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Masting and regeneration dynamics were investigated in a long-term perspective using Abies cephalonica as a study tree species. Extensive fieldwork was implemented in Parnitha National Park, Greece, following a large-scale wildfire. Annual cone production was monitored for a 5-year period in 130 tagged trees, in 13 plots with 10 individuals each, established both within the unburned part of the forest and in surviving fragments of the burned area. In the most recent masting year, a high percentage (88%) of cone-bearing trees was recorded, along with a sizeable, average cone production (40.8 cones per tree). In the intermediate, non-masting years, the corresponding values ranged from 2% to 55% and 0.08 to 5.9 cones per tree, respectively. The reproduction process is affected by both tree density and regional climatic conditions, in particular temperature during spring of the maturation year and precipitation during spring and summer of the previous year. For the first time according to our knowledge, natural regeneration was recorded for a 4-year period, in 13 permanent transects within the monitoring plots, in relation with a masting event and the additional implications of a preceding wildfire. Highest mean density of seedlings and saplings (11.4 per m2) was observed during the first spring after masting. In the non-masting years, the corresponding value ranged from 2.1 to 2.9 per m2. Seedling survival during their first summer was considerable (30–76%) but stabilized afterwards (1–3 years) at a lower level (10–20%). The particular post-masting seedling flush was followed by an extremely high mortality rate (88.6%) and cannot represent a major recruitment event.
This study evaluated the effects of rosuvastatin in vivo on toxoplasmosis chronic infection. Thirty-five Swiss mice were orally infected (ME-49 strain). After 50 days, the mice were separated into five groups: GI – non-infected, GII – infected, GIII – infected and treated with pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine (12.5 + 50 mg kg−1 body weight day−1), GIV and GV – infected and treated with rosuvastatin 10 and 40 mg kg−1 body weight day−1, respectively. After 21 days, we collected blood, liver, lungs, femoral biceps and brain were removed for Toxoplasma gondii DNA quantification by qPCR and histopathological analysis. GIV and GV did not present premature death or clinical changes, and the hepatic enzyme levels were lower compared to GI. Toxoplasma gondii DNA was detected mainly in brain and muscle, but the parasite load was significantly lower in GV compared to GII brains (P < 0.05). Histopathological changes were observed in brains, with T. gondii cysts as well as an inflammatory condition, including necrosis areas in GII and GIII. These data confirm active infection with tissue injury. This inflammatory condition was attenuated in the groups treated with rosuvastatin, especially R40 (GV). Our findings demonstrated the in vivo action of rosuvastatin in reducing cerebral parasitic load and indicate that this drug may interfere in chronic toxoplasmosis.
The 2016 Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) updates introduced frailty screening within triage to more accurately code frail patients who may deteriorate waiting for care. The relationship between triage acuity and frailty is not well understood, but may help inform which supplemental geriatric assessments are beneficial to support care in the emergency department (ED). Our objectives were to investigate the relationship between triage acuity and frailty, and to compare their associations with a series of patient outcomes.
We conducted a secondary analysis of the Canadian cohort from a multinational prospective study. Data were collected on ED patients 75 years of age and older from eight ED sites across Canada between November 2009 and April 2012. Triage acuity was assigned using the CTAS, whereas frailty was measured using an ED frailty index. Spearman rank and binary logistic regression were used to examine associations.
A total of 2,153 ED patients were analyzed. No association was found between the CTAS and ED frailty index scores assigned to patients (r = .001; p = 0.99). The ED frailty index was associated with hospital admission (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4–1.6), hospital length of stay (OR = 1.4; 95% CI = 1.2–1.6), future hospitalization (OR = 1.1; 95% CI = 1.05–1.2), and ED recidivism (OR = 1.1; 95% CI = 1.04–1.2). The CTAS was associated with hospital admission (e.g., CTAS 2 v. 5; OR = 6; 95% CI = 3.3–11.4).
Our findings demonstrate that frailty and triage acuity are independent but complementary measures. EDs may benefit from comprehensive frailty screening post-triage, as frailty and its associated geriatric syndromes drive outcomes separate from traditional measures of acuity.
To analyse usual intakes of energy, macronutrients and micronutrients, and their percentage of inadequacy, in a Brazilian population at severe food insecurity (SFI) risk, determined from a predictive model using two national databases.
