The 2023 MDPI Annual Report has
been released!
 
9 pages, 3707 KiB  
Article
Passion Fruit Cultivation: An Approach to Internal Leaf Anatomy
by Lucas Aparecido Manzani Lisboa, José Carlos Cavichioli, Thiago de Souza Ferreira, Aldeir da Silva and Paulo Alexandre Monteiro de Figueiredo
Int. J. Plant Biol. 2024, 15(3), 542-550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijpb15030041 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Some species of the genus Passiflora have leaf morphological adaptations that grow to influence the development of the plant in producing areas. Hence, the objective of this work is to quantify and characterize the leaf anatomy of passion fruit species distributed in the [...] Read more.
Some species of the genus Passiflora have leaf morphological adaptations that grow to influence the development of the plant in producing areas. Hence, the objective of this work is to quantify and characterize the leaf anatomy of passion fruit species distributed in the South American region, which can become an important strategy in the selection of species more adapted to the environment where they will be grown. This work evaluates the abaxial and adaxial cuticle thickness (ABCT and ADCT), abaxial and adaxial epidermis thickness (ABET and ADET), xylem diameter (XD), phloem diameter (PD), and thickness of the palisade parenchyma (TPP), of the species Passiflora quadrangularis L., Passiflora foetida L., Passiflora edulis Sims, Passiflora gibertii N.E Brown, Passiflora coccinea Aubl, Passiflora alata Curtis, Passiflora tenuifila Killip, Passiflora caerulea L., and Passiflora cincinnata Mast. Passion fruit species present differences in leaf anatomy, which may influence the plant’s development. The species Passiflora quadrangularis L. showed a greater thickness of cuticles, epidermis, conducting vessels, and palisade parenchyma. The species Passiflora edulis has higher density and stomatal functionality. All Passiflora species formed druses on their leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Physiology)
8 pages, 1403 KiB  
Article
Elicitor-Mediated Enhancement of α-Tocopherol in Cell Suspension Cultures of Nicotiana tabacum
by Mani Chandra Harish, Shanmugaraj Balamurugan and Ramalingam Sathishkumar
Int. J. Plant Biol. 2024, 15(3), 534-541; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijpb15030040 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Plant cell and tissue culture have been used as the alternative and potential renewable source for the production of valuable phytochemicals. Elicitation offers a reliable in vitro approach to produce or enhance potential phytochemicals. α-tocopherol, which is an isoform of vitamin E, is [...] Read more.
Plant cell and tissue culture have been used as the alternative and potential renewable source for the production of valuable phytochemicals. Elicitation offers a reliable in vitro approach to produce or enhance potential phytochemicals. α-tocopherol, which is an isoform of vitamin E, is a potent fat-soluble phytochemical known in nature. The present study focused on enhancing the production of α-tocopherol in the cell suspension culture through an elicitation approach. Suspension cultures of Nicotiana tabacum were established from the leaf disk-derived callus. The cell suspension cultures were treated with different elicitors (methyl jasmonate, salicylic acid, and yeast extract) at the lag phase of the cell growth cycle. The effects of elicitors on cell cultures were determined in terms of biomass, and α-tocopherol enhancement was determined using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Different elicitors depending on the concentration exerted different effects on cell growth and α-tocopherol production. Methyl jasmonate treatment showed the significantly highest increase in α-tocopherol on the 6th day of treatment in tobacco suspension cultures. Methyl jasmonate at the concentration of 150 μM enhanced α-tocopherol content to 24-fold over the control. This study clearly shows that the elicitors had the potential to increase the accumulation of α-tocopherol considerably in tobacco cell cultures. The outcomes of this study could be of considerable importance to the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Biochemistry and Genetics)
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15 pages, 229 KiB  
Article
In Their Own Words: LGBTQIA+ Stigma in Secondary School
by Erin Stevenson and Gregory Sandman
Youth 2024, 4(3), 968-982; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth4030061 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
LGBTQIA+ youth often face stigma from society as they develop their personal identities. In the United States, legislation has recently been focusing on reducing protections in schools for queer youth and limiting access to resources like gender affirming healthcare. Youth have increasingly been [...] Read more.
LGBTQIA+ youth often face stigma from society as they develop their personal identities. In the United States, legislation has recently been focusing on reducing protections in schools for queer youth and limiting access to resources like gender affirming healthcare. Youth have increasingly been targeted for identifying as queer and have experienced verbal and physical violence for expressing their gender identities. Research links stigmatization with increased mental health and substance use problems. However, there is limited information on how stigma experienced during adolescence may continue to impact young adults over time. Using a qualitative retrospective framework, LGBTQIA+-identified undergraduates (N = 8) at a 4-year university participated in one-hour virtual focus groups. Data were recorded and anonymized using individual participant codes with names of people or places removed from transcripts. Students were asked to reflect on their experiences as queer youth in secondary school including access to resources; interactions with teachers, staff, and peers; recommendations for supporting LGBTQIA+ students; and personal coping skills. The researchers used a thematic analysis to examine key issues students raised. Results provide insight into the challenges LGBTQIA+ youth face and highlight the strengths of these college-age young adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting Resilience, Wellbeing, and Mental Health of Young People)
18 pages, 2590 KiB  
Article
Effect of SNPs on Litter Size in Swine
by Zhenhua Guo, Lei Lv, Di Liu, Hong Ma and Čedomir Radović
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(7), 6328-6345; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46070378 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Although sows do not directly enter the market, they play an important role in piglet breeding on farms. They consume large amounts of feed, resulting in a significant environmental burden. Pig farms can increase their income and reduce environmental pollution by increasing the [...] Read more.
