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Da Fre M.,Regional Agency For Health of Tuscany | Polo A.,Hospital Network Planning and Research Area | Di Lallo D.,Hospital Network Planning and Research Area | Piga S.,Medical Directory | And 8 more authors.
Early Human Development | Year: 2015

Background: Size at birth is an important predictor of neonatal outcomes, but there are inconsistencies on the definitions and optimal cut-offs. Aims: The aim of this study is to compute birth size percentiles for Italian very preterm singleton infants and assess relationship with hospital mortality. Study design: Prospective area-based cohort study. Subjects: All singleton Italian infants with gestational age 22-31. weeks admitted to neonatal care in 6 Italian regions (Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Lombardia, Marche, Tuscany, Lazio and Calabria) (n. 1605). Outcome measure: Hospital mortality. Methods: Anthropometric reference charts were derived, separately for males and females, using the lambda (λ) mu (μ) and sigma (σ) method (LMS). Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate mortality rates by gestational age and birth weight centile class, adjusting for sex, congenital anomalies and region. Results: At any gestational age, mortality decreased as birth weight centile increased, with lowest values observed between the 50th and the 89th centiles interval. Using the 75th-89th centile class as reference, adjusted mortality odds ratios were 7.94 (95% CI 4.18-15.08) below 10th centile, 3.04 (95% CI 1.63-5.65) between the 10th and 24th; 1.96 (95% CI 1.07-3.62) between the 25th and the 49th; 1.25 (95% CI 0.68-2.30) between the 50h and the 74th; and 2.07 (95% CI 1.01-4.25) at the 90th and above. Conclusions: Compared to the reference, we found significantly increasing adjusted risk of death up to the 49th centile, challenging the usual 10th centile criterion as risk indicator. Continuous measures such as the birthweight z-score may be more appropriate to explore the relationship between growth retardation and adverse perinatal outcomes. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Iavicoli I.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Sgambato A.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Fontana L.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Marinaccio A.,Research Area | And 4 more authors.
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology | Year: 2012

Quantitative changes in different cytokines were determined in serum of female Wistar rats exposed to Rhodium (III) chloride hydrate to evaluate its early effects on the immune system. Findings revealed an inhibitory effect of Rh salt since each cytokine, with the exceptions of IL-1α and IL-2 levels observed at the highest doses of exposure, was reduced compared to the controls and interestingly, the lowest doses induced the greatest inhibition. This generalized decrease of cytokine levels was not related to a specific cytokine pathway, and may suggest an anti-inflammatory role of Rh salt. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.

Light microscopy image of a live Drosophila that was unable to produce enough growth factor idgf6 due to a genetic modification. As a result, defects can be seen in the respiratory organ as well as in the chitinous shell. Credit: Dr. Matthias Behr With their chitinous shells, insects seem almost invulnerable – but like Achilles' heel in Greek mythology, their impressive armor can still be attacked. Researchers at the universities of Bonn and Leipzig studied fruit flies (Drosophila) and discovered the molecular processes that are able to break through this protective casing. The enzyme chitinase 2 and growth factor idgf6 are especially important in correctly forming the insects' shells. These findings are relevant for fighting parasites, and will be published in the professional journal Scientific Reports. The same things that work with fruit flies (Drosophila) – one of developmental biologists' favorite animals to study – can generally also be applied to other insects. The deactivation of chitinase 2 and/or idgf6 genes results in a fragile shell that does not support adequate protection for larva of fruit flies and very likely other insects such as mosquitos. "Pathogens can then easily infiltrate the animals, and they usually die during the larval stage," says Assistant Professor Dr. Matthias Behr, who transferred from the Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute at his alma mater in Bonn to the Sächsische Inkubator für die klinische Translation (SIKT) at the University of Leipzig. The project was financed with funding from Special Research Area 645 at the University of Bonn. The current discovery offers completely new starting points for keeping agricultural parasites as well as dangerous disease-carrying insects in check. The enzyme chitinase 2 and growth factor idgf6 are essential for shell formation in nearly all insects, as well as in arthropods like crabs and spiders. "However, there are minor species-related differences that could allow us to develop tailor-made inhibitors that will prevent proper development of the chitinous shell in certain species," says first author Yanina-Yasmin Pesch from the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn. Specially developed substances could be used to attack the chitinous covering of one arthropod species while leaving other species unharmed. Dr. Behr names two examples of possible applications: the spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) that recently migrated to Germany, and the new Zika virus pathogen. The spotted-wing drosophila causes enormous damage for the agricultural industry because it attacks a large volume of ripening fruit. The Zika virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. This virus is suspected of causing birth defects in Brazil, among other places. The researchers hope their discovery will make it easier to fight these kinds of dangerous insects in the future. The researchers from the universities of Bonn and Leipzig, as well as from the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, turned up one other surprising find: "Until now, scientists assumed that chitinase 2 was a degradation enzyme," reports Pesch. "But surprisingly, it has now been found that the enzyme is essential in forming the chitinous shell." When the protective casing is being created, chitinase shortens the chitin to the right length. The precisely tailored components are then combined with other materials to build the shell. As the team of researchers already showed in a previous study, the "Obstructor-A" protein plays a key role here. Like a construction-site manager, it makes sure that various building materials are added to the protective shell in the right places. "Step by step, our research is revealing molecular details about the insects' Achilles heel," says Dr. Behr. More information: Yanina-Yasmin Pesch et al. Chitinases and Imaginal disc growth factors organize the extracellular matrix formation at barrier tissues in insects, Scientific Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep18340

