Publications by authors named "Cristina Domenech"

21 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Using a multi-disciplinary approach to characterize groundwater systems in arid and semi-arid environments: The case of Biskra and Batna regions (NE Algeria).

Sci Total Environ 2021 Feb 27;757:143797. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Department of Chemical and Geological Science, University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria di Monserrato, Blocco A - S.P. Monserrato-Sestu, km 0.700, Italy; Desertification Research Group (NRD), University of Sassari, Viale Italia, 07100 Sassari, Italy; Department of Agriculture, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy.

This study presents a multi-disciplinary approach for the hydrogeological assessment and characterization of water resources in typical arid and semi-arid areas with high anthropogenic pressure, and where environmental conditions and political context prevent extensive field surveys. The use of a three-dimensional (3D) hydrogeological conceptual model, integrating hydrochemical and multi-isotope data, is proposed for the Batna and Biskra area (NE Algeria). Geological data were assembled in 3D geological software, from which a 3D hydrogeological conceptual model was constructed, which included the delineation of groundwater flow directions. The isotopic characterization, including deuterium and oxygen isotopic composition of water (δH and δO), and tritium (H), provided information regarding recharge sources, flow pathways and residence times of groundwaters. Hydrochemical parameters, measured on the same samples, supported the interpretation of isotope data. All data were processed in a geographic information system (GIS) environment. The effectiveness of this approach was tested on a complex system of aquifers with high hydrogeological heterogeneity. Results show the important role the tectonic setting of an area can play in the hydrogeology and hydrochemistry of its principal groundwater systems. The fault network in the study region connects different aquifers, resulting in the mixing of groundwaters. The region most influenced by geological structures is the southern part of the study area, close to Biskra city. In fact, besides a limited contribution of recharge from rain and surface water derived from flood events, the recharge of the Cenozoic aquifers seems to proceed from the ascension of deeper Cretaceous groundwaters through the fault network, as indicated by temperature, bulk chemistry and in particular δH, δO and H results. In contrast, results suggest that the recharge of the low mineralized Maastrichtian waters is primarily influenced by local precipitation and runoff in the mountainous northern part of the study area. Tritium content, low salinity, and bulk chemistry all suggest such waters to be a mix of pre-bomb (deeper flow-lines within the aquifer) and recent water, with no contribution from the deepest Continental Intercalaire groundwaters. The proposed approach reduces ambiguity about the studied aquifer systems, greatly improves the conceptual understanding of their behaviour, and could provide insights into the vulnerability of the aquifers to different anthropogenic pollution phenomena. The methodology used appears to be a valid tool that could be applied to other geographical areas, to inform the design and implementation of efficient management strategies aimed at improving the quality and availability of water resources. Moreover, three-dimensional modelling methods are becoming increasingly applied to different aspects of groundwater management, to obtain a detailed picture of subsurface conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143797DOI Listing
February 2021

Correlation of Health-Related Quality of Life in Clinically Stable Outpatients with Schizophrenia.

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2019 20;15:3475-3486. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Generic health-related quality of life (HRQoL) scales are increasingly being used to assess the effects of new treatments in schizophrenia. The objective of this study is to better understand the usefulness of generic and condition specific HRQoL scales in schizophrenia by analyzing their correlates.

Methods: Data formed part of the Pattern study, an international observational study among 1379 outpatients with schizophrenia. Patients were evaluated with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Inventory, the Clinical Global Impression-Schizophrenia (CGI-SCH) Scale and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and reported their HRQoL using the Schizophrenia Quality of Life Scale (SQLS), the Short Form-36 (SF-36), and the EuroQol-5 Dimension (EQ-5D). The two summary values of the SF-36 (the Mental Component Score and the Physical Component Score, SF-36 MCS and SF-36 PCS) were calculated.

Results: Higher PANSS positive dimension ratings were associated with worse HRQoL for the SQLS, EQ-5D VAS, SF-36 MCS, and SF-36 PCS. Higher PANSS negative dimension ratings were associated with worse HRQoL for the EQ-5D VAS, SF-36 MCS, and SF-36 PCS, but not for the SQLS or the EQ-5D tariff. PANSS depression ratings were associated with lower HRQoL in all the scales. There was a high correlation between the HRQoL scales. However, in patients with more severe cognitive/disorganized PANSS symptoms, the SQLS score was relatively higher than the EQ-5D tariff and SF-36 PCS scores.

Conclusion: This study has shown substantial agreement between three HRQoL scales, being either generic or condition specific. This supports the use of generic HRQoL measures in schizophrenia.