Although sows do not directly enter the market, they play an important role in piglet breeding on farms. They consume large amounts of feed, resulting in a significant environmental burden. Pig farms can increase their income and reduce environmental pollution by increasing the litter size (LS) of swine. PCR-RFLP/SSCP and GWAS are common methods to evaluate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in candidate genes. We conducted a systematic meta-analysis of the effect of SNPs on pig LS. We collected and analysed data published over the past 30 years using traditional and network meta-analyses. Trial sequential analysis (TSA) was used to analyse population data. Gene set enrichment analysis and protein–protein interaction network analysis were used to analyse the GWAS dataset. The results showed that the candidate genes were positively correlated with LS, and defects in PCR-RFLP/SSCP affected the reliability of candidate gene results. However, the genotypes with high and low LSs did not have a significant advantage. Current breeding and management practices for sows should consider increasing the LS while reducing lactation length and minimizing the sows’ non-pregnancy period as much as possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology)
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10 pages, 353 KiB  
Article
Ileal Digestible and Metabolizable Energy of Corn, Wheat, and Barley in Growing Japanese Quail
by Sousan Khanipour, Mahmoud Ghazaghi, Mohammad Reza Abdollahi and Mehran Mehri
Poultry 2024, 3(3), 190-199; https://doi.org/10.3390/poultry3030015 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the ileal digestible energy (IDE), apparent metabolizable energy (AME), and nitrogen-corrected AME (AMEn) of three typical cereals for quail chicks with two age periods (day 15–21 and 22–28). The experimental diets comprised a corn–soybean meal reference diet (RD), [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the ileal digestible energy (IDE), apparent metabolizable energy (AME), and nitrogen-corrected AME (AMEn) of three typical cereals for quail chicks with two age periods (day 15–21 and 22–28). The experimental diets comprised a corn–soybean meal reference diet (RD), and three test diets (TD) that were fed to quail chicks in a completely randomized design with five replicates per diet and 15 birds each. The TD comprised corn, wheat, and barley that partly replaced the RD at 300 g/kg (70% reference diet + 30% test ingredient). Age did not influence the IDE, AME, and AMEn values, while the effect of ingredient type was highly significant on the energy estimates (p < 0.001). The IDE values of corn, wheat, and barley were estimated as 2924, 3440, and 3184 kcal/kg, respectively. The AME values of corn, wheat, and barley were 3519, 2979, and 2710 kcal/kg, respectively. The estimated AMEn values of corn, wheat, and barley were 3255, 2676, and 2281 kcal/kg, respectively. These findings are crucial for optimizing diet formulations to support quail growth and performance effectively, as they provide valuable insights into the energy content of different cereals for quail production. Notably, the high IDE and AME values of wheat suggest its potential as a valuable energy source for quail diets. Understanding these values can aid in formulating diets that meet the energy requirements of quail chicks, leading to improved growth rates, feed efficiency, and overall productivity in quail production systems. Full article
21 pages, 11781 KiB  
Review
Quantitative and Compositional MRI of the Articular Cartilage: A Narrative Review
by Domenico Albano, Umberto Viglino, Francesco Esposito, Aldo Rizzo, Carmelo Messina, Salvatore Gitto, Stefano Fusco, Francesca Serpi, Benedikt Kamp, Anja Müller-Lutz, Riccardo D’Ambrosi, Luca Maria Sconfienza and Philipp Sewerin
Tomography 2024, 10(7), 949-969; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography10070072 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
This review examines the latest advancements in compositional and quantitative cartilage MRI techniques, addressing both their potential and challenges. The integration of these advancements promises to improve disease detection, treatment monitoring, and overall patient care. We want to highlight the pivotal task of [...] Read more.
This review examines the latest advancements in compositional and quantitative cartilage MRI techniques, addressing both their potential and challenges. The integration of these advancements promises to improve disease detection, treatment monitoring, and overall patient care. We want to highlight the pivotal task of translating these techniques into widespread clinical use, the transition of cartilage MRI from technical validation to clinical application, emphasizing its critical role in identifying early signs of degenerative and inflammatory joint diseases. Recognizing these changes early may enable informed treatment decisions, thereby facilitating personalized medicine approaches. The evolving landscape of cartilage MRI underscores its increasing importance in clinical practice, offering valuable insights for patient management and therapeutic interventions. This review aims to discuss the old evidence and new insights about the evaluation of articular cartilage through MRI, with an update on the most recent literature published on novel quantitative sequences. Full article
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11 pages, 238 KiB  
Article
Predictors of Readmission in Young Adults with First-Episode Psychosis: A Multicentric Retrospective Study with a 12-Month Follow-Up
by Filippo Besana, Serena Chiara Civardi, Filippo Mazzoni, Giovanni Carnevale Miacca, Vincenzo Arienti, Matteo Rocchetti, Pierluigi Politi, Vassilis Martiadis, Natascia Brondino and Miriam Olivola
Clin. Pract. 2024, 14(4), 1234-1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract14040099 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Background: A significant number of young individuals are readmitted one or more times shortly after their first episode of psychosis. Readmission may represent a marker of psychopathological vulnerability. Our primary aim was to evaluate the impact of clinical and socio-demographic variables on readmission [...] Read more.
