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Stromatolites are biogenic sedimentary structures formed by the interplay of biological (microbial composition) and environmental factors (local hydrodynamic conditions, clastic input and/or water chemistry). Well-preserved, three-dimensional (3D) fossil stromatolites are key to assessing the environmental factors controlling their growth and resulting morphology in space and time. Here, we report the detailed analysis of well-exposed, highly informative stromatolite build-ups from a single stratigraphic horizon within the Maastrichtian–Danian Yacoraite Formation (Argentina). This study focuses on the analysis of depositional processes driving intertidal to shallow subtidal stromatolites. Overall depositional architecture, external morphology and internal arrangement (mega, macro, meso and microstructures) of stromatolite build-ups were analysed and combined with 3D photogrammetric models, allowing us to decipher the links between stromatolite structure and tidal dynamics. Results suggest that external morphology and architecture of elongated and parallel clusters grew under the influence of run-off channels. The internal morphology exhibits columnar structures where the space between columns is interpreted as recharge or discharge channels. This work supports the theory that stromatolites can be used as a high-resolution tool in the assessment of water dynamics, and provides a new methodological approach and data for the dynamic reconstruction of intertidal stromatolite systems through the geological record.
Pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) is a common threat to cereal crops in which the grain maturation phase takes place under rainy, moist conditions. Susceptibility to PHS is higher in sorghum genotypes displaying low levels of seed dormancy before harvest maturity. Other attributes such as glume or panicle morphology may also affect susceptibility to PHS. Breeding for resistance to PHS in grain sorghum requires the identification of grain physiological and morphological attributes affecting this trait, and a protocol for phenotyping and rating genotypes according to their susceptibility to PHS. In this work, we tested germination under laboratory conditions using detached grains and intact panicles for a panel of 20 sorghum genotypes including 11 parental lines, 6 hybrids and 3 reference inbred lines with contrasting PHS response. Records for natural sprouting in the field for these genotypes were also included in the analysis. Multivariate analyses of germination data allowed separation of genotypes into two major categories (resistant and susceptible to PHS). Laboratory germination data correlated significantly with PHS in the field. In most genotypes, the glumes had a significant, inhibitory effect on germination. The low levels of grain dormancy were observed among high tannin backgrounds, and vice versa, indicating that a pigmented testa alone does not provide resistance to PHS. Altogether, the phenotyping protocol allowed the classification of sorghum genotypes according to their susceptibility to PHS and the identification of different attributes useful for breeding for PHS resistance in this crop.
Mating and receiving ejaculate can alter female insect physiology and postcopulatory behaviour. During mating, females receive both internal and external stimuli and different components in the ejaculate. In insects, these components consist mostly of sperm and male accessory gland secretions. Some of the most important changes associated with receiving male accessory gland secretions are a reduction in female sexual receptivity and an increase in oviposition. However, a clear function for these molecules has not been found in the Mexican fruit fly Anastrepha ludens (Loew) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Here, we tested how the stimulus of mating, receiving a full ejaculate, or only receiving accessory gland secretions can influence ovarian development and oviposition. Our results indicate that the stimulus of mating per se is enough to induce oviposition and increase egg laying in females even if ejaculate is not received, whereas receiving only accessory gland secretions does not increase ovarian development and is not enough to induce oviposition or increase egg production. Further research on the internal and external copulatory courtship of A. ludens will increase our understanding of the role of these secretions in stimulating oviposition independent of ejaculate effects. A biological function for male accessory gland secretions on female behaviour for A. ludens still needs to be found.
Hypleurochilus fissicornis is a resident species of the intertidal and subtidal zones of Mar del Plata, Argentina. The specific reproductive biology was studied by means of both microscopic and macroscopic analyses. A total of 212 males and 223 females were analysed. Specimens were dissected and their gonads and livers were removed. The gonadosomatic and hepatosomatic indexes and the condition factor were calculated on a monthly basis. Hypleurochilus fissicornis breeds in rocky intertidal areas, and exhibits low fecundity with benthic eggs and parental care. Size at first maturity (L50) was estimated at 53.66 and 55.83 mm total length for females and males, respectively. The spawning season takes place between December and April.
How the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) makes digging through gigantic amounts of documents and data more efficient.
Keywords: data leaks, text extraction, radical sharing, cross-border investigation, data journalism, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is an international network of journalists launched in 1997. Journalists who are part of ICIJ's large collaborations have diverse backgrounds and profiles. There is a wide range of reporters with different skills, some with strong data and coding skills, others with the best sources and shoe-leather reporting skills. All are united by an interest in journalism, collaboration and data.
