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Life, Volume 14, Issue 6 (June 2024) – 125 articles

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7 pages, 500 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Bone Age Based on Hand Radiographs Using Regression-Based Multi-Modal Deep Learning
by Jeoung Kun Kim, Donghwi Park and Min Cheol Chang
Life 2024, 14(6), 774; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060774 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 61
Abstract
(1) Objective: In this study, a regression-based multi-modal deep learning model was developed for use in bone age assessment (BAA) utilizing hand radiographic images and clinical data, including patient gender and chronological age, as input data. (2) Methods: A dataset of hand radiographic [...] Read more.
(1) Objective: In this study, a regression-based multi-modal deep learning model was developed for use in bone age assessment (BAA) utilizing hand radiographic images and clinical data, including patient gender and chronological age, as input data. (2) Methods: A dataset of hand radiographic images from 2974 pediatric patients was used to develop a regression-based multi-modal BAA model. This model integrates hand radiographs using EfficientNetV2S convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and clinical data (gender and chronological age) processed by a simple deep neural network (DNN). This approach enhances the model’s robustness and diagnostic precision, addressing challenges related to imbalanced data distribution and limited sample sizes. (3) Results: The model exhibited good performance on BAA, with an overall mean absolute error (MAE) of 0.410, root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.637, and accuracy of 91.1%. Subgroup analysis revealed higher accuracy in females ≤ 11 years (MAE: 0.267, RMSE: 0.453, accuracy: 95.0%) and >11 years (MAE: 0.402, RMSE: 0.634, accuracy 92.4%) compared to males ≤ 13 years (MAE: 0.665, RMSE: 0.912, accuracy: 79.7%) and >13 years (MAE: 0.647, RMSE: 1.302, accuracy: 84.6%). (4) Conclusion: This model showed a generally good performance on BAA, showing a better performance in female pediatrics compared to male pediatrics and an especially robust performance in female pediatrics ≤ 11 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Artificial Intelligence for Medical Image Analysis)
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12 pages, 745 KiB  
Case Report
Cutaneous Sarcoidosis Induced by Laser Therapy: Case Report and Review of the Literature
by Hanna Cisoń, Magdalena Simon-Błażewicz, Joanna Suseł, Marianna Suseł, Zdzisław Woźniak, Rafał Białynicki-Birula and Jacek C. Szepietowski
Life 2024, 14(6), 773; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060773 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 179
Abstract
Background: Sarcoidosis, characterized by non-caseating epithelioid granulomas, presents diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Method: Here we present a 38-year-old woman who exhibited erythematous and infiltrated skin lesions on her facial region following fractional laser treatment. Results: Histological analysis confirmed cutaneous sarcoidosis. Initial interventions with [...] Read more.
Background: Sarcoidosis, characterized by non-caseating epithelioid granulomas, presents diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Method: Here we present a 38-year-old woman who exhibited erythematous and infiltrated skin lesions on her facial region following fractional laser treatment. Results: Histological analysis confirmed cutaneous sarcoidosis. Initial interventions with topical clobetasol and oral chloroquine provided transient relief. Subsequent outpatient management comprised topical tacrolimus and clobetasol, as well as systemic methotrexate, later substituted with prednisone. Gradual tapering resulted in lesion reduction. Conclusions: This case underscores the intricate nature of cutaneous sarcoidosis and the necessity for personalized therapeutic approaches. The association with cosmetic procedures highlights the importance of understanding potential triggers. The presented case highlights and reminds the medical community that lasers are not only used for therapeutic purposes but can also induce specific responses through laser therapy. Notably, while laser therapy is frequently employed in treating cutaneous sarcoidosis, its role in inducing sarcoidosis warrants further investigation. Full article
13 pages, 255 KiB  
Article
Retrospective Analysis of Effective Management Strategies for Primary Amenorrhea of Reproductive Age in Saudi Arabia
by Hanadi Bakhsh
Life 2024, 14(6), 772; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060772 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 237
Abstract
Primary amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation by age 15, can have significant implications for reproductive health and overall well-being. This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of various management strategies for primary amenorrhea among women of reproductive age in Saudi Arabia. Medical [...] Read more.
Primary amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation by age 15, can have significant implications for reproductive health and overall well-being. This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of various management strategies for primary amenorrhea among women of reproductive age in Saudi Arabia. Medical records of 63 eligible patients from 2018 to 2023 were analyzed, assessing diagnostic methods, treatment modalities, and associated outcomes. The findings revealed that hormonal therapy was the most commonly employed management strategy (50.0%) and demonstrated the highest rate of achieving menstrual regularity (62.5%). Surgical interventions were utilized in 28.1% of cases, with a 50.0% rate of symptom resolution. Lifestyle modifications were less frequent (21.9%) but showed a moderate rate of symptom resolution (35.7%). Logistic regression analysis identified age, underlying etiology, and management strategy as significant predictors of treatment success. Subgroup analyses highlighted the efficacy of hormonal therapy and lifestyle modifications for genetic etiologies, while surgical interventions were more effective for anatomical causes. The study underscores the importance of a comprehensive diagnostic approach and personalized treatment plans tailored to individual patient characteristics. Despite limitations, the findings contribute to the understanding of optimal management strategies for primary amenorrhea and emphasize the need for multidisciplinary collaboration in addressing this complex condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology: 2nd Edition)
10 pages, 617 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Vitamin D on Immune Function and Its Role in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: A Narrative Review
by Michela Soda, Claudia Priante, Ciro Pesce, Giovanni De Maio and Mauro Lombardo
Life 2024, 14(6), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060771 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Vitamin D, an essential nutrient, plays a crucial role in numerous biological functions, acting as a hormone and being important for the proper functioning of the immune system. This review illustrates the interactions between adequate vitamin D levels and an appropriate immune response, [...] Read more.
