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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.
We devise an endogenous growth model in which agents’ utility depends not only on current consumption but also on the pleasure of anticipated future consumption. We consider the case in which agents derive satisfaction from their own anticipatory feelings—inward-looking or internal anticipation—and the case in which agents derive utility from anticipation of other people’s future consumption—outward-looking or external anticipation. We characterize the effects of introducing a forward-looking consumption reference on the dynamics of the economy. Whereas the inward-looking economy features transitional dynamics, the outward-looking economy does not. The distortions caused by the externality in the economy with external habits can be corrected by subsidizing income at a time-varying rate or by means of a tax on consumption at a decreasing rate. We contrast the equilibrium dynamics of our specification to the more standard specification of the habit formation consumption reference point. Numerical simulations supplement the theoretical analysis.
Sperm capacitation includes the reorganization of plasma membrane components and the outstanding modification of the glycocalyx. The α-mannose presence and location during in vitro capacitation have been commonly described in human spermatozoa using Concanavalin A (Con A) lectin. However, it is still unclear to date how in vitro capacitation time affects the α-mannose residues and their topographic spatial distribution on sperm membrane. Here, we characterized the α-mannose density and specific membrane domain locations before and after in vitro capacitation (1–4 h) using high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). Results showed that α-mannose residues were present preferably on the acrosome domains for all physiological conditions. Uncapacitated sperm comparatively exhibits significant highest labeling densities of α-mannose residues. In addition, as in vitro capacitation takes place, significant and progressive decreasing of sugar residues was combined with their relocation mostly affecting acrosomal domain apical areas. Our findings reveal that combined approach using FE-SEM and gold nanoparticle topographical mapping offers new human sperm biomolecular and structural details during capacitation events.
During menopause, women undergo a series of physiological changes that include a redistribution of fat tissue. This study was designed to investigate the effect of adding 10 g of cocoa-rich chocolate to the habitual diet of postmenopausal women daily on body composition. We conducted a 6-month, two-arm randomised, controlled trial. Postmenopausal women (57·2 (sd 3·6) years, n 132) were recruited in primary care clinics. Participants in the control group (CG) did not receive any intervention. Those of the intervention group (IG) received 10 g daily of 99 % cocoa chocolate in addition to their habitual diet for 6 months. This quantity comprises 247 kJ (59 kcal) and 65·4 mg of polyphenols. The primary outcomes were the between-group differences in body composition variables, measured by impendancemetry at the end of the study. The main effect of the intervention showed a favourable reduction in the IG with respect to the CG in body fat mass (–0·63 kg (95 % CI –1·15, –0·11), P = 0·019; Cohen’s d = –0·450) and body fat percentage (–0·79 % (95 % CI –1·31, –0·26), P = 0·004; Cohen’s d = –0·539). A non-significant decrease was also observed in BMI (–0·20 kg/m2 (95 % CI –0·44, 0·03), P = 0·092; Cohen’s d = –0·345). Both the body fat mass and the body fat percentage showed a decrease in the IG for the three body segments analysed (trunk, arms and legs). Daily addition of 10 g of cocoa-rich chocolate to the habitual diet of postmenopausal women reduces their body fat mass and body fat percentage without modifying their weight.
Evaluating the improvements of placing the treatment isocentre at the boost centre of mass (CoM) in a hybrid treatment for breast cancer radiotherapy.
Material and methods:
Twenty-two patients were planned in two isocentre locations with two forward intensity-modulated radiation therapy (fIMRT) tangentials to the breast and a volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) to the boost. A simultaneous integrated boost technique was used. Breast Boost (BB) Vector was investigated as a criterion for selecting an appropriate isocentre placement. Various metrics for boost, breast and hybrid plans were analysed using analysis of variance statistics.
Comparing hybrid plans at the boost CoM vs. hybrid plans at the breast CoM, no significant differences were found. Analysis of relative variations of planning target volume (PTV) boost coverage vs. BB Vector indicated an upgrade in boost CoM isocentre strategy. Dose to organs at risk was comparable: V5Gy (26·24 vs. 25·69%, p = 0·8), V20Gy (14·66 vs. 14·58%, p = 0·959) and the mean dose (7·37 Gy vs. 7·26 Gy, p = 0·879) to ipsilateral lung; V5Gy (15·60 vs. 15·22%, p = 0·903), and the mean dose (4·91 Gy vs. 4·86 Gy, p = 0·950) to heart and dose to free breast of boost (46·71 Gy vs. 46·62 Gy, p = 0·408).
The hybrid fIMRT–VMAT technique centred at the boost CoM resulted equivalent to plans centred at the breast CoM, while benefiting from an enhancement in PTV boost coverage for patients with BB Vector superior to 5.
To evaluate the safety and tolerability of olanzapine in the treatment of elderly patients with schizophrenia.
