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Steep slope vineyards are a complex scenario for the development of ground robots. Planning a safe robot trajectory is one of the biggest challenges in this scenario, characterized by irregular surfaces and strong slopes (more than 35°). Moving the robot through a pile of stones, spots with high slope or/and with wrong robot yaw may result in an abrupt fall of the robot, damaging the equipment and centenary vines, and sometimes imposing injuries to humans. This paper presents a novel approach for path planning aware of center of mass of the robot for application in sloppy terrains. Agricultural robotic path planning (AgRobPP) is a framework that considers the A* algorithm by expanding inner functions to deal with three main inputs: multi-layer occupation grid map, altitude map and robot’s center of mass. This multi-layer grid map is updated by obstacles taking into account the terrain slope and maximum robot posture. AgRobPP is also extended with algorithms for local trajectory replanning during the execution of a trajectory that is blocked by the presence of an obstacle, always assuring the safety of the re-planned path. AgRobPP has a novel PointCloud translator algorithm called PointCloud to grid map and digital elevation model (PC2GD), which extracts the occupation grid map and digital elevation model from a PointCloud. This can be used in AgRobPP core algorithms and farm management intelligent systems as well. AgRobPP algorithms demonstrate a great performance with the real data acquired from AgRob V16, a robotic platform developed for autonomous navigation in steep slope vineyards.
The aim of this study was to optimize protocols for electroporation (EP) and polyfection (PLF) using polyethyleneimine (PEI) for pig sperm transfection and to determine which method was the most efficient. For EP standardization, different voltages, amounts and times of electric pulses were tested using propidium iodide (PI) as reporter. For PLF standardization, different concentrations of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labelled PEI (PEI/FITC) were incubated with sperm for different periods of time. Flow cytometry was performed to evaluate the best protocol in terms of cell viability, including cytoplasmic membrane, acrosome, chromatin integrities and mitochondrial potential using the FITC probe, PI, acridine orange (AO) and JC1. Transfections with the plasmid pmhyGENIE-5 were carried out under optimum conditions for each procedure (EP: 500 volts, 500 μs and two pulses; PLF: PEI 0.5 mg/ml and incubation time 10 min). Transfection efficacy was assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). A lower transfection rate was observed for sperm in the control group (17.8%) compared with EP (36.7%), with PLF (76.8%) being the most efficient. These results suggest that the EP and PEI could be an efficient and low cost transfection method for swine sperm. Notably, treated cells showed higher plasmatic the membrane damage (PMD) and/or acrosome damage (AD) indexes, therefore the combination of this procedure with biotechniques that facilitate fecundation (i.e. in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection) or even inclusion of antioxidant or anti-apoptotic drugs to improve spermatozoa viability would be important.
This study assessed the anthelmintic activity of plant-derived compounds against gastrointestinal nematodes of goats using the egg hatch and larval motility assays. The compounds tested were saponins (digitonin and aescin) and their respective sapogenins (aglycones), hecogenin acetate and flavonoids (catechin, hesperidin, isocordoin and a mixture of isocordoin and cordoin). Additionally, cytotoxicity of active substances was analysed on Vero cell through 3-4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl,2,5diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and propidium iodide (PI) tests. Significant reduction on the egg hatching (P < 0.05) was seen only in the treatments with aescin (99%/EC50 = 0.67 mg mL−1) and digitonin (45%). The compounds that reduced the larval motility (P < 0.05) were digitonin (EC50 = 0.03 mg mL−1 and EC90 = 0.49 mg mL−1) and the hecogenin acetate (75%). The other sapogenins showed low anthelmintic activity. All the flavonoids showed low ovicidal (4–12%) and larvicidal (10–19%) effects. The aescin and digitonin showed low toxicity in PI test (viable cells >90%). Nevertheless, higher cytotoxicity was observed in the MTT assay, with IC50 of 0.20 mg mL−1 (aescin) and 0.0074 mg mL−1 (digitonin). Aescin and digitonin have a pronounced in vitro anthelmintic effect and the glycone portion of these saponins plays an important role in this activity.
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.