When ICIJ's director Gerard Ryle received a hard drive in Australia with corporate data related to tax havens and people around the world as a result of his three-year investigation of Australia's Firepower scandal, he couldn't at that time imagine how it would transform the story of collaborations in journalism. He arrived at ICIJ in 2011 with more than 260 gigabytes of data about offshore entities, about 2.5 million files, which ended up turning in a collaboration of more than 86 journalists from 46 countries known as Offshore Leaks (published in 2013).
After Offshore Leaks came more investigative projects with large data sets and millions of files, more ad hoc developed technologies to explore them, and more networks of journalists to report on them. For instance, we recently shared with partners a new trove of 1.2 million leaked documents from the same law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers investigation, Mossack Fonseca. This was on top of the 11.5 million Panama Papers files brought to us in 2015 by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and 13.6 million documents that were the basis of the subsequent Paradise Papers probe.
If a single journalist were to spend one minute reading each file in the Paradise Papers, it would take 26 years to go through all of them. Obviously, that's not realistic. So, we asked ourselves, how can we find a shortcut? How can we make research more efficient and less time consuming? How can technology help us find new leads in this gigantic trove of documents and support our collaborative model?
Alveolar capillary dysplasia with misalignment of the pulmonary veins is an uncommon disorder that affects the lung vasculature development in the neonatal period and leads to pulmonary hypertension. We describe two patients with alveolar capillary dysplasia associated with left-sided obstructive heart defects with two different genetic variants. Our cases highlight the importance of early recognition of this disease in the setting of persistent and supra-systemic pulmonary hypertension despite surgical correction of the associated lesions. Identification of these cases will facilitate the development of a multidisciplinary approach and provide guidance to the affected families.
The COVID-19 pandemic is putting healthcare systems under unprecedented stress to accommodate unexpected numbers of patients forcing a quick re-organization. This article describes the staff management experience of a third level referral hospital in the city of Madrid, Spain, one of the cities and hospitals with the largest number of COVID19 cases.
A newly created COVID-19-specific Clinical Management Unit (CMU) coordinated all clinical departments and conducted real-time assessments of the availability and needs of medical staff, alongside the hospital’s general management board. The Unit was able to (i) redeploy up to 285 physicians every week to bolster medical care in COVID-19 wards and forecast medical staff requirements for the upcoming week so all departments could organize their work while coping with COVID-19 needs, (ii) overview all clinical activities conducted in a medicalized hotel, and (iii) recruit a team of roughly 90 volunteer medical students to accelerate data collection and evidence generation.
The main advantage of a clinical management unit composed by a member of every job category - its ability to generate rapid, locally-adapted responses to unexpected challenges – made it perfect for the unprecedented increase in healthcare need generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccination remains the best strategy to reduce invasive meningococcal disease. This study evaluated an investigational tetanus toxoid-conjugate quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (MenACYW-TT) vs. a licensed tetanus toxoid-conjugate quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine (MCV4-TT) (NCT02955797). Healthy toddlers aged 12–23 months were included if they were either meningococcal vaccine-naïve or MenC conjugate (MCC) vaccine-primed (≥1 dose of MCC prior to 12 months of age). Vaccine-naïve participants were randomised 1:1 to either MenACYW-TT (n = 306) or MCV4-TT (n = 306). MCC-primed participants were randomised 2:1 to MenACYW-TT (n = 203) or MCV4-TT (n = 103). Antibody titres against each of the four meningococcal serogroups were measured by serum bactericidal antibody assay using the human complement. The co-primary objectives of this study were to demonstrate the non-inferiority of MenACYW-TT to MCV4-TT in terms of seroprotection (titres ≥1:8) at Day 30 in both vaccine-naïve and all participants (vaccine-naïve and MCC-primed groups pooled). The immune response for all four serogroups to MenACYW-TT was non-inferior to MCV4-TT in vaccine-naïve participants (seroprotection: range 83.6–99.3% and 81.4–91.6%, respectively) and all participants (seroprotection: range 83.6–99.3% and 81.4–98.0%, respectively). The safety profiles of both vaccines were comparable. MenACYW-TT was well-tolerated and demonstrated non-inferior immunogenicity when administered to MCC vaccine-primed and vaccine-naïve toddlers.
The aim of this study is to test the psychometric properties of the Spanish validation of the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) in a Paraguayan population.
Participants were recruited through an Internet-based survey. All participants whose scores in the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and The Fear Questionnaire (FQ) were greater than zero were included. 1245 subjects responded voluntarily: 1077 subjects, scoring >0, were considered.