Background: A significant number of young individuals are readmitted one or more times shortly after their first episode of psychosis. Readmission may represent a marker of psychopathological vulnerability. Our primary aim was to evaluate the impact of clinical and socio-demographic variables on readmission at 12-month follow-up. Secondly, our goal was to determine whether the use of Long-Acting Injection (LAI) antipsychotics provides notable benefits compared to oral medications in preventing subsequent readmissions. Subjects and methods: 80 patients hospitalised for the first time with a diagnosis of psychotic disorder (ICD-10 criteria) were retrospectively assessed through clinical records. The mean age was 21.7 years. Patients were predominantly male (n = 62, 77.5%), and 55 subjects had at least 8 years of education. 50% of the sample was “NEET” (not in education, employment, or training). Results: 35 patients (43.8%) were discharged with a LAI antipsychotic, while 45 (56.2%) recieved oral antipsychotic therapy. Substance use (p = 0.04) and oral antipsychotics at discharge (p = 0.003) were significantly associated with readmission at 1 year. We did not find any significant predictors of being discharged with LAI therapy. Conclusion: Our findings underlined the importance of identifying patients at risk of readmission in order to prevent future rehospitalization and promote appropriate prevention strategies. LAIs should be considered as a first-choice treatment for patients hospitalised for FEP since they proved to be effective in preventing relapse. Full article
10 pages, 1884 KiB  
Article
Visual Fixation of Skull-Vibration-Induced Nystagmus in Patients with Peripheral Vestibulopathy
by Melissa Blanco, Chiara Monopoli-Roca, Marta Álvarez de Linera-Alperi, Pablo Menéndez Fernández-Miranda, Bárbara Molina, Angel Batuecas-Caletrío and Nicolás Pérez-Fernández
Audiol. Res. 2024, 14(4), 562-571; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres14040047 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Nystagmus induced by applying an intense vibratory stimulus to the skull (SVIN) indicates vestibular functional asymmetry. In unilateral vestibular loss, a 100 Hz bone-conducted vibration given to either mastoid immediately causes a primarily horizontal nystagmus. The test is performed in darkness to avoid [...] Read more.
Nystagmus induced by applying an intense vibratory stimulus to the skull (SVIN) indicates vestibular functional asymmetry. In unilateral vestibular loss, a 100 Hz bone-conducted vibration given to either mastoid immediately causes a primarily horizontal nystagmus. The test is performed in darkness to avoid visual fixation (VF) but there are no data about how much VF affects the often-intense SVIN. The aim is to analyze the amount of reduction in SVIN when VF is allowed during testing. Thus, all patients seen in a tertiary hospital for vertigo or dizziness with positive SVIN were included. SVIN was recorded for 10 s for each condition: without VF (aSVINwo) and with VF (aSVINw). We obtained an aSVINwo and an aSVINw as average slow-phase velocities (SPV) without and with VF. VF index (FISVIN) was calculated as the ratio of SPV. Among the 124 patients included, spontaneous nystagmus (SN) was found in 25% and the median slow phase velocity (mSPV) (without VF) of SN was 2.6 ± 2.4°/s. Mean FISVIN was 0.27 ± 0.29. FISVIN was 0 in 42 patients, and FISVIN between 0 and 1 was found in 82 (mean FISVIN 0.39 ± 0.02). Fixation suppression was found in all patients with SVIN in cases of peripheral vestibulopathy. FISVIN clearly delineates two populations of patients: with or without a complete visual reduction in nystagmus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Vestibular System: Physiology and Testing Methods)
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8 pages, 237 KiB  
Article
The Efficacy of Wireless Auditory Training in Unilateral Hearing Loss Rehabilitation
by Andrea Lovato, Daniele Monzani, Ylenia Kambo, Leonardo Franz, Andrea Frosolini and Cosimo De Filippis
Audiol. Res. 2024, 14(4), 554-561; https://doi.org/10.3390/audiolres14040046 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of auditory training (AT) in patients with unilateral hearing loss (UHL) using hearing aids (HAs), comparing traditional methods with a new approach involving a wireless remote microphone. Methods: The study included 96 [...] Read more.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of auditory training (AT) in patients with unilateral hearing loss (UHL) using hearing aids (HAs), comparing traditional methods with a new approach involving a wireless remote microphone. Methods: The study included 96 participants, divided into two groups, with ages ranging from 42 to 64 years, comprising both male and female subjects. A clinical trial including consecutive moderate UHL patients was performed at our institution. For the study group, a Roger Pen was used during AT with patients inside a sound-attenuating cabin. Controls followed conventional sessions. Professional speech and language pathologists performed the rehabilitation. Audiological outcomes were measured, including word recognition at signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) of 0 dB, +5 dB, and +10 dB, to determine the effectiveness of the training. Measurements also included the Speech, Spatial, and Qualities of Hearing Scale to assess perceived auditory abilities. Results: A total of 46 and 50 UHL patients were randomly included in the study and control groups, respectively. No differences were found in terms of sex, age, presence of tinnitus, duration of hearing loss, pure tone average, and speech-in-noise perception without an HA. Following HA fitting and AT, a notable enhancement in the ability to identify speech in noisy environments was observed in the study group. This improvement was significant at SNRs of +5 and +10. When comparing the ability to identify speech in noise using HAs across both groups, it was observed that hearing capabilities post-wireless AT showed a significant improvement at an SNR of +5. Only the study group had a significant improvement in the total Speech, Spatial, and Qualities of Hearing Scale score after the training. Conclusions: In our group of UHL patients, we found significantly better speech-in-noise perception when HA fitting was followed by wireless AT. Wireless AT may facilitate usage of HAs, leading to binaural hearing in UHL patients. Our findings suggest that future interventions might benefit from incorporating wireless technology in AT programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation of Hearing Impairment: 2nd Edition)
18 pages, 1253 KiB  
Entry
Tethered Swimming: Historical Notes and Future Prospects
by Pedro Morouço, Dina Tavares and Hugo Plácido Silva
Encyclopedia 2024, 4(3), 1044-1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/encyclopedia4030067 - 24 Jun 2024
Definition
Swimming coaches know that a swimmer’s assessment must be specific and ecological. Thus, it is critical to select and employ adequate methodologies. The tethered swimming method can be useful and valid, in addition to being simple to apply. Regular use of this methodology [...] Read more.
