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Review
Ectopic Tumor VCAM-1 Expression in Cancer Metastasis and Therapy Resistance
by , , and
Cells 2022, 11(23), 3922; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11233922 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 (VCAM-1; CD106) is a membrane protein that contributes critical physiologic functional roles in cellular immune response, including leukocyte extravasation in inflamed and infected tissues. Expressed as a cell membrane protein, VCAM-1 can also be cleaved from the cell surface [...] Read more.
Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 (VCAM-1; CD106) is a membrane protein that contributes critical physiologic functional roles in cellular immune response, including leukocyte extravasation in inflamed and infected tissues. Expressed as a cell membrane protein, VCAM-1 can also be cleaved from the cell surface into a soluble form (sVCAM-1). The integrin α4β1 (VLA-4) was identified as the first major ligand for VCAM-1. Ongoing studies suggest that, in addition to mediating physiologic immune functions, VCAM-1/VLA-4 signaling plays an increasingly vital role in the metastatic progression of various tumors. Additionally, elevated concentrations of sVCAM-1 have been found in the peripheral blood of patients with cancer, suggesting the tumor microenvironment (TME) as the source of sVCAM-1. Furthermore, over-expression of VLA-4 was linked to tumor progression in various malignancies when VCAM-1 was also up-regulated. This review explores the functional role of VCAM-1 expression in cancer metastasis and therapy resistance, and the potential for the disruption of VCAM-1/VLA-4 signaling as a novel immunotherapeutic approach in cancer, including osteosarcoma, which disproportionately affects the pediatric, adolescent and young adult population, as an unmet medical need. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Harnessing the Immune System to Fight Pediatric Cancer)
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Article
Cytoophidia Maintain the Integrity of Drosophila Follicle Epithelium
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(23), 15282; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232315282 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
CTP synthase (CTPS) forms a filamentous structure termed the cytoophidium in all three domains of life. The female reproductive system of Drosophila is an excellent model for studying the physiological function of cytoophidia. Here, we use CTPSH355A, a point mutation that [...] Read more.
CTP synthase (CTPS) forms a filamentous structure termed the cytoophidium in all three domains of life. The female reproductive system of Drosophila is an excellent model for studying the physiological function of cytoophidia. Here, we use CTPSH355A, a point mutation that destroys the cytoophidium-forming ability of CTPS, to explore the in vivo function of cytoophidia. In CTPSH355A egg chambers, we observe the ingression and increased heterogeneity of follicle cells. In addition, we find that the cytoophidium-forming ability of CTPS, rather than the protein level, is the cause of the defects observed in CTPSH355A mutants. To sum up, our data indicate that cytoophidia play an important role in maintaining the integrity of follicle epithelium. Full article
Article
Numerical Simulation of Wave–Current Force Characteristics of Horizontal Floating Cylinder in Heave Motion
by , , , , and
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(12), 1884; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10121884 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
This paper presents the characteristics of the heave motion responses and hydrodynamic forces of a horizontal floating circular cylinder during a wave–current interaction. A two-dimensional numerical model based on the CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) method for modeling wave flow is validated and verified. [...] Read more.
This paper presents the characteristics of the heave motion responses and hydrodynamic forces of a horizontal floating circular cylinder during a wave–current interaction. A two-dimensional numerical model based on the CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) method for modeling wave flow is validated and verified. The hydrodynamic characteristics of the horizontal floating cylinder during heave motion were calculated and analyzed under the conditions of different k values (stiffness of spring), wave amplitudes, submerged depths, and flow rates. The results show that, with the increase in the k value, the vibration amplitude of the cylinder first increases and then decreases. The vibration amplitude peak is achieved, the vibration frequency is consistent with the wave frequency, and a resonant motion takes place. When the wave amplitude and flow rate are fixed, the maximum vibration amplitude decreases as the wave period increases. When the cylinder is half-submerged, the effect of the current on motion is significant; the vibration amplitude is less than the wave amplitude. When a quarter is submerged, the vibration amplitude is larger than that of the half-submerged cylinder at each k. The maximum amplitude is greater than the wave amplitude, and the vibration amplitude reaches the minimum at the moderate flow rate for each k. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Engineering)
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Article
Enhance Production of γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) and Improve the Function of Fermented Quinoa by Cold Stress
Foods 2022, 11(23), 3908; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11233908 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
Quinoa is an excellent source of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a natural four-carbon non-protein amino acid with great health benefits. In this study, the quinoa was treated by cold stress before fermentation with Lactobacillus plantarum to enhance the amount of GABA. The [...] Read more.
Quinoa is an excellent source of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a natural four-carbon non-protein amino acid with great health benefits. In this study, the quinoa was treated by cold stress before fermentation with Lactobacillus plantarum to enhance the amount of GABA. The best Lactobacillus plantarum for GABA production was selected from sixteen different strains based on the levels of GABA production and the activity of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). Cold stress treatments at 4 °C and at −20 °C enhanced the amount of GABA in the fermented quinoa by a maximum of 1191% and 774%, respectively. The surface of the fermented quinoa flour treated by cold stress showed more pinholes, mucus, faults and cracks. A Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometer (FTIR) analysis revealed that cold stress had a violent breakage effect on the -OH bonds in quinoa and delayed the destruction of protein during fermentation. In addition, the results from the rapid visco analyzer (RVA) showed that the cold stress reduced the peak viscosity of quinoa flour. Overall, the cold stress treatment is a promising method for making fermented quinoa a functional food by enhancing the production of bioactive ingredients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Foods)
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Article
Three-Body Abrasive Wear Performance of High Chromium White Cast Iron with Different Ti and C Content
Lubricants 2022, 10(12), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/lubricants10120348 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
The need for better wear-resistant materials to reduce cost and save the environment is noteworthy. The striking wear resistance of high chromium white cast iron (HCCI) has made it industry’s predominant choice. The three-body abrasive wear resistance performance of HCCI was investigated based [...] Read more.
