Huge quantities of chemical weapons (CW) have been dumped into the oceans around the world. This chapter assessed the impact of the disposal of CWs in the Baltic and Adriatic Seas on human and marine life and economic activities. A review of the main treaties and conventions related to the dumping of CW in the sea was also undertaken. It was found that the exact locations, chemical identities, and quantities of CW dumped are not known as most records were destroyed. Fishermen have been accidently exposed to the CW, leading to serious health consequences. The CW have also leaked into the environment resulting in elevated mercury and arsenic concentrations in the dumping sites. The CW degradation products are toxic and persistent in the environment. Marine life in the dumping areas has been negatively affected by the CWs. The study found that the conventions and treaties concerning dumping of CW in the ocean have been adhered to, leading to intergovernmental cooperation to control dumping. It is recommended that long-term genotoxicity and cytotoxicity studies of the CW and degradation products be undertaken to provide reliable data on the long-term effects of CW dumping on human and marine life.
In the field of Chemical Defense toward Nerve Agents, the development of analytical methodologies for analysis of different sample matrices, training of human resources in handling, detection of such toxic chemicals, and design of more effective medical countermeasures may be hampered by the lack of infrastructure and well-prepared human resources. Therefore Nerve Agents Surrogates may be an invaluable alternative to accomplish such tasks, as these compounds present similar behavior and are easier to handle in comparison to actual nerve agents, being useful analytical and toxicological tools for technical purposes.
Fruit orchards under different types of management represent the most common agroforestry practice in central Europe. Traditional fruit orchards with trees usually planted in meadows are at a surplus, providing suitable habitats for many plant and animal species. We examined the influence of different management and biotope types on three insect groups. This study was conducted in thirty orchards across the capital city of the Czech Republic – Prague (496 km²). We investigated the diversities of butterflies, hymenopterans and beetles. Their species richnesses mainly benefitted from orchard management and was partly higher at the xerothermic sites than at the mesic sites. Red-listed species did not show any clear patterns. Open-landscape specialists were influenced by management, while forest species were influenced by habitat type. Generally, orchard abandonment led to insect biodiversity loss. Therefore, active agricultural management appears to be essential for insect biodiversity conservation in orchards, and different management and biotope types provide suitable conditions for specific species. Mowing and maintaining orchards are two important biodiversity management actions in terms of maintaining large-scale and long-term species diversity.
In this paper, a new metaheuristic algorithm called the Coati Optimization Algorithm (COA) is introduced, which mimics coati behavior in nature. The fundamental idea of COA is the simulation of the two natural behaviors of coatis: (i) their behavior when attacking and hunting iguanas and (ii) their escape from predators. The implementation steps of COA are described and mathematically modeled in two phases of exploration and exploitation. COA performance is evaluated on fifty-one objective functions, including twenty-nine functions from the IEEE CEC-2017 test suite and twenty-two real-world applications from the IEEE CEC-2011 test suite. COA’s results are compared to those of eleven well-known metaheuristic algorithms. The simulation results indicate that COA has an evident superiority over the compared algorithms by balancing exploration in global search and exploitation in local search, and is far more competitive. To assess the COA’s effectiveness in real-world applications, the proposed approach is implemented on the IEEE CEC-2011 test functions and four practical optimization problems, which the simulation results indicate the high capability of COA in dealing with these types of optimization problems.
The aim of our study is the evaluation of the relation between the sensitisation to molecular components of moulds and yeast and the occurrence of food hypersensitivity reactions in atopic dermatitis patients. The food reactions were confirmed in an open exposure test (history); the sensitisation to allergen reagents (molecular components) of moulds and yeast was confirmed with ALEX2 Allergy Explorer Multiplex examination. The relation between the sensitisation to molecular components of fungi and the food hypersensitivity reactions was evaluated with the use of Fisher’s exact test. One hundred atopic dermatitis patients were included in the study (48 men and 52 women with an average age of 40.9 years). In patients with reaction to hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, fish and egg, the significantly higher level of specific IgE to Asp f 3, Cla h 8, Alt a 6, Alt a 1, Mala s 6 and Asp f 6 was confirmed.
