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The co-infection between visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has increased in several countries in the world. The current serological tests are not suitable since they present low sensitivity to detect the most of VL/HIV cases, and a more precise diagnosis should be performed. In this context, in the present study, an immunoproteomics approach was performed using Leishmania infantum antigenic extracts and VL, HIV and VL/HIV patients sera, besides healthy subjects samples; aiming to identify antigenic markers for these clinical conditions. Results showed that 43 spots were recognized by antibodies in VL and VL/HIV sera, and 26 proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. Between them, β-tubulin was expressed, purified and tested in ELISA experiments as a proof of concept for validation of our immunoproteomics findings and results showed high sensitivity and specificity values to detect VL and VL/HIV patients. In conclusion, the identified proteins in the present work could be considered as candidates for future studies aiming to improvement of the diagnosis of VL and VL/HIV co-infection.
The effects of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) of dielectric barrier discharges on the wettability, imbibition and germination of Leucaena leucocephala were investigated. It was established that CAP treatment markedly hydrophilized the seed coat, especially at longer treatment times. From the profile of the imbibition curve and visual observation, it was possible to verify that there are two resistance barriers to water penetration: integument surface and region of the macrosclereid cell wall (light line). Although the plasma interacts only in the integument, increasing the density of hydrophilic sites increases the capacity of water absorption, producing enough driving force to overcome the second resistance barrier. The existence of these two barriers changes the three-phase pattern generally observed during seed germination. Despite an increase in imbibition, the plasma treatment conditions used in this work, were not enough to overcome completely the dormancy barrier.
Ensemble data assimilation methods integrate measurement data and computational flow models to estimate the state of fluid systems in a robust, scalable way. However, discretization errors in the dynamical and observation models lead to biased forecasts and poor estimator performance. We propose a low-rank representation for this bias, whose dynamics is modelled by data-informed, time-correlated processes. State and bias parameters are simultaneously corrected online with the ensemble Kalman filter. The proposed methodology is then applied to the problem of estimating the state of a two-dimensional flow at modest Reynolds number using an ensemble of coarse-mesh simulations and pressure measurements at the surface of an immersed body in a synthetic experiment framework. Using an ensemble size of 60, the bias-aware estimator is demonstrated to achieve at least 70 % error reduction when compared to its bias-blind counterpart. Strategies to determine the bias statistics and their impact on the estimator performance are discussed.
Tuberous sclerosis complex is a rare genetic disorder leading to the growth of hamartomas in multiple organs, including cardiac rhabdomyomas. Children with symptomatic cardiac rhabdomyoma require frequent admissions to intensive care units, have major complications, namely, arrhythmias, cardiac outflow tract obstruction and heart failure, affecting the quality of life and taking on high healthcare cost. Currently, there is no standard pharmacological treatment for this condition, and the management includes a conservative approach and supportive care. Everolimus has shown positive effects on subependymal giant cell astrocytomas, renal angiomyolipoma and refractory seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex. However, evidence supporting efficacy in symptomatic cardiac rhabdomyoma is limited to case reports. The ORACLE trial is the first randomised clinical trial assessing the efficacy of everolimus as a specific therapy for symptomatic cardiac rhabdomyoma.
ORACLE is a phase II, prospective, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicentre protocol trial. A total of 40 children with symptomatic cardiac rhabdomyoma secondary to tuberous sclerosis complex will be randomised to receive oral everolimus or placebo for 3 months. The primary outcome is 50% or more reduction in the tumour size related to baseline. As secondary outcomes we include the presence of arrhythmias, pericardial effusion, intracardiac obstruction, adverse events, progression of tumour reduction and effect on heart failure.
ORACLE protocol addresses a relevant unmet need in children with tuberous sclerosis complex and cardiac rhabdomyoma. The results of the trial will potentially support the first evidence-based therapy for this condition.
