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Article
Postoperative Changes in Pulmonary Function after Valve Surgery: Oxygenation Index Early after Cardiopulmonary Is a Predictor of Postoperative Course
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(15), 3262; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10153262 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Objective: To determine pulmonary functional changes that predict early clinical outcomes in valve surgery requiring long cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Methods: This retrospective study included 225 consecutive non-emergency valve surgeries with fast-track cardiac anesthesia between January 2014 and March 2020. Blood gas analyses before [...] Read more.
Objective: To determine pulmonary functional changes that predict early clinical outcomes in valve surgery requiring long cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Methods: This retrospective study included 225 consecutive non-emergency valve surgeries with fast-track cardiac anesthesia between January 2014 and March 2020. Blood gas analyses before and 0, 2, 4, 8, and 14 h after CPB were investigated. Results: Median age and EuroSCORE II were 71.0 years (25–75 percentile: 59.5–77.0) and 2.46 (1.44–5.01). Patients underwent 96 aortic, 106 mitral, and 23 combined valve surgeries. The median CPB time was 151 min (122–193). PaO2/FiO2 and AaDO2/PaO2 significantly deteriorated two hours, but not immediately, after CPB (both p < 0.0001). Decreased PaO2/FiO2 and AaDO2/PaO2 were correlated with ventilation time (r2 = 0.318 and 0.435) and intensive care unit (ICU) (r2 = 0.172 and 0.267) and hospital stays (r2 = 0.164 and 0.209). Early and delayed extubations (<6 and >24 h) were predicted by PaO2/FiO2 (377.2 and 213.1) and AaDO2/PaO2 (0.683 and 1.680), measured two hours after CPB with acceptable sensitivity and specificity (0.700–0.911 and 0.677–0.859). Conclusions: PaO2/FiO2 and AaDO2/PaO2 two hours after CPB were correlated with ventilation time and lengths of ICU and hospital stays. These parameters suitably predicted early and delayed extubations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives in Cardiovascular Surgery)
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Review
Stopping a Response When You Really Care about the Action: Considerations from a Clinical Perspective
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 979; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11080979 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Response inhibition, whether reactive or proactive, is mostly investigated in a narrow cognitive framework. We argue that it be viewed within a broader frame than the action being inhibited, i.e., in the context of emotion and motivation of the individual at large. This [...] Read more.
Response inhibition, whether reactive or proactive, is mostly investigated in a narrow cognitive framework. We argue that it be viewed within a broader frame than the action being inhibited, i.e., in the context of emotion and motivation of the individual at large. This is particularly important in the clinical domain, where the motivational strength of an action can be driven by threat avoidance or reward seeking. The cognitive response inhibition literature has focused on stopping reactively with responses in anticipation of clearly delineated external signals, or proactively in limited contexts, largely independent of clinical phenomena. Moreover, the focus has often been on stopping efficiency and its correlates rather than on inhibition failures. Currently, the cognitive and clinical perspectives are incommensurable. A broader context may explain the apparent paradox where individuals with disorders characterised by maladaptive action control have difficulty inhibiting their actions only in specific circumstances. Using Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as a case study, clinical theorising has focused largely on compulsions as failures of inhibition in relation to specific internal or external triggers. We propose that the concept of action tendencies may constitute a useful common denominator bridging research into motor, emotional, motivational, and contextual aspects of action control failure. The success of action control may depend on the interaction between the strength of action tendencies, the ability to withhold urges, and contextual factors. Full article
Article
Experimental Characterization of the Capacitively Coupled RF-Plasma Thruster
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6799; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156799 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
A novel design of a neutralizer-free plasma thruster is proposed. This setup features a capacitively coupled RF discharge for plasma generation combined with a magnetic nozzle configuration for acceleration. Characteristics of the plasma plume and ions flux are investigated with the help of [...] Read more.
A novel design of a neutralizer-free plasma thruster is proposed. This setup features a capacitively coupled RF discharge for plasma generation combined with a magnetic nozzle configuration for acceleration. Characteristics of the plasma plume and ions flux are investigated with the help of emissive probes and retarding potential analyzers (RPA). Essential parameters of the thruster like ions energy, ions flux, utilization efficiencies, and thrust are estimated. The investigated system produces a beam of ions accelerated to an energy of 10 eV when operated at power levels of ~20 W and a mass flow of 1.2 mg/s. The ion energy coincides with the potential drop in the plasma plume indicating that the acceleration takes place due the formation of an ambipolar electric field in the expanding plasma. The design is compared to the data available of other similar thrusters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasmas for Space Propulsion)
Review
A Narrative Review of the Complex Relationship between Pregnancy and Eye Changes
Diagnostics 2021, 11(8), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11081329 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Pregnancy is a condition often characterized by changes that occur in different parts of the body. Generally, the eyes suffer several changes during pregnancy that are usually transient but may become permanent at times. This may occur due to the release of placental [...] Read more.
