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The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) seems to be implicated in the neurobiology of depression. The aim of the study was to assess the relationship between the improvement of depressive symptoms during a one-year antidepressant treatment and serum and plasma BDNF levels.
Plasma and serum BDNF levels were assayed using the ELISA method, in 15 drug-free patients with major depression and in 15 healthy control subjects. Blood samples were collected at the baseline and the 2nd week, 1st, 3rd, 6th and 12th month of antidepressant treatment. Patients were naturalistically treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants at variable dosage.
At baseline, the mean serum and plasma BDNF levels were significantly lower (p<.05) than those found in the control subjects. However, from the 1st month of treatment, patient plasma BDNF levels did not differ significantly from the values reported in healthy control subjects (p=.079). On the contrary, at each evaluation time, serum BDNF levels in patients were significantly lower than those of the control subjects.
Untreated depressed patients showed reduced baseline serum and plasma BDNF levels, as compared with control subjects. The normalization of plasma BDNF up to the values found in control subjects occurred after 1 month of antidepressant treatment. On the contrary, at every time assessment, patient's serum BDNF levels were lower than those of control subjects suggesting that serum BDNF might represent a non-specific trait marker of depression.
Face processing is crucial for social interaction, but impaired in schizophrenia in terms of delays and misperceptions of identity and affective content. One important functional region for early stages of human face processing is the right fusiform face area. Thus, this region might be affected in schizophrenia. Aim of the study was to investigate whether face processing deficits are related to dysfunctions of the right fusiform face area in schizophrenics compared to controls.
In a rapid event-related fMRI design encoding of new faces as well as the recognition of newly learned, famous, and unknown faces was investigated in 13 schizophrenics and 21 healthy controls. Region of interest analysis was applied to each individual's right fusiform face area and tested for group differences.
Controls displayed more BOLD activation during the memorization of faces that were later successfully recognized. In schizophrenics this effect was not present. During the recognition task schizophrenics had lower BOLD responses, less accuracy, as well as longer reaction times to famous and unknown faces.
Our results support the hypothesis that impaired face processing in schizophrenia is related to early stage deficits during the encoding and immediate recognition of faces.
Several studies suggested that anxiety can significantly affect the outcome of schizophrenia. Despite this evidence, non-pharmacological interventions targeting anxiety are still heterogenous. This study aims to test the efficacy of a novel training specifically designed to target anxiety in patients with schizophrenia. Innovatively, this training, beyond psychoeducation and problem solving, also targets Theory of Mind, as it provides coping strategies.
Twenty-seven outpatients with schizophrenia received a novel rehabilitative training targeting anxiety (Anxiety Management Group [AMG]) combined with a Computer-Assisted Cognitive Remediation (CACR), and twenty received CACR plus a control intervention (Control Newspaper discussion Group [CNG]). All patients were assessed at baseline and after treatment for quality of life, neurocognition and anxiety.
After training, patients treated with AMG + CACR showed significantly greater improvements on anxiety. A significant increase in quality of life was observed only for AMG + CACR group. Moreover, the participants’ appraisal showed a significant difference between treatment groups with higher ratings among patients who received the AMG + CACR.
This study thus suggests feasibility and efficacy of the proposed intervention, that could be implemented in rehabilitative programs for patients with schizophrenia with potential benefits also on disease course and outcome.
In 2017, Italy experienced a large measles epidemic with 5408 cases and four deaths. As Subnational Reference Laboratory of the Measles and Rubella surveillance NETwork (MoRoNET), the EpiSoMI (Epidemiology and Molecular Surveillance of Infections) Laboratory (University of Milan) set up rapid and active surveillance for the complete characterisation of the Measles virus (Mv) responsible for the large measles outbreak in Milan and surrounding areas (Lombardy, Northern Italy). The aims of this study were to describe the genetic profile of circulating viruses and to track the pathway of measles transmission. Molecular analysis was performed by sequencing the highly variable 450 nucleotides region of the N gene (N-450) of Mv genome. Two-hundred and ninety-nine strains of Mv were analysed. The phylogenetic analysis showed five different variants, two not previously described in the studied area, belonging to D8 and B3 genotypes. Three events of continuous transmission of autochthonous variants (D8-Osaka, D8-London and B3-Milan variants) and two events of continuous transmission of imported variants (B3-Dublin and D8-Hulu Langat) tracked five different transmission pathways. These pathways outlined two epidemic peaks: the first in April and the second in July 2017. The correlation between Mv variant and the epidemiological data may enable us to identify the sources of virus importation and recognise long-lasting virus transmission pathways.
