Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 23

Search results for: Enrico Molinari

23 The M Health Paradigm for the Chronic Care Management of Obesity: New Opportunities in Clinical Psychology and Medicine

Authors: Gianluca Castelnuovo, Gian Mauro Manzoni, Giada Pietrabissa, Stefania Corti, Emanuele Giusti, Roberto Cattivelli, Enrico Molinari, Susan Simpson

Abstract:

Obesity is currently an important public health problem of epidemic proportions (globesity). Moreover Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is typically connected with obesity, even if not occurring exclusively in conjunction with overweight conditions. Typically obesity with BED requires a longer term treatment in comparison with simple obesity. Rehabilitation interventions that aim at improving weight-loss, reducing obesity-related complications and changing dysfunctional behaviors, should ideally be carried out in a multidisciplinary context with a clinical team composed of psychologists, dieticians, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, etc. Long-term outpatient multidisciplinary treatments are likely to constitute an essential aspect of rehabilitation, due to the growing costs of a limited inpatient approach. Internet-based technologies can improve long-term obesity rehabilitation within a collaborative approach. The new m health (m-health, mobile health) paradigm, defined as clinical practices supported by up to date mobile communication devices, could increase compliance- engagement and contribute to a significant cost reduction in BED and obesity rehabilitation. Five psychological components need to be considered for successful m Health-based obesity rehabilitation in order to facilitate weight-loss.1) Self-monitoring. Portable body monitors, pedometers and smartphones are mobile and, therefore, can be easily used, resulting in continuous self-monitoring. 2) Counselor feedback and communication. A functional approach is to provide online weight-loss interventions with brief weekly or monthly counselor or psychologist visits. 3) Social support. A group treatment format is typically preferred for behavioral weight-loss interventions. 4) Structured program. Technology-based weight-loss programs incorporate principles of behavior therapy and change with structured weekly protocolos including nutrition, exercise, stimulus control, self-regulation strategies, goal-setting. 5) Individually tailored program. Interventions specifically designed around individual’s goals typically record higher rates of adherence and weight loss. Opportunities and limitations of m health approach in clinical psychology for obesity and BED are discussed, taking into account future research directions in this promising area.

Keywords: obesity, rehabilitation, out-patient, new technologies, tele medicine, tele care, m health, clinical psychology, psychotherapy, chronic care management

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22 A Stepped Care mHealth-Based Approach for Obesity with Type 2 Diabetes in Clinical Health Psychology

Authors: Gianluca Castelnuovo, Giada Pietrabissa, Gian Mauro Manzoni, Margherita Novelli, Emanuele Maria Giusti, Roberto Cattivelli, Enrico Molinari

Abstract:

Diabesity could be defined as a new global epidemic of obesity and being overweight with many complications and chronic conditions. Such conditions include not only type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, dyslipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, cancer, and various psychosocial and psychopathological disorders. The financial direct and indirect burden (considering also the clinical resources involved and the loss of productivity) is a real challenge in many Western health-care systems. Recently the Lancet journal defined diabetes as a 21st-century challenge. In order to promote patient compliance in diabesity treatment reducing costs, evidence-based interventions to improve weight-loss, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce related comorbidities combine different treatment approaches: dietetic, nutritional, physical, behavioral, psychological, and, in some situations, pharmacological and surgical. Moreover, new technologies can provide useful solutions in this multidisciplinary approach, above all in maintaining long-term compliance and adherence in order to ensure clinical efficacy. Psychological therapies with diet and exercise plans could better help patients in achieving weight loss outcomes, both inside hospitals and clinical centers and during out-patient follow-up sessions. In the management of chronic diseases clinical psychology play a key role due to the need of working on psychological conditions of patients, their families and their caregivers. mHealth approach could overcome limitations linked with the traditional, restricted and highly expensive in-patient treatment of many chronic pathologies: one of the best up-to-date application is the management of obesity with type 2 diabetes, where mHealth solutions can provide remote opportunities for enhancing weight reduction and reducing complications from clinical, organizational and economic perspectives. A stepped care mHealth-based approach is an interesting perspective in chronic care management of obesity with type 2 diabetes. One promising future direction could be treating obesity, considered as a chronic multifactorial disease, using a stepped-care approach: -mhealth or traditional based lifestyle psychoeducational and nutritional approach. -health professionals-driven multidisciplinary protocols tailored for each patient. -inpatient approach with the inclusion of drug therapies and other multidisciplinary treatments. -bariatric surgery with psychological and medical follow-up In the chronic care management of globesity mhealth solutions cannot substitute traditional approaches, but they can supplement some steps in clinical psychology and medicine both for obesity prevention and for weight loss management.

Keywords: clinical health psychology, mhealth, obesity, type 2 diabetes, stepped care, chronic care management

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21 Effect of Ultrasound on the Hydrolysis of Soy Oil Catalyzed by 1,3-Specific Lipase Abstract

Authors: Jamal Abd Awadallak, Thiago Olinek Reinehr, Eduardo Raizer, Deise Molinari, Edson Antonio, Camila da Silva da Silva

Abstract:

The hydrolysis of soy oil catalyzed by 1,3-specific enzyme (Lecitase Ultra) in a well-stirred bioreactor was studied. Two forms of applications of the ultrasound were evaluated aiming to increase reaction rates, wherein the use of probe ultrasound associated with the use of surfactant to pre-emulsify the substrate showed the best results. Two different reaction periods were found: the first where the ultrasound has great influence on reaction rates, and the second where ultrasound influence is minimal. Studies on the time of pre-emulsification, surfactant concentration and enzyme concentration showed that the initial rate of hydrolysis depends on the interfacial area between the oil phase and the aqueous phase containing the enzyme.