Vitamin D, an essential nutrient, plays a crucial role in numerous biological functions, acting as a hormone and being important for the proper functioning of the immune system. This review illustrates the interactions between adequate vitamin D levels and an appropriate immune response, highlighting the implications for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT), a chronic inflammation of the thyroid characterized by the production of autoantibodies. A comprehensive review of the existing literature shows that vitamin D inhibits the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to an improvement in the clinical picture in HT by switching from a pro-inflammatory to immune balance. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce elevated serum levels of thyroid peroxidase antibodies, a key marker of HT. Although the results are conflicting, the evidence suggests that an adequate vitamin D intake supports the immune function and counteracts autoimmune conditions such as HT by improving their symptoms. There is evidence of vitamin D’s key role in supporting the immune system function and managing autoimmunity, such as in HT. An adequate vitamin D intake is crucial for improving the clinical picture and the symptoms of HT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin D in Autoimmune and Infectious Diseases)
14 pages, 1032 KiB  
Article
Lysophosphatidic acid Modulates TGF-β2-Induced Biological Phenotype in Human Conjunctival Fibroblasts
by Megumi Watanabe, Yuri Tsugeno, Tatsuya Sato, Megumi Higashide, Nami Nishikiori, Araya Umetsu, Toshifumi Ogawa, Masato Furuhashi and Hiroshi Ohguro
Life 2024, 14(6), 770; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060770 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 173
Abstract
Background: Although lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is known to have multiple pathophysiological roles, its contributions to ocular tissues, especially conjunctival fibrogenesis, remain to be elucidated. Methods: To study this issue, the effects of LPA on transforming growth factor-β2 (TGF-β2)-induced fibrogenesis of two-dimensional (2D) and [...] Read more.
Background: Although lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is known to have multiple pathophysiological roles, its contributions to ocular tissues, especially conjunctival fibrogenesis, remain to be elucidated. Methods: To study this issue, the effects of LPA on transforming growth factor-β2 (TGF-β2)-induced fibrogenesis of two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) cultures of human conjunctival fibroblasts (HconF) were examined by the following analyses: (1) planar proliferation determined by transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran permeability measurements, (2) real-time metabolic analyses, (3) measurements of the size and stiffness of 3D spheroids, and (4) mRNA expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules and their modulators. Results: LPA had no effect on TGF-β2-induced increase in the planar proliferation of HconF cells. LPA induced a more quiescent metabolic state in 2D HconF cells, but this metabolic suppression by LPA was partially blunted in the presence of TGF-β2. In contrast, LPA caused a substantial decrease in the hardness of 3D HconF spheroids independently of TGF-β2. In agreement with these different LPA-induced effects between 2D and 3D cultured HconF cells, mRNA expressions of ECM and their modulators were differently modulated. Conclusion: The findings that LPA induced the inhibition of both TGF-β2-related and -unrelated subepithelial proliferation of HconF cells may be clinically applicable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physiology and Pathology)
8 pages, 1695 KiB  
Communication
Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of the Endangered Salamander Hynobius yiwuensis Inferred from Mitochondrial DNA Sequences
by Liangliang Zhang, Pierfrancesco Sechi, Jingbei Xie, Rui Dong and Rongquan Zheng
Life 2024, 14(6), 769; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060769 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 257
Abstract
Understanding the genetic diversity patterns of endangered species is crucial for biodiversity conservation. The endangered salamander Hynobius yiwuensis, endemic to the mainland and Zhoushan Island in Zhejiang, China, has suffered from sharp population declines due to habitat loss. However, the levels and patterns [...] Read more.
Understanding the genetic diversity patterns of endangered species is crucial for biodiversity conservation. The endangered salamander Hynobius yiwuensis, endemic to the mainland and Zhoushan Island in Zhejiang, China, has suffered from sharp population declines due to habitat loss. However, the levels and patterns of genetic diversity, differentiation, and population structure of H. yiwuensis remain poorly understood. Here, we explored the genetic diversity and phylogeography of H. yiwuensis based on partial mtDNA sequences (Cytb and CO1) through 111 individuals collected from seven localities. Relatively high overall haplotype diversity (h = 0.965) and low nucleotide diversity (π = 0.013) were detected. Our results, through phylogenetic trees and haplotype network analyses, revealed two divergent haplogroups, mainland and island, and the estimated divergence time indicated they diverged ~2.44 million years ago, which coincided with the period when Zhoushan Island became separated from the mainland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondrial DNA Genetic Diversity)
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10 pages, 4703 KiB  
Article
Survival Rate and Chronic Diseases of TCGA Cancer and KoGES Normal Samples by Clustering for DNA Methylation
by Jeong-An Gim
Life 2024, 14(6), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060768 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 191
Abstract
Insights from public DNA methylation data derived from cancer or normal tissues from cancer patients or healthy people can be obtained by machine learning. The goal is to determine methylation patterns that could be useful for predicting the prognosis for cancer patients and [...] Read more.
Insights from public DNA methylation data derived from cancer or normal tissues from cancer patients or healthy people can be obtained by machine learning. The goal is to determine methylation patterns that could be useful for predicting the prognosis for cancer patients and correcting lifestyles for healthy people. DNA methylation data were obtained from the DNA of 446 healthy participants from the Korean Genome Epidemiology Study (KoGES) and from the DNA of normal tissues or from cancer tissues of 11 types of carcinomas from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. To correct for the batch effect, R’s ComBat function was used. Using the K-mean clustering (k = 3), the survival rates of the cancer patients and the incidence of chronic diseases were compared between the three clusters for TCGA and KoGES, respectively. Based on the public DNA methylation and clinical data of healthy participants and cancer patients, I present an analysis pipeline that integrates and clusters the methylation data from the two groups. As a result of clustering, CpG sites from gene or genomic regions, such as AFAP1, NINJ2, and HOOK2 genes, that correlated with survival rate and chronic disease are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Genomics)
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1 pages, 135 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Morales et al. Characterizing Biogenic MnOx Produced by Pseudomonas putida MnB1 and Its Catalytic Activity towards Water Oxidation. Life 2024, 14, 171
by Elisa Morales, Lauren N. Formanski, Sarah E. Shaner and Kari L. Stone
Life 2024, 14(6), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060767 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 75
Abstract
“Lauren N [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research in Biocatalysis)
18 pages, 11899 KiB  
Case Report
Primary Chest Wall Ewing Sarcoma: Treatment and Long-Term Results
by Ottavia Salimbene, Domenico Viggiano, Francesco Muratori, Roberto Lo Piccolo, Flavio Facchini, Angela Tamburini, Domenico Andrea Campanacci, Luca Voltolini and Alessandro Gonfiotti
Life 2024, 14(6), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060766 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 310
Abstract
Objective: The aim of the study is to evaluate early and long-term results of chest wall primary Ewing’s sarcoma patients treated in the time period February 2000–February 2023 by a multidisciplinary approach. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent [...] Read more.