Clinicaltrialsgov Identifier: NCT01634542 (July 6, 2012, retrospectively registered).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S218578DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930014PMC
December 2019

Health-related quality of life associated with different symptoms in women and in men who suffer from schizophrenia.

Arch Womens Ment Health 2019 06 7;22(3):357-365. Epub 2018 Aug 7.

Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with schizophrenia is related to the severity of psychiatric symptoms. The objective of this study is to analyze whether the symptoms that influence HRQoL are similar in women and men. Data were part of the Pattern study, an international observational investigation which collected data from 1379 outpatients with schizophrenia. Patients were evaluated with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Inventory, the Clinical Global Impression-Schizophrenia, and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), and reported their quality of life using the Schizophrenia Quality of Life Scale (SQLS), the Short Form-36 (SF-36), and the EuroQol-5 Dimension (EQ-5D). Men reported higher HRQoL on all scales. PANSS total score was 80.6 (SD 23.6) for women and 77.9 (SD 22.1) for men. In women, a higher PANSS negative score and a higher PANSS affective score were associated with a lower SQLS score. In men, a higher PANSS positive score and a higher PANSS affective score were associated with a lower SQLS score. The same pattern appeared with EQ-VAS and EQ-5D tariff. In women, greater age and higher PANSS affective score were associated with a lower SF-36 mental component score. In men, higher PANSS affective, positive, and cognitive scores were associated with a lower SF-36 mental component score. This study shows that HRQoL is influenced by different psychiatric symptoms in women and men. This may have significant implications when deciding the main treatment target in patients with schizophrenia.ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01634542.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00737-018-0896-0DOI Listing
June 2019

Unravelling long-term source removal effects and chlorinated methanes natural attenuation processes by C and Cl stable isotopic patterns at a complex field site.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Dec 17;645:286-296. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

Grup MAiMA, Mineralogia Aplicada, Geoquímica i Geomicrobiologia, Departament de Mineralogia, Petrologia i Geologia Aplicada, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), C/Martí i Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

The effects of contaminant sources removal in 2005 (i.e. barrels, tank, pit and wastewater pipe sources) on carbon tetrachloride (CT) and chloroform (CF) concentration in groundwater were assessed at several areas of a fractured multi-contaminant aquifer (Òdena, Spain) over a long-term period (2010-2014). Changes in redox conditions, in these chlorinated methanes (CMs) concentration and in their carbon isotopic compositions (δC) were monitored in multilevel wells. δC values from these wells were compared to those obtained from sources (barrels, tank and pit before their removal, 2002-2005) and to commercial solvents values in literature. Additionally, CMs natural attenuation processes were identified by C-Cl isotope slopes (Λ). Analyses revealed the downstream migration of the pollutant focus and an efficient removal of DNAPLs in the pit source's influence area. However, the removal of the contaminated soil from former tank and wastewater pipe was incomplete as leaching from unsaturated zone was proved, evidencing these areas are still active sources. Nevertheless, significant CMs degradation was detected close to all sources and Λ values pointed to different reactions. For CT in the tank area, Λ value fitted with hydrogenolysis pathway although other possible reduction processes were also uncovered. Near the wastewater pipe area, CT thiolytic reduction combined with hydrogenolysis was derived. The highest CT degradation extent accounted for these areas was 72 ± 11% and 84 ± 6%, respectively. For CF, the Λ value in the pit source's area was consistent with oxidation and/or with transport of CF affected by alkaline hydrolysis from upstream interception trenches. In contrast, isotope data evidenced CF reduction in the tank and wastewater pipe influence areas, although the observed Λ slightly deviates from the reference values, likely due to the continuous leaching of CF degraded in the non-saturated zone by a mechanism different from reduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.130DOI Listing
December 2018

Dual element (CCl) isotope approach to distinguish abiotic reactions of chlorinated methanes by Fe(0) and by Fe(II) on iron minerals at neutral and alkaline pH.

Chemosphere 2018 Sep 7;206:447-456. Epub 2018 May 7.

