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J, Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2021) – 12 articles

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17 pages, 616 KiB  
Article
Medical Device Regulation Efforts for mHealth Apps during the COVID-19 Pandemic—An Experience Report of Corona Check and Corona Health
by Marc Holfelder, Lena Mulansky, Winfried Schlee, Harald Baumeister, Johannes Schobel, Helmut Greger, Andreas Hoff and Rüdiger Pryss
J 2021, 4(2), 206-222; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020017 - 16 Jun 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3542
Abstract
Within the healthcare environment, mobile health (mHealth) applications (apps) are becoming more and more important. The number of new mHealth apps has risen steadily in the last years. Especially the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an enormous amount of app releases. In most [...] Read more.
Within the healthcare environment, mobile health (mHealth) applications (apps) are becoming more and more important. The number of new mHealth apps has risen steadily in the last years. Especially the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an enormous amount of app releases. In most countries, mHealth applications have to be compliant with several regulatory aspects to be declared a “medical app”. However, the latest applicable medical device regulation (MDR) does not provide more details on the requirements for mHealth applications. When developing a medical app, it is essential that all contributors in an interdisciplinary team—especially software engineers—are aware of the specific regulatory requirements beforehand. The development process, however, should not be stalled due to integration of the MDR. Therefore, a developing framework that includes these aspects is required to facilitate a reliable and quick development process. The paper at hand introduces the creation of such a framework on the basis of the Corona Health and Corona Check apps. The relevant regulatory guidelines are listed and summarized as a guidance for medical app developments during the pandemic and beyond. In particular, the important stages and challenges faced that emerged during the entire development process are highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IT Support in the Healthcare Sector)
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13 pages, 2746 KiB  
Article
Adsorptive and Coagulative Removal of Trace Metals from Water Using Surface Modified Sawdust-Based Cellulose Nanocrystals
by Opeyemi A. Oyewo, Sam Ramaila, Lydia Mavuru, Taile Leswifi and Maurice S. Onyango
J 2021, 4(2), 193-205; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020016 - 14 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2211
Abstract
The presence of toxic metals in surface and natural waters, even at trace levels, poses a great danger to humans and the ecosystem. Although the combination of adsorption and coagulation techniques has the potential to eradicate this problem, the use of inappropriate media [...] Read more.
The presence of toxic metals in surface and natural waters, even at trace levels, poses a great danger to humans and the ecosystem. Although the combination of adsorption and coagulation techniques has the potential to eradicate this problem, the use of inappropriate media remains a major drawback. This study reports on the application of NaNO2/NaHCO3 modified sawdust-based cellulose nanocrystals (MCNC) as both coagulant and adsorbent for the removal of Cu, Fe and Pb from aqueous solution. The surface modified coagulants, prepared by electrostatic interactions, were characterized using Fourier transform infrared, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS). The amount of coagulated/adsorbed trace metals was then analysed using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). SEM analysis revealed the patchy and distributed floccules on Fe-flocs, which was an indication of multiple mechanisms responsible for Fe removal onto MCNC. A shift in the peak position attributed to C2H192N64O16 from 2θ = 30 to 24.5° occurred in the XRD pattern of both Pb- and Cu-flocs. Different process variables, including initial metal ions concentration (10–200 mg/L), solution pH (2–10), and temperature (25–45 °C) were studied in order to investigate how they affect the reaction process. Both Cu and Pb adsorption followed the Langmuir isotherm with a maximum adsorption capacity of 111.1 and 2.82 mg/g, respectively, whereas the adsorption of Fe was suggestive of a multilayer adsorption process; however, Fe Langmuir maximum adsorption capacity was found to be 81.96 mg/g. The sequence of trace metals removal followed the order: Cu > Fe > Pb. The utilization of this product in different water matrices is an effective way to establish their robustness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sciences)
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11 pages, 591 KiB  
Review
Estimating Health over Space and Time: A Review of Spatial Microsimulation Applied to Public Health
by Dianna M. Smith, Alison Heppenstall and Monique Campbell
J 2021, 4(2), 182-192; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020015 - 9 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3181
Abstract
There is an ongoing demand for data on population health, for reasons of resource allocation, future planning and crucially to address inequalities in health between people and between populations. Although there are regular sources of data at coarse spatial scales, such as countries [...] Read more.
