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Open AccessArticle
Diet-Related Factors, Physical Activity, and Weight Status in Polish Adults
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2532; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102532 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Obesity is a serious problem for both the individual and society due to its health and economic consequences. Therefore, there is a need to focus on factors which explain this phenomenon and may be useful in preventing future occurrence. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Obesity is a serious problem for both the individual and society due to its health and economic consequences. Therefore, there is a need to focus on factors which explain this phenomenon and may be useful in preventing future occurrence. The aim of this study was to determine the lifestyle factors coexisting with increased body mass index (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) in Polish adults, including factors related to diet (dietary patterns—DPs; dietary restrictions; number of meals; frequency of snacking, eating out, and ordering home delivery meals), physical activity, and sociodemographic characteristics. A cross-sectional quantitative survey was carried out in 2016 amongst 972 Polish adults under the Life Style Study (LSS). To determine the factorscoexisting with BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2, the logistic regression model was developed. Women were less likely to be overweight or obese compared to men. The likelihood of BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 increased with age by 4% in each subsequent year of life. Frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, adhering to restrictions in quantity of food consumed and at least moderate physical activity during leisure time decreased the likelihood of BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2. More frequent consumption of meat and eating five or more meals a day increased the likelihood of BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2. Diet-related factors explained the developed model better than factors related to physical activity, however, age and gender were the factors most strongly correlated with BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2. Therefore, development of strategies to prevent and reduce overweight and obesity should focus on the demographic characteristics of the population, and then on teaching behaviors conducive for reducing the amount of food consumed, especially meat. However, physical activity in leisure time should also be included in the prevention of obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Choice and Nutrition)
Open AccessArticle
Age- and BMI-Associated Expression of Angiogenic Factors in White Adipose Tissue of Children
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 5204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20205204 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
The growth of adipose tissue and its vasculature are tightly associated. Angiogenic factors have been linked to obesity, yet little is known about their expression during early childhood. To identify associations of angiogenic factors with characteristics on individual and tissue level, subcutaneous white [...] Read more.
The growth of adipose tissue and its vasculature are tightly associated. Angiogenic factors have been linked to obesity, yet little is known about their expression during early childhood. To identify associations of angiogenic factors with characteristics on individual and tissue level, subcutaneous white adipose tissue samples were taken from 45 children aged 0–9 years undergoing elective surgery. We measured the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEFGA), fibroblast growth factor 1 and 2 (FGF1, FGF2), angiopoietin 1 and 2 (ANGPT1, ANGPT2), TEK receptor tyrosine kinase (TEK), and von Willebrand factor (VWF). In addition, we determined the mean adipocyte size in histologic tissue sections. We found positive correlations of age with FGF1 and FGF2 and a negative correlation with ANGPT2, with pronounced differences in the first two years of life. FGF1, FGF2, and ANGPT1 correlated positively with adipocyte size. Furthermore, we identified a correlation of ANGPT1 and TEK with body mass index-standard deviation score (BMI-SDS), a measure to define childhood obesity. Except for ANGPT2, all angiogenic factors correlated positively with the endothelial marker VWF. In sum, our findings suggest that differences related to BMI-SDS begin early in childhood, and the analyzed angiogenic factors possess distinct roles in adipose tissue biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adipogenesis and Adipose Tissue Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Anti-Diabetic Nephropathy Activities of Polysaccharides Obtained from Termitornyces albuminosus via Regulation of NF-κB Signaling in db/db Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 5205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20205205 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Termitornyces albuminosus is a kind of traditional Chinese edible fungus rich in nutrients and medicinal ingredients, and it has anti-oxidative, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the hypoglycemic and nephroprotective effects of polysaccharides separated from T. albuminosus (PTA) have not been reported. The properties [...] Read more.