Grup MAiMA, Mineralogia Aplicada, Geoquímica i Geomicrobiologia, Departament de Mineralogia, Petrologia i Geologia Aplicada, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Martí Franquès s/n, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

A dual element CCl isotopic study was performed for assessing chlorinated methanes (CMs) abiotic transformation reactions mediated by iron minerals and Fe(0) to further distinguish them in natural attenuation monitoring or when applying remediation strategies in polluted sites. Isotope fractionation was investigated during carbon tetrachloride (CT) and chloroform (CF) degradation in anoxic batch experiments with Fe(0), with FeCl(aq), and with Fe-bearing minerals (magnetite, Mag and pyrite, Py) amended with FeCl(aq), at two different pH values (7 and 12) representative of field and remediation conditions. At pH 7, only CT batches with Fe(0) and Py underwent degradation and CF accumulation evidenced hydrogenolysis. With Py, thiolytic reduction was revealed by CS yield and is a likely reason for different Λ value (ΔδC/ΔδCl) comparing with Fe(0) experiments at pH 7 (2.9 ± 0.5 and 6.1 ± 0.5, respectively). At pH 12, all CT experiments showed degradation to CF, again with significant differences in Λ values between Fe(0) (5.8 ± 0.4) and Fe-bearing minerals (Mag, 2 ± 1, and Py, 3.7 ± 0.9), probably evidencing other parallel pathways (hydrolytic and thiolytic reduction). Variation of pH did not significantly affect the Λ values of CT degradation by Fe(0) nor Py. CF degradation by Fe(0) at pH 12 showed a Λ (8 ± 1) similar to that reported at pH 7 (8 ± 2), suggesting CF hydrogenolysis as the main reaction and that CF alkaline hydrolysis (13.0 ± 0.8) was negligible. Our data establish a base for discerning the predominant or combined pathways of CMs natural attenuation or for assessing the effectiveness of remediation strategies using recycled minerals or Fe(0).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.05.036DOI Listing
September 2018

Health-related quality of life in outpatients with schizophrenia: factors that determine changes over time.

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2018 03 16;53(3):239-248. Epub 2018 Jan 16.

Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: The objective of this study was to analyze the clinical factors associated with changes in HRQoL in outpatients with schizophrenia using both generic and condition-specific HRQoL scales.

Methods: Adult outpatients with schizophrenia at least 18 years of age who did not have an acute psychotic exacerbation in the 3 months prior to baseline were recruited. PANSS dimensions were calculated based on Lindenmayer et al.'s five factors. HRQoL data were assessed by patients using the Schizophrenia Quality of Life Scale (SQLS), the Short Form-36 (SF-36), and the EuroQol-5 Dimension (EQ-5D) questionnaires.

Results: Out of the 1345 patients included at baseline, 1196 (89%) were evaluated at 12 months. Regression models showed that the factor most consistently associated with HRQoL at endpoint was change in the PANSS negative symptoms score. A decrease in the PANSS negative symptoms score from baseline to 1 year was associated with a decrease in HRQoL during the same period. There were also significant associations of the change in PANSS excitatory factor with all the HRQoL scales except the SF-36 PCS. Female gender was associated with a decrease in all HRQoL ratings. There was also a relationship between years since onset and HRQoL. The longer the time since illness onset, the larger the decrease in HRQoL.

Conclusions: This study has found that, in outpatients with schizophrenia, changes in negative and excitement symptoms may have a greater an association with HRQoL than changes in positive, cognitive and depressive symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00127-018-1483-4DOI Listing
March 2018

Vitamin B effects on chlorinated methanes-degrading microcosms: Dual isotope and metabolically active microbial populations assessment.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Apr 18;621:1615-1625. Epub 2017 Oct 18.

Grup de Mineralogia Aplicada i Geoquímica de Fluids, Departament de Mineralogia, Petrologia i Geologia Aplicada, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), c/Martí Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

Field-derived anoxic microcosms were used to characterize chloroform (CF) and carbon tetrachloride (CT) natural attenuation to compare it with biostimulation scenarios in which vitamin B was added (B/pollutant ratio of 0.01 and 0.1) by means of by-products, carbon and chlorine compound-specific stable-isotope analysis, and the active microbial community through 16S rRNA MiSeq high-throughput sequencing. Autoclaved slurry controls discarded abiotic degradation processes. B catalyzed CF and CT biodegradation without the accumulation of dichloromethane, carbon disulphide, or CF. The carbon isotopic fractionation value of CF (ƐC) with B was -14±4‰, and the value for chlorine (ƐCl) was -2.4±0.4‰. The carbon isotopic fractionation values of CT (ƐC) were -16±6 with B, and -13±2‰ without B; and the chlorine isotopic fractionation values of CT (ƐCl) were -6±3 and -4±2‰, respectively. Acidovorax, Ancylobacter, and Pseudomonas were the most metabolically active genera, whereas Dehalobacter and Desulfitobacterium were below 0.1% of relative abundance. The dual C-Cl element isotope slope (Λ=ΔδC/ΔδCl) for CF biodegradation (only detected with B, 7±1) was similar to that reported for CF reduction by Fe(0) (8±2). Several reductive pathways might be competing in the tested CT scenarios, as evidenced by the lack of CF accumulation when B was added, which might be linked to a major activity of Pseudomonas stutzeri; by different chlorine apparent kinetic isotope effect values and Λ which was statistically different with and without B (5±1 vs 6.1±0.5), respectively. Thus, positive B effects such as CT and CF degradation catalyst were quantified for the first time in isotopic terms, and confirmed with the major activity of species potentially capable of their degradation. Moreover, the indirect benefits of B on the degradation of chlorinated ethenes were proved, creating a basis for remediation strategies in multi-contaminant polluted sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.067DOI Listing
April 2018

