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TwinsMX is a national twin registry in Mexico recently created with institutional support from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. It aims to serve as a platform to advance epidemiological and genetic research in the country and to disentangle the genetic and environmental contributions to health and disease in the admixed Mexican population. Here, we describe our recruitment and data collection strategies and discuss both the progress to date and future directions. More information about the registry is available on our website: https://twinsmxofficial.unam.mx/ (content in Spanish).
Social cognition has been associated with functional outcome in patients with first episode psychosis (FEP). Social cognition has also been associated with neurocognition and cognitive reserve. Although cognitive reserve, neurocognitive functioning, social cognition, and functional outcome are related, the direction of their associations is not clear. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to analyze the influence of social cognition as a mediator between cognitive reserve and cognitive domains on functioning in FEP both at baseline and at 2 years.
The sample of the study was composed of 282 FEP patients followed up for 2 years. To analyze whether social cognition mediates the influence of cognitive reserve and cognitive domains on functioning, a path analysis was performed. The statistical significance of any mediation effects was evaluated by bootstrap analysis.
At baseline, as neither cognitive reserve nor the cognitive domains studied were related to functioning, the conditions for mediation were not satisfied. Nevertheless, at 2 years of follow-up, social cognition acted as a mediator between cognitive reserve and functioning. Likewise, social cognition was a mediator between verbal memory and functional outcome. The results of the bootstrap analysis confirmed these significant mediations (95% bootstrapped CI (−10.215 to −0.337) and (−4.731 to −0.605) respectively).
Cognitive reserve and neurocognition are related to functioning, and social cognition mediates in this relationship.
Data exchange protection is one of the main challenges in e-health. Nowadays, many people move from one country to another for various reasons, even though they may have chronic diseases or multiple pathologies. The main objective of the SHIELD project is to create an open and extendable security architecture, with supported privacy mechanisms that citizens can trust, to provide systematic protection for the storage and exchange of health data across European borders.
epSOS is a European project that deals with the security and interoperability of e-health data, and has developed an Open National Contact Point (OpenNCP) architecture. For the initial validation of the framework, two OpenNCP virtual nodes were used to simulate the real nodes between Italy and Spain. For secure data exchange, different prototype tools were designed: end-to-end user interfaces (profiles for administrative staff, nurses, physicians, etc.); sensitivity and data hiding tools; consent management tools; report translation tools; and mobile device tampering detection tools.
Validation scenarios (realistic use cases) were developed in Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The first scenario was an Italian citizen traveling to Spain who has an acute emergency episode (e.g. stroke) and loses consciousness. The Spanish emergency department physician assisting the patient checks the patient's health record. The first round of SHIELD framework validations was successfully completed, and the results were presented to the European Commission.
Security challenges need to be addressed when assessing e-health solutions. The challenges include issues with interoperability, confidentiality, availability, integrity, privacy, ethics, regulations, and e-health data. In addition, decisions must be made as to which data will be shared and how. The results of the initial validations provide a basis for the in-depth requirements analysis and for setting the main pillars of the SHIELD architecture design.
Population ageing and increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and their consequences, changes in family structure and a decrease in the potential pool of family care, increase the need for formal long-term care for older adults in Mexico, and the need to understand the experiences of informal care-givers and how this impacts their social, family and personal conditions. This study investigates the experience of informal care-givers of dependent older adults using a cross-sectional qualitative study with an ethnographic focus. Thematic analysis was performed. The study comprised 48 semi-structured interviews with care-givers of dependent older adults who are beneficiaries of an in-home medical programme in Mexico City. The average age of care-givers was 54.7 years (standard deviation = 13.1, range = 24–86) and 75 per cent (36) were women. Results show care-giving experiences are diverse and complex, and profoundly affect the care-giver's life in terms of emotional burden, health deterioration and adverse life conditions due to economic deprivation. They also revealed key aspects such as the need to improve communication between care-givers and health-care personnel, the need for training about specific care needs and opportunity costs incurred. This information can serve as a basis for generating support strategies that may be integrated into the in-home programme. It is essential to promote actions that consider the ‘dependent older adult–informal care-giver’ dyad, and that aim to reduce the care-giving burden.
