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J : Multidisciplinary Scientific Journal
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2571-8800
Published by MDPI Homepage  [258 journals]
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 32-47: Diabot: Development of a Diabetic Foot Pressure
           Tracking Device

    • Authors: Gupta, Jayaraman, Sidhu, Malviya, Chatterjee, Chhikara, Singh, Chanda
      First page: 32
      Abstract: Foot-related problems are prevalent across the globe, and this issue is aggravated by the presence of diabetes mellitus. Diabetic-foot-related issues include extreme foot pain, plantar corns, and diabetic foot ulcers. To assess these conditions, accurate characterization of plantar pressure is required. In this work, an in-shoe, low-cost, and multi-material pressure measuring insole, based on a piezoresistive material, was developed. The device has a high number of sensors, and was tested on 25 healthy volunteers and 25 patients with different degrees of diabetes. The working range of the device was observed to be 5 kPa to 900 kPa, with an average hysteresis error of 3.25%. Plantar pressure was found to increase from healthy to diabetic volunteers, in terms of both standing and walking. In the case of the diabetic group, the-high pressure contact area was found to strongly and positively correlate (R2 = 0.78) with the peak plantar pressure. During the heel strike phase, the diabetic volunteers showed high plantar pressure on the medial heel region. In regard to the toe-off phase, the central forefoot was found to be a prevalent site for high plantar pressure across the diabetic volunteers. The developed device is expected not only to assist in the prediction of diabetic ulceration or re-ulceration, but also to provide strategies and suggestions for foot pressure alleviation and pain mitigation.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-01-05
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010003
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 48-57: Polynomial-Computable Representation of Neural
           Networks in Semantic Programming

    • Authors: Sergey Goncharov, Andrey Nechesov
      First page: 48
      Abstract: A lot of libraries for neural networks are written for Turing-complete programming languages such as Python, C++, PHP, and Java. However, at the moment, there are no suitable libraries implemented for a p-complete logical programming language L. This paper investigates the issues of polynomial-computable representation neural networks for this language, where the basic elements are hereditarily finite list elements, and programs are defined using special terms and formulas of mathematical logic. Such a representation has been shown to exist for multilayer feedforward fully connected neural networks with sigmoidal activation functions. To prove this fact, special p-iterative terms are constructed that simulate the operation of a neural network. This result plays an important role in the application of the p-complete logical programming language L to artificial intelligence algorithms.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-01-06
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010004
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 58-84: Linking Error in the 2PL Model

    • Authors: Alexander Robitzsch
      First page: 58
      Abstract: The two-parameter logistic (2PL) item response model is likely the most frequently applied item response model for analyzing dichotomous data. Linking errors quantify the variability in means or standard deviations due to the choice of items. Previous research presented analytical work for linking errors in the one-parameter logistic model. In this article, we present linking errors for the 2PL model using the general theory of M-estimation. Linking errors are derived in the case of log-mean-mean linking for linking two groups. The performance of the newly proposed formulas is evaluated in a simulation study. Furthermore, the linking error estimation in the 2PL model is also treated in more complex settings, such as chain linking, trend estimation, fixed item parameter calibration, and concurrent calibration.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-01-11
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010005
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 85-101: Reducing the Immunogenicity of Pulchellin
           A-Chain, Ribosome-Inactivating Protein Type 2, by Computational Protein
           Engineering for Potential New Immunotoxins

    • Authors: Reza Maleki, Libing Fu, Ricardo Sobhie Diaz, Francisco Eduardo Gontijo Guimarães, Otávio Cabral-Marques, Gustavo Cabral-Miranda, Mohammad Sadraeian
      First page: 85
      Abstract: Pulchellin is a plant biotoxin categorized as a type 2 ribosome-inactivating protein (RIPs) which potentially kills cells at very low concentrations. Biotoxins serve as targeting immunotoxins (IT), consisting of antibodies conjugated to toxins. ITs have two independent protein components, a human antibody and a toxin with a bacterial or plant source; therefore, they pose unique setbacks in immunogenicity. To overcome this issue, the engineering of epitopes is one of the beneficial methods to elicit an immunological response. Here, we predicted the tertiary structure of the pulchellin A-chain (PAC) using five common powerful servers and adopted the best model after refining. Then, predicted structure using four distinct computational approaches identified conformational B-cell epitopes. This approach identified some amino acids as a potential for lowering immunogenicity by point mutation. All mutations were then applied to generate a model of pulchellin containing all mutations (so-called PAM). Mutants’ immunogenicity was assessed and compared to the wild type as well as other mutant characteristics, including stability and compactness, were computationally examined in addition to immunogenicity. The findings revealed a reduction in immunogenicity in all mutants and significantly in N146V and R149A. Furthermore, all mutants demonstrated remarkable stability and validity in Molecular Dynamic (MD) simulations. During docking and simulations, the most homologous toxin to pulchellin, Abrin-A was applied as a control. In addition, the toxin candidate containing all mutations (PAM) disclosed a high level of stability, making it a potential model for experimental deployment. In conclusion, by eliminating B-cell epitopes, our computational approach provides a potential less immunogenic IT based on PAC.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-01-16
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010006
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 102-103: Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of J in 2022

    • Authors: J Editorial Office
      First page: 102
      Abstract: High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review [...]
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-01-16
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010007
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 104-114: Negative Chronotropic Effects of Class I
           Antiarrhythmic Drugs on Guinea Pig Right Atria: Correlation with L-Type
           Ca2+ Channel Blockade

    • Authors: Haruhito Hiiro, Kentaro Otsuka, Shogo Hamaguchi, Iyuki Namekata, Hikaru Tanaka
      First page: 104
      Abstract: The negative chronotropic effects of eight Vaughan Williams Class I antiarrhythmic drugs were examined in guinea pig right atrial tissue preparations. The drugs decreased the spontaneous beating rate at concentrations overlapping with their therapeutic blood levels. Cibenzoline, aprindine, flecainide, and propafenone showed stronger effects; 10 µM of each drug decreased the beating rate to about 75% of initial values. Disopyramide, mexiletine, pilsicainide, and ranolazine showed weaker effects; 10 µM of each drug decreased the beating rate to about 90% of initial values. The potency of drugs correlated with the reported IC50 values to block the L-type Ca2+ channel current rather than the Na+ and K+ channel currents. The reported IC50 values for the blockade of the hyperpolarization-activated inward current (If) and the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger current were much higher than those for the blockade of the L-type Ca2+ channel current. These results indicate that the negative chronotropic effects of Class I antiarrhythmic drugs can be largely explained by their blockade of the L-type Ca2+ channel.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-02-11
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010008
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 115-139: Ethnobotanical Study of Traditional Medicinal
           Plants Used for the Treatment of Infectious Diseases by Local Communities
           in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mbelwa, Mzimba District, Northern Region,

    • Authors: Wilfred A. Chisamile, Mubo A. Sonibare, John F. Kamanula
      First page: 115
      Abstract: Local communities in Mzimba District, Malawi, have limited access to healthcare services and often rely on traditional medical practice and medicinal plants (MPs) for most of their medical care. However, phytomedicines’ use has not been well documented. This study aimed to identify and document medicinal plants and the associated ethnobotanical knowledge. Ethnobotanical data were collected in seven localities (19 villages) in the T/A Mbelwa, Mzimba, from May to June 2021. Forty traditional healers, herbalists, and farmers selected purposively and by snowball sampling were interviewed through semi-structured interviews, field observations, group discussions, and guided field walks. Quantitative indices, viz. relative frequency of citation (RFC), use value (UV), relative importance (RI) values, informant consensus factors (ICFs), and fidelity levels (FLs), were used to analyze the data. Eighty MPs belonging to 43 families and 77 genera were recorded. The Leguminosae family showed the highest number of species (16), followed by Solanaceae, Rubiaceae, and Phyllanthaceae. Trees (35 species) and roots (62%) accounted for the most significant habit and part, respectively. Washing (29%) was the most common preparation method. The most cited plant was Zanthoxylum chalybeum (RFC = 0.80, UV = 0.28, RI = 1.66), followed by Cassia abbreviata (RFC = 0.68, UV = 0.35, RI = 1.50). Respiratory disorders showed the highest ICF (0.53), followed by general and unspecified disorders (0.31). Z. chalybeum, C. abbreviata, and Oldfieldia dactylophylla showed maximum FLs (100%) for treating malaria and dysentery. Phytochemical, bioassay, toxicity, and conservation studies are needed to assess medicinal plants’ safety, efficacy, and quality as steps toward discovering new promising therapeutic leads without neglecting conservation programs for their sustainable utilization.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-02-23
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010009
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 140-151: Approximate Solutions for Undamped Nonlinear
           Oscillations Using He’s Formulation