Pregnancy is a condition often characterized by changes that occur in different parts of the body. Generally, the eyes suffer several changes during pregnancy that are usually transient but may become permanent at times. This may occur due to the release of placental hormones and those of maternal endocrine glands and fetal adrenal glands. Due to hormonal influences, physiological ocular changes during pregnancy have been shown in Caucasian women, so corneal sensitivity, refractive status, intraocular pressure, and visual acuity may change during pregnancy. Within this review, all studies that referred to physiological aspects and to changes of ocular pathology of pregnancy, the effect of the pregnancy on pre-existing (diabetic retinopathy, neuro-ophthalmic disorders) eye disorders, postpartum ocular changes, the intraocular pressure and the effect of hypotensive ophthalmic medicine during pregnancy, the connection between pregnancy and the neuro-ophthalmic pathology, as well as the role of anesthesia were analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eye Diseases: Diagnosis and Management)
Article
Fuel Economy Improvement of Urban Buses with Development of an Eco-Drive Scoring Algorithm Using Machine Learning
Energies 2021, 14(15), 4471; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154471 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Eco-drive is a widely used concept. It can improve fuel economy for different driving behaviors such as vehicle acceleration or accelerator pedal operation, deceleration or coasting while slowing down, and gear shift timing difference. The feasibility of improving the fuel economy of urban [...] Read more.
Eco-drive is a widely used concept. It can improve fuel economy for different driving behaviors such as vehicle acceleration or accelerator pedal operation, deceleration or coasting while slowing down, and gear shift timing difference. The feasibility of improving the fuel economy of urban buses by applying eco-drive was verified by analyzing data from drivers who achieved high fuel efficiencies in urban buses with a high frequency of acceleration/deceleration and frequent operation. The items that were monitored for eco-drive were: rapid take-off/acceleration/deceleration, accelerator pedal gradient, coasting rate, shift indicator violation, average engine speed, over speed, and gear shifting under low-end engine speed. The monitoring method for each monitored item was set up, and an index was produced using driving data. A fuel economy prediction model was created using machine learning to determine the contribution of each index to the fuel economy. Furthermore, the contribution of each monitoring item was analyzed using the prediction model explainer. Accordingly, points (defined as the eco-drive score) were allocated for each monitoring item. It was verified that this score can represent the eco-drive characteristics based on the relationship between the score and fuel economy. In addition, it resulted in an average annual fuel economy improvement of 12.1%. Full article
Article
The Reuse of Industrial By-Products for the Synthesis of Innovative Porous Materials, with the Aim to Improve Urban Air Quality
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6798; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156798 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
This works concerns the characterization and the evaluation of adsorption capability of innovative porous materials synthesized by using alginates and different industrial by-products: silica fume and bottom ash. Hydrogen peroxide was used as pore former to generate a porosity able to trap particulate [...] Read more.
This works concerns the characterization and the evaluation of adsorption capability of innovative porous materials synthesized by using alginates and different industrial by-products: silica fume and bottom ash. Hydrogen peroxide was used as pore former to generate a porosity able to trap particulate matter (PM). These new materials are compared with the reference recently proposed porous SUNSPACE hybrid material, which was obtained in a similar process, by using silica fume. Structural, morphological, colorimetric and porosimetric analyses were performed to evaluate the differences between the obtained SUNSPACE typologies. The sustainability of the proposed materials was evaluated in terms of the Embodied Energy and Carbon Footprint to quantify the benefits of industrial by-products reuse. Adsorption tests were also performed to compare the ability of samples to trap PM. For this aim, titania suspension, with particles size about 300 nm, was used to simulate PM in the nanoparticle range. The results show that the material realized with bottom ash has the best performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Energy Efficiency of Buildings)
Article
Isoquinoline Alkaloids in Sows’ Diet Reduces Body Weight Loss during Lactation and Increases IgG in Colostrum
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2195; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082195 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Isoquinoline alkaloids (IQ) exert beneficial antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects in livestock. Therefore, we hypothesized that supplementing sows’ diets with IQ during gestation would decrease farrowing stress, affecting the piglets’ development and performance. Sows were divided into: IQ1, supplemented with IQ from gestation day [...] Read more.