The aim is to evaluate the sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value of ALEX2 Allergy Explorer test in patients suffering from atopic dermatitis and reactions to egg. We compared the results of specific IgE to allergen reagents (molecular components) with reactions to egg in the open exposure test (OET) (history); the sensitivity, specificity and positive predictictive value were calculated with Fisher's Exact test. Altogether 100 atopic dermatitis patients were examined. The reaction to egg was confirmed in 19 patients (19%). We confirmed significant relation between the results of specific IgE to Gal d 1, Gal d 2, Gal d 3, Gal d 5, Gal d white and Gal d yolk and the results of the OET/history; the sensitivity is in the range 21.05–52.63%. We recommend to evaluate food allergy to egg in patients with severe atopic dermatitis even with negative specific IgE for molecular components.
Our study analyses the sensitisation profile to kiwi allergens in patients suffering from atopic dermatitis with the use of ALEX2 Allergy Explorer test. The sensitisation to molecular components of latex, banana, avocado, pollen, seeds within latex fruit syndrome was also evaluated. Altogether 100 atopic dermatitis patients were examined. The incidence of clinical reaction to kiwi was observed in 15% of patients; a combination of the kiwi allergens Act d 1, Act d 2 and Act d 10 gave a diagnostic sensitivity of 33.3%. The latex fruit syndrome was recorded in one patient (1%) with the positive result to Hev b 6.02, to (Pers a) and oral allergy syndrome after kiwi ingestion. The sensitisation both to molecular components of kiwi and latex was recorded in 7% of patients. Further research on kiwi allergy should focus on the importance of chitinase and 2S albumins.
Background and aim: To analyse the sensitisation profile to molecular components of mites allergens with the use of ALEX2 Allergy Explorer test in Atopic dermatitis (AD) patients. Method: The complete dermatological and allergological examination including the examination of the sensitisation to molecular components with ALEX2 Allergy Explorer testing was performed. For the statistical analysis, we used Fisher's Exact. Results and conclusion: The sensitisation to mites increases with AD severity. The central role in atopic march may play the molecular component Der f 2 and Der p 23. The results of our study confirm the important role of Der p 5 and Der p 7 in subgroup of patients suffering from bronchial asthma. The specific immunotherapy should focus on the components of NPC2 family and Der p 23 in AD patients. Our results may be helpful in planning hyposensitisation, treatment and immunotherapy.
The paper presents new data on the nesting habits of the digger wasp Alysson spinosus (Hymenoptera: Bembicidae). As food for larvae, the female provisioned about 7–8 hemipteran nymphs or imagines per cell. The collected prey belongs to two families of true hoppers (five species of Delphacidae and one species of Cicadellidae). Nests are built in sandy, shaded areas, and consist of a 10–12 cm long main burrow with 1–3 brood cells. Both sexes search for food (honeydew) on the leaves of lilac or small-leaved linden. The nests were infested by the dipteran kleptoparasitic Metopia argyrocephala (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). The mature larva is similar to that of the Nearctic Alysson melleus, from which it differs in having a blunt apical mandibular tooth and more prominent setae on the clypeus and labrum.
One of the important areas of heart research is investigating how heart activity changes during aging. In this research, we employed complexity-based techniques to analyze how heart activity varies based on the age of subjects. For this purpose, the heart rate variability (HRV) of 54 healthy subjects (30 M, 24 F, 28.5-76 years old) in three different age groups was analyzed using fractal theory, sample entropy, and approximate entropy. We showed that the fractal dimension, sample entropy, and approximate entropy of the RR interval time series (as HRV) are related to the age of the subjects. In other words, as subjects get older, the complexity of their RR interval time series decreases. Therefore, we decoded the variations in HRV during aging. The method of analysis that was employed in this research can be used to analyze the variations of other physiological signals (e.g., Electroencephalogram (EEG) signals) during aging.
Purpose: Various forms of local haemostats are increasingly used routinely in surgical procedures. Our work is the first comparison of the efficacy and safety of non-regenerated and regenerated oxidized cellulose based fibrous haemostats. Methods: The haemostatic efficacy and safety of fibrous haemostats based on ONRC and ORC were compared in a randomized multicenter study. The primary endpoint was successful haemostasis within 3 minutes of application and no need for surgical revision within 12 hours after the procedure for recurrent bleeding. Results: There was a significant difference in the rate of successful haemostasis in 3 minutes that was achieved in 82% and 55% in the ONRC and ORC groups, respectively (confidence interval 99%; p = 0.009). Mean time to haemostasis was 133.9 ± 53.95 seconds and 178.0 ± 82.33 seconds, in the ONRC, and ORC group, respectively (p = 0.002). Revision surgery for re-bleeding was necessary in 0 (0%), and 1 (2%) of patients in the ONRC, and ORC group, respectively. No adverse events were reported. Conclusion: Fibrous haemostat based on ONRC was non-inferior compared to fibrous haemostat based on ORC when used in accordance with its intended purpose, and was safe and efficient.
