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Interactions between smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and biomaterials must not result in phenotype changes as this may generate uncontrolled multiplication processes and occlusions in vascular grafts. The aim of this study was to relate the hydrolytic stability and biocompatibility of polyurethanes (PUs) on SMCs. A higher polycaprolactone (PCL) concentration was found to improve the hydrolytic stability of the material and the adhesion of SMCs. A material with 5% polyethylene glycol, 90% PCL, and 5% pentaerythritol presented high cell viability and adhesion, suggesting a contractile phenotype in SMCs depending on the morphology. Nevertheless, all PUs retained their elastic modulus over 120 days, similar to the collagen of native arteries (~10 MPa). Furthermore, aortic SMCs did not present toxicity (viability over 80%) and demonstrated adherence without any abnormal cell multiplication processes, which is ideal for the function to be fulfiled in situ in the vascular grafts.
Pulses such as peas, beans or lentils are one of the most complete foods at the nutritional level; however, they are one of the most often neglected foods in the diets of university students. Entrance to university translates into a major lifestyle change for many young people, and the habits acquired or cemented at this time will remain into adulthood. The objective of this study is to analyse the association between personal/sociodemographic factors, dietary intake of other food groups and the consumption of pulses in first-year university students. This cross-sectional study is part of the UniHcos project, a multicentre study of multipurpose prospective cohorts in eleven Spanish universities. Data from 9862 university students were collected through an online self-questionnaire completed by all students who met the selection criteria and agreed to participate in the project during the 2011–2018 academic years. Of students, 75·8 % presented an inadequate (≤2 times/week) consumption of pulses. Living outside the family home in either a student residence (OR 0·76; 95 % CI 0·69, 0·84) or rental (OR 0·81; 95 % CI 0·70, 0·95) decreased the compliance with recommendations on the consumption of pulses. Low consumption of pulses is seemingly not restricted to a specific profile or dietary pattern among university students, and no specific focus group for intervention can be identified. Policies promoting the consumption of pulses among the university population as a whole are necessary to increase compliance rates with the dietary recommendations.
The growing aging population and the high prevalence of several concomitant chronic diseases have contributed to the elevated rates of caregiver burden and suffering in patients. In turn, intending to relieve unnecessary pain in patients, there has been a rapid growth of outpatient palliative care programs. However, little has been studied about caregiver burden as a relevant factor potentially affecting the effectiveness of these programs. This study aimed to determine the extent of caregiver burden as a possible mediator on the effectiveness of a home-based palliative care program.
Sixty-six palliative patients (56% women; mean age + SD = 71, 6 ± 17.7) and their caregivers were assessed with measures for physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms before and 1 month after the start of a home-based palliative care program.
The association between caregiver burden and palliative outcomes was corroborated with a categorical regression model (p < 0.01). Caregiver burden was found to be a significant mediator in the relationship between outcome measures for palliative care at baseline and after 1 month of enrollment in the program.
Significance of results
To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the role of caregiver burden in the effectiveness of a home-based palliative care program. Although further work is required, the results indicate that a patient-focused intervention does not have the same beneficial effect if the caregiver burden is not addressed. Future home-based palliative care programs should focus on caregivers as well as patients, with particular attention to psychosocial intervention on caregivers.
Biodegradable material was prepared from cassava starch in combination with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) to give the properties of microbial growth resistance, glycerin concentrations were varied to 5%, 10%, and 20% (w/v) for the study of the rheological properties. The nanoparticles were characterized by a spectrophotometer where an exciton peak at 370 nm was obtained. The different samples were subjected to a thermomechanical study through an AR-G2 hybrid rheometer, using a parallel plane geometry of 20 mm, a weak gel behavior is observed, it is a slimming material and it is thermostable, it is also established that the zinc oxide concentration nanoparticles do not affect the mechanical behavior of the material.
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.
