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Biological systems are extremely complex and have emergent properties that cannot be explained or even predicted by studying their individual parts. The reductionist approach, although successful in the early days of molecular biology, underestimates this complexity. As the amount of available data grows, so it will become increasingly important to be able to analyse and integrate these large data sets. This book introduces novel approaches and solutions to the Big Data problem in biomedicine, and presents new techniques in the field of graph theory for handling and processing multi-type large data sets. By discussing cutting-edge problems and techniques, researchers from a wide range of fields will be able to gain insights for exploiting big heterogonous data in the life sciences through the concept of 'network of networks'.
Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is a key factor in the creation and development of companies. This study examines the CEO's personal background (personality, proactivity and resistance to change) and its influence on the EO of the organization to determine which factors enhance or weaken EO. We achieve this goal through quantitative research, developing a structural equations model with partial least squares to analyse a sample of 358 Spanish SMEs from different sectors. The results suggest that specific personality dimensions exert substantial influence on the organization's EO. We also analyse individual proactivity and resistance to change as conduits for the effect of personality dimensions on the company's EO.
The control over the materials structure is crucial for the modulation of its properties, in order to achieve this control is important to know the formation mechanism of the material as function of parameters used. For this purpose, the effect of temperature (120, 140, 160 and 180 °C) on the hydrothermal synthesis of zinc sulphide is evaluated and a proposal of the sequence of reactions formation of zinc sulphur is presented. ZnS nanostructures with blend-phase were obtained, the temperature increment induces the growth of the nanostructure ranged between .62 and 12.72 nm, furthermore, increase the crystallinity of the ZnS nanostructures. The proposed reactions suggest the formation of a complex of thioacetamide with the Zn+2 and its subsequent decomposition into ZnS.
Interactions between smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and biomaterials must not result in phenotype changes as this may generate uncontrolled multiplication processes and occlusions in vascular grafts. The aim of this study was to relate the hydrolytic stability and biocompatibility of polyurethanes (PUs) on SMCs. A higher polycaprolactone (PCL) concentration was found to improve the hydrolytic stability of the material and the adhesion of SMCs. A material with 5% polyethylene glycol, 90% PCL, and 5% pentaerythritol presented high cell viability and adhesion, suggesting a contractile phenotype in SMCs depending on the morphology. Nevertheless, all PUs retained their elastic modulus over 120 days, similar to the collagen of native arteries (~10 MPa). Furthermore, aortic SMCs did not present toxicity (viability over 80%) and demonstrated adherence without any abnormal cell multiplication processes, which is ideal for the function to be fulfiled in situ in the vascular grafts.
We devise an endogenous growth model in which agents’ utility depends not only on current consumption but also on the pleasure of anticipated future consumption. We consider the case in which agents derive satisfaction from their own anticipatory feelings—inward-looking or internal anticipation—and the case in which agents derive utility from anticipation of other people’s future consumption—outward-looking or external anticipation. We characterize the effects of introducing a forward-looking consumption reference on the dynamics of the economy. Whereas the inward-looking economy features transitional dynamics, the outward-looking economy does not. The distortions caused by the externality in the economy with external habits can be corrected by subsidizing income at a time-varying rate or by means of a tax on consumption at a decreasing rate. We contrast the equilibrium dynamics of our specification to the more standard specification of the habit formation consumption reference point. Numerical simulations supplement the theoretical analysis.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Determination of antibodies against ToRCH antigens at the beginning of pregnancy allows assessment of both the maternal immune status and the risks to an adverse pregnancy outcome. Age-standardised seroprevalences were determined in sera from 1009 women of childbearing age residing in Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Poland, Turkey or China using a multiparametric immunoblot containing antigen substrates for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii, rubella virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1, HSV-2), Bordetella pertussis, Chlamydia trachomatis, parvovirus B19, Treponema pallidum and varicella zoster virus (VZV). Seroprevalences for antibodies against HSV-1 were >90% in samples from Brazil and Turkey, whereas the other four countries showed lower mean age-adjusted seroprevalences (range: 62.5–87.9%). Samples from Brazilian women showed elevated seroprevalences of antibodies against HSV-2 (40.1%), C. trachomatis (46.8%) and B. pertussis (56.6%) compared to the other five countries. Seroprevalences of anti-T. gondii antibodies (0.5%) and anti-parvovirus B19 antibodies (7.5%) were low in samples from Chinese women, compared to the other five countries. Samples from German women revealed a low age-standardised seroprevalence of anti-CMV antibodies (28.8%) compared to the other five countries. These global differences in immune status of women in childbearing age advocate country-specific prophylaxis strategies to avoid infection with ToRCH pathogens.
