Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Non-COVID Diseases during the Pandemic: Where Have All Other Emergencies Gone?
Medicina 2020, 56(10), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56100512 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 13
Abstract
Background and objectives: the emergency department (ED) is frequently identified by patients as a possible solution for all healthcare problems, leading to a high rate of misuse of the ED, possibly causing overcrowding. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic started in China; it [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: the emergency department (ED) is frequently identified by patients as a possible solution for all healthcare problems, leading to a high rate of misuse of the ED, possibly causing overcrowding. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic started in China; it then spread throughout Italy, with the first cases confirmed in Lombardy, Italy, in February 2020. This has totally changed the type of patients referred to EDs. The aim of this study was to analyze the reduction of ED admissions at a Second level urban teaching (Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and Methods: in this retrospective observational cross-sectional study, we reviewed and compared clinical records of all the patients consecutively admitted to our ED over a 40-day period (21 February –31 March) in the last three years (2018–2019–2020). Mean age, sex, triage urgency level, day/night admission, main presentation symptom, and final diagnosis, according to different medical specialties, hospitalization, and discharge rate, were analyzed. Results: we analyzed 16,281 patient clinical records. The overall reduction in ED admissions in 2020 was 37.6% compared to 2019. In 2020, we observed an increase in triage urgency levels for ED admissions (the main presentation symptom was a fever). We noticed a significant drop in admissions for cardio-thoracic, gastroenterological, urological, otolaryngologic/ophthalmologic, and traumatological diseases. Acute neurological conditions registered only a slight, but significant, reduction. Oncology admissions were stable. Admissions for infectious diseases were 30% in 2020, compared to 5% and 6% in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In 2020, the hospitalization rate increased to 42.9% compared to 27.7%, and 26.4% in previous years. Conclusions: the drastic reduction of ED admissions during the pandemic may be associated with fear of the virus, suggesting that patients with serious illnesses did not go to the emergency room. Moreover, there was possible misuse of the ED in the previous year. In particular, worrisome data emerged regarding a drop in cardiology and neurology admissions. Those patients postponed medical attention, possibly with fatal consequences, just for fear of exposure to COVID-19, leading to unnecessary morbidity and mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Emergency Medicine)
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Article
Equal Opportunities for Stroke Survivors’ Rehabilitation: A Study on the Validity of the Upper Extremity Fugl-Meyer Assessment Scale Translated and Adapted into Romanian
Medicina 2020, 56(8), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56080409 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Background and objectives: The Upper Extremity Fugl-Meyer Assessment (UEFMA) is one of the most recommended and used methods of clinical evaluation not only for post-stroke motor function disability conditions but also for physiotherapy goal-setting. Up to the present, an official Romanian version has [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: The Upper Extremity Fugl-Meyer Assessment (UEFMA) is one of the most recommended and used methods of clinical evaluation not only for post-stroke motor function disability conditions but also for physiotherapy goal-setting. Up to the present, an official Romanian version has not been officially available. This study aims to carry out a translation, adaptation, and validation of UEFMA in Romanian, thus giving both patients and medical practitioners the equal opportunity of benefiting from its proficiency. Material and methods: The English version of the motor component of UEFMA was back and forth translated in the assent of best practice translation guidelines. The research was performed on a group of 64 post-stroke in-patients regarding psychometric properties for content validation and an exploratory and confirmatory factorial analysis was performed using the Bayesian model. To assess internal consistency and test–retest reliability, we used the Cronbach Alpha index and Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC). We used Pearson correlation with the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and Modified Rankin Scale (MRS) to determine concurrent validation. Standardized response mean (SRM) was applied to determine the responsiveness of the instrument used. Results: After performing the exploratory factor analysis, a single factor was extracted, with an Eigenvalue of 19.363, which explained 64.543% of the variation. The model was confirmed by Bayesian exploration, with Root Mean Square Residual (RMR) 0.051, Goodness-of-fit Index (GFI) 0.980, Normed-Fit Index (NFI) 0.978 and Relative Fit Index (RFI) 0.977. The Cronbach Alpha value was 0.981, the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) index for average measures was 0.992, the Pearson correlation with FIM 0.789, and MRS −0.787, while the SRM was 1.117. Conclusions: The Romanian version of the UEFMA scale is a reliable, responsive and valid tool which can be used as a standardized assessment in post-stroke patients across Romania. Full article
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Communication
UHPLC-HRMS and GC-MS Screening of a Selection of Synthetic Cannabinoids and Metabolites in Urine of Consumers
Medicina 2020, 56(8), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56080408 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The use of synthetic cannabinoids has increased around the world. As a result, the implementation of accurate analysis in human biological matrices is relevant and fundamental. Two different analytical technologies, ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS) and high-sensitivity gas [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The use of synthetic cannabinoids has increased around the world. As a result, the implementation of accurate analysis in human biological matrices is relevant and fundamental. Two different analytical technologies, ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS) and high-sensitivity gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) were used for the determination of three synthetic cannabinoids JWH-122, JWH 210, UR-144 and their metabolites in urine of consumers. Materials and Methods: Sample preparation included an initial hydrolysis with β-glucuronidase and liquid-liquid extraction. The UHPLC-HRMS method included a Kinetex 2.6 u Biphenyl 100A (100 × 2.1 mm, 2.6 μm) (Phenomenex, Italy) column with a gradient mobile phase consisting of mobile phase A (ammonium formate 2mM in water, 0.1% formic acid) and mobile phase B (ammonium formate 2mM in methanol/acetonitrile 50:50 (v/v), 0.1% formic acid) and a full-scan data-dependent MS2 (ddMS2) mode was used (mass range 100–1000 m/z). The GC-MS method employed an ultra-Inert Intuvo GC column (HP-5MS UI, 30 m × 250 µm i.d, film thickness 0.25 µm; Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA, USA) and electron-impact (EI) mass spectra were recorded in total ion monitoring mode (scan range 40–550 m/z). Results: Both methods have been successfully used for screening of parent synthetic cannabinoids and their metabolites in urine samples of consumers. Conclusions: The screening method applied JWH-122, JWH-210, UR-144 and their metabolites in urine of consumers can be applied to other compounds of the JWH family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Medicinal Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabinoids)
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Article
Association between Breakfast Skipping and the Metabolic Syndrome: The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2017
Medicina 2020, 56(8), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56080396 - 07 Aug 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Recently, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Korea has increased rapidly. Current knowledge reflects the importance of dietary control in relation to the metabolic syndrome. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of skipping breakfast on the [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Recently, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Korea has increased rapidly. Current knowledge reflects the importance of dietary control in relation to the metabolic syndrome. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of skipping breakfast on the metabolic syndrome. Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2017 for the second year. A total of 3864 adults aged 20 to 64 were included in the study. We stratified the study population into three groups, based on breakfast patterns: the regular group, irregular group, and skipping group. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to analyze the association between skipping breakfast and the presence of metabolic syndrome. Results: We noted an increase in the proportion of metabolic syndrome cases as follows: skipping group (3.3%), irregular group (5.4%), and regular group (8.5%) (p < 0.001). The multivariate-adjusted odds ratios of metabolic syndrome in the skipping and irregular groups compared with the regular group were 0.68 (95% CI; 0.35 to 1.35) and 0.81 (95% CI; 0.51 to 1.28), respectively. In the 40–65-year-old age group, which had a high prevalence of metabolic syndrome, the multivariate-adjusted odds ratios of metabolic syndrome in the skipping group compared with regular group were 0.78 (95%CI, 0.39 to 1.62). Conclusions: There was no significant correlation between skipping breakfast and risk factors of metabolic syndrome (after adjusting for risk factors), but a tendency of skipping breakfast to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome was observed. A rationale for these results is proposed through the association between skipping breakfast and intermittent fasting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Endocrinology)
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Communication
Who Consult an Adult Psychiatric Emergency Department? Pertinence of Admissions and Opportunities for Telepsychiatry
Medicina 2020, 56(6), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56060295 - 13 Jun 2020
Cited by 16
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Psychiatric disorders constitute frequent causes of emergency department (ED) admissions and these rates are increasing. However, referring to ED a whole range of conditions that could or should be dealt with elsewhere is imposing itself as a problematic situation. We [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Psychiatric disorders constitute frequent causes of emergency department (ED) admissions and these rates are increasing. However, referring to ED a whole range of conditions that could or should be dealt with elsewhere is imposing itself as a problematic situation. We aimed: (1) to provide a descriptive picture of the socio-demographic and diagnostic characteristics of the visits among adults at the psychiatric ED; (2) to estimate the clinical pertinence of these visits. Materials and Methods: Retrospective analysis of diagnostic/socio-demographic characteristics and clinical trajectories of patients admitted for a psychiatric condition at the adult psychiatric ED of the University Hospital of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, during a 6-week timespan. Results: In our sample (n = 763 total admissions for psychiatric conditions; n = 702 for inclusion of patients having received a medical evaluation), depression/anxiety, suicidal behavior (SB), psychotic episode, and substance use disorder (SUD), in descending order, were the most common diagnoses for referral. Patients belonged to younger age groups (≤65 years), had a familial status other than married/in couple, and did not present an unfavorable socio-demographic profile. Concerning the pertinence for a psychiatric ED, primary diagnosis of depression/anxiety is the only variable significantly associated with different grade of degree. By the examination of the patients’ trajectory from admission to discharge, the clinical pertinence for a psychiatric ED admission existed for cases assigned to the Echelle Suisse du Tri (EST®) scale degree 1 (corresponding to most urgent and severe conditions), particularly for diagnoses of depression/anxiety associated with SB, SB as primary or comorbid diagnosis, and psychotic and manic/hypomanic episode. However, diagnoses of depression/anxiety without urgent and severe features (degrees 2, 3, 4) constituted the most frequent mode of presentation. Conclusions: Ambulatory and community-integrated settings could be more appropriate for the majority of patients admitted to adult psychiatric EDs. Moreover, the implementation of telepsychiatry strategies represents a very promising opportunity to offer these patients care continuity, reduce costs and filter the demand for psychiatric ED. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychiatry)
Article
Acute Effects of a Heat-Not-Burn Tobacco Product on Pulmonary Function
