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We present two complementary model-based methods for calculating the risk of international spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 from the outbreak epicentre. One model aims to calculate the number of cases that would be exported from an endemic country to disease-free regions by travellers. The second model calculates the probability that an infected traveller will generate at least one secondary autochthonous case in the visited country. Although this paper focuses on the data from China, our methods can be adapted to calculate the risk of importation and subsequent outbreaks. We found an average R0 = 5.31 (ranging from 4.08 to 7.91) and a risk of spreading of 0.75 latent individuals per 1000 travellers. In addition, one infective traveller would be able to generate at least one secondary autochthonous case in the visited country with a probability of 23%.
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.
Several studies have independently suggested that patients with schizophrenia are more likely to have an enlarged cavum septum pellucidum (CSP) and an absent adhesio interthalamica (AI), respectively. However, neither finding has been consistently replicated and it is unclear whether there is an association between these two midline brain abnormalities. Thus, we compared the prevalence of absent AI and the prevalence, size and volume of CSP in 38 patients with schizophrenia and 38 healthy controls using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). There were no between group differences in the presence or volume of CSP; however, an enlarged CSP was commoner among patients than controls. There was also a positive correlation between CSP ratings and volumes. No differences in the presence or absence of the AI were found between patients and controls; however, an absent AI was commoner in male patients with schizophrenia than females. There was absolutely no overlap between the presence of a large CSP and an absence of AI. In conclusion, our findings are in line with several case series and other MRI investigations that have shown a higher incidence of putatively developmental brain abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia, particularly in males, and support the neurodevelopmental model of this disorder.
Less invasive protocols are necessary to study energy expenditure (EE) of cats living in homes for expressing their normal living conditions. The present study compared sampling times and the use of saliva, urine and blood to measure 2H and 18O to apply the doubly labelled water method. In the first study, four cats were used to evaluate the enrichment (2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 h) and elimination (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 d) of 2H and 18O (subcutaneously injected). The maximum enrichment was after 5 h (R2 0·82) of injection, with an Ln linear elimination of both isotopes (P < 0·001; R2 0·99). The results of EE were similar, regardless of the sampling time used (P = 0·999). In the second study, seven male cats and seven female cats were used. Before and after isotope injection (5 h, 7 d, 10 d and 14 d), blood, saliva and urine were collected. Isotope enrichment was lower in urine (P < 0·05) and at the similar level in blood and saliva. Isotope elimination was similar for all fluids (P < 0·473). The EE calculated with blood and saliva was similar but higher for urine (P = 0·015). According to Bland–Altman statistics, blood and saliva presented low bias and high correlation (P < 0·001), but this was not observed for urine (P = 0·096). Higher EE was observed for male cats (384 (se 39) kJ/kg0·67 per d) than for female cats (337 (se 34) kJ/kg0·67 per d; P < 0·05). The sampling time for the method is flexible, and saliva can be used as a substitute for blood.
First-degree relatives of patients with psychotic disorder have higher levels of polygenic risk (PRS) for schizophrenia and higher levels of intermediate phenotypes.
We conducted, using two different samples for discovery (n = 336 controls and 649 siblings of patients with psychotic disorder) and replication (n = 1208 controls and 1106 siblings), an analysis of association between PRS on the one hand and psychopathological and cognitive intermediate phenotypes of schizophrenia on the other in a sample at average genetic risk (healthy controls) and a sample at higher than average risk (healthy siblings of patients). Two subthreshold psychosis phenotypes, as well as a standardised measure of cognitive ability, based on a short version of the WAIS-III short form, were used. In addition, a measure of jumping to conclusion bias (replication sample only) was tested for association with PRS.
In both discovery and replication sample, evidence for an association between PRS and subthreshold psychosis phenotypes was observed in the relatives of patients, whereas in the controls no association was observed. Jumping to conclusion bias was similarly only associated with PRS in the sibling group. Cognitive ability was weakly negatively and non-significantly associated with PRS in both the sibling and the control group.
The degree of endophenotypic expression of schizophrenia polygenic risk depends on having a sibling with psychotic disorder, suggestive of underlying gene–environment interaction. Cognitive biases may better index genetic risk of disorder than traditional measures of neurocognition, which instead may reflect the population distribution of cognitive ability impacting the prognosis of psychotic disorder.
