Antwerpen, Belgium

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Vandenbrouck T.,University of Antwerp | Vandenbrouck T.,Apeiron Team NV | Dom N.,University of Antwerp | Novais S.,University of Aveiro | And 5 more authors.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part D: Genomics and Proteomics | Year: 2011

In this study, gene transcription profiling in combination with the assessment of systemic parameters at individual and population levels were applied to study the (toxic) effects induced through temperature stress in the presence or the absence of an additional chemical stressor (nickel) in Daphnia magna. It was illustrated that lower temperatures were mainly characterized by a reduction of growth and lipid content, while higher temperatures caused an increase of both endpoints. Many of the differentially regulated transcripts could be correlated with processes affected at higher hierarchical levels of biological organization. Gene clusters with probable roles in producing offspring (peak expression at 22 °C), enhancing the metabolic rate (temperature related expression) and translational processes (increased expression at 14 °C) were identified. However, it was not possible to pinpoint a specific subset of genes, exclusively responding to temperature or nickel and allowing a retrospective identification of the particular stressor. Overall, extreme temperatures caused a higher level of stress in the organisms in comparison to nickel exposure. Moreover, organisms subjected to the natural stressor appeared to be less capable of dealing with the additional chemical stressor and as a result activate or repress more gene pathways. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Van Acker F.,Plantijn College | Vermeulen M.,Open University of the Netherlands | Kreijns K.,Open University of the Netherlands | Lutgerink J.,University of Management and Technology | Van Buuren H.,Open University of the Netherlands
Computers in Human Behavior | Year: 2014

In the current paper we report on a study regarding teachers' sharing behavior regarding their Open Educational Resources (OER) in the Netherlands. Little is known about how many teachers actually share their learning materials and, therefore, an attempt was made to estimate the number of Dutch teachers and the types of OER they share. Second, we tried to find out whether knowledge sharing self-efficacy facilitated, and evaluation apprehension and trust inhibited teachers to share OER in two different contexts of sharing behavior; sharing with colleagues at their school (interpersonal sharing) and sharing with the public through Internet (Internet sharing). A survey among 1568 teachers from primary to higher education was undertaken to test the relative importance of knowledge sharing self-efficacy, evaluation apprehension and trust in determining Dutch teachers' intention to share. The results showed that a large proportion of the Dutch teachers shared their OER, but that this sharing was limited to learning materials with low complexity (e.g., texts or images). Moreover, sharing occurred twice as much interpersonally than via websites. Our hypothesis that evaluation apprehension is significantly related to sharing behavior as well as the intention to share was not confirmed. Self-efficacy to share knowledge did, however, explain some of the differences in sharing behavior and in the intention to share of Dutch teachers, although the variables under study accounted only for a small amount of variance. Our findings should thus be replicated in further studies and other variables should be considered that could effectively predict OER sharing behavior of teachers. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Luukkonen T.,University of Oulu | Luukkonen T.,Kajaani University of Applied Sciences | Heyninck T.,Plantijn College | Ramo J.,University of Oulu | And 2 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2015

The use of organic peracids in wastewater treatment is attracting increasing interest. The common beneficial features of peracids are effective anti-microbial properties, lack of harmful disinfection by-products and high oxidation power. In this study performic (PFA), peracetic (PAA) and perpropionic acids (PPA) were synthesized and compared in laboratory batch experiments for the inactivation of Escherichia coli and enterococci in tertiary wastewater, oxidation of bisphenol-A and for corrosive properties. Disinfection tests revealed PFA to be a more potent disinfectant than PAA or PPA. 1.5 mg L-1 dose and 2 min of contact time already resulted in 3.0 log E. coli and 1.2 log enterococci reduction. Operational costs of disinfection were estimated to be 0.0114, 0.0261 and 0.0207 €/m3 for PFA, PAA and PPA, respectively. Disinfection followed the first order kinetics (Hom model or S-model) with all studied peracids. However, in the bisphenol-A oxidation experiments involving Fenton-like conditions (pH = 3.5, Fe2+ or Cu2+ = 0.4 mM) peracids brought no additional improvement to traditionally used and lower cost hydrogen peroxide. Corrosion measurements showed peracids to cause only a negligible corrosion rate (<6 μm year-1) on stainless steel 316L while corrosion rates on the carbon steel sample were significantly higher (<500 μm year-1). © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, University of Oulu and Plantijn College
Type: | Journal: Water research | Year: 2015

