237 journals awarded Impact Factor
 
 
24 pages, 1444 KiB  
Review
Current and Future Perspectives of Bioactive Glasses as Injectable Material
by Andreea-Luiza Mîrț, Denisa Ficai, Ovidiu-Cristian Oprea, Gabriel Vasilievici and Anton Ficai
Nanomaterials 2024, 14(14), 1196; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano14141196 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
This review covers recent compositions of bioactive glass, with a specific emphasis on both inorganic and organic materials commonly utilized as matrices for injectable materials. The major objective is to highlight the predominant bioactive glass formulations and their clinical applications in the biomedical [...] Read more.
This review covers recent compositions of bioactive glass, with a specific emphasis on both inorganic and organic materials commonly utilized as matrices for injectable materials. The major objective is to highlight the predominant bioactive glass formulations and their clinical applications in the biomedical field. Previous studies have highlighted the growing interest among researchers in bioactive glasses, acknowledging their potential to yield promising outcomes in this field. As a result of this increased interest, investigations into bioactive glass have prompted the creation of composite materials and, notably, the development of injectable composites as a minimally invasive method for administering the material within the human body. Injectable materials have emerged as a promising avenue to mitigate various challenges. They offer several advantages, including minimizing invasive surgical procedures, reducing patient discomfort, lowering the risk of postoperative infection and decreasing treatment expenses. Additionally, injectable materials facilitate uniform distribution, allowing for the filling of defects of any shape. Full article
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18 pages, 625 KiB  
Article
Computational Cost Reduction in Multi-Objective Feature Selection Using Permutational-Based Differential Evolution
by Jesús-Arnulfo Barradas-Palmeros, Efrén Mezura-Montes, Rafael Rivera-López, Hector-Gabriel Acosta-Mesa and Aldo Márquez-Grajales
Math. Comput. Appl. 2024, 29(4), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/mca29040056 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Feature selection is a preprocessing step in machine learning that aims to reduce dimensionality and improve performance. The approaches for feature selection are often classified according to the evaluation of a subset of features as filter, wrapper, and embedded approaches. The high performance [...] Read more.
Feature selection is a preprocessing step in machine learning that aims to reduce dimensionality and improve performance. The approaches for feature selection are often classified according to the evaluation of a subset of features as filter, wrapper, and embedded approaches. The high performance of wrapper approaches for feature selection is associated at the same time with the disadvantage of high computational cost. Cost-reduction mechanisms for feature selection have been proposed in the literature, where competitive performance is achieved more efficiently. This work applies the simple and effective resource-saving mechanisms of the fixed and incremental sampling fraction strategies with memory to avoid repeated evaluations in multi-objective permutational-based differential evolution for feature selection. The selected multi-objective approach is an extension of the DE-FSPM algorithm with the selection mechanism of the GDE3 algorithm. The results showed high resource savings, especially in computational time and the number of evaluations required for the search process. Nonetheless, it was also detected that the algorithm’s performance was diminished. Therefore, the results reported in the literature on the effectiveness of the strategies for cost reduction in single-objective feature selection were only partially sustained in multi-objective feature selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Numerical and Evolutionary Optimization 2024)
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7 pages, 214 KiB  
Viewpoint
High Rates of Miscarriage and Stillbirth among Pregnant Women with Clade I Mpox (Monkeypox) Are Confirmed during 2023–2024 DR Congo Outbreak in South Kivu Province
by David A. Schwartz
Viruses 2024, 16(7), 1123; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16071123 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Mpox (monkeypox) is a neglected tropical disease that has received increased attention since the multi-nation outbreak that began in 2022. The virus is endemic in West and Central Africa, where the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the most affected country. Clade [...] Read more.
Mpox (monkeypox) is a neglected tropical disease that has received increased attention since the multi-nation outbreak that began in 2022. The virus is endemic in West and Central Africa, where the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the most affected country. Clade I monkeypox virus (MPXV) infection is endemic in the DRC and has an overall case fatality rate of 10.6% among children and adults. A study conducted in Sankuru Province, DRC, from 2007 to 2011 demonstrated that 75% of pregnant women with mpox had miscarriages or stillbirth. Further analysis of a stillborn fetus showed that MPXV could infect both the placenta and fetus, causing congenital infection. No additional cases of Clade I MPXV in pregnant women were reported until a new outbreak occurred in South Kivu Province during 2023 and 2024. Eight pregnant women having Clade I MPXV infection were identified, of whom four had either miscarriages or stillbirth, representing a 50% fetal mortality rate. These reports confirm previous data from the DRC that indicate the capability of Clade I MPXV to affect the fetus, causing congenital infection and fetal loss in a high percentage of cases. In this article, we review both past and new data from the DRC on the effects of Clade I MPXV during pregnancy and discuss the association of mpox with fetal loss. Full article
5 pages, 194 KiB  
Editorial
Experimental Testing, Manufacturing and Numerical Modeling of Composite and Sandwich Structures
by Raul Duarte Salgueiral Gomes Camplho
Materials 2024, 17(14), 3468; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17143468 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Composite materials have become indispensable in a multitude of industries, such as aerospace, automotive, construction, sports equipment, and electronics [...] Full article
18 pages, 2337 KiB  
Article
Hemolymph Parameters Are a Useful Tool for Assessing Bivalve Health and Water Quality
by Andrei Grinchenko, Yulia Sokolnikova, Ayna Tumas, Mariia Mokrina, Elizaveta Tsoy, Ivan Buriak, Vadim Kumeiko and Mariia Onishchenko
Diversity 2024, 16(7), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16070404 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Bivalves play a key role in aquatic ecosystems and are a valuable commercial resource. The prosperity of these aquatic organisms depends mainly on the effectiveness of their immune defense, in which the hemolymph plays a central role. Hemolymph may be used as an [...] Read more.