The need for better wear-resistant materials to reduce cost and save the environment is noteworthy. The striking wear resistance of high chromium white cast iron (HCCI) has made it industry’s predominant choice. The three-body abrasive wear resistance performance of HCCI was investigated based on combined Ti and C. The Ti and C content varied in different percentages. The addition of Ti resulted in refined M7C3 carbides and TiC crystallization. The hardness was significantly affected by the addition of Ti. The increment in Ti content resulted in a decrease in the hardness, leading to a higher wear rate. However, the individual contribution of C led to higher hardness and, hence, better wear resistance, which is contrary to Ti. Out of the three specimens with 3, 3.5, and 4 wt.% C content, the 4 wt.% C series showed the highest hardness but the lowest wear rate and depth. This study found that the combination of a lower percentage of Ti with a higher percentage of C in HCCI can have a worthwhile result in abrasive wear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment of Abrasive Wear)
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Article
Subcutaneous Ticks in Wild Carnivores: Any Host-Related Differences?
Animals 2022, 12(23), 3411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12233411 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
Ticks under the skin have been shown in different canid species such as red fox, domestic dog, and raccoon dog. Despite being increasingly reported in Europe in the last decade, the biological mechanisms associated to subcutaneous ticks (SCT), as well as the predisposing [...] Read more.
Ticks under the skin have been shown in different canid species such as red fox, domestic dog, and raccoon dog. Despite being increasingly reported in Europe in the last decade, the biological mechanisms associated to subcutaneous ticks (SCT), as well as the predisposing factors, are not yet clear. The main goal of this study was to investigate the presence of SCT in wild carnivores in Northwestern Italy. Sixty-three wild carnivores were examined, and SCT were submitted to histological examination or stored in ethanol for morphological and molecular identification. A portion of the cox1 gene and 16S rDNA were amplified, and positive PCR products were sequenced. Fifty-one small brown-coloured nodules of about 2 × 3 mm containing ticks in different decomposition stages were observed in 11 out of 30 foxes. Seven ticks were classified as Ixodes ricinus, while 14 ticks were determined only at the genus level (Ixodes spp.), and in two ticks no morphological key was applicable due to the advanced degradation status. By PCR, the rDNA fragment of six ticks (26.1%, 95% CI: 12.6–46.5%) was amplified, and BLAST analysis revealed a 99–100% nucleotide similarity to I. ricinus. At the histological examination, the inflammatory response varied from a mild to a moderate mixed infiltrate, primarily composed by neutrophils and lymphocytes. The results of this study confirm foxes as the main wild reservoir for SCT. The absence of SCT in other carnivores (badgers and martens) is in accordance with other studies. Ixodes ricinus is the most frequently reported tick species, corroborating the idea that longirostral ticks might be more frequently associated to SC embedment than brevirostral ticks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteria and Parasites in Wildlife)
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Article
Cross-Cultural Validation of the Short Version of the Questionnaire of Olfactory Disorders—Negative Statements into Italian: Towards Personalized Patient Care
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(12), 2010; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12122010 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
Given the high burden of olfactory dysfunction worldwide, recently increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is mandatory to adopt a specific questionnaire to assess the impact of olfactory impairment on quality of life, to be used in clinical practice. The aim of [...] Read more.
Given the high burden of olfactory dysfunction worldwide, recently increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is mandatory to adopt a specific questionnaire to assess the impact of olfactory impairment on quality of life, to be used in clinical practice. The aim of this study is to adapt and validate the short version of the Questionnaire of Olfactory Disorders-Negative Statements (svQOD-NS) for Italian. In the pilot phase, the Italian version of the questionnaire (ITA-svQOD-NS) was produced following recommended guidelines. It was then given to 50 healthy subjects and 50 patients (affected by either nasal polyposis or septal deviation), and results were compared to those of other widely used questionnaires. Test-retest reliability was assessed on a sample of 25 patients. All 50 patients repeated the questionnaires at one and nine months after surgery. The internal consistency of ITA-svQOD-NS measured with Cronbach α was excellent (α = 0.92). The intraclass correlation coefficient for test-retest reliability was also optimal (0.93; 95%CI: 0.90–0.96). Concurrent validity tested with the Pearson coefficient was significant with all other tests administered; also, concerning responsiveness, statistically significant differences were obtained between pre- and post-operative conditions. ITA-svQOD-NS showed high internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and significant correlation with all most-used clinical questionnaires; thus, it can be efficiently applied to assess olfaction-related QoL in the Italian population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Personalized Medicine in Otorhinolaryngology)
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Article
Effect of Using Trichoderma spp. on Turfgrass Quality under Different Levels of Salinity
Water 2022, 14(23), 3943; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14233943 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
Lawns achieve environmental, functional, and aesthetical roles in urban environments. The objectives of this research were to assess the effect of different salinity levels on Trichoderma isolates and to study the effect of Trichoderma spp. on perennial ryegrass under different levels of salinity. [...] Read more.
