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Recruitment of the limpet Patella ulyssiponensis was investigated in relation to the presence of living crustose coralline algae (CCA) in rocky-shore habitats. Juvenile limpets (≤10 mm maximum shell length) were counted in CCA-present and CCA-absent habitats, on three shores in SW Portugal during summer 2007 and winter 2009. Furthermore, the settling response of laboratory-reared larvae of P. ulyssiponensis to CCA-covered substratum, and bare-rock, was examined. Across the intertidal zone, we found a clear association between the distribution and abundance of juveniles and the presence of CCA. Although the presence of CCA was not an absolute requisite for juvenile occurrence, null juvenile densities were mostly recorded in CCA-absent areas. The highest juvenile densities (maximum of 64 individuals in 15 × 15 cm) were consistently found in CCA-dominated habitats, namely steep wave-exposed areas at low-shore and rock-pools. The hypothesis of CCA-enhanced settlement was not supported, as settlement intensities of laboratory-reared larvae were similar between chips of rock encrusted by CCA and chips of bare-rock. From the overall number of settlers onto CCA-encrusted rock chips, 51% were found in tiny pits lacking CCA. This was the first study of the settlement patterns of larvae of the genus Patella using naturally occurring rocky substrata. These results are preliminary and should be confirmed with choice-experiments and improved monitoring of the position of settlers. We suggest that CCA plays a role in the recruitment of P. ulyssiponensis, potentially promoting survivorship of early benthic stages, but possibly not enhancing settlement.
Cipo Canastero Asthenes luizae is a relict ovenbird restricted to rocky outcrops at high elevations within the campo rupestre vegetation of the Espinhaço Range in the state of Minas Gerais, south-eastern Brazil. This poorly known species is considered ‘Near Threatened’, but recent studies have suggested that it should be listed under a higher category of threat. To contribute to the knowledge of this species and its conservation assessment and related planning, we compiled all literature records of the species distribution (n = 16 locations), collected new data on its occurrence (n = 72 locations), and calculated its geographic range using four different approaches. First, we defined the sky islands where the species occurs (nine units) using the lowest elevation value recorded (1,100 m asl) as a cut-off. Second, we performed species distribution modelling (SDM) across the sky islands and identified an area of 2,225.21 km2. Third, we measured the species’ extent of occurrence (EOO = 24,555.85 km2) and used SDM to estimate its upper limit (EOOup = 30,697.58 km2). Fourth, we measured the area of occupancy (AOO = 228 km2) and used SDM to estimate its upper limit (AOOup = 1,827.39 km2). We analysed the Cipo Canastero sky islands in terms of landscape metrics including size, isolation, protected area coverage, shape index, core area index, and proportion covered by SDM. We observed a very fragmented distribution, especially in the North sector of the species distribution, composed of small and isolated populations (separated by up to 112 km); the South sector is the core of its distribution and is composed of larger, more connected patches with differences in shape complexity that are not strongly influenced by an edge effect. The range sizes calculated, along with other reported information regarding population and habitat trends, justifies the inclusion of the species in at least the ‘Vulnerable’ category.