Cross-sectional study. Our study used a statistical model to predict SFI using the 2009 National Sample Household Survey, where the Brazilian Food Insecurity Scale measured SFI.
The model was applied in a probabilistic sample of 34 003 Brazilians aged 10 years or older that participated in a national dietary survey during 2008–2009. The application of the model generated the probability of each individual being in SFI. The probability of SFI was grouped into quartiles (first quartile with the lowest SFI risk, fourth quartile with highest probability of SFI risk).
The intakes of macro- and micronutrients were associated with SFI. The amount of energy and nutrients in the diet tended to be lower among individuals in the fourth quartile, with highest probability of SFI. The average intake of all studied minerals (Ca, Fe, Na, Mg) was less in individuals in the fourth quartile. Only Na presented a higher percentage of inadequacy in the first quartile, the one with a lower chance of SFI.
The food intake of the Brazilian population at higher SFI risk is characterized by energy reduction, reduced consumption of macronutrients and high prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intakes, as well as a lower mean intakes, when compared with the first quartile with the lowest SFI risk.
Food insecurity (FI) is a challenge to policy makers worldwide, who need to understand which polices and programmes are effective at overcoming FI. The present study aimed to examine the impact of family income and conditional cash transfers on changes in household FI status in a highly vulnerable municipality in Northeast Brazil.
A population-based longitudinal cohort study among families in a municipality in the semi-arid area in Northeast Brazil (2011 and 2014). FI was estimated with the Brazilian Household Food Insecurity Measurement Scale (EBIA). The effects of family income and cash transfer on changes in FI were estimated using logistic regression models and the population-attributable risk fraction.
Households in Cuité, Paraíba, Brazil.
Household respondents interviewed in 2011 (n 358) and 2014 (n 326).
There was a reduction in FI prevalence of 17·5 % across time; 24·5 % of families who were food insecure in 2011 became food secure in 2014. After adjustment, families that did not experience an increase in their total household income or a reduction in the cash transfer amount were at increased risk of persistent FI across time. If the cash transfer programme had not been in place, about 10 % of the families that switched from food insecure to food secure across time would have remained in FI instead.
The decrease of FI occurred in an area of extreme climatic and social vulnerability. These changes were more related to the cash transfer than the increase in family income over time.
Helminth and protozoan infections are responsible for important diseases in grazing sheep, which can be especially threatening in an autochthonous breed at risk of extinction like the Churra Galega Mirandesa Portuguese sheep breed. The aim of the present study was to determine the diversity, prevalence and burden of gastrointestinal parasites in these sheep and to assess the effects of deworming practices, cohabiting animals on the farm and feed management. Coprological qualitative and quantitative analysis (flotation, natural sedimentation and McMaster method) were used to identify and quantify gastrointestinal parasites and a questionnaire was designed and applied. A total of 512 faecal samples were collected from 49 flocks, and 49 replies to the questionnaire were received. Parasites were identified in 100% of the flocks, and in 97% of the samples. The genera or species that have been morphologically identified were: strongyle-type, Nematodirus spp., Skrjabinema spp., Moniezia expansa, Moniezia benedeni, Trichuris spp., Capillaria spp., Eimeria spp., Dicrocoelium spp. and Fasciola hepatica. This is the first report in Portugal of Skrjabinema spp. The burden of parasites’ oocysts and eggs per gram in faecal samples ranged, respectively, from 50 to 17,550 for Eimeria spp., and from 50 to 6250 for strongyle-type eggs. Factors affecting parasitic infections were evaluated using a multivariate logistic regression. Grazing time and a lack of anthelmintic treatment were positively associated with Nematodirus spp. infection. This study showed that there is a high prevalence and diversity of gastrointestinal parasites in the Churra Galega Mirandesa sheep breed.
We analyse the structure of equilibria of a coagulation–fragmentation–death model of silicosis. We present exact multiplicity results in the particular case of piecewise constant coefficients, results on existence and non-existence of equilibria in the general case, as well as precise asymptotics for the infinite series that arise in the case of power law coefficients.
