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Article
A Machine Learning Method Based on 3D Local Surface Representation for Recognizing the Inscriptions on Ancient Stele
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(12), 5758; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125758 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
It is challenging to extract reliefs from ancient steles due to their rough surfaces which contain relief-like noise such as dents and scratches. In this paper, we propose a method to segment relief region from 3D scanned ancient stele by exploiting local surface [...] Read more.
It is challenging to extract reliefs from ancient steles due to their rough surfaces which contain relief-like noise such as dents and scratches. In this paper, we propose a method to segment relief region from 3D scanned ancient stele by exploiting local surface characteristics. For each surface point, four points that are apart from the reference point along the direction of the principal curvatures of the point are identified. The spin images of the reference point and the four relative points are concatenated to provide additional local surface information of the reference point. A random forest model is trained with the local surface features and thereafter, used to classify 3D surface point as relief or non-relief. To effectively distinguish relief from the degraded surface region containing relief-like noise, the model is trained using three-class labels consisting of relief, background, and degraded surface region. The initial three-class result obtained from the model is refined using the k-nearest neighbors algorithm, and finally, the degraded region is re-labeled to background region. Experimental results show that the proposed method performed better than the state-of-the-art, SVM-based method with a margin of 0.68%, 3.53%, 2.25%, and 2.36%, in accuracy, precision, F1 score, and SIRI, respectively. When compared with the height- and curvature-based methods, the proposed method outperforms these existing methods with an accuracy, precision, F1 score, and SIRI of over 4%, 20%, 11%, and 12%, respectively. Full article
Article
Factors Influencing Adoption of Compost Made from Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste and Purchasing Pattern: A Survey of Italian Professional and Hobbyist Users
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061262 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Composting represents an alternative for the management of the organic fraction from municipal waste. However, the adoption of compost made from municipal waste is not yet widespread across all European countries, including Italy. Being ‘professional’ (i.e., farmers and gardeners) and ‘hobbyists’ the most [...] Read more.
Composting represents an alternative for the management of the organic fraction from municipal waste. However, the adoption of compost made from municipal waste is not yet widespread across all European countries, including Italy. Being ‘professional’ (i.e., farmers and gardeners) and ‘hobbyists’ the most representative categories of compost buyers in Italy, this study investigated their attitude toward municipal waste compost adoption and their purchasing pattern, pointing out criticalities and strategies to promote a wider use of this kind of compost. For the two categories of users, frequency of use of different information, buying habits, opinions on marketing issues, and factors which encourage compost utilization were investigated. The ‘professionals’ and ‘hobbyists’ reported different purchasing behaviors in terms of quantity, frequency, and preferred packaging format. The capability of compost from municipal waste to improve soil characteristics and its low environmental impact were identified as the most significant aspects for users, while availability of economic subsidies was not a determining factor for municipal waste compost adoption. With regard to the information sources, the broader use of personal communication channels like peers’ suggestions may have influence on compost adoption pointing out how social influence can promote sustainable behavior and influence users’ purchasing choices. Full article
Review
Light-Driven Hydrogen Evolution Assisted by Covalent Organic Frameworks
Catalysts 2021, 11(6), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal11060754 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) are crystalline porous organic polymers built from covalent organic blocks that can be photochemically active when incorporating organic semiconducting units, such as triazine rings or diacetylene bridges. The bandgap, charge separation capacity, porosity, wettability, and chemical stability of COFs [...] Read more.
Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) are crystalline porous organic polymers built from covalent organic blocks that can be photochemically active when incorporating organic semiconducting units, such as triazine rings or diacetylene bridges. The bandgap, charge separation capacity, porosity, wettability, and chemical stability of COFs can be tuned by properly choosing their constitutive building blocks, by extension of conjugation, by adjustment of the size and crystallinity of the pores, and by synthetic post-functionalization. This review focuses on the recent uses of COFs as photoactive platforms for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), in which usually metal nanoparticles (NPs) or metallic compounds (generally Pt-based) act as co-catalysts. The most promising COF-based photocatalytic HER systems will be discussed, and special emphasis will be placed on rationalizing their structure and light-harvesting properties in relation to their catalytic activity and stability under turnover conditions. Finally, the aspects that need to be improved in the coming years will be discussed, such as the degree of dispersibility in water, the global photocatalytic efficiency, and the robustness and stability of the hybrid systems, putting emphasis on both the COF and the metal co-catalyst. Full article
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Article
T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma Arising in the Setting of Myeloid/Lymphoid Neoplasms with Eosinophilia: LMO2 Immunohistochemistry as a Potentially Useful Diagnostic Marker
Cancers 2021, 13(12), 3102; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123102 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Background: Rarely, T-lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL) may develop in the setting of myeloid/lymphoid neoplasms with eosinophilia (M/LNs-Eo), a group of diseases with gene fusion resulting in overexpression of an aberrant tyrosine kinase or cytokine receptor. The correct identification of this category has relevant therapeutic [...] Read more.
