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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Epidemiological Characteristics of Domestic Imported Dengue Fever in Mainland China, 2014–2018
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3901; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203901 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Epidemiological characteristics of domestic imported dengue fever in mainland China, 2014–2018, including time-series, spatial mobility and crowd features, were analyzed. There existed seasonal characteristics from August to November. The 872 domestic imported cases from 8 provinces, located in the southeastern, southwestern and southern [...] Read more.
Epidemiological characteristics of domestic imported dengue fever in mainland China, 2014–2018, including time-series, spatial mobility and crowd features, were analyzed. There existed seasonal characteristics from August to November. The 872 domestic imported cases from 8 provinces, located in the southeastern, southwestern and southern coastal or border areas, were imported to 267 counties in 20 provinces of mainland China, located in the outer areas along the southwest-northeast line. The 628 domestic imported cases were still imported to the adjacent counties in the provinces themselves, 234 domestic imported cases were imported to 12 other provinces except the 8 original exported provinces, 493 cases in 2014 reached the peak, and 816 domestic imported cases were from Guangdong (675) and Yunnan (141). Domestic imported cases from Guangdong were imported to 218 counties, and 475 cases from Guangdong were imported to the adjacent counties in Guangdong itself. There were more male cases than female cases except in 2016. Domestic imported cases were clustered from 21 to 50 years old. The top three cases were from farmer, worker and housework or unemployed. The findings are helpful to formulate targeted, strategic plans and implement effective public health prevention and control measures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Efficient Removal of Butachlor and Change in Microbial Community Structure in Single-Chamber Microbial Fuel Cells
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203897 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Microbial electrochemical technology provides an inexhaustible supply of electron acceptors, allowing electroactive microorganisms to generate biocurrent and accelerate the removal of organics. The treatment of wastewater contaminated by butachlor, which is a commonly used chloroacetamide herbicide in paddy fields, is a problem in [...] Read more.
Microbial electrochemical technology provides an inexhaustible supply of electron acceptors, allowing electroactive microorganisms to generate biocurrent and accelerate the removal of organics. The treatment of wastewater contaminated by butachlor, which is a commonly used chloroacetamide herbicide in paddy fields, is a problem in agricultural production. In this study, butachlor was found to be removed efficiently (90 ± 1%) and rapidly (one day) in constructed single-chamber microbial fuel cells (MFCs). After the addition of sodium acetate to MFCs with butachlor as the sole carbon source, electricity generation was recovered instead of increasing the degradation efficiency of butachlor. Meanwhile, the microbial community structure was changed in anodic and cathodic biofilms after the addition of butachlor, following the bioelectrochemical degradation of butachlor. High-throughput sequencing showed the proliferation of Paracoccus and Geobacter in MFCs with butachlor as the sole carbon source and of Thauera butanivorans in MFCs with butachlor and sodium acetate as concomitant carbon sources. These species possess the ability to oxidize different substituents of butachlor and have important potential use for the bioremediation of wastewater, sediments, and soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Blending Insights from Implementation Science and the Social Sciences to Mitigate Inequities in Screening for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3899; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203899 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Genomic screening to identify people at high risk for adult-onset hereditary conditions has potential to improve population health. However, if not equitably accessible, genomics-informed screening programs will exacerbate existing health inequities or give rise to new ones. To realize the disease prevention potential [...] Read more.
