Articles from MDPI


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  • Li, Zhouyuan; Tang, Zhuo; Xu, Yanjie; Wang, Yingying; Duan, Zhaogang; Liu, Xuehua; Wang, Pengyan; Yang, Jian; Chen, Wei; Prins, Herbert H. T. (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The high-altitude ecosystem of the Tibetan Plateau in China is a biodiversity hotspot that provides unique habitats for endemic and relict species along an altitudinal gradient at the eastern edge. Acquiring biodiversity information in this area, where the average altitude is over 4000 m, has been difficult but has been aided by recent developments in non-invasive technology, including infrared-triggered camera trapping. We used camera trapping to acquire a substantial number of photographic wildlife records in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China, from 2013 to 2016. We collected information of the habitat surrounding the observation sites, resulting in a dataset covering 37 species and 12 environmental factors. We performed a multivariate statistical analysis to discern the dominant environmental factors and cluster the mammals and birds of the ecosystem in order to examine environmental factors contributing to the species&rsquo; relative abundance. Species were generalized into three main types, i.e., cold-resistant, phyllophilic, and thermophilic, according to the identified key environmental drivers (i.e., temperature and vegetation) for their abundances. The mammal species with the highest relative abundance were bharal (<i>Pseudois nayaur</i>), Moupin pika (<i>Ochotona thibetana</i>), and Himalayan marmot (<i>Marmota himalayana</i>). The bird species with highest relative abundance were snow partridge (<i>Lerwa lerwa</i>), plain mountain finch (<i>Leucosticte nemoricola</i>), Chinese monal (<i>Lophophorus lhuysii</i>), and alpine accentor (<i>Prunella collaris</i>).
  • Rimpelä, Arja; Lindfors, Pirjo; Kinnunen, Jaana M.; Myöhänen, Anna; Hotulainen, Risto; Koivuhovi, Satu; Vainikainen, Mari-Pauliina (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The COVID-19 pandemic enforced countries to close schools and rapidly transfer to distance teaching without preparation. Little is known about how different distance teaching practices influenced students&rsquo; wellbeing. We studied this during the period of school closures in Finland. Wellbeing was measured by health complaints and perceived loneliness, and distance learning was measured in terms of structure and dialogue of teaching, functioning of internet and digital equipment, difficulty of given tasks, and support for studies. All lower secondary schools were invited, and 29,898 students from 340 schools (grades 7&ndash;9) participated. A digital survey was distributed through schools just when these were reopened in May 2020. The main results were that the distance learning practices were related to adolescent health complaints and loneliness, so that less structure and dialogue in teaching, more problems with digital devices and internet, more difficult tasks and less support for studies were associated with higher health complaints and loneliness. From the point of view of students&rsquo; wellbeing, it matters how the distance learning is organised, how digital communication works, and if enough support for studies is available. These results of our research on distance learning practices during the present pandemic may guide schools in future crises and pandemic situations when distance learning is needed.
  • Bergh, Anna; Lund, Iréne; Boström, Anna; Hyytiäinen, Heli; Asplund, Kjell (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    There is an increasing interest in complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM). There is, however, an uncertainty of the efficacy of these methods. Therefore, the aim of this systematic literature review is to assess the evidence for clinical efficacy of 24 CAVM therapies used in cats, dogs, and horses. A bibliographic search, restricted to studies in cats, dogs, and horses, was performed on Web of Science Core Collection, CABI, and PubMed. Relevant articles were assessed for scientific quality, and information was extracted on study characteristics, species, type of treatment, indication, and treatment effects. Of 982 unique publications screened, 42 were eligible for inclusion, representing nine different CAVM therapies, which were aromatherapy, gold therapy, homeopathy, leeches (hirudotherapy), mesotherapy, mud, neural therapy, sound (music) therapy, and vibration therapy. For 15 predefined therapies, no study was identified. The risk of bias was assessed as high in 17 studies, moderate to high in 10, moderate in 10, low to moderate in four, and low in one study. In those studies where the risk of bias was low to moderate, there was considerable heterogeneity in reported treatment effects. Therefore, the scientific evidence is not strong enough to define the clinical efficacy of the 24 CAVM therapies.
