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The Autonomous University of Barcelona also known as UAB is a public university mostly located in Cerdanyola del Vallès, near the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain.As of 2012, it consists of 57 departments in the experimental, life, social and human science, spread among 13 faculties/schools. All these centers together award a total of 85 qualifications in the form of first degrees, diplomas, and engineering degrees. Moreover, almost 80 doctoral programs, and more than 80 other postgraduate programs are offered. UAB has more than 40,000 students and more than 3,600 academic and research staff. The UAB is a pioneering institution in terms of fostering research. There are many research institutes in the campus, as well as other research centers, technical support services and service-providing laboratories. Vila Universitària is the residential complex of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, located on its campus, which has 812 apartments with a total housing capacity for 2193 persons and very good train and bus connections, only 25 minutes away from the centre of Barcelona.The UAB is considered to be the best University in Spain by the 2012 QS World University Rankings, which ranked the university 176th overall in the world. Its subject rankings were: 144th in Life science & Biomedicine, 92th in Arts & Humanities, 106th in Natural science, 95th in Social science and 203rd in Engineering & IT. Wikipedia.

Martinez-Zapata M.J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

Autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a treatment that contains fibrin and high concentrations of growth factors and has the potential to aid wound healing. To determine whether autologous PRP promotes the healing of chronic wounds. We searched the Cochrane Wounds Group Specialised Register (searched 15 August 2012); The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2012, Issue 8); Ovid MEDLINE (1950 to August Week 1 2012); Ovid MEDLINE (In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, August 14, 2012); Ovid EMBASE (1980 to 2012 Week 32); EBSCO CINAHL (1982 to 10 August 2012) and International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP)(accessed 22 August 2012). No date or language restrictions were applied. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared autologous PRP with placebo or alternative treatments for any type of chronic wound in adults. Two review authors independently assessed each study against the inclusion criteria, extracted data and assessed risk of bias for all included trials. We calculated the risk ratio (RR) or the mean difference (MD) and time to wound healing was analysed as survival data using the hazard ratio (HR). We considered heterogeneity as significant when I(2) was >75%. Nine eligible RCTs were included, with a total of 325 participants of whom 44% were women. The median number of participants per RCT was 26 (range 10 to 86). Four RCTs recruited people with mixed chronic wounds (there were participants with wounds caused by more than one aetiology and participants who had wounds of several aetiologies in the same trial), three RCTs recruited people with venous leg ulcers and two RCTs considered foot ulcers in people with diabetes. The median length of treatment was 12 weeks (range eight to 40 weeks).One study was at low risk of bias, three studies were at high risk of bias with the remainder being at overall unclear risk of bias. The proportion of completely healed chronic wounds was reported in seven RCTs that compared PRP with standard treatment or placebo, with no statistically significant difference between the groups, in diabetic foot ulcers (RR 1.16; 95% CI 0.57 to 2.35), in venous leg ulcers (pooled RR 1.02; 95% CI 0.81 to 1.27; I(2)=0% ) and in mixed chronic wounds (pooled RR 1.85; 95% CI 0.76 to 4.51; I(2)=42%). The total area epithelialised at the end of the intervention was reported in three RCTs of mixed chronic wounds, there was no statistically significant difference between the groups (pooled MD -1.94 cm(2); 95% CI -4.74 to 0.86; I(2)=47%). The percentage of wound area healed was reported in two RCTs of mixed chronic wounds, and results were statistically significant in favour of the PRP group (RR 51.78%; 95% CI 32.70 to 70.86; I(2)= 0%). Wound complications like infection or necrosis were reported by three RCTs, and there was no statistically significant difference between groups (RR 1.08; 95% CI 0.31 to 3.73). Adverse effects were reported by three studies and there was no statistically significant difference between people treated with PRP and those not given PRP (pooled RR 1.07; 95% CI 0.32 to 3.58; I(2)=0%). There is currently no evidence to suggest that autologous PRP is of value for treating chronic wounds. However, current evidence is based on a small number of RCTs, most of which are either at high or unclear risk of bias. Well-designed and adequately powered clinical trials are needed.

Salat D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Tolosa E.,University of Barcelona
Journal of Parkinson's Disease | Year: 2013

Levodopa, a dopamine precursor, is an effective and well-tolerated dopamine replacement agent used to treat Parkinson's disease (PD). Oral levodopa has been widely used for over 40 years, often in combination with a dopa-decarboxylase inhibitor (DDCI), which reduces many treatment complications, extending its half-life and increasing levodopa availability to the brain. Entacapone, a catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitor, can also be used to improve the bioavailability of levodopa, especially when used in conjunction with a DDCI. During early-stage PD, treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms; if greater symptomatic effect is required then levodopa or dopamine agonists are usually the drugs of choice. The ability to remain employable or physically active is an important goal in younger patients, therefore, in some instances levodopa initiation should be considered early on, either as a monotherapy or in combination with other drugs. The clinical use of levodopa may eventually be limited by the development of various treatment-related complications, including response fluctuations, dyskinesia and psychiatric problems. Motor complications are related to the intermittent delivery of dopamine-replacing drugs to the brain. Triple combination of levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone available in a single tablet in multiple levodopa dose strengths offers flexibility and helps control response fluctuations. Recent developments in treatment with levodopa try to obtain continuous delivery with levodopa and include duodenal infusion of a levodopa/carbidopa, transdermal levodopa patch, and oral pro-levodopa. Levodopa remains the most potent dopaminergic therapy for PD. © 2013 IOS Press and the authors.

