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Article
Stability Kinetics of Anthocyanins of Grumixama Berries (Eugenia brasiliensis Lam.) during Thermal and Light Treatments
by , , , and
Foods 2023, 12(3), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12030565 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Grumixama (Eugenia brasiliensis Lam.) are red-colored fruits due to the presence of anthocyanins. In this paper, anthocyanin-rich extracts from grumixama were submitted to different temperatures and light irradiations, with the aim of investigating their stabilities. The thermal stability data indicated that a [...] Read more.
Grumixama (Eugenia brasiliensis Lam.) are red-colored fruits due to the presence of anthocyanins. In this paper, anthocyanin-rich extracts from grumixama were submitted to different temperatures and light irradiations, with the aim of investigating their stabilities. The thermal stability data indicated that a temperature range from 60 to 80 °C was critical to the stability of the anthocyanins of the grumixama extracts, with a temperature quotient value (Q10) of 2.8 and activation energy (Ea) of 52.7 kJ/mol. The anthocyanin-rich extracts of grumixama fruits showed the highest stability during exposure to incandescent irradiation (50 W), followed by fluorescent radiation (10 W). The t1/2 and k were 59.6 h and 0.012 h−1 for incandescent light, and 45.6 h and 0.015 h−1 for fluorescent light. In turn, UV irradiation (25 W) quickly degraded the anthocyanins (t1/2 = 0.18 h and k = 3.74 h−1). Therefore, grumixama fruits, and their derived products, should be handled carefully to avoid high temperature (>50 °C) and UV light exposure in order to protect the anthocyanins from degradation. Furthermore, grumixama fruits showed high contents of anthocyanins that can be explored as natural dyes; for example, by food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. In addition, the results of this study may contribute to the setting of processing conditions and storage conditions for grumixama-derived fruit products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fruits and Fruit-Based Products as a Source of Bioactive Compounds)
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Systematic Review
The Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection Therapy in the Treatment of Patients with Achilles Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by , , , , and
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(3), 995; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12030995 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Background: Over the past few years, many studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in treating musculoskeletal conditions. However, there is controversy about its benefits for patients with Achilles tendinopathy. Objective: This study aimed to investigate whether platelet-rich [...] Read more.
Background: Over the past few years, many studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in treating musculoskeletal conditions. However, there is controversy about its benefits for patients with Achilles tendinopathy. Objective: This study aimed to investigate whether platelet-rich plasma injections can improve outcomes in patients with Achilles tendinopathy. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted in PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, China Biomedical CD-ROM, and Chinese Science and Technology Journal databases to identify randomised controlled clinical trials that compared the efficacy of PRP injection in patients with Achilles tendinopathy (AT) versus placebo, published between 1 January 1966 and 1 December 2022. Review Manager 5.4.1 software was used for the statistical analysis, and the Jadad score was used to assess the included literature. Only 8 of the 288 articles found met the inclusion criteria. Results: Our work suggests that: The PRP treatment group had a slightly higher VISA–A score than the placebo group at 6 weeks [MD = 1.92, 95% CI (−0.54, 4.38), I2 = 34%], at 12 weeks [MD = 0.20, 95% CI (−2.65 3.05), I2 = 60%], and 24 weeks [MD = 2.75, 95% CI (−2.76, 8.26), I2 = 87%]). However, the difference was not statistically significant. The Achilles tendon thickness was higher at 12 weeks of treatment in the PRP treatment group compared to the control group [MD = 0.34, 95% CI (−0.04, 0.71), p = 0.08], but the difference was not statistically significant. The VAS-improvement results showed no significant difference at 6 and 24 weeks between the two groups, respectively (MD = 6.75, 95% CI = (−6.12, 19.62), I2 = 69%, p = 0.30), and (MD = 10.46, 95% CI = (−2.44 to 23.37), I2 = 69%, p = 0.11). However, at 12 weeks of treatment, the PRP injection group showed a substantial VAS improvement compared to the control group (MD = 11.30, 95% CI = (7.33 to 15.27), I2 = 0%, p < 0.00001). The difference was statistically significant. The return to exercise rate results showed a higher return to exercise rate in the PRP treatment group than the placebo group [RR = 1.11, 95% CI (0.87, 1.42), p = 0.40]; the difference was not statistically significant. Conclusion: There is no proof that PRP injections can enhance patient functional and clinical outcomes for Achilles tendinopathy. Augmenting the frequency of PRP injections may boost the outcomes, and additionally, more rigorous designs and standardised clinical randomised controlled trials are needed to produce more reliable and accurate results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Orthopedics)
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Article
Epicatechin Prevents Cryocapacitation of Bovine Spermatozoa through Antioxidant Activity and Stabilization of Transmembrane Ion Channels
by , , , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2510; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032510 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Epicatechin (EPC) is a flavonoid belonging to the family of catechins; it has been described as a powerful scavenger of a wide spectrum of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and a modulator of ex vivo sperm vitality. In this study, we assessed the potential [...] Read more.
