125 research outputs found

    Beneficial Effects of Silybin Treatment After Viral Eradication in Patients With HCV-Related Advanced Chronic Liver Disease: A Pilot Study

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    Introduction and Aims: HCV eradication by direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) improves liver outcomes and reduces overall liver mortality. However, patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) may experience a progression of liver disease despite viral clearance. Silybin has shown hepatoprotective effects in experimental models, but clinical data are limited. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of a highly bioavailable form of silybin on liver fibrosis in patients with HCV-related ACLD after viral eradication with DAAs, in comparison with the standard of care. Methods: In this multicenter and prospective study, HCV patients with ACLD achieving SVR12 were treated with the combination of silybinphospholipid complex with vitamin D and vitamin E (Realsil 100D(¼), Ibi Lorenzini S.p.A., Aprilia, Italy) for 12 months (R group) compared to controls (C group). Patients were submitted to transient elastography (TE) and to the enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF) test at baseline, week 24, and week 48. Results: One hundred sixteen patients were enrolled, 56 in the R group and 60 in the C group. The median age was 68 years, and 53% were male, with no differences between groups. In both groups, liver stiffness improved at 6 and 12 months compared to baseline. However, patients in the R group compared to those in the C group showed a higher reduction of liver stiffness after 6 months (−2.05, 95% CI −3.89 to −0.22, p < 0.05) and 12 months of treatment (−2.79, 95% CI −4.5 to −1.09, p < 0.01) in comparison with baseline. No significant difference in the reduction of ELF was observed between the two groups. During the follow-up, four patients developed HCC, all in the C group. Conclusions: In HCV-related ACLD, the hepatoprotective effects of silybin may represent a tool to counteract liver disease progression

    Free-standing graphene oxide and carbon nanotube hybrid papers with enhanced electrical and mechanic performance and their synergy in polymer laminates

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    Hybrid nanomaterials fabricated by the heterogeneous integration of 1D (carbon nanotubes) and 2D (graphene oxide) nanomaterials showed synergy in electrical and mechanical properties. Here, we reported the infiltration of carboxylic functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (C-SWNT) into free-standing graphene oxide (GO) paper for better electrical and mechanical properties than native GO. The stacking arrangement of GO sheets and its alteration in the presence of C-SWNT were comprehensively explored through scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray diffraction. The C-SWNTs bridges between different GO sheets produce a pathway for the flow of electrical charges and provide a tougher hybrid system. The nanoscopic surface potential map reveals a higher work function of the individual functionalised SWNTs than surrounded GO sheets showing efficient charge exchange. We observed the enhanced conductivity up to 50 times and capacitance up to 3.5 times of the hybrid structure than the GO-paper. The laminate of polystyrene composites provided higher elastic modulus and mechanical strength when hybrid paper is used, thus paving the way for the exploitation of hybrid filler formulation in designing polymer composites

    Performance of the X-Calibur Hard X-Ray Polarimetry Mission during its 2018/19 Long-Duration Balloon Flight

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    X-Calibur is a balloon-borne telescope that measures the polarization of high-energy X-rays in the 15--50keV energy range. The instrument makes use of the fact that X-rays scatter preferentially perpendicular to the polarization direction. A beryllium scattering element surrounded by pixellated CZT detectors is located at the focal point of the InFOC{\mu}S hard X-ray mirror. The instrument was launched for a long-duration balloon (LDB) flight from McMurdo (Antarctica) on December 29, 2018, and obtained the first constraints of the hard X-ray polarization of an accretion-powered pulsar. Here, we describe the characterization and calibration of the instrument on the ground and its performance during the flight, as well as simulations of particle backgrounds and a comparison to measured rates. The pointing system and polarimeter achieved the excellent projected performance. The energy detection threshold for the anticoincidence system was found to be higher than expected and it exhibited unanticipated dead time. Both issues will be remedied for future flights. Overall, the mission performance was nominal, and results will inform the design of the follow-up mission XL-Calibur, which is scheduled to be launched in summer 2022.Comment: 19 pages, 31 figures, submitted to Astropart. Phy

