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Epidemiology As a Tool to Reveal Inequalities in Breast Cancer Care.
Franco
PLOS Medicine , 2006,
Abstract:
Eyjafjallajökull Volcanic Eruption: Ice Nuclei and Particle Characterization  [PDF]
Franco Belosi, Gianni Santachiara, Franco Prodi
Atmospheric and Climate Sciences (ACS) , 2011, DOI: 10.4236/acs.2011.12005
Abstract: The Eyjafjallajökull 2010 eruption was an extraordinary event in that it led to widespread and unprecedented disruption to air travel over Europe – a region generally considered to be free from the hazards associated with volcanic eruptions, excluding the extreme south influenced by Mt. Etna. In situ measurements were performed at the research centre of the National Research Council (CNR) area of Bologna (44?31′ N; 11?20′ E), an urban background site, in order to contribute to knowledge concerning the impact of the volcanic emission.Aerosol size distributions measured with a Differential Mobility Particle Sizer (DMPS) and an Optical Particle Counter (OPC) show an increase in concentration of the accumulation and coarse fraction during the transit of the ash cloud, with respect to the subsequent period of the event, while particles smaller than 0.3 μm seem not to be affected by volcanic ash. Ice nuclei measured in the sampled air during and after the ash cloud transit, show an higher concentration during the ash cloud transit, with a ratio of about 1:110 with respect to the aerosol number concentration measured with the OPC.The elemental composition of aerosol particles, performed with SEM-EDX, gives about 30% of the inorganic coarse particles (geometric diameter larger than 1 μm) of volcanic origin on the 20 April. Si and Al concentrations result prevalently much higher than Ca and Fe ones. A large number of particles contained sulphur, indicating secondary processes of sulphate/sulphuric acid formation due to sulphur dioxide oxidation during transport in the volcanic plume.
A Review of Termo- and Diffusio-Phoresis in the Atmospheric Aerosol Scavenging Process. Part 1: Drop Scavenging  [PDF]
Gianni Santachiara, Franco Prodi, Franco Belosi
Atmospheric and Climate Sciences (ACS) , 2012, DOI: 10.4236/acs.2012.22016
Abstract: The role of phoretic forces in providing in-cloud and below-cloud scavenging due to falling drop is reviewed by considering published papers dealing with theoretical models, laboratory and field measurements. Theoretical analyses agree that Brownian diffusion appears to dominate drop scavenging of aerosol with radius less than 0.1 μm, and inertial impaction dominates scavenging of aerosol with radius higher than 1 μm. Thus, there is a minimum collection efficiency for particles in the approximate range 0.1 μm - 1 μm, where phoretic forces are felt. Generally speaking, published papers report not uniform evaluations of the contribution of thermo- and diffusiophoretic forces. This disagreement is partially due to the different laboratory and field conditions, and different theoretical approaches.
Performance Evaluation of Four Commercial Optical Particle Counters  [PDF]
Franco Belosi, Gianni Santachiara, Franco Prodi
Atmospheric and Climate Sciences (ACS) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/acs.2013.31006
Abstract:

The performances of four optical particles counters, Aerosol Spectrometer (Grimm 1.108), Enviro Check (Grimm 1.107), DustMonit and ParticleScan, were evaluated in laboratory tests employing monodisperse aerosol particles. The study focused on how commercial instruments perform during routine measurements respect to OPC scientific understanding, because it is important for users of such instruments to be aware of their limitations. Measurements were performed using aerosol generated by a Monodisperse Aerosol Generator (MAGE), which produced carnauba wax particles of diameter (1.00 ± 0.08) μm and (1.40 ± 0.15) μm, and monodisperse Polystyrene Latex (PSL) aerosol with nominal diameter of 1.0mm. The results show comparable total particle number concentrations for all the counters, when the count of the first size channel (0.3 - 0.4 μm) for the 1.108 Grimm counter was left out. In the said channel the Grimm counter 1.108 always showed much higher particle counts than those inferred from the tested aerosols. The overcount was proved by the fact that the aerosol sampled in each test on a Nuclepore filter showed no particles in the 0.3 - 0.4 μm range when examined under Scanning Electronic Microscope (SEM). The presence of an artefact produced by the counter was assumed as a likely explanation. For all the counters, the Count Median Diameters (CMDs) of aerosol size distributions, were far below the expected value for the aerosol used. The nearest CMD values to the expected ones were shown by the Grimm 1.107 counter.

