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Gender differences in symptomatology in chronic schizophrenia and first episode psychosis patients have often been reported. However, little is known about gender differences in those at risk of psychotic disorders. This study investigated gender differences in symptomatology, drug use, comorbidity (i.e. substance use, affective and anxiety disorders) and global functioning in patients with an at-risk mental state (ARMS) for psychosis.
The sample consisted of 336 ARMS patients (159 women) from the prodromal work package of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI; 11 centers). Clinical symptoms, drug use, comorbidity and functioning were assessed at first presentation to an early detection center using structured interviews.
In unadjusted analyses, men were found to have significantly higher rates of negative symptoms and current cannabis use while women showed higher rates of general psychopathology and more often displayed comorbid affective and anxiety disorders. No gender differences were found for global functioning. The results generally did not change when corrected for possible cofounders (e.g. cannabis use). However, most differences did not withstand correction for multiple testing.
Findings indicate that gender differences in symptomatology and comorbidity in ARMS are similar to those seen in overt psychosis and in healthy controls. However, observed differences are small and would only be reliably detected in studies with high statistical power. Moreover, such small effects would likely not be clinically meaningful.
Bariatric surgery has become one of the fastest growing operative procedures due to its sustained results and the increasing prevalence of obesity worldwide. Despite this fact, bariatric surgery carries the usual risks and threats of surgical interventions and therefore its benefits might be undermined by its mid and long-term complications.
This retrospective study included obese patients requiring bariatric surgery from January 2004 to December 2017 provided by a private healthcare organization in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Data regarding healthcare utilization were extracted from an administrative database (software Oracle Business Intelligence). Continuous variables were expressed as mean and standard deviation. Log-Rank test was used to adjust the survival curve (software STATA 13.1, Stata Corp, USA). This historical cohort resulted in no interventions, neither during the instituted treatment nor after the observed outcome. Privacy of subjects and the confidentiality of their personal information were handled in accordance with the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.
In total, 16,786 patients were included in the study (mean age 37.2 ± 10.2 years; female 79.2 percent; mean body mass index 42.4 ± 5.5 kg/m2). Patients were followed for up to seven years before and after surgery (total of 78,113 patients/year). For this group, the hospitalization rate was 0.099 / patients-year before versus 0.151 / patients-year after the bariatric surgery (p < 0.001). There were 224 deaths (1.33 percent) identified during the follow-up period, 0.4 percent in the first 30 postoperative days. The average costs for hospitalization were USD 3,339.36 and USD 4,305.04 for open and laparoscopic surgery, respectively.
Bariatric surgery has been an increasingly popular choice in the management of obesity. In our sample, it did not reduce the overall mid-term healthcare utilization rate.
A thermoresponsive large-area plasmonic architecture, made from randomly distributed gold nanoparticles (GNPs) located at the substrate interface of a cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC) cell, is fabricated and thoroughly characterized. A photo-thermal heating effect due to the localized plasmonic resonance (LPR) mechanism is generated by pumping the GNP array with a resonant light beam. The photo-induced heat, propagating through the CLC layer, induces a gradual phase transition from the cholesteric to isotropic phase. Both the plasmonic and photonic properties of the system as both the selective reflection properties and frequency of the LPR are modulated.
It is well known that the cosmic ray intensity observed at the Earth's surface presents an 11 and 22-yr variations associated with the solar activity cycle. However, the observation and analysis of this modulation through ground muon detectors datahave been difficult due to the temperature effect. Furthermore, instrumental changes or temporary problems may difficult the analysis of these variations. In this work, we analyze the cosmic ray intensity observed since October 1970 until December 2012 by the Nagoya muon detector. We show the results obtained after analyzing all discontinuities and gaps present in this data and removing changes not related to natural phenomena. We also show the results found using the mass weighted method for eliminate the influence of atmospheric temperature changes on muon intensity observed at ground. As a preliminary result of our analyses, we show the solar cycle modulation in the muon intensity observed for more than 40 years.
Palliative care research is relatively diverse and prioritizing research in this field is dependent on multiple factors such as complex ethical decisions in designing and conducting the research; access to participants who may be deemed “vulnerable” and an increasingly medically focused approach to care. The aim of this study was to inform organizational decision-making and policy development regarding future research priorities for a hospice service in New Zealand.