Epicatechin (EPC) is a flavonoid belonging to the family of catechins; it has been described as a powerful scavenger of a wide spectrum of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and a modulator of ex vivo sperm vitality. In this study, we assessed the potential protective abilities of EPC on cryopreserved bovine spermatozoa. We focused on conventional quality parameters, as well as the oxidative profile of spermatozoa alongside capacitation patterns, and expression profiles of proteins involved in the process of capacitation. Semen samples were cryopreserved in the presence of 25, 50 or 100 μmol/L EPC and compared to native semen (negative control) as well as ejaculates frozen in the absence of EPC (positive control). A dose-dependent improvement of conventional sperm quality parameters was observed following EPC administration, particularly in case of the sperm motility, membrane, acrosome and DNA integrity in comparison to the positive control. Experimental groups exposed to all EPC doses presented with a significantly lower proportion of capacitated spermatozoa as opposed to the positive control. While no significant effects of EPC were observed in cases of superoxide production, a significant decrease in the levels of hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical were recorded particularly in the experimental groups supplemented with 50 and 100 μmol/L EPC. Western blot analysis revealed that supplementation of particularly 100 μmol/L EPC to the semen extender prevented the loss of the cation channel of sperm (CatSper) isoforms 1 and 2, sodium bicarbonate cotransporter (NBC) and protein kinase A (PKA), which play important roles in the process of sperm capacitation. In summary, we may hypothesize that EPC is particularly effective in the stabilization of the sperm membrane during the freeze–thaw process through its ability to quench ROS involved in damage to the membrane lipids and to prevent the loss of membrane channels crucial to initiate the process of sperm capacitation. These attributes of EPC provide an additional layer of protection to spermatozoa exposed to low temperatures, which may be translated into a higher post-thaw structural integrity and functional activity of male gametes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Sperm Activation)
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Article
Influence of Sex and Age on Site of Onset, Morphology, and Site of Metastasis in Colorectal Cancer: A Population-Based Study on Data from Four Italian Cancer Registries
by , , , , , , , , and
Cancers 2023, 15(3), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers15030803 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
The prognosis of colorectal cancer is affected by factors such as site of origin, tumor morphology, and metastasis at diagnosis, but also age and sex seem to play a role. This study aimed to investigate within the Italian population how sex and age [...] Read more.
The prognosis of colorectal cancer is affected by factors such as site of origin, tumor morphology, and metastasis at diagnosis, but also age and sex seem to play a role. This study aimed to investigate within the Italian population how sex and age interact in influencing certain aspects of the disease and how they affect patient survival, particularly in the metastatic cohort. Data from four cancer registries were collected, and patients were classified by sex and age (<50, 50–69, and >69 years). Two separate analyses were conducted: one for patients having right or left colon cancer with adenocarcinoma or mucinous morphology, and one for patients having metastases at diagnosis. Women showed significant differences in right colon cases from the youngest to oldest age group (36% vs. 45% vs. 60%). Men <50 years had a significantly higher mucinous carcinoma percentage than their female counterparts (22% vs. 11%), while in the oldest age group women had the highest percentage (15% vs. 11%). The metastatic pattern differed between men and women and by age. The three-year relative survival in the <50 age group was better for women than men, but this survival advantage was reversed in the oldest group. In conclusion, sex and age are factors that influence the biological and clinical characteristics of colorectal cancer, affecting the metastatic pattern as well as patient survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention)
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Systematic Review
Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio in Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by , , , , , , , , , , , and
Cancers 2023, 15(3), 802; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers15030802 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has been associated with survival in various cancers, including head and neck cancer. However, there is limited information on its role in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OPSCC) according to HPV status. This prompted the present meta-analysis. Studies were selected when [...] Read more.
Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has been associated with survival in various cancers, including head and neck cancer. However, there is limited information on its role in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OPSCC) according to HPV status. This prompted the present meta-analysis. Studies were selected when the prognostic value of NLR prior to treatment was evaluated in OPSCC patients, the cutoff value of NLR was available, and the prognostic value of NLR was evaluated by time-to-event survival analysis. A total of 14 out of 492 articles, including 7647 patients, were analyzed. The results showed a worse prognosis for the patients with a high NLR: The combined hazard ratios (HR) for overall survival (OS) in patients with an elevated NLR was 1.56 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.21–2.02; p = 0.0006), for disease-free survival was 1.52 (95% CI 1.34–1.73; p < 0.00001), and for recurrence-free survival was 1.86 (95% CI 1.50–2.30; p < 0.00001). This worse prognosis of high NLR was exclusive of HPV-positive patients: HR for OS in the HPV-positive subgroup was 4.05 (95% CI 1.90–8.62 (p = 0.0003), and in the HPV-negative subgroup 0.92 (95% CI 0.47–1.80; p = 0.82). The prognosis of NLR was not influenced by treatment: The HR for OS for patients treated with radiotherapy/chemoradiotherapy (RT/CRT) was 1.48 (95% CI 1.09–2.01; p = 0.01), and for patients treated with surgery (±RT/CRT) was 1.72 (95% CI 1.08–2.72; p = 0.02). In conclusion, an elevated NLR relates to worse outcomes in patients with HPV-positive OPSCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Biomarkers and Detection of Head and Neck Cancer)
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Article
Optical Isolation of the Amplifier Cavity in XG-III PW Beamline
by , , , , and
Optics 2023, 4(1), 132-137; https://doi.org/10.3390/opt4010009 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Optical isolation with high-quality, large-aperture polarizers is commonly used in high-power laser facilities to suppress retro-reflected pulses. However, it is hard to manufacture these polarizers. We propose an approach of optical isolation with two plasma-electrode Pockels cells instead of large-aperture polarizers. In this [...] Read more.
Optical isolation with high-quality, large-aperture polarizers is commonly used in high-power laser facilities to suppress retro-reflected pulses. However, it is hard to manufacture these polarizers. We propose an approach of optical isolation with two plasma-electrode Pockels cells instead of large-aperture polarizers. In this approach, Nd:glass slabs placed at the Brewster′s angle are used as polarizers. The analysis results and the application performances in the Xingguang (Star Light) XG-III PW beamline indicate that this approach can supply good protection to optical components in laser facilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser–Matter Interaction)
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Article
A Comparative Study of the Effects of Distance Learning and Face-to-Face Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic on Learning Mathematical Concepts in Primary Students of the Kingdom of Bahrain
by and
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13020133 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
The main objective of this study is to compare the effectiveness of face-to-face learning and distance learning in helping fourth-grade primary students learn mathematical concepts. The data were collected from 120 fourth-grade students selected purposively and divided into two groups: a control group [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study is to compare the effectiveness of face-to-face learning and distance learning in helping fourth-grade primary students learn mathematical concepts. The data were collected from 120 fourth-grade students selected purposively and divided into two groups: a control group comprising 60 students, who used a face-to-face programme in their third grade, and an experimental group comprising 60 students, who used a distance learning programme in their third grade. A diagnostic test was used to measure their understanding of previous mathematical concepts. The current research revealed two interesting results: First, there were no statistically significant differences (p-value < 0.05) in rounding and ordering numbers, space concept, perimeter concept, and graphs between the face-to-face mode and distance learning mode, where students’ results were almost similar. Second, there were statistically significant differences (p-value < 0.05) in the concepts of expanding pictures of numbers (verbal, analytic, and standard), compare numbers, basic arithmetic operations, units of measurement, geometric shapes, sides, and data visualisation in favour of the group of students who were taught in a face-to-face learning mode. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Technology Enhanced Education)
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Article
Role of Fungi in Biodegradation of Imidazolium Ionic Liquids by Activated Sewage Sludge
by , and
Molecules 2023, 28(3), 1268; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28031268 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Ionic liquids (ILs), due to their specific properties, can play the role of persistent water contaminants. Fungi manifest the ability to decompose hardy degradable compounds, showing potential in the biodegradation of ILs, which has been studied extensively on sewage sludge; however, attention was [...] Read more.
