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We used two sunflower genotypes displaying pericarp-imposed dormancy at high incubation temperatures (i.e. 30°C) to investigate the role of the pericarp as a limitation to oxygen availability to the embryo (hypoxia), and its impact on embryo abscisic acid (ABA) content and sensitivity to ABA. Results showed that both genotypes displayed very different oxygen threshold values for inhibition of embryo germination when incubation was performed at 30°C. Expression of dormancy in one genotype was therefore related to exacerbated embryo sensitivity to hypoxia, whereas in the other genotype, the pericarp appeared to act as a more severe restraint to oxygen entry. Increased sensitivity to hypoxia was, in part, related to increased sensitivity to ABA, but not to alterations in ABA metabolism. The activity of pericarp-microbial communities (bacteria and fungi) at high temperatures was also assessed as a potential determinant of hypoxia to the embryo. Oxygen consumption in pericarps incubated at 30°C was attenuated with antibiotics, which concomitantly promoted achene germination. In agreement with the observed more severe oxygen deprivation to the embryo exerted by the pericarp, the bacterial load in the pericarp was significantly higher in the commercial hybrid than in the inbred line; however, the application of antibiotics strongly reduced the bacterial colony counts for each genotype. Different bacterial and fungal communities, assessed through their profiles of carbon-source utilization, were determined between genotypes and after treatment with antibiotics. This work highlights the relationship between enhancement of sensitivity to hypoxia with incubation temperature and seed dormancy expression, and suggests that microbial activity might be part of the mechanism through which hypoxia is imposed.
Considering their distinctive properties, titanium alloys are used in foremost industries, including the aeronautic, automotive and biomedical industries. The reduced machinability of titanium alloys is due to their low thermal conductivity and high plasticity behavior. In the biomedical sector, one of the most studied alloys is Ti-6Al-4V. In the case of the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy, scarce investigations are identified, related to machinability studies. The machining of Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy requires the development of new tools with higher properties, which provide better performance. The objective of this study is to present the experimental results related to a novel ceramic cutting tool, in terms of cutting tool life and productivity, in the machining of Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy. A turning operation of a 25 mm diameter bar was performed; the cutting speed was varied in three levels. The results showed the high performance of this type of tools, from the point of view of machinability. The values of the obtained cutting forces are found in the ranges reported by the consulted literature using ceramic tools. The surface roughness values were considered appropriate, taking into account that the tool is recommended for roughing and semi-finishing operations. The most relevant results were obtained in terms of productivity, considering that the performance is 2.53 times higher than the presented in similar works.
Bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia (SZ) are characterized by neurocognitive and functional deficits with marked heterogeneity. It has been suggested that BD with a history of psychotic symptoms (BD-P) could constitute a phenotypically homogeneous subtype characterized by greater neurocognitive and functional impairments, or by a distinct trajectory of such deficits. The aim of this study was to compare the neurocognitive and functional course of euthymic BD-P, euthymic BD patients without a history of psychosis (BD-NP), stabilized patients with schizophrenia and healthy subjects, during a five-year follow-up.
Neurocognitive and psychosocial function was examined in 100 euthymic patients with BD (50 BD-P, 50 BD-NP), 50 stabilized patients with schizophrenia (SZ), and 51 healthy controls (HC) at baseline (T1), and after a 5-year follow-up (T2).
The course of both neurocognitive performance and functional outcome of patients with SZ and BD (BD-P and BD-NP) is stable. The profile of neurocognitive impairment of patients with SZ or BD (BD-P and BD-NP), is similar, with only quantitative differences circumscribed to certain domains, such as working memory. The subgroup of patients with BD-NP does not show functional deterioration.
We have not found evidence of progression in the neurocognitive or psychosocial impairment in any of the three groups of patients, although it cannot be dismissed the possibility of a subset of patients with a progressive course. Other longitudinal studies with larger samples and longer duration are necessary to confirm these findings.