There is an ongoing demand for data on population health, for reasons of resource allocation, future planning and crucially to address inequalities in health between people and between populations. Although there are regular sources of data at coarse spatial scales, such as countries or large sub-national units such as states, there is often a lack of good quality health data at the local level. One method to develop reliable estimates of population health outcomes is spatial microsimulation, an approach that has its roots in economic studies. Here, we share a review of this method for estimating health in populations, explaining the different approaches available and examples where the method is applied successfully for creating both static and dynamic populations. Recent notable advances in the method that allow uncertainty to be represented are highlighted, along with the evolving approaches to validation that are an ongoing challenge in small-area estimation. The summary serves as a primer for academics new to the area of research as well as an overview for non-academic researchers who consider using these models for policy evaluations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Themes in Geographic Epidemiology)
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13 pages, 420 KiB  
Article
Prevalence and Factors Associated with Hygiene Behaviours among In-School Adolescents in Ghana
by Abdul-Aziz Seidu, Hubert Amu, Tarif Salihu, John Elvis Hagan, Jr., Ebenezer Agbaglo, Abigail Amoah, Eric Abodey, Margaret Abokoma Boateng and Bright Opoku Ahinkorah
J 2021, 4(2), 169-181; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020014 - 7 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2354
Abstract
(1) Background: Despite a global call to act to resolve communicable diseases caused by lack of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, many people in low- and middle-income countries continue to die each year. In this study, we looked at in-school adolescents’ oral and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Despite a global call to act to resolve communicable diseases caused by lack of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, many people in low- and middle-income countries continue to die each year. In this study, we looked at in-school adolescents’ oral and hand hygiene activities in Ghana, as well as the factors that influence them. (2) Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that utilised data on 1348 in-school adolescents from the 2012 global school-based health survey. Using Stata software version 14.2, descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. All statistical analyses were considered significant at p-value < 0.05. (3) Results: The prevalence of good hygiene behaviour was 62.6% and 79.9% for good oral hygiene and good hand hygiene, respectively. In-school adolescents who were truant were 31% (AOR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.51–0.92) and 28% (AOR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.54–0.87), respectively, less likely to practise good hand and oral hygiene compared to those who were not. Adolescents whose parents supervised their homework, however, had higher probabilities of practising good hand (AOR = 2.30, 95% CI = 1.64–2.31) and oral (AOR = 2.34, 95% CI = 1.80–3.04) hygiene respectively. Adolescents aged 18 years and above were 1.33 times more likely to practice good oral hygiene than younger adolescents (AOR=1.33, 95% CI = 1.07–1.66). Adolescents who were bullied had lower odds of practicing good hand hygiene (AOR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.52–0.94). (4) Conclusions: While good hygiene behaviour remains a major strategy in decreasing the prevalence of communicable diseases, the less than 65% prevalence of hand hygiene we observed in the current study is indicative of the country’s inability to achieve water, hygiene and sanitation for all by the year 2030. To accelerate progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goal 6.2, there is a need for the implementation of innovative interventions which seek to promote good hygiene behaviours among adolescents and the expansion of existing interventions, such as the WASH initiative, in schools. Such interventions should focus more on younger adolescents, those who are truant, and adolescents who suffer from bullying in school. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health & Healthcare)
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15 pages, 6977 KiB  
Article
Ce2O3/BiVO4 Embedded in rGO as Photocatalyst for the Degradation of Methyl Orange under Visible Light Irradiation
by Damian C. Onwudiwe, Boitumelo M. Phadi and Opeyemi A. Oyewo
J 2021, 4(2), 154-168; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020013 - 7 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3052
Abstract
A p–n heterojunction semiconductor structure composed of Ce3O4 and BiVO4 has been synthesized and then incorporated into reduced graphene oxide (rGO) by the hydrothermal method. The ternary composites were characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron [...] Read more.