Medicina 2020, 56(6), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56060292 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background and objectives: During the last decade, conventional tobacco smoking is experiencing a decline and new smoking products have been introduced. IQOS (“I-Quit-Ordinary-Smoking”) is a type of “heat-not-burn” (HNB) tobacco product. The impact of IQOS on respiratory health is currently not defined. [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: During the last decade, conventional tobacco smoking is experiencing a decline and new smoking products have been introduced. IQOS (“I-Quit-Ordinary-Smoking”) is a type of “heat-not-burn” (HNB) tobacco product. The impact of IQOS on respiratory health is currently not defined. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the acute effects of IQOS on pulmonary function in non-smokers and current smokers. Materials and Methods: Fifty male healthy non-smokers and current smokers with no known co-morbidity underwent an exhaled CO measurement, oximetry (SaO2%), pulmonary function tests (flows, volumes and diffusion capacity), and a measurement of respiratory resistances with an impulse oscillometry system (IOS) before and immediately after IQOS use. Results: In the whole group of 50 participants, SaO2%, forced expiratory flow at 25% and 50% of vital capacity (FEF 25%, FEF 50%, respectively), peak expiratory flow (PEF), and diffusion lung capacity for carbon monoxide/VA (KCO) decreased significantly after IQOS use, whereas exhaled CO and airway resistance (R5 Hz, R10 Hz, r15 Hz, R20 Hz, R25 Hz, R35 Hz) increased. When the groups of smokers and non-smokers were compared, in both groups (all males, 25 smokers and 25 non-smokers), exhaled CO increased and SaO2% decreased after IQOS use (p < 0.001). In the group of non-smokers, PEF (pre 8.22 ± 2.06 vs. post 7.5 ± 2.16, p = 0.001) and FEF 25% (pre 7.6 ± 1.89 vs. 7.14 ± 2.06, p = 0.009) decreased significantly; respiratory resistances R20 Hz (pre 0.34 ± 0.1 vs. post 0.36 ± 0.09, p = 0.09) and R25 Hz (pre 0.36 ± 0.1 vs. post 0.38 ± 0.09, p = 0.08) increased almost significantly. In smokers, PEF (pre 7.69 ± 2.26 vs. post 7.12 ± 2.03, p = 0.007) and expiratory reserve volume (ERV) (pre 1.57 ± 0.76 vs. post1.23 ± 0.48, p = 0.03) decreased and R35 Hz (pre 0.36 ± 0.11 vs. post 0.39 ± 0.11, p = 0.047) increased. The differences in the changes after the use of IQOS did not differ between groups. Conclusions: IQOS had an impact on exhaled CO, SaO2%, and airways function immediately after use. Even though these changes were rather small to be considered of major clinical importance, they should raise concerns regarding the long-term safety of this product. Further research is needed for the short- and long-term effects of IQOS, especially in patients with respiratory disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pulmonary)
Article
Submuscular and Pre-pectoral ADM Assisted Immediate Breast Reconstruction: A Literature Review
Medicina 2020, 56(6), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56060256 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Background and objectives: Breast cancer treatment has deeply changed in the last fifty years. Acellular dermal matrices (ADMs) were introduced for breast reconstruction, with encouraging results, but with conflicting reports too. The present paper aims to summarize the current data on breast [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Breast cancer treatment has deeply changed in the last fifty years. Acellular dermal matrices (ADMs) were introduced for breast reconstruction, with encouraging results, but with conflicting reports too. The present paper aims to summarize the current data on breast reconstruction using acellular dermal matrices. Materials and Methods: We reviewed the literature regarding the use of ADM-assisted implant-based breast reconstruction. Results: The main techniques were analyzed and described. Conclusions: Several authors have recently reported positive results. Nevertheless, an increased complications’ rate has been reported by other authors. Higher cost compared to not-ADM-assisted breast reconstruction is another concern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Updates in Breast Reconstruction: Review from Evidence)
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Article
Role of a Brief Intensive Observation Area with a Dedicated Team of Doctors in the Management of Acute Heart Failure Patients: A Retrospective Observational Study
Medicina 2020, 56(5), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56050251 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Background and objectives: Acute heart failure (AHF) is one of the main causes of hospitalization in Western countries. Usually, patients cannot be admitted directly to the wards (access block) and stay in the emergency room. Holding units are clinical decision units, or [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Acute heart failure (AHF) is one of the main causes of hospitalization in Western countries. Usually, patients cannot be admitted directly to the wards (access block) and stay in the emergency room. Holding units are clinical decision units, or observation units, within the ED that are able to alleviate access block and to contribute to a reduction in hospitalization. Observation units have also been shown to play a role in specific clinical conditions, like the acute exacerbation of heart failure. This study aimed to analyze the impact of a brief intensive observation (OBI) area on the management of acute heart failure (AHF) patients. The OBI is a holding unit dedicated to the stabilization of unstable patients with a team of dedicated physicians. Materials and Methods: We conducted a retrospective and single-centered observational study with retrospective collection of the data of all patients who presented to our emergency department with AHF during 2017. We evaluated and compared two cohorts of patients, those treated in the OBI and those who were not, in terms of the reduction in color codes at discharge, mortality rate within the emergency room (ER), hospitalization rate, rate of transfer to less intensive facilities, and readmission rate at 7, 14, and 30 days after discharge. Results: We enrolled 920 patients from 1st January to 31st December. Of these, 61% were transferred to the OBI for stabilization. No statistically significant difference between the OBI and non-OBI populations in terms of age and gender was observed. OBI patients had worse clinical conditions on arrival. The patients treated in the OBI had longer process times, which would be expected, to allow patient stabilization. The stabilization rate in the OBI was higher, since presumably OBI admission protected patients from “worse condition” at discharge. Conclusions: Data from our study show that a dedicated area of the ER, such as the OBI, has progressively allowed a change in the treatment path of the patient, where the aim is no longer to admit the patient for processing but to treat the patient first and then, if necessary, admit or refer. This has resulted in very good feedback on patient stabilization and has resulted in a better management of beds, reduced admission rates, and reduced use of high intensity care beds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Translational Medicine)
Article
Trauma Coagulopathy and Its Outcomes
Medicina 2020, 56(4), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56040205 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 15
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Trauma coagulopathy begins at the moment of trauma. This study investigated whether coagulopathy upon arrival in the emergency room (ER) is correlated with increased hemotransfusion requirement, more hemodynamic instability, more severe anatomical damage, a greater need for hospitalization, and hospitalization [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Trauma coagulopathy begins at the moment of trauma. This study investigated whether coagulopathy upon arrival in the emergency room (ER) is correlated with increased hemotransfusion requirement, more hemodynamic instability, more severe anatomical damage, a greater need for hospitalization, and hospitalization in the intensive care unit (ICU). We also analyzed whether trauma coagulopathy is correlated with unfavorable indices, such as acidemia, lactate increase, and base excess (BE) increase. Material and Methods: We conducted a prospective, monocentric, observational study of all patients (n = 503) referred to the Department of Emergency and Acceptance, IRCCS Fondazione Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, for major trauma from 1 January 2018 to 30 January 2019. Results: Of the 503 patients, 204 had trauma coagulopathy (group 1), whereas 299 patients (group 2) did not. Group 1 had a higher hemotransfusion rate than group 2. In group 1, 15% of patients showed hemodynamic instability compared with only 8% of group 2. The shock index (SI) distribution was worse in group 1 than in group 2. Group 1 was more often hypotensive, tachycardic, and with low oxygen saturation, and had a more severe injury severity score than group 2. In addition, 47% of group 1 had three or more body districts involved compared with 23% of group 2. The hospitalization rate was higher in group 1 than in group 2 (76% vs. 58%). The length of hospitalization was >10 days for 45% of group 1 compared with 28% of group 2. The hospitalization rate in the ICU was higher in group 1 than in group 2 (22% vs. 14.8%). The average duration of ICU hospitalization was longer in group 1 than in group 2 (12.5 vs. 9.78 days). Mortality was higher in group 1 than in group 2 (3.92% vs. 0.98%). Group 1 more often had acidemia and high lactates than group 2. Group 1 also more often had BE <−6. Conclusions: Trauma coagulopathy patients, upon arrival in the ER, have greater hemotransfusion (p = 0.016) requirements and need hospitalization (p = 0.032) more frequently than patients without trauma coagulopathy. Trauma coagulopathy seems to be more present in patients with a higher injury severity score (ISS) (p = 0.000) and a greater number of anatomical districts involved (p = 0.000). Head trauma (p = 0.000) and abdominal trauma (p = 0.057) seem related to the development of trauma coagulopathy. Males seem more exposed than females in developing trauma coagulopathy (p = 0.018). Upon arrival in the ER, the presence of tachycardia or alteration of SI and its derivatives can allow early detection of patients with trauma coagulopathy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Emergency Medicine)
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Article
Does Function Determine the Structure? Changes in Flexor Hallucis Longus Muscle and the Associated Performance Related to Dance Modality: A Cross-Sectional Study
Medicina 2020, 56(4), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56040186 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Flexor hallucis longus pathology is one of the most common conditions of the ankle and foot in dancers, due to the high demand of dance movements performed in an extreme plantar flexion and dorsiflexion range of motion. The objectives [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Flexor hallucis longus pathology is one of the most common conditions of the ankle and foot in dancers, due to the high demand of dance movements performed in an extreme plantar flexion and dorsiflexion range of motion. The objectives of this study were to determine the bilateral differences between the thickness and cross-sectional area of the flexor hallucis longus muscle in dancers, to establish possible differences between dance modalities, and to analyze whether there is a correlation between ultrasonographic parameters or performance variables and the dance modality. Material and Methods: A sample of 50 (29 classical and 21 contemporary) full-time pre-professional female dancers were included in the study. The thickness and cross-sectional area of the flexor hallucis longus muscle were evaluated for both limbs using ultrasound imaging. The range of movement of the first metatarsophalangeal joint was measured using functional extension with maximal ankle plantarflexion, balance was measured in a unilateral stance with the heel raised, endurance was evaluated through a modified heel rise fatigue test, and a counter movement jump to assess the vertical jump performance was measured bilaterally. Results: There were no significant differences recorded between the dominant and non-dominant limbs for each variable, within both groups. Contemporary dancers showed a greater thickness and cross-sectional area of the flexor hallucis longus muscle than classical dancers. However, classical dancers showed an increase of balance, endurance, range of movement of the first metatarsophalangeal joint, and counter movement jump with respect to contemporary dancers. Conclusion: Bilateral symmetry was identified in all variables for both groups. The size and performance of the flexor hallucis longus muscle may be influenced by the specific nature of dance modality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasound in Sports Medicine: Current Concepts and Advances)
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Article
The Influence of Socio-Demographic Factors, Lifestyle and Psychiatric Indicators on Adherence to Treatment of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Cross-Sectional Study
Medicina 2020, 56(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56040178 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a severe autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints accompanied by the progressive deformation and destruction of cartilage and joint bones. This study aims to gain insight into the outcomes related to adherence [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a severe autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints accompanied by the progressive deformation and destruction of cartilage and joint bones. This study aims to gain insight into the outcomes related to adherence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Predicting the medication adherence in RA patients is a key point to improve the treatment outcome. Materials and Methods: A number of 119 Romanian patients with RA were included and divided into two groups: first group included 79 patients treated with conventional therapy and second group included 40 patients treated with biologic therapy. A CQR-9 (compliance questionnaire rheumatology with nine items) and PDSQ (psychiatric diagnostic screening questionnaire) were performed to assess correlations between medication adherence, patient sociodemographic variables, 11 psychiatric scales (major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, psychosis, agoraphobia, social phobia, drug abuse/dependence, generalized anxiety disorder, somatization disorder, hypochondriasis) and lifestyle (bulimia, alcohol intake). Results: Whilst modelling factors associated with adherence, it was found that women and patients with higher education are more adherent. From the psychiatric indicators, only major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder were found to be positively correlated with therapeutic adherence. None of the assessed lifestyle factors influenced the adherence of RA patients. Conclusion: The knowledge of factors that impact on treatment adherence can be useful for clinicians to guide patient-centred care. Full article
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Article
Prevalence of Adverse Reactions to Glutenand People Going on a Gluten-Free Diet:A Survey Study Conducted in Brazil
Medicina 2020, 56(4), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56040163 - 04 Apr 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Background: The prevalence of gluten-related disorders (GRD) and adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) remains unknown in Brazilian population and there is no published information on the scientific literature about the proportion of Brazilians that were diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder. Thus, the [...] Read more.