Termitornyces albuminosus is a kind of traditional Chinese edible fungus rich in nutrients and medicinal ingredients, and it has anti-oxidative, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the hypoglycemic and nephroprotective effects of polysaccharides separated from T. albuminosus (PTA) have not been reported. The properties of PTA were analyzed in a BKS.Cg-Dock7m +/+ Leprdb/JNju (db/db) mouse model of diabetes. After the administration of PTA for eight weeks, the hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic activities of PTA in the db/db mice were assessed. The results of a cytokine array combined with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay confirmed the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities of PTA. An eight-week administration of PTA caused hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic functioning, as indicated by suppressed plasma glucose levels, as well as the modulation of several cytokines related to glycometabolism, in the sera and kidneys of the mice. PTA treatment also had a protective effect on renal function, restoring renal structures and regulating potential indicators of nephropathy. In the kidneys of the db/db mice, PTA treatment reduced the activation of protein kinase B, the inhibitor of κB kinase alpha and beta, and the inhibitor of κB alpha and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). We establish the hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, and anti-diabetic nephropathy effects of PTA, and we find that the renal protection effects of PTA may be related to anti-inflammatory activity via the regulation of NF-κB signaling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbohydrate Polymers for Pharmaceutical Applications)
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Open AccessEditorial
Current Trends in the Realm of Baking: When Indulgent Consumers Demand Healthy Sustainable Foods
Foods 2019, 8(10), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8100518 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
The term “baked goods” encompasses multiple food products made from flour (typically wheat flour) [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Carbon Pricing on Optimal Mix Design of Sustainable High-Strength Concrete
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5827; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205827 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Material cost and CO2 emissions are among the vital issues related to the sustainability of high-strength concrete. This research proposes a calculation procedure for the mix design of silica fume-blended high-strength concrete with an optimal total cost considering various carbon pricings. First, [...] Read more.
Material cost and CO2 emissions are among the vital issues related to the sustainability of high-strength concrete. This research proposes a calculation procedure for the mix design of silica fume-blended high-strength concrete with an optimal total cost considering various carbon pricings. First, the material cost and CO2 emission cost are determined using concrete mixture and unit prices. Gene expression programming (GEP) is used to evaluate concrete mechanical and workability properties. Second, a genetic algorithm (GA) is used to search the optimal mixture, considering various constraints, such as design compressive strength constraint, design workability constraint, range constraints, ratio constraints, and concrete volume constraint. The optimization objective of the GA is the sum of the material cost and the cost of CO2 emissions. Third, illustrative examples are shown for designing various kinds of concrete. Five strength levels (from 95 to 115 MPa with steps of 5 MPa) and four carbon pricings (normal carbon pricing, zero carbon pricing, five-fold carbon pricings, and ten-fold carbon pricings) are considered. A total of 20 optimal mixtures are calculated. The optimal mixtures were found the same for the cases of normal CO2 pricing and zero CO2 pricing. Optimal mixtures with higher strengths are more sensitive to variation in carbon pricing. For five-fold CO2 pricing, the cement content of mixtures with higher strengths (105, 110, and 115 MPa) are lower than those of normal CO2 pricing. As the CO2 pricing increases from five-fold to ten-fold, for mixtures with a strength of 110 MPa, the cement content becomes lower. Summarily, the proposed method can be applied to the material design of sustainable high-strength concrete with low material cost and CO2 emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials Research)
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Open AccessProceedings
Phanerozoic Chronostratigraphy: Top-Down Instead of Bottom-Up Boundary Definitions
Proceedings 2019, 24(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/IECG2019-06199 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
The GSSP method defines stage bases, and, where proximate, equates them to the bases of larger chronostratigraphic units. The Phanerozoic and its subdivisions above the stage level thus are only successively larger “pigeonholes” within which to bin stages. This reductionism trivializes chronostratigraphic boundaries [...] Read more.
The GSSP method defines stage bases, and, where proximate, equates them to the bases of larger chronostratigraphic units. The Phanerozoic and its subdivisions above the stage level thus are only successively larger “pigeonholes” within which to bin stages. This reductionism trivializes chronostratigraphic boundaries larger than stage boundaries. A single set of standard global stages is an unworkable abstraction that should be abandoned because no stage can be correlated globally because of facies changes, taphonomic biases, and/or provincialism. Stratigraphers should return to a top-down chronostratigraphy that defines chronostratigraphic units larger than stages by significant natural events that can be correlated globally. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Gender and Superstition in Modern Chinese Literature
Religions 2019, 10(10), 588; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10100588 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
This article offers a new perspective on the study of the discourse on superstition (mixin) in modern China. Drawing upon recent work on the import of the concept “superstition” to the colonial world during the 19th century, the article intervenes in [...] Read more.
