Flexible and distributed energy markets are a reality that is progressively reaching many regions. Despite their clear benefits, they should be accepted by the prosumers. Additionally, blockchain technology and smart contracts have been characterised as a technological enabler for the energy sector and P2P Energy Markets (PEM). However, little research has been done to explore blockchain's user-centred perspective. Therefore, this paper analyses the reluctance and/or concerns of prosumers regarding smart contracts, and investigates their perception on blockchain within PEMs. The authors present the results of a survey conducted across several European countries addressing the implementation of automated trading systems and analysing the adoption of smart contracts. Considering that the main survey outcomes are related to the regulation and legislation uncertainty around blockchain usage, this paper explores also the fit of smart contracts from a legal perspective. Additionally, a set of recommendations to be used as the basis for the design and development of PEMs is delivered, aiming to adopt blockchain and smart contracts. As a key take-away, the authors confirm the crucial role that blockchain will play in the deployment of fair, secure, flexible and distributed energy markets by ensuring transparency in the exchange of information between prosumers and energy stakeholders. © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Background: The complex system of stressors related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the global population, provoking a broad range of psychological reactions. Although numerous studies have investigated the mental health impact of COVID-19, qualitative research and cross-country comparisons are still rare. Objective: This qualitative study aimed to explore self-perceived challenges and opportunities related to COVID-19 across six European countries. The overall objective was to provide a differentiated picture of individual subjective experiences in the early stages of the pandemic. Method: The present study included 7309 participants from Austria, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Poland, and Portugal. We performed qualitative content analysis according to Mayring analyse open-ended questions regarding stressful events, positive and negative aspects of the pandemic, and recommendations to cope with the pandemic situation. MAXQDA software was used for data management and analysis. Results: Participants' accounts were moderately consistent across the countries. The most prominent themes regarding stressful and negative pandemic aspects included: Restrictions and changes in daily life, Emotional distress, and Work and finances. Answers about positive pandemic consequences were mainly centred around the themes Reflection and growth, Opportunity for meaningful/enjoyable activities, and Benefits on interpersonal level. Key themes identified from participants' recommendations to cope with the pandemic included Beneficial behavioural adjustment, Beneficial cognitive-emotional strategies, and Social support. Conclusions: Participants experienced various challenges, but also shared several positive pandemic consequences and recommendations to cope with the pandemic. These first-hand data could inform mental health practices to promote well-being during COVID-19 and similar global challenges in the participating countries and possibly beyond. Highlights: We examined COVID-19-related experiences in 7309 adults from six European countries.Besides challenges, participants identified many positive pandemic consequences.Participants' recommendations to cope with COVID-19 included behavioural and cognitive-emotional strategies.
The breast experiences substantial changes in morphology and function during pregnancy and lactation which affects its imaging properties and may reduce the visibility of a concurrent pathological process. The high incidence of benign gestational-related entities may further add complexity to the clinical and radiological evaluation of the breast during the period. Consequently, pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC) is often a delayed diagnosis and carries a poor prognosis. This state-of-the-art pictorial review illustrates how despite currently being underutilized, technical advances and new clinical evidence support the use of unenhanced breast MRI during pregnancy and both unenhanced and dynamic-contrast enhanced (DCE) during lactation, to serve as effective supplementary modalities in the diagnostic work-up of PABC.
