The 2023 MDPI Annual Report has
been released!
 
17 pages, 10449 KiB  
Article
Design and Control of a Tendon-Driven Robotic Finger Based on Grasping Task Analysis
by Xuanyi Zhou, Hao Fu, Baoqing Shentu, Weidong Wang, Shibo Cai and Guanjun Bao
Biomimetics 2024, 9(6), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9060370 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
To analyze the structural characteristics of a human hand, data collection gloves were worn for typical grasping tasks. The hand manipulation characteristics, finger end pressure, and finger joint bending angle were obtained via an experiment based on the Feix grasping spectrum. Twelve types [...] Read more.
To analyze the structural characteristics of a human hand, data collection gloves were worn for typical grasping tasks. The hand manipulation characteristics, finger end pressure, and finger joint bending angle were obtained via an experiment based on the Feix grasping spectrum. Twelve types of tendon rope transmission paths were designed under the N + 1 type tendon drive mode, and the motion performance of these 12 types of paths applied to tendon-driven fingers was evaluated based on the evaluation metric. The experiment shows that the designed tendon path (d) has a good control effect on the fluctuations of tendon tension (within 0.25 N), the tendon path (e) has the best control effect on the joint angle of the tendon-driven finger, and the tendon path (l) has the best effect on reducing the friction between the tendon and the pulley. The obtained tendon-driven finger motion performance model based on 12 types of tendon paths is a good reference value for subsequent tendon-driven finger structure design and control strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Aspects of Human–Computer Interactions)
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12 pages, 1915 KiB  
Article
Development and Validation of a Deep Learning Classifier Using Chest Radiographs to Predict Extubation Success in Patients Undergoing Invasive Mechanical Ventilation
by Pranai Tandon, Kim-Anh-Nhi Nguyen, Masoud Edalati, Prathamesh Parchure, Ganesh Raut, David L. Reich, Robert Freeman, Matthew A. Levin, Prem Timsina, Charles A. Powell, Zahi A. Fayad and Arash Kia
Bioengineering 2024, 11(6), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering11060626 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The decision to extubate patients on invasive mechanical ventilation is critical; however, clinician performance in identifying patients to liberate from the ventilator is poor. Machine Learning-based predictors using tabular data have been developed; however, these fail to capture the wide spectrum of data [...] Read more.
The decision to extubate patients on invasive mechanical ventilation is critical; however, clinician performance in identifying patients to liberate from the ventilator is poor. Machine Learning-based predictors using tabular data have been developed; however, these fail to capture the wide spectrum of data available. Here, we develop and validate a deep learning-based model using routinely collected chest X-rays to predict the outcome of attempted extubation. We included 2288 serial patients admitted to the Medical ICU at an urban academic medical center, who underwent invasive mechanical ventilation, with at least one intubated CXR, and a documented extubation attempt. The last CXR before extubation for each patient was taken and split 79/21 for training/testing sets, then transfer learning with k-fold cross-validation was used on a pre-trained ResNet50 deep learning architecture. The top three models were ensembled to form a final classifier. The Grad-CAM technique was used to visualize image regions driving predictions. The model achieved an AUC of 0.66, AUPRC of 0.94, sensitivity of 0.62, and specificity of 0.60. The model performance was improved compared to the Rapid Shallow Breathing Index (AUC 0.61) and the only identified previous study in this domain (AUC 0.55), but significant room for improvement and experimentation remains. Full article
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29 pages, 6531 KiB  
Review
Five Underutilized Ecuadorian Fruits and Their Bioactive Potential as Functional Foods and in Metabolic Syndrome: A Review
by Rodrigo Duarte-Casar, Nancy González-Jaramillo, Natalia Bailon-Moscoso, Marlene Rojas-Le-Fort and Juan Carlos Romero-Benavides
Molecules 2024, 29(12), 2904; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules29122904 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The Ecuadorian Amazon harbors numerous wild and cultivated species used as food, many of which are underutilized. This review explores the bioactive potential of five such fruits—Borojó (Alibertia patinoi); Chonta (Bactris gasipaes); Arazá (Eugenia stipitata); Amazon grape [...] Read more.
