2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice

A special issue of Clinics and Practice (ISSN 2039-7283).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 37317

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Special Issue launched in 2022 has been successful. Hence, the Editorial Management has thought to launch a similar initiative for 2023. This Special Issue will be a collection of "2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice" that contain either cutting-edge research results or comprehensive reviews. The submitted manuscripts will be peer reviewed. The accepted papers will be published in the open access journal Clinics and Practice.

We welcome the submission of manuscripts from Editorial Board Members and from outstanding scholars invited by the Editorial Board Members and the Editorial Office.

You are welcome to submit manuscripts to be published in this Special Issue directly to our Editorial Office at [email protected] for the evaluation. We are looking forward to submissions.

Prof. Dr. Giustino Varrassi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Clinics and Practice is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 270 KiB  
Article
Are Maternal Vitamin D (25(OH)D) Levels a Predisposing Risk Factor for Neonatal Growth? A Cross-Sectional Study
Clin. Pract. 2024, 14(1), 265-279; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract14010021 - 05 Feb 2024
Viewed by 636
Abstract
Background: Neonatal bone mass may potentially be influenced by existing maternal vitamin D (25(OH)D) levels. Few studies evaluated maternal vitamin D deficiency (VDD) with neonatal anthropometrics such as weight, height and head circumference (HC), especially in Greece, which is a Mediterranean country with [...] Read more.
Background: Neonatal bone mass may potentially be influenced by existing maternal vitamin D (25(OH)D) levels. Few studies evaluated maternal vitamin D deficiency (VDD) with neonatal anthropometrics such as weight, height and head circumference (HC), especially in Greece, which is a Mediterranean country with plenty of sunshine and consequently benefits the synthesis of 25(OH)D. We investigated this potential association in Greece, taking into account the administration or not of prenatal vitamin D supplements. The purpose of our study is to ascertain if there is a possible association between maternal VDD and neonatal specific anthropometric characteristics (weight, height and HC) at birth. If this is confirmed by future clinical studies, it would be of interest to develop a prenatal pregnancy selection program that would detect VDD early or during pregnancy in order to improve fetal–neonatal development in a Mediterranean country like ours. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study on 248 early early term infants (after 37 + 0 to 38 + 6 weeks of gestation) but also on full-term infants (after 39 to 40 weeks of gestation) and their Greek mothers from September 2019 to January 2022. Blood samples of 25(OH)D were taken from the mother at the beginning of labor and cord blood was taken from the newborn. Pregnant women were divided into two groups: those who received or did not receive a normal dose of calcium (500 mg/day) and vitamin D supplements (400–800 IU/day) as instructed by their treating physicians. Results: Our findings revealed a positive association between maternal VDD and low neonate birth weight (LBW) in women receiving vitamin D during pregnancy and no association between maternal VDD and neonatal height or head circumference (HC) at birth. Conclusions: Overall, this study highlighted the association between maternal VDD at the end of gestation and LBW neonates born to mothers who received vitamin D supplementation. We did not find any correlation in two of the three somatometric characteristics studied, height and HC. In any case, more clinical studies are needed to further corroborate any potential association of maternal VDD with other neonatal somatometric characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
16 pages, 1371 KiB  
Article
The Role of Estrogen Signaling and Exercise in Drug Abuse: A Review
Clin. Pract. 2024, 14(1), 148-163; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract14010012 - 08 Jan 2024
Viewed by 706
Abstract
Background: Discovering how sex differences impact the efficacy of exercise regimens used for treating drug addiction is becoming increasingly important. Estrogen is a hormone believed to explain a large portion of sex differences observed during drug addiction, and why certain exercise regimens are [...] Read more.
