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Bari, Italy

The University of Bari Aldo Moro is a higher education institution in Bari, Apulia, in southern Italy.The University of Bari was founded in 1925. It is a state-supported university which is divided into 12 faculties. Each faculty has its own set of departments that focus on the arts science, mathematics, social science, literature, medicine, law, and education.The university offers various courses for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students. Aside from teaching, the university is also focused on scientific research at the doctorate level. The University of Bari research centres are highly-interactive, having connections among different departments, universities, and other research centres.The University of Bari is one of the most prestigious universities in Southern Italy and it is one of the largest universities in Italy, with a student population of around 60,000.The University has been recently entitled to one of its most famous student, the statesman Aldo Moro. Moro taught for several years Criminal Law at the University of Bari.The University has been awarded the following ranking positions:ranked 305 by Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities ranked 401-500 by Academic Ranking of World Universities - Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranked 350-400 by Times Higher Education Supplement Ranking of World Universities ranked 508 by QS World University Rankings ranked 186 by the Leiden Ranking The University is one of the 20 Italian higher education institutions in the ARWU list of the top 500 universities in the world for 2012. Moreover, it has been ranked between 151st and 200th in the world for Physics by Academic Ranking of World Universities - Shanghai Jiao Tong University . Wikipedia.

Iovino M.,University of Bari
Endocrine, metabolic & immune disorders drug targets | Year: 2013

In this review, we analyzed the role played by central and peripheral chemoreceptors (CHRs) in vasopressin (AVP) secretion control. Central neural pathways subserving osmotic and non-osmotic control of AVP secretion are strictly correlated to brain areas participating in chemoreception mechanisms. Among the different brain areas involved in central chemoreception, the most important site has been localized in the retrotrapezoid nucleus of the rostral ventrolateral medulla. These central CHRs are able to detect very small pH/CO2 fluctuations, participating in brain blood flow regulation, acid-base balance and blood pressure control. Decreases in arterial pH and increases in arterial pCO2 stimulate AVP release by the Supraoptic and Paraventricular Nuclei. Carotid CHRs transduce low arterial O2 tension into increased action potential activity, leading to bradycardia and coronary vasodilatation via vagal stimulation, and systemic vasoconstriction via catecholaminergic stimulation. Stimulation of carotid CHRs by hypoxia increases neurohypophyseal blood flow and AVP release, an effect inhibited by CHRs denervation. Two renal CHRs have been identified: Type R1 CHRs do not have a resting discharge but are activated by renal ischemia and hypotension; Type R2 CHRs have a resting discharge and respond to backflow of urine into the renal pelvis. Signals arising from renal CHRs modulate the activity of hypothalamic AVPergic neurons: activation of R1 and R2 CHRs, following increased intrapelvic pressure with solutions of mannitol, NaCl and KCl, produces a significant increase of AVP secretion and the same effect has been obtained by the intrarenal infusion of bradykinin, which excites afferent renal nerves, as well as by the electrical stimulation of these nerves.

Conte E.,University of Bari | Conte E.,International School for Advanced Studies
Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics | Year: 2011

We review a rough scheme of quantum mechanics using the Clifford algebra. Following the steps previously published in a paper by another author [31], we demonstrate that quantum interference arises in a Clifford algebraic formulation of quantum mechanics. In 1932 J. von Neumann showed that projection operators and, in particular, quantum density matrices can be interpreted as logical statements. In accord with a previously obtained result by V. F Orlov, in this paper we invert von Neumann's result. Instead of constructing logic from quantum mechanics, we construct quantum mechanics from an extended classical logic. It follows that the origins of the two most fundamental quantum phenomena, the indeterminism and the interference of probabilities, lie not in the traditional physics by itself but in the logical structure as realized here by the Clifford algebra. © Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics.

Marrie R.A.,University of Manitoba | Reingold S.,University of Manitoba | Cohen J.,Scientific and Clinical Review Assoc. LLC | Stuve O.,Cleveland Clinic | And 4 more authors.
Multiple Sclerosis Journal | Year: 2015

Background: Psychiatric comorbidity is associated with lower quality of life, more fatigue, and reduced adherence to disease-modifying therapy in multiple sclerosis (MS). Objectives: The objectives of this review are to estimate the incidence and prevalence of selected comorbid psychiatric disorders in MS and evaluate the quality of included studies. Methods: We searched the PubMed, PsychInfo, SCOPUS, and Web of Knowledge databases and reference lists of retrieved articles. Abstracts were screened for relevance by two independent reviewers, followed by full-text review. Data were abstracted by one reviewer, and verified by a second reviewer. Study quality was evaluated using a standardized tool. For population-based studies we assessed heterogeneity quantitatively using the I2 statistic, and conducted meta-analyses. Results: We included 118 studies in this review. Among population-based studies, the prevalence of anxiety was 21.9% (95% CI: 8.76%35.0%), while it was 14.8% for alcohol abuse, 5.83% for bipolar disorder, 23.7% (95% CI: 17.4%30.0%) for depression, 2.5% for substance abuse, and 4.3% (95% CI: 0%10.3%) for psychosis. Conclusion: This review confirms that psychiatric comorbidity, particularly depression and anxiety, is common in MS. However, the incidence of psychiatric comorbidity remains understudied. Future comparisons across studies would be enhanced by developing a consistent approach to measuring psychiatric comorbidity, and reporting of age-, sex-, and ethnicity-specific estimates.

Boone M.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Kortenoeven M.L.A.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Robben J.H.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Tamma G.,University of Bari | Deen P.M.T.,Radboud University Nijmegen
American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology | Year: 2011

Water homeostasis is regulated by a wide variety of hormones. When in need for water conservation, vasopressin, released from the brain, binds renal principal cells and initiates a signaling cascade resulting in the insertion of aquaporin-2 (AQP2) water channels in the apical membrane and water reabsorption. Conversely, hormones, including extracellular purines and dopamine, antagonize AVP-induced water permeability, but their mechanism of action is largely unknown, which was investigated here. Addition of these hormones to mpkCCD cells decreased total and plasma membrane abundance of AVP-induced AQP2, partly by increasing its internalization to vesicles and lysosomal degradation. This internalization was ubiquitin dependent, because the hormones increased AQP2 ubiquitination, and the plasma membrane localization of AQP2-K270R, which cannot be monoubiquitinated, was unaffected by these hormones. Both hormones also increased AQP2 phosphorylation at S261, which followed ubiquitination, but was not essential for hormone-induced AQP2 degradation. A similar process occurs in vivo, as incubation of dDAVP-treated kidney slices with both hormones also resulted in the internalization and S261 phosphor-ylation of AQP2. Both hormones also reduced cAMP and AQP2 mRNA levels, suggesting an additional effect on AQP2 gene transcription. Interestingly, phorbol esters only reduced AQP2 through the first pathway. Together, our results indicate that ATP and dopamine counteract AVP-induced water permeability by increasing AQP2 degradation in lysosomes, preceded by ubiquitin-dependent internal-ization, and by decreasing AQP2 gene transcription by reducing the AVP-induced cAMP levels. © 2011 the American Physiological Society.

Giustolisi O.,University of Bari
Journal of Hydraulic Engineering | Year: 2010

The classical assumption of representing total demand along a pipe as two lumped withdrawals at its terminal nodes is hitherto common. It is a simplification of the network topology which is useful in order to drastically reduce the number of nodes during network simulation. Conversely, this simplification does not preserve energy balance equation of pipes and, for this reason, it is an approximation that could generate significant head loss errors. This paper presents a modification of the global gradient algorithm (GGA) which entails an enhancing of GGA (EGGA) permitting the effective introduction of the lumped nodal demands, without forfeiting correctness of energy balance, by means of a pipe hydraulic resistance correction. The robustness and convergence properties of the algorithm are compared with those of the classical GGA. Furthermore, the effectiveness of EGGA is demonstrated by computing the network pressure status under different configurations of the connections along the pipes of a test network. © 2010 ASCE.

Loparco F.,University of Bari
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2011

The Crab Pulsar is a relatively young neutron star. The Pulsar is the central star in the Crab Nebula, a remnant of the supernova SN 1054, which was observed on Earth in the year 1054. The Crab Pulsar has been extensively observed in the gamma-ray energy band by the Large Area Telescope (LAT), the main instrument onboard the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope, during its first months of data taking. The LAT data have been used to reconstruct the fluxes and the energy spectra of the pulsed gamma-ray component and of the gamma-rays from the Nebula. The results on the pulsed component are in good agreement with the previous measurement from EGRET, while the results on the Nebula are consistent with the observations from Earth based telescopes. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Caggiani M.C.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Caggiani M.C.,University of Bari | Colomban P.,University Pierre and Marie Curie
Journal of Raman Spectroscopy | Year: 2011

Five French pastels and a sanguine drawing dating from the 17th to the 20th century were studied by Raman spectroscopy. Different operative conditions were used: the pastels were investigated through their protective glass, and the results obtained were compared with those obtained after removing the glass and after sampling a micrometric particle of pigment. Different parameters (wavelengths, powers of excitation and objectives) were tested in order to assess the optimal procedure of analysis for this fragile work of art. The results obtained for black (carbons), yellow (chrome/cobalt yellow), red (lead oxide, vermillion, orpiment), brown (red lead and chrome yellow), blue (Prussian blue, lapis lazuli/ultramarine), green (mixture of above blue and yellow pigments) and white (calcite, lead white, anatase) pigments are presented and the consistency of the pigments' period of use with the dating proposed for each pastel is evaluated. In one of the pastels, the blackening of the carnation colour made of an unstable mixture of lead white, red lead and vermilion was studied. Raman spectroscopy is used to investigate six French pastels dating from the 17th to the 20th century experimenting different operative conditions and parameters, in order to assess the optimal procedure of analysis for this fragile kind of work of art through their protective glass. The results obtained for the different pigments, the relative criteria of dating and the blackening process in one of the pastels are presented. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Caggiani M.C.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Caggiani M.C.,University of Bari | Colomban P.,University Pierre and Marie Curie
Journal of Raman Spectroscopy | Year: 2011

To get black decorations requires high ceramic technology and there are different ways of achieving this. Their identification can be very useful to discriminate between different manufactures or periods of production but this information is often very hard to achieve because of their strong absorption of the illuminating laser beam, whatever the wavelength used, causing a very low scattering intensity and, in case of power increase, a transformation of phase which may lead to the misinterpretation of the spectra obtained. We test the use of five instruments with different characteristics (wavelength and power of excitation, spectral resolution, filters and microscope) applied to a group of heterogeneous samples which have in common the presence of a black glaze. The results obtained (manganese oxides, cobalt oxides or a mixture of the two even with the addition of haematite) are compared considering the different methodologies used and leading to a preference towards high-sensitivity rather than high-resolution spectrometers, notch-filtered rather than edge-filtered instruments and microscopic configuration used on freshly created cross-sections. The importance of the objective choice is demonstrated. Small grains may be preferred. The problems encountered in the analysis of dark to black ceramic pigments are discussed. Advantages of high-sensitivity low-cost instruments versus more expensive ones are pointed out. The importance of excitation power control is emphasised. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ranieri E.,University of Bari | Gikas P.,Technical University of Crete | Tchobanoglous G.,University of California at Davis
Desalination and Water Treatment | Year: 2013

Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) are commonly encountered pollutants. The focus of the present work is on the removal of BTEX using pilot-scale constructed wetlands (CWs). Experiment carried out in three similar pilot-scale horizontal sub-surface flow constructed wetlands with an area of 35m2 (each), two of which were planted with different macrophytes (Phragmites australis and Typha latifolia), while an unplanted one was used as control. A number of hydraulic tests were carried out using lithium bromide as tracer, to assess the hydraulic residence time. Residence time distributions for the two CWs indicated that the Typha field was characterized by a void volume fraction (porosity) of 0.16 and exhibited more ideal plug flow behavior (Pe = 29.7) compared with the Phragmites field (Pe = 26.7), which had similar porosity. The measured hydraulic residence times in the planted fields were 35.8, 36.7, and 34.1 h for Typha, Phragmites, and unplanted respectively, at wastewater flow rates equal to 1m3/d. The observed percentage removal for BTEX ranged between 46 and 55%. The average removal in the Phragmites field was 5% higher than the Typha field and 23% higher than the unplanted field. BTEX removal was primarily attributed to volatilization; however, biodegradation also played a significant role. © 2013 Balaban Desalination Publications.

Stasolla F.,Lega Del Filo Doro Research Center | Perilli V.,Lega Del Filo Doro Research Center | Damiani R.,University of Bari
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders | Year: 2014

We assessed a self-monitoring procedure to promote on-task behavior in classroom by two high functioning boys with autism spectrum and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. A second aim of the study was to reduce stereotyped behaviors for both boys. Finally, a third goal was to verify the effects of the intervention on the participant's mood. The study was conducted according to a non concurrent multiple baseline design across participants. Results show an increase of on-task behavior and indices of happiness during the intervention phase. Moreover, the stereotyped behaviors decreased during intervention phase for both boys. Participants maintained their performance during the maintenance phase, which occurred a month after the end of the intervention. The effectiveness of the rehabilitation program was confirmed by 72 university students involved in a social validation assessment as raters. Psychological and practical implications of the findings are discussed. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Clodoveo M.L.,University of Bari
Trends in Food Science and Technology | Year: 2012

The malaxation, a basic step of the mechanical olive oil extraction process, was studied by several authors, but a comprehensive investigation of its effects on the oil composition has not been accomplished yet. An effective olive paste malaxing is crucial in producing virgin olive oil (VOO) of exceptional quality. It is important to extract the optimum amount of oil, with the right quantities of antioxidants and the best possible flavour. The aim of this work is to present the state-of-the-art about malaxing technology and its influence on analytical parameters related to VOO quality, healthy and organoleptic characteristics of the product. Machinery evolution has been reported from the most traditional to the newest designs. Recent advances and future trends applied to the olive oil extraction technology are also reported. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Lopalco P.L.,University of Bari
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene | Year: 2016

Influenza is a public health priority in Europe. The impact of influenza pandemics on public health is very high, but seasonal influenza also constitutes an important burden in terms of hospitalisation and excess deaths. Influenza vaccination is a fundamental pillar of disease prevention. In the absence of a clear decision-making process for vaccination policies, EU institutions have, in recent years, fostered collaboration among Member States. Such collaboration was closer during the 2009 pandemic, which constituted a clear cross-border threat to EU citizens' health. The EU institutions have been supporting national vaccination programmes by providing evidence of the effectiveness and safety of influenza vaccination. Decision 1082/2013 was a major step toward EU collaboration, in that it highlighted the role of pandemic vaccination in the field of preparedness and emergency response, in which concerted action is clearly valuable.

Rossi A.C.,University of Bari | Prefumo F.,University of Brescia
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology | Year: 2014

Objectives To analyze literature on the additional value of fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in assessing central nervous system (CNS) anomalies suspected by ultrasound.Methods A search was performed of PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane library and the reference lists of identified articles. Inclusion criteria were CNS anomalies suspected/ diagnosed by ultrasound, MRI performed after ultrasound, and postmortem examination by autopsy or postnatal assessment. MOOSE guidelines were followed. Outcomes assessed were positive/negative agreement between ultrasound and MRI, additional information provided by MRI, and discordance between ultrasound and MRI. Pooled sensitivity and specificity of MRI were calculated using the DerSimonian-Laird method. Postnatal/ postmortem examinations were used as the reference standard.Results We identified thirteen articles which included 710 fetuses undergoing both ultrasound and MRI. MRI confirmed ultrasound-positive findings in 65.4% of fetuses and provided additional information in 22.1%. MRI disclosed CNS anomalies in 18.4% of fetuses. In 2.0% of cases, ultrasound was more accurate than MRI. In 30% of fetuses, MRI was so different from ultrasound that the clinical management changed. Agreement was observed mainly for ventriculomegaly (51.3%). Disagreement was noted mainly for midline anomalies (48.6%). Pooled sensitivity of MRI was 97% (95% CI, 95-98%) and pooled specificity was 70% (95% CI, 58-81%).Conclusions MRI supplements the information provided by ultrasound. It should be considered in selected fetuses with CNS anomalies suspected on ultrasound. Copyright ©?2014 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Copyright © 2014 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Garrappa R.,University of Bari | Popolizio M.,University of Salento
Computers and Mathematics with Applications | Year: 2011

The main aim of this paper is to discuss the generalization of exponential integrators to differential equations of non-integer orders. Two methods of this kind are devised and the accuracy and stability are investigated. Some numerical experiments are presented to validate the theoretical findings. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Eramo G.,University of Bari | Maggetti M.,University of Fribourg
Applied Clay Science | Year: 2013

Fireboxes of two pottery structures, excavated in 2002 at Aventicum (at present Avenches), the capital of Roman Switzerland, were studied to understand their function in the artisan quarter. Twenty-one oriented samples underwent petrographical, mineralogical and chemical analyses to determine the nature of the raw materials and the temperature distribution.Both structures are typologically different and show differing degrees of thermal impacts. Inferred maximum temperatures for kiln Structure 6, as deduced from phase associations, were as high as 1050-1200. °C. Such high temperatures are typically recorded in fireboxes of ceramic kilns. Structure 180 is proposed to have been a drying oven, as evidenced by: (1) its phase associations, pointing to maximum firing temperatures of c. 950-1050. °C, and (2) its unusual shape. Six out of seven clays from the artisan quarter revealed Ca-rich composition, but the Ca-poor one was preferentially used by Roman potters for bricks and clay binders to build the two structures. Such "refractory" clays are obviously better suited to withstand higher firing temperatures and for a longer period than Ca-rich clays. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Soria L.R.,CONICET | Marrone J.,CONICET | Calamita G.,University of Bari | Marinelli R.A.,CONICET
Hepatology | Year: 2013

Hepatocyte mitochondrial ammonia detoxification via ureagenesis is critical for the prevention of hyperammonemia and hepatic encephalopathy. Aquaporin-8 (AQP8) channels facilitate the membrane transport of ammonia. Because AQP8 is expressed in hepatocyte inner mitochondrial membranes (IMMs), we studied whether mitochondrial AQP8 (mtAQP8) plays a role in ureagenesis from ammonia. Primary cultured rat hepatocytes were transfected with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeting two different regions of the rat AQP8 molecule or with scrambled control siRNA. After 48 hours, the levels of mtAQP8 protein decreased by approximately 80% (P < 0.05) without affecting cell viability. mtAQP8 knockdown cells in the presence of ammonium chloride showed a decrease in ureagenesis of approximately 30% (P < 0.05). Glucagon strongly stimulated ureagenesis in control hepatocytes (+120%, P < 0.05) but induced no significant stimulation in mtAQP8 knockdown cells. Contrarily, mtAQP8 silencing induced no significant change in basal and glucagon-induced ureagenesis when glutamine or alanine was used as a source of nitrogen. Nuclear magnetic resonance studies using 15N-labeled ammonia confirmed that glucagon-induced 15N-labeled urea synthesis was markedly reduced in mtAQP8 knockdown hepatocytes (-90%, P < 0.05). In vivo studies in rats showed that under glucagon-induced ureagenesis, hepatic mtAQP8 protein expression was markedly up-regulated (+160%, P < 0.05). Moreover, transport studies in liver IMM vesicles showed that glucagon increased the diffusional permeability to the ammonia analog [14C]methylamine (+80%, P < 0.05). Conclusion: Hepatocyte mtAQP8 channels facilitate the mitochondrial uptake of ammonia and its metabolism into urea, mainly under glucagon stimulation. This mechanism may be relevant to hepatic ammonia detoxification and in turn, avoid the deleterious effects of hyperammonemia. (HEPATOLOGY 2013) Copyright © 2013 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Caliandro R.,CNR Institute of Crystallography | Di Profio G.,CNR Institute on Membrane Technology | Nicolotti O.,University of Bari
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis | Year: 2013

Co-crystallization brings new opportunities for improving the solubility and dissolution rate of drugs with the chance of finely tuning some relevant chemical-physical properties of mixtures containing bioactive compounds. As co-crystallization process involves several molecular species, which are generally solid at room conditions, its control requires accurate knowledge and monitoring of the different phase that might appear during the formulation stage. In the present study the suitability of X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) and Fourier-transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy in quantifying mixtures of carbamazepine polymorphs (forms I and III), saccharin, and carbamazepine-saccharin cocrystals (form I) is assessed. Quaternary crystalline mixtures typically produced in the process of co-crystal production were analyzed by multivariate methods. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used for the identification of the crystal phases, while unsupervised simultaneous fitting of the spectra from pure phases, or supervised partial least squares (PLS) methods were used for their quantitative determination. The performance of data analysis was enhanced by applying peculiar pre-processing methods, such as SNIP filtering in case of FTIR and PCA filtering in case of XRPD. It was found that, for XRPD data, the automatic multi-fitting procedures and PLS models developed in this study are able to quantify single phases in mixtures to an accuracy level comparable to that obtained by the widely used Rietveld method, which, however, requires knowledge of the crystal structures. For FTIR data the results here obtained prove that this technique can be used as a fast method for polymorph characterization. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Garrappa R.,University of Bari
International Journal of Computer Mathematics | Year: 2010

This paper deals with the numerical approximation of differential equations of fractional order by means of predictor-corrector algorithms. A linear stability analysis is performed and the stability regions of different methods are compared. Furthermore the effects on stability of multiple corrector iterations are verified. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Neri F.,University of Jyvaskyla | Caponio A.,University of Bari
International Journal of Bio-Inspired Computation | Year: 2010

This paper proposes a novel variant of differential evolution (DE) tailored to the optimisation of noisy fitness functions. The proposed algorithm, namely noise analysis differential evolution (NADE), combines the stochastic properties of a randomised scale factor and a statistically rigorous test which supports one-to-one spawning survivor selection that automatically selects a proper sample size and then selects, among parent and offspring, the most promising solution. The actions of these components are separately analysed and their combined effect on the algorithmic performance is studied by means of a set of numerous and various test functions perturbed by Gaussian noise. Various noise amplitudes are considered in the result section. The performance of the NADE has been extensively compared with a classical algorithm and two modern metaheuristics designed for optimisation in the presence of noise. Numerical results show that the proposed NADE has very good performance with most of the problems considered in the benchmark set. The NADE seems to be able to detect high quality solutions despite the noise and display high performance in terms of robustness. Copyright © 2010 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Marano G.C.,University of Bari | Quaranta G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Monti G.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering | Year: 2011

A modified real-coded genetic algorithm to identify the parameters of large structural systems subject to the dynamic loads is presented in this article. The proposed algorithm utilizes several subpopulations and a migration operator with a ring topology is periodically performed to allow the interaction between them. For each subpopulation, a specialized medley of recent genetic operators (crossover and mutation) has been adopted and is briefly discussed. The final algorithm includes a novel operator based on the auto-adaptive asexual reproduction of the best individual in the current subpopulation. This latter is introduced to avoid a long stagnation at the start of the evolutionary process due to insufficient exploration as well as to attempt an improved local exploration around the current best solution at the end of the search. Moreover, a search space reduction technique is performed to improve, both convergence speed and final accuracy, allowing a genetic-based search within a reduced region of the initial feasible domain. This numerical technique has been used to identify two shear-type mechanical systems with 10 and 30 degrees-of-freedom, assuming as unknown parameters the mass, the stiffness, and the damping coefficients. The identification will be conducted starting from some noisy acceleration signals to verify, both the computational effectiveness and the accuracy of the proposed optimizer in presence of high noise-to-signal ratio. A critical and detailed analysis of the results is presented to investigate the inner work of the optimizer. Finally, its performances are examined and compared to the most recent results documented in the current literature to demonstrate the numerical competitiveness of the proposed strategy. © 2010 Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering.

Natalizumab reduces the relapse rate and magnetic resonance imaging activity in patients with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). So far the influence of natalizumab on cognitive functions and fatigue in MS remains uncertain. The aim of this prospective, open-label, observational study was to evaluate the possible effects of natalizumab on cognition and fatigue measures in RRMS patients treated for up to two years. Cognitive performances were examined by the Rao's Brief Repeatable Battery (BRB), the Stroop test (ST) and the Cognitive Impairment Index (CII), every 12 months. Patients who failed in at least 3 tests of the BRB and the ST were classified as cognitively impaired (CI). Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) was administered every 12 months to assess patient's self-reported fatigue. One hundred and 53 patients completed 1 and 2 year-natalizumab treatment, respectively. After 1 year of treatment the percentage of CI patients decreased from 29% (29/100) at baseline to 19% (19/100) (p = 0.031) and the mean baseline values of CII (13.52±6.85) and FSS (4.01±1.63) scores were significantly reduced (10.48±7.12, p<0.0001 and 3.61±1.56, p = 0.008). These significant effects were confirmed in the subgroup of patients treated up to two years. These results demonstrate that a short-term NTZ treatment may significantly improve cognitive performances and fatigue in RRMS patients.

Benci V.,University of Pisa | Fortunato D.,University of Bari
Communications in Mathematical Physics | Year: 2010

The nonlinear Klein-Gordon-Maxwell equations provide models for the interaction between the electromagnetic field and matter. We assume that the nonlinear term W is positive and W(0) = 0. This fact makes the theory more suitable for physical models (for example models in supersymmetry theory and in cosmology; see e.g. [16, 22, 28] and their references). A three dimensional vortex is a finite energy, stationary solution of the Klein-Gordon-Maxwell equations such that the matter field has nontrivial angular momentum and the magnetic field looks like the field created by a finite solenoid. Under suitable assumptions, we prove the existence of three dimensional vortex-solutions. © Springer-Verlag 2010.

Principi M.,University of Bari
Inflammation & allergy drug targets | Year: 2013

Gastroparesis is a disorder characterized by delayed gastric emptying of a meal in the absence of a mechanical gastric outlet obstruction. Idiopathic gastroparesis is at least as common as diabetic gastroparesis in most case series, and the true prevalence of gastroparesis is unknown. We report here an interesting case of idiopathic gastroparesis characterized by sudden onset in a female patient. The diagnosis was confirmed by ultrasonographic study of gastric emptying and electrogastrography, by gastric endoscopy/histology, and finally by allergy tests. The disorder was found to be due to a rare cause, namely an allergic predisposition. In fact, our patient, who demonstrated an allergy to gold salts, had drunk a glass of a liqueur containing gold flakes and developed an eosinophilic aggregation in the gastric mucosa observed at gastric endoscopy/histology. The symptoms disappeared after steroid administration. Our experience suggests that gastric histology and close enquiry into any history of allergy may be useful diagnostic tools in cases of idiopathic gastroparesis.

