Publications by authors named "Letícia de Oliveira"

65 Publications

The 100,000 most influential scientists rank: the underrepresentation of Brazilian women in academia.

An Acad Bras Cienc 2021 20;93(suppl 3):e20201952. Epub 2021 Sep 20.

Departamento de Biologia Molecular e Biotecnologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.

Despite the progress observed in recent years, women are still underrepresented in science worldwide, especially at top positions. Many factors contribute to women progressively leaving academia at different stages of their career, including motherhood, harassment and conscious and unconscious discrimination. Implicit bias plays a major negative role in recognition, promotions and career advancement of female scientists. Recently, a rank of the most influential scientists in the world was created based on several metrics, including the number of published papers and citations. Here, we analyzed the representation of Brazilian scientists in this rank, focusing on gender. Female Brazilian scientists are greatly underrepresented in the rank (11% in the Top 100,000; 18% in the Top 2%). Possible reasons for this observed scenario are related to the metrics used to rank scientists, which reproduce and amplify the well-known implicit bias in peer-review and citations. Male scientists have more self-citation than female scientists and positions in the rank varied when self-citations were included, suggesting that self-citation by male scientists increases their visibility. Discussions on the repercussions of such ranks are pivotal to avoid deepening the gender gap in science.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0001-3765202120201952DOI Listing
September 2021

Tonic Immobility is Associated with PTSD Symptoms in Traumatized Adolescents.

Psychol Res Behav Manag 2021 1;14:1359-1369. Epub 2021 Sep 1.

Biomedical Institute, Fluminense Federal University, Niterói, RJ, 24210-130, Brazil.

Purpose: Growing evidence suggests that peritraumatic tonic immobility, an involuntary defensive response that involves extreme physical immobility and the perceived inability to escape, is a significant predictor of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology. However, this issue has not been specifically addressed in adolescents. Here, we investigated whether tonic immobility response experienced during the worst childhood or adolescent trauma is associated with PTSD symptom severity in a non-clinical student sample.

Methods: The sample was composed of students in 9th grade who were attending public and private schools. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress and tonic immobility were assessed using questionnaires. We performed bivariate and multivariate negative binomial regressions to examine whether tonic immobility was associated with PTSD symptomatology after controlling for confounders (peritraumatic dissociation, peritraumatic panic reactions, gender, age and time since trauma).

Results: We found an association between tonic immobility and PTSD symptom severity, even after controlling for confounders. Therefore, tonic immobility is associated with PTSD symptoms in trauma-exposed adolescents.

Conclusion: These findings highlight tonic immobility as a possible risk factor that could be used to provide direction for more targeted trauma interventions for individuals, particularly those at risk for developing PTSD. Therefore, it contributes to preventing and reducing the psychiatric burden in adolescence and later in life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S317343DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8420784PMC
September 2021

Facing Racism and Sexism in Science by Fighting Against Social Implicit Bias: A Latina and Black Woman's Perspective.

Front Psychol 2021 16;12:671481. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Biomedical Institute, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil.

The editors of several major journals have recently asserted the importance of combating racism and sexism in science. This is especially relevant now, as the COVID-19 pandemic may have led to a widening of the gender and racial/ethnicity gaps. Implicit bias is a crucial component in this fight. Negative stereotypes that are socially constructed in a given culture are frequently associated with implicit bias (which is unconscious or not perceived). In the present article, we point to scientific evidence that shows the presence of implicit bias in the academic community, contributing to strongly damaging unconscious evaluations and judgments of individuals or groups. Additionally, we suggest several actions aimed at (1) editors and reviewers of scientific journals (2) people in positions of power within funding agencies and research institutions, and (3) members of selection committees to mitigate this effect. These recommendations are based on the experience of a group of Latinx American scientists comprising Black and Latina women, teachers, and undergraduate students who participate in women in science working group at universities in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With this article, we hope to contribute to reflections, actions, and the development of institutional policies that enable and consolidate diversity in science and reduce disparities based on gender and race/ethnicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.671481DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8322228PMC
July 2021

Covid-19 diagnosis by combining RT-PCR and pseudo-convolutional machines to characterize virus sequences.

Sci Rep 2021 06 2;11(1):11545. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Escola Politécnica da Universidade de Pernambuco, POLI-UPE, Recife, Brazil.

The Covid-19 pandemic, a disease transmitted by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has already caused the infection of more than 120 million people, of which 70 million have been recovered, while 3 million people have died. The high speed of infection has led to the rapid depletion of public health resources in most countries. RT-PCR is Covid-19's reference diagnostic method. In this work we propose a new technique for representing DNA sequences: they are divided into smaller sequences with overlap in a pseudo-convolutional approach and represented by co-occurrence matrices. This technique eliminates multiple sequence alignment. Through the proposed method, it is possible to identify virus sequences from a large database: 347,363 virus DNA sequences from 24 virus families and SARS-CoV-2. When comparing SARS-CoV-2 with virus families with similar symptoms, we obtained [Formula: see text] for sensitivity and [Formula: see text] for specificity with MLP classifier and 30% overlap. When SARS-CoV-2 is compared to other coronaviruses and healthy human DNA sequences, we obtained [Formula: see text] for sensitivity and [Formula: see text] for specificity with MLP and 50% overlap. Therefore, the molecular diagnosis of Covid-19 can be optimized by combining RT-PCR and our pseudo-convolutional method to identify DNA sequences for SARS-CoV-2 with greater specificity and sensitivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90766-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173023PMC
June 2021

Gender, Race and Parenthood Impact Academic Productivity During the COVID-19 Pandemic: From Survey to Action.

