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Catania, Italy

The University of Catania is a university located in Catania, Italy, and founded in 1434. It is the oldest university in Sicily, the 13th oldest in Italy and the 29th oldest university in the world. With a population of over 60,000 students, it is the main university in Sicily. Wikipedia.

Mei A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Morabito G.,University of Catania | Santi P.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Stefa J.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Proceedings - IEEE INFOCOM | Year: 2011

In this paper we describe SANE, the first forwarding mechanism that combines the advantages of both social-aware and stateless approaches in pocket switched network routing. SANE is based on the observationthat we validate on real-world tracesthat individuals with similar interests tend to meet more often. In our approach, individuals (network members) are characterized by their interest profile, a compact representation of their interests. Through extensive experiments, we show the superiority of social-aware, stateless forwarding over existing stateful, social-aware and stateless, social-oblivious forwarding. An important byproduct of our interest-based approach is that it easily enables innovative routing primitives, such as interest-casting. An interest-casting protocol is also described, and extensively evaluated through experiments based on both real-world and synthetic mobility traces. © 2011 IEEE.

Mourik A.A.,University Utrecht | Abels H.A.,University Utrecht | Hilgen F.J.,University Utrecht | Di Stefano A.,University of Catania | Zachariasse W.J.,University Utrecht
Paleoceanography | Year: 2011

Marine outcrops of the Globigerina Limestone and Blue Clay formations on the Maltese Islands in the central Mediterranean document the middle Miocene climate transition between ∼15 and 13.5 million years ago. Here high-resolution benthic and planktic oxygen isotope records have been constructed for this enigmatic interval in Cenozoic climate evolution. Detailed biostratigraphic correlations to the astronomically tuned La Vedova section in northern Italy allow revision of the tuning of the Blue Clay Formation, constraining the age of the sediments directly above the formation boundary and hence the Mi-3b oxygen isotope event and Serravallian Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP). Biostratigraphic age control and cyclic patterns in the benthic carbon isotope record further lead to an astronomically-tuned age model for the Upper Member of the Globigerina Limestone Formation. Start of sedimentation of the Upper Globigerina Limestone is dated at ∼14.95 Ma, and the oldest Blue Clay sediments have a revised astronomical age of 13.76 0.02 Ma. Our data indicates that a hiatus between 13.95 and 13.76 Ma cannot be excluded and could have implications for the Serravallian GSSP currently defined in this section. The global middle Miocene cooling is reflected in the benthic oxygen isotope record, showing a ∼0.6‰ increase (Mi-3b) between ∼13.95 and 13.76 Ma. A divergence between the planktic and benthic oxygen and carbon isotope records after 13.76 Ma could point to a decrease in ventilation, possibly related to increased fresh water influx after the climate transition. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

Pulina P.,University of Sassari | Timpanaro G.,University of Catania
Italian Journal of Agronomy | Year: 2012

This study analyzes the changes osberved in the agri-food system with the advent of logistical management of the flow of goods and information along the food supply chain. Agri-food functions and responsibilities towards society are also analyzed. This field of research has been widely explored in recent years following the development of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) certification in agri-business. The analysis starts by examining the coherence of the ethical basis of human choices in a homo oeconomicus framework in which social relationships are merely exploitable activities. CSR development is then studied in the light of the new stakeholder theory for firms. The main fields of economic research into sustainable development and the most important goals achieved are examined and the methodological perspectives of agricultural economics research will also be discussed. © P. Pulina and G. Timpanaro, 2012 Licensee PAGEPress, Italy.

Faro S.,University of Catania | Lecroq T.,CNRS Informatics Systems Laboratory
ACM Computing Surveys | Year: 2013

This article addresses the online exact string matching problem which consists in finding all occurrences of a given pattern p in a text t. It is an extensively studied problem in computer science, mainly due to its direct applications to such diverse areas as text, image and signal processing, speech analysis and recognition, information retrieval, data compression, computational biology and chemistry. In the last decade more than 50 new algorithms have been proposed for the problem, which add up to a wide set of (almost 40) algorithms presented before 2000. In this article we review the string matching algorithms presented in the last decade and present experimental results in order to bring order among the dozens of articles published in this area. © 2013 ACM.

Del Popolo A.,University of Catania
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics | Year: 2011

We study the pseudo phase-space density, ρ(r)/σ3(r), of ΛCDM dark matter halos with and without baryons (baryons+DM, and pure DM), by using the model introduced in Del Popolo (2009), which takes into account the effect of dynamical friction, ordered and random angular momentum, baryons adiabatic contraction and dark matter baryons interplay. We examine the radial dependence of ρ(r)/σ3(r) over 9 orders of magnitude in radius for structures on galactic and cluster of galaxies scales. We find that ρ(r)/σ3(r) is approximately a power-law only in the range of halo radius resolved by current simulations (down to 0.1% of the virial radius) while it has a non-power law behavior below the quoted scale, with inner profiles changing with mass. The non-power-law behavior is more evident for halos constituted both of dark matter and baryons while halos constituted just of dark matter and with angular momentum chosen to reproduce a Navarro-Frenk-White (NFW) density profile, are characterized by an approximately power-law behavior. The results of the present paper lead to conclude that density profiles of the NFW type are compatible with a power-law behavior of ρ(r)/σ3(r), while those flattening to the halo center, like those found in Del Popolo (2009) or the Einasto profile, or the Burkert profile, cannot produce radial profile of the pseudo-phase-space density that are power-laws at all radii. The results argue against universality of the pseudo phase-space density and as a consequence argue against universality of density profiles constituted by dark matter and baryons as also discussed in Del Popolo (2009). © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd and SISSA.

Siracusano G.,Messina University | Corte A.L.,University of Catania
Physica B: Condensed Matter | Year: 2014

We report re'sults of different time-frequency analyses (Wavelet and Hilbert-Huang Transform (HHT)) of voltage measurements related to a spin-torque oscillator working in a regime of non-stationary dynamics. Our results indicate that the Wavelet analysis identifies the non-stationary magnetization dynamics revealing the existence of intermittent and independent excited modes while the HHT is able to accurately extract the time domain traces of each independent mode. Overall performance indicates a route for a complete characterization of time-frequency domain data of a STO, pointing out that the combined Wavelet-HHT methodology developed is general and can be also used for a variety of other different scenarios. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Cappuzzello F.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Carbone D.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Carbone D.,University of Catania | Cavallaro M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2011

A technique to measure the momentum vector of the ions produced in a nuclear reaction and analyzed by a magnetic spectrometer is presented. It consists of a powerful procedure for the reconstruction of the ions trajectory based on the use of a focal plane detector, accurate three-dimensional models of the magnetic fields and efficient algorithms to solve the highly non-linear transport equations. The technique is quite general and reliable even with large acceptance optical devices. Experimental results obtained with the MAGNEX spectrometer show a remarkable resolution of about 0.2° in the horizontal direction, 0.7° in the vertical one and 1/1800 in the momentum modulus. A high degree of accuracy is also found in the reconstruction of both the direction and the modulus of the momentum vector, with the latter strongly depending on the order of reconstruction. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Rizzo R.,University of Catania | Martino D.,Kings College
Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics | Year: 2015

Guanfacine is an α2A-adrenoreceptor agonist currently indicated for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This article reviews the chemistry, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of guanfacine, as well as the clinical trial literature on guanfacine for the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents, mainly focusing on the use of guanfacine extended-release (GXR). Six already published prospective randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and one unpublished RCT study were identified for GXR in the treatment of ADHD. All RCTs trials showed superiority over placebo on the primary outcome measure. Guanfacine, especially XR, seems to be an effective and safe treatment option for ADHD in children and adolescents. © 2015 Informa UK, Ltd..

Sortino S.,University of Catania
Journal of Materials Chemistry | Year: 2012

The achievement of nanomaterials able to release therapeutic agents in a controlled fashion is a major challenge in the burgeoning field of nanomedicine. Light represents the most elegant and non-invasive trigger to deliver bio-active compounds on demand since it allows the accurate control of three key factors determining the therapeutic outcome including site, timing and dosage. Recent breakthroughs in nanotechnology offer the opportunity to characterize, manipulate and organize matter at the nanometre scale, controlling the size and shape of the resulting nanomaterials and greatly improving the biocompatibility and the cellular uptake efficiency. This feature article illustrates some recent advances in the fabrication of light-triggered nanomaterials for biomedical delivery, describing representative examples from our laboratory and others, underlying the logical design and highlighting the potential applications in some major areas such as drug and gene release, photodynamic and photothermal therapy. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Mukhamedzhanov A.M.,Texas A&M University | La Cognata M.,University of Catania | Kroha V.,Nuclear Physics Institute of Czech Republic
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2011

The R-matrix approach has proved to be very useful in extrapolating the astrophysical factor down to astrophysically relevant energies, since the majority of measurements are not available in this region. However, such an approach has to be critically considered when no complete knowledge of the reaction model is available. To get reliable results in such cases one has to use all the available information from independent sources and, accordingly, fix or constrain variations of the parameters. In this paper we present a thorough R-matrix analysis of the 15N(p,γ)16O reaction, which provides a path from the CN cycle to the CNO bi-cycle and CNO tri-cycle. The measured astrophysical factor for this reaction is dominated by resonant capture through two strong Jπ=1- resonances at ER=312 and 962 keV and direct capture to the ground state. Recently, a new measurement of the astrophysical factor for the 15N(p,γ)16O reaction has been published. The analysis has been done using the R-matrix approach with unconstrained variation of all parameters including the asymptotic normalization coefficient (ANC). The best fit has been obtained for the square of the ANC C2=539.2 fm-1, which exceeds the previously measured value by a factor of 3. Here we present a new R-matrix analysis of the Notre Dame-LUNA data with the fixed within the experimental uncertainties square of the ANC C2=200.34 fm-1. Rather than varying the ANC we add the contribution from a background resonance that effectively takes into account contributions from higher levels. Altogether we present ten fits, seven unconstrained and three constrained. For the unconstrained fit with the boundary condition Bc=Sc(E 2), where E2 is the energy of the second level, we get S(0)=39.0±1.1 keVb and normalized χ2=1.84, i.e., the result which is similar to LeBlanc From all our fits we get the range 33.1≤S(0)≤40.1 keVb which overlaps with the result of LeBlanc We address also the physical interpretation of the fitting parameters. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Baldo M.,University of Catania | Ducoin C.,University of Coimbra
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2011

The thermal evolution of neutron stars depends on the elementary excitations affecting the stellar matter. In particular, the low-energy excitations, whose energy is proportional to the transferred momentum, can play a major role in the emission and propagation of neutrinos. In this paper, we focus on the density modes associated with the proton component in the homogeneous matter of the outer core of neutron stars (at density between one and three times the nuclear saturation density, where the baryonic constituents are expected to be neutrons and protons). In this region, it is predicted that the protons are superconducting. We study the respective roles of the proton pairing and Coulomb interaction in determining the properties of the modes associated with the proton component. This study is performed in the framework of the random phase approximation, generalized in order to describe the response of a superfluid system. The formalism we use ensures that the generalized Ward's identities are satisfied. An important conclusion of this work is the presence of a pseudo-Goldstone mode associated with the superconducting protons in neutron-star matter. Indeed, the Goldstone mode, which characterizes a pure superfluid, is suppressed in usual superconductors because of the long-range Coulomb interaction, which allows a plasmon mode. However, for the proton component of stellar matter, the Coulomb field is screened by the electrons and a pseudo-Goldstone mode occurs, with a velocity increased by the Coulomb interaction. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Risitano A.,University of Catania | Risitano G.,University Guglielmo Marconi
International Journal of Fatigue | Year: 2013

This work reports fatigue stress test results for AISI 304 steel (R = -1) that has been subjected to a high cycle number. It shows that the energetic effect (employing different temperature increments for equal loading of uniaxial stress) can be used to evaluate the cumulative damage caused by any prior loading. Various load histories were applied to AISI 304 specimens, and the resulting damage was evaluated in reference to the energy factor, Φ, which is dependent on the maximum temperature at the sample surface when irreversible plastic deformation begins. The time curves (Wöhler curves) and the damage ratio based on the consumed energy were compared to those obtained according to Palmgren-Miner rules; this comparison served to show how under-evaluations can occur with high damage ratios. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Mobasheri A.,University of Surrey | Mobasheri A.,University of Nottingham | Mobasheri A.,King Abdulaziz University | Kalamegam G.,King Abdulaziz University | And 2 more authors.
Maturitas | Year: 2014

Osteoarthritis (OA) represents a final and common pathway for all major traumatic insults to synovial joints. OA is the most common form of degenerative joint disease and a major cause of pain and disability. Despite the global increase in the incidence of OA, there are no effective pharmacotherapies capable of restoring the original structure and function of damaged articular cartilage. Consequently cell-based and biological therapies for osteoarthritis (OA) and related orthopaedic disorders have become thriving areas of research and development. Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) has been used for treatment of osteoarticular lesions for over two decades. Although chondrocyte-based therapy has the capacity to slow down the progression of OA and delay partial or total joint replacement surgery, currently used procedures are associated with the risk of serious adverse events. Complications of ACI include hypertrophy, disturbed fusion, delamination, and graft failure. Therefore there is significant interest in improving the success rate of ACI by improving surgical techniques and preserving the phenotype of the primary chondrocytes used in the procedure. Future tissue-engineering approaches for cartilage repair will also benefit from advances in chondrocyte-based repair strategies. This review article focuses on the structure and function of articular cartilage and the pathogenesis of OA in the context of the rising global burden of musculoskeletal disease. We explore the challenges associated with cartilage repair and regeneration using cell-based therapies that use chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). This paper also explores common misconceptions associated with cell-based therapy and highlights a few areas for future investigation. © 2014 The Authors.

Donati M.,Asklepios Hospital Barmbek | Donati M.,University of Catania | Stavrou G.A.,Asklepios Hospital Barmbek | Oldhafer K.J.,Asklepios Hospital Barmbek
World Journal of Gastroenterology | Year: 2013

The Authors summarize problems, criticisms but also advantages and indications regarding the recent surgical proposal of associating liver partition and portal vein ligation (PVL) for staged hepatectomy (ALPPS) for the surgical management of colorectal liver metastases. Looking at published data, the technique, when compared with other traditional and well established methods such as PVL/portal vein embolisation (PVE), seems to give real advantages in terms of volumetric gain of future liver remnant. However, major concerns are raised in the literature and some questions remain unanswered, preliminary experiences seem to be promising. The method has been adopted all over the world over the last 2 years, even if oncological long-term results remain unknown, and benefit for patients is questionable. No prospective studies comparing traditional methods (PVE, PVL or classical 2 staged hepatectomy) with ALPPS are available to date. Technical reinterpretations of the original method were also proposed in order to enhance feasability and increase safety of the technique. More data about morbidity and mortality are also expected. The real role of ALPPS is, to date, still to be established. Large clinical studies, even if, for ethical reasons, in well selected cohorts of patients, are expected to better define the indications for this new surgical strategy. © 2013 Baishideng. All rights reserved.

Messina M.,University of Catania
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2012

This work deals with an experimental procedure to validate theoretical equations used for pressure losses inside anemometer testing equipment. This equipment allows for the generation of air flow inside a chamber designed for anemometer calibration testing at different air speeds. To calibrate anemometers to high accuracy, the air flow must have very low turbulence and uniform velocities over the testing chamber cross section. For high performance, the anemometer testing equipment used a closed-circuit wind tunnel design. In designing the anemometer testing equipment, the pressure losses of single components were evaluated as well as overall pressure loss utilizing theoretical equations found in the scientific literature. Once the pressure losses were evaluated, the fan was chosen to ensure volumetric flow, balance pressure losses and above all maximise its performance. With the design completed, the anemometer testing equipment was built, and a campaign of experimental measurements was performed to evaluate the accuracy of the theoretical pressure loss equations. The campaign was performed in two different conditions: closed testing chamber and open testing chamber. The results showed good agreement between the theoretical and experimental pressure losses for the closed testing chamber. Conversely, a discrepancy was revealed for the open condition. The origin of this discrepancy was investigated and a new equation proposed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Scire S.,University of Catania | Liotta L.F.,CNR Institute of Nanostructured Materials
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental | Year: 2012

This review intends to describe and critically analyze the growing literature dealing with the use of supported gold catalysts in the catalytic deep oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOC). Among the wide family of VOC, attention has been given to the oxidation of saturated (methane, ethane, propane, isobutane, n-hexane) and unsaturated (acetylene, ethylene, propene) aliphatic compounds, aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, xylenes, naphthalene), alcohols (methanol, ethanol, n- and iso-propanol), aldehydes (formaldehyde), ketones (acetone), esters (ethylacetate). Moreover, the oxidation of chlorinated VOC (dichloromethane, o-dichlorobenzene, o-chlorobenzene), as well as of nitrogen- (trimethylamine) and sulphur-containing (dimethyldisulfide) compounds has been addressed.The reaction mechanism and the influence of different factors, such as the nature and the properties of the support, the Au particle size and shape, the electronic state of gold, the preparation method and the pretreatment conditions of catalysts, the nature and the concentration of the organic molecule, are discussed in detail. © 2012 Elsevier B.V..

Federico A.,The Second University of Naples | Dallio M.,The Second University of Naples | Godos J.,University of Catania | Loguercio C.,The Second University of Naples | Salomone F.,Ospedale di Acireale
Translational Research | Year: 2016

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is widely emerging as the most prevalent liver disorder and is associated with increased risk of liver-related and cardiovascular mortality. Recent experimental and clinical studies have revealed the pivotal role played by the alteration of gut-liver axis in the onset of fatty liver and related metabolic disturbances. Gut-liver cross talk is implicated not only in the impairment of lipid and glucose homeostasis leading to steatogenesis, but also in the initiation of inflammation and fibrogenesis, which characterize nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the evolving form of NAFLD. The gut microbiota has been recognized as the key player in the gut-liver liaison and because of its complexity can act as a villain or a victim. Gut microbiota not only influences absorption and disposal of nutrients to the liver, but also conditions hepatic inflammation by supplying toll-like receptor ligands, which can stimulate liver cells to produce proinflammatory cytokines. Thus, the modification of intestinal bacterial flora by specific probiotics has been proposed as a therapeutic approach for the treatment of NASH. In this review, we summarized the evidence regarding the role of gut-liver axis in the pathogenesis of NASH and discussed the potential therapeutic role of gut microbiota modulation in the clinical setting. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

Capodanno D.,University of Catania | Dangas G.,Cardiovascular Institute
Current Cardiology Reviews | Year: 2012

Primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is the preferred reperfusion method in patients with STelevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), when performed in a timely manner and by skilled operators. However, this strategy has shown to be limited in environments with lack of PCI facilities and delay in the first medical contact-toballoon time for logistic reasons. Pretreatment with fibrinolysis and/or glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors before PCI has the potential to provide early pharmacologic reperfusion before definitive PCI in STEMI patients. However, current data suggest that facilitated PCI does not offer any advantage over primary PCI. Conversely, a role for pharmacoinvasive recanalization, defined as pharmacological reperfusion followed by rapid transfer for routine delayed coronary angiography and PCI may still be considered in centers without on-site PCI capability. © 2012 Bentham Science Publishers.

Scrimali L.,University of Catania
Optimization and Engineering | Year: 2012

It is well known that the time-dependent spatial price equilibrium problem can be transformed into and studied as an evolutionary variational inequality. However, in some situations, control policies may be imposed to the end of regulating the amounts of production and consumption. As a consequence, the problem becomes a time-dependent spatial price equilibrium control problem and is formulated as an evolutionary inverse variational inequality. The existence of solutions is then investigated and a numerical example is also provided. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Magro G.,University of Catania
Histology and Histopathology | Year: 2016

Myofibroblastoma (MFB) is a rare benign mesenchymal tumor which usually occurs in the breast parenchyma of both females and males. Although this tumor is typically composed of bland-looking spindleshaped cells arranged in short fascicles interrupted by keloidal-like collagen fibers, several variations on this basic morphological theme do exist. With the advent of mammographic screening, an increased number of mammary MFBs are being detected and pathologists should be aware of the wide morphological and immunohistochemical spectrum exhibited by this unusual tumor. This review focuses on the most diagnostically challenging variants of mammary MFB, which could represent potential diagnostic pitfalls of malignancy, especially when evaluating needle core biopsies. In this regard the following variants of MFB, including the most recently recognized, will be presented: myxoid MFB, lipomatous MFB, epithelioid cell MFB, deciduoid cell MFB, epithelioid cell MFB with multinodular growth pattern, palisaded/ schwannian-like MFB and MFB with extensive myxoedematous stromal changes. Histological illustrations along with differential diagnostic problems for each single variant of MFB will be provided to offer helpful suggestions for a correct diagnostic approach in daily practice. © 2016, Histology and Histopathology. All rights reserved.

Capodanno D.,University of Catania
Interventional Cardiology Clinics | Year: 2016

Bioresorbable scaffolds (BRS) have been engineered to eliminate the theoretic stimulus to late coronary events, a caveat of conventional metallic drug-eluting stents (DESs). Outcome benefits of BRSs over current-generation DESs are expected to accrue after complete bioresorption. Before this timeframe, BRSs need to prove at least similarly safe and effective compared with DESs. Several randomized studies of the Absorb BRS have been made available. Several manufacturers are at the beginning of their line of clinical development of competing BRSs. This article reviews the contemporary clinical outcomes of the Absorb scaffold, and provides an updated state of the art on the other players in the BRS arena. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

Mascali G.,University of Calabria | Romano V.,University of Catania
Mathematical and Computer Modelling | Year: 2011

This paper can be considered as the natural prosecution of Mascali and Romano (2009) [5]. Here, we describe the motion of holes in silicon by also taking into account the non-parabolicity of the heavy and light bands. The model is still based on the moment method and the closure of the system of equations is obtained by using the maximum entropy principle. Comparisons are made with the results in [5], in the case of bulk silicon, in order to establish the importance of non-parabolicity. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Casciati S.,University of Catania
Smart Structures and Systems | Year: 2010

The approach to damage detection and localization adopted in this paper is based on a statistical comparison of models built from the response time histories collected at different stages during the structure lifetime. Some of these time histories are known to have been recorded when the structural system was undamaged. The consistency of the models associated to two different stages, both undamaged, is first recognized. By contrast, the method detects the discrepancies between the models from measurements collected for a damaged situation and for the undamaged reference situation. The damage detection and localization is pursued by a comparison of the SSE (sum of the squared errors) histograms. The validity of the proposed approach is tested by applying it to the analytical benchmark problem developed by the ASCE Task Group on Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). In the paper, the results of the benchmark studies are presented and the performance of the method is discussed.

Gori T.,University Hospital Freiburg | Schulz E.,University Hospital Freiburg | Hink U.,University Hospital Freiburg | Kress M.,University Hospital Freiburg | And 6 more authors.
JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions | Year: 2015

Objectives The purpose of this study was to describe the multimodal outcome 12 months after implantation of coronary bioresorbable scaffolds (BVS) for the treatment of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Background Functional and imaging data on the use of BVS are limited to simple, stable lesions; in the setting of ACS, only short-term clinical follow-up data are available, and no information from intracoronary imaging and vasomotion tests has been reported. Methods A total of 133 patients (age 62 ± 12 years, 74% males, 15% diabetic) underwent BVS (n = 166) implantation for the treatment of thrombotic lesions in the setting of ACS (43% non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, 38% ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, 20% unstable angina). Clinical, angiographic, intracoronary imaging, and vasomotor endpoints were evaluated at 12 months. Results During the 374 days (interquartile range: 359 to 411 days) of follow-up, there were 4 deaths; 3 definite and 1 probable in-BVS thromboses (all in the first 6 months). At 12-month angiography (75 patients, 83 BVS), in-segment late lumen loss was 0.19 ± 0.45 mm, and 3 (4%) patients showed binary restenosis. Optical coherence tomography (80 BVS, n = 70) showed a mean lumen area of 6.3 ± 2.3 mm2. Malapposition was evidenced in 21 (26%) BVS. Endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilation were observed in 48% and 49% of the BVS. Conclusions Twelve months after BVS implantation, clinical, intracoronary imaging, and vasomotion data appear to provide a rationale for the use of BVS in the setting of ACS and the basis for a randomized study. © 2015 American College of Cardiology Foundation.

Salomone F.,Ospedale di Acireale | Godos J.,University of Catania | Zelber-Sagi S.,The Liver Unit | Zelber-Sagi S.,Haifa University
Liver International | Year: 2016

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the progressive form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is emerging as a main health problem in industrialized countries. Lifestyle modifications are effective in the treatment of NAFLD; however, the long-term compliance is low. Therefore, several pharmacological treatments have been proposed but none has shown significant efficacy or long-term safety. Natural polyphenols are a heterogeneous class of polyphenolic compounds contained in vegetables, which are being proposed for the treatment of different metabolic disorders. Although the beneficial effect of these compounds has traditionally related to their antioxidant properties, they also exert several beneficial effects on hepatic and extra-hepatic glucose and lipid homeostasis. Furthermore, natural polyphenols exert antifibrogenic and antitumoural effects in animal models, which appear relevant from a clinical point of view because of the association of NASH with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Several polyphenols, such anthocyanins, curcumin and resveratrol and those present in coffee, tea, soy are available in the diet and their consumption can be proposed as part of a healthy diet for the treatment of NAFLD. Other phenolic compounds, such as silymarin, are commonly consumed worldwide as nutraceuticals or food supplements. Natural antioxidants are reported to have beneficial effects in preclinical models of NAFLD and in pilot clinical trials, and thus need clinical evaluation. In this review, we summarize the existing evidence regarding the potential role of natural antioxidants in the treatment of NAFLD and examine possible future clinical applications. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Stefani S.,University of Catania | Goglio A.,Ospedale di Bergamo
International Journal of Infectious Diseases | Year: 2010

Staphylococcus aureus is a well adapted human pathogen, capable of living freely in the inanimate environment and spreading from person to person, existing as a colonizer or commensal, hiding in intracellular compartments and, most importantly, inducing various forms of human disease. Infections caused by S. aureus, above all by antibiotic-resistant strains, have reached epidemic proportions globally. The overall burden of staphylococcal disease caused by antibiotic-resistant S. aureus, particularly by the methicillin-resistant strains, is increasing in many countries, including Italy, in both healthcare and community settings. The widespread use of antibiotics has undoubtedly accelerated the evolution of S. aureus, which, acquiring multiple resistance genes, has become able to survive almost all antibiotic families; this evolution versus more resistant phenotypes has continued among the newer agents, including linezolid and daptomycin. The diminished clinical usefulness of vancomycin is seen as one of the most worrisome problems in many clinical settings and in many countries. In fact, the increasing spread of heteroresistant vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (hVISA) and vancomycin intermediate (VISA) strains adds new problems, not only in terms of the treatment of severe infections sustained by these microorganisms, but also in the microbiological definition of susceptibility. © 2010 International Society for Infectious Diseases.

