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Brazil ranks second in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. In spite of this, coping measures differ throughout the national territory, as does the disease's impact on the population. This cross-sectional observational study, with 59 695 cases of COVID-19 registered in the state of Alagoas between March and August 2020, analysed clinical-epidemiological variables, incidence rate, mortality rate, case fatality rate (CFR) and the social indicators municipal human development index (MHDI) and social vulnerability index (SVI). Moran statistics and regression models were applied. Logistic regression analysis was applied to determine the predictors of death. The incidence rate was 1788.7/100 000 inhabitants; mortality rate was 48.0/100 000 and CFR was 2.7%. The highest incidence rates were observed in municipalities with better human development (overall MHDI (I = 0.1668; p = 0.002), education MHDI (I = 0.1649; p = 0.002) and income MHDI (I = 0.1880; p = 0.005)) and higher social vulnerability (overall SVI (I = 0.0599; p = 0.033)). CFR was associated with higher social vulnerability (SVI human capital (I = 0.0858; p = 0.004) and SVI urban infrastructure (I = 0.0985; p = 0.040)). Of the analysed cases, 55.4% were female; 2/3 were Black or Brown and the median age was 41 years. Among deaths, most were male (919; 57.4%) and elderly (1171; 73.1%). The predictors of death were male sex, advanced age and the presence of comorbidities. In Alagoas, Brazil, the disease has undergone a process of interiorisation and caused more deaths in poorer municipalities. The presence of comorbidities and advanced age were predictors of death.
The direct carbonate procedure for accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) dating of submilligram samples of biogenic carbonate without graphitization is becoming widely used in a variety of studies. We compare the results of 153 paired direct carbonate and standard graphite 14C determinations on single specimens of an assortment of biogenic carbonates. A reduced major axis regression shows a strong relationship between direct carbonate and graphite percent Modern Carbon (pMC) values (m = 0.996; 95% CI [0.991–1.001]). An analysis of differences and a 95% confidence interval on pMC values reveals that there is no significant difference between direct carbonate and graphite pMC values for 76% of analyzed specimens, although variation in direct carbonate pMC is underestimated. The difference between the two methods is typically within 2 pMC, with 61% of direct carbonate pMC measurements being higher than their paired graphite counterpart. Of the 36 specimens that did yield significant differences, all but three missed the 95% significance threshold by 1.2 pMC or less. These results show that direct carbonate 14C dating of biogenic carbonates is a cost-effective and efficient complement to standard graphite 14C dating.
Due to the efforts to control schistosomiasis transmission in tropical countries, a large proportion of individuals from endemic areas present low parasite loads, which hinders diagnosis of intestinal schistosomiasis by the Kato-Katz (KK) method. Therefore, the development of more sensitive diagnostic methods is essential for efficient control measures. The aim was to evaluate the accuracy of a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect Schistosoma mansoni DNA in fecal samples of individuals with low parasite loads. A cross-sectional population-based study was conducted in a rural community (n = 257) in Brazil. POC-CCA® was performed in urine and feces were used for RT-PCR. In addition, fecal exams were completed by 18 KK slides, saline gradient and Helmintex techniques. The combined results of the three parasitological tests detected schistosome eggs in 118 participants (45.9%) and composed the consolidated reference standard (CRS). By RT-PCR, 117 out of 215 tested samples were positive, showing 91.4% sensitivity, 80.2% specificity and good concordance with the CRS (kappa = 0.71). RT-PCR identified 86.9% of the individuals eliminating less than 12 eggs/g of feces, demonstrating much better performance than POC-CCA® (50.8%). Our results showed that RT-PCR is a valuable alternative for the diagnosis of intestinal schistosomiasis in individuals with very low parasite loads.
