Universitatea Alexandru Ioan Cuza
Recent publications
This paper aims to shed light on the opportunities offered by smart tourism while also highlighting the potential challenges that lie ahead. This issue focuses on three main sub-topics to help us catch a glimpse of the tourism of the future. The first concerns digitalization, social media, and their economic impact on tourism, the second focuses on tourism experiences in the digital age, while the third looks at how territories are adapting to digitalization and new tourism trends.
We investigate, in the framework of set optimization, some issues that are well studied in vectorial setting, that is, penalization procedures, properness of solutions and optimality conditions on primal spaces. Therefore, with this study we aim at completing the literature dedicated to set optimization with some results that have well established correspondence in the classical vector optimization.
Music festivals represent one of the most dynamic tourism sectors of the last decades, their impact extending beyond the initial music-based nucleus. Festivals are subjectively interiorized by visitors through their own experiences which, in time, can influence the overall levels of satisfaction and loyalty. This paper uses the computed analysis of online visitor reviews in order to offer valuable insights into the main components of visitors’ subjective experiences. The overall results are in line with the classical models. However, new connections, dependencies, and even new components related to music festivals are emphasized through the analysis digital reviews of, such as ‘appraisal’ and ‘anticipation’, emerged. Furthermore, our results indicated that ‘authenticity’, a major concept in festival studies during the ‘90s, failed to emerge as significant thus supporting the idea of an ongoing trend focused on standardisation. The findings have both theoretical and direct managerial implications, underlining the core structure of visitor experiences, as well as providing a series of suggestions for festival organisers in order to enhance visitors’ satisfaction
Correction for ‘Considerable slowdown of short DNA fragment translocation across a protein nanopore using pH-induced generation of enthalpic traps inside the permeation pathway’ by Loredana Mereuta et al. , Nanoscale , 2023, 15 , 14754–14763, https://doi.org/10.1039/D3NR03344A.
Ferronematics that are generally based on nematic liquid crystals (LCs) doped with magnetic nanoparticles, synergistically taking advantage of the anisotropic and flow characteristics of the nematic host and the magnetic susceptibility of the dopant, have powerful applications as magnetically actuated soft materials. In this work, a Co(II) complex, which alone presents both characteristics, is built with a salen-type ligand 3,5-dichlorosubstituted at the aromatic nuclei and has a tetramethyldisiloxane spacer, which makes it one of the few metallomesogens containing this structural motif. Paramagnetic crystals, through heat treatment above 110 °C, change into magnetic nematic LCs. Applying a perpendicular magnetic field of 50 mT, the nematic droplets align two by two through dipole–dipole interactions. By incorporating it into a silicone matrix consisting mainly of polydimethylsiloxane, a 3D printable ink is formulated and crosslinked under various shapes. In this environment, the cobalt complex is stabilized in an LC state at room temperature and, due to its anisotropy, facilitates the mechanical response to magnetic stimuli. The resulting objects can be easily manipulated on fluid or rough surfaces using external magnetic fields, behave like magnets by themselves, and show reversible locomotion.