Bivalves play a key role in aquatic ecosystems and are a valuable commercial resource. The prosperity of these aquatic organisms depends mainly on the effectiveness of their immune defense, in which the hemolymph plays a central role. Hemolymph may be used as an effective non-lethal criterion of health. However, the predictive value of hemolymph analysis depends on the comparison between the obtained results and reference data from healthy individuals living in natural aquatic environments. We collected hemolymph from 15 commercially important species from wild populations at stations located in non-impacted and impacted water areas of the Sea of Japan. Of the 11 hemolymph parameters we analyzed, the total hemocyte count, percentage of hemocyte types, phagocytic activity, presence of reactive oxygen species, and protein concentration differed significantly between populations from non-impacted and impacted water areas. The most responsive species to pollution were Magallana gigas, Crenomytilus grayanus, Mizuhopecten yessoensis, and Mactra chinensis. This work is the first to examine a large number of commercially important species simultaneously. The results of this study are the basis for establishing the health status criteria of commercial bivalves for veterinary control in aquaculture and biomonitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity as Tools to Assess Impacts on Coastal Ecosystems)
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14 pages, 1461 KiB  
Article
Markers of Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition and Mucinous Histology Are Significant Predictors of Disease Severity and Tumor Characteristics in Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer
by Aleksandra Djikic Rom, Sandra Dragicevic, Radmila Jankovic, Sanja Radojevic Skodric, Predrag Sabljak, Velimir Markovic, Jovana Rosic Stojkovic, Goran Barisic and Aleksandra Nikolic
Diagnostics 2024, 14(14), 1512; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics14141512 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Approximately 20% of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) are diagnosed with a mucinous subtype of this tumor, have a worse prognosis, and often show resistance to available therapies. Molecules from the mucin family are involved in the regulation of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), which [...] Read more.
Approximately 20% of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) are diagnosed with a mucinous subtype of this tumor, have a worse prognosis, and often show resistance to available therapies. Molecules from the mucin family are involved in the regulation of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), which significantly determines the cancer aggressiveness. This study aimed to examine the diagnostic and prognostic significance of mucinous histology and EMT markers in patients with early-onset CRC and their association with disease severity and tumor characteristics. This study included tumor tissue samples from 106 patients diagnosed with CRC before the age of 45, 53 with mucinous and 53 with non-mucinous tumors. The EMT status was determined by immunohistochemical analysis of E-cadherin and Vimentin in tissue sections. Mucinous tumors had significantly higher Mucin-1 (p < 0.001) and cytoplasmic E-cadherin (p = 0.043) scores; they were significantly less differentiated (p = 0.007), more advanced (p = 0.027), and predominately affected right the colon (p = 0.039) compared to non-mucinous tumors. Epithelial tumors were significantly better differentiated (p = 0.034) and with less prominent tumor budding (p < 0.001) than mesenchymal tumors. Mucin-1 and Vimentin were independent predictors of tumor differentiation (p = 0.006) and budding (p = 0.001), respectively. Mucinous histology and EMT markers are significant predictors of disease severity and tumor characteristics in early-onset colorectal cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Prognostic and Predictive Biomarkers—2nd Edition)
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13 pages, 2125 KiB  
Article
The Long-Term Survival of LVAD Patients—A TriNetX Database Analysis
by Nandini Nair, Balakrishnan Mahesh and Dongping Du
J. Clin. Med. 2024, 13(14), 4096; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm13144096 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Background: Donor shortage limits the utilization of heart transplantation, making it available for only a fraction of the patients on the transplant waiting list. Therefore, continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) have evolved as a standard of care for end-stage heart failure. It [...] Read more.
