1,183 research outputs found

    A systematic review of the impact of psychosocial factors on immunity: Implications for enhancing BCG response against tuberculosis.

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    Background: Tuberculosis (TB) remains an urgent global public health priority, causing 1.5 million deaths worldwide in 2018. There is evidence that psychosocial factors modulate immune function; however, how this may influence TB risk or BCG vaccine response, and whether this pathway can be modified through social protection, has not been investigated. This paper aims to: a) systematically review evidence of how psychosocial factors influence the expression of biomarkers of immunity, and b) apply this general evidence to propose plausible TB-specific pathways for future study. Methods: Papers reporting on the impact of psychosocial stressors on immune biomarkers in relation to infectious disease risk were identified through a search of the databases MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Global Health and PsycEXTRA alongside reference list and citation searching of key papers. Data extraction and critical appraisal were carried out using a standardised form. The findings were tabulated and synthesised narratively by infectious disease category, and used to propose plausible mechanisms for how psychosocial exposures might influence immune outcomes relevant to TB and BCG response. Results: 27,026 citations were identified, of which 51 met the inclusion criteria. The literature provides evidence of a relationship between psychosocial factors and immune biomarkers. While the direction and strength of associations is heterogenous, some overarching patterns emerged: adverse psychosocial factors (e.g. stress) were generally associated with compromised vaccine response and higher antibody titres to herpesviruses, and vice versa for positive psychosocial factors (e.g. social support). Conclusions: The evidence identifies pathways linking psychosocial factors and immune response: co-viral infection and immune suppression, both of which are potentially relevant to TB and BCG response. However, the heterogeneity in the strength and nature of the impact of psychosocial factors on immune function, and lack of research on the implications of this relationship for TB, underscore the need for TB-specific research

    The construction of the meanings of #coronavirus on Twitter: An analysis of the initial reactions of the Italian people

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    The first months of 2020 saw the coronavirus pandemic explode. Moving from China, it arrived in Europe and hit Italy. The place where the debate around it exploded was the media ecosystem. In a short time, it was an explosion of tweets related to the hashtag #coronavirus on Twitter. With the aim of reconstructing the meanings of the hashtag and the content, in terms of sentiment and opinions, of the reactions of the Italians, we collected in a large size corpus, the hundred thousand Italian tweets containing the #coronavirus produced during the media hype period from the Twitter repository (February 24th - 28th, 2020). Media hype period was discovered by digging in the online articles of ‘la Repubblica', based on the presence of the words: coronavirus and Italy. The media hype is February 26th. The corpus underwent Emotional Text Mining (ETM), an unsupervised methodology, which allows social profiling based on communication. The study of the word chosen to talk about a topic and their co-occurrence allows the understanding of people’s symbolizations, representations, and sentiment, about the coronavirus. In a retrospective logic, this mechanism allows us to reconstruct the sensemaking and nuances of meaning attributed by users to the coronavirus hashtag

    Single-incision laparoscopic adnexectomy in an obese patient with previous laparotomies

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    No case of single-incision laparoscopic surgery in obese patients who had previously undergone multiple midline vertical laparotomies has been described in the literature to date. Hence we report the first case of single-port laparoscopic salpingo-oophorectomy in an obese patient who was affected by a left adnexal mass and who had previously undergone 3 midline vertical laparotomies

    No evidence of family history as a risk factor for herpes zoster in patients with post-herpetic neuralgia

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    Little is known about reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus as herpes zoster in individuals with no underlying immunosuppression. Risk factors include age, sex, ethnicity, exogenous boosting of immunity from varicella contacts, underlying cell-mediated immune disorders, mechanical trauma, psychological stress, and immunotoxin exposure. An association between herpes zoster and family history of zoster has been proposed. A case-control study involving patients affected by post-herpetic neuralgia, which usually follows more severe acute herpes zoster, was performed. The patients with post-herpetic neuralgia were enrolled at the Pain Clinic of the Policlinico Tor Vergata in Rome, Italy, within 1 year from the onset of acute zoster. The controls matched for sex and age were chosen among healthy subjects without a history of herpes zoster presenting at the Internal Medicine Outpatient Clinic for hypertension in the same time period. All the participants in the study gave informed consent and were interviewed by medically trained and blinded investigators using a questionnaire. Similar proportions of the patients and the controls reported a family history of herpes zoster irrespective of the degree of relationship, i.e., 17.4% and 18.2%, respectively, by analyzing only the first-degree relatives [RR 1.03 (CI 95%: 0.78-1.37)], and 28.4% and 29.6%, respectively, by analyzing the total number of relatives [RR 1.03 (CI 95%: 0.81-1.31)]. Further and larger prospective cohort studies are needed to ascertain whether a family history of herpes zoster is really an independent predictor of zoster in different geographical settings

    Artificial Intelligence in the Water–Energy–Food Model: A Holistic Approach towards Sustainable Development Goals

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    This study aims to analyze the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the Water–Energy–Food (WEF) nexus under the lens of institutional, stakeholder, and innovation theories. Specifically, this study focuses on AI as the technology adopted by companies to promote Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A structured literature review has been conducted on 94 articles published from 1990 to 2021 in ISI Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. This study develops an in-depth review of the literature on the main articles arguing about these issues. The findings highlight the increasing relevance of AI in the water, energy, and food industries individually considered, but the study of AI as a connector between water, energy, and food to achieve SDGs is still under investigation. Research on AI for WEF nexus management has adopted mostly a technical perspective, neglecting the relevance of management tools and the business model concept. Most of the articles did not adopt a specific theoretical lens, but scholars recognize the need to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach and the important role played by AI and other digital technologies to address the WEF nexus challenge. This study proposes an integrated approach for managing the nexus through AI technologies to meet sustainable and responsible business models. The gap between research and policy making could be filled by combining scientific data and policy needs with inclusive tools that are technically viable for sustainable resource utilization