Quick Single Run Capillary Zone Electrophoresis Determination of Active Ingredients and Preservatives in Pharmaceutical Products  [PDF]
Marina Franco, Renata Jasionowska
American Journal of Analytical Chemistry (AJAC) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/ajac.2013.43016
Abstract:

The paper deals with the development of a rapid and efficient Capillary Zone Electrophoresis (CZE) method for Quality Control analysis of pharmaceutical preparations containing antihistamines, decongestants, anticholinergic remedies and preservatives. Active ingredients of interest are: ChlorPheniramine Maleate (CPM), DiPhenhydramine Hydrochloride (DPH), Ephedrine hydrochloride (E), Isopropamide Iodide (II), Pheniramine Maleate (PM), Lidocaine hydrochloride (L), Tetracaine hydrochloride (T), Clopamide Hydrochloride (CH), DiHydroErgochristine (DHE), PhenylEphrine hydrochloride (PE) and Acetaminophen (A). Preservatives studied are: MethylParaben (MeP), EthylParaben (EtP), PropylParaben (PrP), ButylParaben (BuP), p-HydroxyBenzoic Acid (p-HBA). All these analytes were separated in a single run using 60 mM tetraborate buffer solution (TBS) pH = 9.2 as a BackGround Electrolyte (BGE) by using an uncoated fused silica capillary of I.D. = 50 mm and applying a voltage of 25 kV in the first part of the electropheretic run (up to 5.8 min) and 30 kV for the remaining time. The hydrodynamic pressurization of the inlet vial was 20 psi at 7.2 min. up to the end of analysis. Total separation time was of 7.5 min. The method was then successfully validated and applied to the simultaneous determination of active ingredients and preservatives. Good repeatability, linearity, and sensitivity were demonstrated. Precision of migration time (tm) was RSD% < 0.53% and of corrected peak area (Ac) was RSD% < 6.15%. The linearity evaluation gave 0.9928 < r2 < 1.000. LOD and LOQ, accuracy (recovery) and ruggedness were evaluated for each analyte demonstrating the good reliability of the method. Analyses of some pharmaceutical real samples were performed.

Does the Homogeneous Ice Nucleation Initiate in the Bulk Volume or at the Surface of Super-Cooled Water Droplets? A Review  [PDF]
Gianni Santachiara, Franco Belosi
Atmospheric and Climate Sciences (ACS) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/acs.2014.44058
Abstract: The formation of ice in clouds can occur through primary processes, either homogeneously or heterogeneously triggered by aerosol particles called ice nuclei, as well as through secondary processes. The homogeneous ice nucleation process involves only pure water or solution droplets. Homogeneous freezing is crucial for the microphysics in the formation of high-altitude cirrus and polar stratospheric clouds, and also in the glaciation of thunderclouds, at temperatures below about 235 K. Nucleation rates in supercooled water have been measured using different experimental techniques: expansion cloud chambers, water-in-oil emulsions, levitation methods, free falling droplets, supersonic nozzles, field measurements, and molecular dynamics simulations. An important question concerns the possibility that the nucleation process in supercooled water can occur not only in the interior volume of the droplet, but even at or close to its surface. Even if there is no conclusive evidence, the majority of experimental and theoretical results suggest that the contribution of surface nucleation increases with decreasing radius of the supercooled droplets, and the surface (or sub-surface) nucleation rate is prevalent for droplets with radius lower than about 5 μm. If homogeneous freezing initiates at the droplet surface, the freezing rate should depend on the droplet size, and even a slight contamination by molecules within the surface layer could hamper the rate of the nucleation process.
Vulvar Dermatoses: Effect of a Synergistic Treatment with a Moisturizing and Healing Product on the Course of the Disease  [PDF]
Filippo Murina, Franco Vicariotto
Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OJOG) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/ojog.2015.55035
Abstract:

Background: Vulvar dermatoses are inflammatory disorders of genital skin causing itch, burning, and plaques with overlying excoriation and linear fissures. Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a soft foam based on Tiab® system (TF), complex of titanium micro crystals covalently bound with silver ions associated with hyaluronic acid, in the supportive treatment of lichen sclerosus (LS) and lichen simplex chronicus (LSC), the two common vulvar dermatoses. Method: 20 patients with the diagnosis of LS or LSC received an 4-week treatment, during which the subjects applied Mometasone furoate in the form 0.1% cream were treated with Mometasone furoate 0.1% cream in combination with TF once a day. Clinical symptoms (itching and burning) and signs (vulvar suface disruption) were documented at baseline and at the end of the four-week treatment. Results: There was a significant reduction of symptoms between the basal scores and the symptoms complaints at 4-week treatment. Moreover, a significant reduction of excoriations and linear fissures was observed. Conclusion: The present study shows that daily application of TF can be an effective adjunct for the treatment of vulvar dermatosis. The foam had not only a moisturizer action, it may also be associated with a reduction in epithelial disruption in the form of excoriations and fissures.

