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Lake sediments are key archives for paleoenvironmental investigation as they provide continuous records of the depositional history of the lake and its watershed. Lake Futalaufquen (42.8°S) is an oligotrophic waterbody located in Los Alerces National Park in the Andes of northern Patagonia, South America. A sedimentary sequence covering 1600 years was recovered to analyze the potential for paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the last millennia. Integration of different geochemical and mineralogical parameters and comparison with climatic reconstructions from other Patagonian records give clues for the identification of a warm period around AD 800–1000, associated with the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. The high frequency of tephra layers beginning in the mid-sixteenth century precludes identification of the Little Ice Age, recorded in northern Patagonia as a cold period from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. Furthermore, the parameters analysed do not provide evidence of late-twentieth-century global warming. However, Zn deposition, a long-distance atmospheric transport process of anthropogenic origin, was identified during the last century.
Population growth and rising incomes have led to increasing global demand for meat products. Meeting this demand without converting remaining natural ecosystems or further degrading ecosystems is one of the largest global sustainability challenges. A critical step to overcoming this challenge is to increase the productivity of livestock grazing systems, which occupy the largest land area of any type of agriculture globally. Integrated crop−livestock systems (iCL), which re-couple crop and livestock production at the farm scale, have been considered a promising strategy to tackle this challenge by restoring degraded pasturelands and providing supplemental nutrition to livestock. However, few studies have analyzed the economic viability of such systems, especially in Brazil, an important player in global food systems. This paper presents an economic analysis of iCL in Mato Grosso, Brazil, the largest grain and beef producer in the country, which spans the ecologically diverse Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal biomes. We compare the economic performance of an integrated soybean/corn and beef cattle system to a continuous crop (soybean/corn) system and a continuous livestock (beef cattle) production system from 2005 to 2012. We use empirical case study data to characterize a ‘typical’ farm for each production system within the study region. We find that the integrated crop−livestock system has a higher annual net present value (NPV) per hectare (ha) than continuous cropping or livestock under a range of discount rates. However, under a scenario of substantially higher crop prices, the continuous cropping outperforms iCL. While iCL is not feasible in all regions of the Amazon and Cerrado, our results indicate that in places where the biophysical and market conditions are suitable for production, it could be a highly profitable way to intensify cattle production and potentially spare land for other uses, including conservation. Nevertheless, additional credit and technical support may be needed to overcome high upfront costs and informational barriers to increase iCL areas as a sustainable development strategy for agriculture in the Amazon and Cerrado regions.
Decision-making (DM) is a component of executive functioning. DM is essential to make proper decisions regarding important life and health issues. DM can be impaired in cognitive disorders among older adults, but current literature is scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the DM profile in participants with and without cognitive impairment.
Cross-sectional analysis of a cohort study on cognitive aging.
143 older adults.
University-based memory clinic.
Patients comprised three groups after inclusion and exclusion criteria: healthy controls (n=29), mild cognitive impairment (n=81) and dementia (n=33). Participants were evaluated using an extensive neuropsychological protocol. DM profile was evaluated by the Melbourne Decision Making Questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between age, sex, educational level, estimated intelligence quotient (IQ), cognitive disorders, depressive or anxiety symptoms, and the DM profiles.
The most prevalent DM profile was the vigilant type, having a prevalence of 64.3%. The vigilant profile also predominated in all three groups. The multinomial logistic regression showed that the avoidance profile (i.e. buck-passing) was associated with a greater presence of dementia (p=0.046) and depressive symptoms (p=0.024), but with less anxious symptoms (p=0.047). The procrastination profile was also associated with depressive symptoms (p=0.048). Finally, the hypervigilant profile was associated with a lower pre-morbid IQ (p=0.007).
Older adults with cognitive impairment tended to make more unfavorable choices and have a more dysfunctional DM profile compared to healthy elders.