Introduction Tension-type headache (TTH) is the most prevalent neurological disorder. As there is a gap in the literature regarding the disease burden attributable to TTH in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the aim of the present study was to report the epidemiological indicators of TTH in MENA, from 1990 to 2019, by sex, age and socio-demographic index (SDI). Methods Publicly available data on the point prevalence, annual incidence and years lived with disability (YLDs) were retrieved from the global burden of disease (GBD) 2019 study for the 21 countries and territories in MENA, between 1990 and 2019. The results were presented with numbers and age-standardised rates per 100000 population, along with their corresponding 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs). Results In 2019, the age-standardised point prevalence and annual incidence rates for TTH in the MENA region were 24504.5 and 8680.1 per 100000, respectively, which represents a 2.0% and a 0.9% increase over 1990-2019, respectively. The age-standardised YLD rate of TTH in this region in 2019 was estimated to be 68.1 per 100000 population, which has increased 1.0% since 1990. Iran [29640.4] had the highest age-standardised point prevalence rate for TTH, while Turkey [21726.3] had the lowest. In 2019, the regional point prevalence of TTH was highest in the 35-39 and 70-74 age groups, for males and females, respectively. Furthermore, the number of prevalent cases was estimated to be highest in those aged 35-39 and 25-29 years, in both males and females, respectively. Moreover, the burden of TTH was not observed to have a clear association with SDI. Conclusions While the prevalence of TTH in the MENA region increased from 1990 to 2019, the incidence rate did not change. In addition, the burden of TTH in MENA was higher than at the global level for both sexes and all age groups. Therefore, prevention of TTH would help alleviate the attributable burden imposed on the hundreds of millions of people suffering from TTH around the region.
Background There is no region-specific publication investigating the attributable burden of breast cancer, particularly among females. This article reported the burden of female breast cancer in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and its attributable risk factors between 1990 and 2019, by age, sex, and socio-demographic index (SDI). Methods Publicly available data on the incidence, death and disability-adjusted life years (DALY) were retrieved from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019 study for the 21 countries and territories in MENA, between 1990 and 2019, along with 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs). The relationship between the burden of female breast cancer, in terms of DALYs, and the SDI were also assessed using Smoothing Spline models. Results In 2019, the regional age-standardised incidence and death rates of female breast cancer were 37.5 and 15.2 per 100,000, which represent a 90.9 and 24.0% increase since 1990, respectively. In addition, in 2019 the regional age-standardised DALY rate was 472.7 per 100,000, which was 19.5% higher than in 1990. In 2019, the death rate increased steadily with advancing age, while the DALY rate increased steeply with age and reached its peak in the 70–74 age group. There was a positive association between SDI and the burden of breast cancer over the period 1990 to 2019. Moreover, in 2019 high fasting plasma glucose (6.9%) contributed to the largest proportion of attributable DALYs for female breast cancer in the MENA region. Conclusions There was a significant increase in the incidence rate of female breast cancer in MENA over the past three decades, although the death and DALY rates were both largely unchanged. Preventive programs targeting the major risk factors should be implemented in the region.
Business firms are increasingly innovating their traditional business model to a technology-enabled digitalized model for their sustainability in the competitive market. Firms have already felt the necessity to embark on a digital transformation journey to sustain themselves. However, specific capabilities at the microfoundation level are needed for successfully exploiting this paradigm shift towards digital transformation. In the digital transformation journey, specific digital skills and capabilities at the microfoundational level are essential to achieve success. The psychological foundations of the employees should be aligned in favor of digitalization to successfully gain competitive advantage. Not many studies are available to understand individual capabilities and skills at the microfoundational level. In this background, the aim of this study is to investigate the role of individual capability at the microfoundational level, including the leadership role along with technology capability like an AI-enabled CRM system, towards digitalization. With the help of RBV theory and status quo bias theory, a theoretical model has been developed which was later validated using SEM technique with data of 341 respondents from different industries. The study finds that there is a significant influence of individuals’ skills and capabilities to embrace the digital transformation journey.
The importance of store atmospherics on consumers’ shopping behavior has been widely studied since the 1970s. Over the years, and with the development of technology, store atmosphere has changed form and shape in alternative retail commerce channels, such as brick-and-mortar, 2D and 3D online, mobile, and virtual and augmented reality. However, despite its importance, there is not a holistic analysis of the components and dimensions of store atmosphere in retailing. This research fills this gap by denoting integrated knowledge and outcomes in alternative commerce channels and developing a unifying integrative framework that includes the components, the antecedents, and the consequences of store atmosphere. We follow a systematic literature review approach to (1) review past research and directions, (2) develop a map of the components of store atmosphere in the last 45 years, (3) explicate 208 variables that are directly linked with store atmosphere, and (4) draw an integrative framework and present future research directions and managerial implications.