Scedosporium and Lomentospora species are ubiquitous saprophytic filamentous fungi that emerged as human pathogens with impressive multidrug-resistance profile. The ability to form biofilm over several biotic and abiotic surfaces is one of the characteristics that contributes to their resistance patterns against almost all currently available antifungals. Herein, we have demonstrated that Scedosporium apiospermum, Scedosporium minutisporum, Scedosporium aurantiacum and Lomentospora prolificans were able to form biofilm, in similar amounts, when conidial cells were incubated in a polystyrene substrate containing Sabouraud medium supplemented or not with different concentrations (2%, 5% and 10%) of glucose, fructose, sucrose and lactose. Likewise, the glucose supplementation of culture media primarily composed of amino acids (SCFM, synthetic cystic fibrosis medium) and salts (YNB, yeast nitrogen base) did not modulate the biofilm formation of Scedosporium/Lomentospora species. Collectively, the present data reinforce the ability of these opportunistic fungi to colonize and to build biofilm structures under different environmental conditions.
Trichomonas vaginalis is responsible for the most common non-viral, sexually transmitted infection, human trichomoniasis, and is associated with an increased susceptibility to HIV. An escalation in resistance (2.5–10%) to the clinical drug, metronidazole (MTZ), has been detected and this compound also has adverse side-effects. Therefore, new treatment options are urgently required. Herein, we investigate the possible anti-T. vaginalis activity of 1,10-phenanthroline-5,6-dione (phendione) and its metal complexes, [Ag(phendione)2]ClO4 and [Cu(phendione)3](ClO4)2·4H2O. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) against T. vaginalis ATCC 30236 and three fresh clinical isolates and mammalian cells were performed using serial dilution generating IC50 and CC50 values. Drugs combinations with MTZ were evaluated by chequerboard assay. A strong anti-T. vaginalis activity was found for all test compounds. IC50 values obtained for [Cu(phendione)3](ClO4)2·4H2O were similar or lower than those obtained for MTZ. In vitro assays with normal cells showed low cytotoxicity and [Cu(phendione)3](ClO4)2·4H2O presented a high selectivity index (SI) for fibroblasts (SI = 11.39) and erythrocytes (SI > 57.47). Chequerboard assay demonstrated that the combination of [Cu(phendione)3](ClO4)2·4H2O with MTZ leads to synergistic interaction, which suggests distinct mechanisms of action of the copper–phendione complex and avoiding the MTZ resistance pathways. Our results highlight the importance of phendione-based drugs as potential molecules of pharmaceutical interest.
Biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) have become firmly established in the management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but some patients do not improve despite therapy. This study evaluated the predictors of effectiveness of the bDMARDs on a cohort of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the Brazilian Public Health System.
RA individuals treated with bDMARDs, were included in the open prospective cohort study. The Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) was used to assess the effectiveness comparing results at baseline and after 6 months of follow-up. The association between socio-demographic and clinical characteristics with the disease activity measured by the CDAI was also investigated. The bDMARDs was considered effective when the patient achieved remission or low disease activity and considered not effective when there was still moderate or high disease activity. Pearson's chi-square was applied for the univariate analysis to evaluate the association of effectiveness measured by the CDAI with the socio-demographic (gender, education, marital status and race) and clinical variables (type of drug, EuroQol (EQ)-5D and Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ)). Logistic regression was applied in the multivariate analysis of the variables that presented a p< .20 value during the univariate analysis.
All 266 RA patients completed six months of follow-up. The most widely used bDMARDs was adalimumab (57.1 percent), with etanercept used by 22.2 percent, golimumab by 7.5 percent, abatacept by 4.5 percent, tocilizumab by 3.4 percent, infliximab by 2.6 percent, certolizumab by 1.5 percent, and rituximab by 1.1 percent. The bDMARDs reduced disease activity as measured by CDAI at six months of follow-up (p<.001). The percentage of patients achieving remission or low disease activity was 40.6 percent. bDMARDs were more effective in patients with better functionality (Odds Ratio, OR = 2.140 / 95 percent Confidence Interval, CI 1.219 - 3.756) at beginning of treatment and in patients who not had a previous bDMARDs (OR = 2.150 / 95 percent CI 1.144 - 4.042).
In this real-world study, functionality and use of previous bDMARDs are predictors in patients with RA treated with bDMARDs.