  • Lahti, Anna-Maria; Mikkola, Tuija M.; Salonen, Minna; Wasenius, Niko; Sarvimäki, Anneli; Eriksson, Johan G.; von Bonsdorff, Mikaela B. (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Senior houses provide social interaction and support, potentially supporting older people&rsquo;s physical and mental functioning. Few studies have investigated functioning of senior house residents. The aim was to compare functioning between senior house residents and community-dwelling older adults in Finland. We compared senior house residents (<i>n</i> = 336, 69% women, mean age 83 years) to community-dwelling older adults (<i>n</i> = 1139, 56% women, mean age 74 years). Physical and mental functioning were assessed using the SF 36-Item Health Survey. Loneliness and frequency of social contacts were self-reported. The analyses were adjusted for age, socioeconomic factors and diseases. Physical functioning was lower among men in senior houses compared to community-dwelling men (mean 41.1 vs. 46.4, <i>p</i> = 0.003). Mental functioning or the frequency of social contacts did not differ between type of residence in either sex. Loneliness was higher among women in senior houses compared to community-dwelling women (OR = 1.67, <i>p</i> = 0.027). This was not observed in men. Results suggest that women in senior houses had similar physical and mental functioning compared to community-dwelling women. Male senior house residents had poorer physical functioning compared to community-dwelling men. Women living in senior houses were lonelier than community-dwelling women despite the social environment.
  • Rosato, Giuliana; Ruiz Subira, Andres; Al-Saadi, Mohammed; Michalopoulou, Eleni; Verin, Ranieri; Dettwiler, Martina; Nordgren, Heli; Chiers, Koen; Groβmann, Ernst; Köhler, Kernt; Suntz, Michael; Stewart, James P.; Kipar, Anja (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The genus Macavirus, subfamily Gammaherpesvirinae, comprises ungulate viruses that infect domestic and wild ruminants and swine. They cause asymptomatic latent infections in reservoir hosts and malignant catarrhal fever in susceptible species. Lung, spleen, bronchial lymph node, and tongue were collected from 448 cattle (348 necropsied, 100 slaughtered) in Switzerland, United Kingdom, Finland, Belgium, and Germany to determine their infection with bovine herpesvirus-6 (BoHV-6) and gammaherpesviruses of other ruminants, i.e., ovine herpesvirus-1 and -2, caprine herpesvirus-2, and bison lymphotropic herpesvirus, using quantitative PCR. Only BoHV-6 was detected, with an overall frequency of 32%, ranging between 22% and 42% in the different countries. Infection was detected across all ages, from one day after birth, and was positively correlated with age. There was no evidence of an association with specific disease processes. In positive animals, BoHV-6 was detected in all organs with high frequency, consistently in the lungs or spleen. Viral loads varied substantially. In BoHV-6-positive gravid cows, organs of fetuses tested negative for infection, indicating that the virus is not vertically transmitted. Our results confirm previous data indicating that BoHV-6 is a commensal of domestic cattle not associated with disease processes and confirm that infections with other macaviruses are rare and sporadic.
  • Alikhani, Somayeh; Nummi, Petri; Ojala, Anne (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Wetlands are a critical part of natural environments that offer a wide range of ecosystem services. In urban areas, wetlands contribute to the livability of cities through improving the water quality, carbon sequestration, providing habitats for wildlife species, reducing the effects of urban heat islands, and creating recreation opportunities. However, maintaining wetlands in urban areas faces many challenges, such as the reduction of hydrological functions, changed water regimes due to barriers, contamination by wastewater, habitat loss due to land-use change, and loss of biodiversity due to the entry of alien species. In this article, we review the theoretical background of wetlands in urban areas through the existing studies in the literature. We provide knowledge on urban wetlands and highlight the benefits of these wetlands in urban areas. These benefits include <i>sustainability</i>, <i>biodiversity</i>, <i>urban heat islands</i>, <i>social perception</i>, and <i>recreation</i> values. We also summarize the objectives, methodologies, and findings of the reviewed articles in five tables. In addition, we summarize the critical research gaps addressed in the reviewed articles. Our review study addresses the research gaps by performing a rigorous analysis to identify significant open research challenges, showing the path toward future research in the field. We further discuss and highlight the role of policymakers and stakeholders in preserving wetlands and finally present our conclusions.
  • Orozco-Ic, Mesías; Merino, Gabriel (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The aromaticity of [<i>n</i>]starphenes (<i>n</i> = 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16), as well as starphene-based [19]dendriphene, is addressed by calculating the magnetically induced current density and the induced magnetic field, using the pseudo-π model. When an external magnetic field is applied, these systems create diatropic currents that split into a global peripheral current surrounding the starphene skeleton and several local currents in the acene-based arms, resulting in large shielding cones above the arms. In particular, the arm currents are smaller than their linear analogs, and in general, the strengths of the ring currents tend to weaken as the starphene get larger.
