The 2023 MDPI Annual Report has
been released!
 
18 pages, 297 KiB  
Article
“Through the Looking Glass”: The Transformative Power of Reading for Youth Activists
by Karen Zaino and Jerusha Conner
Youth 2024, 4(3), 950-967; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth4030060 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Cases of historical and contemporary social movements suggest that among activists, reading texts together is a valuable learning experience. However, less research exists on the specific texts youth activists seek out in their work and the role these texts play in shaping their [...] Read more.
Cases of historical and contemporary social movements suggest that among activists, reading texts together is a valuable learning experience. However, less research exists on the specific texts youth activists seek out in their work and the role these texts play in shaping their understanding of themselves as activists. Drawing on Rudine Sims Bishop’s classic formulation of books as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors, this study explores the under-appreciated role texts may play in drawing young people to activism and shaping their identities as activists. Coupled with interview data from six youth activists engaged in the climate justice movement, survey data from 237 self-identifying youth activists suggest that the texts youth activists name as influential serve a “through the looking glass” function: they often reflect problematic aspects of the social world and one’s place within it, while also revealing new and aspirational roles readers might take on to address social problems. The texts the youth identified as influential were diverse; there were few commonalities among titles, underscoring the importance of ongoing access to a broad range of reading materials. Ultimately, findings suggest that texts work to bind together the various internal and external, micro, meso, and macro influences that collectively shape youth activists’ narratives of becoming. Full article
15 pages, 951 KiB  
Review
MAFLD Pandemic: Updates in Pharmacotherapeutic Approach Development
by Farah Khaznadar, Omar Khaznadar, Ana Petrovic, Marija Hefer, Fabian Gjoni, Stefan Gjoni, Justinija Steiner, Martina Smolic and Kristina Bojanic
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(7), 6300-6314; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46070376 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
With around one billion of the world’s population affected, the era of the metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) pandemic has entered the global stage. MAFLD is a chronic progressive liver disease with accompanying metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity [...] Read more.
With around one billion of the world’s population affected, the era of the metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) pandemic has entered the global stage. MAFLD is a chronic progressive liver disease with accompanying metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity which can progress asymptomatically to liver cirrhosis and subsequently to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and for which to date there are almost no approved pharmacologic options. Because MAFLD has a very complex etiology and it also affects extrahepatic organs, a multidisciplinary approach is required when it comes to finding an effective and safe active substance for MAFLD treatment. The optimal drug for MAFLD should diminish steatosis, fibrosis and inflammation in the liver, and the winner for MAFLD drug authorisation seems to be the one that significantly improves liver histology. Saroglitazar (Lipaglyn®) was approved for metabolic-dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) in India in 2020; however, the drug is still being investigated in other countries. Although the pharmaceutical industry is still lagging behind in developing an approved pharmacologic therapy for MAFLD, research has recently intensified and many molecules which are in the final stages of clinical trials are expected to be approved in the coming few years. Already this year, the first drug (Rezdiffra™) in the United States was approved via accelerated procedure for treatment of MAFLD, i.e., of MASH in adults. This review underscores the most recent information related to the development of drugs for MAFLD treatment, focusing on the molecules that have come furthest towards approval. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease)
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11 pages, 648 KiB  
Article
A One-Year Follow-Up Cohort Study of Ambulatory Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection: The Landscape in Mexico
by Andreu Comas-García, Berenice Hernández-Castro, Ricardo Sebastián Hernández-Salazar, Marlen Vitales-Noyola, Diana Lorena Alvarado-Hernández, Pedro Gerardo Hernández-Sánchez, Ana Elena Sánchez-Rodríguez, Jesús Salvador González-López, Jaime Enrique Méndez-Ramírez, Roberto González-Amaro and Sofía Bernal-Silva
COVID 2024, 4(7), 848-858; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid4070057 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Background and Objectives: SARS-CoV-2 is the pathogen that causes COVID-19 disease. Although the rate of COVID-19 reinfection is significant, the possible factors associated with this condition remain to be fully elucidated. The aim of the study was to identify clinical and serological [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: SARS-CoV-2 is the pathogen that causes COVID-19 disease. Although the rate of COVID-19 reinfection is significant, the possible factors associated with this condition remain to be fully elucidated. The aim of the study was to identify clinical and serological factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. Materials and Methods: We followed up on 120 patients with mild COVID-19 for one year. Various clinical data were collected, and serum levels of IgG anti-SARS-CoV-2 Spike antibodies were tested on days 21, 60, 90, and 180. The diagnosis of COVID-19 was based on symptomatology and the detection of viral RNA in nasal swabs using real-time PCR. Results: We observed eleven episodes of reinfection. Although no clinical or demographic characteristics were associated with reinfection, significantly higher levels of anti-Spike antibodies and a seropositive status at day 90 were significantly associated with the absence of reinfection. Moreover, the symptoms during the COVID-19 episode associated with seropositivity at day 90 were mainly headache, sneezing, anosmia, and runny nose. Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is not associated with the clinical or demographic characteristics of COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, our findings suggest that the presence and levels of IgG anti-Spike antibodies at day 90 of infection play a protective role against reinfection. Serological immunity at day 90 influences the response to vaccination. Full article
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23 pages, 2444 KiB  
Article
Xylella fastidiosa Dispersion on Vegetal Hosts in Demarcated Zones in the North Region of Portugal
by Talita Loureiro, Luís Serra, Ângela Martins, Isabel Cortez and Patrícia Poeta
Microbiol. Res. 2024, 15(3), 1050-1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/microbiolres15030069 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
The detection of Xylella fastidiosa in Portugal occurred through prospection in 2019 in Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, in plants of Lavandula dentata L. Currently, in Portugal, there are 18 Xylella fastidiosa Demarcated Zones (DZs). The main objective of this study is to [...] Read more.