The VISCACHA (VIsible Soar photometry of star Clusters in tApii and Coxi HuguA†) Survey is an ongoing project based on deep and spatially resolved photometric observations of Magellanic Cloud star clusters, collected using the SOuthern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope together with the SOAR Adaptive Module Imager. So far we have used >300h of telescope time to observe ∼150 star clusters, mostly with low mass (M < 104M⊙) on the outskirts of the LMC and SMC. With this high-quality data set, we homogeneously determine physical properties using deep colour-magnitude diagrams (ages, metallicities, reddening, distances, mass, luminosity and mass functions) and structural parameters (radial density profiles, sizes) for these clusters which are used as a proxy to investigate the interplay between the Magellanic Clouds and their evolution. We present the VISCACHA survey and its initial results, based on our first two papers. The project’s long term goals and expected legacy to the community are also addressed.
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.
The anti-leishmania effects of HIV peptidase inhibitors (PIs) have been widely reported; however, the biochemical target and mode of action are still a matter of controversy in Leishmania parasites. Considering the possibility that HIV-PIs induce lipid accumulation in Leishmania amazonensis, we analysed the effects of lopinavir on the lipid metabolism of L. amazonensis promastigotes. To this end, parasites were treated with lopinavir at different concentrations and analysed by fluorescence microscopy and spectrofluorimetry, using a fluorescent lipophilic marker. Then, the cellular ultrastructure of treated and control parasites was analysed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the lipid composition was investigated by thin-layer chromatography (TLC). Finally, the sterol content was assayed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS). TEM analysis revealed an increased number of lipid inclusions in lopinavir-treated cells, which was accompanied by an increase in the lipophilic content, in a dose-dependent manner. TLC and GC–MS analysis revealed a marked increase of cholesterol-esters and cholesterol. In conclusion, lopinavir-induced lipid accumulation and affected lipid composition in L. amazonensis in a concentration–response manner. These data contribute to a better understanding of the possible mechanisms of action of this HIV-PI in L. amazonensis promastigotes. The concerted action of lopinavir on this and other cellular processes, such as the direct inhibition of an aspartyl peptidase, may be responsible for the arrested development of the parasite.
Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient for humans, yet its dietary intake is low, mostly due to the low bioavailability in soils and therefore in edible plant tissues. To overcome Se deficiency, the breeding approach (i.e., genetic biofortification), namely in rice, is largely dependent on available Se pools. To ensure the success of genetic biofortification with Se, agronomic biofortification can be accomplished through foliar Se application. Considering this background, the main hypothesis of this work was centered in the foliar application of Se to attain agronomic biofortification of rice crops. This study also aimed to assess the full potential for increasing grain Se concentrations during rice filling, as well as the types of nutrients deposition. An experimental design applying two foliar fertilizers (sodium selenite and sodium selenate) was developed. As test systems, four rice genotypes (Ariete, Albatros, OP1105 and OP1109) were used and the kinetics of micro- and macro-nutrients accumulation and deposition were assessed. Biofortification was performed in field trials for two years with foliar fertilization ranging between 0 and 300 g Se ha−1. At the end of the plant cycle, selenite applications triggered 427- to 884-fold increases in grain Se concentrations among rice genotypes (Albatros > OP1105 > OP1109 > Ariete). The application of selenate also prompted 128- to 347-fold increases in grain Se concentrations in rice crops (Albatros > OP1105 > Ariete > OP1109). Regardless of the foliar fertilizer applied, Se deposition among genotypes occurred throughout the grain without relevant inhibitory effects on yields. In each genotype, micro and macronutrients varied among crop tissues.
Isotopic composition of leaf carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) is determined by biotic and abiotic factors. In order to determine the influence of leaf habit and site on leaf δ13C and δ15N in the understorey of two Atlantic forests in Brazil that differ in annual precipitation (1200 and 1900 mm), we measured these isotopes in the shaded understorey of 38 tropical tree species (20 in the 1200-mm site and 18 in the 1900-mm site). Mean site values for δ15N were significantly lower at the 1200-mm site (−1.4‰) compared with the 1900-mm site (+3.0‰), and δ13C was significantly greater in the 1200-mm site (−30.4‰) than in the 1900-mm site (−31.6‰). Leaf C concentration was greater and leaf N concentration was lower at 1200-mm than at 1900-mm. Leaf δ15N was negatively correlated with δ13C across the two sites. Leaf δ13C and δ15N of evergreen and deciduous species were not significantly different within a site. No significant phylogenetic signal for any traits among the study species was found. Overall, site differences were the main factor distinguishing traits among species, suggesting strong functional convergence to local climate and soils within each site for individuals in the shaded understorey.