Cipo Canastero Asthenes luizae is a relict ovenbird restricted to rocky outcrops at high elevations within the campo rupestre vegetation of the Espinhaço Range in the state of Minas Gerais, south-eastern Brazil. This poorly known species is considered ‘Near Threatened’, but recent studies have suggested that it should be listed under a higher category of threat. To contribute to the knowledge of this species and its conservation assessment and related planning, we compiled all literature records of the species distribution (n = 16 locations), collected new data on its occurrence (n = 72 locations), and calculated its geographic range using four different approaches. First, we defined the sky islands where the species occurs (nine units) using the lowest elevation value recorded (1,100 m asl) as a cut-off. Second, we performed species distribution modelling (SDM) across the sky islands and identified an area of 2,225.21 km2. Third, we measured the species’ extent of occurrence (EOO = 24,555.85 km2) and used SDM to estimate its upper limit (EOOup = 30,697.58 km2). Fourth, we measured the area of occupancy (AOO = 228 km2) and used SDM to estimate its upper limit (AOOup = 1,827.39 km2). We analysed the Cipo Canastero sky islands in terms of landscape metrics including size, isolation, protected area coverage, shape index, core area index, and proportion covered by SDM. We observed a very fragmented distribution, especially in the North sector of the species distribution, composed of small and isolated populations (separated by up to 112 km); the South sector is the core of its distribution and is composed of larger, more connected patches with differences in shape complexity that are not strongly influenced by an edge effect. The range sizes calculated, along with other reported information regarding population and habitat trends, justifies the inclusion of the species in at least the ‘Vulnerable’ category.
The accurate estimation of protein requirements for beef cattle is a key factor in increasing livestock profitability and decreasing the environmental impacts of excessive N excretion due to mismatching between assumed requirements and diet formulation. A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate and validate a new equation to predict the net protein requirements for growth (NPg) of Zebu beef cattle. For the development of the new approach, a database of 552 observations comprised of bulls, steers, and heifers of different genetic groups (Zebu, beef crossbreed, and dairy crossbreed) was assembled. The new approach was evaluated and compared to current models devised by the international nutrient requirements system committees (Agricultural Research Council, 1980; Beef Cattle Nutrient Requirements Model, 2016; BR-CORTE, 2016) to predict NPg. The model evaluation was performed through the model evaluation system (version 3.1.16) using an independent data set (n = 177 observations). An equation was considered the best estimator of NPg if the following conditions were met: (1) the intercept and slope of the regression between ordinary residues and/or predicted NPg values must have been equal to zero and one, respectively; and (2) the greatest concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) and determination coefficient (R), and lowest mean squared error of prediction (MSEP) were attained. Based on the regression models of the observed v. predicted NPg of Zebu beef cattle, both the new approach and that of the ARC (1980) correctly estimated NPg, since the intercept and slope were not different (P > 0.05) from zero and one, respectively. Additionally, the new approach’s determination coefficient was the greatest and the closest to one. The fact that the new model achieved a higher CCC and lower MSEP than the existing models indicated its superior reproducibility and accuracy. The equations proposed by BR-CORTE (2016) and the BCNRM (2016) did not correctly estimate NPg in that the intercept and slope were different (P < 0.01) from zero and one, respectively. Thus, the equations proposed by the new approach and the ARC (1980) accurately and precisely estimated NPg and are recommended for Zebu cattle. Furthermore, the inclusion of equivalent empty BW (EQEBW) in the new approach improves the estimation of NPg. We suggest the use of the following equation to calculate NPg for Zebu beef cattle: NPg = 176.01 × EBG – 0.381 × EQEBW0.75 × EBG1.035 (R = 0.80 and CCC = 0.75); where NPg = net protein requirements for growth, EBG = empty body gain, and EQEBW = equivalent empty BW.
