Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly

Vólos, Greece

Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly

Vólos, Greece
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Lazaridis S.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Patikas D.A.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Bassa E.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Tsatalas T.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Sports Sciences | Year: 2017

The study examined the differences between boys and adults after an intense stretch-shortening cycle fatigue protocol on neuromechanical parameters of the lower limb. Thirteen boys (9–11 years old) and 13 adult men (22–28 years old) were tested for maximal isometric voluntary knee extension torque and drop jump (DJ) performance from 30 cm before and immediately after a fatigue protocol, consisted of 10 × 10 maximum effort vertical jumps. Three-dimensional kinematics, kinetics and electromyographic (EMG) parameters of the lower extremities muscles were recorded during DJs before and after the fatigue test. The results indicated that reduction in maximal isometric torque and jumping performance was significantly higher in adults compared to boys. Vertical ground reaction forces, contact time and maximum knee flexion increased in a greater extend in adults than in boys. In addition, preactivation, EMG agonist activity, knee joint stiffness and stretch reflex decreased more in adults than in boys at all the examined phases of jumping tasks. It is concluded that employed fatigue protocol induced acute reduction in performance and altered motor control during jumping in both age groups. However, the differences in the level of fatigue between the 2 groups could be attributed to neuromuscular, mechanical and kinematic parameters observed between groups. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Amorim T.,University of Porto | Amorim T.,University of Wolverhampton | Metsios G.S.,University of Wolverhampton | Metsios G.S.,University of Thessaly | And 11 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

Background Professional dancers are at risk of developing low bone mineral density (BMD). However, whether low BMD phenotypes already exist in pre-vocational dance students is relatively unknown. Aim To cross-sectionally assess bone mass parameters in female dance students selected for professional dance training (first year vocational dance students) in relation to aged- and sex-matched controls. Methods 34 female selected for professional dance training (10.9yrs ±0.7) and 30 controls (11.1yrs ±0.5) were examined. Anthropometry, pubertal development (Tanner) and dietary data (3- day food diary) were recorded. BMD and bone mineral content (BMC) at forearm, femur neck (FN) and lumbar spine (LS) were assessed using Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. Volumetric densities were estimated by calculating bone mineral apparent density (BMAD). Results Dancers were mainly at Tanner pubertal stage I (vs. stage IV in controls, p<0.001), and demonstrated significantly lower body weight (p<0.001) and height (p<0.01) than controls. Calorie intake was not different between groups, but calcium intake was significantly greater in dancers (p<0.05). Dancers revealed a significantly lower BMC and BMD values at all anatomical sites (p<0.001), and significantly lower BMAD values at the LS and FN (p<0.001). When adjusted for covariates (body weight, height, pubertal development and calcium intake), dance students continued to display a significantly lower BMD and BMAD at the FN (p<0.05; p<0.001) at the forearm (p<0.01). Conclusion Before undergoing professional dance training, first year vocational dance students demonstrated inferior bone mass compared to controls. Longitudinal models are required to assess how bone health-status changes with time throughout professional training. © 2017 Amorim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Malavaki C.J.,University of Thessaly | Sakkas G.K.,University of Thessaly | Sakkas G.K.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | Mitrou G.I.,University of Thessaly | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility | Year: 2016

Disuse atrophy is the loss of skeletal muscle mass due to inactivity or lower than ‘normal’ use. It is not only a furtive component of the ‘modern’ sedentary lifestyle but also a part of numerous pathologies, where muscle loss is linked to disease specific and/or other toxicity factors, eventually leading to wasting (cachexia). Whether disuse-or-disease induced, muscle loss leads to weakness and metabolic comorbidities with a high societal and financial cost. This review discusses the intricate network of interacting signalling pathways including Atrogin-1/MAFbx, IGF1-Akt, myostatin, glucocorticoids, NF-kB, MAPKs and caspases that seem to regulate disuse atrophy but also share common activation patterns in other states of muscle loss such as sarcopenia or cachexia. Reactive oxygen species are also important regulators of cell signalling pathways that can accelerate proteolysis and depress protein synthesis. Exercise is an effective countermeasure and antioxidants may show some benefit. We discuss how the experimental model used can crucially affect the outcome and hence our understanding of atrophy. Timing of sampling is crucial as some signalling mechanisms reach their peak early during the atrophy process to rapidly decline thereafter, while other present high levels even weeks and months after study initiation. The importance of such differences lays in future consideration of appropriate treatment targets. Apart from attempting to correct defective genes or negate their effects, technological advances in new rational ways should aim to regulate specific gene expression at precise time points for the treatment of muscle atrophy in therapeutic protocols depending on the origin of atrophy induction. © 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

