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, Geert Robaeys, Philip Bruggmann, Alessio Aghemo, Markus Backmund, Julie Bruneau, Jude Byrne, Olav Dalgard, Jordan J. Feld, Margaret Hellard, et al.
Published: 1 January 2023
International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 111; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.11.011

Azar Akhondi, Mohammad Y. Yarmohammadian, Fariba  Haghani
Contemporary Educational Researches Journal, Volume 5, pp 08-11; https://doi.org/10.18844/cerj.v5i1.9

Abstract:
The advances in information technology have brought dramatic changes to the means and methods of learning, making it possible to learn everywhere and every time. In line with educational transformations, e-Learning has gained additional significance. Educational CDs and multimediasoftware have triggered substantial changes in education (Zandi, 2009). Given the importance of language skillsin every academic level, especially the primary level, the proper instructions of these skills should be a concern to educational authorities. Writing, as it plays a crucial role to sustain language, is of significance importance and should be heeded (Birjandi, 2002). While the direct instruction of spelling on the basis of psychologicalprinciples is highly recommended in today’s educational systems, spelling is still assumed to be an assessment instrumentrather than an educational one in Iran’s curriculum. Investigating the educational texts and reliable websites, the present study aims to plan an e-learning curriculum for spelling based on cognitive approach. Key Keywords: Curriculum, E-learning, Cognitive Approach, Spelling.
Krzysztof Czermak
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 209-232; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.503

Abstract:
This article presents actual missionary involvement of the diocese of Tarnów in the context of the 225th anniversary of its existence. For 38 years, Catholic missionaries from the diocese of Tarnow have been traveling the globe educating other cultures about the Christian faith as well as organising everything needed for the improvement of people’s spiritual and physical lives. So, missionary activities have two dimensions – spiritual and material. The bishop’s role, as the ruler and centre of unity in the diocesan apostolate, is to promote missionary activity, to direct it and to coordinate it, but always in such a way that the zeal and spontaneity of those who share in the work may be preserved and fostered. The missionary activities in the diocese of Tarnow have been strongly supported by the bishops: Jerzy Ablewicz, Józef Życiński and Wiktor Skworc, who have sent 118 priests to the three continents. The Tarnow missionary work is a great contribution to the evangelization of the countries in Africa, South America and, more recently, in Asia (mostly Kazakhstan). This commitment has been marked by the seal of martyrdom by one of the priest – Fr. Jan Czuba who was murdered in the Republic of Congo in 1998. Currently, the Diocesan Missionary Agency has sent 46 priests as missionaries: 14 to Africa, 27 to Latin America and 5 to Kazakhstan. Apostolic activity is organized not only by priests, but also by lay missionaries: one in Cameroon, two in the Central African Republic and additionally two volunteers.
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 193-207; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.502

Abstract:
The author of the article struggles with a paradox: the post-modern age which views itself as pluralistic nonetheless appears to yearn for upbringing. At the beginning of XXI century, the dissonance between human development, full participation in a wide range of spiritual culture and a tendency to strictly technical education, oriented mainly on efficiency and profits appears in a full range. In this context it is important to educate young people in the responsible use of the gift of freedom. The author of this article presents freedom as a characteristic sign of youth education in the present century. He also shows the pluralism of values and upbringing aimed towards freedom. The author also underlines the Christian approach to freedom, understood as both a gift and a task received from God. Pedagogy of freedom is not a question of transmitting human knowledge, even of the highest kind; it is rather a question of responsibly communicating with God and people. God Himself used a pedagogy that must continue to be a model for the pedagogy of freedom.
Zbigniew Waleszczuk
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 173-192; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.501

Abstract:
The aim of this article is at first to answer the question of greed (the justification of this “virtue” in the modern economic system), which is meant, in the light of Christian social ethics to be the primary cause of the present economic crisis. In the three steps of catholic social teaching (see, judge, act) we want to interpret the signs of our time (present age problems) in the light of the Gospel (and the teaching and tradition of the Church). The relevant question we have to pose in our statement is: Why does catholic social teaching, in opposite to the modern view of economic and political science, object to a justification of greed? The third (practical) step of our explanations we can paraphrase with the question: what shall we do? The focusing on institutional reforms, the belief in arrangements which exclusively accentuate sociological key aspects and believe in changes of structures (in education, politics, economics and welfare) led not only to market crisis, but also to a crisis of culture. If the human being in his/her deepest dimension (the ecology of person) is suffering, then the Church cannot remain silent, because its mission and way is the person. Not until we – like king Solomon – turn to God and ask for help and the ability to judge between good and evil, just and unjust, shall we find a safe basis to lead us out of despair and disorientation into a more humane civilization of humanity and solidarity.
Cezary Smuniewski
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 157-171; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.500

Abstract:
The study entitled: La missione del sacerdote nel pensiero del beato don Jerzy Popiełuszko – un martire contemporaneo della Polonia (“The Mission of the Priest in the thought of Bl. Jerzy Popiełuszko, a modern priest-martyr from Poland”) explores the theology of priesthood in the light of the thought and example of Bl. Father Jerzy Popiełuszko. The essay covers the following issues: 1) Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko in the context of the times he lived in; 2) The mission of the priest is to be close to God and to people; 3) The mission of the priest is to proclaim the Good News; 4) The mission of the priest is to minister the Sacraments; 5) The mission of the priest is to nurture hope; 6) The mission of the priest is to die for the Faith. The Author concludes that the phenomenon of Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko, which came into its full force after his martyr’s death, allows us to see him as a clear model for modern priests. The blessed martyr from Warsaw reminds us that sanctity can be attained and lived in all historical contexts. Fr Jerzy also comes across as an exemplar of a very engaged shepherd of souls who walked the path to holiness whilst also working closely with many lay people who showed a special readiness to work with him and solicitude for the good of the Church in a world at war against God, the Church and its priests.
Grzegorz Chajko
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 143-155; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.499

