Latest Articles

Open AccessArticle
Bariatric Procedures in Older Adults in the United States: Analysis of a Multicenter Database
Geriatrics 2019, 4(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics4020032 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background: Bariatric procedures help reduce obesity-related comorbidities and thus improve survival. Clinical characteristics and outcomes after bariatric procedures in older adults were investigated. Methods: A multi-institutional Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was queried from years 2005 through 2012. Older adults >60 [...] Read more.
Background: Bariatric procedures help reduce obesity-related comorbidities and thus improve survival. Clinical characteristics and outcomes after bariatric procedures in older adults were investigated. Methods: A multi-institutional Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was queried from years 2005 through 2012. Older adults >60 years of age with procedure codes for bariatric procedures and a diagnosis of obesity/morbid obesity were selected to compare clinical characteristics/outcomes between those undergoing closed versus open procedures and identify risk factors associated with in-hospital mortality and increased hospital length of stay (LOS). Results:Over the study period, 79,122 bariatric procedures were performed. Those undergoing open procedures compared to closed procedures had a higher in-hospital mortality (0.8% vs. 0.2%) and a longer hospital LOS (4.8 days vs. 2.2 days). Risk factors significantly associated with in-hospital mortality were open procedures, the Western region, and the Elixhauser comorbidity index. Risk factors associated with increased LOS were Medicaid insurance type, an open procedure, a higher Elixhauser comorbidity score, a required skilled nursing facility (SNF) discharge, and died in hospital. Conclusion: Closed bariatric procedures are increasingly being preferred in older adults, with a four-fold lower mortality compared to open procedures. Besides choice of procedure, the presence of specific comorbidities is associated with increased mortality in older adults. Full article
Open AccessInteresting Images
Herpes Simplex Virus Proctitis Masquerading as Rectal Cancer
Diseases 2019, 7(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases7020036 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the leading cause of proctitis in HIV-infected individuals. However, no cases of rectal masses secondary to HSV infection have been reported to date. Herein, we present the case of a 45-year-old man with HIV infection who developed rectal [...] Read more.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the leading cause of proctitis in HIV-infected individuals. However, no cases of rectal masses secondary to HSV infection have been reported to date. Herein, we present the case of a 45-year-old man with HIV infection who developed rectal pain and bleeding, along with dysuria and voiding difficulty. Colonoscopy revealed proctitis and a rectal mass with features concerning for rectal cancer. Histologic sections of the rectal mass biopsy demonstrated colorectal mucosa with viral cytopathic changes, ulceration, granulation tissue, marked inflammatory infiltrate, and fibrinopurulent exudate. Immunohistochemistry for herpes simplex virus-1 was positive in epithelial cells demonstrating a viral cytopathic effect. The patient was treated with valacyclovir for 3 weeks, which led to complete resolution of his symptoms. Follow-up sigmoidoscopy at 6 months did not show any masses. Our case illustrates the importance of considering HSV in the differential diagnosis of rectal masses. We advocate the routine use of viral immunohistochemistry for the evaluation of rectal tumors, especially in patients with clinical manifestations and endoscopic findings consistent with proctitis. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Music Training Positively Influences the Preattentive Perception of Voice Onset Time in Children with Dyslexia: A Longitudinal Study
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9040091 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Previous results showed a positive influence of music training on linguistic abilities at both attentive and preattentive levels. Here, we investigate whether six months of active music training is more efficient than painting training to improve the preattentive processing of phonological parameters based [...] Read more.
Previous results showed a positive influence of music training on linguistic abilities at both attentive and preattentive levels. Here, we investigate whether six months of active music training is more efficient than painting training to improve the preattentive processing of phonological parameters based on durations that are often impaired in children with developmental dyslexia (DD). Results were also compared to a control group of Typically Developing (TD) children matched on reading age. We used a Test–Training–Retest procedure and analysed the Mismatch Negativity (MMN) and the N1 and N250 components of the Event-Related Potentials to syllables that differed in Voice Onset Time (VOT), vowel duration, and vowel frequency. Results were clear-cut in showing a normalization of the preattentive processing of VOT in children with DD after music training but not after painting training. They also revealed increased N250 amplitude to duration deviant stimuli in children with DD after music but not painting training, and no training effect on the preattentive processing of frequency. These findings are discussed in view of recent theories of dyslexia pointing to deficits in processing the temporal structure of speech. They clearly encourage the use of active music training for the rehabilitation of children with language impairments. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Numerical Simulation and Analysis of Fish-Like Robots Swarm