Dieci L.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Lopez L.,University of Bari
Mathematics and Computers in Simulation | Year: 2011

Abstract: We consider the fundamental matrix solution associated to piecewise smooth differential systems of Filippov type, in which the vector field varies discontinuously as solution trajectories reach one or more surfaces. We review the cases of transversal intersection and of sliding motion on one surface. We also consider the case when sliding motion takes place on the intersection of two or more surfaces. Numerical results are also given. © 2010 IMACS. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Palese L.L.,University of Bari
Journal of Physical Chemistry B | Year: 2015

A fundamental and still debated problem is how folded structures of proteins are related to their unfolded state. Besides the classical view, in which a large number of conformations characterize the unfolded state while the folded one is dominated by a single structure, recently a reassessment of the denatured state has been suggested. A growing amount of evidence indicates that not only the folded but also the unfolded state is at least partially organized. Here, we try to answer the question of how different protein dynamics is in folded and unfolded states by performing all-atom molecular dynamics simulations on the model protein Trp-cage. Random matrix theory inspired analysis of the correlation matrices has been carried out. The spectra of these correlation matrices show that the low rank modes of Trp-cage dynamics are outside of the limit expected for a random system both in folded and in unfolded conditions. These findings shed light on the nature of the unfolded state of the proteins, suggesting that it is much less random than previously thought. © 2015 American Chemical Society.

Calvanese L.,Parthenope University of Naples | Pellegrini-Calace M.,University of Bari | Oliva R.,Parthenope University of Naples
Protein Science | Year: 2013

AQP11 and AQP12 are the most distantly related paralogs of the aquaporin family in human. They share indeed a low sequence similarity with other aquaporins and exhibit a modified N-terminal NPA signature motif. Furthermore, they have an anomalous subcellular localization. The AQP11 and AQP12 biological role remains to be fully clarified and their ability to allow transport of water is still debated. We have built accurate 3D-models for AQP11 and AQP12 and comprehensively compared their sequence and structure to other known aquaporins. In order to investigate whether they appear compatible or not with water permeability, we especially focused on the amino acid composition and electrostatics of their channels, keeping the structure of the low-water efficiency AQP0 as a reference system. Our analysis points out a possible alternative ar/ R site and shows that these aquaporins feature unique residues at key pore-lining positions that make the shape, composition and electrostatics of their channel peculiar. Such residues can represent pivotal hints to study and explain the AQP11 and AQP12 biological and molecular function. © 2013 The Protein Society.

Tortorella P.,University of Bari
Current topics in medicinal chemistry | Year: 2016

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc enzymes responsible for the degradation of the extracellular matrix. With this function, MMPs are involved in many physiological processes, but also in many pathological states. MMP-13 is implicated in the degradation of type II collagen, the main structural protein of articular cartilage, contributing to the development of osteoarthritis and inflammatory diseases. In the last years, a new generation of potent and selective MMP inhibitors (MMPIs) has been identified and classified as non-zinc-binding inhibitors (NZBIs). Several MMP-13 NZBIs have been developed and crystallographically determined in complex with the enzyme. Here, we provide a detailed review of the current knowledge about this class of MMP-13 inhibitors and, by using computational procedures, we highlight the molecular determinants that are needed for the binding process. In particular, FLAP, a program based on GRID molecular interaction fields, was used to analyze the ligand-protein interactions: molecular shape and hydrogen bond acceptor groups strongly influence the binding according to the ligand-based modeling, while the aromatic interactions are better identified by the structure-based study. The complementary results can be combined in a high performance model, showing the effectiveness of molecular interaction field based approaches to search for novel MMP-13 NZBIs.

Berardi M.,University of Bari
Mathematics and Computers in Simulation | Year: 2014

In this paper we study the numerical solution of a discontinuous differential system by a Rosenbrock method. We also focus on one-sided approach in the context of Rosenbrock schemes, and we suggest a technique based on the use of continuous extension, in order to locate the event point, with an application to discontinuous singularly perturbed systems. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of IMACS.

Garrappa R.,University of Bari
Mathematics and Computers in Simulation | Year: 2014

We discuss the numerical solution of differential equations of fractional order with discontinuous right-hand side. Problems of this kind arise, for instance, in sliding mode control. After applying a set-valued regularization, the behavior of some generalizations of the implicit Euler method is investigated. We show that the scheme in the family of fractional Adams methods possesses the same chattering-free property of the implicit Euler method in the integer case. A test problem is considered to discuss in details some implementation issues and numerical experiments are presented. © 2012 IMACS. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

The concept of new addiction meant as a phenomenon in which there is a risk of non-substances dependence. After an analysis and a definition of the concept, we will focus on Internet addiction disorder, as a social phenomenon increasingly relevant, and the changes into the relationship between the individual and the technologies in the era of the web society. They finally suggest possible institutional contrast strategies for services of the dependencies. © Copyright FrancoAngeli.

Bozzini B.,University of Salento | Carlino P.,University of Bari | Mele C.,University of Salento
Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine | Year: 2011

Zr and Ti alloys are extensively used in the biomedical field owing to their optimal mechanical properties and excellent corrosion resistance. Fully ceramic implants based on zirconia are appealing with respect to the traditional Ti-based metallic ones for several reasons, such as: (i) improved aesthetic impact, (ii) better biocompatibility and (iii) better osteointegration. Nevertheless, fully ceramic implants exhibit serious mechanical and clinical drawbacks, chiefly brittleness and impossibility of post-implant position adjustments. In this paper we propose the novel approach of using a metal-based system, consisting of metallic Zr, for the bulk of the implant and an electrochemically grown zirconia coating, ensuring contact of the ceramic with the biological environment and isolation from the underlying metal. This solution combines the outstanding mechanical properties of the metal in the bulk with the optimal biochemical properties exclusively where they are needed: at the surface. The present paper-focussed on the electrochemical behaviour of the proposed system at the implant-wound and implant-growing bone interface-reports a time-dependent electrochemical corrosion study of zirconia-coated zirconium, performed in the following ways: (i) exposure and measurements in SBF (simulating the inorganic part of human plasma, relevant to wound chemistry), (ii) exposure and measurements in SBF with added glycine (the simplest, ubiquitous amino acid found in proteins), (iii) exposure in SBF with added glycine and measurements in SBF. Electrochemical impedance spectra were measured and interpreted with the equivalent-circuit approach, yielding estimates of the time-variation of the oxide film thickness and resistance were estimated. FT-IR, Surface Raman and VIS reflectance spectroscopies were used to characterise the surface before and after the exposure to SBF solutions. Spectroelectrochemical measurements revealed an higher corrosion resistance of the oxide films formed on Zr in the presence of glycine in the SBF matrix and a smoother electrode surface. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Raica M.,Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara | Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Current Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2010

Various human tumors preferentially metastasize by lymphatic route and lymphovascular invasion predicts lymph node metastasis. In this review article, we will summarize recent literature data concerning lymphangiogenesis, focusing on tumor lymphangiogenesis. In detail, we try to answer some important questions related to: a) The specificity of lymphatic endothelial cell markers; b) The differential characteristics of lymphatic vessels in tumors; c) The interplay between different lymphangiogenic factors; d) The role of pre-existing and newly-formed lymphatic vessels in tumors and their proliferative potential; e) The role of lymphatic vessels in tumor metastases; e) The prognostic significance of lymphatic microvascular density in tumors; f) The inhibition of lymphangiogenesis in tumors. © 2010 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

Cea P.,University of Bari | Cea P.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2014

Recent Planck data confirm that the cosmic microwave background displays the quadrupole power suppression together with large-scale anomalies. Progressing from previous results, that focused on the quadrupole anomaly, we strengthen the proposal that the slightly anisotropic ellipsoidal universe may account for these anomalies.We solved at large scales the Boltzmann equation for the photon distribution functions by taking into account both the effects of the inflation produced primordial scalar perturbations and the anisotropy of the geometry in the ellipsoidal universe. We showed that the low quadrupole temperature correlations allowed us to fix the eccentricity at decoupling, edec=(0.86±0.14) 10-2, and to constraint the direction of the symmetry axis.We found that the anisotropy of the geometry of the universe contributes only to the large-scale temperature anisotropies without affecting the higher multipoles of the angular power spectrum. Moreover, we showed that the ellipsoidal geometry of the universe induces sizeable polarization signal at large scales without invoking the reionization scenario. We explicitly evaluated the quadrupole TE and EE correlations. We found an average largescale polarization ΔTpol= (1.20 ± 0.38) μK. We point out that great care is needed in the experimental determination of the large-scale polarization correlations since the average temperature polarization could be misinterpreted as foreground emission leading, thereby, to a considerable underestimate of the cosmic microwave background polarization signal. © 2014 The Author Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Delvecchio M.,Unita Operativa Complessa di Pediatria | Cavallo L.,University of Bari
Journal of Endocrinological Investigation | Year: 2010

Background: Thalassemia major is an inherited hemoglobin disorder characterized by chronic anemia and iron overload due to transfusion therapy and gastrointestinal absorption. Iron overload causes most of the associated mortality and morbidity and frequently involves the endocrine glands. Aim: To review the most pertinent literature on the topic. Methods: One hundred and twenty-three papers were evaluated. Results: Disproportionate short stature is frequent and becomes more evident at puberty because of the lack of growth spurt. Later on, partial height recovery may occur. Long-term treatment with recombinant human GH seems ineffective to improve final height. Pubertal development is characterized by a clinical spectrum ranging from hypogonadism to a simple delay in starting and developing of puberty. Hormonal replacement is mandatory in cases of absent or arrested puberty. Pancreatic β-cells function may be impaired during adolescence or later on. Its impairment ranges from hyperinsulinemia, secondary to insulin resistance, with normal glucose tolerance to β-cells failure with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Primary hypothyroidism may affect thalassemic patients from the second decade of life. The thyroid dysfunction may be reversible (if an intensive chelation therapy regimen is started in the precocious phase), stationary, or slowly progressive. Central hypothyroidism is less common and autoimmune thyroiditis absent. Conclusion: Despite the improvement of the treatment, the involvement of the endocrine system still burdens the life of these patients. Further therapeutic improvement would reasonably reduce morbidity and, hopefully, mortality of thalassemic patients and make the endocrine disorders easier to treat. ©2010, Editrice Kurtis.

Kanduc D.,University of Bari
Peptides | Year: 2010

Discovering the informational rule(s) underlying structure-function relationships in the protein language is at the core of biology. Current theories have proven inadequate to explain the origins of biological information such as that found in nucleotide and amino acid sequences. Here, we demonstrate that the information content of an amino acid motif correlates with the motif rarity. A structured analysis of the scientific literature supports the theory that rare pentapeptide words have higher significance than more common pentapeptides in biological cell 'talk'. This study expands on our previous research showing that the immunological information contained in an amino acid sequence is inversely related to the sequence frequency in the host proteome. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Pharmaceuticals | Year: 2010

Antiangiogenesis, e.g., inhibition of blood vessel growth, is being investigated as a way to prevent the growth of tumors and other angiogenesis-dependent diseases. Pharmacological inhibition interferes with the angiogenic cascade or the immature neovasculature with synthetic or semi-synthetic substances, endogenous inhibitors or biological antagonists. The chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) is an extraembryonic membrane, which serves as a gas exchange surface and its function is supported by a dense capillary network. Because its extensive vascularization and easy accessibility, CAM has been used to study morphofunctional aspects of the angiogenesis process in vivo and to study the efficacy and mechanism of action of pro- and anti-angiogenic molecules. The fields of application of CAM in the study of antiangiogenesis, including our personal experience, are illustrated in this review article. © 2010 by the authors.

Imbimbo B.P.,Chiesi Farmaceutici | Solfrizzi V.,University of Bari | Panza F.,Geriatric Unit and Gerontology Geriatrics Research Laboratory
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience | Year: 2010

Several epidemiological studies suggest that long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may protect subjects carrying one or more ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE ε4) against the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The biological mechanism of this protection is not completely understood and may involve the anti-inflammatory properties of NSAIDs or their ability of interfering with the β-amyloid (Aβ) cascade. Unfortunately, long-term, placebo-controlled clinical trials with both non-selective and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) selective inhibitors in mild-to-moderate AD patients produced negative results. A secondary prevention study with rofecoxib, a COX-2 selective inhibitor, in patients with mild cognitive impairment was also negative. A primary prevention study (ADAPT trial) of naproxen (a non-selective COX inhibitor) and celecoxib (a COX-2 selective inhibitor) in cognitively normal elderly subjects with a family history of AD was prematurely interrupted for safety reasons after a median period of treatment of 2 years. Although both drugs did not reduce the incidence of dementia after 2 years of treatment, a 4-year follow-up assessment surprisingly revealed that subjects previously exposed to naproxen were protected from the onset of AD by 67% compared to placebo. Thus, it could be hypothesized that the chronic use of NSAIDs may be beneficial only in the very early stages of the AD process in coincidence of initial Aβ deposition, microglia activation and consequent release of pro-inflammatory mediators. When the Aβ deposition process is already started, NSAIDs are no longer effective and may even be detrimental because of their inhibitory activity on chronically activated microglia that on long-term may mediate Aβ clearance. The research community should conduct long-term trials with NSAIDs in cognitively normal APOE ε4 carriers. © 2010 Imbimbo, Solfrizzi and Panza.

Sieber F.,University of Strasbourg | Placido A.,University of Strasbourg | Placido A.,University of Bari | El Farouk-Ameqrane S.,University of Strasbourg | And 2 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2011

Mitochondria play a key role in essential cellular functions. A deeper understanding of mitochondrial molecular processes is hampered by the difficulty of incorporating foreign nucleic acids into organelles. Mitochondria of most eukaryotic species import cytosolic tRNAs. Based on this natural process, we describe here a powerful shuttle system to internalize several types of RNAs into isolated mitochondria. We demonstrate that this tool is useful to investigate tRNA processing or mRNA editing in plant mitochondria. Furthermore, we show that the same strategy can be used to address both tRNA and mRNA to isolated mammalian mitochondria. We anticipate our novel approach to be the starting point for various studies on mitochondrial processes. Finally, our study provides new insights into the mechanism of RNA import into mitochondria. © 2011 The Author(s).

Signore A.,University of Bari
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture | Year: 2016

The interest in using informatics tools for collecting information on agro-biodiversity is increasing, since they greatly facilitate the collection and sharing of data. Anyway, in some cases, the use of such tools is not of immediate comprehension for a common user because of several reasons (for example, the use of APIs), so an effort should be done to simplify these tools and allow greater participation for general public. In this optic, we tested two tools freely available, namely Open Data Kit and Google Fusion Tables, to verify if their integrated use would allow a participative collection (and sharing) of data related to agro-biodiversity. We use Open Data Kit to collect information regarding several vegetable crops at risk of genetic erosion (including multimedia and GPS data) that were stored into the Google App Engine platform. Such information were afterwards transferred into Google Fusion Tables for mapping them and share with a general public. Both tools were tested in real scenarios in the Italian region of Puglia and the results seems to be encouraging: Open Data Kit has provided a good platform for the collection of data and it is reliable for georeferencing the fields, while Google Fusion Tables allowed us to show the data and share them in an easy way. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Garrappa R.,University of Bari
European Physical Journal: Special Topics | Year: 2013

Time-fractional partial differential equations can be numerically solved by first discretizing with respect to the spatial derivatives and hence applying a time-step integrator. An exponential integrator for fractional differential equations is proposed to overcome the stability issues due to the stiffness in the resulting semi-discrete system. Convergence properties and the main implementation issues are studied. The advantages of the proposed method are illustrated by means of some test problems. © 2013 EDP Sciences and Springer.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
International Journal of Developmental Biology | Year: 2010

Werner Risau's work had a decisive impact on defining the overall nature of neovascularization processes during development and had the capability to integrate different directions in the field of endothelial cell biology research. In particular, he had a special interest in understanding the development, differentiation and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier. Risau very successfully propagated the concept that the same factors, such as basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which are essential for the formation of blood vessels during embryonic development, also influence pathological angiogenesis during tumor growth. This review is dedicated to a retrospective analysis of the most important contributions of Risau's work in the field of angiogenesis during embryonic development and in post-natal life, in both physiological and pathological conditions. © 2010.

Guidolin D.,University of Padua | Albertin G.,University of Padua | Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Peptides | Year: 2010

Angiogenesis, the process through which new blood vessels arise from pre-existing ones, is regulated by numerous "classic" factors and other "nonclassic" regulators of angiogenesis. Among these latter urotensin-II is a cyclic 11-amino acid (human) or 15-amino acid (rodent) peptide, originally isolated from the fish urophysis, which exerts a potent systemic vasoconstrictor and hypertensive effect. This review article summarizes the literature data concerning the involvement of urotensin-II in angiogenesis. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Palmieri L.,University of Bari | Palmieri L.,National Research Council Italy | Persico A.M.,Biomedical University of Rome
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics | Year: 2010

Autism Spectrum Disorders encompass severe developmental disorders characterized by variable degrees of impairment in language, communication and social skills, as well as by repetitive and stereotypic patterns of behaviour. Substantial percentages of autistic patients display peripheral markers of mitochondrial energy metabolism dysfunction, such as (a) elevated lactate, pyruvate, and alanine levels in blood, urine and/or cerebrospinal fluid, (b) serum carnitine deficiency, and/or (c) enhanced oxidative stress. These biochemical abnormalities are accompanied by highly heterogeneous clinical presentations, which generally (but by no means always) encompass neurological and systemic symptoms relatively unusual in idiopathic autistic disorder. In some patients, these abnormalities have been successfully explained by the presence of specific mutations or rearrangements in their mitochondrial or nuclear DNA. However, in the majority of cases, abnormal energy metabolism cannot be immediately linked to specific genetic or genomic defects. Recent evidence from post-mortem studies of autistic brains points toward abnormalities in mitochondrial function as possible downstream consequences of dysreactive immunity and altered calcium (Ca2+) signalling. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Musto C.,University of Bari
RecSys'10 - Proceedings of the 4th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems | Year: 2010

The use of Vector Space Models (VSM) in the area of Information Retrieval is an established practice within the scientific community. The reason is twofold: first, its very clean and solid formalism allows us to represent objects in a vector space and to perform calculations on them. On the other hand, as proved by many contributions, its simplicity does not hurt the effectiveness of the model. Although Information Retrieval and Information Filtering undoubtedly represent two related research areas, the use of VSM in Information Filtering is much less analzyed. The goal of this work is to investigate the impact of vector space models in the Information Filtering area. Specifically, I will introduce two approaches: the first one, based on a technique called Random Indexing, reduces the impact of two classical VSM problems, this is to say its high dimensionality and the inability to manage the semantics of documents. The second extends the previous one by integrating a negation operator implemented in the Semantic Vectors1 open-source package. The results emerged from an experimental evaluation performed on a large dataset and the applicative scenarios opened by these approaches confirmed the effectiveness of the model and induced to investigate more these techniques. © Copyright 2010 ACM.

Airoldi I.,G Gaslini Institute | Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Journal of Leukocyte Biology | Year: 2011

Chemokines have pleiotropic effects in regulating immunity, angiogenesis, and tumor growth. CXC and CC chemokine families members and their receptors are able to exert a proangiogenic or an antiangiogenic effect in experimental models and in human tumors. In this review article, we have summarized literature data and our studies concerning the angiostatic activity of chemokines. Their angiostatic activity may be a result of a direct effect on the biological functions of endothelial cells and/or an effect on tumor cells inhibiting their capability to stimulate new blood vessel formation. Moreover, chemokines have a pro- and antitumor effect within the tumor microenvironment by regulating immune cell infiltration and its antitumor activities. We have focused our interest on the role of IL-12 and IL-27 in solid and hematological tumors, and we have suggested and discussed their potential use as antiangiogenic agents in the treatment of such tumors. © Society for Leukocyte Biology.

Cotecchia S.,University of Bari | Cotecchia S.,University of Lausanne
Journal of Receptors and Signal Transduction | Year: 2010

The α1-adrenergic receptor (AR) subtypes (α1a, α1b, and α1d) mediate several physiological effects of epinephrine and norepinephrine. Despite several studies in recombinant systems and insight from genetically modified mice, our understanding of the physiological relevance and specificity of the α1-AR subtypes is still limited. Constitutive activity and receptor oligomerization have emerged as potential features regulating receptor function. Another recent paradigm is that βarrestins and G protein-coupled receptors themselves can act as scaffolds binding a variety of proteins and this can result in growing complexity of the receptor-mediated cellular effects. The aim of this review is to summarize our current knowledge on some recently identified functional paradigms and signaling networks that might help to elucidate the functional diversity of the α1-AR subtypes in various organs. © 2010 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

Cimpean A.-M.,Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara | Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Raica M.,Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara
International Journal of Developmental Biology | Year: 2011

The major problem with angiogenesis research is the choice of an appropriate assay. Currently, many in vitro and in vivo techniques are available for research into the functions of endothelial cells during angiogenesis. In this historical review article, we describe and evaluate the methodology and specific features of some of the most frequently used of these assays. © 2011 UBC Press.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Crivellato E.,University of Udine
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology | Year: 2011

Mast cells (MCs) were first described by Paul Ehrlich 1 in his doctoral thesis. MCs have long been implicated in the pathogenesis of allergic reactions and certain protective responses to parasites. As most tumors contain inflammatory cell infiltrates, which often include plentiful MCs, the question as to the possible contribution of MCs to tumor development has progressively been emerging. In this chapter, the specific involvement of MCs in tumor biology and tumor fate will be considered, with particular emphasis on the capacity of these cells to stimulate tumor growth by promoting angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Data from experimental carcinogenesis and from different tumor settings in human pathology will be summarized. Information to be presented will suggest that MCs may serve as a novel therapeutic target for cancer treatment. © 2011 Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Ribatti D.,Italian National Cancer Institute
Immunology Letters | Year: 2016

The discovery of immunoglobulin E (IgE) was a breakthrough in the field of allergy and immunology. Our understanding of mechanisms of allergic reactions and the role of IgE in these disorders has paralleled to the discovery of treatment modalities for patients with allergy. The first clue to the existence of a substance responsible for hypersensitivity reactions was demonstrated in 1921 by Prausnitz and Kustner, and after four decades it was identified as an immunoglobulin subclass by Ishizakas and co-workers. In 1968, the WHO International Reference Centre for Immunoglobulins announced the presence of a fifth immunoglobulin isotype, IgE. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Capurso C.,University of Foggia | Capurso A.,University of Bari
Vascular Pharmacology | Year: 2012

With a positive caloric balance, adipocytes undergo excessive hypertrophy, which causes adipocyte dysfunction, as well as adipose tissue endocrine and immune responses. A preferential site of fat accumulation is the abdominal-perivisceral region, due to peculiar factors of the adipose tissue in such sites, namely an excess of glucocorticoid activity, which promotes the accumulation of fat; and the greater metabolic activity and sensitivity to lipolysis, due to increased number and activity of β3-adrenoceptors and, partly, to reduced activity of α2-adrenoceptors. As a consequence, more free fatty acids (FFA) are released into the portal system.Hypertrophic adipocytes begin to secrete low levels of TNF-α, which stimulate preadipocytes and endothelial cells to produce MCP-1, in turn responsible for attracting macrophages to the adipose tissue, thus developing a state of chronic low-grade inflammation which is causally linked to insulin resistance.Excess of circulating FFA, TNF-α and other factors induces insulin resistance. FFA cause insulin resistance by inhibiting insulin signaling through the activation of serin-kinases, i.e. protein kinase C-Θ, and the kinases JNK and IKK, which promote a mechanism of serine phosphorylation of Insulin Receptor Substrates (IRS), leading to interruption of the downstream insulin receptor (IR) signaling. TNF-α, secreted by hypertrophic adipocytes and adipose tissue macrophages, also inhibits IR signaling by a double mechanism of serine-phosphorylation and tyrosine-dephosphorylation of IRS-1, causing inactivation and degradation of IRS-1 and a consequent stop of IR signaling.Such mechanisms explain the transition from excess adiposity to insulin resistance, key to the further development of type 2 diabetes. © 2012 Elsevier Inc..

Pupillo E.,Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research | Messina P.,Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research | Logroscino G.,University of Bari | Beghi E.,Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research
Annals of Neurology | Year: 2014

Objective To determine the long-term survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and identify predictors of prolonged survival in a population-based cohort of newly diagnosed patients. Methods An incident cohort from a population-based registry during the years 1998 through 2002 in Lombardy, Italy was followed until death or to February 28, 2013. Age, sex, date of onset of symptoms, site of onset, date of diagnosis, and El Escorial diagnostic category were collected. Survival was assessed using Kaplan-Meier curves. Cox proportional hazards function was used to identify independent prognostic predictors. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were used to assess the 5-year and 10-year excess mortality of ALS patients. Results Included were 280 men and 203 women aged 18 to 93 years. Spinal onset ALS was present in 312 cases (64.6%). Definite ALS was diagnosed in 213 cases (44.1%), probable ALS in 130 (26.9%), possible ALS in 93 (19.3%), and suspected ALS in 47 (9.7%). The cumulative time-dependent survival at 1, 5, and 10 years from diagnosis was 76.2%, 23.4%, and 11.8%, respectively. Independent predictors included younger age, the diagnosis of possible/suspected ALS, spinal onset, and symptoms having started >12 months previously at diagnosis. SMR was 9.4 at 5 years and 5.4 at 10 years. SMR at 10 years was higher until age 75 year, predominating in women, and became nonsignificant for males thereafter. Interpretation The outcome in ALS varies with phenotype. Longer survival is predicted by younger age, spinal onset, male gender, and suspected ALS. After age 75 years, 10-year survival in men with ALS is similar to the general population. © 2014 American Neurological Association.

Gikas P.,Technical University of Crete | Ranieri E.,University of Bari | Tchobanoglous G.,University of California at Davis
Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology | Year: 2013

Background: Two pilot scale horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands (HSFCWs), with a planted area of 15 m2 each, were constructed in Puglia, Italy, and planted with hydrophytes (Phragmites australis and Typha latifolia), while a similar field of equal size was used as a control. The primary aim of the present work was to assess the removal of three heavy metals from waste water, in relation to the evapotranspiration, using HSFCWs. Results: Residence time distributions in both planted HSFCWs indicated that the Typha field had porosity of 0.16 and exhibited more ideal plug flow behavior (Pe=29.7), compared with the Phragmites field (Pe=26.7), which had similar porosity. The measured hydraulic residence times in the planted fields were 35.8 and 36.7 h, for Typha and Phragmites, respectively, at waste water flow rates of 1 m3 d-1 (corresponding to hydraulic loading rate of 66.7 mm d-1). Heavy metals concentrations at the inlet were 2 mg/L, for each heavy metal, while at the outlet of the fields were Cr=0.23 mg L-1, Pb=0.21 mg L-1 and Fe=0.18 mg L-1 in the Phragmites field, and the removal rates were 87, 88 and 92% of Cr, Pb and Fe, respectively. The Typha field showed a similar behavior with concentrations equal to Cr=0.19 mg L-1, Pb=0.23 mg L-1 and Fe=0.16 mg L-1 and removal percentages of 90, 87, and 95% of Cr, Pb and Fe, respectively. The control field showed metal removals slightly lower (86, 78 and 88% for Cr, Pb and Fe, respectively). Conclusions: HSFCWs are appropriate for removing heavy metals from waste water. Evapotranspiration may significantly reduce the amount of discharged flow and may influence the removal rate of heavy metals. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry.

