139,095 research outputs found

    Comparison of physical fitness between healthy and mild‚Äźto‚Äźmoderate asthmatic children with exercise symptoms: A cross‚Äźsectional study

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    .Objective Asthma is a chronic disease that may affect physical fitness, although its primary effects on exercise capacity, muscle strength, functionality and lifestyle, in children and adolescents, are still poorly understood. This study aimed to evaluate the differences in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, lifestyle, lung function, and functionality between asthmatics with exercise symptoms and healthy children. In addition, we have analyzed the association between clinical history and the presence of asthma. Study Design Cross-sectional study including 71 patients with a diagnosis of asthma and 71 healthy children and adolescents (7‚Äď17 years of age). Anthropometric data, clinical history, disease control, lifestyle (KIDMED and physical activity questionnaires), lung function (spirometry), exercise-induced bronchoconstriction test, aerobic fitness (cardiopulmonary exercise test), muscle strength and functionality (timed up and go; timed up and down stairs) were evaluated. Results Seventy-one patients with asthma (mean age 11.5‚ÄȬĪ‚ÄČ2.7) and 71 healthy subjects (mean age 10.7‚ÄȬĪ‚ÄČ2.5) were included. All asthmatic children had mild to moderate and stable asthma. EIB occurred in 56.3% of asthmatic children. Lung function was significantly (p‚ÄČ<‚ÄČ.05) lower in the asthmatic group when compared to healthy peers, as well as the cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, lifestyle and functionality. Moreover, asthmatic children were more likely to have atopic dermatitis, allergic reactions, food allergies, and a family history of asthma when compared to healthy children. Conclusions Children with mild-to-moderate asthma presenting exercise symptoms show a reduction in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, lung function, functionality, and lifestyle when compared to healthy peers. The study provides data for pediatricians to support exercise practice aiming to improve prognosis and quality of life in asthmatic children.S

    Application of lactic acid bacteria for the biopreservation of meat products: A systematic review

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    .The increasing concern of consumers about food quality and safety and their rejection of chemical additives has promoted the breakthrough of the biopreservation field and the development of studies on the use of beneficial bacteria and their metabolites as potential natural antimicrobials for shelf life extension and enhanced food safety. Control of foodborne pathogens in meat and meat products represents a serious challenge for the food industry which can be addressed through the intelligent use of bio-compounds or biopreservatives. This article aims to systematically review the available knowledge about biological strategies based on the use of lactic acid bacteria to control the proliferation of undesirable microorganisms in different meat products. The outcome of the literature search evidenced the potential of several strains of lactic acid bacteria and their purified or semi-purified antimicrobial metabolites as biopreservatives in meat products for achieving longer shelf life or inhibiting spoilage and pathogenic bacteria, especially when combined with other technologies to achieve a synergistic effect.S

    Identification of Hindbrain Neural Substrates for Motor Initiation in the hatchling Xenopus laevis Tadpole

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    Animal survival profoundly depends on the ability to detect stimuli in the environment, process them and respond accordingly. In this respect, motor responses to a sensory stimulation evolved into a variety of coordinated movements, which involve the control of brain centres over spinal locomotor circuits. The hatchling Xenopus tadpole, even in its embryonic stage, is able to detect external sensory information and to swim away if the stimulus is considered noxious. To do so, the tadpole relies on well-known ascending sensory pathway, which carries the sensory information to the brain. When the stimulus is strong enough, descending interneurons are activated, leading to the excitation of spinal CPG neurons, which causes the undulatory movement of swimming. However, the activation of descending interneurons that marks the initiation of motor response appears after a long delay from the sensory stimulation. Furthermore, the long-latency response is variable in time, as observed in the slow-summating excitation measured in descending interneurons. These two features, i.e. long-latency and variability, cannot be explained by the firing time and pattern of the ascending sensory pathway of the Xenopus tadpole. Therefore, a novel neuronal population has been proposed to lie in the hindbrain of the tadpole, and being able to 'hold' the sensory information, thus accounting for the long and variable delay of swim initiation. In this work, the role of the hindbrain in the maintenance of the long and variable response to trunk skin stimulation is investigated in the Xenopustadpole at developmental stage 37/38. A multifaceted approach has been used to unravel the neuronal mechanisms underlying the delayed motor response, including behavioural experiments, electrophysiology analysis of fictive swimming, hindbrain extracellular recordings and imaging experiments. Two novel neuronal populations have been identified in the tadpole's hindbrain, which exhibit activation patterns compatible with the role of delaying the excitation of the spinal locomotor circuit. Future work on cellular properties and synaptic connections of these newly discovered populations might shed light on the mechanism of descending control active at embryonic stage. Identifying supraspinal neuronal populations in an embryonic organism could aid in understanding mechanisms of descending motor control in more complex vertebrates