A modified three-round Delphi technique was employed. Participants were drawn from one dedicated specialist palliative care service that delivers care in the community, day-care, hospice inpatient, aged residential care, and acute hospital palliative care service. A purposive sample included palliative care staff (n = 10, 18, 9, for rounds 1–3, respectively) volunteers (n = 10, 12, 11); and patients and family carers (n = 6, 8, for rounds 1 and 2). Patients and family carers were not involved in the third round.
At final ranking of six research themes encompassing 23 research topics were identified by staff and volunteers. These were: symptom management; aged care; education; community; patient and family; and bereavement support and young people. Patients and family carers agreed on four themes, made up of 10 research topics. These were: decision-making, bereavement and loss, symptom management; and recognition of need and response of service.
Significance of results:
The study generated a rich set of research themes and specific research topics. The perspectives of staff and volunteers are significantly different from those of patients and family members, in spite of the recognition by all concerned that palliative care services work within a philosophy of patient-centered care. Open discussion of ideas has the potential to engage both staff and patients and carers in quality improvement initiatives, and to reinforce the value of research for patient care.
To evaluate the impact of trash management on sugarcane production and N fertiliser requirements in environmental conditions of Brazilian coastal tablelands, a simulation was conducted with APSIM-Sugar cropping systems model. The model was parameterised for, and validated against results from a long term (over 23 years) experiment comparing the system-burnt trash and green cane trash blanketing (GCTB), in Linhares-ES. Simulations were conducted over two crop cycles (14 years) with different management (100%, 75%, 50%, 25% GCTB and burnt trash), and N fertiliser rates from 0 to 240 kg ha−1 (in 40 kg ha−1 increments) on the ratoon crops, and 75% of these rates on the plant crops. Measured cane yields and soil carbon were simulated well by the model. The RMSE (root mean square error) of predictions in burnt and GCTB treatments were 14.02 Mg ha−1 and 13.45 Mg ha−1 for yield, and 0.09 and 0.13% for soil carbon. In the simulation, the cane yield responded positively to the GCTB systems. Optimum N rates were higher in the 100%, 75% and 50% GCTB than with burnt trash and 25% GCTB reflecting the greater yields under GCTB systems. The response to trash retention was dependent on N fertiliser, and it was smaller or even negative at lower N rates. With adequate N, the positive responses were predicted to occur in all crops after the imposition of GCTB system. The removal of any proportion of the trash reduced the potential sugarcane yield. The simulations showed that average environmental losses of N are likely to be greater from trash-retained systems at all N fertiliser rates.
Introduction. Polyphenols have received significant attention in
recent years due to their antioxidant capacity and their significant role in disease
prevention. Cocoa is one of the major naturally occurring sources of antioxidants,
particularly of polyphenolic compounds. Materials and methods. Gelatin
nanoparticles loaded with a cocoa-derived polyphenolic extract were synthesized by
nanoprecipitation. The nanoparticle synthesis was performed using a central composite
experimental design that allowed for the assessment of how gelatin concentration and
surfactant concentration (Tween 80) affected the hydrodynamic diameter and polydispersity
of the particles. The nanoparticles were characterized using dynamic light scattering
(DLS), assessments of zeta potential, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier
transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). Results. The analyses demonstrated
that the nanoparticles examined exhibited hydrodynamic diameters of (100 to 400) nm,
polydispersity indices of less than 0.2 and average zeta potential values of 29–33 mV. SEM
images revealed that most nanoparticles were spherical and uniform in morphology, with
average sizes less than 250 nm. In vitro experiments in which the
2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method was used to assess the prevalence of free
radical-scavenging ability among these nanoparticles indicated that the loading efficiency
for the nanoparticles was approximately 77.56%. Conclusion. Nanoparticles
loaded with polyphenolic extract were obtained with average sizes ranging from (120 to
250) nm and largely spheroidal morphologies. Polymer and surfactant concentrations
significantly influenced the hydrodynamic diameters and polydispersity indices of the
particles. The incorporation of the polyphenolic extract into the polymer matrix enabled
the preservation of the antiradical activity of the bioactive compound.
