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The EuroLifeNet Study: How Different Microenvironments Influence Personal Exposure to PM2.5 among High-School Students in Milan  [PDF]
Alessandro Borgini, Cristian Ricci, Martina Bertoldi, Paolo Crosignani, Andrea Tittarelli
Open Journal of Air Pollution (OJAP) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/ojap.2015.41003
Abstract: Epidemiological studies show that long-term exposure to PM is associated with an increased risk of cancer. The EuroLifeNet study measured the personal exposure to PM2.5 in 90 pupils attending three schools in Milan, using a portable nephelometer, over a three-week period spanning November and December 2006. Background levels explained 40% of the variability of the exposure. Methods: As a second part of that study we analyzed the role of different microenvironments as determinants of personal exposure to PM2.5. Results: Exposure was influenced by the time of day, zone of the city and different microenvironments. Exposure was higher indoors than out, and indoors it was higher in the kitchen, particularly during cooking. In outdoor environments exposure was higher at bus stops where road traffic was heavy. Conclusions: Even though background concentration can be a good predictor of personal exposure to PM, students’ personal exposure is strongly influenced by different microenvironments and should be considered in population studies. The EuroLifeNet experience gives a contribution to personal exposure measure methodology.
Management of ureteral calculi and medical expulsive therapy in emergency departments
Stefano Picozzi C,Marenghi Carlo,Casellato Stefano,Ricci Cristian
Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock , 2011,
Abstract: Introduction : Ureteral stones are a common problem in daily emergency department practice. Patients may be offered medical expulsive therapy (MET1) to facilitate stone expulsion and this should be offered as a treatment for patients with distal ureteral calculi, who are amenable to waiting management. Emergency department clinicians and family practitioners are often in the front line regarding the diagnosis and treatment of symptomatic nephrolithiasis and this commentary is dedicated to them because their decisions directly influence the outcome of the acute stone episode and appropriate referral patterns. Materials and Methods : The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to understand the role of MET in the treatment of obstructing ureteral calculi. A bibliographic search covering the period from January 1980 to March 2010 was conducted in PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE. The searches were restricted to publications in English. This analysis is based on the 21 studies that fulfilled the predefined inclusion criteria. Results : A metaregression analysis of expulsion time showed a statistically significant advantage in the experimental group, in which the mean expulsion time was 6.2 days compared to 10.3 days in controls. The treatment effect on expulsion rate (P = 0.53) was partially lost as the size of the stones decreased because of the high spontaneous expulsion rate of small stones and the expulsion time was not influenced by pharmacological treatment (P = 0.76) if the stone size was smaller than 5 mm. Analysis of the tamsulosin database : A total of 1283 participants were included in the 17 studies. These studies showed that compared to standard therapy or placebo, tamsulosin had significant benefits, being associated with both a higher stone expulsion rate (P < 0.001) and reduction of the expulsion time (P = 0.02). Reductions in the need for analgesic therapy, hospitalization and surgery are also shown. Analysis of the nifedipine database : The number of participants in each trial ranged from 25 to 70. Compared to standard therapy, the use of nifedipine significantly improved the spontaneous stone expulsion rate (P < 0.001). The mean expulsion time was slightly, but not statistically significantly, different (P = 0.19) between the treatment and control groups. A possible benefit of nifedipine, in terms of significantly reducing the doses of analgesics required, was reported in three studies. There was no difference between the tamsulosin- and nifedipine-treated groups with regard to expulsion time (P = 0.17) or expulsion rate (P = 0.79).
