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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic might affect mental health. Data from population-representative panel surveys with multiple waves including pre-COVID data investigating risk and protective factors are still rare.
In a stratified random sample of the German household population (n = 6684), we conducted survey-weighted multiple linear regressions to determine the association of various psychological risk and protective factors assessed between 2015 and 2020 with changes in psychological distress [(PD; measured via Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression and Anxiety (PHQ-4)] from pre-pandemic (average of 2016 and 2019) to peri-pandemic (both 2020 and 2021) time points. Control analyses on PD change between two pre-pandemic time points (2016 and 2019) were conducted. Regularized regressions were computed to inform on which factors were statistically most influential in the multicollinear setting.
PHQ-4 scores in 2020 (M = 2.45) and 2021 (M = 2.21) were elevated compared to 2019 (M = 1.79). Several risk factors (catastrophizing, neuroticism, and asking for instrumental support) and protective factors (perceived stress recovery, positive reappraisal, and optimism) were identified for the peri-pandemic outcomes. Control analyses revealed that in pre-pandemic times, neuroticism and optimism were predominantly related to PD changes. Regularized regression mostly confirmed the results and highlighted perceived stress recovery as most consistent influential protective factor across peri-pandemic outcomes.
We identified several psychological risk and protective factors related to PD outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. A comparison of pre-pandemic data stresses the relevance of longitudinal assessments to potentially reconcile contradictory findings. Implications and suggestions for targeted prevention and intervention programs during highly stressful times such as pandemics are discussed.
The aim of this study is to identify differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in the genomes of a sample of cognitively healthy individuals and a sample of individuals with LOAD, all of them nonagenarians from Costa Rica.
In this study, we compared whole blood DNA methylation profiles of 32 individuals: 21 cognitively healthy and 11 with LOAD, using the Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip. First, we calculated the epigenetic age of the participants based on Horvath’s epigenetic clock. DMRcate and Bumphunter were used to identify DMRs. After in silico and knowledge-based filtering of the DMRs, we performed a methylation quantitative loci (mQTL) analysis (rs708727 and rs960603).
On average, the epigenetic age was 73 years in both groups, which represents a difference of over 20 years between epigenetic and chronological age in both affected and unaffected individuals. Methylation analysis revealed 11 DMRs between groups, which contain six genes and two pseudogenes. These genes are involved in cell cycle regulation, embryogenesis, synthesis of ceramides, and migration of interneurons to the cerebral cortex. One of the six genes is PM20D1, for which altered expression has been reported in LOAD. After genotyping previously reported mQTL SNPs for the gene, we found that average methylation in the PM20D1 DMR differs between genotypes for rs708727, but not for rs960603.
This work supports the possible role of PM20D1 in protection against AD, by showing differential methylation in blood of affected and unaffected nonagenarians. Our results also support the influence of genetic factors on PM20D1 methylation levels.
The use of most recent Transcatheter aortic valve implants (TAVI) in the treatment of symptomatic severe aortic stenosis (SAS) is evolving with expanded indications from inoperable/high-risk to intermediate and low risk patients. Consequently, TAVI outcomes must be monitored to highlight its value under real-world conditions. Our aim was to prospectively evaluate TAVI (SAPIEN 3) outcomes in terms of patient's health-related quality of life (HRQoL), clinical outcomes, and healthcare resource utilization (HRU).
An observational prospective study including all consecutive patients with SAS undergoing a transcatheter valve implantation with Edwards SAPIEN 3 valve (transfemoral access) was conducted in full accordance with clinical guidelines from the European Society of Cardiology. Patients were evaluated before the intervention (baseline), at discharge, and after one, six and twelve months from the implant. A thoughtful and systematic evaluation of patients’ HRQoL (EQ-5D 5L, the Short Form-36 Health Survey -SF-36- and the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire -KCCQ-), clinical endpoints (that is, cardiovascular mortality, and rates of stroke, major bleeding, myocardial infarction, and re-hospitalization), echocardiographic measurements, and HRU (that is, Length of stay-LOS- in ward/intensive care unit -ICU-) was implemented. Multivariate regression models were applied to test outcomes while controlling key risk factors (that is, patient’ severity at baseline).
