Lucia Billeci

Lucia Billeci
Italian National Research Council, Pisa, Italy · Institute of Clinical Physiology

PhD in Bioengineering

About

119
Publications
19,876
Reads
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2,359
Citations
Citations since 2017
67 Research Items
2085 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500
Additional affiliations
October 2016 - present
Italian National Research Council
Position
  • Researcher
September 2016 - present
IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2015 - July 2016
Università di Pisa
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
January 2008 - May 2011
Università di Pisa
Field of study
  • Automatic, Robotics and Bioengineering
September 2004 - July 2007
Università di Pisa
Field of study
  • Biomedical Engineering
September 2001 - September 2004
Università di Pisa
Field of study
  • Biomedical Engineering

Publications

Publications (119)
Article
Full-text available
Studies in psychiatric populations have found a positive effect of Horticultural therapy (HCT) on reductions in stress levels. The main objective of the present pilot study was to evaluate the impact of the addition of HCT to conventional clinical treatment (Treatment as Usual, TaU) in a sample of six female adolescents with anorexia nervosa restri...
Article
Full-text available
Joint attention (JA)—the human ability to coordinate our attention with that of other people—is impaired in the early stage of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, little is known about the JA skills in the younger siblings of children with ASD who do not develop ASD at 36 months of age [high-risk (HR)-noASD]. In order to advance our understand...
Article
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Vascular dementia (VD) is a cognitive impairment typical of advanced age with vascular etiology. It results from several vascular micro-accidents involving brain vessels carrying less oxygen and nutrients than it needs. This being a degenerative disease, the diagnosis often arrives too late, when the brain tissue is already damaged. Thus, preventio...
Article
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At present, food quality is of utmost importance, not only to comply with commercial regulations, but also to meet the expectations of consumers; this aspect includes sensory features capable of triggering emotions through the citizen’s perception. To date, key parameters for food quality assessment have been sought through analytical methods alone...
Article
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Previous research identified emotion processing (i.e., emotion recognition and gaze pattern towards emotional stimuli) deficits in youths with callous-unemotional (CU) traits, though mixed results have emerged. CU traits frequently co-occur with high levels of the other psychopathy dimensions, namely narcissism and impulsivity, and overall, psychop...
Article
Lay abstract: This study investigates the effects of a probiotic on preschoolers' brain electrical activity with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a disorder with an increasing prevalence characterized by an enormous individual, family, and social cost. Although the etiology of autism spectrum disorder is unknown, an interaction between genetic...
Article
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Context Fetal Autonomic Nervous sysTem Evaluation (FANTE) is a non-invasive tool that evaluates the autonomic nervous system activity in a fetus. Autonomic nervous system maturation and development during prenatal life are pivotal for the survival and neuropsychiatric development of the baby. Objective Aim of the study is to evaluate the effect of...
Article
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The technological developments of recent times have allowed the use of innovative approaches to support the diagnosis of various diseases. Many of such clinical conditions are often associated with metabolic unbalance, in turn producing an alteration of the gut microbiota even during asymptomatic stages. As such, studies regarding the microbiota co...
Article
Callous-unemotional (CU) traits are associated with gaze pattern deficits in youths, though it has not yet been explored if environmental factors could influence this relationship. Since parenting can influence both CU traits and children's emotion processing, the current study sought to test whether parenting moderated the relation between gaze pa...
Article
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Introduction: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a systemic immune-mediated disease, featuring fibrosis of the skin and organs, and has the greatest mortality among rheumatic diseases. The nervous system involvement has recently been demonstrated, although actual lung involvement is considered the leading cause of death in SSc and, therefore, should be d...
Article
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Individuals with different hypnotizability display different interoceptive sensitivity/awareness (IS) and accuracy (IA), likely sustained by morphofunctional differences in interoception-related brain regions and, thus, possibly also observable during sleep. We investigated the heartbeat-evoked cortical potential amplitude (HEP) during sleep, its a...
Article
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Heartbeat detection is the first step in automatic analysis of the electrocardiogram (ECG). For mobile and wearable devices, the detection process should be both accurate and computationally efficient. In this paper, we present a QRS detection algorithm based on moving average filters, which affords a simple yet robust signal processing technique....
Article
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Wearable sensors are nowadays largely employed to assess physiological signals derived from the human body without representing a burden in terms of obtrusiveness. One of the most intriguing fields of application for such systems include the assessment of physiological responses to sensory stimuli. In this specific regard, it is not yet known which...
Article
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The microbiota-gut-brain axis has been recently recognized as a key modulator of neuropsychiatric health. In this framework, probiotics (recently named "psychobiotics") may modulate brain activity and function, possibly improving the behavioral profiles of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We evaluated the effects of probiotics on autis...
Article
