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Genoa, Italy

The University of Genoa is one of the largest universities in Italy. Located in Liguria on the Italian Riviera, the university was founded in 1481. It currently has about 40,000 students, 1,800 teaching and research staff and about 1,580 administrative staff. Wikipedia.

Dubbioso G.,CNR Italian Ship Model Basin | Viviani M.,University of Genoa
Ocean Engineering | Year: 2012

Simplified mathematical models based upon semi-empirical regression formulae describing forces and moments acting on the hull during manoeuvres are commonly used for the preliminary evaluation of ship steering capabilities. Many semi-empirical regressions have been developed, and are broadly adopted, for the manoeuvrability prediction of single screw slow/medium speed ships. Their application for the study of twin screw vessels (cruise ships, RoRo ferries, megayachts, naval vessels, for which dedicated regression formulae are scarce) manoeuvring capabilities could lead to misleading results. These ships are usually characterised by different hull forms and more complex stern configuration due to the presence of appendages like skegs, shaft lines and brackets, which can strongly affect manoeuvrability behaviour. In this work a novel procedure to properly account for the particular geometric and stern appendage characteristics of these kind of vessels is described. A thorough analysis has been performed on a ship model equipped with 13 different stern appendage configurations and new formulae have been developed in order to describe accurately their influence on ship manoeuvring behaviour. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Fagnola F.,Polytechnic of Milan | Umanita V.,University of Genoa
Communications in Mathematical Physics | Year: 2010

We find the structure of generators of norm-continuous quantum Markov semigroups on B(h) that are symmetric with respect to the scalar product tr (ρ1/2x*ρ1/2y) induced by a faithful normal invariant state ρ and satisfy two quantum generalisations of the classical detailed balance condition related with this non-commutative notion of symmetry: the so-called standard detailed balance condition and the standard detailed balance condition with an antiunitary time reversal. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Bragazzi N.L.,University of Genoa
Psychology Research and Behavior Management | Year: 2013

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is an intentional, direct, and socially unacceptable behavior resulting in the destruction of one's own body tissues with no intention of dying or committing suicide, even though it is associated with a higher risk of attempted, planned, or just considered suicide. In this preliminary report, we introduce the concept of "NSSI 2.0"; that is to say, the study of the Internet usage by subjects with NSSI, and we introduce a Google Trends-based approach for monitoring NSSI, called NSSI infodemiology and infoveillance. Despite some limitations, Google Trends has already proven to be reliable for infectious diseases monitoring, and here we extend its application and potentiality in the field of suicidology. Ad hoc web portals and surveys could be designed in light of the reported results for helping people with NSSI. © 2014 Bragazzi.

Izzotti A.,University of Genoa
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences | Year: 2012

Chemoprevention is effective in inhibiting the onset of cancer in experimental animal models, but the transferability of similar results to humans is questionable. Therefore, reliable intermediate molecular biomarkers are needed to evaluate the efficacy of chemopreventive agents before the onset of cancer. The use of genomic biomarkers is limited by their poor predictive value. Although post-genomic biomarkers (i.e., gene-expression analyses) are useful for evaluating the safety, efficacy, and mechanistic basis of chemopreventive agents, the biomarkers are often poorly related to the phenotype, due to posttranscriptional regulation. Proteome analyses can evaluate preclinical phenotype alterations, but only at low protein counts. MicroRNA alterations, which are essential for the development of cancer, may be modulated by chemopreventive agents. Furthermore, microRNA delivery may be used to counteract carcinogenesis. Exposure to cigarette smoke induces microRNA let-7 downregulation and cell proliferation that can be converted to cell growth arrest and apoptosis upon let-7a transfection. Therefore, microRNAs are reliable biomarkers for evaluating chemoprevention efficacy and may be used to counteract carcinogenesis. © 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.

Isotretinoin, a drug used for moderate to severe acne, has been repeatedly associated with various psychiatric complications, although a definitive causal relationship has not been established to date. This case report describes a 25-year-old male who developed obsessive- compulsive disorder at the age of 23 years following isotretinoin treatment for acne (10-20 mg/day) since the age of 16 years. Although standard treatment for obsessivecompulsive disorder caused mood swings, the combination of fluvoxamine 300 mg/day and olanzapine 15 mg/day significantly improves the clinical picture. Although rare, severe adulthood psychiatric complications may occur following isotretinoin treatment, requiring management which is individually tailored to the patient. © 2010 Fornaro, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

Kendrick M.A.,University of Melbourne | Honda M.,Australian National University | Pettke T.,University of Bern | Scambelluri M.,University of Genoa | And 2 more authors.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2013

Serpentinites form by hydration of ultramafic lithologies in a range of seafloor and shallow subduction zone settings. Serpentinites are recognised as major reservoirs of fluid mobile elements and H2O in subducting oceanic lithosphere, and together with forearc serpentinites formed in the mantle wedge, provide critical information about shallow-level volatile fluxes during subduction. The current study provides new Cl, as well as the first comprehensive Br, I and noble gas analyses reported for seafloor and forearc chrysotile-lizardite serpentinites. The samples were recovered from IODP drilling campaigns of mid-ocean ridge, passive margin and forearc settings (n=17), and ophiolites in the Italian Alps and Apennines (n=10). The aims of this study were to determine the compositional variability of noble gases and halogens in serpentinites entering subduction zones and evaluate the efficiency of gas loss during the early stages of serpentinite subduction.The chrysotile-lizardite serpentinites and serpentised peridotites contain 43-2300ppm Cl and 3×10-13-2×10-11molg-1 36Ar, with the concentrations of these elements broadly related to the estimated degree of serpentinisation. The serpentinites have extremely variable Br/Cl and I/Cl ratios with many samples preserving compositions similar to organic-rich sedimentary marine pore fluids. Serpentinites from the Marianas Forearc have very high I concentrations of up to 45ppm I and I/Cl ratios of ~14,000 times the seawater value that is even higher than the maximum I/Cl enrichment observed in sedimentary marine pore fluids. The serpentinites have 130Xe/36Ar and 84Kr/36Ar ratios that are mostly close to or above seawater values, and 20Ne/36Ar ratios that range from seawater to lower values. The serpentinites contain <10-270ppm K and, irrespective of age (0Ma to ~160Ma), are characterised by 40Ar/36Ar ratios of 300-340 that are slightly higher than the seawater value of 296, thus indicating the presence of minor excess 40Ar*. Three of six serpentinites analysed for helium also have measurable excess 4He contents that cannot be explained by in situ production. The data show that serpentinites trap noble gases and halogens that originate from seawater, organic matter and diverse crustal lithologies.Combined with previous analyses of metamorphosed serpentinites, the new data suggest that approximately 60-70% of the 36Ar entering subduction zones in serpentinites is lost from chrysotile and/or antigorite and could potentially escape through the forearc. An additional, ~20-30% of the 36Ar entering subduction zones in serpentinites is lost during antigorite breakdown and may be cycled through the arc or back-arc, and ~1-10% of the 36Ar entering subduction zones in serpentinites may be subducted into the deeper mantle. The data demonstrate decoupling of noble gases, halogens and water during subduction and suggest that subduction-zone fluid fluxes can produce especially high concentrations of noble gases and iodine in newly formed forearc serpentinites. The distinctive I/Cl enrichment of forearc serpentinites suggest that halogen abundance ratios provide a plausible means for inferring the geotectonic setting of serpentinisation in ophiolite samples. The exceptional Cl, Br, I and noble gas concentrations of serpentinites, the potential subduction of the forearc serpentinites and the stability of serpentine minerals to mantle depths of >200km, imply that serpentinites could dominate the deep recycling budgets of both the heavy halogens and atmospheric noble gases. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Crocco M.,Italian Institute of Technology | Trucco A.,Italian Institute of Technology | Trucco A.,University of Genoa
IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing | Year: 2011

Frequency-invariant beam patterns are often required by systems using an array of sensors to process broadband signals. If the spatial aperture is shorter than the involved wavelengths, using a superdirective beamforming is essential to get an efficient system. In this context, robustness of array imperfections is a crucial feature. In the literature, only a few approaches have been proposed to design a robust, superdirective, frequency-invariant beamformer based on filter-and-sum architecture; all of them achieve frequency-invariance by imposing a desired beam pattern. However, the choice of a suitable desired beam pattern is critical; an improper choice results in unsatisfactory performance. This paper proposes a new method of array synthesis that allows the design of a robust broadband beamformer with tunable tradeoff between frequency-invariance and directivity, without the need for imposing a desired beam pattern. The latter is defined as a set of variables that do not depend on frequency and are included in the vector of variables to be optimized. To this end, a suitable cost function has been devised whose minimum can be found in closed form. Therefore, the method is analytical and computationally inexpensive. In addition, a technique that allows obtaining a beam pattern with a linear phase over frequency is described. The results show the effectiveness of the proposed method in designing robust superdirective beam patterns for linear arrays receiving far-field signals, with special attention to microphone arrays of limited aperture. © 2011 IEEE.

Zolezzi T.,University of Genoa
Numerical Functional Analysis and Optimization | Year: 2011

The condition number of a given mathematical problem is often related to the reciprocal of its distance from ill-conditioning. Such a property is proved here in the infinite-dimensional setting for linear-quadratic convex optimization of two types: linearly constrained convex quadratic problems, and minimum norm least squares solutions. A uniform version of such theorem is obtained in both cases for suitably equi-bounded classes of optimization problems. An application to the conditioning of a Ritz method is presented. For least squares problems it is shown that the semi-Fredholm property of the operators involved determines the validity of a condition number theorem. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Enescu D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Frache A.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Lavaselli M.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Monticelli O.,University of Genoa | Marino F.,Polytechnic University of Turin
Polymer Degradation and Stability | Year: 2013

This paper describes the effectiveness of novel phosphorous-nitrogen intumescent flame retardant system (ammonium polyphosphate 202 and PPM Triazine HF-trademark, abbrev. IS) on fire retardancy and thermal stability properties of polypropylene (abbrev. PP) at incorporation level below the standard amount required for intumescent flame retardant system. UL-94 vertical burning test revealed that the addition of 20 wt.% of IS into neat PP is enough to reach V-0 rating (short burn without dripping). Further, a higher increase of the oxygen concentration for ignition was also found with the addition of the novel intumescent flame retardant to neat PP; LOI value of neat PP by addition of 20 wt.% IS rose from 19 to 31 vol.%. Finally, a remarkable decrease of peak heat release rate (PHRR: -91%), total heat release (THR: -42%), average of mass loss rate (AMLR: -92%), average of specific extinction aria (ASEA: -48%) and total smoke release (TSR: -58%) was revealed with increasing in IS content. Novel intumescent flame retardant system showed good flame retardancy performance pointing out that the intumescent char formed resists oxidation; this aspect was also confirmed by the thermogravimetry analysis. Hence, it can be pointed out that the improvement of flame retardancy imparted by the novel intumescent flame retardant system at lower concentration enables on one side a lower cost material formulation and on the other side the impact on the mechanical properties of the polymer might be lower. The thermo-oxidative data have revealed an enhancement of the thermal stability of the PP matrix by incorporation of IS (the PP/20IS composite showed a markedly increase in T onset: 14°C and Tmax: 64°C). © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Mariscotti A.,University of Genoa
Measurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation | Year: 2010

The proposed bridge has a simple analog design featuring few components and may be implemented inexpensively at any laboratory. Yet, it is characterized by a low input stray capacitance (1 pF in the prototype with margin for improvement) and a very good accuracy, in terms of measurement uncertainty and repeatability: the method of balancing successive readings of the voltage drops across the "capacitor under test" and a reference resistor uses at best the external voltmeter in terms of measurement accuracy and avoid the need for a voltage reference and related stability issues. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Striano P.,University of Genoa | Capovilla G.,Epilepsy Center
Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports | Year: 2013

Epileptic encephalopathy with continuous spikes and waves during slow sleep (EECSWSS) is an age-related childhood condition characterized by epilepsy, cognitive or behavioral impairment, and electroencephalographic abnormality of continuous spike-wave discharges during slow sleep. Continuous spikes and waves during slow sleep (or electrical status epilepticus during sleep) is an electrographic pattern characterized by nearly continuous spike-wave discharges during non-REM sleep, with a frequency of 1.5-3 Hz and usually diffuse and bilateral in distribution. Most authors consider EECSWSS as wide spectrum of epileptic conditions of different origin associated with heterogeneous clinical manifestations and neuropsychological impairment of different severity in close temporal concordance with the appearance of the electroencephalographic pattern of electrical status epilepticus during sleep. The long-term prognosis of this condition is overall poor owing to the persistence of neuropsychological impairment. Therefore, early recognition and effective therapy are necessary to improve long-term prognosis. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Rebora A.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Dermatology | Year: 2016

Trichodynia designates a painful sensation on the scalp sometimes reported by patients with hair loss. Its best description dates back to 1960, when Sulzberger et al. (Arch Dermatol 1960; 81: 556-560) reported it in a proportion of women complaining of an unexplained diffuse alopecia. Sulzberger et al.'s remark that trichodynia may also be circumscribed ("spotty") is an important detail missed by most ensuing observers. Women are mostly affected or, at least, more likely to report it. The quality and intensity vary greatly, the "burning" variety being most severe. Whether trichodynia is prevalent in telogen effluvium or it may also be present in androgenetic alopecia remains a crucial question. Hairs shed only from painful sites, and this observation suggests that the severity of trichodynia is directly related to hair shedding and intensity. Trichodynia seems to be related to the release of substance P and is present in alopecia areata. Both observations suggest that peripilar inflammation may be a causative agent. © 2015 The International Society of Dermatology.

Sormani M.P.,University of Genoa | De Stefano N.,University of Siena
Nature Reviews Neurology | Year: 2013

The advent of a large number of new therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) warrants the development of tools that enable selection of the best treatment option for each new patient with MS. Evidence from clinical trials clearly supports the efficacy of IFN-β for the treatment of MS, but few factors that predict a response to this drug in individual patients have emerged. This deficit might be due, at least in part, to the lack of a standardized definition of the clinical outcomes that signify improvement or worsening of the disease. MRI markers and clinical relapses have been the most widely studied short-term factors to predict long-term response to IFN-β, although the results are conflicting. Recently, integrated strategies combining MRI and clinical markers in scoring systems have provided a potentially useful approach for the management of patients with MS. In this Review, we focus on the many definitions of clinical response to IFN-β and explore the markers that can be used to predict this response. We also highlight advantages and limitations of the existing scoring systems in light of future expansion of these models to biological markers and to other classes of emerging therapies for MS. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Resta M.,University of Genoa
Neurocomputing | Year: 2015

This paper introduces an agent-based simulator driven by variants of Self-Organizing Maps (SOMs), specifically designed to model agents learning in economic systems, as well as to render how they interact and the way such interaction can affect the system general behavior. As a consequence, we developed an environment with SOMs nodes treated as agents that are suitable to simulate economic systems and their evolution over time; moreover, in this way we were able to study within the SOM framework the impact of spatial connections on individual decisions. The effectiveness of this framework has been tested in the formalization of a model of economic growth. Agents behavior is simulated when the production efforts are a direct consequence of how individuals (in our simulation: SOM nodes) allocate their time and energies between working and studying, thus defining corresponding consumption and savings patterns. We then tested the model coherence with respect to observable data. The results confirm that, in order to simulate economic systems dynamics, it is relatively easy to mold SOM so that the simulation framework highlights significant patterns. Furthermore, in the examined case being the patterns consistent with the existence of dichotomous growth, i.e. the combination of convergence within regions and divergence among regions, they can be of help to rulers to effectively address their policy intervention. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Comic L.,University of Novi Sad | De Floriani L.,University of Genoa
Graphical Models | Year: 2011

Ascending and descending Morse complexes, determined by a scalar field f defined over a manifold M, induce a subdivision of M into regions associated with critical points of f, and compactly represent the topology of M. We define two simplification operators on Morse complexes, which work in arbitrary dimensions, and we define their inverse refinement operators. We describe how simplification and refinement operators affect Morse complexes on M, and we show that these operators form a complete set of atomic operators to create and update Morse complexes on M. Thus, any operator that modifies Morse complexes on M can be expressed as a suitable sequence of the atomic simplification and refinement operators we have defined. The simplification and refinement operators also provide a suitable basis for the construction of a multi-resolution representation of Morse complexes. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Izzotti A.,University of Genoa
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences | Year: 2011

Clinical and experimental studies in humans provide evidence that moderate physical activity significantly decreases artery oxidative damage to nuclear DNA, DNA-adducts related to age and dyslipedemia, and mitochondrial DNA damage. Maintenance of adequate mitochondrial function is crucial for preventing lipid accumulation and peroxidation occurring in atherosclerosis. Studies performed on human muscle biopsies analyzing gene expression in living humans reveal that physically active subjects improve the expression of genes involved in mitochondrial function and of related microRNAs. The attenuation of oxidative damage to nuclear and mitochondrial DNA by physical activity resulted in beneficial effects due to polymorphisms of glutathione S-transferases genes. Subjects bearing nullGSTM1/T1polymorphisms have poor life expectancy in the case of being sedentary, which was increased 2.6-fold in case they performed physical activity. These findings indicate that the preventive effect of physical activity undergoes interindividual variation affected by genetic polymorphisms. © 2011 New York Academy of Sciences..

Passalacqua G.,University of Genoa | Landi M.,Pediatric National Healthcare System | Pajno G.B.,Messina University
Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2012

Purpose of Review: Cow's milk allergy (CMA) is common in children and may lead to severe systemic reactions. Avoidance of the ingestion of cow milk is the only effective approach, but this does not exclude the inadvertent or accidental ingestion, or the assumption of milk hidden in other foods. As no pharmacological treatment is available, specific desensitization has been considered an attractive strategy. Recent Findings: In the last years, several trials of oral desensitization to cow milk, with different protocols, were published. Overall the results were favourable and demonstrated the achievement of a full tolerance in a high percentage of children. Mild side effects that can be easily managed by slowing the desensitization were reported frequently. The discontinuation of the procedure was necessary in less than 20% of children, on average, due to severe side effects. Summary: Oral immunotherapy (oral desensitization) seems to be a promising treatment strategy for cow milk allergy in children that can be applied also to other foods such as eggs or peanuts. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

de Pauw B.E.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Viscoli C.,University of Genoa
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy | Year: 2011

The management of invasive fungal disease in the immunocompromised host is complex and requires the specialized knowledge of physicians whose primary interest is actually the underlying disease rather than infectious complications. This Supplement aims to provide these physicians with some tools that may help to guide them through the maze of suspicion that an invasive fungal disease is present by offering an integrated care pathway of rational patient management. Such pathways will inevitably vary in detail in different centres and depend for their success on the presence of multidisciplinary teams and an explicit agreement on at least the minimum requirements for effective management. The integrated care pathways presented constitute an objective instrument to allow regular audits for recognizing opportunities to change practice if and when weaknesses are identified. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.

Martinez-Huitle C.A.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Dos Santos E.V.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | De Araujo D.M.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Panizza M.,University of Genoa
Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry | Year: 2012

In this work, a real effluent discharged by Brazilian textile industry, has been electrochemically treated using boron doped diamond (BDD) anode for removing chemical oxygen demand (COD) and colour. Preliminary experiments were performed under real discharged effluent conditions (pH and conductivity) in order to verify the applicability of this treatment process. However, a partial elimination of COD and colour effluent were achieved, depending on applied current density (20, 40 and 60 mA cm -2), respectively. Therefore, different set of experiments were carried out where an amount Na 2SO 4 was added in the real effluent; then, COD of textile effluent was satisfactorily reduced by employing different operational conditions (current density, temperature, Na 2SO 4 concentration, flow rate), reducing the time of depuration and consequently, the costs, confirming the potential efficiency of this textile effluent treatment. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Busca G.,University of Genoa
Catalysis Today | Year: 2014

The data reported in the literature concerning the structure, the morphology and porosity, the physicochemical properties and the surface properties of transitional aluminas are reviewed critically. Original experimental data are reported to discuss the nature and assignment of the OH stretching bands associated to surface hydroxyl groups and the nature of the surface acidity and basicity. Suggestions are made for further investigations. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Aim of this article is to address the issue of citizen participation and democratic engagement within a specific area-slum upgrading-presenting and theoretically discussing the approach of an international network called Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), which represents member federations of urban poor and homeless groups from about 30 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The article addresses the model of intervention embraced by the network, the activities carried out, its philosophy, etc., mainly focusing on the way it envisions and pursues the engagement of local governments in upgrading slum dwellers living conditions. The basic idea within SDI is that the lack of participation by the urban poor has historically been one of the major obstacles to achieve real development: either the government or the donors' agencies, in fact, usually treat the poor as beneficiaries of someone elses actions, thus undervaluing their knowledge and skills. Radically opposing this view, SDI interprets its role not as an intermediary agency of slum dwellers in the engagement/negotiation with local governments but rather as an "enabling tool" of direct negotiation between the urban poor and the public institutions. SDI's most relevant feature, in fact, is surely the genuine leading role assigned to the slum dwellers grassroots organizations. © 2010 International Society for Third-Sector Research and The John's Hopkins University.

Zolezzi T.,University of Genoa
Mathematical Programming | Year: 2014

A finite-dimensional mathematical programming problem with convex data and inequality constraints is considered. A suitable definition of condition number is obtained via canonical perturbations of the given problem, assuming uniqueness of the optimal solutions. The distance among mathematical programming problems is defined as the Lipschitz constant of the difference of the corresponding Kojima functions. It is shown that the distance to ill-conditioning is bounded above and below by suitable multiples of the reciprocal of the condition number, thereby generalizing the classical Eckart–Young theorem. A partial extension to the infinite-dimensional setting is also obtained. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and Mathematical Optimization Society.

Morro A.,University of Genoa
Mathematical and Computer Modelling | Year: 2010

Heat conduction and viscosity in solids are modelled by means of evolution equations. The appropriate time derivative is determined by requiring that both objectivity and compatibility with thermodynamics be satisfied. This is performed by investigating the balance law and the entropy inequality in the reference configuration. It follows that the evolution for the heat flux and the stress tensor involves the Oldroyd derivative, irrespective of the occurrence of nonlocal terms. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Avanzino L.,University of Genoa | Fiorio M.,University of Verona
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Dystonia has historically been considered a disorder of the basal ganglia, mainly affecting planning and execution of voluntary movements. This notion comes from the observation that most lesions responsible for secondary dystonia involve the basal ganglia. However, what emerges from recent research is that dystonia is linked to the dysfunction of a complex neural network that comprises basal ganglia–thalamic–frontal cortex, but also the inferior parietal cortex and the cerebellum. While dystonia is clearly a motor problem, it turned out that sensory aspects are also fundamental, especially those related to proprioception. We outline experimental evidence for proprioceptive dysfunction in focal dystonia from intrinsic sensory abnormalities to impaired sensorimotor integration, which is the process by which sensory information is used to plan and execute volitional movements. Particularly, we will focus on proprioceptive aspects of dystonia, including: (i) processing of vibratory input, (ii) temporal discrimination of two passive movements, (iii) multimodal integration of visual-tactile and proprioceptive inputs, and (iv) motor control in the absence of visual feedback. We suggest that these investigations contribute not only to a better understanding of dystonia pathophysiology, but also to develop rehabilitation strategies aimed at facilitating the processing of proprioceptive input. © 2014 Avanzino and Fiorio.

The aim of this work is to investigate the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) process applicability to a typical aeronautical joint: the union of the stiffeners to sheets constituting the fuselage. To do this analysis FSW parameters of flat overlapped sheets were first identified by monitoring the temperature reached using thermography. 1.3. mm thick AA 2024 T3 overlapped sheets were welded with success and the thermal effect due to the use of different welding parameters was compared with the results of mechanical tests and microstructural investigations. FSW joint mechanical properties were compared with those detected by performing tensile tests of joints made by riveting, showing absolutely comparable values. FSW identified parameters were used to make overlap joints between flat panels and stiffeners, so as to realize a typical structure of the aeronautical sector and to compare, by pressurization tests, the resistance of such panels with similar riveted. The innovative character of this research is represented by cyclic pressurization tests, conducted as indicated by the FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation) rules on a scale model. Thus it was possible to verify that the fatigue strength of welded panels is such as to overcome the acceptability limits fixed in the aeronautical field. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Bassetti M.,University of Santa Maria in Ecuador | Molinari M.P.,Bacteriology Unit | Mussap M.,Bacteriology Unit | Viscoli C.,University of Genoa | Righi E.,University of Santa Maria in Ecuador
Clinical Microbiology and Infection | Year: 2013

Although internal medicine wards (IMWs) represent a significant reservoir of patients with candidemia, few investigators have specifically addressed the epidemiological aspects of candidaemia in this population. Of all patients hospitalized during the study period with candidaemia, 133/348 (38%) were admitted to IMWs. Variables associated with IMWs included: antibiotic therapy prior to hospitalization, urinary or central venous catheter, parenteral nutrition, tumour and age >75 years. Overall, 30-day mortality in IMWs was significantly higher than that in other wards (51.1% vs. 38.2%, p <0.02). Multiple logistic regression analysis identified the administration of antifungal treatment 48 h after having the first positive BC as an independent determinant of hospital mortality. Patients with candidaemia in IMWs account for a substantial proportion of patients with candidaemia and have higher mortality compared with patients in other wards. © 2013 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2013 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Mariscotti A.,University of Genoa
IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems | Year: 2011

In modern electric traction systems, the calculation of induced voltage on internal and external conductors is always required for both interference and people and equipment safety. The International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT) method is based on simplified relationships, which are integrated by suitable screening factors (representing and hiding the traction system complexity). Focus is on the determination of these factors and the accuracy, which are evaluated with simulation and experimental data. The considered systems are rail return, return conductor, and autotransformer (AT) 2 × 25-kV traction systems with victim cables of various lengths; the influence of the most relevant electric parameters (soil resistivity and conductance to earth of the return circuit conductors) is considered. The results confirm the relevance of the conductance to earth and of the position of the current injection point. The induced voltage is approximately proportional to the length, with a slight increase for shorter victim cables. The calculated AT screening factor is always smaller than the values suggested by the standards by a factor of 2 in the worst case. For the influence of separation of the inducing and victim circuits, the adopted methods agree in finding a critical distance around 68 m; at larger distances, CCITT values are slightly optimistic. Measured results confirm that the CCITT coefficients are all conservative by a factor of 24 (except the AT coefficient for total length exposure), whereas the multiconductor transmission line (MTL) results agree with a worst-case margin of 13%. © 2010 IEEE.

Di Felice R.,University of Genoa
Basin Research | Year: 2010

The first part of this paper provides an overview of the state of the art of the hydrodynamics of liquid suspensions of solid particles. It is shown that knowledge of the suspension Archimedes number is sufficient to estimate the voidage-velocity parameters for suspensions of solids possessing homogenous characteristics, thereby completely defining the system from a fluid dynamic point of view. A general relation is presented which will indicate if a solid-fluid system will be in the fixed or in the suspended state depending on the relative velocity between the two phases. Modifications of the previous approach when the solid particles are not spherical have been also indicated. The basic features of the pseudo-fluid approach are then presented. This approach is useful when the solids making up the suspension have different sizes: by the introduction of the pseudo-fluid apparent characteristics (density and viscosity) it is possible to make basic estimations of the suspension behaviour. The second part of the paper outlines possible application of suspension theory to geological phenomena, such as the vertical transport of water-sand suspensions. Aspects of interest are the minimum pressure required for the transport of the suspension, the estimation of suspension flow rate through an overall pressure balance, the vertical transport of large 'breccia' blocks and the behaviour of the solid particles present in the rising conduit once the overpressure falls below the minimum value needed to sustain the flow. Finally, a warning is given on the limitations of the presented relationships (e.g. the assumption of homogeneous solid dispersion in the suspension) and on situations such as inclined conduits which require a different approach. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © Blackwell Publishing Ltd, European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers and International Association of Sedimentologists.