Several methods can be used to obtain, from powder diffraction patterns, crystallite size and lattice strain of polycrystalline samples. Some examples are the Scherrer equation, Williamson–Hall plots, Warren/Averbach Fourier decomposition, Whole Powder Pattern Modeling, and Debye function analysis. To apply some of these methods, it is necessary to remove the contribution of the instrument to the widths of the diffraction peaks. Nowadays, one of the main samples used for this purpose is the LaB6 SRM660b commercialized by the National Institute of Standard Technology; the width of the diffraction peak of this sample is caused only by the instrumental apparatus. However, this sample can be expensive for researchers in developing countries. In this work, the authors present a simple route to obtain micron-sized polycrystalline CeO2 that have a full width at half maximum comparable with the SRM660b and therefore it can be used to remove instrumental broadening.
One of the most serious problems troubling the European Union is the evolution of cross-border crimes and, in particular, international terrorism and organised crime. National law enforcement authorities cannot fight cross-border crimes efficiently if their efforts are made solely on a national level. Since the early 1990s, the (European) political authorities have become increasingly aware of this problem and have taken steps to facilitate the participation of the law enforcement and other relevant personnel from other state(s) in investigating offences. This has resulted in the adoption of a vast number of documents and new instruments (eg the European Arrest Warrant), and the creation of new agencies within the European Union, the aim of which is to facilitate cross-border activities to fight cross-border crimes.
After the Portuguese discovered the Cape Verde Islands in AD 1456 they divided its main island, Santiago, into two governing captaincies. The founding settlement in the south-west, Cidade Velha, soon became the Islands’ capital and a thriving trade centre; in contrast, that in the east, Alcatrazes, only lasted as an official seat from 1484–1516 and is held to have ‘failed’ (see Richter 2015).
Cognitive assessment with virtual reality (VR) may have superior ecological validity for older adults compared to traditional pencil-and-paper cognitive assessment. However, few studies have reported the development of VR tasks. The aim of this study was to present the development, feasibility, content validity, and preliminary evidence of construct validity of an ecological task of cognitive assessment for older adults in VR (ECO-VR). The tasks were prepared based on theoretical and clinical backgrounds. We had 29 non-expert judges identify virtual visual stimuli and three-dimensional scenarios, and five expert judges assisted with content analysis and developing instructions. Finally, six older persons participated in three pilot studies and thirty older persons participated in the preliminary study to identify construct validity evidence. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and partial correlation. Target stimuli and three-dimensional scenarios were judged adequate and the content analysis demonstrated that ECO-VR evaluates temporo-spatial orientation, memory, language and executive functioning. We made significant changes to the instructions after the pilot studies to increase comprehensibility and reduce the completion time. The total score of ECO-VR was positively correlated mainly with performance in executive function (r = .172, p < .05) and memory tests (r = .488, p ≤ .01). The ECO-VR demonstrated feasibility for cognitive assessment in older adults, as well as content and construct validity evidences.
The onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects couples’ relationship. We investigated the perception of change and sexual satisfaction in spouse-caregivers and their partners diagnosed with AD.
We compared 74 dyads of people with Alzheimer's disease (PwAD)/spouse-caregivers and 21 elderly dyads control. We assessed sexual satisfaction with Questionnaire on Sexual Experience and Satisfaction (QSES), cognition using a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), disease severity using a Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR), awareness of disease with Assessment Scale of Psychosocial Impact of the Diagnosis of Dementia (ASPIDD), functionality with Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ), depressive symptoms with Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD), quality of life using a Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease Scale (QoL-AD), and burden using a Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI).
We found differences between the perception and no perception of change in sexual activity of PwAD (p < 0.001), spouse-caregivers (p < 0.01), and controls (p < 0.05). Moderate to severe sexual dissatisfaction was observed in 36.5% of PwAD, 65% of spouse-caregivers, and 31% of controls. PwAD sexual satisfaction was related to cognitive impairment (p < 0.05). Spouse-caregivers sexual satisfaction was related to gender (p < 0.05) and the presence of sexual activity (p < 0.001).
The perception of change with higher sexual dissatisfaction, were significant in PwAD and their spouse-caregivers, in comparison with couples of elderly without dementia.
