237 journals awarded Impact Factor
 
 
13 pages, 9306 KiB  
Article
Robust CXCL10/IP-10 and CCL5/RANTES Production Induced by Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus in Human Brain Pericytes Despite Weak Infection
by Veronika Prančlová, Václav Hönig, Marta Zemanová, Daniel Růžek and Martin Palus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(14), 7892; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25147892 (registering DOI) - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) targets the central nervous system (CNS), leading to potentially severe neurological complications. The neurovascular unit plays a fundamental role in the CNS and in the neuroinvasion of TBEV. However, the role of human brain pericytes, a key component of [...] Read more.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) targets the central nervous system (CNS), leading to potentially severe neurological complications. The neurovascular unit plays a fundamental role in the CNS and in the neuroinvasion of TBEV. However, the role of human brain pericytes, a key component of the neurovascular unit, during TBEV infection has not yet been elucidated. In this study, TBEV infection of the primary human brain perivascular pericytes was investigated with highly virulent Hypr strain and mildly virulent Neudoerfl strain. We used Luminex assay to measure cytokines/chemokines and growth factors. Both viral strains showed comparable replication kinetics, peaking at 3 days post infection (dpi). Intracellular viral RNA copies peaked at 6 dpi for Hypr and 3 dpi for Neudoerfl cultures. According to immunofluorescence staining, only small proportion of pericytes were infected (3% for Hypr and 2% for Neudoerfl), and no cytopathic effect was observed in the infected cells. In cell culture supernatants, IL-6 production was detected at 3 dpi, together with slight increases in IL-15 and IL-4, but IP-10, RANTES and MCP-1 were the main chemokines released after TBEV infection. These chemokines play key roles in both immune defense and immunopathology during TBE. This study suggests that pericytes are an important source of these signaling molecules during TBEV infection in the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology of Host and Pathogen Interactions: 2nd Edition)
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18 pages, 8254 KiB  
Article
Fractional Sliding Mode Observer Control Strategy for Three-Phase PWM Rectifier
by Tao Wang, Xin Li, Jihui Zhang, Shenhui Chen, Jinghao Ma and Cunhao Lin
World Electr. Veh. J. 2024, 15(7), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/wevj15070316 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
This research presents a novel current loop control strategy for a three-phase PWM rectifier system aimed at mitigating challenges related to substandard power quality, excessive current harmonics, and insufficient robustness. The suggested approach combines an extended state observer (ESO) with dual-power sliding mode [...] Read more.
This research presents a novel current loop control strategy for a three-phase PWM rectifier system aimed at mitigating challenges related to substandard power quality, excessive current harmonics, and insufficient robustness. The suggested approach combines an extended state observer (ESO) with dual-power sliding mode control that is further enhanced by fractional-order micro-integral operators. This amalgamation enhances the adaptability of the controller to system dynamics and augments the flexibility of the current loop control mechanism. The results of this integration include diminished system oscillations, heightened immunity to external disturbances, and improved robustness and dynamics of the overall system. Through MATLAB/Simulink simulations, the effectiveness of the proposed control methodology is validated, demonstrating superior performance in terms of robustness, dynamic response, power quality enhancement, and mitigation of current harmonics when compared to conventional PI control and standard fractional-order dual-power sliding mode control techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Electric Vehicle Control, Testing and Evaluation)
17 pages, 3082 KiB  
Article
Study of an Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy Considering Split-Phase Voltage Quality
by Fulu Yan, Mian Hua, Feng Zhao and Xuan Liang
World Electr. Veh. J. 2024, 15(7), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/wevj15070315 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Slow-charging electric vehicle (EV) loads are single-phase loads in the power distribution network (PDN). The random access of these EVs to the network brings to the forefront the split-phase voltage quality issues. Therefore, a two-layer EV charging strategy considering split-phase voltage quality is [...] Read more.
