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Palermo, Italy

Massa B.,University of Palermo
Italian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2012

In Pamphagidae, the Krauss's organ is located on both sides of the 2nd tergite and its function is superficially known. It has been proposed to have a stridulatory function. This organ can be found in all Pamphagidae except the apterous genera. Rearing specimens of some species and observing mounted pamphagids allowed the author to observe that when the Krauss's organ is absent (most apterous species) the tympanum is also absent; further, he discovered specialized stridulatory structures on hind femurs of some taxa for sound emission. By rearing two Pamphagidae belonging to different genera, fragments of stridulations involving the Krauss's organ and specialized structures on the hind femur surface were obtained for the first time. Mapping the presence of these morphological characters onto the known Pamphagidae list revealed that specialization on the hind femur surface evolved multiple times in multiple geographical locations in winged species with a wrinkled Krauss's organ. The function of the sounds produced by the femur-Krauss's organ method remains to be studied. © 2012 Copyright 2012 Unione Zoologica Italiana.

Russo A.,Alenia Aermacchi | Zuccarello B.,University of Palermo
Composites Part B: Engineering | Year: 2013

In this work, a systematic study of the singular stress field in the zone where the interface intersects the free edge surfaces of bonded metal-composite co-cured joints, has been performed. The obtained theoretical, numerical and experimental results have permitted to detect the relationships between the joint configuration and the singular stress field, as well as to implement a new design method based on the so called generalised stress intensity factors. Such a proposed method allows the user to predict the static strength of a generic metal-composite co-cured joint, vs. the main influence parameters as the elastic modulus of the coupled materials, the overlap length, the taper angle, the imbalance, etc. The accuracy of the theoretical and numerical analyses performed in the present study, as well as the reliability of the strength predictions provided by the proposed method, have been tested by means of experimental assessments carried out by using aluminum-GFRP and aluminum-CFRP co-cured double lap joints. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Alaimo A.,Kore University of Enna | Milazzo A.,University of Palermo | Orlando C.,Kore University of Enna
Composite Structures | Year: 2013

In this paper, a piezoelectric based Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) system is proposed to detect skin/stiffener debonding and delamination cracks proper of laminated composite structures. The SHM system is analyzed by means of a boundary element code implemented in the framework of piezoelectricity. The multidomain technique, coupled with an interface spring model, is used to model laminated composite structures as well as the bonding between the host delaminated structure and the piezoelectric sensor. Static sensitivity analyses are firstly performed on a drop-ply delaminated structure in order to identify a suitable configuration for the sensor. Then, the dynamic electromechanical response of the damaged structure with the bonded piezoelectric sensor is investigated. The definition of a damage index allows an effective identification of the skin/stiffener debonding occurrence. In order to fully characterize the host structure SHM system assembly, the fracture mechanics behavior of the structure is also studied in terms of the total energy release rate G and of the phase angle Ψ. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Pignataro B.,University of Palermo
Chemistry - A European Journal | Year: 2012

The European Young Chemist Award (EYCA) 2012 was presented in Prague during the 4th European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (Eu-CheMS) Chemistry Congress (4ECC) on August 26 30, 2012. The award is aimed to showcase and recognize the excellent research being carried out by young scientists working in the chemical sciences. Massimo Baroncini from University of Bologna, Italy, reported on the development of artificial molecular machines, reporting on how a simple supramolecular assembly can be operated to unidirectionally thread through a crown ether macrocycle using UV light and potassium ions as stimuli. Matthias D'Hooghe of Ghent University, Belgium, discussed the synthetic flexibility of functionalized aziridines and azetidines for the preparation of different types of aza- and oxaheterocyclic structures. In the field of Environment and Green Chemistry, G. Chatel's application focused on the use of a combination of ionic liquids/ultrasound for various organic chemistry applications.

Salmaso N.,Research and Innovation Center | Naselli-Flores L.,University of Palermo | Padisak J.,University of Pannonia
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2012

This article summarizes the outcomes of the 16th Workshop of the International Association for Phytoplankton Taxonomy and Ecology. Four major issues dealing with the impact exerted by human activities on phytoplankton were addressed in the articles of this special volume: climate change and its impacts on phytoplankton, the role of land use in shaping composition and diversity of phytoplankton, the importance of autecological studies to fully understand how phytoplankton is impacted by stressors and the role of ecological classification to evaluate community changes due to the different impacts. Case studies from different types of aquatic environments (rivers, deep and shallow lakes, reservoirs, mountain lakes, and temporary ponds) and from diverse geographical locations (not only from the Mediterranean and temperate regions, but also from subtropical and tropical ones) have shown that a complex spectrum of human impacts, not exclusively linked to eutrophication, severely conditions structure and dynamics of phytoplankton assemblage both in the short and long terms. Moreover, the trade-offs between climate change and other human-induced stresses as eutrophication, agricultural and urban land use or water overexploitation contribute to make more severe the impact exerted by humans on phytoplankton and, in turn, on the functioning of aquatic ecosystems. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Guerrieri M.,Kore University of Enna | Corriere F.,University of Palermo
Applied Mechanics and Materials | Year: 2013

The C-roundabout (cyclist roundabout) is a new multi-lane roundabout designed to improve the safety of cyclists at and make multi-lane roundabouts more cyclist-friendly. The geometric layout of C-Roundabouts allows the decrease of the vehicle speeds through the roundabout to around 30 km/h. The rare C-roundabout installations so far implemented in the world have not allowed analysing the capacity by means empirical data. In the light of this considerations, the main objective of the paper is to give a theoretical closed-form model for evaluation the measures of effectiveness "MOE" (capacity, delay, queues) of the C-Roundabouts. © (2014)Trans Tech Publications,Switzerland.

Massa B.,University of Palermo
Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France | Year: 2012

The author analyses the species of some West Palaearctic genera of Pamphaginae, namely Euryparyphes, Paraeuryparyphes, Glauia, Pseudoglauia, Glauvarovia, Prionosthenus, Lativertex, Ocnerosthenus, establishing the following synonymies: Euryparyphes olcesei (Bolivar 1907) = Euryparyphes bolivari (Stal 1876); Euryparyphes parafl exuosus La Greca 1993 = Euryparyphes flexuosus Uvarov 1927; Glauia durieui rubripes Morales Agacino & Descamps 1968 = Glauia durieui durieui (Bolivar 1878); Prionosthenus lebanicus Dirsh 1950 = Prionosthenus femoralis Werner 1938; Prionosthenus (Lativertex) Kocak & Kemal 2011 = Paranothrotes Mishchenko 1951. Further, the author confi rms the synonymies: Euryparyphes vaucherianus (Saussure 1887) = Euryparyphes bolivari (Stal 1876); Euryparyphes kenitranus Werner 1932 = Euryparyphes bolivari (Stal 1876); Euryparyphes stali (Bormans 1879) = Euryparyphes laetus (Bolivar 1907); Euryparyphes septentrionalis Werner 1932 = Euryparyphes laetus (Bolivar 1907). Additionally, the author rises to species level Glauia tricolor Morales Agacino & Descamps 1968 stat. nov., which had described as a subspecies of G. saharae, and describes the new species Prionosthenus descampsi sp. n. and Ocnerosthenus poggii sp. n. Finally, the author proposes a new key to species of Euryparyphes, Parauryparyphes, Glauia, Prionosthenus and Ocnerosthenus. © Société Entomologique de France.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo
Journal of Mathematical Physics | Year: 2010

In a recent paper we have considered an explicit model of a PT-symmetric system based on a modification of the canonical commutation relation. We have introduced the so-called pseudobosons, and the role of Riesz bases in this context has been analyzed in detail. In this paper we consider a general construction of pseudobosons based on an explicit coordinate representation, extending what is usually done in ordinary supersymmetric quantum mechanics. We also discuss an example arising from a linear modification of standard creation and annihilation operators, and we analyze its connection with coherent states. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.

Dendramis G.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Cardiology | Year: 2016

To date Brugada syndrome (BrS) is considered a primary electrical heart disease and the diagnosis is based on precise clinical and electrocardiographic features. Many other diseases and conditions can lead to a Brugada-like ECG pattern but the vast majority of patients with BrS possess a structurally normal heart, which is consistent with the notion that this is a primary electrical heart disease. Presently, the terminology used in the literature to describe Brugada type 1 ECG pattern induced in patients without BrS is diverse and variable. Brugada phenocopies (BrP) are clinical entities that present with identical ECG patterns to those of true BrS but are elicited by various other clinical circumstances. They form a group of heterogeneous conditions that are perhaps the most difficult to differentiate from true congenital BrS due to identical ECG patterns and recently has been proposed an updated classification of conditions that may induce BrP and many criteria useful to differentiate BrP from BrS. A systematic diagnostic approach is crucial to avoid diagnostic errors that involve expenditure of time and resources, but above all it is useful to avoid to send patients without a real BrS to inopportune diagnostic and therapeutic paths that are sometimes burdened by considerable risks. © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Vetro C.,University of Palermo
Fuzzy Sets and Systems | Year: 2011

Mihe [Fuzzy ψ-contractive mappings in non-Archimedean fuzzy metric spaces, Fuzzy Sets and Systems, 159 (2008) 739-744] proved a theorem which assures the existence of a fixed point for fuzzy ψ-contractive mappings in the framework of complete non-Archimedean fuzzy metric spaces. Motivated by this, we introduce a notion of weak non-Archimedean fuzzy metric space and prove that the weak non-Archimedean fuzzy metric induces a Hausdorff topology. We utilize this new notion to obtain some common fixed point results for a pair of generalized contractive type mappings. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Sorge F.,University of Palermo
Journal of Mechanical Design, Transactions of the ASME | Year: 2012

This paper discusses the gear coupling mechanics of the ancient Antikythera mechanism, among whose distinctive characteristics was the triangular shaping of the teeth. The engagement of the tooth pairs is analyzed in detail, estimating the temporal variation of the speed ratio due to the back and forth shifting of the relative instant center. The admissibility of the theoretical contact points is carefully checked, and the magnitude of the successive tooth collisions is calculated together with the energy losses arising from the particular nature of the coupling. Some interesting results are that only one tooth pair turns out to be active at each time instant and the real path may belong only to the approach or to the recess region entirely, or may split into separate subphases, in approach and in recess, or may even straddle both regions. The occurrence of each of these conditions depends on the average speed ratio (tooth ratio) and the assigned clearance between the wheels. It is also found that the speed oscillation is roughly contained in a 10 range and the efficiency may reach rather high values, despite the presumable crude finishing of the ancient gearwheels due to the rather rudimentary technology used in the construction of the tooth profiles. © 2012 American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Valenti A.,University of Palermo
La Clinica terapeutica | Year: 2010

Patients with cirrhosis or portal hypertension may develop hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) and portopulmonary hypertension (PPHT). HPS occurs in 25% of the subjects with chronic hepatopathy waiting for a liver transplantation. HPS is characterized by chronic hepatopathy and/or portal hypertension, increased P(A-a)O2 gradient (more than 20 mmHg) with hypoxemia and intrapulmonary vascular dilatations without a primary cardiovascular disease. Hypoxiemia is due to intrapulmonary arteriovenous shunts and to dilatation of microvessels in basal parts of the lung and of pleural vessels. In patients with cirrhosis an impaired cardiovascular function is frequent, often in a subclinical phase of the disease. Left ventricular systolic and diastolic dysfunction may develop a chronic hepatopathy and the relation between right ventricular and liver failure has been studied. During cirrhosis characteristic alterations of systemic hemodynamic can cause the hyperdynamic circulatory syndrome. Contrast enhanced 2D ECHO cardiography is the preferred screening test for intrapulmonary arteriovenous shunts. The aim of HPS therapy is to contrast intrapulmonary vasodilatation, increased portal flux and hyperdynamic syndrome. New therapeutical agents are fosfodiesterase inhibitors, ET-1 receptor antagonists and selective NOS inhibitors. However, medical treatment is not much effective in HPS and liver transplantation is considered the only therapeutical chance.

Polizzotto C.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Solids and Structures | Year: 2016

Higher order strain and stress tensors encompassed within gradient elasticity theories are discussed with a particular concern to the physical meaning of double and triple stresses. A single rule is shown to hold for the physical interpretation of the indices of a higher order stress tensor both within distortion gradient and strain gradient theories, whereas the analogous Mindlin's rule holds only within distortion gradient theories. Double and triple stresses are discussed separately with the aid of simple illustrative examples. A corrigendum to a previous paper by the author (IJSS 50 (2013) 3749-3765) is also presented. © 2016.

Orecchio S.,University of Palermo
Microchemical Journal | Year: 2011

Manufacture technology involves several aspects of pottery making, such as the type and the atmosphere of firing to obtain the finished item. During the firing of clay, at different environment of the oven, different compounds of iron (Fe(II) and Fe(III)) are formed and this is the reason for a different color of the ceramic body. Despite the great interest in this field, no works are devoted to the study the speciation of iron in ancient ceramics.The proposed method, even if considered destructive by archaeologists, allows the speciation of iron, using quantity of sample in the order of milligram. In order to achieve information about their firing conditions, thirty-nine pottery samples belonging to the archaeological Sicilian site of Himera (Sicily, Italy) were characterized for Fe(II) and Fe(III) by means of a UV-Vis spectrophotometric method proposed by us, while total iron was checked by ICP-OES. Were identified two groups of samples, the first (A), which is particularly rich in Fe(II) (the archaeologists have not identified the stylistic characteristics of most of this samples) the last group is instead rich Fe(III). © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Bauso D.,University of Palermo | Blanchini F.,University of Udine | Pesenti R.,University of Venice
IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control | Year: 2010

We consider continuous-time robust network flows with capacity constraints and unknown but bounded time-varying demand. The problem of interest is to design a control strategy off-line with no knowledge of the demand realization. Such a control strategy regulates the flow on-line as a function of the realized demand. © 2009 IEEE.

Tinnirello I.,University of Palermo | Bianchi G.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Xiao Y.,University of Alabama
IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology | Year: 2010

With the popularity of the IEEE 802.11 standards, many analytical saturation throughput studies for the distributed coordination function (DCF) have been reported. In this paper, we outline a number of issues and criticalities raised by previously proposed models. In particular, a careful look at backoff counter decrement rules allows us to conclude that, under saturation conditions, the slot immediately following a successful transmission can be accessed only by the station (STA) that has successfully transmitted in the previous channel access. Moreover, due to the specific acknowledgment (ACK) timeout setting adopted in the standard, the slot immediately following a collision cannot be accessed by any STA. Thus, the hypothesis of uncorrelation between consecutive channel slots and statistical homogeneity is not generally true. We propose a new backoff decrement model that retains the simplicity of traditional DCF models while being able to take into account such a correlation, and we compare the accuracy of our model with that of previously proposed approaches. © 2006 IEEE.

Benedetti I.,Imperial College London | Benedetti I.,University of Palermo | Aliabadi M.H.,Imperial College London
Computational Materials Science | Year: 2013

A three-dimensional grain boundary formulation is presented for the analysis of polycrystalline microstructures. The formulation is based on a boundary integral representation of the elastic problem for the single grains of the polycrystalline aggregate and it is expressed in terms of the intergranular fields, namely displacements and tractions, that play an important role in polycrystalline micromechanics. The artificial polycrystalline morphology is represented using the Hardcore Voronoi tessellation, which is simple to generate and able to embody the main statistical features of polycrystalline microstructures. The details of the microstructure generation and meshing, which involve only the discretization of the grains surface, and not their volume, thus resulting in a remarkable simplification of data preparation, are discussed. The single crystals are represented as anisotropic elastic regions. The integrity of the aggregate is restored by enforcing both continuity and equilibrium at the interface between contiguous grains. The developed technique has been applied to the numerical homogenization of cubic polycrystals and the obtained results agree well with available data, thus confirming the reliability of the method. Some numerical issues and directions of further investigations are highlighted and discussed. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Tinnirello I.,University of Palermo | Bianchi G.,University of Rome Tor Vergata
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking | Year: 2010

Analytical modeling of the 802.11e enhanced distributed channel access (EDCA) mechanism is today a fairly mature research area, considering the very large number of papers that have appeared in the literature. However, most work in this area models the EDCA operation through per-slot statistics, namely probability of transmission and collisions referred to slots. In so doing, they still share a methodology originally proposed for the 802.11 Distributed Coordination Function (DCF), although they do extend it by considering differentiated transmission/collision probabilities over different slots. We aim to show that it is possible to devise 802.11e models that do not rely on per-slot statistics. To this purpose, we introduce and describe a novel modeling methodology that does not use per-slot transmission/collision probabilities, but relies on the fixed-point computation of the whole (residual) backoff counter distribution occurring after a generic transmission attempt. The proposed approach achieves high accuracy in describing the channel access operations, not only in terms of throughput and delay performance, but also in terms of low-level performance metrics. © 2009 IEEE.

Nashine H.K.,Disha Institute of Management and Technology | Samet B.,University of Tunis | Vetro C.,University of Palermo
Mathematical and Computer Modelling | Year: 2011

The purpose of this paper is to present some fixed point theorems for T-weakly isotone increasing mappings which satisfy a generalized nonlinear contractive condition in complete ordered metric spaces. As application, we establish an existence theorem for a solution of some integral equations. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Das S.,Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati | Chattopadhyay I.,ARIES | Nandi A.,Space Astronomy Group | Molteni D.,University of Palermo
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2014

We investigate the behaviour of low angular momentum viscous accretion flows around black holes using smooth particle hydrodynamics method. Earlier, it has been observed that in a significant part of the energy and angular momentum parameter space, rotating transonic accretion flow undergoes shock transition before entering in to the black hole and a part of the post-shock matter is ejected as bipolar outflows, which are supposed to be the precursor of relativistic jets. In this work, we simulate accretion flows having injection parameters from the inviscid shock parameter space, and study the response of viscosity on them. With the increase of viscosity, shock becomes time dependent and starts to oscillate when the viscosity parameter crosses its critical value. As a result, the in fallingmatter inside the post-shock region exhibits quasi-periodic variations and causes periodic ejection of matter from the inner disc as outflows. In addition, the same hot and dense post-shock matter emits high energy radiation and the emanating photon flux also modulates quasi-periodically. Assuming a 10 M⊙ black hole, the corresponding power density spectrum peaks at the fundamental frequency of few Hz followed by multiple harmonics. This feature is very common in several outbursting black hole candidates. We discuss the implications of such periodic variations. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The new genus Pseudoplangia is described for Plangia laminifera Karsch, 1896. Its general aspect is similar to that of the genus Plangia Stål, 1873, but it differs remarkably in the vertex width, in the shape of eyes, that are oval and elongate, in the length of mid femora, that are shorter than pronotum length, in the shape of fore and mid legs that are very much laterally compressed, and in the presence of broad-based spines on the hind tibiae. Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press.

Pirrotta A.,University of Palermo
Computers and Structures | Year: 2014

In this paper an innovative numerical method named as line element-less method, LEM, for finding solution of torsion problem has been extended to all shaped sections, including sections possessing re-entrant angles at their boundary. The response solution in terms of shear stress field or Prandtl function or warping function in all domain and for any kind of domain with arbitrary contour, may be performed quickly, calculating line integrals only. The method takes full advantage of the theory of analytic complex function and is robust in the sense that returns exact solution if this exists. Numerical implementation of LEM has been developed using Mathematica software without resorting to any discretization neither in the domain nor in the boundary. The latter means that you can use the same program for all sections just by changing the first few lines of program where you declare the geometry of the section. Some numerical applications have been reported to demonstrate the efficiency and accuracy of the method. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ciriminna R.,CNR Institute of Nanostructured Materials | Sciortino M.,CNR Institute of Nanostructured Materials | Alonzo G.,University of Palermo | De Schrijver A.,Greenseal Chemicals NV | Pagliaro M.,CNR Institute of Nanostructured Materials
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2011

Encapsulation occurs as the silicon precursors polymerize to build an oxide cage around the polar droplets which, acting as microreactors, yield microparticles with size comparable to the size of the droplets. Stirring of the water-in-oil emulsion leads to the formation of sol droplets containing water and ethanol inside the emulsion drop, protected by the adsorbed layer of Span-80 molecules. When the ethanol-to-water ratio used is higher than 0.7 or lower than 0.37, full, solid spherical spheres are formed, pointing to the crucial role exercised by the ratio of ethanol/water used in the emulsion system. The uniformity of the size and shell thickness of the hollow silica spheres prepared by the O/W emulsion method is often poor due to the dynamic character of the emulsion droplets. The amount of ethanol introduced into the emulsion system must be optimized since EtOH can not only stabilize but also dissolve the TEOS droplets.

Incalcaterra E.,University of Palermo
Current atherosclerosis reports | Year: 2013

Atherosclerosis (AS) is a chronic, progressive, multifactorial disease mostly affecting large and medium-sized elastic and muscular arteries. It has formerly been considered a bland lipid storage disease. Currently, multiple independent pathways of evidence suggest this pathological condition is a peculiar form of inflammation, triggered by cholesterol-rich lipoproteins and influenced both by environmental and genetic factors. The Human Genome Project opened up the opportunity to dissect complex human traits and to understand basic pathways of multifactorial diseases such as AS. Population-based association studies have emerged as powerful tools for examining genes with a role in common multifactorial diseases that have a strong environmental component. These association studies often estimate the risk of developing a certain disease in carriers and non-carriers of a particular genetic polymorphism. Dissecting out the influence of pro-inflammatory genes within the complex pathophysiology of AS and its complications will help to provide a more complete risk assessment and complement known classical cardiovascular risk factors. The detection of a risk profile will potentially allow both the early identification of individuals susceptible to disease and the possible discovery of potential targets for drug or lifestyle modification; i.e. it will open the door to personalized medicine.

Ciric L.,University of Zagreb | Samet B.,Ecole Superieure des science et Techniques de Tunis | Vetro C.,University of Palermo
Mathematical and Computer Modelling | Year: 2011

We prove some common fixed point theorems in probabilistic semi-metric spaces for families of occasionally weakly compatible mappings. We also give a common fixed point theorem for mappings satisfying an integral-type implicit relation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Sikora E.,Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology | Scapagnini G.,University of Molise | Barbagallo M.,University of Palermo
Immunity and Ageing | Year: 2010

A Symposium regarding the Pathophysiology of Successful and Unsuccessful Ageing was held in Palermo, Italy between April 7 and 8th2009. Here the lecture by Sikora with some input from the chairpersons Scapagnini and Barbagallo is summarized. Ageing is manifested by the decreasing health status and increasing probability to acquire age-related disease such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, metabolic disorders and others. They are likely caused by low grade inflammation driven by oxygen stress and manifested by the increased level of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-α, encoded by genes activated by the transcription factor NF-κB. It is believed that ageing is plastic and can be slowed down by caloric restriction as well as by some nutraceuticals. Accordingly, slowing down ageing and postponing the onset of age-related diseases might be achieved by blocking the NF-κB-dependent inflammation. In this review we consider the possibility of the spice curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent possibly capable of improving the health status of the elderly.© 2010 Sikora et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Objectives To assess the usefulness of a new approach to atrial septal puncture and septostomy in patients with end-stage pulmonary hypertension. Background Atrial septostomy in end-stage pulmonary hypertension has high mortality and morbidity rates mainly due to trans-septal catheterization. New approaches to safety during this technical step are expected. Methods Twelve patients with end-stage pulmonary arterial hypertension (5 males, 7 females, mean age 41, 9 ± 12, 0 years) underwent to balloon atrial septostomy. Intracardiac echography (ICE) was used to localize fossa ovalis while a radiofrequency wire was used to perforate the atrial septum. Then a septostomy was performed by progressive balloon dilatation of atrial septum. Septal perforation was successful at the first attempt in 4 patients and after 5 attempts in a single case, while Bas was successful in all. Results Pericardial effusion did not develop in any patient. Complications consisted in transient supraventricular tachyarrhythmia, transient cerebral ischemia and severe hypoxemia with ventricular tachycardia in 3 single patients. In-procedure death rate was 0%. Systemic cardiac output increased immediately, while systemic O2 saturation decreased significantly in all. Mean follow-up was 8, 2 ± 3, 8 months. Mortality was 16, 6% (2 patients). NYHA class improved in the rest of patients. Four patients (33, 2%) underwent to pulmonary transplant successfully. Conclusions This novel approach for trans-septal catheterization has shown very low rate of major complication during atrial septostomy in patients with end-stage pulmonary arterial hypertension. (J Interven Cardiol 2013;26:62-68) © 2012, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Bauer M.J.,Illumina | Cox A.J.,Illumina | Rosone G.,University of Palermo
Theoretical Computer Science | Year: 2013

Recent progress in the field of DNA sequencing motivates us to consider the problem of computing the Burrows-Wheeler transform (BWT) of a collection of strings. A human genome sequencing experiment might yield a billion or more sequences, each 100 characters in length. Such a dataset can now be generated in just a few days on a single sequencing machine. Many algorithms and data structures for compression and indexing of text have the BWT at their heart, and it would be of great interest to explore their applications to sequence collections such as these. However, computing the BWT for 100 billion characters or more of data remains a computational challenge. In this work we address this obstacle by presenting a methodology for computing the BWT of a string collection in a lightweight fashion. A first implementation of our algorithm needs O(mlogm) bits of memory to process m strings, while a second variant makes additional use of external memory to achieve RAM usage that is constant with respect to m and negligible in size for a small alphabet such as DNA. The algorithms work on any number of strings and any size. We evaluate our algorithms on collections of up to 1 billion strings and compare their performance to other approaches on smaller datasets. We take further steps toward making the BWT a practical tool for processing string collections on this scale. First, we give two algorithms for recovering the strings in a collection from its BWT. Second, we show that if sequences are added to or removed from the collection, then the BWT of the original collection can be efficiently updated to obtain the BWT of the revised collection. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Sanfilippo G.,University of Palermo
Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence - Proceedings of the 28th Conference, UAI 2012 | Year: 2012

In this paper, starting from a generalized coherent (i.e. avoiding uniform loss) intervalvalued probability assessment on a finite family of conditional events, we construct conditional probabilities with quasi additive classes of conditioning events which are consistent with the given initial assessment. Quasi additivity assures coherence for the obtained conditional probabilities. In order to reach our goal we define a finite sequence of conditional probabilities by exploiting some theoretical results on g-coherence. In particular, we use solutions of a finite sequence of linear systems.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Theoretical Physics | Year: 2011

In some recent papers many quantum aspects of the Pais-Uhlenbeck model were discussed. In particular, several inequivalent hamiltonians have been proposed, with different features, giving rise, at a quantum level, to the fourth-order differential equation of the model. Here we propose two new possible hamiltonians which also produce the same differential equation. In particular our first hamiltonian is self-adjoint and positive. Our second proposal is written in terms of pseudo-bosonic operators. We discuss in details the ground states of these hamiltonians and the (bi-)coherent states of the models. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Theoretical Physics | Year: 2011

We construct a two-parameters example of pseudo-bosons, and we show that they are not regular, in the sense previously introduced by the author. In particular, we show that two biorthogonal bases of L2(R) can be constructed, which are not Riesz bases, in general. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Polizzotto C.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Solids and Structures | Year: 2014

A stress gradient elasticity theory is developed which is based on the Eringen method to address nonlocal elasticity by means of differential equations. By suitable thermodynamics arguments (involving the free enthalpy instead of the free internal energy), the restrictions on the related constitutive equations are determined, which include the well-known Eringen stress gradient constitutive equations, as well as the associated (so far uncertain) boundary conditions. The proposed theory exhibits complementary characters with respect to the analogous strain gradient elasticity theory. The associated boundary-value problem is shown to admit a unique solution characterized by a Hellinger-Reissner type variational principle. The main differences between the Eringen stress gradient model and the concomitant Aifantis strain gradient model are pointed out. A rigorous formulation of the stress gradient Euler-Bernoulli beam is provided; the response of this beam model is discussed as for its sensitivity to the stress gradient effects and compared with the analogous strain gradient beam model. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Freni G.,Kore University of Enna | Mannina G.,University of Palermo
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2010

Quantification of uncertainty is of paramount interest in integrated urban drainage water quality modelling. Indeed, the assessment of the reliability of the results of complex water quality models is crucial in understanding their significance. However, the state of knowledge regarding uncertainties in urban drainage models is poor. In the case of integrated urban drainage water quality models, due to the fact that integrated approaches are basically a cascade of sub-models (simulating the sewer system, wastewater treatment plant and receiving water body), uncertainty produced in one sub-model propagates to the following ones in a manner dependent on the model structure, the estimation of parameters and the availability and uncertainty of measurements in the different parts of the system. Uncertainty basically propagates throughout a chain of models in which the simulation output from upstream models is transferred to the downstream ones as input. The Variance Decomposition Approach tracks uncertainty propagation commonly assuming that the correlation among error sources is negligible. In complex environmental models, the overall uncertainty can differ significantly from the simple sum of uncertainties generated in each sub-model, showing the well-known uncertainty accumulation problems due to non-linearity in the model and correlation among the sources of uncertainty. This work discusses the importance of such issues in the application of a complex integrated urban drainage model with the aim of evaluating the applicability of Variance Decomposition Approach. The integrated model and the methodology for the uncertainty decomposition were then applied to a complex integrated catchment: the Nocella basin (Italy). The results showed that the Variance Decomposition Approach can be a powerful tool for uncertainty analysis, but a possible correlation among uncertainty sources should be considered because it can greatly affect the analysis. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo
Physics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics | Year: 2011

We have recently proposed a strategy to produce, starting from a given Hamiltonian h1 and a certain operator x for which [ h1,xx†]=0 and x†x is invertible, a second Hamiltonian h2 with the same eigenvalues as h1 and whose eigenvectors are related to those of h1 by x†. Here we extend this procedure to build up a second Hamiltonian, whose eigenvalues are different from those of h1, and whose eigenvectors are still related as before. This new procedure is also extended to crypto-hermitian Hamiltonians. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Mantegna R.N.,University of Palermo | Kertesz J.,Budapest University of Technology and Economics | Kertesz J.,Aalto University
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2011

This focus issue presents a collection of papers on recent results in statistical physics modeling in economics and finance, commonly known as econophysics. We touch briefly on the history of this relatively new multidisciplinary field, summarize the motivations behind its emergence and try to characterize its specific features. We point out some research aspects that must be improved and briefly discuss the topics the research field is moving toward. Finally, we give a short account of the papers collected in this issue. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

Hepatic hemangioma, adenoma and focal nodular hyperplasia are the most frequent benign lesions of the liver, but they are all infrequent among pediatric population. The reports of focal nodular hyperplasia in children have recently increased in number, with many cases associated to drug intake, particularly to chemotherapy. We here describe, to our knowledge, the first case of focal nodular hyperplasia in association with diabetes mellitus in childhood.

