135,204 research outputs found

    Does international patent collaboration have an effect on entrepreneurship?

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    .Entrepreneurship is one of the main pillars of growth in any economy. Achieving a high rate of entrepreneurship in a region has become the priority objective of governments and firms. However, in many cases, new firm creation is conditioned by relations or collaboration in innovation with agents from other countries. Previous literature has analyzed the mechanisms that foster entrepreneurship. This paper attempts to shed light on the influence of international patent collaboration (IPC) on entrepreneurial activity at country level taking into account the timing of this relationship. An empirical study is proposed to verify whether IPC leads to greater entrepreneurship and to analyze the gestation period between international patenting actions and firm creation. Using the Generalized Method of Moments, the two hypotheses proposed were tested in a data panel of 30 countries for the period 2005–2017. Results show the influence of IPC in promoting entrepreneurship in the same year, but especially in the following year. The study offers implications for entrepreneurs and public agents. IPC affects the integration and interaction of international agents in a country, favors the production of new knowledge, and increases positive externalities in a territory. All this facilitates the creation of new companies with a high innovative component.S

    What is the importance of sperm subpopulations?

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    .The study of sperm subpopulations spans three decades. The origin, meaning, and practical significance, however, are less clear. Current technology for assessing sperm morphology (CASA-Morph) and motility (CASA-Mot) has enabled the accurate evaluation of these features, and there are many options for data classification. Subpopulations could occur as a result of the stage of development of each spermatozoon in the subpopulation. Spermatogenesis might contribute to the production of these subpopulations. Insights from evolutionary biology and recent molecular research are indicative of the diversity among male gametes that could occur from unequal sharing of transcripts and other elements through cytoplasmic bridges between spermatids. Sperm cohorts exiting the gonads would contain different RNA and protein contents, affecting the spermatozoon physiology and associations with the surrounding environmental milieu. Subsequently, these differences could affect how spermatozoa interact with the environmental milieu (maturation, mixing with seminal plasma, and interacting with the environmental milieu, or female genital tract and female gamete). The emergence of sperm subpopulations as an outcome of evolution, related to the reproductive strategies of the species, genital tract structures, and copulatory and fertilization processes. This kind of approach in determining the importance of sperm subpopulations in fertilization capacity should have a practical impact for conducting reproductive technologies, inspiring and enabling new ways for the more efficient use of spermatozoa in the medical, animal breeding, and conservation fields. This manuscript is a contribution to the Special Issue in memory of Dr. Duane GarnerS

    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 KDa 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

    The JCMT BISTRO Survey: Multi-wavelength polarimetry of bright regions in NGC 2071 in the far-infrared/submillimetre range, with POL-2 and HAWC+

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    Polarized dust emission is a key tracer in the study of interstellar medium and of star formation. The observed polarization, however, is a product of magnetic field structure, dust grain properties and grain alignment efficiency, as well as their variations in the line of sight, making it difficult to interpret polarization unambiguously. The comparison of polarimetry at multiple wavelengths is a possible way of mitigating this problem. We use data from HAWC+/SOFIA and from SCUBA-2/POL-2 (from the BISTRO survey) to analyse the NGC 2071 molecular cloud at 154, 214 and 850 μm. The polarization angle changes significantly with wavelength over part of NGC 2071, suggesting a change in magnetic field morphology on the line of sight as each wavelength best traces different dust populations. Other possible explanations are the existence of more than one polarization mechanism in the cloud or scattering from very large grains. The observed change of polarization fraction with wavelength, and the 214-to-154 μm polarization ratio in particular, are difficult to reproduce with current dust models under the assumption of uniform alignment efficiency. We also show that the standard procedure of using monochromatic intensity as a proxy for column density may produce spurious results at HAWC+ wavelengths. Using both long-wavelength (POL-2, 850 μm) and short-wavelength (HAWC+, ≲200μm) polarimetry is key in obtaining these results. This study clearly shows the importance of multi-wavelength polarimetry at submillimeter bands to understand the dust properties of molecular clouds and the relationship between magnetic field and star formation

    The Idiosyncrasy of Involuntary Musical Imagery Repetition (IMIR) Experiences: The Role of Tempo and Lyrics

