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Aim of the current study is to investigate the associations between daily levels of air pollutants (particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide) and daily admissions for mental disorders to the emergency department of two general hospitals in Umbria region (Italy).
We collected data about daily admissions to psychiatric emergency services of two general hospitals, air pollutants' levels and meteorological data for the time period 1 January 2015 until 31 December 2016. We assessed the impact of an increase in air pollutants on the number of daily admissions using a time-series econometric framework.
A total of 1860 emergency department admissions for mental disorders were identified. We observed a statistically significant impact of ozone levels on daily admissions. The estimated coefficient of O3 is statistically significant at the 1% level. All other pollutants were not significantly associated with the number of daily admissions.
Short-term exposure to ozone may be associated with increased psychiatric emergency services admissions. Findings add to previous literature on existing evidence for air pollution to have an impact on mental health. Ozone may be considered a potential environmental risk factor for impaired mental health.
The research reported in this Research Communication evaluates the effect of milk acidification on the physicochemical and sensory properties of Licor de Oro (or Gold Liqueur; LO), a traditional alcoholic beverage produced in Chiloé island, Chile, which is made by mixing milk acidified with lemon juice and alcohol at a ratio of 1.0:1.0, along with sugar and other spices. The mixture is stored for a couple of weeks and then filtered to obtain a product with a yellowish-transparent appearance, sweetness and acidic taste, milky and alcoholic notes. The lack of information regarding LO processing, mainly in the amount of acid added to the mixture, leads to products of highly variable quality. Thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of milk acidification on the physicochemical and sensory properties of LO. Raw milk was acidified using citric acid to six different pH values: 6.7 (control), 6.0, 5.3, 4.6, 3.9 and 3.2. These milk treatments were then used to make LO. A decrease of milk pH led to LO with higher levels of sensorial and titratable acidity. LO obtained at pH 6.7 and 6.0 had higher levels of total protein than other treatments, leading to excessive turbidity. In contrast, treatments made at pH ≤5.3 had a typical transparent appearance of LO. These results suggest that a minimum level of milk acidification is required to obtain LO with desired appearance and composition.
In the frame of the COST ACTION ‘EMBOS’ (Development and implementation of a pan-European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System), coverage of intertidal macroalgae was estimated at a range of marine stations along the European coastline (Subarctic, Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean). Based on these data, we tested whether patterns in macroalgal diversity and distribution along European intertidal rocky shores could be explained by a set of meteo-oceanographic variables. The variables considered were salinity, sea surface temperature, photosynthetically active radiation, significant wave height and tidal range and were compiled from three different sources: remote sensing, reanalysis technique and in situ measurement. These variables were parameterized to represent average conditions (mean values), variability (standard deviation) and extreme events (minimum and maximum values). The results obtained in this study contribute to reinforce the EMBOS network approach and highlight the necessity of considering meteo-oceanographic variables in long-term assessments. The broad spatial distribution of pilot sites has allowed identification of latitudinal and longitudinal gradients manifested through species composition, diversity and dominance structure of intertidal macroalgae. These patterns follow a latitudinal gradient mainly explained by sea surface temperature, but also by photosynthetically active radiation, salinity and tidal range. Additionally, a longitudinal gradient was also detected and could be linked to wave height.
Original studies published over the last decade regarding time trends in dementia report mixed results. The aims of the present study were to use linked administrative health data for the province of Saskatchewan for the period 2005/2006 to 2012/2013 to: (1) examine simultaneous temporal trends in annual age- and sex-specific dementia incidence and prevalence among individuals aged 45 and older, and (2) stratify the changes in incidence over time by database of identification.
Using a population-based retrospective cohort study design, data were extracted from seven provincial administrative health databases linked by a unique anonymized identification number. Individuals 45 years and older at first identification of dementia between April 1, 2005 and March 31, 2013 were included, based on case definition criteria met within any one of four administrative health databases (hospital, physician, prescription drug, and long-term care).
Between 2005/2006 and 2012/2013, the 12-month age-standardized incidence rate of dementia declined significantly by 11.07% and the 12-month age-standardized prevalence increased significantly by 30.54%. The number of incident cases decreased from 3,389 to 3,270 and the number of prevalent cases increased from 8,795 to 13,012. Incidence rate reductions were observed in every database of identification.
We observed a simultaneous trend of decreasing incidence and increasing prevalence of dementia over a relatively short 8-year time period from 2005/2006 to 2012/2013. These trends indicate that the average survival time of dementia is lengthening. Continued observation of these time trends is warranted given the short study period.
Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma, whose diagnosis has limitations, such as the low sensitivity and specificity of parasitological and immunological methods, respectively. In the present study an alternative molecular technique requiring previous standardization was carried out using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the amplification of a 121-bp highly repetitive sequence for Schistosoma mansoni. DNA was extracted from eggs of S. mansoni by salting out. Different conditions were standardized for the PCR technique, including the concentration of reagents and the DNA template, annealing temperature and number of cycles, followed by the determination of the analytical sensitivity and specificity of the technique. Furthermore, the standardized PCR technique was employed in DNA extracted, using Chelex®100, from samples of sera of patients with an immunodiagnosis of schistosomiasis. The optimal conditions for the PCR were 2.5 mm MgCl2, 150 mm deoxynucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs), 0.4 μm primers, 0.75 U DNA polymerase, using 35 cycles and an annealing temperature of 63°C. The analytical sensitivity of the PCR was 10 attograms of DNA and the specificity was 100%. The DNA sequence was successfully detected in the sera of two patients, demonstrating schistosomiasis transmission, although low, in the community studied. The standardized PCR technique, using smaller amounts of reagents than in the original protocol, is highly sensitive and specific for the detection of DNA from S. mansoni and could be an important tool for diagnosis in areas of low endemicity.
Examine the use of airborne isolation by identifying reasons for nontimely discontinuation and predictors of compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Compliance with guidelines should result in timely (within 48 hours) discontinuation of isolation in patients without infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).
Retrospective, observational study.
A private, university-affiliated, tertiary-care medical center.
All patients in airborne isolation for suspected pulmonary TB from June through December 2011.
Chart reviews were performed to identify airborne isolation practices and delayed (greater than 48 hours) or very delayed (greater than 72 hours) discontinuation. We used descriptive statistics and logistic regression to determine independent predictors of nontimely discontinuation of isolation.
We identified 113 patients (mean age ± standard deviation, 59.8 ± 17.7 years; male sex, 75.2%; white race, 15.9%; mean collection interval ± standard deviation, 21.4 ± 12.9 hours). Delayed and very delayed isolation discontinuation was noted in 81% and 49% of patients, respectively. No significant differences in demographic characteristics and clinical characteristics were identified between groups. Predictors of timely (within 48 hours) airborne isolation discontinuation included use of alternate diagnosis for discontinuation of isolation (P = .02), early infectious diseases (ID) consultation (P = .03), pulmonary consultation (P = .02), average sputum collection interval less than 24 hours (P = .03), and need for more than 1 induced sputum specimen (P = .05). Adjusting for potential confounders, pulmonary consultation (odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval (CI)], 0.14 [0.03-0.58]), alternate diagnosis for discontinuation of isolation (OR [95% CI], 4.5 [1.3-15.8]), and early ID consultation (OR [95% CI], 4.0 [1.1-14.8]) were independently associated with timely discontinuation.
Timely airborne isolation discontinuation occurs in only 18.6% of cases and is an opportunity for cost savings, improved efficiency, and potentially patient safety and satisfaction.
This study was designed to evaluate the effects of algal and yeast β-glucans on the porcine gastrointestinal microbiota, specifically the community of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and coliforms. A total of 48 pigs were fed four diets over a 28-day period to determine the effect that each had on these communities. The control diet consisted of wheat and soya bean meal. The remaining three diets contained wheat and soya bean meal supplemented with β-glucan at 250 g/tonne from Laminaria digitata, Laminaria hyperborea or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Faecal samples were collected from animals before feeding each diet and after the feeding period. The animals were slaughtered the following day and samples were collected from the stomach, ileum, caecum, proximal colon and distal colon. Alterations in Lactobacillus in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) were analysed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles generated by group-specific 16S rRNA gene PCR amplicons. Plate count analysis was also performed to quantify total coliforms. DGGE profiles indicated that all β-glucan diets provoked the emergence of a richer community of Lactobacillus. The richest community of lactobacilli emerged after feeding L. digitata (LD β-glucan). Plate count analysis revealed that the L. hyperborea (LH β-glucan) diet had a statistically significant effect on the coliform counts in the proximal colon in comparison with the control diet. β-glucan from L. digitata and S. cerevisiae also generally reduced coliforms but to a lesser extent. Nevertheless, the β-glucan diets did not significantly reduce levels of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. DGGE analysis of GIT samples indicated that the three β-glucan diets generally promoted the establishment of a more varied range of Lactobacillus species in the caecum, proximal and distal colon. The LH β-glucan had the most profound reducing effect on coliform counts when compared with the control diet and diets supplemented with L. digitata and S. cerevisiae β-glucans.
