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Medicina, Volume 60, Issue 1 (January 2024) – 192 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Nowadays, the majority of physicians and researchers know that Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is an organic disease, which is supported by a large number of studies. However, many physicians still believe that ME/CFS is a psychosomatic illness. We show how detrimental this belief is to the care and well-being of affected patients and how important the education of physicians and the public is to stopping misdiagnosis, mistreatment, and stigmatization on the grounds of incorrect psychosomatic attributions about the etiology and clinical course of ME/CFS. View this paper
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11 pages, 303 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Retinal Microangiopathy in Patients with Balkan Endemic Nephropathy Using Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography—A Pilot Study
by Jasmina Djordjevic-Jocic, Jovana Cukuranovic Kokoris, Branka Mitic, Dragan Bogdanovic, Marija Trenkic, Nevena Zlatanovic, Hristina Jocic and Rade Cukuranovic
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010192 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1160
Abstract
Background and Objectives: It is well known that alterations in microvascular structure and function contribute to the development of ocular, renal, and cardiovascular diseases. Accordingly, the presence of fundus vascular changes in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and Balkan endemic [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: It is well known that alterations in microvascular structure and function contribute to the development of ocular, renal, and cardiovascular diseases. Accordingly, the presence of fundus vascular changes in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN) may provide information of prognostic value regarding the progression of renal disease. This study aimed to examine the associations between clinical characteristics and retinal optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) parameters in patients with BEN and compare them with those in CKD. Materials and Methods: This pilot study, conducted from March 2021 to April 2022, included 63 patients who were divided into two groups: the first group consisted of 29 patients suffering from BEN, and the second was a control group of 34 patients with CKD. Demographic, laboratory, clinical, and medication data were noted for all the patients included in this study. Each eye underwent OCT angiography, and the results were interpreted in accordance with the practical guide for the interpretation of OCTA findings. Results: Statistically significantly higher levels of total serum protein and triglycerides were recorded in the BEN group than in the CKD group, while the level of HDL cholesterol was lower. Based on the performed urinalysis, statistically significantly higher values of total protein and creatinine were detected in patients with CKD compared to the BEN group. It was demonstrated that the OCTA vascular plexus density of certain parts of the retina was in significant association with systolic and diastolic blood pressure, creatinine clearance, urinary creatinine, total cholesterol, diabetes mellitus type 2, age, body mass index, total serum and urinary protein, sCRP, and diuretic and antihypertensive treatment. Conclusions: In comparison with CKD, BEN leads to more significant disturbances in retinal vasculature density. Full article
13 pages, 4027 KiB  
Systematic Review
Effect of Calorie Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Regimens on Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Levels and Cognitive Function in Humans: A Systematic Review
by Refat Alkurd, Lana Mahrous, Falak Zeb, Moien AB Khan, Hamid Alhaj, Husam M. Khraiwesh and MoezAlIslam E. Faris
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010191 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 10210
Abstract
Background: The potential positive interaction between intermittent fasting (IF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) on cognitive function has been widely discussed. This systematic review tried to assess the efficacy of interventions with different IF regimens on BDNF levels and their association with cognitive [...] Read more.
Background: The potential positive interaction between intermittent fasting (IF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) on cognitive function has been widely discussed. This systematic review tried to assess the efficacy of interventions with different IF regimens on BDNF levels and their association with cognitive functions in humans. Interventions with different forms of IF such as caloric restriction (CR), alternate-day fasting (ADF), time-restricted eating (TRE), and the Ramadan model of intermittent fasting (RIF) were targeted. Methods: A systematic review was conducted for experimental and observational studies on healthy people and patients with diseases published in EMBASE, Scopus, PubMed, and Google Scholar databases from January 2000 to December 2023. We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis statements (PRISMA) for writing this review. Results: Sixteen research works conducted on healthy people and patients with metabolic disorders met the inclusion criteria for this systematic review. Five studies showed a significant increase in BDNF after the intervention, while five studies reported a significant decrease in BDNF levels, and the other six studies showed no significant changes in BDNF levels due to IF regimens. Moreover, five studies examined the RIF protocol, of which, three studies showed a significant reduction, while two showed a significant increase in BDNF levels, along with an improvement in cognitive function after RIF. Conclusions: The current findings suggest that IF has varying effects on BDNF levels and cognitive functions in healthy, overweight/obese individuals and patients with metabolic conditions. However, few human studies have shown that IF increases BDNF levels, with controversial results. In humans, IF has yet to be fully investigated in terms of its long-term effect on BDNF and cognitive functions. Large-scale, well-controlled studies with high-quality data are warranted to elucidate the impact of the IF regimens on BDNF levels and cognitive functions. Full article
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7 pages, 1690 KiB  
Case Report
Incisional Small-Bowel Strangulation after a Caesarean Section: A Case Report
by Agne Plume, Arnoldas Bartusevicius, Saulius Paskauskas, Laura Malakauskiene and Egle Bartuseviciene
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010190 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1004
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Every surgical procedure has the possible risk of complications, and caesarean sections (CSs) are no exception. As CS rates are increasing worldwide, being familiar with rare but possible complications has become extremely important. Case report: We present a [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Every surgical procedure has the possible risk of complications, and caesarean sections (CSs) are no exception. As CS rates are increasing worldwide, being familiar with rare but possible complications has become extremely important. Case report: We present a case of 25-year-old nulliparous patient who came to our hospital with twin pregnancy for a scheduled induction of labour. An urgent CS was performed due to labour dystocia. On the second postoperative day, the patient started to complain about pain in the epigastrium, but initially showed no signs of bowel obstruction, passing gas, and stools, and could tolerate oral intake. After a thorough examination, an early postoperative complication—small-bowel strangulation at the incision site—was diagnosed. Small bowels protruded in between sutured rectus abdominis muscle causing a strangulation which led to re-laparotomy. During the surgery, there was no necrosis of intestines, bowel resection was not needed, and abdominal wall repair was performed. After re-laparotomy, the patient recovered with no further complications. Conclusions: Although there are discussions about CS techniques, most guidelines recommend leaving rectus muscle unsutured. This case demonstrates a complication which most likely could have been avoided if the rectus muscle had not been re-approximated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Trends in Obstetrics and Gynecology)
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11 pages, 295 KiB  
Review
Retinitis Pigmentosa: From Pathomolecular Mechanisms to Therapeutic Strategies
by Enzo Maria Vingolo, Simona Mascolo, Filippo Miccichè and Gregorio Manco
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010189 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1849
Abstract
Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disease, in which mutations in different types of genes lead to the death of photoreceptors and the loss of visual function. Although retinitis pigmentosa is the most common type of inherited retinal dystrophy, a clear line of therapy [...] Read more.
Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disease, in which mutations in different types of genes lead to the death of photoreceptors and the loss of visual function. Although retinitis pigmentosa is the most common type of inherited retinal dystrophy, a clear line of therapy has not yet been defined. In this review, we will focus on the therapeutic aspect and attempt to define the advantages and disadvantages of the protocols of different therapies. The role of some therapies, such as antioxidant agents or gene therapy, has been established for years now. Many clinical trials on different genes and mutations causing RP have been conducted, and the approval of voretigene nepavorec by the FDA has been an important step forward. Nonetheless, even if gene therapy is the most promising type of treatment for these patients, other innovative strategies, such as stem cell transplantation or hyperbaric oxygen therapy, have been shown to be safe and improve visual quality during clinical trials. The treatment of this disease remains a challenge, to which we hope to find a solution as soon as possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ophthalmology)
6 pages, 585 KiB  
Case Report
Recurrent Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis Presenting as Conus Medullaris Syndrome: A Case Report
by Dae-Wook Lee, Seok Kang and Nackhwan Kim
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010188 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1220
Abstract
Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder that typically follows an infection or recent vaccination. Symptoms such as encephalopathy and focal neurological deficits appear weeks after the initial illness, leading to swift and progressive neurological decline. While ADEM in the brain [...] Read more.
Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder that typically follows an infection or recent vaccination. Symptoms such as encephalopathy and focal neurological deficits appear weeks after the initial illness, leading to swift and progressive neurological decline. While ADEM in the brain has been well documented, reports of ADEM, specifically in the spinal cord, are relatively limited. A 58-year-old male presented with rapidly progressive bilateral lower extremity tingling, numbness, and mild gait disturbance approximately two days prior to visiting the emergency room. Spinal magnetic resonance imaging revealed a diffuse, longitudinal, high-signal lesion with mild enlargement of the conus and proximal cauda equina. The lesions were predominantly localized in the distal conus and cauda equina, and serial electrodiagnostic studies showed that the lesions progressed toward the proximal conus in tandem with symptom evolution and lacked clear lateralization. The patient was subsequently treated with high-dose steroids for seven days (intravenous methylprednisolone, 1 mg/kg). The patient’s lower extremity weakness gradually improved and he was able to walk independently under supervision three weeks after symptom onset. In this case of spinal ADEM in a middle-aged adult, high-dose steroid treatment led to outstanding neurological recovery from both the initial occurrence and subsequent attacks. Full article
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10 pages, 3043 KiB  
Case Report
Recent-Onset Melanoma and the Implications of the Excessive Use of Tanning Devices—Case Report and Review of the Literature
by Luana-Andreea Nurla, Gina Wafi, Raluca Tatar, Alexandra Maria Dorobanțu, Mădălina Chivu, Liliana Gabriela Popa, Călin Giurcăneanu and Olguța Anca Orzan
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010187 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1488
Abstract
Introduction: Melanoma, a malignant tumor arising from uncontrolled melanocytic proliferation, commonly found in the skin but capable of affecting extracutaneous sites, ranks fifth among diagnosed oncological entities and is a significant cause of cancer deaths, constituting over 80% of skin cancer mortality. [...] Read more.
Introduction: Melanoma, a malignant tumor arising from uncontrolled melanocytic proliferation, commonly found in the skin but capable of affecting extracutaneous sites, ranks fifth among diagnosed oncological entities and is a significant cause of cancer deaths, constituting over 80% of skin cancer mortality. Genetic factors and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure, from both natural and artificial sources, are the primary risk factors. Case Presentation: We reported the case of a 25-year-old female with numerous pigmented nevi and notable changes attributed to extensive indoor tanning sessions. Dermatological examinations and dermoscopic evaluations revealed atypical features in two pigmented nevi, leading to surgical excision. Histopathological and immunohistochemical analyses confirmed a compound nevus in one lesion and superficial spreading melanoma in the other, emphasizing the importance of vigilant follow-up and the correct use of immunohistochemistry. Discussion: Indoor tanning significantly elevates the cutaneous melanoma risk, with initiation before age 35 amplifying the risk by up to 75%, especially in young women. The risk escalates with cumulative sessions, particularly exceeding 480, and individuals undergoing over 30 sessions face a 32% higher risk. UVR induces DNA damage, genetic mutations, and immunosuppression, contributing to oncogenesis. Genetic factors, like the PTCHD2 gene, may influence the tanning dependency. Legislation targeting minors has been enacted globally but only with partial efficacy. Tanning accelerators, though associated with minor side effects, correlate with high-risk behaviors. The case underscores the urgency of addressing indoor tanning risks, emphasizing targeted awareness efforts and legislative improvements. Conclusions: In conclusion, the reported case highlights the increased risk of cutaneous melanoma linked to indoor tanning, particularly among young women and specific sociodemographic groups. Despite legislative measures, challenges persist, suggesting the potential efficacy of online campaigns involving relatable influencers to raise awareness and discourage artificial tanning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Dermatology)
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12 pages, 784 KiB  
Article
Cornual Pregnancy: Results of a Single-Center Retrospective Experience and Systematic Review on Reproductive Outcomes
by Fathi Mraihi, Giovanni Buzzaccarini, Antonio D’Amato, Antonio Simone Laganà, Jihene Basly, Chaima Mejri, Montasar Hafsi, Dalenda Chelli, Zaineb Ghali, Bianca Bianco, Fabio Barra and Andrea Etrusco
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010186 - 21 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1212
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Cornual pregnancies (CPs) are rare forms of ectopic pregnancy. When abortion does not occur, it can be a life-threatening condition for the mother and can also impair future fertility. We present our experience in the diagnosis and management of [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Cornual pregnancies (CPs) are rare forms of ectopic pregnancy. When abortion does not occur, it can be a life-threatening condition for the mother and can also impair future fertility. We present our experience in the diagnosis and management of CPs. A systematic review was also conducted to investigate the reproductive outcomes after treatment. Materials and Methods: Between January 2010 and December 2022, we performed a retrospective, cross-sectional, single-center, and descriptive data collection and analysis (ClinicalTrial ID: NCT06165770). The search for suitable articles published in English was carried out using the following databases (PROSPERO ID: CRD42023484909): MEDLINE, EMBASE, Global Health, The Cochrane Library (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Cochrane Methodology Register), Health Technology Assessment Database, Web of Science, and search register such as ClinicalTrial. Only studies describing the impact of CP treatment on fertility were selected. Results: Two studies were included in the systematic review. Seventeen patients suffering from CPs were selected. In our series, a pelvic ultrasound allowed for the diagnosis of a cornual localization in 35.30% of cases. Thirteen women (76.47%) underwent immediate surgical management. The laparoscopic approach was the most used (76.92%), with a laparotomic conversion rate of 30%. Four patients (23.52%) received medical treatment with methotrexate. After treatment, two patients managed to achieve pregnancy. Conclusions: CP is a rare form of ectopic pregnancy that can quickly become life-threatening for the mother. Ultrasound does not lead to a precise diagnosis in all cases. In the absence of complications and emergencies, laparoscopy is an approach that could be considered valid. For selected asymptomatic patients, medical treatment may be a valid alternative. The data from the studies included in the systematic review, although demonstrating a superiority of medical treatment in terms of future pregnancies, are heterogeneous and do not allow us to reach a definitive conclusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constant Updated in the Tailored Treatment of Gynecological Diseases)
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10 pages, 4672 KiB  
Case Report
Cardiopulmonary Events of the Elderly (≥75 Years) during Clazosentan Therapy after Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Retrospective Study from a Tertiary Stroke Center in Japan
by Tatsushi Mutoh, Hiroaki Aono, Wataru Seto, Takehiro Kimoto, Ryota Tochinai, Junta Moroi and Tatsuya Ishikawa
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010185 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1175
Abstract
Clazosentan has been shown to prevent vasospasm and reduce mortality in patients after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and has been approved for clinical use in Japan; however, its systemic events in the elderly (aged ≥ 75 years) have not been well-documented. Here, we [...] Read more.
Clazosentan has been shown to prevent vasospasm and reduce mortality in patients after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and has been approved for clinical use in Japan; however, its systemic events in the elderly (aged ≥ 75 years) have not been well-documented. Here, we report serious/intolerable cardiopulmonary complications requiring discontinuation of drug therapy in elderly SAH patients. In this single-center case series study, medical records of consecutive SAH patients treated postoperatively with clazosentan (10 mg/h) between June 2022 and May 2023 were reviewed retrospectively. Thirty-three patients received clazosentan therapy, of whom six were elderly with a mean age of 80.3 ± 5.2 (range 75–89) years. Among them, despite no obvious medical history of systemic abnormalities, clazosentan was discontinued in three (50%) patients due to pleural effusion and hypoxemia with or without hypotension at 5 ± 3 days after therapy initiation, which was higher than the incidence for younger patients (15%). The elderly patients had significantly lower urine output (1935 ± 265 vs. 1123 ± 371 mL/day, p = 0.03) and greater weight gain (2.1 ± 1.1 vs. 4.2 ± 1.9 kg from baseline, p = 0.04) than patients who completed the therapy. One 89-year-old female developed congestive heart failure and hydrostatic pulmonary edema associated with increased intravascular and lung volumes even after therapy was discontinued, while the remaining two cases recovered within 2 days after drug cessation. These results suggest that elderly patients are more vulnerable to fluid retention and have a higher risk of cardiopulmonary complications during clazosentan therapy than younger patients. Careful monitoring of urine volume and weight gain and caution regarding age- and therapy-related hemodynamic insufficiencies are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurology)
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15 pages, 744 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Aviva Exercise Intervention on Pain Level and Body Awareness in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea
by Zoltán Kovács, Ekine Atombosiye, Gabriella Hegyi and Henrik Szőke
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010184 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1348
Abstract
Background and Objective: Primary dysmenorrhea (PD) is one of the most common clinical disorders in women of reproductive age. Our aim was to examine whether a twice-weekly thirty-minute Aviva exercise intervention could result in improvements in pain level and body awareness in [...] Read more.
