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Carnivores play an important role in ecosystem functioning as apex predators. However, most carnivore species are threatened or have been extirpated in human-dominated landscapes. The Mediterranean region of central Chile is a biodiversity hotspot, but expansion of agricultural areas such as vineyards is degrading wildlife habitat. We estimated the species richness and composition of carnivore communities in remnant fragments of sclerophyllous forest-shrubland in the vineyard landscapes of central Chile to evaluate the effects of human disturbance at different spatial scales. We tested two hypotheses: (1) vineyard landscapes with higher levels of human disturbance support a lower diversity of native carnivores in fragments of remnant native vegetation compared to landscapes with larger areas of natural habitat, and (2) habitat specialists and generalists respond differentially to human influence at the habitat vs landscape spatial scale. We used camera traps at 12 sites across the study area and evaluated the impact of human disturbance indicators on the richness and detection frequency of carnivore species. We found that human population density negatively affected carnivore richness and was associated with a lower detection frequency of the Vulnerable guiña Leopardus guigna. The presence of domestic dogs also had a negative effect on the detection frequency of the guiña and the two native species of foxes, the culpeo Lycalopex culpaeus and South American grey fox Lycalopex griseus. We conclude that protecting remnants of native forest in vineyard landscapes is crucial for carnivore conservation in central Chile.
A consensus workshop on low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) was held in November 2018 where seventeen experts (the panel) discussed three themes identified as key to the science and policy of LCS: (1) weight management and glucose control; (2) consumption, safety and perception; (3) nutrition policy. The aims were to identify the reliable facts on LCS, suggest research gaps and propose future actions. The panel agreed that the safety of LCS is demonstrated by a substantial body of evidence reviewed by regulatory experts and current levels of consumption, even for high users, are within agreed safety margins. However, better risk communication is needed. More emphasis is required on the role of LCS in helping individuals reduce their sugar and energy intake, which is a public health priority. Based on reviews of clinical evidence to date, the panel concluded that LCS can be beneficial for weight management when they are used to replace sugar in products consumed in the diet (without energy substitution). The available evidence suggests no grounds for concerns about adverse effects of LCS on sweet preference, appetite or glucose control; indeed, LCS may improve diabetic control and dietary compliance. Regarding effects on the human gut microbiota, data are limited and do not provide adequate evidence that LCS affect gut health at doses relevant to human use. The panel identified research priorities, including collation of the totality of evidence on LCS and body weight control, monitoring and modelling of LCS intakes, impacts on sugar reduction and diet quality and developing effective communication strategies to foster informed choice. There is also a need to reconcile policy discrepancies between organisations and reduce regulatory hurdles that impede low-energy product development and reformulation.
Obesity is a modifiable, independent risk factor for mortality and morbidity after cardiovascular surgery in adults. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of obesity on short-term outcomes in adolescents undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease (CHD).
This retrospective chart review included patients 10–18 years of age who underwent CHD surgery. Our exclusion criteria were patients with a known genetic syndrome, heart transplantation, and patients with incomplete medical records. The clinical data collected included baseline demographics and multiple perioperative variables. Charting the body mass index in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth curves, the entire cohort was divided into three categories: obese (>95th percentile), overweight (85th–95th percentile), and normal weight (<85th percentile). The composite outcome included survival, arrhythmias, surgical wound infection, acute neurologic injury, and acute kidney injury.
The study cohort (n = 149) had a mean standard deviation (SD), body mass index (BMI) of 22.6 ± 6.5 g/m2, and 65% were male. There were 27 obese (18.1%), 24 overweight (16.1%), and 98 normal weight (65.8%) patients. Twenty-seven (18%) patients had composite adverse outcomes. Overweight and obese patients had significantly higher adverse outcomes compared with normal weight patients (odds ratio (OR): 2.9; confidence interval (CI): 1–8.5, p = 0.04 and OR: 3; CI: 1–8.5, p = 0.03, respectively). In multivariate analysis, obesity was an independent predictor of adverse outcome in our cohort (p = 0.04).
Obesity is associated with short-term adverse outcome and increased health resource utilisation in adolescents following surgery for CHD. Further studies should evaluate if intervention in the preoperative period can improve outcomes in this population.