Carbon and Chlorine Isotope Fractionation Patterns Associated with Different Engineered Chloroform Transformation Reactions.

Environ Sci Technol 2017 Jun 17;51(11):6174-6184. Epub 2017 May 17.

Centre for Hydrogeology and Geothermics, Université de Neuchâtel , 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

To use compound-specific isotope analysis for confidently assessing organic contaminant attenuation in the environment, isotope fractionation patterns associated with different transformation mechanisms must first be explored in laboratory experiments. To deliver this information for the common groundwater contaminant chloroform (CF), this study investigated for the first time both carbon and chlorine isotope fractionation for three different engineered reactions: oxidative C-H bond cleavage using heat-activated persulfate, transformation under alkaline conditions (pH ∼ 12) and reductive C-Cl bond cleavage by cast zerovalent iron, Fe(0). Carbon and chlorine isotope fractionation values were -8 ± 1‰ and -0.44 ± 0.06‰ for oxidation, -57 ± 5‰ and -4.4 ± 0.4‰ for alkaline hydrolysis (pH 11.84 ± 0.03), and -33 ± 11‰ and -3 ± 1‰ for dechlorination, respectively. Carbon and chlorine apparent kinetic isotope effects (AKIEs) were in general agreement with expected mechanisms (C-H bond cleavage in oxidation by persulfate, C-Cl bond cleavage in Fe(0)-mediated reductive dechlorination and E1 elimination mechanism during alkaline hydrolysis) where a secondary AKIE (1.00045 ± 0.00004) was observed for oxidation. The different dual carbon-chlorine (ΔδC vs ΔδCl) isotope patterns for oxidation by thermally activated persulfate and alkaline hydrolysis (17 ± 2 and 13.0 ± 0.8, respectively) vs reductive dechlorination by Fe(0) (8 ± 2) establish a base to identify and quantify these CF degradation mechanisms in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b00679DOI Listing
June 2017

Compound-Specific Chlorine Isotope Analysis of Tetrachloromethane and Trichloromethane by Gas Chromatography-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry vs Gas Chromatography-Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry: Method Development and Evaluation of Precision and Trueness.

Anal Chem 2017 03 2;89(6):3411-3420. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

Institute of Groundwater Ecology, Helmholtz Zentrum München , Ingolstädter Landstrasse 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany.

Compound-specific chlorine isotope analysis of tetrachloromethane (CCl) and trichloromethane (CHCl) was explored by both, gas chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS) and GC-quadrupole MS (GC-qMS), where GC-qMS was validated in an interlaboratory comparison between Munich and Neuchâtel with the same type of commercial GC-qMS instrument. GC-IRMS measurements analyzed CCl isotopologue ions, whereas GC-qMS analyzed the isotopologue ions CCl, CCl, CCl (of CCl) and CHCl, CHCl, CHCl (of CHCl), respectively. Lowest amount dependence (good linearity) was obtained (i) in H-containing fragment ions where interference of Cl- to Cl-containing ions was avoided; (ii) with tuning parameters favoring one predominant rather than multiple fragment ions in the mass spectra. Optimized GC-qMS parameters (dwell time 70 ms, 2 most abundant ions) resulted in standard deviations of 0.2‰ (CHCl) and 0.4‰ (CCl), which are only about twice as large as 0.1‰ and 0.2‰ for GC-IRMS. To compare also the trueness of both methods and laboratories, samples from CCl and CHCl degradation experiments were analyzed and calibrated against isotopically different reference standards for both CCl and CHCl (two of each). Excellent agreement confirms that true results can be obtained by both methods provided that a consistent set of isotopically characterized reference materials is used.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.6b04129DOI Listing
March 2017

Feasibility of two low-cost organic substrates for inducing denitrification in artificial recharge ponds: Batch and flow-through experiments.

