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Environmental conditions have changed in the past of our planet but were not hostile enough to extinguish life. In the future, an aged Earth and a more luminous Sun may lead to harsh or even uninhabitable conditions for life. In order to estimate the life span of the biosphere we built a minimal model of the co-evolution of the geosphere, atmosphere and biosphere of our planet, taking into account temperature boundaries, CO2 partial pressure lower limits for C3 and C4 plants, and the presence of enough surface water. Our results indicate that the end of the biosphere will happen long before the Sun becomes a red giant, as the biosphere faces increasingly more difficult conditions in the future until its collapse due to high temperatures. The lower limit for CO2 partial pressure for C3 plants will be reached in 170(+ 320, − 110) Myr, followed by the C4 plants limit in 840(+ 270, − 100) Myr. The mean surface temperature will reach 373 K in 1.63(+ 0.14, − 0.05) Gyr, a point that would mark the extinction of the biosphere. Water loss due to internal geophysical processes will not be dramatic, implying almost no variation in the surface ocean mass and ocean depth for the next 1.5 billion years. Our predictions show qualitative convergence and some quantitative agreement with results found in the literature, but there is considerable scattering in the scale of hundreds of millions of years for all the criteria devised. Even considering these uncertainties, the end of the biosphere will hardly happen sooner than 1.5 Gyr.
Despite recent advancements on cloud-enabled and human-in-the-loop cyber-physical systems, there is still a lack of understanding of how infrastructure-related quality of service (QoS) issues affect user-perceived quality of experience (QoE). This work presents a pilot experiment over a cloud-enabled mobility assistive device providing a guidance service and investigates the relationship between QoS and QoE in such a system. In our pilot experiment, we employed the CloudWalker, a system linking smart walkers and cloud platforms, to physically interact with users. Different QoS conditions were emulated to represent an architecture in which control algorithms are performed remotely. Results point out that users report satisfactory interaction with the system even under unfavorable QoS conditions. We also found statistically significant data linking QoE degradation to poor QoS conditions. We finalize discussing the interplay between QoS requirements, the human-in-the-loop effect, and the perceived QoE in healthcare applications.
The increase of sheep meat competitiveness in international markets can be attributed to the rise of the quantity and the improvement of the quality of the edible portion of sheep carcasses. Usually, carcass yield is established after the slaughter of the animals. Yet, when carcass yield is determined in vivo, it can be both a costly and subjective method. This study proposes models for predicting the physical characteristics of lamb carcass using bioimpedance analysis (BIA) in live animals. Thirty-one Texel × Ile de France crossbreed ram lambs were slaughtered at 20, 26, 32 or 38 kg of BW. Before the slaughter, values of resistance (Rs) and reactance (Xc) were collected using a single-frequency BIA equipment (Model RJL Quantum II Bioelectrical Body Composition Analyzer). Then, BIA main variables such as body bioelectrical volume (V), phase angle (PA), resistive density (RsD) and reactive density (XcD) were calculated. After slaughter, cold carcass weight (CCW), cold carcass yield (CCY), subcutaneous fat thickness (SFT), soft tissue weight (STW) and soft tissue yield (STY) were also measured. Multiple regression analyses were carried out using the physical characteristics as dependent variables and the bioimpedance values as independent variables. Predictive performance of the models was assessed using leave-one-out cross-validation. The prediction model of CCW was obtained using the V, PA and RsD (R2 = 0.97), STW through the V, RsD and XcD (R2 = 0.97), CCY by Rs, Z and XcD (R2 = 0.69), STY by V and XcD (R2 = 0.67), and SFT only for XcD (R2 = 0.84). The results indicated that BIA has the potential to predict carcass characteristics of lambs at different body masses.
