YOUNG Thomasian researchers continue to innovate to help address security and health threats of today’s society.

True to the University’s commitment in research and development, recent best scientific theses centered on cost-effective security development and medical treatments.

Electronics Engineering students Lariz Anne Albana, Justin David Chua, Raymund Danao, Mel-jie Brent del Mundo, and Mary Raulette Solomo created a robot that halts an object’s motion through a process known as interception.

Their thesis titled “Implementation of an Effective Machine Vision Algorithm and Target Motion Prediction Strategy in an Autonomous Soccer Robot Acting as a Goal Keeper” focuses on the development of a self-designed robot that predicts movements of different objects.

Solomo said the system could also be used in other activities that perform interception, such as military surveillance and monitoring of missiles and other flying objects.

This robot system, which costs around P8,000, is cheaper compared to other surveillance systems that cost at least P12,000.

Meanwhile, Physical Therapy majors Eldrich Norwin Chua, Ma. Elaine de la Cruz, Paola Angela Esperanza, Angelie Fajardo, Brian Joseph Ginete, Romina Vanessa Ignacio, Russell Angelo Nogot, and Johleen Kaye Sacayan studied the effectiveness of Faradism Under Pressure (FUP), a low-cost treatment that improves blood flow in leg veins after the reconstruction of a ligament.

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a major ligament found in the knee. Injuries in the ACL result to improper movement of the limbs. They are remedied through surgical reconstruction.

In their research titled “A Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of Faradism Under Pressure Versus Intermittent Pneumatic Compression in the Treatment of Post-Operative Swelling Due to ACL Reconstruction in Aged 18-35 Years Old: An Assessor-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial (Phase II),” the team compared the efficiency of the cheaper FUP to a more famous yet expensive technique known as Intermittent Pneumatic Compression (IPC), which uses an air pump and inflatable leggings to keep blood from flowing through the veins.

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There is no significant difference between the results of the two treatments.

Meanwhile, other than using FUP treatment, a possible treatment to prevent excessive blood clots was discovered through the vine. Ficus pumila L., known as “creeping fig,” that is abundant in East Asia. Chemical and botanical studies proved that it is an effective antioxidant and antimicrobial agent that treats common disorders like rheumatism, dysentery, and high blood pressure.

The researchers, however, said that no study shows the creeping fig’s potential to resist severe blood clots, which results to stroke, the second leading cause of death in the country.

Pharmacy students Vien Christian Lansangan, Kathrizza Mabutas, Rachelle Ong, and Arnold Perlasto studied the “hidden” abilities of this plant in their research titled “The Antithrombotic and Fibrinolytic Activity of the Aqueous Extract from the Crude Latex of Ficus pumila (Moraceae).”

“Other studies on Ficus pumila were only about the antioxidant property of its leaves. So when we came across a literature by Quisimbing citing that the latex of Ficus pumila contains [the] enzyme ficin which digests protein, we hypothesized that ficin in the latex might be able to remove the fibrin clot since it is a protein too,” Lansangan said.

The group injected a carrageenan solution (a type of seaweed extract) to induce blood clots in the tails of laboratory mice. Afterwards, extracts from the crude latex, a fluid substance found in plants, were injected in test mice’s abdomens.

Results of this study confirmed that the enzyme ficin in Ficus pumila can be used effectively in the treatment and prevention of blood clots.

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“It (the study) could spur more research geared toward plant enzymes and the possibility of the development of enzyme-based therapy for illnesses, specifically stroke and other thrombotic disorders.” Lansangan said.

Another concern in the field of health science is the treatment for a commonly neglected disorder—allergy.

Before Spaniards colonized the country, endemic species of garlic (Allium sativum L.), turmeric (Curcuma longa L.), and the flying lizard (Draco spilopterus W.) were used as anti-allergy treatments by ancient Filipinos, but there were no scientific facts to support these accounts.

Biology students Angelique Marimicah Valdez, Sarah Jane Tan, Ederick Florencio, Dixie Mae Trinidad, and Ma. Carissa Nebrida conducted a study to support the reported claims in their thesis titled “Immunomodulation of Blomiatropicalis-Induced Allergic Reactions in BALB/c Mice using Allium sativum, Curcuma longa, and Draco spilopterus aqueous extracts.”

Valdez said that the research aims to find a potential yet cost-effective cure for allergy that targets its root cause instead of concealing the symptoms.

The study shows that garlic and flying dragon extracts are efficient treatments for allergies, but turmeric is proven ineffective against allergic reactions.

“Results from this research established preliminary evidence on the potential of the endemic organisms in modulating and regulating cytokine production in allergic reactions. Hence, this research is a pioneering endeavor,” Valdez said.

The study placed second in the 47th Biology Teachers Association Convention for Young Biologists Forum in Ateneo de Naga University held from April 12 to 14. Altir Christian D. Bonganay, Hedrix Ar-ar C. Caballe, and Giuliani Renz G. Paas

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