Abdalla M.,Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris | Catalano D.,University of Catania | Fiore D.,Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (Saarbrucken)
Journal of Cryptology | Year: 2014

In this paper we show a relation between the notions of verifiable random functions (VRFs) and identity-based key encapsulation mechanisms (IB-KEMs). In particular, we propose a class of IB-KEMs that we call VRF-suitable, and we propose a direct construction of VRFs from VRF-suitable IB-KEMs. Informally, an IB-KEM is VRF-suitable if it provides what we call unique decapsulation (i.e., given a ciphertext C produced with respect to an identity ID, all the secret keys corresponding to identity ID′, decapsulate to the same value, even if ID*ID′), and it satisfies an additional property that we call pseudo-random decapsulation. In a nutshell, pseudo-random decapsulation means that if one decapsulates a ciphertext C, produced with respect to an identity ID, using the decryption key corresponding to any other identity ID′, the resulting value looks random to a polynomially bounded observer. Our construction is of interest both from a theoretical and a practical perspective. Indeed, apart from establishing a connection between two seemingly unrelated primitives, our methodology is direct in the sense that, in contrast to most previous constructions, it avoids the inefficient Goldreich-Levin hardcore bit transformation. As an additional contribution, we propose a new VRF-suitable IB-KEM based on the decisional â.,"-weak Bilinear Diffie-Hellman Inversion assumption. Interestingly, when applying our transformation to this scheme, we obtain a new VRF construction that is secure under the same assumption, and it efficiently supports a large input space. © 2013 International Association for Cryptologic Research.

Ricceri B.,University of Catania
Journal of Global Optimization | Year: 2010

In this paper, on a bounded domain Ω⊂ Rn, we consider a non-local problem of the type {-K(∫Ω|∇u(x) 2dx) Δu = λf(x,u) + μg(x,u) in Ω u = 0 on ∂Ω Under rather general assumptions on K and f, we prove, in particular, that there exists λ* > 0 such that, for each λ > λ* and each Carathéodory function g with a sub-critical growth, the above problem has at least three weak solutions for every μ ≥ 0 small enough. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Atzori L.,University of Cagliari | Iera A.,University of Reggio Calabria | Morabito G.,University of Catania
IEEE Communications Letters | Year: 2011

The actual development of the Internet of Things (IoT) needs major issues related to things' service discovery and composition to be addressed. This paper proposes a possible approach to solve such issues. We introduce a novel paradigm of "social network of intelligent objects", namely the Social Internet of Things (SIoT), based on the notion of social relationships among objects. Following the definition of a possible social structure among objects, a preliminary architecture for the implementation of SIoT is presented. Through the SIoT paradigm, the capability of humans and devices to discover, select, and use objects with their services in the IoT is augmented. Besides, a level of trustworthiness is enabled to steer the interaction among the billions of objects which will crowd the future IoT. © 2011 IEEE.

Greselin F.,University of Milan Bicocca | Ingrassia S.,University of Catania
Statistics and Computing | Year: 2010

Mixtures of multivariate t distributions provide a robust parametric extension to the fitting of data with respect to normal mixtures. In presence of some noise component, potential outliers or data with longer-than-normal tails, one way to broaden the model can be provided by considering t distributions. In this framework, the degrees of freedom can act as a robustness parameter, tuning the heaviness of the tails, and downweighting the effect of the outliers on the parameters estimation. The aim of this paper is to extend to mixtures of multivariate elliptical distributions some theoretical results about the likelihood maximization on constrained parameter spaces. Further, a constrained monotone algorithm implementing maximum likelihood mixture decomposition of multivariate t distributions is proposed, to achieve improved convergence capabilities and robustness. Monte Carlo numerical simulations and a real data study illustrate the better performance of the algorithm, comparing it to earlier proposals. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009.

Molecular Mechanics calculations embedded in dedicated software were used to predict crystal morphologies of two very similar quinoline derivatives: they only differ in the presence of a sulfur and a selenium atom, respectively. The crystal structures do not present any hydrogen bond, and the only relevant interactions in the unit cell are some noncovalent T-shaped ones. They were chosen as good candidates to carry out a performance comparison among different crystal morphology prediction theories. Thus, the results obtained by means of the Bravais-Friedel-Donnay-Harker (BFDH) method were compared with calculations performed on periodic bond chain (PBC) theory and relative interaction energies. Moreover, by transforming the experimentally determined orthorhombic symmetry to lower space group symmetries (in the monoclinic and triclinic systems, respectively), the computed results highlighted that one of the PBC methods still confirmed the predicted morphology, no matter what space group was chosen. The differences among the predicted habits inferred by the different approaches increased instead for the other two methods, as the symmetry level decreased. Furthermore, in the more symmetric system, that is, orthorhombic, the symmetry constraints of the group make BFDH predictions more realistic than in lower symmetry ones. The potential role of crystallization solvents on faces growth was also discussed. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Riggi F.,University of Catania
EPJ Web of Conferences | Year: 2016

The Muon Portal Project [1] is a joint initiative between research and industrial partners, aimed at the construction of a real size detector protoype to search for hidden high-Z fissile materials inside containers by the muon scattering technique. The detector is based on a set of 48 detection modules (1 m × 3 m), so as to provide four X-Y detection planes, two placed above and two below the container to be inspected. After a research and development phase, which led to the choice and test of the individual components, the construction of the full size detector has already started and will be completed in a few months. © Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences - SIF, 2016.

Chiodo V.,CNR Institute of Advanced Energy Technologies Nicola Giordano | Freni S.,CNR Institute of Advanced Energy Technologies Nicola Giordano | Galvagno A.,University of Catania | Mondello N.,CNR Institute of Advanced Energy Technologies Nicola Giordano | Frusteri F.,CNR Institute of Advanced Energy Technologies Nicola Giordano
Applied Catalysis A: General | Year: 2010

Glycerol steam reforming on Rh and Ni supported catalyst was investigate in view to produce syn-gas to feed a high temperature fuel cell system (SOFC-MCFC). Results obtained revealed that glycerol is subjected to pyrolysis phenomena and at temperature higher than 720 K drastically decomposes before to reach the catalyst surface. Rh/Al2O3 catalyst resulted to be more active and stable than Ni supported catalysts but independently from the catalyst used (Rh or Ni) and temperature investigated, the reaction is affected by coke formation mainly promoted by the large presence of olefins formed by glycerol thermal decomposition. Even if for thermodynamic reasons the hydrogen production should be favored by operating at high temperature, results obtained demonstrate that it is more convenient to operate at temperature not higher than 923 K, since higher reaction temperature promotes the formation of encapsulated carbon which negatively reflects on catalyst stability. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Sortino S.,University of Catania
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2010

The multiple roles nitric oxide (NO) plays as a bioregulatory, anticancer, antimicrobial and antioxidant agent has triggered an explosive interest in recent years in compounds able to deliver this diatomic radical for therapeutic purposes. A major issue associated with NO donors is the precise control of the NO release, which effect is highly concentration and flux dependent. Light represents a convenient non-invasive on/off trigger to deliver NO on demand since it allows the accurate control of site, timing and dosage. The assembling of NO photodonors through different approaches may lead to intriguing light-responsive molecular constructs including nanostructured films, polymers, gels, nanoparticles and molecular conjugates which exhibit promising potential in view of practical applications. This tutorial review illustrates the recent research from our and other laboratories towards the fabrication of these molecular assemblies, highlighting the logical design and the relevance in the biomedical field. Therefore, this review is aimed to be a source of inspiration for a wide range of scientists belonging to the chemical, materials science and biochemical communities, facing the common challenge of fabricating controllable NO dispensers. © 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Maiorana F.,University of Catania
2012 Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems, FedCSIS 2012 | Year: 2012

Data mining is recognized as an important field where one has the possibility to become accustomed both with analysis techniques and methods and with a state of mind. By means of data mining it is possible to develop critical skills that are essential in today's information technology. We present our experience in teaching a data mining module, within an Information System course, centered around a few key aspects: a convergence of theoretical Information Systems aspects and computing skills through programming a complete data mining analysis in Matlab; a project centered learning experience; a sharing of resources that are commented on both by the teacher and by peers facilitating the flow of information and the development of critical skills; a guided inquiry process where the students, when needed, are guided through appropriate questions in the right direction; and finally special attention to requiring motivation of each decision and step undertaken. As a case study we present and summarize the experience performed by two groups of students in a data mining study aiming at predicting a liquidity crisis of companies. © 2012 Polish Info Processing Socit.

Casciati S.,University of Catania | Marzi A.,University of Pavia
Smart Structures and Systems | Year: 2010

The potential offered by the thermo-mechanical properties of shape memory alloys (SMA) in structural engineering applications has been the topic of many research studies during the last two decades. The main issues concern the long-term predictability of the material behaviour and the fatigue lifetime of the macro structural elements (as different from the one of wire segments). The laboratory tests reported in this paper are carried out on bar specimens and they were planned in order to pursue two objectives. First, the creep phenomenon is investigated for two different alloys, a classical Ni-Ti alloy and a Cu-based alloy. The attention is then focused on the Cu-based alloy only and its fatigue characteristics at given temperatures are investigated. Stress and thermal cycles are alternated to detect any path dependency.

Russo G.,University of Catania | Smereka P.,University of Michigan
Journal of Computational Physics | Year: 2013

In this paper an efficient and accurate method for simulating the propagation of a localized solution of the Schrödinger equation with a smooth potential near the semiclassical limit is presented. We are interested computing arbitrarily accurate solutions when the non dimensional Planck's constant, ε, is small, but not negligible. The method is based ona time dependent transformation of the independent variables, closely related to Gaussian wave packets. A rescaled wave function, w, satisfies a new Schrödinger equation with a time dependent potential which is a perturbation of the harmonic oscillator, the perturbation being O(√ε), so that all stiffness (in space and time) is greatly reduced. In fact, for integration in a fixed time interval, the number of modes required to fully resolve the problem decreases when eis decreased. The original wave function may be reconstructed by Fourier interpolation, although expectation values of the observables can be computed directly from the function w itself. If the initial condition is a Gaussian wave packet, very few modes are necessary to fully resolve the w variable, so for short time very accurate solutions can be obtained at low computational cost. Initial conditions other than Gaussians wave packets can also be used. In this paper, the Gaussian wave packet transform is carefully outlined and applied to the Schrödinger equation in one dimension. Detailed numerical tests show the efficiency and accuracy of the approach. In the sequel of this paper, this approach has been extended to the multidimensional case. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Wynne M.J.,University of Michigan | Furnari G.,University of Catania
Nova Hedwigia | Year: 2014

Attention is called to the failure of P.J.L.Dangeard to designate Types for essentially all of his new algal taxa proposed after 1957. Designation of Types was a requirement of the Melbourne Code starting 1 Jan., 1958. So the numerous names of both genera and species are invalid. Some of Dangeard's species were later transferred to other genera or became the purported types of new genera, but all of these subsequent names were also invalid, as were any proposed new species assigned to Dangeard's invalid generic names. The names Neostromatella gen. nov. and N. monostromatica sp. nov. are proposed, replacing the invalid names Stromatella Kornmann & Sahling and Ulvella monostromatica P.J.L.Dangeard. We also propose the name Umbraulva dangeardii sp. nov. [= Ulva olivascens J.P.L.Dangeard nom. inval. and Umbraulva olivascens (P.J.L.Dangeard) G.Furnari nom. inval.]. The names Neodangemannia gen. nov. and N. microcystis are proposed, replacing the invalid names Dangemannia and D. microcystis, based on Ulvella microcystis P.J.L.Dangeard nom. inval. These are "first steps" in resolving the many nomenclatural problems left by Dangeard's failure to designate type specimens. © 2014 J. Cramer in Gebr. Borntraeger Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany.

Del Popolo A.,University of Catania | Del Popolo A.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte
International Journal of Modern Physics D | Year: 2014

This paper is a broadband review of the current status of nonbaryonic dark matter (DM) research, starting from a historical overview of the evidences of existence of DM, then discussing how DM is distributed from small scale to large scale, continuing with a discussion on DM nature, DM candidates and their detection. I finally discuss some of the limits of the ΛCDM model, with particular emphasis on the small scale problems of the paradigm. © 2014 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Turrisi G.F.,University of Catania
Insect Systematics and Evolution | Year: 2011

The Pristaulacus compressus species group is revised and illustrated. It has a strictly western Palearctic range and includes four sibling species, two of which are newly described: P. rapuzzii Turrisi, sp.n. (Lebanon) and P. samai Turrisi, sp.n. (Syria). Besides external characters of the tagmata, especially the sculpturation and shape of the head and occipital carina, the taxonomic treatment of this species group takes into account new diagnostic features of the male genital capsule, including the general shape and the shape of the apex of the paramere, lamina volsellaris and penis valve. The previous key for identifi cation of the Palearctic species of Pristaulacus is modifi ed to include the two new species. A discussion on taxonomy, biogeography and host preference of the treated species is provided. © 2011 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.

Alparone A.,University of Catania
Spectrochimica Acta - Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy | Year: 2014

Infrared, Raman and electronic absorption spectra, electronic and vibrational (hyper)polarizabilities, of barbituric, 2-thiobarbituric and 2-selenobarbituric acids were studied in gas using ab initio and density functional theory levels. The vibrational spectra were computed using harmonic and anharmonic methods. Anharmonic contributions improve the agreement between calculated and available experimental wavenumbers, especially in the highest-energy spectral region (wavenumbers >1700 cm-1). Vibrational and electronic transitions potentially useful to identify the investigated compounds were explored. The electronic and vibrational hyperpolarizabilities for the IDRI nonlinear optical (NLO) process at the λ value of 790 nm were computed. Supported by spectroscopic results, electronic and vibrational polarizabilities and second-order hyperpolarizabilities increase progressively in the order barbituric acid < 2-thiobarbituric acid < 2-selenobarbituric acid. The seleno-derivative is predicted to be ca. three/four times more hyperpolarizable than the barbituric acid. The Se → O or Se → S substitutions can be practical strategies to enhances the NLO properties of barbituric and thiobarbituric acid-based materials. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Punzo A.,University of Catania
Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization | Year: 2010

A more interpretable parameterization of a beta density is the starting point to propose an analogous discrete beta (d:b:) distribution assuming values on a finite set. Thus a smooth estimator using d:b: kernels is considered. By construction, it is both well-defined and free of boundary bias. Taking advantage of the discrete nature of the data, a technique of smoothing parameter selection is also proposed in moderate-to-large samples. Finally, a real data set is analyzed in order to appreciate the advantages of this nonparametric proposal. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010.

Duntas L.H.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Bernardini R.,University of Catania
Thyroid | Year: 2010

Background: Sorafenib (BAY 43-9006) is an inhibitor of multiple-receptor tyrosine kinases involved in tumor growth and angiogenesis, which can be advantageously administered orally. Initially used as monotherapy in advanced renal cell carcinoma, sorafenib was proven to increase progression-free survival while enhancing disease control. Clinical trials on sorafenib are at present ongoing for the treatment of various malignancies, including thyroid cancer (TC). Summary: Specifically, in two phase II studies recently conducted on papillary TC, although the respective results were not entirely compatible as regard partial response rate and progression-free survival, sorafenib demonstrated a relatively favorable benefit/risk profile. In another more recent phase II study, whose primary endpoint was the reinduction of radioactive iodine uptake at 26 weeks, although no reinduction of radioactive iodine uptake was observed, 59% had a beneficial response and 34% had stable disease. Sorafenib hence appears to be a valid alternative to conventional treatment of metastatic papillary TC refractory to radioiodine therapy. Conclusions: Further prospective investigations are required to define the characteristics of tumor response to the drug and the factors inducing resistance to treatment. A major issue demanding immediate attention involves optimization of sorafenib treatment: this concerns multidrug combination with different tyrosine kinase inhibitors or immunomodulating agents with the aim of reducing doses and thereby improving drug tolerability and antineoplastic capability. © 2010, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Nicosia V.,Queen Mary, University of London | Bianconi G.,Queen Mary, University of London | Latora V.,Queen Mary, University of London | Latora V.,University of Catania | Barthelemy M.,CEA Saclay Nuclear Research Center
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We propose a modeling framework for growing multiplexes where a node can belong to different networks. We define new measures for multiplexes and we identify a number of relevant ingredients for modeling their evolution such as the coupling between the different layers and the distribution of node arrival times. The topology of the multiplex changes significantly in the different cases under consideration, with effects of the arrival time of nodes on the degree distribution, average shortest path length, and interdependence. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Alparone A.,University of Catania
Chemical Physics Letters | Year: 2013

Dipole moments, electronic polarizabilities and second-order hyperpolarizabilities of glycine oligomers in the α-helix conformations have been determined using the long-range corrected CAM-B3LYP functional and the 6-31+G- basis set. The evolution of dipole moment, average polarizability and second-order hyperpolarizability per unit cell as a function of chain length has been explored, giving in the limit of the polymer 4.70 ± 0.10 D, 32.41 ± 0.16 a.u. and 5746 ± 18 a.u., respectively. Interesting linear relationships between the response electric properties, molar volume and softness have been found. The polarizabilities of the oligoglycines are linearly correlated to the second-order hyperpolarizabilities, supporting a three-state model representation of the hyperpolarizabilities.

Casciati S.,University of Catania
Smart Structures and Systems | Year: 2016

In this paper, the possibility of using human induced loading (HIL) to detect a decrease of tension in the cable-stays of an existing footbridge is investigated. First, a reliable finite elements model of an existing footbridge is developed by calibration with experimental data. Next, estimates of the tension in the cables are derived and their dependency on the modal features of the deck is investigated. The modelling of the HIL is briefly discussed and used to perform the nonlinear, large strain, dynamic finite elements analyses. The results of these analyses are assessed with focus on characterizing the time histories of the tension in the cables under pedestrian crossing and their effects on the deck response for different initial conditions. Finally, the control perspective is introduced in view of further research. © Copyright 2016 Techno-Press, Ltd.

Patane C.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems In the Mediterranean | Tringali S.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems In the Mediterranean | Sortino O.,University of Catania
Scientia Horticulturae | Year: 2011

Processing tomato is a high water demanding crop, thus requiring irrigation throughout growing season in arid and semiarid areas. The application of deficit irrigation (DI) strategies to this crop may greatly contribute to save irrigation water. A two-year study was carried out in order to assess the effects of DI upon water productivity, final biomass, fruit yield and some quality traits of open-field processing tomato cv. Brigade in a typical semi-arid Mediterranean environment of South Italy. Four irrigation treatments were studied: no irrigation following plant establishment (V0); 100% (V100) or 50% (V50) evapotranspiration (ETc) restoration up to fruit maturity, 100% ETc restoration up to flowering, then 50% ETc restoration (V100-50). Total dry biomass accumulation was significantly depressed by early soil water deficit in V0; irrigation at a reduced rate (50% ETc) from initial stages (V50) or from flowering onwards (V100-50) did not induce any losses in final dry biomass. The marketable yield did not significantly differ among plots irrigated, but an averaged irrigation water saving of 30.4% in V100-50 and 46.2% in V50 was allowed as compared to V100. Marketable yield was negatively affected by the early water shortage in V0, due to the high fruit losses (>44%). The effects of DI on fruit quality were generally the converse of those on fruit yield. DI improved total soluble solids content, titratable acidity and vitamin C content. Water use efficiency was positively affected by DI, suggesting that the crop does not benefits from the water when this last is supplied to fulfil total crop requirements for the whole season. Yield response factor, which indicates the level of tolerance of a crop to water stress, was 0.49 for total dry biomass (Kss) and 0.76 for marketable yield (Ky), indicating that in both cases the reduction in crop productivity is proportionally less than the relative ET deficit. In conclusion, the adoption of DI strategies where a 50% reduction of ETc restored is applied for the whole growing season or part of it could be suggested in processing tomato, to save water improving its use efficiency, minimizing fruit losses and maintaining high fruit quality levels. This aspect is quite important in semi-arid environments, where water scarcity is an increasing concern and water costs are continuously rising. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

The author examined paratypes of Doryphoribius flavus (Iharos, 1966) (formerly Hypsibius (Isohypsibius) flavus Iharos, 1966), and the holotype and paratypes of D. citrinus (Maucci, 1972) (which is considered a junior synonym of D. flavus), furnishing new details, both qualitative and metric, to the description of the species, and providing a discussion on the synonymy. Specimens, previously attributed to these species, from Amazonia, South Africa, and Bali, were also examined and proved to belong to three species new to science: Doryphoribius amazzonicus sp. nov., Doryphoribius bindae sp. nov., and Doryphoribius solidunguis sp. nov. Doryphoribius amazzonicus sp. nov. has a reticular cuticular ornamentation with ridges forming a tubercle at each crossing; legs lacking cuticular ornamentation; buccal tube slightly longer than in D. flavus with respect to the body length, stylet supports inserted on the buccal tube in a slightly more caudal position; peribuccal papulae present; teeth and ridges appear to be absent in the buccal cavity; pharyngeal bulb with apophyses and two macroplacoids; claws slightly shorter and stouter than in D. flavus. Accessory points and smooth lunules present. No other cuticular thickening present on the legs. Doryphoribius bindae sp. nov. has a delicate reticular cuticular ornamentation formed by narrow ridges with a tiny tubercle at each crossing; a fine reticular design present on the legs; peribuccal papulae present, buccal armature with only one dorsal tooth near the medial margin of each stylet sheath. Pharyngeal bulb with apophyses and two macroplacoids. Accessory points and small lunules present. No other cuticular thickening present on the legs. Doryphoribius solidunguis sp. nov. has a very obvious reticular cuticular ornamentation with an irregular shape and size mesh (usually large) delimited by thick, sometimes protruding ridges that may form tubercles at crossings; cuticle of the legs smooth; peribuccal papulae present and two pairs of dorsal teeth lying along the anterior margins of the stylets sheaths. Pharyngeal bulb with apophyses and two macroplacoids. The claws are large and stout with very small accessory points; lunules present, those of the inner claws more evident than in similar species; a cuticular bar is present on the first three pairs of legs. Doryphoribius flavus was considered widespread, but this work exposing cryptic species indicates that the geographic distribution is more restricted. Copyright © 2011 · Magnolia Press.

Wu L.-J.,Fuzhou University | Wu L.-J.,University of Pavia | Casciati F.,University of Pavia | Casciati S.,University of Catania
Engineering Structures | Year: 2014

In the class of not-contact sensors, the techniques of vision-based displacement estimation enable one to gather dense global measurements of static deformation as well as of dynamic response. They are becoming more and more available thanks to the ongoing technology developments. In this work, a vision system, which takes advantage of fast-developing digital image processing and computer vision technologies and provides high sample rate, is implemented to monitor the 2D plane vibrations of a reduced scale frame mounted on a shaking table as available in a laboratory. The physical meanings of the camera parameters, the trade-off between the system resolution and the field-of-view, and the upper limitation of marker density are discussed. The scale factor approach, which is widely used to convert the image coordinates measured by a vision system in the unit of pixels into space coordinates, causes a poor repeatability of the experiment, an unstable experiment precision, and therefore a global poor flexibility. To overcome these problems, two calibrations approaches are introduced: registration and direct linear transformation. Based on the constructed vision-based displacement measurement system, several experiments are carried out to monitor the motion of a scale-reduced model on which dense markers are glued. The experiment results show that the proposed system can capture and successfully measure the motion of the laboratory model within the required frequency band. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Vilhelmsen L.,Universitets parken 15 | Turrisi G.F.,University of Catania
Arthropod Structure and Development | Year: 2011

We survey morphological features of larval and adult wasps that undergo their entire larval development inside wood and interpret them in view of the lifestyle. The evolution of some of the characters is explored by mapping them on a recently published phylogeny of Hymenoptera. Based on this phylogeny, it is reasonable to assume that wood-living wasps evolved from a xylophagous/mycetophagous stage as displayed by woodwasps to a carnivorous/parasitoid lifestyle, preying on woodboring insect larvae. The latter mode of life is probably ancestral to the Apocrita which comprise the majority of the order; they share this lifestyle with their sister group, the Orussidae. However, most apocritan wasps have radiated into other habitats, the Orussidae and Stephanidae apparently being the only taxa that have retained the ancestral lifestyle of carnivorous wasps. Other apocritan lineages associated with wood (e.g., Aulacidae, Megalyridae, basal Cynipoidea and some Ichneumonoidea and Chalcidoidea) possibly entered this habitat secondarily and independently acquired morphological traits associated with it. The woody habitat was occupied by Hymenoptera during a crucial stage in their evolution where the transition from the phytophagous to carnivorous lifestyle took place. The anatomy of both larva and adults was extensively transformed in the process. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Zeineldin H.H.,Masdar Institute of Science and Technology | Conti S.,University of Catania
IET Renewable Power Generation | Year: 2011

Among frequency drift islanding detection methods, Sandia frequency shift (SFS) is considered as one of the most effective methods in detecting islanding conditions for grid connected photovoltaic (PV) inverters. The performance of the SFS method during an islanding condition and its non-detection zone (NDZ) depends to a great extent on its parameters. Furthermore, the capability of the SFS method to detect an islanding condition deteriorates with multiple PV inverters. A mathematical formula is derived to aid protection engineers in determining the optimal setting of the SFS islanding detection parameters with multiple inverter-based distributed generation (DG), such as PV systems, to eliminate the NDZ. The derived formula is applied to multiple DG systems equipped with the over frequency/under frequency protection, active frequency drift and SFS islanding detection methods and is verified through NDZ analysis and simulation results on PSCAD/EMTDC. The derived formula provides an effective guideline for designing frequency drift methods in multi-inverter-based DG systems. © 2011 The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Capranzano P.,University of Catania | Dangas G.,Cardiovascular Institute
Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy | Year: 2012

The combination of unfractionated heparin (UFH) plus glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors (GPIs) has been a frequently used anti-thrombotic treatment strategy for acute coronary syndrome patients, including those with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention. However, the ischemic benefit of the UFH plus GPI combination came at the expense of high rates of bleeding complications and thrombocytopenia, both of which have been independently associated with increased mortality. By contrast, bivalirudin monotherapy compared with the combination of UFH plus GPI resulted in improved net clinical outcomes, based on similar ischemic protection with significant reductions in bleeding complications in randomized trials including patients with stable angina, those with unstable angina and those with non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. More recently, the HORIZONS-AMI randomized, open-label, multicenter trial has compared the efficacy and safety of bivalirudin alone versus UFH plus a GPI in 3602 patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention. Clinical results derived from this large study, including the final 3-year follow-up data, will be reviewed in the present clinical trial report. © 2012 Expert Reviews Ltd.

Hettegger H.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Sumerskii I.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Sortino S.,University of Catania | Potthast A.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Rosenau T.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
ChemSusChem | Year: 2015

The modification of cellulosic materials is of great interest in materials research. Wet bacterial cellulose sheets were modified by an alkoxysilane under mild conditions to make them accessible to click chemistry derivatization. For this purpose (3-azidopropyl)triethoxysilane was grafted covalently onto the cellulosic surface. The silanized bacterial cellulose sheets were characterized comprehensively by attenuated total reflectance FTIR spectroscopy, solid-state NMR spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, SEM with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and elemental analysis. To demonstrate subsequent click chemistry functionalization, a new fluorophore based on fluorescein was synthesized and clicked to the silane-modified bacterial cellulose. The new method renders bacterial cellulose and other never-dried cellulosic materials susceptible to direct and facile functionalization in an aqueous medium without the need to work in water-free organic phases or to employ extensive protecting group chemistry and functional group interconversion. © 2015 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Casciati S.,University of Catania
Journal of Engineering Mechanics | Year: 2010

Linear response surface (RS) models are used to represent the relationship between samples of response time histories measured by sensors placed across a structure. Different structural states of a general time-variant system are considered for short intervals capturing a linearized model of each state. Within this framework, the error associated with each RS model is sensitive to a modification of the structural state. A method that relates the changes of the statistical characterization of the error to the occurrence of a structural modification is developed for damage detection. The localization of damage is then pursued by identifying the largest discrepancies resulting from the comparison between the statistics of the sum of the squares of the error obtained at each sensor location. The generality of the method is shown by applying it to the experimental data of a realistic structure, which is representative of a continuous body affected by distributed cracking. © 2010 ASCE.

