University of Crete
  • Rethymno, Crete, Greece
Recent publications
In this research, we design an open, easy-to-use robotics platform for education applications, focused on primary education. Our platform is statistically evaluated and is modular, expandable, and scalable in terms of supporting the development of new modules. Our proposed platform, in contrast to other commercial ones, is easy to use, cheap, and modular. Additionally, we present initial results regarding the evaluation of the usage of the proposed robotic structure under the technology acceptance model (TAM) in terms of easiness of usage. According to the results, the proposed open educational robotic platform shows a positive effect toward its usage by active teachers.
After three decades of extensive research on the molecular biology of aging, we can now specify several molecular and cellular processes that accelerate or delay aging in animal model systems. Molecular mechanisms that affect metabolism, caloric and dietary consumption, genomic stability, telomere attrition, autophagy and epigenetic alterations are the major anti-aging interventions shown so far to extend longevity, increase healthspan and delay the onset of age-related pathologies in animals. Among them, the most complicated and least investigated are the epigenetic alterations that progress with aging. These are described as reversible alterations of chromatin that are heritable, but do not affect underlying DNA sequences and, consequently, permanent genetic information. Several causes, such as diet, genes, environmental and lifestyle factors influence epigenetic alterations, which, together with genetic information, preordain lifespan in animals. Consequently, differential epigenetic regulation of genetic information can sufficiently explain differences in longevity of identical twins and animals with the same genetic background. Several studies have shown that epigenetic information changes from aging and, most importantly, that these changes are associated with age-related progressive physiological deterioration and the development of age-related diseases, such as cancer.
Background The development of digital technologies and the evolution of open innovation approaches have enabled the creation of diverse virtual organizations and enterprises coordinating their activities primarily online. The open innovation platform titled “International Natural Product Sciences Taskforce” (INPST) was established in 2018, to bring together in collaborative environment individuals and organizations interested in natural product scientific research, and to empower their interactions by using digital communication tools. Methods In this work, we present a general overview of INPST activities and showcase the specific use of Twitter as a powerful networking tool that was used to host a one-week “2021 INPST Twitter Networking Event” (spanning from 31st May 2021 to 6th June 2021) based on the application of the Twitter hashtag #INPST. Results and Conclusion The use of this hashtag during the networking event period was analyzed with Symplur Signals (, revealing a total of 6,036 tweets, shared by 686 users, which generated a total of 65,004,773 impressions (views of the respective tweets). This networking event's achieved high visibility and participation rate showcases a convincing example of how this social media platform can be used as a highly effective tool to host virtual Twitter-based international biomedical research events.
Respiratory diseases remain a significant cause of global morbidity and mortality and primary care plays a central role in their prevention, diagnosis and management. An e-Delphi process was employed to identify and prioritise the current respiratory research needs of primary care health professionals worldwide. One hundred and twelve community-based physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals from 27 high-, middle- and low-income countries suggested 608 initial research questions, reduced after evidence review by 27 academic experts to 176 questions covering diagnosis, management, monitoring, self-management and prognosis of asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions (including infections, lung cancer, tobacco control, sleep apnoea). Forty-nine questions reached 80% consensus for importance. Cross-cutting themes identified were: a need for more effective training of primary care clinicians; evidence and guidelines specifically relevant to primary care, adaption for local and low-resource settings; empowerment of patients to improve self-management; and the role of the multidisciplinary healthcare team.
