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The brain functional correlates of autobiographical recall are well established, but have been little studied in schizophrenia. Additionally, autobiographical memory is one of a small number of cognitive tasks that activates rather than de-activates the default mode network, which has been found to be dysfunctional in this disorder.
Twenty-seven schizophrenic patients and 30 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while viewing cue words that evoked autobiographical memories. Control conditions included both non-memory-evoking cues and a low level baseline (cross fixation).
Compared to both non-memory evoking cues and low level baseline, autobiographical recall was associated with activation in default mode network regions in the controls including the medial frontal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex and the hippocampus, as well as other areas. Clusters of de-activation were seen outside the default mode network. There were no activation differences between the schizophrenic patients and the controls, but the patients showed clusters of failure of de-activation in non-default mode network regions.
According to this study, patients with schizophrenia show intact activation of the default mode network and other regions associated with recall of autobiographical memories. The finding of failure of de-activation outside the network suggests that schizophrenia may be associated with a general difficulty in de-activation rather than dysfunction of the default mode network per se.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in plastics that resembles oestrogen in organisms. Developmental exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as BPA, increases the susceptibility to type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular diseases. Animal studies have reported a nephron deficit in offspring exposed to maternal diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate the prenatal BPA exposure effects on nephrogenesis in a mouse model that was predisposed to T2DM. This study quantitatively evaluated the renal structural changes using stereology and histomorphometry methods. The OF1 pregnant mice were treated with a vehicle or BPA (10 or 100 μg/kg/day) during days 9–16 of gestation (early nephrogenesis). The 30-day-old offspring were sacrificed, and tissue samples were collected and prepared for histopathological and stereology studies. Glomerular abnormalities and reduced glomerular formation were observed in the BPA offspring. The kidneys of the BPA10 and BPA100 female offspring had a significantly lower glomerular number and density than those of the CONTROL female offspring. The glomerular histomorphometry revealed a significant difference between the female and male CONTROL offspring for the analysed glomerular parameters that disappeared in the BPA10 and BPA100 offspring. In addition, the kidney histopathological examination showed typical male cuboidal epithelial cells of the Bowman capsule in the female BPA offspring. Exposure to environmentally relevant doses of BPA during embryonic development altered nephrogenesis. These structural changes could be associated with an increased risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases later in life.
We present radiocarbon (14C) in tree rings from Mexico City and a reconstruction of fossil CO2 concentrations for the last five decades, as part of a research program to understand the 14C dynamics in this complex urban area. Background values were established by 14C concentrations in tree rings from a nearby clean area. Agreement between background and NH-zone 2 values indicate Taxodium mucronatum is a good biomonitor for annual atmospheric 14C variations. Values for the urban tree rings were significantly lower than background values, indicating a 14C depletion from fossil CO2 emissions. There is an increasing trend of fossil CO2 between 1960 and 1990, in agreement with the population growth and the increasing demand for fossil fuels in Mexico City. Between 1990 and 2000, there is an apparent decrease in fossil CO2 concentration, increasing again after 2000. The decrease in 2000, despite being of the same magnitude as the overall uncertainty, may reflect environmental policies that improved the energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions in the area. The increase in fossil CO2 concentration between 2000 and 2010 may be attributable to the significant growth of motor vehicle usage in Mexico City, which made transportation the main energy-demanding and -emitting sector.
Polyurethane-based bioadhesive was synthesized with polyols derived from castor oil (chemically modified and unmodified) and hexamethylene diisocyanate with chitosan addition as a bioactive filler. The objective was to evaluate the effect of type of polyols with the incorporation of low-concentrations of chitosan on the mechanical and biological properties of the polymer to obtain suitable materials in the design of biomaterials. The results showed that increasing physical crosslinking increased the mechanical and adhesive properties. An in vitro cytotoxic test of polyurethanes showed cellular viability. The biocompatibility of the polyurethanes favors the adhesion of L929 cells at 6, 24, and 48 h. The polyurethanes showed bacterial inhibition depending on the polyol and percentage of chitosan. The antibacterial effect of the polyurethanes for Escherichia coli decreased 60–90% after 24 h. The mechanical and adhesive properties together with biological response in this research suggested these polyurethanes as external application tissue bioadhesives.