Background: Discovering how sex differences impact the efficacy of exercise regimens used for treating drug addiction is becoming increasingly important. Estrogen is a hormone believed to explain a large portion of sex differences observed during drug addiction, and why certain exercise regimens are not equally effective between sexes in treatment. Addiction is currently a global hindrance to millions, many of whom are suffering under the influence of their brain’s intrinsic reward system coupled with external environmental factors. Substance abuse disorders in the U.S. alone cost billions of dollars annually. Review Summary: Studies involving the manipulation of estrogen levels in female rodents, primarily via ovariectomy, highlight its impact regarding drug addiction. More specifically, female rodents with higher estrogen levels during the estrus phase increase cocaine consumption, whereas those in the non-estrus phase (low estrogen levels) decrease cocaine consumption. If estrogen is reintroduced, self-administration increases once again. Exercise has been proven to decrease relapse tendency, but its effect on estrogen levels is not fully understood. Conclusions: Such findings and results discussed in this review suggest that estrogen influences the susceptibility of females to relapse. Therefore, to improve drug-abuse-related treatment, exercise regimens for females should be generated based on key sex differences with respect to males. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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11 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Parental Home Safety Practices for Domestic Accident Prevention: How Prepared Were Parents for COVID-19 Confinement? A Cross-Sectional Study
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(6), 1449-1459; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13060129 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 680
Abstract
(1) Background: Children are susceptible to home injuries. How prepared parents were to protect their children from accidents before and during the COVID-19 quarantine is uncertain. (2) Methods: We conducted a community-based, cross-sectional study in Greece between November and December 2021. We asked [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Children are susceptible to home injuries. How prepared parents were to protect their children from accidents before and during the COVID-19 quarantine is uncertain. (2) Methods: We conducted a community-based, cross-sectional study in Greece between November and December 2021. We asked parents to complete an anonymous questionnaire voluntarily. Questions focused on accident-preventive measures taken at home during the COVID-19 quarantine. (3) Results: A greater proportion of parents took protective measures for a safer home before the lockdown than during the quarantine, while an interesting percentage of parents never utilized preventive measures for their children. Slightly more than half (58.6%) of parents did not seem to worry about a possible increase in domestic accidents during the quarantine. It was observed that those who had one or two children took more protective measures than those with more than two children. Older parents seemed to explain to their children how to access emergency services more often. Mothers stayed at home with the children more often, and their education affected the presence of some of the assessed measures. In our logistic regression modeling, parental concern about accidents was more related to the incidence of an accident during the pandemic and attendance at seminars. (4) Conclusions: Although the COVID-19 lockdowns disorganized family life, parents were aware of the importance of their parenting role in creating a safe environment for children, but according to the study, there is room for improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
10 pages, 1766 KiB  
Article
Improvement in Left and Right Ventricular Function after Introduction of SGLT2 Inhibitors in Heart Failure Outpatients with Reduced Ejection Fraction
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(6), 1303-1312; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13060116 - 25 Oct 2023
Viewed by 859
Abstract
Background: Type 2 sodium-glucose cotransporter inhibitors (SGLT2i) are among the main therapeutic options for patients with chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of SGLT2i on the echocardiographic parameters of left (LV) [...] Read more.
Background: Type 2 sodium-glucose cotransporter inhibitors (SGLT2i) are among the main therapeutic options for patients with chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of SGLT2i on the echocardiographic parameters of left (LV) and right (RV) ventricular function among outpatients with a long history of HFrEF, in optimized therapy. Methods: We evaluated consecutive patients affected by HFrEF in whom the SGLT2i therapy was prescribed. Following a baseline evaluation (T0), in which SGLT2i was prescribed, patients were re-evaluated at 3 (T3), 6 (T6), and 12 (T12) months. Results: We considered 60 patients for the analysis with a median history of HFrEF of more than seven years in optimal medical and electrical therapy. After SGLT2i therapy, LV ejection fraction and LV global longitudinal strain improved from baseline at T3, T6, and T12. Analogously, RV global and free wall longitudinal strain improved at T3 and T6. Conclusions: Our study shows that the addition of SGLT2i to the optimized therapy for HFrEF was associated with a significant improvement in both LV and RV function, thus highlighting a possible mechanism responsible for the benefit obtained with this class of drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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8 pages, 1081 KiB  
Article
The Efficacy, the Treatment Response and the Aquaretic Effects of a Three-Year Tolvaptan Regimen in Polycystic Kidney Disease Patients
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(5), 1035-1042; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13050092 - 24 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Tolvaptan, a selective vasopressin V2 receptor antagonist, is the first and only approved specific treatment for Autosomal-Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), and is used in current clinical practice. Real clinical data are missing. In this retrospective study, 41 ADPKD patients received tolvaptan for [...] Read more.
Tolvaptan, a selective vasopressin V2 receptor antagonist, is the first and only approved specific treatment for Autosomal-Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), and is used in current clinical practice. Real clinical data are missing. In this retrospective study, 41 ADPKD patients received tolvaptan for 3 years, from 2018 to 2021. Total kidney volume (TKV) was measured using Magnetic Resonance Imaging, at initiation and at the end of the treatment period. A complete biochemistry/hematology profile and a 24 h urine volume collection were performed monthly for the first 18 months and every 3 months thereafter. At the end of the treatment period, the median (IQR) estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (e-GFR) was 5.3 (−1.3, 8.7) mL/min higher than the expected e-GFR decline without treatment, while the prediction for End Stage Chronic Kidney Disease (ESKD) had been prolonged by 1 (0, 2) year. Total Kidney Volume did not change significantly (2250 (1357) mL at 3 years of treatment vs. 2180 (1091) mL expected without treatment, p = 0.48). Younger patients with a relatively preserved e-GFR, lower hypertension burden, better familiar renal prognosis and more severe imaging data showed better outcomes. The aquaretic adverse effects of tolvaptan did not affect renal function and electrolyte balance in 51 patients, in a follow-up period of 18 months. Consequently, tolvaptan seems to be effective in preventing progression of ADPKD when administered in a timely manner in patients with better familiar renal history, shorter hypertension duration and worse imaging profile. Increased diuresis does not affect treatment efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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10 pages, 710 KiB  
Article
Introduction of SGLT2 Inhibitors and Variations in Other Disease-Modifying Drugs in Heart Failure Patients: A Single-Centre Real-World Experience
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(5), 1015-1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13050090 - 24 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1071
Abstract
Background: The sodium–glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) have emerged as a crucial therapeutic option for patients with chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The aim of this study was to evaluate, in a real-world population from a single centre, the feasibility of [...] Read more.
