Latest Articles

Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Mortality in Patients with Isolated Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Using a Decision Tree Classifier: A Retrospective Analysis Based on a Trauma Registry System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1420; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111420 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background: In contrast to patients with traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (tSAH) in the presence of other types of intracranial hemorrhage, the prognosis of patients with isolated tSAH is good. The incidence of mortality in these patients ranges from 0–2.5%. However, few data or predictive
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Background: In contrast to patients with traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (tSAH) in the presence of other types of intracranial hemorrhage, the prognosis of patients with isolated tSAH is good. The incidence of mortality in these patients ranges from 0–2.5%. However, few data or predictive models are available for the identification of patients with a high mortality risk. In this study, we aimed to construct a model for mortality prediction using a decision tree (DT) algorithm, along with data obtained from a population-based trauma registry, in a Level 1 trauma center. Methods: Five hundred and forty-five patients with isolated tSAH, including 533 patients who survived and 12 who died, between January 2009 and December 2016, were allocated to training (n = 377) or test (n = 168) sets. Using the data on demographics and injury characteristics, as well as laboratory data of the patients, classification and regression tree (CART) analysis was performed based on the Gini impurity index, using the rpart function in the rpart package in R. Results: In this established DT model, three nodes (head Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score ≤4, creatinine (Cr) <1.4 mg/dL, and age <76 years) were identified as important determinative variables in the prediction of mortality. Of the patients with isolated tSAH, 60% of those with a head AIS >4 died, as did the 57% of those with an AIS score ≤4, but Cr ≥1.4 and age ≥76 years. All patients who did not meet the above-mentioned criteria survived. With all the variables in the model, the DT achieved an accuracy of 97.9% (sensitivity of 90.9% and specificity of 98.1%) and 97.7% (sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 97.7%), for the training set and test set, respectively. Conclusions: The study established a DT model with three nodes (head AIS score ≤4, Cr <1.4, and age <76 years) to predict fatal outcomes in patients with isolated tSAH. The proposed decision-making algorithm may help identify patients with a high risk of mortality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“For the Salvation of This Girl’s Soul”: Nuns as Converters of Jews in Early Modern Italy
Religions 2017, 8(11), 252; doi:10.3390/rel8110252 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This article argues that converting Jewish girls and women constituted an important expression of Italian nuns’ religiosity throughout the age of Catholic Reform. Unlike their male counterparts, however, converting nuns rarely left behind accounts of their conversionary efforts. Moreover, since these endeavors were
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This article argues that converting Jewish girls and women constituted an important expression of Italian nuns’ religiosity throughout the age of Catholic Reform. Unlike their male counterparts, however, converting nuns rarely left behind accounts of their conversionary efforts. Moreover, since these endeavors were directed exclusively at female Jews they are often obscured in the historical record and in modern historiography. The article tackles the difficulties of recovering the voices of converting nuns and presents examples that suggest how they could be circumvented. Exploring the potential of drawing on previously understudied texts, such as nuns’ supplications, the article calls for the integration of this specific manifestation of female devotion into the scholarship and teaching on women’s religious life in the early modern era. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Action of Monomeric/Gemini Surfactants on Free Cells and Biofilm of Asaia lannensis
Molecules 2017, 22(11), 2036; doi:10.3390/molecules22112036 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We investigated the biological activity of surfactants based on quaternary ammonium compounds: gemini surfactant hexamethylene-1,6-bis-(N,N-dimethyl-N-dodecylammonium bromide) (C6), synthesized by the reaction of N,N-dimethyl-N-dodecylamine with 1,6-dibromohexane, and its monomeric analogue dodecyltrimethylammonium bromide (DTAB). The experiments were performed
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We investigated the biological activity of surfactants based on quaternary ammonium compounds: gemini surfactant hexamethylene-1,6-bis-(N,N-dimethyl-N-dodecylammonium bromide) (C6), synthesized by the reaction of N,N-dimethyl-N-dodecylamine with 1,6-dibromohexane, and its monomeric analogue dodecyltrimethylammonium bromide (DTAB). The experiments were performed with bacteria Asaia lannensis,a common spoilage in the beverage industry. The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were determined using the tube standard two-fold dilution method. The growth and adhesive properties of bacterial cells were studied in different culture media, and the cell viability was evaluated using plate count method. Both of the surfactants were effective against the bacterial strain, but the MIC of gemini compound was significantly lower. Both C6 and DTAB exhibited anti-adhesive abilities. Treatment with surfactants at or below MIC value decreased the number of bacterial cells that were able to form biofilm, however, the gemini surfactant was more effective. The used surfactants were also found to be able to eradicate mature biofilms. After 4 h of treatment with C6 surfactant at concentration 10 MIC, the number of bacterial cells was reduced by 91.8%. The results of this study suggest that the antibacterial activity of the gemini compound could make it an effective microbiocide against the spoilage bacteria Asaia sp. in both planktonic and biofilm stages. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Choice of Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents: A Radiologist’s Responsibility between Pharmaceutical Equivalence and Bioethical Issues