High conflict and low warmth in families may contribute to immune cells developing a tendency to respond to threats with exaggerated inflammation that is insensitive to inhibitory signaling. We tested associations between family environments and expression of genes bearing response elements for transcription factors that regulate inflammation: nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and glucocorticoid receptor. The overall sample (47 families) completed interviews, questionnaires, and 8-week daily diary assessments of conflict and warmth, which were used to create composite family conflict and warmth scores. The diaries assessed upper respiratory infection (URI) symptoms, and URI episodes were clinically verified. Leukocyte RNA was extracted from whole blood samples provided by a subsample of 42 children (8–13 years of age) and 73 parents. In children, higher conflict and lower warmth were related to greater expression of genes bearing response elements for the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-κB, and more severe URI symptoms. In parents, higher conflict and lower warmth were also related to greater NF-κB–associated gene expression. Monocytes and dendritic cells were implicated as primary cellular sources of differential gene expression in the sample. Consistent with existing conceptual frameworks, stressful family environments were related to a proinflammatory phenotype at the level of the circulating leukocyte transcriptome.
The radiocarbon variation for northwestern Mexico during the period 1950–2004 was studied by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and liquid scintillation counting (LSC) analyses of tree rings. Two tree-ring sequences of Pseudotsuga menziesii, sampled in a site isolated from urban centers and active volcanoes (26.18°N, 106.3°W, 3000 m asl), were dendrochronologically dated and separated in annual rings prior to 14C analysis. Results obtained show a similar profile to the values reported for the Northern Hemisphere (NH), having significant correlation coefficients with the compilation curves for NH zone 2 (r = 0.987, p < 0.001) and NH zone 3 (r = 0.993, p < 0.001). The maximum peak is centered at 1964.5 with a δ14C value of 713.15 ± 9.3‰. The values obtained for the period 1958–1965 are lower than zone 2 values and higher than zone 3 values. For the period 1975–2004, the values obtained are higher than the NH compilation curve and other NH records. We attribute the first divergence to the North American monsoon that may have carried 14C-depleted air from the south during the summer months; the second divergence may be attributable to 14C-enriched biospheric CO2.
This paper describes strategies to search for, detect, and identify organic material on the surface and subsurface of Mars. The strategies described include those applied by landed missions in the past and those that will be applied in the future. The value and role of ESA's ExoMars rover and of her key science instrument Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) are critically assessed.
The preliminary results of time resolved spectroscopy of the He White Dwarf system AM CVn are presented. We have searched for spectral variations at different photometric periods. These are found at different time scales although this does not particularly favour any of the searched periods.
We present the first snow/ice chemistry and ice radar results ever collected from South Georgia as part of an initial reconnaissance with the ultimate goal of assessing the feasibility of a South Georgia ice core to reconstruct past climate in the South Atlantic. South Georgia is well situated to capture a record of past atmospheric chemical composition over the South Atlantic and of past variability in the position and intensity of the austral westerlies. The question is how well preserved an ice core record can be recovered from a region experiencing accelerated melting? The results presented in this paper offer only a preliminary step in determining the feasibility of future deep ice coring on South Georgia. However, this initial reconnaissance does provide some basic information including: the chemistry of the atmosphere over South Georgia relative to other Southern Hemisphere ice coring sites; the potential for preservation of ‘annual layers’ in old ice on the island; a possible age for deep ice in the region; and an estimate of glacier health in the lower elevation regions of the island.