Background: Rarely, T-lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL) may develop in the setting of myeloid/lymphoid neoplasms with eosinophilia (M/LNs-Eo), a group of diseases with gene fusion resulting in overexpression of an aberrant tyrosine kinase or cytokine receptor. The correct identification of this category has relevant therapeutic implications. LIM domain only 2 (LMO2) is overexpressed in most T-LBL, but not in immature TdT-positive T-cells in the thymus and in indolent T-lymphoblastic proliferations (iT-LBP). Methods and Results: We retrospectively evaluated 11 cases of T-LBL occurring in the context of M/LNs-Eo. Clinical, histological, immunohistochemical and molecular features were collected and LMO2 immunohistochemical staining was performed. The critical re-evaluation of these cases confirmed the diagnosis of T-LBL with morphological, immunohistochemical and molecular features consistent with T-LBL occurring in M/LNs-Eo. Interestingly, LMO2 immunohistochemical analysis was negative in 9/11 cases, whereas only 2 cases revealed a partial LMO2 expression with a moderate and low degree of intensity, respectively. Conclusions: LMO2 may represent a potentially useful marker to identify T-LBL developing in the context of M/LNs-Eo. In this setting, T-LBL shows LMO2 immunohistochemical profile overlapping with cortical thymocytes and iT-LBP, possibly reflecting different molecular patterns involved in the pathogenesis of T-LBL arising in the setting of M/LNs-Eo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis and Natural History of Myeloproliferative Neoplasms)
Article
Pyridazino-1,3a,6a-Triazapentalenes as Versatile Fluorescent Probes: Impact of Their Post-Functionalization and Application for Cellular Imaging
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(12), 6645; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22126645 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Pyridazino-1,3a,6a-triazapentalenes (PyTAP) are compact fused 6/5/5 tricyclic scaffolds which exhibit promising fluorescent properties. Chemically stable, they can be post-functionalized using standard Pd-catalyzed cross-coupling chemistry. Several original PyTAP bearing additional unsaturated substituents in positions 2 and 8 were synthetized and their spectroscopic properties analyzed. [...] Read more.
Pyridazino-1,3a,6a-triazapentalenes (PyTAP) are compact fused 6/5/5 tricyclic scaffolds which exhibit promising fluorescent properties. Chemically stable, they can be post-functionalized using standard Pd-catalyzed cross-coupling chemistry. Several original PyTAP bearing additional unsaturated substituents in positions 2 and 8 were synthetized and their spectroscopic properties analyzed. They have been successfully tested as fluorescent probes for cellular imaging. Full article
Article
Daily Headache in Chronic Migraine Is a Predictive Factor of Response in Patients Who Had Completed Three Sessions of OnabotulinumtoxinA
Toxins 2021, 13(6), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13060432 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
OnabotulinumtoxinA is one of the main preventive treatments for chronic migraine. Despite that up to one third of patients with chronic migraine suffer from daily headache, these individuals have hardly been studied. We conducted a prospective cohort study, including patients with chronic migraine [...] Read more.