The accurate estimation of protein requirements for beef cattle is a key factor in increasing livestock profitability and decreasing the environmental impacts of excessive N excretion due to mismatching between assumed requirements and diet formulation. A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate and validate a new equation to predict the net protein requirements for growth (NPg) of Zebu beef cattle. For the development of the new approach, a database of 552 observations comprised of bulls, steers, and heifers of different genetic groups (Zebu, beef crossbreed, and dairy crossbreed) was assembled. The new approach was evaluated and compared to current models devised by the international nutrient requirements system committees (Agricultural Research Council, 1980; Beef Cattle Nutrient Requirements Model, 2016; BR-CORTE, 2016) to predict NPg. The model evaluation was performed through the model evaluation system (version 3.1.16) using an independent data set (n = 177 observations). An equation was considered the best estimator of NPg if the following conditions were met: (1) the intercept and slope of the regression between ordinary residues and/or predicted NPg values must have been equal to zero and one, respectively; and (2) the greatest concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) and determination coefficient (R), and lowest mean squared error of prediction (MSEP) were attained. Based on the regression models of the observed v. predicted NPg of Zebu beef cattle, both the new approach and that of the ARC (1980) correctly estimated NPg, since the intercept and slope were not different (P > 0.05) from zero and one, respectively. Additionally, the new approach’s determination coefficient was the greatest and the closest to one. The fact that the new model achieved a higher CCC and lower MSEP than the existing models indicated its superior reproducibility and accuracy. The equations proposed by BR-CORTE (2016) and the BCNRM (2016) did not correctly estimate NPg in that the intercept and slope were different (P < 0.01) from zero and one, respectively. Thus, the equations proposed by the new approach and the ARC (1980) accurately and precisely estimated NPg and are recommended for Zebu cattle. Furthermore, the inclusion of equivalent empty BW (EQEBW) in the new approach improves the estimation of NPg. We suggest the use of the following equation to calculate NPg for Zebu beef cattle: NPg = 176.01 × EBG – 0.381 × EQEBW0.75 × EBG1.035 (R = 0.80 and CCC = 0.75); where NPg = net protein requirements for growth, EBG = empty body gain, and EQEBW = equivalent empty BW.
This study aimed to investigate the ability of disulphide-less crotamine (dLCr) to complex DNA and to evaluate whether the DNA–dLCr complex is capable of improving transfection in bovine embryos. Three experiments were performed to: (i) evaluate the formation and stability of the DNA–dLCr complex; (ii) assess the dLCr embryotoxicity by exposure of bovine embryos to dLCr; and (iii) assess the efficiency of bovine embryo transfection after microinjection of the DNA–dLCr complex or green fluorescent protein (GFP) plasmid alone (control). DNA complexation by dLCr after 30 min of incubation at 1:100 and 1:50 proportions presented higher efficiency (P < 0.05) than the two controls: native crotamine (NCr) 1:10 and lipofectamine. There was no difference between DNA–dLCr 1:25 and the controls. The DNA–dLCr complexation was evaluated at different proportions and times. In all, at least half of maximum complexation was achieved within the initial 30 min. No embryotoxicity of dLCr was verified after exposure of in vitro fertilized embryos to different concentrations of the peptide. The effectiveness of dLCr to improve exogenous gene expression was evaluated by microinjection of the DNA–dLCr complex into in vitro fertilized zygotes, followed by verification of both embryo development and GFP expression. From embryos microinjected with DNA only, 4.6% and 2.8% expressed the GFP transgene at day 5 and day 7, respectively. The DNA–dLCr complex did not increase the number of GFP-positive embryos. In conclusion, dLCr forms a complex with DNA and its application in in vitro culture is possible. However, the dLCr peptide sequence should be redesigned to improve GFP expression.
The BW has been largely used as a selection criterion in genetic selection programmes; however, increases in BW can affect animal metabolism and metabolites. The knowledge of how genetic potential for growth affects the metabolites can give a footprint of growth metabolism. This research aimed to evaluate the effect of genetic potential for post-weaning growth (GG) on performance, carcass traits and serum metabolome of non-castrated Nellore males during the finishing phase. Forty-eight Nellore non-castrated males, with divergent potential for post-weaning growth, were selected and divided into two groups: high potential for post-weaning growth (HG; n = 24) and low potential for post-weaning growth (LG; n = 24). Animals were kept and fed for 90 days where performance and ultrasound carcass traits were evaluated. Blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of feeding period to analyse serum metabolites concentration. The hot carcass weight and dressing percentage were recorded at slaughter. The feedlot performance and carcass traits were not affected by genetic potential. The HG animals had a lower glucose (P = 0.039), glutamate (P = 0.038), glutamine (P = 0.004), greater betaine (P = 0.039) and pyruvate (P = 0.039) compared to the LG group at the beginning of feedlot. In addition, higher creatine phosphate concentrations were observed at the beginning of feeding period, compared to final, for both groups (P = 0.039). In conclusion, the genetic potential for post-weaning growth does not affect performance and carcass traits during the finishing period. Differences in metabolite concentrations can be better found at the beginning of feedlot, providing a footprint of growth metabolism, but similar metabolite concentration at the end of finishing period.
