3,309 research outputs found

    Islamic finance and conventional financial systems. Market trends, supervisory perspectives and implications for central banking activity

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    The paper analyses Islamic finance from the central bank and supervisory authorityÂ’s perspective, focusing on the European and Italian context. It depicts a rapidly expanding sector, with recent annual growth rates of between 10 and 15 percent and a geographical presence that now reaches several Western countries. Future prospects, however, could be hampered by problems concerning the standardization of products, governance structure, supervisory regulation, monetary policy instruments, and liquidity management. Islamic intermediaries are not necessarily riskier than traditional counterparts but their operational structure tends to be more complex. Key issues in supervision include the treatment of investment accounts and transparency. It has been seen that there are limits to the efficiency of the monetary policy instruments developed so far to remedy the prohibition of interest; moreover, the growth of interbank and money markets is hindered by a shortage of "Shari'ah-compliant" products. Problems arising from the participation of Islamic banks in payment systems are also discussed.Islamic finance, Islamic financial institutions, supervision, monetary policy instrments, payment systems

    Adalimumab-Based Treatment Versus Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs for Venous Thrombosis in Behçet's Syndrome: A Retrospective Study of Seventy Patients With Vascular Involvement

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    Objective: Since Behçet's syndrome (BS) is the prototype of inflammation-induced thrombosis, immunosuppressants are recommended in place of anticoagulants. We undertook this study to assess the clinical efficacy and the corticosteroid-sparing effect of adalimumab (ADA)–based treatment versus disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy in a large retrospective cohort of patients with BS-related venous thrombosis. Methods: We retrospectively collected data on 70 BS patients treated with DMARDs or ADA-based regimens (ADA with or without DMARDs) because of venous complications. Clinical and imaging evaluations were performed to define vascular response. We explored differences in outcomes between ADA-based regimens and DMARDs with respect to efficacy, corticosteroid-sparing role, and time on treatment. We also evaluated the role of anticoagulants as concomitant treatment. Results: After a mean ± SD follow-up period of 25.7 ± 23.2 months, ADA-based regimens induced clinical and imaging improvement of venous thrombosis more frequently (P = 0.001) and rapidly (P < 0.0001) than did DMARDs. The mean dose of corticosteroids administered at the last follow-up visit was significantly lower with ADA-based regimens than with DMARDs (P < 0.0001). The time on treatment was significantly longer with ADA plus DMARDs than with DMARDs alone (P = 0.002). No differences were found in terms of efficacy and time on treatment between DMARDs or ADA-based regimens among patients who received anticoagulants and those who did not. Conclusion: In this large retrospective study, we have shown that ADA-based regimens are more effective and rapid than DMARDs in inducing resolution of venous thrombosis in BS patients, allowing reduction of steroid exposure. Moreover, our findings suggest that anticoagulation does not modify the efficacy of either ADA-based regimens or DMARDs for venous complications

    Clinical expression of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy in carriers of 1-3 D4Z4 reduced alleles: Experience of the FSHD Italian National Registry

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    OBJECTIVES: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy type 1 (FSHD1) has been genetically linked to reduced numbers ( 64 8) of D4Z4 repeats at 4q35. Particularly severe FSHD cases, characterised by an infantile onset and presence of additional extra-muscular features, have been associated with the shortest D4Z4 reduced alleles with 1-3 repeats (1-3 DRA). We searched for signs of perinatal onset and evaluated disease outcome through the systematic collection of clinical and anamnestic records of de novo and familial index cases and their relatives, carrying 1-3 DRA. SETTING: Italy. PARTICIPANTS: 66 index cases and 33 relatives carrying 1-3 DRA. OUTCOMES: The clinical examination was performed using the standardised FSHD evaluation form with validated inter-rater reliability. To investigate the earliest signs of disease, we designed the Infantile Anamnestic Questionnaire (IAQ). Comparison of age at onset was performed using the non-parametric Wilcoxon rank-sum or Kruskal-Wallis test. Comparison of the FSHD score was performed using a general linear model and Wald test. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to estimate the age-specific cumulative motor impairment risk. RESULTS: No patients had perinatal onset. Among index cases, 36 (54.5%) showed the first signs by 10 years of age. The large majority of patients with early disease onset (26 out of 36, 72.2%) were de novo; whereas the majority of patients with disease onset after 10 years of age were familial (16, 53.3%). Comparison of the disease severity outcome between index cases with age at onset before and over 10 years of age, failed to detect statistical significance (Wald test p value=0.064). Of 61 index cases, only 17 (27.9%) presented extra-muscular conditions. Relatives carrying 1-3 DRA showed a large clinical variability ranging from healthy subjects, to patients with severe motor impairment. CONCLUSIONS: The size of the D4Z4 allele is not always predictive of severe clinical outcome. The high degree of clinical variability suggests that additional factors contribute to the phenotype complexity