There is no suitable vaccine against human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and available drugs are toxic and/or present high cost. In this context, diagnostic tools should be improved for clinical management and epidemiological evaluation of disease. However, the variable sensitivity and/or specificity of the used antigens are limitations, showing the necessity to identify new molecules to be tested in a more sensitive and specific serology. In the present study, an immunoproteomics approach was performed in Leishmania infantum promastigotes and amastigotes employing sera samples from VL patients. Aiming to avoid undesired cross-reactivity in the serological assays, sera from Chagas disease patients and healthy subjects living in the endemic region of disease were also used in immunoblottings. The most reactive spots for VL samples were selected, and 29 and 21 proteins were identified in the promastigote and amastigote extracts, respectively. Two of them, endonuclease III and GTP-binding protein, were cloned, expressed, purified and tested in ELISA experiments against a large serological panel, and results showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the diagnosis of disease. In conclusion, the identified proteins could be considered in future studies as candidate antigens for the serodiagnosis of human VL.
With the emergence of modern techniques of environmental analysis and widespread availability of accessible tools and quantitative data, the question of environmental determinism is once again on the agenda. This paper is theoretical in character, attempting, for the benefit of drawing up research designs, to understand and evaluate the character of environmental determinism. We reach three main conclusions: (1) in a typical pattern of research design, studies seek to detect simultaneous shifts in the environmental and archaeological records, variously positing the former to have influenced, triggered or caused the latter; (2) the question of determinism involves uncertainty about the justification for the above research design in particular in what comes to biologism and the concept of environmental thresholds on the one hand and the externality of the drivers of transformation in human groups and societies on the other; (3) adapting the concepts of the social production of vulnerability and the social basis of hazards from anthropology may help to clarify the available research design choices at hand.
The aim of this research communication was to identify chromosome regions and genes that could be related to milk yield (MY), milk fat (%F) and protein percentage (%P) in Brazilian buffalo cows using information from genotyped and non-genotyped animals. We used the 90 K Axiom® Buffalo Genotyping array. A repeatability model was used. An iterative process was performed to calculate the weights of markers as a function of the squared effects of Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) and allele frequencies. The 10 SNPs with the largest effects for MY, %F and %P were studied and they explained 7·48, 9·94 and 6·56% of the genetic variance, respectively. These regions harbor genes with biological functions that could be related to the traits analyzed. The identification of such regions and genes will contribute to a better understanding of their influence on milk production and milk quality traits of buffaloes.
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
In this study, a Leishmania hypothetical protein, LiHyS, was evaluated regarding its antigenicity, immunogenicity and protective efficacy against visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Regarding antigenicity, immunoblottings and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using human and canine sera showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the recombinant protein (rLiHyS) in the diagnosis of VL. When evaluating the immunogenicity of LiHyS, which is possibly located in the parasite's flagellar pocket, proliferative assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy subjects or VL patients showed a high proliferative index in both individuals, when compared to the results obtained using rA2 or unstimulated cultures. Later, rLiHyS/saponin was inoculated in BALB/c mice, which were then challenged with Leishmania infantum promastigotes. The vaccine induced an interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor production, which was maintained after infection and which was associated with high nitrite and IgG2a antibody levels, as well as low IL-4 and IL-10 production. Significant reductions in the parasite load in liver, spleen, bone marrow and draining lymph nodes were found in these animals. In this context, the present study shows that the rLiHyS has the capacity to be evaluated as a diagnostic marker or vaccine candidate against VL.
The limnological conditions during the past 700 yr were reconstructed based on multiproxy analysis of a short sedimentary sequence from El Toro Lake (~40°S, 70°W). Mineralogical and geochemical features, as well as ostracods and chironomids, record hydrologic changes in the El Toro Lake basin. The ostracod Limnocythere rionegroensis var. 1, a reliable indicator of high salinity, and Eucypris fontana, a euryhaline species with preferences for moderate-salinity waters, are studied as paleolimnological proxies. The chironomid fauna indicates less saline conditions in the mid-twentieth century. These salinity changes are interpreted in terms of negative–positive hydrologic balance. High lake level and low salinity between AD 1500 and 1700 match with the wetter and colder climate during the second pulse of the Little Ice Age in northern Patagonia. High-salinity conditions occurred during the late nineteenth century, corresponding to the driest period during the past 400 yr in northeastern Patagonia. An increase in the precipitation around the middle of the twentieth century, in contrast to the records from the Chilean side of the mountains, correlates with a positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode. This is associated, in turn, with a strengthening, poleward shift of the midlatitude westerlies, possibly enhancing easterly moist air flows into central-north Patagonia.