Keywords: specific enzyme, free fatty acids, Hydrolysis, lecitase ultra, ultrasound

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20 A New Gateway for Rheumatoid Arthritis: COXIBs with a Safety Cardiovascular Profile

Authors: Malvina Hoxha, Valerie Capra, Carola Buccellati, Angelo Sala, Clara Cena, Roberta Fruttero, Massimo Bertinaria, G. Enrico Rovati

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Today COXIBs are used in the treatment of arthritis and many other painful conditions in selected patients with high gastrointestinal risk and low CV risk. Previously we found a new mechanism of action of a traditional NSAID (diclofenac) and a COXIB (lumiracoxib) that possess weak competitive antagonism at the TP receptor. We hypothesize that modifying the structure of a known specific inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2 (COXIB), so that it becomes also a more potent thromboxane antagonist will preserve the anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal safety typical of COXIBs and prevent the cardiovascular risk associated with long term therapy.

Keywords: cyclooxygenase, inflammation, lumiracoxib, thromboxane A2

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19 Preparation and Characterization of Iron/Titanium-Pillared Clays

Authors: Rezala Houria, Valverde Jose Luis, Romero Amaya, Molinari Alessandra, Maldotti Andrea

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The escalation of oil prices in 1973 confronted the oil industry with the problem of how to maximize the processing of crude oil, especially the heavy fractions, to give gasoline components. Strong impetus was thus given to the development of catalysts with relatively large pore sizes, which were able to deal with larger molecules than the existing molecular sieves, and with good thermal and hydrothermal stability. The oil embargo in 1973 therefore acted as a stimulus for the investigation and development of pillared clays. Iron doped titania-pillared montmorillonite clays was prepared using bentonite from deposits of Maghnia in western-Algeria. The preparation method consists of differents steps (purification of the raw bentonite, preparation of a pillaring agent solution and exchange of the cations located between the clay layers with the previously formed iron/titanium solution). The characterization of this material was carried out by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, textural measures by BET method, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy, diffuse reflectance UV visible spectroscopy, temperature- programmed desorption of ammonia and atomic absorption.This new material was investigated as photocatalyst for selective oxygenation of the liquid alkylaromatics such as: toluene, paraxylene and orthoxylene and the photocatalytic properties of it were compared with those of the titanium-pillared clays.

Keywords: iron doping, montmorillonite clays, pillared clays, oil industry

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18 Upcycling of Inorganic Waste: Lessons Learned and Outlook for the Future

Authors: Miroslava Hujová, Patricia Rabello Monich, Jozef Kraxner, Dusan Galusek, Enrico Bernardo

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Inorganic waste upcycling offers a solution how to avoid landfilling and how to save raw materials at the same time. However, its practical implementations in Slovakia and elsewhere in Europe, are rather limited despite the potential smaller countries like Slovakia have their advantage in closely-knitted inorganic materials industry. One part of discussion should include an overview of wastes that can be possibly used for upcycling, i.e. fly ashes, red mud, glass cullets, vitrified bottom ashes etc. These wastes can be processed by a variety of strategies, the one of our choice, alkali activation, opens the possibility for the formation of novel materials at almost negligible energetic expense. In the research, these materials are characterized by comprehensive means (X-Ray Fluorescece, Diffraction methods, Thermal Analysis, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Mechanical tests and Chemical stability), which time and time again demonstrate their competitive properties against traditional materials available at the market. It is just a question for discussion why these materials do not receive more significant attention from industry and there is pressing interest for the solution of standing situation.

Keywords: upcycling, inorganic wastes, glass ceramics, alkali-activation

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17 Photocatalysis with Fe/Ti-Pillared Clays for the Oxofunctionalization of Alkylaromatics by O2

Authors: Houria Rezala, Jose Luis Valverde, Amaya Romero, Alessandra Molinari, Andrea Maldotti

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A pillared montmorillonite containing iron doped titania (Fe/Ti-PILC) has been prepared from a natural clay. This material has been characterized by X-ray diffraction, nitrogen adsorption, temperature programmed desorption of ammonia, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy, atomic absorption, and diffuse reflectance UV-VIS spectroscopy. The layer structure of Fe/Ti-PILC resulted to be ordered with an insertion of pillars, which caused a slight increase in the basal spacing of the clay. Its specific surface area was about three times larger than that of the parent Na-montmorillonite due principally to the creation of a remarkable microporous network. The doped material was a robust photocatalyst able to oxidize liquid alkyl aromatics to the corresponding carbonylic derivatives, using O2 as the oxidizing species, at mild pressure and temperature conditions. Accumulation of valuable carbonylic derivatives was possible since their over-oxidation to carbon dioxide was negligible. Fe/Ti-PILC was able to discriminate between toluene and cyclohexane in favor of the aromatic compound with an efficiency that is about three times higher than that of titanium pillared clays (Ti-PILC). It is likely that the addition of iron favored the formation of new acid sites able to interact with the aromatic substrate. Iron doping caused a significant TiO2 visible light-induced activity (wavelength > 400 nm) with only minor negative effects on its performance under UV-light irradiation (wavelength > 290 nm).