Background: The sodium–glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) have emerged as a crucial therapeutic option for patients with chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The aim of this study was to evaluate, in a real-world population from a single centre, the feasibility of introducing SGLT2i and their interaction with other recommended drug classes. Methods: Consecutive patients affected by chronic heart failure (CHF) were evaluated beginning in January 2022. At the baseline clinical visit, both the patient’s current medication and the prescribed treatments were recorded. Over a 6- to 12-month follow-up, changes in concomitant therapy were analysed. Results: At baseline, among 350 patients evaluated, only 17 (5%) were already taking SGLT2i: 13 with HFrEF, five with mildly reduced (HFmrEF), preserved (HFpEF) or improved (HFimpEF) ejection fraction. After the baseline assessment, SGLT2i were prescribed to 224 (64%) of the patients, including 179 (84%) with HFrEF, 27 (42%) with HFmrEF/HFimpEF, and 18 (22%) with HFpEF/HFimpEF. After follow-up, SGLT2i therapy was well tolerated and was associated with a significant increase in sacubitril/valsartan prescriptions and a decrease in diuretic use. Finally, a significant improvement in functional status and left ventricular systolic function after SGLT2i therapy was observed. Conclusions: In this single-centre, real-world study, SGLT2i were primarily prescribed to HFrEF patients who were already on other recommended drug classes for their treatment. Additionally, there was a noticeable enhancement in the prescribed therapy during a short-term follow-up. These findings further bolster the inclusion of this therapeutic approach in regular clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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10 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Screening, Genetic Variants, and Bipolar Disorders: Can Useful Hypotheses Arise from the Sum of Partial Failures?
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(4), 853-862; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13040077 - 27 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1198
Abstract
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a relevant public health issue, therefore accurate screening tools could be useful. The objective of this study is to verify the accuracy of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) and genetic risk as screeners, and their comparison in terms of [...] Read more.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a relevant public health issue, therefore accurate screening tools could be useful. The objective of this study is to verify the accuracy of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) and genetic risk as screeners, and their comparison in terms of reliability. Older adults (N = 61, ≥60 years) received a clinical psychiatric evaluation, the MDQ, and were evaluated according to the presence of the genetic variant RS1006737 of CACNA1C. MDQ+ versus the diagnosis of BD as a gold standard shows a sensitivity of 0.286 (Cl 95% 0.14–0.39); a specificity of 0.925 (Cl 95% 0.85–0.08); a predictive positive value (PPV) of 0.667 (Cl 95% 0.33–0.91); and a predictive negative value (PNV) of 0.702 (Cl 95% 0.65–0.75). The positivity for the variant RS1006737 of the CACNA1C against the diagnosis of BD as a gold standard shows a sensitivity of 0.750 (Cl 95% 0.55–0.90); a specificity of 0.375 (Cl 95% 0.28–0.45); a PPV of 0.375 (Cl 95% 0.28–0.45); and a PNV of 0.750 (Cl 95% 0.55–0.90). The reliability between the MDQ+ and positivity for the variant RS1006737 of the CACNA1C was very low (K = −0.048, Cl 95% −0.20–0.09). The study found that both the genetic and the paper and pencil test were quite accurate, but were not reliable in case finding. In fact, despite some validity, albeit specular (in the case of a positive genetic test, the probability of having the disorder is very high, whereas in the case of a negative score on the paper and pencil test, the probability of not having the disorder is very high), the unreliability of the two tests (i.e., they certainly do not measure the same underlying dimension) opens the door to the need for an interpretation and the possibility of a synergistic use for screening. From a heuristic perspective, which obviously requires all of the necessary verifications, this study seems to suggest the hypothesis that a condition of hyperactivation common to disorders and stress conditions, and identified by a positive score on the MDQ (which is common to BD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorders and whose genetic basis has not yet been clarified) can trigger BD in people with a predisposition to hyperactivity (i.e., in people with the condition identified by the analyzed genetic variant). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
15 pages, 472 KiB  
Article
Firearm Injuries during Pregnancy in the USA
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(4), 791-805; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13040072 - 09 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1139
Abstract
Trauma during pregnancy is the leading cause of non-pregnancy-related maternal deaths, with some due to injuries from firearms. It was the purpose of this study to characterize the patterns and presentations of firearm-associated injuries in pregnant women using a national emergency department visit [...] Read more.