Background: Donor shortage limits the utilization of heart transplantation, making it available for only a fraction of the patients on the transplant waiting list. Therefore, continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) have evolved as a standard of care for end-stage heart failure. It is imperative therefore to investigate long-term survival in this population. Methods: This study assesses the impact of demographics, infections, comorbidities, types of cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, and end-organ dysfunction on the long-term survival of LVAD recipients. The TriNetX database comprises de-identified patient information across healthcare organizations. The log-rank test assessed post-implant survival effects, while Cox regression was used in the univariate analysis to obtain the Hazard Ratio (HR). All analyses were conducted using the Python programming language and the lifelines library. Results: This study identified CMV, hepatitis A exposure, atrial fibrillation, paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia, ischemic cardiomyopathy, renal dysfunction, diabetes, COPD, mitral valve disease, and essential hypertension as risk factors that impact long-term survival. Interestingly, hypokalemia seems to have a protective effect and gender does not affect survival significantly. Conclusions: This is the first report of a detailed long-term survival assessment of the LVAD population using a decoded database. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cardiology)
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12 pages, 2270 KiB  
Article
Antimicrobial Activity of Water-Soluble Silver Complexes Bearing C-Scorpionate Ligands
by Abdallah G. Mahmoud, Sílvia A. Sousa, M. Fátima C. Guedes da Silva, Luísa M. D. R. S. Martins and Jorge H. Leitão
Antibiotics 2024, 13(7), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics13070647 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The novel hydrosoluble silver coordination polymer [Ag(NO3)(μ-1κN;2κN′,N″-TPMOH)]n (1) (TPMOH = tris(1H-pyrazol-1-yl)ethanol) was obtained and characterized. While single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis of compound 1 disclosed an infinite [...] Read more.
The novel hydrosoluble silver coordination polymer [Ag(NO3)(μ-1κN;2κN′,N″-TPMOH)]n (1) (TPMOH = tris(1H-pyrazol-1-yl)ethanol) was obtained and characterized. While single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis of compound 1 disclosed an infinite 1D helical chain structure in the solid state, NMR analysis in polar solvents confirmed the mononuclear nature of compound 1 in solution. Compound 1 and the analogue [Ag(μ-1κN;2κN′,N″-TPMS)]n (2) (TPMS = tris(1H-pyrazol-1-yl)methane sulfonate) were evaluated with regard to their antimicrobial activities towards the Gram-negative Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Burkholderia contaminans, the Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus, and the fungal species Candida albicans and Candida glabrata. Compound 1 exhibited minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values ranging from 2 to 7.7 µg/mL towards the tested Gram-negative bacteria, 18 µg/mL towards the Gram-positive S. aureus, and 15 and 31 µg/mL towards C. albicans and C. glabrata, respectively. Compound 2 was less effective towards the tested bacteria, with MIC values ranging from 15 to 19.6 µg/mL towards the Gram-negative bacteria and 51 µg/mL towards S. aureus; however, it was more effective against C. albicans and C. glabrata, with MIC values of about 6 µg/mL towards these fungal species. The toxicity of compounds 1 and 2 was assessed by evaluating the survival of the Caenorhabditis elegans model organism to concentrations of up to 100 µg/mL. The value of 50% lethality (LD50) could only be estimated as 73.2 µg/mL for compound 1 at 72 h, otherwise LD50 was >100 µg/mL for both compounds 1 and 2. These results indicate compounds 1 and 2 as novel silver complexes with interesting antimicrobial properties towards bacterial and fungal pathogens. Full article
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13 pages, 1505 KiB  
Article
Biomarkers Associated with Depression Improvement in Veterans with Gulf War Illness Using the Low-Glutamate Diet
by Amy A. Maury and Kathleen F. Holton
Nutrients 2024, 16(14), 2255; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16142255 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Gulf War Illness (GWI) is a chronic multi-symptom neurological disorder affecting veterans of the Gulf War that is commonly comorbid with depression. A secondary data analysis was conducted to examine serum homocysteine and inflammatory cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-1β, TNF-α) as potential biomarkers of [...] Read more.
