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Although mental distress and quality of life (QoL) impairments because of the pandemic have increased worldwide, the way that each community has been affected has varied.
This study evaluated the impact of social distancing imposed by coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) on Brazilians’ mental health and QoL.
In this cross-sectional community-based online survey, data from 1156 community-dwelling adults were gathered between 11 May and 3 June 2020. We examined independent correlates of depression, anxiety and QoL, including sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, optimism/pessimism and spiritual/religious coping. Dependent variables were assessed using the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire for depressive symptoms, the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale for anxiety symptoms, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF for QoL. Correlates of depressive and anxiety disorder were estimated using logistic regression.
There were high levels of depressive symptoms (41.9%) and anxiety symptoms (29.0%) in participants. Negative spiritual/religious coping was positively correlated with depressive disorder (odds ratio (OR) = 2.14 95% CI 1.63–2.80; P < 0.001) and with anxiety disorder (OR = 2.46 95% CI 1.90–3.18; P < 0.001), and associated with worse social and environmental QoL (P < 0.001). Healthcare professionals were less likely to have depressive symptoms (OR = 0.71, 95% CI 0.55–0.93; P < 0.001). Participants with friend/family with COVID-19 scored lower on psychological and environmental QoL (P < 0.05). Participants with a longer duration of social isolation were less likely to experience anxiety disorder (OR = 0.99, 95% CI 0.98–0.99; P = 0.004).
We found high levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms and low levels of QoL in Brazil, which has become a pandemic epicentre. Several characteristics were associated with negative mental health symptoms in this study. This information may contribute to local health policies in dealing with the mental health consequences of COVID-19.
Tropical forest hotspots have a high diversity of species but have lost > 70% of their original vegetation cover and are characterized by a multitude of small and isolated fragments. Paradoxically, conservation actions in these areas are still mainly focused on protection of large tracts of forests, a strategy now infeasible because of the small area of forest remnants. Here we use the Vulnerable black-handed titi monkey Callicebus melanochir as a model to study the effects of habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation on arboreal mammals and to provide insights for science-driven conservation in fragmented landscapes in tropical forest hotspots. We surveyed 38 Atlantic Forest fragments in Bahia State, Brazil and assessed the effects of patch area, quality and visibility, and landscape connectivity on the occurrence of our model species. Patch area was the single best model explaining species occurrence. Nonetheless, patch quality and visibility, and landscape connectivity, positively affect occurrence. In addition to patch area, patch quality, patch visibility and landscape connectivity are useful for predicting the occurrence of arboreal mammals in the fragments of tropical forest hotspots. We encourage the assessment of habitat quality (based on remotely sensed vegetation indices) and habitat visibility (based on digital elevation models) to improve discoverability of arboreal mammal populations and selection of fragments for conservation purposes across fragmented landscapes of tropical forest hotspots. Large remnants of tropical forest hotspots are scarce and therefore we require baseline data to support conservation actions and management in small forest fragments.
Considering the negative impact of the consumption of ultra-processed foods on health, this study assessed the availability and nutritional profile of commercial ultra-processed foods for infants in Natal, Brazil.
A cross-sectional exploratory study.
Foods targeted at children under the age of 36 months sold in retail establishments located in high and low-income areas of the one capital city of Brazil.
1,645 food products consisting of 95 different types of food were available. The foods were assessed according to the NOVA classification: minimally processed, processed, and ultra-processed. The nutritional content per 100g was assessed according to processing classification.
Half of foods founded were breast milk substitutes and cereal foods (31.6% and 26.3%, respectively). The foods were predominantly ultra-processed (79%) and only 4.2% were minimally processed, with similar proportions of ultra-processed foods being found in both high and low-income areas. After excluding breast milk substitutes and follow-up formulas, all cereals, food supplements and some of the fruit or vegetable purees were ultra-processed, higher in energy density, fat, carbohydrate and protein, and low in fiber (P<0.05).
The findings reveal that ultra-processed foods for infants are widely available in Brazil, reaffirming the need to strengthen the regulation of foods for infants and young children by introducing complementary measures designed to promote the production and marketing of foods manufactured using lower levels of processing.