Striano P.,University of Genoa | De Jonghe P.,University of Antwerp | Zara F.,Institute G Gaslini
Epilepsia | Year: 2013

Epileptic encephalopathy is a condition in which epileptic activity, clinical or subclinical, is thought to be responsible for any disturbance of cognition, behavior, or motor control. However, experimental evidence supporting this clinical observation are still poor and the causal relationship between pharmacoresistant seizures and cognitive outcome is controversial. In the past two decades, genetic studies shed new light onto complex mechanisms underlying different severe epileptic conditions associated with intellectual disability and behavioral abnormalities, thereby providing important clues on the relationship between seizures and cognitive outcome. Dravet syndrome is a childhood disorder associated with loss-of-function mutations in SCN1A and is characterized by frequent seizures and severe cognitive impairment, thus well illustrating the concept of epileptic encephalopathy. However, it is difficult to determine the causative role of the underlying sodium channel dysfunction and that of the consequent seizures in influencing cognitive outcome in these children. It is also difficult to demonstrate whether a recognizable profile of cognitive impairment or a definite behavioral phenotype exists. Data from the laboratory and the clinics may provide greater insight into the degree to which epileptic activity may contribute to cognitive impairment in individual syndromes. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2013 International League Against Epilepsy.

Bottari F.,University of Venice | Oliveri P.,University of Genoa | Ugo P.,University of Venice
Biosensors and Bioelectronics | Year: 2014

A nanostructured electrochemical biosensor for detecting proteins of interest in work of art, in particular in tempera paintings, is presented. To determine egg yolk we focus here on the determination of immunoglobulin IgY. The transducers are nanoelectrode ensembles (NEEs), prepared via membrane templated electroless deposition of gold. Because of their geometrical and diffusion characteristics, NEEs are characterized by significantly low detection limits, moreover they display the capability of capturing proteins by interaction with the polycarbonate membrane of the NEE. At first, the proteic component of the paint is extracted by ultrasonication in an aqueous buffer, then IgY is captured by incubation on the NEE. The immunoglobulin is detected by treatment with anti-IgY labeled with horse radish peroxidase (Anti-IgY-HRP). The binding of the Anti-IgY-HRP is detected by recording the electrocatalytic signal caused by addition of H2O2 and methylene blue. The sensor detection capabilities are tested by analyzing both paint models, prepared in the lab, and real samples, from paintings of the XVIII-XX century. Multivariate exploratory analysis is applied to classify the voltammetric patterns, confirming the capability to differentiate egg-yolk tempera from other kind of tempera binders as well as from acrylic or oil paints. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Pagnan R.,University of Genoa
Journal of Logic, Language and Information | Year: 2012

A diagrammatic logical calculus for the syllogistic reasoning is introduced and discussed. We prove that a syllogism is valid if and only if it is provable in the calculus. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Jaskelioff M.,National University of Rosario | Moggi E.,University of Genoa
Theoretical Computer Science | Year: 2010

The incremental approach to modular monadic semantics constructs complex monads by using monad transformers to add computational features to a pre-existing monad. A complication of this approach is that the operations associated to the pre-existing monad need to be lifted to the new monad. In a companion paper by Jaskelioff, the lifting problem has been addressed in the setting of system Fω. Here, we recast and extend those results in a category-theoretic setting. We abstract and generalize from monads to monoids (in a monoidal category), and from monad transformers to monoid transformers. The generalization brings more simplicity and clarity, and opens the way for lifting of operations with applicability beyond monads. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Armirotti A.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Damonte G.,University of Genoa
Proteomics | Year: 2010

Over the last years, top-down (TD) MS has gained a remarkable space in proteomics, rapidly trespassing the limit between a promising approach and a solid, established technique. Several research groups worldwide have implemented TD analysis in their routine work on proteomics, deriving structural information on proteins with the level of accuracy that is impossible to achieve with classical bottom-up approaches. Complete maps of PTMs and assessment of single aminoacid polymorphisms are only a few of the results that can be obtained with this technique. Despite some existing technical and economical limitations, TD analysis is at present the most powerful instrument for MS-based proteomics and its implementation in routine workflow is a rapidly approaching turning point in proteomics. In this review article, the state-of-the-art of TD approach is described along with its major advantages and drawbacks and the most recent trends in TD analysis are discussed. References for all the covered topics are reported in the text, with the aim to support both newcomers and mass spectrometrists already introduced to TD proteomics. © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Martini A.,University of Genoa | Lovell D.J.,Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases | Year: 2010

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is not a disease but an exclusion diagnosis that includes all forms of chronic arthritis of unknown origin with onset before 16 years of age. The current classification identifies several different categories. While some of them appear to represent rather homogeneous entities others seem still to include heterogeneous conditions. The advent of the new biological treatments has dramatically changed both the observed responses to treatment and the expectations of treatments. International research networks of paediatric rheumatology have contributed to fostering the conduct of controlled clinical trials and also the development of validated outcome measures. However, despite a dramatic advance in the understanding of JIA categories, pathobiology and treatments, much remains to be done.

Canonica G.W.,University of Genoa
World Allergy Organization Journal | Year: 2013

Molecular-based allergy (MA) diagnostics is an approach used to map the allergen sensitization of a patient at a molecular level, using purified natural or recombinant allergenic molecules (allergen components) instead of allergen extracts. Since its introduction, MA diagnostics has increasingly entered routine care, with currently more than 130 allergenic molecules commercially available for in vitro specific IgE (sIgE) testing. MA diagnostics allows for an increased accuracy in allergy diagnosis and prognosis and plays an important role in three key aspects of allergy diagnosis: (1) resolving genuine versus cross-reactive sensitization in poly-sensitized patients, thereby improving the understanding of triggering allergens; (2) assessing, in selected cases, the risk of severe, systemic versus mild, local reactions in food allergy, thereby reducing unnecessary anxiety for the patient and the need for food challenge testing; and (3) identifying patients and triggering allergens for specific immunotherapy (SIT). Singleplex and multiplex measurement platforms are available for MA diagnostics. The Immuno-Solid phase Allergen Chip (ISAC) is the most comprehensive platform currently available, which involves a biochip technology to measure sIgE antibodies against more than one hundred allergenic molecules in a single assay. As the field of MA diagnostics advances, future work needs to focus on large-scale, population-based studies involving practical applications, elucidation and expansion of additional allergenic molecules, and support for appropriate test interpretation. With the rapidly expanding evidence-base for MA diagnosis, there is a need for allergists to keep abreast of the latest information. The aim of this consensus document is to provide a practical guide for the indications, determination, and interpretation of MA diagnostics for clinicians trained in allergology. ©2013 Canonica et al.

De Micheli E.,National Research Council Italy | Viano G.A.,University of Genoa
Journal of Computational Physics | Year: 2013

We present a simple and fast algorithm for the computation of the Gegenbauer transform, which is known to be very useful in the development of spectral methods for the numerical solution of ordinary and partial differential equations of physical interest. We prove that the coefficients of the expansion of a function f(x) in Gegenbauer (also known as ultraspherical) polynomials coincide with the Fourier coefficients of a suitable integral transform of the function f(x). This allows to compute N Gegenbauer coefficients in O(Nlog2N) operations by means of a single Fast Fourier Transform of the integral transform of f(x). We also show that the inverse Gegenbauer transform is expressible as the Abel-type transform of a suitable Fourier series. This fact produces a novel algorithm for the fast evaluation of Gegenbauer expansions. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Chiorazzi N.,Feinstein Institute for Medical Research | Ferrarini M.,Istituto Nazinale Per la Ricerca Sul Cancro | Ferrarini M.,University of Genoa
Blood | Year: 2011

Several cell types have been suggested as giving rise to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and these suggestions have reflected the sophistication of technology available at the time. Although there is no consensus as to the normal cellular counterpart(s) in the disease, an antigen-experienced B lymphocyte appears required based on surface membrane phenotypes and gene expression profiles. However, what is still unclear is whether a single or multiple normal precursors were stimulated to evolve into CLL and at what stage(s) this occurred. A unifying, parsimonious theory is that CLL clones with either mutated or unmutated IGHVs derive from marginal zone B cells. However, evidence for remarkably similar B-cell receptor amino acid sequence and striking differences in polyantigen and autoantigen-binding activity, found in some but not all CLL clones, challenge a single-cell derivation for CLL. In this Perspective, we summarize data regarding normal counterparts of CLL cells and suggest that a multistep process of leukemogenesis is important to consider when assigning a cellular origin for this disease. Finally, although available data do not definitively identify the cell(s) of origin, we offer possibilities for single- and multiple-cell origin models as straw men that can be improved on and hopefully lead to final answers to this puzzle. © 2011 by The American Society of Hematology.

Tanda G.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer | Year: 2011

An experimental investigation of forced convection heat transfer in a rectangular channel (aspect ratio AR = 5) with angled rib turbulators, inclined at 45°, is presented. The angled ribs were deployed with parallel orientations on one or two surfaces of the channel. The convective fluid was air, and the Reynolds number varied from 9000 to 35,500. The ratio of rib height to hydraulic diameter (e/D) was 0.09, while four rib pitch-to-height ratios (p/e) were studied: 6.66, 10.0, 13.33, and 20.0. The aim of the work was to study the effect of rib spacing on the thermal performance of the ribbed channel. The maps of local heat transfer coefficient in the inter-rib regions have been reconstructed by liquid crystal thermography. The thermal performance of each ribbed channel is identified by the average Nusselt number and by the friction factor. Superior heat transfer performance was found at the optimal rib pitch-to-height ratio of 13.33 for the one-ribbed wall channel and at p/e = 6.66-10 for the two-ribbed wall channel. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Straub R.H.,University of Regensburg | Cutolo M.,University of Genoa | Pacifici R.,Emory University
Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism | Year: 2015

Objective: Bone loss is typical in chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, pemphigus vulgaris, and others. It is also typical in transplantation-related inflammation and during the process of aging. While we recognized that bone loss is tightly linked to immune system activation or inflamm-aging in the form of acute, chronic active, or chronic smoldering inflammation, bone loss is typically discussed to be an "accident of inflammation.". Methods: Extensive literature search in PubMed central. Results: Using elements of evolutionary medicine, energy regulation, and neuroendocrine regulation of homeostasis and immune function, we work out that bone waste is an adaptive, evolutionarily positively selected program that is absolutely necessary during acute inflammation. However, when acute inflammation enters a chronic state due to the inability to terminate inflammation (e.g., in autoimmunity or in continuous immunity against microbes), the acute program of bone loss is a misguided adaptive program. Conclusions: The article highlights the complexity of interwoven pathways of osteopenia. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier HS Journals ,Inc.

Fornaro M.,University of Genoa
Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2011

Catatonic syndromes involve a complex mixture of motor, behavioral, and systemic manifestations that are derived from unclear mechanisms. What is clear is that neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (DA), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate (GLU), are of major importance in the pathogenesis of catatonia and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) and that serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) is crucial to the development of Serotonin Syndrome (SS). As medications with potent effects on modulation of monoamines proliferate, the diagnosis and management of these complex disorders become even more important. Without question, these syndromes have signs, symptoms and treatments that overlap, thus, considering the symptomatological load and the associated clinical burden (including potentially life-threatening conditions), the need for a better knowledge of the hypothesized biological mechanisms and pharmacological management is imperative. Although the search for a unique, conclusive approach to the management of catatonia is futile, stating the heterogeneity of the clinical pictures and the wide range of effective treatment choices (including non-pharmacological interventions), clinicians should not disregard an accurate, critical therapeutic approach to such a relevant, yet often disregarded, topic. The aim of this narrative review is to provide both clinicians and pharmacologists with a narrative, panoramic review on catatonia and associated clinical pictures, focusing on its general pharmacological management. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

Belcastro V.,Neurology Unit | D'Egidio C.,University of Chieti Pescara | Striano P.,University of Genoa | Verrotti A.,University of Perugia
Epilepsy Research | Year: 2013

Treatment of epileptic patients with valproic acid (VPA) may be associated with substantial weight changes that may increase morbidity and impair adherence to the treatment regimen. VPA-induced weight gain seems to be associated with many metabolic disturbances; the most frequent are hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, hyperleptinemia and leptin resistance. Patients who gain weight during VPA therapy can develop dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome that are associated with long-term vascular complications such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. Moreover, an elevation in the levels of uric acid and homocysteine, together with oxidative stress, may contribute to atherosclerotic risk in patients under long-term therapy with VPA.The aim of this review is to discuss the metabolic and endocrine effects of VPA chronic treatment in patients with epilepsy. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Cherubini S.,Polytechnic of Bari | De Palma P.,Polytechnic of Bari | Robinet J.-Ch.,Arts et Metiers ParisTech | Bottaro A.,University of Genoa
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2010

Recent studies have suggested that in some cases transition can be triggered by some purely nonlinear mechanisms. Here we aim at verifying such an hypothesis, looking for a localized perturbation able to lead a boundary-layer flow to a chaotic state, following a nonlinear route. Nonlinear optimal localized perturbations have been computed by means of an energy optimization which includes the nonlinear terms of the Navier-Stokes equations. Such perturbations lie on the turbulent side of the laminar-turbulent boundary, whereas, for the same value of the initial energy, their linear counterparts do not. The evolution of these perturbations toward a turbulent flow involves the presence of streamwise-inclined vortices at short times and of hairpin structures prior to breakdown. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Cerveri I.,University of Pavia | Brusasco V.,University of Genoa
European Respiratory Review | Year: 2010

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous and complex disease of which the basic pathophysiological mechanisms remain largely unknown. On the basis of recent results from pathological studies and large clinical trials, the presence of airway inflammation does not seem to be sufficient to explain the complexity of the disease and the relatively poor response to treatment. It is probably time to abandon the concept of COPD as a unique disease and define, identify and treat the various aspects, which may differ between individuals. Among the different phenotypic distinctions, the classical distinction "chronic bronchitis" has mucus hypersecretion as the key presenting symptom. Its role in COPD has been the subject of an ongoing debate; however, it now appears to be being re-evaluated due to findings from recent epidemiological and pathological studies. In this context, the view that chronic mucus hypersecretion plays a secondary role in the pathogenesis of COPD should be abandoned and instead, drugs targeting mucus hypersecretion should be considered as a treatment option. © ERS 2010.

Slime moulds live in agricultural ecosystems, where they play an important role in the soil fertilization and in the battle against crop pathogens. In an agricultural soil, the amoebae are exposed to different stress factors such as pesticides and weather conditions. The use of pesticides increased up from 0.49 kg per hectare in 1961 to 2 kg in 2004, and the global greenhouse gas emission has grown 70 % between 1970 and 2004 leading to a global fluctuation of average surface temperature. Therefore, the European Directive 2009/128/EC has led to a new approach to agriculture, with the transition from an old concept based on high use of pesticides and fossil fuels to an agriculture aware of biodiversity and health issues. We studied the effects of temperature variations and pesticides on Dictyostelium discoideum. We measured the fission rate, the ability to differentiate and the markers of stress such as the activity and presence of pseudocholinesterase and the presence of heat shock protein 70. Our results highlight how the sensitivity to zinc, aluminium, silver, copper, cadmium, mercury, diazinon and dicofol changes for a 2 °C variation from nothing/low to critical. Our work suggests considering, in future regulations, about the use of pesticides as their toxic effect on non-target organisms is strongly influenced by climate temperatures. In addition, there is a need for a new consideration of the protozoa, which takes into account recent researches about the presence in this microorganism of classical neurotransmitters that, similar to those in animals, make protozoa an innocent target of neurotoxic pesticides in the battle against the pest crops. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

One of the major accomplishments of early elementary particle physics research was the development of an apparatus able to efficiently collect photographs of cosmic-ray particles. This accomplishment was achieved in 1932 at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge by triggering a cloud chamber with two appropriately connected counters. A careful analysis of the literature reveals that the development of the Cavendish apparatus was preceded and, in some respect, influenced by hybrid counter-cloud chamber devices devised previously in two U.S. laboratories. © 2011 American Association of Physics Teachers.

Capozziello S.,University of Naples Federico II | Vignolo S.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Geometric Methods in Modern Physics | Year: 2011

We study the initial value formulation of metric-affine f(R)-gravity in presence of a Klein-Gordon scalar field acting as source of the field equations. Sufficient conditions for the well-posedness of the Cauchy problem are formulated. This result completes the analysis of the same problem already considered for other sources. © 2011 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Martinoli C.,University of Genoa
Seminars in musculoskeletal radiology | Year: 2010

Neuropathies about the ankle and foot may be the cause of chronic pain and disability. In most cases, these conditions derive from mechanical or dynamic compression of a segment of a nerve within a narrow osteofibrous tunnel, an opening in a fibrous structure, or a passageway close to a ligament or a muscle. Although the evaluation of nerve disorders primarily relies on neurological examination and electrophysiology, diagnostic imaging is currently used as a complement to help define the site and etiology of nerve compression and exclude other disease possibly underlying the patient' symptoms. In this article, a review of the anatomical and pathological features of nerve entrapments in the distal lower extremity is presented on ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, according to the nerve involved. Thieme Medical Publishers.

La Camera M.,University of Genoa
Modern Physics Letters A | Year: 2011

We analyze the stability of a class of thin-shell wormholes with spherical symmetry evolving in flat FRW spacetimes. The wormholes considered here are supported at the throat by a perfect fluid with equation of state P = wσ and have a physical radius equal to aR, where a is a time-dependent function describing the dynamics of the throat and R is the background scale factor. The study of wormhole stability is done by means of the stability analysis of dynamic systems. © 2011 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Gregorio-Teruel L.,University Miguel Hernandez | Valente P.,University of Genoa | Gonzalez-Ros J.M.,University Miguel Hernandez | Fernandez-Ballester G.,University Miguel Hernandez | Ferrer-Montiel A.,University Miguel Hernandez
Journal of General Physiology | Year: 2014

The transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor subtype I (TRPV1) channel acts as a polymodal sensory receptor gated by chemical and physical stimuli. Like other TRP channels, TRPV1 contains in its C terminus a short, conserved domain called the TRP box, which is necessary for channel gating. Substitution of two TRP box residues- I696 and W697-with Ala markedly affects TRPV1's response to all activating stimuli, which indicates that these two residues play a crucial role in channel gating. We systematically replaced I696 and W697 with 18 native l-amino acids (excluding cysteine) and evaluated the effect on voltage-and capsaicin-dependent gating. Mutation of I696 decreased channel activation by either voltage or capsaicin; furthermore, gating was only observed with substitution of hydrophobic amino acids. Substitution of W697 with any of the 18 amino acids abolished gating in response to depolarization alone, shifting the threshold to unreachable voltages, but not capsaicin-mediated gating. Moreover, vanilloid-activated responses of W697X mutants showed voltage-dependent gating along with a strong voltage-independent component. Analysis of the data using an allosteric model of activation indicates that mutation of I696 and W697 primarily affects the allosteric coupling constants of the ligand and voltage sensors to the channel pore. Together, our findings substantiate the notion that inter-and/or intrasubunit interactions at the level of the TRP box are critical for efficient coupling of stimulus sensing and gate opening. Perturbation of these interactions markedly reduces the efficacy and potency of the activating stimuli. Furthermore, our results identify these interactions as potential sites for pharmacological intervention. © 2014 Gregorio-Teruel et al.

Bandelloni G.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Geometric Methods in Modern Physics | Year: 2011

The relativistic symmetric tensor fields are, in four dimensions, the right candidates to describe Higher Spin Fields. Their highest spin content is isolated with the aid of covariant conditions, discussed within a group theory framework, in which auxiliary fields remove the lower intrinsic angular momenta sectors. These conditions are embedded within a Lagrangian Quantum Field theory which describes an Higher Spin Field interacting with a Classical background. The model is invariant under a (B.R.S.) symmetric unconstrained tensor extension of the reparametrization symmetry, which include the FangFronsdal algebra in a well defined limit. However, the symmetry setting reveals that the compensator field, which restore the FangFronsdal symmetry of the free equations of motion, is in the existing in the framework and has a relevant geometrical meaning. The Ward identities coming from this symmetry are discussed. Our constraints give the result that the space of the invariant observables is restricted to the ones constructed with the Highest Spin Field content. The quantum extension of the symmetry reveals that no new anomaly is present. The role of the compensator field in this result is fundamental. © 2011 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Randazzo A.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Microwave Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Swarm intelligence denotes a class of new stochastic algorithms inspired by the collective social behavior of natural entities (e.g., birds, ants, etc.). Such approaches have been proven to be quite effective in several applicative fields, ranging from intelligent routing to image processing. In the last years, they have also been successfully applied in electromagnetics, especially for antenna synthesis, component design, and microwave imaging. In this paper, the application of swarm optimization methods to microwave imaging is discussed, and some recent imaging approaches based on such methods are critically reviewed. © 2012 Andrea Randazzo.

Epiphytic lichens are one of the taxonomic groups most sensitive to forest management. Nevertheless, they have not yet been exhaustively included in the assessment of Sustainable Forest Management. This work aimed at evaluating the effects of forest management on epiphytic lichens in coppiced forests, exploring the spatial patterns of diversity and the composition of communities. Moreover, the goal was to compare the performance of four potential indicators for monitoring the effects of forest management on epiphytic lichens: total lichen diversity, species associated with intensive management, species associated with aged coppiced woodlands and Indicator Species Ratio (ISR). In humid Mediterranean Liguria, 50 sampling units were chosen in Castanea sativa and deciduous Quercus spp. forests subjected to different forest management practices: intensively managed coppice and aged coppice/high forest. The effect of forest management was evident in terms of species composition, since it was possible to find significantly associated species for each of the two management types. At each sampling site, the four indicators were calculated using Indicator Value Analysis and compared through correspondence analysis. The ISR was shown to be a more effective indicator, being independent of floristic composition and the occurrence of rare species. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Celentano A.,University of Genoa
EPJ Web of Conferences | Year: 2014

Low Q2 electron scattering is an efficient and competitive experimental technique to provide intense, quasi-real photon beams, with a high degree of linear polarization. Such a technique will be employed in Hall B at Jefferson Laboratory by having the primary 11? GeV electron beam from the CEBAF accelerator impinging on a liquid hydrogen target. Low-angle scattered electrons will be detected with the new Forward Tagger facility, while the final state hadrons will be measured with the CLAS12 spectrometer. The unique combination of the two detectors will permit to carry out a broad physics program, and to explore new possibilities for high quality physics. © Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014.

Niazi A.,Islamic Azad University of Arak | Leardi R.,University of Genoa
Journal of Chemometrics | Year: 2012

This review covers the application of Genetic Algorithms (GAs) in Chemometrics. The first applications of GAs in chemistry date back to the 1970s, and in the last decades, they have been more and more frequently used to solve different kinds of problems, for example, when the objective functions do not possess properties such as continuity, differentiability, and so on. These algorithms maintain and manipulate a family, or population, of solutions and implement a "survival of the fittest" strategy in their search for better solutions. GAs are very useful in the optimization and variable selection in modeling and calibration because of the strong effect of the relationship between presence/absence of variables in a calibration model and the prediction ability of the model itself. This review is not a complete summary of the applications of GAs to chemometric problems; its goal is rather to show the researchers the main fields of application of GAs, together with providing a list of references on the subject. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ouammi A.,Unite Technologies | Zejli D.,Unite Technologies | Dagdougui H.,University of Genoa | Benchrifa R.,Unite Technologies
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2012

An artificial neural network (ANN) model is used to forecast the annual and monthly solar irradiation in Morocco. Solar irradiation data are taken from the new Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring (CM-SAF)-PVGIS database. The database represents a total of 12 years of data from 1998 to 2010. In this paper, the data are inferred using an ANN algorithm to establish a forward/reverse correspondence between the longitude, latitude, elevation and solar irradiation. Specifically, for the ANN model, a three-layered, back-propagation standard ANN classifier is considered consisting of three layers: input, hidden and output layer. The learning set consists of the normalised longitude, latitude, elevation and the normalised mean annual and monthly solar irradiation of 41 Moroccan sites. The testing set consists of patterns just represented by the input component, while the output component is left unknown and its value results from the ANN algorithm for that specific input. The results are given in the form of the annual and monthly maps. They indicate that the method could be used by researchers or engineers to provide helpful information for decision makers in terms of sites selection, design and planning of new solar plants. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Huhle R.,TU Dresden | Pelosi P.,University of Genoa | de Abreu M.G.,TU Dresden
Critical Care | Year: 2016

This article is one of ten reviews selected from the Annual Update in Intensive Care and Emergency medicine 2016. Other selected articles can be found online at http://www.biomedcentral.com/collections/annualupdate2016. Further information about the Annual Update in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine is available from http://www.springer.com/series/8901. © 2016 Huhle et al.

Cenderello G.,Ospedali Galliera | De Maria A.,University of Genoa
Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy | Year: 2016

The goal of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in HIV-1 patients is immune reconstitution following control of viral replication. CD4+ cell number/proportions are a crude but essential correlate of immune reconstitution. Despite suppression of HIV replication, a fraction of ART-treated patients still fails to fully reconstitute CD4+ T cell numbers (immunological nonresponders, INRs). New drugs, regimens and treatment strategies led to increased efficacy, lower side effects and higher virological success rates in clinical practice. The multitude of described immune defects and clinical events accompanying INR opposed to the marginal effect of antiretroviral intensification or immunotherapy trials underline the need for continuing efforts at understanding the mechanisms that underlie INR. Here, we reassess INR definition, frequency, and the achievements of active clinical and translational research suggesting a shared definition for insufficient, partial and complete CD4+ cell number recovery thus improving homogeneity in patient selection and mechanism identification. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

Konczak J.,University of Minnesota | Abbruzzese G.,University of Genoa
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Musician's dystonia (MD) is a neurological motor disorder characterized by involuntary contractions of those muscles involved in the play of a musical instrument. It is task-specific and initially only impairs the voluntary control of highly practiced musical motor skills. MD can lead to a severe decrement in a musician's ability to perform. While the etiology and the neurological pathomechanism of the disease remain unknown, it is known that MD like others forms of focal dystonia is associated with somatosensory deficits, specifically a decreased precision of tactile and proprioceptive perception. The sensory component of the disease becomes also evident by the patients' use "sensory tricks" such as touching dystonic muscles to alleviate motor symptoms. The central premise of this paper is that the motor symptoms of MD have a somatosensory origin and are not fully explained as a problem of motor execution. We outline how altered proprioceptive feedback ultimately leads to a loss of voluntary motor control and propose two scenarios that explain why sensory tricks are effective. Sensory tricks are effective, because the sensorimotor system either recruits neural resources normally involved in tactile-proprioceptive (sensory) integration, or utilizes a fully functioning motor efference copy mechanism to align experienced with expected sensory feedback. We argue that an enhanced understanding of how a primary sensory deficit interacts with mechanisms of sensorimotor integration in musician's dystonia provides helpful insights for the design of more effective behavioral therapies. © 2013 Konczak and Abbruzzese.