Abstract:
During the German occupation, large numbers of Poles were actively involved in assisting the persecuted Jews. Among the Poles who extended help were also priests from the Archdiocese of Lviv of the Latins. This article addresses their assistance and protection of the many Jews who were being persecuted by the German Army. Certainly, it does not exhaust the subject, but constitutes some contribution to ongoing research. It is not an easy undertaking, since the sources are extremely scanty, and the search for any information is both a time and labor consuming occupation. Still, given the information gathered here, we are given an opportunity to discern a certain image of clergymen who unhesitatingly sacrificed themselves to save the lives of people who were followers of a different faith. Two priests laid down their lives in the process.
Martyna Grądzka
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 123-141; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.498

Abstract:
This article describes the very varied, and at times, surprising role of Jewish women in the Kraków Ghetto during World War Two.
Waldemar Graczyk
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 113-121; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.497

Abstract:
In September 1939 in Działdowo the Nazis established a transit camp for the war prisoners of the Polish September Campaign of 1939 in the former barracks of the 32 infantry regiment on Grunwaldzka Street. At the turn of 1939 and 1940 the police and the SS authorities in Königsberg transformed the Działdowo camp into the transit camp „Durchgangslager“. Priests imprisoned in the Działdowo camp from autumn 1939 to autumn 1941 constituted a special group of political prisoners. The archbishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski and the bishop Leon Wetmański, Płock bishop suffragan, were brought to the Działdowo camp in 1941. The Płock bishops quickly became spiritual guides and the support for the prisoners in difficult moments of camp life. In order to prevent their contacts with the prisoners, the bishops were put in a separate cell number 12. They were subjected to different kinds of moral and physical torture, including the attempt to profane the cross. Difficult living conditions in the camp soon led to the death of the Płock priests: the archbishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski died on 28 May 1941 and the bishop Leon Wetmański died on 10 October 1941. Apart from them, 47 priests and 1 seminarian lost their lives in the Działdowo camp in 1939–1945.
Bogdan Kolar
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 93-111; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.496

Abstract:
The Second World War began in Slovenia on 6 April, 1941 with the occupation of the national territory by the German, Italian and Hungarian occupying forces and resulted not only in the efforts to liberate the country but gave rise to intense revolutionary events. By declaring the liberation movement its exclusive right, the Communist Party, until then banned and working underground, announced a fierce fight against anyone not willing to submit to its plans and leadership. It also used the Civil War to launch a revolution. Following the Church’s teaching, Slovenian Catholics were reluctant to go along with such conduct. Violence against ideological opponents of Communism began already in the autumn of 1941. At the end of war when the Communist Party and its satellite organizations took over the country, the violence against those who disagreed continued and culminated in the summer of 1945. Among them were many Catholic families, priests and members of religious orders. Pressure on the priests started to decline after 1960, yet the pressure on the Catholic laity grew stronger.
Monika Komaniecka, Krystyna Samsonowska, Mateusz Szpytma, Anna Zechenter
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 65-92; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.495

Abstract:
Katyn is a symbol of the criminal policy of the Soviet system against the Polish nation. The present study aims to demonstrate the basic facts of Katyn massacre – the execution of almost 22,000 people: Polish prisoners of war in Katyn, Kharkov, Kalinin (Tver) and also other Polish prisoners (soldiers and civilians), which took place in the spring of 1940 in different places of the Soviet Ukraine and Belarus republics based on the decision of the Soviet authorities, that is the Political Bureau of All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of March 5, 1940. This article refers not only to the massacre itself, but also its origin, historical processes and the lies accompanying Katyn massacre.
Olga Nadskakuła
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 51-63; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.494

Abstract:
The purpose of this article is to present the genesis of the Chechen-Russian conflict, including the genocide of Chechens. The analysis explains how the aggressive actions of the Russian authorities were supposed to deal with “the strongest and most dangerous nation” of the Caucasus, in order to subjugate this region. Russian behaviour proves that their priority over the centuries was not an assimilation of Chechens and the peaceful solution of the conflict, but rather an “imperial” dimension of the strife, or to be exact, the ultimate conquest of the Caucasus, even if it would mean the extermination of the Chechen nation.
Paweł Naleźniak
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 29-49; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.493

Abstract:
Ukrainian nationalists tried to de-polonize the South-Eastern Borderlands by means of mass genocide and they achieved this goal to a great extent. That, however, puts them on a par with the criminal regimes of Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. The author of this article describes the genocide of Polish inhabitants in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia committed by the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (Orhanizatsiya Ukrayins’kykh Natsionalistiv, OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukrainska Povstanska Armiya, UPA) between 1943 and 1944. These events in European history are not well-known.
Jan Szczepaniak
The Person and the Challenges. The Journal of Theology, Education, Canon Law and Social Studies Inspired By Pope John Paul Ii, Volume 3, pp 7-27; https://doi.org/10.15633/pch.492

Abstract:
After the peace treaty with Poland (18 March 1921) and after the reorganization of the Church administration in 1921 and in 1923, ten administrative units of the Catholic Church were placed within the borders of the USSR; eight were of the Latin rite and two of the Eastern rite. In this article, the author presents the history of repressions organized by the Soviet authorities towards the Roman Catholic Church (1917–1938) with special attention given to the process of liquidation of the Roman Catholic Clergy of the Latin rite.
Published: 24 January 2023
Journal: Logos I Ethos
Logos I Ethos, Volume 32, pp 233-240; https://doi.org/10.15633/lie.207

Abstract:
The article is an introduction to the Polish translation of Vladimir Solovjev’s essay entitled The Concept of God. The Defense of Spinoza’s Philosophy. The debate between V. Solovjev and Russian Neo-Kantians A. Vvedensky (1897) is presented in the philosophico-historical context.
Włodzimierz S. Sołowjow
Published: 24 January 2023
Journal: Logos I Ethos
Logos I Ethos, Volume 32, pp 203-231; https://doi.org/10.15633/lie.206

Abstract:
The Polish translation from Russian of V. Solovjev’s article (1897). Solovyov justifies Spinoza before prof. A. Vvedensky who accused the author of Ethics of atheism. According to Vvedensky God as an infinite substance in Spinoza’s system has not a necessary attributes of God: the teleological activity and free will. As a consequence, that concept does not describe true God and it would be treated as atheism. Solovjev responds that the imperfect concept of God does not allow to perceived Spinoza’s philosophy as atheism.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal of Clinical Medicine, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12031059

