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In this paper, the feedback linearization approach is used to introduce a motion controller for unicycle-type wheeled mobile robots (UWMRs). The output function is defined as a linear combination of the error state. The novel scheme is firstly tested in numerical simulation and compared with its corresponding experimental result. Three controllers are taken from the literature and compared to the proposed approach by means of experiments. The gains of the experimentally tested controllers are selected to obtain identical energy consumption. The Optitrack commercial vision system and Pioneer P3-DX UWMR are used in real-time experimental tests. In addition, two sets of experimental results for different motion tasks are provided. The results show that the proposed controller presents the best tracking accuracy.
To analyze the impact of the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium (INICC) Multidimensional Approach (IMA) and the INICC Surveillance Online System (ISOS) on central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) rates in 14 intensive care units (ICUs) in Argentina from January 2014 to April 2017.
This prospective, pre–post surveillance study of 3,940 ICU patients was conducted in 11 hospitals in 5 cities in Argentina. During our baseline evaluation, we performed outcome and process surveillance of CLABSI applying Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Health Safety Network (CDC/NHSN) definitions. During the intervention, we implemented the IMA through ISOS: (1) a bundle of infection prevention practice interventions, (2) education, (3) outcome surveillance, (4) process surveillance, (5) feedback on CLABSI rates and consequences, and (6) performance feedback of process surveillance. Bivariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed using a logistic regression model to estimate the effect of the intervention on the CLABSI rate.
During the baseline period, 5,118 CL days and 49 CLABSIs were recorded, for a rate of 9.6 CLABSIs per 1,000 central-line (CL) days. During the intervention, 15,659 CL days and 68 CLABSIs were recorded, for a rate of 4.1 CLABSIs per 1,000 CL days. The CLABSI rate was reduced by 57% (incidence density rate: 0.43; 95% confidence interval, 0.34–0.6; P<.001).
Implementing IMA through ISOS was associated with a significant reduction in the CLABSI rate in ICUs in Argentina.
To determine the effects of lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) on children’s Hb, linear growth and development, compared with supplementation with micronutrient powder (MNP).
The study was a two-arm parallel-group randomized controlled trial, where participants received either LNS or MNP for daily consumption during 6 months. Supplements were delivered by staff at government-run health centres. Hb, anthropometric, motor development, language development and problem-solving indicators were measured by trained research assistants when children were 12 months of age.
The study was conducted in five rural districts in the Province of Ambo in the Department of Huánuco, Peru.
We enrolled 6-month-old children (n 422) at nineteen health centres.
Children who received LNS had a higher mean Hb concentration and lower odds of anaemia than those who received MNP. No significant differences in height-for-age, weight-for-height or weight-for-age Z-score, or stunting and underweight prevalence, were observed. Provision of LNS was associated with a higher pre-verbal language (gestures) score, but such effect lost significance after adjustment for covariates. Children in the LNS group had higher problem-solving task scores and increased odds of achieving this cognitive task than children in the MNP group. No significant differences were observed on receptive language or gross motor development.
LNS between 6 and 12 months of age increased Hb concentration, reduced anaemia and improved cognitive development in children, but showed no effects on anthropometric indicators, motor or language development.
Both maternal Fe deficiency (ID) and being overweight or obese (Ow/Ob, BMI≥25 kg/m2) may negatively affect offspring brain development. However, the two risk factors correlate and their independent effects on infant neurodevelopment are unclear. PREOBE is a prospective observational study that included 331 pregnant Spanish women, of whom 166 had pre-gestational Ow/Ob. Fe status was analysed at 34 weeks and at delivery, and babies were assessed using Bayley III scales of neurodevelopment at 18 months. In confounder-adjusted analyses, maternal ID at 34 weeks was associated with lower composite motor scores at 18 months (mean 113·3 (sd 9·9) v. 117·1 (sd 9·2), P=0·039). Further, the offspring of mothers with ID at delivery had lower cognitive scores (114·0 (sd 9·7) v. 121·5 (sd 10·9), P=0·039) and lower receptive, expressive and composite (99·5 (sd 8·6) v. 107·6 (sd 8·3), P=0·004) language scores. The negative associations between maternal ID at delivery and Bayley scores remained even when adjusting for maternal Ow/Ob and gestational diabetes. Similarly, maternal Ow/Ob correlated with lower gross motor scores in the offspring (12·3 (sd 2·0) v. 13·0 (sd 2·1), P=0·037), a correlation that remained when adjusting for maternal ID. In conclusion, maternal ID and pre-gestational Ow/Ob are both negatively associated with Bayley scores at 18 months, but independently and on different subscales. These results should be taken into account when considering Fe supplementation for pregnant women.