Fossa M.,University of Genoa | Minchio F.,Studio 3F Engineering
Energy | Year: 2013

Vertical BHE (borehole heat exchangers) are a common solution for GCHP applications (ground coupled heat pump). Correct BHE design and sizing are mandatory to either assure long term GCHP performance or reduce the payback period. Most models for performing the time varying analysis of complex borefields are based on the solution of the conduction equation, through the calculation of proper temperature response factors. The DST (Duct Storage Model) is often referred as the benchmark analysis tool, even if it is based on a simplified description of the borefield geometry. In this paper, DST predictions, in terms of hourly fluid temperatures along 20 years, are compared with the corresponding results obtained by implementing the MLAA (Multiple Aggregation Algorithm) approach by Bernier et al. into a model able to employ suitable g-functions generated starting from the Finite Line Source solution. This paper discusses some aspects of the improvements here introduced to the original MLAA method. The study is devoted to the comparison between the predicted fluid temperature values by the DST and MLAA models, with special attention to the influence of the BHE geometry (matrix like vs in line configurations) and to the shape of the yearly hourly load profiles (balanced vs unbalanced ground loads). © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Oliveri P.,University of Genoa | Downey G.,Teagasc
TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry | Year: 2012

Food authenticity is a challenging analytical problem normally addressed using sophisticated laboratory methods that produce large data sets. Multivariate mathematical methods are required to process such data sets, typically to answer a question such as " Is sample X, which claims to be of type A, compatible with type-A samples on the basis of its analytical measurements?" .We recommend class-modeling methods to answer this type of question and discuss the principles, the practice and the results of several types of such methods. We also compare them, in terms of advantages and short-comings, with the discriminant-classification approach. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Pittaluga M.B.,University of Genoa
Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface | Year: 2011

In this paper, I investigate flow and suspended sediment transport in fluvial channels and develop an analytical theory to account for the effects of stratification on the flow field and on sediment concentration. The turbulence closure needed to account for density stratification is adapted from the model of Mellor and Yamada (1982). Solutions are found for both straight and constant curvature channels. In the latter case, in order to evaluate the secondary flow induced by curvature, I take advantage of the fact that the ratio of flow depth to radius of curvature is typically small in the field, which leads to a solution of the governing equations through an appropriate asymptotic expansion. Steady fully developed flow conditions in a bend of constant width are considered. Results show that buoyancy, besides affecting the vertical profiles of longitudinal velocity and concentration through a reduction of eddy viscosity and eddy diffusivity, enhances significantly the vertical distribution of lateral velocity. I then speculate that this stronger helical flow in river bends should lead to steeper lateral bed profiles with respect to the unstratified case. Such hypothesis is supported by an application of the Exner equation to the ideal case of a uniform and steady flow in constant curvature channels. It also appears that particle size crucially affects bed morphology as it affects the flux of suspended sediment under stratified conditions. The analytical model is validated by comparing predictions with laboratory investigations showing excellent agreement. It is shown that sediment-laden flows experience an additional friction with respect to clear water flows. This can be accounted for by simply increasing the effective bed roughness. A relation for this additional contribution in terms of the near bed Richardson number is derived by fitting the results of the stratified model to experimental observations. The potential use of the present approach and further developments are finally discussed. © 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

Gel-based proteomics are the most useful method for protein separation, even when compared with gel-free proteomics. Proteomic analysis by 2D gel electrophoresis (2-DE) with immobilized pH gradients is in turn the best approach to large-scale protein-expression screening. Spots visualization is pivotal for protein identification by mass spectrometry. Commonly used staining methods with excellent mass spectrometry compatibility are coomassie brilliant blue (CBB) or fluorescent dyes. In this study, an implementation of 'blue silver' colloidal CBB staining, characterized by high sensitivity and immediate low background, is discussed. The sensitivity of classical, colloidal and 'blue silver' CBB staining methods was compared on monodimensional and 2-DE gels. The implementation of the 'blue silver' method performs better, provided the physical state of the micelles is respected. An example of a 2-DE of human urine treated with combinatorial peptide ligand libraries demonstrates that implemented 'blue silver' can evidence the complexity of the sample.

Antunes M.A.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Laffey J.G.,University of Toronto | Pelosi P.,University of Genoa | Rocco P.R.M.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry | Year: 2014

All adult tissues, including the lung, have some capacity to self-repair or regenerate through the replication and differentiation of stem cells resident within these organs. While lung resident stem cells are an obvious candidate cell therapy for lung diseases, limitations exist regarding our knowledge of the biology of these cells. In contrast, there is considerable interest in the therapeutic potential of exogenous cells, particularly mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs), for lung diseases. Bone marrow derived-MSCs are the most studied cell therapy for these diseases. Preclinical studies demonstrate promising results using MSCs for diverse lung disorders, including emphysema, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, fibrosis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. This mini-review will summarize ongoing clinical trials using MSCs in lung diseases, critically examine the data supporting their use for this purpose, and discuss the next steps in the translational pathway for MSC therapy of lung diseases. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Belcastro V.,Neurology Clinic | Striano P.,University of Genoa
Epilepsy Research | Year: 2012

Homocysteine (Hcy) is a sulfur-containing, nonprotein amino acid reversibly formed and secreted during metabolism of methionine. Elevated total Hcy levels (hyper-tHcy) have been associated with cardiovascular disease in multiple large-scale epidemiologic studies and, in particular, patients with epilepsy exhibit elevated plasma tHcy levels more frequently than the general population caused by polymorphisms in the MTHFR gene and chronic treatment with older antiepileptic drugs.Folic acid alone or folic acid combined with other B-vitamins have all been shown to reduce tHcy concentration in patients on chronic treatment with antiepileptic drugs, however, which is the most appropriate supplementation scheme of folic acid and/or B-vitamins in patients with epilepsy still remains matter of debate. We review the latest findings on the role of supra-physiological tHcy concentrations as vascular risk factor in patients with epilepsy and discuss the possible role played by folate and other B-vitamins supplementation in epileptic patient with hyper-tHcy. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Lobovsky L.,University of West Bohemia | Botia-Vera E.,Technical University of Madrid | Castellana F.,University of Genoa | Mas-Soler J.,Technical University of Madrid | Souto-Iglesias A.,Technical University of Madrid
Journal of Fluids and Structures | Year: 2014

The objective of this research work has been to conduct experimental measurements on a dam break flow over a horizontal dry bed in order to provide a detailed insight, with emphasis on the pressure loads, into the dynamics of the dam break wave impacting a vertical wall downstream the dam. The experimental setup is described in detail, comprising state of the art miniaturized pressure sensors, high sampling rate data acquisition systems and high frame-rate video camera. It is a 1:2 scale of the highly cited (Lee et al., 2002, Journal of Fluids Engineering, 124) article experimental apparatus. Kinematics has been analyzed focusing on the free surface and wave front evolution. Experimental observations regarding liquid height and wave front speed have found to be in agreement with existing literature. This agreement enables the authors, assuming a similar framework, to discuss the measured pressure loads as a consequence of the dam break wave front impacting on the downstream wall. These loads show a substantial variability which has been statistically characterized. The measured quantities have been compared with the scarce available data in the literature, whose consistency is discussed. Measurements have been conducted with two filling heights. Scaling effects for such heights are also analyzed. As a direct result of the present initiative, an extensive set of data for computational tools validation is provided as Supplementary Materials, including pressure signals, wave height measurements and experimental videos. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Solari G.,University of Genoa
Wind and Structures, An International Journal | Year: 2014

Starting from an overview on the research on thunderstorms in the last forty years, this paper provides a general discussion on some emerging issues and new frameworks for wind loading on structures in mixed climates. Omitting for sake of simplicity tropical cyclones and tornadoes, three main aspects are pointed out. The first concerns the separation and classification of different intense wind events into extra-tropical depressions, thunderstorms and gust fronts, with the aim of improving the interpretation of the phenomena of engineering interest, the probabilistic analysis of the maximum wind velocity, the determination of the wind-induced response and the safety format for structures. The second deals with the use of the response spectrum technique, not only as a potentially efficient tool for calculating the structural response to thunderstorms, but also as a mean for revisiting the whole wind-excited response in a more general and comprehensive framework. The third involves the statistical analysis of extreme wind velocities in mixed climates, pointing out some shortcomings of the approaches currently used for evaluating wind loading on structures and depicting a new scenario for a more rational scheme aiming to pursue structural safety. The paper is set in the spirit of mostly simplified analyses and mainly qualitative remarks, in order to capture the conceptual aspects of the problems dealt with and put on the table ideas open to discussion and further developments. Copyright © 2014 Techno-Press, Ltd.

Bruzzone A.,University of Genoa | Longo F.,University of Calabria
European Journal of Industrial Engineering | Year: 2014

The article proposes the development of an application methodology, named MARLIN, for logistics and transportation (L&T) scenarios analysis and comparison within the fresh food supply chain (FFSC). The MARLIN application methodology consists of the development of a dedicated simulation-based software tool for scenarios analysis and comparison and its inclusion in a methodology framework. The software tool is based on three different cooperating simulators while the methodology framework consists of three different steps: 1) supply chain rings and constraints definition; 2) L&T scenarios and factors definition; 3) L&T scenarios analysis and comparison. After the description of the cooperating simulators and methodology framework, a case study on a real FFSC is presented to showcase the MARLIN application methodology; the case study provides analytical and numerical results for five L&T scenarios and selects the optimal L&T scenario. Copyright © 2014 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Di Vita A.,University of Genoa
Nuclear Fusion | Year: 2010

Independent assessment of the feasibility of controlled nuclear fusion in the proposed IGNITOR tokamak is difficult because of the uncertainties concerning energy transport in the plasma. We discuss one IGNITOR scenario with the help of well-known general constraint on transport in weakly collisional, axisymmetric, toroidal, low-β turbulent plasma. No particular ad hoc model for transport coefficients is invoked. As a result, the relevance of the Coppi-Mazzuccato-Gruber model is questioned. Moreover, the crucial role of temperature pedestal at the boundary is highlighted. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Imbimbo C.,University of Genoa
Nuclear Physics B | Year: 2010

We couple Chern-Simons gauge theory to 3-dimensional topological gravity with the aim of investigating its quantum topological invariance. We derive the relevant BRST rules and Batalin-Vilkovisky action. Standard BRST transformations of the gauge field are modified by terms involving both its anti-field and the super-ghost of topological gravity. Beyond the obvious couplings to the metric and the gravitino, the BV action includes hitherto neglected couplings to the super-ghost. We use this result to determine the topological anomalies of certain higher ghost deformations of SU (N) Chern-Simons theory, introduced years ago by Witten. In the context of topological strings these anomalies, which generalize the familiar framing anomaly, are expected to be cancelled by couplings of the closed string sector. We show that such couplings are obtained by dressing the closed string field with topological gravity observables. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Olivi G.,University of Genoa | Genovese M.D.,Private Practice
European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry | Year: 2011

Background: The idea of substituting a drill with a laser light, has led to its introduction in dentistry. Besides being more accepted to patients, in paediatric dentistry the laser has demonstrated safety compared with rotating instruments. Review: A review of the past 20 years of the dental literature concerning laser use in dentistry, including paediatric dentistry was completed. The findings of that review are presented. TECHNIQUES, The various types of lasers and their uses for caries detection, tooth sealing and caries removal are described. Results: Laser caries detection demonstrated a good reproducibility, reliability and predictability to monitor the caries process over time. Erbium lasers have been found to be efficient for caries removal, tooth cleaning and decontamination. Conclusion: The laser erbium technology represents a safe device to effectively and selectively remove carious tissues from decayed teeth. For children, all the recognized advantages of this technique play a decisive role in the successful day-to-day treatment of dental caries.

Stress and displacement fields in multilayered composites with interfacial imperfections, such as imperfect bonding of the layers or delaminations, or where the plies are separated by thin interlayers allowing relative motion, have large variations in the thickness, with characteristic zigzag patterns and jumps at the layer interfaces. These effects are well captured by a model recently formulated by the author for multilayered plates with imperfect interfaces and affine interfacial traction laws (Massabò & Campi, Meccanica, 2014, in press; Compos Struct, 2014, 116, 311-324). The model defines a homogenized displacement field, which satisfies interfacial continuity, and uses a variational technique to derive equilibrium equations depending on only six generalized displacement functions, for any arbitrary numbers of layers and interfaces. The model accurately predicts stresses and displacements in simply supported, highly anisotropic, thick plates with continuous, sliding interfaces. In this paper the model is applied to wide plates with clamped edges and some inconsistencies, which have been noted in the literature for models based on similar approaches and have limited their utilization, are explained. A generalized transverse shear force is introduced as the gross stress resultant which is directly related to the bending moment in the equilibrium equations of multilayered structures with imperfect interfaces and substitutes for the shear force of single-layer theory. An application to a delaminated wide plate highlights the potential and limitations of the proposed model for the solution of fracture mechanics problems.

Piccardo G.,University of Genoa | Ranzi G.,University of Sydney | Luongo A.,University of LAquila
Thin-Walled Structures | Year: 2014

This paper proposes a new approach for the evaluation of the conventional modes, i.e. rigid, distortional, local and Bredt shear-modes, to be used in the framework of the Generalised Beam Theory (GBT) for the analysis of thin-walled members. The new method identifies a set of conventional modes in a single step cross-sectional analysis and for any type of cross-section, i.e. open, closed and partially-closed ones. The algorithm differs from that of the classical GBT, which requires a two-step evaluation procedure, consisting of an initial choice of the vector basis and its successive orthogonalization. The method is based on a definition of a new quadratic functional, whose steady condition leads to an eigenvalue problem, and directly generates the sought orthogonal basis, here found using a finite-element approach. The accuracy of the proposed method is validated by means of two numerical examples, one dealing with a lipped C-section and one with a partially-closed profile. It is shown that the conventional modes derived with the proposed approach are identical to those determined with the classical two-step procedure, thus limiting the computational effort required in their identification. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Thrush S.F.,NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research | Thrush S.F.,University of Genoa | Dayton P.K.,University of California at San Diego
Annual Review of Marine Science | Year: 2010

Modern fishing changes the ocean environment in many ways, including disturbing the sea floor, altering the food webs, and shifting many important ecosystem functions. Natural history, oceanographic, habitat, behavior, and ecological information must be integrated to implement meaningful ecosystem-based management. We discuss the urgent need to expand the concept of essential fish habitat to include important food-web relationships. The need for a broader perspective in terms of ecosystem function and the effects of interactive stressors is emphasized to maintain the vitality and resilience of valued ecosystems. Maintenance of multiple ecosystem functions is a key factor in the adaptive capacity of ecosystems to change. We argue that an ecological understanding of resilience embraces uncertainty and encourages multiple approaches to the management of humans such that ecosystem functions are maintained. © 2010 by Annual Reviews.

Garbarino S.,University of Genoa | Magnavita N.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Objective: To determine the frequency of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), metabolic syndrome and common mental disorders in the working population of 11 small enterprises and the feasibility of a program of action for health. Method: The clinical risk of OSAS, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome, and the level of psychological disorders were assessed during routine medical examination at the workplace in 2012. The response to medical advice was assessed in 2013. Results: 12.3% of the workers were suspected of being affected by OSAS. One or more components of metabolic syndrome were present in 24.5% of cases. OSAS in "healthy" workers was significantly associated with the presence of one or more components of metabolic syndrome (OR = 3.83; 95%CI 1.45-10.13) and with a psychological disorders score in the highest quartile (OR = 4.67; 95%CI = 1.72-12.64). Workers with suspected OSAS were reluctant to follow advice about undergoing further tests under the NHS. However, in some cases, confirmation of the OSAS diagnosis and subsequent treatment led to an improvement in metabolic condition. Conclusion: Although participation in treatment was limited, anecdotal cases support the idea that prevention of obstructive sleep apnea in the workplace might be useful for workers' health. © 2014 Garbarino, Magnavita.

Elison J.,Adams State University | Garofalo C.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Velotti P.,University of Genoa
Aggression and Violent Behavior | Year: 2014

Within the shame literature, anger and aggression are widely recognized as responses to shame. Recent findings on the affective neuroscience of social pain suggest multiple models by which social pain (e.g., shame) and anger/aggression may be linked. These models describe the mechanisms underlying the prominent role of shame in interpersonal aggression, a role revealed by many dozens of studies. Anger and aggression in response to shame may be viewed as emotion regulation, coping strategies, and evolutionary adaptations. Unfortunately, these attempts at coping with shame may be adaptive or maladaptive. Indeed, aggression may be an adaptive defensive response to physical pain and many physical threats that, through evolutionary processes, came to be linked to shame once social pain co-opted the affective response to physical pain. In a related article (Velotti, Elison, & Garofalo, 2014), we review the many contexts and populations in which aggression manifests, providing further evidence for the models proposed here. Thus, a more complete understanding of anger and violent behavior requires consideration of social pain, shame, and shame-regulation, for which physical pain serves as a useful model. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Cordier L.,LEA CEAT | El Majd B.A.,LEA CEAT | Favier J.,University of Genoa
International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids | Year: 2010

In this paper we compare various methods of calibration that can be used in practice to improve the accuracy of reduced-order models based on proper orthogonal decomposition. The bench mark configuration retained corresponds to a case of relatively simple dynamics: a two-dimensional flow around a cylinder for a Reynolds number of 200. We generalize to the first and second-order the method of calibration based on Tikhonov regularization recently used in (Physica D: Nonlinear Phenom. 2009; 238:416-427). Finally, we show that for this flow configuration this procedure is the most effective in terms of reduction of errors. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Valentini L.,University of Perugia | Bon S.B.,University of Perugia | Monticelli O.,University of Genoa | Kenny J.M.,University of Perugia
Journal of Materials Chemistry | Year: 2012

The reaction between amino-functionalized polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS-NH 2) and graphene oxide (GO) sheets was used to graft POSS-NH 2 onto a GO layer immobilized onto a layer of (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane, self-assembled onto Si substrate. The chemical composition and surface morphology as well as the surface properties of the prepared films were investigated by means of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, water contact angle measurements and field emission electron microscopy. Tribological measurements performed with a nanoindenter showed that such hydrophobic trilayer film exhibited a reduced friction coefficient suitable for applications in lubricant coatings. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2012.

Braido F.,University of Genoa
Current allergy and asthma reports | Year: 2014

Because of its burden on patient's lives and its impact on asthma, allergic rhinitis must be treated properly with more effective and safer treatments. According to guidelines by Allergic Rhinitis and Its Impact on Asthma (ARIA), the classification, pathogenesis, and treatment of allergic rhinitis are well defined. Currently, second-generation antihistamines and inhaled steroids are considered the cornerstone of first-line therapy. However, new formulations of available drugs (e.g., loratadine and rupatadine oral solution, ebastine fast-dissolving tablets, and the combination of intranasal fluticasone propionate and azelastine hydrochloride), recently discovered molecules (e.g., ciclesonide, bilastine, and phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors), immunologic targets (e.g., omalizumab), and unconventional treatments (e.g., homeopathic treatments) are currently under investigation and represent a new frontier in modern medicine and in allergic rhinitis management. The aim of this review is to provide an update on allergic rhinitis treatment, paying particular attention to clinical trials published within the past 20 months that assessed the efficacy and safety of new formulations of available drugs or new molecules.

Scaglione S.,University of Genoa
Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine | Year: 2010

The combination of synthetic polymers and calcium phosphates represent an improvement in the development of scaffolds for bone-tissue regeneration. Ideally, these composites provide both mechanically and architecturally enhanced performances; however, they often lack properties such as osteoconductivity and cell bioactivation. In this study we attempted to generate a composite bone substitute maximizing the available osteoconductive surface for cell adhesion and activity. Highly porous scaffolds were prepared through a particulate leaching method, combining poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) and hydroxyapatite (HA) particles, previously coated with a sucrose layer, to minimize their embedding by the polymer solution. Composite performances were evaluated both in vitro and in vivo. In PCL-sucrose-coated HA samples, the HA particles were almost completely exposed and physically distinct from the polymer mesh, while uncoated control samples showed ceramic granules massively covered by the polymer. In vivo results revealed a significant extent of bone deposition around all sucrose-coated HA granules, while only parts of the control uncoated HA granules were surrounded by bone matrix. These findings highlight the possibility of generating enhanced osteoconductive materials, basing the scaffold design on physiological and cellular concepts. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Straub R.H.,Laboratory of Experimental Rheumatology and Neuroendocrino Immunology | Buttgereit F.,Charite University Hospital | Cutolo M.,University of Genoa
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology | Year: 2011

The investigation of the hypothalamicpituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in chronic inflammation has demonstrated: 1) an anti-inflammatory influence of the HPA axis; 2) low serum levels of adrenal androgen; 3) equivocal results with respect to levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone and Cortisol; 4) inadequately low secretion of adrenal hormones in relation to inflammation (the disproportion principle); 5) modulating role of TNF and IL-6 on the HPA axis; 6) disturbed cooperativity of HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system (uncoupling); 7) observable glucocorticoid resistance; 8) the circadian rhythmicity explains morning symptoms; 9) new medications based on malfunction of the HPA axis (e.g. adapted to the circadian rhythm of hormones and cytokines); and 10) the newly described role of the HPA axis in the context of misguided energy regulation in chronic inflammatory diseases. This review discusses items 1-6 and 10, while the other items are presented elsewhere in this Supplement. Evidence is presented that the basis for many alterations is in an adaptive program positively selected for short-lived inflammatory responses (energy appeal reaction), which becomes a disease-inherent pathogenetic factor, if it continues too long, that can drive systemic disease sequelae of chronic inflammatory diseases such as the metabolic syndrome. © CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RHEUMATOLOGY 2011.

Repeated ribs are considered an effective technique to enhance forced convection heat transfer in channels. In order to establish the performance of rib-roughened channels, both heat transfer and friction characteristics have to be accounted for. In the present paper, heat transfer coefficients and friction factors have been experimentally investigated for a rectangular channel having one wall roughened by repeated ribs and heated at uniform flux, while the remaining three walls were smooth and insulated. Angled continuous ribs, transverse continuous and broken ribs, and discrete V-shaped ribs were considered as rib configurations. Different performance evaluation criteria, based on energy balance or entropy generation analysis, were proposed to assess the relative merit of each rib configuration. All the rib-roughened channels performed better than the reference smooth channel in the medium-low range of the investigated Reynolds number values, which is that typically encountered in solar air heater applications. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Repetto M.P.,University of Genoa
Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics | Year: 2011

Atmospheric conditions vary on the basis of the local thermal stratification, giving rise to stable, unstable or neutral atmospheric conditions, that can modify the incoming wind field and the consequent structural loads and response. This paper studies the problem from two points of view. Starting from a large database of in situ measurements of thermal stratification parameters, the first part of the paper proposes an analytical model for the statistical distribution of atmospheric conditions on varying the mean wind velocity. This model is then adopted, in the second part of the paper, to analyze the vortex-shedding response of chimneys, highlighting the great variability of the maximum response under thermal atmospheric conditions with the same probability of occurrence. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Gorter S.L.,Maastricht University | Bijlsma J.W.,University Utrecht | Cutolo M.,University of Genoa | Gomez-Reino J.,University of Santiago de Compostela | And 2 more authors.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases | Year: 2010

Glucocorticoids (GCs) rapidly reduce disease activity in early and advanced rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This systematic review on behalf of the task force on recommendations for the management of RA addresses the efficacy of GCs in RA. A literature search was performed in Medline, Embase, the Cochrane database, and the ACR/EULAR abstracts 2007 and 2008 on a set of questions relating to the use of GCs in RA. Eleven publications (including three Cochrane reviews comprising 33 trials) that met the criteria for detailed assessment were found. Robust evidence that GCs are effective as bridging therapy was obtained. The addition of GCs, to either standard synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) monotherapy or combinations of synthetic DMARDs, yields clinical benefits and inhibition of radiographic progression that may extend over many years. In early RA, the addition of low-dose GCs (<7.5 mg/day) to DMARDs leads to a reduction in radiographic progression; in longstanding RA, GCs (up to 15 mg/day) improve disease activity. There is some evidence that appropriate timing of GC administration may result in less morning stiffness. Only indirect information was found on the best tapering strategy, supporting the general view that GCs should be tapered slowly in order to avoid clinical relapses. GCs are effective in relieving signs and symptoms and inhibiting radiographic progression, either as monotherapy or in combination with synthetic DMARD monotherapy or combination therapy.

Introduction: The neuroendocrine tumor (NET) proliferation-based grading system (ENETs/WHO) for gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) tumors has proved reliable for prognostic stratification. To date, concerns exist regarding Ki-67 heterogeneity within the tumor and little is known on whether grade varies between primary and secondary sites. As tumor heterogeneity may have a significant impact on clinical management, our aim was to retrospectively evaluate Ki-67 on a series of GEP-NETs in order to establish whether there is variability in different samples of the same lesion or between primary and metastatic disease (local/distant, synchronous/metachronous). Materials and Methods: Sixty patients with multiple samples of tumor were accrued from a total of 338 GEP-NETs; 44 of them also had tissue from local/distant metastases and a further 5 had multiple metastatic foci from unknown primary. Immunohistochemistry for Ki-67 was performed on all paraffin blocks from both primary and metastatic tumors. Results: Intratumor Ki-67 heterogeneity sufficient to change grade at first diagnosis was seen in 3/60 cases (5%). Out of 49 patients with primary NETs and/or multiple metastases, discrepancy in grade between sites was identified in 19 (39%) cases and in particular in 11/47 (23%) and in 10/12 (83%) patients with synchronous and metachronous metastases respectively (p = 0.0002). Change in grade was more frequent in distant metastases compared to loco-regional (p = 0.024) and in particular, in distant sites other than the liver (p = 0.006). Conclusions: NETs show frequent differences in grade between primary site and their synchronous/metachronous metastases; assessment of Ki-67 at all sites may prove to be significant for patient management. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel Copyright © 2015, S. Karger AG. All rights reserved.

Bovolenta R.,University of Genoa
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Geotechnical Engineering | Year: 2011

The evaluation of ground movements is one of the most important issues in geotechnical engineering applications. In this context, the paper is aimed at prediction of the load-settlement performance of shallow foundations by taking soil non-linearity into account. The approach illustrated is based on the operational stiffness concept, characterising field behaviour with reference to relative foundation settlements, indicating pseudo-strain levels. A strain correction factor and a modulus correction factor, relating laboratory and field stiffness degradation curves, are introduced. Values of these factors are supplied on the basis of well-documented tests performed on Ticino sand, and can be adopted in elastic relationships for the prediction of load-settlement curves. The procedure, developed in order to supply the designer with a practical tool, is described, and some applications are presented.

