Emerging economies have traits that distinguish them from developed economies. These include (1) distribution channels involving a large number of traditional fragmented stores competing with emergent chain stores, (2) rapid urbanization and the movement of population from rural to urban areas, (3) poor transportation/internet infrastructure and media penetration leading to challenges faced by CPG firms in distribution and consumers in purchasing, and (4) regulation mandating CPG firms to print the maximum product price on the product package. We investigate how these traits endemic to emerging economies impact a CPG firm’s product sales and profitability and the implications. While product sales increased over time in the chain stores (the MTO channel) at all price levels, they barely rose in the traditional channel. On the other hand, product profitability for low-priced products increased over time in the traditional channel and fell in the MTO channel. Further, the CPG firms’ product sales over time in both channels were ordered per the population of the city tier. However, while the product profitability in the traditional channel rose at the same pace in all city tiers, that in the MTO channel fell in the medium-sized cities.
Introduction The effects of firearm sales and legislation on crime and violence are intensely debated, with multiple studies yielding differing results. We hypothesized that increased lawful firearm sales would not be associated with the rates of crime and homicide when studied using a robust statistical method. Methods National and state rates of crime and homicide during 1999-2015 were obtained from the United States Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Instant Criminal Background Check System background checks were used as a surrogate for lawful firearm sales. A general multiple linear regression model using log event rates was used to assess the effect of firearm sales on crime and homicide rates. Additional modeling was then performed on a state basis using an autoregressive correlation structure with generalized estimating equation estimates for standard errors to adjust for the interdependence of variables year to year within a particular state. Results Nationally, all crime rates except the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–designated firearm homicides decreased as firearm sales increased over the study period. Using a naive national model, increases in firearm sales were associated with significant decreases in multiple crime categories. However, a more robust analysis using generalized estimating equation estimates on state-level data demonstrated increases in firearms sales were not associated with changes in any crime variables examined. Conclusions Robust analysis does not identify an association between increased lawful firearm sales and rates of crime or homicide. Based on this, it is unclear if efforts to limit lawful firearm sales would have any effect on rates of crime, homicide, or injuries from violence committed with firearms.
The Androgen Receptor (AR), transcriptionally activated by its ligands, testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), is widely expressed in cells and tissues, influencing normal biology and disease states. The protein product of the AR gene is involved in the regulation of numerous biological functions, including the development and maintenance of the normal prostate gland and of the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and immune systems. Androgen signalling, mediated by AR protein, plays a crucial role in the development of prostate cancer (PCa), and is presumed to be involved in other cancers including those of the breast, bladder, liver and kidney. Significant research and reviews have focused on AR protein function; however, inadequate research and literature exist to define the function of AR mRNA in normal and cancer cells. The AR mRNA transcript is nearly 11 Kb long and contains a long 3' untranslated region (UTR), suggesting its biological role in post-transcriptional regulation, consequently affecting the overall functions of both normal and cancer cells. Research has demonstrated that many biological activities, including RNA stability, translation, cellular trafficking and localization, are associated with the 3' UTRs of mRNAs. In this review, we describe the potential role of the AR 3' UTR and summarize RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that interact with the AR mRNA to regulate post-transcriptional metabolism. We highlight the importance of AR mRNA as a critical modulator of carcinogenesis and its important role in developing therapy-resistant prostate cancer.
Background Shuang Huang Lian (SHL) is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula made from Lonicerae Japonicae Flos, Forsythiae Fructus, and Scutellariae Radix. Despite the widespread use of SHL in clinical practice for treating upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), the complete component fingerprint and the pharmacologically active components in the SHL formula remain unclear. The objective of this study was to develop an untargeted metabolomics method for component identification, quantitation, pattern recognition, and cross-comparison of various SHL preparation forms (i.e., granule, oral liquid, and tablet). Methods Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography and quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS) together with bioinformatics were used for chemical profiling, identification, and quantitation of SHL. Multivariate data analyses such as principal component analysis (PCA) and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) were performed to assess the correlations among the three SHL preparation forms and the reproducibility of the technical and biological replicates. Results A UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS-based untargeted metabolomics method was developed and applied to analyze three SHL preparation forms, consisting of 178 to 216 molecular features. Among the 95 common molecular features from the three SHL preparation forms, quantitative analysis was performed using a single exogenous reference internal standard. Forty-seven of the 95 common molecular features have been identified using various databases. Among the 47 common components, there were 17 flavonoids, 7 oligopeptides, 5 terpenoids, 2 glycosides, 2 cyclohexanecarboxylic acids, 2 spiro compounds, 2 lipids, 2 glycosylglycerol derivatives, and 8 various compounds such as alkyl caffeate ester, aromatic ketone, benzaldehyde, benzodioxole, benzofuran, chalcone, hydroxycoumarin, and purine nucleoside. Five of the 47 common components were designated by the Chinese Pharmacopoeia as the quality markers of medicinal plants of SHL, and 15 were previously reported to have pharmacological activities. Distinct patterns of the three SHL preparation forms were observed in the PCA and PLS-DA plots. Conclusions The developed method is reliable and reproducible, which is useful for the profiling, component identification, quantitation, quality assessment of various SHL preparation forms and may apply to the analysis of other TCM formulas.