With the recent discovery of a dozen dusty star-forming galaxies and around 30 quasars at z > 5 that are hyper-luminous in the infrared (μ LIR > 1013 L⊙, where μ is a lensing magnification factor), the possibility has opened up for SPICA, the proposed ESA M5 mid-/far-infrared mission, to extend its spectroscopic studies toward the epoch of reionisation and beyond. In this paper, we examine the feasibility and scientific potential of such observations with SPICA’s far-infrared spectrometer SAFARI, which will probe a spectral range (35–230 μm) that will be unexplored by ALMA and JWST. Our simulations show that SAFARI is capable of delivering good-quality spectra for hyper-luminous infrared galaxies at z = 5 − 10, allowing us to sample spectral features in the rest-frame mid-infrared and to investigate a host of key scientific issues, such as the relative importance of star formation versus AGN, the hardness of the radiation field, the level of chemical enrichment, and the properties of the molecular gas. From a broader perspective, SAFARI offers the potential to open up a new frontier in the study of the early Universe, providing access to uniquely powerful spectral features for probing first-generation objects, such as the key cooling lines of low-metallicity or metal-free forming galaxies (fine-structure and H2 lines) and emission features of solid compounds freshly synthesised by Population III supernovae. Ultimately, SAFARI’s ability to explore the high-redshift Universe will be determined by the availability of sufficiently bright targets (whether intrinsically luminous or gravitationally lensed). With its launch expected around 2030, SPICA is ideally positioned to take full advantage of upcoming wide-field surveys such as LSST, SKA, Euclid, and WFIRST, which are likely to provide extraordinary targets for SAFARI.
Inclusion of legume in grass pastures optimizes protein values of the forage and promotes improved digestibility. Therefore, we hypothesized that finishing steers on a novel combination of legumes and grass pasture would produce carcasses with acceptable traits when compared to carcasses from steers finished in feedlot systems. In this study, we evaluated the effects of finishing steers on three systems including: grazing legume–grass pasture containing oats, ryegrass, white and red clover (PAST), grazing PAST plus supplementation with whole corn grain (14 g/kg BW (SUPP)), and on a feedlot-confined system with concentrate only (28 g/kg BW, consisting of 850 g/kg of whole corn grain and 150 g/kg of protein–mineral–vitamin supplement (GRAIN)) on growth performance of steers, carcass traits and digestive disorders. Eighteen steers were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatments and finished for 91 days. Data regarding pasture and growth performance were collected during three different periods (0 to 28, 29 to 56 and 57 to 91 days). Subsequently, steers were harvested to evaluate carcass traits, presence of rumenitis, abomasitis and liver abscesses. The legume–grass pasture provided more than 19% dry matter of protein. In addition, pasture of paddocks where steers were assigned to SUPP and PAST treatments showed similar nutritional quality. When compared to PAST, finishing on SUPP increased total weight gain per hectare, stocking rate, daily and total weight gains. The increase of weight gain was high to GRAIN than SUPP and PAST. Steers finished on GRAIN had high hot carcass weight, fat thickness and marbling score when compared to PAST. However, these attributes did not differ between GRAIN and SUPP. Abomasum lesions were more prevalent in steers finished on GRAIN when compared to PAST. Results of this research showed that it is possible to produce carcasses with desirable market weight and fat thickness by finishing steers on legume–grass pasture containing oats, ryegrass, white and red clover. Moreover, supplementing steers with corn when grazing on legume–grass pasture produced similar carcass traits when compared to beef fed corn only.
We have combined data of the DustPedia project with observations of gas components of the interstellar medium (ISM) and metallicity abundances for late-type DustPedia galaxies to definitively characterize the ISM scaling relations in the Local Universe. In particular, we have focused on the comparison of the dust-to-gas mass ratio with gas phase metallicities.
IR spectroscopy in the range 12–230 μm with the SPace IR telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA) will reveal the physical processes governing the formation and evolution of galaxies and black holes through cosmic time, bridging the gap between the James Webb Space Telescope and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescopes at shorter wavelengths and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at longer wavelengths. The SPICA, with its 2.5-m telescope actively cooled to below 8 K, will obtain the first spectroscopic determination, in the mid-IR rest-frame, of both the star-formation rate and black hole accretion rate histories of galaxies, reaching lookback times of 12 Gyr, for large statistically significant samples. Densities, temperatures, radiation fields, and gas-phase metallicities will be measured in dust-obscured galaxies and active galactic nuclei, sampling a large range in mass and luminosity, from faint local dwarf galaxies to luminous quasars in the distant Universe. Active galactic nuclei and starburst feedback and feeding mechanisms in distant galaxies will be uncovered through detailed measurements of molecular and atomic line profiles. The SPICA’s large-area deep spectrophotometric surveys will provide mid-IR spectra and continuum fluxes for unbiased samples of tens of thousands of galaxies, out to redshifts of z ~ 6.
