237 journals awarded Impact Factor
 
 
12 pages, 4199 KiB  
Article
Development and Validation of a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Diode Array Detector Method to Measure Seven Neonicotinoids in Wheat
by Serenella Seccia, Stefania Albrizio, Elena Morelli and Irene Dini
Foods 2024, 13(14), 2235; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13142235 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Neonicotinoids (NEOs), used as insecticides against aphids, whiteflies, lepidopterans, and beetles, have numerous detrimental impacts on human health, including chronic illnesses, cancer, infertility, and birth anomalies. Monitoring the residues in food products is necessary to guarantee public health and ecological balance. The present [...] Read more.
Neonicotinoids (NEOs), used as insecticides against aphids, whiteflies, lepidopterans, and beetles, have numerous detrimental impacts on human health, including chronic illnesses, cancer, infertility, and birth anomalies. Monitoring the residues in food products is necessary to guarantee public health and ecological balance. The present work validated a new method to measure seven neonicotinoid insecticides (acetamiprid ACT, clothianidin CLT, dinotefuran DNT, imidacloprid IMD, nitenpyram NTP, thiacloprid TCP, and thiamethoxan THT) in wheat. The analytical procedure was based on simple and fast wheat sample cleanup using solid-phase extraction (SPE) to remove interferents and enrich the NEOs, alongside the NEOs’ separation and quantification by reverse-phase chromatography coupled with a diode array detector (DAD). The validation process was validated using the accuracy profile strategy, a straightforward decision tool based on the measure of the total error (bias plus standard deviation) of the method. Our results proved that, in the future, at least 95% of the results obtained with the proposed method would fall within the ±15% acceptance limits. The test’s cost-effectiveness, rapidity, and simplicity suggest its use for determining the levels of acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam in routine analyses of wheat. Full article
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20 pages, 353 KiB  
Article
Adaptation of the Work-Related Quality of Life-2 Scale (WRQoL-2) among Portuguese Workers
by Ana Sabino, Ana Moreira, Francisco Cesário and Mafalda Pinto-Coelho
Societies 2024, 14(7), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc14070120 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
In the present study we aimed to fulfill two main goals. The first was to adapt the WRQoL-2 Scale among Portuguese workers and the second was to verify the associations between WRQoL-2 dimensions and perceived organizational performance dimensions (e.g., social and economic). To [...] Read more.
In the present study we aimed to fulfill two main goals. The first was to adapt the WRQoL-2 Scale among Portuguese workers and the second was to verify the associations between WRQoL-2 dimensions and perceived organizational performance dimensions (e.g., social and economic). To reach our research goals, we used a sample of 635 Portuguese workers. The WRQoL Scale has been widely used for academic and practical ends and comprises six dimensions: Job and Career Satisfaction, Control at Work, General Well-Being, Home–Work Interface, Stress at Work, and Working Conditions. Recently, the authors proposed a revised measure—WRQoL-2—in which they added a seventh dimension—Employee Engagement. As this second version had not yet been translated into the Portuguese language for Portugal, this was our first goal. By performing a set of statistical analyses such as EFA, CFA, reliability, convergent and discriminant validity, and invariant analysis, the results suggested a six-factor structure where the dimensions of Job and Career Satisfaction and Employee Engagement were united. The final structure suggested good reliability as well as convergent and discriminant validity as it showcased invariance according to gender and sector. Because there is a lack of studies focusing on the links between quality of work life and organizational performance, we then tested the interplay between WRQoL-2 and perceived organizational performance dimensions, and we verified that, although most are significantly associated, the results suggest a low intensity. This work also presents several theoretical and practical implications. Full article
10 pages, 641 KiB  
Article
Impact of Frailty on Functional Improvement following Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: A Japanese Single-Center Experience
by Tsunehiko Konomi, Minako Yoshikawa, Keita Kajikawa, Takahiro Kitagawa, Yoshiomi Kobayashi, Mitsuru Furukawa, Kanehiro Fujiyoshi and Yoshiyuki Yato
J. Clin. Med. 2024, 13(14), 4154; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm13144154 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Study Design: This is a retrospective case series study. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether frailty contributes to functional recovery in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: A total of 121 patients with SCI (106 cervical SCI, [...] Read more.