Giudice F.,University of Catania
Journal of Engineering Design | Year: 2010

This article proposes a structured methodology for the analysis and reconfiguration of the disassembly depth distribution of components making up a constructional system, expressing the difficulty of their disassembly on the basis of spatial and junction constraints conditioning their removal, with the aim of obtaining a generalised improvement in disassemblability in relation to the requirements of servicing. The methodological structure makes use of both graphical and analytical instruments for the quantification of disassembly depth, and of appositely defined metrics to assess the effectiveness of the distribution. In particular, the analytical tools were structured following a rule-based approach, which by virtue of its flexibility can be used to perform depth analysis, adapting to the diverse constraint conditions that generally arise in the selective disassembly of single components. As evidenced in the report of the case study proposed, the methodology and associated tools provide information regarding the criticality of a system and make it possible to direct an intervention modifying the principal design parameters (characteristics of layout, shapes of components and types of junction systems) in a way that improves the efficiency of disassembly. This comes off through a reasoned redistribution of the disassembly depth of components, searching for concordance between the ease of disassembly and the real need for it, and favouring the disassemblability of those parts of the system which require frequent removal for servicing. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Catassi C.,Marche Polytechnic University | Gatti S.,Marche Polytechnic University | Lionetti E.,University of Catania
Digestive Diseases | Year: 2015

In Europe and the USA, the mean frequency of celiac disease (CD) in the general population is approximately 1%, with some regional differences, the reasons for which remain elusive. A similar disease prevalence has been found in other countries mostly populated by individuals of European origin, e.g. Australia and Argentina. In Western countries, a true rise in overall CD prevalence of CD has been documented. CD is a common disorder in North Africa, the Middle East and India; however, the diagnostic rate is low in these countries due to low availability of diagnostic facilities and poor disease awareness. The highest CD prevalence in the world (5.6%) has been described in an African population originally living in Western Sahara, the Saharawi, of Arab-Berber origin. The reasons for this high CD frequency are unclear but could be primarily related to recent dietary changes and genetic factors, given the high level of consanguinity of this population. Further studies are needed to quantify the incidence of the celiac condition in apparently 'celiac-free' areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa and the Far East. In many developing countries, the frequency of CD is likely to increase in the near future given the diffuse tendency to adopt Western, gluten-rich dietary patterns. As most cases currently escape diagnosis all over the world, an effort should be made to increase the awareness of CD polymorphism. A cost-effective case-finding policy and new strategies of mass CD screening could significantly reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with untreated disease. The current high prevalence of CD is just the last link in a chain of events started about 10,000 years ago after wheat domestication and diffusion from the Middle East. We hypothesize different mechanisms to explain the so-called evolutionary celiac paradox of co-localization of gluten consumption and HLA CD-predisposing genotypes. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Bonifazi M.,Pulmonary Diseases Unit | Sediari M.,Pulmonary Diseases Unit | Ferretti M.,Cytopathology Unit | Poidomani G.,University of Catania | And 4 more authors.
Chest | Year: 2014

Background: Rapid on-site cytologic evaluation (ROSE) of cytologic specimens is a useful ancillary technique in needle aspiration procedures of pulmonary/mediastinal lesions. ROSE is not a widespread technique, however, because of a lack of time and resources. Our aim was to verify whether, in comparison with a board-certified cytopathologist, a pulmonologist could evaluate the adequacy of transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) specimens on-site to diagnose hilar/mediastinal adenopathies/masses after receiving training in cytopathology. Our secondary aim was to assess and compare the accuracy of ROSE as performed by both physicians. Methods: A pulmonologist and a cytopathologist, the latter deemed the gold standard, performed ROSE and classified specimens into five diagnostic categories. Agreement between clinicians was assessed through κ statistics. The accuracy of ROSE was established according to definitive cytologic assessment. Results: A total of 362 TBNAs were performed on 84 patients affected by hilar/mediastinal lymphadenopathies. There was an 81% overall substantial agreement between observers (κ, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.61-0.86; P, 0.001), which became excellent in cases of malignant disease (κ, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.70-0.90; P, 0.001). The accuracy of ROSE performed by the pulmonologist (80%; 95% CI, 77-90) was not statistically different from that provided by the cytopathologist (92%; 95% CI, 85-94). Conclusions: Our study provides the first evidence, to our knowledge, that a trained pulmonologist can assess the adequacy of cytologic smears on-site. Training pulmonologists to have a basic knowledge of cytopathology could obviate most difficulties related to the involvement of cytopathologists in routine diagnostic activities and may reduce the costs of the procedure. © 2014 American College of Chest Physicians.

The ostracod associations of the Upper Pliocene-Pleistocene sedimentary succession out-cropping at Punta Mazza (Milazzo, Sicily NE) have been investigated. The ostracod fauna is often well-preserved and well-diversified: there 42 species belonging to 24 genera have been found. The association consists almost exclusively of bathyal taxa such as Bythocypris obtusata (SARS), B. bosquetiana (BRADY), Henryhowella ex H. profunda BONADUCE et al. group, Quasibuntonia radiatopora (SEGUENZA), Retibythere (Bathybythere) scaberrima BRADY, Pseudocythere caudata SARS and Bythocythere mylaensis SCIUTO. Also, the Krithe group is well-represented with Krithe compressa (SEGUENZA) and K. pernoides (BORNEMANN). Further taxa such as Cytheropteron testudo SARS are rare. Almost all species, especially those belonging to Trachyleberididae SYLVESTER-BRADLEY are described, illustrated and commented on, including a new species, Acanthocythereis reticulata n.sp., found in the lower part of the section in Upper Pliocene sediment, is proposed as new. Finally, a specimen belonging to the genus Quasibuntonia RUGGIERI is currently given in open nomenclature.

A recent investigation on the northern margin of the Hyblean Plateau in south-eastern Sicily highlights the occurrence of a clayey diapiric intrusion into the foreland carbonate series. The piercing body, exposed along a ~270 long and ~30. m deep NE-SW elongated quarry, consists of serpentinite-bearing clayey material. As suggested by the internal contractional features and by its geometric relations with the adjacent rocks, the clayey body intruded in the foreland series producing on its flanks a set of domino-arranged normal faults which nucleated as a result of gravitative collapse. Taking into account previous petrological studies, which provided information about the origin of the mud, a deep geodynamic model for the northern part of the Hyblean Plateau is here presented. The mud diapirs originated from the uprising of pre-existing serpentinite bodies and others products of alteration probably developed along an ancient ridge-transform intersection where a hydrothermally altered mantle wedge occurred. This interpretation is supported by seismic, magnetic and gravimetric anomalies beneath the analyzed area and has implications on its geodynamic evolution. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Silveira A.C.,Agronomy Faculty | Aguayo E.,Technical University of Cartagena | Chisari M.,University of Catania | Artes F.,Technical University of Cartagena
Postharvest Biology and Technology | Year: 2011

'Galia' melon is one of the most common cv produced in Spain destined for fresh consumption and/or for the fresh-cut processing industry. Nevertheless, fresh-cut melon is very susceptible to softening during storage, even under chilling and modified atmosphere packaging. This softening process is related to Ca levels in fruit tissue. After preparing trapezoidal shaped sections of 'Galia' melons, the pieces were dipped for 1min a 60°C in Ca chloride, citrate, lactate, ascorbate, tartrate, silicate, propionate or acetate using a Ca concentration equivalent to 0.4% (0.15gg-1) pure Ca chloride, combined with 50mgL-1 H2O2 for controlling microbial growth. Dipping in sterile distilled water (without Ca salt) at 60°C for 1min was used as a control treatment. Firmness, pectin methylesterase and polygalacturonase activity, Ca content, microbial growth, respiration rate, and sensory evaluation, were evaluated throughout 10 days of storage at 5°C under a passive modified atmosphere reaching 4.5kPa O2 and 14.7kPa CO2. At the end of shelf life, Ca ascorbate, chloride and lactate provided melon pieces with a lower respiration rate, increased tissue total Ca content, and maintained a good firmness. In addition, those Ca salts reduced microbial growth. Sensory parameters, such as flavor perception, were kept above the upper limits for marketability. A considerable loss of flavor was found in all treatments except with Ca chlorine, lactate and ascorbate, the only treatments found acceptable from the consumer point of view. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Tina G.,University of Catania
Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Transactions of the ASME | Year: 2010

A coupled electrical and thermal model for calculating the temperature of a photovoltaic (PV) module has been developed and implemented in a simulation tool. The input data for this model include both environmental parameters (ambient temperature, wind speed, wind direction, total irradiance, and relative humidity) and electrical variables (voltage and current). In particular, this paper discusses the impact of the electrical operating point on the PV module temperature. This information can be very useful, especially in optimizing hybrid PV/thermal system operation. Numerical and experimental results are presented. © 2010 by ASME.

Fornaro M.,University of Catania | Rocchi G.,University of Genoa | Escelsior A.,University of Genoa | Contini P.,Immunology Laboratory | Martino M.,University of Genoa
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2013

Background: Correlational studies investigating neurohormonal-cytokine modulation by antidepressants suggest, among others, variations in cytokines balances as state markers of different biological subtypes of major depressive disorder (MDD) and response predictors to specific treatments. Objective of the study was to investigate cytokines modulation by duloxetine, a relatively newer SNRI with clean dual serotonin/norepinephrine mechanism. Methods: 30 MDD patients and 32 healthy controls were assessed using Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D) and monitored for levels of IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, IFN-γ and TNF-α, at baseline, week 6 and week 12 of duloxetine treatment (60 mg/day) and at baseline, respectively. Results: Early responders (ER: defined at week 6 by reduction >50% of baseline HAM-D score) and early non-responders (ENR) showed opposite trends in cytokine levels during duloxetine treatment: ENR were characterized by baseline Th2 shift compared to controls (lower IL-1β, IFN-γ and TNF-α) with increase in Th1 cytokines levels during treatment (increase of IL-1β, IL-12, IFN-γ, IL-1β/IL-10 and TNF-α/IL-10, decrease of IL-10), achieving clinical response at week 12; ER were characterized by baseline Th2-to-Th1 relative switch compared to ENR (higher IL-1β, IL-1β/IL-10 and TNF-α/IL-10) with reduction in Th1 cytokines levels during treatment (decrease of TNF-α and TNF-α/IL-10), achieving clinical response at week 6. Limitations: Small sample size. Conclusions: In accordance to early clinical response, duloxetine treatment could divide depressed patients into at least 2 subgroups characterized by clinical and laboratory differentiated behavior, suggesting different neurobiological background within depressive syndrome differentially sensitive to different drug components: pro-serotonergic effect and increase in Th1 cytokines in ENR vs. pro-noradrenergic effect and decrease in Th1 cytokines in ER. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Benadusi M.,University of Catania
Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management | Year: 2014

Disaster risk reduction policies make heavy use of education for spreading a 'culture' of resilience at community level. This paper reflects on the uncritical way the concept of culture is used in current pedagogies of resilience. It describes how a deterministic/normative vision of culture is gradually giving way to a generative/emergentist approach. Indeed, the notion of resilience has brought with it an idea of culture that emphasizes the flexible and dynamic character of learning. The paper also illuminates the unrecognized potential for disaster education, for it can be used as a tool to absolve public institutions from failure by shifting responsibility for safety to the population. Resilience, in other words, can become a shock absorber that compensates for institutional inefficiency. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Capodanno D.,University of Catania | de Caterina R.,University of Chieti Pescara
Thrombosis and Haemostasis | Year: 2015

Bivalirudin is a valuable anticoagulant option in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. Advantages over heparin as a parenteral anticoagulant include more predictable pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, shorter half-life, no need for cofactors, some degree of antiplatelet effect, and the ability to inhibit clot-bound thrombin. Clinical evidence supporting the use of bivalirudin over heparin in current ACS guidelines, however, derives mostly from early randomised trials that may no longer reflect current management patterns, now including the use of oral antiplatelet agents more potent than clopidogrel (i.e. prasugrel or ticagrelor) and a broader implementation of strategies to reduce bleeding (i.e. radial access for percutaneous coronary intervention, and use of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors only in bailout situations). Defining the fine balance between bivalirudin efficacy and safety over heparins in the context of other antithrombotic treatments remains a challenge in clinical practice, particularly in a fast-evolving scenario, such as ACS, where numerous new trials have been presented in very recent times. Here we provide an up-to-date overview of the evidence on the use of bivalirudin in ACS, with focus on new data, open issues, and future directions. © 2015 Schattauer.

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

String matching is the problem of finding all the substrings of a text which correspond to a given pattern. It’s one of the most investigated problem in computer science, mainly due to its various applications in many fields. In recent years most solutions to the problem focused on efficiency and flexibility of the searching procedure and effective techniques appeared to speed-up previous solutions. In this paper we present a simple and very efficient algorithm for string matching. It can be seen as an extension of the Skip-Search algorithm to condensed alphabets with the aim of reducing the number of verifications during the searching phase. From our experimental results it turns out that the new variant obtains in most cases the best running time when compared against the most effective algorithms in literature. This makes the new algorithm one of the most flexible solutions in practical cases. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.

Papotto G.,STMicroelectronics | Carrara F.,STMicroelectronics | Finocchiaro A.,STMicroelectronics | Palmisano G.,University of Catania
IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits | Year: 2014

This paper presents a 90-nm CMOS batteryless transceiver for RF-powered wireless sensor networks. The circuit is made up of a RF energy harvesting module that is implemented through a multi-stage rectifier, a power management unit, and a PLL-based RF front-end that enables TX carrier synthesis by exploiting the RF input signal as a reference frequency. This avoids the use of a local crystal oscillator, thus implementing a highly integrated low-cost wireless transceiver. An active narrowband transmission scheme is adopted with the aim of overcoming the reader self-jamming that limits the operating range of backscattering-based RF-powered devices. The circuit supports a 915-MHz FSK downlink and a 2.45-GHz OOK uplink, while achieving a data rate up to 5 Mbps. It operates with an RF input power as low as-17.1 dBm. © 2014 IEEE.

Marletta G.,University of Catania
Topics in Applied Physics | Year: 2010

We show how the controlled modification of material surfaces by ion beams may lead to biological applications ranging from biocompatible materials to biosensors and biological devices. Specifically, the present chapter addresses the use of low- and medium-energy ion beams to modify polymer surfaces. We provide a short introduction to those surface properties that determine the biological response and summarize basic features of ion-surface interaction processes in polymers, emphasizing the relation between ion irradiation and surface-property modification: the adsorption/organization processes of amino acids, peptide sequences, proteins and cells are all influenced by ion-irradiation treatments. The possibility of obtaining controlled interactions of biological systems (e.g., amino acids, peptide sequences, proteins and cells) with beam-modified polymers is described in terms of a few well-defined surface properties. These include the surface free energy (SFE), the surface morphology and topography, the surface polarity, surface termination and the mechanical properties of the outermost surface layers. In this context, the concept of "biocompatibility" is briefly explained as the ability of a material to provide specialized addressing of biological functions, including a message that a biological system can perceive as a proper "signaling mode" to prompt its appropriate response. Finally, the relevance of ion beams to induce spatially resolved adsorption/adhesion processes in biological systems is demonstrated: the scales range from tens of nanometers to tens of micrometers. The emphasis is on achieving nano(or micro)sized patterns of biological molecules to produce bioelectronics devices. Some examples are given of potential ion-beam applications in manipulating the organization of biological systems on surfaces. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010.

Barbarino S.,University of Catania | Consoli F.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation | Year: 2010

We present a detailed study of a very large band planar circular asymmetrical dipole antenna, fed by a microstrip, for the purpose of covering most of the common communication channels with one solution. The study has been performed on two planar substrates having different dielectric permittivities. The prototype on the substrate with lower permittivity shows much larger bandwidth, and it has been realized and fully characterized, in terms of impedance matching and radiation properties. Its measured band ratio is 21.9:1. The comparison with other super-wideband (SWB) antennas of similar type, with more complex design and therefore required optimization, shows that this prototype has very appealing features of very large absolute bandwidth and band ratio, and a compact size. © 2006 IEEE.

Babu K.S.,Queen Alexandra Hospital | Polosa R.,University of Catania | Morjaria J.B.,University of Hull
Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy | Year: 2013

Introduction: Omalizumab is a recombinant DNA-derived humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that selectively binds to free and membrane-bound immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. Omalizumab has been licensed for use in severe allergic asthma. A search on the website clinicaltrials.gov reveals there are currently 109 clinical trials with Omalizumab of which 46 are for conditions other than asthma. Areas covered: In addition to asthma, Omalizumab has been investigated in various other conditions including perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis (AR), peanut allergy, latex allergy, atopic dermatitis, chronic urticaria (CU), idiopathic anaphylaxis, mastocytosis, eosinophilic gastroenteritis and nasal polyposis. This review aims to look at the various randomised and non-randomised clinical trials, case series and case reports for the role of Omalizumab in conditions other than asthma. Numerous clinical trials have shown a positive light on the role of Omalizumab in conditions other than asthma. Expert opinion: We feel that the future of Omalizumab would include a more diverse range of clinical conditions, and future trials should not only look into the clinical usefulness but also the economic impact of using this interesting molecule. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd.

Marchetti B.,University of Catania | Marchetti B.,OASI Institute for Research and Care on Mental Retardation and Brain Aging | Pluchino S.,University of Cambridge | Pluchino S.,Cambridge Biomedical Research Center
Trends in Molecular Medicine | Year: 2013

The roles of Wnts in neural development, synaptogenesis, and cancer are generally well characterized. Nonetheless, evidence exists that interactions between the immune and nervous systems control major brain regenerative processes ranging from physiological or pathological (reparative) regeneration to neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. Recent studies describe deregulated Wnt-Fzd signaling in degenerative and inflammatory central nervous system (CNS) disorders, and the expression of Wnt signaling components in the immune system, and in immune-like cells of the mammalian CNS. This would suggest a likely involvement of Wnts in inflammation-driven brain damage and inflammation-directed brain repair. Here, we review how Wnts modulate neuroimmune interactions and offer a perspective on the most challenging therapeutic opportunities for those CNS diseases where injury-reactive Wnt-flavored inflammation precedes secondary neurodegeneration. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Lantieri A.,University of Catania
Plant Biosystems | Year: 2011

The first record of Trichoglossum tetrasporum from Italy is here reported. The work reports macro- and microscopic descriptions of the taxa and remarks on its distribution also in comparison with some related species. © 2011 Società Botanica & Italiana.

Lanza G.,University of Catania
International Journal of Quantum Chemistry | Year: 2010

The LaF3·Arn (n = 1-21) clusters have been proposed as models to account for the matrix effects on the molecular properties of the LaF3 molecule isolated in argon solid matrix at cryogenic temperature. Because of the strong Lewis acid character of the LaF3 molecule, there is a substantial electron-density transfer from the argon atoms to the molecule that induces important geometrical changes in the structure and vibrational frequencies. The present bottom-up approach reveals the formation, of two sets of structures close in energy having the D3h-LaF 3 and the C3vLaF3. The D3h-LaF 3 structures are more compact with respect to the C3v series. The largest investigated cluster of the D3h series, the LaF31·Ar21 resembles an hep structure with the LaF3 occupying the central substitutional site that it is expected to be energetically "preferred. The C3v-LaF3 structures are more stable for lighter clusters and their high formation rates in the gas-phase, immediately before matrix incorporation, could explain experimental IR/Raman results that point to a pyramidal shape for the molecule in argon matrix. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Svanadze M.,Ilia State University | Scalia A.,University of Catania
Computers and Mathematics with Applications | Year: 2013

This paper concerns with the quasi-static coupled linear theory of bone poroelasticity for materials with double porosity and some basic results of the classical theories of elasticity and thermoelasticity are generalized. The system of equations of this theory is based on the equilibrium equations, conservation of fluid mass, the effective stress concept and Darcy's law for material with double porosity. The Green's formulas in the considered theory are obtained, the formulas of Somigliana type integral representations of regular vector and regular (classical) solutions are presented. The uniqueness theorems for classical solutions of the internal and external boundary value problems (BVPs) are proved. The single-layer, double-layer and volume potentials are constructed and their basic properties are established. Finally, the existence theorems for classical solutions of the BVPs are proved by means of the potential method (boundary integral method) and the theory of singular integral equations. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Salomone S.,University of Catania
Frontiers in Pharmacology | Year: 2011

Glitazones (thiazolidinediones) are drugs used for diabetes mellitus type 2. By binding to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) they modulate transcription of genes of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Through PPARγ stimulation, however, glitazones also affect other genes, encompassing inflammation, cell growth and differentiation, angiogenesis, which broads their therapeutic potential. The gene expression profile induced by each glitazone shows peculiarities, which may affect its benefit/risk balance; indeed, troglitazone and rosiglitazone have been associated with liver failure and coronary disease, respectively; whether or not these severe adverse effects are solely related to PPARγ remains yet unclear, since glitazones exert also PPARγ-independent effects. Glitazone chemistry serves as scaffold for synthesizing new compounds with PPARγ-independent pharmacological properties and we report here a preliminary observation of inhibition of vasoconstriction by troglitazone in isolated vessels, an effect that appears fast, reversible, and PPARγ-independent. Pleiotropic effects of glitazones need specific attention in terms of drug safety, but also provide basis for drug development and novel experimental therapeutics. © 2011 Salomone.

Grasso G.,University of Catania | Bonnet S.,Leiden University
Metallomics | Year: 2014

In recent years many metalloproteases (MPs) have been shown to play important roles in the development of various pathological conditions. Although most of the literature is focused on matrix MPs (MMPs), many other MPs have been demonstrated to be involved in the degradation of peptides or proteins whose accumulation and dyshomeostasis are considered as being responsible for the development of conformational diseases, i.e., diseases where non-native protein conformations lead to protein aggregation. It seems clear that, at least in principle, it must be possible to control the levels of many aggregation-prone proteins not only by reducing their production, but also by enhancing their catabolism. Metal complexes that can perform this function were designed and tested according to at least two different strategies: (i) intervening on the endogenous MPs by directly or indirectly modulating their activity; (ii) acting as artificial MPs, replacing or synergistically functioning with endogenous MPs. These two different bioinorganic approaches are widely represented in the current literature and the aim of this review is to rationally organize and discuss both of them so as to give a critical insight into these approaches and highlighting their limitations and future perspectives. This journal is © the Partner Organisations 2014.

Blanco I.,University of Catania
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry | Year: 2015

Two different types of commercial polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) samples used for beverage and food packaging were degraded for 25 months in isothermal oxidative condition at relatively low temperature (423 K). The results of this long-term experiment were compared with thermooxidative degradations of the same polymers that were carried out in a thermogravimetric (TG) analyzer, at higher temperatures (443 ≤ T ≤ 623 K), in isothermal heating conditions. The obtained set of experimental TG data was used to determine the apparent activation energy (Ea) of degradation through two isothermal kinetic methods with the aim to verify the validity of lifetime predictions of polymers made by degradation experiments at higher temperatures. The results that were discussed and interpreted suggest caution in the extrapolation at lower temperature of degradation kinetics parameters obtained at high temperatures. © 2015 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary

Castorina P.,University of Catania
Journal of Physics: Conference Series | Year: 2016

The comparison of the statistical hadronization model with experimental data and lattice QCD results is not always straightforward. Indeed, the interpretation of the φ meson production, of the proton to pion multiplicity ratio at LHC and the agreement of the freeze-out curve with the lattice critical line in the T - μB plane, require further analyses. Moreover the dynamics of the hadronization has to be compatible with: 1) the statitical behavior also observed in elementary high energy collisions; 2) a universal hadronization temperature for all high energy collisions; 3) the freeze-out criteria. In these lecture notes the SHM is recalled and some explanations of the puzzling aspects of its comparison with data are discussed.

Calvagna A.,University of Catania | Gargantini A.,University of Bergamo
Software Testing Verification and Reliability | Year: 2012

Combinatorial interaction testing (CIT) is a testing technique that requires covering all t-sized tuples of values out of n parameter attributes or properties modelled after the input parameters or the configuration domain of a system under test. CIT test suites have shown to be very effective in software testing already at pairwise (t = 2) level, and the effectiveness of CIT grows with the tuple width t. Unfortunately, the number of tuples to be tested also does grow. In order to reduce the testing effort, researchers addressed the issue of computing minimal-sized CIT test suites with effective and scalable algorithms. However, still very few generally applicable t-wise covering construction algorithms (and tools) do exist in literature. This paper presents an original greedy algorithm to compute t-wise covering mixed covering arrays with constant space complexity, irrespective of the number of involved parameters and strength of interaction. The proposed algorithm has been implemented in a prototype tool, featuring also support for user constraints over the inputs. Assessment of the tool performance on a set of large, real-world test systems is reported, with results encouraging its adoption in industrial production environments. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Bonanno G.,University of Catania
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2016

Invasive alien species (IAS) are universally known for being a controversial management issue. What makes IAS management a particularly thorny question is that although numerous studies document the negative effects of IAS, the potential benefits of IAS are generally underreported. This may result in wrong assessments on the real socio-economic and environmental impact of IAS. This study aimed to provide new insights to support the decision making of IAS management. In particular, the biased approach to IAS management seems to be a likely consequence of the lack of appropriate metrics able to assess the real IAS impact. A basic aspect of IAS management is to decide whether and when IAS removal is a suitable action. Specifically, this study supported the idea that IAS removal may be considered as a possible solution only after establishing a tipping point relying on economic, cultural and pragmatic evaluations. This analysis should include the identification of the ecosystem services damaged and provided by IAS, the attribution of an economic value to such ecosystem services, and when expressing the interaction between IAS and culture is not possible in monetary terms, then social values and cultural traditions should be incorporated in any management plan. Novel ecosystems are now a fact worldwide that should prompt to be realistic about the extent of efforts required for IAS removal. A significant step towards well-pondered decisions should consider that a change in host communities does not imply necessarily harm, and that the functional roles of a species matter more than its origins. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Kadzinski M.,Poznan University of Technology | Greco S.,University of Catania | Greco S.,University of Portsmouth | Slowinski R.,Poznan University of Technology | Slowinski R.,Polish Academy of Sciences
Information Sciences | Year: 2014

We present a new multiple criteria sorting method deriving from Dominance-based Rough Set Approach (DRSA). The preference information supplied by the Decision Maker (DM) is a set of possibly imprecise and inconsistent assignment examples on a subset of reference alternatives relatively well-known to the DM. To structure the data we use DRSA, and subsequently, represent the assignment examples by all minimal sets of rules covering all alternatives from the lower approximations of class unions. Such a set of rules is called minimal-cover set - it is one of the instances of the preference model compatible with DM's preference information. In this way, we implement the principle of Robust Ordinal Regression (ROR) to decision rule preference model. For each alternative, we derive the necessary and possible assignments specifying the range of classes to which the alternative is assigned by all or at least one compatible set of rules, respectively, as well as class acceptability indices. We also introduce the notion of a representative compatible minimal-cover set of rules whose selection builds on the results of ROR, addressing the robustness concern. Application of the approach is demonstrated by classifying 69 land zones in 4 classes representing different risk levels. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Crimi C.,University of Catania | Noto A.,Messina University | Princi P.,National Research Council Italy | Esquinas A.,Intensive Care Unit | Nava S.,Respiratory Unit
European Respiratory Journal | Year: 2010

Although noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is becoming very popular, little is known about its pattern of clinical and technical utilisation in different environments. We conducted a web-based survey in Europe to identify the perceived pattern of NIV utilisation and the reason for choosing a specific ventilator and interface type in four common clinical scenarios: acute hypercapnic respiratory failure (AHRF), cardiogenic pulmonary oedema (CPE), de novo hypoxic respiratory failure and weaning/post-extubation failure (W/PE). A response was obtained from 272 (51.3%) out of 530 selected European physicians involved in NIV practice. The NIV utilisation rate was higher for pulmonologists than intensivists/anesthesiologists (p<0.05). The most common indication for all the physicians was AHRF (48%). Physicians were more likely to use NIV dedicated ventilator in AHRF and CPE and an intensive care unit (ICU) ventilator with NIV module in de novo hypoxic respiratory failure and W/PE, mainly because of the possibility of using the double circuit and inspiratory oxygen fraction control. Overall, the oro-nasal mask was the most frequently used interface, irrespective of clinical scenarios. The use of NIV in Europe is generally relatively high, especially among pulmonologists and in AHRF. Dedicated NIV ventilators and ICU ventilators with NIV modules are preferably in AHRF and in de novo hypoxic respiratory failure, respectively, together with oro-nasal masks. Copyright©ERS 2010.