Objective: The aim of the study is to evaluate early and long-term results of chest wall primary Ewing’s sarcoma patients treated in the time period February 2000–February 2023 by a multidisciplinary approach. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent chest wall resection for a primary tumor. Treatment approach, extent of resection, 30-day mortality, overall survival (OS), local recurrence-free survival (LRFS), and metastasis-free survival (MFS) were analyzed. Results: Overall, n = 15 consecutive patients were treated for chest wall primary Ewing’s sarcoma. A median of n = 3 ribs was resected with a median of n = 2 ribs adjacent to the lesion. Resections were extended to the adjacent structures in n = 5 patients (33.3%). In all cases, we performed a prosthetic reconstruction, associated with muscle flap (n = 10, 66.6%) or with rigid titanium bars and muscle flap (n = 6, 40%). A radical resection was accomplished in n = 13 patients (84.6%). The median surgical time was 310 ± 120 min; median hospitalization was 7.8 ± 1.9 days. Post-operative mortality was zero. We recorded n = 4 (30.7%) post-operative complication. The median follow-up (FU) was 26 months. Moreover, 5-year overall and event-free survival were 52% and 48%, respectively. Conclusions: This case series confirms the benefit of the multidisciplinary approach for Ewing sarcomas in early and long-term results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Modern Thoracic Surgery)
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11 pages, 1973 KiB  
Article
Understanding the Thermodynamics of Magnesium Binding to RNA Structural Motifs
by J. A. Cowan
Life 2024, 14(6), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060765 - 16 Jun 2024
Viewed by 278
Abstract
Divalent magnesium ions (Mg2+) serve a vital role in defining the structural and catalytic chemistry of a wide array of RNA molecules. The body of structural information on RNA motifs continues to expand and, in turn, the functional importance of Mg [...] Read more.
Divalent magnesium ions (Mg2+) serve a vital role in defining the structural and catalytic chemistry of a wide array of RNA molecules. The body of structural information on RNA motifs continues to expand and, in turn, the functional importance of Mg2+ is revealed. A combination of prior work on the structural characterization of magnesium binding ligands with inner- and outer-sphere coordination modes, with recorded experimental binding energies for inner- and outer-sphere contacts, demonstrates the relative affinity and thermodynamic hierarchy for these sites. In turn, these can be correlated with cellular concentrations of free available magnesium ions, allowing the prioritization of populating important functional sites and a correlation with physiological function. This paper summarizes some of the key results of that analysis and provides predictive rules for the affinity and role of newly identified Mg binding sites on complex RNA structures. The influence of crystal packing on magnesium binding to RNA motifs, relative to their solution form, is addressed and caveats made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Biophysics and Computational Biology)
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17 pages, 3745 KiB  
Article
Acute Kaempferol Stimulation Induces AKT Phosphorylation in HepG2 Cells
by Beatriz Santana-Lima, Lucas Humberto Zimmermann Belaunde, Karine Damaceno de Souza, Matheus Elias Rosa, Jose Eduardo de Carvalho, Joel Machado-Jr, Maria Isabel Cardoso Alonso-Vale, Luciano Caseli, Daniela Gonçales Galasse Rando and Luciana Chagas Caperuto
Life 2024, 14(6), 764; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060764 - 15 Jun 2024
Viewed by 231
Abstract
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) stands as a prevalent global public health issue caused by deficiencies in the action of insulin and/or insulin production. In the liver, insulin plays an important role by inhibiting hepatic glucose production and stimulating glycogen storage, thereby contributing [...] Read more.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) stands as a prevalent global public health issue caused by deficiencies in the action of insulin and/or insulin production. In the liver, insulin plays an important role by inhibiting hepatic glucose production and stimulating glycogen storage, thereby contributing to blood glucose regulation. Kaempferitrin (KP) and kaempferol (KM), flavonoids found in Bauhinia forficata, exhibit insulin-mimetic properties, showing promise in managing T2DM. In this study, we aimed to assess the potential of these compounds in modulating the insulin signaling pathway and/or glucose metabolism. Cell viability assays confirmed the non-cytotoxic nature of both compounds toward HepG2 cells at the concentrations and times evaluated. Theoretical molecular docking studies revealed that KM had the best docking pose with the IR β subunit when compared to the KP. Moreover, Langmuir monolayer evaluation indicated molecular incorporation for both KM and KP. Specifically, KM exhibited the capability to increase AKT phosphorylation, a key kinase in insulin signaling, regardless of insulin receptor (IR) activation. Notably, KM showed an additional synergistic effect with insulin in activating AKT. In conclusion, our findings suggest the potential of KM as a promising compound for stimulating AKT activation, thereby influencing energy metabolism in T2DM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physiology and Pathology)
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21 pages, 4148 KiB  
Article
Repurposing Castanea sativa Spiny Burr By-Products Extract as a Potentially Effective Anti-Inflammatory Agent for Novel Future Biotechnological Applications
by Luisa Frusciante, Michela Geminiani, Tommaso Olmastroni, Pierfrancesco Mastroeni, Alfonso Trezza, Laura Salvini, Stefania Lamponi, Ottavia Spiga and Annalisa Santucci
Life 2024, 14(6), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060763 - 15 Jun 2024
Viewed by 386
Abstract
The concept of a “circular bioeconomy” holds great promise for the health, cosmetic, and nutrition sectors by re-using Castanea sativa (Mill.) by-products. This sustainable resource is rich in bioactive secondary metabolites with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. By transforming these by-products into high-value products [...] Read more.
The concept of a “circular bioeconomy” holds great promise for the health, cosmetic, and nutrition sectors by re-using Castanea sativa (Mill.) by-products. This sustainable resource is rich in bioactive secondary metabolites with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. By transforming these by-products into high-value products for human health, we can promote sustainable economic growth and reduce the environmental impact of traditional waste disposal, adding value to previously underutilized resources. In the present study, we investigated the antioxidant capacity, phytochemical composition, and in vitro antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of C. sativa burr (CSB) aqueous extract. The spectrophotometric study revealed high total phenolic content (TPC) values with significant antioxidant and anti-radical properties. Using UPLC-MS/MS techniques, the phytochemical investigation identified 56 metabolites, confirming the presence of phenolic compounds in CSBs. In addition, CSBs significantly downregulated pro-inflammatory mediators in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophage cells without significant cell toxicity. Lastly, in silico studies pinpointed three kinases from RAW 264.7 cells as binding partners with ellagic acid, the predominant compound found in our extract. These findings strongly advocate for the recycling and valorization of C. sativa by-products, challenging their conventional classification as mere “waste”. Full article
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13 pages, 4357 KiB  
Article
Emergent Penile Venous Stripping for Treating Adolescent Impotence
by Ko-Shih Chang, Yi-Kai Chang, Cho-Hsing Chung, Geng-Long Hsu and Jeff SC Chueh
Life 2024, 14(6), 762; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060762 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 300
Abstract
Introduction: Traditional anatomy-based penile venous surgery is deemed inadequate. Based on revolutionary insights into penile vasculature, penile venous stripping (PVS) shows promise in treating adolescent erectile dysfunction (AED). We aimed to report on this novel approach. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of [...] Read more.