Ionic liquids (ILs), due to their specific properties, can play the role of persistent water contaminants. Fungi manifest the ability to decompose hardy degradable compounds, showing potential in the biodegradation of ILs, which has been studied extensively on sewage sludge; however, attention was drawn mainly to bacterial and not fungal species. The aim of the research was to determine the significance of fungi in ILs’ biodegradation to extend the knowledge and possibly point out ways of increasing their role in this process. The research included: the isolation and genetic identification of fungal strains potentially capable of [OMIM][Cl], [BMIM][Cl], [OMIM][Tf2N], and [BMIM][Tf2N] degradation, adjustment of the ILs concentration for biodegradability test by MICs determination and choosing strains with the highest biological robustness; inoculum adaptation tests, and finally primary biodegradation by OECD 301F test. The study, conducted for 2 mM [OMIM][Cl] as a tested substance and consortium of microorganisms as inoculum, resulted in an average 64.93% biodegradation rate within a 28-day testing period. For the individual fungal strain (Candida tropicalis), the maximum of only 4.89% biodegradation rate was reached in 10 days, then inhibited. Insight into the role of fungi in the biodegradation of ILs was obtained, enabling the creation of a complex overview of ILs toxicity and the possibilities of its biological use. However, only an inoculum consisting of a consortium of microorganisms enriched with a selected strain of fungi was able to decompose the IL, in contrast to that consisting only of an individual fungal strain. Full article
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Article
Limiting Factors Affecting the Ionic Conductivities of LATP/Polymer Hybrid Electrolytes
by , , , and
Batteries 2023, 9(2), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/batteries9020087 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
All-Solid-State Lithium Batteries (ASSLB) are promising candidates for next generation lithium battery systems due to their increased safety, stability, and energy density. Ceramic and solid composite electrolytes (SCE), which consist of dispersed ceramic particles within a polymeric host, are among the preferred technologies [...] Read more.
All-Solid-State Lithium Batteries (ASSLB) are promising candidates for next generation lithium battery systems due to their increased safety, stability, and energy density. Ceramic and solid composite electrolytes (SCE), which consist of dispersed ceramic particles within a polymeric host, are among the preferred technologies for use as electrolytes in ASSLB systems. Synergetic effects between ceramic and polymer electrolyte components are usually reported in SCE. Herein, we report a case study on the lithium conductivity of ceramic and SCE comprised of Li1.4Al0.4Ti1.6(PO4)3 (LATP), a NASICON-type ceramic. An evaluation of the impact of the processing and sintering of the ceramic on the conductive properties of the electrolyte is addressed. The study is then extended to Poly(Ethylene) Oxide (PEO)-LATP SCE. The presence of the ceramic particles conferred limited benefits to the SCE. These findings somewhat contradict commonly held assumptions on the role of ceramic additives in SCE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers to Celebrate the First Impact Factor of Batteries)
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Article
Multiple Brain Tumor Classification with Dense CNN Architecture Using Brain MRI Images
by , , , , , and
Life 2023, 13(2), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13020349 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Brain MR images are the most suitable method for detecting chronic nerve diseases such as brain tumors, strokes, dementia, and multiple sclerosis. They are also used as the most sensitive method in evaluating diseases of the pituitary gland, brain vessels, eye, and inner [...] Read more.
Brain MR images are the most suitable method for detecting chronic nerve diseases such as brain tumors, strokes, dementia, and multiple sclerosis. They are also used as the most sensitive method in evaluating diseases of the pituitary gland, brain vessels, eye, and inner ear organs. Many medical image analysis methods based on deep learning techniques have been proposed for health monitoring and diagnosis from brain MRI images. CNNs (Convolutional Neural Networks) are a sub-branch of deep learning and are often used to analyze visual information. Common uses include image and video recognition, suggestive systems, image classification, medical image analysis, and natural language processing. In this study, a new modular deep learning model was created to retain the existing advantages of known transfer learning methods (DenseNet, VGG16, and basic CNN architectures) in the classification process of MR images and eliminate their disadvantages. Open-source brain tumor images taken from the Kaggle database were used. For the training of the model, two types of splitting were utilized. First, 80% of the MRI image dataset was used in the training phase and 20% in the testing phase. Secondly, 10-fold cross-validation was used. When the proposed deep learning model and other known transfer learning methods were tested on the same MRI dataset, an improvement in classification performance was obtained, but an increase in processing time was observed. Full article
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Case Report
SARS-CoV-2 Genome Variations in Viral Shedding of an Immunocompromised Patient with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
by , , , , , , , , , and
Viruses 2023, 15(2), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15020377 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Background. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the most transmissible ß-coronavirus in history, affecting all population groups. Immunocompromised patients, particularly cancer patients, have been highlighted as a reservoir to promote accumulation of viral mutations throughout persistent [...] Read more.