Objective: COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing rates of overweight and obesity in the United States. mHealth technologies are gaining in popularity for its potential to reduce obesity, if facilitated by patient-centered communication. This study explores predictors of overweight and obese individuals' exercise levels during COVID-19. Methods: 2191 respondents who visited a doctor in the past year and self-reported being overweight were selected from the 2020 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Respondents reported their physical activity, beliefs about obesity, health tracking behaviors, and communication with providers during the pandemic. Structural equation modeling was used to explore connections among the variables. Results: Patient-provider (e-)communication was significantly associated with changes in people's obesity-related beliefs and mHealth tracking usage, predicting moderate exercise during the pandemic. Conclusion: The findings illustrate the need for patient-centered communication encounters to include discussions on mHealth technologies and accessible methods of engaging in physical activity. Innovation: This study examined secondary data provided by overweight and obese individuals from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic; this population may benefit from targeted health interventions using mHealth technologies. Our findings suggest that healthcare providers should engage patients through mHealth technology and seek to improve digital health literacy to progress physical activity nationwide.
Ibrutinib is effective in the treatment of relapsed/refractory (R/R) marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) with an overall response rate (ORR) of 48%. However, factors associated with response (or lack thereof) to ibrutinib in R/R MZL in clinical practice are largely unknown. To answer this question, we performed a multicenter (25 US centers) cohort study and divided the study population into three groups: “ibrutinib responders”—patients who achieved complete or partial response (CR/PR) to ibrutinib; “stable disease (SD)”; and “primary progressors (PP)”—patients with progression of disease as their best response to ibrutinib. One hundred and nineteen patients met the eligibility criteria with 58%/17% ORR/CR, 29% with SD, and 13% with PP. The median PFS and OS were 29 and 71.4 months, respectively, with no difference in PFS or OS based on the ibrutinib line of therapy or type of therapy before ibrutinib. Patients with complex cytogenetics had an inferior PFS (HR = 3.08, 95% CI 1.23–7.67, p = 0.02), while those with both complex cytogenetics (HR = 3.00, 95% CI 1.03–8.68, p = 0.04) and PP (HR = 13.94, 95% CI 5.17–37.62, p < 0.001) had inferior OS. Only primary refractory disease to first-line therapy predicted a higher probability of PP to ibrutinib (RR = 3.77, 95% CI 1.15–12.33, p = 0.03). In this largest study to date evaluating outcomes of R/R MZL treated with ibrutinib, we show that patients with primary refractory disease and those with PP on ibrutinib are very high-risk subsets and need to be prioritized for experimental therapies.
Researchers and practitioners acknowledge that sales prospecting plays an important role in new customer acquisition. Yet, rigorous academic research on prospecting is virtually nonexistent. In this study, we examine the salesperson's role at the front of the sales funnel which involves prospecting for leads (prospecting efficacy; PE) and converting those prospects into customers (conversion efficacy; CE). Based on the Motivation-Opportunity-Ability framework, we test the relationships between several drivers of PE and CE via an NBD and Beta regression model. First, we discover an implicit trade-off between PE and CE, implying a 'sweet spot' that maximizes new customer acquisition. Also, more experienced salespeople acquire fewer new customers than those with less experience. Higher advertising support and extrinsic rewards improves CE to a greater extent for more-, versus less-experienced salespeople, which suggests that incremental increases in advertising budgets and incentive rewards are better allocated in favor of more experienced salespeople.
More people are incarcerated in the United States than in any other nation in the world. The incarcerated population disproportionately struggles with mental health issues. Familial support can help mitigate the detrimental consequences for incarcerated persons struggling with mental health issues, as well as for their families. We use data from the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering, and employ Actor-Partner Interdependence Modeling (APIM) to examine the relationship between perceived extended family support and depression for dyads consisting of incarcerated men and their non-incarcerated, female coparenting and romantic partners. We find that higher levels of perceived family support lessen depressive symptoms for both dyad members. However, higher levels of perceived support for both men and women disproportionately benefit the non-incarcerated woman, as the non-incarcerated women may additionally benefit from having male partners with better perceived social support. Clinical implications and future directions for incarcerated individuals and their families are discussed.