The use of organic peracids in wastewater treatment is attracting increasing interest. The common beneficial features of peracids are effective anti-microbial properties, lack of harmful disinfection by-products and high oxidation power. In this study performic (PFA), peracetic (PAA) and perpropionic acids (PPA) were synthesized and compared in laboratory batch experiments for the inactivation of Escherichia coli and enterococci in tertiary wastewater, oxidation of bisphenol-A and for corrosive properties. Disinfection tests revealed PFA to be a more potent disinfectant than PAA or PPA. 1.5 mg L(-1) dose and 2 min of contact time already resulted in 3.0 log E. coli and 1.2 log enterococci reduction. Operational costs of disinfection were estimated to be 0.0114, 0.0261 and 0.0207 /m(3) for PFA, PAA and PPA, respectively. Disinfection followed the first order kinetics (Hom model or S-model) with all studied peracids. However, in the bisphenol-A oxidation experiments involving Fenton-like conditions (pH = 3.5, Fe(2+) or Cu(2+) = 0.4 mM) peracids brought no additional improvement to traditionally used and lower cost hydrogen peroxide. Corrosion measurements showed peracids to cause only a negligible corrosion rate (<6 m year(-1)) on stainless steel 316L while corrosion rates on the carbon steel sample were significantly higher (<500 m year(-1)).


Patent
University of Antwerp, Plantijn College and Novosanis Nv | Date: 2013-07-26

A device for capturing a predetermined volume of a predefined portion (e.g. first void) of a liquid flow, comprises an inlet, an outlet, and a guide with an element displaceable in a first position for capturing the first liquid portion in a reservoir, and in a second position for blocking access to the reservoir, and for passing the liquid to the outlet. The displaceable element moves in transverse direction to the liquid flow, and has lifting means. The element may be substantially flat, or tubular with an elliptical cross section. A kit of parts and a method of assembly are also claimed.


De Crom J.,University of Girona | De Crom J.,Plantijn College | Claeys S.,University of Girona | Godayol A.,University of Girona | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Separation Science | Year: 2010

A needle trap (NT) device filled with Carbopack X as a sorbent material is evaluated for the static headspace analysis of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) compounds in aqueous samples. Injection parameters used with the NT device (e.g. volume of carrier gas and time to open the split valve) are evaluated to determine the mechanism involved during the desorption and transferring of the target compounds into the GC column. Furthermore, different parameters affecting the adsorption capacity of the sorbent are studied (e.g. sampling time and temperature, headspace/sample volume ratio, salting-out, and stirring). The evaluation of the method with aqueous samples shows that repeatability and recoveries with the NT device are equivalent to those obtained using solid-phase microextraction with a carboxen/PDMS (CAR/PDMS) coating. LODs obtained with flame ionization detection are in the range of 10-25 μg/L, and in the range of hundredths of μg/L with MS detection. The method developed is satisfactorily applied to the analysis of aqueous samples obtained from wastewater treatment plants. © 2010 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.


Winter C.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Van Acker F.,Plantijn College | Bonduelle M.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Van Berkel K.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | And 3 more authors.
Human Reproduction | Year: 2016

