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Several neuropsychiatric pathologies have been recently linked to oxidative stress.
In this study, we investigated the relationship between depression, markers of oxidative stress and neurotransmission, as expressed by sensory cortex excitability.
Serum levels of oxidative stress markers and somatosensory magnetic fields, evokedby external galvanic stimulation, were measured in 13 depressed patients and 13 controls.
Depressives had higher levels of total and free copper than controls and lower levels oftransferrin. They also showed lower sensory cortex excitability, which correlated with copperlevels in controls, but not in patients. Transferrin correlated with sensory cortex excitability inboth patients and controls, although in opposite ways. Copper level results associated with thepatients’ clinical status.
Pro-oxidant agents appear to affect neuronal excitability and clinical state ofdepressed patients, as free copper excess alters their cortical glutamatergic neurotransmission.
Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) have shown efficacy in improving psychological symptoms including depression and anxiety in cancer patients (pts). The study aimed to explore feasibility and reproducibility of MBIs in an Italian Cancer Centre measuring biochemical and psychological parameters.
In this pilot prospective case-control study, we recruited newly diagnosed pts receiving adjuvant chemotherapy (CT). A MBIs program was designed consisting of 2.5 hours weekly for 8 weeks and, including meditation, yoga and body scan. Material for 45 minutes (mn) home daily practice was provided. Primary endpoint was to evaluate feasibility. Secondary endpoints were assessment of quality of life (QoL), psychological and biochemical outcomes of stress, tested at baseline (W0), W4, W8, W24, W48. PSS (Perceived Stress Reduction), POMS (profile of mood states scores), EuroQoL (EQ-5D-3L) were administered.
Ten pts underwent MBIs program arm. We present preliminary results, while data of control arm are being collected. All pts were female, two pts (20%) dropped out. Median age was 56 years. All received adjuvant CT, 5/8 received radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Mean of sessions attending was 6.8 (76%). Median daily practice was 30 mn. EQ-5D item for depression and anxiety showed decreasing trend in mean score from moderate to light (P = 0.15) and significant improvement of auto-perceived QoL was observed comparing W0 and W8 (P = 0.02)
In a sensitive setting such as start CT, we found high pts compliance to MBIs. Improvement in self-perceived QoL after starting program was found and comparing anxious-depressive symptoms outcomes with control arm is still needed.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Several studies had shown the effectiveness of combined interventions in the treatment of young patients with a first episode of psychosis (FEP). More controversial are the evidence about the stability of the therapeutic outcomes in individuals ultra-high risk (UHR).
To describe the regional project for the treatment of early psychosis implemented in the Reggio Emilia Mental Health Department (ReMHD) and also to report preliminary data from a 2-year follow-up.
In addition with the treatment as usual (TAU), treatment implemented within the regional project for early psychosis (PREP) in the ReMHD comprises the following:
– pharmacotherapy according to international guidelines;
– a phase-specific individualized Cognitive-Behavioural therapy;
– a psycho-educational intervention addressed to family members;
– a case management recovery-oriented.
Action strategies are preceded by the administration of Reggio Emilia at Risk mental States Battery Checklist as a comprehensive assessment useful to define the severity and the quality of symptoms, the degree of functioning, the subjectivity of suffering, and the perceived quality of life.
The assessment carried out after 24 months of continuous treatment showed significant improvements in both the psychotic symptoms (positive, negative and general psychopathology PANSS subscales) that the daily functioning (SOFAS).
Although our sample is still relatively small (n = 50) to draw definitive conclusions, it is emerging the good prognosis for UHR individuals and patients with FEP submitted on PREP treatment implemented in the ReMHD.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Berries are one of the most commonly consumed sources of bioactive polyphenols and these compounds may exert protective effects against initiation of colorectal cancer (CRC) by reducing DNA damage. The inverse correlation between fruit and vegetable consumption and the incidence of CRC is well established, hence the role of berry derived bioactive phytochemicals in promotion of gut health is of interest. Ileostomy studies provide a unique insight into food digestion, allowing identification of physiologically relevant dietary phytochemicals and their metabolites. Here, we hypothesised that physiologically relevant levels of Italian wild strawberry metabolites exiting the ileum would be both bioavailable and would in turn exert positive effects on gut health markers.
Five ileostomists completed a wild strawberry feeding study (11/NI/0112), ileal fluid was collected pre (0 h) and post (8 h) consumption of strawberries (225 g) and assessed for phytochemical composition by LCMSn. We simulated the interaction of the ileal fluids with colonic microbiota over a 24 h period (0, 5,10, 24 hr) using in vitro gut fermenter models. Nutri-kinetic analysis using LCMSn demonstrated significant increases in the concentration of gut microbiota-mediated polyphenolic metabolites over time, including 3-(4hydroxyphenyl) propionic acid, 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl) propanoic acid, hydroxybenzoic acid and urolithin A. While changes in the bacterial composition of the gut fermenter model(s) were monitored using fluorescent in situ hybridisation analysis (FISH) with validated probes for Total bacteria, Bifidobacterium genus, Clostridium histolyticum/perfringens group, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Eubacterium rectale group, Bacteroides, Lactobacilli and Enterobacteria; limited changes were observed.