Recurrence of Congenital Heart Disease in Cases with Familial Risk Screened Prenatally by Echocardiography
Vlasta Fesslova,Jelena Brankovic,Faustina Lalatta,Laura Villa,Valerio Meli,Luciane Piazza,Cristian Ricci
Journal of Pregnancy , 2011, DOI: 10.1155/2011/368067
Abstract: Objectives. To evaluate the recurrence of congenital heart disease (CHD) in pregnant women with familial risk who had been referred for fetal echocardiography. Material and Methods. 1634 pregnancies from 1483 women with familial history of CHD in one or more relatives were studied. Fetal cardiologic diagnosis was compared with postnatal findings at 6 months or at autopsy. Results. Total recurrence rate of CHD was 3.98%, 4.06% in single familial risk, 2.9% in double, and 5% in multiple risk. It was 3.5% in case of one previously affected child; 4.5% with 2 children; 5.2% with the mother alone affected and 7,5% with father alone affected and 3.5% with a single distant relative. Exact concordance of CHD was found in 21.5% and a partial concordance in 20% of cases. Conclusions. Our data show a higher recurrence rate of CHD than previously published data and high relative risk ratios compared to normal population. 1. Introduction The inheritance of congenital heart disease (CHD) has been analyzed in familial studies undertaken by Nora et al. [1–6] and in studies on twins and siblings [7, 8] and the polygenic-multifactorial model for inheritance has been generally accepted. Thus, the incidence of CHD in first-degree relatives was predicted to be between 1 and 5%. However, the polygenic mode of inheritance seemed to be partly contradicted by a higher recurrence risk (16%) for offspring of patients with CHD as reported by Whittemore et al. [9] or a 9% recurrence reported in parents with specific defects [10]. It should be noted that the above are older data obtained in the era before echocardiography. while nowadays our detection of even mild forms of CHD have significantly improved. A family history of CHD is a frequent reason for referring a patient for fetal echocardiography. Prenatal counseling in these patients is very difficult, because it is not always possible to exclude smaller or evolutive lesions in examined fetuses and the final prognosis of the affected cases may be sometimes completed only after birth. The recurrence rate in populations with familial risk referred for fetal echocardiography was first reported by Allan et al. [11] and then in two other studies [12, 13]. In 1998, our group analyzed retrospectively a small series of fetal cases from families with a history of CHD [14]. We present now a prospective study on a much larger number of cases, extending the followup to at least 6 months, in order to detect even milder lesions. 2. Patients and Methods 2.1. Patients 1634 consecutive pregnancies from 1483 women referred for familial history of
Timing Matters in Hip Fracture Surgery: Patients Operated within 48 Hours Have Better Outcomes. A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression of over 190,000 Patients
Lorenzo Moja, Alessandra Piatti, Valentina Pecoraro, Cristian Ricci, Gianni Virgili, Georgia Salanti, Luca Germagnoli, Alessandro Liberati, Giuseppe Banfi
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046175
Abstract: Background To assess the relationship between surgical delay and mortality in elderly patients with hip fracture. Systematic review and meta-analysis of retrospective and prospective studies published from 1948 to 2011. Medline (from 1948), Embase (from 1974) and CINAHL (from 1982), and the Cochrane Library. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals for each study were extracted and pooled with a random effects model. Heterogeneity, publication bias, Bayesian analysis, and meta-regression analyses were done. Criteria for inclusion were retro- and prospective elderly population studies, patients with operated hip fractures, indication of timing of surgery and survival status. Methodology/Principal Findings There were 35 independent studies, with 191,873 participants and 34,448 deaths. The majority considered a cut-off between 24 and 48 hours. Early hip surgery was associated with a lower risk of death (pooled odds ratio (OR) 0.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67 to 0.81; P<0.000) and pressure sores (0.48, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.60; P<0.000). Meta-analysis of the adjusted prospective studies gave similar results. The Bayesian probability predicted that about 20% of future studies might find that early surgery is not beneficial for decreasing mortality. None of the confounders (e.g. age, sex, data source, baseline risk, cut-off points, study location, quality and year) explained the differences between studies. Conclusions/Significance Surgical delay is associated with a significant increase in the risk of death and pressure sores. Conservative timing strategies should be avoided. Orthopaedic surgery services should ensure the majority of patients are operated within one or two days.
Pp65 antigenemia, plasma real-time PCR and DBS test in symptomatic and asymptomatic cytomegalovirus congenitally infected newborns
Sandro Binda, Antonella Mammoliti, Valeria Primache, Patrizia Didò, Carlo Corbetta, Fabio Mosca, Lorenza Pugni, Anna Bossi, Cristian Ricci, Maria Barbi
BMC Infectious Diseases , 2010, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-10-24
Abstract: In the present study, we elaborated the results obtained on blood samples collected in the first two weeks of life from 22 symptomatic and 48 asymptomatic newborns with cCMV diagnosed through urine testing. We evaluated the performances of two quantitative methods (pp65 antigenemia test and plasma Real-time PCR) and the semi-quantitative results of dried blood sample (DBS) test in the aim of identifying a valid method for measuring viral load.Plasma qPCR and DBS tests were positive in 100% of cases, antigenemia in 81%. Only the latter test gave quantitatively different results in symptomatic versus asymptomatic children. qPCR values of 103 copies/ml were found in 52% of newborn. "Strong" DBS test positivity cases had higher median values of both pp65 positive PBL and DNA copies/ml than cases with a "weak" positivity.As expected antigenemia test was less sensitive than molecular tests and DBS test performed better on samples with higher rates of pp65 positive PBL and higher numbers of DNA copies/ml. The prognostic significance of the results of these tests will be evaluated on completion of the ongoing collection of follow-up data of these children.Congenital cytomegalovirus infection (cCMV) is present in 0.7% of neonates [1] and represents one of the most feared events during pregnancy, causing not only immediate but also delayed sequelae to the infant. At birth, 10% of infected newborns present with symptoms involving the hematopoietic, hepatobiliary, or central nervous systems.During early childhood, one fifth of all congenitally infected babies either die or suffer permanent neurological impairments that can affect normal development, particularly psychomotor retardation, ocular damage, or sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). This last sequelae is the most frequent, occurring in about 20% of cases. It may be evident at birth (45-65%) [1] or develop later. Moreover, there may be different degrees of severity and it may be progressive.As corrective measures may only
The RSA Cryptographic Protocol Is Not Secure  [PDF]
Cristian Dumitrescu
Applied Mathematics (AM) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/am.2013.412222

In this article I describe a randomized algorithm based on random walks with two absorbing barriers that solves the satisfiability problem (known to be NP complete) with arbitrary high probability. As a consequence of this algorithm, I also prove that the RSA cryptographic protocol is not secure.

