3,160 research outputs found

    Fertimetro, a Principle and Device to Measure Soil Nutrient Availability for Plants by Microbial Degradation Rates on Differently-Spiked Buried Threads

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    A novel patented method (PCT/IB2012/001157: Squartini, Concheri, Tiozzo, University of Padova) and the corresponding application devices, suitable to measure soil fertility, are presented. The availability or deficiency of specific nutrients for crops is assessed by monitoring the kinetics of progressive weakening of cotton or silk threads due to in situ microbial activity. The method is based on a nutrient-primed incremented substrate degradation principle. Threads are buried as is or pre-impregnated with N or P solutions, and the acceleration of the degradation rate for the N-supplemented or P-supplemented thread, in comparison to the untreated thread, is proportional to the lack of the corresponding nutrient in that soil. Tests were validated on corn crops in plots receiving increasing fertilizer rates in a historical rotation that has been established since 1962. The measurement carried out in May significantly correlated with the subsequent crop yields recorded in October. The analysis allows an early, inexpensive, fast, and reproducible self-assessment at field level to improve fertilization rates. The device is envisaged as a user-friendly tool for agronomy, horticulture, and any environmental applications where organic matter cycling, soil quality, and specific nutrients excess or deficiency are critical considerations

    The interplay of reactive oxygen species, hypoxia, inflammation, and sirtuins in cancer initiation and progression

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    The presence of ROS is a constant feature in living cells metabolizing O2. ROS concentration and compartmentation determine their physiological or pathological effects. ROS overproduction is a feature of cancer cells and plays several roles during the natural history of malignant tumor. ROS continuously contribute to each step of cancerogenesis, from the initiation to the malignant progression, acting directly or indirectly. In this review, we will (a) underline the role of ROS in the pathway leading a normal cell to tumor transformation and progression, (b) define the multiple roles of ROS during the natural history of a tumor, (c) conciliate many conflicting data about harmful or beneficial effects of ROS, (d) rethink the importance of oncogene and tumor suppressor gene mutations in relation to the malignant progression, and (e) collocate all the cancer hallmarks in a mechanistic sequence which could represent a "physiological" response to the initial growth of a transformed stem/pluripotent cell, defining also the role of ROS in each hallmark. We will provide a simplified sketch about the relationships between ROS and cancer. The attention will be focused on the contribution of ROS to the signaling of HIF, NFκB, and Sirtuins as a leitmotif of cancer initiation and progressi

    Parametric X-Ray detection in UA9 experiment

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    Parametric X-Ray radiation (PXR) is a phenomenon due to the interaction of charged particles inside a crystal well ordered lattice. The passage of the particles inside the potential field into the crystal causes small deflections which result in radiation emissions. By this way the emission is diffracted by the crystal planes. In this work the results of the last five years of activity on PXR detection during UA9 experiment are reported. The beam provided in H8 area, protons or Pb ions, is channeled inside different crystals and PXR emission is detected

    Cognitive stimulation induces differential gene expression in octopus vulgaris: The key role of protocadherins

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    Octopuses are unique invertebrates, with sophisticated and flexible behaviors controlled by a high degree of brain plasticity, learning, and memory. Moreover, in Octopus vulgaris, it has been demonstrated that animals housed in an enriched environment show adult neurogenesis in specific brain areas. Firstly, we evaluated the optimal acclimatization period needed for an O. vulgaris before starting a cognitive stimulation experiment. Subsequently, we analyzed differential gene expression in specific brain areas in adult animals kept in tested (enriched environment), wild (naturally enriched environment), and control conditions (unenriched environment). We selected and sequenced three protocadherin genes (PCDHs) involved in the development and maintenance of the nervous system; three Pax genes that control cell specification and tissue differentiation; the Elav gene, an earliest marker for neural cells; and the Zic1 gene, involved in early neural formation in the brain. In this paper, we evaluated gene expression levels in O. vulgaris under different cognitive stimulations. Our data shows that Oct-PCDHs genes are upregulated in the learning and lower motor centers in the brain of both tested and wild animals (higher in the latter). Combining these results with our previous studies on O. vulgaris neurogenesis, we proposed that PCDH genes may be involved in adult neurogenesis processes, and related with their cognitive abilities

    Toward Open Integrated Access and Backhaul with O-RAN

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    Millimeter wave (mmWave) communications has been recently standardized for use in the fifth generation (5G) of cellular networks, fulfilling the promise of multi-gigabit mobile throughput of current and future mobile radio network generations. In this context, the network densification required to overcome the difficult mmWave propagation will result in increased deployment costs. Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) has been proposed as an effective mean of reducing densification costs by deploying a wireless mesh network of base stations, where backhaul and access transmissions share the same radio technology. However, IAB requires sophisticated control mechanisms to operate efficiently and address the increased complexity. The Open Radio Access Network (RAN) paradigm represents the ideal enabler of RAN intelligent control, but its current specifications are not compatible with IAB. In this work, we discuss the challenges of integrating IAB into the Open RAN ecosystem, detailing the required architectural extensions that will enable dynamic control of 5G IAB networks. We implement the proposed integrated architecture into the first publiclyavailable Open-RAN-enabled experimental framework, which allows prototyping and testing Open-RAN-based solutions over end-to-end 5G IAB networks. Finally, we validate the framework with both ideal and realistic deployment scenarios exploiting the large-scale testing capabilities of publicly available experimental platforms