Background: The prevalence of gluten-related disorders (GRD) and adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) remains unknown in Brazilian population and there is no published information on the scientific literature about the proportion of Brazilians that were diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder. Thus, the aim of this work was to estimate the prevalence of GRDs and adherence to a GFD by self-report in adult Brazilian population. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted in two Brazilian cities. Results: The response rate was 93.2% (1630/1749). The self-reported prevalence rates were (95% CI): adverse reactions to gluten 10.06% (8.64–11.62); gluten sensitivity 2.33% (1.65–3.18); physician-diagnosed celiac disease 0.3% (0.09–0.71); non-celiac gluten sensitivity 1.71% (1.14–2.47); wheat allergy 0.79% (0.42–1.36); adherence to gluten-free diet 7.48% (6.25–8.87); gluten avoiders 15.21% (13.5–17.05). Among those who were following a GFD (n = 122), 65.6% (n = 80) of them reported that they did not develop symptoms after wheat/gluten ingestion and 50% (n = 61) were following the diet without medical/dietitian advice. The main motivation for following a GFD in the self-reported and non-self-reported gluten sensitivity groups were the symptoms triggered after wheat/gluten ingestion (86.8%) and weight control (57.1%), respectively. Conclusions: Implementation of programs to increase awareness about GRDs among healthcare professionals and giving scientifically sound information to the general population about the risks and benefits for following a GFD are desirable actions in Brazil. The results also add to the growing body of evidence for highlighting the under-diagnosis of GRD and the trend for following a GFD in Latin America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Celiac Disease and Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity)
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Article
Evaluation of the Direct Economic Cost per Eradication Treatment Regimen against Helicobacter pylori Infection in Greece: Do National Health Policy-Makers Need to Care?
Medicina 2020, 56(3), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56030133 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Helicobacter pylori (Hp) management has undoubtedly resulted in a notable economic burden on healthcare systems globally, including Greece. Its cost has never been estimated so far, especially during the recent 10-year unprecedented financial crisis. Direct medical and procedural costs for one [...] Read more.
Helicobacter pylori (Hp) management has undoubtedly resulted in a notable economic burden on healthcare systems globally, including Greece. Its cost has never been estimated so far, especially during the recent 10-year unprecedented financial crisis. Direct medical and procedural costs for one attempt “outpatient” Hp eradication treatment were estimated as the following: (I) first-line regimens: 10 and 14 days standard triple, 10 and 14 days sequential, 10 and 14 days concomitant non-bismuth quadruple, 14 days hybrid, (II) second-line salvage regimens: 10 and 14 days levofloxacin-containing triple regimens. Treatment costs using prototypes and/or generic drugs were calculated. Drug prices were collected and confirmed from two official online medical databases including all medicines approved by the Greek National Organization for Medicines. Regimens based on generics were more affordable than prototypes and those including pantoprazole yielded the lowest prices (mean: 27.84 €). Paradoxically, 10-day concomitant and 14-day hybrid regimens (currently providing good (90–94%) first-line eradication rates in Greece) cost the same (mean: 34.76 €). The expenditures for Hp eradication treatment regimens were estimated thoroughly for the first time in Greece. These data should be taken into account by Public Health policymakers both in Greece and the European Union, aiming for a better and less expensive therapeutic approach. Full article
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Article
Impact of Elderly Masticatory Performance on Nutritional Status: An Observational Study
Medicina 2020, 56(3), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56030130 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Masticatory limitations on the dietary habits of edentulous subjects restrict their access to adequate nutrition, exposing them to a greater risk of protein energy malnutrition. The aim of this study is to verify the existence of an association between Masticatory [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Masticatory limitations on the dietary habits of edentulous subjects restrict their access to adequate nutrition, exposing them to a greater risk of protein energy malnutrition. The aim of this study is to verify the existence of an association between Masticatory Performance (MP) and nutritional changes in the elderly. Materials and Methods: 76 participants were enrolled. MP testing was performed using the two-color chewing gum mixing test. The system used reveals the extent to which the two differently colored chewing gums mix, and allows discrimination between different MPs. The assessment of the participants’ nutritional statuses was carried out through a food interview. Anthropometric parameters were collected, and bioimpedance analysis was performed. Results: Mean MP was 0.448 ± 0.188. No statistically significant differences were detected between male and female subjects (p > 0.05). According to the Body Mass Index (BMI), obese patients had a lower MP than overweight and normal weight subjects (0.408 ± 0.225, 0.453 ± 0.169 and 0.486 ± 0.181, respectively). MP values were lower both in male and female subjects with a waist circumference above the threshold than those below it (0.455 ± 0.205 vs. 0.476 ± 0.110, respectively, in males and 0.447 ± 0.171 vs. 0.501 ± 0.138, respectively, in females). No relationship was noticed between MP and bioimpedance parameters (p > 0.05). Conclusions: A statistically significant relation was observed between MP and the number of missing teeth. A reduced MP could worsen nutritional parameters. A reduced MP did not seem to negatively affect bioimpedance parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Dentistry)
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Article
Acute Coronary Syndromes in Chronic Kidney Disease: Clinical and Therapeutic Characteristics
Medicina 2020, 56(3), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56030118 - 08 Mar 2020
Cited by 15
Abstract
Background and Objectives: This study evaluated the clinical characteristics of the acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients and established prognostic values of the biomarkers and echocardiography. Materials and Methods: 273 patients admitted to the cardiology department of the Clinical [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: This study evaluated the clinical characteristics of the acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients and established prognostic values of the biomarkers and echocardiography. Materials and Methods: 273 patients admitted to the cardiology department of the Clinical County Emergency Hospital of Oradea, Romania, with ACS diagnosis were studied. Two study groups were formed according to the presence of CKD (137 patients with ACS + CKD and 136 with ACS without CKD). Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) threshold was used to assess the stages of CKD. Results: Data regarding the medical history, laboratory findings, biomarkers, echocardiography, and coronary angiography were analysed for both groups. ACS parameters were represented by ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), which revealed a greater incidence in subjects without CKD (43.88%); non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), characteristic for the CKD group (28.47%, with statistically significance p = 0.04); unstable angina and myocardial infarction with nonobstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA). Diabetes mellitus, chronic heart failure, previous stroke, and chronic coronary syndrome were more prevalent in the ACS + CKD group (56.93%, p < 0.01; 41.61%, p < 0.01; 18.25%, p < 0.01; 45.26%, p < 0.01). N-terminal pro b-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) was statistically higher (p < 0.01) in patients with CKD; Killip class 3 was evidenced more frequently in the same group (p < 0.01). Single-vessel coronary artery disease (CAD) was statistically more frequent in the ACS without CKD group (29.41%, p < 0.01) and three-vessel CAD or left main coronary artery disease (LMCA) were found more often in the ACS + CKD group (27.01%, 14.6%). Conclusions: Extension of the CAD in CKD subjects revealed an increased prevalence of the proximal CAD, and the involvement of various coronary arteries is characteristic in these patients. Biomarkers and echocardiographic elements can outline the evolution and outcomes of ACS in CKD patients. Full article
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Article
Epidemiology of Lyme Disease in a Highly Endemic European Zone
Medicina 2020, 56(3), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56030115 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Background and objective: Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis (LB), is a tick-borne infectious disease caused by the spirochete bacteria Borrelia. The risk of infection depends on the geographical area, ecological factors, and human behavior. Clinical manifestations of Lyme borreliosis have a [...] Read more.
Background and objective: Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis (LB), is a tick-borne infectious disease caused by the spirochete bacteria Borrelia. The risk of infection depends on the geographical area, ecological factors, and human behavior. Clinical manifestations of Lyme borreliosis have a wide range, but the most frequent clinical symptom, which is also a diagnostic symptom, is a skin rash called erythema migrans (EM). The disease is very common worldwide. In Lithuania, the disease frequency is 99.9 cases per 100,000 population (Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS, Lithuania, 2017). The main aim of this study was to obtain the baseline characteristics of the disease regarding the infected Lithuanian population. Materials and Methods: We analyzed data from the Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS about all Lyme disease (A69.2) diagnosed patients over a three-year period (from 2014 to 2016) in Lithuania. Results: In 2014–2016, 7424 (crude incidence rate 85.4) cases with LB were diagnosed in Lithuania. Most of them (4633 (62.4%)) were identified in women. Older people were more likely to suffer from LB. Urban residents were 2.6 times more often affected that those living in villages. Tick bites were primarily observed in high season months, from May to September (90%), with the highest peak in July. There was a higher number of observed tick bites (p = 0.003) in the urban residents. Erythema migrans occurred in 75.6% LB cases, while other symptoms did not exceed a quarter of all LB cases. There were 7353 (99.6%) cases where LB was confirmed via clinical symptoms and/or laboratory tests. Also, 1720 (23.2%) patients were tested for LB immunoglobulins. Conclusions: This study found a high incidence of Lyme disease in Lithuania. We elucidated the baseline characteristics regarding the infected Lithuanian population which may ease medical clinicians’ work on new Lyme diagnoses. Full article
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Article
Pre-Treatment and Post-Treatment Demodex Densities in Patients under Immunosuppressive Treatments
Medicina 2020, 56(3), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56030107 - 03 Mar 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Demodex species are common obligatory parasites and normally present in low number in human beings. Immunosuppression was suggested to be associated with increased density of Demodex mites. Systemic glucocorticoids, cyclosporine, methotrexate, and azathioprine are commonly used immunosuppressive agents. We [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Demodex species are common obligatory parasites and normally present in low number in human beings. Immunosuppression was suggested to be associated with increased density of Demodex mites. Systemic glucocorticoids, cyclosporine, methotrexate, and azathioprine are commonly used immunosuppressive agents. We aim to determine the pre- and post-treatment Demodex densities in patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy and compare with those of healthy subjects. Materials and Methods: Demodex density was investigated at the beginning, first, and third months of the immunosuppressive therapy in 45 patients who received methotrexate, cyclosporine, systemic steroid, or azathioprine treatments and in 45 healthy subjects at the same time as the patients. Five standardized skin surface biopsies were taken from cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin of the patients and control group. The presence of five or more parasites in 1 cm2 area was considered as positive. Results: Demodex test was negative at the beginning of the treatment in all patients. Demodex test was positive in one patient in the first and third months of treatment and in three patients only in the third month of treatment. In the control group, Demodex test was determined as positive in just one healthy individual at the beginning, first and third months of the study. When the patient and control groups were evaluated in terms of Demodex number, there was a statistically significant difference in Demodex density in patients treated with immunosuppressive treatment in the first and third months when compared with the control group (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Immunosuppressive treatment might increase the number of Demodex mites and demodicidosis should be kept in mind in patients on immunosuppressive treatment. Full article
Article
Impact of Changes in Serum Calcium Levels on In-Hospital Mortality
