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In this paper, we introduce a family of processes with values on the nonnegative integers that describes the dynamics of populations where individuals are allowed to have different types of interactions. The types of interactions that we consider include pairwise interactions, such as competition, annihilation, and cooperation; and interactions among several individuals that can be viewed as catastrophes. We call such families of processes branching processes with interactions. Our aim is to study their long-term behaviour under a specific regime of the pairwise interaction parameters that we introduce as the subcritical cooperative regime. Under such a regime, we prove that a process in this class comes down from infinity and has a moment dual which turns out to be a jump-diffusion that can be thought as the evolution of the frequency of a trait or phenotype, and whose parameters have a classical interpretation in terms of population genetics. The moment dual is an important tool for characterizing the stationary distribution of branching processes with interactions whenever such a distribution exists; it is also an interesting object in its own right.
The Monitoring Studies (MS) program, the approach developed by RedETS to generate postlaunch real-world evidence (RWE), is intended to complement and enhance the conventional health technology assessment process to support health policy decision making in Spain, besides informing other interested stakeholders, including clinicians and patients. The MS program is focused on specific uncertainties about the real effect, safety, costs, and routine use of new and insufficiently assessed relevant medical devices carefully selected to ensure the value of the additional research needed, by means of structured, controlled, participative, and transparent procedures. However, despite a clear political commitment and economic support from national and regional health authorities, several difficulties were identified along the development and implementation of the first wave of MS, delaying its execution and final reporting. Resolution of these difficulties at the regional and national levels and a greater collaborative impulse in the European Union, given the availability of an appropriate methodological framework already provided by EUnetHTA, might provide a faster and more efficient comparative RWE of improved quality and reliability at the national and international levels.
Pulses such as peas, beans or lentils are one of the most complete foods at the nutritional level; however, they are one of the most often neglected foods in the diets of university students. Entrance to university translates into a major lifestyle change for many young people, and the habits acquired or cemented at this time will remain into adulthood. The objective of this study is to analyse the association between personal/sociodemographic factors, dietary intake of other food groups and the consumption of pulses in first-year university students. This cross-sectional study is part of the UniHcos project, a multicentre study of multipurpose prospective cohorts in eleven Spanish universities. Data from 9862 university students were collected through an online self-questionnaire completed by all students who met the selection criteria and agreed to participate in the project during the 2011–2018 academic years. Of students, 75·8 % presented an inadequate (≤2 times/week) consumption of pulses. Living outside the family home in either a student residence (OR 0·76; 95 % CI 0·69, 0·84) or rental (OR 0·81; 95 % CI 0·70, 0·95) decreased the compliance with recommendations on the consumption of pulses. Low consumption of pulses is seemingly not restricted to a specific profile or dietary pattern among university students, and no specific focus group for intervention can be identified. Policies promoting the consumption of pulses among the university population as a whole are necessary to increase compliance rates with the dietary recommendations.
We evaluated the effects of fermentation time and acid casein content on the microbial rennet obtained by solid-state fermentation using wheat bran as the carbon source. The experiments used two fermentation times (72 and 96 h), while acid casein content was 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 g. Rennet strength from eight enzymatic extracts was measured using pasteurized whole milk. Rennet strength of samples from 72 h of fermentation showed an increase when acid casein content increased. The rennet strength increased at 96 h of fermentation with increasing amount of casein (up to 2.5 g), and then decreased with the largest addition (3.0 g) of casein. Coagulation time for the sample with highest rennet strength was 420 s.
Maternal obesity (MO) during pregnancy and lactation leads to maternal and offspring metabolic dysfunction. Recent research has suggested that probiotics might be a novel approach to counteract these unwanted MO effects. The aim of this research was to analyze the impact of Leuconostoc SD23, a probiotic isolated from aguamiel (traditional Mexican drink), on MO metabolism in rats at the end of lactation (21 days). From weaning through lactation, control female Wistar rats (C) ate chow (5% fat) or high-energy obesogenic diet (MO; 25% fat). Half the C and MO mothers received a daily dose (1 × 1010 CFU/ml) of probiotic orally, control with probiotic (CP) and MO with probiotic (MOP), 1 month before mating and through pregnancy and lactation. Histological analyses of the liver, white adipose tissue and small intestine, body composition, glucose, insulin, triglycerides, and leptin were determined in mothers at the end of lactation. Maternal weight during pregnancy was greater in MO than C mothers, but similar at the end of lactation. Probiotic intervention had no effect on maternal weight. However, at the end of lactation, percentage of body fat was higher in MO than C, CP, and MOP. Serum glucose, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, and triglycerides were higher in MO versus C, CP, and MOP. MO small intestine villus height was higher versus MOP, C, and CP. Leuconostoc SD23 did not present adverse effects in C. Conclusions: maternal administration of Leuconostoc SD23 has beneficial effects on maternal metabolism, which holds possibilities for preventing adverse offspring metabolic programming.