Background and Objective: Primary dysmenorrhea (PD) is one of the most common clinical disorders in women of reproductive age. Our aim was to examine whether a twice-weekly thirty-minute Aviva exercise intervention could result in improvements in pain level and body awareness in patients with PD. Materials and Methods: In our prospective observational trial, the observation period included two consecutive menstrual cycles and the period of the next menstrual bleeding. The first menstrual bleeding period was the first measurement time (T1), the second was the second measurement time (T2), and the third was the third measurement time (T3) in a total of 78 volunteers. The primary endpoint was the change in the level of menstrual pain according to the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) questionnaire between the intervention group (IG) and the control group (CG) at T1, T2, and T3. In this study, the secondary outcomes were the differences between the IG and CG regarding the different subscales of the Hungarian version of the Body Awareness Questionnaire (BAQ-H) at T1, T2, and T3; the Borg scale results of the IG; and adherence to the intervention. Statistical tests such as independent-sample t-tests, chi-square tests, Pearson’s linear correlation coefficient, and repeated-measure ANCOVA were used for the analyses. Results: In total, 78 volunteers were enrolled: 40 persons in the IG and 38 in the CG. There was a significant change in the level of menstruation pain according to the NRS questionnaire between the IG and CG (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between the IG and CG regarding the different subscales of the BAQ-H. Only in the case of the “Note responses or changes in body process” subscale of the BAQ-H was there a trend-like effect from the Aviva exercises (p = 0.086). Conclusions: The Aviva exercise could contribute to pain relief from PD. Regarding body awareness, no significant difference was found between the two groups. Due to the short detection period and prospective observational design, our results are preliminary and need to be confirmed in larger clinical trials. Full article
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12 pages, 979 KiB  
Article
Differential Prognostic Impact of IABP-SHOCK II Scores According to Treatment Strategy in Cardiogenic Shock Complicating Acute Coronary Syndrome: From the RESCUE Registry
by Bum Sung Kim, Woo Jin Jang, Ki Hong Choi, Sung Hea Kim, Cheol Woong Yu, Jin-Ok Jeong, Hyun Jong Lee, Hyeon-Cheol Gwon, Hyun-Joong Kim and Jeong Hoon Yang
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010183 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 920
Abstract
Background: Early risk stratification is necessary for optimal determination of the treatment strategy in cardiogenic shock (CS) complicating acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Therefore, we evaluated the prognostic impact of an intra-aortic balloon pump on the cardiogenic shock (IABP-SHOCK) II score according to [...] Read more.
Background: Early risk stratification is necessary for optimal determination of the treatment strategy in cardiogenic shock (CS) complicating acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Therefore, we evaluated the prognostic impact of an intra-aortic balloon pump on the cardiogenic shock (IABP-SHOCK) II score according to the treatment strategies in ACS complicated by CS using the RESCUE (REtrospective and prospective observational Study to investigate Clinical oUtcomes and Efficacy of left ventricular assist device for Korean patients with cardiogenic shock) registry. Methods: The RESCUE registry contains multicenter observational retrospective and prospective cohorts that include 1247 patients with CS from 12 centers in Korea. A total of 865 patients with ACS complicated by CS were selected and stratified into low-, intermediate- and high-risk categories according to their IABP-SHOCK II scores and then according to treatment: non-mechanical support, IABP, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenators (ECMOs). The primary outcome was all-cause mortality during follow-up. Results: The observed mortality rates for the low-, intermediate-, and high-IABP-SHOCK II score risk categories were 28.8%, 52.4%, and 69.8%, respectively (p < 0.01). Patients in the non-mechanical support and IABP groups showed an increasingly elevated risk of all-cause mortality as their risk scores increased from low to high. In the ECMO group, the risk of all-cause mortality did not differ between the intermediate- and high-risk categories (HR = 1.21, 95% CI: 0.81–1.81, p = 0.33). The IABP-SHOCK II scores for the non-mechanical support and IABP groups showed a better predictive performance (area under curve [AUC] = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.65–0.76) for mortality compared with the EMCO group (AUC = 0.61, 95% CI 0.54–0.67; p-value for comparison = 0.02). Conclusions: Risk stratification using the IABP-SHOCK II score is useful for predicting mortality in ACS complicated by CS when patients are treated with non-mechanical support or IABP. However, its prognostic value may be unsatisfactory in severe cases where patients require ECMOs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cardiology)
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17 pages, 615 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Impact of COVID-19 on Ulcerative Colitis Patients: A Lifestyle Perspective
by Zane Straume, Nikola Krūmiņa, Ilze Elbere, Maija Rozenberga, Dace Rudzīte, Anna Proskurina, Juliana Ozoliņa, Jānis Kloviņš, Vita Skuja and Angelika Krūmiņa
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010182 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1163
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 is the new coronavirus that caused the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Studies have increasingly reported the involvement of organs outside the respiratory system, including the gastrointestinal tract. Data on the association [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 is the new coronavirus that caused the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Studies have increasingly reported the involvement of organs outside the respiratory system, including the gastrointestinal tract. Data on the association between COVID-19 and ulcerative colitis (UC) are lacking. Materials and Methods: In this one-centre cross-sectional study, 49 patients with UC from the Riga East Clinical University Hospital outpatient clinic were included from June 2021 to December 2021. The patients were divided into two groups according to their history of a confirmed positive or negative COVID-19 status. Data on their lifestyle, diet, and medications and the food supplements used by the patients were collected during interviews and analysed using the R 4.2.1 software. Results: Out of 49 patients, 33 (63.3%) were male and 13 (36.7%) were female, with a mean age of 32.33 ± 8.6 years. Fourteen patients (28.6%) had a confirmed COVID-19 infection in the last year. The most common COVID-19-related symptoms were a fever and rhinorrhoea. A third of patients followed the inflammatory bowel disease diet (16; 32.7%); out of these patients, 12 (34.3%) did not contract COVID-19 (OR: 0.78 (0.18; 2.98), p > 0.05). In the COVID-19-positive group, the majority of patients did not use vitamin D (11; 79% vs. 3; 21%, (OR: 0.38 (0.07; 1.51), p = 0.28) or probiotics (11; 78.6% vs. 3; 21.4%, OR: 1.33 (0.23; 6.28), p = 0.7). In the COVID-19-positive group, most patients did not smoke (12; 85.7% vs. 2; 14.3%, p = 0.475) and did not use alcohol (9; 64.3% vs. 5; 35.7%, OR: 0.63 (0.16; 2.57), p = 0.5). Most of the patients who participated in sports activities were COVID-negative (18; 51.4% vs. 6; 42.9%, p = 0.82). Conclusions: There were no statistically significant differences in the use of food supplements, probiotics, or vitamins; the lifestyle habits; or the COVID-19 status in patients with UC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gastroenterology & Hepatology)
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11 pages, 2670 KiB  
Article
Deciphering the Role of ERBB3 Isoforms in Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Comprehensive Genomic and Transcriptomic Analysis
by Mingyu Kim, Hyung Ho Lee, So Dam Won, YeonSue Jang, Baek Gil Kim, Nam Hoon Cho, Young Deuk Choi, Jin Soo Chung and Hyun Ho Han
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010181 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1115
Abstract
ERBB3, a key member of the receptor tyrosine kinase family, is implicated in the progression and development of various human cancers, affecting cellular proliferation and survival. This study investigated the expression of ERBB3 isoforms in renal clear cell carcinoma (RCC), utilizing data from [...] Read more.