To establish construct validity of the FCV-19S, an exploratory factor analysis was performed using the KMO test, which was adequate, and the Bartlett sphericity test, which was significant (p <.0001). The CFI, NFI, GFI, TLI and RMSEA indices were used to evaluate the model and showed good adjustment. Cronbach’s α showed valid internal consistency (α = 0.86). This validation was supported by significant correlation (p <.001) with the HADS scale for anxiety and depression and with the FQ scale for specific phobia.
The Spanish version of the FCV-19S is a 7-item scale with two dimensions, psychological symptoms and physiological symptoms, which demonstrated robust psychometric properties in a Paraguayan population.
The Radiocarbon Laboratory of the Fluminense Federal University was installed in 2009, and its NEC Single Stage Accelerator Mass Spectrometry system has been operational since 2012. As the first 14C-AMS facility in Latin America, the LAC-UFF became a reference center for radiocarbon (14C) dating in Brazil. Over the years we have implemented pretreatment protocols for several kinds of materials, such as cellulose, soil, bone, and biofuels. In the present paper we describe our current protocols for the preparation of these types of samples. Moreover, after 10 years of operation, with the aim of expanding the range of materials we are able to analyze, we report the results of several tests to improve accuracy, precision and background levels. For example, here we discuss how isotopic fractionation during the graphitization and measurement steps has been controlled. Concerning results interpretation, our research group has been using OxCal chronological models to analyze different contexts such as stromatolite growth, tree rings, soil deposition and marine reservoir effect (MRE) determination.
This article assumes a balanced position between two contrasting views regarding the accessibility, quality, efficiency and financial sustainability of the Cuban healthcare system. It evaluates those issues in the 2006–20 period by identifying strengths and weaknesses based on a comprehensive statistical compilation of health indicators, physical infrastructure trends, availability of physicians and other elements to assess the system's long-term financial sustainability. Finally, it examines the likely consequences of population ageing on healthcare, including potential policies.
To analyse the information on health claims present in the labelling of creatine monohydrate (CM) products.
A descriptive study of a selection of products marketed as CM, with health claims, and that met the inclusion/exclusion criteria, was conducted using the Amazon and Google Shopping websites. The adequacy and compliance of the health claims were evaluated with the European legislative requirements (European Food Safety Authority and European Commission). The results were discussed with scientific evidence criteria from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, International Olympic Committee, and International Society of Sports Nutrition, as well as the systematic review carried out by Mielgo-Ayuso in 2019.
Health claims in the commercial communications of a sample of CM supplements, in relation to current legislation and scientific knowledge.
A total of 554 CM products were obtained.
Of the total sample, only 167 met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Of these, 30·5 % recommended a CM dose of 5·0–5·9 g/d, while 29·9 % recommended 3·0 to 3·9 g/d. As for the health claims, ‘Enhances physical performance’ appeared in 73·1 % of the supplements, in most cases referring to a dosage of 3·0 to 3·9 g/d for these products. The rest of the declarations were not adequate or needed to be modified.
Only 25 % of the health claims complied with the criteria established by the scientific reference documents. Most of the declarations must be modified or eliminated, as they could be considered fraudulent and/or misleading for the consumer.
Several benzothiophene-based compounds, including 1-benzothiophene-2-carboxylic acid, exhibit a wide variety of pharmacological activities. They have been extensively used to treat various types of diseases with high therapeutic effectiveness. In this contribution, the crystal structure of a new polymorph of 1-benzothiophene-2-carboxylic acid (BTCA) was determined from laboratory X-ray powder diffraction data with DASH, refined by the Rietveld method with TOPAS-Academic, and optimized using DFT-D calculations. The new form of 1-benzothiophene-2-carboxylic acid crystallizes in space group C2/c (No. 15) with a = 14.635(4), b = 5.8543(9), c = 19.347(3) Å, β = 103.95(1)°, V = 1608.8(6) Å3, and Z = 8. The structure is a complex 3D arrangement which can be described in terms of hydrogen-bonded dimers of BTCA molecules, joined by the acid–acid homosynthon, which interact through C–H⋯O hydrogen bonds to produce tapes further connected through head-to-tail π⋯π and edge-to-face C–H⋯π interactions. A comparison with a previously reported triclinic polymorph and with the related 1-benzofuran-2-carboxylic acid (BFCA) is also presented.
Data on short-term peripheral intravenous catheter–related bloodstream infections per 1,000 peripheral venous catheter days (PIVCR BSIs per 1,000 PVC days) rates from Latin America are not available, so they have not been thoroughly studied.
International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium (INICC) members conducted a prospective, surveillance study on PIVCR BSIs from January 2010 to March 2018 in 100 intensive care units (ICUs) among 41 hospitals, in 26 cities of 9 countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican-Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Health Safety Network (NHSN) definitions were applied, and INICC methodology and INICC Surveillance Online System software were used.