Anti-tumor necrosis factor drugs (anti-TNF) are the last line of treatment for psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in the guideline of Brazilian Public Health System (SUS). Data of effectiveness of these drugs are scarce in the Latin American population. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the anti-TNF on a cohort of patients with PA in the SUS.
PsA patients treated with anti-TNF, were included in an open prospective cohort study. The Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) and Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) were used to assess the effectiveness at six months of follow-up. The anti-TNF was considered effective when the patient achieves scores of four or less measured for BASDAI or scores of ten or less for CDAI. Frequency distributions were compiled for the sociodemographic variables and mean and standard deviation (SD) was used for clinical variables. The paired Student t-test was established to evaluate the differences between baseline and 6 months evaluated for BASDAI and CDAI.
Fifty-four patients with PsA completed six months of follow-up. The mean age of patients was 54.03 years (10.44) and the mean disease duration was 8.00 years (7.49). Furthermore, 50 percent of the patients were female, 61.1 percent white and 59.6 percent married. The most used anti-TNF was adalimumab (63.0 percent), followed by etanercept (20.4 percent) and infliximab (16.7 percent). The anti-TNF reduced disease activity measured by BASDAI and CDAI at six months of follow-up (p<.001). The percentage of patients achieving the effectiveness with anti-TNF was 61.1 percent measured by BASDAI and 53.7 percent by CDAI.
Anti-TNF drugs demonstrated to be effective in more than half of patients at six months. This result highlighted the importance of the treatment with the anti-TNF drugs in the Brazilian population. Long-term data are needed to confirm these results.
Childhood obesity is a highly complex issue with serious health and environmental implications. It has been postulated that young children (preschool-aged in particular) are able to internalise positive environmental beliefs. Applying a socioecological theoretical perspective, in this discussion paper we argue that although children may internalise such beliefs, they commonly behave in ways that contradict these beliefs as demonstrated by their consumer choices. The media directly influences these consumer choices and growing evidence suggests that media exposure (particularly commercial television viewing) may be a significant “player” in the prediction of childhood obesity. However, there is still debate as to whether childhood obesity is caused by digital media use per se or whether other factors mediate this relationship. Growing evidence suggests that researchers should examine whether different types of content have conflicting influences on a child's consumer choices and, by extension, obesity. The extent to which young children connect their consumer choices and the sustainability of the produces they consume with their overall health and wellbeing has not previously been researched. To these ends, we call for further research on this socioecological phenomenon among young children, particularly with respect to the influence of digital media use on a child's consumer behaviours.
Much has been reported on the excellent performance of the Eu2+ activated SrI2-scintillator in spectroscopic applications, like the high light yield (97 660 ph/MeV) and good energy resolution (2.7% FWHM at 662 keV). The exploitation of these properties for other application fields is limited by the hygroscopic nature of the SrI2. Single crystal scintillating screens exhibit high spatial resolution, this combined with the high density, high effective atomic number, and the high light yield of the SrI2 could be used for high resolution X-ray imaging.
Some of the questions we tried to answer in this work are the following: owing to the excellent performance of the SrI2-scintillator in spectroscopic applications, how would it perform in X-ray imaging applications. X-ray images are described based on their (spatial) resolution and contrast, how would they look like when recorded using the SrI2-scintillator detector.
First a packaging technique was developed that protected the hygroscopic screens during the measurements. Our results show a high resolution of the images obtained with thin SrI2-scintillator screens both in 2D radiography and 3D tomography measurements. With these results, we think that the SrI2-scinitillator is not only a candidate for spectroscopic applications, but also for high resolution X-ray imaging purposes.
