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Preoccupation about potential deleterious effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment is growing fast. Psychiatric pharmaceuticals have received particular attention because of their increasing use and their potential impacts on many living beings due to their effects on phylogenetically highly conserved neuroendocrine systems. Recent studies that have shown that many pharmaceuticals (including psychotropics) bioaccumulate through the web food have raised this concern into new heights. As professionals working in the field of psychiatry and academia, we believe we are about to enter a new era with regard to pharmacotherapy. We estimate drug pollution will have a major impact on our daily practice in a way we are just starting to imagine. So far, this problem has largely been ignored by healthcare professionals, who are the ones prescribing and dispensing pharmaceuticals. We are convinced that increasing awareness among these professionals will be a key element to effectively fight against drug pollution.
The description of the movements and habitat preference of marine fishes is essential to understand their biology and in the evaluation of commercially exploited species and the conservation of endangered ones. In this regard, little is known about the movements of the totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), despite its being listed as critically endangered and having been a relevant fishery resource in the past century in Mexico. Totoaba is a fish species endemic to the Gulf of California characterized by late maturation, prolonged life and annual reproduction. Totoaba has maintained its known historical distribution range, although its movements and habitat occupancy in the water column have remained poorly understood. The present study describes, for the first time and at a daily fine scale, the vertical movements and habitat preferences of the totoaba in the Upper Gulf of California. Pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) were used to record depth and temperature at 4-minute intervals. Ten individuals were caught and tagged in May 2016 in the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve. All PSATs were either prematurely released or lost. Data derived from two recovered tags that saved data for 43 and 75 tracking days, respectively, were analysed. The results showed that tagged fishes moved southward to the vicinity of Angel de la Guarda Island; these are consistent with spatial displacement patterns reported in the literature, with a linear displacement of 223 km from deployment to pop-up sites. Fish spent 47% of the time within a depth range of 25–35 m. Depth increased to 70 m for one fish in early summer (late June). The preferred temperature of fishes ranged between 21–23°C. A generalized linear model revealed that vertical movement was influenced by temperature. The vertical displacement of the totoaba shows a diurnal variation that may be associated with the distribution of its prey. Further work is needed to test this hypothesis with a larger number of organisms.
With prevalence of obesity increasing worldwide, understanding body image in individuals with excessive weight is important, as unawareness of weight excess can prevent weight loss attempts. We explored the associations among measured and self-reported body mass index (BMI), body image and body satisfaction among Spanish females and males with overweight or obesity, with a special focus in discriminating individuals who are and are not satisfied with their body and wish or not to change their appearance. Just unifying all individuals with excessive weight may lead to uncover or deny different realities and to develop unfitted clinical management options. Updating findings for the Spanish population, we found that most participants correctly estimated their weight, but 3 in 10 underestimated it. Similarly, their body images corresponded to adults with overweight or obesity who desired to be thinner, but in average they reported a perceived body just slightly overweight and a moderate satisfaction with their body. Complementing the existing evidence, BMI and sex-gender interacted for influencing body weight estimation and desired weight change. In addition, three different subgroups were found for desired change of weight and size, depending on their BMI and body satisfaction. Discovering and considering different subjective realities and corporeal experiences among individuals with weight excess will help professionals to develop appropriate therapeutic interventions. Thus, the personal experiences that individuals have with obesity, instead of obesity itself, should be considered for disentangling management efforts.