Georgakouli K.,University of Thessaly | Georgakouli K.,Technological Educational Institute of Larissa | Georgakouli K.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | Mpesios A.,University of Thessaly | And 6 more authors.
Nutrients | Year: 2016

In the present study we investigated the effects of an olive polyphenol-enriched yogurt on yogurt microflora, as well as hematological, physiological and metabolic parameters, blood redox status and body composition. In a randomized double-blind, crossover design, 16 (6 men, 10 women) nonsmoking volunteers with non-declared pathology consumed either 400 g of olive fruit polyphenol-enriched yogurt with 50 mg of encapsulated olive polyphenols (experimental condition—EC) or 400 g of plain yogurt (control condition—CC) every day for two weeks. Physiological measurements and blood collection were performed before and after two weeks of each condition. The results showed that body weight, body mass index, hip circumference and systolic blood pressure decreased significantly (p < 0.05) following the two-week consumption of yogurt regardless of condition. A tendency towards significance for decreased levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (p = 0.06) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (p < 0.05) following two weeks of polyphenol-enriched yogurt consumption was observed. The population of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and production of lactate in yogurt were significantly enhanced after addition of olive polyphenols, contrary to the population of yeasts and molds. The results indicate that consumption of the polyphenol-enriched yogurt may help individuals with non-declared pathology reduce body weight, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol levels and lipid peroxidation, and promote growth of beneficial LAB. © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Rapti E.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | Karageorgos A.,Technological Educational Institute of Larissa | Houstis C.,University of Thessaly | Houstis E.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly
Service Oriented Computing and Applications | Year: 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) vision involves a future Internet integrated with real-world objects that can commonly offer their functionality trough services. In such pervasive environments of IoT networks, locating and invoking suitable services is quite challenging and traditional service discovery and selection approaches have been proven inadequate. In this paper, taking inspiration from natural metaphors, a decentralized service discovery and selection model is proposed. The model is based on artificial potential fields (APFs) which are formed upon each user service request and become active at points where services can be provided. Such points are termed as service provision nodes (SPNs). The strength of each APF depends on the percentage of requested services that can be provided by the respective SPN, as well as on SPN service load and availability with the aim to balance service load among SPNs. Service discovery and selection is then driven by artificial forces applied among user service requests and SPNs. Simulation results indicate that the proposed approach maintains satisfactory performance and scalability as the number of SPNs in an IoT network increase and efficient load balancing of the requested services among the SPNs in comparison with other approaches. © 2016 Springer-Verlag London

Heidmann O.,University of Thessaly | Heidmann O.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | Vaz de Carvalho C.,University of Thessaly | Vaz de Carvalho C.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | And 6 more authors.
Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, LNICST | Year: 2016

Secondary education students often struggle with Mathematics and Science, preventing them to follow a successful career in Engineering. At a higher education level, problems still exist, including in their motivation levels. A Problem-Based Learning approach can offer an interesting solution to help circumvent this issue by creating an environment in which the learners themselves seek out information and create strategies to solve the training situation. This present work, named project eCity, aims at creating a Virtual Learning Environment platform in the form of a city building simulator, in which students, often digital native, will feel at ease and encouraged to solve the practical engineering scenarios they will face. The eCity platform targets at the same time students from the secondary education and students from higher education, allowing them to work together in a close relation to solve the presented problems together. © ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2016.

Tsalapatas H.,University of Thessaly | Tsalapatas H.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | Heidmann O.,University of Thessaly | Heidmann O.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | And 8 more authors.
Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, LNICST | Year: 2016

Early school leaving is a complex phenomenon that may adversely affect on a learner’s future development. ESL is the result of a combination of factors, such as insufficient school curricula understanding, low value placed on education by families, unavailability or low capacity of parents to support learners in schooling, insufficient parent-teacher-learner communication, and more. Many factors are socio-economic and are related to the extended social environment of learners. This work aims at strengthening the ties of school networks aiming at preventing ESL risk factors to set root in a learner’s life through early interventions that start in primary school. This is pursued through a gamified school community and supporting gamified complementary to school curricula learning activities that aim at fostering engagement of parents, teachers, and learners. The community promotes a sense of affiliation, opens-up communication channels, and promotes a positive school environment for the benefit of learners and their parents. © ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2016.