Genomic screening to identify people at high risk for adult-onset hereditary conditions has potential to improve population health. However, if not equitably accessible, genomics-informed screening programs will exacerbate existing health inequities or give rise to new ones. To realize the disease prevention potential of these screening tools, we need strategies to broaden their reach. We propose a conceptual framework that merges insights from implementation science and sociological research on health inequities. Our framework does three things: first, it broadens the arenas of action beyond those typically addressed in implementation science frameworks; second, it argues for recruiting more diverse partners to share the work of implementation and dissemination; and third, it shows how implementation activities can be coordinated more effectively among those partners. We use screening for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers (HBOC) as a case to illustrate how this enhanced framework could guide implementation science and distribute the benefits of genomic medicine more equitably. Although our example is specific to genomics, this approach is more broadly applicable to the field of implementation science. Coordinated action among multiple stakeholders could translate a host of new technologies from the bench to the trench without creating new inequities or exacerbating existing ones. Full article
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Open AccessBrief Report
Antioxidant Saffron and Central Retinal Function in ABCA4-Related Stargardt Macular Dystrophy
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2461; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102461 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Retinal oxidative damage, associated with an ATP-binding cassette, sub-family A, member 4, also known as ABCA4 gene mutation, has been implicated as a major underlying mechanism for Stargardt disease/fundus flavimaculatus (STG/FF). Recent findings indicate that saffron carotenoid constituents crocins and crocetin may counteract [...] Read more.
Retinal oxidative damage, associated with an ATP-binding cassette, sub-family A, member 4, also known as ABCA4 gene mutation, has been implicated as a major underlying mechanism for Stargardt disease/fundus flavimaculatus (STG/FF). Recent findings indicate that saffron carotenoid constituents crocins and crocetin may counteract retinal oxidative damage, inflammation and protect retinal cells from apoptosis. This pilot study aimed to evaluate central retinal function following saffron supplementation in STG/FF patients carrying ABCA4 mutations. Methods: in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01278277), 31 patients with ABCA4-related STG/FF and a visual acuity >0.25 were randomly assigned to assume oral saffron (20 mg) or placebo over a six month period and then reverted to P or S for a further six month period. Full ophthalmic examinations, as well as central 18° focal electroretinogram (fERG) recordings, were performed at baseline and after six months of either saffron or placebo. The fERG fundamental harmonic component was isolated by Fourier analysis. Main outcome measures were fERG amplitude (in µV) and phase (in degrees). The secondary outcome measure was visual acuity. Results: supplement was well tolerated by all patients throughout follow-up. After saffron, fERG amplitude was unchanged; after placebo, amplitude tended to decrease from baseline (mean change: −0.18 log µV, p < 0.05). Reverting the treatments, amplitude did not change significantly. fERG phase and visual acuity were unchanged throughout follow-up. Conclusions: short-term saffron supplementation was well tolerated and had no detrimental effects on the electroretinographic responses of the central retina and visual acuity. The current findings warrant further long-term clinical trials to assess the efficacy of saffron supplementation in slowing down the progression of central retinal dysfunction in ABCA4-related STG/FF. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Quantitative Immunomorphological Analysis of Heat Shock Proteins in Thyroid Follicular Adenoma and Carcinoma Tissues Reveals Their Potential for Differential Diagnosis and Points to a Role in Carcinogenesis
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(20), 4324; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9204324 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Hsp27, Hsp60, Hsp70, and Hsp90 are chaperones that play a crucial role in cellular homeostasis and differentiation, but they may be implicated in carcinogenesis. Follicular neoplasms of the thyroid include follicular adenoma and follicular carcinoma. The former is a very frequent benign encapsulated [...] Read more.
Hsp27, Hsp60, Hsp70, and Hsp90 are chaperones that play a crucial role in cellular homeostasis and differentiation, but they may be implicated in carcinogenesis. Follicular neoplasms of the thyroid include follicular adenoma and follicular carcinoma. The former is a very frequent benign encapsulated nodule, whereas the other is a nodule that infiltrates the capsule, blood vessels and the adjacent parenchyma, with a tendency to metastasize. The main objective was to assess the potential of the Hsps in differential diagnosis and carcinogenesis. We quantified by immunohistochemistry Hsp27, Hsp60, Hsp70, and Hsp90 on thin sections of human thyroid tissue with follicular adenoma or follicular carcinoma, comparing the tumor with the adjacent peritumoral tissue. Hsp60, Hsp70, and Hsp90 were increased in follicular carcinoma compared to follicular adenoma, while Hsp27 showed no difference. Histochemical quantification of Hsp60, Hsp70, and Hsp90 allows diagnostic distinction between follicular adenoma and carcinoma, and between tumor and adjacent non-tumoral tissue. The quantitative variations of these chaperones in follicular carcinoma suggest their involvement in tumorigenesis, for instance in processes such as invasion of thyroid parenchyma and metastasization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunohistochemical Expression)
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Open AccessEditorial
Remote Sensing of Urban Forests
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2383; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202383 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Urban forests and green infrastructures at large are of critical importance for contemporary cities as they provide a wide range of ecosystem services (ESS) that enhance the quality of life of urban dwellers. Remote sensing technologies have greatly contributed to assessing and mapping [...] Read more.