The maternal brain undergoes adaptations to sensitive caregiving that are critical for infant well-being. We investigated structural alterations associated with neglectful caregiving and their effects on mother–child interactive behavior. High-resolution 3D volumetric images were obtained on 25 neglectful (NM) and 23 non-neglectful control (CM) mothers. Using voxel-based morphometry, we compared differences in gray and white matter (GM and WM, respectively) volume. Mothers completed an empathy scale and participated with their children in a play task (Emotional Availability Scale, EA). Neglectful mothers showed smaller GM volume in the right insula, anterior/middle cingulate (ACC/MCC), and right inferior frontal gyrus and less WM volume in bilateral frontal regions than did CM. A greater GM volume was observed in the right fusiform and cerebellum in NM than in CM. Regression analyses showed a negative effect of greater fusiform GM volume and a positive effect of greater right frontal WM volume on EA. Mediation analyses showed the role of emotional empathy in the positive effect of the insula and right inferior frontal gyrus and in the negative effect of the cerebellum on EA. Neglectful mothering involves alterations in emotional empathy-related areas and in frontal areas associated with poor mother–child interactive bonding, indicating how critical these areas are for sensitive caregiving.
Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease are progressive nervous system disorders that affect physical and cognitive capacities of individuals, including memory loss, motion impairment, or problem-solving dysfunctions. Leisure activities are associated with reducing the risk of dementia and are preventive policies for delaying the cognitive impairment in later stages of those neurodegenerative diseases. Electronic games related to cognitive abilities are an easy and inexpensive alternative for stimulating brain activity in this kind of patients. The previous research demonstrated the acceptance of these activities in the environment of Connected TV when playing at home and in daily care centers. Interaction in Connected TV applications has its own particularities that influence the design of the interface, including the viewing distance, the type of interaction through a remote control or other techniques, the size of the screen, or the collectiveness of consumption. Iterative testing with patients of these groups revealed how the physical characteristics and cognitive impairment of these concrete end-users affect the human–computer interaction, offering guidelines and recommendations in good practices for the Smart TV interface design. On the other hand, data analytics extracted from the interaction and evolution of the game offer important information enabling the creation of estimation prediction models about the cognitive state of the patient.
Bovine babesiosis is the most important protozoan disease transmitted by ticks. In Plasmodium falciparum, another Apicomplexa protozoan, the interaction of rhoptry neck protein 2 (RON2) with apical membrane antigen-1 (AMA-1) has been described to have a key role in the invasion process. To date, RON2 has not been described in Babesia bigemina, the causal agent of bovine babesiosis in the Americas. In this work, we found a ron2 gene in the B. bigemina genome. RON2 encodes a protein that is 1351 amino acids long, has an identity of 64% (98% coverage) with RON2 of B. bovis and contains the CLAG domain, a conserved domain in Apicomplexa. B. bigemina ron2 is a single copy gene and it is transcribed and expressed in blood stages as determined by RT-PCR, Western blot, and confocal microscopy. Serum samples from B. bigemina-infected bovines were screened for the presence of RON2-specific antibodies, showing the recognition of conserved B-cell epitopes. Importantly, in vitro neutralization assays showed an inhibitory effect of RON2-specific antibodies on the red blood cell invasion by B. bigemina. Therefore, RON2 is a novel antigen in B. bigemina and contains conserved B-cell epitopes, which induce antibodies that inhibit merozoite invasion.
The present study investigated the effects of nutritional programming through parental feeding on offspring performance and expression of selected genes related to stress resistance in a marine teleost. Gilthead seabream broodstock were fed diets containing various fish oil (FO)/vegetable oil ratios to determine their effects on offspring performance along embryogenesis, larval development and juvenile on-growing periods. Increased substitution of dietary FO by linseed oil (LO) up to 80 % LO significantly reduced the total number of eggs produced by kg per female per spawn. Moreover, at 30 d after hatching, parental feeding with increasing LO up to 80 % led to up-regulation of the fatty acyl desaturase 2 gene (fads2) that was correlated with the increase in conversion rates of related PUFA. Besides, cyclo-oxygenase 2 (cox2) and TNF-α (tnf-α) gene expression was also up-regulated by the increase in LO in broodstock diets up to 60 or 80 %, respectively. When 4-month-old offspring were challenged with diets having different levels of FO, the lowest growth was found in juveniles from broodstock fed 100 % FO. An increase in LO levels in the broodstock diet up to 60LO raised LC-PUFA levels in the juveniles, regardless of the juvenile’s diet. The results showed that it is possible to nutritionally programme gilthead seabream offspring through the modification of the fatty acid profiles of parental diets to improve the growth performance of juveniles fed low FO diets, inducing long-term changes in PUFA metabolism with up-regulation of fads2 expression. The present study provided the first pieces of evidence of the up-regulation of immune system-related genes in the offspring of parents fed increased FO replacement by LO.