Lack of knowledge about iodine has been suggested as a risk factor for iodine deficiency in pregnant women, but no studies have addressed this issue in Portugal. So, the aim of this study was to investigate iodine knowledge among Portuguese pregnant women and its association with iodine status. IoMum, a prospective observational study, included 485 pregnant women recruited at Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de S. João, Porto, between the 10th and 13th gestational weeks. Partial scores for knowledge on iodine importance, on iodine food sources or on iodised salt were obtained through the application of a structured questionnaire. Then, a total iodine knowledge score was calculated and grouped into low, medium and high knowledge categories. Urinary iodine concentration (UIC) was measured in spot urine samples by inductively coupled plasma MS. Of the pregnant women, 54 % correctly recognised iodine as important to neurocognitive development, 32 % were unable to identify any iodine-rich food and 71 % presented lack of knowledge regarding iodised salt. Of the women, 61 % had a medium total score of iodine knowledge. Knowledge on iodine importance during pregnancy was positively associated with iodine supplementation and also with UIC. Nevertheless, median UIC in women who correctly recognised the importance of iodine was below the cut-off for adequacy in pregnancy (150 µg/l). In conclusion, knowledge on iodine importance is positively associated with iodine status. Despite this, recognising iodine importance during pregnancy may not be sufficient to ensure iodine adequacy. Literacy-promoting actions are urgently needed to improve iodine status in pregnancy.
The role of milk and dairy products in supplying iodine to pregnant women is unknown in Portugal. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between milk and dairy product consumption and the iodine status of pregnant women in the IoMum cohort of the Oporto region. Pregnant women were recruited between 10 and 13 weeks of gestation, when they provided a spot urine sample and information on lifestyle and intake of iodine-rich foods. Urinary iodine concentration (UIC) was determined by inductively coupled plasma MS. A total of 468 pregnant women (269 iodine supplement users and 199 non-supplement users) were considered eligible for analysis. Milk (but not yogurt or cheese) intake was positively associated with UIC, in the whole population (P = 0·02) and in the non-supplement users (P = 0·002), but not in the supplement users (P = 0·29). In non-supplement users, adjusted multinomial logistic regression analysis showed that milk consumption <3 times/month was associated with a five times increased risk of having UIC < 50 µg/l when compared with milk consumption ≥2 times/d (OR 5·4; 95 % CI 1·55, 18·78; P = 0·008). The highest UIC was observed in supplement users who reported consuming milk once per d (160 µg/l). Milk, but not yogurt or cheese, was positively associated with iodine status of pregnant women. Despite the observed positive association, daily milk consumption may not be sufficient to ensure adequate iodine intake in this population.
Either tobacco smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy sex-selectively increases susceptibility to drugs of abuse later in life. Considering that pregnant smoking women are frequently intermittent consumers of alcoholic beverages, here, we investigated whether a short-term ethanol exposure restricted to the brain growth spurt period when combined with chronic developmental exposure to tobacco smoke aggravates susceptibility to nicotine in adolescent and adult mice. Swiss male and female mice were exposed to tobacco smoke (SMK; research cigarettes 3R4F, whole-body exposure, 8 h/daily) or ambient air during the gestational period and until the tenth postnatal day (PN). Ethanol (ETOH, 2 g/Kg, 25%, i.p.) or saline was injected in the pups every other day from PN2 to PN10. There were no significant differences in cotinine (nicotine metabolite) and ethanol serum levels among SMK, ETOH and SMK + ETOH groups. During adolescence (PN30) and adulthood (PN90), nicotine (NIC, 0.5 mg/Kg) susceptibility was evaluated in the conditioned place preference and open field tests. NIC impact was more evident in females: SMK, ETOH and SMK + ETOH adolescent females were equally more susceptible to nicotine-induced place preference than control animals. At adulthood, SMK and SMK + ETOH adult females exhibited a nicotine-evoked hyperlocomotor profile in the open field, with a stronger effect in the SMK + ETOH group. Our results indicate that ethanol exposure during the brain growth spurt, when combined to developmental exposure to tobacco smoke, increases nicotine susceptibility with stronger effects in adult females. This result represents a worsened outcome from the early developmental dual exposure and may predispose nicotine use/abuse later in life.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Macrophytes provide a habitat for many species of marine invertebrates, the gastropods being one of the main components. This study provides new information about Sargassum-associated gastropod biodiversity, through characterization of the fauna from a highly impacted area of Brazil, investigating its variation at a small spatial scale and between two main seasons of the year, as well as its relationship with macroalgae parameters. Density of gastropods was higher during the warmest season and varied throughout sampling sites. A significant and positive, however weak, relationship between gastropod density and Sargassum dry weight was found in all localities. For all sites, a marked and unusual dominance of Bittiolum varium was observed. The high dominance of this species seems to be related to the impacts caused by shipping activities and highway construction in the 1970s and 1980s, which caused a decline in local species diversity that seems to have continued until now. Many species, both typical of these habitats and characteristic of other, nearby habitats, benefit from Sargassum sp. These macrophytes allow gastropods to establish and grow during their most vulnerable stages, as shown by the growth series and juvenile forms found for most species of gastropods. The present data highlight the importance of macrophyte habitats for gastropod biodiversity in coastal areas and call attention to the importance of raising knowledge on this fauna, especially in impacted areas, thus contributing to the conservation of these highly diverse and ecologically important macrophyte–gastropod systems.