ERBB3, a key member of the receptor tyrosine kinase family, is implicated in the progression and development of various human cancers, affecting cellular proliferation and survival. This study investigated the expression of ERBB3 isoforms in renal clear cell carcinoma (RCC), utilizing data from 538 patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Firehose Legacy dataset. Employing the SUPPA2 tool, the activity of 10 ERBB3 isoforms was examined, revealing distinct expression patterns in RCC. Isoforms uc001sjg.3 and uc001sjh.3 were found to have reduced activity in tumor tissues, while uc010sqb.2 and uc001sjl.3 demonstrated increased activity. These variations in isoform expression correlate with patient survival and tumor aggressiveness, indicating their complex role in RCC. The study, further, utilizes CIBERSORTx to analyze the association between ERBB3 isoforms and immune cell profiles in the tumor microenvironment. Concurrently, Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) was applied, establishing a strong link between elevated levels of ERBB3 isoforms and critical oncogenic pathways, including DNA repair and androgen response. RT-PCR analysis targeting the exon 21–23 and exon 23 regions of ERBB3 confirmed its heightened expression in tumor tissues, underscoring the significance of alternative splicing and exon utilization in cancer development. These findings elucidate the diverse impacts of ERBB3 isoforms on RCC, suggesting their potential as diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets. This study emphasizes the need for further exploration into the specific roles of these isoforms, which could inform more personalized and effective treatment modalities for renal clear cell carcinoma. Full article
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12 pages, 446 KiB  
Article
The Role of Family Factors in the Development of Dental Anxiety in Children
by Dorotea Petrović, Odri Cicvarić, Marija Šimunović-Erpušina, Nataša Ivančić Jokić, Danko Bakarčić, Petra Bučević Sojčić and Hrvoje Jurić
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010180 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1353
Abstract
Background and Objectives: In the literature, the influence of parents who suffer from dental anxiety and a previous unpleasant experience at the dentist are cited as the two most common causes of dental anxiety in children. The aim of this study is [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: In the literature, the influence of parents who suffer from dental anxiety and a previous unpleasant experience at the dentist are cited as the two most common causes of dental anxiety in children. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between socioeconomic factors and the development of dental anxiety in children aged 9 to 12 years. Materials and Methods: A total of 131 children and their accompanying parents/guardians participated in the cross-sectional study. The children were divided into an experimental group, which visited a specialised office for paediatric and preventive dentistry for the examination, and a control group, which visited a primary care dental office. During the visit, the children completed questionnaires on dental anxiety (CFSS-DS). Parents completed a socioeconomic questionnaire and a dental anxiety questionnaire for adults (CDAS). Results: The results showed a statistically significant positive predictor: parental dental anxiety as measured by the CDAS. In addition, the t-test showed that children who visited a specialised dental office did not show a statistically significant increase in dental anxiety compared to children who visited a primary care dental office. Conclusions: With this study, we confirm the influence of parental dental anxiety on the development of dental anxiety in children. The socioeconomic status of the family and the type of dental office do not play a statistically significant role in the development of dental anxiety in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pediatric Oral Health)
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35 pages, 2589 KiB  
Review
Uterine Tumors Resembling Ovarian Sex Cord Tumors (UTROSCTs): A Scoping Review of 511 Cases, Including 2 New Cases
by Rafał Watrowski, Mario Palumbo, Serena Guerra, Alessandra Gallo, Brunella Zizolfi, Pierluigi Giampaolino, Giuseppe Bifulco, Attilio Di Spiezio Sardo and Maria Chiara De Angelis
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010179 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1486
Abstract
Uterine Tumors Resembling Ovarian Sex Cord Tumors (UTROSCTs) are rare uterine mesenchymal neoplasms with uncertain biological potential. These tumors, which affect both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, usually have a benign clinical course. Nevertheless, local recurrences and distant metastases have been described. By analyzing [...] Read more.
Uterine Tumors Resembling Ovarian Sex Cord Tumors (UTROSCTs) are rare uterine mesenchymal neoplasms with uncertain biological potential. These tumors, which affect both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, usually have a benign clinical course. Nevertheless, local recurrences and distant metastases have been described. By analyzing 511 cases retrieved from individual reports and cases series, we provide here the most comprehensive overview of UTROSCT cases available in the literature, supplemented by two new cases of UTROSCTs. Case 1 was an asymptomatic 31-year-old woman who underwent a laparoscopic resection of a presumed leiomyoma. Case 2 was a 58-year-old postmenopausal woman with abnormal vaginal bleeding who underwent an outpatient hysteroscopic biopsy of a suspicious endometrial area. In both cases, immunohistochemical positivity for Calretinin and Inhibin was noted, typical for a sex cord differentiation. In both cases, total laparoscopic hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy was performed. In light of the available literature, no pathognomonic clinical or imaging finding can be attributed to UTROSCT. Patients usually present with abnormal uterine bleeding or pelvic discomfort, but 20% of them are asymptomatic. In most cases, a simple hysterectomy appears to be the appropriate treatment, but for women who wish to become pregnant, uterus-preserving approaches should be discussed after excluding risk factors. Age, tumor size, lymphovascular space invasion, nuclear atypia, and cervical involvement are not reliable prognostic factors in UTROSCT. The current research suggests that aggressive cases (with extrauterine spread or recurrence) can be identified based on a distinct genetic and immunohistochemical phenotype. For instance, UTROSCTs characterized by GREB1::NCOA1-3 fusions and PD-L1 molecule expression appear to be predisposed to more aggressive behaviors and recurrence, with GREB1::NCOA2 being the most common gene fusion in recurrent tumors. Hence, redefining the criteria for UTROSCTs may allow a better selection of women suitable for fertility-sparing treatments or requiring more aggressive treatments in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uterine Smooth-Muscle Tumors)
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12 pages, 2409 KiB  
Article
Comparison of the Effect of Landmark-Based Midline and Paramedian Approaches on Spinal Anesthesia-Related Complications in Adult Patients: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
by Su Yeon Kim, Hyo-Seok Na, Ji In Park, Keum-O Lee and Hyun-Jung Shin
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010178 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1147
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Spinal anesthesia is widely used in various types of surgery. However, several complications can occur afterward. This study aimed to identify differences in the incidence of anesthesia-related complications according to the approach methods (midline versus paramedian) for landmark-based spinal anesthesia. [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Spinal anesthesia is widely used in various types of surgery. However, several complications can occur afterward. This study aimed to identify differences in the incidence of anesthesia-related complications according to the approach methods (midline versus paramedian) for landmark-based spinal anesthesia. Materials and Methods: We searched electronic databases, including PubMed, EMBASE, CENTRAL, Scopus, and Web of Science, for eligible randomized controlled trials. The primary outcome was post-dural puncture headache (PDPH) incidence, and secondary outcomes were low back pain (LBP) incidence and success rate in the first trial of spinal anesthesia. We estimated the odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using a random-effects model. Results: In total, 2280 patients from 13 randomized controlled trials were included in the final analysis. The incidence rates of PDPH were 5.9% and 10.4% in the paramedian and midline approach groups, respectively. The pooled effect size revealed that the incidence of PDPH (OR: 0.43, 95% CI [0.22–0.83]; p = 0.01; I2 = 53%) and LBP (OR: 0.27, 95% CI [0.16–0.44]; p < 0.001; I2 = 16%) decreased, and the success rate in the first attempt was higher (OR: 2.30, 95% CI [1.36–3.87]; p = 0.002; I2 = 35%) with the paramedian than with the midline approach. Conclusions: Paramedian spinal anesthesia reduced PDPH and LBP and increased the success rate of the first attempt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intensive Care/ Anesthesiology)
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16 pages, 933 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Relationship between Indexed Epicardial Adipose Tissue Thickness, Oxidative Stress in Adipocytes, and Coronary Artery Disease Complexity in Open-Heart Surgery Patients
by Laurentiu Braescu, Adrian Sturza, Oana Maria Aburel, Raluca Sosdean, Danina Muntean, Constantin Tudor Luca, Daniel Miron Brie, Horea Feier, Simina Crisan and Cristian Mornos
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010177 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 922
Abstract