As a contribution to understanding the world biogeography of seed dormancy in the cosmopolitan genus Ilex, we studied seeds of I. argentina, I. brasiliensis, I. brevicuspis, I. dumosa, I. paraguariensis and I. theezans from the subtropical region of Argentina. We hypothesized that seeds of these species have non-deep simple morphophysiological dormancy (MPD). Effects of temperature, cold stratification and gibberellic acid (GA3) on seed germination and embryo growth were tested. Regardless of incubation temperature, little or no germination occurred for any species until ≥6 weeks. There was an up to 3-fold increase in embryo length to seed length (E:S) ratio before seeds germinated, and embryos grew only during warm-stratifying conditions. Seeds of I. brasiliensis, I. brevicuspis and I. theezans had non-deep simple MPD and germinated to ≥80% after 12, 24 and 16 weeks, respectively. Cold stratification increased germination of I. brasiliensis and I. brevicuspis, and GA3 increased the rate but not final germination percentage of I. brasiliensis and I. theezans. Fresh seeds of I. dumosa required 40 weeks of warm stratification to germinate to 53%, while those after-ripened for 2 months germinated to 81% after 30 weeks; this species has intermediate simple MPD. Seeds of I. argentina and I. paraguariensis germinated to 15 and 21%, respectively, after 40 weeks of warm stratification and did not after-ripen or respond to GA3; these seeds have deep simple MPD. This is the first report of intermediate and deep simple MPD that is broken by warm stratification, thereby increasing our knowledge of seed dormancy in Ilex and in subtropical regions.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are increasingly widespread pollutants introduced into the environment via oil spillage and incomplete anthropogenic combustion of fossil fuels. In this work, the capacity of stevensite and sepiolite to adsorb phenanthrene (PHE) has been evaluated experimentally by batch testing. Both clay minerals are distributed widely in the Madrid Basin, are of low cost and can be applied with minimal environmental impact. In the context of few previous studies, adsorption isotherms have been developed to understand the adsorption mechanisms and were fitted to the Freundlich and linear models with virtually the same results. Although stevensite showed greater adsorption capacity than sepiolite, the isotherms were constructed for equilibrium concentrations up to 0.8–1.0 mg/L due to the low solubility of PHE in water. When compared to other adsorbents the ability of stevensite to retain PAHs should be examined further in order to add and complement novel functions in reactive barriers.
The protein kinase R (PKR, also called EIF2AK2) is an interferon-inducible double-stranded RNA protein kinase with multiple effects on cells that plays an active part in the cellular response to numerous types of stress. PKR has been extensively studied and documented for its relevance as an antiviral agent and a cell growth regulator. Recently, the role of PKR related to metabolism, inflammatory processes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases has gained interest. In this review, we summarise and discuss the involvement of PKR in several cancer signalling pathways and the dual role that this kinase plays in cancer disease. We emphasise the importance of PKR as a molecular target for both conventional chemotherapeutics and emerging treatments based on novel drugs, and its potential as a biomarker and therapeutic target for several pathologies. Finally, we discuss the impact that the recent knowledge regarding PKR involvement in metabolism has in our understanding of the complex processes of cancer and metabolism pathologies, highlighting the translational research establishing the clinical and therapeutic potential of this pleiotropic kinase.
