394 research outputs found

    Skeletal anomalies in dusky grouper Epinephelus marginatus (Lowe 1834) juveniles reared with different methodologies and larval densities

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    The first attempts to reproduce dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus, Lowe 1834) under controlled conditions started in 1995, but the egg and larvae quality was very low. Mass production is still encountering many difficulties, mainly concentrated in the larval period when very high mortality rates are observed, confirming what has been observed in the rearing of other grouper species. The main bottlenecks have been identified as the difficulty to properly nourish the larvae, stress shock syndrome, and the high deformation rates. We analysed 633 dusky grouper larvae and juveniles (0.2–7.2 cm total length, TL), sampled during two larval rearing cycles carried out in 2001 and 2002 in Italy. The specimens at different development stages were stained in toto for bone and cartilage and examined for skeletal anomalies during dusky grouper ontogenesis. The incidence of anomalies in groupers hatched from the same egg batch but reared using two different methods (green waters and semi-intensive rearing) and three stocking densities (8, 16 and 28 larvae/l) was compared, with a view to providing tools for identifying the most appropriate larval rearing method in order to at least limit the onset of skeletal anomalies. Our results suggest that during development no particular skeletal anomaly patterns (or fate) can be clearly identified as a high variability was observed in malformation typologies and the regions affected. No significant differences in the morphological quality between groupers reared using semi-intensive (LV02 lot) and green water (GW02-01 lot) methodologies were observed, whilst groupers reared at the highest stocking density (28 larvae/l) showed the highest frequency of deformed individuals (75.8%), the highest malformation charge (average of 5.5 anomalies per deformed individual), the largest range of anomaly typologies (38), and the highest incidence of individuals with at least one severe anomaly (30.9%). Whilst in green waters no evident effects of larvae density were observed on survival rates, the survival rate in large volume reared individuals (17.5%) was considerably higher with respect to those reared in green waters (0.2%) at 7–8 larvae/l. This indicates that the semi-intensive methodology should be considered more effective in enhancing the survival rate of dusky grouper larvae

    Infrared absorption from Charge Density Waves in magnetic manganites

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    The infrared absorption of charge density waves coupled to a magnetic background is first observed in two manganites La{1-x}Ca{x}MnO{3} with x = 0.5 and x = 0.67. In both cases a BCS-like gap 2 Delta (T), which for x=0.5 follows the hysteretic ferro-antiferromagnetic transition, fully opens at a finite T{0} < T{Neel}, with 2 Delta(T{0})/kT{c} close to 5. These results may also explain the unusual coexistence of charge ordering and ferromagnetism in La{0.5}Ca{0.5}MnO{3}.Comment: File revtex + 3 figs. in epsf. To appear on Phys. Rev. Let

    Optical conductivity of CuO_2 infinite-layer films

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    The infrared conductivity of CaCuO_2, SrCuO_{2-y}, and Sr_{0.85}Nd_{0.15}CuO_2 infinite-layer films is obtained from reflectivity measurements by taking into account the substrate contribution. SrCuO_{2-y} and Sr_{0.85}Nd_{0.15}CuO_2 exhibit extra-phonon modes and structured bands in the midinfrared, not found in stoichiometric CaCuO_2. These features mirror those observed in the perovskitic cuprates, thus showing that the polaronic properties of high-T_c superconductors are intrinsic to the CuO_2 planes.Comment: File latex, 5 p. incl. 4 fig. in epsf. Submitted to Solid State Com

    Robotic Versus Open Kidney Transplantation from Deceased Donors : A Prospective Observational Study

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    Background: While robot-assisted kidney transplantation (RAKT) from living donors has been shown to achieve favourable outcomes, there is a lack of evidence on the safety and efficacy of RAKT as compared with the gold standard open kidney transplantation (OKT) in the setting of deceased donors, who represent the source of most grafts worldwide. Objective: To compare the intraoperative, perioperative, and midterm outcomes of RAKT versus OKT from donors after brain death (DBDs). Design, setting, and participants: Data from consecutive patients undergoing RAKT or OKT from DBDs at a single academic centre between October 2017 and December 2020 were prospectively collected. Intervention: RAKT or OKT. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: The primary outcomes were intraoperative adverse events, postoperative surgical complications, delayed graft function (DGF), and midterm functional outcomes. A multivariable logistic regression analysis assessed the independent predictors of DGF, trifecta, and suboptimal graft function (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] <45 ml/min/1.73 m) at the last follow-up. Results and limitations: Overall, 138 patients were included (117 [84.7%] OKTs and 21 [15.3%] RAKTs). The yearly proportion of RAKT ranged between 10% and 18% during the study period. The OKT and RAKT cohorts were comparable regarding all graft-related characteristics, while they differed regarding a few donor- and recipient-related factors. The median second warm ischaemic time, ureterovesical anastomosis time, postoperative complication rate, and eGFR trajectories did not differ significantly between the groups. A higher proportion of patients undergoing OKT experienced DGF; yet, at a median follow-up of 31 mo (interquartile range 19-44), there was no difference between the groups regarding the dialysis-free and overall survival. At the multivariable analysis, donor- and/or recipient-related factors, but not the surgical approach, were independent predictors of DGF, trifecta, and suboptimal graft function at the last follow-up. The study is limited by its nonrandomised nature and the small sample size. Conclusions: Our study provides preliminary evidence supporting the noninferiority of RAKT from DBDs as compared with the gold standard OKT in carefully selected recipients. Patient summary: Kidney transplantation using kidneys from deceased donors is still being performed with an open surgical approach in most transplant centres worldwide. In fact, no study has compared the outcomes of open and minimally invasive (robotic) kidney transplantation from deceased donors. In this study, we evaluated whether robotic kidney transplantation using grafts from deceased donors was not inferior to open kidney transplantation regarding the intraoperative, postoperative, and midterm functional outcomes. We found that, in experienced hands and provided that there was a time-efficient organisation of the transplantation pathway, robotic kidney transplantation from deceased donors was feasible and achieved noninferior outcomes as compared with open kidney transplantation

