516 research outputs found

    Evaluation of the analytical variability of dipstick protein pads in canine urine

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    BackgroundThe dipstick is a first-line and inexpensive test that can exclude the presence of proteinuria in dogs. However, no information is available about the analytical variability of canine urine dipstick analysis. ObjectivesThe aim of this study was to assess the analytical variability in 2 dipsticks and the inter-operator variability in dipstick interpretation. MethodsCanine urine supernatants (n = 174) were analyzed with 2 commercially available dipsticks. Two observers evaluated each result blinded to the other observer and to the results of the other dipstick. Intra- and inter-assay variability was assessed in 5 samples (corresponding to the 5 different semi-quantitative results) tested 10 consecutive times over 5 consecutive days. The agreement between observers and between dipsticks was evaluated with Cohen's k test. ResultsIntra-assay repeatability was good (3/10 errors), whereas inter-assay variability was higher (from 1/5 to 4/5 discordant results). The concordance between the operators (k = 0.68 and 0.79 for the 2 dipsticks) and that of the dipsticks (k = 0.66 and 0.74 for the 2 operators) was good. However, 1 observer and 1 dipstick overestimated the results compared with the second observer or dipstick. In any case, discordant results accounted for a single unit of the semi-quantitative scale. ConclusionsAs for any other method, analytic variability may affect the semi-quantitation of urinary proteins when using the dipstick method. Subjective interpretation of the pad and, to a lesser extent, intrinsic staining properties of the pads could affect the results. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the effect of this variability on clinical decisions

    Scattering as a quantum metrology problem: a quantum walk approach

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    We address the scattering of a quantum particle by a one-dimensional barrier potential over a set of discrete positions. We formalize the problem as a continuous-time quantum walk on a lattice with an impurity, and use the quantum Fisher information as a mean to quantify the maximal possible accuracy in the estimation of the height of the barrier. We introduce suitable initial states of the walker and derive the reflection and transmission probabilities of the scattered state. We show that while the quantum Fisher information is affected by the width and central momentum of the initial wave packet, this dependency is weaker for the quantum signal-to-noise ratio. We also show that a dichotomic position measurement provides a nearly optimal detection scheme

    The effect of renal diet in association with enalapril or benazepril on proteinuria in dogs with proteinuric chronic kidney disease

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    Treating proteinuria in dogs reduces the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD); renal diets and angiotensin - converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitors are cornerstones of treatment. Whether different ACE-inhibitors have distinct kidney protective effects is unknown; it is therefore hypothesized that renal diets and enalapril or benazepril have different beneficial effects in proteinuric CKD dogs. Forty-four dogs with proteinuric CKD (IRIS stages 1-4) were enrolled in the study and were fed renal diet for 30 days. Thereafter, they were randomly assigned to one of 2 groups. Dogs in group A (n=22) received enalapril (0.5 mg/kg, q12h) and in group B (n=22) benazepril (0.5 mg/kg, q24h); in both groups, dogs were fed the same renal diet. After randomization, dogs were monitored for 120 days. Body weight and body condition score (BCS), serum concentrations of creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), albumin and total proteins, and urine protein-to-creatinine (UPC) ratio were compared at different time-points. After 30 days of renal diet, creatinine, BUN and UPC ratio decreased significantly (p<0.0001). Compared to randomization, body weight, BCS, albumin, total proteins, creatinine and BUN did not vary during follow-up in the 44 dogs and differences between group A and B were not observed. However, the UPC ratio of group A at day 60, 90 and 150 was significantly lower than in group B and compared to randomization (p<0.05). In group B it did not vary overtime. It is concluded that the renal diet is beneficial to decrease creatinine, BUN and UPC ratio in proteinuric CKD dogs. Enalapril further ameliorates proteinuria if administered along with renal diet

    Efficacy of afoxolaner (NexGard®) in preventing the transmission of Leishmania infantum and Dirofilaria immitis to sheltered dogs in a highly endemic area