Medicina 2020, 56(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56030106 - 02 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background and objectives: Calcium concentration is strictly regulated at both the cellular and systemic level, and changes in serum calcium levels can alter various physiological functions in various organs. This study aimed to assess the association between changes in calcium levels during hospitalization [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Calcium concentration is strictly regulated at both the cellular and systemic level, and changes in serum calcium levels can alter various physiological functions in various organs. This study aimed to assess the association between changes in calcium levels during hospitalization and mortality. Materials and Methods: We searched our patient database to identify all adult patients admitted to our hospital from January 1st, 2009 to December 31st, 2013. Patients with ≥2 serum calcium measurements during the hospitalization were included. The serum calcium changes during the hospitalization, defined as the absolute difference between the maximum and the minimum calcium levels, were categorized into five groups: 0–0.4, 0.5–0.9, 1.0–1.4, 1.5–1.9, and ≥2.0 mg/dL. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to assess the independent association between calcium changes and in-hospital mortality, using the change in calcium category of 0–0.4 mg/dL as the reference group. Results: Of 9868 patients included in analysis, 540 (5.4%) died during hospitalization. The in-hospital mortality progressively increased with higher calcium changes, from 3.4% in the group of 0–0.4 mg/dL to 14.5% in the group of ≥2.0 mg/dL (p < 0.001). When adjusted for age, sex, race, principal diagnosis, comorbidity, kidney function, acute kidney injury, number of measurements of serum calcium, and hospital length of stay, the serum calcium changes of 1.0–1.4, 1.5–1.9, and ≥2.0 mg/dL were significantly associated with increased in-hospital mortality with odds ratio (OR) of 1.55 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15–2.10), 1.90 (95% CI 1.32–2.74), and 3.23 (95% CI 2.39–4.38), respectively. The association remained statistically significant when further adjusted for either the lowest or highest serum calcium. Conclusion: Larger serum calcium changes in hospitalized patients were progressively associated with increased in-hospital mortality. Full article
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Article
Impact of ANCA-Associated Vasculitis on Outcomes of Hospitalizations for Goodpasture’s Syndrome in the United States: Nationwide Inpatient Sample 2003–2014
Medicina 2020, 56(3), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56030103 - 01 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background and objectives: Goodpasture’s syndrome (GS) is a rare, life-threatening autoimmune disease. Although the coexistence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) with Goodpasture’s syndrome has been recognized, the impacts of ANCA vasculitis on mortality and resource utilization among patients with GS are unclear. [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Goodpasture’s syndrome (GS) is a rare, life-threatening autoimmune disease. Although the coexistence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) with Goodpasture’s syndrome has been recognized, the impacts of ANCA vasculitis on mortality and resource utilization among patients with GS are unclear. Materials and Methods: We used the National Inpatient Sample to identify hospitalized patients with a principal diagnosis of GS from 2003 to 2014 in the database. The predictor of interest was the presence of ANCA-associated vasculitis. We tested the differences concerning in-hospital treatment and outcomes between GS patients with and without ANCA-associated vasculitis using logistic regression analysis with adjustment for other clinical characteristics. Results: A total of 964 patients were primarily admitted to hospital for GS. Of these, 84 (8.7%) had a concurrent diagnosis of ANCA-associated vasculitis. Hemoptysis was more prevalent in GS patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis. During hospitalization, GS patients with ANCA-associated required non-significantly more mechanical ventilation and non-invasive ventilation support, but non-significantly less renal replacement therapy and plasmapheresis than those with GS alone. There was no significant difference in in-hospital outcomes, including organ failure and mortality, between GS patients with and without ANCA-associated vasculitis. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated no significant differences between resource utilization and in-hospital mortality among hospitalized patients with coexistence of ANCA vasculitis and GS, compared to those with GS alone. Full article
Article
Inhibition of Virus-Induced Cytokine Production from Airway Epithelial Cells by the Late Addition of Budesonide
Medicina 2020, 56(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56030098 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Background and objectives: Viral infection is the main cause of asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation and accumulate inflammatory cells to airway tissue. We have reported poly I:C, a mimic product of the virus and ligand of toll-like receptor 3 [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Viral infection is the main cause of asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation and accumulate inflammatory cells to airway tissue. We have reported poly I:C, a mimic product of the virus and ligand of toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3), induced inflammatory chemokines from airway epithelial cells and found prior incubation with corticosteroids diminishes the effect of TLR3 activation. In clinical practice, mild asthma is recommended as-needed budesonide (BUD) when symptoms occur following a viral infection, etc. However, many questions still surround BUD’s usefulness if taken after a virus has already infected airway tissue. The aim of this study was to investigate the inhibitory effects of BUD on inflammatory cytokines induced by viral infection. Materials and Methods: Normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells were stimulated with poly I:C or infected with human rhinovirus-16 (HRV16) and BUD was added after the initial stimulation. Expression of both thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) and CCL26/eotaxin-3 was quantified by real-time RT-PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. Knockdown study was performed. Results: Pre-or post-incubation with BUD inhibited both poly I:C- and HRV16-induced mRNAs and proteins of both thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) and CCL26 with significance. Knockdown of the glucocorticoid receptor diminished these effects of BUD. Under the same conditions of BUD’s experiment, post-incubation with neither fluticasone propionate nor dexamethasone suppressed expression of both TSLP and CCL26, which induced by poly I:C. Conclusion: Post-addition of BUD inhibited the virus-induced TSLP and CCL26 from the airway epithelial cells. These results suggest that inhalation of BUD after viral infection has beneficial effects on asthma. Conclusion: Late addition of BUD may benefit among patient with viral infection and type 2 allergic airway disease such as asthma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Translational Medicine)
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Article
Could the Age Difference of a Single Calendar Year between Patients Undergoing IVF at 34, 35 or at 36 Years Old Affect the IVF Outcome? A Retrospective Data Analysis
Medicina 2020, 56(2), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56020092 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Clinicians are called to overcome age-related challenges in decision making during In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible impact of a single calendar year difference among patients aged 34, 35 and 36 [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Clinicians are called to overcome age-related challenges in decision making during In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible impact of a single calendar year difference among patients aged 34, 35 and 36 on IVF outcomes. Materials and Methods: Medical records between 2008 and 2019 were analyzed retrospectively. The study group consisted of women diagnosed with tubal factor infertility. Sample size was divided in three categories at 34, 35 and 36 years of age. Embryo transfer including two blastocysts was performed for every patient. Comparisons were performed regarding hormonal profile, response to stimulation, quality of transferred embryos, positive hCG test and clinical pregnancy rate. Results: A total of 706 women were eligible to participate. Two-hundred and forty-eight women were 34, 226 were 35 while the remaining 232 were 36 years old. Regarding the hormonal profile, the number of accumulated oocytes and the quality of embryos transferred, no statistically significant difference was documented between the three age groups. Women aged 34 and 35 years old indicated a significantly increased positive hCG rate in comparison to women aged 36 years old (p-value = 0.009, p-value = 0.023, respectively). Women aged 34 and 35 years old presented with a higher clinical pregnancy rate in comparison to those aged 36 years old (p-value = 0.04, p-value = 0.05, respectively). Conclusion: A calendar year difference between patients undergoing IVF treatment at 34 or 35 years of age does not appear to exert any influence regarding outcome. When treatment involves patients above the age of 35, then a single calendar year may exert considerable impact on IVF outcome. This observation indicates that age 35 may serve as a valid cut-off point regarding IVF outcome. Full article
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Article
Gastrointestinal Symptoms of and Psychosocial Changes in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Nursing-Led Cross-Sectional Study of Patients in Clinical Remission
Medicina 2020, 56(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56010045 - 20 Jan 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Nursing management in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is focused on global patient care. Starting from basic knowledge of diagnostic and therapeutic management, nurses can assess the impact of IBD on patients’ quality of life not only at the physical [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Nursing management in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is focused on global patient care. Starting from basic knowledge of diagnostic and therapeutic management, nurses can assess the impact of IBD on patients’ quality of life not only at the physical level, but also at the psychological, social, and emotional levels. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of gastrointestinal symptoms on psychosocial changes in IBD patients in remission through nursing-led Patient-Reported Outcomes. Materials and Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of 109 IBD patients in clinical and endoscopic remission. Specialist nurses invited patients to complete questionnaires on gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life through the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS). Results: We found that the gastrointestinal symptoms that the patients reported had a significant impact on the analyzed aspects of health. More specifically, belly pain, diarrhea, and bloating were associated with depressive symptoms (p < 0.001), anxiety (p < 0.001), fatigue (p < 0.001), and sleep disturbances (p < 0.001). Moreover, these symptoms also significantly affected patients’ social dimension in terms of satisfaction with participation in social roles (p < 0.001, p < 0.05, and p < 0.001 for belly pain, diarrhea, and bloating, respectively) and physical functions (p < 0.001). The results were virtually the same in a multivariable analysis adjusted by age, gender, body mass index (BMI), and disease duration. Conclusions: Even during remission, gastrointestinal symptoms are the main factors that influence quality of life in IBD patients. This exploratory study highlights the need to adopt validated questionnaires in clinical practice, and demonstrates that PROMIS is a valid, objective, and standardized instrument that can help nursing staff to better define the consequences of the disease in a patient’s daily life. Full article
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Article
Mobbing and Violence at Work as Hidden Stressors and Work Ability among Emergency Medical Doctors in Serbia
Medicina 2020, 56(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56010031 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background and Objectives: People employed in emergency medical services represent a professional group which encounters events beyond ordinary human experience, great work demands, the risk of professional disputes, and stressful situations. The goal of this study is to examine the presence of mobbing [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: People employed in emergency medical services represent a professional group which encounters events beyond ordinary human experience, great work demands, the risk of professional disputes, and stressful situations. The goal of this study is to examine the presence of mobbing and violence at work, as well as their influence on work ability of emergency medical doctors. Materials and Methods: The survey is conducted in Emergency Medical Service (EMS) in Niš in the period between December 2017 and January 2018. Using standardized questionnaires on psychosocial conditions in work environment (COPSOQ II) and work ability index (WAI) this study encompasses 79 doctors. For estimation of the examined factors’ influence on WAI linear regression analysis was used. Results: EMS doctors were exposed to abuse in 30.4% of the cases. The decline in WAI is significantly related with exposure to violence by patients (β = 0.727), exposure to physical violence (β = 0.896), exposure to abuse several times (β = 0.691) and exposure to ill-treatment by patients (β = 0.750). Conclusion: The results indicate that in the examined doctors mobbing and workplace violence are very much present and have a negative impact on their work, and therefore on the quality of health care. Full article
Article
Could the Combination of Two Non-Psychotropic Cannabinoids Counteract Neuroinflammation? Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Associated with Cannabigerol
Medicina 2019, 55(11), 747; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55110747 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 24