Introduction: Traditional anatomy-based penile venous surgery is deemed inadequate. Based on revolutionary insights into penile vasculature, penile venous stripping (PVS) shows promise in treating adolescent erectile dysfunction (AED). We aimed to report on this novel approach. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 223 individuals under 30 diagnosed with veno-occlusive dysfunction (VOD) between 2009 and 2023. Among them, 83 were diagnosed with AED and divided into the PVS (n = 37) and no-surgery (NS, n = 46) groups. All participants had been dissatisfied with conventional therapeutic options. Dual pharmaco-cavernosography was the primary diagnostic modality. PVS involved stripping the deep dorsal vein and two cavernosal veins after securing each emissary’s vein with a 6-0 nylon suture. Erection restoration was accessed using the abridged five-item version of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) score system and the erection hardness scale (EHS). Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS 21.0. Results: There were significant differences (both p < 0.001) between the preoperative and postoperative IIEF-5 scores in the PVS and NS groups (9.8 ± 3.0 vs. 20.4 ± 2.2; 9.9 ± 2.5 vs. 9.5 ± 2.1), as well as in the EHS scores (1.7 ± 0.7 vs. 3.5 ± 0.6 and 1.8 ± 0.5 vs. 1.3 ± 0.4). The satisfaction rate was 87.9% (29/33) in the PVS group and 16.7% (17/41) in the NS group. Conclusions: AED can be effectively treated using physiological methods, although larger patient cohorts are needed for validation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Surgical Urology)
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20 pages, 1725 KiB  
Article
Machine Learning and Deep Learning Methods for Fast and Accurate Assessment of Transthoracic Echocardiogram Image Quality
by Wojciech Nazar, Krzysztof Nazar and Ludmiła Daniłowicz-Szymanowicz
Life 2024, 14(6), 761; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060761 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 273
Abstract
High-quality echocardiogram images are the cornerstone of accurate and reliable measurements of the heart. Therefore, this study aimed to develop, validate and compare machine learning and deep learning algorithms for accurate and automated assessment of transthoracic echocardiogram image quality. In total, 4090 single-frame [...] Read more.
High-quality echocardiogram images are the cornerstone of accurate and reliable measurements of the heart. Therefore, this study aimed to develop, validate and compare machine learning and deep learning algorithms for accurate and automated assessment of transthoracic echocardiogram image quality. In total, 4090 single-frame two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiogram images were used from apical 4-chamber, apical 2-chamber and parasternal long-axis views sampled from 3530 adult patients. The data were extracted from CAMUS and Unity Imaging open-source datasets. For every raw image, additional grayscale block histograms were developed. For block histogram datasets, six classic machine learning algorithms were tested. Moreover, convolutional neural networks based on the pre-trained EfficientNetB4 architecture were developed for raw image datasets. Classic machine learning algorithms predicted image quality with 0.74 to 0.92 accuracy (AUC 0.81 to 0.96), whereas convolutional neural networks achieved between 0.74 and 0.89 prediction accuracy (AUC 0.79 to 0.95). Both approaches are accurate methods of echocardiogram image quality assessment. Moreover, this study is a proof of concept of a novel method of training classic machine learning algorithms on block histograms calculated from raw images. Automated echocardiogram image quality assessment methods may provide additional relevant information to the echocardiographer in daily clinical practice and improve reliability in clinical decision making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue AI and Heart Failure)
18 pages, 548 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Efficacy of the Smartphone App for the Self-Management of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Assessment of Their Quality through the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) in Italy
by Luca Scala, Gloria Giglioni, Luca Bertazzoni and Francesca Bonetti
Life 2024, 14(6), 760; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060760 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 222
Abstract
Smartphone apps for self-management are valuable tools to help manage low back pain (LBP) patients. The purposes of this systematic review were to (a) summarize the available studies on the efficacy of smartphone apps for self-management of LBP and (b) identify free applications [...] Read more.
Smartphone apps for self-management are valuable tools to help manage low back pain (LBP) patients. The purposes of this systematic review were to (a) summarize the available studies on the efficacy of smartphone apps for self-management of LBP and (b) identify free applications available in Italy that offer strategies for LBP self-management and provide a qualitative assessment using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS). According to the Prisma Checklist, six bibliographic databases were searched with the keywords ‘low back pain’, ‘mobile application’, ‘smartphone’, and ‘telemedicine’. In total, 852 records were screened, and 16 were included in the systematic review. Of the six RCTs included, four reported a statistically significant decrease in pain in favor of the app group, and two RCTs did not. Only in a non-RCT was there an increase in the disability score. In the application research conducted on mobile stores, we identified and rated 25 applications through MARS. The overall scores ranged from 1.93 to 3.92 for the IOS app and 1.73 to 4.25 for the Play Store app. The findings suggest that few apps meet satisfying quality, content, and functionality criteria for LBP self-management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Low Back Pain: Symptoms, Pain Mechanisms and Treatment)
23 pages, 1789 KiB  
Article
A Nonclinical Safety Evaluation of Cold Atmospheric Plasma for Medical Applications: The Role of Genotoxicity and Mutagenicity Studies
by Piimwara Yarangsee, Supakit Khacha-ananda, Pornsiri Pitchakarn, Unchisa Intayoung, Sirikhwan Sriuan, Jirarat Karinchai, Apiwat Wijaikhum and Dheerawan Boonyawan
Life 2024, 14(6), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060759 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 191
Abstract
Atmospheric nonthermal plasma (ANTP) has rapidly evolved as an innovative tool in biomedicine with various applications, especially in treating skin diseases. In particular, the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitrogen species (RNS), which are generated by ANTP, plays an important role [...] Read more.