With respect to De Dreu and Gross's article, we comment on the psychological functions for attack and defense, focusing on associations between individual differences in psychopathic personality traits and the behavioral patterns observed in attack-defense conflicts. We highlight the dimensional nature of psychopathy and formulate hypothetical associations between distinct traits, their different behavioral outcomes, and associated brain mechanisms.
A comprehensive assessment of the effect of disturbances on tropical and subtropical forests is needed to better understand their impacts on forest structure and diversity. Although taxonomic and functional diversity measures have been successfully adopted in this context, phylogenetic diversity metrics are still poorly explored. We compared the phylogenetic structure of the seed rain and regenerating seedling community in patches of an old-growth Atlantic Forest remnant dominated or not by a ruderal bamboo species, Guadua tagoara. We sampled those patches before and after illegal harvesting of the palm Euterpe edulis thus assessing if the harvesting led to changes in the phylogenetic structure of the seed rain and the regenerating community in both patches. Bamboo-dominated patches showed a significantly higher presence of species in the seed rain that were more distantly related to each other in the phylogeny than expected by chance compared with patches without bamboos, but this difference disappeared after palm-heart harvesting. Contrary to what we expected, we did not find significant changes in the phylogenetic structure of seedlings before or after palm-heart harvesting. The phylogenetic structure at the tips of the phylogeny was random overall. The maintenance of a higher presence of far relatives in the phylogeny of the seedling community suggests, assuming trait conservatism, that despite bamboo dominance and palm-heart harvesting, functional diversity is being preserved at least in the early regenerating stages and in the time frame of the study. However, higher presence of pioneer taxa after palm-heart harvest indicates that this disturbance may lead old-growth areas to earlier successional stages.
Trypanosoma cruzi is exposed to oxidative stresses during its life cycle, and amongst the strategies employed by this parasite to deal with these situations sits a peculiar trypanothione-dependent antioxidant system. Remarkably, T. cruzi’s antioxidant repertoire does not include catalase. In an attempt to shed light on what are the reasons by which this parasite lacks this enzyme, a T. cruzi cell line stably expressing catalase showed an increased resistance to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) when compared with wild-type cells. Interestingly, preconditioning carried out with low concentrations of H2O2 led untransfected parasites to be as much resistant to this oxidant as cells expressing catalase, but did not induce the same level of increased resistance in the latter ones. Also, presence of catalase decreased trypanothione reductase and increased superoxide dismutase levels in T. cruzi, resulting in higher levels of residual H2O2 after challenge with this oxidant. Although expression of catalase contributed to elevated proliferation rates of T. cruzi in Rhodnius prolixus, it failed to induce a significant increase of parasite virulence in mice. Altogether, these results indicate that the absence of a gene encoding catalase in T. cruzi has played an important role in allowing this parasite to develop a shrill capacity to sense and overcome oxidative stress.
In the frame of the COST ACTION ‘EMBOS’ (Development and implementation of a pan-European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System), coverage of intertidal macroalgae was estimated at a range of marine stations along the European coastline (Subarctic, Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean). Based on these data, we tested whether patterns in macroalgal diversity and distribution along European intertidal rocky shores could be explained by a set of meteo-oceanographic variables. The variables considered were salinity, sea surface temperature, photosynthetically active radiation, significant wave height and tidal range and were compiled from three different sources: remote sensing, reanalysis technique and in situ measurement. These variables were parameterized to represent average conditions (mean values), variability (standard deviation) and extreme events (minimum and maximum values). The results obtained in this study contribute to reinforce the EMBOS network approach and highlight the necessity of considering meteo-oceanographic variables in long-term assessments. The broad spatial distribution of pilot sites has allowed identification of latitudinal and longitudinal gradients manifested through species composition, diversity and dominance structure of intertidal macroalgae. These patterns follow a latitudinal gradient mainly explained by sea surface temperature, but also by photosynthetically active radiation, salinity and tidal range. Additionally, a longitudinal gradient was also detected and could be linked to wave height.