The adoption of blockchain technology is emerging as a promising approach in managing decentralized local energy markets (LEM). In this study we analyze the issues related to the deployment of a blockchain-based LEM on devices as much as possible similar to modern smart meters. The presented LEM is based on an automated market-making mechanism. Buying and selling prices are dynamically determined by the amount of energy consumed and produced within a local energy community. We implemented the market in a blockchain application based on the Cosmos framework, which was deployed on embedded devices in a test pilot consisting of 18 residential buildings in Southern Switzerland. The sustainability of the application was investigated by analyzing the resources required by the blockchain to operate. The obtained results show how the developed application uses a small part of the resources of the embedded devices, approximately 100 MB for the memory usage and about 4% as regards the CPU. Thus, while the application deployment on smart meters is still troublesome, especially for memory requirements, the deployment at the data concentrator level is reasonable and feasible. Finally, we propose possible improvements and extensions that can be implemented in future versions of the presented solution.
The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of adopting a artificial intelligence-embedded customer relationship management (CRM) system for business-to-business relationship management. After reviewing the literature and considering the theory, a conceptual model was developed. The model was validated using the PLS-SEM technique with 312 responses from 14 firms in the B2B context. The study finds that an AI-embedded CRM system has a significant positive impact towards B2B relationship satisfaction and firm performance. Also, the study highlights that there is a negative impact of the moderator ‘technology turbulence’ on the relations of ‘automated decision making’ and ‘operational efficiency’ with ‘B2B relationship satisfaction’, whereas there is a positive impact of moderator ‘leadership support’ on ‘B2B relationship satisfaction’ and ‘firm performance’. There is presently no study on the impact of AI-CRM in the B2B context. Also, the study contributes to the existing literature by incorporating the moderator impact of ‘technology turbulence’ and ‘leadership support’ in the context of AI-embedded CRM systems for B2B relationship management.
This study investigates how B2B relationships can be nurtured in the cultural environment of the Indian management style. We have considered three prominent Indian cultural attributes that influence Indian management style: jugaad (J), visvaas (V), and chalta hai (C). These are perceived to have considerable impacts on relationship management in terms of consumer buying behavior and psychology in the B2B context. This concept has dramatically changed the B2B marketing dynamics, blurring the age-old boundaries between B2B and B2C marketing contexts. With this background, we attempted to understand how the three Indian cultural attributes can impact the B2B relationship. This study highlights that consumers’ buying behavior, in the B2B context, is influenced by their brand identification, purchase engagement, and prestige sensitivity. A conceptual model has been developed and the model has been validated statistically by a survey involving 364 respondents. The study reveals that jugaad, visvaas, and chalta hai considerably affect the business relationship performance of the MNCs doing business with Indian firms, especially on B2B consumer buying behavior and psychology.
Although most people look for and eventually find long-term mates, many opt out from the mating market, preferring to be single instead. The current research aimed to identify some of the factors which are likely to be associated with increased likelihood to be voluntarily single. More specifically, we examined the effects of sociosexuality, Dark Triad, and career focus on relationships status. Our results indicated that men and women who tended toward unrestricted sociosexuality and who scored higher in the Dark Triad, were more likely to prefer to be single than in an intimate relationship. We also found a three-way interaction between career focus, sex and age. In particular, higher career focus was associated with higher probability to be voluntarily single than in an intimate relationship, among younger than older women. The implications of these findings for understanding singlehood were further discussed.
This guest editorial presents an introduction to the topic and overview of the papers in this Special Issue of Technological Forecasting & Social Change on Technology as a Catalyst for Sustainable Social Business. In this introduction, we review the logic that underpinned our earlier call for papers and then go on to review the contents of the selected papers that comprise the current special issue. At the end, we synthesise the knowledge and contributions of the papers published as part of this Special Issue to suggest areas for further research and inform the development of a future research agenda in the area of technology and Social Business.
