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13 pages, 1798 KiB  
Review
Daily Green Exposure, Mobility, and Health: A Scoping Review
by Tong Liu, Winifred E. Newman and Matthew H. E. M. Browning
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3412; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083412 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
Mounting evidence suggests urban greenery promotes physical activity and human health. However, scholars have differing views on defining or measuring the terms related to green mobility behavior (MB). Therefore, evaluating how green MB impacts health is challenging. After an initial review of the [...] Read more.
Mounting evidence suggests urban greenery promotes physical activity and human health. However, scholars have differing views on defining or measuring the terms related to green mobility behavior (MB). Therefore, evaluating how green MB impacts health is challenging. After an initial review of the literature on mobility, greenness, and health, we proposed “daily greenness exposure” (DGE) to define people’s exposure to natural/green settings. This approach lets us review and compare general and emerging measures of greenery exposure and differentiate study outcomes in MB and health. We identified 20 relevant Web of Science Core Collection studies during a scoping review completed in November 2021. Three types of DGE assessments were observed: ecological momentary, effect, and spatiotemporal. Four relationships were noted between DGE, MB, and health: moderation, mediation, independence, and undifferentiated. Incorporating these assessments and DGE modeling relationships contributes to better analysis and communication of environmental factors promoting health to environmental designers and policymakers. Full article
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13 pages, 3279 KiB  
Article
Opportunistic CT for Prediction of Adverse Postoperative Events in Patients with Spinal Metastases
by Neal D. Kapoor, Olivier Q. Groot, Colleen G. Buckless, Peter K. Twining, Michiel E. R. Bongers, Stein J. Janssen, Joseph H. Schwab, Martin Torriani and Miriam A. Bredella
Diagnostics 2024, 14(8), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics14080844 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to assess the value of body composition measures obtained from opportunistic abdominal computed tomography (CT) in order to predict hospital length of stay (LOS), 30-day postoperative complications, and reoperations in patients undergoing surgery for spinal metastases. 196 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to assess the value of body composition measures obtained from opportunistic abdominal computed tomography (CT) in order to predict hospital length of stay (LOS), 30-day postoperative complications, and reoperations in patients undergoing surgery for spinal metastases. 196 patients underwent CT of the abdomen within three months of surgery for spinal metastases. Automated body composition segmentation and quantifications of the cross-sectional areas (CSA) of abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue and abdominal skeletal muscle was performed. From this, 31% (61) of patients had postoperative complications within 30 days, and 16% (31) of patients underwent reoperation. Lower muscle CSA was associated with increased postoperative complications within 30 days (OR [95% CI] = 0.99 [0.98–0.99], p = 0.03). Through multivariate analysis, it was found that lower muscle CSA was also associated with an increased postoperative complication rate after controlling for the albumin, ASIA score, previous systemic therapy, and thoracic metastases (OR [95% CI] = 0.99 [0.98–0.99], p = 0.047). LOS and reoperations were not associated with any body composition measures. Low muscle mass may serve as a biomarker for the prediction of complications in patients with spinal metastases. The routine assessment of muscle mass on opportunistic CTs may help to predict outcomes in these patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence in Orthopedic Oncology)
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22 pages, 2785 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Non-Covalent and Covalent Interactions between Lactoferrin and Chlorogenic Acid
by Zekun Li, Majida Al-Wraikat, Changchun Hao and Yongfeng Liu
Foods 2024, 13(8), 1245; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13081245 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
Adding polyphenols to improve the absorption of functional proteins has become a hot topic. Chlorogenic acid is a natural plant polyphenol with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. Bovine lactoferrin is known for its immunomodulatory, anticancer, antibacterial, and iron-chelating properties. Therefore, the non-covalent binding [...] Read more.
Adding polyphenols to improve the absorption of functional proteins has become a hot topic. Chlorogenic acid is a natural plant polyphenol with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. Bovine lactoferrin is known for its immunomodulatory, anticancer, antibacterial, and iron-chelating properties. Therefore, the non-covalent binding of chlorogenic acid (CA) and bovine lactoferrin (BLF) with different concentrations under neutral conditions was studied. CA was grafted onto lactoferrin molecules by laccase catalysis, free radical grafting, and alkali treatment. The formation mechanism of non-covalent and covalent complexes of CA-BLF was analyzed by experimental test and theoretical prediction. Compared with the control BLF, the secondary structure of BLF in the non-covalent complex was rearranged and unfolded to provide more active sites, the tertiary structure of the covalent conjugate was changed, and the amino group of the protein participated in the covalent reaction. After adding CA, the covalent conjugates have better functional activity. These lactoferrin–polyphenol couplings can carry various bioactive compounds to create milk-based delivery systems for encapsulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Physics and (Bio)Chemistry)
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11 pages, 3812 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Bacteria-to-Calcium Ratio on Microbial-Induced Carbonate Precipitation (MICP) under Different Sequences of Calcium-Source Introduction
by Teng Zhao, Hongxiu Du and Ruihua Shang
Materials 2024, 17(8), 1881; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17081881 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
To explore the effects of the introduction order of calcium sources and the bacteria-to-calcium ratio on the microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) product CaCO3 and to achieve the regulation of CaCO3 crystal morphology, the mineralisation products of MICP were compared [...] Read more.