Lawns achieve environmental, functional, and aesthetical roles in urban environments. The objectives of this research were to assess the effect of different salinity levels on Trichoderma isolates and to study the effect of Trichoderma spp. on perennial ryegrass under different levels of salinity. T. harzianum (ThLem2017-01) and T. atroviride (TaDP2019-01) isolates had a higher mycelium growth rate than T. atroviride (TaDP2019-02) when salinity levels were low. In contrast, the mycelium growth rate of T. atroviride (TaDP2019-02) isolate at high salinity levels had superior results. Turfgrass seeds that were inoculated with (TaDP2019-02) isolate maintained high radicle length, coleoptile length, and leaf length under high salinity levels. Increasing salinity level decreased clippings’ fresh weight (FW), dry weight (DW), and shoot and root dry weight of perennial ryegrass. Interestingly, perennial ryegrass pots that were treated with (TaDP2019-02) isolate had increased FW and DW by 16 to 114% and 24 to 76%, respectively. Soils that were inoculated with Trichoderma (TaDP2019-02) had higher CO2 respiration (75%) than the control. Therefore, using T. atroviride (TaDP2019-02) isolate revealed promising results in increasing plant biomass and as an environmentally friendly alternative factor to overcome salinity stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Desalination Treatment of Irrigation Water)
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Article
Paeoniflorin Protects against Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Injury in Mice via JNK Signaling Pathway
Molecules 2022, 27(23), 8534; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27238534 (registering DOI) - 04 Dec 2022
Abstract
Background: Drug-induced liver injury (DILI), represented by acetaminophen (APAP), is a common cause of acute liver failure in clinics. Paeoniflorin (PF) has been proven to demonstrate a significant hepatoprotective effect. However, it is still unclear whether it can be a potential agent against [...] Read more.
Background: Drug-induced liver injury (DILI), represented by acetaminophen (APAP), is a common cause of acute liver failure in clinics. Paeoniflorin (PF) has been proven to demonstrate a significant hepatoprotective effect. However, it is still unclear whether it can be a potential agent against hepatotoxicity induced by APAP. This study aimed to explore the preventive and therapeutic effects and mechanisms of PF on APAP-induced liver injury. Methods: Different doses of PF (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg) were given to C57BL/6 male mice for five consecutive days. After 12 h of APAP (250 mg/kg i.p.) treatment, blood and liver tissues were collected and isolated for detection. Results: The results showed that the therapeutic effects of PF on APAP mice were presented in the downregulation of the content of serum indices and significantly improved hepatic tissue edema and inflammatory infiltration. Meanwhile, PF reduces the level of the mitochondrial metabolic enzyme. Ulteriorly, it was found that PF has a downregulating effect on the apoptotic reaction and could inhibit the protein expression of CYP2E1/JNK signaling, which in turn reduces the damage of APAP. Conclusion: Our findings showed that PF acted as a protective agent against APAP-induced hepatotoxicity by inhibiting JNK-related signals, suggesting a novel insight into treating APAP-induced liver injury. Full article
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Article
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Functional Connectivity of Brain Regions after High-Intensity Exercise in Adolescents
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 16175; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142316175 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Lack of sleep causes central fatigue in the body, which in turn affects brain function, and similarly, intense exercise causes both central and peripheral fatigue. This study aims to characterize the brain state, and in particular the functional changes in the relevant brain [...] Read more.
Lack of sleep causes central fatigue in the body, which in turn affects brain function, and similarly, intense exercise causes both central and peripheral fatigue. This study aims to characterize the brain state, and in particular the functional changes in the relevant brain regions, after intense exercise in sleep-deprived conditions by detecting EEG signals. Thirty healthy adolescents were screened to participate in the trial, a sleep-deprivation model was developed, and a running exercise was performed the following morning. Meanwhile, pre-exercise and post-exercise Electroencephalogram (EEG) data were collected from the subjects using a 32-conductor electroencephalogram acquisition system (Neuroscan), and the data were analyzed using MATLAB (2013b) to process the data and analyzed Phase Lag Index (PLI) and graph theory metrics for different brain connections. Compared with the control group, the pre-exercise sleep-deprivation group showed significantly lower functional brain connectivity in the central and right temporal lobes in the Delta band (p < 0.05), significantly lower functional brain connectivity in the parietal and occipital regions in the Theta band (p < 0.05), and significantly higher functional brain connectivity in the left temporal and right parietal regions in the Beta2 band (p < 0.05). In the post-exercise sleep-deprivation group, functional brain connectivity was significantly lower in the central to right occipital and central regions in the Delta band (p < 0.05), significantly higher in the whole brain regions in the Theta, Alpha2, and Beta1 bands (p < 0.05 and 0.001), significantly higher in the right central, right parietal, and right temporal regions in the Alpha1 band (p < 0.05), and in the Beta2 band, the functional brain connections from the left frontal region to the right parietal region were significantly lower (p < 0.05). The results of the brain functional network properties showed that the clustering coefficients in the Delta band were significantly lower in the pre-exercise sleep-deprivation group compared to the control group (p < 0.05); the characteristic path length and global efficiency in the Theta band were significantly lower (p < 0.05 and 0.001). The post-exercise sleep-deprivation group showed significantly higher clustering coefficients, input lengths, and local efficiencies (p < 0.001), and significantly lower global efficiencies in the Delta and Theta bands (p < 0.001), and significantly higher clustering coefficients and local efficiencies (p < 0.001) and significantly lower input lengths and global efficiencies in the Alpha1 band compared with the control group (p < 0.001). After sleep deprivation, the pre-exercise resting state reduces the rate of information transfer in the functional networks of the adolescent brain, slowing the transfer of information between brain regions. After performing strenuous exercise, sleep deprivation leads to decreased athletic performance in adolescents. After a prolonged period of intense exercise, brain activity is gradually suppressed, resulting in even slower work efficiency and, eventually, increased information transfer in adolescents. Full article
Article
Features of the Carrier Concentration Determination during Irradiation of Wide-Gap Semiconductors: The Case Study of Silicon Carbide
Materials 2022, 15(23), 8637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15238637 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
In this paper, the features of radiation compensation of wide-gap semiconductors are discussed, considering the case study of silicon carbide. Two classical methods of concentration determination are compared and analyzed: capacitance-voltage (CV) and current-voltage (I–V) characteristics. The [...] Read more.