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Neuroinflammation is associated with many neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this study, we investigate the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-apoptotic properties of two non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD). Materials and Methods: The motoneuron-like cell line [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Neuroinflammation is associated with many neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this study, we investigate the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-apoptotic properties of two non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD). Materials and Methods: The motoneuron-like cell line NSC-34 differentiated by serum deprivation and with the additional treatment of all-trans retinoic acid (RA) is a valid model to investigate molecular events linked to neurodegeneration in ALS. Results: Pre-treatment with CBG (at 2.5 and 5 µM doses) alone and in combination with CBD (at 2.5 and 5 µM doses) was able to reduce neuroinflammation induced by a culture medium of LPS-stimulated macrophages. In particular, the pre-treatment with CBD at a 5 µM dose decreased TNF-α levels and increased IL10 and IL-37 expression. CBG–CBD association at a 5 µM dose also reduced NF-kB nuclear factor activation with low degradation of the inhibitor of kappaB alpha (IkBα). CBG and CBD co-administered at a 5 µM dose decreased iNOS expression and increased Nrf2 levels. Furthermore, the pre-treatment with the association of two non-psychoactive cannabinoids downregulated Bax protein expression and upregulated Bcl-2 expression. Our data show the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-apoptotic effects PPARγ-mediated. Conclusions: Our results provide preliminary support on the potential therapeutic application of a CBG–CBD combination for further preclinical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Medicinal Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabinoids)
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Article
Screen Use During Meals Among Young Children: Exploration of Associated Variables
Medicina 2019, 55(10), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55100688 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Background and Objectives: There is evidence that eating meals or snacks while watching TV is an obesogenic factor. Moreover, the patterns of TV and other screen use during meals begin early and persist. However, there are only a few studies to date which [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: There is evidence that eating meals or snacks while watching TV is an obesogenic factor. Moreover, the patterns of TV and other screen use during meals begin early and persist. However, there are only a few studies to date which address the prevalence and predictors of young children’s exposure to screen during mealtimes. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the prevalence and the associated factors of screen use during meals in early childhood. Materials and Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted in Lithuania. Data of 847 children aged 2 to 5 years old (51.5% boys) were analyzed in this study. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/1½-5) and reported their children’s daily screen time, exposure to background TV, screen use during child’s meals, child and parental height and weight, and sociodemographic data. Results: More than half of children were exposed to screen during meals: 33.7% occasionally, several times per week or per month, and 22%—daily or during every meal. Overall daily screen time, background TV, consumption of junk food, child age, and emotional and behavioral problems were related to mealtime screen use (all associations significant at p < 0.01). Longer daily screen time (OR 1.01; 95% CI 1.00–1.01), more background TV (OR 1.26; 95% CI 1.10–1.45), and elder child age (OR 1.02; 95% CI 1.00–1.03) were significant predictors of occasional use of screen during meals. Also, longer daily screen time (OR 0.99; 95% CI 0.98–0.99), background TV (OR 0.78; 95% CI 0.66–0.91) together with no siblings’ status of a child (OR 0.42; 95% CI 0.25–0.69) increased the probability that children were fed in front of screens daily. Conclusions: This study confirmed the unfavorable associations among screen use during meals, daily screen time and junk food consumption in early childhood. In addition, first-time parents should get particular health providers’ attention as they are more likely to use screens during child’s mealtime. Full article
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Article
Biomarker Potential of Plasma MicroRNA-150-5p in Prostate Cancer
Medicina 2019, 55(9), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55090564 - 03 Sep 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Over decades, prostate cancer (PCa) has become one of the leading causes of cancer mortality in men. Extensive evidence exists that microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) are key players in PCa and a new class of non-invasive cancer biomarkers. Materials and [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Over decades, prostate cancer (PCa) has become one of the leading causes of cancer mortality in men. Extensive evidence exists that microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) are key players in PCa and a new class of non-invasive cancer biomarkers. Materials and Methods: We performed miRNA profiling in plasma and tissues of PCa patients and attempted the validation of candidate individual miRs as biomarkers. Results: The comparison of tissue and plasma profiling results revealed five commonly dysregulated miRs, namely, miR-130a-3p, miR-145-5p, miR-148a-3p, miR-150-5p, and miR-365a-3p, of which only three show concordant changes—miR-130a-3p and miR-150-5p were downregulated and miR-148a-3p was upregulated in both tissue and plasma samples, respectively. MiR-150-5p was validated as significantly downregulated in both plasma and tissue cancer samples, with a fold change of −2.697 (p < 0.001), and −1.693 (p = 0.035), respectively. ROC analysis showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.817 (95% CI: 0.680–0.995) for plasma samples and 0.809 (95% CI: 0.616–1.001) for tissue samples. Conclusions: We provide data indicating that miR-150-5p plasma variations in PCa patients are associated with concordant changes in prostate cancer tissues; however, given the heterogeneous nature of previous findings of miR-150-5p expression in PCa cells, additional future studies of a larger sample size are warranted in order to confirm the biomarker potential and role of miRNA-150-5p in PCa biology. Full article
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Article
Antiviral Activity of Exopolysaccharides Produced by Lactic Acid Bacteria of the Genera Pediococcus, Leuconostoc and Lactobacillus against Human Adenovirus Type 5
Medicina 2019, 55(9), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55090519 - 22 Aug 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
Background and objectives: The use of antagonistic probiotic microorganisms and their byproducts represents a promising approach for the treatment of viral diseases. In the current work, the effect of exopolysaccharides (EPSs) produced by lactic acid bacteria from different genera on the structural [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: The use of antagonistic probiotic microorganisms and their byproducts represents a promising approach for the treatment of viral diseases. In the current work, the effect of exopolysaccharides (EPSs) produced by lactic acid bacteria from different genera on the structural and functional characteristics of cells and the development of adenoviral infection in vitro was studied. Materials and Methods: Cytotoxicity of six EPSs of lactic acid bacteria of the genera Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc and Pediococcus was determined by MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) assay. The influence of the EPSs on the infectivity of human adenovirus type 5 (HAdV-5) and on the cell cycle under a condition of adenovirus infection was studied using plaque reduction assay and flow cytometric analysis, respectively. Results: It was shown that exopolysaccharides were non-toxic to Madin-Darby bovine kidney cells (MDBK) as they reduced their viability by 3–17%. A change in the distribution of the cell cycle phases in the non-infected cell population treated with EPSs was observed. The analysis demonstrated an increase in the number of cells in the S phase by 47% when using EPSs 15a and a decrease in the number of cells in the G1 phase by 20–27% when treated with the EPSs 15a, 33a, and 19s. The use of EPSs did not led to the normalization of the life cycle of HAdV-5 infected cells to the level of non-infected cells. The EPSs showed low virucidal activity and reduced the HAdV-5 infectivity to 85%. Among the studied exopolysaccharides, anti-adenovirus activity was found for EPS 26a that is produced by Lactobacillus spp. strain. The treatment of cells with the EPS following virus adsorption completely (100%) suppressed the formation and release of HAdV-5 infectious. Conclusions: EPS 26a possessed distinct anti-HAdV-5 activity and the obtained data demonstrate the potential of using exopolysaccharides as anti-adenoviral agents. Full article
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Article
Self-Prescribed Dietary Restrictions are Common in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients and Are Associated with Low Bone Mineralization
Medicina 2019, 55(8), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55080507 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
Background and objectives: Despite the serious concerns of patients about the role of food in triggering or ameliorating their intestinal disease, there are few studies dealing with patients’ beliefs and practices regarding diet in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The aim of this study [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Despite the serious concerns of patients about the role of food in triggering or ameliorating their intestinal disease, there are few studies dealing with patients’ beliefs and practices regarding diet in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The aim of this study was to investigate how the disease affected the dietary habits of patients with IBD, and to assess if patients’ food restrictions were responsible for low bone mineralization. Materials and Methods: For this study, 90 consecutive patients referred for IBD were interviewed regarding their dietary habits. Demographic features and clinical characteristics potentially associated with the dietary habits were collected. A validated and self-administered survey questionnaire dealing with dietary habits and patients’ beliefs and perceptions regarding food was analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed in order to identify risk factors for dietary restrictions among participants and to evaluate the relationship between dietary restrictions and low bone mineral density (BMD). Results: Among the 63 (70%) patients who claimed a self-prescribed dietary restriction, 84% avoided dairy products. Significant risk factors (adjusted odds ratio (OR), 95% confidence interval (CI)) for the dietary restrictions were a younger age (p = 0.02), a higher level of education (p = 0.007), and a higher visceral sensitivity index (p = 0.009). Most (80%) of the patients displayed an inadequate calcium intake, and an abnormal result at dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan accounting for low BMD was reported in 46 (51%) of them. Dietary restrictions (p = 0.03), and in particular avoiding dairy products (p = 0.001), were significant risk factors for a low BMD, along with female gender (p = 0.001), smoking (p = 0.04), and steroid abuse (p = 0.03). Almost all (86%) patients changed their diet after IBD diagnosis, as 8% believed that foods could have been a trigger for IBD and 37% that a proper diet was more important than drugs in controlling disease. Although 61% of the patients claimed to have received nutritional advice, 78% of the participants showed interest in receiving more. Conclusions: Dietary habits of IBD patients should be investigated by healthcare professionals as part of the routine visit. Clinicians are invited to provide nutritional recommendations to these patients in order to avoid unnecessary self-prescribed dietary restrictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Diet and Treatment)
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Article
High Physical Activity Level May Reduce Menopausal Symptoms
Medicina 2019, 55(8), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55080466 - 11 Aug 2019
Cited by 14
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Menopause is a normal physiological change occurring at a woman’s mid-life. During this time, women experience vasomotor, physical and physiological problems, which reduce their quality of life. Many women are searching for different, alternative methods to reduce the severity of [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Menopause is a normal physiological change occurring at a woman’s mid-life. During this time, women experience vasomotor, physical and physiological problems, which reduce their quality of life. Many women are searching for different, alternative methods to reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms. Physical activity (PA) is one of the recommended methods to reduce menopausal symptoms. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between specific domains (physical activity during leisure time, at work, during transportation and household activities) and the menopausal symptoms. Materials and Methods: We included 305 women aged 40–65 in the study. All participants were divided into three groups according to menopausal status. The research tools used were the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) to assess physical activity level in four domains and the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) to assess the severity of menopausal symptoms. The data analysis was performed by Chi-square test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post hoc Tuckey test. Results: Menopausal stage was significantly associated with the total MRS score (p < 0.001) and specifically the urogenital and somato–vegetative subscores (p < 0.001). Physical activity was significantly associated (p < 0.001) with leisure time (according to IPAQ domains). Most postmenopausal women had high PA level (59.66%). Significantly less women with high PA levels had severe urogenital symptoms: 10.82% of participant with a low PA level, 11.15% with a moderate PA level and 4.26% with a high PA level (p = 0.046). Conclusions: Physical activity during leisure time is associated to menopausal symptoms in Polish women. Women with high and moderate PA levels have less severe menopausal symptoms compared to inactive women. Middle-aged women with low PA levels at work suffer from more severe somato–vegetative symptoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Article
TRP Channels Expression Profile in Human End-Stage Heart Failure
Medicina 2019, 55(7), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55070380 - 16 Jul 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
Objectives: Many studies indicate the involvement of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in the development of heart hypertrophy. However, the data is often conflicted and has originated in animal models. Here, we provide systematic analysis of TRP channels expression in human failing [...] Read more.
