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Article
LDHB Overexpression Can Partially Overcome T Cell Inhibition by Lactic Acid
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 5970; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms23115970 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Accelerated glycolysis leads to secretion and accumulation of lactate and protons in the tumor environment and determines the efficacy of adoptive T cell and checkpoint inhibition therapy. Here, we analyzed effects of lactic acid on different human CD4 T cell subsets and aimed [...] Read more.
Accelerated glycolysis leads to secretion and accumulation of lactate and protons in the tumor environment and determines the efficacy of adoptive T cell and checkpoint inhibition therapy. Here, we analyzed effects of lactic acid on different human CD4 T cell subsets and aimed to increase CD4 T cell resistance towards lactic acid. In all CD4 T cell subsets analyzed, lactic acid inhibited metabolic activity (glycolysis and respiration), cytokine secretion, and cell proliferation. Overexpression of the lactate-metabolizing isoenzyme LDHB increased cell respiration and mitigated lactic acid effects on intracellular cytokine production. Strikingly, LDHB-overexpressing cells preferentially migrated into HCT116 tumor spheroids and displayed higher expression of cytotoxic effector molecules. We conclude, that LDHB overexpression might be a promising strategy to increase the efficacy of adoptive T cell transfer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Cell Metabolism 2.0)
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Article
Pulse Wave Velocity, a Predictor of Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events, and Its Correlation with the General Stress Level of Health Care Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Medicina 2022, 58(6), 704; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicina58060704 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Background and Objectives: In the COVID-19 epidemiological context, the health care workers who were treating patients with COVID-19 were exposed daily to additional stress. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a predictive parameter for possible major adverse cardiovascular events. The present study aimed to [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: In the COVID-19 epidemiological context, the health care workers who were treating patients with COVID-19 were exposed daily to additional stress. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a predictive parameter for possible major adverse cardiovascular events. The present study aimed to evaluate the correlation between the general stress levels and PWVs of medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and Methods: The study group was heterogeneous in terms of the medical profession. PWV was measured using a TendioMed arteriograph. Assessment of stress level was performed using a general stress questionnaire with questions grouped on the areas that contribute to stress: lifestyle, environment, symptoms, job, relationships and personality. PWV measurements and stress assessment were performed both during the period with many patients with COVID-19 and during the period with few patients with COVID-19. Results: The stress levels and PWVs of subjects were higher in the period when they cared for patients with COVID-19 than in the period when they did not have patients with COVID-19. Conclusions: The study shows a positive correlation between the PWV of each subject and his/her stress score (the higher the stress score, the higher the PWV). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cardiology)
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Article
Retinal Microvascular Changes in Familial Hypercholesterolemia: Analysis with Swept-Source Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography
J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(6), 871; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jpm12060871 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a common but underdiagnosed genetic disorder affecting cholesterol metabolism, leading to atherosclerotic disease. The relationship between retinal microvascular changes and the presence of atheroma in patients with FH (FH group), and in comparison to volunteers without FH (CT group), [...] Read more.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a common but underdiagnosed genetic disorder affecting cholesterol metabolism, leading to atherosclerotic disease. The relationship between retinal microvascular changes and the presence of atheroma in patients with FH (FH group), and in comparison to volunteers without FH (CT group), needs further investigation. This cross-sectional study was conducted in a university hospital between October 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021. Cardiovascular data, including the Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) score, were recorded for FH patients. Macula angiograms were acquired using swept-source optical coherence tomography angiography (SS OCT-A) to analyze both the superficial capillary plexus (SCP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP). A total of 162 eyes of 83 patients were enrolled in the FH group and 121 eyes of 78 volunteers in the CT group. A statistically significant association was found between the CAC score and both vessel density (β = −0.002 [95% CI, −0.004; −0.0005], p = 0.010) and vessel length (β = −0.00005 [95% CI, −0.00008; −0.00001], p = 0.010) in the DCP. The FH group had a significantly lower foveal avascular zone circularity index than the CT group in multivariate analysis (0.67 ± 0.16 in the FH group vs. 0.72 ± 0.10 in the CT group, β = 0.04 [95% CI, 0.002; 0.07], p = 0.037). Retinal microvascularization is altered in FH and retinal vascular densities are modified according to the CAC score. Full article
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Article
Geostatistical Inversion of Spectrally Broadened Seismic Data for Re-Evaluation of Oil Reservoir Continuity in Inas Field, Offshore Malay Basin
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(6), 727; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jmse10060727 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
The application of geostatistics in seismic inversion techniques has been proven somewhat reliable in the delineation of reservoir properties and has recently attracted the attention of many geoscientists. However, there are cases where its prediction returned negative results after drilling. In this research, [...] Read more.
