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Article
Optimal Sizing of Rooftop PV and Battery Storage for Grid-Connected Houses Considering Flat and Time-of-Use Electricity Rates
by , , , and
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3520; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123520 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
This paper investigates a comparative study for practical optimal sizing of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage systems (BESSs) for grid-connected houses (GCHs) by considering flat and time-of-use (TOU) electricity rate options. Two system configurations, PV only and PV-BESS, were optimally [...] Read more.
This paper investigates a comparative study for practical optimal sizing of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage systems (BESSs) for grid-connected houses (GCHs) by considering flat and time-of-use (TOU) electricity rate options. Two system configurations, PV only and PV-BESS, were optimally sized by minimizing the net present cost of electricity for four options of electricity rates. A practical model was developed by considering grid constraints, daily supply of charge of electricity, salvation value and degradation of PV and BESS, actual annual data of load and solar, and current market price of components. A rule-based energy management system was examined for GCHs to control the power flow among PV, BESS, load, and grid. Various sensitivity analyses are presented to examine the impacts of grid constraint and electricity rates on the cost of electricity and the sizes of the components. Although the capacity optimization model is generally developed for any case study, a grid-connected house in Australia is considered as the case system in this paper. It is found that the TOU-Flat option for the PV-BESS configuration achieved the lowest NPC compared to other configuration and options. The optimal capacities of rooftop PV and BESS were obtained as 9 kW and 6 kWh, respectively, for the PV-BESS configuration with TOU-Flat according to two performance metrices: net present cost and cost of electricity. Full article
Article
Cement-Bonded Particleboards with Banana Pseudostem Waste: Physical Performance and Bio-Susceptibility
by , , , , and
Infrastructures 2021, 6(6), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures6060086 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
This article evaluates the relevant properties of cement-bonded particleboards (CBPB) made with a portion of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) particles replaced with an agricultural waste, banana pseudostem (Musa sp.). The industrial production of CBPB was simulated in the laboratory based [...] Read more.
This article evaluates the relevant properties of cement-bonded particleboards (CBPB) made with a portion of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) particles replaced with an agricultural waste, banana pseudostem (Musa sp.). The industrial production of CBPB was simulated in the laboratory based on a reference composition defined by a manufacturing company. Test specimens were produced assuming 0%, 25%, 50% and 75% partial replacement of wood particles with banana pseudostem fibres. Some physical properties (bulk density, thermal conductivity, and dimensional stability) and the mould susceptibility of the different variables were assessed. Results show that the thermal conductivity of the boards increased with the banana fibre proportion and ranged between 0.233 W/(m.K) and 0.279 W/(m.K). The bulk density values generally increased with the banana fibre proportion and ranged between 1754–1995 kg/m3, being the highest value obtained for B50 (equal weight proportion of wood particles and banana fibres). Specimens with a higher percentage of banana fibres have reduced thickness resulting from swelling, ranging between 0.38% and 0.11% (for 0% and 75% of banana fibres, respectively). CBPBs with unsanded surfaces seem to be unsusceptible to mould development, whereas those with sanded surfaces, simulating wearing, show some bio-susceptibility. Mould development increases with the proportion of banana fibre. The results highlight the need for regular maintenance of the particleboards, thus avoiding surface wear over time and resulting in the exposure of the wood particles and/or banana fibres to the outside environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durability and Degradability of Construction Materials)
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Article
Generalized Mixtures of Exponential Distribution and Associated Inference
by , and
Mathematics 2021, 9(12), 1371; https://doi.org/10.3390/math9121371 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
A new generalization of the exponential distribution, namely the generalized mixture of exponential distribution, is introduced. Some of its basic properties, such as hazard function, moments, order statistics, mean deviation, measures of uncertainly, and reliability probability, are studied. Three different estimation methods are [...] Read more.