Background and Objectives: This cross-sectional study conducted at the Timișoara Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Romania, and the Centre for Translational Research and Systems Medicine from “Victor Babeș” University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Timișoara, Romania, investigated the relationship between indexed epicardial adipose [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: This cross-sectional study conducted at the Timișoara Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Romania, and the Centre for Translational Research and Systems Medicine from “Victor Babeș” University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Timișoara, Romania, investigated the relationship between indexed epicardial adipose tissue thickness (EATTi) and oxidative stress in epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) adipocytes in the context of coronary artery disease (CAD) among open-heart surgery patients. The objective was to elucidate the contribution of EATTi as an additional marker for complexity prediction in patients with CAD, potentially influencing clinical decision-making in surgical settings. Materials and Methods: The study included 25 patients undergoing cardiac surgery, with a mean age of 65.16 years and a body mass index of 27.61 kg/m2. Oxidative stress in EAT was assessed using the ferrous iron xylenol orange oxidation spectrophotometric assay. The patients were divided into three groups: those with valvular heart disease without CAD, patients with CAD without diabetes mellitus (DM), and patients with both CAD and DM. The CAD complexity was evaluated using the SYNTAX score. Results: The EATTi showed statistically significant elevations in the patients with both CAD and DM (mean 5.27 ± 0.67 mm/m2) compared to the CAD without DM group (mean 3.78 ± 1.05 mm/m2, p = 0.024) and the valvular disease without CAD group (mean 2.67 ± 0.83 mm/m2, p = 0.001). Patients with SYNTAX scores over 32 had significantly higher EATTi (5.27 ± 0.66 mm/m2) compared to those with lower scores. An EATTi greater than 4.15 mm/m2 predicted more complex CAD (SYNTAX score >22) with 80% sensitivity and 86% specificity. The intra- and interobserver reproducibility for the EATTi measurement were excellent (intra-class correlation coefficient 0.911, inter-class correlation coefficient 0.895). Conclusions: EATTi is significantly associated with CAD complexity in patients undergoing open-heart surgery. It serves as a reliable indicator of more intricate CAD forms, as reflected by higher SYNTAX scores. These findings highlight the clinical relevance of EATTi in pre-operative assessment, suggesting its potential utility as a prognostic marker in cardiac surgical patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine and Metabolic Effects of Fat: Cardiovascular Implications)
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7 pages, 1365 KiB  
Brief Report
Topical Anaesthesia Using a Soft Mist Spray Device Allows Comfortable Awake Visualisation of the Airway via Self-Videolaryngoscopy in Volunteers
by Hielke Markerink, Geert-Jan van Geffen and Jörgen Bruhn
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010176 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 905
Abstract
Background: During endotracheal intubation, there is a 10% incidence of difficult laryngoscopy, which may result in serious complications. It is important to obtain as much information about the visibility of laryngeal structures before the patient is anaesthetised. Performing awake (video-) laryngoscopy on [...] Read more.
Background: During endotracheal intubation, there is a 10% incidence of difficult laryngoscopy, which may result in serious complications. It is important to obtain as much information about the visibility of laryngeal structures before the patient is anaesthetised. Performing awake (video-) laryngoscopy on a patient is uncomfortable and can trigger gagging and coughing reflexes, making visualisation nearly impossible. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a soft mist spray device for airway anaesthesia during awake (video-) laryngoscopy. Methods: Twenty healthy volunteers inhaled through the Trachospray device, which was placed in their mouths. Two 2 mL syringes containing lidocaine at 4% were sprayed into the airway during inspiration. After several minutes, the subjects were asked to perform a videolaryngoscopy on themselves until the glottic structures and the vocal cords were visible. Upon completion of the procedure, all participants were asked to fill out a feedback form. Results: The duration of the videolaryngoscopy to visualisation of the vocal cords averaged 17 ± 13 s. After analysing the data, three distinct groups emerged as follows: Group 1 (70% of participants) showed no response, allowing for easy insertion of the videolaryngoscope. Group 2 (25% of participants) exhibited a light response but still permitted easy insertion and visualisation. One patient demonstrated a clear response with noticeable laryngeal contraction, requiring slightly more effort and discomfort for insertion. In 80% of the participants, the laryngeal structures were visualised according to Cormack–Lehane grade 1. All participants reported a high level of comfort, with an average rating of NRS 8. The anaesthesiologist assessed the level of anaesthesia as good to very good. No adverse events were observed. Conclusions: The Trachospray provided good, reliable, comfortable, and safe topical anaesthesia for awake videolaryngoscopy. This enables a direct visual assessment of the airway and may assist in making decisions regarding airway management for tracheal intubation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intensive Care/ Anesthesiology)
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15 pages, 1884 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness of Acupotomy Combined with Epidural Steroid Injection for Lumbosacral Radiculopathy: A Randomized Controlled Pragmatic Pilot Study
by Jin-Hyun Lee, Sang-Hyun Lee, Hae Sun Suh, Man-Suk Hwang, Semin Jang, Sooil Choi, Young-Soo Lim, Sang Hyun Byun, Sang-Hoon Yoon, Sukhee Park and Tae-Yong Park
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010175 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Background and Objectives: This pilot study aimed to evaluate the clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of acupotomy combined with epidural steroid injection (ESI) in lumbosacral radiculopathy and examine its feasibility for the main study. Materials and Methods: This randomized, controlled, two-arm, [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: This pilot study aimed to evaluate the clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of acupotomy combined with epidural steroid injection (ESI) in lumbosacral radiculopathy and examine its feasibility for the main study. Materials and Methods: This randomized, controlled, two-arm, parallel, assessor-blinded, pragmatic study included 50 patients with severe lumbosacral radiculopathy who had insufficient improvement after an ESI. Patients were randomized (1:1 ratio) into a combined treatment (acupotomy + ESI, experimental) and an ESI single treatment (control) group. Both groups underwent a total of two ESIs once every 2 weeks; the experimental group received eight additional acupotomy treatments twice a week for 4 weeks. Types of ESI included interlaminar, transforaminal, and caudal approaches. Drugs used in ESI comprised a 5–10 mL mixture of dexamethasone sodium phosphate (2.5 mg), mepivacaine (0.3%), and hyaluronidase (1500 IU). The primary outcome was the difference in changes from baseline in the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores between the groups at weeks 4 and 8. The incremental cost-utility ratio (ICUR) was calculated to evaluate the cost-effectiveness between the groups. Adverse events (AEs) were assessed at all visits. Results: Mean ODI scores for the experimental and control groups were −9.44 (95% confidence interval [CI]: −12.71, −6.17) and −2.16 (95% CI: −5.01, 0.69) at week 4, and −9.04 (95% CI: −12.09, −5.99) and −4.76 (95% CI: −7.68, −1.84) at week 8, respectively. The difference in ODI score changes was significant between the groups at week 4 (p = 0.0021). The ICUR of the experimental group versus the control group was as economical as 18,267,754 won/quality-adjusted life years. No serious AEs were observed. Conclusions: These results demonstrate the potential clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupotomy combined with ESI for lumbosacral radiculopathy and its feasibility for a full-scale study. Larger, long-term follow-up clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Persistent Pain: Advances in Diagnosis and Management)
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11 pages, 1188 KiB  
Article
PTEN, ERG, SPINK1, and TFF3 Status and Relationship in a Prostate Cancer Cohort from Jordanian Arab Population
by Samir Al Bashir, Mohammed S. Alorjani, Khalid Kheirallah, Mohammad Al Hamad, Husam K. Haddad, Ahmad Al-Dwairy, Baha A. Bani-Fawwaz, Najla Aldaoud, Omar Halalsheh, Saddam Amawi and Ismail I. Matalka
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010174 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1357