Inclusion of legume in grass pastures optimizes protein values of the forage and promotes improved digestibility. Therefore, we hypothesized that finishing steers on a novel combination of legumes and grass pasture would produce carcasses with acceptable traits when compared to carcasses from steers finished in feedlot systems. In this study, we evaluated the effects of finishing steers on three systems including: grazing legume–grass pasture containing oats, ryegrass, white and red clover (PAST), grazing PAST plus supplementation with whole corn grain (14 g/kg BW (SUPP)), and on a feedlot-confined system with concentrate only (28 g/kg BW, consisting of 850 g/kg of whole corn grain and 150 g/kg of protein–mineral–vitamin supplement (GRAIN)) on growth performance of steers, carcass traits and digestive disorders. Eighteen steers were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatments and finished for 91 days. Data regarding pasture and growth performance were collected during three different periods (0 to 28, 29 to 56 and 57 to 91 days). Subsequently, steers were harvested to evaluate carcass traits, presence of rumenitis, abomasitis and liver abscesses. The legume–grass pasture provided more than 19% dry matter of protein. In addition, pasture of paddocks where steers were assigned to SUPP and PAST treatments showed similar nutritional quality. When compared to PAST, finishing on SUPP increased total weight gain per hectare, stocking rate, daily and total weight gains. The increase of weight gain was high to GRAIN than SUPP and PAST. Steers finished on GRAIN had high hot carcass weight, fat thickness and marbling score when compared to PAST. However, these attributes did not differ between GRAIN and SUPP. Abomasum lesions were more prevalent in steers finished on GRAIN when compared to PAST. Results of this research showed that it is possible to produce carcasses with desirable market weight and fat thickness by finishing steers on legume–grass pasture containing oats, ryegrass, white and red clover. Moreover, supplementing steers with corn when grazing on legume–grass pasture produced similar carcass traits when compared to beef fed corn only.
Chagas disease is a public health problem, affecting about 7 million people worldwide. Benznidazole (BZN) is the main treatment option, but it has limited effectiveness and can cause severe adverse effects. Drug delivery through nanoparticles has attracted the interest of the scientific community aiming to improve therapeutic options. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cytotoxicity of benznidazole-loaded calcium carbonate nanoparticles (BZN@CaCO3) on Trypanosoma cruzi strain Y. It was observed that BZN@CaCO3 was able to reduce the viability of epimastigote, trypomastigote and amastigote forms of T. cruzi with greater potency when compared with BZN. The amount of BZN necessary to obtain the same effect was up to 25 times smaller when loaded with CaCO3 nanoparticles. Also, it was observed that BZN@CaCO3 enhanced the selectivity index. Furthermore, the cell-death mechanism induced by both BZN and BZN@CaCO3 was evaluated, indicating that both substances caused necrosis and changed mitochondrial membrane potential.
The current paradigms of prevention and treatment are unable to curb obesity rates, which indicates the need to explore alternative therapeutic approaches. Obesity leads to several damages to the body and is an important risk factor for a number of other chronic diseases. Furthermore, despite the first alterations in obesity being observed and reported in peripheral tissues, studies indicate that obesity can also cause brain damage. Obesity leads to a chronic low-grade inflammatory state, and the therapeutic manipulation of inflammation can be explored. In this context, the use of n-3 PUFA (especially in the form of fish oil, rich in EPA and DHA) may be an interesting strategy, as this substance is known by its anti-inflammatory effect and numerous benefits to the body, such as reduction of TAG, cardiac arrhythmias, blood pressure and platelet aggregation, and has shown potential to help treat obesity. Thereby, the aim of this narrative review was to summarise the literature related to n-3 PUFA use in obesity treatment. First, the review provides a brief description of the obesity pathophysiology, including alterations that occur in peripheral tissues and at the central nervous system. In the sequence, we describe what are n-3 PUFA, their sources and their general effects. Finally, we explore the main topic linking obesity and n-3 PUFA. Animal and human studies were included and alterations on the whole organism were described (peripheral tissues and brain).