A new generalization of the exponential distribution, namely the generalized mixture of exponential distribution, is introduced. Some of its basic properties, such as hazard function, moments, order statistics, mean deviation, measures of uncertainly, and reliability probability, are studied. Three different estimation methods are investigated by the maximum likelihood estimator, least-square estimator, and weighted least-square estimator. The performances of the estimators are assessed by simulation studies. Real-world applications of the proposed distribution are explored, and data fitting results show that the new distribution performs better than its competitors. Full article
Article
Design, Development, and Performance Evaluation of a Power-Operated Jute Fiber Extraction Machine
by , , , , , and
AgriEngineering 2021, 3(2), 403-422; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering3020027 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Jute is the golden fiber of Bangladesh, but its production is declining due to the involvement of higher production and processing costs, where a major portion of the cost is needed for fiber extraction. Labor unavailability and increasing labor cost have led to [...] Read more.
Jute is the golden fiber of Bangladesh, but its production is declining due to the involvement of higher production and processing costs, where a major portion of the cost is needed for fiber extraction. Labor unavailability and increasing labor cost have led to higher jute fiber production cost. To address these issues, this study looks at the development of a power-operated and cost-effective fiber extraction machine aiming at reducing the production cost. The study was conducted at the Rangpur regional office premises of Practical Action in Bangladesh, and the developed machine was branded as “Aashkol”, which had the following major parts: a feeding tray, a primary extraction roller, a secondary extraction roller, grabbing rollers, fiber collection stand, base frame, protection cover, and a spring-loaded tray under the primary extraction roller. The Aashkol can extract green ribbon from the jute stem, but jute sticks were broken down into smaller pieces (3–6 cm). The performance evaluation of the machine was conducted using different types of jute (Deshi, Kenaf, and Tossa) and compared with another jute extraction machine (KP model, introduced by Karupannya Rangpur Ltd.). The Aashkol-based extraction and improved retting systems were also evaluated and compared with traditional jute extraction systems. The jute stem input capacity (4.99 t h−1) of the Aashkol was 47.6% higher than the KP model (3.38 t h−1). Compared with the traditional system, across jute types, the Aashkol produced a 9% higher fiber yield and saved 46% retting time. Overall, the Aashkol reduced 90% of the labor requirement and saved 11.6 USD t−1 in jute fiber extraction and retting than the traditional method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evaluation of New Technological Solutions in Agriculture)
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Review
Functions of Coronavirus Accessory Proteins: Overview of the State of the Art
by , , , and
Viruses 2021, 13(6), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13061139 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Coronavirus accessory proteins are a unique set of proteins whose genes are interspersed among or within the genes encoding structural proteins. Different coronavirus genera, or even different species within the same coronavirus genus, encode varying amounts of accessory proteins, leading to genus- or [...] Read more.
Coronavirus accessory proteins are a unique set of proteins whose genes are interspersed among or within the genes encoding structural proteins. Different coronavirus genera, or even different species within the same coronavirus genus, encode varying amounts of accessory proteins, leading to genus- or species-specificity. Though accessory proteins are dispensable for the replication of coronavirus in vitro, they play important roles in regulating innate immunity, viral proliferation, and pathogenicity. The function of accessory proteins on virus infection and pathogenesis is an area of particular interest. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on accessory proteins of several representative coronaviruses that infect humans or animals, including the emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with an emphasis on their roles in interaction between virus and host, mainly involving stress response, innate immunity, autophagy, and apoptosis. The cross-talking among these pathways is also discussed. Full article
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Article
Household Income and Psychological Distress: Exploring Women’s Paid and Unpaid Work as Mediators
by and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6402; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126402 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Research suggests that a socioeconomic gradient in employed adults’ mental health may be partially mediated by their work conditions. Largely ignored in this body of research is the potential role of unpaid domestic labor. The objectives of this paper were to determine whether [...] Read more.
