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Published By Springer Nature

2045-2322
Updated Friday, 25 June 2021

2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Lorraine T. Pfavayi ◽  
David W. Denning ◽  
Stephen Baker ◽  
Elopy N. Sibanda ◽  
Francisca Mutapi

AbstractZimbabwe currently faces several healthcare challenges, most notably HIV and associated infections including tuberculosis (TB), malaria and recently outbreaks of cholera, typhoid fever and COVID-19. Fungal infections, which are also a major public health threat, receive considerably less attention. Consequently, there is dearth of data regarding the burden of fungal diseases in the country. We estimated the burden of fungal diseases in Zimbabwe based on published literature and ‘at-risk’ populations (HIV/AIDS patients, survivors of pulmonary TB, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and patients receiving critical care) using previously described methods. Where there was no data for Zimbabwe, regional, or international data was used. Our study revealed that approximately 14.9% of Zimbabweans suffer from fungal infections annually, with 80% having tinea capitis. The annual incidence of cryptococcal meningitis and Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia in HIV/AIDS were estimated at 41/100,000 and 63/100,000, respectively. The estimated prevalence of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC) was 2,739/100,000. The estimated burden of fungal diseases in Zimbabwe is high in comparison to other African countries, highlighting the urgent need for increased awareness and surveillance to improve diagnosis and management.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Ulviye Bunyatova ◽  
Manel Ben Hammouda ◽  
Jennifer Zhang

AbstractThe current study is aimed at preparing light-driven novel functional AgNPs- bio-hydrogel and evaluating anticancer potency against human melanoma cells. With an average size of 16–18 nm, the hydrogel nano-silver particle composite ([email protected]_MA_O) was synthesized using a soft white LED approach and analyzed by UV–Vis, DLS, FTIR, X-ray, SEM–EDX and TEM techniques. The anticancer activity of the obtained novel functionalized [email protected]_MA_O was tested in-vitro in the A375 melanoma cell line. Dose–response analysis showed that AgNPs at 0.01 mg/mL and 0.005 mg/mL doses reduced the viability of A375 cells by 50% at 24 and 48-h time-points, respectively. A375 cells treated with [email protected]_MA_O for 24 h at IC50 displayed abnormal morphology such as detachment edges and feet, shrinkage, membrane damage, and the loss of contact with adjacent cells. Our work is the first study showing that non-ionizing radiation mediated biofunctionalized AgNPs have an anti-tumoral effect at such a low concentration of 0.01 mg/mL. Our approach of using harmless wLED increased synergy between soft biopolymer compounds and AgNPs, and enhanced anticancer efficiency of the [email protected]_MA_O biohydrogel. Ultimately, the AgNPs accessed through the use of the wLED approach in colloidal syntheses can open new applications and combinatorial advanced cancer treatments and diagnostics.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Giacomo Carta ◽  
Giovanna Gambarotta ◽  
Benedetta Elena Fornasari ◽  
Luisa Muratori ◽  
Marwa El Soury ◽  
...  

AbstractNerves are subjected to tensile forces in various paradigms such as injury and regeneration, joint movement, and rehabilitation treatments, as in the case of neurodynamic treatment (NDT). The NDT induces selective uniaxial repeated tension on the nerve and was described to be an effective treatment to reduce pain in patients. Nevertheless, the biological mechanisms activated by the NDT promoting the healing processes of the nerve are yet still unknown. Moreover, a dose–response analysis to define a standard protocol of treatment is unavailable. In this study, we aimed to define in vitro whether NDT protocols could induce selective biological effects on sensory and motor neurons, also investigating the possible involved molecular mechanisms taking a role behind this change. The obtained results demonstrate that NDT induced significant dose-dependent changes promoting cell differentiation, neurite outgrowth, and neuron survival, especially in nociceptive neurons. Notably, NDT significantly upregulated PIEZO1 gene expression. A gene that is coding for an ion channel that is expressed both in murine and human sensory neurons and is related to mechanical stimuli transduction and pain suppression. Other genes involved in mechanical allodynia related to neuroinflammation were not modified by NDT. The results of the present study contribute to increase the knowledge behind the biological mechanisms activated in response to NDT and to understand its efficacy in improving nerve regenerational physiological processes and pain reduction.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Chuang Liu ◽  
Huamin Li

