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The oculomotor system is closely linked to the neural circuits of attention. Recent evidence shows a novel role for eye vergence in orienting visual attention.
Identify patterns of attention disruption through eye vergence.
We investigated whether modulation in attention related eye vergence is disrupted in ADHD.
We measured eye vergence in children previously diagnosed with ADHD while performing a cue/no-cue task and compared the results to agematched controls.
We observed a strong modulation in the angle of vergence in the control group but not in the ADHD group. In addition, in the control group the modulation in eye vergence was different between the cue and no-cue condition. This difference was absent in the ADHD group.
Our study supports the observation of deficient binocular vision in ADHD children. We argue that the observed disruption in eye vergence modulation in ADHD children is proof of a deficient cognitive processing of sensory information. Our work may provide new insights into attention disorders, like ADHD.
Taste perception is a complex phenomenon modulated by different factors, such as taste receptors and memory brain circuitry. The palatability of the food, that activates central reward pathways, also plays an important role in taste perception. It means that taste is able to influence the choice of food and then the eating behavior.
It's well known that people with anorexia nervosa (AN) have lower sensitivity to reward stimuli and recent studies have shown that altered function of taste neural circuitry may contribute to restricted eating in AN.
The aim of this study is to evaluate, in patients suffering from AN, the activation of the brain areas involved in taste perception and in central reward mechanisms to both pleasant and aversive taste stimuli and to correlate gustatory neural circuitry activity with eating behaviors, temperament measures and/or sensitivity to reward and to punishment.
12 underweight AN patients and 12 normal-weight healthy subjects underwent a functional MRI to measure brain areas activation to repeated stimuli of a pleasant taste, a sucrose solution, alternated with an aversive taste, a bitter solution, and a water taste.
Preliminary results showed, in patients with AN, a dysfunctional activation of brain areas involved in both taste perception and reward mechanisms following both the pleasant and aversive stimulus.
These results, if confirmed in future analyses, may improve our knowledge about the pathophysiological mechanism of AN.
Eye movement recordings can provide information about higher-level processing of visual information. Recent evidence shows a novel role for eye vergence in orienting attention (Solé Puig et al., 2013). Based on such eye tracking data, the BGaze method (Braingaze; Spain) detects visual attention. The outcomes of the BGaze method have been applied to classify ADHD patients from healthy controls.
In this study, we validated the BGaze method.
We therefore recorded eye movements in children while performing a visual detection task.
We evaluated the BGaze method using 4 types of supervised machine learning algorithms. In total, 138 different trained models were tested. Nineteen ADHD diagnosed patients (children 7–14 years of age) and 19 healthy age matched controls were used to build the 138 models. We performed 30 times repeated random sub-sampling validation. In each repeated random split, training set consisted of 80% of the data and test set of the remaining 20%. Finally, all the 138 models were tested with a validation set consisting of 232 children, including 22 ADHD patients.
Across all the 138 models, BGaze method showed an average accuracy of 90.84% (minimum 86.21%; maximum, 95.26%) and an average AUC of 0.95 (minimum 0.90; maximum, 0.97). Best models gave accuracies of 92%, AUCs of 0.96 and FN and FP rates of 4.3% and 7.5%, respectively. Mean scores during the training-testing phase averaged 99.63%.
The BGaze method is robust, accurate, and can provide an objective tool supporting the clinical diagnosis of ADHD.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
The functional interplay between brain hemispheres is fundamental for behavioral, cognitive and emotional control. Several pathophysiological aspects of eating disorders (EDs) have been investigated by the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).
The objective of the study was to investigate functional brain asymmetry of resting-state fMRI correlations in symptomatic patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN).
We aimed at revealing whether brain regions implicated in reward, cognitive control, starvation and emotion regulation show altered inter-hemispheric functional connectivity in patients with AN and BN.
Using resting-state fMRI, voxel-mirrored homotopic connectivity (VMHC) and regional inter-hemispheric spectral coherence (IHSC) analyses in two canonical slow frequency bands (“Slow-5”, “Slow-4”) were studied in 15AN and 13BN patients and 16 healthy controls (HC). Using T1-weighted and diffusion tensor imaging MRI scans, regional VMHC values were correlated with the left-right asymmetry of corresponding homotopic gray matter volumes and with the white matter callosal fractional anisotropy (FA).