In this paper, the features of radiation compensation of wide-gap semiconductors are discussed, considering the case study of silicon carbide. Two classical methods of concentration determination are compared and analyzed: capacitance-voltage (CV) and current-voltage (I–V) characteristics. The dependence of the base resistance in high-voltage 4H-SiC Schottky diodes on the dose of irradiation by electrons and protons is experimentally traced in the range of eight orders of magnitude. It is demonstrated that the dependence of the carrier concentration on the irradiation dose can be determined unambiguously and reliably in a very wide range of compensation levels, based on the results of measuring the I–V characteristics. It is shown that the determination of the carrier removal rate using the I–V characteristics is more correct than using the C–V characteristics, especially in the case of high radiation doses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Electronic Materials Section (Volume 2))
Article
All-Polymer Piezo-Composites for Scalable Energy Harvesting and Sensing Devices
Molecules 2022, 27(23), 8524; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27238524 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Silicone elastomer composites with piezoelectric properties, conferred by incorporated polyimide copolymers, with pressure sensors similar to human skin and kinetic energy harvester capabilities, were developed as thin film (<100 micron thick) layered architecture. They are based on polymer materials which can be produced [...] Read more.
Silicone elastomer composites with piezoelectric properties, conferred by incorporated polyimide copolymers, with pressure sensors similar to human skin and kinetic energy harvester capabilities, were developed as thin film (<100 micron thick) layered architecture. They are based on polymer materials which can be produced in industrial amounts and are scalable for large areas (m2). The piezoelectric properties of the tested materials were determined using a dynamic mode of piezoelectric force microscopy. These composite materials bring together polydimethylsiloxane polymers with customized poly(siloxane-imide) copolymers (2–20 wt% relative to siloxanes), with siloxane segments inserted into the structure to ensure the compatibility of the components. The morphology of the materials as free-standing films was studied by SEM and AFM, revealing separated phases for higher polyimide concentration (10, 20 wt%). The composites show dielectric behavior with a low loss (<10−1) and a relative permittivity superior (3–4) to pure siloxane within a 0.1–106 Hz range. The composite in the form of a thin film can generate up to 750 mV under contact with a 30 g steel ball dropped from 10 cm high. This capability to convert a pressure signal into a direct current for the tested device has potential for applications in self-powered sensors and kinetic energy-harvesting applications. Furthermore, the materials preserve the known electromechanical properties of pure polysiloxane, with lateral strain actuation values of up to 6.2% at 28.9 V/μm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Polymer-Based Materials)
Article
Comparison of Metagenomics and Metatranscriptomics Tools: A Guide to Making the Right Choice
Genes 2022, 13(12), 2280; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13122280 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
The study of microorganisms is a field of great interest due to their environmental (e.g., soil contamination) and biomedical (e.g., parasitic diseases, autism) importance. The advent of revolutionary next-generation sequencing techniques, and their application to the hypervariable regions of the 16S, 18S or [...] Read more.
The study of microorganisms is a field of great interest due to their environmental (e.g., soil contamination) and biomedical (e.g., parasitic diseases, autism) importance. The advent of revolutionary next-generation sequencing techniques, and their application to the hypervariable regions of the 16S, 18S or 23S ribosomal subunits, have allowed the research of a large variety of organisms more in-depth, including bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes and fungi. Additionally, together with the development of analysis software, the creation of specific databases (e.g., SILVA or RDP) has boosted the enormous growth of these studies. As the cost of sequencing per sample has continuously decreased, new protocols have also emerged, such as shotgun sequencing, which allows the profiling of all taxonomic domains in a sample. The sequencing of hypervariable regions and shotgun sequencing are technologies that enable the taxonomic classification of microorganisms from the DNA present in microbial communities. However, they are not capable of measuring what is actively expressed. Conversely, we advocate that metatranscriptomics is a “new” technology that makes the identification of the mRNAs of a microbial community possible, quantifying gene expression levels and active biological pathways. Furthermore, it can be also used to characterise symbiotic interactions between the host and its microbiome. In this manuscript, we examine the three technologies above, and discuss the implementation of different software and databases, which greatly impact the obtaining of reliable results. Finally, we have developed two easy-to-use pipelines leveraging Nextflow technology. These aim to provide everything required for an average user to perform a metagenomic analysis of marker genes with QIMME2 and a metatranscriptomic study using Kraken2/Bracken. Full article
Article
The Impact of the Azo-Chromophore Sort on the Features of the Supramolecular Azopolyimide Films Desired to Be Used as Substrates for Flexible Electronics
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(23), 15223; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232315223 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
High-performance supramolecular polyimide systems were synthesized via a simple and innovative approach using two types of azo-chromophores, leading to concomitant special properties: high thermostability, the ability to be processed in the form of films with high flexibility, adequate morphological features, and good structuring [...] Read more.
