(1/2483) A new filtering algorithm for medical magnetic resonance and computer tomography images.

Inner views of tubular structures based on computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) data sets may be created by virtual endoscopy. After a preliminary segmentation procedure for selecting the organ to be represented, the virtual endoscopy is a new postprocessing technique using surface or volume rendering of the data sets. In the case of surface rendering, the segmentation is based on a grey level thresholding technique. To avoid artifacts owing to the noise created in the imaging process, and to restore spurious resolution degradations, a robust Wiener filter was applied. This filter working in Fourier space approximates the noise spectrum by a simple function that is proportional to the square root of the signal amplitude. Thus, only points with tiny amplitudes consisting mostly of noise are suppressed. Further artifacts are avoided by the correct selection of the threshold range. Afterwards, the lumen and the inner walls of the tubular structures are well represented and allow one to distinguish between harmless fluctuations and medically significant structures.  (+info)

(2/2483) Wavelet transform to quantify heart rate variability and to assess its instantaneous changes.

Heart rate variability is a recognized parameter for assessing autonomous nervous system activity. Fourier transform, the most commonly used method to analyze variability, does not offer an easy assessment of its dynamics because of limitations inherent in its stationary hypothesis. Conversely, wavelet transform allows analysis of nonstationary signals. We compared the respective yields of Fourier and wavelet transforms in analyzing heart rate variability during dynamic changes in autonomous nervous system balance induced by atropine and propranolol. Fourier and wavelet transforms were applied to sequences of heart rate intervals in six subjects receiving increasing doses of atropine and propranolol. At the lowest doses of atropine administered, heart rate variability increased, followed by a progressive decrease with higher doses. With the first dose of propranolol, there was a significant increase in heart rate variability, which progressively disappeared after the last dose. Wavelet transform gave significantly better quantitative analysis of heart rate variability than did Fourier transform during autonomous nervous system adaptations induced by both agents and provided novel temporally localized information.  (+info)

(3/2483) A new tool for measuring the suckling stimulus during breastfeeding in humans: the orokinetogram and the Fourier series.

The Fourier series was used to analyse the oral movements recorded by the orokinetogram during breastfeeding in human babies. This is a new method that allows recording of oral movements without introducing any extrinsic element between the nipple and the mouth of the baby. The advantage of displaying suckling activity after fast Fourier transform (FFT) is that this algorithm allows storage, quantification and frequency analysis of the oral movements throughout a suckling bout, which enables the total oral activity to be measured. Two types of oral movements are found: slow high amplitude (SHA) and fast low amplitude (FLA). FLA movements may be derived from peristaltic movements of the tongue that result in tickling stimuli to the mechanoreceptors of the nipple and milk expression. The frequency bandwidth of oral movements is wider (0-8 Hz) than has been described previously (0-3 Hz) and this is due to the presence of the FLA oral movements. An indirect measurement of the energy of oral movements during suckling is obtained by the pattern of energy distribution used in each individual frequency band by oral movements. This pattern changes in relation to the periods of continuous and intermittent suckling activity. SHA and FLA oral movements are more intense during continuous suckling. Statistical analysis showed a correlation between the energy of SHA and FLA waves throughout the suckling bout, and also that the highest level of energy during suckling activity is displayed during the first 2 min. The novel tools described in this paper allow investigation of the role of suckling stimulus in reflex hormone release and other mother-infant interactions.  (+info)

(4/2483) Effects of nicorandil on aortic input impedance: a comparative study with nitroglycerin.

A study of aortic input impedance was performed to evaluate the effects of nicorandil on the systemic circulation, and the effects were compared with those of nitroglycerin. Sixteen patients with coronary artery disease were divided into 2 age-matched groups. Aortic input impedance was obtained from Fourier analysis of aortic pressure and flow signals at baseline conditions, after intravenous administration of either 4 mg (Group 1) or 8 mg (Group 2) nicorandil, and 20 min after 0.3 mg sublingual nitroglycerin. In Group 1, the first harmonic impedance modulus (Z1, 304+/-140 dyne x s x cm(-5)) and the average of the first to third harmonics (Z1-3, 207+/-99 dyne x s x cm(-5)), indices of wave reflection, significantly decreased (24.4% (p<0.05) and 24.7% (p<0.01), respectively) after nicorandil, and 41.3% (p<0.01) and 33.9% (p<0.01) after nitroglycerin. The effects between the 2 vasodilators were not significantly different. In Group 2, Z1 and Z1-3 (275+/-138 and 196+/-93 dyne x s x cm(-5), respectively) also decreased after administration of nicorandil (28.4% (p<0.01) and 35.9% (p<0.01), respectively), and after administration of nitroglycerin (23.9% (p<0.01) and 28.7% (p<0.01), respectively), without any significant difference between the 2 drugs. Characteristic impedance and total peripheral resistance (R) in both groups remained unchanged except for R after 8 mg nicorandil (from 1830+/-415 to 1433+/-428 dyne x s x cm(-5); p<0.01). Like nitroglycerin, both doses of nicorandil reduced wave reflection. The reduction in R after 8 mg nicorandil is related to decreased tone in the resistance arteries, probably due to potassium channel opener effects.  (+info)