Symmetry 2017, 9(11), 287; doi:10.3390/sym9110287 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Contrast Agents (CA) are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide, and are used, with a variety of techniques, to increase and intensify the differences between body tissues and to help radiologist make diagnoses in a fast and precise way. In recent decades,
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Contrast Agents (CA) are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide, and are used, with a variety of techniques, to increase and intensify the differences between body tissues and to help radiologist make diagnoses in a fast and precise way. In recent decades, advancements in research have resulted in significant improvements in their composition, and have made them safer and better-tolerated by patients; this notwithstanding, although the currently available CA are generally considered to be safe, their use is not completely without risk. The use of CA faces the radiologist with economic considerations, bioethical dilemmas, and possible profiles of professional responsibility. In fact, to achieve the best results in diagnostic imaging, radiologists have to focus on making an appropriate choice of CA, in consideration of efficacy, safety and appropriateness. Moreover, besides by cost/benefit models widely introduced in health management, radiologists are also influenced by their responsibility of appropriate use for the various diagnostic tests and, finally, the choice of best CA to utilise for each individual patient. Thus, the dilemma of choosing between the best and the most cost-effective tests and procedures is occurring more frequently every day. Different variables, such as the patient, examinations, and technology available, can affect the choice of CA in terms of obtaining the highest diagnostic quality, minimum impact on higher-risk patients, and optimisation of used volumes and injection flows. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Growth and Morphogenesis during Early Heart Development in Amniotes
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 20; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040020 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this review, we will focus on the growth and morphogenesis of the developing heart, an aspect of cardiovascular development to which Antoon Moorman and colleagues have extensively contributed. Over the last decades, genetic studies and characterization of regionally regulated gene programs have
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In this review, we will focus on the growth and morphogenesis of the developing heart, an aspect of cardiovascular development to which Antoon Moorman and colleagues have extensively contributed. Over the last decades, genetic studies and characterization of regionally regulated gene programs have provided abundant novel insights into heart development essential to understand the basis of congenital heart disease. Heart morphogenesis, however, is inherently a complex and dynamic three-dimensional process and we are far from understanding its cellular basis. Here, we discuss recent advances in studying heart morphogenesis and regionalization under the light of the pioneering work of Moorman and colleagues, which allowed the reinterpretation of regional gene expression patterns under a new morphogenetic framework. Two aspects of early heart formation will be discussed in particular: (1) the initial formation of the heart tube and (2) the formation of the cardiac chambers by the ballooning process. Finally, we emphasize that in addition to analyses based on fixed samples, new approaches including clonal analysis, single-cell sequencing, live-imaging and quantitative analysis of the data generated will likely lead to novel insights in understanding early heart tube regionalization and morphogenesis in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Combating Fusarium Infection Using Bacillus-Based Antimicrobials
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 75; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040075 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Despite efforts to control toxigenic Fusarium species, wilt and head-blight infections are destructive and economically damaging diseases that have global effects. The utilization of biological control agents in disease management programs has provided an effective, safe, and sustainable means to control Fusarium-induced