Study Design: This is a retrospective case series study. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether frailty contributes to functional recovery in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: A total of 121 patients with SCI (106 cervical SCI, 15 thoracic SCI) discharged from our center over the past three years were studied. Moreover, 11-factor modified frailty index (mFI) scores, the length of hospital stays, the rate of returning home, and improvement in Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) scores were assessed retrospectively. Results: The average age at the time of injury for all 121 cases was 59.6 years. Based on pre-injury assessments, 24 cases were categorized as the Frail group, and 97 cases were categorized as the Robust group. The Frail group had SCIM improvement rates of 16.7% and a home discharge rate of 45.8%. In contrast, the Robust group had SCIM improvement rates of 33.5% and a home discharge rate of 68.0%, with statistically significant differences between the two groups. A significant negative correlation was observed between mFI scores and SCIM improvement rates (R = −0.231, p = 0.014). Conclusions: This study suggests that individuals with pre-existing frailty before SCI experience poorer SCIM improvement rates and face challenges in returning home. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Management and Rehabilitation of Spinal Cord Injury)
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14 pages, 285 KiB  
Review
Endovascular Treatment for Basilar Artery Occlusion
by Devansh Gupta, Lucio D’Anna, Piers Klein, Robert Araujo-Contreras, Artem Kaliaev, Mohamad Abdalkader, Wei Hu and Thanh N. Nguyen
J. Clin. Med. 2024, 13(14), 4153; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm13144153 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Basilar artery occlusion (BAO) is a neurological emergency associated with a high risk for adverse outcomes. This review provides evidence on the therapeutic efficacy of intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) and endovascular therapy (EVT) in the treatment of BAO. Historically considered the primary intervention for [...] Read more.
Basilar artery occlusion (BAO) is a neurological emergency associated with a high risk for adverse outcomes. This review provides evidence on the therapeutic efficacy of intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) and endovascular therapy (EVT) in the treatment of BAO. Historically considered the primary intervention for acute ischemic stroke, IVT has been progressively combined with EVT, which has emerged from recent studies demonstrating clinical benefits, notably in patients presenting with severe stroke. Several randomised controlled trials have shown that EVT improves patient outcomes in select clinical contexts. Future research directions could address therapeutic treatment thresholds, combination strategies, and long-term outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute Ischemic Stroke: Current Status and Future Challenges)
17 pages, 2778 KiB  
Article
The EphA2 Receptor Regulates Invasiveness and Drug Sensitivity in Canine and Human Osteosarcoma Cells
by Evelyn D. Harris, Jessica C. Sharpe, Timothy Strozen, Shabnam Abdi, Maya Kliewer, Malkon G. Sanchez, Natacha S. Hogan, Valerie MacDonald-Dickinson, Franco J. Vizeacoumar and Behzad M. Toosi
Cells 2024, 13(14), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13141201 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer affecting both humans and dogs, often leading to pulmonary metastasis. Despite surgery and chemotherapy being the primary treatment modalities, survival rates remain low in both species, underscoring the urgent need for more efficacious therapeutic options. Accumulating evidence [...] Read more.
Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer affecting both humans and dogs, often leading to pulmonary metastasis. Despite surgery and chemotherapy being the primary treatment modalities, survival rates remain low in both species, underscoring the urgent need for more efficacious therapeutic options. Accumulating evidence indicates numerous biological and clinical similarities between human and canine osteosarcoma, making it an ideal choice for comparative oncological research that should benefit both species. The EphA2 receptor has been implicated in controlling invasive responses across different human malignancies, and its expression is associated with poor prognosis. In this study, we utilized a comparative approach to match EphA2 functions in human and canine osteosarcoma models. Our objectives were to assess EphA2 levels and its pro-malignant action in osteosarcoma cells of both species. We found that EphA2 is overexpressed in most of both canine and human osteosarcoma cell lines, while its silencing significantly reduced cell viability, migration, and invasion. Moreover, EphA2 silencing enhanced the sensitivity of osteosarcoma cells to cisplatin, a drug commonly used for treating this cancer. Furthermore, inhibition of EphA2 expression led to a significant reduction in tumor development capability of canine osteosarcoma cells. Our data suggest that these EphA2 effects are likely mediated through various signaling mechanisms, including the SRC, AKT, and ERK–MAPK pathways. Collectively, our findings indicate that EphA2 promotes malignant behaviors in both human and canine osteosarcoma and that targeting EphA2, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy, could offer potential benefits to osteosarcoma patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer Invasion and Metastasis)
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26 pages, 10244 KiB  
Article
Novel TiO2-Supported Gold Nanoflowers for Efficient Photocatalytic NOx Abatement
by Špela Slapničar, Gregor Žerjav, Janez Zavašnik, Matevž Roškarič, Matjaž Finšgar and Albin Pintar
Molecules 2024, 29(14), 3333; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules29143333 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
In this study, we pioneered the synthesis of nanoflower-shaped TiO2-supported Au photocatalysts and investigated their properties. Au nanoflowers (Au NFs) were prepared by a Na-citrate and hydroquinone-based preparation method, followed by wet impregnation of the derived Au NFs on the surface [...] Read more.
