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In this doctoral thesis, we show how the bounded functional interpretation of F. Ferreira and P. Oliva can be used and contribute to the Proof Mining program, a program which aims to extract computational information from mathematical theorems using proof-theoretic techniques. We present a method for the elimination of sequential weak compactness arguments from the quantitative analysis of certain mathematical results. This method works as a “macro” and allowed us to obtain quantitative versions of important results of F. E. Browder, R. Wittmann, and H. H. Bauschke in fixed point theory in Hilbert spaces. Although the theorems of Browder and Wittmann were previously analyzed by U. Kohlenbach using the monotone functional interpretation, it was not clear why such analyses did not require the use of functionals defined by bar recursion. This phenomenon is now fully understood by a theoretical justification for the elimination of sequential weak compactness in the context of the bounded functional interpretation. Bauschke’s theorem is an important generalization of Wittmann’s theorem and its original proof is also analyzed here. The analyses of these results also require a quantitative version of a projection argument which turned out to be simpler when guided by the bounded functional interpretation than when using the monotone functional interpretation. In the context of the theory of monotone operators, results due to Boikanyo/Moroşanu and Xu for the strong convergence of variants of the proximal point algorithm are analyzed and bounds on the metastablility property of these iterations are obtained. These results are the first applications of the bounded functional interpretation to the proof mining of concrete mathematical results.
CHD increases the risk of infective endocarditis due to the substrate of prosthetic materials and residual lesions. However, lesion-specific and mortality risks data are lacking. We sought to analyse clinical course and mortality of infective endocarditis in a cohort of adult CHD.
Retrospective analysis of all cases of proven and probable infective endocarditis (Duke’s criteria) followed in our adult CHD clinic between 1970 and August, 2021. Epidemiological, clinical and imaging data were analysed. Predictors of surgical treatment and mortality were assessed using regression analysis.
During a mean follow-up of 15.8 ± 10.9 years, 96 patients had 105 infective endocarditis episodes, half with previous cardiac surgery (corrective or palliative). The most frequent diagnoses were: ventricular septal defect, bicuspid aortic valve, Tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia. The site of infection was identified by echocardiography in 82 episodes (91%), most frequently in aortic (n = 27), tricuspid (n = 15), and mitral (n = 13) valves. Blood cultures were positive in 79% of cases, being streptococci (n = 29) and staphylococci (n = 23) the predominant pathogens. Surgery was necessary in 40% and the in-hospital mortality was 10.5%, associated with heart failure (p < 0.001; OR 13.5) and a non-surgical approach (p = 0.003; OR 5.06).
In an adult CHD cohort, infective endocarditis was more frequent in patients with ventricular septal defect and bicuspid aortic valves, which contradicts the current guidelines that excludes them from prophylaxis. Surgical treatment is often required and mortality remains substantial. Prevention of this serious complication should be one of the major tasks in the care of adults with CHD.
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 nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis is the most common cause of neuroangiostrongyliasis (manifested as eosinophilic meningitis) in humans. Gastropod molluscs are used as intermediate hosts and rats of various species are definitive hosts of this parasite. In this study, we identified several environmental factors associated with the presence and abundance of terrestrial gastropods in an impoverished urban region in Brazil. We also found that body condition, age and presence of co-infection with other parasite species in urban Rattus norvegicus, as well as environmental factors were associated with the probability and intensity of A. cantonensis infection. The study area was also found to have a moderate prevalence of the nematode in rodents (33% of 168 individuals). Eight species of molluscs (577 individuals) were identified, four of which were positive for A. cantonensis. Our study indicates that the environmental conditions of poor urban areas (presence of running and standing water, sewage, humidity and accumulated rain and accumulation of construction materials) influenced both the distribution and abundance of terrestrial gastropods, as well as infected rats, contributing to the maintenance of the A. cantonensis transmission cycle in the area. Besides neuroangiostrongyliasis, the presence of these hosts may also contribute to susceptibility to other zoonoses.
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.