Faro S.,University of Catania | Kulekci M.O.,TUBITAK - Marmara Research Center
Proceedings of the Workshop on Algorithm Engineering and Experiments | Year: 2013

Searching for all occurrences of a pattern in a text is a fundamental problem in computer science with applications in many other fields, like natural language processing, information retrieval and computational biology. In the last two decades a general trend has appeared trying to exploit the power of the word RAM model to speed-up the performances of classical string matching algorithms. In this model an algorithm operates on words of length w, grouping blocks of characters, and arithmetic and logic operations on the words take one unit of time. In this paper we use specialized word-size packed string matching instructions, based on the Intel streaming SIMD extensions (SSE) technology, to design very fast string matching algorithms in the case of short patterns. From our experimental results it turns out that, despite their quadratic worst case time complexity, the new presented algorithms become the clear winners on the average for short patterns, when compared against the most effective algorithms known in literature. Copyright © SIAM.

Brunetto C.,ENEL S.p.A | Tina G.,University of Catania
Electric Power Systems Research | Year: 2011

Today there is a lot of interest in wind energy exploitation. It has been emphasized by adopted incentive mechanisms and by the possibility to sell energy to the electrical market in different ways. The rise of wind installed power requires more energy for ancillary services. Moreover, imbalance costs have to be sustained by the Transmission System Operator (TSO) which could charge them to all the consumers where wind power producers are not penalized for their imbalances. To solve this problem some solutions can be adopted depending on market rules that are different from one country to another. In particular referring to the current Italian market framework and taking into account to the state-of-the-art wind power forecasting, an economic assessment of imbalance for some wind farms have been compared to balancing costs of the TSO. Different stochastic approaches have been adopted, using available historical data, in the analysis of various scenarios both for the TSO and for wind plant owners. Also possible mechanisms for imbalance settlements have been proposed in order to maintain grid safety costs within a reasonable level for electricity consumers, and to avoid an excessively penalizing treatment for wind energy source investments in order to satisfy environmental targets of the European Community. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

A mineralogical study was performed on seven selected peridotite xenoliths, found in diatremic tuff-breccia deposits from Valle Guffari (Hyblean Plateau, Sicily, Italy), in order to investigate evidence for serpentinization. Petrographic examinations of spinel-harzburgites revealed the presence of the pervasive network of composite serpentine veins, suggesting a variable degree of alteration of 50-80%. Veins were characterized by X-ray Powder Diffraction (XRPD), which allowed the identification of chrysotile 2Mc1 and lizardite 1T. No peaks referable to antigorite polymorphs were detected. Microprobe WDS (wavelength dispersion system) data evidenced a different iron content between chrysotile [average composition (Mg2.58Fe 2+ 0.27Al0.01)Σ2.86Si 2.06O5(OH)4, Fe/(Fe+Mg) = 0.09] and lizardite [average composition (Mg2.49Fe2+ 0.37Al 0.01)Σ2.87 Si2.05O5(OH) 4, Fe/(Fe+Mg) = 0.12]. Chlorine was detected in both polytypes, with an average concentration of 0.09 wt% in chrysotile and 0.05 wt% in lizardite. A series of cogenetic secondary minerals are enclosed in serpentine veins, described hereunder: a) Sulphides, predominantly S-poor phases (atomic sulphur/metal ratio < 1), which are heazlewoodite [average composition (Ni2.75Fe0.09)Σ2.84S2] and godlevskite [mean composition (Ni8.52Fe0.63) Σ9.15S8), and to a lesser extent by S-rich sulphides (S/M > 1), such as millerite [mean composition (Ni0.95Fe 0.03)Σ0.98S] and polydymite-violarite solid solution [mean composition (Fe1.38Ni1.69) Σ3.07S4]. b) Interstitial dendritic aggregates of Na-rich sylvite, whose molar ratio of NaCl/(NaCl+KCl) (XNaCl) varies from 0.03 to 0.21. c) Widespread veinlets of (Ca, Na, S)-rich phosphates (CaO 50.30-52.70 wt%, Na2O 1.50-3.10 wt%, P2O5 31.76-34.60 wt%, SO3 7.40-12.60 wt%), whose chemical composition is similar to (Na, S)-rich apatite-(CaOH)-M (CaO 48.70-54.30 wt%, Na2O 0.10-3.90 wt%, P2O5 32.01-40.82 wt%, SO3 0.40-11.40 wt%). d) Aragonite veins. e) Fe-rich saponite (FeO 5.20-13.50 wt%). f) Chalcedony. The studied secondary mineral assemblage hints that serpentinization reactions were triggered in the ultramafic core-complex, forming the Hyblean basement, by hypersaline aqueous solutions, most likely deriving from seawater, in a temperature range from 250 °C to 350-400 °C at a pressure below 0.2 GPa. Partially serpentinized harzburgite xenoliths can be distinguished on the basis of secondary mineral assemblages. Most of the studied xenoliths contain abundant S-poor sulphides, which are indicative of reducing conditions (fO from-40 to-32) and high temperature (∼ 400 °C; Fleet, 1988), likely referable to the early s2tage of serpentinization. Only two xenoliths include S-rich sulphides, aragonite, saponite, and chalcedony, which are the products of the incipient carbonation and saponitization of serpentine, suggesting a relatively oxidant environment (fO2 from-34 to-30) and low to moderate temperature (below 300 °C). The dominance of xenoliths bearing S-poor sulphides, and the occurrence of NaCl-KCl solid solutions, whose values of XNaCl support a temperature range of 200-380 °C, would suggest that serpentine veins and their related secondary minerals were produced before the diatreme eruption (Tortonian, Carlentini Formation). In fact, a post-depositional alteration would imply strongly oxidizing conditions (above the Hematite-magnetite buffer) and low temperature, certainly incompatible with the formation of the observed secondary minerals. The timing of serpentinization, in the Hyblean lower crust, can be deduced from the age of hydrothermal zircons, found in a blackwall-type metasomatite xenolith, which was previously dated back to Early Triassic, by U-Pb analyses.

Scandura P.,University of Catania
Journal of Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2013

The two-dimensional vortices characterizing the bottom boundary layer of both progressive and solitary waves, recently discovered by experimental flow visualizations and referred to as vortex tubes, are studied by numerical solution of the governing equations. In the case of progressive waves, the Reynolds numbers investigated belong to the subcritical range, according to Floquet linear stability theory. In such a range the periodic generation of strictly two-dimensional vortex structures is not a self-sustaining phenomenon, being the presence of appropriate ambient disturbances necessary to excite certain modes through a receptivity mechanism. In a physical experiment such disturbances may arise from several coexisting sources, among which the most likely is roughness. Therefore, in the present numerical simulations, wall imperfections of small amplitude are introduced as a source of disturbances for both types of wave, but from a macroscopic point of view the wall can be regarded as flat. The simulations show that even wall imperfections of small amplitude may cause flow instability and lead to the appearance of vortex tubes. These vortices, in turn, interact with a vortex layer adjacent to the wall and characterized by vorticity opposite to that of the vortex tubes. In a first stage such interaction gives rise to corrugation of the vortex layer and this affects the spatial distribution of the wall shear stress. In a second stage the vortex layer rolls up and pairs of counter-rotating vortices are generated, which leave the bottom because of the self-induced velocity. © 2013 Cambridge University Press.

Becattini F.,University of Florence | Castorina P.,University of Catania | Milov A.,Weizmann Institute of Science | Satz H.,Bielefeld University
European Physical Journal C | Year: 2010

We perform a systematic comparison of the statistical model parametrization of hadron abundances observed in high-energy pp, AA and e+e- collisions. The basic aim of the study is to test if the quality of the description depends on the nature of the collision process. In particular, we want to see if nuclear collisions, with multiple initial interactions, lead to "more thermal" average multiplicities than elementary pp collisions or e+e- annihilation. Such a comparison is meaningful only if it is based on data for the same or similar hadronic species and if the analyzed data has quantitatively similar errors. When these requirements are maintained, the quality of the statistical model description is found to be the same for the different initial collision configurations. © Springer-Verlag / Società Italiana di Fisica 2010.

The presence of endemic species is among the fundamental criteria for characterizing the biodiversity of a territory. Analyzing species richness, extinction level and distribution drivers is an important preliminary step to set conservation priorities and test environmental policies. This study applied the concept of adaptive management to develop strategies for the conservation of endemic floras by considering, as a case study, Sicily, Malta and their neighboring small islands. Adaptive management can be defined as the systematic acquisition and application of reliable information to improve management over time. The development of adaptive conservation strategies aimed preliminary: (1) to quantify endemic plant diversity; (2) to assess the current IUCN knowledge; (3) to analyze the spatial patterns of species distribution in relation to number of colonized habitats, preferential habitats, altitudinal range, and bedrock; (4) to assess whether Natura 2000 network contributed significantly to increase the overlap between endemic distributional areas and protected surface. Strictly Sicilian endemics were 202 taxa amounting to 7.0 % of the whole native flora (c. 2900 taxa). The current picture of extinction risk is still incomplete because over 50 % of endemics were never assessed or assessed with old IUCN criteria. The spatial range size of endemics depended by 40 % on bedrock, and altitudinal and niche breadth. Habitat type did not influence the range size of endemics. The overlap between endemic distributional areas and protected surface increased from 41.3 to 63.3 % with Natura 2000. Adaptive management needs measurable goals to test the progressive improvement of conservation strategies over time, and the reduction in threatened species may be considered as an indicator of successful conservation outcomes. Feedback plays an important role in the periodic revision of biodiversity assessment, distribution modeling, and environmental management, which are fundamental to predict conservation outcomes in the face of extreme uncertainty. In particular, the exhaustive knowledge of the IUCN status is a primary step to implement adaptive measures of conservation, especially as regards endemic floras that are potentially more vulnerable to large-scale or unpredictable and stochastic threats. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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

With the availability of large amounts of dna data, exact matching of nucleotide sequences has become an important application in modern computational biology and in meta-genomics. In the last decade several efficient solutions for the exact string matching problem have been developed and most of them are very fast in practical cases. However when the length of the pattern is short or the alphabet size is small (as in the case of dna sequences) the problem becomes more difficult to be solved efficiently. In this paper we review and compare the most efficient solutions for the online exact matching problem appeared in the latest years when applied for searching on genome sequences. In addition we also propose some new variants of an efficient string matching algorithm. From our experimental results it turns out that the newly presented variants are very fast in most practical cases. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.

Shvedov L.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Colonna M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Di Toro M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Di Toro M.,University of Catania
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2010

We investigate reaction mechanisms occurring in heavy-ion collisions at low energy (∼20 MeV/nucleon). In particular, we focus on the competition between fusion and breakup processes (deep inelastic and fragmentation) in semiperipheral collisions, where the formation of excited systems under various conditions of shape and angular momentum is observed. Adopting a Langevin treatment for the dynamical evolution of the system configuration, described in terms of shape observables such as quadrupole and octupole moments, we derive fusion and fission probabilities, from which the corresponding fusion and breakup cross sections can finally be evaluated. The dependence of the results on shape, angular momentum, and excitation energy is discussed. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Barbarino S.,University of Catania | Consoli F.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Progress in Electromagnetics Research | Year: 2010

The study of a planar circular slot antenna for Ultrawideband (UWB) communications is presented. The integration on this antenna of a notch filter, to reduce the possible interferences with the 5 GHz WLAN communications, has been discussed in detail. Four different structures, achieved by etching a suitable pattern on the antenna circular stub, have been considered, and their features have been compared. The antenna with symmetrical and inverted-L cuts shows the best performance, and it has been therefore realized and fully characterized. It shows very good matching features over the UWB band, and notable rejection of the 5 GHz WLAN band.

Dong J.M.,CAS Lanzhou Institute of Modern Physics | Lombardo U.,University of Catania | Zuo W.,CAS Lanzhou Institute of Modern Physics
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2013

The onset of the superfluid phase in high-density neutron matter is studied within the BCS framework with two- and three-body forces. When including the strong correlation effects in the gap equation, the pairing gap turns out to be nonvanishing in a range of densities about 0.1-0.4fm-3 with a peak value a bit less than 0.05 MeV. These results could limit the role of the 3PF2 superfluidity in the interpretation of phenomena occurring in the neutron-star core. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Greco A.,University of Catania | Pau A.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Computers and Structures | Year: 2012

The present paper examines the effect of local damage in elastic frames composed by Euler beams. The direct problems of undamaged and damaged frames are studied using the Wittrick-Williams algorithm. The related inverse problems of identifying material parameters in the undamaged structure and damage parameters, i.e. location and intensity, in the damaged frame are studied using procedures based on the comparison of numerical and pseudo-experimental natural frequencies. It is shown that the material parameters can be reliably determined and, with reference to the damaged frame, important considerations on the number of frequencies required in order to evaluate damage parameters are outlined. The sensitivity of the proposed procedure to experimental errors is also studied. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

The ostracod associations of the Lower Pleistocene sedimentary succession cropping out at Serra San Biagio (Catania, Sicily NE) have been investigated. The ostracod fauna from nine samples is poorly diversified but well-preserved: A total of forty taxa of ostracods have been identified, thirty-three at specific level and seven at genus level or doubtful species. Thirty species are considered as constituents of the in situ original assemblages. The associations consist almost exclusively of bathyal taxa such as Bythocypris obtusata (SARS), Anchistrocheles antemacella MADDOCKS, Henryhowella ex H. hirta (COSTA) group, Quasibuntonia radiatopora (SEGUENZA), Retibythere (Bathybythere) scaberrima (BRADY) and Bathycythere vansraateni SISSINGH. Also the Krithe group is well-represented with Krithe compressa (SEGUENZA) and K. pernoides (BORNEMANN). Almost all species, some, particularly interesting from the palaeoecological and palaeogeographical point of view, have been here described, illustrated and commented on, including a species belonging to the genus Cytherella JONES, 1849, found in all samples of the section, which is here proposed as new. © 2015, Carnets de Geologie. All rights reserved.

Biondi G.,Messina University | Cascone E.,Messina University | Maugeri M.,University of Catania
Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering | Year: 2014

Pseudo-static seismic analysis of retaining walls requires the selection of an equivalent seismic coefficient synthetically representing the effects of the transient seismic actions on the soil-wall system. In this paper, a rational criterion for the selection of the equivalent seismic coefficient is proposed with reference to sliding retaining walls. In the proposed approach earthquake-induced permanent displacements are assumed as a suitable parameter to assess the seismic performance and an alternative definition of the wall safety factor is introduced comparing expected and limit values of permanent displacements. Using a simplified displacement prediction model it is shown that, for a given design earthquake, reliable values of the equivalent seismic coefficient should depend on all the factors affecting the stability condition of the soil-wall system and on a threshold value of permanent displacement related to a given ultimate or serviceability limit state. To achieve a match between the results of the pseudo-static and of the displacement-based analysis, the proposed procedure detects the value of the equivalent seismic coefficient for which the two approaches provide the same factor of safety. Thus, without necessarily carrying out a displacement analysis, a measure of the safety condition of a soil-wall system consistent with the actual seismic performance may be achieved through an equivalent pseudo-static analysis. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Trovato M.,University of Catania | Reggiani L.,University of Salento
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

Using the Wigner representation, compatibly with the uncertainty principle, we formulate a quantum maximum entropy principle for the fractional exclusion statistics. By considering anyonic systems satisfying fractional exclusion statistic, all the results available in the literature are generalized in terms of both the kind of statistics and a nonlocal description for excluson gases. Gradient quantum corrections are explicitly given at different levels of degeneracy and classical results are recovered when â→0. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Aim. Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and endothelial microparticles (EMPs) increase, respectively, in the attempt to repair the damaged endothelium and in response to endothelial dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction (ED) of arterial origin recognizes endothelial dysfunction as one of its main determinants and shares risk factors and physiopathological evolution with the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Tadalafil, selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase V, long half-life, is used to treat erectile dysfunction, and several studies have already documented the beneficial effects on endothelial dysfunction. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the concentrations of EPCs and EMPs in patients with arterial ED and MetS, before and after tadalafil administration, and in healthy men. Methods. Thirty patients (47-54 years) with ED and MetS (ATP III 1999 criteria) and 17 healthy men (44-57 years) were selected. EPCs (CD45 neg/CD34 pos/CD144 pos) and EMPs (CD45 neg/CD34 neg/CD144 pos) blood concentrations were evaluated by flow cytometry before and after administration of tadalafil (20 mg) on demand for 3 months. After treatment, the patients were divided into responders and poor responders, according to their IIEF-5 score. Main outcome measures: Blood EPCs and EMPs. Results. Before treatment, the percentage of EPCs and EMPs was significantly higher in patients with ED and MetS compared to healthy men. Treatment with tadalafil increased significantly EPCs in both responders and poor responders. The latter had significantly higher EPCs compared to responders, both before and after tadalafil. Before tadalafil, EMPs were higher, but not significantly, in poor responders vs. responders. No significant change occurred after tadalafil administration in both responders and poor responders. A significant positive correlation was found between EPCs and age, Body Mass Index (BMI), acceleration time, IMT and EDV; whereas a negative correlation was found with IIEF-5 score, PSV and resistance index. EMPs correlated positively with BMI, acceleration time and IMT and negatively with the IIEF-5 score. Conclusion. Tadalafil increased the percentage of EPCs in both responders and poor responders, suggesting the persistence of an adequate bone marrow response. The unchanged EMP concentrations after tadalafil suggest a reduction of the dysfunctional mechanism.

Ierna A.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems In the Mediterranean | Mauromicale G.,University of Catania
Agricultural Water Management | Year: 2012

Excessive amounts of irrigation water are often utilized for early potato cultivated in the Mediterranean basin. Given that water is an expensive and limited resource in semi-arid areas, it is crucial to provide a better irrigation management and/or irrigation technologies that facilitate its efficient and effective use, in turn leading to savings in water. With the aim of achieving appropriate irrigation water regimes in cultivation management of a potato crop in a Mediterranean environment, a two-year experiment was conducted in Sicily (South Italy). The effects of four irrigation regimes (irrigation only at plant emergence, irrigation during the whole cycle, irrigation from tuber initiation up to 50% of tuber growth, irrigation from 50% of tuber growth to the end of tuber growth), on the tuber yield and yield components, on irrigation water productivity (IWP) and on tuber quality, were studied. Our results showed a marked and significant effect of the irrigation regime on tuber yield, IWP, source/sink relationships and dry matter content of tubers. We also demonstrate that high yield levels of potatoes, high IWP and good tuber quality can be reached by irrigating with 100% maximum evapotranspiration (ETm) supply from tuber initiation up to 50% of tuber growth. Compared to irrigation with 100% ETm supply throughout the whole cycle, this allows making savings of irrigation water of roughly 77mmyear-1, which is a significant reduction for the semi-arid areas. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Calabrese E.J.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Iavicoli I.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Calabrese V.,University of Catania
Biogerontology | Year: 2012

This paper offers a broad assessment of the hormetic dose response and its relevance to biogerontology. The paper provides detailed background information on the historical foundations of hormesis, its quantitative features, mechanistic foundations, as well as how the hormesis concept could be further applied in the development of new therapeutic advances in the treatment of age-related diseases. The concept of hormesis has direct application to biogerontology not only affecting the quality of the aging process but also experimental attempts to extend longevity. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Paterno L.,University of Catania
Astrophysics and Space Science | Year: 2010

This brief historical review covers the period preceding the advent of helioseismology, when the author actively worked in the field of solar differential rotation and knowledge of the Sun's dynamics was limited to the observations of surface phenomena, while the interpretation of the internal rotation was demanded solely to theoretical conjectures based on fluid dynamic of convective, rotating fluids. After a survey of the observations, based on both sunspot motions and spectroscopy, which led to the laws of differential rotation, the various attempts to interpret observations on theoretical grounds and to infer the internal dynamics are discussed, also within the dynamo requirements of the velocity field. We point out that the many efforts for a correct description of the Sun's internal dynamics failed in the light of the helioseismic results. Finally, the recent theoretical efforts, essentially based on powerful computer simulations, for modeling the solar internal dynamic with the aim of reproducing the helioseismic results are outlined. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Cancelliere A.,University of Catania | Salas J.D.,Colorado State University
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2010

Probabilistic characterization of drought events is extremely important in water resources planning and management. In spite of the large number of studies that have been carried on the subject, the exact derivation of the probabilistic structure of drought characteristics is still an open problem, especially when both duration and accumulated deficit (or intensity) are taken into account. This study focuses on the derivation of the probability distribution of drought episodes considering both drought duration and accumulated deficit (or intensity) as well as of the ensuing return period, when the underlying hydrological variable is autocorrelated. First, the marginal distribution of drought length is investigated, showing that the simple Markov chain, usually adopted to model the sequence of deficits and surpluses, is not adequate when the underlying series exhibits a significant autocorrelation. Following previous studies, a Discrete Autoregressive Moving Average (DARMA) model is proposed to better model drought length. Then, the derivation of the moments of accumulated deficit conditioned on a fixed drought length is pursued. It is shown that the deficit series that is obtained by clipping an autocorrelated stationary series with a constant threshold is not i.i.d., and therefore not stationary. Thus, a fully multivariate approach, based on a truncated multivariate normal model, is applied to derive the moments of accumulated deficit as a function of the distribution of the underlying variable and of the threshold. In order to overcome numerical difficulties related to the integration of the multivariate distributions, empirical approximations are also proposed. Such moments are then used to derive approximate expressions of the bivariate distributions of accumulated deficit (or intensity) and length, based on the assumption that the distribution of accumulated deficit conditioned on a fixed length is beta, and expressions to compute the return period of drought events. The proposed procedure is illustrated by applying it to four streamflow data characterized by different levels of autocorrelation and skewness. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Casciati S.,University of Catania | Chen Z.,University of Pavia
Structural Control and Health Monitoring | Year: 2011

To overcome the drawbacks related to a wired solution for structural health monitoring applications, many kinds of wireless sensors have been proposed and prototyped. Most of these sensors are of the single channel type. Multi-channel solutions also exist and they are mainly based on time-division multiplexing (TDM). Both these types of wireless communication systems cause large time delays when a large number of sensors nodes are deployed. In this paper, a different multi-channel wireless sensor solution, based on a mixed approach that exploits both TDM and frequency-division multiplexing (FDM), is introduced. As a result, the time delay is independent of the number of sensor nodes. The real-time multi-channel feature represents a key aspect of the proposed wireless sensing network. The wireless scheme is initially intended a simple solution for analog cable replacement and it is preliminarily tested in a laboratory environment. The powerful and flexible system-on-chip single-chip wireless transceiver, which can operate in the Industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) license-free frequency bands, is employed to perform both the control function and the wireless communication. The goal is to reach a good balance among communication range, power consumption, data rate, and link quality. The overall design, the implementation, and an experimental validation of the proposed multi-channel wireless sensor solution are presented. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pennisi M.,University of Catania
Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine | Year: 2012

We present a mathematical model developed to reproduce the immune response entitled with the combined administration of activated OT1 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and Anti-CD137 monoclonal antibodies. The treatment is directed against melanoma in B16 OVA mouse models exposed to a specific immunotherapy strategy. We model two compartments: the injection point compartment where the treatment is administered and the skin compartment where melanoma tumor cells proliferate. To model the migration of OT1 CTLs and antibodies from the injection to the skin compartment, we use delay differential equations (DDEs). The outcomes of the mathematical model are in good agreement with the in vivo results. Moreover, sensitivity analysis of the mathematical model underlines the key role of OT1 CTLs and suggests that a possible reduction of the number of injected antibodies should not affect substantially the treatment efficacy. Copyright © 2012 Marzio Pennisi.

Alford M.G.,Washington University in St. Louis | Burgio G.F.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Han S.,Washington University in St. Louis | Taranto G.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | And 2 more authors.
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2015

We discuss the "constant speed of sound" (CSS) parametrization of the equation of state of high-density matter and its application to the field correlator method (FCM) model of quark matter. We show how observational constraints on the maximum mass and typical radius of neutron stars are expressed as constraints on the CSS parameters. We find that the observation of a 2M star already severely constrains the CSS parameters, and is particularly difficult to accommodate if the squared speed of sound in the high-density phase is assumed to be around 1/3 or less. We show that the FCM equation of state can be accurately represented by the CSS parametrization, which assumes a sharp transition to a high-density phase with density-independent speed of sound. We display the mapping between the FCM and CSS parameters, and see that FCM only allows equations of state in a restricted subspace of the CSS parameters. © 2015 American Physical Society.

Carbone D.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Carbone D.,University of Catania
European Physical Journal Plus | Year: 2015

The 12C(18O,16O)14C and 13C(18O,16O)15C reactions have been explored at 84MeV incident energy and the ejectiles have been detected at forward angles by the MAGNEX spectrometer. Thanks to the peculiarities of MAGNEX and to the ray-reconstruction technique, high-resolution spectra up to 22MeV excitation energy and high-quality cross-section angular distributions have been obtained. In the region above the two-neutron emission threshold, unknown wide structures have been observed in both the 14C and 15C residual nuclei. A detailed analysis of such resonances identifies them as the long-searched Giant Pairing Vibration. These data represent the first experimental signature of it. © 2015, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Siringo F.,University of Catania
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2015

The gluon polarization functional is evaluated for a generic linear covariant gauge and for any space dimension in pure Yang-Mills SU(N) theory up to second order in a generalized perturbation theory, where the zeroth order action is freely chosen and can be determined by some variational method. Some numerical data are given for the gluon propagator in the Landau gauge and compared with the Feynman gauge. A comparison is given for several variational methods that can be set up by the knowledge of the second order polarization. © 2015 American Physical Society.