A total of seventy-six patients (fifty percent female, fifty-five percent of intermediate-high risk) with a mean age of 82.1 ± 4.78 years were included. Implant success was 97.34% and cardiovascular death was 2.6% at one year. Significant reductions in mean and maximum gradients were achieved and maintained during follow-up. Mean LOS in ward (5.2 ± 4.0days) and ICU (0.22 ± 0.64 days) were low. Statistically significant improvements were detected in the KCCQ overall summary scores, EQ-5D, and SF-36 (Physical component summary) - all adjusted - p < 0.05 - after the intervention.
TAVI represents a safe and effective innovation for SAS with clinical benefits translated into significant improvements in terms of HRQoL. Besides, the low HRU provides new insights for health-economic modelling and the optimization of limited resources of special importance under current pandemic situation.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) not fulfilling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case definition underwent severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) screening. Risk of exposure, adherence to personal protective equipment (PPE), and symptoms were assessed. In total, 2,000 HCWs were screened: 5.5% were positive for SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). There were no differences in PPE use between SARS-CoV-2–positive and –negative HCWs (adherence, >90%). Nursing and kitchen staff were independently associated with positive SARS-CoV-2 results.
This study aims to generate country-specific norms for two episodic memory tasks and a verbal fluency test among middle-aged and older adults using nationally representative data from nine low-, middle-, and high-income countries.
Data from nine countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America were analyzed (n = 42,116; aged 50 years or older). Episodic memory was assessed with the word list memory (three trials of immediate recall) and word list recall (delayed recall). Verbal fluency was measured through the animal naming task. Multiple linear regression models with country-specific adjustments for gender, age, education, and residential area were carried out.
Both age and education showed high influence on test performance (i.e. lower cognitive performance with increasing age and decreasing years of education, respectively), while the effect of sex and residential area on cognitive function was neither homogeneous across countries nor across cognitive tasks.
Our study provided sex-, age-, education-, and residential area-specific regression-based norms that were obtained from one of the largest normative study worldwide on verbal recall and fluency tests to date. Findings derived from this study will be especially useful for clinicians and researchers based at countries where cognitive norms are limited.
The functional assessment of cancer therapy-bone marrow transplant (FACT-BMT) is a widely used instrument to assess quality of life (QOL) in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) patients, but there is little evidence of its validity in Latin American populations. This study evaluated the psychometric properties of the Spanish language version of the FACT-BMT in Mexican patients.
First, the original version was piloted with 15 HSCT patients to obtain an adequate cultural version, resulting in the adaptation of one item. After that, the new version was completed by 139 HSCT patients.
The results showed a FACT factor structure that explains 70.84% of the total variance, a factor structure similar to the original FACT structure, and with a high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.867). For the BMT subscale, the best factor structure included 17 items which explain 61.65% of the total variance with an adequate internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.696).
Significance of the results
The FACT-BMT was found to be a valid and reliable instrument to evaluate QOL in Mexican patients. Our results constitute new FACT-BMT empirical evidence that supports its clinical and research uses.
Fossil fishes are among the rarest in volcanic oceanic islands, their presence providing invaluable data for the understanding of more general (palaeo)biogeographical patterns and processes. Santa Maria Island (Azores Archipelago) is renowned for its palaeontological heritage, with representatives of several phyla, including the Chordata. We report on the fossil fishes, resulting in an increase in the number of Pliocene fishes from the Azores to 11 taxa: seven Chondrichthyes and at least four Actinopterygii. The genus Sparisoma is reported for the first time in the fossil record. The presence of fossil remains of the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense in Last Interglacial outcrops is significant, because it posits a setback for the theory that most of the present-day Azorean marine species colonized the area after the last glacial episode. Our multidisciplinary approach combines palaeontological data with ecological and published genetic data, offering an alternative interpretation. We suggest that most of the Azorean shallow-water subtropical and temperate marine species living in the archipelago during the Last Interglacial were not affected by the decrease in sea surface temperatures during the last glacial episode. We also predict low genetic diversity for fish species presently living in the Azores and ecologically associated with fine sediments, as a result of the remobilization and sediment transport to abyssal depths, during the Last Glacial episode; these are viewed as post-glacial colonizers or as ‘bottleneck’ survivors from the Last Glaciation.
