223 research outputs found

    Frequent detection of high human papillomavirus DNA loads in oral potentially malignant disorders

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    Human papillomavirus (HPV) is estimated to be the cause of 40-80% of the squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx but only of a small fraction of the oral cavity cancers. The prevalence of oral HPV infection has significantly increased in the last decade, raising concerns about the HPV role in progression of oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMD) toward squamous cell carcinomas. We sought to study HPV infection in patients with oral lesions, and in control individuals, using non-invasive and site-specific oral brushing and sensitive molecular methods. HPV DNA positivity and viral loads were evaluated in relation to patient data and clinical diagnosis. We enrolled 116 individuals attending Dental Clinics: 62 patients with benign oral lesions (e.g. fibromas, papillomatosis, ulcers) or OPMD (e.g. lichen, leukoplakia) and 54 controls. Oral cells were collected with Cytobrush and HPV-DNA detected with quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) for the more common high-risk (HR) and low-risk (LR) genotypes. HPV detection rate, percentage of HR HPVs and HPV-DNA loads (namely HPV16 and in particular, HPV18) were significantly higher in patients than in controls. Lichen planus cases had the highest HPV positive rate (75.0%), hairy leukoplakia the lowest (33.3%). This study detected unexpectedly high rates of HPV infection in cells of the oral mucosa. The elevated HR HPV loads found in OPMD suggest the effectiveness of qPCR in testing oral lesions. Prospective studies are needed to establish whether elevated viral loads represent a clinically useful marker of the risk of malignant progression

    Supporting Team Reflexivity During the COVID-19 Lockdown: A Qualitative Study of Multi-Vision Groups In-Person and Online

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    Introduction: The professional self is often hindered by a lack of self-care and poor work-life balance, and cannot be considered an unlimited resource. Given this, the reflexive team is an important organizational tool for protecting workers’ well-being. The non-profit organization Maestri di Strada (MdS) (“Street Teachers”) conducts action research (AR) in the area of socio-education. The main tool used by the group to protect the well-being of its members is a guided reflexivity group, inspired by the Balint Group and termed the Multi-Vision Group (MG). In March 2020, because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the MdS team had to quickly revamp its working model, and MGs were held online for the first time. Aim: Through qualitative research that takes a longitudinal approach, the aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of the MG in supporting the team’s reflexivity in this new online format. Methods: This article considers MGs during two different time periods: pre-pandemic (T1) and early pandemic (T2). During T1, the MdS team met 18 times in person, while during T2 the team met 12 times through an online platform (always under the guidance of a psychotherapist). During all sessions in both time periods, a silent observer was present in the meetings, and they subsequently compiled narrative reports. The textual corpora of the reports were submitted for a Thematic Analysis of Elementary Contexts through T-Lab Plus, in order to examine the main content of the groups’ discourse. Results: The results (five clusters in T1; and five in T2) show that, during T2, the group devoted considerable time to experiences tied to the pandemic (T21: schools facing the pandemic crisis; T2.2: the pandemic: death, inner worlds, and thought resistance; T2.3: kids’ stories involving physical distancing and emotional proximity). The group also came up with innovative educational initiatives that defied the lockdown (T2.4: fieldwork: the delivery of “packages of food for thought”; T2.5: the MdS group: identity and separation). Based on these findings, the MG most likely contributed to the emergence of MdS as a “resilient community,” capable of absorbing the shock of the pandemic and realizing a fast recovery response

    Predicting Adolescent Depression: The Interrelated Roles of Self-Esteem and Interpersonal Stressors

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    Depression in adolescents can lead to social and educational impairment and is a major risk factor for suicide and substance misuse. Thus, predicting and preventing this disorder are extremely important. The current study aimed to analyze the contribution of adolescents’ self-esteem (i.e., quality of interpersonal relationships, control of life events, and management of negative emotions) and interpersonal stressor sources (relationships with parents, teachers, classmates and friends) in predicting several depression manifestations (i.e., depressed mood, sense of inadequacy, and insecurity). Participants were 182 Italian pre-adolescents and adolescents, aged 10–14 years, were recruited from three Italian schools. They were asked to complete a self-report questionnaire. Results showed that self-esteem was a major factor to be considered in adolescents’ depression. In particular, adolescents’ perception of negative emotion management was the most important protective factor against depression manifestations. Conversely, sources of interpersonal stressors contributed only marginally to depression. Among these, problems with parents and friends increased adolescents’ depressed mood, while troubles with classmates impacted on their sense of inadequacy and insecurity. Implications of these results for positive practices which could enhance adolescents’ self-esteem and further expansions of the study are discussed