The detection of Xylella fastidiosa in Portugal occurred through prospection in 2019 in Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, in plants of Lavandula dentata L. Currently, in Portugal, there are 18 Xylella fastidiosa Demarcated Zones (DZs). The main objective of this study is to gain a comprehensive understanding of this problem within the defined Demarcated Zones in the North Region of Portugal from 2019 to June 2023. This work comprised two phases: the prospection phase (inspecting plants, sampling, and submission of samples to the laboratory) and the research phase (collecting and organizing data and statistical treatment). Our findings provide essential insights, suggesting that the Northern Region of Portugal is highly conducive to Xylella fastidiosa. Portugal has Xf-preferred hosts such as the olive tree, orange tree, Laurus nobilis, Rosa spp., Nerium oleander L., Pelargonium sp., Hedera helix L., and Lavandula dentata L. Portugal’s favorable environmental factors such as temperature and humidity can have an important role in influencing the interaction between bacteria and hosts. Nevertheless, it is crucial to consider variations in the behavior of insect vectors, as these variations can limit the prevalence of the disease. Activities like the transport of infected planting materials from the first Demarcated Zone of the Area Metropolitana do Porto could be associated with the introduction and spread of Xylella fastidiosa, potentially triggering new disease outbreaks in the country. Our findings confirm the alarming spread of Xylella fastidiosa across Portugal. Factors such as the presence of insect vectors, abundance of host plants, and climate suitability play pivotal roles in Xylella fastidiosa dispersal. We recommend that countries identified with relatively high risk, like Portugal, undertake thorough individual risk analyses. The implementation of preventive measures and, if necessary, the enhancement of surveillance systems for early detection of Xylella fastidiosa in plants and insect vectors are crucial steps. Full article
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9 pages, 286 KiB  
Study Protocol
Individualized Cognitive Functional Therapy Compared with Conservative Treatment for Patients with Chronic Neck Pain—Study Protocol for A Single Blind Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial
by George Ploutarchou, Vasileios Korakakis, Evi Lazoura, Christos Savva, Kyriakos Pavlou, Iacovos Christofi, Katerina Sotiriou, Chara Savvidou, Andreas Panteli, Christos Karagiannis and Ioannis Mamais
Clin. Pract. 2024, 14(4), 1225-1233; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract14040098 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Chronic neck pain (CNP) is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions, is considered the second leading cause of pain, and is among the leading causes of disability. Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) is a novel behavioral therapy for individualizing the management of spinal [...] Read more.
Chronic neck pain (CNP) is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions, is considered the second leading cause of pain, and is among the leading causes of disability. Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) is a novel behavioral therapy for individualizing the management of spinal pain targeting the multidimensional aspect of musculoskeletal pain. This study outlines the protocol for an assessor-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT) designed to compare an individualized Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT) intervention with usual care in terms of pain and disability. Aiming for a pragmatic intervention, the CFT group will receive 16 sessions based on patient’s condition characteristics, and clinical presentation and progression. The control group will receive 16 sessions of standardized usual care (electrotherapy, massage, posture exercise, and educations). Both groups will have the same intervention duration. Patients will be randomly allocated into groups and will be assessed at baseline, at the 8th session, at the 16th session, and 3 months after randomization. Primary outcomes will be pain, disability, cervical range of motion, and neck muscle isometric strength. To our knowledge, this study will be the first RCT to compare the clinical effectiveness of CFT compared to UC for adults with CNP. The study results will provide information about the use of CFT in clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Outcome Research in the Head and Neck)
9 pages, 977 KiB  
Article
A Higher Neutrophil Count Is Associated with Favorable Achievement of Treatment-Free Remission in Patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Who Received Second Generation Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor as Frontline Treatment
by Hiroshi Ureshino, Yusuke Takeda, Kazuharu Kamachi, Takaaki Ono, Noriyoshi Iriyama, Eiichi Ohtsuka, Emiko Sakaida and Shinya Kimura
Clin. Pract. 2024, 14(4), 1216-1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract14040097 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Background: ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitor discontinuation securely became among the therapeutic goal for chronic myeloid leukemia chronic phase patients (CML-CP). To establish successful prognostic factors for treatment-free remission (TFR), it is necessary to diagnose the patients with high-risk molecular relapse, however, a biomarker [...] Read more.