Swimming coaches know that a swimmer’s assessment must be specific and ecological. Thus, it is critical to select and employ adequate methodologies. The tethered swimming method can be useful and valid, in addition to being simple to apply. Regular use of this methodology can give coaches tools to intervene with their swimmers and increase performance. The main objective of this manuscript was to analyze the potential for measuring the propulsive forces exerted in water as a biomechanical tool for evaluating and training competitive swimmers. The key results demonstrated that this methodology allows (i) the assessment of upper limb bilateral kinetic asymmetries; (ii) the evaluation of the contribution of the upper and lower limb actions, inferring about the (un)balance between strength and coordination; (iii) the examination of the relationship between the intracyclic variations in speed and force; (iv) the evaluation of the effective application of force to the speed of high-level swimmers. Furthermore, this manuscript suggests advances using mathematical modeling and artificial intelligence (AI) that will provide significant insights into swimming performances. AI developments will promote its integration into sports optimization, and swimming will be no exception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biology & Life Sciences)
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46 pages, 5926 KiB  
Review
Precision Nanomedicine with Bio-Inspired Nanosystems: Recent Trends and Challenges in Mesenchymal Stem Cells Membrane-Coated Bioengineered Nanocarriers in Targeted Nanotherapeutics
by Mirza Salman Baig, Anas Ahmad, Rijawan Rajjak Pathan and Rakesh Kumar Mishra
J. Xenobiot. 2024, 14(3), 827-872; https://doi.org/10.3390/jox14030047 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
In the recent past, the formulation and development of nanocarriers has been elaborated into the broader fields and opened various avenues in their preclinical and clinical applications. In particular, the cellular membrane-based nanoformulations have been formulated to surpass and surmount the limitations and [...] Read more.
In the recent past, the formulation and development of nanocarriers has been elaborated into the broader fields and opened various avenues in their preclinical and clinical applications. In particular, the cellular membrane-based nanoformulations have been formulated to surpass and surmount the limitations and restrictions associated with naïve or free forms of therapeutic compounds and circumvent various physicochemical and immunological barriers including but not limited to systemic barriers, microenvironmental roadblocks, and other cellular or subcellular hinderances—which are quite heterogeneous throughout the diseases and patient cohorts. These limitations in drug delivery have been overcome through mesenchymal cells membrane-based precision therapeutics, where these interventions have led to the significant enhancements in therapeutic efficacies. However, the formulation and development of nanocarriers still focuses on optimization of drug delivery paradigms with a one-size-fits-all resolutions. As mesenchymal stem cell membrane-based nanocarriers have been engineered in highly diversified fashions, these are being optimized for delivering the drug payloads in more and better personalized modes, entering the arena of precision as well as personalized nanomedicine. In this Review, we have included some of the advanced nanocarriers which have been designed and been utilized in both the non-personalized as well as precision applicability which can be employed for the improvements in precision nanotherapeutics. In the present report, authors have focused on various other aspects of the advancements in stem cells membrane-based nanoparticle conceptions which can surmount several roadblocks and barriers in drug delivery and nanomedicine. It has been suggested that well-informed designing of these nanocarriers will lead to appreciable improvements in the therapeutic efficacy in therapeutic payload delivery applications. These approaches will also enable the tailored and customized designs of MSC-based nanocarriers for personalized therapeutic applications, and finally amending the patient outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drug Therapeutics)
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12 pages, 870 KiB  
Article
Nursing Leadership in a Post-Pandemic Elective Orthopaedic Theatre Department: A Detailed Thematic Analysis of an Open-Ended Qualitative Survey
by Carlo Biz, Lisa Buffon, Davide Scapinello, Sean Semple, Elisa Belluzzi, Ron Batash and Pietro Ruggieri
Nurs. Rep. 2024, 14(3), 1541-1552; https://doi.org/10.3390/nursrep14030116 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nursing theatre staff, departmental activity, and delivery of services to patients. This work-based project aimed to investigate the challenges of nursing leadership in an elective orthopaedic department at current times. Methods: The study collected qualitative data exploring [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nursing theatre staff, departmental activity, and delivery of services to patients. This work-based project aimed to investigate the challenges of nursing leadership in an elective orthopaedic department at current times. Methods: The study collected qualitative data exploring theatre staff’s expectations from leadership, offering insight on how the pandemic has influenced the way of working and exploring how the future in this unit may