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Previous research has shown that long-term mindfulness training has beneficial effects on cognitive functioning and emotional regulation, but results are mixed regarding single mindfulness exercises, especially on attention and memory tasks. Thus, the present study aimed to analyse the effects of the Focused Breathing Exercise (FB) on cognitive performance, using standardised tests. Forty-six healthy undergraduate students were randomly assigned either to a FB or a Control condition. Two cognitive tasks (the Concentrated Attention task of the Toulouse-Pierron Factorial Battery and the Logical Memory Subtest I from the Wechsler Memory Scale III), along with mood evaluations (the Positive and Negative Affect Scale), were implemented both before and after the interventions. Results showed no significant differences for the attention task and mood evaluations. Nonetheless, the FB enhanced performance for the memory task significantly more than the Control exercise. The findings highlight that mindfulness does not affect equally all types of cognitive performances. Task characteristics may be important and their analysis can help to disentangle how mindfulness interferes with cognitive processes.
The objective of the present study was to assess the reproducibility of data-driven dietary patterns in different samples extracted from similar populations. Dietary patterns were extracted by applying principal component analyses to the dietary information collected from a sample of 3550 women recruited from seven screening centres belonging to the Spanish breast cancer (BC) screening network (Determinants of Mammographic Density in Spain (DDM-Spain) study). The resulting patterns were compared with three dietary patterns obtained from a previous Spanish case–control study on female BC (Epidemiological study of the Spanish group for breast cancer research (GEICAM: grupo Español de investigación en cáncer de mama)) using the dietary intake data of 973 healthy participants. The level of agreement between patterns was determined using both the congruence coefficient (CC) between the pattern loadings (considering patterns with a CC≥0·85 as fairly similar) and the linear correlation between patterns scores (considering as fairly similar those patterns with a statistically significant correlation). The conclusions reached with both methods were compared. This is the first study exploring the reproducibility of data-driven patterns from two studies and the first using the CC to determine pattern similarity. We were able to reproduce the EpiGEICAM Western pattern in the DDM-Spain sample (CC=0·90). However, the reproducibility of the Prudent (CC=0·76) and Mediterranean (CC=0·77) patterns was not as good. The linear correlation between pattern scores was statistically significant in all cases, highlighting its arbitrariness for determining pattern similarity. We conclude that the reproducibility of widely prevalent dietary patterns is better than the reproducibility of more population-specific patterns. More methodological studies are needed to establish an objective measurement and threshold to determine pattern similarity.
The composition and structure of sublittoral faunal assemblages inhabiting soft bottoms (15–72 m depth) within the Marine Protected Area ‘Acantilados y Fondos Marinos de Calahonda-Castell de Ferro’ in southern Spain (North Alboran Sea, Mediterranean) have been studied in relation to sediment and water column variables. Three assemblages were identified and corresponded to mixed bottom, unstable bottom and coastal detritic bottom assemblages, based on Pérès & Picard's (1964) benthic classification. A total of 14,318 individuals were collected and 218 species identified, molluscs being the best represented group (141 species). Species richness displayed significant differences with depth and transect, with the highest values observed in the medium to very fine sand and muddy bottoms with bioclasts located at the shallowest sampling stations. The presence of some rare and poorly known invertebrates that are scarce in other areas of the Mediterranean Sea is remarkable, such as the crustacean decapods Bythocaris cosmetops and Pagurus mbizi, Atlantic species with no records in the Mediterranean Sea, and the bathyal molluscs Poromya granulata and Alvania testae, collected at shallow depths. The spatial distribution of faunal assemblages was mainly related to depth and percentage of gravel and clay according to the canonical correspondence analysis. The geographic location of the area, the heterogeneity of soft bottoms and the presence of upwellings in the area may favour the high biodiversity found in the studied soft bottoms. This study increases the scarce knowledge of the circalittoral fauna of sedimentary habitats of the Alboran Sea, providing a baseline for the management of this interesting SCI and for the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Fat digestibility is decreased in old cats for unknown reasons. Subclinical gastrointestinal diseases and pancreatic dysfunction, both related to ageing, can affect food digestibility. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the prevalence of subnormal cobalamin concentration and pancreatic disease in old cats and study the relationship between both markers and fat digestibility. A total of sixty-four cats without evident signs of gastrointestinal disease were included and grouped according to age: (1) fifteen middle-aged (MA), aged 3–7 years; and (2) forty-nine old, aged 10–17 years. All cats were tested for serum cobalamin, specific feline pancreatic lipase (fPL) and feline trypsin-like immunoreactivity. Then, sixteen of the old cats were selected and grouped according to cobalamin and fPL concentrations: control (normal cobalamin and fPL); low vitamin B12 (cobalamin <290 ng/l; normal fPL); and high fPL (normal cobalamin; fPL >4 µg/ml). A food digestibility trial with a high-fat diet (21·6 %) was performed. In the old group, cobalamin was lower and fPL higher than in MA cats. Of the old cats (n 49), 14 % had subnormal cobalamin, 8 % had a severe increase in fPL, 2 % had both alterations and 14 % had a slight increase in fPL. By contrast, MA cats did not have cobalamin deficiency or an increase in fPL concentrations. Fat digestibility was lower in low vitamin B12 cats than control cats. Decreased fat digestibility is not present in all old cats but could be a characteristic of subclinical chronic gastrointestinal disease. Cobalamin concentration, as a marker of gastrointestinal disease, could be useful for the routine evaluation of old cats.