In the plethora of international research on smoking relapse there are findings that suggest distinct ethnocultural differences in relapse predictors. This study aimed to uncover cognitive and affective factors that contribute to relapse in a sample of Filipino adult smokers (N = 115). Using discriminant function analysis, results suggest that self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, craving and the subdomains of motivation to change contemplation and action are accurate relapse predictors, whereas negative emotional states are not. An integrative framework was used in the discussion to account for inconsistencies in the results. Implications for understanding the relapse cycle, the connection between smoking relapse and substance use, as well as suggestions for future studies on smoking relapse, are also discussed.
This was a cross-sectional study carried out on 462 pregnant women attending antenatal care in Ibadan, Nigeria. The study's aims were to assess the level of participation of Nigerian men in pregnancy and birth, the attitude of the women and likely targets for improved care delivery. Three hundred and forty-nine women (75.5%) were aware that husbands could participate in childbirth. Most women did not think it was their husbands' place to attend antenatal clinic (48.3%) or counselling sessions (56.7%). Nearly all husbands (97.4%) encouraged their wives to attend antenatal clinic – paying antenatal service bills (96.5%), paying for transport to the clinic (94.6%) and reminding them of their clinic visits (83.3%). Three hundred and thirty-five husbands (72.5%) accompanied their wives to the hospital for their last delivery, while 63.9% were present at last delivery. More-educated women were less likely to be accompanied to the antenatal clinic, while more-educated men were likely to accompany their wives. Yoruba husbands were less likely to accompany their wives, but Yoruba wives with non-Yoruba husbands were 12 times more likely to be accompanied. Women in the rural centre were less likely to receive help with household chores from their husbands during pregnancy, while educated women were more likely to benefit from this. Monogamous unions and increasing level of husbands' education were associated with spousal presence at delivery. It appears that male participation is satisfactory in some aspects, but increased attendance at antenatal services and delivery would be desirable.
One of the first post-focus instruments of the new solar telescope GREGOR will be a Fabry-Perot spectrometer, which is an upgrade of the Göttingen Fabry-Perot interferometer at the Vacuum Tower Telescope (VTT) on Tenerife. This spectrometer is equipped with a full-Stokes polarimeter. The modulation is performed with two ferroelectric liquid crystals, one acting nominally as quarter-wave plate, and the other as half-wave plate. A modified Savart plate serves as polarimetric beam splitter. With the present liquid crystals, the optimum wavelength range of this polarimeter is between 580 and 660 nm. The spectro-polarimeter will benefit from the capabilities of the new telescope GREGOR which will provide a spatial resolution of about 0″.1 (75 km on the solar surface). Thus we will be able to investigate small magnetic features, and we will study their development with high cadence.
Two cubic boron nitride (c-BN) thin films (thickness, 80 nm), which were grown on silicon by mass-selected ion beam deposition and thin diamond film-coated silicon by magnetron sputtering technique respectively, were investigated by x-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) at the B K-edge. The angular dependences of the XANES recorded in fluorescence yield (FY) were used to show that the preferable orientation of the sp2-bonded turbostratic BN (t-BN) basal planes at the interfacial layers between the top c-BN film and Si substrate is normal or nearly normal to the substrate, which is consistent with previous transmission electron microscope analysis. The angular dependence was also used to show that the film deposited on diamond-coated Si has a higher relative amount of ordered t-BN at its film-substrate interface than the film on Si substrate. This work that shows a technique to determine the thin film structure, especially the interfacial structure between the thin films and their substrates x-ray absorption fine structure is a powerful mode.
Experiments to evaluate the optimum sowing date for okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) sown in monoculture or in mixed stands with cassava (Manihot esculenta) were sited on free-draining sandy loam soils in southwestern Nigeria. Okra was sown at the end of July, in mid-August and early September as a late-season crop in 1999 and at the end of May, in early June and at the end of June as an early-season crop in 2000. It was sown at seed rates sufficient to achieve final population densities of 33000 and 40000 plants/ha in late-season crops (1999) and early-season crops (2000), respectively. The late-season crops had shorter growth duration, received less rainfall, and experienced cooler temperatures during establishment and the early vegetative stage, and warmer temperatures during the reproductive phase than the early-season crops. Intercropping had no significant effect on the growth and tuber yields of cassava, or on phenology (i.e. time to vegetative growth, flowering and fruiting) and pod yield of okra in both seasons. However, it reduced weed growth by 35–57%, and kept both the soil and canopy environments of cassava cooler by 2·3–5·8 °C and more moist by 15–30 g/kg, compared with monoculture. The phenology and pod yields of the early- and late-season okra in both cropping systems were dependent on sowing date, indicating that okra production is only suitable at particular sowing dates in both seasons. July-sown okra in the 1999 late-season and May-sown crop in the 2000 early-season took progressively the longest time (i.e. 3–10 and 2–5 days, respectively) to flower and fruit, but these crops controlled weeds and modified the cassava environment better than the rest, and gave the highest fresh pod yields and economic returns. It took okra pods longer to reach marketable size in the late season than early season (i.e. 5–9 v. 2–6 days). It is concluded that the optimal sowing date to attain maximum pod yield and economic returns from late-season okra is July or August and from early-season crop is May or early June. Bearing in mind financial constraints and production costs, the optimal season target for maximum edible pods is the early season and for maximum economic returns is the late season.
