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Monte Porzio Catone, Italy

Moleti A.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Mohsin Al-Maamury A.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Bertaccini D.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Botti T.,University of Insubria | Sisto R.,INAIL Research
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2013

Time-domain numerical solutions of a nonlinear active cochlear model forced by click stimuli are analyzed with a time-frequency wavelet technique to identify the components of the otoacoustic response associated with different generation mechanisms/places. Previous experimental studies have shown evidence for the presence of at least two components in the transient otoacoustic response: A long-latency response, growing compressively with increasing stimulus level, and a shorter-latency response, characterized by faster growth. The possible mechanisms for the generation of the two components are discussed using the results of the numerical simulations. The model is a one-dimensional (1-D) transmission line model with nonlinear and nonlocal active terms representing the anti-damping action of the "cochlear amplifier." The dependence on the stimulus level of latency and level was measured for the different components of the response. The generation mechanisms/places of the different components were identified by varying the stimulus level and by turning off the cochlear roughness in well-defined cochlear regions. The results suggest that reflections from roughness coming from basal regions of the cochlea may give a relevant contribution to the early otoacoustic response, whereas nonlinear mechanisms seem to produce a much smaller additional contribution. © 2013 Acoustical Society of America.

Moleti A.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Botti T.,University of Insubria | Sisto R.,INAIL Research
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2012

This study focuses on the theoretical prediction and experimental evaluation of the latency of transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions. Response components with different delay have been identified in several studies. The main generator of the transient response is assumed to be coherent reflection from cochlear roughness near the resonant place. Additional components of different latency can be generated by different mechanisms. Experimental data are re-analyzed in this study to evaluate the dependence of the latency on stimulus level, for each component of the response, showing that previous estimates of the otoacoustic emission latency were affected by systematic errors. The latency of the emission from each generator changes very little with stimulus level, whereas their different growth rate causes sharp changes of the single-valued latency, estimated as the time of the absolute maximum of the bandpass filtered response. Results of passive linear models, in which gain and bandwidth of the cochlear amplifier are strictly related, are incompatible with the observations. Although active linear models including delayed stiffness terms do predict much slower dependence of latency on the stimulus level, a suitable nonlinear model should be designed, capable of decoupling more effectively the dependence on stimulus level of amplitude and phase of the otoacoustic response. © 2012 Acoustical Society of America.

Davolos D.,INAIL Research | Pietrangeli B.,INAIL Research
Mycotoxin Research | Year: 2014

Aspergillus affinis (section Circumdati) is a novel ochratoxin A (OTA)-producing species found in submerged riparian decomposing leaves. However, very little is known about its role on the breakdown of plant debris and its ability to degrade carbohydrate polymers. Moreover, its OTA biosynthetic pathway has not yet been explored. In the present paper, we investigated the gene encoding the extracellular alpha-amylase (amyAa) of A. affinis within the evolution of the Aspergillus lineages in relation to the possible use of this enzyme in starch processing. The novel amyAa, despite being related to branches of the Aspergillus species of the sections Terrei and Flavi, formed a distinct phylogenetic branch, which may be of outstanding importance from a biotechnological point of view. Moreover, we identified the polyketide synthase gene (pks) putatively required for the first step of OTA biosynthesis in A. affinis. This otapks was examined in relation to a limited number of orthologous genes available from Aspergillus species of the sections Circumdati and Nigri. Our study highlights the importance of otapks as target genes in the treatment of ochratoxigenic Aspergillus species on a more comprehensive evolutionary basis. © 2014 Society for Mycotoxin Research and Springer-Verlag.

Sisto R.,INAIL Research | Cerini L.,INAIL Research | Gatto M.P.,INAIL Research | Gherardi M.,INAIL Research | And 5 more authors.
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2013

The ototoxic effect of the exposure to styrene is evaluated, also in the presence of simultaneous exposure to noise, using otoacoustic emissions as biomarkers of mild cochlear damage. Transient-evoked and distortion product otoacoustic emissions were recorded and analyzed in a sample of workers (15 subjects) exposed to styrene and noise in a fiberglass manufacturing facility and in a control group of 13 non-exposed subjects. Individual exposure monitoring of the airborne styrene concentrations was performed, as well as biological monitoring, based on the urinary concentration of two styrene metabolites, the Mandelic and Phenylglyoxylic acids. Noise exposure was evaluated using wearable phonometers, and hearing loss with pure tone audiometry. Due to their different job tasks, one group of workers was exposed to high noise and low styrene levels, another group to higher styrene levels, close to the limit of 20 ppm, and to low noise levels. A significant negative correlation was found between the otoacoustic emission levels and the concentration of the styrene urinary metabolites. Otoacoustic emissions, and particularly distortion products, were able to discriminate the exposed workers from the controls, providing also a rough estimate of the slope of the dose-response relation between otoacoustic levels and styrene exposure. © 2013 Acoustical Society of America.

Martini A.,INAIL Research | Iavicoli S.,INAIL Research | Corso L.,INAIL Research
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity | Year: 2013

Multiple chemical sensitivity, commonly known as environmental illness, is a chronic disease in which exposure to low levels of chemicals causes correlated symptoms of varying intensity. With the continuous introduction of new substances, people with MCS suffer significant limitations to their living environment and frequently to their workplace. This paper describes the current situation as regards MCS and the critical points in its case definition, which is still not generally agreed upon; this makes it difficult to recognize with certainty, especially, its precise relationship with work. Other problems arise in relation to the occupational physician's role in diagnosing and managing the worker with the disorder, the question of low levels of exposure to chemicals, and the best measures possible to prevent it. A diagnostic "route" is proposed, useful as a reference for the occupational physician who is often called in first to identify cases suspected of having this disease and to manage MCS workers. Work-related problems for people with MCS depend not only on occupational exposure but also on the incompatibility between their illness and their work. More occupational physicians need to be "sensitive" to MCS, so that these workers are recognized promptly, the work is adapted as necessary, and preventive measures are promoted in the workplace. © 2013 A. Martini et al.

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