The BW has been largely used as a selection criterion in genetic selection programmes; however, increases in BW can affect animal metabolism and metabolites. The knowledge of how genetic potential for growth affects the metabolites can give a footprint of growth metabolism. This research aimed to evaluate the effect of genetic potential for post-weaning growth (GG) on performance, carcass traits and serum metabolome of non-castrated Nellore males during the finishing phase. Forty-eight Nellore non-castrated males, with divergent potential for post-weaning growth, were selected and divided into two groups: high potential for post-weaning growth (HG; n = 24) and low potential for post-weaning growth (LG; n = 24). Animals were kept and fed for 90 days where performance and ultrasound carcass traits were evaluated. Blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of feeding period to analyse serum metabolites concentration. The hot carcass weight and dressing percentage were recorded at slaughter. The feedlot performance and carcass traits were not affected by genetic potential. The HG animals had a lower glucose (P = 0.039), glutamate (P = 0.038), glutamine (P = 0.004), greater betaine (P = 0.039) and pyruvate (P = 0.039) compared to the LG group at the beginning of feedlot. In addition, higher creatine phosphate concentrations were observed at the beginning of feeding period, compared to final, for both groups (P = 0.039). In conclusion, the genetic potential for post-weaning growth does not affect performance and carcass traits during the finishing period. Differences in metabolite concentrations can be better found at the beginning of feedlot, providing a footprint of growth metabolism, but similar metabolite concentration at the end of finishing period.
Quantifying the abundance of species is essential for their management and conservation. Much effort has been invested in surveys of freshwater dolphins in the Amazon basin but river dimensions and complex logistics limit replication of such studies across the region. We evaluated the effectiveness of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveying two Amazon dolphin species, the tucuxi Sotalia fluviatilis and pink river dolphin Inia geoffrensis, in tropical rivers. In 2016 we conducted drone and visual surveys over 80 km of the Juruá River in Brazil. The aerial surveys provided higher accuracy than human observers in counting individuals detected in groups. Compared to estimates derived from visual surveys, the use of UAVs could provide a more feasible, economical and accurate estimate of Amazon river dolphin populations. The method could potentially be replicated in other important areas for the conservation of these species, to generate an improved index of river dolphin populations in the Amazon.
The population dynamics of shrimp Pleoticus muelleri was used as a model to verify if the trend of continuous reproduction periodicity, shorter body size and longevity, and early sexual maturity found in tropical regions is corroborated in upwelling regions. Shrimps were sampled in a region under the influence of upwelling (northern coast of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil). Characteristics of bottom water were registered, and shrimps were measured (carapace length – CL) and classified by sex and gonadal development stages. Reproduction was seasonal, from September to December, and favoured by water mass intrusions of low temperatures and high chlorophyll concentrations. The greatest number of reproductive females preceded periods with the highest chlorophyll concentrations in the water column (cross-correlation; P < 0.05, lag (month) = −3, r = 0.50), suggesting greater developmental success of larval stage due to increase of food availability. Von Bertalanffy growth models resulted in asymptotic carapace length estimates of CL∞ = 40.21 mm and CL∞ = 36.78 mm for females and males, respectively. The reproductive and growth characteristics of the P. muelleri population studied herein were similar to that of populations from higher latitudes, demonstrating that the latitudinal pattern rule cannot be applied in regions influenced by an upwelling phenomenon.
Human neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a worldwide neglected disease caused by Taenia solium metacestode and responsible for various complications and neurological disorders. This study aimed to evaluate the use of specific immunoglobulin Y (IgY) produced by laying hens immunized with a hydrophobic fraction of Taenia crassiceps metacestodes (hFTc) in NCC diagnosis. Egg yolk IgY antibodies were fractionated, purified and characterized. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was carried out to evaluate the production kinetics and avidity maturation of anti-hFTc IgY antibodies throughout the IgY obtention process. Antigen recognition tests were carried out by Western blotting and immunofluorescence antibody test using purified and specific anti-hFTc IgY antibodies for detection of parasitic antigens of T. crassiceps and T. solium metacestodes. Sandwich ELISA was performed to detect circulating immune complexes formed by IgG and parasitic antigens in human sera. The results showed high diagnostic values (93.2% sensitivity and 94.3% specificity) for immune complexes detection in human sera with confirmed NCC. In conclusion, specific IgY antibodies produced from immunized hens with hFTc antigens were efficient to detect T. solium immune complexes in human sera, being an innovative and potential tool for NCC immunodiagnosis.