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Functional ecology is the branch of ecology that focuses on various functions that species play in the community or ecosystem in which they occur. This accessible guide offers the main concepts and tools in trait-based ecology, and their tricks, covering different trophic levels and organism types. It is designed for students, researchers and practitioners who wish to get a handy synthesis of existing concepts, tools and trends in trait-based ecology, and wish to apply it to their own field of interest. Where relevant, exercises specifically designed to be run in R are included, along with accompanying on-line resources including solutions for exercises and R functions, and updates reflecting current developments in this fast-changing field. Based on more than a decade of teaching experience, the authors developed and improved the way theoretical aspects and analytical tools of trait-based ecology are introduced and explained to readers.
Conflicts between humans and bears have occurred since prehistory. Through time, the catalogue of human–bear conflicts (HBC) has been changing depending on the values and needs of human societies and their interactions with bears. Even today, conflict situations vary among the eight species of bears and geographically across these species’ ranges. This results in a broad range of interactions between bears and humans that may be considered as conflicts, including: (1) predation of domestic or semiwild animals, including bees, hunting dogs, and pet animals; (2) damage due to foraging on cultivated berries, fruits, agricultural products, and the tree bark in forest plantations; (3) economic loss due to destruction of beehives, fences, silos, houses, and other human property; (4) bear attacks on humans causing mild or fatal trauma; (5) bluff charges, bear intrusions into residential areas; and (6) vehicle collisions with bears and traffic accidents. In this chapter we aim to outline the principal types of HBC and geographical differences in the occurrence of conflicts and the coexistence between people and bears.
Denture-related stomatitis caused by Candida spp. affects elderly individuals using partial/total prosthesis, provoking several discomforts including burning sensation and altered taste. Herein, we have studied 52 denture-wearing individuals (>60 years-old), attended at the dentistry clinic of UNIVALE, aiming to isolate Candida spp. directly from the stomatitis lesions and to evaluate their potential to produce virulence attributes. A low prevalence of denture-related stomatitis was reported in these patients (4/52; 7.7%). Candida albicans was isolated in the 4 selected patients, with the ability to form biofilm over a polystyrene surface and to produce aspartic protease, esterase and hemolysin. However, neither phospholipase nor caseinase activities were detected. Planktonic-growing yeasts were susceptible to amphotericin B and caspofungin, while the susceptibility to azoles (fluconazol, itraconazole and voriconazole) varied depending on either the isolate or antifungal. Relevantly, biofilm-forming C. albicans cells exhibited resistance to all studied antifungals. So, new effective drugs against resistant C. albicans isolates causing denture-related stomatitis are urgently required.
Background: Our team has been fighting nosocomial infections since 1991. During our journey, we often ask why people do not wash their hands! Semmelweiss discovered in the 1840s that handwashing prevented deaths from puerperal sepsis, but we still need to convince healthcare workers about hand hygiene. One answer is that washing hands is an unsophisticated gesture, without any technology, so people just do not do it. How can we improve compliance with hand hygiene? We imagined a robot in our team to remind people to wash their hands. Then, in 2016 we met Meccanoid, a US$200 toy robot: a 4-foot-tall programmable humanoid robot with voice recognition capabilities. We made adaptions in the robot (mini-projector + audio amplifier + alcohol dispenser + spy camera), and we gave him a name (Ozires) and a purpose: He became a professor who teaches healthcare workers how, when, and why wash their hands! Here, we describe the multimodal strategy centered around Ozires. Methods: The multimodal strategy consists of 7 key elements: (1) the robot, accompanied by a infection control practitioner, performs audio and video lectures about hand hygiene techniques, motivational videos, data feedback; (2) the robot’s wood copies with sound alert with motion detector for hand hygiene are spread out in the whole hospital; (3) fridge magnet with robot prints (gifts for patients and healthcare professionals); (4) app for hand hygiene monitoring (Hands Clean); (5) adherence rates by professional category and individual feedback; (6) patient empowerment for hand hygiene; and (7) sound alert for hand hygiene in the patient room’s door. Results: After the insertion of Ozires in 3 ICUs of hospital A (pilot study), the hand hygiene (HH) rate increased from ~36%, between January and July 2016, to ~68% between August 2016 and October 2019. At hospital B, Ozires started his lectures in May 2018, throughout the hospital. Hand hygiene adherence increased from 23% between July and December 2017 to 60% between June 2018 and October 2019. In the 3 months before this multimodal strategy was implemented in hospital C (June–August 2019), and the mean rate of hand hygiene was 65%. With the robot, the hand hygiene rate increased to 94% (September–October 2019). Conclusions: The multimodal strategy centered around the robot Ozires works! Hand hygiene compliance increased significantly after the interventions. People listen the robot much more attentively than to their human colleagues, and healthcare worker behavior changed! We need to go further improve the program, but it is sustainable. Finally, we succeeded in convincing people to improve their hand hygiene practices.
