University of Palermo

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    A brief review about anxiety and aggressive behavior in pediatric age

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    Anxiety can be considered a normal experience of the human being and as such also of the child. It manifests itself in different ways according to the level of development: in the smaller the child, the more anxiety is expressed with manifestations that involve the whole organism, becoming evident either with motor excitement or with physical discomfort. As the psychic apparatus is structured, anxiety is experienced as an inner phenomenon and is experienced as an unpleasant state. Fortunately, we are all a bit anxious, even if there are some people who are more, others less

    Animals-assisted therapy: A brief review

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    In rehabilitative setting, the presence of animals can be considered as an important stimulus for verbal and social communication, and for mood regulation. Interaction with an animal is beneficial for children's development and numerous psychological tests have revealed that growing up with pets has a beneficial effect on children's self-esteem and self-confidence, can improve empathy, a sense of responsibility and cognitive development, as well as social status within the peer group

    Incidence of mild cognitive impairment and dementia in Parkinson's disease: The Parkinson's disease cognitive impairment study

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    Background: Cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease (PD) includes a spectrum varying from Mild Cognitive Impairment (PD-MCI) to PD Dementia (PDD). The main aim of the present study is to evaluate the incidence of PD-MCI, its rate of progression to dementia, and to identify demographic and clinical characteristics which predict cognitive impairment in PD patients. Methods: PD patients from a large hospital-based cohort who underwent at least two comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations were retrospectively enrolled in the study. PD-MCI and PDD were diagnosed according to the Movement Disorder Society criteria. Incidence rates of PD-MCI and PDD were estimated. Clinical and demographic factors predicting PD-MCI and dementia were evaluated using Cox proportional hazard model. Results: Out of 139 enrolled PD patients, 84 were classified with normal cognition (PD-NC), while 55 (39.6%) fulfilled the diagnosis of PD-MCI at baseline. At follow-up (mean follow-up 23.5 ± 10.3 months) 28 (33.3%) of the 84 PD-NC at baseline developed MCI and 4 (4.8%) converted to PDD. The incidence rate of PD-MCI was 184.0/1000 pyar (95% CI 124.7-262.3). At multivariate analysis a negative association between education and MCI development at follow-up was observed (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.15-0.89; p = 0.03). The incidence rate of dementia was 24.3/1000 pyar (95% CI 7.7-58.5). Out of 55 PD-MCI patients at baseline, 14 (25.4%) converted to PDD, giving an incidence rate of 123.5/1000 pyar (95% CI 70.3-202.2). A five time increased risk of PDD was found in PD patients with MCI at baseline (RR 5.09, 95% CI 1.60-21.4). Conclusion: Our study supports the relevant role of PD-MCI in predicting PDD and underlines the importance of education in reducing the risk of cognitive impairment

    Identification of resistance genes and response to arsenic in rhodococcus aetherivorans BCP1

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    Arsenic (As) ranks among the priority metal(loid)s that are of public health concern. In the environment, arsenic is present in different forms, organic or inorganic, featured by various toxicity levels. Bacteria have developed different strategies to deal with this toxicity involving different resistance genetic determinants. Bacterial strains of Rhodococcus genus, and more in general Actinobacteria phylum, have the ability to cope with high concentrations of toxic metalloids, although little is known on the molecular and genetic bases of these metabolic features. Here we show that Rhodococcus aetherivorans BCP1, an extremophilic actinobacterial strain able to tolerate high concentrations of organic solvents and toxic metalloids, can grow in the presence of high concentrations of As(V) (up to 240 mM) under aerobic growth conditions using glucose as sole carbon and energy source. Notably, BCP1 cells improved their growth performance as well as their capacity of reducing As(V) into As(III) when the concentration of As(V) is within 30-100 mM As(V). Genomic analysis of BCP1 compared to other actinobacterial strains revealed the presence of three gene clusters responsible for organic and inorganic arsenic resistance. In particular, two adjacent and divergently oriented ars gene clusters include three arsenate reductase genes (arsC1/2/3) involved in resistance mechanisms against As(V). A sequence similarity network (SSN) and phylogenetic analysis of these arsenate reductase genes indicated that two of them (ArsC2/3) are functionally related to thioredoxin (Trx)/thioredoxin reductase (TrxR)-dependent class and one of them (ArsC1) to the mycothiol (MSH)/mycoredoxin (Mrx)-dependent class. A targeted transcriptomic analysis performed by RT-qPCR indicated that the arsenate reductase genes as well as other genes included in the ars gene cluster (possible regulator gene, arsR, and arsenite extrusion genes, arsA, acr3, and arsD) are transcriptionally induced when BCP1 cells were exposed to As(V) supplied at two different sub-lethal concentrations. This work provides for the first time insights into the arsenic resistance mechanisms of a Rhodococcus strain, revealing some of the unique metabolic requirements for the environmental persistence of this bacterial genus and its possible use in bioremediation procedures of toxic metal contaminated sites

    An aging evaluation of the bearing performances of glass fiber composite laminate in salt spray fog environment

