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Ovulation is considered an inflammatory, cytokine-mediated event. Cytokines, which are recognized as growth factors with immunoregulatory properties, are involved in many cellular processes at the ovarian level. In this sense, cytokines affect fertility and are involved in the development of different ovarian disorders such as bovine cystic ovarian disease (COD). Because it has been previously demonstrated that ovarian cells represent both sources and targets of cytokines, the aim of this study was to examine the expression of several cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-1RI, IL-1RII, IL-4 and IL-8, in ovarian follicular structures from cows with spontaneous COD. The protein expression of these cytokines was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Additionally, IL-1β, IL-4 and IL-8 concentrations in follicular fluid (FF) and serum were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In granulosa and theca cells, IL-1RI, IL-1RII, IL-1RA and IL-4 expression levels were higher in cystic follicles than in the control dominant follicles. The serum and FF concentrations of IL-1β and IL-4 showed no differences between groups, whereas IL-8 concentration was detected only in FF of cysts from cows with COD. The FF and serum concentrations of IL-1β and IL-8 showed no significant differences, whereas IL-4 concentration was higher in FF than in serum in both the control and COD groups. These results evidenced an altered expression of cytokines in ovaries of cows with COD that could contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease.
Over recent decades, biomass gains in remaining old-growth Amazonia forests have declined due to environmental change. Amazonia’s huge size and complexity makes understanding these changes, drivers, and consequences very challenging. Here, using a network of permanent monitoring plots at the Amazon–Cerrado transition, we quantify recent biomass carbon changes and explore their environmental drivers. Our study area covers 30 plots of upland and riparian forests sampled at least twice between 1996 and 2016 and subject to various levels of fire and drought. Using these plots, we aimed to: (1) estimate the long-term biomass change rate; (2) determine the extent to which forest changes are influenced by forest type; and (3) assess the threat to forests from ongoing environmental change. Overall, there was no net change in biomass, but there was clear variation among different forest types. Burning occurred at least once in 8 of the 12 riparian forests, while only 1 of the 18 upland forests burned, resulting in losses of carbon in burned riparian forests. Net biomass gains prevailed among other riparian and upland forests throughout Amazonia. Our results reveal an unanticipated vulnerability of riparian forests to fire, likely aggravated by drought, and threatening ecosystem conservation at the Amazon southern margins.
The climate of north-western Spain, with high temperatures and relative humidity during the grapevine vegetative cycle, can especially favour the development of fungal diseases in vineyards. One of the most important diseases is downy mildew, caused by the fungus Plasmopara viticola. The aim of the current study is to propose a system containing phenological data, biological sensors of pathogen indicator and the agrometeorological Goidanich Index in order to optimize the application of downy mildew fungicide treatments. The study was conducted in a vineyard of the ‘Ribeiro’ Designation of Origin region from 2005 to 2016 during the Vitis vegetative period. Aerobiological sampling was performed using a LANZONI VPPS-2000 volumetric trap. The highest number of infection cycles was recorded during the 2009 harvest, with a total of 16 cycles. Years with fewer infection cycles were 2008, 2011 and 2012 (13 cycles). Primary infections were produced during the third fortnight of April and a high amount of secondary infection cycles were detected by the Goidanich algorithm during the fruit development and berry ripening stages. The best estimators of the P. viticola spore concentrations were the fungus spore levels during the previous day, the average temperature 5 days before and rainfall 2 days before. The regression equation obtained accounted for the 95.9% of the spore concentration variation. The combination of the Goidanich index and biological sensors provides a valuable tool to establish an accurate, modern, integrated downy mildew pest-management strategy.
Jumping to conclusions (JTC), which is the proneness to require less information before forming beliefs or making a decision, has been related to formation and maintenance of delusions. Using data from the National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre Genetics and Psychosis (GAP) case–control study of first-episode psychosis (FEP), we set out to test whether the presence of JTC would predict poor clinical outcome at 4 years.
One-hundred and twenty-three FEP patients were assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) and the probabilistic reasoning ‘Beads’ Task at the time of recruitment. The sample was split into two groups based on the presence of JTC bias. Follow-up data over an average of 4 years were obtained concerning clinical course and outcomes (remission, intervention of police, use of involuntary treatment – the Mental Health Act (MHA) – and inpatient days).
FEP who presented JTC at baseline were more likely during the follow-up period to be detained under the MHA [adjusted OR 15.62, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.92–83.54, p = 0.001], require intervention by the police (adjusted OR 14.95, 95% CI 2.68–83.34, p = 0.002) and have longer admissions (adjusted IRR = 5.03, 95% CI 1.91–13.24, p = 0.001). These associations were not accounted for by socio-demographic variables, IQ and symptom dimensions.