De Marchis M.,Kore University of Enna | Napoli E.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow | Year: 2012

Wall-resolved Large Eddy Simulation of fully developed turbulent channel flows over two different rough surfaces is performed to investigate on the effects of irregular 2D and 3D roughness on the turbulence. The two geometries are obtained through the superimposition of sinusoidal functions having random amplitudes and different wave lengths. In the 2D configuration the irregular shape in the longitudinal direction is replicated in the transverse one, while in the 3D case the sinusoidal functions are generated both in streamwise and spanwise directions. Both channel walls are roughened in such a way as to obtain surfaces with statistically equivalent roughness height, but different shapes. In order to compare the turbulence properties over the two rough walls and to analyse the differences with a smooth wall, the simulations are performed at the same Reynolds number Re τ=395. The same mean roughness height h=0.05δ (δ the half channel height) is used for the rough walls. The roughness function obtained with the 3D roughness is larger than in the 2D case, although the two walls share the same mean height. Thus, the considered irregular 3D roughness is more effective in reducing the flow velocity with respect to the 2D roughness, coherently with the literature results that identified a clear dependence of the roughness function on the effective slope (see Napoli et al. (2008)), higher in the generated 3D rough wall. The analysis of higher-order statistics shows that the effects of the roughness, independently on its two- or three-dimensional shape, are mainly confined in the inner region, supporting the Townsend's wall similarity hypothesis. The tendency towards the isotropization is investigated through the ratio between the resolved Reynolds stress components, putting in light that the 3D irregular rough wall induces an higher reduction of the anisotropy, with respect to the 2D case. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Colombo R.,Vita-Salute San Raffaele University | Salonia A.,Vita-Salute San Raffaele University | Leib Z.,Rabin Medical Center Beilinson Campus | Pavone-Macaluso M.,University of Palermo | Engelstein D.,Rabin Medical Center Beilinson Campus
BJU International | Year: 2011

OBJECTIVE: • To present long-term efficacy data of intravesical thermochemotherapy vs chemotherapy alone with mitomycin-C (MMC) randomly administered to patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) as an adjuvant treatment after complete transurethral resection. PATIENTS AND METHODS: • In all, 83 patients with intermediate-/high-risk NMIBC, following complete transurethral resection, were randomly assigned to receive either intravesical thermochemotherapy by means of Synergo® (Medical Enterprises, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) or intravesical chemotherapy alone, for prophylaxis of tumour recurrence. • Two doses of MMC (20 mg dissolved in 50 mL distilled water administered throughout two consecutive sessions) was used as the chemotherapeutic agent in both arms. • In all, 75 patients completed the original study (35 of 42 in the treatment arm, 40 of 41 in the control arm), whose results at minimum 2-year follow-up have already been published. • Recently, the files of these patients have been updated for long-term outcome definition. Data on general health, follow-up examinations, tumour relapse or progression, and cause of death were collected and analysed. RESULTS: • Updated complete data collection was available for 65/75 (87%) of the original patients. • The median follow-up for tumour-free patients was 91 months. The 10-year disease-free survival rate for thermochemotherapy and chemotherapy alone were 53% and 15%, respectively (P < 0.001). • An intent-to-treat analysis performed to overcome the potential bias introduced by the asymmetrical discontinuation rate still showed a significant advantage of the active treatment over the control treatment. Bladder preservation rates for thermochemotherapy and chemotherapy alone were 86% and 79%, respectively. CONCLUSION: • This is the first analysis of long-term follow-up of patients treated with intravesical thermochemotherapy. The high rate (53%) of patients who were tumourfree 10 years after treatment completion, as well as the high rate (86%) of bladder preservation, confirms the efficacy of this adjuvant approach for NMIBC at long-term follow-up, even in patients with multiple tumours. © 2010 The Authors BJU International © 2010 BJU International.

Airo Farulla C.,University of Palermo | Battiato A.,ART Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon | Ferrari A.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Unsaturated Soils - Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils | Year: 2011

The paper presents the results of a comprehensive experimental programme aimed to characterize the retention properties of a compacted scaly clay by determining the retention curves in terms of main wetting and main drying branches at different values of void ratio, ranging between 0.45 and 0.80. Different experimental techniques were combined in order to explore the retention properties in a wide range of suction. Vapour equilibrium technique was used to impose total suction in the range 2 ÷ 110 M Pa, while the air overpressure technique was applied to control matric suction in the range 0.01 ÷ 0.80 M Pa. Collected results clearly pointed out a strong dependence of the retention curves on the void ratio. The dependences of the air entry value and of the hysteresis on the compaction state of the material are analysed. These aspects are discussed in the light of the microstructural arrangement resulting from the compaction process. © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, London.

Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Mercadante S.,University of Palermo
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology | Year: 2011

Breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP) has been defined as a transitory increase in pain intensity on a baseline pain of moderate intensity in patients on analgesic treatment regularly administered. This review provides updated information about the use of opioids for the treatment of BTcP, with special emphasis on the use of new rapid onset opioids (ROOs). Due to its slow onset to effect oral opioids cannot be considered an efficacious treatment for BTcP. Parenteral opioids may provide rapid onset of analgesia, but not always available particularly at home. Different technologies have been developed to provide fast pain relief with potent opioid drugs such fentanyl, delivered by non-invasive routes. Transmucosal administration of lipophilic substances has gained a growing popularity in the last years, due to the rapid effect clinically observable 10-15. min after drug administration, obtainable in non-invasive forms. Fentanyl is a potent and strongly lipophilic drug, which matches the characteristics to favour the passage through the mucosa and then across the blood-brain barrier to provide fast analgesia. Transmucosal, buccal, sublingual, and intranasal fentanyl showed their efficacy in comparison with oral morphine or placebo and are available for clinical use in most countries. All the studies performed with ROOs have recommended that these drugs should be administered to opioid-tolerant patients receiving doses of oral morphine equivalents of at least 60 mg. The choice of the dose of ROO to be prescribed as needed remains controversial. The need of titrating opioid doses for BTcP has been commonly recommended in all the controlled studies, but has never been substantiated in appropriate studies. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Teel A.R.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Subbaraman A.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Sferlazza A.,University of Palermo
Automatica | Year: 2014

This survey addresses stability analysis for stochastic hybrid systems (SHS), which are dynamical systems that combine continuous change and instantaneous change and that also include random effects. We re-emphasize the common features found in most of the models that have appeared in the literature, which include stochastic switched systems, Markov jump systems, impulsive stochastic systems, switching diffusions, stochastic impulsive systems driven by renewal processes, diffusions driven by Lévy processes, piecewise-deterministic Markov processes, general stochastic hybrid systems, and stochastic hybrid inclusions. Then we review many of the stability concepts that have been studied, including Lyapunov stability, Lagrange stability, asymptotic stability, and recurrence. Next, we detail Lyapunov-based sufficient conditions for these properties, and additional relaxations of Lyapunov conditions. Many other aspects of stability theory for SHS, like converse Lyapunov theorems and robustness theory, are not fully developed; hence, we also formulate some open problems to serve as a partial roadmap for the development of the underdeveloped pieces. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Mirisola M.G.,University of Palermo | Mirisola M.G.,University of Southern California | Longo V.D.,University of Southern California
Cell Metabolism | Year: 2013

Hormesis is an adaptive stress response implicated in longevity regulation. Schroeder et al. (2013) have now connected stress, epigenetic changes, and aging in yeast by showing that mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species modulate the chromatin binding capacity of the histone demethylase Rph1p at subtelomeres, resulting in lifespan extension. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Melilli D.,University of Palermo
Minerva stomatologica | Year: 2011

Due to the progress made in implantology, in recent years the interest in prosthetic rehabilitation in edentulous mouths using overdentures has increased considerably. Indications to the treatment of implant supported overdenture could be classified in three groups: the first group consists of younger members of the elderly population who have an edentulous upper jaw rehabilitated with a conventional complete denture but experience discomfort with it and therefore desire a stable prosthesis and greater comfort in the mouth; the second group, for which the use of implant overdentures is recommended, consists of older patients who require greater stability from a complete mandibular denture; the third group consists of compromised patients and those with acquired or congenital maxillofacial conditions. Moreover, advantages of overdentures supported by implants are analyzed; in fact, they allow a lower bone reabsorption, a better retention and stability of the prosthesis than the traditional complete denture, an increased masticatory effectiveness, a reduction of pain during mastication tanks to the higher stability, a better sensory perception, a considerable patient satisfaction, and the option of making an immediate prosthetic rehabilitation with implants through immediate load.

Twareque Ali S.,Concordia University at Montreal | Bagarello F.,University of Palermo | Pierre Gazeau J.,University Paris Diderot
Annals of Physics | Year: 2013

The purpose of this work is to explore the existence and properties of reproducing kernel Hilbert subspaces of L2(C,d2z/π) based on subsets of complex Hermite polynomials. The resulting coherent states (CS) form a family depending on a nonnegative parameter s. We examine some interesting issues, mainly related to CS quantization, like the existence of the usual harmonic oscillator spectrum despite the absence of canonical commutation rules. The question of mathematical and physical equivalences between the s-dependent quantizations is also considered. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Fici G.,University of Palermo
Journal of Computer and System Sciences | Year: 2014

A balanced word is one in which any two factors of the same length contain the same number of each letter of the alphabet up to one. Finite binary balanced words are called Sturmian words. A Sturmian word is bispecial if it can be extended to the left and to the right with both letters remaining a Sturmian word. There is a deep relation between bispecial Sturmian words and Christoffel words, that are the digital approximations of Euclidean segments in the plane. In 1997, J. Berstel and A. de Luca proved that palindromic bispecial Sturmian words are precisely the maximal internal factors of primitive Christoffel words. We extend this result by showing that bispecial Sturmian words are precisely the maximal internal factors of all Christoffel words. Our characterization allows us to give an enumerative formula for bispecial Sturmian words. We also investigate the minimal forbidden words for the language of Sturmian words. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Janin L.,Illumina | Rosone G.,Illumina | Rosone G.,University of Palermo | Cox A.J.,Illumina
Bioinformatics | Year: 2014

Motivation: Rapid technological progress in DNA sequencing has stimulated interest in compressing the vast datasets that are now routinely produced. Relatively little attention has been paid to compressing the quality scores that are assigned to each sequence, even though these scores may be harder to compress than the sequences themselves. By aggregating a set of reads into a compressed index, we find that the majority of bases can be predicted from the sequence of bases that are adjacent to them and, hence, are likely to be less informative for variant calling or other applications. The quality scores for such bases are aggressively compressed, leaving a relatively small number at full resolution. As our approach relies directly on redundancy present in the reads, it does not need a reference sequence and is, therefore, applicable to data from metagenomics and de novo experiments as well as to re-sequencing data.Results: We show that a conservative smoothing strategy affecting 75% of the quality scores above Q2 leads to an overall quality score compression of 1 bit per value with a negligible effect on variant calling. A compression of 0.68 bit per quality value is achieved using a more aggressive smoothing strategy, again with a very small effect on variant calling.Availability: Code to construct the BWT and LCP-array on large genomic data sets is part of the BEETL library, available as a github repository at. Contact: acox@illumina.com © 2013 The Author .

Here we present and discuss the R package modTempEff including a set of functions aimed at modelling temperature effects on mortality with time series data. The functions fit a particular log linear model which allows to capture the two main features of mortality-temperature relationships: nonlinearity and distributed lag effect. Penalized splines and segmented regression constitute the core of the modelling framework. We briey review the model and illustrate the functions throughout a simulated dataset.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo | Bagarello F.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Fring A.,City University London
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2013

We demonstrate that a non-self-adjoint Hamiltonian of harmonic-oscillator type defined on a two-dimensional noncommutative space can be diagonalized exactly by making use of pseudobosonic operators. The model admits an antilinear symmetry and is of the type studied in the context of PT-symmetric quantum mechanics. Its eigenvalues are computed to be real for the entire range of the coupling constants and the biorthogonal sets of eigenstates for the Hamiltonian and its adjoint are explicitly constructed. We show that despite the fact that these sets are complete and biorthogonal, they involve an unbounded metric operator and therefore do not constitute (Riesz) bases for the Hilbert space L2(R2), but instead only D quasibases. As recently proved by one of us, this is sufficient to deduce several interesting consequences. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Aaronson B.,University of Nottingham | Lo Franco R.,University of Palermo | Adesso G.,University of Nottingham
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2013

We show that the phenomenon of frozen discord, exhibited by specific classes of two-qubit states under local nondissipative decoherent evolutions, is a common feature of all known bona fide measures of general quantum correlations. All those measures, despite inducing typically inequivalent orderings on the set of nonclassically correlated states, return a constant value in the considered settings. Every communication protocol that relies on quantum correlations as a resource will run with a performance completely unaffected by noise in the specified dynamical conditions. We provide a geometric interpretation of this phenomenon. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Granata M.F.,University of Palermo
Engineering Structures | Year: 2014

Incremental launching is a common and convenient methodology to build continuous girder bridges on several piers. Although it has mainly been applied to straight bridges with box sections, today it is also used for construction of horizontally curved bridges with concrete and composite steel-concrete closed or open sections like I-girders. In these cases the contribution of torsion to the stress state becomes of primary importance when the construction stages of these bridges are analysed. Moreover, the presence of thin-walled cross-sections, makes the analysis of non-uniform torsion fundamental when the angle of twist per unit length is not constant or warping is prevented in those sections where rigid internal diaphragms occur. Consequently the stress state in the launching phases can be strongly influenced by non-uniform torsion, especially for the evaluation of axial stresses in I-girder bridges, where non-uniform torsion presents its maximum influence. In this paper a methodology for the repetitive analysis of launching steps is proposed, based on the Hamiltonian Structural Analysis method, which takes into account the internal characteristics of non-uniform torsion (warping and bimoment) in order to evaluate the influence of prevented warping on the stress state at each stage of launching. The methodology is convenient because it can be considered a sort of generalised beam theory and presents a reduced computational burden with respect to finite element or boundary element procedures, with fast solution of many bridge launching static schemes. A validation of the method is given through a comparison with finite element procedures and literature data. An application is presented on a bridge with different typologies of cross-section in order to compare the different behaviours of thin-walled sections and the different degree of influence of non-uniform torsion on the stress state. The results are given in the form of envelope graphs of internal forces and stresses for the entire launching sequence and for the different cases examined. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Nibali L.,University College London | Tatarakis N.,University College London | Needleman I.,University College London | Tu Y.-K.,National Taiwan University | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2013

Background: Several epidemiological studies have reported an association between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and periodontal diseases (PDs). The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the existence and magnitude of this association. Materials and Methods: A systematic search of the literature was conducted looking for casecontrol, cross-sectional, cohort studies and population surveys including patients with measures of MetS and PD. Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, and Cochrane library databases were used for the search by 2 independent reviewers. A meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the association for coexistence of MetS and PD. Results: A total of 20 studies were included in the review, from an initial search of 3486 titles. Only 1 study reported longitudinal data on the onset of MetS components in association with periodontal measures. However, several studies investigated coexistence. A random effects meta-analysis showed that the presence of MetS is associated with the presence of periodontitis in a total of 36 337 subjects (odds ratio=1.71;95%confidence interval=1.42 to 2.03). When only studies with "secure" diagnoses wereincluded (n=16 405), themagnitudeof association increased (odds ratio=2.09;95%confidence interval = 1.28 to 3.44). Moderate heterogeneity was detected (I2 = 53.6%; P = .004). Conclusions: This review presents clear evidence for an association between MetS and periodontitis. The direction of the association and factors influencing it should be investigated by longitudinal and treatment studies. Periodontal diagnostic procedures should be routinely carried out in MetS patients. Copyright © 2013 by The Endocrine Society.

Trapanese M.,University of Palermo
Conference Proceedings - IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition - APEC | Year: 2012

In this paper Dynamic Preisach Model is applied to develop a mathematical model of the hysteresis in lithium battery. Dynamic Preisach Model allows to describe both the hysteresis and the dynamical features of charging and discharging cycles in a lithium battery. The identification of the model is obtained by using a neural network technique developed for magnetic systems. The model is validated by some experimental tests on commercial batteries. © 2012 IEEE.

Capone A.,University of Palermo
Journal of Pragmatics | Year: 2010

This paper deals with the social practice of indirect reports and treats them as cases of language games. It proposes a number of principles like the following:. Paraphrasis/Form Principle. The that-clause embedded in the verb 'say' is a paraphrasis of what Y said, and meets the following constraints: should Y hear what X said he (Y) had said, he would not take issue with it, as to content, but would approve of it as a fair paraphrasis of his original utterance. Furthermore, he would not object to vocalizing the assertion made out of the words following the complementizer 'that' on account of its form/style. Furthermore, it connects such principles with Relevance Theory considerations. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Pinsino A.,CNR Institute of Biomedicine and Molecular Immunology Alberto Monroy | Roccheri M.C.,University of Palermo | Matranga V.,CNR Institute of Biomedicine and Molecular Immunology Alberto Monroy
Marine Environmental Research | Year: 2014

In the marine environment, manganese represents a potential emerging contaminant, resulting from an increased production of manganese-containing compounds. In earlier reports we found that the exposure of Paracentrotus lividus sea urchin embryos to manganese produced phenotypes with no skeleton. In addition, manganese interfered with calcium uptake, perturbed extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling, affected the expression of skeletogenic genes, and caused an increase of the hsc70 and hsc60 protein levels. Here, we extended our studies focusing on the temporal activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) and the proteolytic activity of metalloproteinases (MMPs). We found that manganese affects the stage-dependent dynamics of p38 MAPK activation and inhibits the total gelatin-auto-cleaving activity of MMPs, with the exclusion of the 90-85kDa and 68-58kDa MMPs, whose levels remain high all throughout development. Our findings correlate, for the first time to our knowledge, an altered activation pattern of the p38 MAPK with an aberrant MMP proteolytic activity in the sea urchin embryo. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo | Bagarello F.,University of Turin
Annals of Physics | Year: 2015

We discuss systematically several possible inequivalent ways to describe the dynamics and the transition probabilities of a quantum system when its hamiltonian is not self-adjoint. In order to simplify the treatment, we mainly restrict our analysis to finite dimensional Hilbert spaces. In particular, we propose some experiments which could discriminate between the various possibilities considered in the paper. An example taken from the literature is discussed in detail. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Ziino G.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Theoretical Physics | Year: 2016

The idea of a ‘Majorana mass’ to make a chiral neutrino really neutral is here reconsidered. It is pointed out that such an approach, unlike Majorana’s (non-chiral) old one, does not strictly lead, in general, to a true self-conjugate particle. This can be seen on directly using the basic definition (or fundamental representation) of charge conjugation C in Quantum Field Theory, as an operation just acting on annihilation and creation operators and just expressing particle–antiparticle interchange. It is found, indeed, that the ‘active’ and ‘sterile’ whole fields which can be obtained from mixing the chiral components of two mutually charge-conjugate Dirac fields are themselves ‘charge conjugate’ to each other (rather than individually self-conjugate). These fields, taken as mass eigenfields (as in the ‘Majorana mass’ case), are shown to describe particles carrying pseudoscalar-type charges and being neutral relative to scalar-type charges only. For them, ‘CP symmetry’ would be nothing but pure mirror symmetry, and C violation (already implied in their respective ‘active’ and ‘sterile’ behaviors) should then involve time-reversal violation as well. The new (no longer strictly chargeless) ‘Majorana mass’ neutrino model still proves, however, neither to affect the usual expectation for a neutrinoless double β-decay, nor to prevent ‘active’ and ‘sterile’ neutrino varieties from generally taking different mass values. One has, on the other hand, that any fermion being just a genuine (i.e. really self-conjugate) Majorana particle cannot truly exist in two distinct—‘active’ and ‘sterile’—versions, and it can further bear only a unified mass kind which may at once be said to be either a ‘Majorana-like’ or a ‘Dirac-like’ mass kind. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

In this paper a new approach was proposed so as to comparatively evaluate the quality of service alternatives. In particular, a fuzzy extension of the ServPerf service conceptual model was considered to estimate quality scores of fundamental service criteria, whereas the non-compensative multi-criteria decision-making ELECTRE III method was employed to point out the quality ranking of service alternatives on the basis of which the comparative service quality analysis was performed. In order to show the effectiveness of the proposed approach, an empirical study concerning service quality evaluation of the three international airports in Sicily (Italy) was conducted with detailed proposals for passenger service improvement. The results showed that only few key service aspects played a focal role in quality airport service. Moreover, the effects on the evaluation of service quality, arising from customers' uncertainties, were computed, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed approach. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Garofalo E.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Architectural Heritage | Year: 2015

Architecture in early modern Sardinia is characterized by a strong continuity with previous practices. In the second half of the 16th century, new models join the Gothic building tradition, linked in particular to trends in military engineering and Classicism of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The Jesuit church in Sassari offers an interesting example of the intertwining of these architectural modes, which originated with a sudden change of leadership at the site. Giovan Maria Bernardoni, an Italian Jesuit architect, initially modeled the church after the Gesù in Rome, and it was partially built under his direction. After his departure from Sardinia, local master builders finished the construction, following the Gothic tradition and possibly some external influences. This article analyzes the church, particularly focusing on the challenges presented by its articulated vaulting system completed between 1587 and 1609. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Sutera D.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Architectural Heritage | Year: 2015

Imposing tower facades with belfries in the last order were built in Sicily Italy, from the Middle Ages to the late Baroque period. Until the 16th century, this model, which was inspired by northern European examples, also had a parallelepiped forepart leaning against the facade, working as containment for the pressure imparted by the inner longitudinal arches on the front, and amplified in case of earthquakes. The lacking static efficiency of these early structures is demonstrated by collapses during the strong earthquakes that hit the island in the modern age. Despite numerous cases of destruction, the memory of some prototypes survived in Sicilian constructive memory through the elaboration, in the late Baroque, of tower facades with an updated morphology. The hybridization with Guarinis pyramid scheme, and its related articulations, could in fact offer the tower system advantages in terms of structural strength, thanks to a better balanced redistribution of masses and weights. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Giarre L.,University of Palermo
IEEE Control Systems | Year: 2014

The 22nd Mediterranean Control Conference (MED14) took place in Palermo, Italy, on July 16?19, 2014. MED14 was another success for this series of conferences, which are organized under the auspices of the Mediterranean Control Association (MCA) with technical co-sponsorship of the IEEE Control System Society (CSS) and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS). A total of 38 members of the International Program Committee contributed to the evaluation of the papers, collecting about 1000 reviews. Three plenary speakers opened each day of the technical program, with talks on economics, networks, and system biology. Two tutorial sessions were dedicated to systems biology and smart grid, and five invited sessions were organized and presented: two on marine robotics, one on aerospace systems, and two on assistive technologies.

De Paola A.,University of Palermo
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing | Year: 2014

Pervasive computing and Ambient Intelligence (AmI) demonstrate that computer systems which directly interact with users are characterized by increasing size and complexity, so that the human user will still not be able to adequately manage them for a long time to come. As a response to this trend, the Autonomic Computing paradigm aims to design and develop systems able to self-configure and self-manage. The research reported here is part of an AmI project that proposes a multi-tier cognitive architecture for aggregating sensory information at different levels of abstraction. In such an architecture, a central reasoning component is able to understand the environmental state and the user's preferences and consequently to plan the opportune actions to be performed. This chapter describes an ontology able to provide a formal representation of the environment in which the AmI system is placed, as well as a representation of the system itself and of its interaction with the environment. By exploiting this knowledge, the AmI system can develop consciousness of itself and of its cognitive processes, and consequently the capability of autonomously managing its own functioning. In particular, this task is performed by a rule-based planning module, integrated within the multi-level architecture, and capable of managing and configuring the sensory infrastructure. By means of this module, the AmI system can manage its own monitoring activity to obtain a good understanding of the context while minimizing system energy consumption. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014.

Peri D.,University of Palermo
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing | Year: 2014

Derived fromWireless Sensor Networks, Body Area Networks, comprise a wide range of typologies with sensor nodes placed on, close to, or implanted in the body that measure physiological signs.The availability of compact mobile computing devices makes it possible to integrate traditional healthcarewith newpowerfulmeans. Newparadigms in public health are arising from these developments, such as e-health and mHealth, and new converging applications can be envisioned. Physiological data acquisition provided by BANs may give care providers a unobtrusive real-time view on patient's health. On the other hand, the patient may be informed, assisted and even given the proper treatment by care providers. In this chapter, recent work on BANs focused on healthcare and mHealth is surveyed. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014.

Lo Franco R.,University of Palermo
Quantum Information Processing | Year: 2016

Determining relationships between different types of quantum correlations in open composite quantum systems is important since it enables the exploitation of a type by knowing the amount of another type. We here review, by giving a formal demonstration, a closed formula of the Bell function, witnessing nonlocality, as a function of the concurrence, quantifying entanglement, valid for a system of two noninteracting qubits initially prepared in extended Werner-like states undergoing any local pure-dephasing evolution. This formula allows for finding nonlocality thresholds for the concurrence depending only on the purity of the initial state. We then utilize these thresholds in a paradigmatic system where the two qubits are locally affected by a quantum environment with an Ohmic class spectrum. We show that steady entanglement can be achieved and provide the lower bound of initial state purity such that this stationary entanglement is above the nonlocality threshold thus guaranteeing the maintenance of nonlocal correlations. © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Conte P.,University of Palermo
Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry | Year: 2015

Aqueous salt solutions play an important role in nature because of their effects on environmental biogeochemical processes and on structural properties of biomolecules. Upon dissolution, salts split in ions that are solvated. Water in hydration shells is subjected to molecular motions that can be monitored by 1H T1 NMR relaxometry. This technique allowed the evaluation of the nature of the interactions between water and ions via variable temperature experiments. Examination of relaxometry properties of aqueous solutions at variable salt concentrations allowed acknowledgement of the role played by ions in either structuring or destructuring water aggregates. A mathematical model has been applied on six environmentally relevant salts: NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, CaCO3, NaNO3, and NH4NO3. It was linear only for the concentration dependence of KCl-R1. This model accorded with the one reported in literature where it has been considered valid only for diluted solutions. However, in the present study, the range of linearity for KCl was extended up to the saturation point. The model was modified for NaCl, CaCl2, and CaCO3 by using it as an exponential form in order to account for the nonlinearity of the R1-versus-concentration curves. Nonlinearity was explained by the nonnegligible ion-ion interactions occurring as concentration was increased. Finally, further modification was needed to account for the asymmetric distribution of water around nitrate (in NaNO3 and NH4NO3) and ammonium (in NH4NO3). This study is preliminary to the comprehension of the diffusion mechanisms of ions in water solutions at the equilibrium condition with solid surfaces such as soils and biochar-amended soils. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Franco R.L.,University of Palermo
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2015

Modifying the Markovian (memoryless) or non-Markovian (memory-keeping) nature of the environment-induced evolution of an open quantum system is crucial in quantum information theory, because it is linked to quantum memory control. A recent work (Brito and Werlang 2015 New J. Phys. 17 072001) shows that such a goal can be achieved without operating on unaccessible environmental features. In fact, transitions between Markovian and non-Markovian regimes of a qubit dynamics can be induced on demand if the qubit is coupled to a controlled auxiliary system. This is a step towards the improvement of quantum devices, aiming at exploiting dynamical memory effects by an external control. © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

Sorge F.,University of Palermo
Meccanica | Year: 2015

The mechanical response of pneumatic artificial muscles is analyzed in transient and periodic conditions, assuming the inextensibility of the sheathing fibres and considering the influence of the texture geometry, of the dissipation due to the mutual sliding between the braids and of the stress field inside the bladder thickness, where the constituent elastomer is regarded as a two-parameter Mooney–Rivlin material. The polytropic exponent of the thermodynamic air evolution inside the muscle during the charging and discharging phases may be properly chosen depending on the working frequency. The muscle end shape is taken into account profiling the meridian section by a simple m-degree parabolic law. The estimate of the mechanical and geometrical parameters of each individual muscle permits simulating its response in several unsteady operations and identifying its hysteretic behaviour under periodic pressure excitation. The comparison with several experimental results present in the literature shows a very acceptable agreement. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Giorgi G.L.,Institute Fisica Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos | Bellomo B.,University of Palermo | Galve F.,Institute Fisica Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos | Zambrini R.,Institute Fisica Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011

Generalizing the quantifiers used to classify correlations in bipartite systems, we define genuine total, quantum, and classical correlations in multipartite systems. The measure we give is based on the use of relative entropy to quantify the distance between two density matrices. Moreover, we show that, for pure states of three qubits, both quantum and classical bipartite correlations obey a ladder ordering law fixed by two-body mutual informations, or, equivalently, by one-qubit entropies. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Lupo T.,University of Palermo
Proceedings - 19th ISSAT International Conference on Reliability and Quality in Design, RQD 2013 | Year: 2013

With refer to a Global Service Contract between a Service Provider and a Logistic Company, the purpose of the present paper is to develop an optimization model aimed to minimize the maintenance related total cost. In particular, such contract requires the supplying of a mandatory set of corrective maintenance services on a set of equal vehicles, in a fixed time horizon. The considered problem is formulated by a non-linear constrained mathematical model that, for large practical systems as the one herein considered, becomes difficult or very hard to solve by mathematical resolution approach. For this reason, a specific resolution approach based on a constrained genetic algorithm is herein developed to solve the treated problem. The obtained results show that meaningful cost reductions can be achieved by using the proposed approach.