Examining how variability in population abundance and distribution is allotted among different spatial scales can inform of processes that are likely to generate that variability. Results of studies dealing with scale issues in marine benthic communities suggest that variability is concentrated at small spatial scales (from tens of centimetres to few metres) and that spatial patterns of variation are consistent across ecosystems characterized by contrasting physical and biotic conditions, but this has not been formally tested. Here we quantified the variability in the distribution of intertidal rocky shore communities at a range of spatial scales, from tens of centimetres to thousands of kilometres, both in the NE Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and tested whether the observed patterns differed between the two basins. We focused on canopy-forming macroalgae and associated understorey assemblages in the low intertidal, and on the distribution of Patella limpets at mid intertidal levels. Our results highlight that patterns of spatial variation, at each scale investigated, were consistent between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, suggesting that similar ecological processes operate in these regions. In contrast with former studies, variability in canopy cover, species richness and limpet abundance was equally distributed among spatial scales, possibly reflecting the fingerprint of multiple processes. Variability in community structure of low intertidal assemblages, instead, peaked at the largest scale, suggesting that oceanographic processes and climatic gradients may be important. We conclude that formal comparisons of variability across scales nested in contrasting systems are needed, before any generalization on patterns and processes can be made.
Coastal ecosystems are highly complex and driven by multiple environmental factors. To date we lack scientific evidence for the relative contribution of natural and anthropogenic drivers for the majority of marine habitats in order to adequately assess the role of different stressors across the European seas. Such relationship can be investigated by analysing the correlation between environmental variables and biotic patterns in multivariate space and taking into account non-linearities. Within the framework of the EMBOS (European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System) programme, hard bottom intertidal communities were sampled in a standardized way across European seas. Links between key natural and anthropogenic drivers and hard bottom communities were analysed using Boosted Regression Trees modelling. The study identified strong interregional variability and showed that patterns of hard bottom macroalgal and invertebrate communities were primarily a function of tidal regime, nutrient loading and water temperature (anomalies). The strength and shape of functional form relationships varied widely however among types of organisms (understorey algae composing mostly filamentous species, canopy-forming algae or sessile invertebrates) and aggregated community variables (cover or richness). Tidal regime significantly modulated the effect of nutrient load on the cover and richness of understorey algae and sessile invertebrates. In contrast, hydroclimate was more important for canopy algae and temperature anomalies and hydroclimate separately or interactively contributed to the observed patterns. The analyses also suggested that climate-induced shifts in weather patterns may result in the loss of algal richness and thereby in the loss of functional diversity in European hard bottom intertidal areas.
Within the COST action EMBOS (European Marine Biodiversity Observatory System) the degree and variation of the diversity and densities of soft-bottom communities from the lower intertidal or the shallow subtidal was measured at 28 marine sites along the European coastline (Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean) using jointly agreed and harmonized protocols, tools and indicators. The hypothesis tested was that the diversity for all taxonomic groups would decrease with increasing latitude. The EMBOS system delivered accurate and comparable data on the diversity and densities of the soft sediment macrozoobenthic community over a large-scale gradient along the European coastline. In contrast to general biogeographic theory, species diversity showed no linear relationship with latitude, yet a bell-shaped relation was found. The diversity and densities of benthos were mostly positively correlated with environmental factors such as temperature, salinity, mud and organic matter content in sediment, or wave height, and related with location characteristics such as system type (lagoons, estuaries, open coast) or stratum (intertidal, subtidal). For some relationships, a maximum (e.g. temperature from 15–20°C; mud content of sediment around 40%) or bimodal curve (e.g. salinity) was found. In lagoons the densities were twice higher than in other locations, and at open coasts the diversity was much lower than in other locations. We conclude that latitudinal trends and regional differences in diversity and densities are strongly influenced by, i.e. merely the result of, particular sets and ranges of environmental factors and location characteristics specific to certain areas, such as the Baltic, with typical salinity clines (favouring insects) and the Mediterranean, with higher temperatures (favouring crustaceans). Therefore, eventual trends with latitude are primarily indirect and so can be overcome by local variation of environmental factors.