Trauma during pregnancy is the leading cause of non-pregnancy-related maternal deaths, with some due to injuries from firearms. It was the purpose of this study to characterize the patterns and presentations of firearm-associated injuries in pregnant women using a national emergency department visit database. Data from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research Firearm Injury Surveillance Study 1993–2020 were utilized. The data include age, sex, race, type of firearm, perpetrator of injury, intent of injury (unintentional, assault, suicide, or law enforcement), anatomic location of the injury, incident locale, disposition from the emergency department (ED), and whether the patient was shot or not with the firearm. Of the 3.36 million ED visits over this time span for firearm injuries, 4410 were pregnant women. The mean age of the pregnant cohort was 23.6 years, with more Hispanic and fewer White women in the pregnant group compared to the non-pregnant cohort. Pregnant women were more likely to experience an injury involving the lower trunk and had a higher percentage of fatalities and hospital admissions compared to the non-pregnant cohort. Fetal demise occurred in at least 70% of cases. Nearly one half of the assaults (44%) occurred on Saturdays and Sundays. As the cause of these injuries is complex, prevention will require input from multiple sources, including health care providers, social agencies, government agencies, elected officials, and law enforcement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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11 pages, 895 KiB  
Article
Segmental Rectum Resection for Deep Endometriosis and Excision Similarly Improve Sexual Function and Pain
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(4), 780-790; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13040071 - 07 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1188
Abstract
Segmental rectum resections for indications other than endometriosis were reported to result in up to 40% sexual dysfunctions. We, therefore, evaluated sexual function after low bowel resection (n = 33) for deep endometriosis in comparison with conservative excision (n = 23). [...] Read more.
Segmental rectum resections for indications other than endometriosis were reported to result in up to 40% sexual dysfunctions. We, therefore, evaluated sexual function after low bowel resection (n = 33) for deep endometriosis in comparison with conservative excision (n = 23). Sexual function was evaluated with the FSFI-19 (Female Sexuality Functioning Index) and EHP 30 (Endometriosis Health Profile). The pain was evaluated with visual analogue scales. Linear excision and bowel resections improved FSFI, EHP 30, and postoperative pain comparably. By univariate analysis, a decreased sexual function was strongly associated with pain both before (p < 0.0001) and after surgery (p = 0.0012), age (p = 0.05), and duration of surgery (p = 0.023). By multivariate analysis (proc logistic), the FSFI after surgery was predicted only by FSFI before or EHP after surgery. No differences were found between low bowel segmental resection and a more conservative excision. In conclusion, improving pain after surgery can explain the improvement in sexual function. A deleterious effect of a bowel resection on sexual function was not observed for endometriosis. Sexual function in women with endometriosis can be evaluated using a simplified questionnaire such as FSFI-6. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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17 pages, 2080 KiB  
Article
The Role of Serotonergic and Noradrenergic Descending Pathways on Performance-Based Cognitive Functioning at Rest and in Response to Exercise in People with Chronic Whiplash-Associated Disorders: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Study
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(3), 684-700; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13030063 - 06 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1162
Abstract
(1) Background: Dysregulation in serotonergic and noradrenergic systems may be implicated in the neurobiophysiological mechanisms underlying pain-related cognitive impairment in chronic whiplash-associated disorders (CWAD). This study aimed to unravel the role of serotonergic and noradrenergic descending pathways in cognitive functioning at rest and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Dysregulation in serotonergic and noradrenergic systems may be implicated in the neurobiophysiological mechanisms underlying pain-related cognitive impairment in chronic whiplash-associated disorders (CWAD). This study aimed to unravel the role of serotonergic and noradrenergic descending pathways in cognitive functioning at rest and in response to exercise in people with CWAD. (2) Methods: 25 people with CWAD were included in this double-blind, randomized, controlled crossover study. Endogenous descending serotonergic and noradrenergic inhibitory mechanisms were modulated by using a single dose of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (Citalopram) or a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (Atomoxetine). Cognitive performance was studied at rest and in response to exercise (1) without medication intake; (2) after intake of Citalopram; and (3) after intake of Atomoxetine. (3) Results: After Atomoxetine intake, selective attention improved compared with the no medication day (p < 0.05). In contrast, a single dose of Citalopram had no significant effect on cognitive functioning at rest. When performing pairwise comparisons, improvements in selective attention were found after exercise for the no medication condition (p < 0.05). In contrast, after intake of Citalopram or Atomoxetine, selective and sustained attention worsened after exercise. (4) Conclusions: A single dose of Atomoxetine improved selective attention only in one Stroop condition, and a single dose of Citalopram had no effect on cognitive functioning at rest in people with CWAD. Only without medication intake did selective attention improve in response to exercise, whereas both centrally acting medications worsened cognitive performance in response to a submaximal aerobic exercise bout in people with CWAD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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4 pages, 478 KiB  
Communication
Possible Role of Carbocysteine Syrup in the Deflation of Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Balloons
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(2), 483-486; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13020043 - 23 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1221
Abstract
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is the method of choice to allow enteral access in patients requiring long-term enteral nutrition. However, although generally safe, percutaneous tube positioning may be plagued by several complications. Among these, the deterioration and/or deflation of balloons serving as internal bolster [...] Read more.