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    The aim of the present paper is to assess the bearing performance evolution of pinned, glass-composite laminates due to environmental aging in salt-spray fog tests. Glass fibers/epoxy pinned laminates were exposed for up to 60 days in salt-spraying, foggy environmental conditions (according to ASTM B117 standard). In order to evaluate the relationship between mechanical failure mode and joint stability over increasing aging time, different single lap joints, measured by the changing hole diameter (D), laminate width (W) and hole free edge distance (E), were characterized at varying aging steps. Based on this approach, the property-structure relationship of glass-fibers/epoxy laminates was assessed under these critical environmental conditions. Furthermore, an experimental 2D failure map, clustering main failure modes in the plane E/D versus W/D ratios, was generated, and its cluster variation was analyzed at each degree of aging

    Stability of halloysite, imogolite, and boron nitride nanotubes in solvent media

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    Inorganic nanotubes are attracting the interest of many scientists and researchers, due to their excellent application potential in different fields. Among them, halloysite and imogolite, two naturally-occurring aluminosilicate mineral clays, as well as boron nitride nanotubes have gained attention for their proper shapes and features. Above all, it is important to reach highly stable dispersion in water or organic media, in order to exploit the features of this kind of nanoparticles and to expand their applications. This review is focused on the structural and morphological features, performances, and ratios of inorganic nanotubes, considering the main strategies to prepare homogeneous colloidal suspensions in various solvent media as special focus and crucial point for their uses as nanomaterials

    Usefulness of regional right ventricular and right atrial strain for prediction of early and late right ventricular failure following a left ventricular assist device implant: A machine learning approach

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    Background: Identifying candidates for left ventricular assist device surgery at risk of right ventricular failure remains difficult. The aim was to identify the most accurate predictors of right ventricular failure among clinical, biological, and imaging markers, assessed by agreement of different supervised machine learning algorithms. Methods: Seventy-four patients, referred to HeartWare left ventricular assist device since 2010 in two Italian centers, were recruited. Biomarkers, right ventricular standard, and strain echocardiography, as well as cath-lab measures, were compared among patients who did not develop right ventricular failure (N = 56), those with acute–right ventricular failure (N = 8, 11%) or chronic–right ventricular failure (N = 10, 14%). Logistic regression, penalized logistic regression, linear support vector machines, and naïve Bayes algorithms with leave-one-out validation were used to evaluate the efficiency of any combination of three collected variables in an “all-subsets” approach. Results: Michigan risk score combined with central venous pressure assessed invasively and apical longitudinal systolic strain of the right ventricular–free wall were the most significant predictors of acute–right ventricular failure (maximum receiver operating characteristic–area under the curve = 0.95, 95% confidence interval = 0.91–1.00, by the naïve Bayes), while the right ventricular–free wall systolic strain of the middle segment, right atrial strain (QRS-synced), and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion were the most significant predictors of Chronic-RVF (receiver operating characteristic–area under the curve = 0.97, 95% confidence interval = 0.91–1.00, according to naïve Bayes). Conclusion: Apical right ventricular strain as well as right atrial strain provides complementary information, both critical to predict acute–right ventricular failure and chronic–right ventricular failure, respectively

    Cfd investigation of spacer-filled channels for membrane distillation

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    The membrane distillation (MD) process for water desalination is affected by temperature polarization, which reduces the driving force and the efficiency of the process. To counteract this phenomenon, spacer-filled channels are used, which enhance mixing and heat transfer but also cause higher pressure drops. Therefore, in the design of MD modules, the choice of the spacer is crucial for process efficiency. In the present work, different overlapped spacers are investigated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and results are compared with experiments carried out with thermochromic liquid crystals (TLC). Results are reported for different flow attack angles and for Reynolds numbers (Re) ranging from ~200 to ~800. A good qualitative agreement between simulations and experiments can be observed for the areal distribution of the normalized heat transfer coefficient. Trends of the average heat transfer coefficient are reported as functions of Re for the geometries investigated, thus providing the basis for CFD-based correlations to be used in higher-scale process models

    Histopathology of the gut in rheumatic diseases

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    The gastrointestinal tract regulates the trafficking of macromolecules between the environment and the host through an epithelial barrier mechanism and is an important part of the immune system controlling the equilibrium between tolerance and immunity to non-self-antigens. Various evidence indicates that intestinal inflammation occurs in patients with rheumatic diseases. In many rheumatic diseases intestinal inflammation appears to be linked to dysbiosis and possibly represents the common denominator in the pathogenesis of different rheumatic diseases. The continuative interaction between dysbiosis and the intestinal immune system may lead to the aberrant activation of immune cells that can re-circulate from the gut to the sites of extraintestinal inflammation as observed in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. The exact contribution of genetic factors in the development of intestinal inflammation in rheumatic diseases needs to be clarified

    Congenital emphysematous lung disease associated with a novel Filamin A mutation. Case report and literature review

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    Background: Progressive lung involvement in Filamin A (FLNA)-related cerebral periventricular nodular heterotopia (PVNH) has been reported in a limited number of cases. Case presentation: We report a new pathogenic FLNA gene variant (c.7391_7403del; p.Val2464Alafs*5) in a male infant who developed progressive lung disease with emphysematous lesions and interstitial involvement. Following lobar resection, chronic respiratory failure ensued necessitating continuous mechanical ventilation and tracheostomy. Cerebral periventricular nodular heterotopia was also present. Conclusions: We report a novel variant of the FLNA gene, associated with a severe lung disorder and PNVH. The lung disorder led to respiratory failure during infancy and these pulmonary complications may be the first sign of this disorder. Early recognition with thoracic imaging is important to guide genetic testing, neuroimaging and to define optimal timing of potential therapies, such as lung transplant in progressive lung disease


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