One of the main health-related worries for older adults is becoming dependent. Even healthy older adults may worry about becoming dependent, generating guilt feelings due to the anticipation of future needs that others must solve. The guilt associated with self-perception as a burden has not been studied in older adults, and there is no instrument available to measure these feelings.
To adapt the Self-Perceived Burden Scale (SPBS; Cousineau et al., 2003) for the assessment of feelings of guilt for perceiving oneself as a burden for the family in older adults without explicit functional or cognitive impairment.
Participants were 298 older adults living independently in the community. Participants completed the assessment protocol, which included measures of guilt associated with self-perception as a burden, depressive and anxious symptomatology, self-perceived burden, and sociodemographic information.
Results from exploratory, parallel and confirmatory factor analyses suggest that the scale, named Guilt associated with Self-Perception as a Burden Scale (G-SPBS), has a unidimensional structure, explaining 57.04% of the variance of guilt. Good reliability was found (Cronbach’s alpha = .94). The results revealed significant (p < .01) positive associations with depressive and anxious symptomatology.
These findings suggest that the G-SPBS shows good psychometric properties which endorse its use with healthy community older adults. Also, guilt associated with perceiving oneself as a burden seems to be a relevant variable that can contribute to improving our understanding of psychological distress in older adults.
Social and environmental factors such as poverty or violence modulate the risk and course of schizophrenia. However, how they affect the brain in patients with psychosis remains unclear.
We studied how environmental factors are related to brain structure in patients with schizophrenia and controls in Latin America, where these factors are large and unequally distributed.
This is a multicentre study of magnetic resonance imaging in patients with schizophrenia and controls from six Latin American cities. Total and voxel-level grey matter volumes, and their relationship with neighbourhood characteristics such as average income and homicide rates, were analysed with a general linear model.
A total of 334 patients with schizophrenia and 262 controls were included. Income was differentially related to total grey matter volume in both groups (P = 0.006). Controls showed a positive correlation between total grey matter volume and income (R = 0.14, P = 0.02). Surprisingly, this relationship was not present in patients with schizophrenia (R = −0.076, P = 0.17). Voxel-level analysis confirmed that this interaction was widespread across the cortex. After adjusting for global brain changes, income was positively related to prefrontal cortex volumes only in controls. Conversely, the hippocampus in patients with schizophrenia, but not in controls, was relatively larger in affluent environments. There was no significant correlation between environmental violence and brain structure.
Our results highlight the interplay between environment, particularly poverty, and individual characteristics in psychosis. This is particularly important for harsh environments such as low- and middle-income countries, where potentially less brain vulnerability (less grey matter loss) is sufficient to become unwell in adverse (poor) environments.
Darwin's frogs Rhinoderma darwinii and Rhinoderma rufum are the only known species of amphibians in which males brood their offspring in their vocal sacs. We propose these frogs as flagship species for the conservation of the Austral temperate forests of Chile and Argentina. This recommendation forms part of the vision of the Binational Conservation Strategy for Darwin's Frogs, which was launched in 2018. The strategy is a conservation initiative led by the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, which in 2017 convened 30 governmental, non-profit and private organizations from Chile, Argentina and elsewhere. Darwin's frogs are iconic examples of the global amphibian conservation crisis: R. rufum is categorized as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) on the IUCN Red List, and R. darwinii as Endangered. Here we articulate the conservation planning process that led to the development of the conservation strategy for these species and present its main findings and recommendations. Using an evidence-based approach, the Binational Conservation Strategy for Darwin's Frogs contains a comprehensive status review of Rhinoderma spp., including critical threat analyses, and proposes 39 prioritized conservation actions. Its goal is that by 2028, key information gaps on Rhinoderma spp. will be filled, the main threats to these species will be reduced, and financial, legal and societal support will have been achieved. The strategy is a multi-disciplinary, transnational endeavour aimed at ensuring the long-term viability of these unique frogs and their particular habitat.