Gulf War Illness (GWI) is a chronic multi-symptom neurological disorder affecting veterans of the Gulf War that is commonly comorbid with depression. A secondary data analysis was conducted to examine serum homocysteine and inflammatory cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-1β, TNF-α) as potential biomarkers of depression improvement among veterans with GWI after a one-month dietary intervention aimed at reducing excitotoxicity and increasing micronutrients. Analyses, including multiple linear and logistic regression, were conducted in R studio. Dietary adherence was estimated using a specialized excitotoxin food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), and depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. After one month on the diet, 52% of participants reported a significant decrease in depression (p < 0.01). Greater dietary adherence (FFQ) was associated with increased likelihood of depression improvement; OR (95% CI) = 1.06 (1.01, 1.11), (p = 0.02). Reduced homocysteine was associated with depression improvement after adjusting for FFQ change (β = 2.58, p = 0.04), and serum folate and vitamin B12 were not mediators of this association. Reduction in IFN-γ was marginally associated with likelihood of depression improvement (OR (95% CI) = 1.11 (0.00, 1.42), (p = 0.06)), after adjustment for potential confounders. Findings suggest that homocysteine, and possibly IFN-γ, may serve as biomarkers for depression improvement in GWI. Larger trials are needed to replicate this work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Dietary Patterns: Effects on Brain Function)
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16 pages, 266 KiB  
Article
Navigating Schools through the Pandemic Crisis: A Study on the Determinants Influencing the Well-Being of Secondary Students in Northeast Thailand
by Nattapon Meekaew, Pattaraporn Weeranakin, Thanapauge Chamaratana, Buapun Promphakping and Siribhong Bhiasiri
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14070766 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education systems worldwide, with students facing challenges related to online learning, social isolation, and mental well-being. This study explores the determinants of well-being in education among secondary school students in northeast Thailand during the post-pandemic recovery phase. Employing [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education systems worldwide, with students facing challenges related to online learning, social isolation, and mental well-being. This study explores the determinants of well-being in education among secondary school students in northeast Thailand during the post-pandemic recovery phase. Employing a multistage sampling approach and Cochran’s formula for sample size determination, the research engaged 400 students from 30 schools. Data were collected using an interview schedule based on the OECD’s framework for well-being in education, assessing psychological, social, cognitive, and physical dimensions. Multiple regression analysis revealed that students’ perceptions of the pandemic’s social impact, family relationships, school personnel, and the school’s physical environment significantly influenced their well-being in education, collectively explaining 45.30% of the variance. The findings underscore the importance of fostering supportive family environments, ensuring adequate school staffing, and improving educational infrastructure to enhance students’ well-being in the post-pandemic context. This study offers valuable insights for educators and policymakers in developing targeted interventions and policies that prioritize the holistic well-being of students, ensuring a resilient and inclusive educational environment in the face of global crises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supporting Wellbeing in Schools in the Post-pandemic Era)
89 pages, 16650 KiB  
Review
Video and Audio Deepfake Datasets and Open Issues in Deepfake Technology: Being Ahead of the Curve
by Zahid Akhtar, Thanvi Lahari Pendyala and Virinchi Sai Athmakuri
Forensic Sci. 2024, 4(3), 289-377; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci4030021 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The revolutionary breakthroughs in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are extensively being harnessed across a diverse range of domains, e.g., forensic science, healthcare, virtual assistants, cybersecurity, and robotics. On the flip side, they can also be exploited for negative purposes, like [...] Read more.
The revolutionary breakthroughs in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are extensively being harnessed across a diverse range of domains, e.g., forensic science, healthcare, virtual assistants, cybersecurity, and robotics. On the flip side, they can also be exploited for negative purposes, like producing authentic-looking fake news that propagates misinformation and diminishes public trust. Deepfakes pertain to audio or visual multimedia contents that have been artificially synthesized or digitally modified through the application of deep neural networks. Deepfakes can be employed for benign purposes (e.g., refinement of face pictures for optimal magazine cover quality) or malicious intentions (e.g., superimposing faces onto explicit image/video to harm individuals producing fake audio recordings of public figures making inflammatory statements to damage their reputation). With mobile devices and user-friendly audio and visual editing tools at hand, even non-experts can effortlessly craft intricate deepfakes and digitally altered audio and facial features. This presents challenges to contemporary computer forensic tools and human examiners, including common individuals and digital forensic investigators. There is a perpetual battle between attackers armed with deepfake generators and defenders utilizing deepfake detectors. This paper first comprehensively reviews existing image, video, and audio deepfake databases with the aim of propelling next-generation deepfake detectors for enhanced accuracy, generalization, robustness, and explainability. Then, the paper delves deeply into open challenges and potential avenues for research in the audio and video deepfake generation and mitigation field. The aspiration for this article is to complement prior studies and assist newcomers, researchers, engineers, and practitioners in gaining a deeper understanding and in the development of innovative deepfake technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human and Technical Drivers of Cybercrime)
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12 pages, 812 KiB  
Article
Approximations in Mean Square Analysis of Stochastically Forced Equilibria for Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
by Irina Bashkirtseva
Mathematics 2024, 12(14), 2199; https://doi.org/10.3390/math12142199 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Motivated by important applications to the analysis of complex noise-induced phenomena, we consider a problem of the constructive description of randomly forced equilibria for nonlinear systems with multiplicative noise. Using the apparatus of the first approximation systems, we construct an approximation of mean [...] Read more.