This is a systematic review on the role of metalloproteases in the pathogenicity of the American tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL) caused by New World Leishmania species. The review followed the PRISMA method, searching for articles in PubMed, EMBASE, LILACS and ISI Web of Science, by employing the following terms: ‘leishmaniasis’, ‘cutaneous leishmaniasis’, ‘mucocutaneous leishmaniasis’, ‘diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis’, ‘Leishmania’ and ‘metalloproteases’. GP63 of New World Leishmania species is a parasite metalloproteases involved in the degradation and cleavage of many biological molecules as kappa-B nuclear factor, fibronectin, tyrosine phosphatases. GP63 is capable of inhibiting the activity of the complement system and reduces the host's immune functions, allowing the survival of the parasite and its dissemination. High serological/tissue levels of host matrix metalloproteases (MMP)-9 have been associated with tissue damage during the infection, while high transcriptional levels of MMP-2 related with a satisfactory response to treatment. Host MMPs serological and tissue levels have been investigated using Western Blot, zymography, and Real Time polymerase chain reaction. GP63 detection characterizes species and virulence in promastigotes isolated from lesions samples using techniques mentioned previously. The monitoring of host MMPs levels and GP63 in Leishmania isolated from host samples could be used on the laboratory routine to predict the prognostic and treatment efficacy of ATL.
The larvae of the two distantly related nonsocial bees Ericrocis lata (Apidae) and Hesperapis (Carinapis) rhodocerata (Melittidae), which develop mostly under arid desert areas of North America, and that differ in that they either spin (E. lata) or do not spin (H. rhodocerata) protective cocoons before entering diapause, produce transparent films that cover the larval integument. To understand the nature of these films, their responses to topochemical tests and their characteristics when examined with fluorescence and high-performance polarization microscopy and microspectroscopy were studied. A positive staining by Sudan black B, birefringence of negative sign, and a Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectrum typical of lipids were detected for the integument covering of both species. The FT-IR signature, particularly, suggests a wax chemical composition for these lipid coverings, resembling the waxes that are used as construction materials in the honey cells produced by social bees. Considering the arid environmental conditions under which these larvae develop, we hypothesize that their covering films may have evolved as protection against water depletion. This hypothesis seems especially appropriate for H. rhodocerata larvae, which are capable of undergoing a long diapause period in the absence of a protective cocoon.
Cathelicidins are antimicrobial peptides produced by humans and animals in response to various pathogenic microbes. Crotalicidin (Ctn), a cathelicidin-related vipericidin from the South American Crotalus durissus terrificus rattlesnake's venom gland, and its fragments have demonstrated antimicrobial and antifungal activity, similarly to human cathelicidin LL-37. In order to provide templates for the development of modern trypanocidal agents, the present study evaluated the antichagasic effect of these four peptides (Ctn, Ctn[1-14], Ctn[15-34] and LL-37). Herein, Ctn and short derived peptides were tested against the epimastigote, trypomastigote and amastigote forms of Trypanosoma cruzi Y strain (benznidazole-resistant strain) and cytotoxicity in mammalian cells was evaluated against LLC-MK2 lineage cells. Ctn inhibited all T. cruzi developmental forms, including amastigotes, which is implicated in the burden of infection in the chronic phase of Chagas disease. Moreover, Ctn showed a high selective index against trypomastigote forms (>200). Ctn induced cell death in T. cruzi through necrosis, as determined by flow cytometry analyses with specific molecular probes and morphological alterations, such as loss of membrane integrity and cell shrinkage, as observed through scanning electron microscopy. Overall, Ctn seems to be a promising template for the development of antichagasic agents.
The interpration of the interaction in galaxies is simplified in mixed pairs (E+S) because most or all of the cold gas can be traced to an origin in a single galaxy (S). We used spectroscopy, imaging, far–IR, and stellar population synthesis to study the stellar content and history of star formation in the nuclear region of the early–type galaxy in the mixed pair AM0327–285. We used the procedure for stellar population synthesis developed by Bica (1988) to estimate the star-formation history of the nucleus of the elliptical galaxy. The method uses a library of star clusters, and estimates the chemical evolution in a test population with two parameters: age and metallicity; no assumptions on gravity or details of stellar evolution are necessary, and the IMF is implicit in the cluster spectra. The procedure allows one to both determine the chemical enrichment and date successive generations of star formation. The result indicates that the dominant population is old and metal–rich ([Z/Z]⊙=0.3), while ~ 10% of the flux at 5870 Å arises from a young stellar population (age ≤ 5 × 108 yr), confirming that this early-type galaxy had recent star formation as suggested also by photometry and far–IR data (de Mello et al 1994). This age is close to several estimates of the characteristic timescale of the interaction, suggesting that the mass influx associated with this star formation occurred as a result of an earlier phase of the interaction and not as a result of the present geometry of the pair.
