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Data Descriptor
King Abdulaziz University Breast Cancer Mammogram Dataset (KAU-BCMD)
by , , , , and
Data 2021, 6(11), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/data6110111 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
The current era is characterized by the rapidly increasing use of computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) systems in the medical field. These systems need a variety of datasets to help develop, evaluate, and compare their performances fairly. Physicians indicated that breast anatomy, especially dense ones, [...] Read more.
The current era is characterized by the rapidly increasing use of computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) systems in the medical field. These systems need a variety of datasets to help develop, evaluate, and compare their performances fairly. Physicians indicated that breast anatomy, especially dense ones, and the probability of breast cancer and tumor development, vary highly depending on race. Researchers reported that breast cancer risk factors are related to culture and society. Thus, there is a massive need for a local dataset representing breast cancer in our region to help develop and evaluate automatic breast cancer CAD systems. This paper presents a public mammogram dataset called King Abdulaziz University Breast Cancer Mammogram Dataset (KAU-BCMD) version 1. To our knowledge, KAU-BCMD is the first dataset in Saudi Arabia that deals with a large number of mammogram scans. The dataset was collected from the Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi Center of Excellence in Breast Cancer at King Abdulaziz University. It contains 1416 cases. Each case has two views for both the right and left breasts, resulting in 5662 images based on the breast imaging reporting and data system. It also contains 205 ultrasound cases corresponding to a part of the mammogram cases, with 405 images as a total. The dataset was annotated and reviewed by three different radiologists. Our dataset is a promising dataset that contains different imaging modalities for breast cancer with different cancer grades for Saudi women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Machine Learning in Image Analysis and Pattern Recognition)
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Article
Identification of Close Modes on Frequency in Rotating Systems
by , and
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 9963; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11219963 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
In the area of modal balancing, it is essential to identify the vibration modes to be balanced in order to obtain the different modal parameters that will allow knowing the correction weight and its position in the balance planes. However, in some cases, [...] Read more.
In the area of modal balancing, it is essential to identify the vibration modes to be balanced in order to obtain the different modal parameters that will allow knowing the correction weight and its position in the balance planes. However, in some cases, a single mode is apparently observed in the polar response diagrams used for this process, which actually contains at least two modes and which, when added vectorially, shows only one apparent mode. In these cases, in addition to the intrinsic errors when using a modal parameter extraction tool, there will be errors in determining the correction weight for the modes, as well as for the placement angle. In this work, an identification methodology is presented which, through the use of coordinate transformation and a modal parameter extraction tool, allows identifying characteristic patterns of close modes in frequency and which, when applied in the study of a system in the field, offers robustness and applicability. Full article
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Article
Vortical Effects for Free Fermions on Anti-De Sitter Space-Time
by and
Symmetry 2021, 13(11), 2019; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13112019 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Here, we study a quantum fermion field in rigid rotation at finite temperature on anti-de Sitter space. We assume that the rotation rate Ω is smaller than the inverse radius of curvature 1, so that there is no speed of [...] Read more.
Here, we study a quantum fermion field in rigid rotation at finite temperature on anti-de Sitter space. We assume that the rotation rate Ω is smaller than the inverse radius of curvature 1, so that there is no speed of light surface and the static (maximally-symmetric) and rotating vacua coincide. This assumption enables us to follow a geometric approach employing a closed-form expression for the vacuum two-point function, which can then be used to compute thermal expectation values (t.e.v.s). In the high temperature regime, we find a perfect analogy with known results on Minkowski space-time, uncovering curvature effects in the form of extra terms involving the Ricci scalar R. The axial vortical effect is validated and the axial flux through two-dimensional slices is found to escape to infinity for massless fermions, while for massive fermions, it is completely converted into the pseudoscalar density iψ¯γ5ψ. Finally, we discuss volumetric properties such as the total scalar condensate and the total energy within the space-time and show that they diverge as [12Ω2]1 in the limit Ω1. Full article
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Article
Robust SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Responses in Asian COVID-Naïve Subjects 180 Days after Two Doses of BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine
by , , , and
Vaccines 2021, 9(11), 1241; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9111241 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Background: Subjects with previous COVID-19 have augmented post-vaccination responses. However, the antibody response in COVID-naïve subjects from Southeast Asia is not well known. Methods: 77 COVID-naïve vaccinees were tested with a full antibody panel [spike antibodies (total (T-Ab), IgG, IgM) and neutralizing antibodies [...] Read more.