Background: Considering the large number of patients with pulmonary symptoms admitted to the emergency department daily, it is essential to diagnose them correctly. It is necessary to quickly solve the differential diagnosis between COVID-19 and typical bacterial pneumonia to address them with the best management possible. In this setting, an artificial intelligence (AI) system can help radiologists detect pneumonia more quickly. Methods: We aimed to test the diagnostic performance of an AI system in detecting COVID-19 pneumonia and typical bacterial pneumonia in patients who underwent a chest X-ray (CXR) and were admitted to the emergency department. The final dataset was composed of three sub-datasets: the first included all patients positive for COVID-19 pneumonia (n = 1140, namely “COVID-19+”), the second one included all patients with typical bacterial pneumonia (n = 500, “pneumonia+”), and the third one was composed of healthy subjects (n = 1000). Two radiologists were blinded to demographic, clinical, and laboratory data. The developed AI system was used to evaluate all CXRs randomly and was asked to classify them into three classes. Cohen’s κ was used for interrater reliability analysis. The AI system’s diagnostic accuracy was evaluated using a confusion matrix, and 95%CIs were reported as appropriate. Results: The interrater reliability analysis between the most experienced radiologist and the AI system reported an almost perfect agreement for COVID-19+ (κ = 0.822) and pneumonia+ (κ = 0.913). We found 96% sensitivity (95% CIs = 94.9–96.9) and 79.8% specificity (76.4–82.9) for the radiologist and 94.7% sensitivity (93.4–95.8) and 80.2% specificity (76.9–83.2) for the AI system in the detection of COVID-19+. Moreover, we found 97.9% sensitivity (98–99.3) and 88% specificity (83.5–91.7) for the radiologist and 97.5% sensitivity (96.5–98.3) and 83.9% specificity (79–87.9) for the AI system in the detection of pneumonia+ patients. Finally, the AI system reached an accuracy of 93.8%, with a misclassification rate of 6.2% and weighted-F1 of 93.8% in detecting COVID+, pneumonia+, and healthy subjects. Conclusions: The AI system demonstrated excellent diagnostic performance in identifying COVID-19 and typical bacterial pneumonia in CXRs acquired in the emergency setting.
This study reports a novel analytical approach for the simultaneous determination of ethylene-thiourea (ETU) and propylene-thiourea (PTU) in fruits and vegetables by (reverse phase) high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to inductively coupled plasma-tandem mass spectrometry (ICP-QQQMS or ICP-MS/MS). A baseline separation of ETU and PTU was achieved in less than 5 min. A robust method validation by using the accuracy profile approach was performed by carrying out four measurement series in duplicate at six different levels over a timespan of 4 weeks (different days). The recovery factors ranged from 87 to 101% for ETU and from 98 to 99% for PTU (depending on the spiking level). The coefficient of variation in terms of repeatability (CVr) ranged from 1 to 4.7% for ETU and from 1.8 to 3.9% for PTU (depending also on the analyte level) while the coefficient of variation in terms of intermediate reproducibility (CVR) ranged from 3.4 to 10% for ETU and from 1.8 to 10.8% for PTU. The limit of quantification was 0.022 mg kg−1 (wet weight) for ETU and 0.010 mg kg−1 (ww) for PTU. This novel approach was proved to be highly robust and suitable for the determination of ETU and PTU in foodstuffs of vegetal origin.
The present paper analyzes how the mining operations in the Călimani Mountains and the adjacent areas, historically and in the present day, can influence the exploitation of mineral water resources. The data covers five years and results from continuous monitoring of the natural carbogazeous, non-carbogazeous and balneal waters from 10 sites susceptible to pollution. The study revealed a considerable distance between the water sources and the potentially hazardous mining perimeters, a favorable geologic context preventing the dispersion of pollutants, and a reduced size of the mining sites, except for the sulfur quarry Călimani. Nevertheless, despite an insignificant impact, more robust protective measures and careful monitoring are necessary, given the developing agriculture and industry in the area.
Understanding the mechanisms that lead to oscillatory activity in the brain is an ongoing challenge in computational neuroscience. Here, we address this issue by considering a network of excitatory neurons with Poisson spiking mechanism. In the mean-field formalism, the network’s dynamics can be successfully rendered by a nonlinear dynamical system. The stationary state of the system is computed and a perturbation analysis is performed to obtain an analytical characterization for the occurrence of instabilities. Taking into account two parameters of the neural network, namely synaptic coupling and synaptic delay, we obtain numerically the bifurcation line separating the non-oscillatory from the oscillatory regime. Moreover, our approach can be adapted to incorporate multiple interacting populations.