    • Authors: Stylianos Vasileios Kontomaris, Georgios Chliveros, Anna Malamou
      First page: 140
      Abstract: Solving nonlinear oscillations is a challenging task due to the mathematical complexity of the related differential equations. In many cases, determining the oscillation’s period requires the solution of complicated integrals using numerical methods. To avoid the complexity, there are many empirical equations in the literature that can be used instead of rigorous mathematical analysis to provide an acceptable approximation. In this paper, a recently developed method, He’s formulation, is applied to find the period in many different cases of nonlinear oscillators. The cases are those of the Duffing equation, the Helmholtz nonlinear oscillator, the simple pendulum and the case of a vertical oscillation under the influence of a nonlinear elastic force. The results of the method are accurate; thus, He’s formulation is a strong tool for solving nonlinear oscillations.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-02-28
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010010
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 152-163: First Principles Computation of New Topological
           B2X2Zn (X = Ir, Rh, Co) Compounds

    • Authors: Jack Howard, Alexander Rodriguez, Neel Haldolaarachchige, Kalani Hettiarachchilage
      First page: 152
      Abstract: Recent attempts at searching for new materials have revealed a large class of materials that show topological behaviors with unusual physical properties and potential applications leading to enthralling discoveries both theoretically and experimentally. We computationally predict new three-dimensional topological compounds of space group 139(I/4mmm). After conducting a full volume optimization process by allowing the rearrangement of atomic positions and lattice parameters, the first-principles calculation with a generalized gradient approximation is utilized to identify multiple Dirac-type crossings around X and P symmetric points near Fermi energy. Importantly, the band inversion at point P is recognized. Further, we investigate the compound for topological crystalline insulating behavior by conducting surface state calculation and by investigating gapping behavior by increasing lattice parameters. Additionally, we perform formation energy, elastic properties, and phonon modes calculations to verify the structural, mechanical, and dynamical stability of the compounds. Therefore, we suggest compounds for further investigation and experimental realization.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-02-28
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010011
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 164-171: Central Apnea in Patients with COVID-19

    • Authors: Vikram Venkata Puram, Anish Sethi, Olga Epstein, Malik Ghannam, Kevin Brown, James Ashe, Brent Berry
      First page: 164
      Abstract: Background: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic that has killed over 1.5 million people worldwide. A constellation of multisystem involvement with SARS-CoV-2 has been reported. COVID-19 has been shown to affect the human nervous system, however, both the extent and severity of involvement have yet to be fully elucidated. In this manuscript, we aimed to better understand the effect of COVID-19 on neuro-respiratory status by studying COVID-19 patients who presented with central apnea. Methodology: We analyzed patient characteristics, clinical outcomes, laboratory results, and imaging results of three patients with symptomatic, PCR-proven COVID-19 and episodes of central apnea. Results: Of the three patients included in this study, two patients developed new central apnea, and one patient developed an exacerbation of underlying central apnea despite COVID-19 treatments with systemic steroids and remdesivir. All occurred, on average, 15 days after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. At 1-year follow-up, all patients experienced complete resolution of apneic breathing. Conclusions: Physicians should be vigilant for the presentation of COVID-19 with central apnea. Central apnea may be a complication in patients with severe COVID-19 infection. More research is warranted to further understand this association.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-03-03
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010012
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 172-179: Acute Toxicity and Stress Behaviour of
           Heterobranchus bidorsalis Exposed to the Detergent Nittol® NTL

    • Authors: Christopher Onyemaechi Ezike, Chinwe Uwadiegwu, Aderonke N. Agbo
      First page: 172
      Abstract: The acute toxicity of the detergent Nittol® 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, and 0.0 mg NTL/L of clean water on Heterobrunchus bidorsalis, 5.5 ± 0.3 g, 6.4 ± 0.5 cm were investigated, using semi-static bioassay, for 96 h in 50 L capacity plastic test bowls. The fingerlings of the same brood stock and age were collected from Onose Farms Limited, Ughelli, Delta State to the University Research Laboratory, Enugu Lat. 7.4 N; 8°7′5 and long 6°8′ E. 7°6′ W. The test fish were acclimatized for 14 days, and fed at 3% body weight once daily, on a 40% CP commercial diet. Feeding was suspended 24 h before and during the range finding and acute tests. The whole set-up was replicated three times, and no death was recorded during the acclimatization period and in the control. A total of 180 fingerlings were used, and 10 fingerlings were assigned to each replicate. The test set-up was monitored daily for water quality parameters, opercular ventilation, tail fin beat frequency, and mortality. Dose and time-dependent behavioural patterns exhibited by the test fish, during the exposure periods include rapid swimming, air gulping, loss of balance, and a period of convulsion before death. Significant elevation in pH and temperature, reduction of DO compared to the control (p < 0.05) in the water quality, and dose-dependent early elevation of the tail and fin movements declined towards the end of the experiment. The 96 h LC50 was determined to be 1.41 mg/L, indicating that the detergent NTL is toxic to the test fish. The haematological parameters were significantly (p < 0.05) reduced in the treated ranges of RBC 5.20 ± 0.07–8.00 ± 0.02 × 106 mm3, HB 7.53 ± 0.50–10.72 ± 0.14 g/dl, PCV 13.20 ± 0.8.50–18.00 ± 0.43 % below their elevated respective controls of 10.50 ± 0.01 × 10 6 mm3, 11.00 ± 0.01 g/dl, and 23.48 ± 0.2.6 %. The white blood cells (WBC) recorded a significant (p < 0.05) increase in ranges of 23.72 ± 0.14–51.80 ± 1.9 × 103 mm3 above the control value of 11.00 ± 0.01 × 103 mm3 Therefore, values greater than the safe amount of 0.014 mg/L should not be allowed in the receiving culture waters for Heterobrunchus bidorsalis fingerlings.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2023-03-11
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010013
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2023)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 1-16: Evaluating Preventive Measures for Flooding from
           Groundwater: A Case Study

    • Authors: Raaghul Kumar, Munshi Md. Shafwat Yazdan
      First page: 1
      Abstract: Groundwater (GW) flooding mechanisms differ from river flooding, both spatially and temporally, and preventative methods against groundwater flooding must take this into account. Although groundwater flooding caused by a rise of river water seldom occurs, it can occasionally become severe and last for a long time if the river is significantly flooded. In the southwest portion of the research domain, Friedrichshafen, Germany, with a few urban communities, the level of the groundwater table was discovered to be roughly 1 m below the surface. In the study region, it is typical for the bottom level of the foundation of a single-story building to extend up to a depth of about 1.5 m. Therefore, flood mitigation methods are taken into account for the southwest portion of the study region. In this study, FEFLOW is used to explore the preventative methods for groundwater flooding caused by river water increase in urban settings, the spread of contamination, and the strategizing of effective mitigation solutions for flooding. The installation of a pumping well, drainage, and a barrier in the affected area are three different flood control strategies that are taken into consideration for the study area. Pumping well installation, reducing up to 1.5 m of hydraulic head, was found to be the most effective flood control measure locally in a small region. By contrast, removing groundwater by building drainage and barriers was shown to be ineffective for lowering the groundwater table over an extended region, and was significantly more expensive than the installation of wells. Additionally, when river flooding is taken into account, compared to the default scenario where no intake of water from the river is included along the western border of the study area, it was discovered that the spread of pollution (nitrate concentration) is significantly greater.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-12-26
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010001
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 6, Pages 17-31: Evaluation of Interference Analysis from 5G NR
           Networks to Aeronautical and Maritime Mobile Systems in the Frequency Band
           4800–4990 MHz