Keywords: alkyl aromatics oxidation, heterogeneous photocatalysis, iron doping, pillared clays

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16 The Effect of Colloidal Environments on Ultrasound-Induced Inactivation of Soy Trypsin Inhibitors: Separation, Inactivation Kinetics and Conformational Characteristics

Authors: Yue Wu, Wu Li, Enrico Colombo, Gregory J. O. Martin, Muthupandinan Ashokkumar

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In this study, the impact of colloidal environments on low-frequency (20 kHz) and high-frequency (355 kHz) ultrasound-induced trypsin inhibitor (TI) inactivation was investigated. It was found that both low-frequency and high-frequency ultrasound could partly reduce the native Kunitz (KTI) and Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI). Compared to high-frequency ultrasound, low-frequency ultrasound showed better performance on the inactivation of trypsin inhibitors at higher initial concentrations (> 500 mg/L). Therefore, low-frequency ultrasound was selected for further study on the effect of power density and pH. It was observed that the trypsin inhibitor reduction was increased and then plateaued with an increase in power density. In addition, lower pH improved the low-frequency ultrasound-induced inactivation by promoting the aggregation of trypsin inhibitors. Overall, the colloidal environment was shown to affect Kunitz and Bowman-Birk inhibitor inactivation via influencing the degree of protein conformational changes and aggregation induced by low-frequency ultrasound and protein conformational changes and oxidation of methionine induced by high-frequency ultrasound.

Keywords: soy trypsin inhibitor, ultrasound, inactivation, initial concentration, PH

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15 Forecasting of the Mobility of Rainfall-Induced Slow-Moving Landslides Using a Two-Block Model

Authors: Antonello Troncone, Luigi Pugliese, Andrea Parise, Enrico Conte

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The present study deals with the landslides periodically reactivated by groundwater level fluctuations owing to rainfall. The main type of movement which generally characterizes these landslides consists in sliding with quite small-displacement rates. Another peculiar characteristic of these landslides is that soil deformations are essentially concentrated within a thin shear band located below the body of the landslide, which, consequently, undergoes an approximately rigid sliding. In this context, a simple method is proposed in the present study to forecast the movements of this type of landslides owing to rainfall. To this purpose, the landslide body is schematized by means of a two-block model. Some analytical solutions are derived to relate rainfall measurements with groundwater level oscillations and these latter, in turn, to landslide mobility. The proposed method is attractive for engineering applications since it requires few parameters as input data, many of which can be obtained from conventional geotechnical tests. To demonstrate the predictive capability of the proposed method, the application to a well-documented landslide periodically reactivated by rainfall is shown.

Keywords: rainfall, water level fluctuations, landslide mobility, two-block model

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14 Tourism as Economic Resource for Protecting the Landscape: Introducing Touristic Initiatives in Coastal Protected Areas of Albania

Authors: Enrico Porfido

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The paper aims to investigate the relation between landscape and tourism, with a special focus on coastal protected areas of Albania. The relationship between tourism and landscape is bijective: There is no tourism without landscape attractive features and on the other side landscape needs economic resources to be conserved and protected. The survival of each component is strictly related to the other one. Today, the Albanian protected areas appear as isolated islands, too far away from each other to build an efficient network and to avoid waste in terms of energy, economy and working force. This study wants to stress out the importance of cooperation in terms of common strategies and the necessity of introducing a touristic sustainable model in Albania. Comparing the protection system laws of the neighbor countries of the Adriatic-Ionian region and through a desk review on the best practices of protected areas that benefit from touristic activities, the study proposes the creation of the Albanian Riviera Landscape Park. This action will impact positively the whole southern Albania territory, introducing a sustainable tourism network that aims to valorize the local heritage and to stop the coastal exploitation processes. The main output is the definition of future development scenarios in Albania with the establishment of new protected areas and the introduction of touristic initiatives.

Keywords: Adriatic-Ionian region, protected areas, tourism for landscape, sustainable tourism

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13 Potential of Intercropping Corn and Cowpea to Ratooned Sugarcane for Food and Forage

Authors: Maricon E. Gepolani, Edna A. Aguilar, Pearl B. Sanchez, Enrico P. Supangco

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Intercropping farming system and biofertilizer application are sustainable agricultural practices that increase farm productivity by improving the yield performance of the components involved in the production system. Thus, this on-farm trial determined the yield and forage quality of corn and cowpea with and without biofertilizer application when intercropped with ratooned sugarcane. Intercropping corn and cowpea without biofertilizer application had no negative effect on the vegetative growth of sugarcane. However, application of biofertilizer on intercrops decreased tiller production at 117 days after stubble shaving (DASS), consequently reducing the estimated tonnage yield of sugarcane. The yield of intercrops and forage production of Cp3 cowpea variety increased when intercropped to ratooned sugarcane. In contrast, intercropping PSB 97-92 corn variety to ratooned sugarcane reduced its forage production, but when biofertilizer was applied to intercropped Cp5 cowpea variety, the forage production increased. Profitability (income equivalent ratio) of intercropping for both corn and cowpea are higher than monocropping and are thus suitable intercrops to ratooned sugarcane. Unaffected tiller count (a determinant of sugarcane tonnage yield) when biofertilizer was not applied to intercrops and a reduced tiller count with biofertilizer application to intercrops implies the need to develop a nutrient management practices specific for intercropping systems.