Research suggests that a socioeconomic gradient in employed adults’ mental health may be partially mediated by their work conditions. Largely ignored in this body of research is the potential role of unpaid domestic labor. The objectives of this paper were to determine whether socioeconomic disparities in mental health were present in a sample of employed, partnered mothers, and if so, identify the intervening mechanisms which contributed to the disparity. Participants for this cross-sectional study were 512 women recruited from an online research panel of residents living in Saskatchewan, Canada. Household income was the primary exposure and psychological distress was the dependent variable. Potential mediators included material deprivation, job control, job demands, work–family conflict, and the conditions of domestic labor. Descriptive analyses followed by simple and multiple mediation analyses were performed. Lower income was associated with greater distress, with material deprivation, work–family conflict, and inequity in responsibility for domestic work acting as mediators. These results suggest that in addition to more well-established mechanisms, the conditions of unpaid domestic labor, particularly how that labor is shared within households, may play a role in the genesis of mental health inequities among employed partnered mothers. Limitations of the study are discussed as are implications for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Socioeconomic Circumstances and Mental Health)
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Article
A Novel and Efficient High-Yield Method for Preparing Bacterial Ghosts
by , , , , and
Toxins 2021, 13(6), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13060420 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Bacterial ghosts (BGs) are empty cell envelopes possessing native extracellular structures without a cytoplasm and genetic materials. BGs are proposed to have significant prospects in biomedical research as vaccines or delivery carriers. The applications of BGs are often limited by inefficient bacterial lysis [...] Read more.
Bacterial ghosts (BGs) are empty cell envelopes possessing native extracellular structures without a cytoplasm and genetic materials. BGs are proposed to have significant prospects in biomedical research as vaccines or delivery carriers. The applications of BGs are often limited by inefficient bacterial lysis and a low yield. To solve these problems, we compared the lysis efficiency of the wild-type protein E (EW) from phage ΦX174 and the screened mutant protein E (EM) in the Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) strain. The results show that the lysis efficiency mediated by protein EM was improved. The implementation of the pLysS plasmid allowed nearly 100% lysis efficiency, with a high initial cell density as high as OD600 = 2.0, which was higher compared to the commonly used BG preparation method. The results of Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence indicate that the expression level of protein EM was significantly higher than that of the non-pLysS plasmid. High-quality BGs were observed by SEM and TEM. To verify the applicability of this method in other bacteria, the T7 RNA polymerase expression system was successfully constructed in Salmonella enterica (S. Enterica, SE). A pET vector containing EM and pLysS were introduced to obtain high-quality SE ghosts which could provide efficient protection for humans and animals. This paper describes a novel and commonly used method to produce high-quality BGs on a large scale for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Pore-Forming Toxin)
Article
Evaluation of Neighborhood Socio-Economic Status, As Measured by the Delphi Method, on Dengue Fever Distribution in Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia
by and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6407; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126407 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Dengue fever, a mosquito-transmitted viral disease, is present in many neighborhoods in Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia. One factor likely to affect its distribution is the socio-economic status of local neighborhoods; however, the absence of socio-economic census data in Saudi Arabia has precluded detailed [...] Read more.
Dengue fever, a mosquito-transmitted viral disease, is present in many neighborhoods in Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia. One factor likely to affect its distribution is the socio-economic status of local neighborhoods; however, the absence of socio-economic census data in Saudi Arabia has precluded detailed investigation. This study aims to develop a proxy measure of socio-economic status in Jeddah City in order to assess its relationship with the occurrence of dengue fever. The Delphi method was used to assess the socio-economic status (high, medium or low) of local neighborhoods in Jeddah City. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was applied to understand the distribution of dengue fever according to the socio-economic status of Jeddah City neighborhoods. Low-socio-economic status neighborhoods in south Jeddah City, with poor environmental conditions and high levels of poverty and population density, reported most cases of dengue fever. Nevertheless, dengue continues to increase in high socio-economic status neighborhoods in the northern part of the city, possibly due to ideal breeding conditions caused by the presence of standing water associated with high levels of construction. Moreover, the low-socioeconomic-status neighborhoods had the highest average number of cases, being 3.95 times that of high-status neighborhoods for the period 2006–2009. The Delphi approach can produce a useful and robust measure of socio-economic status for use in the analysis of patterns of dengue fever. Results suggest that there are nuances in the relationship between socio-economic status and dengue that indicate that higher status areas are also at risk. A useful additional tool for researchers in Saudi Arabia would be the development of census data or other systematic measures that allow socio-economic status to be included in spatial analyses of dengue fever and other diseases. Full article
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Article
Cross-Cultural Adaptation and Preliminary Reliability of the Adolescents and Adults Coordination Questionnaire into European Spanish
by , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6405; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126405 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a developmental disorder affecting motor coordination skills, that frequently persists into adolescence and adulthood. Despite this, very few instruments exist to identify DCD in this population, and none of them are available for Spanish young adults. The purpose [...] Read more.