Background: Subjects with previous COVID-19 have augmented post-vaccination responses. However, the antibody response in COVID-naïve subjects from Southeast Asia is not well known. Methods: 77 COVID-naïve vaccinees were tested with a full antibody panel [spike antibodies (total (T-Ab), IgG, IgM) and neutralizing antibodies (N-Ab)] pre-vaccination, 10 days after dose 1, and 20/40/60/90/120/150/180 days after dose 2. Results: 10 days after dose 1, 67.6% (48/71)/69.0% (49/71) were T-Ab/IgG positive; only 15.5% (11/71)/14.1% (10/71) were N-Ab/IgM positive. While all (100%) subjects had brisk T-Ab, IgG and N-Ab antibody responses 20 days after complete vaccination, only 79.1% (53/67) were IgM positive. At 180 days (n = 8), T-Ab/IgG/N-Ab were still reactive (lowest T-Ab 186 U/mL, IgG 617 AU/mL, N-Ab 0.39 µg/mL), but IgM was negative in all samples. Spike antibody thresholds of T-Ab 74.1 U/mL (r = 0.95) and IgG 916 AU/mL (r = 0.95) corresponded to N-Ab reactivity (>0.3 µg/mL). Non-linear regression analysis showed that N-Ab would decrease to 0.3 µg/mL by 241 days, whereas T-Ab/IgG would need 470/163 days to reach titers of T-Ab/IgG associated with a N-Ab 0.3 µg/mL (76.4 U/mL and 916 AU/mL respectively). Conclusions: The antibody responses of T-Ab, IgG and N-Ab remain high and durable even at 180 days. N-Ab titers are expected to remain reactive up to 241 days post-vaccination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2 Variants Research and Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Review
A Critical Review of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Use in Architecture and Urbanism: Scientometric and Bibliometric Analysis
by , , and
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 9966; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11219966 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
In recent years the use of UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) have proliferated in the civil sector for purposes such as search and rescue, remote sensing or real-time monitoring of road traffic, among others. In the architecture, engineering and construction fields (AEC) UAVs have [...] Read more.
In recent years the use of UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) have proliferated in the civil sector for purposes such as search and rescue, remote sensing or real-time monitoring of road traffic, among others. In the architecture, engineering and construction fields (AEC) UAVs have demonstrated to be an ideal technology due to their optimal performance in terms of time, precision, safety and cost. Given the rapid growth of interest in this technology, this research presents a critical review of the literature on the use of UAVs in architecture and urbanism to define the most widely used techniques and delimit the fields of application based on the experimentation published by the scientific community. A scientific mapping was carried out in two stages using the VOSviewerTM software: a scientometric and a bibliometric analysis. This technique allowed us to analyse a large body of literature and bibliographic data to obtain trends, patterns and directions of this domain of knowledge. Then, a literature review was presented, highlighting the relevant information identified in the previous analysis. The fields of application of UAVs were delimited and the most commonly used payload types and the most appropriate post-processing techniques were specified, depending on the aerial mission objective. The fields of application identified included different techniques related to the generation of 3D models, land mapping, construction site monitoring, building surveying to detect structural damage and energy losses and urban remote sensing. The literature review showed that UAVs provide a useful multi-tasking tool at any stage of an architectural project. These techniques can be applied to buildings or public spaces from the design and construction processes when the project is initiated to the later stages of maintenance and inspection of the building during its life cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Robotics and Automation)
Article
Men Show Reduced Cardiac Baroreceptor Sensitivity during Modestly Painful Electrical Stimulation of the Forearm: Exploratory Results from a Sham-Controlled Crossover Vagus Nerve Stimulation Study
by , , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111193 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
This paper presents data from a transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation experiment that point towards a blunted cardiac baroreceptor sensitivity (cBRS) in young males compared to females during electrical stimulation of the forearm and a rhythmic breathing task. Continuous electrocardiography, impedance cardiography and continuous [...] Read more.
This paper presents data from a transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation experiment that point towards a blunted cardiac baroreceptor sensitivity (cBRS) in young males compared to females during electrical stimulation of the forearm and a rhythmic breathing task. Continuous electrocardiography, impedance cardiography and continuous blood-pressure recordings were assessed in a sex-matched cohort of twenty young healthy subjects. Electrical stimulation of the median nerve was conducted by using a threshold-tracking method combined with two rhythmic breathing tasks (0.1 and 0.2 Hz) before, during and after active or sham transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation. Autonomic and hemodynamic parameters were calculated, and differences were analyzed by using linear mixed models and post hoc F-tests. None of the autonomic and hemodynamic parameters differed between the sham and active conditions. However, compared to females, male participants had an overall lower total cBRS independent of stimulation condition during nerve stimulation (females: 14.96 ± 5.67 ms/mmHg, males: 11.89 ± 3.24 ms/mmHg, p = 0.031) and rhythmic breathing at 0.2 Hz (females: 21.49 ± 8.47 ms/mmHg, males: 15.12 ± 5.70 ms/mmHg, p = 0.004). Whereas vagus nerve stimulation at the left inner tragus did not affect the efferent vagal control of the heart, we found similar patterns of baroreceptor sensitivity activation over the stimulation period in both sexes, which, however, significantly differed in their magnitude, with females showing an overall higher cBRS. Full article
Article
PAI Materials Synthesized by 4,4′-Diaminodiphenyl Ether/2,2′-Bis (Trifluoromethyl)-4,4′-Diaminophenyl Ether and their Properties
by , , , and
Materials 2021, 14(21), 6376; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14216376 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
In this paper,4,4′-diaminodiphenyl ether and 2,2′-bis (trifluoromethyl)-4,4′-diaminophenyl ether are selected for molecular structure design, and PAI materials are synthesized by acyl chloride method. 2,2′-bis (trifluoromethyl)-4,4′-diaminophenyl ether has the same main chain structure as 4,4′-diaminodiphenyl ether, but the side chain contains two trifluoromethyl groups, [...] Read more.