Bioactivity of the post-berry consumption ileal fermentates was assessed on two colonocyte cell lines (HT29 and CCD841 CON (normal)) using the oxidative challenge COMET assay. Post-berry ileal fermentate (24 h) from all five ileostomists significantly (p < 0.01) decreased DNA damage (expressed as %Tail DNA) in both HT29 cells (~45%) and CCD841 cells (~25%) compared to untreated controls.
To conclude, strawberry phytochemicals were available for colonic fermentation following ileal digestion and human microbiota-mediated fermentation which subsequently increased overall levels of polyphenolic metabolites, the post berry fermentates were demonstrated to reduce DNA damage in colonocytes.
We introduce and study the notion of sure profits via flash strategies, consisting of a high-frequency limit of buy-and-hold trading strategies. In a fully general setting, without imposing any semimartingale restriction, we prove that there are no sure profits via flash strategies if and only if asset prices do not exhibit predictable jumps. This result relies on the general theory of processes and provides the most general formulation of the well-known fact that, in an arbitrage-free financial market, asset prices (including dividends) should not exhibit jumps of a predictable direction or magnitude at predictable times. We furthermore show that any price process is always right-continuous in the absence of sure profits. Our results are robust under small transaction costs and imply that, under minimal assumptions, price changes occurring at scheduled dates should only be due to unanticipated information releases.
Intensive use of external inputs in specialized industrial farming systems has created significant socio-ecological externalities, including water and air pollution from nutrients and pesticides, soil erosion and depletion of carbon stocks, biodiversity loss and rising production costs. Ecological intensification is a strategy for reducing reliance on inputs by intentionally designing agroecosystems to harness biological processes and ecological relationships for the sustainable functioning of the system. Incorporating perennials and diversifying systems are two avenues for achieving ecological intensification, and both are characteristics of agroforestry. This preliminary report uses examples of agroforestry in the US state of California as a proof of concept to explore the agronomic and economic feasibility and sustainability benefits of agroforestry in intensive irrigated and temperate farming systems. An exploratory study of farmers experimenting with agroforestry systems and other agricultural professionals identified eight different variants of agroforestry systems being practiced on prime agricultural land in California, ranging from simple use of winter cover crops in orchards to multi-storied cropping systems with integrated grazing. Respondents noted benefits of reduced inputs and production costs, and better nutrient cycling, soil health and pest control. Trade-offs and challenges included increases in labor requirements and management complexity. Knowledge gaps included lack of guidance in biophysical systems design, lack of clarity about economic tradeoffs, and lack of information about ecosystem services benefits. In light of interviewees’ responses, we discuss the constraints and factors needed to foster the successful expansion of agroforestry systems in California and other regions characterized by industrialized farming.
In this work we tested the suitability of thermistor strings as automatic tools for the continuous measurement of glacier ice ablation. Experimental data collected in summer 2017 over an Italian glacier provided ice ablation readings with accuracy similar to manual measurements with ablation stakes and other automatic systems, like the draw-wire method and the Bøggild ablatometer. Thermistor strings have potential for future applications in remote glacier monitoring, thanks to their flexibility, simple construction, and robustness.
Environmental factors during perinatal life can lead to changes in the mammary gland, making it susceptible to cancer in adulthood. Breastfeeding has a special importance since it takes place at a critical period of growth and development of the newborn. We aimed to analyze if an appropriate lactation protects the offspring against mammary carcinogenesis during adult life and explore the mechanisms involved in the protective effect. One-day-old Sprague-Dawley female rats were randomly distributed in litters of three (L3), eight (L8) or 12 (L12) pups per dam, to induce a differential consumption of breast milk. At 55 days of age, the animals were treated with a single dose of dimethylbenzanthracene to study tumor latency, incidence and progression. Histological, immunohistochemical and Western blot studies were performed. We observed lower incidence and higher latency in L3 compared to the other groups. The mitotic index and expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) was significantly augmented in tumors of L12 rats compared to L3 and L8, while the apoptotic index was augmented in tumors of L3 v. L12. Cleaved caspase 8 was significantly higher in tumors from L3 compared to L12. Tumors developed in L3 have a greater number of apoptotic bodies and a greater expression of caspase 8. These results demonstrate that the animals that maintained a higher intake of maternal milk (L3) presented lower incidence and greater tumor latency. Lower consumption of breast milk (L12) would increase tumor mitosis and the expression of PCNA, explaining the higher tumor incidence observed in this group.