Slow-charging electric vehicle (EV) loads are single-phase loads in the power distribution network (PDN). The random access of these EVs to the network brings to the forefront the split-phase voltage quality issues. Therefore, a two-layer EV charging strategy considering split-phase voltage quality is proposed in this paper. Issues with voltage unbalance (VU), split-phase voltage deviation (VD), and split-phase voltage harmonics (VHs) are included in the optimization objective model. An upgraded version of the multi-objective non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) is used in the inner layer of the model and to pass the generated EV phase selection scheme to the outer layer. The outer layer consists of a split-phase harmonic current algorithm based on the forward–backward generation method, and feeds the voltage quality calculation results to the inner layer. After several iterations, the optimal EV phase selection scheme can be obtained when the inner layer algorithm satisfies the convergence condition. The results gained for the example indicate that the suggested EV charging approach can effectively handle the PDN’s split-phase voltage quality. Furthermore, it enhances the energy efficiency of PDN operations and promotes further energy consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Data Exchange between Vehicle and Power System for Optimal Charging)
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12 pages, 1227 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Application of Robotics in Cardiac Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review
by Aseel Aburub, Mohammad Z. Darabseh, Rahaf Badran, Ala’a M. Shurrab, Anwaar Amro and Hans Degens
Medicina 2024, 60(7), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60071161 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Robotics is commonly used in the rehabilitation of neuro-musculoskeletal injuries and diseases. While in these conditions, robotics has clear benefits, it is unknown whether robotics will also enhance the outcome of cardiac rehabilitation. This systematic review evaluates the use [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Robotics is commonly used in the rehabilitation of neuro-musculoskeletal injuries and diseases. While in these conditions, robotics has clear benefits, it is unknown whether robotics will also enhance the outcome of cardiac rehabilitation. This systematic review evaluates the use of robotics in cardiac rehabilitation. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using PubMed (MEDLINE), CINAHL, AMED, SPORTDiscus, and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database. Longitudinal interventional studies were included if they met specified criteria. Two reviewers independently conducted title, abstract, and full-text screening and data extraction. The quality assessment and risk of bias were conducted according to the PEDRO scale and Cochrane Risk of Bias tool 2, respectively. Results: Four trials were included in this review out of 60 screened studies. The quality of the included studies was good with a low risk of bias. The trials used different robotic systems: Lokomat® system, Motomed Letto/Thera Trainer tigo, BEAR, and Myosuit. It was found that interventions that included the use of robotic assistance technologies improved the exercise capacity, VO2 max/peak, left ventricular ejection fraction, QOL, and physical functioning in people with cardiac diseases. Conclusions: Robotic assistance technologies can be used in cardiac rehabilitation programs. Further studies are needed to confirm the results and determine whether the use of robotics enhances intervention outcomes above standard interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cardiology)
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19 pages, 8176 KiB  
Article
Fatty Acid Synthase Promotes Hepatocellular Carcinoma Growth via S-Phase Kinase-Associated Protein 2/p27KIP1 Regulation
by Antonio Cigliano, Maria M. Simile, Gianpaolo Vidili, Giovanni M. Pes, Maria P. Dore, Francesco Urigo, Eleonora Cossu, Li Che, Claudio Feo, Sara M. Steinmann, Silvia Ribback, Rosa M. Pascale, Matthias Evert, Xin Chen and Diego F. Calvisi
Medicina 2024, 60(7), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60071160 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Aberrant upregulation of fatty acid synthase (FASN), catalyzing de novo synthesis of fatty acids, occurs in various tumor types, including human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although FASN oncogenic activity seems to reside in its pro-lipogenic function, cumulating evidence suggests that FASN’s [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Aberrant upregulation of fatty acid synthase (FASN), catalyzing de novo synthesis of fatty acids, occurs in various tumor types, including human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although FASN oncogenic activity seems to reside in its pro-lipogenic function, cumulating evidence suggests that FASN’s tumor-supporting role might also be metabolic-independent. Materials and Methods: In the present study, we show that FASN inactivation by specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) promoted the downregulation of the S-phase kinase associated-protein kinase 2 (SKP2) and the consequent induction of p27KIP1 in HCC cell lines. Results: Expression levels of FASN and SKP2 directly correlated in human HCC specimens and predicted a dismal outcome. In addition, forced overexpression of SKP2 rendered HCC cells resistant to the treatment with the FASN inhibitor C75. Furthermore, FASN deletion was paralleled by SKP2 downregulation and p27KIP1 induction in the AKT-driven HCC preclinical mouse model. Moreover, forced overexpression of an SKP2 dominant negative form or a p27KIP1 non-phosphorylatable (p27KIP1-T187A) construct completely abolished AKT-dependent hepatocarcinogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Conclusions: In conclusion, the present data indicate that SKP2 is a critical downstream effector of FASN and AKT-dependent hepatocarcinogenesis in liver cancer, envisaging the possibility of effectively targeting FASN-positive liver tumors with SKP2 inhibitors or p27KIP1 activators. Full article
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12 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
Post-Partum Clinical and Patient-Reported Outcome Changes in Mothers with Multiple Sclerosis: Findings from the NAPPREMS Study
by Dejan Jakimovski, Katelyn S. Kavak, Kara Patrick, Omid Mirmosayyeb, Svetlana P. Eckert, David Hojnacki and Bianca Weinstock-Guttman
Medicina 2024, 60(7), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60071159 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Background and Objective: Pregnancy in mothers with multiple sclerosis (MS) commonly results in significant changes in disease activity and changes in clinical care, including the discontinuation of disease modifying therapy (DMT). This study aimed at understanding the clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) [...] Read more.
