Publications by authors named "Maria Pia Morigi"

10 Publications

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"Ecce Homo" by Antonello da Messina, from non-invasive investigations to data fusion and dissemination.

Sci Rep 2021 Aug 5;11(1):15868. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

ALEF Conservation and Restoration Company, 43121, Parma, Italy.

Scientific investigations of artworks are crucial in terms of preservation since they provide a measurable evaluation of the materials and the state of conservation. This is the case of Antonello da Messina's painting "Ecce Homo": its delicate state of conservation, with the need for constant monitoring, required a broad and in-depth diagnostic campaign to support the restorers. The project was carried out entirely in situ using non-invasive cutting-edge techniques and proposes a multimodal and data-centric approach, integrating 3D and 2D methodologies. The surface irregularities and the support were analysed with a structured-light 3D scanner and X-ray tomography. The painting materials were investigated with X-ray fluorescence scanning (MA-XRF) and reflectance hyperspectral imaging (HSI). Primarily, the data were jointly used for a scientific scope and provided new knowledge of the painting in terms of materials and painting techniques. In addition, two web-based interactive platforms were developed: one to provide restorers and experts with a new perspective of the hidden geometries of the painting, and the other targeted at the general public for dissemination purposes. The results of the Ecce Homo scientific analysis were exhibited, using a touch-screen interface, and developed for different user levels, from adults to kids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95212-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8342594PMC
August 2021

The ultimate database to (re)set the evolutionary history of primate genital bones.

Sci Rep 2021 May 27;11(1):11245. Epub 2021 May 27.

Department of Sciences, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy.

Scientific literature concerning genital bones in primates consists of both ancient works (dating back to the nineteenth century) and more recent revisions/meta-analyses, which, however, are not always so detailed or exhaustive. Based on a thorough analysis, several conflicting data, inaccurate references, and questionable claims have emerged. We generated a binary matrix of genital bone occurrence data, considering only data at the species level, based on (1) a rigorous literature search protocol, (2) raw data (collected exclusively from primary literature), (3) an updated taxonomy (often tracing back to the species taxonomic history) and (4) new occurrence data from scanned genitals of fresh and museum specimens (using micro-computed tomography-micro-CT). Thanks to this methodological approach, we almost doubled available occurrence data so far, avoiding any arbitrary extension of generic data to conspecific species. This practice, in fact, has been recently responsible for an overestimation of the occurrence data, definitively flattening the interspecific variability. We performed the ancestral state reconstruction analysis of genital bone occurrence and results were mapped onto the most updated phylogeny of primates. As for baculum, we definitively demonstrated its simplesiomorphy for the entire order. As for baubellum, we interpreted all scattered absences as losses, actually proposing (for the first time) a simplesiomorphic state for the clitoral bone as well. The occurrence data obtained, while indirectly confirming the baculum/baubellum homology (i.e., for each baubellum a baculum was invariably present), could also directly demonstrate an intra-specific variability affecting ossa genitalia occurrence. With our results, we established a radically improved and updated database about the occurrence of genital bones in primates, available for further comparative analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90787-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8160331PMC
May 2021

Unveiling an odd fate after death: The isolated Eneolithic cranium discovered in the Marcel Loubens Cave (Bologna, Northern Italy).

PLoS One 2021 3;16(3):e0247306. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

An isolated human cranium, dated to the early Eneolithic period, was discovered in 2015 at the top of a vertical shaft in the natural Marcel Loubens gypsum Cave (Bologna area, northern Italy). No other anthropological or archaeological remains were found inside the cave. In other caves of the same area anthropic and funerary use are attested from prehistory to more recent periods. We focused on investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of this individual, since the cranium shows signs of some lesions that appear to be the results of a perimortem manipulation probably carried out to remove soft tissues. Anthropological analyses revealed that the cranium belonged to a young woman. We analysed the taphonomic features and geological context to understand how and why the cranium ended up (accidentally or intentionally) in the cave. The analyses of both the sediments accumulated inside the cranium and the incrustations and pigmentation covering its outer surface suggested that it fell into the cave, drawn by a flow of water and mud, likely from the edges of a doline. The accidental nature of the event is also seemingly confirmed by some post-mortem lesions on the cranium. The comparison with other Eneolithic archaeological sites in northern Italy made it possible to interpret the find as likely being from a funerary or ritual context, in which corpse dismemberment (in particular the displacement of crania) was practiced.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0247306PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7928464PMC
August 2021

Syphilis in an Italian medieval jewish community: A bioarchaeological and cultural perspective.