To explore the effects of the introduction order of calcium sources and the bacteria-to-calcium ratio on the microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) product CaCO3 and to achieve the regulation of CaCO3 crystal morphology, the mineralisation products of MICP were compared after combining bacteria and calcium at ratios of 1/9, 2/9, 3/9, 4/9, 5/9, and 6/9. A bacterial solution was combined with a urea solution in two calcium addition modes: calcium-first and calcium-later modes. Finally, under the calcium-first addition method, the output of high-purity vaterite-type CaCO3 was achieved at bacteria-to-calcium ratios of 2/9 and 3/9; under the calcium-later addition method, the output of calcite-type CaCO3 could be stabilised, and the change in the bacteria-to-calcium ratio did not have much effect on its crystalline shape. Full article
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14 pages, 410 KiB  
Article
Maternal One-Carbon Nutrient Intake and Risk of Being Overweight or Obese in Their Offspring—A Transgenerational Prospective Cohort Study
by Leonie H. Bogl, Susanne Strohmaier, Frank B. Hu, Walter C. Willett, A. Heather Eliassen, Jaime E. Hart, Qi Sun, Jorge E. Chavarro, Alison E. Field and Eva S. Schernhammer
Nutrients 2024, 16(8), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16081210 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
We aimed to investigate the associations between maternal intake of folate, vitamin B12, B6, B2, methionine, choline, phosphatidylcholine and betaine during the period surrounding pregnancy and offspring weight outcomes from birth to early adulthood. These associations were examined among 2454 mother–child pairs from [...] Read more.
We aimed to investigate the associations between maternal intake of folate, vitamin B12, B6, B2, methionine, choline, phosphatidylcholine and betaine during the period surrounding pregnancy and offspring weight outcomes from birth to early adulthood. These associations were examined among 2454 mother–child pairs from the Nurses’ Health Study II and Growing Up Today Study. Maternal energy-adjusted nutrient intakes were derived from food frequency questionnaires. Birth weight, body size at age 5 and repeated BMI measurements were considered. Overweight/obesity was defined according to the International Obesity Task Force (<18 years) and World Health Organization guidelines (18+ years). Among other estimands, we report relative risks (RRs) for offspring ever being overweight with corresponding 95% confidence intervals across quintiles of dietary factors, with the lowest quintile as the reference. In multivariate-adjusted models, higher maternal intakes of phosphatidylcholine were associated with a higher risk of offspring ever being overweight (RRQ5vsQ1 = 1.16 [1.01–1.33] p-trend: 0.003). The association was stronger among offspring born to mothers with high red meat intake (high red meat RRQ5vsQ1 = 1.50 [1.14–1.98], p-trend: 0.001; low red meat RRQ5vsQ1 = 1.05 [0.87–1.27], p-trend: 0.46; p-interaction = 0.13). Future studies confirming the association between a higher maternal phosphatidylcholine intake during pregnancy and offspring risk of being overweight or obese are needed. Full article
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16 pages, 602 KiB  
Article
Dead Men Talking: Ibn ‘Arabī’s Interactions with Messengers and Saints
by Ismail Lala
Religions 2024, 15(4), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040504 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
The mystical thinker Muhyi al-Din ibn ‘Arabī (d. 638/1240) had many audiences with the dead. This article explores who Ibn ‘Arabī interacted with, and how. Usually as dreams and visions, the meetings Ibn ‘Arabī had with messengers were generally at key milestones in [...] Read more.
The mystical thinker Muhyi al-Din ibn ‘Arabī (d. 638/1240) had many audiences with the dead. This article explores who Ibn ‘Arabī interacted with, and how. Usually as dreams and visions, the meetings Ibn ‘Arabī had with messengers were generally at key milestones in his life, or to confer particular distinctions upon him. A special subset of these visions was of Prophet Muḥammad specifically, and these were to derive a legal ruling from him, or because he was under the special care of the Prophet. Conversely, the audiences he had with departed saints were largely to do with more quotidian issues, either regarding his relationship with spiritual masters, or to correct a misapprehension about someone. Finally, but more seldom, he had physical interactions with corporealised spirits from beyond. As these betrayed a higher rank than mere visions, they were reminiscent of his audiences with messengers in that they confirmed his exalted spiritual rank. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communication with the Dead)
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13 pages, 5297 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Hydrophobic Au Catalyst and Application in One-Step Oxidative Esterification of Methacrolein to Methyl Methacrylate
by Yanxia Zheng, Yubo Yang, Yixuan Li, Lu Cai, Xuanjiao Zhao, Bing Xue, Yuchao Li, Jiutao An and Jialiang Zhang
Molecules 2024, 29(8), 1854; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules29081854 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
The water produced during the oxidative esterification reaction occupies the active sites and reduces the activity of the catalyst. In order to reduce the influence of water on the reaction system, a hydrophobic catalyst was prepared for the one-step oxidative esterification of methylacrolein [...] Read more.