We investigate void properties in f(R) models using N-body simulations, focusing on their differences from General Relativity (GR) and their detectability. In the Hu-Sawicki f(R) modified gravity (MG) models, the halo number density profiles of voids are not distinguishable from GR. In contrast, the same f(R) voids are more empty of dark matter, and their profiles are steeper. This can in principle be observed by weak gravitational lensing of voids, for which the combination of a spectroscopic redshift and a lensing photometric redshift survey over the same sky is required. Neglecting the lensing shape noise, the f(R) model parameter amplitudes fR0=10-5 and 10-4 may be distinguished from GR using the lensing tangential shear signal around voids by 4 and 8 σ for a volume of 1 (Gpc/h)3. The line-of-sight projection of large-scale structure is the main systematics that limits the significance of this signal for the near future wide angle and deep lensing surveys. For this reason, it is challenging to distinguish fR0=10-6 from GR. We expect that this can be overcome with larger volume. The halo void abundance being smaller and the steepening of dark matter void profiles in f(R) models are unique features that can be combined to break the degeneracy between fR0 and σ8.
Cosmic voids are becoming key players in testing the physics of our Universe.
Here we concentrate on the abundances and the dynamics of voids as these are among the best candidates
to provide information on cosmological parameters. Cai, Padilla & Li (2014)
use the abundance of voids to tell apart Hu & Sawicki f(R) models from General Relativity. An interesting
result is that even though, as expected, voids in the dark matter field are emptier in f(R) gravity due to the fifth force expelling
away from the void centres, this result is reversed when haloes are used to find voids. The abundance of voids in this case
becomes even lower in f(R) compared to GR for large voids. Still, the differences are significant and this
provides a way to tell apart these models. The velocity field differences between f(R) and GR, on the other hand, are
the same for halo voids and for dark matter voids.
Paz et al. (2013), concentrate on the velocity profiles around voids. First they show the necessity
of four parameters to describe the density profiles around voids given two distinct void
populations, voids-in-voids and voids-in-clouds. This profile is used to predict peculiar velocities around voids,
and the combination of the latter with void density profiles allows the construction of model
void-galaxy cross-correlation functions with redshift space distortions. When these models
are tuned to fit the measured correlation functions for voids and galaxies in the Sloan
Digital Sky Survey, small voids are found to be of the void-in-cloud type, whereas larger
ones are consistent with being void-in-void. This is a novel result that is obtained
directly from redshift space data around voids. These profiles can be used to
remove systematics on void-galaxy Alcock-Pacinsky tests coming from redshift-space distortions.
To examine the use of vitamin D supplements during infancy among the participants in an international infant feeding trial.
Information about vitamin D supplementation was collected through a validated FFQ at the age of 2 weeks and monthly between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
Infants (n 2159) with a biological family member affected by type 1 diabetes and with increased human leucocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes from twelve European countries, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Daily use of vitamin D supplements was common during the first 6 months of life in Northern and Central Europe (>80 % of the infants), with somewhat lower rates observed in Southern Europe (>60 %). In Canada, vitamin D supplementation was more common among exclusively breast-fed than other infants (e.g. 71 % v. 44 % at 6 months of age). Less than 2 % of infants in the USA and Australia received any vitamin D supplementation. Higher gestational age, older maternal age and longer maternal education were study-wide associated with greater use of vitamin D supplements.
Most of the infants received vitamin D supplements during the first 6 months of life in the European countries, whereas in Canada only half and in the USA and Australia very few were given supplementation.
We address current needs for neogenomics-based theoretical and computational approaches for several neuroscience research fields, from investigations of heritability properties, passing by investigations of spatiotemporal dynamics in the neuromodulatory microcircuits involved in perceptual learning and attentional shifts, to the application of genetic algorithms to create robots exhibiting ongoing emergence.
With the desire to assess genetic variation across the lifespan in large-scale collaborative projects, one question is whether inference of copy number (CN) is sensitive to the source of material for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis (e.g., blood and buccal) and another question is whether CN is stable as individuals age. Here, we address these questions by applying Affymetrix 6.0 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) micro-arrays to 1,472 DNA samples from 710 individuals from the Netherlands Twin Register, including twin and non-twin individuals (372 with buccal and blood derived DNA and 388 with longitudinal data). Similar concordance for CN and genotype inference between samples from the same individual [or from the monozygotic (MZ) co-twins] was found for blood and buccal tissues. There was a small but statistically significant decrease in across-tissue concordance compared with concordance of samples from the same tissue type. No temporal effect was seen on CN variation from the 388 individuals sampled at two time points ranging from 1 to 12 years apart. The majority of our individuals were sampled at age younger than 20 years. Genotype concordance was very high (R2 > 99%) between co-twins from 43 MZ pairs. For 75 dizygotic (DZ) pairs, R2 was ≈65%. CN estimates were highly consistent between co-twins from MZ pairs for both deletions (R2 ≈ 90%) and duplications (R2 ≈ 86%). For DZ, these were similar for within-individual comparisons, but naturally lower between co-twins (R2 ≈ 50–60%). These results suggest that DNA from buccal samples perform as well as DNA from blood samples on the current generation of micro-array technologies.