We have compared two samples of galaxies in very high and low density environments in order to study their physical properties and stablish any possible relation among them. This paper focus on the CO content as a diagnostic tool to examine galaxy properties such as the amount of molecular gas and the star formation efficiency. The similarities in star formation efficiency of the dense environments and the field galaxies suggest that the physical processes controling the formation of stars from the molecular gas are local rather than global.
Alumina gel-cast foams were manufactured in a broad total porosity range (43–86%) by using agarose or ovalbumin as gelling agents. The foams were examined in terms of microstructural, permeability, and mechanical properties. For the achieved open porosity level (19–85%), the mean cell size (19–375 µm), and mean window size (8–77 µm) of the alumina foams manufactured using ovalbumin were slightly wider than those obtained using agarose (34–262 µm and 18–33 µm, respectively). By using different contents of agarose (0.3–1 wt%) or albumin (5 wt%) and solids (30–45.9 wt%), it was possible to vary the foaming yield from 1.6 to 4.4 and produce bodies with a very wide permeability level that included several classes of porous ceramics. Darcian (k1) and non-Darcian (k2) permeability coefficients displayed values in the range 3.2 × 10−18 to 4.3 × 10−9 m2 and 1.8 × 10−18 to 6.5 × 10−5 m respectively. Compressive strength of bodies was dependent upon the porosity level, with a variation of 8.5–149.7 MPa.
This study aimed to evaluate whether using the interRAI Palliative Care instrument (the interRAI PC) in nursing homes is associated with reduced needs and symptoms in residents nearing the end of their lives.
A quasi-experimental pretest–posttest study using the Palliative care Outcome Scale (POS) was conducted to compare the needs and symptoms of residents nearing the end of their lives in the control and intervention nursing homes. Care professionals at the intervention nursing homes filled out the interRAI PC over the course of a year for all residents aged 65 years and older who were nearing the end of their lives. This intervention was not implemented in the control nursing homes.
At baseline, POS scores in the intervention nursing homes were lower (more favorable) than in the control nursing homes on the items “pain”, “other symptoms”, “family anxiety”, and the total POS score. Posttest POS scores for “wasted time” were higher (less favorable) than pretest scores in the intervention nursing homes. In the intervention nursing homes where care professionals did not have prior experience with the interRAI Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCF) assessment instrument (n = 8/15), total POS scores were lower (more favorable) at posttest.
Significance of results:
One year after introducing the interRAI PC, no reduction in residents' needs and symptoms were detected in the intervention nursing homes. However, reductions in needs and symptoms were found in the subgroup of intervention nursing homes without prior experience with the interRAI LTCF instrument. This may suggest that the use of an interRAI instrument other than the interRAI PC specifically can improve care. Future research should aim at replicating this research with a long-term design in order to evaluate the effect of integrating the use of the interRAI PC in the day-to-day practices at nursing homes.
Studies of topical treatments for leishmaniasis were systematically reviewed, to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy, safety and any adverse effects of these treatments. The papers identified in the databases PubMed and Web of Knowledge involved eight studies with a total of 1744 patients. The majority of trials was from Iran (4/8), covered a period of 8 years (2003–2011), and included patients 4–85 years of age. The most frequent Leishmania species in the studies were L. tropica (4/8) and L. major (2/8). The treatments administered were thermotherapy, paromomycin and combinations, CO2 laser, 5-aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride (10%) plus visible red light (633 nm) and cryotherapy. Six articles reported cure rates over 80·0%. Six studies reported on failure rates, three of them reporting rates lower than 10%. Four studies did not report relapses or recurrences, while the other studies reported low rates (1·8–6·3%). The most common adverse effects of the topical treatments were redness/erythema, pain, pruritus burning, oedema, vesicles and hyper- or hypopigmentation. The results provide strong evidence that the treatments topical evaluated showed high cure rates, safety and effectiveness, with low side-effects, relapse and recurrence rates, except for cryotherapy, which showed a moderate cure rate.