Background The recent rise in temperature and shifting precipitation regimes threaten ecosystems around the globe to different degrees. Treelines are expected to respond to climate warming by shifting to higher elevations, but it is unclear whether they can track temperature changes. Here, we integrated high-resolution aerial imagery with local climatic and topographic characteristics to study the treeline dynamic from 1945 to 2015 on the semi-arid Mediterranean island of Crete, Greece. Results During the study period, the mean annual temperature at the treeline increased by 0.81 °C, while the average precipitation decreased by 170 mm. The treeline is characterized by a diffuse form, with trees growing on steep limestone slopes (>50°) and shallow soils. Moreover, the treeline elevation decreases with increasing distance from the coast and with aspect (south > north). Yet, we found no shift in the treeline over the past 70 years, despite an increase in temperature in all four study sites. However, the treeline elevation correlated strongly with topographic exposure to wind (R² = 0.74, p < 0.001). Therefore, the temporal lag in treeline response to warming could be explained by a combination of topographic and microclimatic factors, such as the absence of a shelter effect and a decrease in moisture. Conclusion Although there was no treeline shift over the last 70 years, climate change has already started shifting the treeline altitudinal optimum. Consequently, the lack of climate-mediated migration at the treeline should raise concerns about the threats posed by warming, such as drought damages, and wildfire, especially in the Mediterranean region. Therefore, conservation management should discuss options and needs to support adaptive management.
Background Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of lysosomal storage disorders caused by defects in genes coding for different lysosomal enzymes which degrade glycosaminoglycans. Impaired lysosomal degradation causes cell dysfunction leading to progressive multiorgan involvement, disabling consequences and poor life expectancy. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is now available for most MPS types, offering beneficial effects on disease progression and improving quality of life of patients. The landscape of MPS in Europe is not completely described and studies on availability of treatment show that ERT is not adequately implemented, particularly in Southern and Eastern Europe. In this study we performed a survey analysis in main specialist centers in Southern and Eastern European countries, to outline the picture of disease management in the region and understand ERT implementation. Since the considerable number of MPS IVA patients in the region, particularly adults, the study mainly focused on MPS IVA management and treatment. Results 19 experts from 14 Southern and Eastern European countries in total responded to the survey. Results outlined a picture of MPS management in the region, with a high number of MPS patients managed in the centers and a high level of care. MPS II was the most prevalent followed by MPS IVA, with a particular high number of adult patients. The study particularly focused on management and treatment of MPS IVA patients. Adherence to current European Guidelines for follow-up of MPS IVA patients is generally adequate, although some important assessments are reported as difficult due to the lack of MPS skilled specialists. Availability of ERT in Southern and Eastern European countries is generally in line with other European regions, even though regulatory, organizational and reimbursement constrains are demanding. Conclusions The landscape of MPS in Southern and Eastern European countries is generally comparable to that of other European regions, regarding epidemiology, treatment accessibility and follow up difficulties. However, issues limiting ERT availability and reimbursement should be simplified, to start treatment as early as possible and make it available for more patients. Besides, educational programs dedicated to specialists should be implemented, particularly for pediatricians, clinical geneticists, surgeons, anesthesiologists and neurologists.
Previous research has shown that narcissists demonstrate hypervigilance to self-threatening words. This research experimentally investigated whether a self-affirmation intervention, designed to reduce the psychological impact of self-threat, moderated this hypervigilance in grandiose or vulnerable narcissists. Participants (N = 188) were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group and asked to complete an implicit self-affirmation procedure, a computer-based lexical decision task, and measures of narcissism and of self-esteem. Results showed self-affirmation (1) caused a delay in the onset of hypervigilance to self-threatening words in participants with grandiose narcissism, and (2) revealed a novel finding: hypovigilance (i.e., reduced sensitivity/reactivity) to self-threatening words among participants with vulnerable narcissism. Self-affirmation (3) strengthened positive associations between self-esteem and grandiose narcissism and (4) reduced negative associations between self-esteem and vulnerable narcissism. The results show that self-affirmation moderates hypervigilance to self-threat in both grandiose and vulnerable narcissists, but in different ways.