To understand the production factors that affect conclusive parameters of sow herd performance can improve the use of the resources and profitability of farm. The objective of this study was to identify associations and quantify the effects of a set of factors related to piglet weight at weaning (PWW), kilograms of piglets weaned per sow per year (kgPWSY) and sow feed conversion (SFC). Data from 150 farms were collected, for a total study population of 135 168 sows, including gilt replacement, breeding (mating), gestation and farrowing/lactation phases. A questionnaire focusing on reproductive performance, management, facilities, feeding, health and biosafety was administered. Multiple linear regression models were used to assess associations among factors with each of the three dependent variables. Increased duration of lactation was positively associated with PWW, kgPWSY and SFC. The increase in the number of live born pigs per litter was positively associated with kgPWSY and with SFC. Farms with higher PWW had farrowing room humidifiers, did not surgically castrate male piglets and used quaternary ammonia compounds for farrowing room disinfection. Farms with higher kgPWSY used lined ceilings in farrowing rooms and winter feeds with higher CP percentages in gestation; they also had more farrowings per sow per year. Sow feed conversion was worse in farms with partly slatted floors during gestation, in farms feeding lactating sows six times a day or ad libitum and farms with a higher sow-handler ratio. This study indicates that farms can increase PWW and kgPWSY and improve the SFC by changing one or more management, biosafety and feeding practices or facilities as well as by focusing on improving several performance parameters, particularly increasing the duration of lactation and the number of live born pigs per litter.
The problem of traffic congestion incurs numerous social and economical repercussions and has thus become a central issue in every major city in the world. For this work we look at the transportation domain from a multiagent system perspective, where every driver can be seen as an autonomous decision-making agent. We explore how learning approaches can help achieve an efficient outcome, even when agents interact in a competitive environment for sharing common resources. To this end, we consider the route choice problem, where self-interested drivers need to independently learn which routes minimise their expected travel costs. Such a selfish behaviour results in the so-called user equilibrium, which is inefficient from the system’s perspective. In order to mitigate the impact of selfishness, we present Toll-based Q-learning (TQ-learning, for short). TQ-learning employs the idea of marginal-cost tolling (MCT), where each driver is charged according to the cost it imposes on others. The use of MCT leads agents to behave in a socially desirable way such that the is attainable. In contrast to previous works, however, our tolling scheme is distributed (i.e., each agent can compute its own toll), is charged a posteriori (i.e., at the end of each trip), and is fairer (i.e., agents pay exactly their marginal costs). Additionally, we provide a general formulation of the toll values for univariate, homogeneous polynomial cost functions. We present a theoretical analysis of TQ-learning, proving that it converges to a system-efficient equilibrium (i.e., an equilibrium aligned to the system optimum) in the limit. Furthermore, we perform an extensive empirical evaluation on realistic road networks to support our theoretical findings, showing that TQ-learning indeed converges to the optimum, which translates into a reduction of the congestion levels by 9.1%, on average.
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.
Both transposition of the great arteries (TGA) previously submitted to a Senning/Mustard procedure and congenitally corrected TGA (cc-TGA) have the systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle, thereby rendering these patients to heart failure events risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters for stratifying the risk of heart failure events in TGA patients.
Retrospective evaluation of adult TGA patients with systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle submitted to cardiopulmonary exercise test in a tertiary centre. Patients were followed up for at least 1 year for the primary endpoint of cardiac death or heart failure hospitalisation. Several cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters were analysed as potential predictors of the combined endpoint and their predictive power were compared (area under the curve).
Cardiopulmonary exercise test was performed in 44 TGA patients (8 cc-TGA), with a mean age of 35.1 ± 8.4 years. The primary endpoint was reached by 10 (22.7%) patients, with a mean follow-up of 36.7 ± 26.8 months. Heart rate at anaerobic threshold had the highest area under the curve value (0.864), followed by peak oxygen consumption (pVO2) (0.838). Heart rate at anaerobic threshold ≤95 bpm and pVO2 ≤20 ml/kg/min had a sensitivity of 87.5 and 80.0% and a specificity of 82.4 and 76.5%, respectively, for the primary outcome.
Heart rate at anaerobic threshold ≤95 bpm had the highest predictive power of all cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters analysed for heart failure events in TGA patients with systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle.