In this paper,4,4′-diaminodiphenyl ether and 2,2′-bis (trifluoromethyl)-4,4′-diaminophenyl ether are selected for molecular structure design, and PAI materials are synthesized by acyl chloride method. 2,2′-bis (trifluoromethyl)-4,4′-diaminophenyl ether has the same main chain structure as 4,4′-diaminodiphenyl ether, but the side chain contains two trifluoromethyl groups, which has high fluorine content. PAI terpolymerswere prepared by compounding two diamine monomers, and the effects of trifluoromethyl on heat resistance, friction and wear properties, hydrophobic properties and mechanical properties of PAI materials were studied. The results showed that with the increase of trifluoromethyl content, the Tg of PAI material first increased and then changed little, and the Td5% would decrease and the tensile properties would also decrease. The wear mechanism of PAI varied with the content of trifluoromethyl. With the increase of the amount of fluorinated diamine monomer, the adhesive wear degree of PAI materials gradually increased, and reached the maximum when the molar ratio of the two monomers was 5:5, and then decreased gradually. Different trifluoromethyl content had little effect on friction coefficient, and the friction coefficient increased slightly when the molar ratio of 4,4′-diaminodiphenyl ether to 2,2′-bis (trifluoromethyl)-4,4′-diaminophenyl ether is 1:9. With the increase of trifluoromethyl content, the wear of PAI material would increase. With the increase of the amount of trifluoromethyl, the water absorption of PAI material decreased and the water contact angle increased, which indicated that the hydrophobic property of PAI material was improved. To sum up, the results of this study showed that the introduction of trifluoromethyl into the side chain provided an effective way to prepare PAI materials with low water absorption. Considering the comprehensive properties such as heat resistance, friction and wear, tensile properties, etc., the appropriate addition amount is 10–30%. Full article
Article
Optimization of the Cutting Regime in the Turning of the AISI 316L Steel for Biomedical Purposes Based on the Initial Progression of Tool Wear
by , , , and
Metals 2021, 11(11), 1698; https://doi.org/10.3390/met11111698 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
The development of biomedical devices has improved the quality of life for millions of people. The increase in life expectancy generates an increase in the demand for these devices. One of the most used materials for these purposes is 316 L austenitic stainless [...] Read more.
The development of biomedical devices has improved the quality of life for millions of people. The increase in life expectancy generates an increase in the demand for these devices. One of the most used materials for these purposes is 316 L austenitic stainless steel due to its mechanical properties and good biocompatibility. The objective of the present investigation was to identify the dependence between the main cutting force, the initial speed of the tool wear, the surface roughness, and the parameters of the cutting regime. Based on these dependencies, a multi-objective optimization model is proposed to minimize the energy consumed and initial wear rate, as well as to maximize productivity, maintaining the surface roughness values below those established by the ISO 5832-1 standard. The wear of the cutting tool was measured on a scanning electron microscope. For the optimization process, a genetic algorithm based on NSGA-II (Non-nominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm) was implemented. The input variables were the cutting speed and the feed in three levels. The cutting force and surface roughness were set as restrictions. It is concluded that the mathematical model allows for the optimization of the cutting regime during dry turning and with the use of MQL (Minimum Quantity Lubrication) with BIDEMICS JX1 ceramic tools (NTK Cutting Tools, Wixom, MI, USA), of AISI 316 L steel for biomedical purposes. Pareto sets and boundaries allow for choosing the most appropriate solution according to the specific conditions of the workshop where it is applied, minimizing the initial progression of tool wear and energy consumed, and maximizing productivity by guaranteeing the surface roughness values established for these types of parts according to the standard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tailor-Made Porous Biomaterials for Hard and Soft Tissues)
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Article
Structural and Functional Characterization of OXA-48: Insight into Mechanism and Structural Basis of Substrate Recognition and Specificity
by , , , , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111480 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Class D β-lactamase OXA-48 is widely distributed among Gram-negative bacteria and is an important determinant of resistance to the last-resort carbapenems. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanism by which this β-lactamase hydrolyzes its substrates remains poorly understood. In this study, the complex structures of OXA-48 [...] Read more.
