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Nutrition during the first 1000 days of life represents a window of opportunity to reduce the risk of metabolic dysfunctions later in life. Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and adequate introduction of solid foods are essential to promote metabolic and nutritional benefits. We evaluated the association of infant feeding practices from birth to 6 months (M) with adiposity indicators at 12 M. We performed a secondary analysis of 106 healthy term infants born from a cohort of healthy pregnant women. Type of breastfeeding (exclusive or nonexclusive), the start of complementary feeding (CF) (before (<4 M) or after (≥4 M)), and adiposity (body mass index – BMI, body mass index-for-age – BMI/A, waist circumference – WC, and waist circumference–length ratio – WLR) were evaluated at 12 M using descriptive statistics, mean differences, X2, and linear regression models. During the first 6 M, 28.3% (n = 30) of the infants received EBF. Early CF (<4 M) was present in 26.4% (n = 28) of the infants. Children who started CF < 4 M were less breastfed, received added sugars as the most frequently introduced food category, and showed higher BMI, BMI/A, WC, and WLR; those who consumed added sugars early (<4 M) had a higher WC. Starting CF < 4 M was the main factor associated with a higher WC at 12 M. Unhealthy infant feeding practices, such as lack of EBF, early CF, and early introduction of sugars, may be associated with higher adiposity at 12 M.
The giant gypsum crystals of Naica cave have fascinated scientists since their discovery in 2000. Human activity has changed the microclimate inside the cave, making scientists wonder about the potential environmental impact on the crystals. Over the last 9 years, we have studied approximately 70 samples. This paper reports on the detailed chemical–structural characterization of the impurities present at the surface of these crystals and the experimental simulations of their potential deterioration patterns. Selected samples were studied by petrography, optical and electronic microscopy, and laboratory X-ray diffraction. 2D grazing incidence X-ray diffraction, X-ray μ-fluorescence, and X-ray μ-absorption near-edge structure were used to identify the impurities and their associated phases. These impurities were deposited during the latest stage of the gypsum crystal formation and have afterward evolved with the natural high humidity. The simulations of the behavior of the crystals in microclimatic chambers produced crystal dissolution by 1–4% weight fraction under high CO2 concentration and permanent fog, and gypsum phase dehydration under air and CO2 gaseous environment. Our work suggests that most surface impurities are of natural origin; the most significant anthropogenic damage on the crystals is the extraction of water from the caves.
We aimed to investigate the heterogeneity of seasonal suicide patterns among multiple geographically, demographically and socioeconomically diverse populations.
Weekly time-series data of suicide counts for 354 communities in 12 countries during 1986–2016 were analysed. Two-stage analysis was performed. In the first stage, a generalised linear model, including cyclic splines, was used to estimate seasonal patterns of suicide for each community. In the second stage, the community-specific seasonal patterns were combined for each country using meta-regression. In addition, the community-specific seasonal patterns were regressed onto community-level socioeconomic, demographic and environmental indicators using meta-regression.
We observed seasonal patterns in suicide, with the counts peaking in spring and declining to a trough in winter in most of the countries. However, the shape of seasonal patterns varied among countries from bimodal to unimodal seasonality. The amplitude of seasonal patterns (i.e. the peak/trough relative risk) also varied from 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.33–1.62) to 1.05 (95% CI: 1.01–1.1) among 12 countries. The subgroup difference in the seasonal pattern also varied over countries. In some countries, larger amplitude was shown for females and for the elderly population (≥65 years of age) than for males and for younger people, respectively. The subperiod difference also varied; some countries showed increasing seasonality while others showed a decrease or little change. Finally, the amplitude was larger for communities with colder climates, higher proportions of elderly people and lower unemployment rates (p-values < 0.05).
Despite the common features of a spring peak and a winter trough, seasonal suicide patterns were largely heterogeneous in shape, amplitude, subgroup differences and temporal changes among different populations, as influenced by climate, demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Our findings may help elucidate the underlying mechanisms of seasonal suicide patterns and aid in improving the design of population-specific suicide prevention programmes based on these patterns.
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm, resulting in serious widespread impact across the island, including communication and power outages, water systems impairment, and damage to life-saving infrastructure. In collaboration with the Puerto Rico Department of Health, the Public Health Branch (PHB), operating under the Department of Health and Human Services Incident Response Coordination Team, was tasked with completing assessments of health-care facilities in Puerto Rico to determine infrastructure capabilities and post-hurricane capacity. Additionally, in response to significant data entry and presentation needs, the PHB leadership worked with the Puerto Rico Planning Board to develop and test a new app-based infrastructure capacity assessment tool. Assessments of hospitals were initiated September 28, 2017, and completed November 10, 2017 (n = 64 hospitals, 97%). Assessments of health-care centers were initiated on October 7, 2017, with 186 health-care centers (87%) assessed through November 18, 2017. All hospitals had working communications; however, 9% (n = 17) of health-care centers reported no communication capabilities. For the health-care centers, 114 (61%) reported they were operational but had sustainment needs. In conclusion, health-care facility assessments indicated structural damage issues and operational capacity decreases, while health-care centers reported loss of communication capabilities post-Hurricane Maria.