The water produced during the oxidative esterification reaction occupies the active sites and reduces the activity of the catalyst. In order to reduce the influence of water on the reaction system, a hydrophobic catalyst was prepared for the one-step oxidative esterification of methylacrolein (MAL) and methanol. The catalyst was synthesized by loading the active component Au onto ZnO using the deposition–precipitation method, followed by constructing the silicon shell on Au/ZnO using tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) to introduce hydrophobic groups. Trimethylchlorosilane (TMCS) was used as a hydrophobic modification reagent to prepare hydrophobic catalysts, which exhibited a water droplet contact angle of 111.2°. At a temperature of 80 °C, the hydrophobic catalyst achieved a high MMA selectivity of over 95%. The samples were characterized using XRD, N2 adsorption, ICP, SEM, TEM, UV-vis, FT-IR, XPS, and water droplet contact angle measurements. Kinetic analysis revealed an activation energy of 22.44 kJ/mol for the hydrophobic catalyst. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Synthesis and Application of Heterogeneous Catalysts)
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19 pages, 6789 KiB  
Article
Complete Neuron Reconstruction Based on Branch Confidence
by Ying Zeng and Yimin Wang
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(4), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14040396 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
In the past few years, significant advancements in microscopic imaging technology have led to the production of numerous high-resolution images capturing brain neurons at the micrometer scale. The reconstructed structure of neurons from neuronal images can serve as a valuable reference for research [...] Read more.
In the past few years, significant advancements in microscopic imaging technology have led to the production of numerous high-resolution images capturing brain neurons at the micrometer scale. The reconstructed structure of neurons from neuronal images can serve as a valuable reference for research in brain diseases and neuroscience. Currently, there lacks an accurate and efficient method for neuron reconstruction. Manual reconstruction remains the primary approach, offering high accuracy but requiring significant time investment. While some automatic reconstruction methods are faster, they often sacrifice accuracy and cannot be directly relied upon. Therefore, the primary goal of this paper is to develop a neuron reconstruction tool that is both efficient and accurate. The tool aids users in reconstructing complete neurons by calculating the confidence of branches during the reconstruction process. The method models the neuron reconstruction as multiple Markov chains, and calculates the confidence of the connections between branches by simulating the reconstruction artifacts in the results. Users iteratively modify low-confidence branches to ensure precise and efficient neuron reconstruction. Experiments on both the publicly accessible BigNeuron dataset and a self-created Whole-Brain dataset demonstrate that the tool achieves high accuracy similar to manual reconstruction, while significantly reducing reconstruction time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computational Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics)
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6 pages, 1193 KiB  
Editorial
CDK Inhibitors and FDA: Approved and Orphan
by Jonas Cicenas and Jokubas Simkus
Cancers 2024, 16(8), 1555; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers16081555 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
The protein kinases are a large family of enzymes which catalyze protein phosphorylation at certain amino acids [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Kinases in Cancer and Other Diseases, 2nd Edition)
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12 pages, 1845 KiB  
Article
Multi-Omics Integration for Liver Cancer Using Regression Analysis
by Aditya Raj, Ruben C. Petreaca and Golrokh Mirzaei
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2024, 46(4), 3551-3562; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb46040222 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
Genetic biomarkers have played a pivotal role in the classification, prognostication, and guidance of clinical cancer therapies. Large-scale and multi-dimensional analyses of entire cancer genomes, as exemplified by projects like The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), have yielded an extensive repository of data that [...] Read more.