AbstractIn the process of longwall top coal caving, the selection of the top coal caving interval along the advancing direction of the working face has an important effect on the top coal recovery. To explore a realistic top coal caving interval of the longwall top coal caving working face, longwall top coal caving panel 8202 in the Tongxin Coal Mine is used as an example, and 30 numerical simulation models are established by using Continuum-based Distinct Element Method simulation software to study the top coal recovery with 4.0 m, 8.0 m, 12.0 m, 16.0 m, 20.0 m and 24.0 m top coal thicknesses and 0.8 m, 1.0 m, 1.2 m, 1.6 m and 2.4 m top coal caving intervals. The results show that with an increase in the top coal caving interval, the single top coal caving amount increases. The top coal recovery is the highest with a 0.8 m top coal caving interval when the thickness of the top coal is 4.0 m, and it is the highest with a 1.2 m top coal caving interval when the coal seam thickness is greater than 4.0 m. These results provide a reference for the selection of a realistic top coal caving interval in thick coal seam caving mining.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Chuanmao Zheng ◽  
Hongxin Yao ◽  
Xiyao Wang ◽  
Hong Ye

AbstractQuartz lamp heaters and hypersonic wind tunnel are currently applied in thermal assessment of heat resistant materials and surface of aircraft. However, it is difficult to achieve precise heat flux distribution by quartz lamp heaters, while enormous energy is required by a large scale hypersonic wind tunnel. Electron beam can be focused into a beam spot of millimeter scale by an electromagnetic lens and electron-magnetically deflected to achieve a rapid scanning over a workpiece. Moreover, it is of high energy utilization efficiency when applying an electron beam to heat a metal workpiece. Therefore, we propose to apply an electron beam with a variable speed to establish a novel method to realize various non-uniform heat flux boundary conditions. Besides, an electron beam thermal assessment equipment is devised. To analyze the feasibility of this method, an approach to calculate the heat flux distribution formed by an electron beam with variable-speed scanning is constructed with beam power, diameter of the beam spot and dwell duration of the electron beam at various locations as the key parameters. To realize a desired non-uniform heat flux distribution of the maximum gradient of 1.1 MW/m3, a variable-speed scanning strategy is constructed on basis of the conservation of energy. Compared with the desired heat flux, the maximum deviation of the scanned heat flux is 4.5% and the deviation in the main thermal assessment area is less than 3%. To verify the method, taking the time-average scanned heat flux as the boundary condition, a heat transfer model is constructed and temperature results are calculated. The experiment of variable-speed scanning of an electron beam according to the scanning strategy has been carried out. The measured temperatures are in good agreement with the predicted results at various locations. Temperature fluctuation during the scanning process is analyzed, and it is found to be proportional to the scanned heat flux divided by volumetric heat capacity, which is applicable for different materials up to 3.35 MW/m2. This study provides a novel and effective method for precise realization of various non-uniform heat flux boundary conditions.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Mahta Monshipouri ◽  
Behzad Aliahmad ◽  
Rajna Ogrin ◽  
Kylie Elder ◽  
Jacinta Anderson ◽  
...  

AbstractArea analysis of thermal images can detect delayed healing in diabetes foot ulcers, but not venous leg ulcers (VLU) assessed in the home environment. This study proposes using textural analysis of thermal images to predict the healing trajectory of venous leg ulcers assessed in home settings. Participants with VLU were followed over twelve weeks. Digital images, thermal images and planimetry of wound tracings of the ulcers of 60 older participants was recorded in their homes by nurses. Participants were labelled as healed or unhealed based on status of the wound at the 12th week follow up. The weekly change in textural features was computed and the first two principal components were obtained. 60 participants (aged 80.53 ± 11.94 years) with 72 wounds (mean area 21.32 ± 51.28cm2) were included in the study. The first PCA of the change in textural features in week 2 with respect to week 0 were statistically significant for differentiating between healed and unhealed cases. Textural analysis of thermal images is an effective method to predict in week 2 which venous leg ulcers will not heal by week 12 among older people whose wounds are being managed in their homes.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Lian Gan ◽  
Wei-Hua Xu ◽  
Yuanyan Xiong ◽  
Zhaolin Lv ◽  
Jianwei Zheng ◽  
...  

AbstractProbiotics when applied in complex evolving (micro-)ecosystems, might be selectively beneficial or detrimental to pathogens when their prophylactic efficacies are prone to ambient interactions. Here, we document a counter-intuitive phenomenon that probiotic-treated zebrafish (Danio rerio) were respectively healthy at higher but succumbed at lower level of challenge with a pathogenic Vibrio isolate. This was confirmed by prominent dissimilarities in fish survival and histology. Based upon the profiling of the zebrafish microbiome, and the probiotic and the pathogen shared gene orthogroups (genetic niche overlaps in genomes), this consequently might have modified the probiotic metabolome as well as the virulence of the pathogen. Although it did not reshuffle the architecture of the commensal microbiome of the vertebrate host, it might have altered the probiotic-pathogen inter-genus and intra-species communications. Such in-depth analyses are needed to avoid counteractive phenomena of probiotics and to optimise their efficacies to magnify human and animal well-being. Moreover, such studies will be valuable to improve the relevant guidelines published by organisations such as FAO, OIE and WHO.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Younghee Yim ◽  
Mi Sun Chung ◽  
Su Yeong Kim ◽  
Na Mi Lee ◽  
Jun Soo Byun ◽  
...  