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    Involuntary musical imagery repetition (IMIR), colloquially known as “earworms,” is a form of musical imagery that arises involuntarily and repeatedly in the mind. A growing number of studies, based on retrospective reports, suggest that IMIR experiences are associated with certain musical features, such as fast tempo and the presence of lyrics, and with individual differences in music training and engagement. However, research to date has not directly assessed the effect of such musical features on IMIR and findings about individual differences in music training and engagement are mixed. Using a cross-sectional design (Study 1, n = 263), we examined IMIR content in terms of tempo (fast, slow) and presence of lyrics (instrumental, vocal), and IMIR characteristics (frequency, duration of episode and section) in relation to 1) the musical content (tempo and lyrics) individuals most commonly expose themselves to (music-listening habits), and 2) music training and engagement. We also used an experimental design (Study 2, n = 80) to test the effects of tempo (fast or slow) and the presence of lyrics (instrumental or vocal) on IMIR retrieval and duration. Results from Study 1 showed that the content of music that individuals are typically exposed to with regard to tempo and lyrics predicted and resembled their IMIR content, and that music engagement, but not music training, predicted IMIR frequency. Music training was, however, shown to predict the duration of IMIR episodes. In the experiment (Study 2), tempo did not predict IMIR retrieval, but the presence of lyrics influenced IMIR duration. Taken together, our findings suggest that IMIR is an idiosyncratic experience primed by the music-listening habits and music engagement of the individual

    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 afección potencialmente mortal causada por una respuesta anormal del huésped a una infección, produciendo respuestas fisiológicas alteradas que dañan los propios tejidos del paciente y pueden provocar disfunción orgánica e incluso la muerte. Asimismo, algunos pacientes sépticos progresan a shock séptico, caracterizado por alteraciones circulatorias, celulares y metabólicas sustanciales que aumentan el riesgo de mortalidad. A pesar de que la sepsis se caracteriza por un mal funcionamiento del sistema inmunológico, lo que a su vez conduce a una respuesta inmune alterada e inmunosupresión, la alta complejidad de la fisiopatología de la sepsis requiere una mayor investigación para comprender las respuestas inmunes que ocurren durante la sepsis. Asimismo, las histonas extracelulares circulantes han ganado relevancia como mediadores citotóxicos en la sepsis, ya que actúan como patrones moleculares asociados a daño, que inducen estrés oxidativo y activan el inflamasoma NLRP3. Estos mecanismos median la activación de la piroptosis, un mecanismo de muerte celular programada que produce inflamación mediante la expresión de IL-18, IL-1β and IL-1α. Sin embargo, a pesar de la evidencia de activación del inflamasoma en las células 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 activación del inflamasoma NLRP3 y la piroptosis en las células endoteliales, contribuyendo a la disfunción endotelial y la desregulación de la respuesta inmune mediada por el endotelio. Asimismo, también demostramos cómo la acetilación de histonas disminuye la activación de la piroptosis. Además, demostramos que la piroptosis se produce en pacientes con shock séptico y los niveles de histonas circulantes se correlacionan con la expresión de citoquinas proinflamatorias y citoquinas piroptóticas, la liberación de factores de adhesión endotelial y la gravedad de la enfermedad. Proponemos la piroptosis mediada por histonas como un nuevo objetivo para desarrollar intervenciones clínicas. 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 críticamente enfermos no sépticos, sépticos y de shock séptico. Nuestro enfoque ayudará a caracterizar rápidamente las respuestas inmunes alteradas en pacientes sépticos y de shock séptico ingresados en la Unidad de Cuidados Intensivos. Finalmente analizamos el papel de la metilación del ADN en el control del sistema inmune séptico. Nuestros resultados demostraron el papel central de la metilación del ADN modulando la respuesta molecular en los pacientes de shock séptico y contribuyendo a la inmunosupresión, a través de la alteración de los patrones de metilación 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-1β and IL-1α. 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