OnabotulinumtoxinA is one of the main preventive treatments for chronic migraine. Despite that up to one third of patients with chronic migraine suffer from daily headache, these individuals have hardly been studied. We conducted a prospective cohort study, including patients with chronic migraine and treated with OnabotulinumtoxinA according to the PREEMPT paradigm. The primary endpoint was to assess whether patients with chronic migraine and daily headache had a different response after three sessions of OnabotulinutoxinA than patients without daily headache. The secondary endpoint was to analyse the presence of predictive factors that could be associated with a higher response to OnabotulinumtoxinA. Patients with daily headache had a reduction of 14.9 (SD: 9.7) headache days per month, patients with 22–29 headache days a reduction of 10.6 (SD: 9.9) days, and patients with 15–21 headache days a reduction of 8.6 (SD: 7.1) days (p < 0.001). In the univariate regression analysis, a higher number of headache days per month at baseline was associated with higher odds of reduction in the number of headache days per month after OnabotulinumtoxinaA treatment (OR: 0.474, 95% CI: 0.278–0.670, p < 0.001). This association was maintained in the multivariate regression analysis (OR: 0.540, 95% CI: 0.333–0.746, p < 0.001). In our sample, daily headache was not associated with a worse response to OnabotulinumtoxinA treatment. A higher frequency of headache at baseline was a predictor of better response to OnabotulinumtoxinA treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
Article
Circulating Tumor DNA as a Marker for Treatment Response in Metastatic Melanoma Patients Using Next-Generation Sequencing—A Prospective Feasibility Study
Cancers 2021, 13(12), 3101; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123101 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
We prospectively performed a longitudinal analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from 149 plasma samples and CT scans in Stage III and IV metastatic melanoma patients (n = 20) treated with targeted agents or immunotherapy using two custom next-generation sequencing (NGS) Ion [...] Read more.
We prospectively performed a longitudinal analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from 149 plasma samples and CT scans in Stage III and IV metastatic melanoma patients (n = 20) treated with targeted agents or immunotherapy using two custom next-generation sequencing (NGS) Ion AmpliSeq™ HD panels including 60 and 81 amplicons in 18 genes, respectively. Concordance of matching cancer-associated mutations in tissue and plasma was 73.3%. Mutant allele frequency (MAF) levels showed a range from 0.04% to 28.7%, well detectable with NGS technologies utilizing single molecule tagging like the AmpliSeq™ HD workflow. Median followup time of the tissue and/or plasma positive cohort (n = 15) was 24.6 months and median progression-free survival (PFS) was 7.8 months. Higher MAF ≥ 1% at baseline was not significantly associated with a risk of progression (Odds Ratio = 0.15; p = 0.155). Although a trend could be seen, MAF levels did not differ significantly over time between patients with and without a PFS event (p = 0.745). Depending on the cell-free DNA amount, NGS achieved a sensitivity down to 0.1% MAF and allowed for parallel analysis of multiple mutations and previously unknown mutations. Our study indicates that NGS gene panels could be useful for monitoring disease burden during therapy with ctDNA in melanoma patients. Full article
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Article
An Ontology-Based Approach to Enable Data-Driven Research in the Field of NDT in Civil Engineering
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(12), 2426; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13122426 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Although measurement data from the civil engineering sector are an important basis for scientific analyses in the field of non-destructive testing (NDT), there is still no uniform representation of these data. An analysis of data sets across different test objects or test types [...] Read more.
Although measurement data from the civil engineering sector are an important basis for scientific analyses in the field of non-destructive testing (NDT), there is still no uniform representation of these data. An analysis of data sets across different test objects or test types is therefore associated with a high manual effort. Ontologies and the semantic web are technologies already used in numerous intelligent systems such as material cyberinfrastructures or research databases. This contribution demonstrates the application of these technologies to the case of the 1H nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry, which is commonly used to characterize water content and porosity distribution in solids. The methodology implemented for this purpose was developed specifically to be applied to materials science (MS) tests. The aim of this paper is to analyze such a methodology from the perspective of data interoperability using ontologies. Three benefits are expected from this approach to the study of the implementation of interoperability in the NDT domain: First, expanding knowledge of how the intrinsic characteristics of the NDT domain determine the application of semantic technologies. Second, to determine which aspects of such an implementation can be improved and in what ways. Finally, the baselines of future research in the field of data integration for NDT are drawn. Full article
Review
An Updated Understanding of the Role of YAP in Driving Oncogenic Responses
Cancers 2021, 13(12), 3100; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123100 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Yes-associated protein (YAP) has emerged as a key component in cancer signaling and is considered a potent oncogene. As such, nuclear YAP participates in complex and only partially understood molecular cascades that are responsible for the oncogenic response by regulating multiple processes, including [...] Read more.