    Bioinformatic characterization of a triacylglycerol lipase produced by Aspergillus flavus isolated from the decaying seed of Cucumeropsis mannii

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    Lipases are enzymes of industrial importance responsible for the hydrolysis of ester bonds of triglycerides. A lipolytic fungus was isolated and subsequently identified based on the ITS sequence analysis as putative Aspergillus flavus with accession number LC424503. The gene coding for extracellular triacylglycerol lipase was isolated from Aspergillus flavus species, sequenced, and characterised using bioinformatics tools. An open reading frame of 420 amino acid sequence was obtained and designated as Aspergillus flavus lipase (AFL) sequence. Alignment of the amino acid sequence with other lipases revealed the presence GHSLG sequence which is the lipase consensus sequence Gly-X1-Ser-X2-Gly indicating that it a classical lipase. A catalytic active site lid domain composed of TYITDTIIDLS amino acids sequence was also revealed. This lid protects the active site, control the catalytic activity and substrate selectivity in lipases. The 3-Dimensional structural model shared 34.08% sequence identity with a lipase from Yarrowia lipolytica covering 272 amino acid residues of the template model. A search of the lipase engineering database using AFL sequence revealed that it belongs to the class GX-lipase, superfamily abH23 and homologous family abH23.02, molecular weight and isoelectric point values of 46.95‚ÄČKDa and 5.7, respectively. N-glycosylation sites were predicted at residues 164, 236 and 333, with potentials of 0.7250, 0.7037 and 0.7048, respectively. O-glycosylation sites were predicted at residues 355, 358, 360 and 366. A signal sequence of 37 amino acids was revealed at the N-terminal of the polypeptide. This is a short peptide sequence that marks a protein for transport across the cell membrane and indicates that AFL is an extracellular lipase. The findings on the structural and molecular properties of Aspergillus flavus lipase in this work will be crucial in future studies aiming at engineering the enzyme for biotechnology applications

    Structural and Attitudinal Barriers to Bicycle Ownership and Cycle-Based Transport in Gauteng, South Africa

