6,368 research outputs found

    Leave-one-out prediction error of systolic arterial pressure time series under paced breathing

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    In this paper we show that different physiological states and pathological conditions may be characterized in terms of predictability of time series signals from the underlying biological system. In particular we consider systolic arterial pressure time series from healthy subjects and Chronic Heart Failure patients, undergoing paced respiration. We model time series by the regularized least squares approach and quantify predictability by the leave-one-out error. We find that the entrainment mechanism connected to paced breath, that renders the arterial blood pressure signal more regular, thus more predictable, is less effective in patients, and this effect correlates with the seriousness of the heart failure. The leave-one-out error separates controls from patients and, when all orders of nonlinearity are taken into account, alive patients from patients for which cardiac death occurred

    Phase shifts of synchronized oscillators and the systolic/diastolic blood pressure relation

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    We study the phase-synchronization properties of systolic and diastolic arterial pressure in healthy subjects. We find that delays in the oscillatory components of the time series depend on the frequency bands that are considered, in particular we find a change of sign in the phase shift going from the Very Low Frequency band to the High Frequency band. This behavior should reflect a collective behavior of a system of nonlinear interacting elementary oscillators. We prove that some models describing such systems, e.g. the Winfree and the Kuramoto models offer a clue to this phenomenon. For these theoretical models there is a linear relationship between phase shifts and the difference of natural frequencies of oscillators and a change of sign in the phase shift naturally emerges.Comment: 8 figures, 9 page

    Expanded Endoscopic Approach for Anterior Skull Base Tumors: Experience of a Multidisciplinary Skull Base Team

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    Abstract: The aim of this study is to describe the experience of a multidisciplinary skull base team with transnasal endoscopic surgery for anterior cranial base tumors. A retrospective chart review was conducted on patients who underwent an exclusive expanded transnasal approach to the anterior skull base in the period from December 2014 to November 2015. Data on patient demographics, tumor characteristics, surgical information, imaging, and postoperative complications were collected and analyzed. From a total of 120 patients with skull base diseases managed by the skull base team, 36 were admitted to this study. The overall complication rate in this series was 16.7%, gross total resection was achieved in 32 cases (88.9%) and postoperative CSF leakage occurred in 5 cases (13.9%). Our preliminary results confirm that an exclusive endoscopic transnasal approach to the anterior cranial base

    Ultrafast Electrochemical Self-Doping of Anodic Titanium Dioxide Nanotubes for Enhanced Electroanalytical and Photocatalytic Performance

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    This study explores an ultrarapid electrochemical self-doping procedure applied to anodic titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotube arrays in an alkaline solution to boost their performance for electroanalytical and photocatalytic applications. The electrochemical self-doping process (i.e., the creation of surface Ti3+ states by applying a negative potential) is recently emerging as a simpler and cleaner way to improve the electronic properties of TiO2 compared to traditional chemical and high-temperature doping strategies. Here, self-doping was carried out through varying voltages and treatment times to identify the most performing materials without compromising their structural stability. Interestingly, cyclic voltammetry characterization revealed that undoped TiO2 shows negligible activity, whereas all self-doped materials demonstrate their suitability as electrode materials: an outstandingly short 10 s self-doping treatment leads to the highest electrochemical activity. The electrochemical detection of hydrogen peroxide was assessed as well, demonstrating a good sensitivity and a linear detection range of 3–200 µM. Additionally, the self-doped TiO2 nanotubes exhibited an enhanced photocatalytic activity compared to the untreated substrate: the degradation potential of methylene blue under UV light exposure increased by 25% in comparison to undoped materials. Overall, this study highlights the potential of ultrafast electrochemical self-doping to unleash and improve TiO2 nanotubes performances for electroanalytical and photocatalytic applications

    Cost-effectiveness of intravitreal therapy with both anti-VEGF and Dexamethasone implant in patients with Diabetic Macular Edema

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    Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of intravitreal therapy (IVT) with both anti-VEGF and Dexamethasone implant in patients with Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) during two years’ follow-up. Methods: A retrospective review of 191 patients (382 eyes) with type I and II diabetes and DME was performed. Pre-IVT and final best correct visual acuity (BCVA), central macular thickness (CMT), intraocular pressure (IOP), number and type of IVT,number of examinations, and fluorescein angiography were assessed. Based on surgery procedure other than IVT, patients were divided into 5 groups. To avoid bias, we analysed only patients who had undergone cataract surgery before (group 1) or during enrolment (group 2). Results: 41 eyes from Group 1 and 48 eyes from group 2 were evaluated. Median BCVA ranged between 20/80 and 20/63 Snellen (P = 0.008) in Group 1 and from 20/63 to 20/40 Snellen (P = 0.0035) in Group 2, while improvement up to 1 Snellen line was observed in 58.5 and 68.75% of eyes in Group 1 and 2, respectively.In terms of median CMT, a statistically reduction (P = 0.0007) was found in Group 2 (-85 μm), whereas no statistical differences were found in Group 1. The two groups showed no statistically significant difference in median IOP. The estimated cost per eye was €7803 in Group 1 and €8988 Group 2, whereas the mean cost per patient was €15190 and €16580 in Group 1 and 2, respectively. Analysis between groups did not show any statistical difference in the considered parameters. Conclusions: In this study, despite the high treatment cost, vision improvement in DME patients undergoing IVT was disappointing. Our results emphasise the need for a better understanding of the cost-effectiveness of DME treatmen