Objectives: Many studies indicate the involvement of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in the development of heart hypertrophy. However, the data is often conflicted and has originated in animal models. Here, we provide systematic analysis of TRP channels expression in human failing myocardium. Methods and results: Left-ventricular tissue samples were isolated from explanted hearts of NYHA III-IV patients undergoing heart transplants (n = 43). Quantitative real-time PCR was performed to assess the mRNA levels of TRPC, TRPM and TRPV channels. Analysis of functional, clinical and biochemical data was used to confirm an end-stage heart failure diagnosis. Compared to myocardium samples from healthy donor hearts (n = 5), we detected a distinct increase in the expression of TRPC1, TRPC5, TRPM4 and TRPM7, and decreased expression of TRPC4 and TRPV2. These changes were not dependent on gender, clinical or biochemical parameters, nor functional parameters of the heart. We detected, however, a significant correlation of TRPC1 and MEF2c expression. Conclusions: The end-stage heart failure displays distinct expressional changes of TRP channels. Our findings provide a systematic description of TRP channel expression in human heart failure. The results highlight the complex interplay between TRP channels and the need for deeper analysis of early stages of hypertrophy and heart failure development. Full article
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Article
Phytochemical Analysis, Ephedra Procera C. A. Mey. Mediated Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles, Their Cytotoxic and Antimicrobial Potentials
Medicina 2019, 55(7), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55070369 - 12 Jul 2019
Cited by 24
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The current study focuses on an eco-friendly and cost-effective method of Ephedra procera C. A. Mey. mediated green synthesis of silver nanoparticles as potential cytotoxic, antimicrobial and anti-oxidant agents. Materials and Methods: Plant aqueous extracts were screened for Total Phenolic [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The current study focuses on an eco-friendly and cost-effective method of Ephedra procera C. A. Mey. mediated green synthesis of silver nanoparticles as potential cytotoxic, antimicrobial and anti-oxidant agents. Materials and Methods: Plant aqueous extracts were screened for Total Phenolic (TPC), Total Flavonoid contents (TFC), Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging potentials. Total reducing power estimated by potassium ferricyanide colorimetric assay. The biosynthesized E. procera nanoparticles (EpNPs) were characterized by UV-spectroscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction and Scanning electron microscopy. EpNPs were evaluated for their antimicrobial, bio-compatibility and cytotoxic potentials. Results: Initial phytocheimcal analysis of plant aqueous extract revealed TFC of 20.7 ± 0.21 µg/mg extract and TPC of 117.01 ± 0.78 µg/mg extract. TAC, DPPH free radical scavenging and reducing power were 73.8 ± 0.32 µg/mg extract, 71.8 ± 0.73% and 105.4 ± 0.65 µg/mg extract respectively. The synthesized EpNPs were observed to possess high cytotoxicity against HepG2 cancer cell lines with IC50 (61.3 µg/mL) as compared aqueous extract with IC50 of (247 µg/mL). EpNPs were found to be biocompatible and have less effect on human erythrocytes. EpNPs exhibited significant antioxidant potentials and exhibited considerable activity against Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis with Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MICs) of 11.12 μg/mL and 11.33 μg/mL respectively. Fungal species Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus flavus were found susceptible to EpNPs. Conclusions: Results of the current study revealed that EpNPs exhibited considerable antibacterial, antifungal and cytotoxic potentials. Aqueous extract possesses significant anti-radical properties and thus can be useful in free radicals induced degenerative disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Biosciences in the Field of Health-Care)
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Article
Qualitative Assessment of Vaccine Hesitancy in Romania
Medicina 2019, 55(6), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55060282 - 17 Jun 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
Background and objectives: Health systems all over the world are confronted with an alarming rise of cases in which individuals hesitate, delay, and even refuse vaccination, despite availability of quality vaccine services. In order to mitigate and combat this phenomenon, which are now [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Health systems all over the world are confronted with an alarming rise of cases in which individuals hesitate, delay, and even refuse vaccination, despite availability of quality vaccine services. In order to mitigate and combat this phenomenon, which are now defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as vaccine hesitancy (VH), we must first understand the factors that lead to its occurrence in an era characterized by wide access to safe and effective vaccines. To achieve this, we conducted field testing of the Vaccine Hesitancy Scale (VHS), as it was developed by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts Working Group (SAGE WG), in Cluj-Napoca city, Cluj County, Romania. The scale is designed to quantify VH prevalence in a population, establish which vaccines generate the highest percentage of hesitancy, and allow a qualitative assessment of the individual’s reasons for hesitance. Materials and Methods: We conducted an observational cross-sectional survey, which was comprised of descriptive, analytical, and qualitative elements regarding VH. The necessary sample size was 452 individuals. The VHS and Matrix of Determinants (recommended by SAGE WG) for reasons people gave to justify their hesitance, was interpreted by qualitative thematic analysis (QTA) to ensure the validity and reliability in detecting hesitancy across various cultural settings and permit global comparisons. Results: We found a VH of 30.3% and 11.7% of parents reported refusing to vaccinate their child. Among the VH responders, the varicella vaccine generated 35% hesitancy, measles vaccine 27.7%, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 24.1%, and mumps vaccine 23.4%, respectively. The QTA values for percent agreement ranged from 91% to 100%. Cohen’s Kappa values ranged from 0.45 to 0.95. Contextual influences identified for VH were “media,” “leaders and lobbies,” and “perception of the pharmaceutical industry.” Individual and group influences for VH were “beliefs,” “knowledge,” and “risk/benefits (perceived).” Vaccine and vaccination specific issues for VH were “risk/benefit (rational)” and “health care practitioners (trustworthiness, competence).” Conclusions: One-third of the investigated population had expressed VH, and a further one-third of these had refused a vaccine for their child. Chicken Pox, Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), and HPV vaccines generated the most hesitation. Negative information from the media was the most frequently evoked reason for VH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting Vaccine Acceptance)
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Article
Self-Nanoemulsifying Drug Delivery System (SNEDDS) for Improved Oral Bioavailability of Chlorpromazine: In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation
Medicina 2019, 55(5), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55050210 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 16
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Lipid-based self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery systems (SNEDDS) have resurged the eminence of nanoemulsions by modest adjustments and offer many valuable opportunities in drug delivery. Chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic agent with poor aqueous solubility—with extensive first-pass metabolism—can be a suitable candidate for the [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Lipid-based self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery systems (SNEDDS) have resurged the eminence of nanoemulsions by modest adjustments and offer many valuable opportunities in drug delivery. Chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic agent with poor aqueous solubility—with extensive first-pass metabolism—can be a suitable candidate for the development of SNEDDS. The current study was designed to develop triglyceride-based SNEDDS of chlorpromazine to achieve improved solubility, stability, and oral bioavailability. Materials and Methods: Fifteen SNEDDS formulations of each short, medium, and long chain, triglycerides were synthesized and characterized to achieve optimized formulation. The optimized formulation was characterized for several in vitro and in vivo parameters. Results: Particle size, zeta potential, and drug loading of the optimized SNEDDS (LCT14) were found to be 178 ± 16, −21.4, and 85.5%, respectively. Long chain triglyceride (LCT14) showed a 1.5-fold increased elimination half-life (p < 0.01), up to 6-fold increased oral bioavailability, and 1.7-fold decreased plasma clearance rate (p < 0.01) compared to a drug suspension. Conclusion: The findings suggest that SNEDDS based on long-chain triglycerides (LCT14) formulations seem to be a promising alternative for improving the oral bioavailability of chlorpromazine. Full article
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Article
Impact of Maternal Diet on Human Milk Composition Among Lactating Women in Latvia
Medicina 2019, 55(5), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55050173 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 15
Abstract
Background and objectives: Many studies indicate that the maternal diet is an important factor affecting human milk composition. Human milk composition among lactating women in Latvia, as well as the maternal diet during lactation, has not been sufficiently studied. The aim of [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Many studies indicate that the maternal diet is an important factor affecting human milk composition. Human milk composition among lactating women in Latvia, as well as the maternal diet during lactation, has not been sufficiently studied. The aim of this research was to assess dietary habits and macronutrient intake among lactating women in Latvia and to examine the effect of diet on human milk composition. Materials and Methods: Research was conducted between November 2016 and December 2017. Mature human milk samples (n = 61) along with a 72h food diary, a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), and a questionnaire about maternal and infant characteristics were obtained from voluntary women who were recruited via an invitation published in a social media member group for nursing mothers. Fat content in human milk was determined by LVS ISO 2446:2008, protein content was determined by LVS EN ISO 8968-1:2014, lactose was determined by ISO 22662:2007, and the fatty acid profile was analyzed using gas chromatography. Dietary data were evaluated using the Finnish food composition database Fineli, release 19 (3 March 2018). Results: Median values for fat, protein, and lactose in mature human milk were 4.40%, 1.08%, and 6.52%, respectively. Predominant fatty acids in human milk were oleic acid (C18:1 n9c), palmitic acid (C16:0), and linoleic acid (C18:2 n6c) at 34.60%, 24.00%, and 11.00% of total fatty acids, respectively. The trans elaidic acid (C18:1 n9t) level was <0.10% in all human milk samples. Significant, positive associations (p < 0.05) were found between maternal dietary intake of linoleic, α-linolenic, docosahexaenoic, total cis-monounsaturated, total cis-polyunsaturated, and total n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, the ratio of n-6/n-3, and the level of these fatty acids in human milk. Total energy and carbohydrate intake among participants were lower, but total fat, saturated fat, and sugar intake were higher than recommended. Protein, linoleic acid, and α-linolenic acid intake were adequate, but docosahexaenoic acid intake was noticeably lower than recommended. Women should be supported with information regarding their nutritional needs during lactation and the possible impact of diet on human milk composition. Conclusion: Macronutrient (fat, protein, and lactose) content in human milk is not affected by maternal diet. Conversely, the human milk fatty acid profile is affected by the immediate diet consumed by the mother. Habitual dietary habits can also impact the fatty acid profile of human milk. Full article
Article
Optimal Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) Cut-Offs: A Cross-Sectional Study in the Czech Population
Medicina 2019, 55(5), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55050158 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 15
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The key pathogenetic mechanism of glucose metabolism disorders, insulin resistance (IR), can be assessed using the Homeostasis Model Assessment of IR (HOMA-IR). However, its application in clinical practice is limited due to the absence of cut-offs. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The key pathogenetic mechanism of glucose metabolism disorders, insulin resistance (IR), can be assessed using the Homeostasis Model Assessment of IR (HOMA-IR). However, its application in clinical practice is limited due to the absence of cut-offs. In this study, we aimed to define the cut-offs for the Czech population. Methods: After undergoing anthropometric and biochemical studies, the sample of 3539 individuals was divided into either nondiabetics, including both subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT, n = 1947) and prediabetics (n = 1459), or diabetics (n = 133). The optimal HOMA-IR cut-offs between subgroups were determined to maximize the sum of the sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) or prediabetes. The predictive accuracy was illustrated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Logistic regression was performed to assess the association between a target variable (presence/absence of T2DM) depending on the HOMA-IR score as well as on the age and sex. Results: The HOMA-IR cut-off between nondiabetics and diabetics for both sexes together was 3.63, with a sensitivity of 0.56 and a specificity of 0.86. The area under the ROC curve was 0.73 for T2DM diagnosing in both sexes. The HOMA-IR cut-off between the NGT subjects and prediabetics was 1.82, with a sensitivity of 0.60 and a specificity of 0.66. Logistic regression showed that increased HOMA-IR is a risk factor for the presence of T2DM (odds ratio (OR) 1.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.14–1.28, p < 0.0001). The predictive ability of HOMA-IR in diagnosing T2DM is statistically significantly lower in females (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.44–0.98). The results are valid for middle-aged European adults. Conclusions: The results suggest the existence of HOMA-IR cut-offs signaling established IR. Introduction of the instrument into common clinical practice, together with the known cut-offs, may contribute to preventing T2DM. Full article