This study investigated the emission of subaquatic noise from recreational tourism motorboats, schooners and a sea-bottom mounted water pump. Analyses demonstrated alterations in several whistle (IF: t = 2.42, P = 0.015; FF: t = −2.22, P = 0.025) and calls patterns (MIF: t = −3.13, P = 0.001; MAF: t = −3.49, P = 0.0005; FD: t = −2.21, P = 0.027; D: t = 2.89, P = 0.004), caused primarily by motorboats. Duration of clicks was also modified (D: t = −3.85, P = 0.0001), mainly by the water pump. The frequency range of all noises (0.43–35.8 kHz) overlaps that used by dolphins (1–48 kHz), causing sound emissions changes, with a considerable increase in number of whistles and a reduction in clicks trains. These changes may be a strategy developed by these dolphins to overcome the noise band. Mitigation measures, such as boating regulations and environmental education for the local community, boaters and tourists are needed to conserve the species. The Guiana dolphin population is apparently already suffering, evidenced by diminished residence time and reduced number of individuals entering the inlet during the presence of pleasure craft.
The addition of growth factors and vitamins enhances goat embryonic development in vitro. However, few attempts have been reported trying to identify supplementation regimens for oocyte maturation or embryo culture with additive properties. The present report was aimed to evaluate if retinoids [0.3 μM retinyl acetate (RAc) and 0.5 μM 9-cis-retinoic acid (RA)] supplementation during goat oocyte maturation and retinoids and/or 50 ng mL–1 IGF-I during embryo culture synergically enhanced embryonic development while diminishing the incidence of apoptosis. All combinations of RAc and RA treatment produced blastocysts with similar efficiencies, while IGF-I enhanced embryos yields irrespectively of retinoid addition. Moreover, retinoids and IGF-I supplementation showed similar caspase activity or DNA fragmentation indexes in blastocysts. In conclusion, supplementation with retinoids and IGF-I during goat embryo culture enhances blastocysts development without synergic reduction of apoptosis.
A sediment core was studied to characterize the influences of Holocene sea-level variations in the Barra Seca River valley, in the Atlantic rainforest, Linhares, Espírito Santo, southeastern Brazil. Biological proxies (pollen, spores, and sponge spicules), 14C dating, granulometry, δ13C, δ15N, C/N and major chemical elements revealed the establishment and the evolution of a paleo-estuary during the interval from ∼7700–585 cal BP. During the interval ∼7700–7000 cal BP, the study site was occupied by a bay-head delta, the inner portion of the paleo-estuary, presenting the most dense mangrove coverage of the entire record. In the interval ∼7000–3200 cal BP, the site was occupied by the central basin, possibly a consequence of the landward migration of the paleo-estuary. This interval presents reduced mangrove coverage, probably due to the permanent flooding of the valley. From ∼3200 cal BP, the marine influence at the site decreased probably as result of the seaward migration of the coast line. From ∼600 cal BP, the modern floodplain and freshwater lake were established. This interpretation is in agreement with the sea-level curves for the southeastern Brazilian coast, except for the fact that evidence of sea levels lower than the present at ∼4000 and ∼2500 cal BP as suggested by some authors were not found.
Analysis of biological proxies in lake sediment and geochemical analysis of soil profiles reveal natural vegetation dynamics, with climate inferences, since the late Pleistocene in a fragment of the pristine lowland Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil. Carbon isotopes from soil organic matter and 14C ages from the humin fraction indicate the dominance of C3 plants since ∼17,000 cal BP. Palynological analysis of a sediment core indicates the presence of Atlantic Forest vegetation since 7700 cal BP. Changes in the relative abundance of tree ferns and palms suggest the predominance of a humid period from ∼7000–4000 cal BP and establishment of the modern seasonal climate at ∼4000 cal BP. Data indicate maintenance of the regional forest coverage since the late Pleistocene, corroborating previous suggestions that this region was a forest refuge during less humid periods of the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Some plant taxa with currently divided distributions between Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest colonized the region since at least 7500 cal BP, indicating an earlier connection between Amazonia and Atlantic Forest.