In this study, we pioneered the synthesis of nanoflower-shaped TiO2-supported Au photocatalysts and investigated their properties. Au nanoflowers (Au NFs) were prepared by a Na-citrate and hydroquinone-based preparation method, followed by wet impregnation of the derived Au NFs on the surface of TiO2 nanorods (TNR). A uniform and homogeneous distribution of Au NFs was observed in the TNR + NF(0.7) sample (lower Na-citrate concentration), while their distribution was heterogeneous in the TNR + NF(1.4) sample (higher Na-citrate concentration). The UV-Vis DR spectra revealed the size- and shape-dependent optical properties of the Au NFs, with the LSPR effect observed in the visible region. The solid-state EPR spectra showed the presence of Ti3+, oxygen vacancies and electron interactions with organic compounds on the catalyst surface. In the case of the TNR + NF(0.7) sample, high photocatalytic activity was observed in the H2-assisted reduction of NO2 to N2 at room temperature under visible-light illumination. In contrast, the TNR + NF(1.4) catalyst as well as the heat-treated samples showed no ability to reduce NO2 under visible light, indicating the presence of deformed Au NFs limiting the LSPR effect. These results emphasized the importance of the choice of synthesis method, as this could strongly influence the photocatalytic activity of the Au NFs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Photochemistry and Photocatalysis)
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19 pages, 4185 KiB  
Article
Fate of Carbamazepine and Its Metabolites in a Soil–Aromatic Plant System
by Francesco De Mastro, Andreina Traversa, Claudio Cocozza, Claudio Cacace, Maria Rosaria Provenzano, Danilo Vona, Filomena Sannino and Gennaro Brunetti
Soil Syst. 2024, 8(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems8030083 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
The use of reclaimed wastewater for irrigation could result in the release of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) and their metabolites into the agroecosystem. In this study, we investigated the fate of carbamazepine (CBZ) and its metabolites, with the aim of clarifying their behavior [...] Read more.
The use of reclaimed wastewater for irrigation could result in the release of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) and their metabolites into the agroecosystem. In this study, we investigated the fate of carbamazepine (CBZ) and its metabolites, with the aim of clarifying their behavior in a soil–plant system in a greenhouse experiment. The research was carried out using irrigation water especially fortified with high doses of CBZ (200 or 600 ppb) in order to evaluate the dynamics of CBZ and its metabolites in the soil and basil organs. The results of the study showed that CBZ is easily absorbed by the aerial part of the basil plant. The soil contained two metabolites of CBZ, namely acridine and carbamazepine-10,11-epoxide, as revealed by high-resolution mass spectrometry analyses. In addition, acridine was found in the aerial parts of basil plants. Furthermore, the greater presence of CBZ and its metabolites in bulk soil indicated a positive role of the basil rhizosphere in the degradation of such compounds or a positive role of the plant in the removal of the contaminant by uptake. Considering the observed morphological parameters and the mean CBZ content in wastewater, significantly lower than that used in the experiment, basil can be considered resistant to the application of irrigation water contaminated with CBZ. Full article
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13 pages, 1690 KiB  
Article
Digital Violence in University Student Couples: England vs. Spain
by Ángel Hernando-Gómez, Delia Montero-Fernández, Antonio Daniel García-Rojas and Francisco Javier Del Río Olvera
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(7), 926; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21070926 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
This research studies the prevalence of digital violence exercised through new information and communication technology (ICT) among university couples. A comparative study was carried out in England, United Kingdom, and in Spain with 831 participants. A quantitative methodology was applied with different sampling: [...] Read more.
This research studies the prevalence of digital violence exercised through new information and communication technology (ICT) among university couples. A comparative study was carried out in England, United Kingdom, and in Spain with 831 participants. A quantitative methodology was applied with different sampling: in the United Kingdom, 303 (MAge = 22.79; SD; 47.32; 58.7% male) and in Spain, 528 (MAge = 24.29; SD = 21.41; 69.5% female). An ad hoc questionnaire was used, created for the detection, measurement and analysis of digital violence within affective-sexual relationships. The results reveal proportions of 51.04% and 49.82% in the perception of digital violence through electronic devices in dating relationships among young people; 15.84% and 11.05% in the prevalence of digital violence in young couples’ relationships; 9.36% and 6.17% in the prevalence of traditional violence; and 35.78% and 22.43% in the tolerance of digital violence among students, for the English and Spanish samples, respectively. The results also show a slightly lower prevalence of digital violence in the Spanish sample with respect to the English sample, where females scored slightly higher in the perpetration of digital violence. There is a need to develop awareness, training and prevention programs against digital violence in the university context. Full article
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9 pages, 394 KiB  
Article
Development of a Japanese Version of the Brief Ageing Perceptions Questionnaire and Its Validity and Reliability
by Koji Abe and Kana Tomiyama
J. Ageing Longev. 2024, 4(3), 200-208; https://doi.org/10.3390/jal4030014 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Background: Self-perceptions of aging are important predictors of physical and mental health, longevity, and quality of life. The Brief Ageing Perceptions Questionnaire (B-APQ) is the most promising scale of self-perceptions about aging and has been translated into many languages. This study aimed to [...] Read more.