The Ecuadorian Amazon harbors numerous wild and cultivated species used as food, many of which are underutilized. This review explores the bioactive potential of five such fruits—Borojó (Alibertia patinoi); Chonta (Bactris gasipaes); Arazá (Eugenia stipitata); Amazon grape (Pourouma cecropiifolia), a wild edible plant; and Cocona (Solanum sessiliflorum)—and their applications against metabolic syndrome. This study highlights their health-promoting ingredients and validates traditional medicinal properties, emphasizing their significance in improving health and mitigating the effects of the Western diet. These fruits, integral to Ecuadorian cuisine, are consumed fresh and processed. Chonta is widely cultivated but less prominent than in pre-Hispanic times, Borojó is known for its aphrodisiac properties, Cocona is traditional in northern provinces, Arazá is economically significant in food products, and Amazon grape is the least utilized and researched. The fruits are rich in phenolics (A. patinoi, E. stipitata) and carotenoids (B. gasipaes, E. stipitata), which are beneficial in controlling metabolic syndrome. This study advocates for more research and product development, especially for lesser-known species with high phenolic and anthocyanin content. This research underscores the economic, cultural, and nutritional value of these fruits, promoting their integration into modern diets and contributing to sustainable agriculture, cultural preservation, and public health through functional foods and nutraceuticals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Properties and Chemical Composition of Wild Edible Species)
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21 pages, 2484 KiB  
Article
Electric Vehicle Usage Patterns in Multi-Vehicle Households in the US: A Machine Learning Study
by Vuban Chowdhury, Suman Kumar Mitra and Sarah Hernandez
Sustainability 2024, 16(12), 5200; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16125200 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Electric vehicles (EVs) play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions. In the US, EVs are mostly owned by multi-vehicle households, and their usage is primarily studied in the context of vehicle miles traveled. This study takes a unique approach by analyzing EV [...] Read more.
Electric vehicles (EVs) play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions. In the US, EVs are mostly owned by multi-vehicle households, and their usage is primarily studied in the context of vehicle miles traveled. This study takes a unique approach by analyzing EV usage through the lens of vehicle choice (between EVs and internal combustion engine vehicles) within multi-vehicle households. A two-step machine-learning framework (clustering and decision trees) is proposed. The framework determines the preferred trip category for EV use and captures the effects of household attributes, driver attributes, built-environment factors, and gas prices on EV use in multi-vehicle households. Results indicate that discretionary trips (accumulated local effect = 0.037) are mostly preferred for EV use. EV preference is more pronounced among households with fewer workers (<2) and lower income levels. These findings are valuable for policymakers and auto manufacturers in targeting specific market segments and promoting EV adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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18 pages, 1669 KiB  
Article
Amazon Rainforest Hidden Volatiles—Part I: Unveiling New Compounds from Acmella oleracea (L.) R.K. Jansen Essential Oil
by Niko S. Radulović, Marko Z. Mladenović, Clarissa Silva Lima, Elza Caroline Alves Müller, Elizabeth Vianna Moraes da Costa, Rozilene Valadares Martins and Fabio Boylan
Plants 2024, 13(12), 1690; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13121690 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Motivated by the culinary and ethnopharmacological use of Acmella oleracea (L.) R.K. Jansen, this study aimed to unveil new chemical compounds from its essential oil (EO). Acmella oleracea, known for its anesthetic and spicy properties, has been used in traditional medicine and [...] Read more.
Motivated by the culinary and ethnopharmacological use of Acmella oleracea (L.) R.K. Jansen, this study aimed to unveil new chemical compounds from its essential oil (EO). Acmella oleracea, known for its anesthetic and spicy properties, has been used in traditional medicine and cuisine, particularly in Northern Brazil. Through a detailed GC-MS analysis, 180 constituents were identified, including 12 tentatively identified long-chain α-keto esters of various acids. Additionally, 18 new esters were synthesized for structural verification. This research expands the known chemical diversity of A. oleracea EO, providing a basis for potential pharmacological applications. The identification of new natural products, including homologs and analogs of acmellonate, underscores the EO’s rich chemical profile and its potential for novel bioproduct development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Phytochemistry)
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10 pages, 1459 KiB  
Article
Can Photoselective Nets’ Influence Pollen Traits? A Case Study in ‘Matua’ and ‘Tomuri’ Kiwifruit Cultivars
by Helena Ribeiro, Nuno Mariz-Ponte, Sónia Pereira, Alexandra Guedes, Ilda Abreu, Luísa Moura and Conceição Santos
Plants 2024, 13(12), 1691; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13121691 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The increasing use of photoselective nets (PNs) raises the question of their influence on pollen traits. We aimed to evaluate the effect of PNs (yellow, pearl, and grey) on the pollen of ‘Matua’ and ‘Tomuri’ Actinidia deliciosa cultivars. The pollen size and the [...] Read more.
The increasing use of photoselective nets (PNs) raises the question of their influence on pollen traits. We aimed to evaluate the effect of PNs (yellow, pearl, and grey) on the pollen of ‘Matua’ and ‘Tomuri’ Actinidia deliciosa cultivars. The pollen size and the exine were studied with a light microscopy and a scanning electron microscopy, and the fertility was analysed by a viability assay and in vitro germination. The total soluble proteins (TSPs) and sugars (TSSs) were quantified by colorimetric assays. The molecular structure of the pollen grain’s wall was analysed by a Raman spectroscopy. The pollen from the plants under the PNs had a larger width and area and a lower germination rate. No significant changes were observed in the exine’s microperforations. The TSP and TSS contents were influenced by the cultivar and PNs (particularly the pearl PN). The Raman spectra of the pollen from the plants grown under the nets presented some bands that significantly shifted from their original position, indicating differences in the vibration modes of the molecules, but no overall changes at their structural or organisation level were found. Our study showed that the PNs could influence several pollen traits, with the pearl PN inducing greater modifications. Our results also support the idea that cultivars affect the outcome of some characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Growth, Development, and Stress Response of Horticulture Plants)
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17 pages, 250 KiB  
Entry
Women Archaeologists’ Contributions to Uncovering the Pre- and Proto-Historical Occupation of Northern Portugal
by Fatima Matos Silva and Goreti Sousa
Encyclopedia 2024, 4(2), 997-1013; https://doi.org/10.3390/encyclopedia4020064 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Definition
The history of women archaeologists in Portugal and their contribution to the development of the discipline is yet to be studied. However, in recent years, some articles published in Portugal have contributed to the construction of this history. Some of these are from [...] Read more.