It is estimated that 80% of the world population trusts traditional medicine. A large number of Americans use infusions of Bocconia frutescens L. leaves to treat cough and gastrointestinal disorders. However, phytochemical studies reveal that this plant contains alkaloids and other potentially harmful substances. This study aimed to evaluate the teratogenic effects of B. frutescens L. in an experimental model. Pregnant Wistar rats were administered lyophilized B. frutescens L. extract at 300 mg/kg/day or vehicle by orogastric route during the organogenesis period (gestation days 7–13), and external and internal congenital malformations were analyzed on the progeny on gestational day 20. Bocconia frutescens L. produced a significant increase in the number of different malformations, relative to the control group. We conclude that the consumption of B. frutescens L. during pregnancy at a dose equivalent to that consumed by humans increases the risk of teratogenic effects.
This work focuses on the functionalization of agave xylan-type hemicellulose functionalized with trimethoxysilylpropylmethacrylate and crosslinked with N-vinylcaprolactam to obtain a thermoresponsive material for potential applications in drug delivery. The hydrogels showed an interconnected and porous architecture with a lower critical solution temperature (LCST) close to poly(N-vinylcaprolactam)’s (PNVCL) LCST. These materials showed a good capacity to load ciprofloxacin (in the range 9.5 × 10−3–8.4 × 10−3 mg/mL), above the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC ≤ 0.004 × 10−3–0.5 × 10−3 mg/mL) for gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. The hybrid hydrogel inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Introduced species can have strong ecological, social and economic effects on their non-native environment. Introductions of megafaunal species are rare and may contribute to rewilding efforts, but they may also have pronounced socio-ecological effects because of their scale of influence. A recent introduction of the hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius into Colombia is a novel introduction of a megaherbivore onto a new continent, and raises questions about the future dynamics of the socio-ecological system into which it has been introduced. Here we synthesize current knowledge about the Colombian hippopotamus population, review the literature on the species to predict potential ecological and socio-economic effects of this introduction, and make recommendations for future study. Hippopotamuses can have high population growth rates (7–11%) and, on the current trajectory, we predict there could be 400–800 individuals in Colombia by 2050. The hippopotamus is an ecosystem engineer that can have profound effects on terrestrial and aquatic environments and could therefore affect the native biodiversity of the Magdalena River basin. Hippopotamuses are also aggressive and may pose a threat to the many inhabitants of the region who rely upon the Magdalena River for their livelihoods, although the species could provide economic benefits through tourism. Further research is needed to quantify the current and future size and distribution of this hippopotamus population and to predict the likely ecological, social and economic effects. This knowledge must be balanced with consideration of social and cultural concerns to develop appropriate management strategies for this novel introduction.
Rotavirus (RV) is the main cause of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in young children. The San Luis province of Argentina introduced RV vaccination in May 2013. We estimate vaccine impact (RVI) using real-world data. Data on all-cause AGE cases and AGE-related hospitalisations for San Luis and the adjacent Mendoza province (control group) were obtained and analysed by interrupted time-series methods. Regardless of the model used for counterfactual predictions, we estimated a reduction in the number of all-cause AGE cases of 20–25% and a reduction in AGE-related hospitalisations of 55–60%. The vaccine impact was similar for each age group considered (<1 year, <2 years and <5 years). RV vaccination was estimated to have reduced direct medical costs in the province by about 4.5 million pesos from May 2013 to December 2014. Similar to previous studies, we found a higher impact of RV vaccination in preventing severe all-cause AGE cases requiring hospitalisation than in preventing all-cases AGE cases presenting for medical care. An assessment of the economic value of RV vaccination could take other benefits into account in addition to the avoided medical costs and the costs of vaccination.
Previous researchers have examined the frequency at which healthy participants obtain one or more low scores on neuropsychological test batteries, proposing five psychometric principles of multivariate base rates: (a) low scores are common, with their frequency contingent on (b) the low score cutoff used, (c) the number of tests administered/interpreted, and (d) the demographic characteristics and (e) intelligence of participants. The current study explored whether these principles applied to high scores as well, using the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS).
Multivariate base rates of high scores (≥75th, ≥84th, ≥91st, ≥95th, and ≥98th percentiles) were derived for a three-test, four-test, and full D-KEFS battery, using the adult portion of the normative sample (aged 16–89 years; N = 1050) stratified by education and intelligence. The full D-KEFS battery provides 16 total achievement scores (primary indicators of executive function).