The incidence of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is continuously growing worldwide, which leads to a heavy economic and societal burden. The lack of a safe and effective causal therapy in cognitive decline is an aggravating factor and requires investigations into the repurposing of commonly used drugs. Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) are a new and efficient class of hypoglycemic drugs and, due to their pleiotropic effects, have indications that go beyond diabetes. There is emerging data from murine studies that SGLT2i can cross the blood–brain barrier and may have neuroprotective effects, such as increasing the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), reducing the amyloid burden, inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and restoring the circadian rhythm in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation. The current study investigates the effect of an SGLT2i and donepezil, under a separate or combined 21-day treatment on AD-relevant behaviors and brain pathology in mice. The SGLT2i canagliflozin was found to significantly improve the novelty preference index and the percentage of time spent in the open arms of the maze in the novel object recognition and elevated plus maze test, respectively. In addition, canagliflozin therapy decreased AChE activity, mTOR and glial fibrillary acidic protein expression. The results also recorded the acetylcholine M1 receptor in canagliflozin-treated mice compared to the scopolamine group. In the hippocampus, the SGLT2i canagliflozin reduced the microgliosis and astrogliosis in males, but not in female mice. These findings emphasize the value of SGLT2i in clinical practice. By inhibiting AChE activity, canagliflozin represents a compound that resembles AD-registered therapies in this respect, supporting the need for further evaluation in dementia clinical trials.
This study investigates the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on leadership within infection prevention and control (IPC) units across public hospitals in Israel. Through qualitative interviews with ten IPC managers from nine hospitals, equivalent to 30% of the country’s acute care facilities, the research uncovers significant changes in managerial approaches due to the health crisis. The results reveal four main themes: (1) Enhanced managerial autonomy and leadership skills, with a noted rise in self-efficacy against the pandemic’s backdrop; (2) Shifted perceptions of IPC units by upper management, recognizing their strategic value while identifying the need for a more profound understanding of IPC operations; (3) The increased emphasis on adaptability and rapid decision-making for effective crisis management; (4) The dual effect on job satisfaction and well-being, where greater commitment coincides with risks of burnout. The study underscores the essential nature of effective IPC leadership during emergencies, highlighting the need for clear communication, prompt action, and empathetic leadership. The conclusions point to the necessity for continuous research into IPC leadership, promoting strategic advancements in management to bolster IPC units against future health threats.
Considering the rising prevalence of smartphone usage among adolescents with intellectual disabilities and their frequent motor challenges, understanding its impact on their physical well-being is important. This study aims to investigate the impact of smartphone activities on postural balance in adolescents with intellectual disabilities. Two groups of adolescents participated in the study: an intellectual disability group (IDG) (n = 16) and atypical development group (TDG) (n = 12). Static postural balance, using a stabilometric platform on firm and foam surfaces, and dynamic balance, using the Timed Up-and-Go Test (TUGT), were performed under various conditions, such as playing a game, watching videos, video calls, and listening to music. The center of pressure (CoP) values significantly increased (p < 0.05) during all smartphone activities (except listening to music) compared to the control condition in both groups, with the IDG demonstrated a more pronounced increase (p < 0.05) during playing video games and video calls on the firm surface. TUGT scores significantly increased (p < 0.05) during smartphone activities, with greater changes observed in the IDG (p < 0.05), and significantly decreased (p < 0.01) during listening to music in both groups. Our study suggests that adolescents with intellectual disabilities need special tools and guidance to ensure their safety and well-being when using smartphones.
Magnetic nanoparticles (MPs) are emerging as powerful and versatile tools for biotechnology, including cancer research and theranostic applications. Stem cell-mediated magnetic particle delivery has been previously recognized as a modality to target sites of malignancies. Here, we propose the use of adipose-derived mesenchymal cells (ADSC) for the targeted delivery of Fe-Cr-Nb-B magnetic particles to human osteosarcoma (HOS) cells and magneto-mechanical actuation (MMA) for targeting and destroying HOS cells. We show that MPs are easily incorporated by ADSCs and HOS cells, as confirmed by TEM images and a ferrozine assay. MP-loaded ADSCs display increased motility towards tumor cells compared with their unloaded counterparts. MMA of MP-loaded ADSCs induces HOS destruction, as confirmed by the MTT and live/dead assays. MMA enables the release of the MPs towards cancer cells, producing a significant decrease (about 80%) in HOS viability immediately after application. In contrast, normal human dermal fibroblasts’ (NHDFs) viability exposed to similar conditions remains high, showing a differential behavior of normal and malignant cells to MP load and MMA exposure. Taken together, the method could derive successful strategies for in vivo applications in targeting and destroying malignant cells while protecting normal cells.
