patent. We make two findings. First, we find a positive information value of a promotional patent to a high-type firm. The benefit stems from an increase in the consumers’ willingness to pay in two ways. The expected valuation to the consumers increases because i) the patented innovation directly improves the product quality and ii) the promotional patent increases a likelihood of the firm to be a high type. The firm then absorbs the increase of the expected valuation. Second, the information value to the high-type firm is non-monotonic. The information value increases (decreases) with a prior probability that a firm is a high type when the prior probability is low (high).
Prognostic Factors for Myositis-Associated Interstitial Lung Disease
Tomoyuki Fujisawa, Hironao Hozumi, Masato Kono, Noriyuki Enomoto, Dai Hashimoto, Yutaro Nakamura, Naoki Inui, Koshi Yokomura, Naoki Koshimizu, Mikio Toyoshima, Toshihiro Shirai, Kazumasa Yasuda, Hiroshi Hayakawa, Takafumi Suda
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098824
Abstract: Background Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a common manifestation of polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM), and clinically amyopathic dermatomyositis (CADM); however, little is known about the factors influencing the prognosis for PM/DM/CADM-associated ILD. (PM/DM/CADM-ILD). The aim of the present study is to assess prognostic factors for PM/DM/CADM-ILD. Methods The clinical features and survival of 114 consecutive patients diagnosed with PM/DM/CADM-ILD (39 men and 75 women; median age, 56 years) were analyzed retrospectively. Results The study group included 30 PM-associated ILD, 41 DM-associated ILD, and 43 CADM-associated ILD cases. The clinical presentation of ILD was acute/subacute form in 59 patients (51.8%) and chronic form in 55 patients (48.2%). The major pulmonary symptoms were dyspnea, cough, and fever. High-resolution computed tomography frequently revealed ground-glass opacities, traction bronchiectasis, and consolidation. Most of the patients were treated with corticosteroids or corticosteroids in combination with immunosuppressive agents. The all-cause mortality was 27.2%. Acute/subacute form, % forced vital capacity (FVC), age, % of neutrophils in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and a diagnosis of CADM (vs. PM) were significantly associated with poor outcome in univariate Cox proportional hazards models. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis validated acute/subacute ILD, %FVC, age, and diagnosis of CADM (vs. PM) as significant predictors of overall mortality. Patients with acute/subacute ILD had a much lower survival rate than those with the chronic form (p<0.001). Patients with CADM-ILD had a lower survival rate than those with PM-ILD (p = 0.034). Conclusions Acute/subacute form, older age, lower level of FVC and diagnosis of CADM predict poor outcome in PM/DM/CADM-ILD.
Solvent-Induced Phase-Inversion and Electrical Actuation of Dielectric Copolymer Films  [PDF]
Yeonju Jang, Toshihiro Hirai
Materials Sciences and Applications (MSA) , 2011, DOI: 10.4236/msa.2011.23023
Abstract: Block copolymers posses inherently the ability of form a variety of phase-separated microdomain structures. The lengths of block segments and the selectivity of the solvent are primary factors affecting the resultant morphology. This paper investigated the effect of casting solvents on the morphologies and electrical actuation of poly(methyl methacrylate)-poly(n-butyl acrylate)-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA-PnBA-PMMA) triblock copolymer films comprising PMMA hard segment and PnBA soft segment. Transmission electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy observation revealed that PMMA and PnBA segments were assembled into various micro- and nano-sized phase structures where either of them formed continuous phase. This implies that continous phase could be inversed by used casting solvents. Solvent-dependent phase morphologies had a significant effect on the electrical actuation results. Increase of the PnBA contents and the continuous phases of PnBA soft segments improved both of electrical actuation and dielectric constant, indicating that solvent-induced phase separation modulates the electrical actuation of dielectric films. The significance of the role of solvent selectivity and the major continuous phase of the polymer in defining the morphology and electrical actuation of the self-assembled block copolymer structure are discussed.