Background: ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitor discontinuation securely became among the therapeutic goal for chronic myeloid leukemia chronic phase patients (CML-CP). To establish successful prognostic factors for treatment-free remission (TFR), it is necessary to diagnose the patients with high-risk molecular relapse, however, a biomarker for the achievement of TFR has not been completely elucidated. Recent investigations have determined that neutrophils function crucially in cancer immunology. Patients and Methods: The research was a multicenter retrospective observational study to examine the correlation between TFR and neutrophil counts before TKI discontinuation. The investigation included patients having Philadelphia chromosome-positive CML-CP who attempted the discontinuation of TKIs after a durable deep molecular response between January 2012 and July 2021 at four institutions in Japan. Results: 118 CML-CP patients in total discontinued TKIs and an estimated 36-month TFR rate was 65.1%. 52 patients received second-generation TKIs as frontline. Higher neutrophil count (>3210/μL) at TKIs discontinuation was determined as an independent prognostic variable for TFR in patients who received second-generation TKIs as frontline [(HR, 0.235 (95%, confidence interval (CI) 0.078–0.711); p = 0.010]. Conclusions: The neutrophil-mediated immunomodulation can be a significant component for the effective achievement of TFR in CML supported by our clinical observation. Full article
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2 pages, 140 KiB  
Editorial
Quality in Contemporary Surgical Nursing
by Georgios Vasilopoulos
Clin. Pract. 2024, 14(4), 1214-1215; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract14040096 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Quality in healthcare is a multidimensional issue involving various features that depend on service performance and personal assessment (Stavropoulou et al [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Nursing and Quality of Healthcare)
18 pages, 303 KiB  
Review
Preserving Patient Stories: Bioethical and Legal Implications Related to the Shift from Traditional to Digital Anamnesis
by Filippo Gibelli, Paolo Bailo, Giuliano Pesel and Giovanna Ricci
Clin. Pract. 2024, 14(4), 1196-1213; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract14040095 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
It is since the beginning of the so-called ‘digital revolution’ in the 1950s that technological tools have been developed to simplify and optimise traditional, time-consuming, and laborious anamnestic collection for many physicians. In recent years, more and more sophisticated ‘automated’ anamnestic collection systems [...] Read more.
It is since the beginning of the so-called ‘digital revolution’ in the 1950s that technological tools have been developed to simplify and optimise traditional, time-consuming, and laborious anamnestic collection for many physicians. In recent years, more and more sophisticated ‘automated’ anamnestic collection systems have been developed, to the extent that they can actually enter daily clinical practice. This article not only provides a historical overview of the evolution of such tools, but also explores the ethical and medico-legal implications of the transition from traditional to digital anamnesis, including the protection of data confidentiality, the preservation of the communicative effectiveness of the doctor–patient dialogue and the safety of care in patients with poor digital and health literacy. Full article
15 pages, 551 KiB  
Review
Integrating Molecular Insights into Biliary Tract Cancer Management: A Review of Personalized Therapeutic Strategies
by Mar Ros-Buxó, Ezequiel Mauro, Tamara Sauri, Gemma Iserte, Carla Fuster-Anglada, Alba Díaz, Laura Sererols-Viñas, Silvia Affo and Alejandro Forner
Curr. Oncol. 2024, 31(7), 3615-3629; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol31070266 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are rare and aggressive malignancies with an increasing incidence and poor prognosis. The standard systemic treatment for BTCs has evolved to include immune checkpoint inhibitors associated with gemcitabine–cisplatin as first-line therapies. However, survival rates remain low, highlighting the critical [...] Read more.
Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are rare and aggressive malignancies with an increasing incidence and poor prognosis. The standard systemic treatment for BTCs has evolved to include immune checkpoint inhibitors associated with gemcitabine–cisplatin as first-line therapies. However, survival rates remain low, highlighting the critical need for personalized treatment strategies based on molecular profiling. Currently, significant advancements have been made in the molecular characterization of BTCs, where genetic alterations, such as IDH1 mutations and FGFR2 fusions, provide targets for therapy. Molecular profiling is crucial early in the management process to identify potential candidates for clinical trials and guide treatment strategy. The integration of these molecular insights into clinical practice has allowed for the development of targeted therapies, although many of them are still in the phase 2 trial stage without definitive survival benefits demonstrated in phase 3 trials. This integration of comprehensive molecular profile insights with traditional treatment approaches offers a new horizon in the personalized medicine landscape for BTCs, with the aim of significantly improving patient outcomes through precision oncology. Full article
16 pages, 2953 KiB  
Article
A Focus on Railway Shift in Urban Freight Transport: Scenarios and Applications
by Antonio Comi and Olesia Hriekova
Future Transp. 2024, 4(3), 681-696; https://doi.org/10.3390/futuretransp4030032 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
This research germinates from the statement that cities need to solve the impacts caused by freight transport to improve their sustainability by implementing a set of city logistic measures. Urban freight distribution through environmentally friendly vehicle measures is one of the main sustainable [...] Read more.