JTC in FEP is associated with poorer outcome as indicated and defined by more compulsion police intervention and longer periods of admission. Our findings raise the question of whether the implementation of specific interventions to reduce JTC, such as Metacognition Training, may be a useful addition in early psychosis intervention programmes.
Epidemiological studies have found coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Thus, the aim of this randomised, cross-over single-blind study was to investigate the effects of regular coffee, regular coffee with sugar and decaffeinated coffee consumption on glucose metabolism and incretin hormones. Seventeen healthy men participated in five trials each, during which they consumed coffee (decaffeinated, regular (containing caffeine) or regular with sugar) or water (with or without sugar). After 1 h of each intervention, they received an oral glucose tolerance test with one intravenous dose of [1-13C]glucose. The Oral Dose Intravenous Label Experiment was applied and glucose and insulin levels were interpreted using a stable isotope two-compartment minimal model. A mixed-model procedure (PROC MIXED), with subject as random effect and time as repeated measure, was used to compare the effects of the beverages on glucose metabolism and incretin parameters (glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP)) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)). Insulin sensitivity was higher with decaffeinated coffee than with water (P<0·05). Regular coffee with sugar did not significantly affect glucose, insulin, C-peptide and incretin hormones, compared with water with sugar. Glucose, insulin, C-peptide, GLP-1 and GIP levels were not statistically different after regular and decaffeinated coffee compared with water. Our findings demonstrated that the consumption of decaffeinated coffee improves insulin sensitivity without changing incretin hormones levels. There was no short-term adverse effect on glucose homoeostasis, after an oral glucose challenge, attributable to the consumption of regular coffee with sugar.
High concentrations of indium (In) and selenium (Se) have been reported in the Neves-Corvo volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposit, Portugal. The distribution of these ore metals in the deposit is complex as a result of the combined effects of early ore-forming processes and late tectonometamorphic remobilization. The In and Se contents are higher in Cu-rich ore types, and lower in Zn-rich ore types. At the deposit scale, both In and Se correlate positively with Cu, whereas their correlations with Zn are close to zero. This argues for a genetic connection between Cu, In and Se in terms of metal sourcing and precipitation. However, re-distribution and re-concentration of In and Se associated with tectonometamorphic deformation are also processes of major importance for the actual distribution of these metals throughout the whole deposit. Although minor roquesite and other In-bearing phases were recognized, it is clear that most In within the deposit is found incorporated within sphalerite and chalcopyrite. When chalcopyrite and sphalerite coexist, the In content in sphalerite (avg. 1400 ppm) is, on average, 2–3 times higher than in chalcopyrite (avg. 660 ppm). The In content in stannite (avg. 1.3 wt.%) is even higher than in sphalerite, but the overall abundance of stannite is subordinate to either sphalerite or chalcopyrite. Selenium is dispersed widely between many different ore minerals, but galena is the main Se-carrier. On average, the Se content in galena is ~50 times greater than in either chalcopyrite (avg. 610 ppm) or sphalerite (avg. 590 ppm). The copper concentrate produced at Neves-Corvo contains very significant In (+Se) content, well above economic values if the copper smelters recovered it. Moreover, the high In content of sphalerite from some Cu-Zn ores, or associated with shear structures, could possibly justify, in the future, a selective exploitation strategy for the production of an In-rich zinc concentrate.
The in situ technique (NB) was compared to the in vitro gas production technique (Gas) in terms of ability to estimate the dry matter degradation (DMD) using high soluble substrates (maize grains) and low soluble substrates (four tropical forages). The experiments (in situ and in vitro) were carried out at the same time using the same cow for both techniques and DMD was estimated at 6, 12, 24, 48 & 96 h. The results showed that DMD from Gas were lower than NB DMD and the correlation for the maize group were lower than those of the grass group which indicated that Gas technique, closed system, has potential to analyse highly soluble substrates, probably, overcoming the particle losses effect demonstrated by the in situ technique.
We compute the real and imaginary parts of the electric permittivities and magnetic permeabilities of relativistic electrons from quantum electrodynamics at finite temperatures and densities, for weak fields, neglecting electron–electron interactions. For non-zero temperatures, electromagnetic responses are reduced to one-dimensional integrals computed numerically. For zero temperature, we find analytic expressions for both their real/dispersive and imaginary/absorptive parts. As an application of our results, we obtain the dispersion relation for longitudinal electric plasmons. Present calculations support our recent claim that, at low frequencies and long wavelengths, the system will exhibit simultaneously negative electric and magnetic responses.