The 2008 global financial crisis intensified our focus on the role of local governments as strategic actors, within current cycles of economic, political and governance change. This paper highlights the significance of Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki, becoming a resilient local authority, with the capacity to respond to perturbations, and the ability to self-organise and learn. Existing models of resilience were insufficient for explaining how a strong mayor's team was able to turn around the fortunes of the city. The paper uses a synthetic theoretical model combining the templates ‘behavioural resilience’ and ‘placed-based leadership’. The findings reveal that Thessaloniki's administration was able to respond to a unique set of problems, including the modernization of local services, balancing a problematic budget, opening the city to the world using some of its historic monuments and drafting an emergency plan for future shocks. The mayor's team was capable of galvanizing a network of key actors from the city's government, public, private and civic bodies to adapt and generate new ways of thinking and functioning in the context of change and uncertainty, so Thessaloniki appeared to offer a role model on how local government in Greece could develop strategies for overcoming austerity and stress.
The current study assessed the risk posed to Iranian consumers by oral exposure to a mixture of 20 pesticides and six metals in 96 fruit juice (FJ) samples (3 batches × 4 brands × 8 types of FJs) collected from Iran market. Concentrations of metals and pesticides in FJs were quantified by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), respectively. The mean concentration of all pesticides was below the maximum residue limits (MRLs) set by the European Union (EU). The calculated target hazard quotients (THQs) and total hazard index (HI) were <1.0 for all pesticides residue, indicating no risk. For the carcinogenic metals (As, Ni, and Pb), estimated incremental lifetime cancer risks (ILCRs) at the 50th and 95th centiles were respectively 4.25 × 10⁻⁵ and 5.30 × 10⁻⁵ (for As), 2.85 × 10⁻⁵ and 3.71 × 10⁻⁵ (for Ni), and 2.84 × 10⁻⁸, and 3.97 × 10⁻⁸ (for Pb), indicating no risk. At the 50th and 95th centiles, HI for non-carcinogenic metals (Cd, Hg, and Cr) was <1.0, indicating no risk. Based on sensitivity analyses of the input variables, the concentration of metals and pesticides, and the FJs ingestion rate had significant influential impacts on the calculated THQ and HI.
We present a 140ks observation of NGC 4593 with XMM-Newton providing simultaneous and continuous PN X-ray and OM UV (UVW1 2910Å) lightcurves which sample short-timescale variations better than previous observations. These observations were simultaneous with 22d of Swift X-ray and UV/optical monitoring, reported previously, and 4d of AstroSat X-ray (SXT), far (FUV 1541Å), and near (NUV 2632Å) UV allowing lag measurements between them and the highly-sampled XMM. From the XMM we find that UVW1 lags behind the X-rays by 29.5±1.3ks, ∼half the lag previously determined from the Swift monitoring. Re-examination of the Swift data reveals a bimodal lag distribution, with evidence for both the long and short lags. However if we detrend the Swift lightcurves by LOWESS filtering with a 5d width, only the shorter lag (23.8±21.2ks) remains. The NUV observations, compared to PN and SXT, confirm the ∼30ks lag found by XMM and, after 4d filtering is applied to remove the long-timescale component, the FUV shows a lag of ∼23ks. The resultant new UVW1, FUV, and NUV lag spectrum extends to the X-ray band without requiring additional X-ray to UV lag offset, which if the UV arises from reprocessing of X-rays, implies direct illumination of the reprocessor. By referencing previous Swift and HST lag measurements, we obtain an X-ray to optical lag spectrum which agrees with a model using the KYNreverb disc-reprocessing code, assuming the accepted mass of 7.63 × 106M⊙ and a spin approaching maximum. Previously noted lag contribution from the BLR in the Balmer and Paschen continua are still prominent.