Silver Lake is the modern terminal playa of the Mojave River in southern California (USA). As a result, it is well located to record both influences from the winter precipitation dominated San Bernardino Mountains – the source of the Mojave River – and from the late summer to early fall North American monsoon at Silver Lake. Here, we present various physical, chemical and biological data from a new radiocarbon-dated, 8.2 m sediment core taken from Silver Lake that spans modern through 14.8 cal ka BP. Texturally, the core varies between sandy clay, clayey sand, and sand-silt-clay, often with abrupt sedimentological transitions. These grain-size changes are used to divide the core into six lake status intervals over the past 14.8 cal ka BP. Notable intervals include a dry Younger Dryas chronozone, a wet early Holocene terminating 7.8 – 7.4 cal ka BP, a distinct mid-Holocene arid interval, and a late Holocene return to ephemeral lake conditions. A comparison to potential climatic forcings implicates a combination of changing summer – winter insolation and tropical and N Pacific sea-surface temperature dynamics as the primary drivers of Holocene climate in the central Mojave Desert.
Objective: Symptomatic neonates with Ebstein’s anomaly pose significant challenge. Within this cohort, neonates with associated anatomical pulmonary atresia have higher mortality. We review our experience with this difficult subset. Methods: A total of 32 consecutive symptomatic neonates with Ebstein’s anomaly underwent surgical intervention between 1994 and 2013. Of them, 20 neonates (62%, 20/32) had associated pulmonary atresia. Patients’ weights ranged from 1.9 to 3.4 kg. All patients without pulmonary atresia had two-ventricle repair. Of the 20 neonates, 16 (80%, 16/20) with Ebstein’s anomaly and pulmonary atresia had two-ventricle repair and 4 had single-ventricle palliation, of which 2 underwent Starnes’ palliation and 2 Blalock–Taussig shunts. Six recent patients with Ebstein’s anomaly and pulmonary atresia had right ventricle to pulmonary artery valved conduit as part of their two-ventricle repair. Results: Overall early mortality was 28% (9/32). For those without pulmonary atresia, mortality was 8.3% (1/12). For the entire cohort of neonates with Ebstein’s anomaly and pulmonary atresia, mortality was 40% (8/20; p=0.05). Mortality for neonates with Ebstein’s anomaly and pulmonary atresia having two-ventricle repair was 44% (7/16). Mortality for neonates with Ebstein’s anomaly and pulmonary atresia having two-ventricle repair utilising right ventricle to pulmonary artery conduit was 16% (1/6). For those having one-ventricle repair, the mortality was 25% (1/4). Conclusions: Surgical management of neonates with Ebstein’s anomaly remains challenging. For neonates with Ebstein’s anomaly and anatomical pulmonary atresia, single-ventricle palliation is associated with lower early mortality compared with two-ventricle repair. This outcome advantage is negated by inclusion of right ventricle to pulmonary artery conduit as part of the two-ventricle repair.
We recently demonstrated that decline in fluid intelligence is a substantial contributor to frontal deficits. For some classical ‘executive’ tasks, such as the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and Verbal Fluency, frontal deficits were entirely explained by fluid intelligence. However, on a second set of frontal tasks, deficits remained even after statistically controlling for this factor. These tasks included tests of theory of mind and multitasking. As frontal dysfunction is the most frequent cognitive deficit observed in early Parkinson's disease (PD), the present study aimed to determine the role of fluid intelligence in such deficits.
We assessed patients with PD (n=32) and control subjects (n=22) with the aforementioned frontal tests and with a test of fluid intelligence. Group performance was compared and fluid intelligence was introduced as a covariate to determine its role in frontal deficits shown by PD patients.
In line with our previous results, scores on the WCST and Verbal Fluency were closely linked to fluid intelligence. Significant patient–control differences were eliminated or at least substantially reduced once fluid intelligence was introduced as a covariate. However, for tasks of theory of mind and multitasking, deficits remained even after fluid intelligence was statistically controlled.
The present results suggest that clinical assessment of neuropsychological deficits in PD should include tests of fluid intelligence, together with one or more specific tasks that allow for the assessment of residual frontal deficits associated with theory of mind and multitasking.
Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans are considered key pathogens in periodontitis that is the principal cause of tooth loss in adults. The treatment of periodontal disease consists on the use of chemicals which can alter oral microbiota and have undesirable side-effects such as vomiting, diarrhea and tooth staining
At recent years, the use of natural sources like biomaterials such as biopolymers and plant extracts are enjoying great popularity. Chitosan and pullulan are polymers that have been proposed due to their favorable properties such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, adhesion ability and nontoxicity
The aim of this study was to develop films from chitosan and pullulan containing plant extracts as delivery system and determine the in vitro antibacterial activity against periodontopathogen microorganisms and their stability under different conditions of storage
We investigated the performance of 65nm pFETs whereby the source and drain extensions (SDE) were implanted with Carborane, (C2B10H12) a novel form of molecular species. The high atomic mass of this molecule (146 a.m.u.) and the number of boron atoms transported per ion enables the productivity at low energy required for manufacturing of ultra shallow junctions for advanced scaling. In this investigation, Carborane was implanted at 13 keV to produce a Boron profile near equivalent to that produced by the reference BF2 implant. Results of electrical measurements did not exhibit any compromise in the I-V characteristics in terms of Id-Vg and Id-Vd and Ion-Ioff. External resistance and Vt roll-off shifted slightly with respect to the reference devices. This is attributed to a deeper junction with Carborane due to slight offset in the profile matching. It will be shown that with fully matched profiles, a perfect match of the device characteristics can be achieved.
The behavioral consequences of pregnancy in goats were studied to test the hypothesis that pregnant females on rangeland select a diet richer in nutrients once the demands of gestation increase, and that nutrient content in goat diets changes with the grazing season. A total of 12 mature mixed breed goats either pregnant (n = 6) or non-pregnant (n = 6) were used during the dry period (February to May). Dietary samples obtained from the oral cavity of grazing goats (restrained with a short light rope permanently tightened around their neck) were used for chemical analyses. Across months, pregnant goats selected diets higher (P < 0.01) in crude protein (CP) than non-pregnant goats; this nutrient did not meet the requirements of late gestating goats. Pregnant goats made use of less (P < 0.01) fibrous feeds than non-pregnant goats. In order to cope with changing nutrient demands for pregnancy, goats adjusted their diet by increasing the selection of plants with 32% higher calcium content compared to forages selected by non-pregnant goats. The physiological state of goats did not alter the levels of phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg) and sodium (Na) in their diets; these minerals were adequate to meet the demands of pregnancy. There were no effects of physiological state on concentrations of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe) in the goat diets during the dry season, with levels adequate for sustainability of pregnancy. Pregnant goats did not seek forages lower in tannins, alkaloids, saponins and terpenes. It was concluded that to cope with increasing pregnancy costs, goats adjusted their diets increasing selection of forages or plant parts with high nutritional value to maximize their net nutrient budget.
Introduction. Evaluation of Leishmania drug susceptibility depends on in vitro SbV susceptibility assays, which are labour-intensive and may give a biased view of the true parasite resistance. Molecular markers are urgently needed to improve and simplify the monitoring of SbV-resistance. We analysed here the gene expression profile of 21 L. braziliensis clinical isolates in vitro defined as SbV-resistant and -sensitive, in order to identify potential resistance markers. Methods. The differential expression of 13 genes involved in SbV metabolism, oxidative stress or housekeeping functions was analysed during in vitro promastigote growth. Results. Expression profiles were up-regulated for 5 genes only, each time affecting a different set of isolates (mosaic picture of gene expression). Two genes, ODC (ornithine decarboxylase) and TRYR (trypanothione reductase), showed a significantly higher expression rate in the group of SbV-resistant compared to the group of SbV-sensitive parasites (P<0·01). However, analysis of individual isolates showed both markers to explain only partially the drug resistance. Discussion. Our results might be explained by (i) the occurrence of a pleiotropic molecular mechanism leading to the in vitro SbV resistance and/or (ii) the existence of different epi-phenotypes not revealed by the in vitro SbV susceptibility assays, but interfering with the gene expression patterns.