Urban forests and green infrastructures at large are of critical importance for contemporary cities as they provide a wide range of ecosystem services (ESS) that enhance the quality of life of urban dwellers. Remote sensing technologies have greatly contributed to assessing and mapping the spatial distribution of ESS in urban areas, although more research is needed given the availability of new sensors from multiple satellites and platforms and the particular characteristics of urban environments (e.g., high heterogeneity). This Special Issue hosts papers focusing on the temporal and spatial dynamics of urban forests with special attention given to the most recent remote sensing technologies as well as advanced methods for processing geospatial data and extracting meaningful information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Urban Forests)
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Dioxin Contamination and Remediation on Property Values
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3900; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203900 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Loss of property value is a major concern in communities faced with the toxic byproducts of industrial practices. Even after site remediation, stigma may persist and negatively affect market values of residential properties. To study the effects of contamination and of remediation on [...] Read more.
Loss of property value is a major concern in communities faced with the toxic byproducts of industrial practices. Even after site remediation, stigma may persist and negatively affect market values of residential properties. To study the effects of contamination and of remediation on property values in Midland, Michigan, where dioxins have been released into the environment through the incineration of contaminated waste and the discharge of contaminated water for many years, records of assessed value were obtained for 229 homes within the same neighborhood for the previous 18 years. A multilevel, longitudinal analysis was conducted to determine if there was a relationship between level of dioxin and assessed value after controlling for housing characteristics. Remediated and un-remediated properties saw increases in value at a similar rate over time. However, a property’s level of dioxin was found to have a small, significant, and negative relationship with assessed value, and this negative effect was present regardless if a home had been remediated or not. These results suggest that while environmental remediation may be effective at removing the contamination, its economic effects may persist for a longer period of time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in Environmental Communication Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Stabilization of a Residual Soil Using Calcium and Magnesium Hydroxide Nanoparticles: A Quick Precipitation Method
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(20), 4325; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9204325 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
The current study examines the potential of using calcium and magnesium hydroxide nanoparticles synthetized through a quick precipitation method as soil stabilizers for improving the engineering properties of tropical residual soil. The engineering properties of untreated and nanoparticles-treated soil were studied by carrying [...] Read more.