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    Policies that aim to facilitate and promote non-motorised transport (NMT), and in particular cycling, have been developed by many high-income countries facing increasingly congested roads and saturated public transport systems. Such policies are also emerging in many low- and middle-income settings where high rates of urbanisation have led to similar problems with motorised transport. The aim of the present study was to better understand the potential structural and attitudinal barriers to cycle-based transport in one such context: South Africa‚Äôs Gauteng Province, the industrial powerhouse of sub-Saharan Africa that has recently made a firm commitment to NMT. The study focussed on demographic and socioeconomic variation in bicycle and car ownership, and related this to: (1) the reported use of motorised and non-motorised transport (both private and public); and (2) perceived ‚Äėproblems‚Äô with cycling. The analyses drew on interviews with key respondents from n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ27,490 households conducted in 2013 as part of the third Quality of Life survey undertaken by the Gauteng City Regional Observatory. The survey contained items on three outcomes of interest: household vehicle ownership (bicycles and cars); modes of transport used for the ‚Äútrips‚ÄĚ most often made; and respondents‚Äô ‚Äúsingle biggest problem with‚Ķ cycling‚ÄĚ. Respondent- and household-level demographic and socioeconomic determinants of these outcomes were examined using descriptive and multivariable statistical analyses, the latter after adjustment for measured potential confounders identified using a theoretical causal path diagram (in the form of a directed acyclic graph). Of the n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ26,469 households providing complete data on all of the variables examined in the present study, only n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ8722 (32.9%) owned a car and fewer still (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ2244; 8.4%) owned a bicycle. The ownership of these assets was commonest amongst wealthier, economically active households; and those that owned a car had over five times the odds of also owning a bicycle, even after adjustment for potential confounding (OR 5.17; 95% CI 4.58, 5.85). Moreover, of household respondents who reported making ‚Äėtrips‚Äô during the preceding month (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ18,209), over two-thirds of those whose households owned a car (70.1%) reported private car-based transport for such trips, while only 3.2% of those owning a bicycle reported cycling. Amongst the specific responses given to the item requesting the ‚Äúsingle biggest problem with‚Ķ cycling‚ÄĚ by far the commonest was ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt know how to cycle‚ÄĚ (32.2%), less than half as many citing ‚ÄúVehicle accident risk‚ÄĚ (15.9%), and fewer still: ‚ÄúDestination is too far‚ÄĚ (13.9%); ‚ÄúCrime‚ÄĚ (10.3%); ‚ÄúToo much effort‚ÄĚ (9.2%); or ‚ÄúLack of good paths‚ÄĚ (4.6%). While the first of these reasons was commonest amongst poorer households, concerns about risk and effort were both most common amongst better educated, economically active and wealthier/better serviced households. In contrast, concerns over (cycle) paths were only common amongst those owning bicycles. The low prevalence of household bicycle ownership, and the disproportionate number of households owning bicycles that also owned cars, might explain the very small proportion of the ‚Äėthe trips most often made‚Äô that involved cycle-based transport (0.3%), and the preferential use of cars amongst households owning both bicycles and cars. Low levels of bicycle ownership might also explain why so many respondents cited ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt know how‚ÄĚ as the ‚Äúsingle biggest problem with‚Ķ cycling‚ÄĚ; although risk and effort were also substantial concerns (presumably for many who did, and some who did not, know how to cycle); the lack of suitable cycle lanes being only primarily a concern for those who actually owned bicycles. Structural and attitudinal barriers to cycle-based transport limit the use of cycle-based transport in Gauteng, not only amongst the vast majority of household respondents who lack the means to cycle (and the means to learn how), but also amongst those dissuaded from learning to cycle, purchasing a bicycle and/or using a bicycle they own by: the risks and effort involved; the lack of suitable cycle paths; and/or because they also own a car and prefer to drive than cycle

    Medicina personalizada en lactantes con cáncer: Estudio farmacogenético de polimorfismos relacionados con toxicidad y respuesta a la quimioterapia