Khan A.,ETH Zurich | Zunino A.,University of Genoa | Deschamps F.,ETH Zurich
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth | Year: 2011

We jointly invert local fundamental-mode and higher-order surface-wave phase-velocities for radial models of the thermo-chemical and anisotropic physical structure of the Earth's mantle to ∼1000 km depth beneath the North American continent. Inversion for thermo-chemical state relies on a self-consistent thermodynamic method whereby phase equilibria and physical properties (P-, S-wave velocity and density) are computed as functions of composition (in the Na2O-CaO-FeO-MgO-Al2O 3-SiO2 model system), pressure and temperature. We employ a sampling-based strategy to solve the non-linear inverse problem relying on a Markov Chain Monte Carlo method to sample the posterior distribution in the model space. A range of models fitting the observations within uncertainties are obtained from which any statistics can be estimated. To further refine sampled models we compute geoid anomalies for a collection of these and compare with observations, exemplifying a posteriori filtering through the use of additional data. Our thermo-chemical maps reveal the tectonically stable older eastern parts of North America to be chemically depleted (high Mg#) and colder (>200°C) relative to the active younger regions (western margin and oceans). In the transition zone the thermo-chemical structure decouples from that of the upper mantle, with a relatively hot thermal anomaly appearing beneath the cratonic area that likely extends into the lower mantle. In the lower mantle no consistent large-scale thermo-chemical heterogeneities are observed, although our results do suggest distinct upper and lower mantle compositions. Concerning anisotropy structure, we find evidence for a number of distinct anisotropic layers pervading the mantle, including transition zone and upper-most lower mantle. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

Marchese M.,University of Genoa
IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine | Year: 2011

Herein, we propose a comparison of two communication paradigms: interplanetary and pervasive; through the analysis of problems, solutions and future challenges. The aim is to show that interplanetary communication is performed through particular networks, which, on one hand, use most of the pervasive communication paradigm but, on the other hand, own features that allow the extension of the pervasive network concept. This contains an introduction of pervasive networking and of interplanetary communication and presents the future challenges of both focusing on architectures and protocols, and taking the new solutions of delay tolerant networking (DTN) as a reference point. The use of new interworking devices, called Extended Gateways, aimed at getting efficient interworking over interplanetary networks by joining the features of QoS and DTN Gateways, is envisaged. © 2006 IEEE.

Del Carmen Llasat M.,University of Barcelona | Siccardi F.,University of Genoa
Natural Hazards and Earth System Science | Year: 2010

The right of a person to be protected from natural hazards is a characteristic of the social and economical development of the society. This paper is a contribution to the reflection about the role of Civil Protection organizations in a modern society. The paper is based in the inaugural conference made by the authors on the 9th Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms. Two major issues are considered. The first one is sociological; the Civil Protection organizations and the responsible administration of the land use planning should be perceived as reliable as possible, in order to get consensus on the restrictions they pose, temporary or definitely, on the individual free use of the territory as well as in the entire warning system. The second one is technological: in order to be reliable they have to issue timely alert and warning to the population at large, but such alarms should be as "true" as possible. With this aim, the paper summarizes the historical evolution of the risk assessment, starting from the original concept of "hazard", introducing the concepts of "scenario of event" and "scenario of risk" and ending with a discussion about the uncertainties and limits of the most advanced and efficient tools to predict, to forecast and to observe the ground effects affecting people and their properties. The discussion is centred in the case of heavy rains and flood events in the North-West of Mediterranean Region.

Ciprandi G.,University of Genoa | Cirillo I.,Navy Medical Service | Klersy C.,Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology
Laryngoscope | Year: 2010

Objectives/Hypothesis: It is well known that there is a close association between allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma, and AR is a strong risk factor for the onset of asthma. AR duration is significantly associated with a possible bronchial involvement. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of possible spirometric abnormalities and bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR) in a large group of patients with recent onset of AR. Study Design: Observational cross-sectional study. Methods: A total of 1,539 AR patients were consecutively evaluated. Clinical examination, skin prick test, spirometry, and methacholine challenge were performed on all patients. Results: There were 362 (23%) patients with FEF25-75 values <70% of predicted. The methacholine challenge was positive in 74.43% of patients, and 72.22% of the population presented a polysensitization. At multivariable analysis, an FEV1 value lower than 92% of predicted, as well as increasing severity of BHR and polysensitization appeared to be independent predictors of a reduced FEF 25-75 value. Conclusions: This study shows that reduced FEF 25-75 values may be present in some patients with recent onset of AR. FEV1 <92%, severity of BHR, and polysensitization may be considered risk factor for this phenomenon. © 2010 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.

Holzinger D.,University of Munster | Kessel C.,University of Munster | Omenetti A.,University of Genoa | Gattorno M.,G Gaslini Scientific Institute
Nature Reviews Rheumatology | Year: 2015

Translational research approaches brought major changes to the understanding and treatment options of autoinflammatory diseases. Patients with common complex multifactorial diseases such as systemic-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA), and particularly those with rare monogenic autoinflammatory diseases such as cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS) or TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS), benefited from a deeper understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms and new treatment options emerging from preclinical studies. The study of IL-1 and IL-6 in this context led to novel therapies by forward translation. Conversely, effective treatment of sJIA and TRAPS with IL-1 blockade stimulated reverse translational efforts to study the pathophysiology of these cytokines in autoinflammatory diseases. These translational efforts led to the discovery of biomarkers such as S100 proteins, IL-18 or serum amyloid A, which are components of the inflammatory process, support diagnosis and allow for monitoring of disease activity, helping to predict patient outcomes. The ongoing characterization of autoinflammatory diseases in individual patients has led to classification into heterogeneous subgroups. Further characterization of relevant subgroups and the design of tailored treatment regimens, as well as the identification of new therapeutic targets and treatment options, are the major future challenges in the field of autoinflammatory diseases, particularly for paediatric rheumatologists. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Penna A.,University of Pavia | Lagomarsino S.,University of Genoa | Galasco A.,University of Pavia
Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics | Year: 2014

The macroelement technique for modelling the nonlinear response of masonry panels is particularly efficient and suitable for the analysis of the seismic behaviour of complex walls and buildings. The paper presents a macroelement model specifically developed for simulating the cyclic in-plane response of masonry walls, with possible applications in nonlinear static and dynamic analysis of masonry structures. The model, starting from a previously developed macroelement model, has been refined in the representation of flexural-rocking and shear damage modes, and it is capable of fairly simulating the experimental response of cyclic tests performed on masonry piers. By means of two internal degrees of freedom, the two-node macroelement permits to represent the coupling of axial and flexural response as well as the interaction of shear and flexural damage. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Velotti P.,University of Genoa | Elison J.,Adams State University | Garofalo C.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Aggression and Violent Behavior | Year: 2014

We review the largely separate literatures on aggression and shame, concluding that both internalized shame and maladaptive shame-regulation are key factors in a number of psychopathologies and that the latter may in turn lead to violent outcomes. Our review is consistent with, and provides further evidence for, the evolutionary and psychobiological links from shame to anger and aggression described in Elison, Garofalo, and Velotti (2014). Within the aggression literature, our analysis of studies on partner violence, incarcerated violent offenders, and personality disorders (Narcissistic, Borderline, Antisocial) focus on the role of shame as a common antecedent to violence. The review includes an introduction to different facets of shame, and goes on to discuss the trajectories that link shame and aggression, with particular regard to self-esteem and rejection sensitivity. We outline the diverse ways through which aggression could be better explained by acknowledging the triggering emotions and the contextual situations that characterize the aggressive act - especially focusing on partner violence. Finally, we argue that shame and shame-regulation should serve as useful points of intervention for reducing violent behavior and its underlying pathology, highlighting implications for both clinical and research purposes. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Silva P.L.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Pelosi P.,University of Genoa | Rocco P.R.M.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Current Opinion in Critical Care | Year: 2014

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Fluid resuscitation in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is not well documented. Clinical evidence comes from studies in critically ill patients, but these patients respond differently to fluids depending on the presence or absence of sepsis. RECENT FINDINGS: Clinical trials have shown adverse effects on kidney and hemostatic functions and trends toward increased mortality after hydroxyethyl starch infusion. Although well conducted, the methodology deserves attention concerning the infused volume, hemodynamic goals and the presence of septic and nonseptic patients. Small single-center studies have shown beneficial results associated with colloidal molecules through innovative methodological apparatus. Ongoing clinical trials allied to retrospective and prospective trials may favor the introduction of albumin in the critically ill population. SUMMARY: In order to evaluate the pros and cons of using fluids in ARDS patients, it is important to carefully analyze the latest trials. Recent studies have emphasized the importance of better understanding endothelial pathophysiology during fluid management in ARDS patients. Certainly, further studies analyzing fluid strategies in septic and nonseptic ARDS patients are needed. © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Maron-Gutierrez T.,Oswaldo Cruz Institute | Laffey J.G.,University of Toronto | Pelosi P.,University of Genoa | Rocco P.R.M.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Current Opinion in Critical Care | Year: 2014

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a multifaceted lung disease with no current effective therapy. Many clinical trials using conventional pharmacologic therapies have failed, suggesting the need to examine alternative approaches. Thus, attention has focused on the therapeutic potential of cell-based therapies for ARDS, with promising results demonstrated in relevant preclinical disease models. We review data concerning the therapeutic promise of cell-based therapies for ARDS. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent experimental studies provide further evidence for the potential of cell-based therapies in ARDS. A number of cell types, particularly mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs), bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells, endothelial progenitor cells, and embryonic stem cells have been demonstrated to reduce mortality and modulate the inflammatory and remodeling processes in relevant preclinical ARDS models. Multiple insights have emerged in regard to the mechanisms by which cell therapies - particularly MSCs - exert their effects, with evidence supporting direct cell-mediated and paracrine-mediated mechanisms of action. Diverse paracrine mechanisms exist, including the release of cytokines, growth factors (such as keratinocyte growth factor), and antimicrobial peptides, and transfer of cellular contents such as peptides, nucleic acids, and mitochondria via either microvesicular or direct cell-cell contact-mediated transfer. SUMMARY: Cell-based therapies offer considerable promise for the treatment of ARDS. While MSC-based therapies are being rapidly advanced toward clinical testing, clear therapeutic potential exists for other cell types for ARDS. A greater understanding of current knowledge gaps should further enhance the therapeutic potential of cell-based therapies for ARDS. © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Brawn J.,University of Oxford | Morotti M.,University of Oxford | Morotti M.,University of Genoa | Zondervan K.T.,University of Oxford | And 2 more authors.
Human Reproduction Update | Year: 2014

Background: Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is a significant public health problem with 1 million affected women in the UK. Although many pathologies are associated with CPP, the pain experienced is often disproportionate to the extent of disease identified and frequently no pathology is found (chronic pelvic pain syndrome). The central nervous system(CNS) is central to the experience of pain and chronic pain conditions in general are associated with alterations in both the structure and function of the CNS. This review describes the available evidence for central changes in association with conditions presenting with CPP. Methods: A detailed literature search was performed to identify relevant papers, however, this is not a systematic review. Results: CPP is associated with central changes similar to those identified in other pain conditions. Specifically these include, alterations in the behavioural and central response to noxious stimulation, changes in brain structure (both increases and decreases in the volume of specific brain regions), altered activity of both the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and psychological distress. Conclusions: The evidence reviewed in this paper demonstrates that CPP is associated with significant central changes when compared with healthy pain-free women. Moreover, the presence of these changes has the potential to both exacerbate symptoms and to predispose these women to the development of additional chronic conditions. These findings support the use of adjunctive medication targeting the CNS in these women. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved.

Capellino S.,Johns Hopkins University | Straub R.H.,University of Regensburg | Cutolo M.,University of Genoa
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences | Year: 2014

Sex hormones play an active role in inflammatory responses, with androgens being anti-inflammatory, whereas estrogens have both pro- and anti-inflammatory effects. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, low levels of androgens and high levels of estrone are found in the synovial fluid. Aromatase is the key enzyme for the conversion of androgens into estrogens. Proinflammatory cytokines stimulate aromatase activity so that the inflammatory milieu can induce conversion of androgens to estrogens. Moreover, testosterone inhibits aromatase activity. As local androgen levels are low in RA, this can contribute to high aromatase activity in the synovium. Importantly, aromatase-converted estrogens are converted into proproliferative and proinflammatory 16-hydroxylated estrogens. A hormone involved in aromatase activity is vitamin D, which downregulates aromatase in human RA macrophages. Collectively, evidence suggests a key role of aromatase in sex hormone balance during chronic inflammation and points to the importance of vitamin D as a possible new tool for aromatase modulation. © 2014 New York Academy of Sciences.

Testa S.,University of Genoa
British Food Journal | Year: 2011

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of internationalization patterns among speciality food small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), investigating dimensions that may have a bearing on such patterns, using a series of case studies. In particular the investigation seeks to gain new insights about differences among companies in their internationalization patterns. These differences are examined in a framework which tries to relate three company-level dimensions (market, technology and space) to internationalization patterns. The three dimensions are derived from the constructs developed by Storper and Salais, and Straete. Design/methodology/approach: Two research questions (RQs) are formulated: Is there a relationship between the internationalization pace of speciality food SMEs and their technology, market, and space dimensions? Is there a relationship between the internationalization modes of speciality food SMEs and their technology, market, and space dimensions? A qualitative approach was adopted and cases from a broad dataset were used. The present research is an explorative research: it is intended to provide insights from which hypotheses might be developed. Findings: This paper provides an empirical and conceptual contribution to the food internationalization debate. On the empirical side, it provides new evidence on speciality food internationalization, showing a rather diversified set of internationalization patterns, both in terms of pace and modes. On the conceptual side, it shows that the three dimensions of technology, market and space may help to enrich the comprehension of internationalization phenomena. While data collected seem not to provide insights from which hypotheses might be developed concerning RQ1, they seem on the contrary to provide useful insights concerning RQ2. Research limitations/implications: Limitations of the research generally relate to the use of a small sample. Future research should strive to obtain larger samples, develop a set of relevant finer-grained hypotheses and test those using appropriate statistical techniques Practical implications: Identifying the impact that the three dimensions might have on internationalization patterns and vice versa may help to focus on these specific elements when companies make their internationalization decisions. On the same line, public policy agencies could benefit from these first results for better clustering companies targeting their internationalization supporting initiatives. Originality/value: The findings add to the limited body of knowledge on the key influences on internationalization patterns within the food sector. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Maghnie M.,University of Genoa
European journal of endocrinology / European Federation of Endocrine Societies | Year: 2013

Neuroimaging has become an essential part of the diagnostic process in children with GH deficiency (GHD). The aim of the study was to document the frequency of neuroanatomical abnormalities in a very large cohort of children with GHD and to relate these findings to patient clinical characteristics. Results of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were reported in 15,043 of 43,725 children with non-acquired GHD (idiopathic, neurosecretory dysfunction (NSD) and known congenital cause) who were enrolled in KIGS (Pfizer International Growth Database) between 1987 and 2011. Clinical characteristics of patients before GH treatment with normal MRI (idiopathic GHD (IGHD) and NSD) were compared with those of patients with abnormal pituitaries (hypoplasia, empty sella (ES), HME (hypoplastic anterior pituitary, missing pituitary stalk and ectopic posterior pituitary)). Abnormal MRIs were found in 4032 (26.8%) children, within which ES (N=1178 (7.8%)) and HME (N=1019 (6.8%)) were the most frequent findings. In 2361 children diagnosed as IGHD or NSD before MRI examination, anatomical abnormalities ((pituitary hypoplasia: n=974); (HME: n=459)) were documented. Patients with anatomical abnormalities had more severe characteristics of GHD: normal MRI < pituitary hypoplasia < ES < HME. GHD is associated with a great variety of neuroanatomical abnormalities as identified by MRI. The investigation and evaluation of MRI need to be conducted in a structured mode. There is an association between anatomical and functional abnormalities of the pituitary.

Zlatanov D.,University of Genoa
Mechanism and Machine Theory | Year: 2012

In his classic Treatise on the Theory of Screws, R.S. Ball devotes Chapter V on "The Representation of the Cylindroid by a Circle". He offers a remarkably simple geometric model of the general two-system of screws as a circle in a plane with coordinates the pitch and the elevation of the screw axis. The present work generalizes the model to three dimensions. The general three-system is represented by a sphere through the origin. The highest- and lowest-pitch screws meet it at two antipodes, defining the pitch axis. A line from the origin, parallel to each screw, intersects the sphere at an image point. Its projection on the pitch axis measures the screw's pitch; a translation along a directed segment, equal to the point's velocity under unit clockwise rotation about the pitch axis, positions it on the screw's axis. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

Todoli J.L.,University of Alicante | Grotti M.,University of Genoa
Journal of Chromatography A | Year: 2010

The potential of narrow bore high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with detection by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for fast determination of arsenosugars in algal extracts was explored. The retention behavior of four naturally occurring dimethylarsinoylribosides on an anion-exchange microbore column was investigated, with the mobile phase flow rate ranging from 60 to 200μLmin-1. A low sample consumption system consisting of a micronebulizer and a low inner volume cyclonic spray chamber was used as the interface between the micro-column and the ICP mass spectrometer. Both the high efficiency nebulizer, HEN, and the PFA micronebulizer were tested, with the former providing 20-50% greater sensitivity than PFA (depending on the liquid flow rate), but comparable limits of detection and slightly lower chromatographic resolution. With the setup employed and under the optimal conditions, a satisfactory separation of the arsenosugars was achieved in less than 5min. The instrumental limit of detection was 0.20μgAsL-1 and the precision was better than 3% (RSD%, n=5). The accuracy of the determination was verified by the analysis of a reference algal extract, obtaining values in good agreement with the reference ones. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Scambelluri M.,University of Genoa | Tonarini S.,CNR Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources
Geology | Year: 2012

Serpentinites formed by alteration of oceanic and forearc mantle are major volatile and fl uid-mobile element reservoirs for arc magmatism, though direct proof of their dominance in the subduction-zone volatile cycles has been elusive. Boron isotopes are established markers of fl uid-mediated mass transfer during subduction. Altered oceanic crust and sediments have been shown to release in the subarc mantle 11B-depleted fl uids, which cannot explain 11B enrichment of many arcs. In contrast to these crustal reservoirs, we document high 11B values retained in subduction-zone Alpine serpentinites. No 11B fractionation occurs in these rocks with progressive burial: the released 11B-rich fl uids uniquely explain the elevated 11B of arc magmas. B, O-H, and Sr isotope systems indicate that serpentinization was driven by slab fl uids that infi ltrated the slab-mantle interface early in the subduction history. © 2012 Geological Society of America.

Pastore S.,University of Trieste | Ponta L.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Cincotti S.,University of Genoa
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2010

In this paper, an information-based artificial stock market is considered. The market is populated by heterogeneous agents that are seen as nodes of a sparsely connected graph. Agents trade a risky asset in exchange for cash. Besides the amount of cash and assets owned, each agent is characterized by a sentiment. Moreover, agents share their sentiments by means of interactions that are identified by the graph. Interactions are unidirectional and are supplied with heterogeneous weights. The agent's trading decision is based on sentiment and, consequently, the stock price process depends on the propagation of information among the interacting agents, on budget constraints and on market feedback. A central market maker (clearing house mechanism) determines the price process at the intersection of the demand and supply curves. Both closedand open-market conditions are considered. The results point out the validity of the proposed model of information exchange among agents and are helpful for understanding the role of information in real markets. Under closed market conditions, the interaction among agents' sentiments yields a price process that reproduces the main stylized facts of real markets, e.g. the fat tails of the returns distributions and the clustering of volatility. Within open-market conditions, i.e. with an external cash inflow that results in asset price inflation, also the unitary root stylized fact is reproduced by the artificial stock market. Finally, the effects of model parameters on the properties of the artificial stock market are also addressed. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

Stocchino A.,University of Genoa | Brocchini M.,Marche Polytechnic University
Journal of Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2010

The generation and evolution of large-scale vortices with vertical axis (macro-vortices) in a straight compound channel under quasi-uniform flow conditions is investigated. We discuss possible similarities and clear differences with free shear layer flows induced by the meeting of shallow streams of different speeds. An experimental investigation based on particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements of free-surface velocities forms the basis for an analysis of both the specific features of macro-vortices and of the related mean flow characteristics. Dynamical properties strongly depend on the ratio rh between the main channel flow depth (h*mc) and the floodplain depth (h*fp), and three flow classes can be identified. Shallow flows (rh > 3) are dominated by strong shearing and large macro-vortices populating the transition region between the main channel and the floodplains. The mean streamwise velocity induced in intermediate flows (2 ≤ rh ≥ 3) is characterized by a dip in the transition region, while it closely resembles that occurring in a rectangular channel in the case of deep flows (rh < 2). For both the latter cases the shear in the transition region decreases and the macro-vortices are also generated in the wall boundary layer of the floodplains. The typical size of the quasi-two-dimensional macro-vortices, generated at the transition region, is found to be independent of the streamwise coordinate. This and the non-monotonic behaviour of the mean streamwise velocity suggest that in straight compound channels the topographic forcing is so dominant that conceptual models interpreting these flows as free shear layers may largely fail to describe the physics of compound channels flows. © 2009 Cambridge University Press.

Nouar C.,CNRS Mechanical Energy, Theories, and Applications Laboratory | Bottaro A.,University of Genoa
Journal of Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2010

It has been recently shown that the flow of a Bingham fluid in a channel is always linearly stable (Nouar et al., J. Fluid Mech., vol. 577, 2007, p. 211). To identify possible paths of transition we revisit the problem for the case in which the idealized base flow is slightly perturbed. No attempt is made to reproduce or model the perturbations arising in experimental environments which may be due to the improper alignment of the channel walls or to imperfect inflow conditions rather a general formulation is given which yields the transfer function (the sensitivity) for each eigenmode of the spectrum to arbitrary defects in the base flow. It is first established that such a function, for the case of the most sensitive eigenmode, displays a very weak selectivity to variations in the spanwise wavenumber of the disturbance mode. This justifies a further look into the class of spanwise homogeneous modes. A variational procedure is set up to identify the base flow defect of minimal norm capable of optimally destabilizing an otherwise stable flow; it is found that very weak defects are indeed capable to excite exponentially amplified streamwise travelling waves. The associated variations in viscosity are situated mostly near the critical layer of the inviscid problem. Neutrally stable conditions are found as function of the Reynolds number and the Bingham number, providing scalings of critical values with the amplitude of the defect consistent with previous experimental and numerical studies. Finally, a structured pseudospectrum analysis is performed; it is argued that such a class of pseudospectra provides information well suited to hydrodynamic stability purposes. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.

Lenti F.,University of Insubria | Nunziata F.,University of Insubria | Estatico C.,University of Genoa | Migliaccio M.,Parthenope University of Naples
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing | Year: 2014

A reconstruction technique, mathematically based on a generalization of the gradient method in Banach spaces, is first proposed to enhance the spatial resolution of radiometer earth observation measurements. This approach allows reducing the over-smoothing effects and the oscillations that are often present in standard Hilbert-spaces procedures without any drawback on the numerical complexity. Experiments undertaken on a data set consisting of both simulated and actual 2-D special sensor microwave imager radiometer measurements show the accuracy and the effectiveness of the proposed technique. A typical radiometer scene is processed in few minutes by a standard PC processor. Furthermore, since the proposed approach is iterative, the processing time increases slowly with the problem's size. © 2013 IEEE.

Bonati C.,University of Pisa | D'Elia M.,University of Pisa | Mariti M.,University of Pisa | Negro F.,University of Genoa | Sanfilippo F.,University Paris - Sud
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We propose a method to determine the total magnetic susceptibility of strongly interacting matter by lattice QCD simulations and present numerical results for the theory with two light flavors, which suggest a weak magnetic activity in the confined phase and the emergence of strong paramagnetism in the deconfined, quark-gluon plasma phase. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Piccardo G.B.,University of Genoa
Earth-Science Reviews | Year: 2014

Ophiolite massifs (i.e., Lanzo, Voltri, Ligurides, Corsica) of the Alpine-Apennine system represent lithosphere remnants of the Jurassic Ligurian Tethys oceanic basin, which separated the Europe and Adria continental margins. Ophiolitic mantle peridotites record structural and compositional features induced by tectonic and magmatic processes in the sub-continental lithosphere by passive rifting leading to continental breakup and sea-floor spreading in the Jurassic Ligurian Tethys.Field, structural, petrologic and geochemical studies of the lithospheric peridotites provide important tools to unravel the processes that drove extension and rifting of the continental Europe-Adria lithosphere towards breakup and oceanic spreading. Extension in the pre-Triassic Europe-Adria continental domain was a classic example of passive rifting, driven by far field tectonic forces. The early stage of rifting was a-magmatic (a-magmatic passive rifting). The far-field tectonic forces induced lithosphere stretching and thinning by means of melt-free extensional shear zones, that allowed passive upwelling of the asthenosphere until it reached melting conditions on decompression. Silica-undersaturated, isolated single melt increments, strongly depleted in trace elements, were formed by fractional melting. They infiltrated unmixed through the extending mantle lithosphere under spinel-facies conditions by diffuse and focused porous flow (magmatic passive rifting) and induced significant melt/peridotite interactions during upward percolation (i.e., thermo-chemical and mechanical erosion, asthenospherization and rejuvenation of the mantle lithosphere). The percolating liquids became silica-saturated by melt/peridotite interaction (pyroxene dissolution/olivine precipitation) and migrated to shallow lithospheric levels (i.e., plagioclase-peridotite facies conditions). There, increasing heat loss by conduction induced their stagnation, storage and progressive crystallization, that impregnated and refertilized the host peridotite (the hidden, non-extrusive magmatism).Melt thermal advection through the extending lithosphere, above the melting asthenosphere, strongly modified the compositional and rheological characteristics of the percolated mantle lithosphere. A wedge-shaped, softened and weakened zone was formed along the axial mantle lithosphere of the extensional system, between the future continental margins. This axial wedge represented a preferential zone where the underlying hotter and deeper asthenosphere upwelled and "intruded" the extending colder sub-continental mantle lithosphere. Further extension led to continental break-up and splitting, to formation of the extended Europe and Adria margins and to sea-floor exposure of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle.The hot upwelling asthenosphere column was characterized by higher degrees of partial melting on decompression, complete aggregation of the single fractional melt increments, and deepening of the melting sources (i.e., onset of partial melting under garnet-peridotite facies conditions). This partial melting event formed the aggregated MORB liquids (the oceanic magmatism) which migrated from the asthenosphere within high porosity dunite channels through the melt-reacted sub-continental peridotites, without significant interaction with the host peridotites. These aggregated MORBs formed olivine gabbro intrusions in the shallow mantle lithosphere and MOR pillow basalt flows and edifices, above the tectonically denudated and sea-floor exposed, lithospheric mantle peridotites.In this scenario, the divergent forces induced by the active upwelling asthenosphere may compete with far-field tectonic forces and even drive the system causing a change from passive rifting to active rifting and the installation of a ridge-type system. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Ferrari M.L.,University of Genoa
Journal of Power Sources | Year: 2011

The aim of this study is the development and testing of a control system for solid oxide fuel cell hybrid systems through dynamic simulations. Due to the complexity of these cycles, several parameters, such as the turbine rotational speed, the temperatures within the fuel cell, the differential pressure between the anodic and the cathodic side and the Steam-To-Carbon Ratio need to be monitored and kept within safe limits. Furthermore, in stand-alone conditions the system response to load variations is required to meet the global plant power demand at any time, supporting global load variations and avoiding dangerous or unstable conditions. The plant component models and their integration were carried out in previous studies. This paper focuses on the control strategy required for managing the net electrical power from the system, avoiding malfunctions or damage. Once the control system was developed and tuned, its performance was evaluated by simulating the transient behaviour of the whole hybrid cycle: the results for several operating conditions are presented and discussed. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Cevasco G.,University of Genoa | Cevasco G.,CNR Methodological Chemistry Institute | Chiappe C.,University of Pisa
Green Chemistry | Year: 2014

It is well known that ionic liquids (ILs) possess extraordinary characteristics, making them greener solvents with unique properties, which allow processes that would otherwise be difficult or impossible with common solvents to be carried out. In this review, we describe and discuss, in the light of possible future large scale applications, some fundamental studies showing the efficacy of ILs in several "hot" fields, from dissolution and transformation of biopolymers to extraction and capture of important inorganic components (metals) or pollutants (CO2). © the Partner Organisations 2014.