Suau-Sanchez P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Burghouwt G.,SEO Economic Research
Journal of Air Transport Management | Year: 2012

This paper examines the connectivity of the Spanish airport system between 2001 and 2007. Over the period, network carriers considerably strengthened the connectivity between Spanish airports and major European hubs. Although OneWorld is still the dominant alliance in Spain, SkyTeam and Star achieved a larger connectivity share through the growth of indirect services provided through their northern European hubs. In addition, the network rationalization strategy of Iberia and its decision to concentrate operations at Madrid-Barajas had important implications for the connectivity of other Spanish airports. Low-cost carriers have boosted direct connectivity from secondary Spanish airports. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Puig L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology | Year: 2012

Despite the great advances brought about by biologic therapies, treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis often represents a challenge. Associated comorbidities may hamper the use of ciclosporin or methotrexate at effective doses, and obesity or heavy weight reduce the therapeutic expectations of systemic treatments, especially with regard to optimal response, which should be the ultimate goal of therapy. Combination therapy has been recognized to be an effective way of improving therapeutic response, and methotrexate at low doses seems especially well suited for combination with biologics, by improving response rates and reducing drug clearance and development of anti-drug antibodies. Secondary lack of response to biologics does occur in a small percentage of patients, and accounts in part for reduced drug survival in dermatology patients. In some cases, especially when the presence of anti-drug antibodies can be demonstrated, switching to another biologic agent in the same class may be effective, but some patients appear to be prone to developing anti-drug antibodies against several agents. In some cases, switching to another class of biologics (e.g. anti-p40 antibodies) can prove to be a very effective alternative, with an excellent safety profile. The present case report illustrates the optimization of therapeutic response to biologics using combination therapy and achieving long-lasting clearance of psoriasis following switching to ustekinumab in a patient who had shown secondary loss of response to several biologics. © 2012 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

Winter A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Cryptology | Year: 2015

We show that it is possible for the so-called weak locking capacity of a quantum channel (Guha et al. in Phys Rev X 4:011016, 2014) to be much larger than its private capacity. Both reflect different ways of capturing the notion of reliable communication via a quantum system while leaking almost no information to an eavesdropper; the difference is that the latter imposes an intrinsically quantum security criterion whereas the former requires only a weaker, classical condition. The channels for which this separation is most straightforward to establish are the complementary channels of classical-quantum (cq-)channels and, hence, a subclass of Hadamard channels. We also prove that certain symmetric channels (related to photon number splitting) have positive weak locking capacity in the presence of a vanishingly small pre-shared secret, whereas their private capacity is zero. These findings are powerful illustrations of the difference between two apparently natural notions of privacy in quantum systems, relevant also to quantum key distribution: the older, naïve one based on accessible information, contrasting with the new, composable one embracing the quantum nature of the eavesdropper’s information. Assuming an additivity conjecture for constrained minimum output Rényi entropies, the techniques of the first part demonstrate a single-letter formula for the weak locking capacity of complements to cq-channels, coinciding with a general upper bound of Guha et al. for these channels. Furthermore, still assuming this additivity conjecture, this upper bound is given an operational interpretation for general channels as the maximum weak locking capacity of the channel activated by a suitable noiseless channel. © 2015 International Association for Cryptologic Research

Romero E.,Group of Neuroimmunology | Romero E.,CNRS Lyon Institute of Functional Genomics | Guaza C.,Group of Neuroimmunology | Castellano B.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Borrell J.,Group of Neuroimmunology
Molecular Psychiatry | Year: 2010

It has been hypothesized that the maternal immune response to infection may influence fetal brain development and lead to schizophrenia. Animal experimentation has supported this notion by demonstrating altered sensorimotor gating (prepulse inhibition, PPI) in adult rats prenatally exposed to an immune challenge. In the present study, pregnant rats were exposed to the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) throughout gestation and the offspring were examined by evaluating the PPI, dopaminergic function, brain protein expression and cytokine serum levels from weaning to late adulthood. Prenatal LPS exposure induced a deficit in PPI that emerged at puberty and that persisted throughout adult life. This prenatal insult caused age-specific changes in accumbal dopamine levels and in synaptophysin expression in the frontal cortex. Moreover, serum cytokine levels were altered in an age-and cytokine-dependent manner. Here we show that prenatal LPS administration throughout pregnancy causes maturation-dependent PPI deficits and age-dependent alterations in dopamine activity, as well as in synaptophysin expression and cytokine levels. © 2010 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.