STUDY QUESTION Do preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) couples experience higher levels of stress during pregnancy and the perinatal period compared with couples who conceive spontaneously (SC) or with ICSI? SUMMARY ANSWER PGD couples did not experience more psychological stress during pregnancy and beyond than ICSI or SC couples. WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN Previous studies have shown that assisted reproduction technology (ART) couples are more prone to pregnancy-related anxieties than SC couples, but display depressed feelings to an equal or lesser extent. However, only one study has focused on a female PGD sample, which may be a more vulnerable group than other ART groups, due to the potentially complex hereditary background, adverse childhood experiences and losses. In that study, PGD women experienced a reduction in state anxiety, and maternal-antenatal attachment did not differ from normative data. Unfortunately, no data exist on pregnancy-related anxiety, depression and parental-antenatal attachment. Valuable information from both parents (e.g.: couples) is also lacking. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION For this longitudinal prospective study questionnaire, data from 185 women and 157 men (157 couples) were collected between February 2012 until April 2014. Data were analysed using multilevel analysis. The couples conceiving after PGD, ICSI or SC were followed from the first trimester of the pregnancy until the third month post-partum. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS A total of 60 PGD, 58 ICSI and 69 SC couples were initially recruited by various departments of Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel). At each trimester (T1: 12-14 weeks, T2: 20-22 weeks, T3: 30-32 weeks) of pregnancy, depression (EPDS), pregnancy-related anxieties (PRAQ) and parental-antenatal attachment (M/PAAS) were recorded. At T4 (3 months post-partum), depression (EPDS) was assessed again. In the first trimester (T1) broad socio-demographic data and at T4 perinatal health data of both mother and child were recorded. Differences between conception groups over time were analysed using multilevel analyses, taking into account covariation between measurements and within couples. Several perinatal covariates as well as social desirability, coping and adult attachment style were controlled for. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE All three conception groups had similar scores for depression during pregnancy and beyond. Also, pregnancy-related anxiety scales did not differ among the three groups. All groups also followed a similar trajectory in time regarding their scores for anxiety, depression and parental-antenatal attachment. ART groups did not give more socially desirable answers than SC controls. The subsequent moderators: coping and adult attachment style did not add any relevant information. No interaction effects occurred between gender and conception groups. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION The participants were Caucasian, Dutch-speaking couples, with medium to high socio-economic status, from a single centre. Our data should be replicated by multicultural and multicentre studies. Furthermore, the inclusion of an additional control group of couples who did not opt for PGD but for prenatal diagnosis may point to the most beneficial strategy for the couple. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS PGD parents invest a similar amount of time and emotion in their future children compared with controls. This implies that successful PGD treatment makes an important psychological contribution towards the well-being of couples given their complex hereditary and family backgrounds. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) This research project was funded by grants from the internal research council of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (OZR), the Flemish Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO) and the Wetenschappelijk Fonds Willy Gepts (WGFG). UZ Brussel and the Centre for Medical Genetics have received several educational grants for organizing the data collection, from IBSA, Ferring, Organon, Shering-Plough, Merck and Merck Belgium. M.B. has received consultancy and speaker's fees from Organon, Serono Symposia and Merck. © 2016 The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved.


Winter C.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Van Acker F.,Plantijn College | Bonduelle M.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Desmyttere S.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Nekkebroeck J.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Human Reproduction | Year: 2015

STUDY QUESTION Do full term singletons born after preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) differ in their psychosocial functioning from children born after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and spontaneous conceived controls (SC)? SUMMARY ANSWER The psychosocial maturation process of 5-6-year-old PGD children is comparable between the three conception groups (PGD, ICSI and SC). WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN In general, a lot of research has been published regarding follow-up of children born after artificial reproductive technologies (ART), which mainly is reassuring. But the ART population itself is marked by broad diversity [IVF, ICSI, gamete donation, preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) or PGD] which complicates comparisons. Some literature concerning the socio-emotional development of PGD/PGS children is available and it suggests a normal maturation process. However, the complex reality of PGD families (e.g. safety of the technique and psychological burden of genetic histories) asks for an exclusive PGD sample with matched control groups and a multi-informant approach. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION Between April 2011 and May 2013, the psychosocial wellbeing of preschoolers and their families born after PGD was assessed in a prospective case-controlled, matched follow-up study, with a multi-informant approach. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS A group of 47 PGD, 50 ICSI and 55 SC 5-6-year-old children participated in a follow-up study performed at the Centre for Medical Genetics of the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel). Assessments took place in the hospital and in kindergartens. Children performed the Bene-Anthony family relations test (FRT), yielding their perceptions upon family relationships. Parents and teachers completed the child behaviour checklist (CBCL) and Caregiver Teacher Report Form (C-/TRF), respectively. Parental and family functioning were measured by the NEO-FFi, the parenting stress index (PSI), the Greenberger Work-Parenting Investment Questionnaire and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS). Statistical analysis was performed by using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE No differences were detected between the psychosocial development of PGD children and the control groups. Parents did not differ in reporting problem behaviour and they were stricter than teachers. Concerning family functioning the ART parents scored comparable with each other. PGD and ICSI mothers were emotionally more stable [NEO-FFi Neuroticism/emotionality: P = 0.013, η2 = 0.066; 95% confidence interval (CI) 95% (0.003;0.148)]. They experienced less parental stress in general [PSI, Total stress: P = 0.001, η2 = 0.102, 95% CI (0.02;0.192)] and on different sublevels opposed to their SC counterparts. Yet ART mothers presented higher ratings on the NEO-FFi Conscientiousness [P = 0.011, η2 = 0.064; 95% CI (0.003;0.144)] indicating a higher feeling of competence and goal directedness. Mediation analysis confirmed: PGD and ICSI mothers who experienced less family stress were emotionally more stable. A power analysis indicated that a sample with 152 children is sufficient to detect a medium size effect with 80% power using ANCOVA. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION The current sample comprised only Dutch speaking Caucasians, hence conclusions should be drawn cautiously. Future research should include larger groups, prematures, multiples and children from different cultural backgrounds. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS This current research is the first to compare PGD preschoolers with matched controls. Concerns about the behavioural effects on the offspring should not inhibit the use of PGD. Furthermore, our findings suggest that on the long run ART procedures might enhance personal resources of women to cope with family stress. These findings are reassuring for women who might feel insecure and anxious during their ART trajectory. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.


