Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Control


To identify what features of online social networks can increase physical activity, we conducted a 4-arm randomized controlled trial in 2014 in Philadelphia, PA. Students (n = 790, mean age = 25.2) at an university were randomly assigned to one of four conditions composed of either supportive or competitive relationships and either with individual or team incentives for attending exercise classes. The social comparison condition placed participants into 6-person competitive networks with individual incentives. The social support condition placed participants into 6-person teams with team incentives. The combined condition with both supportive and competitive relationships placed participants into 6-person teams, where participants could compare their team’s performance to 5 other teams' performances. The control condition only allowed participants to attend classes with individual incentives. Rewards were based on the total number of classes attended by an individual, or the average number of classes attended by the members of a team. The outcome was the number of classes that participants attended. Data were analyzed using multilevel models in 2014. The mean attendance numbers per week were 35.7, 38.5, 20.3, and 16.8 in the social comparison, the combined, the control, and the social support conditions. Attendance numbers were 90% higher in the social comparison and the combined conditions (mean = 1.9, SE = 0.2) in contrast to the two conditions without comparison (mean = 1.0, SE = 0.2) (p = 0.003). Social comparison was more effective for increasing physical activity than social support and its effects did not depend on individual or team incentives.

Concepts: Comparison, Randomized controlled trial, Arithmetic mean, Average, Randomness, Control, Grammatical number, The A-Team


Access to Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression is limited. One solution is CBT self-help books. Trial Objectives: To assess the impact of a guided self-help CBT book (GSH-CBT) on mood, compared to treatment as usual (TAU). Hypotheses:GSH-CBT will have improved mood and knowledge of the causes and treatment of depression compared to the control receiving TAUGuided self-help will be acceptable to patients and staff.

Concepts: Psychology, Randomized controlled trial, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Major depressive disorder, Control, Book, Self-help, Books


Google Glass is a recently designed wearable device capable of displaying information in a smartphone-like hands-free format by wireless communication. The Glass also provides convenient control over remote devices, primarily enabled by voice recognition commands. These unique features of the Google Glass make it useful for medical and biomedical applications where hands-free experiences are strongly preferred. Here, we report for the first time, an integral set of hardware, firmware, software, and Glassware that enabled wireless transmission of sensor data onto the Google Glass for on-demand data visualization and real-time analysis. Additionally, the platform allowed the user to control outputs entered through the Glass, therefore achieving bi-directional Glass-device interfacing. Using this versatile platform, we demonstrated its capability in monitoring physical and physiological parameters such as temperature, pH, and morphology of liver- and heart-on-chips. Furthermore, we showed the capability to remotely introduce pharmaceutical compounds into a microfluidic human primary liver bioreactor at desired time points while monitoring their effects through the Glass. We believe that such an innovative platform, along with its concept, has set up a premise in wearable monitoring and controlling technology for a wide variety of applications in biomedicine.

Concepts: Device, Control, Bluetooth, Remote control, Wireless, Keyboard, Wireless energy transfer


Personally controlled health management systems (PCHMS), which include a personal health record (PHR), health management tools, and consumer resources, represent the next stage in consumer eHealth systems. It is still unclear, however, what features contribute to an engaging and efficacious PCHMS.

Concepts: Psychology, Physical examination, Control, Electronic health record, Medical informatics, Personal health record, Personal, Health management system


In many applications entanglement must be distributed through noisy communication channels that unavoidably degrade it. Entanglement cannot be generated by local operations and classical communication (LOCC), implying that once it has been distributed it is not possible to recreate it by LOCC. Recovery of entanglement by purely local control is however not forbidden in the presence of non-Markovian dynamics, and here we demonstrate in two all-optical experiments that such entanglement restoration can even be achieved on-demand. First, we implement an open-loop control scheme based on a purely local operation, without acquiring any information on the environment; then, we use a closed-loop scheme in which the environment is measured, the outcome controling the local operations on the system. The restored entanglement is a manifestation of “hidden” quantum correlations resumed by the local control. Relying on local control, both schemes improve the efficiency of entanglement sharing in distributed quantum networks.