Consanguineous marriages potentially play an important role in the transmission of β-thalassaemia in many communities. This study aimed to determine the rate and socio-demographic associations of consanguineous marriages and to assess the influence on the prevalence of β-thalassaemia in Sri Lanka. Three marriage registrars from each district of Sri Lanka were randomly selected to prospectively collect data on all couples who registered their marriage during a 6-month period starting 1st July 2009. Separately, the parents of patients with β-thalassaemia were interviewed to identify consanguinity. A total of 5255 marriages were recorded from 22 districts. The average age at marriage was 27.3 (±6.1) years for males and 24.1 (±5.7) years for females. A majority (71%) of marriages were ‘love’ marriages, except in the Moor community where 84% were ‘arranged’ marriages. Overall, the national consanguinity rate was 7.4%. It was significantly higher among ethnic Tamils (22.4%) compared with Sinhalese (3.8%) and Moors (3.2%) (p < 0.001). Consanguinity rates were also higher in ‘arranged’ as opposed to ‘love’ marriages (11.7% vs 5.6%, p < 0.001). In patients with β-thalassaemia, the overall consanguinity rate was 14.5%; it was highest among Tamils (44%) and lowest among Sinhalese (12%). Parental consanguinity among patients with β-thalassaemia was double the national average. Although consanguinity is not the major factor in the transmission of the disease in the country, emphasis should be given to this significant practice when conducting β-thalassaemia prevention and awareness campaigns, especially in high-prevalence communities.
Semiconducting nanostructures such as nanowires (NWs) have been used as building blocks for various types of sensors, energy storage and generation devices, electronic devices and for new manufacturing methods involving printed NWs. The response of these sensing/energy/electronic components and the new fabrication methods depends very much on the quality of NWs and for this reason it is important to understand the growth mechanism of 1D semiconducting nanostructures. This is also important to understand the compatibility of NW growth steps and tools used in the process with these unconventional substrates such as plastic that are used in flexible and large area electronics. Therefore, this Element presents at length discussion about the growth mechanisms, growth conditions and the tools used for the synthesis of NWs. Although NWs from Si, ZnO and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are included, the discussion is generic and relevant to several other types of NWs as well as heterostructures.
Dietary protein adjustments can reduce environmental impact and economic losses in production systems. However, we lack information regarding nitrogen (N) metabolism and protein requirements for maintenance of crossbred animals such as Red Norte breed, precluding a precise dietary management. The objective was to evaluate the effect of increasing dietary CP levels (9%, 11%, 13%, 15% and 17%) on intake, digestibility and N balance, as well as to estimate the metabolizable protein requirements for maintenance (MPm) of growing Red Norte bulls. Thirty five animals averaging 280 ± 4.0 kg BW were fed during 45 days in a 60 : 40 forage : concentrate ratio diet in which the last 5 days were used for the digestibility trial. Intakes of CP and non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFCs) and feed efficiency linearly increased (P < 0.05) as CP levels increased, while DM, NDF, nitrogen efficiency use and ether extract were not influenced by CP levels (P > 0.05). Digestibilities of DM, organic matter, ether extract, NFC and CP as well as metabolizable energy intake linearly increased (P < 0.05), and true digestibility of CP was not affected (P > 0.05) by treatments. Urinary N and retained N linearly increased (P < 0.05) with the increase in dietary N. The MPm were estimated as 4.46 g/BW0.75 and the efficiency of use of MPm was 0.673. In conclusion, obtained MPm requirements of growing Red Norte bulls are greater than the values reported in literature for Zebu cattle and dietary CP levels of 15% and 17% exhibited great responses for growing Red Norte cattle. However, a cost-benefit evaluation should be done before its use.