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Despite efforts to control toxigenic Fusarium species, wilt and head-blight infections are destructive and economically damaging diseases that have global effects. The utilization of biological control agents in disease management programs has provided an effective, safe, and sustainable means to control Fusarium-induced plant diseases. Among the most widely used microbes for biocontrol agents are members of the genus Bacillus. These species influence plant and fungal pathogen interactions by a number of mechanisms such as competing for essential nutrients, antagonizing pathogens by producing fungitoxic metabolites, or inducing systemic resistance in plants. The multivariate interactions among plant-biocontrol agent-pathogen are the subject of this study, in which we survey the advances made regarding the research on the Bacillus-Fusarium interaction and focus on the principles and mechanisms of action among plant-growth promoting Bacillus species. In particular, we highlight their use in limiting and controlling Fusarium spread and infestations of economically important crops. This knowledge will be useful to define strategies for exploiting this group of beneficial bacteria for use as inoculants by themselves or in combination with other microbes for enhanced crop protection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Separation of the α- and β-Anomers of Carbohydrates by Diffusion-Ordered NMR Spectroscopy
Magnetochemistry 2017, 3(4), 38; doi:10.3390/magnetochemistry3040038 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This article describes the successful application of the DOSY method for the separation and analysis of the α- and β-anomers of carbohydrates with different diffusion coefficients. In addition, the DOSY method was found to effectively separate two kinds of glucopyranosides with similar aglycon
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This article describes the successful application of the DOSY method for the separation and analysis of the α- and β-anomers of carbohydrates with different diffusion coefficients. In addition, the DOSY method was found to effectively separate two kinds of glucopyranosides with similar aglycon structures from a mixture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Metabolites of Coumarin Detected in Human Urine Using Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography/Quadrupole-Time-of-Flight Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Molecules 2017, 22(11), 2031; doi:10.3390/molecules22112031 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Coumarin (1,2-benzopyrone) is a natural compound whose metabolism in humans was established in the 1970s. However, a new metabolite was recently identified in human plasma, indicating that the metabolism of coumarin has not been completely elucidated. To complement the knowledge of its metabolism,
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Coumarin (1,2-benzopyrone) is a natural compound whose metabolism in humans was established in the 1970s. However, a new metabolite was recently identified in human plasma, indicating that the metabolism of coumarin has not been completely elucidated. To complement the knowledge of its metabolism, a rapid and sensitive method using UPLC-QTOF-MS was developed. A total of 12 metabolites was identified using MetaboLynxTM software, including eight metabolites not previously reported in human urine. The identified biotransformation included hydroxylation, glucuronidation, sulfation, methylation, and conjugation with N-acetylcysteine. The present work demonstrates that the metabolism study of coumarin was incomplete, possibly due to limitations of old techniques. The identification of eight inedited metabolites of such a simple molecule suggests that the information regarding the metabolism of other drugs may also be incomplete, and therefore, new investigations are necessary. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmentally Friendly Compatibilizers from Soybean Oil for Ternary Blends of Poly(lactic acid)-PLA, Poly(ε-caprolactone)-PCL and Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)-PHB
Materials 2017, 10(11), 1339; doi:10.3390/ma10111339 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Ternary blends of poly(lactic acid) (PLA), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) with a constant weight percentage of 60%, 10% and 30% respectively were compatibilized with soybean oil derivatives epoxidized soybean oil (ESO), maleinized soybean oil (MSO) and acrylated epoxidized soybean oil (AESO). The
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Ternary blends of poly(lactic acid) (PLA), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) with a constant weight percentage of 60%, 10% and 30% respectively were compatibilized with soybean oil derivatives epoxidized soybean oil (ESO), maleinized soybean oil (MSO) and acrylated epoxidized soybean oil (AESO). The potential compatibilization effects of the soybean oil-derivatives was characterized in terms of mechanical, thermal and thermomechanical properties. The effects on morphology were studied by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). All three soybean oil-based compatibilizers led to a noticeable increase in toughness with a remarkable improvement in elongation at break. On the other hand, both the tensile modulus and strength decreased, but in a lower extent to a typical plasticization effect. Although phase separation occurred, all three soybean oil derivatives led somewhat to compatibilization through reaction between terminal hydroxyl groups in all three biopolyesters (PLA, PHB and PCL) and the readily reactive groups in the soybean oil derivatives, that is, epoxy, maleic anhydride and acrylic/epoxy functionalities. In particular, the addition of 5 parts per hundred parts of the blend (phr) of ESO gave the maximum elongation at break while the same amount of MSO and AESO gave the maximum toughness, measured through Charpy’s impact tests. In general, the herein-developed materials widen the potential of ternary PLA formulations by a cost effective blending method with PHB and PCL and compatibilization with vegetable oil-based additives. Full article
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