Atmospheric nonthermal plasma (ANTP) has rapidly evolved as an innovative tool in biomedicine with various applications, especially in treating skin diseases. In particular, the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitrogen species (RNS), which are generated by ANTP, plays an important role in the biological signaling pathways of human cells. Unfortunately, excessive amounts of these reactive species significantly result in cellular damage and cell death induction. To ensure the safe application of ANTP, preclinical in vitro studies must be conducted before proceeding to in vivo or clinical trials involving humans. Our study aimed to investigate adverse effects on genetic substances in murine fibroblast cells exposed to ANTP. Cell viability and proliferation were markedly reduced after exposing the cells with plasma. Both extracellular and intracellular reactive species, especially RNS, were significantly increased upon plasma exposure in the culture medium and the cells. Notably, significant DNA damage in the cells was observed in the cells exposed to plasma. However, plasma was not classified as a mutagen in the Ames test. This suggested that plasma led to the generation of both extracellular and intracellular reactive species, particularly nitrogen species, which affect cell proliferation and are also known to induce genetic damage in fibroblast cells. These results highlight the genotoxic and mutagenic effects of ANTP, emphasizing the need for the cautious selection of plasma intensity in specific applications to avoid adverse side effects resulting from reactive species production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Oxidative Stress and Inflammation, 2nd Volume)
4 pages, 275 KiB  
Editorial
Ion Channels and Neurological Disease
by Carlo Musio
Life 2024, 14(6), 758; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060758 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 168
Abstract
Ion channels are key elements in the control of membrane physiology and neurotransmission because ionic fluxes assure neuronal signal propagation across and between neurons through synaptic transmission [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ion Channels and Neurological Disease)
15 pages, 978 KiB  
Review
Application of a Video Head Impulse Test in the Diagnosis of Vestibular Neuritis
by Agnieszka Jasinska-Nowacka and Kazimierz Niemczyk
Life 2024, 14(6), 757; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060757 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 168
Abstract
In patients presenting in the emergency department with acute vertigo, a rapid and accurate differential diagnosis is crucial, as posterior circulation strokes can mimic acute vestibular losses, leading to inappropriate treatment. The diagnosis of vestibular neuritis is made based on the clinical manifestation [...] Read more.
In patients presenting in the emergency department with acute vertigo, a rapid and accurate differential diagnosis is crucial, as posterior circulation strokes can mimic acute vestibular losses, leading to inappropriate treatment. The diagnosis of vestibular neuritis is made based on the clinical manifestation and a bedside otoneurological assessment. In the clinical examination, an evaluation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex is the key element; however, the accuracy of the bedside head impulse test depends on the clinician’s experience. Thus, new diagnostic methods are needed to objectify and facilitate such rapid vestibular evaluations. The aim of our paper is to provide a comprehensive review of the video head impulse test’s application in the diagnosis of vestibular neuritis. Numerous studies have reported advantages that make this method helpful in detailed otoneurological evaluations; in contrast to the bedside head impulse test, it enables an analysis of all six semicircular canals function and records the covert corrective saccades, which are invisible to the naked eye. As a portable and easy diagnostic tool, it is known to improve the diagnostic accuracy in patients with acute vertigo presenting in the emergency department. Moreover, as it evaluates the vestibulo-ocular reflex across different frequencies, as compared to caloric tests, it can be used as an additional test that is complementary to videonystagmography. Recently, several papers have described the application of the video head impulse test in follow-up and recovery evaluations in patients with vestibular neuritis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Updates on Vestibular Neuritis)
10 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Enhanced Citric Acid Production through Aspergillus niger: Insights from Fermentation Studies Using Sugarcane Molasses
by Samina Khurshid, Hamad Ashraf, Tanveer Hussain, Muhammad Iqbal, Huma Qureshi, Tauseef Anwar, Saleh H. Salmen and Mohammad Javed Ansari
Life 2024, 14(6), 756; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060756 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 233
Abstract
The production of citric acid, a vital agricultural commodity utilized across various industries such as food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, detergents, and cosmetics, predominantly relies on microbial fermentation, with Aspergillus niger accounting for approximately 90% of global production. In this study, we aimed to [...] Read more.
The production of citric acid, a vital agricultural commodity utilized across various industries such as food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, detergents, and cosmetics, predominantly relies on microbial fermentation, with Aspergillus niger accounting for approximately 90% of global production. In this study, we aimed to optimize the key factors influencing citric acid production, with a focus on strains, fermentation techniques, and carbon sources, particularly sugarcane molasses. A. niger, sourced from the Botany department/Biotechnology laboratories at Govt. College of Science, Lahore, was employed for citric acid production. The process involved inoculum preparation through spore collection from 3 to 5 days of cultured PDA slants. The fermentation medium, comprising cane molasses with a 15% sugar concentration, was meticulously prepared and optimized for various factors, including magnesium sulfate, potassium ferrocyanide, time of addition of potassium ferrocyanide, ammonium oxalate, and calcium chloride. Our optimization results shed light on the significant impact of different factors on citric acid production. For instance, the addition of 0.4 g/L magnesium sulfate led to a maximum yield of 75%, while 2 g/L potassium ferrocyanide, added at 24 h, achieved a yield of 78%. Remarkably, ammonium oxalate, at a concentration of 10 g/L, resulted in a notable 77% yield. Conversely, the addition of calcium chloride exhibited negligible effects on citric acid production, with the control group yielding more at 78%. Our study underscores the potential for optimizing factors to enhance citric acid production by A. niger in submerged fermentation. These findings highlight the pivotal role of magnesium sulfate, potassium ferrocyanide, and ammonium oxalate in augmenting citric acid yields while emphasizing the minimal impact of calcium chloride. Ultimately, these insights contribute to advancing our understanding of microbial citric acid biosynthesis, providing valuable implications for industrial applications and future research endeavors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Microbiology 2024)
21 pages, 766 KiB  
Review
Physical Activity during Pregnancy and Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Review
by Carmen Rute-Larrieta, Gloria Mota-Cátedra, Juan Manuel Carmona-Torres, Victoria Mazoteras-Pardo, Esperanza Barroso-Corroto, Carlos Navarrete-Tejero, Michail Zografakis-Sfakianakis, Athina Patelarou, Maria Manuela Martins, Ana da Conceinçao Alves Faria and José Alberto Laredo-Aguilera
Life 2024, 14(6), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060755 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 243
Abstract
Background: Nowadays, pregnant women require more individualized attention in their assistance process during pregnancy. One of the aspects that requires the most focus is the suitability of carrying out physical activity. The objective of this meta-review is to find out the effects of [...] Read more.
