1,974 research outputs found

    Modeling mitral valve stenosis:A parametric study on the stenosis severity level

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    New computational techniques providing more accurate representation of human heart pathologies could help uncovering relevant physical phenomena and improve the outcome of medical therapies. In this framework, the present work describes an efficient computational model for the evaluation of the ventricular flow alteration in presence of mitral valve stenosis. The model is based on the direct numerical simulation of the Navier–Stokes equations two-way coupled with a structural solver for the left ventricle and mitral valve dynamics. The presence of mitral valve stenosis is mimicked by a single-parameter constraint acting on the kinematics of the mitral leaflets. Four different degrees of mitral valve stenosis are considered focusing on the hemodynamic alterations occurring in pathologic conditions. The mitral jet, generated during diastole, is seen to shrink and strengthen when the stenosis gets more severe. As a consequence, the kinetic energy of the flow, the tissues shear stresses, the transvalvular pressure drop and mitral regurgitation increase. It results that, as the stenosis severity level increases, the geometric and effective orifice areas decrease up to 50% with respect the normal case due to the reduced leaflets mobility and stronger blood acceleration during the diastolic phase. The modified intraventricular hemodynamics is also related to a stronger pressure gradient that, for severe stenosis, can be more than ten times larger than the healthy valve case. These computational results are fully consistent with the available clinical literature and open the way to the virtual assessment of surgical procedures and to the evaluation of prosthetic devices

    A parallel interaction potential approach coupled with the immersed boundary method for fully resolved simulations of deformable interfaces and membranes

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    In this paper we show and discuss the use of a versatile interaction potential approach coupled with an immersed boundary method to simulate a variety of flows involving deformable bodies. In particular, we focus on two kinds of problems, namely (i) deformation of liquid-liquid interfaces and (ii) flow in the left ventricle of the heart with either a mechanical or a natural valve. Both examples have in common the two-way interaction of the flow with a deformable interface or a membrane. The interaction potential approach (de Tullio & Pascazio, Jou. Comp. Phys., 2016; Tanaka, Wada and Nakamura, Computational Biomechanics, 2016) with minor modifications can be used to capture the deformation dynamics in both classes of problems. We show that the approach can be used to replicate the deformation dynamics of liquid-liquid interfaces through the use of ad-hoc elastic constants. The results from our simulations agree very well with previous studies on the deformation of drops in standard flow configurations such as deforming drop in a shear flow or a cross flow. We show that the same potential approach can also be used to study the flow in the left ventricle of the heart. The flow imposed into the ventricle interacts dynamically with the mitral valve (mechanical or natural) and the ventricle which are simulated using the same model. Results from these simulations are compared with ad- hoc in-house experimental measurements. Finally, a parallelisation scheme is presented, as parallelisation is unavoidable when studying large scale problems involving several thousands of simultaneously deforming bodies on hundreds of distributed memory computing processors

    Simplified mitral valve modeling for prospective clinical application of left ventricular fluid dynamics

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    The fluid dynamics inside the left ventricle of the human heart is considered a potential indicator of long term cardiovascular outcome. In this respect, numerical simulations can play an important role for integrating existing technology to reproduce flow details and even conditions associated to virtual therapeutic solutions. Nevertheless, numerical models encounter serious practical difficulties in describing the interaction between flow and surrounding tissues due to the limited information inherently available in real clinical applications. This study presents a computational method for the fluid dynamics inside the left ventricle designed to be efficiently integrated in clinical scenarios. It includes an original model of the mitral valve dynamics, which describes an asymptotic behavior for tissues with no elastic stiffness other than the constrain of the geometry obtained from medical imaging; in particular, the model provides an asymptotic description without requiring details of tissue properties that may not be measurable in vivo. The advantages of this model with respect to a valveless orifice and its limitations with respect to a complete tissue modeling are verified. Its performances are then analyzed in details to ensure a correct interpretation of results. It represents a potential option when information about tissue mechanical properties is insufficient for the implementations of a full fluid-structure interaction approach

    A sensitivity analysis of a mathematical model for the synergistic interplay of Amyloid beta and tau on the dynamics of Alzheimer's disease

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    We propose a mathematical model for the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease based on transport and diffusion equations. We treat brain neurons as a continuous medium and structure them by their degree of malfunctioning. Three different mechanisms are assumed to be relevant for the temporal evolution of the disease: i) diffusion and agglomeration of soluble Amyloid beta, ii) effects of phosphorylated tau protein and iii) neuron-to-neuron prion-like transmission of the disease. We model these processes by a system of Smoluchowski equations for the Amyloid beta concentration, an evolution equation for the dynamics of tau protein and a kinetic-type transport equation for the distribution function of the degree of malfunctioning of neurons. The latter equation contains an integral term describing the random onset of the disease as a jump process localized in particularly sensitive areas of the brain. We are particularly interested in investigating the effects of the synergistic interplay of Amyloid beta and tau on the dynamics of Alzheimer's disease. The output of our numerical simulations, although in 2D with an over-simplified geometry, is in good qualitative agreement with clinical findings concerning both the disease distribution in the brain, which varies from early to advanced stages, and the effects of tau on the dynamics of the disease.Comment: 17 pages, 11 figure

