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J, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2020) – 7 articles

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Article
Physicochemical and Bacteriological Quality of Public Swimming Pools in the Tamale Metropolis, Ghana
J 2020, 3(2), 236-249; https://doi.org/10.3390/j3020018 - 31 May 2020
Viewed by 886
Abstract
The study focused on the physicochemical and bacteriological quality of public swimming pools in the Tamale Metropolis. Physicochemical properties such as pH, temperature, and conductivity, and bacteria counts—including total coliform, faecal coliform, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Staphylococcus aureus, and total heterotrophic [...] Read more.
The study focused on the physicochemical and bacteriological quality of public swimming pools in the Tamale Metropolis. Physicochemical properties such as pH, temperature, and conductivity, and bacteria counts—including total coliform, faecal coliform, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Staphylococcus aureus, and total heterotrophic bacteria—were analyzed for their conformity with required health standards. The results obtained were analyzed using Student t test and compared with World Health Organization (WHO) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for safe recreational and drinking water. The highest and the lowest temperatures were recorded in April (32.53 °C) and February (28.16 °C), respectively. The lowest and the highest mean pH values were 4.04 and 6.13, which were below acceptable standards. The conductivity level varied from 469.1563 µS cm−1 to 928.1563 µS cm−1. While the pH did not conform to acceptable standards, temperature and conductivity were within the EPA and/or the WHO acceptable limits. The total coliform (TC) expressed in colony-forming units per 100 mL ranged from 0 to 397 (cfu/100 mL), faecal coliform (FC) 0 to196 cfu/100 mL, E. coli 0 to 52 cfu/100 mL, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) 8 to 27 cfu/100 mL, and Total Heterotrophic Bacteria (THB) 44 to 197 (cfu/mL). TC, FC, E. coli, S. aureus, and THB counts in most of the samples complied with the bacteriological standards. However, the bacterial loads increased and exceeded the WHO and/or EPA standards as the number of bathers increased. Besides, there were positive correlations between physicochemical parameters such as temperature, pH, and bacterial loads. Most parameters studied met the acceptable standards of recreational water stipulated by the WHO and EPA. However, the presence of pathogenic organisms in the recreational waters at any point in time should be treated as a public health concern, and hence a call for routine monitoring and inspection of public swimming pools in the Tamale Metropolis. Full article
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Article
Determinants of the Business Performance of Women Entrepreneurs in the Developing World Context
J 2020, 3(2), 215-235; https://doi.org/10.3390/j3020017 - 30 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1645
Abstract
Resource-based theory posits the deployment of resources by entrepreneurs to achieve performance without questioning the possibility of deploying these resources. The question, however, remains how resources are deployed in developing countries that constrain the choice in the deployment of resources. To answer this, [...] Read more.
Resource-based theory posits the deployment of resources by entrepreneurs to achieve performance without questioning the possibility of deploying these resources. The question, however, remains how resources are deployed in developing countries that constrain the choice in the deployment of resources. To answer this, we analyse the factors determining the business performance of women entrepreneurs in a developing country context. Data were collected through a survey sent to 211 Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs engaged in handicraft businesses. Results from hierarchical multiple regression analyses show that (1) the social environment in terms of socio-cultural norms and customs hinders the performance; (2) the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) dimensions, namely, combined Innovative–proactive EO and Risk-taking EO, and the business trainings positively affect the performance; and (3) the social ties negatively influence the performance, which may be due to the excessive presence of strong ties in a personal social network. Based on results, we suggest that environment (context) is a contingent factor for the way personal traits such as EO, human, and social capital can be used by women entrepreneurs to achieve performance in a developing world context. Full article
Review
Monoterpenoids: The Next Frontier in the Treatment of Chronic Pain?
J 2020, 3(2), 195-214; https://doi.org/10.3390/j3020016 - 28 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1099
Abstract
Ointments and lotions from natural extracts have a long tradition of being used in folk medicines against pain conditions. Monoterpenoids are among the major constituents of several natural topical remedies. The field of chronic pain is one of the most investigated for new [...] Read more.