J Contam Hydrol 2017 03 22;198:48-58. Epub 2017 Jan 22.

Grup de Mineralogia Aplicada i Geoquímica de Fluids, Departament de Mineralogia, Petrologia i Geologia Aplicada, SIMGEO UB-CSIC, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), C/ Martí i Franquès, s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

Anaerobic batch and flow-through experiments were performed to assess the capacity of two organic substrates to promote denitrification of nitrate-contaminated groundwater within managed artificial recharge systems (MAR) in arid or semi-arid regions. Denitrification in MAR systems can be achieved through artificial recharge ponds coupled with a permeable reactive barrier in the form of a reactive organic layer. In arid or semi-arid regions, short-term efficient organic substrates are required due to the short recharge periods. We examined the effectiveness of two low-cost, easily available and easily handled organic substrates, commercial plant-based compost and crushed palm tree leaves, to determine the feasibility of using them in these systems. Chemical and multi-isotopic monitoring (δN, δO, δS, δO) of the laboratory experiments confirmed that both organic substrates induced denitrification. Complete nitrate removal was achieved in all the experiments with a slight transient nitrite accumulation. In the flow-through experiments, ammonium release was observed at the beginning of both experiments and lasted longer for the experiment with palm tree leaves. Isotopic characterisation of the released ammonium suggested ammonium leaching from both organic substrates at the beginning of the experiments and pointed to ammonium production by DNRA for the palm tree leaves experiment, which would only account for a maximum of 15% of the nitrate attenuation. Sulphate reduction was achieved in both column experiments. The amount of organic carbon consumed during denitrification and sulphate reduction was 0.8‰ of the total organic carbon present in commercial compost and 4.4% for the palm tree leaves. The N and O isotopic fractionation values obtained (ε and ε) were -10.4‰ and -9.0‰ for the commercial compost (combining data from both batch and column experiments), and -9.9‰ and -8.6‰ for the palm tree column, respectively. Both materials showed a satisfactory capacity for denitrification, but the palm tree leaves gave a higher denitrification rate and yield (amount of nitrate consumed per amount of available C) than commercial compost.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2017.01.001DOI Listing
March 2017

Characterizing sources and natural attenuation of nitrate contamination in the Baix Ter aquifer system (NE Spain) using a multi-isotope approach.

Sci Total Environ 2017 Feb 20;580:518-532. Epub 2016 Dec 20.

Grup de Mineralogia Aplicada i Geoquímica de Fluids, Dept. de Mineralogia, Petrologia i Geologia Aplicada, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), c/Martí i Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

Nitrate pollution is a widespread issue affecting global water resources with significant economic and health effects. Knowledge of both the corresponding pollution sources and of processes naturally attenuating them is thus of crucial importance in assessing water management policies and the impact of anthropogenic activities. In this study, an approach combining hydrodynamic, hydrochemical and multi-isotope systematics (8 isotopes) is used to characterize the sources of nitrate pollution and potential natural attenuation processes in a polluted basin of NE Spain. δH and δO isotopes were used to further characterize the sources of recharge of the aquifers. Results show that NO is not homogeneously distributed and presents a large range of concentrations, from no NO to up to 480mgL. δN and δO of dissolved NO identified manure as the main source of nitrate, although sewage and mineral fertilizers can also be isotopically detected using boron isotopes (δB) and δS and δO of dissolved sulphate, respectively. The multi-isotope approach proved that natural denitrification is occurring, especially in near-river environments or in areas hydrologically related to fault zones. δS and δO indicated that denitrification is not driven by pyrite oxidation but rather by the oxidation of organic matter. This could not be confirmed by the study of δC that was buffered by the entanglement of other processes and sources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.206DOI Listing
February 2017

Nitrate pollution of groundwater; all right…, but nothing else?

Sci Total Environ 2016 Jan 9;539:241-251. Epub 2015 Sep 9.

Grup d'Hidrologia Subterrània, Dept. D'Enginyeria del Terreny, Cartogràfica i Geofísica, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-Barcelona Tech, Spain. Electronic address:

Contamination from agricultural sources and, in particular, nitrate pollution, is one of the main concerns in groundwater management. However, this type of pollution entails the entrance of other substances into the aquifer, as well as it may promote other processes. In this study, we deal with hydrochemical and isotopic analysis of groundwater samples from four distinct zones in Catalonia (NE Spain), which include 5 different aquifer types, to investigate the influence of fertilization on the overall hydrochemical composition of groundwater. Results indicate that intense fertilizer application, causing high nitrate pollution in aquifers, also homogenize the contents of the major dissolved ions (i.e.; Cl(-), SO4(2-), Ca(2+), Na(+), K(+), and Mg(2+)). Thus, when groundwater in igneous and sedimentary aquifers is compared, significant differences are observed under natural conditions for Cl(-), Na(+) and Ca(2+) (with p-values ranging from <0.001 to 0.038), and when high nitrate concentrations occur, these differences are reduced (most p-values ranged between 0.054 and 0.978). Moreover, positive linear relationships between nitrate and some ions are found indicating the magnitude of the fertilization impact on groundwater hydrochemistry (with R(2) values of 0.490, 0.609 and 0.470, for SO4(2-), Ca(2+) and Cl(-), respectively). Nevertheless, the increasing concentration of specific ions is not only attributed to agricultural pollution, but to their enhancing effect upon the biogeochemical processes that control water-rock interactions. Such results raise awareness that these processes should be evaluated in advance in order to assess an adequate groundwater resources management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.08.151DOI Listing
January 2016

Decreasing Kd uncertainties through the application of thermodynamic sorption models.

Sci Total Environ 2015 Sep 14;527-528:297-305. Epub 2015 May 14.

Amphos 21, Passeig de Garcia i Fària 49-51, 08019, Barcelona, Spain.

Radionuclide retardation processes during transport are expected to play an important role in the safety assessment of subsurface disposal facilities for radioactive waste. The linear distribution coefficient (Kd) is often used to represent radionuclide retention, because analytical solutions to the classic advection-diffusion-retardation equation under simple boundary conditions are readily obtainable, and because numerical implementation of this approach is relatively straightforward. For these reasons, the Kd approach lends itself to probabilistic calculations required by Performance Assessment (PA) calculations. However, it is widely recognised that Kd values derived from laboratory experiments generally have a narrow field of validity, and that the uncertainty of the Kd outside this field increases significantly. Mechanistic multicomponent geochemical simulators can be used to calculate Kd values under a wide range of conditions. This approach is powerful and flexible, but requires expert knowledge on the part of the user. The work presented in this paper aims to develop a simplified approach of estimating Kd values whose level of accuracy would be comparable with those obtained by fully-fledged geochemical simulators. The proposed approach consists of deriving simplified algebraic expressions by combining relevant mass action equations. This approach was applied to three distinct geochemical systems involving surface complexation and ion-exchange processes. Within bounds imposed by model simplifications, the presented approach allows radionuclide Kd values to be estimated as a function of key system-controlling parameters, such as the pH and mineralogy. This approach could be used by PA professionals to assess the impact of key geochemical parameters on the variability of radionuclide Kd values. Moreover, the presented approach could be relatively easily implemented in existing codes to represent the influence of temporal and spatial changes in geochemistry on Kd values.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.107DOI Listing
September 2015

Effectiveness of family work interventions on schizophrenia: evidence from a multicentre study in Catalonia.

Int J Soc Psychiatry 2012 Nov 1;58(6):587-95. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Mental Health Department, Parc Tauli Hospital, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Despite their proven efficacy, family work interventions on families of patients with schizophrenia are not being implemented in routine clinical practice in contexts where expressed emotion levels among caregivers are relatively high.

Aims: This study aimed to explore the effectiveness of a family work intervention in a Mediterranean environment in Catalonia, Spain.

Method: Participants were 23 patients and 35 key relatives in five different clinical settings. The family intervention was provided by 10 trained health care professionals during a nine-month period. A six-month follow-up was also conducted.

Results: Statistically significant improvements were found in patients' clinical status, global functioning and social functioning levels, as well as in caregivers' burden of care. These results were maintained during follow-up.

Conclusion: This is the first study to explore the effectiveness of family intervention in a high-expressed emotion context in Catalonia. The findings add weight to the growing literature supporting these interventions in different cultural settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0020764011415595DOI Listing
November 2012

Incidence and risk factors of exacerbations among COPD patients in primary health care: APMPOC study.

BMC Public Health 2009 Jan 9;9. Epub 2009 Jan 9.

Primary Healthcare Research Support Unit Barcelonès Nord i Maresme, IDIAP Jordi Gol, Mataró, Spain.

Background: Worldwide, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth cause of death. Exacerbations have a negative impact on the prognosis of COPD and the frequency and severity of these episodes are associated with a higher patient mortality. Exacerbations are the first cause of decompensation, hospital admission and death in COPD. The incidence of exacerbations has mainly been estimated in populations of patients with moderate-severe COPD requiring hospital care. However, little is known regarding the epidemiology of exacerbations in patients with less severe COPD forms. It is therefore possible that a high number of these less severe forms of exacerbations are underdiagnosed and may, in the long-term, have certain prognostic importance for the COPD evolution. The aim of this study was to know the incidence and risk factors associated with exacerbations in patients with COPD in primary care.