Research suggests that in environments where community conflict and violence are chronic or cyclical, caregiving can impact how children may begin to reproduce violence throughout the various stages of their lives. The aim of this study is to understand how caregiving affects processes of reproducing violence and resilience among children in conflict-affected Burundi.
We combined a socio-ecological model of child development with a child-actor perspective. We operationalized the core concepts ‘vulnerable household’, ‘resilience’, and ‘caregiving’ iteratively in culturally relevant ways, and put children's experiences at the center of the inquiry. We carried out a comparative case study among 74 purposively sampled vulnerable households in six collines in three communes in three provinces in the interior of Burundi. Burundian field researchers conducted three consecutive interviews; with the head of the household, the main caregiver, and a child.
Our findings reveal a strong congruence between positive caregiving and resilience among children. Negative caregiving was related to negative social behavior among children. Other resources for resilience appeared to be limited. The overall level of household conditions and embedment in communities attested to a generalized fragile ecological environment.
In conflict-affected socio-ecological environments, caregiving can impact children's functioning and their role in reproducing violence. Interventions that support caregivers in positive caregiving are promising for breaking cyclical violence.
Urban slums provide suitable conditions for infestation by rats, which harbour and shed a wide diversity of zoonotic pathogens including helminths. We aimed to identify risk factors associated with the probability and intensity of infection of helminths of the digestive tract in an urban slum population of Rattus norvegicus. Among 299 rats, eleven species/groups of helminths were identified, of which Strongyloides sp., Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and, the human pathogen, Angiostrongylus cantonensis were the most frequent (97, 41 and 39%, respectively). Sex interactions highlighted behavioural differences between males and females, as eg males were more likely to be infected with N. brasiliensis where rat signs were present, and males presented more intense infections of Strongyloides sp. Moreover, rats in poor body condition had higher intensities of N. brasiliensis. We describe a high global richness of parasites in R. norvegicus, including five species known to cause disease in humans. Among these, A. cantonensis was found in high prevalence and it was ubiquitous in the study area – knowledge which is of public health importance. A variety of environmental, demographic and body condition variables were associated with helminth species infection of rats, suggesting a comparable variety of risk factors for humans.
The present study aimed to evaluate trace mineral status of organic dairy herds in northern Spain and the sources of minerals in different types of feed. Blood samples from organic and conventional dairy cattle and feed samples from the respective farms were analysed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to determine the concentrations of the essential trace elements (cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), iodine (I), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn)) and toxic trace elements (arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb)). Overall, no differences between organic and conventional farms were detected in serum concentrations of essential and toxic trace elements (except for higher concentrations of Cd on the organic farms), although a high level of inter-farm variation was detected in the organic systems, indicating that organic production greatly depends on the specific local conditions. The dietary concentrations of the essential trace elements I, Cu, Se and Zn were significantly higher in the conventional than in the organic systems, which can be attributed to the high concentration of these minerals in the concentrate feed. No differences in the concentrations of trace minerals were found in the other types of feed. Multivariate chemometric analysis was conducted to determine the contribution of different feed sources to the trace element status of the cattle. Concentrate samples were mainly associated with Co, Cu, I, Se and Zn (i.e. with the elements supplemented in this type of feed). However, pasture and grass silage were associated with soil-derived elements (As, Cr, Fe and Pb) which cattle may thus ingest during grazing.
There is no consensus as to whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) should be used as part of the initial clinical evaluation of patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP).
(a) To assess the logistical feasibility of routine MRI; (b) to define the clinical significance of radiological abnormalities in patients with FEP.
Radiological reports from MRI scans of two FEP samples were reviewed; one comprised 108 patients and 98 healthy controls recruited to a research study and the other comprised 241 patients scanned at initial clinical presentation plus 66 healthy controls.
In the great majority of patients, MRI was logistically feasible. Radiological abnormalities were reported in 6% of the research sample and in 15% of the clinical sample (odds ratio (OR) = 3.1, 95% CI 1.26–7.57, χ2(1) = 6.63, P = 0.01). None of the findings necessitated a change in clinical management.
Rates of neuroradiological abnormalities in FEP are likely to be underestimated in research samples that often exclude patients with organic abnormalities. However, the majority of findings do not require intervention.
The void probability function was known from a long time to be an efficient tool in analysing the galaxy repartition (White, Sharp, Schaeffer). We developed a method to determine this quantity with a minimum noise, for any proposed distribution resulting from observations, simulations, or theory. We apply it here to the 2D-CFA catalog. This will be later compared to other 2D galaxy catalogs, to the 3D CFA catalog and to the results of numerical simulations.