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    Introducci√≥n La farmacogen√©tica es una herramienta de la ‚ÄúMedicina personalizada‚ÄĚ que contribuye a optimizar los tratamientos antineopl√°sicos, adapt√°ndolos a las caracter√≠sticas gen√©ticas particulares de cada individuo, maximizando su eficacia y minimizando su toxicidad. El lactante con c√°ncer es un paciente de particular vulnerabilidad y sus comorbilidades tiene una especial repercusi√≥n vital. El estudio farmacogen√©tico en esta poblaci√≥n resulta pionero y novedoso en nuestro medio. La identificaci√≥n de marcadores predictivos espec√≠ficos permitir√° individualizar m√°s la terap√©utica en esta poblaci√≥n tan fr√°gil y mejorar en consecuencia su calidad de vida y su pron√≥stico vital. Material y m√©todos Estudio de cohortes ambispectivo de pacientes oncol√≥gicos entre 1 y 18 meses de edad, receptores de quimioterapia en el Hospital La Fe de Valencia, en el periodo comprendido entre enero 2007 y agosto 2019. La parte retrospectiva comprende hasta diciembre 2015, el estudio prospectivo desde enero 2016 hasta agosto 2019. En primer lugar, se realiza un an√°lisis descriptivo de variables epidemiol√≥gicas, cl√≠nico/biol√≥gicas, terap√©uticas y pron√≥sticas de 72 pacientes con dichas caracter√≠sticas. Se describe la toxicidad derivada de sus 578 ciclos de quimioterapia (37 variables cl√≠nicas), el tiempo de seguimiento y su supervivencia (meses). En segundo lugar, se realiza un estudio anal√≠tico cuyo objetivo es correlacionar los polimorfismos gen√©ticos relacionados con la quimioterapia de 64 de los pacientes, la toxicidad grave secundaria al tratamiento (‚Č• grado 3 seg√ļn CTAE 4.0) y su supervivencia. El genotipado se realiza en el Centro Nacional de Genotipado (CEGEN) mediante la tecnolog√≠a MassArray (AgenaBioscience), previa configuraci√≥n de un panel farmacogen√©tico pedi√°trico en base a las evidencias recogidas en la base de datos PharmGKB, fichas t√©cnicas de los medicamentos y consorcios internacionales expertos. El an√°lisis estad√≠stico descriptivo se realiza con los programas Excel 2016 y R: las variables cualitativas con el recuento num√©rico (porcentaje) y las variables cuantitativas como mediana +/- rango intercuart√≠lico ante ausencia de normalidad en la distribuci√≥n de los datos (p <0,05, prueba de Kolmogorov-Smirnov). En el an√°lisis de supervivencia se utiliza el estimador Kaplan-Meier. El an√°lisis estad√≠stico anal√≠tico de correlaci√≥n entre polimorfismos y toxicidad se realiza mediante regresi√≥n log√≠stica penalizada por Elastic Net empleando R. El an√°lisis estad√≠stico anal√≠tico de correlaci√≥n entre polimorfismos y reca√≠da/muerte se realiza mediante regresi√≥n de Cox penalizada por Elastic Net. Resultados Las variables epidemiol√≥gicas, cl√≠nico/biol√≥gicas y terap√©uticas de los pacientes de la muestra son consecuentes con las descritas en la literatura del lactante con c√°ncer. Las neoplasias con mayor impacto negativo en la supervivencia son la leucemia mielobl√°stica aguda y los tumores del sistema nervioso central. La toxicidad m√°s prevalente es hematol√≥gica, digestiva e infecciosa. Existe correlaci√≥n entre la toxicidad grave secundaria a los quimioter√°picos en forma de anemia, neutropenia y/o trombopenia y 46 polimorfismos gen√©ticos diferentes. As√≠ mismo se encuentra asociaci√≥n estad√≠sticamente significativa entre la supervivencia global y la supervivencia libre de enfermedad y ciertos polimorfismos gen√©ticos (26 y 13 respectivamente). Los polimorfismos obtenidos pertenecen a genes encargados del transporte (6 genes) y metabolismo (17 genes) de los f√°rmacos, de la reparaci√≥n del material gen√©tico y la supresi√≥n tumoral (5 genes) y de otras funciones biol√≥gicas (4 genes). Conclusi√≥n Los resultados del presente estudio muestran correlaci√≥n estad√≠stica entre 46 polimorfismos de genes implicados en la cin√©tica farmacol√≥gica y la reparaci√≥n del material gen√©tico y la variabilidad en la toxicidad quimioter√°pica y supervivencia de pacientes lactantes con c√°ncer. En definitiva, aportaciones de la farmacogen√©tica que pueden contribuir a la optimizaci√≥n del tratamiento antineopl√°sico en esta poblaci√≥n particular y a la predicci√≥n de sus riesgos, de especial impacto en los supervivientes del c√°ncer infantil

    Uso de las histonas circulantes y sus modificaciones post-traduccionales como biomarcadores en sepsis y shock séptico