  • Ahtiainen, Raisa; Pulkkinen, Jonna; Jahnukainen, Markku (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    In recent decades, an essential global aim of the reforms of special education has been the promotion of inclusive education. This article discusses the implementation of reforms with a focus on tiered support systems in the context of Finnish comprehensive school education. Based on earlier literature, legislation, and administrative documents, we provide a background for Finnish education policy and special education reforms. The focus of this article is on the description of parallel reforms targeting the re-structuring of the systems around support for students and funding of education in the 2010s. We discuss the processes leading to these reforms and the reforms themselves. In addition, we discuss their implications for the organization of the tiered support system. Finally, we highlight some challenges of reform implementation and the current education policy&rsquo;s movements towards inclusive education.
  • Teng, Yong; Gao, Lixia; Loveless, Reid; Rodrigo, Juan P.; Strojan, Primož; Willems, Stefan M.; Nathan, Cherie-Ann; Mäkitie, Antti A.; Saba, Nabil F.; Ferlito, Alfio (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represents an aggressive and heterogenous group of cancers whose pathologies remain largely unresolved. Despite recent advances in HNSCC therapeutic strategies, the overall survival of HNSCC patients remains poor and continues to prompt efforts to develop more effective therapies. Exosomes are a subtype of extracellular vesicles secreted by a variety of cells that have begun to spark significant interest in their roles in cancer. As membranous vesicles, spanning from 30–150 nm in diameter, exosomes mediate the transport of various molecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids, intercellularly throughout the body. In doing so, exosomes not only act to deliver materials to cancer cells but also as signals that can confer their progression. Accumulating evidence shows the direct correlation between exosomes and the aggressiveness of HNSCC. However, more research is warranted in this field to further our understanding. In this review, we attempt to highlight the tumor-supporting roles and therapeutic potential of exosomes in HNSCC. We introduce first the biogenesis and component features of exosomes, followed by their involvement in HNSCC proliferation and metastasis. We then move on to discuss HNSCC-derived exosomes’ influence on the tumor microenvironment and their function in tumor drug resistance. Finally, we explore the promising potential of exosomes as HNSCC biomarkers and therapeutic targets and drug carriers for HNSCC treatments.
  • van Dick, Rolf; Cordes, Berrit L.; Lemoine, Jérémy E.; Steffens, Niklas K.; Haslam, S. Alexander; Akfirat, Serap Arslan; Ballada, Christine Joy A.; Bazarov, Tahir; Aruta, John Jamir Benzon R.; Avanzi, Lorenzo; Bodla, Ali Ahmad; Bunjak, Aldijana; Černe, Matej; Dumont, Kitty B.; Edelmann, Charlotte M.; Epitropaki, Olga; Fransen, Katrien; García-Ael, Cristina; Giessner, Steffen; Gleibs, Ilka H.; Godlewska-Werner, Dorota; González, Roberto; Kark, Ronit; Laguia Gonzalez, Ana; Lam, Hodar; Lipponen, Jukka; Lupina-Wegener, Anna; Markovits, Yannis; Maskor, Mazlan; Molero, Fernando; Monzani, Lucas; Moriano Leon, Juan A.; Neves, Pedro; Orosz, Gábor; Pandey, Diwakar; Retowski, Sylwiusz; Roland-Lévy, Christine; Samekin, Adil; Schuh, Sebastian; Sekiguchi, Tomoki; Song, Lynda Jiwen; Story, Joana; Stouten, Jeroen; Sultanova, Lilia; Tatachari, Srinivasan; Valdenegro, Daniel; van Bunderen, Lisanne; Van Dijk, Dina; Wong, Sut I.; Youssef, Farida; Zhang, Xin-an; Kerschreiter, Rudolf (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Do leaders who build a sense of shared social identity in their teams thereby protect them from the adverse effects of workplace stress? This is a question that the present paper explores by testing the hypothesis that identity leadership contributes to stronger team identification among employees and, through this, is associated with reduced burnout. We tested this model with unique datasets from the Global Identity Leadership Development (GILD) project with participants from all inhabited continents. We compared two datasets from 2016/2017 (<i>n</i> = 5290; 20 countries) and 2020/2021 (<i>n</i> = 7294; 28 countries) and found very similar levels of identity leadership, team identification and burnout across the five years. An inspection of the 2020/2021 data at the onset of and later in the COVID-19 pandemic showed stable identity leadership levels and slightly higher levels of both burnout and team identification. Supporting our hypotheses, we found almost identical indirect effects (2016/2017, <i>b</i> = −0.132; 2020/2021, <i>b</i> = −0.133) across the five-year span in both datasets. Using a subset of <i>n</i> = 111 German participants surveyed over two waves, we found the indirect effect confirmed over time with identity leadership (at T1) predicting team identification and, in turn, burnout, three months later. Finally, we explored whether there could be a “too-much-of-a-good-thing” effect for identity leadership. Speaking against this, we found a u-shaped quadratic effect whereby ratings of identity leadership at the upper end of the distribution were related to even stronger team identification and a stronger indirect effect on reduced burnout.