The application of geostatistics in seismic inversion techniques has been proven somewhat reliable in the delineation of reservoir properties and has recently attracted the attention of many geoscientists. However, there are cases where its prediction returned negative results after drilling. In this research, we re-evaluated a reservoir in Inas Field, whose geostatistical inversion result wrongly predicted sand continuity, resulting in the spudding of a dry hole. When a geostatistical seismic inversion is successfully applied, it provides an increase in seismic resolution and aids the prediction of sand continuity. Although this method relies more on the statistical data from a well because of the limitation of the seismic data in resolving thin geologic features, the spatial variation of reservoir parameters still depends on seismic data, which often have poor resolution quality. Therefore, to investigate the impact of bandlimited data on the geostatistical inversion, we harmonically extended the seismic bandwidth by applying a sparse-layer spectral inversion algorithm to the data. This algorithm increased the seismic data bandwidth from 80 Hz to 180 Hz, and its tuning thickness reduced from 32 m to 10 m at the reservoir interval. The resultant broadband (180 Hz), as well as the original seismic (narrowband of 80 Hz) data, were both used as input to build two separate geostatistical prediction models, respectively. Twenty (20) realizations of these models were generated, ranked into P10, P50, and P90, and the best case was selected for interpretation. These realizations were used to characterize the reservoir lithofacies distribution. When compared, the result of the broadband inversion, facies and sand distribution model showed that the reservoir facies changed towards the location of the dry well. The broadband geostatistical inversion efficiently improved the reservoir characterization process by not only producing an accurate estimation of the lateral extent of the reservoir heterogeneities but also generating outcomes that help us understand why other geostatistical inversion analyses of the target reservoir were misleading. Contrary to the popular assumption, it was discovered that the tuning effects of bandlimited data could affect the result of a geostatistical inversion and result in wrong facies predictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geological Oceanography)
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Article
Production Scheduling Methodology, Taking into Account the Influence of the Selection of Production Resources
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(11), 5367; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app12115367 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
The overwhelming majority of methodologies for the flexible flow shop scheduling problem proposed so far have a common feature, which is the assumption of constant time and cost for the execution of individual technological operations (ignoring an optimal selecting combination of individual employees [...] Read more.
The overwhelming majority of methodologies for the flexible flow shop scheduling problem proposed so far have a common feature, which is the assumption of constant time and cost for the execution of individual technological operations (ignoring an optimal selecting combination of individual employees and tools). Even if the existence of the influence of the selection of production resources on the course of operations is signaled in the available works, the research so far has not focused on the measurable effect of such a solution that takes into account this phenomenon in scheduling. The proposed production scheduling methodology, including the influence of employees and tools, turned out to be more effective in terms of minimizing the maximum completion time and the cost of the production process compared to existing solutions. The efficiency of the new proposed scheduling methodology was assessed using examples of four technological processes. The research was carried out on the basis of a dedicated adaptation of the Monte Carlo optimization algorithm in order to determine the actual effect of the new solution. The algorithm itself is not an integral part of the proposed solution, and the universal methodology developed will ensure significant profit for any optimization algorithm correctly implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0)
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Article
Obese Vegetarians and Omnivores Show Different Metabolic Changes: Analysis of 1340 Individuals
Nutrients 2022, 14(11), 2204; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nu14112204 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Our study evaluated the association between the increase in body mass index (BMI) in men and women (menstruating and non-menstruating) (n = 1340) with different dietary groups (omnivores, semi-vegetarians, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegans) and the measurement of the biochemical markers high-sensitive C-reactive protein [...] Read more.
