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  • This paper integrates a macroscopic dynamic traffic assignment (DTA) model for urban traffic flow with an instantaneous emission model to investigate traffic-related emissions in urban areas of arbitrary shape. It is assumed that homogeneous travelers continuously distributed over the urban areas tend to choose a path to minimize their total travel cost based on instantaneous traffic information. The macroscopic DTA model consists of a two-dimensional hyperbolic system of nonlinear conservation laws with source terms and an Eikonal-type equation used to describe the path-choice behavior of travelers. A solution algorithm for the model is designed as a Runge–Kutta Discontinuous Galerkin method for the hyperbolic system coupled with a fast sweeping method for the Eikonal-type equation on unstructured meshes. A case study investigating macroscopic characteristics of urban traffic flow and predicting exhaust emissions emitted by various types of vehicles in urban areas is conducted to illustrate the applicability of the model and the effectiveness of the algorithm.
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  • Annona muricata Linnaeus, popularly known as “graviola” and also called soursop, is a species typical of countries with a tropical climate, and it is used in folk medicine as an anticancer, analgesic and antispasmodic agent. The aim of the present study was to validate the gastroprotective activity of the hydroalcoholic extract of the leaves of A. muricata (HEAM) and to investigate the underlying mechanisms of action for this effect. Gastric lesions were induced in mice by absolute ethanol, acidified ethanol or indomethacin. Before, the animals were pretreated with saline, omeprazole or HEAM orally at doses of 50–400mg/kg. To determine the mechanism of action of the extract, we investigated, using specific inhibitors, the involvement of nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandins (PGEs), ATP-dependent K+ channels and α2-noradrenergic receptors. HEAM showed significant antiulcer activity against lesions induced by absolute ethanol, acidified ethanol or indomethacin, which was mediated by endogenous gastric prostaglandins.
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  • In the course of a screening program on the seasonal phenol composition of wild Mediterranean medicinal and aromatic plants, broadly used for culinary purposes, Foeniculum vulgare Mill. was the focus of the present study. Hydroalcoholic extracts from fennel freeze-dried leaves, collected in different seasons along 2012 and 2013years, were quali-quantitatively analyzed through LC/MS/MS techniques. Winter extract contained, beyond several hydroxycinnamoyl quinic acids and flavonol glycosides, two chromone derivatives. Flavonol hexuronides were the main spring sample constituents. Phenol profile differences among the extracts influenced massively their bioactivity. When the antioxidant screening was performed, winter extract effectively scavenged DPPH and ABTS+ and reduced Fe3+. Although all the extracts did not show cytotoxicity, they were differently able to exert cytoprotection in H2O2-oxidized cell systems and to affect COX-2 gene expression in THP-1 cells. The most active one was winter extract, which inhibited COX-2 expression by 40%, whereas spring sample showed a weak pro-inflammatory capability.
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  • La enfermedad de Alzheimer de inicio precoz (EAIP), definida como la que se manifiesta antes de los 65 años de edad, muestra ciertas características diferentes de la enfermedad de Alzheimer de inicio tardío (EAIT). Nuestro objetivo fue analizar los trabajos más actuales que comparan la clínica, la neuropsicología, la patología, la genética y la neuroimagen de la EAIP y la EAIT, para determinar si nos enfrentamos a dos enfermedades distintas o a variantes de una misma entidad. Como resultado, hallamos consistencia en algunas características diferenciales entre los 2 cuadros clínicos. Fundamentalmente, la EAIP comienza con mayor frecuencia con una clínica atípica; la valoración cognitiva muestra mayor afectación de las funciones ejecutiva y visuoespacial y de las praxias, y menor afectación de la memoria; la neuropatología evidencia mayor densidad y una distribución más difusa de la patología tipo Alzheimer; los estudios de neuroimagen estructural y funcional muestran una afectación cortical mayor y más difusa, afectando al neocórtex (especialmente el precuneus). En conclusión, las evidencias actuales hacen pensar que la EAIP y la EAIT son variantes clínicas de una misma entidad, que en el caso de la EAIT se ve influida probablemente por factores asociados al envejecimiento.
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  • Surprisingly, a reliable method for measuring the concentration of free fluoride ions in honey is still missing from the literature, notwithstanding the generally recognized importance of the analyte and the matrix. To fill this gap, this study proposes and validates a straightforward ion-specific electrode potentiometric method for this task. The method offers very low detection and quantification limits (6.7μgkg−1 and 25μgkg−1, respectively), good linearity (R2>0.994), good sensitivity (typically 55±3mV for an order of magnitude of concentration) in an unusually low concentration interval (between 0.020 and 1mgL−1), and acceptable precision and bias. The method was applied to 30 unifloral (thistle, eucalyptus and strawberry tree) honey samples from Sardinia, Italy. The amount of free fluoride ions found in these honeys appears to be lower than the range usually found in the literature; indeed, early results suggest a possible dependence of the analyte concentration on the honey’s botanical origin.