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is the method of choice to allow enteral access in patients requiring long-term enteral nutrition. However, although generally safe, percutaneous tube positioning may be plagued by several complications. Among these, the deterioration and/or deflation of balloons serving as internal bolster is particularly worrisome in that it may lead to gastrostomy cannulas dislocation. Of interest, such balloon deflation may occur in up to 30% of cases for apparently unexplained causes. Here, we provide a hypothesis that could explain some of these causes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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Review

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16 pages, 1396 KiB  
Review
The Interplay between Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Human Microbiome
Clin. Pract. 2024, 14(1), 198-213; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract14010017 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 601
Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB), a respiratory disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is a significant cause of mortality worldwide. The lung, a breeding ground for Mtb, was once thought to be a sterile environment, but has now been found to host its own profile of [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB), a respiratory disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is a significant cause of mortality worldwide. The lung, a breeding ground for Mtb, was once thought to be a sterile environment, but has now been found to host its own profile of microbes. These microbes are critical in the development of the host immune system and can produce metabolites that aid in host defense against various pathogens. Mtb infection as well as antibiotics can shift the microbial profile, causing dysbiosis and dampening the host immune response. Additionally, increasing cases of drug resistant TB have impacted the success rates of the traditional therapies of isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol. Recent years have produced tremendous research into the human microbiome and its role in contributing to or attenuating disease processes. Potential treatments aimed at altering the gut-lung bacterial axis may offer promising results against drug resistant TB and help mitigate the effects of TB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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9 pages, 269 KiB  
Review
Gender-Related Issues in the Management of Low-Back Pain: A Current Concepts Review
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(6), 1360-1368; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13060122 - 30 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1091
Abstract
Background: Low back pain (LBP) is an emerging disease. This review aims to investigate the role of gender-related factors in the diagnosis, clinical, and surgical management of LBP. Methods: From January 2002 to March 2023, EMBASE, SCOPUS, OVID-MEDLINE, Google Scholar, PubMed, and Web [...] Read more.
Background: Low back pain (LBP) is an emerging disease. This review aims to investigate the role of gender-related factors in the diagnosis, clinical, and surgical management of LBP. Methods: From January 2002 to March 2023, EMBASE, SCOPUS, OVID-MEDLINE, Google Scholar, PubMed, and Web of Science were searched to identify relevant papers for further analysis. Results: Fifteen papers were included in this review. Sex- and gender-related differences were analyzed regarding the following points: (1) LBP epidemiology; (2) LBP physiopathology; (3) conservative management of LBP; (4) major vertebral surgery for LBP. The conservative treatment of LBP highlights that women claim services later in terms of poorer health status than men. In the postoperative phase, female patients show worse LBP, quality of life, and disability, but equal or greater interval change, compared with male patients complaining of lumbar degenerative disease. Conclusions: LBP epidemiology and clinical outcomes, following conservative and surgical management of patients complaining of back pain, might depend on both sex- and gender-related factors. It is mandatory to assess gender-related indicators in patients referred to LBP and address them to improve their clinical outcomes and quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
15 pages, 2303 KiB  
Review
The Emerging Role of Senotherapy in Cancer: A Comprehensive Review
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(4), 838-852; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13040076 - 22 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1924
Abstract
Senotherapy, a promising therapeutic strategy, has drawn a lot attention recently due to its potential for combating cancer. Senotherapy refers to the targeting of senescent cells to restore tissue homeostasis and mitigate the deleterious effects associated with senescence. Senolytic drugs represent a promising [...] Read more.