Chiara M.,University of Milan | Pesole G.,National Research Council Italy | Pesole G.,University of Bari | Horner D.S.,University of Milan
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2012

Several bioinformatics methods have been proposed for the detection and characterization of genomic structural variation (SV) from ultra highthroughput genome resequencing data. Recent surveys show that comprehensive detection of SV events of different types between an individual resequenced genome and a reference sequence is best achieved through the combination of methods based on different principles (split mapping, reassembly, read depth, insert size, etc.). The improvement of individual predictors is thus an important objective. In this study, we propose a new method that combines deviations from expected library insert sizes and additional information from local patterns of read mapping and uses supervised learning to predict the position and nature of structural variants. We show that our approach provides greatly increased sensitivity with respect to other tools based on paired end read mapping at no cost in specificity, and it makes reliable predictions of very short insertions and deletions in repetitive and low-complexity genomic contexts that can confound tools based on split mapping of reads. © 2012 The Author(s).

Marano G.C.,University of Bari | Quaranta G.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Acta Mechanica | Year: 2010

In this work, a new and efficient definition for a reliability index is explored for real structural engineering problems. The main innovative aspect is that it is based on a possibilistic criteria instead of a probabilistic one. Its definition deals with engineering cases where uncertain parameters of basic structural reliability problems can be operatively treated as fuzzy variables. A fuzzy-based version of classic Cornell proposed reliability index is discussed. Consequently, differences and advantages with respect to other non-probabilistic reliability measures reported in literature are critically analyzed with reference to well-specified criterions. Finally, two numerical examples are illustrated. The first, in the framework of the materials strength problem, is a simple comparison between these fuzzy reliability indicators, and is developed to clarify the applicability of our proposal. Subsequently, another more realistic numerical example is proposed; it is developed to appreciate its effectiveness in reliability assessment of complex structural systems. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.

Quaranta G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Monti G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Marano G.C.,University of Bari
Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing | Year: 2010

Many of the proposed approaches for non-linear systems control are developed under the assumption that all involved parameters are known in advance. Unfortunately, their estimation is not so simple because the nature of the non-linear behaviors is very complex in the most part of the cases. In view of this complication, parameters identification of non-linear oscillators has attracted increasing interests in various research fields: from a pure mathematical point-of-view, parameters identification can be formalized as a multi-dimensional optimization problem, typically over real bounded domains. In doing this, the use of the so-called non-classical methods based on soft computing theories seems to be promising because they do not require a priori information and the robustness of the identification against the noise contamination is satisfactory. However, further studies are required to evaluate the general effectiveness of these methodologies. In this sense, the paper addresses the consistency of two classes of soft computing based methods for the identification of Van der Pol-Duffing oscillators. A large numerical investigation has been conducted to evaluate the performances of six differential evolution algorithms (including a modified differential evolution algorithm proposed by the authors) and four swarm intelligence based algorithms (including a chaotic particle swarm optimization algorithm). Single well, double well and double-hump oscillators are identified and noisy system responses are considered in order to evaluate the robustness of the identification processes. The investigated soft computing techniques behave very well and thus they are suitable for practical applications. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

New petrographic and geologic data on the lower continental crust exposed in the Calabrian Arc are reported with the aim to shed some lights on the thinning episode occurred during the late stages of the Hercynian orogeny. Previous petrologic studies provide some constraints for the decompression mechanisms in different levels of the continental crust. However, an integral view of the exhumation mode, which took place during the Late Carboniferous, is still missing. This paper used the method of vorticity analysis, which takes into account new quartz c-axis measurements and microstructural observations on high-grade metasediments to estimate the value of the vorticity number (Wm). In addition, calculation of Wm allowed obtaining: i) the percentage of pure vs. simple shear and ii) the amount of thinning of the Hercynian continental lower crust exposed in Calabria. The final scenario is derived where pure shear played a major role in the thinning of the lower crust, whose original thickness is estimated to be two and half times the present-day value. Comparing this result with the well-known petrologic data, it is concluded that the late-Hercynian thinning preferentially took place in the lower crust and, along with erosion, would be the main responsible for the present-day overall crustal thickness. © Società Geologica Italiana, Roma 2014.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
International Journal of Developmental Biology | Year: 2010

The interactions between epithelial cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix are a central issue in morphogenesis studies. Roberto Montesano and colleagues at the University Medical Center of Geneva, Switzerland, have extensively investigated the mechanisms underlying two morphogenetic processes: the formation of new capillary blood vessels from pre-existing ones (angiogenesis) and the generation of branching epithelial tubules (tubulogenesis), which are crucial events in the development of most parenchymal organs. Dr. Montesano has contributed to clarifying some cellular and molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis and tubulogenesis using an original three-dimensional cell culture system which replicates key events of angiogenesis and tubulogenesis, thereby facilitating molecular analysis. A major advance of this technique over conventional monolayer cultures is that cells can be embedded within a lattice of reconstituted collagen fibrils which mimics the three-dimensional organization of connective tissue matrices. The results of these studies support the notion that cell interactions with the surrounding extracellular matrix are crucial determinants of cell responses to growth factors and that epithelial tissues morphogenesis is governed by the interplay of two different classes of signaling molecules, i.e. paracrine-acting growth factors and insoluble extracellular matrix components. © 2009 UBC Press.

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a major cause of blindness in Europe and North America, and the incidence is expected to increase in parallel with the rising incidence of diabetes mellitus. This article reviews the current state of knowledge of the epidemiology, clinical presentation and pathophysiology of DR and its principal associated complications, diabetic macular oedema (DME) and neovascularization, and then proceeds to the primary focus of clinical management. A series of major randomized controlled trials conducted over the past few decades has confirmed that tight glycaemic regulation is the most effective measure to reduce the risk of developing DR and to minimize the likelihood of its progression, and that control of blood pressure is also an important feature of preventive management. Laser-based therapies remain the cornerstone of treatment, with panretinal photocoagulation indicated for proliferative and severe nonproliferative DR and focal photocoagulation indicated for treatment of DME. For patients who do not benefit from these approaches, vitrectomy may provide therapeutic benefits. Medical therapies include two broad classes of agents: anti-inflammatory drugs and agents with molecular targets. The utility of oral anti-inflammatory drugs remains to be established, as dose-finding studies have yet to provide definitive conclusions. Intravitreal corticosteroids may be of value in specific circumstances, although adverse effects include cataract progression and elevated intraocular pressure. However, these complications appear to have been limited with new extended-release technologies. With respect to molecular targets, evidence has been adduced for the roles of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), tumour necrosis factor (TNF).α and protein kinase C (PKC).β2 in the pathogenesis of DR, and agents targeting these factors are under intense investigation. The role of VEGF in mediating pathological angiogenesis and vascular hyperpermeability has been best defined. Preliminary efficacy of pegaptanib and ranibizumab in the treatment of DME is being confirmed in additional clinical trials with these agents and with the off-label use of bevacizumab, another monoclonal antibody related to ranibizumab. Moreover, other agents targeting VEGF, as well as drugs directed against TNFα and PKC-β2, are under study. Evaluation of the ultimate utility of these approaches will await the efficacy and safety results of properly designed phase III trials. © 2010 Adis Data Information BV. All rights reserved.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Immunology Letters | Year: 2015

The immunological tolerance was described for the first time with the seminal observations made in 1945 by R.D. Owen, demonstrating that cattle dizygotic twins display red cell chimerism in adult life. F.M. Burnet and F. Fenner highlighted the Owen's discovery in their monograph "The production of Antibodies" published in 1949. In 1953, P. Medawar and his co-workers showed that tolerance can be experimentally induced in fetal mice and in chick embryos. In 1960, Medawar in recognition of the significance of his 1953 and 1956 papers was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Burnet for their discovery of acquired immunologic tolerance. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Candore G.,University of Palermo | Caruso C.,University of Palermo | Jirillo E.,National Institute of Gastroenterology | Magrone T.,University of Bari | Vasto S.,University of Palermo
Current Pharmaceutical Design | Year: 2010

Nowadays, people are living much longer than they used to do, however they are not free from ageing. Ageing, an inexorable intrinsic process that affects all cells, tissues, organs and individuals, is a post-maturational process that, due to a diminished homeostasis and increased organism frailty, causes a reduction of the response to environmental stimuli and, in general, is associated to an increased predisposition to illness and death. However, the high incidence of death due to infectious, cardiovascular and cancer diseases underlies a common feature in these pathologies that is represented by dysregulation of both instructive and innate immunity. Several studies show that a low-grade systemic inflammation characterizes ageing and that inflammatory markers are significant predictors of mortality in old humans. This pro-inflammatory status of the elderly underlies biological mechanisms responsible for physical function decline and agerelated diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and atherosclerosis are initiated or worsened by systemic inflammation. Understanding of the ageing process should have a prominent role in new strategies for extending the health old population. Accordingly, as extensively discussed in the review and in the accompanying related papers, investigating ageing pathophysiology, particularly disentangling agerelated low grade inflammation, is likely to provide important clues about how to develop drugs that can slow or delay ageing. © 2010 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

Objective Anterior skull base neoplastic and vascular lesions can receive significant blood supply from the anterior and posterior ethmoidal artery. Although useful in preoperative embolization of middle meningeal artery branches, endovascular techniques for the occlusion of anterior ethmoidal artery expose the parent vessel, the ophthalmic artery, to possible embolic complications, which can cause loss of vision. When dealing with anterior fossa giant meningiomas, moreover, it is not always possible to gain direct intracranial access to anterior ethmoidal arteries because of dimensions and invasiveness of these neoplasms. The aim of this review is to illustrate the anterior and posterior ethmoidal artery anatomy and the microsurgical approaches for extracranial ligation. Methods We performed a literature review of the relevant microsurgical anatomy of these arteries; particular attention is given to anterior cranial fossa and medial orbital wall anatomy. Results Our research found two surgical sites of arterial occlusion that can be best exposed with five microsurgical approaches. Conclusions A combination of different surgical and endovascular techniques before resection of hypervascular giant olfactory groove and planum sphenoidale meningiomas should always be considered. Microsurgical extracranial ligation of anterior and sometimes posterior ethmoidal arteries provides a safe and feasible option to limit blood loss during anterior skull base surgery. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Martemucci G.,University of Bari
Endocrine, metabolic & immune disorders drug targets | Year: 2013

There is an increasing focus on diet as a tool to maintain human health and prevent disease. Milk and milk products of ruminants are important source of fat and saturated fatty acids, which are not considered to be very favourable to human health, but are valuable sources of nutrients including bioactive fatty acids (FA), vitamins, and minerals, which can promote positive health effects. The nutritional characteristics of milk and dairy products are related to their composition, which depends on the source species, and varies due to numerous factors, among which the animal diet is the most important. An improvement in milk FA composition and other micronutrients can be reached through an animal feeding strategy. Natural pasture-based farming systems increase microconstituents that are beneficial to human health (CLA, PUFAs, n-3 FAs, antioxidants, vitamins A and E, and Se) and volatile compounds (flavour, and terpenes) in milk and cheese. There are still uncertainties about the health benefits of various milk FAs and other compounds; deep and extensive long-term clinical studies with humans are needed. The contamination of milk and dairy products by heavy metals or dioxins has dramatic negative consequences for human and livestock health and necessitates very urgent consideration and intervention.

Lezza A.M.S.,University of Bari
Frontiers in Biology | Year: 2012

Mitochondrial Transcription Factor A (TFAM) is a nuclear-encoded factor present in mitochondria from all kinds of animals, even with a homologous form in yeast, which has strongly and progressively gained an eminent relevance in the regulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) functions. This is due to the various functions performed by the protein, which cover a very wide scenario including: replication, transcription, maintenance and eventually repair of mtDNA molecules. In consideration of so many different roles it plays, it can be understood there is a deep interest in its regulation of expression and activity as well as its eventual involvement in pathologies related to a decreased functionality/presence of the mitochondrial genome and the consequences of TFAM induced overexpression. © 2012 Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Vitale E.,University of Bari
Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology | Year: 2010

Background and aim: Childhood obesity is widespread in all industrialized European countries and it contributes significantly to population morbidity and mortality. Moreover, obesity is a chronic disease with a multifactorial etiology including genetics, environment, metabolism, lifestyle and behavioral components. This article addresses the school nursing approach thought: education of children and their families, participation in policy-making process to improve nutrition and activities for children. Conclusions: The future policies surrounding pediatric obesity must include continued focus on prevention and treatment. Forming broad partnerships that include the government, communities, professional organizations, industries, schools, preschools, day care, and family will improve the likelihood for successful implementation. © 2010 Informa UK Ltd.

Aims: Measles virus (MV) infection induces a protective immunity that is accompanied by a transient pathologic suppression of the immune system. This immunologic paradox remains unexplained in spite of the numerous hypotheses that have been advanced (i.e., cytokine production, soluble immunosuppressive factor, cell cycle block, signaling lymphocyte activation molecule receptor and MV infection of dendritic cells, among others). Methods: Searching for molecular link(s) between MV infection and host immunodeficiency, this study used the Immune Epitope DataBase to analyze the peptide sharing between the antigenic MV hemagglutinin (H) protein and human proteins associated with immunodeficiency. Results: It was found that the majority of MVH derived epitopes share several exact pentapeptide sequences with numerous human proteins involved in immune functions and immunodeficiency, such as B- and T-cell antigens, and complement components. Conclusion: The data suggest that crossreactivity might contribute to our understanding of the link between MV immunogenicity and MV-induced immunosuppression, and highlight peptides unique to MV as a basis for developing effective and safe anti-MV vaccines. © 2015 Future Medicine Ltd.

Mininno E.,University of Jyvaskyla | Mininno E.,Academy of Finland | Neri F.,Academy of Finland | Cupertino F.,University of Bari | Naso D.,Polytechnic of Bari
IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation | Year: 2011

This paper proposes the compact differential evolution (cDE) algorithm. cDE, like other compact evolutionary algorithms, does not process a population of solutions but its statistic description which evolves similarly to all the evolutionary algorithms. In addition, cDE employs the mutation and crossover typical of differential evolution (DE) thus reproducing its search logic. Unlike other compact evolutionary algorithms, in cDE, the survivor selection scheme of DE can be straightforwardly encoded. One important feature of the proposed cDE algorithm is the capability of efficiently performing an optimization process despite a limited memory requirement. This fact makes the cDE algorithm suitable for hardware contexts characterized by small computational power such as micro-controllers and commercial robots. In addition, due to its nature cDE uses an implicit randomization of the offspring generation which corrects and improves the DE search logic. An extensive numerical setup has been implemented in order to prove the viability of cDE and test its performance with respect to other modern compact evolutionary algorithms and state-of-the-art population-based DE algorithms. Test results show that cDE outperforms on a regular basis its corresponding population-based DE variant. Experiments have been repeated for four different mutation schemes. In addition cDE outperforms other modern compact algorithms and displays a competitive performance with respect to state-of-the-art population-based algorithms employing a DE logic. Finally, the cDE is applied to a challenging experimental case study regarding the on-line training of a nonlinear neural-network-based controller for a precise positioning system subject to changes of payload. The main peculiarity of this control application is that the control software is not implemented into a computer connected to the control system but directly on the micro-controller. Both numerical results on the test functions and experimental results on the real-world problem are very promising and allow us to think that cDE and future developments can be an efficient option for optimization in hardware environments characterized by limited memory. © 2010 IEEE.

Battaglia M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Di Bari M.,University of Bari | Acocella V.,Third University of Rome | Neri M.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research | Year: 2011

Many volcanic edifices are subject to flank failure, usually produced by a combination of events, rather than any single process. From a dynamic point of view, the cause of collapse can be divided into factors that contribute to an increase in shear stress, and factors that contribute to the reduction in the friction coefficient μ of a potential basal failure plane. We study the potential for flank failure at Mount Etna considering a schematic section of the eastern flank, approximated by a wedge-like block. For such geometry, we perform a (steady state) limit equilibrium analysis: the resolution of the forces parallel to the possible basal failure plane allows us to determine the total force acting on the potentially unstable wedge. An estimate of the relative strength of these forces suggests that, in first approximation, the stability is controlled primarily by the balance between block weight, lithostatic load and magmatic forces. Any other force (sea load, hydrostatic uplift, and the uplift due to mechanical and thermal pore-fluid pressure) may be considered of second order. To study the model sensitivity, we let the inferred slope α of the basal surface failure vary between -10° and 10°, and consider three possible scenarios: no magma loading, magmastatic load, and magmastatic load with magma overpressure. We use error propagation to include in our analysis the uncertainties in the estimates of the mechanics and geometrical parameters controlling the block equilibrium. When there is no magma loading, the ratio between destabilizing and stabilizing forces is usually smaller than the coefficient of friction of the basal failure plane. In the absence of an initiating mechanism, and with the nominal values of the coefficient of friction μ= 0.7. ±. 0.1 proposed, the representative wedge will remain stable or continue to move at constant speed. In presence of magmastatic forces, the influence of the lateral restraint decreases. If we consider the magmastatic load only, the block will remain stable (or continue to move at constant speed), unless the transient mechanical and thermal pressurization significantly decrease the friction coefficient, increasing the instability of the flank wedge for α>. 5° (seaward dipping decollement). When the magma overpressure contribution is included in the equilibrium analysis, the ratio between destabilizing and stabilizing forces is of the same order or larger than the coefficient of friction of the basal failure plane, and the block will become unstable (or accelerate), especially in the case of the reduction in friction coefficient. Finally, our work suggests that the major challenge in studying flank instability at Mount Etna is not the lack of an appropriate physical model, but the limited knowledge of the mechanical and geometrical parameters describing the block equilibrium. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Cives M.,University of Bari
Neuroendocrinology | Year: 2015

Background: Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) metastasize to the bone. However, incidence, clinical features, management and pathogenesis of bone involvement in NET patients have been poorly investigated. Methods: We reviewed all published reports of histologically-confirmed bone metastatic NETs and explored clinical, radiological, prognostic and therapeutic characteristics in a population of 152 patients. Then, we evaluated immunohistochemical expression of a panel of 8 epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related factors including Snail, TGF-β1, CTGF, IL-11, PTHrP, EpCAM, CXCR4 and RANK in an independent cohort of 44 archival primary NETs. Biomarker expression was correlated with clinico-pathological variables including the skeletal involvement and tested for survival prediction. Results: We found that 55% of NET patients with bone metastases were male, with a median age of 55 years at diagnosis. Metastases were restricted to the skeleton in the 34% of the NET population, and axial and osteoblastic lesions were prevalent. NETs differently expressed proteins involved in the EMT activation. High CXCR4 (p < 0.0001) and low TGF-β1 levels (p = 0.0015) were significantly associated with increased risk of skeletal metastases, suggesting that EMT is implicated in NET osteotropism. By applying an algorithm measuring distinct immunohistochemical predictors of osteotropism on primary tumors, we were able to identify NET patients with bone metastases with a sensitivity and specificity of 91 and 100% respectively (p < 0.0001). Patients whose primary tumors expressed CTGF (p = 0.0007) as well as the truncated form of EpCAM (p = 0.06) underwent shorter survival. Conclusion: Although underestimated, bone metastases are a prominent feature of NETs and the tumor expression of EMT markers at the diagnosis may predict concurrent or subsequent skeleton colonization. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel Copyright © 2015, S. Karger AG. All rights reserved.

Afzal A.,Quaid-i-Azam University | Afzal A.,University of Bari | Siddiqi H.M.,Quaid-i-Azam University
Polymer | Year: 2011

This paper presents a novel two-stage chronological procedure developed for the synthesis of bicontinuous epoxy-silica hybrid polymers. The epoxy-silica polymers are produced by solvent-free hydrolysis of tetraethylorthosilicate into the liquid epoxy resin, followed by the crosslinking of epoxide groups with a diamine curing agent. The two types of bicontinuous epoxy-silica hybrid polymers prepared in this way contain 0-30 wt.% silica and differ only in the absence or presence of (3-glycidoxypropyl)trimethoxysilane (GLYMO); minimal amount of which is used for the in situ functionalization of silica. GCMS and DSC analyses provide an insight into the reaction mechanism, and reveal that total conversion of silanes as well as epoxy groups is feasible in this way. The free-standing epoxy-silica polymer films are subsequently characterized by the attenuated total reflectance FTIR spectroscopy and AFM. The AFM micrographs exhibit a very fine dispersion of nanoscale silica into the organic matrix that is further enhanced on addition of GLYMO. The presence of GLYMO substantially affects the particle size and distribution, augments the adhesion of the two phases, and inhibits the macroscopic phase separation. The glass transition temperatures of epoxy-silica polymers are also improved by 20.4%; which is attributed to the formation of entangled epoxy-silica networks. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Owen G.,University of Swansea | Moretti M.,University of Bari
Sedimentary Geology | Year: 2011

Triggers for liquefaction-induced soft-sediment deformation structures in sands include seismic shaking, effects of water waves, rapid sediment accumulation and groundwater movements. Many soft-sediment deformation structures are attributed to a seismic trigger, but the evidence is often variable and inconclusive. Liquefaction and its effects are reviewed in the context of earthquakes, other triggers and experiments. The interpretation of liquefaction-induced soft-sediment deformation structures comprises two key stages: recognising liquefaction as the deformation mechanism, and determining the trigger for liquefaction. The characteristics of sediment that has undergone liquefaction include the pervasive, ductile character of deformation, preservation of stratification, a gradual upward increase in the extent or complexity of deformation, possible water-escape structures in the upper parts of a liquefied horizon, a horizontal upper surface, and a distinctive grain fabric. Approaches to determining the trigger for liquefaction include those based on criteria and those based on the sedimentological and palaeoenvironmental context. Few of the criteria applied to seismic triggers are diagnostic and several are not applicable on the scale of single outcrops. Criteria are poorly developed for non-seismic triggers. A methodology is proposed for analysing soft-sediment deformation structures within their overall sedimentological and palaeoenvironmental context in order to refine and improve criteria for distinguishing the action of 'external' (allogenic) triggers, including earthquakes, from 'internal' (autogenic) triggers. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Rossi A.C.,University of Bari | Prefumo F.,University of Brescia
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology | Year: 2013

Objective To review the current literature concerning perinatal outcome of monoamniotic pregnancies with cord entanglement. Methods A search in PubMed, EMBASE and MEDLINE for articles published between January 2000 and December 2011 was performed, using the following keywords: monoamniotic/monochorionic pregnancy(ies); twins; cord entanglement; fetal ultrasound/surveillance. Inclusion criteria for the study were: monoamniotic twins with documented cord entanglement at delivery, and perinatal outcome reported as proportional rates. Exclusion criteria were: higher-order multiple pregnancy; selective feticide; presence of twin reversed arterial perfusion sequence; conjoined twins; fewer than four cases in the series; and non-English language publication. Survival rates were stratified for method of prenatal management, sonographic diagnosis of cord entanglement and delivery mode. A meta-analysis was also performed using data from articles that stratified outcome according to the presence or absence of cord entanglement at birth. Comparison between neonates with cord entanglement and controls was deemed significant if the 95% CI of the pooled odds ratios did not encompass 1. MOOSE (Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) guidelines were followed. Results Nine articles met the inclusion criteria for this review, including a total of 114 monoamniotic twin sets (228 fetuses) with cord entanglement. The overall survival rate was 202/228 (88.6%). Perinatal mortality occurred in 26 (11.4%) fetuses; of these, 17 (65%) died in utero and nine (35%) died at birth. Five neonatal deaths occurred as a result of prematurity, two were related to structural abnormalities and two were caused by cord entanglement. Sonographic visualization of cord entanglement did not improve outcome. Four articles were included in the meta-analysis, with no significant difference in mortality between controls (n = 66 fetuses) and twins with cord entanglement (n = 82 fetuses), and higher morbidity in controls. Conclusions Cord entanglement does not contribute to prenatal morbidity and mortality in monoamniotic twin pregnancies. Linked Comment: Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2013:41:129 Copyright © 2012 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Starting with 1985, we discovered the possible existence of electrons with net helicity in biomolecules as amino acids and their possibility to discern between the two quantum spin states. It is well known that the question of a possible fundamental role of quantum mechanics in biological matter constitutes still a long debate. In the last ten years we have given a rather complete quantum mechanical elaboration entirely based on Clifford algebra whose basic entities are isomorphic to the well-known spin Pauli matrices. A number of our recent results indicate the possible logical origin of quantum mechanics and the direct admission of quantum mechanics in the field of cognitive sciences. In February 2011, Gohler et al. published their important discovery on Science about Spin Selectivity in Electron Transmission Through Self-Assembled Monolayers of Double-Stranded DNA confirming in such manner that the principles of quantum mechanics apply to biological systems.

