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Abate M.,Advanced Imaging Technologies | Schiavone C.,Echography Unit | Salini V.,University of Chieti Pescara
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology

Intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid (HA) are useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), as shown by studies on knee, hip, and trapeziometacarpal joints. The positive results can be explained by several factors: the restoration of elastic and viscous properties of intra-articular fluid, the anti-inflammatory and the anti-nociceptive activity, and the normalisation of hyaluronan synthesis and inhibition of hyaluronic acid degradation. However, evidence of efficacy of hyaluronic acid in ankle osteoarthritis is still lacking: several studies have been performed without a control group, or have shown similar results to those obtained with different therapeutic procedures. The aim of this paper is to analyse the reasons which can explain the discrepancy between the sound biological background and the inconclusive clinical results. First, it must be considered that the ankle joint, from a biomechanical point of view, is more complex than other joints, and that greater stress is sustained by the articular surfaces. Second, the limited benefit can be related to the use of hyaluronic acid mostly in cases of post-traumatic osteoarthritis, where the treatment must be addressed to solve the biomechanical problems, and then to restore the rheological properties of the ankle joint. A third important explanation of the failure may be the improper technique of administration, that has been performed in all studies, but one, without imaging guidance. Indeed, it is well known that hyaluronic acid, if not delivered directly into the intra-articular space, is unlikely to be effective. © Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2012. Source

Sulpizio V.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Committeri G.,Advanced Imaging Technologies | Galati G.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Galati G.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Keeping oriented in the environment is a multifaceted ability that requires knowledge of at least three pieces of information: one’s own location (“place”) and orientation (“heading”) within the environment, and which location in the environment one is looking at (“view”). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in humans to examine the neural signatures of these information. Participants were scanned while viewing snapshots which varied for place, view and heading within a virtual room. We observed adaptation effects, proportional to the physical distances between consecutive places and views, in scene-responsive (retrosplenial complex and parahippocampal gyrus), fronto-parietal and lateral occipital regions. Multivoxel pattern classification of signals in scene-responsive regions and in the hippocampus allowed supra-chance decoding of place, view and heading, and revealed the existence of map-like representations, where places and views closer in physical space entailed activity patterns more similar in neural representational space. The pattern of hippocampal activity reflected both view- and place-based distances, the pattern of parahippocampal activity preferentially discriminated between views, and the pattern of retrosplenial activity combined place and view information, while the fronto-parietal cortex only showed transient effects of changes in place, view, and heading. Our findings provide evidence for the presence of map-like spatial representations which reflect metric distances in terms of both one’s own and landmark locations. © 2014 Sulpizio, Committeri and Galati. Source

An acoustic hologram imaging system constructed from a machined housing having folded optics. Various surfaces of the housing are machined to provide a precise alignment to the optical members to be connected thereto, such as a mirror, a lens assembly, a light emitting laser diode, a camera, and the like. A three-part lens is described having different materials with different indexes of refraction in order to provide a desired focus of the light. In addition, an optical spatial filter is disclosed in which, according to various embodiments, all, some, or none of the light passing therethrough is attenuated for recording of the optical image of the hologram.

Abate M.,Advanced Imaging Technologies | Schiavone C.,University of Chieti Pescara | Di Carlo L.,Advanced Imaging Technologies | Salini V.,University of Chieti Pescara
Clinical Rheumatology

Previous research has shown that plantar fascia and Achilles tendon thickness is increased in diabetes. The aims of present study were to assess whether tendon changes can occur in the early stages of the disease and to evaluate the extent of the influence of body mass index (BMI). The study population included 51 recent-onset type II diabetic subjects, who were free from diabetic complications, divided according to BMI into three groups (normal weight, overweight, and obese). Eighteen non-diabetic, normal-weight subjects served as controls. Plantar fascia and Achilles tendon thickness was measured by means of sonography. The groups were well balanced for age and sex. In all the diabetic subjects, plantar fascia and Achilles tendon thickness was increased compared to the controls (p<0.001, p=0.01, p=0.003, respectively). A significant relationship was found between plantar fascia thickness and BMI values (r=0.749, p<0.0001), while the correlation between BMI and Achilles tendon was weaker (r=0.399, p=0.004). This study shows that plantar fascia and Achilles tendon thickness is increased in the early stages of type II diabetes and that BMI is related more to plantar fascia than Achilles tendon thickness. Further longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate whether these early changes can overload the metatarsal heads and increase the stress transmitted to plantar soft tissues, thus representing an additional risk factor for foot ulcer development. © Clinical Rheumatology 2012. Source

Lin G.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Cosimbescu L.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Karin N.J.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Gutowska A.,Advanced Imaging Technologies | Tarasevich B.J.,Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Journal of Materials Chemistry B

We report new injectable and thermosensitive hydrogels from polycaprolactone-graft-polyethylene glycol (PCL-g-PEG). The PCL-g-PEG polymer aqueous solution was injectable and formed a physical hydrogel at human body temperature. The rheological properties, sol-gel transition mechanisms, and in vitro degradation properties of PCL-g-PEG hydrogels were investigated. Rheological results demonstrate that hydrogels with tunable storage moduli (G′) that span four orders of magnitude, from 0.2 to 5500 Pa, can be obtained by varying polymer concentrations. Hydrophobic dye solubilization, dynamic light scattering, and X-ray diffraction results suggest that micelle aggregation and partial crystallization of the polycaprolactone segment lead to the sol-gel transition with increasing temperature. The degradation of PCL-g-PEG hydrogels was slow in the absence of the enzyme lipase, but can be substantially increased by lipase in a concentration-dependent manner. The PCL-g-PEG hydrogel has a low critical gelation concentration, high storage modulus, and easily handled solid morphology, representing great advantages over our previously developed structurally analogous PLGA-g-PEG. The results presented showcase the potential biomedical application of the versatile PCL-g-PEG hydrogels. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source

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