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Article
Effects of Quercetin-Loaded Nanoparticles on MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells
Medicina 2019, 55(4), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55040114 - 22 Apr 2019
Cited by 34
Abstract
Background and objectives: Previous studies have shown anti-tumor activity of quercetin (QT). However, the low bioavailability of QT has restricted its use. This study aimed to assess the toxic effect of QT encapsulated in solid lipid nanoparticles (QT-SLNs) on the growth of [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Previous studies have shown anti-tumor activity of quercetin (QT). However, the low bioavailability of QT has restricted its use. This study aimed to assess the toxic effect of QT encapsulated in solid lipid nanoparticles (QT-SLNs) on the growth of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Materials and Methods: MCF-7 and MCF-10A (non-tumorigenic cell line) cell lines treated with 25 µmol/mL of QT or QT-SLNs for 48 h. Cell viability, colony formation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis were evaluated to determine the toxic effects of the QT-SLNs. Results: The QT-SLNs with appropriate characteristics (particle size of 85.5 nm, a zeta potential of −22.5 and encapsulation efficiency of 97.6%) were prepared. The QT-SLNs showed sustained QT release until 48 h. Cytotoxicity assessments indicated that QT-SLNs inhibited MCF-7 cells growth with a low IC50 (50% inhibitory concentration) value, compared to the free QT. QT-SLNs induced a significant decrease in the viability and proliferation of MCF-7 cells, compared to the free QT. QT-SLN significantly increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) level and MDA contents and significantly decreased antioxidant enzyme activity in the MCF-7 cells. Following QT-SLNs treatment, the expression of the Bcl-2 protein significantly decreased, whereas Bx expression showed a significant increase in comparison with free QT-treated cells. Furthermore, The QT-SLNs significantly increased apoptotic and necrotic indexes in MCF-7 cells. Viability, proliferation, oxidative stress and apoptosis of MCF-10A cells were not affected by QT or QT-SLNs. Conclusions: According to the results of this study, SLN significantly enhanced the toxic effect of QT against human breast cancer cells. Full article
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Article
Nonenzymatic Serum Antioxidant Capacity in IBD and Its Association with the Severity of Bowel Inflammation and Corticosteroids Treatment
Medicina 2019, 55(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55040088 - 02 Apr 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Background and objectives: Oxidative stress signalling plays a monumental role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Reduction of oxidative stress might control inflammation, block tissue damage, and reverse natural history of IBD. We assessed the serum concentrations of free thiols (FT) and uric [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Oxidative stress signalling plays a monumental role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Reduction of oxidative stress might control inflammation, block tissue damage, and reverse natural history of IBD. We assessed the serum concentrations of free thiols (FT) and uric acid (SUA), together constituting a large part of nonenzymatic serum antioxidant capacity, as well as total antioxidant status (TAS) with reference to IBD phenotype, activity, co-occurrence of anemia, and treatment with azathioprine (AZA) and corticosteroids (CS). Additionally, we appraised the potential of uric acid, thiol stress, and TAS as mucosal healing (MH) markers in ulcerative colitis. Materials and methods: SUA, FT, and TAS were measured colorimetrically using, respectively, uricase, Ellman’s and 2,2′-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid (ABTS) methods. Results: The study group consisted of 175 individuals: 57 controls, 71 ulcerative colitis (UC), and 47 Crohn’s disease (CD) patients. When compared to controls, SUA levels were significantly lower in patients with CD, and FT and TAS levels were significantly lower in patients with CD and UC. In UC patients, SUA, FT, and TAS inversely correlated with the severity of bowel inflammation. As MH markers, SUA displayed better overall accuracy and higher specificity than FT. In active CD, FT, and SUA were significantly lower in patients with anemia. FT was significantly lower in patients treated with corticosteroids. Conclusions: IBD patients, regardless the disease phenotype, have systemic thiol stress, depleted total antioxidant capacity, and reduced concentrations of uric acid, reflecting, to various degrees, clinical and local disease activity as well as presence of anaemia, the most common extraintestinal manifestation of IBD. Evaluation of systemic total antioxidant status may be useful in noninvasive assessment of mucosal healing. Our findings on thiol stress provide an additional aspect on adverse effects of corticosteroids therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Diet and Treatment)
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Article
Gastroprotective Effect of Zingerone on Ethanol-Induced Gastric Ulcers in Rats
Medicina 2019, 55(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55030064 - 11 Mar 2019
Cited by 23
Abstract
Background and objectives: Zingerone is an ingredient of ginger (Zingiber officinale) with different pharmacological activities. Several studies have investigated the effect of zingerone on various gastrointestinal diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. This study is aimed to evaluate the effect [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Zingerone is an ingredient of ginger (Zingiber officinale) with different pharmacological activities. Several studies have investigated the effect of zingerone on various gastrointestinal diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. This study is aimed to evaluate the effect of zingerone on ethanol-induced gastric ulcers in rats. Materials and Methods: Gastric ulcers were induced by ethanol (96%, 5 mL/kg, po) in male wistar rats and zingerone (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg) was administrated orally. Normal saline and ranitidine were used as negative and positive control, respectively. In this study, the number and length of ulcers, and malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) levels in stomach tissues were determined. Results: The findings showed that the mean number and length of gastric ulcers were significantly lower in zingerone-received groups than ethanol group (P < 0.05). The level of malondialdehyde was decreased in the stomach of zingerone groups (P < 0.05) compared to the ethanol group. In addition, zingerone treatment prevented the decrease of nitric oxide level by ethanol in the stomach tissue. Conclusions: The present study showed that zingerone has a protective effect on the ethanol-induced gastric ulcer, which may be due to its free radical scavenging activity. Full article
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Article
Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia due to Drug-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii: Risk Factors and Mortality Relation with Resistance Profiles, and Independent Predictors of In-Hospital Mortality
Medicina 2019, 55(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55020049 - 13 Feb 2019
Cited by 28
Abstract
Background and objectives: High mortality and healthcare costs area associated with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) due to Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii). The data concerning the link between multidrug-resistance of A. baumannii strains and outcomes remains controversial. Therefore, we aimed to identify the [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: High mortality and healthcare costs area associated with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) due to Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii). The data concerning the link between multidrug-resistance of A. baumannii strains and outcomes remains controversial. Therefore, we aimed to identify the relation of risk factors for ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and mortality with the drug resistance profiles of Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) and independent predictors of in-hospital mortality. Methods: A retrospective ongoing cohort study of 60 patients that were treated for VAP due to drug-resistant A. baumannii in medical-surgical intensive care units (ICU) over a two-year period was conducted. Results: The proportions of multidrug-resistant (MDR), extensively drug-resistant (XDR), and potentially pandrug-resistant (pPDR) A. baumannii were 13.3%, 68.3%, and 18.3%, respectively. The SAPS II scores on ICU admission were 42.6, 48.7, and 49 (p = 0.048); hospital length of stay (LOS) prior to ICU was 0, one, and two days (p = 0.036), prior to mechanical ventilation (MV)—0, 0, and three days (p = 0.013), and carbapenem use prior to VAP—50%, 29.3%, and 18.2% (p = 0.036), respectively. The overall in-hospital mortality rate was 63.3%. In MDR, XDR, and pPDR A. baumannii VAP groups, it was 62.5%, 61.3%, and 72.7% (p = 0.772), respectively. Binary logistic regression analysis showed that female gender (95% OR 5.26; CI: 1.21–22.83), SOFA score on ICU admission (95% OR 1.28; CI: 1.06–1.53), and RBC transfusion (95% OR 5.98; CI: 1.41–25.27) were all independent predictors of in-hospital mortality. Conclusions: The VAP risk factors: higher SAPS II score, increased hospital LOS prior to ICU, and MV were related to the higher resistance profile of A. baumannii. Carbapenem use was found to be associated with the risk of MDR A. baumannii VAP. Mortality due to drug-resistant A. baumannii VAP was high, but it was not associated with the A. baumannii resistance profile. Female gender, SOFA score, and RBC transfusion were found to be independent predictors of in-hospital mortality. Full article
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Article
Identification of Prognostic Biomarker Signatures and Candidate Drugs in Colorectal Cancer: Insights from Systems Biology Analysis
Medicina 2019, 55(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55010020 - 17 Jan 2019
Cited by 32
Abstract
Background and objectives: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the world, but early diagnosis ameliorates the survival of CRC. This report aimed to identify molecular biomarker signatures in CRC. Materials and Methods: We analyzed [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the world, but early diagnosis ameliorates the survival of CRC. This report aimed to identify molecular biomarker signatures in CRC. Materials and Methods: We analyzed two microarray datasets (GSE35279 and GSE21815) from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) to identify mutual differentially expressed genes (DEGs). We integrated DEGs with protein–protein interaction and transcriptional/post-transcriptional regulatory networks to identify reporter signaling and regulatory molecules; utilized functional overrepresentation and pathway enrichment analyses to elucidate their roles in biological processes and molecular pathways; performed survival analyses to evaluate their prognostic performance; and applied drug repositioning analyses through Connectivity Map (CMap) and geneXpharma tools to hypothesize possible drug candidates targeting reporter molecules. Results: A total of 727 upregulated and 99 downregulated DEGs were detected. The PI3K/Akt signaling, Wnt signaling, extracellular matrix (ECM) interaction, and cell cycle were identified as significantly enriched pathways. Ten hub proteins (ADNP, CCND1, CD44, CDK4, CEBPB, CENPA, CENPH, CENPN, MYC, and RFC2), 10 transcription factors (ETS1, ESR1, GATA1, GATA2, GATA3, AR, YBX1, FOXP3, E2F4, and PRDM14) and two microRNAs (miRNAs) (miR-193b-3p and miR-615-3p) were detected as reporter molecules. The survival analyses through Kaplan–Meier curves indicated remarkable performance of reporter molecules in the estimation of survival probability in CRC patients. In addition, several drug candidates including anti-neoplastic and immunomodulating agents were repositioned. Conclusions: This study presents biomarker signatures at protein and RNA levels with prognostic capability in CRC. We think that the molecular signatures and candidate drugs presented in this study might be useful in future studies indenting the development of accurate diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarker screens and efficient therapeutic strategies in CRC. Full article
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Editorial

Editorial
COVID-19 Pandemic and Telephone Triage before Attending Medical Office: Problem or Opportunity?
Medicina 2020, 56(5), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56050250 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 40
Abstract
During the COVID-19 emergency, the medical operating protocols have been largely modified for reducing any type of contamination risk, for working in a safe way and for making the patient feel in a safe environment. Telemedicine, smart phones and apps could represent important [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 emergency, the medical operating protocols have been largely modified for reducing any type of contamination risk, for working in a safe way and for making the patient feel in a safe environment. Telemedicine, smart phones and apps could represent important devices for the community, in order to prevent virus trasmission and to perform quick diagnosis and management at medical offices. This manuscript could be useful for clinicians with regard to the current state of the effectiveness of the telephone triage in this COVID-19 epidemic period. Therefore, it could be an important starting point for future perspectives about telemedicine and virtual patient management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oral Health: Economic and Psychological–Behavioral Implications)
Editorial
Oral Health: The First Step to Well-Being
Medicina 2019, 55(10), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55100676 - 07 Oct 2019
Cited by 31
Abstract
Scientific research in the medical field shows this constantly: health starts from the mouth. Having good oral health nowadays is not only aimed at tooth health, but as amply demonstrated in the literature, it is a starting point for the general health and [...] Read more.