In total, 10,120 ICU patients were followed for 40,078 bed days and 38,262 PVC days. In addition, 79 PIVCR BSIs were identified, with a rate of 2.06 per 1,000 PVC days (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.635–2.257). The average length of stay (ALOS) of patients without a PIVCR BSI was 3.95 days, and the ALOS was 5.29 days for patients with a PIVCR BSI. The crude extra ALOS was 1.34 days (RR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.0975–1.6351; P = .040).
The mortality rate in patients without PIVCR BSI was 3.67%, and this rate was 6.33% in patients with a PIVCR BSI. The crude extra mortality was 1.70 times higher. The microorganism profile showed 48.5% gram-positive bacteria (coagulase-negative Staphylococci 25.7%) and 48.5% gram-negative bacteria: Acinetobacter spp, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella spp (8.5% each one), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (5.7%), and Candida spp (2.8%). The resistances of Pseudomonas aeruginosa were 0% to amikacin and 50% to meropenem. The resistance of Acinetobacter baumanii to amikacin was 0%, and the resistance of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus to oxacillin was 75%.
Our PIVCR BSI rates were higher than rates from more economically developed countries and were similar to those of countries with limited resources.
The Monitoring Studies (MS) program, the approach developed by RedETS to generate postlaunch real-world evidence (RWE), is intended to complement and enhance the conventional health technology assessment process to support health policy decision making in Spain, besides informing other interested stakeholders, including clinicians and patients. The MS program is focused on specific uncertainties about the real effect, safety, costs, and routine use of new and insufficiently assessed relevant medical devices carefully selected to ensure the value of the additional research needed, by means of structured, controlled, participative, and transparent procedures. However, despite a clear political commitment and economic support from national and regional health authorities, several difficulties were identified along the development and implementation of the first wave of MS, delaying its execution and final reporting. Resolution of these difficulties at the regional and national levels and a greater collaborative impulse in the European Union, given the availability of an appropriate methodological framework already provided by EUnetHTA, might provide a faster and more efficient comparative RWE of improved quality and reliability at the national and international levels.
There is evidence that patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders present higher mortality in comparison with the general population. The aim of this study was to analyse the causes of mortality and sociodemographic factors associated with mortality, standardised mortality ratios (SMRs), life expectancy and potential years of life lost (YLL) in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders in Spain.
The study included a cohort of patients from the Malaga Schizophrenia Case Register (1418 patients; 907 males; average age 42.31 years) who were followed up for a minimum of 10 years (median = 13.43). The factors associated with mortality were analysed with a survival analysis using Cox's proportional hazards regression model.
The main causes of mortality in the cohort were circulatory disease (21.45%), cancer (17.09%) and suicide (13.09%). The SMR of the cohort was more than threefold that of the population of Malaga (3.19). The life expectancy at birth was 67.11 years old, which is more than 13 years shorter than that of the population of Malaga. The YLL was 20.74. The variables associated with a higher risk of mortality were age [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) = 1.069, p < 0.001], male gender (AHR = 1.751, p < 0.001) and type of area of residence (p = 0.028; deprived urban zone v. non-deprived urban area, AHR = 1.460, p = 0.028). In addition, receiving welfare benefit status in comparison with employed status (AHR = 1.940, p = 0.008) was associated with increased mortality.
There is excess mortality in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and also an association with age, gender, socioeconomic inequalities and receiving welfare benefits. Efforts directed towards improved living conditions could have a positive effect on reducing mortality.
There are few studies on the impact of out-of-pocket mental health care expenditures and sociodemographic factors on the probability of Mexican households to incur catastrophic healthcare expenditures (CHE).
The goal of the present study was to estimate the incidence of CHE and its main determinants among the households of persons with mental disorders (MD) in Mexico.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted, including 387 households of persons with MD. The estimation of the CHE was obtained by the health expenditure distribution method. A Logistic Regression (LR) was used to identify the determinants of probability variation of CHE occurrence. Since we expected a proportion of CHE between 20% and 80%, we assume linearity in the probability function, therefore we additionally used an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) model.
In our sample, the incidence of CHE was 34.8%. The two mental illnesses most frequently associated with CHE were schizophrenia and hyperactive disorder (35.5% and 32.6% of CHE cases, respectively). The regression coefficients showed that for each unit (US$53.77) increase in income, the probability of CHE was reduced by 8.6%, while for each unit increase in hospitalization or medication expenditures, the probability of CHE increased by 12.9% or 19%, respectively. For each additional household member, the probability of CHE increased by 3%, and households with a male patient had a 7% greater probability of CHE.
Household income, household size, hospitalization and medication expenses, and sex of the patient were significant predictors of CHE for households caring for a person with MD.