This research germinates from the statement that cities need to solve the impacts caused by freight transport to improve their sustainability by implementing a set of city logistic measures. Urban freight distribution through environmentally friendly vehicle measures is one of the main sustainable actions being implemented worldwide, with a significant potential to reduce the congestion and pollution levels according to the assessment performed around the world. In this context, this paper aims to explore the use of railways for urban freight transport and then focuses on the potential of shifting from a road to railway system, which uses an advanced demand modelling framework specified and calibrated according to the results of surveys carried out in the study area. Subsequently, the potential benefits of introducing this urban freight transport through the metro system in Rome (Italy) are investigated, showing significant positive effects, both in terms of operational and external costs. Full article
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13 pages, 874 KiB  
Article
Engaging in Action Research with Nurses: Overcoming Challenges and Gaining Positive Insights into End-of-Life Care
by Yuka Oura, Shiori Kato, Risa Kaino, Yasuna Sato, Junko Shida, Chisaki Uno and Yumi Matsuda
Nurs. Rep. 2024, 14(3), 1528-1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/nursrep14030115 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
The aim of this study was to qualitatively describe, from a practitioner’s perspective, the process by which nurses struggle to support a patient with end-of-life cancer with frequent nurse calls and gain positive insights through two methodologies: AR and the case study method. [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to qualitatively describe, from a practitioner’s perspective, the process by which nurses struggle to support a patient with end-of-life cancer with frequent nurse calls and gain positive insights through two methodologies: AR and the case study method. The participants were four ward nurses who supported a patient receiving end-of-life cancer in his 80s. The participants engaged in monthly group work and practical training sessions, which included facilitators, to reflect on and develop care plans. Based on these activities, care was provided to the patient. After the intervention period, the patient’s course and practice was documented and analysed qualitatively. The intervention significantly improved the nurses’ ability to support inpatients with many needs through careful observation, enhancement, and practical skill improvement. This process resulted in a better understanding of patient needs, proactive skill development, enhanced team performance, and an innovative care-delivery system that resonated throughout the ward. This study demonstrated a successful strategy for nurses to improve support for high-need inpatients, emphasising the importance of attentive care, proactive skill improvement, and a team-based approach to healthcare innovation. Full article
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18 pages, 7896 KiB  
Article
An Investigation of Increased Power Transmission Capabilities of Elastic–Plastic-Designed Press–Fit Connections Using a Detachable Joining Device
by Jan Falter, Daniel Herburger, Hansgeorg Binz and Matthias Kreimeyer
Eng 2024, 5(3), 1155-1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/eng5030063 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Drive systems are an important part of general mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, and various other fields, with shaft–hub connections being an important part of such systems. Decisive aspects in the development of such systems today are, for example, high transmittable forces and torques, [...] Read more.
Drive systems are an important part of general mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, and various other fields, with shaft–hub connections being an important part of such systems. Decisive aspects in the development of such systems today are, for example, high transmittable forces and torques, low masses, and the cheapest possible production of components. A possibly threefold increase in the force and torque transmission capacity can be achieved by using press–fit connections with an elastic–plastic design as opposed to regular elastically designed alternatives. An elastic–plastic design of the press–fit connection is achieved by using a large interference. A large transition geometry on the shaft (which replaces the conventional chamfer) is required to join such an interference. The material and space requirements have a negative impact on lightweight applications and limited building spaces. Therefore, the objective of the research presented in this paper is to design and analyze a detachable joining device that substitutes this geometry. A simulation study was conducted to determine the geometry of the joining device that improves the stress state and consequently the force and torque transmission capacity of the connection. Moreover, the influence of manufacturing tolerances of the joining device and the shaft, corresponding risks, and measures to mitigate them are analyzed using finite element analysis. The results show that large transition radii, enabled by using a joining device, lead to a homogenous distribution of plastic strain and pressure in the press–fit connection, even for large interferences ξ and soft hub materials like wrought aluminum alloys. The influence of manufacturing tolerances on the stress state was quantified, leading to design guidelines that minimize the risk of, e.g., the front face collision of a shaft and hub, while maximizing the power transmission of the connection. The results show the capability of a detachable joining device to enable elastic–plastic press–fit connections and the corresponding threefold increase in the force and torque transmission capacity in lightweight applications, resulting from the substitution of the installation space consuming and mass increasing the transition geometry of the shaft. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Eng 2024)
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15 pages, 517 KiB  
Article
Network Analysis of the Association between Minority Stress and Activism in LGB People from Poland
by Aleksandra Krok, Zofia Kardasz and Aleksandra M. Rogowska
Eur. J. Investig. Health Psychol. Educ. 2024, 14(7), 1853-1867; https://doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe14070122 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
(1) Background: This paper presents an analysis of the associations between minority stressors and activism in the population of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals in Poland. (2) Methods: The cross-sectional online-based research was conducted among 192 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people in [...] Read more.