Human neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a worldwide neglected disease caused by Taenia solium metacestode and responsible for various complications and neurological disorders. This study aimed to evaluate the use of specific immunoglobulin Y (IgY) produced by laying hens immunized with a hydrophobic fraction of Taenia crassiceps metacestodes (hFTc) in NCC diagnosis. Egg yolk IgY antibodies were fractionated, purified and characterized. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was carried out to evaluate the production kinetics and avidity maturation of anti-hFTc IgY antibodies throughout the IgY obtention process. Antigen recognition tests were carried out by Western blotting and immunofluorescence antibody test using purified and specific anti-hFTc IgY antibodies for detection of parasitic antigens of T. crassiceps and T. solium metacestodes. Sandwich ELISA was performed to detect circulating immune complexes formed by IgG and parasitic antigens in human sera. The results showed high diagnostic values (93.2% sensitivity and 94.3% specificity) for immune complexes detection in human sera with confirmed NCC. In conclusion, specific IgY antibodies produced from immunized hens with hFTc antigens were efficient to detect T. solium immune complexes in human sera, being an innovative and potential tool for NCC immunodiagnosis.
Cognitive tests of inhibitory control show variable results for the differential diagnosis between behavioural variant of Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We compared the diagnostic accuracies of tests of inhibitory control and of a behavioural questionnaire, to distinguish bvFTD from AD.
Three groups of participants were enrolled: 27 bvFTD patients, 25 AD patients, and 24 healthy controls. Groups were matched for gender, education, and socio-economic level. Participants underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of inhibitory control, including Hayling Test, Stroop, the Five Digits Test (FDT) and the Delay Discounting Task (DDT). Caregivers completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale 11th version (BIS-11).
bvFTD and AD groups showed no difference in the tasks of inhibitory control, while the caregiver questionnaire revealed that bvFTD patients were significantly more impulsive (BIS-11: bvFTD 76.1+9.5, AD 62.9+13, p < .001).
Neuropsychological tests of inhibitory control failed to distinguish bvFTD from AD. On the contrary, impulsivity caregiver-completed questionnaire provided good distinction between bvFTD and AD. These results highlight the current limits of cognitive measures of inhibitory control for the differential diagnosis between bvFTD and AD, whereas questionnaire information appears more reliable and in line with clinical diagnostics.
In this work, we have theoretically investigated a model for the poly(2-methoxy-5(2'- ethylhexyloxy)-p-phenylenevinylene) (MEH-PPV) photodegradation based on structural models for MEH-PPV oligomers in vacuum and in solvent (chloroform). We investigated how the incorporation of oxygen and breaking of vinyl double bonds affect the absorption spectra. The theoretical results are in excellent agreement with the experimental data if we assume that the incorporation of carbonyl group is the main mechanism associated with the photodegradation processes.