Background. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the most transmissible ß-coronavirus in history, affecting all population groups. Immunocompromised patients, particularly cancer patients, have been highlighted as a reservoir to promote accumulation of viral mutations throughout persistent infection. Case presentation. We aimed to describe the clinical course and SARS-CoV-2 mutation profile for 102 days in an immunocompromised patient with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and COVID-19. We used RT-qPCR to quantify SARS-CoV-2 viral load over time and whole-virus genome sequencing to identify viral lineage and mutation profile. The patient presented with a persistent infection through 102 days while being treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and received targeted therapy for COVID-19 with remdesivir and hyperimmune plasma. All sequenced samples belonged to the BA.1.1 lineage. We detected nine amino acid substitutions in five viral genes (Nucleocapsid, ORF1a, ORF1b, ORF13a, and ORF9b), grouped in two clusters: the first cluster with amino acid substitutions only detected on days 39 and 87 of sample collection, and the second cluster with amino acid substitutions only detected on day 95 of sample collection. The Spike gene remained unchanged in all samples. Viral load was dynamic but consistent with the disease flares. Conclusions. This report shows that the multiple mutations that occur in an immunocompromised patient with persistent COVID-19 could provide information regarding viral evolution and emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Virology and Viral Diseases)
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Systematic Review
Use of Arduino in Primary Education: A Systematic Review
by and
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13020134 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
In the last two decades, technological advances have been spectacular, and their transcendence has touched all areas of society. Specifically, in the field of education, these advances have allowed projects and approaches such as computational thinking to be taken up more strongly through [...] Read more.
In the last two decades, technological advances have been spectacular, and their transcendence has touched all areas of society. Specifically, in the field of education, these advances have allowed projects and approaches such as computational thinking to be taken up more strongly through interdisciplinary visions such as the STEM subjects and technological devices such as Arduino. The main objective of this article is to analyse the uses of Arduino and the achievements it has attained at primary-education level. To this end, a systematic review was carried out in the SCOPUS and Web of Science databases. The methodology used was the PRISMA statement and the SALSA framework. In accordance with the exclusion criteria applied, nine scientific papers from the last seven years were obtained. The qualitative software ATLAS.ti was used to extract the results. These papers reveal that the most commonly used methodology for incorporating the Arduino board into teaching is problem based learning (PBL) in the context of STEM subjects. In addition, programming environments, such as Scratch, and other electronic components have been used, which have enabled the development of computational thinking and the acquisition of technological knowledge, among other achievements. Full article
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Review
Membranes for Osmotic Power Generation by Reverse Electrodialysis
by
Membranes 2023, 13(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes13020164 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
In recent years, the utilization of the selective ion transport through porous membranes for osmotic power generation (blue energy) has received a lot of attention. The principal of power generation using the porous membranes is same as that of conventional reverse electrodialysis (RED), [...] Read more.
In recent years, the utilization of the selective ion transport through porous membranes for osmotic power generation (blue energy) has received a lot of attention. The principal of power generation using the porous membranes is same as that of conventional reverse electrodialysis (RED), but nonporous ion exchange membranes are conventionally used for RED. The ion transport mechanisms through the porous and nonporous membranes are considerably different. Unlike the conventional nonporous membranes, the ion transport through the porous membranes is largely dictated by the principles of nanofluidics. This owes to the fact that the osmotic power generation via selective ion transport through porous membranes is often referred to as nanofluidic reverse electrodialysis (NRED) or nanopore-based power generation (NPG). While RED using nonporous membranes has already been implemented on a pilot-plant scale, the progress of NRED/NPG has so far been limited in the development of small-scale, novel, porous membrane materials. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the membrane design concepts of nanofluidic porous membranes for NPG/NRED. A brief description of material design concepts of conventional nonporous membranes for RED is provided as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Performance of Porous Polymer Membranes)
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Article
Characteristics of Soil Moisture Variation in Agroforestry in Karst Region
Land 2023, 12(2), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020347 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
The special above-ground and underground dual structure in the karst area makes the capacity of surface water storage in this area poor. In water-limited ecosystems, soil moisture is the key to the survival of plants. Influenced by rainfall and soil texture, soil moisture [...] Read more.
The special above-ground and underground dual structure in the karst area makes the capacity of surface water storage in this area poor. In water-limited ecosystems, soil moisture is the key to the survival of plants. Influenced by rainfall and soil texture, soil moisture variation characteristics of different vegetation types are different in slope land. Many researchers use rainfall simulation experiments to study the influence of soil water movement processes under rainfall patterns, but there are few studies under natural conditions. In this paper, wood trees, peach trees, flue-cured tobacco, and grassland were planted at the buffer zone boundary of Shibing, a World Heritage site, along different elevations in the depression of the research site. Peach trees and flue-cured tobacco were the main cash crops in the area. The soil layers of 0–0.15 m, 0.15–0.30 m, 0.30–0.45 m, 0.45–0.60 m, and 0.60–0.75 m were taken as research objects. Rainfall and soil moisture were monitored every ten minutes to study the variation of soil moisture of vegetation types under different rainfall patterns. Through the analysis of soil physicochemical properties and vegetation types, it was found that soil moisture changes were different in different land types. In general, shallow soil moisture (0~0.30 m) was more active in the wet season (CV > 10%) but tended to be stable in the dry season. The rainy season rainfall had the greatest influence on soil moisture change. The response level of soil moisture to rainfall of all vegetation types was grassland > peach trees > flue-cured tobacco. These results can provide ecological and economic suggestions for karst areas with large population distribution in China, so as to reduce the impact of rock desertification on this area. Full article
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Systematic Review
Relationship between Personal Traits and Sustainable Competence Development among Librarians in Relation to Value-Added Library Services in a Networked World: A Systematic Literature Review from 2002 to 2022
by , , and
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2359; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032359 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
The objectives of the study were to identify the relationship between the personal traits and sustainable competence development of library professionals, explore trending practices for the development of the personal and professional competencies of librarians, and find out the challenges affecting the development [...] Read more.