Previous studies have shown that bilinguals perform a production task faster when the item is gender-congruent across their two languages than when it is not. The current study aimed to explore three factors that might modulate this effect: the similarity of the gender systems, the need to retrieve grammatical gender to perform the task, and the role of a semantic variable (concreteness) in the processing of gender information. In Experiment 1, Russian–Spanish bilinguals showed gender-congruency effects whether they translated concrete nouns in isolation or in noun-phrases. In contrast, the effect was restricted to noun phrases when they translated abstract words. In Experiment 2, Italian–Spanish bilinguals showed the gender-congruency effect regardless of the translation task. However, the effect was larger with concrete nouns in comparison with abstract nouns. These results are discussed in terms of the proximity of bilingual gender systems and the relationship between semantics and gender.
Faced with increasing financial challenges to the single-payer social security system and constitutional challenges supporting all citizen's right to health, Costa Rica has endeavored to introduce Health Technology Assessment (HTA) to ensure sustainability and promote the timely introduction of technology innovations in the health system. The Ministry of Health initiated a process to establish an independent, external institution providing leadership in the process of HTA.
Based on a survey developed by REDETSA/PAHO (HTA Network of the Americas/Pan American Health Organization), an inclusive method of stakeholders participation was used to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats regarding the implementation of an HTA entity. This was combined with qualitative research methods, market access situation analysis and the review of coverage and provision processes to define the elements for the new HTA institution. The “in-depth” interviews extended to manufacturers, ministry representatives, services providers, purchasers, patients and citizens representatives, judiciary court, professional colleges, academia and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Analysis of the professional competencies required for the HTA institution was carried out based on best practice analysis of international HTA institutions.
The implementation of an HTA unit in Costa Rica was identified by all the actors as crucial to ensuring the health system's sustainability. Costa Rica's health system is based on all citizens right to health and all inputs required delivering health services, judicialization and access to health care have become a big issue. Two main issues were identified as essential to implement an HTA institution: the establishment of a clear framework to provide legal and financial support and the need to have sufficient independence from the Ministry and the Social Security, including maximum transparency and methodological robustness.
The business model for the new HTA institution should consider the participation of all the interested actors. The HTA institution should bridge the gap between technology regulation and health technology management and aim to improve both processes. It should also provide third party independent evidence to inform the constitutional court around health care claims.
We provide an expanded and updated, 2-locus phylogeny (mtSSU, nuLSU) of the lichenized fungal family Trypetheliaceae, with a total of 196 ingroup OTUs, in order to further refine generic delimitations and species concepts in this family. As a result, the following 15 clades are recognized as separate genera, including five newly established genera: Aptrootia, Architrypethelium, Astrothelium (including the bulk of corticate species with astrothelioid ascospores; synonyms: Campylothelium, Cryptothelium, Laurera), Bathelium s. str. (excluding B. degenerans and relatives which fall into Astrothelium), the reinstated Bogoriella (for tropical, lichenized species previously placed in Mycomicrothelia), Constrictolumina gen. nov. (for tropical, lichenized species of Arthopyrenia), Dictyomeridium gen. nov. (for a subgroup of species with muriform ascospores previously placed in Polymeridium), Julella (provisionally, as the type species remains unsequenced), Marcelaria (Laurera purpurina complex), Nigrovothelium gen. nov. (for the Trypethelium tropicum group), Novomicrothelia gen. nov. (for an additional species previously placed in Mycomicrothelia), Polymeridium s. str., Pseudopyrenula, Trypethelium s. str. (T. eluteriae group), and Viridothelium gen. nov. (for the Trypethelium virens group). All recognized genera are phenotypically characterized and a discussion on the evolution of phenotypic features in the family is given. Based on the obtained phylogeny, species delimitations are revised and the importance of characters such as thallus morphology, hymenial inspersion, and secondary chemistry for taxonomic purposes is discussed, resulting in a refined species concept.
