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The research described in this technical research communication examines the hypothesis that sublethal stress conditions can improve the survival of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis during drying and subsequent storage. After drying, the L. lactis that had adapted to acid or osmotic stresses did not differ statistically in terms of cell viability loss compared to the control samples tested (~0.38 log cycles). However, the cells that had adapted to oxidative conditions demonstrated a cell viability loss of only 0.01 log cycles. After 45 d of storage at temperatures of 4 and 25 °C, the final L. lactis sample populations were shown to be higher (112.5%) when they had been submitted to sublethal conditions of oxidative stress. When the cell samples were exposed to acid stress conditions, they exhibited a viability loss (0.82 log cycles) that was statistically different from the control sample (0.58 log cycles) after 45 d. Osmotic stress conditions did not demonstrate any influence over cell survival rates. Thus, submitting cells to oxidative stress conditions prior to storage has been shown to be a potential strategy for producing dehydrated cultures of L. lactis strains that are less sensitive to oxygen exposure.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome, ranging from simple steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) particularly among chronic consumers of added sugar-rich diets. However, the impact of early consumption of such diets on NAFLD onset and progression is unclear. Thus, this study sought to characterise metabolic factors involved in NAFLD progression in young mice fed with a high-sucrose diet (HSD). Male Swiss mice were fed HSD or regular chow (CTR) from weaning for up to 60 or 90 days. Obesity development, glucose homeostasis and serum biochemical parameters were determined at each time-point. At day 90, mice were euthanised and white adipose tissue (WAT) collected for lipolytic function assessment and liver for histology, gene expression and cytokines quantification. At day 60, HSD mice presented increased body mass, hypertriglyceridemia, peripheral insulin resistance (IR) and simple steatosis. Upon 90 days on diet, WAT from HSD mice displayed impaired insulin sensitivity, which coincided with increased fasting levels of glucose and free fatty acids (FFA), as well as NAFLD progression to NASH. Transcriptional levels of lipogenic genes, particularly stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1, were consistently increased, leading to hepatic leukocyte infiltration and pro-inflammatory cytokines spillover. Therefore, our dataset supports IR triggering in the WAT as a major factor for dysfunctional release of FFA towards portal circulation and consequent upregulation of lipogenic genes and hepatic inflammatory onset, which decisively concurred for NAFLD-to-NASH progression in young HSD-fed mice. Notwithstanding, this study forewarns against the early introduction of dietary sugars in infant diet, particularly following breastfeeding cessation.
The timing of the Neanderthal-associated Middle Palaeolithic demise and a possible overlap with anatomically modern humans (AMH) in some regions of Eurasia continues to be debated. The Iberian Peninsula is considered a possible refuge zone for the last Neanderthals, but the chronology of the later Middle Palaeolithic record has undergone revision and has increased the debate on the timing of Neanderthal extinction. Here we report on a study of the 5-m-thick archaeological stratigraphy of the Cardina-Salto do Boi, an open-air site located in inland Iberia, from which optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages were obtained for Middle and Upper Palaeolithic occupations preserved in overbank alluvial deposits. Geomorphology, archaeostratigraphy, stone-tool evolution, and OSL dating support the persistence of Neanderthals after 41 ka in central Iberia; the transition between the Middle Palaeolithic material culture and the AMH-associated Aurignacian blade and bladelet production is estimated to lie between 34.0 ± 2.0 ka and 38.4 ± 1.9 ka. Our results demonstrate that investigations focusing on different geomorphological situations are necessary to overcome the current limitations of the evidence and to establish more consistent models for Neanderthal disappearance and AMH expansion in the Iberian Peninsula.