Background and Objective: Pregnancy in mothers with multiple sclerosis (MS) commonly results in significant changes in disease activity and changes in clinical care, including the discontinuation of disease modifying therapy (DMT). This study aimed at understanding the clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) before, during and 1-year after delivery. Materials and Methods: A total of 30 pregnant mothers with MS were recruited as part of the study. Clinical (relapse activity and disability changes), PRO information and MRI outcomes were collected on four separate visits: one baseline visit—0–30 days post-delivery; and 3 follow-up visits at week 24, week 36 and week 52 from the baseline. PRO was assessed using a validated questionnaire called the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Function (FSMC). The MRI scans were analyzed, and the count of new T2 lesions and/or contrast-enhancing lesions was determined. Results: The average time between delivery and the start of DMT was 142.5 days. Relapse activity before the pregnancy was numerically linked with the activity during the pregnancy, where up to 57.1% of the activity during pregnancy occurred in pwMS with previously active disease before conception (statistically trending with p = 0.073). The relapse activity after the pregnancy occurred twice as often in pwMS whose MS was clinically active before conception. All five pwMS who experienced a relapse prior to the pregnancy experienced worsening in their physical PRO domain. Conclusions: Pre-pregnancy activity is crucial in the screening of mothers with MS at risk for post-partum relapses, worsening of clinical disability and/or PRO measures. A post-partum MS period may benefit from the routine PRO utilization and screening for its worsening. The inflammatory activity during pregnancy was not associated with short-term disease progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurology)
12 pages, 4632 KiB  
Article
Fabrication of Automated Hydrostatic Pressure-Based Densitometer with a Calibrated Pressure Sensor
by D. N. P. Ruwan Jayakantha, Kelum A. A. Gamage, Navaratne Bandara, Migara Karunarathne, Madushani Seneviratne, Elisabetta Comini, Dario Zappa and Nanda Gunawardhana
Sci 2024, 6(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci6030041 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
An automated device is designed to measure the density of a liquid material using hydrostatic pressure method. A low cost pressure sensor is calibrated and used to get highly accurate readings. The calibration is done by measuring the pressure values vs. the generated [...] Read more.
An automated device is designed to measure the density of a liquid material using hydrostatic pressure method. A low cost pressure sensor is calibrated and used to get highly accurate readings. The calibration is done by measuring the pressure values vs. the generated voltage signal. The calibration has been challenging due to the low accuracy of the sensor but proved to be highly effective in applications. The interface is developed using a microcontroller, motor drives, analog to digital converters and sensors. The device is designed to get several readings automatically by changing the positions of the device/liquid column heights to increase the accuracy. Also the device can be programmed to measure the real time density of a liquid continuously. The readings were analyzed and averaged by a software developed in python language. The instruments accuracy was tested against 3 liquid types, water, coconut oil, kerosene oil, and showed a low error (0.007%, 0.001%, and 0.002% respectively) compared to the readings of a standard Pycnometer. The low error percentages confirm the accuracy of the device and the effectiveness of the sensor calibrations. Full article
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18 pages, 5943 KiB  
Article
Rabies Realities: Navigating Barriers to Rabies Control in Rural Zambia—A Case Study of Manyinga and Mwansabombwe Districts
by Muma Chipo Misapa, Eugene C. Bwalya, Ladslav Moonga, Josiah Zimba, Emmanuel S. Kabwali, Mwenya Silombe, Edgar Chilanzi Mulwanda, Christopher Mulenga, Martin C. Simuunza, Hirofumi Sawa, Bernard Hang’ombe and Walter Muleya
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(7), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9070161 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Rabies persists as a longstanding issue in Zambia, despite being preventable. The current control measures, including dog vaccination, population control, and movement restriction, guided by ‘The Control of Dogs Act Chapter 247 of the Laws of Zambia’, have not yielded the desired impact [...] Read more.
Rabies persists as a longstanding issue in Zambia, despite being preventable. The current control measures, including dog vaccination, population control, and movement restriction, guided by ‘The Control of Dogs Act Chapter 247 of the Laws of Zambia’, have not yielded the desired impact in many areas of the country including Manyinga and Mwansabombwe districts. These two districts continue to report low dog vaccination rates, unrestricted dog movements, and escalating cases of animal and human rabies, along with dog bites. Aligned with global aspirations to achieve zero human rabies cases by 2030, this study scrutinizes the determinants and obstacles hampering the execution of rabies control initiatives in Manyinga and Mwansabombwe. Spanning approximately 11 months, this cross-sectional study gathered pre- and post-vaccination data from 301 households in Manyinga and 100 households in Mwansabombwe. Questionnaires probed knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to rabies prevention and control. A transect survey, key informant interviews, and assessment of rabies vaccination and dog bite records complemented the data collection. Findings revealed that 88.0% of respondents from both districts possessed knowledge about rabies, confirming affected species and transmission. Moreover, 76.8% in Manyinga and 88.6% in Mwansabombwe were acquainted with rabies prevention and control methods. Concerning dog owners, 89.0% were aware of rabies, 66.0% understood its prevention and control, and the majority identified bites as the primary mode of transmission. Despite the high level of knowledge recorded during the survey, the implementation of preventive measures was low, which was attributed to low levels of law enforcement by the local government authority, inadequate staffing in the veterinary department, unwillingness to pay for dog vaccinations, and unavailability of rabies vaccine at the veterinary office in both districts. Vaccination coverage stood at 64.0% in Manyinga and 21.0% in Mwansabombwe. Notably, education and occupation exhibited a positive significant association with rabies knowledge. In terms of dog bite cases, Manyinga recorded 538 dog bite cases from 2017 to June 2022, while Mwansabombwe recorded 81 dog bite and 23 jackal bite cases from 2021 to June 2022. The study underscores critical knowledge gaps in rural areas and emphasizes the imperative for enhanced public education and awareness programs, improved rabies surveillance, free mass vaccination campaigns, and community engagement to augment vaccination coverage and knowledge about rabies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rabies: Current Knowledge and Future Perspectives)
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25 pages, 388 KiB  
Review
Use of Salt, Anesthetics, and Stocking Density in Transport of Live Fish: A Review
by Ronald Kennedy Luz and Gisele Cristina Favero
Fishes 2024, 9(7), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/fishes9070286 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
For freshwater or marine fish farming to be successful, live fish must be transported. This can be performed with eggs, larvae, juveniles, and adults. Nonetheless, because of the handling, confinement, and duration of transport, it is considered a difficult procedure. To prevent significant [...] Read more.
