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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a degenerative disease of the nervous system that primarily affects motor neurons. ALS type 8 (ALS8) is a familiar form with predominant involvement of lower motor neurons, tremor, and slow progression.
The aim of this study was to describe sensory involvement in a cohort of ALS8 patients and compare it with the characteristics of sporadic ALS (sALS) patients and controls.
We compared data from 40 ALS8 and 10 sALS patients assessed by neurological evaluation and electrophysiological study. Skin biopsies were performed in these patients and 12 controls for analysis of intraepidermal nerve fiber (IENF) density by protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5) immunohistochemistry.
The ALS8 group was younger than the sALS group at the onset of symptoms (p < 0.05) and had a longer disease evolution (p < 0.01). Sensory abnormalities were evident in 35% of the ALS8 and 30% of the sALS patients by neurological examination, and all ALS patients presented normal sensory nerve action potentials. Despite being similar in the ALS8 and sALS groups, IENF density in the ALS8 group was lower than that in the controls (p < 0.0005). In the ALS8 group, IENF density was significantly lower in patients with impairment of vibratory sensation than in those without this finding (p < 0.05) and in females than in males (p < 0.05).
Sensory impairment and decreased IENF density are present in ALS8 patients at a frequency and intensity similar to that in the sALS group.
Accumulating evidence suggests that maternal overnutrition can result in a higher development risk of obesity and renal disease in the offspring’s adulthood. The present study tested different lipid levels in the maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation and its repercussions on the offspring of Wistar rats. Offspring of 1, 7, 30 and 90-d-old were divided into the following groups: Control (CNT) – offspring of dams that consumed a standard chow diet (3.5% of lipids); Experimental 1 (EXP1) – offspring of dams exposed to a high-fat diet (HFD) (28% of lipids); and Experimental 2 (EXP2) – offspring of dams exposed to a HFD (40% of lipids). Regarding maternal data, there was a decrease in the amount of diet ingested by EXP2. Daily caloric intake was higher in EXP1, while protein and carbohydrate intakes were lower in EXP2. While lipid intake was higher in the experimental groups, EXP1 consumed more lipids than EXP2, despite the body weight gain being higher in EXP2. Adult offspring from EXP1 presented higher blood glucose. Regarding morphometric analysis, in both experimental groups, there was an increase in the glomerular tuft and renal corpuscle areas, but an increase in the capsular space area only in EXP1. There was a decrease in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in EXP1, in contrast to an increase in GFR of EXP2, along with an increase in urinary protein excretion. In conclusion, the maternal HFDs caused significant kidney damage in offspring, but had different repercussions on the type and magnitude of recorded change.
The crosstalk between maternal stress exposure and fetal development may be mediated by epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation (DNAm). To address this matter, we collect 32 cord blood samples from low-income Brazilian pregnant adolescents participants of a pilot randomized clinical intervention study (ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT02807818). We hypothesized that the association between the intervention and infant neurodevelopmental outcomes at 12 months of age would be mediated by DNAm. First, we searched genome methylation differences between cases and controls using different approaches, as well as differences in age acceleration (AA), represented by the difference of methylation age and birth age. According to an adjusted p-value ≤ 0.05 we identified 3090 differentially methylated positions- CpG sites (DMPs), 21 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and one comethylated module weakly preserved between groups. The intervention group presented a smaller AA compared to the control group (p = 0.025). A logistic regression controlled by sex and with gestational age indicated a coefficient of −0.35 towards intervention group (p = 0.016) considering AA. A higher cognitive domain score from Bayley III scale was observed in the intervention group at 12 months of age. Then, we performed a potential causal mediation analysis selecting only DMPs highly associated with the cognitive domain (adj. R2 > 0.4), DMRs and CpGs of hub genes from the weakly preserved comethylated module and epigenetic clock as raw values. DMPs in STXBP6, and PF4 DMR, mediated the association between the maternal intervention and the cognitive domain at 12 months of age. In conclusion, DNAm in different sites and regions mediated the association between intervention and cognitive outcome.