The gut epithelial barrier is a strategic place to prevent, or at least to limit, parasite dissemination upon oral infection with Toxoplasma gondii. Innate immunity to this pathogen results from delicate interactions involving different components of the infecting agent and the host. We herein aimed to examine the molecular mechanism by which protozoan DNA boosts the production of α-defensin-5 (DEFA-5), the main antimicrobial peptide at the target site of infection. The present study shows that DEFA-5 is rapidly upregulated in intestinal epithelial cells following intracellular Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) activation by unmethylated CpG motifs in DNA from T. gondii (CpG-DNA). Concomitantly, CpG-DNA purified from the pathogen markedly increased TLR9 mRNA expression levels in the Caco-2 cell line. We further verified that DEFA-5 production was dependent on interferon-β released from these cells upon treatment with CpG-DNA prepared from tachyzoites. Our results suggest that, in protozoan DNA-stimulated intestinal epithelial cells, the TLR9/interferon-β/DEFA-5 pathway may initiate an innate anti-T. gondii response without the need of parasite invasion. These findings highlight the key role of the gut epithelium in Toxoplasma recognition and amplification of local host defence against this microbe, thereby contributing to gain insight into immunoprotective mechanisms and to improve therapeutic strategies.
A randomized complete block design experiment with six aluminium (Al) concentrations was carried out to evaluate the effect of Al on nutrient content, plant growth, dry matter production and Al-induced organic acid exudation in rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum). One rambutan cultivar was grown in nutrient solution at pH 4.0 with (1.0, 2.3, 4.1, 6.7 and 10.2 mM Al) and without Al. The results of this study confirms that this crop is highly tolerant to Al in the rhizosphere as evidenced by: (1) a root tolerance index (RTI) of 0.85 when plant roots are exposed to Al concentrations as high as 3.5 mM; (2) root tissue Al concentrations as high as 6800 mg g−1 and the plants survived; (3) number of leaves, plant height and stem diameter being little affected when plants were grown at an Al concentration in the soil solution as high as 3.5 mM; (4) although plants exhibited leaf abscission, they were able to tolerate Al concentrations in the nutrient solution as high as 10.2 mM during the experimental period. No evidence of organic acid exudation was found in this study. Accumulation of Al in leaves, stems and roots suggests the existence of an Al-sequestration mechanism in rambutan which may involve an Al-ligand complex which translocates from roots to shoots, where it may accumulate in leaf vacuoles.
A real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was developed for the identification and quantification of two oyster species: Ostrea edulis and Crassostrea gigas. Two sets of primers and TaqMan-MGB probes were designed, based on partial sequences of the 16S rRNA gene. An amplification positive control system was also located in the 18S rRNA gene sequences. Closely related species of oysters and other bivalves, known to co-occur with the target species in European waters, were used to test the assay for cross-reactivity. The assay designed was specific for the target species and no signal or no significant signal was detected for all non-target species tested. The high sensitivity of this method was demonstrated since it is possible to detect just one larva (150–200 μm size) of each species even when it is present with others. Furthermore, this assay provided an acceptable quantification of the number of spiked larvae (1, 10 and 100 larvae) in plankton samples employing a standard curve for larvae.
The objective of the study was to design and evaluate a pilot programme aimed at promoting the active ageing of older adults at the Mexican Institute of Social Security. The study was conducted in three stages: (a) design; (b) implementation; and (c) before–after evaluation through analysis of changes in functional status, occupational functioning and health-related quality of life. To overcome the limitations of the study design, we evaluated the effect of 80 per cent adherence to the programme on the outcome variables using the generalised linear regression models (GLM). Two hundred and thirty-nine older adults agreed to participate, of whom 65 per cent completed the programme. Most were women; the average age was 77 years. Adherence to the programme was higher than 75 per cent for the group who completed active ageing services and less than 60 per cent for the drop-out group. Overall, 46 per cent of older adults reached an adherence level of 80 per cent or higher. Adherence was significantly associated with improved quality of life total score (coefficient 2.7, p<0.0001) and occupational functioning total score (coefficient 2.2, p<0.0001). Participation of older adults in an active ageing programme may improve their health-related quality of life and occupational functioning. It is necessary to identify the potential barriers and to implement strategies to improve the recruitment and retention rates during the intervention.
Underutilized crops tend to harbor high levels of genetic diversity, be maintained on-farm in small-scale farming systems and be relatively neglected by formal research and development strategies, including breeding programs. While high genetic variability allows these crops to adapt to marginal environments, inappropriate management practices and reductions in population sizes in individual farmers’ plots may lead to productivity loss and poor harvests. This situation further limits their cultivation and use, notwithstanding the potential these crops may hold for diversification of agricultural systems, food security and market development. Peru hosts a wealth of native agrobiodiversity, which includes many underutilized crops. To improve their performance and promote their continued conservation and use, a participatory breeding program was developed on five underutilized crops of the Peruvian highlands; the breeding approach, based on a combination of evolutionary and participatory methods, is designed to achieve a balance between yield improvement and maintenance of genetic diversity. Preliminary results in quinoa and amaranth are encouraging, fostering further engagement of farmers by increasing availability of quality seed for downstream uses. However, methodological, financial and institutional issues need to be addressed for the effort to be expanded and upscaled. This paper provides an overall description of the initiative as well as a discussion on early results obtained in quinoa and amaranth, highlighting those aspects that make this approach particularly relevant for minor crops and identifying the opportunities and challenges for the initiative to move forward.