This article offers a new perspective on the study of the discourse on superstition (mixin) in modern China. Drawing upon recent work on the import of the concept “superstition” to the colonial world during the 19th century, the article intervenes in the current study of the circulation of discursive constructs in area studies. This intervention is done in two ways: first, I identify how in the modern era missionaries and Western empires collaborated in linking anti-superstition thought to discourses on women’s liberation. Couched in promises of civilizational progress to cultures who free their women from backward superstitions, this historical connection between empire, gender and modern knowledge urges us to reorient our understanding of superstition merely as the ultimate other of “religion” or “science.” Second, in order to explore the nuances of the connection between gender and superstition, I turn to an archive that is currently understudied in the research on superstition in China. I propose that we mine modern Chinese literature by using literary methods. I demonstrate this proposal by reading China’s first feminist manifesto, The Women’s Bell by Jin Tianhe and the short story Medicine by Lu Xun. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Chinese Literature)
Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Castellini, M., et al. Spatial Variability of Soil Physical and Hydraulic Properties in a Durum Wheat Field: An Assessment by the BEST-Procedure. Water 2019, 11, 1434
Water 2019, 11(10), 2185; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102185 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Hydrology for a Sustainable Land Management. Theory and Practice)
Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Affinity towards Diversity Using the Implicit Association Test and Self-Reports
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5825; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205825 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Affinity towards diversity (ATD) is the tendency to appreciate the dynamic variety of biophysical and socio-cultural scenarios. ATD may reveal a human predisposition to conserve the diversity necessary to guarantee the preservation of human and natural ecosystems. This study expands upon previous studies [...] Read more.
Affinity towards diversity (ATD) is the tendency to appreciate the dynamic variety of biophysical and socio-cultural scenarios. ATD may reveal a human predisposition to conserve the diversity necessary to guarantee the preservation of human and natural ecosystems. This study expands upon previous studies which employed only self-report measures by introducing a version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and by using a mediational model to test whether ATD through sustainable (pro-environmental and pro-social) behaviors leads to greater wellbeing. We recruited 119 Mexican students to complete a computerized IAT task and respond to ATD, wellbeing, and sustainable behavior self-report questionnaires. Reliability analyses of the scales utilized showed acceptable indexes. A mediational model was tested to examine whether sustainable behaviors mediate the relationship between ATD and wellbeing. Results demonstrated that affinity towards diversity indirectly predicted wellbeing via the mediating effects of pro-environmental behaviors and altruism. Despite finding an association between self-reported affinity towards biodiversity and IAT reaction times, an association was not found with D scores, highlighting the need for further research. These findings suggest that those with increased inclination towards diversity are more prone to engage in environmentally (both physical and social) protective behaviors and to experience psychological wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Two Approaches to Increase Physical Activity for Preschool Children in Child Care Centers: A Matched-Pair Cluster-Randomized Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 4020; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16204020 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Early childhood education settings are critical for promoting physical activity (PA) but intervention effects are often small. The aim of this study was to develop, test, and compare two approaches to increasing physical activity among preschoolers at child care centers: one focused on [...] Read more.