Scientists are working to identify prevention/treatment methods and clinical outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Nutritional status and diet have a major impact on the COVID-19 disease process, mainly because of the bidirectional interaction between gut microbiota and lung, that is, the gut–lung axis. Individuals with inadequate nutritional status have a pre-existing imbalance in the gut microbiota and immunity as seen in obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases. Communication between the gut microbiota and lungs or other organs and systems may trigger worse clinical outcomes in viral respiratory infections. Thus, this review addresses new insights into the use of probiotics and prebiotics as a preventive nutritional strategy in managing respiratory infections such as COVID-19 and highlighting their anti-inflammatory effects against the main signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19. Literature search was performed through PubMed, Cochrane Library, Scopus and Web of Science databases; relevant clinical articles were included. Significant randomised clinical trials suggest that specific probiotics and/or prebiotics reduce diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, and viral infection complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome. These beneficial effects are linked with modulation of the microbiota, products of microbial metabolism with antiviral activity, and immune-regulatory properties of specific probiotics and prebiotics through Treg cell production and function. There is a need to conduct clinical and pre-clinical trials to assess the combined effect of consuming these components and undergoing current therapies for COVID-19.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) and restrained eating behaviour (REB) are characterised by reduced food intake to achieve body weight loss. This scope review aimed to describe the existing evidence on the association between AN, restrictive eating behaviour and food consumption. Studies with children and adolescents of both sexes of all races and ethnicities were included. Experimental and observational studies, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, case reports or series, conference abstracts, dissertations and theses were also included. The search was conducted in ten electronic databases and grey literature without language restriction on 14 November 2020. Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies included girls and identified lower intake of energy content, fat and certain micronutrients. There was also a higher intake of caffeine, fibre, vegetables, legumes and fruits and a lower intake of low-quality snack, fast food, sweets and foods with high carbohydrate and fat contents. The need to improve the quality of the diet among study participants was also identified. Thus, it is recommended that the evaluation of food consumption be careful to develop effective prevention strategies for the development of AN/REB and minimise nutritional deficiencies in these individuals.
Cardiovascular diseases are among the main causes of death in Brazil and worldwide. The literature indicates the hypertriglyceridemic waist phenotype (HTWP) as an accessible alternative for the identification of cardiovascular and metabolic risk. The present study aimed to identify the prevalence and factors associated with HTWP in individuals diagnosed with arterial hypertension (AH) and/or diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2). A cross-sectional study was conducted with individuals diagnosed with AH and/or DM2. The study data were collected through semi-structured interviews containing socio-demographic information, lifestyle, health care, in addition to anthropometric assessment, blood pressure measurement and biochemical blood tests. The prevalence of HTWP was estimated and bivariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the factors associated with HTWP. Of the 788 individuals analysed, 21⋅5 % had the HTWP. In the adjusted model, the following variables remained associated with a greater chance of presenting HTWP: sex, age, body mass index (BMI) and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). Being female increased the chance of HTWP by 7⋅7 times (OR 7⋅7; 95 % CI 3⋅9, 15⋅2). The one-year increase in age increased the chance of HTWP by 4 % (OR 1⋅04; 95 % CI 1⋅02, 1⋅06). The addition of 1 mg/dl of VLDL-c increased the chance of HTWP by 15 % (odds ratio (OR) 1⋅15; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1⋅12, 1⋅18), as well as the increase of 1 kg/m2 in the BMI increased the chance of this condition by 20 % (OR 1⋅20; 95 % CI 1⋅15, 1⋅27). The prevalence of HTWP was associated with females, older age, higher BMI, higher VLDL-c and risk waist/height ratio.
Literacy affects many aspects of language and cognition, including the shift from a more holistic mode of processing to a more analytical part-based mode of processing. Here we examined whether this shift impacts the ability of preschool and primary school children to learn the rules underlying a finite-state grammar using an artificial grammar learning (AGL) paradigm implemented with either linguistic (letters) or non-linguistic (colors) materials to further examine if children’s AGL performance was modulated by type of stimuli. Both tasks involved a training phase in which half of the preschool children and half of the primary school children were exposed to a set of either letter or color strings without any information about the rules underlying the construction of those strings. Later, in the test phase, they were asked to decide whether a new set of letter or color strings conformed to those rules to test grammar learning. Results showed that only primary school children showed evidence of learning, and, importantly, only with colors. These findings seem to support the view that learning to read promotes reliance on smaller linguistic units that might hinder the ability of first-graders to learn the rules underlying finite-state grammars implemented with linguistic materials.
