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Biological systems are extremely complex and have emergent properties that cannot be explained or even predicted by studying their individual parts. The reductionist approach, although successful in the early days of molecular biology, underestimates this complexity. As the amount of available data grows, so it will become increasingly important to be able to analyse and integrate these large data sets. This book introduces novel approaches and solutions to the Big Data problem in biomedicine, and presents new techniques in the field of graph theory for handling and processing multi-type large data sets. By discussing cutting-edge problems and techniques, researchers from a wide range of fields will be able to gain insights for exploiting big heterogonous data in the life sciences through the concept of 'network of networks'.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic extend to global biodiversity and its conservation. Although short-term beneficial or adverse impacts on biodiversity have been widely discussed, there is less attention to the likely political and economic responses to the crisis and their implications for conservation. Here we describe four possible alternative future policy responses: (1) restoration of the previous economy, (2) removal of obstacles to economic growth, (3) green recovery and (4) transformative economic reconstruction. Each alternative offers opportunities and risks for conservation. They differ in the agents they emphasize to mobilize change (e.g. markets or states) and in the extent to which they prioritize or downplay the protection of nature. We analyse the advantages and disadvantages of these four options from a conservation perspective. We argue that the choice of post-COVID-19 recovery strategy has huge significance for the future of biodiversity, and that conservationists of all persuasions must not shrink from engagement in the debates to come.
Dryocosmus kuriphilus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) is a global invasive gall wasp and a pest of chestnuts (Castanea spp.). A study of the Chalcidoidea parasitoid community of D. kuriphilus was undertaken over two years, from March 2017 to March 2019, at 15 sites in south and northwest Spain (Málaga and Galicia regions). More than 18,000 galls were collected, and 1153 parasitoids belonging to 22 species of seven chalcidoid families, plus two individuals of an inquiline Cynipidae, Synergus facialis, emerged. Richness was higher in the Málaga region, with 20 species, while 17 parasitoids and one inquiline were identified in Galicia. The parasitism rate of native chalcid parasitoid species in both regions was low. Eupelmus urozonus and Mesopolobus lichtensteini were the most abundant native species. Mesopolobus tibialis was a dominant species in south Spain, while Ormyrus pomaceus was a dominant species in northwest Spain. Our results revealed the existence of a sub-community of univoltine, probably host specialized, parasitoids in south Spain, which overwinter in galls, exhibiting a similar life cycle to Torymus sinensis. These species were Torymus notatus, Aulogymnus bicolor, Aulogymnus obscuripes and Aulogymnus balani. Data on the recovery of T. sinensis after release in the south Spain region show it to be well established, but its numbers are still low in northwest Spain.
The moving die rheometer technique (MDR) is used to measure the elastic and viscous components of rubber. The analysis of the rheometry and the kinetic behavior can be used to obtain mathematical models to predict the viscosity of elastomers as a function of the temperature, the time and the degree of curing. These predictions allow the control, the optimization and the design of the process. In this research the phenomenological model of Kamal-Sourour was used to describe the curing kinetics, while the Carreau Macosko model was used to describe the viscous behavior of an ethylene - propylene diene industrial type compound (EPDM). The mathematical parameters for each model where determined by using non-linear regression techniques. Since the viscosity increases significantly while the curing rate decreases, we proposed a mathematical model based on the Carreau expression in order to consider the influence of the kinetic of curing in the apparent viscosity behavior. It was found that after the curing rate reaches its maximum the viscosity tends to infinity; that is, the chemical transition process known as fluidity point or gel point occurs in the vicinity of maximum curing rate. According to the results, it is concluded that rubber viscosity is well described by considering the curing variations; the fluidity point in the vulcanization process can also be obtained by the practical method of phenomenological approach.