Sperm capacitation includes the reorganization of plasma membrane components and the outstanding modification of the glycocalyx. The α-mannose presence and location during in vitro capacitation have been commonly described in human spermatozoa using Concanavalin A (Con A) lectin. However, it is still unclear to date how in vitro capacitation time affects the α-mannose residues and their topographic spatial distribution on sperm membrane. Here, we characterized the α-mannose density and specific membrane domain locations before and after in vitro capacitation (1–4 h) using high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). Results showed that α-mannose residues were present preferably on the acrosome domains for all physiological conditions. Uncapacitated sperm comparatively exhibits significant highest labeling densities of α-mannose residues. In addition, as in vitro capacitation takes place, significant and progressive decreasing of sugar residues was combined with their relocation mostly affecting acrosomal domain apical areas. Our findings reveal that combined approach using FE-SEM and gold nanoparticle topographical mapping offers new human sperm biomolecular and structural details during capacitation events.
Identify and characterise the food industry’s involvement in nutrition and dietetics national and regional events in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Between February and April 2020, we conducted desk-based searches for nutrition and dietetics events held in the region between January 2018 and December 2019. Online freely accessible, publicly available information was collected on the involvement of the food industry through: sponsorship of events; sponsorship of sessions; speakers from the food industry; scholarships, fellowship, grants, awards and other prizes and; exhibition space/booths.
Nutrition and dietetics events in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Thirty-one events held in twenty countries of the region had information publicly available online at the period of data collection. There was a lack of transparency on the involvement of industry actors in these events. When information was publicly available, we found that a total of ninety-two food industry actors sponsored 88 % of these events.
There is a mostly unreported, but likely extensive, involvement of food industry actors in nutrition and dietetics events in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Pulses such as peas, beans or lentils are one of the most complete foods at the nutritional level; however, they are one of the most often neglected foods in the diets of university students. Entrance to university translates into a major lifestyle change for many young people, and the habits acquired or cemented at this time will remain into adulthood. The objective of this study is to analyse the association between personal/sociodemographic factors, dietary intake of other food groups and the consumption of pulses in first-year university students. This cross-sectional study is part of the UniHcos project, a multicentre study of multipurpose prospective cohorts in eleven Spanish universities. Data from 9862 university students were collected through an online self-questionnaire completed by all students who met the selection criteria and agreed to participate in the project during the 2011–2018 academic years. Of students, 75·8 % presented an inadequate (≤2 times/week) consumption of pulses. Living outside the family home in either a student residence (OR 0·76; 95 % CI 0·69, 0·84) or rental (OR 0·81; 95 % CI 0·70, 0·95) decreased the compliance with recommendations on the consumption of pulses. Low consumption of pulses is seemingly not restricted to a specific profile or dietary pattern among university students, and no specific focus group for intervention can be identified. Policies promoting the consumption of pulses among the university population as a whole are necessary to increase compliance rates with the dietary recommendations.
To what do we ascribe the far-reaching success of companies from emerging economies in domestic and global markets? What do emerging markets companies do differently? This chapter studies and provides a comparison of the cases of seven successful Colombian companies in different industries to identify specific attributes and capabilities that have helped these firms to overcome the liabilities associated with being situated in emerging markets, enabling them to become market leaders domestically or internationally. The findings of this study suggest that the most relevant capabilities for the success of these companies are their ability to obtain resources, their product adaptation capabilities, and their understanding of local consumers’ needs.
The history of European health technology assessment (HTA) goes back more than 30 years. Almost as old as HTA agencies themselves is the desire to achieve European collaboration. This gained further impetus with the establishment of the European Network of Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) in 2006. In this context, the field of information management faced specific challenges. Although these services are an integral part of HTA and information specialists play a key role here, this field is often not adequately represented in the HTA agencies within EUnetHTA. Furthermore, the organization of HTA production, including the types of HTAs produced, as well as funding, varies considerably. In order to meet these different conditions, information specialists have created various products and defined processes. With the EUnetHTA guideline, a common methodological understanding for the production of rapid Relative Effectiveness Assessments now exists. Furthermore, the Standard Operating Procedures map the complex information retrieval processes within EUnetHTA in a hands-on manner. The newly established Information Specialist Network (ISN) will in future ensure that information specialists are involved in all EUnetHTA assessments and that the methods are applied consistently in all assessments. In addition, the steering committee of the ISN manages enquiries and can be contacted to discuss methodological issues. Major barriers such as heterogeneity in the daily work of the EUnetHTA members can only be overcome through more collaboration and training.