Methods And Design: A prospective, observational, 3-phase, multicentre study will be performed involving: baseline evaluation, follow up and final evaluation. A total of 685 smokers or ex-smokers from 40 to 80 years of age with COPD, without acute respiratory disease or any other long-term respiratory disease will be randomly selected among the population assigned to 21 primary care centres. The diagnosis of COPD and its severity will be confirmed by spirometry. Information regarding the baseline situation, quality of life and exposure to contaminants or other factors potentially related to exacerbations will be collected. A group of 354 patients with confirmed COPD of varying severity will be followed for one year through monthly telephone calls and daily reporting of symptoms with the aim of detecting all the exacerbations which occur. These patients will be evaluated again at the end of the study and the incidence of exacerbations and associated relative risks will be estimated by negative binomial regression.

Discussion: The results will be relevant to provide knowledge about natural history of the initial phases of the COPD and the impact and incidence of the exacerbations on the patients with mild-moderate forms of the disease. These data may be important to know the milder forms of exacerbation which are often silent or very little expressed clinically.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-9-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633267PMC
January 2009

Long-term geochemical evolution of the near field repository: insights from reactive transport modelling and experimental evidences.

J Contam Hydrol 2008 Dec 15;102(3-4):196-209. Epub 2008 Oct 15.

Amphos XXI Consulting, S.L., Valldoreix (Barcelona), Spain.

The KBS-3 underground nuclear waste repository concept designed by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co. (SKB) includes a bentonite buffer barrier surrounding the copper canisters and the iron insert where spent nuclear fuel will be placed. Bentonite is also part of the backfill material used to seal the access and deposition tunnels of the repository. The bentonite barrier has three main safety functions: to ensure the physical stability of the canister, to retard the intrusion of groundwater to the canisters, and in case of canister failure, to retard the migration of radionuclides to the geosphere. Laboratory experiments (< 10 years long) have provided evidence of the control exerted by accessory minerals and clay surfaces on the pore water chemistry. The evolution of the pore water chemistry will be a primordial factor on the long-term stability of the bentonite barrier, which is a key issue in the safety assessments of the KBS-3 concept. In this work we aim to study the long-term geochemical evolution of bentonite and its pore water in the evolving geochemical environment due to climate change. In order to do this, reactive transport simulations are used to predict the interaction between groundwater and bentonite which is simulated following two different pathways: (1) groundwater flow through the backfill in the deposition tunnels, eventually reaching the top of the deposition hole, and (2) direct connection between groundwater and bentonite rings through fractures in the granite crosscutting the deposition hole. The influence of changes in climate has been tested using three different waters interacting with the bentonite: present-day groundwater, water derived from ice melting, and deep-seated brine. Two commercial bentonites have been considered as buffer material, MX-80 and Deponit CA-N, and one natural clay (Friedland type) for the backfill. They show differences in the composition of the exchangeable cations and in the accessory mineral content. Results from the simulations indicate that pore water chemistry is controlled by the equilibrium with the accessory minerals, especially carbonates. pH is buffered by precipitation/dissolution of calcite and dolomite, when present. The equilibrium of these minerals is deeply influenced by gypsum dissolution and cation exchange reactions in the smectite interlayer. If carbonate minerals are initially absent in bentonite, pH is then controlled by surface acidity reactions in the hydroxyl groups at the edge sites of the clay fraction, although its buffering capacity is not as strong as the equilibrium with carbonate minerals. The redox capacity of the bentonite pore water system is mainly controlled by Fe(II)-bearing minerals (pyrite and siderite). Changes in the groundwater composition lead to variations in the cation exchange occupancy, and dissolution-precipitation of carbonate minerals and gypsum. The most significant changes in the evolution of the system are predicted when ice-melting water, which is highly diluted and alkaline, enters into the system. In this case, the dissolution of carbonate minerals is enhanced, increasing pH in the bentonite pore water. Moreover, a rapid change in the population of exchange sites in the smectite is expected due to the replacement of Na for Ca.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2008.09.021DOI Listing
December 2008

Combination of aripiprazole and other psychopharmacological treatments in resistant and multi-resistant patients.

Curr Drug Saf 2008 Sep;3(3):210-5

Salut Mental, Corporació Sanitària Parc Taulí. Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain.