look. The answers from 20 practitioners to an anonymised open-ended survey were examined using thematic analysis. Results: The participants described a leader as a good communicator who focuses on empowering others and supporting the team, identified by the majority as a senior team member. From the findings, three topics were identified: immediate changes, delayed changes, and pre-existing conditions. The answers painted a reality that is complex and multifaceted, where numerous variables play a part in the physical and mental health of each candidate, impacting their performance as well as their work/life balance. Overall, the strongest subjects recurring in the findings were the need for nursing leadership to focus on supporting staff with training opportunities, to actively plan for a reduction in staffing shortages, and to be constantly mindful of staff well-being. Conclusions: This study pointed out that the need for constant communication with their staff, building honest relationships, and being a reliable leader, focused on empowering others and supporting the team were important factors for the nursing management during the COVID-19 pandemic and post-COVID-19 era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Nursing Care)
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17 pages, 1295 KiB  
Review
Future Therapeutics: Targeting the NLRP3 Inflammasome Pathway to Manage Diabetic Retinopathy Development and Progression
by Charisse Y. J. Kuo, Ilva D. Rupenthal, Rinki Murphy and Odunayo O. Mugisho
Int. J. Transl. Med. 2024, 4(3), 402-418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijtm4030027 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
While existing local therapies partially restore vision loss from diabetic retinopathy (DR), there is currently no reliable treatment to prevent the onset or stop the progression of the disease. This review seeks to explore the inflammatory molecular mechanisms underpinning DR pathogenesis, which have [...] Read more.
While existing local therapies partially restore vision loss from diabetic retinopathy (DR), there is currently no reliable treatment to prevent the onset or stop the progression of the disease. This review seeks to explore the inflammatory molecular mechanisms underpinning DR pathogenesis, which have not been targeted by current interventions. Specifically, this review explores the role of the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptor (NLR) protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome in DR onset and progression. Evidence through clinical trials has begun to note that specific drugs (fenofibrate, metformin) appear effective in slowing DR progression independent of lipid or glucose-lowering, respectively, suggesting that other mechanisms are at play. Novel therapeutics that inhibit the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway may provide a novel treatment for halting DR progression. Full article
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17 pages, 1193 KiB  
Article
Tubulovesicula lindbergi (Layman, 1930) (Digenea: Hemiuridae) in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean: A Morphological and Phylogenetic Study Based on Specimens Found in Nebris microps (Actinopterygii: Sciaenidae) off the Brazilian Coast
by Camila Pantoja, Fabiano Paschoal, Jorge Luiz Silva Nunes and Hudson Alves Pinto
Taxonomy 2024, 4(3), 447-463; https://doi.org/10.3390/taxonomy4030022 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
This study presents the first record of T. lindbergi from the southwestern Atlantic Ocean, based on specimens collected from the smalleye croaker Nebris microps Cuvier (Sciaenidae), off the coast of Maranhão Island, State of Maranhão, Brazil. Our approach included a morphological analysis [...] Read more.
This study presents the first record of T. lindbergi from the southwestern Atlantic Ocean, based on specimens collected from the smalleye croaker Nebris microps Cuvier (Sciaenidae), off the coast of Maranhão Island, State of Maranhão, Brazil. Our approach included a morphological analysis complemented by DNA sequencing (28S, ITS2 rDNA, and cox1 mtDNA). Our phylogenetic analysis revealed the affinity of T. lindbergi to its congener T. laticaudi Parukhin, 1969, a digenean parasite commonly found in hydrophiine snakes inhabiting the Pacific Ocean. The interspecific divergence between T. lindbergi and T. laticaudi measures 3.80% for 28S, 7.49–7.64% for ITS2, and 16.29–16.70% for cox1. Our findings expand the documented geographic range of T. lindbergi into the southwestern Atlantic Ocean, report a novel host record, and increase the number of hemiurids known from Brazil to 30 species. Additionally, this study represents the initial documentation of a marine digenean fish within the North Brazil Shelf. Full article
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31 pages, 1405 KiB  
Article
AR Platform for Indoor Navigation: New Potential Approach Extensible to Older People with Cognitive Impairment
by Luigi Bibbò, Alessia Bramanti, Jatin Sharma and Francesco Cotroneo
BioMedInformatics 2024, 4(3), 1589-1619; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedinformatics4030087 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Abstract: Background: Cognitive loss is one of the biggest health problems for older people. The incidence of dementia increases with age, so Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most prevalent type of dementia, is expected to increase. Patients with dementia find it difficult [...] Read more.