    • Authors: Alexander Pastukh, Vladislav Sorokin
      First page: 17
      Abstract: The current deployment of 5G NR in the frequency band 4800–4990 MHz in multiple countries near the coastlines indicated that there might be a potential risk of harmful interference impacting aeronautical and maritime systems located in international airspace and international waters. This raised numerous concerns about whether 5G NR system rollouts in that band need to be restricted by the power flux density limits created at the border of the territorial waters, which equals 12 nautical miles from the coastline. This work contains a case study based on the example of the Pacific region, where a simulation of aggregate interference from 5G NR base stations and user equipment deployed in the cities near the coastline using Monte Carlo analysis was conducted. The results of the study show that no harmful interference to the aeronautical and maritime services operating in international airspace and waters is expected even when the aircraft or vessels are located at the border of the territorial airspace and waters from the coastline. Therefore, no restriction to the 5G NR deployment in the coastline regions in the frequency band 4800–4990 MHz is required.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-12-29
      DOI: 10.3390/j6010002
      Issue No: Vol. 6, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 410-426: Estimating Flooding at River Spree Floodplain
           Using HEC-RAS Simulation

    • Authors: Munshi Md Shafwat Yazdan, Md Tanvir Ahad, Raaghul Kumar, Md Abdullah Al Mehedi
      First page: 410
      Abstract: River renaturation can be an effective management method for restoring a floodplain’s natural capacity and minimizing the effects during high flow periods. A 1D-2D Hydrologic Engineering Center–River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model, in which the flood plain was considered as 2D and the main channel as 1D, was used to simulate flooding in the restored reach of the Spree River, Germany. When computing in this model, finite volume and finite difference approximations using the Preissmann approach are used for the 1D and 2D models, respectively. To comprehend the sensitivity of the parameters and model, several scenarios were simulated using different time steps and grid sizes. Additionally, dikes, dredging, and changes to the vegetation pattern were used to simulate flood mitigation measures. The model predicted that flooding would occur mostly in the downstream portion of the channel in the majority of the scenarios without mitigation measures, whereas with mitigation measures, flooding in the floodplain would be greatly reduced. By preserving the natural balance on the channel’s floodplain, the restored area needs to be kept in good condition. Therefore, mitigating measures that balance the area’s economic and environmental aspects must be considered in light of the potential for floods.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-10-10
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040028
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 427-434: Biosorption of Eriochrome Black T Using
           Exserohilum rostratum NMS1.5 Mycelia Biomass

    • Authors: Endar Hidayat, Saranya Khaekhum, Seiichiro Yonemura, Yoshiharu Mitoma, Hiroyuki Harada
      First page: 427
      Abstract: The presence of eriochrome black T (EBT) dye in waste water causes a significant hazard to human health and ecology. In the current study, biosorption was employed to eliminate EBT from water. Thus, we utilized endophytic fungi strain Exserohilum rostratum NMS1.5 mycelia biomass as biosorbent agent. The process was carried out at room temperature by magnetic stirring. The results indicated that an increase in pH would decrease adsorption capacity and removal percentage. In addition, an increased EBT concentration would decrease the removal percentage and increase biosorption capacity. The equilibrium time indicated that after 300 min of mixing, the percentage removal and biosorption capacity were 80.5% and 100.61 mg/g, respectively. The biosorption isotherms and kinetics were compatible with the Freundlich model and the pseudo-second-order. This research indicates that E. rostratum NMS1.5 may be utilized as an environmentally friendly and affordable alternative biosorbent material for EBT removal.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040029
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 435-454: Behavioral Fingerprinting: Acceleration Sensors
           for Identifying Changes in Livestock Health

    • Authors: Bowen Fan, Racheal Bryant, Andrew Greer
      First page: 435
      Abstract: During disease or toxin challenges, the behavioral activities of grazing animals alter in response to adverse situations, potentially providing an indicator of their welfare status. Behavioral changes such as feeding behavior, rumination and physical behavior as well as expressive behavior, can serve as indicators of animal health and welfare. Sometimes behavioral changes are subtle and occur gradually, often missed by infrequent visual monitoring until the condition becomes acute. There is growing popularity in the use of sensors for monitoring animal health. Acceleration sensors have been designed to attach to ears, jaws, noses, collars and legs to detect the behavioral changes of cattle and sheep. So far, some automated acceleration sensors with high accuracies have been found to have the capacity to remotely monitor the behavioral patterns of cattle and sheep. These acceleration sensors have the potential to identify behavioral patterns of farm animals for monitoring changes in behavior which can indicate a deterioration in health. Here, we review the current automated accelerometer systems and the evidence they can detect behavioral patterns of animals for the application of potential directions and future solutions for automatically monitoring and the early detection of health concerns in grazing animals.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-10-29
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040030
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 455-469: The Role of Interior Design in Enhancing
           Happiness and Comfort at Educational Institutions in Saudi Arabia: A Case
           Study of Girls’ College of Science and Arts in Mahayel Aseer, at
           King Khalid University

    • Authors: Gidaa Alamry
      First page: 455
      Abstract: The aim of this research was to evaluate how the quality interior design aspects of the staff office spaces at the Girls’ College of Science and Arts, King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia, affect their happiness, comfort and performance of their duties, and also proposes a solution based on the sciences of the relationship between happiness and interior design. The aim was achieved by carrying out a survey on staff of the college. The participants were selected using a combination of probabilistic and random sampling. The research found that a good number of staff at the college are not happy with their work environments. Further analysis indicated that interior design deficiency is a major cause of unhappiness of staff at the college. The results showed that this may be attributed to three important aspects of quality interior space furniture: insufficiency of furniture and other workspace items; lack of aesthetics, functionality, comfort, color and materials (low quality materials) of furniture and other workspace items; and a lack of sufficient natural lighting being another major issue affecting the quality of natural and artificial lighting in some offices at the college. Participants were also not comfortable with some materials used in the interior space. The study recommends that office spaces should be redesigned to meet the following interior design criteria: appropriateness for the workplace (size, lighting and materials); color and decorations (non-dark colors); and appropriate accessories and tools of work.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-10-30
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040031
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 470-477: Nutrition Therapy Promotes Overall Survival in
           Cachectic Cancer Patients through a New Proposed Chemical-Physical
           Pathway: The TiCaCONCO Trial (A Randomized Controlled Single-Blinded

    • Authors: Elisabeth De Waele, Joy Demol, Koen Huysentruyt, Geir Bjørklund, Ronald Buyl, Alessandro Laviano, Joeri J. Pen
      First page: 470
      Abstract: Cancer threatens nutritional status, and many patients will become cachectic with a negative impact on prognosis. In the TiCaCo pilot trial, we showed a positive effect of calorie matching Nutrition Therapy on both morbidity and mortality. We attempt to validate these results in the TiCaCONCO trial. In a prospective, randomized, single-blinded, controlled trial, patients were treated with either intensive, individual biometric parameter-oriented dietary counseling (nutrition therapy or NT) for a maximum period of three months, or regular dietary counseling (control or CT), before and during conventional cancer treatment. Sixty patients were enrolled over a two-year period, with 30 receiving nutrition therapy and 30 being controls. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS). Overall survival at 12 months in all patients was 47% (14/30 patients) in the CT group with a median OS of 45.5 weeks, and 73% (22/30 patients) in the NT group with a median OS that was undefined (i.e., cannot be calculated, as >50% of patients in the NT group were still alive at the end of the study) (p = 0.0378). The survival difference still exists when only male patients are analyzed, but is not observed in female patients. Biophysical measurements were performed at 0, 3, and 12 months in all patients. In men, the differences between CT vs NT were statistically significant for body hydration (p = 0.0400), fat mass (p = 0.0480), total energy expenditure (p = 0.0320), and median overall survival at 12 months (p = 0.0390). At 3 months (end of the intervention), the differences between CT vs NT for body hydration were 73 ± 3% vs. 75 ± 5%, for fat mass 14 ± 4% vs. 19 ± 5%, and for total energy expenditure 2231 ± 637 Kcal vs. 2408 ± 369 Kcal. In women, the differences between CT vs NT were not statistically significant for body hydration (p = 1.898), fat mass (p = 0.9495), total energy expenditure (p = 0.2875) and median overall survival at 12 months (p = 0.6486). At 3 months (end of the intervention), the differences between CT vs. NT for body hydration were 74 ± 2% vs. 78 ± 5%, for fat mass 25 ± 7% vs. 29 ± 19%, and for TEE 1657 ± 297 Kcal vs. 1917 ± 120 Kcal. Nutrition Therapy, based on patient-specific biophysical parameters, including the measurement of metabolism by indirect calorimetry and body composition measurements by BIA, improves overall survival, at least in men. The mechanism would be increasing extra energy for the body, which is necessary to fight off cancer.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-11-01
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040032
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 478-499: The Impact of Nature Imagery and Mystery on
           Attention Restoration