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  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common degenerative joint disease and a growing health problem affecting more than half of the population over the age of 65. It is characterized by inflammation in the cartilage and synovium, resulting in the loss of joint structure and progressive damage to the cartilage. Many pro-inflammatory mediators are elevated in OA, including reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Damaged articular cartilage remains a challenge to treat due to the limited self-healing capacity of the tissue and unsuccessful biological interventions. This highlights the need for better therapeutic strategies to heal damaged articular cartilage. Ozone (O3) therapy has been shown to have positive results in the treatment of OA; however the use of O3 therapy as a therapeutic agent is controversial. There is a perception that O3 is always toxic, whereas evidence indicates that when it is applied following a specified method, O3 can be effective in the treatment of degenerative diseases. The mechanism of action of O3 therapy in OA is not fully understood and this review summarizes the use of O3 therapy in the treatment of damaged articular cartilage in OA.
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  • This study aimed to produce inexpensive 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) in a non-sterile latex rubber sheet wastewater (RSW) by Rhodopseudomonas palustris TN114 and PP803 for the possibility to use in agricultural purposes by investigating the optimum conditions, and applying of wood vinegar (WV) as an economical source of levulinic acid to enhance ALA content. The Box–Behnken Design experiment was conducted under microaerobic-light conditions for 96h with TN114, PP803 and their mixed culture (1:1) by varying initial pH, inoculum size (% v/v) and initial chemical oxygen demand (COD, mg/L). Results showed that the optimal condition (pH, % inoculum size, COD) of each set to produce extracellular ALA was found at 7.50, 6.00, 2000 for TN114; 7.50, 7.00, 3000 for PP803; and 7.50, 6.00, 4000 for a mixed culture; and each set achieved COD reduction as high as 63%, 71% and 75%, respectively. Addition of the optimal concentration of WV at mid log phase at 0.63% for TN114, and 1.25% for PP803 and the mixed culture significantly increased the ALA content by 3.7–4.2times (128, 90 and 131μM, respectively) compared to their controls. ALA production cost could be reduced approximately 31times with WV on the basis of the amount of levulinic acid used. Effluent containing ALA for using in agriculture could be achieved by treating the RSW with the selected ALA producer R. palustris strains under the optimized condition with a little WV additive.
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  • Finite mixture modeling is one of the most rapidly developing areas of statistics due to its modeling flexibility and appealing interpretability. Gaussian mixture models have been popular among researchers for decades proving their usefulness in various applications. However, when Gaussian mixture components do not provide an adequate fit for the data, more general models must be considered. Traditional remedies for deviation from normality include employing a more appropriate distribution as well as transforming data to near-normality. Merging both approaches by introducing a mixture model with components derived from the multivariate Manly transformation is proposed. Such mixture models show good performance in modeling skewness and have excellent interpretability. Forward and backward model selection algorithms are proposed to choose an appropriate multivariate transformation. At each step of these algorithms, a model with the specific combination of skewness parameters is estimated by means of the expectation–maximization algorithm. The developed technique is carefully illustrated on synthetic data and applied to several well-known datasets, with promising results.
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  • A small plasmid designated pCS36-4CPA with a size of 5217 base pairs and G-C content of 50.74% was isolated from Citrobacter sp. 36-4CPA. The origin of replication (ori) of the plasmid was identified as a region of about 800bp in length with an identity of 67.1% to the ColE1 plasmid at the nucleotide level. The replication region contained typical elements of ColE1-like plasmids: RNA I and RNA II with their corresponding −10 and −35 boxes, a single-strand initiation site (ssi), and a lagging-strand termination site (terH). As seen in other ColE1-like plasmids, pCS36-4CPA carried mobilisation machinery that include mobABCD genes but it did not possess the rom gene. Analysis of the multimer resolution site (mrs) was performed and XerC and XerD binding sites were identified. Also, the 70-nt transcript Rcd of pCS36-4CPA was predicted and similarity of the transcript’s secondary structure with those of the ColE1-family was shown. The cargo module of pCS36-4CPA contained three open reading frames (ORFs). Two of them (ORF5 and ORF6) showed no significant homology to any known gene sequences but contained putative THAP DNA-binding (DBD) and type II restriction endonuclease EcoO109I domains. The seventh open reading frame (ORF7) encodes YhdJ-like DNA modification methylase. The region highly homologous to pCS36-4CPA was found in the Salmonella phage SE2 genome.
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