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a developmental disorder affecting motor coordination skills, that frequently persists into adolescence and adulthood. Despite this, very few instruments exist to identify DCD in this population, and none of them are available for Spanish young adults. The purpose of this study was to cross-culturally adapt and preliminarily validate the Adolescents and Adults Coordination Questionnaire (AAC-Q) into European Spanish. The AAC-Q was translated and adapted following international recommendations, including: (a) two independent forward translations; (b) synthesis and reconciliation; (c) expert committee review; and (d) a comprehensibility test. In addition, the internal consistency and homogeneity were examined using a sample of 100 Spanish higher education students. Cultural equivalence and idiomatic differences were addressed to produce the AAC-Q-ES. Findings show that the AAC-Q-ES is a cross-culturally adapted instrument with good preliminary reliability indicators in Spanish young adults (Cronbach’s α = 0.74; corrected item-total correlations = 0.217–0.504). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Health Behaviors in Children and Adolescents)
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Article
NaCl Promotes the Efficient Formation of Haematococcus pluvialis Nonmotile Cells under Phosphorus Deficiency
by , , , , , , , , , and
Mar. Drugs 2021, 19(6), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/md19060337 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Natural astaxanthin helps reduce the negative effects caused by oxidative stress and other related factors, thereby minimizing oxidative damage. Therefore, it has considerable potential and broad application prospects in human health and animal nutrition. Haematococcus pluvialis is considered to be the most promising [...] Read more.
Natural astaxanthin helps reduce the negative effects caused by oxidative stress and other related factors, thereby minimizing oxidative damage. Therefore, it has considerable potential and broad application prospects in human health and animal nutrition. Haematococcus pluvialis is considered to be the most promising cell factory for the production of natural astaxanthin. Previous studies have confirmed that nonmotile cells of H. pluvialis are more tolerant to high intensity of light than motile cells. Cultivating nonmotile cells as the dominant cell type in the red stage can significantly increase the overall astaxanthin productivity. However, we know very little about how to induce nonmotile cell formation. In this work, we first investigated the effect of phosphorus deficiency on the formation of nonmotile cells of H. pluvialis, and then investigated the effect of NaCl on the formation of nonmotile cells under the conditions of phosphorus deficiency. The results showed that, after three days of treatment with 0.1% NaCl under phosphorus deficiency, more than 80% of motile cells had been transformed into nonmotile cells. The work provides the most efficient method for the cultivation of H. pluvialis nonmotile cells so far, and it significantly improves the production of H. pluvialis astaxanthin. Full article
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Review
Current Progress in the Utilization of Soy-Based Emulsifiers in Food Applications—A Review
by
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1354; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061354 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Soy-based emulsifiers are currently extensively studied and applied in the food industry. They are employed for food emulsion stabilization due to their ability to absorb at the oil–water interface. In this review, the emulsifying properties and the destabilization mechanisms of food emulsions were [...] Read more.
Soy-based emulsifiers are currently extensively studied and applied in the food industry. They are employed for food emulsion stabilization due to their ability to absorb at the oil–water interface. In this review, the emulsifying properties and the destabilization mechanisms of food emulsions were briefly introduced. Herein, the effect of the modification process on the emulsifying characteristics of soy protein and the formation of soy protein–polysaccharides for improved stability of emulsions were discussed. Furthermore, the relationship between the structural and emulsifying properties of soy polysaccharides and soy lecithin and their combined effect on the protein stabilized emulsion were reviewed. Due to the unique emulsifying properties, soy-based emulsifiers have found several applications in bioactive and nutrient delivery, fat replacer, and plant-based creamer in the food industry. Finally, the future trends of the research on soy-based emulsifiers were proposed. Full article
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Article
Investigating the Sustainable Impact of Seaport Infrastructure Provision on Maritime Component of Supply Chain
by and
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3519; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123519 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
The aim of the research is to identify and quantify the direct economic effects resulting from the improved seaport nautical access and capacity expansion. This case study considers a regional port located in the Baltic sea and relates to port users, i.e., shipping [...] Read more.