Systematic reviews in mental health have become useful tools for health professionals in view of the massive amount and heterogeneous nature of biomedical information available today. In order to determine the risk of bias in the studies evaluated and to avoid bias in generalizing conclusions from the reviews it is therefore important to use a very strict methodology in systematic reviews. One bias which may affect the generalization of results is publication bias, which is determined by the nature and direction of the study results. To control or minimize this type of bias, the authors of systematic reviews undertake comprehensive searches of medical databases and expand on the findings, often undertaking searches of grey literature (material which is not formally published). This paper attempts to show the consequences (and risk) of generalizing the implications of grey literature in the control of publication bias, as was proposed in a recent systematic work. By repeating the analyses for the same outcome from three different systematic reviews that included both published and grey literature our results showed that confusion between grey literature and publication bias may affect the results of a concrete meta-analysis.
To assess antipsychotic medication in the treatment of schizophrenia, based on trial drop-out rates.
The studies included were randomised controlled trials that compared any of the four clinically best-established atypical antipsychotics (quetiapine, olanzapine, risperidone or clozapine) against either of two typical antipsychotics regarded as the gold standard (haloperidol or chlorpromazine).
Meta-analysis indicated less risk of all-cause patient withdrawal from atypical medication trials where dosage was flexible, in both the short, relative risk (RR) 0.70 (95% CI 0.64–0.76), P < 0.00001, and long term, RR 0.72 (0.65–0.80), P < 0.00001. Similar results were observed for withdrawal due to adverse events, RR: 0.54 (0.41–0.72), P < 0.0001. Nevertheless, the favourable effects of atypical medication disappeared in trials relying on fixed dosage.
We detected a significant positive effect in terms of the outcome of treatment discontinuation for atypical versus typical medication, though only where the use of flexible rather than fixed doses (closer to an experimental control situation) was possible.
The presence of at least five dimensions in mania has recently been established. This study extends previous findings by comparing the dimensions of pure vs. mixed mania.
Materials and method
One hundred and three inpatients with bipolar I disorder, manic or mixed (DSM IV), were assessed with SCID-I, YMRS and HDRS-21. The five-factor solution found after applying factorial analysis with Varimax rotation was compared between manic and mixed patients.
There were differences between pure mania and mixed states on factor 1 (depression) and factor 3 (hedonism). There was a tendency to present higher values on factor 5 (activation) in the pure manic group. No differences were found in factor 2 (dysphoria) and factor 4 (psychosis).
Hedonism and activation dimensions are present to a lesser degree in mixed states. Although the principal difference between mixed and pure bipolar disorder is the existence of depressive symptoms, the depressive dimension is strongly present in patients with pure mania.
There is need to search for core depressive symptoms in all patients suffering from mania and to evaluate their outcome in clinical trials.
Parental separation is a very common childhood adversity. The association between other adverse childhood experiences and an increased risk of psychosis has been reported. However, the evidence on the risk of psychosis for children of separated parents is limited. In this systematic review, cohort, case–control, and cross-sectional studies, comparing the risk of psychotic disorders for people with and without separated parents, were searched, critically appraised, and summarized.
Studies were searched in PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and the Web of Science, from database inception to September 2019. A meta-analysis, using random-effects models, was undertaken to obtain pooled estimates of the risk of psychosis among participants with separated parents.
Twelve studies, with 305,652 participants from 22 countries, were included in the review. A significantly increased risk of psychosis for those with separated parents was observed, with a pooled odds ratio: 1.53 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.29–1.76), p < 0.001. The association remained significant when cohort, case–control, and cross-sectional studies were analyzed separately. The five cohort studies included in this review showed and increased risk of psychosis with odds ratio: 1.47 (95% CI: 1.26–1.69), p < 0.001.