Background: Nowadays, pregnant women require more individualized attention in their assistance process during pregnancy. One of the aspects that requires the most focus is the suitability of carrying out physical activity. The objective of this meta-review is to find out the effects of physical activity during pregnancy on the incidence of GDM compared to women who do not perform physical activity. Methods: A search was conducted in Cochrane, CSIC, Ebscohost, Proquest, Pubmed, Scielo, and Scopus. The search focused on systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in the last five years. The AMSTAR-2 scale was used as a quality assessment tool for the final sample. Results: A total of 18 systematic reviews and meta-analyses were included. Sixteen of them found out that physical activity during pregnancy has preventive effects for GDM compared with women who lacked physical activity. Among the studies, we found a reduction in the risk of GDM of between 24% and 38% and odds ratios ranging between 0.39 and 0.83 calculated for a 95% CI. Only two studies did not find statistically significant effects. Other variables such as type and duration of physical activity, overweight and obesity, gestational age, etc., were also considered. Conclusions: Physical activity prevents the incidence of GDM. The main characteristics that enhance this preventive effect are starting at the initial stages of pregnancy and maintaining during the whole pregnancy as well as combining strength and aerobic exercise at a low to moderate intensity. Full article
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11 pages, 2771 KiB  
Article
Outcomes of Mulligan Concept Applications in Obese Individuals with Chronic Mechanical Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
by Muhammed Safa Cankaya and Omer Osman Pala
Life 2024, 14(6), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060754 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 230
Abstract
Background: Various treatment modalities have been employed for mechanical low back pain (MLBP), but evidence of their efficacy varies greatly. Objectıve: This randomized controlled trial aimed to assess the outcomes of Mulligan concept applications, including sustained natural apophyseal glides (SNAGS) and natural apophyseal [...] Read more.
Background: Various treatment modalities have been employed for mechanical low back pain (MLBP), but evidence of their efficacy varies greatly. Objectıve: This randomized controlled trial aimed to assess the outcomes of Mulligan concept applications, including sustained natural apophyseal glides (SNAGS) and natural apophyseal glides (NAGS), in obese patients with MLBP. Methods: The study, conducted between January 2021 and June 2022 at a tertiary hospital, involved randomizing patients into two groups. Both groups underwent six sessions of stretching and strengthening exercises every other day. The Mulligan group received additional intervention with SNAG and NAGS techniques. Measurements were made regarding the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score and range of motion (ROM) for the patients’ MLBP level. Results: Post-interventions, both groups exhibited positive changes in flexion ROM, extension ROM, right and left rotation ROM, right and left lateral flexion ROM, VAS score, and ODI score compared to pre-intervention (p < 0.001 for both groups and variables). The Mulligan group showed a higher increase in ROM and a more significant decrease in VAS and ODI scores. Conclusıons: Mulligan mobilization techniques prove significantly beneficial for enhancing ROM in all directions, reducing pain levels, and alleviating disability in obese individuals with MLBP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Low Back Pain: Symptoms, Pain Mechanisms and Treatment)
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11 pages, 6976 KiB  
Article
Is Staged Surgery Always Necessary for Schatzker Type IV–VI Tibial Plateau Fractures? A Comparison Study
by Kai-Cheng Lin, Fu-Ting Huang, Chun-Yu Chen and Yih-Wen Tarng
Life 2024, 14(6), 753; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060753 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 219
Abstract
Aims: This study aims to compare the outcomes of immediate (followed by closed-incision negative-pressure therapy use) versus delayed ORIF in patients with Schatzker type IV–VI TPFs. Patients and Methods: A prospective study of patients undergoing ORIF between January 2018 and December 2019 was [...] Read more.
Aims: This study aims to compare the outcomes of immediate (followed by closed-incision negative-pressure therapy use) versus delayed ORIF in patients with Schatzker type IV–VI TPFs. Patients and Methods: A prospective study of patients undergoing ORIF between January 2018 and December 2019 was performed. The inclusion criteria were patients (>18 years) with a closed fracture sent to the emergency room (ER) within 24 h of injury. All the patients underwent preoperative image evaluation. Two senior orthopedic trauma surgeons evaluated the soft tissue condition in the ER by 5P’s of the compartment syndrome, judging the timing of the operation of definitive ORIF. Group 1 (n = 16) received delayed ORIF. Group 2 (n = 16) received immediate ORIF and ciNPT use. Patient follow-up occurred after 2 and 6 weeks and 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery. The assessments included the time to definitive fixation, the length of hospital stay, the time to bone union, surgical site complications, and reoperation within 12 months. A universal goniometer was used to measure the postoperative 3 m, 6 m, and 12 m ROM. Results: The patient demographics were similar between the groups (p > 0.05). Group 2 displayed significantly a shorter time to definitive fixation (5.94 ± 2.02 vs. 0.61 ± 0.28, p < 0.0001) and hospital stay (14.90 ± 8/78 vs. 10.30 ± 6.78, p = 0.0016). No significant difference was observed in the time to bone union, surgical site complication incidence, and reoperation rates (p > 0.05). Flexion and flexion–extension knee ROM were demonstrated to be significantly improved in Group 2, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: In this study, early ORIF and ciNPT use resulted in a shorter hospital length of stay, a reduced time to early active motion of the knee, and improved knee ROM. These results suggest that early ORIF with ciNPT for Schatzker type IV–VI TPFs is safe and effective in some patients. However, further research to confirm these findings across larger and more diverse populations is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Strategies in Fracture Treatments)
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14 pages, 3656 KiB  
Article
Deciphering the Interaction between Coniella granati and Pomegranate Fruit Employing Transcriptomics
by Athanasios Tsafouros, Polina C. Tsalgatidou, Anastasia Boutsika, Costas Delis, Annamaria Mincuzzi, Antonio Ippolito and Antonios Zambounis
Life 2024, 14(6), 752; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060752 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Pomegranate fruit dry rot is caused by Coniella granati, also referred as Pilidiella granati. In order to decipher the induced responses of mature pomegranates inoculated with the pathogen, an RNA-seq analysis was employed. A high number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) [...] Read more.