The history of women archaeologists in Portugal and their contribution to the development of the discipline is yet to be studied. However, in recent years, some articles published in Portugal have contributed to the construction of this history. Some of these are from the year 2020, and although the coronavirus pandemic has affected the progress of these investigations, especially regarding fieldwork. Generally, these are quantitative studies based on the number of publications by women archaeologists and their references and interviews in newspapers. These articles, which require significant time for database analysis, have not yet explained the existing gaps. It is not the scope of this paper to pursue this quantitative scope; instead, it intends to conduct a qualitative analysis of the contribution of women archaeologists to the development of prehistoric studies in Northern Portugal. To achieve this goal, we are focusing on analysing the doctoral theses developed by women concerning pre- and proto-historic archaeology in Northern Portugal. With this evaluation, we intend to contribute to the history of Portuguese women’s archaeology and, at the same time, highlight their methodological and conceptual achievements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Arts & Humanities)
16 pages, 1779 KiB  
Article
L-Citrulline Supplementation Improves Arterial Blood Flow and Muscle Oxygenation during Handgrip Exercise in Hypertensive Postmenopausal Women
by Yejin Kang, Katherine N. Dillon, Mauricio A. Martinez, Arun Maharaj, Stephen M. Fischer and Arturo Figueroa
Nutrients 2024, 16(12), 1935; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16121935 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Endothelial dysfunction decreases exercise limb blood flow (BF) and muscle oxygenation. Acute L-Citrulline supplementation (CIT) improves muscle tissue oxygen saturation index (TSI) and deoxygenated hemoglobin (HHb) during exercise. Although CIT improves endothelial function (flow-mediated dilation [FMD]) in hypertensive women, the impact of CIT [...] Read more.
Endothelial dysfunction decreases exercise limb blood flow (BF) and muscle oxygenation. Acute L-Citrulline supplementation (CIT) improves muscle tissue oxygen saturation index (TSI) and deoxygenated hemoglobin (HHb) during exercise. Although CIT improves endothelial function (flow-mediated dilation [FMD]) in hypertensive women, the impact of CIT on exercise BF and muscle oxygenation (TSI) and extraction (HHb) are unknown. We examined the effects of CIT (10 g/day) and a placebo for 4 weeks on blood pressure (BP), arterial vasodilation (FMD, BF, and vascular conductance [VC]), and forearm muscle oxygenation (TSI and HHb) at rest and during exercise in 22 hypertensive postmenopausal women. Compared to the placebo, CIT significantly (p < 0.05) increased FMD (Δ−0.7 ± 0.6% vs. Δ1.6 ± 0.7%) and reduced aortic systolic BP (Δ3 ± 5 vs. Δ−4 ± 6 mmHg) at rest and improved exercise BF (Δ17 ± 12 vs. Δ48 ± 16 mL/min), VC (Δ−21 ± 9 vs. Δ41 ± 14 mL/mmHg/min), TSI (Δ−0.84 ± 0.58% vs. Δ1.61 ± 0.46%), and HHb (Δ1.03 ± 0.69 vs. Δ−2.76 ± 0.77 μM). Exercise BF and VC were positively correlated with improved FMD and TSI during exercise (all p < 0.05). CIT improved exercise artery vasodilation and muscle oxygenation via increased endothelial function in hypertensive postmenopausal women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Phytochemicals and Human Health)
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14 pages, 5116 KiB  
Article
Phenanthrene-Induced Cytochrome P450 Genes and Phenanthrene Tolerance Associated with Arabidopsis thaliana CYP75B1 Gene
by Francisco Cabello-Hurtado and Abdelhak El Amrani
Plants 2024, 13(12), 1692; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13121692 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form an important group of organic pollutants due to their distribution in the environment and their carcinogenic and/or mutagenic effects. In order to identify at the molecular level some of the players in the biodegradation and tolerance response to [...] Read more.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form an important group of organic pollutants due to their distribution in the environment and their carcinogenic and/or mutagenic effects. In order to identify at the molecular level some of the players in the biodegradation and tolerance response to PAHs in plants, we have phenotyped 32 Arabidopsis thaliana T-DNA mutant lines corresponding to 16 cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes that showed to be differentially expressed under contrasted stress conditions induced by phenanthrene, a 3-ring PAH. This screening has allowed us to identify CYP75B1 (At5g07990) T-DNA mutants as the only ones being sensitive to phenanthrene-induced stress, supporting that CYP75B1 protein is necessary for PAH tolerance. CYP75B1 codes for a 3′flavonol hydroxylase. CYP75B1 gene was heterologously expressed on yeast in order to investigate whether it affects the A. thaliana response to phenanthrene by participating in its metabolization. Heterologously-produced CYP75B1 enzyme shows to be catalytically efficient against its physiological substrates (e.g., naringenin) but unable to metabolize phenanthrene or 9-phenanthrenol. In contrast, CYP75B1 seems rather involved in phenanthrene tolerance as a crucial element by regulating concentration of antioxidants through the production of 3′-hydroxylated flavonoids such as quercetin and cyanidin. In particular, we report a highly increased generation of reactive oxygen species (H2O2 and singlet oxygen) in cyp75b1 mutants compared to control plants in response to phenanthrene treatment. Overall, CYP75B1 shows to play an important role in the response to the deleterious effects of phenanthrene exposure and this is related to oxidative stress sensitivity rather than metabolization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change)