Silene ciliata (Caryophyllaceae) is a key species to test evolutionary hypotheses in a global warming context. The recent advances in Next Generation Sequencing technologies can help in providing clues about climate-mediated local adaptation. In the present study, we analysed the full transcriptome of six individuals of S. ciliata from Central Spain, by aligning it with the transcriptome of S. latifolia. We aimed (a) to identify Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the transcriptome of the species, (b) to describe the biological function of the polymorphic genes expressed and (c) to identify loci that may be involved in local adaptation processes at optimal and marginal populations of the species. We identified a total of 147,118 SNPs distributed throughout 12,688 sequences. The number of polymorphic sequences annotated was 8023. One hundred thirty sequences containing polymorphisms strongly associated with optimal and marginal conditions were selected. Gene ontology searches were successful for 118, and many of these were related to responses to stress (n = 19) and abiotic stimulus (n = 16). Genomic data generated provide a starting point for further research on the identification of candidate genes related to local adaptation and other processes in the species.
The aim of the study was to determine the main factors (sociodemographic, anthropometric, lifestyle and health status) associated with high Na excretion in a representative population of Chile.
Na excretion (g/d), a valid marker of Na intake, was determined by urine analysis and Tanaka’s formulas. Blood pressure was measured by trained staff and derived from the mean of three readings recorded after 15 min rest. The associations of Na excretion with blood pressure and the primary correlates of high Na excretion were determined using logistic regression.
Chileans aged ≥15 years.
Participants (n 2913) from the Chilean National Health Survey 2009–2010.
Individuals aged 25 years or over, those who were obese and those who had hypertension, diabetes or metabolic syndrome were more likely to have higher Na excretion. The odds for hypertension increased by 10·2 % per 0·4 g/d increment in Na excretion (OR=1·10; 95 % CI 1·06, 1·14; P < 0·0001). These findings were independent of major confounding factors.
Age, sex, adiposity, sitting behaviours and existing co-morbidities such as diabetes were associated with higher Na excretion levels in the Chilean population. These findings could help policy makers to implement public health strategies tailored towards individuals who are more likely to consume high levels of dietary salt.
DNA methylation is a key component of the epigenetic machinery that is responsible for regulating gene expression and, therefore, cell function. Patterns of DNA methylation change during development and ageing, differ between cell types, are altered in multiple diseases and can be modulated by dietary factors. However, evidence about the effects of dietary factors on DNA methylation patterns in humans is fragmentary. This study was initiated to collate evidence for causal links between dietary factors and changes in DNA methylation patterns. We carried out a systematic review of dietary intervention studies in adult humans using Medline, EMBASE and Scopus. Out of 22 149 screened titles, sixty intervention studies were included, of which 65% were randomised (n 39). Most studies (53%) reported data from blood analyses, whereas 27% studied DNA methylation in colorectal mucosal biopsies. Folic acid was the most common intervention agent (33%). There was great heterogeneity in the methods used for assessing DNA methylation and in the genomic loci investigated. Meta-analysis of the effect of folic acid on global DNA methylation revealed strong evidence that supplementation caused hypermethylation in colorectal mucosa (P=0·009). Meta-regression analysis showed that the dose of supplementary folic acid was the only identified factor (P<0·001) showing a positive relationship. In summary, there is limited evidence from intervention studies of effects of dietary factors, other than folic acid, on DNA methylation patterns in humans. In addition, the application of multiple different assays and investigations of different genomic loci makes it difficult to compare, or to combine, data across studies.
