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Concept: Albanian language


The Mediterranean shores stretching between Sicily, Southern Italy and the Southern Balkans witnessed a long series of migration processes and cultural exchanges. Accordingly, present-day population diversity is composed by multiple genetic layers, which make the deciphering of different ancestral and historical contributes particularly challenging. We address this issue by genotyping 511 samples from 23 populations of Sicily, Southern Italy, Greece and Albania with the Illumina GenoChip Array, also including new samples from Albanian- and Greek-speaking ethno-linguistic minorities of Southern Italy. Our results reveal a shared Mediterranean genetic continuity, extending from Sicily to Cyprus, where Southern Italian populations appear genetically closer to Greek-speaking islands than to continental Greece. Besides a predominant Neolithic background, we identify traces of Post-Neolithic Levantine- and Caucasus-related ancestries, compatible with maritime Bronze-Age migrations. We argue that these results may have important implications in the cultural history of Europe, such as in the diffusion of some Indo-European languages. Instead, recent historical expansions from North-Eastern Europe account for the observed differentiation of present-day continental Southern Balkan groups. Patterns of IBD-sharing directly reconnect Albanian-speaking Arbereshe with a recent Balkan-source origin, while Greek-speaking communities of Southern Italy cluster with their Italian-speaking neighbours suggesting a long-term history of presence in Southern Italy.

Concepts: Mediterranean Sea, Europe, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Sicily, Albania, Albanian language


The relationship between genetic and linguistic diversification in human populations has been often explored to interpret some specific issues in human history. The Albanian-speaking minorities of Sicily and Southern Italy (Arbereshe) constitute an important portion of the ethnolinguistic variability of Italy. Their linguistic isolation from neighboring Italian populations and their documented migration history, make such minorities particularly effective for investigating the interplay between cultural, geographic and historical factors. Nevertheless, the extent of Arbereshe genetic relationships with the Balkan homeland and the Italian recipient populations has been only partially investigated. In the present study we address the genetic history of Arbereshe people by combining highly resolved analyses of Y-chromosome lineages and extensive computer simulations. A large set of slow- and fast-evolving molecular markers was typed in different Arbereshe communities from Sicily and Southern Italy (Calabria), as well as in both the putative Balkan source and Italian sink populations. Our results revealed that the considered Arbereshe groups, despite speaking closely related languages and sharing common cultural features, actually experienced diverging genetic histories. The estimated proportions of genetic admixture confirm the tight relationship of Calabrian Arbereshe with modern Albanian populations, in accordance with linguistic hypotheses. On the other hand, population stratification and/or an increased permeability of linguistic and geographic barriers may be hypothesized for Sicilian groups, to account for their partial similarity with Greek populations and their higher levels of local admixture. These processes ultimately resulted in the differential acquisition or preservation of specific paternal lineages by the present-day Arbereshe communities.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 1 July 2015; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2015.138.

Concepts: Genetics, History, Italy, Calabria, Sicily, Southern Italy, Sicilian language, Albanian language


BACKGROUND: Ethnobotanical surveys of the Western Balkans are important for the cross-cultural study of local plant knowledge and also for obtaining baseline data, which is crucial for fostering future rural development and eco-tourism initiatives in the region. The current ethnobotanical field study was conducted among the last remaining Albanians inhabiting the upper Reka valley at the base of Mount Korab in the Mavrovo National Park of the Republic of Macedonia.The aims of the study were threefold: 1) to document local knowledge pertaining to plants; 2) to compare these findings with those of an ethnographic account written one century ago and focused on the same territory; and 3) to compare these findings with those of similar field studies previously conducted in other areas of the Balkans. METHODS: Field research was conducted with all inhabitants of the last four inhabited villages of the upper Reka Valley (n=17). Semi-structured and open interviews were conducted regarding the perception and use of the local flora and cultivated plants.Results and conclusion: The uses of ninety-two plant and fungal taxa were recorded; among the most uncommon uses, the contemporary use of young cooked potato (Solanum tuberosum) leaves and Rumex patientia as a filling for savory pies was documented. Comparison of the data with an ethnographic study conducted one century ago in the same area shows a remarkable resilience of original local plant knowledge, with the only exception of rye, which has today disappeared from the local foodscape. Medicinal plant use reports show important similarities with the ethnobotanical data collected in other Albanian areas, which are largely influenced by South-Slavic cultures.

Concepts: Serbia, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Albanian language


Many carcinogenic chemicals are still used or produced in several economic sectors. The aim of this study is to investigate differences in occupational exposure patterns to carcinogens by gender in Italy.

Concepts: Toxicology, Carcinogen, Romance languages, Albanian language


Understanding the whole-body patterns of joint flexibility and their related biological and physical factors contributes not only to clinical assessments but also to the fields of human factors and ergonomics. In this study, ranges of motion (ROMs) at limb and trunk joints of young adults were analysed to understand covariation patterns of different joint motions and to identify factors associated with the variation in ROM.

Concepts: Natural selection, Evolution, Biology, Albanian language


The aim of this study was to investigate homophobic attitudes in three European countries: Italy, Albania, and Ukraine. One thousand and forty-eight students were recruited in Italian (n = 766), Albanian (n = 180), and Ukrainian (n = 102) university centers.

Concepts: European Union, Eastern Europe, NATO, Italy, Kosovo, Ukrainians, Albanian language, Albanians


Colorectal polyps (CP) are common among individuals older than 50 years. Some polyp types can precede colorectal cancer (CRC). This study aimed at describing histopathological characteristics of colorectal polyps in relation to age and gender among symptomatic patients referred for a colonoscopy examination during 2011-2014 in Tirana, Albania.

Concepts: Cancer, Colorectal cancer, Ulcerative colitis, Colon, Colonoscopy, Colorectal polyp, Sigmoidoscopy, Albanian language


To evaluate the effect of a solo ultra-endurance open-water swim upon autonomic and non-autonomic control of heart rate (HR).

Concepts: Mediterranean Sea, Pulse, NATO, Council of Europe, Kosovo, Albanian language, Albanians, Ionian Sea


The aim was to adapt the Orofacial Esthetic Scale (OES) and to test psychometric properties of the Albanian language version in the cultural environment of the Republic of Kosovo.

Concepts: Serbia, Italy, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Albanian language, Albanians


BackgroundAcute poisonings particularly through pesticides have become a major public health concern in Albania during the last decade.FindingsThe number of fatalities due to aluminum phosphide intoxications was more than doubled during a five year-period from 2009 to 2013, and a cluster of suicides perpetrated with Phostoxin was registered. Several factors are accountable for such a phenomenon, including the fact that aluminum phosphide agents are freely available in the Albanian market, their price is extremely low and they are sold without any legal restriction. The mass media unfortunately warranted an emulating effect to dramatic intoxications, which gained by such means the notoriety of a secure lethal weapon.ConclusionsOur experience with more than three hundred intoxications with aluminum phosphide agents in the last five years, showed that a considerable delay from the moment of exposure (mainly through ingestion) to specialized medical help seeking, created a considerable obstacle for a successful treatment of cases, and eventually for the survival of patients. The lack of a specific antidote adds further challenges to all these exposures. The need for public health policies aiming at prevention, awareness, and possibly the substitution of Phostoxin or other aluminum phosphide pesticides with less dangerous agents is formulated.

Concepts: Health care, Public health, Poison, Albania, Montenegro, Albanian language, Calcium phosphide, Tirana