Tagliabue M.,ENI S.p.A | Reverberi A.P.,University of Genoa | Bagatin R.,ENI S.p.A
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2014

Boron is often present in water streams to be treated to match final user specifications or environmental restrictions. It can not be removed by conventional water treatments and its separation still remains an issue. An overview on this topic is provided. Needs are identified considering information regarding boron level effect on environment, human health and activities. Challenges are described envisaging boron main physical-chemical properties and current approaches for its removal. Perspectives are sketched pointing to possible technology improvements. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Guerrero J.E.,University of Genoa
AIAA Journal | Year: 2010

A parametric study was conducted to assess the effect of airfoil cambering on the aerodynamic performance of rigid heaving airfoils. The methodology used to solve the governing equations on moving structured overlapping grids was described. The governing equations to be solved were the laminar incompressible Navier-Stokes equations in their velocity-pressure formulation. The large, sparse nonlinear system of equations arising from the discretization of the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations was solved using the PETSc- †library that interfaced with Overture-†framework. The system of nonlinear equations was solved using a Newton-Krylov iterative method, in combination with a suitable preconditioner. The airfoil also underwent time-dependent heaving motion y(t) in the numerical experiments carried out after the investigations.

Brencich A.,University of Genoa
Engineering Structures | Year: 2010

The case study discussed in this paper deals with the excavation of an excessively deep and long trench in a clay slope made at one edge of an urban connecting road. The subsequent failure of the top portion of the slope did not cause any human casualty, but did severe damage to a neighbouring retaining wall and to an adjacent building. The works aimed at the stabilization of the slope are suspected to have increased the damage to the foundation system of the building.The aim of this paper is to show that all these events could be foreseen just by relying on the basic concepts of mechanics and on proper engineering practice. The causes for the landslide, and subsequent problems, are to be found in an excessive confidence in soil cohesion and in the application of standard engineering procedures in a non-standard case. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Carassale L.,University of Genoa | Kareem A.,University of Notre Dame
Journal of Engineering Mechanics | Year: 2010

The Volterra-series expansion is widely employed to represent the input-output relationship of nonlinear dynamical systems. This representation is based on the Volterra frequency-response functions (VFRFs), which can either be estimated from observed data or through a nonlinear governing equation, when the Volterra series is used to approximate an analytical model. In the latter case, the VFRFs are usually evaluated by the so-called harmonic probing method. This operation is quite straightforward for simple systems but may reach a level of such complexity, especially when dealing with high-order nonlinear systems or calculating high-order VFRFs, that it may loose its attractiveness. An alternative technique for the evaluation of VFRFs is presented here with the goal of simplifying and possibly automating the evaluation process. This scheme is based on first representing the given system by an assemblage of simple operators for which VFRFs are readily available, and subsequently constructing VFRFs of the target composite system by using appropriate assemblage rules. Examples of wind and wave-excited structures are employed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed technique. © 2010 ASCE.

Mariscotti A.,University of Genoa
Metrology and Measurement Systems | Year: 2011

Air core solenoids, possibly single layer and with significant spacing between turns, are often used to ensure low stray capacitance, as they are used as part of many sensors and instruments. The problem of the correct estimation of the stray capacitance is relevant both during design and to validate measurement results; the expected value is so low to be influenced by any stray capacitance of the external measurement instrument. A simplified method is proposed that does not perturb the stray capacitance of the solenoid under test; the method is based on resonance with an external capacitor and on the use of a linear regression technique. © 2011 Polish Academy of Sciences.

Fabiano B.,University of Genoa
Process Safety and Environmental Protection | Year: 2014

The 2014 Special Issue of Process Safety and Environmental Protection is designed to widen and deepen the current discussion on safety matters, providing a foundation for researchers, professionals and policy makers interested in making a safe and sustainable future. De Rademaeker and co-researchers present a time perspective research on European loss prevention and its future throughout the last 40 years. Amyotte explains the realities of dust explosion and dispels a number of myths helping to break the standardized 'tick box' approach to risk assessment. He uses the explosion pentagon to discuss elements of the natural, management and social sciences and engineering principles associated with dust explosion hazard identification and risk reduction. Habib and co-researchers point out the different capabilities and accuracies of gas dispersion models and to decide which level of complexity is required for hazard assessment purposes.

Burlando B.,University of Piemonte Orientale | Cornara L.,University of Genoa
Trends in Food Science and Technology | Year: 2014

Rice is used in traditional medicines as a remedy against inflammation, gastrointestinal ailments, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and skin diseases. Experimental and clinical evidence indicate that brown rice and bran oil reduce hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular risk, rice bran is anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory, the monacolin-rich red yeast rice regulates hypercholesterolemia, and the GABA-rich germinated brown rice has chemopreventive effects. The rice constituent γ-oryzanol has been intensively investigated for cholesterol regulation and antioxidant/anti-inflammatory activities. Bran derivatives and other products are used for dermatologic and cosmetic applications. Pharmacologically relevant compounds could be extracted from rice byproducts, providing an economic boost to rice farming and processing. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Zhang L.,Baylor College of Medicine | Pan J.,Baylor College of Medicine | Dong Y.,Baylor College of Medicine | Dong Y.,Capital Medical University | And 3 more authors.
Cell Metabolism | Year: 2013

Summary Catabolic conditions like chronic kidney disease (CKD) cause loss of muscle mass by unclear mechanisms. In muscle biopsies from CKD patients, we found activated Stat3 (p-Stat3) and hypothesized that p-Stat3 initiates muscle wasting. We created mice with muscle-specific knockout (KO) that prevents activation of Stat3. In these mice, losses of body and muscle weights were suppressed in models with CKD or acute diabetes. A small-molecule that inhibits Stat3 activation produced similar responses, suggesting a potential for translation strategies. Using CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein δ (C/EBPδ) KO mice and C2C12 myotubes with knockdown of C/EBPδ or myostatin, we determined that p-Stat3 initiates muscle wasting via C/EBPδ, stimulating myostatin, a negative muscle growth regulator. C/EBPδ KO also improved survival of CKD mice. We verified that p-Stat3, C/EBPδ, and myostatin were increased in muscles of CKD patients. The pathway from p-Stat3 to C/EBPδ to myostatin and muscle wasting could identify therapeutic targets that prevent muscle wasting. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Collapses that do not produce other than economic losses remain often unknown either to the public and to the community of engineers. The technical causes of any collapse deserve attention even if no scientific research is needed since they often show that design and control procedures and code provisions may fail in preventing errors both in the design and in the building phase of standard structural engineering. In this paper the collapse of an industrial steel shed, under a 10 cm layer of fresh snow, is discussed showing that its collapse resulted from a chain of errors, in the design phase, during its assemblage and in the final inspection and control phase. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

To evaluate whether the adjunctive use of a bone substitute at immediate single implants placed in fresh extraction sockets with a residual buccal bone-to-implant gap of at least 1 mm could improve the aesthetic outcome of guided bone regeneration (GBR). Eighty patients requiring bone augmentation at a single immediate postextractive implant to improve the aesthetic outcome were randomly allocated to an augmentation procedure using a resorbable barrier alone (GBR group; 40 patients) or a bone substitute plus a resorbable barrier (GBR + BS group; 40 patients) according to a parallel group design at four different centres. Three to 4 months after implant placement/augmentation, implants were loaded with provisional or definitive single crowns. Outcome measures were implant failures, complications, aesthetics assessed using the pink esthetic score (PES), patient satisfaction and peri-implant marginal bone levels, recorded by blinded assessors. All patients were followed up to 1 year after loading. One patient dropped out from the GBR group. Seven (9%) implants failed: 2 (5%) in the GBR + BS group and 5 (12.5%) in the GBR group. Six minor complications occurred in the GBR + BS group versus 2 in the GBR group. These differences were not statistically significant. Just after implant placement/augmentation, mean bone levels were -0.21 mm at GBR + BS implants and -1.92 mm at GBR implants whereas at 1 year after loading they were -1.04 and -1.76, respectively. When comparing the two groups, GBR + BS implants had 0.70 mm more peri-implant marginal bone than GBR implants. Aesthetics was scored by a blinded assessor as statistically significantly better for the GBR + BS group. Patients were equally satisfied. There were no differences between centres regarding the clinical outcomes. The use of additional an organic bovine bone substitute (Endobon) with resorbable collagen barriers (OsseoGuard) in defects around post-extractive implant improves the aesthetic outcome, though single post-extractive implants might be at a higher risk for implant failures.

Manniche J.,Center for Regional and Tourism Research | Testa S.,University of Genoa
Industry and Innovation | Year: 2010

This paper aims to contribute to research on the knowledge dimension of industrial innovation and competitive advantage by combining two conceptual constructs that are applied in growing but separate bodies of research. One, the so-called "SAS model", regards knowledge bases of firms and distinguishes between Synthetic, Analytical and Symbolic knowledge. The second, the "Worlds of Production" construct, classifies firms according to differences in technologies and markets and outlines four possible action frameworks within which companies operate and innovate. Combining these conceptualizations seems to enrich analyses within both perspectives and provide a useful framework for studies on knowledge dynamics in different economic contexts. Empirical evidence regarding knowledge dynamics of two "alternative food" producers is presented, indicating that symbolic knowledge which in current literature is mainly delimited and described within cultural industries, may also be relevant for other industries such as the alternative food sub-sector. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Egan C.G.,Primula Multimedia Srl | Pontremoli R.,University of Genoa
Journal of Nephrology | Year: 2011

Even with the availability of novel and efficacious antihypertensive agents, an insufficient number of hypertensive patients achieve their desired blood pressure (BP) target. This failure is partly due to the fact that many patients do not strictly adhere to their drug therapy and/or they report the presence of adverse effects. Traditionally, monotherapy is used as first-line treatment to achieve BP targets; however, when this fails, combination therapy is then required. In light of the need to attain BP goals, combination therapy (especially fixed-dose) is currently recommended. The main advantages of combination therapy over monotherapy are not only that of reduced dose, improved efficacy and reduced adverse effects, but also of target protection and reduced cardiovascular (CV) risk. Therefore, the development of single-administration drug combinations should also improve patient adherence to therapy and therefore help in achieving BP control. Among the various combinations available, calcium channel blockers (CCBs) and angiotensinconverting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have been proven to be extremely effective, while also displaying good tolerability. Individually, both the third-generation CCB lercanidipine and the ACE inhibitor enalapril are effective antihypertensive agents. In addition, both of these agents also show other beneficial effects when administered as monotherapy. Of particular importance is the fact that when lercanidipine plus enalapril are administered in combination, they show synergism, thus providing added efficacy with reduced side effects. The present report provides an overview of the main clinical studies examining lercanidipine and enalapril administered as monotherapy, with particular focus on the potential renoprotective effects afforded by the fixed-dose combination lercanidipine-enalapril. © 2011 Società Italiana di Nefrologia.

Salio M.P.,University of Genoa
Ships and Offshore Structures | Year: 2015

The present paper deals with a methodology for the prediction of propeller-induced acoustic pressures and associated ship response, having considered propellers as the main acoustic source onboard ships. Semi-empirical and numerical approaches have been coupled for the characterisation of the propeller and the determination of the radiated acoustic field, respectively. The boundary element method has been used for numerical analyses, and a commercial solver has been adopted. The procedure has been applied to a cruise ship, and numerical results have been compared to the available experimental measurements. Other two different ships have been taken into account in order to test the methodology. Results show that the influence of the structural finite element mesh of the ship on the computation is comparable to acoustic characterisation of the propeller. Furthermore, it is found that the reliability of semi-empirical methods is not completely satisfactory; nevertheless, they are currently used at an early design stage as common practice. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Pesce R.,University of Genoa
Proceedings of the 32nd International Cosmic Ray Conference, ICRC 2011 | Year: 2011

The energy of the primary particles of air showers recorded using the water-Cherenkov detectors of the Pierre Auger Observatory is inferred from simultaneous measurements of showers with those detectors together with the fluorescence telescopes. The signal on the ground at 1000 m from the shower axis obtained using the water-Cherenkov detectors is related directly to the calorimetric energy measured with the telescopes. The energy assignment is therefore independent of air shower simulations except for the assumptions that must be made about the energy carried into the ground by neutrinos and muons. The correlation between the signal at the ground and the calorimetric energy is used to derive a calibration curve. Taking advantage of increased statistics with respect to previous publications we present an update and improvement of the method used to determine the energy scale. The systematic uncertainties of the calibration procedure are addressed.

Louajari M.,Abdelmalek Essaadi University | Mimet A.,Abdelmalek Essaadi University | Ouammi A.,Abdelmalek Essaadi University | Ouammi A.,University of Genoa
Applied Energy | Year: 2011

Solar refrigeration represents an important application of solar energy due to the excellent matching between the high sunshine and the refrigeration needs. Solar adsorption refrigeration devices are among the significant techniques used to meet the needs for cooling requirements. Several solar refrigeration systems have been proposed and are under development such as sorption systems including liquid/vapor, solid/vapor absorption, adsorption, vapor compression and others. The purpose of this paper is to identify the influence of a cylindrical adsorber on the performances of a solar adsorption refrigerating machine. The adsorber heated by solar energy contains an activated carbon-ammonia pair; it is composed by many cylindrical tubes welded using external fins. A model based on the conservation equations of energy and mass in the adsorber has been developed and well described. Using real solar irradiance data as well as many initial conditions, the model computes for each point and in the considered time interval during the day, the temperature, the adsorbed mass, the pressure inside the adsorber and the solar performance coefficient (COP). The results show that the optimal diameter of the adsorber with fins is greater than the one without fins. Moreover the mass cycled in the case of an adsorber equipped with external fins is more significant than the one without fins, and the maximal temperature reached in the adsorber with fins attains 97 °C while in the adsorber without fins reaches 77 °C. Thus, the performances of the solar adsorption refrigerating machine with an adsorber equipped with fins are higher than the machine without fins. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Canepa R.,University of Genoa | Wang M.,University of Hull
Applied Thermal Engineering | Year: 2014

In this study, a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant and a CO2 capture plant have been modelled in GateCycle® and in Aspen Plus® environments respectively. The capture plant model is validated with experimental data from the pilot plant at the University of Texas at Austin and then has been scaled up to meet the requirement of the 427 MWe CCGT power plant. A techno-economical evaluation study has been performed with the capture plant model integrated with flue gas pre-processing and CO2 compression sections. Sensitivity analysis was carried out to assess capture plant response to changes in key operating parameters and equipment design. The study indicates which parameters are the most relevant (namely absorber packing height and regenerator operating pressure) and how, with a proper choice of the operating conditions, both the energy requirement for solvent regeneration and the cost of electricity may be reduced. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Galmiche J.-P.,University of Nantes | Hatlebakk J.,University of Bergen | Attwood S.,North Tyneside General Hospital | Ell C.,Dr. Horst Schmidt Hospital | And 5 more authors.
JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association | Year: 2011

Context: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic, relapsing disease with symptoms that have negative effects on daily life. Two treatment options are longterm medication or surgery. Objective: To evaluate optimized esomeprazole therapy vs standardized laparoscopic antireflux surgery (LARS) in patients with GERD. Design, Setting, and Participants: The LOTUS trial, a 5-year exploratory randomized, open, parallel-group trial conducted in academic hospitals in 11 European countries between October 2001 and April 2009 among 554 patients with well-established chronic GERD who initially responded to acid suppression. A total of 372 patients (esomeprazole, n=192; LARS, n=180) completed 5-year follow-up. Interventions: Two hundred sixty-six patients were randomly assigned to receive esomeprazole, 20 to 40 mg/d, allowing for dose adjustments; 288 were randomly assigned to undergo LARS, of whom 248 actually underwent the operation. Main Outcome Measure: Time to treatment failure (for LARS, defined as need for acid suppressive therapy; for esomeprazole, inadequate symptom control after dose adjustment), expressed as estimated remission rates and analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: Estimated remission rates at 5 years were 92% (95% confidence interval [CI], 89%-96%) in the esomeprazole group and 85% (95% CI, 81%-90%) in the LARS group (log-rank P=.048). The difference between groups was no longer statistically significant following best-case scenario modeling of the effects of study dropout. The prevalence and severity of symptoms at 5 years in the esomeprazole and LARS groups, respectively, were 16% and 8% for heartburn (P=.14), 13% and 2% for acid regurgitation (P<.001), 5% and 11% for dysphagia (P<.001), 28% and 40% for bloating (P<.001), and 40% and 57% for flatulence (P<.001). Mortality during the study was low (4 deaths in the esomeprazole group and 1 death in the LARS group) and not attributed to treatment, and the percentages of patients reporting serious adverse events were similar in the esomeprazole group (24.1%) and in the LARS group (28.6%). Conclusion: This multicenter clinical trial demonstrated that with contemporary antireflux therapy for GERD, either by drug-induced acid suppression with esomeprazole or by LARS, most patients achieve and remain in remission at 5 years. Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00251927. ©2011 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

Castagnolo D.,University of Siena | Schenone S.,University of Genoa | Botta M.,University of Siena
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2011

The preparation methodologies and chemical properties of guanylated diamines, triamines, and polyamines are reported. The precursor for polyamine biosynthesis is ornithine, a nonproteic amino acid, an intermediate of the urea cycle, and derived from arginine by the action of arginase. Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) is required for the first step in polyamine synthesis, in which ornithine is decarboxylated to produce putrescine. The degradation of ODC is regulated by the antizyme, a small protein induced by polyamine that regulates also the polyamine transporter. Spermidine/spermine N1-acetyl-transferase (SSAT) is a propylamine acetyltransferase that monoacetylates spermidine and may form either mono or diacetylates spermine. Guanethidine is a monoguanylated ethylendiamine whose amine moiety is constituted by an octahydro-1-azocyne. The synthesis of structurally simple monoguanylated diamines through direct guanylation of diamines with S-Me- or O-Me-iso(thio)ureas is an effective approach.

Resta M.,University of Genoa
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing | Year: 2013

We use variants of Self Organizing Maps (SOMs) to simulate how agents interact in social systems. Our efforts were mainly concentrated to model agents learning and psychological relationships, as well as the way those latter can affect the system general behavior. As main result, we developed a suitable environment to simulate economic systems and to simulate its dynamics. © 2013 Springer-Verlag.

Bolla R.,Genova Engineering, LLC. | Bruschi R.,University of Genoa | Carrega A.,Genova Engineering, LLC. | Davoli F.,Genova Engineering, LLC.
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking | Year: 2014

With the aim of controlling power consumption in metro/transport and core networks, we consider energy-aware devices able to reduce their energy requirements by adapting their performance. In particular, we focus on state-of-the-art packet processing engines, which generally represent the most energy-consuming components of network devices, and which are often composed of a number of parallel pipelines to 'divide and conquer' the incoming traffic load. Our goal is to control both the power configuration of pipelines and the way to distribute traffic flows among them. We propose an analytical model to accurately represent the impact of green network technologies (i.e., low power idle and adaptive rate) on network- and energy-aware performance indexes. The model has been validated with experimental results, performed by using energy-aware software routers loaded by real-world traffic traces. The achieved results demonstrate how the proposed model can effectively represent energy- and network-aware performance indexes. On this basis, we propose a constrained optimization policy, which seeks the best tradeoff between power consumption and packet latency times. The procedure aims at dynamically adapting the energy-aware device configuration to minimize energy consumption while coping with incoming traffic volumes and meeting network performance constraints. In order to deeply understand the impact of such policy, a number of tests have been performed by using experimental data from software router architectures and real-world traffic traces. © 2013 IEEE.

Amoretti A.,University of Genoa | Amoretti A.,Lorentz Institute for Theoretical Physics | Musso D.,Abdus Salam International Center For Theoretical Physics
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2015

Abstract: We obtain explicit expressions for the thermoelectric transport coefficients of a strongly coupled, planar medium in the presence of an orthogonal magnetic field and momentum-dissipating processes. The computations are performed within the gauge/gravity framework where the momentum dissipation mechanism is introduced by including a mass term for the bulk graviton. Relying on the structure of the computed transport coefficients and promoting the parameters to become dynamical functions, we propose a holography inspired phenomenology open to a direct comparison with experimental data from the cuprates. © 2015, The Author(s).

Bajc B.,Jozef Stefan Institute | Di Luzio L.,University of Genoa
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2015

We show that judiciously chosen R-parity violating terms in the minimal renormalizable supersymmetric SU(5) are able to correct all the phenomenologically wrong mass relations between down quarks and charged leptons. The model can accommodate neutrino masses as well. One of the most striking consequences is a large mixing between the electron and the Higgsino. We show that this can still be in accord with data in some regions of the parameter space and possibly falsified in future experiments. © 2015, The Author(s).

Ancona D.,University of Genoa
Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Applied Computing | Year: 2012

Co-recursion is the ability of defining a function that produces some infinite data in terms of the function and the data itself, and is typically supported by languages with lazy evaluation. However, in languages as Haskell strict operations fail to terminate even on infinite regular data. Regular co-recursion is naturally supported by co-inductive Prolog, an extension where predicates can be interpreted either inductively or co-inductively, that has proved to be useful for formal verification, static analysis and symbolic evaluation of programs. In this paper we propose two main alternative vanilla meta-interpreters to support regular co-recursion in Prolog as an interesting programming style in its own right, able to elegantly solve problems that would require more complex code if conventional recursion were used. In particular, the second meta-interpreters avoids non termination in several cases, by restricting the set of possible answers. The semantics defined by these vanilla meta-interpreters are an interesting starting point to study new semantics able to support regular co-recursion for non logical languages. © 2012 ACM.

Pagnini L.C.,University of Genoa
European Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering | Year: 2016

The gust-excited response of structures is usually evaluated by an equivalent static load defined as the product between the wind-induced mean static force and a gust factor calibrated on maximum displacements. Advanced formulations provide the 3-D response using gust factors calibrated on the generic effect investigated, rather than refer only to displacement, allowing a more accurate description of the actual internal forces. Established procedures are available, by now, concerning vertical cantilever slender structures. Starting from this framework, the present paper generalises the gust factor technique supplying a numerical solution for the estimate of shear forces and bending moments of a variegated typology of structural slender elements, generically inclined, elevated above the ground and variously constrained. Accounting for the cross-contributions of different turbulence terms and the wake excitation (in absence of lock-in conditions), the procedure is particularly suitable for dealing with a wide class of structural elements belonging to cranes for industrial lifting and harbour usage. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Caselle M.,University of Turin | Costagliola G.,University of Turin | Magnoli N.,University of Genoa
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2015

We propose a general method for the numerical evaluation of operator product expansion coefficients in three dimensional conformal field theories based on the study of the conformal perturbation of two point functions in the vicinity of the critical point. We test our proposal in the three dimensional Ising model, looking at the magnetic perturbation of the (r)σ(0) (r)ε(0) and (r)ε(0) correlators from which we extract the values of C=1.07(3) and Cεεε=1.45(30). Our estimate for C agrees with those recently obtained using conformal bootstrap methods, while C, as far as we know, is new and could be used to further constrain conformal bootstrap analyses of the 3d Ising universality class. © 2015 American Physical Society.

Gaudiello A.,University of Genoa
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2015

The first upgrade of the ATLAS Pixel Detector is the Insertable B-Layer (IBL), installed in May 2014 in the core of ATLAS. Two different silicon sensor technologies, planar n-in-n and 3D, are used. Sensors are connected with the new generation 130 nm IBM CMOS FE-I4 read-out chip via solder bump-bonds. Production quality control tests were set up to verify and rate the performance of the modules before integration into staves. An overview of module design and construction, the quality control results and production yield will be discussed, as well as future developments foreseen for future detector upgrades. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Bottaro A.,University of Genoa
Journal of Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2010

Receptivity is the process which describes how environmental disturbances (such as gusts, acoustic waves or wall roughness) are filtered by a boundary layer and turned into downstream-growing waves. It is closely related to the identification of initial conditions for the disturbances and requires knowledge of the characteristics of the specific external forcing field. Without such a knowledge, it makes sense to focus on worst case scenarios and search for those initial states which maximize the disturbance amplitude at a given downstream position, and hence to identify upper bounds on growth rates, which will be useful in predicting the transition to turbulence. This philosophical approach has been taken by Tempelmann, Hanifi & Henningson (J. Fluid Mech., 2010, vol. 646, pp. 5-37) in a remarkably complete parametric study of optimal disturbances for a model of the flow over a swept wing; they pinpoint the crucial importance both of the spatial variation of the flow and of non-modal disturbances, even when the flow is supercritical and hence subject to classical normal mode instabilities. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010.

This paper presents an updated review of recent field/structural and petrologic/geochemical studies on orogenic peridotites from the Alpine-Apennine ophiolites (NW Italy). Results provide determinant constraints to the evolution of the lithospheric mantle during passive rifting of the fossil Ligurian Tethys oceanic basin.The pre-rift, spinel lherzolites precursors, preserved in the mantle section of the Ligurian ophiolites, were resident in the lithosphere along an intermediate geothermal gradient (T about 1000. °C, P compatible with spinel-peridotite facies). Passive rifting by far-field tectonic forces induced whole-lithosphere extension and thinning (the a-magmatic stage). After significant thinning of the lithosphere, the passively upwelling asthenosphere underwent decompression melting along the axial zone of extension. Silica-undersaturated melt fractions infiltrated via diffuse/focused porous-flow through the lithospheric mantle under extension (the magmatic stage) and underwent pyroxenes-dissolving/olivine-crystallizing interaction with the percolated host peridotite.Pyroxenes assimilation and olivine deposition modified the melt compositions into silica-saturated. These derivative liquids migrated to shallower, plagioclase-peridotite facies levels, where they stagnated and impregnated/refertilized the lithospheric mantle. Melt thermal advection by melt infiltration heated to temperatures higher than 1200. °C the lithospheric mantle column above the melting asthenosphere.The syn-rift magmatic and tectonic processes induced significant rheological softening/weakening that destabilized the lithospheric mantle of the Europe-Adria plate along the axial zone of extension. The presence of destabilized lithospheric mantle between the future continental margins played a determinant role in promoting the geodynamic evolution from pre-oceanic rifting to oceanic spreading.The active upwelling of hotter/deeper asthenosphere inside the destabilized axial zone promoted transition to active rifting, enhancing continent break-up. Asthenosphere underwent partial melting and formed aggregated MORB liquids that migrated inside high-porosity dunite channels. The MORB liquids formed olivine-gabbro intrusions and pillowed lava flows (the oceanic crustal rocks).This paper evidences the primary role of mantle destabilization by melt infiltration in the geodynamic evolution of the Ligurian Tethys rifting. © 2016 International Association for Gondwana Research.

Tanda G.,University of Genoa
Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science | Year: 2016

The thermal interaction of human body and the environment during running activity is an important mechanism that may affect the athletic performance. Skin temperature plays the fundamental role of regulating the heat exchange by convection, radiation and evaporation. In this study, the skin temperature response to running exercise has been tested by infrared thermographic imaging, a highly reliable method for the real time, non-invasive monitoring of local cutaneous temperature over the body surface. Measurements performed for long-distance runners showed a fall in skin temperature during the initial stage of running exercise, regardless of the type of work (overground or treadmill) and environmental (outdoor or indoor) conditions. It is argued that this skin temperature decrease is associated with the cutaneous vasoconstrictor response to exercise. A continuous increase in load intensity (as occurs during an incremental treadmill exercise) may produce further reductions in skin temperature; conversely, a constant load running exercise is likely to promote the attainment of a relative minimum of skin temperature, followed by a gradual little rise over time related to thermoregulatory vasodilation. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Salvidio S.,University of Genoa
Amphibia Reptilia | Year: 2011

Amphibians are declining worldwide and different ecological traits, such as population growth rate and demographic stochasticity have been associated with their risk of extinction. However the population annual return rate, a parameter that gives information on the rapidity at which a population returns to equilibrium after an external perturbation, has never been analysed. In this study the annual return rates of 21 amphibian time series, belonging to 16 species, were estimated through non-linear (theta) logistic modelling. Annual return rates of salamanders (0.73) did not differ from those of frogs (0.79) and all return rate values were below the threshold for chaos. These results show that, in general, amphibian populations are regulated and do not differ in their dynamics from other vertebrate taxa. © 2011 BRILL.