Class D β-lactamase OXA-48 is widely distributed among Gram-negative bacteria and is an important determinant of resistance to the last-resort carbapenems. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanism by which this β-lactamase hydrolyzes its substrates remains poorly understood. In this study, the complex structures of OXA-48 and various β-lactams were modeled and the potential active site residues that may interact with various β-lactams were identified and characterized to elucidate their roles in OXA-48 substrate recognition. Four residues, namely S70, K73, S118, and K208 were found to be essential for OXA-48 to undergo catalytic hydrolysis of various penicillins and carbapenems both in vivo and in vitro. T209 was found to be important for hydrolysis of imipenem, whereas R250 played a major role in hydrolyzing ampicillin, imipenem, and meropenem most likely by forming a H-bond or salt-bridge between the side chain of these two residues and the carboxylate oxygen ions of the substrates. Analysis of the effect of substitution of alanine in two residues, W105 and L158, revealed their roles in mediating the activity of OXA-48. Our data show that these residues most likely undergo hydrophobic interaction with the R groups and the core structure of the β-lactam ring in penicillins and the carbapenems, respectively. Unlike OXA-58, mass spectrometry suggested a loss of the C6-hydroxyethyl group during hydrolysis of meropenem by OXA-48, which has never been demonstrated in Class D carbapenemases. Findings in this study provide comprehensive knowledge of the mechanism of the substrate recognition and catalysis of OXA-type β-lactamases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Microbiology)
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Article
Adaptive Control of Chaotic Signals: Investigated by Simulation Software and Real Electronic Circuits
by , and
Actuators 2021, 10(11), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/act10110284 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Chaotic behavior is complicated, sensitive, and has the feature of great variety, which are the most potential signals to be applied in data encryption, secure communication, medical information protection, etc. As a consequence, in this paper, we try to propose three different ways [...] Read more.
Chaotic behavior is complicated, sensitive, and has the feature of great variety, which are the most potential signals to be applied in data encryption, secure communication, medical information protection, etc. As a consequence, in this paper, we try to propose three different ways to show our data generating results step by step, which means it can be proved effectively and used in practice: (1) Chaotic solutions simulated by MATLAB, (2) chaotic motion drawn via electronic circuits software Multisim, and (3) chaotic signal implemented on real electronic circuits with breadboard. In advance, following the same design principal, the adaptive chaotic signal is also designed and presented in the end of this article for further study, which provides a more flexible and variable chaotic signal to enhance the encryption effectiveness. The experimental results are extremely close to the two simulation results and can definitely be technically transferred to real encryption application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Actuators in Robotic Control)
Article
Association Rules Mining for Hospital Readmission: A Case Study
by , , and
Mathematics 2021, 9(21), 2706; https://doi.org/10.3390/math9212706 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
As an indicator of healthcare quality and performance, hospital readmission incurs major costs for healthcare systems worldwide. Understanding the relationships between readmission factors, such as input features and readmission length, is challenging following intricate hospital readmission procedures. This study discovered the significant correlation [...] Read more.
As an indicator of healthcare quality and performance, hospital readmission incurs major costs for healthcare systems worldwide. Understanding the relationships between readmission factors, such as input features and readmission length, is challenging following intricate hospital readmission procedures. This study discovered the significant correlation between potential readmission factors (threshold of various settings for readmission length) and basic demographic variables. Association rule mining (ARM), particularly the Apriori algorithm, was utilised to extract the hidden input variable patterns and relationships among admitted patients by generating supervised learning rules. The mined rules were categorised into two outcomes to comprehend readmission data; (i) the rules associated with various readmission length and (ii) several expert-validated variables related to basic demographics (gender, race, and age group). The extracted rules proved useful to facilitate decision-making and resource preparation to minimise patient readmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Data Analytics)
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Article
Mechanical Performance of 3D-Printed Biocompatible Polycarbonate for Biomechanical Applications
by , and
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3669; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213669 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Additive manufacturing has experienced remarkable growth in recent years due to the customisation, precision, and cost savings compared to conventional manufacturing techniques. In parallel, materials with great potential have been developed, such as PC-ISO polycarbonate, which has biocompatibility certifications for use in the [...] Read more.
Additive manufacturing has experienced remarkable growth in recent years due to the customisation, precision, and cost savings compared to conventional manufacturing techniques. In parallel, materials with great potential have been developed, such as PC-ISO polycarbonate, which has biocompatibility certifications for use in the biomedical industry. However, many of these synthetic materials are not capable of meeting the mechanical stresses to which the biological structure of the human body is naturally subjected. In this study, an exhaustive characterisation of the PC-ISO was carried out, including an investigation on the influence of the printing parameters by fused filament fabrication on its mechanical behaviour. It was found that the effect of the combination of the printing parameters does not have a notable impact on the mass, cost, and manufacturing time of the specimens; however, it is relevant when determining the tensile, bending, shear, impact, and fatigue strengths. The best combinations for its application in biomechanics are proposed, and the need to combine PC-ISO with other materials to achieve the necessary strengths for functioning as a bone scaffold is demonstrated. Full article
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Review
The Theoretical Framework of the Clinical Pilates Exercise Method in Managing Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain: A Narrative Review
by , and
Biology 2021, 10(11), 1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10111096 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Exercise plays an important role in rehabilitating people with chronic low back pain. Aerobic exercise and resistance training are general exercise strategies to manage chronic low back pain, but these strategies require longer intervention period to achieve clinical outcomes in pain reduction and [...] Read more.