Numerical cognition is based on two components - number processing and calculation. Its development is influenced by biological, cognitive, educational, and cultural factors. The objectives of the present study were to: i) assess number processing and calculation in Brazilian children aged 7-12 years from public schools using the Zareki-R (Battery of neuropsychological tests for number processing and calculation in children, Revised; von Aster & Dellatolas, 2006) in order to obtain normative data for Portuguese speakers; ii) identify how environment, age, and gender influences the development of these mathematical skills; iii) investigate the construct validity of the Zareki-R by the contrast with the Arithmetic subtest of WISC-III. The sample included 172 children, both genders, divided in two groups: urban (N = 119) and rural (N = 53) assessed by the Zareki-R. Rural children presented lower scores in one aspect of number processing; children aged 7-8 years demonstrated an inferior global score than older; boys presented a superior performance in both number processing and calculation. Construct validity of Zareki-R was demonstrated by high to moderate correlations with Arithmetic subtest of WISC-III. The Zareki-R therefore is a suitable instrument to assess the development of mathematical skills, which is influenced by factors such as environment, age, and gender.
The Pantanal is the world's largest tropical wetland and a biodiversity hotspot, yet its response to Quaternary environmental change is unclear. To address this problem, sediment cores from shallow lakes connected to the Upper Paraguay River (PR) were analyzed and radiocarbon dated to track changes in sedimentary environments. Stratal relations, detrital particle size, multiple biogeochemical indicators, and sponge spicules suggest fluctuating lake-level lowstand conditions between ~ 11,000 and 5300 cal yr BP, punctuated by sporadic and in some cases erosive flood flows. A hiatus has been recorded from ~ 5300 to 2600 cal yr BP, spurred by confinement of the PR within its channel during an episode of profound regional drought. Sustained PR flooding caused a transgression after ~ 2600 cal yr BP, with lake-level highstand conditions appearing during the Little Ice Age. Holocene PR flood pulse dynamics are best explained by variability in effective precipitation, likely driven by insolation and tropical sea-surface temperature gradients. Our results provide novel support for hypotheses on: (1) stratigraphic discontinuity of floodplain sedimentary archives; (2) late Holocene methane flux from Southern Hemisphere wetlands; and (3) pre-colonial indigenous ceramics traditions in western Brazil.
Eu2+– activated strontium iodide is a promising material for x-ray and gamma ray detector. A lot of difficulties are though encountered growing strontium iodide crystals due to the high oxygen-sensitivity, hygroscopic property and high impurity concentration. Single crystals of SrI2:Eu were grown from zone refined starting materials in silica ampoules. The crystals showed good optical qualities. The light yield of two samples cut from the same ingot was determined to be 53 000 photons/MeV and 119±22 photons/keV for a 0.4 cm3 sample and a 360 μm sample respectively, indicating some level of light trapping in the bulk sample.
To compare 3 measures of hand hygiene adherence—direct observation, product usage, and electronic counting devices—in an intensive care unit.
A 12-week observational study.
A 40-bed medical-surgical intensive care unit at a private tertiary care hospital.
Over a 12-week period, we assessed hand hygiene adherence by 3 different methods: direct observation of practice, collection of data from electronic counters for dispensers of alcohol-based hand rub, and measurement of the amount of product used (alcohol-based hand rub and chlorhexidine).
There were 2,249 opportunities for hand hygiene observed, and the overall rate of hand hygiene adherence was 62.3% (representing 1,402 cleansing episodes). A total of 76,389 dispensing episodes were recorded by the electronic devices. The mean number of dispensing episodes per patient-day was 53.8. There was 64.1 mL of alcohol-based hand rub used per patient-day (representing 65.5% of total product used) and 33.8 mL of Chlorhexidine used per patient-day (representing 34.5%). There was no significant correlation between observed hand hygiene adherence and total product used per patient-day (r = 0.18; P = .59).
Direct observation cannot be considered the gold standard for assessing hand hygiene, because there was no relationship between the observed adherence and the number of dispensing episodes or the volume of product used. Other means to monitor hand hygiene adherence, such as electronic devices and measurement of product usage, should be considered.
We present the results from the spectroscopic follow-up of WR140 (WC7 + O4-5) during its last periastron passage in january 2009. This object is known as the archetype of colliding wind binaries and has a relatively large period (≃8 years) and eccentricity (≃0.89). We provide updated values for the orbital parameters, new estimates for the WR and O star masses and new constraints on the mass-loss rates.
To evaluate the effectiveness of a positive deviance strategy for the improvement of hand hygiene compliance in 2 adult step-down units.