Del Gaudio V.,University of Bari | Wasowski J.,National Research Council Italy
Engineering Geology | Year: 2011

The influence of site effects on landslide triggering during earthquakes has been inferred in several studies, but its evaluation is made difficult by the complexity of factors controlling the dynamic response of potentially unstable slopes and also by the lack of local ground motion instrumental observations. This work explores this problem and reports new findings based on an ongoing long term accelerometric monitoring conducted on a landslide-prone test area in the Apennine Mountains, Italy, where the presence of site effects enhancing seismic susceptibility of local slopes has been invoked on the basis of historic accounts of landsliding triggered at large epicentral distance. The recordings relative to low-to-moderate magnitude earthquakes showed significant amplifications affecting hillslope portions covered by thick (>5m) colluvia and pronounced amplification maxima oriented along the local maximum slope direction on a recent deep-seated landslide. While the amplifications seem most likely linked to high impedance contrast between surface materials and underlying substratum, the causes of directivity are less clear. The case of the monitored test site together with evidence of site response directivity identified on other hillslopes, suggest that the directivity phenomena can result from a combination of topographic, lithological and structural factors that act together to re-distribute shaking energy, focusing it on site-specific directions. Thus, it is difficult to single out the critical factors controlling such phenomena and no general criterion for the identification of sites affected by directivity is proposed here. Nevertheless, the presence and orientation of site response directivity can be revealed through reconnaissance techniques by using recordings of seismic weak motion and/or ambient microtremors, and calculating azimuthal variation of shaking energy and horizontal-to-vertical ground motion spectral ratios. A comparison with the recordings obtained during the recent MW=6.3 earthquake that hit the Abruzzo region in April 2009 demonstrated that analysis relying on data from low energy events can furnish valid indications for slope behaviour also under stronger shaking, provided the data are well differentiated in terms of distance, azimuth and source characteristics. Furthermore, the comparative analysis of the Abruzzo earthquake recordings at a landslide and reference sites showed that directivity properties of strong shaking had been correctly anticipated using earlier weak motion observations. However, under the complex slope conditions the identification of resonance frequencies from horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios estimated from weak-motion accelerometric recordings does not seem reliable, and better results have been obtained by velocimetric microtremor recordings. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Sarocchi D.,Institute Geologia | Sulpizio R.,University of Bari | Macias J.L.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Saucedo R.,Institute Geologia
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research | Year: 2011

On July 17 1999, a strong explosion occurred at Colima Volcano (Mexico) that produced a 10km high eruptive column. The partial column collapse originated a block-and-ash flow (BAF) that flowed to the south, along the San Antonio and Montegrande ravines, travelling 3.3km from the volcano summit. The flow filled the ravines with a volume estimated at 7.9×105m3. The erosion of these deposits occurred between 1999 and 2002 (time of sampling), providing excellent longitudinal outcrops that allowed their detailed textural study. The study was carried out by means of quantitative textural analysis: (1) Rosiwal intersections, for carrying out vertical granulometric profiles; (2) total grain-size analysis, from -11 to +9 Φ; and (3) Fourier and fractal analysis of the particle morphology. Grain size and morphometric parameters obtained with these methods were used to identify vertical and longitudinal variation patterns in the BAF deposit. The grain size variations allowed to infer the main particle segregation mechanisms that acted during transport and deposition of the studied BAFs. The two methods used for studying the particle shape morphologies yielded results with different accuracy and reliability. In particular, fractal analyses have been found to be the most effective in describing the particle support mechanisms that acted during transport and deposition of the studied BAFs.The results highlight the importance of the information obtained by means of these techniques, and provide new insights in transportation and deposition mechanisms of BAFs. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Castellano G.,University of Bari
Molecular Immunology | Year: 2015

Despite the fact that was one of the first systems to be discovered and investigated in the innate immunity, Complement is continuing to receive growing attention by the scientific community. Complement is involved in several diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis or Systemic Lupus Erythematous. Successful therapeutic intervention in treating Complement-mediated diseases such as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome represent a promising advance to continue the research on Complement to develop specific inhibitors for treating human diseases. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Ribatti D.,Italian National Cancer Institute
Experimental Cell Research | Year: 2015

Mast cells are critical regulators of the pathogenesis of the central nervous system diseases, including stroke, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury, and brain tumors. Here, we have summarized the literature data concerning the involvement of mast cells in blood-brain barrier alterations, and we have suggested a possible role of angiogenic mediators stored in mast cell granules in the vasoproliferative reactions occurring in these pathological conditions. It is conceivable to hypothesize that mast cells might be regarded in a future perspective as a new target for the adjuvant treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumors through the selective inhibition of angiogenesis, tissue remodeling and tumor-promoting molecules, favoring the secretion of cytotoxic cytokines and preventing mast cell-mediated immune suppression. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Zambelli F.,University of Milan | Prazzoli G.M.,University of Milan | Pesole G.,CNR Institute of Biomembrane and Bioenergetics | Pesole G.,University of Bari | Pavesi G.,University of Milan
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2012

The regulation of transcription of eukaryotic genes is a very complex process, which involves interactions between transcription factors (TFs) and DNA, as well as other epigenetic factors like histone modifications, DNA methylation, and so on, which nowadays can be studied and characterized with techniques like ChIP-Seq. Cscan is a web resource that includes a large collection of genome-wide ChIP-Seq experiments performed on TFs, histone modifications, RNA polymerases and others. Enriched peak regions from the ChIP-Seq experiments are crossed with the genomic coordinates of a set of input genes, to identify which of the experiments present a statistically significant number of peaks within the input genes' loci. The input can be a cluster of co-expressed genes, or any other set of genes sharing a common regulatory profile. Users can thus single out which TFs are likely to be common regulators of the genes, and their respective correlations. Also, by examining results on promoter activation, transcription, histone modifications, polymerase binding and so on, users can investigate the effect of the TFs (activation or repression of transcription) as well as of the cell or tissue specificity of the genes' regulation and expression. The web interface is free for use, and there is no login requirement. Available at: http://www.beaconlab.it/cscan. © 2012 The Author(s).

Dieci L.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Lopez L.,University of Bari
BIT Numerical Mathematics | Year: 2014

In this paper, event location techniques for a differential system the solution of which is directed towards a manifold (Formula presented.) defined as the 0-set of a smooth function (Formula presented.) are considered. It is assumed that the exact solution trajectory hits (Formula presented.) non-tangentially, and numerical techniques guaranteeing that the trajectory approaches (Formula presented.) from one side only (i.e., does not cross it) are studied. Methods based on Runge Kutta schemes which arrive to (Formula presented.) in a finite number of steps are proposed. The main motivation of this paper comes from integration of discontinuous differential systems of Filippov type, where location of events is of paramount importance. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

Barile F.,University of Bari
Journal of Physics: Conference Series | Year: 2016

The excellent tracking and particle identification capabilities of the ALICE apparatus combined with the high particle production rates reached at the LHC in pp, p-Pb and in particular in Pb-Pb collisions allow for detailed study of the production of (anti-)(hyper-)nuclei and searches for exotica, like dibaryons. In this report, we present recent results on the production of the (anti-)deuteron and (anti-)helium. Further, we discuss recent results on the production and the lifetime of the (anti-)hypertriton. In addition, results from the searches for the weakly-decaying exotic nuclear bound states H-dibaryon and An are shown. The results are compared with the expectations from statistical (thermal) particle production and coalescence models.

Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) is a rare autosomal recessive autoinflammatory disorder involving the innate immunity and affecting almost exclusively populations with Mediterranean origin. Clinical features include recurrent episodes of fever, leukocitosis, serositis (peritonitis or pleuritis, arthritis), myalgia or erysipelas-like skin lesions, lasting 12-72 hrs. The MEFV gene mutations on chromosome 16p13.3 encodes the abnormal pyrin (marenostrin), a protein expressed in granulocytes, monocytes, serosal and synovial fibroblasts and involved in the activation of caspase-1 and the processing and release of active pro-inflammatory IL-1β. Since the first report in 1972, maintenance therapy with colchicine, a tricyclic neutral alkaloid, remains the mainstay of treatment in symptomatic FMF patients since it reduces the disease activity and prevents the development of secondary amyloidosis and renal damage. Adjunctive symptomatic therapy to colchicine includes nonsteroideal antinflammatory drugs and corticosteroids. In a small group of colchicine-intolerant or colchicine-resistant FMF patients, alternative treatments must be considered. Evolving experiences have focussed on the potential effectiveness of biologic agents working as TNF-α inhibitors (etanercept, infliximab), IL-1 trap (Rilonacept), IL-1 inhibitors (Anakinra, Canakinumab) and IL-6 receptor antibody (Tocilizumab). Interferon-α and thalidomide have also been employed in FMF patients. Still, clinical trials are mainly uncontrolled and restricted to few cases, thus requiring definitive conclusions. Old, and new treatments are discussed in the rare FMF disease, with the concept that any ideal treatment has to stand the test of time. © 2016 Bentham Science Publishers.

Escobedo M.A.,TU Munich | Giannuzzi F.,University of Bari | Mannarelli M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Soto J.,University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

By means of effective field theory techniques, we study the modifications of some properties of weakly coupled heavy quarkonium states propagating through a quark-gluon plasma at temperatures much smaller than the heavy quark mass, mQ. Two different cases are considered, corresponding to two different hierarchies between the typical size of the bound state, r, the binding energy, E, the temperature, T, and the screening mass, mD. The first case corresponds to the hierarchy mQ1/rTEmD, relevant for moderate temperatures, and the second one to the hierarchy m QT1/r, mDE, relevant for studying the dissociation mechanism. In the first case we determine the perturbative correction to the binding energy and to the decay width of states with arbitrary angular momentum, finding that the width is a decreasing function of the velocity. A different behavior characterizes the second kinematical case, where the width of s-wave states becomes a nonmonotonic function of the velocity, increasing at moderate velocities and decreasing in the ultrarelativistic limit. We obtain a simple analytical expression of the decay width for T1/rmDE at moderate velocities, and we derive the s-wave spectral function for the more general case T1/r, mDE. A brief discussion of the possible experimental signatures as well as a comparison with the relevant lattice data are also presented. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Murgia S.,University of Cagliari | Monduzzi M.,University of Cagliari | Palazzo G.,University of Bari
Langmuir | Year: 2012

Anion binding to nonionic micelles was quantified by self-diffusion. Four anions were probed by multinuclear PGSTE NMR measurements in a Triton X-100 micellar aqueous solution. The salt concentration used was sufficiently low to avoid any micellar growth affecting surface curvature. The micellar aggregates that provide a model surface are uncharged with hydrophilic headgroups so that electrostatic ion surface interactions play little or no role in prescribing specific anion binding. Anionic affinity to the micellar surface followed a Hofmeister series, (CH 3) 2AsO 2 - ≫ CH 3COO - > H 2PO 4 - > F -. The observed ion specificity is rationalized by calling into play the nonelectrostatic interactions occurring between the anions and the micellar surface. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Lauritano D.,University of Milan Bicocca | Petruzzi M.,University of Bari
Medicina Oral, Patologia Oral y Cirugia Bucal | Year: 2012

Objective: The aim of this prospective controlled study is the comparison between long-term children survived leukaemia and a control group in terms of the decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth (DMFT) and dental anomalies. Study design: Fifty-two long term children survived leukaemia, aged from 8 to 15 years (27 females, 25 males; mean age 11.5 years) were evaluated for the possible effects of the anti-leukaemic therapy on dental development and compared to a control group of 52 healthy children (27 females, 25 males, mean age 11 years). All long-term children who survived were at least 24 months in continuous complete remission. The study of the dental status with a routine oral examination and panoramic radiographs was performed. The DMFT (recorded according to the WHO criteria) and dental anomalies were registered and evaluated. Results: The results of this study evidence that long-term children survived leukaemia, in comparison with the control group, have an higher risk to develop dental caries and show a greater severity of dental anomalies including V-shaped roots, dental agenesis, microdontia, enamel dysplasias. Conclusions: Paediatric patients with haemathological diseases require a special attentions in dental care in addition to the antineoplastic treatment. Therefore, oral hygiene and oral health can be maintained thanks to a close cooperation between the paediatric oncohaematologists, pediatrics dental surgeons and dental hygienists. © Medicina Oral S. L.

Bonifazi E.,University of Bari
European Journal of Pediatric Dermatology | Year: 2010

Halo nevus is expression of the regression/depigmentation of the nevus due to autoimmune inflammation. It involves both the nevus and in a very regular manner the surrounding skin. Here are reported four exceptional cases of depigmentation/regression of nevi. In these nevi the classic halo around the nevus lacks, the depigmentation around or inside the nevus is partial or regular inside the nevus around a more pigmented central portion of the nevus or finally completely irregular around a melanic lesion devoid of cells.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Stem Cells and Development | Year: 2010

Erythropoietin (Epo) may be considered as an endogenous stimulator of vessel growth during tumor progression through an autocrine and/or paracrine loop. The vascular effects of Epo would be relevant in tumor angiogenesis and the negative effect of Epo on tumor growth may be aggravated by its angiogenic activity. The mechanism of tumor growth in the context of Epo is not completely clarified, and it is still not clear whether there is a direct effect of Epo in tumor cells as opposed to exogenous effect on angiogenesis. It is also possible that the effect of Epo is multifactorial depending on the type of tumor and level of functionality of Epo receptor expression in tumor cells, as well other variables such as hypoxic stress, degree of anemia, chemotherapy, radiotherapy of surgical intervention. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

New data on Aegilops uniaristata Vis. (syn.: Triticum uniaristatum (Vis.) K. Richt.) in Apulia are given. A new locality of A. uniaristata in Apulia on the Adriatic coast of the Italian Peninsula is discovered. The taxon was already known from the Mediterranean East and Croatian coasts. A. uniaristata is deemed relevant and is included into the Regional Red List of plants (Apulia) as endangered (EN) and into the Red Book of Croatian vascular flora as near threatened (NT).

Rubino A.,University of Bari
Energy Policy | Year: 2015

Current EU energy policy calls for a well-integrated Internal Energy Market by 2020 aimed at achieving interconnection of at least 10% of the installed electricity production capacity for all Member States (MS). In 2030, this target will increase to 15%, expanding to include the construction of electricity highways to connect MS and non-EU neighbouring countries in order to fulfil energy and climate goals. While most cross-borders interconnections are envisaged as regulated lines, private players will play a significant role in increasing interconnection via the Merchant Transmission Investment (MTI) exception. By reviewing the procedural and substantive treatment of the existing five MTI interconnectors, this paper evaluates whether the existing legal and regulatory framework adopted in the EU represents a suitable model for the development of cross border interconnections. Further, the paper explores the MTI exception as a potential model for cross-border interconnection with non-EU neighbouring countries. This analysis demonstrates that MTI's potential contribution would not significantly impact the achievement of the 2020 target. Moreover, the existing regulatory framework for merchant lines among MS is not apt for MTI developed between MS and non-EU countries, since the interconnection developed with non-EU neighbouring countries to date has necessitated non-market characteristics too extraordinary to be practical on a continuing basis. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Erez O.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Mastrolia S.A.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Mastrolia S.A.,University of Bari | Thachil J.,Royal Infirmary
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology | Year: 2015

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a life-threatening situation that can arise from a variety of obstetrical and nonobstetrical causes. Obstetrical DIC has been associated with a series of pregnancy complications including the following: (1) acute peripartum hemorrhage (uterine atony, cervical and vaginal lacerations, and uterine rupture); (2) placental abruption; (3) preeclampsia/eclampsia/hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count syndrome; (4) retained stillbirth; (5) septic abortion and intrauterine infection; (6) amniotic fluid embolism; and (7) acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Prompt diagnosis and understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease leading to this complication in essential for a favorable outcome. In recent years, novel diagnostic scores and treatment modalities along with bedside point-of-care tests were developed and may assist the clinician in the diagnosis and management of DIC. Team work and prompt treatment are essential for the successful management of patients with DIC. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Angelelli P.,University of Bari | Marinelli C.V.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Zoccolotti P.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Cognitive Neuropsychology | Year: 2010

Italian children with surface dyslexia and dysgraphia show defective orthographic lexical processing in both reading and spelling. It is unclear whether this parallelism is due to impairment of separate orthographic input and output lexicons or to a unique defective lexicon. The main aim of the present study was to compare the single- versus dual-lexicon accounts in dyslexic/dysgraphic children (and in normal but younger children). In the first experiment, 9 Italian children with surface dyslexia and dysgraphia judged the orthographic correctness (input lexicon) of their phonologically plausible misspellings (output lexicon) and of phonologically plausible spellings experimentally introduced for words they consistently spelt correctly. The children were generally impaired in recognizing phonologically plausible misspellings. Parallel deficits in reading and spelling also emerged: Children were more impaired in judging items they consistently misspelt and more accurate in judging items they always spelt correctly. In a second experiment, younger normal children with reading/spelling ability similar to that of the dyslexic/dysgraphic children in the first experiment (but younger) were examined. The results confirmed a close parallelism between the orthographic lexical representations used for reading and spelling. Overall, findings support the hypothesis that a single orthographic lexicon is responsible for reading and spelling performance in both dyslexic/dysgraphic and normal (but younger) children. © 2011 Psychology Press.

Garrappa R.,University of Bari
International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos | Year: 2012

The numerical approximation of linear multiterm fractional differential equations is investigated. Convolution quadratures based on Runge-Kutta methods together with formulas for the efficient inversion of the Laplace transform are considered to provide highly accurate numerical solutions. Implementation issues are discussed and good stability properties are shown. The effectiveness of the algorithm is analyzed by means of some numerical experiments. © 2012 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Vonghia L.,University of Antwerp | Vonghia L.,University of Bari | Michielsen P.,University of Antwerp | Francque S.,University of Antwerp
International Journal of Molecular Sciences | Year: 2013

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is characterized by the presence of steatosis, inflammation and hepatocyte injury and constitutes hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. The pathogenesis of NASH is complex and implicates cross-talk between different metabolically active sites, such as liver and adipose tissue. Obesity is considered a chronic low-grade inflammatory state and the liver has been recognized as being an "immunological organ". The complex role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of NASH is currently raising great interest, also in view of the possible therapeutic potential of immunotherapy in NASH. This review focuses on the disturbances of the cells constituting the innate and adaptive immune system in the liver and in adipose tissue. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology | Year: 2012

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common malignancy affecting children accounting for approximately 30% of childhood cancers, which was uniformly fatal before the advent of effective chemotherapy. In this historical note, the fundamental contribution of Sidney Farber to the treatment of ALL by using, for the first time, aminopterin-a chemotherapeutic agent-has been recognized. © 2012 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

Mylonas C.C.,Hellenic Center for Marine Research | de la Gandara F.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | Corriero A.,University of Bari | Rios A.B.,Taxon Estudios Ambientales
Reviews in Fisheries Science | Year: 2010

The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is one of the tunas with the highest commercial value and it is supporting the capture-based tuna aquaculture industry in the Mediterranean Sea. This is a seasonal activity and it involves the capture of fish from the wild and their rearing in sea cages for periods ranging between 3 months to 2 years. Short-term rearing is done mainly to: (a) achieve a greater body fat percentage and (b) obtain a better price by not flooding the market in the brief fishing period. Due to the increasing fear of a collapse of the fishery, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas currently reduced the total allowable catches for 2010 to 13,500 mtn from 32,000 mtn previously. Therefore, there is great interest in establishing a proper and sustainable tuna aquaculture industry. This necessitates the development of specific technologies for tuna aquaculture that will not rely on captured individuals from the wild, as it is practiced today. This article reviews the methods used for the farming and fattening of the species in the Mediterranean Sea, and the current status of the efforts at controlling reproduction in captivity. © Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Crivellato E.,University of Udine
Developmental Biology | Year: 2012

Angiogenesis is defined as a new blood vessel sprouting from pre-existing vessels. This highly regulated process take place through two non-exclusive events, the so-called endothelial sprouting or non-sprouting (intussusceptive) microvascular growth. This review article will provide a brief overview of some relevant topics defining sprouting angiogenesis and including: (i) The concept of functional specialization of endothelial cells during different phases of this process, involving the specification of endothelial cells into tip cells, stalk cells, and phalanx cells bearing different morphologies and functional properties; (ii) The interplay between numerous signaling pathways, including Notch and Notch ligands, VEGF and VEGFRs, semaphorins, and netrins, in the regulation and modulation of the phenotypic characteristics of these cells; (iii) Some fundamental and consecutive morphological processes, including lumen formation and perfusion, network formation, remodeling, pruning, leading to the final vessel maturation and stabilization. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Doronzo D.M.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Doronzo D.M.,University of Bari | Doronzo D.M.,State University of New York at Buffalo
Bulletin of Volcanology | Year: 2013

An aeromechanic analysis of pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) past a building is carried out on the results of a computer simulation. The analysis shows that PDCs strongly interact with buildings, resulting in turbulent boundary layer separation and recirculation. These results could be used to better assess the hazard of PDCs impacting urban areas and be of service to civil protection authorities and urban planners who work in active volcanic areas. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Smith L.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | de Lillo E.,University of Bari | Amrine Jr. J.W.,West Virginia University
Experimental and Applied Acarology | Year: 2010

Eriophyid mites have been considered to have a high potential for use as classical biological control agents of weeds. We reviewed known examples of the use of eriophyid mites to control weedy plants to learn how effective they have been. In the past 13 years, since Rosenthal's 1996 review, 13 species have undergone some degree of pre-release evaluation (Aceria genistae, A. lantanae, Aceria sp. [boneseed leaf buckle mite (BLBM)], A. salsolae, A. sobhiani, A. solstitialis, A. tamaricis, A. thalgi, A. thessalonicae, Cecidophyes rouhollahi, Floracarus perrepae, Leipothrix dipsacivagus and L. knautiae), but only four (A. genistae, Aceria sp. [BLBM], C. rouhollahi and F. perrepae) have been authorized for introduction. Prior to this, three species (Aceria chondrillae, A. malherbae and Aculus hyperici) were introduced and have become established. Although these three species impact the fitness of their host plant, it is not clear how much they have contributed to reduction of the population of the target weed. In some cases, natural enemies, resistant plant genotypes, and adverse abiotic conditions have reduced the ability of eriophyid mites to control target weed populations. Some eriophyid mites that are highly coevolved with their host plant may be poor prospects for biological control because of host plant resistance or tolerance of the plant to the mite. Susceptibility of eriophyids to predators and pathogens may also prevent them from achieving population densities necessary to reduce host plant populations. Short generation time, high intrinsic rate of increase and high mobility by aerial dispersal imply that eriophyids should have rapid rates of evolution. This raises concerns that eriophyids may be more likely to lose efficacy over time due to coevolution with the target weed or that they may be more likely to adapt to nontarget host plants compared to insects, which have a longer generation time and slower population growth rate. Critical areas for future research include life history, foraging and dispersal behavior, mechanisms controlling host plant specificity, and evolutionary stability of eriophyid mites. This knowledge is critical for designing and interpreting laboratory and field experiments to measure host plant specificity and potential impact on target and nontarget plants, which must be known before they can be approved for release. One of the more successful examples of an eriophyid mite controlling an invasive alien weed is Phyllocoptes fructiphilus, whose impact is primarily due to transmission of a virus pathogenic to the target, Rosa multiflora. Neither the mite nor the virus originated from the target weed, which suggests that using "novel enemies" may sometimes be an effective strategy for using eriophyid mites. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Leukemia Research | Year: 2012

Hematopoiesis is regulated by several cytokines with pleiotropic activity. Several evidences have clearly demonstrated that these molecules, formerly regarded as specific for the hematopoietic system, also affect certain endothelial cell functions and that hematopoietic factors clearly influence angiogenesis. This review article summarizes the most important literature data concerning this inconvertible relationship. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Loiacono F.V.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | De Tullio M.C.,University of Bari
OMICS A Journal of Integrative Biology | Year: 2012

A large number of studies have investigated the relationship between different forms of abiotic stress and antioxidants. However, misconceptions and technical flaws often affect studies on this important topic. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated under stress conditions should not be considered just as potential threats, because they are essential components of the signaling mechanism inducing plant defenses. Similarly, the complexity of the antioxidant system should be considered, to avoid misleading oversimplifications. Recent literature is discussed, highlighting the importance of accurate experimental setups for obtaining reliable results in this delicate field of research. A tentative "troubleshooting guide" is provided to help researchers interested in improving the quality of their work on the role of antioxidants in plant stress resistance. Significant advancements in the field could be reached with the development of antioxidomics, defined here as a new branch of research at the crossroads of other disciplines including metabolomics and proteomics, studying the complex relationship among antioxidants and their functions. © Copyright 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

de Lillo E.,University of Bari | Skoracka A.,Adam Mickiewicz University
Experimental and Applied Acarology | Year: 2010

Fundamental knowledge on the morphology, biology, ecology, and economic importance of Eriophyoidea has been exhaustively compiled by Lindquist et al. (Eriophyoid mites-their biology, natural enemies and control; Elsevier, 1996). Since that time, the number of recognized species and the economic importance of the taxon have increased substantially. The aim of this paper is to analyze and briefly review new findings from eriophyoid mites' literature after Lindquist et al. book, stressing persistent gaps and needs. Much recent attention has been given to sampling and detection, taxonomy and systematics, faunistic surveys, internal morphology, rearing techniques, biological and ecological aspects, biomolecular studies, and virus vectoring. Recommendations are made for integrating research and promoting broader dissemination of data among specialists and non-specialists. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Biancofiore P.,University of Bari | Biancofiore P.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Colangelo P.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | De Fazio F.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

The BABAR measurements of the ratios R(D(*))=B(B→D(*) τν̄τ)B(B→D(*) μν ̄μ) deviate from the standard model expectation, while new results on the purely leptonic B→τν̄τ mode show a better consistency with the standard model, within the uncertainties. In a new physics scenario, one possibility to accommodate these two experimental facts consists in considering an additional tensor operator in the effective weak Hamiltonian. We study the effects of such an operator in a set of observables, in semileptonic B→D(*) modes as well as in semileptonic B and B s decays to excited positive-parity charmed mesons. © 2013 American Physical Society.

The cardiid genus Europicardium Popov, 1977 was introduced for a small group of Cenozoic species from Europe, but remained almost unknown in the western literature until about 15 years ago, and its type species, Cardium multicostatum Brocchi, 1814, continued to be cited mainly as Trachycardium multicostatum. Many records are available for this species from the Miocene of Europe, but most are based on several distinct, often misidentified species. In the present revision, based on museum material, the taxonomy of Europicardium is discussed and the identity of its type species is fixed. Seven species are assigned to Europicardium: E. multicostatum (Brocchi, 1814), E. miorotundatum (Sacco, 1899) (lectotype designated), E. miocaudatum (Sacco, 1899), E. polycolpatum (Cossmann & Peyrot, 1912), E. pseudomulticostatum (Zhizhchenko, 1934), E. badeniense (Kókay, 1996) and E. hoernesi sp. nov. from the middle Miocene of Austria. However, literature records and museum material suggest the occurrence of additional species and the need for further investigation. The oldest record of Europicardium is from the early Miocene of the Aquitaine Basin, from where the genus likely spread into the Mediterranean and throughout the Paratethys. Europicardium reached a maximum diversity in the early middle Miocene (Badenian) of the Paratethys, probably in relation to the Miocene Climatic Optimum, and also with the complex and variable palaeogeography of the Paratethys, which promoted differentiation and diversity. Europicardium disappeared from the Paratethys when it became a freshwater basin in the late Miocene, and from the Mediterranean due to the Messinian Salinity Crisis. The last European species was E. multicostatum, which arrived in the Mediterranean from the adjacent Atlantic with the post-Messinian recolonization, and became extinct in the Pleistocene due to climatic deterioration. At the present day, Europicardium occurs in the tropical waters of West Africa, with three species. http://zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:9074907D-410A-411E-8E51-EAAAF32209BD © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Carrera L.,University of Bari
Italian Sociological Review | Year: 2014

Nowadays, we all live in a globalised world, a scenery where the control on their own daily experience is getting more and more evanescent. In this variable and dangerous scenery, food is becoming a source of incertitude and danger, too. A lot of people, as consumers, perceive that their relationship of trust with food producers is cracked, so the watchword is now "to distrust". But totally opposite sign processes live alongside these processes and these political fractures. Crisis of politics, meant in the traditional sense, in fact, if one side has alienated many people from political life, it has also changed the forms of participation. In fact, many people have started to vocalize their dissent through channels very different from the traditional ones. Consumption choices are included between them. In this essay we focused our attention on food consumption choices, and specially on biological food consumption, which shows that the relationship between man and environment is complicated and full of deep implications. In order to investigate this relationship, we have realized a qualitative survey by using semi-structured interviews addressed to a "sample" of 81 people who live in Apulia, selected in random way. They have been asked what kind of products they buy, the frequency of their purchases and, moreover, the motivations which encouraged them to make their choices.In checking the interviews, we find a composed classification. Different types start from the highest level of individualism arriving to the highest level of political interest. It shows as consumption of biological food, may actually be the result of very different, and even opposite, motivations.