The objectives of the study were to identify the relationship between the personal traits and sustainable competence development of library professionals, explore trending practices for the development of the personal and professional competencies of librarians, and find out the challenges affecting the development of modern skills in librarians. The authors applied the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines as a research methodology. Thirty-five peer-reviewed articles were selected to conduct the systematic literature review. The results revealed that there is a strong positive correlation between personal traits and the professional development of librarians. The trending practices for the development of personal and professional skills included expert use of IT, continuous training sessions, teamwork, usage of social media forums, and a customer-oriented approach. The results also showed that old curricula, leadership problems, economic issues, and lack of personal interest were barriers to the development of modern skills in librarians relating to the implementation of value-added services in the networked world. The study contributes theoretically by adding valuable knowledge to the existing literature. It outlines practical implications to help devise strategies for capacity building among librarians related to the implementation of user-centered services in libraries. Full article
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Article
Effect of Landscape Elements on Public Psychology in Urban Park Waterfront Green Space: A Quantitative Study by Semantic Segmentation
by , , , , , , , and
Forests 2023, 14(2), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14020244 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Urban park waterfront green spaces provide positive mental health benefits to the public. In order to further explore the specific influence mechanism between landscape elements and public psychological response, 36 typical waterfront green areas in Xihu Park and Zuohai Park in Gulou District, [...] Read more.
Urban park waterfront green spaces provide positive mental health benefits to the public. In order to further explore the specific influence mechanism between landscape elements and public psychological response, 36 typical waterfront green areas in Xihu Park and Zuohai Park in Gulou District, Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, China, were selected for this study. We used semantic segmentation technology to quantitatively decompose the 36 scenes of landscape elements and obtained a public psychological response evaluation using virtual reality technology combined with questionnaire interviews. The main results showed that: (1) the Pyramid Scene Parsing Network (PSPNet) is a model suitable for quantitative decomposition of landscape elements of urban park waterfront green space; (2) the public’s overall evaluation of psychological responses to the 36 scenes was relatively high, with the psychological dimension scoring the highest; (3) different landscape elements showed significant differences in four dimensions. Among the elements, plant layer, pavement proportion, and commercial facilities all have an impact on the four dimensions; and (4) the contribution rate of the four element types to the public’s psychological response is shown as spatial element (37.9%) > facility element (35.1%) > natural element (25.0%) > construction element (2.0%). The obtained results reveal the influence of different landscape elements in urban park waterfront green spaces on public psychology and behavior. Meanwhile, it provides links and methods that can be involved in the planning and design of urban park waterfront green space, and also provides emerging technical support and objective data reference for subsequent research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landsenses in Green Spaces)
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Article
Home Range of the Caspian Whipsnake Dolichophis caspius (Gmelin, 1789) in a Threatened Peri-Urban Population
by , , , and
Animals 2023, 13(3), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13030447 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Semi-natural environments within cities can provide habitats for vulnerable reptile species. Better understanding of their habitat use and home range sizes is important for their conservation. We investigated the spatial ecology of Caspian whipsnakes (Dolicophis caspius) in a peri-urban habitat in [...] Read more.
Semi-natural environments within cities can provide habitats for vulnerable reptile species. Better understanding of their habitat use and home range sizes is important for their conservation. We investigated the spatial ecology of Caspian whipsnakes (Dolicophis caspius) in a peri-urban habitat in Budapest, Hungary. We used radiotelemetry to track five adult snakes and analyzed their microhabitat preferences, home range sizes and daily movements. The Caspian whipsnakes intensively utilized areas covered with woody vegetation, with a high density of hibernacula. The tracked snakes used an area of 40.15 ha during the activity period from spring to autumn, but for the winter, they withdrew to a central area of 1.75 ha, abundant in hibernacula. During the activity period the individual home range sizes varied between 6.1 and 15.5 ha, estimated using the minimum convex polygon (MCP); however, for the entire datasets of the individuals, the adaptive kernel method gave the highest mean (13.8 ha), while the LoCoH-R yielded the smallest home ranges (5.19 ha). We found that the average daily displacement for the different individuals ranged between 12.6 and 36.6 m during their main activity season. In the study area, the whipsnakes currently have enough space for foraging, but the restricted spatial distribution of hibernacula, which is mainly available in the central dry rocky forest and partly in the shrubby areas, can limit the extent of the suitable habitat. Human activities and anthropogenic disturbances, especially around hibernacula, may exert pressure on this peri-urban snake population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of Urbanization on Herpetofauna)
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Article
Plasma LEAP-2 Following a Low-Calorie Diet with or without Interval Exercise in Women with Obesity
by and
Nutrients 2023, 15(3), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15030655 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide-2 (LEAP-2) is associated with caloric intake and glucose metabolism. Purpose: Assess if a low-calorie diet with interval exercise (LCD+INT) raises LEAP-2 more than LCD in relation to appetite and cardiometabolic health. Methods: Women with obesity were randomized to [...] Read more.
Liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide-2 (LEAP-2) is associated with caloric intake and glucose metabolism. Purpose: Assess if a low-calorie diet with interval exercise (LCD+INT) raises LEAP-2 more than LCD in relation to appetite and cardiometabolic health. Methods: Women with obesity were randomized to either 2 weeks of LCD (n = 13, ~1200 kcal/d) or LCD+INT (n = 12; 60 min/d) of INT at 3 min of 90% and 50% HRpeak, respectively. LEAP-2 and acylated ghrelin (AG) were measured at 0, 30, and 60 min, while glucose, insulin, C-peptide, and free fatty acids (FFA) were obtained up to 180 min of a 75 g OGTT. Fasting and 120 min OGTT appetite were assessed via visual analog scales. Results: LCD reduced the BMI (p < 0.001) compared with LCD+INT, but only LCD+INT increased the VO2 max (p = 0.04). Treatments reduced fasting LEAP-2 (p = 0.05), but only LCD increased LEAP-2 iAUC60 min (p = 0.06) and post-prandial LEAP-2 stimulation (p = 0.02). Higher post-LEAP-260 min tended to relate to a lower desire to eat 120 min of sweet (r = 0.40, p = 0.07) and salty foods (r = 0.41, p = 0.06), as well as lower AG30 min (r = −0.51, p = 0.01) and higher FFA iAUC180 min (r = 0.56, p = 0.007) post-treatment. Conclusion: LCD, with or without INT, reduced fasting LEAP-2, but only LCD raised post-prandial LEAP-2. How diet and exercise impact LEAP-2 for lower chronic disease risk awaits further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition in Women)
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Article
Investigating the Impact of Weather Conditions on Urban Heat Island Development in the Subtropical City of Hong Kong
by , , , , and
Atmosphere 2023, 14(2), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020257 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Subtropical monsoon climates, high-density and heterogeneous urban built environments, as well as coastal–mountainous geographical environments influence the development of urban heat island (UHI) effects in Hong Kong. For better weather control of in situ observations and spatial analysis of UHI effects, it is [...] Read more.