The understanding of the 14C behavior in waste packages could lead, in the Spanish context, to a revision of the management strategies for radioactive waste and a revaluation of the near surface repository devoted to the disposal of waste containing this radionuclide in high concentrations. To achieve this objective, and in the context of the EU project Carbon-14 Source Term (CAST), the authors of the work presented in this paper have performed leaching experiments with irradiated graphite considering two different scenarios. One, in which the leaching solution simulates some of the expected conditions in a repository where a granite/bentonite mixture has been used as backfill material, and the other, using deionized water as a high efficiency chemical removal agent and for comparison purposes. The analytical approach to measure the release rate and speciation of 14C from irradiated graphite samples in the aqueous and gaseous phase is also described. The main results obtained shows that, after 359 days of leaching, no 14C activity was detected above the detection limits, and only leaching rates regarding beta-gamma emitters were observed: 2×10–6 cm/day for 137Cs and 1×10–5 cm/day for 60Co in granite/bentonite water media and 4×10–6 cm/day for 137Cs in pure water.
Plant–animal mutualistic interactions through ecological network systems and the environmental conditions in which they occur, allow us to understand patterns of species composition and the structure and dynamics of communities. We evaluated whether flower morphologies with different pollination syndromes (ornithophilous and non-ornithophilous) are used by hummingbirds and whether these characteristics affect the structure (core-peripheral species) of hummingbird networks. Observations were made in flowering patches, where plant–hummingbird interactions were recorded at three altitudes (300–2500 m) during three seasons (dry, rainy and post-rainy) from 2015 to 2016 at El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, Mexico. We recorded 15 hummingbird species interacting with 58 plant species, and the greatest number of interacting hummingbird species (11; 14) and plant species (28; 40) were found at middle altitudes and during the dry season, respectively. In all study sites, most of the plant species visited by hummingbirds had an ornithophilous syndrome (67%) at high altitudes (22 plant species) and during the dry season (26 plant species), but more individual hummingbirds visited non-ornithophilous plant species. The hummingbird species at high altitudes exhibited the greatest level of specialization towards plants (H2′ = 0.74), but the networks of plant-hummingbird interactions were generalist (H2′ = 0.25); i.e. visiting plants with both syndromes, at low altitudes. The core generalist hummingbird species remained constant with altitude and season, but the core generalist plant species varied between different altitudes and seasons according to the phenology of the species.
Strong winds from massive stars are a topic of interest to a wide range of astrophysical fields. In High-Mass X-ray Binaries the presence of an accreting compact object on the one side allows to infer wind parameters from studies of the varying properties of the emitted X-rays; but on the other side the accretor’s gravity and ionizing radiation can strongly influence the wind flow. Based on a collaborative effort of astronomers both from the stellar wind and the X-ray community, this presentation attempts to review our current state of knowledge and indicate avenues for future progress.
The manipulation of the photoperiod by the use of lighting programmes is a useful tool, inexpensive and can help to reduce the negative effect on feed intake due to the stress caused by hot environments. Lighting programmes for broiler chickens are used to regulate feed intake, providing access to food and water, especially during the cooler hours of the day. The change in the length of the photoperiod can be an alternative way to improve the welfare, immune response and, consequently, the performance of birds that are subject to heat stress. The purpose of this paper was to review relevant research on the use of lighting programmes for broilers.
To characterise clusters of individuals based on adherence to dietary recommendations and to determine whether changes in Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores in response to a personalised nutrition (PN) intervention varied between clusters.
Food4Me study participants were clustered according to whether their baseline dietary intakes met European dietary recommendations. Changes in HEI scores between baseline and month 6 were compared between clusters and stratified by whether individuals received generalised or PN advice.