The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of the addition of fibre and the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to fat-rich diets on fetal intrauterine development in rats. A total of eighty virgin female Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a control diet, a high-fat diet (HF), a high-fat and high-fibre diet (HFF) or a high-fat NAC diet until day 19·5 of gestation. Maternal HFF consumption resulted in a significantly higher mean fetal number and placental weight than in the other groups (P < 0·05). The HFF diet significantly abrogated HF-induced decreases in maternal serum and placental superoxide anion and hydroxyl radical scavenging capacities (P < 0·05); partially abrogated HF-induced increases in maternal serum and placental malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyl concentrations (maternal serum MDA and placental protein carbonyl, P < 0·05); resulted in significantly higher fetal liver total superoxide dismutase (SOD), Cu- and Zn-containing SOD and Mn-containing SOD (Mn-SOD) activities than in the HF group (P < 0·05). Furthermore, mRNA expressions of hypoxia-inducible factor 1-α, thioredoxin 2 and Mn-SOD in fetal liver and Mn-SOD in fetal heart and placental GLUT3 in the HFF group were higher than those in the other groups (P < 0·05). The inclusion of dietary fibre in the HF diet was more effective than NAC supplementation in maintaining maternal serum and placental superoxide anion and hydroxyl radical scavenging capacities close to those of the control. These results suggest that maternal fibre intake during pregnancy is beneficial for fetal intrauterine development possibly through the improvement of maternal, placental and fetal antioxidant capacities and placental nutrient transfer capacity.
The science of extra-solar planets is one of the most rapidly changing areas of astrophysics and since 1995 the number of planets known has increased by almost two orders of magnitude. A combination of ground-based surveys and dedicated space missions has resulted in 560-plus planets being detected, and over 1200 that await confirmation. NASA's Kepler mission has opened up the possibility of discovering Earth-like planets in the habitable zone around some of the 100,000 stars it is surveying during its 3 to 4-year lifetime. The new ESA's Gaia mission is expected to discover thousands of new planets around stars within 200 parsecs of the Sun. The key challenge now is moving on from discovery, important though that remains, to characterisation: what are these planets actually like, and why are they as they are?
In the past ten years, we have learned how to obtain the first spectra of exoplanets using transit transmission and emission spectroscopy. With the high stability of Spitzer, Hubble, and large ground-based telescopes the spectra of bright close-in massive planets can be obtained and species like water vapour, methane, carbon monoxide and dioxide have been detected. With transit science came the first tangible remote sensing of these planetary bodies and so one can start to extrapolate from what has been learnt from Solar System probes to what one might plan to learn about their faraway siblings. As we learn more about the atmospheres, surfaces and near-surfaces of these remote bodies, we will begin to build up a clearer picture of their construction, history and suitability for life.
The Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory, EChO, will be the first dedicated mission to investigate the physics and chemistry of Exoplanetary Atmospheres. By characterising spectroscopically more bodies in different environments we will take detailed planetology out of the Solar System and into the Galaxy as a whole.
EChO has now been selected by the European Space Agency to be assessed as one of four M3 mission candidates.
Cryopreservation of mammal embryos has been technically feasible for many years, but morphological injuries still persist in fish embryos during cryopreservation. Thus, the objective of the present study was to describe these freezing injuries in Piaractus mesopotamicus embryos. Two hundred and twenty-five embryos were collected at the post-gastrula stage and assigned into four treatments of sucrose at 8.5, 17.0, 25.0 or 34.0% plus 9.0% methanol. The control was prepared with distilled water only. The gradual decrease in the temperature was 0.5°C/min. After the seeding stage, the fish embryos were stored in liquid nitrogen at −33°C. Thereafter, they were thawed for evaluating per cent hatching, and the samples collected from every treatment were submitted to scanning electron microscopy for morphological analysis. The micrographic images showed that there was substantial alterations in embryo morphology under the highest concentrations of sucrose. These solutions did not prevent the formation of ice crystals, which lead to deformities and killed the embryos, but the observed reduced level of morphological structure in these embryos when treated with 17.0% sucrose plus 9.0% methanol is a compelling argument for additional studies.