Motivated by important applications to the analysis of complex noise-induced phenomena, we consider a problem of the constructive description of randomly forced equilibria for nonlinear systems with multiplicative noise. Using the apparatus of the first approximation systems, we construct an approximation of mean square deviations that explicitly takes into account the presence of multiplicative noises, depending on the current system state. A spectral criterion of existence and exponential stability of the stationary second moments for the solution of the first approximation system is presented. For mean square deviation, we derive an expansion in powers of the small parameter of noise intensity. Based on this theory, we derive a new, more accurate approximation of mean square deviations in a general nonlinear system with multiplicative noises. This approximation is compared with the widely used approximation based on the stochastic sensitivity technique. The general mathematical results are illustrated with examples of the model of climate dynamics and the van der Pol oscillator with hard excitement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Dynamical Systems)
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9 pages, 2842 KiB  
Article
A Rapid and Reliable Spectrofluorimetric Method to Measure the Urinary Lactulose/Mannitol Ratio for Dysbiosis Assessment
by Lorenzo Marino Cerrato, Elisabetta Schiano, Fortuna Iannuzzo, Gian Carlo Tenore, Vincenzo Summa, Maria Daglia, Ettore Novellino and Mariano Stornaiuolo
Biomedicines 2024, 12(7), 1557; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12071557 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Gut microbiota plays a crucial role in human health homeostasis, and the result of its alteration, known as dysbiosis, leads to several pathologies (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome, and Crohn’s disease). Traditional methods used to assess dysbiosis include the dual sugar absorption [...] Read more.
Gut microbiota plays a crucial role in human health homeostasis, and the result of its alteration, known as dysbiosis, leads to several pathologies (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome, and Crohn’s disease). Traditional methods used to assess dysbiosis include the dual sugar absorption test and the urinary lactulose/mannitol ratio (LMR) measurement using mass spectrometry. Despite its precision, this approach is costly and requires specialized equipment. Hence, we developed a rapid and reliable spectrofluorimetric method for measuring LMR in urine, offering a more accessible alternative. This spectrofluorimetric assay quantifies the fluorescence of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) produced during the enzymatic oxidation of mannitol and lactulose, respectively. The assay requires 100 µL of urine samples and detects LMR values lower (eubiosis) and higher (dysbiosis) than 0.05, ultimately being amenable to high-throughput screening and automatization, making it practical for clinical and research settings. A validation of the method demonstrated its high precision, accuracy, and robustness. Additionally, this study confirmed analyte stability under various storage conditions, ensuring reliable results even with delayed analysis. Overall, this spectrofluorimetric technique reduces costs, time, and the environmental impact associated with traditional mass spectrometry methods, making it a viable option for widespread use in the assessment of dysbiosis. Full article
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12 pages, 222 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Prenatal Comfort, Sleep, and Quality of Life in Pregnant Women with Cholestasis: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Yeşim Yeşil, Ülkin Gündüz, Ayşegül Dönmez and Semir Paşa
Healthcare 2024, 12(14), 1399; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12141399 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Background: Associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy is the most prevalent liver disease that women typically experience during pregnancy. This study aimed to evaluate prenatal comfort, sleep, and quality of life in pregnant women with cholestasis. Methods: This cross-sectional study [...] Read more.
Background: Associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy is the most prevalent liver disease that women typically experience during pregnancy. This study aimed to evaluate prenatal comfort, sleep, and quality of life in pregnant women with cholestasis. Methods: This cross-sectional study was implemented between November 2022 and June 2023 at Mardin Training and Research Hospital with 150 pregnant women who received a diagnosis of pregnancy-induced intrahepatic cholestasis and agreed to participate. The following tools were utilized to collect data: A personal information form exploring socio-demographic and obstetric characteristics of participants, the Prenatal Comfort Scale (PCS), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the World Health Organization Quality of Life-Brief Form (WHOQOL-BREF). Results: The mean age of participants was 27.79 ± 6.33 years. The mean PCS and PSQI scores were 61.20 ± 5.84 and 9.52 ± 3.02, respectively. The mean scores of “physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environmental health” sub-dimensions in WHOQOL-BREF were 10.63 ± 2.18, 10.48 ± 2.10, 11.31 ± 3.28, and 11.27 ± 2.10, respectively. A significant difference was found for PSQI regarding hospitalization status and change in sleep quality variables (p = 0.025 and p = 0.035, respectively). Conclusions: Cholestasis of pregnancy creates problems such as pruritus, body image changes, hospitalization, and poor sleep quality in women. This study showed that pregnant women with cholestasis had low levels of sleep quality and quality of life, implying that cholestasis affects their sleep quality, prenatal comfort levels, and quality of life in general. In addition, it is seen that women with this problem do not want to fall pregnant again. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nursing)
11 pages, 215 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Sex and Arterial Stiffness Interactions on the Outcome after an Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Retrospective Cohort Study
by Maurizio Acampa, Pietro Enea Lazzerini, Alessandra Cartocci, Ernesto Iadanza, Gabriele Cevenini, Carlo Domenichelli, Riccardo Accioli, Viola Salvini, Francesca Guideri, Rossana Tassi and Giuseppe Martini
J. Clin. Med. 2024, 13(14), 4095; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm13144095 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Background/Objectives: Arterial stiffness (AS) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular events and is associated with a poor prognosis. While AS may represent a novel therapeutic target, recent evidence shows that it is sexually dimorphic. The aim of this study was to evaluate [...] Read more.