Parental separation is a common childhood adversity associated with an increased risk of psychosis. Although the risk for an individual child of separated parents is still low, given the high proportion of couple that separate, the increased rates of psychosis may be substantial in the population. Further studies on the risk of psychosis in those with separated parents, and the explanatory factors for this association, are required.
Evidence-informed planning and interpretation of research results both require standardised description of local care delivery context. Such context analysis descriptions should be comparable across regions and countries to allow benchmarking and organizational learning, and for research findings to be interpreted in context. The European Service Mapping Schedule (ESMS) is a classification of adult mental health services that was later adapted for the assessment of health and social systems research (Description and Evaluation of Services and DirectoriEs - DESDE). The aim of the study was to review the diffusion and use of the ESMS/DESDE system in health and social care and its impact in health policy and decision-making.
We conducted a systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines (1997–2018).
Out of 155 papers mentioning ESMS/DESDE, 71 have used it for service research and planning. The classification has been translated into eight languages and has been used by seven international research networks. Since 2000, it has originated 11 instruments for health system research with extensive analysis of their metric properties. The ESMS/DESDE coding system has been used in 585 catchment areas in 34 countries for description of services delivery at local, regional and national levels.
The ESMS/DESDE system provides a common terminology, a classification of care services, and a set of tools allowing a variety of aims to be addressed in healthcare and health systems research. It facilitates comparisons across and within countries for evidence-informed planning.
Hypertension is a public health problem and its prevalence in children is on the rise, often continuing into adulthood and increasing the risk related cardiovascular complications. Sleep plays an essential role in children's growth and several studies suggest that insufficient sleep duration is associated with hypertension in adults. However, few studies have evaluated this association in children. Thus, the aim of the study is to ascertain whether the sleep duration is a risk factor for elevated blood pressure (BP) in children.
We studied 776 children (5–18 years old), (46.7% male, 78.8% 5–13 years, 73.6% overweight/obesity). Weight and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. BP was measured with an electronic manometer to find a 25.3% of children with an elevated systolic BP (SBP, > P90th) and 14% with an elevated diastolic BP (DBP, > P90th) (Task Force 2017). Sleep duration was assessed by asking the parents “¿How many hours does your child sleep in a typical weekday?”. Weekday sleep hours were considered since they are more representative of children's routines than weekend hours. Hours were converted into a dichotomous variable based on the fulfillment or not of the “Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth recommendations”: 9–11 hours for 5- to 13-year-olds; 8–10 hours for 14- to 17-year-olds.
A spearman correlation analysis was performed between sleep duration, SBP and DBP. Then, a general linear model analysis adjusted for BMI Z-score was done to evaluate differences in SBP and DBP between children following the sleep recommendations. Analyses were stratified by sex and age range (5–13 and 14–17).
In girls 5–13 years, we found a significant negative correlation between sleep duration and body mass index (BMI) (r = -0.226, p = 0.000) and between sleep and systolic BP (r = -0.188, p = 0.001). Girls 5–13 years not following sleep recommendations showed significantly higher SBP values than those who followed the recommendations (112 ± 11 mmHg vs. 106 ± 12 mmHg, p = 0.007), independently of BMI. No significant differences were observed in girls 14–17 years nor in males.
In the present study, we show that girls 5–13 years with shorter sleep duration show increased SBP values independently of BMI, in contrast to previous studies which showed similar associations that disappeared when adjusting for BMI. Our results support the need for wider strategies in population education so that sleep recommendations are followed by children in the general population.
Loyalty cards programs have been used by retailers to increase customer retention. Loyality cards provide means to identify a particular customer and to collect customer-specific data, thus enabling individualized marketing; however, operating a loyalty program is complicated for retailers since they require to manage balances, collections, and transfers of customers. This is exactly the same problem the retailers were facing before credit cards were readily available. A new problem is that customers now have too many cards, customers may forget, or even deliberately decide to carry only a selection of their cards. This paper proposes a loyalty program based on a blockchain that does not require a physical card for identifying customers as it associates customers to their phone numbers, since nowadays people always carry their phone. In this perspective, companies can reduce overhead costs associated to managing the loyalty program. This paper reviews the technology required and describes the implementation of a loyalty program based on blockchains. Finally, it also enumerates the reasons for choosing the blockchain technology for this application.