A total of 135 outpatients with schizophrenia ≥60 years of age were treated with olanzapine (n = 105) or another antipsychotic (n = 30) and followed up for 6 months. Safety measures included the recording of spontaneous adverse events and extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). Clinical status and effectiveness of the medications were measured using the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness and the Global Assessment of Function (GAF) scales. Quality of life was assessed by means of the Spanish version of the EuroQol. The Awad scale was applied to evaluate patients’ subjective attitude towards medication.
The incidence of overall adverse events and EPS was non-significantly lower in patients treated with olanzapine than in patients treated with other antipsychotics. The use of anticholinergic drugs was significantly lower (P = 0.04) in patients treated with olanzapine. Both groups of patients experienced similar improvements in Clinical Global Impressions-Severity and GAF scores. Non-significantly greater improvement in the acceptance of medication occurred at endpoint in olanzapine-treated patients than in control patients as measured by the Awad scale. The improvement in the EuroQol quality of life scale achieved at the end of study did not differ between both treatment groups.
Results from this naturalistic study showed that olanzapine was as safe and effective as other antipsychotic drugs in the treatment of elderly patients with schizophrenia.
The Yellow Cardinal Gubernatrix cristata is a globally endangered passerine from the southern cone of South America. Because of its conspicuous plumage and very attractive song, it suffers considerably from illegal pet trade. The largest remaining populations are found in Argentina, but no coordinated efforts have been made thus far to understand better its current distribution and conservation status. During three annual surveys supported by a citizen science programme, more than 140 volunteers surveyed 644 geographical points during spring and detected 221 Yellow Cardinals. Based on the survey results, we evaluated the presence of cardinals within protected areas in Argentina and found that the species was only detected in four of them, two of which were private reserves with a low level of protection. We also found that the species was not restricted to the ‘Espinal’ ecoregion, but also inhabited ‘Monte’ and ‘Chaco’ ecoregions, which are generally drier. This citizen science programme allowed us to obtain up-to-date information on the remaining populations of the Yellow Cardinal and helped to increase public awareness about the conservation problems faced by the species. We propose some future strategies for monitoring Yellow Cardinals and taking informed conservation decisions.
As the following paragraphs show, the final text of article 17C was the result of a compromise reached at the forty-second session of the Working Group, after a particularly lengthy debate that included numerous objections and exchanges among delegates and observers. Despite the big efforts undertaken by the Working Group, article 17C has found little support around the world. Some national arbitration laws, such as Australia’s, foreclose the possibility of an arbitral tribunal issuing ex parte preliminary orders altogether.
One of the first priorities of the Commission when it decided to draft a Model Law was to include an express provision that recognised the parties’ freedom to choose their own rules of procedure. As the purpose of a Model Law was to contribute to the harmonisation of international arbitration, it was crucial that it met ‘the concerns which have repeatedly been expressed … in international commercial arbitration’. One of those concerns was precisely the existence of provisions that ‘unduly restrict the freedom of the parties to … conduct the proceedings as deemed appropriate taking into account the parties’ wishes’.
One of the first references regarding the duty to inform in the context of interim measures in international arbitration appeared in an October 2000 note prepared for the UN Secretary-General by the UNCITRAL Working Group on Arbitration. The main purpose of this note was to identify possible topics to be addressed by a uniform regime to be developed by UNCITRAL in its revisions to the Model Law. Inspired by the 1996 International Law Association (ILA) Principles on Provisional and Protective Measures in International Litigation, the note listed twenty principles that might be included in the discussions towards the development of a uniform regime.
Tribunals must ensure the efficiency of the proceedings, even when one of the parties does not cooperate. In practice, if one of the parties defaults, particular caution is necessary, so as to preserve the enforceability of the future award. Most national arbitration statutes contain provisions facilitating this goal; in the Model Law, this function is fulfilled by article 25. The consequences of the potential failure by a party to participate in the arbitral proceedings was among the main topics included in the questionnaire prepared by the Working Group during the early stages of the discussion about the Model Law.
Since the beginning of the Working Group deliberations, there was general agreement among the delegates and observers that the Model Law should recognise the stipulations of the parties regarding the procedure for challenging an arbitrator. After all, arbitration is a creature of contract and the principle of party autonomy is one of its pillars. On the other hand, members of the Working Group were less agreeable about the idea of providing access to the courts ‘in cases where the stipulated procedure led to a deadlock’, or simply because ‘the final decision on a challenge should always lie with a court’.
The effectiveness of arbitration cannot rest solely on the final award, but also on the availability of mechanisms that can secure the parties’ rights throughout the process. The most common solution to this potential shortcoming is found in the different mechanisms for preliminary relief (e.g. interim measures) that can be issued by the arbitral tribunal or the competent State courts. When an interim measure is issued by the latter, its effectiveness will depend both on that court’s coercive authority as stipulated by the relevant laws of that jurisdiction and – perhaps more importantly – on the possibility of an interim measure being recognised and enforced abroad.