Background: Self-perceptions of aging are important predictors of physical and mental health, longevity, and quality of life. The Brief Ageing Perceptions Questionnaire (B-APQ) is the most promising scale of self-perceptions about aging and has been translated into many languages. This study aimed to develop a Japanese version of the B-APQ and examine its validity and reliability. Methods: A web-based survey of 1500 people aged 65 and older was conducted in Japan. Of the participants, 651 were men and 849 were women. The average age was 72.97 years. Results: No significant distributional biases were found for any items of the Japanese version of the B-APQ. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted using the same model as the previous studies. The results of CFA showed that the goodness of fit indices met the acceptability criteria. Two-tailed Pearson correlations showed significant relationships between each factor of the Japanese version of the B-APQ as well as the cognitive and physical functioning, depression, and well-being of older adults. Conclusions: The Japanese version of the B-APQ has high internal consistency and significant factorial and construct-related validity. The Japanese version of the B-APQ is expected to be used to measure the self-perceptions of aging for further study in Japan. Full article
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14 pages, 2226 KiB  
Article
Optimal Arrangements of Renewable Energy Systems for Promoting the Decarbonization of Desalination Plants
by Deivis Avila Prats, Felipe San Luis Gutiérrez, Ángela Hernández López and Graciliano Nicolás Marichal Plasencia
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2024, 12(7), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse12071193 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
In this research, a renewable energy hybrid system (PV-Wind) is modeled to compare different design options based on their economic and technical features. The energy requirements of a Reversible Osmosis desalination plant located on the island of Tenerife with a water production capacity [...] Read more.
In this research, a renewable energy hybrid system (PV-Wind) is modeled to compare different design options based on their economic and technical features. The energy requirements of a Reversible Osmosis desalination plant located on the island of Tenerife with a water production capacity of up to 20,000 m3/day was considered. The system is connected to the electricity grid. The HOMER software, version 2.75 was used to produce optimum strategies for renewable energy. The assumptions input into the model were: the technical specifications of the devices, electricity demand of the desalination plant, as well as the solar radiation and the wind speed potentials. Numerous arrangements were considered by the software, version 2.75. The optimal results were obtained based on the use of renewable energy. The data used in the study were recorded in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The experience of this research could be transferred to other Atlantic islands with similar renewable energy sources (specifically the wind) and water scarce conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Use of Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems for Water Desalination)
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16 pages, 5662 KiB  
Article
Multi-Factor Orthogonal Experiments and Enhancement Mechanisms of Unconfined Compressive Strength of Soda Residue Cement Lime Soil
by Wenbo Cheng, Wei Yin, Xiaoya Wang, Quan Xu, Guodong Wang, Jun Cao and Shengxue Zhu
Buildings 2024, 14(7), 2189; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14072189 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
In order to study the effects of soda residue content, particle size, moisture content, and curing age on the unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of soda residue cement lime soil (SRCLS), a 4-factor, 4-level orthogonal experimental design was employed in this study. Different conditions [...] Read more.
In order to study the effects of soda residue content, particle size, moisture content, and curing age on the unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of soda residue cement lime soil (SRCLS), a 4-factor, 4-level orthogonal experimental design was employed in this study. Different conditions of SRCLS UCS and their impacts were tested and analyzed. The internal microstructure and hydration products of SRCLS were studied using SEM and XRD to explore the strengthening mechanism of SR in SRCLS. The results indicate that as the soda residue content gradually increased, SRCLS UCS initially increased and then decreased, with a maximum increase of up to 67%. With increasing soda residue particle size and moisture content, the UCS of SRCLS gradually decreased. The optimized mix ratio was determined to be soda residue:cement:lime:soil = 3%:3%:6%:100%, with the soda residue dried naturally and an ideal particle size of 0.15 mm. The factors influencing the unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of SRCLS, in order of importance, are curing age, soda residue content, moisture content, and particle size of SR. Among these, curing age and soda residue content have a significant impact on the UCS. An adequate amount of SR can act as a fine aggregate filler, replace lime, promote cement hydration, and enhance chloride ion binding. This improves the grading of SRCLS materials and facilitates the formation of cementitious products from AFm, AFt, and Friedel’s salt, resulting in denser and stronger SRCLS materials. The research findings provide a reference for the mix design of SRCLS and the large-scale utilization of waste soda residue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Soil–Geosynthetic Composite Materials)
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24 pages, 1585 KiB  
Review
Platelet Storage—Problems, Improvements, and New Perspectives
by Natalia Trochanowska-Pauk, Tomasz Walski, Raghvendra Bohara, Julia Mikolas and Krystian Kubica
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(14), 7779; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25147779 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Platelet transfusions are routine procedures in clinical treatment aimed at preventing bleeding in critically ill patients, including those with cancer, undergoing surgery, or experiencing trauma. However, platelets are susceptible blood cells that require specific storage conditions. The availability of platelet concentrates is limited [...] Read more.