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.
First-degree relatives of patients with psychotic disorder have higher levels of polygenic risk (PRS) for schizophrenia and higher levels of intermediate phenotypes.
We conducted, using two different samples for discovery (n = 336 controls and 649 siblings of patients with psychotic disorder) and replication (n = 1208 controls and 1106 siblings), an analysis of association between PRS on the one hand and psychopathological and cognitive intermediate phenotypes of schizophrenia on the other in a sample at average genetic risk (healthy controls) and a sample at higher than average risk (healthy siblings of patients). Two subthreshold psychosis phenotypes, as well as a standardised measure of cognitive ability, based on a short version of the WAIS-III short form, were used. In addition, a measure of jumping to conclusion bias (replication sample only) was tested for association with PRS.
In both discovery and replication sample, evidence for an association between PRS and subthreshold psychosis phenotypes was observed in the relatives of patients, whereas in the controls no association was observed. Jumping to conclusion bias was similarly only associated with PRS in the sibling group. Cognitive ability was weakly negatively and non-significantly associated with PRS in both the sibling and the control group.
The degree of endophenotypic expression of schizophrenia polygenic risk depends on having a sibling with psychotic disorder, suggestive of underlying gene–environment interaction. Cognitive biases may better index genetic risk of disorder than traditional measures of neurocognition, which instead may reflect the population distribution of cognitive ability impacting the prognosis of psychotic disorder.
Legume cover crops can supply a significant amount of nitrogen (N) for cash crops, which is particularly important for organic farmers. Because N mineralization from cover crop residue depends on the amount of biomass, cover crop quality, as well as environmental conditions such as soil moisture and temperature, predicting the amount of N mineralized and the timing of release has been difficult. We have developed a Cover Crop Nitrogen Calculator based on the N subroutine of the CERES crop model and evaluated the use of the predicted N credits on yields of fall broccoli [Brassica oleracea L. (Italica group)] at a research farm and two working farms. Research farm trials consisted of a cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.) cover crop and no cover crop treatments, each at four N rates (0N, 0.5N, 1N and 1.5N, with 1N the target N rate of 112 kg N ha−1 in 2013 and 168 kg N ha−1 in 2014 and 2015) in a randomized complete block design. On-farm trials consisted of a cowpea or sunn hemp (Crotolaria juncea L.) cover crop at four N rates (0N, 0.5N, 1N and 1.5N) and no cover crop treatment at the 1N rate in a completely randomized design. Cover crop biomass and quality (N%, carbohydrates%, cellulose% and lignin%) were measured and used with a 5-yr average soil moisture and soil temperature from a local weather station to predict an N credit. In the cover crop treatments, the N rate was modified by the predicted credit, while the no cover crop treatment received the full N fertilizer rate either as feathermeal (certified organic fields) or as urea (conventional field). At the research farm, broccoli yield increased up to the 0.5N rate, and there was no difference in yield between the no cover 0.5N rate and the cover crop 0.5N rate in 2013, 2014 and 2105. On-farm, we saw an N response in two site-years. In these site-years, there was no difference between the no cover 1N rate and the cover crop 1N rate. At the third site-year, no N response was seen. Overall, our results showed using the cover crop credit predicted by the Calculator did not reduce yields. The use of a decision support tool such as the Calculator may help farmers better manage N fertilizer when cover crops are used, and increase cover crop adoption.
The acidity of SBA-15 was tuned with the incorporation of Al+3, Ti+4, and –PrSO3H groups through sol–gel, employing molar ratios of Si/M = 10 (M = Al, Ti) and Si/S = 10. This results in mesoporous materials with the typical hexagonal structure of SBA-15, large surface areas, and great pore diameter. The incorporation of Al+3 and Ti+4 mainly leads to catalysts with both Brönsted and Lewis acid sites. The addition of sulfonic groups to these samples enhanced their surface acidity, creating preferentially Brönsted acid sites. Among the evaluated catalysts, the SBA-15-SO3H showed the highest catalytic activity, which was related to the high concentration of Lewis acid sites, and a remarkable resistance to deactivation, probably due to its low hydrophilicity. A first order kinetic equation fits well the experimental data and an activation energy of 31.5 kJ/mol similar to other reports for this reaction was calculated for the SBA-15-SO3H catalyst.