Older subjects are susceptible to develop gambling problems, and researchers have attempted to assess the mechanisms underlying the gambling profile in later life. The objective of this study was to identify the main stressful life events (SLE) across the lifespan which have discriminative capacity for detecting the presence of gambling disorder (GD) in older adults. Data from two independent samples of individuals aged 50+ were analysed: N = 47 patients seeking treatment at a Pathological Gambling Outpatient Unit and N = 361 participants recruited from the general population. Sexual problems (p < 0.001), exposure to domestic violent behaviour (p < 0.001), severe financial problems (p = 0.002), alcohol or drug-related problems (p = 0.004) and extramarital sex (p < 0.001) were related to a higher risk of GD, while getting married (p = 0.005), moving to a new home (p = 0.003) and moving to a new city (p = 0.006) decreased the likelihood of disordered gambling. The accumulated number of SLE was not a predictor of the presence of GD (p = 0.732), but patients who met clinical criteria for GD reported higher concurrence of SLE in time than control individuals (p < 0.001). Empirical research highlights the need to include older age groups in evidence-based policies for gambling prevention, because these individuals are at high risk of onset and/or progression of behavioural addiction-related problems such as GD. The results of this study may be useful for developing reliable screening/diagnostic tools and for planning effective early intervention programmes aimed to reduce the harm related to the onset and evolution of problem gambling in older adults.
In the current work, we compared the green synthesis of silver nanoparticles (AgNP) using plant extracts, a promising methodology against the use of chemical reducers, such as oleic acid and oleylamine. The advantages of green synthesis are one-step method, economic and ecological while the advantages of classic synthesis methods are high nanoparticle performance, homogeneity in size and smaller average sizes. With this work we want to demonstrate that plant extracts with specific mixtures of chemical compounds can obtain smaller average sizes with greater homogeneity in nanoparticles compared to the use of classical synthesis. Myrtillocactus geometrizans was used as a polar plant extract, which was selected by the chemical components contained in the extract. Phytosterols, oleic acid and betalains contained in Myrtillocactus geometrizans are biomolecules responsible for the reduction and stability of AgNP below 5 nm. TEM analysis of the green synthesis of nanoparticles revealed the formation of spherical particles with an average diameter of 5 nm and with preferential crystallographic directions of the silver plane .
To examine children’s exposure to food and beverage advertising across a year of Colombian television based on whether products exceed PAHO-defined nutrient thresholds.
Nutritional information was obtained for all foods and beverages advertised and used to categorize each product according to product category (e.g., beverage, snack food) and nutritional quality based on the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) model for identifying products in excess of free sugars, sodium, or saturated fat or containing non-caloric sweeteners or trans-fat. Television audience ratings data were used to derive the average child audience (unique child viewers) per ad and the number of times ads were seen by children in a single week (weekly impressions) based on product category and nutritional quality.
All food and beverage ads on cable and over-the-air TV in Colombia in 2017.
Of all instances of TV ads, 89.3% were of unhealthy products. A larger proportion of male and female children, as well as children from low (88.01%), mid (89.10%) and high (89.10%) SES are exposed to advertising of unhealthy products, but no significant difference was found between these proportions.
The majority of foods and beverages advertised to Colombian children are unhealthy. These findings highlight a need to implement statutory measures to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising in Colombia, as obesity and overweight have been increasing among school-aged children in Colombia and exposure to television advertising of unhealthy foods is a known contributor to children’s food intake and obesity.
Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is a key factor in the creation and development of companies. This study examines the CEO's personal background (personality, proactivity and resistance to change) and its influence on the EO of the organization to determine which factors enhance or weaken EO. We achieve this goal through quantitative research, developing a structural equations model with partial least squares to analyse a sample of 358 Spanish SMEs from different sectors. The results suggest that specific personality dimensions exert substantial influence on the organization's EO. We also analyse individual proactivity and resistance to change as conduits for the effect of personality dimensions on the company's EO.
The control over the materials structure is crucial for the modulation of its properties, in order to achieve this control is important to know the formation mechanism of the material as function of parameters used. For this purpose, the effect of temperature (120, 140, 160 and 180 °C) on the hydrothermal synthesis of zinc sulphide is evaluated and a proposal of the sequence of reactions formation of zinc sulphur is presented. ZnS nanostructures with blend-phase were obtained, the temperature increment induces the growth of the nanostructure ranged between .62 and 12.72 nm, furthermore, increase the crystallinity of the ZnS nanostructures. The proposed reactions suggest the formation of a complex of thioacetamide with the Zn+2 and its subsequent decomposition into ZnS.
Interactions between smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and biomaterials must not result in phenotype changes as this may generate uncontrolled multiplication processes and occlusions in vascular grafts. The aim of this study was to relate the hydrolytic stability and biocompatibility of polyurethanes (PUs) on SMCs. A higher polycaprolactone (PCL) concentration was found to improve the hydrolytic stability of the material and the adhesion of SMCs. A material with 5% polyethylene glycol, 90% PCL, and 5% pentaerythritol presented high cell viability and adhesion, suggesting a contractile phenotype in SMCs depending on the morphology. Nevertheless, all PUs retained their elastic modulus over 120 days, similar to the collagen of native arteries (~10 MPa). Furthermore, aortic SMCs did not present toxicity (viability over 80%) and demonstrated adherence without any abnormal cell multiplication processes, which is ideal for the function to be fulfiled in situ in the vascular grafts.