Compared to HC, AN patients exhibited reduced VMHC in cerebellum, insula and precuneus, while BN patients showed reduced VMHC in dorso-lateral prefrontal and orbito-frontal cortices. The regional IHSC analysis highlighted that the inter-hemispheric functional connectivity was higher in the ‘Slow-5′Band in all regions except the insula. No group differences in left-right structural asymmetries and in VMHC vs callosal FA correlations were found.
These anomalies indicate that AN and BN, at least in their acute phase, are associated with a loss of inter-hemispheric connectivity in regions implicated in self-referential, cognitive control and reward processing.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Taste perception is a complex phenomenon modulated by different factors, such as taste receptors and memory brain circuits. The palatability of the food, that activates the central reward pathways, also plays an important role in taste perception. It means that taste is able to influence the choice of food and then eating behaviour.
It is well known that people with anorexia nervosa (AN) have a lower sensitivity to reward stimuli and recent studies suggested that altered function of taste neural circuitry may contribute to restricted eating in AN.
The aim of this study was to evaluate, in patients suffering from AN, the activation of brain areas involved in taste perception and in central reward mechanisms to both pleasant and aversive taste stimuli and to correlate gustatory neurocircuitry activity with eating behaviours, temperament measures and/or sensitivity to reward and to punishment.
Fifteen underweight female AN patients and sixteen normal-weight healthy women underwent a functional MRI to measure brain areas activation to repeated stimuli of a pleasant taste (sucrose solution), alternated with an aversive taste (bitter solution), and water taste.
Compared to healthy controls, patients with AN showed a significantly reduced activation of left insula and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to sweet stimulus and reduced activation of right parietal cortex to bitter stimulus.
These results, if confirmed in future studies, may improve our knowledge about the pathophysiological mechanisms of AN.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
1E 161348-5055 (1E 1613), the source at the center of the supernova remnant RCW 103, has defied any easy classification since its discovery, owing to its long-term variability (a factor of ~ 100 in flux on time scales from months to years) and a periodicity of 6.67 hr with a variable light curve profile across different flux levels. On June 2016, 1E 1613 emitted a magnetar-like millisecond burst of hard X-rays accompanied with a factor ~ 100 brightening in the persistent soft X-ray emission. The duration and spectral decomposition of the burst, the discovery of a hard X-ray tail in the spectrum, and the long-term outburst history suggest that 1E 1613 is an isolated magnetar and the periodicity of 6.67 hr is the rotational spin period, making 1E 1613 the slowest neutron star ever detected.
Brain abscess is uncommon in paediatric population, but of clinical importance because of significant long-term morbidity and mortality. In this multicentre study, promoted by the Italian Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, we retrospectively collected patients aged 0–18 years, with a diagnosis of ‘brain abscess’. Seventy-nine children were included; the median age was 8·75 years. As predisposing factor, 44 children had preceding infections. The Gram-positive cocci were mostly isolated (27 cases). Sixty (76%) children underwent a surgical intervention. Intravenous antibiotic therapy was administered in all patients, then switched to oral treatment. Clinical sequelae were recorded in 31 (39·2%) children. Twenty-one of them had a single sequela, of which, the most represented, was epilepsy in nine of them. This study focus the attention on the need to have standardized national guidelines or adequate recommendations on type and duration of antibiotic treatment.
Drug-resistant paediatric tuberculosis (TB) is an overlooked global problem. In Italy, the epidemiology of TB has recently changed and data regarding drug-resistant forms in the paediatric setting is scanty. The aim of this case series was to report the cases of drug-resistant TB, diagnosed between June 2006 and July 2010 in four Italian tertiary centres for paediatric infectious diseases, in children and adolescents living in Italy. Twenty-two children were enrolled, of these 17 were resistant to one or more drugs and five had multidrug-resistant TB. All but one child were either foreign born or had at least one foreign parent. Twenty-one patients completed their treatment without clinical or radiological signs of activity at the end of treatment, and one patient was lost to follow up. The outcomes were good, with few adverse effects using second-line anti-TB drugs. Although this series is limited, it might already reflect the worrisome increase of drug-resistant TB, even in childhood.
