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Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), as a stage in the cognitive continuum between normal ageing and dementia, is mainly characterized by memory impairment. The aims of this study were to examine CANTAB measures of temporal changes of visual memory in MCI and to evaluate the usefulness of the baseline scores for predicting changes in cognitive status.
The study included 201 participants aged over 50 years with subjective cognitive complaints. Visual memory was assessed with four CANTAB tests [paired associates learning (PAL), delayed matching to sample (DMS), pattern recognition memory (PRM) and spatial span (SSP)] administered at baseline and on two further occasions, with a follow-up interval of 18–24 months. Participants were divided into three groups according to the change in their cognitive status: participants with subjective cognitive complaints who remained stable, MCI participants who remained stable (MCI-Stable) and MCI participants whose cognitive deterioration continued (MCI-Worsened). Linear mixed models were used to model longitudinal changes, with evaluation time as a fixed variable, and multinomial regression models were used to predict changes in cognitive status.
Isolated significant effects were obtained for age and group with all CANTAB tests used. Interactions between evaluation time and group were identified in the PAL and DMS tests, indicating different temporal patterns depending on the changes in cognitive status. Regression models also indicated that CANTAB scores were good predictors of changes in cognitive status.
Decline in visual memory measured by PAL and DMS tests can successfully distinguish different types of MCI, and considered together PAL, DMS, PRM and SSP can predict changes in cognitive status.
Although the tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum) is the most cultivated native fish species in Brazil, estimated breeding values for growth traits are rarely used for selection of superior individuals in commercial fingerling production. This study aimed to estimate the (co)variance components of growth traits. Body weight, length and width of 2500 tambaqui were determined at tagging and at 6 and 12 months after tagging in a commercial breeding programme in Brazil. Heritability estimates were low for traits measured at tagging (0.10 to 0.19) and moderate to high for traits measured at 6 and 12 months (0.23 to 0.81). Common full-sib effects were high at tagging (>73%), low at 6 months and negligible at 12 months. Positive genetic correlations were found among growth traits at 12 months (0.84 to 0.99) and between growth traits at 6 and 12 months (0.80 to 0.92). These results show that animal selection can be performed at 6 months after tagging. Expected genetic gains for growth traits ranged from 8% to 31%. A simulation of the sex ratio was performed, as individuals did not reach sexual maturity during the experimental period. Because of the sexual dimorphism, more accurate heritability estimates were obtained when considering the female proportion to be 90% in the high-weight group. The findings indicate that it is possible to obtain considerable genetic gains in growth by selecting for growth traits. The development of a tool to determine the sex of animals at early stages can improve the response to selection in tambaqui.
In ruminant diets, soluble sugar is an important factor in the digestive process. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of the source and dose of soluble sugars, under controlled pH conditions, on the in vitro digestibility of DM, fibre fractions (NDF and ADF) and cell wall neutral monosaccharides of corn silage. Silage was collected from several points in a silage mass from a bunker silo, oven-dried at 55°C and ground through a 1-mm screen. Sub-samples were combined with sugars to compose the treatments, in a 5 × 5 factorial arrangement, as a combination of five soluble sugar sources (glucose, fructose, arabinose, xylose and sucrose) and five sugar doses (0, 100, 200, 300 and 400 g/kg sugar in DM corn silage), respecting the following proportions of sugar : corn silage, 0 : 100, 10 : 90, 20 : 80, 30 : 70, 40 : 60 represented by the sugar doses, respectively. An in vitro test was performed to determine the true digestibility (D) of the chemical entities (DM, NDF and ADF) and cell wall monosaccharides (glucose = gluc, arabinose = arab and xylose = xyl). During the first 12 h of incubation, the pH was maintained above 6.0 by the addition of 2.5 N NaOH. The concentrations of neutral monosaccharides (arabinose, xylose and glucose) were determined by GLC. The soluble sugars decreased the digestibility of corn silage followed by pH reduction, especially at doses higher than 200 g/kg sugar. Overall, xylose, followed by sucrose, fructose and arabinose, had greater impacts on DM digestibility, whereas fibre digestibility was impaired by sucrose at all doses. Xylose and fructose had greater impacts on NDF digestibility at 300 and 400 g/kg sugar. Although xylose impaired the Dgluc in the cell wall in all doses. All doses of glucose improved the Dgluc and Dxyl in the cell wall.