The house mouse (Mus musculus) and the black rat (Rattus rattus) are reservoir hosts for zoonotic pathogens, several of which cause neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Studies of the prevalence of these NTD-causing zoonotic pathogens, in house mice and black rats from tropical residential areas are scarce. Three hundred and two house mice and 161 black rats were trapped in 2013 from two urban neighbourhoods and a rural village in Yucatan, Mexico, and subsequently tested for Trypanosoma cruzi, Hymenolepis diminuta and Leptospira interrogans. Using the polymerase chain reaction we detected T. cruzi DNA in the hearts of 4·9% (8/165) and 6·2% (7/113) of house mice and black rats, respectively. We applied the sedimentation technique to detect eggs of H. diminuta in 0·5% (1/182) and 14·2% (15/106) of house mice and black rats, respectively. Through the immunofluorescent imprint method, L. interrogans was identified in 0·9% (1/106) of rat kidney impressions. Our results suggest that the black rat could be an important reservoir for T. cruzi and H. diminuta in the studied sites. Further studies examining seasonal and geographical patterns could increase our knowledge on the epidemiology of these pathogens in Mexico and the risk to public health posed by rodents.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and psychosis share deficits in social cognition. The insular region has been associated with awareness of self and reality, which may be basic for proper social interactions.
Total and regional insular volume and thickness measurements were obtained from a sample of 30 children and adolescents with ASD, 29 with early onset first-episode psychosis (FEP), and 26 healthy controls (HC). Total, regional, and voxel-level volume and thickness measurements were compared between groups (with correction for multiple comparisons), and the relationship between these measurements and symptom severity was explored.
Compared with HC, a shared volume deficit was observed for the right (but not the left) anterior insula (ASD: p = 0.007, FEP: p = 0.032), and for the bilateral posterior insula: (left, ASD: p = 0.011, FEP: p = 0.033; right, ASD: p = 0.004, FEP: p = 0.028). A voxel-based morphometry (VBM) conjunction analysis showed that ASD and FEP patients shared a gray matter volume and thickness deficit in the left posterior insula. Within patients, right anterior (r = −0.28, p = 0.041) and left posterior (r = −0.29, p = 0.030) insular volumes negatively correlated with the severity of insight deficits, and left posterior insular volume negatively correlated with the severity of ‘autistic-like’ symptoms (r = −0.30, p = 0.028).
The shared reduced volume and thickness in the anterior and posterior regions of the insula in ASD and FEP provides the first tentative evidence that these conditions share structural pathology that may be linked to shared symptomatology.
Motor insurance is a very competitive business where insurers operate with quite large portfolios, often decisions must be taken under short horizons and therefore ruin probabilities should be calculated in finite time. The probability of ruin, in continuous and finite time, is numerically evaluated under the classical Cramér–Lundberg risk process framework for a large motor insurance portfolio, where we allow for a posteriori premium adjustments, according to the claim record of each individual policyholder. Focusing on the classical model for bonus-malus systems, we propose that the probability of ruin can be interpreted as a measure to decide between different bonus-malus scales or even between different bonus-malus rules. In our work, the required initial surplus can also be evaluated. We consider an application of a bonus-malus system for motor insurance to study the impact of experience rating in ruin probabilities. For that, we used a real commercial scale of an insurer operating in the Portuguese market, and we also work on various well-known optimal bonus-malus scales estimated with real data from that insurer. Results involving these scales are discussed.
Kefir is fermented milk produced from grains that comprise a specific and complex mixture of bacteria and yeasts that live in a symbiotic association. The nutritional composition of kefir varies according to the milk composition, the microbiological composition of the grains used, the time/temperature of fermentation and storage conditions. Kefir originates from the Caucasus and Tibet. Recently, kefir has raised interest in the scientific community due to its numerous beneficial effects on health. Currently, several scientific studies have supported the health benefits of kefir, as reported historically as a probiotic drink with great potential in health promotion, as well as being a safe and inexpensive food, easily produced at home. Regular consumption of kefir has been associated with improved digestion and tolerance to lactose, antibacterial effect, hypocholesterolaemic effect, control of plasma glucose, anti-hypertensive effect, anti-inflammatory effect, antioxidant activity, anti-carcinogenic activity, anti-allergenic activity and healing effects. A large proportion of the studies that support these findings were conducted in vitro or in animal models. However, there is a need for systematic clinical trials to better understand the effects of regular use of kefir as part of a diet, and for their effect on preventing diseases. Thus, the present review focuses on the nutritional and microbiological composition of kefir and presents relevant findings associated with the beneficial effects of kefir on human and animal health.