Abstract:
COVID-19 in pregnant women increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preeclampsia. This meta-analysis aimed to examine the effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on sFlt-1/PIGF ratio during pregnancy. The study was designed as a systematic review and meta-analysis. PubMed, Web of Science, Embase and Cochrane Library were searched for relevant studies reporting the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio in pregnant women with COVID-19. Results were compared using meta-analysis by the Mantel–Haenszel method. A total of 7 studies were included in the analysis. sFlt-1/PlGF ratios between COVID-19 positive vs. negative women were 45.8 ± 50.3 vs. 37.4 ± 22.5, respectively (SMD = 1.76; 95% CI: 0.43 to 3.09; p = 0.01). sFlt-1/PlGF ratios between asymptomatic vs. symptomatic patients were 49.3 ± 35.7 vs. 37.1 ± 25.6 (SMD = 0.30; 95% CI: −0.35 to 0.95; p = 0.36). sFlt-1/PlGF ratio in non-severe group was 30.7 ± 56.5, compared to 64.7 ± 53.5 for severe patients (SMD = −1.88; 95% CI: −3.77 to 0.01; p = 0.05). sFlt-1/PlGF ratios in COVID-19 patients, with and without hypertensive disease of pregnancy, were 187.0 ± 121.8 vs. 21.6 ± 8.6, respectively (SMD = 2.46; 95% CI: 0.99 to 3.93; p = 0.001). Conclusions: Patients with COVID-19, as compared to patients without COVID-19, were characterized by higher sFlt-1/PlGF ratio. Moreover, severe COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection in hypertensive pregnant women was related to significantly higher sFlt-1/PlGF ratio.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Water
Abstract:
Polluted aquifers can be decontaminated using either ZVI (zero valent iron) permeable reactive barriers (PRB) or injected ZVI. The placement of ZVI within the aquifer may take several decades to remediate the contaminant plume. Remediation is further complicated by ZVI acting as an adsorbent to remove some pollutants, while for other pollutants, it acts as a remediation catalyst. This study investigates an alternative aquifer decontamination approach to PRB construction or n-Fe0 injection. The alternative approach reconstructs the potentiometric surface of the aquifer containing the contaminant. This reconstruction confines the contaminant plume to a stationary, doughnut shaped hydrodynamic mound. Contaminated water from the mound is abstracted, decontaminated, and then reinjected, until all the water confined within the mound is decontaminated. At this point, the decontaminated mound is allowed to dissipate into the surrounding aquifer. This approach is evaluated for potential use in treating the following: (i) immiscible liquid plumes; (ii) miscible contaminant and ionic solute plumes; (iii) naturally contaminated aquifers and soils; and (iv) contaminated or salinized soils. The results indicate that this approach, when compared with the PRB or injection approach, may accelerate the decontamination, while reducing the overall amount of ZVI required.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Applied Sciences
Applied Sciences, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13031745

Abstract:
One of the most dangerous types of cyclic effects, especially inherent in several regions in the world, is the alternating impact of wetting and drying on concrete and reinforced concrete structures. In the current scientific literature and practice, there is not enough fundamental and applied information about the resistance to wetting and drying of variotropic concretes obtained by centrifugal compaction methods. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of various technological, compositional, and other factors on the final resistance of variotropic concrete to alternating cycles of moistening and drying. For this, special methods for testing concrete samples were used in the work. It has been established that after strength gain as a result of hydration, there is a tendency for strength loss due to concrete wear. An acidic medium has the most negative effect on the strength characteristics of concretes made using various technologies, compared with neutral and alkaline media. The loss of strength of concrete when moistened in an acidic medium was greater than in alkaline and especially neutral media. The vibrocentrifuged concrete turned out to be the most resistant to the impact of an aggressive environment and the cycles of moistening and drying, compared to the centrifuged and vibrated concrete. The drop in strength was up to 7% less compared to centrifuged concrete and up to 17% less than vibrated concrete.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Cancers
Abstract:
With increasing trends for the adoption of robotic surgery, many centers are considering changing their practices from open or laparoscopic to robot-assisted surgery for rectal cancer. We compared the outcomes of robot-assisted rectal resection with those of open and laparoscopic surgery. We searched Medline, Web of Science, and CENTRAL databases until October 2022. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective studies comparing robotic surgery with open or laparoscopic rectal resection were included. Fifteen RCTs and 11 prospective studies involving 6922 patients were included. The meta-analysis revealed that robotic surgery has lower blood loss, less surgical site infection, shorter hospital stays, and higher negative resection margins than open resection. Robotic surgery also has lower conversion rates, lower blood loss, lower rates of reoperation, and higher negative circumferential margins than laparoscopic surgery. Robotic surgery had longer operation times and higher costs than open and laparoscopic surgery. There were no differences in other complications, mortality, and survival between robotic surgery and the open or laparoscopic approach. However, heterogeneity between studies was moderate to high in some analyses. The robotic approach can be the method of choice for centers planning to change from open to minimally invasive rectal surgery. The higher costs of robotic surgery should be considered as a substitute for laparoscopic surgery (PROSPERO: CRD42022381468).
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Nutrients
Nutrients, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15030688