This paper argues that the existing definition of pandemics is not nuanced enough, because it is predicated solely on the criterion of spread, rather than on the criteria of spread and severity. This definitional challenge is what I call ‘the conflation problem’: there is a conflation of two different realities of global health, namely global health emergencies (i.e., severe communicable diseases that spread across borders) and nonemergencies (i.e., communicable or noncommunicable diseases that spread across borders and that may be severe). To put this argument forth, this paper begins by discussing the existing and internationally accepted definition of pandemics, its requirements, as well as its strengths (section 1). Section 2 then considers the problem with the standard definition of pandemics (i.e., the conflation problem) and some examples of it. Finally, section 3 evaluates some practical implications of the conflation problem to then explore conceptual clarity as the adequate solution.
Doppler ultrasound imaging can be used to identify and assess blood vessels by producing a colour-coded map of Doppler shifts superimposed on a B-mode ultrasound image. The effect, first described by the Austrian scientist Christian Doppler in the middle of the nineteenth century, has been used to provide information regarding blood flow in ultrasound’s daily practice in the last five to six decades. Blood flow in arteries and veins can be recorded from the surface of the skin, allowing flow analysis in systole and diastole, in both normal and diseased blood vessels. Over time, Doppler techniques became an important technique in diagnostic ultrasound for haemodynamic assessment, replacing some invasive procedures in many clinical situations.
The multipolar representation of the magnetic field has, for the lowest-order term, a magnetic dipole that dominates the far field. Thus the far-field representation of the magnetic field of the Earth, Sun and other celestial bodies is a dipole. Since these bodies consist of or are surrounded by plasma, which can support Alfvén waves, their propagation along dipole magnetic field lines is considered using a new coordinate system: dipolar coordinates. The present paper introduces multipolar coordinates, which are an example of conformal coordinates; conformal coordinates are orthogonal with equal scale factors, and can be extended from the plane to space, for instance as cylindrical or spherical dipolar coordinates. The application considered is to Alfvén waves propagating along a circle, that is a magnetic field line of a dipole, with transverse velocity and magnetic field perturbations; the various forms of the wave equation are linear second-order differential equations, with variable coefficients, specified by a background magnetic field, which is force free. The absence of a background magnetic force leads to a mean state of hydrostatic equilibrium, specified by the balance of gravity against the pressure gradient, for a perfect gas or incompressible liquid. The wave equation is simplified to a Gaussian hypergeometric type in the case of zero frequency, otherwise, for non-zero frequency, an extended Gaussian hypergeometric equation is obtained. The solution of the latter specifies the magnetic field perturbation spectrum, and also, via a polarisation relation, the velocity perturbation spectrum; both are plotted, over half a circle, for three values of the dimensionless frequency.
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.
To study the influence of cognitive reserve (CR) on cognitive performance of individuals with subjective cognitive complaints (SCCs) within a period of 36 months.
We used a general linear model repeated measures procedure to analyze the differences in performance between three assessments. We used a longitudinal structural equation modeling to analyze the relationship between CR and cognitive performance at baseline and at two follow-up assessments.
Participants with SCCs were recruited and assessed in primary care health centers.
A total of 212 participants older than 50 years with SCCs.
Cognitive reserve data were collected with an ad hoc questionnaire administered to the subjects in an interview. General cognitive performance (GCP), episodic memory (EM), and working memory (WM) have been evaluated. The Mini-Mental State Examination and the total score of Spanish version of the Cambridge Cognitive Examination evaluated the GCP. Episodic memory was assessed with the Spanish version of the California Verbal Learning. Working memory was evaluated by the counting span task and the listening span task.