Gattorno M.,G Gaslini Institute | Martini A.,University of Genoa
Current Opinion in Pediatrics | Year: 2010

Purpose of Review: Inherited autoinflammatory diseases are experiments in nature in which mutations of proteins playing a pivotal role in the regulation of the innate immunity lead to unprovoked episodes of inflammation. The understanding of the molecular pathways involved in these disorders has shed a new light on the pattern of activation and maintenance of the inflammatory response and disclosed new molecular therapeutic targets. In this review, we outline the more recent novelties in the treatment of autoinflammatory diseases and their possible implications for some multifactorial pediatric conditions. Recent Findings: Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome (CAPS) represents the prototype of autoinflammatory diseases. The study of the pathophysiological consequence of mutations of the cryopyrin gene (NLRP3) allowed the identification of the intracellular pathways thought to play a pivotal part in the activation and secretion of the potent inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1β. The dramatic effect of IL-1 blockade in CAPS opens new perspectives for the treatment of other inherited and multifactorial inflammatory disorders. A number of IL-1 blockers are now available on the market. Summary: Studies on the pathogenesis and treatment of inherited autoinflammatory diseases are also changing the approach to some multifactorial inflammatory conditions. © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Scafidi D.,University of Genoa | Solarino S.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
Tectonophysics | Year: 2012

According to the most common interpretation, the Apennines developed in Neogene and Quaternary times in the hanging wall of a west directed subduction zone. Seismic tomography is the most powerful tool to investigate large volume of Earth at depth, and it has been extensively applied to shed light on the geometry and shape of the subduction under the Italian peninsula. The various experiments were able to display the slab under the Southern Apennines, but even the most recent tomographic images were non-uniquely interpretable and left open questions about the characteristics of the subduction in the Northern-Central sector of the chain. We here present the results of an improved inversion experiment focused on the Northern and Central Apennines. The results do not show any pronounced subduction slab and the most evident anomaly is a low velocity body extending down to 100. km depth, located in a relatively small area under the western Tuscany. On the basis of accurate synthetic tests, we assess that, if established, a subduction like geometry should be visible in our tomographic images. We then conclude that no subduction is imaged in the Northern and Central Apennines. We thus interpret this anomaly as an asthenospheric flow. However, we cannot exclude that our result is due to intrinsic limitations of the methodology. In fact in response to the original question about the capability of local earthquake tomography to settle the matter about subduction, we underline that the absence of deep earthquakes to illuminate the model from below, the existence of seismic gaps in some sectors of the area under study even at shallow depth and the non uniqueness of interpretation of the tomographic images make local tomography unable to give alone definitive information on the deep structure of the Northern and Central Apennines. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Lagomarsino S.,University of Genoa
Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering | Year: 2014

The seismic assessment of rocking masonry structures is a complex task, due to the high sensitivity of the behavior to the characteristics of the input motion. The paper compares the results offered by different models and the reliability of widely used intensity measures. A displacement-based approach based on an incremental limit analysis of rigid blocks is proposed for the performance-based assessment of rocking masonry structures, such as: rocky structures (archeological remains, obelisks, columns, trilithons), arch-piers systems (e.g. triumphal arches, belfries), out-of-plane mechanisms of walls (standing out walls, façades in buildings or churches etc.) or artistic assets prone to overturn (pinnacles, statues etc.). The method is compatible with the format of the PERPETUATE performance-based assessment method for cultural heritage assets. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Gere A.,University of Genoa | Vitale P.,University of Naples Federico II | Vitale P.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Wallet J.-C.,University Paris - Sud
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

We consider a class of gauge-invariant models on the noncommutative space Rλ3, a deformation of the algebra of functions on R3. Focusing on massless models with no linear Ai dependence, we obtain noncommutative gauge models for which the computation of the propagator can be done in a convenient gauge. We find that the infrared singularity of the massless propagator disappears in the computation of the correlation functions. We show that massless gauge-invariant models on Rλ3 have quantum instabilities of the vacuum, signaled by the occurrence of nonvanishing one-point functions for some but not all of the components of the gauge potential. The tadpole contribution to the effective action cannot be interpreted as a standard σ term. Its global symmetry does not fit with the one of the classical action, reminiscent of an explicit global symmetry breaking term. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Bonati C.,University of Pisa | D'Elia M.,University of Pisa | Mariti M.,University of Pisa | Negro F.,University of Genoa | Sanfilippo F.,University Paris - Sud
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

We determine the free energy of strongly interacting matter as a function of an applied constant and uniform magnetic field. We consider Nf=2+1 QCD with physical quark masses, discretized on a lattice by stout improved staggered fermions and a tree-level improved Symanzik pure gauge action, and we explore three different lattice spacings. For magnetic fields of the order of those produced in noncentral heavy ion collisions (eB∼0.1GeV2), strongly interacting matter behaves like a medium with a linear response, and is paramagnetic both above and below the deconfinement transition, with a susceptibility which steeply rises in the deconfined phase. We compute the equation of state, showing that the relative increase in the pressure due to the magnetic field gets larger around the transition and is of the order of 10% for eB∼0.1GeV2. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Polotto S.,University of Genoa
EuroMediterranean Biomedical Journal | Year: 2012

Nipple-areola complex (NAC) reconstruction is an essential component of each breast re-construction technique as it plays a major role in achieving optimal aesthetic results. Its goal is to obtain an appropriately located, sized, shaped, colored and textured NAC when compared to the controlateral one or to ideal landmarks. Several surgical techniques have been developed to obviate the neo-nipple's loss of projection and contracture, mostly due to an inadequate NAC vascularization. Local flaps are the best choice when provided with a well-vascularized and sufficiently thick soft tissue, while grafts are better when there is a lack of local tissue and a donor zone is required to provide an adequate volume to the NAC. An autologous cartilage graft can also be used in similar situations to provide a long-lasting projected nipple. Tattooing is often used both to improve a newly created NAC and as an alternate two-dimensional reconstructive technique. © EUROMEDITERRANEAN BIOMEDICAL JOURNAL 2012.

Fabbri L.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Theoretical Physics | Year: 2016

In this paper we will show that purely classical concepts based on a few heuristic considerations about extended field configurations are enough to compute the leptonic magnetic moment with corrections in α-power perturbative expansion. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Cutolo M.,University of Genoa | Nadler S.G.,Bristol Myers Squibb
Autoimmunity Reviews | Year: 2013

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a multifactorial and polygenic immune-mediated disease, the pathogenesis of which involves different cell types. T and B lymphocytes, macrophages, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and osteoclasts have all been implicated in mediating the production of autoantibodies, proinflammatory cytokines and ultimately bone erosions. Cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 immunoglobulin fusion protein (CTLA-4-Ig, abatacept) is a unique biologic agent targeting the co-stimulatory molecules CD80/CD86, and is indicated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe RA in patients who have had an inadequate response to one or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, including methotrexate or anti-tumor necrosis factor agents. There is a growing body of evidence that, through selective modulation of the CD80/CD86 co-stimulatory molecules expressed by a variety of activated cell types, CTLA-4-Ig may inhibit the pathogenic RA process at several levels, both directly and indirectly. Here, we provide an overview of recent mechanistic studies of the action of CTLA-4-Ig on different cell types involved in mediating inflammation and joint damage in RA. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Guldner A.,University Hospital Dresden | Pelosi P.,University of Genoa | De Abreu M.G.,University Hospital Dresden
Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology | Year: 2013

Purpose of Review: In this review, we aimed at providing the most recent and relevant clinical evidence regarding the use of nonventilatory strategies to prevent postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs) after noncardiac surgery. Recent Findings: Although nonavoidable, most comorbidities can be modified in order to reduce the incidence of pulmonary events postoperatively. The physical status of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, and congestive heart failure can be improved preoperatively, and a number of measures can be undertaken to prevent PPCs, including physiotherapy for pulmonary rehabilitation and drug therapies. Also, smokers may benefit from both short and long-term smoke cessation. Furthermore, the risk of PPCs may be reduced upon: choice of an adequate anesthesia strategy (e.g. regional vs. general); appropriate neuromuscular blockade and reversal; use of volatile instead of intravenous anesthetics in lung surgery; judicious intravascular volume expansion (restrictive vs. liberal strategy); regional instead of systemic analgesia after major surgery in high-risk patients; more strict indication for nasogastric decompression in order to avoid silent aspiration; and laparoscopic instead of open bariatric surgery. Summary: Nonventilatory strategies can play an important role in reducing PPCs and improving clinical outcome after noncardiac surgery, especially in high-risk patients. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Aveyard R.,University of York | Ferrando R.,University of Genoa | Johnston R.L.,University of Birmingham | Yuan J.,University of York
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2014

High-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy in conjunction with image simulation is an important tool to determine the structure of nanomaterials. We show that molecular dynamics calculations can be combined with multislice image simulations to account for the large effects of surface-enhanced thermal vibrations and structural relaxation on image intensities. Application to a catalytically important gold cluster shows that the image intensity is sensitive to these surface dominated effects with important implications for three-dimensional structural characterizations. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Pescetti D.,University of Genoa
European Journal of Physics | Year: 2014

This paper is intended for undergraduates and specialists in thermodynamics and related areas. We consider and discuss the optimization of endoreversible thermodynamic processes under the condition of maximum work production. Explicit thermodynamic analyses of the solutions are carried out for the Novikov and Agrawal processes. It is shown that the efficiencies at maximum work production and maximum power output are not necessarily equal. They are for the Novikov process but not for the Agrawal process. The role of the constraints is put into evidence. The physical aspects are enhanced by the simplicity of the involved mathematics. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Capozziello S.,University of Naples Federico II | Vignolo S.,University of Genoa
Annalen der Physik (Leipzig) | Year: 2010

Torsion and curvature could play a fundamental role in explaining cosmological dynamics. f(R)-gravity with torsion is an approach aimed to encompass in a comprehensive scheme all the Dark Side of the Universe (Dark Energy and Dark Matter). We discuss the field equations in empty space and in presence of perfect fluid matter taking into account the analogy with the metric-affine formalism. The result is that the extra curvature and torsion degrees of freedom can be dealt under the standard of an effective scalar field of fully geometric origin. The initial value problem for such theories is also discussed. © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co.

Colombini M.,University of Genoa
Journal of Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2014

This contribution is a remake of the one published under the same title by Reynolds (Nord. Hydrol., vol. 7, 1976, pp. 161-183). As in that paper, attention is given to the latest developments in the field of river morphodynamics and, in particular, on the formation of bed patterns. Stimulated by the work by Kidanemariam and Uhlmann (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 750, 2014, R2) the opportunity is taken to examine the most recent developments in terms of sediment transport models. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.

Zotti M.,University of Genoa | Ferroni A.,Paper Restorer | Calvini P.,Istituto per la Tutela delle Opere Grafiche e Visive
International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation | Year: 2011

The small rusty stains (foxing) frequently found on historic paper documents, books, and prints have generally been analysed in the past by optical microscope through their morphochromatic appearance under visible light and UV radiation. Despite increased research efforts with more sophisticated techniques (mainly SEM and XRF), the biotic or even chemical origin of these stains remains unclear. The purpose of this paper is to verify to what extent a simple technique such as FTIR-ATR spectroscopy can be utilised for a clearer understanding of the controversial nature of foxing. Since this technique is sensitive to several organic chemical groups that are in common with both fungi and gelatine-sized ancient paper, some modern cardboards stained by biotic foxing have been selected for the analyses. The results clearly show the importance of FTIR and mycological analyses for the identification of residual microfungal agents, together with the by-products of their activity on paper substrates. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Rossi G.B.,University of Genoa
Journal of Physics: Conference Series | Year: 2010

In measurement indications from a measuring system are acquired and, on the basis of them, some inference about the measurand is made. The final result may be the assignment of a probability distribution for the possible values of the measurand. We discuss the logical structure of such an inference and some of its epistemological consequences. In particular, we propose a new solution to the problem of systematic effects in measurement. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Luchini P.,University of Salerno | Bottaro A.,University of Genoa
Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2014

The objective of this article is to review some developments in the use of adjoint equations in hydrodynamic stability theory. Adjoint-based sensitivity analysis finds both analytical and numerical applications much beyond those originally imagined. It can be used to identify optimal perturbations, pinpoint the most receptive path to break down, select the most destabilizing base-flow defect in a nominally stable configuration, and map the structural sensitivity of an oscillator. We focus on two flow cases more closely: the noise-amplifying instability of a boundary layer and the global mode occurring in the wake of a cylinder. For both cases, the clever interpretation and use of direct and adjoint modes provide key insight into the process of the transition to turbulence. Copyright © 2014 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Sburlati R.,University of Genoa
Composites Part B: Engineering | Year: 2012

This paper presents an analytical solution in the framework of the elasticity theory, which is useful in describing the elastic bending response of axisymmetric circular sandwich panels with functionally graded material cores and homogeneous face-sheets. The Young's modulus of the core is assumed to be exponentially dependant on the transverse direction and the Poisson's ratio as well as uniform and equal to the face-sheets ratio. The elastic solution is obtained using a Plevako representation, which reduces the problem to the search of potential functions satisfying linear fourth-order partial differential equations. We explicitly obtain the analytical solution by writing the potential functions as Fourier Bessel expansions with respect to the radial coordinate. A comparative study of functionally graded versus a homogeneous sandwich core is presented by considering the first term of the expansion as the loading condition. In this way, the solution is written in a closed form and furnishes a benchmark to accurately investigate the agreement with the structural theory results. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Fabbri L.,University of Genoa | Fabbri L.,University of Bologna
International Journal of Geometric Methods in Modern Physics | Year: 2014

In this paper, we consider an axial torsion to build metric-compatible connections in conformal gravity, with gauge potentials; the geometric background is filled with Dirac spinors: scalar fields with suitable potentials are added eventually. The system of field equations is worked out to have torsional effects converted into spinorial self-interactions: the massless spinors display self-interactions of a specific form that gives them the features they have in the non-conformal theory but with the additional character of renormalizability, and the mechanisms of generation of mass and cosmological constants become dynamical. As a final step we will address the cosmological constant problem and the coincidence issue. © World Scientific Publishing Company.

Colombini M.,University of Genoa
Physics of Fluids | Year: 2014

The flow of an incompressible Newtonian fluid inside a torsionally oscillating spherical cavity is considered. The three-dimensional Navier-Stokes and continuity equations are solved by means of a Galerkin projection spectral method, based on a second-order incremental fractional-step approach. Legendre and Jacobi polynomial expansions are used in the zenithal and radial directions, respectively. Axisymmetric solutions are sought for a relatively wide set of the parameters controlling the flow, namely, the Rossby and the Womersley numbers. In particular, the behaviour of the flowfor relatively large amplitudes of oscillation is studied, with emphasis on the generation of centrifugal instabilities. Numerical results are compared with experimental observations and semi-analytical solutions in the small-amplitude regime, showing good agreement. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

Amaroli A.,University of Genoa
European journal of histochemistry : EJH | Year: 2012

In Dictyostelium discoideum (D. discoideum), compounds generating nitric oxide (NO) inhibit its aggregation and differentiation without altering cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) production. They do it by preventing initiation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) pulses. Furthermore, these compounds stimulate adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribosylation of a 41 kDa cytosolic protein and regulate the glyceraldehyde-3-phospate dehydrogenase activity. Yet, although D. discoideum cells produce NO at a relatively constant rate at the onset of their developmental cycle, there is still no evidence of the presence of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzymes. In this work, we detect the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase (NADPH-d) activity in D. discoideum and we characterise it by specific inhibitors and physical-chemical conditions that allegedly distinguish between NOS-related and -unrelated NADPH-d activity.

Sacca S.C.,Ophthalmology Unit | Izzotti A.,University of Genoa
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences | Year: 2014

Primary open-angle glaucoma is a multifactorial disease that affects the retinal ganglion cells, but currently its therapy is to lower the eye pressure. This indicates a definite involvement of the trabecular meshwork, key region in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. This is the first target of glaucoma, and its functional complexity is a real challenge to search. Its functions are those to allow the outflow of aqueous humor and not the reflux. This article describes the morphological and functional changes that happen in anterior chamber. The "primus movens" is oxidative stress that affects trabecular meshwork, particularly its endothelial cells. In these develops a real mitochondriopaty. This leads to functional impotence, the trabecular meshwork altering both motility and cytoarchitecture. Its cells die by apoptosis, losing barrier functions and altering the aqueous humor outflow. All the morphological alterations occur that can be observed under a microscope. Intraocular pressure rises and the malfunctioning trabecular meshwork endotelial cells express proteins that completely alter the aqueous humor. This is a liquid whose functional proteomics complies with the conditions of the trabecular meshwork. Indeed, in glaucoma, it is possible detect the presence of proteins which testify to what occurs in the anterior chamber. There are six classes of proteins which confirm the vascular endothelium nature of the anterior chamber and are the result of the morphofunctional trabecular meshwork decay. It is possible that, all or in part, these proteins can be used as a signal to the posterior pole. © 2013 Springer Basel.

Brencich A.,University of Genoa
Construction and Building Materials | Year: 2015

Even though limited to the outer concrete layer of structures, pull-out tests have been proved to be a reliable technique for the in situ estimation of concrete strength. The most studied post-installed wedge anchor, the CAPO test, is not widely used due to some complexity in its use. A simplified procedure, resembling the CAPO test, the Zykon technology, has been used in Italy for more than 20 years with substantially unsatisfactory results, mainly for tensile stress states and for high stress gradients. In both the cases, the calibrations curve, relating the pull-out load to concrete strength, is related to unstressed concrete, which is troublesome when applied to in-service structures, i.e. with not vanishing stress states. A new post-installed wedge anchor is discussed in this paper that, based on a careful choice of all the technical details, has been proved to be reliable for all stress states since: (i) the drilling and expansion procedure avoids much of the uncertainties that affect the commonly used procedure; (ii) the calibration of the procedure has been performed on 6 classes of concrete and considering 5 different stress distributions (medium and low compression, vanishing stress states, compressive and tensile stresses with strong gradients). The correlation curves are nonlinear, as for pre-installed inserts, and depend on the stress state, with statistical scattering never exceeding 7-8% of the average values. A theoretical analysis fits rather well the test data and provides explanation to several aspects of pull-out tests. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Klotz L.,University College London | Norman S.,University of Oxford | Vieira J.M.,University of Oxford | Masters M.,University of Oxford | And 6 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2015

The lymphatic vasculature is a blind-ended network crucial for tissue-fluid homeostasis, immune surveillance and lipid absorption from the gut. Recent evidence has proposed an entirely venous-derived mammalian lymphatic system. By contrast, here we show that cardiac lymphatic vessels in mice have a heterogeneous cellular origin, whereby formation of at least part of the cardiac lymphatic network is independent of sprouting from veins. Multiple Cre-lox-based lineage tracing revealed a potential contribution from the putative haemogenic endothelium during development, and discrete lymphatic endothelial progenitor populations were confirmed by conditional knockout of Prox1 in Tie2 + and Vav1 + compartments. In the adult heart, myocardial infarction promoted a significant lymphangiogenic response, which was augmented by treatment with VEGF-C, resulting in improved cardiac function. These data prompt the re-evaluation of a century-long debate on the origin of lymphatic vessels and suggest that lymphangiogenesis may represent a therapeutic target to promote cardiac repair following injury. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Caini C.,University of Bologna | Cruickshank H.,University of Surrey | Farrell S.,Trinity College Dublin | Marchese M.,University of Genoa
Proceedings of the IEEE | Year: 2011

Satellite communications are characterized by long delays, packet losses, and sometimes intermittent connectivity and link disruptions. The TCP/IP stack is ineffective against these impairments and even dedicated solutions, such as performance enhancing proxies (PEPs), can hardly tackle the most challenging environments, and create compatibility issues with current security protocols. An alternative solution arises from the delay-and disruption-tolerant networking (DTN) architecture, which specifies an overlay protocol, called bundle protocol (BP), on top of either transport protocols (TCP, UDP, etc.), or of lower layer protocols (Bluetooth, Ethernet, etc.). The DTN architecture provides long-term information storage on intermediate nodes, suitable for coping with disrupted links, long delays, and intermittent connectivity. By dividing the end-to-end path into multiple DTN hops, in a way that actually extends the TCP-splitting concept exploited in most PEPs, DTN allows the use of specialized protocols on the satellite (or space) links. This paper discusses the prospects for use of DTN in future satellite networks. We present a broad DTN overview, to make the reader familiar with the characteristics that differentiate DTN from ordinary TCP/IP networking, compare the DTN and PEP architectures and stacks, as a preliminary step for the subsequent DTN performance assessment carried out in practical LEO/GEO satellite scenarios. DTN security is studied next, examining the advantages over present satellite architectures, the threats faced in satellite scenarios, and also open issues. Finally, the relation between DTN and quality of service (QoS) is investigated, by focusing on QoS architectures and QoS tools and by discussing the state of the art of DTN research activity in modeling, routing, and congestion control. © 2011 IEEE.

Gasparinetti S.,Aalto University | Solinas P.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Braggio A.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Sassetti M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Sassetti M.,University of Genoa
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2014

As the dimensions of physical systems approach the nanoscale, the laws of thermodynamics must be reconsidered due to the increased importance of fluctuations and quantum effects. While the statistical mechanics of small classical systems is relatively well understood, the quantum case still poses challenges. Here, we set up a formalism that allows us to calculate the full probability distribution of energy exchanges between a periodically driven quantum system and a thermalized heat reservoir. The formalism combines Floquet theory with a generalized master equation approach. For a driven two-level system and in the long-time limit, we obtain a universal expression for the distribution, providing clear physical insight into the exchanged energy quanta. We illustrate our approach in two analytically solvable cases and discuss the differences in the corresponding distributions. Our predictions could be directly tested in a variety of systems, including optical cavities and solid-state devices. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

Stocchino A.,University of Genoa | Repetto R.,University of LAquila | Siggers J.H.,Imperial College London
Physics in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2010

In this paper, we study a model of flow in the vitreous humour in the posterior chamber of the human eye, induced by saccadic eye rotations. We concentrate on the effect of the shape of the chamber upon the mixing properties of the induced flows. We make particle image velocimetry measurements of the fluid velocity in a transparent plastic (Perspex) model of the posterior chamber during sinusoidal torsional oscillations about a vertical axis. We use a Newtonian fluid to model the vitreous humour, which is most realistic when either the vitreous humour is liquefied or has been replaced by purely viscous tamponade fluids. The model of the posterior chamber is a sphere with an indentation, representing the effect of the lens. In spite of the purely periodic forcing, a steady streaming flow is generated, which plays a fundamental role in the mixing processes in the domain. The streaming flow differs markedly from that in a perfect sphere, and its topological characteristics change substantially as the frequency of oscillation varies. We discuss the flow characteristics in detail and show that, for physiological parameter values, the Péclet number (based on a suitable measure of the steady streaming velocity) is large, suggesting that advection strongly dominates over diffusion for mass transport phenomena. We also compute particle trajectories based on the streaming velocity and use these to investigate the stirring properties of the flow. © 2010 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

Ghasemi-Varnamkhasti M.,Shahrekord University | Forina M.,University of Genoa
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture | Year: 2014

This work studies the potential use of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy for the qualitative analysis of different beer types during the aging process. For this purpose, some computational tools (Principal Component Analysis (PCA), K Nearest Neighbours (KNN), Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), Stepwise LDA (StepLDA), Genetic Algorithms (GA) and Gram-Schmidt supervised orthogonalization (SELECT)) were employed over the beer fingerprints obtained to characterize the aging stages as well as beer types. The selection of useful variables has been performed by means of SELECT, StepLDA, and GA. Based on the results, the two alcoholic beers and the two non-alcoholic beers heavily overlap but the aging treatments were clearly discriminated. However, the NIR coupled with the multivariate computational tools has demonstrated a good capability to discriminate and classify the aged beers satisfactorily in such a way, for all aging treatments, high classification accuracies were found. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Ronzitti E.,Italian Institute of Technology | Ronzitti E.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | Harke B.,Italian Institute of Technology | Diaspro A.,Italian Institute of Technology | Diaspro A.,University of Genoa
Optics Express | Year: 2013

We present a novel concept adaptable to any kind of STED microscope in order to expand the limited number of compatible dyes for performing super resolution imaging. The approach is based on an intensity modulated excitation beam in combination with a frequency dependent detection in the form of a standard lock-in amplifier. This enables to unmix fluorescence signal originated by the excitation beam from the fluorescence caused by the STED beam. The benefit of this concept is demonstrated by imaging biological samples as well as fluorescent spheres, whose spectrum does not allow STED imaging in the conventional way. Our concept is suitable with CW or pulsed STED microscope and can thereby be seen as a general improvement adaptable to any existing setup. © 2013 Optical Society of America.

Davini S.,University of Genoa | Davini S.,University of Houston
Progress in Particle and Nuclear Physics | Year: 2012

Borexino is a low background liquid scintillation detector acquiring solar neutrino data at the LNGS underground laboratory in Italy. Borexino is capable to perform spectral-resolved measurements of the low-energy 7Be and pep solar neutrinos. Borexino has performed the first direct measurement of the 7Be solar neutrino rate with accuracy better than 5%. The absence of daynight asymmetry of the 7Be solar neutrino rate was measured with a total uncertainty of 1%. Borexino results alone reject the LOW region of solar neutrino oscillation parameters at more than 8.5 σ CL. Combined with the other solar neutrino data, Borexino measurements isolate the MSW-LMA solution of neutrino oscillations without assuming CPT invariance in the neutrino sector. Borexino has also directly observed, for the first time, solar neutrinos in the 1.01.5 MeV energy range, leading to the first direct evidence of the pep solar neutrino signal and the strongest constraint of the CNO solar neutrino flux up to date. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Siclari A.,Struttura Complessa di Ortopedia e Traumatologia | Mascaro G.,Servizio di Immunoematologia e Medicina Trasfusionale | Gentili C.,Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro | Cancedda R.,University of Genoa | Boux E.,Struttura Complessa di Ortopedia e Traumatologia
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research | Year: 2012

Background: Bone marrow stimulation techniques in cartilage repair such as drilling are limited by the formation of fibrous to hyaline-like repair tissue. It has been suggested such techniques can be enhanced by covering the defect with scaffolds. We present an innovative approach using a polyglycolic acid (PGA)-hyaluronan scaffold with platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) in drilling. Questions/purposes: We asked whether (1) PRP immersed in a cell-free PGA-hyaluronan scaffold improves patient-reported 1-year outcomes for the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Score (KOOS), and (2) implantation of the scaffold in combination with bone marrow stimulation leads to the formation of hyaline-like cartilage repair tissue. Patients and Methods: We reviewed 52 patients who had arthroscopic implantation of the PGA-hyaluronan scaffold immersed with PRP in articular cartilage defects of the knee pretreated with Pridie drilling. Patients were assessed by KOOS. At 9 months followup, histologic staining was performed in specimens obtained from five patients to assess the repair tissue quality. Results: The KOOS subscores improved for pain (55 to 91), symptoms (57 to 88), activities of daily living (69 to 86), sports and recreation (36 to 70), and quality of life (38 to 73). The histologic evaluation showed a homogeneous hyaline-like cartilage repair tissue. Conclusions: The cell-free PGA-hyaluronan scaffold combined with PRP leads to cartilage repair and improved patient-reported outcomes (KOOS) during 12 months of followup. Histologic sections showed morphologic features of hyaline-like repair tissue. Long-term followup is needed to determine if the cartilage repair tissue is durable. Level of Evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence. © 2011 The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons®.