Abstract:
Sunlight exposure is an essential source of vitamin D for many humans. However, hypovitaminosis D is a global public health problem. This study aimed to develop and validate a sun exposure score (SES) and correlate it with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in women of childbearing age. One hundred and sixty women aged 18 to 45 years residing in Meknes, Morocco, were included. A questionnaire estimating the sun exposure score and blood analysis of serum 25-OHD concentration were performed. The questionnaire’s reliability and construct validity were evaluated using Cronbach’s alpha and factor analysis. Spearman’s test was used to assess the correlation between SES and 25-OHD levels. The score’s reliability and construct validity were good, with Cronbach’s alpha values >0.70 and factorial saturation ranging from 0.696 to 0.948. Serum 25-OHD levels were significantly associated with the total sun exposure score, and all SES domains (Rho was 0.615 (p < 0.0001), 0.307 (p < 0.0001), 0.605 (p < 0.0001), and 0.424 (p < 0.0001) for total SES, indoor exposure domain, outdoor exposure domain, and sun protection practice domain, respectively). In addition, median 25-OHD levels increased significantly when sun exposure was changed from insufficient to sufficient (p < 0.0001). The results suggest that the sun exposure score could be used as a clinical tool to assess vitamin D levels in women of childbearing age.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Cancers
Abstract:
This study aimed to explore the feasibility of using a deep-learning (DL) approach to predict TIL levels in breast cancer (BC) from ultrasound (US) images. A total of 494 breast cancer patients with pathologically confirmed invasive BC from two hospitals were retrospectively enrolled. Of these, 396 patients from hospital 1 were divided into the training cohort (n = 298) and internal validation (IV) cohort (n = 98). Patients from hospital 2 (n = 98) were in the external validation (EV) cohort. TIL levels were confirmed by pathological results. Five different DL models were trained for predicting TIL levels in BC using US images from the training cohort and validated on the IV and EV cohorts. The overall best-performing DL model, the attention-based DenseNet121, achieved an AUC of 0.873, an accuracy of 79.5%, a sensitivity of 90.7%, a specificity of 65.9%, and an F1 score of 0.830 in the EV cohort. In addition, the stratified analysis showed that the DL models had good discrimination performance of TIL levels in each of the molecular subgroups. The DL models based on US images of BC patients hold promise for non-invasively predicting TIL levels and helping with individualized treatment decision-making.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal of Functional Biomaterials, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb14020078

Abstract:
Combining magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) with high-voltage processes to produce ultra-thin magnetic nanofibers (MNFs) fosters the development of next-generation technologies. In this study, polycarbonate urethane nanofibers incorporating magnetic particles were produced via the electrospinning technique. Two distinct types of magnetic payload were used: (a) iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) with an average size and polydispersity index of 7.2 nm and 3.3%, respectively; (b) nickel particles (NiPs) exhibiting a bimodal size distribution with average sizes of 129 nanometers and 600 nanometers, respectively, and corresponding polydispersity indexes of 27.8% and 3.9%. Due to varying particle sizes, significant differences were observed in their aggregation and distribution within the nanofibers. Further, the magnetic response of the IONP and/or NiP-loaded fiber mats was consistent with their morphology and polydispersity index. In the case of IONPs, the remanence ratio (Mr/Ms) and the coercive field (Hc) were found to be zero, which agrees with their superparamagnetic behavior when the average size is smaller than 20–30 nm. However, the NiPs show Mr/Ms = 22% with a coercive field of 0.2 kOeas expected for particles in a single or pseudo-single domain state interacting with each other via dipolar interaction. We conclude that magnetic properties can be modulated by controlling the average size and polydispersity index of the magnetic particles embedded in fiber mats to design magneto-active systems suitable for different applications (i.e., wound healing and drug delivery).
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Toxics
Abstract:
Using the parametric g-formula, we estimated the 27-year risk of all-cause and specific causes of mortality under different potential interventions for blood lead (BLLs) and urinary cadmium (UCd) levels. We used data on 14,311 adults aged ≥20 years enrolled in the NHANES-III between 1988 and 1994 and followed up through 31 Dec 31 2015. Time and cause of death were determined from the National Death Index records. We used the parametric g-formula with pooled logistic regression models to estimate the relative and absolute risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality under different potential threshold interventions for BLLs and UCd concentrations. Median follow-up was 22.5 years. A total of 5167 (36%) participants died by the end of the study, including 1550 from cardiovascular diseases and 1135 from cancer. Increases in BLLs and creatinine-corrected UCd levels from the 5th to the 95th percentiles were associated with risk differences of 4.17% (1.54 to 8.77) and 6.22% (4.51 to 12.00) for all-cause mortality, 1.52% (0.09 to 3.74) and 1.06% (−0.57 to 3.50) for cardiovascular disease mortality, and 1.32% (−0.09 to 3.67) and 0.64% (−0.98 to 2.80) for cancer mortality, respectively. Interventions to reduce historical exposures to lead and cadmium may have prevented premature deaths, especially from cardiovascular disease.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Children
Abstract:
Background and objectives: Very low birth weight (VLBW) infants are at high risk of developing acute kidney injury (AKI), presumably secondary to low kidney reserves, stressful postnatal events, and drug exposures. Our study aimed to identify the prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes associated with AKI in VLBW infants. Study design: Records of all VLBW infants admitted to two medical campuses between January 2019 and June 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. AKI was classified using the modified KDIGO definition to include only serum creatinine. Risk factors and composite outcomes were compared between infants with and without AKI. We evaluated the main predictors of AKI and death with forward stepwise regression analysis. Results: 152 VLBW infants were enrolled. 21% of them developed AKI. Based on the multivariable analysis, the most significant predictors of AKI were the use of vasopressors, patent ductus arteriosus, and bloodstream infection. AKI had a strong and independent association with neonatal mortality. Conclusions: AKI is common in VLBW infants and is a significant risk factor for mortality. Efforts to prevent AKI are necessary to prevent its harmful effects.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Agronomy
Abstract:
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is one of the most consumed leafy green vegetables in the world, and is a good source of important bioactive compounds. However, environmental stress factors, such as salinity or drought, cause physiological and biochemical changes in plants and influence the yields and levels of both primary and secondary metabolites, which drastically changes the nutritional value and quality of the crop. In the present work, six typical Czech cultivars/landraces of various lettuce morphotypes (Altenbursky, Dubacek, Kamenac, Jupiter, Prazan, and Robin) were grown under driven conditions and then analyzed for the content of sugars, fatty acids, amino acids, phenolics, and vitamins. Obtained data were subjected to compositional tables statistical analysis, which provided not only information on general trends in the changes in their nutritional value but also how these changes affected each particular variety. Overall, drought caused the largest relative increase in phenolic compounds and some amino acids. Conversely, drought caused overall the largest relative decrease in vitamin C, but also in fatty acids. In addition, salt stress caused a larger decrease in many metabolites, especially the amino acid arginine, while fatty acids were only slightly increased, together with vitamin E. In addition, the interpretation of data from statistical analysis showed that varieties Prazan and Altenbursky had the least changes in their chemical composition when subjected to drought stress. Again, var. Altenbursky showed the least variability in comparison to other varieties when subjected to salt stress. These findings confirm the fact that landraces and old cultivars do not change their chemical profiles significantly, as is the case for improved cultivars, and they emphasize the need for their cultivation when raising the productivity of staple food crops.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Applied Sciences
Applied Sciences, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13031740