A p–n heterojunction semiconductor structure composed of Ce3O4 and BiVO4 has been synthesized and then incorporated into reduced graphene oxide (rGO) by the hydrothermal method. The ternary composites were characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron diffraction spectroscopy (EDS), and UV–vis spectroscopy. The efficiency of the composites as photocatalysts was determined by studying the oxidative degradation of methyl orange in aqueous solution under visible light irradiation. The effect of parameters such as pH, catalyst loading, and concentration of the dye solution was examined in order to determine their influence on the photocatalytic activity of the composites. The composite incorporated into reduced graphene oxide presented the highest percentage (above 90%) in 2 h time, attributed to the effect of the increased surface area. The process of the enhanced photocatalytic activity has been discussed based on the energy band positions of the nanoparticles within the composite. Full article
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7 pages, 2046 KiB  
Communication
The Importance of Implementing Cyber Physical Systems to Acquire Real-Time Data and Indicators
by Paula Morella, María Pilar Lambán, Jesús Antonio Royo and Juan Carlos Sánchez
J 2021, 4(2), 147-153; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020012 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 6171
Abstract
Among the new trends in technology that have emerged through the Industry 4.0, Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT) are crucial for the real-time data acquisition. This data acquisition, together with its transformation in valuable information, are indispensable for the [...] Read more.
Among the new trends in technology that have emerged through the Industry 4.0, Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT) are crucial for the real-time data acquisition. This data acquisition, together with its transformation in valuable information, are indispensable for the development of real-time indicators. Moreover, real-time indicators provide companies with a competitive advantage over the competition since they enhance the calculus and speed up the decision-making and failure detection. Our research highlights the advantages of real-time data acquisition for supply chains, developing indicators that would be impossible to achieve with traditional systems, improving the accuracy of the existing ones and enhancing the real-time decision-making. Moreover, it brings out the importance of integrating technologies 4.0 in industry, in this case, CPS and IoT, and establishes the main points for a future research agenda of this topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computer Science & Mathematics)
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16 pages, 827 KiB  
Article
COVID-19 Mortality in English Neighborhoods: The Relative Role of Socioeconomic and Environmental Factors
by Peter Congdon
J 2021, 4(2), 131-146; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020011 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3670
Abstract
Factors underlying neighborhood variation in COVID-19 mortality are important to assess in order to prioritize resourcing and policy intervention. As well as characteristics of area populations, such as health status and ethnic mix, it is important to assess the role of more specifically [...] Read more.
Factors underlying neighborhood variation in COVID-19 mortality are important to assess in order to prioritize resourcing and policy intervention. As well as characteristics of area populations, such as health status and ethnic mix, it is important to assess the role of more specifically environmental variables (e.g., air quality, green space access). The analysis of this study focuses on neighborhood mortality variations during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in England against a range of postulated area risk factors, both socio-demographic and environmental. We assess mortality gradients across levels of each risk factor and use regression methods to control for multicollinearity and spatially correlated unobserved risks. An analysis of spatial clustering is based on relative mortality risks estimated from the regression. We find mortality gradients in most risk factors showing appreciable differences in COVID mortality risk between English neighborhoods. A regression analysis shows that after allowing for health deprivation, ethnic mix, and ethnic segregation, environment (especially air quality) is an important influence on COVID mortality. Hence, environmental influences on COVID mortality risk in the UK first wave are substantial, after allowing for socio-demographic factors. Spatial clustering of high mortality shows a pronounced metropolitan-rural contrast, reflecting especially ethnic composition and air quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Themes in Geographic Epidemiology)
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15 pages, 13743 KiB  
Article
Potential Use of Indoor Living Walls in Canadian Dwellings
by Daria Smolova and Avi Friedman
J 2021, 4(2), 116-130; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020010 - 7 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4043
Abstract
Current social and environmental challenges have led to the rethinking of residential designs. Global warming, food insecurity, and, as a result, costly fresh produce are some of the causes of the reconsideration. Moreover, with obligatory isolation following the global COVID-19 pandemic, some are [...] Read more.