Front Psychol 2021 12;12:663252. Epub 2021 May 12.

Biomedical Institute, Fluminense Federal University, Niterói, Brazil.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is altering dynamics in academia, and people juggling remote work and domestic demands - including childcare - have felt impacts on their productivity. Female authors have faced a decrease in paper submission rates since the beginning of the pandemic period. The reasons for this decline in women's productivity need to be further investigated. Here, we analyzed the influence of gender, parenthood and race on academic productivity during the pandemic period based on a survey answered by 3,345 Brazilian academics from various knowledge areas and research institutions. Productivity was assessed by the ability to submit papers as planned and to meet deadlines during the initial period of social isolation in Brazil. The findings revealed that male academics - especially those without children - are the least affected group, whereas Black women and mothers are the most impacted groups. These impacts are likely a consequence of the well-known unequal division of domestic labor between men and women, which has been exacerbated during the pandemic. Additionally, our results highlight that racism strongly persists in academia, especially against Black women. The pandemic will have long-term effects on the career progression of the most affected groups. The results presented here are crucial for the development of actions and policies that aim to avoid further deepening the gender gap in academia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.663252DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8153681PMC
May 2021

Reverse vaccinology and subtractive genomics approaches for identifying common therapeutics against and .

J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis 2021 Apr 9;27:e20200027. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Immunology, Microbiology and Parasitology, Institute of Biological Sciences and Natural Sciences, Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM), Uberaba, MG, Brazil.

Background: and are gram-positive bacterial pathogens and the causative agents of leprosy in humans across the world. The elimination of leprosy cannot be achieved by multidrug therapy alone, and highlights the need for new tools and drugs to prevent the emergence of new resistant strains.

Methods: In this study, our contribution includes the prediction of vaccine targets and new putative drugs against leprosy, using reverse vaccinology and subtractive genomics. Six strains of and (4 and 2 strains, respectively) were used for comparison taking strain TN as the reference genome. Briefly, we used a combined reverse vaccinology and subtractive genomics approach.

Results: As a result, we identified 12 common putative antigenic proteins as vaccine targets and three common drug targets against and Furthermore the docking analysis using 28 natural compounds with three drug targets was done.

Conclusions: The bis-naphthoquinone compound Diospyrin (CID 308140) obtained from indigenous plant spp showed the most favored binding affinity against predicted drug targets, which can be a candidate therapeutic target in the future against leprosy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-9199-JVATITD-2020-0027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040911PMC
April 2021

Retrospective and prospective studies of transmissible viral proventriculitis in broiler chickens in Brazil.

J Vet Diagn Invest 2021 May 26;33(3):605-610. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Departments of Veterinary Clinic and Surgery, Veterinary School, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais-UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

We investigated the occurrence and pathologic findings of transmissible viral proventriculitis (TVP) associated with the chicken proventricular necrosis virus (CPNV) in commercial broiler chickens in southeastern Brazil. Seventy-three broilers, 25-36 d old, with a history of reduced growth, were referred to our veterinary pathology services from 2013 to 2017. Broilers were clinically examined, weighed, and euthanized for postmortem examination. Broilers of different ages with proventricular histologic lesions were positive for CPNV by RT-PCR; however, the intensity of histologic lesions was higher among 33-d-old animals, and viral RNA detection was more frequent among those that were 28 d old. In the proventriculi of 35 of 73 (48%) broilers, lesions were characterized by glandular epithelial necrosis, lymphoplasmacytic and histiocytic infiltrates, and metaplasia of glandular epithelium to ductal epithelium. In 24 of 73 (36%) broilers with histologic TVP-compatible lesions, CPNV was detected by RT-PCR for the viral protein 1 () gene. Broilers with histologic lesions were lighter than expected compared to the Cobb 500 standard weight. TVP has not been reported previously in broiler chickens in Brazil, to our knowledge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10406387211004106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8120089PMC
May 2021

The invisible scars of emotional abuse: a common and highly harmful form of childhood maltreatment.

BMC Psychiatry 2021 03 17;21(1):156. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Laboratório de Neurofisiologia do Comportamento (LABNEC), Departamento de Fisiologia e Farmacologia, Instituto Biomédico, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil.

Background: Childhood maltreatment (CM) is unfortunately widespread globally and has been linked with an increased risk of a variety of psychiatric disorders in adults, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These associations are well established in the literature for some maltreatment forms, such as sexual and physical abuse. However, the effects of emotional maltreatment are much less explored, even though this type figures among the most common forms of childhood maltreatment. Thus, the present study aims to investigate the impact of each type of childhood maltreatment, both individually and conjointly, on revictimization and PTSD symptom severity using a nonclinical college student sample.