For freshwater or marine fish farming to be successful, live fish must be transported. This can be performed with eggs, larvae, juveniles, and adults. Nonetheless, because of the handling, confinement, and duration of transport, it is considered a difficult procedure. To prevent significant physiological changes that could result in fish mortality, it is crucial to look for ways to reduce stress and enhance the quality of transport water. Consequently, a comprehensive range of research on the use of additives in water, including salt and artificial or natural anesthetics, is presented in this review, which also discusses potential changes in water quality factors during transport, such as dissolved oxygen (DO), carbon dioxide (CO2), pH, ammonia, and temperature. The usage of stocking densities during transport is also covered in this review, with consideration given to the various recommendations for each species, fish size, and length of transport. Full article
28 pages, 1614 KiB  
Article
Strategies for the Design and Construction of Nature-Inspired & Living Laboratory (NILL 1.0)TM Buildings
by Mariam AlAli, Salwa Beheiry and Serter Atabay
Biomimetics 2024, 9(7), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9070441 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
This article explores the growing prominence of nature-inspired design philosophies in the context of sustainability and human well-being within the built environment and focuses on their application within laboratory buildings. Biomimicry and biophilic design are highlighted as key nature-inspired design approaches, with biomimicry [...] Read more.
This article explores the growing prominence of nature-inspired design philosophies in the context of sustainability and human well-being within the built environment and focuses on their application within laboratory buildings. Biomimicry and biophilic design are highlighted as key nature-inspired design approaches, with biomimicry drawing inspiration from nature for innovations and biophilic design promoting human health through enhancing the connection with the surrounding natural elements. This paper further discusses living building strategy as an emerging method for creating dynamic and adaptable spaces by prioritizing user experience through co-creation and focusing on sustainable and regenerative structures. The potential of integrating these approaches is emphasized using laboratory buildings as an example, with nature-inspired and living laboratories serving as models for future built environments that promote both environmental responsibility and a positive human experience. Accordingly, this work aims to investigate the design and construction of laboratory buildings based on nature-inspired design strategies and the living building concept. Moreover, the paper discusses the application of biomimicry and living building concepts within laboratory buildings as a novel contribution to the body of knowledge, and concludes by proposing the Nature-inspired & Living Laboratory (NILL 1.0)TM Building Assessment index to serve as a guideline for the design and construction of laboratory buildings using nature as an inspiration and the analogy of human body systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Adaptive Buildings)
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20 pages, 3389 KiB  
Article
Innovation through Artificial Intelligence in Triage Systems for Resource Optimization in Future Pandemics
by Nicolás J. Garrido, Félix González-Martínez, Susana Losada, Adrián Plaza, Eneida del Olmo and Jorge Mateo
Biomimetics 2024, 9(7), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9070440 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are already being used in various healthcare areas. Similarly, they can offer many advantages in hospital emergency services. The objective of this work is to demonstrate that through the novel use of AI, a trained system can be developed [...] Read more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are already being used in various healthcare areas. Similarly, they can offer many advantages in hospital emergency services. The objective of this work is to demonstrate that through the novel use of AI, a trained system can be developed to detect patients at potential risk of infection in a new pandemic more quickly than standardized triage systems. This identification would occur in the emergency department, thus allowing for the early implementation of organizational preventive measures to block the chain of transmission. Materials and Methods: In this study, we propose the use of a machine learning system in emergency department triage during pandemics to detect patients at the highest risk of death and infection using the COVID-19 era as an example, where rapid decision making and comprehensive support have becoming increasingly crucial. All patients who consecutively presented to the emergency department were included, and more than 89 variables were automatically analyzed using the extreme gradient boosting (XGB) algorithm. Results: The XGB system demonstrated the highest balanced accuracy at 91.61%. Additionally, it obtained results more quickly than traditional triage systems. The variables that most influenced mortality prediction were procalcitonin level, age, and oxygen saturation, followed by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level, C-reactive protein, the presence of interstitial infiltrates on chest X-ray, and D-dimer. Our system also identified the importance of oxygen therapy in these patients. Conclusions: These results highlight that XGB is a useful and novel tool in triage systems for guiding the care pathway in future pandemics, thus following the example set by the well-known COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics and Bioinspired Artificial Intelligence Applications)
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27 pages, 7202 KiB  
Article
The Basics of Evolution Strategies: The Implementation of the Biomimetic Optimization Method in Educational Modules
by Olga Speck, Thomas Speck, Sabine Baur and Michael Herdy
Biomimetics 2024, 9(7), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics9070439 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
With a focus on education and teaching, we provide general background information on bioinspired optimization methods by comparing the concept of optimization and the search for an optimum in engineering and biology. We introduce both the principles of Darwinian evolution and the basic [...] Read more.