    VNS in drug resistant epilepsy: preliminary report on a small group of patients

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>In 1997 Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of medically intractable partial epilepsy in people aged 12 years and older who are ineligible for resective epilepsy surgery. Although the exact mechanisms of action are unknown, the use of VNS with children has increased, including those younger than 12 years of age, or those with generalized epilepsy.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>We describe the outcome for the first group of nine patients, aged 8-28 years, who had pharmaco-resistant epilepsy and were treated with VNS. During the follow up, we gradually and slowly increased the parameters of the stimulation in order to assess the efficacy of VNS even at parameters which would usually be considered "non-therapeutic", along with possible side effects and changes in quality of life.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>At the last follow, up 1 patient was "seizures free", 3 were "very good responders", 3 were "good responders" and 2 were "non responders". We obtained an initial seizure reduction with low stimulation parameters, the highest current reached being 2.00 mA. This observation supports the possibility that, for younger patients, lower stimulation intensities than those commonly used in clinical practice for adults can be therapeutic. We also wanted to underline the reduction in seizure frequency (~91,7%) and the reduction in seizure duration (> 50%) in the patients affected by drug-resistant absence epilepsy. Adverse effects were mild, tolerable and, in most of cases, easily resolved by adjusting the stimulation parameters. Hoarseness of voice was the most frequent side effect. The improvements in the quality of life are relevant and seem to be independent of the VNS effect in controlling seizures.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>Our small experience seems to confirm the efficacy and safety of VNS in drug resistant partial and generalized epilepsy in developing age groups.</p

    Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of In Vivo and In Vitro SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Lesson from Human Sperm

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    Despite the major target of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, being the respiratory system, clinical evidence suggests that the male reproductive system may represent another viral target organ. Revealing the effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on testis and sperm is a priority for reproductive biology, as well as for reproductive medicine. Here, we confirmed that the SARS-CoV-2 receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is highly expressed on human testis and ejaculated sperm; moreover, we provide evidence for the expression of the co-receptors transmembrane protease/serine (TMPRSS2), Basigin (BSG), and Catepsin L (CTSL). Human sperm were readily infected, both in vivo and in vitro, by SARS-CoV-2, as demonstrated by confocal and electron microscopy. The demonstration that the seminiferous epithelium and sperm support SARS-CoV-2 viral replication suggests the possibility that the spermatogenetic process may be detrimentally affected by the virus, and at the same time, supports the need to implement safety measures and guidelines to ensure specific care in reproductive medicine

    Significant low prevalence of antibodies reacting with simian virus 40 mimotopes in serum samples from patients affected by inflammatory neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis

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    Many investigations were carried out on the association between viruses and multiple sclerosis (MS). Indeed, early studies reported the detections of neurotropic virus footprints in the CNS of patients with MS. In this study, sera from patients affected by MS, other inflammatory (OIND) and non-inflammatory neurologic diseases (NIND) were analyzed for antibodies against the polyomavirus, Simian Virus 40 (SV40). An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), with two synthetic peptides, which mimic SV40 antigens, was employed to detect specific antibodies in sera from patients affected by MS, OIND, NIND and healthy subjects (HS). Immunologic data indicate that in sera from MS patients antibodies against SV40 mimotopes are detectable with a low prevalence, 6%, whereas in HS of the same mean age, 40 yrs, the prevalence was 22%. The difference is statistically significant (P = 0.001). Significant is also the difference between MS vs. NIND patients (6% vs. 17%; P = 0.0254), whereas no significant difference was detected between MS vs OIND (6% vs 10%; P>0.05). The prevalence of SV40 antibodies in MS patients is 70% lower than that revealed in HS

    Preventive exercise and physical rehabilitation promote long-term potentiation-like plasticity expression in patients with multiple sclerosis