We devise an endogenous growth model in which agents’ utility depends not only on current consumption but also on the pleasure of anticipated future consumption. We consider the case in which agents derive satisfaction from their own anticipatory feelings—inward-looking or internal anticipation—and the case in which agents derive utility from anticipation of other people’s future consumption—outward-looking or external anticipation. We characterize the effects of introducing a forward-looking consumption reference on the dynamics of the economy. Whereas the inward-looking economy features transitional dynamics, the outward-looking economy does not. The distortions caused by the externality in the economy with external habits can be corrected by subsidizing income at a time-varying rate or by means of a tax on consumption at a decreasing rate. We contrast the equilibrium dynamics of our specification to the more standard specification of the habit formation consumption reference point. Numerical simulations supplement the theoretical analysis.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Determination of antibodies against ToRCH antigens at the beginning of pregnancy allows assessment of both the maternal immune status and the risks to an adverse pregnancy outcome. Age-standardised seroprevalences were determined in sera from 1009 women of childbearing age residing in Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Poland, Turkey or China using a multiparametric immunoblot containing antigen substrates for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii, rubella virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1, HSV-2), Bordetella pertussis, Chlamydia trachomatis, parvovirus B19, Treponema pallidum and varicella zoster virus (VZV). Seroprevalences for antibodies against HSV-1 were >90% in samples from Brazil and Turkey, whereas the other four countries showed lower mean age-adjusted seroprevalences (range: 62.5–87.9%). Samples from Brazilian women showed elevated seroprevalences of antibodies against HSV-2 (40.1%), C. trachomatis (46.8%) and B. pertussis (56.6%) compared to the other five countries. Seroprevalences of anti-T. gondii antibodies (0.5%) and anti-parvovirus B19 antibodies (7.5%) were low in samples from Chinese women, compared to the other five countries. Samples from German women revealed a low age-standardised seroprevalence of anti-CMV antibodies (28.8%) compared to the other five countries. These global differences in immune status of women in childbearing age advocate country-specific prophylaxis strategies to avoid infection with ToRCH pathogens.
Sperm capacitation includes the reorganization of plasma membrane components and the outstanding modification of the glycocalyx. The α-mannose presence and location during in vitro capacitation have been commonly described in human spermatozoa using Concanavalin A (Con A) lectin. However, it is still unclear to date how in vitro capacitation time affects the α-mannose residues and their topographic spatial distribution on sperm membrane. Here, we characterized the α-mannose density and specific membrane domain locations before and after in vitro capacitation (1–4 h) using high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). Results showed that α-mannose residues were present preferably on the acrosome domains for all physiological conditions. Uncapacitated sperm comparatively exhibits significant highest labeling densities of α-mannose residues. In addition, as in vitro capacitation takes place, significant and progressive decreasing of sugar residues was combined with their relocation mostly affecting acrosomal domain apical areas. Our findings reveal that combined approach using FE-SEM and gold nanoparticle topographical mapping offers new human sperm biomolecular and structural details during capacitation events.
Identify and characterise the food industry’s involvement in nutrition and dietetics national and regional events in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Between February and April 2020, we conducted desk-based searches for nutrition and dietetics events held in the region between January 2018 and December 2019. Online freely accessible, publicly available information was collected on the involvement of the food industry through: sponsorship of events; sponsorship of sessions; speakers from the food industry; scholarships, fellowship, grants, awards and other prizes and; exhibition space/booths.
Nutrition and dietetics events in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Thirty-one events held in twenty countries of the region had information publicly available online at the period of data collection. There was a lack of transparency on the involvement of industry actors in these events. When information was publicly available, we found that a total of ninety-two food industry actors sponsored 88 % of these events.