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25 pages, 11667 KiB  
Article
Integrated Metabolomic and Transcriptomic Analyses Reveal the Regulatory Mechanism Underlying the Accumulation of Anthocyanins in Cornus officinalis pericarp
by Yue Qin, Xuanmeng Chen, Jiahui Yang, Jing Gao, Gang Zhang, Yonggang Yan, Xinjie Yang, Xiaofei Zhang and Ying Chen
Horticulturae 2024, 10(6), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10060651 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The mature flesh of Cornus officinalis exhibits a vibrant red color, attributed to its rich anthocyanin content, imparting significant edible and medicinal value. Vibrant colors not only enhance the visual allure of medicinal materials but also maintain a close association with their intrinsic [...] Read more.
The mature flesh of Cornus officinalis exhibits a vibrant red color, attributed to its rich anthocyanin content, imparting significant edible and medicinal value. Vibrant colors not only enhance the visual allure of medicinal materials but also maintain a close association with their intrinsic quality. However, the intricate process of pigment formation governing the anthocyanin accumulation in the pericarp of Cornus officinalis remains poorly understood. In this study, we conducted the comprehensive sampling and analysis of pericarp tissues at three distinct developmental stages, employing morphological-structure observation and metabolomic and transcriptomic techniques. Our findings reveal a substantial increase in the anthocyanin accumulation during the transition to the red stage of Cornus officinalis fruit maturation. Metabolomic profiling identified the highest expression levels of Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside and Pelargonidin-3-O-rutinoside during the mature stage, suggesting their association with the red coloration of the fruit. Through RNA sequencing, we identified 25,740 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), including 41 DEGs associated with anthocyanin biosynthesis. The correlation between the DEG expression levels and anthocyanin content was explored, further elucidating the regulatory network. Additionally, we validated the pivotal role of the candidate gene BZ1 in the synthesis of Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside through qRT-PCR, confirming its crucial impact on anthocyanin accumulation. This study provides preliminary insights into anthocyanin accumulation in Cornus officinalis, laying the foundation for the future development of new cultivars with enhanced anthocyanin contents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Advances in Fruit Quality Formation and Regulation)
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16 pages, 5387 KiB  
Article
Investigation on Accelerated Initiation of Oblique Detonation Wave Induced by Laser-Heating Hot-Spot
by Yirong Xin, Jiahao Shang, Gaoxiang Xiang and Qiu Wang
Aerospace 2024, 11(6), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace11060485 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
A reliable initiation of oblique detonation is critical in oblique detonation engines, especially for oblique detonation engines under extreme conditions such as a high altitude and low Mach number, which may lead to excessive length of the induction zone and even the phenomenon [...] Read more.
A reliable initiation of oblique detonation is critical in oblique detonation engines, especially for oblique detonation engines under extreme conditions such as a high altitude and low Mach number, which may lead to excessive length of the induction zone and even the phenomenon of extinction. In this paper, surface ignition was applied to the initiation of oblique detonation, and a high-temperature region was set on the wedge to simulate the presence of a hot-spot induced by the laser heating. The two-dimensional multi-component Navier–Stokes equations considering a detailed H2 combustion mechanism are solved, and the oblique detonation wave accelerated by a hot-spot is studied. In this paper, hot-spots in the induction zone on the wedge, are introduced to explore the possibility of hot-spot initiation, providing a potential method for initiation control. Results show that these methods can effectively promote the accelerated initiation of the oblique detonation. Furthermore, the hot-spot temperature, size and position are varied to analyze their effects on the initiation position. Increasing the temperature and size of the hot-spot both can accelerate initiation, but from the perspective of energy consumption, a small hot-spot at a high temperature is preferable for accelerating ODW initiation than a large hot-spot at a low temperature. The initiated position of the oblique detonation is sensitive to the position of the hot-spots; if a 2000 K hotspot is at the beginning of the wedge, then the ODW’s initiation distance will be reduced to about 30% of that without hotspot acceleration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Detonative Propulsion)
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14 pages, 990 KiB  
Article
Interaction between Risk Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms of Developmental Dyslexia and Parental Education on Reading Ability: Evidence for Differential Susceptibility Theory
by Qing Yang, Chen Cheng, Zhengjun Wang, Ximiao Zhang and Jingjing Zhao
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(6), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14060507 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
While genetic and environmental factors have been shown as predictors of children’s reading ability, the interaction effects of identified genetic risk susceptibility and the specified environment for reading ability have rarely been investigated. The current study assessed potential gene–environment (G×E) interactions on reading [...] Read more.