Methods: Five hundred and two graduate and undergraduate students participated in the study by completing questionnaires assessing lifetime traumatic experiences in general, maltreatment during childhood and PTSD symptoms. Bivariate and multivariate negative binomial regressions were applied to examine the associations among childhood maltreatment, revictimization, and PTSD symptom severity.

Results: Our results showed that using bivariate models, all types of CM were significantly associated with revictimization and PTSD symptom severity. Multivariate models showed that emotional abuse was the type of maltreatment associated with the highest incidence rates of revictimization and PTSD symptom severity.

Conclusions: These data provide additional evidence of the harmful effects of childhood maltreatment and its long-term consequences for individuals' mental health. Notably, the findings highlight the importance of studying the impacts of emotional abuse, which seems to be a highly prevalent, understudied, and chronic form of maltreatment that is as toxic as other maltreatment forms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12888-021-03134-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7968325PMC
March 2021

Resistance exercises improve physical function in chronic Chikungunya fever patients: a randomized controlled trial.

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2021 Aug 15;57(4):620-629. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Department of Physical Therapy, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil -

Background: Chikungunya fever is an arboviral disease, caused by an alphavirus, the Chikungunya virus, characterized by fever and joint pain that is generally disabling in the acute phase and may last from months to years, with the potential to evolve into chronic musculoskeletal symptoms, as polyarthralgia and arthritis, which can lead to significant impairment of physical function. The non-pharmacological treatment is very important for these patients, and resistance exercises may be one rehabilitation option.

Aim: This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a resistance exercise protocol on the physical function, pain, and quality of life of patients with chronic Chikungunya fever.

Design: A randomized, controlled, blind trial for the evaluators.

Setting: Clinic-school of Physical therapy.

Population: Thirty-one patients with Chikungunya fever and musculoskeletal symptoms lasting more than three months, recruited from the Rheumatology outpatient clinic at Clinical Hospital, Federal University of Pernambuco (HC-UFPE).

Methods: Patients (aged 56±10 years) were randomly assigned into one of two groups: Resistance Exercise Group (REG, N.=15) or Control Group (CG, N.=16). REG performed progressive resistance exercises with elastic bands (24 sessions over 12 weeks). CG only had their symptoms monitored through phone calls, maintaining the usual care treatment. Assessments were taken at baseline and after 6 and 12 weeks of the following: physical function (30-second Chair Stand Test (30-s CST), 4-step Stair Climb Power Test (4SCPT), 40-m Fast-paced Walk Test (40m FPWT), and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, Hand (DASH) questionnaire); pain (VAS and painful joints count); quality of life (Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey [SF-36]); and Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) scale.

Results: There was a reduction of pain (P=0.01; d=-0.83) and an improvement of 30-s CST (P=0.04; d=0.85) in REG participants after 12 weeks. There was no significant change in the domains of SF-36. Nearly 70% of trained patients reported improvement on PGIC.

Conclusions: Resistance exercises improved physical function in sitting and standing and reduced pain in patients with chronic Chikungunya fever.

Clinical Rehabilitation Impact: Resistance exercises can be considered as a treatment approach for patients with musculoskeletal disorders in the chronic stage of Chikungunya fever.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S1973-9087.21.06520-5DOI Listing
August 2021

Runting and Stunting Syndrome in Broiler Chickens: Histopathology and Association With a Novel Picornavirus.

Vet Pathol 2021 01 7;58(1):123-135. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

28114Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Runting stunting syndrome (RSS) in commercial chickens has been reported worldwide, and although several studies have attempted to clarify the cause and describe the lesions, there are gaps in knowledge of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and etiology. The study objective was to use commercial chicks naturally affected by RSS to describe the histologic changes of RSS in all segments of the small intestine in chicks of different ages and to identify viral gene sequences in affected chicks and their association with histologic lesions. Chicks lacking clinical signs but from the same houses and from unaffected houses were used as controls. The average weight of affected chicks was significantly lower than expected for their flocks. Macroscopically, the small intestines had paler serosa, with watery, mucoid, or foamy contents and poorly digested food. Histologic lesions were characterized by necrotic crypts, crypt dilation, and flattening of the crypt epithelium. Histomorphometry of the intestines revealed villous atrophy especially in the jejunum and ileum. Histologic changes in other organs were not observed. Random next-generation sequencing of total RNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues detected avian nephritis virus, avian rotavirus, and picornavirus in jejunal segments from 7-day-old chicks. No viruses were detected in the jejunum of 1-day-old chicks. Detection of picornaviral reads was significantly associated ( < .05) with histologic lesions of RSS. Sequence analysis of the picornavirus revealed genetic similarity with the genus . Using in situ hybridization for galliviral nucleic acid sequences, the signal was associated with crypt lesion severity, although signal was detected both in chicks with and without RSS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300985820969971DOI Listing
January 2021

The role of polymeric nanofibers on the mechanical behavior of polymethyl methacrylate resin.