Due to a broad spectrum of endodontic rotary instruments on the market and no standardised protocol for comparing their mechanical properties, it can be challenging for clinician to choose proper instruments. In vitro studies using resin blocks with artificial canals can offer many valuable information because of their uniformity compared to studies performed on extracted teeth. To improve precision and reproducibility of artificial canals, 3D printing was used in this study to manufacture endodontic test block samples. 20 commercially available endodontic blocks Endo-Training-Bloc-J by Dentsply Sirona were tested. The mean values of the measured parameters were used for a 3D CAD model of their replicas. 20 copies of the endodontic training blocks were printed from acrylic resin (VeroClear-RGD810, Stratasys, Eden Prairie, USA) using the 3D printer Objet30 Pro (Stratasys, Eden Prairie, USA). The key dimensions of the commercial blocks and the 3D printed blocks were measured under and compared using t – test and Levene’s test for equality of variances. The profiles of the 3D printed artificial canals showed significantly lower dimensional variability when compared with the commercial blocks. 3D polyjet printing proved to be a precise and reproducible method for production of blocks for testing endodontic rotary instruments. Supplementary material: CAD model of the 3D printed blocks
Mycotoxins can cause body poisoning and induce carcinogenesis, often with a high mortality rate. Therefore, it is of great significance to seek new targets that indicate mycotoxin activity and to diagnose and intervene in mycotoxin-induced diseases in their early stages. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are physiological regulators whose dysregulation is closely related to the development of diseases. They are thus important markers for the occurrence and development of diseases. In this review, consideration is given to the toxicological mechanisms associated with four major mycotoxins (ochratoxin A, aflatoxin B1, deoxynivalenol, and zearalenone). The roles that miRNAs play in these mechanisms and the interactions between them and their target genes are explained, and summarize the important role of histone modifications in their toxicity. As a result, the ways that miRNAs are regulated in the pathogenicity signaling pathways are revealed which highlights the roles played by miRNAs in preventing and controlling the harmful effects of the mycotoxins. It is hoped that this review will provide a theoretical basis for the prevention and control of the damage caused by these mycotoxins.
A considerable number of patients with COVID-19 suffer from respiratory problems in the post-acute phase of the disease (the second–third month after disease onset). Individual telerehabilitation and telecoaching are viable, effective options for treating these patients. To treat patients individually, medical staff must have detailed knowledge of their physical activity and condition. A sensor network that utilizes medical-grade devices can be created to collect these data, but the price and availability of these devices might limit such a network’s scalability to larger groups of patients. Hence, the use of low-cost commercial fitness wearables is an option worth exploring. This article presents the concept and technical infrastructure of such a telerehabilitation program that started in April 2021 in the Czech Republic. A pilot controlled study with 14 patients with COVID-19 indicated the program’s potential to improve patients’ physical activity, (85.7% of patients in telerehabilitation vs. 41.9% educational group) and exercise tolerance (71.4% of patients in telerehabilitation vs 42.8% of the educational group). Regarding the accuracy of collected data, the used commercial wristband was compared with the medical-grade device in a separate test. Evaluating z-scores of the intensity of participants’ physical activity in this test, the difference in data is not statistically significant at level p=0.05. Hence, the used infrastructure can be considered sufficiently accurate for the telerehabilitation program examined in this study. The technical and medical aspects of the problem are discussed, as well as the technical details of the solution and the lessons learned regarding using this approach to treat COVID-19 patients in the post-acute phase.