In areas endemic for Leishmania infantum, an asymptomatic infection may be an indicator of the extent of transmission. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the applicability of measuring circulating immunological biomarkers as an alternative strategy to characterize and monitor L. infantum asymptomatic infections in combination with serological methods. To this end, 179 children from a region endemic for visceral leishmaniasis (VL), aged 1–10 years old, selected from a cross-sectional study, were identified as asymptomatic (n = 81) or uninfected (n = 98) by qPCR and/or serological tests (ELISA using L. infantum soluble antigen and rK39), and, together with serum samples of children diagnosed with VL (n = 43), were subjected to avidity tests and cytokine levels measurement. Avidity rates (AR) ranging from 41 to 70% were found in 29 children (66%) from the asymptomatic group. On the other hand, high AR (above 70%) were observed in 27 children (64%) from the VL group. Logistic Regression and Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analyses demonstrated that lower AR and IFN-γ production associated with higher IL-17A levels were hallmarks in asymptomatic L. infantum infections. Therefore, this study proposes an association of immunological biomarkers that can be used as a complementary strategy for the characterization and monitoring of asymptomatic VL infections in children living in endemic areas.
The use of statins in children, although not frequent, is recommended in specific clinical contexts, namely, familial hypercholesterolaemia, conditions carrying a moderate-high cardiovascular risk and sub-optimal cholesterol levels after implementation of lifestyle modifications. The aim of this study is to characterise children with dyslipidaemia managed with statins, followed at a tertiary referral centre in central Portugal.
Methods and results:
The authors carried out a retrospective and descriptive study made up of 66 patients (50% males, mean age of therapy onset 11.9 years) followed up at the Cardiovascular Clinic of a tertiary referral centre between January, 2012, and May, 2018. Clinical, analytical, and echocardiographic parameters were analysed. About 60.6% had clinical and/or molecular diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolaemia. On average, each patient had three cardiovascular risk factors, obesity (31%) being most prevalent, followed by arterial hypertension (14%). Statin therapy showed a statistically significant reduction in the lipid profile, particularly in the total cholesterol (23%) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (30%) levels, as well as in the carotid intima-media thickness (p = 0.015). Hepatic and muscle integrity markers were within normal range.
Statins are safe and efficient in the management of children with hypercholesterolaemia. Our study showed that apart from its lipid-lowering properties, it also reduced significantly the carotid intima-media thickness and, implicitly, the cardiovascular risk of these patients.
This study aims to develop an in vitro co-culture system of in situ goat preantral follicles with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSC), evaluating the influence of these cells on follicular growth, rate of activation and morphologically normal follicles. Fragments of ovarian cortex were cultured for 1 or 7 days in the presence of BM-MSC (BM-MSC+) and absence of BM-MSC (BM-MSC−). Histological sections of the fragments were analysed and data were obtained regarding morphological classification, survival rate of morphologically normal follicles and rate of follicular activation. Culture medium on days 1 and 7 was also sampled for nitrite concentration and reduced glutathione activity. There was a reduction (P < 0.05) in the percentage of morphologically normal follicles in the BM-MSC+ compared with the fresh control only on the seventh day of culture. When comparing treatments, on the seventh day of culture, a higher rate of morphologically normal preantral follicles was observed in BM-MSC+ (P < 0.05). In both treatments, primordial and developing follicle rates were similar to the fresh control (P > 0.05). When comparing treatments with each other, as well as with the fresh control, no differences were observed in follicular diameter (P > 0.05) or nitrite concentration (P > 0.05). The concentration of reduced glutathione was lower on the seventh day of co-culture in both treatments (P < 0.05). In conclusion, co-culture had no influence on follicular or oocyte development. However, it was critical to maintain the survival of preantral follicles during 7 days of culture.