Early childhood education settings are critical for promoting physical activity (PA) but intervention effects are often small. The aim of this study was to develop, test, and compare two approaches to increasing physical activity among preschoolers at child care centers: one focused on a teacher-led PA curriculum (Active Play!) and the other on increasing outdoor child-initiated free play time (Outdoor Play!). We conducted a matched-pair cluster-randomized study in 10 centers in and around Seattle, WA, USA (n = 97 children, mean age 4.6). Pre- and post-intervention data were collected from observations and accelerometers. At pre-intervention, 19% of Active Play! and 25% of Outdoor Play! children achieved >120 min/day of PA during child care. The total opportunity for PA increased in both interventions (Active Play! = 11 min/day; Outdoor Play! = 14 min/day), with the largest increase in outdoor child-initiated free playtime (Active Play! = 19 min/day; Outdoor Play! = 24 min/day). No changes in sedentary time, light or moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA (MVPA) were observed in either intervention and there was no difference between interventions in the percentage of children attaining more than 120 min/day of PA. A small (<3 min/day) relative increase in teacher-led outdoor activity was observed in the Active Play! intervention. Both intervention strategies led to an increase in active play opportunities, predominantly outdoors, but neither was able to substantially increase the intensity and/or duration of children’s PA. Future studies are needed to better understand and inform sustainable approaches to increase PA in early learning settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Children's Health)
Open AccessArticle
Lessons from Assessing Uncertainty in Agricultural Water Supply Estimation for Sustainable Rice Production
Agronomy 2019, 9(10), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9100662 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Agricultural water supply (AWS) estimation is one of the first and fundamental steps of developing agricultural management plans, and its accuracy must have substantial impacts on the following decision-making processes. In modeling the AWS for paddy fields, it is still common to determine [...] Read more.
Agricultural water supply (AWS) estimation is one of the first and fundamental steps of developing agricultural management plans, and its accuracy must have substantial impacts on the following decision-making processes. In modeling the AWS for paddy fields, it is still common to determine parameter values, such as infiltration rates and irrigation efficiency, solely based on literature and rough assumptions due to data limitations; however, the impact of parameter uncertainty on the estimation has not been fully discussed. In this context, a relative sensitivity index and the generalized likelihood uncertainty estimation (GLUE) method were applied to quantify the parameter sensitivity and uncertainty in an AWS simulation. A general continuity equation was employed to mathematically represent the paddy water balance, and its six parameters were investigated. The results show that the AWS estimates are sensitive to the irrigation efficiency, drainage outlet height, minimum ponding depth, and infiltration, with the irrigation efficiency appearing to be the most important parameter; thus, they should be carefully selected. Multiple combinations of parameter values were observed to provide similarly good predictions, and such equifinality produced the substantial amount of uncertainty in AWS estimates regardless of the modeling approaches, indicating that the uncertainty should be counted when developing water management plans. We also found that agricultural system simulations using only literature-based parameter values provided poor accuracy, which can lead to flawed decisions in the water resources planning processes, and then the inefficient use of public investment and resources. The results indicate that modelers’ careful parameter selection is required to improve the accuracy of modeling results and estimates from using not only information from the past studies but also modeling practices enhanced with local knowledge and experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model Application for Sustainable Agricultural Water)
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Open AccessProceedings
Incentives for Crypto-Collateralized Digital Assets
Proceedings 2019, 28(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019028002 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Digital currencies such as Bitcoin frequently suffer from high price volatility, limiting their utility as a means of purchasing power. Hence, a popular topic among cryptocurrency researchers is a digital currency design which inherits the decentralization of Bitcoin while somehow mitigating its violent [...] Read more.
Digital currencies such as Bitcoin frequently suffer from high price volatility, limiting their utility as a means of purchasing power. Hence, a popular topic among cryptocurrency researchers is a digital currency design which inherits the decentralization of Bitcoin while somehow mitigating its violent price swings. One such system which attempts to establish a price-stable cryptocurrency is the BitShares market-pegged-asset protocol. In this paper, we present a simple mathematical model of the BitShares protocol, and analyze it theoretically and numerically for incentive effects. In particular, we investigate how the selection of two key design parameters function as incentive mechanisms to encourage token holders to commit their core BitShares tokens as collateral for the creation of new price-stabilized tokens. We show a pair of analytical results characterizing some simple facts regarding the interplay between these design parameters. Furthermore, we demonstrate numerically that in some settings, setting these design parameters is a complex, sensitive, and unintuitive task, prompting further work to more fully understand this design process. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Comprehensive Smoke-Free Legislation in Indoor Public Places in Shanghai, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 4019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16204019 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
This study evaluated compliance with the comprehensive smoke-free law in public indoor places introduced in Shanghai in March 2017. Observations and PM2.5 monitoring over 30 min intervals in 8 types of the venue were conducted three times: within a month before implementation and [...] Read more.
