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This article analyses the impact at a local level of the changes that have been introduced within the framework of the Plan Nacional del Buen Vivir (National Plan for Good Living, PNBV) in Ecuador since 2007. It assesses the extent to which there has been real change in local administration and governance and, if so, the impact in areas such as economic development, innovation and quality of life. Fieldwork was carried out across three towns and cantons – Zaruma, Piñas and Portovelo – in the province of El Oro. Historically, these have been characterised by their dependence on the primary export model that the government of Rafael Correa has sought to move beyond. The progress and limitations of this process are assessed within the context of the National Plan for Good Living.
Some clinical studies have reported reduced peripheral glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) level in elderly patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). We verified whether a reduction in plasma GDNF level was associated with MDD.
Plasma GDNF level was measured in 23 healthy control subjects and 23 MDD patients before and after 6 weeks of treatment.
Plasma GDNF level in MDD patients at baseline did not differ from that in healthy controls. Plasma GDNF in MDD patients did not differ significantly from baseline to the end of treatment. GDNF level was significantly lower in recurrent-episode MDD patients than in first-episode patients before and after treatment.
Our findings revealed significantly lower plasma GDNF level in recurrent-episode MDD patients, although plasma GDNF levels in MDD patients and healthy controls did not differ significantly. The discrepancy between our study and previous studies might arise from differences in the recurrence of depression or the ages of the MDD patients.
Objectives: This publication aims to report the cases of four children with pseudoaneurysm of the mitral-aortic intervalvular fibrosa and carry out a review of the literature. Background: Pseudoaneurysm of the mitral-aortic intervalvular fibrosa is a very rare anomaly in children. It can be either congenital or acquired, namely, after bacterial endocarditis or cardiac trauma. This pathology does not usually cause specific symptoms but its outcome may be potentially fatal. Methods: We report the cases of four patients presenting with pseudoaneurysm of the mitral-aortic intervalvular fibrosa, referred for treatment in a paediatric cardiology clinic. Patient clinical notes were retrospectively reviewed for aetiology, clinical presentation, diagnostic work-up, surgical treatment, and follow-up. Literature on the subject was extensively reviewed. Results: In three patients, pseudoaneurysm of the mitral-aortic intervalvular fibrosa was acquired, being secondary to bacterial endocarditis in two cases and establishing after mitral surgery in another case. The remaining patient had a “congenital” aetiology – no other cause could be traced. The diagnosis was achieved by transthoracic echocardiography for all patients, and confirmed in all by trans-oesophageal echocardiography, to better define morphological details and to access flow into the aneurysmal formation. All patients were submitted to corrective cardiac surgery. Of the patients, three survived and were cured by surgery, staying asymptomatic, and one died after repeated interventions, for persistent endocarditis. Conclusions: Pseudoaneurysm of the mitral-aortic intervalvular fibrosa is a rare but potentially fatal anomaly. In our experience, surgical cure was achieved for the majority of the cases, except for a case for which infection could not be locally eradicated, leading to multiple reinterventions.
Numerous marine species are able to assess predation risk through chemical signals, and this capacity is usually found among animals that experience intense predation and possess chemoreception ability, such as brittle stars. We investigated the occurrence of chemical alarm signals and responses in four species of brittle stars: Amphipholis squamata, Ophionereis reticulata, Ophiactis savignyi and Ophiothrix angulata. Additionally, the effect of microhabitat on alarm-signal recognition was tested for O. savignyi. Brittle-star homogenate was released above individuals in an aquarium, and the duration of their immediate escape response was noted and compared to the control. The broadest recognition was observed for A. squamata, which showed an escape reaction to the damage-released stimuli of all brittle stars tested. Similarly broad recognition was observed for individuals of O. savignyi that were collected from the same algal species occupied by A. squamata, a microhabitat where these individuals co-occurred with each other and with juveniles of O. angulata. The similar size and habit of these species probably expose them to the same predators, and therefore, the alarm signal of one species represents a real risk of predation to the others. In contrast, individuals of O. angulata and O. savignyi collected from sponges did not respond to stimuli from either conspecific or heterospecific individuals. The reduction in predation pressure granted by their chemically protected hosts seems to be responsible for this lack of response. The fourth species, O. reticulata, only responded conspecifically. This brittle star is found buried among rubble, and is not observed associated with other organisms; it is known for its cannibalistic and predatory habit.
CuInS2 has emerged during recent years as a good candidate to substitute CuInSe2 as polycrystalline absorber in thin film solar cells, mainly due to its direct band gap energy of 1.5 eV. In this study, absorber layers of both Cu-rich and Cu-poor types have been grown on soda-lime glass substrates by proper selection of the deposition parameters. The morphology and the optical properties of the resulting CuInS2 films were studied in dependence of the deposition order of the elemental constituents: alternate evaporation of the precursors, simultaneous deposition of the three constituents and sequential modulation of the evaporation fluxes.
We report thermal diffusivity measurements for samples of silicon, gallium arsenide and cupper by means of the photoacoustic technique in a heat transmission configuration in order to obtain a comparison between the results obtained with the use of the conventional RG-model and our SP-model (based in a square periodical heat source) in the fitting process to the experimental data. Our results show that our SP-model is accurate to obtain a good fitting with the experimental data and it improves notably the results obtained with the RG-model.
Larvae of Plagiometriona aff. flavescens carry a structure on their back made of faeces and exuviae, called faecal shield, which may protect larvae against natural enemies. Previous investigations suggested that the nature of such protection was chemical. To test if chemicals found in the faecal shield of Plagiometriona aff. flavescens provided defence for larvae, experiments in the field and in the laboratory (using the ant Camponotus crassus, and chicks Gallus gallus as model predators) were undertaken. Both field and laboratory experiments showed that live larvae with faecal shields, as well as baits treated with faecal shield extracts, were rejected by predators, confirming the chemical nature of this kind of defence.
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