Ceramic–metal composites are an important group of materials that have gained interest recently because of their peculiar properties. There have been numerous studies on the reinforcement of alumina through the incorporation of various ductile metals in it. However, these studies have been limited to determining the effect of the addition of metals on the mechanical properties of ceramics, without determining the effect of these metal additions on other physical properties of the resulting composite. In this way, in agreement with the obtained results, we have that because of the conductive nature of metals, there is a considerable decrease in the electrical resistivity of alumina, mainly when copper is added to it. However, in terms of optical performance, alumina matrix composites showed significant changes in absorbance in the visible spectra. The addition of iron, titanium, and yttrium enhanced the absorbance of alumina, whereas manganese addition significantly decreased the optical absorption.
Chagas Disease is a zoonosis caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Several high-resolution markers have subdivided T. cruzi taxon into at least seven lineages or Discrete Typing Units (DTUs) (TcI-TcVI and TcBat). Trypanosoma cruzi I is the most diverse and geographically widespread DTU. Recently a TcI genotype related to domestic cycles was proposed and named as TcIDOM. Herein, we combined traditional markers and housekeeping genes and applied a Multispecies Coalescent method to explore intra-TcI relationships, lineage boundaries and genetic diversity in a random set of isolates and DNA sequences retrieved from Genbank from different countries in the Americas. We found further evidence supporting TcIDOM as an independent and emerging genotype of TcI at least in Colombia and Venezuela. We also found evidence of high phylogenetic incongruence between parasite's gene trees (including introgression) and embedded species trees, and a lack of genetic structure among geography and hosts, illustrating the complex dynamics and epidemiology of TcI across the Americas. These findings provide novel insights into T. cruzi systematics and epidemiology and support the need to assess parasite diversity and lineage boundaries through hypothesis testing using different approaches to those traditionally employed, including the Bayesian Multispecies coalescent method.
Venezuela has plunged into a humanitarian, economic, and health crisis of extraordinary proportions. This complex situation is derived from dismantling of structures at the institutional, legal, political, social, and economic level affecting the life and wellbeing of the entire population.
This study aims to assess the impact of Venezuela’s healthcare crisis on vector-borne and vaccine-preventable diseases and the spillover to neighboring countries.
Since October 2014, there is a paucity of official epidemiological information in Venezuela. An active search of published and unpublished data was performed. Venezuela and Latin America data were sourced from PAHO Malaria Surveillance and from Observatorio Venezolano de la Salud. Brazil and Colombian data were accessed via their respective Ministries of Health.
Economic and political mismanagement have precipitated a general collapse of Venezuela’s health system with hyperinflation rates above 45,000%, people impoverishment, and long-term shortages of essential medicines and medical supplies. In this context, the rapid resurgence of previously well-controlled diseases, such as vaccine-preventable (measles, diphtheria) and arthropod-borne (malaria, dengue) diseases has turned them into epidemics of unprecedented magnitudes. Between 2000-2015 Venezuela witnessed a 365% increase in malaria cases followed by a 68% increase (319,765 cases) in late 2017. The latest figures have surpassed 600,000 malaria cases with a prediction to reach 1 million by the end of 2018. Measles and diphtheria have recently re-emerged after a progressive interruption of the national immunization program, with vulnerable indigenous population being particularly affected. In response to Venezuela’s rapidly decaying situation, a massive population exodus is ongoing towards neighboring countries causing a spillover of diseases.
Action to halt the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases within Venezuela is a matter of urgency for the country and the region. Global and hemispheric health authorities should urge the Venezuelan government to allow establishing a humanitarian channel to bring relief.