J Mech Behav Biomed Mater 2020 12 27;112:104072. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

Department of Dental Materials and Prosthodontics, Institute of Science and Technology, UNESP, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil. Electronic address:

This study aimed to synthesize and characterize non-woven acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyamide-6 (P6), and polystyrene (PS) nanofibers, and evaluate their effects on the flexural strength and fracture resistance of fiber-modified polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) resin. ABS, P6, and PS polymer solutions were prepared and electrospun into fiber mats, which were characterized by means of morphological, chemical, physical, and mechanical analyses. The fiber mats were then used to modify a thermally-activated PMMA resin, resulting in four testing groups: one unmodified group (control) and three fiber-modified groups incorporated with ABS, P6, or PS fiber mats. Flexural strength, work of fracture, and fractographic analysis were performed for all groups. Data were analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis or ANOVA tests (α = 0.05). The fiber diameter decreased, respectively, as follows: ABS > P6 > PS. Only the P6 fiber mats demonstrated a crystalline structure. Wettability was similar among the distinct fiber mats, although tensile strength was significantly greater for P6, followed by ABS, and then PS mats. Flexural strength of the fiber-modified PMMA resins was similar to the control, except for the weaker P6-based material. The work of fracture seemed to be greater and lower when the P6 and PS fibers were used, respectively. The fiber-modified groups exhibited a rougher pattern in the fractured surfaces when compared to the control, which may suggest that the presence of fibers deviates the direction of crack propagation, making the fracture mechanism of the PMMA resin more dynamic. While the neat PMMA showed a typical brittle response, the fiber-modified PMMA resins demonstrated a ductile response, combined with voids, suggesting large shear deformation during fracture. Altogether, despite the lack of direct reinforcement in the mechanical strength of the PMMA resin, the use of electrospun fibers showed promising application for the improvement of fracture behavior of PMMA resins, turning them into more compliant materials, although this effect may depend on the fiber composition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.104072DOI Listing
December 2020

Effects of load and emotional state on EEG alpha-band power and inter-site synchrony during a visual working memory task.

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 2020 10;20(5):1122-1132

Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention, University of Florida, 3063 Long Leaf Rd, Gainesville, FL, 32608, USA.

Motivationally/emotionally engaging stimuli are strong competitors for the limited capacity of sensory and cognitive systems. Thus, they often act as distractors, interfering with performance in concurrent primary tasks. Keeping task-relevant information in focus while suppressing the impact of distracting stimuli is one of the functions of working memory (WM). Macroscopic brain oscillations in the alpha band (8-13 Hz) have recently been identified as a neural correlate of WM processing. Using electroencephalography, we examined the extent to which changes in alpha power and inter-site connectivity during a typical WM task are sensitive to load and emotional distraction. Participants performed a lateralized change-detection task with two levels of load (four vs. two items), which was preceded by naturalistic scenes rated either as unpleasant or neutral, acting as distractors. The results showed the expected parieto-occipital alpha reduction in the hemisphere contralateral to the WM task array, compared to the ipsilateral hemisphere, during the retention interval. Selectively heightened oscillatory coupling between frontal and occipital sensors was observed (1) during the retention interval as a function of load, and (2) upon the onset of the memory array, after viewing neutral compared to unpleasant distractors. At the end of the retention interval, we observed greater coupling during the unpleasant compared to the neutral condition. These findings are consistent with the notions that (1) representing more items in WM requires greater interconnectivity across cortical areas, and (2) unpleasant emotional distractors interfere with subsequent WM processing by disrupting processing during the encoding stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13415-020-00823-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7815203PMC
October 2020

Role of metalloproteinases and TNF-α in obesity-associated asthma in mice.

Life Sci 2020 Oct 7;259:118191. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.

Numerous population studies conducted worldwide indicate that the prevalence of asthma is higher in obese versus lean individuals. It has been reported that sensitized lean mice has a better recovery of lung inflammation in asthma. Extracellular matrix (ECM) plays an essential role in the structural support of the lungs regulating the airways diameter, thus preventing its collapse during expiration. ECM renewal by metalloproteinase (MMPs) enzymes is critical for pulmonary biology. There seems to be an imbalance of MMPs activity in asthma and obesity, which can impair the lung remodeling process. In this study, we characterized the pulmonary ECM of obese and lean mice, non-sensitized and sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA). Pharmacological intervention was performed by using anti-TNF-α, and MMP-8 and MMP-9 inhibitors in obese and lean sensitized mice. Activity of MMPs was assessed by gelatinase electrophorese, western blotting and zymogram in situ. Unbalance of MMP-2, MMP-8, MMP-9 and MMP-12 was detected in lung tissue of OVA-sensitized obese mice, which was accompanied by high degradation, corroborating an excessive deposition of types I and III collagen in pulmonary matrix of obese animals. Inhibitions of TNF-α and MMP-9 reduced this MMP imbalance, clearly suggesting a positive effect on pulmonary ECM. Obese and lean mice presented diverse phenotype of asthma regarding the ECM compounds and the inhibition of MMPs pathway could be a good alternative to regulate the activity in ECM lungs of asthmatic obese individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2020.118191DOI Listing
October 2020

Monitoring cellulose oxidation for protein immobilization in paper-based low-cost biosensors.

