National Cheng Kung University
  • Tainan, Taiwan, Taiwan
Recent publications
Background Previous studies have investigated the role of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) in lateral epicondylalgia, with controversial results. We hypothesized that BoNT would be effective and safe for the treatment of lateral epicondylalgia. Objective To investigate the effectiveness and safety of different doses of BoNT in participants with lateral epicondylalgia. Methods PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library were searched up to August 27, 2022, for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of BoNT treatment for epicondylalgia. The Cochrane risk of bias tool was used for quality assessment. A network meta-analysis and a trial sequential analysis (TSA) were conducted on pain, grip strength and adverse events. Meta-regression was applied for high heterogeneity comparisons. Results We included 8 RCTs consisting of 448 participants. Four studies scored low risk of bias in all categories, whereas the other 4 studies had unclear risk only in the selection bias category. The network meta-analysis and TSA revealed that corticosteroid (standardized mean difference [SMD]: −1.32, 95% CI: −2.13; −0.50), high-dose BoNT (SMD −1.32, −2.04; −0.61), and low-dose BoNT (SMD –0.52, −0.93; −0.10), relieved pain significantly better than placebo for up to 7 to 10 weeks. High-dose BoNT demonstrated a significantly greater reduction in pain than low-dose BoNT for up to 7 to 10 weeks (SMD −0.81, –1.39; −0.22). Finally, after low-dose BoNT, younger participants (p = 0.023) and women (p = 0.012) showed more pain decrease than older individuals and men at 2 to 6 weeks. As for grip strength and adverse events, only grip strength after low-dose BoNT versus placebo (SMD −0.49, −0.88; −0.10) and corticosteroid (SMD −1.36, −2.15; −0.57) at 2 to 6 weeks reached significance after threshold adjustment in TSA. Conclusions Our meta-analysis confirmed the effectiveness of low-dose BoNT in the reduction of pain for lateral epicondylalgia. Further conclusions cannot be drawn due to insufficient available data.
Theory of mind (ToM) is a developmental and multidimensional ability to impute mental states to oneself and others. This systematic review aimed to identify and appraise the current ToM measures for children in terms of their constructs, modes of presentation and response, the test theories adopted to develop them, and psychometric properties. Among the 588 articles retrieved, 127 ToM measures were identified. Twelve measures covered the full spectrum of ToM development in childhood. Only four measures had items in all construct dimensions (i.e., cognitive–interpersonal, cognitive–intrapersonal, affective–interpersonal, and affective–intrapersonal ToM), but they were not designed with specific items on developmental components in every dimension. As regards modes of presentation and response, twenty-one measures designed with visual aids are recommended for children with poor verbal comprehension and expression abilities. Only six measures were constructed or examined with Rasch modeling to better quantify ToM ability. To sum up, currently, no single ToM measure constructed with Rasch modeling and featuring visual aids can assess children’s ToM ability simultaneously and specifically with the multidimensional construct. A thorough ToM measurement for children with the above-mentioned characteristics is warranted for clinicians and researchers to better understand children’s ToM ability and examine the mechanisms governing the developmental and multidimensional constructs.
By increasing demands for high thermal performance and energy efficiency, attentions to microchannel heat sinks (MCHSs) as the suitable method for heat flux dissipation from thermal systems have increased significantly. Microchannel heat sinks can be widely employed in electronic devices for higher heat removal rate and to provide best performance and durability for electronic systems. The critical issue associated with MCHSs is their ability for integration of effective thermal performance. In this work, on the assessment of the thermal performance of microchannel heat sink with nanofluid is experimentally examined. The heat removal performance of the pure water and nanofluid through the MCHS is studied. Different important parameters, such as dimensionless wall temperature, pressure drop, mean convection heat transfer coefficient, thermal resistance, and uniformity index, are investigated. The results indicated that the maximum suppression value of the thermal resistance attained by employing the nanofluid is 12.61%. The uniformity index of the heating surface is increased as the Re number increases. More suppression in the wall temperature can be observed as the volume concentration of nanoparticles is increased. By increasing the total flow rate and using the nanofluid, the hot spots on the heating surface are suppressed. Finally, the maximum gain value of the nanofluid for the mean convection heat transfer coefficient is up to 14.43%.