Senotherapy, a promising therapeutic strategy, has drawn a lot attention recently due to its potential for combating cancer. Senotherapy refers to the targeting of senescent cells to restore tissue homeostasis and mitigate the deleterious effects associated with senescence. Senolytic drugs represent a promising avenue in cancer treatment, with the potential to target and modulate senescent cells to improve patient outcomes. The review highlights the intricate interplay between the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) and the tumor microenvironment, emphasizing the role of senescent cells in promoting chronic inflammation, immune evasion, and tumor-cell proliferation. It then explores the potential of senotherapy as a novel strategy for cancer therapy. This review addresses the emerging evidence on the combination of senotherapy with conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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12 pages, 867 KiB  
Review
Potential Role of Glutathione Antioxidant Pathways in the Pathophysiology and Adjunct Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(4), 768-779; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13040070 - 05 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2304
Abstract
Oxidative stress is defined as the imbalance between the production of free radicals and their removal by antioxidants, leading to accumulation and subsequent organ and tissue damage. Antioxidant status and its role in the accumulation of free radicals has been observed in a [...] Read more.
Oxidative stress is defined as the imbalance between the production of free radicals and their removal by antioxidants, leading to accumulation and subsequent organ and tissue damage. Antioxidant status and its role in the accumulation of free radicals has been observed in a number of psychological disorders. Glutathione is commonly referred to as the principal antioxidant of the brain and, therefore, plays a critical role in maintaining redox homeostasis. Reduced levels of glutathione in the brain increase its vulnerability to oxidative stress, and may be associated with the development and progression of several psychiatric disorders. Within this review, we focus on analyzing potential associations between the glutathione antioxidant pathway and psychiatric disorders: major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Our research suggests that studies regarding these four disorders have shown decreased levels of GSH in association with diseased states; however, conflicting results note no significant variance in glutathione pathway enzymes and/or metabolites based on diseased state. In studying the potential of NAC administration as an adjunct therapy, various studies have shown NAC to augment therapy and/or aid in symptomatic management for psychiatric disorders, while contrasting results exist within the literature. Based on the conflicting findings throughout this review, there is room for study regarding the potential role of glutathione in the development and progression of psychiatric disorders. Our findings further suggest a need to study such pathways with consideration of the interactions with first-line pharmacotherapy, and the potential use of antioxidants as supplemental therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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14 pages, 861 KiB  
Review
Fast Track Protocols and Early Rehabilitation after Surgery in Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Narrative Review
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(3), 569-582; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13030052 - 25 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4141
Abstract
The Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) or Fast Track is defined as a multi-disciplinary, peri- and post-operative approach finalized to reduce surgical stress and simplify post-operative recovery. It has been introduced more than 20 years ago by Khelet to improve outcomes in general [...] Read more.
The Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) or Fast Track is defined as a multi-disciplinary, peri- and post-operative approach finalized to reduce surgical stress and simplify post-operative recovery. It has been introduced more than 20 years ago by Khelet to improve outcomes in general surgery. Fast Track is adapted to the patient’s condition and improves traditional rehabilitation methods using evidence-based practices. Fast Track programs have been introduced into total hip arthroplasty (THA) surgery, with a reduction in post-operative length of stay, shorter convalescence, and rapid functional recovery without increased morbidity and mortality. We have divided Fast Track into three cores: pre-, intra-, and post-operative. For the first, we analyzed the standards of patient selection, for the second the anesthesiologic and intraoperative protocols, for the third the possible complications and the appropriate postoperative management. This narrative review aims to present the current status of THA Fast Track surgery research, implementation, and perspectives for further improvements. By implementing the ERAS protocol in the THA setting, an increase in patient satisfaction can be obtained while retaining safety and improving clinical outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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10 pages, 971 KiB  
Review
Palliative Care and Multi-Agent Systems: A Necessary Paradigm Shift
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(2), 505-514; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13020046 - 03 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1668
Abstract
Palliative care is intended to relieve caregivers of physical, psychological, and even spiritual elements of care. One of the most prevalent issues facing this form of care is a lack of healthcare resources and structures to deal with an aging population. This aging [...] Read more.
Palliative care is intended to relieve caregivers of physical, psychological, and even spiritual elements of care. One of the most prevalent issues facing this form of care is a lack of healthcare resources and structures to deal with an aging population. This aging population is placing a strain on the healthcare system, prompting a need for a shift in system management. A potential answer to this issue may be the Multi-Agent System (MAS). This category of computerized networking system was created by programmers to gather relevant health information on a patient and allow for the system to act with other agents to decide the best course for disease management. It can also allow for a multidisciplinary healthcare team to make more informed plans of actions for their patients by providing accurate and up-to-date information resulting from a greater synergetic mesh. MASs could fulfill the demands of a rising chronic illness population and deliver high-quality care, indicating a major paradigm shift within the US. In this review, we will evaluate the aging population and contributing factors, palliative care and the need for the multi-agent system, and clinical considerations involving examples from healthcare systems both on and beyond US shores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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13 pages, 659 KiB  
Review
Telemedicine, E-Health, and Multi-Agent Systems for Chronic Pain Management
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(2), 470-482; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13020042 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3678
Abstract
Telemedicine, telehealth, and E-health all offer significant benefits for pain management and healthcare services by fostering the physician–patient relationship in otherwise challenging circumstances. A critical component of these artificial-intelligence-based health systems is the “agent-based system”, which is rapidly evolving as a means of [...] Read more.