Dogs used for search and rescue (SAR) may experience continuous micro-traumas that predispose them to skeletal disorders. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of diet on osteo-articular apparatus in healthy SAR dogs. A total of sixteen SAR dogs were divided into two groups (low supplementation (LS) and high supplementation (HS)) and were fed for 3 months with two experimental diets, characterised by the same protein and energy density, but different in n-3 PUFA (6·2 v. 8·4 % of metabolisable energy), chondroitin sulfate (219·8 v. 989·0 mg/kg DM) and glucosamine (769·2 v. 1318·7 mg/kg DM) in the LS and HS groups, respectively. At recruitment all dogs showed no joint inflammation signs, except four that showed mild symptoms. Haematology and serum biochemistry were performed every 30 d. Joint status was scored by physical and lameness evaluations. The sampling effect analysis showed potential beneficial effects by a decrease in a specific marker of membrane integrity (creatine kinase; CK). Comparing groups, glucose was significantly higher and CK was significantly lower in the HS group; however, in both cases the levels of these parameters fell in the normal range. At the end of the experiment, erythrocytes, Hb and packed cell volume were significantly higher in the HS compared with the LS group. These could result in an improvement in dogs’ performance, even if this aspect was not investigated in the present study. Concerning joint evaluation (pain on manipulation, lameness and range of motion), no statistically significant differences were detected between the groups and within the experimental period.
The aim of this study was to investigate the epidemiological profile of HPV oropharyngeal infections in HIV-infected men who have sex with men. A total of 135 subjects were enrolled at the L. Sacco University Hospital (Milan, Italy) to evaluate their HPV oropharyngeal infection status at baseline and at a follow-up visit at least 12 months later. HPV DNA was detected from oropharyngeal swabs using an in-house nested PCR that amplifies a segment of the L1 gene. The PCR products were then sequenced and genotyped. A greater percentage of high-risk genotypes was identified compared to low-risk genotypes (13·7% vs. 6·9%, P < 0·05), and two uncommon alpha-HPV genotypes were detected, i.e. HPV-102 and HPV-114. HPV infection prevalence was 24·4% and the cumulative incidence was 24·1%. During the follow-up period, one case of HPV infection (HPV-33) persisted, while the overall rate of infection clearance was 58·3%. HPV oropharyngeal infection was widespread in the cohort examined, and most of the infections were transient and cleared within 12 months. These results may help to clarify the role of HPV in the oropharynx and may also improve our understanding of the need to implement preventive strategies in at-risk populations.
As a step towards a more accurate modelling of redshift-space distortions (RSD) in galaxy surveys, we develop a general description of the probability distribution function of galaxy pairwise velocities within the framework of the so-called streaming model. For a given galaxy separation , such function can be described as a superposition of virtually infinite local distributions. We characterize these in terms of their moments and then consider the specific case in which they are Gaussian functions, each with its own mean μ and variance σ2. Based on physical considerations, we make the further crucial assumption that these two parameters are in turn distributed according to a bivariate Gaussian, with its own mean and covariance matrix. Tests using numerical simulations explicitly show that with this compact description one can correctly model redshift-space distorsions on all scales, fully capturing the overall linear and nonlinear dynamics of the galaxy flow at different separations. In particular, we naturally obtain Gaussian/exponential, skewed/unskewed distribution functions, depending on separation as observed in simulations and data. Also, the recently proposed single-Gaussian description of redshift-space distortions is included in this model as a limiting case, when the bivariate Gaussian is collapsed to a two-dimensional Dirac delta function. More work is needed, but these results indicate a very promising path to make definitive progress in our program to improve RSD estimators.
We investigate the accuracy achievable on measurements of the the growth rate of structure f(z) using redshift-space distortions (RSD), when (a) these are measured on the group-galaxy cross correlation function; (b) the latter is expanded over a modified version of the conventional spherical armonics, “truncated multipole moments”. Simulation results give first indications that this combination can push systematic errors on f(z) below 3%, using scales r ⩾ 10h−1 Mpc.
Elongated micro- and nanostructures of Sn doped or Sn and Cr co-doped monoclinic gallium oxide have been grown by a thermal method. The presence of Sn during growth has been shown to strongly influence the morphology of the resulting structures, including Sn doped branched wires, whips, and needles. Subsequent co-doping with Cr is achieved through thermal diffusion for photonic purposes. The formation mechanism of the branched structures has been studied by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Epitaxial growth has been demonstrated in some cases, revealed by a very high quality interface between the central rod and the branches of the structures, while in other cases, formation of extended defects such as twins has been observed in the interface region. Cathodoluminescence (CL) measurements show a Sn-related complex band in the Sn-doped structures. In the Sn−Cr co-doped samples, the characteristic, very intense Cr3+ red luminescence emission quenches the bands observed in the Sn doped samples. Branched, Sn−Cr co-doped structures were studied with microphotoluminescence imaging and spectroscopy, and waveguiding behavior was observed along the trunks and branches of these structures.
This volume provides a state-of-the-art summary of biogeochemical dynamics at major river-coastal interfaces for advanced students and researchers. River systems play an important role (via the carbon cycle) in the natural self-regulation of Earth's surface conditions by serving as a major sink for anthropogenic CO2. Approximately 90 percent of global carbon burial occurs in ocean margins, with the majority of this thought to be buried in large delta-front estuaries (LDEs). This book provides information on how humans have altered carbon cycling, sediment dynamics, CO2 budgets, wetland dynamics, and nutrients and trace element cycling at the land-margin interface. Many of the globally important LDEs are discussed across a range of latitudes, elevation and climate in the drainage basin, coastal oceanographic setting, and nature and degree of human alteration. It is this breadth of examination that provides the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the overarching controls on major river biogeochemistry.