Yes-associated protein (YAP) has emerged as a key component in cancer signaling and is considered a potent oncogene. As such, nuclear YAP participates in complex and only partially understood molecular cascades that are responsible for the oncogenic response by regulating multiple processes, including cell transformation, tumor growth, migration, and metastasis, and by acting as an important mediator of immune and cancer cell interactions. YAP is finely regulated at multiple levels, and its localization in cells in terms of cytoplasm–nucleus shuttling (and vice versa) sheds light on interesting novel anticancer treatment opportunities and putative unconventional functions of the protein when retained in the cytosol. This review aims to summarize and present the state of the art knowledge about the role of YAP in cancer signaling, first focusing on how YAP differs from WW domain-containing transcription regulator 1 (WWTR1, also named as TAZ) and which upstream factors regulate it; then, this review focuses on the role of YAP in different cancer stages and in the crosstalk between immune and cancer cells as well as growing translational strategies derived from its inhibitory and synergistic effects with existing chemo-, immuno- and radiotherapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue YAP (Yes-Associated Protein) in Cancer)
Article
MicroRNAs Targeting HIF-2α, VEGFR1 and/or VEGFR2 as Potential Predictive Biomarkers for VEGFR Tyrosine Kinase and HIF-2α Inhibitors in Metastatic Clear-Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma
Cancers 2021, 13(12), 3099; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123099 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Metastatic clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (m-ccRCC) is characterized by increased hypoxia-induced factor (HIF)-2α and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-dependent angiogenesis through loss of function of the von Hippel–Lindau protein. VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (VEGFR-TKIs) are a cornerstone of m-ccRCC treatment, and new [...] Read more.
Metastatic clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (m-ccRCC) is characterized by increased hypoxia-induced factor (HIF)-2α and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-dependent angiogenesis through loss of function of the von Hippel–Lindau protein. VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (VEGFR-TKIs) are a cornerstone of m-ccRCC treatment, and new treatments targeting HIF-2α are currently under investigation. However, predictive biomarkers for these treatments are lacking. In this retrospective cohort study including 109 patients treated with VEGFR-targeted therapies as first-line treatment, we aimed to study the possible predictive function of microRNAs (miRNAs) targeting HIF-2α, VEGFR1 and VEGFR2. We selected miRNAs inversely correlated with HIF-2α, VEGFR1 and/or VEGFR2 expression and with predicted target sites in the respective genes and subsequently studied their impact on therapeutic outcomes. We identified four miRNAs (miR-34c-5p, miR-221-3p, miR-222-3p and miR-3529-3p) inversely correlated with VEGFR1 and/or VEGFR2 expression and associated with tumor shrinkage and progression-free survival (PFS) upon treatment with VEGFR-TKIs, highlighting the potential predictive value of these miRNAs. Moreover, we identified three miRNAs (miR-185-5p, miR-223-3p and miR-3529-3p) inversely correlated with HIF-2α expression and associated with tumor shrinkage and PFS upon treatment with VEGFR-TKIs. These three miRNAs can have a predictive value not only upon treatment with VEGFR-TKIs but possibly also upon treatment with the upcoming HIF-2α inhibitor belzutifan. Full article
Article
3D Volumetric Tensor Velocity Imaging with Low Computational Complexity Using a Row-Column Addressed Array
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(12), 5757; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125757 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
A method for volumetric Tensor Velocity Imaging employing row-column (RC) addressed array with low computational complexity is investigated in simulations. An interleaved and non-interleaved sliding aperture sequence with 11 rows and 11 columns emissions by a 62 + 62 RC addressed array was [...] Read more.