A numerical study of the anomalous intensification of the turbulent heat transfer is performed for the initial hydrodynamic section of a long flat plate with a single row dense package of 16 inclined Oval Trench Dimples (OTD). Multiblock overlapping grids are used to solve Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations in the framework of VP2/3 in-house code. Firstly, applicability of RANS approach is confirmed by thorough comparison against the experimental measurements of the pressure distributions for a single inclined OTD mounted on a flat plate. Then, the dense package of OTD with the inclination angle of 60 • is compared against Spherical Dimple (SD) at the same Reynolds number of 6000 based on the trench width and for the same trench depth and relatively high density of dimples. For OTD a progressive increase of the pressure drop is observed between the zone of deceleration of the free flow and the zone of low pressure near the inlet of spherical segments, where a tornado-like vortex is developed. Moreover, a gradual amplification of the reverse secondary flow is observed for OTD resulting in the minimum relative friction coefficient of − 4 and the maximum relative Nusselt number of 4.4. Finally, acceleration and substantial thinning of the boundary layer above the upstream part of the OTD are observed. A new type of energy-efficient structured surfaces ready for additive technologies is proposed and justified for heat exchangers.
Parallel manipulators are known to have higher structural rigidity and end-effector speed than serial manipulators. However, the size, payload, rigidity, and repeatability of parallel manipulators highly depend on the types of active and passive joints used. Compared with other joint types, revolute joints are structurally simpler and have an unlimited rotation range. They can be easily preloaded to increase the stiffness and eliminate clearance. Hence, revolute joints are preferable for parallel manipulators that need to have a smaller size, larger payload, and higher reparability. This paper presents a new translational parallel manipulator (TPM) that uses only revolute joints as the active and passive joints. The kinematics, workspace analysis, and singularity analysis are provided to facilitate the design of the new TPM. Finite element analyses are given to evaluate the compliance contribution of the revolute joints and links of the new TPM. Compliance, payload, and repeatability experiments are provided to verify the merits of the proposed design. We expect that the proposed TPM can provide an alternative for selecting parallel manipulators to meet different industrial applications.
The increase in worldwide demand for energy is driven by the rapid increase in population and exponential economic development. This resulted in the fast depletion of fossil fuel supplies and unprecedented levels of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. To valorize biomass into different bioproducts, one of the popular and carbon-neutral alternatives is biorefineries. This system is an appropriate technology in the circular economy model. Various research highlighted the role of biorefineries as a centerpiece in the carbon-neutral ecosystem of technologies of the circular economy model. To fully realize this, various improvements and challenges need to be addressed. This paper presents a critical and timely review of the challenges and future direction of biorefineries as an alternative carbon-neutral energy source.
The artificial neural network (ANN) in artificial intelligence (AI) is a computational model that portrays how nerve cells (neurons) work in the human brain. Meanwhile, specific chemical bioexergy (SCB) is a vital indicator to provide essential information on how high the actual energy may be contained within biomass fuel (biofuel). In this study, the Taguchi method, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and artificial neural network (AI-ANN) are utilized to predict the SCB of biofuels from the spent mushroom substrate (SMS) torrefaction via microwave-assisted heating (MAH). In Taguchi’s orthogonal array, washing, catalyst, and power operating parameters are considered. Acid and water washings lower the SMS’s ash content by 58.45 % and 36.29 %, respectively. The optimum conditions for combining with acid washing, a catalyst with higher Fe2O3 (35 %), and microwave power 540 W render the highest total SCB in biofuels (biochar + bio-oil) of 47.90 MJ·kg⁻¹, which is close to the SCB of crude oil derivatives (41–49 MJ·kg⁻¹). The enhancement of biomass’s SCB value from optimal torrefaction approximately 3 folds (256.30 %) from 12.84 (raw) to 47.90 MJ·kg⁻¹. The ANN model with an architecture of 1 hidden layer (sigmoid activation function) with 3 neurons and the output layer (piecewise linear activation function) with a quick propagation algorithm for the training process of all layers poses excellent prediction with high accuracy R² = 1. This result demonstrates that ANN with the designed scheme is suitable for predicting the SCB of SMS-derived biofuels.