Telemedicine, telehealth, and E-health all offer significant benefits for pain management and healthcare services by fostering the physician–patient relationship in otherwise challenging circumstances. A critical component of these artificial-intelligence-based health systems is the “agent-based system”, which is rapidly evolving as a means of resolving complicated or straightforward problems. Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) are well-established modeling and problem-solving modalities that model and solve real-world problems. MAS’s core concept is to foster communication and cooperation among agents, which are broadly considered intelligent autonomous factors, to address diverse challenges. MAS are used in various telecommunications applications, including the internet, robotics, healthcare, and medicine. Furthermore, MAS and information technology are utilized to enhance patient-centered palliative care. While telemedicine, E-health, and MAS all play critical roles in managing chronic pain, the published research on their use in treating chronic pain is currently limited. This paper discusses why telemedicine, E-health, and MAS are the most critical novel technologies for providing healthcare and managing chronic pain. This review also provides context for identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each application’s features, which may serve as a useful tool for researchers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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16 pages, 1513 KiB  
Review
Treatment with Testosterone Therapy in Type 2 Diabetic Hypogonadal Adult Males: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(2), 454-469; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13020041 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2703
Abstract
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has been used to treat hypogonadal males with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) for a long time, despite variable results. This meta-analysis examines TRT’s role in hypogonadal males with T2DM. The databases PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar were searched [...] Read more.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has been used to treat hypogonadal males with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) for a long time, despite variable results. This meta-analysis examines TRT’s role in hypogonadal males with T2DM. The databases PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar were searched for relevant RCTs and observational studies. Estimated pooled mean differences (MDs) and relative risks with 95% confidence intervals were used to measure the effects of TRT (CIs). When compared to the placebo, TRT improves glycemic management by significantly reducing glycated hemoglobin (HBA1c) levels (WMD = −0.29 [−0.57, −0.02] p = 0.04; I2 = 89.8%). Additionally, it reduces the homeostatic model assessment levels of insulin resistance (WMD = −1.47 [−3.14, 0.19]; p = 0.08; I2 = 56.3%), fasting glucose (WMD = −0.30 [−0.75, 0.15]; p = 0.19; I2 = 84.4%), and fasting insulin (WMD = −2.95 [−8.64, 2.74]; however, these results are non-significant. On the other hand, HBA1c levels are significantly reduced with TRT; in addition, total testosterone levels significantly increase with testosterone replacement therapy (WMD = 4.51 [2.40, 6.61] p = 0.0001; I2 = 96.3%). Based on our results, we hypothesize that TRT can improve glycemic control and hormone levels, as well as lower total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels while raising HDL cholesterol in hypogonadal type 2 diabetes patients. To this end, we recommend TRT for these patients in addition to standard diabetes care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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14 pages, 661 KiB  
Review
Potential Role of Global Longitudinal Strain in Cardiac and Oncological Patients Undergoing Cardio-Oncology Rehabilitation (CORE)
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(2), 384-397; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13020035 - 07 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1869
Abstract
Although shown to be effective in improving survival and quality of life in patients with cancer, some treatments are well-known causes of cardiotoxicity, such as anthracyclines, monoclonal antibodies against human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and radiotherapy. To prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) [...] Read more.
Although shown to be effective in improving survival and quality of life in patients with cancer, some treatments are well-known causes of cardiotoxicity, such as anthracyclines, monoclonal antibodies against human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and radiotherapy. To prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients living with cancer, cardiologists and oncologists promoted the development of cardio-oncology, an interdisciplinary field which aims to further improving life expectancy in these patients. Cardio-oncology rehabilitation (CORE), through correction of risk factors, prescription of drug therapies and structured exercise programs, tries to improve symptoms, quality of life, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and survival in patients with cancer. Different imaging modalities can be used to evaluate the real effectiveness of exercise training on cardiac function. Among these, the global longitudinal strain (GLS) has recently aroused interest, thanks to its high sensitivity and specificity for cardiac dysfunction detection due to advanced ultrasound programs. This review summarizes the evidence on the usefulness of GLS in patients with cancer undergoing cardiac rehabilitation programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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9 pages, 1154 KiB  
Brief Report
Use of Oral Anticoagulants in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: Preliminary Data from the Italian Atrial Fibrillation (ITALY-AF) Registry
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(5), 1173-1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13050105 - 27 Sep 2023
Viewed by 757
Abstract
Background: Atrial fibrillation (AFIB), the most frequent cardiac arrhythmia, is a major risk factor for stroke, heart failure, and death. Because of the recent advances in AFIB management and the availability of new oral anticoagulants (OACs), there is a need for a systematic [...] Read more.