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    La sepsis es una afecci√≥n potencialmente mortal causada por una respuesta anormal del hu√©sped a una infecci√≥n, produciendo respuestas fisiol√≥gicas alteradas que da√Īan los propios tejidos del paciente y pueden provocar disfunci√≥n org√°nica e incluso la muerte. Asimismo, algunos pacientes s√©pticos progresan a shock s√©ptico, caracterizado por alteraciones circulatorias, celulares y metab√≥licas sustanciales que aumentan el riesgo de mortalidad. A pesar de que la sepsis se caracteriza por un mal funcionamiento del sistema inmunol√≥gico, lo que a su vez conduce a una respuesta inmune alterada e inmunosupresi√≥n, la alta complejidad de la fisiopatolog√≠a de la sepsis requiere una mayor investigaci√≥n para comprender las respuestas inmunes que ocurren durante la sepsis. Asimismo, las histonas extracelulares circulantes han ganado relevancia como mediadores citot√≥xicos en la sepsis, ya que act√ļan como patrones moleculares asociados a da√Īo, que inducen estr√©s oxidativo y activan el inflamasoma NLRP3. Estos mecanismos median la activaci√≥n de la piroptosis, un mecanismo de muerte celular programada que produce inflamaci√≥n mediante la expresi√≥n de IL-18, IL-1ő≤ and IL-1őĪ. Sin embargo, a pesar de la evidencia de activaci√≥n del inflamasoma en las c√©lulas inmunes durante la sepsis, se desconoce si las histonas extracelulares son capaces de activar los inflamasomas endoteliales y sus consecuencias. En este trabajo destacamos el papel previamente desconocido de las histonas extracelulares, mediando la activaci√≥n del inflamasoma NLRP3 y la piroptosis en las c√©lulas endoteliales, contribuyendo a la disfunci√≥n endotelial y la desregulaci√≥n de la respuesta inmune mediada por el endotelio. Asimismo, tambi√©n demostramos c√≥mo la acetilaci√≥n de histonas disminuye la activaci√≥n de la piroptosis. Adem√°s, demostramos que la piroptosis se produce en pacientes con shock s√©ptico y los niveles de histonas circulantes se correlacionan con la expresi√≥n de citoquinas proinflamatorias y citoquinas piropt√≥ticas, la liberaci√≥n de factores de adhesi√≥n endotelial y la gravedad de la enfermedad. Proponemos la piroptosis mediada por histonas como un nuevo objetivo para desarrollar intervenciones cl√≠nicas. De manera similar, hemos analizado las respuestas inmunorelacionadas que ocurren durante las primeras etapas de la sepsis con el objetivo de proporcionar nuevos datos comparando las cantidades de citoquinas, inmunomoduladores y otros mediadores endoteliales en pacientes cr√≠ticamente enfermos no s√©pticos, s√©pticos y de shock s√©ptico. Nuestro enfoque ayudar√° a caracterizar r√°pidamente las respuestas inmunes alteradas en pacientes s√©pticos y de shock s√©ptico ingresados en la Unidad de Cuidados Intensivos. Finalmente analizamos el papel de la metilaci√≥n del ADN en el control del sistema inmune s√©ptico. Nuestros resultados demostraron el papel central de la metilaci√≥n del ADN modulando la respuesta molecular en los pacientes de shock s√©ptico y contribuyendo a la inmunosupresi√≥n, a trav√©s de la alteraci√≥n de los patrones de metilaci√≥n de los promotores de IL-10 y TREM-2.Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by an abnormal host response to an infection that produce altered physiological responses which damages own tissues of the patient and can result in organ dysfunction and in some cases death. Likewise, a subset of septic patients progresses to septic shock, characterized by substantial circulatory, cellular and metabolic abnormalities, which substantially increase the risk of mortality. Sepsis is characterized by a malfunction of the immune system and it can lead to an altered immune response and immunosuppression. Moreover, the high complexity of the pathophysiology of sepsis requires of further investigation to characterize the immune responses in sepsis and septic shock. Likewise, circulating extracellular histones have gained relevance as cytotoxic mediators in sepsis pathophysiology, since they act as damage-associated molecular patterns, which induce oxidative stress and activate NLRP3 inflammasome. Subsequently, inflammasome mediates pyroptosis activation, a programmed cell death mechanism that produces inflammation through the release of IL-18, IL-1ő≤ and IL-1őĪ. However, despite inflammasome activation may occur in immune cells during sepsis, it is unknown if this process also takes place in endothelial cells and particularly whether extracellular histones are capable of activating endothelial inflammasomes and their consequences. In this work we highlight a previously unknown role for extracellular histones, that mediates the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome and pyroptosis in endothelial cells by contributing to endothelial dysfunction and the dysregulation of the immune response mediated by endothelium. Likewise, we demonstrated how histone acetylation decreases pyroptosis activation. Furthermore, we show how pyroptosis occurs in septic shock patients and how circulating histone levels correlate with the expression of pro-inflammatory and pyroptotic cytokines, the release of endothelial adhesion factors and septic shock severity. We propose histone-mediated pyroptosis as a new target to develop clinical interventions. Similarly, we have analyzed the immune-related responses occurring during the early stages of sepsis with the aim of providing new data by comparing the amounts of cytokines, immune modulators and other endothelial mediators in critically-ill non-septic patients, septic and septic shock patients. Our approach will help to rapidly characterize the altered immune responses in septic and septic shock patients admitted in the Intensive Care Unit. Finally, we also analyzed the role of DNA methylation in the control of septic immune system. Our results demonstrated the central role of DNA methylation modulating the molecular response in septic shock patients and contributing to immunosuppression, through the alteration of DNA methylation patterns of IL-10 and TREM2 promoters