    • Authors: Trina Yap, Denise Dillon, Peter K. H. Chew
      First page: 478
      Abstract: The factors contributing to urbanization, such as population growth and the development of mega-cities, have increased environmental stressors on top of everyday stressors, resulting in information overload. This has led to the increasing incidence of direct attentional fatigue, which causes stress and mental fatigue. The attention restoration theory centres on the environment’s capacity to restore attentional deficits and suggests that there are certain qualities in the environment that restore attention, which leads to improvements in our physical, mental, and social well-being. An environment can be restorative through the activation of involuntary attention, which limits the need for directed attention. This study explored for effects of natural, built, and mixed environment types and levels of mystery on attention restoration in university undergraduates. Perceived and actual levels of attention restoration were measured using a perceived restoration scale (PRS) and the digit symbol substitution task (DSST), respectively. A total of 101 participants viewed a restorative image followed by the completion of the DSST and the PRS for each of the 18 images depicting different environments. Actual attention restoration was measured by latency values in the DSST instead of through both speed and error rates due to some operational issues with the DSST which interfered with the full achievement of the study’s aims. There was an effect of different environments and mystery on perceived attention restoration. However, there appeared to be no effect on actual attention restoration, indicating a disconnect between perceived and actual restoration. Further research is required to confirm the specific effects of natural and built environments and mystery on attention restoration.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-11-08
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040033
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 500-511: Medical Institutions’ Response to Child
           Abuse: Survey across Japan

    • Authors: Eri Ishikawa, Shoichi Maeda, Eisuke Nakazawa, Akira Akabayashi
      First page: 500
      Abstract: The number of child abuse cases has been increasing in Japan every year. Medical institutions face issues such as coordinating with welfare offices, child guidance centers, police, and other related agencies concerning child abuse, as well as communicating with parents/guardians who are perpetrators of child abuse. This study examined the awareness and actual behavior of medical institutions regarding the support required while notifying/reporting cases of child abuse. A self-administered and anonymous questionnaire survey was conducted among the staff of the pediatrics departments, emergency departments, and general affairs departments of large hospitals in Japan. Differences in notifying and reporting child abuse cases to the child guidance center and welfare office and the police were assessed. It was found that some cases were not reported to the child guidance center or welfare office despite being considered “abuse.” Furthermore, a difference of opinion was observed among staff members, especially in judging “whether abuse is suspected or not.”
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-11-16
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040034
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 512-531: A Review of Environmental Protection and
           Sustainable Development in Madagascar

    • Authors: Rakotoarimanana Zy Misa Harivelo, Rakotoarimanana Zy Harifidy
      First page: 512
      Abstract: Environmental protection is an important key to achieving sustainable development. Since humans depend on the environment in countless ways, preserving them contributes directly to the sustaining of people and human societies and hence, to social sustainability. The central question in this dissertation asks why the environmental protection policies enacted in Madagascar are not efficient and how they impact the SDG’s achievement at the national level. This paper discusses Madagascar’s achievements of the sustainable development target with special emphasis on environmental issues, which is currently a major concern in the country. This review aimed at suggesting improvements in line with the challenges the country is facing by reviewing the indicators provided by the UN SDGs. It also reaffirmed the nexus of poverty and the environment, which is important for setting the development target. In order to conduct this study, journal articles, review papers, working papers, research reports, and books related to environmental management and sustainable development in Madagascar were reviewed. Madagascar has made a little improvement in accomplishing SDGs 12 and 13 in 2021, but achieving all SDGs goals in 2030 remains a big challenge. The country is a party to numerous international environmental conventions, treaties, and agreements. Many policy changes have been implemented to address both conservation and development issues, but these efforts have had little impact. Forest fires and slash-and-burn were on the rise in Madagascar on October 2022, which poses a major concern for the economic and social development of the island. In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it. The strategies proposed in this paper might be helpful for the Malagasy government and private sector in decision-making. This paper is also useful for researchers in developing countries. As Madagascar did not reach the Millennium Development Goals 2015 and will not achieve the SDGs in 2030, should we not start learning from our mistakes and thinking about the post-SDGs'
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-11-19
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040035
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 532-537: Kupffer Cells as a Target for Immunotherapy

    • Authors: Takashi Sakai, Wen-Ling Lin
      First page: 532
      Abstract: Kupffer cells (KCs) are resident macrophages in the liver. Recent studies have revealed that KCs are closely related to inflammatory liver diseases, including nonalcoholic liver diseases (NAFLD). From this point of view, KC transplantation can be a candidate for immunotherapy against inflammatory diseases. Similar to general macrophages, KCs show several different phenotypes according to their environment. Activated KCs are involved in either proinflammatory responses or anti-inflammatory responses. Thus, to manipulate KCs for immunotherapy, it is crucial to control the direction of KC activation. Here, we summarize the outlook and the issues hindering immunotherapy using KC transplantation.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-12-07
      DOI: 10.3390/j5040036
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 4 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 318-333: Pulsar Wind Nebulae and Unidentified Galactic
           Very High Energy Sources

    • Authors: Omar Tibolla, Sarah Kaufmann, Paula Chadwick
      First page: 318
      Abstract: The riddle of the origin of Cosmic Rays (CR) has been an open question for over a century. Gamma ray observations above 100 MeV reveal the sites of cosmic ray acceleration to energies where they are unaffected by solar modulation; recent evidence supports the existence of hadronic acceleration in Supernova Remnants (SNR), as expected in the standard model of cosmic ray acceleration. Nevertheless, the results raise new questions, and no final answer has been provided thus far. Among the suggested possible alternative accelerators in the Very High Energy (VHE) gamma ray sky, pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe, which together with dark matter are the main candidates to explain the local positron excess as well) are the dominant population among known Galactic sources. However, the most numerous population in absolute terms is represented by unidentified sources (~50% of VHE gamma ray sources). The relationship between PWNe and unidentified sources seems very close; in fact, in a PWN, the lifetime of inverse Compton (IC) emitting electrons not only exceeds the lifetime of its progenitor pulsar, but also exceeds the age of the electrons that emit via synchrotron radiation. Therefore, during its evolution, a PWN can remain bright in IC such that its GeV-TeV gamma ray flux remains high for timescales much larger than the lifetimes of the pulsar and the X-ray PWN. In addition, the shell-type remnant of the supernova explosion in which the pulsar was formed has a much shorter lifetime than the electrons responsible for IC emission. Hence, understanding PWNe and VHE unidentified sources is a crucial piece of the solution to the riddle of the origin of cosmic rays. Both theoretical aspects (with particular emphasis on the ancient pulsar wind nebulae scenario) and their observational proofs are discussed in this paper. Specifically, the scientific cases of HESS J1616-508 and HESS J1813-126 are examined in detail.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-07-19
      DOI: 10.3390/j5030022
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 3 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 334-357: Virtual Reality Greenspaces: Does Level of
           Immersion Affect Directed Attention Restoration in VR Environments'