The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of thinning eucalyptus trees on yield and nutritive value of corn for silage and palisadegrass in a crop–livestock–forest integrated system and to evaluate the total aboveground biomass yield in systems with and without trees. Plant variables, as well as the incidence of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and soil moisture, were evaluated between October 2016 and March 2018 in São Carlos, Brazil, in a crop–livestock–forest and a crop–livestock system. In the crop–livestock–forest system, eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus urograndis clone GG100) were planted in April 2011, in single rows, with 15 × 2 m spacing. In 2016, the trees were thinned, and the spacing was changed to 15 × 4 m. The treatments comprised measurements at 0.00, 3.75, 7.50, and 11.25 m from the trees of the North row in the integrated crop–livestock–forest (iCLF) system and integrated crop–livestock (iCL) system. Palisadegrass (Urochloa brizantha) was sown after harvesting the corn. Corn yields were similar between treatments, with an average of 13.6 Mg ha−1. Corn for silage presented a higher percentage of grain in total biomass in the crop–livestock–forest positions (41.4 and 42.1%) than in the crop–livestock system (35.6%). No differences in forage accumulation were observed. Crude protein content in corn for silage and palisadegrass was higher in the crop–livestock–forest treatments than in the crop–livestock system. Such results indicate that thinning was favorable to production in the crop–livestock–forest system. Total aboveground biomass yield was higher in the iCLF system, indicating better land use for this type of integrated system.
Brazilians comprise a rapidly growing immigrant Latino group in the USA, yet little research has focused on health issues affecting Brazilian children in immigrant families. As increasing evidence is documenting fathers’ influential role in their children’s eating behaviours and ultimately weight status, the current study sought to explore the Brazilian immigrant fathers’ perspectives and practices related to child’s feeding practices and their preschool-aged children’s eating.
Qualitative study using in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Interviews were conducted in Portuguese by native Brazilian research staff using a semi-structured interview guide. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed thematically using a hybrid approach that incorporated deductive and inductive analytical approaches.
Twenty-one Brazilian immigrant fathers who had at least one child aged 2–5 years.
Results revealed fathers’ awareness of the importance of healthy eating for their children, their influence as role models and their involvement in feeding routines of their preschool-aged children. Moreover, fathers were receptive to participating in family interventions to promote their children’s healthy eating. Nearly all fathers reported wanting to learn more and to do ‘what’s right’ for their children.
The current study provides new information about Brazilian immigrant fathers’ views about factors influencing their children’s healthy eating behaviours and paternal feeding practices. Future research should quantify fathers’ feeding styles and practices and solicit fathers’ input in the design of culturally appropriate family interventions targeting the home environment of preschool-aged children of Brazilian immigrant families.
The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has a great impact worldwide. Healthcare workers play an essential role and are one of the most exposed groups. Information about the psychosocial impact on healthcare workers is limited.
3109 healthcare workers completed a national, internet-based, cross-sectional 45-item survey between 9 and 19 April 2020. The objective is to assess the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spanish healthcare workers. A Psychological Stress and Adaptation at work Score (PSAS) was defined combining four modified versions of validated psychological assessment tests (A) Healthcare Stressful Test, (B) Coping Strategies Inventory, (C) Font-Roja Questionnaire and (D) Trait Meta-Mood Scale.