CHD may, at times, occur in the framework of other rare pathologies. These, having similar clinical manifestations, present a diagnostic dilemma for the clinician.
The authors present the case of an infant with non-syndromic complete atrioventricular septal defect, whose post-operative period was surprisingly complicated by progressive pulmonary hypertension. Despite intensive care, the infant ultimately died. The diagnosis of unilateral primary pulmonary lymphangiectasia was only possible post mortem.
The benefits of consuming soy and its protein have been reported in many studies. However, its phytoestrogen content raises concerns about consumption during lactation and gestation We therefore examined the effects of soybean or soy protein isolate on the parameters-related cardiovascular pathophysiology in lactating mothers and their offsprings at weaning and adulthood. Lactating rats were divided: casein control (C); soy protein isolate (SPI); and soybean (S). At weaning, half of the litter received commercial ration up to 150 days. The levels of 17-β-estradiol and superoxide dismutase were low in the S mothers. For the SPI mothers, we observed a reduction of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). At weaning, atherogenic indices [1 = total cholesterol (TC)/HDL; 2 = LDL/HDL; 3 = TC-HDL/HDL)] decreased in the S and SPI offsprings compared to the casein control group; TBARS and antioxidant enzymes increased in the S offspring, while reduced/oxidized glutathione ratio increased in the SPI offspring, indicating lower oxidative stress. In adulthood, the SPI offspring showed an increase in liver cholesterol and atherogenic index 1 and 3 (vs. C and S) and 2 (vs. S). In addition, we found a decrease in catecholamines in the adrenal medulla and an increase in caffeine-stimulated secretion, but tyrosine hydroxylase expression remained constant. Maternal consumption of SPI during lactation worsened atherogenic indices of the offsprings in adulthood, which was associated with increased liver cholesterol and decreased catecholamines in the adrenal medulla. Soy consumption had no consistent long-term effects on the evaluated parameters compared to casein consumption. The data suggest that the consumption of SPI during lactation should be done with caution.
There is mixed evidence on increasing rates of psychiatric disorders and symptoms during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. We evaluated pandemic-related psychopathology and psychiatry diagnoses and their determinants in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Health (ELSA-Brasil) São Paulo Research Center.
Between pre-pandemic ELSA-Brasil assessments in 2008–2010 (wave-1), 2012–2014 (wave-2), 2016–2018 (wave-3) and three pandemic assessments in 2020 (COVID-19 waves in May–July, July–September, and October–December), rates of common psychiatric symptoms, and depressive, anxiety, and common mental disorders (CMDs) were compared using the Clinical Interview Scheduled-Revised (CIS-R) and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21). Multivariable generalized linear models, adjusted by age, gender, educational level, and ethnicity identified variables associated with an elevated risk for mental disorders.
In 2117 participants (mean age 62.3 years, 58.2% females), rates of CMDs and depressive disorders did not significantly change over time, oscillating from 23.5% to 21.1%, and 3.3% to 2.8%, respectively; whereas rate of anxiety disorders significantly decreased (2008–2010: 13.8%; 2016–2018: 9.8%; 2020: 8%). There was a decrease along three wave-COVID assessments for depression [β = −0.37, 99.5% confidence interval (CI) −0.50 to −0.23], anxiety (β = −0.37, 99.5% CI −0.48 to −0.26), and stress (β = −0.48, 99.5% CI −0.64 to −0.33) symptoms (all ps < 0.001). Younger age, female sex, lower educational level, non-white ethnicity, and previous psychiatric disorders were associated with increased odds for psychiatric disorders, whereas self-evaluated good health and good quality of relationships with decreased risk.
No consistent evidence of pandemic-related worsening psychopathology in our cohort was found. Indeed, psychiatric symptoms slightly decreased along 2020. Risk factors representing socioeconomic disadvantages were associated with increased odds of psychiatric disorders.