The surrounding area of the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago (SPSPA) (0°55′10″N 29°20′33″W) was investigated in order to verify the physical and chemical influences in species composition and abundance, and the patterns of distribution of phytoplankton in the water column, especially in the thermocline depths. The expedition was held on board the Cruzeiro do Sul Hydro-oceanographic ship, from 21 to 23 July 2010 in two perpendicular and opposite transects. A cylinder-conical net and Niskin bottles were used. Two water masses were identified (Tropical Water and South Atlantic Central Water), and the thermocline depths varied from 40 to 110 m. A total of 128 species of phytoplanktonic organisms were identified, belonging to four phyla. The most conspicuous species was the cyanobacteria Trichodesmium thiebautii; nevertheless, 22 species were considered new registers for the region. The total phytoplanktonic density (1 × 103 to 183 × 103 cells l−1) was low and typical of oligotrophic regions, decreasing slightly with depth. Among the 35 species identified in the vertical distribution, 22 were present in the thermocline depth. The total density of Trichodesmium thiebautii, Oxytoxum longiceps and Protoperidinium minimum had significant correlations with the physical and chemical parameters. These data indicate that SPSPA can be associated to an island mass effect in the local oceanic circulation that mainly affects the physical and chemical characteristics of the surrounding waters. Consequently, these interactions influence the phytoplanktonic community, mainly those located at the end of the photic zone and those that are under the influence of thermocline oscillation.
Intestinal mucositis is an important toxic side effect of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) treatment. Saccharomyces boulardii is known to protect from intestinal injury via an effect on the gastrointestinal microbiota. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of S. boulardii on intestinal mucositis induced by 5-FU in a murine model. Mice were divided into saline, saline (control)+5-FU or 5-FU+S. boulardii (16 × 109 colony-forming units/kg) treatment groups, and the jejunum and ileum were removed after killing of mice for the evaluation of histopathology, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, and non-protein sulfhydryl group (mainly reduced glutathione; GSH), nitrite and cytokine concentrations. To determine gastric emptying, phenol red was administered orally, mice were killed 20 min after administration, and the absorbance of samples collected from the mice was measured by spectrophotometry. Intestinal permeability was measured by the urinary excretion rate of lactulose and mannitol following oral administration. S. boulardii significantly reversed the histopathological changes in intestinal mucositis induced by 5-FU and reduced the inflammatory parameters: neutrophil infiltration (control 1·73 (sem 0·37) ultrastructural MPO (UMPO)/mg, 5-FU 7·37 (sem 1·77) UMPO/mg and 5-FU+S. boulardii 4·15 (sem 0·73) UMPO/mg); nitrite concentration (control 37·00 (sem 2·39) μm, 5-FU 59·04 (sem 11·41) μm and 5-FU+S. boulardii 37·90 (sem 5·78) μm); GSH concentration (control 477·60 (sem 25·25) μg/mg, 5-FU 270·90 (sem 38·50) μg/mg and 5-FU+S. boulardii 514·00 (sem 38·64) μg/mg). Treatment with S. Boulardii significantly reduced the concentrations of TNF-α and IL-1β by 48·92 and 32·21 % in the jejunum and 38·92 and 61·79 % in the ileum. In addition, S. boulardii decreased the concentrations of chemokine (C–X–C motif) ligand 1 by 5-fold in the jejunum and 3-fold in the ileum. Interestingly, S. boulardii reduced the delay in gastric emptying (control 25·21 (sem 2·55) %, 5-FU 54·91 (sem 3·43) % and 5-FU+S. boulardii 31·38 (sem 2·80) %) and induced the recovery of intestinal permeability (lactulose:mannitol ratio: control 0·52 (sem 0·03), 5-FU 1·38 (sem 0·24) and 5-FU+S. boulardii 0·62 (sem 0·03)). In conclusion, S. boulardii reduces the inflammation and dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract in intestinal mucositis induced by 5-FU.
The arrival of Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva and the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers' Party, PT) at the helm of the Brazilian federal government in 2003 represented the culmination of a slow and deep-rooted process of party transformation. Attributable partly to the inevitable consequences of the party gradually inserting itself into governmental institutions, and partly to strategic decisions made by the dominant coalition that had controlled the PT since 1995, these transformations significantly changed the organisational features of the party, paving its way to the federal government. This article analyses these processes, and the subsequent changes throughout the Lula government, from an organisational perspective, linking exogenous challenges and the party's genetic model with the strategies consciously adopted by the petista leadership.