Background Despite its rarity, cancer in children and adolescents (CAC) is a major health issue worldwide. The lack of appropriate cancer registries is an obstacle for defining its incidence and survival, and informing cancer control. As in Cyprus, CAC epidemiology has not previously been comprehensively examined, we determined incidence rates and temporal trends of cancer in the 0–19 age group during 1998–2017. Methods We established the population based Paediatric Oncology Registry of Cyprus (PORCY) for the period 1998–2017. World age standardised incidence rate per million children and adolescents per year (ASRW) were calculated and time trends were assessed using Joinpoint regression analysis. Comparisons were made with other countries using the International Incidence of Childhood Cancer, third volume. Results For all cancers combined, for ages 0–19-years, ASRW was 203.54 (95% CI 189.49, 217.59) one of the highest rates globally. The most frequent CAC were leukaemias followed by lymphomas, specified epithelial neoplasms and central nervous system tumours, differing to what is described in most other countries. For all cancers, both combined and individual types, except thyroid carcinoma (where incidence was rising), no significant temporal variation was found. Conclusions To inform cancer control activities, we conducted the first ever population-based epidemiological study of childhood and adolescent cancer (0–19 years) in Cyprus. The striking findings indicate high overall incidence rates that are among the world’s highest, a higher frequency of lymphomas and thyroid cancer than brain tumours, and rising incidence for thyroid, but not for other, cancers. These novel findings, will help the formulation of hypotheses to provide explanation for the high rates for all CAC in Cyprus and may contribute to the global efforts for improving prevention of cancer in this age group.
The insatiable desire of society for plastic goods has led to synthetic materials becoming omnipresent in the marine environment. In attempting to address the problem of plastic pollution, we propose an image classifier based on the YOLOv5 deep learning tool that is able to classify and localize marine debris and marine life in images and video recordings. Utilizing the region of interest line and the centroid tracking counting methods, the image classifier was able to count marine debris and fish displayed in video footage. Results revealed that, with a counting accuracy of 79 %, the centroid tracking method proved more efficient thanks to its ability to trace the geometric center of the bounding box of detected marine litter. Remarkably, the proposed method achieved a mean average precision of 89.4 % when validated on nine categories of objects. Finally, its impact can be enhanced substantially if integrated into other surveying methods or applications.
Dexamethasone (DEX) is a synthetic steroid hormone that, owing to its endocrine disruptive effects, has the potential to be detrimental. DEX must be successfully removed during drinking water treatment to preserve human and aquatic animals' health. This study investigates the thermally activated persulfate (TAP) process for the efficient decomposition of DEX. The effectiveness of several variables such as pH, persulfate dose, DEX concentration, reaction temperature, and water matrices was studied. Removal of 500 μg/L DEX reached 100 % by using 100 mg/L of persulfate in ultrapure water (pH = 7) at 50 °C, within 45 min of reaction time. DEX removal usually followed exponential decay. The removal efficiency of DEX in the TAP process was pH-dependent, as 61 % of DEX was removed at a pH value of 9. In contrast, complete degradation was achieved under acidic and near neutral conditions. Moreover, environmentally relevant degradation experiments showed that, in principle, the presence of bicarbonate ions and humic acid had a negative effect on DEX decomposition by reducing the percentage removal of the target compound by >50 %. Six transformation products derived from DEX oxidation were identified using high-resolution LC-MS. TAP system could be proposed as a promising application for removing steroid hormones n real water matrices after process optimization in real conditions.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a significant public health issue due to its high prevalence and considerable contribution to the global disease burden. Recent studies suggest that genetic factors, including noncoding RNAs, have an important role in the progression of CVD. Noncoding RNA plays a critical role in genetic programming and gene regulation during development. Ferroptosis is a form of iron-dependent regulated cell death (RCD), which is mainly caused by increased lipid hydroperoxide and redox imbalance. Ferroptosis is essentially different from other forms of RCD in morphology and mechanism, such as apoptosis, autophagic cell death, pyroptosis, and necroptosis. Much evidence suggested ferroptosis is involved in the development of various CVDs, especially in cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury, heart failure, and aortic dissection. Here, we review the latest findings based on noncoding RNA regulation of ferroptosis and its involvement in the pathogenesis of CVD and related treatments, aimed at providing insights into the impact of noncoding RNA regulation of ferroptosis for CVD.