Iaffaldano N.,University of Bari
International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business | Year: 2015

The paper aims at analysing the strategic validity of Italian contractual network in order to define a new business model for contemporary companies belonging to the tourist, agri-food and crafts sectors. The qualitative methodology is used with a one-case study in depth. The data are collected through semi-structured interviews in depth, observations. The present research is the first step of an extended study on territorial regional, national and international levels. Limitations are due to the restricted data used in the present phase of the research. The paper aims at integrating existing literature for academic community and decision makers. The research represents essential characteristics of Italian contractual network, by emphasising its framework and validity, in order to recognise an innovative business model in increasing the tourist, agri-food and crafts companies' competition on the global market. Copyright © 2015 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Esmaeili S.,University of Kurdistan | Garrappa R.,University of Bari
International Journal of Computer Mathematics | Year: 2015

We consider an initial-boundary-value problem for a time-fractional diffusion equation with initial condition u0(x) and homogeneous Dirichlet boundary conditions in a bounded interval [0, L]. We study a semidiscrete approximation scheme based on the pseudo-spectral method on Chebyshev–Gauss–Lobatto nodes. In order to preserve the high accuracy of the spectral approximation we use an approach based on the evaluation of the Mittag-Leffler function on matrix arguments for the integration along the time variable. Some examples are presented and numerical experiments illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. © 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Garrappa R.,University of Bari
Mathematics and Computers in Simulation | Year: 2015

The paper describes different approaches to generalize the trapezoidal method to fractional differential equations. We analyze main theoretical properties and we discuss computational aspects to implement efficient algorithms. Numerical experiments are provided to illustrate potential and limitations of the different methods under investigation. © 2013 IMACS. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Corona G.,Endocrinology Unit | Giorda C.B.,Metabolism and Diabetes Unit | Cucinotta D.,Policlinico di Messina | Guida P.,University of Bari | Nada E.,Chaira Medical Association
Journal of Sexual Medicine | Year: 2014

Introduction: Several data have emphasized the importance of early diagnosis of erectile dysfunction (ED) and meticulous cardiovascular investigation in the type 2 diabetic mellitus (T2DM) patients. Aim: To estimate the prevalence of ED and its associated determinants in a sample of male patients with new or recently diagnosed T2DM. Methods: The SUBITO-DE study is an observational, multicenter, prospective study involving 27 Italian diabetes centers. Male patients recently diagnosed with T2DM were consecutively interviewed by their attending physician at the diabetes care centers and asked whether they had experienced a change in their sexual function or found it unsatisfactory. Those responding positively were then invited to participate in the study. Main Outcome Measure: Several hormonal and biochemical parameters were studied. Results: A nonselected series of 1,503 patients was interviewed, 499 of which (mean age, 58.8±8.8 years) entered the study, yielding a final enrolment rate of 33.3%. ED was classified as mild in 19.4%, mild-to-moderate in 15.4%, moderate in 10.4%, and severe in 21.6% of patients, respectively. In addition, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, and hypoactive sexual desire (HSD) were comorbid in 28.3%, 32.9%, and 58.4%, respectively. Finally, hypogonadism, showed an estimated prevalence of almost 20%. Both organic (at least one chronic DM-associated complication) and psychological factors (severe depressive symptoms) increased the risk of ED. Severe depressive symptoms were also associated with ejaculatory problems, HSD, and hypogonadism. Conclusions: A high prevalence of sexual dysfunction in men with recently diagnosed T2DM was detected. Early diagnosis of ED could help prevent emotional and physical discomfort in men and aid in identifying reversible cardiovascular risk factors. Screening of sexual dysfunction should become a part of routine care in the management of T2DM patients. Corona G, Giorda CB, Cucinotta D, Guida P, Nada E, and Gruppo di studio SUBITO-DE. Sexual dysfunction at the onset of type 2 diabetes: The interplay of depression, hormonal and cardiovascular factors. J Sex Med 2014;11:2065-2073. © 2014 International Society for Sexual Medicine.

Kaur N.,University of Brescia | Singh M.,University of Bari | Pathak D.,University of Pardubice | Wagner T.,University of Pardubice | Nunzi J.M.,Queens University
Synthetic Metals | Year: 2014

Recently Heliatek have reported the 12% certified efficiency of organic photovoltaic (OPVs). This rapid progress suggests that the commercialization of OPVs will be realized soon. In addition to the achievement of such high efficiency in OPVs, yet there is a wide need of improvements e.g. the need of electron-acceptors materials other than fullerene, better understanding of charge-transport mechanism in organic materials, requirement of the material compatible with the flexible substrate, durability of the organic materials based devices etc. The aim of this paper is to review the recent developments in OPVs and the potentials of organic photovoltaic, which has caught the attention of many researchers working in the field of optoelectronics. In this article, the organic solar cell mechanism, the basic design, the recent developments and the efficient organic materials for OPVs are reviewed. The authors have reviewed the recent articles to understand the mechanisms of photocurrent generation and sketched out the search for alternative materials for these devices. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Campanelli L.,University of Bari
European Physical Journal C | Year: 2015

A non-conformally invariant coupling between the inflaton and the photon in the minimal Lorentz-violating standard model extension is analyzed. For specific forms of the Lorentz-violating background tensor, the strong-coupling and back-reaction problems of magnetogenesis in de Sitter inflation with scale $${\sim }10^{16}\,\hbox {GeV}$$∼1016GeV are evaded, the electromagnetic-induced primordial spectra of (Gaussian and non-Gaussian) scalar and tensor curvature perturbations are compatible with cosmic microwave background observations, and the inflation-produced magnetic field directly accounts for cosmic magnetic fields. © 2015, The Author(s).

Sidali K.L.,University of Gottingen | Kastenholz E.,University of Aveiro | Bianchi R.,University of Bari
Journal of Sustainable Tourism | Year: 2015

The countryside hosts an increasing number of alternative food networks: rural tourists can play an important role in acting as both consumer and “cultural broker” between these networks. This paper provides a theoretical framework for niche marketing food specialties in rural tourism by combining two different consumer behavioural theories, the “experience economy” and the “intimacy” model, representing a reorientation from classical marketing thinking. It explores the meaning of local food, including the pursuit of reconnection with nature, resilience to globalisation, the role of local food in reinforcing personal identity, the search for freshness, taste and authenticity, support for local producers, and environmental concerns. It considers the challenges for rural entrepreneurs and policy makers in marketing food specialties and rural regions to the post-modern consumer. Using examples derived mostly from secondary literature it identifies seven dimensions that elevate food products to an appealing culinary niche, namely, coherence, anti-capitalistic attitude, struggle against extinction, personal signature, mutual-disclosure, rituals of spatial and physical proximity, and sustainability-related practices. Food providers may use these features to signal food distinctiveness to rural tourists; policy makers can include them in their regional development models to enhance rural tourism without altering historically, socially, and environmentally layered culinary traditions. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

Abbrescia M.,University of Bari
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2013

The Resistive Plate Chambers are used in CMS as dedicated muon trigger detectors in both barrel and endcap regions. They also contribute to the identification, reconstruction and tracking of the muons, together with Drift Tubes in the barrel and Cathode Strip Chambers in the endcaps. In this paper a detailed report about the operation and performance of the system after three years of LHC activities with increasing instantaneous luminosity is given. This period allowed to accumulate enough statistics to measure the detector performance with an unprecedented accuracy on such a large amount of chambers. This provided new insights both on the detector fundamentals and on the related operational aspects. Special attention was devoted to the working point calibration procedures and to the stability of the system. A comparison between the initial and present performance is made, and an overview is given of what has been learned in almost three years of operation of one of the largest systems based on RPCs. © 2013 CERN.

Petrera M.,Sinai University | Patella V.,University of Bari | Patella S.,Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute | Theodoropoulos J.,Sinai University
Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy | Year: 2010

Purpose of this study is to conduct a meta-analysis comparing the results of open and arthroscopic Bankart repair using suture anchors in recurrent traumatic anterior shoulder instability. Using Medline Pubmed, Cochrane and Embase databases we performed a search of all published articles. We included only studies that compared open and arthroscopic repair using suture anchors. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square test. Six studies met the inclusion criteria. The total number of patients was 501, 234 suture anchors and 267 open. The rate of recurrent instability in the arthroscopic group was 6% versus 6.7% in the open group; rate of reoperation was 4.7% in the arthroscopic group vs. 6.6% in open (difference not statistically significant). The difference was statistically significant only in the studies after 2002 (2.9% of recurrence in the arthroscopic group vs. 9.2% in open; 2.2% of reoperation in the arthroscopic group vs. 9.2% in open). Results regarding function couldn't be combined because of non-homogeneous scores reported in the original articles, but the arthroscopic treatment led to better functional results. Arthroscopic repair using suture anchors results in similar redislocation and reoperation rate compared to open Bankart repair; however, we need larger and more homogeneous prospective studies to confirm these findings. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Campanelli L.,University of Bari
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We calculate, in the free Maxwell theory, the renormalized quantum vacuum expectation value of the two-point magnetic correlation function in de Sitter inflation. We find that quantum magnetic fluctuations remain constant during inflation instead of being washed out adiabatically, as usually assumed in the literature. The quantum-to-classical transition of super-Hubble magnetic modes during inflation allow us to treat the magnetic field classically after reheating, when it is coupled to the primeval plasma. The actual magnetic field is scale independent and has an intensity of few×10-12 G if the energy scale of inflation is few×1016 GeV. Such a field accounts for galactic and galaxy cluster magnetic fields. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Grisorio M.J.,Agenzia Regionale per la Tecnologia e lInnovazione ARTI | Prota F.,University of Bari
Regional Studies | Year: 2013

Grisorio M. J. and Prota F. The impact of fiscal decentralization on the composition of public expenditure: panel data evidence from Italy, Regional Studies. This paper is an original contribution to the understanding of the relationship between fiscal decentralization and public expenditure composition. It studies the effects of the ongoing decentralization process in Italy on the share of different categories of public spending in total expenditure of the Italian regional administrations over the period 1996-2008. The data used allow one to go beyond the usual distinction between current and capital expenditures and to present a functional classification of public expenditures. Through a panel data analysis, the paper shows that the level of decentralization influences the composition of expenditure. © 2013 © 2013 Regional Studies Association.

Donnez J.,Catholic University of Leuven | Tomaszewski J.,Prywatna Klinika Polozniczo Ginekologiczna | Bouchard P.,University Paris - Sud | Lemieszczuk B.,Gabinet Lekarski Specjalistyczny Sonus | And 8 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2012

BACKGROUND: The efficacy and side-effect profile of ulipristal acetate as compared with those of leuprolide acetate for the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids before surgery are unclear. METHODS: In this double-blind noninferiority trial, we randomly assigned 307 patients with symptomatic fibroids and excessive uterine bleeding to receive 3 months of daily therapy with oral ulipristal acetate (at a dose of either 5 mg or 10 mg) or once-monthly intramuscular injections of leuprolide acetate (at a dose of 3.75 mg). The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with controlled bleeding at week 13, with a prespecified noninferiority margin of -20%. RESULTS: Uterine bleeding was controlled in 90% of patients receiving 5 mg of ulipristal acetate, in 98% of those receiving 10 mg of ulipristal acetate, and in 89% of those receiving leuprolide acetate, for differences (as compared with leuprolide acetate) of 1.2 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI], -9.3 to 11.8) for 5 mg of ulipristal acetate and 8.8 percentage points (95% CI, 0.4 to 18.3) for 10 mg of ulipristal acetate. Median times to amenorrhea were 7 days for patients receiving 5 mg of ulipristal acetate, 5 days for those receiving 10 mg of ulipristal acetate, and 21 days for those receiving leuprolide acetate. Moderate-to-severe hot flashes were reported for 11% of patients receiving 5 mg of ulipristal acetate, for 10% of those receiving 10 mg of ulipristal acetate, and for 40% of those receiving leuprolide acetate (P<0.001 for each dose of ulipristal acetate vs. leuprolide acetate). CONCLUSIONS: Both the 5-mg and 10-mg daily doses of ulipristal acetate were noninferior to oncemonthly leuprolide acetate in controlling uterine bleeding and were significantly less likely to cause hot flashes. (Funded by PregLem; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00740831.) Copyright © 2012 Massachusetts Medical Society.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Crivellato E.,University of Udine
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease | Year: 2012

Accumulation of mast cells (MCs) in tumours was described by Ehrlich in his doctoral thesis. Since this early account, ample evidence has been provided highlighting participation of MCs to the inflammatory reaction that occurs in many clinical and experimental tumour settings. MCs are bone marrow-derived tissue-homing leukocytes that are endowed with a panoply of releasable mediators and surface receptors. These cells actively take part to innate and acquired immune reactions as well as to a series of fundamental functions such as angiogenesis, tissue repair, and tissue remodelling. The involvement of MCs in tumour development is debated. Although some evidence suggests that MCs can promote tumourigenesis and tumour progression, there are some clinical sets as well as experimental tumour models in which MCs seem to have functions that favour the host. One of the major issues linking MCs to cancer is the ability of these cells to release potent pro-angiogenic factors. This review will focus on the most recent acquisitions about this intriguing field of research. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Mast cells in inflammation. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Colorectal foreign bodies per annum introduced are not exceptional. They can be classified as high-lying or low-lying, depending on their location relative to the recto-sigmoid junction. High-lying rectal foreign bodies sometimes require surgery; low-lying ones are often palpable by digital examination and can removed at bedside. No reliable data exist regarding the frequency of inserted rectal foreign bodies and the literature is largely anecdotal. We review our experience on patients almost all males and heterosexual with retained colorectal foreign bodies and their outcome in Surgical Emergency Unit of a Southern Italy University hospital.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Angiogenesis and Anti-Angiogenesis in Hematological Malignancies | Year: 2014

It has been generally accepted that angiogenesis is involved in the pathogenesis of hematological malignancies, like acute and chronic leukemia, lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasms and multiple myeloma. The extent of angiogenesis in the bone marrow has been correlated with disease burden, prognosis and treatment outcome. Reciprocal positive and negative interactions between tumor cells and bone marrow stromal cells, namely hematopoietic stem cells, fibroblasts, osteoblasts/osteoclasts, endothelial cells, endothelial progenitor cells, T cells, macrophages and mast cells, mediated by an array of cytokines, receptors and adhesion molecules, modulate the angiogenic response in hematological tumors. More recently, it has been emphasized the pro-angiogenic role of the so called "vascular niche", indicating a site rich in blood vessels where endothelial cells and mural cells such as pericytes and smooth muscle cells create a microenvironment that affects the behavior of several stem and progenitor cells, in hematological malignancies. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014. All rights are reserved.

Krawczyk M.,Saarland University | Wang D.Q.-H.,Saint Louis University | Portincasa P.,University of Bari | Lammert F.,Saarland University
Seminars in Liver Disease | Year: 2011

Gallstone disease affects almost 20% of individuals in Westernized countries. As its incidence in the developing countries is rising considerably, currently, it is the second most common gastroenterological condition worldwide. Gallstone formation is driven by an interaction between genetic and environmental risk factors. Previous studies have demonstrated that the genetic background accounts for ~25% of the total disease risk. Linkage and case-control studies of candidate genes and recent genome-wide studies have identified multiple lithogenic genes, in particular the hepatocanalicular cholesterol transporter ABCG5/G8 and the bilirubin conjugating enzyme UGT1A1, as major genetic determinants of gallstones in humans. In this review, we summarize the recent findings related to the genetics of cholelithiasis, update the inventory of human lithogenic genes, and relate the genetic studies to the pathobiologic background of the disease. In closing, future applications of genetic testing for gallstone carriers and asymptomatic family members are addressed. © 2011 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Cea P.,University of Bari | Cea P.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2010

We discuss the large-scale polarization of the cosmic microwave background induced by the anisotropy of the spatial geometry of our Universe. Assuming an eccentricity at decoupling of about 0.64 × 10-2, we find an average large-scale polarization Δ Tpol/T0 = (0.5-1.0) × 10-6. We suggest that the forthcoming polarization data at large scales from Planck will be able to discriminate between our proposal and the generally accepted re-ionization scenario. © 2010 The Author. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.

Pollice A.,University of Bari
Environmetrics | Year: 2011

In pollution source apportionment studies, multivariate receptor models heavily rely on statistical factor analytic techniques to estimate the source-specific contributions from a large number of observed chemical concentrations. The scope of this paper is to offer a review of some recent statistical literature in order to describe the main features and recent advances of this field, advice on the possible statistical risks in using standard methods and finally show how some theoretical and practical failures of the commonly used methodologies can be addressed by proper statistical modeling and estimation tools. The topics addressed include: the estimation of the number of sources, model identifiability issues, the consideration of the temporal dependence in the data and systematic effects of physical factors such as meteorological conditions, possible extensions to spatial data collected by multiple receptors and the assessment of source specific health effects. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Fanizzi N.,University of Bari
International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems | Year: 2011

This paper presents an approach to ontology construction pursued through the induction of concept descriptions expressed in Description Logics. The author surveys the theoretical foundations of the standard representations for formal ontologies in the Semantic Web. After stating the learning problem in this peculiar context, a FOIL-like algorithm is presented that can be applied to learn DL concept descriptions. The algorithm performs a search through a space of candidate concept definitions by means of refinement operators. This process is guided by heuristics that are based on the available examples. The author discusses related theoretical aspects of learning with the inherent incompleteness underlying the semantics of this representation. The experimental evaluation of the system DL-FOIL, which implements the learning algorithm, was carried out in two series of sessions on real ontologies from standard repositories for different domains expressed in diverse description logics. Copyright © 2011, IGI Global.

Lenzen M.,University of Sydney | Moran D.,University of Sydney | Kanemoto K.,University of Sydney | Kanemoto K.,Tohoku University | And 5 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2012

Human activities are causing Earth's sixth major extinction event 1-an accelerating decline of the world's stocks of biological diversity at rates 100 to 1,000 times pre-human levels2. Historically, low-impact intrusion into species habitats arose from local demands for food, fuel and living space3. However, in today's increasingly globalized economy, international trade chains accelerate habitat degradation far removed from the place of consumption. Although adverse effects of economic prosperity and economic inequality have been confirmed 4,5, the importance of international trade as a driver of threats to species is poorly understood. Here we show that a significant number of species are threatened as a result of international trade along complex routes, and that, in particular, consumers in developed countries cause threats to species through their demand of commodities that are ultimately produced in developing countries. We linked 25,000 Animalia species threat records from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List to more than 15,000 commodities produced in 187 countries and evaluated more than 5 billion supply chains in terms of their biodiversity impacts. Excluding invasive species, we found that 30% of global species threats are due to international trade. In many developed countries, the consumption of imported coffee, tea, sugar, textiles, fish and other manufactured items causes a biodiversity footprint that is larger abroad than at home. Our results emphasize the importance of examining biodiversity loss as a global systemic phenomenon, instead of looking at the degrading or polluting producers in isolation. We anticipate that our findings will facilitate better regulation, sustainable supply-chain certification and consumer product labelling. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Andriani G.F.,University of Bari | Germinario L.,University of Padua
Environmental Earth Sciences | Year: 2014

This paper deals with the effects of thermal stresses on selected carbonate rocks used as dimension stones. They are Mesozoic calcareous and dolomitic rocks cropping out in Apulia (southern Italy) that, for their physico-mechanical and aesthetic properties, have always been finding a large application both as ornamental stones and as simple construction materials; their use is attested not only in Italy, in works of archaeological, historical and artistic interest too. The cause–effect relationships of thermal degradation were studied by means of an artificial accelerated ageing test, in order to provide a perspective about the decay of carbonate stones due to diurnal and seasonal temperature fluctuations, as well as thermal shocks during events of fire development. The stone samples were subjected to thermal cycles in a muffle furnace, ranging from 100 to 700 °C; after each cycle, several non-destructive and semi-destructive tests were carried out: mass and volume measurements, mercury intrusion porosimetry, sclerometer tests, ultrasonic tests, thin-section observations and determination of chromatic alterations through image analysis and Munsell charts method. In this way, the qualitative and quantitative modifications induced in fabric, physical and mechanical properties were discussed. The results highlight the fundamental role of depositional and diagenetic fabric that, together with mineralogical composition, represents the most significant discriminating factor in the response of the stone to thermal stresses. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Novielli N.,University of Bari
Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces | Year: 2010

This research aims at defining a real-time probabilistic model of user's engagement in advice-giving dialogues. We propose an approach based on Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) to describe the differences in the dialogue pattern due to the different level of engagement experienced by the users. We train our HMM models on a corpus of natural dialogues with an Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) in the domain of healthy-eating. The dialogues are coded in terms of Dialogue Acts associated to each system or user move. Results are quite encouraging: HMMs are a powerful formalism for describing the differences in the dialogue patterns, due to the different level of engagement of users and they can be successfully employed in real-time user's engagement detection. Though, the HMM learning process shows a lack of robustness when using low-dimensional and skewed corpora. Therefore we plan a further validation of our approach with larger corpora in the near future. © OpenInterface Association 2009.

Bortezomib (bort) has improved overall survival in patients with multiple myeloma (MM), but the majority of them develop drug resistance. In this study, we demonstrate that bone marrow (BM) fibroblasts (cancer-associated fibroblasts; CAFs) from bort-resistant patients are insensitive to bort and protect the RPMI8226 and patients’ plasma cells against bort-induced apoptosis. Bort triggers CAFs to produce high levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and transforming growth factor (TGF) β. Proteomic studies on CAFs demonstrate that bort resistance parallels activation of oxidative stress and pro-survival autophagy. Indeed, bort induces reactive oxygen species in bort-resistant CAFs and activates autophagy by increasing light chain 3 protein (LC3)-II and inhibiting p62 and phospho-mammalian target of rapamycin. The small-interfering RNA knockdown of Atg7, and treatment with 3-methyladenine, restores bort sensitivity in bort-resistant CAFs and produces cytotoxicity in plasma cells co-cultured with CAFs. In the syngeneic 5T33 MM model, bort-treatment induces the expansion of LC3-II+ CAFs. TGFβ mediates bort-induced autophagy, and its blockade by LY2109761, a selective TβRI/II inhibitor, reduces the expression of p-Smad2/3 and LC3-II and induces apoptosis in bort-resistant CAFs. A combination of bort and LY2109761 synergistically induces apoptosis of RPMI8226 co-cultured with bort-resistant CAFs. These data define a key role for CAFs in bort resistance of plasma cells and provide the basis for a novel targeted therapeutic approach.Leukemia advance online publication, 10 November 2015; doi:10.1038/leu.2015.289. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited

Stasolla F.,Lega Del Filo Doro Research Center | Caffo A.O.,University of Bari
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders | Year: 2013

We assessed a microswitch-based program to improve self-determination to access to preferred stimuli and to foster locomotor behavior by two girls with Rett syndrome and multiple disabilities. To enhance the first behavior (access to preferred stimuli) a wobble microswitch (sensitive touch sensor) was used while for the second behavior (step responses) optic sensors were applied. A second aim of the study was to monitor indices of happiness as consequence of the use of assistive technology. Finally, a third objective of the study was the reduction of hand washing and body rocking related stereotypies. The study was carried out according to a multiple probe design across behaviors for both participants, where the two behaviors were first learned independently, then combined together. Results showed an increasing of performance and of indices of happiness and a decreasing of stereotyped behaviors for both participants during intervention phases. Practical, psychological and clinical implications of the findings are discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Conte E.,University of Bari
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2010

A Clifford algebraic analysis is explained. It gives proof of von Neumann's postulate on quantum measurement. It is of basic significance to explain the problem of quantum wave function reduction in quantum mechanics. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.