Genetic biomarkers have played a pivotal role in the classification, prognostication, and guidance of clinical cancer therapies. Large-scale and multi-dimensional analyses of entire cancer genomes, as exemplified by projects like The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), have yielded an extensive repository of data that holds the potential to unveil the underlying biology of these malignancies. Mutations stand out as the principal catalysts of cellular transformation. Nonetheless, other global genomic processes, such as alterations in gene expression and chromosomal re-arrangements, also play crucial roles in conferring cellular immortality. The incorporation of multi-omics data specific to cancer has demonstrated the capacity to enhance our comprehension of the molecular mechanisms underpinning carcinogenesis. This report elucidates how the integration of comprehensive data on methylation, gene expression, and copy number variations can effectively facilitate the unsupervised clustering of cancer samples. We have identified regressors that can effectively classify tumor and normal samples with an optimal integration of RNA sequencing, DNA methylation, and copy number variation while also achieving significant p-values. Further, these regressors were trained using linear and logistic regression with k-means clustering. For comparison, we employed autoencoder- and stacking-based omics integration and computed silhouette scores to evaluate the clusters. The proof of concept is illustrated using liver cancer data. Our analysis serves to underscore the feasibility of unsupervised cancer classification by considering genetic markers beyond mutations, thereby emphasizing the clinical relevance of additional global cellular parameters that contribute to the transformative process in cells. This work is clinically relevant because changes in gene expression and genomic re-arrangements have been shown to be signatures of cellular transformation across cancers, as well as in liver cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bioinformatics and Systems Biology)
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18 pages, 11996 KiB  
Article
Ultrarobust Actuator Comprising High-Strength Carbon Fibers and Commercially Available Polycarbonate with Multi-Stimulus Responses and Programmable Deformation
by Jie Sheng, Shengkun Jiang, Tie Geng, Zhengqiang Huang, Jiquan Li and Lin Jiang
Polymers 2024, 16(8), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16081144 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
Polymer-based actuators have gained extensive attention owing to their potential applications in aerospace, soft robotics, etc. However, poor mechanical properties, the inability of multi-stimuli response and programmable deformation, and the costly fabrication procedure have significantly hindered their practical application. Herein, these issues are [...] Read more.
Polymer-based actuators have gained extensive attention owing to their potential applications in aerospace, soft robotics, etc. However, poor mechanical properties, the inability of multi-stimuli response and programmable deformation, and the costly fabrication procedure have significantly hindered their practical application. Herein, these issues are overcome via a simple and scalable one-step molding method. The actuator is fabricated by hot-pressing commercial unidirectional carbon fiber/epoxy prepregs with a commodity PC membrane. Notable CTE differences between the CF and PC layers endow the bilayer actuator with fast and reliable actuation deformation. Benefiting from the high strength of CF, the actuator exhibits excellent mechanical performance. Moreover, the anisotropy of CF endows the actuator with design flexibility. Furthermore, the multifunction of CF makes the actuator capable of responding to thermal, optical, and electrical stimulation simultaneously. Based on the bilayer actuator, we successfully fabricated intelligent devices such as light-driven biomimetic flowers, intelligent grippers, and gesture-simulating apparatuses, which further validate the programmability and multi-stimuli response characteristics of this actuator. Strikingly, the prepared gripper possesses a grasping capacity approximately 31.2 times its own weight. It is thus believed that the concept presented paves the way for building next-generation robust robotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Smart and Functional Polymers)
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22 pages, 3736 KiB  
Article
Sexually Transmitted Infections in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Cross Section of Public Health
by Nunzia Cannovo, Elena Bianchini, Luciana Gironacci, Elisabetta Garbati, Filiberto Di Prospero, Mariano Cingolani, Roberto Scendoni and Piergiorgio Fedeli
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(4), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21040501 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
Introduction. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be caused by a number of microorganisms that vary greatly in size, life cycle, clinical manifestations, and sensitivity to available treatments. Transmission of STIs can occur during unprotected (or condomless) sexual contact and through the exchange of [...] Read more.
Introduction. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be caused by a number of microorganisms that vary greatly in size, life cycle, clinical manifestations, and sensitivity to available treatments. Transmission of STIs can occur during unprotected (or condomless) sexual contact and through the exchange of body fluids during any type of activity. The prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases remains high in the world, despite diagnostic and therapeutic improvements for these infectious diseases that rapidly eliminate the contagiousness of patients. Our study determines the prevalence of STI pathogens in adolescents and young adults in the population of the Province of Macerata (Italy). We will analyze data in correspondence to age and gender, and we will compare our results to international studies. Materials and Method. We analyzed STI test results from the entire database of a Provincial Health Authority for the period 2021–2022. The samples came from the following age groups: 0–12, 13–18, 19–25, and 26–35 from 2021 to 2022. The results came from vaginal and cervical swabs (for females); urethral, rectal, and pharyngeal swabs (for males and females); and seminal fluid (for males) for the following infections: HPV, Chlamydia trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Ureaplasmas, Gardnerella, Trichomonas vaginalis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Treponema pallidum. The results also came from blood tests for HIV, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and Treponema pallidum (TPHA, VDRL). In addition, we examined results from urine tests for chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, trichomonas, and Treponema pallidum. Conclusions. The literature for other countries reports the need for comprehensive, culturally and developmentally sensitive care to address sexuality-related issues in adolescents and young adults, a need that also applies to Italy. These data will be of great importance in adopting evidence-based STI control programs in Marche Region. This study could, indeed, represent a landmark for public health officials and professionals, with the aim of promoting adolescents’ access to sexual health services to receive useful information, strengthening preventive measures in younger age groups, and designing sexual education programs. Full article
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6 pages, 159 KiB  
Editorial
Two Types of Philosophy of Religion: Neutral Cognition versus Lived Experience
by Joseph Rivera
Religions 2024, 15(4), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040503 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
As a discipline taught and debated in universities and seminaries, philosophy of religion has traditionally been understood as a form of apologetics: that is, it pursues with concentrated effort what proof for the existence of God the human mind can mobilize with recourse [...] Read more.
