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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
The objective was to compare the performance of the updated Charlson comorbidity index (uCCI) and classical CCI (cCCI) in predicting 30-day mortality in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB). All cases of SAB in patients aged ⩾14 years identified at the Microbiology Unit were included prospectively and followed. Comorbidity was evaluated using the cCCI and uCCI. Relevant variables associated with SAB-related mortality, along with cCCI or uCCI scores, were entered into multivariate logistic regression models. Global model fit, model calibration and predictive validity of each model were evaluated and compared. In total, 257 episodes of SAB in 239 patients were included (mean age 74 years; 65% were male). The mean cCCI and uCCI scores were 3.6 (standard deviation, 2.4) and 2.9 (2.3), respectively; 161 (63%) cases had cCCI score ⩾3 and 89 (35%) cases had uCCI score ⩾4. Sixty-five (25%) patients died within 30 days. The cCCI score was not related to mortality in any model, but uCCI score ⩾4 was an independent factor of 30-day mortality (odds ratio, 1.98; 95% confidence interval, 1.05–3.74). The uCCI is a more up-to-date, refined and parsimonious prognostic mortality score than the cCCI; it may thus serve better than the latter in the identification of patients with SAB with worse prognoses.
We aimed to quantify the proportion of people receiving care for HIV-infection that are 50 years or older (older HIV patients) in Latin America and the Caribbean between 2000 and 2015 and to estimate the contribution to the growth of this population of people enrolled before (<50yo) and after 50 years old (yo) (⩾50yo). We used a series of repeated, cross-sectional measurements over time in the Caribbean, Central and South American network (CCASAnet) cohort. We estimated the percentage of patients retained in care each year that were older HIV patients. For every calendar year, we divided patients into two groups: those who enrolled before age 50 and after age 50. We used logistic regression models to estimate the change in the proportion of older HIV patients between 2000 and 2015. The percentage of CCASAnet HIV patients over 50 years had a threefold increase (8% to 24%) between 2000 and 2015. Most of the growth of this population can be explained by the increasing proportion of people that enrolled before 50 years and aged in care. These changes will impact needs of care for people living with HIV, due to multiple comorbidities and high risk of disability associated with aging.
A latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) prevalence survey was conducted using tuberculin skin test (TST) and Quantiferon test (QFT) in 1218 healthcare workers (HCWs) in Medellín, Colombia. In order to improve the prevalence estimates, a latent class model was built using a Bayesian approach with informative priors on the sensitivity and specificity of the TST. The proportion of concordant results (TST+,QFT+) was 41% and the discordant results contributed 27%. The marginal estimate of the prevalence P(LTBI+) was 62·1% [95% credible interval (CrI) 53·0–68·2]. The probability of LTBI+ given positive results for both tests was 99·6% (95% CrI 98·1–99·9). Sensitivity was 88·5 for TST and 74·3 for QFT, and specificity was 87·8 for TST and 97·6 for QFT. A high LTBI prevalence was found in HCWs with time-accumulated exposure in hospitals that lack control plans. In a context of intermediate tuberculosis (TB) incidence it is recommended to use only one test (either QFT or TST) in prevalence surveys or as pre-employment tests. Results will be useful to help implement TB infection control plans in hospitals where HCWs may be repeatedly exposed to unnoticed TB patients, and to inform the design of TB control policies.
V4334 Sgr (a.k.a. Sakurai's object) is the central star of an old planetary nebula that underwent a very late thermal pulse a few years before its discovery in 1996. We have been monitoring the evolution of the optical emission line spectrum since 2001. The goal is to improve the evolutionary models by constraining them with the temporal evolution of the central star temperature. In addition the high resolution spectral observations obtained by X-shooter and ALMA show the temporal evolution of the different morphological components.
The objective of the Apollon 10 PW project is the generation of 10 PW peak power pulses of 15 fs at
. In this paper a brief update on the current status of the Apollon project is presented, followed by a more detailed presentation of our experimental and theoretical investigations of the temporal characteristics of the laser. More specifically the design considerations as well as the technological and physical limitations to achieve the intended pulse duration and contrast are discussed.
The AMIGA project carries out a multiwavelength study of the largest catalogue of isolated galaxies from the Local Universe (CIG, Karachentseva 1973). Compared to any other sample —field galaxies included— and using highly strict isolation criteria (unperturbed for at least ~3 Gyr, Verdes-Montenegro et al. 2005), all the results show that these galaxies have the lowest values of the physical magnitudes expected to be enhanced by interactions. This strongly supports isolated galaxies as ideal laboratories for the study of galaxy formation and evolution. Despite CIG galaxies show the lowest HI integrated profile asymmetry level when compared to any other sample, some cases present up to 50% HI asymmetry (Espada et al. 2011b). We aim to shed light over the causes and sources of such asymmetries with our deep radiointerferometric and optical observations of CIG targets. Since major mergers are ruled out by the isolation criteria, in this work we are addressing whether minor mergers, internal processes or primordial gas accretion are responsible for such asymmetries.