The study shows how the statistical approach can provide information on the factors and processes that control the geochemical distribution of elements at the surface of an abandoned tailings pond. In this regard, the case study of a waste deposit resulting from the ore processing plant of Fundu Moldovei was carried out. The facility was concentrating Cu, Pb, and Zn from the polymetallic sulfide ores of the Fundu Moldovei—Leșu Ursului mining district (Romania). The statistics indicate three types of waste, showing specific properties: (i) Waste of the beach, rich in soluble fraction (14.4%) and secondary minerals (e.g., jarosite, ferricopiapite, magnesiocopiapite, pickeringite, and clay minerals). The latter and the related high contents of Al, K, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Pb, and Zn are controlled by the water evaporation and subsequent transient pH (2.6–3.5) of the leachates accumulated as puddles. The lower pH and scarce soluble fraction favor a rise in the Cu and Zn contents, while Al, K, Fe, and Co are noticeable at a higher pH when the soluble fraction is abundant. (ii) Waste of the upper dam slope, marked by intense oxidation and a meager occurrence of secondary minerals precipitated from highly acidic pore leachates (average pH of 2.55), namely, jarosite, ferricopiapite, magnesiocopiapite, and coquimbite. The surface waste contains more pyrite and is coarser because of the fine particle removal during rainfall. Unlike the beach waste, in the upper dam tailings, Al, K, Fe, Co, Cu, Pb, and Zn seem to relate mainly to the primary minerals (muscovite, chlorite, and pyrite). (iii) Downslope dam waste is less acidic (average pH of 3.75) than that of the upper slope; it contains secondary minerals stable at a higher pH (e.g., gypsum, apjohnite, dietrichite, clay minerals, and schwertmannite). Calcium, Mn, and Cd are more abundant in the dam waste. They originate from both primary and secondary minerals (e.g., muscovite, chlorite, gypsum, ferricopiapite, and magnesiocopiapite) and correlate with the coarser waste.
In recent years, targeted drug delivery has attracted a great interest for enhanced therapeutic efficiency, with diminished side effects, especially in cancer therapy. Cell penetrating peptides like HIV1‐TAT peptide, appear to be the perfect vectors for translocating drugs or other cargoes across the plasma membrane, but their application is limited mostly due to insufficient specificity for intended targets. The tripeptide motif RGD (arginine‐glycine‐aspartate), found in extracellular matrix proteins has high affinity for integrin receptors overexpressed in cancer and it is involved in different phases of disease progression, including proliferation, invasion and migration. Discovery of new peptides with high binding affinity for disease receptors and permeability of plasma membranes is desirable for both, development of targeted drug delivery systems and early detection and diagnosis. To complement the TAT peptide with specific targeting ability, we conjugated it with an integrin‐binding RGD motif. In this paper we describe the permeability abilities and specificity for integrin receptor of RGD‐TAT peptides in model membranes. Our findings reveal that RGD‐TAT peptide maintains its ability to permeate lipid membranes and exhibits specificity for integrin receptors embedded in giant unilamellar vesicles. This promising outcome suggests that the peptide has significant potential for aplications in targeted drug delivery systems.
Wetlands are at the top of the list in terms of valuable ecosystem services, at the same time being one of the most sensitive ecosystems that are subject to human-induced changes. The delicate balance between their ever-changing waterlogged and dry areas, together with the associated rich flora and fauna, are easily disturbed by human drivers, which are also responsible for long-term land use conversions. This paper aims to 1) document the spatial dynamics of the wetland areas and lakes in the Jijia-Iași Wetlands Ramsar Site, using historical cartographic materials and modern land use data, and 2) pinpoint the anthropic drivers that shaped these dynamics, via a literature review. This Ramsar Site constitutes an eloquent example of a wetland landscape that was mainly shaped by human intervention. A timeline is used to put into perspective the resulting maps and synthesised findings, and several inferences regarding the past, present, and future sensitivity of the wetlands in the study area are formulated. In 1935–2018, the two analysed elements followed opposite trends: while the wetland areas decreased from 10.61% of the study area to 4.79%, the lake features increased in size, from 0.68% of the Jijia-Iași Wetlands to 10.84%. In order to explain these changes, anthropogenic interventions were divided into three types of management (detrimental high human pressure, beneficial high human pressure, and beneficial low human pressure). In the long term scientific works, the unbalanced dynamics proved to be beneficial to the environment, as the construction of water collections determined a biodiversity boost and the designation of the study area as a Ramsar Site. This paper complements the scientific work focusing on “the Delta of Moldavia”, highlighting the practical implications of the management strategies applied during the reference period.