A series of Ni/C catalysts with different Ni content (15, 20, and 30 wt% Ni) were prepared by the wet incipient impregnation method. Their textural properties were studied by surface fractal dimension (Ds) and nonlocal density functional theory using nitrogen sorption data. Their structural properties were studied by x-ray diffraction, Rietveld refinement, radial distribution functions (RDFs), and electron density maps of Fourier. Surface areas of Ni/C catalysts decreases slightly from 614 to 533 m2/g as Ni content increases from 15 to 30 wt%; however, the Ni crystallite size (5.1–31.4 nm) increases as the nickel content increases. Many point defects were found by Rietveld refinement in nickel nanostructures of Ni/C catalysts with 20 and 30 wt% Ni. This was confirmed by RDFs and electronic density maps. On the other hand, the hydrogen production via the photodehydrogenation of ethanol is very sensitive to the nickel crystallite size and the number Ni atoms in nickel nanostructures. The maximum reaction rate (363.64 μmol/h) is achieved on Ni/C catalyst with 15 Wt% Ni content which has the smallest crystallite size (5.1 nm) and less point defects in its nickel nanostructures. Ab initio calculations were performed to propose a reaction mechanism in the photodehydrogenation of ethanol.
An AFM-based method is used to probe the electromechanical response of a polyimide-SWNT nanocomposite at the nanoscale level. Our previous investigations on bulk polyimide-SWNT nanocomposites using a fiber optic sensor-based method have shown that the nanocomposites are electroactive and exhibit a quadratic relationship between output displacement and input voltage. In the current study, the composites are probed at the nanoscale using the AFM in contact mode. One goal of the current study is to assess the AFM-based technique in measuring our nanocomposites and verifying their actuation. A second goal is to improve the methodology itself by characterizing a commercially available piezoelectric ceramic, PZT, and a commercially available piezoelectric polymer, PVDF. The experiments are conducted in contact mode under the application of a DC voltage. Values for the strain piezoelectric coefficients d33 are widely reported in the literature and consequently permit to calibrate the methodology applied in the present work.
These findings, coupled with bulk film characterization will be used to shed light on the polyimide-SWNT interaction and its effect on the electroactive mechanism displayed by the nanocomposites.
Zn0.90Co0.10O and Zn0.85[Co0.50Fe0.50]0.15O targets were used to grow thin films by rf magnetron sputtering. XRD patterns of the films showed a strong preferred orientation along c-axis. Zn0.90Co0.10O film showed a transmittance above 75% in the visible range, while the transmittance of the Zn0.85[Co0.50Fe0.50]0.15O film was about 45%; with three absorption peaks attributed to d-d transitions of tetrahedrally coordinated Co2+. The band gap values for Zn0.90Co0.10O and Zn0.85[Co0.50Fe0.50]0.15O films were 2.95 and 2.70 eV respectively, which are slightly less than ZnO bulk. The Zn0.90Co0.10O film showed a relatively large positive magnetoresistance (MR) at the high magnetic field in the temperature range from 7 to 50 K, which reached 11.9% a 7K for the magnetoresistance. The lowest MR was found at 100 K. From M-H curve measured at room temperature shown a probable antiferromagnetic behavior, although was possible to observe little coercive field of 30 Oe and 40 Oe for Zn0.90Co0.10O and Zn0.85[Co0.50Fe0.50]0.15O films, respectively.
Nutrigenomics is the study of how constituents of the diet interact with genes, and their products, to alter phenotype and, conversely, how genes and their products metabolise these constituents into nutrients, antinutrients, and bioactive compounds. Results from molecular and genetic epidemiological studies indicate that dietary unbalance can alter gene–nutrient interactions in ways that increase the risk of developing chronic disease. The interplay of human genetic variation and environmental factors will make identifying causative genes and nutrients a formidable, but not intractable, challenge. We provide specific recommendations for how to best meet this challenge and discuss the need for new methodologies and the use of comprehensive analyses of nutrient–genotype interactions involving large and diverse populations. The objective of the present paper is to stimulate discourse and collaboration among nutrigenomic researchers and stakeholders, a process that will lead to an increase in global health and wellness by reducing health disparities in developed and developing countries.