Pomegranate fruit dry rot is caused by Coniella granati, also referred as Pilidiella granati. In order to decipher the induced responses of mature pomegranates inoculated with the pathogen, an RNA-seq analysis was employed. A high number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were observed through a three-time series inoculation period. The transcriptional reprogramming was time-dependent, whereas the majority of DEGs were suppressed and the expression patterns of specific genes may facilitate the pathogen colonization at 1 day after inoculation (dai). In contrast, at 2 dai and mainly thereafter at 3 dai, defense responses were partially triggered in delay. Particularly, DEGs were mainly upregulated at the latest time point. Among them, specific DEGs involved in cell wall modification and degradation processes, pathogen recognition and signaling transduction cascades, activation of specific defense and metabolite biosynthesis-related genes, as well in induction of particular families of transcriptional factors, may constitute crucial components of a defense recruiting strategy employed by pomegranate fruit upon C. granati challenge. Overall, our findings provide novel insights to the compatible interaction of pomegranates—C. granati and lay the foundations for establishing integrated pest management (IPM) strategies involving advanced approaches, such as gene editing or molecular breeding programs for disease resistance, according to European Union (EU) goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomic Approaches in Plant Pathology)
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27 pages, 2860 KiB  
Review
A Review of Advances in Molecular Imaging of Rheumatoid Arthritis: From In Vitro to Clinic Applications Using Radiolabeled Targeting Vectors with Technetium-99m
by Muhammad Ali, Viviana Benfante, Domenico Di Raimondo, Riccardo Laudicella, Antonino Tuttolomondo and Albert Comelli
Life 2024, 14(6), 751; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060751 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 299
Abstract
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder caused by inflammation of cartilaginous diarthrodial joints that destroys joints and cartilage, resulting in synovitis and pannus formation. Timely detection and effective management of RA are pivotal for mitigating inflammatory arthritis consequences, potentially influencing disease [...] Read more.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder caused by inflammation of cartilaginous diarthrodial joints that destroys joints and cartilage, resulting in synovitis and pannus formation. Timely detection and effective management of RA are pivotal for mitigating inflammatory arthritis consequences, potentially influencing disease progression. Nuclear medicine using radiolabeled targeted vectors presents a promising avenue for RA diagnosis and response to treatment assessment. Radiopharmaceutical such as technetium-99m (99mTc), combined with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) combined with CT (SPECT/CT), introduces a more refined diagnostic approach, enhancing accuracy through precise anatomical localization, representing a notable advancement in hybrid molecular imaging for RA evaluation. This comprehensive review discusses existing research, encompassing in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies to explore the application of 99mTc radiolabeled targeting vectors with SPECT imaging for RA diagnosis. The purpose of this review is to highlight the potential of this strategy to enhance patient outcomes by improving the early detection and management of RA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Radiobiology and Nuclear Medicine)
11 pages, 805 KiB  
Article
Exploring Trichoderma Species in Industrial Wastewater: Morphological and Molecular Insights from Isolates
by Syeda Bint-e-Zahira, Abdul Nasir Khalid, Nousheen Yousaf, Muhammad Iqbal, Tauseef Anwar, Huma Qureshi, Saleh H. Salmen and Mohammad Javed Ansari
Life 2024, 14(6), 750; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060750 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 318
Abstract
The genus Trichoderma holds economic significance due to its widespread distribution and diverse applications, including biological control, enzyme production, and various biotechnological uses. The accurate identification of Trichoderma species is crucial given their close association with human activities. Despite previous efforts in classification, [...] Read more.
The genus Trichoderma holds economic significance due to its widespread distribution and diverse applications, including biological control, enzyme production, and various biotechnological uses. The accurate identification of Trichoderma species is crucial given their close association with human activities. Despite previous efforts in classification, a comprehensive analysis combining morphological and molecular approaches is necessary. This study focuses on the isolation of four Trichoderma species from industrial wastewater in Pakistan, expanding on the known diversity in the region; isolation involved collecting samples from industrial wastewater effluents at specific sites in Punjab, Pakistan. Trichoderma strains were cultured and purified on solid media, with subsequent biomass production for bisorptional activity. Morphological characterization included colony features and microscopic examinations. DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region were conducted for molecular analysis. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using the Maximum Likelihood Algorithm. The study identified three Trichoderma species, viz. T. citrinoviride, T. erinaceum, and T. longibrachiatum. Each species was characterized morphologically and supported by molecular–phylogenetic analysis. Illustrations of microscopic features and a phylogenetic tree based on the ITS-nrDNA region were recorded. T. citrinoviride and T. longibrachiatum, isolated from steel mill and tanneries wastewater, respectively, were differentiated based on morphological characteristics such as phialides and conidia. The combination of morphological and molecular techniques enhances the accuracy of species identification. The study highlights the significance of Trichoderma in industrial wastewater environments and underscores the need for continued research in this area. Future research should focus on exploring the ecological roles and potential applications of the newly identified Trichoderma species. Additionally, further investigations into the biotechnological potential of these species, including enzyme production and bioremediation capabilities, would contribute to their practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Microbiology 2024)
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18 pages, 2533 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Effect of Stress-Reducing Interventions on Heart Rate Variability in Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by Ouahiba El-Malahi, Darya Mohajeri, Alexander Bäuerle, Raluca Mincu, Korbinian Rothenaicher, Greta Ullrich, Christos Rammos, Martin Teufel, Tienush Rassaf and Julia Lortz
Life 2024, 14(6), 749; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060749 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Stress is recognized as a significant trigger and exacerbator of various medical conditions, particularly in the field of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Given that heart rate variability (HRV) offers insight into the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and has been identified as a [...] Read more.
Stress is recognized as a significant trigger and exacerbator of various medical conditions, particularly in the field of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Given that heart rate variability (HRV) offers insight into the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and has been identified as a predictive factor for increased cardiovascular mortality, exploring the correlation between stress and HRV is pertinent. We systematically reviewed trials where researchers investigated the effects of stress-reducing interventions on biomarkers and time-domain/frequency-domain parameters of HRV in CVD. Eligible studies underwent meta-analysis utilizing a random-effects model. The meta-analysis showed overall beneficial effects of stress-reducing interventions on HRV for the standard deviation of Normal-to-Normal intervals (SDNN) in short-term and 24 h assessments, as well as for the low-frequency power (LF) in short-term assessment. Overall effect sizes were notably high and showed significant p-values (short-term SDNN: MD = 6.43, p = 0.01; 24 h SDNN: MD = 10.92, p = 0.004; short-term LF: MD = 160.11, p < 0.001). Our findings highlight the significant impact of stress-reducing interventions in modulating HRV by influencing short-term SDNN and LF parameters, as well as the 24 h assessment of SDNN. These results emphasize the importance of stress-reducing measures in lowering the risk of further progression in CVD and improving patient outcomes. Full article
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8 pages, 15027 KiB  
Brief Report
Cardiac Computed Tomography Identification of the Septal Vein—A Small Retrospective Study
by Min Ku Chon, Ki Seok Choo and June Hong Kim
Life 2024, 14(6), 748; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060748 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 206
Abstract
Background: The advancement of medical interventions towards minimally invasive procedures highlights the crucial role of precise pre-procedural evaluation, particularly in catheter-based treatments for heart and cardiovascular conditions. This study investigates innovative techniques such as mitral loop cerclage (MLC) and transcatheter intramyocardial radiofrequency ablation [...] Read more.