Background: Atrial fibrillation (AFIB), the most frequent cardiac arrhythmia, is a major risk factor for stroke, heart failure, and death. Because of the recent advances in AFIB management and the availability of new oral anticoagulants (OACs), there is a need for a systematic and predefined collection of contemporary data regarding its management and treatment. Methods: The objective of the ongoing ITALY-AFIB registry is to evaluate the long-term morbidity and mortality in patients with AFIB and to verify the implementation of the current guidelines for stroke prevention in these patients. The registry includes consecutive in- and out-patients with first diagnosed, paroxysmal, persistent, or permanent AFIB. In patients in sinus rhythm at entry, the qualifying episode of AFIB, confirmed by ECG diagnosis, had to have occurred within 1 year before entry. The clinical record form is web-based and accessible by personal keyword. Results: Enrolment into the registry started in the year 2013. In a current cohort of 2470 patients (mean age 75 ± 11 years, males 56%), the mean CHA2DS2-VASc score was 3.7 ± 1.8, and the mean HAS-BLED was 1.6 ± 0.9. There were no significant sex differences in the AFIB subtypes. At the end of the inclusion visit and after receiving knowledge of the web-based electronic estimate of risk for stroke and bleeding, the proportion of patients discharged with OACs was 80%. After exclusion of patients with first diagnosed AFIB (n = 397), the proportion of patients with prescription of OACs rose from 66% before the visit to 82% on discharge (p < 0.0001). Prescription of aspirin or other antiplatelet drugs fell from 18% before the visit to 10% on discharge (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: A web-based management of AFIB with automated estimation of risk profiles appears to favorably affect adherence to AFIB guidelines, based on a high proportion of patients treated with OACs and a substantial decline in the use of antiplatelet drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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7 pages, 267 KiB  
Brief Report
Effect of Oral High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid (HMWHA), Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), Magnesium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin D Supplementation in Pregnant Women: A Retrospective Observational Pilot Study
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(5), 1123-1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13050100 - 15 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2366
Abstract
Background—Pregnancy represents a nutritional challenge, since macro- and micronutrients intake can affect mother’ health and influence negative outcomes. The aim of this retrospective pilot study is to evidence whether the oral supplementation with high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HMWHA), in association with alpha [...] Read more.
Background—Pregnancy represents a nutritional challenge, since macro- and micronutrients intake can affect mother’ health and influence negative outcomes. The aim of this retrospective pilot study is to evidence whether the oral supplementation with high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HMWHA), in association with alpha lipoic acid (ALA), magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin D, in pregnant women, could reduce adverse effects, such as PTB, pelvic pain, contraction and hospitalization. Methods—Data were collected from n = 200 women treated daily with oral supplements of 200 mg HMWHA, 100 mg ALA, 450 mg magnesium, 2.6 mg vitamin B6 and 50 mcg vitamin D (treatment group) and from n = 50 women taking with oral supplements of 400 mg magnesium (control group). In both groups, supplementation started from the 7th gestational week until delivery. Results—Oral treatment with HMWHA, in association with ALA, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin D in pregnant women, significantly reduced adverse events, such as PTB (p < 0.01), pelvic pain and contractions (p < 0.0001), miscarriages (p < 0.05) and admission to ER/hospitalization (p < 0.0001) compared with the control group. Conclusions—Despite HMWHA having been poorly used as a food supplement in pregnant women, our results open a reassuring scenario regarding its oral administration during pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
6 pages, 226 KiB  
Opinion
Second Opinion in the Italian Organ Procurement Transplantation: The Pathologist Is In
Clin. Pract. 2023, 13(3), 610-615; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract13030055 - 28 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Second opinion consultation is a well-established practice in different clinical settings of diagnostic medicine. However, little is known about second opinion consultation activity in transplantation, and even less is known about it concerning donor assessment. The consultations provided by the second opinion service [...] Read more.
Second opinion consultation is a well-established practice in different clinical settings of diagnostic medicine. However, little is known about second opinion consultation activity in transplantation, and even less is known about it concerning donor assessment. The consultations provided by the second opinion service led to the safer and homogeneous management of donors with a history of malignancy or ongoing neoplasm by transplant centers. Indeed, two of the most important aspects are the reduction of semantic differences in cancer reporting and the standardization of procedures, which are mainly due to the different settings and logistics of different pathology services. This article aims to discuss the role and the future of the second opinion in Italy during organ procurement, highlighting the critical issues and areas for improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2023 Feature Papers in Clinics and Practice)
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