The highest psychosocial impact was perceived in Respiratory Medicine, the mean (S.D.) PSAS was 48.3 (13.6) and Geriatrics 47.6 (16.4). Higher distress levels were found in the geographical areas with the highest incidence of COVID-19 (>245.5 cases per 100 000 people), PSAS 46.8 (15.2); p < 0.001. The least stress respondents were asymptomatic workers PSAS, 41.3 (15.4); p < 0.001, as well as those above 60 years old, PSAS, 37.6 (16); p < 0.001. Workers who needed psychological therapy and did not receive it, were more stressed PSAS 52.5 (13.6) than those who did not need it PSAS 39.7 (13.9); p < 0.001.
The psychological impact in healthcare workers in Spain during COVID-19 emergency has been studied. The stress perceived is parallel to the number of cases per 100 000 people. Psychotherapy could have a major role to mitigate the experimented stress level.
Evaluating the improvements of placing the treatment isocentre at the boost centre of mass (CoM) in a hybrid treatment for breast cancer radiotherapy.
Material and methods:
Twenty-two patients were planned in two isocentre locations with two forward intensity-modulated radiation therapy (fIMRT) tangentials to the breast and a volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) to the boost. A simultaneous integrated boost technique was used. Breast Boost (BB) Vector was investigated as a criterion for selecting an appropriate isocentre placement. Various metrics for boost, breast and hybrid plans were analysed using analysis of variance statistics.
Comparing hybrid plans at the boost CoM vs. hybrid plans at the breast CoM, no significant differences were found. Analysis of relative variations of planning target volume (PTV) boost coverage vs. BB Vector indicated an upgrade in boost CoM isocentre strategy. Dose to organs at risk was comparable: V5Gy (26·24 vs. 25·69%, p = 0·8), V20Gy (14·66 vs. 14·58%, p = 0·959) and the mean dose (7·37 Gy vs. 7·26 Gy, p = 0·879) to ipsilateral lung; V5Gy (15·60 vs. 15·22%, p = 0·903), and the mean dose (4·91 Gy vs. 4·86 Gy, p = 0·950) to heart and dose to free breast of boost (46·71 Gy vs. 46·62 Gy, p = 0·408).
The hybrid fIMRT–VMAT technique centred at the boost CoM resulted equivalent to plans centred at the breast CoM, while benefiting from an enhancement in PTV boost coverage for patients with BB Vector superior to 5.
The assessment of aggressiveness and the prediction of aggression has become a relevant research and applied topic in Psychiatry and Psychology. There have been many attempts in order to get a fast and reliable tool to measure aggression. Buss and Durkee started the pathway, and recently Bryant and Smith developed a tool with an enormous potential, a fast-applicable, reliable and valid test. We herein report a Spanish adaptation of this test and we show that aggressiveness can be measured rapidly, and in a simple, valid and reliable way across different populations. We focus on the discriminant capacity of this test to detect aggressive individuals.
Although it is known that certain emotion regulation processes produce a buffering effect on the relationship between life events and well-being, this issue has been poorly studied in the elderly population. Thus, the aim of the present study is to test and confirm a comprehensive model of the impact that past life events have on older adults’ psychological distress, exploring the possible mediating roles of emotion regulation processes. These include rumination, experiential avoidance, and personal growth.
In this cross-sectional study, 387 people over 60 years old residing in the community were assessed on life events, physical functioning, emotion regulation variables, psychological well-being, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The structural model tested achieved a satisfactory fit to the data, explaining 73% of the variance of older adults’ psychological distress. In addition, the main results suggest possible mediation effects of both the physical functioning and the emotional variables: rumination, experiential avoidance, and personal growth in the face of hardship.
These findings confirm the importance of emotion regulation processes in the final stages of life. They reveal the various adaptive and maladaptive mechanisms that underlie the relationship between life events and psychological distress. The findings suggest – both in the explanatory models of psychological well-being and in psychotherapeutic interventions – the importance of emotion regulation in the elderly population’s health.
Little is known about changes in brain functioning after first-episode psychosis (FEP). Such knowledge is important for predicting the course of disease and adapting interventions. Functional magnetic resonance imaging has become a promising tool for exploring brain function at the time of symptom onset and at follow-up.
A systematic review of longitudinal fMRI studies with FEP patients according to PRISMA guidelines. Resting-state and task-activated studies were considered together.
