Welcome to Biomedicine & Prevention

Biomedicine & Prevention is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles as well as review articles in several areas of the life sciences. The journal’s Editorial Board covers several subject areas mainly focusing on prevention and health promotion. Prevention is covered not as an exclusive health competence discipline but in a holistic way, including environmental sciences, engineering, physics, legal implications and legislation.

Blood transfusion practice: state of the art on promoting blood donation in Italy

In this manuscript, we have analysed the current Italian situation of promoting blood donation and the blood self-sufficiency of each Italian region

Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tuberous Sclerosis: The preventive value of early detection

Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a multisystem genetic disorder that may affects almost all organs and systems and is associated with a range of neuropsychiatric manifestations, including epilepsy, intellectual disability and autism. TSC is one of the syndromic forms most strongly associated with a high prevalence rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Potential risk factors for this association include TSC2 gene mutations, more severe structural brain abnormalities, and early onset and persistent seizures. Prenatal diagnosis of TSC is now possible through the detection of cardiac rhabdomyomas and cortical tubers in a growing number of pregnancies, allowing therefore an early identification of infants at high risk of developing ASD and epilepsy. In these patients, a deviation from normal developmental trajectories can be evident already at 12 months, with a significant decline in non-verbal abilities. Early age at seizure onset is the only independent factor for poor neurodevelopmental outcome, and prompt detection and treatment of both epileptiform EEG abnormalities and clinical seizures could be the only preventable factor to modify the outcomes. Seizures are preceded by a latent period of epileptogenesis, and EEG biomarkers can be successfully used to define the high risk group, since almost all infants with EEG abnormalities will consequently develop epilepsy. Clinical trials are already in progress to investigate the efficacy and safety of vigabatrin and mTOR inhibitors for secondary prevention of ASD in infants and children with TSC.

Epidemiological analysis of possible environmental-related health problems in two small towns of the Italian Region Umbria

Aim of this study is to assess whether there is scientific evidence of an increased risk of neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases in the area of Piegaro and Panigale, two small towns in the Province of Perugia, central Italy. This purpose has been fulfilled comparing the incidence of selected diagnoses for residents in Piegaro and Panigale with those of all residents in Italy during the same time-period. During the investigated period no clear trend was identified. Concerning leukemia, a slight excess in the incidence of myeloid leukemia for the whole population (male and female) was detected in the city of Piegaro. The most plausible environmental factors for this association are smoking and exposure to benzene. A search for the presence of these risk factors might be useful in order to implement effective preventive measures.

Psychiatric disorders, social isolation and use of Social Networks in a sample of university students: a pilot study.

This is a pilot study in which the authors analyzed a sample of college students in order to determine the prevalence of social isolation, mental health status and the use of Social Networks site. The results show a correlation between a higher use of Social Networks and social isolation and a strong association between social isolation and mental disorders. Our study adds important information about the prevalence of mental health problems among college students and the correlation between social isolation, higher use of Social Networks site and mental disorders.

The multiple functions of pluripotent cells: can Embryoid Bodies be a screening tool for environmental toxicity?

After the development of embryonic stem cell lines and the possibility of mimicking in vitro embryo differentiation through the formation of embryo-like structures called embryoid bodies, great effort has been put to exploit this new in vitro systems to develop tools for screening different compounds for their embryotoxic and/or teratogenic potential. In this respect, the Embryonic Stem cell Test has been developed. In the present mini review we give a brief overview of the literature demonstrating the predictivity of the Embryonic Stem cell Test and the possibility to use the test to screen xenobiotics, including environmental pollutants.

The impact of malaria on child growth: anthropometric outcomes in a pediatric HIV-exposed cohort in Malawi

Introduction Prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission is a multidimensional challenge for Sub-Saharan African countries, particularly in the case of Malawi. The DREAM program (Community of Sant’Egidio) provides cART Option B+ to HIV-infected mothers since 2012, with breastfeeding promotion until 12 months of age and dietary supplementation with local foods in order to support the growth and health of children. Materials and Methods A cohort of 1586 HIV-exposed uninfected Malawian children (age 0-18 months) were followed from January 2012 to December 2013. Breastfeeding was exclusive for the first 6 months, then complementary feeding was initiated with breastfeeding up to 12 months. Children were monitored for growth, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, malaria and other health problems. Weight-for-age, length-for-age, weight-for-length z-scores (WAZ, LAZ, WLZ) were calculated with ANTHRO-WHO software. Statistical analysis was computed using the SPSS software (v.20). Results In regards to the assessment of child growth, mean values of WAZ (1 m: -0.68 ±1.2; 3 m.: -0.65 ±1.21; 6 m: -0.76 ±1.22; 12 m: -0.94 ±1.12; 18 m: -1.03 ±1.02), LAZ (1 m: -1.30 ±1.33; 3 m: -1.4 ±1.32; 6 m: -1.34 ±1.18; 12 m: -1.5 ±1.12; 18 m: -1.7 ±1.08), and WLZ (1 m: 0.59 ±1.32; 3 m: 0.75 ±1.36; 6 m: 0.21 ±1.26; 12 m: -0.25 ±1.11; 18 m: -0.3 ±1.02), were comparable to previous results reported for similar cohorts. A progressive decline in values for anthropometric measurements was noted over time, with a negative peak at 18 months of age, shortly after the interruption of breastfeeding. A binary logistic regression was performed in order to better understand the impact of illness on growth faltering. Compared to the other infections (diarrhea, fever, general respiratory infections), malaria was the only significant predictor of general malnutrition at 18 months of age (chronic malnutrition/LAZ<-2 HR:1.3, p=0.05; underweight/WAZ<-2 HR: 1.4, p=0.04; acute malnutrition/WLZ<-2 HR:2.1, p=0.005). The association between malaria and poor nutritional status became even stronger when considering indicators of severe malnutrition (LAZ<-3 HR: 1.5, p=0.02; WAZ<-3 HR:2.4, p=0.005), with the highest association found between malaria and WLZ <-3 (HR: 5.7, p=0.007). Children who had malaria were at greater risk of being severely malnourished at 18 months of age, especially when considering indicators of acute malnutrition (wasting OR: 5.5, CI 1.2-24.9; underweight OR: 2.8, CI 1.3-5.9). Conclusions Maternal breastfeeding remained a robust protective factor associated with improved growth and health in HIV-exposed uninfected children. Among pediatric infections malaria stands out as a significant deterrent to adequate nutritional development in HIV-exposed African children. Our findings underlie the negative temporal association between malaria and nutritional status, while highlighting the vicious cycle of malnutrition and malaria.

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