Mavelli F.,University of Bari
BMC Bioinformatics | Year: 2012

Background: Over the last two decades, lipid compartments (liposomes, lipid-coated droplets) have been extensively used as in vitro "minimal" cell models. In particular, simple and complex biomolecular reactions have been carried out inside these self-assembled micro- and nano-sized compartments, leading to the synthesis of RNA and functional proteins inside liposomes. Despite this experimental progress, a detailed physical understanding of the underlying dynamics is missing. In particular, the combination of solute compartmentalization, reactivity and stochastic effects has not yet been clarified. A combination of experimental and computational approaches can reveal interesting mechanisms governing the behavior of micro compartmentalized systems, in particular by highlighting the intrinsic stochastic diversity within a population of "synthetic cells".Methods: In this context, we have developed a computational platform called ENVIRONMENT suitable for studying the stochastic time evolution of reacting lipid compartments. This software - which implements a Gillespie Algorithm - is an improvement over a previous program that simulated the stochastic time evolution of homogeneous, fixed-volume, chemically reacting systems, extending it to more general conditions in which a collection of similar such systems interact and change over the course of time. In particular, our approach is focused on elucidating the role of randomness in the time behavior of chemically reacting lipid compartments, such as micelles, vesicles or micro emulsions, in regimes where random fluctuations due to the stochastic nature of reacting events can lead an open system towards unexpected time evolutions.Results: This paper analyses the so-called Ribocell (RNA-based cell) model. It consists in a hypothetical minimal cell based on a self-replicating minimum RNA genome coupled with a self-reproducing lipid vesicle compartment. This model assumes the existence of two ribozymes, one able to catalyze the conversion of molecular precursors into lipids and the second able to replicate RNA strands. The aim of this contribution is to explore the feasibility of this hypothetical minimal cell. By deterministic kinetic analysis, the best external conditions to observe synchronization between genome self-replication and vesicle membrane reproduction are determined, while its robustness to random fluctuations is investigated using stochastic simulations, and then discussed. © 2012 Mavelli licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Pagano G.,University of Naples Federico II | Guida M.,University of Naples Federico II | Tommasi F.,University of Bari | Oral R.,Ege University
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety | Year: 2015

In the recent decades, rare earth elements (REE) have undergone a steady spread in several industrial and medical applications, and in agriculture. Relatively scarce information has been acquired to date on REE-associated biological effects, from studies of bioaccumulation and of bioassays on animal, plant and models; a few case reports have focused on human health effects following occupational REE exposures, in the present lack of epidemiological studies of occupationally exposed groups. The literature is mostly confined to reports on few REE, namely cerium and lanthanum, whereas substantial information gaps persist on the health effects of other REE. An established action mechanism in REE-associated health effects relates to modulating oxidative stress, analogous to the recognized redox mechanisms observed for other transition elements. Adverse outcomes of REE exposures include a number of endpoints, such as growth inhibition, cytogenetic effects, and organ-specific toxicity. An apparent controversy regarding REE-associated health effects relates to opposed data pointing to either favorable or adverse effects of REE exposures. Several studies have demonstrated that REE, like a number of other xenobiotics, follow hormetic concentration-related trends, implying stimulatory or protective effects at low levels, then adverse effects at higher concentrations. Another major role for REE-associated effects should be focused on pH-dependent REE speciation and hence toxicity. Few reports have demonstrated that environmental acidification enhances REE toxicity; these data may assume particular relevance in REE-polluted acidic soils and in REE mining areas characterized by concomitant REE and acid pollution. The likely environmental threats arising from REE exposures deserve a new line of research efforts. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Notarnicola B.,University of Bari | Hayashi K.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization | Curran M.A.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Huisingh D.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2012

The human health and environmental issues related to food, feed, and bio-based systems, range widely from greenhouse gas emissions and energy use to land use, water availability, soil quality, water quality and quantity, biodiversity losses, and chemical exposure. Threats that stem from other issues, including food quality and food security, the development of genetically modified organisms, desertification, pesticide exposure, antibiotic-resistant strains of microorganisms, growth hormone residues in food, etc.; are of concern. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology provides the organizing framework to holistically evaluate the environmental impacts of products and production systems, whether it's to make a durable, disposable or edible good. The use of LCA in environmental management and sustainability has grown rapidly in recent years as demonstrated by the increasing number of published papers on LCA methodology and case studies, which totaled over 4,500 by 2010. Recognizing the need to focus on the impacts of the agri-food industry, this special issue was developed by selecting sixteen papers from the 85 presented at the Bari LCA Food 2010 conference, and publishing them with eight papers submitted as part of the normal flow to the Journal of Cleaner Production on food-related subjects. The papers in this special issue include case studies from LCAs on relevant dimensions of production of a wide array of types of food, discussions on methodological issues, especially water and land use, the application of product certification schemes, and food preservation. The editors of this special issue acknowledge that progress has been made in strengthening the LCA tools but challenge all LCA practitioners and researchers to push the envelope on LCA methodology and encourage them to develop tools that dynamically address the diverse, rapidly evolving issues related to agricultural products that are not currently addressed. It is hoped the challenges that are outlined in this Special Issue will stimulate many to make progress on improving the food LCA tools prior to the next food LCA conference in this series, which will be held in Saint-Malo, France, on 2-4 October 2012. For more information, visit: https://colloque.inra.fr/lcafood2012. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ferilli S.,University of Bari
Journal of Intelligent Information Systems | Year: 2014

Assessing whether two documents were written by the same author is a crucial task, especially in the Internet age, with possible applications to philology and forensics. The problem has been tackled in the literature by exploiting frequency-based approaches, numeric techniques or writing style analysis. Focusing on this last perspective, this paper proposes a novel technique that takes into account the structure of sentences, assuming that it is strictly related to the author’s writing style. Specifically, a (collection of) text(s) in natural language written by a given author is translated into a set of First-Order Logic descriptions, and a model of the author’s writing habits is obtained as the result of clustering these descriptions. Then, if an overlapping exists between the models of a known author and of an unknown one, the conclusion can be drawn that they are the same person. Among the advantages of this approach, it does not need a training phase, and performs well also on short texts and/or small collections. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York

Buono P.,University of Bari
Proceedings of the Workshop on Advanced Visual Interfaces AVI | Year: 2016

People awareness in various contexts has been widely considered in the literature. A form of awareness is the quantification of self, which requires a number of conditions to be implemented. The most important are: Producing, computing and making sense of data. Sensors produce data at very high rates. A lot of research, in the field of data bases, has focused on how to store and compute data efficiently. Data presentation is still challenging, because the possibilities of producing interactive visualizations on the Web and on different devices are increasing. The contribution of this demo paper is to propose a visualization technique and a web-based tool enabling the visualization of personal data produced during the 24 hours of the day. The aim of this tool is to help people to understand their own behavior. Such data can also be compared with other people's data to improve the analysis. This demo focuses on two main contexts: visualizing working data of a group of people living in different time zones in order to improve the awareness of the behavior of the group; visualizing energy consumption data in order to provide an idea of the behavior of people in the domestic context. The data for the first example are gathered from the activity people perform with their computer (e.g. email, chat, keyboard strokes) while the data of the second context are gathered from a low-cost Arduino device capable of providing instant electricity consumption information. © 2016 Copyright held by the owner/author(s).

D'Abbicco M.,University of Bari | Reissig M.,TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Mathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences | Year: 2014

We study the Cauchy problem for the semilinear structural damped wave equation with source term utt-Δu+μ(-Δ)σut=f(u), u(0,x)=u0(x),ut(0,x)=u1(x),with σ∈(0,1] in space dimensionn≥2 and with a positive constant μ. We are interested in the influence of σ on the critical exponent pcrit in|f(u)|≈|u|p. This critical exponent is the threshold between global existence in time of small data solutions and blow-up behavior for some suitable range of p. Our results are optimal for σ=1/2. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Recent evidence suggests that adverse drug reactions are a major cause of death and hospital admissions in Europe and the United States. Environmental/ non-genetic as well as genetic factors are responsible for the great interpatient variability in drug metabolism and in the molecular interactions between drugs and therapeutic targets. By means of pharmacogenetic approaches, several genetic settings have been linked to the effects and toxicity of many agents used in clinical nephrology. However, these strategies, which analyze single genes or candidate pathways, cannot be considered ideal because the overall pharmacological effects of drugs typically are not dependent on monogenic traits. Therefore, to identify the multigenetic influence on drug response, researchers and clinicians from different fields of medicine and pharmacology have started to perform pharmacogenomic studies employing innovative whole-genome, high-throughput technologies. In nephrology, only few pharmacogenomics reports have been published to date, suggesting the need to enlarge the number of projects and increase the research budget for this important research field. In the future, we would expect that by applying the knowledge about an individual's inherited response to drugs, nephrologists will be able to prescribe medications based on each person's genetic makeup, to carefully monitor the efficacy and toxicity of a given drug, and to modify the dose and number of medications to obtain predefined clinical outcomes.

Palazzo G.,University of Bari | Lopez F.,University of Molise | Mallardi A.,CNR Institute for Chemical and Physical Processes
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics | Year: 2010

We report on the response of reaction center (RC) from Rhodobacter sphaeroides (an archetype of membrane proteins) to the exposure at high temperature. The RCs have been solubilized in aqueous solution of the detergent N,N-dimethyldodecylamine-N-oxide (LDAO). Changes in the protein conformation have been probed by monitoring the variation in the absorbance of the bacteriochlorine cofactors and modification in the efficiency of energy transfer from tryptophans to cofactors and among the cofactors (through fluorescence measurements). The RC aggregation taking place at high temperature has been investigated by means of dynamic light scattering. Two experimental protocols have been used: (i) isothermal kinetics, in which the time evolution of RC after a sudden increase of the temperature is probed, and (ii) T-scans, in which the RCs are heated at constant rate. The analysis of the results coming from both the experiments indicates that the minimal kinetic scheme requires an equilibrium step and an irreversible process. The irreversible step is characterized by a activation energy of 205 ± 14 kJ/mol and is independent from the detergent concentration. Since the temperature dependence of the aggregation rate was found to obey to the same law, the aggregation process is unfolding-limited. On the other hand, the equilibrium process between the native and a partially unfolded conformations was found to be strongly dependent on the detergent concentration. Increasing the LDAO content from 0.025 to 0.5 wt.% decreases the melting temperature from 49 to 42 °C. This corresponds to a sizeable (22 kJ/mol at 25 °C) destabilization of the native conformation induced by the detergent. The nature of the aggregates formed by the denatured RCs depends on the temperature. For temperature below 60 °C compact aggregates are formed while at 60 °C the clusters are less dense with a scaling relation between mass and size close to that expected for diffusion-limited aggregation. The aggregate final sizes formed at different temperatures indicate the presence of an even number of proteins suggesting that these clusters are formed by aggregation of dimers. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Amorosi A.,University of Bari | Boldini D.,University of Bologna | De Felice G.,Third University of Rome | Malena M.,Third University of Rome | Sebastianelli M.,Third University of Rome
Geotechnique | Year: 2014

The analysis of deformation and damage mechanisms induced by shallow tunnelling on masonrystructures is carried out using an integrated, geotechnical and structural, numerical approach based ontwo-dimensional finite-element analyses. The masonry construction, schematised as a block structurewith periodic texture, is regarded at a macroscopic scale as a homogenised anisotropic medium. Theoverall mechanical properties display anisotropy and singularities in the yield surface, arising from thediscrete nature of the block structure and the geometrical arrangement of the blocks. The soil ismodelled by means of a linear elastic-perfectly plastic model. The numerical analyses are performedassuming plane strain and plane stress conditions for the soil and the masonry structure, respectively.A displacement-controlled technique is adopted to simulate the tunnel construction, which producessettlement troughs in agreement with the empirical Gaussian predictions at different volume lossesunder free-field conditions. In order to test the numerical approach, a preliminary set of parametricanalyses is carried out considering a simple masonry wall, characterised by different geometrical andmechanical properties, founded on a clayey deposit. Then, the case study of the Felice aqueduct inRome (Italy), undercrossed by two tunnels of a new metro line, is considered. Significant differencesare observed between the uncoupled analysis, where displacements predicted under free-field conditionsare simply applied at the foundation level of the structure, and the interaction-based one, thelatter being characterised by a reduced amount of tensile plastic strain. Numerical results in terms ofvertical displacements at the ground level and on the structure are found to be in good agreementwith monitoring data, thus validating the numerical model for this class of soil?structure interactionproblems.

Ferilli S.,University of Bari
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2016

WorkFlow Management Systems provide automatic support to learn process models or to check compliance of process enactment to correct models. The expressive power of the adopted formalism for representing process models is fundamental to determine the effectiveness or even feasibility of a correct model. In particular, a desirable feature is the possibility of expressing complex conditions on some elements of the model. The formalism used in the WoMan framework for workflow management, based on First-Order Logic, is more expressive than standard formalisms adopted in the literature. It allows tight integration between the activity flow and the conditions, and it allows one to express conditions that take into account contextual information and various kinds of relationships among the involved entities. This paper discusses such a formalism, especially concerning conditions, and provides an explicative example of how this can be applied in practice. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.

Ferilli S.,University of Bari
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2016

Workflow management is fundamental to efficiently, effectively and economically carry out complex processes. In turn, the formalism used for representing workflow models is crucial for effectiveness. The formalism introduced by the WoMan framework for workflow management, based on First-Order Logic, is more expressive than standard formalisms adopted in the literature, and ensures strict adherence to the observed practices. This paper discusses in some details such a formalism, highlighting its most outstanding strengths and comparing it to the current standard formalism (Petri nets), also providing techniques for the translation of workflow models among the two formalisms. The comparison between the two models shows that WoMan is more powerful than standard Petri Nets, and that it can handle naturally and straightforwardly cases that would require complex patterns in Petri Nets. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.

Dragoni M.,University of Bologna | Tallarico A.,University of Bari
Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors | Year: 2016

The dynamics of a fault with heterogeneous friction is studied by employing a discrete fault model with two asperities of different strengths. The average values of stress, friction and slip on each asperity are considered and the state of the fault is described by the slip deficits of the asperities as functions of time. The fault has three different slipping modes, corresponding to the asperities slipping one at a time or simultaneously. Any seismic event produced by the fault is a sequence of n slipping modes. According to initial conditions, seismic events can be different sequences of slipping modes, implying different moment rates and seismic moments. Each event can be represented geometrically in the state space by an orbit that is the union of n damped Lissajous curves. We focus our interest on events that are sequences of two or more slipping modes: they show a complex stress interchange between the asperities and a complex temporal pattern of slip rate. The initial stress distribution producing these events is not uniform on the fault. We calculate the stress drop, the moment rate and the frequency spectrum of the events, showing how these quantities depend on initial conditions. These events have the greatest seismic moments that can be produced by fault slip. As an example, we model the moment rate of the 1992 Landers, California, earthquake that can be described as the consecutive failure of two asperities, one of which has a double strength than the other, and evaluate the evolution of stress distribution on the fault during the event. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Habtemariam S.,University of Greenwich | Lentini G.,University of Bari
Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2015

Diabetes and its major risk factor, obesity, have become a world-wide epidemic and cause of suffering for millions of people. There is still no drug of cure for diabetes and the currently available drugs suffer from a number of limitations either due to side effects and/or loss of efficacy during prolonged use. Rutin is one of the most abundant polyphenolic compounds belonging to the flavonoid class. In the present communication, its therapeutic potential for diabetes is critically analysed by reviewing its effect on the various targets of diabetes. The multifunctional nature of rutin including action via antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, organoprotection, etc., mechanisms is outlined through review of evidences from in vitro and in vivo studies. © 2015 Bentham Science Publishers.

Tuttafesta M.,University of Bari | Colonna G.,CNR Institute of Inorganic Methodologies and Plasmas | Pascazio G.,Polytechnic of Bari
Computer Physics Communications | Year: 2013

A Roe's flux-difference splitting scheme has been implemented using the NVIDIA CUDA architecture and has been applied to solve the two-dimensional compressible Euler equations. Different standard test cases have been considered in order to estimate the speed-up of GPU computing with respect to CPU calculation. A detailed description of the kernel configuration has been provided and a theoretical analysis of the GPU execution time as a function of the number of threads managed by the kernels is also reported. The loss of performance has been fully described consequent to the use of zero-copy memory. Significant performance improvements have been obtained by using a more recent GPU and CUDA Toolkit. A test case on multi-GPU architecture has been presented in the domain decomposition approach. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Kanduc D.,University of Bari
Journal of Peptide Science | Year: 2012

The tendency to use the terms homology, similarity, and identity interchangeably persists in comparative biology. When translated to immunology, overlapping the concepts of homology, similarity, and identity complicates the exact definition of the self-nonself dichotomy and, in particular, affects immunopeptidomics, an emerging field aimed at cataloging and distinguishing immunoreactive peptide epitopes from silent nonreactive amino acid sequences. The definition of similar/dissimilar peptides in immunology is discussed with special attention to the analysis of immunological (dis)similarity between two or more protein sequences that equates to measuring sequence similarity with the use of a proper measurement unit such as a length determinant. © 2012 European Peptide Society and John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Ribatti D.,Italian National Cancer Institute
Experimental Cell Research | Year: 2016

The understanding of mast cell (MC) differentiation is derived mainly from in vitro studies of different stages of stem and progenitor cells. The hematopoietic lineage development of human MCs is unique compared to other myeloid-derived cells. Human MCs originate from CD34+/CD117+/CD13+multipotent hematopoietic progenitors, which undergo transendothelial recruitment into peripheral tissues, where they complete differentiation. Stem cell factor (SCF) is a major chemotactic factor for MCs and their progenitors. SCF also elicits cell-cell and cell-substratum adhesion, facilitates the proliferation, and sustains the survival, differentiation, and maturation, of MCs. Because MC maturation is influenced by local microenvironmental factors, different MC phenotypes can develop in different tissues and organs. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

Ben-Dayan I.,Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics | Ben-Dayan I.,Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics | Gasperini M.,University of Bari | Gasperini M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | And 4 more authors.
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

The effect of a stochastic background of cosmological perturbations on the luminosity-redshift relation is computed to second order through a recently proposed covariant and gauge-invariant light-cone averaging procedure. The resulting expressions are free from both ultraviolet and infrared divergences, implying that such perturbations cannot mimic a sizable fraction of dark energy. Different averages are estimated and depend on the particular function of the luminosity distance being averaged. The energy flux being minimally affected by perturbations at large z is proposed as the best choice for precision estimates of dark-energy parameters. Nonetheless, its irreducible (stochastic) variance induces statistical errors on ΩΛ(z) typically lying in the few-percent range. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Moschetta A.,Laboratory of Lipid Metabolism and Cancer | Moschetta A.,University of Bari
Cancer Discovery | Year: 2011

Both primary and transformed cells need cholesterol for their growth. Guo and colleagues unraveled the connection between epidermal growth factor receptor mutations in glioblastoma and increased cholesterol influx via sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 and low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) increase. They propose the activation of the liver X receptor-inducible degrader of LDLR-LDLR axis as a therapeutic approach to reduce intracellular cholesterol, block tumor growth, and induce cell death. © 2011 American Association for Cancer Research.

Alta Murgia calcareous plateau (southeast Italy) is thought to represent one of the most important area for Orthoptera in southern Italy, both due to its biogeographical concern and its unique richness in semi-natural dry grasslands. Since the half of the last century, no recent synthesis has been proposed for the Orthopterofauna of this area and a revision of old observations was still needed. This paper propose a reviewed list of Tettigonioidea and Acridoidea species from the Alta Murgia plateau, also providing information on local community structure and ecology. Based on the revision of previously published lists of species and on data collected during recent field works, a number of 37 species of grasshoppers and ka-tydids is reported. The majority of species found in literature were confirmed, and six species were recorded as new for the area. Data collected during recent field works also enable to provide information about community structure, with par-ticular focus on grassland habitat. This study also gives suggestions for replicable monitoring of Orthoptera assemblages in this area, as it is a valuable information for habitat surveillance purposes and ecosystem conservation strategies. ISSN 1175-5334 (online edition). Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press.

Lorenzo J.M.,Centro Tecnologico Of La Carne Of Galicia | Sarries M.V.,Public University of Navarra | Tateo A.,University of Bari | Polidori P.,University of Camerino | And 2 more authors.
Meat Science | Year: 2014

Meat has exerted a crucial role in human evolution and is an important component of a healthy and well balanced diet due to its nutritional richness. The aim of the present review was to shed light on the nutritional composition of horsemeat and their benefits for human health. One of the reasons for such interest was the occurrence, in Europe several years ago, of dioxin, Bovine Encephalopathy and foot-and-mouth disease problems in farm animals. Therefore, consumers began to look for alternative red meats from other non-traditional species. There is no carcass classification system on horses designated to meat consumption. It would be advisable to standardize the equine meat market to reduce variations that may reflect differences in meat quality. The nutritional composition of horsemeat by comparison with pork, beef or poultry is characterized by low levels of fat and cholesterol (about 20% less), relatively high concentrations of n-3 fatty acids and heme iron indicating that its consumption may be beneficial for health. Therefore, horsemeat may supplement the meat market with good quality products, although as in other dietary components moderation is advisable. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

The discovery by Hans Spemann of the "organizer" tissue and its ability to induce the formation of the amphibian embryo's neural tube inspired leading embryologists to attempt to elucidate embryonic induction's underlying mechanisms. Since then several studies have described several developmental model system to better understand the role of specific signaling molecules, the interplay of different signals and tissue interactions in regulating tissue induction and patterning events. Different groups of workers set out to subject embryonic amphibian tissues and inductive adult organs to various extraction methods in the hope that the active agents could be isolated and chemically identified. In addition, a large number of well characterized chemical compounds were tested. © 2014 Landes Bioscience.

Capozzi M.A.M.,University of Bari | Capitelli F.,CNR Institute of Crystallography | Bottoni A.,University of Bologna | Calvaresi M.,University of Bologna | Cardellicchio C.,CNR Institute of Chemistry of organometallic Compounds
ChemCatChem | Year: 2013

The results of a combined computational-experimental study of the oxidation of various fluorinated aryl benzyl sulfides using tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) in the presence of a complex of titanium and (S,S)-hydrobenzoin are presented. As observed in previous studies for other aryl benzyl sulfides, the reaction leads to enantiopure sulfoxides (ee>98%) in good isolated yields (81-96%) except the case of pentafluorobenzyl pentafluorophenyl sulfide for which a lower ee (61%) is observed. DFT computations on a model-system formed by the substrate, the oxidant TBHP and the [(S,S)-hydrobenzoin]2-Ti complex satisfactorily explain this unexpected item. The enantioselectivity is governed by the relative energy of the two diastereomeric octahedral complexes that form if TBHP approaches the initial complex between substrate and [(S,S)-hydrobenzoin]2-Ti before the oxygen transfer. For pentafluorobenzyl pentafluorophenyl sulfide, the two octahedral complexes are almost degenerate and, thus, they form in similar amounts. As the two corresponding diastereomeric transition states are similar in energy, the probability to follow one or the other diastereomeric reaction channel becomes comparable, which leads to the lower enantiomeric excess experimentally observed. Our computations indicate that the particular "folded conformation", adopted by the substrate only if both phenyl rings are fluorinated, is the key factor that determines the near degeneracy of the two diastereomeric octahedral complexes. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Cancer Treatment Reviews | Year: 2011

Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from established vasculature, is a fundamental process in the growth and metastasis of solid tumours. It is a complex, tightly regulated process that requires the coordinated action of antiangiogenic and proangiogenic factors, the balance of which becomes disturbed during tumour development. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor are the key mediators of angiogenesis and targets for multiple pharmacologic agents. Many patients treated with VEGF inhibitors survive for a longer period; however, eventual resistance is associated with progressive disease and death. Multiple approaches to overcome resistance have been investigated with varying success, including the use of agents that target multiple angiogenic factors or co-administration of angiogenesis inhibitors with standard chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It would appear that the future of angiogenic inhibitors lies in the intelligent combination of multiple targeted agents with other angiogenic inhibitors, as well as more conventional therapies to maximise therapeutic effect. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Amodio P.,University of Bari | Levitina T.,TU Braunschweig | Settanni G.,University of Salento | Weinmuller E.B.,Vienna University of Technology
Computer Physics Communications | Year: 2014

In this paper, we discuss the progress in the numerical simulation of the so-called 'whispering gallery' modes (WGMs) occurring inside a prolate spheroidal cavity. These modes are mainly concentrated in a narrow domain along the equatorial line of a spheroid and they are famous because of their extremely high quality factor. The scalar Helmholtz equation provides a sufficient accuracy for WGM simulation and (in a contrary to its vector version) is separable in spheroidal coordinates. However, the numerical simulation of 'whispering gallery' phenomena is not straightforward. The separation of variables yields two spheroidal wave ordinary differential equations (ODEs), first only depending on the angular, second on the radial coordinate. Though separated, these equations remain coupled through the separation constant and the eigenfrequency, so that together with the boundary conditions they form a singular self-adjoint two-parameter Sturm-Liouville problem. We discuss an efficient and reliable technique for the numerical solution of this problem which enables calculation of highly localized WGMs inside a spheroid. The presented approach is also applicable to other separable geometries. We illustrate the performance of the method by means of numerical experiments. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Pantaleo A.M.,Imperial College London | Pantaleo A.M.,University of Bari | Giarola S.,Imperial College London | Bauen A.,Imperial College London | Shah N.,Imperial College London
Energy Conversion and Management | Year: 2014

The paper presents a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) approach to optimize multi-biomass and natural gas supply chain strategic design for heat and power generation in urban areas. The focus is on spatial and temporal allocation of biomass supply, storage, processing, transport and energy conversion (heat and CHP) to match the heat demand of residential end users. The main aim lies on the representation of the relationships between the biomass processing and biofuel energy conversion steps, and on the trade-offs between centralized district heating plants and local heat generation systems. After a description of state of the art and research trends in urban energy systems and bioenergy modelling, an application of the methodology to a generic case study is proposed. With the assumed techno-economic parameters, biomass based thermal energy generation results competitive with natural gas, while district heating network results the main option for urban areas with high thermal energy demand density. Potential further applications of this model are also described, together with main barriers for development of bioenergy routes for urban areas. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

De Pasquale A.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Rossini D.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Facchi P.,University of Bari | Giovannetti V.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2013

We provide a general framework for handling the effects of a unitary disturbance on the estimation of the amplitude λ associated to a unitary dynamics. By computing an analytical and general expression for the quantum Fisher information, we prove that the optimal estimation precision for λ cannot be outperformed through the addition of such a unitary disturbance. However, if the dynamics of the system is already affected by an external field, increasing its strength does not necessarily imply a loss in the optimal estimation precision. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Cunden F.D.,University of Bari | Cunden F.D.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Vivo P.,University Paris - Sud
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2014

We derive an analytical formula for the covariance cov(A,B) of two smooth linear statistics A=ia(λi) and B=ib(λi) to leading order for N→, where {λi} are the N real eigenvalues of a general one-cut random-matrix model with Dyson index β. The formula, carrying the universal 1/β prefactor, depends on the random-matrix ensemble only through the edge points [λ-,λ+] of the limiting spectral density. For A=B, we recover in some special cases the classical variance formulas by Beenakker and by Dyson and Mehta, clarifying the respective ranges of applicability. Some choices of a(x) and b(x) lead to a striking decorrelation of the corresponding linear statistics. We provide two applications - the joint statistics of conductance and shot noise in ideal chaotic cavities, and some new fluctuation relations for traces of powers of random matrices. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Mazzocca A.,Section of Internal Medicine | Dituri F.,Section of Internal Medicine | Lupo L.,University of Bari | Quaranta M.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 2 more authors.
Hepatology | Year: 2011

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurs in fibrotic liver as a consequence of underlying cirrhosis. The goal of this study was to investigate how the interaction between HCC cells and stromal fibroblasts affects tumor progression. We isolated and characterized carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and paired peritumoral tissue fibroblasts (PTFs) from 10 different patients with HCC and performed coculture experiments. We demonstrated a paracrine mechanism whereby HCC cells secrete lysophostatidic acid (LPA), which promotes transdifferentiation of PTFs to a CAF-like myofibroblastic phenotype. This effect is mediated by up-regulation of specific genes related to a myo/contractile phenotype. After transdifferentiation, PTFs expressed α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and enhanced proliferation, migration, and invasion of HCC cells occur. A pan-LPA inhibitor (α-bromomethylene phosphonate [BrP]-LPA), or autotaxin gene silencing, inhibited this PTF transdifferentiation and the consequent enhanced proliferation, migration, and invasion of HCC cells. In vivo, PTFs coinjected with HCC cells underwent transdifferentiation and promoted tumor progression. Treatment with BrP-LPA blocked transdifferentiation of PTFs, down-regulated myofibroblast-related genes, and slowed HCC growth and progression. Patients with larger and metastatic HCC and shorter survival displayed higher serum levels of LPA. Analysis of microdissected tissues indicated that stroma is the main target of the LPA paracrine loop in HCC. As a consequence, α-SMA-positive cells were more widespread in tumoral compared with paired peritumoral stroma. Conclusion: Our data indicate that LPA accelerates HCC progression by recruiting PTFs and promoting their transdifferentiation into myofibroblasts. Inhibition of LPA could prove effective in blocking transdifferentiation of myofibroblasts and tumor progression. © 2011 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Li Vecchi V.,University of Palermo | Maggi P.,University of Bari | Rizzo M.,University of Palermo | Montalto G.,University of Palermo
Current Pharmaceutical Design | Year: 2014

The metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, has become an important public health problem. Considerable differences in the prevalence of the MetS in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected subjects have been reported, as a consequence of several limitations regarding the diagnostic critera for MetS. New evidence suggests that the use of optimal waist cut-off points specific for the various ethnic populations could represent a step forward in overcoming these limitations. Also the use of specific cut-off points for measuring upper trunk fat as an adjunctive criterion of MetS in HIV patients with lipodystrophy could represent an interesting new research topic. Although metabolic disorders have been associated indirectly with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), directly with HIV infection per se or with host conditions, current circumstances could change the framework of MetS in the HIV setting: For example, the aging HIV population and newer, less metabolically toxic antiretroviral drugs. Lipotoxicity and adipokines have been focused as key issues for explaining MetS in HIV patients. Several studies have investigated the pathophysiology of MetS and cardiovascular complications in HIV infection. Evidence shows that both HIV infection per se and HIV-related chronic immune activation despite antiretroviral therapy are critical factors linking MetS and cardiovascular complications. Current epidemiological and pathogenetic data on MetS in HIV infection, prevention strategies and therapeutic options for all MetS components are reviewed in the light of the recent Adult Treatment Panel IV recommendations and the new antiretroviral drugs. © 2014 Bentham Science Publishers.