    • Authors: Denise Dillon, Jiaying Cai
      First page: 334
      Abstract: Research on attention restoration theory has provided consistent results over the years, and exposure to nature has been found to significantly improve and restore directed attention fatigue. However, rapid urbanisation has made it increasingly difficult for human beings to interact with unpolluted nature. Countries such as Singapore began to integrate nature into city planning and into the designs of buildings to help resident satisfaction and well-being. Local studies have had contradictory outcomes; residents report significantly higher restoration and affect towards vertical integrated greeneries, but many would still prefer traditional on-the-ground foliage. Interest in outdoor greenspaces is variable because Singapore’s high heat and humid climate make it uncomfortable to interact with outside nature for prolonged periods. The current study tested alternative modalities that can provide residents with on-the-ground foliage interactions, without the discomfort of being outdoors. Virtual exposures with different levels of immersion (high and low) and types of scenes (nature and urban) were tested for effects on perceived presence, perceived restoration and objective restoration. A total of 120 adult participants completed the study, which revealed that a virtual reality-nature condition provided significantly superior directed attention restoration and higher presence ratings. Immersive tendency did not affect perceived presence; neither did it moderate the relationship between perceived presence and its corresponding perceived restoration.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-08-05
      DOI: 10.3390/j5030023
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 3 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 358-368: Individual Experiences with Being Pushed to
           Limits and Variables That Influence the Strength to Which These Are Felt:
           A Cross-Sectional Survey Study

    • Authors: Eisuke Nakazawa, Katsumi Mori, Akira Akabayashi
      First page: 358
      Abstract: In a 2021 survey, we found that “limit or suppression experiences” were related to a willingness to use enhancement technologies. However, the concept of “limit or suppression experiences” is vague and difficult to interpret in relation to neuroethics/enhancement. Thus, we aimed to better understand “limit or suppression experiences” and establish a robust philosophical concept of the topic. To do so, we exploratively investigated the concept to determine individual experiences with the presence or absence of sensing limits, investigate different ways in which limits can be sensed (factors of the sense of limits: “FSLs”), and identify factors that correlate with the strength of FSLs. Data from an Internet survey investigating respondents’ experiences with limits (1258 respondents) were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis and a linear regression model. Five variables were extracted as the FSLs. The highest regression coefficients were found between physical FSL and sports activities and between cognitive FSL and academics. The lowest regression coefficients were found between relational FSL and academics, sports activities, and arts and cultural activities. The results facilitate a detailed discussion of the motivations of enhancement users, and the extraction of the suppression experience opens new enhancement directions. Further normative and empirical studies are required.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-08-16
      DOI: 10.3390/j5030024
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 3 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 369-379: An Evaluation of Psychological Well-Being among
           Physicians and Nurses in Makkah’s Major Hospitals

    • Authors: Huda Alghamdi, Abdullah Almalki, Maha Alshaikh
      First page: 369
      Abstract: Background: Physicians and nurses experience poor psychological well-being relative to other employees in healthcare fields. This study aimed to evaluate the psychological well-being among physicians and nurses in Makkah’s major hospitals. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 460 physicians and nurses from seven major hospitals in Makkah were recruited to investigate their psychological well-being using the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) based on social dysfunction, anxiety, and confidence loss. Results: Over half (64.3%) of the physicians and nurses in this study scored at or above the GHQ-12 cut-off point (12), which is a positive result for poor psychological well-being. There were significant differences in the psychological well-being mean between Saudis and non-Saudis (t = 2.203, p = 0.028), years of work experience (t = 3.349, p = 0.001), hospitals (F = 2.848, p = 0.010), attending psychological support sessions (t = 2.082, p = 0.038), and history of visiting psychological clinics (t = −4.949, p < 0.001). There was also a significant association between the three GHQ-12 factors and the participants’ socio-demographic characteristics. Conclusion: The psychological well-being of physicians and nurses is low. The alarming number of physicians and nurses suffering from social dysfunction, anxiety, and loss of confidence should be addressed in Makkah’s major hospitals. The employee assistance program (EAP) could be highly valuable and effective for addressing the well-being of employees and their personal problems that may impact their work performance, conduct, health, and overall well-being at the Ministry of Health.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-08-21
      DOI: 10.3390/j5030025
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 3 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 380-401: The Poincaré Index on Singular

    • Authors: Alexander G. Aleksandrov
      First page: 380
      Abstract: In this paper, we discuss a few simple methods for computing the local topological index and its various analogs for vector fields and differential forms given on complex varieties with singularities of different types. They are based on properties of regular meromorphic and logarithmic differential forms, of the dualizing (canonical) module and related constructions. In particular, we show how to compute the index on Cohen–Macaulay, Gorenstein and monomial curves, on normal and non-normal surfaces and some others. In contrast with known traditional approaches, we use neither computers, nor integration, perturbations, deformations, resolution of singularities, spectral sequences or other related standard tools of pure mathematics.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-09-15
      DOI: 10.3390/j5030026
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 3 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 402-409: Initiation and Withdrawal of Invasive
           Ventilation for Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Narrative
           Literature Review

    • Authors: Reina Ozeki-Hayashi, Eisuke Nakazawa, Robert Truog, Akira Akabayashi
      First page: 402
      Abstract: Decisions regarding invasive ventilation with tracheostomy (TIV) in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) involve serious ethical issues. Cultural differences in the attitudes of patients, caregivers, and physicians toward TIV initiation and withdrawal decisions have been analyzed based on a narrative review approach, comparing the situation between Japan and the U.S. Three main issues were identified regarding the implementation of TIV. The first is the lack of Advance Care Planning. Second, some patients may choose TIV based on the wishes of their physicians or caregivers, even if the patients themselves do not want TIV in the Japanese context. Third is the influence of patient associations, which advocate for the protection of patients’ rights. Next, this study identifies the following issues related to TIV discontinuation. The main concern here is cultural differences in legislation and ethical intuitions regarding the discontinuation of TIV. The treatment guidelines for patients with ALS advise physicians to reassure patients that TIV can be withdrawn at any point. However, TIV withdrawal is not explicitly discussed in Japan. Moreover, Japanese ALS treatment guidelines state that ventilation withdrawal is currently impossible, due to a lack of legal support. Most Japanese physicians have told patients that they are not allowed to stop ventilation via such a request. Unlike in the U.S., withholding and withdrawing ventilators are not ethically equivalent in Japan. In conclusion, the decision-making process regarding TIV is difficult, not only for the patients and caregivers, but also for physicians. Even if patients are legally entitled to refuse unwanted treatment, there have been cases in which Japanese physicians have felt an ethical dilemma in stopping TIV for patients with ALS. However, few studies have investigated in detail why physicians oppose the patient’s right to discontinue TIV in Japan.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-09-19
      DOI: 10.3390/j5030027
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 3 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 198-213: Examination of the Performance of a Three-Phase
           Atmospheric Turbulence Model for Line-Source Dispersion Modeling Using
           Multiple Air Quality Datasets

    • Authors: Saisantosh Vamshi Harsha Madiraju, Ashok Kumar
      First page: 198
      Abstract: One of the weaknesses of current line-source models for predicting downwind concentrations from mobile sources is accounting for the dispersion of effluents. Most of the investigators in the field have taken different approaches over the last 50 years, ranging from the use of Pasquill–Gifford (P-G) dispersion curves to the use of equations based on atmospheric turbulence for point source dispersion. Madiraju and Kumar (2021) proposed a three-phase turbulence (TPT) model using the key features of mobile source dispersion that appear in the existing literature. This paper examines the performance of line-source models using an updated TPT model. The generic dispersion equations were considered from the SLINE 1.1, CALINE 4, ADMS, and SLSM models. Multiple air quality field data sets collected by other investigators near the roadways were used during this study. These include field data collected from the Idaho Falls Tracer Experiment 2008 (used as the dataset to compare with the initial model), the CALTRANS Highway 99 Tracer experiment, and the Raleigh 2006 experiment. The predicted concentrations were grouped under unstable and stable atmospheric conditions. The evaluation of the model was performed using several statistical parameters such as FB, NMSE, R2, MG, VG, MSLE, and MAPE. The results indicate that the ADMS and SLINE 1.1 models perform better than CALINE4 and SLSM. SLINE 1.1 tends to overpredict for stable atmospheric conditions and underpredict for unstable atmospheric conditions. A trial test was performed to implement the TPT model in the basic line-source model (SLSM). The results indicate that the majority (FB, NMSE, R2, and MSLE) of the indicators have improved and are in the satisfactory range of a good model performance level.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-03-29
      DOI: 10.3390/j5020015
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 2 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 214-231: Affinity and Correlation in DNA