A 9-month, controlled trial comparing the effect of positive deviance on compliance with hand hygiene.
Two 20-bed step-down units at a tertiary care private hospital.
The first phase of our study was a 3-month baseline period (from April to June 2008) in which hand hygiene episodes were counted by use of electronic handwashing counters. From July to September 2008 (ie, the second phase), a positive deviance strategy was implemented in the east unit; the west unit was the control unit. During the period from October to December 2008 (ie, the third phase), positive deviance was applied in both units.
During the first phase, there was no statistically significant difference between the 2 step-down units in the number of episodes of hand hygiene per 1,000 patient-days or in the incidence density of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) per 1,000 patient-days. During the second phase, there were 62,000 hand hygiene episodes per 1,000 patient-days in the east unit and 33,570 hand hygiene episodes per 1,000 patient-days in the west unit (P < .01). The incidence density of HAIs per 1,000 patient-days was 6.5 in the east unit and 12.7 in the west unit (P = .04). During the third phase, there was no statistically significant difference in hand hygiene episodes per 1,000 patient-days (P = .16) or in incidence density of HAIs per 1,000 patient-days.
A positive deviance strategy yielded a significant improvement in hand hygiene, which was associated with a decrease in the overall incidence of HAIs.
To evaluate hand hygiene compliance in 2 adult step-down units (SDUs).
A 6-month (from March to September 2007), controlled trial comparing 2 SDUs, one with a feedback intervention program (ie, the intervention unit) and one without (ie, the control unit).
Two 20-bed SDUs at a tertiary care private hospital.
Hand hygiene episodes were measured by electronic recording devices and periodic observational surveys. In the intervention unit, feedback was provided by the SDU nurse manager, who explained twice a week to the healthcare workers the goals and targets for the process measures.
A total of 117,579 hand hygiene episodes were recorded in the intervention unit, and a total of 110,718 were recorded in the control unit (P = .63). There was no significant difference in the amount of chlorhexidine used in the intervention and control units (34.0 vs 26.7 L per 1,000 patient-days; P = .36) or the amount of alcohol gel used (72.5 vs 70.7 L per 1,000 patient-days; P = .93). However, in both units, healthcare workers used alcohol gel more frequently than chlorhexidine (143.2 vs 60.7 L per 1,000 patient-days; P < .001). Nosocomial infection rates in the intervention and control units, respectively, were as follows: for bloodstream infection, 3.5 and 0.79 infections per 1,000 catheter-days (P = .18); for urinary tract infection, 15.8 and 15.7 infections per 1,000 catheter-days (P = .99); and for tracheostomy-associated pneumonia, 10.7 and 5.1 infections per 1,000 device-days (P = . 13). There were no cases of infection with vancomycin-resistant enterococci and only a single case of infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (in the control unit).
The feedback intervention regarding hand hygiene had no significant effect on the rate of compliance. Other measures must be used to increase and sustain the rate of hand hygiene compliance.
Access to and quality of services have increasingly been the focus of family planning programme managers, implementers and researchers in the developing world. In Vietnam, a country characterized by recent significant achievements in family planning, not much is known about the linkages between service accessibility and quality and contraceptive behaviour. Data for this study come from the Vietnam 1997 Demographic and Health Survey, with individual contraceptive use information recorded in the calendar section. Measures of access to and quality of services come from the Community/Health Facility Questionnaire, with key informant interviews and facility visits. The study focuses on the effects of the outreach programme and commune health centres on contraceptive method discontinuation for three modern, temporary methods: the IUD, oral pills and condoms. Longer travel time to commune health centres is found to be associated with significantly increased risks of first- and all-method discontinuation for any reason, while residence in communities with higher quality health centres is associated with significantly lower risks of method discontinuation. Access to and quality of the outreach programme are, in contrast, not significant determinants of method discontinuation for any reason. Similar results are found for first- and all-method discontinuation for service-related reasons. The effects of programmatic factors are more pronounced among older women and during the first three months of method use. This study provides evidence for the importance of family planning services for contraceptive method continuation in Vietnam. The results also highlight the need for a thorough evaluation of the family planning outreach programme in terms of its facilitation of women’s continued use of contraception.