Our study evaluated the association between the increase in body mass index (BMI) in men and women (menstruating and non-menstruating) (n = 1340) with different dietary groups (omnivores, semi-vegetarians, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegans) and the measurement of the biochemical markers high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), ferritin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C), and insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR). Increasing BMI values in all groups and dietary profiles were related to a significant increase in hs-CRP (p < 0.0001), ALT (p = 0.02), ferritin (p = 0.009), and HbA1C (p < 0.0001), with no difference between dietary groups (p < 0.05). The increase in BMI increases the levels of HOMA-IR (p < 0.0001) and GGT (p < 0.05), with higher values found in men when compared to women (p < 0.0001 for HOMA- IR and p = 0.0048 for GGT). The association between ALT and BMI was different between dietary groups, as it showed a decrease in vegan women who do not menstruate compared to other dietary groups (p = 0.0099). When including only obese individuals (BMI = 30 kg/m2, n = 153) in the analysis, we observed lower concentrations of GGT and ferritin in vegetarians than in omnivores, regardless of gender and menstrual blood loss (p = 0.0395). Our data showed that for both vegetarians and omnivores, the higher the BMI, the worse the metabolic parameters. However, regarding obesity, vegetarians showed better antioxidant status (lower GGT elevation) and lower inflammatory status (lower ferritin elevation), which may provide them with potential protection in the development of morbidities associated with overweight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontier: Vegan Diets and Human Health)
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Article
Deposition of Nanosized Amino Acid Functionalized Bismuth Oxido Clusters on Gold Surfaces
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(11), 1815; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano12111815 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Bismuth compounds are of growing interest with regard to potential applications in catalysis, medicine, and electronics, for which their environmentally benign nature is one of the key factors. One thing that currently hampers the further development of bismuth oxido-based materials, however, is the [...] Read more.
Bismuth compounds are of growing interest with regard to potential applications in catalysis, medicine, and electronics, for which their environmentally benign nature is one of the key factors. One thing that currently hampers the further development of bismuth oxido-based materials, however, is the often low solubility of the precursors, which makes targeted immobilisation on substrates challenging. We present an approach towards the solubilisation of bismuth oxido clusters by introducing an amino carboxylate as a functional group. For this purpose, the bismuth oxido cluster [Bi38O45(NO3)20(dmso)28](NO3)4·4dmso (dmso = dimethyl sulfoxide) was reacted with the sodium salt of tert-butyloxycabonyl (Boc)-protected phenylalanine (L-Phe) to obtain the soluble and chiral nanocluster [Bi38O45(Boc–Phe–O)24(dmso)9]. The exchange of the nitrates by the amino carboxylates was proven by nuclear magnetic resonance, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, as well as elemental analysis and X-ray photoemission spectroscopy. The solubility of the bismuth oxido cluster in a protic as well as an aprotic polar organic solvent and the growth mode of the clusters upon spin, dip, and drop coating on gold surfaces were studied by a variety of microscopy, as well as spectroscopic techniques. In all cases, the bismuth oxido clusters form crystalline agglomerations with size, height, and distribution on the substrate that can be controlled by the choice of the solvent and of the deposition method. Full article
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Entry
Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
Encyclopedia 2022, 2(2), 1082-1090; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/encyclopedia2020071 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Definition
Quantum mechanics is a mathematical formalism that models the dynamics of physical objects. It deals with the elementary constituents of matter (atoms, subatomic and elementary particles) and of radiation. It is very accurate in predicting observable physical phenomena, but has many puzzling properties. [...] Read more.
Quantum mechanics is a mathematical formalism that models the dynamics of physical objects. It deals with the elementary constituents of matter (atoms, subatomic and elementary particles) and of radiation. It is very accurate in predicting observable physical phenomena, but has many puzzling properties. The foundations of quantum mechanics are a domain in which physics and philosophy concur in attempting to find a fundamental physical theory that explains the puzzling features of quantum mechanics, while remaining consistent with its mathematical formalism. Several theories have been proposed for different interpretations of quantum mechanics. However, there is no consensus regarding any of these theories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Applications of Quantum Mechanics)
Review
System Integrity Protection Schemes: Naming Conventions and the Need for Standardization
Energies 2022, 15(11), 3920; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/en15113920 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
The energy transition is placing increased strain on power systems and making it challenging for Transmission System Operators (TSOs) to securely operate power systems. System Integrity Protection Schemes (SIPSs) are one of the solutions to address these challenges. SIPSs are a type of [...] Read more.