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    Background and purpose: Loss of long-term potentiation (LTP) expression has been associated with a worse disease course in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RR-MS) and represents a pathophysiological hallmark of progressive multiple sclerosis (PMS). Exercise and physical rehabilitation are the most prominent therapeutic approaches to promote synaptic plasticity. We aimed to explore whether physical exercise is able to improve the expression of LTP-like plasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: In 46 newly diagnosed RR-MS patients, we explored the impact of preventive exercise on LTP-like plasticity as assessed by intermittent theta-burst stimulation. Patients were divided into sedentary or active, based on physical activity performed during the 6 months prior to diagnosis. Furthermore, in 18 patients with PMS, we evaluated the impact of an 8-week inpatient neurorehabilitation program on clinical scores and LTP-like plasticity explored using paired associative stimulation (PAS). Synaptic plasticity expression was compared in patients and healthy subjects. Results: Reduced LTP expression was found in RR-MS patients compared with controls. Exercising RR-MS patients showed a greater amount of LTP expression compared with sedentary patients. In PMS patients, LTP expression was reduced compared with controls and increased after 8 weeks of rehabilitation. In this group of patients, LTP magnitude at baseline predicted the improvement in hand dexterity. Conclusions: Both preventive exercise and physical rehabilitation may enhance the expression of LTP-like synaptic plasticity in MS, with potential beneficial effects on disability accumulation

    Resources for assessing parents’ vaccine hesitancy: a systematic review of the literature

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    Vaccine hesitancy (VH) is a complex and country-specific issue, responsible for the decreasing vaccination rate and subsequent spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. In literature, several questionnaires were developed to assess VH. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the published questionnaires assessing parental VH. The search was conducted in PubMed/Medline, Web of Science and The Cochrane Library, in December 2017, following the PRISMA guidelines. The search strategy included 4 types of keywords: parents, vaccine hesitancy/acceptance, immunization and survey. Only English and Italian original papers were included. 17 reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts. Only the included articles were downloaded in full and, after a second screening, data were extracted and recorded in an ad hoc spreadsheet. A total of 5,139 articles were retrieved, after duplicates elimination 3,508 papers were screened. After a screening selection, 334 studies were included in the analysis. Most studies were cross-sectional (92.8%), followed by case-control (4.8%) and cohort studies (2.4%). The population interviewed was mainly parents, without any further details (73.1%); mothers were the only parent surveyed in approximately 20% of the studies, while only 1 study involved selectively the fathers. The sample size ranged from 7 to 59,897. Only 38% of the included studies reported both the number and type of items used. Regarding the type, more than half consisted of closed questions, followed by Likert scales, while open-ended questions were used in 14.8% of the surveys. Frequently, the survey was conducted using a self-reported questionnaire or interview. The questionnaires were mostly administered on paper, while online forms were used in 20.1% of the cases. However, 80.2% of the questionnaires were not attached to the paper. HPV vaccine was the most frequently investigated (39.2%), followed by influenza (13.5%) and measles (10.8%). While 22.4% of the articles referred to paediatrics vaccinations in general. Data about the immunization behaviours were reported in 294 studies: the subjects involved showed a behaviour defined as “acceptance” in 129 studies (38.6%), as “hesitancy/scepticism/doubt” in 145 studies (43.1%) and as “refusal” in 22 studies (6.6%). This information was not reported in 12% of the studies. VH is still a public health challenge, as confirmed by the high number of studies and questionnaires retrieved. This study offers a deeper perspec- tive on the available questionnaires, helping to identify the best one in terms of aim and study setting. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp

    Lack of efficacy of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients with concomitant hematological malignancies: An Italian retrospective study

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    A multicenter retrospective study was designed to assess clinical outcome of COVID-19 in patients with hematological malignancies (HM) following treatment with anti-SARS-CoV-2 convalescent plasma (CP) or standard of care therapy. To this aim, a propensity score matching was used to assess the role of non-randomized administration of CP in this high-risk cohort of patients from the Italian Hematology Alliance on COVID-19 (ITA-HEMA-COV) project, now including 2049 untreated control patients. We investigated 30- and 90-day mortality, rate of admission to intensive care unit, proportion of patients requiring mechanical ventilatory support, hospitalization time, and SARS-CoV-2 clearance in 79 CP recipients and compared results with 158 propensity score-matched controls. Results indicated a lack of efficacy of CP in the study group compared with the untreated group, thus confirming the negative results obtained from randomized studies in immunocompetent individuals with COVID-19. In conclusion, this retrospective analysis did not meet the primary and secondary end points in any category of immunocompromized patients affected by HM