The work described in this Research Communication concerns the production of Dulce de leche (DL), that is a traditional product from South America obtained by concentration. Maillard reaction (MR) products are mainly responsible for the formation of color and flavor in this product. Lactose-hydrolyzed products have been developed to supply consumer demand, but this hydrolysis may affect the flavor, color, taste, texture and even some nutritional aspects of the product. We studied the influence of different levels of lactose-hydrolysis, sucrose addition and initial pH on the development of MR, appraised by the determination of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). A process simulator with multi-monitoring system was used to produce 15 DL. Box-Behnken 33 experimental design was applied for the three factors: pH, lactose-hydrolysis level and sucrose concentration. Lipids, protein, ashes, carbohydrates, water activity, dissolved solids, colorimetric analysis and HMF (free and total) are among the physicochemical attributes and MR indicators analyzed in this work. The products showed significant differences in composition but all the values were in agreement with the literature. Moreover, higher levels of lactose hydrolysis and higher pH presented a direct relation with the development of MR, observed by an increase in coloration (lower luminosity) and more formation of HMF, both free and total. The present study expands the knowledge about DL spread made of lactose-hydrolyzed milk, allowing the food industries to produce a lactose free DL with nutritional and sensory characteristics closer to the traditional product.
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.
Diabetes mellitus is a global epidemic, characterised as a heterogeneous group of metabolic disorders associated with high risk of CVD. Green banana biomass, which is composed of resistant starches (RS) and cannot be hydrolysed by amylases, delays gastric emptying and modulates insulin sensitivity, thus contributing to improve metabolic disorders. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of consumption of RS from green banana biomass on body composition, fasting plasma glucose, glycated Hb (HbA1c) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance in subjects with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes on top of treatment. Middle-aged subjects (n 113) of both sexes with pre-diabetes (HbA1c: 5·7–6·4 %) or diabetes (HbA1c ≥ 6·5 %) were randomised to receive nutritional support plus green banana biomass (40 g) (RS: approximately 4·5 g, G1, n 62) or diet alone (G2, n 51) for 24 weeks. Body composition, biochemical analyses and dietary intake were evaluated at the beginning and end of the study. In the experimental group (G1), consumption of RS was associated with reduction in HbA1c (P = 0·0001), fasting glucose (P = 0·021), diastolic blood pressure (P = 0·010), body weight (P = 0·002), BMI (P = 0·006), waist and hip circumferences (P < 0·01), fat mass percentage (P = 0·001) and increase in lean mass percentage (P = 0·011). In controls (G2), reductions were observed in waist and hip circumferences (P < 0·01), HbA1c (P = 0·002) and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (P = 0·020). In pre-diabetes or diabetes, non-significant differences were observed in the percentage reduction in HbA1c and fasting glucose in exploratory analyses. Our results indicate that the consumption of bioactive starches is a good dietary strategy to improve metabolic control and body composition.
A 6–18 GHz high-power amplifier (HPA) design in GaN on SiC technology is presented. This power amplifier consists of a two-stage corporate amplifier with two and four transistors, respectively. It has been fabricated on UMS using their 0.25 µm gate length process, GH25. A study of the suitable attachment method and measurement on wafer and on jig are detailed. This HPA exhibits an averaged output power of 39.2 dBm with a mean gain of 11 dB in saturation and a 24.5% maximum power added efficiency in pulse mode operation with a duty cycle of 10% with a 25 µs pulse width.
The fraction of organic matter present affects the fragmentation behavior of sialoliths; thus, pretherapeutic information on the degree of mineralization is relevant for a correct selection of lithotripsy procedures. This work proposes a methodology for in vivo characterization of salivary calculi in the pretherapeutic context. Sialoliths were characterized in detail by X-ray computed microtomography (μCT) in combination with atomic emission spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Correlative analysis of the same specimens was performed by in vivo and ex vivo helical computed tomography (HCT) and ex vivo μCT. The mineral matter in the sialoliths consisted essentially of apatite (89 vol%) and whitlockite (11 vol%) with average density of 1.8 g/cm3. In hydrated conditions, the mineral mass prevailed with 53 ± 13 wt%, whereas the organic matter, with a density of 1.2 g/cm3, occupied 65 ± 10% of the sialoliths’ volume. A quantitative relation between sialoliths mineral density and X-ray attenuation is proposed for both HCT and μCT.