High-performance supramolecular polyimide systems were synthesized via a simple and innovative approach using two types of azo-chromophores, leading to concomitant special properties: high thermostability, the ability to be processed in the form of films with high flexibility, adequate morphological features, and good structuring capacity via phase mask ultraviolet (UV) laser irradiation, induced by the presence of the azo groups (–N=N–). The dimension and the anisotropy degree of the micro/nano patterns obtained on the surface of the flexible films (determined by atomic force microscopy) depend on the azo-dye type used in the supramolecular azopolyimide synthesis, which were higher when the azo-chromophore containing a –cyano group (−C≡N) was used. The molecular dynamics method, an excellent tool for an in-depth examination of the intermolecular interactions, was used to explain the morphological aspects. Energetic, dynamic and structural parameters were calculated for the two systems containing azo-chromophores, as well as for the pristine polymer system. It was highlighted that the van der Waals forces make a major contribution to the intermolecular interactions. The results from the combination of the dynamic analysis and the concentration profile explain the better mobility of the polyimide chains with a maximum content of azo groups in the cis configuration compared to the other systems. Taking all these data into account, the surfaces of the films can be tuned as required for the proposed applications, namely as substrates for flexible electronis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Molecular Nanoscience)
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Article
On the Élö–Runyan–Poisson–Pearson Method to Forecast Football Matches
Mathematics 2022, 10(23), 4587; https://doi.org/10.3390/math10234587 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
This is a work about football. In it, we depart from two well-known approaches to forecast the outcome of a football match (or even a full tournament) and take advantage of their strengths to develop a new method of prediction. We illustrate the [...] Read more.
This is a work about football. In it, we depart from two well-known approaches to forecast the outcome of a football match (or even a full tournament) and take advantage of their strengths to develop a new method of prediction. We illustrate the Élö–Runyan rating system and the Poisson technique in the English Premier League and we analyze their accuracies with respect to the actual results. We obtained an accuracy of 84.37% for the former, and 79.99% for the latter in this first exercise. Then, we present a criticism of these methods and use it to complement the aforementioned procedures, and hence, introduce the so-called Élö–Runyan–Poisson–Pearson method, which consists of adopting the distribution that best fits the historical distribution of goals to simulate the score of each match. Finally, we obtain a Monte Carlo-based forecast of the result. We test our mechanism to backcast the World Cup of Russia 2018, obtaining an accuracy of 87.09%; and forecast the results of the World Cup of Qatar 2022. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Probability, Statistics and Their Applications 2021)
Article
An Optimization Study on the Operating Parameters of Liquid Cold Plate for Battery Thermal Management of Electric Vehicles
Energies 2022, 15(23), 9180; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15239180 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
The development of electric vehicles plays an important role in the field of energy conservation and emission reduction. It is necessary to improve the thermal performance of battery modules in electric vehicles and reduce the power consumption of the battery thermal management system [...] Read more.
The development of electric vehicles plays an important role in the field of energy conservation and emission reduction. It is necessary to improve the thermal performance of battery modules in electric vehicles and reduce the power consumption of the battery thermal management system (BTMS). In this study, the heat transfer and flow resistance performance of liquid cold plates with serpentine channels were numerically investigated and optimized. Flow rate (), inlet temperature (Tin), and average heat generation (Q) were selected as key operating parameters, while average temperature (Tave), maximum temperature difference (ΔTmax), and pressure drop (ΔP) were chosen as objective functions. The Response Surface Methodology (RSM) with a face-centered central composite design (CCD) was used to construct regression models. Combined with the multi-objective non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II), the Pareto-optimal solution was obtained to optimize the operation parameters. The results show that the maximum temperature differences of the cold plate can be controlled within 0.29~3.90 °C, 1.11~15.66 °C, 2.17~31.39 °C, and 3.43~50.92 °C for the discharging rates at 1.0 C, 2.0 C, 3.0 C, and 4.0 C, respectively. The average temperature and maximum temperature difference can be simultaneously optimized by maintaining the pressure drop below 1000 Pa. It is expected that the proposed methods and results can provide theoretical guidance for developing an operational strategy for the BTMS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable Energy Technology)
Article
Integration of IoT Sensors to Determine Life Expectancy of Face Masks
Sensors 2022, 22(23), 9463; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22239463 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is widely used around the world to protect against environmental hazards. With the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, the use of PPE domestically has increased dramatically. People use preventive and protective mechanisms now more than ever, leading to the [...] Read more.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is widely used around the world to protect against environmental hazards. With the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, the use of PPE domestically has increased dramatically. People use preventive and protective mechanisms now more than ever, leading to the important question of how protective is the PPE that is being used. Face masks are highly recommended or mandatory during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic due to their protective features against aerosol droplets. However, an issue faced by many users of face masks is that they are entirely manual, with users having to decide for themselves whether their mask is still protective or if they should replace their mask. Due to the difficulty in determining this, people tend to overuse masks beyond their optimal usage. The research presented in this paper is an investigation of the viability of integrating IoT sensors into masks that are capable of collecting data to determine its usage. This paper demonstrates the usage of humidity and temperature sensors for the purpose of determining a mask’s usage status based on changes in these variables when a mask is put on and taken off. An evaluation was made on the usage of the two sensors, with the conclusion that a humidity sensor provides more accurate results. From this, we present a framework that takes into consideration the factors that affect a mask’s performance, such as time, humidity and temperature, to calculate the life expectancy of a mask. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IoT-Based Health Monitoring and Assistive Systems)
Article
RNA-Interference-Mediated miR-122-Based Gene Regulation in Colon Cancer, a Structural In Silico Analysis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(23), 15257; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232315257 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
The role of microRNA 122 (miR-122) in colorectal cancer (CRC) has not been widely investigated. In the current study, we aimed to identify the prominent gene and protein interactors of miR122 in CRC. Based on their binding affinity, these targets were chosen as [...] Read more.