Considering Kuhn’s emphasis on the community structure of science, this paper focuses on the scientific community to inquire whether the recent global financial crisis ushered paradigm change in economics. To appraise the nature and the extent of post-crisis change, we examine the methodological constitution of the dominant paradigm identified as New Consensus Macroeconomics, methodological commitments binding paradigm and scientific community, and assess the practice of the community, particularly the treatment of anomalies. Subsequently, an attempt is made to illuminate whether/how sociological and institutional parameters in the community structure of the discipline bear upon prospects of change. Empirically, this research investigates, categorizes and evaluates post-crisis responses and perceptions of the scientific community. The overarching aim is to determine whether economics responded to a major anomaly with critical self-reflection on the adequacy of its methodological toolbox, leading to theory change, and to shed light on institutional aspects influence this process.
Background. Identifying and understanding modifiable factors for the well-being of cancer patients is critical in survivorship research. We studied variables associated with the exercise habits of breast cancer patients and investigated if the achievement of exercise recommendations was associated with enhanced quality of life and/or psychological well-being. Material and Methods. 311 women from Finland, Portugal, Israel, and Italy receiving adjuvant therapy for stage I–III breast cancer answered questions about sociodemographic factors and physical exercise. Quality of life was assessed by the EORTC C30 and BR23 questionnaires. Anxiety and depression were evaluated using the HADS scale. Results. At the beginning of adjuvant therapy and after twelve months, 32% and 26% of participants were physically inactive, 27% and 30% exercised between 30 and 150 minutes per week, while 41% and 45% exercised the recommended 150 minutes or more per week. Relative to other countries, Finnish participants were more likely to be active at baseline and at twelve months (89% vs. 50%, p < 0.001 and 87% vs. 64%, p < 0.001 ). Participants with stage I cancer were more likely to be active at twelve months than those with a higher stage (80% vs. 70%, p < 0.05 ). The inactive participants reported more anxiety ( p < 0.05 ) and depression ( p < 0.001 ), lower global quality of life ( p < 0.001 ), and more side effects ( p < 0.05 ) than the others at twelve months. Accordingly, those who remained inactive or decreased their level of exercise from baseline to twelve months reported more anxiety ( p < 0.01 ) and depression ( p < 0.001 ), lower global quality of life ( p < 0.001 ), and more side effects ( p < 0.05 ) than those with the same or increased level of exercise. Conclusion. For women with early breast cancer, exercise was associated with a better quality of life, less depression and anxiety, and fewer adverse events of adjuvant therapy. Trial registration number: NCT05095675. Paula Poikonen-Saksela on behalf of Bounce consortium (
A detailed velocity-resolved kinetics study of NH3 thermal desorption rates from p(2 × 2) O/Pt(111) is presented. We find a large reduction in the NH3 desorption rate due to adsorption of O-atoms on Pt(111). A physical model describing the interactions between adsorbed NH3 and O-atoms explains these observations. By fitting the model to the derived desorption rate constants, we find an NH3 stabilization on p(2 × 2) O/Pt(111) of 0.147–0.014+0.023 eV compared to Pt(111) and a rotational barrier of 0.084–0.022+0.049 eV, which is not present on Pt(111). The model also quantitatively predicts the steric hindrance of NH3 diffusion on Pt(111) due to co-adsorbed O-atoms. The derived diffusion barrier of NH3 on p(2 × 2) O/Pt(111) is 1.10–0.13+0.22 eV, which is 0.39–0.14+0.22 eV higher than that on pristine Pt(111). We find that Perdew Burke Ernzerhof (PBE) and revised Perdew Burke Ernzerhof (RPBE) exchange–correlation functionals are unable to reproduce the experimentally observed NH3–O adsorbate–adsorbate interactions and NH3 binding energies at Pt(111) and p(2 × 2) O/Pt(111), which indicates the importance of dispersion interactions for both systems.