The identification of new cancer-associated genes/proteins, the characterization of their expression variation, the interactomics-based assessment of differentially expressed genes/proteins (DEGs/DEPs), and understanding the tumorigenic pathways and biological processes involved in BC genesis and progression are necessary and possible by the rapid and recent advances in bioinformatics and molecular profiling strategies. Taking into account the opinion of other authors, as well as based on our own team’s in vitro studies, we suggest that the human jumping translocation breakpoint (hJTB) protein might be considered as a tumor biomarker for BC and should be studied as a target for BC therapy. In this study, we identify DEPs, carcinogenic pathways, and biological processes associated with JTB silencing, using 2D-PAGE coupled with nano-liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (nLC-MS/MS) proteomics applied to a MCF7 breast cancer cell line, for complementing and completing our previous results based on SDS-PAGE, as well as in-solution proteomics of MCF7 cells transfected for JTB downregulation. The functions of significant DEPs are analyzed using GSEA and KEGG analyses. Almost all DEPs exert pro-tumorigenic effects in the JTBlow condition, sustaining the tumor suppressive function of JTB. Thus, the identified DEPs are involved in several signaling and metabolic pathways that play pro-tumorigenic roles: EMT, ERK/MAPK, PI3K/AKT, Wnt/β-catenin, mTOR, C-MYC, NF-κB, IFN-γ and IFN-α responses, UPR, and glycolysis/gluconeogenesis. These pathways sustain cancer cell growth, adhesion, survival, proliferation, invasion, metastasis, resistance to apoptosis, tight junctions and cytoskeleton reorganization, the maintenance of stemness, metabolic reprogramming, survival in a hostile environment, and sustain a poor clinical outcome. In conclusion, JTB silencing might increase the neoplastic phenotype and behavior of the MCF7 BC cell line. The data is available via ProteomeXchange with the identifier PXD046265.
Depression presents a significant global health burden, necessitating the search for effective and safe treatments. This investigation aims to assess the antidepressant effect of the hydroethanolic extract of Anacardium occidentale (AO) on depression-related behaviors in rats. The depression model involved 42 days of unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS) exposure and was assessed using the sucrose preference and the forced swimming (FST) test. Additionally, memory-related aspects were examined using the tests Y-maze and Morris water maze (MWM), following 21 days of treatment with varying doses of the AO extract (150, 300, and 450 mg/kg) and Imipramine (20 mg/kg), commencing on day 21. The monoamines (norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine), oxidative stress markers (MDA and SOD), and cytokines levels (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) within the brain were evaluated. Additionally, the concentration of blood corticosterone was measured. Treatment with AO significantly alleviated UCMS-induced and depressive-like behaviors in rats. This was evidenced by the ability of the extract to prevent further decreases in body mass, increase sucrose consumption, reduce immobility time in the test Forced Swimming, improve cognitive performance in both tests Y-maze and the Morris water maze by increasing the target quadrant dwelling time and spontaneous alternation percentage, and promote faster feeding behavior in the novelty-suppressed feeding test. It also decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines, corticosterone, and MDA levels, and increased monoamine levels and SOD activity. HPLC-MS analysis revealed the presence of triterpenoid compounds (ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, and lupane) and polyphenols (catechin quercetin and kaempferol). These results evidenced the antidepressant effects of the AO, which might involve corticosterone and monoaminergic regulation as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
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Niculita Mihai
  • Department of Geography
Gabi Drochioiu
  • Department of Chemistry
Mironiuc Marilena
  • Faculty of Economics and Business Administration
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