Subtropical monsoon climates, high-density and heterogeneous urban built environments, as well as coastal–mountainous geographical environments influence the development of urban heat island (UHI) effects in Hong Kong. For better weather control of in situ observations and spatial analysis of UHI effects, it is necessary to quantitatively understand the influence of weather conditions on UHI development in Hong Kong and establish weather-based UHI estimation models. Meteorological records of four urban stations, one rural reference station, and one wind reference station at an hourly interval during the period of 2002–2012 were collected from Hong Kong observatory. A frequency analysis of the mean values of multiple meteorological elements and UHI parameters in urban stations was conducted to examine the prevailing and critical weather conditions, as well as the associated UHI conditions in Hong Kong. Multiple Linear Regression (MLR) was used to estimate the daily maximum UHI intensity (UHImax) based on a set of meteorological elements including cloud amount, wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity, and air temperature, as well as a UHI parameter of the daily maximum UHI intensity of the previous day (UHIpre-max). The results showed that MLR-based models can explain 33% and 56% variations of the UHImax in the summer and the whole year, respectively. The relative importance of each meteorological element on UHI development differed in the summer and annual periods, and the UHImax tended to be intensified under high temperature conditions in the summer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Climatology)
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Review
An Overview of the Automated and On-Line Systems to Assess the Oxidative Potential of Particulate Matter
by , , , and
Atmosphere 2023, 14(2), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14020256 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Recent years have seen a significant increase in the scientific literature related to various methods for analyzing oxidative potential (OP) of atmospheric particulate matter (PM). The presence of several types of PM, differing chemical and physical properties, released by both anthropogenic and natural [...] Read more.
Recent years have seen a significant increase in the scientific literature related to various methods for analyzing oxidative potential (OP) of atmospheric particulate matter (PM). The presence of several types of PM, differing chemical and physical properties, released by both anthropogenic and natural sources, leads to numerous health issues in living organisms and represents an attractive target for air quality monitoring. Therefore, several studies have focused on developing rapid and self-operative tests, employing different target molecules to assess OP of atmospheric aerosols as well as unique approaches to overcome some of the most common laboratory-related issues in this kind of analysis. This work provides an overview of online and automated systems, as well as a broad picture of the state-of-art of the various devices and methods developed on this topic over the last two decades. Moreover, representative studies on this subject will be discussed, analyzing the advantages and drawbacks of the developed automated techniques. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Polishing, Glazing, and Aging on Optical Characteristics of Multi-Layered Dental Zirconia with Different Degrees of Translucency
by , , and
J. Funct. Biomater. 2023, 14(2), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb14020068 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
(1) Background: Considering that the appearance of a dental material is an important factor that contributes to the success of prosthetic restorations. The purpose of this study is to investigate the optical properties and color changes among the layers of three commercial zirconias, [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Considering that the appearance of a dental material is an important factor that contributes to the success of prosthetic restorations. The purpose of this study is to investigate the optical properties and color changes among the layers of three commercial zirconias, to compare the aspect of the polished and glazed surfaces before and after aging and to evaluate the effects of hydrothermal degradation on their aesthetics. (2) Methods: Forty-eight plate-shaped samples were sectioned from presintered blocks of each multilayer translucent zirconia with different Yttrium content: Ceramill Zolid fx ML (5 mol%) = CeZ, STML (4 mol%) = STM, IPS e.maxZirCAD CEREC/in Lab MT Multi (4 mol% + 5 mol%) = IPZ. The samples were sintered according to the recommendation of each manufacturer, and half (24) of them were polished and the other half (24) glazed on one of the surfaces. Each type was equally divided into one control and one aging group, and, for each material, this resulted in four groups (n = 12): polished-control, polished-autoclaved glazed-control, and glazed-autoclaved. The artificial aging was carried out with an autoclave and distilled water at 134 °C, 0.2 MPa for 1 h, and for optical parameters (TP, CR, OP) and color change (ΔE*) measurements on a black and white background in a CIE L*a*b* color system, a spectrophotometer was used. The specimens were evaluated in incisal, cervical, and medium areas on polished and glazed samples before and after the aging stage. Statistical analysis was achieved with a two-way ANOVA test, the unpaired t-test, and the paired t-test. (3) Results: Before and after aging, the mean TP values for polished samples were higher than the glazed ones. After aging, the mean TP values increased for all groups (except polished CeZ), and significant differences were reported for polished STM, IPZ. After LTD, the opalescence registered an increase for almost all groups (except polished CeZ, polished and glazed IPZ—medium area), and significant differences were reported for almost all groups (except STM—incisal, IPZ—cervical, medium areas). The levels of color change were between extremely slight to perceivable. (4) Conclusions: Optical properties of the selected multilayer zirconia were influenced by polishing and glazing as surface treatment and affected by artificial aging (CeZ the least); perceivable color changes for polished STM, IPZ were detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Dental Biomaterials)
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Article
Characterization and microRNA Expression Analysis of Serum-Derived Extracellular Vesicles in Severe Liver Injury from Chronic HBV Infection
by , , , , , , , , , , and
Life 2023, 13(2), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13020347 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Background: Extracellular vesicle (EV) microRNAs have been documented in several studies to have significantly different expressions in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related liver diseases, such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The current work aimed to observe the characteristics of EVs and EV miRNA expressions in [...] Read more.