AbstractWe aimed to compare accelerated post-contrast magnetization-prepared rapid gradient-echo (MPRAGE) using wave-controlled aliasing in parallel imaging (wave-CAIPI) with conventional MPRAGE as a reliable method to diagnose intracranial lesions in pediatric patients. A total of 23 consecutive pediatric patients who underwent post-contrast wave-CAIPI and conventional MPRAGE (scan time: 2 min 39 s vs. 5 min 46 s) were retrospectively evaluated. Two radiologists independently assessed each image for the presence of intracranial lesions. Quantitative [contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), contrast rate (CR), and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)] and qualitative parameters (overall image quality, gray-white matter differentiation, demarcation of basal ganglia and sulci, and motion artifacts) were also surveyed. Wave-CAIPI MPRAGE and conventional MPRAGE detected enhancing and non-enhancing intracranial lesions with 100% agreement. Although wave-CAIPI MPRAGE had a lower SNR (all p < 0.05) and overall image quality (overall analysis, p = 0.02) compared to conventional MPRAGE, other quantitative (CNR and CR) and qualitative parameters (gray-white differentiation, demarcation of basal ganglia and sulci, and motion artifacts) were comparable in the pooled analysis and between both observers (all p > 0.05). Wave-CAIPI MPRAGE was a reliable method for diagnosing intracranial lesions in pediatric patients as conventional MPRAGE at half the scan time.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
S. W. A. Himaya ◽  
Ai-Hua Jin ◽  
Brett Hamilton ◽  
Subash K. Rai ◽  
Paul Alewood ◽  
...  

AbstractThe venom duct origins of predatory and defensive venoms has not been studied for hook-and-line fish hunting cone snails despite the pharmacological importance of their venoms. To better understand the biochemistry and evolution of injected predatory and defensive venoms, we compared distal, central and proximal venom duct sections across three specimens of C. striatus (Pionoconus) using proteomic and transcriptomic approaches. A total of 370 conotoxin precursors were identified from the whole venom duct transcriptome. Milked defensive venom was enriched with a potent cocktail of proximally expressed inhibitory α-, ω- and μ-conotoxins compared to milked predatory venom. In contrast, excitatory κA-conotoxins dominated both the predatory and defensive venoms despite their distal expression, suggesting this class of conotoxin can be selectively expressed from the same duct segment in response to either a predatory or defensive stimuli. Given the high abundance of κA-conotoxins in the Pionoconus clade, we hypothesise that the κA-conotoxins have evolved through adaptive evolution following their repurposing from ancestral inhibitory A superfamily conotoxins to facilitate the dietary shift to fish hunting and species radiation in this clade.


2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (1) ◽  
Author(s):  
Agostina Crotta Asis ◽  
Franco Savoretti ◽  
Matías Cabruja ◽  
Hugo Gramajo ◽  
Gabriela Gago

AbstractPhosphatidic acid phosphatase (PAP) catalyzes the dephosphorylation of phosphatidic acid (PA) yielding diacylglycerol (DAG), the lipid precursor for triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis. PAP activity has a key role in the regulation of PA flux towards TAG or glycerophospholipid synthesis. In this work we have characterized two Mycobacterium smegmatis genes encoding for functional PAP proteins. Disruption of both genes provoked a sharp reduction in de novo TAG biosynthesis in early growth phase cultures under stress conditions. In vivo labeling experiments demonstrated that TAG biosynthesis was restored in the ∆PAP mutant when bacteria reached exponential growth phase, with a concomitant reduction of phospholipid synthesis. In addition, comparative lipidomic analysis showed that the ∆PAP strain had increased levels of odd chain fatty acids esterified into TAGs, suggesting that the absence of PAP activity triggered other rearrangements of lipid metabolism, like phospholipid recycling, in order to maintain the wild type levels of TAG. Finally, the lipid changes observed in the ∆PAP mutant led to defective biofilm formation. Understanding the interaction between TAG synthesis and the lipid composition of mycobacterial cell envelope is a key step to better understand how lipid homeostasis is regulated during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.


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