The satisfactory fit of the proposed model confirmed the direct effects of CR on WM and GCP at baseline, as well as indirect effects on EM and WM at first and second follow-up. Indirect effects of CR on other cognitive constructs via WM were observed over time.
The proposed model is useful for measuring the influence of CR on cognitive performance over time. Cognitive response acquired throughout life may influence cognitive performance in old age and prevent cognitive deterioration, thus increasing processing resources via WM.
The maximisation of control power is considered for an aircraft with multiple control surfaces, with the force and moment coefficients specified by polynomials of the control surface deflections of degree two. The optimal deflections, which maximise and minimise any force or moment coefficient, are determined subject to constraints on the range of deflection of each control surface. The results are applied to a flying wing configuration to determine: (i/ii) the pitch trim, at the lowest drag for the fastest climb, and at the highest drag for the steepest descent; (iii) the maximum and minimum pitching moment; (iv) the maximum and minimum yaw control power and the fraction needed to compensate an outboard engine failure for several propulsion configurations; (v) the maximum and minimum rolling moment. The optimal use of all control surfaces has significant advantages over using just one, e.g. the range of drag modulation with pitch trim is much wider and the maximum and minimum available control moments larger.
There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.
Agents that block the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) improve glucoregulation in the metabolic syndrome disorder. We evaluated the effects of egg white hydrolysate (EWH), previously shown to modulate the protein abundance of RAS component in vivo, on glucose homeostasis in diet-induced insulin-resistant rats. Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 6 weeks to induce insulin resistance. They were then randomly divided into four groups receiving HFD or HFD supplemented with different concentrations of EWH (1, 2 and 4 %) for another 6 weeks in the first trial. In the second trial, insulin-resistant rats were divided into two groups receiving only HFD or HFD+4 % EWH for 6 weeks. Glucose homeostasis was assessed by oral glucose tolerance and insulin tolerance tests. Insulin signalling and protein abundance of RAS components, gluconeogenesis enzymes and PPARγ were evaluated in muscle, fat and liver. Adipocyte morphology and inflammatory markers were evaluated. In vivo administration of EWH increased insulin sensitivity, improved oral glucose tolerance (P < 0·0001) and reduced systemic inflammation (P < 0·05). EWH potentiated insulin-induced Akt phosphorylation in muscle (P = 0·0341) and adipose tissue (P = 0·0276), but minimal differences in the protein abundance of tissue RAS components between the EWH and control groups were observed. EWH treatment also reduced adipocyte size (P = 0·0383) and increased PPARγ2 protein abundance (P = 0·0237). EWH treatment yielded positive effects on the inflammatory profile, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and adipocyte differentiation in HFD-induced insulin resistance rats. The involvement of local RAS activity requires further investigation.
Advanced courses in Applied Crystallography for Nanosciences are not often delivered in Academia and, consequently, require the organization of events specifically tailored to PhD students, postdocs, and young researchers at the very beginning of their scientific careers.
Environmental factors during perinatal life can lead to changes in the mammary gland, making it susceptible to cancer in adulthood. Breastfeeding has a special importance since it takes place at a critical period of growth and development of the newborn. We aimed to analyze if an appropriate lactation protects the offspring against mammary carcinogenesis during adult life and explore the mechanisms involved in the protective effect. One-day-old Sprague-Dawley female rats were randomly distributed in litters of three (L3), eight (L8) or 12 (L12) pups per dam, to induce a differential consumption of breast milk. At 55 days of age, the animals were treated with a single dose of dimethylbenzanthracene to study tumor latency, incidence and progression. Histological, immunohistochemical and Western blot studies were performed. We observed lower incidence and higher latency in L3 compared to the other groups. The mitotic index and expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) was significantly augmented in tumors of L12 rats compared to L3 and L8, while the apoptotic index was augmented in tumors of L3 v. L12. Cleaved caspase 8 was significantly higher in tumors from L3 compared to L12. Tumors developed in L3 have a greater number of apoptotic bodies and a greater expression of caspase 8. These results demonstrate that the animals that maintained a higher intake of maternal milk (L3) presented lower incidence and greater tumor latency. Lower consumption of breast milk (L12) would increase tumor mitosis and the expression of PCNA, explaining the higher tumor incidence observed in this group.
