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Topic review
Updated time: 16 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Alessandro Del Rio
Definition: The COVID-19 health emergency has thrown the health systems of most European countries into a deep crisis, forcing them to call off and postpone all interventions deemed not essential or life-saving in order to focus most resources on the treatment of COVID-19 patients. To facilitate women who are experiencing difficulties in terminating their pregnancies in Italy, the Ministry of Health has adapted to the regulations in force in most European countries and issued new guidelines that allow medical abortion up to 63 days, i.e., 9 weeks of gestational age, without mandatory hospitalization. This decision was met with some controversy, based on the assumption that the abortion pill could “incentivize” women to resort to abortion more easily.
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Topic review
Updated time: 02 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Grazia Cicirelli
Definition: Over the last decade, there has been considerable and increasing interest in the development of Active and Assisted Living (AAL) systems to support independent living. The demographic change towards an aging population has introduced new challenges to today’s society from both an economic and societal standpoint. AAL can provide an array of solutions for improving the quality of life of individuals, for allowing people to live healthier and independently for longer, for helping people with disabilities, and for supporting caregivers and medical staff.
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Topic review
Updated time: 14 Apr 2021
Definition: Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL (high density lipoprotein)-cholesterol, and hypertension, is known to be a strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes and is considered one of the most important preventable risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, whose prevalence is increasing.
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Topic review
Updated time: 06 May 2021
Submitted by: Fulvio Massaro
Definition: Aging of bone marrow is a complex process that is involved in the development of many diseases, including hematologic cancers. The results obtained in this field of research, year after year, underline the important role of cross-talk between hematopoietic stem cells and their close environment. In bone marrow, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are a major player in cell-to-cell communication, presenting a wide range of functionalities, sometimes opposite, depending on the environmental conditions. Although these cells are actively studied for their therapeutic properties, their role in tumor progression remains unclear. One of the reasons for this is that the aging of MSCs has a direct impact on their behavior and on hematopoiesis. In addition, tumor progression is accompanied by dynamic remodeling of the bone marrow niche that may interfere with MSC functions.
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Topic review
Updated time: 29 May 2021
Submitted by: Anil Babu Payedimarri
Definition: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have expanded their utilization in different fields of medicine. During the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, AI and ML were also applied for the evaluation and/or implementation of public health interventions aimed to flatten the epidemiological curve.
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Topic review
Updated time: 06 Jun 2021
Submitted by: František Babič
Definition: Multimorbidity refers to the coexistence of two or more chronic diseases in one person. Therefore, patients with multimorbidity have multiple and special care needs. However, in practice it is difficult to meet these needs because the organizational processes of current healthcare systems tend to be tailored to a single disease. To improve clinical decision making and patient care in multimorbidity, a radical change in the problem-solving approach to medical research and treatment is needed. In addition to the traditional reductionist approach, we propose interactive research supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced big data analytics. Such research approach, when applied to data routinely collected in healthcare settings, provides an integrated platform for research tasks related to multimorbidity. This may include, for example, prediction, correlation, and classification problems based on multiple interaction factors. However, to realize the idea of this paradigm shift in multimorbidity research, the optimization, standardization, and most importantly, the integration of electronic health data into a common national and international research infrastructure is needed. Ultimately, there is a need for the integration and implementation of efficient AI approaches, particularly deep learning, into clinical routine directly within the workflows of the medical professionals.
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Topic review
Updated time: 14 Apr 2021
Submitted by: Sebastian Majewski
Definition: Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health and a global public health concern. In 2016, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), ambient air pollution in cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths. It is estimated that around 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air pollution exceeds the limits recommended by the WHO. Sources of air pollution are multiple and context-specific. Air pollution exposures are established risk factors for development and adverse health outcomes in many respiratory diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or lung cancer. However, possible associations between air pollution and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) have not been adequately studied and air pollution seems to be an underrecognized risk factor for IPF.
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Topic review
Updated time: 06 May 2021
Submitted by: Lindsay Wolfson
Definition: Understanding the factors that contribute to women’s alcohol use in pregnancy is of critical importance to women's health and prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Alcohol use in pregnancy is influenced by a range of contextual and structural factors, including poverty, histories of trauma and violence, physical and mental health concerns, normalization of alcohol in social networks, sociocultural and economic vulnerabilities and disadvantage, and child welfare involvement. Therefore, beyond supporting individual change, it is necessary to address a range of structural and systemic issues through the adoption of emerging gender-, trauma-, cultural, and equity-informed interventions.
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Topic review
Updated time: 23 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Umeshkumar Athiraman
Definition: The incidence of hemorrhagic stroke in the general population accounts for approximately 20% of all the strokes, with 5% due to subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The morbidity and mortality remains high for this patient population. For aneurysmal SAH, 30% of patients die and 50% of survivors have long-term cognitive deficits that preclude their return to work. The two most important determinants of outcome after SAH are initial hemorrhage severity and secondary brain injury due to early brain injury (EBI) and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). EBI occurs in 12% of patients, develops 1–3 days after SAH and is characterized by blood–brain barrier (BBB) disruption, neuronal cell death, neuroinflammation and cerebral edema. DCI occurs in ~30% of patients, develops 4–12 days after SAH and is characterized by large artery vasospasm, distal autoregulatory dysfunction, microvessel thrombosis and cortical spreading depression. Though many strategies to prevent EBI and DCI have been explored over the years, none have proven efficacious. New therapies are desperately needed to treat these conditions.
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Topic review
Updated time: 14 Apr 2021
Definition: Microalgae are prokaryotic or eukaryotic microscopic single-cell organisms, producinga great variety of compounds, such as photosynthetic pigments (carotenoids and chlorophylls), sterols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber, polysaccharides, enzymes, peptides, and toxins. In recent years, they have attracted great interest as a major source of bioactive medicinal products and food ingredients with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-microbial properties. In most pre-clinical studies performed with Euglena gracilis, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Spirulina maxima, Spirulina platensis, or Nitzschia laevis microalgae, positive anti-obesity effects have been addressed in animals submitted to an obesogenic feeding pattern. However, more research is warranted to determine which bioactive compound(s) are responsible for their anti-obesity effects, as well as to establish the mechanisms underlying those effects.
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