To evaluate microswitch-cluster technology to help a post-coma man with multiple disabilities increase adaptive responding and reduce head forward tilting. The intervention programme initially focused on promoting a simple adaptive response (i.e. manipulating and moving a wobbling, ball-like device), which produced brief periods of preferred stimulation. Subsequently, this response produced the stimulation only if performed in the presence of head upright. Moreover, the stimulation lasted the scheduled time only if the head upright was maintained. Data showed that the programme was successful in increasing the frequency of adaptive responses and in reducing the unhealthy posture of head forward tilting. Toward the end of the programme, the participant performed virtually all responses with his head upright and kept this posture through nearly the entire length of the sessions. Microswitch-cluster technology might help post-coma persons with multiple disabilities improve adaptive engagement and head posture simultaneously.

Bianco V.V.,University of Bari
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

The artichoke, Cynara cardunculus L. subsp. scolymus (L.) Hayek, in more than five hundred years of cultivation and usage, has marked the most disparate aspects of everyday life and culture, particularly in Italy, France and Spain. The artichokes are recalled in riddles, idioms, lore, legends, anecdotes, tales, poems, films, video, records, music programmes, blogs, web site, monuments, ancient mosaic, fountains, in the art of foretelling lottery numbers and in numerous paintings dating the 16th century until today. Items of common use named Artichokes, such as pasta bowls, serving set, tea pot, spreader, table lamp, wax candle, candelabrum, curtain pole, silk table skirt, knitting patterns colour, rings, earring mint, heart necklace, hotel, bed and breakfast, restaurants, café, bar, florists, magazines, publishing house, art graphic design, circus, fireworks, marathon walk, motor-cycle rally, will be remembered. Moreover the artichoke policy, refers to instance, to a shrewd strategy of dealing with one opponent at a time. "Kings", queen, prince, captains, wizards, gold artichokes awards, religious sect, artichokes that are not artichokes, artichoke-named villages, people whose last name is Carciofo together with its diminutives, will be reported as well. Beside the existence of nearly 300 landraces, mention has been made of the importance of local festivals, shows and fairs dedicated to the artichoke. The striking roots in the diversity of Italian territory, originate more than 270 typical regional recipes and more than 1.300 all over Italy. At the end the curiosity and the presumed aphrodisiac property, the traditional and folk medicine indication, artichoke leaf tea, liqueur, wine, cheese, very numerous typical artichoke handicraft and byproducts will be cited. © ISHS.

Santacroce L.,Immunology and Infectious Diseases | Carlaio R.G.,University of Bari | Bottalico L.,Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Endocrine, Metabolic and Immune Disorders - Drug Targets | Year: 2010

Epidemiological studies indicated that more than 15% of the population in western countries suffer because of severe forms of periodontitis. In this respect, the recognition of the relationship between oral and systemic health is growing, thus receiving remarkable interest in scientific literature. In fact, periodontitis may increase the risk for a group of life-threatening conditions such as atherosclerosis, stroke or low birth weight. The American Diabetes Association has reported that individuals with uncontrolled diabetes (defined as 200mg/dL of glucose on three consecutive readings) undergo an increased risk of infections, abnormal wound healing and consequent increased recovery time. Moreover, diabetics may be more likely to develop periodontal and cardiovascular disease than non diabetics, if note. History of poorly controlled chronic periodontal disease can alter diabetic/glycemic control. This may originate from a likely continuous passage of bacterial toxins and/or bacteria into the bloodstream, and/or from an exaggerated release of inflammatory mediators. This review is aimed at elucidating the connections between the status of oral health and glycemic control in diabetes.

Crivellato E.,University of Udine | Travan L.,University of Udine | Ribatti D.,University of Bari
International Archives of Allergy and Immunology | Year: 2010

Mast cells and basophils are granulated metachromatic cells which possess complex and partially overlapping roles in acquired and innate immunity, including both effector and regulatory activities. Mast cells and basophils cooperate in exacerbating and/or modulating inflammation as well as in mediating subsequent tissue repair. Mast cells release a series of potent proangiogenic molecules during inflammation that stimulate vessel sprouting and new vessel formation. Recent data suggest that basophils may also play a role in inflammation-related angiogenesis, principally but not exclusively through the expression of several forms of vascular endothelial growth factors and their receptors. This review focuses on the potential cooperative link between mast cells and basophils in promoting angiogenesis during allergic inflammation. We discuss the multifaceted roles of mast cells and basophils in inflammatory mechanisms of allergic diseases and whether these cells can be both source and target of proangiogenic mediators. Copyright © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Tamborrino A.,University of Bari | Catalano P.,University of Molise | Leone A.,University of Foggia
Journal of Food Engineering | Year: 2014

A torque monitoring system was implemented on a malaxer machine prototype to investigate the rheological parameters of olive paste. In this study, the correlations between torque values and apparent viscosities were studied. The torque - viscosity correlation is important for defining an in-line parameter that can directly monitor during the kneading process, to determine when the paste is ready to progress to the next phase, to optimise the process, and to achieve higher quality products. During the malaxation process, the torque on the reel was measured using a rotating torque transducer. Viscosity measurements were performed using a Brookfield rotational viscosimeter. A model that correlates torque with the viscosity coefficient and flow behaviour index was defined. The good correlation between the off-line viscosity measurements and viscosity, as calculated by the model, confirms that the predicted mathematical model is able to produce a reliable assessment of the viscosity and that the torquemeter may represent an efficient device to obtain quite accurate on-line viscosity measurements. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Petroni N.C.,University of Bari
Entropy | Year: 2014

The routine definitions of Shannon entropy for both discrete and continuous probability laws show inconsistencies that make them not reciprocally coherent. We propose a few possible modifications of these quantities so that: (1) they no longer show incongruities; and (2) they go one into the other in a suitable limit as the result of a renormalization. The properties of the new quantities would slightly differ from that of the usual entropies in a few other respects. © 2014 by the author.

Mavelli F.,University of Bari | Ruiz-Mirazo K.,University of the Basque Country
Physical Biology | Year: 2010

'ENVIRONMENT' is a computational platform that has been developed in the last few years with the aim to simulate stochastically the dynamics and stability of chemically reacting protocellular systems. Here we present and describe some of its main features, showing how the stochastic kinetics approach can be applied to study the time evolution of reaction networks in heterogeneous conditions, particularly when supramolecular lipid structures (micelles, vesicles, etc) coexist with aqueous domains. These conditions are of special relevance to understand the origins of cellular, self-reproducing compartments, in the context of prebiotic chemistry and evolution. We contrast our simulation results with real lab experiments, with the aim to bring together theoretical and experimental research on protocell and minimal artificial cell systems. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Cotecchia S.,University of Bari | Cotecchia S.,University of Lausanne
Methods in Enzymology | Year: 2010

The α1b-adrenergic receptor (AR) was, after rhodopsin, the first G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) in which point mutations were shown to trigger constitutive (agonist-independent) activity. Constitutively activating mutations have been found in other AR subtypes as well as in several GPCRs. This chapter briefly summarizes the main findings on constitutively active mutants of the α1a- and α1b-AR subtypes and the methods used to predict activating mutations, to measure constitutive activity of Gq-coupled receptors and to investigate inverse agonism. In addition, it highlights the implications of studies on constitutively active AR mutants on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of receptor activation and drug action. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Giannelli G.,University of Bari | Villa E.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Lahn M.,Eli Lilly and Company
Cancer Research | Year: 2014

Hepatocellular carcinoma arises in patients as a consequence of long-standing preexisting liver illnesses, including viral hepatitis, alcohol abuse, or metabolic disease. In such preexisting liver diseases, TGF-β plays an important role in orchestrating a favorable microenvironment for tumor cell growth and promoting epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). TGF-β signaling promotes hepatocellular carcinoma progression by two mechanisms: first, via an intrinsic activity as an autocrine or paracrine growth factor and, second, via an extrinsic activity by inducing microenvironment changes, including cancer-associated fibroblasts, T regulatory cells, and inflammatory mediators. Although there is an increasing understanding on how TGF-β signaling is associated with tumor progression in hepatocellular carcinoma, it is not clear whether TGF-β signaling is limited to a certain subgroup of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma or is a key driver of hepatocellular carcinoma during the entire tumorigenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma. Inhibitors of the TGFb signaling have been shown to block hepatocellular carcinoma growth and progression by modulating EMT in different experimental models, leading to the clinical investigation of the TGF-β inhibitor LY2157299 monohydrate in hepatocellular carcinoma. Preliminary results from a phase II clinical trial have shown improved clinical outcome and also changes consistent with a reduction of EMT. © 2014 American Association for Cancer Research.

Cassibba R.,University of Bari | van Ijzendoorn M.H.,Leiden University | Coppola G.,University of Chieti Pescara
Child: Care, Health and Development | Year: 2012

Background The presence of limits or distortions in the children's communicative behaviours (due to a chronic illness) may interfere with the possibility to build secure attachment relationships. Moreover, the distress that the atypical chronic illness condition brings to family life may interfere the intergenerational transmission of attachment. Methods This study evaluated the associations between maternal attachment representations, emotional availability and mother-child attachment in a clinical and in a comparison group. Forty infants (23 female) in their 14th month of life and their mothers participated in this study, 20 dyads with clinical infants (10 premature infants and 10 infants affected by atopic dermatitis) and 20 full-term and healthy comparison infants. The Adult Attachment Interview, the Emotional Availability Scales (EAS) and the Strange Situation Procedure were used to assess, respectively, the security of mothers' attachment representations, the emotional availability and the quality of mother-child attachment. Results We found that the two groups (clinical vs. comparison) did not differ with respect to the Adult Attachment Interview and the Emotional Availability Scales measures. A significant difference was found in the distribution of the infant-mother attachment patterns, with a higher incidence of insecure infants in the clinical group. In the typically developing group, more secure maternal attachment representations predicted more emotional availability in mother-infant interactions, which predicted more secure infant-mother attachments. However, we did not find similar support for intergenerational transmission of attachment in the clinical group. Conclusions We speculate that constant concerns about the child's health condition and communicative difficulties of clinical infants may hamper or even mitigate the intergenerational transmission of attachment. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Burla M.C.,University of Perugia | Giacovazzo C.,CNR Institute of Crystallography | Giacovazzo C.,University of Bari | Polidori G.,University of Perugia
Journal of Applied Crystallography | Year: 2010

A recent probabilistic reformulation of the difference electron-density Fourier synthesis [Burla, Caliandro, Giacovazzo & Polidori (2010). Acta Cryst. A66, 347-361] suggested that the most suitable Fourier coefficients are the sum of the classical difference term (mF-DF p) with a flipping term, depending on the model and on its quality. The flipping term is dominant when the model is poor and is negligible when the model is a good representation of the target structure. In the case of a random model the Fourier coefficient does not vanish and therefore could allow the recovery of the target structure from a random model. This paper describes a new phasing algorithm which does not require use of the concept of structure invariants or semi-invariants: it is based only on the properties of the new difference electron density and of the observed Fourier synthesis. The algorithm is cyclic and very easy to implement. It has been applied to a large set of small-molecule structures to verify the suitability of the approach. © 2010 International Union of Crystallography Printed in Singapore - all rights reserved.

Stramaglia S.,University of Bari | Stramaglia S.,Cruces University Hospital | Stramaglia S.,Ikerbasque | M Cortes J.,Cruces University Hospital | And 2 more authors.
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2014

We analyze, by means of Granger causality (GC), the effect of synergy and redundancy in the inference (from time series data) of the information flow between subsystems of a complex network. While we show that fully conditioned GC (CGC) is not affected by synergy, the pairwise analysis fails to prove synergetic effects. In cases when the number of samples is low, thus making the fully conditioned approach unfeasible, we show that partially conditioned GC (PCGC) is an effective approach if the set of conditioning variables is properly chosen. Here we consider two different strategies (based either on informational content for the candidate driver or on selecting the variables with highest pairwise influences) for PCGC and show that, depending on the data structure, either one or the other might be equally valid. On the other hand, we observe that fully conditioned approaches do not work well in the presence of redundancy, thus suggesting the strategy of separating the pairwise links in two subsets: those corresponding to indirect connections of the CGC (which should thus be excluded) and links that can be ascribed to redundancy effects and, together with the results from the fully connected approach, provide a better description of the causality pattern in the presence of redundancy. Finally we apply these methods to two different real datasets. First, analyzing electrophysiological data from an epileptic brain, we show that synergetic effects are dominant just before seizure occurrences. Second, our analysis applied to gene expression time series from HeLa culture shows that the underlying regulatory networks are characterized by both redundancy and synergy. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology | Year: 2013

The nature of the angiogenic balance in neuroblastoma is complex, and a spectrum of angiogenesis stimulators and inhibitors have been detected in neuroblastoma tumours. The complex relationships between angiogenic cascade and anti-angiogenic agents in the tumour vascular phase have indicated that anti-angiogenesis can be considered as a strategy for the adjuvant therapy of neuroblastoma. The major goal is to establish if inhibition of angiogenesis is a realistic therapeutic strategy for inhibiting tumour cell dissemination and the formation of metastasis in neuroblastoma. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

De Luca A.,University of Bari
Acta Myologica | Year: 2012

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a lethal X-linked muscle disease affecting 1/3500 live male birth. It results from defects in the subsarcolemmal protein dystrophin, a component of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC) which links the intracellular cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix. The absence of dystrophin leads to muscle membrane fragility, muscle necrosis and gradual replacement of skeletal muscle by fat and connective tissue, through a complex and still unclear cascade of interconnecting events. No cure is currently available, with glucocorticoids being the sole drugs in clinical use in spite of their remarkable side effects. A great effort is devoted at performing pre-clinical tests on the mdx mouse, the mostly used homologous animal model for DMD, with the final aim to identify drugs safer than steroids and able to target the pathogenic mechanisms so to delay pathology progression. This review updates the efforts on this topic, focusing on the open issues about the animal model and highlighting the classes of pharmaceuticals that are more promising as disease-modifiers, while awaiting for more corrective therapies. Although caution is necessary in data transfer from mdx model to DMD patients, the implementation of standard operating procedures and the growing understanding of the pathology may allow a more accurate evaluation of therapeutics, alone or in combination, in pre-clinical settings. A continuous cross-talk with clinicians and patients associations are also crucial points for proper translation of data from mouse to bedside.

Burla M.C.,University of Perugia | Caliandro R.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Giacovazzo C.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Giacovazzo C.,University of Bari | Polidori G.,University of Perugia
Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations of Crystallography | Year: 2010

The joint probability distribution function P(E, E p ), where E and E p are the normalized structure factors of the target and of a model structure, respectively, is a fundamental tool in crystallographic methods devoted to crystal structure solution. It plays a central role in any attempt for improving phase estimates from a given structure model. More recently the difference electron density q = - p has been revisited and methods based on its modifications have started to play an important role in combination with electron density modification approaches. In this paper new coefficients for the difference electron density have been obtained by using the joint probability distribution function P(E, E p , E q ) and by taking into account both errors in the model and in measurements. The first applications show the correctness of our theoretical approach and the superiority of the new difference Fourier synthesis, particularly when the model is a rough approximation of the target structure. The new and the classic difference syntheses coincide when the model represents the target structure well. © 2010 International Union of Crystallography. Printed in Singapore-all rights reserved.

Colonna G.,CNR Institute of Inorganic Methodologies and Plasmas | D'Angola A.,University of Basilicata | Capitelli M.,CNR Institute of Inorganic Methodologies and Plasmas | Capitelli M.,University of Bari
Physics of Plasmas | Year: 2012

In this paper, we have discussed the effects of electronically excited states of atomic species in affecting the isentropic coefficients of plasmas, focusing on mixtures representing the atmospheres of Jupiter, Mars, and Earth. General behaviors have been rationalized on the basis of simplified approaches. The contribution of the electronically excited states has been evidenced by comparing results obtained considering only the ground state and those obtained using either Fermi or Griem cutoff criteria. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.

Giacovazzo C.,CNR Institute of Crystallography | Giacovazzo C.,University of Bari | Mazzone A.,CNR Institute of Crystallography
Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations of Crystallography | Year: 2011

The expected mean-square error of electron-density maps (observed and difference) is traditionally estimated as a function of the variance of the observed amplitudes. The usual purpose is to evaluate the reliability of the structural parameters suggested by the final electron-density maps. Accordingly, such calculations are performed after the refinement stage, when the phases are considered perfectly determined. In this paper a mathematical expression for the variance (observed, difference and hybrid) is obtained for each point of an electron-density map for the space group P1 under a different hypothesis: the current phases are distributed on the trigonometric circle about the correct values, according to von Mises distributions. The variance calculation may then be performed at any stage of the phasing process, starting from a random up to a highly correlated model. It has been shown that the variance does not change dramatically from point to point of the map; therefore emphasis has been given to the concept of map variance, which allows an easier study of its properties. When the model is highly correlated with the target structure the conclusive formulas reduce to those previously described in the literature. The properties of the variance are discussed: it is shown that they are the basis for the most successful phasing procedures. © 2011 International Union of Crystallography.

Cea P.,University of Bari | Cosmai L.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | D'Elia M.,University of Pisa | Papa A.,University of Calabria | And 2 more authors.
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

We determine the (pseudo)critical lines of QCD with two degenerate staggered fermions at nonzero temperature and quark or isospin density, in the region of imaginary chemical potentials; analytic continuation is then used to prolongate to the region of real chemical potentials. We obtain an accurate determination of the curvatures at zero chemical potential, quantifying the deviation between the case of finite quark and of finite isospin chemical potential. Deviations from a quadratic dependence of the pseudocritical lines on the chemical potential are clearly seen in both cases: we try different extrapolations and, for the case of nonzero isospin chemical potential, confront them with the results of direct Monte Carlo simulations. Finally we find that, as for the finite quark density case, an imaginary isospin chemical potential can strengthen the transition until turning it into strong first order. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Cea P.,University of Bari | Cea P.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Modern Physics Letters B | Year: 2012

We investigate the quantum Hall effect in graphene. We argue that in graphene in presence of an external magnetic field there is dynamical generation of mass by a rearrangement of the Dirac sea. We show that the mechanism breaks the lattice valley degeneracy only for the n = 0 Landau levels and leads to the new observed ν = ±1 quantum Hall plateaus. We suggest that our result can be tested by means of numerical simulations of planar Quantum Electro Dynamics with dynamical fermions in an external magnetic fields on the lattice. © 2012 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Ciurli P.,IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation | Formisano R.,IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation | Bivona U.,IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation | Cantagallo A.,University of Ferrara | Angelelli P.,University of Bari
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation | Year: 2011

Objective: To characterize neuropsychiatric symptoms in a large group of individuals with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to correlate these symptoms with demographic, clinical, and functional features. Methods: The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), a frequently used scale to assess behavioral, emotional, and motivational disorders in persons with neurological diseases, was administered to a sample of 120 persons with severe TBI. Controls were 77 healthy subjects. Results: A wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms was found in the population with severe TBI: apathy (42%), irritability (37%), dysphoria/depressed mood (29%), disinhibition (28%), eating disturbances (27%), and agitation (24%). A clear relationship was also found with other demographic and clinical variables. Conclusion: Neuropsychiatric disorders constitute an important part of the comorbidity in populations with severe TBI. Our study emphasizes the importance of integrating an overall assessment of cognitive disturbances with a specific neuropsychiatric evaluation to improve clinical understanding and treatment of persons with TBI. Copyright © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Ribatti D.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Crivellato E.,Section of Anatomy
Immunology Letters | Year: 2014

Mast cells were first identified by Paul Ehrlich in 1878, when he was still a medical student. Many fundamental aspects of mast cell ontogeny have been elucidated since Ehrlich's first identification. Demonstration of mast cell derivation from bone marrow precursors could be established in 1977 when Kitamura's group first showed reconstitution of mast cells in mast cell-deficient mice by the adaptive transfer of wild type bone marrow and indicated that these cells were of hematopoietic origin. It is now definitively established that development of mast cells in bone marrow occurs along the myeloid pathway. However, several aspects need further clarification. In particular, identification and chemical characterization of growth factors expressing mast cell differentiating properties and the relationship between mast cell and basophils developmental pathways. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Iwanczak B.,Wroclaw Medical University | Francavailla R.,University of Bari
Helicobacter | Year: 2014

This review concerns important pediatric studies published from April 2013 to March 2014. New data on pathogenesis have demonstrated that Th1 type cytokine secretion at the gastric level is less intense in children compared with adults. They have also shown that the most significant risk factor for Helicobacter pylori infection is the parents' origin and frequency of childcare in settings with a high prevalence of infection. A new hypothesis on the positive relationship between childhood H. pylori infection and the risk of gastric cancer in adults has been suggested which calls for an implementation of preventive programs to reduce the burden of childhood H. pylori infection in endemic areas. Several studies have investigated the role of H. pylori infection in iron-deficiency anemia, and results support the role of the bacterium in this condition. Antibiotic resistance is an area of intense research with data confirming an increase in antibiotic resistance, and the effect of CYP2C19 genetic polymorphism on proton-pump inhibitor metabolism should be further investigated as cure rates are lower in extensive metabolizers. Studies confirmed that probiotic supplementation may have beneficial effects on eradication and therapy-related side effects, particularly diarrhea in children. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Giustolisi O.,University of Bari | Walski T.M.,Bentley Systems Incorporated
Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management | Year: 2012

Solving water distribution network hydraulics depends to a greatextent on demand representation in the related simulation models. The classical approach of simulation models for water distribution networks (WDNs) is described as demand-driven. The demands are fixed a priori in the model as an assumption or from field observations. Recentlya more realist approach to predict the hydraulic system behavior, described as head/pressure-driven, better accounts for the fact that thedemands depend in some ways on head status of the network. Thus, thispaper presents a comprehensive view of demands in the enhanced WDN simulation models, including considerations of humanbased, volume-based,uncontrolled orifice-based, and leakage-based demands as distinct types of network outflows. The paper proposes and discusses the representation of each type of demand in a comprehensive framework that is consistent with the hydraulic principles and the specific working condition. © 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers.

We report a case of symptomatic massive liver echinococcosis due to Echinococcus granulosus, unexpectedly found in a 34 year old woman living in Apulia, Italy. Based on size (max diameter 18 cm), clinical presentation, geographical area, and natural history of echinococcosis, we estimate that the initial infection should have occurred 9-20 yrs before. Presenting symptoms were those of typical mass effect with RUQ pain, pruritus, malaise, and recent weight loss. Abdominal ultrasound diagnosis of probable echinococcal cyst was subsequentely confirmed by positive serology and further detailed by radiological imaging. The cyst was massively occupying subdiaphragmatic liver segments and extending to the omentum and the stomach. The characteristics of the lesion were compatible with the WHO 2003 classification type CE2l, indicating a large active fertile cyst with daughter cysts. The cyst was successfully treated with medical therapy followed by surgery. The prevalence, diagnostic workup, management, and costs of echinococcosis are discussed in this case presentation.

Sarracino D.,University of Milan Bicocca | Presaghi F.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Degni S.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Innamorati M.,University of Bari
Journal of Adolescence | Year: 2011

In early adolescence, attachment security reflects not only the quality of ongoing relationships with parents, but also how adolescents process social relationships with " others" - that is, their " social value orientation" - with possible implications for adolescents' risk-taking. In this study, a sample of Italian early adolescents were administered self-report measures in order to examine the relationships (a) between early adolescents' perceived attachment security to mothers and fathers, social values (related to family and the socio-cultural context), and sensation seeking (as a temperamental predisposition to risk-taking), and (b) between these variables and adolescents' externalizing problem behaviour. Adolescents were more securely attached to the same-sexed parent. Further, attachment security with the opposite-sexed parent predicted more conservative social value orientations, and lower levels of problem behaviour. In contrast, sensation seeking predicted self-enhancement and openness-to-change values to a greater extent, and, in girls, lower levels of attachment security to mothers and fathers. © 2010 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents.

Alonso A.,University of Minnesota | Alonso A.,Public University of Navarra | Logroscino G.,University of Bari | Hernan M.A.,Harvard University | Hernan M.A.,Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry | Year: 2010

Background: Epidemiologic studies have provided inconsistent results on the association of cigarette smoking with the incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To summarise published evidence and explore sources of heterogeneity, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that evaluated this association. Methods: Published studies evaluating the association of smoking with incidence of ALS were searched in bibliographic databases, with relevant information collected from each article. A random effects approach was used to pool the relative rate (RR) estimates from different studies. Between study heterogeneity was explored with a meta-regression approach. Results: 18 publications reported associations between smoking and ALS risk in 15 case control studies and five cohort studies. The pooled RR (95% CI) of ALS was 1.28 (0.97 to 1.68) for current versus never smokers and 1.12 (0.98 to 1.27) for ever versus never smokers. The study specifics RRs were heterogeneous (p<0.01). The proportion of women in the study population explained 46% of between study variability. The estimated RR (95% CI) of ALS for ever versus never smokers was 0.86 (0.71 to 1.03) in men and 1.66 (1.31 to 2.10) in women. Interpretation: This meta-analysis does not support an overall strong association of smoking with ALS risk but suggests that smoking might be associated with a higher risk of ALS in women.

Lisi F.A.,University of Bari
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2013

Learning in Description Logics (DLs) has been paid increasing attention over the last decade. Several and diverse approaches have been proposed which however share the common feature of extending and adapting previous work in Concept Learning to the novel representation framework of DLs. In this paper we present a declarative modeling language for Concept Learning in DLs which relies on recent results in the fields of Knowledge Representation and Machine Learning. Based on second-order DLs, it allows for modeling Concept Learning problems as constructive DL reasoning tasks where the construction of the solution to the problem may be subject to optimality criteria. © 2013 Springer-Verlag.