Isoquinoline alkaloids (IQ) exert beneficial antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects in livestock. Therefore, we hypothesized that supplementing sows’ diets with IQ during gestation would decrease farrowing stress, affecting the piglets’ development and performance. Sows were divided into: IQ1, supplemented with IQ from gestation day 80 (G80) to weaning; IQ2, supplemented from gestation day 110 (G110) to weaning, and a non-supplemented (NC) group. Sow body weight (BW), feed intake, back-fat thickness and back-muscle thickness were monitored. Cortisol, glucose and insulin were measured in sows’ blood collected 5 d before, during, and after 7 d farrowing. Protein, fat, IgA and IgG were analyzed in the colostrum and milk. Piglets were monitored for weight and diarrhea score, and for ileum histology and gene expression 5 d post-weaning. IQ-supplemented sows lost less BW during lactation. Glucose and insulin levels were lower in the IQ groups compared to NC-sows 5 d before farrowing and had higher levels of protein and IgG in their colostrum. No other differences were observed in sows, nor in the measured parameters in piglets. In conclusion, IQ supplementation affected sows’ metabolism, reducing body weight loss during lactation. Providing IQ to sows from their entrance into the maternity barn might be sufficient to induce these effects. IQ improved colostrum quality, increasing the protein and IgG content, improving passive immunity for piglets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
Article
Flexible Fuzzy Goal Programming Approach in Optimal Mix of Power Generation for Socio-Economic Sustainability: A Case Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8256; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158256 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
The demand for cost-efficient and clean power energy cannot be overemphasised, especially in a developing nation like India. COVID-19 has adversely affected many nations, power sector inclusive, and resiliency is imperative via flexible and sustainable power generation sources. Renewable energy sources are the [...] Read more.
The demand for cost-efficient and clean power energy cannot be overemphasised, especially in a developing nation like India. COVID-19 has adversely affected many nations, power sector inclusive, and resiliency is imperative via flexible and sustainable power generation sources. Renewable energy sources are the primary focus of electricity production in the world. This study examined and assessed the optimal cost system of electricity generation for the socio-economic sustainability of India. A sustainable and flexible electricity generation model is developed using the concept of flexible fuzzy goal programming. This study is carried out with the aim of achieving the government’s intended nationally determined contribution goals of reducing emission levels, increasing the capacity of renewable sources and the must-run status of hydro and nuclear, and technical and financial parameters. The result shows an optimal cost solution and flexibility in how increased electricity demand would be achieved and sustained via shifting to renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydro. Full article
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Article
Influencing Factors on Aesthetics: Highly Controlled Study Based on Eye Movement and the Forensic Aspects in Computer-Based Assessment of Visual Appeal in Upper Front Teeth
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6797; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156797 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
First impressions are formed by the external appearance and, in this respect, essentially by an examination of the face. In the literature, the teeth, especially the maxillary front, are among an eye-catching and sensitive area that plays a significant role in the overall [...] Read more.
First impressions are formed by the external appearance and, in this respect, essentially by an examination of the face. In the literature, the teeth, especially the maxillary front, are among an eye-catching and sensitive area that plays a significant role in the overall evaluation of appearance. In this study, the first eye fixation of 60 subjects with different levels of dental training (layperson, trained layperson, dental student, and dentist) is recorded using an eye-tracking system, and their subsequent evaluation of the images is recorded. Ten unedited original photographs of different maxillary anterior teeth and ten subsequently edited photographs will be used to evaluate forensic aspects such as the effect of symmetry and color on the overall evaluation. The results will be used to determine which areas of the maxillary anterior are demonstrably viewed and whether knowledge of dental esthetics influences evaluation and viewing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Techniques and Materials in Dentistry)
Article
Involvement of Gut Microbiota in Schizophrenia and Treatment Resistance to Antipsychotics
Biomedicines 2021, 9(8), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9080875 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
The gut microbiota is constituted by more than 40,000 bacterial species involved in key processes including high order brain functions. Altered composition of gut microbiota has been implicated in psychiatric disorders and in modulating the efficacy and safety of psychotropic medications. In this [...] Read more.