The energy transition is placing increased strain on power systems and making it challenging for Transmission System Operators (TSOs) to securely operate power systems. System Integrity Protection Schemes (SIPSs) are one of the solutions to address these challenges. SIPSs are a type of over-arching power system control; their goals are to increase the secure utilization of power system assets and to limit the impact of large disturbances on the system. Due to societal developments, the interest in utilizing SIPSs is increasing internationally, highlighting the importance of the standardization of terms and definitions to support collaboration between internationally interconnected power systems. This paper addresses the issue of increasing SIPS literature and the efficient exchange of knowledge about SIPSs by providing a new, up-to-date literature review and proposal for the standardization of SIPS terminology. The need for standardized terminology is highlighted by gathering various terms used to describe SIPSs and proposing a standardization of definitions, terms, and SIPS operational execution steps. The goal of the proposed standardization is to provide clarity and to decrease the sources of misinterpretation in an international collaborative environment. The analyzed literature is further classified according to the SIPS features it addresses, and conclusions about well-established and interesting future research areas are drawn. For example, it has been observed that the most commonly considered SIPS action is load shedding, while more sophisticated actions, e.g., using HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) and FACTS (Flexible AC Transmission System) installations, controlled together with var rescheduling, are more in the realm of future research that may provide additional benefits to TSOs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Control and Analysis of Power Systems)
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Article
New Integrated Energy Solution Idealization: Hybrid for Renewable Energy Network (Hy4REN)
Energies 2022, 15(11), 3921; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/en15113921 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
A review of different energy components is detailed, as a baseline of fundamentals for the new integrated energy concept idealization. This innovative solution is a Hybrid for Renewable Energy Network (Hy4REN) based on well-studied elements to produce the best final solution. This proposal [...] Read more.
A review of different energy components is detailed, as a baseline of fundamentals for the new integrated energy concept idealization. This innovative solution is a Hybrid for Renewable Energy Network (Hy4REN) based on well-studied elements to produce the best final solution. This proposal has the objective of improving energy system sustainability, facing fossil fuel and climate change restrictions, and increasing energy network flexibility. The most mature energy storage technology, pumped hydropower energy storage (PHES), is used to support both the grid connection and stand-alone modes, as an integrated hybrid energy system. The hybrid system idealization is modular and scalable, with a complementary nature among several renewables, using sea water in offshore mode to build an integrated solution. By evaluating a variety of energy sources, complemented with economic analysis, the benefits associated are evidenced using this sustainable methodology based only on renewable sources. Combined production of hydropower, using sea water, with pumped storage and water hammer events to create potential energy to supply hydropower in a water loop cycle, without consuming electrical energy, is explored. Other renewable sources are also integrated, such as floating solar PV energy and an oscillating water column (OWC) with coupled air-venting Wells and wind turbines, all integrated into the Hy4REN device. This complementarity of available sources allows us to improve energy storage flexibility and addresses the energy transition toward net-zero carbon emissions, inducing significant improvements in the sustainability of the energy network as a whole. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation in Sustainable Energy Component, Concept and System Design)
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Editorial
Updates on Diagnostic and Therapeutic Management of Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic NET
Cancers 2022, 14(11), 2628; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cancers14112628 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (GEP-NEN) comprise a plethora of distinct molecular-pathological, clinical, diagnostical and therapeutical approaches to enable individualized treatment [...] Full article
Article
Effects of Carbon Thin Film on Low-Heat Cement Hydration, Temperature and Strength of the Wudongde Dam Concrete
Buildings 2022, 12(6), 717; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/buildings12060717 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Research on the mechanism of carbon thin film (CTF) is a hot issue in the field of concrete materials and is of great significance to the temperature control and crack prevention of concrete structures, but little research has been conducted regarding this issue. [...] Read more.
Research on the mechanism of carbon thin film (CTF) is a hot issue in the field of concrete materials and is of great significance to the temperature control and crack prevention of concrete structures, but little research has been conducted regarding this issue. In this paper, the composition of CTF and its influence on cement hydration, concrete temperature and strength are studied in the context of the Wudongde (WDD) dam project. Through observations of hand specimens, rock slice identification and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis, it was shown that the CTF has the same chemical composition as the limestone component, except for the presence of low-crystalline graphite. Based on hydration testing using TAM Air, it was found that CTF promotes the dissolution of cement and the hydration of C3A in the very early stage but exerts a lowering effect on the second exothermic peak of cement hydration. In addition, the greater the CTF content, the greater the hydration heat release. According to temperature measurements of the Wudongde (WDD) dam, CTF could promote an increase in the maximum temperature of concrete blocks. Finally, compressive strength analysis revealed that the content of CTF was proportional to the compressive strength of concrete specimens and provides a reference for the effect of CTF on the performance of low-heat cement concrete. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiscale Calculation of Structural Concrete)
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Review
Cellular Aquaculture: Prospects and Challenges
Micromachines 2022, 13(6), 828; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi13060828 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Aquaculture plays an important role as one of the fastest-growing food-producing sectors in global food and nutritional security. Demand for animal protein in the form of fish has been increasing tremendously. Aquaculture faces many challenges to produce quality fish for the burgeoning world [...] Read more.