    Making School Streets Healthier: Learning from temporary and emergency closures

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    The Healthy Streets Everyday (HSE) programme began in 2019 to promote active, safe, and sustainable travel in London. In line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, this programme emphasises the Healthy Streets approach, which recognises that promoting health on London’s streets requires supporting the diverse ways streets are used, including active travel, by making them safer and more accessible to all. School Streets – the temporary closure of streets in front of schools to motor vehicle traffic at the beginning and end of the school day – have recently emerged as a key intervention in this approach. The connection between streets and broader public health is perhaps nowhere starker than at the school gates. With over 20% of peak- time traffic associated with the school run, traffic and congestion are concentrated at the cramped residential streets that often serve London’s schools. This puts children at greater risk from road danger and poor air quality. These challenging conditions have been exacerbated by Covid-19; specifically, the need for physical distancing and concern about the effects of a car-based recovery. In response, there has been significant growth in School Streets since the beginning of 2020, with more than 400 currently in place across London. The HSE programme played an important part in providing support to 16 of London’s boroughs as they implemented their School Streets programmes, often for the first time. As a crucial part of Transport for London’s Covid-19 Streetspace scheme many of these recent School Streets have been implemented as temporary or emergency interventions, employing light-touch and low-cost approaches such as mobile traffic camera enforcement or temporary barriers. This report sets out several key findings from the close observation of two School Streets: 1. Significant reductions in motor vehicle traffic both during the closure time and over the whole day. 2. Minimal change in pedestrian numbers and use of space, with some evidence of increased cycling. 3. Improvements in several Healthy Streets indicators. Following from these findings and considering more comprehensive academic research, this report also outlines four recommendations for designers and policymakers to consider when making School Streets more permanent or implementing new schemes: 1.Taking a whole school and whole route approach 2.Reducing traffic effectively through enforcement and exemptions 3.Completing a scheme by changing the public realm 4.Designing for and responding to scheme issues through in-depth monitoring and evaluatio

    The second wave of COVID-19 and beyond: Rural healthcare

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    There are increasing signs that SARS-CoV-2 has started to spread to rural areas in India. It impacts people’s health, lives, and public health infrastructure that is already strained from a lack of resources. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in rural India is a worrying trend; 50% of reported cases since the beginning of May 2021 are from rural districts. Long-standing systemic, functional, and health inequities have put people in rural communities at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and suffering from the lack of essential healthcare services. Health disparities between rural and urban areas exist not only in terms of risk factors, such as poor diet and vaccine hesitancy, but also in terms of healthcare infrastructure, manpower, and testing facilities. We suggest some long-term and short-term measures to efficiently develop strategies to contain and control the pandemic in rural areas. Short-term measures include implementing health communication tailored in culturally sensitive ways, increasing vaccination by the usual immunisation pattern, increasing the number of testing facilities, and ensuring food security through the public distribution system (PDS). Long-term suggestions include strengthening the primary healthcare system, increasing funding in the health sector to 2.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP), introducing mid-level care providers, improving skills and training of ASHAs along with adequate financial incentives, and ensuring participation of multiple stakeholders in community health schemes

    Rainfall Prediction: A Comparative Analysis of Modern Machine Learning Algorithms for Time-Series Forecasting

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    Rainfall forecasting has gained utmost research relevance in recent times due to its complexities and persistent applications such as flood forecasting and monitoring of pollutant concentration levels, among others. Existing models use complex statistical models that are often too costly, both computationally and budgetary, or are not applied to downstream applications. Therefore, approaches that use Machine Learning algorithms in conjunction with time-series data are being explored as an alternative to overcome these drawbacks. To this end, this study presents a comparative analysis using simplified rainfall estimation models based on conventional Machine Learning algorithms and Deep Learning architectures that are efficient for these downstream applications. Models based on LSTM, Stacked-LSTM, Bidirectional-LSTM Networks, XGBoost, and an ensemble of Gradient Boosting Regressor, Linear Support Vector Regression, and an Extra-trees Regressor were compared in the task of forecasting hourly rainfall volumes using time-series data. Climate data from 2000 to 2020 from five major cities in the United Kingdom were used. The evaluation metrics of Loss, Root Mean Squared Error, Mean Absolute Error, and Root Mean Squared Logarithmic Error were used to evaluate the models' performance. Results show that a Bidirectional-LSTM Network can be used as a rainfall forecast model with comparable performance to Stacked-LSTM Networks. Among all the models tested, the Stacked-LSTM Network with two hidden layers and the Bidirectional-LSTM Network performed best. This suggests that models based on LSTM-Networks with fewer hidden layers perform better for this approach; denoting its ability to be applied as an approach for budget-wise rainfall forecast applications
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