Bruun G.M.,Lund University | Massignan P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Massignan P.,ICFO - Institute of Photonic Sciences
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2010

The ground state of an impurity immersed in a Fermi sea changes from a polaron to a molecule as the interaction strength is increased. We show here that the coupling between these two states is strongly suppressed due to a combination of phase-space effects and Fermi statistics, and that it vanishes much faster than the energy difference between the two states, thereby confirming the first order nature of the polaron-molecule transition. In the regime where each state is metastable, we find quasiparticle lifetimes which are much longer than what is expected for a usual Fermi liquid. Our analysis indicates that the decay rates are sufficiently slow to be experimentally observable. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Del Campo F.J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Electrochemistry Communications | Year: 2014

Electrochemical flow devices offer the possibility to work in continuous rather than in batch mode, controlling mass transport very precisely. Miniaturization adds potential for automation and integration in more complex systems, which can be very useful not only in electroanalysis and fuel cells, but also in synthetic organic applications. This mini-review provides an overview of recent trends in techniques and materials used in the fabrication of electrochemical flow devices, and recent advances and trends in the above application areas. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Berardi S.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Drouet S.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Francas L.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Gimbert-Surinach C.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | And 5 more authors.
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2014

The replacement of fossil fuels by a clean and renewable energy source is one of the most urgent and challenging issues our society is facing today, which is why intense research has been devoted to this topic recently. Nature has been using sunlight as the primary energy input to oxidise water and generate carbohydrates (solar fuel) for over a billion years. Inspired, but not constrained, by nature, artificial systems can be designed to capture light and oxidise water and reduce protons or other organic compounds to generate useful chemical fuels. This tutorial review covers the primary topics that need to be understood and mastered in order to come up with practical solutions for the generation of solar fuels. These topics are: the fundamentals of light capturing and conversion, water oxidation catalysis, proton and CO2 reduction catalysis and the combination of all of these for the construction of complete cells for the generation of solar fuels. © the Partner Organisations 2014.

Aspachs M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Adesso G.,University of Nottingham | Fuentes I.,University of Nottingham
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2010

We address on general quantum-statistical grounds the problem of optimal detection of the Unruh-Hawking effect. We show that the effect signatures are magnified up to potentially observable levels if the scalar field to be probed has high mean energy from an inertial perspective: The Unruh-Hawking effect acts like an amplification channel. We prove that a field in a Fock inertial state, probed via photon counting by a noninertial detector, realizes the optimal strategy attaining the ultimate sensitivity allowed by quantum mechanics for the observation of the effect. We define the parameter regime in which the effect can be reliably revealed in laboratory experiments, regardless of the specific implementation.

Ciompi F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Ciompi F.,Radboud University Nijmegen
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence | Year: 2014

We analyze sequential image labeling methods that sample the posterior label field in order to gather contextual information. We propose an effective method that extracts local Taylor coefficients from the posterior at different scales. Results show that our proposal outperforms state-of-the-art methods on MSRC-21, CAMVID, eTRIMS8 and KAIST2 data sets. © 1979-2012 IEEE.

Traversa F.L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Bonani F.,Polytechnic University of Turin
IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers | Year: 2011

We derive a full statistical characterization of the noise spectrum of a free running oscillator perturbed by white Gaussian noise sources, including the effect of orbital fluctuations and of their correlation with phase noise, thus extending the previous theory based on the Floquet decomposition of the linearized oscillator equations . This allows to derive explicit relationships for the relevant phase, amplitude and correlation spectra. The examples provide a validation of the theoretical results, and allow to assess the importance of the Floquet exponents and eigenvectors on the magnitude of the orbital noise contribution. © 2011 IEEE.

Escrich E.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Public health nutrition | Year: 2011

The Mediterranean diet has been related to a lower risk of some chronic diseases, including cancer. We aim to gain insight into the effects of the main source of fat of this diet on breast cancer, the most common type of malignancy in women. Data from sixteen experimental series analysing the effects of dietary lipids on mammary carcinogenesis in an animal model, in the context of the international literature on the Mediterranean diet, olive oil and breast cancer risk. Experimental and human data on the effects of olive oil and Mediterranean diet on breast cancer. An animal model of induced breast cancer and other human and experimental studies in the literature. Diets rich in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) exert a negative modulatory effect on experimental breast cancer to a weak promoting effect, much lower than that obtained with a high-corn oil diet. EVOO confers to the mammary adenocarcinomas a clinical behaviour and morphological features compatible with low tumour aggressiveness. This differential effect, in relation to other dietary lipids, may be related to a lower effect on body weight and sexual maturation. In addition, EVOO induced different molecular changes in tumours, such as in the composition of cell membranes, activity of signalling proteins and gene expression. All these modifications could induce lower proliferation, higher apoptosis and lower DNA damage. These results, together with the favourable effect of olive oil reported in the literature when it is consumed in moderate quantities, suggest a beneficial influence of EVOO on breast cancer risk. Consumption of EVOO in moderate quantities and throughout the lifetime appears to be a healthy choice and may favourably influence breast cancer risk.

Ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal cancers have a similar clinical presentation and are treated similarly, and current evidence supports staging all 3 cancers in a single system. The primary site (i.e. ovary, fallopian tube, or peritoneum) should be designated where possible. The histologic type should be recorded. Intraoperative rupture ("surgical spill") is IC1; capsule ruptured before surgery or tumor on ovarian or fallopian tube surface is IC2; and positive peritoneal cytology with or without rupture is IC3. The new staging includes a revision of stage III patients; assignment to stage IIIA1 is based on spread to the retroperitoneal lymph nodes without intraperitoneal dissemination. Extension of tumor from omentum to spleen or liver (stage IIIC) should be differentiated from isolated parenchymal metastases (stage IVB). © 2015 American Cancer Society.