The assessment of the radiological impact of a decommissioned
nuclear power plant is presented here through the results of an
environmental monitoring survey carried out in the area surrounding
the Garigliano Power Plant. The levels of radioactivity in soil,
water, air and other environmental matrices are shown, in which
α, β and γ activity and the γ equivalent dose rate are measured.
Radioactivity levels of the samples from the Garigliano area are
analyzed and then compared with those from a control zone situated
more than 100 km away. Moreover, a comparison is made with a previous survey
carried out in 2001. The analyses and comparisons show no significant
alteration in the radiological characteristics of the area surrounding
the plant, with the overall radioactivity depending mainly on the
global fallout and natural sources.
Cryopreservation of gametes is an important tool in assisted reproduction programmes; long-term storage of oocytes or spermatozoa is necessary when in vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination is to be performed at a future date. Cryopreservation of epididymal spermatozoa offers a potential tool for rescuing genetic material from males of endangered populations. The objectives of this work were to: (1) examine sperm motility, viability, abnormality and acrosome integrity of frozen–thawed domestic cat epididymal spermatozoa; and (2) evaluate the same cryopreservation method on wild feline spermatozoa, needed to preserve their genetic resources. Epididymides were collected from 20 domestic cats during routine neutering procedure and from two wild felines at autopsy. The sperm samples, diluted with 4% glycerol/Tris/egg yolk, were loaded into 0.25 ml mini-straws, exposed to nitrogen vapour and stored in liquid nitrogen. After 4 weeks, samples were thawed and re-evaluated. The quality of each fresh and frozen–thawed sperm sample was tested by determining the motility (54.7 ± 11.3% and 32 ± 13.1% respectively for cat spermatozoa; 38.3 ± 18.7% and 21.5 ± 16.8% respectively for tiger spermatozoa), viability (74.3 ± 8.6% and 45.2 ± 9.4% respectively for cat spermatozoa; 42.4 ± 14.5% and 33.5 ± 12.9% respectively for wild felid spermatozoa), morphology and acrosomal status. The present study showed that feline epididymal spermatozoa can be frozen in egg-yolk extender with 4.0% glycerol in 0.25 ml straws. The procedure used in the present study for epididymal cat sperm cryopreservation may be applied to bank the genetic resources of wild felid species.
To evaluate the use of remifentanil–propofol administered as target-controlled infusion during awake fibreoptic intubation for anticipated difficult tracheal intubation in acromegalic patients.
In all, 20 consecutive acromegalic patients underwent elective endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal pituitary surgery. After premedication with midazolam 0.03 mg kg−1, initially a target-controlled infusion of remifentanil 1.0 ng mL−1 and propofol 1.5 μg mL−1 was started. The fibreoptic intubation was performed by the same physician experienced with the fibreoptic technique. During the fibreoptic procedure the target concentrations of remifentanil and propofol ranged between 1.0 and 5.0 ng mL−1, and between 1.5 and 3.5 μg mL−1, respectively. Changes in heart rate and mean arterial pressure were recorded during airway manipulation, during tracheal intubation, and at 1 and 3 min after. On the first postoperative day, patient recall and level of discomfort during fibreoptic intubation were evaluated.
Endotracheal intubation was efficaciously and quickly secured in all patients. A significant increase in mean arterial pressure and heart rate was recorded only during tracheal intubation (P < 0.05). Oxygenation was sufficient and no bradypnea or apnoea was recorded. All patients later described their anaesthetic experience as satisfactory. During fibreoptic intubation, remifentanil (ng mL−1) and propofol (μg mL−1) mean effect-site concentrations were 3.2 ± 0.3 and 2.0 ± 1.0, respectively.
Remifentanil and propofol target-controlled infusion provided satisfactory conscious sedation allowing for successful oral fibreoptic intubation in acromegalic patients with no recall.