Conclusions and recommendations of health technology assessment (HTA) reports have an impact on all relevant actors involved in the health system (health authorities, administrators, health professionals, patients, citizens and industry). The involvement of all those relevant stakeholders in the HTA process facilitates making valid and informed decisions and an efficient allocation of resources. Improving communication, participation and transparency among all agents will lead to more efficient evaluation and decision-making processes.
To review key aspects of the relations between HTA agencies and health industries, two process were carried out: a narrative review of literature searched in Medline, PubMed, Embase, CINAHL and WOS (2007-2017) and a review of websites of international HTA agencies. References and webs with information on the framework, objectives, methodologies, impact or results of the relationships were included.
A total of 1961 references were located and forty-five were selected. From the synthesis of the selected references the following key aspects of the relationships between HTA and industry were identified: (i) the importance of early dialogues with industry to align HTA objectives with the generation of evidence; (ii) challenges of the bias in the evidence produced by industry; (iii) difficulties in industry engagement in HTA processes; and (iv) industry interest in HTA. The review of six agency websites provided information on industry involvement in strategic activities, early dialogues, provision of documentation, management of industry clarifications, review of the report/allegations and other forms of relationship.
Both the review of the literature and the contents of the web pages of international agencies with experience in relations with industry show that the interest is in the creation of collaborative frameworks between regulatory authorities that decide on authorization and price and reimbursement and HTA agencies, while both try to maintain an early, transparent and systematic interaction with the healthcare industry.
Timneh Parrots Psittacus timneh are a threatened species endemic to the moist forests of West Africa. In 2016, they were categorised as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List, due to suspected rapid population declines driven by habitat loss and heavy trapping for the pet trade. Systematic assessments of the status of populations are lacking for much of their range and addressing this knowledge shortfall has been identified as a priority action. We combined multiple research approaches to investigate the distribution, trends and threats to Timneh Parrots in Guinea Bissau, where the species is restricted to the islands of the Bijagós archipelago and Pecixe. Direct observational surveys were conducted along line transects on 19 islands. A total of 69 groups were observed on eight of these islands, with the majority (78%) seen on just two islands. Forty-two interviews were conducted with local community members on 24 islands. Interviewees reported the species to occur on 20 islands and that populations are generally perceived to have declined in recent decades. Based on these findings and existing data we conclude that Timneh Parrots occur on 22 of the 32 islands considered and estimate the national population in Guinea-Bissau to be in the order of several hundred individuals, with perhaps half of the parrots occurring on the islands of João Vieira and Meio. Investigations into the factors linked to inter-island variation in parrot densities indicate that densities are highest on the islands which are most remote from permanent human settlements. These findings suggest that human activities including habitat modification and trapping have been important in driving population declines in Guinea-Bissau. We consider the implications of these findings for the conservation of Timneh Parrots.
In this review, we explore the state-of-the-art of sand fly relationships with microbiota, viruses and Leishmania, with particular emphasis on the vector immune responses. Insect-borne diseases are a major public health problem in the world. Phlebotomine sand flies are proven vectors of several aetiological agents including viruses, bacteria and the trypanosomatid Leishmania, which are responsible for diseases such as viral encephalitis, bartonellosis and leishmaniasis, respectively. All metazoans in nature coexist intimately with a community of commensal microorganisms known as microbiota. The microbiota has a fundamental role in the induction, maturation and function of the host immune system, which can modulate host protection from pathogens and infectious diseases. We briefly review viruses of public health importance present in sand flies and revisit studies done on bacterial and fungal gut contents of these vectors. We bring this information into the context of sand fly development and immune responses. We highlight the immunity mechanisms that the insect utilizes to survive the potential threats involved in these interactions and discuss the recently discovered complex interactions among microbiota, sand fly, Leishmania and virus. Additionally, some of the alternative control strategies that could benefit from the current knowledge are considered.
A few studies examine the time evolution of delirium in long-term care (LTC) settings. In this work, we analyze the multivariate Delirium Index (DI) time evolution in LTC settings.
