Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 9

Search results for: Achilles

9 Lobbying Regulation in the EU: Transparency’s Achilles’ Heel

Authors: Krambia-Kapardis Maria, Neophytidou Christina

Abstract:

Lobbying is an inherent aspect within the democratic regimes across the globe. Although it can provide decision-makers with valuable knowledge and grant access to stakeholders in the decision-making process, it can also lead to undue influence and unfair competition at the expense of the public interest if it not transparent. Given the multi-level governance structure of the EU, it is no surprise that the EU policy-making arena has become a place-to-be for lobbyists. However, in order to ensure that influence is legitimate and not biased of any business interests, lobbying must be effectively regulated. A comparison with the US and Canadian lobbying regulatory framework and utilising some good practices from EU countries it is apparent that lobbying is the Achilles’ heel to transparency in the EU. It is evident that EU institutions suffer from ineffective regulations and could in fact benefit from a more robust, mandatory and better implemented system of lobbying regulation.

Keywords: EU, lobbying regulation, transparency, democratic regimes

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8 Anatomical, Light and Scanning Electron Microscopical Study of Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Integument

Authors: Samir El-Gendy, Doaa Zaghloul

Abstract:

The current study dealt with the gross and microscopic anatomy of the integument of male ostrich in addition to the histological features of different areas of skin by light and SEM. The ostrich skin is characterized by prominent feather follicles and bristles. The number of feather follicles was determined per cm2 in different regions. The integument of ostrich had many modifications which appeared as callosities and scales, nail and toe pads. They were sternal, pubic and Achilles tendon callosities. The vacuolated epidermal cells were seen mainly in the skin of legs and to a lesser extent in the skin of back and Achilles areas. Higher lipogenic potential was expressed by epidermis from glabrous areas of ostrich skin. The dermal papillae were found in the skin of feathered area of neck and back and this was not a common finding in bird's skin which may give resistance against shearing forces in these regions of ostrich skin. The thickness of the keratin layer of ostrich varied, being thick and characteristically loose in the skin at legs, very thin and wavy at neck, while at Achilles skin area, scale and toe pad were thick and more compact, with the thickest very dense and wavy keratin layer at the nail. The dermis consisted of superficial layer of dense irregular connective tissue characterized by presence of many vacuoles of different sizes just under the basal lamina of the epithelium of epidermis and deep layer of dense regular connective tissue. This result suggested presence of fat droplets in this layer which may be to overcome the lack of good barrier of cutaneous water loss in epidermis.

Keywords: ostrich, light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, integument, skin modifications

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7 The Rupture of Tendon Achilles During the Recreative and Sports Activities

Authors: Jasmin S. Nurkovic, Ljubisa Dj. Jovasevic, Zana C. Dolicanin, Zoran S. Bajin

Abstract:

Ruptured muscles and tendons very often must be repatriated by open operation in young persons. In young, muscles are ruptured more often than tendons, at the sane time in older persons are more exposed to rupture than muscles. Ruptured of the calcaneus are the most present of all ruptures. Sometime the rupture is complete, but very often the incomplete rupture can be noticed. During six years, from 2006 to 2012, we treated nineteen male patients and three female patients with the rupture of tendon Achilles. The youngest patient was aged thirty two, and the oldest was also managed sixty four. The youngest female patient was forty one and the oldest was forty six. One of our patients who was under corticosteroid treatment did not take any part in sport activities but she was, as she told us, going for a long walk, the same was with other two patients one man and one woman. We had nineteen male patients age 32 to 64 and three female patients age 41, 44 and 46. Conservative treatment by cast was applied in five patients and very good results were in three of them. In two patients surgical treatment failed in patient’s age 53 and 64. Only one of all patients treated by surgery had healing problems because of necrotic changes of the skin where incision was made. One of our female patients age 45 was under steroid treatment for almost 20 years because of asthmatic problems. We suggested her wearing boots with 8cm long heels by day and by night eight weeks. The final results were satisfactory and all the time she was able to work and to walk. It was the only case we had with bilateral tendon rupture. After eight weeks the cast is removed and psychiatric treatment started, patient is using crutches with partial weight bearing over a period of two weeks. Quite the same treatment conservative treatment, only the cast is not removed after two but after four weeks. Everyday activities after the surgical treatment started ten weeks and sport activities can start after fourteen to sixteen weeks. An increased activity of our patient without previous preparing for forces activity can result, as we already see, with tendon rupture. Treatment is very long and very often surgical. We find that surgical treatment resulted as safer and better solution for patients. We also had a patient with spontaneous rupture of tendon during longer walking but this patient was under prolonged corticosteroid treatment.