The declining trend of international student enrollment in the United States has been investigated from the standpoint of social discrimination, and more recently, by accounting for the compounding effects of COVID-19-based campus closures and remote learning operations. The purpose of this study was to explore whether experiences of campus alienation are related to difficulties international students faced while accessing campus services remotely. A survey was developed and validated for the study. It was completed by 417 international students attending US postsecondary institutions. A canonical correlation was conducted to evaluate the multivariate shared relationships between campus exclusion, COVID-19 racism, and country of origin as one set of variables, and difficulties accessing campus services remotely (DASCR) and international travel difficulties as the other set. Results revealed one significant canonical function; this model explained 27% of variance shared between the two variable sets. Indicators of shared variance provided evidence for significant relationships between experiences characterizing campus alienation and DASCR. Implications are drawn in light of policy and program development, and practical examples are provided for postsecondary educators on how to offer pertinent outreach to their international students and advocate for inclusive campus policies in managing international student engagement remotely during campus closure.
The characterization of diffusion through biological tissues has played an important role in fundamental medical research and product development. Understanding the diffusion phenomena allows for the identification of new concepts in fundamental science, evolving medical knowledge and improving future standards and protocols. To illustrate, the structure of cortical bone changes upon the onset of osteoporosis, altering the limited porous compartment through which nutrients and essential signaling molecules travel to bone cells. Estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the gold standard treatments to attempt to mitigate the effects that this structural change exerts in menopausal osteoporosis patients; however, HRT effectiveness is often variable in these patients, likely due to variability in bone structure and physiology, and thus transport rates. Scientists have studied diffusion in cortical bone tissue for decades. Current methodological standards include fluorescence recovery after photobleaching and computed tomography finite element analysis. Both techniques limit areas of tissue to microscale (1-100 µm2) analysis - only examining a few osteocytes within the structure at a time - and adopt assumptions that oversimplify in vivo tissue structure and transport phenomena. As well, the range of diffusion tracers is limited by the sensitivities of the analytical equipment, typically requiring tracer concentrations in the micromolar range. Herein is described a novel device for directly assessing the diffusion coefficient of 3H-estradiol at 37°C in macroscale osteonal bone specimens (1.4 cm2) - assessing a much larger portion of the total tissue than previously reported - while using radioisotope tracers for much higher sensitivity, thus achieving physiologically relevant estradiol concentrations. The current diffusion chamber device represents a cost-effective and validated method to mitigate these shortcomings. The device provides long-term diffusion data through macroscale (greater than 1 mm2) tissue areas, presenting a more physiologically accurate way to assess cortical bone diffusion. The device can assess solute diffusion through other tissues or materials and may easily be scaled up to run multiple diffusion experiments simultaneously.
Vermicomposting is a novel municipal/agricultural sludge and solid waste treatment process that uses earthworms (oligochaete annelids) for the biodegradation of the sludge and/or organic solid wastes, such as agricultural and food wastes. This novel biological system is alternately called earthworm conversion, vermicomposting, vermistabilization, worm composting, or annelidic consumption. The worms maintain aerobic conditions in the organic substances while accelerating and enhancing the biological decomposition of the organic substances. The main product of the vermicomposting (earthworm conversion) process is the worm’s castings. In some process arrangements, there may be a net earthworm production. The excess earthworms may then be sold for fish bait or animal protein supplement. Earthworm marketing is a complex problem; for municipal sludge applications, surplus earthworms may be considered a by-product, while the principal product is the castings, which can be a resource, called vermicompost, compost, soil conditioner, or compost fertilizer.This publication presents the following: (a) an introduction and review of the vermicomposting process; (b) technology development, technical problems, legal problems, and technology breakthrough of the process; (c) current status and resources; (d) vermicomposting process design considerations; (e) process applications with special emphasis on agricultural and food waste treatment; and (f) future development and directions of the process. Recent advances in vermicomposting process research and new process applications are reported.KeywordsVermicompostingProcess designEarthwormCastingVermicompostProcess applicationsMunicipal sludgeAgricultural wastesLivestock manureCrop residuesWeedsLeaf litterSawdustForest wastesBiosolidsFruit pomaceAnimal dungStrawPaper mill sludgeFood wastesVegetable plant debrisFruit plant debrisCoffee plant wasteSkin coffeeBiochar