Describe and validate the CHROME (CHemical Restraints avOidance MEthodology) criteria.
Observational prospective longitudinal study.
Single nursing home in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
288 residents; mean age: 81.6 (SD 10.6). 77.4% had dementia.
Multicomponent training and consultancy program to eliminate physical and chemical restraints and promote overall quality care. Clinicians were trained in stringent diagnostic criteria of neuropsychiatric syndromes and adequate psychotropic prescription.
Psychotropic prescription (primary study target), neuropsychiatric syndromes, physical restraints, falls, and emergency room visits were semi-annually collected from December 2015 to December 2017. Results are presented for all residents and for those who had dementia and participated in the five study waves (completer analysis, n=107).
For the study completers, atypical neuroleptic prescription dropped from 42.7% to 18.7%, long half-life benzodiazepines dropped from 25.2% to 6.5%, and hypnotic medications from 47.7% to 12.1% (p<0.0005). Any kind of fall evolved from 67.3 to 32.7 (number of falls by 100 residents per year). Physicians’ diagnostic confidence increased, while the frequency of diagnoses of neuropsychiatric syndromes decreased (p<0.0005).
Implementing the CHROME criteria reduced the prescription of the most dangerous medications in institutionalized people with dementia. Two independent audits found no physical or chemical restraint and confirmed prescription quality of psychotropic drugs. Adequate diagnosis and independent audits appear to be the keys to help and motivate professionals to optimize and reduce the use of psychotropic medication. The CHROME criteria unify, in a single compendium, neuropsychiatric diagnostic criteria, prescription guidelines, independent audit methodology, and minimum legal standards. These criteria can be easily adapted to other countries.
We consider de Finetti’s problem for spectrally one-sided Lévy risk models with control strategies that are absolutely continuous with respect to the Lebesgue measure. Furthermore, we consider the version with a constraint on the time of ruin. To characterize the solution to the aforementioned models, we first solve the optimal dividend problem with a terminal value at ruin and show the optimality of threshold strategies. Next, we introduce the dual Lagrangian problem and show that the complementary slackness conditions are satisfied, characterizing the optimal Lagrange multiplier. Finally, we illustrate our findings with a series of numerical examples.
Chagas Disease is a zoonosis caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Several high-resolution markers have subdivided T. cruzi taxon into at least seven lineages or Discrete Typing Units (DTUs) (TcI-TcVI and TcBat). Trypanosoma cruzi I is the most diverse and geographically widespread DTU. Recently a TcI genotype related to domestic cycles was proposed and named as TcIDOM. Herein, we combined traditional markers and housekeeping genes and applied a Multispecies Coalescent method to explore intra-TcI relationships, lineage boundaries and genetic diversity in a random set of isolates and DNA sequences retrieved from Genbank from different countries in the Americas. We found further evidence supporting TcIDOM as an independent and emerging genotype of TcI at least in Colombia and Venezuela. We also found evidence of high phylogenetic incongruence between parasite's gene trees (including introgression) and embedded species trees, and a lack of genetic structure among geography and hosts, illustrating the complex dynamics and epidemiology of TcI across the Americas. These findings provide novel insights into T. cruzi systematics and epidemiology and support the need to assess parasite diversity and lineage boundaries through hypothesis testing using different approaches to those traditionally employed, including the Bayesian Multispecies coalescent method.
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.
Due to their excellent properties, aerogel has attracted the attention of the scientific community to use it in the biomedical area as a drug delivery system. This work reports on the synthesis and characterization of ZrO2 aerogels and cryogels obtained by the sol-gel method. The influence of different cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and the type of drying on structural, morphological and texture properties of ZrO2 aerogels and cryogels was investigated. SEM images reveal that a porous interconnected three-dimensional network was formed into aerogels due to supercritical drying. Zirconia aerogel sample has a specific surface area (SBET) larger than zirconia cryogels. Therefore, our results indicate that zirconia aerogel is an adequate material for applications in drug delivery systems.