Lecce, Italy
Lecce, Italy

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Di Maria F.,CNR Institute for Organic Syntheses and Photoreactivity | Zangoli M.,CNR Institute for Organic Syntheses and Photoreactivity | Palama I.E.,University of Salento | Fabiano E.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | And 11 more authors.
Advanced Functional Materials | Year: 2016

A platform is described for the first time for the facile synthesis of oligo- and polythiophene-S-oxides and the corresponding -S,S-dioxides in short times, mild conditions, high yields. Employing ultrasound assistance, brominated thiophenes are selectively mono- or dioxygenated at room temperature. These building blocks are then combined with metalated thiophenes via microwave-assisted cross-coupling reactions through a "Lego-like" strategy to afford unprecedented oligo/polythiophene-S-oxides and mixed -S-oxides/-S,S-dioxides. It is demonstrated that depending on the number, type, and sequence alternation of nonoxygenated, monooxygenated, and dioxygenated thiophene units a very wide property-function tuning can be achieved spanning from frontier orbital energies and energy gaps, to charge transport characteristics and supramolecular H-bonding interactions with specific proteins inside live cells. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Peccarisi M.,Echolight Srl | De Marco T.,Echolight Srl | Greco A.,Echolight Srl | Conversano F.,National Research Council Italy | Casciaro S.,National Research Council Italy
IEEE ESUCB 2015 - 6th European Symposium on Ultrasonic Characterization of Bone | Year: 2015

The purpose of this work was to study the relationships between quantitative ultrasound (QUS) parameters and the microstructure properties of human proximal femur samples. QUS data acquisition was achieved by means of a custom-developed experimental set-up, which allowed the insonification of excised femoral heads along 30 different directions, each time including both the trabecular region and the cortical layer in their physiologic morphological configuration. Two QUS parameters, Integrated Reflection Coefficient (IRC) and Apparent Integrated Backscatter (AIB), were measured by means of both single-element transducers at two different frequencies (2.25 MHz and 3.5 MHz) and a clinically-available 128-element convex probe. The obtained data were compared with local structural properties of the bone samples as quantified by high-resolution micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). The corresponding results showed a strong correlation between trabecular bone volume fraction and AIB (r up to 0.81) and an appreciable linear correlation between cortical bone density and IRC (r up to 0.59). QUS parameter values measured by single-element transducers were optimally reproduced when the clinically-available probe was employed. This provides the proposed approach with an interesting potential for a prompt clinical translation as a possible new tool for osteoporosis diagnosis, especially considering that the insonification of the whole femoral head was performed in its physiological shape with all its components (cartilage, cortical layer, trabecular region). © 2015 IEEE.


Muratore M.,Ospedale Agalateo Hospital | Conversano F.,National Research Council Italy | Renna M.D.,National Research Council Italy | Villani V.,Echolight S.r.l. | Casciaro S.,National Research Council Italy
3rd IMEKO TC13 Symposium on Measurements in Biology and Medicine 2014: New Frontiers in Biomedical Measurements | Year: 2014

Osteoporosis affects about 200 million subjects in the world and is responsible for 8.9 million fractures each year. The combined annual cost of all osteoporotic fractures in Europe has been estimated to be 30 billion Euros. The frequency of osteoporotic fractures is rising in many countries, in particular because of the increased longevity of the population. In Italy, around 4 million of women and more than 800,000 men are exposed to a high fracture risk. The National Healthcare System spends about 500 million Euros for hospitalization and chirurgical treatment of hip fractures and costs related to rehabilitation are even greater. The situation is more critical in southern Italy, where the incidence of elderly people is higher than in the other regions. Therefore, there is a strong need for the assessment of the best practices in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. In this paper, after an overview of the socioeconomic impact of osteoporosis in Italy, with particular focus on Apulia region, the most important techniques used to assess the fracture risk are briefly described. In general, they fall into two major categories: physical measurement of skeletal mass and assessment of clinical risk factors. Moreover, the most commonly used pharmacological agents for the treatment of osteoporosis are reported. In conclusion, for a correct management of the disease, it would be necessary to encourage the widespread use of cheap and non-invasive screening techniques for early diagnosis of osteoporosis. Copyright © (2014) by the International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO) All rights reserved.


