Latest Articles

Open AccessCase Report
Acute IgA-Dominant Glomerulonephritis Associated with Syphilis Infection in a Pregnant Teenager: A New Disease Association
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(1), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8010114 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasingly recognized as a risk factor in pregnancy; the differential diagnosis between CKD and preeclampsia (PE) may be of pivotal importance for pregnancy management and for early treatment of CKD. Acknowledging this connection may be useful also in
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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasingly recognized as a risk factor in pregnancy; the differential diagnosis between CKD and preeclampsia (PE) may be of pivotal importance for pregnancy management and for early treatment of CKD. Acknowledging this connection may be useful also in a wider context, such as in the case reported in this paper, which for the first time describes an association between syphilis infection and IgA-dominant glomerulonephritis. A 16-year-old woman, referred to a general hospital due to a seizure, was found to be unknowingly pregnant. Based on hypertension and nephrotic proteinuria, she was initially diagnosed with PE. Immunological tests, as well as hepatitis and HIV tests showed negative results. However, secondary syphilis was diagnosed. In discordance with the PE diagnosis, urinalysis showed glomerular microhematuria with cellular casts. Proteinuria and hypertension did not remit after delivery, which was made via caesarean section, due to uncontrolled hypertension, at an estimated gestational age of 29 weeks. A male baby, weighing 1.1 kg (6.5 centile) was born. The baby was hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit, where he developed subependymal hemorrhage and thrombocytopenia, and neonatal syphilis was diagnosed. The mother underwent a kidney biopsy one week after delivery, leading to the diagnosis of IgA-dominant postinfectious glomerulonephritis. Mother and child were treated with support and antibiotic therapy, and were discharged in good clinical conditions four weeks later. Four months after delivery, the mother was normotensive without therapy, with normal kidney function and without hematuria or proteinuria. In conclusion, this case suggests that IgA-dominant postinfectious glomerulonephritis should be added to the spectrum of syphilis-associated glomerulonephritides, and underlines the need for a careful differential diagnosis with CKD in all cases of presumed PE. While diagnosis relies on kidney biopsy, urinary sediment, a simple and inexpensive test, can be the first step in distinguishing PE from other nephropathies. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Oxidative Stress and Nutraceuticals in the Modulation of the Immune Function: Current Knowledge in Animals of Veterinary Interest
Antioxidants 2019, 8(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8010028 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In the veterinary sector, many papers deal with the relationships between inflammation and oxidative stress. However, few studies investigate the mechanisms of action of oxidised molecules in the regulation of immune cells. Thus, authors often assume that these events, sometime leading to oxidative
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In the veterinary sector, many papers deal with the relationships between inflammation and oxidative stress. However, few studies investigate the mechanisms of action of oxidised molecules in the regulation of immune cells. Thus, authors often assume that these events, sometime leading to oxidative stress, are conserved among species. The aim of this review is to draw the state-of-the-art of the current knowledge about the role of oxidised molecules and dietary antioxidant compounds in the regulation of the immune cell functions and suggest some perspectives for future investigations in animals of veterinary interest. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Past and Future Trajectories of Farmland Loss Due to Rapid Urbanization Using Landsat Imagery and the Markov-CA Model: A Case Study of Delhi, India
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(2), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11020180 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This study integrated multi-temporal Landsat images, the Markov-Cellular Automation (CA) model, and socioeconomic factors to analyze the historical and future farmland loss in the Delhi metropolitan area, one of the most rapidly urbanized areas in the world. Accordingly, the major objectives of this
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This study integrated multi-temporal Landsat images, the Markov-Cellular Automation (CA) model, and socioeconomic factors to analyze the historical and future farmland loss in the Delhi metropolitan area, one of the most rapidly urbanized areas in the world. Accordingly, the major objectives of this study were: (1) to classify the land use and land cover (LULC) map using multi-temporal Landsat images from 1994 to 2014; (2) to develop and calibrate the Markov-CA model based on the Markov transition probabilities of LULC classes, the CA diffusion factor, and other ancillary factors; and (3) to analyze and compare the past loss of farmland and predict the future loss of farmland in relation to rapid urban expansion from the year 1995 to 2030. The predicted results indicated the high accuracy of the Markov-CA model, with an overall accuracy of 0.75 and Kappa value of 0.59. The predicted results showed that urban expansion is likely to continue to the year of 2030, though the rate of increase will slow down from the year 2020. The area of farmland has decreased and will continue to decrease at a relatively stable rate. The Markov-CA model provided a better understanding of the past, current, and future trends of LULC change, with farmland loss being a typical change in this region. The predicted result will help planners to develop suitable government policies to guide sustainable urban development in Delhi, India. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Empirical Approach to Colour in Glass
Arts 2019, 8(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8010015 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This paper focuses on the characteristics and use of transparent homogenous coloured glass for cast glass sculpture. It provides an overview of glass colouring agents and their characteristics, and establishes factors that influence the appearance of colour in glass. Methods to visually evaluate