Platelet transfusions are routine procedures in clinical treatment aimed at preventing bleeding in critically ill patients, including those with cancer, undergoing surgery, or experiencing trauma. However, platelets are susceptible blood cells that require specific storage conditions. The availability of platelet concentrates is limited to five days due to various factors, including the risk of bacterial contamination and the occurrence of physical and functional changes known as platelet storage lesions. In this article, the problems related to platelet storage lesions are categorized into four groups depending on research areas: storage conditions, additive solutions, new testing methods for platelets (proteomic and metabolomic analysis), and extensive data modeling of platelet production (mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, and artificial intelligence). This article provides extensive information on the challenges, potential improvements, and novel perspectives regarding platelet storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Platelet Biology and Functions: 2nd Edition)
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26 pages, 15318 KiB  
Article
Design and Numerical Analysis of an Annular Combustion Chamber
by Luis Alfonso Moreno-Pacheco, Fernando Sánchez-López, Juan Gabriel Barbosa-Saldaña, José Martínez-Trinidad, Mario Alberto Carpinteyro-Pérez, Wilbert Wong-Ángel and Ricardo Andrés García-León
Fluids 2024, 9(7), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids9070161 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Designing a combustion chamber for gas turbines is considered both a science and an art. This study presents a comprehensive methodology for designing an annular combustion chamber tailored to the operating conditions of a CFM-56 engine, a widely used high bypass ratio turbofan [...] Read more.
Designing a combustion chamber for gas turbines is considered both a science and an art. This study presents a comprehensive methodology for designing an annular combustion chamber tailored to the operating conditions of a CFM-56 engine, a widely used high bypass ratio turbofan engine. The design process involved calculating the basic criteria and dimensions for the casing, liner, diffuser, and swirl, followed by an analysis of the cooling sections of the liner. Numerical simulations using NUMECA software and the HEXPRESS meshing tool were conducted to predict the combustion chamber’s behavior and performance, employing the κ-ε turbulence model and the Flamelet combustion model. Methane was used as the fuel, and simulations were performed for three fuel injection angles: axial, 45°, and 60°. Results demonstrate that the combustion chamber is properly dimensioned and achieves complete combustion for all configurations. The pressure ratio is 0.96, exceeding the minimum design criteria. Additionally, the emissions of unburned hydrocarbons are zero, while nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide levels are below regulatory limits. These findings validate the proposed design methodology, ensuring efficient and environmentally compliant combustion chamber performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical and Computational Fluid Dynamics of Combustion and Fires)
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19 pages, 239 KiB  
Article
Unlocking Trends: Socio-Demographic Insights into Bike Sharing from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey
by Chia-Yuan Yu
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci8030086 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
The implementation of bike-sharing systems represents a novel strategy aimed at enhancing urban mobility by offering shared bicycle services to improve accessibility and user convenience. Nevertheless, there has been a limited exploration into the user demographics of bike-sharing programs on a national scale. [...] Read more.
The implementation of bike-sharing systems represents a novel strategy aimed at enhancing urban mobility by offering shared bicycle services to improve accessibility and user convenience. Nevertheless, there has been a limited exploration into the user demographics of bike-sharing programs on a national scale. This study investigates the socio-demographic characteristics of bike-sharing system users, leveraging the 2017 National Household Travel Survey and negative binomial regression models. It finds that bike-sharing usage is more common among users than non-users, with African American and Hispanic individuals using the system more than other racial groups. Furthermore, low-income individuals (<USD 15,000) and residents of high-density areas (≥25,000 per square mile) show a higher tendency towards bike sharing. The research highlights the lack of national-level studies on bike-sharing user demographics and suggests that future policy and planning should address the needs of specific populations, aiming to enhance urban mobility and accessibility through bike-sharing services. Full article
10 pages, 257 KiB  
Review
The Role of NT-proBNP Levels in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction—It Is Not Always a Hide-and-Seek Game
by Christina Chrysohoou, Konstantinos Konstantinou and Kostas Tsioufis
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2024, 11(7), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd11070225 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Although heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) has become the predominant heart failure subtype, it remains clinically under-recognized. This has been attributed to the complex pathophysiological mechanisms that accompany individuals with several co-morbidities and symptoms and signs of HFpEF. Natriuretic peptides have [...] Read more.