Abstract:
The hybrid kinematic mechanism (HKM) as an alternative remote handling subsystem of the Demonstration Fusion Power Plant (DEMO) breeding blanket (BB) is undergoing extensive theoretical analysis and feasibility verification. In this paper, the forward and inverse kinematic models of the HKM are derived by combining the Newtonian iterative method and the analytical method. Cartesian space trajectory planning is designed based on the trajectories of the HKM lifting of inboard and outboard BBs. The continuous smooth inverse kinematic solutions in the HKM joint space are obtained based on the polynomial interpolation method. For the characteristics of the HKM piston thread driving, the end-effector position error caused by the degradation of the spherical joint into a universal joint is analyzed and calculated. During the lifting of the left inboard BB, there is a maximum absolute error ΔP=3.1 mm, and as the error continues to expand to the bottom of the BB it causes a risk of collision. Combining the overall effects of driving control, rigid–flexible coupling, etc., on position accuracy, an open-loop variable parameter error compensation plan based on the Levenberg–Marquardt (LM) nonlinear damping least-squares algorithm is proposed and validated in this paper. The simulation results show that the maximum absolute error after compensation is less than 1 mm as the mesh density increases, and the absolute position accuracy can be further improved by local mesh encryption. This study verifies the feasibility of the HKM as a BB remote handling subsystem and provides an option for high-precision control of the HKM.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032430

Abstract:
The biggest and increasingly more urgent challenge of the twenty-first century has become how a more sustainable level of development can be achieved. In order to bring about a better sustainable approach to ‘development’ it is necessary to address various different challenges of economy and society simultaneously. By examining the various aspects of sustainability found in the contemporary regional architecture of Vorarlberg, Austria, this paper attempts to highlight a more holistic and multi-faceted practice of architectural sustainability. The literature review on the definition of sustainable architecture and the architectural culture of Vorarlberg will be followed by the characteristic examination of four case studies. The common characteristics found from the evaluation were matched with some of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Goals to illustrate the multi-layered and connected nature of the sustainability qualities. The results of the research is indicative of a more holistic notion of architectural sustainability that is beyond energy-oriented and the functional efficiency of a building. Rather, it would mean the sustainability of a region, as a whole, when it encompasses the continuation of heritage, the way of living as well as how a building should be responding to the environment throughout its life-cycle.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Applied Sciences
Applied Sciences, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13031744

Abstract:
In order to reduce the current ripple and improve the power density of the system, the multiple structure design is generally adopted by the traditional bidirectional DC/DC converter. However, the fixed multiplicity design can’t make the DC/DC power converter always output the smallest current ripple under different duty ratios. Through this research, it is found that the current ripple is related to duty cycle and parallel multiplicity, and then a variable multiplicity bidirectional DC/DC power converter is proposed. Firstly, the relationship between the current ripple and parallel multiplicity and duty cycle is deduced, and the basic topology of variable multiplicity bidirectional DC/DC power converter is determined; Secondly, the average value model and AC small signal model of the system are established based on the topological structure, and then the state equation is obtained. Thirdly, the current compensation control method is designed based on the state equation. Finally, the experimental platform of variable multiplicity bidirectional DC/DC power converter is built.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032418

Abstract:
(1) Background: There is growing concern in South Africa about risky sexual behaviour, sexual transmitted infections (STIs), and unplanned pregnancy among young people. Many sexually active students engage in several risky behaviours, including sex with multiple sexual partners, low condom use, and low contraceptive use. This paper qualitatively explores factors influencing non-use of sexual reproductive health services by students at Mangosuthu University of Technology in South Africa (MUT). (2) Methods: Data was collected through 20 in-depth interviews with MUT students and subjected to inductive thematic analysis. Informed consent was obtained before all data collection. (3) Results: The main themes identified were risky sexual behaviours translating to multiple intimate partners, perceived quality of condom use, perceived benefits of contraceptives, negotiating safer sex with partners, developing a greater sense of autonomy, alcohol and drug abuse, perceived benefits of health education provided by the MUT, and lack of open communication. (4) Conclusions: The findings suggest that university students need multi-faceted interventions designed to address challenges with risky sexual behaviours including knowledge and benefits of condom and contraceptive use to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies, as well as providing psychosocial interventions to support these students’ autonomy.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032421

Abstract:
Objective: This study aimed to compare the biomarker profile of pre-frail and frail adults in the UK Biobank cohort by sex. Methods: In total, 202,537 participants (67.8% women, aged 37 to 73 years) were included in this cross-sectional analysis. Further, 31 biomarkers were investigated in this study. Frailty was defined using a modified version of the Frailty Phenotype. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to explore the biomarker profile of pre-frail and frail individuals categorized by sex. Results: Lower concentrations of apoA1, total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol, albumin, eGFRcys, vitamin D, total bilirubin, apoB, and testosterone (differences ranged from −0.30 to −0.02 per 1-SD change), as well as higher concentrations of triglycerides, GGT, cystatin C, CRP, ALP, and phosphate (differences ranged from 0.01 to 0.53 per 1-SD change), were identified both in pre-frail and frail men and women. However, some of the associations differed by sex. For instance, higher rheumatoid factor and urate concentrations were identified in pre-frail and frail women, while lower calcium, total protein, and IGF-1 concentrations were identified in pre-frail women and frail women and men. When the analyses were further adjusted for CRP, similar results were found. Conclusions: Several biomarkers were linked to pre-frailty and frailty. Nonetheless, some of the associations differed by sex. Our findings contribute to a broader understanding of the pathophysiology of frailty as currently defined.
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Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Electronics
Abstract:
The infectious nature of the COVID-19 virus demands rapid detection to quarantine the infected to isolate the spread or provide the necessary treatment if required. Analysis of COVID-19-infected chest Computed Tomography Scans (CT scans) have been shown to be successful in detecting the disease, making them essential in radiology assessment and screening of infected patients. Single-model Deep CNN models have been used to extract complex information pertaining to the CT scan images, allowing for in-depth analysis and thereby aiding in the diagnosis of the infection by automatically classifying the chest CT scan images as infected or non-infected. The feature maps obtained from the final convolution layer of the Deep CNN models contain complex and positional encoding of the images’ features. The ensemble modeling of these Deep CNN models has been proved to improve the classification performance, when compared to a single model, by lowering the generalization error, as the ensemble can meta-learn from a broader set of independent features. This paper presents Deep Ensemble Learning models to synergize Deep CNN models by combining these feature maps to create deep feature vectors or deep feature maps that are then trained on meta shallow and deep learners to improve the classification. This paper also proposes a novel Attentive Ensemble Model that utilizes an attention mechanism to focus on significant feature embeddings while learning the Ensemble feature vector. The proposed Attentive Ensemble model provided better generalization, outperforming Deep CNN models and conventional Ensemble learning techniques, as well as Shallow and Deep meta-learning Ensemble CNNs models. Radiologists can use the presented automatic Ensemble classification models to assist identify infected chest CT scans and save lives.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032420