As a discipline taught and debated in universities and seminaries, philosophy of religion has traditionally been understood as a form of apologetics: that is, it pursues with concentrated effort what proof for the existence of God the human mind can mobilize with recourse strictly to reason and logic [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue What Is Philosophy of Religion? Definitions, Motifs, New Directions)
17 pages, 5561 KiB  
Article
Anatomical and Morphological Structure of the Skull of a Juvenile Specimen of Myotis myotis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae)
by Grzegorz K?ys and El?bieta Koenig
Animals 2024, 14(8), 1225; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14081225 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
Few studies analyze the morphology and anatomy of the bat skull, and most of them are incomplete. Some of the difficulties stem from the fact that, in the representatives of the order Chiroptera, the interosseous sutures disappear by fusing together before active flight [...] Read more.
Few studies analyze the morphology and anatomy of the bat skull, and most of them are incomplete. Some of the difficulties stem from the fact that, in the representatives of the order Chiroptera, the interosseous sutures disappear by fusing together before active flight begins, which takes place over only a few months. This study presents a detailed morphological and anatomical description of the skull of a juvenile specimen of Myotis myotis (Borkhausen, 1797). Juvenile skulls are difficult to preserve and often incomplete. Previously inconsistent terminology related to bones, sutures, and other cranial structures was unified, which will provide insight on the distribution of each structure in both juvenile and adult specimens to be investigated. The description fill in the gaps in knowledge about the cranial structures of Myotis myotis and the representatives of the family Vespertilionidae. This will allow for precise descriptions of the skulls of bats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mammals)
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11 pages, 382 KiB  
Article
Higher Prevalence of the Periodontal Pathogen Selenomonas noxia among Pediatric and Adult Patients May Be Associated with Overweight and Obesity
by Austin Williams, Jace Porter, Karl Kingsley and Katherine M. Howard
Pathogens 2024, 13(4), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens13040338 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
New evidence has suggested that oral and gut microflora may have significant impacts on the predisposition, development, and stability of obesity in adults over time—although less is known about this phenomenon in children. Compared with healthy-weight controls, overweight and obese adult patients are [...] Read more.
New evidence has suggested that oral and gut microflora may have significant impacts on the predisposition, development, and stability of obesity in adults over time—although less is known about this phenomenon in children. Compared with healthy-weight controls, overweight and obese adult patients are now known to harbor specific pathogens, such as Selenomonas noxia (S. noxia), that are capable of digesting normally non-digestible cellulose and fibers that significantly increase caloric extraction from normal dietary intake. To evaluate this phenomenon, clinical saliva samples (N = 122) from subjects with a normal BMI (18–25) and a BMI over 25 (overweight, obese) from an existing biorepository were screened using qPCR. The prevalence of S. noxia in samples from normal-BMI participants were lower (21.4%) than in overweight-BMI (25–29; 46.1%) and obese-BMI (30 and above; 36.8%) samples—a strong, positive correlation that was not significantly affected by age or race and ethnicity. These data strongly suggest that S. noxia may be intricately associated with overweight and obesity among patients, and more research will be needed to determine the positive and negative feedback mechanisms that may be responsible for these observations as well as the interventions needed to remove or reduce the potential effects of this oral pathogen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oral Microbiome and Human Systemic Health)
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8 pages, 196 KiB  
Brief Report
Sensory Symptoms without Structural Pathology in Patients with Gluten Sensitivity
by Marios Hadjivassiliou, Nick Trott, Nigel Hoggard and David S. Sanders
Nutrients 2024, 16(8), 1209; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16081209 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
We report on a group of patients with gluten sensitivity with and without coeliac disease presenting with unexplained sensory symptoms in the absence of structural pathology. Methods: The patients were selected from the gluten neurology clinic based at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, [...] Read more.