    Converging Role for REEP1/SPG31 in Oxidative Stress

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    Mutations in the receptor expression-enhancing protein 1 gene (REEP1) are associated with hereditary spastic paraplegia type 31 (SPG31), a neurological disorder characterized by lengthdependent degeneration of upper motor neuron axons. Mitochondrial dysfunctions have been observed in patients harboring pathogenic variants in REEP1, suggesting a key role of bioenergetics in disease-related manifestations. Nevertheless, the regulation of mitochondrial function in SPG31 remains unclear. To elucidate the pathophysiology underlying REEP1 deficiency, we analyzed in vitro the impact of two different mutations on mitochondrial metabolism. Together with mitochondrial morphology abnormalities, loss-of-REEP1 expression highlighted a reduced ATP production with increased susceptibility to oxidative stress. Furthermore, to translate these findings from in vitro to preclinical models, we knocked down REEP1 in zebrafish. Zebrafish larvae showed a significant defect in motor axon outgrowth leading to motor impairment, mitochondrial dysfunction, and reactive oxygen species accumulation. Protective antioxidant agents such as resveratrol rescued free radical overproduction and ameliorated the SPG31 phenotype both in vitro and in vivo. Together, our findings offer new opportunities to counteract neurodegeneration in SPG31

    Inter and intra-population variability of the migratory behaviour of a short-distance partial migrant, the Eurasian Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus (Charadriiformes, Burhinidae)

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    Migratory behaviour in birds shows a remarkable variability at species, population and individual levels. Short-distance migrants often adopt a partial migratory strategy and tend to have a flexible migration schedule that allows a more effective response to extreme environmental variations. Weather seasonality and environmental heterogeneity have been reported as significant factors in the diversification of migratory behaviour for Mediterranean migrants, but relatively few studies investigated the migration patterns of non-passerine birds migrating within the Mediterranean basin. In this study, we investigated the migratory strategy of 40 Eurasian Stone-curlews Burhinus oedicnemus tagged with geolocators and GPS-GSM tags and belonging to continental and Mediterranean populations of the Italian peninsula. The proportion of migrants was higher in continental populations, but we observed a significant variability also within Mediterranean populations. All birds spent the winter within the Mediterranean basin. Continental Stone-curlews departed earlier in spring and later in autumn and covered longer distances than those from Mediterranean areas. The speed of migration did not change between seasons for continental birds, while Mediterranean individuals migrated faster in spring. The likelihood of departure for autumn migration of GPS-tagged birds increased when temperatures were near or below 0 °C suggesting that Stone-curlews tend to delay departure until weather conditions worsen abruptly. As a consequence of global warming in the Mediterranean, the frequency of migratory birds in the considered populations might decrease in the near future. This could affect the distribution of species throughout the year and should be taken into account when targeting conservation measures

    Environmental awareness gained during a citizen science project in touristic resorts is maintained after 3 years since participation

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    The research leading to these results has received funding from Project AWARE Foundation, ASTOI Association, Milano, Ministry of Tourism of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Settemari S. p. A Tour Operator, Scuba Nitrox Safety International, Viaggio nel Blu Diving Center.Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in the world. It has a positive effect on the economy of many countries, but it can also lead to negative impacts on local ecosystems. Informal environmental education through Citizen Science (CS) projects can be effective in increasing citizen environmental knowledge and awareness in the short-term. A change of awareness could bring to a behavioral change in the long-term, making tourism more sustainable. However, the long-term effects of participating in CS projects are still unknown. This is the first follow-up study concerning the effects of participating in a CS project on cognitive and psychological aspects at the basis of pro-environmental behavior. An environmental education program was developed, between 2012 and 2013, in a resort in Marsa Alam, Egypt. The study directly evaluated, through paper questionnaires, the short-term (after 1 week or 10 days) retention of knowledge and awareness of volunteers that had participated in the activities proposed by the program. After three years, participants were re-contacted via email to fill in the same questionnaire as in the short-term study, plus a new section with psychological variables. 40.5% of the re-contacted participants completed the follow-up questionnaires with a final sample size of fifty-five people for this study. Notwithstanding the limited sample size, positive trends in volunteer awareness, personal satisfaction regarding the CS project, and motivation to engage in pro-environmental behavior in the long-term were observed.Publisher PDFPeer reviewe

    IFLA Library Reference Model (LRM) : Un modello concettuale per le informazioni bibliografiche

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    IFLA Library Reference Model (LRM) is a high-level conceptual reference model developed within an entity-relationship modelling framework. It is the consolidation of the separately developed IFLA conceptual models: FRBR, FRAD, FRSAD. IFLA LRM was developed to resolve inconsistencies between the three separate models. Every user task, entity, attribute and relationship from the original three models was examined, definitions had to be revised, but also some remodelling was required in order to develop a meaningful consolidation. The result is a single, streamlined, and logically consistent model that covers all aspects of bibliographic data and that at the same time brings the modelling up-to-date with current conceptual modelling practices. IFLA LRM was designed to be used in linked data environments and to support and promote the use of bibliographic data in linked data environments

    RENEB accident simulation exercise

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    Purpose: The RENEB accident exercise was carried out in order to train the RENEB participants in coordinating and managing potentially large data sets that would be generated in case of a major radiological event. Materials and methods: Each participant was offered the possibility to activate the network by sending an alerting email about a simulated radiation emergency. The same participant had to collect, compile and report capacity, triage categorization and exposure scenario results obtained from all other participants. The exercise was performed over 27 weeks and involved the network consisting of 28 institutes: 21 RENEB members, four candidates and three non-RENEB partners. Results: The duration of a single exercise never exceeded 10 days, while the response from the assisting laboratories never came later than within half a day. During each week of the exercise, around 4500 samples were reported by all service laboratories (SL) to be examined and 54 scenarios were coherently estimated by all laboratories (the standard deviation from the mean of all SL answers for a given scenario category and a set of data was not larger than 3 patient codes). Conclusions: Each participant received training in both the role of a reference laboratory (activating the network) and of a service laboratory (responding to an activation request). The procedures in the case of radiological event were successfully established and tested
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