This study evaluated compliance with the comprehensive smoke-free law in public indoor places introduced in Shanghai in March 2017. Observations and PM2.5 monitoring over 30 min intervals in 8 types of the venue were conducted three times: within a month before implementation and 3- and 12-months post implementation. Observations of evidence of smoking decreased from 66.2% before legislation to 52.8% three months after (p = 0.002) and 49.7% one year after (p < 0.001). The density of lit cigarettes also reduced significantly after implementation (p < 0.001). When adjusting for outdoor, indoor PM2.5 levels were significantly lower after the legislation, but only by a small amount (three months later: −0.27, p = 0.08; one year later: −0.12; p = 0.03). Evidence of compliance was weakest in farmer’s markets and bars, and smoking in male toilets did not change significantly. The reduction in smoking was affected by the management performance of their obligations. The comprehensive smoke-free law led to modest reductions in smoking and PM2.5 levels as a result, but from levels suggesting quite high levels of pre-compliance. However, compliance was limited in some areas, suggesting more effort is required on management to gain better compliance in some places like farmer’s markets, bars, and toilets. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Direct Reduction of Fe, Ni and Cr from Oxides of Waste Products Used in Briquettes for Slag Foaming in EAF
Materials 2019, 12(20), 3434; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12203434 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Environmental aspects and the sustainable manufacturing of steels require producers to pay more and more attention to the efficient utilization of materials and waste products during steelmaking. This study is focused on the evaluation of possibilities for the recovery of metals (such as [...] Read more.
Environmental aspects and the sustainable manufacturing of steels require producers to pay more and more attention to the efficient utilization of materials and waste products during steelmaking. This study is focused on the evaluation of possibilities for the recovery of metals (such as Fe, Ni and Cr) from waste products used for slag foaming in the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) process. Two types of industrial briquettes were produced by mixing mill-scale from the hot rolling of stainless steels with anthracite and pet-coke, respectively. Thereafter, an assessment of the metal reduction processes in briquettes at high temperatures (1500 °C) was made by using laboratory thermo-gravimetric reduction experiments in an argon atmosphere. The amounts of metal, slag and gas obtained from the briquettes were estimated. In addition, the velocity and time for the removal of metal droplets from the liquid slag depending on the size of the metal droplets was estimated. It was found that up to 97% of metal droplets can be removed from the slag during the first 30 min. Moreover, results showed that most of the Cr, Ni and Fe (up to 93–100%) can be reduced from oxides of these metals in briquettes at 1500 °C. Moreover, the anthracite and pet-coke in the investigated briquettes have similar reduction capabilities. It was found that up to 330 kg of Fe, 28 kg of Ni and 66 kg of Cr per ton of added briquettes can be recovered from waste products by the industrial application of those briquettes for slag foaming in EAF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Friendly Renewable Materials)
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Open AccessProceedings
Risk and Return Management through Smart Contract Profit Redistribution
Proceedings 2019, 28(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019028003 (registering DOI) - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
Investing into a new product or service is a high-risk, high-return activity. This is best symbolized by the observation that the return over investment distribution of startups is a power law. Introduction of new products or services to the market might fail to [...] Read more.
Investing into a new product or service is a high-risk, high-return activity. This is best symbolized by the observation that the return over investment distribution of startups is a power law. Introduction of new products or services to the market might fail to generate profit even though there is a demand. Early adopters are also penalized, as they often pay a high price for something which will end up being cheaper, and might lose their warranty if the firm goes bankrupt. Innovation is slowed down. We propose to equally redistribute part of the generated profit at the end of a predefined time period to previous customers using Ethereum smart contract. Because customers are aware of the amount they would get back, their behaviors will change. The return over investment distribution and therefore the risk and return balance of the firms will also be affected. We formally define both a classic market and a market that is using our proposed system, and present an architecture to deploy such system. A preliminary numerical simulation is provided. Full article

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