The gut microbiota is constituted by more than 40,000 bacterial species involved in key processes including high order brain functions. Altered composition of gut microbiota has been implicated in psychiatric disorders and in modulating the efficacy and safety of psychotropic medications. In this work we characterized the composition of the gut microbiota in 38 patients with schizophrenia (SCZ) and 20 healthy controls (HC), and tested if SCZ patients with different response to antipsychotics (18 patients with treatment resistant schizophrenia (TRS), and 20 responders (R)) had specific patterns of gut microbiota composition associated with different response to antipsychotics. Moreover, we also tested if patients treated with typical antipsychotics (n=20) presented significant differences when compared to patients treated with atypical antipsychotics (n=31). Our findings showed the presence of distinct composition of gut microbiota in SCZ versus HC, with several bacteria at the different taxonomic levels only present in either one group or the other. Similar findings were observed also depending on treatment response and exposure to diverse classes of antipsychotics. Our results suggest that composition of gut microbiota could constitute a biosignatures of SCZ and TRS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gut Dysbiosis: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapies)
Article
Development and Validation of a Predictive Model of Hypovitaminosis D in General Adult Population: SCOPYD Study
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2526; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082526 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
The worldwide global increase in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) measurements has led some countries to restrict reimbursement for certain clinical situations only. Another approach could consist in providing physicians with screening tools in order to better target blood test prescription. The objective of [...] Read more.
The worldwide global increase in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) measurements has led some countries to restrict reimbursement for certain clinical situations only. Another approach could consist in providing physicians with screening tools in order to better target blood test prescription. The objective of the SCOPYD study was to identify the best combination of predictors of serum VitD concentration among adults aged 18–70 years. Potential risk factors for VitD deficiency were collected using a comprehensive self-administered questionnaire. A multivariable linear regression was used to build a predictive model of serum 25(OH)D concentration. Among 2488 participants, 1080 (43.4%) had VitD deficiency (<50 nmol/L) and 195 (7.8%) had severe deficiency (<25 nmol/L). The final model included sunlight exposure in the preceding week and during the last holidays, month of blood sampling, age, sex, body mass index, skin phototype, employment, smoking, sport practice, latitude, and VitD supplementation in preceding year. The area under the curve was 0.82 (95%CI (0.78; 0.85)) for severe deficiency. The model predicted severe deficiency with a sensitivity of 77.9% (95%CI (69.1; 85.7)) and a specificity of 68.3% (95%CI (64.8; 71.9)). We identified a set of predictors of severe VitD deficiency that are easy to collect in routine that may help to better target patients for serum 25(OH)D concentration determination. Full article
Article
Phenolic Extract from Aralia nudicaulis L. Rhizomes Inhibits Cellular Oxidative Stresses
Molecules 2021, 26(15), 4458; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26154458 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
UV-B and IR-A radiation are important inducers of biological changes in skin involving ROS generation. The overloading of antioxidant defense mechanisms by ROS production could lead to photoaging and photocarcinogenesis processes. Various traditional usages are reported for Aralia nudicaulis L. extracts, including treatment [...] Read more.
UV-B and IR-A radiation are important inducers of biological changes in skin involving ROS generation. The overloading of antioxidant defense mechanisms by ROS production could lead to photoaging and photocarcinogenesis processes. Various traditional usages are reported for Aralia nudicaulis L. extracts, including treatment of dermatological disorders. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have already been reported for other Aralia species possibly due to the presence of phenolic compounds. However, the phenolic composition and the potential activity of A. nudicaulis rhizomes extract against oxidative stress and UV/IR damages have not been investigated. The main aims of this study were to prepare a fraction enriched in phenolic compounds (FEPC) from A. nudicaulis rhizomes, to identify its major phenolic compounds and to assess its potential for protective effects against oxidative stress induced by UV-B, IR-A or inflammation. A quantitative LC-MS study of FEPC shows that chlorogenic, caffeic and protocatechuic acids are the main phenolic compounds present, with concentrations of 15.6%, 15.3% and 4.8% of the total composition, respectively. With a validated analytical method, those compounds were quantified over different stages of the growing period. As for biological potential, first this extract demonstrates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Furthermore, ROS generation induced by IR-A and UV-B were strongly inhibited by A. nudicaulis extract, suggesting that Aralia nudicaulis L. rhizome extract could protect dermal cells against oxidative stress induced by UV-B and IR-A. Full article
Article
Sensor-Level Mosaic of Multistrip KOMPSAT-3 Level 1R Products
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6796; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156796 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
High-resolution satellite images such as KOMPSAT-3 data provide detailed geospatial information over interest areas that are evenly located in an inaccessible area. The high-resolution satellite cameras are designed with a long focal length and a narrow field of view to increase spatial resolution. [...] Read more.