The aim of the research is to identify and quantify the direct economic effects resulting from the improved seaport nautical access and capacity expansion. This case study considers a regional port located in the Baltic sea and relates to port users, i.e., shipping operators and shippers. The effects were identified for maritime transport by comparing transport performance in two scenarios: with-the-investment and without-the-investment. Incremental calculus addresses freights (containers, dry bulk, and cereals) traded to and from the given port, changes in size of vessels, and the shipping route alternatives vis-a-vis adjacent ports in the range. Sustainable impact concerns generalized maritime transport cost, i.e., shipping operating costs and port-to-port transit time, as well as energy consumption and external costs of maritime shipping. To capture effects, daily and unit dry bulk, as well as container shipping cost, values of time, and marginal external costs were revealed in freight sea transport. As investigated, shipping operators and shippers will benefit from the reduction in ships’ operating (including ships’ fuel cost savings) and time cost, while the community will enjoy the reduction in externalities. However, the main economic effect is the reduction in shipping operating cost resulting from the increased vessel size (economies of scale). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Consumption Patterns in Sustainable Supply Chains)
Article
Investigating Carbon Emissions from Electricity Generation and GDP Nexus Using Maximum Entropy Bootstrap: Evidence from Oil-Producing Countries in the Middle East
by , and
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3518; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123518 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
The maximum entropy bootstrap for time series is applied in this study to investigate the nexus between carbon emissions from electricity generation and the gross domestic product, using a bivariate framework for eight Middle Eastern countries between 1995 and 2017. The sample under [...] Read more.
The maximum entropy bootstrap for time series is applied in this study to investigate the nexus between carbon emissions from electricity generation and the gross domestic product, using a bivariate framework for eight Middle Eastern countries between 1995 and 2017. The sample under study includes oil-producing countries such as Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. As the electricity generation in these economies relies mainly on oil and gas, finding out the existence and direction of the relationship between the two considered variables has remarkable implications for policymakers and governments in these countries to achieve both higher economic growth and environmental protection. As expected, this nexus is validated for all countries in the sample but not in all models, time periods, and lags. Therefore, policymakers can set appropriate electricity conservation policies based on these varied empirical findings to boost economic growth with minimum environmental degradation. Full article
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Article
Severe Phenotype in Patients with Large Deletions of NF1
by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and
Cancers 2021, 13(12), 2963; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13122963 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Complete deletion of the NF1 gene is identified in 5–10% of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Several studies have previously described particularly severe forms of the disease in NF1 patients with deletion of the NF1 locus, but comprehensive descriptions of large cohorts [...] Read more.
Complete deletion of the NF1 gene is identified in 5–10% of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Several studies have previously described particularly severe forms of the disease in NF1 patients with deletion of the NF1 locus, but comprehensive descriptions of large cohorts are still missing to fully characterize this contiguous gene syndrome. NF1-deleted patients were enrolled and phenotypically characterized with a standardized questionnaire between 2005 and 2020 from a large French NF1 cohort. Statistical analyses for main NF1-associated symptoms were performed versus an NF1 reference population. A deletion of the NF1 gene was detected in 4% (139/3479) of molecularly confirmed NF1 index cases. The median age of the group at clinical investigations was 21 years old. A comprehensive clinical assessment showed that 93% (116/126) of NF1-deleted patients fulfilled the NIH criteria for NF1. More than half had café-au-lait spots, skinfold freckling, Lisch nodules, neurofibromas, neurological abnormalities, and cognitive impairment or learning disabilities. Comparison with previously described “classic” NF1 cohorts showed a significantly higher proportion of symptomatic spinal neurofibromas, dysmorphism, learning disabilities, malignancies, and skeletal and cardiovascular abnormalities in the NF1-deleted group. We described the largest NF1-deleted cohort to date and clarified the more severe phenotype observed in these patients. Full article
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Review
The Urban River Syndrome: Achieving Sustainability Against a Backdrop of Accelerating Change
by and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6406; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126406 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Human activities have been affecting rivers and other natural systems for millennia. Anthropogenic changes to rivers over the last few centuries led to the accelerating state of decline of coastal and estuarine regions globally. Urban rivers are parts of larger catchment ecosystems, which [...] Read more.
