Special Issue "Feature Paper Special Issue for Editorial Board Members (EBMs) of Diseases"

A special issue of Diseases (ISSN 2079-9721).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Battino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Odontostomatologic and Specialized Clinical Sciences, Sez-Biochimica, Faculty of Medicine, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Ranieri 65, 60100 Ancona, Italy
2. International Research Center for Food Nutrition and Safety, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, China
Interests: nutrition; bioactive compounds; polyphenols; antioxidants; free radicals; aging; mitochondrial functionality
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

This Special Issue of Diseases is dedicated to recent advances in research areas in human diseases and comprises a diverse selection of exclusive papers of the Editorial Board Members (EBMs) of Diseases. It focuses on highlighting recent interesting investigations conducted in the laboratories of our section’s EBMs and represents our young section as an attractive open-access publishing platform for human disease research data.

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Battino
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 papers will be 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. Diseases is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1400 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 (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Machine Learning Consensus Clustering of Hospitalized Patients with Admission Hyponatremia
Diseases 2021, 9(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases9030054 - 01 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1573
Abstract
Background: The objective of this study was to characterize patients with hyponatremia at hospital admission into clusters using an unsupervised machine learning approach, and to evaluate the short- and long-term mortality risk among these distinct clusters. Methods: We performed consensus cluster analysis based [...] Read more.
Background: The objective of this study was to characterize patients with hyponatremia at hospital admission into clusters using an unsupervised machine learning approach, and to evaluate the short- and long-term mortality risk among these distinct clusters. Methods: We performed consensus cluster analysis based on demographic information, principal diagnoses, comorbidities, and laboratory data among 11,099 hospitalized adult hyponatremia patients with an admission serum sodium below 135 mEq/L. The standardized mean difference was utilized to identify each cluster’s key features. We assessed the association of each hyponatremia cluster with hospital and one-year mortality using logistic and Cox proportional hazard analysis, respectively. Results: There were three distinct clusters of hyponatremia patients: 2033 (18%) in cluster 1, 3064 (28%) in cluster 2, and 6002 (54%) in cluster 3. Among these three distinct clusters, clusters 3 patients were the youngest, had lowest comorbidity burden, and highest kidney function. Cluster 1 patients were more likely to be admitted for genitourinary disease, and have diabetes and end-stage kidney disease. Cluster 1 patients had the lowest kidney function, serum bicarbonate, and hemoglobin, but highest serum potassium and prevalence of acute kidney injury. In contrast, cluster 2 patients were the oldest and were more likely to be admitted for respiratory disease, have coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cluster 2 patients had lowest serum sodium and serum chloride, but highest serum bicarbonate. Cluster 1 patients had the highest hospital mortality and one-year mortality, followed by cluster 2 and cluster 3, respectively. Conclusion: We identified three clinically distinct phenotypes with differing mortality risks in a heterogeneous cohort of hospitalized hyponatremic patients using an unsupervised machine learning approach. Full article
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Article
Strength and Performance Tests for Screening Reduced Muscle Mass in Elderly Lebanese Males with Obesity in Community Dwellings
Diseases 2021, 9(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases9010023 - 20 Mar 2021
Viewed by 868
Abstract
The reduction in skeletal muscle mass (SMM) is a common phenomenon in older adults. It is associated with several diseases, a reduction in physical fitness, longer periods of hospitalization and high rates of mortality. We aimed to identify the reliability of simple tools [...] Read more.
The reduction in skeletal muscle mass (SMM) is a common phenomenon in older adults. It is associated with several diseases, a reduction in physical fitness, longer periods of hospitalization and high rates of mortality. We aimed to identify the reliability of simple tools for screening for reduced SMM among older adult males in Lebanon. The Tanita MC-780MA bioimpedance analyzer (BIA) was used to assess body composition in a population of 102 community-dwelling elderly males with overweight or obesity, in order to be then categorized as with or without reduced SMM. Participants also performed the handgrip strength test and the 4 m gait speed test. Of the total sample of 102 participants (mean age 67.4 ± 6.96 years; BMI 30.8 6 ± 4.04 kg/m2), 32 (31.4%) met the criteria for reduced SMM. Partial correlation analysis showed that handgrip strength (ρ = 0.308, p = 0.002) and 4 m gait speed (ρ = 0.284, p = 0.004) were both associated with low SMM. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis identified discriminating cut-off points of 1.1 m/s for the 4 m gait speed test and 32.0 kg for the handgrip strength test. Our study showed that participants displayed a substantial prevalence of reduced SMM. Reduced 4 m gait speed and handgrip strength were associated with low SMM. Clear cut-off points for strength and functional tests for screening for this condition in Lebanese older men were identified. Full article
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Review