    • Authors: Giovanni Villani
      First page: 214
      Abstract: A statistical analysis of important DNA sequences and related proteins has been performed to study the relationships between monomers, and some general considerations about these macromolecules can be provided from the results. First, the most important relationship between sites in all the DNA sequences examined is that between two consecutive base pairs. This is an indication of an energetic stabilization due to the stacking interaction of these couples of base pairs. Secondly, the difference between human chromosome sequences and their coding parts is relevant both in the relationships between sites and in some specific compositional rules, such as the second Chargaff rule. Third, the evidence of the relationship in two successive triplets of DNA coding sequences generates a relationship between two successive amino acids in the proteins. This is obviously impossible if all the relationships between the sites are statistical evidence and do not involve causes; therefore, in this article, due to stacking interactions and this relationship in coding sequences, we will divide the concept of the relationship between sites into two concepts: affinity and correlation, the first with physical causes and the second without. Finally, from the statistical analyses carried out, it will emerge that the human genome is uniform, with the only significant exception being the Y chromosome.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-04-14
      DOI: 10.3390/j5020016
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 2 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 232-254: Quantum Matter Overview

    • Authors: Melanie Swan, Renato P. Dos Santos, Frank Witte
      First page: 232
      Abstract: Quantum matter (novel phases of matter at zero temperature with exotic properties) is a growing field with applications in its own domain, and in providing foundational support to quantum sciences fields more generally. The ability to characterize and manipulate matter at the smallest scales continues to advance in fundamental ways. This review provides a plain-language, non-technical description of contemporary activity in quantum matter for a general science audience, and an example of these methods applied to quantum neuroscience. Quantum matter is the study of topologically governed phases of matter at absolute zero temperature that exhibit new kinds of emergent order and exotic properties related to topology and symmetry, entanglement, and electronic charge and magnetism, which may be orchestrated to create new classes of materials and computational devices (including in the areas of spintronics, valleytronics, and quantum computing). The paper is organized to discuss recent developments in quantum matter on the topics of short-range topologically protected materials (namely, topological semimetals), long-range entangled materials (quantum spin liquids and fractional quantum Hall states), and codes for characterizing and controlling quantum systems. A key finding is that a shift in the conceptualization of the field of quantum matter may be underway to expand the core focus on short-range topologically protected materials to also include geometry-based approaches and long-range entanglement as additionally important tools for the understanding, characterization, and manipulation of topological materials.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-04-20
      DOI: 10.3390/j5020017
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 2 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 255-276: Modelling of Positive Streamers in SF6 Gas under
           Non-Uniform Electric Field Conditions: Effect of Electronegativity on
           Streamer Discharges

    • Authors: Boakye-Mensah, Bonifaci, Hanna, Niyonzima, Timoshkin
      First page: 255
      Abstract: The use of SF6 in electrical insulation and fast-switching applications cannot be overemphasized. This is due to its excellent dielectric properties and high breakdown voltage, which are especially important for practical applications such as gas-insulated switchgears and pulsed power switches where pressurized SF6 is used. Breakdown in the gas occurs via streamer–leader transition; however, this transition is difficult to quantify numerically at atmospheric pressure because of the electronegativity of the gas. In the present work, streamer discharges in SF6 gas at pressures of 10 and 100 kPa were studied using a plasma fluid model implementation. Analysis of the electric field in the streamer body, streamer velocity, diameter, and the effect of the high electronegativity of the gas on streamer parameters are presented for positive polarity in a point-to-plane geometry. The streamers in SF6 for non-uniform background fields are compared to those in air, which have already been studied extensively in the literature.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-05-09
      DOI: 10.3390/j5020018
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 2 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 277-286: Improvement of the Photocatalytic Activity of
           Au/TiO2 Nanocomposites by Prior Treatment of TiO2 with Microplasma in an
           NH3 and H2O2 Solution

    • Authors: Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Do Hoang Tung, Le Hong Manh, Pham Hong Minh, Nguyen The Hien
      First page: 277
      Abstract: Plasmonic photocatalytic nanocomposites of TiO2 and Au nanoparticles (NPs) have recently attracted the attention of researchers, who aim to improve the photocatalytic activity of potential TiO2 NPs. In this study, we report photocatalytic activity enhancement for a Au/TiO2 nanocomposite prepared by the plasma–liquid interaction method using an atmospheric microplasma apparatus. The enhanced photocatalytic activity of the prepared Au/TiO2 is demonstrated by the degradation of methylene blue (MB) in water under both ultraviolet (UV) and visible light irradiation. The prior treatment of TiO2 with microplasma in a NH3 and H2O2 solution is found to strongly improve the photocatalytic activity of both the treated TiO2 NPs, as well as the synthesized Au/TiO2 nanocomposite.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-05-19
      DOI: 10.3390/j5020019
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 2 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 287-297: The Use of Radioactive Tracers to Detect and
           Correct Feed Flowrate Imbalances in Parallel Flotation Banks

    • Authors: Felipe Henríquez, Luis Maldonado, Juan Yianatos, Paulina Vallejos, Francisco Díaz, Luis Vinnett
      First page: 287
      Abstract: This work presents the application of radioactive tracers to detect and correct feed flowrate imbalances in parallel rougher flotation banks. Several surveys were conducted at Minera Los Pelambres concentrator, in banks consisting of 250 m3 mechanical flotation cells. The feed pulp distribution was estimated from the mean residence times, which were obtained from residence time distribution measurements. The tracer was injected in the feed distributor and the inlet and outlet tracer signals of cells 1 and 2 were measured by on-stream sensors. The baseline condition for the pulp distribution was defined by the valve settings in the feed distributor, which led to an unbalanced condition for two parallel rougher banks, with 34% of the pulp being fed to bank A and 66% to bank B. New valve configurations were evaluated, with a fraction of the feed being directed to the rougher bank C, which was not initially fed from the same distributor. The feed distribution was finally balanced with 49% of the pulp being fed to bank A versus 51% to bank B. Thus, the radioactive traces proved to be a powerful tool to industrially detect and improve feed distributions in parallel flotation circuits.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-06-12
      DOI: 10.3390/j5020020
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 2 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 298-317: Principal Component Analysis and Related Methods
           for Investigating the Dynamics of Biological Macromolecules

    • Authors: Kitao
      First page: 298
      Abstract: Principal component analysis (PCA) is used to reduce the dimensionalities of high-dimensional datasets in a variety of research areas. For example, biological macromolecules, such as proteins, exhibit many degrees of freedom, allowing them to adopt intricate structures and exhibit complex functions by undergoing large conformational changes. Therefore, molecular simulations of and experiments on proteins generate a large number of structure variations in high-dimensional space. PCA and many PCA-related methods have been developed to extract key features from such structural data, and these approaches have been widely applied for over 30 years to elucidate macromolecular dynamics. This review mainly focuses on the methodological aspects of PCA and related methods and their applications for investigating protein dynamics.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-06-20
      DOI: 10.3390/j5020021
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 2 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 1-14: Direct Photon Production in High-Energy Heavy Ion
           Collisions within the Integrated Hydrokinetic Model

    • Authors: Yuri Sinyukov, Volodymyr Shapoval
      First page: 1
      Abstract: The results on description of direct photon yields, transverse momentum spectra, and flow harmonics, measured in ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for different collision centrality classes, analyzed within the Integrated Hydrokinetic Model (iHKM) are reviewed. The iHKM simulation results, corresponding to the two opposite approaches to the matter evolution treatment at the final stage of the system’s expansion within the model, namely, the chemically equilibrated and the chemically frozen evolution, are compared. The so-called “direct photon puzzle” is addressed, and its possible solution, suggesting the account for additional photon emission at confinement, is considered.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-01-06
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010001
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 15-34: Efficient Color Correction Using Normalized
           Singular Value for Duststorm Image Enhancement

