2,424 research outputs found

    Accelerated aging in perinatally HIV-infected children: clinical manifestations and pathogenetic mechanisms

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    BACKGROUND: Premature aging and related diseases have been documented in HIV-infected adults. Data are now emerging also regarding accelerated aging process in HIV-infected children. METHODS: A narrative review was performed searching studies on PubMed published in English language in 2004-2017, using appropriate key words, including "aging", "children", "HIV", "AIDS", "immunosenescence", "pathogenesis", "clinical conditions". RESULTS: Premature immunosenescence phenotype of B and T cells in HIV-infected children is mediated through immune system activation and chronic inflammation. Ongoing inflammation processes have been documented by increased levels of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS), increased mitochondrial damage, higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and a positive correlation between sCD14 levels and percentages of activated CD8+ cells. Other reported features of premature aging include cellular replicative senescence, linked to an accelerated telomeres shortening. Finally, acceleration of age-associated methylation pattern and other epigenetic modifications have been described in HIV-infected children. All these features may favor the clinical manifestations related to premature aging. Lipid and bone metabolism, cancers, cardiovascular, renal, and neurological systems should be carefully monitored, particularly in children with detectable viremia and/or with CD4/CD8 ratio inversion. CONCLUSION: Aging processes in children with HIV infection impact their quality and length of life. Further studies regarding the mechanisms involved in premature aging are needed to search for potential targets of treatment

    A transition towards sustainable food systems in Europe

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    A growing number of voices – among others the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC, 2017) - have highlighted the need to change the overarching infrastructure of food-related policies. They claim that the European Union does not have a food policy . For example, the General Food Law addresses food safety issues, but not nutrition. Regulations aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of food production are not built in connection with how food is consumed. There are regulations that encourage production systems to improve product quality, but the link to sustainability is not clear. There are rules that regulate information and communication to consumers, but a reference to sustainability is missing. Common Agricultural Policy grants subsidies to 'green' production processes, but most of them concern primarily production actors. Distribution of financial resources over these instruments is largely disproportionate. Often these payments are not linked to clear outcomes and impacts. How could a food policy contribute to shaping sustainable food systems in Europe? It is time for policy makers, academics, and civil society to take a step back and reflect upon appropriate policies infrastructures for transition toward food sustainability. This challenge implies a pervasive process that addresses in a consistent and coherent way the multidimensionality of food – environmental, social, economic, health, ethical and resilience implications - and takes into consideration the reciprocal influences between production, distribution and consumption and their links with broader socio-ecological and socio-technical systems. This process should reorganize food-related policy instruments around societal goals and put in place the necessary instruments to enable the social and institutional change, overcoming barriers. This report proposes a conceptual framework and carries out an assessment of the existing policy infrastructure with the purpose of suggesting points of entry for policy-led transition towards food sustainability in Europe. The system perspective adopted allows us to apply one of the key principles of sustainable development as well as sustainable consumption and implies that policies aiming at sustainability should address consumption issues as well as production patterns. The challenge for a new policy approach is to put in place coordinated policy tools that can affect directly or indirectly this process of alignment, linking together self-responsibility with freedom to act. Rather than pursuing an ambitious program of redesign of the agricultural policy into a broader food policy, we suggest a ‘bottom up’ process of construction of a food policy mix around strategic goals aimed at the integration and coherence between policies, together with the reorganization of existing tools and the introduction of new tools to fill existing gaps. The introduction of strategic tools - such as the EU Sustainable Food Assessment and Action Plan, proposed by the EESC (2017) at the EU level, or urban food strategies at the local level - can contribute to develop new representations of the food system, update policy objectives, verify the adequacy of existing policy instruments with respect to new objectives, identify missing policy instruments and mobilize all stakeholders to build a coherent set of policies. This report lays down some criteria on which this process should be activated

    Chapter Understanding the sensory characteristics of edible insects to promote entomophagy: A projective sensory experience among consumers

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    In recent years, a remarkable number of studies have investigated sensory characteristics, such as flavor and texture, of edible insect and insect-based foods, their contribution to consumers’ attitudes toward edible insects are important in consumer appeal and their willingness to try eating insects in the future. This paper addresses the problem of describing the sensory characteristics aof edible insect and insect-based foods in terms of preferences. To this end, we conducted a study to explore the representations of sensory experiences related to an insect-based dish involving a voluntary sample of 154 consumers. The quasi-experiment, which we have called projective sensory experience (PSE), follows a two-step procedure. In the first step, we asked the participants to imagine tasting an insect-based dish and then to rate, from 1 (imperceptible) up to 10 (very perceptible), the following taste-olfactory sensations: Sapidity, Bitter tendency, Acidity, Sweet, Spiciness, Aroma, Greasiness-Unctuosity, Succulence, Sweet, Fatness, Persistence. In the second step, we asked our interviewees to indicate, through a specific check-list, which was the most disturbing and least disturbing taste-olfactory sensation imagined. We collected data from May to July 2020 by using an anonymous on-line questionnaire. Results could help understand the sensory characteristics of “insects as food” that should be used or avoided, for example, in communication aimed at promoting familiarity with edible insects and improving the acceptability of insects as a novel food

    LV Mechanics in Mitral and Aortic Valve Diseases: Value of Functional Assessment Beyond Ejection Fraction.