While genetic and environmental factors have been shown as predictors of children’s reading ability, the interaction effects of identified genetic risk susceptibility and the specified environment for reading ability have rarely been investigated. The current study assessed potential gene–environment (G×E) interactions on reading ability in 1477 school-aged children. The gene–environment interactions on character recognition were investigated by an exploratory analysis between the risk single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which were discovered by previous genome-wide association studies of developmental dyslexia (DD), and parental education (PE). The re-parameterized regression analysis suggested that this G×E interaction conformed to the strong differential susceptibility model. The results showed that rs281238 exhibits a significant interaction with PE on character recognition. Children with the “T” genotype profited from high PE, whereas they performed worse in low PE environments, but “CC” genotype children were not malleable in different PE environments. This study provided initial evidence for how the significant SNPs in developmental dyslexia GWA studies affect children’s reading performance by interacting with the environmental factor of parental education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Developmental Psychology)
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11 pages, 896 KiB  
Article
Effect of Rumen-Protected L-Tryptophan or L-Ascorbic Acid on Plasma Metabolites and Milk Production Characteristics of Lactating Holstein Cows during Summer Conditions
by Young-Lae Kim, So-Hee Lee, Gi-Hwal Son, Jong-Suh Shin, Min-Ji Kim and Byung-Ki Park
Animals 2024, 14(12), 1820; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14121820 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
This study investigated the effects of rumen-protected L-tryptophan or L-ascorbic acid supplementation on the productivity of lactating Holstein cows during a high-temperature period. Thirty cows were assigned to three dietary groups: control (CON), treatment 1 (TRT 1; rumen-protected L-tryptophan, 20 g/cow/d), and treatment [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effects of rumen-protected L-tryptophan or L-ascorbic acid supplementation on the productivity of lactating Holstein cows during a high-temperature period. Thirty cows were assigned to three dietary groups: control (CON), treatment 1 (TRT 1; rumen-protected L-tryptophan, 20 g/cow/d), and treatment 2 (TRT 2; rumen-protected L-ascorbic acid, 20 g/cow/d). As the high-temperature period progressed, the decrease in milk yield and dry matter intake (DMI) in the TRT 1 and TRT 2 groups was lower than that in the CON group. The total protein level in the plasma of the TRT 1 group was higher than that in the CON group (p < 0.05). Milk melatonin concentration was higher in the TRT 1 group than in the CON and TRT 2 groups (p < 0.05). Thus, the present results indicate that rumen-protected L-tryptophan or L-ascorbic acid has positive effects in preventing declines in DMI and milk yield by reducing heat stress in Holstein cows. In particular, rumen-protected L-tryptophan is considered effective in increasing the melatonin concentration in milk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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19 pages, 717 KiB  
Review
A Scoping Review of Bystander-Based Sexual Violence Prevention Training for College Students in Fraternities and Sororities
by Caterina DeFazio, Samantha I. Moyers-Kinsella, Elizabeth A. Claydon, Michelle D. Hand, Christa Lilly, Keith J. Zullig and Danielle M. Davidov
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(6), 797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21060797 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Bystander-based sexual violence (SV) prevention trainings are offered on college campuses across the United States to meet federal Title IX requirements, as they have proven to be an effective strategy for violence prevention. Greek-affiliated students (fraternity and sorority members) are at a higher [...] Read more.
Bystander-based sexual violence (SV) prevention trainings are offered on college campuses across the United States to meet federal Title IX requirements, as they have proven to be an effective strategy for violence prevention. Greek-affiliated students (fraternity and sorority members) are at a higher risk of sexual assault than their peers; however, few trainings consider the specific needs of this population, and program adaptations for this high-risk group may be needed. This scoping review identifies and describes the bystander trainings delivered to Greek-affiliated students in the US and Canada. An eight-database search was conducted following PRISMA-ScR guidelines. The review identified 81 unique sources, with 18 meeting the inclusion criteria. Eleven specific training programs were identified, encompassing qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method studies. The thematic analysis revealed best practices, including the importance of peer leaders, interactive sessions, and tailored content to Greek culture, as well as barriers such as a lack of engagement and an inadequate session length. The review underscores the need for tailored interventions to effectively address the unique cultural characteristics and high-risk nature of Greek-affiliated students. These findings provide valuable insights for improving the design and implementation of bystander interventions to enhance their efficacy in preventing sexual violence within this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexuality, Health, and Gender)
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13 pages, 1311 KiB  
Article
Pine Response to Sawfly Pheromones: Effects on Sawfly’s Oviposition and Larval Growth
by Asifur Rahman-Soad, Norbert Bittner and Monika Hilker
Insects 2024, 15(6), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15060458 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Insect pheromones have been intensively studied with respect to their role in insect communication. However, scarce knowledge is available on the impact of pheromones on plant responses, and how these in turn affect herbivorous insects. A previous study showed that exposure of pine [...] Read more.