With a focus on education and teaching, we provide general background information on bioinspired optimization methods by comparing the concept of optimization and the search for an optimum in engineering and biology. We introduce both the principles of Darwinian evolution and the basic evolutionary optimization procedure of evolution strategies. We provide three educational modules in work sheets that can be used by teachers and students to improve their understanding of evolution strategies. The educational module “Optimization of a Milk Carton” shows that the material consumption in producing a milk carton can be minimized using an evolution strategy with a mutative step size control. The use of a standard dice and a pocket calculator enables new milk cartons to be generated, with the offspring having the lowest material consumption becoming the parent of the next generation. The other educational modules deal with the so-called brachistochrone problem. The module “Fastest and Shortest Marble Track” provides a construction plan for a marble track whereby students can experimentally compare the “path of shortest length” with the “path of shortest time”. The EvoBrach software, is used in the module “Various Marble Track Shapes” to compare the running times of a marble on a straight line, a parabola, and a brachistochrone. In conclusion, the introduction to the biomimetic method of evolution strategies and the educational modules should deepen the understanding of both optimization problems and biological evolution. Full article
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16 pages, 4415 KiB  
Article
Insights into the Injectivity and Propagation Behavior of Preformed Particle Gel (PPG) in a Low–Medium-Permeability Reservoir
by Hong He, Yuhang Tian, Lianfeng Zhang, Hongsheng Li, Yan Guo, Yu Liu and Yifei Liu
Gels 2024, 10(7), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels10070475 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Heterogeneous phase combined flooding (HPCF) has been a promising technology used for enhancing oil recovery in heterogeneous mature reservoirs. However, the injectivity and propagation behavior of preformed particle gel (PPG) in low–medium-permeability reservoir porous media is crucial for HPCF treatment in a low–medium-permeability [...] Read more.
Heterogeneous phase combined flooding (HPCF) has been a promising technology used for enhancing oil recovery in heterogeneous mature reservoirs. However, the injectivity and propagation behavior of preformed particle gel (PPG) in low–medium-permeability reservoir porous media is crucial for HPCF treatment in a low–medium-permeability reservoir. Thus, the injectivity and propagation behavior of preformed particle gel in a low–medium-permeability reservoir were systematically studied by conducting a series of sand pack flooding experiments. The matching factor (δ) was defined as the ratio of the average size of PPG particles to the mean size of pore throats and the pressure difference ratio (β) was proposed to characterize the injectivity and propagation ability of PPG. The results show that with the increase in particle size and the decrease in permeability, the resistance factor and residual resistance factor increase. With the increase in the matching factor, the resistance factor and residual resistance factor increase. The higher the resistance factor and residual resistance factor are, the worse the injectivity of particles is. By fitting the relationship curve, PPG injection and propagation standards were established: when the matching coefficient is less than 55 and β is less than 3.4, PPG can be injected; when the matching coefficient is 55–72 and β is 3.4–6.5, PPG injection is difficult; when the matching coefficient is greater than 72 and β is greater than 6.5, PPG cannot be injected Thus, the matching relationship between PPG particle size and reservoir permeability was obtained. This research will provide theoretical support for further EOR research and field application of heterogeneous phase combined flooding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Gels for Oil Recovery)
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21 pages, 3732 KiB  
Review
Effect of Drying Methods on the Thermal and Mechanical Behavior of Bacterial Cellulose Aerogel
by Sebnem Sozcu, Jaroslava Frajova, Jakub Wiener, Mohanapriya Venkataraman, Blanka Tomkova and Jiri Militky
Gels 2024, 10(7), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels10070474 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Bacterial cellulose (BC) presents significant promise as a biomaterial, boasting unique qualities such as exceptional cellulose purity, robust mechanical strength, heightened crystalline structure, and biodegradability. Several studies have highlighted specific effects, such as the impact of dehydration/rehydration on BC tensile strength, the influence [...] Read more.
Bacterial cellulose (BC) presents significant promise as a biomaterial, boasting unique qualities such as exceptional cellulose purity, robust mechanical strength, heightened crystalline structure, and biodegradability. Several studies have highlighted specific effects, such as the impact of dehydration/rehydration on BC tensile strength, the influence of polymer treatment methods on mechanical properties, the correlation between microorganism type, drying method, and Young’s modulus value, and the relationship between culture medium composition, pH, and crystallinity. Drying methods are crucial to the structure, performance, and application of BC films. Research findings indicate that the method used for drying can influence the mechanical properties of BC films, including parameters such as tensile strength, Young’s modulus, and water absorption capacity, as well as the micromorphology, crystallinity, and thermal characteristics of the material. Their versatility makes them potential biomaterials applicable in various fields, including thermal and acoustic insulation, owing to their distinct thermal and mechanical attributes. This review delves into the thermal and mechanical behavior of bacterial cellulose aerogels, which are profoundly impacted by their drying mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Aerogel into Textile Fabrics for Thermal Insulation)
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38 pages, 515 KiB  
Article
Navigating the Storm: How Economic Uncertainty Shapes Audit Quality in BRICS Nations Amid CEO Power Dynamics
by Antonios Persakis and Ioannis Tsakalos
J. Risk Financial Manag. 2024, 17(7), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/jrfm17070307 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
This study investigates the association between economic uncertainty and audit quality in the BRICS nations, examining both input-based (e.g., audit fees, auditor tenure) and output-based (e.g., restatements, total accruals) measures of audit quality. Utilizing a dataset of 83,511 firm-year observations from 1995–2022, it [...] Read more.