Fabbri L.,University of Bologna | Fabbri L.,University of Genoa
General Relativity and Gravitation | Year: 2014

We will consider the most general least-order derivative action for the torsional completion of gravitational backgrounds filled with left-handed and right-handed semi-spinorial fields, accounting for all parity-even as well as parity-odd contributions; we will proceed by performing the customary analysis, decomposing torsion and substituting it in terms of the semi-spinorial density currents, in order to obtain the effective action with the torsionally-induced self-interacting potentials among the chiral fermionic fields: we shall see that the resulting effective non-linear potentials will turn eventually out to be parity conserving after all. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Di Vita A.,University of Genoa
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2010

Ten necessary criteria for stability of various dissipative fluids and plasmas are derived from the first and the second principle of thermodynamics applied to a generic small mass element of the system, under the assumption that local thermodynamic equilibrium holds everywhere at all times. We investigate the stability of steady states of a mixture of different chemical species at the same temperature against volume-preserving perturbations. We neglect both electric and magnetic polarization, and assume negligible net mass sources and particle diffusion. We assume that both conduction- and radiation-induced heat losses increase with increasing temperature. We invoke no Onsager symmetry, no detailed model of heat transport and production, no "Extended Thermodynamics," no "Maxent" method, and no "new" universal criterion of stability for steady states of systems with dissipation. Each criterion takes the form of-or is a consequence of-a variational principle. We retrieve maximization of entropy for isolated systems at thermodynamic equilibrium, as expected. If the boundary conditions keep the relaxed state far from thermodynamic equilibrium, the stability criterion we retrieve depends also on the detailed balance of momentum of a small mass element. This balance may include the p -related force, the Lorenz force of electromagnetism and the forces which are gradients of potentials. In order to be stable, the solution of the steady-state equations of motion for a given problem should satisfy the relevant stability criterion. Retrieved criteria include (among others) Taylor's minimization of magnetic energy with the constraint of given magnetic helicity in relaxed, turbulent plasmas, Rayleigh's criterion of stability in thermoacoustics, Paltridge 's maximum entropy production principle for Earth's atmosphere, Chandrasekhar' minimization of the adverse temperature gradient in Bénard's convective cells, and Malkus' maximization of viscous power with the constraint of given mean velocity for turbulent shear flow in channels. It turns out that characterization of systems far from equilibrium, e.g., by maximum entropy production is not a general property but-just like minimum entropy production-is reserved to special systems. A taxonomy of stability criteria is derived, which clarifies what is to be minimized, what is to be maximized and with which constraint for each problem. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Romeo M.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Solids and Structures | Year: 2016

The propagation of surface waves on a dielectric half-space with hexagonal symmetry is studied on the basis of a recent modification of the micropolar theory of electroelastic continua. The model connects electric polarization to macro and micro-displacements via dipole and quadrupole densities due to the charge distribution in the continuum particle. The differential system derived in the linear wave problem accounts for coupling of acoustic modes with micro-rotational modes referred to polaritons. Bleustein-Gulyaev (BG) and Rayleigh waves are allowed in the half space and are shown to satisfy dispersion laws very similar to those obtained in the past from a phenomenological continuum theory of ferroelectrics. All the surface modes are dispersive and involve polarization via the microrotation gradient. The results prove the effectiveness of the present approach in order to represent electro-elastic coupling in dielectrics. The classical BG wave problem is recovered if microrotation gradient is neglected in the constitutive assumptions but the resulting mode is again dispersive. A similar reduction to the classical Rayleigh wave of linear elasticity allows for a flexoelectric contribution to polarization. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Marchese M.,University of Genoa | Mongelli M.,National Research Council Italy
Computer Networks | Year: 2012

The paper addresses resilience over Ethernet networks using the Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP). The topic constitutes an open issue of debate among the scientific and industrial community, as clear indications on the real RSTP performance for network recovery can hardly be found in the literature. Actually, the complicated protocol structure makes the analysis intricate and unsuitable for generalization. Moreover, the presence of other resilience algorithms, whose mechanisms and rules are explicitly designed for resilience, solves the problem beyond the application of RSTP. Even though those solutions are actually more efficient than RSTP, they are more expensive. In this perspective, the purposes of this paper are twofold. (1) First, it aims at critically evaluating the intrinsic limitations of RSTP. (2) Secondly, it proposes some simple protocol modifications to speed up reactions to network faults. Ring topologies are taken into account. As a result, the proposed modifications allow to assess how and when the protocol achieves almost-ideal performance. The performance analysis, made by simulations and via a testbed, validate the achievable performance as a trade-off between fast reactions and bandwidth overhead. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bellini C.,University of Genoa | Hennekam R.C.,University of Amsterdam
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A | Year: 2012

Hydrops fetalis is an excessive accumulation of fetal fluid. Hydrops is traditionally classified into either immune or non-immune hydrops (NIHF), but in practice, nowadays in the Western world >90% of hydrops is of non-immune origin. The basis of the disorder is an imbalance in the regulation of fetal fluid movement between the vascular and interstitial space. We previously suggested a diagnostic flow-chart for NIHF. In this short review we describe the main mechanisms leading to NIHF. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Senna G.,University of Verona | Caminati M.,University of Verona | Canonica G.W.,University of Genoa
Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2013

Purpose of review Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is effective in allergic rhinitis and asthma. Apart from its efficacy, safety is crucial as this treatment is usually self-administered at home. Tolerability also plays a pivotal role, as mild local reactions, although not life-threatening, may represent a risk for treatment withdrawal and can therefore negatively affect clinical outcomes. The present study addresses this issue by reviewing doubleblind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials and real-life studies. Recent findings The number of life-threatening SLIT-related reactions is negligible. SLIT-related adverse events are not always consistently reported nor uniformly classified in published studies. However, systemic reactions are rare and side effects mostly consist of mild, self-limiting local reactions. No treatment-related risk factors for adverse events have been clearly defined, as far as type of allergen, dose or schedule. Summary SLIT provides an optimal safety profile both in children and in adults. Apart from life-threatening reactions, the lack of standardization of adverse events reporting may account for the wide variability of the prevalence of side effects in clinical trials and in real-life setting. It can lead to a possible underestimation of adverse events, concerning, in particular, local reactions. Since poor tolerability may affect adherence and cause treatment discontinuation, adopting shared strategies in order to recognize, grade and manage adverse events is mandatory. Copyright © Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Ravelli A.,University of Genoa | Grom A.A.,University of Cincinnati | Behrens E.M.,University of Pennsylvania | Cron R.Q.,University of Alabama at Birmingham
Genes and Immunity | Year: 2012

Macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) is a severe, frequently fatal complication of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) with features of hemophagocytosis leading to coagulopathy, pancytopenia, and liver and central nervous system dysfunction. MAS is overt in 10% of children with sJIA but occurs subclinically in another 30-40%. It is difficult to distinguish sJIA disease flare from MAS. Development of criteria for establishing MAS as part of sJIA are under way and will hopefully prove sensitive and specific. Mutations in cytolytic pathway genes are increasingly being recognized in children who develop MAS as part of sJIA. Identification of these mutations may someday assist in MAS diagnosis. Defects in cytolytic genes have provided murine models of MAS to study pathophysiology and treatment. Recently, the first mouse model of MAS not requiring infection but rather dependent on repeated stimulation through Toll-like receptors was reported. This provides a model of MAS that may more accurately reflect MAS pathology in the setting of autoinflammation or autoimmunity. This model confirms the importance of a balance between pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines. There has been remarkable progress in the use of anti-pro-inflammatory cytokine therapy, particularly against interleukin-1, in the treatment of secondary forms of MAS, such as in sJIA. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Morro A.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Solids and Structures | Year: 2012

The paper investigates time-harmonic wave propagation in continuously stratified solids and provides the results of a reflection-transmission process generated by a layer sandwiched between homogeneous half-spaces. The layer is continuously stratified and allows for jump discontinuities at a finite number of planes. The dissipative effects are accounted for through the classical Boltzmann law of viscoelasticity. By using displacement and traction as convenient vector variables, the governing equations are considered in a vector Volterra integral equation and the solution is determined by means of a matricant. Next the matricant is applied to determine the reflection and transmission coefficients of a layer, with a generic piecewise continuous profile of the material properties. The reflection-transmission process produced by an obliquely incident wave, is considered for horizontally-polarized waves. The low-frequency approximation is derived for the reflection and transmission coefficients. Next, the high-frequency approximation is investigated by a WKB-like procedure which involves a complex valued frequency-dependent shear modulus. The displacement solution is obtained for the forward- and the backward-propagating waves in the layer along with the reflection and transmission coefficients. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Norell H.,University of Lisbon | Moretta A.,University of Genoa | Silva-Santos B.,University of Lisbon | Moretta L.,Istituto Giannina Gaslini
Journal of Leukocyte Biology | Year: 2013

NK cells and γδ T lymphocytes display potent cytolytic activity against leukemias and CMV-infected cells and are thus, prosmising immune effector cells in the context of allo-HSCT. NK cells express HLA class I-specific inhibitory receptors and preferentially kill HLA class Ilow tumors or virus-infected cells. Killing occurs upon engagement of activating NKRs with ligands that are up-regulated on tumors and infected cells. A similar activating receptor/ligand interaction strategy is used by γδ T cells, which in addition, use their TCRs for recognition of phosphorylated antigens and still largely undefined ligands on tumor cells. In the haploidentical allo-HSCT setting, alloreactive NK cells, derived from donor HSCs, can exert potent antileukemia activity and kill residual patient DCs and T cells, thus preventing GvHD and graft rejection. However, generation of KIR+ alloreactive NK cells from HSCs requires many weeks, during which leukemia relapses, and life-threatening infections may occur. Importantly, mature NK cells and γδ T cells can control certain infectious agents efficiently, in particular, limit CMV reactivation, and infusion of such donor cells at the time of HSCT has been implemented. Development of novel, cell-based immunotherapies, allowing improved trafficking and better targeting, will endow NK cells and γδ T lymphocytes with enhanced antitumor activity, also making them key reagents for therapies against solid tumors. The clinical aspects of using NK cells and γδ T lymphocytes against hematological malignancies, including the allo-HSCT context, are reviewed in the related side-by-side paper by Locatelli and colleagues [1]. © Society for Leukocyte Biology.

Spagnolo F.,Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino | Ghiorzo P.,University of Genoa | Queirolo P.,Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

Almost 50% of metastatic melanoma patients harbor a BRAFV600 mutation and the introduction of BRAF inhibitors has improved their treatment options. BRAF inhibitors vemurafenib and dabrafenib achieved improved overall survival over chemotherapy and have been approved for the treatment of BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma. However, most patients develop mechanisms of acquired resistance and about 15% of them do not achieve tumor regression at all, due to intrinsic resistance to therapy. Moreover, early adaptive responses limit the initial efficacy of BRAF inhibition, leading mostly to incomplete responses that may favor the selection of a sub-population of resistant clones and the acquisition of alterations that cause tumor regrowth and progressive disease. The purpose of this paper is to review the mechanisms of resistance to therapy with BRAF inhibitors and to discuss the strategies to overcome them based on preclinical and clinical evidences.

Carricato M.,University of Bologna | Zlatanov D.,University of Genoa
Mechanism and Machine Theory | Year: 2014

When a mechanism moves, the twist system of the end-effector generally varies. In significant special cases, however, the end-effector twist space is a subalgebra of the Lie algebra se(3) of the special Euclidean group, and it remains constant. Accordingly, if the output twists of a serial linkage form a subalgebra of se(3) at one configuration, the space spanned by the end-effector twists remains unchanged under arbitrary joint motions away from singularities. This work investigates a generalization of this property, namely mechanisms whose end-effector twist system remains invariant up to a rigid displacement under arbitrary finite motions away from special configurations. In this case, the output screw system preserves its internal pattern and 'shape', but it moves in space like a rigid body. We say that a mechanism of this kind has a persistent screw system (PSS) of the end-effector. This paper introduces fundamental concepts and facts concerning PSSs. The phenomenon is illustrated with examples and its importance for mobility analysis and mechanism synthesis is discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Ancona D.,University of Genoa
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2012

It is well known that big-step operational semantics are not suitable for proving soundness of type systems, because of their inability to distinguish stuck from non-terminating computations. We show how this problem can be solved by interpreting coinductively the rules for the standard big-step operational semantics of a Java-like language, thus making the claim of soundness more intuitive: whenever a program is well-typed, its coinductive operational semantics returns a value. Indeed, coinduction allows non-terminating computations to return values; this is proved by showing that the set of proof trees defining the semantic judgment forms a complete metric space when equipped with a proper distance function. In this way, we are able to prove soundness of a nominal type system w.r.t. the coinductive semantics. Since the coinductive semantics is sound w.r.t. the usual small-step operational semantics, the standard claim of soundness can be easily deduced. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Romeo M.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Solids and Structures | Year: 2012

The micromorphic continuum theory of dielectrics introduced in a previous work (Romeo, 2011) is here reduced to a linear set of balance and constitutive equations modeling thermo-electromagneto-elastic solids which allow for electric dipoles and quadrupoles. Electric polarization turns out to be a linear function of macroscopic strain, microrotation and their gradients. Micropolar isotropic dielectrics are considered in particular to set up the one-dimensional problem of a dielectric layer subjected to a voltage drop. The solution accounts for ionic permeability and electrostriction. In addition, the well known anomalous behavior of the electric capacitance of thin dielectric layers arises as a consequence of electroelastic coupling. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Tagliafico A.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Tagliafico G.,Genova Engineering, LLC. | Martinoli C.,University of Genoa
Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2010

The possibility to realize a quantitative evaluation of nerve density on ultrasound is clinically important to enhance the evaluation of peripheral nerve disorders. We developed software that quantifies the ratio between the hypoechoic and hyperechoic areas of peripheral nerves on ultrasound. Nerve density was defined as (hypoechoic pixels)/(total pixels) and the purpose of our study was to asses if nerve density can be used to differentiate pathologic conditions affecting peripheral nerves. Ultrasound images of peripheral nerves were obtained with a high-frequency probe (17-5 MHz, 288 elements). Sixty-five different patients and (n = 65) controls (age range, 35-81 years; mean 55 years) were prospectively evaluated. Thirty-five patients had carpal tunnel syndrome and 30 patients had neurofibromas. Three radiologists performed a semiautomated evaluation with intra and interobserver agreement. A complete automatic evaluation was performed with no need of intra and interobserver evaluation. With the semiautomated evaluation, mean intraobserver agreement was good (K = 0.85). Interobserver agreements was good as well (reader 1 vs reader 2: k = 0.72; reader 2 vs reader 3: k = 0.80; reader 3 vs reader 1: k = 0.72). Differences among value of nerve density in normal nerves, CTS and neurofibromas were statistically significant (p < 0.0001). There were no statistically significant differences between the results obtained using the automatic or the semiautomatic method. Nerve density is capable of discriminating between normal and pathologic nerves of patients affected by carpal tunnel syndrome or neurofibromas. Moreover, nerve density measure is useful to discriminate between patients with mild and severe CTS. (E-mail: atagliafico@sirm.org). © 2010 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology.

Guerrini G.,University of Genoa
Intelligent Systems Reference Library | Year: 2013

The standard XML query languages, XPath and XQuery, are built on the assumption of a regular structure with well-defined parent/child relationships between nodes and exact conditions on nodes. Full text extensions to both languages allow Information Retrieval (IR) style queries over text-rich documents. Important applications exist for which the purely textual information is not predominant and documents exhibit a structure, that is however not relatively regular. Thus, approaches to relax both content and structure conditions in queries on XML document collections and to rank results according to some measure to assess similarity have been proposed, as well as processing approaches to efficiently evaluate them. In the chapter, the various dimensions of query relaxation and alternative approaches to approximate processing will be discussed. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013.

Delzanno G.,University of Genoa
International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer | Year: 2016

We give a unified view of different parameterized models of concurrent and distributed systems with broadcast communication based on transition systems. Based on the resulting formal models, we discuss related verification methods and tools based on abstractions and symbolic state exploration. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

STUDY QUESTIONIs the amount of cell-free DNA released by human embryos into culture medium correlated with embryo morphological features?SUMMARY ANSWERThe mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content of culture medium is significantly associated with the fragmentation rate on Days 2 and 3 of embryo development, whether the oocyte came from women ≤35 or >35 years old.WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADYCellular fragmentation is often utilized as one of the morphological parameters for embryo quality assessment. The amount of cellular fragments is considered to be an important morphological parameter for embryo implantation potential. It has been hypothesized that fragments are apoptotic bodies or anuclear cytoplasmatic pieces of blastomeres, although no definitive conclusion has been drawn about their pathogenesis.STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATIONHuman fertilized oocytes were individually cultured from Day 1 to Days 2 and 3. A total of 800 samples (166 spent media from Day 2 and 634 from Day 3) were enrolled into the present study.PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODSDouble-stranded DNA (dsDNA) was quantified in 800 spent embryo culture media by Pico Green dye fluorescence assay. After DNA purification, genomic DNA (gDNA) and mtDNA were profiled by specific quantitative PCR. Statistical analyses defined correlations among DNA contents, embryo morphology and maternal age.MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCEDifferent independent tests confirmed the presence of DNA into embryo culture medium and, for the first time, we demonstrate that both gDNA and mtDNA are detectable in the secretome. The amount of DNA is larger in embryos with bad quality cleavage compared with high-grade embryos, suggesting that the DNA profile of culture medium is an objective marker for embryo quality assessment. In particular, DNA profiles are significantly associated with fragmentation feature (total dsDNA: P = 0.0010; mtDNA; P = 0.0247) and advanced maternal age.LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTIONIt is necessary to establish whether DNA profiling of spent embryo culture medium is a robust onsite test that can improve the prediction of blastulation, implantation and/or pregnancy rate.WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGSThe approach we are proposing may provide a novel, non-invasive, objective tool for embryo quality grading. The correlation between a high mtDNA concentration and the fragmentation rate of embryos is suggestive that fragments are mainly anuclear cytoplasmatic debris arising during cleavage. Therefore, blastomere shaping as an early event during in vitro development may play a homeostatic role and be related to embryo competence. © The Author 2013.

A scientific review informed about the characteristics of basic compounds and materials used in industrial and technological chemistry. The review emphasized on the the properties of liquid bases, the characterization, and use of solid bases. The contribution was intended to emphasize the linkage between the chemical knowledge of acid-base interactions and the engineering of chemical processes, along with their environmental impact. It also provided evidence of trends aimed at improving process safety and limiting environmental pollution when they were related to the increased use of solid basic materials.

Tagliafico G.,Genova Engineering, LLC. | Scarpa F.,Genova Engineering, LLC. | Canepa F.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Refrigeration | Year: 2010

Active Magnetic Regeneration (AMR) is a configuration that allows magnetic refrigeration to be suitable also for room temperature applications. This work is intended to detect, by means of a 1-D numerical model, the influence on the regenerator performances of the working condition ambient temperature (TCURIE ± 20 K) and of the operating parameters fluid mass flow rate (utilization factor 0.5÷3.5) and cycle frequency (0.1÷0.6 Hz). Simulations show that, tuning the fluid mass flow rate, a gadolinium AMR (395 g, f = 0.25 Hz, ΔB = 1.7 T) can reach a maximum cooling capacity of 130 W and a 40 W cooling power over a temperature span of 30 K. A COP of 5 can also be achieved with a temperature span of 30 K and a cooling power of 35 W. Frequency has a weak influence on the AMR's COP, while the ambient temperature is crucial. The system loses the 60% of cooling capacity if the ambient temperature is 20 K away from the material Curie temperature. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd and IIR.

The problem of scheduling jobs on an unreliable single machine is considered in this paper. The scheduling problem is characterized by the following features: jobs are grouped into classes of equivalent jobs; the generalized due date model is adopted for each class of jobs; it is possible to reduce the processing time of a job, at the price of the payment of an extra cost; a costly setup is required when switching between jobs of different classes. The scheduling problem is solved from a perspective which is different from the traditional determination of an optimal sequence of jobs; in fact, the objective of the paper is to determine optimal control strategies (functions of the system state) which allow generating the optimal decisions during the evolution of the system, taking into account the actual system state. In this way, optimal decisions can be promptly taken also in the presence of perturbations which affect the single machine (such as breakdowns and slowdowns). To this aim, a specific optimal control problem is stated and solved in the paper. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Ismail R.,University of Birmingham | Ismail R.,Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research | Ferrando R.,University of Genoa | Johnston R.L.,University of Birmingham
Journal of Physical Chemistry C | Year: 2013

Bimetallic nanoparticles composed of palladium and gold are particularly interesting from the viewpoint of their catalytic properties, for example, for selective hydrogenation and alcohol oxidation. More accurate catalytic modeling is achieved by the inclusion of the substrate (e.g., metal oxides). In this work, the structures and chemical ordering (atomic segregation) of Pd-Au clusters supported on MgO(100) were studied using a combined empirical potential-density functional theory approach. The focus is on 30-and 40-atom clusters, including variation in the bimetallic composition. Consistent with the available experimental findings, Pd atoms preferentially bind to the substrate oxygen sites. Good cluster-substrate epitaxy is observed, but there is a strong dependence on the size and composition of the clusters. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Seminara G.,University of Genoa
Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics | Year: 2010

Geomorphology is concerned with the shaping of Earth's surface. A major contributing mechanism is the interaction of natural fluids with the erodible surface of Earth, which is ultimately responsible for the variety of sedimentary patterns observed in rivers, estuaries, coasts, deserts, and the deep submarine environment. This review focuses on fluvial patterns, both free and forced. Free patterns arise spontaneously from instabilities of the liquid-solid interface in the form of interfacial waves affecting either bed elevation or channel alignment: Their peculiar feature is that they express instabilities of the boundary itself rather than flow instabilities capable of destabilizing the boundary. Forced patterns arise from external hydrologic forcing affecting the boundary conditions of the system. After reviewing the formulation of the problem of morphodynamics, which turns out to have the nature of a free boundary problem, I discuss systematically the hierarchy of patterns observed in river basins at different scales. Copyright © 2010 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Resta M.,University of Genoa
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2011

We explored the use of Self Organizing Map (SOM) to assess the problem of efficiency measurement in the case of health care providers. To do this, we used as input the data from the balance sheets of 300 health care providers, as resulting from the Italian Statistics Institute (ISTAT) database, and we examined their representation obtained both by running classical SOM algorithm, and by modifying it through the replacement of standard Euclidean distance with the generalized Minkowski metrics. Finally, we have shown how the results may be employed to perform graph mining on data. In this way, we were able to discover intrinsic relationships among health care providers that, in our opinion, can be of help to stakeholders to improve the quality of health care service. Our results seem to contribute to the existing literature in at least two ways: (a) using SOM to analyze data of health care providers is completely new; (b) SOM graph mining shows, in turn, elements of innovations for the way the adjacency matrix is formed, with the connections among SOM winner nodes used as starting point to the process. © 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Cariati A.,University of Genoa
Clinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology | Year: 2013

Black pigment gallstones represent nearly the 15% of all gallstones and are usually related with the typical " hyperbilirubinbilia" factors as hemolysis, ineffective erythropoiesis, pathologic enterohepatic cycling of unconjugated bilirubin, cirrhosis and with gallbladder mucosa (parietal) factors as adenomyomatosis. During a prospective study on 179 patients who underwent cholecystectomy for gallstone disease a 69-year-old female with predialysis chronic kidney disease was operated for symptomatic gallstone. The removed gallstones were black pigment gallstones, with an irregular (as small blackberry) surface. Analysis of the stones revealed a great amount of whitlockite (Ca Mg)3 (PO4)2. Recent studies on chronic renal failure patients found that chronic uremia is associated with an increased risk of gallstones formation (22%) as it seems in women affected by primary hyperparathyroidism (30%). The presence of calcium phosphate gallstones in these patients have been never described. In conclusion, further studies could be necessary to establish the role of chronic renal failure and of primary and secondary hyperparathyroidism in gallstones formation and, in particular, if dialysis and predialysis patients have an higher risk to develop cholesterol and black pigment gallstones in particular of the " blackberry" (whitlockite) subtype. © 2012.

Berio A.,University of Genoa
La Pediatria medica e chirurgica : Medical and surgical pediatrics | Year: 2013

Kearns-Sayre syndrome is characterized by onset before 20 years, chronic progressive external opthalmoplegia, pigmentary retinal degeneration, and ataxia (and/or hearth block, and/or high protein content in the cerebrospinal fluid) in the presence of mtDNA rearrangements. Multiple endocrine dysfunction associated with this syndrome was rarely reported. In this paper, the Authors report on a female patient with Kearns-Sayre syndrome with large heteroplasmic mtDNA deletion, absence of cytochrome c oxidase in many muscle fibers, partial GH deficiency, hypothyroidism and subsequently insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Anti-thyroid peroxidase and antithyreoglobulin antibodies were present in high titer in serum while anti-islet cell antibodies were absent. The patient developed thyroiditis with Hashimoto encephalopathy. The presence of GH deficiency, autoimmune thyroiditis with hypothyroidism and IDDM distinguishes this case from others and confirms the association of Kearns-Sayre syndrome with multiple endocrine dysfunction. Hashimoto encephalopathy and anti-thyroideal antibodies suggest that in this patient, predisposed by a genetic factor (a mitochondrial deletion) anti-thyroideal antibodies may have contributed to the hypothyroidism and, by interfering with cerebral mitochondrial function, may have caused the encephalopathy. GH deficiency and IDDM can be attributed to oxidative phosphorylation deficiency but the autoimmunity may also have played a role in the production of glandular insufficiencies. It seems important to search for endocrine autoimmunity in every case of KSS.

Scudieri P.,U.O.C. Genetica Medica | Sondo E.,U.O.C. Genetica Medica | Caci E.,U.O.C. Genetica Medica | Ravazzolo R.,U.O.C. Genetica Medica | And 2 more authors.
Biochemical Journal | Year: 2013

TMEM16A and TMEM16B proteins are CaCCs (Ca2+-activated Cl - channels) with eight putative transmembrane segments. As shown previously, expression of TMEM16B generates CaCCs characterized by a 10-fold lower Ca2+ affinity and by faster activation and deactivation kinetics with respect to TMEM16A. To investigate the basis of the different properties, we generated chimaeric proteins in which different domains of the TMEM16A protein were replaced by the equivalent domains of TMEM16B. Replacement of the N-terminus, TMD (transmembrane domain) 1-2, the first intracellular loop and TMD3-4 did not change the channel's properties. Instead, replacement of intracellular loop 3 decreased the apparent Ca2+ affinity by nearly 8-fold with respect to wild-type TMEM16A. In contrast, the membrane currents derived from chimaeras containing TMD7-8 or the C-terminus of TMEM16B showed higher activation and deactivation rates without a change in Ca2+ sensitivity. Significantly accelerated kinetics were also found when the entire C-terminus of the TMEM16A protein (77 amino acid residues) was deleted. Our findings indicate that the third intracellular loop of TMEM16A and TMEM16B is the site involved in Ca2+-sensitivity, whereas the C-terminal part, including TMD7-8, affect the rate of transition between the open and the closed state. © The Authors Journal compilation © 2013 Biochemical Society.