Abstract: Background: Cognitive loss is one of the biggest health problems for older people. The incidence of dementia increases with age, so Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most prevalent type of dementia, is expected to increase. Patients with dementia find it difficult to cope with their daily activities and resort to family members or caregivers. However, aging generally leads to a loss of orientation and navigation skills. This phenomenon creates great inconvenience for autonomous walking, especially in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The loss of orientation and navigation skills is most felt when old people move from their usual environments to nursing homes or residential facilities. This necessarily involves a person’s constant presence to prevent the patient from moving without a defined destination or incurring dangerous situations. Methods: A navigation system is a support to allow older patients to move without resorting to their caregivers. This application meets the need for helping older people to move without incurring dangers. The aim of the study was to verify the possibility of applying the technology normally used for video games for the development of an indoor navigation system. There is no evidence of this in the literature. Results: We have developed an easy-to-use solution that can be extended to patients with MCI, easing the workload of caregivers and improving patient safety. The method applied was the use of the Unity Vuforia platform, with which an augmented reality APK application was produced on a smartphone. Conclusion: The model differs from traditional techniques because it does not use arrows or labels to identify the desired destination. The solution was tested in the laboratory with staff members. No animal species have been used. The destinations were successfully reached, with an error of 2%. A test was conducted against some evaluation parameters on the use of the model. The values are all close to the maximum expected value. Future developments include testing the application with a predefined protocol in a real-world environment with MCI patients. Full article
22 pages, 2851 KiB  
Article
Innovative Development of Rural Green Tourism in Ukraine
by Michał Roman, Iryna Kudinova, Viktoriia Samsonova and Norbert Kawęcki
Tour. Hosp. 2024, 5(3), 537-558; https://doi.org/10.3390/tourhosp5030033 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
The purpose of the article was to investigate the potential of rural green tourism in Ukraine and to determine the main directions of its innovative development, taking into account global, national, and regional trends. SLR (Systematic Literature Review), methods of expert assessment, selective [...] Read more.
The purpose of the article was to investigate the potential of rural green tourism in Ukraine and to determine the main directions of its innovative development, taking into account global, national, and regional trends. SLR (Systematic Literature Review), methods of expert assessment, selective observation, and graphic method were used to achieve the set goal. The article analyzes the current state of rural green tourism in Ukraine; the tourism and recreation potential of rural areas of Ukraine was assessed; promising types of innovations that are currently relevant for implementation in the practice of providing services in the field of rural green tourism in Ukraine are defined and grouped; and the impact of global, national, and regional trends on the current stage of activity and further development of rural green tourism in Ukraine is determined. It is determined that in modern economic conditions, rural tourism serves as a stabilizing factor that will contribute not only to maintaining the normal living standards of rural residents, but also to the development of the region’s economy, service infrastructure, household services, and the social sphere. Thus, rural green tourism is the main tool for stimulating the economic and socio-cultural development of rural areas. The results of the assessment of the tourist and recreational potential of rural green tourism of Ukraine showed that the recreational and tourist attractiveness of rural areas is mainly determined by natural and ecological conditions, cultural and historical conditions, and the tourist infrastructure of the region. Financial economic, socio-demographic, and administrative management conditions negatively affect the recreational and tourist attractiveness of rural areas, resulting in the low ability of the rural population to implement innovations. It has been established that in order for the tourist business to be able to quickly adapt to the normal state, it is necessary to introduce innovative types of tourism that will make it possible to attract a larger number of people to the tourist business and establish additional income due to the introduction of innovative offers, new tours, visits to special places, and the entire range of services of the best quality, which will contribute to the accelerated implementation of online forms and digital tools in the provision of tourist services, etc. It has been proven that the introduction of innovations plays an important role in ensuring the sustainable and balanced development of rural tourism in Ukraine, contributing to the creation of new opportunities and improving the quality of tourist services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations as a Factor of Competitiveness in Tourism 2.0)
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9 pages, 723 KiB  
Article
Violent Behaviour and Emotional Intelligence in Physical Education: The Effects of an Intervention Programme
by Manuel Ortiz-Franco, Félix Zurita-Ortega, Eduardo Melguizo-Ibáñez, Gabriel González-Valero, David Lindell-Postigo and José Luis Ubago-Jiménez
Eur. J. Investig. Health Psychol. Educ. 2024, 14(7), 1881-1889; https://doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe14070124 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Violent behaviour in the secondary education stage is a serious concern that comes from low emotional control. Judo is a sport that requires self-control and high emotional competence to mitigate aggressive behaviours. This research presents the objectives of analysing the correlations of different [...] Read more.
Violent behaviour in the secondary education stage is a serious concern that comes from low emotional control. Judo is a sport that requires self-control and high emotional competence to mitigate aggressive behaviours. This research presents the objectives of analysing the correlations of different types of aggressive behaviours before an intervention program with those after said program, as well as study the effect of emotions on aggressive behaviours before and after the intervention program through multigroup structural equation modelling. A quasi-experimental study was planned. It used a pre-test–post-test design in a population of 139 secondary school students (M = 15.76; SD = 1.066). The instruments were an ad hoc questionnaire, the Schutte Self-Report Inventory and the Violent Behaviour at School Scale. The data show that the intervention decreased the correlations between different types of violent behaviours. The results show an increase in the effect of emotional intelligence on mitigating aggressive attitudes. The promotion and use of contact sports is necessary to prevent the emergence of aggressive behaviours within a school environment. Full article
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18 pages, 2024 KiB  
Article
Parametric Design of an Advanced Multi-Axial Energy-Storing-and-Releasing Ankle–Foot Prosthesis
by Marco Leopaldi, Tommaso Maria Brugo, Johnnidel Tabucol and Andrea Zucchelli
Prosthesis 2024, 6(4), 726-743; https://doi.org/10.3390/prosthesis6040051 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
The ankle joint is pivotal in prosthetic feet, especially in Energy-Storing-and-Releasing feet, favoured by individuals with moderate to high mobility (K3/K4) due to their energy efficiency and simple construction. ESR feet, mainly designed for sagittal-plane motion, often exhibit high stiffness in other planes, [...] Read more.