Highly pure, ultralong, and uniform-sized semiconductor nanowires in bulk quantity were synthesized by thermal evaporation or laser ablation of semiconductor powders mixed with oxides. Transmission electron microscopy study shows that decomposition of semiconductor suboxides and defect structures play important roles in enhancing the formation and growth of high-quality nanowires. A new growth mechanism is proposed on the basis of microstructure and different morphologies of the nanowires observed.
Nanometer period metallic multilayers are ideal structures to investigate electronic phenomena at interfaces between metal films since interfacial atoms comprise a large atomic fraction of the samples. The multilayers studied were fabricated by magnetron sputtering and consist of bilayers from 1.9 nm to 3.3 nm. X-ray diffraction, cross-section TEM and plan-view TEM show the Cu layers to have a BCC structure Cu in contrast to its equilibrium FCC structure. The electronic structure of the Cu and the Cr layers in several samples of thin Cu/Cr multilayers were studied using x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Total electron yield was measured and used to study the white lines at the Cu L2 and L3 absorption edges. The white lines at the Cu absorption edges are strongly related to the unoccupied d-orbitals and are used to calculate the amount of charge transfer between the Cr and Cu atoms in interfaces. Analysis of the Cu white lines show a charge transfer of 0.026 electrons/interfacial Cu atom to the interfacial Cr atoms. In the Cu XAS spectra we also observe a van Hove singularity between the L2 and L3 absorption edges as expected from the structural analysis. The absorption spectra are compared to partial density of states obtained from a full-potential linear muffin-tin orbital calculation. The calculations confirm the presence of charge transfer and indicate that it is localized to the first two interfacial layers in both Cu and Cr.
Interfacial electronic effects between Cu and the transition metals Cr, Mo, W, Ta, Re, are investigated by determining the strength of the white line absorption resonances on the L3,2 edges of Cu in Cu5/TM5 multilayers. X-ray absorption (XAS) was performed to study the white lines, which are directly related to the unoccupied states of Cu in the multilayers. The metallic multilayers are 2 nm in period and 200 nm in total thickness. Each period contains 5 monolayers of Cu and 5 monolayers of the transition metal: = 40% of the atoms are at interfaces. These material pairs form ideal structures for the investigation of interfacial electronic effects as they form no compounds and exhibit terminal solid solubility. Only weak white lines are observed on the L3,2 edges of Cu since all the d-orbitals are filled. In the Cu/TM multilayers, however, we observed enhancement of the Cu white lines. We attribute this to the charge transfer from the “interfacial Cu atoms” d-orbital to the transition metal layers. Analysis of the white line enhancement enables calculation of the charge transfer calculation from the Cu to the transition metal. Cu shows a charge transfer of about 0.03 electrons/interfacial Cu atom in Cu/Cr, 0.064 in Cu/Mo, 0.35 in Cu/Ta, 0.17 in Cu/W , and 0.23 in Cu/Re. This charge transfer is consistent with the enhanced absorption energy of Cu on these materials as observed in thermal desorption experiments.
Portugal submitted an Application instituting proceedings against the Commonwealth of Australia before the International Court of Justice on February 22, 1991. Both Portugal and Australia had made declarations accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court pursuant to Article 36, paragraph 2 of the ICJ Statute. Portugal sought a declaration from the Court that Portugal's status with respect to East Timor and the rights of the people of East Timor to self-determination, territorial integrity and unity, and permanent sovereignty over its wealth and natural resources were opposable to Australia. Portugal also sought a declaration that Australia had incurred international responsibility and had caused damage for which it owed reparation to both the people of East Timor and Portugal. Portugal alleged that Australia had incurred this responsibility mainly by negotiating and concluding—not with Portugal, but with Indonesia—a treaty on December 11, 1989, creating a “Zone of Cooperation” in an area of the undelimited continental shelf between East Timor and northern Australia known as the “Timor Gap.”