Control of fire was a hallmark of developing human cognition and an essential technology for the colonisation of cooler latitudes. In Europe, the earliest evidence comes from recent work at the site of Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar in south-eastern Spain. Charred and calcined bone and thermally altered chert were recovered from a deep, 0.8-million-year-old sedimentary deposit. A combination of analyses indicated that these had been heated to 400–600°C, compatible with burning. Inspection of the sediment and hydroxyapatite also suggests combustion and degradation of the bone. The results provide new insight into Early Palaeolithic use of fire and its significance for human evolution.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most important and prevalent diseases suffered by the elderly. Evidence exists that its onset and severity might be conditioned by antioxidant status. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between antioxidant status and COPD in institutionalised elderly people. In all, 183 elderly people aged >65 years (twenty-one had COPD and 160 healthy controls) were studied. The subjects’ diets were investigated via the use of precise individual weighing for 7 d. Body weight, height, and biceps and triceps skinfold thickness were measured, and body fat (kg) and BMI (kg/m2) were calculated. Serum retinol, α-tocopherol, β-carotene and vitamin C levels were determined. Subjects with COPD ate less fruits than healthy controls (117 (sd 52) v. 192 (sd 161) g/d), their coverage of the recommended intake of vitamin C was smaller (150 (sd 45) v. 191 (sd 88) %; note that both exceeded 100 %) and their diets had a lower antioxidant capacity (6558 (sd 2381) v. 9328 (sd 5367) mmol trolox equivalent/d). Those with COPD had lower serum vitamin C and α-tocopherol concentrations than healthy controls (32·4 (sd 15·3) v. 41·5 (sd 14·8) µmol/l and 12·1 (sd 3·2) v. 13·9 (sd 2·8) µmol/l, respectively). In addition, subjects with α-tocopherol <14·1µmol/l (50th percentile) were at 6·43 times greater risk of having COPD than those subjects with ≥14·1µmol/l (OR 6·43; 95 % CI 1·17, 35·24; P<0·05), taking sex, age, use of tobacco, body fat and vitamin E intake as covariables. Subjects with COPD had diets of poorer antioxidant quality, especially with respect to vitamins C and E, compared with healthy controls.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were synthesized by Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) from diethyl ether, butanol, hexane and ethyl acetate. A quartz tube with a stainless steel tube catalyst core with 0.019 m diameter and 0.6 m large formed the reactor. To avoid combustion, argon was used as the carrier gas. Time process ranged 30 to 60 min. The range of CNTs synthesis temperature was 680-850 °C for different precursors. Scanning Electron Microscopy micrographs have demonstrated tangled CNTs growth in all samples, thus presenting difficult length measurement. The CNTs diameters from diethyl ether are 45-200 nm, butanol diameter range from 55-230 nm, hexane diameter range is 50-130 nm and ethyl acetate range from 100 to 300 nm. Carbon content for all samples was higher than 93 %, CNTs from butanol showed carbon concentration up to 99%. FTIR, Raman and X-Ray Spectroscopies spectra for all samples demonstrated the characteristics signals present in carbon nanotubes. This research proposes a simple, effective and innovative method to synthesize CNTs by CVD on iron stainless steel catalyst in combination with diethyl ether, ethyl acetate, butanol and hexane as precursors by applying the principles of green chemistry, sustainability and its ease to be scaled.
In this work there was studied the effect of nano-Mg/Al hydrotalcite (NHT) as filler on maleic anhydride grafted linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE-g-MA). NHT was synthesized by the coprecipitation method with a ratio of Mg/Al=6 and nanocomposites were prepared using 1, 3 and 5 %wt of filler via melt-blending.
Morphological and structural analysis of NHT were performed and for nanocomposites, tensile tests and thermal properties were measured. Results showed that filler was well dispersed in the LLDPE matrix, mechanical properties were enhanced in most of the cases and thermal stability improvements were achieved in the nanocomposites.
Anthropometric reference data for older adults, particularly for the oldest old, are still limited, especially in developing countries. The aim of the present study was to describe sex- and age-specific distributions of anthropometric measurements and body composition in Mexican older adults. The methods included in the present study were assessment of height, weight, BMI, calf circumference (CC), waist circumference (WC) and hip circumference (HC) as well as knee height in a sample of 8883 Mexican adults aged 60 years and above and the estimation of sex- and age-specific differences in these measures. Results of the study (n 7865, 54 % women) showed that men are taller, have higher BMI, and larger WC than women, whereas women presented higher prevalence of obesity and adiposity. Overall prevalence of underweight was 2·3 % in men and 4·0 % in women, with increasing prevalence with advancing age. Significant differences were found by age group for weight, height, WC, HC, CC, BMI and knee height (P<0·001), but no significant differences in waist–hip circumference were observed. Significant differences between men and women were found in height, weight, circumferences, BMI and knee height (P<0·001). These results, which are consistent with studies of older adults in other countries, can be used for comparison with other Mexican samples including populations living in the USA and other countries with similar developmental and socio-economic conditions. This information can also be used as reference in clinical settings as a tool for detection of individuals at risk of either underweight or overweight and obesity.
