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A simple and rapid capillary electrophoretic procedure for analysis of matrine and oxymatrine in Kushen medicinal preparations has been developed and optimized. Orthogonal design was used to optimize the separation and detection conditions for the two active components. Phosphate concentration, applied potential, organic modifier content, and buffer pH were selected as variable conditions. The optimized background electrolyte contained 70 mM sodium dihydrogen phosphate and 30% acetonitrile at pH 5.5; the separation potential was 20 kV. Each analysis was complete within 5 min. Regression equations revealed linear relationships (r > 0.999) between peak area and amount for each component. The detection limits were 1.29 μg mL−1 for matrine and 1.48 μg mL−1 for oxymatrine. The levels of the two active compounds in two kinds of traditional Chinese medicinal preparation were easily determined with recoveries of 96.57–106.26%. In addition, multiple linear regression and a non-linear model using a radial basis function neural network approach were constructed for prediction of the migration time of oxymatrine. The predicted results were in good agreement with the experimental values, indicating that a radial basis function neural network is a potential means of prediction of separation time in capillary electrophoresis.

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Prompt gamma-ray neutron activation analysis (PGNAA) and neutron inelastic scattering (NIS) techniques have been widely used for measuring elemental composition in bulk samples. The neutrons and gamma-rays used in this technique are highly penetrating, which allows the analysis of large sample volumes. In the oil well logging industry, there are limitations on the size of detectors used -particularly the detector diameter. This limitation can lead to a low detection probability for the high energy gamma-rays. A new NaI detector arrangement (patent pending) has been designedto deal with this problem. The arrangement consists of two NaI detectors, one of which is a well type. The first detector is 1"×5" and the second is a well type 5" long with a wall thickness of 0.35" and a hole diameter of one inch. The first detector is placed inside of the well detector for use. Feasibility studies were performed with this arrangement using a 24Na radioactive source and a sulfur sample or prompt gamma-rays. An enhancement in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was observed in both cases based on the peak height to continuum height in the resulting prompt gamma-ray spectra.

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Progressive macular hypomelanosis (PMH) is a skin disorder that is characterized by hypopigmented macules and usually seen in young adults. The skin microbiota, in particular the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, is suggested to play a role.

Here, we compared the P. acnes population of 24 PMH lesions from eight patients with corresponding nonlesional skin of the patients and matching control samples from eight healthy individuals using an unbiased, culture-independent next-generation sequencing approach. We also compared the P. acnes population before and after treatment with a combination of lymecycline and benzoylperoxide.

We found an association of one subtype of P. acnes, type III, with PMH. This type was predominant in all PMH lesions (73.9% of reads in average) but only detected as a minor proportion in matching control samples of healthy individuals (14.2% of reads in average). Strikingly, successful PMH treatment is able to alter the composition of the P. acnes population by substantially diminishing the proportion of P. acnes type III.

Our study suggests that P. acnes type III may play a role in the formation of PMH. Furthermore, it sheds light on substantial differences in the P. acnes phylotype distribution between the upper and lower back and abdomen in healthy individuals.

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Humic substances have attracted great interest in the investigation of metal ion behavior in the environment because of their special properties. Sorption and complexation of Pb2+ on MX-80 bentonite, LA bentonite, alumina and silica as a function of pH were studied in the presence and absence of fulvic acid (FA). The experiments were carried out in 0.01M and 0.001M NaNO3 solutions under ambient conditions. The results indicate that sorption of Pb2+ on the solid samples is strongly dependent on pH and FA. The sorption of Pb2+ is not influenced drastically by ionic strength. The nature of minerals/oxides, nature of humic substances and the composition of the solution are important factors in the behavior of metal ions in the environment. The results also indicate that FA has a positive effect on Pb2+ sorption at low and a negative effect at high pH values, and the results are discussed in the comparative complexation between FA-Pb2+ and Pb2+-minerals.

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Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Ivar Snorrason, Ragnar P. Olafsson, David C. Houghton, Douglas W. Woods, and Han-Joo Lee

Background and Aims

Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder (SPD) is often conceptualized as a behavioral addiction in which aberrant reward processing may play an important role. The current study sought to develop a self-report instrument – the Skin Picking Reward Scale (SPRS) – that measures how strongly skin picking is ‘liked’ (i.e., the degree of pleasurable feelings while receiving the reward) and ‘wanted’ (i.e., the degree of the motivation to seek the reward).


We administered the SPRS to individuals who endorsed excessive skin picking in online surveys and examined the scale’s factor structure (Studies 1 and 2). We then asked individuals with documented pathological skin picking to complete the SPRS and other relevant questionnaires on two occasions one week apart (Study 3).


Exploratory (Study 1; n = 330) and confirmatory (Study 2; n = 144) factor analyses consistently supported a two-factor structure reflecting the ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’ constructs. Results from Study 3 (N = 36) indicated that the Wanting and the Liking scales had adequate internal consistency and test–retest reliability. Additionally, consistent with predictions, the Wanting scale, but not the Liking scale, was associated with picking urges the following week, greater cue-reactivity, and more picking-related routines/habits.


These initial findings suggest that SPRS is a psychometrically sound measure of ‘wanting’ and ‘liking’ in pathological skin picking. The SPRS may facilitate research on reward processing anomalies in SPD and serve as a useful clinical instrument (e.g., to identify those at risk for cue-induced relapse).

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One of the main advantages of γ-γ coincidence counting is the reduction of the background spectrum, pulse pile-up, and summing effects (for simple schemes). For prompt gamma-ray neutron activation analysis (PGNAA), the sources of background include the gamma-rays from the natural background, from surrounding materials, from the neutron source, and from detector neutron activation. While this counting approach effectively increases the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio, it also decreases the signal counting rate. This adds some practical limitations to using this approach. In this work, two examples are presented for the efficient use of the coincidence counting approach.

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