Wetlands are the most fragile and threatened ecosystems worldwide, and also one of the most rapidly declining. At the same time wetlands are typically biodiversity hotspots and provide a range of valuable ecosystem services, such as water supply and purification, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and carbon sequestration. Pressures on wetlands are likely to further intensify in the coming decades due to increased global demand for land and water, and due to climate change. Stakeholders at all levels of governance have to be involved to slow, stop and reverse these processes. However, the information they need on wetland extent, their ecological character, and their ecosystem services is often scattered, sparse and difficult to find and access. The freely available Sentinel satellite data of the Copernicus Programme, as well as the Landsat archive, provide a comprehensive basis to map and inventory wetland areas (extent), to derive information on the ecological status, as well as long- and short-term trends in wetland characteristics. However, making use of these Earth Observation (EO) resources for robust and standardized wetland monitoring requires expert knowledge on often complex data processing techniques, which impedes practical implementation. In this respect, the Satellite-based Wetland Observation Service (SWOS), a Horizon 2020 funded project (www.swos-service.eu) has developed and made disseminated monitoring approaches based on EO data, specifically designed for less experienced satellite data users. The SWOS monitoring tools aim at assisting countries in conducting national wetland inventories for their Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) reporting and monitoring obligations, and additionally facilitates other monitoring obligations such as those required by the Ramsar Convention and supports decision-making in local conservation activities. The four main components of the SWOS approach are: map and indicator production; software development; capacity building; and initializing the GEO Wetlands Community Portal. Wetland managers and data analysists from more than fifty wetland sites and river basins across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa investigated the benefits and limitations of this EO-based wetland mapping and monitoring approach. We describe research that applies the SWOS tools to test their potential for the mapping of wetlands in a case study based in Albania, and show its effectiveness to derive metrics relevant to the monitoring of SDG indicator 6.6.1.
The first two models of the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometers (SLSTR) for the European Copernicus Sentinel-3 missions were tested prior to launch at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory space instrument calibration facility. The pre-launch tests provide an essential reference that ensures that the flight data of SLSTR are calibrated to the same standards needed for surface temperature measurements and to those used by shipborne radiometers for Fiducial Reference Measurement (FRM). The radiometric calibrations of the thermal infrared channels were validated against accurate and traceable reference BB sources under flight representative thermal vacuum environment. Measurements were performed in both earth views for source temperatures covering the main operating range, for different instrument configurations and for the full field-of-view of the instruments. The data were used to derive non-linearity curves to be used in the level-1 processing. All results showed that the measured brightness temperatures and radiometric noise agreed within the requirements for the mission. An inconsistency that particularly affected SLSTR-A was observed which has been attributed to an internal stray light error. A correction for the stray light has been proposed to reduce the error. The internal stray light error was reduced for SLSTR-B by replacing the coating on the main aperture stop. We present a description of the test methodology and the key results.
Mapping and assessment of water-related ecosystems is a challenging task that requires advanced processing techniques with clear rules and standards in terminology and definition of class features. These ecosystems are hydrologically and ecologically connected at catchment level and co-exist within a human context. The SWOS (Satellite based Wetland Observation Service - Horizon 2020) national service case for mapping and assessing the 10 Greek Ramsar wetland sites and their catchment areas is built on the requirements of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020. It contributes directly to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Global Indicator 6.6.1 “Sub-Indicator 1 – spatial extent of water-related ecosystems”. An Object-Based Image Analysis (OBIA) approach was adopted using Sentinel-2 satellite images for the year 2017, to discriminate 31 classes (wetland and non-wetland) over an area of 2,015,591 ha. The classification model was further adjusted to Landsat 5 TM imagery of previous years (1986–1987) in order to extract possible changes in the spatial extent of water-related ecosystems. The Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) ecosystem typology, as this was enhanced within SWOS, was applied. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of the employed classification model, techniques and rules, in obtaining highly accurate (over 90%) mapping results on the spatial extent of water-related ecosystems. Also, they highlight the contribution of Earth Observation (EO) and geospatial analysis in assessments of area-based changes and their causes, as well as in identification of conservation and management priorities (i.e. areas for restoration). In addition, to address the need to strengthen national capacities, the established SWOS service lines have been used as a contribution to the user community.