Background: Extracellular vesicle (EV) microRNAs have been documented in several studies to have significantly different expressions in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related liver diseases, such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The current work aimed to observe the characteristics of EVs and EV miRNA expressions in patients with severe liver injury chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and patients with HBV-associated decompensated cirrhosis (DeCi). Methods: The characterization of the EVs in the serum was carried out for three different groups, namely, patients with severe liver injury-CHB, patients with DeCi, and healthy controls. EV miRNAs were analyzed using miRNA-seq and RT-qPCR arrays. Additionally, we assessed the predictive and observational values of the miRNAs with significant differential expressions in serum EVs. Results: Patients with severe liver injury-CHB had the highest EV concentrations when compared to the normal controls (NCs) and patients with DeCi (p < 0.001). The miRNA-seq of the NC and severe liver injury-CHB groups identified 268 differentially expressed miRNAs (|FC| > 2, p < 0.05). In this case, 15 miRNAs were verified using RT-qPCR, and it was found that novel-miR-172-5p and miR-1285-5p in the severe liver injury-CHB group showed marked downregulation in comparison to the NC group (p < 0.001). Furthermore, compared with the NC group, three EV miRNAs (novel-miR-172-5p, miR-1285-5p, and miR-335-5p) in the DeCi group showed various degrees of downregulated expression. However, when comparing the DeCi group with the severe liver injury-CHB group, only the expression of miR-335-5p in the DeCi group decreased significantly (p < 0.05). For the severe liver injury-CHB and DeCi groups, the addition of miR-335-5p improved the predictive accuracy of the serological levels, while miR-335-5p was significantly correlated with ALT, AST, AST/ALT, GGT, and AFP. Conclusions: The patients with severe liver injury-CHB had the highest number of EVs. The combination of novel-miR-172-5p and miR-1285-5p in serum EVs helped in predicting the progression of the NCs to severe liver injury-CHB, while the addition of EV miR-335-5p improved the serological accuracy of predicting the progression of severe liver injury-CHB to DeCi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Therapeutic Applications of Extracellular Vesicles)
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Article
Impact of Antibiotic Consumption on Antimicrobial Resistance to Invasive Hospital Pathogens
Antibiotics 2023, 12(2), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics12020259 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
The aim of our investigation is to correlate the wholesale data on antibiotic consumption expressed in daily doses per 1000 inhabitants per day (DID) with the resistance rate of invasive pathogen bacteria from 2017 to 2021. The data on antimicrobial resistance were collected [...] Read more.
The aim of our investigation is to correlate the wholesale data on antibiotic consumption expressed in daily doses per 1000 inhabitants per day (DID) with the resistance rate of invasive pathogen bacteria from 2017 to 2021. The data on antimicrobial resistance were collected from an analysis of the primary isolates of hospitalized patients. According to the CAESAR manual, the selected pathogens isolated from blood culture and cerebrospinal fluids were tested. The consumption of antibiotics for systematic use showed a statistically significant increasing trend (β = 0.982, p = 0.003) from 21.3 DID in 2017 to 34.5 DID in 2021. The ratio of the utilization of broad-spectrum to narrow-spectrum antibiotics increased by 16% (β = 0.530, p = 0.358). The most consumed antibiotic in 2021 was azithromycin (15% of total consumption), followed by levofloxacin (13%) and cefixime (12%). A statistically positive significant correlation was discovered between the percentage of resistant isolates of K. pneumoniae and consumption of meropenem (r = 0.950; p = 0.013), ertapenem (r = 0.929; p = 0.022), ceftriaxone (r = 0.924; p = 0.025) and levofloxacin (r = 0.983; p = 0.003). Additionally, the percentage of resistant isolates of E. coli and consumption of ertapenem showed significant correlation (r = 0.955; p = 0.011). Significant correlation with consumption of the antibiotics widely used at the community level, such as levofloxacin, and resistance isolated in hospitals indicates that hospital stewardship is unlikely to be effective without a reduction in antibiotic misuse at the community level. Full article
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Article
Structure Design and Event-Triggered Control of a Modular Omnidirectional Mobile Chassis of Life Support Robotics
Fractal Fract. 2023, 7(2), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/fractalfract7020121 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
This paper addresses the problems of structure design and trajectory tracking control of a mobile chassis of life support robots. First, a novel omnidirectional mobile chassis structure is proposed, which consists of three pairs of modular wheel sets with independent drive and steering [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the problems of structure design and trajectory tracking control of a mobile chassis of life support robots. First, a novel omnidirectional mobile chassis structure is proposed, which consists of three pairs of modular wheel sets with independent drive and steering capability. This allows robots to possess omnidirectional mobility and structural reliability. Then, the trajectory tracking control law is established by combining kinematics analysis and Lyapunov theory. Furthermore, considering the requirement of life support robots to be used under network control, this paper proposes an event-triggered trajectory tracking control scheme to improve the utilization efficiency of communication resources. Finally, the effectiveness of the omnidirectional mobile chassis and the event-triggered control law designed in this paper are demonstrated by numerical simulation results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section General Mathematics, Analysis)
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Article
Research on the Role of Minority Shareholders in State-Owned Enterprises Based on Big Data
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2355; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032355 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
The era of big data has changed the traditional data science based on mathematical statistics, and promoted the innovation of data analysis methods. This paper takes China state-holding holding enterprises as the research object, uses game theory as the method, uses top management [...] Read more.
The era of big data has changed the traditional data science based on mathematical statistics, and promoted the innovation of data analysis methods. This paper takes China state-holding holding enterprises as the research object, uses game theory as the method, uses top management team (TMT) knowledge hiding degree as the background to construct a minority shareholder governance information database, and discusses the feasibility of using minority shareholders’ active governance to break through and increase earnings management costs. The findings indicate, firstly, by optimizing enterprise information disclosure and reducing TMT knowledge hiding, the cost of minority shareholders’ participation in governance can be reduced and the enthusiasm of minority shareholders’ participation in governance can be promoted. Secondly, the presence of minority shareholders actively engaged in corporate governance can discourage two kinds of earnings management practices of managers in China state-holding enterprises. Finally, for the companies with weak state-holding and unannounced dividend policy, the active governance of minority shareholders has a more prominent restraining effect on the two types of earnings management. With an eye on strengthening the corporate micro-governance mechanism, this paper provides guidance for minority shareholders to strengthen their participation in the governance of China’s state-holding enterprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technology in Healthcare and Disaster Management)
Article
Virtual Local Area Network Performance Improvement Using Ad Hoc Routing Protocols in a Wireless Network
Computers 2023, 12(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers12020028 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Wireless Communication has become one of the most popular types of communication networks because of the many services it provides; however, it has experienced several challenges in improving network performance. VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) is a different approach which enables a network [...] Read more.