The volume of lawsuits for drugs has increased in Brazil. The scientific evidence basis consideration by the Brazilian judiciary system is being debated. In the State of São Paulo, the drug with the highest number of lawsuits is insulin glargine. Between January and August 2016, the São Paulo State Department of Health lost 264 insulin glargine lawsuits requiring supply for adult patients (>18 years old). Insulin glargine has already been submitted and unfavorably assessed by the Health Ministry SUS Technology Incorporation National Commission (CONITEC), so is not available in the Brazilian public system.
The mean age of the 153 patients was 49±17 years. The majority of patients requested insulin glargine to achieve glycemic control (n = 116; 76 percent): because -“diabetes is uncontrolled and the analogous insulin is essential to get it” (n = 106; 69 percent); or -“patient claims to have obtained glycemic control with insulin glargine but there are none of the mandatory laboratory tests results in lawsuits” (n = 7; 5 percent); or -“ask replacement of insulin detemir with glargine for glycemic control” (n = 3; 2 percent). Only 87 (57 percent) lawsuits reported the patients diabetes type: type 1 (n = 42; 28% percent or 2 (n = 45; 29 percent). Most of this judicialization came from private outpatient clinics (n = 116; 76 percent) and 99 (65 percent) were prescribed by endocrinologists.
Judicial decisions are still insufficiently underpinned by scientific evidence (only the patients drug needs claim has been recorded to justify supply) and are incomplete regarding objective diagnostic variables. Also, the judges awareness of interdisciplinary measures to achieve diabetic patients glycemic control, besides complementary drugs, may improve the Brazilian judicialization burden.
Obesity is the main causal factor for metabolic syndrome and chronic systemic inflammation, which impacts on immune function and increases susceptibility to pathogens. Here, we investigated the effect of obesity on the outcome of visceral leishmaniasis caused by Leishmaniasis infantum chagasi. C57BL/6 mice fed with high-sugar and butter diet (HSB) showed a significant increase in body weight, adiposity index and morphological changes in adipocyte. To investigate the consequences of obesity on the specific immunity against Leishmania, both control and HSB diet groups were infected with 107L. infantum chagasi promastigotes in the eighth-week after diet started and euthanized 4 weeks later. HSB-diet fed mice exhibited a significantly higher parasite burden in both liver and spleen compared with control- diet group. Gonadal adipocyte tissue from HSB-diet mice showed increased TNF-α, IL-6 and leptin and diminished IL-10 production compared with control. Cytokines production analysis in the spleen and liver from these animals also demonstrated higher production of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6 and nitric oxide and diminished production of IL-10 and TGF-β, which correlate with inflammatory foci and the cell hyperplasia observed. Taken together, obesity can interfere with responses to pathogen-derived signals and impair the development of protective anti-Leishmania immunity.
The CAF01 adjuvant has previously been shown to be safe for human use and to be a potent adjuvant for several vaccine antigens. In the present work, we sought to optimize the Leishmania amazonensis antigens (LaAg) intranasal vaccine in an attempt to enhance the protective immune responses against Leishmania (infantum) chagasi by using the CAF01 association. LaAg/CAF01 vaccinated mice that were challenged 15 days after booster dose with L. (infantum) chagasi showed a significant reduction in their parasite burden in both the spleen and liver, which is associated with an increase in specific production of IFN-γ and nitrite, and a decrease in IL-4 production. In addition, LaAg/CAF01 intranasal delivery was able to increase lymphoproliferative immune responses after parasite antigen recall. These results suggest the feasibility of using the intranasal route for the delivery of crude antigens and of a human-compatible adjuvant against visceral leishmaniasis.