    Conservation agriculture affects grain and nutrient yields of Maize (Zea Mays L.) and can impact food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa

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    Maize is a major staple and plays an essential role in food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Conservation agriculture (CA), a climate-smart agriculture practise based on minimum soil disturbance, crop residue retention, and crop diversification, has been widely advocated but without extensive research on the impact it may have on maize nutrient composition, and food and nutrition security. This study assessed the grain yield, macro- and micronutrient mineral content, and nutrient yield of eight maize varieties grown in Malawi, and how these are affected by CA practises over two seasons. The minerals were analysed by inductively coupled plasma (ICP) coupled to optical emission spectroscopy (OES) and to mass spectroscopy (MS). Grain yield and Se content differed among the varieties, while C, N, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, P, and Zn were similar. The local variety Kanjerenjere showed lowest grain and nutrient yields. The open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) concentrated more minerals than the F1 hybrids, but the latter showed higher yields for both grain and nutrients. Typical consumption of the eight maize varieties could fully meet the protein and Mg dietary reference intake (DRIs) of Malawian children (1‚Äď3 years), as well as Mg and Mn needs of adult women (19‚Äď50 years), but their contribution to dietary requirements was low for Fe (39‚Äď41%) and K (13‚Äď21%). The trials showed that CA increased grain yield (1.2- to 1.8-fold) and Se content (1.1- to 1.7-fold), but that it had no effect on C, K, Mg, P, and Zn, and that N (1.1- to 1.2-fold), Mn (1.1- to 1.8-fold), and Fe (1.3- to 3.4-fold) were reduced. The high increase in grain yield under CA treatments resulted in increased yields of protein and Se, no effect on the yields of K, Mg, Mn, P, Zn, and reduced Fe yield. Conservation agriculture could contribute in reducing the risk of Se deficiency in Malawian women and children but exacerbates the risk of Fe deficiency. A combination of strategies will be needed to mitigate some of the foreseen effects of climate change on agriculture, and food and nutrition security, and improve nutrient intake

    Reforming the United Nations

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    The thesis deals with the financial crisis that the United Nations faced starting in 1985 when the US Congress decided to withhold a significant part of the US contribution to the UN regular budget in order to force a greater say for the major contributors on budgetary issues, budgetary restraint and greater efficiency. The UN responded by the adoption of resolution 41/213 of 19 December 1986 that was based on the recommendations of a Group of High-level Intergovernmental Experts ("G-18") set up a year earlier. A new system was introduced regarding the formulation of the regular budget of the United Nations Organisation and a broader process of reform was initiated including a restructuring of the Secretariat and of the intergovernmental machinery in the economic and social fields. After an introductory chapter (Chapter I), the thesis examines the UN problems at the budgetary/financial and administrative/structural levels, the solutions proposed from within and without the United Nations established framework and the actual attempts at reform (Chapters II and ifi). The realisation that the implementation of reforms is rather disjointed and often unsuccessful (e.g. the failure to restructure the intergovernmental machi.neiy) prompts a search for the deeper causes of the UN problems at the political level and the attitudes of the main actors, namely the USA, the USSR, some up-and-coming states, notably Japan, the Third World states and, finally, of the UN Secretary-General and the Secretariat (Chapter 1V). Although the financial crisis may have subsided since 1988 and the USA seem committed to paying up their dues, the deeper UN crisis of identity has not been resolved and is expected to resurface if no bold steps are taken. In that direction, some possible alternative courses for the UN in the future are discussed drawing upon theory and practice (Chapte
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