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation of the precuneus enhances memory and neural activity in prodromal Alzheimer's disease

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    Memory loss is one of the first symptoms of typical Alzheimer's disease (AD), for which there are no effective therapies available. The precuneus (PC) has been recently emphasized as a key area for the memory impairment observed in early AD, likely due to disconnection mechanisms within large-scale networks such as the default mode network (DMN). Using a multimodal approach we investigated in a two-week, randomized, sham-controlled, double-blinded trial the effects of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the PC on cognition, as measured by the Alzheimer Disease Cooperative Study Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite in 14 patients with early AD (7 females). TMS combined with electroencephalography (TMS-EEG) was used to detect changes in brain connectivity. We found that rTMS of the PC induced a selective improvement in episodic memory, but not in other cognitive domains. Analysis of TMS-EEG signal revealed an increase of neural activity in patients' PC, an enhancement of brain oscillations in the beta band and a modification of functional connections between the PC and medial frontal areas within the DMN. Our findings show that high-frequency rTMS of the PC is a promising, non-invasive treatment for memory dysfunction in patients at early stages of AD. This clinical improvement is accompanied by modulation of brain connectivity, consistently with the pathophysiological model of brain disconnection in AD

    Applications of Ketogenic Diets in Patients with Headache: Clinical Recommendations

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    Headaches are among the most prevalent and disabling neurologic disorders and there are several unmet needs as current pharmacological options are inadequate in treating patients with chronic headache, and a growing interest focuses on nutritional approaches as non-pharmacological treatments. Among these, the largest body of evidence supports the use of the ketogenic diet (KD). Exactly 100 years ago, KD was first used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, but subsequent applications of this diet also involved other neurological disorders. Evidence of KD effectiveness in migraine emerged in 1928, but in the last several year's different groups of researchers and clinicians began utilizing this therapeutic option to treat patients with drug-resistant migraine, cluster headache, and/or headache comorbid with metabolic syndrome. Here we describe the existing evidence supporting the potential benefits of KDs in the management of headaches, explore the potential mechanisms of action involved in the efficacy in-depth, and synthesize results of working meetings of an Italian panel of experts on this topic. The aim of the working group was to create a clinical recommendation on indications and optimal clinical practice to treat patients with headaches using KDs. The results we present here are designed to advance the knowledge and application of KDs in the treatment of headaches

    Brazilian guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of primary cutaneous melanoma - part II

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    The last Brazilian guidelines on melanoma were published in 2002. Development in diagnosis and treatment made updating necessary. The coordinators elaborated ten clinical questions, based on PICO system. A Medline search, according to specific MeSH terms for each of the 10 questions was performed and articles selected were classified from A to D according to level of scientific evidence. Based on the results, recommendations were defined and classified according to scientific strength. The present Guidelines were divided in two parts for editorial and publication reasons. In this second part, the following clinical questions were answered: 1) which patients with primary cutaneous melanoma benefit from sentinel lymph node biopsy? 2) Follow-up with body mapping is indicated for which patients? 3) Is preventive excision of acral nevi beneficious to patients? 4) Is preventive excision of giant congenital nevi beneficious to patients? 5) How should stages 0 and I primary cutaneous melanoma patients be followed

    SARS-CoV-2 vaccination modelling for safe surgery to save lives: Data from an international prospective cohort study