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Alzheimer’s disease is notoriously the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, affecting an increasing number of people. Although widespread, its causes and progression modalities are complex and still not fully understood. Through neuroimaging techniques, such as diffusion Magnetic Resonance (MR), more sophisticated and specific studies of t...
Article
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Cancer is fast becoming the most important cause of death worldwide, its mortality being mostly caused by late or wrong diagnosis. Novel strategies have been developed to identify early signs of cancer in a minimally obtrusive way, including the Electronic Nose (E-Nose) technology, user-friendly, cost-and time-saving alternative to classical approa...
Article
Full-text available
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show worse oral health than their peers. Their access to health services is, at present, inadequate: few high-quality interventions have been designed and implemented to improve their care procedures so far. The purpose of this study is to describe an experience of dental care supported by Information an...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19, the novel coronavirus affecting the most part of worldwide countries since early 2020, is fast increasing its prevalence around the world, representing a significant emergency for the population and the health systems at large. While proper treatments are being developed, in-depth studies concerning its way of diffusion are necessary, in...
Article
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In this study, we aimed to evaluate the process applied in subjects with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to elaborate and communicate their experiences of daily life activities, as well as to assess the autonomic nervous system response that subtend such a process. This procedure was evaluated for the first time in two eight-year-old girls with high...
Article
In recent years, the study of eye movements has increasingly become a window into neurological function and processes. This paper reports data about applications of eye-tracking technology in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders, especially in studying the clinical characteristics of ADHD. These studies indicated that eye-tracking approach rep...
Article
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Nowadays, psychological stress represents a burdensome condition affecting an increasing number of subjects, in turn putting into practice several strategies to cope with this issue, including the administration of relaxation protocols, often performed in non-structured environments, like workplaces, and constrained within short times. Here, we per...
Article
Background: Maturity of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is of paramount importance for fetal adaptation to extrauterine life and for early neurological development. Markers of ANS maturity, such as electrophysiological heart rate parameters, are of interest as tools to determine prenatal fetal maturity. The available technology, fetal magnetoca...
Article
Aging is associated not only with the reduction of psychophysical and sensory capacities but also with different types of neurodegenerative disorders up to dementia manifestations. Aging in health and self-sufficiency is strictly dependent on the prevention and correction of factors that may determine reduction of psychophysical capacities (e.g., c...
Article
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Background: The sense of smell has been recently recognized as one of the most important sensory features in the human being, representing a reliable biomarker for a number of clinical conditions. The relationship between olfactory function and the person’s attitude towards food has frequently been investigated, often using questionnaires. The admi...
Article
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Further understanding of the longitudinal changes in visual pattern of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is needed. We examined twelve 19 to 33-month-old toddlers at their first diagnosis (mean age: 25.1 months) and after six months (mean age: 31.7 months) during two initiating joint attention (IJA) tasks using eye tracking. Results we...
Article
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Psychological stress is known to activate the autonomic nervous system (ANS), thus representing a useful target to be monitored to understand the physiological, unconscious effect of stress on the human body. However, little is known about how differently the ANS responds to cognitive and sensory stimulations in healthy subjects. To this extent, we...
Article
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Bayesian accounts of autism suggest that this disorder may be rooted in an impaired ability to estimate the probability of future events, possibly owing to reduced priors. Here, we tested this hypothesis within the action domain in children with and without autism using a behavioural paradigm comprising a familiarization and a testing phase. During...
Article
Background: Emotional dysregulation (ED) is a trans-nosographical condition characterized by mood instability, severe irritability, aggression, temper outburst, and hyper-arousal. Pathophysiology of emotional dysregulation and its potential biomarkers are an emerging field of interest. A Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) profile, defined as Dysregul...
Article
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Anorexia nervosa (AN) is associated with a wide range of disturbances of the autonomic nervous system. The aim of the present study was to monitor the heart rate (HR) and the heart rate variability (HRV) during light physical activity in a group of adolescent girls with AN and in age-matched controls using a wearable, minimally obtrusive device. Fo...
Article
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Accurate dynamic three-dimensional (4D) imaging of the heart of small rodents is required for the preclinical study of cardiac biomechanics and their modification under pathological conditions, but technological challenges are met in laboratory practice due to the very small size and high pulse rate of the heart of mice and rats as compared to huma...
Article
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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that is characterized by an altered brain connectivity organization. Autistic traits below the clinical threshold (i.e., the broad autism phenotype; BAP) are frequent among first-degree relatives of subjects with ASD; however, little is known regarding whether subthreshold b...
Article