In 2005 we suggested a relation between the optimal locus of gas giant planet formation, prior to migration, and the metallicity of the host star, based on the core accretion model, and radial profiles of dust surface density and gas temperature. At that time, less than 200 extrasolar planets were known, limiting the scope of our analysis. Here, we take into account the expanded statistics allowed by new discoveries, in order to check the validity of some premises. We compare predictions with the present available data and results for different stellar mass ranges. We find that the zero age planetary orbit (ZAPO) hypothesis continues to hold after a two order of magnitude increase in discovered planets, as well as the prediction that planets around metal poor stars would have shorter orbits.
Leishmaniasis are diseases caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania and transmitted to humans by the bite of infected insects of the subfamily Phlebotominae. Current drug therapy shows high toxicity and severe adverse effects. Recently, two oligopeptidases (OPBs) were identified in Leishmania amazonensis, namely oligopeptidase B (OPB) and oligopeptidase B2 (OPB2). These OPBs could be ideal targets, since both enzymes are expressed in all parasite lifecycle and were not identified in human. This work aimed to identify possible dual inhibitors of OPB and OPB2 from L. amazonensis. The three-dimensional structures of both enzymes were built by comparative modelling and used to perform a virtual screening of ZINC database by DOCK Blaster server. It is the first time that OPB models from L. amazonensis are used to virtual screening approach. Four hundred compounds were identified as possible inhibitors to each enzyme. The top scored compounds were submitted to refinement by AutoDock program. The best results suggest that compounds interact with important residues, as Tyr490, Glu612 and Arg655 (OPB numbers). The identified compounds showed better results than antipain and drugs currently used against leishmaniasis when ADMET in silico were performed. These compounds could be explored in order to find dual inhibitors of OPB and OPB2 from L. amazonensis.
Among the solar proxies, κ1 Cet, stands out as potentially having a mass very close to solar and a young age. We report magnetic field measurements and planetary habitability consequences around this star, a proxy of the young Sun when life arose on Earth. Magnetic strength was determined from spectropolarimetric observations and we reconstruct the large-scale surface magnetic field to derive the magnetic environment, stellar winds, and particle flux permeating the interplanetary medium around κ1 Cet. Our results show a closer magnetosphere and mass-loss rate 50 times larger than the current solar wind mass-loss rate when Life arose on Earth, resulting in a larger interaction via space weather disturbances between the stellar wind and a hypothetical young-Earth analogue, potentially affecting the habitability. Interaction of the wind from the young Sun with the planetary ancient magnetic field may have affected the young Earth and its life conditions.
We derive Teff and [Fe/H] for a sample of 72 nearby M-dwarfs with Hipparcos parallaxes and δ < +30. Spectra, acquired at the Observatório do Pico dos Dias, Brazil, have R = 10,000 and S/N ≳ 100 for nearly all targets in the λλ8380-8880 range. Atmospheric parameters were derived from VJHK colors and a system of spectral line indices calibrated against sample stars with interferometric Teff and [Fe/H] from detailed analysis of FGK binary companions. A PCA method of calibration yields internal errors within 70 K and 0.1 dex for Teff and [Fe/H]. For 18 stars we present the first Teff or [Fe/H] derivation in the literature. We compute the star's luminosities, calculate the position of their habitable zones and estimate that, were all of they to harbour rocky planets inside their HZ, 15–20 of these would be detectable by the E-ELT Planetary Camera and Spectrograph.
We report preliminary results from high-resolution UV spectroscopy of the super star cluster 1 in the nearby dwarf starburst galaxy NGC 1705, using HST-stis. These new observations can help us to quantify accurately the stellar content in this super cluster. Together with high quality spectra from SMC stars and the evolutionary synthesis code starburst99, we estimate an age for this cluster of 12±3 Myr, in agreement with previous studies. The measured dynamical mass and the theoretical L/M ratio suggest a normal IMF down to the hydrogen-burning limit.
We present high resolution VLT spectra of the optical identification of the high-redshift galaxy SMM J 14011+0252. We concentrate on the C iv 1550Å region of the spectra and compared the data with a spectral synthesis model generated with starburst99.