A considerable proportion of high grade cervical intraepithelial lesions (CIN2/3) are known to resolve on their own especially among young women. However, since reliable prognostic markers are still lacking, the diagnosis “CIN3” is still an indication for surgery which may result in overtreatment. It is conceivable that a combination of different, ideally independent molecular markers may provide more reliable results. In the present cross‐sectional study two established triage markers, 3q26 amplification and a methylation signature, were evaluated in an age‐dependent manner. The patient cohort comprised 60 patients with histologically confirmed CIN2/3 in two equally sized age groups (<30 years, ≥30 years). Cervical scrapes were analyzed by interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization for 3q26 amplification and methylation specific PCR (GynTect®) for six different genome regions. Both assays showed a significantly different pattern of test outcome independent of age (P=0.001). Moreover, the combination of both assays differed significantly for double positive and double negative cases when comparing the two age groups: In patients <30 years there were clearly less cases with positive methylation signature and amplification of 3q26 as in women ≥30 years (23% versus 63%, Bonferroni adjusted P=0.016). Of particular interest is the finding that double negative results were exclusive for the young age group (0% versus 27%, Bonferroni adjusted P=0.020). Since regression of CIN2/3 characteristically occurs among young women it is tempting to speculate that a double negative test result could be prognostic for regression of CIN2/3. This will have to be investigated further in a prospective longitudinal intervention study. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Introduction: Cystoscopy and transurethral resection are the current reference standard tests to diagnose and histologically confirm non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). In other tumor entities (ie, colon carcinoma, cervical cancer), DNA methylation markers have been approved as diagnostic tests with high diagnostic power. In our case-control study, we used an approved molecular cervical cancer diagnostics test that includes 6 DNA methylation markers (GynTect) for the detection of bladder cancer. Patients and methods: We included samples from 40 patients with bladder cancer and 34 control subjects. In a pilot study, we analyzed DNA methylation in 38 tumor tissues and 4 healthy ureters using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. Subsequently, we determined the sensitivity and specificity of the GynTect for the detection of bladder cancer in urine sediments from 40 patients with bladder cancer and 30 control subjects with benign prostatic hyperplasia or urolithiasis. Results: The markers showed very different methylation rates in the NMIBC tissues, ranging from 2.6% to 78.9%. No methylation of any of the markers was detectable in the healthy ureters. Using the urine sediments from the patients with cancer and control subjects, we found surprisingly high sensitivity and specificity for the GynTect assay (60% and 96.7%, respectively). The application of different algorithms for evaluation of the markers included in GynTect resulted in a sensitivity of ≤ 90% and specificity of ≤ 100%. Conclusion: The GynTect assay, originally designed for cervical cancer diagnostics, showed unexpectedly high diagnostic accuracy for bladder cancer detection. The inclusion of additional methylation markers might allow for the development of a suitable diagnostic marker set based on the GynTect test for NMIBC diagnostics.
en Gas type dependence of Pirani vacuum meters It is commonly known that thermal conductivity vacuum meters (Pirani gauges) show a significant gas type dependency. Nevertheless, the measurable difference between nitrogen and oxygen or air as their mixture frequently remain undisclosed. This article pays special attention to the consequences for correct interpretation of Pirani measurements when using alternating gases. Furthermore, it is shown that sufficiently accurate measurement of a specific gas is possible after easy adjustment of the gauge by the user. Zusammenfassung de Dass Wärmeleitungsvakuummeter nach Pirani eine deutliche Gasartabhängigkeit zeigen, ist allgemein bekannt. Oftmals wird dabei jedoch der immer noch messbare Unterschied zwischen Stickstoff und Sauerstoff bzw. Luft als deren Gemisch unterschlagen. Auf die Konsequenzen für die richtige Interpretation von Pirani‐Messungen bei wechselnder Nutzung dieser Gase wird in diesem Artikel das Augenmerk gelegt. Darüber hinaus wird gezeigt, dass durch den vom Anwender leicht durchführbaren Abgleich des Messgerätes die Messung eines bestimmten Gases für die Praxis hinreichend genau möglich ist.