The kingdom of Allada in the seventeenth century was an important supplier of slaves for the trans-Atlantic trade, and also an object of Christian missionary activity, but the earlier history of its interactions with Europeans is poorly documented. It has previously been assumed that the first direct Portuguese contact with the Allada area occurred in 1553. However, recently discovered documents in Portuguese archives correct this view. These comprise two petitions to the King of Portugal from an ambassador of the King of Allada currently in Lisbon: although undated, the content of one of them enables it to be dated to either 1544 or 1555, more probably the former; given the time which the ambassador had already spent in Portugal, his original dispatch from Allada occurred in 1540/1541 or 1551/1552. The petitions document the Allada king’s interest in the establishment of a Christian church in his realm, as well as commercial relations.
Both transposition of the great arteries (TGA) previously submitted to a Senning/Mustard procedure and congenitally corrected TGA (cc-TGA) have the systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle, thereby rendering these patients to heart failure events risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters for stratifying the risk of heart failure events in TGA patients.
Retrospective evaluation of adult TGA patients with systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle submitted to cardiopulmonary exercise test in a tertiary centre. Patients were followed up for at least 1 year for the primary endpoint of cardiac death or heart failure hospitalisation. Several cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters were analysed as potential predictors of the combined endpoint and their predictive power were compared (area under the curve).
Cardiopulmonary exercise test was performed in 44 TGA patients (8 cc-TGA), with a mean age of 35.1 ± 8.4 years. The primary endpoint was reached by 10 (22.7%) patients, with a mean follow-up of 36.7 ± 26.8 months. Heart rate at anaerobic threshold had the highest area under the curve value (0.864), followed by peak oxygen consumption (pVO2) (0.838). Heart rate at anaerobic threshold ≤95 bpm and pVO2 ≤20 ml/kg/min had a sensitivity of 87.5 and 80.0% and a specificity of 82.4 and 76.5%, respectively, for the primary outcome.
Heart rate at anaerobic threshold ≤95 bpm had the highest predictive power of all cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters analysed for heart failure events in TGA patients with systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle.
Spatial models are increasingly being used to target the most suitable areas for biodiversity conservation. This study investigates how the spatial tool Marxan with Zones (MARZONE) can be used to support the design of cost-effective biodiversity conservation policy. New in this study is the spatial analysis of the costs and effectiveness of different agro-environmental measures (AEMs) for habitat and biodiversity conservation in the Montado ecosystem in Portugal. A distinction is made between the financial costs paid to participating landowners and farmers for adopting AEMs and the broader economic opportunity costs of the corresponding land-use changes. Habitat and species conservation targets are furthermore defined interactively with the local government agency responsible for the management of protected areas, while the costs of agro-forestry activities and alternative land uses are estimated in direct consultation with local landowners. MARZONE identifies the spatial distribution of priority areas for conservation and the associated costs, some of which overlap with existing protected areas. These results provide useful insights into the trade-offs between nature conservation and the opportunity costs of protecting ecologically vulnerable areas, helping to improve current and future conservation policy design.
In recent years, mobile robots have become increasingly frequent in daily life applications, such as cleaning, surveillance, support for the elderly and people with disabilities, as well as hazardous activities. However, a big challenge arises when the robotic system must perform a fully autonomous mission. The main problems of autonomous missions include path planning, localisation, and mapping. Thus, this research proposes a hybrid methodology for mobile robots on an autonomous mission involving an offline approach that uses the Direct-DRRT* algorithm and the artificial potential fields algorithm as the online planner. The experimental design covers three scenarios with an increasing degree of accuracy in respect of the real world. Additionally, an extensive evaluation of the proposed methodology is reported.
Circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) consists of small fragments of DNA that circulate freely in the bloodstream. In cancer patients, a fraction of cfDNA is derived from tumour cells, therefore containing the same genetic and epigenetic alterations, and is termed circulating cell-free tumour DNA. The potential use of cfDNA, the so-called ‘liquid biopsy’, as a non-invasive cancer biomarker has recently received a lot of attention. The present review will focus on studies concerning the potential clinical applications of cfDNA in ovarian cancer patients.
