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Human neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a worldwide neglected disease caused by Taenia solium metacestode and responsible for various complications and neurological disorders. This study aimed to evaluate the use of specific immunoglobulin Y (IgY) produced by laying hens immunized with a hydrophobic fraction of Taenia crassiceps metacestodes (hFTc) in NCC diagnosis. Egg yolk IgY antibodies were fractionated, purified and characterized. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was carried out to evaluate the production kinetics and avidity maturation of anti-hFTc IgY antibodies throughout the IgY obtention process. Antigen recognition tests were carried out by Western blotting and immunofluorescence antibody test using purified and specific anti-hFTc IgY antibodies for detection of parasitic antigens of T. crassiceps and T. solium metacestodes. Sandwich ELISA was performed to detect circulating immune complexes formed by IgG and parasitic antigens in human sera. The results showed high diagnostic values (93.2% sensitivity and 94.3% specificity) for immune complexes detection in human sera with confirmed NCC. In conclusion, specific IgY antibodies produced from immunized hens with hFTc antigens were efficient to detect T. solium immune complexes in human sera, being an innovative and potential tool for NCC immunodiagnosis.
The food processing industry highlights the daily generation of large amounts of eggshell solid residue. In this way, this residue becomes a non renewable raw material to be reused as an additive in red ceramics, in order to reduce the volume of disposal to the environment and improve the physical properties of the product. The objective of this work was to evaluate the forming moisture, linear shrinkage of drying and shrinkage of drying burning of ceramic test pieces (CS’s) with formulations with 2% and 3% of white eggshell residue (ER) incorporated in clay. The clay and ER were collected in the city of Pelotas-RS. The ER sample was analyzed by X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD). After pressing, natural and artificial drying was carried out and the CS’s were burned. These were evaluated through normative parameters C-020/95, C-021/95 and C-026/95. The values obtained for the forming moisture were between 5.82 and 8.78%, for the linear shrinkage of drying between 0.10 and 0.43% and, for the linear contraction burning between -0.29 and 0.08%. The results showed that the addition of ER to the ceramic mass helped in the reduction of the forming moisture and the linear shrinkage of the ceramic test pieces.
The goal of this study was to analyse the spatial pattern of tuberculosis (TB) mortality using different approaches, namely: mortality rates (MR), spatial relative risks (RR) and Bayesian rates (Global and Local) and their association with human development index (HDI), Global and its three dimensions: education, longevity and income. An ecological study was developed in Curitiba, Brazil based on data from Mortality Information System (2008–2014). Spatial scan statistics were used to compute RR and identify high-risk clusters. Bivariate Local Indicator of Spatial Associations was used to assess associations. MR ranged between 0 and 25.24/100.000 with a mean (standard deviation) of 1.07 (2.66). Corresponding values for spatial RR were 0–27.46, 1.2 (2.99) and for Bayesian rates (Global and Local) were 0.49–1.66, 0.90 (0.19) and 0–6.59, 0.98 (0.80). High-risk clusters were identified for all variables, except for HDI-income and Global Bayesian rate. Significant negative spatial relations were found between MR and income; between RR and HDI global, longevity and income; and Bayesian rates with all variables. Some areas presented different patterns: low social development/low risk and high risk/high development. These results demonstrate that social development variables should be considered, in mortality due TB.
This work presents an energy criterion to define the halo of homogeneous and mismatched charged particle beams. In the simulations used in this work, the beam is considered to be azimuthally symmetric, initially cold and is confined by an external constant magnetic field inside a cylindrical conducting pipe. The energy criterion is established through the analysis of the beam energy distributions with time. The obtained results are in reasonable agreement with the past results that considered the beam phase-space topology, for many values of the beam initial envelope mismatch.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
A method comprising a two-step alkali/acid treatment of poly (vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) polymer is developed for the fabrication of flat-sheet PVDF membranes functionalized with labile hydroxyl groups. This method involves the application of a short-duration modification in alkali medium (5% KOH). Extensive characterizations were performed on the prepared membranes. Modification of the polymer altered the crystallinity of the PVDF from a mixture of both α and β phases to a predominant β phase. Lower work of adhesion of the modified membrane indicated the formation of a more hydrophobic and wetting-resistant membrane surface. Centrifugation of the polymer dope after the modification had a pronounced impact on the properties of the resultant membranes. This protocol could be utilized in fine-tuning the properties of PVDF membranes for various target-specific applications such as membrane distillation. This method can also be used in functionalizing PVDF membranes further by exploiting the labile –OH group present on the membrane surface.