Background Colorectal cancer is internationally the third leading cause of death from a malignant disease. The aim of screening colonoscopy in adults > 45 years of age is early diagnosis and treatment of precancerous polyps. Endoscopic polyp removal (polypectomy) can be achieved with various techniques depending on the size, morphology, and location of the polyp. According to current guidelines, small non-pedunculated polyps should be removed with a cold snare after the colorectal lumen has been insufflated with air (conventional cold snare polypectomy).In recent years, several studies have described the benefits of water aided colonoscopy, as well as the safety and efficacy of underwater cold snare polypectomy for large colon polyps. However, there are insufficient data on conventional and underwater techniques for small polyps, the most commonly diagnosed colorectal polyps. Methods We have designed a prospective randomized double-blind clinical trial to compare the safety and efficacy of conventional and underwater cold snare polypectomy for non-pedunculated polyps 5–10 mm in size. A total of 398 polyps will be randomized. Randomization will be carried out using the random numbers method of Microsoft Excel 2016. The primary endpoint is the muscularis mucosa resection rate. Secondary endpoints are the depth and percentage of R0 excisions, complications, and the recurrence rate at follow-up endoscopy 6–12 months after polypectomy. Discussion We hypothesize underwater polypectomy will result in a higher muscularis mucosa resection rate. The results of our study will provide useful data for the development of guidelines in polypectomy techniques for non-pedunculated polyps 5–10 mm in size. Clinical trial registration, NCT05273697.
Background This study aimed to investigate the trajectory of damage accrual, associated factors, and impact on health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in a multicenter cohort of patients with Behçet’s syndrome (BS) over 2 years of follow-up. Methods Patients recruited in the BS Overall Damage Index (BODI) validation study were prospectively monitored for 2 years and assessed for damage accrual, defined as an increase ≥1 in the BODI score, and HR-QoL was evaluated by the SF-36 questionnaire. Logistic and multiple linear regression models were built to determine factors associated with damage accrual and impairment in the different SF-36 domains. Results During follow-up, 36 out of 189 (19.0%) patients had an increase ≥1 in the BODI score with a mean (SD) difference of 1.7 (0.8) ( p <0.001). The incidence rate of damage accrual was stable over time, regardless of the disease duration. Out of 61 new BODI items, 25 (41.0%) were considered related to glucocorticoid (GC) use. In multivariate analysis, duration of GC therapy (OR per 1-year 1.15, 95% CI 1.07–1.23; p <0.001) and occurrence of ≥1 disease relapse (OR 3.15, 95% CI 1.09–9.12; p 0.038) were identified as predictors of damage accrual, whereas the use of immunosuppressants showed a protective effect (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.08–0.54, p <0.001). Damage accrual was independently associated with the impairment of different physical domains and, to a greater extent, in emotional domains of the SF-36 questionnaire. Female sex, higher disease activity, and fibromyalgia were also significantly associated with impairment in HR-QoL. Conclusion In BS, organ damage accrues over time, also in long-standing disease, resulting in an impairment of the perceived physical and mental health. Adequate immunosuppressive treatment, preventing disease flares and minimizing exposure to GCs have a crucial role in lowering the risk of damage accrual.
Trust is an essential underpinning foundation of effective functioning amongst all staff in higher education. However, there is limited knowledge on the ways in which trust operates, including the extent to which it exists, is recognised, can be built, or lost. This article systematically scopes the international literature on trust amongst staff in higher education institutions, the value of that literature, the research methods used, areas of research focus involved, and overall findings. A systematic scoping literature review, combining descriptive synthesis and textual narrative synthesis, was undertaken. As far as we are aware, this is the first review of this type to be undertaken on trust amongst all types of personnel in the higher education workforce. The review followed a data-based convergent synthesis design, identifying qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods studies in a single search, integrated throughout analysis, synthesis, and presentation. PRISMA and ENTREQ reporting guidelines were followed: 512 records were identified in two search phases (2020, 2022). Findings revealed relatively little research on trust amongst all types of staff in HE, with a surprising lack of research on trust relating to remote working during COVID. The heterogeneity of papers was striking, yet a wide variety of perspectives on trust tended to be located in single institutions or situations and provided little robust empirical evidence linked to theoretical definitions of trust. Qualitative papers were generally more thoughtful in investigating the complexity of trust. Further research on the relatively neglected but essential field of trust amongst staff in higher education is recommended.