  • Fujikawa, Kazuo; Tureanu, Anca (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    We review several aspects of parity and CP violation in the framework of neutron-antineutron oscillations. We focus on the parity doubling theorem, which provides a criterion for neutron oscillation in the general theory with <inline-formula><math xmlns="" display="inline"><semantics><mrow><mo>Δ</mo><mi>B</mi><mo>=</mo><mn>2</mn></mrow></semantics></math></inline-formula> baryon number-violating interactions. We prove by explicit calculations that the violation of the conventional parity symmetry with <inline-formula><math xmlns="" display="inline"><semantics><mrow><msup><mi>P</mi><mn>2</mn></msup><mo>=</mo><mn>1</mn></mrow></semantics></math></inline-formula> is the necessary condition for neutron oscillations to happen. While the CP violation is not manifest in the oscillation, it is nevertheless intrinsic to the system, and it is transferred, by the mixing matrix, to the neutron interactions and potentially observable as a contribution to the electric dipole moment.
  • Hanifeh, Mohsen; Spillmann, Thomas; Huhtinen, Mirja; Sclivagnotis, Yannes S.; Grönthal, Thomas; Hynönen, Ulla (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Some <i>Enterococcus faecalis</i> and <i>E. faecium</i> strains are used as probiotics or feed additives. Adherence to the intestinal mucosa is considered a crucial step for intestinal bacteria to colonize and further interact with the host epithelium and the immune system. In dogs, there are no studies investigating the adhesion of <i>E. faecalis</i> and <i>E. faecium</i> to paraffin-embedded intestinal mucosa. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the adhesion of <i>E. faecalis</i> and <i>E. faecium</i> to the intestinal mucosa of six healthy beagles using bacteria derived from dogs and chickens. In addition, we aimed to validate a method to test the adhesion of Alexa Fluor-labeled bacteria to paraffin-embedded canine intestinal mucosa. The results of our study show that both canine- and chicken-derived <i>E. faecalis</i> strains adhered significantly better than <i>E. faecium</i> to the duodenal mucosa of healthy beagles (<i>p</i> = 0.002). In addition, canine <i>E. faecalis</i> and <i>E. faecium</i> adhered in higher numbers to canine duodenal mucosa, compared to chicken-derived strains of the same species (<i>p</i> = 0.015 for <i>E. faecalis</i> and <i>p</i> = 0.002 for <i>E. faecium</i>). The determination of the hydrophobicity of bacteria revealed that canine <i>E. faecalis</i> had the highest hydrophobicity level (36.6%), followed by chicken <i>E. faecalis</i> (20.4%), while canine <i>E. faecium</i> (5.7%) and chicken <i>E. faecium</i> (4.5%) had the lowest levels. Our results suggest that both the bacterial species and the host origin of the strain may influence mucosal adhesion.
  • Asghar, Muhammad Zaheer; Arif, Seema; Barbera, Elena; Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, Pirita; Kocayoruk, Ercan (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Social support was an important factor in minimizing the effect of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. This research aimed to study the role of online class participation and social media usage to link the social support available from family and friends to psychological resilience among pre-service special education teachers against the negative psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. A survey was conducted with 377 pre-service special needs education (SNE) teachers enrolled at universities in Pakistan. Partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) was applied using Smart-PLS 3.2.8. Results revealed that social media and online class participation played a mediating role between social support and psychological resilience in the pre-service special needs education (SNE) teachers studied. Teacher education institutions can devise strategies to develop social media platforms for student socialization during an emergency to help build resilience against the negative psychological effects of social isolation. Future studies could be conducted to adapt instructions and curricula to social media environments for education in an emergency.