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(8), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9081652 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Artificial fish-like robot is an important branch of underwater robot research. At present, most of fish-like robot research focuses on single robot mechanism behavior, some research pays attention to the influence of the hydro-environment on robot crowds but does not reach a unified [...] Read more.
Artificial fish-like robot is an important branch of underwater robot research. At present, most of fish-like robot research focuses on single robot mechanism behavior, some research pays attention to the influence of the hydro-environment on robot crowds but does not reach a unified conclusion on the efficiency of fish-like robots swarm. In this work, the fish-like robots swarm is studied by numerical simulation. Four different formations, including the tandem, the phalanx, the diamond, and the rectangle are conducted by changing the spacing between fishes. The results show that at close spacing, the fish in the back can obtain a large wake from the front fish, but suffers large lateral power loss from the lateral fish. On the contrary, when the spacing is large, both the wake and pressure caused by the front and side fishes become small. In terms of the average swimming efficiency of fish swarms, we find that when the fish spacing is less than 1.25L (L is the length of the fish body), the tandem swarm is the best choice. When the spacing is 1.25L, the tandem, diamond and rectangle swarms have similar efficiency. When the spacing is larger than 1.25L, the rectangle swarm is more efficient than other formations. The findings will provide significant guidance for the control of fish-like robots swarm. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effects of Killing Methods on Lipid Oxidation, Colour and Microbial Load of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Larvae
Animals 2019, 9(4), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040182 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae represent a promising alternative ingredient for animal feed. Post-production processing can, however, affect their quality. This project aimed to optimize larval killing by comparing the effects on the nutritional and microbiological quality of 10 methods, i.e., blanching (B [...] Read more.
Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae represent a promising alternative ingredient for animal feed. Post-production processing can, however, affect their quality. This project aimed to optimize larval killing by comparing the effects on the nutritional and microbiological quality of 10 methods, i.e., blanching (B = 40 s), desiccation (D = 60 °C, 30 min), freezing (F20 = −20 °C, 1 h; F40 = −40 °C, 1 h; N = liquid nitrogen, 40 s), high hydrostatic pressure (HHP = 3 min, 600 MPa), grinding (G = 2 min) and asphyxiation (CO2 = 120 h; N2 = 144 h; vacuum conditioning, V = 120 h). Some methods affected the pH (B, asphyxiation), total moisture (B, asphyxiation and D) and ash contents (B, p < 0.001). The lipid content (asphyxiation) and their oxidation levels (B, asphyxiation and D) were also affected (p < 0.001). Killing methods altered the larvae colour during freeze-drying and in the final product. Blanching appears to be the most appropriate strategy since it minimizes lipid oxidation (primary = 4.6 ± 0.7 mg cumen hydroperoxide (CHP) equivalents/kg; secondary = 1.0 ± 0.1 mg malondialdehyde/kg), reduces microbial contamination and initiates dehydration (water content = 78.1 ± 1.0%). We propose herein, an optimized protocol to kill BSF that meet the Canadian regulatory requirements of the insect production and processing industry. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Convenient Asymmetric Synthesis of Fmoc-(S)-6,6,6-Trifluoro-Norleucine
Symmetry 2019, 11(4), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11040578 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this work we report a convenient asymmetric synthesis of Fmoc-(S)-6,6,6-trifluoro-norleucine via alkylation reaction of chiral glycine equivalent. The target amino acid of 99% enantiomeric purity was prepared with 82.4% total yield (three steps). Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Assessing the Effectiveness of the WFD as a Tool to Address Different Levels of Water Scarcity Based on Two Case Studies of the Mediterranean Region
Water 2019, 11(4), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040840 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Despite being a natural phenomenon, water scarcity is, to a great extent, human-induced, particularly affected by climate change and by the increased water resources vulnerability. The Water Framework Directive (WFD), an ‘umbrella’ directive that aims to provide holistic approaches to the management of [...] Read more.