Asthma-obesity is a multifactorial disease with specific asthma phenotypes that aggravate due to overweight and an unbalanced diet. Furthermore, obese asthmatic patients are corticotherapy-resistant. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to evaluate the effects of an interdisciplinary intervention on food consumption, body composition, lung function and adipokines in asthmatic and non-asthmatic obese adolescents and to investigate the influence of nutrients on lung function. Obese non-asthmatic (n 42) and obese asthmatic (n 21) adolescents of both sexes were enrolled in the present study. Food intake, adipokine levels, body composition, asthma symptoms and lung function were assessed across the study. After the intervention of 1 year, there was a reduction (P ≤ 0·01) in BMI, body fat percentage, visceral and subcutaneous fat and an increase (P ≤ 0·01) in lean mass and all lung function variables in both groups, except the relation between forced expiratory volume in 1 s and forced vital capacity (FEV1:FVC) in non-asthmatic patients. Moreover, both groups decreased lipid and cholesterol consumption (P ≤ 0·01). The highest energy consumption (β = −0·021) was associated with lower values of FVC. Similarly, carbohydrate consumption (β = −0·06) and cholesterol were negative predictors (β = −0·05) in FEV1:FVC. However, the consumption of Ca (β = 0·01), fibres (β = 1·34) and vitamin A (β = 0·01) were positive predictors of FEV1:FVC. Asthma-obesity interdisciplinary treatment promoted an improvement on food consumption and lung function in adolescents and demonstrated that the consumption of nutrients influenced an increase in lung function.
Light competition increases and plants’ growth pattern change to optimize light utilization when the leaf area index increases. It has been previously shown that using 95% canopy light interception (LI) as a grazing frequency criterion resulted in a greater proportion of leaves and a lower proportion of stem. The objective of the study was to characterize the forage production, morphological composition and nutritive value of Panicum maximum cv Mombaça. The experiment was carried out during summer, autumn–winter and spring. Treatments corresponded to combinations of two pre-grazing conditions (95% and maximum LI at pre-grazing; LI95% and LIMax, respectively) and two post-grazing heights (PGHs; 30 and 50 cm). The statistical design was a randomized complete block, with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. Swards managed with LI95% had greater proportions of leaves and lower proportions of stems compared to LIMax. Leaf proportion was lower during autumn–winter compared to summer and spring. The LI95% had greater crude protein (CP) and digestibility (IVOMD), and lower acid detergent fibre (ADF) concentrations than LIMax. The 50 cm PGH pastures had greater CP content and IVOMD, and lower ADF content than 30 cm PGH pastures. Lower IVOMD was observed during autumn–winter than summer and spring. The variability observed on morphological characteristics was primarily associated with seasonality, whilst the nutritive value was primarily affected by grazing management. The pre-grazing target of LI95% combined with 50 cm PGH was the combination that resulted in an increased proportion of leaves, decreased stems in basal stratum and the greatest nutritive value of the produced forage.
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.
Regeneration from seed affects species assembly in plant communities, and temperature is the most important environmental factor controlling the germination process. Thermal dependence of seed germination is thus associated with species occurrence in an ecosystem. Hence, we aimed to investigate the role of temperature on seed germination of ten tree species from the western Brazilian Amazon. Seeds were collected in the state of Rondônia, Brazil, and set to germinate under constant temperatures ranging from 10 to 40°C in germination chambers. We calculated germination capacity (G%), germination rate (GR50, reciprocal of germination time), and thermal parameters, such as cardinal temperatures and thermal time requirements. Most species had a large range of temperatures showing G% ≥80%, with optimal temperature varying from 20 to 40°C. Base temperature ranged from 6 to 12°C and ceiling temperatures were mainly >40°C. Astronium lecointei and Parkia nitida showed high germination capacity under temperatures of 35–40°C, while germination of Theobroma cacao dropped from 100% to zero under temperatures between 37 and 40°C. The climax species Cedrela fissilis had the slowest germination time (10 days) and highest thermal time requirement, while seeds of Enterolobium schomburgkii (a late-successional species) germinated within the first day of the experiment. Rapid recruitment of Amazon species could be favoured with treefall disturbance, which increases temperatures in the understory, but sharp limits might be found in the supra-optimal range of temperatures. Such patterns might indicate different regeneration strategies in the tropical rainforest, providing important information regarding seed germination among Amazon species.