We report on a group of patients with gluten sensitivity with and without coeliac disease presenting with unexplained sensory symptoms in the absence of structural pathology. Methods: The patients were selected from the gluten neurology clinic based at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK, on the basis of sensory symptoms but normal neuroaxis imaging and peripheral nerve evaluation. Results: A total of 30 patients were identified with a mean age at presentation of 47 years. The prevalence of enteropathy was 78%. The sensory disturbance was characterised by tingling at 50%, numbness at 27%, pain at 20%, burning at 13% and “buzzing” feeling at 7%. The distribution of the sensory symptoms included hands and feet in 27% of the patients, torso in 27%, legs only in 23%, face in 17% and arms only in 10%. For five patients, the sensory disturbance was migratory and affected different parts of the body at any given time. After the introduction of a gluten-free diet, 77% of patients noted significant improvement in their sensory symptoms. In one-third of the patients, there was a complete resolution of the sensory symptoms. Conclusion: Unexplained sensory symptoms can be seen in patients with gluten sensitivity and respond to strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Intolerance and Food Allergy: Novel Aspects in a Changing World)
20 pages, 9362 KiB  
Article
The Therapeutic Potential of Four Main Compounds of Zanthoxylum nitidum (Roxb.) DC: A Comprehensive Study on Biological Processes, Anti-Inflammatory Effects, and Myocardial Toxicity
by Xiaohan Li, Qi Wang, Ling Liu, Yang Shi, Yang Hong, Wanqing Xu, Henghui Xu, Jing Feng, Minzhen Xie, Yang Li, Baofeng Yang and Yong Zhang
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(4), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17040524 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
Zanthoxylum nitidum (Roxb.) DC. (Z. nitidum) is a traditional Chinese medicinal plant that is indigenous to the southern regions of China. Previous research has provided evidence of the significant anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticancer properties exhibited by Z. nitidum. The potential [...] Read more.
Zanthoxylum nitidum (Roxb.) DC. (Z. nitidum) is a traditional Chinese medicinal plant that is indigenous to the southern regions of China. Previous research has provided evidence of the significant anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticancer properties exhibited by Z. nitidum. The potential therapeutic effects and cardiac toxicity of Z. nitidum remain uncertain. The aim of this research was to investigate the potential therapeutic properties of the four main compounds of Z. nitidum in cardiovascular diseases, their impact on the electrical activity of cardiomyocytes, and the underlying mechanism of their anti-inflammatory effects. We selected the four compounds from Z. nitidum with a high concentration and specific biological activity: nitidine chloride (NC), chelerythrine chloride (CHE), magnoflorine chloride (MAG), and hesperidin (HE). A proteomic analysis was conducted on the myocardial tissues of beagle dogs following the administration of NC to investigate the role of NC in vivo and the associated biological processes. A bioinformatic analysis was used to predict the in vivo biological processes that MAG, CHE, and HE were involved in. Molecular docking was used to simulate the binding between compounds and their targets. The effect of the compounds on ion channels in cardiomyocytes was evaluated through a patch clamp experiment. Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) technology was developed to mimic the physiological conditions of the heart in vivo. Proteomic and bioinformatic analyses demonstrated that the four compounds of Z. nitidum are extensively involved in various cardiovascular-related biological pathways. The findings from the patch clamp experiments indicate that NC, CHE, MAG, and HE elicit a distinct activation or inhibition of the IK1 and ICa-L in cardiomyocytes. Finally, the anti-inflammatory effects of the compounds on cardiomyocytes were verified using OOC technology. NC, CHE, MAG, and HE demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects through their specific interactions with prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) and significantly influence ion channels in cardiomyocytes. Our study provides a foundation for utilizing NC, CHE, MAG, and HE in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Full article
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13 pages, 231 KiB  
Article
Nature’s Apostle: The Dove as Communicator in the Hebrew Bible, from Ararat to Nineveh
by Menahem Blondheim and Hananel Rosenberg
Religions 2024, 15(4), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040502 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
The dove, the most frequently mentioned bird in the Hebrew Bible, appears in diverse contexts, spanning its appearance as an element in the narrative (as in the case of Noah’s ark), and as an allegory and metaphor (as in the cryptic “sword of [...] Read more.
The dove, the most frequently mentioned bird in the Hebrew Bible, appears in diverse contexts, spanning its appearance as an element in the narrative (as in the case of Noah’s ark), and as an allegory and metaphor (as in the cryptic “sword of the dove”—twice in Jeremiah—and “the city of the dove”—Zephaniah). The dove even appears as the proper name of a prophet (or possibly of two, both named Jonah, son of Amittai). This article applies a communication perspective to better interpret some of these texts. We argue that the dove’s communicative attributes, to include unique acoustics, remarkable power of flight, but primarily the trait of returning home—the basis for the use of doves as carrier pigeons—may either explain or deepen the interpretation of many of the references to the pigeon in the Bible. In this vein, a major focus of the article is on using the dove’s homing ability as a key for reinterpreting the Book of Jonah. We conclude by suggesting that the dove’s trait of returning and, hence, its use as envoy made it a useful symbol of the deity’s presence in the world. In the Jewish reading, it became an emblem of one of the main political and eschatological themes of the Bible: the return home from exile, beginning with the exodus and return of Jacob’s sons to Canaan and ending with the Eschaton. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flora and Fauna in the Hebrew Bible)
14 pages, 853 KiB  
Article
Field Evaluation of Experimental Maize Hybrids for Resistance to the Fall Armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in a Warm Temperate Climate
by Xinzhi Ni, Alisa Huffaker, Eric A. Schmelz, Wenwei Xu, W. Paul Williams, Baozhu Guo, Xianchun Li and Fangneng Huang
Insects 2024, 15(4), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15040289 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
The polyphagous fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, has become an invasive pest worldwide in recent years. To develop maize germplasm with multiple pest resistance and understand genetic inheritance, 12 experimental hybrids (six pairs of reciprocal crosses) with diverse genetic backgrounds and four [...] Read more.