Although heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) has become the predominant heart failure subtype, it remains clinically under-recognized. This has been attributed to the complex pathophysiological mechanisms that accompany individuals with several co-morbidities and symptoms and signs of HFpEF. Natriuretic peptides have been recognized as playing an important role in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), but their role in HFpEF remains controversial, driven by the different pathophysiological characteristics of these patients. The type of diet consumed has shown various modifying effects on plasma levels of NPs, irrespective of pharmacological treatment. Full article
25 pages, 1162 KiB  
Article
Task Partition-Based Computation Offloading and Content Caching for Cloud–Edge Cooperation Networks
by Jingjing Huang, Xiaoping Yang, Jinyi Chen, Jiabao Chen, Zhaoming Hu, Jie Zhang, Zhuwei Wang and Chao Fang
Symmetry 2024, 16(7), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym16070906 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
With the increasing complexity of applications, many delay-sensitive and compute-intensive services have posed significant challenges to mobile devices. Addressing how to efficiently allocate heterogeneous network resources to meet the computing and delay requirements of terminal services is a pressing issue. In this paper, [...] Read more.
With the increasing complexity of applications, many delay-sensitive and compute-intensive services have posed significant challenges to mobile devices. Addressing how to efficiently allocate heterogeneous network resources to meet the computing and delay requirements of terminal services is a pressing issue. In this paper, a new cooperative twin delayed deep deterministic policy gradient and deep-Q network (TD3-DQN) algorithm is introduced to minimize system latency by optimizing computational offloading and caching placement asynchronously. Specifically, the task-partitioning technique divides computing tasks into multiple subtasks, reducing the response latency. A DQN intelligent algorithm is presented to optimize the offloading path to edge servers by perceiving network resource status. Furthermore, a TD3 approach is designed to optimize the cached content in the edge servers, ensuring dynamic popularity content requirements are met without excessive offload decisions. The simulation results demonstrate that the proposed model achieves lower latency and quicker convergence in asymmetrical cloud–edge collaborative networks compared to other benchmark algorithms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computer)
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15 pages, 5604 KiB  
Article
Real-Time Deep Learning Framework for Accurate Speed Estimation of Surrounding Vehicles in Autonomous Driving
by Iván García-Aguilar, Jorge García-González, Enrique Domínguez, Ezequiel López-Rubio and Rafael M. Luque-Baena
Electronics 2024, 13(14), 2790; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics13142790 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Accurate speed estimation of surrounding vehicles is of paramount importance for autonomous driving to prevent potential hazards. This paper emphasizes the critical role of precise speed estimation and presents a novel real-time framework based on deep learning to achieve this from images captured [...] Read more.
Accurate speed estimation of surrounding vehicles is of paramount importance for autonomous driving to prevent potential hazards. This paper emphasizes the critical role of precise speed estimation and presents a novel real-time framework based on deep learning to achieve this from images captured by an onboard camera. The system detects and tracks vehicles using convolutional neural networks and analyzes their trajectories with a tracking algorithm. Vehicle speeds are then accurately estimated using a regression model based on random sample consensus. A synthetic dataset using the CARLA simulator has been generated to validate the presented methodology. The system can simultaneously estimate the speed of multiple vehicles and can be easily integrated into onboard computer systems, providing a cost-effective solution for real-time speed estimation. This technology holds significant potential for enhancing vehicle safety systems, driver assistance, and autonomous driving. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Learning-Based Image Restoration and Object Identification)
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29 pages, 2155 KiB  
Review
Advanced Computational Methods for Modeling, Prediction and Optimization—A Review
by Jaroslaw Krzywanski, Marcin Sosnowski, Karolina Grabowska, Anna Zylka, Lukasz Lasek and Agnieszka Kijo-Kleczkowska
Materials 2024, 17(14), 3521; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17143521 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
This paper provides a comprehensive review of recent advancements in computational methods for modeling, simulation, and optimization of complex systems in materials engineering, mechanical engineering, and energy systems. We identified key trends and highlighted the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) with traditional computational [...] Read more.
