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On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm, resulting in serious widespread impact across the island, including communication and power outages, water systems impairment, and damage to life-saving infrastructure. In collaboration with the Puerto Rico Department of Health, the Public Health Branch (PHB), operating under the Department of Health and Human Services Incident Response Coordination Team, was tasked with completing assessments of health-care facilities in Puerto Rico to determine infrastructure capabilities and post-hurricane capacity. Additionally, in response to significant data entry and presentation needs, the PHB leadership worked with the Puerto Rico Planning Board to develop and test a new app-based infrastructure capacity assessment tool. Assessments of hospitals were initiated September 28, 2017, and completed November 10, 2017 (n = 64 hospitals, 97%). Assessments of health-care centers were initiated on October 7, 2017, with 186 health-care centers (87%) assessed through November 18, 2017. All hospitals had working communications; however, 9% (n = 17) of health-care centers reported no communication capabilities. For the health-care centers, 114 (61%) reported they were operational but had sustainment needs. In conclusion, health-care facility assessments indicated structural damage issues and operational capacity decreases, while health-care centers reported loss of communication capabilities post-Hurricane Maria.
Social cognition has been associated with functional outcome in patients with first episode psychosis (FEP). Social cognition has also been associated with neurocognition and cognitive reserve. Although cognitive reserve, neurocognitive functioning, social cognition, and functional outcome are related, the direction of their associations is not clear. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to analyze the influence of social cognition as a mediator between cognitive reserve and cognitive domains on functioning in FEP both at baseline and at 2 years.
The sample of the study was composed of 282 FEP patients followed up for 2 years. To analyze whether social cognition mediates the influence of cognitive reserve and cognitive domains on functioning, a path analysis was performed. The statistical significance of any mediation effects was evaluated by bootstrap analysis.
At baseline, as neither cognitive reserve nor the cognitive domains studied were related to functioning, the conditions for mediation were not satisfied. Nevertheless, at 2 years of follow-up, social cognition acted as a mediator between cognitive reserve and functioning. Likewise, social cognition was a mediator between verbal memory and functional outcome. The results of the bootstrap analysis confirmed these significant mediations (95% bootstrapped CI (−10.215 to −0.337) and (−4.731 to −0.605) respectively).
Cognitive reserve and neurocognition are related to functioning, and social cognition mediates in this relationship.
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.
Cognitive deficits are a core feature of early stages in schizophrenia. However, the extent to which antipsychotic (AP) have a deleterious effect on cognitive performance remains under debate. We aim to investigate whether anticholinergic loadings and dose of AP drugs in first episode of psychosis (FEP) in advanced phase of remission are associated with cognitive impairment and the differences between premorbid intellectual quotient (IQ) subgroups.
Two hundred and sixty-six patients participated. The primary outcomes were cognitive dimensions, dopaminergic/anticholinergic load of AP [in chlorpromazine equivalents (Eq-CPZ) and the Anticholinergic Risk Scale (ARS), respectively].
Impairments in processing speed, verbal memory and global cognition were significantly associated with high Eq-CPZ and verbal impairment with high ARS score. Moreover, this effect was higher in the low IQ subgroup.
Clinicians should be aware of the potential cognitive impairment associated with AP in advanced remission FEP, particularly in lower premorbid IQ patients.
In order to fully participate in informed consent, patients must understand what it is that they are agreeing, or not agreeing, to. In most cases, patients look to their clinicians to help develop the appropriate understanding required to give informed consent. Often the quality of the information available as well as the delivery methods are not optimal.
Using a visual aid as an adjunct to risk communication in a stressful setting as the Emergency Department has a clear potential in facilitating the communication process. To support more accurate and consistent presentation of risk, we formed a team with implementation scientists, patient education specialists, nurses, physicians, and professional designers to transform the information available into a 6th grade reading level visual aid tool. We applied a DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) process to design the tool. We measured and analyzed its effectiveness through feedback from providers, patients, and caregivers. This cycle happened 3 times until we reached the final version of the visual aid.
We utilized a DMAIC methodology as well as modified Delphi method to create and refine a visual aid tool. Several rounds of end-user feedback along with DMAIC allowed us to create a tool that was consistently better with each round of development, analysis and feedback. After arriving at the final version of the tool, we surveyed physicians in our Emergency Department. We measured the difficulty to understand the information, whether doctors think the visual aid will help patients to understand the data, and the appropriateness of the tool’s length and the amount of information in it.