Exercise plays an important role in rehabilitating people with chronic low back pain. Aerobic exercise and resistance training are general exercise strategies to manage chronic low back pain, but these strategies require longer intervention period to achieve clinical outcomes in pain reduction and functional improvements. Directional preference is recognised as an important exercise strategy in managing low back pain. The Clinical Pilates exercise method leverages on the directional preference of an individual to achieve clinical outcomes faster. Clinical Pilates is a hybrid of two of the best exercise interventions for low back pain, which are general Pilates and the McKenzie method. Due to the scarcity of Clinical Pilates literature, a review of its theory and studies was undertaken to provide a structured guide to the technique in managing people with chronic low back pain. Hypothetical algorithms are developed to support translation into clinical practice and future research studies. These algorithms are useful in the management of complex cases involving multiple directional trauma. Although limited, current evidence suggests that the Clinical Pilates exercise method is safe and provides faster functional recovery in the early stage of rehabilitation and similar longer term outcomes as general exercises. Full article
Review
The Initial Human Atherosclerotic Lesion and Lipoprotein Modification—A Deep Connection
by
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111488 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Atherosclerosis research typically focuses on the evolution of intermediate or advanced atherosclerotic lesions rather than on prelesional stages of atherogenesis. Yet these early events may provide decisive leads on the triggers of the pathologic process, before lesions become clinically overt. Thereby, it is [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis research typically focuses on the evolution of intermediate or advanced atherosclerotic lesions rather than on prelesional stages of atherogenesis. Yet these early events may provide decisive leads on the triggers of the pathologic process, before lesions become clinically overt. Thereby, it is mandatory to consider extracellular lipoprotein deposition at this stage as the prerequisite of foam cell formation leading to a remarkable accumulation of LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins). As progression of atherosclerosis displays the characteristic features of a chronic inflammatory process on the one hand and native LDL lacks inflammatory properties on the other hand, the lipoprotein must undergo biochemical modification to become atherogenic. During the last 25 years, evidence was accumulated in support of a different concept on atherogenesis proposing that modification of native LDL occurs through the action of ubiquitous hydrolytic enzymes (enzymatically modified LDL or eLDL) rather than oxidation and contending that the physiological events leading to macrophage uptake and reverse transport of eLDL first occur without inflammation (initiation with reversion). Preventing or reversing initial atherosclerotic lesions would avoid the later stages and therefore prevent clinical manifestations. This concept is in accordance with the response to retention hypothesis directly supporting the strategy of lowering plasma levels of atherogenic lipoproteins as the most successful therapy for atherosclerosis and its sequelae. Apart from but unquestionable closely related to this concept, there are several other hypotheses on atherosclerotic lesion initiation favoring an initiating role of the immune system (‘vascular-associated lymphoid tissue’ (VALT)), defining foam cell formation as a variant of lysosomal storage disease, relating to the concept of the inflammasome with crystalline cholesterol and/or mitochondrial DAMPs (damage-associated molecular patterns) being mandatory in driving arterial inflammation and, last but not least, pointing to miRNAs (micro RNAs) as pivotal players. However, direct anti-inflammatory therapies may prove successful as adjuvant components but will likely never be used in the absence of strategies to lower plasma levels of atherogenic lipoproteins, the key point of the perception that atherosclerosis is not simply an inevitable result of senescence. In particular, given the importance of chemical modifications for lipoprotein atherogenicity, regulation of the enzymes involved might be a tempting target for pharmacological research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atherosclerosis: From Molecular Biology to Therapeutic Perspective)
Article
Effect of Poly(acrylamide-acrylic acid) on the Fire Resistance and Anti-Aging Properties of Transparent Flame-Retardant Hydrogel Applied in Fireproof Glass
by , and
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3668; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213668 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Poly(acrylamide-acrylic acid) (P(AM-co-AA)) was synthesized via the copolymerization of acrylamide and acrylic acid and well characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Afterward, the obtained P(AM-co-AA) was blended with flame retardants to prepare transparent flame-retardant hydrogel applied in the fireproof glass. The influence of [...] Read more.