High-resolution satellite images such as KOMPSAT-3 data provide detailed geospatial information over interest areas that are evenly located in an inaccessible area. The high-resolution satellite cameras are designed with a long focal length and a narrow field of view to increase spatial resolution. Thus, images show relatively narrow swath widths (10–15 km) compared to dozens or hundreds of kilometers in mid-/low-resolution satellite data. Therefore, users often face obstacles to orthorectify and mosaic a bundle of delivered images to create a complete image map. With a single mosaicked image at the sensor level delivered only with radiometric correction, users can process and manage simplified data more efficiently. Thus, we propose sensor-level mosaicking to generate a seamless image product with geometric accuracy to meet mapping requirements. Among adjacent image data with some overlaps, one image is the reference, whereas the others are projected using the sensor model information with shuttle radar topography mission. In the overlapped area, the geometric discrepancy between the data is modeled in spline along the image line based on image matching with outlier removals. The new sensor model information for the mosaicked image is generated by extending that of the reference image. Three strips of KOMPSAT-3 data were tested for the experiment. The data showed that irregular image discrepancies between the adjacent data were observed along the image line. This indicated that the proposed method successfully identified and removed these discrepancies. Additionally, sensor modeling information of the resulted mosaic could be improved by using the averaging effects of input data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Simulation in Remote Sensing)
Article
A Critical Success Factor Framework for Implementing Sustainable Innovative and Affordable Housing: A Systematic Review and Bibliometric Analysis
Buildings 2021, 11(8), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11080317 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
The actualization of affordable housing remains a challenge. This challenge is exacerbated by the increasing societal demand for the incorporation of sustainability principles into such housing types to improve levels of occupant health and well-being whilst avouching the desired levels of affordability. Innovative [...] Read more.
The actualization of affordable housing remains a challenge. This challenge is exacerbated by the increasing societal demand for the incorporation of sustainability principles into such housing types to improve levels of occupant health and well-being whilst avouching the desired levels of affordability. Innovative technologies and practices have been described as beneficial to the effectuation of sustainable affordable housing. However, knowledge concerning the deployment of innovative technologies and practices in sustainable affordable housing (sustainable, innovative, affordable housing—SIAH) delivery remains nascent. Consequently, there is a lack of a common ontology among stakeholders concerning how to realize SIAH. This study aims to contribute toward the development of this body of knowledge through the establishment of the critical success factors (CSFs) for effective SIAH implementation. To achieve this objective, a systematic review and bibliometric analysis focusing on a juxtaposition of sustainable, innovative and affordable housing concepts was carried out based on the relevant literature. This led to the identification and clustering of CSFs for these housing concepts at individual levels and as a collective (SIAH). The findings of the study consisted of the establishment of four distinct yet interrelated facets through which SIAH can be achieved holistically, namely, housing design, house element, housing production method and housing technology. A total of 127 CSFs were found to be aligned to these facets, subsequently clustered, and conclusively used for the development of a SIAH CSF framework. The most frequently occurring CSFs with predominant interconnections were the utilization of energy-efficient systems/fittings, tenure security, a comfortable and healthy indoor environment, affordable housing price in relation to income and using water-efficient systems/fittings CSFs, and establishing the emergent SIAH CSF framework. The framework in this study is useful in the documentation of SIAH features for construction projects and further studies into SIAH CSFs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Buildings in the Built Environment)
Commentary
Unintended Consequences: Nutritional Impact and Potential Pitfalls of Switching from Animal- to Plant-Based Foods
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2527; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082527 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Consumers are shifting towards plant-based diets, driven by both environmental and health reasons. This has led to the development of new plant-based meat alternatives (PBMAs) that are marketed as being sustainable and good for health. However, it remains unclear whether these novel PBMAs [...] Read more.