We believe that our experience can be replicated by other researchers and clinicians in the endeavor of translating the evidence into clinical practice. An effort should be made to fully translate research findings until the end of the research to practice continuum in order to better translate knowledge into a useful and useable form for informed consent decisions in busy clinical practice.
The University of Georgia (USA) is partnering with the University of Padova (Italy) for a dual Master’s degree program in sustainable agriculture, promoting collaboration on some of the biggest challenges facing agriculture today. This innovative program which was launched during 2016 provides students with outstanding training and a unique opportunity to learn about the challenges, opportunities, and leading edges of precision agriculture on another continent – an experience which will serve graduates well when they enter the job market in an increasingly global economy. This paper presents the goals of the program, the curriculum, and describes the opportunities available to prospective students. In addition it describes the process of developing the dual degree which can be used as guide by others wishing to develop similar programs.
The main goal of this work consisted in cloning, purifying and characterizing a protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C) from promastigotes of Leishmania major. The gene was cloned and amplified by PCR using specific oligonucleotides and the recombinant protein was purified by affinity chromatography. The peak with maximal protein concentration was analysed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and revealed a protein of 44·9 kDa with PP2C activity. This activity was dependent on divalent cations (Mg+2 and Mn+2) and was optimal at pH of 8·5, using phosphothreonine as the substrate. Sanguinarine inhibited the activity of the recombinant LmPP2C, while protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors had no effect. The recombinant LmPP2C was used to generate polyclonal antibodies. These antibodies recognized a protein of 44·9 kDa in different Leishmania species; the LmPP2C was localized in the flagellar pocket and the flagellum of promastigotes.
The discrepancy between abundances computed using optical recombination lines (ORLs) and collisionally excited lines (CELs) is a major, unresolved problem with significant implications for the determination of chemical abundances throughout the Universe. In planetary nebulae (PNe), the most common explanation for the discrepancy is that two different gas phases coexist: a hot component with standard metallicity, and a much colder plasma enhanced in heavy elements. This dual nature is not predicted by mass loss theories, and direct observational support for it is still weak. In this work, we present our recent findings that demonstrate that the largest abundance discrepancies are associated with close binary central stars. OSIRIS-GTC tunable filter imaging of the faint O ii ORLs and MUSE-VLT deep 2D spectrophotometry confirm that O ii ORL emission is more centrally concentrated than that of [Oiii] CELs and, therefore, that the abundance discrepancy may be closely linked to binary evolution.
In 2007, a partnership was initiated between a small-volume paediatric cardiac surgery unit located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, and a large-volume cardiac surgery unit located in Milan, Italy. The main goal of this partnership was to provide surgical treatment to children with CHD in the Canary Islands.
An operative algorithm for performing surgery in elective, urgent, and emergency cases was adopted by the this joint programme. Demographic and in-hospital variables were collected from the medical records of all the patients who had undergone surgical intervention for CHD from January, 2009 to March, 2013. Data were introduced into the congenital database of the European Congenital Heart Surgeons Association Congenital Database and the database was interrogated.
In total, 65 surgical mission trips were performed during the period of this study. The European Congenital Heart Surgeons Association Congenital Database documented 214 total patients with a mean age at operation of 36.45 months, 316 procedures in total with 198 cardiopulmonary bypass cases, 46 non-cardiopulmonary bypass cases, 26 cardiovascular cases without cardiopulmonary bypass, 22 miscellaneous other types of cases, 16 interventional cardiology cases, six thoracic cases, one non-cardiac, non-thoracic procedure on a cardiac patient with cardiac anaesthesia, and one extracorporeal membrane oxygenation case. The 30-day mortality was 6.07% (13 patients).
A joint programme between a small-volume centre and a large-volume centre may represent a valid and reproducible model for safe paediatric cardiac surgery in the context of a peripheral region.
Cognitive deficits are present from the onset of psychosis and are considered a core feature of the disorder. Increasing evidence suggests that cognitive function is associated with inflammatory processes. This study evaluated the association between cognition and inflammatory biomarkers in first-episode psychosis (FEP), in order to identify cognitive phenotypes from inflammatory expression profiles.
A case-control study of 92 FEP patients and 80 matched controls was used. Neurocognitive assessment, including verbal ability, sustained attention, verbal memory, working memory and executive function, was performed. The expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators of the main intracellular inflammatory pathway was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma.
FEP patients performed worse in all cognitive domains compared to controls and had higher expression of pro-inflammatory mediators and lower expression of anti-inflammatory mediators. In the FEP group, cognition and psychopathology were associated with inflammation. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that association between the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin 15d-PGJ2 and sustained attention on one hand, and COX-2 expression and executive function on the other, were statistically significant.