Introduction: Aripiprazole is a new antipsychotic agent that has proven safe and efficacious in controlled clinical trials. However, few published data on its effectiveness and safety when used in augmentation and combination are available.

Methods: Our study aimed to determine the functional effectiveness and safety of different combinations of aripiprazole with other psychotropics in resistant patients. All acute not selected (15) patients treated with aripiprazole and other psychotropics between February 2005 and May 2007 are included.

Results: Mean follow-up 20.4 days. Main diagnosis was schizophrenia (40%) and mean dose of aripiprazole was 25 mg/d. Resistant patients received initially multiple psychotropics (mean 3.3) and their functional status was very low. A significant functional improvement was observed after admission in most (12) of them. Only three patients experienced mild to moderate improvement; another three patients showed extrapyramidal symptoms. No dermatological reactions or adverse effects were observed with lamotrigine association. DISCUSIONS: The combination of aripiprazole with other psychotropics was well tolerated. No significant new adverse reactions were observed. In a short term follow-up, our results show a good tolerability of aripiprazole in combination with other psychotropics of different groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/157488608785699496DOI Listing
September 2008

[Electroconvulsive therapy in children and adolescents: a review of the literature].

Med Clin (Barc) 2004 Mar;122(9):349-54

Servicio de Psiquiatría, Corporació Parc Taulí, Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain.

It is well-known that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe and effective treatment for some mental disorders in adults. However, its use in children and adolescents is still the cause of some fears which may not be justified. The aim of this article is to clarify and to present the state of this question by reviewing the literature about ECT in children and adolescents, with emphasis on efficacy, indications, adverse effects and limitations. Results from studies in this population group show similar safety and efficacy data as those observed in adults. There exists a misinformation about the ECT technique among child psychologists and psychiatrists. Large follow-up studies are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0025-7753(04)74231-1DOI Listing
March 2004

Relaxation induced by milrinone and rolipram in human penile arteries and veins.

Eur J Pharmacol 2002 May;444(1-2):103-6

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Odontology, University of Valencia, School of Medicine, Blasco Ibáñez, 17, 46010, Valencia, Spain.

We studied the relaxant effects of milrinone, an inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 3, and rolipram, an inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4, on contracted human penile dorsal artery and deep dorsal vein. Vascular rings from 12 multi-organ donors were suspended in organ baths for isometric recording of tension. Both milrinone and rolipram inhibited (100%) the contraction induced by noradrenaline and shifted the relaxation-response curves to the cAMP forming agents prostaglandin E(1) and forskolin to the left. The findings indicate that the cAMP pathway appears to be a main determinant of relaxation in human penile vessels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0014-2999(02)01621-7DOI Listing
May 2002

Increased contraction to noradrenaline by vasopressin in human renal arteries.

J Hypertens 2002 Jul;20(7):1373-9

Departmento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina y Odontologia, Universidad de Valencia, Spain.

Objective: Arginine vasopressin (AVP) not only acts directly on blood vessels through vasopressin V1 receptor stimulation but also may modulate adrenergic-mediated responses in animal experiments. The aim of the present study was to assess whether subpressor concentrations of AVP could contribute to an abnormal adrenergic contractile response of human renal arteries.

Methods: Renal artery rings were obtained from 27 patients undergoing nephrectomy. The rings were suspended in organ bath chambers for isometric recording of tension.

Results: AVP (10(-10) mol/l) and the vasopressin V1 receptor agonist [Phe2, Orn8]-vasotocin (10(-10) mol/l) produced a leftward shift of the concentration-response curve to noradrenaline (half-maximal effective concentration decreased from 1.1 x 10(-6) mol/l to 3.1 x 10(-7) mol/l). The enhancement of noradrenaline-induced contractions was inhibited by the vasopressin V1 receptor antagonist d(CH2)5Tyr(Me)AVP (10-8 mol/l) and unaffected by endothelium removal or pretreatment with the inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) synthase NG-monomethyl-l-arginine (l-NMMA). The vasopressin V2 receptor agonist 1-desamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin (dDAVP) (10(-10)-10(-8) mol/l) did not modify contractile responses to noradrenaline. In the presence of the dihydropyridine calcium antagonist nifedipine (10(-6) mol/l), vasopressin failed to enhance the contractile response to noradrenaline.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate that subpressor concentrations of vasopressin potentiate the contractile effects of noradrenaline without intervention of the NO system. The effects appear to be mediated by vasopressin V1 receptor stimulation, which brings about an increase in calcium entry through dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00004872-200207000-00024DOI Listing
July 2002