Topic Review
Organizational Environment
The organizational environment is the set of forces surrounding an organization. These forces may hamper or facilitate the organization’s access to resources, which means they can both offer opportunities and pose threats. Moreover, while these resources are valuable for the organization, they are also scarce (Riggio, 2018). The forces encompassed by the concept of the organizational environment include, among others, competition between rivals to retain customers, fast-paced changed in technology, and an increase in the price of raw materials. All these factors may somehow erode an organization’s competitive advantage. Consequently, the forces at play in the environment can influence the organization’s behavior (Truxillo, Bauer & Erdogan, 2016). 
  • 11480
  • 02 Feb 2021
Topic Review
Perceptual Organization
Gestalt theory has provided perceptual science with a conceptual framework relating to brain mechanisms that determine the way we see the visual world. This is referred to as "Perceptual Organization" and has inspired researchers in Psychology, Neuroscience and Computational Design ever since. The major Gestalt principles, such as the principle of Prägnanz, and more importantly the Gestalt laws of perceptual organization, have been critically important to our understanding of visual information processing, how the brain detects order in what we see, and derives likely perceptual representations from statistically significant structural regularities. The perceptual integration of contrast information across co-linear space for the organization of objects in the 2D image plane into figure and ground convey the most elementary basis to our understanding of the visual world. Gestalt theory continues to generate powerful concepts and insights for perceptual science even today, where it is to be placed in the context of image-base decision making by human minds and machines.
  • 8165
  • 22 Mar 2021
Topic Review
Ivermectin as Broad-Spectrum Host-Directed Antiviral
The small molecule macrocyclic lactone ivermectin, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for parasitic infections, has received attention in the last eight years due to its exciting potential as an antiviral. It was identified in a high-throughput chemical screen as inhibiting recognition of the nuclear localizing Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 (HIV-1) integrase protein by the host heterodimeric importin (IMP) α/β1 complex, and has since been shown to bind directly to IMPα to induce conformational changes that prevent its normal function in mediating nuclear import of key viral and host proteins. Excitingly, cell culture experiments show robust antiviral action towards HIV-1, dengue virus (DENV), Zika virus, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Chikungunya virus, Pseudorabies virus, adenovirus, and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Phase III human clinical trials have been completed for DENV, with >60 trials currently in progress worldwide for SARS-CoV-2.
  • 5802
  • 30 Sep 2020
Topic Review
We present an overview of the current state of knowledge on the SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to an overview of the epidemiological, clinical, and radiological features of SARS-CoV-2, we also summarize possible therapeutic options currently under investigation and the future outlook for the disease. Whereas the trials on SARS-CoV-2 genome-based specific vaccines and therapeutic antibodies are currently being tested, this solution is more long-term, as they require thorough testing of their safety. On the other hand, the repurposing of the existing therapeutic agents previously designed for other virus infections and pathologies happens to be the only practical approach as a rapid response measure to the emergent pandemic. The current pandemic emergency will be a trigger for more systematic drug repurposing design approaches based on big data analysis.
  • 5148
  • 06 Feb 2022
Topic Review
Essential Oil Prevents COVID-19
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV‑2), also known as coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), is a pandemic disease that has been declared as modern history’s gravest health emergency worldwide. Until now, no precise treatment modality has been developed. The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, a host cell receptor, has been found to play a crucial role in virus cell entry; therefore, ACE2 blockers can be a potential target for anti-viral intervention. In this study, we evaluated the ACE2 inhibitory effects of 10 essential oils. Among them, geranium and lemon oils displayed significant ACE2 inhibitory effects in epithelial cells. In addition, immunoblotting and qPCR analysis also confirmed that geranium and lemon oils possess potent ACE2 inhibitory effects. Furthermore, the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis displayed 22 compounds in geranium oil and 9 compounds in lemon oil. Citronellol, geraniol, and neryl acetate were the major compounds of geranium oil and limonene that represented major compound of lemon oil. Next, we found that treatment with citronellol and limonene significantly downregulated ACE2 expression in epithelial cells. The results suggest that geranium and lemon essential oils and their derivative compounds are valuable natural anti-viral agents that may contribute to the prevention of the invasion of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 into the human body.