PubMed | Plantijn College and Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Human reproduction (Oxford, England) | Year: 2016

Do preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) couples experience higher levels of stress during pregnancy and the perinatal period compared with couples who conceive spontaneously (SC) or with ICSI?PGD couples did not experience more psychological stress during pregnancy and beyond than ICSI or SC couples.Previous studies have shown that assisted reproduction technology (ART) couples are more prone to pregnancy-related anxieties than SC couples, but display depressed feelings to an equal or lesser extent. However, only one study has focused on a female PGD sample, which may be a more vulnerable group than other ART groups, due to the potentially complex hereditary background, adverse childhood experiences and losses. In that study, PGD women experienced a reduction in state anxiety, and maternal-antenatal attachment did not differ from normative data. Unfortunately, no data exist on pregnancy-related anxiety, depression and parental-antenatal attachment. Valuable information from both parents (e.g.: couples) is also lacking.For this longitudinal prospective study questionnaire, data from 185 women and 157 men (157 couples) were collected between February 2012 until April 2014. Data were analysed using multilevel analysis. The couples conceiving after PGD, ICSI or SC were followed from the first trimester of the pregnancy until the third month post-partum.A total of 60 PGD, 58 ICSI and 69 SC couples were initially recruited by various departments of Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel). At each trimester (T1: 12-14 weeks, T2: 20-22 weeks, T3: 30-32 weeks) of pregnancy, depression (EPDS), pregnancy-related anxieties (PRAQ) and parental-antenatal attachment (M/PAAS) were recorded. At T4 (3 months post-partum), depression (EPDS) was assessed again. In the first trimester (T1) broad socio-demographic data and at T4 perinatal health data of both mother and child were recorded. Differences between conception groups over time were analysed using multilevel analyses, taking into account covariation between measurements and within couples. Several perinatal covariates as well as social desirability, coping and adult attachment style were controlled for.All three conception groups had similar scores for depression during pregnancy and beyond. Also, pregnancy-related anxiety scales did not differ among the three groups. All groups also followed a similar trajectory in time regarding their scores for anxiety, depression and parental-antenatal attachment. ART groups did not give more socially desirable answers than SC controls. The subsequent moderators: coping and adult attachment style did not add any relevant information. No interaction effects occurred between gender and conception groups.The participants were Caucasian, Dutch-speaking couples, with medium to high socio-economic status, from a single centre. Our data should be replicated by multicultural and multicentre studies. Furthermore, the inclusion of an additional control group of couples who did not opt for PGD but for prenatal diagnosis may point to the most beneficial strategy for the couple.PGD parents invest a similar amount of time and emotion in their future children compared with controls. This implies that successful PGD treatment makes an important psychological contribution towards the well-being of couples given their complex hereditary and family backgrounds.This research project was funded by grants from the internal research council of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (OZR), the Flemish Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO) and the Wetenschappelijk Fonds Willy Gepts (WGFG). UZ Brussel and the Centre for Medical Genetics have received several educational grants for organizing the data collection, from IBSA, Ferring, Organon, Shering-Plough, Merck and Merck Belgium. M.B. has received consultancy and speakers fees from Organon, Serono Symposia and Merck.