This paper provides a comprehensive review of recent advancements in computational methods for modeling, simulation, and optimization of complex systems in materials engineering, mechanical engineering, and energy systems. We identified key trends and highlighted the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) with traditional computational methods. Some of the cited works were previously published within the topic: “Computational Methods: Modeling, Simulations, and Optimization of Complex Systems”; thus, this article compiles the latest reports from this field. The work presents various contemporary applications of advanced computational algorithms, including AI methods. It also introduces proposals for novel strategies in materials production and optimization methods within the energy systems domain. It is essential to optimize the properties of materials used in energy. Our findings demonstrate significant improvements in accuracy and efficiency, offering valuable insights for researchers and practitioners. This review contributes to the field by synthesizing state-of-the-art developments and suggesting directions for future research, underscoring the critical role of these methods in advancing engineering and technological solutions. Full article
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18 pages, 5076 KiB  
Article
Gesture-Controlled Robotic Arm for Agricultural Harvesting Using a Data Glove with Bending Sensor and OptiTrack Systems
by Zeping Yu, Chenghong Lu, Yunhao Zhang and Lei Jing
Micromachines 2024, 15(7), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi15070918 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
This paper presents a gesture-controlled robotic arm system designed for agricultural harvesting, utilizing a data glove equipped with bending sensors and OptiTrack systems. The system aims to address the challenges of labor-intensive fruit harvesting by providing a user-friendly and efficient solution. The data [...] Read more.
This paper presents a gesture-controlled robotic arm system designed for agricultural harvesting, utilizing a data glove equipped with bending sensors and OptiTrack systems. The system aims to address the challenges of labor-intensive fruit harvesting by providing a user-friendly and efficient solution. The data glove captures hand gestures and movements using bending sensors and reflective markers, while the OptiTrack system ensures high-precision spatial tracking. Machine learning algorithms, specifically a CNN+BiLSTM model, are employed to accurately recognize hand gestures and control the robotic arm. Experimental results demonstrate the system’s high precision in replicating hand movements, with a Euclidean Distance of 0.0131 m and a Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of 0.0095 m, in addition to robust gesture recognition accuracy, with an overall accuracy of 96.43%. This hybrid approach combines the adaptability and speed of semi-automated systems with the precision and usability of fully automated systems, offering a promising solution for sustainable and labor-efficient agricultural practices. Full article
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13 pages, 2099 KiB  
Case Report
Stress-Related Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Case Report with a Positive Response to Alpha-Methyl-P-Tyrosine (AMPT) Treatment
by Maria Ljungström, Elisa Oltra and Marta Pardo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(14), 7778; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25147778 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a heterogeneous disorder with a genetically associated vulnerability of the catecholamine metabolism (e.g., catechol O-methyltransferase polymorphisms), in which environmental factors have an important impact. Alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine (AMPT; also referred to as metyrosine) is an approved medication for the treatment [...] Read more.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a heterogeneous disorder with a genetically associated vulnerability of the catecholamine metabolism (e.g., catechol O-methyltransferase polymorphisms), in which environmental factors have an important impact. Alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine (AMPT; also referred to as metyrosine) is an approved medication for the treatment of pheochromocytoma. As a tyrosine hydroxylase inhibitor, AMPT may be a potential candidate for the treatment of diseases involving catecholamine alterations. However, only small-scale clinical trials have tested AMPT repurposing in a few other illnesses. The current case report compiles genetic and longitudinal biochemical data for over a year of follow-up of a male patient sequentially diagnosed with sustained overstress, neurasthenia, CFS (diagnosed in 2012 as per the Center for Disease Control (CDC/Fukuda)), and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) over a 10-year period and reports the patient’s symptom improvement in response to low–medium doses of AMPT. This case was recognized as a stress-related CFS case. Data are reported from medical records provided by the patient to allow a detailed response to treatment targeting the hyperadrenergic state presented by the patient. We highlight the lack of a positive response to classical approaches to treating CFS, reflecting the limitations of CFS diagnosis and available treatments to alleviate patients’ symptoms. The current pathomechanism hypothesis emphasizes monoamine alterations (hyperadrenergic state) in the DA/adrenergic system and a dysfunctional autonomic nervous system resulting from sympathetic overactivity. The response of the patient to AMPT treatment highlights the relevance of pacing with regard to stressful situations and increased activity. Importantly, the results do not indicate causality between AMPT and its action on the monoamine system, and future studies should evaluate the implications of other targets. Full article
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22 pages, 9402 KiB  
Article
Study on the Effect of Fly Ash on Mechanical Properties and Seawater Freeze–Thaw Resistance of Seawater Sea Sand Concrete
by Jingjing He, Chuanwu Sun and Xuezhi Wang
Buildings 2024, 14(7), 2191; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14072191 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
When using seawater and sea sand as mixes, the mechanical properties and durability of concrete are adversely affected because the raw materials themselves contain harmful ions. Fly ash is the tailings formed in the process of industrial production, the use of which does [...] Read more.