Individuals in cluster 1 (C1) met all recommended intakes except for red meat, those in cluster 2 (C2) met two recommendations, and those in cluster 3 (C3) and cluster 4 (C4) met one recommendation each. C1 had higher intakes of white fish, beans and lentils and low-fat dairy products and lower percentage energy intake from SFA (P<0·05). C2 consumed less chips and pizza and fried foods than C3 and C4 (P<0·05). C1 were lighter, had lower BMI and waist circumference than C3 and were more physically active than C4 (P<0·05). More individuals in C4 were smokers and wanted to lose weight than in C1 (P<0·05). Individuals who received PN advice in C4 reported greater improvements in HEI compared with C3 and C1 (P<0·05).
The cluster where the fewest recommendations were met (C4) reported greater improvements in HEI following a 6-month trial of PN whereas there was no difference between clusters for those randomised to the Control, non-personalised dietary intervention.
Using Finite Element Method (FEM) simulations is possible to study the homogeneity of deformation in the Equal Channel Angular Pressing (ECAP) process. In this work an investigation about the influence of a modified die on strain distribution in an ecaped Al6060 alloy was carried out. Due to that, tensile stress occurs in the vicinity of upper surface of the specimen in the severe plastic deformation zone, which increases the cracking and fracture tendency of the specimen and impedes further ECAP processing, the conventional ECAP die was modified to eliminate the tensile stress and enhance the compressive stress in the severe plastic deformation zone and reducing the cracking and fracture tendency of the specimen. Finite element analysis demonstrated that the stress state changes from tensile to strongly compressive when using the modified die. The aim of this study is to evaluate the advantages/disadvantages of the modified ECAP die and processing conditions.
Stratigraphy, geochemistry and radiocarbon dating of a succession of sediment in the Santiaguillo Basin (central-northern Mexico) help reconstruct the millennial-scale dynamics of hydrological variability that occurred in the southern part of western subtropical North America since the late last glacial. Runoff was generally above average during the late last glacial from ~ 27 to 18 ka. Following this interval, runoff decreased and deposition of authigenic carbonate and aeolian transported sediment increased until ~ 4 ka. Heinrich 1 and 2, and Younger Dryas were intervals of reduced runoff and increased aeolian activity. The wetter climate of central-northern Mexico and arid conditions in north–northwestern Mexico during the late last glacial were probably related to formation of tropical cyclones in the eastern North Pacific during the autumn with restricted rainfall swaths and an absent/weaker North American Monsoon. Enhanced North American Monsoon and tropical cyclones with expanded rainfall swaths brought more summer and autumn precipitation to a broader region extending from the central-northern Mexico to the continental interiors of southwestern US during the early Holocene.
This study investigated the effect of a caffeinated energy drink on various aspects of performance in sprint swimmers. In a randomised and counterbalanced order, fourteen male sprint swimmers performed two acute experimental trials after the ingestion of a caffeinated energy drink (3 mg/kg) or after the ingestion of the same energy drink without caffeine (0 mg/kg; placebo). After 60 min of ingestion of the beverages, the swimmers performed a countermovement jump, a maximal handgrip test, a 50 m simulated competition and a 45 s swim at maximal intensity in a swim ergometer. A blood sample was withdrawn 1 min after the completion of the ergometer test. In comparison with the placebo drink, the intake of the caffeinated energy drink increased the height in the countermovement jump (49·4 (sd 5·3) v. 50·9 (sd 5·2) cm, respectively; P<0·05) and maximal force during the handgrip test with the right hand (481 (sd 49) v. 498 (sd 43) N; P<0·05). Furthermore, the caffeinated energy drink reduced the time needed to complete the 50 m simulated swimming competition (27·8 (sd 3·4) v. 27·5 (sd 3·2) s; P<0·05), and it increased peak power (273 (sd 55) v. 303 (sd 49) W; P<0·05) and blood lactate concentration (11·0 (sd 2·0) v. 11·7 (sd 2·1) mm; P<0·05) during the ergometer test. The caffeinated energy drink did not modify the prevalence of insomnia (7 v. 7 %), muscle pain (36 v. 36 %) or headache (0 v. 7 %) during the hours following its ingestion (P>0·05). A caffeinated energy drink increased some aspects of swimming performance in competitive sprinters, whereas the side effects derived from the intake of this beverage were marginal at this dosage.