Forest conservation incentives are a popular approach to combatting tropical deforestation. Here we consider a case where direct economic incentives for forest conservation were offered to newly titled smallholders in a buffer zone of a protected area in the northeastern Ecuadorian Amazon. We used quasi-experimental impact evaluation methods to estimate changes in forest cover for 63 smallholders enrolled in Ecuador's Socio Bosque program compared to similar households that did not enroll. Focus group interviews in 15 communities provided insight into why landowners enrolled in the program and how land use is changing. The conservation incentives program reduced average annual deforestation by 0.4–0.5% between 2011 and 2013 for those enrolled, representing as much as a 70% reduction in deforestation attributable to Socio Bosque. Focus group interviews suggested that some landowners chose to ‘invest’ in conservation because the agricultural capacity of their land was limited and economic incentives provided an alternative livelihood strategy. Interviews, however, indicated limits to increasing enrollment rates under current conditions, due to lack of trust and liquidity constraints. Overall, a hybrid public–private governance approach can lead to larger conservation outcomes than restrictions alone.
Coeliac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated enteropathy resulting from exposure to gluten in genetically predisposed individuals. Gluten proteins are partially digested by human proteases generating immunogenic peptides that cause inflammation in patients carrying HLA-DQ2 and DQ8 genes. Although intestinal dysbiosis has been associated with patients with CD, bacterial metabolism of gluten has not been studied in depth thus far. The aim of this study was to analyse the metabolic activity of intestinal bacteria associated with gluten intake in healthy individuals, CD patients and first-degree relatives of CD patients. Faecal samples belonging to twenty-two untreated CD patients, twenty treated CD patients, sixteen healthy volunteers on normal diet, eleven healthy volunteers on gluten-free diet (GFD), seventy-one relatives of CD patients on normal diet and sixty-nine relatives on GFD were tested for several proteolytic activities, cultivable bacteria involved in gluten metabolism, SCFA and the amount of gluten in faeces. We detected faecal peptidasic activity against the gluten-derived peptide 33-mer. CD patients showed differences in faecal glutenasic activity (FGA), faecal tryptic activity (FTA), SCFA and faecal gluten content with respect to healthy volunteers. Alterations in specific bacterial groups metabolising gluten such as Clostridium or Lactobacillus were reported in CD patients. Relatives showed similar parameters to CD patients (SCFA) and healthy volunteers (FTA and FGA). Our data support the fact that commensal microbial activity is an important factor in the metabolism of gluten proteins and that this activity is altered in CD patients.
We investigate the ‘gender-congruency’ effect during a spoken-word recognition task using the visual world paradigm. Eye movements of Italian–Spanish bilinguals and Spanish monolinguals were monitored while they viewed a pair of objects on a computer screen. Participants listened to instructions in Spanish (encuentra la bufanda / ‘find the scarf’) and clicked on the object named in the instruction. Grammatical gender of the objects’ name was manipulated so that pairs of objects had the same (congruent) or different (incongruent) gender in Italian, but gender in Spanish was always congruent. Results showed that bilinguals, but not monolinguals, looked at target objects less when they were incongruent in gender, suggesting a between-language gender competition effect. In addition, bilinguals looked at target objects more when the definite article in the spoken instructions provided a valid cue to anticipate its selection (different-gender condition). The temporal dynamics of gender processing and cross-language activation in bilinguals are discussed.
In this study we explored whether native Spanish speakers’ knowledge of grammatical gender in their native language (L1) affects speech production in a second language (L2) which lacks this feature (English). We selected Spanish–English bilinguals for testing who were immersed in either an L1 or an L2 context. Using a picture–word task, participants had to name pictures in their L2 while ignoring distractor words that could be either gender-congruent or gender-incongruent according to the Spanish translation. Results revealed that non-immersed participants were slower naming the pictures in the congruent condition, suggesting that bilingual people are influenced by knowledge about gender in their native language, even when producing utterances in a language in which this information does not apply. However, no such influence was observed for immersed bilinguals, suggesting that immersion environment attenuates access to the native language. We interpret our results as evidence of transfer effects between languages with different lexical systems, which seem to depend on language immersion.