A method for volumetric Tensor Velocity Imaging employing row-column (RC) addressed array with low computational complexity is investigated in simulations. An interleaved and non-interleaved sliding aperture sequence with 11 rows and 11 columns emissions by a 62 + 62 RC addressed array was used. The 3D velocities were estimated by a transverse oscillation (TO) cross-correlation estimator. Parabolic profiles at six different orientations corresponding to combinations of 0, 45 degrees azimuth angles and 90, 75, 60 beam-to-flow angles were investigated with 5 kHz pulse repetition frequencies. The Field II simulations were performed at a depth of 30 mm with peak velocity of 0.3 m/s. Across all vessel orientations, the relative mean bias varied from 2.3% to −14.26%, and the relative standard deviation varied from 0.43% to 5.5%. The best and worst performance was found at beam to flow angles of 90 degrees with 0 degrees rotation angle and 60 degrees beam-to-flow angle with 45 degrees rotation angle respectively. Due to the low channel count of the RC array and the low computational complexity, real-time implementation is feasible on conventional ultrasound systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Image Processing Techniques for Biomedical Applications)
Data Descriptor
Analyses of Li-Rich Minerals Using Handheld LIBS Tool
Data 2021, 6(6), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/data6060068 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Lithium (Li) is one of the latest metals to be added to the list of critical materials in Europe and, thus, lithium exploration in Europe has become a necessity to guarantee its mid- to long-term stable supply. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a [...] Read more.
Lithium (Li) is one of the latest metals to be added to the list of critical materials in Europe and, thus, lithium exploration in Europe has become a necessity to guarantee its mid- to long-term stable supply. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a powerful analysis technique that allows for simultaneous multi-elemental analysis with an excellent coverage of light elements (Z < 13). This data paper provides more than 4000 LIBS spectra obtained using a handheld LIBS tool on approximately 140 Li-content materials (minerals, powder pellets, and rocks) and their Li concentrations. The high resolution of the spectrometers combined with the low detection limits for light elements make the LIBS technique a powerful option to detect Li and trace elements of first interest, such as Be, Cs, F, and Rb. The LIBS spectra dataset combined with the Li content dataset can be used to obtain quantitative estimation of Li in Li-rich matrices. This paper can be utilized as technical and spectroscopic support for Li detection in the field using a portable LIBS instrument. Full article
Article
Differentiation of Polyamide 6, 6.6, and 12 Contaminations in Polyolefin-Recyclates Using HPLC Coupled to Drift-Tube Ion- Mobility Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry
Polymers 2021, 13(12), 2032; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13122032 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Recycling is a current hot topic with a focus especially on plastics. The quality of such plastic recyclates is of utmost importance for further processing because impurities lead to a reduction thereof. Contaminations originating from other polymers are highly problematic due to their [...] Read more.
Recycling is a current hot topic with a focus especially on plastics. The quality of such plastic recyclates is of utmost importance for further processing because impurities lead to a reduction thereof. Contaminations originating from other polymers are highly problematic due to their immiscibility with the recyclate, leading to possible product failures. Therefore, methods for the determination of polymer impurities in recyclates should be investigated. In this paper, an approach for the identification of three different polyamide grades (polyamide 6, 6.6, and 12) is presented, applicable for the analysis of polyolefin-recyclates. An HPLC equipped with a drift-tube ion-mobility QTOF-MS was used for the identification and differentiation of compounds originating from the polyamides, which were then used as markers. These marker compounds are specific for each type and can be identified by their corresponding value of the collision cross section (CCS). After a simple sample preparation, all three types of polyamides were identified within one measurement. In particular, the problematic differentiation of polyamide 6 and 6.6 was easily made possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Circular and Green Polymer Chemistry)
Review
cfDNA Sequencing: Technological Approaches and Bioinformatic Issues
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14060596 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
In the era of precision medicine, it is crucial to identify molecular alterations that will guide the therapeutic management of patients. In this context, circulating tumoral DNA (ctDNA) released by the tumor in body fluids, like blood, and carrying its molecular characteristics is [...] Read more.
In the era of precision medicine, it is crucial to identify molecular alterations that will guide the therapeutic management of patients. In this context, circulating tumoral DNA (ctDNA) released by the tumor in body fluids, like blood, and carrying its molecular characteristics is becoming a powerful biomarker for non-invasive detection and monitoring of cancer. Major recent technological advances, especially in terms of sequencing, have made possible its analysis, the challenge still being its reliable early detection. Different parameters, from the pre-analytical phase to the choice of sequencing technology and bioinformatic tools can influence the sensitivity of ctDNA detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell-Free DNA for the Management of Lymphoma)
Review
Review and Comparative Study of Decision Support Tools for the Mitigation of Urban Heat Stress
Climate 2021, 9(6), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli9060102 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Over the last few decades, Urban Heat Stress (UHS) has become a crucial concern of scientists and policy-makers. Many projects have been implemented to mitigate Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects using nature-based solutions. However, decision-making and selecting an adequate framework are difficult because [...] Read more.