Keywords: biofertilizer, corn, cowpea, intercropping system, ratooned sugarcane

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12 Evaluation of Short-Term Load Forecasting Techniques Applied for Smart Micro-Grids

Authors: Xiaolei Hu, Enrico Ferrera, Riccardo Tomasi, Claudio Pastrone

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Load Forecasting plays a key role in making today's and future's Smart Energy Grids sustainable and reliable. Accurate power consumption prediction allows utilities to organize in advance their resources or to execute Demand Response strategies more effectively, which enables several features such as higher sustainability, better quality of service, and affordable electricity tariffs. It is easy yet effective to apply Load Forecasting at larger geographic scale, i.e. Smart Micro Grids, wherein the lower available grid flexibility makes accurate prediction more critical in Demand Response applications. This paper analyses the application of short-term load forecasting in a concrete scenario, proposed within the EU-funded GreenCom project, which collect load data from single loads and households belonging to a Smart Micro Grid. Three short-term load forecasting techniques, i.e. linear regression, artificial neural networks, and radial basis function network, are considered, compared, and evaluated through absolute forecast errors and training time. The influence of weather conditions in Load Forecasting is also evaluated. A new definition of Gain is introduced in this paper, which innovatively serves as an indicator of short-term prediction capabilities of time spam consistency. Two models, 24- and 1-hour-ahead forecasting, are built to comprehensively compare these three techniques.

Keywords: short-term load forecasting, smart micro grid, linear regression, artificial neural networks, radial basis function network, gain

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11 Effect of Probiotic Feeding on Weight Gain, Blood Biochemical and Hematological Indices of Crossbred Dairy Goat Kids

Authors: Claire B. Salvedia, Enrico P. Supangco, Francisco B. Eligado, Renato Sa Vega, Antonio A. Rayos

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The study was conducted to evaluate the effect of probiotic feeding on weight gain, blood biochemical and hematological indices of crossbred dairy goat kids. Sixteen (16) crossbred Anglo-Nubian x Saanen dairy goat kids, 3 to 4 months old, ranging from 19 to 23kg were randomly assigned into four treatments fed with 5x109 cfu/ml probiotic supplements; Treatment 1 – control; Treatment 2 – lactic acid bacteria (L. plantarum BS and P. acidilactici 3G3); treatment 3 – S. cerevisiae 2030; Treatment 4 – multi-strain probiotics (L. plantarum BS, P. acidilactici 3G3, and S.cerevisiae 2030). Feed ration provided daily for each of the experimental animals were composed of 1kg mixed concentrate feed ((Leucaena leucocephala dried leaves and pollard), and 4 kg fresh Pennisetum purpureum and Gliciridia sepium leaves (50:50). The experimental feeding trial lasted for 9 weeks. Result revealed that treatments fed with probiotics had significantly (P≤0.05) higher weight gain compared to the control. Significant effect on plasma urea nitrogen (PUN) and triglyceride were noted during 30th and 60th day of probiotic feeding. White blood cell counts were significantly affected by probiotic feeding during the 60th day. Concentrations of glucose and cholesterol remained unchanged throughout the experimental period. The findings suggests, under the condition of the experiment, that live probiotic feeding could have a significant role in improving weight gain and metabolism of crossbred dairy goat kids.

Keywords: probiotics, weight gain, blood biochemical indices, crossbred dairy goat kids

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10 Deorbiting Performance of Electrodynamic Tethers to Mitigate Space Debris

Authors: Giulia Sarego, Lorenzo Olivieri, Andrea Valmorbida, Carlo Bettanini, Giacomo Colombatti, Marco Pertile, Enrico C. Lorenzini

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International guidelines recommend removing any artificial body in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) within 25 years from mission completion. Among disposal strategies, electrodynamic tethers appear to be a promising option for LEO, thanks to the limited storage mass and the minimum interface requirements to the host spacecraft. In particular, recent technological advances make it feasible to deorbit large objects with tether lengths of a few kilometers or less. To further investigate such an innovative passive system, the European Union is currently funding the project E.T.PACK – Electrodynamic Tether Technology for Passive Consumable-less Deorbit Kit in the framework of the H2020 Future Emerging Technologies (FET) Open program. The project focuses on the design of an end of life disposal kit for LEO satellites. This kit aims to deploy a taped tether that can be activated at the spacecraft end of life to perform autonomous deorbit within the international guidelines. In this paper, the orbital performance of the E.T.PACK deorbiting kit is compared to other disposal methods. Besides, the orbital decay prediction is parametrized as a function of spacecraft mass and tether system performance. Different values of length, width, and thickness of the tether will be evaluated for various scenarios (i.e., different initial orbital parameters). The results will be compared to other end-of-life disposal methods with similar allocated resources. The analysis of the more innovative system’s performance with the tape coated with a thermionic material, which has a low work-function (LWT), for which no active component for the cathode is required, will also be briefly discussed. The results show that the electrodynamic tether option can be a competitive and performant solution for satellite disposal compared to other deorbit technologies.

Keywords: deorbiting performance, H2020, spacecraft disposal, space electrodynamic tethers

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9 Current Harvesting Methods for Jatropha curcas L.