Current social and environmental challenges have led to the rethinking of residential designs. Global warming, food insecurity, and, as a result, costly fresh produce are some of the causes of the reconsideration. Moreover, with obligatory isolation following the global COVID-19 pandemic, some are realizing the importance of nature and air quality in homes. This paper explores the potential integration of indoor living walls (ILWs) in Canadian homes for agricultural and air purification purposes. By reviewing a number of case studies, this paper investigates how the development of such walls can alter the traditional food production chain, while reducing environmental threats. The findings show that current indoor living wall practices can be transformed into a useful source of fresh food, and, to some degree, alter traditional food supply. They can also help in creating inexpensive methods of air purification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource – Efficient Homes and Communities)
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15 pages, 2543 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Characterization of a Novel Lignin-Based Biopolymer from Ulex europaeus: A Preliminary Study
by Andrés F. Bonilla and Diego A. Bonilla
J 2021, 4(2), 101-115; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020009 - 6 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2518
Abstract
Invasive plant species are a global environmental threat since they affect native species and can modify ecosystems, which negatively impacts human health and world economics. The aim of this preliminary study was to synthesize and characterize a new lignin-based biopolymer from gorse ( [...] Read more.
Invasive plant species are a global environmental threat since they affect native species and can modify ecosystems, which negatively impacts human health and world economics. The aim of this preliminary study was to synthesize and characterize a new lignin-based biopolymer from gorse (Ulex europaeus), a globally widespread invasive plant. The lignin extraction was carried out through base/acid and solvent-based methodologies to compare the reaction yield. Subsequent polymerization of the extracted lignin was performed by glycine condensation in a 70% 1,4-dioxane solution with H2O2 and CaCl2 as catalysts. The extraction and polymerization products were characterized by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. Thermal and stability properties of the new biopolymer were determined by thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and a soil burial test. The alkaline extraction process of lignin resulted in a higher yield than the process using an organic solvent. In comparison to the extracted lignin, the novel biopolymer showed different absorption bands that are characteristic of tensions and flexions of alkenes, amine, and amide groups. Additionally, thermal properties revealed peaks corresponding to decomposition and dehydration reactions, endothermic processes and a glass transition temperature of ≈259 °C. Potential biodegradation was observed. A new polymeric, possibly cross-linked, thermally stable material with a potentially high degree of crystallinity was synthesized from a renewable raw material, which might contribute to the gorse management according to the concept of novel ecosystem, as well as the reduction in contamination by other polymeric materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemistry & Material Sciences)
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15 pages, 3256 KiB  
Article
Fractional SIR-Model for Estimating Transmission Dynamics of COVID-19 in India
by Nita H. Shah, Ankush H. Suthar, Ekta N. Jayswal and Ankit Sikarwar
J 2021, 4(2), 86-100; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020008 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2730
Abstract
In this article, a time-dependent susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) model is constructed to investigate the transmission rate of COVID-19 in various regions of India. The model included the fundamental parameters on which the transmission rate of the infection is dependent, like the population density, contact [...] Read more.
In this article, a time-dependent susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) model is constructed to investigate the transmission rate of COVID-19 in various regions of India. The model included the fundamental parameters on which the transmission rate of the infection is dependent, like the population density, contact rate, recovery rate, and intensity of the infection in the respective region. Looking at the great diversity in different geographic locations in India, we determined to calculate the basic reproduction number for all Indian districts based on the COVID-19 data till 7 July 2020. By preparing district-wise spatial distribution maps with the help of ArcGIS 10.2, the model was employed to show the effect of complete lockdown on the transmission rate of the COVID-19 infection in Indian districts. Moreover, with the model’s transformation to the fractional ordered dynamical system, we found that the nature of the proposed SIR model is different for the different order of the systems. The sensitivity analysis of the basic reproduction number is done graphically which forecasts the change in the transmission rate of COVID-19 infection with change in different parameters. In the numerical simulation section, oscillations and variations in the model compartments are shown for two different situations, with and without lockdown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Stability Analysis Non-Linear Systems)
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2 pages, 158 KiB  
Editorial
Advance in Molecular Thermodynamics
by Fumio Hirata
J 2021, 4(2), 84-85; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020007 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1563
Abstract
“Thermodynamics” is one of the oldest but the most fundamental concepts of modern science and technology [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance in Molecular Thermodynamics)
2 pages, 150 KiB  
Editorial
Applied Superconductivity and Magnetism
by Vladimir R. Romanovskii and Igor A. Rudnev
J 2021, 4(2), 82-83; https://doi.org/10.3390/j4020006 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1649
Abstract
A magnetic field, which is one of the more important physical parameters, allows the properties of materials to change [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Superconductivity and Magnetism)
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