Background/Objectives: Arterial stiffness (AS) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular events and is associated with a poor prognosis. While AS may represent a novel therapeutic target, recent evidence shows that it is sexually dimorphic. The aim of this study was to evaluate relative sex differences in arterial stiffness and their possible impact on the outcome of acute ischemic stroke. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated a cohort of adult patients with the following inclusion criteria: acute ischemic stroke, which occurred within 24 h from the onset of symptoms, confirmed through neuroimaging examinations, additional evaluations including extracranial and transcranial arterial ultrasound examinations, transthoracic echocardiography, a 12-lead resting ECG, and continuous 24 h in-hospital blood pressure monitoring. Based on the 24 h blood pressure monitoring, the following parameters were evaluated: systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean blood pressure, pulse pressure, and arterial stiffness index (ASI). The modified Rankin scale (mRS) was assessed at 90 days to evaluate the 3-month clinical outcome, defining an unfavorable outcome as an mRS score ≥ 3. To assess the factors associated with unfavorable outcomes, a stepwise logistic regression model was performed on the total sample size, and the analyses were replicated after stratifying by sex. Results: A total of 334 patients (176 males, 158 females) were included in the analysis. There was a significant sex-dependent impact of ASI on the 90-day unfavorable Rankin score (mRS score ≥ 3) as only men had a reduced likelihood of favorable outcomes with increasing arterial stiffness (OR:1.54, 95% CI: 1.06–2.23; P-interaction = 0.023). Conclusions: The influence of ASI on the 3-month functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke is at least in part sex-related, suggesting that, in males, higher ASI values are associated with a worse outcome. Full article
14 pages, 247 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Factors That Influence Influenza Vaccination Uptake among Pregnant People in a Medically Underserved Area in Washington State
by Kimberly McKeirnan, Damianne Brand, Megan Giruzzi, Kavya Vaitla, Nick Giruzzi, Rose Krebill-Prather and Juliet Dang
Vaccines 2024, 12(7), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines12070768 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Introduction: Despite substantial evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of influenza vaccines, only 38.6% of the adult United States population received an influenza vaccine during the 2023–2024 flu season. Vaccination rates are typically lower among U.S. minority groups, and in 2022, pregnant persons from U.S. [...] Read more.
Introduction: Despite substantial evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of influenza vaccines, only 38.6% of the adult United States population received an influenza vaccine during the 2023–2024 flu season. Vaccination rates are typically lower among U.S. minority groups, and in 2022, pregnant persons from U.S. minority racial and ethnic groups showed a decrease in influenza vaccine coverage. Methods: A survey was conducted with residents of Yakima County, Washington, which is home to one of the state’s largest percentages of people who identify as Hispanic or Latino/a. The objective was to evaluate the uptake of influenza vaccine among pregnant persons. Surveys were sent to a random sample of 3000 residential mailing addresses. Of the 500 respondents, 244 (52.1%) reported that they had been pregnant, with those identifying as Hispanic or Latino/a constituting 23.8% of this total. Only 62 (26.2%) reported being immunized against influenza during pregnancy. Respondents who were immunized against influenza chose to be vaccinated to protect themselves from the flu (85.5%, n = 53); because a healthcare provider recommended getting vaccinated (85.5%, n = 53); to protect the baby from the flu (82.3%, n = 51); because it was available for free or low cost (62.9%, n = 39); and because vaccination was convenient (54.8%, n = 34). Qualitative evaluation identified that participants who were not vaccinated against influenza during pregnancy believed the vaccination was not needed, was not recommended by a healthcare provider, was difficult to access, they were against vaccination in general, or they were concerned about the safety and ingredients of the vaccine. Conclusion: Barriers to vaccination identified in this study included vaccine distrust, lack of awareness, and concerns about vaccine efficacy and safety. Healthcare providers can help address these concerns by providing education and recommendations about the importance of influenza vaccination during pregnancy. Full article
8 pages, 11149 KiB  
Communication
Eliminating Cu–Cu Bonding Interfaces Using Electroplated Copper and (111)-Oriented Nanotwinned Copper
by Tsan-Feng Lu, Yuan-Fu Cheng, Pei-Wen Wang, Yu-Ting Yen and YewChung Sermon Wu
Materials 2024, 17(14), 3467; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17143467 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Cu–Cu joints have been adopted for ultra-high-density packaging for high-end devices. However, the atomic diffusion rate is notably low at the preferred processing temperature, resulting in clear and distinct weak bonding interfaces, which, in turn, lead to reliability issues. In this study, a [...] Read more.