Our study provides evidence for an association between anti-inflammatory biomarkers and cognition in FEP. The identification of a subgroup of patients based on these measures could be useful to guide treatment programmes by providing tools to select a personalized treatment approach, but longitudinal studies are needed before. In the future, establishment of biomarkers linked to cognition would be useful to monitor the course of cognitive impairment, but substantially more data will be required. Determination of IκBα, the inhibitory protein of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor NFκB, could be useful in early phases to assess clinical severity.
Boiling is the most common method of household water treatment in developing countries; however, it is not always effectively practised. We conducted a randomized controlled trial among 210 households to assess the effectiveness of water pasteurization and safe-storage interventions in reducing Escherichia coli contamination of household drinking water in a water-boiling population in rural Peru. Households were randomized to receive either a safe-storage container or a safe-storage container plus water pasteurization indicator or to a control group. During a 13-week follow-up period, households that received a safe-storage container and water pasteurization indicator did not have a significantly different prevalence of stored drinking-water contamination relative to the control group [prevalence ratio (PR) 1·18, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·92–1·52]. Similarly, receipt of a safe-storage container alone had no effect on prevalence of contamination (PR 1·02, 95% CI 0·79–1·31). Although use of water pasteurization indicators and locally available storage containers did not increase the safety of household drinking water in this study, future research could illuminate factors that facilitate the effective use of these interventions to improve water quality and reduce the risk of waterborne disease in populations that boil drinking water.
Understanding the biological parameters of some triatomine subspecies of Meccus phyllosomus (Burmeister) is a crucial first step in estimating the epidemiological importance of this group. Biological parameters related to egg eclosion, egg-to-adult development time, number of blood meals to moult, percentage of females at the end of the cycle, number of laid eggs, and the accumulative mortality for each instar of three M. phyllosomus subspecies [Meccus phyllosomus pallidipennis (Stål), Meccus phyllosomus longipennis (Usinger), and Meccus phyllosomus picturatus (Usinger)] as well as their laboratory hybrids were evaluated and compared. No significant differences (P > 0.05) were recorded among the experimental hybrids (M. p. longipennis × M. p. pallidipennis, M. p. longipennis × M. p. picturatus, M. p. pallidipennis × M. p. picturatus) and reciprocal cohorts. In five of the six studied parameters (egg eclosion, egg-to-adult development time, number of blood meals to moult, number of laid eggs and accumulative mortality), with the exception of the non-significant percentage of females obtained among all the studied cohorts, at least one of the parental cohorts in each set of crosses exhibited better fitness results than by those of their hybrid descendants. The lack of hybrid fitness in our study indicates the maintenance of reproductive isolation of parental genotypes. Moreover, the results lead us to propose that an incipient speciation process by distance is currently developing among the three studied subspecies, increasing the differences between them that modify the transmission efficiency of Trypanosoma cruzi to human beings in Mexico.
Solar irradiance and precipitation are the most likely drivers of the seasonal variation of net primary productivity (NPP) in tropical forests. Since their roles remain poorly understood, we use litter traps, dendrometer bands and census data collected from one hectare permanent plots to quantify the seasonality of above-ground NPP components and weather parameters in 13 sites distributed along a 2800-m altitudinal gradient ranging from lowland Amazonia to the high Andes. We combine canopy leaf area index and litterfall data to describe the seasonality of canopy production. We hypothesize that solar irradiance is the primary driver of canopy phenology in wetter sites, whereas precipitation drives phenology in drier systems. The seasonal rhythm of canopy NPP components is in synchrony with solar irradiance at all altitudes. Leaf litterfall peaks in the late dry season, both in lowland (averaging 0.54 ± 0.08 Mg C ha y−1, n = 5) and montane forests (averaging 0.29 ± 0.04 Mg C ha y−1, n = 8). Peaks in above-ground coarse woody NPP appears to be triggered by the onset of rainfall in seasonal lowland rain forests (averaging 0.26 ± 0.04 Mg C ha y−1, n = 5, in November), but not in montane cloud forests.
The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) is a new ground-based survey for transiting exoplanets. Our primary goal is to find the first statistically-significant sample of Neptunes and super-Earths that are bright enough for radial velocity confirmation. By measuring precise masses and radii we will constrain the bulk composition and internal structure of planets that span the transition between the gas giants and terrestrial planets. Our brightest exoplanets will also be suitable for atmospheric characterisation with large facilities such as the VLT, JWST and the E-ELT. NGTS construction began in June 2013, and the survey is due to commence in 2014.