Garcia-Perez U.M.,Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon | Martinez-De La Cruz A.,Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon | Peral J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Electrochimica Acta | Year: 2012

Transition metal tungstates with general formula M 2+WO 4 (M 2+ = Co, Cu, Mn and Ni) were synthesized by the co-precipitation method at 400°C. The prepared powders were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), nitrogen adsorption-desorption isotherms and photoelectrochemical measurements. The quasi-Fermi potentials of electrons determined at pH 7 were -0.67, -0.54, -0.21 and -0.18 V (vs. NHE) for CoWO 4, CuWO 4, MnWO 4 and NiWO 4, respectively. Photodegradation of methanol and 4-chlorophenol was used to evaluate the photoactivity of the tungstate oxides under visible-light irradiation. The CuWO 4 powders showed the best mineralization yields (about 12% for methanol after 25 h, and 23% for 4-chlorophenol after 6 h of irradiation). These results show the feasibility of organic photocatalytic mineralization using CuWO 4. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

The cGMP/protein kinase G (PKG) pathway is involved in the cardioprotective effects of postconditioning (PoCo). Although PKG signaling in PoCo has been proposed to depend on the activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt cascade, recent data bring into question a causal role of reperfusion injury signaling kinase (RISK) in PoCo protection. We hypothesized that PoCo increases PKG activity by reducing oxidative stress-induced endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS) uncoupling at the onset of reperfusion. Isolated rat hearts were submitted to 40 minutes of ischemia and reperfusion with and without a PoCo protocol. PoCo reduced infarct size by 48% and cGMP depletion. Blockade of cGMP synthesis (1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one) and inhibition of PKG (KT5823) or NOS (l-NAME) abolished protection, but inhibition of PI3K/Akt cascade (LY294002) did not (n=5 to 7 per group). Phosphorylation of the RISK pathway was higher in PoCo hearts. However, this difference is due to increased cell death in control hearts because in hearts reperfused with the contractile inhibitor blebbistatin, a drug effective in preventing cell death at the onset of reperfusion, RISK phosphorylation increased during reperfusion without differences between control and PoCo groups. In these hearts, PoCo reduced the production of superoxide (O2(-)) and protein nitrotyrosylation and increased nitrate/nitrite levels in parallel with a significant decrease in the oxidation of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) and in the monomeric form of endothelial NOS. These results demonstrate that PoCo activates the cGMP/PKG pathway via a mechanism independent of the PI3K/Akt cascade and dependent on the reduction of O2(-) production at the onset of reperfusion, resulting in attenuated oxidation of BH4 and reduced NOS uncoupling.

Alfaro V.M.,University of Costa Rica | Vilanova R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research | Year: 2012

The aim of this paper is to present a robust tuning method and a closed-loop performance analysis of two-degreeof- freedom proportional integral controllers for integrating controlled processes. A closed-loop model reference optimization method has been followed with nonoscillatory and under damped response targets. It has been found that nonoscillatory response targets produce smoother controller outputs and that the regulatory and servo-control performance (integrated absolute error and setting time) may be improved if lightly-under-damped responses are allowed. The proposed tuning method allows the designer to deal with the performance/robustness trade-of f of the resulting closed-loop control system by specifying the desired robustness level through selecting a maximum sensitivity in the range from 1.4 to 2.0. Controller tuning equations that guarantee the design robustness level are provided for integrating second-order plus dead-time models with normalized dead-times in the range from 0.1 to 2.0, and integrating plus dead-time models. The robustness of the control system is analyzed. Comparative examples show the effectiveness of the proposed tuning method. The exact achievement of the control system robustness target for all the integrated controlled processes models considered is the distinctive characteristic of the proposed model reference robust tuning method. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Beny C.,National University of Singapore | Oreshkov O.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2010

We derive necessary and sufficient conditions for the approximate correctability of a quantum code, generalizing the Knill-Laflamme conditions for exact error correction. Our measure of success of the recovery operation is the worst-case entanglement fidelity. We show that the optimal recovery fidelity can be predicted exactly from a dual optimization problem on the environment causing the noise. We use this result to obtain an estimate of the optimal recovery fidelity as well as a way of constructing a class of near-optimal recovery channels that work within twice the minimal error. In addition to standard subspace codes, our results hold for subsystem codes and hybrid quantum-classical codes. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Paternostro M.,Queens University of Belfast | De Chiara G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Palma G.M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2010

We consider a cavity with a vibrating end mirror and coupled to a Bose-Einstein condensate. The cavity field mediates the interplay between mirror and collective oscillations of the atomic density. We study the implications of this dynamics and the possibility of an indirect diagnostic. Our predictions can be observed in a realistic setup that is central to the current quest for mesoscopic quantumness. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Estany A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Revista de Neurologia | Year: 2013

Based on the interrelation between science and philosophy, this article addresses the impact of neurosciences on the philosophical issues posed by today's society, especially those related with epistemology and the philosophy of science. To do so, the different approaches in the cognitive sciences are taken into account, with special attention paid to those that have to do with social, embodied and situated cognition versus a more individual, rational and abstract cognition. This initial framework is taken as the starting point with which to analyse the ways of representing knowledge and the characteristics of the cognoscente agent. © 2013 Revista de Neurología.