This contribution shows the results of a study carried out in order to determinate the deterioration mechanisms suffered by stucco masks from the important archaeological Mayan site of Edzná, Campeche, México; due to their long exposition to the tropical environment of the zone. Stratigraphic analysis of fragments from the masks containing pigments and surface neoformation products, were analyzed by optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy coupled to a secondary X-ray emission system. Crystalized salts mineral composition were characterized by X-ray diffraction. Also, during the study, environmental parameter like temperature and relative humidity were monitored in site. Results indicate that stuccos mineral matrix is formed by calcareous materials, covered by films with variable proportions of ferrous materials (red, ochre and yellow colors) and rich carbon content (black color). Compounds were associated to blue and green colors. Al these materials showed a high level of deterioration because of differential forces caused by stucco and deposits of environmental soluble salts during dissolution crystallization cycles caused by humidity differences between stucco and environmental as a consequence of their particular exposure conditions.
This paper presents a general approach to automatically compile e-learning models to planning, allowing us to easily generate plans, in the form of learning designs, by using existing domain-independent planners. The idea is to compile, first, a course defined in a standard e-learning language into a planning domain, and, second, a file containing students learning information into a planning problem. We provide a common compilation and extend it to three particular approaches that cover a full spectrum of planning paradigms, which increases the possibilities of using current planners: (i) hierarchical, (ii) including PDDL (Planning Domain Definition Language) actions with conditional effects and (iii) including PDDL durative actions. The learning designs are automatically generated from the plans and can be uploaded, and subsequently executed, by learning management platforms. We also provide an extensive analysis of the e-learning metadata specification required for planning, and the pros and cons on the knowledge engineering procedures used in each of the three compilations. Finally, we include some qualitative and quantitative experimentation of the compilations in several domain-independent planners to measure its scalability and applicability.
In the current study we explored lexical, syntactic, and semantic processes during text comprehension in English monolinguals and Spanish/English (first language/second language) bilinguals with different experience in interpreting (nontrained bilinguals, interpreting students and professional interpreters). The participants performed an error-detection task in which they read English texts and tried to identify lexical, syntactic, and semantic errors embedded in texts. After reading, global comprehension of the texts was assessed by means of a sentence verification task and open/ended questionnaire. The results showed that the interpreters detected more syntactic and semantic errors than monolinguals, nontrained bilinguals and interpreting students. They also had better global comprehension. We discussed the consequences of bilingualism, working memory capacity, and training in interpreting on text comprehension.
Values for δ13C and δ18O obtained from molar samples from three individuals pertaining to Glyptotherium sp. from Cedral (San Luis Potosí, México) are provided and are utilized to infer general aspects of glyptodont diet and habitat. On average this animal showed a C3/C4 mixed diet, with a high consumption of C4 plants. Comparisons of the δ13CVPDB and δ18OVPDB values for glyptodonts with horses, mastodons, mammoths and tapirs from the same locality show that glyptodonts from Cedral lived in an open habitat.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common and debilitating illness that impacts neurocognitive function. However, the majority of previous studies varied in methodologic design and rigor, thus minimizing definitive conclusions. The present study was designed to determine the impact of CKD on neurocognitive function through specific examination of CKD factors and therapeutic interventions. We evaluated 120 CKD outpatients and 41 healthy donors (controls) in terms of neurocognitive function, anxiety, and depressive symptomatology, and somnolence. Information regarding medical and treatment history was recorded. Twenty-three percent of CKD patients presented with cognitive impairment. Stage 5 patients had lower scores (p < .05) compared with controls and patients in stage 3 and 4 on measures of global cognitive function. No differences in global cognitive function were found between stage 3 and 4 patients and controls. A greater proportion of patients undergoing hemodialysis relative to those treated with peritoneal dialysis showed impairment on measures of memory functions. Results suggest that stage 5 CKD patients may present with impaired cognitive functions. Anemia appeared to be a key variable that may explain the memory impairment in this sample. Future longitudinal investigations of CKD are warranted to determine the trajectory of cognitive impairment. (JINS, 2010, 17, 000–000)