Human activities have been affecting rivers and other natural systems for millennia. Anthropogenic changes to rivers over the last few centuries led to the accelerating state of decline of coastal and estuarine regions globally. Urban rivers are parts of larger catchment ecosystems, which in turn form parts of wider nested, interconnected systems. Accurate modelling of urban rivers may not be possible because of the complex multisystem interactions operating concurrently and over different spatial and temporal scales. This paper overviews urban river syndrome, the accelerating deterioration of urban river ecology, and outlines growing conservation challenges of river restoration projects. This paper also reviews the river Thames, which is a typical urban river that suffers from growing anthropogenic effects and thus represents all urban rivers of similar type. A particular emphasis is made on ecosystem adaptation, widespread extinctions and the proliferation of non-native species in the urban Thames. This research emphasizes the need for a holistic systems approach to urban river restoration. Full article
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Review
Impact of Prophylactic Hydroxychloroquine on People at High Risk of COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by , , , , , , and
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(12), 2609; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10122609 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
There are no proven prophylactic interventions for COVID-19. We systematically reviewed the efficacy of prophylactic hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. Studies evaluating hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis of COVID-19 were searched in several engines until 8 December 2020. Primary outcomes included RT-PCR positivity, COVID-19 infections (positive RT-PCR [...] Read more.
There are no proven prophylactic interventions for COVID-19. We systematically reviewed the efficacy of prophylactic hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. Studies evaluating hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis of COVID-19 were searched in several engines until 8 December 2020. Primary outcomes included RT-PCR positivity, COVID-19 infections (positive RT-PCR or compatible COVID-19 symptoms), and all-cause mortality. Random effects meta-analyses were performed for all outcomes. Five randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (n = 5579) and one cohort (n = 106) were included. Placebo was the comparator in four RCTs, and usual care in one RCT. Compared to the controls, five RCTs showed that hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis did not reduce RT-PCR positivity (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.88–1.16), COVID-19 infection (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.78–1.22), or all-cause mortality (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.27–1.99). There were no differences of effects by pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis. Prophylaxis with hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of diarrhea, abdominal pain, or vomiting (RR 4.56, 95% CI 1.58–13.19). There were no effects of hydroxychloroquine on other secondary outcomes. Quality of evidence was low to very low for all outcomes. Hydroxychloroquine was not efficacious as a prophylaxis for COVID-19 infections, defined either as RT-PCR positivity or as a composite of RT-PCR positivity or compatible symptoms. Hydroxychloroquine did not reduce all-cause mortality, clinical worsening, or adverse events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Epidemiology & Public Health)
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Communication
Capacitive Measurements of SiO2 Films of Different Thicknesses Using a MOSFET-Based SPM Probe
by , and
Sensors 2021, 21(12), 4073; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21124073 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
We utilized scanning probe microscopy (SPM) based on a metal-oxide-silicon field-effect transistor (MOSFET) to image interdigitated electrodes covered with oxide films that were several hundred nanometers in thickness. The signal varied depending on the thickness of the silicon dioxide film covering the electrodes. [...] Read more.
We utilized scanning probe microscopy (SPM) based on a metal-oxide-silicon field-effect transistor (MOSFET) to image interdigitated electrodes covered with oxide films that were several hundred nanometers in thickness. The signal varied depending on the thickness of the silicon dioxide film covering the electrodes. We deposited a 400- or 500-nm-thick silicon dioxide film on each sample electrode. Thick oxide films are difficult to analyze using conventional probes because of their low capacitance. In addition, we evaluated linearity and performed frequency response measurements; the measured frequency response reflected the electrical characteristics of the system, including the MOSFET, conductive tip, and local sample area. Our technique facilitated analysis of the passivation layers of integrated circuits, especially those of the back-end-of-line (BEOL) process, and can be used for subsurface imaging of various dielectric layers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Electronic Sensors)
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Data Descriptor
A Disease Control-Oriented Land Cover Land Use Map for Myanmar
by , , , , , , and
Data 2021, 6(6), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/data6060063 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Malaria is a serious infectious disease that leads to massive casualties globally. Myanmar is a key battleground for the global fight against malaria because it is where the emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites has been documented. Controlling the spread of malaria in Myanmar [...] Read more.