Milazzo A.,University of Palermo
Journal of Sound and Vibration | Year: 2013

A new one-dimensional model for the dynamic problem of magneto-electro- elastic generally laminated beams is presented. The electric and magnetic fields are assumed to be quasi-static and a first-order shear beam theory is used. The electro-magnetic problem is first solved in terms of the mechanical variables, then the equations of motion are written leading to the problem governing equations. They involve the same terms of the elastic dynamic problem weighted by effective stiffness coefficients, which take the magneto-electro-mechanical couplings into account. Additional terms, which involve the third spatial derivative of the transverse displacement, also occur as a result of the piezoelectric and/or piezomagnetic behavior. It is also shown that the magneto-electric inputs can be treated as equivalent external axial forces and bending moments per unit length. Free vibrations and frequency response solutions are presented to validate the model by comparing the present results with those found in the literature or obtained by finite element analysis. Based on the successful validation of the model, new results for free vibrations of functionally graded magneto-electro-elastic beams are presented. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

The present paper aims to show, both from a stratigraphic and structural points of view, the main features of a wedge-top syntectonic basin which evolved recording polyphase and non-coaxial tectonics. The study area is the Scillato Basin (. SB), a roughly N-S-oriented structural depression located in the central-northern sector of the Sicililian Maghrebides. There, an approximately 1300. m-thick upper Serravallian to upper Tortonian succession of clastic units outcrops as a portion of the Neogene syntectonic covers of the Sicilian fold and thrust belt. Within the outcropping succession the upper Tortonian Terravecchia Fm represents the main topic of this paper. A multidisciplinary approach was carried out through an integration of sedimentology, facies, stratal pattern and structural analyses; this was applied to the formation enabling one to recognize in the Scillato Basin a fining to coarsening upward succession, deposited recording an early transgressive and a late regressive depositional stage. In our model these two main depositional stages developed and are directly relatable to a two-step structural evolution of the basin. During the first step, a NW-SE-oriented structural depression existed, enclosed between structural highs and accommodating the lower and middle portion of the upper Tortonian succession. Subsequently, during the second step, the NW-SE depression was non-coaxially deformed by superimposition of high-angle transpressive faults (many of which were SE-dipping), developed in response to the upward propagation of structures enucleated at deeper structural levels. This step was recorded in the basin by development of both depositional and structural interferences recognizable along the upper portion of the Scillato Basin succession. A comparison between field data and deep geophysical data interpreted at the preliminary stage, raises questions about the late Miocene geological evolution of this sector of the Sicilian chain, including: (i) the syn-tectonic deposition of the Terravecchia Fm. in the Scillato Basin clearly recorded the interference of two main and non-coaxial tectonic events; (ii) the younger of these two events has a clear tranpressional character and was active during the very late Tortonian; (iii) as also indicated by many authors in neighboring orogenic wedges, the main control on the location, geometry and depositional evolution of the Scillato wedge-top Basin was carried out by compressional and transpressional structures developed at a deeper structural level. Their deformation propagated upward both into the shallow structural level and sedimentary covers; therefore (iv) the late Miocene structural scenario here depicted is not consistent either with the back-arc-related extension or with the late orogenic gravitational collapse models previously invoked by other authors with regard to this sector of the Sicilian thrust belt. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Buffa G.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Material Forming | Year: 2014

The results of an experimental and numerical analysis on Friction Stir Welding of dissimilar lap joints made out of AISI304 and Ti-6Al-4 V thin sheets are presented. The mixed joints, welded with varying process parameters, have been characterized from a mechanical and metallurgical point of view. A numerical model able to take into account the behaviour of the two different materials has been used. The numerical results have been utilized to explain the joint properties and the occurring material flow. The effect of the heat input, tilt angle and sheets mutual position has been investigated. It is found that both hooking defects and tunnels may occur with incorrect choice of process parameters. Good nugget integrity is obtained when the titanium sheet is used as upper sheet and high heat input is conferred to the joint. Finally, welding speed influences the nugget morphology as low values contribute to minimize the formation of the hooking defect. © 2014 Springer-Verlag France

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo | Bagarello F.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Gargano F.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

We discuss the role of pseudofermions in the analysis of some two-dimensional models, recently introduced in connection with non-self-adjoint Hamiltonians. Among other aspects, we discuss the appearance of exceptional points in connection with the validity of the extended anticommutation rules which define the pseudofermionic structure. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Di Liegro I.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Molecular Medicine | Year: 2014

Post-transcriptional control of mRNA trafficking and metabolism plays a critical role in the actualization and fine tuning of the genetic program of cells, both in development and in differentiated tissues. Cis-acting signals, responsible for post-transcriptional regulation, reside in the RNA message itself, usually in untranslated regions, 5′ or 3′ to the coding sequence, and are recognized by trans-acting factors: RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and/or non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). ncRNAs bind short mRNA sequences usually present in the 3′-untranslated (3′-UTR) region of their target messages. RBPs recognize specific nucleotide sequences and/or secondary/tertiary structures. Most RBPs assemble on mRNA at the moment of transcription and shepherd it to its destination, somehow determining its final fate. Regulation of mRNA localization and metabolism has a particularly important role in the nervous system where local translation of pre-localized mRNAs has been implicated in developing axon and dendrite pathfinding, and in synapse formation. Moreover, activity-dependent mRNA trafficking and local translation may underlie long-lasting changes in synaptic efficacy, responsible for learning and memory. This review focuses on the role of RBPs in neuronal development and plasticity, as well as possible connections between ncRNAs and RBPs.

Cervello M.,National Research Council Italy | McCubrey J.A.,East Carolina University | Cusimano A.,National Research Council Italy | Lampiasi N.,National Research Council Italy | And 3 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2012

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common liver cancer, accounting for 90% of primary liver cancers. In the last decade it has become one of the most frequently occurring tumors worldwide and is also considered to be the most lethal of the cancer systems, accounting for approximately one third of all malignancies. Although the clinical diagnosis and management of early-stage HCC has improved significantly, HCC prognosis is still extremely poor. Furthermore, advanced HCC is a highly aggressive tumor with a poor or no response to common therapies. Therefore, new effective and well-tolerated therapy strategies are urgently needed. Targeted therapies have entered the field of anti-neoplastic treatment and are being used on their own or in combination with conventional chemotherapy drugs. Molecular-targeted therapy holds great promise in the treatment of HCC. A new therapeutic opportunity for advanced HCC is the use of sorafenib (Nexavar). On the basis of the recent large randomized phase III study, the Sorafenib HCC Assessment Randomized Protocol (SHARP), sorafenib has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of advanced HCC. Sorafenib showed to be able to significantly increase survival in patients with advanced HCC, establishing a new standard of care. Despite this promising breakthrough, patients with HCC still have a dismal prognosis, as it is currently the major cause of death in cirrhotic patients. Nevertheless, the successful results of the SHARP trial underscore the need for a comprehensive understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of this devastating disease. In this review we summarize the most important studies on the signaling pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of HCC, as well as the newest emerging drugs and their potential use in HCC management. © Cervello et al.

Sporadic thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) and dissections are one of themajor causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially in those older than 65 years. The presentation of TAA is varied and often silent. Thus, sporadic TAA detection is often fortuitous, with identification occurring during a routine physical examination or during an unrelatedmedical evaluation. Once suspected, confirmation by imaging clinical approaches is needed to allow the choose of the unique treatments for TAA, namely the surgery procedures, including elective surgery or endovascular repair before the onset of catastrophic and fatal complications, such as dissection or rupture. At present, there are no biomarkers available to identify TAAs before visible symptoms. However, recent progresses in understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the patho-physiology of sporadic TAA are suggesting different molecular pathways and their genetic variants as potential biomarkers, which might be applied into TAA clinical practice in the near future. Here, we report literature evidence on some disease pathways and their genetic variants on TAA susceptibility and compliances, and their translation as promising TAA preventive and prognostic biomarkers and targets for new personalized therapeutic treatments. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Tufarelli T.,Imperial College London | Kim M.S.,Imperial College London | Ciccarello F.,University of Palermo
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

We consider a quantum emitter ("atom") radiating in a one-dimensional photonic waveguide in the presence of a single mirror, resulting in a delay differential equation for the atomic amplitude. We carry out a systematic analysis of the non-Markovian (NM) character of the atomic dynamics in terms of refined, recently developed notions of quantum non-Markovianity such as indivisibility and information backflow. NM effects are quantified as a function of the round-trip time and phase shift associated with the atom-mirror optical path. We find, in particular, that unless an atom-photon bound state is formed a finite time delay is always required in order for NM effects to be exhibited. This identifies a finite threshold in the parameter space, which separates the Markovian and non-Markovian regimes. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Carrubba A.,University of Palermo
Industrial Crops and Products | Year: 2014

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) is an annual herbaceous Medicinal and Aromatic Plant (MAP) dealing with a great industrial interest because of its strongly-scented fruits ("seeds"). The role of N fertilization in coriander seed yield is matter of debate as far; information is missing, for instance, about the effects of organic N fertilization, a mandatory technique when the organic cropping management is chosen. Organic and chemical N fertilizers have been supplied on coriander from 2001-2002 to 2006-2007 in a Mediterranean semi-arid environment, and their effects on the formation of biomass and seeds yield have been evaluated. Different organic fertilizers, allowed by EU regulations concerning organic agriculture, were compared with a chemical fertilizer (urea=N 46%), and with an untreated test. All conventional fertilizers were applied in three arrangements: 80kgha-1 at sowing; 40kgha-1 at sowing+40kgha-1 top-dressed; 80kgha-1 at sowing+40kgha-1 top-dressed. Data were collected about straw yield, seeds yield and plant parameters (including number of umbels per plant, number of seeds per umbel, and mass of 100 seeds), and then they were submitted to ANOVA, Correlation analysis and Multiple Regression analysis. Seed yields showed a strong variability between years, and the rainfall amount measured from plant emergence to the start of flowering (ST1) stage showed a tight linkage to yields; in particular, a rainfall amount lower than 100. mm between crop emergence and ST1 stage may explain the low average seed yields in the three lower-yielding years. The environmental conditions exerted a strong effect on the efficiency of N use, and when rainfall was too low, the effectiveness of N supply was sharply reduced. Chemically-derived N supply improved seed yields and yield-forming traits more N from organic source. Some beneficial effect on yields was observed after the application of certain organic N fertilizers containing significant amounts of P, that would require further specific studies. No difference was found when the same N amount was applied in a single basal application or in two applications during the season. Regression analysis proved to be a useful tool to individuate the direct and indirect effects of the observed yield parameters on seed and straw yield. The MRA allowed the highlighting of the diversified response of coriander to the different fertilization management strategies. It also highlighted the importance of the harvest index and the total cycle duration, which was not revealed by the previous ANOVA results. © 2014.

Butera S.,Heriot - Watt University | Di Paola M.,University of Palermo
Annals of Physics | Year: 2014

We show a relation between fractional calculus and fractals, based only on physical and geometrical considerations. The link has been found in the physical origins of the power-laws, ruling the evolution of many natural phenomena, whose long memory and hereditary properties are mathematically modelled by differential operators of non integer order. Dealing with the relevant example of a viscous fluid seeping through a fractal shaped porous medium, we show that, once a physical phenomenon or process takes place on an underlying fractal geometry, then a power-law naturally comes up in ruling its evolution, whose order is related to the anomalous dimension of such geometry, as well as to the model used to describe the physics involved. By linearizing the non linear dependence of the response of the system at hand to a proper forcing action then, exploiting the Boltzmann superposition principle, a fractional differential equation is found, describing the dynamics of the system itself. The order of such equation is again related to the anomalous dimension of the underlying geometry. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Miceli A.,University of Palermo | Miceli C.,Italian Agricultural Research Council
Journal of Food Quality | Year: 2014

The effects of different levels of nitrogen fertilization (0-50-100-150-200kg/ha), minimal processing and cold storage (14 days at 4C) on yield and quality of fresh-cut Swiss chard (Beta vulgarisL. var. ciclaL.) were evaluated. Increasing the level of nitrogen fertilization over 100kg N/ha, plants had a higher fresh weight, reduced their dry matter content and resulted taller and leafier. Total and marketable yield increased linearly with increasing nitrogen level. Both nitrate and ascorbic acid content at harvest increased with increasing nitrogen supply. Nitrogen fertilization negatively affected the yield of minimal processing. No effect on appearance and quality loss during cold storage was detected. Reducing nitrogen fertilization could lead to a more environmentally friendly product with no significant loss in yield and quality both for raw plant and fresh-cut Swiss chard. Minimal processing can improve nutritional quality lowering nitrates and increasing ascorbic acid content in fresh-cut produce. Practical Applications: Minimally processed vegetables have gained a lot of interest among consumers as they are easy to use and ready to eat. Leafy vegetables are the most widespread among fresh-cut produce. In order to increase the yield and the quality of leafy crops, farmers often supply great amounts of nitrogen fertilizers. Overdoses of nitrogen may negatively affect environment and nutritional quality of raw and minimally processed vegetables. This study focused on the assessment of the dose of nitrogen that can be more environmentally friendly and can assure to the industry of minimal processing, the best quality of raw Swiss chard and the retaining of good quality during storage. The reduction of nitrogen fertilization may lead to a reduction in nitrate content of the plants and, if associated to minimal processing, determines an improvement of the nutritional quality of fresh-cut Swiss chard. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Santoro R.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Mechanical Sciences | Year: 2010

This paper deals with the extension of a novel numerical technique, labelled line element-less method (LEM), in order to provide approximate solutions of the De Saint Venant torsion problem for orthotropic beams having simply and multiply connected cross-section. A suitable transformation of coordinates allows to take full advantage of the theory of analytic complex functions as in the isotropic case. A complex potential function analytic in all the transformed domain whose real and imaginary parts are related to the shear stress components and to the orthotropic ratio is introduced and expanded in the double-ended Laurent series involving harmonic polynomials. An element-free weak-form procedure has been proposed imposing that the square of the net flux of the shear stress across the border is minimized with respect to the series coefficients. Numerical implementation of the LEM results in system of linear algebraic equations involving symmetric and positive-definite matrices. All the integrals are transferred into the boundary without requiring any discretization neither in the domain nor in the contour. The technique provides the complete shear stress field as shown by some numerical applications in order to assess the efficiency and the accuracy of the method to handle shear stress problems in presence of orthotropic material. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Polizzotto C.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Solids and Structures | Year: 2010

Within the framework of isotropic strain gradient plasticity, a rate-independent constitutive model exhibiting size dependent hardening is formulated and discussed with particular concern to its strengthening behavior. The latter is modelled as a (fictitious) isotropic hardening featured by a potential which is a positively degree-one homogeneous function of the effective plastic strain and its gradient. This potential leads to a strengthening law in which the strengthening stress, i.e. the increase of the plastically undeformed material initial yield stress, is related to the effective plastic strain through a second order PDE and related higher order boundary conditions. The plasticity flow laws, with the role there played by the strengthening stress, are addressed and shown to admit a maximum dissipation principle. For an idealized elastic perfectly plastic material with strengthening effects, the plastic collapse load problem of a micro/nano scale structure is addressed and its basic features under the light of classical plastic limit analysis are pointed out. It is found that the conceptual framework of classical limit analysis, including the notion of rigid-plastic behavior, remains valid. The lower bound and upper bound theorems of classical limit analysis are extended to strengthening materials. A static-type maximum principle and a kinematic-type minimum principle, consequences of the lower and upper bound theorems, respectively, are each independently shown to solve the collapse load problem. These principles coincide with their respective classical counterparts in the case of simple material. Comparisons with existing theories are provided. An application of this nonclassical plastic limit analysis to a simple shear model is also presented, in which the plastic collapse load is shown to increase with the decreasing sample size (Hall-Petch size effects). © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Calo M.,University of Strasbourg | Parisi L.,University of East Anglia | Luzio D.,University of Palermo
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2013

We present 3-D models of the P- and S-wave velocity distributions in the crust and uppermost mantle beneath Sicily, Calabria (Southern Italy), and surrounding submerged areas, obtained by tomographic inversion of traveltimes of regional body waves phases. Our method combines double-difference tomographic inversion with a post-processing procedure [Weighted Average Model method (WAM)]. This procedure was applied to a set of models consistent with the experimental data. We tested the ability of the WAM procedure to mitigate the uncertainty associated with the arbitrary nature of the many input parameters required for each inversion. The local reliability and resolution of the obtained models have been assessed through: synthetic tests, experimental tests carried out with independent data sets and unconventional tests based on the analysis of the internal consistency of the P- and S-velocity models. The tomographic images provide a detailed sketch of P- and S-wave velocity anomalies. These clearly show the shape of the Sicilian-Maghrebian belt beneath Sicily and Calabrian Arc at different depths. Low VP and Vs bodies are imaged beneath Stromboli and Marsili volcanoes in the southern Tyrrhenian, whereas high and low seismic velocities alternate beneath the Etna giving inferences on the possible depth of the mantle melting feeding the volcano. In the upper crust, the main sedimentary basins and tectonic features are also well imaged. Finally, tomographic cross sections show the trend of the Moho in the study area, where its depth ranges between 35 and 40 km beneath the Sicilian belt and between 15 and 22 km in the southern Tyrrhenian basin and Ionian Sea. © The Authors 2013 Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.

Lombardo F.,University of Palermo | Ciccarello F.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Palma G.M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

We consider a coupled-cavity array (CCA), where one cavity interacts with a two-level atom under the rotating-wave approximation. We investigate the excitation transport dynamics across the array, which arises in the atom's emission process into the CCA vacuum. Due to the known formation of atom-photon bound states, partial field localization and atomic population trapping in general take place. We study the functional dependence on the coupling strength of these two phenomena and show that the threshold values beyond which they become significant are different. As the coupling strength grows from zero, field localization is exhibited first. © 2014 American Physical Society.

The aim of this study was to evaluate cases of asbestos-related diseases in workers exposed to asbestos in the province of Palermo (Italy) from 2005 to 2009. Data were collected from medical records and from reports from the Prevention and Safety in the Workplace Unit of the provincial health authorities of and between Palermo. Multinomial logistic regression showed a significant association between tobacco smoke and lung cancer and between starting work at an early stage and presence of asbestosis and pleural plaques. Results confirm that over eighteen years after the entry into force of Law 257/1992, which established the cessation of all activities related to asbestos, asbestos-related diseases continue being observed in clinical practice and represent a serious public health problem.

A revision of the Capparis spinosa group has been carried out in southern Europe, northern Africa, western and central Asia, in order to provide a uniform taxonomic treatment of its representatives. The xerotropical origin of this group, showing disjunct distribution in several holoarctic and paleotropical regions, is underlined and the different species concepts historically adopted are discussed. In the present treatment a single species is recognized, C. spinosa, represented in the study area by two subspecies. C. spinosa subsp. spinosa shows derived characters, high polymorphism and a wide distribution range from the Mediterranean eastwards to China and Nepal. C. spinosa subsp. rupestris, less variable and showing phenotypic characters closer to the tropical stock of the group, is recorded in the Mediterranean Region and the Sahara. On the basis of herbarium and field investigations, the variability and distribution of the two subspecies are examined. Within each subspecies some varieties are recognized, for which morphological, chorological and autecological data are presented. Four new combinations (C. spinosa subsp. spinosa var. herbacea, C. spinosa subsp. spinosa var. atlantica, C. spinosa subsp. Rupestris var. ovata, C. spinosa subsp. rupestris var. myrtifolia) are proposed. © 2014 Magnolia Press.

Vegetation is a critical component of aquatic ecosystems and exerts an important role in river morphodynamics. This paper describes the results of laboratory study carried out to investigate the role of vegetation on flow field and erosion process developing in non-equilibrium situations. Particular attention is paid to scour evolving downstream of a rigid bed and to the effect of a vegetated carpet used as a protective measure against scouring. The reported experimental study shows that the introduction of the vegetated carpet results in a more favourable configuration than in its absence determining reduced values of flow velocity, turbulence intensity and bed shear stress, and modifying their patterns, downstream of the rigid bed. Consequently, the vegetated carpet protects the bed against the erosive action of flow and determines a beneficial effect with respect the stability of the structure. Experiments also show that a scour hole forms downstream of the vegetated carpet but the geometrical characteristics (length and depth) of such a scour hole are reduced by about 50 %compared to those obtained downstream of the rigid bed in absence of vegetation. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

Serenoa repens (saw palmetto) has been employed for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) for several years. Its mechanism of action is believed to be due to antiandrogenic, antiproliferative and antinflammatory properties. An association of Serenoa with the nettle "Urtica dioica" showing antiproliferative activity and the pine "Pinus pinaster" derivative, showing antinflammatory action, has been proposed in recent years. Such an action is hoped to act not only by reducing LUTS but also by preventing the development of prostate cancer. During the years 2007 and 2008, 320 patients suffering from LUTS were treated with an association of Serenoa repens 320 mg, Urtica dioica 120 mg and Pinus pinaster 5 mg, named IPBTRE. This treatment was administered to all patients for a minimal duration of 30 days to a maximum of a year, either alone or in association with antibiotics or alpha-blockers, if needed. Outcome analysis was based on evaluation of symptoms, prostate volume and maximum flow rate (Qmax). From a careful analysis of the data collected in our database, the following observations can be made: ages varied between 19 and 78 years. The patients were affected by BPH in 46% of cases, chronic prostatitis syndrome in 43%, chronic genital-pelvic pain in 7% and other conditions in 4%, the absolute numbers being 147, 138, 22 and 7 patients, respectively. No untoward side effect was reported in any case. Variations in symptom score could be fully evaluated only in 80 of 320 patients (25%), of whom 68 (85%) reported a significant benefit, with special reference to an improvement of pain, urgency, strangury and nocturia. Data on variations in prostate volume, as measured by digital rectal examination, were available in 84 (26.5%) patients. No significant change was observed. Qmax after treatment was measured in 83 (26%) patients. It did not show significant changes from the initial values. The association tested in our study appeared to be safe and well tolerated. No changes in flow rate and prostate volume were observed, but a marked reduction of LUTS was observed in 85% of evaluable cases, especially with regard to pain and irritative symptoms. Whether or not such an association may display a prevention of prostate cancer, may be investigated in additional studies.

Rizzo S.,University of Palermo
Radiation protection dosimetry | Year: 2013

Following the Fukushima accident, a series of samplings were carried out with a daily frequency to detect the arrival of radioactive contamination in air at Palermo (Italy) and to follow its evolution during the time. Air particulate collection was performed by suction of atmospheric air through cellulose filter paper by means of a high-volume air sampler (∼15 000 m(3) d(-1)). Spectrometric analysis of the filters highlights the presence of (131)I, (134)Cs, (137)Cs and, only for a few samples, traces of (132)Te-(132)I and (136)Cs. Maximum airborne concentrations were 883 μBq m(-3) for (131)I (only particulate), 81 μBq m(-3) for (137)Cs and 70 μBq m(-3) for (134)Cs. From a dose to population point of view, no significant values were obtained. The concentration values are from 1000 to 100 000 times lower than the ones measured after the Chernobyl accident, while, for only (137)Cs, are comparable with the ones highlighted after the Algeciras accident (Spain, 1998).

Negro F.,University of Geneva | Forton D.,St. Georges Hospital | Craxi A.,University of Palermo | Sulkowski M.S.,Johns Hopkins University | And 2 more authors.
Gastroenterology | Year: 2015

Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with several extrahepatic manifestations. Patients with HCV may develop mixed cryoglobulinemia and its sequelae, ranging from cutaneous and visceral vasculitis to glomerulonephritis and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. HCV-infected patients have increased rates of insulin resistance, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, which may lead to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Neurological manifestations of HCV infection include fatigue and cognitive impairment. The mechanisms causing the extrahepatic effects of HCV infection are likely multifactorial and may include endocrine effects, HCV replication in extrahepatic cells, or a heightened immune reaction with systemic effects. Successful eradication of HCV with interferon alfa and ribavirin was shown to improve some of these extrahepatic effects; sustained virological response is associated with resolution of complications of cryoglobulinemia, reduced levels of insulin resistance, reduced incidence of diabetes and stroke, and improved fatigue and cognitive functioning. The availability of new interferon-free, well-tolerated anti-HCV treatment regimens is broadening the spectrum of patients available for therapy, including those in whom interferon was contraindicated, and will likely result in greater improvements in the extrahepatic manifestations of HCV. If these regimens are shown to confer significant benefit in the metabolic, cardiovascular, or neuropsychiatric conditions associated with HCV infection, extrahepatic manifestations of HCV may become a major indication for treatment even in the absence of liver disease. © 2015 AGA Institute.

Grosso G.,University of Catania | Gruttadauria S.,University of Palermo | Biondi A.,University of Catania | Marventano S.,University of Catania | Mistretta A.,University of Catania
World Journal of Gastroenterology | Year: 2012

The worldwide incidence and prevalence of cystic echinococcosis have fallen dramatically over the past several decades. Nonetheless, infection with Echinococcus granulosus (E. granulosus) remains a major public health issue in several countries and regions, even in places where it was previously at low levels, as a result of a reduction of control programmes due to economic problems and lack of resources. Geographic distribution differs by country and region depending on the presence in that country of large numbers of nomadic or semi-nomadic sheep and goat flocks that represent the intermediate host of the parasite, and their close contact with the final host, the dog, which mostly provides the transmission of infection to humans. The greatest prevalence of cystic echinococcosis in human and animal hosts is found in countries of the temperate zones, including several parts of Eurasia (the Mediterranean regions, southern and central parts of Russia, central Asia, China), Australia, some parts of America (especially South America) and north and east Africa. Echinococcosis is currently considered an endemic zoonotic disease in the Mediterranean region. The most frequent strain associated with human cystic echinococcosis appears to be the common sheep strain (G1). This strain appears to be widely distributed in all continents. The purpose of this review is to examine the distribution of E. granulosus and the epidemiology of a re-emerging disease such as cystic echinococcosis. © 2012 Baishideng.

Capone A.,University of Palermo
Pragmatics and Cognition | Year: 2012

In this chapter I deal with indirect reports in terms of language games. I try to make connections between the theory of language games and the theory of indirect reports, in the light of the issue of clues and cues. Indirect reports are based on an interplay of voices. The voice of the reporter must allow hearers to 'reconstruct' the voice of the reported speaker. Ideally, it must be possible to separate the reporter's voice from that of the reported speaker. When we analyze the language game of indirect reporting, we ideally want to establish which parts belong to the primary voice (the reported speaker's voice) and which parts belong to the reporter's voice. In this paper I apply considerations on language games by Dascal et al. (1996) and I explore the dialectics between abstract pragmatics principles and considerations about situated uses that are sensitive to cues and clues. © John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Milici P.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Unconventional Computing | Year: 2012

In late 17th century there appeared the Tractional Motion instruments, mechanical devices which plot the curves solving differential equations by the management of the tangent. In early 20th century Vannevar Bush's Differential Analyzer got the same aim: in this paper we'll compare the Differential Analyzer mathematical model (the Shannon's General Purpose Analog Computer, or GPAC) with the Tractional Motion Machine potentials. Even if we will not arrive in defining the class of the functions generated by Tractional Motion Machines, we'll see how this class will strictly extend the GPAC-generable functions. © 2012 Old City Publishing, Inc.