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    Background: Leishmania infantum and Dirofilaria immitis are among the most important canine vector-borne pathogens (CVBPs) of zoonotic concern in Europe. In endemic areas for both of these CVBPs, the use of systemic ectoparasiticides, such as afoxolaner (NexGard®; Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health), may have the potential for controlling these infections. The aim of this study was to assess, for the first time, the insecticidal efficacy of NexGard® in decreasing the transmission of D. immitis and L. infantum to sheltered dogs living in a hyperendemic area, compared to the year before treatment, as well as its impact on the abundance of mosquito and sand fly populations. Methods: All dogs (n = 179) enrolled in the study were divided into two groups based on their infection status at enrollment: a non-infected group (G1) and an infected group (G2; infected with D. immitis, L. infantum or both). The study was conducted from March 2020 to March 2021. In order to exclude all animals infected with L. infantum and D. immitis before March 2020 (sampling time: T0), dogs in G1 were sampled in June (T1; i.e. T0 + 90 days) and in October 2020 (T2; i.e. T0 + 210 days). From March to September 2020, all animals (G1 and G2) were weighed and treated monthly with NexGard®. Animals in G1 were tested for the last time in March 2021 (T3; i.e. T0 + 330 days) for assessing post-treatment incidence rate of infection and prevention efficacy. Results: The post-treatment incidence of D. immitis was 3.7% (1/27; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.2–18.1) and that of L. infantum was 3.6% (3/83; 95% CI: 1.0–10.1). Considering the annual incidence in 2019 and 2020, the protective efficacy against D. immitis and L. infantum infections was 94.2 and 64%, respectively. Of the female mosquitoes collected (n = 146), only one pool out of 50 tested positive for D. immitis DNA, whereas out of 1252 female Sergentomya minuta specimens collected, only four tested positive for L. infantum (0.3%). Conclusions: Afoxolaner is efficacious in decreasing the rate of transmission of both D. immitis and L. infantum; however, comparison of the pre- and post-treatment period demonstrated that there was a significant difference only in the seasonal incidences of D. immitis infection. Preventive measures are recommended throughout the year in endemic areas to reduce the risk of pathogen transmission to animals and humans. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

    Clinical, haematological and biochemical findings in tigers infected by leishmania infantum

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    Background: A large number of animal species are susceptible to Leishmania infantum (Kinetoplastida, Trypanosomatidae) in endemic areas, including domestic and wild felids such as tigers (Panthera tigris). Knowledge on the infection of this endangered species is still at its infancy, and therefore this study aims to identify clinical presentation and clinicopathological findings of tigers naturally infected by L. infantum. Results: Tigers either L. infantum-positive (group A) or -negative (group B) were apparently healthy or presented visceral leishmaniasis unrelated conditions, except for one animal in which a large non-healing cutaneous lesion was observed. However, histological exam and immunohistochemistry carried out on the lesion excluded the presence of L. infantum amastigotes. Biochemical analysis showed that the average concentration of total proteins, globulins and haptoglobin were significantly higher (p < 0.01, p = 0.01 and p = 0.02, respectively), while the albumin/globulin ratio significantly lower (p = 0.05) in group A compared with group B. The biochemical alterations were partially confirmed by the serum protein electrophoresis results revealing a significant increase in the total protein value (p = 0.01) and hypergammaglobulinemia (p = 0.03) but an unmodified albumin/globulin ratio in group A. Conclusions: In this study tigers infected by L. infantum have shown to be mainly asymptomatic. The absence of clinical signs may lead veterinarians to overlook leishmaniasis in animals kept in captivity. Therefore, diagnostic and screening tests as serology should be part of routinely surveillance programs to be performed on tigers in zoological gardens located in endemic areas. Though only few protein-related laboratory abnormalities were recorded in infected animals, they could provide diagnostic clues for a first suspicion of L. infantum infection in tigers. Indeed, considering the high risk of zoonotic transmission in heavily frequented environment as zoos, a prompt diagnosis of L. infantum infection is of pivotal importance

    Leishmania infantum and Dirofilaria immitis infections in Italy, 2009-2019: Changing distribution patterns

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    Background: For long time, canine leishmaniosis (CanL) was considered endemic in the southern, central, and insular regions of Italy, whereas heartworm disease (HW) caused by Dirofilaria immitis was considered endemic in the northern region and in the swampy Po Valley. Following the reports of new foci of both diseases, in this study we update the distribution patterns and occurrence of new foci of CanL and HW discussing the main drivers for the changes in the epidemiology of these two important zoonotic canine vector-borne diseases. Methods: Based on the statistical analyses of serological assays (n = 90,633) on L. infantum exposure and D. immitis infection performed by two reference diagnostic centres in Italy over a ten-year period (2009-2019) irrespective of the anamnesis of dogs. The distribution patterns of both parasites are herein presented along with the occurrence of new foci. Results: Results highlighted the changing distribution patterns of L. infantum vs D. immitis infection in Italy. CanL is endemic in some areas of northern regions and HW has endemic foci in central and southern regions and islands. Significant differences in L. infantum exposure and HW infection prevalence among the study macroareas were detected. The overall results of the positive tested samples were 28.2% in southern Italy and islands, 29.6% in central Italy and 21.6% in northern Italy for L. infantum and 2.83% in northern Italy, 7.75% in central Italy and 4.97% in southern Italy and islands for HW. HW positivity significantly varied over years (χ 2 = 108.401, df = 10, P < 0.0001), gradually increasing from 0.77% in 2009 to 8.47% in 2016-2017. Conclusions: New potential epidemiological scenarios are discussed according to a range of factors (e.g. environmental modifications, occurrence of competent insect vectors, transportation of infected animals to non-endemic areas, chemoprophylaxis or vector preventative measures), which may affect the current distribution. Overall, the results advocate for epidemiological surveillance programmes, more focussed preventative and control measures even in areas where few or no cases of both diseases have been diagnosed.[Figure not available: see fulltext.