    Measurement of the cosmic ray spectrum above 4×10184{\times}10^{18} eV using inclined events detected with the Pierre Auger Observatory

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    A measurement of the cosmic-ray spectrum for energies exceeding 4×10184{\times}10^{18} eV is presented, which is based on the analysis of showers with zenith angles greater than 60∘60^{\circ} detected with the Pierre Auger Observatory between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2013. The measured spectrum confirms a flux suppression at the highest energies. Above 5.3×10185.3{\times}10^{18} eV, the "ankle", the flux can be described by a power law E−γE^{-\gamma} with index Îł=2.70±0.02 (stat)±0.1 (sys)\gamma=2.70 \pm 0.02 \,\text{(stat)} \pm 0.1\,\text{(sys)} followed by a smooth suppression region. For the energy (EsE_\text{s}) at which the spectral flux has fallen to one-half of its extrapolated value in the absence of suppression, we find Es=(5.12±0.25 (stat)−1.2+1.0 (sys))×1019E_\text{s}=(5.12\pm0.25\,\text{(stat)}^{+1.0}_{-1.2}\,\text{(sys)}){\times}10^{19} eV.Comment: Replaced with published version. Added journal reference and DO

    The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment: Exploring Fundamental Symmetries of the Universe

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    The preponderance of matter over antimatter in the early Universe, the dynamics of the supernova bursts that produced the heavy elements necessary for life and whether protons eventually decay --- these mysteries at the forefront of particle physics and astrophysics are key to understanding the early evolution of our Universe, its current state and its eventual fate. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) represents an extensively developed plan for a world-class experiment dedicated to addressing these questions. LBNE is conceived around three central components: (1) a new, high-intensity neutrino source generated from a megawatt-class proton accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, (2) a near neutrino detector just downstream of the source, and (3) a massive liquid argon time-projection chamber deployed as a far detector deep underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. This facility, located at the site of the former Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, is approximately 1,300 km from the neutrino source at Fermilab -- a distance (baseline) that delivers optimal sensitivity to neutrino charge-parity symmetry violation and mass ordering effects. This ambitious yet cost-effective design incorporates scalability and flexibility and can accommodate a variety of upgrades and contributions. With its exceptional combination of experimental configuration, technical capabilities, and potential for transformative discoveries, LBNE promises to be a vital facility for the field of particle physics worldwide, providing physicists from around the globe with opportunities to collaborate in a twenty to thirty year program of exciting science. In this document we provide a comprehensive overview of LBNE's scientific objectives, its place in the landscape of neutrino physics worldwide, the technologies it will incorporate and the capabilities it will possess.Comment: Major update of previous version. This is the reference document for LBNE science program and current status. Chapters 1, 3, and 9 provide a comprehensive overview of LBNE's scientific objectives, its place in the landscape of neutrino physics worldwide, the technologies it will incorporate and the capabilities it will possess. 288 pages, 116 figure

    Energy Estimation of Cosmic Rays with the Engineering Radio Array of the Pierre Auger Observatory

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    The Auger Engineering Radio Array (AERA) is part of the Pierre Auger Observatory and is used to detect the radio emission of cosmic-ray air showers. These observations are compared to the data of the surface detector stations of the Observatory, which provide well-calibrated information on the cosmic-ray energies and arrival directions. The response of the radio stations in the 30 to 80 MHz regime has been thoroughly calibrated to enable the reconstruction of the incoming electric field. For the latter, the energy deposit per area is determined from the radio pulses at each observer position and is interpolated using a two-dimensional function that takes into account signal asymmetries due to interference between the geomagnetic and charge-excess emission components. The spatial integral over the signal distribution gives a direct measurement of the energy transferred from the primary cosmic ray into radio emission in the AERA frequency range. We measure 15.8 MeV of radiation energy for a 1 EeV air shower arriving perpendicularly to the geomagnetic field. This radiation energy -- corrected for geometrical effects -- is used as a cosmic-ray energy estimator. Performing an absolute energy calibration against the surface-detector information, we observe that this radio-energy estimator scales quadratically with the cosmic-ray energy as expected for coherent emission. We find an energy resolution of the radio reconstruction of 22% for the data set and 17% for a high-quality subset containing only events with at least five radio stations with signal.Comment: Replaced with published version. Added journal reference and DO