Poly(acrylamide-acrylic acid) (P(AM-co-AA)) was synthesized via the copolymerization of acrylamide and acrylic acid and well characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Afterward, the obtained P(AM-co-AA) was blended with flame retardants to prepare transparent flame-retardant hydrogel applied in the fireproof glass. The influence of poly(acrylamide-acrylic acid) on fire resistance and anti-aging properties of the transparent flame-retardant hydrogels were studied by assorted analysis methods. The optical transparency analysis shows that the light transmittance of the transparent flame-retardant hydrogel gradually decreases with the decreasing mass ratio of acrylamide to acrylic acid in P(AM-co-AA). Heat insulation testing shows that the heat insulation performance of fireproof glass applying the transparent flame-retardant hydrogel firstly decreases and then increases with decreasing mass ratio of acrylamide to acrylic acid in P(AM-co-AA). When the mass ratio of acrylamide to acrylic acid is 1:2, the obtained P(AM-co-AA) endows the resulting flame-retardant hydrogel applied in fireproof glass with the lowest light transmittance of 81.3% and lowest backside temperature of 131.4 °C at 60 min among the samples, which is attributed to the formation of a more dense and expanded char to prevent the heat transfer during combustion, as supported by the digital photos of char residues. The results of TG analysis indicate that P(AM-co-AA) imparts high thermal stability to the resulting hydrogels due to the hydrogen bonds between carboxyl and amide groups. The accelerated aging test shows that the transparent flame-retardant hydrogel containing P(AM-co-AA) is less affected by aging conditions. Especially, when the mass ratio of acrylamide to acrylic acid in P(AM-co-AA) is 4:1, the resulting transparent flame-retardant hydrogel shows a light transmittance of 82.9% and backside temperature of 173.1 °C at 60 min after 7 aging cycles, exhibiting the best comprehensive properties among the samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Hydrogel Applications)
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Review
Single-Cell Multiomics Analysis for Drug Discovery
by , and
Metabolites 2021, 11(11), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11110729 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Given the heterogeneity seen in cell populations within biological systems, analysis of single cells is necessary for studying mechanisms that cannot be identified on a bulk population level. There are significant variations in the biological and physiological function of cell populations due to [...] Read more.
Given the heterogeneity seen in cell populations within biological systems, analysis of single cells is necessary for studying mechanisms that cannot be identified on a bulk population level. There are significant variations in the biological and physiological function of cell populations due to the functional differences within, as well as between, single species as a result of the specific proteome, transcriptome, and metabolome that are unique to each individual cell. Single-cell analysis proves crucial in providing a comprehensive understanding of the biological and physiological properties underlying human health and disease. Omics technologies can help to examine proteins (proteomics), RNA molecules (transcriptomics), and the chemical processes involving metabolites (metabolomics) in cells, in addition to genomes. In this review, we discuss the value of multiomics in drug discovery and the importance of single-cell multiomics measurements. We will provide examples of the benefits of applying single-cell omics technologies in drug discovery and development. Moreover, we intend to show how multiomics offers the opportunity to understand the detailed events which produce or prevent disease, and ways in which the separate omics disciplines complement each other to build a broader, deeper knowledge base. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MS-Based Drug Metabolism in Cancer Research)
Article
Effects of Wine and Tyrosol on the Lipid Metabolic Profile of Subjects at Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Potential Cardioprotective Role of Ceramides
by , , , , , , and
Antioxidants 2021, 10(11), 1679; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10111679 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Ceramides are a class of sphingolipids which have recently been shown to be better cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk predictors than traditional CVD risk biomarkers. Tyrosol (TYR) is a dietary phenolic compound known to possess cardioprotective effects per se or through its in vivo [...] Read more.
Ceramides are a class of sphingolipids which have recently been shown to be better cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk predictors than traditional CVD risk biomarkers. Tyrosol (TYR) is a dietary phenolic compound known to possess cardioprotective effects per se or through its in vivo active metabolite hydroxytyrosol. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the co-administration of white wine (WW) and TYR on circulating levels of ceramides and other lipids in humans at high CVD risk. Volunteers underwent a randomized controlled crossover clinical trial (4-week duration per intervention) with three different interventions: control, WW, and WW enriched with a capsule of TYR (WW + TYR). Endothelial function cardiovascular biomarkers and plasma lipidomic profile were assessed before and after each intervention. It was found that the WW + TYR intervention resulted in lower levels of three ceramide ratios, associated with an improvement of endothelial function (Cer C16:0/Cer C24:0, Cer C18:0/Cer C24:0, and Cer C24:1/Cer C24:0), when compared to the control intervention. Moreover, WW + TYR was able to minimize the alterations in plasma diacylglycerols concentrations observed following WW. Overall, the results obtained show that the antioxidant TYR administered with WW exerts beneficial effects at the cardiovascular level, in part by modulating blood lipid profile. Full article
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Article
Vegetated Buffer Zone Restoration Planning in Small Urban Watersheds
by , , , , and
Water 2021, 13(21), 3000; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213000 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Vegetated buffer zones (VBZ) are accepted worldwide as a low impact method to avoid non-point source pollution and restore the balance of river ecosystems. Strongly influenced by industrialization and urbanization, urban river ecology is seriously damaged, and restoration is tricky. This study established [...] Read more.