Chagas disease (CD) is a neglected parasitic condition endemic in the Americas caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. Patients present an acute phase that may or not be symptomatic, followed by lifelong chronic stage, mostly indeterminate, or with cardiac and/or digestive progressive lesions. Benznidazole (BZ) and nifurtimox are the only drugs approved for treatment but not effective in the late chronic phase and many strains of the parasite are naturally resistant. New alternative therapy is required to address this serious public health issue. Repositioning and combination represent faster, and cheaper trial strategies encouraged for neglected diseases. The effect of imatinib (IMB), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor designed for use in neoplasias, was assessed in vitro on T. cruzi and mammalian host cells. In comparison with BZ, IMB was moderately active against different strains and forms of the parasite. The combination IMB + BZ in fixed-ratio proportions was additive. Novel 14 derivatives of IMB were screened and a 3,2-difluoro-2-phenylacetamide (3e) was as potent as BZ on T. cruzi but had low selectivity index. The results demonstrate the importance of phenotypic assays, encourage the improvement of IMB derivatives to reach selectivity and testify to the use of repurposing and combination in drug screening for CD.
The average patterns of the velocity and scalar fields near turbulent/non-turbulent interfaces (TNTI), obtained from direct numerical simulations (DNS) of planar turbulent jets and shear free turbulence, are assessed in the strain eigenframe. These flow patterns help to clarify many aspects of the flow dynamics, including a passive scalar, near a TNTI layer, that are otherwise not easily and clearly assessed. The averaged flow field near the TNTI layer exhibits a saddle-node flow topology associated with a vortex in one half of the interface, while the other half of the interface consists of a shear layer. This observed flow pattern is thus very different from the shear-layer structure consisting of two aligned vortical motions bounded by two large-scale regions of uniform flow, that typically characterizes the average strain field in the fully developed turbulent regions. Moreover, strain dominates over vorticity near the TNTI layer, in contrast to internal turbulence. Consequently, the most compressive principal straining direction is perpendicular to the TNTI layer, and the characteristic 45-degree angle displayed in internal shear layers is not observed at the TNTI layer. The particular flow pattern observed near the TNTI layer has important consequences for the dynamics of a passive scalar field, and explains why regions of particularly high scalar gradient (magnitude) are typically found at TNTIs separating fluid with different levels of scalar concentration. Finally, it is demonstrated that, within the fully developed internal turbulent region, the scalar gradient exhibits an angle with the most compressive straining direction with a peak probability at around 20
. The scalar gradient and the most compressive strain are not preferentially aligned, as has been considered for many years. The misconception originated from an ambiguous definition of the positive directions of the strain eigenvectors.
Graded exercises tests are performed in adult populations; nonetheless, the use of this type of assessment is greatly understudied in overweight and obese adolescents.
To investigate heart rate autonomic responses to submaximal aerobic exercise in obese and overweight adolescents.
We recruited 40 adolescents divided into two groups: (1) overweight group comprising 10 boys and 10 girls between Z-score +1 and +2 and (2) obese group comprising 10 boys and 10 girls above Z-score >+2. Heart rate variability was analysed before (T1) and after exercise (T2–T4) on treadmill at a slope of 0%, with 70% of the maximal estimated heart rate (220 – age) for 20 minutes.
Heart rate in the overweight group was: 93.2±10.52 bpm versus 120.8±13.49 bpm versus 94.6±11.65 bpm versus 93.0±9.23 bpm, and in the obese group was: 92.0±15.41 bpm versus 117.6±16.31 bpm versus 92.1±12.9 bpm versus 91.8±14.33 bpm. High frequency in the overweight group was: 640±633.1 ms2 versus 84±174.66 ms2 versus 603.5±655.31 ms2 versus 762.6±807.21 ms2, and in the obese group was: 628.4±779.81 ms2 versus 65.4±119.34 ms2 versus 506.2±482.70 ms2 versus 677.9±939.05 ms2; and root mean square of successive differences in the overweight group was: 37.9±18.81 ms versus 10.9±8.41 ms versus 32.8±24.07 ms versus 36.7±21.86 ms, and in the obese group was: 38.7±23.17 ms versus 11.5±8.62 ms versus 32.3±16.74 ms versus 37.3±24.21 ms. These values significantly changed during exercise compared with resting values in overweight and obese groups. Moreover, we also reported no significant difference of resting parasympathetic control of heart rate between obese and overweight adolescents.