The ankle joint is pivotal in prosthetic feet, especially in Energy-Storing-and-Releasing feet, favoured by individuals with moderate to high mobility (K3/K4) due to their energy efficiency and simple construction. ESR feet, mainly designed for sagittal-plane motion, often exhibit high stiffness in other planes, leading to difficulties in adapting to varied ground conditions, potentially causing discomfort or pain. This study aims to present a systematic methodology for modifying the ankle joint’s stiffness properties across its three motion planes, tailored to individual user preferences, and to decouple the sagittal-plane behaviour from the frontal and transverse ones. To integrate the multi-axial ankle inside the MyFlex-η, the designing of experiments using finite element analysis was conducted to explore the impact of geometric parameters on the joint’s properties with respect to design constraints and to reach the defined stiffness targets on the three ankle’s motion planes. A prototype of the multi-axial ankle joint was then manufactured and tested under FEA-derived load conditions to validate the final configuration chosen. Composite elastic elements and complementary parts of the MyFlex-η, incorporating the multi-axial ankle joint, were developed, and the prosthesis was biomechanically tested according to lower limb prosthesis ISO standards and guidelines from literature and the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA). Experimental tests showed strong alignment with numerical predictions. Moreover, implementing the multi-axial ankle significantly increased frontal-plane compliance by 414% with respect to the same prosthesis with only one degree of freedom on the sagittal plane without affecting the main plane of locomotion performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Foot Prosthesis and Orthosis)
13 pages, 445 KiB  
Article
Online Games and Cognitive Distortions: A Comparative Analysis in Students with and without Disabilities
by Raquel Suriá-Martínez, Fernando García-Castillo, Carmen Sánchez-Lopez, Esther Villegas and Carmen Carretón
Eur. J. Investig. Health Psychol. Educ. 2024, 14(7), 1868-1880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe14070123 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Online games have experienced significant growth in recent years, with gaming becoming a popular form of entertainment for people of all ages. However, their impact on cognition, especially among vulnerable groups such as students with disabilities, is a topic that requires deeper exploration. [...] Read more.
Online games have experienced significant growth in recent years, with gaming becoming a popular form of entertainment for people of all ages. However, their impact on cognition, especially among vulnerable groups such as students with disabilities, is a topic that requires deeper exploration. The objectives of this study are twofold: firstly, to understand the typology of risk players (non-risk players, players with problems, and pathological players); and secondly, to compare cognitive distortions among students with problematic profiles. Both objectives will be analyzed based on the presence or absence of disability. A total of 704 students from various Spanish universities (135 with disabilities and 569 without disabilities), aged between 18 and 38, participated in the study by completing the Gamblers Belief Questionnaire (GBQ), aimed at measuring cognitive distortions related to gambling problems, as well as the Massachusetts Gambling Screen questionnaire, aimed at measuring gambling addiction. The results indicate a higher percentage of students with disabilities showing a greater risk profile for addiction. Additionally, this group of students exhibits more cognitive distortions. These findings underscore the need for a comprehensive approach to addressing online gaming addiction and cognitive distortions among university students, with and without disabilities. Preventive measures are necessary, such as education on responsible technology use and the promotion of alternative activities. Moreover, specific intervention strategies need to be developed, including access to psychological health services for this student population. Full article
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9 pages, 609 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Outcome of Surgery for Perianal Crohn’s Fistula
by Marie Schaad, Alain Schoepfer, Jean-Benoît Rossel, Mamadou Pathé Barry, Gerhard Rogler and Dieter Hahnloser
Medicina 2024, 60(7), 1035; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60071035 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Patients with perianal Crohn’s (CD) fistula often need repetitive surgeries and none of the established techniques was shown to be superior or preferable. Furthermore, the long-term outcome of fistula Seton drainage is not well described. The aims of this [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Patients with perianal Crohn’s (CD) fistula often need repetitive surgeries and none of the established techniques was shown to be superior or preferable. Furthermore, the long-term outcome of fistula Seton drainage is not well described. The aims of this study were to analyze the long-term healing and recurrence rate of CD perianal fistulas in a large patient cohort. Materials and Methods: Database analysis of the Swiss IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) cohort study. Results: 365 perianal fistula patients with 576 surgical interventions and a median follow-up of 7.5 years (0–12.6) were analyzed. 39.7% of patients required more than one procedure. The first surgical interventions were fistulectomies ± mucosal sliding flap (59.2%), Seton drainage (29.6%), fistula plugs or fibrin glue installations (2.5%) and combined procedures (8.8%). Fistulectomy patients required no more surgery in 69%, one additional surgery in 25% and more than one additional surgery in 6%, with closure rates at 7.5 years follow-up of 77.1%, 74.1% and 66.7%, respectively. In patients with Seton drainage as index surgery, 52% required no more surgery, and over 75% achieved fistula closure after 10 years. Conclusions: First-line fistulectomies, when feasible, achieved the highest healing rates, but one-third of patients required additional surgeries, and one-fourth of patients will remain with a fistula at 10 years. Initial Seton drainage and concurrent medical therapy can achieve fistula closure in 75%. However, in 50% of patients, more surgeries are needed, and fistula closure is achieved in only two-thirds of patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colorectal Surgery: Clinical Advances and Challenges)