The emerging study of hydrogen energy is receiving substantial attention in the scientific community due to its efficiency in approaching net zero and environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, bioethanol is a sustainable and carbon–neutral fuel for hydrogen production. This research aims to assess various ethanol reforming routes, including ethanol steam reforming, partial oxidation, and autothermal reforming, and evaluate the differences in hydrogen production as a function of catalyst physicochemistry and experimental parameters. For all three techniques, 75 % hydrogen selectivity is attained at 400 °C. In the ethanol steam reforming, non-noble metals (Co and Ni) are more reactive than noble metals (Rh and Ru). However, the sequence of hydrogen selectivity is featured by Rh > Ir > Ru > Pt > Ni > Co in autothermal reforming of ethanol. The partially filled d-orbitals of various transition metals can uptake or provide electrons to various reagents, thereby controlling reaction activity. Non-noble metals are inexpensive, making these catalysts appealing for a variety of reforming processes. The small crystal size <10 nm and the large Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area of the metal-support particles regulate the dispersion and reactivity of the catalyst. Hydrogen selectivity is lower in partial oxidation and autothermal reforming, while CO and CO2 exhibit no specific selectivity trend. The reactivity of intermediate reactions such as dehydrogenation and decarbonylation positively correlated with the reaction temperature and the steam/oxygen/ethanol ratio, which regulates syngas product distributions. Overall, this review provides a vision for sustainable hydrogen production and decarbonization to achieve the net zero target.
The properties of few-layered transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) are extremely interesting in the category of two-dimensional (2D) materials due to their feasibility of band gap engineering, high carrier mobility, and the ability to tune carrier concentration, which makes its utilization in wide range application. In the current study, we report the conversion of MoSe2 multilayers into a few layers as well as tune its band gap and band potentials by surface organic ligand (benzylamine) functionalization. Further, this functionalized few-layered MoSe2 has been deposited on CdS nanorods and tested for photocatalytic H2 production through water splitting under solar similar light excitation. Consequently, the optimized BA-MoSe2/CdS composites generated efficient hydrogen (54.9 µmol∙h⁻¹ g⁻¹) production, which is 3 and 18 folds enhanced than the simple few-layered MoSe2/CdS and CdS, respectively. The decoration of a few layered BA-MoSe2 on CdS nanorods effectively alters the band potentials suitably for proton reduction, then, separated greater photo-induced chargers, thereby, improving electrons accommodation on the catalysts surface and transferring to the active sites. Particularly, these outcomes would give a potential prospect for prominent photocatalytic systems development owing to their spectacular photo-efficiency and economic feasibility.
Crossflow tube reactors with crossflow configuration are considered a special design for hydrogen production via ethanol steam reforming with less catalyst than conventional packed bed reactors. However, the results showed that crossflow tube reactors would produce an elevated concentration of carbon monoxide, which has a detrimental effect on further applications of the product gas from steam reforming, such as hydrogen purification. This drawback can be diminished by integrating a water gas shift reaction unit into the steam reformer. This study's combined system is numerically investigated for hydrogen production and enrichment. The results show that low reaction temperatures are favorable for hydrogen production. The steam/ethanol (S/E) ratio of 3 is optimal for hydrogen production and CO reduction in the system combined with ethanol steam reforming and water gas shift reaction. Both variations in the catalytic tube diameter and the catalyst thickness positively affect hydrogen production. However, the effect of the tube diameter is higher than that of the catalyst thickness. This study also uses a parametric sweep associated with the evolutionary computation of bound optimization by quadratic approximation (BOBYQA) method to optimize the system's tube arrangement. The optimized system intensifies H 2 yield by 1.05 times and improves CO reduction by 37.71% compared to ethanol steam reforming alone.