Maternal obesity programmes offspring development. We addressed maternal obesity effects induced by high-fat diets on maternal mammary gland (MG) structure and function and offspring brain, liver and fat outcomes. Mothers were fed control (C, n 5) or obesogenic (MO, n 5) diet from the time they were weaned through pregnancy beginning at 120 d, through lactation. At offspring postnatal day (PND) 20, milk leptin and nutrients were determined. At the end of lactation, maternal liver and MG fatty acid profile were measured. Desaturase (Δ6D and Δ5D) and elongase (ELOVL 5 and ELOVL 2) protein was measured by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting (WB) in the liver and WB in the MG. In mothers, liver, MG and milk fat content were higher in MO than in C. Liver arachidonic acid (AA) and EPA and MG EPA were lower in MO than in C. Liver desaturases were higher in MO. The MG was heavier in MO than in C, with decreased Δ5D expression in MO. Desaturases and elongases were immunolocalised in parenchymal cells of both groups. Milk yield, water, carbohydrate content, EPA and DHA were lower, whereas milk leptin and AA were higher in MO than in C. At PND 21 and 36, brain weight was less and fat depots were greater in MO offspring than in C. MO decreased male absolute brain weight but not female absolute brain weight. In conclusion, maternal obesity induced by an obesogenic diet negatively affects maternal liver and MG function with the production of significant changes in milk composition. Maternal obesity adversely affects offspring metabolism and development.
We have obtained optical to near-infrared (300-2500 nm) VLT/X-shooter spectra of six candidate mYSOs, deeply embedded in the massive star forming region M17. These mYSO candidates have been identified based on their infrared excess and spectral features (double-peaked emission lines, CO band-head emission) indicating the presence of a disk (Hanson et al. 1997). In most cases, we detect a photospheric spectrum allowing us to measure the physical properties of the mYSOs and to confirm their PMS nature.
In the United States alone, ∼14,000 children are hospitalised annually with acute heart failure. The science and art of caring for these patients continues to evolve. The International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was held on February 4 and 5, 2015. The 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was funded through the Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program Endowment, a philanthropic collaboration between All Children’s Hospital and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF). Sponsored by All Children’s Hospital Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program, the International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit assembled leaders in clinical and scientific disciplines related to paediatric heart failure and created a multi-disciplinary “think-tank”. The purpose of this manuscript is to summarise the lessons from the 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute, to describe the “state of the art” of the treatment of paediatric cardiac failure, and to discuss future directions for research in the domain of paediatric cardiac failure.
The in vitro leishmanicidal activity of a series of imidazole-containing phthalazine derivatives 1–4 was tested on Leishmania infantum, Leishmania braziliensis and Leishmania donovani parasites, and their cytotoxicity on J774·2 macrophage cells was also measured. All compounds tested showed selectivity indexes higher than that of the reference drug glucantime for the three Leishmania species, and the less bulky monoalkylamino substituted derivatives 2 and 4 were clearly more effective than their bisalkylamino substituted counterparts 1 and 3. Both infection rate measures and ultrastructural alterations studies confirmed that 2 and 4 were highly leishmanicidal and induced extensive parasite cell damage. Modifications to the excretion products of parasites treated with 2 and 4 were also consistent with substantial cytoplasmic alterations. On the other hand, the most active compounds 2 and 4 were potent inhibitors of iron superoxide dismutase enzyme (Fe-SOD) in the three species considered, whereas their impact on human CuZn-SOD was low. Molecular modelling suggests that 2 and 4 could deactivate Fe-SOD due to a sterically favoured enhanced ability to interact with the H-bonding net that supports the antioxidant features of the enzyme.
The chemical synthesis of the copolymers poly(3-HT-co-EDOT-co-fluorene) and poly(3-HT-co-EDOT-co-TDR1) is reported. The first copolymer is derived of 3-hexylthiophene (3-HT), 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene (EDOT) and 2,2'- (9,9-dioctyl-9H-fluorene-2,7-diyl) bisthiophene (fluorene). The second copolymer is derived of 3-hexylthiophene (3-HT), 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene (EDOT) and (E)-2-(ethyl(4-((4-nitrophenyl)diazenyl)phenyl)amino)ethyl 2-(thiophen-3-yl)acetate (TDR1). Their physicochemical characterization by 1H NMR, FT-IR, DSC-TGA, GPC, UV-vis, cyclic voltammetry was carried out. These copolymers combine the high electron density and low oxidation potential of EDOT with the high charge mobility and processability of 3-HT. These are candidates for applications as active or barrier layer in electronic devices (bulk heterojuntion organic solar cells) or as functional membranes (e.g., sensors).