13 pages, 1150 KiB  
Article
Adaptation of Conventional Wheat Flour Mill to Refine Sorghum, Corn, and Cowpea
by Michael Joseph, Sajid Alavi, Akinbode A. Adedeji, Lijia Zhu, Jeff Gwirtz and Shawn Thiele
AgriEngineering 2024, 6(3), 1959-1971; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering6030114 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
This study evaluated the refinement of sorghum, corn, and cowpea grains using the processing steps and equipment originally designed for wheat milling that consists of a conventional gradual reduction system. The need to mill these grains resulted from a desire to produce alternative [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the refinement of sorghum, corn, and cowpea grains using the processing steps and equipment originally designed for wheat milling that consists of a conventional gradual reduction system. The need to mill these grains resulted from a desire to produce alternative ingredients for developing new fortified blended extruded foods used for food aid programming. Milling of white sorghum grain resulted in a crude protein content of 7.4% (wb) for both whole and coarse-milled flour. The crude protein content in whole fine-milled sorghum was 6.8% (wb), which was significantly lower than that of whole coarse flour at 9.3% (wb). A decrease in the ash content of sorghum flour correlates with the decortication process. However, degermed corn, fine and coarse, had significantly different crude protein content of 6.0 ± 0.2% (wb) and 7.7 ± 0.06% (wb), respectively. Degerming of corn improved the quality of corn flour (fine and coarse) by reducing the crude fat content from 3.3 ± 0.18% (wb) to 1.2 ± 0.02% (wb) and 0.6 ± 0.13% (wb), respectively. This helped increase the starch content from 60.1 ± 0.28% (wb) in raw corn to 74.7 ± 0.93% (wb) and 71.8 ± 0.00% (wb) in degermed fine and coarse corn flour, respectively. Cowpea milling did not produce differences in the milling stream outputs when the crude fat and crude protein were compared. Whole flour from the grains had higher milling yields than decorticated flour. This study demonstrated that a mill dedicated to wheat size reduction can be adapted to refine other grains to high quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pre and Post-Harvest Engineering in Agriculture)
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7 pages, 575 KiB  
Case Report
Direct Aspiration Thrombectomy in the Management of Procedural Thromboembolic Complications Related to Endovascular Brain Aneurysm Treatment
by Damljan Bogicevic, Filip Vitosevic, Svetlana Milosevic Medenica, Vladimir Kalousek, Marjana Vukicevic and Lukas Rasulic
Medicina 2024, 60(7), 1034; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60071034 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Despite growing evidence over the last few years of the efficacy and safety of direct thrombus aspiration using a large bore distal access catheter as a type of mechanical thrombectomy procedure in acute stroke large-vessel occlusion patients, the experience and evidence of this [...] Read more.
Despite growing evidence over the last few years of the efficacy and safety of direct thrombus aspiration using a large bore distal access catheter as a type of mechanical thrombectomy procedure in acute stroke large-vessel occlusion patients, the experience and evidence of this technique for managing thromboembolic complications in endovascular aneurysm treatment is still limited and little research is available regarding this topic. We present a case of a thromboembolic occlusion of the left middle cerebral artery during the preprocedural angiograms of a large and fusiform left internal carotid artery aneurysm. This complication was successfully managed by navigating an already-placed distal access catheter intended for support during the opening of the flow-diverting stent; therefore, the thrombus was manually aspirated for two minutes, and Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction (TICI) scale 3 flow was restored. This case should encourage the use of a distal access catheter, already placed for aneurysm treatment, to perform zero-delay direct thrombus aspiration as a rescue approach for thromboembolic complications during endovascular treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Acute Ischemic Stroke)
22 pages, 6519 KiB  
Article
Preserving Heritage Riverine Bridges: A Hydrological Approach to the Case Study of the Grau Bridge in Peru
by Joel Ccanccapa Puma, Alejandro Víctor Hidalgo Valdivia, Alain Jorge Espinoza Vigil and Julian Booker
Heritage 2024, 7(7), 3350-3371; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage7070158 - 24 Jun 2024
Abstract
Heritage bridges constitute an integral feature of the urban landscape in numerous cities. However, it is common for these structures to surpass their life cycle, rendering them ill-equipped to withstand the dynamic demands of users and extreme events, particularly hydrological occurrences. This research [...] Read more.
Heritage bridges constitute an integral feature of the urban landscape in numerous cities. However, it is common for these structures to surpass their life cycle, rendering them ill-equipped to withstand the dynamic demands of users and extreme events, particularly hydrological occurrences. This research presents a methodology for the assessment of heritage riverine bridges, with a focus on the Grau Bridge in Peru as a case study. The investigation commences with an exhaustive literature review, complemented by a historical examination, followed by a preliminary diagnosis. Subsequently, hydrological and hydraulic studies are presented, encompassing drone surveys of the riverbed and the bridge, soil analyses, and the application of 1D and 2D models in HEC-RAS. The outcomes of this comprehensive analysis reveal the high vulnerability of the Grau Bridge. Finally, strategic interventions for its conservation are recommended. Full article

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