Castor (Ricinus communis; family: Euphorbiaceae) oil extracted from castor seed is a nonedible, nontoxic, yellowish color liquid that has become an essential bioresource material for industrial uses. The castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid; this is a key precursor of the production of lactones. The presence of a double bond and hydroxyl and carboxylic groups with a long hydrocarbon chain in ricinoleic acid proposes several possibilities for converting it into valuable compounds. γ-Decalactone is an aroma compound having peach-like essence, generally utilized in food industries. Lipase-mediated biotransformation is used to produce γ-decalactone from ricinoleic acid under controlled conditions. Several studies and industrial approaches have explained the genetic and metabolic engineering and bioprocess engineering strategies in the enrichment of aroma compounds, but few studies have been available on the utilization of castor oil as a natural raw material for the synthesis of aroma compounds. As a result, this review draws attention to the importance of castor oil in the production of value-added aroma compounds with their estimated global market prospective. The review gives information about the properties of castor oil and its geographical accessibility and its exploitation as a bio-based resource for the production of various value-added materials. In addition, this review emphasizes the utilization of ricinoleic acid or castor oil as a renewable source for the production of aroma compounds. Though chemical transformation for the production of lactone derivatives is known, the products are chiral mixtures. On the other hand, the lipase-based conversion is enantiospecific, and this product is categorized as nature-identical and considered safe for using in food products.KeywordsCastor oilFlavourFragranceLipase medicated biotransformation
Livestock waste management has recently become a topic of interest. Due to the increasing desire in transforming waste products into profit, it is necessary to have clear knowledge and understanding of how to handle livestock waste. This livestock waste management chapter provides insight on some treatment methods that have become popular within physical, chemical, and biological treatment methods and the design techniques to incorporate many of these methods. Finally, an introduction to some of the more modern techniques in harnessing energy from agriculture waste and its potential profits has been included. Having consulted technical papers from university extensions across such as the University of Missouri, Utah State University, and North Carolina State University and materials published by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Environmental Protection Agency, this particular resource produces sections that are valuable for both the novice and also experienced within agricultural engineering. In addition, recent advances in livestock waste treatment and management, such as the latest process technology development, market-driven strategies, and US policy changes, are reviewed and introduced. The authors also introduce a commercially available Livestock Water Recycling (LWR) system and a third-generation Bion livestock waste treatment technology in detail.KeywordsLivestock waste managementAgriculture waste treatmentLivestock waste modelingBiological treatmentPhysical and chemical treatmentBiogasAgStarUS policy changes, Livestock waste treatment processes, Livestock Water Recycling system, Bion environmental technologies, BET livestock waste treatment technology
Rapidly increasing political polarization threatens democracies around the world. Scholars from several disciplines are assessing and modeling polarization antecedents, processes, and consequences. Social systems are complex and networked. Their constant shifting hinders attempts to trace causes of observed trends, predict their consequences, or mitigate them. We propose an equivalent-neighbor model of polarization dynamics. Using statistical physics techniques, we generate anticipatory scenarios and examine whether leadership and/or external events alleviate or exacerbate polarization. We consider three highly polarized USA groups: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. We assume that in each group, each individual has a political stance s ranging between left and right. We quantify the noise in this system as a “social temperature” T. Using energy E, we describe individuals’ interactions in time within their own group and with individuals of the other groups. It depends on the stance s as well as on three intra-group and six inter-group coupling parameters. We compute the probability distributions of stances at any time using the Boltzmann probability weight exp(E/T). We generate average group-stance scenarios in time and explore whether concerted interventions or unexpected shocks can alter them. The results inform on the perils of continuing the current polarization trends, as well as on possibilities of changing course.
The nondegradable petrochemical plastics are accumulated in the environment at an annual rate of about 25 million tons. Therefore, there are considerable economic and environmental interests in the development of biodegradable plastic polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) produced by bacteria. However, the cost of this bioplastic, produced by conventional technologies, is several times higher than the cost of petrochemical-based plastics. The suitable ways for the reduction of the bioplastic production costs are as follows: (1) use of cheap raw materials such as organic wastes, (2) low-cost biotechnologies, and (3) production of crude bioplastic for specific applications. The following options for raw materials, biotechnologies, and applications of crude bioplastic are suitable: (1) use of food-processing or agricultural wastes for bioplastic production; (2) batch or continuous non-aseptic cultivation for the biosynthesis of bioplastic by mixed bacterial culture; (3) concentration and extraction of bioplastic using chemical treatment, filtration, centrifugation, and flotation for the production of crude bioplastic; and (4) applications of crude (not extracted) biodegraded bioplastic in the construction industry and agriculture. The implementation of these findings in the manufacturing process of PHA-containing bioplastic would significantly reduce production costs, thereby rendering PHA-containing bioplastic an economically viable and environmentally friendly alternative to petrochemical-based plastics.KeywordsPolyhydroxyalkanoatesBioplasticAgricultural wastesFood-processing wastes
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