The current study examines the potential of using calcium and magnesium hydroxide nanoparticles synthetized through a quick precipitation method as soil stabilizers for improving the engineering properties of tropical residual soil. The engineering properties of untreated and nanoparticles-treated soil were studied by carrying out a series of geotechnical tests including compaction, Atterberg limits, falling head permeability, and unconfined compressive strength (UCS). The stabilization mechanisms associated with soil–chemical reactions were further explored by performing microstructural analyses such as x-ray diffraction (XRD), variable-pressure scanning electron microscope (VP-SEM), and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX). The findings revealed that the calcium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide nanoparticles improved the geotechnical properties of residual soils in terms of reduced hydraulic conductivity and increased UCS. The percentage reduction of the hydraulic conductivity of magnesium and calcium hydroxide nanoparticles-treated soils compared to untreated soil after seven weeks of permeation were 85.14% and 98.70%, respectively. The magnesium and calcium hydroxide nanoparticles-treated soils subjected to 14 days of curing recorded a percentage increase in the UCS of 148.05% and 180.17%, respectively compared to untreated soil. Hence, it can be concluded that both magnesium and calcium hydroxide nanoparticles can be effectively utilized as environmental-friendly stabilizers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Civil Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Physiological, Hormonal and Metabolic Responses of two Alfalfa Cultivars with Contrasting Responses to Drought
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 5099; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20205099 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is frequently constrained by environmental conditions such as drought. Within this context, it is crucial to identify the physiological and metabolic traits conferring a better performance under stressful conditions. In the current study, two alfalfa cultivars (San Isidro [...] Read more.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is frequently constrained by environmental conditions such as drought. Within this context, it is crucial to identify the physiological and metabolic traits conferring a better performance under stressful conditions. In the current study, two alfalfa cultivars (San Isidro and Zhong Mu) with different physiological strategies were selected and subjected to water limitation conditions. Together with the physiological analyses, we proceeded to characterize the isotopic, hormone, and metabolic profiles of the different plants. According to physiological and isotopic data, Zhong Mu has a water-saver strategy, reducing water lost by closing its stomata but fixing less carbon by photosynthesis, and therefore limiting its growth under water-stressed conditions. In contrast, San Isidro has enhanced root growth to replace the water lost through transpiration due to its more open stomata, thus maintaining its biomass. Zhong Mu nodules were less able to maintain nodule N2 fixing activity (matching plant nitrogen (N) demand). Our data suggest that this cultivar-specific performance is linked to Asn accumulation and its consequent N-feedback nitrogenase inhibition. Additionally, we observed a hormonal reorchestration in both cultivars under drought. Therefore, our results showed an intra-specific response to drought at physiological and metabolic levels in the two alfalfa cultivars studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular Basis of Carbon and Nitrogen Metabolism in Plants)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Nitrogen Budget of Short Rotation Forests Amended with Digestate in Highly Permeable Soils
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(20), 4326; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9204326 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Bioenergy crops are a promising option for integrating fossil fuels and achieving European environmental targets. Among these, Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) crops and biogas plants have been considered an opportunity for sustainable agricultural development due to their environmental benefits. In this case study, [...] Read more.
Bioenergy crops are a promising option for integrating fossil fuels and achieving European environmental targets. Among these, Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) crops and biogas plants have been considered an opportunity for sustainable agricultural development due to their environmental benefits. In this case study, an N balance was performed by comparing an SRF Platanus hispanica plantation with a permanent meadow, both located in an area with highly permeable soils, using two different amounts of organic fertilization (digestate) for each system (0, 170 and 340 kg-N ha−1 y−1). The results obtained indicate that, in the presence of highly permeable soils, the SRF is not effective in retaining N during the initial stage of growth, despite the use of a suitable application rate of digestate. Higher N leaching rates occurred in SRF crops compared to permanent meadows. Moreover, the N potential removal rate did not vary proportionally with the applied dose of digestate. To avoid N leaching excess, the annual applied N should be not only within 170 kg-N ha−1 y−1 (Nitrate Directive legal limits for nitrate vulnerable zone) but should also follow precise and accurate distribution practices, like: controlled grassing between the tree rows and soil’s minimum tillage immediately after the digestate spreading. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Denitrification in Agricultural Soils)
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Open AccessCase ReportPost Publication Peer ReviewVersion 1
Assessment of Static Steadiness and Dynamic Stability at Various Stages of Healing a Grade 2 Medial Collateral Ligament Tear
Sci 2019, 1(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci1030060 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Injuries to the ligaments of the knee are extremely common among athletes who participate in high-risk sports, or any sport that requires frequent cutting motions, jumping, or contact. In order to determine the best way to heal these injuries, it is important to [...] Read more.