Research has shown that teaching individuals to experience pain and anxiety as inevitable products of the actions they freely and responsibly undertake yields healthier reactions to suffering. This preliminary study assesses whether a brief acceptancebased psychological intervention along with the usual presurgical protocol for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy will produce healthier reactions to postsurgical pain, and will reduce anxiety, duration of postsurgical hospitalization, and demand of analgesics. After admission, screening, and consent procedures, we assessed pain and anxiety. Patients in the experimental condition (n = 6) then received a brief acceptance-based nursing intervention addressing the individual meaning of surgery, and including a metaphor and defusion practice, along with routine care. Patients in the control condition (n = 7) received routine care only. Twenty-four hr following the intervention, surgery took place. Pain, anxiety, and patients' demand for analgesics were assessed 24 hr or 48 hr after surgery. All six experimental patients, as compared to three of seven control patients, demanded fewer analgesics and left the hospital within 24 hr or 48 hr from surgery even in the presence of frequent and/or intense pain. Anxiety slightly decreased in the experimental patients. The brief acceptance-based intervention was effective in improving postsurgical recovery. These preliminary findings support the potential of this type of intervention as a cost-effective strategy to be implemented in the sanitary context.
The composition and structure of a molluscan assemblage inhabiting an outcrop with a coralligenous community was studied in southern Spain. A total of 117 molluscan species were identified, with gastropods as the dominant group. Calyptraea chinensis was the dominant species and the family Conidae presented the highest number of species. The Shannon–Wiener diversity index and the Evenness showed non-significant changes between cold and warm months, displaying high values (~4 bits and ~0.8 bits respectively). Some of the dominant and/or frequent species are strictly associated with coralligenous-building organisms, such as Neosimnia spelta with gorgonians. Regarding trophic guilds, carnivores are the dominant group, followed by filter feeders due to the high abundance of C. chinensis. Regarding biogeographical distributions, most of these species (<95%) are widely distributed in European waters, the number of strictly Mediterranean species being very low. The Alboran Sea represents the distributional limit towards the Mediterranean for some species found in this bottom, such as the Atlantic Bela powisiana. Rocky–coralligenous bottoms are scarce in the western Alboran Sea but support a high species richness molluscan assemblage, displaying higher diversity values than the surrounding soft bottoms and increasing the biodiversity at local scale. This high biodiversity is partly explained by the coexistence of different taxa with contrasting biogeographical affinities promoted by the geographical location of the area. Due to this, conservation efforts should be required to protect this stretch of coastline where one of the most biodiverse invertebrate assemblages along the European coasts can be found.
The occurrence of a living population of the giant deep-sea oyster Neopycnodonte zibrowii is reported on the slopes of Hespérides Mud Volcano Complex in the Gulf of Cádiz, south-western Iberian Peninsula, in 720 m depth. A noteworthy circumstance of this new record is its situation on a sea bottom which was suitable for the operation of a rock dredge and does not apparently feature abrupt cliffs or rocky overhangs as in previous reports on the species.