In this paper, we connect ideas of the astrobiological and ecological schools to quantify habitability. We show how habitability indexes, devised using the astrobiologically inspired Quantitative Habitability Theory (QHT), can be embedded into ecological models of trophic levels. In particular, we address the problem of spatial-temporal scales. It turns out that the versatility of QHT allows to treat spatial and temporal scales typical of ecological studies. As a habitability index, we propose a new version of our Aquatic Primary Habitability, devised by some of us and formerly applied to saltwater ecosystems (both ocean and coastal) and now applied to freshwater. Although the aim of the paper is to outline the methodology rather than realism, initial steps for parameterization are considered for lakes of South-Central Chile.
The Astroinformatics Program is funded by the Chilean Economy Ministry’s (FIE Grant FIE-2016-V022, CORFO Grant 16IFI6626) with the mission to identify and initiate investments to foster Chilean Digital Economy, using Astronomy data-centric tools (known as astroinformatics). Over 2017 we worked with communities across sectors identifying opportunities to achieve the program mission, the Data Observatory vision emerged from that work and will guide design activities throughout 2018.
The neurocognitive trajectory in bipolar disorder (BD) is variable, with controversial findings, and most evidence come from cross-sectional studies. We aimed to examine the course of neurocognitive functioning in a sample of euthymic BD patients in comparison with a control group during a 5-year follow-up.
Ninety-nine euthymic bipolar patients and 40 healthy controls were assessed using a comprehensive neurocognitive battery (six neurocognitive domains) at baseline (T1) and then at 5-year follow-up (T2) in a longitudinal study.
No evidence of a progression in neurocognitive dysfunction was found either in cognitive composite index or in any of the neurocognitive domains for the whole cohort. However, there was a negative correlation between number of manic episodes and hospitalisations due to manic episodes and change in neurocognitive composite index (NCI) during the follow-up. Moreover, patients with higher number of manic and hypomanic episodes have a greater decrease in NCI, working memory and visual memory. History of psychotic symptoms was not related to the trajectory of neurocognitive impairment.
Our results suggest that, although the progression of cognitive decline is not a general rule in BD, BD patients who have a greater number of manic or hypomanic episodes may constitute a subgroup characterised by the progression of neurocognitive impairment. Prevention of manic and hypomanic episodes could have a positive impact on the trajectory of cognitive function.
The aim of the Ionosphere Prediction Service (IPS) project is to design and develop a prototype platform to translate the prediction and forecast of the ionosphere effects into a service customized for specific GNSS user communities. The project team is composed by Telespazio (coordinator), Nottingham Scientific Ltd, Telespazio Vega Deutschland, the University of Nottingham, the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” and the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). The IPS development is conceived of two concurrent activities: prototype service design and development & research activity that will run along the whole project. Service design and development is conceived into four phases: user requirements collection, architecture specification, implementation and validation of the prototype. A sub-activity analyses also the integration feasibility in the Galileo Service center, located in Madrid. The research activity is the scientific backbone of IPS that will provide the models and algorithms for the forecasting products.
In this work it was evaluated the bactericidal effect of silver and silver-gold nanoparticles coated with silicon dioxide on Xanthomonas fragariae. Nanoparticles were synthesized by combining laser ablation and chemical synthesis techniques. Irradiating the samples at the same wavelength where nanoparticles exhibit its maximum absorbance is possible to photo induce the bactericidal effect by detonating the surface plasmon resonance. The results showed that the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of silver nanoparticles was 16 μM (referred to [AgNO3]) and for silver-gold nanoparticles were 32 μM (referred to [AgNO3-HAuCl4]) at 60 minutes of irradiation.