Due to loss of tactile feedback the assessment of tumor margins during robotic surgery is based only on visual inspection, which is neither significantly sensitive nor specific. Here we demonstrate time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) as a novel technique to complement the visual inspection of oral cancers during transoral robotic surgery (TORS) in real-time and without the need for exogenous contrast agents. TRFS enables identification of cancerous tissue by its distinct autofluorescence signature that is associated with the alteration of tissue structure and biochemical profile. A prototype TRFS instrument was integrated synergistically with the da Vinci Surgical robot and the combined system was validated in swine and human patients. Label-free and real-time assessment and visualization of tissue biochemical features during robotic surgery procedure, as demonstrated here, not only has the potential to improve the intraoperative decision making during TORS but also other robotic procedures without modification of conventional clinical protocols.
This study revealed that the prevalence of HBV and HDV in a rural area of Cameroon is extremely high, underlining the pressing need for the improvement of control strategies. Systematic serological and phylogenetic analyses of HBV sequences turned out to be useful tools to identify networks of virus transmission within and between households. The high HBsAg carriage rate found among children demonstrates that implementation of the HBV birth dose vaccine and improvement of vaccine coverage will be key elements in preventing both HBV and HDV infections. In addition, the high HBsAg carriage rate in adolescents and adults emphasizes the need for identification of chronically infected individuals and linkage to WHO-recommended treatment to prevent progression to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
BackgroundHPV DNA testing as a primary screening marker is being implemented in several countries. Due to the high HPV prevalence in the screening population, effective triage strategies for HPV-positive cases are required. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of a methylation-specific real-time PCR assay (GynTect®) comprising six marker regions as a triage test. ResultsAn analytical sensitivity of 0.1 ng genomic DNA corresponding to 15 SiHa cells was achieved. Absolute specificity was observed in the presence of 20 ng unmethylated genomic DNA. In a clinical setting, cervical scrapes of 306 women showing abnormal colposcopy were tested for cytology, HPV positivity, and the GynTect markers ASTN1, DLX1, ITGA4, RXFP3, SOX17, and ZNF671. Of all women, histopathological data were available. The overall sensitivity for GynTect to detect CIN3+ was 67.7% (95% CI 57.3%–77.1%) whereas sensitivity was significantly higher for women of age ≥ 30 years (p = 0.04). All cancer cases (n = 5) were detected by GynTect. The overall false positive rate (= 1-specificity) for women with no CIN was 17.4% (95% CI 12.5–23.1%), with a higher proportion among HPV-positive women (24.0%, 95% CI 16.0–33.6%). In a triage screening setting, where all women underwent HPV testing and the HPV positives in addition GynTect testing, the overall sensitivity would slightly decline but specificity would reach the maximum value of 88.7% (95% CI 83.7–92.6%). Conclusion The GynTect® assay is a robust easy to use assay with high analytical sensitivity and specificity. Moreover, the performance of the assay based on cervical scrapes provides further evidence for the usefulness of methylation markers to detect HPV-positive women with clinically relevant disease.
This paper presents the conception and implementation of a variable diameter ring-cutting system for a CO2 laser with a working wavelength of 10.6 μm. The laser-cutting system is adapted to an observation zoom microscope for combined use and is applicable for the extraction of small circular areas from polymer films, such as forensic adhesive tapes in a single shot. As an important characteristic for our application, the variable diameter ringcutting system provides telecentricity in the target area. Ring diameters are continuously tunable between 500 μm and 2 mm. A minimum width of less than 20 μm was found for the ring profile edge. The basic characteristics of the system, including telecentricity, were experimentally evaluated and demonstrated by cutting experiments on different polymer tapes and further exemplary samples.
Disposable, low-cost microfluidic cartridges for automated blood cell counting applications are presented in this article. The need for point-of-care medical diagnostic tools is evident, particularly in low-resource and rural settings, and a full blood count is often the first step in patient diagnosis. Total white and red blood cell counts have been implemented toward a full blood count, using microfluidic cartridges with automated sample introduction and processing steps for visual microscopy cell counting to be performed. The functional steps within the microfluidic cartridge as well as the surrounding instrumentation required to control and test the cartridges in an automated fashion are described. The results recorded from 10 white blood cell and 10 red blood cell counting cartridges are presented and compare well with the results obtained from the accepted gold-standard flow cytometry method performed at pathology laboratories. Comparisons were also made using manual methods of blood cell counting using a hemocytometer, as well as a commercially available point-of-care white blood cell counting system. The functionality of the blood cell counting microfluidic cartridges can be extended to platelet counting and potential hemoglobin analysis, toward the implementation of an automated, point-of-care full blood count.
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