  • Zárybnický, Tomáš; Heikkinen, Anne; Kangas, Salla M.; Karikoski, Marika; Martínez-Nieto, Guillermo Antonio; Salo, Miia H.; Uusimaa, Johanna; Vuolteenaho, Reetta; Hinttala, Reetta; Sipilä, Petra; Kuure, Satu (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The modification of genes in animal models has evidently and comprehensively improved our knowledge on proteins and signaling pathways in human physiology and pathology. In this review, we discuss almost 40 monogenic rare diseases that are enriched in the Finnish population and defined as the Finnish disease heritage (FDH). We will highlight how gene-modified mouse models have greatly facilitated the understanding of the pathological manifestations of these diseases and how some of the diseases still lack proper models. We urge the establishment of subsequent international consortiums to cooperatively plan and carry out future human disease modeling strategies. Detailed information on disease mechanisms brings along broader understanding of the molecular pathways they act along both parallel and transverse to the proteins affected in rare diseases, therefore also aiding understanding of common disease pathologies.
  • Tietäväinen, Johanna; Laine, Outi; Mäkelä, Satu; Huhtala, Heini; Pörsti, Ilkka; Vaheri, Antti; Mustonen, Jukka (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. We aimed to evaluate whether ABO and rhesus blood groups associate with the susceptibility or the severity of PUUV infection. We analyzed blood groups in 289 adult patients treated in Tampere University hospital due to PUUV infection during the years 1982–2017. Patients’ blood group distribution was compared to that of healthy, voluntary blood donors living in the Tampere University Hospital responsibility area (<i>n</i> = 21,833). The severity of PUUV infection, as judged by the severity of acute kidney injury (AKI), thrombocytopenia, inflammation, capillary leakage, and the length of hospital care, was analyzed across the groups. The ABO and rhesus blood group distributions did not differ between the patients and blood donors. Patients with non-O blood groups had lower systolic blood pressure compared to patients with blood group O, but there was no difference in other markers of capillary leakage or in the severity of AKI. Minor deviations in the number of platelets and leukocytes were detected between the O and non-O blood groups. To conclude, patients with blood group O may be less susceptible to hypotension, but otherwise blood groups have no major influences on disease susceptibility or severity during acute PUUV infection.
  • Seppälä, Laura K.; Madanat-Harjuoja, Laura-Maria; Leinonen, Maarit K.; Lääperi, Mitja; Vettenranta, Kim (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Maternal thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, affects pregnancy and its outcome. In-utero exposure to autoimmune thyroid disease has been reported to associate with childhood ALL in the offspring. We evaluated the risk of childhood cancer in the offspring following exposure to maternal thyroid disease in a case-control setting using registry data. All patients with their first cancer diagnosis below the age of 20 years were identified from the Finnish Cancer Registry (<i>n</i> = 2037) and matched for sex and birth year at a 1:5 ratio to population controls identified from the Medical Birth Registry (<i>n</i> = 10,185). We collected national information on maternal thyroid disease from the Medical Birth Registry, Care Register for Health Care, Register for Reimbursed Drug Purchases and Register of Special Reimbursements. We used conditional logistic regression to analyze childhood cancer risk in the offspring. The adjusted OR for any childhood cancer was 1.41 (95%, CI 1.00–2.00) comparing the offspring of mothers with hypothyroidism and those with normal thyroid function. The risk of lymphomas was increased (adjusted OR for maternal hypothyroidism 3.66, 95%, CI 1.29–10.38). The results remained stable when mothers with cancer history were excluded from the analyses. Maternal hypothyroidism appears to be associated with an increased risk for childhood lymphoma in the offspring. The association exists even after excluding possible familial cancers.
  • Niska, Miira; Stevanovic, Melisa; Weiste, Elina; Ostrovskij, Tommi; Valkeapää, Taina; Lindholm, Camilla (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    People who are recovering from a mental illness often have difficulties finding and maintaining employment. One of the main reasons for these difficulties is the negative label, or stigma, attached to mental illnesses. People who possess stigmatizing characteristics may use compensatory stigma management strategies to reduce discrimination. Due to mental illnesses’ invisible characteristics, information control is an important stigma management strategy. People can often choose whether they disclose or non-communicate their illness. Nevertheless, it might be difficult to decide when and to whom to disclose or non-communicate the stigma. Since stigma management is a dilemmatic process, workers in mental health services play an important role in informing their clients of when it is best to disclose or non-communicate their illness. In this article, we adopt the perspective of discursive social psychology to investigate how workers of one mental health service programme evaluate and construct self-disclosure and non-communication as stigma management strategies. We demonstrate how these workers recommend non-communication and formulate strict stipulations for self-disclosure. At the same time, they differentiate non-communication from lying or providing false information. The study contributes to an improved understanding of stigma management in contemporary mental health services.