Over the last few decades, Urban Heat Stress (UHS) has become a crucial concern of scientists and policy-makers. Many projects have been implemented to mitigate Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects using nature-based solutions. However, decision-making and selecting an adequate framework are difficult because of complex interactions between natural, social, economic and built environments. This paper contributes to the UHI issue by: (i) identifying the most important key factors of a Decision Support Tool (DST) used for urban heat mitigation, (ii) presenting multi-criteria methods applied to urban heat resilience, (iii) reviewing existing spatial and non-spatial DSTs, (iv) and analyzing, classifying and ranking DSTs. It aims to help decision-makers through an overview of the pros and cons of existing DSTs and indicate which tool is providing maximum support for choosing and planning heat resilience measures from the designing phase to the heat mitigation phase. This review shows that Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) can be used for any pilot site and the criteria can be adapted to the given location accordingly. It also highlights that GIS-based spatial tools have an effective decision support system (DSS) because they offer a quick assessment of interventions and predict long-term effects of urban heat. Through a comparative study using specific chosen criteria, we conclude that the DSS tool is well suited and fulfils many prerequisites to support new policies and interventions to mitigate UHS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Adaptation and Mitigation Practices and Frameworks)
Article
Advantages of Porcine Xenograft over Autograft in Sinus Lift: A Randomised Clinical Trial
Materials 2021, 14(12), 3439; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14123439 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
This study aimed to compare the performance of intra-oral autologous bone grafts versus porcine xenografts in a two-step lateral window sinus lift. This split-mouth randomised controlled trial sequentially enrolled 12 patients with a 6-month follow-up. For each patient, a simultaneous randomised bilateral maxillary [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare the performance of intra-oral autologous bone grafts versus porcine xenografts in a two-step lateral window sinus lift. This split-mouth randomised controlled trial sequentially enrolled 12 patients with a 6-month follow-up. For each patient, a simultaneous randomised bilateral maxillary sinus lift was performed and filled with autologous bone from the mandible (control) or a porcine xenograft (test). A bone biopsy sample was collected during the implant placement for histological and histomorphometric analysis. CT scans were performed at the beginning and at the end of the trial to assess radiological evolution. A comparison of initial and six-month CT scans indicated statistically significant increases in bone level for both materials (7.8 ± 2.4 mm for autologous and 8.7 ± 2.2 mm for xenograft, p < 0.05), and there were no significant differences between the performance of the two materials over time (p = 0.26). The histological analysis showed various stages of the remodelling process and no cells or other signs of inflammation or infection were visible in both groups. The porcine xenografts presented similar results for the studied variables when compared to autologous bone, being a reasonable alternative for a sinus lift. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomaterials Development and Evaluation for Dentistry)
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Review
Lipophilic Polyamines as Promising Components of Liposomal Gene Delivery Systems
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060920 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Gene therapy requires an effective and safe delivery vehicle for nucleic acids. In the case of non-viral vehicles, including cationic liposomes, the structure of compounds composing them determines the efficiency a lot. Currently, cationic amphiphiles are the most frequently used compounds in liposomal [...] Read more.
Gene therapy requires an effective and safe delivery vehicle for nucleic acids. In the case of non-viral vehicles, including cationic liposomes, the structure of compounds composing them determines the efficiency a lot. Currently, cationic amphiphiles are the most frequently used compounds in liposomal formulations. In their structure, which is a combination of hydrophobic and cationic domains and includes spacer groups, each component contributes to the resulting delivery efficiency. This review focuses on polycationic and disulfide amphiphiles as prospective cationic amphiphiles for gene therapy and includes a discussion of the mutual influence of structural components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipid-Based Nanocarriers for Non-Viral Gene Delivery)
Article
Semantic Partitioning and Machine Learning in Sentiment Analysis
Data 2021, 6(6), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/data6060067 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
This paper investigates sentiment analysis in Arabic tweets that have the presence of Jordanian dialect. A new dataset was collected during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. We demonstrate two models: the Traditional Arabic Language (TAL) model and the Semantic Partitioning Arabic Language (SPAL) [...] Read more.