Authors: Luigi Pari, Alessandro Suardi, Enrico Santangelo

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In the last decade Jatropha curcas L. (an oleaginous crop native to Central America and part of South America) has raised particular interest owing to of its properties and uses. Its capsules may contain up to 40% in oil and can be used as feedstock for biodiesel production. The harvesting phase is made difficult by the physiological traits of the specie, because fruits are in bunches and do not ripen simultaneously. Three harvesting methodologies are currently diffused and differ for the level of mechanization applied: manual picking, semi-mechanical harvesting, and mechanical harvesting. The manual picking is the most common in the developing countries but it is also the most time consuming and inefficient. Mechanical harvesting carried out with modified grape harvesters has the higher productivity, but it is very costly as initial investment and requires appropriate schemes of cultivation. The semi-mechanical harvesting method is achieved with shaker tools employed to facilitate the fruit detachment. This system resulted much cheaper than the fully mechanized one and quite flexible for small and medium scale applications, but it still requires adjustments for improving the productive performance. CRA-ING, within the European project Jatromed (http://www.jatromed.aua.gr) has carried out preliminary studies on the applicability of such approach, adapting an olive shaker to harvest Jatropha fruits. The work is a survey of the harvesting methods currently available for Jatropha, show the pros and cons of each system, and highlighting the criteria to be considered for choosing one respect another. The harvesting of Jatropha curcas L. remains a big constrains for the spread of the species as energy crop. The approach pursued by CRA-ING can be considered a good compromise between the fully mechanized harvesters and the exclusive manual intervention. It is an attempt to promote a sustainable mechanization suited to the social context of developing countries by encouraging the concrete involvement of local populations.

Keywords: jatropha curcas, energy crop, harvesting, central america, south america

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8 Superiority of Bone Marrow Derived-Osteoblastic Cells (ALLOB®) over Bone Marrow Derived-Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Authors: Sandra Pietri, Helene Dubout, Sabrina Ena, Candice Hoste, Enrico Bastianelli

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Bone Therapeutics is a bone cell therapy company addressing high unmet medical needs in the field of bone fracture repair, more specifically in non-union and delayed-union fractures where the bone repair process is impaired. The company has developed a unique allogeneic osteoblastic cell product (ALLOB®) derived from bone marrow which is currently tested in humans in the indication of delayed-union fractures. The purpose of our study was to directly compare ALLOB® vs. non-differentiated mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for their in vitro osteogenic characteristics and their in vivo osteogenic potential in order to determine which cellular type would be the most adapted for bone fracture repair. Methods: Healthy volunteers’ bone marrow aspirates (n=6) were expended (i) into BM-MSCs using a complete MSC culture medium or (ii) into ALLOB® cells according to its manufacturing process. Cells were characterized in vitro by morphology, immunophenotype, gene expression and differentiation potential. Additionally, their osteogenic potential was assessed in vivo in the subperiosteal calvaria bone formation model in nude mice. Results: The in vitro side-by-side comparison studies showed that although ALLOB® and BM-MSC shared some common general characteristics such as the 3 minimal MSC criteria, ALLOB® expressed significantly higher levels of chondro/osteoblastic genes such as BMP2 (fold change (FC) > 100), ALPL (FC > 12), CBFA1 (FC > 3) and differentiated significantly earlier than BM-MSC toward the osteogenic lineage. Moreover the bone formation model in nude mice demonstrated that used at the same cellular concentration, ALLOB® was able to induce significantly more (160% vs.107% for control animals) bone formation than BM-MSC (118% vs. 107 % for control animals) two weeks after administration. Conclusion: Our side-by-side comparison studies demonstrated that in vitro and in vivo, ALLOB® displays superior osteogenic capacity to BM-MScs and is therefore a better candidate for the treatment of bone fractures.

Keywords: gene expression, histomorphometry, mesenchymal stem cells, osteogenic differentiation potential, preclinical

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7 Water Desalination by Membrane Distillation with MFI Zeolite Membranes

Authors: Angelo Garofalo, Laura Donato, Maria Concetta Carnevale, Enrico Drioli, Omar Alharbi, Saad Aljlil, Alessandra Criscuoli, Catia Algieri

Abstract:

Nowadays, water scarcity may be considered one of the most important and serious questions concerning our community: in fact, there is a remarkable mismatch between water supply and water demand. Exploitation of natural fresh water resources combined with higher water demand has led to an increased requirement for alternative water resources. In this context, desalination provides such an alternative source, offering water otherwise not accessible for irrigational, industrial and municipal use. Considering the various drawbacks of the polymeric membranes, zeolite membranes represent a potential device for water desalination owing to their high thermal and chemical stability. In this area wide attention was focused on the MFI (silicalite, ZSM-5) membranes, having a pore size lower (about 5.5 Å) than the major kinetic diameters of hydrated ions. In the present work, a scale-up for the preparation of supported silicalite membranes was performed. Therefore, tubular membranes 30 cm long were synthesized by using the secondary growth method coupled with the cross flow seeding procedure. The secondary growth presents two steps: seeding and growth of zeolite crystals on the support. This process, decoupling zeolite nucleation from crystals growth, permits to control the conditions of each step separately. The seeding procedure consists of a cross-flow filtration through a porous support coupled with the support rotation and tilting. The combination of these three different aspects allows a homogeneous and uniform coverage of the support with the zeolite seeds. After characterization by scanning electron microscope (SEM), X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and Energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis, the prepared membranes were tested by means of single gas permeation and then by Vacuum Membrane Distillation (VMD) using both deionized water and NaCl solutions. The experimental results evidenced the possibility to perform the scale up for the preparation of almost defect free silicalite membranes. VMD tests indicated the possibility to prepare membranes that exhibit interesting performance in terms of fluxes and salt rejections for concentrations from 0.2 M to 0.9 M. Furthermore, it was possible to restore the original performance of the membrane after an identified cleaning procedure. Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for funding the research Project 895/33 entitled ‘Preparation and Characterization of Zeolite Membranes for Water Treatment’.

