Publications by authors named "Maria Joao Almeida"

3 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Designer Nucleases: Gene-Editing Therapies using CCR5 as an Emerging Target in HIV.

Curr HIV Res 2019 ;17(5):306-323

Laboratory of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is a life-threatening disorder that persists worldwide as a severe health problem. Since it was linked with the HIV attachment process, the Chemokine receptor, CCR5, has been at the development leading edge of several gene-based therapies. Given the shortcomings of the current antiretroviral treatment procedure and the non-availability of a licensed vaccine, the aptitude to modify complex genomes with Designer Nucleases has had a noteworthy impact on biotechnology. Over the last years, ZFN, TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology have appeared as a promising solution that mimics the naturally occurring CCR5/Δ32 mutation and permanently guarantees the absence of CCR5-expression on the surface of HIV target-cells, leading to a continuous resistance to the virus entry and, ultimately, proving that cellular immunization from infection could be, in fact, a conceivable therapeutic approach to finally achieve the long-awaited functional cure of HIV.
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July 2020

Towards an understanding of salient neighborhood boundaries: adolescent reports of an easy walking distance and convenient driving distance.

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2007 Dec 18;4:66. Epub 2007 Dec 18.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Carolina, 921 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.

Numerous studies have examined the association between the surrounding neighborhood environment and physical activity levels in adolescents. Many of these studies use a road network buffer or Euclidean distance buffer around an adolescent's home to represent the appropriate geographic area for study (i.e., neighborhood). However, little empirical research has examined the appropriate buffer size to use when defining this area and there is little consistency across published research as to the buffer size used. In this study, 909 12th grade adolescent girls of diverse racial and geographic backgrounds were asked to report their perceptions of an easy walking distance and a convenient driving distance. These two criterions are often used as the basis for defining one's neighborhood.The mean easy walking distance in minutes reported by adolescent girls was 14.8 minutes (SD = 8.7). The mean convenient driving distance in minutes reported was 17.9 minutes (SD = 10.8). Nested linear multivariate regression models found significant differences in reported 'easy walking distance' across race and BMI. White adolescents reported on average almost 2 minutes longer for an easy walking distance compared to African American adolescents. Adolescents who were not overweight or at risk for overweight reported almost 2 minutes fewer for an easy walking distance relative to those who were overweight or at risk for overweight. Significant differences by urban status were found in the reported 'convenient driving distance'. Those living in non-urban areas reported on average 3.2 minutes more driving time as convenient compared to those living in urban areas. Very little variability in reported walking and driving distances was explained by the predictors used in the models (i.e., age, race, BMI, physical activity levels, urban status and SES).This study suggests the use of a 0.75 mile buffer to represent an older female adolescent's neighborhood, which can be accessed through walking. However, determining the appropriate area inclusive of car travel should be tailored to the geographic location of the adolescent since non-urban adolescents are willing to spend more time driving to destinations. Further research is needed to understand the substantial variability across adolescent perceptions of an easy walking and convenient driving distance.
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December 2007

Factorial validity and invariance of the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire among black and white adolescent girls.

Ethn Dis 2006 ;16(2):551-8

Department of Kinesiology, The University of Georgia; Ramsey Student Center, 300 River Road, Athens, Georgia 30602-6554, USA.

Meaningful comparison of physical self-concept among racial or ethnic groups requires that the measurement instruments used have equivalent measurement properties. We tested the factorial validity and invariance of the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) among Black (n = 658) and White (n = 479) adolescent girls in the 12th grade. Construct validity was examined by estimating correlations between PSDQ subscales and external criteria (physical activity, physical fitness, body mass index [BMI], and participation in sports). The hypothesized 11-factor model demonstrated adequate overall fit in both groups. Comparison of nested models supported the between-group invariance of the overall factor structure. Convergent and discriminant evidence for construct validity was supported by the pattern of correlations with the external criteria. The results indicate that a meaningful comparison of PSDQ scores can be made between Black and White girls in the 12th grade and that valid inferences from PSDQ scores can be made about specific aspects of physical self-concept. Despite lower levels of physical activity, sport participation, and fitness and higher BMI, Black girls had similar self-esteem and higher physical self-concept and perceived appearance compared to White girls.
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September 2007