This paper investigates sentiment analysis in Arabic tweets that have the presence of Jordanian dialect. A new dataset was collected during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. We demonstrate two models: the Traditional Arabic Language (TAL) model and the Semantic Partitioning Arabic Language (SPAL) model to envisage the polarity of the collected tweets by invoking several, well-known classifiers. The extraction and allocation of numerous Arabic features, such as lexical features, writing style features, grammatical features, and emotional features, have been used to analyze and classify the collected tweets semantically. The partitioning concept was performed on the original dataset by utilizing the hidden semantic meaning between tweets in the SPAL model before invoking various classifiers. The experimentation reveals that the overall performance of the SPAL model competes over and better than the performance of the TAL model due to imposing the genuine idea of semantic partitioning on the collected dataset. Full article
Article
Asbestos Fibers and Ferruginous Bodies Detected by VP-SEM/EDS in Colon Tissues of a Patient Affected by Colon-Rectum Cancer: A Case Study
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060658 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
The aim of this work was to inspect the presence of asbestos fibers in colon tissue from a patient, with history of indirect exposure to asbestos and affected by colon cancer, who underwent surgery. Variable pressure scanning electron microscopy, coupled with energy dispersive [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to inspect the presence of asbestos fibers in colon tissue from a patient, with history of indirect exposure to asbestos and affected by colon cancer, who underwent surgery. Variable pressure scanning electron microscopy, coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy (VP-SEM/EDS), was used for identification of inorganic fibers and for their morphological- chemical characterization. Fresh tissue samples from both, healthy area close to the neoplasia and from the neoplastic regions, were separately digested to eliminate the biological matrix. The precipitate was analyzed by VP-SEM/EDS, identifying in samples from healthy tissue asbestos bodies and small asbestos fibers, and in samples from neoplastic tissue long fibers of asbestos, free from covering. A quantification of the asbestos bodies and the free fibers in the two type of specimens is proposed. Moreover, to locate the fibers in the biological medium, histological sections from the colon of the same patient were also examined. Free asbestos fibers appeared concentrated in the tissue bridge between the healthy and the neoplastic areas. Immuno-histochemical investigation performed on the neoplasia seems to exclude a role of microsatellite instability in the carcinogenesis process, suggesting an influence of the fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elongated Mineral Particles and Health)
Article
Neighborhood Energy Modeling and Monitoring: A Case Study
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3716; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123716 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Cities and nations worldwide are pledging to energy and carbon neutral objectives that imply a huge contribution from buildings. High-performance targets, either zero energy or zero carbon, are typically difficult to be reached by single buildings, but groups of properly-managed buildings might reach [...] Read more.
Cities and nations worldwide are pledging to energy and carbon neutral objectives that imply a huge contribution from buildings. High-performance targets, either zero energy or zero carbon, are typically difficult to be reached by single buildings, but groups of properly-managed buildings might reach these ambitious goals. For this purpose we need tools and experiences to model, monitor, manage and optimize buildings and their neighborhood-level systems. The paper describes the activities pursued for the deployment of an advanced energy management system for a multi-carrier energy grid of an existing neighborhood in the area of Milan. The activities included: (i) development of a detailed monitoring plan, (ii) deployment of the monitoring plan, (iii) development of a virtual model of the neighborhood and simulation of the energy performance. Comparisons against early-stage energy monitoring data proved promising and the generation system showed high efficiency (EER equal to 5.84), to be further exploited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Buildings Thermal Monitoring)
Article
Sulfonated Polysulfone/TiO2(B) Nanowires Composite Membranes as Polymer Electrolytes in Fuel Cells
Polymers 2021, 13(12), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13122030 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
New proton conducting membranes based on sulfonated polysulfone (sPSU) reinforced with TiO2(B) nanowires (1, 2, 5 and 10 wt.%) were synthesized and characterized. TiO2(B) nanowires were synthesized by means of a hydrothermal method by mixing TiO2 precursor in [...] Read more.