In accordance with global economic prosperity, the frequencies of food delivery and takeout orders have been increasing. The pandemic life, specifically arising from COVID-19, rapidly expanded the food delivery service. Thus, the massive generation of disposable plastic food containers has become significant environmental problems. Establishing a sustainable disposal platform for plastic packaging waste (PPW) of food delivery containers has intrigued particular interest. To comprise this grand challenge, a reliable thermal disposable platform has been suggested in this study. From the pyrolysis process, a heterogeneous plastic mixture of PPW was converted into syngas and value-added hydrocarbons (HCs). PPW collected from five different restaurants consisted of polypropylene (36.9 wt%), polyethylene (10.5 wt%), polyethylene terephthalate (18.1 wt%), polystyrene (13.5 wt%), polyvinyl chloride (4.2 wt%), and other composites (16.8 wt%). Due to these compositional complexities, pyrolysis of PPW led to formations of a variety of benzene derivatives and aliphatic HCs. Adapting multi-stage pyrolysis, the different chemicals were converted into industrial chemicals (benzene, toluene, styrene, etc.). To selectively convert HCs into syngas (H2 and CO), catalytic pyrolysis was adapted using supported Ni catalyst (5 wt% Ni/SiO2). Over Ni catalyst, H2 was produced as a main product due to CH bond scission of HCs. When CO2 was used as a co-reactant, HCs were further transformed to H2 and CO through the chemical reactions of CO2 with gas phase HCs. CO2-assisted catalytic pyrolysis also retarded catalyst deactivation inhibiting coke deposition on Ni catalyst.
Keywords: Hydrogen production Methanol steam reforming (MSR) Non-noble metal Cu-based catalyst Taguchi method and analysis of variance (ANOVA) Optimization and statistics A B S T R A C T Hydrogen has emerged its importance for decarbonization to approach net-zero emissions in 2050. This study aims to develop three highly-porous Ni-Cu/Al 2 O 3 catalysts (Ni-to-Cu weight ratio = 10 %, 20 %, and 30 %) for hydrogen production from the steam reforming of "Green" methanol (or bio-methanol). The prepared catalysts require no organic templates, thereby efficiently reducing unnecessary costs. With Taguchi orthogonal array design and analysis of variance (ANOVA), the impacts of selected operating factors on hydrogen productivity under ultrasonic sprays are investigated. The results reveal that the carrier gas flow rate is the most influential factor in H 2 yield at the steam-to-methanol molar ratio (S/C) of 1.5, whereas the temperature is the most im-pactful factor at S/C = 2.0. The regression between the Taguchi effect value and the ANOVA F value develops a strong linear relationship. The optimal experimental conditions of Ni-Cu(30 %)/Al 2 O 3 , reaction temperature of 300 • C, N 2 flow rate of 1,000 mL⋅min − 1 , and S/C = 2.0, achieve 100 % methanol conversion, 39.74 vol% H 2 concentration in the product gas, and 2.93 mol⋅(mol CH 3 OH)-1 H 2 yield. Thes data also show superior performance compared to those in the literature. In long-term stability tests, the prepared catalysts also exhibit high stability and effectiveness commensurate with commercialized Cu-based catalysts.
Transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) are indispensable as transparent electrodes in optoelectronic applications due to their unique features of high optical transmittance, high electrical conductivity, and cost-effective industrial-scale manufacturability. However, patterning TCO films for functional devices requires lengthy and expensive photolithography and etching processes. Although the laser patterning technique—based on nanoparticle ink and particle-free ink—has been used to fabricate patterned metal electrodes without photolithography, it is still unknown if it works for TCO, such as doped zinc oxide (ZnO). Here, we introduce a novel single-step maskless, particle-free, and ink-free process to deposit transparent, conductive Ga-doped ZnO (GZO) patterns on glass substrates via a laser-assisted atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) technique. With the exposure of a plasma jet, GZO patterns can be deposited by scanning a continuous-wave CO2 laser using a galvanometer and computer-aided design (CAD) images. The GZO patterns (∼100 nm thick) are visually transparent and exhibit remarkably low resistivity of 7.89 × 10–4 Ω cm, comparable with that of uniform (unpatterned) GZO films prepared by APPJ only. Our present work fundamentally differs from prior works since neither particles nor ink is applied to the substrate before processing. The entire process is conducted in ambient conditions without substrate preheating and pre-/post-processing. Also, it does not require expensive vacuum apparatus and pulsed laser sources and has a high potential for cost-effective and sustainable fabrication of TCO patterns and circuits.
Ab initio calculation of density of states and the absorption spectral analysis were performed, and the influence of doping Mn⁴⁺ activator and Ge⁴⁺ sensitizer on the photoluminescence properties was also successfully discussed. The critical concentrations of Mn⁴⁺ and Ge⁴⁺ in Li2ZnTi3O8 host excited at 350 nm were determined to be 0.3 and 0.4 %, respectively. The results obtained in this study indicated that there was a 50 % promotion in the emission intensity in the 0.4 % GeO2-doped phosphors when compared to the performance of undoped Li2ZnTi3O8: 0.3 % Mn⁴⁺ phosphors. Moreover, the International Commission on Illumination of Li2ZnTi3O8:0.3 % Mn⁴⁺ point was successfully turned from (0.7268, 0.2732) to (0.7318, 0.2682), and the color purity - from 98.3 to 99.5 % by co-doping 0.4 % GeO2. The energy transfer mechanism (Mn⁴⁺---Mn⁴⁺ pairs, and Ge⁴⁺---Mn⁴⁺ pairs) was also investigated. Concentration and thermal quench were also under consideration.
The correlation of polarization with AC conductivity behavior of polycrystalline non-ferroelectric ceramics is more satisfied to be interpreted by three zones indicated in permittivity and AC conductivity spectra. These three zones concerning the dielectric and conductivity processes governing the response to an AC field have been identified in terms of the cluster model within the framework of percolation theory. Colossal dielectric permittivity of non-ferroelectric materials can be attributed to hopping polarization aligned via developing percolation clusters with high electron concentrations. The physical origin of the correlation between dielectric permittivity and AC conductivity of polycrystalline ceramics with respect to the effect of grain boundary has been clarified.
Indirect measurements through a combination of microenvironment concentrations and personal activity diaries provide a potentially useful alternative for PM2.5 exposure estimates. This study was to optimize a personal exposure model based on spatiotemporal model predictions for PM2.5 exposure in a sub-cohort study. Personal, home indoor, home outdoor, and ambient monitoring data of PM2.5 were conducted for an elderly population in the Taipei city of Taiwan. The proposed microenvironment exposure (ME) models incorporate PM2.5 measurements and individual time-activity information with a generalized estimating equation (GEE) analysis. We evaluated model performance with daily personal PM2.5 exposure based on the coefficient of determination, accuracy, and mean bias error. Ambient and home outdoor measures as exposure surrogates are likely to under- and overestimate personal exposure to PM2.5 in our study population, respectively. Measured and predicted indoor exposures were highly correlated with personal PM2.5 exposure. The awareness of peculiar smells is an important factor that significantly increases personal PM2.5 exposure by 46–70%. The model incorporating home indoor PM2.5 can achieve the highest agreement (R² = 0.790) with personal exposure and the lowest measurement error. The ME model with the GEE analysis combining home outdoor PM2.5 determined by LUR model with a machine learning technique can improve the prediction (R² = 0.592) of personal PM2.5 exposure, compared with the prediction of the traditional LUR model (R² = 0.385).