    Measurement of the Radiation Energy in the Radio Signal of Extensive Air Showers as a Universal Estimator of Cosmic-Ray Energy

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    We measure the energy emitted by extensive air showers in the form of radio emission in the frequency range from 30 to 80 MHz. Exploiting the accurate energy scale of the Pierre Auger Observatory, we obtain a radiation energy of 15.8 \pm 0.7 (stat) \pm 6.7 (sys) MeV for cosmic rays with an energy of 1 EeV arriving perpendicularly to a geomagnetic field of 0.24 G, scaling quadratically with the cosmic-ray energy. A comparison with predictions from state-of-the-art first-principle calculations shows agreement with our measurement. The radiation energy provides direct access to the calorimetric energy in the electromagnetic cascade of extensive air showers. Comparison with our result thus allows the direct calibration of any cosmic-ray radio detector against the well-established energy scale of the Pierre Auger Observatory.Comment: Replaced with published version. Added journal reference and DOI. Supplemental material in the ancillary file

    Sex-related differences in aging rate are associated with sex chromosome system in amphibians

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    Sex-related differences in mortality are widespread in the animal kingdom. Although studies have shown that sex determination systems might drive lifespan evolution, sex chromosome influence on aging rates have not been investigated so far, likely due to an apparent lack of demographic data from clades including both XY (with heterogametic males) and ZW (heterogametic females) systems. Taking advantage of a unique collection of capture-recapture datasets in amphibians, a vertebrate group where XY and ZW systems have repeatedly evolved over the past 200 million years, we examined whether sex heterogamy can predict sex differences in aging rates and lifespans. We showed that the strength and direction of sex differences in aging rates (and not lifespan) differ between XY and ZW systems. Sex-specific variation in aging rates was moderate within each system, but aging rates tended to be consistently higher in the heterogametic sex. This led to small but detectable effects of sex chromosome system on sex differences in aging rates in our models. Although preliminary, our results suggest that exposed recessive deleterious mutations on the X/Z chromosome (the "unguarded X/Z effect") or repeat-rich Y/W chromosome (the "toxic Y/W effect") could accelerate aging in the heterogametic sex in some vertebrate clades.Peer reviewe

    Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on liver cancer management (CERO-19).

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    BACKGROUND & AIMS: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to healthcare systems and it may have heavily impacted patients with liver cancer (LC). Herein, we evaluated whether the schedule of LC screening or procedures has been interrupted or delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: An international survey evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on clinical practice and clinical trials from March 2020 to June 2020, as the first phase of a multicentre, international, and observational project. The focus was on patients with hepatocellular carcinoma or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, cared for around the world during the first COVID-19 pandemic wave. RESULTS: Ninety-one centres expressed interest to participate and 76 were included in the analysis, from Europe, South America, North America, Asia, and Africa (73.7%, 17.1%, 5.3%, 2.6%, and 1.3% per continent, respectively). Eighty-seven percent of the centres modified their clinical practice: 40.8% the diagnostic procedures, 80.9% the screening programme, 50% cancelled curative and/or palliative treatments for LC, and 41.7% modified the liver transplantation programme. Forty-five out of 69 (65.2%) centres in which clinical trials were running modified their treatments in that setting, but 58.1% were able to recruit new patients. The phone call service was modified in 51.4% of centres which had this service before the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 19/37). CONCLUSIONS: The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had a tremendous impact on the routine care of patients with liver cancer. Modifications in screening, diagnostic, and treatment algorithms may have significantly impaired the outcome of patients. Ongoing data collection and future analyses will report the benefits and disadvantages of the strategies implemented, aiding future decision-making. LAY SUMMARY: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to healthcare systems globally. Herein, we assessed the impact of the first wave pandemic on patients with liver cancer and found that routine care for these patients has been majorly disrupted, which could have a significant impact on outcomes