Concepts: Environment, Natural environment, Experiment, Control theory, Control, Process control, Feed-forward, Open-loop controller


Perceptions of asthma control often vary between patients and physicians. This cross-sectional survey provided UK-specific data on actual and perceived asthma control in patients (18-75 years) attending routine asthma reviews in primary, secondary and tertiary settings. Differences between healthcare professionals' (HCP) and patients' perceptions of asthma control were evaluated via an online questionnaire and compared to a control-the validated asthma control test (ACT)-which patients completed. Treated patients (at least a short acting ß-agonist) with a documented diagnosis of asthma were enroled and consented within a month of their last appointment. Patients were grouped according to the British Thoracic Society (BTS)/Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) 2014 treatment guidelines (BTS/SIGN steps 1-5). A total of 260 patients were screened: 234 were eligible for enrolment: 33, 52, 50, 49 and 50 patients in steps 1-5, respectively. Seventy per cent (164) were women. The percentage of patients aged 45-64 years was 47.4%. HCPs classed 70% (164) as non-smokers. 84.2% of patients and 73.9% of HCPs perceived that asthma was controlled but ACT results suggest that asthma was only controlled in 54.7% of patients (ACT score ≥20). Patients in steps 4 and 5 had the highest levels of uncontrolled asthma. Correct agreement between ACT score with perceptions of controlled or uncontrolled asthma occurred in 67.9% of patients and 68.8% of HCPs; the poorest levels of agreement occurred in patients in steps 4 and 5. Uncontrolled asthma is common in UK patients. High proportions of patients and HCPs have incorrect perceptions of asthma control, especially in relation to patients with asthma in steps 4 and 5.

Concepts: Health care provider, Research methods, Patient, Cross-sectional study, United Kingdom, Control, Cross-sectional analysis


This paper reports a controlled breakdown (CBD) method to fabricate multiple nanopores in a silicon nitride (SiNx) membrane with control over both nanopore count and nanopore diameter. Despite the stochastic process of the breakdown, we found that the nanopores created via CBD, tend to be of the same diameter. We propose a membrane resistance model to explain and control the multiple nanopores forming in the membrane. We prove that the membrane resistance can reflect the number of nanopores in the membrane and that the diameter of the nanopores is controlled by the exposure time and strength of the electric field. This controllable multiple nanopore formation via CBD avoids the utilization of complicated instruments and time-intensive manufacturing. We anticipate CBD has the potential to become a nanopore fabrication technique which, integrated into an optical setup, could be used as a high-throughput and multichannel characterization technique.

Concepts: Scientific method, Semiconductor, Control theory, Control, Control system, Shutter speed, Science of photography, Nanopore


Stress in the work place has a detrimental effect on people’s health. Sufficient recovery is necessary to counteract severe chronic negative load reactions. Previous research has shown that vacationing for at least seven consecutive days provided an efficient recovery strategy. Yet, thus far, the effects of short vacations and the mode of vacation (whether at home or in a new environment) have rarely been studied. We investigated the immediate and long-term effects of a short vacation (four nights) on well-being and perceived stress and whether the mode of vacation impacted on these results. Data was obtained from 40 middle managers (67.5% men and 32.5% women). The intervention group (n = 20) spent a short vacation in a hotel outside their usual environment. The control group (n = 20) spent their vacation at home. Results indicated that one single short-term vacation, independent of the mode, has large, positive and immediate effects on perceived stress, recovery, strain, and well-being. Strain levels decreased to a greater extent in the intervention group compared to the control group. The effects can still be detected at 30 days (recovery) and 45 days (well-being and strain) post-vacation. Encouraging middle management employees to take short vacations seems to be an efficient health promotion strategy; environmental effects seem to play a minor role.

Concepts: Environment, Effect, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Management, Control, Necessary and sufficient condition, Middle management


Physically transient electronics, a form of electronics that can physically disappear in a controllable manner, is very promising for emerging applications. Most of the transient processes reported so far only occur in aqueous solutions or biofluids, offering limited control over the triggering and degradation processes. We report novel moisture-triggered physically transient electronics, which exempt the needs of resorption solutions and can completely disappear within well-controlled time frames. The triggered transient process starts with the hydrolysis of the polyanhydride substrate in the presence of trace amounts of moisture in the air, a process that can generate products of corrosive organic acids to digest various inorganic electronic materials and components. Polyanhydride is the only example of polymer that undergoes surface erosion, a distinct feature that enables stable operation of the functional devices over a predefined time frame. Clear advantages of this novel triggered transience mode include that the lifetime of the devices can be precisely controlled by varying the moisture levels and changing the composition of the polymer substrate. The transience time scale can be tuned from days to weeks. Various transient devices, ranging from passive electronics (such as antenna, resistor, and capacitor) to active electronics (such as transistor, diodes, optoelectronics, and memories), and an integrated system as a platform demonstration have been developed to illustrate the concept and verify the feasibility of this design strategy.

Concepts: Time, Vacuum tube, Chemistry, Semiconductor, Transistor, Diode, Control, Electronics


Recently published asthma guidelines by the European Respiratory Society and the American Thoracic Society (ERS-ATS) define severe disease based on medication use and control level. These guidelines also emphasize that asthma severity involves certain biomarker phenotypes, one of them being eosinophilic phenotype. The quantification of the influence of eosinophil level toward predicting disease severity can help decision makers manage therapy better earlier.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Decision making, Asthma, Phenotype, Uncertainty, Control, The Europeans