Insect pheromones have been intensively studied with respect to their role in insect communication. However, scarce knowledge is available on the impact of pheromones on plant responses, and how these in turn affect herbivorous insects. A previous study showed that exposure of pine (Pinus sylvestris) to the sex pheromones of the pine sawfly Diprion pini results in enhanced defenses against the eggs of this sawfly; the egg survival rate on pheromone-exposed pine needles was lower than that on unexposed pine. The long-lasting common evolutionary history of D. pini and P. sylvestris suggests that D. pini has developed counter-adaptations to these pine responses. Here, we investigated by behavioral assays how D. pini copes with the defenses of pheromone-exposed pine. The sawfly females did not discriminate between the odor of pheromone-exposed and unexposed pine. However, when they had the chance to contact the trees, more unexposed than pheromone-exposed trees received eggs. The exposure of pine to the pheromones did not affect the performance of larvae and their pupation success. Our findings indicate that the effects that responses of pine to D. pini sex pheromones exert on the sawfly eggs and sawfly oviposition behavior do not extend to effects on the larvae. Full article
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14 pages, 2104 KiB  
Article
The Infection of Barley at Different Growth Stages by Bipolaris sorokiniana and Its Effect on Plant Yield and Sowing Value
by Barbara Wiewióra and Grzegorz Żurek
Agronomy 2024, 14(6), 1322; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14061322 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Bipolaris sorokiniana, a barley pathogen, can infect via seeds, co-growing plants, or soil, causing yield and seed value reductions. This study aimed to assess B. sorokiniana’s impact at various growth stages on seed yield and quality. Results showed no direct impact [...] Read more.
Bipolaris sorokiniana, a barley pathogen, can infect via seeds, co-growing plants, or soil, causing yield and seed value reductions. This study aimed to assess B. sorokiniana’s impact at various growth stages on seed yield and quality. Results showed no direct impact on yield (which ranged from 0.49 kg·m−2 for the naked variety Rastik to 0.77 kg·m−2 for the Widawa variety), but revealed significant seed quality differences. Thousand kernel weight (TKW) and germination capacity (GC) varied notably between examined varieties. The largest kernels were observed for the Bryl variety (27.33 g), which also had the best germination (82.8%). The variety Ryton had the smallest kernels (24.04 g), while the poorest germination (56.7%) was observed for naked kernels of Rastik. A seed health analysis found a relation between inoculation stage and the intensity of spontaneous infection by pathogenic fungi, ranging from 86.4% for the control to more than 95% for the kernels harvested from plants inoculated at the flowering stage. Strong correlation emerged between B. sorokiniana grain infection and germination capacity, highlighting the fungus’s role in seed quality decline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agroecology Innovation: Achieving System Resilience)
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13 pages, 616 KiB  
Article
Fear of Food in Gastrointestinal Disease: A Framework Based on the Interpreted Experiences of Adults with Diverticular Disease
by Skye Marshall, Fiona Eberhardt, Phoebe Dalwood, Megan Crichton, Xueying Tang, Russell Canavan and Dianne P. Reidlinger
Dietetics 2024, 3(2), 214-226; https://doi.org/10.3390/dietetics3020017 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The patient voice is missing from the evidence regarding the dietary management of diverticular disease. This study aimed to determine the patient experiences of imposed dietary restrictions during the medical treatment of acute, uncomplicated diverticulitis. An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis methodology guided participant selection, [...] Read more.
The patient voice is missing from the evidence regarding the dietary management of diverticular disease. This study aimed to determine the patient experiences of imposed dietary restrictions during the medical treatment of acute, uncomplicated diverticulitis. An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis methodology guided participant selection, data collection, and the data analysis of a qualitative interview study. Four interviews were conducted with adults admitted to hospital with acute, uncomplicated diverticulitis. Six themes were interpreted. Five themes were found to inter-relate as a cycle, which was embedded within a driving theme of ‘corrupted diet-disease knowledge of patients, family, and healthcare providers’. The cycle commenced with a theme of ‘fear of food’, which was followed by the theme of an ‘internal locus of control with rigid constraint’. ‘Loss of culture and social stigma’ ensued, which led to ‘vulnerability amid self-perceived failure’, and finally ‘overshadowed psychological pain’. The cycle recommenced with a renewed fear of food. The thematic phenomenon of the ‘Fear of Food in Gastrointestinal Disease Framework’ was developed. Adults with diverticular disease and at least one hospitalisation for acute, uncomplicated diverticulitis were interpreted to experience a cyclical thematic phenomenon represented by the ‘Fear of Food in Gastrointestinal Disease Framework’. Further qualitative research is required to evaluate the transferability of the framework to other conditions. Full article
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27 pages, 688 KiB  
Review
Nicotinamide N-Methyltransferase (NNMT): A New Hope for Treating Aging and Age-Related Conditions
by Jing-Jing Li, Wei-Dong Sun, Xiao-Juan Zhu, Ya-Zhong Mei, Wen-Song Li and Jiang-Hua Li
Metabolites 2024, 14(6), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo14060343 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The complex process of aging leads to a gradual deterioration in the function of cells, tissues, and the entire organism, thereby increasing the risk of disease and death. Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) has attracted attention as a potential target for combating aging and its [...] Read more.