The polyphagous fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, has become an invasive pest worldwide in recent years. To develop maize germplasm with multiple pest resistance and understand genetic inheritance, 12 experimental hybrids (six pairs of reciprocal crosses) with diverse genetic backgrounds and four commercial checks were examined for FAW resistance in 2013 and 2014. The experiment utilized a randomized complete block design with four replications as the block factor. FAW injury on maize plants was assessed at 7 and 14 d after the artificial infestation at the V6 stage, and predatory arthropod taxa and abundance on maize seedlings were recorded 7 d after the infestation. Spodoptera frugiperda resistance varied significantly among the 16 hybrids. Two reciprocal crosses (‘FAW1430’ × ‘Oh43’ and ‘CML333’ × ‘NC358’) showed the least FAW injury. Eleven arthropod predators [i.e., six coleopterans, three hemipterans, earwigs (dermapterans), and spiders (or arachnids)] were also recorded; the two most common predators were the pink spotted ladybeetle, Coleomegilla maculata, and the insidious flower (or minute pirate) bug, Orius spp. Predator abundance was not correlated to FAW injury but varied greatly between 2013 and 2014. Principal component analysis demonstrated that, when compared with FAW resistant (or Bt-transgenic) checks (‘DKC69-71’, ‘DKC67-88’, and ‘P31P42’), five pairs of the reciprocal crosses had moderate FAW resistance, whereas a pair of reciprocal crosses (‘NC350’ × ‘NC358’ and NC358 × NC350) showed the same FAW susceptibility as the non-Bt susceptible check ‘DKC69-72’. Both parents contributed similarly to FAW resistance, or no maternal/cytoplasmic effect was detected in the experimental hybrids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Integrated Pest Management of Crop)
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11 pages, 245 KiB  
Article
Studying Rome While It Burns
by Richard M. Carp
Religions 2024, 15(4), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040501 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
The call for papers for this Special Issue Iidentifies contemporary humanity as experiencing a global “biogeochemical … political, economic, technological, ethical, and therefore, biocultural” crisis and asks scholars to consider how “religion may function as an adaptive or maladaptive presence” in response. Unasked [...] Read more.
The call for papers for this Special Issue Iidentifies contemporary humanity as experiencing a global “biogeochemical … political, economic, technological, ethical, and therefore, biocultural” crisis and asks scholars to consider how “religion may function as an adaptive or maladaptive presence” in response. Unasked is the adaptive capacity of scholarship as a crisis response. When buildings fall in earthquakes, or cities burn in wildfires, or second stories flood, few people just keep on doing what they were doing, “with a change of focus”. This is “studying Rome while it burns”. It’s time to put out the fire if we can and survive it if we cannot. We scholar/teachers can’t go on doing the same things and expecting different results. Unprecedented circumstances call for unprecedented actions in response. What would actual crisis responses on our part look like? What steps do we need to take as human beings in response to this crisis? How will that affect us as professionals? Seeking an ecology, rather than unanimity, of action and thought, and guided by Brian Walker’s resilience theory and a number of Indigenous scholars, I suggest a process of reintegration, analogous to regenerative agriculture, which is at once both socio-cultural and ecological. This process, necessarily rooted in place, progressively situates us experientially in a dynamic, creative, and relational world characterized by connection, collaboration, and relation. As scholars, we will find forms of discovery, discussion, and dissemination that share these qualities. As teachers, we will model this world to our students and embody it in our classrooms and curricula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Planetary Climate Crisis)
13 pages, 280 KiB  
Article
Relationships and Gender Differences in Math Anxiety, Math Self-Efficacy, Geoscience Self-Efficacy, and Geoscience Interest in Introductory Geoscience Students
by Molly M. Jameson, Julie Sexton, Dina London and Jennifer M. Wenner
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14040426 (registering DOI) - 19 Apr 2024
Abstract
While the role of affective factors in learning is well understood in geoscience, math attitudes have been overlooked. This study sought to explore the relationships between math attitudes and geoscience attitudes, namely math anxiety, self-efficacy, and geoscience interest. Baseline data were collected from [...] Read more.