We used 12 microsatellite markers developed for Leishmania braziliensis to genotype 28 strains of the main species of the Leishmania guyanensis complex (i.e. L. guyanensis and L. panamensis) collected in Ecuador and Peru. The important heterozygote deficits observed in these populations are similar with the previous data obtained in L. braziliensis and raise again the debate on the reproductive mode of these protozoan parasites. The data showed genetic polymorphism and geographical differentiation giving information on population structure of the L. guyanensis complex. Regarding the two species, this study enhances again the debate on the taxonomic status of the different isolates belonging to L. guyanensis s.l. since the results showed substantial heterogeneity within this species complex. In conclusion, this study increases the number of available microsatellite loci for L. guyanensis species complex and raises fundamental biological questions. It confirms that microsatellite markers constitute good tools for population genetic studies on parasites of this complex.
The present study describes the reproductive biology, population structure and life history traits of the abundant intertidal crab Xantho poressa. Between March 2007 and April 2008, a total of 1918 individuals were collected in Corrales de Rota (south-western Spain), a human-modified intertidal habitat characterized by an artificial high complexity. Suitable refuges for crabs (cobbles and boulders) are very abundant in this area and density (maximum of 50 ind*m−2) was directly related with the area covered by these stones. In spring and summer, size–frequency distributions showed a polymodal pattern with seasonal variations related to the incorporation of juveniles to the adult population. Newly settled juveniles were not found in the Corrales suggesting an ontogenetic migration from a distant recruitment habitat. The annual reproductive cycle was seasonal and successive peaks in the abundance of ovigerous females were observed in late spring and summer. Females probably produced multiple broods during a long intermoult period. The gonadosomatic index had a cyclic pattern of variation with peaks two weeks prior to those of ovigerous females; it was lower during the non-reproductive season. The hepatosomatic index was high during spring, decreased during summer and increased gradually at the end of the reproductive season. There was a monthly cycle of larval release resulting from a combination of a cyclic and synchronic ovarian maturity, oviposition and incubation; hatching took place during neap tides when the moon was at last quarter. The adaptive significance of the rhythmic reproduction and hatching observed may not be explained by the predator avoidance hypotheses. The overall sex-ratio did not differ from 1:1 but one male and several females coexist under a stone, indicating a female biased operative sex-ratio. The combination of a complex habitat, its use, and a strong sexual dimorphism suggest a refuge–defence polygenic mating system. The survival and fitness of X. poressa in the Corrales de Rota are probably enhanced by the availability of shelter, a consequence of a highly complex habitat, and probably, of human activity.
We present a matched filter algorithm to detect transits of planets that orbit both components of close eclipsing binaries in CoRoT targets. The formation of binary systems surrounded by disks is one of the most common outcomes of stellar formation; their detection would therefore constitute an important discovery. In an eclipsing binary system, the binary-planet alignment gives raised transit probabilities and the special transit shapes from circumbinary planets provide a unique identifier for their planetary nature; the problems of false alarms are largely avoided. CoRoT data have unprecedented time coverage and photometric precision that make them especially suitable for the search of transits of planets across eclipsing binaries. No reliable detections of circumbinary planets have been reported yet, and their discovery would constitute a new class of planets.
Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis and L. (V.) peruviana are two parasite species characterized by a very different pathogenicity in humans despite a high genetic similarity. We hypothesized previously that L. (V.) peruviana would descend from L. (V.) braziliensis and would have acquired its ‘peruviana’ character during the southward colonization and adaptation of the transmission cycle in the Peruvian Andes. In order to have a first appreciation of the differences in virulence between both species, we evaluated an in vitro and in vivo model for experimental infection. A procedure was adapted to enrich culture forms in infective stages and the purified metacyclics were used to infect macrophage cell lines and golden hamsters. The models were tested with 2 representative strains of L. (V.) braziliensis from cutaneous and mucosal origin respectively and 2 representative strains of L. (V.) peruviana from Northern and Southern Peru respectively. Our models were reproducible and sensitive enough to detect phenotypic differences among strains. We showed in vitro as well as in vivo that the L. (V.) braziliensis was more infective than L. (V.) peruviana. Furthermore, we found that in vitro infectivity patterns of the 4 strains analysed, were in agreement with the geographical structuring of parasite populations demonstrated in our previous studies. Further work is needed to confirm our results with more strains of different geographical origin and their specific clinical outcome. However, our data open new perspectives for understanding the process of speciation in Leishmania and its implications in terms of pathogenicity.