There was no significant difference of autonomic responses elicited by submaximal aerobic exercise between overweight and obese adolescents.
We evaluated the effects of cattle manure and inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in maize plants growing in a semiarid area of Brazilian north-east in 2012 and 2013. Three isolates of AMF (Acaulosporalongula URM-FMA 07 and URM-FMA 03, Claroideoglomusetunicatum UNIVASF 06A) were used, with or without the application of cattle manure, during two growing cycles. In the first year, significant effects of inoculation were detected for straw yield only when the manure was applied. In the second year, there was an interaction between fertilisation and inoculation for plant height and grain yield, with the highest values in the fertilised treatments. Inoculation with A. longula demonstrated that mycorrhizal inoculation in field-grown plants could be an alternative management for improving plant growth and grain yield, reducing the use of cattle manure. The AMF sporulation and mycorrhizal colonisation were improved after inoculation, and A. longula URM-FMA 07 increased sporulation by more than 15 times while inoculation with C. etunicatum increased sporulation by more than 3 times. The mycorrhizal inoculation is a management practice that can be useful for recovering or maintaining AMF infective propagules in soil, showing potential to be used in large-scale field conditions in Brazilian semiarid. Although mycorrhisation presents high agricultural relevance due to benefits promoted to the soil and plants, the knowledge about the factors influencing the interactions among microorganisms, soil and plants need to be broadened aiming to achieve successful crop management in semiarid regions.
The increase of sheep meat competitiveness in international markets can be attributed to the rise of the quantity and the improvement of the quality of the edible portion of sheep carcasses. Usually, carcass yield is established after the slaughter of the animals. Yet, when carcass yield is determined in vivo, it can be both a costly and subjective method. This study proposes models for predicting the physical characteristics of lamb carcass using bioimpedance analysis (BIA) in live animals. Thirty-one Texel × Ile de France crossbreed ram lambs were slaughtered at 20, 26, 32 or 38 kg of BW. Before the slaughter, values of resistance (Rs) and reactance (Xc) were collected using a single-frequency BIA equipment (Model RJL Quantum II Bioelectrical Body Composition Analyzer). Then, BIA main variables such as body bioelectrical volume (V), phase angle (PA), resistive density (RsD) and reactive density (XcD) were calculated. After slaughter, cold carcass weight (CCW), cold carcass yield (CCY), subcutaneous fat thickness (SFT), soft tissue weight (STW) and soft tissue yield (STY) were also measured. Multiple regression analyses were carried out using the physical characteristics as dependent variables and the bioimpedance values as independent variables. Predictive performance of the models was assessed using leave-one-out cross-validation. The prediction model of CCW was obtained using the V, PA and RsD (R2 = 0.97), STW through the V, RsD and XcD (R2 = 0.97), CCY by Rs, Z and XcD (R2 = 0.69), STY by V and XcD (R2 = 0.67), and SFT only for XcD (R2 = 0.84). The results indicated that BIA has the potential to predict carcass characteristics of lambs at different body masses.
The influence of the concentration of carbon black nanoparticles on the mechanical behavior of a structural adhesive was studied to evaluate and understand the stiffness, strength, and deformation behavior of a reinforced epoxy adhesive. Two carbon black nanoparticles with different dielectric properties and sizes (Monarch® 120 and Vulcan® XC72R) were studied. A bi-component structural epoxy adhesive was selected. Specimens with different concentrations of carbon black were manufactured (0, 5, 10, and 20% on volume of resin) for each type of nanoparticle. The specimens were cured in a hydraulic hot-plates press machine. The mechanical behavior of the adhesives was found not to vary significantly as a function of carbon black nanoparticles amount. A scanning electron microscopy analysis was performed to evaluate the fracture surface. The fracture surfaces of specimens were correlated with the mechanical response obtained through tensile tests.