Purpose: This study compared physiological and perceptual variables between short and long durations of rowing-based high intensity interval exercise (HIIE). Methods: Fourteen active adults (age = 26.4 ± 7.2 yr) performed incremental rowing exercise to fatigue to measure maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and peak power output (PPO). The subsequent 20 min sessions required HIIE (eight 60 s efforts at 85%PPO with 90 s of active recovery at 20%PPO or 24 20 s efforts at 85%PPO with 30 s of active recovery at 20%PPO) or moderate intensity continuous exercise (MICE) at 40%PPO. During exercise, VO2, heart rate (HR), blood lactate concentration (BLa), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and affective valence were measured. Results: Data show significantly (p < 0.001) higher peak VO2 (84 ± 7 vs. 76 ± 5%VO2peak, d = 0.99), peak HR (94 ± 4%HRpeak vs. 90 ± 4%HRpeak, d = 1.12), BLa (7.0 ± 2.5 mM vs. 4.1 ± 1.0 mM, d = 1.22), end-exercise RPE (12.8 ± 2.0 vs. 11.0 ± 1.7, d = 1.29), and lower affective valence (2.1 ± 1.6 vs. 2.9 ± 1.2, d = 0.61) with long versus short HIIE. Time spent above 85%HRpeak was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in short versus long HIIE (606 ± 259 vs. 448 ± 26 s, d = 0.91). Conclusion: Longer rowing-based intervals elicit greater cardiometabolic and perceptual strain versus shorter efforts, making the latter preferable to optimize perceptual responses to HIIE.
Objective The objective of this paper is to assess the economic profile of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) to symptomatic patients with Pompe, Fabry, Gaucher disease and Lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) deficiency. Methods A systematic search was performed to retrieve and critically assess economic evaluations of enzyme replacement therapy. Publications were screened according to predefined criteria and evaluated according to the Quality of Economic Studies. Data were narratively synthesized. Results The Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio greatly exceeded willingness to pay thresholds. The cost of the medication dominated the sensitivity analysis. For Infantile-onset Pompe’s disease, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was estimated at €1.043.868 per Quality-adjusted life year (QALY) based on the dose of alglucosidase 40 mg/kg/ week, and €286.114 per QALY for 20 mg of alglucosidase/kg/2 weeks. For adults patients presenting with Pompe disease the reported was ICER € 1.8 million/ QALY. In the case of Fabry disease, the ICER per QALY amounts to 6.1 million Euros/QALY. Respectively for Gaucher’s disease, the ICER /QALY was estimated at € 884,994 per QALY. Finally, for patients presenting LAL deficiency NCPE perpetuated an ICER of €2,701,000/QALY. Discussion ERT comprise a promising treatment modality for orphan diseases; nevertheless, it is interlaced with a substantial economic burden. Moreover, the available data on the cost-effectiveness ratio are scarce. For certain diseases, such as Fabry, a thorough selection of patients could exert a beneficial effect on the reported ICER. Steep price reductions are imperative for these products, in the conventional reimbursement pathway or a new assessment framework should be elaborated, which in principle, should target uncertainty.
The use of face masks has become necessary in everyday life due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Although they can protect individuals from infectious droplets, they may develop communication obstacles. The present study investigates the effect of face mask wearing on the speech properties of vowels. Ten speakers were asked to produce at a normal speaking rate their native vowels in two conditions: with and without a cotton face mask. The vowels were embedded in carrier phrases in a /pVs/ context. Their productions were sent to speech production software and the statistical analyses were performed through linear mixed-effects models in R. The results showed that the first formant, which corresponds to tongue height, and duration of all vowels did not differ in the two conditions, while there was a significant alteration of the second formant, which corresponds to tongue position, for two out of five vowels. It is suggested that the second formant might be less robust to signal alteration deriving from face mask wearing, while speech signal alteration might be sound-specific. So, speech signal might be modified to some extent for some speech sounds, creating communication problems. The results can provide significant implications for second/foreign language instructors and health care providers such as doctors and speech therapists. Also, they can inform a broader community of social sciences and humanities scientists.
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