Determining the effects of light pollution on tropical bat communities is important for understanding community assembly rules in urban areas. Studies from temperate regions suggest that, among aerial insectivorous bats, fast-flying species that forage in the open are attracted to artificial lights, whereas slow-flying species that forage in cluttered environments avoid those lights. We measured aerial insectivore responses to light pollution in a tropical cloud forest to test this hypothesis. Bat echolocation was recorded at 20 pairs of light and dark sites in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Foraging activity was higher at artificially lighted sites than dark sites near the new moon, especially around blue-white fluorescent lighting. Most recorded bat species showed increased or unchanged activity in response to light, including some slow-flying and edge-foraging bats. This finding suggests that, contrary to the evaluated hypothesis, flight speed and foraging mode are not sufficient to determine bat responses to artificial lights in the tropics. Two bat species showed decreased activity at light sites, and a low species evenness was recorded around lights, particularly fluorescent lights, compared with dark sites. As in the temperate zone, light pollution in the tropics seems to concentrate certain bat species around human-inhabited areas, potentially shifting community structure.
To date, there are no recent studies identifying the prevalence of parasites of human and veterinary importance in dogs and cats in Ireland. The interaction between pets and wildlife species in the environment is an important source of parasite exposure to canids and felines, and one likely to be heightened in the stray animal population. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of endoparasites in unowned dogs and cats in County Dublin, Ireland. Feces from stray dogs (n = 627) and cats (n = 289) entering a rehoming centre were collected immediately after defecation. The main parasitic agents detected were ascarids (15.52 and 30.26%), Cystoisospora (3.27 and 3.69%), Giardia spp. (6.02 and 1.84%) and lungworms (0.64 and 2.08%), in dogs and cats respectively. Animals younger than 3 months of age were more likely to be infected with ascarids (P < 0.001) and Cystoisospora spp. (P = 0.008 and P = 0.014) than older animals. All lungworms were morphologically identified and dogs were infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum (0.48%) and Crenosoma vulpis (0.16%) whereas cats were only infected with Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (2.08%). This represents the first prevalence study of stray animals in Ireland. Data collected will inform the treatment and in addition, the future monitoring and control studies of parasite populations.
Non-decorticated sunflower meal (SFM) is a potential protein source for dairy cows with high-fibre content but high ruminal degradability. The effect of replacement of soybean meal (SBM) and wheat middlings (WM) with SFM on the intake, digestibility, microbial protein synthesis, nitrogen utilization and milk production of dairy cows was evaluated. Twelve Holstein cows were blocked by days in milk and distributed in three 4 × 4 Latin squares. Diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous and contained 550 g maize silage/kg dry matter (DM). Treatment diets were no SFM (CON) or 70, 140 and 210 g/kg DM of SFM replacing fixed mixture of SBM and WM (536 and 464 g/kg of the mixture, respectively). The inclusion of SFM in diet did not affect DM intake, but intake of rumen degradable protein increased linearly. Inclusion of SFM reduced or tended to reduce total-tract digestibility of non-fibre carbohydrate, total digestible nutrients and excretion of purine derivatives. Milk production, milk protein content and efficiency of nitrogen use for lactation were reduced with increasing levels of SFM in the diet. The use of non-decorticated SFM as a replacement for SBM–WM mixture in diet reduces performance and efficiency of nutrient use in lactating dairy cows. The outcome of the current study is attributed to reduced fibre digestibility in SFM hulls. Therefore, future studies should evaluate the use of decorticated SFM.
