Sustainability, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/su11143983
Abstract: The aim of this study was to analyze the level of satisfaction in three municipal sports centers in the city of Malaga and to learn and analyze the characteristics of users older than 40 years of age in these centers. A total of 303 persons (123 men and 180 women) from three sports centers in the city of Malaga participated in this study (M = 58.14, SD = 7.16 years). The Evaluation of Perceived Quality in Sports Services test (CECASDEP) was used, and the results demonstrated that the different dimensions studied—sports center, activity space, locker rooms, program of activities, and trainer—were very positively correlated. The level of customer loyalty increased with user satisfaction and perceived quality of services as well as the age of the person. Users were also found to be more motivated to take part in physical activities due to greater satisfaction. The highest scores were given to the trainers, who played a key role in all three sports centers. In conclusion, we gathered important insights into perceived quality in different sports centers. This information can be used by sports managers to strengthen dimensions with lower scores and improve those with higher scores. In addition, the study confirms that the level of customer loyalty is related to the perceived quality scores. Therefore, the use of measuring instruments is recommended to optimize the quality of sports services.
Antioxidants, Volume 8; doi:10.3390/antiox8070236
Abstract: Antioxidants protect the structural and functional components in organisms against oxidative stress. Most antioxidants are of plant origin as the plants are permanently exposed to oxidative stress (UV radiation, photosynthetic reactions). Both carotenoids and flavonoids are prominent antioxidant and anti-radical agents often occurring together in the plant tissues and acting in lipophilic and hydrophilic milieu, respectively. They are complementary in their anti-radical activity. This study describes the synthesis of a series of hybrid ester conjugates of retinoic acid with various flavonolignans, such as silybin, 2,3-dehydrosilybin and isosilybin. Antioxidant/anti-radical activities and bio-physical properties of novel covalent carotenoid-flavonoid hybrids, as well as various mixtures of the respective parent components, were investigated. Retinoyl conjugates with silybin—which is the most important flavonolignan in silymarin complex—(and its pure diastereomers) displayed better 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity than both the parent compounds and their equimolar mixtures.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10070446
Abstract: The Chinese government has regulated all religious activity in the public domain for many years. The state has generally considered religious groups as representing a potential challenge to the authority of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which sees one of its basic roles as making sure religion neither interferes with the state’s exercise of power nor harms its citizens. A revised Regulation on Religious Affairs (Zongjiao shiwu tiaoli 宗教事务条例) took effect in 2018, updating the regulation of 2005. This paper aims to introduce and explore the content of the regulation, especially how it differs from its predecessor, how any changes are likely to affect religious groups in China, and whether the implications will be greater for some groups than for others. For example, the Catholic church in China has historical links to the worldwide Catholic church, so articles in the new regulation which seek to curb foreign influence on Chinese religious groups may have more of an effect on Chinese Catholics than on other groups. The research is based on textual analysis of the relevant legal documents and on field research conducted in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The fieldwork consisted of open interviews with several church members and official representatives of the church conducted in Zhejiang Province between March and May 2018, and in May and June 2019. The paper thus aims to analyze contemporary Chinese religious legislation in light of anthropological research in order to fully comprehend the lived experience of Catholics in China, and to address two main questions: How is the new regulation affecting the Catholic church? What are the possible outcomes of the new regulation for the Catholic church in China?
Biomolecules, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/biom9070295
Abstract: The survival of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum under the physiologically distinct environments associated with their development in the cold-blooded invertebrate mosquito vectors and the warm-blooded vertebrate human host requires a genome that caters to adaptability. To this end, a robust stress response system coupled to an efficient protein quality control system are essential features of the parasite. Heat shock proteins constitute the main molecular chaperone system of the cell, accounting for approximately two percent of the malaria genome. Some heat shock proteins of parasites constitute a large part (5%) of the ‘exportome’ (parasite proteins that are exported to the infected host erythrocyte) that modify the host cell, promoting its cyto-adherence. In light of their importance in protein folding and refolding, and thus the survival of the parasite, heat shock proteins of P. falciparum have been a major subject of study. Emerging evidence points to their role not only being cyto-protection of the parasite, as they are also implicated in regulating parasite virulence. In undertaking their roles, heat shock proteins operate in networks that involve not only partners of parasite origin, but also potentially functionally associate with human proteins to facilitate parasite survival and pathogenicity. This review seeks to highlight these interplays and their roles in parasite pathogenicity. We further discuss the prospects of targeting the parasite heat shock protein network towards the developments of alternative antimalarial chemotherapies.
Animals, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/ani9070470
Abstract: Body condition scores (BCS) is an important parameter, which is in high correlation with the health status of a dairy cow, metabolic disorder and milk composition during the production period. To evaluate BCS, the traditional methods rely on veterinary experts or skilled staff to look at a cow and touch it. These methods have low efficiency especially on large-scale farms. Computer vision methods are widely used but there are some improvements to increase BCS accuracy. In this study, a low cost BCS evaluation method based on deep learning and machine vision is proposed. Firstly, the back-view images of the cows are captured by network cameras, resulting in 8972 images that constituted the sample data set. The camera is a common 2D camera, which is cheaper and easier to install compared with 3D cameras. Secondly, the key body parts such as tails, pins and rump in the images were labeled manually, the Sing Shot multi-box Detector (SSD) method was used to detect the tail and evaluate the BCS. Inspired by DenseNet and Inception-v4, a new SSD was introduced by changing the network connection method of the original SSD. Finally, the experiments show that the improved SSD method can achieve 98.46% classification accuracy and 89.63% location accuracy, and it has: (1) faster detection speed with 115 fps; (2) smaller model size with 23.1 MB compared to original SSD and YOLO-v3, these are significant advantages for reducing hardware costs.