High scores occurred commonly for all batteries. For the three-test battery, 24.1% and 12.4% had 1 or more scores ≥95th percentile and ≥98th percentile, respectively. High scores occurred more often for longer batteries: 61.6%, 72.9%, and 87.8% obtained 1 or more scores ≥84th percentile for the three-test, four-test, and full batteries, respectively. The frequency of high scores increased with more education and higher intelligence.
The principles of multivariate base rates also applied to high D-KEFS scores: high scores were common and contingent on the cutoff used, number of tests administered/interpreted, and education/intelligence of examinees. Base rates of high scores may help clinicians identify true cognitive strengths and detect cognitive deficits in high functioning people.
The present research was aimed to study the degradation of 2-Chlorophenol through the use of bismuth molybdate (γ-Bi2MoO6) structures supported on graphene oxide (GO) which is intended to control the recombination of charge carriers. γ-Bi2MoO6/GO systems were doped with nitrogen via chemical reaction, to reduce their energy gap, improving their photocatalytic activity. Structural and physicochemical characterization of the resulting catalysts were performed using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and UV-Vis. The obtained compounds show good photo catalytic performance when using visible energy to degrade 2-Chlorophenol, obtaining 80% of degradation in 65 min.
The Bay of Málaga is located in a high biodiversity and productivity area that harbours a wide variety of commercial species exploited by different fishing fleets. Benthic and demersal fauna from circalittoral soft bottoms have been studied using a benthic dredge (BD) (8 sampling stations) and an otter trawl (OT) (8 sampling stations on a seasonal basis). Some sediment and water column variables, as well as the trawling activity, have also been studied and used for analysing their linkage with the fauna. A total of 287 species have been found in these bottoms and fish, molluscs and crustaceans represented the most diverse and abundant faunistic groups. A new record of the decapod Hippolyte leptometrae for Spanish waters is also included in this study. Some multivariate analyses using BD samples indicated the presence of three assemblages, but these seem to represent different facies of a single benthic community due to the absence of acute sediment changes and significant differences in the fauna. OT samples only displayed differences related to seasons but not to sediment types or depth. These seasonal differences seem to be linked to biological and ecological features of both dominant and/or commercial species. Mud and organic matter contents (%OM) in sediment, as well as the temperature, were the main variables linked to the spatial distribution of the benthic community identified with BD, whereas medium and coarse sand as well as gravel contents were the main variables linked to the changes of the epibenthic and demersal assemblage resulting from OT samples. The information of this study is of importance for improving the knowledge on the biodiversity of circalittoral soft bottoms of the Mediterranean and Alboran Sea as well as for the potential creation of a Marine Fisheries Reserve in the Bay of Málaga.
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.
The Emerald project's focus is on how to strengthen mental health systems in six low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda). This was done by generating evidence and capacity to enhance health system performance in delivering mental healthcare.
A common problem in scaling-up interventions and strengthening mental health programmes in LMICs is how to transfer research evidence, such as the data collected in the Emerald project, into practice.
To describe how core elements of Emerald were implemented and aligned with the ultimate goal of strengthening mental health systems, as well as their short-term impact on practices, policies and programmes in the six partner countries.
We focused on the involvement of policy planners, managers, patients and carers.
Over 5 years of collaboration, the Emerald consortium has provided evidence and tools for the improvement of mental healthcare in the six LMICs involved in the project. We found that the knowledge transfer efforts had an impact on mental health service delivery and policy planning at the sites and countries involved in the project.
This approach may be valid beyond the mental health context, and may be effective for any initiative that aims at implementing evidence-based health policies for health system strengthening.
Community nurseries within natural protected areas (NPAs) represent an attractive option to link biodiversity conservation with socioeconomic development, yet their functioning lacks proper assessment. Here, we analyse the national context of community nurseries in Mexican NPAs and suggest a specific framework to evaluate their viability. First, we examine the impact of a major governmental funding programme on these projects. Next, we conduct a case study in a focal nursery to identify challenges faced by its operation. Despite the large number of community nurseries funded by the programme, current performance indicators are not suitable to assess their viability. In turn, the case study reveals this nursery’s partial success, with a clear contribution to social development but a limited impact on economic improvement and vegetation conservation. Regardless of the characteristics of individual community nurseries, we suggest a framework that is potentially useful for evaluating community nursery viability, which enables agencies to detect problems, find solutions and use resources efficiently, while balancing biodiversity conservation and development.