Cu–Cu joints have been adopted for ultra-high-density packaging for high-end devices. However, the atomic diffusion rate is notably low at the preferred processing temperature, resulting in clear and distinct weak bonding interfaces, which, in turn, lead to reliability issues. In this study, a new method for eliminating the bonding interfaces using two types of Cu films in Cu–Cu bonding is proposed. The difference in grain size was utilized as the primary driving force for the migration of bonding interfaces/interfacial grain boundaries. Additionally, the columnar nanotwinned Cu structure acted as a secondary driving force, making the migration more significant. When bonded at 300 °C, the grains from one side grew and extended to the bottom, eliminating the bonding interfaces. A mechanism for the evolution of the Cu bonding interfaces/interfacial grain boundaries is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Welding, Joining, and Additive Manufacturing of Metals and Alloys)
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16 pages, 884 KiB  
Review
The Undeniable Potential of Thermophiles in Industrial Processes
by Giovanni Gallo, Paola Imbimbo and Martina Aulitto
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(14), 7685; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25147685 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Extremophilic microorganisms play a key role in understanding how life on Earth originated and evolved over centuries. Their ability to thrive in harsh environments relies on a plethora of mechanisms developed to survive at extreme temperatures, pressures, salinity, and pH values. From a [...] Read more.
Extremophilic microorganisms play a key role in understanding how life on Earth originated and evolved over centuries. Their ability to thrive in harsh environments relies on a plethora of mechanisms developed to survive at extreme temperatures, pressures, salinity, and pH values. From a biotechnological point of view, thermophiles are considered a robust tool for synthetic biology as well as a reliable starting material for the development of sustainable bioprocesses. This review discusses the current progress in the biomanufacturing of high-added bioproducts from thermophilic microorganisms and their industrial applications. Full article
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12 pages, 1822 KiB  
Article
Spasmolytic Activity of 1,3-Disubstituted 3,4-Dihydroisoquinolines
by Miglena Milusheva, Mihaela Stoyanova, Vera Gledacheva, Iliyana Stefanova, Mina Todorova and Stoyanka Nikolova
Biomedicines 2024, 12(7), 1556; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12071556 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
This article concerns the spasmolytic activities of some novel 1,3-disubstituted 3,4-dihydroisoquinolines. These compounds can be evaluated as potential therapeutic candidates according to Lipinski’s rule of five, showing high gastrointestinal absorption and the ability to cross the blood–brain barrier, which is a very important [...] Read more.
This article concerns the spasmolytic activities of some novel 1,3-disubstituted 3,4-dihydroisoquinolines. These compounds can be evaluated as potential therapeutic candidates according to Lipinski’s rule of five, showing high gastrointestinal absorption and the ability to cross the blood–brain barrier, which is a very important parameter in the drug discovery processes. In silico simulation predicted smooth muscle relaxant activity for all the compounds. Since smooth muscle contractile failure is a characteristic feature of many disorders, in the current paper, we concentrate on the parameters of the spontaneous contractile responses of smooth muscle (SM) cells compared to the well-known drug mebeverine. Two of the newly synthesized substances can be identified as essential modulating regulators and potentially used as therapeutic molecules. One of these molecules also showed significant DPPH antioxidant activity compared to rutin. Full article
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22 pages, 11858 KiB  
Article
The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia from the 16th to the 17th Century: The Spatial Formation of the World Heritage Site Erdene Zuu Monastery
by Muping Bao
Religions 2024, 15(7), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070843 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Erdene Zuu is the oldest extant Buddhist temple in the country of Mongolia, founded following the reintroduction of Tibetan Buddhism to Inner Mongolia in the sixteenth century. The subject of this paper is the building activities of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, [...] Read more.
Erdene Zuu is the oldest extant Buddhist temple in the country of Mongolia, founded following the reintroduction of Tibetan Buddhism to Inner Mongolia in the sixteenth century. The subject of this paper is the building activities of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly of the complex centering on Gurban Zuu (Three Temples), which are the main buildings of Erdene Zuu. The author first confirms Gurban Zuu’s ground plan based on measurements, and then interprets the “black-ink inscription” discovered on the ridge purlin of the Central Buddha Hall. This complex is then compared with Inner Mongolian Buddhist temples of the same period. Finally, the author studies whether or not the spatial structure of the temple architecture of the Mongolian Empire of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was continued at Erdene Zuu, and analyzes the position that Erdene Zuu occupied in the Tibetan Buddhist sphere. This comparative study investigates the origins of Erdene Zuu’s architectural spatial composition within East Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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12 pages, 2246 KiB  
Article
Exploring Domestic Violence Causes in Saudi Arabia: Factor Analysis Approach
by Marwan H. Alhelali, Osama Abdulaziz Alamri, Alanazi Talal Abdulrahman, Mohammed Ahmed Alomair and Basim S. O. Alsaedi
Systems 2024, 12(7), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems12070252 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The objective of this research is to ascertain the elements that have an impact on and drive domestic violence in Saudi Arabia, a phenomenon that has a prevalence rate of around 35% among women globally. The researchers administered a survey to a sample [...] Read more.