    Treatment-resistant to antipsychotics. A resistance to everything? Psychotherapy in treatment-resistant schizophrenia and nonaffective psychosis. A 25-year systematic review and exploratory meta-analysis

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    Background: Roughly 30% of schizophrenia patients fail to respond to at least two antipsychotic trials. Psychosis has been traditionally considered to be poorly sensitive to psychotherapy. Nevertheless, there is increasing evidence that psychological interventions could be considered in treatment-resistant psychosis (TRP). Despite the relevance of the issue and the emerging neurobiological underpinnings, no systematic reviews have been published. Here, we show a systematic review of psychotherapy interventions in TRP patients of the last 25 years. Methods: The MEDLINE/PubMed, ISI WEB of Knowledge, and Scopus databases were inquired from January 1, 1993, to August 1, 2018, for reports documenting augmentation or substitution with psychotherapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS) and TRP patients. Quantitative data fetched by Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) were pooled for explorative meta-analysis. Results: Forty-two articles have been found. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was the most frequently recommended psychotherapy intervention for TRS (studies, n = 32, 76.2%), showing efficacy for general psychopathology and positive symptoms as documented by most of the studies, but with uncertain efficacy on negative symptoms. Other interventions showed similar results. The usefulness of group therapy was supported by the obtained evidence. Few studies focused on negative symptoms. Promising results were also reported for resistant early psychosis. Limitations: Measurement and publication bias due to the intrinsic limitations of the appraised original studies. Conclusions: CBT, psychosocial intervention, supportive counseling, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and other psychological interventions can be recommended for clinical practice. More studies are needed, especially for non-CBT interventions and for all psychotherapies on negative symptoms

    Stable odor recognition by a neuro-adaptive electronic nose

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    Sensitivity, selectivity and stability are decisive properties of sensors. In chemical gas sensors odor recognition can be severely compromised by poor signal stability, particularly in real life applications where the sensors are exposed to unpredictable sequences of odors under changing external conditions. Although olfactory receptor neurons in the nose face similar stimulus sequences under likewise changing conditions, odor recognition is very stable and odorants can be reliably identified independently from past odor perception. We postulate that appropriate pre-processing of the output signals of chemical sensors substantially contributes to the stability of odor recognition, in spite of marked sensor instabilities. To investigate this hypothesis, we use an adaptive, unsupervised neural network inspired by the glomerular input circuitry of the olfactory bulb. Essentially the model reduces the effect of the sensors' instabilities by utilizing them via an adaptive multicompartment feed-forward inhibition. We collected and analyzed responses of a 4 × 4 gas sensor array to a number of volatile compounds applied over a period of 18 months, whereby every sensor was sampled episodically. The network conferred excellent stability to the compounds' identification and was clearly superior over standard classifiers, even when one of the sensors exhibited random fluctuations or stopped working at all

    The influence of salinity on the toxicity of remediated seawater

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    Mercury (Hg) is one of the most hazardous pollutants, due to its toxicity, biological magnification and worldwide persistence in aquatic systems. Thus, new efficient nanotechnologies (e.g. graphene oxide functionalized with polyethyleneimine (GO-PEI)) have been developed to remove this metal from the water. Aquatic environments, in particular transitional systems, are also subjected to disturbances resulting from climate change, such as salinity shifts. Salinity is one of the most relevant factors that influences the distribution and survival of aquatic species such as mussels. To our knowledge, no studies assessed the ecotoxicological impairments induced in marine organisms exposed to remediate seawater (RSW) under different salinity levels. For this, the focus of the present study was to evaluate the effects of seawater previously contaminated with Hg and remediated with GO-PEI, using the species Mytilus galloprovincialis, maintained at three different salinities (30, 20 and 40). The results obtained demonstrated similar histopathological and metabolic alterations, oxidative stress and neurotoxicity in mussels under RSW treatment at stressful salinity conditions (20 and 40) in comparison to control salinity (30). On the other hand, the present findings revealed toxicological effects including cellular damage and histopathological impairments in mussels exposed to Hg contaminated seawater in comparison to non-contaminated ones, at each salinity level. Overall, these results confirm the high efficiency of GO-PEI to sorb Hg from water with no noticeable toxic effects even under different salinities, leading to consider it a promising eco-friendly approach to remediate contaminated water
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