During the first months of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic in 2020, Spain implemented an initial lockdown period on 15 March followed by a strengthened lockdown period on 30 March when only essential workers continued to commute to work. However, little is known about the epidemic dynamics in different age groups during these periods.
We used the daily number of coronavirus 2019 cases (by date of symptom onset) reported to the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network among individuals aged 15–19 years through 65–69 years. For each age group g, we computed the proportion PrE(g) of individuals in age group g among all reported cases aged 15–69 years during the pre-lockdown period (1−10 March 2020) and the corresponding proportion PrL(g) during two lockdown periods (initial: 25 March−3 April; strengthened: 8–17 April 2020). For each lockdown period, we computed the proportion ratios PR(g) = PrL(g)/PrE(g). For each pair of age groups g1, g2, PR(g1)>PR(g2) implies a relative increase in the incidence of detected SARS-CoV-2 infection in the age group g1 compared with g2 for the lockdown period vs. the pre-lockdown period.
For the initial lockdown period, the highest PR values were in age groups 50–54 years (PR = 1.21; 95% CI: 1.12,1.30) and 55–59 years (PR = 1.19; 1.11,1.27). For the second lockdown period, the highest PR values were in age groups 15–19 years (PR = 1.26; 0.95,1.68) and 50–54 years (PR = 1.20; 1.09,1.31).
Our results suggest that different outbreak control measures led to different changes in the relative incidence by age group. During the initial lockdown period, when non-essential work was allowed, individuals aged 40–64 years, particularly those aged 50–59 years, had a higher relative incidence compared with the pre-lockdown period. Younger adults/older adolescents had an increased relative incidence during the later, strengthened lockdown. The role of different age groups during the epidemic should be considered when implementing future mitigation efforts.
We report the synthesis of metal-free nitrogen-doped electrocatalysts obtained from graphite and urea as carbon and nitrogen precursor, respectively. High-energy milling and thermal annealing were carried out to obtain low cost electrocatalysts. Additionally, this method has shorter synthesis times, is environmentally friendly and use high-availability raw materials. A short-route synthesis consisted in the partial exfoliation of graphite by mechanical milling with urea. Afterwards, nitrogen was integrated into the exfoliated graphite lattice by thermal annealing at 500°C. XPS analyses shows up to 1.7 at. % was incorporated to the graphitic lattice. Scanning Electron Microscopy, X-ray diffraction and Raman Spectroscopy were used to analyse the morphology and structural features. The catalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction in basic media was evaluated by the rotating disk electrode technique.
Maternal milk consumption can cause changes in the mammary epithelium of the offspring that result in the expression of molecules involved in the induction of differentiation, reducing the risk of developing mammary cancer later in life. We previously showed that animals that maintained a higher intake of maternal milk had a lower incidence of mammary cancer. In the present study, we evaluated one of the possible mechanisms by which the consumption of maternal milk could modify the susceptibility to mammary carcinogenesis. We used Sprague Dawley rats reared in litters of 3 (L3), 8 (L8), or 12 (L12) pups per mother in order to generate a differential consumption of milk. Whole mounts of mammary glands were performed to analyze the changes in morphology. Using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), we analyzed the expression of mammary Pinc, Tbx3, Stat6, and Gata3 genes. We use the real-time methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction method to assess the methylation status of Stat6 and Gata3 CpG sites. Our findings show an increase in the size of the epithelial tree and a smaller number of ducts called terminal end buds in L3 vs. L12. We observed an increased expression of mRNA of Stat6, Gata3, Tbx3, and a lower expression of Pinc in L3 with respect to L12. Stat6 and Gata3 are more methylated in the CpG islands of the promoter analyzed in L12 vs. L3. In conclusion, the increased consumption of maternal milk during the postnatal stage generates epigenetic and morphological changes associated with the differentiation of the mammary gland.