Conte C.,Research Area | Ranavolo A.,Research Area | Serrao M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Serrao M.,Rehabilitation Center Policlinico Italia | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics | Year: 2014

Background: Numerous studies have compared the postures and muscular activities induced by the various input devices available. To the authors' knowledge, no studies have yet compared upper body posture and movement, sEMG activity and muscle co-contractions induced by use of a mouse or of a touchpad. Objective: The aim of this study was to compare posture, joint excursion and sEMG activity when using a laptop equipped with a mouse or a touchpad. Methods: Trunk and upper arm posture, ranges of motion and muscle activities were measured in ten subjects during two standardized tasks. Results: Mouse use induced larger shoulder abduction than touchpad use. On the other hand, when a touchpad was used, the upper arm joints were bound and fixed to a greater extent than during mouse use. Touchpad users are forced to maintain a more static posture. The upper arm electromyography results clearly indicate that touchpad use requires more stabilization than mouse use. Conclusion: Motor tasks executed by means of the mouse allow a greater range of motions and reduce the biomechanical stress thanks to the greater postural mobility, even though the posture is less neutral. The results of our study tend to suggest that an external mouse should be preferred to the touchpad by frequent users of laptops. Relevance to industry: This study is a suggestion for IT companies to give customers information of possible advantages using an external mouse. Furthermore our data highlight the importance of providing a mouse to all laptop users in order to reduce biomechanical risks. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Ferrante P.,Research Area | Marinaccio A.,Research Area | Iavicoli S.,Research Area
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2014

Home injuries are an important public health issue in both developed and developing countries. This study focused on the Italian epidemiological framework between 1999 and 2006, using a nation-representative sample provided by the National Institute of Statistics. Every year, about 3,000,000 Italian residents reported at least one home injury, with an overall annual rate of 5.2/100 (95% CI 5.1-5.4); 3.2/100 (3.0-3.4) for males and 7.2/100 (6.9-7.4) for females. Poisson regression models were used for different age-specific populations (children, young/adults and older people), to evaluate the effects of socio-demographic, health/income satisfaction and housing variables. For children, non-applicable variables (including smoking and health satisfaction) were taken as those of the head of family, while housework time was taken the family mean time. Evidence of decreasing time trend in risk of home injury was found only among young/adults (p < 0.01). The following were risk factors: female gender (adjusted relative risk-RR 2.0 for older people and RR 1.9 for young/adults, p < 0.01); one additional hour of work at home (RR 1.009, p < 0.01 for young/adults and RR 1.016, p = 0.01 for children); smoking (RR 1.3, p < 0.01 for young/adults and p = 0.02 for children); health dissatisfaction (RR 1.3, p = 0.05 for children, RR 1.6 for young/adults and RR 1.7 for older people, p < 0.01); income dissatisfaction (RR 1.2, p < 0.01 for young/adults); living alone (RR 1.5, p < 0.01 for young/adults and RR 1.2, p < 0.02 for the older people); having a garden (RR 1.1, p < 0.01 for young/adults). Awareness of the need for safety at home could be boosted by information campaigns on the risk, and its social cost could be reduced by specific prevention schemes. Developing tools for assessing the risk at home and for removing the main hazards would be useful for both informative and prevention interventions. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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