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 present work reports a simple and easy wet chemistry synthesis of cuprous oxide (Cu2O) nanospheres at room temperature without surfactants and using different precursors. Structural characterization was carried out by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy coupled with focused ion beam and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The optical band gaps were determined from diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. The photoluminescence behavior of the as-synthesized nanospheres showed significant differences depending on the precursors used. The Cu2O nanospheres were constituted by aggregates of nanocrystals, in which an on/off emission behavior of each individual nanocrystal was identified during transmission electron microscopy observations. The thermal behavior of the Cu2O nanospheres was investigated with in situ X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry experiments. Remarkable structural differences were observed for the nanospheres annealed in air, which turned into hollow spherical structures surrounded by outsized nanocrystals.
Canned sardines are a ready-to-use fish product with excellent nutritional properties owing to its high n-3 long-chain PUFA content, mainly EPA (20 : 5n-3) and DHA (22 : 6n-3). The present study aimed to assess the effect of two dosages of canned sardines, recommended for the primary and secondary prevention of human CVD, on the inflammatory marker concentrations and fatty acid composition of erythrocytes and key metabolic tissues (liver, muscle, adipose tissue and brain) in the rat model. Wistar rats were fed a diet containing 11 % (w/w) of canned sardines (low-sardine (LS) diet) and a diet containing 22 % (w/w) of canned sardines (high-sardine (HS) diet) for 10 weeks. Daily food intake, weight gain, and organ and final body weights were not affected by the dietary treatments. The concentrations of total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol decreased in both the LS and HS groups, while those of alanine aminotransferase and adiponectin increased. The concentrations of IL-1β increased only with the highest dosage of sardine. The dose-dependent influence of the graded levels of EPA+DHA was tissue specific. Compared with that of other tissues and erythrocytes, the fatty acid composition of the brain was less affected by the canned sardine-supplemented diets. In contrast, the retroperitoneal adipose tissue was highly responsive. The deposition ratios of EPA and DHA indicated that the LS diet was optimal for DHA deposition across the tissues, except in the retroperitoneal adipose tissue. Taken together, our findings indicate that a LS diet positively affects plasma lipid profiles and inflammatory mediators, whereas a HS diet has contradictory effects on IL-1β, which, in turn, is not associated with variations in the concentrations of other pro-inflammatory cytokines. This finding requires further investigation and pathophysiological understanding.
Azelaic acid (AzA) is used in the treatment of acne. However, side effects and low compliance have been associated with several topical treatments with AzA. Nanotechnology presents a strategy that can overcome these problems. Polymeric nanoparticles can control drug release and targeting and reduce local drug toxicity. The aim of this study was to produce and evaluate an innovative topical treatment for acne with AzA-loaded poly-dl-lactide/glycolide copolymer nanoparticles. A soft white powder of nanoparticles was prepared. The mean size of loaded nanoparticles was <400 nm and zeta potential was negative. Spherical nanoparticles were observed by scanning electron microscopy. Encapsulation efficiency was around 80% and a strong interaction between the polymer and the drug was confirmed by differential scanning calorimetric analysis. In vitro drug release studies suggested a controlled and pulsatile release profile. System efficacy tests suggested similar results between the loaded nanoparticles and the nonencapsulated drug against the most common bacteria associated with acne. Cytotoxicity of AzA-loaded nanoparticles was concentration dependent, although not pronounced. The occluded patch test seemed to indicate that the formulation excipients were safe and thus AzA-loaded nanoparticles appear to be an efficient and safe treatment for acne.
The evolution of internal stresses in oxide scales growing on polycrystalline Fe3Al alloy in atmospheric air at 700 °C was determined using in situ energy-dispersive synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Ex situ texture analyses were performed after 5 h of oxidation at 700 °C. Under these conditions, the oxide-scale thickness, as determined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, lies between 80 and 100 nm. The main phase present in the oxide scales is α-Al2O3, with minor quantities of metastable θ-Al2O3 detected in the first minutes of oxidation, as well as α-Fe2O3. α-Al2O3 grows with a weak (0001) fiber texture in the normal direction. During the initial stages of oxidation the scale develops, increasing levels of compressive stresses which later evolve to a steady state condition situated around −300 MPa.