Structurally robust biological networks
Franco Blanchini, Elisa Franco
BMC Systems Biology , 2011, DOI: 10.1186/1752-0509-5-74
Abstract: In this paper, we propose a framework to analyze robust stability of equilibria in biological networks. We employ Lyapunov and invariant sets theory, focusing on the structure of ordinary differential equation models. Without resorting to extensive numerical simulations, often necessary to explore the behavior of a model in its parameter space, we provide rigorous proofs of robust stability of known bio-molecular networks. Our results are in line with existing literature.The impact of our results is twofold: on the one hand, we highlight that classical and simple control theory methods are extremely useful to characterize the behavior of biological networks analytically. On the other hand, we are able to demonstrate that some biological networks are robust thanks to their structure and some qualitative properties of the interactions, regardless of the specific values of their parameters.The complex biochemistry of living organisms very often outperforms electrical and mechanical devices in terms of adaptability and robustness. Mapping such intricate reaction networks to high level design principles is the goal of systems biology, and it requires an immense collaborative effort among different disciplines, such as physics, mathematics and engineering [1].The most classical example of robust molecular circuitry is probably given by bacterial chemotaxis [2,3]. The action of the flagellar motor of E. coli cells is driven by a cascade of signaling proteins, whose active or inactive state is determined by the presence of nutrient in the environment. Both analysis on a simplified ordinary differential equation (ODE) model [2] and experiments [3] showed how the flagellar motion of E. coli presents a robustly stable steady state: steps in the nutrient concentration only temporarily alter the motor equilibrium. Cells are therefore sensitive to nutrient gradients, but always return to their stable motion mode (such property is also referred to as adaptability). Such stable ste
Restless Legs Syndrome in Liver Transplant Recipients  [PDF]
Rose Franco, Syed Rizvi, Jose Franco, Farhan Rizvi
International Journal of Clinical Medicine (IJCM) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/ijcm.2013.43026
Abstract:

Background: The prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) is approximately 10% in general population. This condition is more prevalent in certain diseases and we previously reported the prevalence of RLS in chronic liver disease population to be 62%. Objectives: Our aim was to assess the self-reported prevalence of RLS using an RLS symptom specific questionnaire in liver transplant patients. Methods: Subjects were a convenience sample in transplant clinic. They completed a validated survey for core RLS symptoms and if positive went on to completed a telephone survey using the validated International RLS Severity Scale Questionnaire (IRLS) and the Johns Hopkins RLS QoL survey to measure the effect of RLS symptoms on daily activities. Results: 40 patients surveyed, RLS was found in 16 subjects (40%) with moderate severity {17 (SD + 7.2, high score 31)}. Hepatitis C as indication for liver transplant was more likely associated with RLS (p = 0.05). Calcium channel blockers were protective (p = 0.032) while antidopaminergic agent use was statistically significant for RLS symptom (p = 0.005). On multiple linear regression analysis, diabetes (p = 0.024) and use of antidepressants/antihistamines (p = 0.049) were associated with RLS. Quality of Life (QoL) surveys specific to RLS suggested RLS symptoms resulted in significantly diminished QoL, with an average QoL score of 80 (SD + 11.7). Conclusion: There was a very high prevalence of RLS in our liver transplant patients with majority experiencing moderate or severe symptoms. The explanation for this higher prevalence is likely due to combination of comorbidites as well as medications that can trigger RLS.

Surface Snow, Firn and Ice Core Composition in Polar Areas in Relation to Atmospheric Aerosol and Gas Concentrations: Critical Aspects  [PDF]
Gianni Santachiara, Franco Belosi, Alessia Nicosia, Franco Prodi
Atmospheric and Climate Sciences (ACS) , 2016, DOI: 10.4236/acs.2016.61007
Abstract: The paper addresses some of the problems surrounding the relation between ice core chemical signals and atmospheric chemical composition in polar areas. The topic is important as the reconstruction of past climate and past atmospheric chemical composition is based on the assumption that chemical concentrations in the air, snow, firn and ice core are correlated. Ice core interpretation of aerosol is more straightforward than that of reactive gases. The transfer functions of gaseous species strongly interacting with ice are complex and additional field and laboratory experiments are required. Ice core chemical signals depend on the chemical composition of precipitations, which are related to the physics of precipitation formation, the chemical composition of the atmosphere, and post-depositional processes. Published papers reporting data on the chemical composition of snow seldom consider the fact that crystal formation and growth in cloud (rimed or unrimed) or near the ground (clear-sky precipitations), hoar-frost formation and surface riming determine different chemical concentrations, even assuming constant background concentration in the atmosphere. This paper discusses the physical and chemical processes affecting the formation of precipitations in polar areas, and the process of scavenging gases from non-growing and growing crystals. Attention is mainly focused on the processes involving nitrate anion in snow, hoar frost and firn. Knowledge of the chemical relationship between surface snow and atmospheric chemical concentration could be enhanced by considering specific events, such as snow falling from cloud, clear sky precipitation, and surface hoar or riming surface, with simultaneous air sampling. In conclusion, field and laboratory experiments are still required to study the scavenging processes during crystal formation.
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