• New epistemological foundations for cultural psychology: from an atomistic to a self-organizing view of living systems Original Articles and Reviews

    De Pascale, Adele

    Abstract in English:

    An epistemological foundation for cultural psychology is essential to neuro- and behavioural sciences for the challenge psychological sciences must currently face: searching for an explanation of how a brain can become a mind and how individuals assign a sense to the world and their life. Biological systems are very likely determined by physical and chemical laws of spontaneous self-organization and endogenous constraints but, even if the major result of the Darwinian revolution is "the discovery that living species are their story", the modern synthesis of the evolution theory adopted only continuist and gradualist hypotheses. This nourished the analogy between the theory of natural selection and the theory of operant conditioning, thereby supporting empiricist associationism and the methodological positivism of behavioural and "classical" cognitive psychologists. Current scientific contributions provide evidence to the need for psychotherapy and psychopathology of a new epistemological approach in order to connect research stemming from animal models, up to the most abstract levels of personal meaning. The complex system oriented approach, here described, called "post-rationalism", shaped by a change initiated by evolutionary epistemology. The regulation of emotions initially develops within interpersonal relationships and evolves during both phylogeny and ontogeny, according to complex self-organization processes, leading to the acquisition of Self-organizing abilities and the construction of personal meaning. Endorsing the epistemological similarities of neo-Darwinism and behaviourism, and differentiating from this, the above mentioned approach, emphasises the fact that clinical and psycho-therapeutical practice must be founded on the laws of biological organisation: the ongoing activity of neurobiological systems, including the more abstract domains of thought and language.
  • A meta-analysis of mortality data in Italian contaminated sites with industrial waste landfills or illegal dumps Original Articles and Reviews

    Fazzo, Lucia; Minichilli, Fabrizio; Pirastu, Roberta; Bellino, Mirella; Falleni, Fabrizio; Comba, Pietro; Bianchi, Fabrizio

    Abstract in English:

    Objectives. Adverse effects of waste management represent a public health issue. Mortality meta-analysis in Italian National Priority Contaminated Sites (NPCSs) with industrial waste landfills or illegal dumps is presented. Methods. 24 NPCSs include industrial waste landfills or illegal dumps. Class 1 (10 NPCSs with industrial waste landfills) and Class 2 (14 NPCSs with illegal dumps) were categorized. Random-effects model meta-analyses of Standardized Mortality Ratios non-adjusted (SMRs) and adjusted for Deprivation (DI-SMRs) computed for each CS (1995-2002) were performed for overall 24 NPCSs and the two classes. The North-Southern gradient was considered. Results. 24 CSs pooled-SMRs are significantly increased in both genders for cancer of liver (men: SMR = 1.13; women: SMR = 1.18), bladder (men: SMR = 1.06; women: SMR = 1.11), and for cirrhosis (men: SMR = 1.09; women: SMR = 1.13). In Class 2 the increase is confirmed in both genders for liver and bladder cancers and for cirrhosis and in men only for lung cancer. Congenital anomalies and adverse perinatal conditions are not increased. Conclusion. The results are consistent with the hypothesis of adverse health effects of non-adequately managed hazardous waste. Causal interpretation is not allowed, but the meta-analytic approach provides more confidence in the findings.
  • Brain tumor stem cell dancing Original Articles and Reviews

    Bozzuto, Giuseppina; Toccacieli, Laura; Mazzoleni, Stefania; Frustagli, Gianluca; Chistolini, Pietro; Galli, Rossella; Molinari, Agnese

    Abstract in English:

    Background. Issues regarding cancer stem cell (CSC) movement are important in neurosphere biology as cell-cell or cell-environment interactions may have significant impacts on CSC differentiation and contribute to the heterogeneity of the neurosphere. Aims. Despite the growing body of literature data on the biology of brain tumor stem cells, floating CSC-derived neurospheres have been scarcely characterized from a morphological and ultrastructural point of view. Results. Here we report a morphological and ultrastructural characterization performed by live imaging and scanning electron microscopy. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) CSC-derived neurospheres are heterogeneous and are constituted by cells, morphologically different, capable of forming highly dynamic structures. These dynamic structures are regulated by not serendipitous cell-cell interactions, and they synchronously pulsate following a cyclic course made of "fast" and "slow" alternate phases. Autocrine/paracrine non canonical Wnt signalling appears to be correlated with the association status of neurospheres. Conclusions. The results obtained suggest that GBM CSCs can behave both as independents cells and as "social" cells, highly interactive with other members of its species, giving rise to a sort of "multicellular organism".
  • The continued ageing of people with AIDS in Italy: recent trend from the national AIDS Registry Original Articles and Reviews

    Camoni, Laura; Regine, Vincenza; Raimondo, Mariangela; Salfa, Maria Cristina; Boros, Stefano; Suligoi, Barbara

    Abstract in English:

    Introduction. In industrialized countries, the availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) caused a slow but substantial ageing of the AIDS epidemic mainly due to the longer survival of persons with HIV/AIDS which has turned HIV into a manageable, chronic disease. The number of older people with AIDS is growing in many European countries. We described the impact of AIDS among persons aged 50 years or more in Italy and compared the characteristics of these cases with those of persons diagnosed with AIDS at an age younger than 50. Methods. The source of data was the Italian AIDS Registry, from 1982 to 2011. We defined "older" persons those aged 50 years or more, and younger individuals those aged less than 50 years. We built two multivariate logistic regression models: the first one to identify factors associated with being older, and the second one to identify AIDS-defining diseases correlated with being older. Variables with a P value of < 0.05 were entered in the model. Results. Of the total AIDS cases, 10.5% were among persons older than 49 years. This proportion progressively increased from 0.0% in 1983 to 26.4% in 2011. Among older cases, the incidence of AIDS was 2.0 per 100 000 residents in 1996, then decreased to 1.4 per 100 000 in 2000 and levelled off around 1 per 100 000 residents until 2011. Compared to younger cases, older cases were more frequently males, Italians, diagnosed with AIDS in recent years, residing in Northern or Central Italy, non-injecting drug users, and late testers. Discussion. These findings stress the need for physicians to consider carefully the possibility of HIV infection among older individuals not to miss the opportunity to deliver prevention messages, offer HIV testing, and make an early diagnosis.
  • Combined HLA matched limbal stem cells allograft with amniotic membrane transplantation as a prophylactic surgical procedure to prevent corneal graft rejection after penetrating keratoplasty: case report Original Articles and Reviews

    Capozzi, Paolo; Petroni, Sergio; Buzzonetti, Luca

    Abstract in English:

    Purpose. To determine if the use of combined HLA matched limbal stem cells allograft with amniotic membrane transplantation (AMT) is a safe and effective prophylactic surgical procedure to prevent corneal graft after penetrating keratoplasty (PK). Methods. We report the case of a 17 years old patient with a history of congenital glaucoma, trabeculectomy and multiple corneal graft rejections, presenting total limbal cell deficiency. To reduce the possibility of graft rejection in the left eye after a new PK, a two step procedure was performed. At first the patient underwent a combined HLA matched limbal stem cells allograft (LAT) and AMT and then, 10 months later, a new PK. Results. During 12 months of follow-up, the corneal graft remained stable and smooth, with no sign of graft rejection. Conclusions. In our patient, the prophylactic use of LAT from HLA-matched donors and AMT before PK, may result in a better prognosis of corneal graft survival.
Istituto Superiore di Sanità Roma - Rome - Italy
E-mail: annali@iss.it