Development of Battery-Less Wireless Current Sensor Node Utilizing Charging Time of Capacitors with Wide Measurement Range  [PDF]
Hironao Okada, Toshihiro Itoh
Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/wsn.2013.511026

We report a novel battery-less wireless current sensor node without an analog to digital converter (ADC). If a capacitor is charged using a current transformer (CT) and a rectifying circuit, the charging time depends on the current flowing through a power line. In the case that the node transmits data every time when voltage of the capacitor exceeds a threshold voltage, we can indirectly measure the current by measuring the transmission intervals. In this method, the circuit of the node can be simplified and power consumption for the wireless transmission can be decreased because the measured current data does not need to be included in the transmitted packet. However, the measurable range is about single digit because the transmission interval decreases suddenly as the current increases. In this work, we have ex- panded the range using one CT, one wireless transmission module, and two charging circuits that include different load resistors connected in series. The results indicated that the measurable range was from 0.5 A to 50 A.

M-ary FSK Modulation Using Short Packet without a Preamble and Error Detection Codes for Low Power Wireless Communication  [PDF]
Hironao Okada, Toshihiro Itoh
Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/wsn.2014.63005
Abstract: Since power of a wireless sensor node is limited, low power communication technology has been required. M-ary frequency shift keying (MFSK) modulation with orthogonal signals is one of the methods to decrease the power. However, if the amount of transmitted data including such as an identification number (ID) of a node and measured data is small, a ratio of the data length to the total packet length, which means transmission efficiency, becomes quite low. Because a preamble and error check codes are generally added to a packet for synchronization between a transmitter and a receiver and for decrease in reception errors, respectively. In this research, we have developed a method with digital filters which eliminates the other signals from time series frequency spectra not to use a preamble and error check codes. Although estimated synchronization loss of the method was less than 1.6 dB, it was found that the loss of the method on error packet rate was almost 0 dB at more than 0.001 of packet error rate by a simulation made by BASIC. These results indicate a possibility to realize that a packet which consists of only two symbols can be received with no error if the transmitted data is less than 14 bits using 128-FSK.
The Ventral Ascending Noradrenergic Bundles Are Involved in the Stress Response to Immobilization in Rats  [PDF]
Toshihiro Yoshihara, Yasutaka Yawaka
Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science (JBBS) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2015.53008
Abstract: Stressful stimuli induced by immobilization are perceived as acute stress in rats. This acute stress activates corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), resulting in stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The ventral ascending noradrenergic bundles (V-NAB) from the brainstem innervate the PVN. To investigate the relationship between the response of the HPA axis and the V-NAB, we examined changes in plasma corticosterone, the final output of the HPA axis, and extracellular noradrenaline (NA) in the PVN following immobilization stress in rats that received bilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions of the V-NAB. 6-OHDA microinjection into the V-NAB reduced the magnitude of the responses of plasma corticosterone and extracellular NA in the PVN following immobilization stress. Our results suggest that V-NAB innervation of the PVN is involved in immobilization stress-induced activation of the HPA axis.
Restricted Daily Feeding of Liquid Meal Reduces the Motivation of Rats to Get Food  [PDF]
Toshihiro Yoshihara, Yasutaka Yawaka
Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science (JBBS) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2015.54013
Abstract: To corroborate the hypothesis that mastication affects the motivation to get food, we examined the effects of dietary consistency on the development of meal anticipation in locomotor activity of rats subjected to restricted daily feeding (RF), in which food supply was restricted to a fixed time each day. RF of both liquid and solid meals produced anticipatory locomotor activity. However, the strength of the activity in rats subjected to RF of liquid meal was lower than that in rats subjected to RF of solid meal. These results suggest that the feeding-associated circadian oscillation that developed by feeding with liquid meal is less potent than that in the case of feeding with solid meal. Furthermore, mastication for digesting solid meal might be one of the factors that determine the strength of the feeding-associated circadian oscillation.
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