To determine the tick species that bite humans in the province of Soria (Spain) and ascertain the tick-borne pathogens that threaten people's health in that province, 185 tick specimens were collected from 179 patients who sought medical advice at health-care centres. The ticks were identified, and their DNA examined by PCR for pathogens. Most ticks were collected in autumn and spring (59 and 57 respectively). Nine species of ticks were identified, the most frequent being Dermacentor marginatus (55·7%), Ixodes ricinus (12·4%) and Rhipicephalus bursa (11·9%). Ninety-seven females, 66 males, 21 nymphs and one larva were identified. Twenty-six ticks carried DNA from Rickettsia spp. (11 Rickettsia slovaca, 6 Rickettsia spp. RpA4/DnS14, 1 Rickettsia massiliae/Bar29, and 8 unidentified); two ticks carried DNA from Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and seven ticks harboured DNA from Anaplasma phagocytophilum.
Wildlife (bushmeat or game) is the primary source of protein for most poor households in tropical forests, and its consumption is resulting in unsustainable hunting of large animals, even in isolated regions. As a result, loss of fauna is often a more immediate and significant threat to the conservation of biological diversity in tropical forests than is deforestation. Although the potential effects of the extirpation from tropical forests of large, seed predating and seed dispersing wild animals is poorly understood, it is likely that there will be irrevocable changes in the structure and function of these ecosystems. We carried out a survey of 510 households of Tsimane' Amerindians in the rainforest of Bolivia to investigate how the prices of game and meat from domesticated animals affect the consumption of game. The results indicated that the price of fish and meat from livestock is positively correlated with consumption of wildlife, suggesting that policy makers may be able to reduce the unsustainable hunting of wildlife for food by reducing the price of fish and the price of meat from domesticated animals relative to that of wildlife. Increasing the production of livestock without causing environmental degradation will require long-term public investment in agricultural research and extension, and substitution of fish for game meat in the absence of sustainable management regimes will result in over-exploitation of riverine and lacustrine fish stocks.
In this work, the synthesis of CeO2–10 mol% Y2O3 powders by a nitrate–glycine gel-combustion route was investigated. Special attention was given to the influence of the glycine/metal ratio and calcination temperature on powder morphology. In contrast to the usual reported behavior, the best powder properties (crystallite size, 4.5–7 nm; specific surface area; 25–40 m2/g) were obtained for slow combustion processes with glycine/metal ratios of 1.5–2, whereas energetic reactions resulted in large crystallite and particle sizes. Furthermore, it was found that the crystallite size increases considerably even at moderate calcination temperatures (350–550 °C), showing the high reactivity of these nanopowders.
This study is the first attempt to document the differences between somatisers (STs) and psychologisers (PGs) in Spanish primary care patients.
A sample of 1559 consecutive patients attending eight randomly selected health centres in Zaragoza, were examined in a two-phase screening using Spanish versions of GHQ–28, CAGE questionnaire, substance abuse, MMSE and SPPI. STs and PGs were diagnosed according to operationalised Bridges & Goldbergs criteria.
ST was found to be three times more prevalent than PG, but the ratio ST: PG was highest (10.5) in the DSM–IV category dysthymia. Generalised anxiety disorder was the most frequent diagnosis in STs and major depressive episode the most frequent in PGs. No significant differences between the two groups have been found in demographic characteristics. Total GHQ scores were significantly higher in PGs, but global SPPI scores were not. Most psychopathological scores were higher in PGs, but both somatic symptoms and suspiciousness were higher in STs. The psychopathological findings are consistent with hypotheses related to blame avoidance and defensiveness in STs.
ST is three times more prevalent than PG, but the ratio ST: PG depends heavily on diagnostic categories. While most psychopathological scores are higher in PGs, both patient groups are similarly disturbed. Previously assumed socio-demographic differences between STs and PGs have not been found in this study.
This is the first attempt to study the prevalence and clinical characteristics of somatisation (ST) in a representative primary care sample in Spain.
The sample consisted of 1559 consecutive patients attending eight randomly selected health centres in Zaragoza, Spain, examined by two-phase screening. First phase (lay interviewers): Spanish versions of GHQ–28, CAGE questionnaire, substance abuse, Mini-Mental State Examination. Second phase (research clinicians and psychiatrists): Standardised Polyvalent Psychiatric Interview, which permits the reliable coding of Bridges & Goldberg's ST criteria.
The prevalence of somatisers was 9.4% (34.5% of the cases) and most patients (68.7%) were diagnosed in the depression or anxiety DSM–IV categories. The severity was moderate in 40.1 % and 66.6% were chronic (six or more months). No significant demographic differences were found with non-cases. Backache was the most frequent somatic presentation (71.4%).
ST in primary care is a much broader phenomenon than categories such as somatoform disorders reflect. It may be less influenced by sociodemographic factors, but more chronic than previously reported.