A Comparative Environmental Evaluation of the Coal and Natural Gas Life Cycle  [PDF]
Cristian Dinc?
Natural Resources (NR) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/nr.2013.48060

Natural gas and coal are the main primary energy resources used in the Romanian energy sector, 73.7% in 2011, taking into account the fuel imports. The objective of the article consists in analyzing all the processes along the coal and the natural gas life cycle in order to assess their overall environmental impact. Two energy technologies were analyzed, for each resource: the pulverized coal combustion with supra-critical parameters and CO2 capture unit and the natural gas combined cycle. Considering the functional unit of electricity production for 1 year, it was found that the natural gas combined cycle remains the more interesting energy technology from an environmental point of view. However, the pulverized coal with supra-critical parameters equipped with a CO2 capture unit has the lowest environmental impact on the climate change. The weakest point of the coal technology is its low efficiency.

Extending Virial Black Hole Mass Estimates to Low-Luminosity or Obscured AGN: the cases of NGC 4395 and MCG -01-24-012
Fabio La Franca,Francesca Onori,Federica Ricci,Eleonora Sani,Marcella Brusa,Roberto Maiolino,Stefano Bianchi,Angela Bongiorno,Fabrizio Fiore,Alessandro Marconi,Cristian Vignali
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv368
Abstract: In the last decade, using single epoch (SE) virial based spectroscopic optical observations, it has been possible to measure the black hole (BH) mass on large type 1 Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) samples. However this kind of measurements can not be applied on those obscured type 2 and/or low luminosity AGN where the nuclear component does not dominate in the optical. We have derived new SE relationships, based on the FWHM and luminosity of the broad line region component of the Pabeta emission line and/or the hard X-ray luminosity in the 14-195 keV band, which have the prospect of better working with low luminosity or obscured AGN. The SE relationships have been calibrated in the 10^5-10^9 M_sol mass range, using a sample of AGN whose BH masses have been previously measured using reverberation mapping techniques. Our tightest relationship between the reverberation-based BH mass and the SE virial product has an intrinsic spread of 0.20 dex. Thanks to these SE relations, in agreement with previous estimates, we have measured a BH mass of M_BH =1.7^+1.3_-0.7 X 10^5 M_sol for the low luminosity, type 1, AGN NGC 4395 (one of the smallest active galactic BH known). We also measured, for the first time, a BH mass of M_BH = 1.5^+1.1_-0.6 X 10^7 M_sol for the Seyfert 2 galaxy MCG -01-24-012.
Is it possible to block the cancer cells in circulating blood by extracorporeal circulation? Implications of the immune system and other factors (review)  [PDF]
Sante Basso Ricci, Francesco Garbagnati
Open Journal of Immunology (OJI) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/oji.2013.34029
Abstract: The presence of cancer cells in circulating blood and the possibility of colonization in the tissues of the body worsen in a determinant way the prognosis of the disease. Nevertheless, there are factors in the body that can lead to a prognostic improvement, even in such conditions. In addition to the immune system, other favorable factors can act at the level of the microenvironment of the tumor so much that cases of spontaneous total regression, not only of primary tumors but also metastases, have been reported in the literature. Since it was recently reported that patients with renal tumors and in permanent hemodialysis present at post mortem examination, a metastatic spread much less extensive than observed in patients deceased for renal tumors but not on hemodialysis. The authors maintain it likely that the dialytic membrane concurs to block at least in part the cancer cells circulating in the blood. The possibility to block cancer cells can be extended in addition to the dialytic membrane also to other types of filters inserted in the extracorporeal circulation. The block of the cancer cells thus is obtained and that occurs in regional lymph nodes and in the microenvironment of the tumor causing a relative increase in the elements of the immune system compared to the number of cancer cells, which could determine clearly positive therapeutic results also in cases with advanced metastatic spread.
A “Hard to Die” Series Expansion and Lucas Polynomials of the Second Kind  [PDF]
Pierpaolo Natalini, Paolo E. Ricci
Applied Mathematics (AM) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/am.2015.68116
Abstract: We show how to use the Lucas polynomials of the second kind in the solution of a homogeneous linear differential system with constant coefficients, avoiding the Jordan canonical form for the relevant matrix.
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