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This paper focuses on the characteristics and use of transparent homogenous coloured glass for cast glass sculpture. It provides an overview of glass colouring agents and their characteristics, and establishes factors that influence the appearance of colour in glass. Methods to visually evaluate appropriate colour density for a given form are discussed, as well as essential characteristics that a form must possess to achieve results within a density threshold area, where coloured glass changes in value and/or hue between thick and thin sections. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Geotourism
Geosciences 2019, 9(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9010048 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Geotourism is one of the newest concepts within the field of tourism, and primarily focuses on promoting geological and geomorphological features in landscapes as tourist attractions. This new niche market segment within tourism is based on the conservation of geoheritage and geodiversity through
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Geotourism is one of the newest concepts within the field of tourism, and primarily focuses on promoting geological and geomorphological features in landscapes as tourist attractions. This new niche market segment within tourism is based on the conservation of geoheritage and geodiversity through appropriate sustainability measures and management. Geotourism is, however, a broad concept which encompasses many aspects of a range of tourism activities, such as transport, accommodation, destination amenities, recreation, planning, and management. A testament to the rapid growth of geotourism worldwide is the expansion of membership of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, from 20 geoparks when it was founded in 2004 to 140 in 2018 (Global Geopark Network: http://www.globalgeopark.org/homepageaux/tupai/6513.htm). Concurrent with the growth of geotourism, there has been an explosion in the number of scientific publications on issues related to the subject over the past few years. To date, the major focus of these publications has been on geotourism as an economic driver with respect to rural development. This special issue of Geotourism presents a collection of 11 scientific contributions that underpin the intimate connection between geotourism and its geological resources, while at the same time highlighting the broad scope of geotourism. These contributions increase our understanding of how geotourism has evolved over time, as well as its setting out what challenges it faces in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bi-Metal Phosphide NiCoP: An Enhanced Catalyst for the Reduction of 4-Nitrophenol
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(1), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9010112 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Porous phosphide NixCoyP composite nanomaterials are successfully synthesized at different Ni/Co ratios (=0, 0.5, 1, and 2) to reduce 4-nitrophenol. The X-ray diffraction and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy results demonstrate that the products are CoP, NiCoP/CoP, NiCoP, and NiCoP/Ni2
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Porous phosphide NixCoyP composite nanomaterials are successfully synthesized at different Ni/Co ratios (=0, 0.5, 1, and 2) to reduce 4-nitrophenol. The X-ray diffraction and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy results demonstrate that the products are CoP, NiCoP/CoP, NiCoP, and NiCoP/Ni2P when the Ni/Co ratio is 0, 0.5, 1, and 2, respectively. The products exhibit different catalytic performance for reduction of 4-nitrophenol at room temperature. Among them, the pure NiCoP delivers a better catalytic efficiency with kapp=677.4×102 min1 and k=338.7 (Lg1min1), due to the synergy between Ni and Co atoms. The sequence of catalytic efficiency of different samples is CoP < NiCoP/CoP < NiCoP/Ni2P < NiCoP. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Androgen-Deprivation Therapy on Bone Mineral Density in Patients with Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(1), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8010113 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We aimed to evaluate the change in bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with prostate cancer (PCa) receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) compared to those with PCa or other urologic conditions not receiving ADT. Literature searches were conducted throughout October 2018. The eligibility
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We aimed to evaluate the change in bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with prostate cancer (PCa) receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) compared to those with PCa or other urologic conditions not receiving ADT. Literature searches were conducted throughout October 2018. The eligibility of each study was assessed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines using the Participant, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome, and Study design method. The outcomes analyzed were the mean difference (MD) of percent changes in BMD of lumbar spine, femur neck, and total hip. Five prospective cohort studies with a total of 533 patients were included in the present study. Statistically significant decreases of BMD change relative to the control group were observed in the ADT treatment group in the lumbar spine (MD −3.60, 95% CI −6.72 to −0.47, P = 0.02), femoral neck (MD −3.11, 95% CI −4.73 to −1.48, P = 0.0002), and total hip (MD −1.59, 95% CI −2.99 to −0.19, P = 0.03). There is a significant relationship between ADT and BMD reduction in patients with PCa. Regular BMD testing and the optimal treatment for BMD loss should, therefore, be considered in patients with PCa undergoing ADT. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hydrothermal Synthesis of Pseudocubic Rutile-Type Titania Particles
Ceramics 2019, 2(1), 56-63; https://doi.org/10.3390/ceramics2010005 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The functional properties of materials depend strongly on their morphologies. Here, the hydrothermal synthesis of rutile-type titania crystals with pseudocubic shapes using a water-soluble titanium complex is reported. This approach does not require extra additives or doping. Transmission electron microscopy and selected-area electron