Bonanno A.,National institute for astrophysics | Bonanno A.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Platania A.,National institute for astrophysics | Platania A.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Platania A.,University of Catania
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2015

Asymptotically Safe theories of gravity have recently received much attention. In this work we discuss a class of inflationary models derived from quantum-gravity modification of quadratic gravity according to the induced scaling around the non-Gaussian fixed point at very high energies. It is argued that the presence of a three dimensional ultraviolet critical surface generates operators of non-integer power of the type R2-θ/2 in the effective Lagrangian, where θ>0 is a critical exponent. The requirement of a successful inflationary model in agreement with the recent Planck 2015 data puts important constraints on the strength of this new type of couplings. © 2015 The Authors.

Alparone A.,University of Catania
Monatshefte fur Chemie | Year: 2012

Long-range corrected CAM-B3LYP density functional theory level with the polarized and diffuse 6-31+Gbasis set has been used to compute delta self-consistent field (ΔSCF) vertical ionization energies (VIE) and electron affinities (VEA) of single-chain oligoglycines (H 2N-(CH 2-CO-NH) n -CH 2COOH, n = 1-9) in the α-helix and β-strand conformations. For all the investigated oligopeptides VIE (α-helix) < VIE (β-strand), whereas VEA (α-helix) > VIE (β-strand), owing to the cooperative effects of the -N-H•••O=C- intramolecular hydrogen bonds in the α-helices. The VIE-VEA band gap for β-strands is predicted to be greater than that of the corresponding α-helices. In the limit of the polymer, the conductivity of the α-helix is predicted to be ca. double that of the β-strand. The α-helix-based materials are potentially more efficient single-chain conductors than β-strands. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Atzori L.,University of Cagliari | Iera A.,University of Calabria | Morabito G.,University of Catania
Computer Networks | Year: 2010

This paper addresses the Internet of Things. Main enabling factor of this promising paradigm is the integration of several technologies and communications solutions. Identification and tracking technologies, wired and wireless sensor and actuator networks, enhanced communication protocols (shared with the Next Generation Internet), and distributed intelligence for smart objects are just the most relevant. As one can easily imagine, any serious contribution to the advance of the Internet of Things must necessarily be the result of synergetic activities conducted in different fields of knowledge, such as telecommunications, informatics, electronics and social science. In such a complex scenario, this survey is directed to those who want to approach this complex discipline and contribute to its development. Different visions of this Internet of Things paradigm are reported and enabling technologies reviewed. What emerges is that still major issues shall be faced by the research community. The most relevant among them are addressed in details. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Calabrese E.J.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Calabrese V.,University of Catania
International Journal of Radiation Biology | Year: 2013

Purpose: The aim of this paper was to provide an integrative mechanistic appraisal to account for consistent observations of protective effects of ionizing radiation on the occurrence/ progression of arthritis in multiple animal models. Materials and methods: A critical analysis of the biomedical literature was undertaken to assess mechanisms by which low doses of ionizing radiation prevent and/or reduce the occurrence of experimental-induced arthritis in animal models. Results: Detailed mechanistic-related research indicates that low doses of ionizing radiation induce a highly integrated multiple pathway process that results in the formation of a generalized anti-inflammatory phenotype which can both prevent the occurrence of arthritic changes and/or reverse such effects. Conclusions: The manifestation of the anti-inflammatory features occurred within the context of highly consistent hormetic (i.e., biphasic dose) responses across studies, biological models and mechanisms. The reduction of multiple bioindicators of experimentally-induced arthritis by exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation was associated with the occurrence of a generalized anti-inflammatory phenotype. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd.

Cavalieri S.,University of Catania
Computer Standards and Interfaces | Year: 2012

The KNX standard for home and building automation has been recently updated by the definition of KNXnet/IP system. It allows integration of different KNX networks through IP using the KNXnet/IP Router. Due to the limited transmission speeds of the KNX, the KNXnet/IP Router may represent a bottleneck. The aim of the paper is to analyse the effect of congestion of KNXnet/IP Router on the information flow exchanged between different KNX networks; furthermore, the analysis will focus on the impact of the two policies available inside the KNXnet/IP Router to forward telegrams coming from IP towards the relevant KNX network. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Guerra B.,University of Catania | Guerra B.,Rey Juan Carlos University | Gomez-Gardenes J.,Rey Juan Carlos University | Gomez-Gardenes J.,University of Zaragoza
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2010

We use the annealed formulation of complex networks to study the dynamical behavior of disease spreading on both static and adaptive networked systems. This unifying approach relies on the annealed adjacency matrix, representing one network ensemble, and allows to solve the dynamical evolution of the whole network ensemble all at once. Our results accurately reproduce those obtained by extensive numerical simulations showing a large improvement with respect to the usual heterogeneous mean-field formulation. Moreover, by means of the annealed formulation we derive a new heterogeneous mean-field formulation that correctly reproduces the epidemic dynamics. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

The geometries, relative stabilities, binding energies, second-order difference of total energy (Δ 2E), vertical ionization energies (VIEs), vertical electron affinities (VEAs) and dipole polarizabilities of neutral Se 2 and cyclic Se n (n = 3-12) clusters have been systematically investigated using conventional ab initio [HF, MP2, MP3, MP4, CCSD, CCSD(T)] and density functional theory (B3LYP, CAM-B3LYP) levels with the Dunning's correlation-consistent (cc-pVDZ, aug-cc-pVDZ, d-aug-cc-pVDZ and aug-cc-pVTZ) and Sadlej (POL and POL-DK) basis sets. For each cluster size, various structural isomers have been considered and optimized to search for the lowest-energy structure. The effects of the geometry, basis set and theoretical level on the calculated properties have been discussed. The relative stability of the clusters has been analyzed using binding energy per atom, Δ 2E and VIE-VEA gap. The computed binding energies and VIEs have been compared with the available observed data. The calculated properties show a strong dependence upon the size and geometry of the cluster. The even-numbered Se n with n = 6 and 8 are predicted to be relatively stable clusters. The physico-chemical properties of selenium clusters have been compared to those of the sulphur homologues. On passing from sulphur to selenium clusters the binding energy per atom decreases, whereas the mean dipole polarizability per atom increases. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Atzori L.,University of Cagliari | Iera A.,University of Reggio Calabria | Morabito G.,University of Catania | Nitti M.,University of Cagliari
Computer Networks | Year: 2012

Recently there has been quite a number of independent research activities that investigated the potentialities of integrating social networking concepts into Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. The resulting paradigm, named Social Internet of Things (SIoT), has the potential to support novel applications and networking services for the IoT in more effective and efficient ways. In this context, the main contributions of this paper are the following: (i) we identify appropriate policies for the establishment and the management of social relationships between objects in such a way that the resulting social network is navigable; (ii) we describe a possible architecture for the IoT that includes the functionalities required to integrate things into a social network; (iii) we analyze the characteristics of the SIoT network structure by means of simulations.

Lionetti E.,University of Catania | Catassi C.,Marche Polytechnic University | Catassi C.,University of Maryland Baltimore County
International Reviews of Immunology | Year: 2011

Celiac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated enteropathy triggered by the ingestion of gluten in genetically susceptible individuals. It is one of the most common lifelong disorders on a worldwide basis. Celiac enteropathy is the final consequence of an abnormal immune reaction, showing features of both an innate and an adaptive response to gluten prolamins. The clinical spectrum is wide, including cases with either typical intestinal or atypical extraintestinal features, and silent forms. The only available treatment consists in dietary exclusion of grains containing gluten. New pharmacological treatment are currently under scrutiny. © 2011 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

Castorina P.,University of Catania | Miller D.E.,Pennsylvania State University | Miller D.E.,Bielefeld University | Satz H.,Bielefeld University
European Physical Journal C | Year: 2011

We consider deconfined matter in SU(N) gauge theory as an ideal gas of transversely polarized quasi-particle modes having a temperature-dependent mass m(T). Just above the transition temperature, the mass is assumed to be determined by the critical behavior of the energy density and the screening length in the medium. At high temperature, it becomes proportional to T as the only remaining scale. The resulting (trace anomaly based) interaction measure A = (e - 3P)/T4 and energy density are found to agree well with finite temperature SU(3) lattice calculations. © Springer-Verlag/Società Italiana di Fisica 2011.

Calabrese E.J.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Iavicoli I.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Calabrese V.,University of Catania
Human and Experimental Toxicology | Year: 2013

This article offers a broad assessment of the hormetic dose response and its relevance to biomedical researchers, physicians, the pharmaceutical industry, and public health scientists. This article contains a series of 61 questions followed by relatively brief but referenced responses that provides support for the conclusion that hormesis is a reproducible phenomenon, commonly observed, with a frequency far greater than other dose-response models such as the threshold and linear nonthreshold dose-response models. The article provides a detailed background information on the historical foundations of hormesis, its quantitative features, mechanistic foundations, as well as how hormesis is currently being used within medicine and identifying how this concept could be further applied in the development of new therapeutic advances and in improved public health practices. © 2013 The Author(s).

Zuccarello F.P.,Catholic University of Leuven | Zuccarello F.P.,University of Catania | Zuccarello F.P.,National institute for astrophysics | Meliani Z.,Observatoire de Paris | Poedts S.,Catholic University of Leuven
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and solar flares are the main drivers of weather in space. Understanding how these events occur and what conditions might lead to eruptive events is of crucial importance for up to date and reliable space weather forecasting. The aim of this paper is to present a numerical magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) data-inspired model suitable for the simulation of the CME initiation and their early evolution. Starting from a potential magnetic field extrapolation of the active region (AR) NOAA 9415, we solve the full set of ideal MHD equations in a non-zero plasma-β environment. As a consequence of the applied twisting motions, a force-free-magnetic field configuration is obtained, which has the same chirality as the investigated AR. We investigate the response of the solar corona when photospheric motions resembling the ones observed for AR 9415 are applied at the inner boundary. As a response to the converging shearing motions, a flux rope is formed that quickly propagates outward, carrying away the plasma confined inside the flux rope against the gravitational attraction by the Sun. Moreover, a compressed leading edge propagating at a speed of about 550kms-1 and preceding the CME is formed. The presented simulation shows that both the initial magnetic field configuration and the plasma-magnetic-field interaction are relevant for a more comprehensive understanding of the CME initiation and early evolution phenomenon. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration recommend a concentration of manganese in drinking water not in excess of 0.05 mg L-1. Drinking water delivered to cities around the Etna volcano as well as wells that deliver water to some cities of West Sicily show a high concentration of manganese. Excess of manganese can lead to manganism, a disorder that strongly resembles Parkinson's disease. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Ando B.,University of Catania
IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Magazine | Year: 2013

We have written about inkjet-printed sensors in a previous column [1], giving examples of devices realized by such novel technologies. © 1998-2012 IEEE.

Angeli D.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Pagano A.,University of Catania
International Journal of Thermal Sciences | Year: 2013

The sequence of bifurcations leading to the onset of chaotic flow is determined numerically, for the case of a buoyant plume arising from a horizontal cylinder, centred in a square-sectioned, air-filled enclosure. In the frame of the 2D assumption, a specifically-developed high resolution simulation procedure is adopted, with the aim of achieving a detailed description of the transitional dynamics occurring within the system. A large number of simulations are performed, allowing for an accurate estimate of the critical values of the main system parameter, the Rayleigh number Ra, at which bifurcations occur. A single value of the geometric aspect ratio A of the system is considered, for which transition is found to be characterized by an imperfect period-doubling cascade, an uncommon behaviour in thermofluid systems. Peculiarities of the route to chaos are highlighted, such as the existence of a window of quasiperiodic flow, and the detection of high-order period orbits. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Celano G.,University of Catania
Producao | Year: 2011

The economic design is an appealing approach to settle the design parameters of a control chart. Unfortunately, the economic models to design control charts have been scarcely implemented by quality practitioners due to the simplifying assumptions when representing the multifaceted complexity and constraints present within manufacturing and transactional environments. Although there has been an increasing scepticism about the economic models usefulness in practice, some recent studies proposed in literature face the problem of the control charts economic design from a new point of view: the objective is to achieve a well balanced trade-off between the operational and the statistical aspects. Under this perspective, the economic design problem can be intended in a broader sense as the constrained design of a SPC inspection procedure. This paper presents a discussion of some recent trends in the economic design stream of research and outlines the importance of considering the constraints related to SPC resources availability and modelling the occurrence of random shifts.

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.

Pennisi S.,University of Catania | Scotti G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Trifiletti A.,University of Rome La Sapienza
IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers | Year: 2011

The gain-bandwidth conflict is one the most important limitations of high gain feedback amplifiers. In this tutorial paper we will discuss in a unified manner the most important approaches aimed to design amplifiers with a constant closed-loop bandwidth. Advantages and drawbacks are evidenced and new potential solutions are also formulated. © 2011 IEEE.

Liu S.,Northwestern University | Motta A.,University of Catania | Mouat A.R.,Northwestern University | Delferro M.,Northwestern University | Marks T.J.,Northwestern University
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2014

The heterobimetallic complexes, (Ε5-indenyl)[1- Me2Si(tBuN)TiCl2]-3-CnH 2n-[N,N-bis(2-(ethylthio)ethyl)amine]CrCl3 (n = 0, Ti-C0-CrSNS; n = 2, Ti-C2-CrSNS; n = 6, Ti-C6-CrSNS), (Ε5-indenyl)[1- Me2Si(tBuN)TiCl2]-3-C2H 4-[N,N-bis((o-OMe-C6H4)2P)amine] CrCl3 (Ti-C2-CrPNP), and (Ε 5-indenyl)[1-Me2Si(tBuN)TiCl 2]-3-C2H4-[N,N-bis((diethylamine)ethyl)-amine] CrCl3 (Ti-C2-CrNNN), are synthesized, fully characterized, and employed as olefin polymerization catalysts. With ethylene as the feed and MAO as cocatalyst/activator, SNS-based complexes Ti-C 0-CrSNS, Ti-C2-CrSNS, and Ti-C 6-CrSNS afford linear low-density polyethylenes (LLDPEs) with exclusive n-butyl branches (6.8-25.8 branches/1000 C), while under identical polymerization conditions Ti-C2-CrPNP and Ti-C2-CrNNN produce polyethylenes with heterogeneous branching (C2, C4, and C≥ 6) or negligible branching, respectively. Under identical ethylene polymerization conditions, Ti-C0-CrSNS produces polyethylenes with higher activity (4.5× and 6.1×, respectively), Mn (1.3× and 1.8×, respectively), and branch density (1.4× and 3.8×, respectively), than Ti-C2-CrSNS and Ti-C 6-CrSNS. Versus a CGCEtTi + SNSCr tandem catalyst, Ti-C0-CrSNS yields polyethylene with somewhat lower activity, but with 22.6× higher Mn and 4.0× greater branching density under identical conditions. In ethylene +1-pentene competition experiments, Ti-C0-CrSNS yields 5.5% n-propyl branches and 94.5% n-butyl branches at [1-pentene] = 0.1 M, and the estimated effective local concentration of 1-hexene is ∼8.6 M. In contrast, the tandem CGCEtTi + SNSCr system yields 91.0% n-propyl branches under identical reaction conditions. The homopolymerization and 1-pentene competition results argue that close Ti···Cr spatial proximity together with weak C-H···Ti and C-H···S interactions significantly influence relative 1-hexene enchainment and chain transfer rates, supported by DFT computation, and that such effects are conversion insensitive but cocatalyst and solvent sensitive. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Nicosia V.,Queen Mary, University of London | Valencia M.,University of Navarra | Chavez M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Diaz-Guilera A.,University of Barcelona | And 2 more authors.
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We study a Kuramoto model in which the oscillators are associated with the nodes of a complex network and the interactions include a phase frustration, thus preventing full synchronization. The system organizes into a regime of remote synchronization where pairs of nodes with the same network symmetry are fully synchronized, despite their distance on the graph. We provide analytical arguments to explain this result, and we show how the frustration parameter affects the distribution of phases. An application to brain networks suggests that anatomical symmetry plays a role in neural synchronization by determining correlated functional modules across distant locations. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Casciati S.,University of Catania | Faravelli L.,University of Pavia
Smart Structures and Systems | Year: 2014

The goal of any Model Order Reduction (MOR) technique is to build a model of order lower than the one of the real model, so that the computational effort is reduced, and the ability to estimate the input-output mapping of the original system is preserved in an important region of the input space. Actually, since only a subset of the input space is of interest, the matching is required only in this subset of the input space. In this contribution, the consequences on the achieved accuracy of adopting different reduction technique patterns is discussed mainly with reference to a linear case study. Copyright © 2014 Techno-Press, Ltd.

Atzori L.,University of Cagliari | Iera A.,University of Reggio Calabria | Morabito G.,University of Catania
IEEE Communications Magazine | Year: 2014

Social networking concepts have been applied to several communication network settings, which span from delay-tolerant to peer-to-peer networks. More recently, one can observe a flourish of proposals aimed at giving social-like capabilities to the objects in the Internet of Things. Such proposals address the design of conceptual (and software) platforms, which can be exploited to easily develop and implement complex applications that require direct interactions among objects. The major goal is to build techniques that allow the network to enhance the level of trust between objects that are "friends" with each other. Furthermore, a social paradigm could definitely guarantee network navigability even if the number of nodes becomes orders of magnitude higher than in the traditional Internet. Objectives of this article are to analyze the major opportunities arising from the integration of social networking concepts into the Internet of Things, present the major ongoing research activities, and point out the most critical technical challenges. © 1979-2012 IEEE.

Carbonaro P.,University of Catania
Classical and Quantum Gravity | Year: 2015

The analogy between sound propagation in a fluid background and light propagation in a curved spacetime, discovered by Unruh in 1981, does not work in general when considering the motion of a fluid which is confined in one spatial dimension being unable in (1+1) dimensions to introduce in a coherent manner an effective acoustic metric, barring some exceptional cases. In this paper a relativistic fluid is considered and the general condition for the existence of an acoustic metric in strictly one-dimensional systems is found. Attention is also paid to the physical meaning of the equations of state characterizing such systems and to the remarkable symmetry of structure taken by the basic equations. Finally the Hawking temperature is calculated in an artificial de Laval nozzle. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd.

In this study the results of recent surveys on alien insect pests of ornamental urban plants on the island of Corfu are reported. Overall seven alien species associated with allochthonous ornamental plants were recorded: Acizzia jamatonica (Kuwayama 1908), Glycaspis brimblecombei Moore 1964 (Hemiptera, Psyllidae), Corythucha ciliata (Say 1832) (Hemiptera, Tingidae), Obolodiplosis robiniae (Haldeman 1847) (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae), Phytoliriomyza jacarandae Steyskal and Spencer 1978 (Diptera, Agromyzidae), Cacyreus marshalli Butler 1898 (Lepidoptera, Lycenidae) and Leptocybe invasa Fisher and La Salle 2004 (Hymenoptera, Eulophidae). Particularly, Phytoliriomyza jacarandae, a leafminer of the Blue jacaranda tree Jacaranda mimosifolia D. Don. (Bignoniaceae) is reported for the first time from Greece. Two associated parasitoids, Platygaster robiniae Buhl and Duso 2008 (Hymenoptera, Platygastridae) and Psyllaephagus bliteus Riek 1962 (Hymenoptera, Encyrtidae) obtained from Obolodiplosis robiniae and Glycaspis brimblecombei, respectively, are also reported. Details on current distribution, host plants and biological remarks are given for each species. © Benaki Phytopathological Institute.

Capranzano P.,University of Catania | Dangas G.,Cardiovascular Institute
Current Cardiology Reports | Year: 2012

Drug-eluting stents (DES) represent an outstanding improvement in the interventional cardiology field. DES have markedly decreased stent restenosis and the clinical need for repeat revascularization, without increasing mortality, compared to bare-metal stents (BMS). However, the widespread use of DES has raised concerns regarding the occurrence of late stent thrombosis (ST), beyond the traditional 1-month timeframe in which thrombotic events were found to occur after BMS implantation. While early ST (events occurring within 1 month after stent placement) has been shown to be similar between DES and BMS, late (events occurring after 1 month following stent implantation) and very late (events occurring more than 1 year following stent implantation) ST have emerged as distinct major pitfalls of DES implantation. In this review we describe the current knowledge regarding late and very late ST after DES implantation. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.

Zhavnerko G.,National Academy of Sciences of Belarus | Marletta G.,University of Catania
Materials Science and Engineering B: Solid-State Materials for Advanced Technology | Year: 2010

Several industrially important aspects of functionalized surfaces are discussed including applications to artificial membranes, patterning materials, thin film optical devices, and displays. Special attention is focused on the design of nanostructured surfaces by update of Langmuir-Blodgett method. The potentialities of the method of horizontal precipitation of monolayer films for the formation of artificial membranes are demonstrated, and the formation of "raft" domains resulting in the self-organization of lipids in a monolayer is reported. Also, many approaches to flexible polymeric support modification using specially developed LB equipment are described, including examples dealing with the effective ways of capsulation of drugs, formation of hybrid structures, and surface patterning, from the standpoint of medical or plastic electronic applications. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Del Popolo A.,University of Catania | Del Popolo A.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Lima J.A.S.,University of Sao Paulo | Fabris J.C.,Federal University of Espirito Santo | Rodrigues D.C.,Federal University of Espirito Santo
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics | Year: 2014

We study, by means of the model proposed in Del Popolo (2009), the effect of baryon physics on the small scale problems of the CDM model. We show that, using this model, the cusp/core problem, the missing satellite problem (MSP), the Too Big to Fail (TBTF) problem, and the angular momentum catastrophe can be reconciled with observations. Concerning the cusp/core problem, the interaction among dark matter (DM) and baryonic clumps of 1% the mass of the halo, through dynamical friction (DF), is able to flatten the inner cusp of the density profiles. We moreover assume that haloes form primarily through quiescent accretion, in agreement with the spherical collapse model (SCM)-secondary infall model (SIM) prescriptions. The results of this paper follow from the two assumptions above. Concerning the MSP and TBTF problem, applying to the Via Lactea II (VL2) subhaloes a series of corrections similar to those of Brooks et al. (2013), namely applying a Zolotov et al. (2012)-like correction obtained with our model, and further correcting for the UV heating and tidal stripping, we obtain that the number of massive, luminous satellites is in agreement with the number observed in the MW. The model also produces an angular momentum distribution in agreement with observations, that is with the distribution of the angular spin parameter and angular momentum of the dwarfs studied by van den Bosch, Burkert, & Swaters (2001). In conclusion, the small scale problems of the CDM model can all be solved by introducing baryon physics.©2014 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl.

Del Popolo A.,University of Catania | Del Popolo A.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Hiotelis N.,1st Experimental Lyceum of Athens
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics | Year: 2014

In this paper, we study how the presence of bulge formation in galaxies influence their inner density profile, by means of an extended version of the Del Popolo (2009) semi-analytical model. As in Del Popolo (2009), the model takes into account the effect of baryons adiabatic contraction, ordered and random angular momentum, dynamical friction, and adds to the previous the effect of gas cooling, star formation, supernova feedback, and reionization. Our model shows that dwarf galaxies are bulgeless, in agreement with observations showing that the large majority of them has no stellar bulges, and are characterized by a flat profile well described by a Burkert profile. We then studied the effect of a bulge, added to the cored DM halo, on the density profile. In the case of a galaxy having a mass 1011Mȯ the inner density profile has a slope α 0.65, for a bulge of 4.5 × 109Mȯ , while if bulge formation is not considered, the slope would be α 0.55. If the bulge is larger, 6.5 × 109Mȯ the slope is α 0.7. In the case of a larger galaxy with 1012Mȯ the slope is α 0.85, while in absence of bulge it is α 0.75. We finally study how the inner slope α changes with the bulge mass, and we find a correlation among the two quantities. The result shows that bulge formation has an important role in shaping the inner DM density profile in agreement with Inoue & Saitoh (2011) result. The result implies that going from Sc to SO Hubble type the slope is slightly steepening due to the bulge formation, and due to the fact that early type galaxies have larger bulges. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl.

Turrisi G.F.,University of Catania | Jennings J.T.,University of Adelaide | Vilhelmsen L.,Universitetsparken 15
Invertebrate Systematics | Year: 2014

The results of the first phylogenetic investigation of members of the Aulacidae of the world are presented. The main objective was to test the monophyly of the currently recognised genera. In total, 79 morphological characters were scored for a substantial sample of the extant aulacid fauna, including 72 species, as well as 12 outgroup taxa belonging to Evaniidae, Gasteruptiidae, Megalyridae, Trigonalidae, Braconidae and Stephanidae. All zoogeographic regions were represented. The dataset was analysed under different conditions (ordered, unordered, equal and implied weighting). The results under different weighting conditions are not fully congruent andmanyrelationships remain unresolved. However, the analyses demonstrate that the current generic classification of the Aulacidae is not a natural one. There is support for a very large, monophyletic clade which includes all Pristaulacus Kieffer spp. + Panaulix Benoit spp. This suggests a wider generic concept for Pristaulacus, which is redefined and rediagnosed here. As a consequence, Panaulix becomes a junior synonym of Pristaulacus (syn. nov.), and the two described species of Panaulix are transferred to Pristaulacus: Pristaulacus rex (Benoit, 1984), comb. nov., and Pristaulacus irenae (Madl, 1990), comb. nov. The genus Aulacus Jurine was consistently paraphyletic and is not valid as currently defined. Furthermore, we failed to retrieve a consistent topology among the different clades of Aulacus. A satisfactory reclassification of Aulacus, however, requires a much more comprehensive taxon sample and/or additional character data. © CSIRO 2009.

Fornaro M.,University of Catania | Fornaro M.,University of California at San Diego
Journal of Psychopathology | Year: 2012

Objective: Herein, a concise review is presented on the current and most promising antidepressant pharmacological agents for management of depression. Materials and methods: A PubMed search (1966 - February 2012) was performed using the following keywords or their combination: "depression"; "major depressive disorder": "antidepressants"; "novel antidepressant targets"; "monoamine"; "novel antidepressants". Additional literature sources, including most authoritative and updated edited books or pamphlets were examined accordingly. Results: All relevant literature sources written in English were evaluated giving priority to RCTs and meta-analyses. At present, the pharmacological management of depression appears is characterized by a wide variety of different augmentation or switching approaches (Fig. 1). Nonetheless, response rates remain substantially unsatisfactory, thus prompting for the development of novel agents with different mechanisms of action. Conclusions: Shifting the interest for novel antidepressant drugs beyond the monoaminergic modulation represents (Tables I-III) an intriguing opportunity to enhance response rates of depression, although other issues, including revision of current nosological boundaries, should also be considered.