In fish with external fertilization, sperm must reach the oocyte through the micropyle to enter the cytoplasm. Fertilization success is then influenced by characteristics of oocytes or sperm. In this study, we evaluated oocyte morphology and sperm motility parameters and their effects on the inseminating dose in a teleost fish Astyanax altiparanae. Interestingly, we found one of the lowest yet described inseminating doses in teleosts (2390 spermatozoa oocyte−1 ml−1). Such a fertilization efficacy may be explained by the long duration of sperm motility (>75 s), the small oocyte diameter (695.119 µm), large micropyle diameter (7.57 µm), and the presence of grooves on the oocyte surface that guides spermatozoon to the fertilization area. Additionally, we have described for the first time a structure that combines grooves on the chorion surface and a ridge in the micropylar area.
Urban slums provide suitable conditions for infestation by rats, which harbour and shed a wide diversity of zoonotic pathogens including helminths. We aimed to identify risk factors associated with the probability and intensity of infection of helminths of the digestive tract in an urban slum population of Rattus norvegicus. Among 299 rats, eleven species/groups of helminths were identified, of which Strongyloides sp., Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and, the human pathogen, Angiostrongylus cantonensis were the most frequent (97, 41 and 39%, respectively). Sex interactions highlighted behavioural differences between males and females, as eg males were more likely to be infected with N. brasiliensis where rat signs were present, and males presented more intense infections of Strongyloides sp. Moreover, rats in poor body condition had higher intensities of N. brasiliensis. We describe a high global richness of parasites in R. norvegicus, including five species known to cause disease in humans. Among these, A. cantonensis was found in high prevalence and it was ubiquitous in the study area – knowledge which is of public health importance. A variety of environmental, demographic and body condition variables were associated with helminth species infection of rats, suggesting a comparable variety of risk factors for humans.
The deficiency of Se, an essential micronutrient, has been implicated in adverse pregnancy outcomes. Our study was designed to determine total serum Se, selenoproteins (extracellular glutathione peroxidase (GPx-3), selenoprotein P (SeP)), selenoalbumin (SeAlb) and selenometabolites in healthy women and their newborns at delivery. This cross-sectional study included eighty-three healthy mother–baby couples. Total Se and Se species concentrations were measured in maternal and umbilical cord sera by an in-series coupling of two-dimensional size-exclusion and affinity HPLC. Additional measurements of serum SeP concentration and of serum GPx-3 enzyme activity were carried out using ELISA. Total Se concentration was significantly higher in maternal serum than in cord serum (68·9 (sd 15·2) and 56·1 (sd 14·6) µg/l, respectively; P<0·01). There were significant correlations between selenoprotein and SeAlb concentrations in mothers and newborns, although they also showed significant differences in GPx-3 (11·2 (sd 3·7) v. 10·5 (sd 3·5) µg/l; P<0·01), SeP (42·5 (sd 9·5) v. 28·1 (sd 7·7) µg/l; P<0·01) and SeAlb (11·6 (sd 3·6) v. 14·1 (sd 4·3) µg/l; P<0·01) concentrations in maternal and cord sera, respectively. Serum GPx-3 activity and concentration were positively correlated in mothers (r 0·33; P=0·038) but not in newborns. GPx-3 activity in cord serum was significantly correlated with gestational age (r 0·44; P=0·009). SeAlb concentration was significantly higher in babies, whereas SeP and GPx-3 concentrations were significantly higher in mothers. The differences cannot be explained by simple diffusion; specific transfer mechanisms are probably involved. GPx-3 concentrations in mothers, at delivery, are related to maternal Se status, whereas the GPx-3 activity in cord serum depends on gestational age.
The rheological behavior of composites made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and chitosan was studied. Composites were prepared by melt processing in a laboratory internal mixer. Maleic anhydride grafted HDPE (PE-g-MA) was used as compatibilizer to enhance the dispersion of chitosan in the HDPE matrix. Different percentages of chitosan and compatibilizer (up to a maximum of 25 phr) were added into HDPE to prepare composites. Characterization of the composites with parallel plate rheometer and laboratory internal mixer revealed that the presence of chitosan increases the complex viscosity, loss modulus, storage modulus and the torque (i.e., melt viscosity), and the combination chitosan/compatibilizer has a similar, if slighter, effect. At higher filler levels it is clear that the PE-g-MA affected the microstructure of the compounds, possibly increasing matrix–filler interactions and acting as an effective compatibilizer.