Beyer K.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Molecular neurobiology | Year: 2013

Lewy body diseases include Parkinson disease and dementia with Lewy bodies and are characterized by the widespread distribution of Lewy bodies in virtually every brain area. The main component of Lewy bodies is alpha-synuclein (AS). Accumulating evidence suggests that AS oligomerization and aggregation are strongly associated with the pathogenesis of Lewy body diseases. AS is a small soluble protein with aggregation-prone properties under certain conditions. These properties are enhanced by posttranslational modifications such as phosphorylation, ubiquitination, nitration, and truncation. Accordingly, Lewy bodies contain abundant phosphorylated, nitrated, and monoubiquitinated AS. However, alternative splicing of the AS gene is also known to modify AS aggregation propensities. Splicing gives rise to four related forms of the protein, the main transcript and those that lack exon 4, exon 6, or both. Since AS structure and properties have been extensively studied, it is possible to predict the consequences of the splicing out of the two aforesaid exons. The present review discusses the latest insights on the mechanisms of AS posttranslational modifications and intends to depict their role in the pathogenesis of Lewy body diseases. The implications of deregulated alternative splicing are examined as well, and a hypothesis for the development of the pure form of dementia with Lewy bodies is proposed.

Villegas S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Medicina Clinica | Year: 2015

The rapid increase in prevalence rates of Alzheimer's disease means that treatments to prevent, stop or reverse this devastating disease are urgently needed. Despite advances in understanding its molecular pathology, there are no drugs that can halt its progression. This review takes a tour through phase 2, or higher studies, probing receptor agonist agents interfering with aggregation, inhibitors/modulators of secretases, lipid-lowering agents, and, finally and most extensively, immunotherapy. The fact that phase 3 studies with bapineuzumab and solaneuzumab have recently failed does not invalidate the potential of immunotherapy, as more information is available and new clinical trials are being initiated. © 2014 Elsevier Espana, S.L.U. Todos los derechos reservados.

Bartomeus I.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Vila M.,CSIC - Donana Biological Station | Steffan-Dewenter I.,University of Bayreuth
Journal of Ecology | Year: 2010

Habitat loss, land use intensification and biological invasions are all threatening pollinator communities, but the combined effects of these factors on pollinator diversity and pollination services have not been studied yet. Here, we tested the hypotheses that (i) the invasive plant Impatiens glandulifera outcompetes native plant communities for pollinators, and (ii) pollinator abundances depend on landscape structure, but are modulated by this mass-flowering invader. We selected 14 study sites in riparian habitats along a landscape gradient with decreasing proportion of natural land cover. Within each site paired invaded or non-invaded plots were studied. We performed standardized surveys of pollinators and established experimental plots by adding the native plant Raphanus sativus to assess the impact of I. glandulifera on visitation rates and seed set. Impatiens glandulifera was well integrated in the plant-pollinator network, being visited by several native pollinators, mainly bumblebees. The invader received higher visitation rates than simultaneously flowering native riparian plants and the experimentally added native R. sativus. However, visitation rates to the native plant community showed no significant differences between invaded and non-invaded plots, with the exception of honeybees, which slightly increased their visits in invaded plots. With regard to the experimental setting, the presence of I. glandulifera reduced bumblebee visitation to R. sativus pots, but had no significant effects on seed set. We found enhanced visitation rates of bumblebees in intensively used agricultural landscapes. However, in the presence of I. glandulifera this landscape effect was masked by bumblebees being highly attracted to I. glandulifera stands independent of the structure of the surrounding landscape. Surprisingly, wild bees and hoverflies were not affected by landscape structure, but, as also the case with bumblebees, they were principally affected by the immediate community flower abundance. Synthesis. Our data provide no evidence that I. glandulifera outcompetes native plants for pollinators. However, social bees were very attracted to this late-seasonal floral resource. We conclude that both, plant invasions and landscape structure have important effects on the plant-pollinator community studied, but that they operate at different stages of the flowering season. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society.

Casellas J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Animal | Year: 2011

Inbred mice were essential animal models for scientific research during the 20th century and will contribute decisive results in the current and next centuries. Far from becoming an obsolete research tool, the generation of new inbred strains is continuing and such strains are being used in many research fields. However, their genetic properties have been overlooked for decades, although recent research has revealed new insights into their genetic fragility and relative instability. Contrary to what we usually assume, inbred mice are far from being completely isogenic and both single-gene major mutations and polygenic mutational variability are continuously uploading into inbred populations as new sources of genetic polymorphisms. Note that several inbred strains from new major mutations are released every year, whereas small mutations can accumulate up to accounting for a significant percentage of the phenotypic variance (e.g. 4.5% in a recent study on C57BL/6J mice). Moreover, this genetic heterogeneity can be maintained for several generations by heterozygote selection and, if fixed instead of dropping off, genetic drift must be anticipated. The contribution of accidental genetic contamination in inbred strains must also be considered, although its incidence in current breeding stocks should be minimal, or even negligible. This review revisits several relevant topics for current inbred strains, discussing the latest cutting-edge results within the context of the genetic homogeneity and stability of laboratory mice. Inbred mice can no longer be considered as completely isogenic, but provide a remarkably homogeneous animal model with an inevitable moderate-to-low degree of genetic variability. Despite a certain degree of genetic heterogeneity becoming inescapable, inbred mice still provide very useful animal models with evident advantages when compared with outbred, that is, highly variable, populations. Copyright © 2010 The Animal Consortium.