Cocoa flavanol (CF) intake improves endothelial function in patients with cardiovascular risk factors and disease. We investigated the effects of CF on surrogate markers of cardiovascular health in low risk, healthy, middle-aged individuals without history, signs or symptoms of CVD. In a 1-month, open-label, one-armed pilot study, bi-daily ingestion of 450 mg of CF led to a time-dependent increase in endothelial function (measured as flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD)) that plateaued after 2 weeks. Subsequently, in a randomised, controlled, double-masked, parallel-group dietary intervention trial (Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01799005), 100 healthy, middle-aged (35–60 years) men and women consumed either the CF-containing drink (450 mg) or a nutrient-matched CF-free control bi-daily for 1 month. The primary end point was FMD. Secondary end points included plasma lipids and blood pressure, thus enabling the calculation of Framingham Risk Scores and pulse wave velocity. At 1 month, CF increased FMD over control by 1·2 % (95 % CI 1·0, 1·4 %). CF decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 4·4 mmHg (95 % CI 7·9, 0·9 mmHg) and 3·9 mmHg (95 % CI 6·7, 0·9 mmHg), pulse wave velocity by 0·4 m/s (95 % CI 0·8, 0·04 m/s), total cholesterol by 0·20 mmol/l (95 % CI 0·39, 0·01 mmol/l) and LDL-cholesterol by 0·17 mmol/l (95 % CI 0·32, 0·02 mmol/l), whereas HDL-cholesterol increased by 0·10 mmol/l (95 % CI 0·04, 0·17 mmol/l). By applying the Framingham Risk Score, CF predicted a significant lowering of 10-year risk for CHD, myocardial infarction, CVD, death from CHD and CVD. In healthy individuals, regular CF intake improved accredited cardiovascular surrogates of cardiovascular risk, demonstrating that dietary flavanols have the potential to maintain cardiovascular health even in low-risk subjects.
As in other cultivated species, dormancy can be seen as a problem in cereal production, either due to its short duration or to its long persistence. Indeed, cereal crops lacking enough dormancy at harvest can be exposed to pre-harvest sprouting damage, while a long-lasting dormancy can interfere with processes that rely on rapid germination, such as malting or the emergence of a uniform crop. Because the ancestors of cereal species evolved under very diverse environments worldwide, different mechanisms have arisen as a way of sensing an appropriate germination environment (a crucial factor for winter or summer annuals such as cereals). In addition, different species (and even different varieties within the same species) display diverse grain morphology, allowing some structures to impose dormancy in some cereals but not in others. As in seeds from many other species, the antagonism between the plant hormones abscisic acid and gibberellins is instrumental in cereal grains for the inception, expression, release and re-induction of dormancy. However, the way in which this antagonism operates is different for the various species and involves different molecular steps as regulatory sites. Environmental signals (i.e. temperature, light quality and quantity, oxygen levels) can modulate this hormonal control of dormancy differently, depending on the species. The practical implications of knowledge accumulated in this field are discussed.
Our goal was to improve spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) cognitive profile characterization by testing the hypothesis that strategy, planning and rule acquisition capacities are affected in SCA2. Forty one patients with SCA2 were evaluated with the Spatial Working Memory (SWM), the Stockings of Cambridge (SOC), and the Intra-Extra Dimensional Shift (IED) tests of the Executive module of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Testing Automated Battery (CANTAB). Paired Associates Learning (PAL) and Delayed Matching to Sample (DMS) from the CANTAB memory module were also assessed to corroborate previous findings. Motor deterioration was measured using the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA). We found significant SCA2 related deficits in strategy, planning, and rule acquisition. Our results also corroborated significant memory deficits in these patients with SCA2. Further analysis also showed that patients with large motor deterioration had poorer associative learning and spatial planning scores. Patients with SCA2 show strategy, planning, and rule acquisition deficits as revealed with the CANTAB battery. These deficits should be noted when planning an effective therapy for these patients. (JINS, 2015, 21, 1–7)
Twelve accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates from the shell-matrix site of Canímar Abajo (Matanzas, Cuba) are reported. Eleven were obtained directly from human bone collagen in burials and one was obtained from charcoal recovered from a burial context. The site stratigraphy presents two episodes of burial activity separated by a shell midden layer. The AMS dates fall into two compact clusters that correlate remarkably well with the stratigraphy. The older burial dates to between 1380–800 cal BC (2σ) and the younger one to between cal AD 360–950 (2σ). The AMS dates are compared to eight conventional 14C dates previously obtained on shell and charcoal. One of the conventional dates on charcoal (5480–5380 cal BC; 2σ) has been reported as the oldest 14C date in the Caribbean region; its context and reliability are clarified. The suite of AMS dates provides one of the most reliable chronometric dating of a cultural context during this timeframe in Cuba. The correlation of 14C and stratigraphy establishes a solid chronology for investigating the important economic and ritual features of Canímar Abajo.