Borna disease virus (BDV) predominantly infects horses and sheep, causing a broad range of behavioural disorders. It is controversial whether BDV infects humans and causes psychiatric disorders.
We searched for BDV-derived nucleic acids in blood of race horses and jockeys riding the horses.
We assayed for the BDV genome in RNA extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 39 race horses and 48 jockeys. Two polymerase chain reaction protocols [one-tube reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and two-step RT-PCR] were used to assay BDV p24 and p40 transcripts.
The p24 and p40 viral nucleic acid sequences were not detected in the PBMC RNAs from any of the race horses or jockeys.
These data do not support an epidemiological association between BDV infection, race horses and humans.
To describe the results, technical feasibility, efficacy and challenges encountered in our preliminary experience using a self-expandable microstent, optimized for intracranial use, as an adjunct in the endovascular treatment of wide-necked aneurysms.
Only broad-necked aneurysms (dome-to-neck ratio £2, or an isolated neck size > 4.5 mm) were treated with Neuroform microstent from July 2003 to May 2004. The techniques used for stent deployment were either parallel or sequential. Angiographic results were recorded immediately for all patients and classified as Class 1 (complete occlusion), Class 2 (neck remnant) or Class 3 (sac remnant) by three interventional neuroradiologists not involved in the procedure. Follow-up angiography at six months was obtained for one case. Modified Rankin Score scale was assessed for all patients.
Seventeen intracranial aneurysms in a total of 18 patients were treated (mean age, 52.2 yr). Eight patients (44.4%) presented with acute subarachnoid hemorrhage. Eleven aneurysms (61.1%) were in the posterior circulation. Average dome size was 10.2 mm (range, 3.7-19.8 mm) and average neck size was 5.36 mm (range, 3.0-10.0 mm). Six out of seven aneurysms of the anterior circulation were approached with parallel technique. Eight aneurysms of the posterior circulation were approached with sequential technique. Average number of coils deployed was 9.64 (range, 4-23 coils). Eleven aneurysms (64.8%) resulted in Class 1 and/or Class 2. One technical failure was observed. Technical complications were recognized in four patients (23.5%), all of them with unruptured aneurysms in the anterior circulation. Two patients (11.7%) presented transient immediate clinical complications. One patient (5.8%) had minor permanent neurological complication. Neither major clinical complications nor death were encountered. Favorable clinical outcome (Modified Rankin Scale score 0-2) was observed in 88.2% of the patients (average follow-up time, 4.72 months).
Absence of major permanent complications and satisfactory immediate obliteration degree in our preliminary experience indicates that microstent-assisted coiling technique is useful for the minimally invasive treatment of broad-necked complex aneurysms that are not ideal for conventional endovascular treatment and are at a high risk for conventional surgical treatment.
From fundamental ionic polarizability concepts, LaScO3 was projected as a candidate dielectric material for microwave application. The microwave dielectric properties of LaScO3 were obtained as the dielectric permittivity of 24, Q×f of 18,000 GHz, with a temperature coefficient of resonant frequency (TCF) of −69 ppm/°C. Solid solutions and polyphase assemblages were investigated in the LaScO3-TiO2 system as a function of TiO2 content, and correlated with the microwave dielectric properties. Orthorhombic perovskite LaScO3 transformed to tetragonal symmetry with Ti substitution on the B-site of LaScO3 owing to the ionic radius difference between Sc3+ and Ti4+. With this phase transition, the formation of A-site vacancies (VLa‴) resulted in the precipitation of a La deficient secondary phase. The substitution of Ti also affected the dielectric properties. The dielectric constant increased and TCF became less negative with increased TiO2 addition. However, the Q×f value decreased, due to the formation of the secondary phase. For the case of the 0.6LaScO3-0.4TiO2 composition, a dielectric K of 40, Q×f of 6,000 GHz and nearly zero TCF were obtained.