Tortorici S.,University of Palermo
Minerva stomatologica | Year: 2012

The aim of this retrospective study was to describe our 15-year experience in the management of primary ameloblastoma of the jaw. We investigated 26 patients who had undergone surgical treatment for a single lesion, comprising six lesions of the maxillary bone and 20 tumors of the mandible: 73% had a radiolucent multilocular lesion; 23% a unicystic lesion; and 4% had an extraosseous form of the tumor. The smaller lesions (diameter <3 cm) were treated by conservative approaches; the larger lesions required radical surgical resection. Two groups were created according to whether the patients had received conservative or aggressive surgery. The recurrence rate was estimated for a minimum duration of follow-up of 10 years; 23 patients met this criterion. Tumor recurrence was observed in all the patients who had undergone conservative surgery but not in those who had received aggressive surgery. Comparison of the healing curves (log rank test) showed statistically significant differences between the two groups (P=0.4522). All recurrent lesions were ameloblastomas primarily treated with enucleation and/or curettage. On the basis of our study we suggest that when an ameloblastoma is small it can be removed with a marginal aggressive resection with a 1-cm margin beyond the radiological limit; in contrast, if an ameloblastoma is larger than 3 cm we suggest aggressive segmental resection of lesion with a margin 1.5-2-cm beyond the radiological limits.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo
Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical | Year: 2010

In this paper we continue our analysis of intertwining relations for both self-adjoint and not self-adjoint operators. In particular, in this last situation, we discuss the connection with pseudo-Hermitian quantum mechanics and the role of Riesz bases. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Reale F.,University of Palermo | Reale F.,National institute for astrophysics | Landi E.,University of Michigan | Orlando S.,National institute for astrophysics
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

In the present work, we study the C8 flare that occurred on 2000 September 26 at 19:49UT and observed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory/Solar Ultraviolet Measurement of Emitted Radiation spectrometer from the beginning of the impulsive phase to well beyond the disappearance in the X-rays. The emission first decayed progressively through equilibrium states until the plasma reached 2-3MK. Then, a series of cooler lines, i.e., Ca X, Ca VII, Ne VI, O IV, and Si III (formed in the temperature range log T = 4.3-6.3 under equilibrium conditions), are emitted at the same time and all evolve in a similar way. Here, we show that the simultaneous emission of lines with such a different formation temperature is due to thermal instability occurring in the flaring plasma as soon as it has cooled below 2MK. We can qualitatively reproduce the relative start time of the light curves of each line in the correct order with a simple (and standard) model of a single flaring loop. The agreement with the observed light curves is greatly improved, and a slower evolution of the line emission is predicted, if we assume that the model loop consists of an ensemble of subloops or strands heated at slightly different times. Our analysis can be useful for flare observations with the Solar Dynamics Observatory/Extreme ultraviolet Variability Experiment. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

Salerno S.,University of Palermo
Minerva stomatologica | Year: 2011

Aim of the present paper was to investigate the imaging and related clinical characteristics of sialolithiasis in Italian pediatric population trying to determine the difference between pediatric and adult. Twenty-nine pediatric patients (age range 1-17 years) with pain and postprandial swelling and/or purulent discharge in the salivary gland areas were referred to radiology department after pediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT) evaluation. They all were submitted to ultrasound examination of the main salivary glands. Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) only was performed in 2/6 patients, in 2/6 patients both sialography and MDCT were performed due to inconclusive MDCT features, 2/6 only sialography was performed. Sialoliths were classified on their location and size. In 6 out of 29 patients (4 males, 2 females, age range 1-17 years) salivary stones were detected. Sialoliths were detected in 5/6 patients in the submandibular gland and 1/6 in the parotid gland. All sialoliths, excepted for a case of multiple sialoliths, were located in the distal part of the main salivary ducts. Imaging characteristics of sialolith in pediatric group are similar than in adult population in few aspects. In fact sialoliths are smaller in size and located more frequently in the distal part of the main salivary duct, than in adult, making sialography cannulation more complex and requiring short thickness in MDCT.

Ushakov Y.V.,Novgorod State University | Dubkov A.A.,Novgorod State University | Spagnolo B.,University of Palermo
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2010

The phenomena of dissonance and consonance in a simple auditory sensory model composed of three neurons are considered. Two of them, here so-called sensory neurons, are driven by noise and subthreshold periodic signals with different ratio of frequencies, and its outputs plus noise are applied synaptically to a third neuron, so-called interneuron. We present a theoretical analysis with a probabilistic approach to investigate the interspike intervals statistics of the spike train generated by the interneuron. We find that tones with frequency ratios that are considered consonant by musicians produce at the third neuron inter-firing intervals statistics densities that are very distinctive from densities obtained using tones with ratios that are known to be dissonant. In other words, at the output of the interneuron, inharmonious signals give rise to blurry spike trains, while the harmonious signals produce more regular, less noisy, spike trains. Theoretical results are compared with numerical simulations. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Micciche S.,University of Palermo
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2010

The aim of the paper is to understand how the inclusion of more and more time scales into a stochastic stationary Markovian process affects its conditional probability. To this end, we consider two Gaussian processes: (i) a short-range correlated process with an infinite set of time scales bounded from above and (ii) a power-law correlated process with an infinite and unbounded set of time scales. For these processes we investigate the equal position conditional probability P (x,t, 0) and the mean first passage time Tx (Λ). The function P (x,t, 0) can be considered as a proxy of the persistence, i.e., the fact that when a process reaches a position x then it spends some time around that position value. The mean first passage time can be considered as a proxy of how fast is the process in reaching a position at distance Λ starting from position x. In the first investigation we show that the more time scales the process includes, the larger is the persistence. Specifically, we show that the power-law correlated process shows a slow power-law decay of P (x,t, 0) to the stationary probability density function. By contrast, the short-range correlated process shows a decay dominated by an exponential cutoff. Moreover, we also show that the existence of an infinite and unbounded set of time scales is a necessary but not sufficient condition for observing a slow power-law decay of P (x,t, 0). In fact, in the context of stationary Markovian processes such a form of persistence seems to be associated with the existence of an algebraic decay of the autocorrelation function. In the second investigation, we show that for large values of Λ the more time scales the process includes, the larger is the mean first passage time, i.e., the slower is the process. On the other hand, for small values of Λ, the more time scales the process includes, the smaller is the mean first passage time, i.e., when a process statistically spends more time in a given position the likelihood that it reached nearby positions by chance may also be enhanced. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Capone A.,University of Palermo
Journal of Pragmatics | Year: 2010

In this paper, I shall analyze US Presidential Barack Obama's South Carolina victory speech from the perspective of pragmemes. In particular, I shall explore the idea that this speech is constituted by many voices (in other words, it displays polyphony, to use an idea due to Bakhtin, 1981, 1986) and that the audience is part of this speech event, adding and contributing to its text in a collaborative way (in particular, in constructing meaning). As many are aware (including the journalists who report day by day on Barack Obama's achievements), Obama uses the technique of 'personification'. 11Personification is an ontological metaphor in which a thing or abstraction is represented as a person. (The Economist, December 13th, 2007). When he voices an idea, he does not just expose it as if it came from himself, but gets another person (fictitious or, plausibly, real) to voice it. Since in an electoral speech, he cannot reasonably get people on stage to voice his ideas, he personifies ideas by narrating what people told him. His stories are his way of personifying his ideas. The discourse strategy he uses serves to reverse the direction of influence from the people in control to the people controlled (see Van Dijk, 2003).In this paper, I also argue that Barack Obama's speech contains echoes of Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream speech' and that its structure is best understood in the light of Afro-American sermons. I explain analogies and disanalogies. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Polizzotto C.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Solids and Structures | Year: 2016

The principle of minimum total potential energy and the primary principle of virtual power for stress gradient elasticity are presented as kinematic type constructs dual of analogous static type principles from the literature (Polizzotto, 2014; Polizzotto, 2015a). The extra gradient-induced boundary conditions are formulated as "boundary congruence conditions" on the microstructure's deformation relative to the continuum, which ultimately require that the normal derivative of the stresses must vanish at the boundary surface. Two forms of the governing PDEs for the relevant boundary-value problem are presented and their computational aspects are discussed. The Timoshenko beam and the Kirchhoff-Love plate theories are extended to stress gradient elasticity under the assumption that stress gradient effects do not propagate transversally. It is shown that for beam models no extra gradient-induced boundary conditions are required, whereas for plate models such conditions must be enforced at the contour surface of the plate, where the normal derivative of the stress resultants are required to vanish. Appendix A is devoted to some basic aspects of the mechanics of the microstructure; Appendix B to a comparison between the present theory and an analogous theory from the literature (Forest and Sab, 2012). © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

BACKGROUND: The acute inflammatory response following mesh implantation has been often evaluated in vitro and in animal models. The aim of this study was to evaluate the acute inflammatory response near the prosthesis in human by analysing some inflammatory indicators.METHODS: We used a cohort of twelve male patients affected by midline incisional hernia, who were admitted for surgical mesh repair. A suction drain was placed between the mesh and rectal muscles whereas, the other one was placed between the subcutaneous tissue and the oblique external sheath. The acute inflammatory response was analyzed by measuring the production of interleukin [IL]-1, IL-10, IL-1ra, C-Reactive Protein (CRP), total proteins, albumin and pH in the drain fluids.RESULTS: The dynamics of CRP and ILs production resulted similar in both drainages. Comparing drain over mesh and subcutaneous drain at all times, IL-1 and CRP values always resulted significantly higher in the first one, whereas IL-1ra and IL-10 values were significantly higher in the last one. Total protein and albumin were similar in both drains at all time; only in the drain over mesh fluid, pH values resulted significantly reduced in the fourth post-operative day.CONCLUSIONS: Our data showed that an acute inflammatory reaction is present in both sites examined. However, it was significantly higher in the space after mesh implantation.

Benedetti I.,University of Palermo | Aliabadi M.H.,Imperial College London
Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering | Year: 2015

In this work, a two-scale approach to degradation and failure in polycrystalline materials is proposed. The formulation involves the engineering component level (macro-scale) and the material grain level (micro-scale). The macro-continuum is modeled using a three-dimensional boundary element formulation in which the presence of damage is formulated through an initial stress approach to account for the local softening in the neighborhood of points experiencing degradation at the micro-scale. The microscopic degradation is explicitly modeled by associating Representative Volume Elements (RVEs) to relevant points of the macro continuum, for representing the polycrystalline microstructure in the neighborhood of the selected points. A three-dimensional grain-boundary formulation is used to simulate intergranular degradation and failure in the microstructure, whose morphology is generated using the Voronoi tessellations. Intergranular degradation and failure are modeled through cohesive and frictional contact laws. To couple the two scales, macro-strains are transferred to the RVEs as periodic boundary conditions, while overall macro-stresses are obtained as volume averages of the micro-stress field. The comparison between effective macro-stresses for the damaged and undamaged RVE allows to define a macroscopic measure of material degradation. To avoid pathological damage localization at the macro-scale, integral non-local counterparts of the strains are employed. A multiscale processing algorithm is described. Two multiscale simulations are performed to demonstrate the capability of the method. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Emiliano P.,University of Palermo
Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, Transactions of the ASME | Year: 2014

In order to reduce fuel cost and CO2 emissions, modern spark ignition (SI) engines need to lower as much as possible fuel consumption. A crucial factor for efficiency improvement is represented by the combustion phase, which in an SI engine is controlled acting on the spark advance. This fundamental engine parameter is currently controlled in an open-loop by means of maps stored in the electronic control unit (ECU) memory: such kind of control, however, does not allow running the engine always at its best performance, since optimal combustion phase depends on many variables, like ambient conditions, fuel quality, engine aging, and wear, etc. A better choice would be represented by a closed-loop spark timing control, which may be pursued by means of combustion phase indicators, i.e., parameters mostly derived from in-cylinder pressure analysis that assume fixed reference values when the combustion phase is optimal. As documented in literature (Pestana, 1989, "Engine Control Methods Using Combustion Pressure Feedback," SAE Paper No. 890758; BERU Pressure Sensor Glow Plug (PSG) for Diesel Engines, http://beru.federalmogul. com; Sensata CPOS SERIES-Cylinder Pressure Only Sensors, http://www.sensata.com/ download/cpos.pdf; Malaczynski et al., 2013, "Ion-Sense-Based Real-Time Combustion Sensing for Closed-Loop Engine Control," SAE Int. J. Eng., 6(1), pp. 267-277; Yoshihisa et al., 1988, "MBT Control Through Individual Cylinder Pressure Detection," SAE Paper 881779; Powell, 1993, "Engine Control Using Cylinder Pressure: Past, Present, and Future," J. Dyn. Syst., Meas. Control, 115, pp. 343-350; Muller et al., 2000, "Combustion Pressure Based Engine Management System," SAE Paper 2000-01-0928; Yoon et al., 2000, "Closed-Loop Control of Spark Advance and Air-Fuel Ratio in SI Engines Using Cylinder Pressure," SAE Paper 2000-01-0933; Eriksson, 1999, "Spark Advance Modeling and Control," Dissertation N° 580, Linkoping Studies in Science and Technology, Linköping, Sweden; Samir et al., 2011, "Neural Networks and Fuzzy Logic-Based Spark Advance Control of SI Engines," Expert Syst. Appl., 38, pp. 6916-6925; Cook et al., 1947, "Spark-Timing Control Based on Correlation of Maximum-Economy Spark Timing, Flame-Front Travel, and Cylinder Pressure Rise," NACA Technical Note 1217; Bargende, 1995, "Most Optimal Location of 50% Mass Fraction Burned and Automatic Knock Detection," MTZ, 10(56), pp. 632-638.), the use of combustion phase indicators allows the determination of the best spark advance, apart from any variable or boundary condition. The implementation of a feedback spark timing control, based on the use of these combustion phase indicators, would ensure the minimum fuel consumption in every possible condition. Despite the presence of many literature references on the use combustion phase indicators, there is no evidence of any experimental comparison on the performance obtainable, in terms of both control accuracy and transient response, by the use of such indicators in a spark timing feedback control. The author, hence, carried out a proper experimental campaign comparing the performances of a proportional-integral spark timing control based on the use of five different in-cylinder pressure derived indicators. The experiments were carried out on a bench test, equipped with a series production four cylinder spark ignition engine and an eddy current dynamometer, using two data acquisition (DAQ) systems for data acquisition and spark timing control. Pressure sampling was performed by means of a flush mounted piezoelectric pressure transducer with the resolution of one crank angle degree. The feedback control was compared to the conventional map based control in terms of response time, control stability, and control accuracy in three different kinds of tests: steady-state, step response, and transient operation. All the combustion phase indicators proved to be suitable for proportional-integral feedback spark advance control, allowing fast and reliable control even in transient operations.

Campione G.,University of Palermo
Structural Engineering and Mechanics | Year: 2011

In this paper an analytical model is presented that addresses the compressive response of short-fiber reinforced concrete members (FRC) with hooked steel fibers. This model is applicable to a wide range of concrete strengths and accounts for the interaction between the cover spalling and the concrete core confinement induced by transverse steel stirrups and also for buckling of longitudinal reinforcing bars. The load-shortening curves generated here analytically fit existing experimental data well.

Sediment transport and bed deformation in alluvial rivers are space and time dependent. The knowledge of the space and time scales can be helpful for the definition of predictive procedures of an alluvial reach response to changing boundary conditions. In this work, attention is paid to scouring process occurring downstream of the rigid basement of a hydraulic structure. The analysis is focused on transient bed profiles which are determined, under steady flow conditions, by a decrease of the upstream sediment transport rate. In particular, the paper is aimed at improving understanding of the space and time scales required by the alluvial system to reach the equilibrium conditions. For this purpose, movable-bed runs are carried out in a straight laboratory channel, for two values of the water discharge. During each run, the longitudinal bed profiles are measured at different times. Based on experimental data, spatial scale factors of the bed scouring and of the bed load transport to reach the equilibrium conditions are defined. Particularly, it is found that the scour length varies especially during the first evolution phase and then it oscillates around of a mean value that is about 40% of the channel reach interested by the phenomenon under consideration; an expression is found for the adaptation coefficient which allows the estimation of the spatial delay of the bed load transport rate. Using both the collected data and literature data an expression defining the time scale of scouring is deducted. According to this expression the non-dimensional time scale is related to Shields parameter through an exponential law. Then, by the help of a 1-D numerical model previously developed by the writer, the implications for choosing the spatial and temporal resolutions, on which numerical results depend significantly, are shortly discussed. The results show that the time and space scales, which represent physical constraints of the spatial and temporal resolutions, need to be properly defined in order to simulate the scouring process evolution. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo | Bagarello F.,University of Turin
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2013

Using as a prototype example the harmonic oscillator we show how losing self-adjointness of the Hamiltonian H changes drastically the related functional structure. In particular, we show that even a small deviation from strict self-adjointness of H produces two deep consequences, not well understood in the literature: First of all, the original orthonormal basis of H splits into two families of biorthogonal vectors. These two families are complete but, contrarily to what often claimed for similar systems, none of them is a basis for the Hilbert space H. Second, the so-called metric operator is unbounded, as well as its inverse. In the second part of the paper, after an extension of some previous results on the so-called D pseudobosons, we discuss some aspects of our extended harmonic oscillator from this different point of view. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo | Bagarello F.,University of Turin
Annals of Physics | Year: 2015

In a recent paper we have introduced several possible inequivalent descriptions of the dynamics and of the transition probabilities of a quantum system when its Hamiltonian is not self-adjoint. Our analysis was carried out in finite dimensional Hilbert spaces. This is useful, but quite restrictive since many physically relevant quantum systems live in infinite dimensional Hilbert spaces. In this paper we consider this situation, and we discuss some applications to well known models, introduced in the literature in recent years: the extended harmonic oscillator, the Swanson model and a generalized version of the Landau levels Hamiltonian. Not surprisingly we will find new interesting features not previously found in finite dimensional Hilbert spaces, useful for a deeper comprehension of this kind of physical systems. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Tomarchio E.,University of Palermo
Radiation Physics and Chemistry | Year: 2013

A full-energy-peak efficiency (FEPE) calibration procedure for gamma-ray spectrometric analysis of air particulate samples collected on large filters is described herein. The experimental results are obtained for an unconventional measurement geometry, termed a "packet-sample". The sample is obtained from a large cellulose filter (45cm×45cm) used to collect air particulate samples that is resized to dimensions suitable for spectrometric measurements (6cm×6cm×0.7cm). To determine the FEPEs, many standards were created, i.e., some filters containing a small amount of ThO2 and others containing a known amount of KCl. Efficiency curves obtained through best fits to experimental data for three high-purity germanium (HPGe) detectors, one of them for X-ray measurement, cover the energy range from 40keV to 2600keV. To validate the efficiency calibration procedure two experimental tests with the use of calibrated sources were conducted and, as application example, airborne concentrations of 131I (particulate matter), 134Cs and 137Cs at Palermo (Italy) in the days following the Fukushima accident in Japan were evaluated. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Gambino O.,University of Palermo
Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference | Year: 2011

In this paper a new automatic skull stripping method for T1-weighted MR image of human brain is presented. Skull stripping is a process that allows to separate the brain from the rest of tissues. The proposed method is based on a 2D brain extraction making use of fuzzy c-means segmentation and morphological operators applied on transversal slices. The approach is extended to the 3D case, taking into account the result obtained from the preceding slice to solve the organ splitting problem. The proposed approach is compared with BET (Brain Extraction Tool) implemented in MRIcro software.

Cox A.J.,Illumina | Bauer M.J.,Illumina | Jakobi T.,Bielefeld University | Rosone G.,University of Palermo
Bioinformatics | Year: 2012

Motivation: The Burrows-Wheeler transform (BWT) is the foundation of many algorithms for compression and indexing of text data, but the cost of computing the BWT of very large string collections has prevented these techniques from being widely applied to the large sets of sequences often encountered as the outcome of DNA sequencing experiments. In previous work, we presented a novel algorithm that allows the BWT of human genome scale data to be computed on very moderate hardware, thus enabling us to investigate the BWT as a tool for the compression of such datasets.Results: We first used simulated reads to explore the relationship between the level of compression and the error rate, the length of the reads and the level of sampling of the underlying genome and compare choices of second-stage compression algorithm. We demonstrate that compression may be greatly improved by a particular reordering of the sequences in the collection and give a novel 'implicit sorting' strategy that enables these benefits to be realized without the overhead of sorting the reads. With these techniques, a 45× coverage of real human genome sequence data compresses losslessly to under 0.5 bits per base, allowing the 135.3 Gb of sequence to fit into only 8.2 GB of space (trimming a small proportion of low-quality bases from the reads improves the compression still further).This is >4 times smaller than the size achieved by a standard BWT-based compressor (bzip2) on the untrimmed reads, but an important further advantage of our approach is that it facilitates the building of compressed full text indexes such as the FM-index on large-scale DNA sequence collections. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Ferro V.,University of Palermo
Biosystems Engineering | Year: 2010

The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) was originally deduced by a statistical analysis of a large data set of soil loss measurements. The multiplicative structure of the model has been criticised due to the considerable interdependence between the variables. Using the soil erosion representative variables and the reference condition adopted in the USLE, the aim of this paper was to apply dimensional analysis and self-similarity theory to deduce the functional relationship among the selected variables. The analysis yielded a multiplicative equation, similar to the USLE. Therefore, this study suggested that the USLE has a logical structure with respect to the variables used to simulate the physical soil erosion process and the adopted reference condition. © 2010 IAgrE.

Milazzo A.,University of Palermo
Composite Structures | Year: 2012

An equivalent single-layer model for the dynamic analysis of magnetoelectroelastic laminated plates is presented. The electric and magnetic fields are assumed to be quasi-static and the first-order shear deformation theory is used. The formulation of the model provides for a preliminary fulfillment of the electro-magnetic governing equations, which allows to determine the electric and magnetic potential as functions of the mechanical variables. Then, by using this result, the equations of motion are written leading to the problem governing equations. They involve the same terms of the elastic dynamic problem weighted by effective stiffness coefficients, which take the magneto-electro-mechanical couplings into account. Additional terms, exclusively arising in force of the piezoelectric and piezomagnetic behavior, appear. The electromagnetic inputs are treated as equivalent external distributed axial forces and bending moments. Free and forced vibrations solutions for simply-supported plates are presented to validate the model by comparing the present results with benchmark solutions found in the literature. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Monitoring of lesser kestrels Falco naumanni is necessary to promote conservation of this vulnerable species. To this end, 35 colonies of this species located in the NNW and SE of Sicily were monitored from 2003 to 2009. Counts of the active colonies and resident pairs were modelled by loglinear Poisson regressions to assess population trends over the study period. Afterwards, a GLM with an analysis of covariance design and a backward removal stepwise regression was performed to relate the observed trend to local- or global-scale climatic variation and to local land-use changes. Colony counts provided a better fit to the loglinear models than pair counts. Loglinear models separated the increasing trend of the SE population breeding in buildings and living in a flat semi-arid area from the non-increasing trend of the NNW population, which breeds on cliffs at higher altitudes and lives in a warm temperate area. The effect of the covariate 'population' suggests a considerable role for the geographic range in modelling the abundance of colonies, which appears to also be relevant when it interacts with climatic and land-use changes. Land-use variables have the greatest weight in predicting the abundance of lesser kestrel colonies. The transformation of arable land negatively correlates with the abundance of colonies in both areas, and the intensification of woody crop cultivation (vines, hops and orchards) is likely to be the major cause of the observed population trend in NNW Sicily. Warm, dry climatic conditions in March and April, during the onset of reproduction, negatively affect lesser kestrels and the largescale climate significantly interacts with land uses. Conservation efforts aimed at the management of suitable habitat conditions of the SE population and the recovery of the NNW population must incorporate the effects of global warming in addition to land-use practices to allow for more effective actions to be taken.

Bartolucci F.,University of Camerino | Domina G.,University of Palermo
Annales Botanici Fennici | Year: 2014

Thymus longicaulis C. Presl, described from Sicily by Carl Bořivoj Presl, is a critical Mediterranean species, often confused with other taxa belonging to Thymus sect. Serpyllum. In order to preserve the current application of this name, a lectotype is designated. We provide a detailed morphological description and information about its habitat, phenology, distribution and taxonomy. © 2014 Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board.

Campione G.,University of Palermo
Construction and Building Materials | Year: 2012

In this paper the behaviour of R.C. members externally strengthened with steel angles and battens subjected to axial force and bending moment is analysed. A fibre model was utilised to predict the moment-curvature diagrams of the strengthened members on the basis of stress-strain curves of the constituent materials (confined concrete, steel bars and angles) recently derived by the author. The stress-strain curves utilised for compressed concrete were able to take into account the confinement effects induced by longitudinal (bars and steel angles) and transverse (stirrups and battens) steel reinforcements. Constitutive laws in compression for confined concrete and steel bars and angles were utilised for a preliminary calibration of the compressive response of axially loaded columns strengthened with steel cages. Therefore axial force and bending moment diagrams and moment curvature diagrams were derived and verified against experimental data available in the literature. Finally, a parametric analysis showing the influence of the main parameters governing the problems (angle and strip geometry and mechanical properties of constituent material) was carried out, mainly referring to moment axial force domains, moment curvature diagrams. The analysis showed the effectiveness of this reinforcing technique in improving both the strength and the ductility of R.C. columns. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Massa B.,University of Palermo
Journal of the Entomological Research Society | Year: 2010

The author reports some interesting Orthoptera from Palearctic region, namely: Pezodrymadusa subinermis Karabag, 1961, Montana stricta Zeller, 1849 from Sardinia, Paranocarodes sulcatus (I. Bolivar, 1912) from Armenia, Scintharista notabilis notabilis (Walker, 1870) from Azores, Brachycrotaphus tryxalicerus (Fischer, 1853) from Egypt, and Euchorthippus declivus (Brisout, 1848) from Sardinia (Italy). Additionally, he establishes the synonymies Uvarovistia rammei Katbeh Bader et Massa, 2001 = Eupholidoptera peneri Kaltenbach, 1969; Pterolepis pedata A. Costa, 1882 = Rhacocleis berberica dubronyi Baccetti, Massa et Canestrelli, 1995 from Lampedusa Is. (Sicily). With new material he supports the conclusion of Nadig (1981) that Stenobothrus nadigi La Greca, 1986 is a synonym of S. ursulae Nadig, 1986 from Piedmont and Aosta Valley (Italy). He also describes the unknown male of Ocnerosthenus verrucosus (Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1882) and the unknown female of Orchamus kaltenbachi Massa, 2009. Finally, he records a female of Anadrymadusa ornatipennis (Ramme, 1926) from Patmos Is. (Greece), and a female of Eupholidoptera uvarovi (Karabaǧ, 1952) from Kassos Is. (Greece).

Mercadante S.,Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit | Mercadante S.,University of Palermo
Current Medical Research and Opinion | Year: 2011

Pain is still one of the most prevalent and distressing symptom in patients with chronic pain. Opioids are the most potent existing analgesics available in clinical practice. However, they are not always effective, particularly in the non-cancer population. Alternately adverse effects may limit their analgesic activity. Several different drug-development strategies have attempted to reduce side effects by exploiting anatomic barriers to drug distribution and to provide different analgesic mechanisms, as in the case of the oxycodonenaloxone combination or tapentadol. New delivery systems have been developed for a more effective management of breakthrough pain. Pharmacogenetics could play a critical role in personalizing pain management in the future. © 2011 Informa UK Ltd.

Milazzo M.,University of Palermo
Environmental Biology of Fishes | Year: 2011

Fish may learn to associate food with human presence through recreational hand-feeding, a popular tourist activity. The conditional learning-e.g. when an organism learns by continuous exposure to one stimulus-of different coastal fish species exposed to novel feeding situations was evaluated. The latencies of learning response to the initiation of supplementary feeding were rapid and species-specific. However differences in the learning response between different fishes decreased over time, demonstrating that associating with others might incur costs especially for small-sized species, likely due to increased competition for food. Nevertheless some other fish species did not acquire any specific human oriented behavior, being naturally timid or avoiding humans. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Amodio E.,University of Palermo | Dino C.,Local Health Unit of Parma
Journal of Infection and Public Health | Year: 2014

Hospital cleanliness tends to be considered by patients and the public as an important indicator of the general quality of healthcare. Tests for detecting the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as a proxy of microbial contamination are increasing in popularity, and several studies have been conducted on this topic in the last few decades. The aim of the present study was to review the published literature on this topic and summarize and discuss the available results. The review focused on relevant English-language articles that were identified through searches of two databases [PubMed and Scopus (1990-2012)] by using the keywords "ATP", "bioluminescence", "hospital", and "surfaces". Twelve articles were included and analyzed. ATP measurements showed a wide variation, with values ranging from 0 to >500,000 relative light units (RLU)/s before cleaning and from 3 to 500,000. RLU/s after cleaning. ATP benchmarks used by authors ranged from 100 to 500. RLU/s. The percentage of surfaces exceeding the chosen cut-off limit showed a failure rate varying from 21.2% to 93.1% before cleaning and from 5.3% to 96.5% after cleaning. Although the use of ATP bioluminescence can be considered a quick and objective method for assessing hospital cleanliness, it appears to be still poorly standardized at both the national and international level. © 2013 King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences.