Scientific research in the medical field shows this constantly: health starts from the mouth. Having good oral health nowadays is not only aimed at tooth health, but as amply demonstrated in the literature, it is a starting point for the general health and well-being of our body. Retracing the latest scientific findings that demonstrate an interpolation between oral health, oral diseases, and systemic complications, literature support was brought to this manuscript. Oral health, as demonstrated, has potentially multi-organ systemic implications, and as the results of the recent literature demonstrate, these implications range from an insulin resistance, due to a periodontal disease, up to far more complex multi-organ systemic complications involving the cardiovascular system or even neurodegenerative pathology. Therefore, being able to improve oral health could have great systemic implications for the organism, for the prevention of pathologies, and therefore for society and for the quality of life in individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oral Health: Economic and Psychological–Behavioral Implications)
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Review

Review
Sudden Cardiac Death in Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Users: A Literature Review
Medicina 2020, 56(11), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56110587 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
Background and objectives: Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs) are a group of synthetic molecules derived from testosterone and its related precursors. AASs are widely used illicitly by adolescents and athletes, especially by bodybuilders, both for aesthetic uses and as performance enhancers to increase muscle growth [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs) are a group of synthetic molecules derived from testosterone and its related precursors. AASs are widely used illicitly by adolescents and athletes, especially by bodybuilders, both for aesthetic uses and as performance enhancers to increase muscle growth and lean body mass. When used illicitly they can damage health and cause disorders affecting several functions. Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the most common medical cause of death in athletes. SCD in athletes has also been associated with the use of performance-enhancing drugs. This review aimed to focus on deaths related to AAS abuse to investigate the cardiac pathophysiological mechanism that underlies this type of death, which still needs to be fully investigated. Materials and Methods: This review was conducted using PubMed Central and Google Scholar databases, until 21 July 2020, using the following key terms: “((Sudden cardiac death) OR (Sudden death)) AND ((androgenic anabolic steroid) OR (androgenic anabolic steroids) OR (anabolic-androgenic steroids) OR (anabolic-androgenic steroid))”. Thirteen articles met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, for a total of 33 reported cases. Results: Of the 33 cases, 31 (93.9%) were males while only 2 (61%) were females. Mean age was 29.79 and, among sportsmen, the most represented sports activity was bodybuilding. In all cases there was a history of AAS abuse or a physical phenotype suggesting AAS use; the total usage period was unspecified in most cases. In 24 cases the results of the toxicological analysis were reported. The most detected AASs were nandrolone, testosterone, and stanozolol. The most frequently reported macroscopic alterations were cardiomegaly and left ventricular hypertrophy, while the histological alterations were foci of fibrosis and necrosis of the myocardial tissue. Conclusions: Four principal mechanisms responsible for SCD have been proposed in AAS abusers: the atherogenic model, the thrombosis model, the model of vasospasm induced by the release of nitric oxide, and the direct myocardial injury model. Hypertrophy, fibrosis, and necrosis represent a substrate for arrhythmias, especially when combined with exercise. Indeed, AAS use has been shown to change physiological cardiac remodeling of athletes to pathophysiological cardiac hypertrophy with an increased risk of life-threatening arrhythmias. Full article
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Review
Effects of Equine-Assisted Therapies or Horse-Riding Simulators on Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Medicina 2020, 56(9), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56090444 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Background and objectives: Chronic pain is a complex global public health problem that affects the health status, quality of life, activities of daily living, and different work-related variables. Riding a horse may lead to some benefits in chronic pain patients through the improvement [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Chronic pain is a complex global public health problem that affects the health status, quality of life, activities of daily living, and different work-related variables. Riding a horse may lead to some benefits in chronic pain patients through the improvement of postural control and other biopsychosocial processes. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effects of horse riding (with real or simulated horses) on chronic pain. Materials and methods: A systematic literature search was carried out in accordance with PRISMA guidelines in Web of Science (WOS) and PubMed (Medline) electronic databases. Eleven articles (seven randomized controlled trials) were selected to be included in the review. Due to some risk of bias concerns, two meta-analyses (using postintervention or change-from-baseline measures) were conducted utilizing Review Manager Software (RevMan 5.3). Results: Horse-riding simulators significantly reduced the pain levels of patients with low back pain (p = 0.03, with a SMD of −1.14 and a 95% CI from −2.16 to −0.11) using change-from-baseline measures. However, the p-value in the meta-analysis with the postintervention measures was 0.06. Regarding interventions with real horses, it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis due to the low number of studies. Conclusion: Horse riding could be a useful exercise to reduce pain, but more studies are needed to make evidence-based recommendations and to compare the effects of horse-riding with real and simulated horses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Chronic Diseases)
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Review
Probiotics: Versatile Bioactive Components in Promoting Human Health
Medicina 2020, 56(9), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56090433 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 28
Abstract
The positive impact of probiotic strains on human health has become more evident than ever before. Often delivered through food, dietary products, supplements, and drugs, different legislations for safety and efficacy issues have been prepared. Furthermore, regulatory agencies have addressed various approaches toward [...] Read more.
The positive impact of probiotic strains on human health has become more evident than ever before. Often delivered through food, dietary products, supplements, and drugs, different legislations for safety and efficacy issues have been prepared. Furthermore, regulatory agencies have addressed various approaches toward these products, whether they authorize claims mentioning a disease’s diagnosis, prevention, or treatment. Due to the diversity of bacteria and yeast strains, strict approaches have been designed to assess for side effects and post-market surveillance. One of the most essential delivery systems of probiotics is within food, due to the great beneficial health effects of this system compared to pharmaceutical products and also due to the increasing importance of food and nutrition. Modern lifestyle or various diseases lead to an imbalance of the intestinal flora. Nonetheless, as the amount of probiotic use needs accurate calculations, different factors should also be taken into consideration. One of the novelties of this review is the presentation of the beneficial effects of the administration of probiotics as a potential adjuvant therapy in COVID-19. Thus, this paper provides an integrative overview of different aspects of probiotics, from human health care applications to safety, quality, and control. Full article
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Review
Is Antioxidant Therapy a Useful Complementary Measure for Covid-19 Treatment? An Algorithm for Its Application
Medicina 2020, 56(8), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56080386 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 15
Abstract
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes the corona virus disease-19 which is accompanied by severe pneumonia, pulmonary alveolar collapses and which stops oxygen exchange. Viral transmissibility and pathogenesis depend on recognition by a receptor in the host, protease cleavage of the [...] Read more.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes the corona virus disease-19 which is accompanied by severe pneumonia, pulmonary alveolar collapses and which stops oxygen exchange. Viral transmissibility and pathogenesis depend on recognition by a receptor in the host, protease cleavage of the host membrane and fusion. SARS-CoV-2 binds to the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 receptor. Here, we discuss the general characteristics of the virus, its mechanism of action and the way in which the mechanism correlates with the comorbidities that increase the death rate. We also discuss the currently proposed therapeutic measures and propose the use of antioxidant drugs to help patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2. Oxidizing agents come from phagocytic leukocytes such as neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages and eosinophils that invade tissue. Free radicals promote cytotoxicity thus injuring cells. They also trigger the mechanism of inflammation by mediating the activation of NFkB and inducing the transcription of cytokine production genes. Release of cytokines enhances the inflammatory response. Oxidative stress is elevated during critical illnesses and contributes to organ failure. In corona virus disease-19 there is an intense inflammatory response known as a cytokine storm that could be mediated by oxidative stress. Although antioxidant therapy has not been tested in corona virus disease-19, the consequences of antioxidant therapy in sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and acute lung injury are known. It improves oxygenation rates, glutathione levels and strengthens the immune response. It reduces mechanical ventilation time, the length of stay in the intensive care unit, multiple organ dysfunctions and the length of stay in the hospital and mortality rates in acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome and could thus help patients with corona virus disease-19. Full article
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Review
Oral Administration of Cannabis and Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Preparations: A Systematic Review
Medicina 2020, 56(6), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56060309 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Background and objective: Changes in cannabis legalization regimes in several countries have influenced the diversification of cannabis use. There is an ever-increasing number of cannabis forms available, which are gaining popularity for both recreational and therapeutic use. From a therapeutic perspective, oral [...] Read more.
Background and objective: Changes in cannabis legalization regimes in several countries have influenced the diversification of cannabis use. There is an ever-increasing number of cannabis forms available, which are gaining popularity for both recreational and therapeutic use. From a therapeutic perspective, oral cannabis containing Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) is a promising route of administration but there is still little information about its pharmacokinetics (PK) effects in humans. The purpose of this systematic review is to provide a general overview of the available PK data on cannabis and THC after oral administration. Materials and Methods: A search of the published literature was conducted using the PubMed database to collect available articles describing the PK data of THC after oral administration in humans. Results: The literature search yielded 363 results, 26 of which met our inclusion criteria. The PK of oral THC has been studied using capsules (including oil content), tablets, baked goods (brownies and cookies), and oil and tea (decoctions). Capsules and tablets, which mainly correspond to pharmaceutical forms, were found to be the oral formulations most commonly studied. Overall, the results reflect the high variability in the THC absorption of oral formulations, with delayed peak plasma concentrations compared to other routes of administration. Conclusions: Oral THC has a highly variable PK profile that differs between formulations, with seemingly higher variability in baked goods and oil forms. Overall, there is limited information available in this field. Therefore, further investigations are required to unravel the unpredictability of oral THC administration to increase the effectiveness and safety of oral formulations in medicinal use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Medicinal Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabinoids)
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Review
Kidney Transplant in Fabry Disease: A Revision of the Literature
Medicina 2020, 56(6), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56060284 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Fabry disease is classified as a rare X-linked disease caused by a complete or partial defect of enzyme alpha-galactosidase, due to GLA gene mutations. This disorder leads to intracellular globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) deposition associated with increased Gb3 plasma levels. Most of the symptoms of [...] Read more.
Fabry disease is classified as a rare X-linked disease caused by a complete or partial defect of enzyme alpha-galactosidase, due to GLA gene mutations. This disorder leads to intracellular globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) deposition associated with increased Gb3 plasma levels. Most of the symptoms of the disease, involving kidneys, heart and nervous system, result from this progressive Gb3 deposition. The incidence is estimated in 1/50,000 to 1/117,000 in males. Fabry nephropathy begins with microalbuminuria and/or proteinuria, which, in the classic form, appear from childhood. Thus, a progressive decline of renal function can start at a young age, and evolve to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or renal transplantation. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), available since 2001 for Fabry disease, has been increasingly introduced into the clinical practice, with overall positive short-term and long-term effects in terms of ventricular hypertrophy and renal function. Kidney transplantation represents a relevant therapeutic option for Fabry nephropathy management, for patients reaching end-stage renal disease, but little is known about long-term outcomes, overall patient survival or the possible role of ERT after transplant. The purpose of this review is to analyze the literature on every aspect related to kidney transplantation in patients with Fabry nephropathy: from the analysis of transplant outcomes, to the likelihood of disease recurrence, up to the effects of ERT and its possible interference with immunosuppression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dialysis and Kidney Transplantation)
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Review
Relationship between Vitamin Deficiencies and Co-Occurring Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Medicina 2020, 56(5), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56050245 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Recently, connections have been made between feeding and eating problems and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and between autism pathophysiology and diet issues. These could explain some of the mechanisms which have not yet been discovered or are not sufficiently characterized. Moreover, there is [...] Read more.
Recently, connections have been made between feeding and eating problems and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and between autism pathophysiology and diet issues. These could explain some of the mechanisms which have not yet been discovered or are not sufficiently characterized. Moreover, there is an increased awareness for micronutrients in ASD due to the presence of gastrointestinal (GI) problems that can be related to feeding issues. For example, levels of vitamins B1, B6, B12, A and D are often reported to be low in ASD children. Thus, in the present mini review we focused on describing the impact of some vitamins deficiencies and their relevance in ASD patients. Full article
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Review
Herbal Preparations of Medical Cannabis: A Vademecum for Prescribing Doctors
Medicina 2020, 56(5), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56050237 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 22
Abstract
Cannabis has been used for centuries for therapeutic purposes. In the last century, the plant was demonized due to its high abuse liability and supposedly insufficient health benefits. However, recent decriminalization policies and new scientific evidence have increased the interest in cannabis therapeutic [...] Read more.
Cannabis has been used for centuries for therapeutic purposes. In the last century, the plant was demonized due to its high abuse liability and supposedly insufficient health benefits. However, recent decriminalization policies and new scientific evidence have increased the interest in cannabis therapeutic potential of cannabis and paved the way for the release of marketing authorizations for cannabis-based products. Although several synthetic and standardized products are currently available on the market, patients’ preferences lean towards herbal preparations, because they are easy to handle and self-administer. A literature search was conducted on multidisciplinary research databases and international agencies or institutional websites. Despite the growing popularity of medical cannabis, little data is available on the chemical composition and preparation methods of medical cannabis extracts. The authors hereby report the most common cannabis preparations, presenting their medical indications, routes of administration and recommended dosages. A practical and helpful guide for prescribing doctors is provided, including suggested posology, titration strategies and cannabinoid amounts in herbal preparations obtained from different sources of medical cannabis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Medicinal Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabinoids)
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