The complex process of aging leads to a gradual deterioration in the function of cells, tissues, and the entire organism, thereby increasing the risk of disease and death. Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) has attracted attention as a potential target for combating aging and its related pathologies. Studies have shown that NNMT activity increases over time, which is closely associated with the onset and progression of age-related diseases. NNMT uses S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) as a methyl donor to facilitate the methylation of nicotinamide (NAM), converting NAM into S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine (SAH) and methylnicotinamide (MNA). This enzymatic action depletes NAM, a precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), and generates SAH, a precursor of homocysteine (Hcy). The reduction in the NAD+ levels and the increase in the Hcy levels are considered important factors in the aging process and age-related diseases. The efficacy of RNA interference (RNAi) therapies and small-molecule inhibitors targeting NNMT demonstrates the potential of NNMT as a therapeutic target. Despite these advances, the exact mechanisms by which NNMT influences aging and age-related diseases remain unclear, and there is a lack of clinical trials involving NNMT inhibitors and RNAi drugs. Therefore, more in-depth research is needed to elucidate the precise functions of NNMT in aging and promote the development of targeted pharmaceutical interventions. This paper aims to explore the specific role of NNMT in aging, and to evaluate its potential as a therapeutic target. Full article
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14 pages, 223 KiB  
Case Report
Selective Mutism and Comorbidity with Specific Learning Disorders: Evaluation and Multimodal Intervention in a Clinical Case of a Female Child from 7 to 11 Years of Age
by Micaela Capobianco and Alberto Costa
Children 2024, 11(6), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11060746 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Selective mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by a child’s persistent inability to communicate verbally in some or all contexts of social life. It is often associated with other cognitive–affective disorders. Performing cognitive–behavioral assessments and psychological interventions can be challenging [...] Read more.
Selective mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by a child’s persistent inability to communicate verbally in some or all contexts of social life. It is often associated with other cognitive–affective disorders. Performing cognitive–behavioral assessments and psychological interventions can be challenging due to the difficulty in administering standardized neuropsychological tests and involving family and teachers in the intervention program. In a single case study, a young Filipina girl with SM underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment and received multimodal therapeutic intervention between the ages of 7 and 11. The psychological intervention included cognitive–behavioral psychotherapy to improve social–cognitive skills and learning abilities, reduce anxiety, and provide speech therapy. The parents and teachers were actively involved in the therapeutic process and a underwent a psycho-education program. Following this treatment, at the age of 11, the girl started verbalizing in therapy and school contexts, although she still used non-verbal strategies. There was also a gradual improvement in her communicative–linguistic skills and school learning. In conclusion, this report emphasizes the importance of applying an integrated and multimodal intervention to treat SM in children, including psychoeducation for parents and teachers. Full article
10 pages, 1763 KiB  
Article
The Distinctive Role of Gluconic Acid in Retarding Percutaneous Drug Permeation: Formulation of Lidocaine-Loaded Chitosan Nanoparticles
by Amnon C. Sintov
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(6), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16060831 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The objective of the present investigation was to evidence the skin retardation phenomenon of lidocaine by gluconic acid as an inactive ingredient involved in citrate-crosslinking chitosan nanoparticles. Lidocaine hydrochloride was loaded in nanoparticles based on chitosan, fabricated by using a water-in-oil microemulsion as [...] Read more.
The objective of the present investigation was to evidence the skin retardation phenomenon of lidocaine by gluconic acid as an inactive ingredient involved in citrate-crosslinking chitosan nanoparticles. Lidocaine hydrochloride was loaded in nanoparticles based on chitosan, fabricated by using a water-in-oil microemulsion as a template and citric acid as an ionic cross-linker. Gluconic acid (pentahydroxy hexanoic acid) was added during the fabrication and compared with caproic acid, a non-hydroxy hexanoic acid. The chitosan nanoparticulate systems were characterized for mean particle size, particle size distribution, and zeta potential. The pentahydroxy hexanoic acid decreased the zeta potential to a significantly lower value than those obtained from both plain citrate and citrate–hexanoic acid formulations. The relatively lower value implies that gluconate ions are partly attached to the nanoparticle’s surface and mask its positively charged groups. It was also noted that the in vitro percutaneous permeation flux of lidocaine significantly decreased when gluconate-containing chitosan nanoparticles were applied, i.e., 6.1 ± 1.5 μg‧cm−2‧h−1 without gluconic acid to 3.4 ± 2.3 μg‧cm−2‧h−1 with gluconic acid. According to this result, it is suggested that gluconate ions played a role in retarding drug permeation through the skin, probably by calcium chelation in the stratum granulosum, which in turn stimulated lamellar body secretion, lipid synthesis, and intracellular release of Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum. Full article
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17 pages, 929 KiB  
Review
Potential Benefits of Combining Proton or Carbon Ion Therapy with DNA Damage Repair Inhibitors
by Gro Elise Rødland, Mihaela Temelie, Adrian Eek Mariampillai, Sissel Hauge, Antoine Gilbert, François Chevalier, Diana I. Savu and Randi G. Syljuåsen
Cells 2024, 13(12), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13121058 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The use of charged particle radiotherapy is currently increasing, but combination therapy with DNA repair inhibitors remains to be exploited in the clinic. The high-linear energy transfer (LET) radiation delivered by charged particles causes clustered DNA damage, which is particularly effective in destroying [...] Read more.