(1) Background: This paper presents an analysis of the associations between minority stressors and activism in the population of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals in Poland. (2) Methods: The cross-sectional online-based research was conducted among 192 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people in two groups: activists (n = 51) and people not engaged in activism (n = 141). Four scales of the Sexual Minority Stress Scale were used: Internalized Homophobia, Expectation of Rejection, Concealment, and Sexual Minority Negative Events Scale. Activism was measured using the Activism Scale and a single item asking about belonging to an activist group. (3) Results: Activists, lesbians, and gays scored significantly higher in the Sexual Minority Negative Events than people not involved in activism and bisexual individuals. Attitude toward LGBT+ activism correlated weakly and positively with Sexual Minority Negative Events and Expectation of Rejection while negatively with Internalized Homophobia. The Network Analysis showed that positive attitudes toward LGBT+ activism, the expectation of rejection, and negative events in minority stress are the most influential variables in the network model, playing a crucial role in the interaction between particular dimensions of minority stress. (4) Conclusions: Prevention and intervention programs should focus on reducing minority stress, especially negative events and rejection, especially among lesbians, gays, and people engaged in LGBT+ activism. The cooperation of politicians, lawyers, social workers, and psychologists is required to decrease homophobia and the stigmatization of people representing sexual and gender minorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disparities in Mental Health and Well-Being)
18 pages, 11000 KiB  
Article
A Finite-Set Integral Sliding Modes Predictive Control for a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor Drive System
by Hector Hidalgo, Rodolfo Orosco, Hector Huerta, Nimrod Vazquez, Leonel Estrada, Sergio Pinto and Angel de Castro
World Electr. Veh. J. 2024, 15(7), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/wevj15070277 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Finite-set model predictive control (FS-MPC) is an easy and intuitive control technique. However, parametric uncertainties reduce the accuracy of the prediction. Classical MPC requires many calculations; therefore, the calculation time generates a considerable time delay in the actuation. This delay deteriorates the performance [...] Read more.
Finite-set model predictive control (FS-MPC) is an easy and intuitive control technique. However, parametric uncertainties reduce the accuracy of the prediction. Classical MPC requires many calculations; therefore, the calculation time generates a considerable time delay in the actuation. This delay deteriorates the performance of the system and generates a significant current ripple. This paper proposes a finite-set integral sliding modes predictive control (FS-ISMPC) for a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM). The conventional decision function is replaced by an integral sliding cost function, which has several advantages, such as robustness to parameter uncertainties, and convergence in finite time. The proposed decision function does not require the inductance and resistance parameters of the motor. In addition, the proposal includes compensation for the calculation delay of the control vector. The proposed control strategy was compared with traditional predictive control with delay compensation using a real-time hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation. The results obtained from the comparison indicated that the proposed controller has a lower THD and computational burden. Full article
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25 pages, 1093 KiB  
Article
Improvement of the Cybersecurity of the Satellite Internet of Vehicles through the Application of an Authentication Protocol Based on a Modular Error-Correction Code
by Igor Anatolyevich Kalmykov, Aleksandr Anatolyevich Olenev, Natalya Vladimirovna Kononova, Tatyana Aleksandrovna Peleshenko, Daniil Vyacheslavovich Dukhovnyj, Nikita Konstantinovich Chistousov and Natalya Igorevna Kalmykova
World Electr. Veh. J. 2024, 15(7), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/wevj15070278 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
The integration of the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) and low-orbit satellite Internet not only increases the efficiency of traffic management but also contributes to the emergence of new cyberattacks. Spoofing interference occupies a special place among them. To prevent a rogue satellite from [...] Read more.
The integration of the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) and low-orbit satellite Internet not only increases the efficiency of traffic management but also contributes to the emergence of new cyberattacks. Spoofing interference occupies a special place among them. To prevent a rogue satellite from imposing unauthorized content on vehicle owners, a zero-knowledge authentication protocol (ZKAP) based on a modular polyalphabetic polynomial code (MPPC) was developed. The use of MPPC allowed for increasing the authentication speed of the satellite performing the role of RSU. As a result, a reduction in the time needed to guess the prover’s signal also reduces the probability of granting a rogue satellite the communication session and increases the imitation resistance of the satellite IoV. At the same time, the MPPC allows for improving the noise resistance of the ZKAP. An algorithm for calculating the control residuals for a noise-resistant MPPC was developed for this purpose, as well as an algorithm for correcting errors arising in the communication channel due to interference. Thus, the developed authentication protocol based on a noise-resistant modular code allows for simultaneously reducing the probabilities of the first-order and second-order errors, which leads to the increased cybersecurity of satellite IoV. Full article
10 pages, 405 KiB  
Article
Effects of Daily Physical Activity on Exercise Capacity in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
by Marina Aiello, Annalisa Frizzelli, Roberta Pisi, Rocco Accogli, Alessandra Marchese, Francesca Carlacci, Olha Bondarenko, Panagiota Tzani and Alfredo Chetta