Wu Z.,Northern Arizona University | Dijkstra P.,Northern Arizona University | Koch G.W.,Northern Arizona University | Penuelas J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Hungate B.A.,Northern Arizona University
Global Change Biology | Year: 2011

Global mean temperature is predicted to increase by 2-7 °C and precipitation to change across the globe by the end of this century. To quantify climate effects on ecosystem processes, a number of climate change experiments have been established around the world in various ecosystems. Despite these efforts, general responses of terrestrial ecosystems to changes in temperature and precipitation, and especially to their combined effects, remain unclear. We used meta-analysis to synthesize ecosystem-level responses to warming, altered precipitation, and their combination. We focused on plant growth and ecosystem carbon (C) balance, including biomass, net primary production (NPP), respiration, net ecosystem exchange (NEE), and ecosystem photosynthesis, synthesizing results from 85 studies. We found that experimental warming and increased precipitation generally stimulated plant growth and ecosystem C fluxes, whereas decreased precipitation had the opposite effects. For example, warming significantly stimulated total NPP, increased ecosystem photosynthesis, and ecosystem respiration. Experimentally reduced precipitation suppressed aboveground NPP (ANPP) and NEE, whereas supplemental precipitation enhanced ANPP and NEE. Plant productivity and ecosystem C fluxes generally showed higher sensitivities to increased precipitation than to decreased precipitation. Interactive effects of warming and altered precipitation tended to be smaller than expected from additive, single-factor effects, though low statistical power limits the strength of these conclusions. New experiments with combined temperature and precipitation manipulations are needed to conclusively determine the importance of temperature-precipitation interactions on the C balance of terrestrial ecosystems under future climate conditions. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Tort L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Developmental and Comparative Immunology | Year: 2011

Stress is an event that most animals experience and that induces a number of responses involving all three regulatory systems, neural, endocrine and immune. When the stressor is acute and short-term, the response pattern is stimulatory and the fish immune response shows an activating phase that specially enhances innate responses. If the stressor is chronic the immune response shows suppressive effects and therefore the chances of an infection may be enhanced. In addition, coping with the stressor imposes an allostatic cost that may interfere with the needs of the immune response. In this paper the mechanisms behind these immunoregulatory changes are reviewed and the role of the main neuroendocrine mechanisms directly affecting the building of the immune response and their consequences are considered. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Perier C.,CIBER ISCIII | Vila M.,CIBER ISCIII | Vila M.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | Vila M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine | Year: 2012

Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles with complex structural features which play several important cellular functions, such as the production of energy by oxidative phosphorylation, the regulation of calcium homeostasis, or the control of programmed cell death (PCD). Given its essential role in neuronal viability, alterations in mitochondrial biology can lead to neuron dysfunction and cell death. Defects in mitochondrial respiration have long been implicated in the etiology and pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the role of mitochondria in PD extends well beyond defective respiration and also involves perturbations in mitochondrial dynamics, leading to alterations in mitochondrial morphology, intracellular trafficking, or quality control. Whether a primary or secondary event, mitochondrial dysfunction holds promise as a potential therapeutic target to halt the progression of dopaminergic neurodegeneration in PD. © 2012 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

Badimon L.,Cardiovascular Research Center | Badimon L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Vilahur G.,Cardiovascular Research Center
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences | Year: 2012

Atherosclerosis is a complex disease in which many processes contribute to lesion development. Yet, it is well accepted that high serum levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) play a main role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Despite currently available optimal LDL-lowering therapies, a worrisome number of clinical events still occur. The protective effect of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in atherosclerosis, either by suppressing vascular-LDL accumulation, inflammation, oxidation, endothelial damage, and thrombosis, has supported the need of the use of HDL-raising therapies to address this residual risk. Results obtained in some studies, however, have shown that HDL quality, rather than quantity, should be the target of future pharmacological therapies. Here, we will first explore the mechanism by which excess LDL is fundamental in the development of atherosclerosis and its thrombotic complications, behaving as a factor that introduces chaos in the vascular wall. Afterwards, we will explore how functional HDL, through various cellular and molecular mechanisms, facilitates the resolution of this vascular chaos by suppression of atherosclerosis progression and induction of regression. © 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.

Matilla-Duenas A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology | Year: 2012

The spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterised by progressive lack of motor coordination leading to major disability. SCAs show high clinical, genetic, molecular and epidemiological variability. In the last one decade, the intensive scientific research devoted to the SCAs is resulting in clear advances and a better understanding on the genetic and nongenetic factors contributing to their pathogenesis which are facilitating the diagnosis, prognosis and development of new therapies. The scope of this chapter is to provide an updated information on Machado-Joseph disease (MJD), the most frequent SCA subtype worldwide and other rare spinocerebellar ataxias including dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA), the X-linked fragile X tremor and ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) and the nonprogressive episodic forms of inherited ataxias (EAs). Furthermore, the different therapeutic strategies that are currently being investigated to treat the ataxia and non-ataxia symptoms in SCAs are also described. © 2012 Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media.