ZnAl–Zr(X) hydrotalcite-like materials were synthesized by co-precipitation using a Zn/Al molar ratio of 2 and Zr/Al(X) molar ratios of 0.0, 0.10, and 0.25. The effect of the activation temperature on the catalytic performance of these materials was analyzed, revealing that at relatively low temperature (200 °C), the collapse of the material structure is diminished, leading to FAME yields varying from 68 to 82%. This remarkable catalytic activity is related to the formation of hydrotalcite, zincite, and hydrozincite which in turn lead to the generation of Brönsted basic sites and Lewis acid–basic pairs. Incorporation of Zr+4 into the brucite-like structure of hydrotalcites enhances the basicity of ZnAl–Zr(X) catalysts, which correlates well with the increase in catalytic activity observed for these catalysts. The stability of the ZnAl–Zr(0.25) catalyst was further studied, showing insignificant deactivation after five subsequent reaction cycles. A simplified reaction scheme was proposed for the transesterification reaction over these materials.
The care of patients with CHD remains a challenge in low- and middle-income countries. Their health systems have not been able to achieve consistently high performance in this field. The large volume of patients, manpower constraints, inconsistencies in the level and type of background training of the teams caring for this patient population, and the inadequate quality control systems are some of the barriers to achieving excellence of care. We describe three different international projects supporting the paediatric cardiac surgical and paediatric cardiac intensive care programmes in Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean.
Species composition of wild reservoir hosts can influence the transmission and maintenance of multi-host vector borne pathogens. The ‘pace of life’ hypothesis proposes that the life history strategy of reservoir hosts can influence pathogen transmission of vector borne generalist pathogens. We use empirical data to parameterize a mathematical model that investigates the impacts of host life history traits on vector transmission dynamics of the vector-borne multi-host parasite Trypanosoma cruzi in habitats characterized by different degrees of deforestation and varying host community structure. The model considers susceptible and infected vector and host populations. When comparing the proportion of vectors infected with T. cruzi predicted by the model with empirical data, we found a trend of increasing vector infection as anthropogenic landscape disturbance increases for both data and model output. The model's vector infection rates were significantly lower than empirical results, but when incorporating host congenital transmission in the model, vector infection approaches field data. We conclude that intervened habitats associated with r-selected host species communities predict higher proportions of infected vectors.
The main goal of this work consisted in cloning, purifying and characterizing a protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C) from promastigotes of Leishmania major. The gene was cloned and amplified by PCR using specific oligonucleotides and the recombinant protein was purified by affinity chromatography. The peak with maximal protein concentration was analysed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and revealed a protein of 44·9 kDa with PP2C activity. This activity was dependent on divalent cations (Mg+2 and Mn+2) and was optimal at pH of 8·5, using phosphothreonine as the substrate. Sanguinarine inhibited the activity of the recombinant LmPP2C, while protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors had no effect. The recombinant LmPP2C was used to generate polyclonal antibodies. These antibodies recognized a protein of 44·9 kDa in different Leishmania species; the LmPP2C was localized in the flagellar pocket and the flagellum of promastigotes.
The discrepancy between abundances computed using optical recombination lines (ORLs) and collisionally excited lines (CELs) is a major, unresolved problem with significant implications for the determination of chemical abundances throughout the Universe. In planetary nebulae (PNe), the most common explanation for the discrepancy is that two different gas phases coexist: a hot component with standard metallicity, and a much colder plasma enhanced in heavy elements. This dual nature is not predicted by mass loss theories, and direct observational support for it is still weak. In this work, we present our recent findings that demonstrate that the largest abundance discrepancies are associated with close binary central stars. OSIRIS-GTC tunable filter imaging of the faint O ii ORLs and MUSE-VLT deep 2D spectrophotometry confirm that O ii ORL emission is more centrally concentrated than that of [Oiii] CELs and, therefore, that the abundance discrepancy may be closely linked to binary evolution.
In 2007, a partnership was initiated between a small-volume paediatric cardiac surgery unit located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, and a large-volume cardiac surgery unit located in Milan, Italy. The main goal of this partnership was to provide surgical treatment to children with CHD in the Canary Islands.
An operative algorithm for performing surgery in elective, urgent, and emergency cases was adopted by the this joint programme. Demographic and in-hospital variables were collected from the medical records of all the patients who had undergone surgical intervention for CHD from January, 2009 to March, 2013. Data were introduced into the congenital database of the European Congenital Heart Surgeons Association Congenital Database and the database was interrogated.