Keywords: desalination, MFI membranes, secondary growth, vacuum membrane distillation

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6 The Application of Raman Spectroscopy in Olive Oil Analysis

Authors: Silvia Portarena, Chiara Anselmi, Chiara Baldacchini, Enrico Brugnoli

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Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a complex matrix mainly composed by fatty acid and other minor compounds, among which carotenoids are well known for their antioxidative function that is a key mechanism of protection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and macular degeneration in humans. EVOO composition in terms of such constituents is generally the result of a complex combination of genetic, agronomical and environmental factors. To selectively improve the quality of EVOOs, the role of each factor on its biochemical composition need to be investigated. By selecting fruits from four different cultivars similarly grown and harvested, it was demonstrated that Raman spectroscopy, combined with chemometric analysis, is able to discriminate the different cultivars, also as a function of the harvest date, based on the relative content and composition of fatty acid and carotenoids. In particular, a correct classification up to 94.4% of samples, according to the cultivar and the maturation stage, was obtained. Moreover, by using gas chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography as reference techniques, the Raman spectral features further allowed to build models, based on partial least squares regression, that were able to predict the relative amount of the main fatty acids and the main carotenoids in EVOO, with high coefficients of determination. Besides genetic factors, climatic parameters, such as light exposition, distance from the sea, temperature, and amount of precipitations could have a strong influence on EVOO composition of both major and minor compounds. This suggests that the Raman spectra could act as a specific fingerprint for the geographical discrimination and authentication of EVOO. To understand the influence of environment on EVOO Raman spectra, samples from seven regions along the Italian coasts were selected and analyzed. In particular, it was used a dual approach combining Raman spectroscopy and isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) with principal component and linear discriminant analysis. A correct classification of 82% EVOO based on their regional geographical origin was obtained. Raman spectra were obtained by Super Labram spectrometer equipped with an Argon laser (514.5 nm wavelenght). Analyses of stable isotope content ratio were performed using an isotope ratio mass spectrometer connected to an elemental analyzer and to a pyrolysis system. These studies demonstrate that RR spectroscopy is a valuable and useful technique for the analysis of EVOO. In combination with statistical analysis, it makes possible the assessment of specific samples’ content and allows for classifying oils according to their geographical and varietal origin.

Keywords: authentication, chemometrics, olive oil, raman spectroscopy

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5 Dimensionality Reduction in Modal Analysis for Structural Health Monitoring

Authors: Elia Favarelli, Enrico Testi, Andrea Giorgetti

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Autonomous structural health monitoring (SHM) of many structures and bridges became a topic of paramount importance for maintenance purposes and safety reasons. This paper proposes a set of machine learning (ML) tools to perform automatic feature selection and detection of anomalies in a bridge from vibrational data and compare different feature extraction schemes to increase the accuracy and reduce the amount of data collected. As a case study, the Z-24 bridge is considered because of the extensive database of accelerometric data in both standard and damaged conditions. The proposed framework starts from the first four fundamental frequencies extracted through operational modal analysis (OMA) and clustering, followed by density-based time-domain filtering (tracking). The fundamental frequencies extracted are then fed to a dimensionality reduction block implemented through two different approaches: feature selection (intelligent multiplexer) that tries to estimate the most reliable frequencies based on the evaluation of some statistical features (i.e., mean value, variance, kurtosis), and feature extraction (auto-associative neural network (ANN)) that combine the fundamental frequencies to extract new damage sensitive features in a low dimensional feature space. Finally, one class classifier (OCC) algorithms perform anomaly detection, trained with standard condition points, and tested with normal and anomaly ones. In particular, a new anomaly detector strategy is proposed, namely one class classifier neural network two (OCCNN2), which exploit the classification capability of standard classifiers in an anomaly detection problem, finding the standard class (the boundary of the features space in normal operating conditions) through a two-step approach: coarse and fine boundary estimation. The coarse estimation uses classics OCC techniques, while the fine estimation is performed through a feedforward neural network (NN) trained that exploits the boundaries estimated in the coarse step. The detection algorithms vare then compared with known methods based on principal component analysis (PCA), kernel principal component analysis (KPCA), and auto-associative neural network (ANN). In many cases, the proposed solution increases the performance with respect to the standard OCC algorithms in terms of F1 score and accuracy. In particular, by evaluating the correct features, the anomaly can be detected with accuracy and an F1 score greater than 96% with the proposed method.