The role of microRNA 122 (miR-122) in colorectal cancer (CRC) has not been widely investigated. In the current study, we aimed to identify the prominent gene and protein interactors of miR122 in CRC. Based on their binding affinity, these targets were chosen as candidate genes for the creation of miR122–mRNA duplexes. Following this, we examined the miRNA-mediated silencing mechanism using the gene-silencing complex protein Argonaute (AGO). Public databases, STRING, and GeneMANIA were utilized to identify major proteins and genes interacting with miR-122. DAVID, PANTHER, UniProt, FunRich, miRwalk, and KEGG were used for functional annotation, pathway enrichment, binding affinity analysis, and expression of genes in different stages of cancer. Three-dimensional duplexes of hub genes and miR-122 were created using the RNA composer, followed by molecular interaction analysis using molecular docking with the AGO protein. We analyzed, classified, and scrutinized 93 miR-122 interactors using various bioinformatic approaches. A total of 14 hub genes were categorized as major interactors of miR-122. The study confirmed the role of various experimentally documented miR-122 interactors such as MTDH (Q86UE4), AKT1 (P31749), PTPN1 (P18031), MYC (P01106), GSK3B (P49841), RHOA (P61586), and PIK3CG (P48736) and put forth several novel interactors, with AKT3 (Q9Y243), NCOR2 (Q9Y618), PIK3R2 (O00459), SMAD4 (P61586), and TGFBR1 (P36897). Double-stranded RNA duplexes of the strongest interactors were found to exhibit higher binding affinity with AGO. In conclusions, the study has explored the role of miR-122 in CRC and has identified a closely related group of genes influencing the prognosis of CRC in multiple ways. Further, these genes prove to be targets of gene silencing through RNA interference and might serve as effective therapeutic targets in understanding and treating CRC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Macromolecules)
Article
Effect of Cloud Mask on the Consistency of Snow Cover Products from MODIS and VIIRS
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(23), 6134; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14236134 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Snow cover has significant impacts on the global water cycle, ecosystem, and climate change. At present, satellite remote sensing is regarded as the most efficient approach to detect long-term and multiscale observations of snow cover extent. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) [...] Read more.
Snow cover has significant impacts on the global water cycle, ecosystem, and climate change. At present, satellite remote sensing is regarded as the most efficient approach to detect long-term and multiscale observations of snow cover extent. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor onboard Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites will replace the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to prolong data recording in the future. Therefore, it is a fundamental task to analyze and evaluate the consistency of the snow cover products retrieved from these two sensors. In this study, we performed comparisons and a consistency evaluation between the MODIS and VIIRS snow cover products in three major snow distribution regions in China: Northeast China (NE), Northwest China (NW) and the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QT). The results demonstrated that (1) the normalized difference snow index (NDSI)-derived snow cover products showed suitable consistency between VIIRS and MODIS under clear sky conditions, with a mean difference value of less than 5%; (2) the VIIRS snow cover product presented much more snow and fewer clouds than that of MODIS in the snow season due to the differences in cloud-masking algorithms; (3) cloud mask strongly affects the potential of snow cover observation, and presents seasonal pattern in the test regions; and (4) VIIRS is able to distinguish clouds from snow with greater accuracy. The comparisons indicated that the greater the difference in cloud cover, the poorer the agreement in snow cover. This evaluation implies that perfecting the cloud-masking algorithm of VIIRS to update the MODIS would be the best solution to achieve better consistency for long-term and high-quality snow cover products. Full article
Article
Spectroelectrochemical and Theoretical Study of [Si(ttpy)2](PF6)4: A Potential Polychromatic Electrochromic Dye
Molecules 2022, 27(23), 8521; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27238521 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Complexes consisting of earth-abundant main group metals such as silicon with polypyridine ligands are of interest for a variety of optical and electronic applications including as electrochromic colorants. Previous spectroelectrochemical studies with tris(2,2′-bipyridyl)silicon(IV) hexafluorophosphate, [Si(bpy)3](PF6)4, demonstrated an ability [...] Read more.
Complexes consisting of earth-abundant main group metals such as silicon with polypyridine ligands are of interest for a variety of optical and electronic applications including as electrochromic colorants. Previous spectroelectrochemical studies with tris(2,2′-bipyridyl)silicon(IV) hexafluorophosphate, [Si(bpy)3](PF6)4, demonstrated an ability to control the color saturation of the potential electrochromic dye, with the intensity of the dye’s green color increasing as the charge state sequentially reduces from 4+ to 1+. In this study, the synthesis of bis(4′-(4-tolyl)-2,2′:6′,2″-terpyridine)silicon(IV) hexafluorophosphate, [Si(ttpy)2](PF6)4, is reported along with electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical analyses. Computational modeling (density functional theory) is used to further elucidate the electrochromic properties of previously reported Si(bpy)3n+ species and the new Si(ttpy)2n+ species. While the homoleptic tris(bidentate)silicon(IV) complexes are attractive as electrochromic dyes for tunable color saturation, the bis(tridentate)silicon(IV) complexes are attractive as polychromatic electrochromic dyes. Full article
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Article
A Method for Generation of a Sizing System and Representative Models for a Facial Mask Design
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(23), 12387; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122312387 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
A sizing system and representative face models (RFMs) need to be properly determined for the design of a facial mask. The present study proposed a novel approach for the generation of a sizing system and RFMs for a facial mask that considers not [...] Read more.
A sizing system and representative face models (RFMs) need to be properly determined for the design of a facial mask. The present study proposed a novel approach for the generation of a sizing system and RFMs for a facial mask that considers not only the accommodation of the target population but also its applicability in practice (e.g., ease of use and economic efficiency). A custom sizing system with four unique sizing categories was generated by applying the proposed approach for a pilot oxygen mask for Korean pilots. Then, out of 336 faces, a face showing the minimum value of weighted sum of Euclidean distance (WSED) was identified as the RFM of each of the four sizing categories. The proposed approach can be applied to the development of a sizing system and the identification of representative human models for the design of wearable products associated with multiple body dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Approaches and Applications in Ergonomic Design II)
Article
Use of the Far Infrared Spectroscopy for NaCl and KCl Minerals Characterization—A Case Study of Halides from Kłodawa in Poland
Minerals 2022, 12(12), 1561; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12121561 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
The paper presents research on chloride minerals of natural origin from Kłodawa (Poland), i.e., colorless, blue and purple halite as well as colorless sylvite. Selected samples of minerals were studied by chemical analysis (ICP-OES, ICP-MS, titration methods) and crystallographic measurements. Then, for the [...] Read more.