This study investigates the association between economic uncertainty and audit quality in the BRICS nations, examining both input-based (e.g., audit fees, auditor tenure) and output-based (e.g., restatements, total accruals) measures of audit quality. Utilizing a dataset of 83,511 firm-year observations from 1995–2022, it reveals a significant negative impact of economic uncertainty on audit quality. Additionally, the research explores the moderating role of CEO power, employing principal component analysis to merge various indicators of CEO influence. Findings indicate that powerful CEOs can mitigate the adverse effects of economic uncertainty on audit quality, suggesting a U-shaped relationship between CEO power and audit quality. Methodologically robust, employing techniques like two-stage least squares (2SLS) and two-stage system generalized method of moments (system GMM) to address endogeneity, the study offers a comprehensive analysis of audit quality in the context of economic fluctuations and corporate governance, contributing significantly to the understanding of these dynamics in emerging economies, particularly in the diverse and influential BRICS nations. This study’s findings have significant implications for stakeholders and policymakers, providing insights that can inform policy decisions and enhance corporate governance frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Featured Papers in Corporate Finance and Governance)
12 pages, 3076 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Safe Insertion Angles for Spinal Needles and Safe Intensity of the Holmium:YAG Laser during Percutaneous Laser Disc Ablations in Feline Cadavers
by Zhenglin Piao, Young-ung Kim, Jongchan Ko, Jumjae Lee, Daeyoung Choi and Namsoo Kim
Vet. Sci. 2024, 11(7), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci11070325 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
In the context of veterinary medicine, minimally invasive techniques for feline spinal surgery remain underexplored, particularly for percutaneous laser disc ablation (PLDA) when using the Holmium:YAG (Ho:YAG) laser. This study aimed to refine the application of the Ho:YAG laser in PLDA by determining [...] Read more.
In the context of veterinary medicine, minimally invasive techniques for feline spinal surgery remain underexplored, particularly for percutaneous laser disc ablation (PLDA) when using the Holmium:YAG (Ho:YAG) laser. This study aimed to refine the application of the Ho:YAG laser in PLDA by determining the optimal laser intensity and safe insertion angles for the thoracic and lumbar intervertebral discs (IVDs) in cats. Through utilizing computed tomography (CT) for precise guidance, this research involved a cadaveric study of 10 cats to evaluate the spatial configurations that allow for safe needle insertions and effective laser ablation. Various energy settings of the Ho:YAG laser (20 J, 40 J, and 60 J) were tested to ascertain the balance between adequate disc vaporization and minimal adjacent tissue damage. The results demonstrate that a 40 J setting is the most effective in achieving significant disc decompression without compromising surrounding tissue integrity. Additionally, the CT scans proved crucial in confirming the accuracy of the needle placement and the safety of the laser application angles. This study established that the 40 J setting on the Ho:YAG laser, combined with CT-guided insertion techniques, offers a reliable method for PLDA, thus enhancing the safety and efficacy of feline spinal surgeries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Veterinary Surgery)
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17 pages, 623 KiB  
Review
Reproductive Tract Microbiota of Mares
by Ana Gil-Miranda, Jennifer Macnicol, Daniela Orellana-Guerrero, Juan C. Samper and Diego E. Gomez
Vet. Sci. 2024, 11(7), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci11070324 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
The female reproductive tract microbiota is a complex community of microorganisms that might be crucial in maintaining a healthy reproductive environment. Imbalances in the bacterial community (dysbiosis) and the reduction of beneficial organisms and pathogen proliferation are associated with disease. Endometritis is a [...] Read more.
The female reproductive tract microbiota is a complex community of microorganisms that might be crucial in maintaining a healthy reproductive environment. Imbalances in the bacterial community (dysbiosis) and the reduction of beneficial organisms and pathogen proliferation are associated with disease. Endometritis is a common cause of fertility problems in mares, and it is still challenging to diagnose and treat based on routine culture results of certain microorganisms. Although high-throughput sequencing studies provide helpful information regarding the composition of the reproductive tract microbiota in mares, there are still challenges in defining a “normal” microbiota. The primary objective of this literature review is to summarize the current knowledge regarding the microbiota present in the reproductive tract of mares, including the vagina, cervix, and uterus. The second objective is to describe the relevant factors that can impact the reproductive microbiota of mares, including the estrous cycle stage, the type of species (genera) investigated, season, and geographic location. The rationality of identifying the normal microbiota in the reproductive tract of a mare will likely aid in understanding the impact of the microbiota on the host’s reproductive health and contribute to the treatment and prevention of equine sub and infertility issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Reproduction and Fertility)
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12 pages, 2680 KiB  
Article
Vaginal and Uterine Microbiota of Healthy Maiden Mares during Estrus
by Ana Gil-Miranda, Benjamin Caddey, Daniela Orellana-Guerrero, Hanna Smith, Juan C. Samper and Diego E. Gomez
Vet. Sci. 2024, 11(7), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci11070323 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
This descriptive cross-sectional study compared the microbiota of the uterus, vagina, clitoral fossa (CF), and perineal skin in healthy maiden mares during estrus. Twelve synchronized, healthy maiden mares (3–4 years old) from one single recipient mare herd were included. Microbial communities were characterized [...] Read more.