Malaria is a serious infectious disease that leads to massive casualties globally. Myanmar is a key battleground for the global fight against malaria because it is where the emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites has been documented. Controlling the spread of malaria in Myanmar thus carries global significance, because the failure to do so would lead to devastating consequences in vast areas where malaria is prevalent in tropical/subtropical regions around the world. Thanks to its wide and consistent spatial coverage, remote sensing has become increasingly used in the public health domain. Specifically, remote sensing-based land cover/land use (LCLU) maps present a powerful tool that provides critical information on population distribution and on the potential human-vector interactions interfaces on a large spatial scale. Here, we present a 30-meter LCLU map that was created specifically for the malaria control and eradication efforts in Myanmar. This bottom-up approach can be modified and customized to other vector-borne infectious diseases in Myanmar or other Southeastern Asian countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Spatial Data Science and Digital Earth)
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Article
Fluorescence Lifetime Changes Induced by Laser Irradiation: A Preclinical Study towards the Evaluation of Retinal Metabolic States
by , , , , , , and
Life 2021, 11(6), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11060555 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Fluorescence Lifetime (FLT) of intrinsic fluorophores may alter under the change in metabolic state. In this study, the FLT of rabbit retina was investigated in vivo after laser irradiation using fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy (FLIO). The retina of the Chinchilla bastard rabbits was [...] Read more.
Fluorescence Lifetime (FLT) of intrinsic fluorophores may alter under the change in metabolic state. In this study, the FLT of rabbit retina was investigated in vivo after laser irradiation using fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy (FLIO). The retina of the Chinchilla bastard rabbits was irradiated with a 514 nm diode laser. FLIO, fundus photography, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) were conducted 30 min and 1 to 3 weeks after treatment. After strong coagulation, the FLT at laser spots was significantly elongated immediately after irradiation, conversely shortened after more than a week. Histological examination showed eosinophilic substance and melanin clumping in subretinal space at the coagulation spots older than one week. The FLT was also elongated right around the coagulation spots, which corresponded to the discontinuous ellipsoid zone (EZ) on OCT. This EZ change was recovered after one week, and the FLT became the same level as the surroundings. In addition, there was a region around the laser spot where the FLT was temporarily shorter than the surrounding area. When weak pulse energy was applied to selectively destroy only the RPE, a shortening of the FLT was observed immediately around the laser spot within one week after irradiation. FLIO could serve as a tool to evaluate the structural and metabolic response of the retina to laser treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Retinal Disease and Metabolism)
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Article
Gonadal Development of Females of the White Shrimp Penaeus schmitti (Burkenroad, 1936) Caught in Southeastern Brazil
by , , , , , , , , and
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(6), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9060653 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
This study describes the reproductive cell development and ovarian developmental stages, and identifies the nongerminal components of white shrimp (Penaeus schmitti) caught off the southern coast of Espírito Santo, Brazil. P. schmitti specimens were collected monthly from March 2019 to February [...] Read more.