Consumers are shifting towards plant-based diets, driven by both environmental and health reasons. This has led to the development of new plant-based meat alternatives (PBMAs) that are marketed as being sustainable and good for health. However, it remains unclear whether these novel PBMAs to replace animal foods carry the same established nutritional benefits as traditional plant-based diets based on pulses, legumes and vegetables. We modelled a reference omnivore diet using NHANES 2017–2018 data and compared it to diets that substituted animal products in the reference diet with either traditional or novel plant-based foods to create flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets matched for calories and macronutrients. With the exception of the traditional vegan diet, all diets with traditional plant-based substitutes met daily requirements for calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and Vitamin B12 and were lower in saturated fat, sodium and sugar than the reference diet. Diets based on novel plant-based substitutes were below daily requirements for calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin B12 and exceeded the reference diet for saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Much of the recent focus has been on protein quality and quantity, but our case study highlights the risk of unintentionally increasing undesirable nutrients while reducing the overall nutrient density of the diet when less healthy plant-based substitutes are selected. Opportunities exist for PBMA producers to enhance the nutrient profile and diversify the format of future plant-based foods that are marketed as healthy, sustainable alternatives to animal-based products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diets: Working towards a Sustainable Future)
Article
Innovative Investigation of Reflector Options for the Control of a Chloride-Based Molten Salt Zero-Power Reactor
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6795; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156795 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Molten salt reactors have gained substantial interest in the last years due to their flexibility and their potential for simplified closed fuel cycle operations for massive net-zero energy production. However, a zero-power reactor experiment will be an essential first step into the process [...] Read more.
Molten salt reactors have gained substantial interest in the last years due to their flexibility and their potential for simplified closed fuel cycle operations for massive net-zero energy production. However, a zero-power reactor experiment will be an essential first step into the process delivering this technology. The choice of the optimal reflector material is one of the key issues for such experiments since, on the one hand, it offers huge cost savings potential due to reduced fuel demand; on the other hand, an improper choice of the reflector material can have negative effects on the quality of the experiments. The choice of the reflector material is, for the first time, introduced through a literature review and a discussion of potential roles of the reflector. The 2D study of different potential reflector materials has delivered a first down-selection with SS304 as the representative for stainless steel, lead, copper, graphite, and beryllium oxide. A deeper look identified, in addition, iron-based material with a high Si content. The following evaluation of the power distribution has shown the strong influence of the moderating reflectors, creating a massively disturbed power distribution with a peak at the core boundary. This effect has been confirmed through a deeper analysis of the 2D multi-group flux distribution, which led to the exclusion of the BeO and the graphite reflector. The most promising materials identified were SS304, lead, and copper. The final 3D Monte Carlo study demonstrated that all three materials have the potential to reduce the required amount of fuel by up to 60% compared with NaCl, which has been used in previous studies and is now taken as the reference. An initial cost analysis has identified the SS304 reflector as the most attractive solution. The results of the 2D multi-group deterministic study and the 3D multi-group Monte Carlo study have been confirmed through a continuous energy Monte Carlo reference calculation, showing only minor differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Wastes Management)
Article
The Historical Role of Leviticus 25 in Naturalizing Anti-Black Racism
Religions 2021, 12(8), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080570 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Leviticus 25:39–46 describes a two-tier model of slavery that distinguishes Israelites from foreign slaves. It requires that Israelites be indentured only temporarily while foreigners can be enslaved as chattel (permanent property). This model resembles the distinction between White indentured slaves and Black chattel [...] Read more.
Leviticus 25:39–46 describes a two-tier model of slavery that distinguishes Israelites from foreign slaves. It requires that Israelites be indentured only temporarily while foreigners can be enslaved as chattel (permanent property). This model resembles the distinction between White indentured slaves and Black chattel slaves in the American colonies. However, the biblical influence on these early modern practices has been obscured by the rarity of citations of Lev. 25:39–46 in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century sources about slavery. This article reviews the history of slavery from ancient Middle Eastern antiquity through the seventeenth century to show the unique degree to which early modern institutions resembled the biblical model. It then exposes widespread knowledge of Leviticus 25 in early modern political and economic debates. Demonstrating this awareness shows with high probability that colonial cultures presupposed the two-tier model of slavery in Leviticus 25:39–46 to naturalize and justify their different treatment of White indentured slaves and Black chattel slaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Hebrew Bible, Race, and Racism)
Review
The Window Matters: A Systematic Review of Time Restricted Eating Strategies in Relation to Cortisol and Melatonin Secretion
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2525; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082525 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Time-Restricted Eating is an eating pattern based on the circadian rhythm which limits daily food intake (usually to ≤12 h/day), unique in that no overt restriction is imposed on the quality, nor quantity, of food intake. This paper aimed to examine the effects [...] Read more.