Vegetated buffer zones (VBZ) are accepted worldwide as a low impact method to avoid non-point source pollution and restore the balance of river ecosystems. Strongly influenced by industrialization and urbanization, urban river ecology is seriously damaged, and restoration is tricky. This study established a complete buffer zone construction framework suitable for the small urban watershed, and its feasibility is verified in a small watershed in Northern China. First, common plants in the study area were selected to test their ability to purify pollutants, and plant combinations were optimized. Secondly, according to the field investigation, the reference buffer zone was determined, and its sewage interception capacity was tested through a runoff simulation experiment. Then, based on GIS and Phillips time and hydraulic models, the normal buffer width of the study area was obtained; 60 m for mainstream and 40 m for tributaries. By optimizing the vegetation scheme and delimiting an efficient buffer zone, the land occupation can be reduced by 17%. Finally, combined with the characteristics of different river sections, an elaborate VBZ restoration scheme is designed from the aspects of vegetation, planning, and zoning. Generally, this research will provide government and land managers scientific and practical ideas and technologies to formulate a land management policy for urban river buffer zones in order to find a balance between aquatic ecological protection and urban land use planning and optimize the allocation of construction funds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecohydrology)
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Systematic Review
A Systematic Review of the Use of Technology to Monitor Welfare in Zoo Animals: Is There Space for Improvement?
by , , , and
Animals 2021, 11(11), 3048; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113048 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
A top priority of modern zoos is to ensure good animal welfare (AW), thus, efforts towards improving AW monitoring are increasing. Welfare assessments are performed through more traditional approaches by employing direct observations and time-consuming data collection that require trained specialists. These limitations [...] Read more.
A top priority of modern zoos is to ensure good animal welfare (AW), thus, efforts towards improving AW monitoring are increasing. Welfare assessments are performed through more traditional approaches by employing direct observations and time-consuming data collection that require trained specialists. These limitations may be overcome through automated monitoring using wearable or remotely placed sensors. However, in this fast-developing field, the level of automated AW monitoring used in zoos is unclear. Hence, the aim of this systematic literature review was to investigate research conducted on the use of technology for AW assessment in zoos with a focus on real-time automated monitoring systems. The search led to 19 publications with 18 of them published in the last six years. Studies focused on mammals (89.5%) with elephant as the most studied species followed by primates. The most used technologies were camera (52.6%) and wearable sensors (31.6%) mainly used to measure behaviour, while the use of algorithms was reported in two publications only. This research area is still young in zoos and mainly focused on large mammals. Despite an increase in publications employing automated AW monitoring in the last years, the potential for this to become an extra useful tool needs further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Use of New Technology to Enhance Animal Welfare)
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Article
Identification of Shiga-Toxin-Producing Shigella Infections in Travel and Non-Travel Related Cases in Alberta, Canada
by , , , , , , , , , , and
Toxins 2021, 13(11), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13110755 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
It has long been accepted that Shiga toxin (Stx) only exists in Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1. However, in recent decades, the presence of Shiga toxin genes (stx) in other Shigella spp. have been reported. We screened 366 Shigella flexneri strains from [...] Read more.
It has long been accepted that Shiga toxin (Stx) only exists in Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1. However, in recent decades, the presence of Shiga toxin genes (stx) in other Shigella spp. have been reported. We screened 366 Shigella flexneri strains from Alberta, Canada (2003 to 2016) for stx and 26 positive strains were identified. These isolates are highly related with the majority originating from the Dominican Republic and three isolates with Haiti origin. Both phylogenetic and spanning tree analysis of the 26 Alberta and 29 stx positive S. flexneri originating from the U.S., France, Canada (Quebec) and Haiti suggests that there are geographic specific distribution patterns (Haiti and Dominican Republic clades). This study provides the first comprehensive whole genome based phylogenetic analysis of stx positive S. flexneri strains as well as their global transmission, which signify the public health risks of global spreading of these strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
Article
Enhanced Bone Regeneration in Variable-Type Biphasic Ceramic Phosphate Scaffolds Using rhBMP-2
by , , , , , , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111485 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Our aim was to investigate the bone regeneration capacity of powder-type biphasic ceramic scaffold (BCP powder), block-type BCP (BCP block), and collagen-added block-type BCP (BCP collagen) with different concentrations of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) in an animal model. Four rabbits [...] Read more.