RNA polymerase III (Pol III) synthesizes small RNA molecules that are essential for cell viability. Accurate initiation of transcription by Pol III requires general transcription factor TFIIIB, which is composed of three subunits: TFIIB-related factor BRF1, TATA-binding protein and BDP1. Here we report the molecular characterization of BRF1 in Trypanosoma brucei (TbBRF1), a parasitic protozoa that shows distinctive transcription characteristics. In silico analysis allowed the detection in TbBRF1 of the three conserved domains located in the N-terminal region of all BRF1 orthologues, namely a zinc ribbon motif and two cyclin repeats. Homology modelling suggested that, similarly to other BRF1 and TFIIB proteins, the TbBRF1 cyclin repeats show the characteristic structure of five α-helices per repeat, connected by a short random-coiled linker. As expected for a transcription factor, TbBRF1 was localized in the nucleus. Knock-down of TbBRF1 by RNA interference (RNAi) showed that this protein is essential for the viability of procyclic forms of T. brucei, since ablation of TbBRF1 led to growth arrest of the parasites. Nuclear run-on and quantitative real-time PCR analyses demonstrated that transcription of all the Pol III-dependent genes analysed was reduced, at different levels, after RNAi induction.
Organic films with a thickness of few nanometers are potentially useful components in many practical and commercial applications such as sensors, detectors, displays and electronic circuit components. In this context, the Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) method is one the most promising techniques for preparing these films.
In this work, we report the synthesis and characterization of three new amphiphilic organometallic compounds with ferrocene units, which consist of one ferrocenyl aminocarbene with the general formula FcC=Cr(CO)5NH(CH2)15CH3, and two ferrocenyl amides with the general formula FcC=MNH(CH2)15CH3 where M = S or Se. These new derivatives have been synthesized to study the influence of long alkyl side chain and the hydrophilic head on the film organization behavior at the air-water interface.
The Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique was focused for building ordered nanostructures in molecular assemblies of ferrocenyl derivatives, which are apt to form a stable and transferable monolayer film. The π-A isotherm, hysteresis, Brewster angle microscopy (BAM) and film stability were used to characterize the behavior of a monolayer film at the air-water interface. Z- type LB films were prepared from molecular monolayers which were transferred onto glass substrates. These films were characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM), UV-Visible spectra and X-ray diffraction (DRX) techniques.
Lobesia botrana is the most significant pest of grape berries in Spain. Further knowledge of its phenology would enable wine growers to decide on an optimal treatment schedule. The aim of this study is, therefore, to predict the flight peaks of L. botrana in seven wine-growing regions of Spain. The main goal is to provide a prediction model based on meteorological data records. A logistic function model, based on temperature and humidity records, together with an exhaustive statistical analysis, were used to compare the wine-growing regions in which the male flight phenology of L. botrana displays similar patterns and to sort them into groups. By doing so, a joint study of the dynamics of the moth is possible in the regions within each group. A comparison of the prediction errors before and after applying the Touzeau model confirmed that the fit of the latter model is not sufficiently accurate for the regions under study. Moth flight predictions with the logistic function model are good, but accuracy may still be improved by evaluating other non-biotic and biotic factors.
Physicochemical properties of transition metal oxides are directly determined by the oxidation state of the metallic cations. To address the increasing need to accurately evaluate the oxidation states of transition metal oxide systems at the nanoscale, here we present “Oxide Wizard.” This script for Digital Micrograph characterizes the energy-loss near-edge structure and the position of the transition metal edges in the electron energy-loss spectrum. These characteristics of the edges can be linked to the oxidation states of transition metals with high spatial resolution. The power of the script is demonstrated by mapping manganese oxidation states in Fe3O4/Mn3O4 core/shell nanoparticles with sub-nanometer resolution in real space.
The concept of ‘Ecosystem Services’ (ES) focuses on the linkages between ecosystems, including agroecosystems, and human well-being, referring to all the benefits, direct and indirect, that people obtain from ecosystems. In this paper, we review the application of the ES framework to pasture-based livestock farming systems, which allows (1) regulating, supporting and cultural ES to be integrated at the same level with provisioning ES, and (2) the multiple trade-offs and synergies that exist among ES to be considered. Research on livestock farming has focused mostly on provisioning ES (meat, milk and fibre production), despite the fact that provisioning ES strongly depends on regulating and supporting ES for their existence. We first present an inventory of the non-provisioning ES (regulating, supporting and cultural) provided by pasture-based livestock systems in Europe. Next, we review the trade-offs between provisioning and non-provisioning ES at multiple scales and present an overview of the methodologies for assessing biophysical trade-offs. Third, we present non-biophysical (economical and socio-cultural) methodologies and applications for ES valuation. We conclude with some recommendations for policy design.