Ointments and lotions from natural extracts have a long tradition of being used in folk medicines against pain conditions. Monoterpenoids are among the major constituents of several natural topical remedies. The field of chronic pain is one of the most investigated for new active molecular entities. This review will discuss several molecular mechanisms against which monoterpenoids have been proven to be good candidates for the topical treatment of chronic pain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pain and Chronic Pain)
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Article
Discrepancy between Jun/Fos Proto-Oncogene mRNA and Protein Expression in the Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Membrane
J 2020, 3(2), 181-194; https://doi.org/10.3390/j3020015 - 05 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 970
Abstract
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and destructive joint disease characterized by overexpression of pro-inflammatory/pro-destructive mediators, whose regulation has been the focus of our previous studies. Since the expression of these proteins commonly depends on AP-1, the expression of the AP-1-forming subunits [...] Read more.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and destructive joint disease characterized by overexpression of pro-inflammatory/pro-destructive mediators, whose regulation has been the focus of our previous studies. Since the expression of these proteins commonly depends on AP-1, the expression of the AP-1-forming subunits cJun, JunB, JunD, and cFos was assessed in synovial membrane (SM) samples of RA, osteoarthritis (OA), joint trauma (JT), and normal controls (NC) using ELISA and qRT-PCR. With respect to an observed discrepancy between mRNA and protein levels, the expression of the mRNA stability-modifying factors AU-rich element RNA-binding protein (AUF)-1, tristetraprolin (TTP), and human antigen R (HuR) was measured. JunB and JunD protein expression was significantly higher in RA-SM compared to OA and/or NC. By contrast, jun/fos mRNA expression was significantly (cjun) or numerically decreased (junB, junD, cfos) in RA and OA compared to JT and/or NC. Remarkably, TTP and HuR were also affected by discrepancies between their mRNA and protein levels, since they were significantly decreased at the mRNA level in RA versus NC, but significantly or numerically increased at the protein level when compared to JT and NC. Discrepancies between the mRNA and protein expression for Jun/Fos and TTP/HuR suggest broad alterations of post-transcriptional processes in the RA-SM. In this context, increased levels of mRNA-destabilizing TTP may contribute to the low levels of jun/fos and ttp/hur mRNA, whereas abundant mRNA-stabilizing HuR may augment translation of the remaining mRNA into protein with potential consequences for the composition of the resulting AP-1 complexes and the expression of AP-1-dependent genes in RA. Full article
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Article
Status of Water Quality for Human Consumption in High-Andean Rural Communities: Discrepancies between Techniques for Identifying Trace Metals
J 2020, 3(2), 162-180; https://doi.org/10.3390/j3020014 - 27 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1175
Abstract
Access to safe water is essential for people’s lives and health. However, little information is available about the quality of water consumed in rural communities in the Andes of Peru. The difficulties of accessing communities, and the lack of nearby laboratories, raise the [...] Read more.
Access to safe water is essential for people’s lives and health. However, little information is available about the quality of water consumed in rural communities in the Andes of Peru. The difficulties of accessing communities, and the lack of nearby laboratories, raise the question of which techniques are being used or could be used to monitor water quality (and specifically, for trace metal content determination), as discrepancies between different techniques have been reported. This work focuses on water characterization of (i) physicochemical, microbiological, and parasitological parameters; and (ii) the presence of trace metals in a specific Andean region involving five communities, determined by two different techniques: inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). AAS was performed at local laboratories in the province capital located within a 4-h travel distance from sampling points, and ICP-MS was performed in a certified lab in Lima at a 24-h bus travel distance (on average) from sampling points. The physicochemical characterization shows non-compliance with regulations of 16.4% of reservoirs and 23.1% of households. Further, standards for microbiological and parasitological parameters were not met by 14.5% of spring water points, 18.8% of water reservoirs, and 14.3% of households. These results are in agreement with the Peruvian government´s general figures regarding water quality in rural areas. While ICP-MS and AAS gave equivalent results for most pairs of sample metals tested, differences were found for Mo, Mn, Al, Zn, Cd, and Cu concentrations (with larger differences for Mo, Cd, and Cu). Differences in Al and Mo affect the comparison with water quality standards and generate uncertainty in terms of acceptability for human consumption. Full article
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Article
Hox Gene Collinearity May Be Related to Noether Theory on Symmetry and Its Linked Conserved Quantity
J 2020, 3(2), 151-161; https://doi.org/10.3390/j3020013 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 850
Abstract
Hox Gene Collinearity (HGC) is a fundamental property that controls the development of many animal species, including vertebrates. In the Hox gene clusters, the genes are located in a sequential order Hox1, Hox2, Hox3, etc., along the 3’ to 5’ direction of the [...] Read more.