The montane inselbergs of northern Mozambique have been comparatively little-studied, yet recent surveys have shown they have a rich biodiversity with numerous endemic species. Here we present the main findings from a series of scientific expeditions to one of these inselbergs, Mt Mabu, and discuss the conservation implications. Comprehensive species lists of plants, birds, mammals and butterflies are presented. The most significant result was the discovery of a c. 7,880 ha block of undisturbed rainforest, most of it at medium altitude (900–1,400 m), a forest type that is not well represented elsewhere. It is possibly the largest continuous block of this forest type in southern Africa. To date, 10 new species (plants, mammals, reptiles and butterflies) have been confirmed from Mt Mabu, even though sampling effort for most taxonomic groups has been low. The species assemblages indicate a relatively long period of isolation and many species found are at the southern limit of their range. Conservationists are now faced with the challenge of how best to protect Mt Mabu and similar mountains in northern Mozambique, and various ways that this could be done are discussed.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of long-term grape juice concentrate (GJC) consumption, in two dosages, on the reproductive parameters of cadmium-exposed male rats. The effects of the concentrate on body mass gain, plasma testosterone levels, reproductive organ weights, daily sperm production, sperm morphology, testis histopathological and histomorphometrical parameters, and testicular antioxidant markers were investigated. Wistar rats (n 54) were distributed into six groups: CdCl2; cadmium and grape juice I (1·18 g/kg per d); cadmium and grape juice II (2·36 g/kg per d); grape juice I (1·18 g/kg per d); grape juice II (2·36 g/kg per d); control. A single dose of CdCl2 (1·2 mg/kg body weight (BW)) was injected intraperitoneally and the grape juice was administered orally for 56 d. The results indicated that cadmium changed all reproductive and antioxidant parameters. At dosage I (1·18 g/kg BW), GJC consumption did not show the effects against cadmium-induced damages. In contrast, at dosage II (2·36 g/kg BW), the GJC improved the gonadosomatic index (P= 0·003), serum testosterone levels (P= 0·001), the relative weight of epididymis (P= 0·013) and ventral prostate (P= 0·052), the percentage of normal sperm (P= 0·001), and histopathological and histomorphometrical parameters. In addition, at this dosage, normalisation of the enzymatic activity of superoxide dismutase (P= 0·001) and of testicular levels of glutathione (P= 0·03) were observed. The parameters of the non-exposed rats did not depict significant alterations. In conclusion, the product was able to act as a protector of reproductive function against cadmium-induced damage. Such a property was expressed in a dose-dependent manner as the more effective dose was dosage II. The GJC acted possibly by antioxidant mechanisms.
Chronic inflammatory bowel disease is characterised by an up-regulation of the synthesis and release of a variety of pro-inflammatory mediators leading to excessive tissue injury. Flavonoids are able to inhibit enzymes and/or due to their antioxidant properties regulate the immune response. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the mechanisms of action of phenolic compounds present in grape juice on 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis. A total of forty-one male Wistar rats were randomised into seven groups: negative control group; TNBS non-treated induced colitis; 2 % grape juice control group; 1 % grape juice 24 h after TNBS colitis induction; 1 % grape juice on day 7 after colitis induction; 2 % grape juice 24 h after colitis induction; 2 % grape juice on day 7 after colitis induction. The 1 % grape juice-treated induced colitis group showed marked clinical improvement when compared with the TNBS-induced colitis group. Rats that received 1 % grape juice, on day 7 after colitis induction, presented reduced intensity of macroscopic and histological scores. Statistically significant differences (P< 0·05) of TNF-α and inducible NO synthase mRNA expression were detected in the groups treated with grape juice at the 1 % dose after inducing experimental colitis when compared with the TNBS group. Grape juice reduced the noxious effects induced by colitis caused by TNBS, especially at the 1 % dose.
During the Pleistocene a fauna composed of large (biomass > 44 kg) and giant mammals (biomass > 1000 kg) that are usually associated with open environments lived in the Brazilian Intertropical Region. We present here new information concerning the paleoecology and chronology of some species of this megafauna. Carbon isotope analyses were performed for a better understanding of the paleoecology of the species Eremotherium laurillardi (Lund, 1842), Notiomastodon platensis (Ameghino, 1888) and Toxodon platensis (Owen, 1849). The δ13C data allow attributing a generalist diet to these species, which varied according to the kind of habitat in which they lived. In more open habitats all species were grazers; in mixed habitats E. laurillardi and T. platensis were mixed feeders, and N. platensis was grazer; and in more closed habitats all species were mixed feeders.