Medicina 2024, 60(7), 1026; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60071026 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Background and Objectives: In adults, 150 to 300 min a week of moderate-intensity physical activity is the recommended daily level to maintain or improve fitness. In subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), reductions in daily physical activity (DPA) amounts are related [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: In adults, 150 to 300 min a week of moderate-intensity physical activity is the recommended daily level to maintain or improve fitness. In subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), reductions in daily physical activity (DPA) amounts are related to clinically significant outcomes. In this study, we ascertain whether or not COPD patients, when clustered into active (DPA ≥ 30 min a day, 5 days a week) and inactive (DPA < 30 min a day, 5 days a week), may differ in exercise capacity, as assessed by a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET). Materials and Methods: A large sample of clinically stable COPD patients was retrospectively recruited and then underwent spirometry and an incremental ramp protocol 5-15 watts/min CPET. DPA was assessed by a questionnaire. Results: A total of 83 (female 25%, age range 41–85 yr) active and 131 (female 31%, age range 49–83 yr) inactive participants were enrolled. They were similar in age, sex distribution, body mass index (BMI) and in spirometry. The two groups were significantly different in dyspnea on exertion, as assessed by the modified Medical Research Council (mMRC), and in cardio-metabolic parameters, but not in ventilatory ones, as confirmed by the CPET. Conclusions: COPD patients experiencing physical activity of at least 30 min a day, 5 days a week, showed a greater exercise capacity and an improved cardiovascular response to exercise, when compared to inactive ones. Active and inactive participants did not differ in terms of airflow obstruction severity as well as in dynamic hyperinflation and ventilatory inefficiency during exercise. This study further suggests the benefits of regular physical activity in COPD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pulmonary)
22 pages, 3014 KiB  
Article
Autonomous Driving Strategy for a Specialized Four-Wheel Differential-Drive Agricultural Rover
by Salvatore Martelli, Francesco Mocera and Aurelio Soma’
AgriEngineering 2024, 6(3), 1937-1958; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering6030113 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Recently, the agriconstruction machinery sector has been involved in a great technological revolution. The reasons that may explain this are strictly connected to the mitigation of climate change. At the same time, there is a necessity to ensure an adequate production level in [...] Read more.
Recently, the agriconstruction machinery sector has been involved in a great technological revolution. The reasons that may explain this are strictly connected to the mitigation of climate change. At the same time, there is a necessity to ensure an adequate production level in order to meet the increasing food demand due to the current population growth trend. In this context, the development of autonomously driven agricultural vehicles is one of the areas on which tractor manufacturers and academics are focusing. The fundamental prerequisite for an autonomous driving vehicle is the development of an appropriate motion strategy. Hence, the vehicle will be able to follow predetermined routes, accomplishing its missions. The aim of this study was the development of path-planning and path-following algorithms for an agricultural four- whee differential-drive vehicle operating in vineyard/orchard environments. The algorithms were completely developed within the MATLAB software environment. After a brief description of the geometrical characteristics of the vehicle, a parametric process to build a virtual orchard environment is proposed. Then, the functional principles of the autonomous driving algorithms are shown. Finally, the algorithms are tested, varying their main tuning parameters, and an indicator to quantify the algorithms' efficiency, named relative accuracy, is defined. The results obtained show the strong dependence between the relative accuracy and lookahead distance value assigned to the rover. Furthermore, an analysis of rover positioning errors was performed. The results in this case show a lower influence of the location error when the accuracy of the positioning device is within 2 cm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implementation of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture)
13 pages, 2643 KiB  
Article
Model Development for Identifying Aromatic Herbs Using Object Detection Algorithm
by Samira Nascimento Antunes, Marcelo Tsuguio Okano, Irenilza de Alencar Nääs, William Aparecido Celestino Lopes, Fernanda Pereira Leite Aguiar, Oduvaldo Vendrametto, João Carlos Lopes Fernandes and Marcelo Eloy Fernandes
AgriEngineering 2024, 6(3), 1924-1936; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering6030112 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
The rapid evolution of digital technology and the increasing integration of artificial intelligence in agriculture have paved the way for groundbreaking solutions in plant identification. This research pioneers the development and training of a deep learning model to identify three aromatic plants—rosemary, mint, [...] Read more.
The rapid evolution of digital technology and the increasing integration of artificial intelligence in agriculture have paved the way for groundbreaking solutions in plant identification. This research pioneers the development and training of a deep learning model to identify three aromatic plants—rosemary, mint, and bay leaf—using advanced computer-aided detection within the You Only Look Once (YOLO) framework. Employing the Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM) methodology, the study meticulously covers data understanding, preparation, modeling, evaluation, and deployment phases. The dataset, consisting of images from diverse devices and annotated with bounding boxes, was instrumental in the training process. The model’s performance was evaluated using the mean average precision at a 50% intersection over union (mAP50), a metric that combines precision and recall. The results demonstrated that the model achieved a precision of 0.7 or higher for each herb, though recall values indicated potential over-detection, suggesting the need for database expansion and methodological enhancements. This research underscores the innovative potential of deep learning in aromatic plant identification and addresses both the challenges and advantages of this technique. The findings significantly advance the integration of artificial intelligence in agriculture, promoting greater efficiency and accuracy in plant identification. Full article
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26 pages, 2059 KiB  
Article
Development of a Greenhouse Wastewater Stream Utilization System for On-Site Microalgae-Based Biostimulant Production
by Sofia Faliagka, Georgios Kountrias, Eleni Dimitriou, Maria Álvarez-Gil, Mario Blanco-Vieites, Fabio Magrassi, Marta Notari, Eleftheria Maria Pechlivani and Nikolaos Katsoulas
AgriEngineering 2024, 6(3), 1898-1923; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering6030111 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
The challenges to feed the world in 2050 are becoming more and more apparent. This calls for producing more with fewer inputs (most of them under scarcity), higher resource efficiency, minimum or zero effect on the environment, and higher sustainability. Therefore, increasing the [...] Read more.