    • Authors: Ho-Sang Lee
      First page: 15
      Abstract: A duststorm image has a reddish or yellowish color cast. Though a duststorm image and a hazy image are obtained using the same process, a hazy image has no color distortion as it has not been disturbed by particles, but a duststorm image has color distortion owing to an imbalance in the color channel, which is disturbed by sand particles. As a result, a duststorm image has a degraded color channel, which is rare in certain channels. Therefore, a color balance step is needed to enhance a duststorm image naturally. This study goes through two steps to improve a duststorm image. The first is a color balance step using singular value decomposition (SVD). The singular value shows the image’s diversity features such as contrast. A duststorm image has a distorted color channel and it has a different singular value on each color channel. In a low-contrast image, the singular value is low and vice versa. Therefore, if using the channel’s singular value, the color channels can be balanced. Because the color balanced image has a similar feature to the haze image, a dehazing step is needed to improve the balanced image. In general, the dark channel prior (DCP) is frequently applied in the dehazing step. However, the existing DCP method has a halo effect similar to an over-enhanced image due to a dark channel and a patch image. According to this point, this study proposes to adjustable DCP (ADCP). In the experiment results, the proposed method was superior to state-of-the-art methods both subjectively and objectively.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-01-10
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010002
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 35-51: Formalising the R of Reduce in a Circular Economy
           Oriented Design Methodology for Pedestrian and Cycling Bridges

    • Authors: Kostas Anastasiades, Thijs Lambrechts, Jaan Mennes, Amaryllis Audenaert, Johan Blom
      First page: 35
      Abstract: The construction industry consumes over 32% of the annually excavated natural resources worldwide. Additionally, it is responsible for 25% of the annually generated solid waste. To become a more sustainable industry, a circular economy is necessary: resources are kept in use as long as possible, aiming to reduce and recirculate natural resources. In this paper, the investigation focuses on pedestrian truss bridges of the types Warren and Howe. Many pedestrian bridges currently find themselves in their end-of-life phase and most commonly these bridges are demolished and rebuilt, thus needing a lot of new materials and energy. The aim is thus first and foremost to reduce the amount of necessary new materials. For this reason, a design tool will be created, using the software ‘Matlab’, in which truss bridges can be evaluated and compared in the conceptual design stage. The tool is based on the theory of morphological indicators: the volume indicator, displacement indicator, buckling indicator and first natural frequency indicator. These allow a designer to determine the most material efficient Warren or Howe truss bridge design with user-defined constraints concerning deflection, load frequency, buckling and overall dimension. Subsequently, the tool was tested and compared to calculations made in the finite element modelling software Diamonds. In total, 72 steel bridge structures were tested. From these it could be concluded that the manual calculations in Diamonds in general confirmed the results obtained with the automated design tool based on morphological indicators. As such, it allows a designer to converge more quickly towards the best performing structure, thus saving time, materials, and corresponding costs and energy.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-01-17
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010003
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 52-63: On the Tree Gauge in Magnetostatics

    • Authors: Francesca Rapetti, Ana Alonso Rodríguez, Eduardo De Los Santos
      First page: 52
      Abstract: We recall the classical tree-cotree technique in magnetostatics. (1) We extend it in the frame of high-order finite elements in general domains. (2) We focus on its connection with the question of the invertibility of the final algebraic system arising from a high-order edge finite element discretization of the magnetostatic problem formulated in terms of the magnetic vector potential. With the same purpose of invertibility, we analyse another classically used condition, the Coulomb gauge. (3) We conclude by underlying that the two gauges can be naturally considered in a high order framework without any restriction on the topology of the domain.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-01-21
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010004
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 64-91: Law, Socio-Legal Governance, the Internet of
           Things, and Industry 4.0: A Middle-Out/Inside-Out Approach

    • Authors: Pompeu Casanovas, Louis de Koker, Mustafa Hashmi
      First page: 64
      Abstract: The Web of Data, the Internet of Things, and Industry 4.0 are converging, and society is challenged to ensure that appropriate regulatory responses can uphold the rule of law fairly and effectively in this emerging context. The challenge extends beyond merely submitting digital processes to the law. We contend that the 20th century notion of ‘legal order’ alone will not be suitable to produce the social order that the law should bring. The article explores the concepts of rule of law and of legal governance in digital and blockchain environments. We position legal governance from an empirical perspective, i.e., as an explanatory and validation concept to support the implementation of the rule of law in the new digital environments. As a novel contribution, this article (i) progresses some of the work done on the metarule of law and complements the SMART middle-out approach with an inside-out approach to digital regulatory systems and legal compliance models; (ii) sets the state-of-the-art and identifies the way to explain and validate legal information flows and hybrid agents’ behaviour; (iii) describes a phenomenological and historical approach to legal and political forms; and (iv) shows the utility of separating enabling and driving regulatory systems.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-01-21
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010005
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 92-104: Photocatalytic H2 Production on Au/TiO2: Effect
           of Au Photodeposition on Different TiO2 Crystalline Phases

    • Authors: Stefano Andrea Balsamo, Salvatore Sciré, Marcello Condorelli, Roberto Fiorenza
      First page: 92
      Abstract: In this work, we investigated the role of the crystalline phases of titanium dioxide in the solar photocatalytic H2 production by the reforming of glycerol, focusing the attention on the influence of photodeposited gold, as a metal co-catalyst, on TiO2 surface. We correlated the photocatalytic activity of 1 wt% Au/TiO2 in anatase, rutile, and brookite phases with the structural and optical properties determined by Raman spectroscopy, N2 adsorption–desorption measurements, UV–vis Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy (UV–vis DRS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Photoluminescence spectroscopy (PL), and Dynamic Light scattering (DLS). The best results (2.55 mmol H2 gcat−1 h−1) were obtained with anatase and gold photodeposited after 30 min of solar irradiation. The good performance of Au/TiO2 in anatase form and the key importance of the strong interaction between gold and the peculiar crystalline phase of TiO2 can be a starting point to efficiently improve photocatalysts design and experimental conditions, in order to favor a green hydrogen production through solar photocatalysis.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-01-24
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010006
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 105-106: Acknowledgment to Reviewers of J in 2021

    • Authors: J Editorial Office J Editorial Office
      First page: 105
      Abstract: Rigorous peer-reviews are the basis of high-quality academic publishing [...]
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-01-28
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010007
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 107-113: A Comparison of Post-Operative Occlusion with
           3-D vs. 2-D Miniplate Fixation in the Management of Isolated Mandibular
           Angle Fractures

    • Authors: Anosha Mujtaba, Namrah Rafiq Malik, Muhammad Farooq Umer, Hasan Mujtaba, Shumaila Zofeen, Zahoor Ahmad Rana
      First page: 107
      Abstract: Mandibular angle fractures (MAFs) are treated in a variety of ways; however, the standard therapy is still up for debate. Despite the fact that many studies have generated evidence for the appropriate biomechanical stability of 3-D miniplates, there is an insufficient amount of data on the treatment of mandibular angle fractures with these plates. A comparative study was conducted at The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad. Patients were randomly divided into two groups of 52 patients each. Patients in group A were treated with 3-D miniplate placement on the lateral cortex following the principle of 3-D fixation proposed by Farmand and Dupoirieux, whereas patients included in group B were treated using 2-D conventional miniplate, placed according to Champy’s line of ideal osteosynthesis. A single surgical team performed the procedure. On the first and seventh post-operative days, the first month, and then the third month after surgery, regular evaluations were conducted. Assessment regarding Post Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF) occlusion was performed with the help of measuring tools. On the first day post-operative follow-up, 41 (78.8%) patients in group A and 31 (59.6%) patients in group B had satisfactory occlusion. The seventh day post-operative follow-up showed that 43 (82.7%) patients in group A and 41 (78.8%) patients in group B had satisfactory occlusion (p > 0.05). In both treatment groups, the first and third month follow-up evaluations revealed optimal occlusion. In comparison to conventional 2-D miniplate, the 3-D miniplate system produced better results and can be recommended as a better option for the management of mandibular angle fractures.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-02-02
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010008
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 114-125: Structural Stability Analysis of Proteins Using
           End-to-End Distance: A 3D-RISM Approach