    Enhancing the excitation gap of a quantum-dot-based Kitaev chain

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    Connecting double quantum dots via a semiconductor-superconductor hybrid segment offers a platform for creating a two-site Kitaev chain that hosts a pair of "poor man's Majoranas" at a finely tuned sweet spot. However, the effective couplings, which are mediated by Andreev bound states in the hybrid, are generally weak in the tunneling regime. As a consequence, the excitation gap is limited in size, presenting a formidable challenge for using this platform to demonstrate non-Abelian statistics of Majoranas and realizing error-resilient topological quantum computing. In this work, we systematically study the effects of increasing the coupling between the dot and the hybrid segment. In particular, the proximity effect transforms the dot orbitals into Yu-Shiba-Rusinov states, forming a new spinless fermion basis for a Kitaev chain, and we derive a theory for their effective coupling. As the coupling strength between the dots and the hybrid segment increases, we find a significant enhancement of the excitation gap and reduced sensitivity to local perturbations. Although the hybridization of the Majorana wave function with the central Andreev bound states increases strongly with increasing coupling, the overlap of Majorana modes on the outer dots remains small, which is a prerequisite for potential qubit experiments. We discuss how the strong-coupling regime shows in experimentally accessible quantities, such as the local and non-local conductance, and provide a protocol for tuning a double-dot system into a sweet spot with a large excitation gap.Comment: 12 pages, 9 figure

    Neck paraganglioma and follicular lymphoma: A case report

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    Background: Paragangliomas and pheochromocytomas are sympathetic or parasympathetic tumors derived from the paraganglia and the adrenal medulla, respectively. Paragangliomas and pheochromocytomas can be sporadic or familial, the latter frequently being multifocal and possibly due to succinate dehydrogenase complex genes mutations. In addition, 12% of sporadic paragangliomas are related to covered succinate dehydrogenase complex mutations. The importance of identifying succinate dehydrogenase complex mutations is related to the risk for these patients of developing multiple tumors, including non-endocrine ones, showing an aggressive clinical presentation. Case presentation: We report the case of a 45-year-old Caucasian man with an indolent mass in his neck. Ultrasound of his neck, magnetic resonance imaging, and 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N(I),N(II),N(III),N(IIII)-tetraacetic acid(D)-Phe(1)-thy(3)-octreotide (68Ga-DOTATOC) positron emission tomography-computed tomography and endocrine work-up were consistent with a carotid body paraganglioma with concomitant nodal enlargement in several body regions, which turned out to be a follicular lymphoma at histology. He was found to carry a germline Succinate dehydrogenase subunit B gene (SDHB) mutation. Conclusion: It is crucial to look for a second malignancy in the case of a paraganglioma demonstrating succinate dehydrogenase complex germline mutations


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    The recognition of spatial and temporal patterns in the distribution of a pandemic plays a pivotal role in guiding policy approaches to its management, containment and elimination. For this purpose, a database has been built for the COVID-19 pandemic in the Trentino Province, in the eastern Italian alps, near the border between Italy and Austria. The database management system and the WebGIS mapping these data is based on Free and Open Source Software. The Data Base Management System (DBMS) runs on MySQL, available under the GNU General Public License, storing and processing geographic data. A custom procedure has been created to update the dataset, with the capability to import data from suitably formatted spreadsheets by an authenticated administrator. To ensure flexibility and responsiveness on desktop and mobile devices, the WebGIS has been created with a client-side approach, using the Leaflet and Bootstrap JavaScript language libraries, available with Open Source Licenses. These libraries, with additional custom scripts, create the user interface and render geographic data into maps. The exchange of data between the DBMS server and the client is performed using geojson tables. To protect the privacy of the patients, WebGIS users cannot access the source data even though maps and graphs can be downloaded as pictures. Geo-statistical analysis aimed at the detection of spatial and temporal patters is underway
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