Trapanese M.,University of Palermo
Journal of Applied Physics | Year: 2011

A dq axis theory of a thermomagnetic Curie motor is presented. This theory allows one to estimate the performances of a Curie motor from its geometrical, magnetic, and thermal properties. The proposed approach shows that the thermomagnetic Curie motor is equivalent from a magnetic point of view to a dc electric machine. The physical meaning of the parameters used in the dq theory of Curie motor is explicated. The theory is validated by using experimental data. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.

Trapanese M.,University of Palermo
Journal of Applied Physics | Year: 2011

In this paper a procedure for the identification of the parameters of the Jiles-Atherton (JA) model is presented. The parameters of the JA model of a material are found by using a neural network trained by a collection of hysteresis curves, whose parameters are known. After a presentation of the Jiles-Atherton model, the neural network and the training procedure are described and the method is validated by using some numerical, as well as experimental, data. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.

Sara G.,University of Palermo | de Pirro M.,Accademia Mare Ambiente
Italian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2011

Changes in heart beat rates (HBR) of Brachidontes pharaonis (an invasive Lessepsian species) and Mytilaster minimus (a native Mediterranean species) in response to changes in salinity values from brackish (20) to extreme hyper-saline (75) were investigated both in situ and in the laboratory. The two species displayed different responses to varying salinity, with clear differences in HBR observed between groups investigated at different salinities and between groups originating from different environments. The native species, adapted to narrow salinity changes as those observed in the superficial waters of the Mediterranean Sea, showed signs of stress at salinities slightly above 37 (in the range 37-45). On the other hand, the invasive species displayed clear signs of stress only at salinities over 45 and exhibited heart activity even under hyper-saline conditions (i.e. salinity = 75). These results indicate that the Lessepsian species has the potential to invade most of the transitional environments across the entire Mediterranean basin. We therefore stress the need of including Brachidontes pharaonis in all coastal monitoring programmes assessing the actual and potential spreading of alien species in the Mediterranean region. © 2011 Unione Zoologica Italiana.

Pitarresi G.,University of Palermo
Experimental Mechanics | Year: 2015

This paper describes the potential of off-line thermographic signal processing by means of Lock-In Correlation algorithms, in order to implement structural health monitoring and stress analysis techniques. Thermal datasets acquired by infrared thermocameras are locked-in and correlated numerically with opportune reference signals, and amplitude and phase values of various harmonics retrieved by means of a Fast Fourier Transform and time averaging based filtering. This information is then processed for NDT defect probing and for evaluating the Thermoelastic Effect induced temperature changes. Two case studies in particular are discussed, implementing the proposed signal lock-in processing: a Thermoelastic Stress Analysis of a Brazilian disc under cyclic compression, and NDT of a delaminated polymer matrix composite panel. The NDT case study evidences the ability of the lock-in algorithm to analyse the response of the component to multi-frequency modulated heat waves, while both case studies demonstrate the potentials of the off-line signal treatment to enable low cost thermal setups. © 2013, Society for Experimental Mechanics.

Liotta L.F.,CNR Institute of Nanostructured Materials | Pantaleo G.,CNR Institute of Nanostructured Materials | Puleo F.,University of Palermo | Venezia A.M.,CNR Institute of Nanostructured Materials
Catalysis Today | Year: 2012

In this work gold catalysts supported over SBA-15 with different CeO 2 loadings (5-30 wt%) were prepared, characterized by N 2 physisorption analyses, SAXS, XRD, STEM and XPS techniques and their catalytic performances were evaluated in the CO oxidation, chosen as reaction test. Over a selected catalyst, Au/CeO 2(20 wt%)-SBA-15, the effect of CO 2 and of the mixture (CO 2 + H 2O) on the CO conversion to CO 2 was also evaluated. Characterizations by SAXS, XRD, STEM and XPS were carried out on selected spent catalysts after CO oxidation. The results were discussed in terms of relationship between morphological, structural, electronic and catalytic properties as a function of the ceria loading. The CO oxidation activity was strongly affected by gold particle size and gold/ceria interface as well. For gold catalysts supported on ceria-doped SBA-15, the oxygen vacancies in ceria likely act as nucleation sites for gold anchoring and stabilization against sintering. The optimum of the catalytic performances was found for 20 wt% ceria loading, likely due to the optimum synergistic interaction between highly dispersed defective ceria oxide and nanosized gold. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Basilone L.,University of Palermo
Italian Journal of Geosciences | Year: 2011

The geology of the Rocca Busambra-Corleone region, in centralwestern Sicily, is relevant to the understanding of the central sector of the Maghrebian-Sicilian fold-and-thrust belt. In the investigated area Mesozoic shallow- and deep-water carbonate deposits pertaining respectively to the Trapanese and the Sicanian successions, and a thick Oligo-Miocene numidian flysch body, crop out. Minor outcrops of Cretaceous-Palaeogene Sicilide complex and syn-orogenic deposits of the Late Serravallian-Early Messinian Castellana Sicula and Terravecchia formations are also present. A structural analysis reveals complex tectonic relationships between the Trapanese carbonate platform tectonic unit (the Rocca Busambra carbonate ridge) and the overthrusting Sicanian deepwater carbonate (Corleone-Barracù) and numidian flysch tectonic units, outcropping around the carbonate ridge. In this tectonic frame Rocca Busambra is a 15 km long, E-Wtrending large antiform, slightly rotated to the NW-SE on its eastern limb (Pizzo Marabito). The unit forms a southerly verging ramp structure; it is bound, to the south, by E-W and WNW-ESE striking major reverse faults and, to the north, by the E-W striking Busambra fault, that is a back-verging reverse fault characterized by right-handed strike-slip component of movement. The Busambra carbonate platform tectonic unit, that appears to have been thrust up to the surface, is reimbricated above the Sicanian deep-water carbonate and numidian flysch tectonic units; these, in turn, are redeformed. The latter tectonic event overprinted the original tectonic relationships and took place during the Late Pliocene, as evidenced in adjacent regions.

Fioroni T.,University of Palermo
European Journal of Health Economics | Year: 2010

This paper investigates the relationship between saving and health spending in a two-period overlapping generations economy. Individuals work in the first period of life and live in retirement in old age. Health spending is an activity that increases quality of life and longevity. Empirical evidence shows that both health spending and saving behave as luxury goods but their behaviour differs markedly according to the level of per capita GDP. The share of saving on GDP has a concave shape with respect to per capita GDP, whereas the share of health spending on GDP increases more than proportionally with respect to per capita GDP. The ratio of saving to spending is nonlinear with respect to income, i.e. first increasing and then decreasing. This ratio, in the proposed model, is equal to the ratio between the elasticity of the utility function with respect to saving and the elasticity of the utility function with respect to health. © Springer-Verlag 2009.

Berneis K.,University of Zurich | Rizzo M.,University of Palermo | Berthold H.K.,The Interdisciplinary Center | Spinas G.A.,University of Zurich | And 2 more authors.
European Heart Journal | Year: 2010

Aims The predominance of small dense low-density lipoproteins (sdLDLs) has been associated with increased cardiovascular risk. The effect of ezetimibe on LDL subfraction distribution has not been fully elucidated. This study assessed by gradient gel electrophoresis the effects of ezetimibe alone, simvastatin alone, and their combination on sdLDL subfraction distribution. Methods and results A single-centre, randomized, parallel three-group open-label study was performed in 72 healthy men with a baseline LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) concentration of 111 ± 30 mg/dL (2.9 ± 0.8 mmol/L). They were treated with ezetimibe (10 mg/day, n = 24), simvastatin (40 mg/day, n = 24), or their combination (n = 24) for 14 days. Blood was drawn before and after the treatment period. Generalized estimating equations were used to assess the influence of drug therapy on LDL subfraction distribution, controlling for within-subject patterns (clustering). We adjusted for age, body mass index, and baseline concentrations of LDL-C and triglycerides. Ezetimibe alone changed LDL subfraction distribution towards a more atherogenic profile by significantly increasing sdLDL subfractions (LDL-IVA +14.2, P = 0.0216 and LDL-IVB +16.7, P = 0.039; fully adjusted Wald χ2 test). In contrast, simvastatin alone significantly decreased the LDL-IVB subfraction (-16.7, P = 0.002). This effect was offset when simvastatin was combined with ezetimibe (LDL-IVB +14.3, P = 0.44). All three treatments decreased the large, more buoyant LDL-I subfraction, the effects of ezetimibe being the most pronounced (ezetimibe-13.9, P < 0.0001; combination therapy-7.3, P = 0.0743; simvastatin-4.6, P < 0.0001). Conclusion In healthy men, treatment with ezetimibe alone is associated with the development of a pro-atherogenic LDL subfraction profile. Potentially atheroprotective effects of simvastatin are offset by ezetimibe.This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier no. NCT00317993. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2010.

Yurdakal S.,Afyon Kocatepe University | Augugliaro V.,University of Palermo
RSC Advances | Year: 2012

Aromatic alcohols with substituent groups in different positions have been partially oxidised to the corresponding aldehydes in a photocatalytic system in order to investigate the influence of the substituents on reactivity and selectivity to aldehyde. To this aim benzyl alcohol, 2-methoxybenzyl alcohol, 3-methoxybenzyl alcohol, 4-methoxybenzyl alcohol, 2,4-dimethoxybenzyl alcohol, 4-hydroxybenzyl alcohol and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl alcohol have been photocatalytically oxidised to their corresponding aldehydes in aqueous TiO 2 suspensions under near-UV irradiation. Home-made and commercial rutile TiO 2 samples were used as photocatalysts. The catalysts were characterized by XRD, BET, SEM, TEM and TGA measurements. For all the used substrates the main oxidation products were the corresponding aldehydes and CO 2. The aromatic alcohols showed selectivity values decreasing with the substituent position on the aromatic ring according the following order: para > ortho > meta. In the presence of two substituent groups, the overall oxidation rate increased while the selectivity decreased. The home-made catalyst generally showed selectivity higher but activity lower than those of the commercial one. The results showed that the reaction rate and selectivity were dependent not only on the catalyst properties such as crystallinity and hydrophilicity but also on the kind and position of the substituent groups of the aromatic alcohols. This journal is © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Cigna F.,University of Florence | Del Ventisette C.,University of Florence | Liguori V.,University of Palermo | Casagli N.,University of Florence
Natural Hazards and Earth System Science | Year: 2011

We present a new post-processing methodology for the analysis of InSAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry) multi-temporal measures, based on the temporal under-sampling of displacement time series, the identification of potential changes occurring during the monitoring period and, eventually, the classification of different deformation behaviours. The potentials of this approach for the analysis of geological processes were tested on the case study of Naro (Italy), specifically selected due to its geological setting and related ground instability of unknown causes that occurred in February 2005. The time series analysis of past (ERS1/2 descending data; 1992-2000) and current (RADARSAT-1 ascending data; 2003-2007) ground movements highlighted significant displacement rates (up to 6 mm yr-1) in 2003-2007, followed by a post-event stabilization. The deformational behaviours of instable areas involved in the 2005 event were also detected, clarifying typology and kinematics of ground instability. The urban sectors affected and unaffected by the event were finally mapped, consequently re-defining and enlarging the influenced area previously detected by field observations. Through the integration of InSAR data and conventional field surveys (i.e. geological, geomorphologic and geostructural campaigns), the causes of instability were finally attributed to tectonics. © Author(s) 2011.

Since the latest Oligocene-earliest Miocene the building of the Sicilian fold and thrust belt has been accompanied by development of a " peripheral" foreland basin system which migrated toward the foreland. In north-western Sicily, the sedimentary record of the foreland basin system migration is represented by a stratigraphic succession made up of several lithostratigraphic units, bounded by regional unconformity surfaces, deposited recording at least four main sedimentary phases, each characterized by the development of different types of syntectonic basins.In particular, during the Late Miocene (Late Tortonian to Early Messinian) a wide wedge-top depozone developed in the innermost sectors of the Sicilian foreland basin system, above the moving thrust sheets. There, wide to quite narrow " syn-kinematic" sedimentary basins developed in response to the tectonic deformation of the deeper carbonate units (Cu).These basins were filled by a thick wedge of silico- and carbonate-clastic deposits pertaining to the Terravecchia Formation (Upper Tortonian-Lower Messinian) which unconformably overlaid the already deformed substrate. Among these basins, the " Camporeale wedge-top Basin" (NW Sicily) was located between an uplifting subaerial chain (northward) acting as source area for coarse clastics and a major depositional area (foredeep depozone) mainly characterized by fine-grained marine sedimentation.Integrated stratigraphic and sedimentologic analyses performed on the Terravecchia Fm. in the Camporeale Basin allowed us to identify a coarsening to fining upward " outer wedge-top sequence" characterized by three main facies associations (i) sandy-to-gravelly unconfined braidplain, (ii) sandywave and storm-dominated delta front, (iii) clayey offshore, settled in several adjacent sedimentary environments. Sedimentation has been driven by several interplaying control factors among which the tectonics played a predominant role. Moreover, the structural analysis performed on the Camporeale Basin fill allows us to recognize major E-W, NE-SW, N-S-, NW-SE-trending structures (faults and folds) interpreted as the superficial expression of deep-seated thrusts with both S-ward and predominantly N-ward vergence, developed under a roughly N170°-oriented stress field. The comparison of the Camporeale Basin with other coeval basins of Sicily allows us to image the Late Miocene Sicilian foreland basin system, as being characterized by a wide continental to shallow-marine wedge-top depozone characterized, in turn, by an inner and outer sector passing basinward, through a foredeep transition zone, into a foredeep depozone characterized by open marine deposition. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Berns A.E.,Julich Research Center | Conte P.,University of Palermo
Organic Geochemistry | Year: 2011

Cross polarization (CP) magic angle spinning (MAS) 13C NMR spectroscopy is a solid state NMR technique widely applied to study the chemical composition of natural organic matter. In high magnetic fields (>7T), fast sample spinning is required in order to reduce the influence of spinning sidebands underlying other chemical shift regions. As the spinning speed increases, the Hartmann-Hahn matching profiles break down into a series of narrow matching bands. In order to account for this instability variable amplitude cross polarization techniques (e.g. VACP, ramp-CP) have been developed. In the present study, we experimentally verified the stability of the Hartmann-Hahn condition under two MAS speeds for different samples with known structure and two different humic acids. For a complete restoration of flat matching profiles, large ramp sizes were needed. The matching profiles of the humic acids showed that both samples needed different ramp sizes to restore flat profiles. A set up based on the matching profiles of the commonly used glycine would have led to an insufficient ramp size for one of the humic acids. For the characterization of natural organic matter, we hence recommend to roughly set the matching conditions with a standard and subsequently optimize the matching conditions on a more complex, preferably representative, sample such as a humic acid. We would suggest to either run an array of different ramp sizes until maximum signal intensity is reached for all chemical shift regions or, in the case of unavailable measurement time, to use a ramp size twice the spinning speed. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Bagella L.,Temple University | Bagella L.,University of Sassari | Federico M.,Temple University | Federico M.,University of Palermo
Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology | Year: 2011

The human genome is epigenetically organized through a series of modifications to the histone proteins that interact with the DNA. In cancer, many of the proteins that regulate these modifications can be altered in both function and expression. One example of this is the family of histone deacetylases (HDACs), which as their name implies remove acetyl groups from the histone proteins, allowing for more condensed nucleosomal structure. HDACs have increased expression in cancer and are also believed to promote carcinogenesis through the acetylation and interaction with key transcriptional regulators. Given this, small molecule histone deacetylases inhibitors have been identified and developed, which not only inhibit HDACs, but can also lead to growth arrest, differentiation, and/or apoptosis in tumors both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we will discuss some of the recent developments in clinical trials utilizing HDACs inhibitors for the treatment of both hematological malignancies as well as solid tumors. Copyright © 2011 Mario Federico and Luigi Bagella.

Piacentino A.,University of Palermo
Applied Thermal Engineering | Year: 2011

Pinch analysis offers a rational framework for identifying energy saving targets and designing efficient heat recovery networks, especially in process industry. Several scientists have contributed to improve and automate the original pinch method over the last decades, increasing its capability to deal with a number of specific issues; the expertise of the analyst, however, remains determinant in achieving optimal results. In this paper a procedure for retrofit of existing networks is proposed, based on an integrate use of several techniques (either existing or innovative). The diagnosis of the existing network and of a "Minimum Energy Requirement" configuration emerges as a useful preliminary instrument for the retrofit study. Then, an innovative spider-type diagram is presented to identify a hierarchic order among a set of retrofit topologies and the most promising relaxation paths for each network topology. The procedure is aimed at offering a conceptual-interpretative approach to energy analysts, to identify preferential routes in networks' retrofit (and exclude the least promising improvement directions of the existing network); it should be therefore conceived as alternative to algorithms for automatic optimization of heat exchanger networks. The focus is mainly put on the energetic performance of the different schemes (evaluated by thermal analysis of the involved heat exchangers), but the methodology finally enables the energy analyst to identify solutions achieving near-minimum total costs. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

The paper deals with the cold energy available during LNG regasification, which can be recovered and utilized both inside the LNG regasification area and at a distance, such as in deep freezing agro food industry facilities and for space conditioning in the commercial and residential sector (e.g. Supermarkets and Hypermarkets). The feasibility study of this kind of application has been carried out at DREAM, Palermo University, within the framework of a research program.The results of a feasibility study of the kind of venture proposed, starting from its conceptual design and with a thorough thermodynamic and economic analysis, demonstrated the suitability and the profitability of the applications proposed. They seem very attractive due to expected wide future exploitation of LNG regasification in the World. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Corato G.,CNR Research Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection | Moramarco T.,CNR Research Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection | Tucciarelli T.,University of Palermo
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences | Year: 2011

A new procedure is proposed for estimating river discharge hydrographs during flood events, using only water level data at a single gauged site, as well as 1-D shallow water modelling and occasional maximum surface flow velocity measurements. One-dimensional diffusive hydraulic model is used for routing the recorded stage hydrograph in the channel reach considering zero-diffusion downstream boundary condition. Based on synthetic tests concerning a broad prismatic channel, the "suitable" reach length is chosen in order to minimize the effect of the approximated downstream boundary condition on the estimation of the upstream discharge hydrograph. The Manning's roughness coefficient is calibrated by using occasional instantaneous surface velocity measurements during the rising limb of flood that are used to estimate instantaneous discharges by adopting, in the flow area, a two-dimensional velocity distribution model. Several historical events recorded in three gauged sites along the upper Tiber River, wherein reliable rating curves are available, have been used for the validation. The outcomes of the analysis can be summarized as follows: (1) the criterion adopted for selecting the "suitable" channel length based on synthetic test studies has proved to be reliable for field applications to three gauged sites. Indeed, for each event a downstream reach length not more than 500 m is found to be sufficient, for a good performances of the hydraulic model, thereby enabling the drastic reduction of river cross-sections data; (2) the procedure for Manning's roughness coefficient calibration allowed for high performance in discharge estimation just considering the observed water levels and occasional measurements of maximum surface flow velocity during the rising limb of flood. Indeed, errors in the peak discharge magnitude, for the optimal calibration, were found not exceeding 5% for all events observed in the three investigated gauged sections, while the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency was, on average, greater than 0.95. Therefore, the proposed procedure well lend itself to be applied for: (1) the extrapolation of rating curve over the field of velocity measurements (2) discharge estimations in different cross sections during the same flood event using occasional surface flow velocity measures carried out, for instance, by hand-held radar sensors. © Author(s) 2011.

Orecchio S.,University of Palermo
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2011

This study investigates PAHs indoor emissions from burning decorative candle in an indoor environment because emissions from burning wax in home have rarely been addressed. A total of 12 air samples were collected during the entire burning period of the decorative candles. Particulate and gaseous PAHs emissions were simultaneously measured by passing effluent through a filter (to collect particulate-phase PAHs), a cold trap and ORBO 43 tubes (to capture gaseous-phase PAHs). Analysis involved ultrasound extraction, followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).The measured total PAHs concentration (particulate + aqueous phase + gas phases) for the candles, reported as mass of PAHs emitted/mass of candle burning, was between 2.3 and 49.8 μg kg-1 and mean 15 μg kg-1. Considering the volume of sampled air, the concentrations of total PAHs ranged from 7 ng m-3 to 267 ng m-3. Concentrations of B[a]P emitted by candles ranged from 0.1 to 7.5 ng m-3, while total carcinogenic PAHs, expressed as B[a]eq, ranged from 0.2 to 10.7 ng m-3. The values of all the isomeric indices calculated in this research are in good agreement to literature data for emissions from high temperature processes. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Garzanti E.,University of Milan Bicocca | Ando S.,University of Milan Bicocca | Censi P.,University of Palermo | Vignola P.,CNR Institute for the Dynamics of Environmental Processes
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2011

Sediments carried in suspension represent a fundamental part of fluvial transport. Nonetheless, largely because of technical problems, they have been hitherto widely neglected in provenance studies. In order to determine with maximum possible precision the mineralogy of suspended load collected in vertical profiles from water surface to channel bottom of Rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra, we combined Raman spectroscopy with traditional heavy-mineral and X-ray diffraction analyses, carried out separately on low-density and dense fractions of all significant size classes in each sample (multiple-window approach). Suspended load resulted to be a ternary mixture of dominant silt enriched in phyllosilicates, subordinate clay largely derived from weathered floodplains, and sand mainly produced by physical erosion and mechanical grinding during transport in Himalayan streams. Sediment concentration and grain size increase steadily with water depth. Whereas absolute concentration of clay associated with Fe-oxyhydroxides and organic matter is almost depth-invariant, regular mineralogical and consequently chemical changes from shallow to deep load result from marked increase of faster-settling, coarser, denser, or more spherical grains toward the bed. Such steady intersample compositional variability can be modeled as a mixture of clay, silt and sand modes with distinct mineralogical and chemical composition. With classical formulas describing sediment transport by turbulent diffusion, absolute and relative concentrations can be predicted at any depth for each textural mode and each detrital component. Based on assumptions on average chemistry of detrital minerals and empirical formulas to calculate their settling velocities, the suspension-sorting model successfully reproduces mineralogy and chemistry of suspended load at different depths. Principal outputs include assessment of contributions by each detrital mineral to the chemical budget, and calibration of dense minerals too rare to be precisely estimated by optical or Raman analysis but crucial in both detrital-geochronology and settling-equivalence studies. Hydrodynamic conditions during monsoonal discharge could also be evaluated. Understanding compositional variability of suspended load is a fundamental pre-requisite to correctly interpret mineralogical and geochemical data in provenance analysis of modern and ancient sedimentary deposits, to accurately assess weathering processes, sediment fluxes and erosion patterns, and to unambiguously evaluate the effects of anthropogenic modifications on the natural environment. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Dominguez L.J.,University of Palermo
Acta bio-medica : Atenei Parmensis | Year: 2010

Osteoporosis is a major and global public health concern. This disorder is characterized by a compromised bone strength and increased susceptibility to fractures, with important health and socioeconomic consequences. Age remains a cardinal, independent determinant of fracture risk; hence, the prevalence of osteoporotic fractures is expected to rise as the proportion of older populations increases worldwide. The prevention of osteoporosis should begin early and continue all the way through life with measures that improve or maintain bone health including regular physical activity and a balanced diet, considering not only an adequate intake of calcium but also of other minerals, proteins, and food rich in antioxidants. Smoking and alcohol abuse should be avoided. In older persons, who are particularly at risk of fragility fractures, the prevention of falls and the maintenance of an adequate vitamin D status are essential. Assessment of fracture risk followed by proved effective nonpharmacological and pharmacological management is still low, even in patients who have sustained a fragility fracture. Nonpharmacologic strategies should always be implemented, but many patients also need pharmacologic intervention to achieve adequate fracture protection. It is clear today that although low bone mineral density (BMD) is an important determinant of bone fragility, it is not the only one, hence, drugs used in the treatment of osteoporosis must not only show to promote changes in BMD, but to reduce the incidence of fractures. Safety issues should be always considered in an individual basis. This article reviews the available nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic interventions -proved to be effective- that may be implemented to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Craxi A.,University of Palermo
Journal of Hepatology | Year: 2010

Peginterferon alfa-2b or alfa-2a with ribavirin for treatment of hepatitis C infection. McHutchison JG, Lawitz EJ, Shiffman ML, Muir AJ, Galler GW, McCone J, Nyberg LM, Lee WM, Ghalib RH, Schiff ER, Galati JS, Bacon BR, Davis MN, Mukhopadhyay P, Koury K, Noviello S, Pedicone LD, Brass CA, Albrecht JK, Sulkowski MS; IDEAL Study Team. N Engl J Med 2009 Aug 6;361(6):580-93. Background: Treatment guidelines recommend the use of peginterferon alfa-2b or peginterferon alfa-2a in combination with ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, these regimens have not been adequately compared. Methods: At 118 sites, patients who had HCV genotype 1 infection and who had not previously been treated were randomly assigned to undergo 48 weeks of treatment with one of three regimens: peginterferon alfa-2b at a standard dose of 1.5 microg per kilogram of body weight per week or a low dose of 1.0 microg per kilogram per week, plus ribavirin at a dose of 800 to 1400 mg per day, or peginterferon alfa-2a at a dose of 180 microg per week plus ribavirin at a dose of 1000 to 1200 mg per day. We compared the rate of sustained virologic response and the safety and adverse-event profiles between the peginterferon alfa-2b regimens and between the standard-dose peginterferon alfa-2b regimen and the peginterferon alfa-2a regimen. Results: Among 3070 patients, rates of sustained virologic response were similar among the regimens: 39.8% with standard-dose peginterferon alfa-2b, 38.0% with low-dose peginterferon alfa-2b, and 40.9% with peginterferon alfa-2a (P = 0.20 for standard-dose vs. low-dose peginterferon alfa-2b; P = 0.57 for standard-dose peginterferon alfa-2b vs. peginterferon alfa-2a). Estimated differences in response rates were 1.8% (95% confidence interval [CI, -2.3 to 6.0) between standard-dose and low-dose peginterferon alfa-2b and -1.1% (95% CI, -5.3 to 3.0) between standard-dose peginterferon alfa-2b and peginterferon alfa-2a. Relapse rates were 23.5% (95% CI, 19.9 to 27.2) for standard-dose peginterferon alfa-2b, 20.0% (95% CI, 16.4 to 23.6) for low-dose peginterferon alfa-2b, and 31.5% (95% CI, 27.9 to 35.2) for peginterferon alfa-2a. The safety profile was similar among the three groups; serious adverse events were observed in 8.6% to 11.7% of patients. Among the patients with undetectable HCV RNA levels at treatment weeks 4 and 12, a sustained virologic response was achieved in 86.2% and 78.7%, respectively. Conclusions: In patients infected with HCV genotype 1, the rates of sustained virologic response and tolerability did not differ significantly between the two available peginterferon-ribavirin regimens or between the two doses of peginterferon alfa-2b. (ClinicalTrials.gov No. NCT00081770) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society. © 2009 European Association for the Study of the Liver.

The island of Sicily, Italy, and its main city, Palermo, appear an ideal scenario for sustainable food provisioning: the former being the first region in Italy for organically cultivated land, the latter Italy's fifth largest city. This article explores ideals and practices of sustainable urban food systems through an example of environmental consumer activism in Palermo. It does this by narrating the story of an organic farmers' market created by citizens and producers. The article reflects critically on understandings of food-related 'sustainability' held by the actors involved, showing the difficulties of operationalizing the concept for qualitative, socio-cultural research. It also highlights the potential of grass-roots activism among consumers and farmers. With particular reference to the Palermitan context, this potential runs counter to an enduring image of the southern Italian region as a place where civil society initiatives are wanting. By analyzing the market's history from its inception to its demise due to difficulties with the center-right-wing municipality, the article shows that it is the political element, rather than the cultural one, that often constrains grass-roots activism in Sicily. These problems of power and political representation raise a crucial question: can a consumer mobilization become a tool for social and environmental transformation in locales where institutions are not already favorably disposed, at least to a certain degree, to the values of such mobilization? © 2011 by the American Anthropological Association.