This descriptive cross-sectional study compared the microbiota of the uterus, vagina, clitoral fossa (CF), and perineal skin in healthy maiden mares during estrus. Twelve synchronized, healthy maiden mares (3–4 years old) from one single recipient mare herd were included. Microbial communities were characterized by amplifying the V3–V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene using the Illumina MiSeq platform. The uterine and vaginal microbiota had significantly lower richness (Chao-1) than the skin (p < 0.05). The uterine and vagina bacterial composition was similar in presence and abundance and could be differentiated from that of the CF and perineal skin. The microbial composition (Jaccard and Bray–Curtis distances) significantly differed across body-site locations (p < 0.05), which explained approximately 14% and 19% of the variation in microbial composition for Jaccard and Bray–Curtis distances, respectively. Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes were the dominant taxa in the uterus and vagina, with higher proportions of Proteobacteria in the vaginal samples compared to the uterine samples. Streptococcaceae and Staphylococcaceae were present in high abundance in the uterine and vaginal samples, while Lactobacillaceae were not (<10%). We demonstrate that the uterine and vaginal microbiota of healthy maiden mares during estrus is similar but both distinct from that of the CF and perineal skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Reproduction and Fertility)
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21 pages, 3747 KiB  
Article
ViT-PSO-SVM: Cervical Cancer Predication Based on Integrating Vision Transformer with Particle Swarm Optimization and Support Vector Machine
by Abdulaziz AlMohimeed, Mohamed Shehata, Nora El-Rashidy, Sherif Mostafa, Amira Samy Talaat and Hager Saleh
Bioengineering 2024, 11(7), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering11070729 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Cervical cancer (CCa) is the fourth most prevalent and common cancer affecting women worldwide, with increasing incidence and mortality rates. Hence, early detection of CCa plays a crucial role in improving outcomes. Non-invasive imaging procedures with good diagnostic performance are desirable and have [...] Read more.
Cervical cancer (CCa) is the fourth most prevalent and common cancer affecting women worldwide, with increasing incidence and mortality rates. Hence, early detection of CCa plays a crucial role in improving outcomes. Non-invasive imaging procedures with good diagnostic performance are desirable and have the potential to lessen the degree of intervention associated with the gold standard, biopsy. Recently, artificial intelligence-based diagnostic models such as Vision Transformers (ViT) have shown promising performance in image classification tasks, rivaling or surpassing traditional convolutional neural networks (CNNs). This paper studies the effect of applying a ViT to predict CCa using different image benchmark datasets. A newly developed approach (ViT-PSO-SVM) was presented for boosting the results of the ViT based on integrating the ViT with particle swarm optimization (PSO), and support vector machine (SVM). First, the proposed framework extracts features from the Vision Transformer. Then, PSO is used to reduce the complexity of extracted features and optimize feature representation. Finally, a softmax classification layer is replaced with an SVM classification model to precisely predict CCa. The models are evaluated using two benchmark cervical cell image datasets, namely SipakMed and Herlev, with different classification scenarios: two, three, and five classes. The proposed approach achieved 99.112% accuracy and 99.113% F1-score for SipakMed with two classes and achieved 97.778% accuracy and 97.805% F1-score for Herlev with two classes outperforming other Vision Transformers, CNN models, and pre-trained models. Finally, GradCAM is used as an explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) tool to visualize and understand the regions of a given image that are important for a model’s prediction. The obtained experimental results demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of the developed ViT-PSO-SVM approach and hold the promise of providing a robust, reliable, accurate, and non-invasive diagnostic tool that will lead to improved healthcare outcomes worldwide. Full article
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12 pages, 2466 KiB  
Article
Association between Elastic Modulus of Foot Soft Tissues and Gait Characteristics in Young Individuals with Flatfoot
by Xin Jiao, Tianyi Hu, Yongjin Li, Binbin Wang, Mirabel Ewura Esi Acquah, Zengguang Wang, Qianqian Chen, Yaokai Gan and Dongyun Gu
Bioengineering 2024, 11(7), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering11070728 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Flatfoot is a common foot deformity, causing foot pain, osteoarthritis of the midfoot, and even knee and hip dysfunction. The elastic modulus of foot soft tissues and its association with gait biomechanics still remain unclear. For this study, we recruited 20 young individuals [...] Read more.