The inhibition of nuclear maturation allows time for the oocyte to accumulate molecules that are important for embryonic development. Thus, the objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of blocking oocyte meiosis with the addition of forskolin, an efficient inhibitor of nuclear maturation, in in vitro maturation (IVM) medium. Forskolin was added to the IVM medium for 6 h at concentrations of 0.1 mM, 0.05 mM or 0.025 mM, then the oocytes were allowed to mature in drug-free medium for 18 h. The oocytes were assessed for the stage of nuclear maturation, the activity and distribution of mitochondria, oocyte ultrastructure, the number of viable cells and the apoptosis rate. After forskolin treatment, the oocytes were fertilized in vitro and cultured for 7 days. On day 7, the blastocyst rate, the ultrastructure, the number of intact cells and the apoptosis rate of the blastocysts were measured. No differences were observed for the stage of nuclear maturation of the oocyte, the mitochondrial activity and distribution, the blastocyst rate or total number of intact cells. However, a higher rate of apoptosis was observed in the blastocysts produced from oocytes blocked for 6 h with the higher concentration of forskolin (P < 0.05). We conclude that all the experimental groups reached the MII stage after the addition of forskolin and that the highest concentration of forskolin caused cellular degeneration without harming embryo production on the 7th day.
The relationship between sexuality and quality of life (QoL) of spouse-caregivers remains unclear. We designed this study to evaluate the relationship between sexual satisfaction and spouse-caregivers’ QoL, and to determine the influence of the clinical characteristics of people with dementia (PWD) on spouse-caregivers’ self-reported QoL.
Using a cross-sectional design, 54 PWD and their spouse-caregivers completed the QoL in Alzheimer's Disease scale (QoL-AD), questionnaire on sexual experience and satisfaction (QSES), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR), Assessment Scale of Psychosocial Impact of the Diagnosis of Dementia (ASPIDD), Pfeffer functional activities questionnaire (FAQ), the Cornell scale for depression in dementia (CSDD) and Zarit burden interview (ZBI). Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted to identify the factors that influenced the spouse-caregivers’ QoL ratings.
We did not find a significant difference in QoL between male and female spouse-caregivers (p = 0.71). We also found that 13% of males and 48.1% of females demonstrated moderate to severe sexual dissatisfaction. However, we did not find a significant correlation between spouse-caregivers’ QoL and sexual satisfaction (p = 0.41). The linear regression indicated that impaired awareness and lower QoL of PWD were significantly related to spouse-caregivers’ QoL (p = 0.000).
The spouse-caregivers’ QoL is influenced by awareness of disease and PWD QoL. Our study would be helpful for the development of adequate psycho-educational approaches to increase spouse-caregivers’ QoL, considering the specificities of the couples’ relationship.
The Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 sheds new light on what the World Health Organization described as "the single most devastating infectious disease outbreak ever recorded" by situating the Iberian Peninsula as the key point of connection, both epidemiologically and discursively, between Europe and the Americas. The essays in this volume elucidate specific aspects of the pandemic that have received minimal attention until now, including social control, gender, class, religion, national identity, and military medicine's reactions to the pandemic and its relationship with civilian medicine, all in the context of World War I. As the authors point out, however, the experiences of 1918-19 remain persistently relevant to contemporary life, particularly in view of events such as the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. Contributors: Mercedes Pascual Artiaga, Catherine Belling, Josep Bernabeu-Mestre, Ryan A, Davis, Esteban Domingo, Magda Fahrni, Hernán Feldman, Pilar León-Sanz, Maria Luísa Lima, Maria deFátima Nunes, María-Isabel Porras-Gallo, Anny Jackeline Torres Silveira, José Manuel Sobral, Paulo Silveira e Sousa, Christiane Maria Cruz de Souza. María-Isabel Porras-Gallo is Professor of History of Science in the Medical Faculty of Ciudad Real at the University of Castile-La Mancha (Spain). She is the author of Un reto para la sociedad madrileña: la epidemia de gripe de 1918-1919 and co-editor of El drama de la polio. Un problema social y familiar en la España franquista. Ryan A. Davis is Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois State University. He is the author of The Spanish Flu: Narrative and Cultural Identity in Spain, 1918.