The use of charged particle radiotherapy is currently increasing, but combination therapy with DNA repair inhibitors remains to be exploited in the clinic. The high-linear energy transfer (LET) radiation delivered by charged particles causes clustered DNA damage, which is particularly effective in destroying cancer cells. Whether the DNA damage response to this type of damage is different from that elicited in response to low-LET radiation, and if and how it can be targeted to increase treatment efficacy, is not fully understood. Although several preclinical studies have reported radiosensitizing effects when proton or carbon ion irradiation is combined with inhibitors of, e.g., PARP, ATR, ATM, or DNA-PKcs, further exploration is required to determine the most effective treatments. Here, we examine what is known about repair pathway choice in response to high- versus low-LET irradiation, and we discuss the effects of inhibitors of these pathways when combined with protons and carbon ions. Additionally, we explore the potential effects of DNA repair inhibitors on antitumor immune signaling upon proton and carbon ion irradiation. Due to the reduced effect on healthy tissue and better immune preservation, particle therapy may be particularly well suited for combination with DNA repair inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Innovative Radiation Therapies)
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21 pages, 8115 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Sonic Boom Shock Wave Generation with CFD Green Methods
by Samuele Graziani, Francesco Petrosino, Jacob Jäschke, Antimo Glorioso, Roberta Fusaro and Nicole Viola
Aerospace 2024, 11(6), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace11060484 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
Over the past two decades, there has been a renewed interest in the development of a new generation of supersonic aircraft for civil purposes that could potentially succeed Concorde. However, the noise annoyance is still considered one of the hampering factors to meet [...] Read more.
Over the past two decades, there has been a renewed interest in the development of a new generation of supersonic aircraft for civil purposes that could potentially succeed Concorde. However, the noise annoyance is still considered one of the hampering factors to meet public consensus. This paper aims at revealing the potential of numerical simulations to predict sonic boom signature in Near Field at early design stages. In particular, the paper further demonstrates the applicability of the numerical approach proposed by NASA and other partners during the Sonic Boom Prediction Workshops held between 2014 and 2021, to compute the pressure signature of aircraft in the zone close to it. The results highlight the suitability of the approach (1) to capture the impact of aircraft flight condition variations on the sonic boom signature, (2) to enable the characterization of novel aircraft layout, including Mach 5 waverider configuration, (3) to provide near-field shock wave noise predictions that can be used to evaluate shock propagation, on-ground signature analyses, and annoyance assessment. Full article
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15 pages, 3379 KiB  
Article
The Assessment of Physicochemical and Antimicrobial Properties of Hydrophilic Gels Containing Tetracycline Hydrochloride and Various Concentrations of Ethanol
by Agnieszka Kostrzębska, Adam Junka, Malwina Brożyna and Witold Musiał
Pharmaceutics 2024, 16(6), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics16060830 (registering DOI) - 19 Jun 2024
Abstract
The high prevalence of acne, which affects nearly 85% of adolescents and young adults, underscores the importance of exploring new therapeutic solutions. The aim of the present study was to design a stable hydrogel formulation containing tetracycline hydrochloride (TC) in the presence of [...] Read more.
The high prevalence of acne, which affects nearly 85% of adolescents and young adults, underscores the importance of exploring new therapeutic solutions. The aim of the present study was to design a stable hydrogel formulation containing tetracycline hydrochloride (TC) in the presence of ethanol at various concentration levels. The antibiotic stability was assessed over a period of 84 days using the HPLC method. The rheological properties of the formulations and their microbiological activity were also evaluated. Hydrogels without ethanol and those containing 5% and 25% alcohol showed similar rheological properties and high stability of the antibiotic throughout the observation period. The formulation with the highest ethanol content of 50% differed significantly from the others in terms of rheological properties. Although the flow and viscosity curves were like those of the other formulations, the viscosity values were significantly lower. The stability of tetracycline in this formulation was also significantly lower, and by the 84th day of observation, the concentration of the drug had decreased to almost 45% of its initial content. The formulations containing the highest concentration of ethanol displayed the highest activity against the biofilm of the acne-causing agent, Cutibacterium acnes. The study demonstrated the possibility of developing stable and antimicrobial effective hydrogel formulations with tetracycline and ethanol as a substance enhancing drug penetration into the hair follicles. Full article
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