Abstract:
Much of the research on climate change has focused on carbon reduction in cities or countries. However, more attention needs to be paid to how to achieve carbon neutrality in the urban design and planning stage, and the lack of quantitative analysis of carbon related to urban space makes it difficult to locate urban space and provide direct guidance for urban planning and design. This study proposed three optimization paths to achieve carbon neutrality in multi-scale urban building clusters. Firstly, we reconstructed the quantitative calculation system of urban building communities with the goal of carbon neutrality; secondly, we screened the carbon source reduction and carbon sink interventions that are suitable for multi-scale urban building communities; finally, we constructed a carbon emission and carbon sink calculation system of planning and design schemes based on the layout of relevant elements of planning and design schemes with a grid cell of 100 × 100 m. In practice, there was a gap of about 115,000 tons of CO2 from the carbon-neutral target and 26% of carbon emission was distributed in the Xiajiabian Station TOD. In this study, nine types of carbon reduction measures were adopted to achieve carbon neutrality in the region, among which the highest carbon reduction was achieved by biomass energy measures, accounting for 29% of the total carbon reduction of 33,745.27 T. The objective of this study is to accurately and quantitatively assess the carbon targets of urban spaces at different scales and adopt effective measures to achieve carbon neutrality.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Photonics
Abstract:
Thermophotovoltaics (TPVs), a heat recovery technique, is faced with low efficiency and power density. It has been proven that graphene helps add new functionalities to optical components and improve their performance for heat transfer. In this work, I study Near-field radiative heat transfer in TPVs based on a composite nanostructure composed of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) sheet and a narrow bandgap photovoltaic cell made from Indium Arsenide (InAs). I introduce a new way to calculate nonradiative recombination (NR) and compare the performance with and without the NR being considered. By comparing graphene modulated on the emitter (G-E), on the receiver (G-R), and on both the emitter and the receiver (G-ER), I find the G-ER case can achieve the highest current density. However, constrained by the bandgap energy of the cell, this case is far lower than the G-E case when it comes to efficiency. After applying variant particle swarm optimization (VPSO) and dynamic optimization, the model is optimized up to 43.63% efficiency and 11 W/cm2 electric power at a 10 nm vacuum gap with a temperature difference of 600 K. Compared with before optimization, the improvement is 8.97% and 7.2 W/cm2, respectively. By analyzing the emission spectrum and the transmission coefficient, I find that after optimization the system can achieve higher emissivity above the bandgap frequency, thus achieving more efficient conversion of light to electricity. In addition, I analyze the influence of temperature difference by varying it from 300 K to 900 K, indicating the optimized model at a 900 K temperature difference can achieve 49.04% efficiency and 52 W/cm2 electric power. By comparing the results with related works, this work can achieve higher conversion efficiency and electric power after the optimization of relevant parameters. My work provides a method to manipulate the near-field TPV system with the use of a graphene-based emitter and promises to provide references in TPV systems that use low bandgap energy cells.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13030552

Abstract:
The research on the high-value utilization of biomass has good application prospects and is conducive to sustainable development. In this paper, three different types of activators (potassium hydroxide, phosphoric acid, and polypropylene) were used to carbonize jujube branches at high temperatures of 600 °C and 800 °C, and then the PEG/jujube charcoal composite phase change materials (PCM) were prepared by vacuum impregnation of polyethylene glycol (PEG). The results showed that the carbon support activated by polypropylene (PP) had a richer pore size distribution than the other two activation methods, and the 800 °C carbonization carrier loaded PEG had a higher phase change enthalpy than the composite material at 600 °C. The mesoporous and macroporous structures were staggered with PP-activated jujube charcoal at 800 °C, with a specific surface area of 1,082.2 m²/g, the melting enthalpy of the composite material reached 114.92 J/g, and the enthalpy of solidification reached 106.15 J/g after PEG loading. The diffraction peak of the composite phase change material was the superposition of PEG and carbon matrix, which proved that the loading process was physical adsorption. After 200 thermal cycles, the melting enthalpy and crystallization enthalpy were only reduced by 4.3% and 4.1%, respectively, and they remained stable and leak-free at the melting point of PEG for 2 h, demonstrating good thermal stability of the composite phase change materials. In summary, PP has obvious advantages over traditional activation, and the carbon-supported PEG phase change composite after PP activation is a biochar energy storage material with excellent performance.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal of Clinical Medicine, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12031056