Tsalapatas H.,University of Thessaly | Heidmann O.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | Alimisi R.,Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly | Tsalapatas S.,University of Thessaly | And 6 more authors.
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2014

In today’s open business environment peer communication across borders is the norm. It is commonplace in face-to-face interaction as well as on-line communities that facilitate work related collaboration of cross-border teams. To effectively work in these international surroundings, individuals resort to commonly understood, vehicular languages. In work-related contexts, impeccable use of a language is less important than effective communication towards addressing common goals. This work departs from typical professional language learning approaches by introducing a serious game for building language and cultural communication skills in a lingua franca. The game exposes professionals to typical deployment of a lingua franca by native and non-native speakers. Learners build communication competence through situated learning approaches that draw inspiration from the real world, which is both multilingual and multicultural. At the same time they become aware of the cultural wealth that is manifested in the individualized uses of vehicular languages by individuals with diverse backgrounds. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014.

Tasiou A.,University of Thessaly | Vagkopoulos K.,University of Thessaly | Georgiadis I.,University of Thessaly | Brotis A.G.,University of Thessaly | And 3 more authors.
Interdisciplinary Neurosurgery: Advanced Techniques and Case Management | Year: 2014

Object Cranioplasty has been considered for several decades as a protective and cosmetic procedure. It has recently been postulated that cranioplasty may have a therapeutic role, and improve the patient's functional outcome after decompressive craniectomy (DC). The appropriate timing for cranioplasty remains unknown. In our current study, we review the literature for evaluating the relationship of cranioplasty timing and its complication rate and outcome.Methods The PubMed database was searched to identify any relevant articles. The following terms were used as keywords: "cranioplasty", "timing cranioplasty", "early cranioplasty", "late cranioplasty", "delayed cranioplasty", "early versus late cranioplasty". Clinical studies with more than 10 participants, and closed head injury as the underlying cause for DC were included in our study. The study design, the timing performing cranioplasty, the complication rate, and the patients' outcome were evaluated.Results Ten clinical series met our inclusion criteria. The observed complication rate associated to cranioplasty after DC is not negligible. Several reports have demonstrated that late cranioplasty may minimize procedure-associated complications. Early cranioplasty has been associated with complications, but improves CSF dynamics, and regional cerebral perfusion and metabolism, minimizes the complications from a sunken scalp, reduces the overall length of hospitalization, and thus the overall cost of care.Conclusions Cranioplasty is a relatively simple procedure that is nevertheless burdened by considerable morbidity. However, an early cranioplasty procedure may improve the outcome in selected cases. Prospective, large-scale studies are necessary to outline the actual complication rate, the neurological outcome, and define the optimal timing for a cranioplasty. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

PubMed | McGill University, Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly and University of Thessaly
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Biomedical reports | Year: 2016

Excessive alcohol use can cause harmful effects on the human body, which are associated with serious health problems, and it can also lead to the development of alcohol use disorders (AUDs). There is certain evidence that physical exercise positively affects excessive alcohol use and the associated problems by leading to reduced alcohol intake. A literature search was conducted using the databases PubMed, Medline and Web of Science. The search terms used as keywords were: Addiction, abuse, alcohol use disorders, exercise training, -endorphin, opioids, brain, ethanol and alcohol. The current study presents the studies that reported on the use of exercise in the treatment of AUDs between 1970 and 2015. The potential psychological and physiological mechanisms that contribute to the action of exercise were also reviewed, highlighting the role of -endorphin and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in AUDs and the possible association among physical activity, the endogenous opioid system and the desire for alcohol. Only 11 studies were identified that refer to the effect of exercise on alcohol consumption and/or the associated outcomes. Six of those studies concluded that exercise may have a positive impact towards alcohol consumption, abstinence rates or the urge to drink. One of those studies also indicated that a bout of exercise affects the endogenous opioids, which may be associated with the urge to drink. Another 3 studies indicated that responses to acute exercise in individuals with AUDs are different compared to those in healthy ones. Generally, despite limited research data and often contradictory results, there is certain early promising evidence for the role of exercise as an adjunctive tool in the treatment of AUDs. Physiological and biochemical parameters that would confirm that exercise is safe for individuals with AUDs should be examined in future studies.

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