    • Authors: Yutaka Maruyama, Ayori Mitsutake
      First page: 114
      Abstract: The stability of a protein is determined from its properties and surrounding solvent. In our previous study, the total energy as a sum of the conformational and solvation free energies was demonstrated to be an appropriate energy function for evaluating the stability of a protein in a protein folding system. We plotted the various energies against the root mean square deviation, required as a reference structure. Herein, we replotted the various energies against the end-to-end distance between the N- and C-termini, which is not a required reference and is experimentally measurable. The solvation free energies for all proteins tend to be low as the end-to-end distance increases, whereas the conformational energies tend to be low as the end-to-end distance decreases. The end-to-end distance is one of interesting measures to study the behavior of proteins.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-02-14
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010009
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 126-138: Metrics, Explainability and the European AI Act

    • Authors: Francesco Sovrano, Salvatore Sapienza, Monica Palmirani, Fabio Vitali
      First page: 126
      Abstract: On 21 April 2021, the European Commission proposed the first legal framework on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to address the risks posed by this emerging method of computation. The Commission proposed a Regulation known as the AI Act. The proposed AI Act considers not only machine learning, but expert systems and statistical models long in place. Under the proposed AI Act, new obligations are set to ensure transparency, lawfulness, and fairness. Their goal is to establish mechanisms to ensure quality at launch and throughout the whole life cycle of AI-based systems, thus ensuring legal certainty that encourages innovation and investments on AI systems while preserving fundamental rights and values. A standardisation process is ongoing: several entities (e.g., ISO) and scholars are discussing how to design systems that are compliant with the forthcoming Act, and explainability metrics play a significant role. Specifically, the AI Act sets some new minimum requirements of explicability (transparency and explainability) for a list of AI systems labelled as “high-risk” listed in Annex III. These requirements include a plethora of technical explanations capable of covering the right amount of information, in a meaningful way. This paper aims to investigate how such technical explanations can be deemed to meet the minimum requirements set by the law and expected by society. To answer this question, with this paper we propose an analysis of the AI Act, aiming to understand (1) what specific explicability obligations are set and who shall comply with them and (2) whether any metric for measuring the degree of compliance of such explanatory documentation could be designed. Moreover, by envisaging the legal (or ethical) requirements that such a metric should possess, we discuss how to implement them in a practical way. More precisely, drawing inspiration from recent advancements in the theory of explanations, our analysis proposes that metrics to measure the kind of explainability endorsed by the proposed AI Act shall be risk-focused, model-agnostic, goal-aware, intelligible, and accessible. Therefore, we discuss the extent to which these requirements are met by the metrics currently under discussion.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-02-18
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010010
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 139-149: The Good, the Bad, and the Invisible with Its
           Opportunity Costs: Introduction to the ‘J’ Special Issue on
           “the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Law”

    • Authors: Ugo Pagallo, Massimo Durante
      First page: 139
      Abstract: Scholars and institutions have been increasingly debating the moral and legal challenges of AI, together with the models of governance that should strike the balance between the opportunities and threats brought forth by AI, its ‘good’ and ‘bad’ facets. There are more than a hundred declarations on the ethics of AI and recent proposals for AI regulation, such as the European Commission’s AI Act, have further multiplied the debate. Still, a normative challenge of AI is mostly overlooked, and regards the underuse, rather than the misuse or overuse, of AI from a legal viewpoint. From health care to environmental protection, from agriculture to transportation, there are many instances of how the whole set of benefits and promises of AI can be missed or exploited far below its full potential, and for the wrong reasons: business disincentives and greed among data keepers, bureaucracy and professional reluctance, or public distrust in the era of no-vax conspiracies theories. The opportunity costs that follow this technological underuse is almost terra incognita due to the ‘invisibility’ of the phenomenon, which includes the ‘shadow prices’ of economy. This introduction provides metrics for such assessment and relates this work to the development of new standards for the field. We must quantify how much it costs not to use AI systems for the wrong reasons.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-02-19
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010011
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 150-165: Strategies for Studying Acidification and
           Eutrophication Potentials, a Case Study of 150 Countries

    • Authors: Modeste Kameni Nematchoua
      First page: 150
      Abstract: Acidification and eutrophication are two environmental impacts that have a significant effect on air pollution and human health. The quantitative analysis of these two impacts remains hitherto unknown at the scale of new neighborhoods. The main objective of this study is to evaluate, analyze and compare the acidification and eutrophication potentials of one neighborhood initially located in Belgium. For making this comparison, this neighborhood was built in 149 other countries by applying four parameters such as building materials, energy mix, occupants’ mobility and local climate. The environmental costs of acidification and eutrophication coming from this neighborhood were assessed over 100 years. This research, extended to the scale of several nations, will enable new researchers, and especially policy-makers, to measure the effectiveness of sustainable neighborhoods. Eutrophication and acidification potentials were assessed under different phases (construction, use, renovation and demolition), with Pleiades software (version The effects of the energy mix were the most significant among the other parameters. The results show that 72%, and 65% of acidification and eutrophication potentials are produced during the operational phase of the neighborhood. In the case of sustainable neighborhoods, the acidification potential is 22.1% higher in the 10 top low-income countries than in the 10 top high-income countries. At the neighborhood scale, the main eutrophication potential component is water (34.2%), while the main source of acidification potential is electricity production (45.1%).
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-03-01
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010012
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 166-185: A Hypothesis on How the Azolla Symbiosis
           Mitigates Nitrous Oxide Based on In Silico Analyses

    • Authors: Dilantha Gunawardana, Venura Herath
      First page: 166
      Abstract: Nitrous oxide is a long-lived greenhouse gas that exists for 114 years in the atmosphere and is 298-fold more potent than carbon dioxide in its global warming potential. Two recent studies showcased the utility of Azolla plants for a lesser footprint in nitrous oxide production from urea and other supplements to the irrigated ecosystem, which mandates exploration since there is still no clear solution to nitrous oxide in paddy fields or in other ecosystems. Here, we propose a solution based on the evolution of a single cytochrome oxidase subunit II protein (WP_013192178.1) from the cyanobiont Trichormus azollae that we hypothesize to be able to quench nitrous oxide. First, we draw attention to a domain in the candidate protein that is emerging as a sensory periplasmic Y_Y_Y domain that is inferred to bind nitrous oxide. Secondly, we draw the phylogeny of the candidate protein showcasing the poor bootstrap support of its position in the wider clade showcasing its deviation from the core function. Thirdly, we show that the NtcA protein, the apical N-effecting transcription factor, can putatively bind to a promoter sequence of the gene coding for the candidate protein (WP_013192178.1), suggesting a function associated with heterocysts and N-metabolism. Our fourth point involves a string of histidines at the C-terminal extremity of the WP_013192178.1 protein that is missing on all other T. azollae cytochrome oxidase subunit II counterparts, suggesting that such histidines are perhaps involved in forming a Cu center. As the fifth point, we showcase a unique glycine-183 in a lengthy linker region containing multiple glycines that is absent in all proximal Nostocales cyanobacteria, which we predict to be a DNA binding residue. We propose a mechanism of action for the WP_013192178.1 protein based on our in silico analyses. In total, we hypothesize the incomplete and rapid conversion of a likely heterocystous cytochrome oxidase subunit II protein to an emerging nitrous oxide sensing/quenching subunit based on bioinformatics analyses and past literature, which can have repercussions to climate change and consequently, future human life.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-03-04
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010013
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
  • J, Vol. 5, Pages 186-197: Applications of Time-Resolved Thermodynamics for
           Studies on Protein Reactions

    • Authors: Masahide Terazima
      First page: 186
      Abstract: Thermodynamics and kinetics are two important scientific fields when studying chemical reactions. Thermodynamics characterize the nature of the material. Kinetics, mostly based on spectroscopy, have been used to determine reaction schemes and identify intermediate species. They are certainly important fields, but they are almost independent. In this review, our attempts to elucidate protein reaction kinetics and mechanisms by monitoring thermodynamic properties, including diffusion in the time domain, are described. The time resolved measurements are performed mostly using the time resolved transient grating (TG) method. The results demonstrate the usefulness and powerfulness of time resolved studies on protein reactions. The advantages and limitations of this TG method are also discussed.
      Citation: J
      PubDate: 2022-03-08
      DOI: 10.3390/j5010014
      Issue No: Vol. 5, No. 1 (2022)
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