The paper presents research on chloride minerals of natural origin from Kłodawa (Poland), i.e., colorless, blue and purple halite as well as colorless sylvite. Selected samples of minerals were studied by chemical analysis (ICP-OES, ICP-MS, titration methods) and crystallographic measurements. Then, for the tested halides, research was carried out using far-infrared spectroscopy. Spectroscopic studies confirmed the simple way of distinguishing NaCl and KCl minerals using far-infrared spectroscopy, known in the literature. The novelty is that the article presents for the first time the experimental far infrared spectra of natural blue and purple halite. It was observed that the blue (178 cm−1) and purple (176 cm−1) halites have the strongest infrared band slightly shifted towards higher wavenumbers compared to colorless halite (174 cm−1). As part of the work, the infrared spectra of the crystal structure models of sodium and potassium chloride were calculated for the first time using the density functional theory (with the B3LYP functional and the 6–31G* basis set, 125-atom model). The proposed approach can be used not only as a powerful method differentiating NaCl and KCl minerals, but it can also help with understanding of different defects in crystal lattices for naturally occurring halides and crystals of other minerals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Study of Minerals by Molecular Spectroscopy)
Article
Silk-Elastin-like Polymers for Acute Intraparenchymal Treatment of the Traumatically Injured Spinal Cord: A First Systematic Experimental Approach
Pharmaceutics 2022, 14(12), 2713; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics14122713 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Despite the promising potential of hydrogel-based therapeutic approaches for spinal cord injury (SCI), the need for new biomaterials to design effective strategies for SCI treatment and the outstanding properties of silk-elastin-like polymers (SELP), the potential use of SELPs in SCI is currently unknown. [...] Read more.
Despite the promising potential of hydrogel-based therapeutic approaches for spinal cord injury (SCI), the need for new biomaterials to design effective strategies for SCI treatment and the outstanding properties of silk-elastin-like polymers (SELP), the potential use of SELPs in SCI is currently unknown. In this context, we assessed the effects elicited by the in vivo acute intraparenchymal injection of an SELP named (EIS)2-RGD6 in a clinically relevant model of SCI. After optimization of the injection system, the distribution, structure, biodegradability, and cell infiltration capacity of (EIS)2-RGD6 were assessed. Finally, the effects exerted by the (EIS)2-RGD6 injection—in terms of motor function, myelin preservation, astroglial and microglia/macrophage reactivity, and fibrosis—were evaluated. We found that (EIS)2-RGD6 can be acutely injected in the lesioned spinal cord without inducing further damage, showing a widespread distribution covering all lesioned areas with a single injection and facilitating the formation of a slow-degrading porous scaffold at the lesion site that allows for the infiltration and/or proliferation of endogenous cells with no signs of collapse and without inducing further microglial and astroglial reactivity, as well as even reducing SCI-associated fibrosis. Altogether, these observations suggest that (EIS)2-RGD6—and, by extension, SELPs—could be promising polymers for the design of therapeutic strategies for SCI treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Drug Delivery Systems for Regenerative Medicine)
Article
Predictive Modeling of Soft Stretchable Nanocomposites Using Recurrent Neural Networks
Polymers 2022, 14(23), 5290; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14235290 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Human skin is characterized by rough, elastic, and uneven features that are difficult to recreate using conventional manufacturing technologies and rigid materials. The use of soft materials is a promising alternative to produce devices that mimic the tactile capabilities of biological tissues. Although [...] Read more.
Human skin is characterized by rough, elastic, and uneven features that are difficult to recreate using conventional manufacturing technologies and rigid materials. The use of soft materials is a promising alternative to produce devices that mimic the tactile capabilities of biological tissues. Although previous studies have revealed the potential of fillers to modify the properties of composite materials, there is still a gap in modeling the conductivity and mechanical properties of these types of materials. While traditional Finite Element approximations can be used, these methodologies tend to be highly demanding of time and processing power. Instead of this approach, a data-driven learning-based approximation strategy can be used to generate prediction models via neural networks. This paper explores the fabrication of flexible nanocomposites using polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) with different single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) loadings (0.5, 1, and 1.5 wt.%). Simple Recurrent Neural Networks (SRNN), Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM), and Gated Recurrent Units (GRU) models were formulated, trained, and tested to obtain the predictive sequence data of out-of-plane quasistatic mechanical tests. Finally, the model learned is applied to a dynamic system using the Kelvin–Voight model and the phenomenon known as the bouncing ball. The best predictive results were achieved using a nonlinear activation function in the SRNN model implementing two units and 4000 epochs. These results suggest the feasibility of a hybrid approach of analogy-based learning and data-driven learning for the design and computational analysis of soft and stretchable nanocomposite materials. Full article
Article
Forest Landscape Restoration and Local Stakeholders: A Global Bibliometric Mapping Analysis
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 16165; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142316165 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Forest landscape restoration (FLR) has a central place in current global debates about the sustainability of natural resources, climate change mitigation and adaptation, livelihoods and biodiversity conservation. FLR approaches support the involvement of different social actors in participatory decision-making processes. We conducted a [...] Read more.