The global COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic has become a complex problem that overlaps with a growing public health problem, obesity. Obesity alters different components of the innate and adaptive immune responses, creating a chronic and low-grade state of inflammation. Nutritional status is closely related to a better or worse prognosis of viral infections. Excess weight has been recognised as a risk factor for COVID-19 complications. In addition to the direct risk, obesity triggers other diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, increasing the risk of severe COVID-19. The present review explains the diets that induce obesity and the importance of different foods in this process. We also review tissue disruption in obesity, leading to impaired immune responses and the possible mechanisms by which obesity and its co-morbidities increase COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Nutritional strategies that support the immune system in patients with obesity and with COVID-19 are also discussed in light of the available data, considering the severity of the infection. The discussions held may contribute to combating this global emergency and planning specific public health policy.
COVID-19, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was recognised by the WHO as a pandemic in 2020. Host preparation to combat the virus is an important strategy to avoid COVID-19 severity. Thus, the relationship between eating habits, nutritional status and their effects on the immune response and further implications in viral respiratory infections is an important topic discussed in this review. Malnutrition causes the most diverse alterations in the immune system, suppressing of the immune response and increasing the susceptibility to infections such as SARS-CoV-2. On the other hand, obesity induces low-grade chronic inflammation caused by excess adiposity, which increases angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. It decreases the immune response favouring SARS-CoV-2 virulence and promoting respiratory distress syndrome. The present review highlights the importance of food choices considering their inflammatory effects, consequently increasing the viral susceptibility observed in malnutrition and obesity. Healthy eating habits, micronutrients, bioactive compounds and probiotics are strategies for COVID-19 prevention. Therefore, a diversified and balanced diet can contribute to the improvement of the immune response to viral infections such as COVID-19.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent mental health condition that is often associated with psychiatric comorbidities and changes in quality of life. Prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is considered the gold standard psychological treatment for PTSD, but treatment resistance and relapse rates are high. Trial-based cognitive therapy (TBCT) is an effective treatment for depression and social anxiety disorder, and its structure seems particularly promising for PTSD. Therefore, we evaluated the efficacy of TBCT compared to PE in patients with PTSD.
Ninety-five patients (77.6% females) who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, criteria for PTSD were randomly assigned to receive either TBCT (n = 44) or PE (n = 51). Patients were evaluated before and after treatment, and at follow-up 3 months after treatment. The primary outcome was improvement in PTSD symptoms as assessed by the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS). Secondary outcomes were depression, anxiety, and dysfunctional attitudes assessed by the Beck Depression/Anxiety Inventories and Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale, as well as the dropout rate.
A significant reduction in DTS scores was observed in both arms, but no significant difference between treatments. Regarding the secondary outcomes, we found significant differences in depressive symptoms in favor of TBCT, and the dropout rate was lower in the TBCT group than the PE group.
Our preliminary results suggest that TBCT may be an effective alternative for treating PTSD. Further research is needed to better understand its role and the mechanisms of change in the treatment of this disorder.
There is an increased risk to develop mental disorder during adolescence and early adulthood. Given this vulnerability, and in order to facilitate the transition from child and adolescent to adult mental health services, specific services for this age group have been developed in the last years, focusing on accessibility and early referral of young mental patients. Our Psychiatry Department (Coimbra Hospital and University Centre, Portugal) created a specific unit for young adults in order to provide better care, in accordance with the specificities of this subpopulation. The team consists of psychiatrists, psychiatry residents, nurses and a clinical psychologist. Referred patients are under 20 years old, presenting clinically relevant psychopathology or behavior disturbances.
We aimed to characterize help-seeking outpatients regarding socio-demographic variables and its relation to depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Socio-demographic characterization was undertaken with young adult psychiatric outpatients observed during eleven months (1st January to 30th November 2015). Multivariate analyses were performed to identify a relationship among socio-demographic and psychopathology variables (assessed with the Portuguese version of Brief Symptom Inventory–53 itens).
One hundred and sixty-two outpatients were observed: 97 females (59,9%) and 65 males (40,1%), ages between 17 and 31 years old (average: 19,9; median: 20). We found a positive correlation between depressive and anxiety symptoms and the education level. A negative correlation was found between depressive and anxiety symptoms and male gender and presence of mental illness in the family.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.