Aquaculture plays an important role as one of the fastest-growing food-producing sectors in global food and nutritional security. Demand for animal protein in the form of fish has been increasing tremendously. Aquaculture faces many challenges to produce quality fish for the burgeoning world population. Cellular aquaculture can provide an alternative, climate-resilient food production system to produce quality fish. Potential applications of fish muscle cell lines in cellular aquaculture have raised the importance of developing and characterizing these cell lines. In vitro models, such as the mouse C2C12 cell line, have been extremely useful for expanding knowledge about molecular mechanisms of muscle growth and differentiation in mammals. Such studies are in an infancy stage in teleost due to the unavailability of equivalent permanent muscle cell lines, except a few fish muscle cell lines that have not yet been used for cellular aquaculture. The Prospect of cell-based aquaculture relies on the development of appropriate muscle cells, optimization of cell conditions, and mass production of cells in bioreactors. Hence, it is required to develop and characterize fish muscle cell lines along with their cryopreservation in cell line repositories and production of ideal mass cells in suitably designed bioreactors to overcome current cellular aquaculture challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors, Devices and Systems for Future Food Production and Packaging)
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Article
A Novel Bone Gelatin Prepared by Enzymatic Catalysis with High Crosslinking Activity of MTGase for Gelatinization Properties of Minced Pork
Processes 2022, 10(6), 1061; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pr10061061 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
A novel gelatin prepared by enzymatic catalysis (type-E bone gelatin) was developed in our group. In this study, the high crosslinking activity of type-E bone gelatin with microbial transglutaminase (MTGase) was found and further used for the gelatinization properties of minced pork. The [...] Read more.
A novel gelatin prepared by enzymatic catalysis (type-E bone gelatin) was developed in our group. In this study, the high crosslinking activity of type-E bone gelatin with microbial transglutaminase (MTGase) was found and further used for the gelatinization properties of minced pork. The results showed that the contents of lysine and glutamine in type-E bone gelatin were higher than that of traditional gelatin prepared by acid (type-A gelatin) and alkali (type-B gelatin) methods, which are as action sites for MTGase. The crosslinking degree (79%) of type-E was approximately 4.9 times that of type-A and 5.6 times that of type-B at 1.44 U/g MTGase. Moreover, the type-E gel showed thermal irreversibility when the MTGase concentration was higher than 0.90 U/g due to high crosslinking activity. For minced pork gel, the water-holding capacity and texture properties of minced pork modified with type-E bone gelatin crosslinked by MTGase were improved and cooking loss was significantly reduced. Full article
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Article
Distributed Airflow Sensing Based on High-Spatial-Resolution BOTDA and a Self-Heated High-Attenuation Fiber
Sensors 2022, 22(11), 4017; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/s22114017 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
An all-fiber distributed airflow sensing method based on a differential pulse-width pair Brillouin optical time domain analysis (DPP-BOTDA) and a self-heated high-attenuation fiber (HAF) is proposed and demonstrated. The HAF heated the sensing fiber, producing a gradient temperature distribution in it through physical [...] Read more.
An all-fiber distributed airflow sensing method based on a differential pulse-width pair Brillouin optical time domain analysis (DPP-BOTDA) and a self-heated high-attenuation fiber (HAF) is proposed and demonstrated. The HAF heated the sensing fiber, producing a gradient temperature distribution in it through physical contact, where the temperature distribution was obtained by DPP-BOTDA with a spatial resolution of 5 cm. The heat loss caused by the airflow was reflected in the decrease in the Brillouin frequency shift and spatially resolved by DPP-BOTDA. Distributed airflow sensing was experimentally demonstrated for measurements of airflow movement, multiple airflow sources and the deflection angle of the airflow. The positioning error of the airflow was no larger than ~2.2 cm; for the deflection angle measurements of the airflow, the maximum demodulation error was 2.5° within the angle range of 0–30°. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Trends in Distributed Optical Fiber Sensing Technology)
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Case Report
Diamagnetic Therapy in a Patient with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I and Multiple Drug Intolerance: A Case Report
Reports 2022, 5(2), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/reports5020018 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a neurologic chronic pain condition hard to diagnose and treat, and able to significantly impact the quality of life. Currently, the available multimodal, individualized treatments (i.e., pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies including invasive procedures) are aimed only at [...] Read more.