Biancofiore P.,University of Bari | Biancofiore P.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Colangelo P.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | De Fazio F.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

We study the radiative B→Kη(′)γ decays, which are important to investigate CP violation, and are also relevant to assess the role of the exclusive modes induced by the b→sγ transition to saturate the inclusive B→X sγ decay rate. Moreover, these channels do not display the same hierarchy as B→Kη(′) modes, for which the decay into η′ is enhanced with respect to one into η. The three-body radiative decays reverse the role: we find that this experimentally observed behavior (although affected by a large uncertainty in the case of the η′) is reproduced in the theoretical analysis. We compute a B *→K form factor, needed for this study, using light cone QCD sum rules, and discuss a relation expected to hold in the large energy limit for the light meson. Finally, we examine B→Kηγ in two extensions of the standard model with universal extra dimensions, to investigate the sensitivity of this rare mode to such a kind of new physics effects. © 2012 American Physical Society.

de Felice G.,Third University of Rome | Amorosi A.,University of Bari | Malena M.,Third University of Rome
International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics | Year: 2010

The paper describes the development and numerical implementation of a constitutive relationship for modeling the elasto-plastic behavior of block structures with periodic texture, regarded at a macroscopic scale as homogenized anisotropic media. The macroscopic model is shown to retain memory of the mechanical characteristics of the joints and of the shape of the blocks. The overall mechanical properties display anisotropy and singularities in the yield surface, arising from the discrete nature of the block structure and the geometrical arrangement of the units. The model is formulated in the framework of multisurface plasticity. It is implemented in an finite element (FE) code by means of two different algorithms: an implicit return mapping scheme and a minimization algorithm directly derived from the Haar-Karman principle. The model is validated against analytical and experimental results: the comparison between the homogenized continuum and the original block assembly shows a good agreement in terms of ultimate inelastic behavior, when the size of the block is small as compared with that of the whole assembly. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Wernicke syndrome is a rare neurological pathology due to a deficit in vitamin B1. The syndrome is common among alcohol abusers, patients with malignant tumor or gastrointestinal diseases, those who undergo hemodialysis or long-term peritoneal dialysis, pregnant women with hyperemesis, women who breast-feed, patients with hyperthyroidism or anorexia nervosa or gastric or jejunal-ileal bypass surgery for obesity, patients submitted to gastric surgery or prolonged total parenteral nutrition or prolonged intravenous therapy. We report a case of Wernicke syndrome due to afferent loop syndrome characterized by incoercible vomiting.

Pantaleo A.M.,University of Bari | Pantaleo A.M.,Imperial College London | Camporeale S.M.,Polytechnic of Bari | Shah N.,Imperial College London
Energy Conversion and Management | Year: 2013

This paper proposes a thermo-economic assessment of small scale (100 kWe) combined heat and power (CHP) plants fired by natural gas and solid biomass. The focus is on dual fuel gas turbine cycle, where compressed air is heated in a high temperature heat exchanger (HTHE) using the hot gases produced in a biomass furnace, before entering the gas combustion chamber. The hot air expands in the turbine and then feeds the internal pre-heater recuperator, Various biomass/natural gas energy input ratios are modeled, ranging from 100% natural gas to 100% biomass. The research assesses the trade-offs between: (i) lower energy conversion efficiency and higher investment cost of high biomass input rate and (ii) higher primary energy savings and revenues from bio-electricity feed-in tariff in case of high biomass input rate. The influence of fuel mix and biomass furnace temperature on energy conversion efficiencies, primary energy savings and profitability of investments is assessed. The scenarios of industrial vs. tertiary heat demand and baseload vs. heat driven plant operation are also compared. On the basis of the incentives available in Italy for biomass electricity and for high efficiency cogeneration (HEC), the maximum investment profitability is achieved for 70% input biomass percentage. The main barriers of these embedded cogeneration systems in Italy are also discussed. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Kanduc D.,University of Bari
Endocrine, Metabolic and Immune Disorders - Drug Targets | Year: 2014

This study documents that mumps virus shares several peptide sequences with human proteins that, when altered, may be involved in oligospermia/azoospermia, sterility and testicular atrophy. Examples are sperm flagellar protein 2 and spermatogenesis and centriole-associated protein 1. The data invite to further investigate crossreactivity as a potential mechanism linking anti-mumps immune responses, alterations of spermatogenesis–associated antigens and male fertility disorders. © 2014 Bentham Science Publishers.

Bresser D.,University of Munster | Paillard E.,University of Munster | Binetti E.,University of Bari | Krueger S.,University of Munster | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Power Sources | Year: 2012

Anatase TiO 2 nanorods (NRs), with an average diameter of 3-4 nm and an average length of 25-30 nm were investigated as Li-insertion material. The NRs, capped with oleic acid, were synthesized by a low temperature colloidal route based on thermal decomposition of the precursors in presence of coordinating agents. A highly porous and connective network of NRs and carbon was prepared by taking advantage of this organic capping to inhibit the nanoparticle agglomeration and to act as a precursor for the formation of a carbonaceous percolating network. Composite electrodes, made of such material, were able to deliver reversible capacities of about 250 mAh g -1 (corresponding to 0.75 equiv. of Li per TiO 2 unit). Reversible capacities of 210 mAh g -1 (0.63 Li per TiO 2), 194 mAh g -1 (0.58 Li per TiO 2), 165 mAh g -1 (0.49 Li per TiO 2), and 130 mAh g -1 (0.39 Li per TiO 2) were observed during cycle tests at 1C, 2C, 5C, and 10C, respectively, confirming the excellent high rate performance of the well-dispersed NRs. Finally, the electrodes showed excellent cycle life performance. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Doro R.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Farkas S.L.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Martella V.,University of Bari | Banyai K.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy | Year: 2015

Group A rotavirus (Rotavirus A, RVA) is the main cause of acute dehydrating diarrhea in humans and numerous animal species. RVA shows vast diversity and a variety of human strains share genetic and antigenic features with animal origin RVA strains. This finding suggests that interspecies transmission is an important mechanism of rotavirus evolution and contributes to the diversity of human RVA strains. RVA is responsible for half a million deaths and several million hospitalizations worldwide. Globally, two rotavirus vaccines are available for routine use in infants. These vaccines show a great efficacy profile and induce protective immunity against various rotavirus strains. However, little is known about the long-term evolution and epidemiology of RVA strains under selective pressure related to vaccine use. Continuous strain surveillance in the post-vaccine licensure era is needed to help better understand mechanisms that may affect vaccine effectiveness. © 2015 Taylor and Francis.

Dantas-Torres F.,University of Bari
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2010

The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) is the most widespread tick in the world and a well-recognized vector of many pathogens affecting dogs and occasionally humans. This tick can be found on dogs living in both urban and rural areas, being highly adapted to live within human dwellings and being active throughout the year not only in tropical and subtropical regions, but also in some temperate areas. Depending on factors such as climate and host availability, Rh. sanguineus can complete up to four generations per year. Recent studies have demonstrated that ticks exposed to high temperatures attach and feed on humans and rabbits more rapidly. This observation suggests that the risk of human parasitism by Rh. sanguineus could increase in areas experiencing warmer and/or longer summers, consequently increasing the risk of transmission of zoonotic agents (e.g., Rickettsia conorii and Rickettsia rickettsii). In the present article, some aspects of the biology and ecology of Rh. sanguineus ticks are discussed including the possible impact of current climate changes on populations of this tick around the world. © 2010 Dantas-Torres; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Scoditti E.,CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology | Capurso C.,University of Foggia | Capurso A.,University of Bari | Massaro M.,CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology
Vascular Pharmacology | Year: 2014

The lower occurrence of cardiovascular disease and cancer in populations around the Mediterranean basin as detected in the 1950s was correctly attributed to the peculiar dietary habits of those populations. Essentially, until the mid-20th century, typical Mediterranean diets were rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole-wheat bread, nuts, fish, and, as a common culinary trait, the routine use of extra-virgin olive oil. Nowadays, the regular adoption of such dietary patterns is still thought to result in healthful benefits. Such patterns ensure the assumption of molecules with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, among which ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), ω-9 monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid), and phenolic compounds. The aim of this review is to provide an update of the vasculo-protective pathways mediated by ω-3 PUFAs and polyphenols in the context of the modern Mediterranean dietary habits, including the possible cross-talk and synergy between these typical components. This review complements a parallel one focusing on the role of dietary nitrates and alimentary fats. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Fogli D.,University of Brescia | Piccinno A.,University of Bari
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2013

This paper aims at analyzing the category of multi-tiered proxy design problems, where end-user developers do not necessarily coincide with the actual end users of the system, but can be considered as end users' proxies. This situation can be found in a variety of application domains, from home automation, where electricians defining home automation systems for energy saving are different from house occupants, to e-government, where administrative employees creating e-government services are different from citizens using those services. The analysis leads to the definition of a new interaction and co-evolution model, called ICE2, which, on the basis of the model discussed in a previous work, considers not only the case of end users that directly make their system evolve by means of end-user development activities, but also the case where a proxy figure is present, namely an expert in the application domain that creates and modifies software artifacts for others (the actual end users). Finally, a design approach is proposed, which aims at generalizing the solutions suggested in different application domains, and at sustaining the interaction and co-evolution processes that involve end users, end-user developers, and systems. © 2013 Springer-Verlag.

Rizzo G.,University of Bari
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2013

The Brain-Computer interface (BCI) advancements made possible the use of techniques to recognize emotional aspects from the electroencephalographic signal (EEG). In this work I focus on the implementation of a BCI-based application, able to mine relevant information about user's emotion from his/her EEG signal and to adapt to it. To this aim a highly low cost and wearable device is employed, so as, a natural interaction is allowed. © 2013 Springer-Verlag.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Baiguera S.,University of Florence
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs | Year: 2013

Introduction: Therapeutic angiogenesis is a strategy of inducing new collateral vessels and stimulating new capillaries that enhance tissue oxygen exchange in ischemic cardiovascular disorders, including acute myocardial infarction, chronic cardiac ischemia, peripheral artery disease and stroke. Areas covered: Over the last 10 years, promising results of early clinical trials have generated great expectation on the potential of therapeutic angiogenesis. However, even if large randomized placebo-controlled and double-blinded Phase II clinical trials have confirmed the feasibility, safety and potential effectiveness of therapeutic angiogenesis, they provided very limited evidence of its efficacy in terms of clinical benefit. Expert opinion: Results of the latest trials on therapeutic angiogenesis have not provided satisfactory results. Much is still unknown about the optimal delivery of angiogenic factors. Trials using alternative growth factors, dose regimens and methods of delivery are needed to enhance the treatment benefit of therapeutic angiogenesis. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd.

Fanizza G.,University of Bari | Tedesco L.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2015

In this paper, we introduce a Lemaître-Tolman-Bondi (LTB) Bianchi type I (plane symmetric) model of the Universe. We study and solve Einstein field equations. We investigate the effects of such a model of the Universe; in particular, these results are important in understanding the effect of the combined presence of an inhomogeneous and anisotropic universe. The observational magnitude-redshift data deviated from the UNION 2 catalog have been analyzed in the framework of this LTB anisotropic universe, and the fit has been achieved without the inclusion of any dark energy. © 2015 American Physical Society.

Pantaleo A.,University of Bari | Pantaleo A.,Imperial College London | Candelise C.,Imperial College London | Bauen A.,Imperial College London | Shah N.,Imperial College London
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2014

This paper describes ESCO approaches and business models for biomass heating and CHP generation. State of the art, policy measures and main barriers towards the implementation of such ESCO operations in Italy are discussed. Moreover, on the basis of the proposed framework, representative case studies in the Italian residential, tertiary and industrial market segments are compared. The case studies are referred to a 6 MWt wood chips fired plant. The case study of the industrial sector is based on a constant heat demand of a dairy firm, while in the tertiary and residential sectors the options to serve a concentrated heat demand (hospital) and a community housing by a district heating network are explored. The further option of coupling an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) for CHP is explored. The relevance of the research relies on the assessment of the main key factors towards the development of biomass-ESCO operations. The results of the techno-economic assessment show that the agro-industrial case study for heat generation is extremely profitable, because of the high baseline energy cost, the high load rate, the availability of incentives for biomass heating. The cogeneration option is also profitable, even if the higher investment cost determines a longer pay back time. The tertiary sector case study is also a profitable, for the presence of a concentrated load with high heat load rate and high energy cost. Finally, the residential sector case study is the least profitable, for the high district heating cost and the lower heat load rate, not compensated by the higher heat selling price. The higher investment cost of CHP, even if attracting further income from electricity sale, does not present higher profitability than the only heat generation plant. In addition, the heat load rate results a more influencing factor than the thermal energy selling price. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Palano A.,University of Bari
Acta Physica Polonica B, Proceedings Supplement | Year: 2015

Studies of B and Bs decays having a J/ψ in the final state have been performed which allow new measurements on the scalar and axial mesons mixing angles. Two new natural parity and two unnatural parity resonances are observed in the inclusive study of D+π-, D0π+ and D∗+π- final states. In a Dalitz plot analysis of B0 s → D0 K-π-, an excess at m(D0 K-) ≈ 2.86 GeV/c is found to be an admixture of spin-1 and spin-3 resonances. The analyses make use of data corresponding to 3 fb-1 of integrated luminosity collected with the LHCb detector using pp collisions.

Gonnella G.,University of Bari | Marenduzzo D.,University of Edinburgh | Suma A.,International School for Advanced Studies | Tiribocchi A.,University of Padua
Comptes Rendus Physique | Year: 2015

Active systems, or active matter, are self-driven systems that live, or function, far from equilibrium - a paradigmatic example that we focus on here is provided by a suspension of self-motile particles. Active systems are far from equilibrium because their microscopic constituents constantly consume energy from the environment in order to do work, for instance to propel themselves. The non-equilibrium nature of active matter leads to a variety of non-trivial intriguing phenomena. An important one, which has recently been the subject of intense interest among biological and soft matter physicists, is that of the so-called "motility-induced phase separation", whereby self-propelled particles accumulate into clusters in the absence of any explicit attractive interactions between them. Here we review the physics of motility-induced phase separation, and discuss this phenomenon within the framework of the classic physics of phase separation and coarsening. We also discuss theories for bacterial colonies where coarsening may be arrested. Most of this work will focus on the case of run-and-tumble and active Brownian particles in the absence of solvent-mediated hydrodynamic interactions - we will briefly discuss at the end their role, which is not currently fully understood in this context. © 2015.

Palano A.,University of Bari
Acta Physica Polonica B, Proceedings Supplement | Year: 2015

We study the processes γγ → K+K-η and γγ → K+K-π0 using a data sample of 519 fb-1 recorded with the BaBar detector. We observe ηc → K+ K-π0 and ηc → K+ K-η decays, measure their relative branching fraction, and perform a Dalitz plot analysis for each decay. We study the rare B-meson decays B±,0 → J/ψK+K-K±,0, B±,0 → JψφK±,0, and search for B0→ Jψφ finding no evidence of a signal. We present new measurements of branching fractions and a study of the Jψφ mass distribution in search of new charmonium-like states.

Nespoli L.,University of Insubria | Caprioglio A.,University of Insubria | Brunetti L.,University of Bari | Nosetti L.,University of Insubria
Early Human Development | Year: 2013

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) was first reported in 1976 by Guilleminault. This condition has been defined as a disorder of breathing during sleep characterized by prolonged partial/complete upper airway obstruction that disrupts normal ventilation and normal sleep patterns. The prevalence of this condition varies among the different populations but it is between 1 and 2% in preschool children when adenoid and tonsils volume has a major peak. Loud snoring is very common in these children but not always present. The diagnosis may be suggested by the facial appearance and by personal history but it must be confirmed by a polysomnography recording. OSAS has many associated morbidities which involve the cardiovascular system, the neurocognitive performance, the growth and the metabolic homeostasis. Obesity is a common associated condition and it impairs the therapeutic success. It should be considered when planning the treatment program: it should be stressed the obesity epidemic has already reached the European countries and it is now contributing to the "adult type" of OSAS which was quite rare in childhood until few years ago. The adenotonsillectomy is the most common therapeutic intervention but it is curative only in 2/3 of patients. Orthodontic approaches, associated with orofacial muscle reinforcing physiotherapy are helpful in most of these patients. To conclude we must stress that this condition is quite common and should be promptly diagnosed to prevent the multisystem morbidities; a multidisciplinary approach should be always offered to the parents of these children. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Palese L.L.,University of Bari
Biophysical Chemistry | Year: 2014

It is well known that, in some situations, principal component analysis (PCA) carried out on molecular dynamics data results in the appearance of cosine-shaped low index projections. Because this is reminiscent of the results obtained by performing PCA on a multidimensional Brownian dynamics, it has been suggested that short-time protein dynamics is essentially nothing more than a noisy signal. Here we use Random Matrix Theory to analyze a series of short-time molecular dynamics experiments which are specifically designed to be simulations with high cosine content. We use as a model system the protein apoCox17, a mitochondrial copper chaperone. Spectral analysis on correlation matrices allows to easily differentiate random correlations, simply deriving from the finite length of the process, from non-random signals reflecting the intrinsic system properties. Our results clearly show that protein dynamics is not really Brownian also in presence of the cosine-shaped low index projections on principal axes. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Heidarsson P.O.,Copenhagen University | Naqvi M.M.,National Research Council Italy | Naqvi M.M.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Otazo M.R.,National Research Council Italy | And 4 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2014

Neurodegenerative disorders are strongly linked to protein misfolding, and crucial to their explication is a detailed understanding of the underlying structural rearrangements and pathways that govern the formation of misfolded states. Here we use singlemolecule optical tweezers to monitor misfolding reactions of the human neuronal calcium sensor-1, a multispecific EF-hand protein involved in neurotransmitter release and linked to severe neurological diseases. We directly observed two misfolding trajectories leading to distinct kinetically trapped misfolded conformations. Both trajectories originate from an on-pathway intermediate state and compete with native folding in a calcium-dependent manner. The relative probability of the different trajectories could be affected by modulating the relaxation rate of applied force, demonstrating an unprecedented real-time control over the free-energy landscape of a protein. Constant-force experiments in combination with hidden Markov analysis revealed the free-energy landscape of the misfolding transitions under both physiological and pathological calcium concentrations. Remarkably for a calcium sensor, we found that higher calcium concentrations increased the lifetimes of the misfolded conformations, slowing productive folding to the native state. We propose a rugged, multidimensional energy landscape for neuronal calcium sensor-1 and speculate on a direct link between protein misfolding and calcium dysregulation that could play a role in neurodegeneration.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Ribatti D.,Italian National Cancer Institute
Immunology Letters | Year: 2015

Gerald M. Edelman began working to the structure of antibodies when joined as graduate student the laboratory of Henry Kunkel in 1958 at the "Rockefeller University" in New York, obtaining his doctorate in 1960. Edelman's focus on the structure of antibodies led to the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Rodney R. Porter. Edelman and Porter decided to approach the problem of antibodies structure by splitting. In 1959, Porter published a report in which he used the enzyme papain to cleave the antibody molecule into three pieces of about 50,000. Da, corresponding to the two Fab (antigen-binding) and constant Fc (crystallizable) fragments. In the same year, Edelman showed that reduction of the disulfide bonds of antibodies in the presence of denaturizing agents led to dissociation of the molecule into smaller pieces, now known to be the light (L) and heavy (H) chains. © 2015 European Federation of Immunological Societies.

Desolda G.,University of Bari
Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies | Year: 2015

In the last decade, the World Wide Web has been evolving as a data infrastructure, where a wide variety of resources is increasingly being made available as Web services. This trend is pushing the researchers to investigate approaches like composition platforms, aimed at empowering end users to access, compose and use these services. Despite the wide availability of data sources, due to the specific and diverse end users’ information needs often no data source can satisfy these needs. This limits the adoption of composition platforms in real contexts and everyday use. In order to overcome this limitation, this paper presents a polymorphic data source that exploits the wide availability of information structured in the Linked Open Data cloud. To build this data source, a semiautomatic annotation algorithm is presented that creates semantic annotations for services available in a composition platform. An implementation of this approach in a mashup platform is described. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.

Pesare E.,University of Bari
Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Applied Computing | Year: 2015

The growing interest and the increasing availability of technologies rise a new challenge to improve learning and teaching processes in the digital age, as pointed out in the Horizon 2020 work programme. Innovative practices and the creation of richer, engaging and motivating learning experiences may be the key to transform the training and educational system to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to provide young and adult people with the skills required for employment. ICT is crucial to boost the modernization of education and training: on the one hand, the learning environment needs to change to include curricular and extra-curricular educational activities, to create a place for collective learning that goes beyond the physical boundaries of space and time at school; on the other hand, continuing education and lifelong learning are more and more pressing in many areas: it requires to create learning paths centered on the specific user's needs, not only for the content acquisition but also for skills development.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Ribatti D.,Italian National Cancer Institute
Immunology Letters | Year: 2014

Vertebrate make billions of different antibodies, each with a binding site that recognizes a specific region of a macromolecule. The hybridoma technique allows monoclonal antibodies, highly specific antibodies produced in the laboratory by a variety of methods. In the last 35 years since the first process for creating monoclonal antibodies was introduced, their application have improved the growing biotechnology industry, but the most important application concerns the therapy of human malignancies. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Sabino P.,University of Bari
Computational Management Science | Year: 2011

The curse of dimensionality limits the accuracy of the quasi-Monte Carlo (QMC) method in high-dimensional problems. Imai and Tan (Proceedings of the 2002 winter simulation conference, 2002; Monte Carlo and Quasi-Monte Carlo Methods 2002, pp 275-292, Springer, Berlin, 2004; J Comput Finance 10(2):129-155, 2007) have proposed a dimension reduction technique, named linear transformation (LT), aiming to improve the efficiency of the QMC method. We investigate this approach in detail and make it more convenient. We implement a faster QR decomposition that considerably reduces the computational burden. The efficacy of our algorithm is illustrated by considering two high-dimensional option pricing problems: Asian basket options in the Black-Scholes (BS) model and Asian options in the Cox-Ingersoll-Ross (CIR) model. We employ a QMC generator only for the components selected by the LT construction and use Latin hypercube sampling (LHS) for all the others. Finally, we compare our results to those obtained by different random number generators and standard algorithms; subsequently, we benchmark our computational times against those presented in Imai and Tan (J Comput Finance 10(2):129-155, 2007). © 2009 Springer-Verlag.

Leone A.,University of Foggia | Romaniello R.,University of Foggia | Zagaria R.,University of Foggia | Tamborrino A.,University of Bari
Biosystems Engineering | Year: 2014

The malaxation has been a focus of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) research for many years. A system that supplied gas and measured oxygen concentration was implemented on a prototype malaxer that was used as a control tool to investigate the influence of oxygen concentration on the final quality and extraction yield of EVOO. The oxygen content in the headspace and olive paste was measured and the balance between these contents was assessed; a high correlation between the oxygen consumed in the headspace and the oxygen consumed by the olive paste was found. The optimal amount of oxygen per kilogram of dough over 40min of kneading was identified to be in the range 55.4-77.9mg[O2]kg-1 [olive paste]. This oxygen content facilitates the acquisition of the best qualitative and quantitative performance during the malaxation process. These data allowed us to define new basic parameters for the malaxer design and to optimise the extraction performance, thus ensuring the production of high-quality olive oil. © 2013 IAgrE.

Mavelli F.,University of Bari | Stano P.,Enrico Fermi Study and Research Center | Stano P.,University of Rome Tor Vergata
Physical Biology | Year: 2010

Two kinetic models describing the emergence of autopoietic chemical units are presented and discussed: the single reagent autopoietic mechanism (SRAM) and a reduced version (rSRAM). The proposed schemes are inspired to the autopoietic vesicles studied by Zepik et al (2001 Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl. 40 199-202). Deterministic and stochastic analyses are then performed in order to obtain conditions for growth, homeostasis and decay time behaviours of the overall amphiphiles concentration. Only the reduced SRAM is able to exhibit all the three regimes as experimentally observed and in order to obtain details on the time evolution of the aggregates' size distribution, stochastic simulations are carried out. What emerges from the rSRAM simulation outcomes is that random fluctuations can act as selection rules for the size of the autopoietic units in the homeostatic regime suggesting how, in a prebiotic scenario, stochastic fluctuations can select the more robust, in this case larger, as the fittest 'organisms'. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Bellantuono L.,University of Bari
Few-Body Systems | Year: 2016

The mass spectrum of the gluonium with JP C= 0 - -is examined in three bottom-up AdS/QCD models. The results are used to identify several production and decay modes useful for searching this state. Moreover, the properties of such glueball in a hot and dense quark medium are discussed. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Wien.

Rossetti A.O.,University of Lausanne | Oddo M.,University of Lausanne | Logroscino G.,University of Bari | Kaplan P.W.,Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Annals of Neurology | Year: 2010

Objective: Current American Academy of Neurology (AAN) guidelines for outcome prediction in comatose survivors of cardiac arrest (CA) have been validated before the therapeutic hypothermia era (TH). We undertook this study to verify the prognostic value of clinical and electrophysiological variables in the TH setting. Methods: A total of 111 consecutive comatose survivors of CA treated with TH were prospectively studied over a 3-year period. Neurological examination, electroencephalography (EEG), and somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP) were performed immediately after TH, at normothermia and off sedation. Neurological recovery was assessed at 3 to 6 months, using Cerebral Performance Categories (CPC). Results: Three clinical variables, assessed within 72 hours after CA, showed higher false-positive mortality predictions as compared with the AAN guidelines: incomplete brainstem reflexes recovery (4% vs 0%), myoclonus (7% vs 0%), and absent motor response to pain (24% vs 0%). Furthermore, unreactive EEG background was incompatible with good long-term neurological recovery (CPC 1-2) and strongly associated with in-hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio for death, 15.4; 95% confidence interval, 3.3-71.9). The presence of at least 2 independent predictors out of 4 (incomplete brainstem reflexes, myoclonus, unreactive EEG, and absent cortical SSEP) accurately predicted poor long-term neurological recovery (positive predictive value = 1.00); EEG reactivity significantly improved the prognostication. Interpretation: Our data show that TH may modify outcome prediction after CA, implying that some clinical features should be interpreted with more caution in this setting as compared with the AAN guidelines. EEG background reactivity is useful in determining the prognosis after CA treated with TH. © 2010 American Neurological Association.

Leonardini A.,University of Bari | Avogaro A.,University of Padua
Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry | Year: 2013

Diabetic cardiomyopathy consists of a series of structural and functional changes. Accumulating evidence supports the concept that a "cardiac stem cell compartment disease" plays an important role in the pathophysiology of diabetic cardiomyopathy. In diabetic hearts, human cardiac stem/progenitor cells (CSPC) are reduced and manifest defective proliferative capacity. Hyperglycaemia, hyperlipidemia, inflammation, and the consequent oxidative stress are enhanced in diabetes: these conditions can induce defects in both growth and survival of these cells with an imbalance between cell death and cell replacement, thus favouring the onset of diabetic cardiomyopathy and its progression towards heart failure. The preservation of CSPC compartment can contribute to counteract the negative impact of diabetes on the myocardium. The recent studies summarized in this review have improved our understanding of the development and stem cell biology within the cardiovascular system. However, several issues remain unsolved before cell therapy can become a clinical therapeutically relevant strategy. © 2013 Informa UK Ltd.

Ribatti D.,University of Bari | Ribatti D.,Italian National Cancer Institute
Immunology Letters | Year: 2014

This article outlines the fundamental contribution of Max D. Cooper to the analysis of the role of the thymus and of the bursa of Fabricius in the development of immunologic competence both before and after birth, placing a new scientific paradigm in the definition of the ontogeny of the lymphoid tissues. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

de Tommaso M.,University of Bari
Expert review of neurotherapeutics | Year: 2013

Despite the fact that neurophysiological evaluation is not useful for primary headache diagnosis, the nociceptive system exploratio