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Prognostic biomarkers in prostate cancer (PCa) include PTEN, ERG, SPINK1, and TFF3. Their relationships and patterns of expression in PCa in developing countries, including Jordan, have not yet been investigated. Materials and Methods: A tissue microarray (TMA) of [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Prognostic biomarkers in prostate cancer (PCa) include PTEN, ERG, SPINK1, and TFF3. Their relationships and patterns of expression in PCa in developing countries, including Jordan, have not yet been investigated. Materials and Methods: A tissue microarray (TMA) of PCa patients was taken from paraffin-embedded tissue blocks for 130 patients. PTEN, ERG, SPINK1, and TFF3 expression profiles were examined using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and correlated with each other and other clinicopathological factors. Results: PTEN loss of any degree was observed in 42.9% of PCa cases. ERG and TFF3 were expressed in 59.3% and 46.5% of PCa cases, respectively. SPINK1 expression was observed in 6 out of 104 PCa cases (5.4%). Among all PCa cases (n = 104), 3.8% (n = 4) showed SPINK1+/ERG+ phenotype, 1.9% (n = 2) showed SPINK1+/ERG- phenotype, 56.7% (n = 59) showed SPINK1-/ERG+ phenotype, and 37.5% showed SPINK1-/ERG- phenotype (n = 39). Among ERG positive cases (n = 63), 6.3% were SPINK1 positive. Among SPINK1 positive cases (n = 6), 66.7% were ERG positive. SPINK1 expression was predominantly observed in a subgroup of cancers that expressed TFF3 (6/6). Additionally, a statistically significant loss of PTEN expression was observed from Gleason Score 6 (GS6) (Grade Group 1 (GG1)) to GS9-10 (GG5); (p-value 0.019). Conclusions: This is the first study to look at the status of the PTEN, ERG, SPINK1, and TFF3 genes in a Jordanian Arab population. Loss of PTEN has been linked to more aggressive prostate cancer with high GSs/GGs. SPINK1 expression was predominantly observed in a subgroup of cancers that expressed TFF3. Our results call for screening these biomarkers for grading and molecular subtyping of the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Oncology)
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10 pages, 292 KiB  
Article
Cardiovascular Disease and Chronic Pulmonary Disease Increase the Risk of Short-Term Major Postoperative Complications after Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy
by Carolin Siech, Antonia Gruber, Mike Wenzel, Clara Humke, Pierre I. Karakiewicz, Luis A. Kluth, Felix K. H. Chun, Benedikt Hoeh and Philipp Mandel
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010173 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 897
Abstract
Background and objectives: Certain comorbidities may be associated with a higher risk of complications after robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy. Material and Methods: Relying on a tertiary care database, we identified robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy patients (January 2014–March 2023). Short-term major postoperative complications were [...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Certain comorbidities may be associated with a higher risk of complications after robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy. Material and Methods: Relying on a tertiary care database, we identified robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy patients (January 2014–March 2023). Short-term major postoperative complications were defined according to Clavien Dindo as ≥IIIa within 30 days after robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy. Results: Of 1148 patients, the rates of postoperative Clavien Dindo IIIa, Clavien Dindo IIIb, Clavien Dindo IVa, and Clavien Dindo IVb complications were 3.3%, 1.4%, 0.3%, and 0.2%, respectively. Of those, 28 (47%) had lymphoceles, and 8 (13%) had bleeding-associated complications. Patients with cardiovascular disease (8 vs. 4%) or chronic pulmonary disease (13 vs. 5%) were more likely to have complications. In multivariable logistic regression models, cardiovascular disease (odds ratio: 1.78; p = 0.046) and chronic pulmonary disease (odds ratio: 3.29; p = 0.007) remained associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications. Conclusions: Complications after robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy are predominantly manageable without anesthesia. Concomitant cardiovascular disease and chronic pulmonary disease were both associated with a higher risk of postoperative complications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Urology & Nephrology)
12 pages, 587 KiB  
Review
A New Player in the Game: Can Exergame Be of Support in the Management of Atrial Fibrillation?
by Donato Giuseppe Leo and Riccardo Proietti
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010172 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1138
Abstract
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting 2–3% of the world’s population. Traditional exercise and physical activity interventions have been successfully implemented in the management of AF, with the aim of improving patients’ quality of life and [...] Read more.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting 2–3% of the world’s population. Traditional exercise and physical activity interventions have been successfully implemented in the management of AF, with the aim of improving patients’ quality of life and their exercise capacity, as well as reducing their mortality rate. Currently, new technology-mediated approaches to exercise, defined as exergame, have been shown to be successful in the delivery of exercise home-based interventions in patients with cardiovascular diseases. However, data on the effects of exergame on AF are not yet available. In this paper, we summarise the current literature on the role of traditional exercise in AF and how it affects the pathophysiology of this condition. We also review the current literature on exergame and its employment in cardiac rehabilitation and suggest its potential role in the management of AF patients. A review of the evidence suggests that traditional exercise (of light-to-moderate intensity) is beneficial in patients with AF. Additionally, exergame seems to be a promising approach for delivering exercise interventions in patients with cardiovascular diseases. Exergame may be a promising tool to improve the quality of life and exercise capacity in patients with AF, with the additional advantage of being remotely delivered, and the potential to increase patients’ engagement. Proper guidelines are required to prescribe exergame interventions, considering the principles of traditional exercise prescription and applying them to this new e-health approach. Further studies are needed to validate the use of exergame in patients with AF. Full article
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10 pages, 271 KiB  
Article
Does Early Mobilization Following Resection of Spinal Intra-Dural Pathology Increase the Risk of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks?—A Dual-Center Comparative Effectiveness Research
by Michael Schwake, Sophia Krahwinkel, Marco Gallus, Stephanie Schipmann, Emanuele Maragno, Volker Neuschmelting, Moritz Perrech, Michael Müther and Moritz Lenschow
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010171 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 864
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Prolonged bed rest after the resection of spinal intradural tumors is postulated to mitigate the development of cerebrospinal fluid leaks (CSFLs), which is one of the feared postoperative complications. Nonetheless, the empirical evidence supporting this conjecture remains limited and [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Prolonged bed rest after the resection of spinal intradural tumors is postulated to mitigate the development of cerebrospinal fluid leaks (CSFLs), which is one of the feared postoperative complications. Nonetheless, the empirical evidence supporting this conjecture remains limited and requires further investigation. The goal of the study was to investigate whether prolonged bed rest lowers the risk of CSFL after the resection of spinal intradural tumors. The primary outcome was the rate of CSFL in each cohort. Materials and Methods: To validate this hypothesis, we conducted a comparative effectiveness research (CER) study at two distinct academic neurosurgical centers, wherein diverse postoperative treatment protocols were employed. Specifically, one center adopted a prolonged bed rest regimen lasting for three days, while the other implemented early postoperative mobilization. For statistical analysis, case–control matching was performed. Results: Out of an overall 451 cases, we matched 101 patients from each center. We analyzed clinical records and images from each case. In the bed rest center, two patients developed a CSFL (n = 2, 1.98%) compared to four patients (n = 4, 3.96%) in the early mobilization center (p = 0.683). Accordingly, CSFL development was not associated with early mobilization (OR 2.041, 95% CI 0.365–11.403; p = 0.416). Univariate and multivariate analysis identified expansion duraplasty as an independent risk factor for CSFL (OR 60.33, 95% CI: 0.015–0.447; p < 0.001). Conclusions: In this CER, we demonstrate that early mobilization following the resection of spinal intradural tumors does not confer an increased risk of the development of CSFL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spinal Tumors)
9 pages, 270 KiB  
Case Report
Autoimmune Implications in a Patient with Graves’ Hyperthyroidism, Pre-eclampsia with Severe Features, and Primary Aldosteronism
by Benjamin Lin, Lauren Robinson, Basem Soliman, Jill Gulizia and Stephen Usala
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010170 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1464