Rimola A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Physical Chemistry C | Year: 2015

A systematic computational study of the gas-phase adsorption of different amino-acid-analogues (AA-an's) on a (6,0) boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) and on a boron nitride monolayer (BNML) has been performed by means of B3LYP-D2∗ periodic calculations. The AA-an's are CH3-R molecules, where R represents functional groups present in amino acid side chains, i.e., OH, COOH, CONH2, NH2, imidazole, guanidine, phenyl, phenol, indole, and CONHCH3. On (6,0) BNNT, AA-an species containing N electron donor groups (i.e., R = NH2, imidazole, and guanidine) are strongly chemisorbed through dative interactions between the N atom of the AA-an and a B atom of the nanotube and present the largest adsorption energies (δEads). For AA-an bearing aromatic rings (i.e., R = phenyl, phenol and indole) and R = CONHCH3, adsorption is driven by π-stacking interactions (with lower δEads values than the previous group), while for AA-an with O electron donor groups and H-bonding donor groups (i.e., R = OH, COOH, and CONH2) adsorption is dictated by dispersion of moderate strength alongside weak dative and H-bond interactions, thus presenting the lowest δEads. Significant differences are found on BNMLs. All adducts form by means of dispersion interactions of a different nature. The most stable adducts are those establishing π-stacking interactions, in which the π-systems of the AA-an's are aromatic rings (i.e., R = phenyl, phenol, indole, and imidazole). The AA-an group presenting the second most favorable δEads also presents π-stacking interactions, but the π-system is a single double-bond (i.e., R = COOH, CONH2, guanidine, and CONHCH3), whereas for R = NH2 and OH adsorption is due to CHπ interactions. On the basis of the computed adsorption energies, intrinsic affinity scales of the considered AA-an's for BN nanomaterials are proposed, which can give hints about those lateral chains responsible for the protein/BN nanomaterial interaction. © 2015 American Chemical Society.

Waterer G.,University of Western Australia | Rello J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases | Year: 2011

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We focus on a number of studies in the past 2 years that herald a dramatic shift in how we treat patients with not just community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), but potentially all sepsis. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies report that high bacterial load, and specifically pneumococcal load in CAP, appears to be significantly associated with worse outcomes. These findings change the sepsis paradigm. Bacterial load may identify potential candidates for adjunctive therapy, ICU admission and more aggressive management. SUMMARY: Whereas we all acknowledge the importance of the virulence of the pathogen in the outcome of CAP, microbiological tests currently play little role in management of patients. Whereas molecular tests such as polymerase chain reaction have promised to deliver accurate results in a clinically useful period of time, apart from a few niche situations they have yet to enter routine practice. In particular the ability to calculate the bacterial load in blood, and specifically pneumococcal load in CAP, appears to have significant clinical utility. Not only does bacterial load predict clinical outcome, the data so far available challenge some of our fundamental assumptions about optimal antibiotic therapy and the pathogenesis of severe sepsis. © 2011 International Society of Nephrology.

Tortosa M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Chemistry Education Research and Practice | Year: 2012

In microcomputer based laboratories (MBL) and data loggers, one or more sensors are connected to an interphase and this to a computer. This equipment allows visualization in real time of the variables of an experiment and provides the possibility of measuring magnitudes which are difficult to measure with traditional equipment. Research shows that the advantages of using this technology go further than simply motivating students as they can improve other abilities, such as interpretation of graphs, and it can help to develop several competencies and higher order learning skills in students. The aims of this study are to learn about the potential of MBL in chemistry classrooms and to present a framework for research based lab sheets. In this work, research reporting significant learning in secondary school chemistry laboratory using an inquiry approach related to microcomputer based laboratory experiences is reviewed. Instructional effectiveness of the technology, research based materials for students, ideas for practice and opinions of teachers and students when using this technology are reviewed. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Mestre L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Lubin Y.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2011

The parasocial-route hypothesis postulates that coloniality in spiders is driven by the occurrence of high prey densities. This hypothesis is partially supported by comparative studies of colonial species. However, experimental evidence is lacking to confirm that prey availability directly promotes colony formation. We used the web-building spider Cyrtophora citricola (Araneidae) as a model species to investigate the effect of prey availability on coloniality. We conducted field surveys on colonies located on acacia trees in the Arava valley, Israel, to compare colony group size between sites differing markedly in insect abundance. We then performed experiments in net houses to test (1) the effect of prey remains in the females' webs on juvenile establishment decisions and (2) the effect of food supply on web site fidelity of juveniles. Colony group size and reproductive investment were greater in prey-rich sites than in poor sites. In the experiments, juveniles released on adult females' webs that contained remains of prey consumed by the adults were more likely to settle than those released on empty webs. Once established, food deprivation slightly increased the number of juveniles leaving the female's web, suggesting that they are reluctant to disperse after settlement. Relocation in C. citricola is costly, as their webs demand high energy investment. Hence, cues of prey availability are crucial, enabling spiders to acquire information about habitat quality before investing in web construction. Together, our findings provide evidence that prey availability facilitates coloniality and thus supports the parasocial route in the evolution of spider group living. © 2011 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Algaba F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Analytical and Quantitative Cytology and Histology | Year: 2015

The indications of frozen section diagnosis in uropathology are quite specific, and this explains the fact that they amount to a mere 7.3% of the frozen sections performed in general hospitals. Generally speaking, frozen sections are not warranted to identify the nature of a tumoral mass, with the following exceptions: (1) renal masses of a doubtful parenchymal origin or located in the urinary tract, (2) testicular neoplasias, when the possibility of a conservative treatment arises, and (3) determination of the presence of a prostate adenocarcinoma in an organ donor with high serum prostate-specific antigen (but even in these circumstances the need is widely controversial). Intraoperative determination of surgical margins is particularly useful in (1) partial nephrectomies (it may be limited to inspection after dyeing the margin with India ink; bed freezing is very seldom needed) and (2) partial penectomies (always studying the urethral margin and the cavernosal and spongiosal corpora margins). The study of the nodes is a widely debated issue, and except for those cases in which unexpectedly increased node size is found, systematic frozen sections are indicated neither of the bladder nor of the prostate. The situation regarding penis carcinoma is different, as in the groups with intermediate and high risk of node metastasis; frozen section is recommended, particularly of radioisotope-marked sentinel nodes. © Science Printers and Publishers, Inc.