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) able to describe population differences can be used for important applications in livestock, including breed assignment of individual animals, authentication of mono-breed products and parentage verification among several other applications. To identify the most discriminating SNPs among thousands of markers in the available commercial SNP chip tools, several methods have been used. Random forest (RF) is a machine learning technique that has been proposed for this purpose. In this study, we used RF to analyse PorcineSNP60 BeadChip array genotyping data obtained from a total of 2737 pigs of 7 Italian pig breeds (3 cosmopolitan-derived breeds: Italian Large White, Italian Duroc and Italian Landrace, and 4 autochthonous breeds: Apulo-Calabrese, Casertana, Cinta Senese and Nero Siciliano) to identify breed informative and reduced SNP panels using the mean decrease in the Gini Index and the Mean Decrease in Accuracy parameters with stability evaluation. Other reduced informative SNP panels were obtained using Delta, Fixation index and principal component analysis statistics, and their performances were compared with those obtained using the RF-defined panels using the RF classification method and its derived Out Of Bag rates and correct prediction proportions. Therefore, the performances of a total of six reduced panels were evaluated. The correct assignment of the animals to its breed was close to 100% for all tested approaches. Porcine chromosome 8 harboured the largest number of selected SNPs across all panels. Many SNPs were included in genomic regions in which previous studies identified signatures of selection or genes (e.g. ESR1, KITL and LCORL) that could contribute to explain, at least in part, phenotypically or economically relevant traits that might differentiate cosmopolitan and autochthonous pig breeds. Random forest used as preselection statistics highlighted informative SNPs that were not the same as those identified by other methods. This might be due to specific features of this machine learning methodology. It will be interesting to explore if the adaptation of RF methods for the identification of selection signature regions could be able to describe population-specific features that are not captured by other approaches.
Sarcopenia is a progressive and generalized skeletal muscle disorder, associated with adverse outcomes. Aging causes primary sarcopenia, while secondary causes include chronic kidney disease (CKD), long-term use of glucocorticoids and obesity. The aim of this study was to evaluate: the prevalence of sarcopenia using guidelines recommended by The European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP,2010; EWGSOP2,2018) and the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health (FNIH); and analyse the relationship between sarcopenia and body adiposity in adult renal transplant recipients (RTR) . This was a cross-sectional study in adult RTR (body mass index (BMI) ≥18.5kg/m2). Body composition was evaluated by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and anthropometry. Glomerular filtration rate was estimated (eGFR) by CKD-EPI equation. The prevalence of sarcopenia in adult RTR (n=185; 57% men, 50 years and eGFR 55.80±1.52ml/min.) was 7% (FNIH), 11% (EWGSOP2) and 17% (EWGSOP). Low muscle mass, muscle function, and physical performance affected respectively up to 28%, 46% and 10% of the participants. Body adiposity evaluated by anthropometry and by DXA (% trunk fat) was lower in participants with sarcopenia according to EWGSOP and EWGSOP2. Conversely, according to FNIH criteria, RTR with sarcopenia presented higher waist-to-height-ratio. This study suggests that: adult RTR sarcopenia prevalence varies according to the diagnostic criteria; low muscle mass, low muscle function and low physical performance are common conditions; body adiposity association with sarcopenia depends on the criteria used to define this syndrome; and FNIH criteria detected higher adiposity in individuals with sarcopenia.
To describe out-of-home consumption according to the purpose and extent of industrial processing and also evaluate the association between eating out and ultra-processed food consumption, taking account of variance within and between individuals.
The study was based on the Individual Food Intake of the Brazilian Household Budget Survey, carried out with 34 003 individuals aged 10 years or more, between May 2008 and May 2009. All food items were classified according to food processing level. The habit of eating out was evaluated through the frequency of days each individual reported eating out, described according to sociodemographic characteristics. The contribution of food energy per group and subgroup was estimated according to the frequency of eating out. In addition, multilevel modelling was employed to evaluate the association between eating out and ultra-processed food consumption.
In Brazil, culinary preparations accounted for most of the energy eaten out. However, it was possible to observe a higher contribution of ultra-processed foods, especially sugary beverages and ready-to-eat meals, as the frequency of out-of-home consumption increased. Compared with food consumption exclusively at home, eating out increased the consumption of ultra-processed foods by 0·41 percentage points within and between individuals.
In Brazil, the same individual and different individuals had greater consumption of ultra-processed foods when they ate out of home compared with when they ate at home. So, it is necessary to implement public policies which discourage the out-of-home consumption of ultra-processed foods and that provide affordable and accessible less-processed food options.