Mikrochim Acta 2020 04 15;187(5):272. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Instituto de Química de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Trabalhador São-Carlense, 400, São Carlos, SP, 13566-590, Brazil.

The oxidation of paper by periodate was investigated and systematically characterized by Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, goniometry, and dynamic mechanical analysis. For the first time, in situ FTIR microscopy analysis was performed, yielding chemical images of carbonyl groups on the cellulose fibers. The enhancement of protein immobilization on oxidized paper was quantified by a colorimetric assay with Ponceau dye, demonstrating that 0.5-h oxidation suffices to functionalize the paper-based devices. The oxidized paper was applied as a sensor for protein quantification in urine, a test able to detect levels of proteinuria and even microalbuminuria. The quantification was based on the capture of proteins through covalent bonds formed with the carbonyl groups on the oxidized paper followed by the staining of the region with Ponceau dye. There is a linear dependency between human serum albumin (HSA) concentration and the length of the stained blot from 0.1 to 3 mg mL. This method correlated linearly with a reference method showing a higher sensitivity (0.866 cm mL mg) than the latter. The limit of quantification was 0.1 mg mL, three times lower than that of the commercial strip. Graphical abstract Paper oxidation with periodate and extensive characterization, including microspectroscopy. The conversion of cellulose hydroxyl groups to aldehyde enhances covalent immobilization of protein on paper for application as analytical device. The oxidized paper determined protein in urine, suitable for proteinuria diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00604-020-04250-6DOI Listing
April 2020

New records of interaction between Pseudoxenos (Strepsiptera) and the solitary wasp Pachodynerus grandis in Brazil (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Eumeninae) with an updated worldwide checklist of eumenine host species of Pseudoxenos.

Zootaxa 2020 Mar 5;4748(1):zootaxa.4748.1.7. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Laboratório de Sistemática e Biologia de Insetos, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, MG, Brazil.

Interactions between Strepsiptera (Pseudoxenos Saunders, 1872) and solitary wasps (Eumeninae) are recorded for the first time in Brazil for Pachodynerus grandis Willink Roig-Alsina, 1998. An updated worldwide checklist of the host species of Eumeninae for Pseudoxenos is provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4748.1.7DOI Listing
March 2020

Chemical composition of the volatile oil of Linnaeus and its allelopathic activity.

Nat Prod Res 2020 Feb 18:1-4. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Department of Pharmacy, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.

Several essential oils have allelochemicals with phytotoxic effects. species are producers of secondary metabolites with biological potential. In the present study, chemical composition of the essential oil extracted from aerial parts of Linnaeus was evaluated by gas chromatography and the phytotoxicity of the oil on seeds was evaluated for the first time. The yield of the essential oil was 0.12% (v/w). Chromatographic analysis allowed the identification of 97.49% of the total compounds present in the oil. Sesquiterpenes were found to be the predominant constituents of the volatile oil, with -caryophyllene (53.24%) being the major compound. Treatment with 0.1%-1% (v/v) of the essential oil inhibited the development of the hypocotyl and radicle of to a greater extent compared to the inhibition of seed germination, demonstrating the phytotoxic effect of the oil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2020.1727468DOI Listing
February 2020

Multiple Holdouts With Stability: Improving the Generalizability of Machine Learning Analyses of Brain-Behavior Relationships.

Biol Psychiatry 2020 02 10;87(4):368-376. Epub 2019 Dec 10.

Centre for Medical Image Computing, Department of Computer Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom; Max Planck University College London Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Background: In 2009, the National Institute of Mental Health launched the Research Domain Criteria, an attempt to move beyond diagnostic categories and ground psychiatry within neurobiological constructs that combine different levels of measures (e.g., brain imaging and behavior). Statistical methods that can integrate such multimodal data, however, are often vulnerable to overfitting, poor generalization, and difficulties in interpreting the results.

Methods: We propose an innovative machine learning framework combining multiple holdouts and a stability criterion with regularized multivariate techniques, such as sparse partial least squares and kernel canonical correlation analysis, for identifying hidden dimensions of cross-modality relationships. To illustrate the approach, we investigated structural brain-behavior associations in an extensively phenotyped developmental sample of 345 participants (312 healthy and 33 with clinical depression). The brain data consisted of whole-brain voxel-based gray matter volumes, and the behavioral data included item-level self-report questionnaires and IQ and demographic measures.

Results: Both sparse partial least squares and kernel canonical correlation analysis captured two hidden dimensions of brain-behavior relationships: one related to age and drinking and the other one related to depression. The applied machine learning framework indicates that these results are stable and generalize well to new data. Indeed, the identified brain-behavior associations are in agreement with previous findings in the literature concerning age, alcohol use, and depression-related changes in brain volume.