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    Background: Preoperative SARS-CoV-2 vaccination could support safer elective surgery. Vaccine numbers are limited so this study aimed to inform their prioritization by modelling. Methods: The primary outcome was the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) to prevent one COVID-19-related death in 1 year. NNVs were based on postoperative SARS-CoV-2 rates and mortality in an international cohort study (surgical patients), and community SARS-CoV-2 incidence and case fatality data (general population). NNV estimates were stratified by age (18-49, 50-69, 70 or more years) and type of surgery. Best- and worst-case scenarios were used to describe uncertainty. Results: NNVs were more favourable in surgical patients than the general population. The most favourable NNVs were in patients aged 70 years or more needing cancer surgery (351; best case 196, worst case 816) or non-cancer surgery (733; best case 407, worst case 1664). Both exceeded the NNV in the general population (1840; best case 1196, worst case 3066). NNVs for surgical patients remained favourable at a range of SARS-CoV-2 incidence rates in sensitivity analysis modelling. Globally, prioritizing preoperative vaccination of patients needing elective surgery ahead of the general population could prevent an additional 58 687 (best case 115 007, worst case 20 177) COVID-19-related deaths in 1 year. Conclusion: As global roll out of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination proceeds, patients needing elective surgery should be prioritized ahead of the general population

    Biologically driven cut-off definition of lymphocyte ratios in metastatic breast cancer and association with exosomal subpopulations and prognosis

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    High neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and monocyte to lymphocyte ratio (MLR) are respectively associated with systemic inflammation and immune suppression and have been associated with a poor outcome. Plasmatic exosomes are extracellular vesicles involved in the intercellular communication system that can exert an immunosuppressive function. Aim of this study was to investigate the interplay between the immune system and circulating exosomes in metastatic breast cancer (MBC). A threshold capable to classify patients according to MLR, NLR and PLR, was computed through a receiving operator curve analysis after propensity score matching with a series of female blood donors. Exosomes were isolated from plasma by ExoQuick solution and characterized by flow-cytometry. NLR, MLR, PLR and exosomal subpopulations potentially involved in the pre-metastatic niche were significantly different in MBC patients with respect to controls. MLR was significantly associated with number of sites at the onset of metastatic disease, while high levels of MLR and NLR were found to be associated with poor prognosis. Furthermore, exosomal subpopulations varied according to NLR, MLR, PLR and both were associated with different breast cancer subtypes and sites of distant involvement. This study highlights the nuanced role of immunity in MBC spread, progression and outcome. Moreover, they suggest potential interaction mechanisms between immunity, MBC and the metastatic niche

    The influence of autistic symptoms on social and non-social cognition and on real-life functioning in people with schizophrenia: Evidence from the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses multicenter study

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    BACKGROUND: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs), although conceptualized as separate entities, may share some clinical and neurobiological features. ASD symptoms may have a relevant role in determining a more severe clinical presentation of schizophrenic disorder but their relationships with cognitive aspects and functional outcomes of the disease remain to be addressed in large samples of individuals. AIMS: To investigate the clinical, cognitive, and functional correlates of ASD symptoms in a large sample of people diagnosed with schizophrenia. METHODS: The severity of ASD symptoms was measured with the PANSS Autism Severity Scale (PAUSS) in 921 individuals recruited for the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses multicenter study. Based on the PAUSS scores, three groups of subjects were compared on a wide array of cognitive and functional measures. RESULTS: Subjects with more severe ASD symptoms showed a poorer performance in the processing speed (p\ua0=\ua00.010), attention (p\ua0=\ua00.011), verbal memory (p\ua0=\ua00.035), and social cognition (p\ua0=\ua00.001) domains, and an overall lower global cognitive composite score (p\ua0=\ua00.010). Subjects with more severe ASD symptoms also showed poorer functional capacity (p\ua0=\ua00.004), real-world interpersonal relationships (p\ua0<\ua00.001), and participation in community-living activities (p\ua0<\ua00.001). CONCLUSIONS: These findings strengthen the notion that ASD symptoms may have a relevant impact on different aspects of the disease, crucial to the life of people with schizophrenia. Prominent ASD symptoms may characterize a specific subpopulation of individuals with SSD
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