Applied Sciences, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/app9142935
Abstract: The analysis of animal movement from telemetry data provides insights into how and why animals move. While traditional approaches to such analysis mostly focus on predicting animal states during movement, we describe an approach that allows us to identify representative movement patterns of different animal groups. To do this, we propose a carefully designed recurrent neural network and combine it with telemetry data for automatic feature extraction and identification of non-predefined representative patterns. In the experiment, we consider a particular marine predator species, the southern elephant seal, as an example. With our approach, we identify that the male seals in our data set share similar movement patterns when they are close to land. We identify this pattern recurring in a number of distant locations, consistent with alternative approaches from previous research.
Urban Science, Volume 3; doi:10.3390/urbansci3030076
Abstract: Air quality monitoring in many urban areas is based on sophisticated and costly equipment to check for the respect of environmental quality standards, but capillary monitoring is often not feasible due to economic constraints. In such cases, the use of living organisms may be very useful to complement the sparse data obtained by physico-chemical measurements. In this study, the bioaccumulation of selected trace elements (Al, As, Cd, Ce, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, S, Sb, Zn) in lichen samples (Evernia prunastri) transplanted for three months at an urban area of Central Italy was investigated to assess the main environmental contaminants, their sources, and the fluxes of element depositions. The results pinpointed Cu and Sb as the main contaminants and suggested a common origin for these two elements from non-exhaust sources of vehicular traffic, such as brake abrasion. Most study sites were, however, found to be subjected to low or moderate environmental contamination, and the lowest contamination corresponded to the main green areas, confirming the important protective role of urban forests against air pollution. Ranges of estimated mean annual element deposition rates in the study area were similar or lower than those reported for other urban areas.
Published: 23 July 2019
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 16; doi:10.3390/ijerph16142625
Abstract: Street dust is repeatedly raised by the wind as a secondary suspension, helping heavy metals therein to enter the human body through the respiratory system, harming human health. A detailed investigation was conducted to determine levels and sources of Cd (cadmium), Cr (chromium), Cu (copper), Pb (lead), Zn (zinc), Ni (nick), and Hg (mercury) contamination in street dust from Shijiazhuang, China. The average concentrations of these metals were: Cd, 1.86 mg·kg−1; Cr, 131.7 mg·kg−1; Ni, 40.99 mg·kg−1; Cu, 91.06 mg·kg−1; Pb, 154.78 mg·kg−1, Hg, 0.29 mg·kg−1; and Zn, 496.17 mg·kg−1—all of which were greater than the local soil reference values. The concentrations of the heavy metals were mapped for the three Shijiazhuang ring roads, with the results showing significant differences between each ring. Application of enrichment factors and geoaccumulation indexes showed that there was significant enrichment and accumulation of Cd, Pb, Zn, and Hg. Multivariate statistical analyses showed that Cd, Pb, Zn, and Hg levels were mainly controlled by human activities, while Cr, Ni, and Cu levels were associated with natural sources. Absolute principal component scores with multiple linear regression (APCS-MLR) were applied to facilitate source apportionment. The results showed that the mixed (traffic and industry) group contributed 53.55%, 59.7%, and 62.25% of the Cd, Pb, and Zn concentration, respectively, while the natural sources group contributed 58.01%, 65.09%, and 66.91% of the Cu, Ni, and Cr concentration, respectively. The burning coal group was found to be responsible for 63.38% of the Hg present in the samples. These results provide a useful theoretical basis for Shijiazhuang authorities to address heavy metal pollution management.
Viruses, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/v11070674
Abstract: Wild birds play an important role as reservoir hosts and vectors for zoonotic arboviruses and foster their spread. Usutu virus (USUV) has been circulating endemically in Germany since 2011, while West Nile virus (WNV) was first diagnosed in several bird species and horses in 2018. In 2017 and 2018, we screened 1709 live wild and zoo birds with real-time polymerase chain reaction and serological assays. Moreover, organ samples from bird carcasses submitted in 2017 were investigated. Overall, 57 blood samples of the live birds (2017 and 2018), and 100 organ samples of dead birds (2017) were positive for USUV-RNA, while no WNV-RNA-positive sample was found. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the first detection of USUV lineage Europe 2 in Germany and the spread of USUV lineages Europe 3 and Africa 3 towards Northern Germany. USUV antibody prevalence rates were high in Eastern Germany in both years. On the contrary, in Northern Germany, high seroprevalence rates were first detected in 2018, with the first emergence of USUV in this region. Interestingly, high WNV-specific neutralizing antibody titers were observed in resident and short-distance migratory birds in Eastern Germany in 2018, indicating the first signs of a local WNV circulation.
Published: 23 July 2019
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 16; doi:10.3390/ijerph16142623
Abstract: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have long-term health consequences. Young children in the southern part of the United States (US) are at greater risk than children in other parts of the US. This study assessed preschool children ACEs using a family-friendly tool, the Family Map (FMI), and compared children living in rural/urban areas while examining the potential moderation of race. The FMI–ACE score was examined as a total and two sub-scores. We found that race did not moderate the FMI–ACE score but that Black children (Cohen’s d = 0.52) and children in urban and large rural areas were at highest risk (Cohen’s d = 0.38). However, the subscale FMI–ACEs parenting risk was moderated by race such as that Black children were less at risk in rural areas than urban (Cohen’s d = 0.62). For FMI–ACEs environmental risk, race moderated risk such that Black children were most at risk in large rural areas but less so in small rural areas (Cohen’s d = 0.21). Hispanic children were most at risk in small rural areas and least in large rural environments. Findings from this study suggest that targeting the most at-risk children for interventions should consider the context including race and location.