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Review
Association and Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Diseases: A Systematic Review
Diseases 2021, 9(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases9040088 (registering DOI) - 02 Dec 2021
Viewed by 179
Abstract
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Epidemiologic studies show that sleep apnea increases cardiovascular diseases risk factors including hypertension, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. OSA is also responsible for serious illnesses such as congestive heart failure, stroke, arrhythmias, and bronchial [...] Read more.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Epidemiologic studies show that sleep apnea increases cardiovascular diseases risk factors including hypertension, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. OSA is also responsible for serious illnesses such as congestive heart failure, stroke, arrhythmias, and bronchial asthma. The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate evidence for the association between OSA and cardiovascular disease morbidities and identify risk factors for the conditions. In a review of 34 studies conducted in 28 countries with a sample of 37,599 people, several comorbidities were identified in patients with severe OSA—these were: heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, asthma, COPD, acute heart failure, chronic heart failure, hyperlipidemia, thyroid disease, cerebral infarct or embolism, myocardial infarction, and psychological comorbidities including stress and depression. Important risk factors contributing to OSA included: age > 35 years; BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2; alcoholism; higher Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS); mean apnea duration; oxygen desaturation index (ODI); and nocturnal oxygen desaturation (NOD). Severe OSA (AHI ≥ 30) was significantly associated with excessive daytime sleepiness and oxygen desaturation index. The risk of OSA and associated disease morbidities can be reduced by controlling overweight/obesity, alcoholism, smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia. Full article
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Review
Treating Postpartum Depression: What Do We Know about Brexanolone?
Diseases 2021, 9(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases9030052 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1207
Abstract
Postpartum depression (PPD) is defined as the onset of major depressive disorder in mothers, occurring during pregnancy or within 4 weeks post-delivery. With 7% of pregnancy-related death in the United States owing to mental health conditions, including PPD, and a global prevalence of [...] Read more.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is defined as the onset of major depressive disorder in mothers, occurring during pregnancy or within 4 weeks post-delivery. With 7% of pregnancy-related death in the United States owing to mental health conditions, including PPD, and a global prevalence of 12%, PPD is a growing public health concern. In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved brexanolone, an exogenous analog of allopregnanolone, as the first ever drug to be specifically indicated for treating patients with PPD. This approval was preceded by an open-label study and three randomized placebo-controlled trials, each assessing the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of brexanolone, using mean Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) score reduction as the primary outcome. In each randomized controlled trial, the drug was administered as an intravenous infusion given over 60 h. Enrolled participants were followed up on days 7 and 30 to evaluate the sustained effect. A statistically significant reduction in mean HAM-D score compared to placebo was observed in all three studies, supporting brexanolone’s use in treating moderate-to-severe PPD. Therefore, this article attempts to briefly review the pharmacology of brexanolone, evaluate the latest available clinical data and outcomes concerning its use, reevaluate its position as a ‘breakthrough’ in managing PPD, and review the cost-related barriers to its worldwide standardized use. Full article
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Other

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Commentary
In Search of a Unifying Concept in Human Diseases
Diseases 2021, 9(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases9040068 - 04 Oct 2021
Viewed by 457
Abstract
Throughout the history of biological/medicine sciences, there has been opposing strategies to find solutions to complex human disease problems. Both empirical and deductive approaches have led to major insights and concepts that have led to practical preventive and therapeutic benefits for the human [...] Read more.
Throughout the history of biological/medicine sciences, there has been opposing strategies to find solutions to complex human disease problems. Both empirical and deductive approaches have led to major insights and concepts that have led to practical preventive and therapeutic benefits for the human population. The classic definitions of “science” (to know) has been paired with the classic definition of technology (to do). One knew more as the technology developed, and that development was often based on science. In other words, one could do more if science could improve the technology. In turn, this made possible to know more science with improved technology. However, with the development of new technologies of today in biology and medicine, major advances have been made, such as the information from the Human Genome Project, genetic engineering techniques and the use of bioinformatic uses of sophisticated computer analyses. This has led to the renewed idea that Precision Medicine, while raising some serious ethical concerns, also raises the expectation of improved potential of risk predictions for prevention and treatment of various genetically and environmentally influenced human diseases. This new field Artificial Intelligence, as a major handmaiden to Precision Medicine, is significantly altering the fundamental means of biological discovery. However, can today’s fundamental premise of “Artificial Intelligence”, based on identifying DNA, as the primary nexus of human health and disease, provide the practical solutions to complex human diseases that involve the interaction of those genes with the broad spectrum of “environmental factors”? Will it be “precise” enough to provide practical solutions for prevention and treatments of diseases? In this “Commentary”, with the example of human carcinogenesis, it will be challenged that, without the integration of mechanistic and hypothesis-driven approaches with the “unbiased” empirical analyses of large numbers of data, the Artificial Intelligence approach with fall short. Full article
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Brief Report
Skin Adverse Reactions to Novel Messenger RNA Coronavirus Vaccination: A Case Series
Diseases 2021, 9(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases9030058 - 27 Aug 2021
Viewed by 782
Abstract
Vaccines are actually the most effective strategy to control the COVID-19 spread and reduce mortality, but adverse reactions can occur. Skin involvement with novel messenger RNA coronavirus vaccines seems frequent but is not completely characterized. A real-world experience in the recent vaccination campaign [...] Read more.
Vaccines are actually the most effective strategy to control the COVID-19 spread and reduce mortality, but adverse reactions can occur. Skin involvement with novel messenger RNA coronavirus vaccines seems frequent but is not completely characterized. A real-world experience in the recent vaccination campaign among health care workers in Sardinia (Italy) is reported. In over a total of 1577 persons vaccinated, 9 cases of skin adverse reactions were observed (0.5%). All reactions have been reported to the Italian Pharmacovigilance Authority. Eight occurred in women (mean age 46 years), and five were physicians and four nurses. All patients had a significant allergology history but not for the known vaccine excipients. After dose one, no injection site reactions were observed, but widespread pruritus (n = 3), mild facial erythema (n = 1), and maculopapular rash (n = 3) occurred in the following 24–48 h in three patients. These three patients were excluded from the second dose. Of the remaining six patients, one developed mild anaphylaxis within the observation period at the vaccination hub and five delayed facial erythematous edema and maculopapular lesions, requiring antihistamines and short-course corticosteroid treatment. Spontaneous reporting is paramount to adjourning vaccination guidance and preventive measures in order to contribute to the development of a safe vaccine strategy. Dermatologist’ expertise might provide better characterization, treatment, and screening of individuals at high risk of skin adverse reactions. Full article
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