Hox Gene Collinearity (HGC) is a fundamental property that controls the development of many animal species, including vertebrates. In the Hox gene clusters, the genes are located in a sequential order Hox1, Hox2, Hox3, etc., along the 3’ to 5’ direction of the cluster in the chromosome. During Hox cluster activation, the Hox genes are expressed sequentially in the ontogenetic units D1, D2, D3, etc., along the anterior–posterior axis (A-P) of the early embryo. This collinearity, first observed by E.B. Lewis, is surprising because the spatial collinearity of these structures (Hox clusters and embryos) correlates entities that differ by about four orders of magnitude. Biomolecular mechanisms alone cannot explain such correlations. Long-range physical interactions, such as diffusion or electric attractions, should be involved. A biophysical model (BM) was formulated, which, in alignment with the biomolecular processes, successfully describes the existing vertebrate genetic engineering data. One hundred years ago, Emmy Noether made a fundamental discovery in mathematics and physics. She proved, rigorously, that a physical system obeying a symmetry law (e.g., rotations or self-similarity) is followed by a conserved physical quantity. It is argued here that HGC obeys a ‘primitive’ self-similarity symmetry. In this case, the associated primitive conserved quantity is the irreversibly increasing ‘ratchet’-like Hoxgene ordering where some genes may be missing. The genes of a vertebrate Hox clusterare located along a finite straight line. The same order follows the ontogenetic unitsof the vertebrate embryo. Therefore, HGC is a manifestation of a primitive Noether Theory (NT). NT may be applied to other than the vertebrate case, for instance, to animals with a circular topological symmetry. For example, the observed abnormal Hox gene ordering of the echinoderm Hox clusters may be reproduced by a double-strand break of the circular Hox gene ordering and its subsequent incorporation in the flanking chromosome. Full article
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Article
Elderly Body Movement Alteration at 2nd Experience of Digital Art Installation with Cognitive and Motivation Scores
J 2020, 3(2), 138-150; https://doi.org/10.3390/j3020012 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 953
Abstract
The prevalence of advanced medical treatment has led to global population aging, resulting in increased numbers of dementia patients. One of the most intractable symptoms of dementia is apathy, or lack of interest and enthusiasm, which can accompany memory and cognitive deterioration. Development [...] Read more.
The prevalence of advanced medical treatment has led to global population aging, resulting in increased numbers of dementia patients. One of the most intractable symptoms of dementia is apathy, or lack of interest and enthusiasm, which can accompany memory and cognitive deterioration. Development of a novel method to ameliorate apathy is desirable. In this feasibility trial, we propose a series of digital art installations as a candidate dementia intervention approach. Seven, three-minute scenes of digital images and sounds were presented to visitors either passively or in response to their reactions (motion and sound). We evaluated the potential of this application as an intervention against apathy in an elderly living home. We collected the dementia global standard Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and questionnaire scores of sensory pleasure and motivation along with behavioral motion data in twenty participants. We further compared responses between the first and second experiences in the thirteen participants that were present for both days. Overall, we found a significant increase in participants’ motivation. In these subjects, head and right hand motion increased over different scenes and MMSE degrees, but was most significant during passive scenes. Despite a small number of subjects and limited evaluations, this new digital art technology holds promise as an apathy intervention in the elderly and can be improved with use of wearable motion sensors. Full article
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