In total, 65 surgical mission trips were performed during the period of this study. The European Congenital Heart Surgeons Association Congenital Database documented 214 total patients with a mean age at operation of 36.45 months, 316 procedures in total with 198 cardiopulmonary bypass cases, 46 non-cardiopulmonary bypass cases, 26 cardiovascular cases without cardiopulmonary bypass, 22 miscellaneous other types of cases, 16 interventional cardiology cases, six thoracic cases, one non-cardiac, non-thoracic procedure on a cardiac patient with cardiac anaesthesia, and one extracorporeal membrane oxygenation case. The 30-day mortality was 6.07% (13 patients).
A joint programme between a small-volume centre and a large-volume centre may represent a valid and reproducible model for safe paediatric cardiac surgery in the context of a peripheral region.
Fathers’ child-directed speech across two contexts was examined. Father–child dyads from sixty-nine low-income families were videotaped interacting during book reading and toy play when children were 2;0. Fathers used more diverse vocabulary and asked more questions during book reading while their mean length of utterance was longer during toy play. Variation in these specific characteristics of fathers’ speech that differed across contexts was also positively associated with child vocabulary skill measured on the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory. Results are discussed in terms of how different contexts elicit specific qualities of child-directed speech that may promote language use and development.
The aim of this randomized clinical trial follow-up at three months was to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational intervention with a focus on diet and physical activity (PA) to change the amount of PA, body mass index (BMI) and the waist circumference (WC) in patients with severe mental illness.
We recruited 332 outpatients with severe mental disorders undergoing treatment with antipsychotic medication from Mental Healthcare Centers of Barcelona. They were randomly assigned to an intervention or a control group. The patients in the intervention group participated in a group PA and diet educational program. The blinded measurements at 0 and 3 months were: the level of PA (IPAQ questionnaire), BMI, WC, blood pressure, dietary habits (PREDIMED questionnaire), quality of life (SF-36 questionnaire) and laboratory parameters (cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose).
The average age was 46.7 years and 55% were males. Schizophrenia had been diagnosed in 67.1% of them. At 3 months, the average weekly walking METs rose significantly in the IG 266.05 METs (95%CI: 16.86 to 515.25; P = 0.036). The total MET average also rose although not significantly: 191.38 METs (95%CI: 1.38 to 381.38; P = 0.086). However, the BMI decreased significantly more in the CG, by 0.26 kg/m2 (95%CI: 0.02 to 0.51; P = 0.038), than in the IG. There were no significant differences in the WC.
The short-term results suggest that the intervention increases the level of PA, but does not improve physical or laboratory parameters.
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01729650 (effectiveness of a physical activity and diet program in patients with psychotic disorder [CAPiCOR]).
Breast milk constitutes one of the most important sources of postnatal microbes. However, the influence of perinatal factors on the milk microbiome is still poorly understood. The aim of our study was to assess the impact of mode of delivery on the microbiome composition and diversity present in breast milk of healthy mothers. Mature milk samples (n=10) were taken from mothers after 1 month of exclusively breastfeeding. Microbiomes from milk samples were analyzed with 16S ribosomal RNA gene pyrosequencing and targeted quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Despite inter-individual variability in bacterial composition, The Principal Coordinates Analysis clearly separated milk microbiome from mothers with vaginal delivery (n=6) from those who undergo C-section (n=4). In addition, higher bacterial diversity and richness was found in milk samples from vaginal deliveries. Quantitative PCR data showed that higher levels of Bifidobacterium spp. were related significantly to lower levels of Staphylococcus spp. Despite the low sample size, our data suggest that mode of delivery has an important impact on milk microbiome composition. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm these results and to understand the biological effects of C-section associated microbes on infant’s health.
Solar irradiance and precipitation are the most likely drivers of the seasonal variation of net primary productivity (NPP) in tropical forests. Since their roles remain poorly understood, we use litter traps, dendrometer bands and census data collected from one hectare permanent plots to quantify the seasonality of above-ground NPP components and weather parameters in 13 sites distributed along a 2800-m altitudinal gradient ranging from lowland Amazonia to the high Andes. We combine canopy leaf area index and litterfall data to describe the seasonality of canopy production. We hypothesize that solar irradiance is the primary driver of canopy phenology in wetter sites, whereas precipitation drives phenology in drier systems. The seasonal rhythm of canopy NPP components is in synchrony with solar irradiance at all altitudes. Leaf litterfall peaks in the late dry season, both in lowland (averaging 0.54 ± 0.08 Mg C ha y−1, n = 5) and montane forests (averaging 0.29 ± 0.04 Mg C ha y−1, n = 8). Peaks in above-ground coarse woody NPP appears to be triggered by the onset of rainfall in seasonal lowland rain forests (averaging 0.26 ± 0.04 Mg C ha y−1, n = 5, in November), but not in montane cloud forests.