Deretzis I.,University of Catania | Deretzis I.,CNR Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems | Fiori G.,University of Pisa | Iannaccone G.,University of Pisa | La Magna A.,CNR Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2010

We present a systematic study of electron backscattering phenomena during conduction for graphene nanoribbons with single-vacancy scatterers and dimensions within the capabilities of modern lithographic techniques. Our analysis builds upon an ab initio parameterized semiempirical model that breaks electron-hole symmetry and nonequilibrium Green's-function methods for the calculation of the conductance distribution g. The underlying mechanism is based on wave-function localizations and perturbations that in the case of the first π- π* plateau can give rise to impuritylike pseudogaps with both donor and acceptor characteristics. Confinement and geometry are crucial for the manifestation of such effects. Self-consistent quantum transport calculations characterize vacancies as local charging centers that can induce electrostatic inhomogeneities on the ribbon topology. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Commodari E.,University of Catania
Italian journal of pediatrics | Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: Having a child hospitalized is a stressful event for parents. Previous studies have found increased stress in families with children affected by different kinds of pathologies, and analyzed disease related objective variables producing stress. However, most of these studies recruited caregivers of children with chronic or serious illnesses, and focused on evaluation of objective environmental stressors and did not consider subjective "perception" of stress. The aim of this study was to investigate perception of acute stress in caregivers taking care of children without serious physical damage that were hospitalized for short periods. Moreover, some variables, such as recreational and school services offered to children, influencing perception of cognitive, physiological and behavioral state relating to the sensation of "being stressed" were analyzed. METHODS: This study was realized with a sample of caregivers of children hospitalized for mild acute diseases. Research was conducted using two standardized tests, PSM (Psychological Stress Measure) and STAI (State Trait Anxiety Inventory), whose characteristics of reliability and validity had been successfully established. RESULTS: Present data showed that caregivers of hospitalized children perceived high levels of stress and anxiety. Perception of stress was influenced by the degree of kindred with patients, length of hospitalization, and, notably, participation in some of the activities offered to children, mainly school services. DISCUSSION: Findings showed that child hospitalization is a stressful event for caregivers, even if hospitalization is for middle and transient pathologies. Perception of stress was influenced by length of hospitalization, and by degree of kindred. Findings even suggest that some services offered to children can modulate caregivers' perception of stress and impact of hospitalization. Caregivers whose children used school services describe themselves as less irritable and with higher emotional control compared to other caregivers. Considering the importance of education in a child's life, the possibility to continue school activities helped caregivers to feel less under pressure. In the light of this finding, amelioration of scholastic activities in pediatric departments may represent a critical point in order to provide a more agreeable hospital stay for children and their caregivers and, as a consequence, improve family involvement in care management.

Fornaro M.,Columbia University | Fornaro M.,University of Catania | Stubbs B.,University of Greenwich
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2015

Background Uncertainty exists regarding the prevalence and moderators of migraine comorbidity among people with bipolar disorder (BD). We conducted a meta-analysis and meta-regression to investigate the prevalence and moderators of migraine among people with BD. Method Two authors independently searched major electronic databases from inception till 02/2015. Articles were included that reported the prevalence of migraine in people with BD with or without a control group. A random effects meta-analysis and exploratory meta-regression were conducted. Results Fourteen studies were included encompassing 3976 individuals with BD (mean age 35.5 years, SD 7.6, 29% male). The overall pooled prevalence of migraine was 34.8% (95% CI=25.54-44.69). The prevalence of migraine was higher among people with BD-II (54.17%, 95% CI=31.52-75.95, n=742) compared to BD-I (32.7%, 95% CI=18.16-49.19, n=2138, z=3.97, p<0.0001). The prevalence of migraine was 33.9% (95% CI=26.02-42.44), 39.5% (95% CI=18.81-62.39) and 47.11% (95% CI=22.24-72.77) in North America, Europe and South America respectively. The prevalence of migraine was higher when classified according to recognized criteria at 47.91% (95% CI=32.51-63.5) compared to non-recognized criteria (20.0%, 95% CI=12.44-29.06, z=-8.40, p<0.0001). Meta regression suggests mean age may be a potential moderator. Conclusion Migraine is common and burdensome among people with BD. People with BD-II appear to be particularly affected. Nonetheless, future research is required to better understand these relationships, with a special emphasis toward the course specifiers of comorbid migraine cases of either BD-I vs. BD-II. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Casciati S.,University of Catania | Marzi A.,University of Pavia
Engineering Structures | Year: 2011

The estimation of the fatigue lifetime of copper-based shape memory alloy (SMA) specimens in the form of bars is investigated in view of their use in passive devices for structural control applications. In the envisaged application, the pre-stress value assigned to the SMA bars is selected so that it is only slightly modified when strain variations occur within an operative range. This condition requires that the fatigue cycles are performed in span control, conversely to the common practice of driving the tests in load control to study the fatigue behaviour of traditional metals such as steel. Several experiments are carried out at different temperatures for different strain ranges and the results are arranged with the aim of building suitable fatigue models. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Onofri A.,University of Perugia | Gresta F.,University of Catania | Tei F.,University of Perugia
Weed Research | Year: 2010

Due to their peculiar characteristics, seed germination and emergence assays may pose problems for data analysis, due to non-normal error distribution and serial correlation between the numbers of seeds counted on different dates from the same experimental unit (Petri dish, pot, plot). Furthermore, it is necessary to consider viable seeds that have not germinated/emerged at the end of an experiment (censored observations), as well as late germination/emergence flushes, that relate to genotypic differences within natural occurring seed populations. Traditional methods of data analysis may not be optimal for dealing with these problems. Therefore, survival analysis may represent an appropriate alternative. In this analysis, the time course of germination/emergence is described by using a non-parametric step function ('germination function') and the effect of factors and covariates on 'germination functions' is assessed by Accelerated Failure Time regression and expressed in terms of 'time ratios'. These parameters measure how a change in the explanatory variables changes (prolongs/shortens) the time to germination of a seed lot. This paper presents four examples of the application of survival analysis on seed germination/emergence studies. Results are discussed and compared with those obtained with more traditional techniques. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 European Weed Research Society.

Leone C.,Hasselt University | Patti F.,University of Catania | Feys P.,Hasselt University
Multiple Sclerosis Journal | Year: 2015

Purposeful, safe locomotion requires higher-level cortical processes, to meet the real-life demands of walking while performing concurrent cognitive tasks (e.g. recalling a shopping list or attending to a conversation). The assessment of walking and a secondary cognitive task under these 'dual tasking' conditions may represent a more valid outcome measure in multiple sclerosis (MS), by examining the occurrence and magnitude of the cognitive-motor interference of walking. This topical review provides a state-of-the-art overview of research into dual-tasking during walking in persons with MS, based on 14 recent papers. Studies consistently demonstrate a slowing of ambulation under dual tasking, regardless of the cognitive task demand, the stage of the disease and the disability level. The reciprocal effect of walking on the cognitive tasks was rarely assessed. We present our main findings, highlight the different factors contributing to dual-task deficits, identify methodological shortcomings and offer recommendations for constructing dual-tasking paradigms useful in clinical practice and research. © The Author(s), 2015.

Luca M.,Medical University-Sofia | Luca A.,University of Catania | Calandra C.,Medical University-Sofia
Psychiatric Quarterly | Year: 2012

To review the literature related to recent temperamental and biological findings on borderline personality disorder (BPD) and major depression, the close link between the two disorders, and the latest therapeutical findings on BPD, focusing on the conditions of co-morbidity between depression and BPD. The National Institutes of Health's PubMed database was used to identify indexed studies on BPD, depression and the co-morbidity between the two. Only studies published between 2000 and 2011 were assessed. Similar temperamental features have been demonstrated in BPD and depression. The strong link between the two disorders seems to be widely recognized by scientific community. Psychotherapy and new antipsychotics are the topics of current major interest of research. The therapeutic targets in the case of co-morbidity are BPD features associated with depressive symptoms, thus influencing prognosis. A global assessment is, in fact, fundamental for a successful therapy for the treatment of the several aspects of a complex psychopathological phenomenon. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011.

Mazzone M.,University of Catania
Behavioral and Brain Sciences | Year: 2014

Huang & Bargh's (H&B's) general picture might underestimate the role played by conscious self and overestimate the behavioral inconsistencies at the personal level. This follows from how they delimit the goals under consideration: Their theses that goals are not consciously selected and that the conscious self is involved just in post hoc rationalization should also be tested against concrete and long-term goals. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.

Molla O.,Instituto Valenciano Of Investigaciones Agrarias Ivia | Biondi A.,University of Catania | Alonso-Valiente M.,Instituto Valenciano Of Investigaciones Agrarias Ivia | Urbaneja A.,Instituto Valenciano Of Investigaciones Agrarias Ivia
BioControl | Year: 2014

The omnivorous predators Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) and Macrolophus pygmaeus Rambur (Hemiptera: Miridae) are indigenous natural enemies that commonly inhabit tomato crops in the Mediterranean basin. Both predators are mass-reared and primarily released to control whiteflies, although recently they have also contributed to the control of the invasive tomato pest Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). The life history traits of these two predators have been studied in the laboratory under the conditions of being fed exclusively the eggs of T. absoluta or the eggs of the factitious prey Ephestia kuehniella (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Immature stages of both predator species successfully developed while preying on eggs of T. absoluta. However, the mature M. pygmaeus females produced significantly lower numbers of offspring in comparison to the offspring produced when preying on E. kuehniella eggs. This resulted in higher than expected demographic indexes for N. tenuis when compared to M. pygmaeus (e.g., the intrinsic rates of increase were 0.127 and 0.005, respectively). Our results support previous studies on the potential of N. tenuis has as biological control agent of T. absoluta, and indicate that the role of M. pygmaeus in controlling T. absoluta in the absence of other food sources is possibly limited. © 2013 International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC).

Bosmans J.,University of Antwerp | Bleiziffer S.,TU Munich | Gerckens U.,Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus | Wenaweser P.,University of Bern | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology | Year: 2015

Background Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) enables treatment of high-risk patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis without open-heart surgery; however, the benefits are mitigated by the potential for neurological events. Objectives This study sought to determine the timing and causes of clinically relevant neurological events after self-expandable TAVR. Methods We enrolled 1,015 patients, of whom 996 underwent TAVR with a self-expandable system at 44 TAVR-experienced centers in Europe, Colombia, and Israel. Neurological events were evaluated for 3 distinct time periods: periprocedural (0 to 1 days post TAVR); early (2 to 30 days); and late (31 to 730 days). In this real-world study, neurological events were first referred to the site neurologist and then reviewed by an independent neurologist. Results The overall stroke rate was 1.4% through the first day post-procedure, 3.0% at 30 days, and 5.6% at 2 years. There were no significant predictors of periprocedural stroke or stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA) combined. Significant predictors of early stroke were acute kidney injury (p = 0.03), major vascular complication (p = 0.04), and female sex (p = 0.04). For stroke/TIA combined, prior atrial fibrillation (p = 0.03) and major vascular complication (p = 0.009) were predictive. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery was the only significant predictor of late stroke (p = 0.007) or late stroke/TIA (p = 0.06). Conclusions Treatment of high-risk patients with aortic stenosis using a self-expandable system was associated with a low stroke rate at short- and long-term follow-up. Multivariable predictors of clinically relevant neurological events differed on the basis of the timing after TAVR. (CoreValve Advance International Post Market Study; NCT01074658) © 2015 American College of Cardiology Foundation.

Scapagnini G.,University of Molise | Sonya V.,University of Palermo | Nader A.G.,University of Toledo | Calogero C.,University of Palermo | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Neurobiology | Year: 2011

In recent years, there has been a growing interest, supported by a large number of experimental and epidemiological studies, for the beneficial effects of some phenolic substances, contained in commonly used spices and herbs, in preventing various age-related pathologic conditions, ranging from cancer to neurodegenerative diseases. Although the exact mechanisms by which polyphenols promote these effects remain to be elucidated, several reports have shown their ability to stimulate a general xenobiotic response in the target cells, activating multiple defense genes. Data from our and other laboratories have previously demonstrated that curcumin, the yellow pigment of curry, strongly induces heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression and activity in different brain cells via the activation of heterodimers of NF-E2-related factors 2 (Nrf2)/antioxidant responsive element (ARE) pathway. Many studies clearly demonstrate that activation ofNrf2 target genes, and particularly HO-1, in astrocytes and neurons is strongly protective against inflammation, oxidative damage, and cell death. In the central nervous system, the HO system has been reported to be very active, and its modulation seems to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Recent and unpublished data from our group revealed that low concentrations of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, the major green tea catechin, induces HO-1 by ARE/Nrf2 pathway in hippocampal neurons, and by this induction, it is able to protect neurons against different models of oxidative damages. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that other phenolics, such as caffeic acid phenethyl ester and ethyl ferulate, are also able to protect neurons via HO-1 induction. These studies identify a novel class of compounds that could be used for therapeutic purposes as preventive agents against cognitive decline. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011.

Morana G.,University of Catania | Mikkilineni R.,Kawa Objects
Proceedings of the 2011 20th IEEE International Workshops on Enabling Technologies: Infrastructure for Collaborative Enterprises, WETICE 2011 | Year: 2011

This paper describes a prototype implementing a high degree of fault tolerance, reliability and resilience in distributed software systems. The prototype incorporates fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security (FCAPS) management using a signaling network overlay and allows the dynamic control of a set of nodes called Distributed Intelligent Managed Elements (DIMEs) in a network. Each DIME is a computing entity (implemented in Linux and in the future will be ported to Windows) endowed with self-management and signaling capabilities to collaborate with other DIMEs in a network. The prototype incorporates a new computing model proposed by Mikkilineni in 2010, with signaling network overlay over the computing network and allows parallelism in resource monitoring, analysis and reconfiguration. A workflow is implemented as a set of tasks, arranged or organized in a directed acyclic graph (DAG) and executed by a managed network of DIMEs. Distributed DIME networks provide a network computing model to create distributed computing clouds and execute distributed managed workflows with high degree of agility, availability, reliability, performance and security. © 2011 IEEE.

Grimminger F.,University of Marburg | Grimminger F.,Justus Liebig University | Gunther A.,University of Marburg | Vancheri C.,University of Catania
European Respiratory Journal | Year: 2015

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive lung disease with a median survival time from diagnosis of 2-3 years. Although the pathogenic pathways have not been fully elucidated, IPF is believed to be caused by persistent epithelial injury in genetically susceptible individuals. Tyrosine kinases are involved in a range of signalling pathways that are essential for cellular homeostasis. However, there is substantial evidence from in vitro studies and animal models that receptor tyrosine kinases, such as the platelet-derived growth factor receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor and fibroblast growth factor receptor, and non-receptor tyrosine kinases, such as the Src family, play critical roles in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. For example, the expression and release of tyrosine kinases are altered in patients with IPF, while specific tyrosine kinases stimulate the proliferation of lung fibroblasts in vitro. Agents that inhibit tyrosine kinases have shown anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of pulmonary fibrosis. Recently, the tyrosine kinase inhibitor nintedanib has shown positive results in two phase III trials in patients with IPF. Here, we summarise the evidence for involvement of specific tyrosine kinases in the pathogenesis of IPF and the development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors as treatments for IPF. Copyright © ERS 2015.

Patti F.,University of Catania
Patient Preference and Adherence | Year: 2010

Poor treatment adherence is problematic in many therapy areas, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Several immunomodulatory drugs are available for the treatment of MS, all of which require frequent parenteral administration. Current first-line therapies are two formulations of interferon (IFN) beta-1a, one of IFN beta-1b, and one of glatiramer acetate. Discontinuation of treatment is common, particularly in the first few months after initiation. Although the true effect of poor adherence to MS therapy is not known, it is likely to lead to a fall in treatment efficacy. Many factors influence a patient's adherence to treatment, including the patient's MS subtype and disability level, cognitive impairment resulting from MS, perceived lack of efficacy of the prescribed medication, and adverse events associated with MS therapy. This article summarizes the barriers to adherence to MS therapies, and discusses patient management strategies that can be employed to encourage adherence. Future advances in the field of MS treatment will be explored, including the development of orally administered drugs, which may enhance adherence. © 2010 Patti, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

Tufano S.,University of Catania | Griffin M.J.,University of Southampton
Vehicle System Dynamics | Year: 2013

The efficiency of a seat in reducing vibration depends on the characteristics of the vibration, the dynamic characteristics of the seat, and the dynamic characteristics of the person sitting on the seat. However, it is not known whether seat cushions influence the dynamic response of the human body, whether the human body influences the dynamic response of seat cushions, or the relative importance of human body nonlinearity and seat nonlinearity in causing nonlinearity in measures of seat transmissibility. This study was designed to investigate the nonlinearity of the coupled seat and human body systems and to compare the apparent mass of the human body supported on rigid and foam seats. A frequency domain model was used to identify the dynamic parameters of seat foams and investigate their dependence on the subject-sitting weight and hip breadth. With 15 subjects, the force and acceleration at the seat base and acceleration at the subject interface were measured during random vertical vibration excitation (0.25-25Hz) at each of five vibration magnitudes, (0.25-1.6ms-2 r.m.s.) with four seating conditions (rigid flat seat and three foam cushions). The measurements are presented in terms of the subject's apparent mass on the rigid and foam seat surfaces, and the transmissibility and dynamic stiffness of each of the foam cushions. Both the human body and the foams showed nonlinear softening behaviour, which resulted in nonlinear cushion transmissibility. The apparent masses of subjects sitting on the rigid seat and on foam cushions were similar, but with an apparent increase in damping when sitting on the foams. The foam dynamic stiffness showed complex correlations with characteristics of the human body, which differed between foams. The nonlinearities in cushion transmissibilities, expressed in terms of changes in resonance frequencies and moduli, were more dependent on human body nonlinearity than on cushion nonlinearity. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Vinciprova F.,Bonaventura Secusio High School | Oliveto G.,University of Catania
ACI Structural Journal | Year: 2013

A direct method is provided for the construction of the ultimate strength domain of reinforced and/or prestressed concrete sections under biaxial bending and axial force. The method, based on the principle of plane sections, only requires the specification of the stress-strain relationships for each component material, the pretension strains, and possibly any other applied distortion. The results may be used for safety checks in new designs and in the rehabilitation of vulnerable or deteriorated structures. A few examples are used to demonstrate the performance of the method and its usefulness in practical applications. Copyright © 2013, American Concrete Institute.

Faro S.,University of Catania | Kulekci M.O.,TUBI TAK National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2012

Searching for all occurrences of a given set of patterns in a text is a fundamental problem in computer science with applications in many fields, like computational biology and intrusion detection systems. In the last two decades a general trend has appeared trying to exploit the power of the word RAM model to speed-up the performances of classical string matching algorithms. This study introduces a filter based exact multiple string matching algorithm, which benefits from Intel's SSE (streaming SIMD extensions) technology for searching long strings. Our experimental results on various conditions show that the proposed algorithm outperforms other solutions, which are known to be among the fastest in practice. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Blanco I.,University of Catania
Chinese Journal of Polymer Science (English Edition) | Year: 2014

A long-term (about nine months) isothermal degradation experiment of two different commercial polylactide (PLA) samples used for food packaging was carried out at a relatively low temperature (423 K). Thermooxidative degradations of the same polymers were carried out in a thermogravimetric (TG) analyser, at higher temperatures (453 K ≤ T ≤ 523 K), under isothermal heating conditions. The obtained set of experimental TG data was used to determine the apparent activation energy (Ea) of degradation through two isothermal kinetic methods. The results from long-term experiment evidenced considerable mass loss for both PLA samples in the investigated period, but the experimental data were not in agreement with those from the short-term degradations at higher temperatures, thus suggesting a different degradation kinetics, and, then a low reliability of the lifetime predictions for polymers in service or degradation forecasts for the end of their life based on experiments at higher temperatures. © Chinese Chemical Society Institute of Chemistry, CAS Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014.

Del Popolo A.,University of Catania | Del Popolo A.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics | Year: 2014

The present paper is an extension and continuation of Del Popolo (2012a) which studied the role of baryon physics on clusters of galaxies formation. In the present paper, we studied by means of the SIM introduced in Del Popolo (2009), the total and DM density profiles, and the correlations among different quantities, observed by Newman et al. (2012a,b), in seven massive and relaxed clusters, namely MS2137, A963, A383, A611, A2537, A2667, A2390. As already found in Del Popolo 2012a, the density profiles depend on baryonic fraction, angular momentum, and the angular momentum transferred from baryons to DM through dynamical friction. Similarly to Newman et al. (2012a,b), the total density profile, in the radius range 0.003-0.03r200, has a mean total density profile in agreement with dissipationless simulations. The slope of the DM profiles of all clusters is flatter than -1. The slope, α, has a maximum value (including errors) of α = -0.88 in the case of A2390, and minimum value α = -0.14 for A2537. The baryonic component dominates the mass distribution at radii < 5-10 kpc, while the outer distribution is dark matter dominated. We found an anti-correlation among the slope α, the effective radius, Re, and the BCG mass, and a correlation among the core radius rcore, and Re. Moreover, the mass in 100 kpc (mainly dark matter) is correlated with the mass inside 5 kpc (mainly baryons). The behavior of the total mass density profile, the DM density profile, and the quoted correlations can be understood in a double phase scenario. In the first dissipative phase the proto-BCG forms, and in the second dissipationless phase, dynamical friction between baryonic clumps (collapsing to the center) and the DM halo flattens the inner slope of the density profile. In simple terms, the large scatter in the inner slope from cluster to cluster, and the anti-correlation among the slope, α and Reis due to the fact that in order to have a total mass density profile which is NFW-like, clusters having more massive BCGs at their centers must contain less DM in their center. Consequently the inner profile has a flatter slope. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl .

Scrimali L.,University of Catania
Numerical Functional Analysis and Optimization | Year: 2014

We give an existence result to a class of evolutionary quasi-variational inequalities with adaptive set of feasible solutions, where the adaptivity is modeled by solution-dependent equality constraints. A fundamental role will be played by the concept of Mosco convergence related to set-valued applications. Finally, we apply our achievements to the dynamic multiclass network equilibrium problem and provide a numerical example. © 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Ricceri B.,University of Catania
Numerical Functional Analysis and Optimization | Year: 2014

In this article, we establish the following result: Let (T, F, μ) be a σ-finite measure space, let Y be a reflexive real Banach space, and let φ, ψ: Y → R be two sequentially weakly lower semicontinuous functionals such that min{σ (y), ψ(y)} inf/>-∞ yεY 1+yp for some p > 0. Moreover, assume that φ has no global minima, while φ + λψ is coercive and has a unique global minimum for each λ > 0. Then, for each γ ε L ∞(T) ∩ L 1(T)\{0}, with γ ≥0, and for each r > inf Yψ, if we put we have © 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Anglani R.,CNR Institute of Intelligent Systems for Automation | Casalbuoni R.,University of Florence | Ciminale M.,dellUniversita e della Ricerca | Ippolito N.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | And 3 more authors.
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2014

Inhomogeneous superconductors and inhomogeneous superfluids appear in a variety of contexts including quark matter at extreme densities, fermionic systems of cold atoms, type-II cuprates, and organic superconductors. In the present review the focus is on properties of quark matter at high baryonic density, which may exist in the interior of compact stars. The conditions realized in these stellar objects tend to disfavor standard symmetric BCS pairing and may favor an inhomogeneous color superconducting phase. The properties of inhomogeneous color superconductors are discussed in detail and in particular of crystalline color superconductors. The possible astrophysical signatures associated with the presence of crystalline color superconducting phases within the core of compact stars are also reviewed. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Biondo A.E.,University of Catania
Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems | Year: 2014

The idea that lies beneath organic food production is founded on high quality of ingredients and scrupulously natural processes in order to obtain products more genuine than the "usual" industrial standard food. As a matter of fact, however, the production of organic food can be mimicked by industrial production by means of marketing. Moreover, consumers do not always properly know which the differences between standard and organic food are. Industrial food producers have many incentives to mimic high quality organic production, both in terms of profits and reputation. Here, a model with three firm types is presented: organic food producers, standard food producers setting high price to mimic organic food, and standard food producers setting low price. This model shows that the lack of knowledge generates two sources of adverse selection: the bad purchase made by consumers buying from mimicking firms, and the case of consumers buying standard food consciously, either because of their ignorance or to avoid the risk of the bad purchase. If correct knowledge were available, the resulting outcome would change dramatically: it is shown that after a policy oriented to disseminate education and awareness, a net increase in social welfare occurs, since consumers' gain is greater than mimicking firms' loss. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Nicolosi G.,University of Catania | Ruivenkamp G.,Wageningen University
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy | Year: 2012

This article compares two different bodies of theories concerning the role of the genome in life processes. The first group of theories can be indicated as referring to the gene-centric paradigm. Dominated by an informational myth and a mechanistic Cartesian body/mind and form/substance dualism, this considers the genome as an ensemble of discrete units of information governing human body and behavior, and remains hegemonic in life sciences and in the public imagination. The second body of theories employs the principle of the extraordinary plasticity of the (body-)organism and emphasizes the value of the (body-)organism-environment mutual interchange, known as 'the epigenetic approach'. This approach is outlined, showing a gradual, paradigmatic shift from the genecentric towards an epigenetic approach can be observed in the 'scientific landscape' over the last 20 years. The article concludes by formulating the argument that this 'epigenetic turn' in life sciences has some important implication for renewing epistemological basis of social sciences. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

D'Emilio A.,University of Catania
Transactions of the ASABE | Year: 2014

Soil solarization is a method of non-chemical disease control that employs solar radiation to heat the soil to temperatures that are lethal for soilborne pathogens. Application of this technique in closed greenhouses has allowed it to spread in areas characterized by temperate climate, such as the Mediterranean basin. Optimization of the technique requires knowledge of the physical processes inside the soil-mulch-greenhouse system that determine the thermal regimes in the soil. In this work, a one-dimensional physical model is developed for simulation of the temperature and moisture content in mulched soil during solarization treatment in a closed greenhouse. The model also calculates the air temperature and relative humidity inside the greenhouse. The model includes heat transfer in the soil by both apparent conduction (which incorporates transfer of latent heat by vapor movement under the influence of a temperature gradient) and enthalpy transport by liquid and vapor flow. The temperature and water content in the soil are calculated using coupled partial differential equations of heat and moisture diffusion. Furthermore, in the calculations of radiative fluxes, infinite reflections are considered. The input variables required are outside air temperature and relative humidity, outside solar radiation flux, wind velocity, soil texture and bulk density, and radiometric properties of the soil as well as of the covering and mulching films. The model is validated using data collected during a soil solarization treatment carried out in a full-scale commercial greenhouse. The results show good agreement between measured and modeled data, especially concerning soil temperature. A sensitivity analysis is also carried out in order to investigate soil temperature changes induced by variations in the radiometric properties of the films. The results show that the highest temperature changes in the soil are determined by the shortwave transmittance of the cover. © 2014 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

Malaguarnera M.,University of Catania
Current Opinion in Gastroenterology | Year: 2012

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Carnitine and its derivatives are natural substances involved in both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. This review summarizes the recent progress in the field in relation to the molecular mechanisms. RECENT FINDINGS: The pool of different carnitine derivatives is formed by acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC), and isovaleryl-carnitine. ALC may have a preferential effect on the brain tissue. ALC represents a compound of great interest for its wide clinical application in various neurological disorders: it may be of benefit in treating Alzheimer's dementia, depression in the elderly, HIV infection, chronic fatigue syndrome, peripheral neuropathies, ischemia and reperfusion of the brain, and cognitive impairment associated with various conditions. PLC has been demonstrated to replenish the intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid cycle by the propionyl-CoA moiety, a greater affinity for the sarcolemmal carrier, peripheral vasodilator activity, a greater positive inotropism, and more rapid entry into myocytes. Most studies of the therapeutic use of PLC are focused on the prevention and treatment of ischemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, hypertrophic heart disease, and peripheral arterial disease. ALC and PLC are considered well tolerated without significant side-effects. SUMMARY: A number of therapeutic effects possibly come from the interaction of carnitine and its derivatives with the elements of cellular membranes. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Capodanno D.,University of Catania | Capodanno D.,University of Florida | Angiolillo D.J.,University of Florida
Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions | Year: 2014

Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common cardiac arrhythmia, occurs in 1% to 2% of the general population, with a prevalence varying from 0.5% in subjects 40 to 50 years old to 5% to 15% in the elderly who are >80 years old.1-3 Stroke is the most feared complication of AF, resulting in death or disabling symptoms in a vast proportion of cases.4 In the Framingham study, the age-adjusted incidence of stroke was 5-fold higher in subjects with AF, and the attributable risk raised from 1.5% at 50 to 59 years to 23.5% at 80 to 89 years. © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.