Casciaro S.,National Research Council Italy | Renna M.D.,National Research Council Italy | Pisani P.,National Research Council Italy | Greco A.,Echolight S.r.l. | And 2 more authors.
3rd IMEKO TC13 Symposium on Measurements in Biology and Medicine 2014: New Frontiers in Biomedical Measurements | Year: 2014

Osteoporosis is the most common disorder of bone metabolism, with a high rate of diffusion, especially in the elderly population. The main consequence of osteoporosis is bone fragility, with the consequently increased risk of fracture. Vertebral and hip fractures represent one of the most important causes of morbidity and disability and cause also high economic costs for the National Healthcare Systems. The currently accepted "gold standard" method for osteoporosis diagnosis is represented by the evaluation of bone mineral density (BMD) through dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). However, DXA presents some considerable limitations such as the exposition to ionizing radiations, employment of bulky devices and high costs of management. This paper gives an overview of the most widely used X-ray based techniques to perform osteoporosis diagnosis and describes the working principles of non-invasive ultrasound (US) based methods for bone densitometry, underlining the corresponding advantages and limitations for their use in the clinical practice. Moreover, the article illustrates the effectiveness of an innovative US technique, directly applicable on the main anatomical reference sites, in terms of diagnostic accuracy and fracture risk prediction. Early diagnosis is the key to resize the impact of osteoporosis on healthcare systems. Therefore, it would be necessary to encourage the widespread use of quick, cheap and non-invasive screening techniques. Copyright © (2014) by the International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO) All rights reserved.


De Marco T.,Echolight Srl | Peccarisi M.,Echolight Srl | Conversano F.,National Research Council Italy | Greco A.,Echolight Srl | And 3 more authors.
Measurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation | Year: 2016

The aim of this paper was to propose a novel approach to the ultrasound (US) characterization of human bones through an improved measurement of the apparent integrated backscatter (AIB). Four intact human femoral heads were studied ex vivo in their physiologic morphological configuration, including cartilaginous, cortical and trabecular regions. Each sample underwent an US acquisition performed with a clinically-available echographic device and a micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scan, whose spatial resolution was preliminarily optimized for this specific purpose. A dedicated US signal compensation was employed in the AIB computation, to take into account the variability of sample-probe distance and cortical bone thickness. Obtained results showed an appreciable global correlation between AIB and the trabecular bone volume fraction as quantified by the micro-CT parameter BV/TV (|r| = 0.69). The proposed approach has interesting perspectives for a clinical translation as an innovative method for in vivo US measurement of proximal femur bone density. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Franchini R.,National Research Council Italy | Conversano F.,National Research Council Italy | Pisani P.,National Research Council Italy | Casciaro E.,National Research Council Italy | And 5 more authors.
IET Science, Measurement and Technology | Year: 2016

Aim of this study was to perform a detailed clinical validation of a novel fully automatic method for vertebral morphometry. About 80 spine lateral radiographs were evaluated both automatically, by the proposed algorithm, and manually, by an experienced radiologist. The following metrics were used for algorithm performance assessment: Sensitivity and specificity in vertebra detection; errors in the localisation of characteristic points of vertebral border; errors in the measurement of six diagnostic parameters; level of agreement and correlation between manual and automatic morphometric measurements; overall accuracy of automatic diagnoses with respect to manual ones. Obtained results showed a very good performance in vertebra detection (sensitivity = 89.1% and specificity = 100.0%). Average errors in the localisation of vertebral characteristic points were always smaller than 3 mm (range 0.85-2.79 mm), causing relative errors in diagnostic parameter values ranging from -5.01 to +6.10%. Bland-Altman analysis documented a mean error in automatic measurements of diagnostic ratios of 0.01 ± 0.18 (bias ± 2 SDs), while Pearson's correlation coefficient resulted r = 0.71 (p < 0.001). Finally, an optimal diagnostic coincidence (92.8%) was found between automatic and manual diagnoses. Therefore, the adopted method has a potential for an effective employment in clinical routine for reliable diagnosis of vertebral fractures. © The Institution of Engineering and Technology.