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Graves’ disease (GD) and primary aldosteronism (PA) are two pathologies that can cause significant morbidity and mortality. GD is mediated by autoantibodies, and recent studies have shown autoantibody involvement in the pathophysiology behind both PA and pre-eclampsia. The coexistence [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Graves’ disease (GD) and primary aldosteronism (PA) are two pathologies that can cause significant morbidity and mortality. GD is mediated by autoantibodies, and recent studies have shown autoantibody involvement in the pathophysiology behind both PA and pre-eclampsia. The coexistence of GD and PA, however, is reportedly rare. This report describes a unique case of Graves’ hyperthyroidism and concomitant PA in a patient with a history of pre-eclampsia with severe features. Case Presentation: The patient presented at 17 weeks pregnancy with mild hyperthyroidism, negative TSH receptor antibodies, and a low level of thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSI). Her TSH became detectable with normal thyroid hormone levels, and therefore, no anti-thyroid medication was administered. At 34 weeks she developed pre-eclampsia with severe features, and a healthy child was delivered; her TSH returned to normal. Seven months after delivery, she presented emergently with severe hyperthyroidism, hypertensive crisis, and a serum potassium of 2.5 mmol/L. Her hypertension was uncontrolled on multiple anti-hypertensives. Both TSI and TSH receptor antibodies were negative. The aldosterone(ng/dL)/renin(ng/mL/h ratio was (13/0.06) = 216.7, and abdominal CT imaging demonstrated normal adrenal glands; thus, a diagnosis of PA was made. Her blood pressure was subsequently controlled with only spironolactone at 50 mg 2xday. Methimazole was started but discontinued because of an allergic reaction. Consequently, a thyroidectomy was performed, and pathology revealed Graves’ disease. The patient remained well on levothyroxine at 125 mcg/day and spironolactone at 50 mg 2xday three months after the thyroidectomy. Conclusions: This patient manifested severe GD with antibodies undetectable by conventional TSI and TSH receptor assays and accelerated hypertension from PA simultaneously. These conditions were successfully treated separately by spironolactone and thyroidectomy. Autoimmune PA was considered likely given the clinical picture. The diagnosis of PA should be considered in hypertension with GD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Endocrinology)
12 pages, 1306 KiB  
Article
Transient Elastography Is the Best-Performing Non-Invasive Test of Liver Fibrosis in Obese Asian Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Pilot, Cross-Sectional Study
by Kaliyaperumal Kalaiyarasi, Acharyya Sanchalika, Low Hsien Min, Yap Wei Ming, Shelat Vishalkumar, Yew Kuo Chao, Low Jee Keem, Junnarkar Sameer, Huey Cheong Wei Terence and Tan Yen Ping
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010169 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 996
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The prevalence of NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is increasing, and up to 64% of Asian patients with NAFLD are obese. Non-invasive tests (NITs) for the assessment of liver fibrosis are increasingly being used, but data on their performance [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The prevalence of NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is increasing, and up to 64% of Asian patients with NAFLD are obese. Non-invasive tests (NITs) for the assessment of liver fibrosis are increasingly being used, but data on their performance in obese Asian patients are lacking. In this pilot cross-sectional study, we aim to compare the distribution of serum and radiological markers of fibrosis between obese Asian biopsy-proven NAFLD patients with and without fibrosis and estimate the diagnostic accuracies of these indices. Materials and Methods: Obese Asian patients with NAFLD and who had undergone a liver biopsy showing histological evidence of NAFLD were invited to participate. Liver fibrosis was assessed using laboratory (APRI, AAR, BARD, FIB4, NFS, and Asia–Pacific NAFLD advanced fibrosis score) and imaging modalities (TE: transient elastography, MRE: magnetic resonance elastography, and SWU: shear wave ultrasonography). Results: A total of 16 patients were included in the final analysis. On liver biopsy, nine patients (56.3%) had significant fibrosis (F2 or higher), and six of these patients had advanced fibrosis (F3 or higher). F4 fibrosis was present in one patient (6.3%). For the laboratory markers, we found that the BARD score correctly identified five out of six patients with advanced fibrosis (83.4%, p value 0.045). Among all the NITs studied, liver stiffness measured by TE had the highest accuracy of 87.5% in its established threshold of 8.5 kPa for the detection of advanced fibrosis. MRE also performed well (81.2% in 3.64 kPa). Conclusions: In conclusion, TE has performed well in the detection of advanced fibrosis in obese Asian patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD in our pilot study. Further large-scale definitive studies are needed to validate the results of our findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gastroenterology & Hepatology)
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27 pages, 1555 KiB  
Review
Exploring Biomarkers in Breast Cancer: Hallmarks of Diagnosis, Treatment, and Follow-Up in Clinical Practice
by Laura Lopez-Gonzalez, Alicia Sanchez Cendra, Cristina Sanchez Cendra, Eduardo David Roberts Cervantes, Javier Cassinello Espinosa, Tatiana Pekarek, Oscar Fraile-Martinez, Cielo García-Montero, Ana María Rodriguez-Slocker, Laura Jiménez-Álvarez, Luis G. Guijarro, Soledad Aguado-Henche, Jorge Monserrat, Melchor Alvarez-Mon, Leonel Pekarek, Miguel A. Ortega and Raul Diaz-Pedrero
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010168 - 17 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2581
Abstract
Breast cancer is a prevalent malignancy in the present day, particularly affecting women as one of the most common forms of cancer. A significant portion of patients initially present with localized disease, for which curative treatments are pursued. Conversely, another substantial segment is [...] Read more.
Breast cancer is a prevalent malignancy in the present day, particularly affecting women as one of the most common forms of cancer. A significant portion of patients initially present with localized disease, for which curative treatments are pursued. Conversely, another substantial segment is diagnosed with metastatic disease, which has a worse prognosis. Recent years have witnessed a profound transformation in the prognosis for this latter group, primarily due to the discovery of various biomarkers and the emergence of targeted therapies. These biomarkers, encompassing serological, histological, and genetic indicators, have demonstrated their value across multiple aspects of breast cancer management. They play crucial roles in initial diagnosis, aiding in the detection of relapses during follow-up, guiding the application of targeted treatments, and offering valuable insights for prognostic stratification, especially for highly aggressive tumor types. Molecular markers have now become the keystone of metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, given the diverse array of chemotherapy options and treatment modalities available. These markers signify a transformative shift in the arsenal of therapeutic options against breast cancer. Their diagnostic precision enables the categorization of tumors with elevated risks of recurrence, increased aggressiveness, and heightened mortality. Furthermore, the existence of therapies tailored to target specific molecular anomalies triggers a cascade of changes in tumor behavior. Therefore, the primary objective of this article is to offer a comprehensive review of the clinical, diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic utility of the principal biomarkers currently in use, as well as of their clinical impact on metastatic breast cancer. In doing so, our goal is to contribute to a more profound comprehension of this complex disease and, ultimately, to enhance patient outcomes through more precise and effective treatment strategies. Full article
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10 pages, 1127 KiB  
Article
Gingival Manifestations in Oral Chronic Autoimmune Bullous Diseases: A Retrospective Study
by Ioanina Parlatescu, Serban Tovaru, Cristina Tofan, Paula Perlea, Elena Milanesi, Maria Dobre and Laurenta Lelia Mihai
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010167 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Desquamative gingivitis (DG) is a clinical term indicating “peeling gums” and is associated with different oral manifestations. In this study, we aimed to assess the association between DG and autoimmune blistering mucocutaneous diseases (ABMD) with oral manifestations. Materials and [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Desquamative gingivitis (DG) is a clinical term indicating “peeling gums” and is associated with different oral manifestations. In this study, we aimed to assess the association between DG and autoimmune blistering mucocutaneous diseases (ABMD) with oral manifestations. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study including 88 patients diagnosed between 1998 and 2019 with ABMD (intraepithelial and subepithelial autoimmune blistering diseases) was performed at the Oral Medicine Department, Faculty of Dentistry, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest. For each patient, the sociodemographic and anamnestic data, as well as clinical features of oral lesions (location), histological evaluation, and direct immunofluorescence data were collected. Results: Most of the patients involved in the study were female (78.4%). In total, 34 patients (38.63%) were diagnosed with subepithelial autoimmune diseases (SAD) and 54 (61.36%) had intraepithelial autoimmune diseases (IAD). Differences in the anatomic distribution of oral involvement were found between SAD and IAD. The presence of DG was significantly more common in patients with SAD compared to those with a diagnosis of IAD. Conclusions: Specific anatomical locations of the oral lesions are significantly associated with different subtypes of ABMD, with gingiva and hard palate mucosa being more involved in SAD and the soft palate and buccal mucosa in IAD. Desquamative gingivitis is a clinical sign that raises diagnostic challenges for several conditions in oral medicine. Full article
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11 pages, 1749 KiB  
Article
Association between Ranolazine, Ischemic Preconditioning, and Cardioprotection in Patients Undergoing Scheduled Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
by Konstantinos Kourtis, Angeliki Bourazana, Andrew Xanthopoulos, Spyridon Skoularigkis, Emmanouil Papadakis, Sotirios Patsilinakos and John Skoularigis
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010166 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 955