This study describes the reproductive cell development and ovarian developmental stages, and identifies the nongerminal components of white shrimp (Penaeus schmitti) caught off the southern coast of Espírito Santo, Brazil. P. schmitti specimens were collected monthly from March 2019 to February 2020, by artisanal fishing. All shrimps were analyzed macroscopically (n = 181) and females were randomly selected monthly (n = 154) for ovarian histological analysis. The ovaries were extracted for visual analysis and then submitted to histological analysis. Macroscopic analysis determined five stages of gonadal development from the color and turgidity of the fresh ovary. Histological observations allowed us to observe five stages of gonadal development: immature, initial development, advanced development, mature and spawning. This information are fundamental for understanding the reproductive aspects of P. schmitti, as well as other penaeid shrimps, in order to promote preservation of natural stocks and provide information to assist in the development of the reproductive potential of native species in captivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives in Sustainable Aquaculture)
Article
The Positive Effects of Unneeded Consumption Behaviour on Consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6404; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126404 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has become an important global contagion that requires workers to implement necessary behaviours to cope. Based on the conservation of resources theory, the present studies explore the effects of unneeded consumption behaviour on consumers’ recovery level and work engagement and [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has become an important global contagion that requires workers to implement necessary behaviours to cope. Based on the conservation of resources theory, the present studies explore the effects of unneeded consumption behaviour on consumers’ recovery level and work engagement and the moderated mediating process of such relationships. Using a purchasing experiment, study 1 examined the positive effect of unneeded consumption behaviour on recovery among 100 MBA students. Using the experience sampling method, the data in study 2 were collected from 115 consumers (employees) using ten iterations of 2-day continual questionnaires (Sunday and the following Monday) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results from multilevel structural equation modelling indicate that unneeded consumption behaviour positively impacts work engagement in a moderated mediating mode. Consumer indulgence positively moderates the mediating effect of recovery level on the relationship between indulgent consumption behaviour and work engagement, while perceived consumer effectiveness negatively moderates the mediating effect of recovery level. This paper also identifies the value of transformation from consumption to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban and Public Policy against COVID-19)
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Article
Self-Rated Health and Psychological Distress Among Emerging Adults in Italy: A Comparison Between Data on University Students, Young Workers and Working Students Collected Through the 2005 and 2013 National Health Surveys
by , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6403; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126403 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
Background. The present study aimed at comparing self-reported physical health and mental health among university students, workers, and working students aged between 19 years and 29 years. Method. Using data from National Health Surveys held in 2005 and 2013, a cross-sectional study was [...] Read more.
Background. The present study aimed at comparing self-reported physical health and mental health among university students, workers, and working students aged between 19 years and 29 years. Method. Using data from National Health Surveys held in 2005 and 2013, a cross-sectional study was conducted on 18,612 Italian emerging adults grouped into three groups: university students, workers, and working students. The odds ratios of self-reported anxiety or depression, poor general health, and poor mental health and physical health (as assessed through SF-12) were estimated through logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders. Results. Compared with workers, students showed an increased risk of anxiety or depression and a lower risk of poor general health. Students and working students showed an increased risk of reporting weak mental health compared with that in workers, while students displayed a lower risk of poor physical health. Significant differences were not found between the 2005 and 2013 surveys. Conclusions. These results are of considerable importance for psychologists as well as educational and occupation-based institutions for planning prevention programs and clinical interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child and Youth Mental and Brain Health)
Review
A Technology of Hydrocarbon Fluid Production Intensification by Productive Stratum Drainage Zone Reaming
by , , , , and
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3514; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123514 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2021
Abstract
The paper proposes a new technology for fluid production intensification, in particular hydrocarbons, which is implemented via significant increasing of the local wellbore diameter in the interval, where the productive stratum is present. The proposed technology improves the well productivity by increasing the [...] Read more.
The paper proposes a new technology for fluid production intensification, in particular hydrocarbons, which is implemented via significant increasing of the local wellbore diameter in the interval, where the productive stratum is present. The proposed technology improves the well productivity by increasing the filtration surface area and opening new channels for filtering fluids into the well. The innovative, technical idea is to drill large diameter circular recesses in planes perpendicular to the well axis. After that, the rock mass located between the circular recesses are destroyed by applying static or dynamic axial loads. The required value of the axial force is provided by the weight of the standard drilling tool. As a result of the study, the analytical relations to specify the admissible radius of circular recesses and admissible thickness of rock mass between two adjacent circular recesses from the condition of safe operation are obtained. The numerical analysis carried out for typical reservoir rocks substantiated the possibility of well diameter local reaming twenty times. A special tool for circular recess drilling is developed and the principle of its operation is described. The advantage of the proposed approaches is the low energy consumption for well diameter reaming. Our technology will have special economic expediency for the intensification of production from hydrodynamically imperfect wells and under the condition of fluid filtration according to the expressed nonlinear law. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mining Technologies Innovative Development)
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