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Background and objectives: Smartphones are playing a pivotal role in everyday life, due to the opportunity they grant in terms of simplifying communication, entertainment, education and many other daily activities. Against such positive characteristics, smartphone interaction can result, in particular cases, in dangerous smartphone addiction patter...
Article
The correct functioning of the chemosensory pathway is pivotal for the attitude towards feeding. In some neuropsychiatric disorders, abnormalities of the sensory processing dramatically affect feeding behavior; however, evidences for an olfactory involvement in Anorexia Nervosa (AN) are still controversial. We administered a complete olfactory test...
Article
Full-text available
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a category of neurodevelopmental disturbances seriously affecting social skills, to which the scientific community has paid great attention in last decades. To date, their pathogenesis is still unknown, but several studies highlighted the relevance of gene-environment interactions in the onset of ASD. In addition,...
Chapter
Epilepsy is often associated with modifications in autonomic nervous system, which usually precede the onset of seizures of several minutes. Identifying those changes is pivotal to predict the onset of seizure and to set up an early intervention. The aim of this study was to develop a patient-specific approach to predict seizures using electrocardi...
Preprint
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disturbances affecting social skills, whose incidence worldwide is dramatically increasing. Together with the rise of ASD prevalence, several immune conditions are following the same trend, including Atopic Dermatitis (AD), with a possible clinical relationship with ASD. To date, their pathogen...
Article
Research suggests that callous unemotional (CU) traits are associated with poor emotion recognition due to impairments in attention to relevant emotional cues. To further investigate the mechanisms that underlie CU traits, this study focused on the relationship between levels of CU and children's attention to, and recognition of, facial emotions. P...
Research
Full-text available
Correction to the article: "Billeci, L.; et al. Automatic Detection of Atrial Fibrillation and Other Arrhythmias in ECG Recordings Acquired by a Smartphone Device. Electronics 2018, 7, 199"
Article
Full-text available
PurposeThe aim of this study was to investigate the influence of hyperactivity on left ventricular mass (LVM) in Anorexia Nervosa restricting-type (AN-R) and the correlation between LVM and auxologic parameters/circulating hormones. Methods Echocardiography was performed in 44 AN-R girls, subgrouped in 24 hyperactive (ANH+) and 20 non-hyperactive (...
Article
Full-text available
Epilepsy is often associated with modifications in autonomic nervous system, which usually precede the onset of seizures of several minutes. Thus, there is a great interest in identifying these modifications enough time in advance to prevent a dangerous effect and to intervene. In addition, these changes can be a risk factor for epileptic patients...
Article
Full-text available
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac disease and is associated with other cardiac complications. Few attempts have been made for discriminating AF from other arrhythmias and noise. The aim of this study is to present a novel approach for such a classification in short ECG recordings acquired using a smartphone device. The implemented...
Article
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a heterogeneous disorder featuring language impairment, personality changes, and executive defects, often due to the frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Both FTD and FTLD are often associated with olfactory impairment, early biomarker for neurodegeneration, which can be evaluated with different techniques, amo...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders featuring early impairments in social domain, with autonomic nervous system (ANS) unbalance possibly representing a useful marker for such disturbances. Impairments in joint attention (JA) are one of the earliest markers of social deficits in ASD....
Article
In this paper we explore the dynamics of Joint Attention (JA) in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during an interaction task with a small humanoid robot. While this robot elicits JA in children, a coupled perception system based on RGB-D sensors is able to capture their behaviours. The proposed system shows the feasibility and the pract...
Article
Full-text available
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterised by impairment in joint attention (JA), which has two components: the response to JA and the initiation of JA. Literature suggests a correlation between JA and neural circuitries, although this link is still largely unexplored in ASD. In this pilot study, we aimed at investigating the neural correlat...
Article
Full-text available
Sensory issues are of great interest in ASD diagnosis. However, their investigation is mainly based on external observation (parent reports), with methodological limitations. Unobtrusive olfactory assessment allows studying autism neurosensoriality. Here, 20 male children with high-functioning ASD and 20 matched controls were administered a complet...
Conference Paper
Wearable sensors currently represent a non-invasive way of monitoring health-related parameters, quite useful for both self-assessment and naturalistic studies. The autonomic imbalance experienced by athletes engaged in strenuous physical exercises could be also seen through this minimally obtrusive approach, possibly opening the field to a variety...
Article
Full-text available
The non-invasive fetal electrocardiogram (fECG) technique has recently received considerable interest in monitoring fetal health. The aim of our paper is to propose a novel fECG algorithm based on the combination of the criteria of independent source separation and of a quality index optimization (ICAQIO-based). The algorithm was compared with two...
Article
Full-text available
Background Early recognition of inflammatory markers and their relation to asthma, adverse drug reactions, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis and other allergic diseases is an important goal in allergy. The vast majority of studies in the literature are based on classic statistical methods; however, developments in computational techniques such a...
Article
Full-text available
This paper proposes a novel approach of integrating different neuroimaging techniques to characterize an autistic brain. Different techniques like EEG, fMRI and DTI have traditionally been used to find biomarkers for autism, but there have been very few attempts for a combined or multimodal approach of EEG, fMRI and DTI to understand the neurobiolo...