Partial amount of austenite can be dynamically transformed into ferrite above the Ae3 temperature when it is being deformed. This happens by a displacive mechanism. On removal of the load, it retransforms back into the stable austenite by diffusional processes. Plate rolling simulation under continuous cooling conditions was carried out on a high Nb X70 steel. Pass strains of 0.2 together with interpass times of 10, 20 and 30 s were employed. The initial and final temperatures for the finishing simulation were 920 and 830 °C, respectively. The mean flow stresses (MFS`s) behaviour indicates that dynamic transformation (DT) and recrystallization (DRX) were taking place during straining. It is shown that ferrite is formed during the roughing passes and increases its volume fraction throughout the finishing rolling steps. The ferrite formation is favoured by strain accumulation, shorter time between passes and also when the temperature reaches the Ae3 line. The results obtained here can be used to design improved models for transformation on accelerated cooling.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Considering a potential exercise-drug interaction, we investigated whether exercise training could improve the efficacy of specific antiparasitic chemotherapy in a rodent model of Chagas disease. Wistar rats were randomized into five groups: sedentary and uninfected (CT); sedentary and infected (SI); sedentary, infected and treated (SIT); trained and infected (TI); trained, infected and treated (TIT). After 9-weeks running training, the animals were infected with T. cruzi and followed up for 4 weeks, receiving 100 mg kg−1 day−1 benznidazole. No evidence of myocarditis was observed in CT animals. TI animals exhibited reduced parasitemia, myocarditis, and reactive tissue damage compared to SI animals, in addition to increased IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-10, heart non-protein antioxidant (NPA) levels and glutathione-s transferase activity (P < 0.05). The CT, SIT and TIT groups presented similar reductions in parasitemia, cytokines (IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-10, IL-17 and MCP-1), inflammatory infiltrate, oxidative heart damage and antioxidant enzymes activity compared to SI and TI animals, as well as reduced heart microstructural remodeling (P < 0.05). By modulating heart inflammation and redox metabolism, exercise training exerts a protective effect against T. cruzi infection in rats. However, the antiparasitic and cardioprotective effects of benznidazole chemotherapy are more pronounced, determining similar endpoints in sedentary and trained T. cruzi-infected rats.
With still limited information on vitamin requirements and considering that many commercial practices adopt dietary vitamin levels above the values suggested by nutritional tables, this study aimed to assess the effect of administering vitamin supplementation to sows in gestation and lactation and to their litters on the reproductive performance and body condition of the sows and on the performance and immune profile of the litters until slaughter. The trial was split into two phases. The first phase used 104 sows, assigned to be randomized to blocks according to parity, submitted until 21 days of lactation to two treatments: control–standard (standard levels of vitamins) and test–elevated (elevated levels of vitamins). Each sow and its respective farrow were considered an experimental unit. The sows underwent evaluations of body condition score, back fat thickness and reproductive performance. In the second phase, 60 barrows and 60 gilts at 21 days of age and mean initial weight of 5.33 ± 1.5 kg until slaughter at 164 days of age. The piglets were assigned to randomized blocks according to the weight and sex of the animals in a 2 × 2 factorial model, with 10 replicates per treatment, where a pen with three animals represented the experimental unit. Following the same treatments of the first phase, the piglets were evaluated for daily weight gain, daily feed intake, feed conversion, mortality rate and humoral immune response. Vitamin supplementation had no positive effects on the reproductive parameters or body composition of sows. However, it positively impacted the performance of the litters in the early nursery stage, but did not lead to superior effects on the immune responses to vaccination against circovirus or mycoplasma.
This study aimed to evaluate the transcriptional changes occurring in isolated perfused mammary alveolar tissue in response to inoculation with S. agalactiae and to identify the most affected biological functions and pathways after 3 h. Four udders taken at slaughter from cows with healthy mammary gland were perfused ex situ with warmed and gassed Tyrode's solution. Mammary alveolar tissue samples were taken from the left fore and rear quarters (IQ-inoculated quarters) before inoculation (hour 0) and at 3 h post inoculation (hpi) and at the same times from control right fore and rear quarters (not inoculated: NIQ). A total of 1756 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between IQ and NIQ at 3 hpi using edgeR package. Within this set of DEGs, 952 were up regulated and mainly involved with innate immune response and inflammatory response, e.g., CD14, CCL5, TLR2, IL-8, SAA3, as well as in transcriptional regulation such as FOS, STAT3 and NFKBIA. Genes down-regulated (804) included those involved with lipid synthesis e.g., APOC2, SCD, FABP3 and FABP4. The most affected pathways were chemokine signaling, Wnt signaling and complement and coagulation cascades, which likely reflects the early stage response of mammary tissue to S. agalactiae infection. No significant gene expression changes were detected by RNA-Seq in the others contrasts. Real time-PCR confirmed the increase in mRNA abundance of immune-related genes: TLR2, TLR4, IL-1β, and IL-10 at 3 hpi between IQ and NIQ. The expression profiles of Casp1 and Bax for any contrasts were unaffected whereas Bcl2 was increased in IQ, which suggests no induction of apoptosis during the first hours after infection. Results provided novel information regarding the early functional pathways and gene network that orchestrate innate immune responses to S. agalactiae infection. This knowledge could contribute to new strategies to enhance resistance to this disease, such as genomic selection.