Conclusions: Multivariate techniques (such as sparse partial least squares and kernel canonical correlation analysis) embedded in our novel framework are promising tools to link behavior and/or symptoms to neurobiology and thus have great potential to contribute to a biologically grounded definition of psychiatric disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.12.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6970221PMC
February 2020

Association between habitual use of coping strategies and posttraumatic stress symptoms in a non-clinical sample of college students: A Bayesian approach.

PLoS One 2020 6;15(2):e0228661. Epub 2020 Feb 6.

Laboratory of Cognitive Psychophysiology, Department of Natural Sciences, Institute of Humanities and Health, Federal Fluminense University, Rio das Ostras, RJ, Brazil.

The present study investigated the influences of coping styles on posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) among a sample of non-clinical college students who were exposed to traumatic events. Ninety-nine college students participated in the study. However, the sample used in the analyses consisted of only 37 participants who fulfilled the DSM-IV criterion A for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis. The PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) and the Brief COPE were used to assess the participants' PTSS and habitual use of coping strategies, respectively. Bayesian and frequentist correlations showed that emotion-focused coping style was negatively associated with PTSS, while dysfunctional coping style was positively related to PTSS. In the subsequent linear regression on both statistical framework, dysfunctional coping was the only consistent variable predicting more PTSD symptoms. The findings presented here show that lower use of adaptive coping (emotion-focused) and higher use of dysfunctional coping styles on a daily basis are associated to PTSS severity in a non-clinical sample of college students. According to the Bayesian approach, which permits more generalization of data, dysfunctional coping style is determinant to higher levels of PTSS. These findings add new data to the body of research that highlight the critical role of distinct coping strategies in the severity of PTSS.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228661PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7004336PMC
May 2020

Lower Systolic Blood Pressure in Normotensive Subjects is Related to Better Autonomic Recovery Following Exercise.

Sci Rep 2020 01 22;10(1):1006. Epub 2020 Jan 22.

Autonomic Nervous System Center, Post-Graduate Program in Physical Therapy, São Paulo State University, UNESP, Presidente Prudente, SP, Brazil.

Blood pressure (BP) is a cardiovascular parameter applied to detect cardiovascular risk. Recently, the pre-hypertension state has received greater consideration for prevention strategies. We evaluated autonomic and cardiorespiratory recovery following aerobic exercise in normotensive individuals with different systolic BP (SBP) values. We investigated 30 healthy men aged 18 to 30 years divided into groups according to systolic BP (SBP): G1 (n = 16), resting SBP <110 mmHg and G2 (n = 14), resting SBP between 120-110 mmHg. The groups endured 15 minutes seated at rest, followed by a submaximal aerobic exercise on a treadmill and then remaining seated for 60 minutes also at rest, during recovery from the exercise. Cardiorespiratory parameters and heart rate (HR) variability (HRV) (rMSSD, SD1, HF [ms]) were evaluated before and during recovery from exercise. G2 displayed slower return of SBP, rMSSD and SD1 HRV indices during recovery from exercise compared to G1. In conclusion, normotensive subjects with higher resting SBP (110 to 120 mmHg) offered delayed autonomic recovery following moderate exercise. We suggest that this group may be less physiologically optimized leading to cardiac risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58031-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6976706PMC
January 2020

Protease-Activated Receptor Type 1 Activation Enhances Osteogenic Activity in Human Periodontal Ligament Stem Cells.

Stem Cells Int 2019 2;2019:6857386. Epub 2019 Jun 2.

Division of Periodontics, Department of Stomatology, School of Dentistry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR) has been associated to tissue repair and bone healing. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of PAR activation on the osteogenic activity of human periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs). PDLSCs were cultured in the presence of PAR-selective agonist peptide (100 nM), thrombin (0.1 U/mL), or PAR antagonist peptide (100 nM). Calcium deposits, calcium concentration (supernatant), alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP), cell proliferation, and gene (qPCR) and protein expression (ELISA assay) of osteogenic factors were assessed at 2, 7, and 14 days. PAR activation led to increased calcium deposits ( < 0.05), calcium concentration ( < 0.05), ALP activity ( < 0.05), and cell proliferation ( < 0.05). Further, PAR activation may increase gene and protein expression of Runx2 ( < 0.05) and OPG ( < 0.05). In conclusion, PAR activation increases osteogenic activity of PDLSCs, providing a possible new strategy for periodontal regenerative therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2019/6857386DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6589281PMC
June 2019

Predicting Bipolar Disorder Risk Factors in Distressed Young Adults From Patterns of Brain Activation to Reward: A Machine Learning Approach.

Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging 2019 08 17;4(8):726-733. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Background: The aim of this study was to apply multivariate pattern recognition to predict the severity of behavioral traits and symptoms associated with risk for bipolar spectrum disorder from patterns of whole-brain activation during reward expectancy to facilitate the identification of individual-level neural biomarkers of bipolar disorder risk.