Barbagallo R.N.,University of Catania | Di Silvestro I.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems In the Mediterranean | Patane C.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems In the Mediterranean
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture | Year: 2013

Background: The 'processing tomato' is an important source of natural antioxidants whose concentration depends, along with other parameters, on water availability. In order to better understand the mechanisms that regulate the response to water stress, a study was carried out in a typically semi-arid Mediterranean environment to investigate the yield, chemical composition and visual quality of tomato cv. 'Brigade' field grown under no irrigation (V0) in comparison with those of the conventional fully irrigated crop (V100). Results: The stressful conditions of V0 affected the total yield. Nevertheless, fruits exhibited an increase in firmness (+27%), total solids (+23%) and total soluble solids (+5%). The dynamic balance between the antioxidant pattern and polyphenol oxidase activity under water stress conditions resulted in fruits with increased antioxidant activity (+12%), due to a decline in enzyme activity (-48%) and a rise in vitamin C (+20%) and total phenolic (+13%) contents. Conclusion: It is possible to manage water stress by applying water-saving irrigation strategies in order to promote the quality and nutritional properties of tomatoes while also contributing to saving water. This is a relevant aspect in processing tomato cultivation in semi-arid environments, where both the cost and availability of irrigation water represent a rising problem in agricultural activities. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.

Oba Y.,Hokkaido University | Watanabe N.,Hokkaido University | Kouchi A.,Hokkaido University | Hama T.,Hokkaido University | Pirronello V.,University of Catania
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2010

We present the experimental results of carbonic acid (H2CO 3) formation through surface reactions of CO molecules with non-energetic hydroxyl (OH) radicals at 10-40 K. The formation of H 2CO3 was clearly identified both in the IR spectra and in the thermally programmed desorption mass spectra. The H2CO 3 yield was rather high, amounting to approximately 40%-70% relative to that of CO2 formed by the reaction of CO with OH. The structure of H2CO3 formed by reactions of CO with OH may differ from that formed by energetic processes such as UV irradiation, ion irradiation, and electron irradiation of H2O/CO2 binary ices. In this paper, we envisage some of the possible roles H2CO3 may have in the interstellar medium, such as enriching grain mantles of new molecules via acid-base reactions with basic species and contributing to the formation of the unidentified band at 6.8 μm; we suggest possible reasons for its non-detection yet and discuss the restoration of carbonic acid molecules in the gas phase. © 2010. The American Astronomical Society.

Bonaventura L.,University of Catania
NETNOMICS: Economic Research and Electronic Networking | Year: 2011

This paper investigates how enforcement of regulation affects the size of the irregular sector, firm performance and the exit rate to the market. Three kinds of enforcement policy will be tested in the model: control, punish and legitimacy. The first policy is based on the number of inspectors present in the economy; the second is defined by the magnitude of punishment; the third is measured by social legitimacy. Results show the negligible influence of control to fight irregularity; the strong effect of punishment on the irregular sector and on the exit rate; the good effect of legitimacy policy in promoting regularity but low output performance. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Ando G.,Messina University | Capodanno D.,University of Catania
JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions | Year: 2016

Objectives The authors sought to investigate whether the cumulative evidence coming from randomized studies has reached the necessary power to consider radial access as a bleeding avoidance strategy that reduces mortality and ischemic endpoints in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Background Studies in ACS patients have reached conflicting conclusions about the impact of radial access in improving ischemic outcomes in addition to the established bleeding benefit. Methods English-language publications and abstracts of major cardiovascular meetings until October 2015 were scrutinized. Study quality, patient characteristics, procedural data, and outcomes were extracted. Data were pooled in random effects meta-analyses with classic and trial sequential techniques. Trial sequential analysis combines the a priori information size calculation needed to allow for clinically meaningful statistical inference with the adjustment of thresholds for which results are considered significant. Results Seventeen studies, encompassing data from 19,328 patients, were pooled. Radial access was found to reduce mortality (relative risk [RR]: 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.60 to 0.88; p = 0.001), major adverse cardiovascular events (RR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.77 to 0.95; p = 0.005), and major bleeding (RR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.48 to 0.76; p < 0.001). Multiple sensitivity analyses showed consistent results, and trial sequential analysis suggested firm evidence for a meaningful reduction in mortality with radial access. Conclusions Radial access reduces mortality compared with femoral access in ACS patients undergoing invasive management. This benefit is paralleled by consistent reductions in major adverse cardiovascular events and major bleeding, supporting radial access as the default strategy for cardiac catheterization in patients with ACS. © 2016 American College of Cardiology Foundation.

Siringo F.,University of Catania
Modern Physics Letters A | Year: 2014

The principle of stationary variance is advocated as a viable variational approach to quantum field theory (QFT). The method is based on the principle that the variance of energy should be at its minimum when the state of a quantum system reaches its best approximation for an eigenstate. While not too much popular in quantum mechanics (QM), the method is shown to be valuable in QFT and three special examples are given in very different areas ranging from Heisenberg model of antiferromagnetism (AF) to quantum electrodynamics (QED) and gauge theories. © 2014 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Mangano A.,University of Catania
Health and Place | Year: 2010

This paper focuses on the differences in regional expenditure on health care in the attempt to verify how equitable is the pattern of health care supply across the Italian regions and whether disparities are related to the existing socioeconomic imbalances, especially in terms of the North-South divide. The analysis has been carried out according to an egalitarian view of equity. For several categories of health services simple concentration measures and an horizontal inequity index have been derived to quantify the degree of inequity due to the discrepancy between the actual regional expenditure and a "just" amount implied by need indicators. Findings are that richer areas spend more than the "fair" amount on hospital and residential care as well as on the overall health care system, whereas inequity favouring poorer areas occurs in the delivery of pharmacological and secondary care. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Das S.K.,Yonsei University | Das S.K.,University of Catania | Das S.K.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Davody A.,Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2014

The drag force of charm quarks propagating through a thermalized system of Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP) has been considered within the framework of both conformal and nonconformal anti-de Sitter (AdS) correspondence. A newly derived Einstein fluctuation-dissipation relation has been used to calculate the heavy flavor diffusion coefficients. Using the drag and diffusion coefficients as inputs, the Langevin equation has been solved to study the heavy flavor suppression factor. It has been shown that within conformal AdS correspondence the D-meson suppression at Large Hadron Collider energy can be reproduced, whereas the nonconformal AdS correspondence fails to reproduce the experimental results. This suggests collisional loss alone within nonconformal AdS correspondence cannot reproduce the experimental results, and inclusion of radiative loss becomes important. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Patane C.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems In the Mediterranean | Sortino O.,University of Catania
Industrial Crops and Products | Year: 2010

Kenaf is an interesting crop for fibre production, which has recently received great attention as a multi-purposes crop for energy, paper pulp, thermal insulation boards and fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites production, etc., in Mediterranean countries. Its high sensitivity to photoperiod limits seed production to the semi-arid environments of Southern Europe. In order to investigate the effects of sowing time on seed yield of kenaf in the Mediterranean climate, a 2-year research was carried out in Sicily (South Italy) adopting cv. Tainung 2, under no water restriction (100% evapotranspiration-ET c restoration) throughout the whole growing season. Four sowings per year were carried out, from late May to late June-early July. Flowering took place in a rather restricted period (late September-early October) irrespective of sowing date, confirming a strong daylength control over floral initiation. Thermal time calculated for the interval 'plant emergence (E)-flowering (F)', on average 1900.6°Cd, decreased from the first to the last sowing date in both years, as an effect of photoperiod. The photoperiodic sensitivity (PS), calculated regressing thermal time 'E-F' against photoperiod at flowering time and equal to 497.21°Cdh, can be considered as thermal time to flowering controlled by photoperiod. A base vegetative phase (BVP) of 1563°Cd and a critical photoperiod (CP) of 13.94h were calculated for cv. Tainung 2. The photoperiod inductive phase (PIP), which describes the effect of photoperiod on flowering time and varied between 497.2 and 182.2°Cdh, allowed to predict the date of flowering with certain reliability, with values differing, in the worst case, 2 days only from the observed date.With late May sowings, the crop produced a final dry biomass (>27tha -1) significantly greater than that obtained with the following sowings, which approximated 15tha -1 in late June-early July sowings. Seed yield was negatively affected by the shift of sowing time, decreasing from over 3.5 to less than 1.6tha -1 due to a cut in number of pods per plant. According to the results of this research, early sowings of kenaf are suggested in semi-arid areas of South Italy for both seed and biomass production, maximum seed yield corresponding to maximum biomass yield, and with this last achieved with sowings of late May. The identification of both thermal and photoperiodic requirements to achieve high levels of seed yield in kenaf may help to individuate areas of seed production other than South of Italy, where however similar climatic conditions must be ensured to the crop. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Ganci G.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | Vicari A.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | Cappello A.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | Cappello A.,University of Catania | Del Negro C.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2012

Spaceborne remote sensing techniques and numerical simulations have been combined in a web-GIS framework (LAV@HAZARD) to evaluate lava flow hazard in real time. By using the HOTSAT satellite thermal monitoring system to estimate time-varying TADR (time averaged discharge rate) and the MAGFLOW physics-based model to simulate lava flow paths, the LAV@HAZARD platform allows timely definition of parameters and maps essential for hazard assessment, including the propagation time of lava flows and the maximum run-out distance. We used LAV@HAZARD during the 2008-2009 lava flow-forming eruption at Mt Etna (Sicily, Italy). We measured the temporal variation in thermal emission (up to four times per hour) during the entire duration of the eruption using SEVIRI and MODIS data. The time-series of radiative power allowed us to identify six diverse thermal phases each related to different dynamic volcanic processes and associated with different TADRs and lava flow emplacement conditions. Satellite-derived estimates of lava discharge rates were computed and integrated for the whole period of the eruption (almost 14months), showing that a lava volume of between 32 and 61million cubic meters was erupted of which about 2/3 was emplaced during the first 4months. These time-varying discharge rates were then used to drive MAGFLOW simulations to chart the spread of lava as a function of time. TADRs were sufficiently low (<30m 3/s) that no lava flows were capable of flowing any great distance so that they did not pose a hazard to vulnerable (agricultural and urban) areas on the flanks of Etna. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Tang J.,University of Cambridge | Musolesi M.,University of Cambridge | Mascolo C.,University of Cambridge | Latora V.,University of Catania
Computer Communication Review | Year: 2010

The analysis of social and technological networks has attracted a lot of attention as social networking applications and mobile sensing devices have given us a wealth of real data. Classic studies looked at analysing static or aggregated networks, i.e., networks that do not change over time or built as the results of aggregation of information over a certain period of time. Given the soaring collections of measurements related to very large, real network traces, researchers are quickly starting to realise that connections are inherently varying over time and exhibit more dimensionality than static analysis can capture. In this paper we propose new temporal distance metrics to quantify and compare the speed (delay) of information diffusion processes taking into account the evolution of a network from a global view. We show how these metrics are able to capture the temporal characteristics of time-varying graphs, such as delay, duration and time order of contacts (interactions), compared to the metrics used in the past on static graphs. We also characterise network reachability with the concepts of in- and out-components. Then, we generalise them with a global perspective by defining temporal connected components. As a proof of concept we apply these techniques to two classes of time-varying networks, namely connectivity of mobile devices and interactions on an online social network. Copyright 2010 ACM.

Siringo F.,University of Catania
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

The Higgs-top model is studied by a nonperturbative variational extension of the Gaussian effective potential that incorporates fermions. In the limit of a very strong Yukawa coupling the one-loop result is shown to follow a single-parameter scaling while the Gaussian fluctuations give rise to important deviations from scaling and to a reduction of the vacuum expectation value and of the top mass. A good general agreement is found with lattice data when a comparison can be made. The vacuum is shown to be stable for any choice of the Yukawa coupling, at variance with renormalized perturbation theory. Analytical results are provided for a few observables like the renormalized mass of the Higgs boson and its wave function renormalization constant. Extensions to gauge theories like QCD are briefly discussed. © 2012 American Physical Society.

This paper describes a mathematical tool for the calculation of the ultimate strength of reinforced concrete rectangular columns subjected to combined internal forces including shear. The proposed method is based on the application of the static theorem of limit analysis and considers simplified stress fields to simulate stresses in steel bars and (unconfined and confined) concrete. Both truss and arch effects are taken into account. To assess the effectiveness of the method, the relations developed are applied with reference to a large number of columns tested in the past by many researchers and a comparison between the theoretical and experimental results is drawn. Finally, the results of the proposed method are compared to others deriving from the application of more simplified methods present in the literature. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Spasiano D.,University of Naples Federico II | Marotta R.,University of Naples Federico II | Di Somma I.,CNR Institute for Research on Combustion | Mancini G.,University of Catania
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental | Year: 2015

The conversion of pyridinemethanol isomers into their respective aldehydes and carboxylic acids has been attempted in aqueous solution through sacrificial TiO2 photocatalysis in the presence of cupric ions, at ambient temperature, under acidic and deaerated conditions, using artificial sunlight. The presence of a nitrogen atom in the aromatic ring, with respect to benzylic alcohol and its derivatives, affects the photocatalytic behavior of the substrate. The influence of both pH and temperature has also been investigated. The position of the methanolic group on the aromatic ring leads to slight changes in the selectivities, yields and the oxidation rates. Under the adopted conditions, the yields and selectivities to aldehydes are always higher than those of the respective carboxylic acids. The photocatalytic process can be carried out in consecutive copper reduction/oxidation steps in order to reuse the catalyst. In this way greater yields and selectivities to the desired product than 60% can be achieved. The process can be considered interesting as it concerns the eco-green production of valuable fine chemicals, using water as a solvent at ambient conditions, a cheap heterogeneous catalyst and solar radiation. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Patti F.,University of Catania
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs | Year: 2012

Introduction: Identifying and treating cognitive impairment in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is increasingly recognized as a crucial step in selecting the most appropriate treatment for the individual. Currently, the neuropsychological tests used to assess patients are time-consuming and require specialist training to administer; consequently, cognitive impairment in MS is underdiagnosed. Many treatments are available for MS, including disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) and symptomatic therapies, but what are their effects on cognitive performance? Areas covered: This article will review published studies describing the cognitive effects of DMDs and symptomatic treatments for MS. Expert opinion: Some DMDs may improve cognitive performance in patients with MS. None of the symptomatic drug treatments reviewed showed positive effects on cognitive performance, with the possible exception of L-amphetamine, which may improve memory in patients with existing deficits, and methylphenidate, on which more data are needed. Cognitive rehabilitation can improve cognitive performance, but experience with these techniques is limited. Treatment for patients with MS and cognitive impairment should, therefore, include a DMD in combination with a pharmacological or perhaps non-pharmacological cognitive-enhancement strategy. However, the methods used to diagnose cognitive impairment, and to assess the effect of treatment on function over time and need to be refined. © Informa UK, Ltd.

Catalano D.,University of Catania | Fiore D.,Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (Kaiserslautern)
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2013

Homomorphic message authenticators allow the holder of a (public) evaluation key to perform computations over previously authenticated data, in such a way that the produced tag σ can be used to certify the authenticity of the computation. More precisely, a user knowing the secret key sk used to authenticate the original data, can verify that σ authenticates the correct output of the computation. This primitive has been recently formalized by Gennaro and Wichs, who also showed how to realize it from fully homomorphic encryption. In this paper, we show new constructions of this primitive that, while supporting a smaller set of functionalities (i.e., polynomially-bounded arithmetic circuits as opposite to boolean ones), are much more efficient and easy to implement. Moreover, our schemes can tolerate any number of (malicious) verification queries. Our first construction relies on the sole assumption that one way functions exist, allows for arbitrary composition (i.e., outputs of previously authenticated computations can be used as inputs for new ones) but has the drawback that the size of the produced tags grows with the degree of the circuit. Our second solution, relying on the D-Diffie-Hellman Inversion assumption, offers somewhat orthogonal features as it allows for very short tags (one single group element!) but poses some restrictions on the composition side. © 2013 International Association for Cryptologic Research.

Maiorana F.,University of Catania
WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies | Year: 2014

Web programming has become one of the leading programming models of our time and professional figure are required in industry both at the undergraduate and graduate level. Beside this research in teaching, web programming is facing a rising of interest as revealed by conference and journal special session calls requesting both to present approaches to teaching web development and discuss about the role of web development in current computing curricula. The proposed work presents and reviews the content of different curricula, both at the school and university level, and reviews recent literature on web programming in order to lay a solid foundation for the design of modern courses in web programming. The desired pedagogical approaches and content of an entry course in web programming are described. © 2014 WIT Press.

Berendonk T.U.,TU Dresden | Manaia C.M.,Catholic University of Portugal | Merlin C.,CNRS Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Microbiology for the Environment | Fatta-Kassinos D.,University of Cyprus | And 13 more authors.
Nature Reviews Microbiology | Year: 2015

Antibiotic resistance is a threat to human and animal health worldwide, and key measures are required to reduce the risks posed by antibiotic resistance genes that occur in the environment. These measures include the identification of critical points of control, the development of reliable surveillance and risk assessment procedures, and the implementation of technological solutions that can prevent environmental contamination with antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes. In this Opinion article, we discuss the main knowledge gaps, the future research needs and the policy and management options that should be prioritized to tackle antibiotic resistance in the environment. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Germline BAP1 (BRCA1-associated protein-1) mutations are involved into a novel specific cancer syndrome and strictly associated with a high cancer susceptibility. Recent data suggest that BAP1 has activity toward target substrates explaining why loss of BAP1 causes a pro-tumorigenic deregulation of gene expression. The recently published data reviewed raise the hypothesis that BAP1 regulates a common subset of substrates, which in turn causes a pro-tumorigenic deregulation of gene expression, and alternatively suggest the role of BAP1 as tumorigenesis suppressor/promoter also by independent mechanisms. The clinical phenotype of BAP1 alterations includes MBAITs (melanocytic BAP1-mutated atypical intradermal tumors), uveal melanoma (UM), cutaneous melanoma (CM), renal cell carcinoma (RCC), mesothelioma (MM), and possibly several other tumors. In clinical practice, early diagnosis is crucial for curative resection of all these tumor types. The uniformed and unambiguous definition of MBAITs as clinical/pathological predictive markers could provide physicians means to identify patients who may carry germline BAP1 mutations and thus could be at high risk of developing CM, UM, MM, RCC, and possibly other tumors. As part of a novel multidisciplinary approach, physicians, pathologists, and clinicians involved into diagnostics should be aware of the histological features and the spectrum of tumors associated with BAP1 loss. Further clinical, epidemiological, and functional studies are required to fully explain the roles of BAP1 and its interaction partners in neoplasia, to define mechanisms behind shared and non-shared clinical and pathological criteria. © The authors, publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Limited.

Contarino D.,University of Catania
CEUR Workshop Proceedings | Year: 2016

Nowadays, Aspect-Oriented programming is used for industrial software systems. However, many useful Object-Oriented systems have been developed and are still in use and a manual porting of big projects from Object-Oriented (OO) paradigm to Aspect-Oriented (AO) one, making the most of Design Patterns (DP), may prove a costly and time-consuming process. This paper proposes a practical approach for automatically converting OO code to AO code, specifically for the implementation of DPs. The solution comprises two essential steps: recognition of the DP in OO code and conversion into AO code. Then, two examples of DP Singleton and Composite implementations on the Eclipse IDE with Eclipse Java Development Tools (JDT) are given. Copyright © 2016 held by the authors.

Battiato P.S.,University of Catania
CEUR Workshop Proceedings | Year: 2016

Median filtering technique is often used to remove additive white, salt and pepper noise from a signal or a source image. This filtering method is essential for the processing of digital data representing analog signals in real time. The median filter considers each pixel in the image in turn and looks at its nearby neighbors to determine whether or not it is representative of its surroundings. It replaces the pixel value with the median of neighboring pixel values. The median is calculated by first sorting all the pixel values from the surrounding neighborhood into numerical order and then replacing the pixel being considered with the middle pixel value. We have used graphics processing units (GPUs) to implement the post-processing, performed by NVIDIA Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA). Such a system is faster than the CPU version, or other traditional computing, for processing medical applications such as echography or Doppler. This paper shows the effect of the Median Filtering and a comparison of the performance of the CPU and GPU in terms of response time. Copyright © 2016 held by the authors.

Mirone G.,University of Catania
Experimental Techniques | Year: 2015

The testing of structural metals at high strain rates is a subject of great interest in many modern technological areas. The split Hopkinson tension bar (SHTB) allows to investigate the ductile failure at nominal strain rates between 102 and some thousands of s-1. The tensile wave in SHTBs can be generated in various ways, but the simpler one from the viewpoint of its realisation is that of pre-tensioning a partial length of the input bar with an hydraulic cylinder and an opportune clamping device, and then suddenly releasing the clamp. So, a tensile stress wave is originated which travels towards the unstressed free end of the bar and towards the output bar through the specimen, breaking it. In this work a special clamping system is developed, integrating a Shape Memory Alloy actuator which allows the breaking of a fragile pin and initiating the rapid release of the input bar, without the need of a secondary hydraulic cylinder which is usually adopted in these devices. The clamp developed is much lighter than the standard clamping systems, and does not require the large centring and orientation efforts typical of heavier frame-fixed clamps. © 2013, Society for Experimental Mechanics.

Di Pietro C.,University of Catania
Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics | Year: 2016

Cells are able to produce and release different types of vesicles, such as microvesicles and exosomes, in the extracellular microenvironment. According to the scientific community, both microvesicles and exosomes are able to take on and transfer different macromolecules from and to other cells, and in this way, they can influence the recipient cell function. Among the different macromolecule cargos, the most studied are microRNAs. MicroRNAs are a large family of non-coding RNAs involved in the regulation of gene expression. They control every cellular process and their altered regulation is involved in human diseases. Their presence in mammalian follicular fluid has been recently demonstrated, and here, they are enclosed within microvesicles and exosomes or they can also be associated to protein complexes. The presence of microvesicles and exosomes carrying microRNAs in follicular fluid could represent an alternative mechanism of autocrine and paracrine communication inside the ovarian follicle. The outcomes from these studies could be important in basic reproductive research but could also be useful for clinical application. In fact, the characterization of extracellular vesicles in follicular fluid could improve reproductive disease diagnosis and provide biomarkers of oocyte quality in ART (Assisted Reproductive Treatment). © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Boscarino S.,University of Catania
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2011

Several mathematical models are described by hyperbolic systems with stiff relaxation, defined by a small relaxation time ε. In the so-called diffusive relaxation, as the ε vanishes, the system relaxes to a parabolic equation or convection-diffusion equation. From a numerical point of view, to solve hyperbolic systems with diffusive relaxation is much complicated because the characteristic speeds of the hyperbolic part depend on ε and diverge as ε → 0. There are methods that allow to overcome such stiffness, and that allow the construction of asymptotic preserving schemes that, in the limit of infinite stiffness, reduce to a consistent explicit scheme for the underlying diffusion equation, [5, 6]. Here we consider IMEX Runge-Kutta (RK) schemes for hyperbolic systems of conservation laws and we present two techniques for the construction of such schemes which capture the diffusive limit without the classical stability restriction on the time step Δt=β(Δx 2). The first one [7], is based on an implicit treatment of some hyperbolic terms while the second one, which treats the hyperbolic terms explicitly, is obtained by applying additional condition on the RK coefficients. Several numerical tests will be presented that illustrate the robustness and generality of the methods. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.

Mancini G.,University of Catania | Tamma R.,L.E.S.S. | Viotti P.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Waste Management | Year: 2010

Until only recently fluff has been largely disposed of in controlled landfill sites. However, in Europe environmental regulations, including the EU Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC and ELV (End of Life Vehicle) Directive 2000/53/EC, have dramatically increased the pressure on all stakeholders to develop alternative solutions. As increasingly stringent legislation forces Shredder Residues (SR) to be diverted from landfilling, newly developed technologies will be in a position to compete for the market value of disposing of the waste. However, the fluff waste stream is so variable that it cannot be automatically assumed that processes developed for one type of fluff will prove to be suitable for other fluff streams. This situation has contributed towards convincing stakeholders to withhold investment funds or delay taking decisions as to how best to proceed; as a consequence, very few technologies have been fully developed on a commercial basis. It is of particular interest therefore that commercial alternatives to be used in dealing with this complex waste stream should be identified. The present paper illustrates the findings of a full-scale thermal treatment performed on SR samples obtained from various shredding plants. The outcome of the study provides an important contribution towards assessing the feasibility and reliability of the process, thus constituting a basic prerequisite for process performance evaluation. The full-scale plant, designed for the thermo-valorization of tyres, was purpose-modified to allow for fluff combustion. Three different fluff compositions (car fluff with different percentage of shredding, whites and 100% car fluff) were taken into consideration. Both the raw samples and solid products were thoroughly characterized. Combustion emissions were continuously analyzed during the test period, alternatively operating for tyre and fluff combustion. Classification of combustion residues for landfill disposal was carried out indicating only 2% (ashes) as hazardous waste. Preliminary results, obtained from a unsophisticated thermodynamic analysis of the process, indicated a value of 0.61 for energy efficiency parameter calculated in accordance with the Directive 2008/98/EC. To conclude, the thermal treatment investigated may be deemed an appropriate technique for use in managing fluff. Indeed, values obtained for all organic and inorganic contaminants released into the atmosphere were lower than legal limits prescribed, and a significant energy content was recovered from waste fractions. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Scrimali T.,University of Catania | Tomasello D.,Clinical Center | Sciuto M.,Clinical Center
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Electrodermal activity (EDA) and electrodermal biofeedback, when integrated with pharmacologic treatments, indicate promising methods for the treatment of grand mal seizures. They can be used to monitor patient arousal and help patients learn new strategies to better cope with stress and anxiety. Our proposed method can possibly reduce the number of crises for patients who are dependent on pharmacologic therapy and can improve their quality of life. This article describes the scientific background of electrodermal monitoring and electrodermal biofeedback for patients affected by grand mal seizures. In this study, we have reported a clinical case study. The patient was treated for 2 years with electrodermal biofeedback to augment pharmacologic treatments. The trial has been designed in accordance with “n = 1 case study research”. Our results have shown that our methods could achieve a significant reduction in grand mal seizures and sympathetic arousal when applied. The patient under consideration was also relaxed and exhibited greater competency to cope with stress. Additionally, the patient’s sense of mastery and self-efficacy was enhanced. © 2015 Scrimali, Tomasello and Sciuto.