New more selective and potent drugs are urgently need to treat Chagas disease (CD). Among the many synthetic compounds evaluated against Trypanosoma cruzi, aromatic amidines (AAs) and especially arylimidamides (AIAs) have potent activity against this parasite. Presently, the effect of four mono-amidines (DB2228, DB2229, DB2292 and DB2294), four diamidines (DB2232, DB2235, DB2251 and DB2253) and one AIA (DB2255) was screened in vitro against different forms (bloodstream trypomastigotes – BT and intracellular forms) and strains from discrete typing unit (DTU) I and VI of T. cruzi and their cytotoxic profile on mammalian host cells. Except for DB2253, all molecules were as active as benznidazole (Bz), resulting in 50% of reduction in the number of alive BT, with EC50 ranging from 2·7 to 10·1 µm after 24 h of incubation. DB2255 was also the most potent against amastigotes (Tulahuen strain) showing similar activity to that of Bz (3 µm). In silico absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity analysis demonstrated probability of human intestinal adsorption, while mutagenicity and inhibition of hERG1 were not predicted, besides giving acceptable predicted volumes of distribution. Our findings contribute for better knowledge regarding the biological effect of this class of aromatic molecules against T. cruzi aiming to identify novel promising agent for CD therapy.
The objectives of the present study were to describe and compare the characteristics and reports of end-of-life experiences (ELEs) by healthcare professionals at different institutions and to investigate the influence of religious beliefs on these reports.
A multicenter study was carried out in Brazil that included six nursing homes (NHs), a cancer hospital (ONC), and a palliative care (PC) unit. Sociodemographic data, ELE reports (Fenwick's questionnaire), religiosity (the Duke Religion Index), spirituality (the Spirituality Self-Rating Scale), and mental health (the DASS-21 questionnaire) were assessed. The analysis was performed using ANOVA and chi-square tests in order to compare ELE perceptions in these different settings.
A total of 133 healthcare professionals (46 ONC, 36 PC, and 51 NH) were interviewed, 70% of whom recounted at least one ELE report in the previous five years. The most common ELEs were “visions of dead relatives collecting the dying person” (88.2%), “a desire to mend family rifts” (84.9%), and “visions of dead relatives near the bed providing emotional comfort” (80.6%). Most healthcare professionals (70–80%) believed that these experiences had a spiritual significance and were not due to biological effects. Comparison among settings revealed that those working in the PC unit had more reports, a greater openness about the issue, and more interest in training. Individual religious beliefs had no influence on perception of ELEs.
Significance of Results:
Our study revealed that ELE reports are not uncommon in clinical practice and seem to be little influenced by religious or spiritual beliefs. Although strongly reported in all settings, palliative care professionals tend to be more open to this issue and have a stronger perception of ELEs.
To reduce transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in an intensive care unit with interventions based on simulations by a developed mathematical model.
Before-after trial with a 44-week baseline period and 24-week intervention period.
Medical intensive care unit of a tertiary care teaching hospital.
All patients admitted to the unit.
We developed a model of transmission of CRE in an intensive care unit and measured all necessary parameters for the model input. Goals of compliance with hand hygiene and with isolation precautions were established on the basis of the simulations and an intervention was focused on reaching those metrics as goals. Weekly auditing and giving feedback were conducted.
The goals for compliance with hand hygiene and contact precautions were reached on the third week of the intervention period. During the baseline period, the calculated R0 was 11; the median prevalence of patients colonized by CRE in the unit was 33%, and 3 times it exceeded 50%. In the intervention period, the median prevalence of colonized CRE patients went to 21%, with a median weekly Rn of 0.42 (range, 0–2.1).
The simulations helped establish and achieve specific goals to control the high prevalence rates of CRE and reduce CRE transmission within the unit. The model was able to predict the observed outcomes. To our knowledge, this is the first study in infection control to measure most variables of a model in real life and to apply the model as a decision support tool for intervention.
The objective of this study was to evaluate morphogenetic and structural characteristics of Guinea grass pastures subjected to two grazing frequencies (90 and 95% light interception) and two post-grazing heights (30 and 50 cm), during the rainy season and dry year. The leaf appearance rate varied only in the summer, the grazing pastures managed at 90/50 (light interception/post-grazing height) presented higher values in the leaf appearance rate (0.440 leaf/tiller.day), compared with those managed at 90/30 (0.275 leaf/tiller.day) and 95/50 (0.228 leaf/tiller.day), respectively. In the winter/beginning of the spring, pastures managed at 90/30 (0.03 cm/tiller.day) presented lower stem elongation rate in comparison with those managed at 90/50 (0.19 cm/tiller.day) and 95/30 (0.16 cm/tiller.day). Management strategies do not compromise the tissue flow in tillers and, consequently, can be utilized for the management of Guinea grass.