The multivariate DI was measured weekly for six months in seven LTC facilities, located in Montreal and Quebec City. Data were analyzed using a hidden Markov chain/latent class model (HMC/LC).
The analysis sample included 276 LTC residents. Four ordered latent classes were identified: fairly healthy (low “disorientation” and “memory impairment,” negligible other DI symptoms), moderately ill (low “inattention” and “disorientation,” medium “memory impairment”), clearly sick (low “disorganized thinking” and “altered level of consciousness,” medium “inattention,” “disorientation,” “memory impairment” and “hypoactivity”), and very sick (low “hypoactivity,” medium “altered level of consciousness,” high “inattention,” “disorganized thinking,” “disorientation” and “memory impairment”). Four course types were also identified: stable, improvement, worsening, and non-monotone. Class order was associated with increasing cognitive impairment, frequency of both prevalent/incident delirium and dementia, mortality rate, and decreasing performance in ADL.
Four ordered latent classes and four course types were found in LTC residents. These results are similar to those reported previously in acute care (AC); however, the proportion of very sick residents at enrolment was larger in LTC residents than in AC patients. In clinical settings, these findings could help identify participants with a chronic clinical disorder. Our HMC/LC approach may help understand coexistent disorders, e.g. delirium and dementia.
There are few reports of cryopreservation and injuries in Macrobrachium amazonicum embryos. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the effects of cryoprotectants agents and cooling on stage VIII of this species. Fertilized eggs from ovigerous females were removed from the incubation chamber, then placed in 10 ml Falcon tubes with a cryoprotectant solution and saline-free calcium solution. Thus, the embryos underwent a cooling curve of 1°C per min until reaching 5°C, and then were stored for 2 h. The tubes containing the embryos were washed to remove the cryoprotectant, acclimated for 5 min and then transferred to 50 ml incubators. At the end of the 24-h period, living embryos from each tube were counted and tabulated. A pool of embryos was fixed with 4% formaldehyde and then subjected to histology using 3-mm thick sections and stained with haematoxylin/eosin. Another pool was used for biometric analysis in which length, width and volume were analyzed. The cryoprotectants agents used were: dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), methyl alcohol, ethylene glycol at 1, 5 and 10% and sucrose (0.5 M). Variance analysis was performed followed by Tukey's honest significant difference (HSD) test at 5% significance level. DMSO cryoprotectant affected embryo survival the least with rates of 71.8, 36.2 and 0% for concentrations of 1, 5 and 10%, respectively. Ethylene glycol caused 100% mortality at all the concentrations used. It was not possible to observe the interference of cooling and cryoprotectants on embryonic structures in this study.
Schistosomiasis and malnutrition are often overlapped in poor communities, resulting in disproportionately high mortality rates. Currently, fragmented data make it difficult to define the relationship between diet and schistosomiasis. Thus, we systematically review the preclinical evidence on the impact of diet in Schistosoma mansoni infection. From a structured search, we recovered 27 original articles. All studies used mice and most of them investigated hypoproteic (70.37%), hyperlipidic (22.22%) or vitamin-deficient (7.41%) diets. Diets based on carbohydrate, zinc or milk supplementation were investigated at a reduced frequency (3.70% each). Hypoproteic diets attenuated parasitic load and granulomatous inflammation, but also reduced host resistance to S. mansoni infection, determining higher mortality rates. By stimulating steatohepatitis, parasitic load and granulomatous inflammation, hyperlipidic diets increase organ damage and mortality in infected animals. Although a high-sugar diet and vitamin restriction potentiate and zinc supplementation attenuates S. mansoni infection, the current evidence for these diets remains inconclusive. Analysis of methodological quality indicated that the current evidence is at high risk of bias due to incomplete characterization of the experimental design, diet composition and treatment protocols. From the bias analysis, we report methodological limitations that should be considered to avoid systematic reproduction of inconsistent and poorly reproducible experimental designs.