  • Sandberg, Andreas; Ehlers, Pauliina; Torvinen, Saku; Sandberg, Heli; Sivén, Mia (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Background: Challenges in post-marketing adverse event reporting are generally recognized. To enhance reporting, the concept of additional monitoring was introduced in 2012. Additional monitoring aims to enhance reporting of adverse events (AE) for medicines for which the clinical evidence base is less well developed. Purpose: The purpose was to get a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons why additional monitoring has not increased AE reporting as much as initially hoped. We examined how healthcare professionals (HCPs) in Finland perceive additional monitoring, why they do or do not report AEs more readily for these medicines and how they interact with patients treated with additionally monitored medicines. Methods: An anonymous, open questionnaire was developed and made available online at the e-form portal of University of Helsinki. Physicians, nurses, and pharmacists were invited to complete the questionnaire via their respective trade or area unions. Content analysis of answers to open-ended questions was performed by two independent coders. Results: Pharmacists have the best understanding about additional monitoring but at the same time do not recognize their role in enhancing monitoring. Only 40% of HCPs working with patients knows always or often if a specific medicine is additionally monitored. Half (53%) of HCPs do not tell or tell only rarely patients about additional monitoring. 18% of HCPs reported having received additional monitoring training whereas 29% had received general AE reporting training. AE reporting was more common among HCPs who had received training. Conclusions: Additional monitoring awareness among HCPs and patients should be increased by organizing regular educational events and making additional monitoring more visible. Educational events should emphasize the significance additional monitoring has on patient safety and promote a reporting culture among HCPs.
  • Kant, Ravi; Kareinen, Lauri; Smura, Teemu; Freitag, Tobias L.; Jha, Sawan Kumar; Alitalo, Kari; Meri, Seppo; Sironen, Tarja; Saksela, Kalle; Strandin, Tomas; Kipar, Anja; Vapalahti, Olli (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Small animal models are of crucial importance for assessing COVID-19 countermeasures. Common laboratory mice would be well-suited for this purpose but are not susceptible to infection with wild-type SARS-CoV-2. However, the development of mouse-adapted virus strains has revealed key mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that increase infectivity, and interestingly, many of these mutations are also present in naturally occurring SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. This suggests that these variants might have the ability to infect common laboratory mice. Herein we show that the SARS-CoV-2 beta variant attains infectibility to BALB/c mice and causes pulmonary changes within 2–3 days post infection, consistent with results seen in other murine models of COVID-19, at a reasonable virus dose (2 × 10<sup>5</sup> PFU). The findings suggest that common laboratory mice can serve as the animal model of choice for testing the effectiveness of antiviral drugs and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.
  • Ahmed, Maruf; Mitu, Sabrina Jannat; Schneider, Petra; Alam, Masud; Mozumder, Mohammad Mojibul Hoque; Shamsuzzaman, Md. Mostafa (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Hilsa fish (<i>Tenualosa ilisha</i>) have become an essential factor behind the well-being of the fishing community, giving fishers their identity as a source of cultural heritage. A field survey was conducted to understand the socio-economic conditions of hilsa fishers at the Meghna river estuary of Chandpur District using well-structured questionnaire interviews (N = 250) with hilsa fishers. The survey revealed that fishers’ livelihoods and living conditions were still below average due to low literacy levels, lack of professional skills, and low incomes. More than two-thirds of the fishers were entirely dependent on hilsa fishing, while more than one-third had between 11 and 20 years of fishing experience. More than two-thirds of the fishers did not have an alternative occupation during ban periods, and the incentives provided by the government were not adequately received by half of the fishers. Fishers were divided into three groups according to their dependence on hilsa fishing. Significant differences were found between these groups in terms of the age of fishers, annual income from fishing, and annual fishing activity days. Therefore, the government, Fisheries cooperatives, NGOs, and other relevant organizations must unite to support fishers for sustainable management.

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