(5/2483) Oxytocin-induced Ca2+ responses in human myometrial cells.

Complex spatiotemporal changes in intracellular Ca2+ were monitored in an immortalized human myometrial cell line (PHM1-41) and first-passage human myometrial cells after oxytocin stimulation (1. 0-1000 nM). Laser cytometry revealed intracellular Ca2+ oscillations in both culture systems starting at 1.0 nM, which were followed by repetitive Ca2+ transients by 10-15 min that lasted for at least 90 min. The amplitude of the initial Ca2+ spike was dose dependent, while the frequency of Ca2+ oscillations identified by Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) tended to increase with dose. Removal of oxytocin resulted in termination of oscillations. Analysis of the sources of the Ca2+ involved in oscillations indicated that the major contribution to oscillation frequencies of +info)

(6/2483) Automated MAD and MIR structure solution.

Obtaining an electron-density map from X-ray diffraction data can be difficult and time-consuming even after the data have been collected, largely because MIR and MAD structure determinations currently require many subjective evaluations of the qualities of trial heavy-atom partial structures before a correct heavy-atom solution is obtained. A set of criteria for evaluating the quality of heavy-atom partial solutions in macromolecular crystallography have been developed. These have allowed the conversion of the crystal structure-solution process into an optimization problem and have allowed its automation. The SOLVE software has been used to solve MAD data sets with as many as 52 selenium sites in the asymmetric unit. The automated structure-solution process developed is a major step towards the fully automated structure-determination, model-building and refinement procedure which is needed for genomic scale structure determinations.  (+info)

(7/2483) Discrimination of solvent from protein regions in native Fouriers as a means of evaluating heavy-atom solutions in the MIR and MAD methods.

An automated examination of the native Fourier is tested as a means of evaluation of a heavy-atom solution in MAD and MIR methods for macromolecular crystallography. It is found that the presence of distinct regions of high and low density variation in electron-density maps is a good indicator of the correctness of a heavy-atom solution in the MIR and MAD methods. The method can be used to evaluate heavy-atom solutions during MAD and MIR structure solutions and to determine the handedness of the structure if anomalous data have been measured.  (+info)

(8/2483) Evidence of noncovalent dimerization of calmodulin.

Calcium-binding proteins, such as S-100, dimerize readily, and this phenomenon plays an important role in their regulation of target enzymes [Krebs, J., Quadroni, M. & Van Eldik, L.J. (1995) Nat. Struct. Biol. 2, 711-714; Kilby, P.M., Van Eldik, L.J. & Roberts, G. C. (1996) Structure 4, 1041-1052]. We have investigated by Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) MS the conformational states of the calcium-binding protein calmodulin, and present clear evidence for a calmodulin dimer formed as a result of noncovalent interactions between folded monomers. Ultra-high-resolution electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectra for calmodulin, obtained with a 9.4 T FTICR mass spectrometer, are presented. With the use of denaturing solutions (1 : 1 acetonitrile/water + 1% formic acid), relatively high charge states (20 < z < 10) of monomeric calmodulin ions were detected, whereas when calmodulin was electrosprayed from buffer, monomers ions with only 5-10 charges were detected. CD measurements for calmodulin in buffered solution revealed that its alpha-helical content was significantly higher than that for calmodulin in acetonitrile/water solutions, consistent with a proposition that changes in charge state distributions observed in the MS experiments reflect differing states of calmodulin folding. Under buffered conditions, noncovalently bound calmodulin dimers were observed by ESI FTICR MS. Analytical ultracentrifugation experiments carried out in the same solution conditions as those used in the MS experiments were consistent with the proposed calmodulin dimer-monomer equilibrium. The ultra-high mass resolution achieved with the 9.4 T FTICR mass spectrometer allowed unequivocal identification of the noncovalent, as opposed to covalent, character of the calmodulin dimer.  (+info)