1,585 research outputs found

    A test of motion-sensitive cameras to index ungulate densities: group size matters

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    The use of species detection rates gathered from motion-sensitive cameras as relative abundance indices (RAIs) could be a cost-effective tool to monitor wildlife populations; however, validations based on comparisons with reference methods are necessary. We considered 3 ungulates, wild boar (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), and fallow deer (Dama dama), and compared 2 different RAIs with independent indices of density obtained through feces counts across 3 summers (2019-2021) in a protected area of central Italy. We estimated the number of detections per day (RAI(events)), and the number of individuals per day (RAI(individuals)) from remote camera videos. Both indices were correlated with density estimates, yet only RAI(individuals) correctly ranked interspecific densities. Values of RAI(events) for the most abundant and gregarious ungulate (i.e., wild boar) were biased low and were lower than those of fallow deer. The uncertainty of RAIs was acceptable for the 2 most abundant study species (CVs <= 25%) but was greater for roe deer. At the intra-specific level, density estimates and RAIs showed comparable but slight inter-annual variation. Our results support the use of RAIs derived from motion-sensitive cameras as a promising and cost-effective tool to monitor ungulate populations, and researchers should incorporate group size into monitoring. We advocate the necessity of field tests based on comparison with locally reliable reference methods to validate the use of motion-sensitive cameras

    Slower Calcium Handling Balances Faster Cross-Bridge Cycling in Human MYBPC3 HCM

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    Background:The pathogenesis of MYBPC3-associated hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is still unresolved. In our HCM patient cohort, a large and well-characterized population carrying the MYBPC3:c772G>A variant (p.Glu258Lys, E258K) provides the unique opportunity to study the basic mechanisms of MYBPC3-HCM with a comprehensive translational approach. Methods:We collected clinical and genetic data from 93 HCM patients carrying the MYBPC3:c772G>A variant. Functional perturbations were investigated using different biophysical techniques in left ventricular samples from 4 patients who underwent myectomy for refractory outflow obstruction, compared with samples from non-failing non-hypertrophic surgical patients and healthy donors. Human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes and engineered heart tissues (EHTs) were also investigated. Results:Haplotype analysis revealed MYBPC3:c772G>A as a founder mutation in Tuscany. In ventricular myocardium, the mutation leads to reduced cMyBP-C (cardiac myosin binding protein-C) expression, supporting haploinsufficiency as the main primary disease mechanism. Mechanical studies in single myofibrils and permeabilized muscle strips highlighted faster cross-bridge cycling, and higher energy cost of tension generation. A novel approach based on tissue clearing and advanced optical microscopy supported the idea that the sarcomere energetics dysfunction is intrinsically related with the reduction in cMyBP-C. Studies in single cardiomyocytes (native and hiPSC-derived), intact trabeculae and hiPSC-EHTs revealed prolonged action potentials, slower Ca2+ transients and preserved twitch duration, suggesting that the slower excitation-contraction coupling counterbalanced the faster sarcomere kinetics. This conclusion was strengthened by in silico simulations. Conclusions:HCM-related MYBPC3:c772G>A mutation invariably impairs sarcomere energetics and cross-bridge cycling. Compensatory electrophysiological changes (eg, reduced potassium channel expression) appear to preserve twitch contraction parameters, but may expose patients to greater arrhythmic propensity and disease progression. Therapeutic approaches correcting the primary sarcomeric defects may prevent secondary cardiomyocyte remodeling

    Levodopa Equivalent Dose of Safinamide: A Multicenter, Longitudinal, Case-Control Study