    Prediction of the information processing speed performance in multiple sclerosis using a machine learning approach in a large multicenter magnetic resonance imaging data set

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    Many patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience information processing speed (IPS) deficits, and the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) has been recommended as a valid screening test. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has markedly improved the understanding of the mechanisms associated with cognitive deficits in MS. However, which structural MRI markers are the most closely related to cognitive performance is still unclear. We used the multicenter 3T-MRI data set of the Italian Neuroimaging Network Initiative to extract multimodal data (i.e., demographic, clinical, neuropsychological, and structural MRIs) of 540 MS patients. We aimed to assess, through machine learning techniques, the contribution of brain MRI structural volumes in the prediction of IPS deficits when combined with demographic and clinical features. We trained and tested the eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost) model following a rigorous validation scheme to obtain reliable generalization performance. We carried out a classification and a regression task based on SDMT scores feeding each model with different combinations of features. For the classification task, the model trained with thalamus, cortical gray matter, hippocampus, and lesions volumes achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.74. For the regression task, the model trained with cortical gray matter and thalamus volumes, EDSS, nucleus accumbens, lesions, and putamen volumes, and age reached a mean absolute error of 0.95. In conclusion, our results confirmed that damage to cortical gray matter and relevant deep and archaic gray matter structures, such as the thalamus and hippocampus, is among the most relevant predictors of cognitive performance in MS

    Optical conductivity of the nonsuperconducting cuprate La(8-x)Sr(x)Cu(8)O(20)

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    La(8-x)Sr(x)Cu(8)O(20) is a non-superconducting cuprate, which exhibits a doubling of the elementary cell along the c axis. Its optical conductivity sigma (omega) has been first measured here, down to 20 K, in two single crystals with x = 1.56 and x = 2.24. Along c, sigma (omega) shows, in both samples, bands due to strongly bound charges, thus confirming that the cell doubling is due to charge ordering. In the ab plane, in addition to the Drude term one observes an infrared peak at 0.1 eV and a midinfrared band at 0.7 eV. The 0.1 eV peak hardens considerably below 200 K, in correspondence of an anomalous increase in the sample dc resistivity, in agreement with its polaronic origin. This study allows one to establish relevant similarities and differences with respect to the spectrum of the ab plane of the superconducting cuprates.Comment: Revised version submitted to Phys. Rev. B, including the elimination of Fig. 1 and changes to Figs. 4 and

    The Impact of Lockdown on Couples' Sex Lives

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    Background: the aim of this study was to perform an Italian telematics survey analysis on the changes in couples' sex lives during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown. Methods: a multicenter cross sectional study was conducted on people sexually active and in stable relationships for at least 6 months. To evaluate male and female sexual dysfunctions, we used the international index of erectile function (IIEF-15) and the female sexual function index (FSFI), respectively; marital quality and stability were evaluated by the marital adjustment test (items 10-15); to evaluate the severity of anxiety symptoms, we used the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. The effects of the quarantine on couples' relationships was assessed with questions created in-house. Results: we included 2149 participants. The sex lives improved for 49% of participants, particularly those in cohabitation; for 29% it deteriorated, while for 22% of participants it did not change. Women who responded that their sex lives deteriorated had no sexual dysfunction, but they had anxiety, tension, fear, and insomnia. Contrarily, men who reported deteriorating sex lives had erectile dysfunctions and orgasmic disorders. In both genders, being unemployed or smart working, or having sons were risk factors for worsening the couples' sex lives. Conclusion: this study should encourage evaluation of the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the sex lives of couples

    Resting-state functional MRI in multicenter studies on multiple sclerosis: a report on raw data quality and functional connectivity features from the Italian Neuroimaging Network Initiative

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    The Italian Neuroimaging Network Initiative (INNI) is an expanding repository of brain MRI data from multiple sclerosis (MS) patients recruited at four Italian MRI research sites. We describe the raw data quality of resting-state functional MRI (RS-fMRI) time-series in INNI and the inter-site variability in functional connectivity (FC) features after unified automated data preprocessing. MRI datasets from 489 MS patients and 246 healthy control (HC) subjects were retrieved from the INNI database. Raw data quality metrics included temporal signal-to-noise ratio (tSNR), spatial smoothness (FWHM), framewise displacement (FD), and differential variation in signals (DVARS). Automated preprocessing integrated white-matter lesion segmentation (SAMSEG) into a standard fMRI pipeline (fMRIPrep). FC features were calculated on pre-processed data and harmonized between sites (Combat) prior to assessing general MS-related alterations. Across centers (both groups), median tSNR and FWHM ranged from 47 to 84 and from 2.0 to 2.5, and median FD and DVARS ranged from 0.08 to 0.24 and from 1.06 to 1.22. After preprocessing, only global FC-related features were significantly correlated with FD or DVARS. Across large-scale networks, age/sex/FD-adjusted and harmonized FC features exhibited both inter-site and site-specific inter-group effects. Significant general reductions were obtained for somatomotor and limbic networks in MS patients (vs. HC). The implemented procedures provide technical information on raw data quality and outcome of fully automated preprocessing that might serve as reference in future RS-fMRI studies within INNI. The unified pipeline introduced little bias across sites and appears suitable for multisite FC analyses on harmonized network estimates
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