This paper presents and compares a set of calibration strategies useful to calibrate vision-based robotised work-cells for micromanipulation and microassembly. To grasp and release microparts precisely, robot calibration, camera calibration and robot-camera registration are needed. Conventional calibration methods are very onerous at the microscale, therefore, two alternative unconventional procedures, called virtual grid calibration and hybrid calibration, are developed for work-cells with high-performance robots, minimising necessary instrumentation. Moreover, an effective calibration of the robot end-effector is designed to compensate for misalignment and orientation errors with respect to the vertical rotational axis. This paper describes the calibration methods and their implementation, the results and the improvements achieved. A detailed comparison between the hybrid and the virtual grid calibrations is provided, demonstrating the higher performance of the latter strategy.
During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) the Tagliamento glacier delivered large amounts of sediment to the Cormor alluvial megafan on the southern Alpine foreland basin. To build a chronology of Late Pleistocene glacier fluctuations and assess the timing of the transition from interstadial to glacial conditions, we have performed radiocarbon (14C) dating on peat and macrofossil samples obtained from a drilling core from the distal Cormor megafan. Our chronology records fluvial and glaciofluvial aggradation from the end of MIS 3 until the end of the LGM. It shows a rapid transmission of signals of environmental change along the Cormor megafan, so that changes in the activity of the Tagliamento glacier directly affect glaciofluvial sedimentation. Our data demonstrate that the intrinsic heterogeneity of peat is most critical for the reliability and reproducibility of the obtained 14C ages. Macrofossil subsamples give evidence for significant mixing of organic components of different ages within single peat samples. Sample heterogeneity is also underlined by the results obtained from testing of different laboratory precleaning methods. Our results suggest that a rigorous ABA pretreatment is sufficient for peat cleaning. In contrast, the chemically stronger ABOX methods appear to rapidly degrade the peat, particularly destroying older organic components.
During the Epoch of Reionization (EoR), feedback effects reduce the efficiency of star formation process in small halos or even fully quench it. The galaxy luminosity function (LF) may then turn over at the faint-end. We analyze the number counts of z > 5 galaxies observed in the fields of four Frontier Fields (FFs) clusters and obtain constraints on the LF faint-end: for the turn-over magnitude at z ∼ 6, MUVT ≳-13.3; for the circular velocity threshold of quenching star formation process, vc* ≲ 47 km s−1. We have not yet found significant evidence of the presence of feedback effects suppressing the star formation in small galaxies.
We consider the problem of optimal investment with intermediate consumption in a general semimartingale model of an incomplete market, with preferences being represented by a utility stochastic field. We show that the key conclusions of the utility maximization theory hold under the assumptions of no unbounded profit with bounded risk and of the finiteness of both primal and dual value functions.
Nitrogen fertilization of silage maize in Central Italy is typically carried out with two applications at early stages of crop development: 2nd (V2) and 6th (V6) leaf respectively. In such conditions, the crop has not yet fully covered the soil and proximal or remote sensing of the canopy is hindered by the strong soil background signal. There is thus great interest in rapid and inexpensive approaches to N fertilization prescription. Therefore, an indirect method for inferring information on yield potential and soil variability, through a field-based clustering of multi-temporal satellite data, has been developed using archive Landsat images to identify temporally constant patterns. This method is potentially useful for the creation of prescription maps. The usefulness of the method was evaluated during an N fertilisation field trial in Maccarese (Central Italy), in 2016. At the V2 stage, both uniform and variable rate applications were performed and compared. A pseudo-cross variogram and a standardized ordinary co-kriging methodology was used to highlight spatially variable significant differences among the treatments.
Knowledge about the association between alcohol and Barrett’s oesophagus and reflux oesophagitis is conflicting. In this case–control study we evaluated the role of specific alcoholic beverages (red and white wine, beer and liquors) in 339 Barrett’s oesophagus and 462 oesophagitis patients compared with 619 endoscopic controls with other disorders, recruited in twelve Italian endoscopic units. Data on alcohol and other individual characteristics were obtained from structured questionnaires. No clear, monotonic significant dose–response relationship was pointed out for red wine. However, a generalised U-shaped trend of Barrett’s oesophagus/oesophagitis risk due to red wine consumption particularly among current drinkers was found. Similar results were also found for white wine. Liquor/spirit consumption seemed to bring about a 1·14–2·30 risk excess, although statistically non-significant, for current Barrett’s oesophagus/oesophagitis drinkers. Statistically significant decreasing dose–response relationships were found in Barrett’s oesophagus for frequency and duration of beer consumption. Similar, but less clear downward tendencies were also found for oesophagitis patients. In conclusion, although often not statistically significant, our data suggested a reduced risk of Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophagitis with a low/moderate intake of wine and beer consumption. A non-significant increased risk of Barrett’s oesophagus/oesophagitis was observed with a higher intake of any type of heavy alcohol consumption, but no conclusion can be drawn owing to the high number of non-spirit drinkers and to the small number of drinkers at higher alcohol intake levels.