The objective of this research is to ascertain the elements that have an impact on and drive domestic violence in Saudi Arabia, a phenomenon that has a prevalence rate of around 35% among women globally. The researchers administered a survey to a sample of 550 individuals and used exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to analyze the collected data. The findings revealed three factors: a lack of familial unity, encouragement of detrimental characteristics, and economic turmoil. The authors examined the consequences of these characteristics on preventive and intervention programs and proposed suggestions for policymakers and researchers. This research enhances the existing body of knowledge on domestic violence by conducting a statistical analysis to examine the factors that lead to it and the resulting outcomes within a particular cultural setting. Full article
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12 pages, 1389 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Mobile Lifestyle Intervention Combined with High-Protein Meal Replacement on Liver Function in Patients with Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Steatotic Liver Disease: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
by Eunbyul Cho, Sunwoo Kim, Soonkyu Kim, Ju Young Kim, Hwa Jung Kim, Yumi Go, Yu Jung Lee, Haesol Lee, Siye Gil, Sung Kwon Yoon and Keonho Chu
Nutrients 2024, 16(14), 2254; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16142254 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
While many studies have explored dietary substitutes and mobile apps separately, a combined approach to metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) has not been investigated. This study evaluated short-term mobile interventions coupled with partial meal replacement in patients with MASLD. Sixty adults with [...] Read more.
While many studies have explored dietary substitutes and mobile apps separately, a combined approach to metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) has not been investigated. This study evaluated short-term mobile interventions coupled with partial meal replacement in patients with MASLD. Sixty adults with MASLD and a body mass index ≥25 kg/m2 from a health examination center were randomized into an intervention group using a mobile app with partial meal replacements or a control group receiving standard educational materials. Liver enzyme levels, lipid profiles, and anthropometric measurements were assessed at baseline and after 4 weeks. Twenty-five participants in the intervention group and 24 in the control group completed the trial. Significant reductions were observed in the intervention group for alanine aminotransferase (−28.32 versus [vs.] −10.67, p = 0.006) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (−27.76 vs. 2.79, p = 0.014). No significant changes in aspartate aminotransferase, body weight, or waist circumference were noted in the intervention group. Four weeks of mobile lifestyle intervention incorporating partial meal replacements improved liver enzyme profiles in patients with MASLD. This strategy demonstrated the potential for mitigating elevated liver enzyme levels without altering body weight or waist circumference. Comprehensive and longer-term research is needed to substantiate and elaborate these preliminary outcomes. Full article
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12 pages, 7829 KiB  
Review
Forensic Characterisation of Complex Suicides: A Literature Review
by Margherita Pallocci, Pierluigi Passalacqua, Claudia Zanovello, Luca Coppeta, Cristiana Ferrari, Filippo Milano, Santo Gratteri, Nicola Gratteri and Michele Treglia
Forensic Sci. 2024, 4(3), 277-288; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci4030020 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Complex suicides refer to using two or more suicide modes. In the literature, complex suicides are distinguished into planned and unplanned. Using multiple methods is related to ensuring a fatal result or because the first method appears too painful, time-consuming, or ineffective. The [...] Read more.
Complex suicides refer to using two or more suicide modes. In the literature, complex suicides are distinguished into planned and unplanned. Using multiple methods is related to ensuring a fatal result or because the first method appears too painful, time-consuming, or ineffective. The review aims to provide an overview of the critical features of complex suicides in the forensic context. The review was conducted by searching online databases (PubMed Central and Scopus) up to March 2023. We identified 52 articles that met the inclusion criteria, describing 261 cases. Suicides were classified as planned in 136 cases (52.1%); 105 cases (40.2%) were defined as unplanned, while in the remaining 20 cases (7.7%), the authors did not propose any classification. In 2/261 (0.8%) cases, four modes were indicated, three modes were observed in 34/261 cases (13%), and in 224/261 (85.8%) cases the suicides were carried out using a combination of two distinct methods. The method most frequently employed in the first instance in unplanned suicides were sharp-force injuries and stabbing, followed by mechanical asphyxia (hanging, self-strangulation, plastic bag suffocation) and a fall from height. Regarding planned suicide, the most frequent suicide methods were asphyxia, intoxication (drugs, substances of abuse, or alcohol), and poisoning via toxic substances. Complex suicides represent a relatively rare entity in forensic pathology; nevertheless, they can be challenging for the forensic pathologist in terms of differential diagnosis compared to homicides, due to the sometimes multifaceted presentation. Full article
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