The challenges to feed the world in 2050 are becoming more and more apparent. This calls for producing more with fewer inputs (most of them under scarcity), higher resource efficiency, minimum or zero effect on the environment, and higher sustainability. Therefore, increasing the circularity of production systems is highly significant for their sustainability. This study investigates the utilization of waste streams from greenhouse hydroponic drainage nutrient solutions for the cultivation of the microalgae Desmodesmus sp. The cultivation was done in an automatically controlled container-scale closed tubular Photo Bio-Reactor (PBR). The study included lab-scale open-pond system experiments and in situ container-scale experiments in the greenhouse wastewater system to assess biomass growth, optical density, nitrogen consumption, and the influence of enzymatic complexes on microalgae cell breakdown. A batch-harvesting process was followed, and the harvested microalgae biomass was pre-concentrated using FeCl3 as a flocculant that has demonstrated efficient sedimentation and biomass recovery. Following microalgae sedimentation, the produced biomass was used for biostimulant production by means of a biocatalysis process. The enzymatic complexes, “EnzProt”, “EnzCell”, and “EnzMix” were tested for cell breakdown, with “EnzMix” at a dosage of 10% showing the most promising results. The results demonstrate successful biomass production and nitrogen uptake in the lab-scale open-pond system, with promising upscaling results within container-scale cultivation. The findings contribute to a better assessment of the needs of Desmodesmus sp. culture and highlight the importance in optimizing culture conditions and enzymatic processes for the production of biostimulants. Full article
18 pages, 22999 KiB  
Article
0.98(K0.5Na0.5)NbO3–0.02(Bi0.5Na0.5)(Zr0.85Sn0.15)O3 Single Crystals Grown by the Seed-Free Solid-State Crystal Growth Method and Their Characterization
by Eugenie Uwiragiye, Thuy Linh Pham, Jong-Sook Lee, Byoung-Wan Lee, Jae-Hyeon Ko and John G. Fisher
Ceramics 2024, 7(3), 840-857; https://doi.org/10.3390/ceramics7030055 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
(K0.5Na0.5)NbO3-based single crystals are of interest as high-performance lead-free piezoelectric materials, but conventional crystal growth methods have some disadvantages such as the requirement for expensive Pt crucibles and difficulty in controlling the composition of the crystals. Recently, [...] Read more.
(K0.5Na0.5)NbO3-based single crystals are of interest as high-performance lead-free piezoelectric materials, but conventional crystal growth methods have some disadvantages such as the requirement for expensive Pt crucibles and difficulty in controlling the composition of the crystals. Recently, (K0.5Na0.5)NbO3-based single crystals have been grown by the seed-free solid-state crystal growth method, which can avoid these problems. In the present work, 0.98(K0.5Na0.5)NbO3–0.02(Bi0.5Na0.5)(Zr0.85Sn0.15)O3 single crystals were grown by the seed-free solid-state crystal growth method. Sintering aids of 0.15 mol% Li2CO3 and 0.15 mol% Bi2O3 were added to promote single crystal growth. Pellets were sintered at 1150 °C for 15–50 h. Single crystals started to appear from 20 h. The single crystals grown for 50 h were studied in detail. Single crystal microstructure was studied by scanning electron microscopy of the as-grown surface and cross-section of the sample and revealed porosity in the crystals. Electron probe microanalysis indicated a slight reduction in K and Na content of a single crystal as compared to the nominal composition. X-ray diffraction shows that the single crystals contain mixed orthorhombic and tetragonal phases at room temperature. Raman scattering and impedance spectroscopy at different temperatures observed rhombohedral–orthorhombic, orthorhombic–tetragonal and tetragonal–cubic phase transitions. Polarization–electric field (P–E) hysteresis loops show that the single crystal is a normal ferroelectric material with a remanent polarization (Pr) of 18.5 μC/cm2 and a coercive electrical field (Ec) of 10.7 kV/cm. A single crystal presents d33 = 362 pC/N as measured by a d33 meter. Such a single crystal with a large d33 and high Curie temperature (~370 °C) can be a promising candidate for piezoelectric devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Ceramics, 2nd Edition)
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17 pages, 315 KiB  
Article
Elements of a First-Person Ecology: Historical Roots, Recognition and Ecospirituality
by Esteban Arcos, Damien Delorme and Gérald Hess
Philosophies 2024, 9(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies9040091 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
Starting from the observation that there is a gap between knowledge of the environmental sciences and practical engagement, for example, in climate change or biodiversity loss, this article explores one possible explanation for this situation—namely, the process of objectification inherent in science. It [...] Read more.