Echocardiographic screening represents an opportunity for reduction in the global burden of rheumatic heart disease. A focussed single-view screening protocol could allow for the rapid training of healthcare providers and screening of patients.
The aim of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of a focussed single-view hand-held echocardiographic protocol for the diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease in children.
A total of nine readers were divided into three reading groups; each interpreted 200 hand-held echocardiography studies retrospectively as screen-positive, if mitral regurgitation ⩾1.5 cm and/or any aortic insufficiency were observed, or screen-negative from a pooled study library. The performance of experts receiving focussed hand-held protocols, non-experts receiving focussed hand-held protocols, and experts receiving complete hand-held protocols were determined in comparison with consensus interpretations on fully functional echocardiography machines.
In all, 587 studies including 76 on definite rheumatic heart disease, 122 on borderline rheumatic heart disease, and 389 on normal cases were available for analysis. The focussed single-view protocol had a sensitivity of 81.1%, specificity of 75.5%, negative predictive value of 88.5%, and a positive predictive value of 63.2%; expert readers had higher specificity (86.1 versus 64.8%, p<0.01) but equal sensitivity. Sensitivity – experts, 96% and non-experts, 95% – and negative predictive value – experts, 99% and non-experts, 98% – were better for definite rheumatic heart disease. False-positive screening studies resulting from erroneous identification of mitral regurgitation and aortic insufficiency colour jets increased with shortened protocols and less experience (p<0.01).
Our data support a focussed screening protocol limited to parasternal long-axis images. This holds promise in making echocardiographic screening more practical in regions where rheumatic heart disease remains endemic.
Resource partitioning is considered one of the main processes driving diversification in ecological communities because it allows coexistence among closely related and ecologically equivalent species. We combined three complementary approaches, i.e. the evaluation of foraging behaviour, diet composition and nutritional condition (RNA:DNA ratio), to assess feeding by two closely related (sister) butterflyfishes that are syntopic in Puerto Rico. Chaetodon capistratus had a higher abundance and higher bite rate and selected octocorals and hard corals for feeding, whereas Chaetodon striatus fed preferentially on sandy substrates. Cnidarians and polychaetes were the most representative diet items for both species, but C. capistratus preferred the former (Feeding Index of 74.3%) and C. striatus the latter (Feeding Index of 60.4%). Similar RNA:DNA ratios for both species suggest that, although they differ in feeding rates and diet, C. capistratus and C. striatus have similar nutritional fitness. Therefore, these species are both zoobenthivores but show clear differences in their substrate selection. The differences in the use of foraging substrate by C. capistratus and C. striatus, despite their close phylogenetic relationship and similar diets, suggest that these species coexist by resource partitioning.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
Novel high flux polyethersulfone (PES) ultrafiltration membranes were fabricated by incorporating different amounts of graphene oxide (GO) sheets to PES as nanofillers. The membranes were prepared from solutions in 50/50 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium-diethylphosphate/N,N-dimethyl formamide. It was observed that the water permeance increased from 550 to 800 L m-2h-1bar-1, with incorporation of 1 wt% GO, keeping a molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) of approximately 32-34 kg mol-1. Cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy images of GO/PES membranes showed the formation of ultrathin selective layer unlike pristine membranes. Contact angle measurements confirmed the increase of hydrophilicity, by increasing the GO concentration. The rejection of humic acid and bovine serum albumin was demonstrated. The mechanical properties were improved, compared with the pristine membranes. The performance was just above the trade-off relationship between permeance and separation factor for PES membranes reported in the literature.
Epidemiological patterns of cardiac disease differ between developed countries and African nations. Despite the collaborative efforts of developed countries, several obstacles hinder the implementation of successful programmes for the management of children with heart disease in Africa.
Materials and methods
This study is a retrospective analysis of a bi-national two-institution partnership programme for the treatment of children with congenital and acquired heart disease. In April, 2011, a continuous medical-surgical programme was inaugurated at Clínica Girassol in Luanda. The main goals were to initiate permanent and local delivery of services while training local teams, allowing autonomous medical and surgical management of children with heart disease.
Between April, 2011 and August, 2015, a total of 1766 procedures were performed on 1682 children. Of them, 1539 had CHD and 143 had acquired heart disease; 94 children underwent interventional treatment. A total of 1672 paediatric surgeries were performed on 1588 children: 1087 (65%) were performed with extracorporeal circulation and 585 (35%) were off-pump. The age distribution of the children was 4.5% (n=76) neonatal, 40.4% (n=675) between 30 days and 1 year, and 55.1% (n=921) over 1 year. There were 76 re-operations (4.5%) due to complications. The 30-day mortality rate was 4.2% (71 patients). Education-wise, several Angolan medical and surgical specialists were trained, allowing near-autonomous cardiac care delivery in children with heart disease.