Carotenoids are naturally occurring pigments that are widely distributed in algae, fungi, bacteria, and plants. Carotenoids play a significant role in the food, feed, cosmetic, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical industries. These pigments are effectively considered as a health-promoting compounds, which are widely used in our daily diet to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, acute lung injury, cataracts, neural disorders, etc. In this context, this review paper demonstrates the synthesis of carotenoids and their potential application in the food and pharmaceutical industries. However, the demand for carotenoid production is increasing overtime, and the extraction and production are expensive and technically challenging. In this review, the recent developments in carotenoid biosynthesis, and key challenges, bottlenecks, and future perspectives were also discussed to enhance the circular bioeconomy.
Background Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients suffer varying degrees of heart dysfunction after tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment. Interestingly, HCC patients often have higher levels of pentraxin 3 (PTX3), and PTX3 inhibition was found to improve left ventricular dysfunction in animal models. Objectives We sought to assess the therapeutic potential of PTX3 inhibition on TKI-associated cardiotoxicity. Methods We used a human embryonic stem cell line, RUES2, to generate cardiomyocyte cultures (RUES2-CM) for functional testing. We also assessed heart function and PTX3 expression levels in 16 HCC patients who received TKI treatment, 3 HCC patients who did not receive TKIs, and 7 healthy volunteers. Results Significantly higher PTX3 expression was noted in HCC patients with TKI treatment versus those without, and 38% of male and 33% of female patients had QTc prolongation after TKI treatment. Treatment of cardiomyocyte cultures with sorafenib also increased PTX3 expression and induced cytoskeletal remodelling, contraction reduction, sodium current inhibition, and mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction. PTX3 colocalised with CD44 in cardiomyocytes, and cardiomyocyte contraction, mitochondrial respiratory function, and regular cytoskeletal and apoptotic protein expression were restored with PTX3 inhibition. CD44 knockdown confirmed PTX3/CD44 signalling. These results suggest a possible mechanism in which sorafenib treatment increases PTX3 expression, thereby resulting in reduced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 expression that affects cardiomyocyte contraction, while also activating c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) downstream pathways to disrupt mitochondrial respiration and trigger apoptosis. Conclusions TKI-induced cardiotoxicity may be partly mediated by the upregulation of PTX3, and thus PTX3 inhibition has potential as a therapeutic strategy.
Background Little is known about the patterns of child maltreatment change over time and vary according to gender and child protective services (CPS) experience in Taiwan. Objective To examine the latent status and the trajectories of child maltreatment and to identify effects that gender and CPS have on these statuses and trajectories in Taiwan. Participants and setting A national proportionately stratified sample of 6233 4th-grade students were recruited from 314 elementary schools in Taiwan, and followed up at 6th and 8th graders. A total of 1908 students completed valid data at all three time points was analyzed. Methods Latent class analysis and latent transition analysis were used to identify the number of latent variables and the patterns of child maltreatment. Multiple-group model was used to test with gender difference. Results Four latent maltreatment statuses were identified: high all maltreatment, high psychological maltreatment, high neglect, and no/low maltreatment. A reduction in maltreatment severity occurred over time was found. The percentage of students in the “high all maltreatment” and “high neglect” groups decreased whereas those in the “high psychological maltreatment” and “no/low maltreatment” groups increased. Differences in the transition probabilities of latent maltreatment status by gender was revealed. The percentage of CPS recipients in the “high all maltreatment” decreased over time. Conclusions This study highlighted the dynamic nature of child maltreatment and described the timing, continuity, and change that characterizes children's exposure to maltreatment in Taiwan. Policies and interventions geared toward early detection, mitigation, and prevention of child maltreatment are needed.
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11,645 members
Jiann Hong
  • Institute of Biotechnology
Gi-Zen Liu
  • Department of Foreign Languages and Literature
Cheng-Ta Yang
  • Department of Psychology
Nai-Yun (Boni) Hsu
  • Department of Environmental and Occupational Health
1 University Road, 701, Tainan, Taiwan, Taiwan