Del Vecchio C.A.,Stanford University | Giacomini C.P.,Stanford University | Vogel H.,Stanford University | Jensen K.C.,Stanford University | And 4 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2013

Amplification and rearrangements of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene are frequently found in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The most common variant is EGFR variant III (EGFRvIII). Research suggests that EGFRvIII could be a marker for a cancer stem cell or tumor-initiating population. If amplification and rearrangement are early events in tumorigenesis, this implies that they should be preserved throughout the tumor. However, in primary GBM, EGFRvIII expression is focal and sporadic. Unexpectedly, we found EGFR amplification and rearrangement throughout the tumor, including regions with no EGFRvIII expression, suggesting that mechanisms exist to modulate EGFRvIII expression even in the presence of high gene amplification. To study this phenomenon, we characterized three GBM cell lines with endogenous EGFRvIII. EGFRvIII expression was heterogeneous, with both positive and negative populations maintaining the genetic alterations, akin to primary tumors. Furthermore, EGFRvIII defined a hierarchy where EGFRvIII-positive cells gave rise to additional positive and negative cells. Only cells that had recently lost EGFRvIII expression could re-express EGFRvIII, providing an important buffer for maintaining EGFRvIII-positive cell numbers. Epigenetic mechanisms had a role in maintaining heterogeneous EGFRvIII expression. Demethylation induced a 20-60% increase in the percentage of EGFRvIII-positive cells, indicating that some cells could re-express EGFRvIII. Surprisingly, inhibition of histone deacetylation resulted in a 50-80% reduction in EGFRvIII expression. Collectively, this data demonstrates that EGFR amplification and rearrangement are early events in tumorigenesis and EGFRvIII follows a model of hierarchical expression. Furthermore, EGFRvIII expression is restricted by epigenetic mechanisms, suggesting that drugs that modulate the epigenome might be used successfully in glioblastoma tumors. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved 0950-9232/13.

Bonati C.,University of Pisa | Cossu G.,High Energy Accelerator Research Organization | D'Elia M.,University of Genoa | Incardona P.,University of Pisa
Computer Physics Communications | Year: 2012

We report on our implementation of the RHMC algorithm for the simulation of lattice QCD with two staggered flavors on Graphics Processing Units, using the NVIDIA CUDA programming language. The main feature of our code is that the GPU is not used just as an accelerator, but instead the whole Molecular Dynamics trajectory is performed on it. After pointing out the main bottlenecks and how to circumvent them, we discuss the obtained performances. We present some preliminary results regarding OpenCL and multiGPU extensions of our code and discuss future perspectives. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Romeo M.,University of Genoa
Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics | Year: 2016

A micromorphic continuum model of a deformable electromagnetic conductor is established introducing microdensities of bound and free charges. The conductive part of electric current consists of contributions due to free charges and microdeformation. Beside the conservation of charge, we derive suitable evolution equations for electric multipoles which are exploited to obtain the macroscopic form of Maxwell’s equations. A constitutive model for electromagneto-elastic conductors is considered which allows for a natural characterization of perfect conductors independently on the form of the constitutive equation for the conduction current. A generalized Ohm’s law is also derived for not ideal conductors which accounts for relaxation effects. The consequences of the linearized Ohm’s law on the classic magnetic transport equation are shown. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Striano P.,University of Genoa | Belcastro V.,SantAnna Hospital
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy | Year: 2013

Introduction: Myoclonic seizures can be observed in various clinical settings and different epileptic conditions, including some forms of both diopathic and symptomatic epilepsies. Relatively little has been written on treatment of myoclonic seizures. Some old antiepileptic drugs, such as valproate and some benzodiazepines, are widely used but more treatment options exist today for some newer antiepileptic drugs. Nevertheless, patients can be refractory to drug treatment and some drugs may exacerbate or even induce myoclonus. Areas covered: Key safety, tolerability, and efficacy data are presented for different antiepileptic drugs with antimyoclonic effect, alone and/or in combination. Expert opinion: Treatment of myoclonic seizures in children is mainly based on prospective and retrospective studies, with little evidence from randomized clinical trials. Valproate is commonly the first choice alone or in combination with some benzodiazepines or levetiracetam. There is still insufficient evidence for the use of topiramate and zonisamide as monotherapy. Of major importance remains avoidance of medication that may aggravate the seizures. Better understanding of pathophysiologic mechanisms of myoclonic seizures and myoclonic epilepsies could yield great improvement in the treatment and quality of life of patients. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd.

Giannini E.G.,University of Genoa | Afdhal N.H.,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy | Year: 2013

Introduction: Thrombocytopenia may represent a barrier to optimal management of chronic liver disease patients undergoing invasive procedures, or who need to be treated with interferon-based antiviral therapy. Eltrombopag is a thrombopoietic drug that acts upon binding thrombopoietin receptor and stimulates megakaryocytopoiesis and platelet production. Areas covered: A summary of the preclinical studies and of studies carried out in patients with chronic liver disease with eltrombopag are presented in this paper. Data are based on abstracts from journal articles and international conferences found in a PubMed search of literature published up to November 2012. Expert opinion: Eltrombopag has shown to be capable of reducing the need for platelet transfusion in thrombocytopenic patients with advanced liver disease undergoing invasive procedures and help increase the sustained virological response rate to interferon-based antiviral therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C who were poor candidates to treatment because of thrombocytopenia. In chronic liver disease patients, the possible benefits of eltrombopag administration should be accurately weighed against the adverse events profile of the drug due to possible concerns regarding the occurrence of thromboembolic events and the potential for decompensation of chronic liver disease. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd.

Bragazzi N.L.,University of Genoa
Journal of Research in Medical Sciences | Year: 2014

2. evidences for safety in patients with nephrolithiasis and CKD are instead mixed and controversial. On the other handRamadan fasting represents one of the five pillars of the Islam creed according to the Sunnah and the second practice of faith for the Shiaa. Even though patients are exempted from observing this religious duty, they may be eager to share this particular moment of the year with their family and peers. However, there are no guidelines or standardized protocols that can help physicians to properly address the issue of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) fasting in Ramadan and to correctly advise them. Moreover, in a more interconnected and globalized society, in which more and more Muslim patients live in the Western countries, this topic is of high interest also for the general practitioner. For this purpose, we carried out a systematic review, including also articles written in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian languages. Our main findings are that:1. recipients of kidney allograft can safely fast during Ramadan;3. most studies have been carried out during Ramadan falling in cold seasons, and there is scarce information about Ramadan fasting in hot seasons.For these reasons, the findings may be not generalizable and therefore cautions should be taken and applied; the physicians should carefully monitor their patients during the fasting period with an adequate follow-up, in order to avoid any injurious effect. © 2014 Isfahan University of Medical Sciences(IUMS). All rights reserved.

Santopinto E.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Giannini M.M.,University of Genoa
Physical Review C - Nuclear Physics | Year: 2012

We report in a systematic way the predictions of the nonrelativistic hypercentral constituent quark model for the electromagnetic excitations of baryon resonances. The longitudinal and transverse helicity amplitudes are calculated with no free parameters for fourteen resonances, for both protons and neutrons. The calculations lead to an overall fair description of data, especially in the medium-Q2 range, where quark degrees of freedom are expected to dominate. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Sacca S.C.,Ophthalmology Unit | Roszkowska A.M.,Messina University | Izzotti A.,University of Genoa
Mutation Research - Reviews in Mutation Research | Year: 2013

The human eye is constantly exposed to sunlight and artificial lighting. Exogenous sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as UV light, visible light, ionizing radiation, chemotherapeutics, and environmental toxins contribute to oxidative damage in ocular tissues. Long-term exposure to these insults places the aging eye at considerable risk for pathological consequences of oxidative stress. Furthermore, in eye tissues, mitochondria are an important endogenous source of ROS. Over time, all ocular structures, from the tear film to the retina, undergo oxidative stress, and therefore, the antioxidant defenses of each tissue assume the role of a safeguard against degenerative ocular pathologies. The ocular surface and cornea protect the other ocular tissues and are significantly exposed to oxidative stress of environmental origin. Overwhelming of antioxidant defenses in these tissues clinically manifests as pathologies including pterygium, corneal dystrophies, and endothelial Fuch's dystrophy. The crystalline lens is highly susceptible to oxidative damage in aging because its cells and their intracellular proteins are not turned over or replaced, thus providing the basis for cataractogenesis. The trabecular meshwork, which is the anterior chamber tissue devoted to aqueous humor drainage, has a particular susceptibility to mitochondrial oxidative injury that affects its endothelium and leads to an intraocular pressure increase that marks the beginning of glaucoma. Photo-oxidative stress can cause acute or chronic retinal damage. The pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration involves oxidative stress and death of the retinal pigment epithelium followed by death of the overlying photoreceptors. Accordingly, converging evidence indicates that mutagenic mechanisms of environmental and endogenous sources play a fundamental pathogenic role in degenerative eye diseases. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Genitourinary cancers represent a heterogeneous group of malignancies arising from genitourinary tract, and are responsible for almost 359 000 newly diagnosed cases and 58 420 related deaths in USA. Continuous advances in cancer genetics and genomics have contributed towards changing the management paradigms of these neoplasms. Neoangiogenesis, through the activation of the tyrosine-kinase receptors signalling pathways, represents the key mediator event in promoting tumour proliferation, differentiation, invasiveness and motility. In the last decade, several treatments have been developed with the specific aim of targeting different cell pathways that have been recognized to drive tumour progression. The following review attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of the literature, focusing on new advances in targeted therapies for genitourinary tumours. Furthermore, the promising results of the latest clinical trials and future perspectives will be discussed. Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Mosbech H.,Copenhagen University | Deckelmann R.,Center for Clinical Trials | De Blay F.,University of Strasbourg | Pastorello E.A.,Ospedale Niguarda Ca Granda | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2014

Background Investigations meeting current standards are limited for the effect of house dust mite (HDM) allergy immunotherapy in asthmatic patients. Objective This trial investigated the efficacy and safety of a standardized quality (SQ; allergen standardization method proprietary to the trial sponsor) HDM SLIT-tablet (ALK, Hørsholm, Denmark) in adults and adolescents with HDM respiratory allergic disease. This publication reports the results of the endpoints related to asthma. Methods Six hundred four subjects 14 years or older with HDM allergic rhinitis and mild-to-moderate asthma were randomized 1:1:1:1 to double-blind daily treatment with one of 3 active doses (1, 3, or 6 SQ-HDM) or placebo. Their use of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) was standardized and adjusted at baseline and the end of treatment to the lowest dose providing asthma control. The primary end point was a reduction in ICS dose from the individual subject's baseline dose after 1 year of treatment. Results The primary analysis revealed a mean difference between 6 SQ-HDM and placebo in the reduction in daily ICS dose of 81 μg (P =.004). Relative mean and median reductions were 42% and 50% for 6 SQ-HDM and 15% and 25% for placebo, respectively. No statistically significant differences were observed for the other assessed asthma parameters, reflecting the intended controlled status of the trial subjects. The most common adverse events were local reactions in the mouth. The rate and severity of adverse events were higher for 3 and 6 SQ-HDM than for 1 SQ-HDM and placebo. Conclusion Efficacy in mild-to-moderate asthma of 6 SQ-HDM relative to placebo was demonstrated by a moderate statistically significant reduction in the ICS dose required to maintain asthma control. All active doses were well tolerated. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Vergani L.,University of Genoa
World Journal of Hepatology | Year: 2014

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is emerging as one of the most common liver diseases, leading to the increasing interest for new therapeutic approaches for its treatment. NAFLD primarily depends on a hypercaloric and/or unbalanced diet leading to overweight and obesity. The liver, in fact, plays a central role in lipid metabolism by importing free fatty acids from the blood and synthesizing, storing, oxidizing and exporting lipids. Furthermore, the liver is the target for the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and 3,3',5-triiodo-L-thyronine (T3), that stimulate the basal metabolic rate and lead to body weight loss. In the last decade, other iodothyronines have been shown to possess biological relevance and play some thyromimetic activities; in particular, 3,5-diiodo-L-thyronine (T2) gained large interest. The global effect of iodothyronines on liver lipid metabolism results from the balance between direct and indirect actions on the hepatocyte, leading to stimulation of lipid synthesis, oxidation and autophagy. In this review, the results so far obtained on both in vivo and in vitro models of hepatosteatosis are summarized in order to obtain an updated picture of the lipid-lowering effects of iodothyronines on mammalian liver. © 2014 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.

Fabbri L.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Fabbri L.,University of Bologna | Fabbri L.,University of Genoa
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

Recently we have constructed the conformal gravity with metric and torsion, finding the gravitational field equations that give the conservation laws and trace condition; in the present paper we apply this theory to the case of ELKO matter field, proving that their spin and energy densities once the matter field equations are considered imply the validity of the conservation laws and trace condition mentioned above. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Fabbri L.,University of Genoa | Fabbri L.,University of Bologna
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2012

When in general geometric backgrounds the metric is accompanied by torsion, the metric conformal properties should correspondingly be followed by analogous torsional conformal properties; however a combined metric torsional conformal structure has never been found which provides a curvature that is both containing metric-torsional degree of freedom and conformally invariant: in this Letter we construct such a metric-torsional conformal curvature. We proceed by building the most general action, then deriving the most general system of field equations; we check their consistency by showing that both conservation laws and trace condition are verified. Final considerations and comments are outlined. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Fornaro M.,University of Genoa | Giosue P.,National Health Trust
Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health | Year: 2010

Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD) represents a source of ongoing clinical and nosological controversy and confusion. While no univocal consensus on its definition and specific correlation with major mood disorders has been reached to date, a progressively greater number of evidences tend to suggest a revision of current clinical nosology. Since a better assessment of TRD should be considered mandatory in order to achieve the most appropriate clinical management, this narrative review aims to briefly present current most accepted definitions of the phenomenon, speculating on its putative bipolar diathesis for some of the cases originally assessed as unipolar depression. © Fornaro and Giosuè.

Carmeli C.,University of Genoa | Carmeli C.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Heinosaari T.,Turku Center for Quantum Physics | Toigo A.,Polytechnic of Milan
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2012

We show that there are informationally complete joint measurements of two conjugated observables on a finite quantum system, meaning that they enable the identification of all quantum states from their measurement outcome statistics. We further demonstrate that it is possible to implement a joint observable as a sequential measurement. If we require minimal noise in the joint measurement, then the joint observable is unique. If d is odd, then this observable is informationally complete. But if d is even, then the joint observable is not informationally complete, and one has to allow more noise in order to obtain informational completeness. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Liu P.,TU Eindhoven | Derchi M.,University of Genoa | Hensen E.J.M.,TU Eindhoven
Applied Catalysis A: General | Year: 2013

A series of hydrotalcite-like layered double hydroxides (LDHx) with different Mg/Al atomic ratios (x = 2-6) were prepared by using the co-precipitation method. Further calcination yields mixed oxides with tunable basicity. The basicity of the calcined LDHx (LDOx) strongly depends on the Mg/Al ratio and the calcination temperature. The resulting LDOx materials were used as solid base catalysts and evaluated in the transesterification between glycerol and dimethyl carbonate without use of organic solvent. The correlation between the basic properties of the solid catalysts and the catalytic performance was investigated. The activity of the LDOx catalysts was demonstrated to be proportional to the surface density of basic sites. LDO2 calcined at 600 C exhibited maximum activity for the transesterification reaction. The beneficial effect of the optimum ratio of Mg/Al = 2 is related to its high total basicity. The LDO2 catalyst can be readily recycled while maintaining high catalytic activity and selectivity of glycerol carbonate. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Massobrio P.,University of Genoa | Tessadori J.,Italian Institute of Technology | Chiappalone M.,Italian Institute of Technology | Ghirardi M.,University of Turin
Neural Plasticity | Year: 2015

Brain functions are strictly dependent on neural connections formed during development and modified during life. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying synaptogenesis and plastic changes involved in learning and memory have been analyzed in detail in simple animals such as invertebrates and in circuits of mammalian brains mainly by intracellular recordings of neuronal activity. In the last decades, the evolution of techniques such as microelectrode arrays (MEAs) that allow simultaneous, long-lasting, noninvasive, extracellular recordings from a large number of neurons has proven very useful to study long-term processes in neuronal networks in vivo and in vitro. In this work, we start off by briefly reviewing the microelectrode array technology and the optimization of the coupling between neurons and microtransducers to detect subthreshold synaptic signals. Then, we report MEA studies of circuit formation and activity in invertebrate models such as Lymnaea, Aplysia, and Helix. In the following sections, we analyze plasticity and connectivity in cultures of mammalian dissociated neurons, focusing on spontaneous activity and electrical stimulation. We conclude by discussing plasticity in closed-loop experiments. © 2015 Paolo Massobrio et al.

Sacca S.C.,Ophthalmology Unit | Centofanti M.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Izzotti A.,University of Genoa
Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science | Year: 2012

PURPOSE. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression level of several biomarkers in the in the aqueous humor of 14 patients with primary open angle glaucoma who underwent glaucoma surgery, and 11 nonglaucomatous normals who underwent cataract extraction surgery. METHODS. The aqueous humor proteome of 25 patients was analyzed using an antibody microarray. Fourteen patients with uncontrolled intraocular pressure-despite profound therapeutic interventions-who underwent filtering procedures and 11 control subjects who underwent surgery for senile cataracts were included in the present study. Protein expression was evaluated using Cy3/Cy5 labeling, column purification, and hybridization on antibody-spotted glass microarrays. Fluorescent signals were detected by fluorescence laser scanning. RESULTS. The levels of 13 proteins were significantly increased in the aqueous humor of glaucomatous patients compared with expression levels in healthy controls. One of the 13 proteins (ELAM 1) was involved in inflammation. Two of these proteins (apolipoprotein B and E) were involved in the delivery of cholesterol to cells. Five of the 13 proteins (myotrophin, myoblast determination protein 1, myogenin, vasodilatorstimulated phosphoprotein, and ankyrin-2) were involved in muscle cell differentiation and function. Three proteins (heat shock 60 kilodaltons (kDa) and 90 kDa proteins, and ubiquitin fusion degradation 1-like) were involved in stress response and the removal of damaged proteins; and two proteins (phospholipase C β and γ) were involved in signal transduction and neural development. CONCLUSIONS. The expressions of these proteins in the aqueous humor of glaucomatous patients reflect the damage occurring in anterior chamber endothelia, mainly including the trabecular meshwork, which is the main structure of this ocular segment injured by glaucoma. © 2012 The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc.

Sormani M.P.,University of Genoa | Arnold D.L.,Montreal Neurological Institute | De Stefano N.,University of Siena
Annals of Neurology | Year: 2014

Objective To evaluate the extent to which treatment effect on brain atrophy is able to mediate, at the trial level, the treatment effect on disability progression in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Methods We collected all published randomized clinical trials in RRMS lasting at least 2 years and including as endpoints disability progression (defined as 6 or 3 months confirmed 1-point increase on the Expanded Disability Status Scale), active magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lesions (defined as new/enlarging T2 lesions), and brain atrophy (defined as change in brain volume between month 24 and month 6-12). Treatment effects were expressed as relative reductions. A linear regression, weighted for trial size and duration, was used to assess the relationship between the treatment effects on MRI markers and on disability progression. Results Thirteen trials including >13,500 RRMS patients were included in the meta-analysis. Treatment effects on disability progression were correlated with treatment effects both on brain atrophy (R2 = 0.48, p = 0.001) and on active MRI lesions (R2 = 0.61, p < 0.001). When the effects on both MRI endpoints were included in a multivariate model, the correlation was higher (R2 = 0.75, p < 0.001), and both variables were retained as independently related to the treatment effect on disability progression. Interpretation In RRMS, the treatment effect on brain atrophy is correlated with the effect on disability progression over 2 years. This effect is independent of the effect of active MRI lesions on disability; the 2 MRI measures predict the treatment effect on disability more closely when used in combination. ANN NEUROL 2014;75:43-49 © 2014 American Neurological Association.

Candiani S.,University of Genoa
Briefings in Functional Genomics | Year: 2012

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression and thus control diverse biological processes. The high interest in miRNAs as an important mediator of post-transcriptional gene regulation has led to the discovery of miRNAs in several organisms. The present article outlines and discusses the current status of miRNAs information on the basal chordate amphioxus and the evolution of miRNAs in metazoans. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Romeo M.,University of Genoa
Wave Motion | Year: 2016

On the basis of a dielectric microcontinuum model, we investigate the problem of bulk wave propagation in a dielectric crystal with hexagonal material symmetry. The present linear micropolar model allows to express electric polarization via mechanical macro and micro-strain measures so that the coupling between acoustic and polarization modes can be described in terms of intrinsic dipole and quadrupole densities. The governing differential systems for different coupled modes are equivalent to some previous results of the classical phenomenological approach to ferroelectrics but also hold for piezoelectric solids with null intrinsic polarization. Resonance couplings between polaritons and acoustic waves arise from the dispersion equations depending on suitable relations among the micropolar constitutive parameters. Exploiting the dynamical representation of polarization for the admitted modes, we obtain piezoelectric coefficients and electromechanical coupling factors as functions of the wavelength (or frequency). As an application, a numerical example is given for the hexagonal phase of zinc sulfide. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Fabbri L.,University of Genoa
International Journal of Geometric Methods in Modern Physics | Year: 2016

We consider the simplest extension of the standard model, where torsion couples to spinor as well as the scalar fields, and in which the cosmological constant problem is solved. © 2016 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Pirro V.,University of Turin | Eberlin L.S.,Purdue University | Oliveri P.,University of Genoa | Cooks R.G.,Purdue University
Analyst | Year: 2012

Desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) is an ambient mass spectrometry (MS) technique that can be operated in an imaging mode. It is known to provide valuable information on disease state and grade based on lipid profiles in tissue sections. Comprehensive exploration of the spatial and chemical information contained in 2D MS images requires further development of methods for data treatment and interpretation in conjunction with multivariate analysis. In this study, we employ an interactive approach based on principal component analysis (PCA) to interpret the chemical and spatial information obtained from MS imaging of human bladder, kidney, germ cell and prostate cancer and adjacent normal tissues. This multivariate strategy facilitated distinction between tumor and normal tissue by correlating the lipid information with pathological evaluation of the same samples. Some common lipid ions, such as those of m/z 885.5 and m/z 788.5, nominally PI(18:0/20:4) and PS(18:0/18:1), as well as ions of free fatty acids and their dimers, appeared to be highly characterizing for different types of human cancers, while other ions, such as those of m/z 465.5 (cholesterol sulfate) for prostate cancer tissue and m/z 795.5 (seminolipid 16:0/16:0) for germ tissue, appeared to be extremely selective for the type of tissue analyzed. These data confirm that lipid profiles can reflect not only the disease/health state of tissue but also are characteristic of tissue type. The manual interactive strategy presented here is particularly useful to visualize the information contained in hyperspectral MS images by automatically connecting regions of PCA score space to pixels of the 2D physical object. The procedures developed in this study consider all the spectral variables and their inter-correlations, and guide subsequent investigations of the mass spectra and single ion images to allow one to maximize characterization between different regions of any DESI-MS image. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Nobile C.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Striano P.,University of Genoa
Progress in Brain Research | Year: 2014

In the past 2 years, mutations in the PRRT2 gene have been identified in patients and families with a variety of early-onset paroxysmal disorders, including various paroxysmal dyskinesias, benign familial infantile seizures, hemiplegic migraine, and episodic ataxia. In this chapter, we describe the wide clinical spectrum associated with PRRT2 mutations and present the current hypotheses on the underlying pathophysiology. Through its interaction with the presynaptic plasma membrane protein SNAP25, the PRRT2 protein may play a role in synaptic regulation in the cortex and basal ganglia. PRRT2 mutations likely have a loss-of-function effect and result in synaptic deregulation and neuronal hyperexcitability. The molecular bases underlying phenotypic variability are still unclear. Elucidating the molecular pathways linking the genetic defect to its clinical expression will improve treatment of these disorders. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Bonfiglio A.,University of Genoa
Journal of biomechanical engineering | Year: 2010

In this paper, we develop a mathematical model of blood circulation in the liver lobule. We aim to find the pressure and flux distributions within a liver lobule. We also investigate the effects of changes in pressure that occur following a resection of part of the liver, which often leads to high pressure in the portal vein. The liver can be divided into functional units called lobules. Each lobule has a hexagonal cross-section, and we assume that its longitudinal extent is large compared with its width. We consider an infinite lattice of identical lobules and study the two-dimensional flow in the hexagonal cross-sections. We model the sinusoidal space as a porous medium, with blood entering from the portal tracts (located at each of the vertices of the cross-section of the lobule) and exiting via the centrilobular vein (located in the center of the cross-section). We first develop and solve an idealized mathematical model, treating the porous medium as rigid and isotropic and blood as a Newtonian fluid. The pressure drop across the lobule and the flux of blood through the lobule are proportional to one another. In spite of its simplicity, the model gives insight into the real pressure and velocity distribution in the lobule. We then consider three modifications of the model that are designed to make it more realistic. In the first modification, we account for the fact that the sinusoids tend to be preferentially aligned in the direction of the centrilobular vein by considering an anisotropic porous medium. In the second, we account more accurately for the true behavior of the blood by using a shear-thinning model. We show that both these modifications have a small quantitative effect on the behavior but no qualitative effect. The motivation for the final modification is to understand what happens either after a partial resection of the liver or after an implantation of a liver of small size. In these cases, the pressure is observed to rise significantly, which could cause deformation of the tissue. We show that including the effects of tissue compliance in the model means that the total blood flow increases more than linearly as the pressure rises.

Carassale L.,University of Genoa
Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics | Year: 2012

Aerodynamic pressure measurements are usually interpreted through statistical tools involving modal representations. The most popular approach is based on the Principal Component Analysis (PCA), which provides the theoretical basis for the well-known concept of coherent structure. In order to overcome some theoretical and practical limitations, alternative approaches can be formulated adapting techniques developed in the feature-recognition field. In this sense, the Independent Component Analysis (ICA) can be conceived as an evolution of PCA in which high-order statistics are used to identify a non-orthogonal modal representation; ICA has been used to solve the Blind Source Separation (BSS) problem as well as to extract features from random data. Both PCA and ICA show severe limitations when applied to represent (and interpret) propagating phenomena such as the pressure field generated by a vortex advected by the mean flow. To overcome these problems, an explicit description of the time evolution is introduced in the modal representation through two techniques, Dynamic-PCA and Dynamic-ICA; besides, the novel concept of dynamic coherent structure is presented and used as an interpretative tool. The application of the above-mentioned methods is demonstrated referring to the aerodynamic pressure field measured on a bluff body immersed in a turbulent boundary layer. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Vagge A.,University of Genoa
Current Opinion in Ophthalmology | Year: 2016

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review article is an update on the current treatments for amblyopia. In particular, the authors focus on the concepts of brain plasticity and their implications for novel treatment strategies for both children and adults affected by amblyopia. RECENT FINDINGS: A variety of strategies has been developed to treat amblyopia in children and adults. New evidence on the pathogenesis of amblyopia has been obtained both in animal models and in clinical trials. Mainly, these studies have challenged the classical concept that amblyopia becomes untreatable after the ‘end’ of the sensitive or critical period of visual development, b