Despite being a natural phenomenon, water scarcity is, to a great extent, human-induced, particularly affected by climate change and by the increased water resources vulnerability. The Water Framework Directive (WFD), an ‘umbrella’ directive that aims to provide holistic approaches to the management of water resources and is supported by a number of Communication documents on water scarcity, requires for prompt responses to ensure ‘healthy’ water bodies of good ecological status. The current paper presents a multidisciplinary approach, developed and engaged within the Globaqua Project, to provide an assessment of the main challenges towards addressing water scarcity with emphasis on the climate change projections, in two Mediterranean regions. The current paper attempts to critically assess the effectiveness of the WFD as a tool to address water scarcity and increase sustainability in resource use. Criticism lies on the fact that the WFD does not directly refer to it, still, water scarcity is recognized as a factor that increases stress on water resources and deteriorates their status. In addition, the Program of Measures (PoMs) within the WFD clearly contribute to reducing vulnerability of water resources and to ensure current and future water use, also under the impact of the projected climate change. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Identifying Optimal Irrigation Water Needs at District Scale by Using A Physically Based Agro-Hydrological Model
Water 2019, 11(4), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040841 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This paper mainly aims to illustrate an irrigation management tool to simulate scheduling of district-level water needs over the course of an irrigation season. The tool is mostly based on a daily model for simulating flow of water (and solutes) in heterogeneous agri-environmental [...] Read more.
This paper mainly aims to illustrate an irrigation management tool to simulate scheduling of district-level water needs over the course of an irrigation season. The tool is mostly based on a daily model for simulating flow of water (and solutes) in heterogeneous agri-environmental systems (called FLOWS-HAGES). The model produces information on the daily evolution of: soil water contents and pressure potentials in the soil profile; water uptake and actual evapotranspiration; stress periods for each crop; return fluxes to the groundwater and their quality in terms of solute concentrations (e.g., nitrates). FLOWS-HAGES provides a daily list of hydrants to be operated according to water or crop-based criteria. The daily optimal sequence of hydrant use may thus be established by passing the volumes to be delivered on to the model for simulating the hydraulics of the irrigation network, in order to ensure that the discharges flowing inside the network of distribution pipes are delivered under optimal pressure head distribution in the system. All the above evaluations can be carried out in a stochastic framework to account for soil heterogeneity and climate changes. To illustrate the potential of FLOWS-HAGES, a case study was considered for a selected sector of the Irrigation District 10 in the “Sinistra Ofanto” irrigation system (southern Italy, Apulia region). In a 139 ha area (Sector 6 of the Irrigation District), soil profiles were analyzed for characterization of hydraulic properties variability. Hydraulic properties were determined by a combination of field and laboratory measurements. Model simulations were validated by comparing soil water storage simulated and measured by a sensor based on electromagnetic induction technique. Irrigation water volumes and frequency calculated by the model were compared to the volumes actually supplied by the farmers. Compared to the farmers behavior, the model simulates more frequent irrigations with lower irrigation volumes. Finally, some indexes of irrigation performance were calculated for each farm under study. The resulting maps provide useful information on the spatial distribution of farmer behavior, indicating the abuse or underuse of water as well as the fraction of the water lost by drainage following the irrigation method applied. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Oncogenic Role of ZFAS1 lncRNA in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas
Cells 2019, 8(4), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8040366 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a heterogeneous disease with high mortality. The identification of specific HNSCC biomarkers will increase treatment efficacy and limit the toxicity of current therapeutic strategies. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are promising biomarkers. Accordingly, here we [...] Read more.
Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a heterogeneous disease with high mortality. The identification of specific HNSCC biomarkers will increase treatment efficacy and limit the toxicity of current therapeutic strategies. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are promising biomarkers. Accordingly, here we investigate the biological role of ZFAS1 and its potential as a biomarker in HNSCC. Methods: The expression level of ZFAS1 in HNSCC cell lines was analyzed using qRT-PCR. Based on the HNSCC TCGA data, the ZFAS1 expression profile, clinicopathological features, and expression of correlated genes were analyzed in patient tissue samples. The selected genes were classified according to their biological function using the PANTHER tool. The interaction between lncRNA:miRNA and miRNA:mRNA was tested using available online tools. All statistical analyses were accomplished using GraphPad Prism 5. Results: The expression of ZFAS1 was up-regulated in the metastatic FaDu cell line relative to the less aggressive SCC-25 and SCC-040 and dysplastic DOK cell lines. The TCGA data indicated an up-regulation of ZFAS1 in HNSCCs compared to normal tissue samples. The ZFAS1 levels typically differed depending on the cancer stage and T-stage. Patients with a lower expression of ZFAS1 presented a slightly longer disease-free survival and overall survival. The analysis of genes associated with ZFAS1, as well its targets, indicate that they are linked with crucial cellular processes. In the group of patients with low expression of