Keywords: anomaly detection, frequencies selection, modal analysis, neural network, sensor network, structural health monitoring, vibration measurement

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4 Bending the Consciousnesses: Uncovering Environmental Issues Through Circuit Bending

Authors: Enrico Dorigatti

Abstract:

The growing pile of hazardous e-waste produced especially by those developed and wealthy countries gets relentlessly bigger, composed of the EEDs (Electric and Electronic Device) that are often thrown away although still well functioning, mainly due to (programmed) obsolescence. As a consequence, e-waste has taken, over the last years, the shape of a frightful, uncontrollable, and unstoppable phenomenon, mainly fuelled by market policies aiming to maximize sales—and thus profits—at any cost. Against it, governments and organizations put some efforts in developing ambitious frameworks and policies aiming to regulate, in some cases, the whole lifecycle of EEDs—from the design to the recycling. Incidentally, however, such regulations sometimes make the disposal of the devices economically unprofitable, which often translates into growing illegal e-waste trafficking—an activity usually undertaken by criminal organizations. It seems that nothing, at least in the near future, can stop the phenomenon of e-waste production and accumulation. But while, from a practical standpoint, a solution seems hard to find, much can be done regarding people's education, which translates into informing and promoting good practices such as reusing and repurposing. This research argues that circuit bending—an activity rooted in neo-materialist philosophy and post-digital aesthetic, and based on repurposing EEDs into novel music instruments and sound generators—could have a great potential in this. In particular, it asserts that circuit bending could expose ecological, environmental, and social criticalities related to the current market policies and economic model. Not only thanks to its practical side (e.g., sourcing and repurposing devices) but also to the artistic one (e.g., employing bent instruments for ecological-aware installations, performances). Currently, relevant literature and debate lack interest and information about the ecological aspects and implications of the practical and artistic sides of circuit bending. This research, therefore, although still at an early stage, aims to fill in this gap by investigating, on the one side, the ecologic potential of circuit bending and, on the other side, its capacity of sensitizing people, through artistic practice, about e-waste-related issues. The methodology will articulate in three main steps. Firstly, field research will be undertaken—with the purpose of understanding where and how to source, in an ecologic and sustainable way, (discarded) EEDs for circuit bending. Secondly, artistic installations and performances will be organized—to sensitize the audience about environmental concerns through sound art and music derived from bent instruments. Data, such as audiences' feedback, will be collected at this stage. The last step will consist in realising workshops to spread an ecologically-aware circuit bending practice. Additionally, all the data and findings collected will be made available and disseminated as resources.

Keywords: circuit bending, ecology, sound art, sustainability

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3 Benefits of The ALIAmide Palmitoyl-Glucosamine Co-Micronized with Curcumin for Osteoarthritis Pain: A Preclinical Study

Authors: Enrico Gugliandolo, Salvatore Cuzzocrea, Rosalia Crupi

Abstract:

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common chronic pain conditions in dogs and cats. OA pain is currently viewed as a mixed phenomenon involving both inflammatory and neuropathic mechanisms at the peripheral (joint) and central (spinal and supraspinal) levels. Oxidative stress has been implicated in OA pain. Although nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly prescribed for OA pain, they should be used with caution in pets because of adverse effects in the long term and controversial efficacy on neuropathic pain. An unmet need remains for safe and effective long-term treatments for OA pain. Palmitoyl-glucosamine (PGA) is an analogue of the ALIAamide palmitoylethanolamide, i.e., a body’s own endocannabinoid-like compound playing a sentinel role in nociception. PGA, especially in the micronized formulation, was shown safe and effective in OA pain. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a co-micronized formulation of PGA with the natural antioxidant curcumin (PGA-cur) on OA pain. Ten Sprague-Dawley male rats were used for each treatment group. The University of Messina Review Board for the care and use of animals authorized the study. On day 0, rats were anesthetized (5.0% isoflurane in 100% O2) and received intra-articular injection of MIA (3 mg in 25 μl saline) in the right knee joint, with the left being injected an equal volume of saline. Starting the third day after MIA injection, treatments were administered orally three times per week for 21 days, at the following doses: PGA 20 mg/kg, curcumin 10 mg/kg, PGA-cur (2:1 ratio) 30 mg/kg. On day 0 and 3, 7, 14 and 21 days post-injection, mechanical allodynia was measured using a dynamic plantar Von Frey hair aesthesiometer and expressed as paw withdrawal threshold (PWT) and latency (PWL). Motor functional recovery of the rear limb was evaluated on the same time points by walking track analysis using the sciatic functional index. On day 21 post-MIA injection, the concentration of the following inflammatory and nociceptive mediators was measured in serum using commercial ELISA kits: tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), nerve growth factor (NGF) and matrix metalloproteinase-1-3-9 (MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-9). The results were analyzed by ANOVA followed by Bonferroni post-hoc test for multiple comparisons. Micronized PGA reduced neuropathic pain, as shown by the significant higher PWT and PWL values compared to vehicle group (p < 0.0001 for all the evaluated time points). The effect of PGA-cur was superior at all time points (p < 0.005). PGA-cur restored motor function already on day 14 (p < 0.005), while micronized PGA was effective a week later (D21). MIA-induced increase in the serum levels of all the investigated mediators was inhibited by PGA-cur (p < 0.01). PGA was also effective, except on IL-1 and MMP-3. Curcumin alone was inactive in all the experiments at any time point. The encouraging results suggest that PGA-cur may represent a valuable option in OA pain management and warrant further confirmation in well-powered clinical trials.

