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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.
Members of the genus Hepatozoon (Miller, 1908) are blood parasites found in a wide range of host species, including wild rodents; however, information about the life cycle, distribution and Hepatozoon species diversity infecting these mammals are lacking. We studied the parasite stages and DNA sequences of Hepatozoon sp. of 11 naturally infected Akodon montensis. Thin blood smears, tissue samples and whole blood were obtained for morphology, morphometry and molecular analyses. Seven of the 11 rodents had gamonts on the blood smears. Biological and morphological features of the parasite such as tissue tropism, gamonts and meronts size and morphology, as well as the DNA sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis, indicated that the Hepatozoon sp. detected in this study is distinct from those species previously reported in small rodents. Herein, we propose a new species, named Hepatozoon milleri sp. nov. This is the first description of a new Hepatozoon species from wild small rodents in Brazil, based on morphological and molecular characteristics.
To investigate the association between neighbourhood food availability and the consumption of ready-to-consume products (RCP), either processed or ultra-processed, and unprocessed/minimally processed foods (UF-MPF) by children.
Cross-sectional. 24 h Dietary recalls were collected from children from January 2010 to June 2011. Neighbourhood food availability data were collected from 672 food stores located within 500 m of participants’ homes, using an adapted and validated instrument. Neighbourhood-level socio-economic status (SES) was obtained by calculating the mean years of household head’s education level in each census tract covered by 500 m buffers. Foods that were consumed by children and/or available in the food stores were classified based on their degree of industrial processing. Multilevel random-effect models examined the association between neighbourhood food availability and children’s diets.
Children (n 513) under 10 years old (292 aged <6 years, 221 aged ≥6 years).
The availability of RCP in food stores was associated with increased RCP consumption (P<0·001) and decreased UF-MPF consumption (P<0·001). The consumption of UF-MPF was positively associated with neighbourhood-level SES (P<0·01), but not with the availability of UF-MPF in the neighbourhood.
Results suggest that food policies and interventions that aim to reduce RCP consumption in Santos and similar settings should focus on reducing the availability in food stores. The results also suggest that interventions should not only increase the availability of UF-MPF in lower-SES neighbourhoods, but should strive to make UF-MPF accessible within these environments.
Four new Cerambycidae (Coleoptera) species and two new genera are described from Ecuador: Blabia albosetanew species (Lamiinae: Desmiphorini); Alloblabianew genus, type species, A. praecipuanew species (Lamiinae: Desmiphorini); Alicalnew genus, type species, A. tuberculatusnew species (Lamiinae: Calliini); and Piola schiffinew species (Lamiinae: Phacellini). The new species of Blabia Thomson, 1864 and Piola Marinoni, 1974, and Alical are included in modified published keys.
Rhodnius prolixus is a blood-feeding insect that transmits Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma rangeli to vertebrate hosts. Rhodnius prolixus is also a classical model in insect physiology, and the recent availability of R. prolixus genome has opened new avenues on triatomine research. Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) is classically described as a key enzyme involved in glycogen metabolism, also acting as a downstream component of the Wnt pathway during embryogenesis. GSK-3 has been shown to be highly conserved among several organisms, mainly in the catalytic domain region. Meanwhile, the role of GSK-3 during R. prolixus embryogenesis or glycogen metabolism has not been investigated. Here we show that chemical inhibition of GSK-3 by alsterpaullone, an ATP-competitive inhibitor of GSK3, does not affect adult survival rate, though it alters oviposition and egg hatching. Specific GSK-3 gene silencing by dsRNA injection in adult females showed a similar phenotype. Furthermore, bright field and 4’−6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining analysis revealed that ovaries and eggs from dsGSK-3 injected females exhibited specific morphological defects. We also demonstrate that glycogen content was inversely related to activity and transcription levels of GSK-3 during embryogenesis. Lastly, after GSK-3 knockdown, we observed changes in the expression of the Wingless (Wnt) downstream target β-catenin as well as in members of other pathways such as the receptor Notch. Taken together, our results show that GSK-3 regulation is essential for R. prolixus oogenesis and embryogenesis.