ZFAS1, we detected the up-regulation of suppressors and down-regulation of genes associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process, metastases, and cancer-initiating cells. Moreover, the negative correlation between ZFAS1 and its host gene, ZNFX1, was observed. The analysis of interactions indicated that ZFAS1 has a binding sequence for miR-150-5p. The expression of ZFAS1 and miR-150-5p is negatively correlated in HNSCC patients. miR-150-5p can regulate the 3′UTR of EIF4E mRNA. In the group of patients with high expression of ZFAS1 and low expression of miR-150-5p, we detected an up-regulation of EIF4E. Conclusions: In HNSCC, ZFAS1 displays oncogenic properties, regulates important processes associated with EMT, cancer-initiating cells, and metastases, and might affect patients’ clinical outcomes. ZFAS1 likely regulates the cell phenotype through miR-150-5p and its downstream targets. Following further validation, ZFAS1 might prove a new and valuable biomarker. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
The Elaboration of miRNA Regulation and Gene Regulatory Networks in Plant–Microbe Interactions
Genes 2019, 10(4), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10040310 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
: Plants are exposed to diverse abiotic and biotic stimuli. These require fast and specific integrated responses. Such responses are coordinated at the protein and transcript levels and are incorporated into larger regulatory networks. Here, we focus on the evolution of transcriptional regulatory [...] Read more.
: Plants are exposed to diverse abiotic and biotic stimuli. These require fast and specific integrated responses. Such responses are coordinated at the protein and transcript levels and are incorporated into larger regulatory networks. Here, we focus on the evolution of transcriptional regulatory networks involved in plant–pathogen interactions. We discuss the evolution of regulatory networks and their role in fine-tuning plant defense responses. Based on the observation that many of the cornerstones of immune signaling in angiosperms are also present in streptophyte algae, it is likely that some regulatory components also predate the origin of land plants. The degree of functional conservation of many of these ancient components has not been elucidated. However, ongoing functional analyses in bryophytes show that some components are conserved. Hence, some of these regulatory components and how they are wired may also trace back to the last common ancestor of land plants or earlier. Of course, an understanding of the similarities and differences during the evolution of plant defense networks cannot ignore the lineage-specific coevolution between plants and their pathogens. In this review, we specifically focus on the small RNA regulatory networks involved in fine-tuning of the strength and timing of defense responses and highlight examples of pathogen exploitation of the host RNA silencing system. These examples illustrate well how pathogens frequently target gene regulation and thereby alter immune responses on a larger scale. That this is effective is demonstrated by the diversity of pathogens from distinct kingdoms capable of manipulating the same gene regulatory networks, such as the RNA silencing machinery. Full article
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Acid–Base Catalytic Effects on Reduction of Methanol in Hot Water
Catalysts 2019, 9(4), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal9040373 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We have performed a number of quantum chemical simulations to examine the reduction process of methanol in hot water. Methanol is converted into a methane by capturing a hydrogen molecule and leaving a water molecule behind. The required energy for the reduction is [...] Read more.
We have performed a number of quantum chemical simulations to examine the reduction process of methanol in hot water. Methanol is converted into a methane by capturing a hydrogen molecule and leaving a water molecule behind. The required energy for the reduction is too high to proceed in the gas phase. The energy barrier for the reduction of methanol is reduced by the catalytic effect of water molecules when we consider the reduction in aqueous solution. However, the calculated reduction rate is still much slower than that found experimentally. The ion product of water tends to increase in hot water, even though it eventually decreases at the high temperature of supercritical water. It is valuable to consider the acid–base catalytic effects on the reduction of methanol in hot water. The significant reduction of the energy barrier is accomplished by the acid–base catalytic effects due to hydronium or hydroxyde. Mean collision time between a hydronium and a methanol in hot water is shorter than the reduction time, during which a methanol is converted into a methane. The calculated reduction rate with the acid–base catalytic effects agrees well with that determined by laboratory experiments. The present study reveals a crucial role of the acid–base catalytic effects on reactions in hot water. Full article

Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP)

IOAP participants benefit from discounts and convenient payment options.

Feedback

We are keen to hear what you think about MDPI. To leave us your feedback, suggestions or questions please click here.

See what our authors and guest editors say about us.

About MDPI

MDPI.com is a platform for peer-reviewed, scientific open-access journals operated by MDPI, based in Basel, Switzerland. Additional offices are located in Beijing and Wuhan (China) as well as in Barcelona (Spain).

Back to Top