Scaillet S.,CNRS Earth Sciences Institute of Orleans | Vita-Scaillet G.,CNRS Earth Sciences Institute of Orleans | Rotolo S.G.,University of Palermo | Rotolo S.G.,Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2013

With the advent of annually-resolved polar ice records extending back to 70ka, marine and continental paleoclimate studies have now matured into a discipline where high-quality age control is essential for putting on an equal pace layer-counted timescale models and Late Quaternary sedimentary records. High-resolution U-Th dating of speleothem records and 40Ar/39Ar dating of globally recorded geomagnetic excursions have recently improved the time calibration of Quaternary archives, reflecting the cross-disciplinary effort made to synchronize the geologic record at the millennial scale. Yet, tie-points with such an absolute age control remain scarce for paleoclimatic time-series extending beyond the radiocarbon timescale, most notably in the marine record. Far-travelled tephra layers recorded both onland and offshore provide an alternative in such instance to synchronize continental and marine archives via high-resolution 40Ar/39Ar dating of the parent volcanic eruption. High-resolution 40Ar/39Ar data are reported herein for one such volcanic marker, the Green Tuff of Pantelleria and its Y-6 tephra equivalent recorded throughout the Central and Eastern Mediterranean. Published radiochronometric and δ18O orbitally-tied ages for this marker horizon scatter widely from about 41ka up to 56ka. Our new 40Ar/39Ar age at 45.7±1.0ka (2σ) reveals that previous estimates are biased by more than their reported errors would suggest, including recent orbital tuning of marine records hosting the tephra bed that are reevaluated in the context of this study. This improved estimate enables potential phase lags and leads to be studied between deep-sea and terrestrial archives with unrivaled (near-millennial) 40Ar/39Ar precision in the marine record. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Mercadante S.,Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit | Prestia G.,Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit | Adile C.,Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit | Casuccio A.,University of Palermo
Journal of Pain | Year: 2014

The aim of this randomized, crossover, comparison study was to assess the analgesic and adverse effects of 2 nasal preparations, intranasal fentanyl (INFS) and fentanyl pectin nasal spray (FPNS), for breakthrough pain, given in doses proportional to opioid basal regimen. Each patient randomly received INFS or FPNS in doses proportional to opioid dosages used for background analgesia for 2 pairs of episodes. For each episode of breakthrough pain, pain intensity and adverse effects intensity were recorded just before starting the INFS or FPNS (T0) and 5 minutes (T5), 10 minutes (T10), and 20 minutes (T20) after the administration of the nasal drugs. Sixty-nine patients were studied. The mean age was 63.4 years, and 37 patients were males. For the present analysis, 188 episodes were considered. A statistical decrease in pain intensity was observed with both nasal drugs after 5, 10, and 20 minutes. A decrease in pain intensity of >33% was observed in 16, 102, and 159 treated episodes at T5, T10, and T20, respectively. Adverse effects were of mild nature in most cases or were preexistent because of basal opioid therapy. No differences were found in summed pain intensity difference 20 minutes after dosing. Most of patients did not find substantial preferences. INFS and FPNS were effective and well-tolerated treatments for breakthrough pain management. Both delivery systems, in doses proportional to the basal opioid regimen, provided significant analgesia within 10 minutes, without producing relevant adverse effects. Perspective This article showed that INFS and FPNS in doses proportional to basal opioid regimen are equally safe and effective for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients. These data provide new insights on the use of nasal preparations of fentanyl. © 2014 by the American Pain Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Ferro V.,University of Palermo
Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering | Year: 2012

In this paper, the outflow process of a sharp-crested and broad weir is studied using the dimensional analysis and the incomplete self-similarity theory. The new stage discharge is theoretically deduced and its testing is carried out using measurements both available in literature and obtained by laboratory runs carried out in this investigation. © 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Lupo T.,University of Palermo
Quality and Reliability Engineering International | Year: 2014

The present paper proposes a design approach for a statistical process control (SPC) procedure implementing a c control chart for non-conformities, with the aim to minimize the hourly total quality-related costs. The latter take into account the costs arising from the non-conforming products while the process is in-control and out-of-control, for false alarms, for assignable cause locations and system repairs, for sampling and inspection activities and for the system downtime. The proposed economic optimization approach is constrained by the expected hourly false alarms frequency, as well as the available labor resource level. A mixed integer non-linear constrained mathematical model is developed to solve the treated optimization problem, whereas the Generalized Reduced Gradient Algorithm implemented on the solver of Microsoft Excel is adopted to resolve it. In order to illustrate the application of the developed procedure, a numerical analysis based on a 2V5-1 fractional factorial design scheme, to investigate on the influence of several operating and costs parameters, is carried out, and the related considerations are given. Finally, the obtained results show that only few parameters have a meaningful effect on the selection of the optimal SPC procedure. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Corriere F.,University of Palermo
ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences | Year: 2014

In this paper the problem of a road's capacity in presence of perturbations in the vehicular flow is dealt. In particular, among the different causes of delay, is here considered the presence of vehicles parked along the road in relation at their parking activity. Preliminarily is evaluated the delay, caused by each vehicle that leaves its parking position and enters in the traffic flow or by that who slows down the flow to enter in the parking, by introducing these effects in the equations of flow, it is possible to evaluate the modifications that the same curves of down flow suffer. Consequently, it is also possible to evaluate the increase of pollutant emissions. © 2006-2014 Asian Research Publishing Network (ARPN).

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo
Physics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics | Year: 2010

We discuss two physical examples of the so-called pseudo-bosons, recently introduced in connection with pseudo-hermitian quantum mechanics. In particular, we show that the so-called extended harmonic oscillator and the Swanson model satisfy all the assumptions of the pseudo-bosonic framework introduced by the author. We also prove that the biorthogonal bases they produce are not Riesz bases. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Gallitto A.A.,University of Palermo
Physics Education | Year: 2010

The event 'School adopts an experiment' is an event targeted at high schools and secondary schools. It is based on a tight and direct collaboration between researchers and school students and teachers. Several schools were involved in the event by 'adopting' an experiment in physics research laboratories. Groups of selected students were first trained by university researchers, then they demonstrated the experiments to other students and teachers during the event. Students who adopted an experiment acquired knowledge of the subjects connected with the experiment in a most impressive way compared with the usual didactics at school. Further positive points were: (i) to establish a close and direct collaboration between university researchers and high-school students and teachers; (ii) to give school students the opportunity to visit physics research laboratories. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Cilona T.,University of Palermo
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2016

The complex urban reality, in continuous evolution, are characterized by buildings, facilities, equipment, human capital, social capital and the ability to create sustainable economic development. Today, urban planning is called to respond to the new needs of the community, for this reason it is necessary to avoid the mistakes made in the past and think of a plan to be adapted to the change. All this is possible through the implementation of participatory strategic actions which ensure high levels of quality of life as well as responsible management of land resources. This outlines the concept of sustainable development and resilient cities, forcefully entered in today’s urban paradigm, becoming the key to activate the competitiveness of cities. In this work, particular attention is paid to sustainable mobility in Italy, in the knowledge that the innovations of the mobility and transport system is needed to ensure the livability of future cities. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.

Lupo T.,University of Palermo
Quality and Reliability Engineering International | Year: 2014

The present paper proposes a multi-objective design approach for the c chart, considering in the optimization process of the chart parameters both the statistical and the economic objectives. In particular, the minimization of the hourly total quality related costs is the considered objective to carry out the economic goal, whereas the statistical objective is reached by the minimization the out-of-control average run length of the chart. A mixed integer non-linear constrained mathematical model is formulated to solve the treated multi-objective optimization problem, whereas the Pareto optimal frontier is described by the-constraint method. In order to show the employment of the proposed approach, an illustrative example is developed and the related considerations are given. Finally, some sensitivity analysis is also performed to investigate the effects of operative and costs parameters on the chart performance. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Lupo T.,University of Palermo
Quality and Reliability Engineering International | Year: 2014

In an attempt to improve the effectiveness of statistical process control (SPC) procedures, a variety of adaptive schemes has been developed in the last decades. However, considering control charts for attributes, relatively few works about adaptive schemes have been proposed, and most of them were proposed only recently. The common characteristic of those schemes is that one or more chart parameters are allowed to adaptively vary during the SPC operations according to the sampling information history, typically the current point plotted on the chart. In this way, the adaptive schemes are smarter than the related static ones, but they are also more complicated in terms of implementation. The purpose of the present work is to evaluate and compare the economic performance of the main adaptive schemes of a control chart for attributes, in order to derive conclusions on their relative effectiveness. In particular, the analysis is focused on the c chart that is used to monitor the total nonconformities number in an inspection unit. A numerical comparative study, based on a 2V5-1 fractional factorial design scheme, to investigate on the influence of several operating and costs parameters, is carried out, and the related considerations are given. The obtained results show that the chart parameter having the most impact on the economic performance is the sampling interval. Therefore, in most cases, the use of a c chart with adaptive sampling intervals is the better choice than other adaptive schemes, which are also more complicated in terms of implementation. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Zimbardo M.,University of Palermo
Engineering Geology | Year: 2016

This paper aims at finding a framework for the Sicilian Calcarenites relating the strength and the deformability of these materials to their geological and structural features: fabric, bonding, initial and actual specific volume. In particular, this study sets out to separate the effects of fabric and of bonding on the mechanical response. The investigated lithotypes, Calcarenites from Palermo and Marsala, outcropping in many areas of southwestern Sicily, are characterized by sudden changes in their deformability, strength and permeability characteristics. The geotechnical identification, by means of computerized axial tomography and thin section petrographic analysis suggested a subdivision of these two calcarenites into five lithotypes as a function of their structural configuration. These calcarenites are metastable rockswhosemechanical behaviour depends on the fabric and bonding. Oedometer, triaxial and isotropic tests were conducted to analyzed interparticle bonding and/or fabric effects on the mechanical behaviours. For each lithotype the yield limitwas defined and three distinct behavioural patterns were identified as a function of the confining stress level: 1) an initial linear elastic behaviour up to the yielding strength, 2) a yielding phase characterized by a strain-softening response, 3) a final phase of the destructured material. At yield state, bonding is the major factor contributing to the soil strength, while the effect of fabric comes into play at post-yield stress state. For the assessment of the yielding conditions the yield stress values obtained from various stress-paths were taken into account. © 2016 Elsevier B.V..

Accomando S.,University of Palermo
Frontiers in bioscience (Scholar edition) | Year: 2010

Celiac Disease is a worldwide spread condition affecting 1:100-1:200 individuals. It is a permanent food intolerance to ingested gluten in genetically predisposed subjects. In this review we analyze the biochemical markers of the disease going from laboratory findings to histology passing through genetics. Gluten intolerance is a unique model of autoimmune disease in which we can recognize the main environmental factor (gluten) and the more complex genetic background. In additional way, serological markers for monitoring the disease and a safe and effective therapy (gluten free diet) are also available. In deed the environmental factor such as gluten intake is necessary to trigger the disease but genetics also matter. HLA genes are the most studied but in recent times also not HLA related genes are giving proof of additional relative risk to disease if present. From histological point of view intra epithelial cell infiltration by several lymphocyte subsets is becoming more and more important also for understanding pathogenesis of the disease.

Calandra P.,CNR Institute for Chemical and Physical Processes | Mandanici A.,Messina University | Liveri V.T.,University of Palermo
RSC Advances | Year: 2013

Structural and dynamic features of bis(2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid (HDEHP)-n-octylamine (NOA) mixtures as a function of the NOA mole fraction (XNOA) have been investigated by SAXS, WAXS, IR, dielectric spectroscopy and polarized optical microscopy. In the 0 ≤ XNOA < 0.5 range, mixtures are transparent liquids, while the abrupt formation of a waxy solid characterized by an hexagonal bidimensional structure occurs at XNOA = 0.5. Such a composition-induced phase transition results from the synergetic effect of the progressive increase in number density of ordered HDEHP-NOA nanodomains with XNOA. Mainly driven by an HDEHP to NOA proton transfer, the increase of structural order with XNOA arises from the progressive substitution of loosely hydrogen bonded HDEHP-HDEHP aggregates with strongly bonded NOA-HDEHP ones. Analysis of SAXS patterns at temperatures in the 10-70 °C range emphasized that these local structures are scarcely impacted by an increase of thermal fluctuations. Effects due to the steric compatibility between HDEHP and NOA apolar moieties have been highlighted. Overall, the results allow us to emphasize the role of specific polar and apolar interactions joined to steric effects in regulating the molecular organization in surfactant mixtures and can be used to design novel materials with planned physico-chemical properties. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Jovanovic V.P.,Columbia University | Carmina E.,University of Palermo | Lobo R.A.,Columbia University
Fertility and Sterility | Year: 2010

Although definitive and confirmatory data are lacking, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are considered to be at increased risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disease. In recent years, the diagnosis of PCOS has broadened considerably to result in several phenotypes. Here we review the evidence for cardiovascular and metabolic risks in PCOS in the classic disorder and the various phenotypes. We conclude that not all women with PCOS should be considered as being similar in terms of cardiovascular risk profiles. © 2010 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Mercadante S.,University of Palermo
The Lancet Oncology | Year: 2010

In recent years, a growing interest in palliative care and in routes of administration other than oral have prompted more aggressive measures to improve the efficacy of analgesic interventions in patients with difficult pain conditions. This review provides an overview of the use of intravenous morphine to control pain in patients with cancer. Intravenous morphine has been increasingly used in different clinical situations-including breakthrough pain, poor pain control with escalating doses of oral opioids, retitrating patients with acute pain, treating patients with long-standing poor pain control and unpredictable needs, and optimising opioid therapy to prevent incident pain associated with bone metastases. Although intravenous administration requires supervision, it has considerable advantages, since direct administration into the circulation provides a rapid and predictable effect that is independent of absorption problems. IV morphine is advantageous in specific clinical situations and should be part of armamentarium of all physicians treating pain in patients with cancer. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Zhong W.,Guangzhou University | Leto G.,University of Palermo | Wang L.,East Tennessee State University | Zeng G.,Guangzhou University
Journal of Endourology | Year: 2015

Objective: To evaluate the risk factors for systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) after flexible ureteroscopic lithotripsy (FUL). Materials and Methods: Patients who underwent FUL between October 2012 and November 2013 were studied. Complete data was available for 260 adult patients who met this criteria. Preoperative and intraoperative risk factors that potentially contribute to SIRS were compared in patients who developed postoperative SIRS and those who did not. Furthermore, multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed and the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated to identify the independent risk factors for SIRS after FUL. Results: The incidence of SIRS after FUL was 8.1%. In the univariate test analysis, significant correlation between SIRS and four factors was noted: sex of the patient (P<0.001), stone size (P=0.001), irrigation flow rate (P<0.001), and irrigation volume (P<0.001). Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified stone size (OR=1.691; 95% CI,0.879-3.255), small-caliber ureteral access sheath (UAS) (OR=2.293; 95% CI, 0.730-7.200), irrigation flow rate (OR=1.161; 95% CI, 1.096-1.230), and struvite calculi (OR=3.331; 95% CI, 0.971-11.426) as independent risk factors for SIRS after FUL. Conclusions: We recommend that the length of lithotripsy be well controlled in patients with large stone burden and struvite calculi. Staging procedures are also required. Additionally, irrigating with a low flow rate and low pressure and using a large-caliber UAS for better drainage are required to keep a low renal pelvic pressure during FUL procedures. © Copyright 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2015.

Testa P.,Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory | Reale F.,University of Palermo | Reale F.,National institute for astrophysics
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2012

We use coronal imaging observations with the Solar Dynamics Observatory/Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), and Hinode/Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS) spectral data to explore the potential of narrowband EUV imaging data for diagnosing the presence of hot (T ≳ 5MK) coronal plasma in active regions. We analyze observations of two active regions (AR 11281, AR 11289) with simultaneous AIA imaging and EIS spectral data, including the Ca XVII line (at 192.8Å), which is one of the few lines in the EIS spectral bands sensitive to hot coronal plasma even outside flares. After careful co-alignment of the imaging and spectral data, we compare the morphology in a three-color image combining the 171, 335, and 94Å AIA spectral bands, with the image obtained for Ca XVII emission from the analysis of EIS spectra. We find that in the selected active regions the Ca XVII emission is strong only in very limited areas, showing striking similarities with the features bright in the 94Å (and 335Å) AIA channels and weak in the 171Å band. We conclude that AIA imaging observations of the solar corona can be used to track hot plasma (6-8MK), and so to study its spatial variability and temporal evolution at high spatial and temporal resolution. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Carmina E.,University of Palermo | Oberfield S.E.,Columbia University | Lobo R.A.,Columbia University
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology | Year: 2010

In women, the definition of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has become broad and includes several possible phenotypes. Because several features of PCOS may be in evolution in adolescents, we suggest that only firm criteria should be used to make a diagnosis of PCOS during adolescence. Hyperandrogenism, oligomenorrhea, and ovarian morphology change during adolescence and are discussed individually. Adolescents with incomplete criteria for a firm diagnosis of PCOS should be followed up carefully and may be diagnosed at a later time. © 2010 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

Attia Y.A.,University of Santiago de Compostela | Attia Y.A.,Cairo University | Buceta D.,University of Santiago de Compostela | Blanco-Varela C.,University of Santiago de Compostela | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2014

H2 production by water splitting is hindered mainly by the lack of low-cost and efficient photocatalysts. Here we show that sub-nanometric silver clusters can catalyze the anisotropic growth of gold nanostructures by preferential adsorption at certain crystal planes of Au seeds, with the result that the final nanostructure can be tuned via the cluster/seed ratio. Such semiconducting Ag clusters are extremely stable and retain their electronic structure even after adsorption at the tips of Au nanorods, enabling various photocatalytic experiments, such as oxygen evolution from basic solutions. In the absence of electron scavengers, UV irradiation generates photoelectrons, which are stored within the nanorods, increasing their Au Fermi level up to the redox pinning limit at 0 V (RHE), where hydrogen evolution occurs with an estimated high efficiency of 10%. This illustrates the considerable potential of very small zerovalent, nonmetallic clusters as novel atomic-level photocatalysts. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Pizzuti C.,CNR Institute for High Performance Computing and Networking | Rombo S.E.,University of Palermo
Bioinformatics | Year: 2014

Motivation: Protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks are powerful models to represent the pairwise protein interactions of the organisms. Clustering PPI networks can be useful for isolating groups of interacting proteins that participate in the same biological processes or that perform together specific biological functions. Evolutionary orthologies can be inferred this way, as well as functions and properties of yet uncharacterized proteins. Results: We present an overview of the main state-of-the-art clustering methods that have been applied to PPI networks over the past decade. We distinguish five specific categories of approaches, describe and compare their main features and then focus on one of them, i.e. population-based stochastic search. We provide an experimental evaluation, based on some validation measures widely used in the literature, of techniques in this class, that are as yet less explored than the others. In particular, we study how the capability of Genetic Algorithms (GAs) to extract clusters in PPI networks varies when different topology-based fitness functions are used, and we compare GAs with the main techniques in the other categories. The experimental campaign shows that predictions returned by GAs are often more accurate than those produced by the contestant methods. Interesting issues still remain open about possible generalizations of GAs allowing for cluster overlapping. © The Author 2014.

Fabiani D.,University of Bologna | Montanari G.C.,University of Bologna | Testa L.,University of Palermo
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation | Year: 2010

Organically-modified nanofiller clays can have significantly different aspect ratios as well as accumulate a relatively large amount of water in the composite bulk due to the contribution of the filler itself and the interaction between filler and polymer matrix. This paper investigates the effect of water absorption in a nanostructured thermoplastic polymer, namely ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), on electrical property modifications considering the contribution of aspect ratio. The change of electrical properties (particularly space charge accumulation, electric strength, bulk conductivity and permittivity/losses) is studied as a function of water content absorbed by nanofillers having different aspect ratio, i.e. fluorohectorite and bohemite. An increase of the space charge build up and of the conductivity (and decrease of the electric strength) is observed as a function of the water content for specimens containing layered silicates as nanofillers (fluorohectorite), while the electric properties of bohemite specimens do not show significant variations with the absorbed water content. This behavior can be associated with the different aspect ratio of the nanofillers. A filler having higher aspect ratio, in fact, seems to be more effective in worsening the electrical properties of the final nanocomposite. This could be explained considering that the higher the aspect ratio of the nanoparticles, the larger the percolation probability. To quantify how water content may affect electric properties of the final nanocomposite a simplified model providing the percolation probability as a function of water content and geometry of the particles is developed in this paper. © 2010 IEEE.

Schifilliti D.,Messina University | Grasso G.,University of Palermo | Conti A.,Messina University | Fodale V.,Messina University
CNS Drugs | Year: 2010

In designing the anaesthetic plan for patients undergoing surgery, the choice of anaesthetic agent may often appear irrelevant and the best results obtained by the use of a technique or a drug with which the anaesthesia care provider is familiar. Nevertheless, in those surgical procedures (cardiopulmonary bypass, carotid surgery and cerebral aneurysm surgery) and clinical situations (subarachnoid haemorrhage, stroke, brain trauma and post-cardiac arrest resuscitation) where protecting the CNS is a priority, the choice of anaesthetic drug assumes a fundamental role. Treating patients with a neuroprotective agent may be a consideration in improving overall neurological outcome. Therefore, a clear understanding of the relative degree of protection provided by various agents becomes essential in deciding on the most appropriate anaesthetic treatment geared to these objectives.This article surveys the current literature on the effects of the most commonly used anaesthetic drugs (volatile and gaseous inhalation, and intravenous agents) with regard to their role in neuroprotection. A systematic search was performed in the MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINHAL®) and Cochrane Library databases using the following keywords: 'brain' (with the limits 'newborn' or 'infant' or 'child' or 'neonate' or 'neonatal' or 'animals') AND 'neurodegeneration' or 'apoptosis' or 'toxicity' or 'neuroprotection' in combination with individual drug names ('halothane', 'isoflurane', 'desflurane', 'sevoflurane', 'nitrous oxide', 'xenon', 'barbiturates', 'thiopental', 'propofol', 'ketamine'). Over 600 abstracts for articles published from January 1980 to April 2010, including studies in animals, humans and in vitro, were examined, but just over 100 of them were considered and reviewed for quality.Taken as a whole, the available data appear to indicate that anaesthetic drugs such as barbiturates, propofol, xenon and most volatile anaesthetics (halothane, isoflurane, desflurane, sevoflurane) show neuroprotective effects that protect cerebral tissue from adverse events such as apoptosis, degeneration, inflammation and energy failure caused by chronic neurodegenerative diseases, ischaemia, stroke or nervous system trauma. Nevertheless, in several studies, the administration of gaseous, volatile and intravenous anaesthetics (especially isoflurane and ketamine) was also associated with dose-dependent and exposure time-dependent neurodegenerative effects in the developing animal brain. At present, available experimental data do not support the selection of any one anaesthetic agent over the others. Furthermore, the relative benefit of one anaesthetic versus another, with regard to neuroprotective potential, is unlikely to form a rational basis for choice. Each drug has some undesirable adverse effects that, together with the patients medical and surgical history, appear to be decisive in choosing the most suitable anaesthetic agent for a specific situation. Moreover, it is important to highlight that many of the studies in the literature have been conducted in animals or in vitro; hence, results and conclusions of most of them may not be directly applied to the clinical setting. For these reasons, and given the serious implications for public health, we believe that further investigation geared mainly to clarifying the complex interactions between anaesthetic drug actions and specific mechanisms involved in brain injury, within a setting as close as possible to the clinical situation is imperative. © 2010 Adis Data Information BV. All rights reserved.

MacAluso F.,University of Palermo | MacAluso F.,Stellenbosch University | Myburgh K.H.,Stellenbosch University
Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility | Year: 2012

The number of adult stem cells (ASCs) is very small, limiting the regenerative potential of tissues. One of the most studied ASCs in humans is the satellite cell (SC), which proliferates and increases pool size under exercise stress and muscle damage. This review examines the growth factor response to specific types of exercise to show the potential of exercise to stimulate not only SC self-renewal, but also other ASCs. We postulate that the same factors that stimulate a high proliferation of SCs in skeletal muscle after physical exercise should also stimulate the proliferation of ASCs in the tissue in which they reside, such as heart, bone, liver and etc. Regular exercise should be promoted, not only for disease prevention, but to maintain a high ASCs reserve and progenitor cell potential for rapid activation in response to future stressors and damage. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012.

Saadati R.,Amirkabir University of Technology | Vaezpour S.M.,Amirkabir University of Technology | Vetro P.,University of Palermo | Rhoades B.E.,Indiana University Bloomington
Mathematical and Computer Modelling | Year: 2010

In this paper, we consider the concept of a Ω-distance on a complete partially ordered G-metric space and prove some fixed point theorems. © 2010 .

Lupo T.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Reliability, Quality and Safety Engineering | Year: 2015

In recent years, a variety of enhanced schemes for the c chart have been developed aimed at the effectiveness improving of the related statistical process control (SPC) procedures. However, the performance of such chart schemes can be very sensitive to values assumed for some operating and cost parameters, in particular to the considered process shift magnitude arising from out-of-control conditions. In such a circumstance, the effectiveness of such chart schemes can be subjected to substantial reductions when they are implemented in operative contexts given that, in practice, such value is unknown and it can be very difficult to accurately estimate. For this reason, in the present paper it is developed an economic optimization approach able to find out the optimal configurations of the main adaptive c chart schemes. Subsequently, economic performances of such configurations are compared in order to derive information on their relative economic robustness, considering the difference between the estimated process shift magnitude and the actual one as influential factor and costs arising from the related SPC operations as performance comparison index. In addition, also a sensitivity analysis based on a 25-1 V fractional factorial design scheme, to investigate on influence of several operating and cost parameters on charts economic robustness, is carried out and the related considerations are given. The obtained results show that the parameters having the most impact on economic robustness, when the out-of-control process shift is not accurately estimated, are the cost associated with the production of non-conforming parts and the failure rate of the manufacturing system. © World Scientific Publishing Company.

Myocardial infarction is a relatively unusual phenomenon in young subjects. The aim if this work is to characterize the risk profile and factors influencing outcomes of these patients since it makes possible to manage prevention interventions. We examined cardiovascular risk factors, clinical presentation, angiographic picture and outcome of a group of young patients hospitalized for a myocardial infarction. We enrolled 121 young patients consecutively admitted to our hospital for a myocardial infarction and examined them not only at the initial stage, but also after 3 months and one year; finally a long-term telephonic follow up was performed, when possible. We found some peculiarity making these patients quite different from the older ones who develop a myocardial infarction: cigarettes smoking, family history of ischemic heart disease and hyperlipidemia were the most frequent cardiovascular risk factors, while diabetes and hypertension were less represented; moreover coronary angiography showed more frequently a less extensive coronary atherosclerosis. Patients who developed a cardiovascular event at follow-up presented a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension and obesity and a significantly lower frequency of healthy coronary arteries and of previous revascularization. Myocardial infarction in young adults presents several peculiarities, represented not only by the risk profile, but also by the angiographic picture and the prognosis. Considering the long life expectancy of the involved population, the essential role of preventive interventions should be strongly underlined.

A new species of Capparis, C. tagbanuorum, is described and illustrated from Palawan Island in the Philippines. It is known from a single locality in Mount Victoria, in forest habitats at medium elevation. The new species is characterized by a peculiar leaf morphology, with blade up to 9 times as long as wide, by the racemose inflorescence and by the size of the petals and the number and length of the stamens. The diagnostic characters are discussed and a key is given for the species of Capparis known from the Philippines. © 2016 Magnolia Press.

Cytokines may be involved in the pathogenesis of Peyronie's disease (PD). In this case, biological drugs, acting on specific cytokines, could be adopted in the pharmacological treatment of the disease. Twenty PD patients and 8 patients affected by congenital recurvatum penis (control group) who underwent corporoplasty were enrolled in the study. Histological examination and measurement by Real Time PCR of the expression of the encoding genes for IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-13, TGF-β, TNF-α and IFN-γ were performed on the removed tunica albuginea (TA). For the normalization of data GAPDH (glucerldehyde-3fosfatehydrogenase) and GUSB (β-glucuronidase), housekeeping genes were used. The analysis of the data was performed using the comparative method of ΔCt. The results were reported with the Fold of induction (FOI) method. The histological exams of TA showed only fibrous tissue without cavernous tissue. The analysis of gene expression of IL-6, IL-10, IFN-γ and TGF-β1 showed in all samples very low levels. The levels were lower in PD patients although the differences were not statistically significant. An exception was represented by TGF-β that showed a higher level in PD patients, although not statistically significant. The expression of IL-4, IL-13 and TNF-α was undetectable. The expressions of cytokines in TA of PD patients compared to those of the controls do not show any significant difference. A bias of our study is that the groups were not age-matched. This is a bias already present in similar experiences and due to the different pathogenesis of the diseases. Cytokines promoting inflammation resulted undetectable and do not seem to be involved in PD pathogenesis. The higher level of TGF-β, a pro-fibrotic cytokine, detected in PD could explain the presence of fibrotic tissue. Presently, there is no data suggesting a possible role of biological drugs in PD.