An innovative cooperation model between a European and an African centre based on permanent delivery of care and education allowed for effective training of local teams and treatment of children with heart disease in their own environment.
There is an increasing interest in improving neurocysticercosis (NCC) diagnosis through the search of new and alternative antigenic sources, as those obtained from heterologous antigens. The aim of this study was to obtain potential biomarkers for NCC diagnosis after gel filtration chromatography [gel filtration fraction (GFF)] from the total saline extract (SE) from Taenia saginata metacestodes, followed by protein identification and application in immunodiagnostic. SE and GFF proteic profiles were characterized in gel electrophoresis, and diagnostic performance was verified by testing 160 serum samples through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblotting. Sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp) and other diagnostic parameters were calculated. Polypeptides of interest in the diagnosis of human NCC present at GFF were analysed by mass spectrometry (MS) and B-cell epitopes were predicted. GFF had the best diagnostic parameters: Se 93·3%; Sp 93%; AUC 0·990; LR+ = 13·42 and LR− = 0·07, and proved to be useful reacting with serum samples in immunoblotting. Proteic profile ranged from 64 to 68 kDa and enolase and calcium binding protein calreticulin precursor were identified after MS. The enolase and calcium-binding protein calreticulin precursor showed 18 and 10 predicted B-cell epitopes, respectively. In conclusion we identified important markers in the GFF with high efficiency to diagnose NCC.
Research on preferences has significantly increased in recent years, as it involves not only many subproblems to be investigated, such as elicitation, representation, and reasoning, but has also been the target of different research areas, for example, artificial intelligence and databases. In particular, much work has focused on qualitative preferences, because these are closer to the way people express their preferences in comparison with quantitative preferences. Against this background, a large number of approaches have been proposed, associated with heterogeneous areas, so that these approaches are usually just compared with those of the same area. In response, we present in this paper a survey of approaches to qualitative multi-attribute preference reasoning, covering different research areas. We introduce selected approaches that propose different techniques and algorithms, which take as input qualitative multi-attribute preference statements following a particular structure specified by the approach. We analyse each approach in a systematic way and discuss their commonalities and limitations.
Previous studies have suggested an association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and asthma symptoms such as wheezing during childhood. However, few have evaluated this association in adolescence, especially in populations with high prevalence of wheezing as in Brazil. Using the 1993 Pelotas birth cohort, a longitudinal study set in southern Brazil of 5249 urban live births, we aimed to evaluate the association between maternal and the partner’s smoking during pregnancy and wheezing at 11 and 15 years of age. We evaluated smoking during pregnancy using number of cigarettes/day, and our main outcomes were as follows: wheezing in the last year and number of wheezing crises, at both 11 and 15 years of age, as well as persistent wheezing (having crises at 11 and 15 years of age) and medical asthma diagnosis at age 15. In addition, other socio-demographic variables were included as possible confounders and mediators of this association. We used Poisson regression models to evaluate crude and adjusted associations. Of the 5249 live births in 1993, 87.5% and 85.7% were followed-up to 11 and 15 years of age, respectively. Maternal smoking during pregnancy showed a dose-response association with number of wheezing crises at age 15 (P=0.023), presence of persistent wheezing (P=0.034) and asthma diagnosis (P=0.023). Partner’s smoking was not associated with any wheezing variables. Maternal smoking during pregnancy appears to exert an effect on respiratory morbidity of adolescents, evaluated by wheezing symptoms.
Order and porosity of block copolymer membranes have been controlled by solution thermodynamics, self-assembly, and macrophase separation. We have demonstrated how the film manufacture with long-range order can be up-scaled with the use of conventional membrane production technology.
Nd:11Fe:Ti alloys prepared by arc melting followed by splat quenching and annealing have been investigated by electron microscopy. The as-cast microstructure evidenced an α-Fe(Ti) → NdFe11Ti → Nd2(Fe,Ti)17 solidification sequence compatible with a cascade of peritectic reactions. The Nd2(Fe,Ti)17 phase was not detected in the microstructure of the splat-quenched materials, but after annealing the ternary compound grains consisted of a mixture of ThMn12-type and Th2Zn17-type structures exhibiting a consistent (020)1:12//(003)2:17 and 1:12//2:17, orientation relation, with the invariant plane sitting at (022)1:12//(333)2:17. A series of 3D microdiffraction experiments carried out on grains presenting a random distribution of planar defects has been used to map the reciprocal space of the intergrown phases.