Even though AA 7075 is an aluminum alloy with high mechanical properties, it is not often applied in manufacturing. This is so, because it is considered as very difficult to produce defect free welded joints. This is so, because this alloy has a tendency to hot cracking. The metallurgical problems that appear during welding of AA 7075 have not been fully solved but they have been reduced by applying alloys such as: 4043 and 5356 as filler metals. However, in literature there is little information about the metallurgical effects of these types of filler metals applied in arc welded joints of AA7075. This is especially true for Tungsten Inert gas welding. Therefore, this work is focused in comparing the microstructure and Vickers microhardness in weldments of AA 7075 with ER4043, ER5356 and AA7075 as filler metals. Besides, a set of welded joints with the three different filler metals were quenched after welding in order to modify the final microstructure. The results were evaluated by microstructural analysis focused on the Heat Affected Zone and Vickers microhardness and they were compared among them.
People with epilepsy (PWE) are less physically active compared with the general population. Explanations include prejudice, overprotection, unawareness, stigma, fear of seizure induction and lack of knowledge of health professionals. At present, there is no consensus on the role of exercise in epilepsy. This paper reviews the current evidence surrounding the risks and benefits associated with physical activity (PA) in this group of patients. In the last decade, several publications indicate significant benefits in physiological and psychological health parameters, including mood and cognition, physical conditioning, social interaction, quality of life, as well as potential prevention of seizure presentation. Moreover, experimental studies suggest that PA provides mechanisms of neuronal protection, related to biochemical and structural changes including release of β-endorphins and steroids, which may exert an inhibitory effect on the occurrence of abnormal electrical activity. Epileptic discharges can decrease or disappear during exercise, which may translate into reduced seizure recurrence. In some patients, exercise may precipitate seizures. Available evidence suggests that PA should be encouraged in PWE in order to promote wellbeing and quality of life. There is a need for prospective randomized controlled studies that provide stronger clinical evidence before definitive recommendations can be made.
The anthropogenic modification of natural landscapes, and the consequent changes in the environmental conditions and resources availability at multiple spatial scales can affect complex species interactions involving key-stone species such as bat–parasite interactions. In this study, we aimed to identify the drivers potentially influencing host–bat fly interactions at different spatial scales (at the host, vegetation stand and landscape level), in a tropical anthropogenic landscape. For this purpose, we mist-netted phyllostomid and moormopid bats and collected the bat flies (streblids) parasitizing them in 10 sites representing secondary and old growth forest. In general, the variation in fly communities largely mirrored the variation in bat communities as a result of the high level of specialization characterizing host–bat fly interaction networks. Nevertheless, we observed that: (1) bats roosting dynamics can shape bat–streblid interactions, modulating parasite prevalence and the intensity of infestation; (2) a degraded matrix could favor crowding and consequently the exchange of ectoparasites among bat species, lessening the level of specialization of the interaction networks and promoting novel interactions; and (3) bat–fly interaction can also be shaped by the dilution effect, as a decrease in bat diversity could be associated with a potential increase in the dissemination and prevalence of streblids.
Molecular methods have been developed for the detection and quantification of Trypanosoma cruzi DNA in blood samples from patients with Chagas disease. However, aspects of sample processing necessary for quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), such as the addition of guanidine hydrochloride to whole blood samples, may limit timely access to molecular diagnosis. We analysed 169 samples from serum and guanidine-EDTA blood (GEB) obtained from patients in acute and chronic phases of Chagas disease. We applied qPCR targeted to the satellite DNA region. Finally, we compared the parasite loads and cycle of threshold values of the qPCR. The results confirmed the usefulness of serum samples for the detection and quantification of parasite DNA in patients with Chagas disease, especially in the acute phase. However, the parasite loads detected in serum samples from patients in the chronic phase were lower than those detected in GEB samples. The epidemiological implications of the findings are herein discussed.