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The functional properties of materials depend strongly on their morphologies. Here, the hydrothermal synthesis of rutile-type titania crystals with pseudocubic shapes using a water-soluble titanium complex is reported. This approach does not require extra additives or doping. Transmission electron microscopy and selected-area electron diffraction analysis revealed that they exposed high-index facets, such as {121}, and high-energy facets, such as {001}, which do not usually appear in rutile crystal. In terms of the formation of steps and kinks on pseudocubic rutile and coexisting anatase and brookite nanoparticles, the adsorption of nanoparticles might inhibit crystal growth, resulting in the formation of crystals with uncommon shapes exposing high-index and high-energy facets. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Wavelength Selection for Hyperspectral Imaging Evaluation on Vegetable Soybean Moisture Content during Drying
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(2), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9020331 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Hyperspectral imaging technology is a promising technique for nondestructive quality evaluation of dried products. In order to realize real-time, online inspection of quality of dried products, it is necessary to determine a few important wavelengths from hyperspectral images for developing a multispectral imaging
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Hyperspectral imaging technology is a promising technique for nondestructive quality evaluation of dried products. In order to realize real-time, online inspection of quality of dried products, it is necessary to determine a few important wavelengths from hyperspectral images for developing a multispectral imaging system. This study presents a binary firework algorithm (BFWA) for selecting the optimal wavelengths from hyperspectral images for moisture evaluation of dried soybean. Hyperspectral images over the spectral region 400–1000 nm, were acquired for 270 dried soybean samples, and mean reflectance was calculated from hyperspectral images for each wavelength. After selecting 12 important wavelengths using BFWA, a moisture prediction model was developed using partial least squares regression (PLSR). The PLSR model with BFWA achieved a prediction accuracy of Rp=0.966 and RMSEP=5.105%, which is better than those of successive projections algorithm (Rp=0.932 and RMSEP=7.329%), and the uninformative viable elimination algorithm (Rp=0.928 and RMSEP=7.416%). The results obtained by BFWA were more stable, with a smaller standard deviation of Rp and RMSEP than those of the genetic algorithm. The BFWA method provides an effective mean for optimal wavelength selection to predict the quality of soybeans during drying. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Immediate-Release Nifedipine Binary Dry Powder Mixtures with Nanocellulose Featuring Enhanced Solubility and Dissolution Rate
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010037 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Nifedipine (NIF) is a 1,4-dihydropyridine-based calcium channel blocker with poor solubility, whose bioavailability is highly dependent on the type of formulation. Dry powder mixtures of 20% w/w NIF with microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and its high surface area nanocellulose analogue, which is
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Nifedipine (NIF) is a 1,4-dihydropyridine-based calcium channel blocker with poor solubility, whose bioavailability is highly dependent on the type of formulation. Dry powder mixtures of 20% w/w NIF with microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and its high surface area nanocellulose analogue, which is namely Cladophora (CLAD) cellulose, were produced by heating at the melting temperature of the drug for 1 h. Non-heated samples were used as a reference. The solid-state properties of the mixtures were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction. The drug release was studied in biorelevant media, including simulated gastric fluid (SGF), fasted-state simulated intestinal fluid (FaSIF) and fed-state simulated intestinal fluid (FeSIF). An enhanced apparent solubility and faster dissolution rate of NIF were observed in the heated mixture of NIF with CLAD-H in all tested biorelevant media (i.e., SGF, FaSIF and FeSIF), which was due to NIF amorphization in the high surface area nanocellulose powder. Ordinary MCC, which is essentially non-porous, did not produce an enhancement of a similar magnitude. The results of the study suggest that dry powder formulation using high surface area nanocellulose is a facile new strategy for formulating calcium channel blocker drugs, which could potentially be a viable alternative to currently used soft gel liquid capsules. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Self-Contained Electro-Hydraulic Cylinder with Passive Load-Holding Capability
Energies 2019, 12(2), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12020292 -
Abstract
Self-contained electro-hydraulic cylinders have the potential to replace both conventional hydraulic systems and the electro-mechanical counterparts enhancing energy efficiency, plug-and-play installation, and reduced maintenance. Current commercial solutions of this technology are limited and typically tailor-made, whereas the research emphasis is primarily on cost
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Self-contained electro-hydraulic cylinders have the potential to replace both conventional hydraulic systems and the electro-mechanical counterparts enhancing energy efficiency, plug-and-play installation, and reduced maintenance. Current commercial solutions of this technology are limited and typically tailor-made, whereas the research emphasis is primarily on cost efficiency and power applications below five [kW]. Therefore, there is the need of developing more flexible systems adaptable to multiple applications. This research paper offers a contribution in this regard. It presents an electro-hydraulic self-contained single-rod cylinder with passive load-holding capability, sealed tank, capable of recovering energy, and scalable up to about eighty [kW]. The system implementation on a single-boom crane confirms its feasibility: The position tracking error remains well within ±2 [mm], oscillations are limited, and the overall energy efficiency is about 60 [%] during actuation. Concerning the passive load-holding devices, it is shown that both vented and non-vented pilot-operated check valves achieve the desired functioning and can hold the actuator position without consuming energy. Additional observations about the size and the arrangement of the load-holding valves are also provided. In conclusion, this paper demonstrates that the proposed self-contained cylinder can be successfully extended to several practical applications, especially to those characterized by overrunning external loads and the need of securing the actuator position. Full article
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