Lupo T.,University of Palermo
European Transport - Trasporti Europei | Year: 2015

Recent approaches to the service quality evaluation problem are focused on the employment of multi-criteria decisionmaking (MCDM) procedures, since processes related to service quality evaluation presentmeaningful communality elements to MCDM ones. Based on such assumption, in the present paper a new fuzzy MCDMapproach is developed tocomparatively evaluate passenger service quality of the international airports inSicily (Italy). In particular, by incorporating the respondents confidence level and degree of optimism on fuzzy assessments, quality scores of main airport service criteria are estimated, whereas ELECTRE multi criteria decision support methodis proposed to point out theservices quality rankingfor the considered airports, on the basis of which it is performed a strategic benchmarking of service quality. The developed approach represents an effective way to perform evaluation of airports service quality, since it can support airports management to understand and to explain the relatedservice quality ranking in terms of qualityscores of service criteria. © 2015 European Transport\Trasporti Europei.

Sorge F.,University of Palermo
Vehicle System Dynamics | Year: 2015

The present analysis is addressed to some promising connection arrangements between the towing vehicles and the towed trailers, where the two units are linked by four-bar isosceles trapeziums in place of the conventional pintle hitch. Two types of instability, of the divergent type or the oscillating type, may be analysed by the Routh-Hurwitz criterion or by the direct analysis of the characteristic equation. The constant term of this equation vanishes at the divergent instability threshold (zero of a real root), whereas the equation splits into two lower degree algebraic sub-equations when the oscillating instability arises (pair of pure imaginary roots). A large field of geometrical configurations of the four-bar linkage may be quickly tested by numerical search procedures, including those where the sidebars of the linkage converge towards the inside of the drawing car and shift the relative centre of rotation forward, and those converging backward towards the trailer. Maps of the critical velocity as a function of the geometrical or physical parameters may be easily traced. They clearly show the favourable influence of the forward four-bar connection in general and the benefits achievable comparing with the conventional coupling. Actually, it is conceivable to increase the critical speed by optimising the four-bar design depending on the weight distribution on the axles and on the other geometrical and physical properties. Moreover, this type of connection may produce significant corrections to the under-steering or over-steering conduct of the articulated vehicle. The off-tracking and the manoeuvrability along curved paths are also studied, showing the benefits or the drawbacks of the four-bar linkage for the various configurations. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

Gilio A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Sanfilippo G.,University of Palermo
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2011

We study in the setting of probabilistic default reasoning under coherence the quasi conjunction, which is a basic notion for defining consistency of conditional knowledge bases, and the Goodman & Nguyen inclusion relation for conditional events. We deepen two results given in a previous paper: the first result concerns p-entailment from a finite family of conditional events to the quasi conjunction , for each nonempty subset of ; the second result analyzes the equivalence between p-entailment from and p-entailment from , where is some nonempty subset of . We also characterize p-entailment by some alternative theorems. Finally, we deepen the connections between p-entailment and inclusion relation, by introducing for a pair the class of the subsets of such that implies E|H. This class is additive and has a greatest element which can be determined by applying a suitable algorithm. © 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Oliveri M.,University of Palermo | Magnani B.,University of Bologna | Filipelli A.,University of Bologna | Avanzi S.,Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri | Frassinetti F.,University of Bologna
Cortex | Year: 2013

Processing of temporal information may require the use of spatial attention to represent time along a mental time line. We used prismatic adaptation (PA) to explore the contribution of spatial attention to the spatial representation of time in right brain damaged patients with and without neglect of left space and in age-matched healthy controls.Right brain damaged patients presented time underestimation deficits, that were significantly greater in patients with neglect than in patients without neglect. PA inducing leftward attentional deviation reduced time underestimation deficit in patients with neglect.The results support the hypothesis that a right hemispheric network has a role, per se, in time perception. Moreover, they suggest that right hemisphere is important in time perception for its control of spatial attention, engaged in spatial representation of time. Procedures that ameliorate left spatial deficits could also be useful for modulating temporal deficits in right brain damaged patients with neglect. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Okuda T.,Nishi Asahioka Cho 3 15 1 | Molteni D.,University of Palermo
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2012

We examine the low angular momentum flow model for Sgr A* using two-dimensional hydrodynamical calculations based on the parameters of the specific angular momentum and total energy estimated in the recent analysis of stellar wind of nearby stars around Sgr A*. The accretion flow with the plausible parameters is non-stationary and an irregularly oscillating shock is formed in the inner region of a few tens to a 160 Schwarzschild radii. Due to the oscillating shock, the luminosity and the mass-outflow rate are modulated by several per cent to a factor of 5 and a factor of 2-7, respectively, on time-scales of 1 h to 10 d. The flows are highly advected and the radiative efficiency of the accreting matter into radiation is very low, ~10-5 to 10-3, and the input accretion rate Ṁinput = 4.0 × 10-6M⊙ yr-1 results in the observed luminosities~1036 erg s-1 of Sgr A* if a two-temperature model and the synchrotron emission are taken into account. The mass-outflow rate of the gas originating in the post-shock region increases with the increasing input specific angular momentum and ranges from a few to 99 per cent of the input accreting matter, depending on the input angular momentum. The oscillating shock is necessarily triggered if the specific angular momentum and the specific energy belong to or are located just nearby the range of parameters responsible for a stationary shock in rotating inviscid and adiabatic accretion flow. The time variability may be relevant to the flare activity of Sgr A*. © 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Barone G.,Tokyo Polytechnic University | Pirrotta A.,University of Palermo
Engineering Analysis with Boundary Elements | Year: 2013

Evaluation of shear stresses distribution due to external shear forces applied to De Saint-Venant beams has been solved through Complex Variable Boundary Element Method properly extended, to benefit from advantages of this method, so far widely used for twisted solids. Extending the above method, further simplifications have been introduced such as those of performing line integrals only, instead of domain integrals. Numerical applications confirm accuracy and efficiency of the proposed extended version of the method, since the good agreement with results proposed in literature. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Roy Choudhury S.,Central University of Costa Rica | Gambino G.,University of Palermo
Nonlinear Dynamics | Year: 2013

In this paper, convergent, multi-infinite, series solutions are derived for the homoclinic orbits of a canonical fourth-order ODE system, in both reversible and non-reversible cases. This ODE includes traveling-wave reductions of many important non-linear PDEs or PDE systems, for which these analytical solutions would correspond to regular or localized pulses of the PDE. As such, the homoclinic solutions derived here are clearly topical, and they are shown to match closely to earlier results obtained by homoclinic numerical shooting. In addition, the results for the non-reversible case go beyond those that have been typically considered in analyses conducted within bifurcation-theoretic settings. We also comment on generalizing the treatment here to parameter regimes where solutions homoclinic to exponentially small periodic orbits are known to exist, as well as another possible extension placing the solutions derived here within the framework of a comprehensive categorization of ALL possible traveling-wave solutions, both smooth and non-smooth, for our governing ODE. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Paoli A.,University of Padua | Bianco A.,University of Palermo | Grimaldi K.A.,National Technical University of Athens
Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews | Year: 2015

The ketogenic diet (KD) is used widely as a weight loss strategy and, more rarely, as therapy for some diseases. In many sports, weight control is often necessary (boxing, weightlifting, wrestling, etc.), but the KD usually is not considered. Our hypothesis is that KD might be used to achieve fat loss without affecting strength/power performance negatively. © 2015 by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Lupo T.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Reliability, Quality and Safety Engineering | Year: 2014

Economic design approaches of control charts are commonly based on the assumption that various cost parameters values and the occurrence risk of assignable causes have to be a priori known with precision. However, in real operative contexts, such parameters can be really difficult to accurately estimate, especially considering costs arising from out-of-control conditions of the process. As consequence, pure economic design approaches can involve chart schemes with low statistical performance. To overcome such limitation, it is herein proposed a multi-objective economic-statistical design approach for an adaptive X-bar chart. In particular, such approach aims at the minimization of both the total quality related costs and the out-of-control average run length, in such a way assuring an optimal trade-off between economic and statistical performance of the related control procedure. Moreover, for a robust design approach, the mean shift is considered as a random variable. A mixed integer nonlinear constrained mathematical model is formulated to solve the treated problem, whereas the Pareto optimal frontier is described by the ε-constraint method. In order to show the employment of the proposed approach, an illustrative example is developed and the related considerations are given. Finally, some sensitivity analysis is also performed to investigate the effects of operative and costs parameters on chart parameters. © 2014 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Urso C.,University of Palermo
La Clinica terapeutica | Year: 2010

Adhesion molecules play a significant role in leukocyte migration across the endothelium and are also involved in regulating immune system. It is shown that diabetic patients have an increase of soluble adhesion molecules (sICAM-1, sICAM-2, sVCAM-1, sE-selectin, sL-selectin, sP-selectin) considered an integral part of inflammatory state. This inflammation is responsible for the increased cardiovascular risk of these patients. There is a close link between hyperglycemia, oxidative stress, coagulopathy and inflammation and between these factors and the vascular damage. Various studies have showed the potential role of adhesion molecules in the pathogenesis of diabetic vasculopathy. They promote leukocyte recruitment, which is one of the initial steps in the genesis of atherosclerotic plaque. Adhesion molecules are also involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus type 1; sICAM-1 would have a particular immunomodulatory role in the process of destroying beta-cells and could be used as a subclinical marker of insulitis. Plasma levels of soluble adhesion molecules correlate with hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and obesity; they are associated with the development of nephropathy, retinopathy, myocardial infarction, stroke and obliterant peripheral arterial disease in diabetic type 1 and 2. Given the role of these molecules in endothelial dysfunction genesis and tissue damage associated with diabetes, they could constitute a therapeutic target for the prevention of genesis and progression of chronic complications of diabetic disease.

Cuccia A.M.,University of Palermo
Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies | Year: 2011

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of different jaw relationships on the plantar arch during gait. Methods: 168 subjects, participating in this study, were distributed into two groups: a control (32 males and 52 females, ranging from 18 to 36 years of age) and a Temporomandibular joint disorders group (28 males and 56 females, ranging from 19 to 42 years of age). Five baropodometric variables were evaluated using a baropodometric platform: the mean load pressure on the plantar surface, the total surface of feet, forefoot vs rearfoot loading, forefoot vs rearfoot surface, and the percentage of body weight on each limb. The tests were performed in three dental occlusion conditions: mandibular rest position (REST); voluntary teeth clenching (VTC); and cotton rolls placed between the upper and the lower dental arches without clenching (CR). The variables were analyzed through repeated measures ANOVA. The Mann-Whitney test was used to compare the postural parameters of the two groups. The level of significance was p < 0.05. Results: As to the intra-group analysis of TMD group, all posturographic parameters in both lower limbs showed a significant difference between REST vs CR (P < 0.001) and between VTC vs CR (p < 0.001), except for the percentage of body weight on each limb. The control group showed a significant difference between REST vs VTC, REST vs CR and VTC vs CR (p < 0.001) in the mean load pressure on the plantar arch, forefoot surface, rearfoot surface and total surface of feet. The mean load pressure on the plantar arch in VTC, and the forefoot and total surfaces of feet in CR (p < 0.05) were significantly higher in the TMD group in both limbs. The results of this study indicate that there are differences in the plantar arch between the TMD group and control group and that, in each group, the condition of voluntary tooth clenching determines a load reduction and an increase in surface on both feet, while the inverse situation occurs with cotton rolls. The results also suggest that a change in the load distribution between forefoot and backfoot when cotton rolls were placed between the dental arches can be considered as a possible indicator of a pathological condition of the stomatognathic system (SS) which could influence posture. Therefore the use of posture monitoring systems during the treatment of stomatognathic system is justified. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Militello B.,University of Palermo
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2012

Temperature can be responsible for strengthening effective couplings between quantum states, determining a hierarchy of interactions, and making it possible to establish such dynamical regimes known as Zeno dynamics, wherein a strong coupling can hinder the effects of a weak one. The relevant physical mechanisms which connect the structure of a thermal state with the appearance of special dynamical regimes are analyzed in depth. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Vicari G.,University of Turin | Vicari G.,University of Palermo | Adenzato M.,University of Turin | Adenzato M.,Neuroscience Institute of Turin
Consciousness and Cognition | Year: 2014

In their 2002 seminal paper Hauser, Chomsky and Fitch hypothesize that recursion is the only human-specific and language-specific mechanism of the faculty of language. While debate focused primarily on the meaning of recursion in the hypothesis and on the human-specific and syntax-specific character of recursion, the present work focuses on the claim that recursion is language-specific. We argue that there are recursive structures in the domain of motor intentionality by way of extending John R. Searle's analysis of intentional action. We then discuss evidence from cognitive science and neuroscience supporting the claim that motor-intentional recursion is language-independent and suggest some explanatory hypotheses: (1) linguistic recursion is embodied in sensory-motor processing; (2) linguistic and motor-intentional recursions are distinct and mutually independent mechanisms. Finally, we propose some reflections about the epistemic status of HCF as presenting an empirically falsifiable hypothesis, and on the possibility of testing recursion in different cognitive domains. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Termini D.,University of Palermo
Procedia Engineering | Year: 2014

Quantitative estimate of sediment transport in alluvial channels is one of the most important task in river engineering. Even today, numerical models of sediment transport processes are confronted with some difficulties, often of conceptual nature. One of these difficulties is the simulation of non-uniform sediment transport in non-equilibrium situations, which requires the characterization of the ability of the alluvial system to immediately overcome the variations of the sediment boundary conditions. In this work a 1-D numerical model, which includes a new expression of the so-called "adaptation coefficient", has been applied to test its capability to simulate the transient bed profiles. Specifically, the model has been applied to predict bedlevel changes due to sediment overloading and sediment cut-off. The model's application to literature study cases (used by other researchers to assess coupled models) has shown that it gives reasonable results and, thus, it appears suitable for practical applications © 2013 The Authors.

Adelfio G.,University of Palermo
Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics | Year: 2010

The aim of this paper is to find a convenient and effective method of displaying some second order properties in a neighbourhood of a selected point of the process. The used techniques are based on very general high-dimensional nonparametric smoothing developed to define a more general version of the conditional intensity function introduced in earlier earthquake studies by Vere-Jones (1978). © 2010 Author(s).

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

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

Schillaci D.,University of Palermo
Biofouling | Year: 2010

With the goal of discovering new anti-infective agents active against microbial biofilms, this investigation focused on some natural pyrrolomycins, a family of halogenated pyrrole antibiotics. In this study the anti-staphylococcal biofilm activity of pyrrolomycins C, D, F1, F2a, F2b, F3 and of the synthesized related compounds I, II, III were investigated. The susceptibility of six staphylococcal biofilms was determined by methyltiazotetrazolium staining. Most of the compounds were active at concentrations of 1.5 microg ml(-1) with significant inhibition percentages. A few of the compounds were active at the lowest screening concentration of 0.045 microg ml(-1). The population log reduction of activity against the two best biofilm forming Staphylococcus aureus strains as determined by viable plate counts is also reported. In order to adequately assess the utility of these compounds, their toxicity against human cells was evaluated. It is concluded that pyrrolomycins and synthetic derivatives are promising compounds for developing novel effective chemical countermeasures against staphylococcal biofilms.

In this paper a simplified analytical model able to reproduce the flexural behavior of external beam-column joints under monotonic loading is presented, to be used for pushover analysis. The subassemblage (beam, column and joint) is subjected to a constant vertical load acting on the column and to a monotonically increasing lateral force applied at the tip of the beam. The model is specific for hooked steel fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC) and is designed to calculate the flexural response in the form of a load-deflection curve, of beam-column subassemblages. No bond failure and shear deformations are considered in the present paper. The model includes shear-to-moment interaction for beams and columns and is based on the determination of elastic-plastic behavior of the beam and of the columns, the latter being obtained from knowledge of the ultimate moment associated with the design axial force and deduced through a simplified moment axial force domain. The experimental results available in the literature are compared with the results obtained using the proposed model, showing good agreement. Finally, the model can be usefully utilized for the design of external joints with weak beams and strong columns. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Accetta A.,University of Palermo | Cirrincione M.,University of Technology of Belfort - Montbeliard | Pucci M.,CNR Institute of Intelligent Systems for Automation | Vitale G.,CNR Institute of Intelligent Systems for Automation
IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics | Year: 2012

This paper presents a sensorless technique for permanent-magnet synchronous motors (PMSMs) based on high-frequency pulsating voltage injection. Starting from a speed estimation scheme well known in the literature, this paper proposes the adoption of a neural network (NN) based adaptive variable-band filter instead of a fixed-bandwidth filter, needed for catching the speed information from the sidebands of the stator current. The proposed NN filter is based on a linear NN adaptive linear neuron (ADALINE), trained with a classic least mean squares (LMS) algorithm, and is twice adaptive. From one side, it is adaptive in the sense that its weights are adapted online recursively. From another side, its bandwidth is made adaptive during the running of the drive, acting directly on the learning rate of the NN filter itself. The immediate consequence of adopting a variable-band structure is the possibility to enlarge significantly the working speed range of the sensorless drive, which can be increased by a factor of five. The proposed observer has been tested experimentally on a fractional horsepower PMSM drive and has been compared also with a fixed-bandwidth structure. © 2011 IEEE.

Costa V.,University of Palermo
Acta Medica Mediterranea | Year: 2012

Aphasia is a receptive and expressive communication disorder following to a cerebral accident (stroke, head injury, tumor). Classical speech and language therapy was not able to significantly contribute to the aphasia recovery. In the last decade two noninvasive cerebral techniques, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), have been used for the treatment of aphasic patients. In this paper I will report some of the main results in this field. The aim is to highlight both coherent and contrasting outcomes emerging from the use of these techniques and to understand their therapeutic potential in the treatment of aphasia.

Certini G.,University of Florence | Scalenghe R.,University of Palermo | Woods W.I.,University of Kansas
Earth-Science Reviews | Year: 2013

One of the most dramatic ways humans can affect soil properties is through the performance of military activities. Warfare-induced disturbances to soil are basically of three types - physical, chemical, and biological - and are aimed at causing direct problems to enemies or, more often, are indirect, undesired ramifications. Physical disturbances to soil include sealing due to building of defensive infrastructures, excavation of trenches or tunnels, compaction by traffic of machinery and troops, or cratering by bombs. Chemical disturbances consist of the input of pollutants such as oil, heavy metals, nitroaromatic explosives, organophosphorus nerve agents, dioxins from herbicides, or radioactive elements. Biological disturbances occur as unintentional consequences of the impact on the physical and chemical properties of soil or the deliberate introduction of microorganisms lethal to higher animals and humans such as botulin or anthrax. Soil represents a secure niche where such pathogens can perpetuate their virulence for decades.Soil morphology, composition, and biology can be profoundly modified by warfare activities in either wartime or peacetime (e.g. at test-firing facilities), and complete recovery of some characteristics can require years or even centuries. A few soil functions can be definitively compromised, if appropriate reclaiming techniques are not carried out. Such techniques often are extremely expensive, as in the case of contamination by dioxins or radionuclides, and remediation can even impel the complete removal of the polluted soil and its substitution with soil material from elsewhere. Taking into account how much of the pedosphere is currently and was in the past involved in warfare, warfare is actually a major means by which humans play a recognized role as a soil forming factor, as well as the parent material, topography, time, climate, and organisms not endowed with the power of reason. The variegated impact of warfare on the soil environment is reviewed here. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

This paper presents a novel delay model for MCML circuits valid in all the regions of operation of the MOS transistor, i.e., weak inversion (sub-threshold), moderate inversion (near-threshold) and strong inversion. The proposed delay model was employed to develop an automated methodology for the energy-efficient design of such circuits. The tradeoff that can be realized between energy and delay was investigated. Experiments were performed using different technologies to understand the impact of technology scaling on that tradeoff too. Major results of this study are as follows. In a circuit designed for minimum energy consumption, the minimum energy point occurs in the near-threshold region and a noticeable reduction in delay is possible by relaxing the energy constraint. Moreover, technology scaling positively affects this tradeoff. © IEICE 2013.

Granata M.F.,University of Palermo
Construction and Building Materials | Year: 2015

An experimental study on the rheological and mechanical properties of self-compacting concrete with pumice powder used as filler additive is presented. Self-compacting concrete (SCC) shows its peculiar characteristics in the fresh state and many researches have been developed with reference to its rheological characteristics paying attention to the techniques of self-compacting properties assessment. One of the most important aspect in concrete mix-design is the type and the amount of fillers with respect to water and cement: this amount has great influence not only on self-compacting properties (fluidity, segregation, etc.), but also on the mechanical properties of the mixture. Volcanic materials like white pumice have pozzolanic properties, so that it is possible to use powdered pumice in SCC manufacturing with a double effect: on one hand as filler and on another hand as a pozzolanic element in the mixture. The experimental campaign investigates SCC properties when white pumice powder is used as filler with or instead of silica fumes or flying ashes. From the rheological model of the paste, varying the components of the mixture, the determination of pumice powder amount and the consequences on the rheological properties of SCC are investigated. SCC with pumice powder is compared to other mixtures with silica fume and marble powder as filler, through tests on fresh and hardened concrete. Compressive and tensile strength tests were carried out together with the evaluation of fracture energy with the aim of characterizing the constitutive law of SCC with pumice powder. Results from shrinkage tests in the first days of curing are reported and comparisons with ordinary concrete manufactured with the same basic components are shown in order to evaluate the suitability and effectiveness of pumice powder added as filler to self-compacting concrete mix-design. Pozzolanicity of pumice strictly influences the mechanical properties with a significant increase of compressive strength after 28 days of curing. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Caimi G.,University of Palermo
Clinical hemorheology and microcirculation | Year: 2013

Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is accompanied by oxidative stress, and protein oxidation is among the consequences of oxidative stress. We examined the plasma concentration of protein carbonyl groups (PC), a marker of protein oxidation, in a group of young subjects with AMI (45 men and 5 women; mean age 40.4 ± 4.8 yrs). We found a significant increase of PC (p < 0.001) in comparison with normal controls. No difference was observed between patients with AMI characterized by elevated ST segment and those without elevation of ST segment. There was no correlation between the ejection fraction and PC in the whole group nor in the subgroups of STEMI and non-STEMI patients. Subdividing the whole group of AMI patients according to the number of risk factors and the number of stenosed coronary vessels, the difference in PC level was not statistically significant among the subgroups. This study showed an increased protein oxidation in young subjects with recent AMI. Further investigation is needed to ascertain whether this can be a target of therapeutic intervention.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo | Znojil M.,Nuclear Physics Institute of Czech Republic
Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical | Year: 2012

A close parallelism between the notions of nonlinear pseudobosons and those of an apparent non-Hermiticity of observables as shown in part I (2011 J. Phys. A: Math. Theor. 44 415305) is demonstrated to survive the transition to the quantum models using an unbounded metric in the so-called standard Hilbert space of states. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Cusumano P.,University of Palermo
Solid-State Electronics | Year: 2016

We report the results of lifetime DC testing at constant current of not-encapsulated organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) based on Tris (8 idroxyquinoline) aluminum (Alq3) as emitting material. In particular, a voltage decrease during the initial stage of the lifetime test is observed. The cause of this behavior is also discussed, mainly linked to initial Joule self-heating of the device, rising its temperature above room temperature until thermal equilibrium is reached at steady state. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Cataldo F.,University of Palermo
Italian Journal of Pediatrics | Year: 2012

Background: In the last years Italy is confronting with massive migratory movements from developing countries where hemoglobinopathies are widespread. This is causing a large diffusion and a changing spectrum in the epidemiology of hemoglobin disorders in Italy. Methods. Investigations recently published in Italy on hemoglobinopathies among immigrants were revised in order to appreciate the impact of immigration from developing countries on epidemiology of these pathologies and to outline adequate guidelines of prevention. Results: Although in Italy there is a limited number of investigations regarding the relation between immigration and hemoglobin disorders, published data show that in our Nation there is a changing and increasing spectrum of hemoglobinopathies linked to immigration. Conclusions: Prospective and retrospective actions of public healthy preventive policy are requested, based upon information (health educational programs for immigrants and caregivers), screenings among immigrants (school screening, pre-marital, preconception and early pregnancy screening, newborn screening), counseling for foreign at-risk couples and healthy carriers. © 2012 Cataldo; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Iurato G.,University of Palermo
Proceedings of 2014 IEEE 13th International Conference on Cognitive Informatics and Cognitive Computing, ICCI*CC 2014 | Year: 2014

In this paper, we wish to highlight, within the general cultural context, some possible elementary computational psychoanalysis formalizations concerning Matte Blanco's bi-logic components through certain very elementary mathematical tools and notions drawn from theoretical physics and algebra. © 2014 IEEE.

Scichilone N.,University of Palermo
Advances in Therapy | Year: 2015

Inhaled therapy is the cornerstone of asthma management in that it optimizes the delivery of the medication to the site of action. The effectiveness of inhaled therapy is affected by the correct choice of the device and proper inhalation technique. In fact, this influences the drug delivery and distribution along the bronchial tree, including the most peripheral airways. In this context, accumulating evidence supports the contribution of small airways in asthma, and these have become an important target of treatment. In reality, the “ideal inhaler” does not exist, and not all inhalers are the same. Advances in technology has highlighted these differences, and have led to the design of new devices and the development of formulations characterized by extrafine particles that facilitate the distribution and deposition of the drug particles along the respiratory tract. In addition, efforts have been made to implement adherence to chronic treatment, which translates into clinical benefit. Taken together, the optimal control of asthma depends on the drug that is selected, the device that is employed and the removal of factors that reduce patient’s adherence to therapy. © 2015, The Author(s).

Gilio A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Sanfilippo G.,University of Palermo
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2013

We consider conditional random quantities (c.r.q.'s) in the setting of coherence. Given a numerical r.q. X and a non impossible event H, based on betting scheme we represent the c.r.q. X|H as the unconditional r.q. XH + μH c, where μ is the prevision assessed for X|H. We develop some elements for an algebra of c.r.q.'s, by giving a condition under which two c.r.q.'s X|H and Y|K coincide. We show that X|HK coincides with a suitable c.r.q. Y|K and we apply this representation to Bayesian updating of probabilities, by also deepening some aspects of Bayes' formula. Then, we introduce a notion of iterated c.r.q. (X|H)|K, by analyzing its relationship with X|HK. Our notion of iterated conditional cannot formalize Bayesian updating but has an economic rationale. Finally, we define the coherence for prevision assessments on iterated c.r.q.'s and we give an illustrative example. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Milazzo A.,University of Palermo
Composite Structures | Year: 2015

A variable kinematics approach for moderately large deflection analysis of smart magneto-electro-elastic multilayered plates is presented. The approach is based on the condensation of the electro-magnetic state into the plate kinematics, whose nonlinear strain-displacement relationships are expressed in the von Karman sense. This leads to models resulting in an effective mechanical plate, which takes the multifield coupling effects into account by the plate stiffness, inertia and loading characteristics, consistently defined as combinations of the layers material properties. By a unified approach, both equivalent single layer and layerwise models are developed formulating the associated isoparametric finite elements. Results are presented for different kinematics with through-the-thickness expansion up to the fourth order with the aim of validating the modeling strategy and showing its features for the investigation of smart plates geometrical nonlinear behaviour. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Caruso M.,University of Palermo
Internal medicine (Tokyo, Japan) | Year: 2011

A 50-year-old man was referred to our hospital because of persistent atypical chest pain. His past medical history was remarkable for a non ST elevation myocardial infarction, treated five months previously with PCI on the right coronary artery. Two months later, for chest pain, he underwent coronary angiography that showed a right coronary artery with slight ectasia near the stent. Five months later for the persistence of atypical chest pain he came to our clinic. Chest CT showed a 31.5 mm hematoma of the right coronary artery. Coronary angiography revealed a giant aneurysm, proximal to the stent. In the light of rapid growth of aneurysm, the risk of rupture and symptoms, we decided to treat the aneurysm with covered stents. The patient underwent successful PCI with regression of symptoms.

Cosenza B.,University of Palermo
Expert Systems with Applications | Year: 2012

The target of this paper is to describe the use of fuzzy techniques in the development of a decision support system that allows the optimization of postprandial glycemia in type 1 diabetes patients taking into account the kind of meal taken by patients, the preprandial glycemia and the insulin resistance (the response of the body to insulin dose injection therapy). The decision support system can, in many cases, provide patients with the correct number of rapid insulin units that must be assumed to assure an optimal glycemic profile, keeping the blood glucose level close to the homeostatic condition, several hours after the meal. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Corona O.,University of Palermo
South African Journal of Enology and Viticulture | Year: 2010

To protect varietal aromas from oxidation before alcoholic fermentation, two grape must samples were prepared from white grapes potentially low in copper, pre-cooled and supplemented with ascorbic acid and solid CO2 (trial ACO2) or SO2 (trial BSO2). The wines prepared from musts protected from oxidation had aroma descriptors that included "passion fruit" and "grapefruit skin". The lower concentrations of flavanols in the ACO2 trial demonstrated that the use of solid CO2 as an oxidation preventative instead of SO2 reduced the extraction of these polyphenols from the grape solids. The higher concentration of hydroxycinnamoyl tartaric acids of the wine from the ACO2 trial with respect to BSO2 was ascribed to the lower grape polyphenoloxidase activity induced by the lower oxygen level in the ACO2 trial, or to the combination of caftaric acid quinone with the SO2 in BSO2. Although the grapes were very ripe (alcohol in wines ~ 14.5% vol), the wines made with musts prepared by the two techniques were characterised by aroma descriptors like "passion fruit" and "grapefruit skin", and these aromas were not detected in the wines prepared from unprotected musts.