Background: Annual flu vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the disease and its complications. Vaccine effectiveness (EV) varies from season to season, requiring annual re-evaluation. The objective of this study was to estimate the preliminary effectiveness of the influenza vaccine until epidemiological week 4 of the 2019–2020 season, in patients admitted to a tertiary-level hospital. Method: We conducted a case-control study at University General Hospital, Alicante, Spain, during the 2019–2020 season. We included all patients hospitalized with influenza confirmed by laboratory test (ie, PCR positive for influenza) during the period between epidemiological week 40 of 2019 and epidemiological week 4 of 2020. These were considered cases, and those with clinical suspicion of influenza and negative RT-PCR were considered controls. Vaccination coverage was calculated in cases and in controls, determining the odds ratio. We calculated the vaccine effectiveness (VE) and its 95% confidence interval using the following formula: VE = (1 − odds ratio) ×100. Result: We included 545 patients: 61 cases and 484 controls. The overall EV for influenza cases prevention was 40.7% (95% CI, −17.1 to 70.1), and for those >1 year of age, the overall EV was 56.9% (95% CI, 13.9–78.5). Conclusion: The 2019–2020 Influenza vaccine was effective in preventing influenza cases in patients admitted up to week 4 of the 2019–2020 season. These results are preliminary and may vary; they should be re-evaluated at the end of the season.
Background: The introduction of new technologies into the medical field has the duality of improvement and concerns about correct usage and cleaning. Mobile phones are used by healthcare professionals (HCPs) in the work place, and there is not an official policy about their use in health environment. Methods: We asked 60 intensive care unit (ICU) HCPs from 2 units (the burn unit and the internal medicine unit) to participate in an electronic survey about mobile phone usage and hand hygiene compliance; we also cultured the hands and mobile phones of the participants. Unfortunately, 13 HCPs did not participate. Susceptibility testing of the strains was conducted, as well as molecular testing. Results: Overall, 47 HCPs responded to the inquiry: 19% were nurses (9 of 47), 19% were resident physicians (9 of 47), 17% were nursery technicians (8 of 47), 17% were physiotherapists (8 of 47), 13% were cleaning staff (6 of 47), 11% were consultants (5 of 47), and 4% were technicians (2 of 47). Moreover, 26 of 47 participants (55%) were woman and 21 (45%) were men. From all HCP categories, 39 of 47 respondents (83%) reported that they had optimal hand hygiene compliance. However, 92% of respondents had a colonized hand and 90% had a colonized mobile phone. Also, 44 of 47 HCPs (94%) reported that the took their personal mobile phone into the workplace; 40 (85%) reported that they used it during the work day and 35 (74%) reported that they cleaned it. However, 8 HCPs (26%) reported that they had never cleaned the device. All of the HCPs understood that mobile phones can harbor bacteria, and 27 of 47 HCPs (57.45%) indicated that they use 70% alcohol to clean their mobile phones. In contrast, the first choice for hand hygiene was water and soap in 51% of HCPs (24 of 47). Also, 3 HCPs did not have any colonization in the hand culture but had healthcare-associated infection (HAI) pathogens in the mobile phone culture. Conclusions: A policy regarding mobile phone usage in the healthcare setting should be in place, and cleaning of electronic devices in hospitals should be standardized.
Neurodegenerative diseases (ND) are chronic pathologies that generate great limitations and disabilities in the person and other effects on the Family Quality of Life (FQoL). FQoL is a multidimensional concept that includes health of the family, financial well-being, family relationships, informal support, support from care services, the influence of values, leisure and recreation, and community interaction. Several studies have demonstrated the impact that the absence of supports has on the FQoL.
This research aims to explore, from the perspective of social service professionals, to what extent the service supports available to people with ND and their families in the Spain-Portugal cross-border area are adequate and sufficient to contribute to the improvement of the FQoL.
Qualitative methodology has been implemented. Specifically, a focus group has been conducted. Seven public social service professionals (five social workers and 2 community animators) working in the cross-border area studied participated in it. With the support of the Atlas.ti software and following a deductive coding model, the data obtained were systematically coded and interpreted by grouping the information into categories.
Initial research results suggest that 1) most of the support is exclusively aimed at the care of the sick person, even if it indirectly contributes to the improvement of the FQoL; 2) there are adequate support services for the improvement of the FQoL, but they are very insufficient; 3) formal support in the rural environment is limited by the characteristics of the environment.
Initial results suggest that the lack of access and inadequacy of support services in rural areas has an impact on the FQoL.