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    The assessment of myocardial function in the context of valvular heart disease remains highly challenging. The myocardium deforms simultaneously in 3 dimensions, and global left ventricular (LV) function parameters such as volume and ejection fraction may remain compensated despite the changes in myocardial deformation properties. Current guidelines recommend valve replacement/repair in the presence of symptoms or reduced LV ejection fraction, but the resolution of symptoms or recovery of LV function post-surgery may not be reliably predicted. A wealth of evidence currently suggests that LV dysfunction is frequently subclinical despite normal ejection fraction. It may precede the onset of symptoms and portend a poor outcome due to progressive myocardial remodeling and dysfunction during the post-operative period. The advent of novel tissue-tracking echocardiography techniques has unleashed new opportunities for the clinical identification of early abnormalities in LV function. This review gathers and summarizes current evidence regarding the use of these techniques to assess myocardial deformation in patients with valvular heart disease

    The Effects of Dark Matter Decay and Annihilation on the High-Redshift 21 cm Background

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    The radiation background produced by the 21 cm spin-flip transition of neutral hydrogen at high redshifts can be a pristine probe of fundamental physics and cosmology. At z~30-300, the intergalactic medium (IGM) is visible in 21 cm absorption against the cosmic microwave background (CMB), with a strength that depends on the thermal (and ionization) history of the IGM. Here we examine the constraints this background can place on dark matter decay and annihilation, which could heat and ionize the IGM through the production of high-energy particles. Using a simple model for dark matter decay, we show that, if the decay energy is immediately injected into the IGM, the 21 cm background can detect energy injection rates >10^{-24} eV cm^{-3} sec^{-1}. If all the dark matter is subject to decay, this allows us to constrain dark matter lifetimes <10^{27} sec. Such energy injection rates are much smaller than those typically probed by the CMB power spectra. The expected brightness temperature fluctuations at z~50 are a fraction of a mK and can vary from the standard calculation by up to an order of magnitude, although the difference can be significantly smaller if some of the decay products free stream to lower redshifts. For self-annihilating dark matter, the fluctuation amplitude can differ by a factor <2 from the standard calculation at z~50. Note also that, in contrast to the CMB, the 21 cm probe is sensitive to both the ionization fraction and the IGM temperature, in principle allowing better constraints on the decay process and heating history. We also show that strong IGM heating and ionization can lead to an enhanced H_2 abundance, which may affect the earliest generations of stars and galaxies.Comment: submitted to Phys Rev D, 14 pages, 8 figure

    Systematic review and meta-analysis on the utility of Interferon-gamma release assays for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in children: A 2013 update

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    BACKGROUND: Previous meta-analyses regarding the performance of interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) for tuberculosis diagnosis in children yielded contrasting results, probably due to different inclusion/exclusion criteria. METHODS: We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane databases and calculated pooled estimates of sensitivities and specificities of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In Tube (QFT-G-IT), T-SPOT.TB, and tuberculin skin test (TST). Several sub-analysis were performed: stratification by background (low income vs. high income countries); including only microbiological confirmed TB cases; including only studies performing a simultaneous three-way comparison of the three tests, and including immunocompromised children. RESULTS: Overall, 31 studies (6183 children) for QFT-G-IT, 14 studies (2518 children) for T-SPOT.TB and 34 studies (6439 children) for TST were included in the analyses. In high income countries QFT-G-IT sensitivity was 0.79 (95%IC: 0.75-0.82) considering all the studies, 0.78 (95%CI:0.70-0.84) including only studies performing a simultaneous three-way comparison and 0.86 (95%IC 0.81-0.90) considering only microbiologically confirmed studies. In the same analyses T-SPOT.TB sensitivity was 0.67 (95%IC 0.62-0.73); 0.76 (95%CI: 0.68 to 0.83); and 0.79 (95%IC 0.69-0.87), respectively. In low income countries QFT-G-IT pooled sensitivity was significantly lower: 0.57 (95%IC:0.52-0.61), considering all the studies, and 0.66 (95%IC 0.55-0.76) considering only microbiologically confirmed cases; while T-SPOT.TB sensitivity was 0.61 (95%IC 0.57-0.65) overall, but reached 0.80 (95%IC 0.73-0.86) in microbiologically confirmed cases. In microbiologically confirmed cases TST sensitivity was similar: 0.86 (95%IC 0.79-0.91) in high income countries, and 0.74 (95%IC 0.68-0.80) in low income countries. Higher IGRAs specificity with respect to TST was observed in high income countries (97-98% vs. 92%) but not in low income countries (85-93% vs. 90%). CONCLUSIONS: Both IGRAs showed no better performance than TST in low income countries

    Vaccine against tuberculosis: what&apos;s new?

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    BACKGROUND: one of the World Health Organization Millennium Development Goal is to reduce tuberculosis incidence by 2015. However, more of 8.5 million tuberculosis cases have been reported in 2011, with an increase of multidrug-resistant strains. Therefore, the World Health Organization target cannot be reach without the help of a vaccine able to limit the spread of tuberculosis. Nowadays, bacille Calmette-Guérin is the only vaccine available against tuberculosis. It prevents against meningeal and disseminated tuberculosis in children, but its effectiveness against pulmonary form in adolescents and adults is argued. METHOD: a systematic review was performed by searches of Pubmed, references of the relevant articles and Aeras and ClinicalTrial.gov websites. RESULTS: 100 articles were included in this review. Three viral vectored booster vaccines, five protein adjuvant booster vaccines, two priming vaccines and two therapeutic vaccines have been analyzed. CONCLUSIONS: Several vaccines are in the pipeline, but further studies on basic research, clinical trial and mass vaccination campaigns are needed to achieve the TB eradication target by 2050
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