The main goal of the current work was to develop and validate an in vitro fluke egg hatch test, as a method for the detection of albendazole (ABZ) resistance in the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica. Fluke eggs (200/ml, n= 5) from six different isolates were used in the current experimental work. They were obtained from different geographical locations and named Cullompton (UK), CEDIVE (Chascomus, Argentina), INTA-Bariloche (Bariloche, Argentina), Rubino (Uruguay), Cajamarca (Perú) and Río Chico (Catamarca, Argentina). The fluke eggs were incubated (25°C) for a 12-h period in the presence of either ABZ or its sulphoxide metabolite (ABZ.SO) (5, 0.5 or 0.05 nmol/ml). Untreated eggs were incubated as a control. Incubated eggs (with or without drug present) were kept in darkness at 25°C for 15 days. Afterwards, the trematode eggs were exposed to daylight over a 2-h period. Hatched and unhatched eggs were evaluated using an optical microscope, and the ovicidal activity was assessed for each fluke isolate. A very low ovicidal activity ( ≤ 13.4%) was observed in the ABZ-resistant CEDIVE isolate for both ABZ and ABZ.SO. Conversely, in the INTA-Bariloche and Río Chico isolates, which are suspected to be susceptible to ABZ, ovicidal activities ≥ 70.3% were observed after incubation with ABZ at the lowest concentration tested (0.05 nmol/ml). This finding correlates with that previously described for the ABZ-susceptible Cullompton. Finally, the Cajamarca and Rubino isolates behaved as ABZ resistant, since no ovicidal activity was observed after eggs were incubated with ABZ at 0.5 nmol/ml. Considering the specific results obtained for each isolate under assessment, the egg hatch test described here may be a suitable method for detection of ABZ resistance in F. hepatica.
The aim of the present research work is to investigate the influence of B addition on the phase transformation kinetics under continuous cooling conditions. In order to perform this study, the behavior of two low carbon advanced ultra-high strength steels (A-UHSS) is analyzed during dilatometry tests over the cooling rate range of 0.1-200°C/s. The start and finish points of the austenite transformation are identified from the dilatation curves and then the continuous cooling transformation (CCT) diagrams are constructed. These diagrams are verified by microstructural characterization and Vickers micro-hardness. In general, results revealed that for slower cooling rates (0.1-0.5 °C/s) the present phases are mainly ferritic-pearlitic (F+P) structures. By contrast, a mixture of bainitic-martensitic structures predominates at higher cooling rates (50-200°C/s). On the other hand, CCT diagrams show that B addition delays the decomposition kinetics of austenite to ferrite, thereby promoting the formation of bainitic-martensitic structures. In the case of B microalloyed steel, the CCT curve is displaced to the right, increasing the hardenability. These results are associated with the ability of B atoms to segregate towards austenitic grain boundaries, which reduce the preferential sites for nucleation and development of F+P structures.
A reactive molecular dynamics simulation study on the structure, energetics, and chemistry of alkanethiolated gold cluster is presented. Through very recent reactive molecular dynamics force-fields developed by Järvi et al. , chemical reactions of alkanedithiolates and star-like shape gold nanoparticles are studied throughout octanedithiolates and stellated cuboctahedral gold clusters models  at room temperature. Structure, energetics, reactants, and some products of the reactions are preliminarily analyzed up to 25 ps. In general, preliminary results of this work are in agreement with those reported in the review by Love et al. .
This research work studies the dynamically recrystallized austenitic grain size (Drec) in a new family of low carbon NiCrCuV advanced ultra-high strength steel (A-UHSS) microalloyed with boron under hot deformation conditions. For this purpose, uniaxial hot-compression tests are carried out in a low carbon A-UHSS microalloyed with different amounts of boron (14, 33, 82, 126 and 214 ppm) over a wide range of temperatures (950, 1000, 1050 and 1100°C) and constant true strain rates (10−3, 10−2 and 10−1 s−1). Deformed samples are prepared and chemically etched with a saturated aqueous picric acid solution at 80°C in order to reveal the Drec and examined by light optical (LOM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The Drec is related to the Zener-Hollomon parameter (Z), and thereafter the Drec divided by Burger's vector (b) is related to the steady state stress (σss) divided by the shear modulus (µ) (Derby model). Results shown that the Drec in the current steels is fine (≈ 23 μm) and almost equiaxed, and the recrystallized grain size-flow stress relationship observed after of plastic deformation is consistent with the general formulation proposed by Derby. It is corroborated that boron additions to the current A-UHSS do not have meaningful influence on the Drec.