Abstract:
Purpose: To investigate whether asiatic acid (AA) can improve the quantity and function of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), as well as how AA regulates synaptic pathways in rat models with chronic glaucoma. Methods: In our study, a rat model of chronic glaucoma was prepared via the electrocoagulation of the episcleral veins. The numbers of surviving RGCs were counted via retrograde Fluorogold labeling, and a whole-cell patch clamp was used to clamp RGCs in normal retinal sections and in retinal sections 4 weeks after glaucoma induction. Results: Retrograde-Fluorogold-labeled RGC loss caused by persistent glaucoma was decreased by AA. Additionally, AA reduced the postsynaptic current produced by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and diminished miniature glutamatergic excitatory neurotransmission to RGCs. On the other hand, AA increased miniature gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic inhibitory neurotransmission to RGCs and enhanced the GABA-induced postsynaptic current. The excitability of the RGC itself was also decreased by AA. RGCs in glaucomatous slices were less excitable because AA decreased their spontaneous action potential frequency and membrane potential, which led to a hyperpolarized condition. Conclusions: AA directly protected RGCs in a chronic glaucoma rat model by lowering their hyperexcitability. To enhance RGCs’ survival and function in glaucoma, AA may be a viable therapeutic drug.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Healthcare
Abstract:
Emergency department (ED) overcrowding is a global health issue that is associated with poor quality of care and affects the timeliness of treatment initiation. The purpose of this systematic review is to assess the association between overcrowding and delay in treatment. A systematic review was conducted using four databases (CINAHL, PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library), following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA). A structured search was conducted to identify peer-reviewed articles aimed at assessing the relationship between overcrowding and delay in treatment, published between January 2000 and January 2021. Only studies that were conducted in the ED settings were included, and that includes both triage and observation rooms. The studies were appraised using two quality appraisal tools including the critical appraisal skills programme (CASP) for cohort studies and the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) checklist tool for cross-sectional studies. A total of 567 studies screened, and 10 met the inclusion criteria. Of these studies, 8 were cohorts and 2 were cross-sectionals. The majority reported that overcrowding is associated with a delay in the initiation of antibiotics for patients with sepsis and pneumonia. The review identified that overcrowding might impact time-to-treatment and, thus, the quality of care delivered to the patient. However, further research aimed at finding feasible solutions to overcrowding is encouraged.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Fermentation
Abstract:
In Greece biomass is often being disposed of uncontrollably, resulting in significant environmental impacts. The aim of this study is the single-stage anaerobic co-digestion assessment, valorizing Northern and Southern Greece mixtures, resulting from previous literature reviews, experimental designs, and biochemical methane potential (BMP) assays. Regarding the methane yield maximization, in Northern Greece, the most suitable mixture was 10% corn silage, 80% cattle manure, and 10% malt; while in Southern Greece it was 10% corn silage, 57% cattle manure, 23% orange peels, and 10% olive pomace for fall/winter season. The hydraulic retention time (HRT) was set at 20 d and an initial organic loading rate (OLR) of 2 g COD/(L·d) was applied, with a view to gradually increase it. However, volatile fatty acids accumulation was observed, which led to OLR reduction to 1.5 g COD/(L·d) for both experiments. The Northern Greece reactor operated successfully for OLR 1.5–5 g COD/(L·d), while further increase led to system failure. On the other hand, the reactor of the Southern Greece mixture operated successfully at OLR 1.5–2 g COD/(L·d), but further operation indicated inadequacy, probably due to inhibitor (such as limonene) accumulation. Mixtures consisting of corn silage, cattle manure, and malt can be successfully valorized at high OLR. However, further investigation for mixtures with orange peels is suggested due to the presence of inhibitors.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Sustainability
Sustainability, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032429

Abstract:
The most important atmospheric pollutants include PM2.5, PM10, SO2, NO2, CO and O3. Characteristics of atmospheric pollution were investigated by analyzing daily and hourly concentrations of the six key pollutants in three different functional areas (urban, suburban, and rural) of Shanghai during 2019–2021. Results show that O3, exceeding PM2.5, has become the primary pollutant determining air quality in Shanghai. The frequency of O3 as a primary pollutant ranged from 40% in an urban area to 71% in a rural area, which was much higher than that of PM2.5 (14–21%). NO2 and SO2, precursors of PM2.5, presented a clear weekend effect, whereas PM2.5 at weekends seems higher than that on weekdays. In the warm season, O3 at weekends was higher than that on weekdays in the three different functional areas, whereas no significant difference was observed between O3 on weekdays and at weekends in the cold season. Potential source contribution function analysis indicated that air pollution in Shanghai was impacted by inter-regional and intra-regional transport. The potential source areas of PM2.5 and O3 were different, which brought challenges to the coordinated control of PM2.5 and O3 in Shanghai. This study emphasizes the prominent O3 pollution in Shanghai, and argues that the prevention and control of O3 pollution requires regional joint prevention and control strategy.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Sensors
Sensors, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/s23031513

Abstract:
In this study, we develop a framework for an intelligent and self-supervised industrial pick-and-place operation for cluttered environments. Our target is to have the agent learn to perform prehensile and non-prehensile robotic manipulations to improve the efficiency and throughput of the pick-and-place task. To achieve this target, we specify the problem as a Markov decision process (MDP) and deploy a deep reinforcement learning (RL) temporal difference model-free algorithm known as the deep Q-network (DQN). We consider three actions in our MDP; one is ‘grasping’ from the prehensile manipulation category and the other two are ‘left-slide’ and ‘right-slide’ from the non-prehensile manipulation category. Our DQN is composed of three fully convolutional networks (FCN) based on the memory-efficient architecture of DenseNet-121 which are trained together without causing any bottleneck situations. Each FCN corresponds to each discrete action and outputs a pixel-wise map of affordances for the relevant action. Rewards are allocated after every forward pass and backpropagation is carried out for weight tuning in the corresponding FCN. In this manner, non-prehensile manipulations are learnt which can, in turn, lead to possible successful prehensile manipulations in the near future and vice versa, thus increasing the efficiency and throughput of the pick-and-place task. The Results section shows performance comparisons of our approach to a baseline deep learning approach and a ResNet architecture-based approach, along with very promising test results at varying clutter densities across a range of complex scenario test cases.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032419

Abstract:
This research examines whether the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) did harm to the population’s health through comparing the changes in the life expectancy of Canadians with those of Australians over the period from March 2019 to February 2021 by using a difference-in-differences (DID) estimation method. We found that the pandemic did cause differences in life expectancies between Canada and Australia, probably because of different initial control policies for COVID-19. This study uses the indicator of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) to measure the societal health burden, which was corroborated by estimating temporal productivity loss (TPL) and permanent productivity loss (PPL) based on the human capital approach (HCA) using data from Health Canada. The societal health burden in Canada amounted to 6.493 DALYs per 1000 male persons and 5.316 DALYs per 1000 female persons. The economy’s permanent productivity loss was around USD 5.3 billion, while the temporary productivity loss was around USD 3 billion from February 2020 to April 2022. The sum of the above two losses amounted to 0.477% of the GDP in 2019. Swift and decisive decisions at the very early stage of a pandemic can nip contagions in the bud before numbers get out of hand and would be less damaging to people’s health and the economy, as seen in Australia, in contrast to what happened in Canada. We thus recommend that such policies plus telecommunication systems in healthcare services be implemented early on to cope with the future outbreak of any emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Nutrients
Nutrients, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15030687