Injuries to the ligaments of the knee are extremely common among athletes who participate in high-risk sports, or any sport that requires frequent cutting motions, jumping, or contact. In order to determine the best way to heal these injuries, it is important to understand not just the pathology of the injury, but also the biomechanical factors that are affected, including stability and steadiness. While many studies have been done to examine the stability of healthy knees, there is little to no existing literature on stability of knees afflicted by injury. In order to surpass this obstacle, static steadiness and dynamic stability data was collected using the Lockhart Monitor phone application and Xsens accelerometers, respectively, both before and after completion of a course of physical therapy in a patient with a grade 2 medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear. These results were then used to determine the degree to which the prescribed physical therapy protocol was effective in healing the MCL, which can be useful for tweaking the individual protocol for future conservative treatment and management of the injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Wearable Biomedical Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Fatigue Behavior of Concrete Beams Prestressed with Partially Bonded CFRP Bars Subjected to Cyclic Loads
Materials 2019, 12(20), 3352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12203352 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
The lack of ductility is the greatest concern in the applications of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) materials, when used as pre-stressing reinforcements. To improve the ductility, a partially bonded FRP system which is intentionally unbonded in the middle part of the beam [...] Read more.
The lack of ductility is the greatest concern in the applications of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) materials, when used as pre-stressing reinforcements. To improve the ductility, a partially bonded FRP system which is intentionally unbonded in the middle part of the beam and bonded in both end parts of the beam has been developed and applied to prestressed concrete beams. While, many researchers investigated the instantaneous performance of partially bonded CFRP prestressed concrete beams, this study intended to evaluate the fatigue performance, the static load-carrying capacity after fatigue loading and ductility. Based on the fatigue loading tests followed by static loading tests, over-reinforced and web-confined partially bonded CFRP prestressed concrete beams exhibited satisfactory fatigue performance without cracks and stiffness degradation during fatigue loading. In addition, no degradation of load-carrying capacity was observed in static loading tests after the fatigue tests. The ductility index of concrete beams, prestressed with partially bonded CFRP bars, is combined with over-reinforcements and web-confinements, similar to that of beams prestressed with steel bars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Construction and Building Materials)
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Open AccessReview
Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, and Metabolic Properties of Tocopherols and Tocotrienols: Clinical Implications for Vitamin E Supplementation in Diabetic Kidney Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 5101; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20205101 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by the development of vascular complications associated with high morbidity and mortality and the consequent relevant costs for the public health systems. Diabetic kidney disease is one of these complications that represent the main cause of [...] Read more.
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by the development of vascular complications associated with high morbidity and mortality and the consequent relevant costs for the public health systems. Diabetic kidney disease is one of these complications that represent the main cause of end-stage renal disease in Western countries. Hyperglycemia, inflammation, and oxidative stress contribute to its physiopathology, and several investigations have been performed to evaluate the role of antioxidant supplementation as a complementary approach for the prevention and control of diabetes and associated disturbances. Vitamin E compounds, including different types of tocopherols and tocotrienols, have been considered as a treatment to tackle major cardiovascular outcomes in diabetic subjects, but often with conflicting or even negative results. However, their effects on diabetic nephropathy are even less clear, despite several intervention studies that showed the improvement of renal parameters after supplementation in patients with diabetic kidney disease. Then we performed a review of the literature about the role of vitamin E supplementation on diabetic nephropathy, also describing the underlying antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and metabolic mechanisms to evaluate the possible use of tocopherols and tocotrienols in clinical practice. Full article
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Open AccessAbstract
Quality Profile Evaluation of Topical Semi-Solid Systems with Ibuprofen
Proceedings 2019, 29(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019029069 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
The topical administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is described as an alternative route for inflammatory disease treatment and is frequently used because it determines local effects therapeutically, similar to oral administration, but with fewer side effects. [...] Full article
Open AccessAbstract
The Nanomechanical and Tribological Properties of Polyamide/Hydrotalcite Nanocomposites
Proceedings 2019, 29(1), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019029070 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
In specific fields of the industry (e.g., aircraft and automotive industry), plastic materials with high performance (improved scratch resistance, fire resistance, thermal stability, and high mechanical properties) are required. [...] Full article

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