Determining the predictors of serum retinol at mid-pregnancy is relevant for planning interventions aimed at improving vitamin A status of pregnant women and their offspring. This prospective study assessed predictors of serum retinol at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy. We enrolled 442 pregnant women living in the urban area of Cruzeiro do Sul, Western Brazilian Amazon. Demographic, socio-economic, environmental and clinical characteristics as well as obstetric history, anthropometric, dietary and biochemical data, including serum retinol, were gathered between 16 and 20 gestational weeks. Serum retinol also measured at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy (approximately 28 gestational weeks) was the outcome of interest. Multiple linear regression models were used to evaluate associations with the outcome. Overall, the following variables explained serum retinol at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy in the adjusted model (R2 = 11·1 %): seasonality (winter season – November to April; β=0·134; 95 % CI 0·063, 0·206), weekly consumption of Amazonian fruits (β=0·087; 95 % CI 0·012, 0·162) and retinol concentrations between 16 and 20 gestational weeks (β=0·045; 95 % CI 0·016, 0·074) were positively associated, whereas having a smoker in the house was negatively associated (β=–0·087; 95 % CI: –0·166, –0·009). Consumption of pro-vitamin A-rich fruits by pregnant women should be encouraged. Passive smoking may play a role in decreasing vitamin A status as a proxy of smoking exposure during pregnancy.
Highly porous alumina-based oxides, γ-Al2O3, SiO2–Al2O3, and TiO2–Al2O3 were synthesized by a modified sol–gel method. Polivinylpyrrolidone was used as the pore expanding agent, whereas cetyltrimethylammonium bromide was used as the template in the presence of alkoxide inorganic precursors. Both as-synthesized and calcined solids were used as catalysts for esterification of glycerol with acetic acid (EG). The XRD and SEM-EDS measurements demonstrated that the Si-containing solids are amorphous while those containing Ti are semicrystalline with the latter composed of TiO2 rutile, TiO2 anatase, and γ-Al2O3 phases. All solids possessed ordered porous structures comprising of micro- and mesoporosity, with interconnectivity between these pores of different length scales. The high acidity of γ-Al2O3 and TiO2–Al2O3 materials resulted in good catalytic performances in the EG. Porosity of the solids plays a secondary role in determining the catalytic activity. Under the same conditions, the as-synthesized solids exhibited slightly lower catalytic performances compared to that of the calcined ones.
An experiment was conducted to evaluate whether dietary reduction and sex class affect nutrient intake, digestibility, purine derivative (PD) excretion and heat tolerance coefficient in lambs. Thirty-five hair lambs (14.5 ± 0.89 kg initial body weight (BW), 2 months old) were used in a completely randomized study with a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, three sex classes (11 intact males, 12 castrated males and 12 females) and three levels of feeding (ad libitum, 300 and 600 g/kg/dry matter (DM) feed restriction) for 120 days. Intact and castrated males showed higher intakes of DM and neutral detergent fibre corrected for ash and protein (NDFap) than females. At 300 g/kg/DM feed restriction, NDFap digestibility was lower in intact males than in other classes; however, no differences were found between classes when subjected to ad libitum feeding or 600 g/kg/DM. The basal endogenous nitrogen and endogenous urinary losses were highest in intact males. Allantoin, uric acid and PD excretion, as well as PD absorption and microbial protein production were lowest in the animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. Microbial protein synthesis (MPS) was highest in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. The lowest temperatures were observed in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. The heat tolerance coefficient was highest in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. In conclusion, feed restriction reduced the time spent on feeding and rumination but increased the digestibility of DM. The restriction level of 600 g/kg/DM maximized MPS and infrared thermography indicated an elevated heat tolerance coefficient.