A total of 235 bullet tunas (Auxis rochei) was caught off the north-eastern coast of Sicily between March 2003 and March 2004 for the purpose of studying their feeding habits. The fish were caught by means of an experimental surface gill-net during fishing surveys carried out on a monthly basis. The stomach contents were analysed and the prey identified, counted and weighed. The importance of the different prey types was assessed utilizing several feeding indices while possible size-related changes of the diet composition were highlighted by means of hierarchical cluster analysis, nMDS and SIMPER analysis. The results of this study showed that the bullet tuna is an epipelagic off-shore predator feeding on whatever abundant resource is available in the environment with a preference for planktonic crustaceans, small cephalopods and fish larvae. Among crustaceans, hyperiidean amphipods were the most important prey, with Anchylomera blossevillei as the dominant species, followed by the euphausiacean Stylocheiron maximum. Among cephalopods, Heteroteuthis dispar was recorded frequently while fish larvae showed high values of all indices. All prey were pelagic organisms. A size-related change in the diet composition was observed, even if it seemed related to the temporal fluctuations of the zooplanktonic assemblage in the environment. The average prey weight per stomach increased significantly in the larger predators which mostly fed on fish larvae belonging to several commercially important demersal and pelagic species.
Background and objective: Reducing postoperative mechanical ventilation in patients undergoing liver transplantation may have clinical and organizational advantages. On the basis of our experience, we here evaluate the possibility of practising immediate tracheal extubation in the operating theatre. Methods: In this prospective study, patients consecutively undergoing liver transplantation between 1 June 1999 and 31 May 2004 were extubated in the operating theatre at the end of surgery on the basis of standardized and universally accepted criteria, under conditions of haemodynamic and metabolic stability. Results: Two hundred and seven of the 354 patients (58.5%) were extubated immediately after the completion of the surgical procedure (mean time between end of surgery and extubation: 0.4 ± 1.4 min); two were re-intubated. In the last of the 5 yr of the study, the percentage of immediate extubations increased to 82.5%. During the study period, there was a progressive increase in the number of immediate extubations per individual member of the team of anaesthetists. The pre-transplant Child-Pugh severity of the underlying liver disease did not predict rapid extubation, but the Model for End-stage Liver Disease score of <11 did (receiver operator characteristic area under the curve = 0.61; P < 0.05). Conclusions: Immediate extubation after liver transplantation is possible in a substantial percentage of cases; confidence, habit and a spirit of emulation are decisive factors in encouraging anaesthetists to extend this practice to the largest possible number of patients. A successful immediate extubation may be an important indicator of perioperative quality of care in liver transplantation.
The present study is the second part of a program of characterization of the site surrounding the SoGIN Garigliano Nuclear Power Plant (Southern Italy), which is currently involved in decommissioning activities. In the first phase of the project the reference groups of the population were established on the basis of a socio-economical study of the site; the radiological doses due to the assumed radioactive releases during the decommissioning phase were calculated by using climatological, hydrological, geomorphological parameters of the studied area; transport and diffusion specific models of some radionuclides in the environment were implemented to calculate the dose using specific evaluation software. The second part of the study focuses on the project of an environmental network designed in order to ensure the continuous monitoring of the radioactive release concentrations. All the criteria for the choice of grid points, by considering specific paths of transfer in the environment, were established for all the environmental compartments. A field campaign was carried out aiming to assess the “zero level" due to the natural radioactivity and past anthropogenic activities.
SPARC and SPARX are two different initiatives toward an Italian
Free Electron Laser (FEL) source
operating in the Self Amplified Spontaneous
Emission (SASE) mode, in which several national
research institutions are involved. SPARC is a high gain FEL project
devoted to provide a source of visible and VUV radiation while
exploiting the SASE mechanism. An advanced Photo-Injector system,
emittance compensating RF-gun plus a 150 MeV Linac, will inject a high
quality e-beam into the undulator to generate high brilliance FEL
radiation in the visible region at the fundamental wavelength,
(∼500 nm). The production of flat top drive laser beams, high peak
current bunches, and emittance compensation scheme will be investigated
together with the generation of higher harmonic radiation in the VUV
region. SPARX is the direct evolution of such a high gain SASE FEL
toward the 13.5 and 1.5 nm operating wavelengths, at 2.5 GeV. To get
the required value for the bunch peak current, Ipeak ≈
2.5 kA, the “hybrid” scheme, RF-compression stage plus
magnetic chicane, is analyzed and compared with the more standard
double stage of magnetic compression. The two options are reviewed
considering the tolerance to the drive laser pulse phase jitter.