    Advancements in combining electronic animal identification and augmented reality technologies in digital livestock farming

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    Modern livestock farm technologies allow operators to have access to a multitude of data thanks to the high number of mobile and fixed sensors available on both the livestock farming machinery and the animals. These data can be consulted via PC, tablet, and smartphone, which must be handheld by the operators, leading to an increase in the time needed for on-field activities. In this scenario, the use of augmented reality smart glasses could allow the visualization of data directly in the field, providing for a hands-free environment for the operator to work. Nevertheless, to visualize specific animal information, a connection between the augmented reality smart glasses and electronic animal identification is needed. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to develop and test a wearable framework, called SmartGlove that is able to link RFID animal tags and augmented reality smart glasses via a Bluetooth connection, allowing the visualization of specific animal data directly in the field. Moreover, another objective of the study was to compare different levels of augmented reality technologies (assisted reality vs. mixed reality) to assess the most suitable solution for livestock management scenarios. For this reason, the developed framework and the related augmented reality smart glasses applications were tested in the laboratory and in the field. Furthermore, the stakeholders’ point of view was analyzed using two standard questionnaires, the NASA-Task Load Index and the IBM-Post Study System Usability Questionnaire. The outcomes of the laboratory tests underlined promising results regarding the operating performances of the developed framework, showing no significant differences if compared to a commercial RFID reader. During the on-field trial, all the tested systems were capable of performing the task in a short time frame. Furthermore, the operators underlined the advantages of using the SmartGlove system coupled with the augmented reality smart glasses for the direct on-field visualization of animal data

    Impact of Horse Grazing on Floristic Diversity in Mediterranean Small Standing-Water Ecosystems (SWEs)

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    Small standing-Water Ecosystems (SWEs), despite their pivotal ecological role due to their participation in hydrogeological processes and their richness in biodiversity, seem to be often overlooked by the scientific community. In this study, the vascular plant diversity in some representative SWEs, that host a peculiar assemblage of plant and animal species, was investigated in relation to the disturbance effects of a wild horse population. A total of 50 plots, equally distributed in small and large SWEs, were surveyed and a level of disturbance was attributed to each plot. We found greater species richness in small and undisturbed SWEs, which suggests the negative impact of horse grazing on the richness of plant species in this type of habitat. Significant differences in plant assemblage were found according to the disturbance level, whereas, contrary to what was observed for species richness, no differences were detected based on their size. The diversity indices, used to evaluate the richness and diversity in these areas, recorded the highest values for small and undisturbed areas. This result highlights that the disturbance of the horse grazing plays a pivotal role in affecting the diversity and richness of species in the SWEs. These findings suggest that SWE systems should be analyzed considering these areas as unique in order to allow the conservation of the plant richness and biodiversity of the SWE systems in conjunction with the protection of horses

    Is endoscopic inspection necessary to detect residual disease in acoustic neuroma surgery?

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    Main goals: To analyze how and when the endoscope is used in vestibular schwannoma surgery and identify the benefits of using endoscopy in this type of surgery. Background: It is currently unclear if there is any benefit from using an endoscope in vestibular schwannoma surgery so this retrospective analysis set out to study this. Methods: All the patients who underwent vestibular schwannoma surgery at our clinic were included for all the vestibular schwannoma approaches taken. We studied when endoscopy was used during surgery and the goal of using endoscopy. Several pre- and postoperative factors were assessed such as complications, facial function, and hearing function in the case of techniques that allow hearing preservation. Results: From January 2015 to September 2018, 280 patients underwent lateral skull base surgery. Of these, 112 were included in this study. The endoscope was used in all 112 patients, and in eight cases it was possible to identify residual disease using the endoscope to check the surgical field, and then to remove the disease under endoscopic view. Moreover, in two other cases, the endoscope was used to resolve a vasculoneural conflict between the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) loop and facial nerve in one case, and for deafferentation of the superior and inferior vestibular nerves in the second case. No major intraoperative complications occurred in our series. There was no statistically significant difference in postoperative facial nerve function between patients in whom the endoscope was used as a diagnostic tool and patients in whom it was used as an operative tool (p = 0.3152). Conclusions: The endoscope may be useful, especially in surgical techniques where there is poor control of the internal auditory canal (IAC). An endoscopic support technique is strongly recommended to avoid residual disease, particularly in retrosigmoid and retrolabyrinthine approaches. Moreover, the recent introduction of the transcanal transpromontorial approach allows the endoscope to be used during all the procedures in patients affected by a vestibular schwannoma limited to the IAC or to support surgical procedures during an enlarged microscopic approach

    Transnasal endoscopic removal of malformation of the odontoid process in a patient with type I Arnold-Chiari malformation: a case report

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    The endoscopic endonasal approach is emerging as a feasible alternative to the trans-oral route for the resection of the odontoid process, when the latter produces a compression of the brainstem and cervicomedullary junction. This type of approach has some advantages, such as excellent pre-vertebral exposure of the cranio-vertebral junction in patients with small oral cavities and the possibility to avoid the use of mouth retractors. A typical case of a 24-year-old male patient with a previous diagnosis of type I Arnold-Chiari Malformation, suffering from a posterior dislocation of the odontoid process causing severe anterior compression of the brainstem, is presented to stress the potential of this technique. Trans-nasal endoscopic removal of the odontoid process was performed and resolution of the ventral compression of the brainstem was achieved. This report demonstrates that in selected cases, an endoscopic endonasal approach should now be considered an excellent alternative to the traditional trans-oral approach
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