Eleven studies were included. These reported on a total of 236 FEP patients were evaluated by two fMRI scans and clinical assessments. Five studies found hypoactivation at baseline in prefrontal cortex areas, two studies found hypoactivation in the amygdala and hippocampus, and three others found hypoactivation in the basal ganglia. Other hypoactivated areas were the anterior cingulate cortex, thalamus and posterior cingulate cortex. Ten out of eleven studies reported (partial) normalization by increased activation after antipsychotic treatment. A minority of studies observed hyperactivation at baseline.
This review of longitudinal FEP samples studies reveals a pattern of predominantly hypoactivation in several brain areas at baseline that may normalize to a certain extent after treatment. The results should be interpreted with caution given the small number of studies and their methodological and clinical heterogeneity.
This study explores magnetization exhibited by nanoscale platinum-based structures embedded in pure silica plates. A superposition of laser pulses in the samples produced periodic linear arrangements of micro-sized structures. The samples were integrated by PtO2 microstructures (PtOΣs) with dispersed Pt oxide nanoparticles in their surroundings. The characterization of the materials was performed by high transmission electron microscopy studies. Furthermore, topographical and magnetic effects on the sample surfaces were analyzed by atomic force microscopy and magnetic force microscopy, respectively. The magnetic measurements indicated an enhancement in the gradient phase shift and in the gradient force related to the magnetic PtOΣs. The possibility of tuning the magnetic characteristics of the samples through contact with a Nd2Fe14B magnet was demonstrated. This process corresponds to an innovative method for obtaining magnetic PtOΣs induced by laser pulses. Moreover, an increase in the compactness of the silica with platinum-based structures was confirmed by an evaluation of the effective elastic modulus with reference to pure silica. The multimodal magnetic structures studied in this work seem to be candidates for developing high-density magnetic storage media.
Positive symptoms are a useful predictor of aggression in schizophrenia. Although a similar pattern of abnormal brain structures related to both positive symptoms and aggression has been reported, this observation has not yet been confirmed in a single sample.
To study the association between positive symptoms and aggression in schizophrenia on a neurobiological level, a prospective meta-analytic approach was employed to analyze harmonized structural neuroimaging data from 10 research centers worldwide. We analyzed brain MRI scans from 902 individuals with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia and 952 healthy controls.
The result identified a widespread cortical thickness reduction in schizophrenia compared to their controls. Two separate meta-regression analyses revealed that a common pattern of reduced cortical gray matter thickness within the left lateral temporal lobe and right midcingulate cortex was significantly associated with both positive symptoms and aggression.
These findings suggested that positive symptoms such as formal thought disorder and auditory misperception, combined with cognitive impairments reflecting difficulties in deploying an adaptive control toward perceived threats, could escalate the likelihood of aggression in schizophrenia.
This study evaluated the effects of oocyte meiosis inhibitors roscovitine (ROS) and butyrolactone I (BL-I) on in vitro production of bovine embryos. Bovine oocytes were maintained in pre in vitro maturation (pre-IVM) with 25 µM ROS or 100 µM BL-I for 24 h to delay meiosis and for 24 h in in vitro maturation (IVM). Following this treatment, the nuclear maturation index was evaluated. All embryos degenerated following this procedure. In the second set of experiments, oocytes were maintained for 6 or 12 h in pre-IVM with the following three treatments: ROS (25 µM or 12.5 µM), BL-I (100 µM or 50 µM) or a combination of both drugs (6.25 µM ROS and 12.5 µM BL-I). Oocytes were cultivated for 18 or 12 h in IVM. When a meiosis-inducing agent was used during pre-IVM for 24 h, more degenerated oocytes were observed at the end of the IVM period. This effect decreased when the meiotic blocking period was reduced to 6 or 12 h. No significant differences were observed in the blastocyst production rate of oocytes in pre-IVM for 6 h with ROS, BL-I, or ROS + BL-I compared with that of the control group (P > 0.05). However, inhibition of oocytes for 12 h resulted in decreased embryo production compared with that in the controls (P < 0.05). There was no difference in the post-vitrification embryo re-expansion rate between the study groups, showing that the meiotic inhibition for 6 or 12 h did not alter the embryo cryopreservation process.