Methods: We acquired functional neuroimaging data from two independent samples of transdiagnostically recruited adults (18-25 years of age; n = 56, mean age 21.9 ± 2.2 years, 42 women; n = 36, mean age 21.2 ± 2.2 years, 24 women) during reward expectancy task performance. Pattern recognition model performance in each sample was measured using correlation and mean squared error between actual and whole-brain activation-predicted scores on behavioral traits and symptoms.

Results: In the first sample, the model significantly predicted severity of a specific hypo/mania-related symptom, heightened energy, measured by the energy manic subdomain of the Mood Spectrum Structured Interviews (r = .42, p = .001; mean squared error = 9.93, p = .001). The region with the highest contribution to the model was the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Results were confirmed in the second sample (r = .33, p = .01; mean squared error = 8.61, p = .01), in which the severity of this symptom was predicted using a bilateral ventrolateral prefrontal cortical mask (r = .33, p = .009, mean squared error = 9.37, p = .04).

Conclusions: The severity of a specific hypo/mania-related symptom was predicted from patterns of whole-brain activation in two independent samples. Given that emerging manic symptoms predispose to bipolar disorders, these findings could provide neural biomarkers to aid early identification of individual-level bipolar disorder risk in young adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.04.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6682607PMC
August 2019

Atlantic West Ophiothrix spp. in the scope of integrative taxonomy: Confirming the existence of Ophiothrix trindadensis Tommasi, 1970.

PLoS One 2019 23;14(1):e0210331. Epub 2019 Jan 23.

Departamento de Biologia Animal, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil.

We re-describe and confirm the validity of Ophiothrix trindadensis Tommasi, 1970 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). This is a native species from Brazil, however it lacked a type series deposited in scientific collections. The recognition of O. trindadensis was made possible using integrative taxonomy applied to many specimens from the type locality (Trindade Island) as well as from different locations along the Brazilian coast (Araçá Bay and Estuarine Complex of Paranaguá). Initially, 835 specimens were studied and divided into four candidate species (CS) inferred from external morphological characters. Afterwards, the CSs were compared using integrative taxonomy based on external morphology, arm microstructures morphology (arm ossicle), morphometry, and molecular studies (fragments of the mitochondrial genes 16S and COI). Analyses indicated CS1 and CS2 as O. trindadensis, and CS3 as O. angulata, both valid species. CS4 remains O. cf. angulata as more data, including their ecology and physiology, are needed to be definitively clarified. Our integrative investigation using specimens from the type locality overcame the lack of type specimens and increased the reliable identification of O. trindadensis and O. angulata.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0210331PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343879PMC
October 2019

In vitro anti-Trypanosoma cruzi activity of ternary copper(II) complexes and in vivo evaluation of the most promising complex.

Biomed Pharmacother 2019 Jan 2;109:157-166. Epub 2018 Nov 2.

Instituto de Química, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Campus Santa Mônica, Uberlândia, MG, Brazil. Electronic address:

In order to improve the previously observed antichagasic activity of Cu(II) complexes containing 2-chlorobenzhydrazide (2-CH), we report herein the synthesis and anti-Trypanosoma cruzi activity of novel copper complexes containing 2-methoxybenzhydrazide (2-MH), 4-methoxybenzhydrazide (4-MH) and three α-diimine ligands, namely, 1,10-phenanthroline (phen), 2,2-bipyridine (bipy) and 4-4'-dimethoxy-2-2'-bipyridine (dmb). Two of these complexes showed higher in vitro anti-Trypanosoma cruzi activity when compared to benznidazole, the main drug used in Chagas disease treatment. One of them, the copper complex with 4-MH and dmb, [Cu(4-MH)(dmb)(ClO)], exhibited a higher selectivity index than that recommended for preclinical studies. Considering this observation, complex [Cu(4-MH)(dmb)(ClO)] was selected for preliminary in vivo assays, which verified that this compound was able to reduce parasitemia by 64% at the peak of infection. Further investigations were performed on all compounds. The Cu(II) complexes bind to ct-DNA with K values in the range of 10-10 M, with [Cu(4-MH)(dmb)(ClO)] showing the highest K value (1.45 × 10 M). Molecular docking simulations predicted that [Cu(4-MH)(dmb)(ClO)] binds in the minor groove of the double helix of ct-DNA and forms one hydrogen bond.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2018.10.057DOI Listing
January 2019

Waist-Stature Ratio And Its Relationship With Autonomic Recovery From Aerobic Exercise In Healthy Men.

Sci Rep 2018 10 31;8(1):16093. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

Post-Graduate Program in Physical Therapy, UNESP, Presidente Prudente, SP, Brazil.