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a neurologic chronic pain condition hard to diagnose and treat, and able to significantly impact the quality of life. Currently, the available multimodal, individualized treatments (i.e., pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies including invasive procedures) are aimed only at symptom control. Herein, we report a 69-year-old Caucasian female who came to our attention due to a 3-year history of severe (10/10) burning pain in her right ankle, along with oedema and local changes in skin color and temperature, which occurred after the ankle sprain. Previous pharmacological attempts failed due to multiple drug intolerance. Clinical examination confirmed the CRPS type I diagnosis, and a weekly diamagnetic therapy protocol was started since the patient refused further medications and interventional procedures. After 10 weeks of treatment, a significant (p < 0.01) reduction in pain severity and absence of oedema (difference in ankles’ circumference: from 3 cm to 0) were observed, with consequent improvements in quality of life and no adverse events. Although high-quality clinical evidence is still lacking, our case report suggests further investigating the potential use of diamagnetic therapy as a non-invasive and safe adjunctive treatment for CRPS, and as an alternative when patients did not benefit from drugs and/or refuse invasive procedures. Full article
Article
An Earthquake-Clustering Model in North Aegean Area (Greece)
Axioms 2022, 11(6), 249; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/axioms11060249 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
The investigation of short-term earthquake-clustering features is made feasible through the application of a purely stochastic Epidemic-Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model. The learning period that is used for the estimation of the parameters is composed by earthquakes with M ≥ 2.6 that occurred [...] Read more.
The investigation of short-term earthquake-clustering features is made feasible through the application of a purely stochastic Epidemic-Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model. The learning period that is used for the estimation of the parameters is composed by earthquakes with M ≥ 2.6 that occurred between January 2008 and May 2017. The model predictability is retrospectively examined for the 12 June 2017 Lesvos earthquake (Mw6.4) and the subsequent events. The construction of time-dependent seismicity maps and comparison between the observed and expected earthquake number are performed in order to temporally and spatially test the evolution of the sequence, respectively. The generation of 127 target events with M ≥ 3.0 in the period June–July 2017, just before the main shock occurrence, is examined in a quantitative evaluation. The statistical criteria used for assessing the model performance are the Relative Operating Characteristic Diagram, the R-score, and the probability gain. Reliable forecasts are provided through the epidemic model testifying its superiority towards a time-invariant Poisson model. Full article
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Article
Topological Data Analysis with Spherical Fuzzy Soft AHP-TOPSIS for Environmental Mitigation System
Mathematics 2022, 10(11), 1826; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/math10111826 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
The idea of spherical fuzzy soft set (SFSS) is a new hybrid model of a soft set (SS) and spherical fuzzy set (SFS). An SFSS is a new approach for information analysis and information fusion, and fuzzy modeling. We define the concepts of [...] Read more.
The idea of spherical fuzzy soft set (SFSS) is a new hybrid model of a soft set (SS) and spherical fuzzy set (SFS). An SFSS is a new approach for information analysis and information fusion, and fuzzy modeling. We define the concepts of spherical-fuzzy-soft-set topology (SFSS-topology) and spherical-fuzzy-soft-set separation axioms. Several characteristics of SFSS-topology are investigated and related results are derived. We developed an extended choice value method (CVM) and the AHP-TOPSIS (analytical hierarchy process and technique for the order preference by similarity to ideal solution) for SFSSs, and presented their applications in multiple-criteria group decision making (MCGDM). Moreover, an application of the CVM is presented in a stock market investment problem and another application of the AHP-TOPSIS is presented for an environmental mitigation system. The suggested methods are efficiently applied to investigate MCGDM through case studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics under Uncertainty: Modeling Simulation and Complexity II)
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Article
Accelerated Formation of 2D Ruddlesden—Popper Perovskite Thin Films by Lewis Bases for High Efficiency Solar Cell Applications
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(11), 1816; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano12111816 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Various types of 2D organic–inorganic perovskite solar cells have been developed and investigated due to better electron transport behavior and environmental stability. Controlling the formation of phases in the 2D perovskite films has been considered to play an important role in influencing the [...] Read more.