New proton conducting membranes based on sulfonated polysulfone (sPSU) reinforced with TiO2(B) nanowires (1, 2, 5 and 10 wt.%) were synthesized and characterized. TiO2(B) nanowires were synthesized by means of a hydrothermal method by mixing TiO2 precursor in aqueous solution of NaOH as solvent. The presence of the TiO2(B) nanowires into the polymer were confirmed by means of Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy, Fourier transform infrared and X-ray diffraction. The thermal study showed an increase of almost 20 °C in the maximum temperature of sPSU backbone decomposition due to the presence of 10 wt.% TiO2(B) nanowires. Water uptake also is improved with the presence of hydrophilic TiO2(B) nanowires. Proton conductivity of sPSU with 10 wt.% TiO2(B) nanowires was 21 mS cm−1 (at 85 °C and 100% RH). Under these experimental conditions the power density was 350 mW cm−2 similar to the value obtained for Nafion 117. Considering all these obtained results, the composite membrane doped with 10 wt.% TiO2(B) nanowires is a promising candidate as proton exchange electrolyte in fuel cells (PEMFCs), especially those operating at high temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
Article
The Role of Physical Fitness in the Relationship between Nut Consumption and Body Composition in Young Adults
Nutrients 2021, 13(6), 2126; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13062126 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
The main objective of this study was to estimate the association between nut consumption and body composition-related measures and to examine whether this relationship is mediated by cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and the muscle strength index (MSI) in young adults. A cross-sectional study involving [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study was to estimate the association between nut consumption and body composition-related measures and to examine whether this relationship is mediated by cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and the muscle strength index (MSI) in young adults. A cross-sectional study involving college students (n = 354) aged 18–30 years from a Spanish public university was conducted. Body composition and fitness components were assessed using standard methods. Nut consumption was evaluated using a Food-Frequency Questionnaire. ANCOVA models were used to assess the mean differences in physical fitness and body composition by nut consumption categories. Hayes’s PROCESS macro was applied for mediation and interaction analyses adjusted for the main confounders. Young adults with high nut consumption (≥5 portions of 30 g/week) showed significantly higher values of physical fitness components and fat-free mass and lower values of adiposity-related measures than their peers in the lowest categories of nut consumption (˂1 portion/week) (p < 0.05). No significant interaction between CRF and nut consumption on body composition was found. In the mediation analysis, CRF and MSI acted as full mediators of the relationship of nut consumption with fat-free mass and waist circumference/height index. Otherwise, CRF and MSI partially mediated the relationship between nut consumption and body mass index and percent of fat mass. Finally, nut consumption, per se, does not appear to have a significant impact on body composition indicators because these associations have been shown to be partially (for BMI and %BF) or entirely (for ratio WC/height and fat-free mass) explained by CRF and MSI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of Nutrition on Physical Activity and Human Health)
Article
Absorption Power and Cooling Combined Cycle with an Aqueous Salt Solution as a Working Fluid and a Technically Feasible Configuration
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3715; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123715 (registering DOI) - 21 Jun 2021
Abstract
Combined systems for power production and thermally activated cooling have a high potential for improving the efficiency and utilisation of thermal systems. In this regard, various configurations have been proposed and are comprehensively reviewed. They are primarily based on absorption systems and the [...] Read more.
Combined systems for power production and thermally activated cooling have a high potential for improving the efficiency and utilisation of thermal systems. In this regard, various configurations have been proposed and are comprehensively reviewed. They are primarily based on absorption systems and the implementation of multiple levels of complexity and flexibility. The configuration of the absorption power and cooling combined cycle proposed herein has wide commercial applicability owing to its simplicity. The configuration of the components is not new. However, the utilisation of aqueous salt solutions, the comparison with ammonia chiller and with absorption power cycles, the focus on parameters that are important for real-life applications, and the comparison of the performances for constant heat input and waste heat recovery are novel. The proposed cycle is also compared with a system based on the organic Rankine cycle and vapour compression cycle. An investigation of its performance proves that the system is suitable for a given range of boundary conditions from a thermodynamic standpoint, as well as in terms of system complexity and technical feasibility. New possibilities with regard to added power production have the potential to improve the economics and promote the use of absorption chiller systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alternative and Emerging Cooling and Heating Technologies)
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