Downward fluxes of particulate matter were investigated in the polynya of Terra Nova Bay (western Ross Sea) from February 1995 to December 1997. The main biological components were siliceous phytoplankton (diatoms, silicoflagellates and parmales), abundant faecal pellets of several types and zooplankton (mainly shelled pteropods). Vertical fluxes of particles occurred mainly through diatoms and faecal pellets in the first and second part of the summer, respectively. The highest fluxes were recurrently observed in late summer, when faeces contributed up to 100% of organic carbon. Unusually high fluxes were recorded in winter 1995, when faecal pellets accounted for 84.6% of the organic carbon. Peak fluxes were always driven by the sinking of faecal pellets, that hence appear to be the most efficient vector of export in the polynya of Terra Nova Bay. A major flux component was the pteropod Limacina helicina, which repeatedly sank in high amounts after the growing season. In April–June, L. helicina probably transported biogenic carbon to deep layers as a passive sinker. The inclusion of pteropods in flux estimates resulted in values that were up to 20 (for total mass), 25 (for organic matter) and 48 (for carbonate) times higher than the previously measured fluxes. Fluxes are known to be biased by swimmers, but ultimately attention must be paid to a possible erroneous categorization of some zooplankton as swimmers to avoid severe underestimation of fluxes of total mass (up to 95% in our study), organic matter (up to 96%) and carbonate (up to 100%).
The solution structure and stability of N-terminally
truncated β2-microglobulin (ΔN6β2-m), the major
modification in ex vivo fibrils, have been investigated
by a variety of biophysical techniques. The results show
that ΔN6β2-m has a free energy of stabilization
that is reduced by 2.5 kcal/mol compared to the intact
protein. Hydrogen exchange of a mixture of the truncated
and full-length proteins at μM concentrations at pH
6.5 monitored by electrospray mass spectrometry reveals
that ΔN6β2-m is significantly less protected than
its wild-type counterpart. Analysis of ΔN6β2-m
by NMR shows that this loss of protection occurs in β
strands I, III, and part of II. At mM concentration gel
filtration analysis shows that ΔN6β2-m forms a
series of oligomers, including trimers and tetramers, and
NMR analysis indicates that strand V is involved in intermolecular
interactions that stabilize this association. The truncated
species of β2-microglobulin was found to have a higher
tendency to self-associate than the intact molecule, and
unlike wild-type protein, is able to form amyloid fibrils
at physiological pH. Limited proteolysis experiments and
analysis by mass spectrometry support the conformational
modifications identified by NMR and suggest that ΔN6β2-m
could be a key intermediate of a proteolytic pathway of
β2-microglobulin. Overall, the data suggest that removal
of the six residues from the N-terminus of β2-microglobulin
has a major effect on the stability of the overall fold.
Part of the tertiary structure is preserved substantially
by the disulfide bridge between Cys25 and Cys80, but the
pairing between β-strands far removed from this constrain
is greatly perturbed.
In recent years, a revolution in astronomical position measurements has been taking place with the advent of modern space techniques. These new techniques, which supplement the traditional astrometric measurements, include laser ranging to the moon and artificial satellites, very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) of galactic and extra-galactic radio sources and spacecraft, radio tracking of satellites, and radar-ranging and spacecraft tracking during planetary encounters. Impressive accuracies have been achieved and further improvements are forthcoming. Each technique can be expected to establish its own reference frame which is derived from observations of a particular class of objects. The celestial and terrestrial coordinate systems are related through adopted constants and definitions. Contemporary astronomy has led to the development of three principal celestial coordinate systems: the optical frame (FK4/FK5) based on positions of galactic stars; the planetary/lunar ephemeris frame based on the major celestial bodies of the solar system; and the radio frame constructed from observations of extragalactic radio sources (quasars). Each frame is rotated with respect to others; furthermore, the optical frame offset is time variable. It is important that all frames be interconnected and unified. The optical frame is being connected to the radio frame by VLBI observations of radio emitting stars. The radio frame is being tied to the ephemeris frame in several ways – one is via differential VLBI measurements between quasars and planet-orbiting spacecraft.
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