Various types of 2D organic–inorganic perovskite solar cells have been developed and investigated due to better electron transport behavior and environmental stability. Controlling the formation of phases in the 2D perovskite films has been considered to play an important role in influencing the stability of perovskite materials and their performance in optoelectronic applications. In this work, Lewis base urea was used as an effective additive for the formation of 2D Ruddlesden—Popper (RP) perovskite (BA)2(MA)n−1PbnI3n+1 thin film with mixed phases (n = 2~4). The detailed structural morphology of the 2D perovskite thin film was investigated by in situ X-ray diffraction (XRD), grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) and photoluminescence mapping. The results indicated that the urea additive could facilitate the formation of 2D RP perovskite thin film with larger grain size and high crystallinity. The 2D RP perovskite thin films for solar cells exhibited a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 7.9% under AM 1.5G illumination at 100 mW/cm2. Full article
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Article
Design and Joint Position Control of Bionic Jumping Leg Driven by Pneumatic Artificial Muscles
Micromachines 2022, 13(6), 827; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi13060827 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Using the skeletal structure and muscle distribution of the hind limbs of a jumping kangaroo as inspiration, a bionic jumping leg was designed with pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs) as actuators. Referring to the position of biarticular muscles in kangaroos, we constructed a bionic [...] Read more.
Using the skeletal structure and muscle distribution of the hind limbs of a jumping kangaroo as inspiration, a bionic jumping leg was designed with pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs) as actuators. Referring to the position of biarticular muscles in kangaroos, we constructed a bionic joint using biarticular and monoarticular muscle arrangements. At the same time, the problem of the joint rotation angle limitations caused by PAM shrinkage was solved, and the range of motion of the bionic joint was improved. Based on the output force model of the PAM, we established a dynamic model of the bionic leg using the Lagrange method. In view of the coupling problem caused by the arrangement of the biarticular muscle, an extended state observer was used for decoupling. The system was decoupled into two single-input and single-output systems, and angle tracking control was carried out using active disturbance rejection control (ADRC). The simulation and experimental results showed that the ADRC algorithm had a better decoupling effect and shorter adjustment time than PID control. The jumping experiments showed that the bionic leg could jump with a horizontal displacement of 320 mm and a vertical displacement of 150 mm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Biomimetic Robots)
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Article
Vulnerability Predictors of Post-Vaccine SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Disease—Empirical Evidence from a Large Population-Based Italian Platform
Vaccines 2022, 10(6), 845; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/vaccines10060845 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
We aimed to identify individual features associated with increased risk of post-vaccine SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 illness. We performed a nested case–control study based on 5,350,295 citizens from Lombardy, Italy, aged ≥ 12 years who received a complete anti-COVID-19 vaccination from 17 [...] Read more.
We aimed to identify individual features associated with increased risk of post-vaccine SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 illness. We performed a nested case–control study based on 5,350,295 citizens from Lombardy, Italy, aged ≥ 12 years who received a complete anti-COVID-19 vaccination from 17 January 2021 to 31 July 2021, and followed from 14 days after vaccine completion to 11 November 2021. Overall, 17,996 infections and 3023 severe illness cases occurred. For each case, controls were 1:1 (infection cases) or 1:10 (severe illness cases) matched for municipality of residence and date of vaccination completion. The association between selected predictors (sex, age, previous occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, type of vaccine received, number of previous contacts with the Regional Health Service (RHS), and the presence of 59 diseases) and outcomes was assessed by using multivariable conditional logistic regression models. Sex, age, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, type of vaccine and number of contacts with the RHS were associated with the risk of infection and severe illness. Moreover, higher odds of infection and severe illness were significantly associated with 14 and 34 diseases, respectively, among those investigated. These results can be helpful to clinicians and policy makers for prioritizing interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccine Candidate against SARS-CoV-2)
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Article
A Realistic Spark-Gap Model in Computer Simulation of Blumlein Transmission Line
Energies 2022, 15(11), 3919; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/en15113919 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Over the years, the use of numerical simulations in the development of high voltage pulse generators has become a standard approach. Nevertheless, the modeling of spark-gaps, one of the most commonly used switching devices in such generators, has always been a weak point [...] Read more.