While the role of affective factors in learning is well understood in geoscience, math attitudes have been overlooked. This study sought to explore the relationships between math attitudes and geoscience attitudes, namely math anxiety, self-efficacy, and geoscience interest. Baseline data were collected from 245 undergraduate students enrolled in introductory geoscience courses at three colleges and universities in the United States, with self-report measures of math anxiety, math self-efficacy, geoscience self-efficacy, geoscience interest, and demographic information. Results show strong relationships and predictive values of math attitudes for students’ geoscience attitudes, particularly for female-identifying students. This research provides important empirical support for the study of math attitudes in geoscience; additionally, educators can use this knowledge to inform their understanding of their students’ math attitudes and possible interest in geoscience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and STEM Education)
10 pages, 235 KiB  
Article
Indirect Exposure to Atrocities and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms among Aid Workers: Hemispheric Lateralization Matters
by Einav Levy, Daniela Herzog, Chen Hanna Ryder, Rachel Grunstein and Yori Gidron
J. Clin. Med. 2024, 13(8), 2373; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm13082373 (registering DOI) - 18 Apr 2024
Abstract
Background: Humanitarian aid workers (HAWs) are indirectly exposed to atrocities relating to people of concern (POC). This may result in a risk of secondary traumatization demonstrated by post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSSs). Previous studies have demonstrated that hemispheric lateralization (HL) moderates the relationship [...] Read more.
Background: Humanitarian aid workers (HAWs) are indirectly exposed to atrocities relating to people of concern (POC). This may result in a risk of secondary traumatization demonstrated by post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSSs). Previous studies have demonstrated that hemispheric lateralization (HL) moderates the relationship between threat exposure and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSSs). Aims: We hypothesized that indirect exposure to atrocities (IETA) would be positively correlated with PTSSs among HAWs with right and not left HL. Method: Fifty-four HAWs from several countries that provided humanitarian support in Greece and Colombia participated in this correlational and cross-sectional observation study. They completed scales relating to IETA, PTSSs were assessed using a brief, valid scale, and HL was measured. Results: IETA was positively and significantly related to PTSSs (r = 0.39, p < 0.005). Considering HL, IETA was unrelated to PTSSs among people with right HL (r = 0.29, p = 0.14), while IETA was related to PTSSs among people with left HL (r = 0.52, p = 0.008). Right HL emerged as a protective factor in the relationship between IETA and PTSS. Conclusions: An assessment of dominant HL can serve as one consideration among others when deploying HAWs in specific locations and roles, vis à vis IETA. Moreover, those found to have a higher risk for PTSSs based on their HL could be monitored more closely to prevent adverse reactions to IETA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mental Health)
12 pages, 733 KiB  
Article
Machine Learning Prediction of Tongue Pressure in Elderly Patients with Head and Neck Tumor: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Xuewei Han, Ziyi Bai, Kaoru Mogushi, Takeshi Hase, Katsuyuki Takeuchi, Yoritsugu Iida, Yuka I. Sumita and Noriyuki Wakabayashi
J. Clin. Med. 2024, 13(8), 2363; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm13082363 (registering DOI) - 18 Apr 2024
Abstract
Background: This investigation sought to cross validate the predictors of tongue pressure recovery in elderly patients’ post-treatment for head and neck tumors, leveraging advanced machine learning techniques. Methods: By employing logistic regression, support vector regression, random forest, and extreme gradient boosting, the study [...] Read more.
Background: This investigation sought to cross validate the predictors of tongue pressure recovery in elderly patients’ post-treatment for head and neck tumors, leveraging advanced machine learning techniques. Methods: By employing logistic regression, support vector regression, random forest, and extreme gradient boosting, the study analyzed an array of variables including patient demographics, surgery types, dental health status, and age, drawn from comprehensive medical records and direct tongue pressure assessments. Results: Among the models, logistic regression emerged as the most effective, demonstrating an accuracy of 0.630 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.370–0.778], F1 score of 0.688 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.435–0.853], precision of 0.611 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.313–0.801], recall of 0.786 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.413–0.938] and an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.626 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.409–0.806]. This model distinctly highlighted the significance of glossectomy (p = 0.039), the presence of functional teeth (p = 0.043), and the patient’s age (p = 0.044) as pivotal factors influencing tongue pressure, setting the threshold for statistical significance at p < 0.05. Conclusions: The analysis underscored the critical role of glossectomy, the presence of functional natural teeth, and age as determinants of tongue pressure in logistics regression, with the presence of natural teeth and the tumor site located in the tongue consistently emerging as the key predictors across all computational models employed in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State of the Art of Oral Health in Japan and Other Aging Countries)
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