Starting from the observation that there is a gap between knowledge of the environmental sciences and practical engagement, for example, in climate change or biodiversity loss, this article explores one possible explanation for this situation—namely, the process of objectification inherent in science. It then proposes to remedy the situation by defending the idea of a ‘first-person ecology’. This term refers to a field of research and practice that looks at the relationship between humans and nature from the point of view of the embodied and situated nature of lived experience. The lived experience of nature at the heart of a first-person ecology is first studied from an epistemic perspective using the concept of recognition, inspired by the Frankfurt School philosopher and sociologist Axel Honneth. It is then approached from a phenomenological perspective, using the emerging field of ecospirituality to describe the characteristics of this experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Philosophy and Ecological Thought)
24 pages, 907 KiB  
Article
Formulation and Physicochemical Characterization of Terpenocannabinoid-Functionalized Hemp Oil Emulsifier: Assessment of Topical Anti-Inflammatory, Antinociceptive, Wound Healing Activity and Cutaneous Toxicity Effects
by Amira Metouekel, Hind Zejli, Mohamed Chebaibi, Youssra Lefrioui, Dalila Bousta, Hamid El Amri, Elmostafa El Fahime, Saïd El Kazzouli and Nabil El Brahmi
Sci. Pharm. 2024, 92(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/scipharm92030036 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
This article presents a comprehensive study on the formulation and physicochemical characterization of a novel terpenocannabinoid-functionalized hemp oil emulsifier (AMCana-Oil) for potential applications in topical anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and wound healing treatments. The emulsifier exhibits interesting properties, meets international acidity index requirements, and has [...] Read more.
This article presents a comprehensive study on the formulation and physicochemical characterization of a novel terpenocannabinoid-functionalized hemp oil emulsifier (AMCana-Oil) for potential applications in topical anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and wound healing treatments. The emulsifier exhibits interesting properties, meets international acidity index requirements, and has a room temperature density comparable to liquid oils. The prepared emulsifier (AMCana-Oil), AMCana-Oil (10%TC) and AMCana-Oil (20%TC), contains a diverse array of cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), alongside bioactive compounds such as benzenepropanoic acid and oleamide. Physicochemical properties of AMCana-Oil and MCana-Oil (20%TC) were found, respectively, as follows: density value of 0.9872 ± 0.001 mg/mL: g/cm³ and 0.9882 ± 0.002 mg/mL: g/cm³; an acidity index of 1.599 ± 0.002 mgKOH/g and 1.605 ± 0.001 mgKOH/g; an average peroxide value encompassing a range from 12.982 ± 0.351 to 23.320 ± 0.681 (mEq O2/kg), and a K of 1.575 ± 0.004 and 1.535 ± 0.0039, which underscore the fluidity, stability, and quality of emulsifiers studied. Preliminary pharmacological examinations reveal significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and wound healing potentials. Moreover, in silico predictions confirm the safety profile of the prepared emulsifiers. These findings emphasize the multifaceted nature of the terpenocannabinoid-functionalized emulsifier, paving the way for its potential applications in topical formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Cannabis, Cannabinoids and Its Derivatives)
21 pages, 1529 KiB  
Article
Development of a Process for Direct Recycling of Negative Electrode Scrap from Lithium-Ion Battery Production on a Technical Scale and Its Influence on the Material Quality
by Patrick Wiechers, Anna Hermann, Sofia Koob, Fabian Glaum and Marco Gleiß
Batteries 2024, 10(7), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/batteries10070218 - 21 Jun 2024
Abstract
High production rates and the constant expansion of production capacities for lithium-ion batteries will lead to large quantities of production waste in the future. The desired achievement of a circular economy presupposes that such rejects could be recovered. This paper presents a two-staged [...] Read more.
High production rates and the constant expansion of production capacities for lithium-ion batteries will lead to large quantities of production waste in the future. The desired achievement of a circular economy presupposes that such rejects could be recovered. This paper presents a two-staged process route that allows one to recover graphite and conductive carbon black from already coated negative electrode foils in a water-based and function-preserving manner, and it makes it directly usable as a particle suspension for coating new negative electrodes. In a first step, coating residues, which accumulate in production (as offcuts or rejects for example), are decoated in an aqueous ultrasonic bath. The ultrasonic bath also serves as a pre-thickener. As a result, high mass concentrations of active material can already be achieved in the water after the first process step. Water is then removed from the negative electrode suspension in a subsequent step by applying dynamic cross-flow filtration. With this unit operation, it is possible to concentrate the slurry residue to a solid content similar to that of the new electrode slurries used for coatings. An important criterion for the direct utilization of production waste is that the particle properties are affected as little as possible so that the suspension can be used directly for coating new films. This work presents the individual recycling process steps and their influence on the particle and slurry properties. The aim is to assess whether the recyclate is suitable for a coating of new negative electrodes and thus also for manufacturing batteries from 100% recycled material. Full article

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