Over the years, the use of numerical simulations in the development of high voltage pulse generators has become a standard approach. Nevertheless, the modeling of spark-gaps, one of the most commonly used switching devices in such generators, has always been a weak point of the process, especially in coupled circuit and field simulations. Although the complex SPICE spark-gap models do exist, it is difficult or impossible to directly couple them with field simulations. Thus, in many cases, the spark-gap models used were elementary and required many assumptions, which led to the prolongation of the design process. Our paper describes the coupling of a realistic circuit model of an air spark-gap, with a Finite Element Method simulation, solving the wave equation in the time domain. The simulation describes the operation of a Blumlein transmission line as a pulse generator. One of the advantages of the proposed solution is that the input parameters of the empirical model are measurable physical quantities characterizing the spark-gap circuit. We have carried out two numerical experiments testing the simulation for both the matched, resistive load and for a dipole antenna connected to the output of the Blumlein transmission line. The test results confirm that the circuit-field simulation can model Blumlein transmission lines with both simple elements (e.g., resistors) and complex circuits (e.g., an equivalent circuit of a dipole antenna) attached to its terminals. Full article
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Article
Path Coefficient and Principal Component Analyses for Biomass Allocation, Drought Tolerance and Carbon Sequestration Potential in Wheat
Plants 2022, 11(11), 1407; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants11111407 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Increased root biomass allocation could serve as a proxy trait for selecting crop ideotypes with drought tolerance and carbon sequestration potential in agricultural soils. The objective of this study was to assess the magnitude of the relationship between root biomass and yield components [...] Read more.
Increased root biomass allocation could serve as a proxy trait for selecting crop ideotypes with drought tolerance and carbon sequestration potential in agricultural soils. The objective of this study was to assess the magnitude of the relationship between root biomass and yield components and to identify influential traits so as to optimise genotype selection for enhanced biomass allocation, drought tolerance and carbon sequestration potential in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). One-hundred wheat genotypes consisting of 10 parents and 90 derived F2 families were evaluated under drought-stressed and non-stressed conditions at two different sites. Data were collected for days to heading (DTH), days to maturity (DTM), plant height, productive tiller number (TN), spike length, spikelets per spike (SPS), kernels per spike (KPS), thousand kernel weight (TKW), shoot biomass, root biomass, total plant biomass (PB), root-to-shoot ratio (RS) and grain yield. There was significant (p < 0.05) genetic variation in most assessed traits, TN and RS being exceptions. Root biomass had significant positive correlations with grain yield under drought-stressed (r = 0.28) and non-stressed (r = 0.41) conditions, but a non-significant correlation was recorded for RS and grain yield. Notably, both root biomass and shoot biomass had significant positive correlations under both water regimes, revealing the potential of increasing both traits with minimal biomass trade-offs. The highest positive direct effects on grain yield were found for KPS and PB under both water regimes. The present study demonstrated that selection based on KPS and PB rather than RS will be more effective in ideotype selection of segregating populations for drought tolerance and carbon sequestration potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wheat Breeding, Genomic Selection, and Phenomics)
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Article
The Link between Subjective Religiosity, Social Support, and Mental Health among Young Students in Eastern Europe during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study of Poland and Ukraine
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6446; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph19116446 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2022
Abstract
Religiousness has a positive effect on the mental health of an individual and social groups in many difficult situations. In the conducted research, we wanted to check, inter alia, whether religiosity and social support are positively related to the mental health of students [...] Read more.
Religiousness has a positive effect on the mental health of an individual and social groups in many difficult situations. In the conducted research, we wanted to check, inter alia, whether religiosity and social support are positively related to the mental health of students during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland and Ukraine. The research was conducted at a time (August 2021) when the very contagious Delta variant was spreading over Europe, and numerous pandemic-related personal restrictions and obligations (such as using facemasks in selected places, social distancing, and obligatory self-isolation of the ill or those who had contact with the pathogen) were in force in both countries. For this purpose, a representative survey was carried out using the CAPI technique on a sample of 1000 students in Poland (50% boys and 50% girls in the age range 10–19) and 1022 in Ukraine (51% boys and 49% girls in the age range 10–18). The results of the research shows that depression measured by the PHQ-9 scale was experienced by 20% of students in Poland, and 13% in Ukrainian. Anxiety, measured with the GAD-7 scale, was experienced by 9% of the Polish and 6% of the Ukrainian students. The performed regression analysis showed that religiosity had no effect on the mental health of students. The main risk factor for mental disorders was the lack of social support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Emotional Regulation and Mental Health)

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