Our aim was to investigate the bone regeneration capacity of powder-type biphasic ceramic scaffold (BCP powder), block-type BCP (BCP block), and collagen-added block-type BCP (BCP collagen) with different concentrations of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) in an animal model. Four rabbits were assigned to each of the following groups: no graft + rhBMP-2 (0.1/0.2 mg/mL), BCP powder + rhBMP-2 (0.1/0.2 mg/mL), BCP block + rhBMP-2 (0.1/0.2 mg/mL), and BCP collagen + rhBMP-2 (0.1/0.2 mg/mL), i.e., a total of 32 rabbits. Polycarbonate tubes (Φ 7 mm × 5 mm) for supporting scaffolds were fixed into a 7 mm round border. Subsequently, 0.1 mL of rhBMP-2 solutions with different concentrations was injected into the tubes. Both radiological and histomorphometric analyses showed that osteogenesis was not enhanced by increasing the concentration of rhBMP-2 in all groups at both 3 and 6 weeks. Radiological analysis showed that bone formation was higher in the BCP collagen group than in the BCP powder and BCP block groups at both rhBMP-2 concentrations at 3 weeks. rhBMP-2 enhanced bone formation; however, as the concentration increased, bone formation could not be enhanced infinitely. Collagen-added alloplastic graft material may be useful for mediating rapid bone formation in initial stages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Periodontal Tissue Regeneration)
Article
DisasterGAN: Generative Adversarial Networks for Remote Sensing Disaster Image Generation
by , , , and
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(21), 4284; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13214284 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Rapid progress on disaster detection and assessment has been achieved with the development of deep-learning techniques and the wide applications of remote sensing images. However, it is still a great challenge to train an accurate and robust disaster detection network due to the [...] Read more.
Rapid progress on disaster detection and assessment has been achieved with the development of deep-learning techniques and the wide applications of remote sensing images. However, it is still a great challenge to train an accurate and robust disaster detection network due to the class imbalance of existing data sets and the lack of training data. This paper aims at synthesizing disaster remote sensing images with multiple disaster types and different building damage with generative adversarial networks (GANs), making up for the shortcomings of the existing data sets. However, existing models are inefficient in multi-disaster image translation due to the diversity of disaster and inevitably change building-irrelevant regions caused by directly operating on the whole image. Thus, we propose two models: disaster translation GAN can generate disaster images for multiple disaster types using only a single model, which uses an attribute to represent disaster types and a reconstruction process to further ensure the effect of the generator; damaged building generation GAN is a mask-guided image generation model, which can only alter the attribute-specific region while keeping the attribute-irrelevant region unchanged. Qualitative and quantitative experiments demonstrate the validity of the proposed methods. Further experimental results on the damaged building assessment model show the effectiveness of the proposed models and the superiority compared with other data augmentation methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Learning and Computer Vision in Remote Sensing)
Article
Lockdowns Save People from Air Pollution: Evidence from Daily Global Tropospheric NO2 Satellite Data
by and
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11777; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111777 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Motivated by the global fear of the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, we investigated whether lockdowns save people from air pollution, notably from Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). Using daily satellite data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), we first found that the [...] Read more.
Motivated by the global fear of the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, we investigated whether lockdowns save people from air pollution, notably from Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). Using daily satellite data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), we first found that the global NO2 tropospheric vertical column density (TVCD) decreased by 16.5% after the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) outbreak. Then, we calculated the global health benefits, as the monetized value of life, using the value of a statistical life (VSL). The total global health benefits were approximately 8.73 trillion USD, accounting for 10% of the global GDP; such benefits would be the largest in China, followed by the United States, Japan and Germany. Our results suggest that lockdowns may bring benefits to countries that policy interventions cannot easily bring, thus highlighting the importance of social distancing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Design: Urban Externalities and Land Use Planning)
Article
Qualitative Evaluation of Causes for Routine Salmonella Monitoring False-Positive Test Results in Dutch Poultry Breeding Flocks
by , , , , , and
Microorganisms 2021, 9(11), 2215; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9112215 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
The Salmonella monitoring program, as outlined in the EU Commission regulation 200/2010, asks for repeated sampling in order to ascertain progress in achievement of the EU target. According to Article 2.2.2.2.c of this regulation, the competent authority may decide to do a resample [...] Read more.
The Salmonella monitoring program, as outlined in the EU Commission regulation 200/2010, asks for repeated sampling in order to ascertain progress in achievement of the EU target. According to Article 2.2.2.2.c of this regulation, the competent authority may decide to do a resample and retest when it has reasons to question the results of initial testing. In the Netherlands, the competent authorities have been resampling and retesting all initial positive samplings for several years because of doubts about false positive initial test results. An analysis of population data in the period 2015–2019 indicates that 48% of initial samplings at the farm were classified as false positive after resampling and retesting by the competent authorities. A qualitative analysis, assessing factors that could be associated with the occurrence of false positives, indicates that cross-contamination during the sampling process by the poultry farmer is probably the most likely source. Cross-contamination of samples during transport from the farm to the laboratory and/or cross-contamination at the laboratory are also considered possible sources. Given the slightly non-optimal system-specificity of the Salmonella monitoring program, there is good reason to make, or consider, standard resampling and retesting of initial positive results by the competent veterinary authorities possible within the EU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Salmonella and Salmonellosis)

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