Time-Restricted Eating is an eating pattern based on the circadian rhythm which limits daily food intake (usually to ≤12 h/day), unique in that no overt restriction is imposed on the quality, nor quantity, of food intake. This paper aimed to examine the effects of two patterns of TRE, traditional TRE, and Ramadan fasting, on two markers of circadian rhythm, cortisol and melatonin. PubMed and Web of Science were searched up to December 2020 for studies examining the effects of time restricted eating on cortisol and melatonin. Fourteen studies met our inclusion criteria. All Ramadan papers found statistically significant decrease in melatonin (p < 0.05) during Ramadan. Two out of the three Ramadan papers noted an abolishing of the circadian rhythm of cortisol (p < 0.05). The non-Ramadan TRE papers did not examine melatonin, and cortisol changes were mixed. In studies comparing TRE to control diets, Stratton et al. found increased cortisol levels in the non-TRE fasting group (p = 0.0018) and McAllister et al. noted no difference. Dinner-skipping resulted in significantly reduced evening cortisol and non-significantly raised morning cortisol. Conversely, breakfast skipping resulted in significantly reduced morning cortisol. This blunting indicates a dysfunctional HPA axis, and may be associated with poor cardio-metabolic outcomes. There is a paucity of research examining the effects of TRE on cortisol and melatonin. The contrasting effect of dinner and breakfast-skipping should be further examined to ascertain whether timing the feeding window indeed has an impact on circadian rhythmicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Endocrine Disorders)
Article
Restrained Eating Is Associated with Lower Cortical Thickness in the Inferior Frontal Gyrus in Adolescents
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 978; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11080978 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Some eating patterns, such as restrained eating and uncontrolled eating, are risk factors for eating disorders. However, it is not yet clear whether they are associated with neurocognitive differences. In the current study, we analyzed whether eating patterns can be used to classify [...] Read more.
Some eating patterns, such as restrained eating and uncontrolled eating, are risk factors for eating disorders. However, it is not yet clear whether they are associated with neurocognitive differences. In the current study, we analyzed whether eating patterns can be used to classify participants into meaningful clusters, and we examined whether there are neurocognitive differences between the clusters. Adolescents (n = 108; 12 to 17 years old) and adults (n = 175, 18 to 40 years old) completed the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire, which was used to classify participants according to their eating profile using k means clustering. Participants also completed personality questionnaires and a neuropsychological examination. A subsample of participants underwent a brain MRI acquisition. In both samples, we obtained a cluster characterized by high uncontrolled eating patterns, a cluster with high scores in restrictive eating, and a cluster with low scores in problematic eating behaviors. The clusters were equivalent with regards to personality and performance in executive functions. In adolescents, the cluster with high restrictive eating showed lower cortical thickness in the inferior frontal gyrus compared to the other two clusters. We hypothesize that this difference in cortical thickness represents an adaptive neural mechanism that facilitates inhibition processes. Full article
Article
Individual Expression of Hepatitis A Virus 3C Protease Induces Ferroptosis in Human Cells In Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(15), 7906; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22157906 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Regulated cell death (RCD) is a fundamental process common to nearly all living beings and essential for the development and tissue homeostasis in animals and humans. A wide range of molecules can induce RCD, including a number of viral proteolytic enzymes. To date, [...] Read more.
Regulated cell death (RCD) is a fundamental process common to nearly all living beings and essential for the development and tissue homeostasis in animals and humans. A wide range of molecules can induce RCD, including a number of viral proteolytic enzymes. To date, numerous data indicate that picornaviral 3C proteases can induce RCD. In most reported cases, these proteases induce classical caspase-dependent apoptosis. In contrast, the human hepatitis A virus 3C protease (3Cpro) has recently been shown to cause caspase-independent cell death accompanied by previously undescribed features. Here, we expressed 3Cpro in HEK293, HeLa, and A549 human cell lines to characterize 3Cpro-induced cell death morphologically and biochemically using flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. We found that dead cells demonstrated necrosis-like morphological changes including permeabilization of the plasma membrane, loss of mitochondrial potential, as well as mitochondria and nuclei swelling. Additionally, we showed that 3Cpro-induced cell death was efficiently blocked by ferroptosis inhibitors and was accompanied by intense lipid peroxidation. Taken together, these results indicate that 3Cpro induces ferroptosis upon its individual expression in human cells. This is the first demonstration that a proteolytic enzyme can induce ferroptosis, the recently discovered and actively studied type of RCD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics)
Article
A Prospective Cohort Study of Bioavailable 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels as a Marker of Vitamin D Status in Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Pulmonary Disease
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2524; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082524 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Research on vitamin D in patients with nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) pulmonary disease (PD) is limited. We aimed to compare the vitamin D parameters of patients with NTM-PD to those of a healthy control group, and to assess the possible predictive markers for a [...] Read more.