Poly(acrylamide-co-2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate), hydrogel microparticles were prepared by free radical copolymerization of acrylamide (AAm) and 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (2-HEMA) using an inverse emulsion polymerization technique, employing ethylene glycol dimethylacrylate (EGDMA) as crosslinker in the presence of w/o emulsifiers span-80 and span-85 (sorbitol mono-oleate) above the lower critical solution temperature. Water absorption capacity and characteristics of the hydrogel microparticles were analyzed by Optical Microscopy (OM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA). Thus, microparticles were submitted to a gravimetric study on their ability to absorb and to retain distilled water at 25°C. One gram of microparticles absorbed at least 15 g of water. By varying the relative ratio between the continuous phase (hexane and emulsifiers) and the dispersed phase (monomers, initiator and crosslinker), non-agglomerated dispersed particles with nearly spherical shape were obtained having a narrow size distribution in the range from 10 to 20 µm. At a constant value of the emulsifier, and as a result of increasing the stirring rate, a particle size reduction was observed from 13 to 7 µm. The PAAm and PHEMA structures of synthesized hydrogel were confirmed using FTIR analysis. Additionally, through thermal analysis the P(AAm-HEMA) hydrogel showed an increase of water retention and thermal stability due to PAAm addition.
The objective of the Apollon project is the generation of 10 PW peak power pulses of 15 fs at 1 shot/minute. In this paper the Apollon facility design, the technological challenges and the current progress of the project will be presented.
Grain yield in bread wheat is often tightly associated with grain number/m2. In turn, spike fertility (SF), i.e., the quotient between grain number and spike chaff dry weight, accounts for a great proportion of the variation in grain number among cultivars. In order to examine the potential use of SF as a breeding target, (1) variation for the trait was assessed in six datasets combining commercial cultivars under different environmental conditions, (2) trait heritability was estimated in a set of F1 hybrids derived from controlled crosses between cultivars with contrasting SF and (3) SF distribution pattern was analysed in two F2 segregating populations. Analysis of commercial cultivars revealed considerable variation for SF, under both optimal and sub-optimal conditions. In addition, genotypic variation was consistently larger than genotype × environment interaction variation in all datasets. Narrow sense heritability, estimated by the mid-parent-offspring regression of 20 F1 hybrids and their respective parents, was 0·63. Data from two F2 populations exhibited bell-shaped and symmetric frequency distributions of SF, with a SF mean intermediate between the parental values. Substantial transgressive segregation was detected in both F2 populations. In conclusion, SF appears to be a heritable trait with predominantly additive effects. This warrants further investigation on the feasibility of using SF as an early selection criterion in wheat breeding programs aimed at increasing grain yield.
Rocks are composed of minerals, bounding matrix, cracks and pores. The study of changes in the physical properties of rocks as a function of heat treatment is relevant to various engineering and industrial applications. The effect of thermal damage on the compression, strength, ultimate compression strain, color and loss of mass of two different limestones extracted from the Yucatan Peninsula is studied. Different thermal treatments are applied by heating the sample from room temperature up to 600°C, with steps of 100°C. The results show a high correlation between the heat transport characteristics, mechanical properties, content of organic matter and the presence of carbonates and iron oxides in each type of limestone rock.
In many tropical countries coconut (coir) fiber production is a major source of income for rural communities. The Caribbean has an abundance of coconuts but research into utilizing its by-products is limited. Environmentally friendly coir fibers are natural polymers generally discarded as waste material in this region. Research has shown that coir fiber from other parts of the world has successfully been recycled. This paper therefore investigates the mechanical properties of Caribbean coir fiber for potential applications in civil engineering.
Approximately four hundred fibers were randomly taken from a coir fiber stack and subjected to retting in both distilled and saline water media. The mechanical properties of both the retted and unretted coir fibers were evaluated at weekly increments for a period of 3 months. Tensile strength test, x-ray diffraction analysis and scanning electron micrographs were used to assess trends and relationships between fiber gauge lengths, diameter, tensile strength and Young’s modulus. Diameters ranged between 0.11 mm-0.46 mm, while fiber samples were no longer than 250 mm in length. The tensile strength and strain at break decreased as the gauge length increased for both unretted and retted fibers. The opposite occurred for the relationship between the gauge length and Young’s modulus. Additionally, the tensile strength and modulus decreased as the fiber diameter increased. Neither distilled nor saline water improved the coir fiber’s crystalline index. Scanning electron micrographs qualitatively assessed fiber surfaces and captured necking and microfibril degradation at the fractured ends.
The analysis revealed that the tensile strength, modulus, strain at break and crystallinity properties of the Caribbean coir fibers were comparable to commercially available coir fiber which are currently being used in many building applications.