Background: The advancement of medical interventions towards minimally invasive procedures highlights the crucial role of precise pre-procedural evaluation, particularly in catheter-based treatments for heart and cardiovascular conditions. This study investigates innovative techniques such as mitral loop cerclage (MLC) and transcatheter intramyocardial radiofrequency ablation (TIRA), emphasizing the importance of preprocedural cardiac CT scans for accurate anatomical guidance in these emerging therapies. Purpose: The objective of this study was to assess the cardiac cycle through examination of the proximal septal vein (ps) for mitral loop cerclage and the distal septal vein (ds) for transcatheter intramyocardial radiofrequency ablation. Materials and Methods: Forty patients (mean age 59.4 ± 14.7 years) undergoing third-generation dual-source computed tomography (DSCT) for chest pain evaluation were enrolled. CT scans, utilizing dual-energy CT (DECT) with iopamidol and saline, encompassed the carina to the heart base. A noise-optimized linear blended image was reconstructed at 10% intervals throughout the cardiac cycle, and the presence of ps and ds in each phase was noted by two radiologists. Results: This study identified ps in 62.5% and ds in 72.5% of patients, with both present in 45% of cases. The observation of septal veins occurred more frequently in the sequence of 70, 60, 40, 80, 30, 20, and 10% for ps, and 60, 70, 40, 80, 30, 90, 20, and 10% for ds, respectively. Conclusions: DECT in cardiac imaging is instrumental in assessing septal vein frequency. The 70% phase is optimal for MLC, while the 60% phase is preferred for TIRA. Full article
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5 pages, 168 KiB  
Editorial
Bridging Discoveries and Treatments: The New Landscape of Breast Cancer Research
by Taobo Hu, Lei Wang, Riccardo Autelli and Mengping Long
Life 2024, 14(6), 747; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060747 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 246
Abstract
Welcome to our Special Issue, “Advances in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment” of Life, where we have embarked on a comprehensive exploration of groundbreaking studies that advance our understanding and management of breast cancer [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment)
10 pages, 708 KiB  
Article
Malnutrition and the Post-Acute Sequelae of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection: A Multi-Institutional Population-Based Propensity Score-Matched Analysis
by Cheng-Ya Lee, Yung-Chun Liang, Wan-Hsuan Hsu, Ya-Wen Tsai, Ting-Hui Liu, Po-Yu Huang, Min-Hsiang Chuang, Kuo-Chuan Hung, Mei-Chuan Lee, Tsung Yu, Chih-Cheng Lai, Tzu-Chieh Weng and Jheng-Yan Wu
Life 2024, 14(6), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060746 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 324
Abstract
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has led to a global health crisis, exacerbating issues like malnutrition due to increased metabolic demands and reduced intake during illness. Malnutrition, a significant risk factor, is linked to worse [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has led to a global health crisis, exacerbating issues like malnutrition due to increased metabolic demands and reduced intake during illness. Malnutrition, a significant risk factor, is linked to worse outcomes in patients with COVID-19, such as increased mortality and extended hospital stays. This retrospective cohort study investigated the relationship between malnutrition and clinical outcomes within 90–180 days using data obtained from the TriNetX database. Patients aged >18 years diagnosed with COVID-19 between 1 January 2022, and 31 March 2024 were enrolled in the study. The propensity score-matching (PSM) method was used to match patients with malnutrition (malnutrition group) and those without malnutrition (control group). The primary composite outcome was the cumulative hazard ratio (HR) for post-COVID-19 condition, all-cause hospitalization, and all-cause mortality between 90 days and 180 days after COVID-19 diagnosis. The secondary outcomes were the individual components of the primary outcomes. Two cohorts, each consisting of 15,004 patients with balanced baseline characteristics, were identified using PSM. During the 90–180-day follow-up period, the malnutrition group exhibited a higher incidence of all-cause hospitalization, mortality, or post-COVID-19 condition (HR = 2.315, 95% confidence interval: 2.170–2.471, p < 0.0001). Compared with patients with COVID-19 without malnutrition, those with malnutrition may be associated with a higher risk of adverse clinical outcomes. Full article
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14 pages, 1510 KiB  
Communication
Optimizing Soil Health and Sorghum Productivity through Crop Rotation with Quinoa
by Guang Li, Aixia Ren, Sumera Anwar, Lijuan Shi, Wenbin Bai, Yali Zhang and Zhiqiang Gao
Life 2024, 14(6), 745; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14060745 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 314
Abstract
Crop rotation has been considered a potential solution to mitigate the negative effects of the continuous cropping of sorghum, including soil quality issues, inadequate plant development, and diminished yield and quality. A two-year field experiment was conducted to compare the effects of sorghum–sorghum [...] Read more.
Crop rotation has been considered a potential solution to mitigate the negative effects of the continuous cropping of sorghum, including soil quality issues, inadequate plant development, and diminished yield and quality. A two-year field experiment was conducted to compare the effects of sorghum–sorghum continuous cropping and quinoa–sorghum rotation on soil properties and sorghum yield. The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. Sorghum seeds (Jinza 22) and quinoa seeds (‘Jiaqi 1’ variety) were used. Soil samples were collected before and during the experiment for the analysis of physicochemical properties. The yield traits of sorghum were measured at maturity. The results showed that soil nutrients and organic matter were higher in the top 0–20 cm soil depth compared to 20–40 cm depth, with significant differences observed between cropping systems. Sorghum–quinoa cropping increased soil total N and organic matter, particularly at the jointing and maturity stages of sorghum. However, the available phosphorus was higher under continuous cropping at all growth stages. Crop rotation significantly improved sorghum yield traits, including spike fresh weight, spike dry weight, grain weight per spike, and grain yield per hectare. A correlation analysis revealed positive relationships between soil total N, organic matter, and sorghum yield. Overall, sorghum–quinoa rotation demonstrated potential for improving soil fertility and enhancing crop productivity compared to continuous cropping, although further studies are needed to explore the long-term effects and optimize management practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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