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    BackgroundEffects of dopaminergic medications used to treat Parkinson's disease (PD) may be compared with each other by using conversion factors, calculated as Levodopa equivalent dose (LED). However, current LED proposals on MAO-B inhibitors (iMAO-B) safinamide and rasagiline are still based on empirical approaches. ObjectivesTo estimate LED of safinamide 50 and 100 mg. MethodsIn this multicenter, longitudinal, case-control study, we retrospectively reviewed clinical charts of 500 consecutive PD patients with motor complications and treated with (i) safinamide 100 mg (N = 130), safinamide 50 mg (N = 144), or rasagiline 1 mg (N = 97) for 9 +/- 3 months and a control group of patients never treated with any iMAO-B (N = 129). ResultsMajor baseline features (age, sex, disease duration and stage, severity of motor signs and motor complications) were similar among the groups. Patients on rasagiline had lower UPDRS-II scores and Levodopa dose than control subjects. After a mean follow-up of 8.8-to-10.1 months, patients on Safinamide 50 mg and 100 mg had lower UPDRS-III and OFF-related UPDRS-IV scores than control subjects, who in turn had larger increase in total LED than the three iMAO-B groups. After adjusting for age, disease duration, duration of follow-up, baseline values and taking change in UPDRS-III scores into account (sensitivity analysis), safinamide 100 mg corresponded to 125 mg LED, whereas safinamide 50 mg and rasagiline 1 mg equally corresponded to 100 mg LED. ConclusionsWe used a rigorous approach to calculate LED of safinamide 50 and 100 mg. Large prospective pragmatic trials are needed to replicate our findings

    Early Detection of Prostate Cancer: The Role of Scent

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    Prostate cancer (PCa) represents the cause of the second highest number of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and its clinical presentation can range from slow-growing to rapidly spreading metastatic disease. As the characteristics of most cases of PCa remains incompletely understood, it is crucial to identify new biomarkers that can aid in early detection. Despite the prostate-specific antigen serum (PSA) levels, prostate biopsy, and imaging representing the actual gold-standard for diagnosing PCa, analyzing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has emerged as a promising new frontier. We and other authors have reported that highly trained dogs can recognize specific VOCs associated with PCa with high accuracy. However, using dogs in clinical practice has several limitations. To exploit the potential of VOCs, an electronic nose (eNose) that mimics the dog olfactory system and can potentially be used in clinical practice was designed. To explore the eNose as an alternative to dogs in diagnosing PCa, we conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of available studies. PRISMA guidelines were used for the identification, screening, eligibility, and selection process. We included six studies that employed trained dogs and found that the pooled diagnostic sensitivity was 0.87 (95% CI 0.86–0.89; I2, 98.6%), the diagnostic specificity was 0.83 (95% CI 0.80–0.85; I2, 98.1%), and the area under the summary receiver operating characteristic curve (sROC) was 0.64 (standard error, 0.25). We also analyzed five studies that used an eNose to diagnose PCa and found that the pooled diagnostic sensitivity was 0.84 (95% CI, 0.80–0.88; I2, 57.1%), the diagnostic specificity was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.84–0.91; I2, 66%), and the area under the sROC was 0.93 (standard error, 0.03). These pooled results suggest that while highly trained dogs have the potentiality to diagnose PCa, the ability is primarily related to olfactory physiology and training methodology. The adoption of advanced analytical techniques, such as eNose, poses a significant challenge in the field of clinical practice due to their growing effectiveness. Nevertheless, the presence of limitations and the requirement for meticulous study design continue to present challenges when employing eNoses for the diagnosis of PCa

    Chitin nanofibrils modulate mechanical response in tympanic membrane replacements

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    The tympanic membrane (TM), is a thin tissue lying at the intersection of the outer and the middle ear. TM perforations caused by traumas and infections often result in a conductive hearing loss. Tissue engineering has emerged as a promising approach for reconstructing the damaged TM by replicating the native material characteristics. In this regard, chitin nanofibrils (CN), a polysaccharide-derived nanomaterial, is known to exhibit excellent biocompatibility, immunomodulation and antimicrobial activity, thereby imparting essential qualities for an optimal TM regeneration. This work investigates the application of CN as a nanofiller for poly(ethylene oxide terephthalate)/poly(butylene terephthalate) (PEOT/PBT) copolymer to manufacture clinically suitable TM scaffolds using electrospinning and fused deposition modelling. The inclusion of CN within the PEOT/PBT matrix showed a three-fold reduction in the corresponding electrospun fiber diameters and demonstrated a significant improvement in the mechanical properties required for TM repair. Furthermore, in vitro biodegradation assay highlighted a favorable influence of CN in accelerating the scaffold degradation over a period of one year. Finally, the oto- and cytocompatibility response of the nanocomposite substrates corroborated their biological relevance for the reconstruction of perforated eardrums
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