When using seawater and sea sand as mixes, the mechanical properties and durability of concrete are adversely affected because the raw materials themselves contain harmful ions. Fly ash is the tailings formed in the process of industrial production, the use of which does not require the burning of clinker, reducing CO2 emissions. Moreover, it belongs to a new type of cementitious materials with low emissions and high environmental protection. Fly ash enhances the properties of concrete and reduces the effect of harmful ions on concrete. Based on the above considerations, the corresponding specimens were prepared and subjected to cubic compressive strength, flexural strength, and seawater freezing and thawing resistance tests by using fly ash admixture as the main variable. A combination of macro-analysis and micro-analysis was used to investigate the effect of fly ash on the performance of seawater sea sand concrete. The results showed that fly ash significantly enhanced the mechanical properties and resistance to seawater freezing and thawing of seawater sea sand concrete. The best improvement in compressive strength and resistance to seawater freezing and thawing was achieved at a substitution rate of 20%. The maximum increase in compressive strength was 13.22%. The maximum reduction in mass loss rate was 57.26% and the strength loss rate was 43.14% after the specimens were subjected to seawater freezing and thawing 75 times. The maximum enhancement in flexural strength was 17.06% for a substitution rate of 10%. Through microanalysis, it can be seen that the incorporation of coal ash can enhance the compactness of concrete through the microaggregate effect as well as the volcanic ash reaction to promote the secondary hydration reaction, so as to strengthen the seawater freeze–thaw resistance of seawater sea sand concrete. Finally, the damage prediction model established using the mean GM (1, 1) model of gray system theory meets the requirements of the first level of prediction accuracy and can accurately predict the damage of seawater sea sand concrete under seawater freezing and thawing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Building Materials, and Repair & Renovation)
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13 pages, 537 KiB  
Perspective
Kenaf: Opportunities for an Ancient Fiber Crop
by Conner C. Austin, Colleen N. Mondell, David G. Clark and Ann C. Wilkie
Agronomy 2024, 14(7), 1542; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14071542 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Hibiscus cannabinus (kenaf) is an annual fiber crop grown in warm seasons and known for its remarkable productivity; it has been cultivated worldwide for thousands of years as a fiber source. While every part of the plant can be utilized for some purpose, [...] Read more.
Hibiscus cannabinus (kenaf) is an annual fiber crop grown in warm seasons and known for its remarkable productivity; it has been cultivated worldwide for thousands of years as a fiber source. While every part of the plant can be utilized for some purpose, its primary significance lies in the diverse applications of its cellulosic fiber. Kenaf features a blend of long bast and short core fibers, rendering it suitable for various industrial uses. Initially utilized for cordage and livestock feed, kenaf’s applications have expanded over the last century to encompass its utilization as paper pulp, biocomposites, textiles, biomass energy, seed oil, filtration aids, industrial absorbents, and even as a component of potting medium or as a potential source of medicine. Although traditionally a niche crop, the discovery of its diverse applications positions kenaf for rapid expansion in production in the upcoming decades. This article aims to explore the manifold applications of kenaf, highlighting those with the greatest future potential and discussing those that hold promise for commercial-level application with additional research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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21 pages, 3918 KiB  
Article
Multi-Omics Analysis Reveals the Transcriptional Regulatory Network of Maize Roots in Response to Nitrogen Availability
by Shuai Fang, Minggang Ji, Tianze Zhu, Yunyun Wang, Xiao Tang, Xinjie Zhu, Zefeng Yang, Chenwu Xu, Houmiao Wang and Pengcheng Li
Agronomy 2024, 14(7), 1541; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14071541 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Nitrogen (N) availability determines higher plant productivity and yield. However, the molecular mechanisms governing N acquisition and utilization remain largely unknown in maize. In this study, ATAC-seq, RNA-seq, and Ribo-seq analyses were conducted in maize roots under different N supply conditions. A set [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N) availability determines higher plant productivity and yield. However, the molecular mechanisms governing N acquisition and utilization remain largely unknown in maize. In this study, ATAC-seq, RNA-seq, and Ribo-seq analyses were conducted in maize roots under different N supply conditions. A set of differentially expressed genes enriched in N and phenylpropanoid metabolisms at both the transcription and translation levels were highlighted. Interestingly, less than half of low-N responsive genes were shared between transcription and translation. The alteration of translational efficiency (TE) is also an important mechanism by which maize responds to LN. In addition, we identified low-N-induced open chromatin regions (OCRs) and observed an enrichment of transcription factor (TF) binding motifs. Furthermore, we constructed a transcriptional regulatory network for maize roots subjected to low-N. These findings extend our understanding of N availability response and provide new insights for improving N use efficiency (NUE). Full article
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