Int J Paleopathol 2020 09 20;30:85-97. Epub 2020 Jun 20.

Dept. of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Objectives: We aim to discuss the presence of treponemal infections in three individuals belonging to a large (∼400 individuals) Late Medieval cemetery (14th -16th century) that archaeological and documentary sources place within a Jewish context, and to discuss the role of these diseases in a biocultural perspective.

Materials And Methods: An anthropological and paleopathological study was conducted on skeletal remains of three individuals, though macroscopic and tomographic examination.

Results: Cranial lesions in which simultaneous destructive and proliferative processes (caries sicca) are noted. Long bones also present osseous alterations with increased bone density and non-uniform thickening.

Conclusions: Skeletal lesions are consistent with treponemal infections (possibly either endemic or acquired syphilis). Historical documentation could help the interpretation of our cases, recording a syphilis outbreak in Bologna in 1496, possibly coeval to the Late Medieval Jewish cemetery.

Significance: These cases of treponematosis are unique, documenting the presence of the disease within the Jewish Medieval community in Italy, as they frame the effects and consequence of the infection in shaping social and cultural contexts of the medieval Italian and European communities. They offer material evidence to elaborate on the historical documents on the hostility Jewish community suffered.

Limitations: Radiocarbon dating have not been performed directly on skeletal remains of the three pathological individuals. δC and δN isotope ratios should also be acquired to estimate the marine diet component, to account for possible marine reservoir effect on radiocarbon age calibration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2020.06.001DOI Listing
September 2020

A 3D journey on virtual surfaces and inner structure of ossa genitalia in Primates by means of a non-invasive imaging tool.

PLoS One 2020 30;15(1):e0228131. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Department of Sciences, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy.

Novel bio-imaging techniques such as micro-Computed Tomography provide an opportunity to investigate animal anatomy and morphology by overcoming limitations imposed by traditional anatomical drawings. The primate genital bones are complex anatomical structures whose occurrence in both male penis (baculum) and female clitoris (baubellum) may be difficult to assess in individual cadavers. We tested a 3-step methodological protocol, including different techniques ranging from inexpensive/simple to more expensive/sophisticated ones, by applying it to a sample of primate species, and resulting in different levels of data complexity: (1) presence/absence manual palpation method; (2) 2D X-ray plates; 3) 3D micro-CT scans. Manual palpation failed on 2 out of 23 specimens by detecting 1 false negative and 1 false positive; radiography failed once confirming the false positive, however firmly disproved by micro-CT; micro-CT analysis reported the presence of 9 bacula out of 11 male specimens and 1 baubellum out of 12 female specimens. A different baculum position was identified between strepsirrhine and haplorrhine species. We also aim to assess micro-CT as a non-invasive technique providing updated anatomical descriptions of primate ossa genitalia. Micro-CT 3D volumes showed the surface of some bones as rough, with a jagged appearance, whereas in others the surface appeared very smooth and coherent. In addition, four main types of bone internal structure were identified: 1) totally hollow; 2) hollow epiphyses and solid diaphysis with few or several channels inside; 3) totally solid with intricate Haversian channels; 4) totally solid with some channels (structure of single baubellum scanned). Ossa genitalia appeared as a living tissue having its own Haversian-like channels. The high resolution of micro-CT 3D-images of primate genital bones disclosed additional form variability to that available from genital bone 2D images of previous studies, and showed for the first time new internal and external morphological characters. Moreover, micro-CT non-invasive approach proved appropriate to recover much of scientific knowledge still hidden and often neglected in both museum specimens and primate cadavers only destined to necropsy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228131PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992188PMC
April 2020

Production of Ga-68 with a General Electric PETtrace cyclotron by liquid target.