There is a mostly unreported, but likely extensive, involvement of food industry actors in nutrition and dietetics events in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Pulses such as peas, beans or lentils are one of the most complete foods at the nutritional level; however, they are one of the most often neglected foods in the diets of university students. Entrance to university translates into a major lifestyle change for many young people, and the habits acquired or cemented at this time will remain into adulthood. The objective of this study is to analyse the association between personal/sociodemographic factors, dietary intake of other food groups and the consumption of pulses in first-year university students. This cross-sectional study is part of the UniHcos project, a multicentre study of multipurpose prospective cohorts in eleven Spanish universities. Data from 9862 university students were collected through an online self-questionnaire completed by all students who met the selection criteria and agreed to participate in the project during the 2011–2018 academic years. Of students, 75·8 % presented an inadequate (≤2 times/week) consumption of pulses. Living outside the family home in either a student residence (OR 0·76; 95 % CI 0·69, 0·84) or rental (OR 0·81; 95 % CI 0·70, 0·95) decreased the compliance with recommendations on the consumption of pulses. Low consumption of pulses is seemingly not restricted to a specific profile or dietary pattern among university students, and no specific focus group for intervention can be identified. Policies promoting the consumption of pulses among the university population as a whole are necessary to increase compliance rates with the dietary recommendations.
To what do we ascribe the far-reaching success of companies from emerging economies in domestic and global markets? What do emerging markets companies do differently? This chapter studies and provides a comparison of the cases of seven successful Colombian companies in different industries to identify specific attributes and capabilities that have helped these firms to overcome the liabilities associated with being situated in emerging markets, enabling them to become market leaders domestically or internationally. The findings of this study suggest that the most relevant capabilities for the success of these companies are their ability to obtain resources, their product adaptation capabilities, and their understanding of local consumers’ needs.
The history of European health technology assessment (HTA) goes back more than 30 years. Almost as old as HTA agencies themselves is the desire to achieve European collaboration. This gained further impetus with the establishment of the European Network of Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) in 2006. In this context, the field of information management faced specific challenges. Although these services are an integral part of HTA and information specialists play a key role here, this field is often not adequately represented in the HTA agencies within EUnetHTA. Furthermore, the organization of HTA production, including the types of HTAs produced, as well as funding, varies considerably. In order to meet these different conditions, information specialists have created various products and defined processes. With the EUnetHTA guideline, a common methodological understanding for the production of rapid Relative Effectiveness Assessments now exists. Furthermore, the Standard Operating Procedures map the complex information retrieval processes within EUnetHTA in a hands-on manner. The newly established Information Specialist Network (ISN) will in future ensure that information specialists are involved in all EUnetHTA assessments and that the methods are applied consistently in all assessments. In addition, the steering committee of the ISN manages enquiries and can be contacted to discuss methodological issues. Major barriers such as heterogeneity in the daily work of the EUnetHTA members can only be overcome through more collaboration and training.
During the first months of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic in 2020, Spain implemented an initial lockdown period on 15 March followed by a strengthened lockdown period on 30 March when only essential workers continued to commute to work. However, little is known about the epidemic dynamics in different age groups during these periods.
We used the daily number of coronavirus 2019 cases (by date of symptom onset) reported to the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network among individuals aged 15–19 years through 65–69 years. For each age group g, we computed the proportion PrE(g) of individuals in age group g among all reported cases aged 15–69 years during the pre-lockdown period (1−10 March 2020) and the corresponding proportion PrL(g) during two lockdown periods (initial: 25 March−3 April; strengthened: 8–17 April 2020). For each lockdown period, we computed the proportion ratios PR(g) = PrL(g)/PrE(g). For each pair of age groups g1, g2, PR(g1)>PR(g2) implies a relative increase in the incidence of detected SARS-CoV-2 infection in the age group g1 compared with g2 for the lockdown period vs. the pre-lockdown period.
For the initial lockdown period, the highest PR values were in age groups 50–54 years (PR = 1.21; 95% CI: 1.12,1.30) and 55–59 years (PR = 1.19; 1.11,1.27). For the second lockdown period, the highest PR values were in age groups 15–19 years (PR = 1.26; 0.95,1.68) and 50–54 years (PR = 1.20; 1.09,1.31).
Our results suggest that different outbreak control measures led to different changes in the relative incidence by age group. During the initial lockdown period, when non-essential work was allowed, individuals aged 40–64 years, particularly those aged 50–59 years, had a higher relative incidence compared with the pre-lockdown period. Younger adults/older adolescents had an increased relative incidence during the later, strengthened lockdown. The role of different age groups during the epidemic should be considered when implementing future mitigation efforts.