Mannino A.M.,University of Palermo
Cryptogamie, Algologie | Year: 2010

The algal community of a shallow system located in Western Sicily (Mediterranean Sea) has been investigated over 1 year in eight ponds (fredde). The spatiotemporal variation in total algal coverage, species richness and coverage in relation to environmental variables has been analysed. The algal community was very species-poor. A total of 50 taxa, mainly detached algae, was identified. A dominance of filamentous and foliose taxa was observed. Significant spatio-temporal differences in total algal coverage, species richness and coverage among the ponds of group A and those of group B were found. The separation into groups A and B was made a priori on the basis of different levels of proximity to the sea and anthropogenic pressure. In particular, the algal assemblage of ponds of group B, closer to the sea and subjected to a lower anthropogenic pressure, showed a good structure and the highest species richness. The separation of the ponds was successively confirmed by PERMANOVA. This study confirmed the effectiveness of using species as descriptors of spatio-temporal responses of the algal community to environmental variations. © 2010 Adac. Tous droits réservés.

Bagarello F.,University of Palermo
International Journal of Theoretical Physics | Year: 2012

We show how to use operators in the description of exchanging processes often taking place in (complex) classical systems. In particular, we propose a set of rules giving rise to an Hamiltonian operator for such a system S, which can be used to deduce the dynamics of S. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Benedetti I.,University of Palermo | Aliabadi M.H.,Imperial College London
International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering | Year: 2010

In this work a fast solver for large-scale three-dimensional elastodynamic crack problems is presented, implemented, and tested. The dual boundary element method in the Laplace transform domain is used for the accurate dynamic analysis of cracked bodies. The fast solution procedure is based on the use of hierarchical matrices for the representation of the collocation matrix for each computed value of the Laplace parameter. An ACA (adaptive cross approximation) algorithm is used for the population of the low rank blocks and its performance at varying Laplace parameters is investigated. A preconditioned GMRES is used for the solution of the resulting algebraic system of equations. The preconditioners are built exploiting the hierarchical arithmetic and taking full advantage of the hierarchical format. An original strategy, based on the computation of some local preconditioners only, is presented and tested to further speed up the overall analysis. The reported numerical results demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique for both uncracked and cracked solids and show significant reductions in terms of both memory storage and computational time. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..

Failla G.,University of Reggio Calabria | Santini A.,University of Reggio Calabria | Zingales M.,University of Palermo
Archive of Applied Mechanics | Year: 2013

Classical foundation models such as the Pasternak and the Reissner models have been recently reformulated within the framework of non-local mechanics, by using the gradient theory of elasticity. To contribute to the research effort in this field, this paper presents a two-dimensional foundation model built by using a mechanically based non-local elasticity theory, recently proposed by the authors. The foundation is thought of as an ensemble of soil column elements resting on an elastic base. It is assumed that each column element is acted upon by a local Winkler-like reaction force exerted by the elastic base, by contact shear forces and volume forces due, respectively, to adjacent and non-adjacent column elements. As in the Pasternak model, the contact shear forces involve the second-order derivative of the column element displacement. The volume forces are non-local forces assumed to depend (1) on the relative displacement between the interacting column elements through power-law distance-decaying attenuation functions and (2) on the product between the volumes of the interacting column elements. As a result, the equilibrium equations are fractional differential equations, for which a numerical solution can be readily found based on the finite difference method. Solutions are built for different foundation shapes and loading conditions. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Pasta S.,University of Palermo
Experimental Mechanics | Year: 2013

Fatigue life of fastener holes can be enhanced via a cold-expansion process to introduce a compressive residual stress field around the hole edge and to reduce crack growth propagation. Considering that aerospace components contain multiple rows of holes, the present investigation focuses on the evaluation of the three-dimensional residual stress distribution in adjacent cold-expanded (CE) holes. The redistribution of residual stresses caused by a cut introduced between two adjacent holes was also investigated. Finite element (FE) analysis and experimental technique were used to assess the residual stress distribution in a 6082-T6 aluminum plate with two adjacent holes expanded sequentially at 4 % nominal interference. The influence of center-to-center distance between holes was explored to assess the optimal level of separation between adjacent holes. Results suggested that residual stresses near second CE hole are markedly lower than those of first CE hole and that a cutting process does not affect the beneficial compressive residual stress around CE holes. These effects may delay fatigue crack propagation from CE holes or cut-out holes. © 2012 Society for Experimental Mechanics.

Barone G.,Tokyo Polytechnic University | Pirrotta A.,University of Palermo
Journal of Engineering Mechanics | Year: 2013

In this paper, complex variable boundary element method (CVBEM) is used for the solution of de Saint-Venant's torsion problem in homogenous isotropic elastic beams with a generic cross section, considering a complex potential function related to the stress field. Generally, CVBEM, when used for torsion problems, leads to evaluation of the stress field divided by the twist rotation. The latter has been evaluated by performing a domain integral. In this paper, taking advantage of the aforementioned potential function, it is possible, by applying CVBEM, to evaluate the complete stress distribution and the twist rotation of the cross section and the torsional stiffness factor, performing line integrals only. Numerical results were compared with both analytical and numerical results proposed by other authors, thus assessing the validity of the proposed method. © 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Cellura M.,University of Palermo | Heijungs R.,Leiden University
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2010

Purpose: The matrix method for the solution of the so-called inventory problem in LCA generally determines the inventory vector related to a specific system of processes by solving a system of linear equations. The paper proposes a new approach to deal with systems characterized by a rectangular (and thus non-invertible) coefficients matrix. The approach, based on the application of regression techniques, allows solving the system without using computational expedients such as the allocation procedure. Methods: The regression techniques used in the paper are (besides the ordinary least squares, OLS) total least squares (TLS) and data least squares (DLS). In this paper, the authors present the application of TLS and DLS to a case study related to the production of bricks, showing the differences between the results accomplished by the traditional matrix approach and those obtained with these techniques. The system boundaries were chosen such that the resulting technology matrix was not too big and thus easy to display, but at the same time complex enough to provide a valid demonstrative example for analyzing the results of the application of the above-described techniques. Results and discussion: The results obtained for the case study taken into consideration showed an obvious but not overwhelming difference between the inventory vectors obtained by using the least-squares techniques and those obtained with the solutions based upon allocation. The inventory vectors obtained with the DLS and TLS techniques are closer to those obtained with the physical rather than with the economic allocation. However, this finding most probably cannot be generalized to every inventory problem. Conclusions: Since the solution of the inventory problem in life cycle inventory (LCI) is not a standard forecasting problem because the real solution (the real inventory vector related to the investigated functional unit) is unknown, we are not able to compute a proper performance indicator for the implemented algorithms. However, considering that the obtained least squares solutions are unique and their differences from the traditional solutions are not overwhelming, this methodology is worthy of further investigation. Recommendations: In order to make TLS and DLS techniques a valuable alternative to the traditional allocation procedures, there is a need to optimize them for the very particular systems that commonly occur in LCI, i.e., systems with sparse coefficients matrices and a vector of constants whose entries are almost always all null but one. This optimization is crucial for their applicability in the LCI context. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Corriere F.,University of Palermo | Guerrieri M.,Kore University of Enna
ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences | Year: 2013

The correct sizing of storage areas in the port areas is aimed to optimizing the management of intermodal transport and to ensure efficiency and functionality to the entire port system. In this paper is proposed a simulation model for design the port storage areas taking into account many parameters like: the service time, the randomness of the arrivals process, the storage capacity in terms of TEU that can be stored (and handled) in the unit of time. The capacity of the terminal warehouse is determined by the interrelation between fixed and static parameters in the short period which are: i) the extension of the storage area; ii) the height of the overlapping batteries of container (defined also like number of "shooting"); iii) the means of movements; iv) a series of parameters that can vary the efficiency degree according to the operativity conditions of the terminal. The optimal level of use is achieved when it is employed approximately the 60-65% of the maximum storage capacity; it is kept in account, therefore, a tolerance necessary in order to make forehead to eventual peaks of traffic. © 2006-2013 Asian Research Publishing Network (ARPN).

Ammari H.,Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris | Ciraolo G.,University of Palermo | Kang H.,Inha University | Lee H.,Inha University | Yun K.,Hankuk University of foreign Studies
Archive for Rational Mechanics and Analysis | Year: 2013

When holes or hard elastic inclusions are closely located, stress which is the gradient of the solution to the anti-plane elasticity equation can be arbitrarily large as the distance between two inclusions tends to zero. It is important to precisely characterize the blow-up of the gradient of such an equation. In this paper we show that the blow-up of the gradient can be characterized by a singular function defined by the single layer potential of an eigenfunction corresponding to the eigenvalue 1/2 of a Neumann-Poincaré type operator defined on the boundaries of the inclusions. By comparing the singular function with the one corresponding to two disks osculating to the inclusions, we quantitatively characterize the blow-up of the gradient in terms of explicit functions. In electrostatics, our results apply to the electric field, which is the gradient of the solution to the conductivity equation, in the case where perfectly conducting or insulating inclusions are closely located. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Lupo T.,University of Palermo
European Transport - Trasporti Europei | Year: 2013

Customer satisfaction analyses are deeply based on customers' judgments and as consequence, they can be characterized by a certain degree of uncertainty generally ascribed to coexistence of three relevant aspects: vagueness, imprecision and subjectivity. In the present paper, a methodology able to handle such uncertainty, based on the ServQual discrepancy paradigm and that uses in combined manner the AHP method and the Fuzzy Sets Theory is proposed in order to overcome limitations of the traditional service evaluation approaches. Subsequently, by considering the Italian public transit service sector, a service quality analysis is conducted and the overall transit service quality structure is described. Finally, by using the developed methodology, the evaluation of customer satisfaction for the public urban transit service provided in the city of Palermo (Italy) is performed, and the prioritizing of its critical to quality service attributes is carried out. The obtained results show that only few service attributes play an important role in performing a quality transit service.

Campione G.,University of Palermo
Practice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction | Year: 2013

In this paper, an analytical model for the design of axially loaded strengthened RC columns with steel angles and battens is presented. Cases of directly loaded and not directly loaded steel angles are considered. The model considers the contribution in confinement pressures caused by transverse battens and steel angles and the contribution in terms of the load-carrying capacity of steel angles subjected to axial force and the bending moment. An experimental investigation on the compressive behavior of eight short, confined, RC columns externally strengthened with steel angles and steel battens with various pitches was carried out, and has been utilized as support for the analytical model. The analytical results generated are compared with the experimental data available in the literature and with those obtained by using existing analytical models. The comparison shows the acceptable prediction of the experimental results in both cases of directly loaded and not directly loaded steel angles. Finally, some design rules given by recent codes for the design of this strengthening technique are discussed using the proposed model. © 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Traverso M.,TU Berlin | Rizzo G.,University of Palermo | Finkbeiner M.,TU Berlin
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2010

Background, aim, and scope: The building sector is strategically important for achieving sustainability. Therefore, the improvement of energy and environmental performances are relevant targets because precious building materials such as marble have a significant impact on the environment. The aim of this paper is an analysis of a typical Sicilian marble (Perlato di Sicilia) to evaluate its energy and environmental performance. Marble plays an important role in the economy of Italy and has a global market share of 58% in terms of exports. For the main production areas of marble, relevant environmental performance data are missing except for one region (Tuscany-Massa e Carrara province). Perlato di Sicilia, the main marble of Custonaci (Sicily), has never been analyzed previously. Materials and methods: Life cycle assessment (LCA) according to ISO 14040/44 is applied to marble tiles and slabs. For the life cycle inventory, data were collected from a representative plant in the Custonaci basin. In this small area of 69 km2, about 54 quarries and related cutting plants are concentrated. The impact assessment includes the following categories: global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential (AP), eutrophication potential (EP), and photochemical oxidation (POCP), following the CML-IA baseline 2007. Results: The results of the impact assessment for 1 m3 of marble tiles are 314.8 kg CO2eq of GWP, 1.19 kg SO2eq of AP, 0.073 g PO4 - -eq of EP, and 0.046 kg ethyleneeq of POCP. For slabs, the corresponding results were 200.1 kg CO2eq of GWP, 0.77 kg SO2eq of AP, 0.053 kg PO 4 - -eq of EP, and 0.029 kg ethyleneeq of POCP. The total embodied energy values of tiles and slabs are, respectively, 1,772 MJ/m 3 and 1,168 MJ/m3. This comparison shows that tiles manufacturing has higher values of embodied energy and environmental performance indicators. The value of the Custonaci slabs is reasonable compared to the Carrara marble (mainly slabs), and the embodied energy value of which is between 698 MJ/m3 and 1,414 MJ/m3. The main contribution to the energy consumption is due to electricity demand: 80% for tiles and 75% for slabs. Moreover, a comparison with the European type I Ecolabel criteria for natural hard floor coverings has been carried out to understand the range of the environmental impacts of Perlato di Sicilia compared to the thresholds reported in European Decision 272/2002. Conclusions, recommendations, and perspectives: This study is the first LCA of a typical Sicilian marble. The environmental interventions of the Custonaci marble appear to be slightly higher than Carrara marble. The nature of Custonaci marble and the technology involved in its production have reached the same performance level as in Carrara. Nevertheless, Custonaci marble is on the way to being an environmentally friendly product, as is shown by the comparison with Ecolabel criteria. The hot spots determined in this study are: the amount of spoils produced during the extraction step, the disposal of sludge resulting from cutting and finishing directly in the sawmill, the lack of the water recycling treatment in the quarry itself (as outlined in the European Ecolabel criteria), and the high electricity consumption. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.

Iapichino G.,University of Palermo
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2013

The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus L. var. scolymus) is a perennial plant cultivated in the Mediterranean region and the Americas for its edible young flower heads. Although vegetative propagation by offshoots or by "ovoli" (underground dormant axillary buds) has been the primary method of propagation, the potential for the diffusion of diseases and the phenotypic variability can be very high. The propagation of this species by axillary shoot proliferation from in vitro-cultured meristems produces systemic pathogen-free plants and a higher multiplication rate as compared to that obtained by conventional agamic multiplication. Axillary shoot proliferation can be induced from excised shoot apices cultured on Murashige and Skoog agar solidified medium supplemented with various concentrations of cytokinins and auxins, depending on genotype. For the production of virus-free plants, meristems, 0.3-0.8 mm long are excised from shoot apices and surface sterilized. The transfer of artichoke microshoots to a medium lacking cytokinins or with low cytokinin concentration is critical for rooting. Adventitious roots develop within 3-5 weeks after transfer to root induction MS medium containing NAA or IAA at various concentrations. However, in vitro rooting frequency rate is dependent on the genotype and the protocol used. Acclimatization of in vitro microshoots having 3-4 roots is successfully accomplished; plantlets develop new roots in ex vitro conditions and continue to grow. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Bartolo N.,University of Trento | Passante R.,University of Palermo
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2012

We consider the electric- and magnetic-field fluctuations in the vacuum state in the region external to a half space filled with a homogeneous nondissipative dielectric. We discuss an appropriate limit to an ideal metal and concentrate our interest on the renormalized field fluctuations, or equivalently on the renormalized electric and magnetic energy densities, in the proximity of the dielectric-vacuum interface. We show that surface divergences of field fluctuations arise at the interface in an appropriate ideal conductor limit, and that our limiting procedure allows us to discuss their structure in detail. Field fluctuations close to the surface can be investigated through the retarded Casimir-Polder interaction with an appropriate polarizable body. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Patti R.,University of Palermo
Colorectal disease : the official journal of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland | Year: 2010

Lateral internal sphincterotomy is considered the surgical treatment of choice for chronic anal fissure after failure of medical therapy but it risks continence. The aim of the study was to evaluate fissurectomy with advancement flap for anterior chronic anal fissure (CAAF) resistant to medical therapy. Sixteen women with CAAF without hypertonia of the internal anal sphincter, unresponsive to previous medical treatment, were included in the study. Absence of hypertonia was defined as a maximum anal resting pressure (MRP) of less than 85 mmHg. All patients underwent fissurectomy with an advancement skin flap. Complete healing occurred in all patients within 30 days. The intensity and the duration of pain after defecation reduced from the first postoperative defecation. MRP before surgery and at 6 months showed no significant difference. At 1 month, four patients experienced a continence disturbance, two of whom had it preoperatively. At 12 months, two (12.5%) patients continued to experience a continence disturbance. Fissurectomy with skin advancement flap resulted in complete healing and full relief of symptoms in all patients. There was a low incidence of continence disturbance. © 2010 The Authors. Colorectal Disease © 2010 The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland.

Mignosi F.,University of LAquila | Restivo A.,University of Palermo
Theoretical Computer Science | Year: 2012

We prove that characteristic Sturmian words are extremal for the Critical Factorization Theorem (CFT) in the following sense. If px(n) denotes the local period of an infinite word x at point n, we prove that x is a characteristic Sturmian word if and only if px(n) is smaller than or equal to n+1 for all n<1 and it is equal to n+1 for infinitely many integers n. This result is extremal with respect to the CFT since a consequence of the CFT is that, for any infinite recurrent word x, either the function px is bounded, and in such a case x is periodic, or px(n)

The purification, cloning, sequencing, molecular properties and expression of a fucose-binding lectin from the serum of Dicentrarchus labrax (DlFBL) have been previously reported. We now describe the distribution and expression of DlFBL during fish ontogeny. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization assays were carried out at various developmental stages (from 10 days post-hatching larvae to juveniles). Another fucose-binding lectin, similar to DlFBL in biochemical, immunochemical and agglutinating properties, was extracted and purified from eggs and appeared to be localized in the embryo yolk sack residual. DlFBL was found in columnar and goblet cells of the intestinal epithelium of larvae (from 20 days post-hatching) and juveniles and in parenchymal tissue of juveniles. DlFBL mRNA and protein were detected in the intestinal epithelium and in hepatocytes. An amplification product from degenerate primers indicates that lectin isotypes with DlFBL epitopes are expressed in eggs and embryos. Whether the lectin fraction isolated from eggs and embryos includes DlFBL of maternal origin remains unclear.

Termini S.,University of Palermo
Studies in Fuzziness and Soft Computing | Year: 2012

The aim of this paper is twofold. First of all I want to present some old ideas revisited in the light of some of the many interesting new developments occurred in the course of these last ten years in the field of the foundations of fuzziness. Secondly I desire to present a tentative general framework in which it is possible to compare different attitudes and different approaches to the clarification of the conceptual problems arising from fuzziness and soft computing. In the paper, then, I shall use some names as banners to indicate a (crucial) problem (i.e., Carnap's problem, von Neumann's problem, Galileian science, Aristotelian science and so on). As it will be clear by reading the paper, the association of a name to a certain problem should not be considered as the result of a historically based profound investigation but only as a sort of slogan for a specific position and point of view. It is well known that Rudolf Carnap in the first pages of his Logical foundations of probability faced the (difficult) problem of the ways and procedures according to which a prescientific concept (which by its very nature is inexact) is trasformed into a (new) exact scientific concept. He called this transformation (the transition from the explicandum, the informal, qualitative, inexact prescientific notion to the explicatum, its scientific, quantitative, exact substitute) the procedure of explication, a procedure which, as Carnap immediately observed, presents a paradoxical aspect. While in ordinary scientific problems, he, in fact, observes, "both the datum and the solution are, under favorable conditions, formulated in exact terms ... in a problem of explication the datum, viz., the explicandum, is not given in exact terms; if it were, no explication would be necessary. Since the datum is inexact, the problem itself is not stated in exact terms; and yet we are asked to give an exact solution. This is one of the puzzling peculiarities of explication". One of the leading ideas of the paper will be to use the distinction made by Carnap between " explicandum" and "explicatum" to analyze a few conceptual questions arising in Fuzzy Set Theory (and Soft Computing). © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Termini S.,University of Palermo
Studies in Fuzziness and Soft Computing | Year: 2012

The aim of this paper is to underline the importance of detecting similarities or at least, 'family resemblances' among different fields of investigation. As a matter of fact, the attention will be focused mainly on fuzzy sets and a few features of human sciences; however, I hope that the arguments provided and the general context outlined will show that the problem of picking up (dis)similarities among different disciplines is of a more general interest. Usually strong dichotomies guide out attempts at understanding the paths along which scientific research proceed; i.e., soft versus hard sciences, humanities versus the sciences of nature, Naturwissenschaften versus Geisteswissenschaften, Kultur versus Zivilization, applied sciences and technology versus fundamental, basic (or, as has become recently fashionable to denote it, "curiosity driven") research. However, the similarity or dissimilarity of different fields of investigation is - to quote Lotfi Zadeh - "a matter of degree". This is particularly evident in the huge, composite, rich and chaotic field of the investigations having to do with the treatment of information, uncertainty, partial and revisable knowledge (and their application to different problems). The specific points treated in this paper can be then seen as case studies of a more general crucial question. A question which could be important in affording also the problems posed by interdisciplinarity. The specific point of the interaction between fuzzy sets and human sciences can be seen as an episode of a larger question. There is a long history, in fact, regarding the mutual relationship existing between the (so-called) humanities and the (so-called) hard sciences, that has produced the so-called question of the two Cultures. At the end of the paper possible epistemological similarities between the development of Fuzzy Set theory and new emerging disciplines, like Trust Theory, will be briefly discussed. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Pitarresi G.,University of Palermo | Galietti U.,Polytechnic of Bari
Strain | Year: 2010

In this study the thermoelastic signal from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) laminates is investigated. A comparison between the theoretical and experimental values of the thermoelastic signal is reported, with the theoretical predictions obtained from two different quantitative models. These models are based on the classic thermoelastic effect law extended to the case of orthotropic materials (by using the mesomechanical or bulk approach), and the modified law assuming that the surface resin-rich layer behaves as a strain witness of the laminate. It is found that the theoretical predictions of the two models can be strongly and differently influenced by the intrinsic orthotropy of carbon fibres. Some effects are highlighted in particular such as the influence of the laminate lay-up and the strong mismatch between the thermal expansion coefficients of the polymer matrix and the fibres. These influences are investigated analytically, predicting the thermoelastic signal from various lay-ups and using strain-based and stress-based analytical models. Experimental evidence of some theoretical findings is provided by reporting on tests performed on CFRP tensile samples manufactured from low-crimp unidirectional fabrics. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Panni S.,University of Calabria | Rombo S.E.,University of Palermo
Briefings in Bioinformatics | Year: 2013

We present here a compact overview of the data, models and methods proposed for the analysis of biological networks based on the search for significant repetitions. In particular, we concentrate on three problems widely studied in the literature: 'network alignment', 'network querying' and 'network motif extraction'. We provide (i) details of the experimental techniques used to obtain the main types of interaction data, (ii) descriptions of the models and approaches introduced to solve such problems and (iii) pointers to both the available databases and software tools. The intent is to lay out a useful roadmap for identifying suitable strategies to analyse cellular data, possibly based on the joint use of different interaction data types or analysis techniques. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press.

Mercatanti L.,University of Palermo
Geographical Review | Year: 2013

Sicily's uneven geological structure is positioned within a system of tectonic plates, and its very active volcano has always made it prone to disasters. Many Sicilian cities have in fact been destroyed by natural events many times over the centuries. This can certainly be understood negatively as the destruction of entire towns, the emission of volcanic ash, and the mutation of landscapes by a terrifying force have instilled fearful memories in local populations. But from another point of view one must consider the positive elements of Etna. Its beautiful landscapes were a major attraction on the Grand Tour, and its inhabitants have long associated the volcano with the concept of rebirth and fertility. This paper analyzes two age groups of residents in the town of Nicolosi and is a small part of an ongoing research project that is much more complex, involving representative samples of the entire population of several towns around Etna. © 2013 by the American Geographical Society of New York.

Salimi P.,Islamic Azad University at Rasht | Vetro P.,University of Palermo
Acta Mathematica Scientia | Year: 2014

Recently, Suzuki [T. Suzuki, A generalized Banach contraction principle that characterizes metric completeness, Proc. Amer. Math. Soc. 136 (2008), 1861-1869] proved a fixed point theorem that is a generalization of the Banach contraction principle and characterizes the metric completeness. Paesano and Vetro [D. Paesano and P. Vetro, Suzuki's type characterizations of completeness for partial metric spaces and fixed points for partially ordered metric spaces, Topology Appl., 159 (2012), 911-920] proved an analogous fixed point result for a self-mapping on a partial metric space that characterizes the partial metric 0-completeness. In this article, we introduce the notion of partial G-metric spaces and prove a result of Suzuki type in the setting of partial G-metric spaces. We deduce also a result of common fixed point. © 2014 Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics.

Parrinello G.,University of Palermo
Internal and emergency medicine | Year: 2011

In chronic heart failure (CHF), neurohumoral systems, which help to maintain circulatory homeostasis, are maladaptive and responsible for disease progression and congestion in the long term. The activation of sympathetic hormones and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), in addition to non-osmotic vasopressin release, up-regulation of aquoporine 2 and renal sodium transporters, and renal resistance to natriuretic peptide lead to a salt- and water-avid state. A primary decrease in cardiac output and arterial vasodilatation brings about arterial underfilling, which activates neuro-humoral reflexes and systems. The heart disease is the primum movens, but the kidney is the end organ responsible for increased tubular reabsorption of sodium and water. The most important hemodynamic alteration in the kidneys is constriction of glomerular efferent arterioles, which increases intraglomerular pressure and hence glomerular filtration rate. The resulting changes in intrarenal oncotic and hydrostatic pressures promote tubular reabsorption. Over time, a gradually falling glomerular filtration rate, due to CHF progression, medications or chronic kidney injury due to comorbidities, becomes more critical in sodium/water imbalance. Moreover, long-term use of diuretics can lead to a diuretic-resistant state, which necessitates the use of higher doses further activating RAAS, often at the expense of worsening renal function. However, every patient is a case in itself and the general pathophysiology of hydro-saline balance may be different in each subject. A mechanism can prevail over others and the kidney may have different responses to the same diuretic. So, it is necessary to customize each individual's long-term therapy, tailoring medical treatment according to clinical profiles, comorbidities and renal function, introducing active control of body weight by the patient himself, fluid restriction, a less restricted sodium intake, flexibility of diuretic doses, early and personalized ambulatory follow-up, and congestion monitoring by bioelectrical impedance vector analysis, BNP, inferior vena cava ultrasonography or echocardiographic e/e(1) ratio or pulmonary capillary wedge pressure.

Maragliano L.,University of Chicago | Cottone G.,University of Palermo | Ciccotti G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Vanden-Eijnden E.,Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2010

The pathways of diffusion of a CO molecule inside a myoglobin protein and toward the solvent are investigated. Specifically, the three-dimensional potential of mean force (PMF or free energy) of the CO molecule position inside the protein is calculated by using the single-sweep method in concert with fully resolved atomistic simulations in explicit solvent. The results are interpreted under the assumption that the diffusion of the ligand can be modeled as a navigation on the PMF in which the ligand hops between the PMF local minima following the minimum free energy paths (MFEPs) with rates set by the free energy barriers that need to be crossed. Here, all the local minima of the PMF, the MFEPs, and the barriers along them are calculated. The positions of the local minima are in good agreement with all the known binding cavities inside the protein, which indicates that these cavities may indeed serve as dynamical traps inside the protein and thereby influence the binding process. In addition, the MFEPs connecting the local PMF minima show a complicated network of possible pathways of exit of the dissociated CO starting from the primary docking site, in which the histidine gate is the closest exit from the binding site for the ligand but it is not the only possible one. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Dubkov A.A.,Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod | Spagnolo B.,University of Palermo
European Physical Journal: Special Topics | Year: 2013

Using the method previously developed for ordinary Brownian diffusion, we derive a new formula to calculate the correlation time of stationary Lévy flights in a steep potential well. For the symmetric quartic potential, we obtain the exact expression of the correlation time of steady-state Lévy flights with index α = 1. The correlation time of stationary Lévy flights decreases with an increasing noise intensity and steepness of potential well. © 2013 EDP Sciences and Springer.

Mercadante S.,Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit | Mercadante S.,University of Palermo
Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care | Year: 2013

Purpose of review Cancer pain management is in continuous innovation and new data are available that could change the therapeutical approach and guidelines. Recent findings There are different fields of research that produce new data and interesting findings. The principal data regard the factors influencing the analgesic response, breakthrough cancer pain management, opioid switching, and pharmacogenetics. Summary The findings reported in this review provide new ideas to be developed in further studies to confirm or not confirm some suggestive data. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.