PubMed | Plantijn College and Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Human reproduction (Oxford, England) | Year: 2015

Do full term singletons born after preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) differ in their psychosocial functioning from children born after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and spontaneous conceived controls (SC)?The psychosocial maturation process of 5-6-year-old PGD children is comparable between the three conception groups (PGD, ICSI and SC).In general, a lot of research has been published regarding follow-up of children born after artificial reproductive technologies (ART), which mainly is reassuring. But the ART population itself is marked by broad diversity [IVF, ICSI, gamete donation, preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) or PGD] which complicates comparisons. Some literature concerning the socio-emotional development of PGD/PGS children is available and it suggests a normal maturation process. However, the complex reality of PGD families (e.g. safety of the technique and psychological burden of genetic histories) asks for an exclusive PGD sample with matched control groups and a multi-informant approach.Between April 2011 and May 2013, the psychosocial wellbeing of preschoolers and their families born after PGD was assessed in a prospective case-controlled, matched follow-up study, with a multi-informant approach.A group of 47 PGD, 50 ICSI and 55 SC 5-6-year-old children participated in a follow-up study performed at the Centre for Medical Genetics of the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (UZ Brussel). Assessments took place in the hospital and in kindergartens. Children performed the Bene-Anthony family relations test (FRT), yielding their perceptions upon family relationships. Parents and teachers completed the child behaviour checklist (CBCL) and Caregiver Teacher Report Form (C-/TRF), respectively. Parental and family functioning were measured by the NEO-FFi, the parenting stress index (PSI), the Greenberger Work-Parenting Investment Questionnaire and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS). Statistical analysis was performed by using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).No differences were detected between the psychosocial development of PGD children and the control groups. Parents did not differ in reporting problem behaviour and they were stricter than teachers. Concerning family functioning the ART parents scored comparable with each other. PGD and ICSI mothers were emotionally more stable [NEO-FFi Neuroticism/emotionality: P = 0.013, (2) = 0.066; 95% confidence interval (CI) 95% (0.003;0.148)]. They experienced less parental stress in general [PSI, Total stress: P = 0.001, (2) = 0.102, 95% CI (0.02;0.192)] and on different sublevels opposed to their SC counterparts. Yet ART mothers presented higher ratings on the NEO-FFi Conscientiousness [P = 0.011, (2) = 0.064; 95% CI (0.003;0.144)] indicating a higher feeling of competence and goal directedness. Mediation analysis confirmed: PGD and ICSI mothers who experienced less family stress were emotionally more stable. A power analysis indicated that a sample with 152 children is sufficient to detect a medium size effect with 80% power using ANCOVA.The current sample comprised only Dutch speaking Caucasians, hence conclusions should be drawn cautiously. Future research should include larger groups, prematures, multiples and children from different cultural backgrounds.This current research is the first to compare PGD preschoolers with matched controls. Concerns about the behavioural effects on the offspring should not inhibit the use of PGD. Furthermore, our findings suggest that on the long run ART procedures might enhance personal resources of women to cope with family stress. These findings are reassuring for women who might feel insecure and anxious during their ART trajectory.This research project gained funding from the OZR (a grant by the Research group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel), the FWO (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek) and the Wetenschappelijk Fonds Willy Gepts. The UZ Brussel and the Centre of Medical Genetics received funding from pharmaceutical firms for data collection. UZ Brussel and the Centre for Medical Genetics have received many educational grants for organizing the data collection, from IBSA, Ferring, Organon, Shering-Plough, Merck and Merck Belgium. M.B. has received consultancy and speakers fees from Organon, Serono Symposia and Merck. The other authors have no competing interests.not applicable.

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