Aventaggiato M.,Echolight Srl | Conversano F.,National Research Council Italy | Pisani P.,National Research Council Italy | Casciaro E.,National Research Council Italy | And 4 more authors.
IET Science, Measurement and Technology | Year: 2016

Aim of this study was to perform a detailed clinical validation of a new fully automatic algorithm for vertebral interface segmentation in echographic images. Abdominal echographic scans of lumbar vertebrae L1-L4 were carried out on 150 female subjects with variable age and body mass index (BMI). Acquired datasets were automatically processed by the algorithm and the accuracy of the obtained segmentations was then evaluated by three independent experienced operators. Obtained results showed a very good specificity in vertebra detection (93.3%), coupled with a reasonable sensitivity (68.1%), representing a suitable compromise between the detection of a sufficient number of vertebrae for reliable diagnoses and the limitation of the corresponding computation time. Importantly, there was only a minimum presence of 'false vertebrae' detected (2.8%), resulting in a very low influence on subsequent diagnostic analyses. Furthermore, the algorithm was specifically tuned to provide an improved sensitivity (up to 73.1%) with increasing patient BMI, to keep a suitable number of correctly detected vertebrae even when the acquisition was intrinsically more difficult because of the augmented thickness of abdominal soft tissues. The proposed algorithm will represent an essential added value for developing echographic methods for the diagnosis of osteoporosis on lumbar vertebrae. © The Institution of Engineering and Technology.


Greco A.,Echolight Srl | Pisani P.,National Research Council Italy | Conversano F.,National Research Council Italy | Soloperto G.,Echolight Srl | And 3 more authors.
Measurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation | Year: 2016

Aim of this paper was to assess the clinical effectiveness of a novel ultrasound (US) approach for the estimation of bone fragility. A total of 85 female patients (40-80. years) were recruited and underwent conventional DXA investigations of both lumbar spine and proximal femur, an abdominal US scan of the lumbar spine and the FRAX® questionnaire for the calculation of osteoporotic fracture probabilities. Acquired US data were analyzed through an automatic algorithm that calculated the Fragility Score (F.S.), a parameter that estimates skeletal fragility from dedicated spectral and statistical analyses. F.S. showed a good correlation with the most reliable fracture risk predictions obtained by FRAX® (r = 0.71, p <. 0.001). Since this correlation level with FRAX® outcomes was much better than lumbar BMD one (|. r| = 0.43) and very similar to that obtained for femoral neck BMD (|. r| = 0.72), F.S. has the potential to become a simple and non-ionizing method for bone fragility assessment. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


Conversano F.,National Research Council Italy | Franchini R.,National Research Council Italy | Greco A.,Echolight srl | Soloperto G.,National Research Council Italy | And 12 more authors.
Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2015

We investigated the possible clinical feasibility and accuracy of an innovative ultrasound (US) method for diagnosis of osteoporosis of the spine. A total of 342 female patients (aged 51-60y) underwent spinal dual X-ray absorptiometry and abdominal echographic scanning of the lumbar spine. Recruited patients were subdivided into a reference database used for US spectral model construction and a study population for repeatability and accuracy evaluation. US images and radiofrequency signals were analyzed via a new fully automatic algorithm that performed a series of spectral and statistical analyses, providing a novel diagnostic parameter called the osteoporosis score (O.S.). If dual X-ray absorptiometry is assumed to be the gold standard reference, the accuracy of O.S.-based diagnoses was 91.1%, with k=0.859 (p<0.0001). Significant correlations were also found between O.S.-estimated bone mineral densities and corresponding dual X-ray absorptiometry values, with r2 values up to 0.73 and a root mean square error of 6.3%-9.3%. The results obtained suggest that the proposed method has the potential for future routine application in US-based diagnosis of osteoporosis. © 2015 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology.


An apparatus (100) for assessing the condition of the bone tissue in a patients bone region (21), comprising an ultrasound device (11) that has a means for transmitting/receiving ultrasounds along a plurality of ultrasound propagation lines (15_(1)) arranged for achieving the bone region (21), and for receiving in response from the bone region (21) a plurality of raw reflected ultrasound signals (36,38); a means for generating an ultrasound signal, a sonographic image formation means for forming a sonographic image (29) of the bone region (21), starting from the raw reflected ultrasound signals (36,38); a means for extracting at least one frequency spectrum (43_(i),44_(i),47,48) starting from at least one part of said plurality of raw reflected ultrasound signals (36,38) coming from corresponding points (34) of the bone region (21), each having a plurality of harmonic components whereinto each frequency (v) of the frequency range an intensity is associated (A) of a portion of one of the raw reflected ultrasound signals.

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