The composition and structure of a molluscan assemblage was studied in a deep subtidal eelgrass bed located in southern Spain before and after the eelgrass decline experienced during 2005 and 2006 due to illegal trawling by fishermen. Sampling was undertaken in summer 2004 (with eelgrass) and summer 2007 (without eelgrass) in an extensive eelgrass bed located in Cañuelo Bay (12–14 m depth) and in the same area once the eelgrass bed disappeared. Eelgrass was completely absent in those samples of summer 2007 and an increase of the organic content and mud was registered in the sediment between 2004 and 2007. The density and the richness of molluscan species decreased significantly in summer 2007, especially for epifaunal gastropods associated with the leaf and sediment stratum. Some species disappeared completely in summer 2007 such as the dominant periphyton grazers Jujubinus striatus and Rissoa spp., the egg feeder Mitrella minor and the seagrass feeder Smaragdia viridis as well as the infaunal bivalve Solemya togata. Other species increased their densities such as the carnivores Cylichna crossei or C. cylindracea as well as the bivalve Nucula nitidosa. Some dominant infaunal species, such as Chamelea gallina, Spisula subtruncata or Tellina fabula did not significantly change their densities. The composition and structure of the assemblages in summer 2004 and summer 2007 was significantly different according to the Bray–Curtis similarity index using qualitative and quantitative data and considering the entire assemblage (epifaunal and infaunal species) or only the infaunal species. The registered changes in the molluscan assemblage may have produced cascade effects in higher trophic levels because molluscs generally represent an important food source for some decapods and fish. Urgent conservation measures are needed for protecting the remaining fragmented eelgrass beds of southern Spain from further illegal fisheries activities and other types of human impacts (e.g. sand extraction and coastal infrastructures), because they support the most diverse faunistic communities for eelgrass beds in Europe due to their bathymetry and geographical location.
The aims of this study were to assess the changes that have occurred in food patterns in Europe over the last 40 years based on food availability data and to compare the stability of the traditional Mediterranean diet in the south of Europe in this period.
An ecological study carried out on the basis of Food and Agriculture Organization food balance sheets for three geographical areas of Europe (Mediterranean, north and east) over two time periods: 1961–1963 and 1998–2000. The average availability of total energy, energy provided from macronutrients and food groups was calculated for each area and each period studied.
Over the last 40 years total energy availability and energy availability from lipids have increased considerably in the three European areas, while the percentage of energy from carbohydrates has fallen. The greatest changes have occurred in Mediterranean Europe, with an increase of 20.1% in total energy availability, an increase of 48.1% in energy availability from lipids and a fall of 20.5% from carbohydrates. Moreover, Mediterranean Europe showed a significant fall in the energy supplied by cereals (29.9%) and wine (55.2%), while the contribution of milk (77.8%) and dairy products (23.6%) increased.
The results of this study suggest that European Mediterranean countries should take nutrition policy action to maintain their traditional healthy food pattern, with a cultural added value. This implies actions at all levels, including raising awareness of consumers, collaboration with the food sector and a call to set the agenda of the concerned politicians and stakeholders.
The macrofauna of molluscs associated with soft bottoms in the Bay of Cádiz (southern Spain) was studied monthly from February 1994 to January 1996. The number of species (63) is high for a soft bottom and is related to environmental characteristics (growth of macrophytes) and the biogeographical setting of the studied area. Corbula gibba (∼90%) was the dominant species in this taxocoenosis together with the gastropod Nassarius pygmaeus and the bivalves Pandora inaequivalvis, Parvicardium exiguum and Macoma melo. The most frequent species during the two years was also the bivalve Corbula gibba (100%) followed by the gastropods Nassarius pygmaeus, Tricolia tenuis, Rissoa membranacea and the bivalve Macoma melo. Total abundance of the taxocoenosis in both years reached higher values in spring. The dynamics of the ecological indices such as diversity or evenness, and the species richness showed a similar pattern in both years, with low values of diversity and evenness together with high species richness in spring and summer months and the reverse in autumn and winter. The qualitative correspondence analysis of monthly samples shows an ordination related to seasonality in both studied years, however the values of Jaccard's coefficient do not indicate significant boundaries among the monthly samples. The quantitative correspondence analysis shows an ordination and grouping of samples related to the biology of species, particularly with the recruitment of C. gibba, the dominant species. The existence of similar trends in the structure of the taxocoenoses over both years, and the seasonality highlighted by the qualitative correspondence analysis, seems to indicate a certain stability of the ecosystem.
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