    Investigating the Effect of Nudges on Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Genetically Modified Corn Oil

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    Shifting from conventional methods of food production to genetic modification methods benefits sustainable agri-food production and environmental preservation. However, one of the main problems genetically modified food manufacturers have ever had to deal with is the public acceptability of GM foods. This study has two major objectives. First, it intends to apply principles from behavioral economics to investigate how consumers’ willingness to pay for GM corn oil can be affected. For this purpose, two different nudges are tested by providing consumers with positive information regarding GMO and changing the wording of the GMO label. Then, a comparison between the effectiveness of each of them is provided. Second, it investigates the impact of trust in GM food institutions, GMO information, and perceived GMO risk on both WTP for GM edible oil and the effectiveness of each nudge. A between-subjects choice experiment with a sample size of 550 Iranian corn oil consumers was conducted in Mashhad from March to April 2021. The results of mixed logit models indicate that both nudges affected consumer valuation of GM corn oil significantly, while their effectiveness differed according to the consumer level of trust in the GM food institutions and the perceived risk of GMO. Increasing consumer trust and information raises the WTP for GM corn oil; however, perceived risk has no effect. This study introduces effortless tools that GM food manufacturers can consider in their marketing strategies to affect consumers in the desired way

    Neural representations underlying mental imagery as unveiled by representation similarity analysis

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    It is commonly acknowledged that visual imagery and perception rely on the same content-dependent brain areas in the high-level visual cortex (HVC). However, the way in which our brain processes and organizes previous acquired knowledge to allow the generation of mental images is still a matter of debate. Here, we performed a representation similarity analysis of three previous fMRI experiments conducted in our laboratory to characterize the neural representation underlying imagery and perception of objects, buildings and faces and to disclose possible dissimilarities in the neural structure of such representations. To this aim, we built representational dissimilarity matrices (RDMs) by computing multivariate distances between the activity patterns associated with each pair of stimuli in the content-dependent areas of the HVC and HC. We found that spatial information is widely coded in the HVC during perception (i.e. RSC, PPA and OPA) and imagery (OPA and PPA). Also, visual information seems to be coded in both preferred and non-preferred regions of the HVC, supporting a distributed view of encoding. Overall, the present results shed light upon the spatial coding of imagined and perceived exemplars in the HVC

    One's own country and familiar places in the mind's eye:different topological representations for navigational and non-navigational contents

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    Visual mental imagery is a process that draws on different cognitive abilities and is affected by the contents of mental images. Several studies have demonstrated that different brain areas subtend the mental imagery of navigational and non-navigational contents. Here, we set out to determine whether there are distinct representations for navigational and geographical images. Specifically, we used a Spatial Compatibility Task (SCT) to assess the mental representation of a familiar navigational space (the campus), a familiar geographical space (the map of Italy) and familiar objects (the clock). Twenty-one participants judged whether the vertical or the horizontal arrangement of items was correct. We found that distinct representational strategies were preferred to solve different categories on the SCT, namely, the horizontal perspective for the campus and the vertical perspective for the clock and the map of Italy. Furthermore, we found significant effects due to individual differences in the vividness of mental images and in preferences for verbal versus visual strategies, which selectively affect the contents of mental images. Our results suggest that imagining a familiar navigational space is somewhat different from imagining a familiar geographical space

    Effects of essential oils from Cymbopogon spp. and Cinnamomum verum on biofilm and virulence properties of Escherichia coli O157:H7

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    Every year, the pharmaceutical and food industries produce over 1000 tons of essential oils (EOs) exploitable in different fields as the development of eco-friendly and safe antimicrobial inhibitors. In this work we investigated the potential of some EOs, namely Cinnamomum verum, Cymbopogon martini, Cymbopogoncitratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus, on the growth, biofilm formation and gene expression in four strains of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. All EOs were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The antimicrobial activity was performed by using dilutions of EOs ranging from 0.001 to 1.2% (v/v). Subinhibitory doses were used for biofilm inhibition assay. The expression profiles were obtained by RT-PCR. E. coli O157:H7 virulence was evaluated in vivo in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. All EOs showed minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranging from 0.0075 to 0.3% (v/v). Cinnamomum verum bark EO had the best activity (MIC of 0.0075% (v/v) in all strains) while the C. verum leaf EO had an intermediate efficacy with MIC of 0.175% (v/v) in almost all strains. The Cymbopogon spp. showed the more variable MICs (ranging from 0.075 to 0.3% (v/v)) depending on the strain used. Transcriptional analysis showed that C. martini EO repressed several genes involved in biofilm formation, virulence, zinc homeostasis and encoding some membrane proteins. All EOs affected zinc homeostasis, reducing ykgM and zinT expression, and reduced the ability of E. coli O157:H7 to infect the nematode C. elegans. In conclusion, we demonstrated that these EOs, affecting E. coli O157:H7 infectivity, have a great potential to be used against infections caused by microorganisms
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