Autonomic modulation and cardiorespiratory variables are influenced by numerous factors, including anthropometric variables. We investigated autonomic recovery following aerobic exercise in healthy men with different waist-stature ratio (WSR) values. The study was conducted with 52 healthy men aged 18 to 30 years, divided into groups according to the WSR: G1 - between 0.40 and 0.449 (N = 19), G2 - between 0.45 and 0.50 (N = 28) and G3 - between 0.5 and 0.56 (N = 5). The subjects endured 15 minutes seated and at rest followed by an aerobic exercise and then remained seated for 60 minutes and at rest during recovery from exercise. Heart rate (HR) variability (HRV) (rMSSD, SD1, HF [ms]) and cardiorespiratory variables were analyzed before and after exercise. Recovery of respiratory rate, diastolic blood pressure, SD1 and HF indices were delayed in G2. G3 presented delayed recovery after the maximal effort test while no difference with G2 was noted in the moderate intensity. Correlation and linear regression analysis indicated association of WSR, body mass index and waist circumference with HRV indices in the recovery from aerobic exercise (45 to 60 minutes after exercise) in G2. In conclusion, healthy men with higher WSR accomplished delayed autonomic recovery following maximal effort exercise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-34246-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208340PMC
October 2018

Chronical treatment with sildenafil causes Achilles tendinopathy in rats.

Life Sci 2018 Nov 26;212:87-92. Epub 2018 Sep 26.

Department of Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical Science, Federal University of Alfenas - UNIFAL-MG, 37130-000 Alfenas, MG, Brazil.

Aims: The primary goal was to assess the effects of chronic sildenafil treatment over the Achilles tendons in rats.

Main Methods: Animals were divided into two groups, control and sildenafil administration (n = 5). After 60 days, the tendons were subject to biochemical and image analysis to compare tendons between the groups: collagen I and decorin content, polarisation microscopy and birefringence analysis, and tissue zymography.

Key Findings: The animals exposed to sildenafil presented a much less organised tendon matrix, with reduced collagen I and non-collagenous protein content and a much higher decorin content.

Significance: The results observed in the animals can be characterised as tendinopathy, a condition not yet described as a sildenafil side effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2018.09.048DOI Listing
November 2018

"Keep That in Mind!" The Role of Positive Affect in Working Memory for Maintaining Goal-Relevant Information.

Front Psychol 2018 19;9:1228. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology, Physiology and Pharmacology Department, Biomedical Institute, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niteroi, Brazil.

Some studies have demonstrated a beneficial role of Positive Affect on working memory (WM) by either applying protocols of mood induction or assessing naturally occurring state Positive Affect. However, there are no studies directly linking Positive Affect as a stable personality-like trait with WM. We aimed to address this potential relationship using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule scale and contra-lateral delay activity (CDA) as measures of trait Positive Affect and WM Capacity, respectively. We also sought to investigate the impact of a neutral or unpleasant emotional state on this relationship. Participants performed a change detection task, while a neutral or an unpleasant emotional state was induced. Our results showed a positive robust correlation between trait Positive Affect and WM Capacity for both neutral and unpleasant emotional states, as revealed by the neuroelectrophysiological gold-standard measure of WM, namely, CDA. These data suggest a tangible role of trait Positive Affect in the cognitive ability of maintaining goal-relevant information in WM, such that even a highly disruptive state is not sufficient to corrupt this relationship.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01228DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6060567PMC
July 2018

Recognition of the genus Schott - formerly Philodendron subg. Meconostigma (Araceae) - based on molecular and morphological evidence.

PhytoKeys 2018 2(98):51-71. Epub 2018 May 2.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, UK.

Philodendron subgenus Meconostigma has been a well-circumscribed group since 1829. Members of this group are easily distinguished by diagnostic morphological characters as well as by a distinct ecology and geographical distribution. Based on molecular, morphological and cytological evidence, we propose the recognition of P. subg. Meconostigma as a distinct genus, Schott. We also present the necessary new combinations, an emended key and some nomenclatural and taxonomic corrections regarding 21 names of .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/phytokeys.98.25044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5943393PMC
May 2018

GW0742 (PPAR-beta agonist) attenuates hepatic endoplasmic reticulum stress by improving hepatic energy metabolism in high-fat diet fed mice.

Mol Cell Endocrinol 2018 10 23;474:227-237. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Laboratory of Morphometry, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, Biomedical Center, Institute of Biology, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Electronic address:

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and hepatic steatosis are intertwined with insulin resistance. PPARs are at the crossroads of these pathways. This study aimed to investigate the effects of GW0742 (PPAR-beta agonist) on hepatic energy metabolism and ER stress in a murine diet-induced obesity model. HF diet caused overweight, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic inflammation (increased NF-kB, TNF-alpha, and IL-6 protein expression) and favored hepatic lipogenesis, leading to ER stress, with ultrastructural and molecular alterations, ending up in proapoptotic stimulus. GW0742 rescued the overweight and the glucose tolerance, tackled hepatic inflammation and favored hepatic beta-oxidation over lipogenesis. These results comply with ER ultrastructure improvement, reducing ER stress and apoptosis in treated animals. Our results indicate that the PPAR-beta/delta activation alleviated the ER stress by improving the insulin sensitivity and maximizing the hepatic energy metabolism with a shift towards beta-oxidation. PPAR-beta/delta activation could be an essential tool to avoid the NAFLD progression and other obesity constraints.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2018.03.013DOI Listing
October 2018
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