We present polarization-sensitive gap surface plasmon metasurfaces fabricated with direct material processing using pulsed laser light, an alternative and versatile approach. In particular we imprint laser induced periodic surface structures on nanometer-thick Ni films, which are back-plated by a grounded dielectric layer with TiO2 and ZnO deposition followed by Au evaporation. The procedure results in a metal-insulator-metal type plasmonic metasurface with a corrugated top layer consisting of highly-ordered, sinusoidal shaped, periodic, thin, metallic nanowires. The metasurface sustains sharp, resonant gap surface plasmons and provides various opportunities for polarization control in reflection, which is here switched by the size and infiltrating material of the insulating cavity. The polarization control is associated with the polarization sensitive perfect absorption and leads to high extinction ratios in the near-IR and mid-IR spectral areas. Corresponding Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy measurements experimentally demonstrate that the fabrication approach produces metasurfaces with very well-defined, controllable, sharp resonances and polarization sensitive resonant absorption response which, depending on the insulating cavity size, impacts either the normal or the parallel to the nanowires polarization.
The reaction between hydrosilanes and aryl-substituted cyclopropyl aldehydes or ketones catalyzed by Au nanoparticles supported on TiO2 provides two distinct ring-opening reaction motifs depending on the substituents. 2-Aryl-substituted cyclopropyl carbonyl compounds form linear enol ethers via formal silyl hydride addition on the carbon atom bearing the aryl group. Under the reaction conditions, the hydrosilylation adducts undergo hydrolytic silyl deprotection to form acyclic aldehydes or ketones. For 2,2-arylalkyl- or 2,2-diaryl-substituted cyclopropyl carbonyl compounds, a ring-opening dehydrogenative hydrosilylation pathway is solely observed yielding chromatographically stable silyloxy-1,3-dienes. In the presence of 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO), the reaction is inhibited, indicative of a radical pathway. The proposed intermediate α-cyclopropyl silyloxy radicals undergo radical-clock ring-opening to form benzyl radicals, which may either be captured by the hydrosilane H atom (for 2-aryl-substituted substrates) to form linear silyl enol ethers or eliminate H2 and form silyloxy-1,3-dienes in the case of the bulkier 2,2-disubstituted ones.
Aphasia is the difficulty in reproducing or understanding speech, and affects 21‑38% of patients with stroke immediately after onset. In addition, disregarding improvement in the first weeks after stroke, ~20% of patients present with chronic deficiencies 6 months later. Consequently, speech and language therapy appears to be the optimal choice of treatment for chronic aphasia. The present study aimed to systematically investigate the effects of experimental/traditional music therapy (MT) in combination with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on improving aphasia in patients following a stroke in regular stroke rehabilitation services. For this purpose, 98 eligible participants who had suffered a single cerebrovascular accident were divided into three groups as follows: Group A, no MT or tDCS (only standard treatment); group B, daily MT; group C, combined treatment with daily MT and tDCS at a 1:1.21:1.28 ratio for the three groups, respectively. Statistically significant differences between groups were found either in terms of the interval of the Aachen Aphasia Test [(T1‑T0) mean] (P<0.05) or in terms of the mean cerebral blood flow in the damaged regions (P=0.042), the mean mini‑mental test (P<0.05) and the mean Barthel index (P=0.004). On the whole, the present study demonstrates that following a stroke, recovery from aphasia can by promoted by a regular exercise, training and rehabilitation program, as well as an improved acoustic environment and tDCS.
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4,477 members
Apostolos Spyros
  • Department of Chemistry
Panagiotes Anastasiades
  • Department of Primary Education
Nikolaos Flytzanis
  • Department of Physics
Gallos University Campus, GR-74100, Rethymno, Crete, Greece
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