Keywords: tendon, Achilles, rupture, sport

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6 Mouse Knockouts for Elucidating the Role of Cysteine-Rich Angiogenic Inducer 61 in Tendon Development and Maintenance

Authors: Josephine Hai, Jie Jiang, Karen M. Lyons

Abstract:

Of the musculoskeletal tissues, tendon is least understood in terms of biological development. The current study examines Cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61, or CCN1, a member of the CCN family of secreted matricellular proteins that regulate cell behavior via intercellular signaling. Though CCN1 is notable in limiting fibrosis by inducing senescence in fibroblasts, little is known about its role in normal fibrous tissue, where it may be essential to the development of ECM-rich structures like tendons. We found that CCN1 knockout mice (using limb-specific Prx1-Cre) exhibited clubfoot and waddling gaits, a unique phenotype not described in any other mutant to date. Histological analysis showed that the Achilles and patellar tendons, where we previously found high CCN1 expression in adult reporter mice, were thicker and denser in the Prx1-Cre knockouts than in their wildtype littermates. We then hypothesized that CCN1 is required directly in tendon progenitor cells for normal tendon development and generated tendon-specific CCN1 knockout mice using Scx-Cre. We observed similar Achilles/patellar tendon morphology among the Scx-Cre and Prx1-Cre mutants, indicating that the phenotype is a direct result of CCN1’s loss in tendon. To further study phenotype onset and progression, we will histologically characterize these tendons across different developmental time-points. We will also perform RNA-seq and qPCR to analyze tenocyte gene expression and expect fibrotic marker upregulation in the Scx-Cre mutants if CCN1 is required to maintain a normal tendon phenotype. Thus, our study aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying tendon formation and maintenance. Understanding tendons at the most basic level invites novel approaches to tendon repair.

Keywords: development, matricellular, musculoskeletal, tendon

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5 A Multiple Freezing/Thawing Cycles Influence Internal Structure and Mechanical Properties of Achilles Tendon

Authors: Martyna Ekiert, Natalia Grzechnik, Joanna Karbowniczek, Urszula Stachewicz, Andrzej Mlyniec

Abstract:

Tendon grafting is a common procedure performed to treat tendon rupture. Before the surgical procedure, tissues intended for grafts (i.e., Achilles tendon) are stored in ultra-low temperatures for a long time and also may be subjected to unfavorable conditions, such as repetitive freezing (F) and thawing (T). Such storage protocols may highly influence the graft mechanical properties, decrease its functionality and thus increase the risk of complications during the transplant procedure. The literature reports on the influence of multiple F/T cycles on internal structure and mechanical properties of tendons stay inconclusive, confirming and denying the negative influence of multiple F/T at the same time. An inconsistent research methodology and lack of clear limit of F/T cycles, which disqualifies tissue for surgical graft purposes, encouraged us to investigate the issue of multiple F/T cycles by the mean of biomechanical tensile tests supported with Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) imaging. The study was conducted on male bovine Achilles tendon-derived from the local abattoir. Fresh tendons were cleaned of excessive membranes and then sectioned to obtained fascicle bundles. Collected samples were randomly assigned to 6 groups subjected to 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 cycles of freezing-thawing (F/T), respectively. Each F/T cycle included deep freezing at -80°C temperature, followed by thawing at room temperature. After final thawing, thin slices of the side part of samples subjected to 1, 4, 8 and 12 F/T cycles were collected for SEM imaging. Then, the width and thickness of all samples were measured to calculate the cross-sectional area. Biomechanical tests were performed using the universal testing machine (model Instron 8872, INSTRON®, Norwood, Massachusetts, USA) using a load cell with a maximum capacity of 250 kN and standard atmospheric conditions. Both ends of each fascicle bundle were manually clamped in grasping clamps using abrasive paper and wet cellulose wadding swabs to prevent tissue slipping while clamping and testing. Samples were subjected to the testing procedure including pre-loading, pre-cycling, loading, holding and unloading steps to obtain stress-strain curves for representing tendon stretching and relaxation. The stiffness of AT fascicles bundle samples was evaluated in terms of modulus of elasticity (Young’s modulus), calculated from the slope of the linear region of stress-strain curves. SEM imaging was preceded by chemical sample preparation including 24hr fixation in 3% glutaraldehyde buffered with 0.1 M phosphate buffer, washing with 0.1 M phosphate buffer solution and dehydration in a graded ethanol solution. SEM images (Merlin Gemini II microscope, ZEISS®) were taken using 30 000x mag, which allowed measuring a diameter of collagen fibrils. The results confirm a decrease in fascicle bundles Young’s modulus as well as a decrease in the diameter of collagen fibrils. These results confirm the negative influence of multiple F/T cycles on the mechanical properties of tendon tissue.