Abstract:
While non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a prevalent and frequent cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality, it is also strongly associated with cardiovascular disease-related morbidity and mortality, likely driven by its associations with insulin resistance and other manifestations of metabolic dysregulation. However, few satisfactory pharmacological treatments are available for NAFLD due in part to its complex pathophysiology, and challenges remain in stratifying individual patient’s risk for liver and cardiovascular disease related outcomes. In this review, we describe the development and progression of NAFLD, including its pathophysiology and outcomes. We also describe different tools for identifying patients with NAFLD who are most at risk of liver-related and cardiovascular-related complications, as well as current and emerging treatment options, and future directions for research.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Horticulturae
Abstract:
Microplastics have become a widespread environmental concern because they are found in most tested places, including the air we breathe and the food and beverages we consume. To explore the current status of microplastic pollution and future research trends in tea, we reviewed the distribution, abundance, shape, size and sources of microplastics in tea. Microplastics are plastic particles that are 5 mm in diameter or less. Those found in tea and tea gardens originate from agricultural plastic films, plastic packaging of products and tools used in tea production, organic fertilizers, even atmospheric deposition. The microplastics in tea gardens are typically fragments and fibers, mainly composed of polyethylene, polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate. The prevention and control of microplastics in tea planting, tea processing and packaging should be strengthened, and reduce the input of products containing microplastics. Future research on microplastic detection methods in tea and determination of safety thresholds should be prioritized to provide a reference for microplastic contamination risk, control, and management in tea.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032417

Abstract:
Greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) produced by agriculture contribute to global warming and climate change. Various practices followed by farmers in different environmental conditions contribute to the increase in the phenomena, and there is a need for immediate measures. The current study examines the environmental impact of barley production under rain-fed conditions in Cyprus. For this, four different nutrient management scenarios were investigated in order to evaluate the environmental performance of crop production, namely: (1) Nitrogen (20%), Phosphorous (20%), Potassium (10%); (2) Nitrogen (20%), Phosphorous (20%), Potassium (10%) and manure; (3) Nitrogen (25%), Phosphorous (10%), Potassium (0%); and (4) Nitrogen (25%), Phosphorous (10%), Potassium (0%) and manure. Data were collected from two different areas of Cyprus (Nicosia and Larnaca) through on-site visits and questionnaires. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used as a method to quantify environmental impacts which were categorized into six impact categories: (i) acidification potential (AP), (ii) eutrophication potential (EP), (iii) global warming potential (GWP), (iv) ozone depletion potential (ODP), (v) photochemical, ozone creation potential (POCP), and (vi) terrestrial ecotoxicity (TAETP). LCA was used with system boundaries from field to harvest and a functional unit (FU) of one bale of hay. Research results showed that the addition of manure increased values in all impact categories. Comparing scenarios without manure (1 and 3) and with manure (2 and 4), the main process which contributed to GWP was field preparation, which resulted in 3 t CO2-Eq∙FU−1 and 46.96 t CO2-Eq∙FU−1, respectively. Furthermore, the highest contribution of sub-processes to GWP (kg CO2-Eq∙FU−1) was machinery maintenance (scenarios 2 and 4). The potential to reduce environmental impacts from barley and moreover, to mitigate the footprint of the agriculture sector in Cyprus is proposed by changing existing practices such as decreasing fuel consumption by agricultural machinery, and monitoring fertilizing and seeding. Conclusively, the carbon footprint of barley can be decreased through the improvement of nutrient management and cropping practices.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Diagnostics
Abstract:
Malignant melanoma (MM) is traditionally known as the “great mime” of human pathology, as it is potentially capable of imitating the most disparate neoplasms. It is known that in addition to the more classic histotypes of MM, there are also rare forms, including angiomatoid MM. Similarly, it has been amply demonstrated in the literature that MM is capable of dedifferentiating, losing melanocytic lineage markers, constituting a diagnostic challenge for the pathologist. Although 5 cases of primary angiomatoid MM have been described in the literature, to the best of our knowledge, no cases of dedifferentiated melanoma with pseudo-angiomatoid aspects have ever been described. In this paper, we present a very rare case of partially dedifferentiated MM in which the most dedifferentiated component lost melanocytic lineage immunohistochemical markers and assumed a pseudo-angiomatous morphology. Given the rarity of the case, we carried out a literature review of similar cases described, trying to draw new future perspectives not only about this particular variant of MM but also about the widest field of dedifferentiation/undifferentiation of MM.
Published: 29 January 2023
by MDPI
Journal: Pathogens
Abstract:
Acanthamoeba keratitis is almost universally associated with contact lens (CL) use. Until today, however, CL solution manufacturing protocols lack testing of anti-amoebic activity. This study investigates the effectiveness of CL solutions available on the Dutch market against trophozoites and cysts of Acanthamoebacastellanii and Acanthamoebapolyphaga. Sixteen CL solutions were tested: 13 multiple purpose solutions (MPS), 2 hydrogen peroxidase solutions (HPS) and 1 povidone-iodine-based solution (PIS). The Spearman–Karber (SK) log reduction method and an XTT colorimetric assay were used to evaluate the effectiveness at the manufacturer’s minimum recommended disinfection time (MMRDT) and after eight hours. At the MMRDT, one MPS showed an SK mean log reduction (MLR) of >3.0 against A. castellanii trophozoites. Two additional MPS and both HPS reached this threshold after eight hours. The SK MLR values for A. polyphaga trophozoites were between 1 and 3 at all time points. Using the XTT colorimetric assay, only HPS 1 showed >99.9% reduction (equivalent to 3 log reduction) in metabolic activity of A. castellanii trophozoites after eight hours. For A. polyphaga, both HPS and PIS showed a metabolic reduction of >99.9% after eight hours. Cysts were resistant against all solutions. We conclude that following the manufacturer’s guidelines, few solutions provide sufficient effectiveness against Acanthamoeba trophozoites and none against cysts. The results underline the importance of adequate hygiene when handling CLs.
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