Research on vitamin D in patients with nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) pulmonary disease (PD) is limited. We aimed to compare the vitamin D parameters of patients with NTM-PD to those of a healthy control group, and to assess the possible predictive markers for a clinical response. We prospectively enrolled 53 patients with NTM-PD between January 2014 and December 2016. The clinical data and vitamin D indices, including total, free, bioavailable 25-(OH)D, and vitamin D binding protein (VDBP) genotyping, were measured at baseline and six months after enrollment. An external dataset of 226 healthy controls was compared with the NTM-PD group. The mean age of subjects was 53 years; 54.5% were male. The NTM-PD group was older, predominantly female, and had a lower body mass index (BMI) than the controls. The proportion of patients with vitamin D concentration <50 nmol/L was 52.8% in the NTM-PD group and 54.9% in the control group (p = 0.789). The bioavailable 25-(OH)D concentrations of the NTM-PD group and the controls were similar (6.9 nmol/L vs. 7.6 nmol/L, p = 0.280). In the multivariable analysis, bioavailable 25-(OH)D concentrations were associated with NTM-PD, adjusting for age, sex, BMI, and VDBP levels. Bioavailable 25-(OH)D concentrations were significantly associated with susceptibility to NTM-PD, but not with treatment outcomes. Lower bioavailable 25-(OH)D might be a risk factor for NTM-PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Micronutrients and Human Health)
Study Protocol
[email protected]: Protocol for the Remote Assessment of Apathy and Its Everyday-Life Consequences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7824; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157824 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Apathy, a common neuropsychiatric symptom associated with dementia, has a strong impact on patients’ and caregivers’ quality of life. However, it is still poorly understood and hard to define. The main objective of the ECOCAPTURE programme is to define a behavioural signature of [...] Read more.
Apathy, a common neuropsychiatric symptom associated with dementia, has a strong impact on patients’ and caregivers’ quality of life. However, it is still poorly understood and hard to define. The main objective of the ECOCAPTURE programme is to define a behavioural signature of apathy using an ecological approach. Within this program, [email protected] is an observational study which aims to validate a method based on new technologies for the remote monitoring of apathy in real life. For this study, we plan to recruit 60 couples: 20 patient-caregiver dyads in which patients suffer from behavioral variant Fronto-Temporal Dementia, 20 patient-caregiver dyads in which patients suffer from Alzheimer Disease and 20 healthy control couples. These dyads will be followed for 28 consecutive days via multi-sensor bracelets collecting passive data (acceleration, electrodermal activity, blood volume pulse). Active data will also be collected by questionnaires on a smartphone application. Using a pool of metrics extracted from these passive and active data, we will validate a measurement model for three behavioural markers of apathy (i.e., daytime activity, quality of sleep, and emotional arousal). The final purpose is to facilitate the follow-up and precise diagnosis of apathy, towards a personalised treatment of this condition within everyday life. Full article
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Article
Performance Impact of Optimization Methods on MySQL Document-Based and Relational Databases
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6794; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11156794 (registering DOI) - 23 Jul 2021
Abstract
Databases are an important part of today’s applications where large amounts of data need to be stored, processed, and accessed quickly. One of the important criteria when choosing to use a database technology is its data processing performance. In this paper, some methods [...] Read more.
Databases are an important part of today’s applications where large amounts of data need to be stored, processed, and accessed quickly. One of the important criteria when choosing to use a database technology is its data processing performance. In this paper, some methods for optimizing the database structure and queries were applied on two popular open-source database management systems: MySQL as a relational DBMS, and document-based MySQL as a non-relational DBMS. The main objective of this paper was to conduct a comparative analysis of the impact that the proposed optimization methods have on each specific DBMS when carrying out CRUD (CREATE, READ, UPDATE, DELETE) requests. To perform the analysis and performance evaluation of CRUD operations for different amounts of data, a case study testing architecture based on Java was developed and used to show how the databases’ proposed optimization methods can influence the performance of the application, and to highlight the differences in response time and complexity. The results obtained show the degree to which the proposed optimization methods contributed to the application’s performance improvement in the case of both databases; based on these, a detailed analysis and several conclusions are presented to support a decision for choosing a specific approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data: Advanced Methods, Interdisciplinary Study and Applications)

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