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.
The dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
This is a copy of the slides presented at the meeting but not formally written up for the volume.
Recently, the telecommunication market experiences an explosion in the subscribers of emergent high-debit services which require bandwidth that exceeds the one provided by actual copper based access networks . To cope with these demands and keep competitive, great efforts have been done to develop access networks based on optical technology, such as passive all-optical networks due to their intrinsic low cost . Sol-gel processing is suitable for the development of organic-inorganic hybrid (OIH) materials for the production of functional integrated optic (IO) devices in a cost effective way. Urea cross-linked OIH show acceptable transparency, mechanical flexibility and thermal stability [3-6]. The control over the refractive index is achieved by zirconium (IV) n-propoxide (ZPO) doping stabilized with methacrylic acid (MA) [3-5]. The combination in a single material of urea cross-linked OIH and ZPO allowed the preparation of UV written low losses planar waveguides  and low rugosity diffraction grating [4,5]. It has been demonstrated that MA acts not only as ZPO stabilizer but impacts directly on the photopolimerization properties as it contains a photopolymerizable group making the OIH easily UV patterned without photoinitiator . Moreover, it also impacts on the OHIs local structure as it forms a complex with ZPO, that originate ordered clusters dispersed within the OIH host [4,5]. Besides the potential of this OIH as IO components, the hybrid hosts are room-temperature efficient white light emitters lacking metal activator ions, presenting quantum yields as higher as 20 % . In this work, a series of OIH, so called di-ureasils, formed of a siliceous skeleton to which oligopolyether chains of different lengths are covalently grafted by means of urea bridges and modified by ZPO and MA will be prepared and characterized by X-ray and small angle X-ray diffractions, Raman, infrared, atomic force and photoluminescence spectroscopies. The use of the proposed OIH in the development of IO functionalities such as optical filters will be evaluated based on waveguide numerical simulation methods (beam propagation method). Waveguides will be written and characterized using the OIH aforementioned. The recording of a Bragg grating in the waveguides allow the implementation of a wavelength discrimination device with applications on optical filtering. The relevant properties of the devices, such as spectral rejection and insertion losses will be characterized.  S-J Park et al. Journal of Lightwave Tech. 22, 2004.  D.J. Shin et al., Journal of Lightwave Tech. 23, 2005.  C. Molina et al., J. Mater. Chem. 15, 3937, 2005.  R.A. Sá Ferreira et al., Proceedings of the International Conference on Telecomunications, 2006.  P.S. André et al. Proceedings ICTON, 1, We.C1.6, 223, 2006.  a) L.D. Carlos et al., Adv. Func. Mater. 11, 111, 2001; b) J. Chem. Phys. B. 108, 14924, 2004. Siemens SA and FCT (POCTI/CTM/59075/2004) is gratefully acknowledged.
New tools from neuroscience allow design researchers to explore design neurocognition. By taking the advantage of EEG's temporal resolution we give up spatial resolution to focus on the performance of time-related design tasks. This paper presents results from an experiment using EEG to measure brain activation to study mechanical engineers and architects to compare their design neurocognition. In this study, we adopted and extended the tasks described in a previous fMRI study of design neurocognition reported in the literature. The block experiment consists of a sequence of 3 tasks: problem solving, basic design and open design using a physical interface. The block is preceded by a familiarizing pre-task using the physical interface and then extended to a fourth task using free-hand sketching. Brainwaves were collected from both mechanical engineers and architects. Results comparing 36 mechanical engineers and architects while designing were produced. These results indicate design cognition differences between the two domains in task-related power between the problem-solving task and the design tasks, in temporal resolution and transformed power.