Keywords: biomechanics, collagen, fascicle bundles, soft tissue

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4 A Mixed Methods Research Design for the Development of the Xenia Higher Education Institutions' Inclusiveness Index

Authors: Achilles Kameas, Eleni Georgakakou, Anna Lisa Amodeo, Aideen Quilty, Aisling Malone, Roberta Albertazzi, Moises Carmona, Concetta Esposito, Ruben David Fernandez Carrasco, Carmela Ferrara, Francesco Garzillo, Mojca Pusnik, Maria Cristina Scarano

Abstract:

While researchers, especially in academia, study and research the phenomena of inclusion of sexual minority and gender marginalized groups, seldom the European Higher Education Institutions (HEI) act on lowering the cultural and educational barriers to their proactive inclusion. The challenge in European HEIs is that gender, and sexual orientation discrimination remains an issue not adequately addressed. Following a mixed methods research design of quantitative and qualitative research techniques and tools, which is applied in five (5) European countries (Italy, Greece, Ireland, Slovenia, and Spain) and that combines desk research, evaluation, and weighting processes for a Matrix-based on Objective indicators and Survey for students and staff of the HEI to gauge the perception of inclusiveness in the HEI context, XENIA HEI Inclusiveness Index is an instrument that will allow universities to gauge and assess their inclusiveness in the domain of discrimination and exclusion based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The index will allow capturing the depth and reach of policies, programmes, and initiatives of HEIs in tackling the phenomena and dynamics of exclusion of LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other marginalized groups on the basis of gender and sexual identity) and cisgender women exposed to the risk of discrimination.

Keywords: gender identity, higher education, LGBT+ rights, XENIA inclusiveness index

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3 From Achilles to Chris Kyle-Militarized Masculinity and Hollywood in the Post-9/11 Era

Authors: Mary M. Park

Abstract:

Hollywood has had a long and enduring history of showcasing the United States military to civilian audiences, and the portrayals of soldiers in films have had a definite impact on the civilian perception of the US military. The growing gap between the civilian population and the military in the US has led to certain stereotypes of military personnel to proliferate, especially in the area of militarized masculinity, which has often been harmful to the psychological and spiritual wellbeing of military personnel. Examining Hollywood's portrayal of soldiers can serve to enhance our understanding of how civilians may be influenced in their perception of military personnel. Moreover, it can provide clues as to how male military personnel may also be influenced by Hollywood films as they form their own military identity. The post 9/11 era has seen numerous high budget films lionizing a particular type of soldier, the 'warrior-hero', who adheres to a traditional form of hegemonic masculinity and exhibits traits such as physical strength, bravery, stoicism, and an eagerness to fight. This paper examines how the portrayal of the 'warrior-hero' perpetuates a negative stereotype that soldiers are a blend of superheroes and emotionless robots and, therefore, inherently different from civilians. This paper examines the portrayal of militarized masculinity in three of the most successful war films of the post-9/11 era; Black Hawk Down (2001), The Hurt Locker (2008), and American Sniper (2014). The characters and experiences of the soldiers depicted in these films are contrasted with the lived experiences of soldiers during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Further, there is an analysis of popular films depicting ancient warriors, such as Troy (2004) and 300 (2007), which were released during the early years of the War on Terror. This paper draws on the concept of hegemonic militarised masculinity by leading scholars and feminist international relations theories on militarized masculinity. This paper uses veteran testimonies collected from a range of public sources, as well as previous studies on the link between traditional masculinity and war-related mental illness. This paper concludes that the seemingly exclusive portrayal of soldiers as 'warrior-heroes' in films in the post-9/11 era is misleading and damaging to civil-military relations and that the reality of the majority of soldiers' experiences is neglected in Hollywood films. As civilians often believe they are being shown true depictions of the US military in Hollywood films, especially in films that portray real events, it is important to find the differences between the idealized fictional 'warrior-heroes' and the reality of the soldiers on the ground in the War on Terror.

Keywords: civil-military relations, gender studies, militarized masculinity, social pyschology

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2 Comparison of Developed Statokinesigram and Marker Data Signals by Model Approach

Authors: Boris Barbolyas, Kristina Buckova, Tomas Volensky, Cyril Belavy, Ladislav Dedik

Abstract:

Background: Based on statokinezigram, the human balance control is often studied. Approach to human postural reaction analysis is based on a combination of stabilometry output signal with retroreflective marker data signal processing, analysis, and understanding, in this study. The study shows another original application of Method of Developed Statokinesigram Trajectory (MDST), too. Methods: In this study, the participants maintained quiet bipedal standing for 10 s on stabilometry platform. Consequently, bilateral vibration stimuli to Achilles tendons in 20 s interval was applied. Vibration stimuli caused that human postural system took the new pseudo-steady state. Vibration frequencies were 20, 60 and 80 Hz. Participant's body segments - head, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and little fingers were marked by 12 retroreflective markers. Markers positions were scanned by six cameras system BTS SMART DX. Registration of their postural reaction lasted 60 s. Sampling frequency was 100 Hz. For measured data processing were used Method of Developed Statokinesigram Trajectory. Regression analysis of developed statokinesigram trajectory (DST) data and retroreflective marker developed trajectory (DMT) data were used to find out which marker trajectories most correlate with stabilometry platform output signals. Scaling coefficients (λ) between DST and DMT by linear regression analysis were evaluated, too. Results: Scaling coefficients for marker trajectories were identified for all body segments. Head markers trajectories reached maximal value and ankle markers trajectories had a minimal value of scaling coefficient. Hips, knees and ankles markers were approximately symmetrical in the meaning of scaling coefficient. Notable differences of scaling coefficient were detected in head and shoulders markers trajectories which were not symmetrical. The model of postural system behavior was identified by MDST. Conclusion: Value of scaling factor identifies which body segment is predisposed to postural instability. Hypothetically, if statokinesigram represents overall human postural system response to vibration stimuli, then markers data represented particular postural responses. It can be assumed that cumulative sum of particular marker postural responses is equal to statokinesigram.

Keywords: center of pressure (CoP), method of developed statokinesigram trajectory (MDST), model of postural system behavior, retroreflective marker data

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1 Comparisons of Drop Jump and Countermovement Jump Performance for Male Basketball Players with and without Low-Dye Taping Application

Authors: Chung Yan Natalia Yeung, Man Kit Indy Ho, Kin Yu Stan Chan, Ho Pui Kipper Lam, Man Wah Genie Tong, Tze Chung Jim Luk

Abstract:

Excessive foot pronation is a well-known risk factor of knee and foot injuries such as patellofemoral pain, patellar and Achilles tendinopathy, and plantar fasciitis. Low-Dye taping (LDT) application is not uncommon for basketball players to control excessive foot pronation for pain control and injury prevention. The primary potential benefits of using LDT include providing additional supports to medial longitudinal arch and restricting the excessive midfoot and subtalar motion in weight-bearing activities such as running and landing. Meanwhile, restrictions provided by the rigid tape may also potentially limit functional joint movements and sports performance. Coaches and athletes need to weigh the potential benefits and harmful effects before making a decision if applying LDT technique is worthwhile or not. However, the influence of using LDT on basketball-related performance such as explosive and reactive strength is not well understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the change of drop jump (DJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) performance before and after LDT application for collegiate male basketball players. In this within-subject crossover study, 12 healthy male basketball players (age: 21.7 ± 2.5 years) with at least 3-year regular basketball training experience were recruited. Navicular drop (ND) test was adopted as the screening and only those with excessive pronation (ND ≥ 10mm) were included. Participants with recent lower limb injury history were excluded. Recruited subjects were required to perform both ND, DJ (on a platform of 40cm height) and CMJ (without arms swing) tests in series during taped and non-taped conditions in the counterbalanced order. Reactive strength index (RSI) was calculated by using the flight time divided by the ground contact time measured. For DJ and CMJ tests, the best of three trials was used for analysis. The difference between taped and non-taped conditions for each test was further calculated through standardized effect ± 90% confidence intervals (CI) with clinical magnitude-based inference (MBI). Paired samples T-test showed significant decrease in ND (-4.68 ± 1.44mm; 95% CI: -3.77, -5.60; p < 0.05) while MBI demonstrated most likely beneficial and large effect (standardize effect: -1.59 ± 0.27) in LDT condition. For DJ test, significant increase in both flight time (25.25 ± 29.96ms; 95% CI: 6.22, 44.28; p < 0.05) and RSI (0.22 ± 0.22; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.36; p < 0.05) were observed. In taped condition, MBI showed very likely beneficial and moderate effect (standardized effect: 0.77 ± 0.49) in flight time, possibly beneficial and small effect (standardized effect: -0.26 ± 0.29) in ground contact time and very likely beneficial and moderate effect (standardized effect: 0.77 ± 0.42) in RSI. No significant difference in CMJ was observed (95% CI: -2.73, 2.08; p > 0.05). For basketball players with pes planus, applying LDT could substantially support the foot by elevating the navicular height and potentially provide acute beneficial effects in reactive strength performance. Meanwhile, no significant harmful effect on CMJ was observed. Basketball players may consider applying LDT before the game or training to enhance the reactive strength performance. However since the observed effects in this study could not generalize to other players without excessive foot pronation, further studies on players with normal foot arch or navicular height are recommended.

Keywords: flight time, pes planus, pronated foot, reactive strength index

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