The sensitivity of ALEX2 Allergy Explorer test in patients suffering from atopic dermatitis and clinical reactions to fish/shrimps was evaluated. We compared the results of specific IgE to allergen reagents (molecular components) and clinical reactions in the open exposure test (patient’s history); the sensitivity was calculated with Fisher's Exact test (Rates and Confidence Intervals 95% C. I., value, lower, upper). Altogether 100 atopic dermatitis patients were examined. We confirmed significant relationship between the results of specific IgE to allergen reagents (molecular components) of fish and the results open exposure test/history; the sensitivity is in the range of 33.3% (7.49%–70.07%)–44.4% (13.7%–78.80%). We did not confirm the significant relationship between the results of specific IgE to allergen reagents (molecular components) of shrimps and the results open exposure test/history; the sensitivity is in the range of 0%–40% (5.27%–85.34%). © 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Trap nests made from stalks or stems of eudominant plants, such as Phragmites australis (reed) and Solidago canadensis (goldenrod), have been frequently used in previous studies. Nevertheless, trap nest occupancy in large stands of source plants remains poorly understood. We deployed trap nests made from stems with and stalks without parenchyma to steppic grasslands and terrestrial reed bed margins (64 localities in Central Europe) and matched the data with those from Moericke traps and phytocenologic relevés. The reed stalk trap nests attracted a much more abundant assemblage of Aculeata than the goldenrod stem trap nests. However, a large part of the species nesting in goldenrod stem trap nests overlapped with the species that used (and preferred) reed stalk trap nests. Ten aculeate species, which were present in large amounts in trap nests, were completely absent from the Moericke traps, and others were present in limited quantities. In natural habitats, trap-nesting bees and wasps had lower dominance but similar Fisher alpha values as those in anthropogenic habitats. Cavities in stems with or stalks without parenchyma served as previously undervalued nesting resources and an important monitoring tool. Trap-nesting species readily adopted broken stems and stalks even within stands of the source plants, the common reed and the goldenrod. Therefore, the conservation of threatened bee and wasp species that are associated with these cavities and are limited to habitats of natural origin requires conservation management that allows the presence of broken stems and stalks of ≥1 year of age in the proximity of the potential feeding habitats.
Concentration dependent surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) studies of biologically active methylsulfonyl derivative (BMSP) are reported. Out of various concentrations, SERS at 10⁻³ M gives maximum enhancement. The experimental results are supported by theoretical investigations. BMSP exhibited selective micro molar activity against Staphylococcus aureus. The interaction of charge transfer between Ag and S atoms is confirmed by the enhanced bond length values. Reduction in ionization potential suggests that the BMSP-Ag6 system has stronger electron donating characteristics than BMSP. The electrophilicity index of the adsorbed system containing BMSP and silver cluster represent biological activity and the adsorption process is chemisorption. Presence of CH3 modes in the SERS spectrum suggest that the molecule adopts a tilted orientation, and that para-substituted phenyl ring is more slanted than poly-substituted phenyl ring. Presence of ring stretches, bending modes for all concentrations suggest that the BMSP molecule may tilt, resulting in an interaction with the metal surface and there is an orientation change for the molecule with respect to the metal surface as concentration changes.
To determine a trade-off between the battery energy storage system (BESS) size and corresponding benefits in managing the load of distribution systems under high penetration of electric vehicles (EVs), a marginal capacity value-based sizing approach is proposed in this study. First, the yearly load profiles of EVs are estimated considering different factors, such as EV parameters, driver behavior, day types, and customers at each secondary distribution transformer. Then, a utilization index is proposed to quantify the benefits of increasing the BESS size. To this end, an iterative method is proposed to determine the BESS size with a given utilization target. To expedite the convergence speed, a binary and interpolation search-inspired algorithm is proposed, which can determine the BESS size within a limited number of iterations. The performance of the proposed BESS sizing approach is compared with three other approaches, i.e., optimization-based sizing approach, metaheuristic sizing approach, and enumeration-based sizing approach. The obtained results are tested and validated using the data of a real distribution system. Finally, a sensitivity analysis of different user defined factors such as granularity level in BESS size and utilization target levels is carried out. Simulation results have shown that the proposed method can significantly reduce the BESS size while having minute impact on the peak shaving.
Pharmaceutical powder carriers are often used to prevent agglomeration of a micronized drug in the co-milling process. Twenty-four pharmaceutical excipients were subjected to preliminary mild milling conditions in this work. Ten of them showed acceptable milling properties with alginic acid, calcium alginate, microcrystalline cellulose (Avicel® 200), carrageenan, and hypromellose having the best particle size reduction without any aggregation while maintaining a narrow span. For the latter five substances, circumscribed central composite design (CCD) evaluating the effect of the factors milling speed and timeon the responses (particle size, particle size distribution) for three milling ball sizes was used to establish optimal milling conditions. For all ten possible factor combinations and each ball size, a quadratic response surface model was used to predict the response variable. For three substances out of five, the best results were achieved using 5-mm balls. Thermal characteristics showed the good stability of excipients under optimized milling conditions.
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