The study was aimed at evaluating a new diagnostic interview, arbitrarily named Structured Interview about male accessory gland infections (SI-MAGI), administered to three different groups of patients with MAGI according to ultrasound evaluation [prostatitis (P) or prostato-vesciculitis (PV) or prostato-vesciculo-epididymitis (PVE)]. We evaluated 110 consecutively selected infertile patients, with diagnosis of MAGI and underwent to transrectal and scrotal ultrasound (US) examination. After ultrasound evaluation, they were divided into three well-characterised, aged-matched groups: prostatitis (P; n=45), prostato-vesciculitis (PV; n=30) and prostato-vesciculo-epididymitis (PVE; n=35). Then, all patients were submitted to active clinical history oriented by SI-MAGI questionnaire elucidated by the operator. The SI-MAGI was structured in four domains (urinary symptoms, ejaculatory pain or discomfort, sexual dysfunction and quality-of-life impact) for a total of 30 questions with four possible answers. Infertile patients of PVE and PV groups showed scores significantly higher than P group in all domains (anovaP<0.005). PVE showed scores significantly higher than PV group in domain 2 and 3. Our study demonstrates the MAGI's symptoms worsen with major extension of inflammation and ultrasound can evaluate the true extent of MAGI and symptoms can help to suggest the severity of MAGI. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Bonanno G.,University of Catania
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety | Year: 2012

Environmental monitoring through living organisms is an effective technique of human impact assessment, based on reliable and cost-effective biological tools of control. In this study, roots, stems and leaves of the worldwide distributed macrophyte Arundo donax (giant reed) were tested as potential biomonitors of trace element contamination in water and sediment. In particular, the concentrations of the following elements were analyzed: Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn. A two-year sampling was conducted in an urban watercourse of Catania (Sicily, Italy), affected by municipal and industrial discharges of wastewaters. Results showed that the amount of concentrations in plant tissues is significantly dependent on the kind of organ and element. Trace element concentrations decreased according to the pattern of root>leaf>stem, implying that roots acted as the main centers of bioaccumulation, and stems as transit organs as a consequence of the general high translocation from roots to leaves. Overall, A. donax showed a significant capacity of bioaccumulation in agreement with ecologically similar macrophytes. Positive correlations were found between trace concentrations in plant organs and sediment (Al, Cr, Mn, Ni, Zn), and water (Cu, Ni, Zn). The results of this study suggested that A. donax acts as an ecological indicator of environmental conditions, thus, its application may prove a useful tool during monitoring campaigns of wetlands. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

We study the nonlinear stability, with respect to axisymmetric perturbations, of the solution magnetic field to the induction equation for a weakly ionized gas, subjected to an assigned planar velocity field which, in a special case, keeps it in proximity of a gravitational center. In other cases, this velocity field can generate hyperbolic trajectories. Whatever, assuming the presence of Hall and ion-slip effects, we will try to determine how the geometric and kinematic characteristics of the gas stream affect the stability/instability of the magnetic field. Then, we obtain a necessary and sufficient stability condition and estimate the radius of attraction. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Wien.

Palmucci S.,University of Catania
World Journal of Hepatology | Year: 2014

Since its clinical introduction, several studies in literature have investigated gadolinium ethoxybenzhyl diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid or gadoxetic acid (Gd- EOB-DTPA) properties. Following contrast injection, it provides dynamic vascular phases (arterial, portal and equilibrium phases) and hepatobiliary phase, the latter due to its uptake by functional hepatocytes. The main advantages of Gd-EOB-DTPA of focal liver lesion detection and characterization are discussed in this paper. Namely, we focus on the possibility of distinguishing focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) from hepatic adenoma (HA), the identification of early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the pre-operative assessment of metastasis in liver parenchyma. Regarding the differentiation between FNH and HA, adenoma typically appears hypointense in hepatobiliary phase, whereas FNH is isointense or hyperintense to the surrounding hepatic parenchyma. As for the identification of early HCCs, many papers recently published in literature have emphasized the contribution of hepatobiliary phase in the characterization of nodules without a typical hallmark of HCC. Atypical nodules (no hypervascularizaton observed on arterial phase and/or no hypovascular appearance on portal phase) with low signal intensity in the hepatobiliary phase, have a high probability of malignancy. Finally, regarding the evaluation of focal hepatic metastases, magnetic resonance pre-operative assessment using gadoxetic acid allows for more accurate diagnosis. © 2014 Baishideng Publishing Group Inc.

Di Nuovo S.,University of Catania | Buono S.,Institute for Research on Mental Retardation and Brain Ageing Oasi
Psychiatry Research | Year: 2011

The study of distinctive and consistent behaviors in the most common genetic syndromes with intellectual disability is useful to explain abnormalities or associated psychiatric disorders. The behavioral phenotypes revealed outcomes totally or partially specific for each syndrome. The aim of our study was to compare similarities and differences in the adaptive profiles of the five most frequent genetic syndromes, i.e. Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Fragile-X syndrome (fully mutated), taking into account the relation with chronological age and the overall IQ level. The research was carried out using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (beside the Wechsler Intelligence scales to obtain IQ) with a sample of 181 persons (107 males and 74 females) showing genetic syndromes and mental retardation. Syndrome-based groups were matched for chronological age and mental age (excluding the Angelman group, presenting with severe mental retardation). Similarities and differences in the adaptive profiles are described, relating them to IQs and maladaptive behaviors. The results might be useful in obtaining a global index of adjustment for the assessment of intellectual disability level as well as for educational guidance and rehabilitative plans. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Grassi A.,University of Catania
Physics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics | Year: 2012

Here it is proposed a new entropy form for which it is possible to obtain a stationary solution of the Non-Linear Fokker-Planck equation (NLFP) with coulombic-like potentials. The general properties of this new entropy form are shown and the results are compared with those obtained by other entropy forms. Finally, the behavior of the stationary solution in presence of two point charges is also shown. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Branca S.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology | Ferrara V.,University of Catania
Tectonophysics | Year: 2013

The reinterpretation of more than 2500 subsurface data, consisting of geoelectric and borehole prospecting undertaken at Mount Etna, allows reconstructing the contour map of the sedimentary basement. This reconstruction highlights a complex asymmetric topography due to the inhomogeneous long-term updoming of the region and the interrelationship between the development of the drainage network and flank instability. These different processes have produced a major morphological difference between the eastern sector, characterised by a 17km-wide horseshoe-shaped depression, and the other flanks formed by palaeovalleys. The origin of the wide horseshoe-shaped depression can be attributed to the large-scale flank instability processes involving the entire continental margin in the Etna offshore. This depression of the Etna basement was generated by a series of coalescent landslides before the beginning of the eruptive activity of the Timpe phase more than 220ka ago. This wide depression is the main cause of the flank instability that produced the gravitational slope failures of the Valle del Bove about 10ka ago. Regarding Mt Etna's geometry, we have estimated a total volume of about 532km3 that was emplaced during the past 330ka, resulting in an average rate of volcanic output of 0.0016km3/a. The reconstruction of the temporal variation of the average eruptive rate highlights a drastic increase of volcanism during the last 100ka in response to the gradual stabilization of the plumbing system in the Etna region that led to the build-up of the composite stratovolcano structure. The data presented in this paper represent the state of knowledge of the sedimentary basement of Etna, which can be used for future studies aimed at developing a detailed understanding of the deep structure of the volcano's unstable flanks. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Rijken T.A.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Schulze H.-J.,University of Catania
European Physical Journal A | Year: 2016

We discuss the properties of the hyperon-hyperon interactions in the recent Nijmegen ESC08 potential, in particular the importance of the coupled-channel structure and related existence of bound states. Brueckner-Hartree-Fock calculations of hypernuclear matter employing these interactions are presented and the structure of hyperon (neutron) stars within this approach is computed. Low maximum masses are found. © 2016, The Author(s).

Oba Y.,Hokkaido University | Watanabe N.,Hokkaido University | Kouchi A.,Hokkaido University | Hama T.,Kyoto University | Pirronello V.,University of Catania
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2010

Surface reactions between carbon monoxide and non-energetic hydroxyl radicals were carried out at 10K and 20K in order to investigate possible reaction pathways to yield carbon dioxide in dense molecular clouds. Hydroxyl radicals, produced by dissociating water molecules in microwave-induced plasma, were cooled down to 100K prior to the introduction of CO. The abundances of species were monitored in situ using a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer. Formation of CO2 was clearly observed, even at 10 K, suggesting that reactions of CO with OH proceed with little or no activation barrier. The present results indicate that CO2 formation, due to reactions between CO and OH, occurs in tandem with H2O formation, and this may lead to the formation of CO2 ice in polar environments, as typically observed in molecular clouds. © 2010. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Nevin A.,Polytechnic of Milan | Spoto G.,University of Catania | Anglos D.,Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas | Anglos D.,University of Crete
Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing | Year: 2012

Spectroscopic methods using laser sources have significantly improved our capacity to unravel the chemical composition of works of art and archaeological remains. Lasers enhance the performance of spectroscopic techniques which require intense light sources and specific analytical protocols assuring a microanalytical approach for analysis has been established. This review focuses on laser spectroscopic methods used in the field of cultural heritage diagnostics. Emphasis in this work is given to the analytical capabilities of laser-based techniques for elemental and/or molecular analysis and in-situ use, spatial resolution and microanalysis. Analytical methods are classified according to the elemental (LIBS, LA-ICP-MS) and molecular (LIF/LIDAR, time-resolved absorption spectroscopy, laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry) information they yield. For non-destructive laser-induced fluorescence (LIF/LIDAR) and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy, imaging applications are described. The advantages provided by combined complementary techniques including but not limited to LIBS-LIF-Raman and LIBS-XRF are presented, as are recent improvements in terms of chemical imaging. Advances and applications of THz spectroscopy, non-linear spectroscopy and imaging are outlined. Finally, laser spectroscopies are described for investigations of different materials and works of art which include Bronze Age ceramics, Minoan archaeological remains, Ancient Roman buildings, Renaissance wall paintings and sculptures, and manuscripts containing iron gall inks and colorants. © Springer-Verlag 2011.

Alparone A.,University of Catania
Molecular Physics | Year: 2014

Static and dynamic electronic and vibrational first-order hyperpolarisabilities (β) of the lowest energy neutral adenine tautomers (amine forms A7 and A9) were obtained in gaseous and aqueous phases by using Hartree-Fock, Møller-Plesset second-order and fourth-order perturbation theory (MP2 and MP4-SDQ) and conventional and long-range corrected density functional theory methods with the Dunning's correlation-consistent cc-pVDZ, aug-cc-pVDZ, aug-cc-pVTZ and d-aug-cc-pVDZ basis sets. Frequency-dependent properties were calculated at the characteristic wavelength of the Nd:YAG laser (1064 nm) for the second harmonic generation and electro-optical Pockels effect nonlinear optical processes. Solvent effects were introduced under the polarised continuum model approximation. The electronic βe values of the investigated isomers are noticeably affected by the theoretical level, basis set and solvation. In vacuum, the static and dynamic βe values of A9 are greater than the corresponding data of A7, whereas the contribution of the solvent significantly enhances the hyperpolarisabilities of the A7 tautomer, resulting in βe(A9)/βe(A7) ratios between 0.5 and 0.6. The vibrational hyperpolarisabilities of the adenine tautomers are quite close to each other. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

The birth of a handicapped child is generally associated with a break in continuity among the different types of psychic representations held by parents and the failure of normal previsional systems (anticipatory system in regard to the child's reactions) which foresee and give meaning to situations. The emergence of meaning of an affective experience is thus disturbed in the parents by reciprocal difficulties in understanding and anticipating the feelings of the other. This makes it difficult if not impossible to invest the child libidinally and it disturbs the process of attachment to the handicapped child. The experience of handicap can be understood as a veritable trauma which carries with it a derailing of the state of consciousness-momentarily, over a long period or intermittantly- for the parents of children afflicted with chronic diseases or handicaps. This includes a dissociative process which makes it difficult to set representations of the real child into place (in the place of, or in continuity with the imaginary child who was expected) and the integration between different representative levels. The author proposes a process of accompaniment for the parents in two different directions: a) the creation of a common perceptive base between the parents and the caregivers and b) the psychological accompaniment of the parents throughout the therapeutic period and/or throughout re-education; also, a treatment program, either for the child or for the parents along four dimensions: 1) Relations, Parental representations, Treatment; 2) Biological damage-Capacities; 3) Ressources-Objectives; 4) Communication-Information.

Gatto R.,University of Geneva | Ruggieri M.,University of Catania
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

We analyze the phase diagram of hot quark matter in presence of an axial chemical potential, μ 5. The latter is introduced to mimic the chirality transitions induced, in hot quantum chromodynamics, by the strong sphaleron configurations. In particular, we study the curvature of the critical line at small μ 5, the effects of a finite quark mass and of a vector interaction. Moreover, we build the mixed phase at the first order phase transition line and draw the phase diagram in the chiral density and temperature plane. We finally compute the full topological susceptibility in presence of a background of topological charge. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Lo Franco R.,University of Palermo | Lo Franco R.,University of Catania | Bellomo B.,University of Palermo | Andersson E.,Heriot - Watt University | Compagno G.,University of Palermo
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2012

Revivals of quantum correlations have often been explained in terms of back-action on quantum systems by their quantum environment(s). Here we consider a system of two independently evolving qubits, each locally interacting with a classical random external field. The environments of the qubits are also independent, and there is no back-action on the qubits. Nevertheless, entanglement, quantum discord, and classical correlations between the two qubits may revive in this model. We explain the revivals in terms of correlations in a classical-quantum state of the environments and the qubits. Although classical states cannot store entanglement on their own, they can play a role in storing and reviving entanglement. It is important to know how the absence of back-action, or modeling an environment as classical, affects the kind of system time evolutions one is able to describe. We find a class of global time evolutions where back-action is absent and for which there is no loss of generality in modeling the environment as classical. Finally, we show that the revivals can be connected with the increase of a parameter used to quantify non-Markovianity of the single-qubit dynamics. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Baran V.,University of Bucharest | Frecus B.,University of Bucharest | Colonna M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Di Toro M.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Di Toro M.,University of Catania
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2012

A very important open question related to the pygmy dipole resonance refers to its quite elusive collective nature. In this paper, within a harmonic oscillator shell model, generalizing an approach introduced by Brink, we first identify the dipole normal modes in neutron-rich nuclei and derive the energy-weighted sum rule exhausted by the pygmy dipole resonance. Then, by solving numerically the self-consistent Landau-Vlasov kinetic equations for neutrons and protons with specific initial conditions, we explore the structure of the different dipole vibrations in the 132Sn system and investigate their dependence on the symmetry energy. We evidence the existence of a distinctive collective isoscalar-like mode with an energy well below the giant dipole resonance (GDR), which is very weakly dependent on the isovector part of the nuclear effective interaction. At variance with this, its corresponding strength is rather sensitive to the behavior of the symmetry energy below saturation, which rules the number of excess neutrons in the nuclear surface. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Bellia F.,CNR Institute of Biostructure and Bioimaging | Grasso G.,University of Catania
Journal of Mass Spectrometry | Year: 2014

Amylin or islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) is a 37-residue peptide hormone secreted from the pancreatic islets into the blood circulation and is cleared by peptidases in the kidney. IAPP aggregates are strongly associated with β-cell degeneration in type 2 diabetes, as demonstrated by the fact that more than 95% of patients exhibit IAPP amyloid upon autopsy. Recently, it has been reported that metal ions such as copper(II) and zinc(II) are implicated in the aggregation of IAPP as well as able to modulate the proteolytic activity of IAPP degrading enzymes. For this reason, in this work, the role of the latter metal ions in the degradation of IAPP by insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) has been investigated by a chromatographic and mass spectrometric combined method. The latter experimental approach allowed not only to assess the overall metal ion inhibition of the human and murine IAPP degradation by IDE but also to have information on copper- and zinc-induced changes in IAPP aggregation. In addition, IDE cleavage site preferences in the presence of metal ions are rationalized as metal ion-induced changes in substrate accessibility. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Roccaro P.,University of Catania | Korshin G.V.,University of Washington | Cook D.,Australian Water Quality Center | Chow C.W.K.,Australian Water Quality Center | Drikas M.,Australian Water Quality Center
Water Research | Year: 2014

This study investigated effects of pH, bromide and natural organic matter (NOM) level on yields and speciation of trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) in chlorinated water. Experimental data were obtained using two water sources, one with a medium (DOC=1.4mg/L and SUVA=2.60Lmg-1m-1) and the other with higher (DOC=7.7mg/L and SUVA=4.26Lmg-1m-1) organic carbon level. The experiments employed the simulated distribution system (SDS) procedure at varying bromide concentrations and pH values of 7.0, 8.5 and 10. The speciation of THMs and dihalogenated HAAs (DHAAs) was interpreted based on the modelling of mixed halogenation yields via dimensionless ratios of bromination/chlorination reaction rates at each halogen incorporation node. The approach allowed precise modelling of the speciation of THMs and DHAAs at all examined pHs. In the case of DHAA, the dimensionless ratios of the bromination/chlorination reaction rates were not consistently affected by pH variations. For THMs, increase of pH caused the values of the dimensionless bromination/chlorination reaction rates to decrease in the case of halogenation of the initial reaction sites indicating a decreasing preference toward bromination at this reaction node. A similar trend was observed for the reactivity of dichlorinated reaction intermediate denoted as SCl2 whose formation precedes the release of CHCl3 and CHBrCl2. A similar but less consistent trend was observed for intermediate SBrCl whose halogenation yields both CHBrCl2 and CHBr2Cl. An opposite trend of increasing preference towards bromination at higher pHs was observed monobrominated intermediate SBr and in some extent dibrominated intermediate SBr2. These results help develop detailed DBP speciation models which needed to better understand the generation and potential health effects of THMs and HAAs at varying operating conditions and ultimately to adopt measure to minimize their levels in drinking water systems. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Garcia-Amoros J.,University of Miami | Swaminathan S.,University of Miami | Sortino S.,University of Catania | Raymo F.M.,University of Miami
Chemistry - A European Journal | Year: 2014

The covalent attachment of a carbazole fluorophore to an oxazine photochrome permits the reversible activation of fluorescence under optical control. Ultraviolet irradiation with a pulsed laser opens the oxazine ring to shift bathochromically the absorption of the carbazole component. Concomitant visible illumination excites selectively the carbazole fluorophore of the photochemical product to produce fluorescence. The photogenerated and fluorescent species reverts spontaneously on a submicrosecond timescale to the initial nonemissive state of the carbazole-oxazine dyad. The photochemical and photophysical properties engineered into this particular molecular switch allow the convenient monitoring of plasmonic effects on photochemical reactions with fluorescence measurements. In close proximity to silver nanoparticles, visible illumination with a continuous-wave laser also results in fluorescence activation. The metallic nanostructures enable the two-photon excitation of the oxazine component to induce the photochromic transformation and then facilitate the one-photon excitation of the photochemical product to generate fluorescence. Thus, these operating principles offer the opportunity to avoid altogether the need of pulsed ultraviolet irradiation to trigger the photochromic transformation and, instead, allow fluorescence activation with a single visible source operating at low illumination power. © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Torrisi B.,University of Catania
Scientometrics | Year: 2014

This study represents one of the first attempts to use empirical analysis to estimate academic productivity complex and proves the thesis that academic productivity is a function of multidimensional combination of the work of academic researchers: the scientific work, education, and external relationships. Given the complexity of academic productivity, it is necessary to clarify that it is divided into scientific productivity of the first type (scientific publications); scientific productivity of the second type (awards and academic positions); productivity in terms of external relationships (or external advice); and educational productivity. This objective of this paper is achieved through a sample survey (2,738 academics responded) conducted by Italian researchers from the PIR research project. The results obtained, however (as a case of estimates obtained using the results of a sample survey), are the result of a working reality that Italian academics are flooded by a myriad of activities that are not always consistent with the primary aims of the work of a researcher with an organisational and environmental well-being at the limit of iper productivity (or hyper productivity). The overall productivity (academic productivity) is significantly correlated with the four dimensions: average annual scientific productivity of the first type, average annual scientific productivity of the second type, the productivity external advice and, lastly, teaching productivity. The estimate of the sizes for the four indicators of productivity are the result of a literature search of the primary techniques used to assess productivity in academia. By comparing the most significant indicators, we managed to select all of the technical aspects missing in the Italian system of evaluation. This process allowed for us to add additional variables characterising the various aspects of productivity and prove the validity of our theory about the multidimensionality of academic productivity. © 2013 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.

Alparone A.,University of Catania
Computational and Theoretical Chemistry | Year: 2013

Second-order electronic hyperpolarizabilities (γ) of benzene and fluorobenzenes were computed using Hartree-Fock and correlated second-order Møller-Plesset perturbation theory (MP2) with the Sadlej's POL basis set. Dynamic γ values were determined for the nonlinear optical (NLO) Third Harmonic Generation process at the wavelength of 1910nm. The results show that, differently from the electronic polarizabilities, the average 〈γ〉 values steadily decrease with the increase of the number of fluorine atoms, following a near-additive atomic contribution law. At the MP2/POL level 〈γ〉(C6H6) is predicted to be ca. four times greater than 〈γ〉(C6F6). Fluorination produces disadvantageous contributions for third-order NLO properties of π-conjugated materials. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Siringo F.,University of Catania
Nuclear Physics B | Year: 2016

Pure Yang-Mills SU(N) theory is studied in the Landau gauge and four dimensional space. While leaving the original Lagrangian unmodified, a double perturbative expansion is devised, based on a massive free-particle propagator. In dimensional regularization, all diverging mass terms cancel exactly in the double expansion, without the need to include mass counterterms that would spoil the symmetry of the Lagrangian. No free parameters are included that were not in the original theory, yielding a fully analytical approach from first principles. The expansion is safe in the infrared and is equivalent to the standard perturbation theory in the UV. At one-loop, explicit analytical expressions are given for the propagators and the running coupling and are found in excellent agreement with the data of lattice simulations. A universal scaling property is predicted for the inverse propagators and shown to be satisfied by the lattice data. Higher loops are found to be negligible in the infrared below 300 MeV where the coupling becomes small and the one-loop approximation is under full control. © 2016 The Author.

Arrabito G.,University of Catania | Pignataro B.,University of Palermo
Analytical Chemistry | Year: 2012

This Feature article reports on solution dispensing methodologies which enable the realization of multiplexed arrays at the micro- and nanoscale for relevant biosensing applications such as drug screening or cellular chips. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Bentivegna E.,University of Catania | Bentivegna E.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Bruni M.,University of Portsmouth
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2016

We construct a three-dimensional, fully relativistic numerical model of a universe filled with an inhomogeneous pressureless fluid, starting from initial data that represent a perturbation of the Einstein-de Sitter model. We then measure the departure of the average expansion rate with respect to this homogeneous and isotropic reference model, comparing local quantities to the predictions of linear perturbation theory. We find that collapsing perturbations reach the turnaround point much earlier than expected from the reference spherical top-hat collapse model and that the local deviation of the expansion rate from the homogeneous one can be as high as 28% at an underdensity, for an initial density contrast of 10-2. We then study, for the first time, the exact behavior of the backreaction term QD. We find that, for small values of the initial perturbations, this term exhibits a 1/a scaling, and that it is negative with a linearly growing absolute value for larger perturbation amplitudes, thereby contributing to an overall deceleration of the expansion. Its magnitude, on the other hand, remains very small even for relatively large perturbations. © 2016 American Physical Society.

Barcikowski S.,University of Duisburg - Essen | Compagnini G.,University of Catania
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics | Year: 2013

Today, nanoparticles are widely implemented as functional elements onto surfaces, into volumes and as nano-hybrids, resulting for example in bioactive composites and biomolecule conjugates. However, only limited varieties of materials compatible for integration into advanced functional materials are available: nanoparticles synthesized using conventional gas phase processes are often agglomerated into micro powders that are hard to re-disperse into functional matrices. Chemical synthesis methods often lead to impurities of the nanoparticle colloids caused by additives and precursor reaction products. In the last decade, laser ablation and nanoparticle generation in liquids has proven to be a unique and efficient technique to generate, excite, fragment, and conjugate a large variety of nanostructures in a scalable and clean manner. This editorial briefly highlights selected recent advancements and critical aspects in the field of pulsed laser-based nanoparticle generation and manipulation, including exemplary strategies to harvest the unique properties of the laser-generated nanomaterials in the field of biomedicine and catalysis. The presented critical aspects address future assignments such as size control and scale-up. This journal is © 2013 the Owner Societies.

Ekser B.,University of Pittsburgh | Ekser B.,University of Catania | Ezzelarab M.,University of Pittsburgh | Hara H.,University of Pittsburgh | And 6 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2012

The shortage of organs and cells from deceased individuals continues to restrict allotransplantation. Pigs could provide an alternative source of tissue and cells but the immunological challenges and other barriers associated with xenotransplantation need to be overcome. Transplantation of organs from genetically modified pigs into non-human primates is now not substantially limited by hyperacute, acute antibody-mediated, or cellular rejection, but other issues have become more prominent, such as development of thrombotic microangiopathy in the graft or systemic consumptive coagulopathy in the recipient. To address these problems, pigs that express one or more human thromboregulatory or anti-inflammatory genes are being developed. The results of preclinical transplantation of pig cells - eg, islets, neuronal cells, hepatocytes, or corneas - are much more encouraging than they are for organ transplantation, with survival times greater than 1 year in all cases. Risk of transfer of an infectious microorganism to the recipient is small. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Detailed urban land-cover maps are essential information for sustainable planning. Land-cover maps assist planners in designing strategies for the optimisation of urban ecosystem services and climate change adaptation. In this study, the statistical software R was applied to land cover analysis for the Catania metropolitan area in Sicily, Italy. Six land cover classes were extracted from high-resolution orthophotos. Five different classification algorithms were compared. Texture and contextual layers were tested in different combinations as ancillary data. Classification accuracies of 89% were achieved for two of the tested algorithms. © 2013 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Torrisi B.,University of Catania
Scientometrics | Year: 2013

Do the best Italian academics move abroad? What is the academic productivity of an Italian researcher working in Italy compared with one working abroad? Does academic productivity depend on their well-being at work? The aim of this study is to find explanations for these questions and to demonstrate the relationship that exists between academic productivity and organizational well-being and work, both for researchers who are Italian emigrants abroad (project IRA) and for those who remain in Italy (IRI project). This goal was achieved through two surveys. Where there is an atmosphere of a wellness organization, it creates a productive work environment (vision abroad); conversely, a poor working environment that is associated with an organizational system that is below the average level negatively affects the overall academic productivity (in Italy). We can confirm that working environments with better organizational climate produce more productive academics. © 2012 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.

Settimo M.,University Paris Diderot | Settimo M.,University of Siegen | De Domenico M.,Rovira i Virgili University | De Domenico M.,University of Catania
Astroparticle Physics | Year: 2015

Ultra-high energy (UHE) photons play an important role as an independent probe of the photo-pion production mechanism by UHE cosmic rays. Their observation, or non-observation, may constrain astrophysical scenarios for the origin of UHECRs and help to understand the nature of the flux suppression observed by several experiments at energies above 1019.5 eV. The interaction length of UHE photons above 1017 eV ranges from a few hundred kpc up to tens of Mpc. Interactions with the extragalactic background radiation initiate the development of electromagnetic cascades which affect the fluxes of photons observed at Earth. The interpretation of the current experimental results rely on the simulat