Wireless Communication has become one of the most popular types of communication networks because of the many services it provides; however, it has experienced several challenges in improving network performance. VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) is a different approach which enables a network administrator to create a logical network from a physical network. By dividing a large network into smaller networks, VLAN technology improves network efficiency, management, and security. This study includes VLAN for wireless networks with mobile nodes integration. The network protection was improved by separating the connections and grouping them in a way that prevents any party from being able to contact unauthorized stations in another party using VLAN. VLAN demonstrated restricted access to private server data by managing traffic, improving security, and reducing levels of congestion. This paper investigates the virtual local area network in a wireless network with three ad hoc routing protocols in a number of different scenarios, using the Riverbed Modeler simulation, which was used as a simulation program in this study. It was found from the investigation process that adopting VLAN technology could reduce delay and data of the network and considerably lower throughput, which is a major drawback of VLAN. Ad hoc routing algorithms, including AODV (Ad Hoc On-Demand Distance Vector), DSR (Dynamic Source Routing), and OLSR (Optimized Link State Routing) routing protocols, were used to improve the delay and throughput of the network. Routing methods with VLAN were tested across the WLAN to obtain the best throughput gain performance. The findings also revealed that these ad hoc routing protocols improved the Wireless Sensor Network performance as an additional investigation for the improvement of any network’s delay and throughput. Full article
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Article
Educational Psychology Aspects of Learning with Chatbots without Artificial Intelligence: Suggestions for Designers
Eur. J. Investig. Health Psychol. Educ. 2023, 13(2), 284-305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe13020022 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Chatbots without artificial intelligence can play the role of practical and easy-to-implement learning objects in e-learning environments, allowing a reduction in social or psychological isolation. This research, with a sample of 79 students, explores the principles that need to be followed in designing [...] Read more.
Chatbots without artificial intelligence can play the role of practical and easy-to-implement learning objects in e-learning environments, allowing a reduction in social or psychological isolation. This research, with a sample of 79 students, explores the principles that need to be followed in designing this kind of chatbot in education in order to ensure an acceptable outcome for students. Research has shown that students interacting with a chatbot without artificial intelligence expect similar psychological and communicative responses to those of a live human, project the characteristics of the chatbot from the dialogue, and are taken aback when the chatbot does not understand or cannot help them sufficiently. The study is based on a design through research approach, in which students in information studies and library science interacted with a specific chatbot focused on information retrieval, and recorded their experiences and feelings in an online questionnaire. The study intends to find principles for the design of chatbots without artificial intelligence so that students feel comfortable interacting with them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends and Perspectives for the Positive Use of ICT in Education)
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Review
Sources of Antifungal Drugs
J. Fungi 2023, 9(2), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9020171 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
Due to their eukaryotic heritage, the differences between a fungal pathogen’s molecular makeup and its human host are small. Therefore, the discovery and subsequent development of novel antifungal drugs are extremely challenging. Nevertheless, since the 1940s, researchers have successfully uncovered potent candidates from [...] Read more.
Due to their eukaryotic heritage, the differences between a fungal pathogen’s molecular makeup and its human host are small. Therefore, the discovery and subsequent development of novel antifungal drugs are extremely challenging. Nevertheless, since the 1940s, researchers have successfully uncovered potent candidates from natural or synthetic sources. Analogs and novel formulations of these drugs enhanced the pharmacological parameters and improved overall drug efficiency. These compounds ultimately became the founding members of novel drug classes and were successfully applied in clinical settings, offering valuable and efficient treatment of mycosis for decades. Currently, only five different antifungal drug classes exist, all characterized by a unique mode of action; these are polyenes, pyrimidine analogs, azoles, allylamines, and echinocandins. The latter, being the latest addition to the antifungal armamentarium, was introduced over two decades ago. As a result of this limited arsenal, antifungal resistance development has exponentially increased and, with it, a growing healthcare crisis. In this review, we discuss the original sources of antifungal compounds, either natural or synthetic. Additionally, we summarize the existing drug classes, potential novel candidates in the clinical pipeline, and emerging non-traditional treatment options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Discovery of Natural Products)
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Article
Injectable Polypeptide Hydrogel Depots Containing Dual Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors and Doxorubicin for Improved Tumor Immunotherapy and Post-Surgical Tumor Treatment
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(2), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15020428 (registering DOI) - 28 Jan 2023
Abstract
In this work, we developed a strategy for local chemo-immunotherapy through simultaneous incorporation of dual immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) antibodies, anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (aCTLA-4) and anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (aPD-1), and a chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin (Dox), into a thermo-gelling polypeptide hydrogel. [...] Read more.
In this work, we developed a strategy for local chemo-immunotherapy through simultaneous incorporation of dual immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) antibodies, anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (aCTLA-4) and anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (aPD-1), and a chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin (Dox), into a thermo-gelling polypeptide hydrogel. The hydrogel encapsulating Dox or IgG model antibody showed sustained release profiles for more than 12 days in vitro, and the drug release and hydrogel degradation were accelerated in the presence of enzymes. In comparison to free drug solutions or hydrogels containing Dox or antibodies only, the Dox/aCTLA-4/aPD-1 co-loaded hydrogel achieved improved tumor suppression efficiency, strengthened antitumor immune response, and prolonged animal survival time after peritumoral injection into mice bearing B16F10 melanoma. Additionally, after injection of Dox/aCTLA-4/aPD-1 co-loaded hydrogel into the surgical site following tumor resection, a significantly enhanced inhibition on tumor reoccurrence was demonstrated. Thus, the polypeptide hydrogel-based chemo-immunotherapy strategy has potential in anti-tumor therapy and the prevention of tumor reoccurrence. Full article
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