  • 4609
  • 13 Feb 2021
Topic Review
Bodybuilding and Myostatin
MSTN is a gene that makes instructions for producing the protein myostatin, a protein that is part of the transforming growth factor beta family (TGFβ). The TGFβ family of proteins control the growth of tissues in the body, myostatin is found nearly exclusively in the skeletal muscles where it is active before and after birth. The protein actually controls skeletal growth by restraining it, preventing muscles becoming excessively large. Current research that surrounds myostatin is based around its potential treatment in muscle wasting disorders, animals that have mutations in the encoding gene MSTN show greater muscle mass, strength and in some circumstances reduced bodyfat, which can be known as myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy. This study aimed to see the prevalence of mutations in the male bodybuilder population (n = 92) and if having a mutation had any affect on their muscle size and/or muscle performance. The study which looked at mutation prevalence in rs1805086, arm circumference, pull-up max and push-up max. The results show that 17% (16) of the subject group had one mutation (AG), 83% (76) had the common outcome (AA) and 0% (0) had two mutations (GG). Those with the AG outcome had an average arm circumference of 46.37cmcompared with AA which had an average of 42.02cm. Those with the AG outcome had an average pull-up max score of 21 compared with AA with an average of 12. Those with the AG outcome had an average push-up max of 61 compared with AA with an average of 40. The study clearly shows that those with a mutation are rare, however the mutation does appear to give the subject a performance and size advantage over those with the common outcome.
  • 3489
  • 03 Nov 2020
Topic Review
Nutritional Composition in Tomatoes
Tomatoes are consumed worldwide as fresh vegetables because of their high contents of essential nutrients and antioxidant-rich phytochemicals. Tomatoes contain minerals, vitamins, proteins, essential amino acids (leucine, threonine, valine, histidine, lysine, arginine), monounsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic acids), carotenoids (lycopene and β-carotenoids) and phytoster-ols (β-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol). Lycopene is the main dietary carotenoid in tomato and tomato-based food products and lycopene consumption by humans has been reported to protect against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cognitive function and osteoporosis. Among the phenolic compounds present in tomato, quercetin, kaempferol, naringenin, caffeic acid and lutein are the most common. Many of these compounds have antioxidant activities and are effective in protecting the human body against various oxidative stress-related diseases. Dietary tomatoes in-crease the body’s level of antioxidants, trapping reactive oxygen species and reducing oxidative damage to important biomolecules such as membrane lipids, enzymatic proteins and DNA, thereby ameliorating oxidative stress.
  • 2840
  • 04 Jan 2021
Topic Review
Immunoformulation for COVID-19
The number of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 is still growing worldwide, with no current vaccine or medicinal treatment up to this date. Here we describe the cases of four COVID-19 patients that used a combination of therapeutic/nutraceutical agents for improvement of their symptoms. The ingredients were: immune transfer factor (oligo- and polypeptides fractions from porcine spleen, ultrafiltered at <10 kDa; Imuno TF®), anti-inflammatory natural blend (Uncaria tomentosa, Endopleura uchi and Haematoccocus pluvialis; Miodesin®), zinc, selenium, ascorbic acid, cholecalciferol, ferulic acid, spirulina, N-acetylcysteine, glucosamine sulfate potassium hydrochloride, trans-resveratrol, and maltodextrin-stabilized orthosilicic acid (SiliciuMax®). The four showed improvement in general symptoms after using the combination proposed here. The cases presented here are just a first hint towards its benefit (decreases time necessary for the recovery of the patients), this would be a good starting point to the further investigation of this possible add-on therapy in controlled clinical studies. Limited sample size and study design are limitations for definitive conclusions on the add-on therapy.
  • 2782
  • 05 Nov 2020
Topic Review
Biomechanics of Table Tennis
Table tennis is a popular recreational and competitive sports at all levels. Recent research on table tennis maneuvers identified the differences between playing levels and between maneuvers using parameters which included ball and racket speed, joint kinematics and kinetics, electromyography, and plantar pressure distribution. Different maneuvers underlined changes on body posture and lines of movement which were accommodated particularly by the racket face angle, trunk rotation, knee and elbow joint movements, and thus different contributions of muscles. Higher-level players produced ball and strike at higher accuracy and repeatability but not necessarily lead to higher speed. In addition, higher-level players utilize superior whole-body coordination and footwork to compromise between agility and stability for a quality strike. Strengthening shoulder and wrist muscles could enhance the speed of the strike while personalized training shall be considered since motor coordination and adaptation vary among individuals.
  • 2627
  • 29 Oct 2020
Topic Review
Monochromatic X-rays
Monochromatic X-ray has a single energy level in contrast to white X-rays used in conventional radiation therapy. Irradiation of high Z elements such as gadolinium, gold and silver with a monochromatic X-ray can result in photoelectric effects that includes the release of the Auger electrons that have strong cell killing effect. To apply this principle to cancer therapy, various nanoparticles loaded with high Z elements have been developed that enabled high Z elements to be delivered to tumor. The recent addition is gadolinium-loaded mesoporous silica nanoparticle (Gd-MSN). Tumor spheroids have been used as a convenient tumor model to demonstrate that monochromatic X-rays with energy level at or higher than the K-edge energy of gadolinium can destruct tumor mass that has Gd-MSN distributed throughout tumor spheroids.
  • 2496
  • 22 Jul 2020
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