Flatfoot is a common foot deformity, causing foot pain, osteoarthritis of the midfoot, and even knee and hip dysfunction. The elastic modulus of foot soft tissues and its association with gait biomechanics still remain unclear. For this study, we recruited 20 young individuals with flatfoot and 22 age-matched individuals with normal foot arches. The elastic modulus of foot soft tissues (posterior tibial tendon, flexor digitorum brevis, plantar fascia, heel fat pad) was obtained via ultrasound elastography. Gait data were acquired using an optical motion capture system. The association between elastic modulus and gait data was analyzed via correlation analysis. The elastic modulus of the plantar fascia (PF) in individuals with flatfoot was higher than that in individuals with normal foot arches. There was no significant difference in the elastic modulus of the posterior tibial tendon (PTT), the flexor digitorum brevis (FDB), or the heel fat pad (HFD), or the thickness of the PF, PTT, FDB, and HFD. Individuals with flatfoot showed greater motion of the hip and pelvis in the coronal plane, longer double-support phase time, and greater maximum hip adduction moment during walking. The elastic modulus of the PF in individuals with flatfoot was positively correlated with the maximum hip extension angle (r = 0.352, p = 0.033) and the maximum hip adduction moment (r = 0.429, p = 0.039). The plantar fascia is an important plantar structure in flatfoot. The alteration of the plantar fascia’s elastic modulus is likely a significant contributing factor to gait abnormalities in people with flatfoot. More attention should be given to the plantar fascia in the young population with flatfoot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomechanics and Sports Medicine)
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16 pages, 5685 KiB  
Article
Production of Reverse Transcriptase and DNA Polymerase in Bacterial Expression Systems
by Kristína Hriňová, Johana Dlapová, Bohuš Kubala, Ľubica Kormanová, Zdenko Levarski, Eva Struhárňanská, Ján Turňa and Stanislav Stuchlík
Bioengineering 2024, 11(7), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering11070727 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
DNA amplification and reverse transcription enzymes have proven to be invaluable in fast and reliable diagnostics and research applications because of their processivity, specificity, and robustness. Our study focused on the production of mutant Taq DNA polymerase and mutant M-MLV reverse transcriptase in [...] Read more.
DNA amplification and reverse transcription enzymes have proven to be invaluable in fast and reliable diagnostics and research applications because of their processivity, specificity, and robustness. Our study focused on the production of mutant Taq DNA polymerase and mutant M-MLV reverse transcriptase in the expression hosts Vibrio natriegens and Escherichia coli under various expression conditions. We also examined nonspecific extracellular production in V. natriegens. Intracellularly, M-MLV was produced in V. natriegens at the level of 11% of the total cell proteins (TCPs) compared with 16% of TCPs in E. coli. We obtained a soluble protein that accounted for 11% of the enzyme produced in V. natriegens and 22% of the enzyme produced in E. coli. Taq pol was produced intracellularly in V. natriegens at the level of 30% of TCPs compared with 26% of TCPs in E. coli. However, Taq pol was almost non-soluble in E. coli, whereas in V. natriegens, we obtained a soluble protein that accounted for 23% of the produced enzyme. We detected substantial extracellular production of Taq pol. Thus, V. natriegens is a suitable alternative host with the potential for production of recombinant proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering)
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4 pages, 167 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial Topical Collection: “Biomedical Imaging and Data Analytics for Disease Diagnosis and Treatment”
by Cosimo Ieracitano and Xuejun Zhang
Bioengineering 2024, 11(7), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering11070726 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
The integration of biomedical imaging techniques with advanced data analytics is at the forefront of a transformative era in healthcare [...] Full article
23 pages, 667 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Supplier Selection for Sustainable Raw Materials: A Comprehensive Analysis Using Analytical Network Process (ANP) and TOPSIS Methods
by Ilyas Masudin, Isna Zahrotul Habibah, Rahmad Wisnu Wardana, Dian Palupi Restuputri and S. Sarifah Radiah Shariff
Logistics 2024, 8(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/logistics8030074 - 18 Jul 2024
Abstract
Background: This research endeavors to enhance supplier selection processes by combining the Analytic Network Process (ANP) and Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) methodologies, with a specific focus on sustainability criteria. Method: Initially comprising 21 sub-criteria derived from [...] Read more.
Background: This research endeavors to enhance supplier selection processes by combining the Analytic Network Process (ANP) and Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) methodologies, with a specific focus on sustainability criteria. Method: Initially comprising 21 sub-criteria derived from prior research, the selection criteria are refined to 17, eliminating redundant elements. The core principle guiding this refinement is the comprehensive coverage of economic, social, and environmental dimensions, essential for sustainable supplier evaluation. Results: The study’s outcomes underscore the paramount importance of economic criteria (0.0652) in supplier selection, followed by environmental (0.0343) and social dimensions (0.0503). Key sub-criteria contributing significantly to this evaluation encompassed consistent product quality, competitive raw material pricing, proficient labor capabilities, recycling potential, punctual delivery performance, and effective waste management practices. Conclusions: These sub-criteria are thoughtfully integrated into the sustainable assessment framework, aligning seamlessly with the economic, environmental, and social criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Supplier, Government and Procurement Logistics)
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