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) has demonstrated efficacy in protecting against myocardial ischemia–reperfusion injury when applied before percutaneous coronary revascularization. Ranolazine, an anti-ischemic drug, has been utilized to minimize ischemic events in chronic angina patients. However, there is a lack [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) has demonstrated efficacy in protecting against myocardial ischemia–reperfusion injury when applied before percutaneous coronary revascularization. Ranolazine, an anti-ischemic drug, has been utilized to minimize ischemic events in chronic angina patients. However, there is a lack of trials exploring the combined effects of ranolazine pretreatment and RIPC in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs). Materials and Methods: The present study is a prospective study which enrolled 150 patients scheduled for nonemergent percutaneous coronary revascularization. Three groups were formed: a control group undergoing only PCIs, an RIPC group with RIPC applied to either upper limb before the PCI (preconditioning group), and a group with RIPC before the PCI along with prior ranolazine treatment for stable angina (ranolazine group). Statistical analyses, including ANOVAs and Kruskal–Wallis tests, were conducted, with the Bonferroni correction for type I errors. A repeated-measures ANOVA assessed the changes in serum enzyme levels (SGOT, LDH, CRP, CPK, CK-MB, troponin I) over the follow-up. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: The ranolazine group showed (A) significantly lower troponin I level increases compared to the control group for up to 24 h, (B) significantly lower CPK levels after 4, 10, and 24 h compared to the preconditioning group (p = 0.020, p = 0.020, and p = 0.019, respectively) and significantly lower CPK levels compared to the control group after 10 h (p = 0.050), and (C) significantly lower CK-MB levels after 10 h compared to the control group (p = 0.050). Conclusions: This study suggests that combining RIPC before scheduled coronary procedures with ranolazine pretreatment may be linked to reduced ischemia induction, as evidenced by lower myocardial enzyme levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cardiology)
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20 pages, 1821 KiB  
Article
Factors Influencing the Duration of Rehabilitation in Infants with Torticollis—A Pilot Study
by Daniela Parau, Anamaria Butila Todoran and Rodica Balasa
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010165 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1169
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Torticollis is a common pediatric condition, with an incidence of 0.3–2.0%. Studies show that an adequate, tailored, and early treatment helps 90% to 95% of children recover before the first year of life and 97% of patients recover if [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Torticollis is a common pediatric condition, with an incidence of 0.3–2.0%. Studies show that an adequate, tailored, and early treatment helps 90% to 95% of children recover before the first year of life and 97% of patients recover if treatment starts before the first six months. To identify the relationships between variables considered essential in the recovery process of infants with torticollis, we included factors such as the type of torticollis, age at onset of treatment, gender, birth weight, mode of delivery, fetal position in the uterus, the presence of craniofacial deformities, regions affected by postural asymmetries, and duration of the rehabilitation program. The hypothesis of the study is that early initiation of therapy can contribute to achieving favorable outcomes in the recovery process. Material and Methods: This retrospective cohort pilot study was conducted within a rehabilitation facility, spanning a duration of 1 year. The study involved a population of 41 children aged between 0 and 6 months. The rehabilitation program consisted of the application of Vojta therapy. Each session lasted 20 min, with a frequency of three times per week. Results: A total of 41% of those who started therapy in the first 3 months of life were fully recovered after 4–6 weeks of therapy. Of infants who started therapy at 5 and 6 months of age, 15% showed no improvement in measurements from 14 to 16 weeks of age, at which point the use of a cranial orthosis was recommended, and 23% experienced a plateau in measurements from 10 to 14 weeks, requiring the use of a cervical collar in conjunction with therapy. Conclusions: The findings from the study suggest that there may be a correlation between early initiation of therapy and favorable outcomes in the recovery process. The primary factors influencing the duration of recovery were identified as the presence of body asymmetries and the age at which therapy was initiated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurology)
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35 pages, 1646 KiB  
Review
Atypical Complications during the Course of COVID-19: A Comprehensive Review
by Tauqeer Hussain Mallhi, Aqsa Safdar, Muhammad Hammad Butt, Muhammad Salman, Sumbal Nosheen, Zia Ul Mustafa, Faiz Ullah Khan and Yusra Habib Khan
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010164 - 15 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2272
Abstract
COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, but numerous studies have indicated the involvement of various organ systems during the course of illness. We conducted a comprehensive review of atypical complications of COVID-19 with their incidence range (IR) and their impact on hospitalization and [...] Read more.
COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, but numerous studies have indicated the involvement of various organ systems during the course of illness. We conducted a comprehensive review of atypical complications of COVID-19 with their incidence range (IR) and their impact on hospitalization and mortality rates. We identified 97 studies, including 55 research articles and 42 case studies. We reviewed four major body organ systems for various types of atypical complications: (i) Gastro-intestinal (GI) and hepatobiliary system, e.g., bowel ischemia/infarction (IR: 1.49–83.87%), GI bleeding/hemorrhage (IR: 0.47–10.6%), hepatic ischemia (IR: 1.0–7.4%); (ii) Neurological system, e.g., acute ischemic stroke/cerebral venous sinus thrombosis/cerebral hemorrhage (IR: 0.5–90.9%), anosmia (IR: 4.9–79.6%), dysgeusia (IR: 2.8–83.38%), encephalopathy/encephalitis with or without fever and hypoxia (IR: 0.19–35.2%); (iii) Renal system, e.g., acute kidney injury (AKI)/acute renal failure (IR: 0.5–68.8%); (iv) Cardiovascular system, e.g., acute cardiac injury/non-coronary myocardial injury (IR: 7.2–55.56%), arrhythmia/ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation (IR: 5.9–16.7%), and coagulopathy/venous thromboembolism (IR: 19–34.4%). This review encourages and informs healthcare practitioners to keenly monitor COVID-19 survivors for these atypical complications in all major organ systems and not only treat the respiratory symptoms of patients. Post-COVID effects should be monitored, and follow-up of patients should be performed on a regular basis to check for long-term complications. Full article
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20 pages, 2466 KiB  
Review
CGRP Antagonism and Ketogenic Diet in the Treatment of Migraine
by Francesca Finelli, Alessia Catalano, Michele De Lisa, Giuseppe Andrea Ferraro, Sabino Genovese, Federica Giuzio, Rosanna Salvia, Carmen Scieuzo, Maria Stefania Sinicropi, Fabiano Svolacchia, Antonio Vassallo, Alessandro Santarsiere and Carmela Saturnino
Medicina 2024, 60(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60010163 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2285
Abstract
The study of migraine is based on the complexity of the pathology, both at the pathophysiological and epidemiological levels. Although it affects more than a billion people worldwide, it is often underestimated and underreported by patients. Migraine must not be confused with a [...] Read more.
The study of migraine is based on the complexity of the pathology, both at the pathophysiological and epidemiological levels. Although it affects more than a billion people worldwide, it is often underestimated and underreported by patients. Migraine must not be confused with a simple headache; it is a serious and disabling disease that causes considerable limitations in the daily life of afflicted people, including social, work, and emotional effects. Therefore, it causes a daily state of suffering and discomfort. It is important to point out that this pathology not only has a decisive impact on the quality of life of those who suffer from it but also on their families and, more generally, on society as a whole. The clinical picture of migraine is complex, with debilitating unilateral or bilateral head pain, and is often associated with characteristic symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, photophobia, and phonophobia. Hormonal, environmental, psychological, dietary, or other factors can trigger it. The present review focuses on the analysis of the physiopathological and pharmacological aspects of migraine, up to the correct dietary approach, with specific nutritional interventions aimed at modulating the symptoms. Based on the symptoms that the patient experiences, targeted and specific therapy is chosen to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Specifically, the role of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in the pathogenesis of migraine is analyzed, along with the drugs that effectively target the corresponding receptor. Particularly, CGRP receptor antagonists (gepants) are very effective drugs in the treatment of migraine, given their high diffusion in the brain. Moreover, following a ketogenic diet for only one or two months has been demonstrated to reduce migraine attacks. In this review, we highlight the diverse facets of migraine, from its physiopathological and pharmacological aspects to prevention and therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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