Keywords: ALIAmides, curcumin, osteoarthritis, palmitoyl-glucosamine

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2 Readout Development of a LGAD-based Hybrid Detector for Microdosimetry (HDM)

Authors: Pierobon Enrico, Missiaggia Marta, Castelluzzo Michele, Tommasino Francesco, Ricci Leonardo, Scifoni Emanuele, Vincezo Monaco, Boscardin Maurizio, La Tessa Chiara

Abstract:

Clinical outcomes collected over the past three decades have suggested that ion therapy has the potential to be a treatment modality superior to conventional radiation for several types of cancer, including recurrences, as well as for other diseases. Although the results have been encouraging, numerous treatment uncertainties remain a major obstacle to the full exploitation of particle radiotherapy. To overcome therapy uncertainties optimizing treatment outcome, the best possible radiation quality description is of paramount importance linking radiation physical dose to biological effects. Microdosimetry was developed as a tool to improve the description of radiation quality. By recording the energy deposition at the micrometric scale (the typical size of a cell nucleus), this approach takes into account the non-deterministic nature of atomic and nuclear processes and creates a direct link between the dose deposited by radiation and the biological effect induced. Microdosimeters measure the spectrum of lineal energy y, defined as the energy deposition in the detector divided by most probable track length travelled by radiation. The latter is provided by the so-called “Mean Chord Length” (MCL) approximation, and it is related to the detector geometry. To improve the characterization of the radiation field quality, we define a new quantity replacing the MCL with the actual particle track length inside the microdosimeter. In order to measure this new quantity, we propose a two-stage detector consisting of a commercial Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (TEPC) and 4 layers of Low Gain Avalanche Detectors (LGADs) strips. The TEPC detector records the energy deposition in a region equivalent to 2 um of tissue, while the LGADs are very suitable for particle tracking because of the thickness thinnable down to tens of micrometers and fast response to ionizing radiation. The concept of HDM has been investigated and validated with Monte Carlo simulations. Currently, a dedicated readout is under development. This two stages detector will require two different systems to join complementary information for each event: energy deposition in the TEPC and respective track length recorded by LGADs tracker. This challenge is being addressed by implementing SoC (System on Chip) technology, relying on Field Programmable Gated Arrays (FPGAs) based on the Zynq architecture. TEPC readout consists of three different signal amplification legs and is carried out thanks to 3 ADCs mounted on a FPGA board. LGADs activated strip signal is processed thanks to dedicated chips, and finally, the activated strip is stored relying again on FPGA-based solutions. In this work, we will provide a detailed description of HDM geometry and the SoC solutions that we are implementing for the readout.

Keywords: particle tracking, ion therapy, low gain avalanche diode, tissue equivalent proportional counter, microdosimetry

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1 Detection of Mustard Traces in Food by an Official Food Safety Laboratory

Authors: Clara Tramuta, Lucia Decastelli, Elisa Barcucci, Sandra Fragassi, Samantha Lupi, Enrico Arletti, Melissa Bizzarri, Daniela Manila Bianchi

Abstract:

Introdution: Food allergies occurs, in the Western World, 2% of adults and up to 8% of children. The protection of allergic consumers is guaranted, in Eurrope, by Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament which governs the consumer's right to information and identifies 14 food allergens to be mandatory indicated on the label. Among these, mustard is a popular spice added to enhance the flavour and taste of foods. It is frequently present as an ingredient in spice blends, marinades, salad dressings, sausages, and other products. Hypersensitivity to mustard is a public health problem since the ingestion of even low amounts can trigger severe allergic reactions. In order to protect the allergic consumer, high performance methods are required for the detection of allergenic ingredients. Food safety laboratories rely on validated methods that detect hidden allergens in food to ensure the safety and health of allergic consumers. Here we present the test results for the validation and accreditation of a Real time PCR assay (RT-PCR: SPECIALfinder MC Mustard, Generon), for the detection of mustard traces in food. Materials and Methods. The method was tested on five classes of food matrices: bakery and pastry products (chocolate cookies), meats (ragù), ready-to-eat (mixed salad), dairy products (yogurt), grains, and milling products (rice and barley flour). Blank samples were spiked starting with the mustard samples (Sinapis Alba), lyophilized and stored at -18 °C, at a concentration of 1000 ppm. Serial dilutions were then prepared to a final concentration of 0.5 ppm, using the DNA extracted by ION Force FAST (Generon) from the blank samples. The Real Time PCR reaction was performed by RT-PCR SPECIALfinder MC Mustard (Generon), using CFX96 System (BioRad). Results. Real Time PCR showed a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.5 ppm in grains and milling products, ready-to-eat, meats, bakery, pastry products, and dairy products (range Ct 25-34). To determine the exclusivity parameter of the method, the ragù matrix was contaminated with Prunus dulcis (almonds), peanut (Arachis hypogaea), Glycine max (soy), Apium graveolens (celery), Allium cepa (onion), Pisum sativum (peas), Daucus carota (carrots), and Theobroma cacao (cocoa) and no cross-reactions were observed. Discussion. In terms of sensitivity, the Real Time PCR confirmed, even in complex matrix, a LOD of 0.5 ppm in five classes of food matrices tested; these values are compatible with the current regulatory situation that does not consider, at international level, to establish a quantitative criterion for the allergen considered in this study. The Real Time PCR SPECIALfinder kit for the detection of mustard proved to be easy to use and particularly appreciated for the rapid response times considering that the amplification and detection phase has a duration of less than 50 minutes. Method accuracy was rated satisfactory for sensitivity (100%) and specificity (100%) and was fully validated and accreditated. It was found adequate for the needs of the laboratory as it met the purpose for which it was applied. This study was funded in part within a project of the Italian Ministry of Health (IZS PLV 02/19 RC).

Keywords: allergens, food, mustard, real time PCR

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