Phys Med 2018 Nov 25;55:116-126. Epub 2018 Oct 25.

Medical Physics Department, University Hospital, S. Orsola-Malpighi, Bologna, Italy.

Purpose: In recent years the use of Ga (t = 67.84 min, β: 88.88%) for the labelling of different PET radiopharmaceuticals has significantly increased. This work aims to evaluate the feasibility of the production of Ga via the Zn(p,n)Ga reaction by proton irradiation of an enriched zinc solution, using a biomedical cyclotron, in order to satisfy its increasing demand.

Methods: Irradiations of 1.7 Msolution of Zn(NO) in 0.2 N HNO were conducted with a GE PETtrace cyclotron using a slightly modified version of the liquid target used for the production of fluorine-18. The proton beam energy was degraded to 12 MeV, in order to minimize the production of Ga through theZn(p,2n)Ga reaction. The product's activity was measured using a calibrated activity meter and a High Purity Germanium gamma-ray detector.

Results: The saturation yield ofGa amounts to (330 ± 20) MBq/µA, corresponding to a produced activity ofGa at the EOB of (4.3 ± 0.3) GBq in a typical production run at 46 µA for 32 min. The radionuclidic purity of theGa in the final product, after the separation, is within the limits of the European Pharmacopoeia (>99.9%) up to 3 h after the EOB. Radiochemical separation up to a yield not lower than 75% was obtained using an automated purification module. The enriched material recovery efficiency resulted higher than 80-90%.

Conclusions: In summary, this approach provides clinically relevant amounts ofGa by cyclotron irradiation of a liquid target, as a competitive alternative to the current production through theGe/Ga generators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmp.2018.10.018DOI Listing
November 2018

Modeling of a Cyclotron Target for the Production of 11C with Geant4.

Curr Radiopharm 2018 ;11(2):92-99

Medical Physics Unit, University Hospital "S. Orsola-Malpighi", Via Massarenti 9, 40138, Bologna, Italy.

Background: In medical cyclotron facilities, 11C is produced according to the 14N(p,α)11C reaction and widely employed in studies of prostate and brain cancers by Positron Emission Tomography. It is known from literature that the 11C-target assembly shows a reduction in efficiency during time, meaning a decrease of activity produced at the end of bombardment. This effect might depend on aspects which are still not completely known.

Objective: Possible causes of the loss of performance of the 11C-target assembly were addressed by Monte Carlo simulations.

Methods: Geant4 was used to model the 11C-target assembly of a GE PETtrace cyclotron. The physical and transport parameters to be used in the energy range of medical applications were extracted from literature data and 11C routine productions. The Monte Carlo assessment of 11C saturation yield was performed varying several parameters such as the proton energy and the angle of the target assembly with respect to the proton beam.

Results: The estimated 11C saturation yield is in agreement with IAEA data at the energy of interest, while it is about 35% greater than the experimental value. A more comprehensive modeling of the target system, including thermodynamic effect, is required. The energy absorbed in the inner layer of the target chamber was up to 46.5 J/mm2 under typical irradiation conditions.

Conclusion: This study shows that Geant4 is potentially a useful tool to design and optimize targetry for PET radionuclide productions. Tests to choose the Geant4 physics libraries should be performed before using this tool with different energies and materials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874471011666180412170219DOI Listing
October 2018

Skeletal evidence of tuberculosis in a modern identified human skeletal collection (Certosa cemetery, Bologna, Italy).

Am J Phys Anthropol 2015 Jul 24;157(3):389-401. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

Laboratorio Di Bioarcheologia E Osteologia Forense, Dipartimento Di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche E Ambientali, Alma Mater Studiorum Università Di Bologna, via Selmi 3, Bologna, 40126, Italy.

The diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in osteoarcheological series relies on the identification of osseous lesions caused by the disease. The study of identified skeletal collections provides the opportunity to investigate the distribution of skeletal lesions in relation to this disease. The aim of this study was to examine the skeletal evidence for TB in late adolescent and adult individuals from the identified human collection of the Certosa cemetery of Bologna (Italy, 19th-20th c.). The sample group consists of 244 individuals (138 males, 106 females) ranging from 17 to 88 years of age. The sample was divided into three groups on the basis of the recorded cause of death: TB (N = 64), pulmonary non-TB (N = 29), and other diseases (N = 151). Skeletal lesions reported to be related to TB were analyzed. The vertebral lesions were classified into three types: enlarged foramina (EnF, vascular foramina with diameter of 3-5 mm), erosions (ER), and other foramina (OtF, cavities of various shapes > 3 mm). A CT scan analysis was also performed on vertebral bodies. Some lesions were seldom present in our sample (e.g., tuberculous arthritis). OtF (23.7%) and subperiosteal new bone formation on ribs (54.2%) are significantly more frequent in the TB group with respect to the other groups. The CT scan analysis showed that the vertebrae of individuals who have died of TB may have internal cavities in the absence of external lesions. These traits represent useful elements in the paleopathological diagnosis of TB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22727DOI Listing
July 2015

Image quality and dose assessment in inner ear computed tomography imaging with a flat panel-based system.

J Comput Assist Tomogr 2015 Mar-Apr;39(2):232-9

From the *Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; †National Institute for Nuclear Physics, Bologna, Italy; and ‡Enrico Fermi Center for Study and Research, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: The temporal bone includes several important structures of the human body, some of which are smaller than 1 mm. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of a computed tomography system capable of providing 3-dimensional images of the inner ear with low doses and a spatial resolution adequate for providing the surgeon with good guidance.

Methods: A laboratory prototype, based on a CMOS Hamamatsu model C10900D detector, was set up, and several tomographic tests were carried out on 2 dedicated phantoms.

Results: The proposed system is able to achieve a 150-μm spatial resolution (5% of modulation transfer function) with a voxel size of 88 μm, with an acceptable contrast and an estimated effective dose ranging from 1/20 up to 1/100 of the mean effective dose reported in literature for head computed tomography.

Conclusion: The new tomographic system has shown excellent characteristics and proves suitable for the imaging of the inner ear. In particular, this prototype requires very low radiation doses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/RCT.0000000000000176DOI Listing
May 2015

Numerical determination of personal aerosol sampler aspiration efficiency.

Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2003 Apr;18(4):244-55

Institute of Atmospheric and Climatology Sciences, Bologna, Italy.

In this work the determination of the aspiration efficiency of personal aerosol samplers, commonly used in occupational exposure assessment, is investigated by means of CFD techniques. Specifically, it will be described a code to calculate the particle trajectories in a given flow field. At the present state the code considers only the effects of the mean flow field on the particle motion, whereas the turbulent diffusion effects are neglected. Comparisons with experimental measurements are also given in the framework of a research contract, supported by the European Community, with several experimental contributions from the participants. The main objective of the European research is to develop a new approach to experimentation with airborne particle flows, working on a reduced scale. This methodology has the advantage of allowing real-time aerosol determination and use of small wind tunnels, with a better experimental control. In this article we describe how the methodology has been verified using computational fluid dynamics. Experimental and numerical aspiration efficiencies have been compared and the influence of gravity and turbulence intensity in full and reduced scale has been investigated. The numerical techniques described here are in agreement with previous similar research and allow at least qualitative predictions of aspiration efficiency for real samplers, taking care of orientation from the incoming air flow. The major discrepancies among predicted and experimental results may be a consequence of bounce effects, which are very difficult to eliminate also by greasing the sampler surface.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10473220301397DOI Listing
April 2003
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