Forest landscape restoration (FLR) has a central place in current global debates about the sustainability of natural resources, climate change mitigation and adaptation, livelihoods and biodiversity conservation. FLR approaches support the involvement of different social actors in participatory decision-making processes. We conducted a bibliometric analysis research to provide an overview of scientific publications in forest restoration, FLR and local stakeholders (LS) studies, and, specifically, examine if the studies (1) recognised the relevance of the local level actors and (2) collected primary and/or secondary data on LS using different methods from related publications since 2000. We used the Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus as bibliographic sources. We analysed five main research aspects: (1) publication year, (2) most productive countries according to the total number of publications, (3) most influential journals and cited papers, (4) most influential authors ranked by number of publications, their respective organisations and country collaborations, and (5) a co-occurrence analysis of countries’ collaborations and keywords. We found that forest restoration, FLR and LS studies have been growing over the years, especially in the last decade. However, only 50% (99 records) of the studies recognised the relevance of the local level actors and also collected primary and/or secondary data through different methods. Authors from organisations in North and South America, and Oceania were the ones with the most publications, with only 20% (4 authors) of the top 20 authors having degrees in social sciences. Studies about “ecosystem services”, “ecological restoration”, “natural regeneration”, “livelihoods”, “Bonn challenge” and “governance” have become the main subject of research along the years within the scope of FLR at the local level. Finally, the results showed the gaps that should be considered in future research to improve the involvement and more direct participation of LS, as well as the participation of interdisciplinary and social science researchers in FLR research teams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Article
Spider Assemblages of Tree Trunks and Tree Branches in Three Developmental Phases of Primeval Oak–Lime–Hornbeam Forest in the Białowieża National Park
Insects 2022, 13(12), 1115; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13121115 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
The study was conducted in the Białowieża Forest, which is the only place in Europe where the full development cycle of forests takes place on a large scale. The objective of this study was to compare spider assemblages inhabiting tree trunks and tree [...] Read more.
The study was conducted in the Białowieża Forest, which is the only place in Europe where the full development cycle of forests takes place on a large scale. The objective of this study was to compare spider assemblages inhabiting tree trunks and tree branches in the optimal, terminal and regeneration phases of a primeval oak–lime–hornbeam stand, in terms of their abundance, species diversity and species richness. Spiders of tree branches were sampled using a sweep net into which branches were shaken, while spiders inhabiting tree trunks were collected using traps made of corrugated cardboard placed around the trunks. The three analysed phases did not differ in terms of total species richness. We found that the species diversity of both foliage-dwelling and trunk-dwelling spider assemblages was higher in the terminal phase compared to other phases, which may indicate that the former phase offered the most diverse niches for spiders as a result of the significant disturbance in the stand structure. In addition, we found fewer spider individuals and species in individual samples collected on tree branches from a plot in the regeneration phase compared to the other phases, which may be a consequence of the structure of the stand in this phase (low canopy cover, lush herbaceous vegetation). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spider Ecology and Behaviour)
Article
Comparison of Maternal–Fetal Outcomes among Unvaccinated and Vaccinated Pregnant Women with COVID-19
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(12), 2008; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12122008 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Background: This study sought to elucidate whether COVID-19 vaccination, during gestation or before conception, entails a decreased incidence of severe COVID-19 disease during pregnancy. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included all pregnant women that were followed up at a tertiary University Hospital with [...] Read more.
Background: This study sought to elucidate whether COVID-19 vaccination, during gestation or before conception, entails a decreased incidence of severe COVID-19 disease during pregnancy. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included all pregnant women that were followed up at a tertiary University Hospital with SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosed between 1 March 2020 and 30 July 2022. The primary outcome of the study was to compare maternal and perinatal outcomes in unvaccinated and vaccinated pregnant patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results: A total of 487 pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection were included. SARS-CoV-2 infection during the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with an 89% lower probability of positive cord-blood SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies (OR 0.112; 95% CI 0.039–0.316), compared with infection during the first or the second trimester. Vaccinated pregnant women (201 (41.27%)) with COVID-19 had an 80% lower risk for developing pneumonia and requiring hospital admission due to COVID-19 than unvaccinated patients (aOR 0.209; 95% CI 0.044–0.985). Noticeably, pregnant patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection with at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine did not develop severe COVID-19. Conclusion: Vaccinated women with SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy are associated with decreased hospital admission due to COVID-19 as well as reduced progression to severe COVID-19. Full article
Essay
Study on the Evaluation of Emergency Management Capacity of Resilient Communities by the AHP-TOPSIS Method
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 16201; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192316201 (registering DOI) - 03 Dec 2022
Abstract
Community emergency management is directly related to the safety of people’s lives and properties and is concerned with economic development and social stability. This paper established an evaluation model of community emergency management capacity from the perspective of resilience based on hierarchical analysis [...] Read more.
Community emergency management is directly related to the safety of people’s lives and properties and is concerned with economic development and social stability. This paper established an evaluation model of community emergency management capacity from the perspective of resilience based on hierarchical analysis (AHP) and distance between superior and inferior solutions (TOPSIS). In terms of infrastructure resilience, community organizational resilience, risk, and hidden danger management, emergency material security, emergency force construction, emergency literacy, and the evaluation index system of resilient community emergency management capacity were improved. By the AHP method, the weights of all indexes were determined scientifically. Combined with the TOPSIS method, the fit of the evaluated object which between the positive and negative ideal solution was calculated to determine the optimal evaluation among multiple experts. According to the validated assessment, the low-scoring indicators were analyzed to make practical suggestions for improvement. The results provide new theoretical methods and technical support for the assessment of community emergency response capacity, which also provides reference for the assessment of emergency response capacity in other fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health Statistics and Risk Assessment)

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