Arino J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Ramos J.,University of Cordoba, Spain | Sychrova H.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews | Year: 2010

The maintenance of appropriate intracellular concentrations of alkali metal cations, principally K+ and Na+, is of utmost importance for living cells, since they determine cell volume, intracellular pH, and potential across the plasma membrane, among other important cellular parameters. Yeasts have developed a number of strategies to adapt to large variations in the concentrations of these cations in the environment, basically by controlling transport processes. Plasma membrane high-affinity K+ transporters allow intracellular accumulation of this cation even when it is scarce in the environment. Exposure to high concentrations of Na+ can be tolerated due to the existence of an Na+, K+-ATPase and an Na +, K+/H+-antiporter, which contribute to the potassium balance as well. Cations can also be sequestered through various antiporters into intracellular organelles, such as the vacuole. Although some uncertainties still persist, the nature of the major structural components responsible for alkali metal cation fluxes across yeast membranes has been defined within the last 20 years. In contrast, the regulatory components and their interactions are, in many cases, still unclear. Conserved signaling pathways (e.g., calcineurin and HOG) are known to participate in the regulation of influx and efflux processes at the plasma membrane level, even though the molecular details are obscure. Similarly, very little is known about the regulation of organellar transport and homeostasis of alkali metal cations. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date vision of the mechanisms responsible for alkali metal cation transport and their regulation in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and to establish, when possible, comparisons with other yeasts and higher plants. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Arino J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
OMICS A Journal of Integrative Biology | Year: 2010

The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae grows far better at acidic than at neutral or alkaline pH. Consequently, even a modest alkalinization of the medium represents a stressful situation for this yeast. In the past few years, data generated by a combination of genome-wide techniques has demonstrated that adaptive responses of S. cerevisiae to high pH stress involves extensive gene remodeling as a result of the fast activation of a number of stress-related signaling pathways, such as the Rim101, the Wsc1-Pkc1-Slt2 MAP kinase, and the calcium-activated calcineurin pathways. Alkalinization of the environment also disturbs nutrient homeostasis, as deduced from its impact on iron/copper, phosphate, and glucose uptake/utilization pathways. In this review we will examine these responses, their possible interactions, and the role that they play in tolerance to high pH stress. © 2010, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2010.

Quiros M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Modern Physics Letters A | Year: 2015

In this paper, motivated by the recent discovery of a Higgs-like boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with a mass mH≃125 GeV, we review different models where the hierarchy problem is solved by means of a warped extra dimension. In the Randall-Sundrum (RS) model electroweak observables provide very strong bounds on the mass of KK modes which motivates extensions to overcome this problem. Two extensions are briefly discussed. One particular extension is based on the deformation of the metric such that it strongly departs from the AdS5 structure in the IR region while it goes asymptotically to AdS5 in the UV brane. This model has the IR brane close to a naked metric singularity (which is outside the physical interval) characteristic of soft-walls constructions. The proximity of the singularity provides a strong wave function renormalization for the Higgs field which suppresses the T and S parameters. The second class of considered extensions are based on the introduction of an extra gauge group in the bulk such that the custodial SU(2)R symmetry is gauged and protects the T parameter. By further enlarging the bulk gauge symmetry one can find models where the Higgs is identified with the fifth component of gauge fields and for which the Higgs potential along with the Higgs mass can be dynamically determined by the Coleman-Weinberg mechanism. © 2015 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Ceron J.J.,University of Murcia | Tecles F.,University of Murcia | Tvarijonaviciute A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
BMC Veterinary Research | Year: 2014

Paraoxonase 1 (PON1) is a widely studied enzyme based on its protective role against poisoning by organophosphate (OP) metabolites of specific OP insecticides and in vascular disease, as well as its use as biomarker of diseases involving oxidative stress, inflammation and liver diseases.This review provides an update about the current knowledge in the field of the analytical procedures that are used for PON1 measurements. It will be specially focused on: (a) characteristics of the different substrates used for measuring PON1, with emphasis in four aspects: toxicity, polymorphism influence, rate of hydrolysis and diagnostic performance. And (b) the technical aspects of PON1 assays, in which the reagents and reaction conditions, sources of variation, quality control systems, equipment and interferences with other esterases will be discussed.The information provided in this review can contribute to a more accurate and safe measurements of PON1 in laboratories and encourage researchers to explore the wide areas of PON1 in veterinary medicine that are still unknown. © 2014 Ceron et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Solans-Monfort X.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Dalton Transactions | Year: 2014

The ring closing enyne metathesis reaction (RCEYM) catalyzed by molybdenum based monoalkoxy pyrrolyl Schrock type catalysts has been studied by means of DFT (B3LYP-D) calculations. The two potential active alkylidene species as well as the three proposed reaction mechanisms (ene-then-yne, endo-yne-then-ene and exo-yne-then-ene) have been taken into account. Moreover, the influence on the exo- and endo- selectivity of the reactant substituents has also been explored. Results show that, in contrast to what is found for RCEYM processes catalyzed by Ru-based catalysts, the metallacyclobutene is a very short-living reaction intermediate that can be present in two isomeric forms (trigonal bipyramid (TBP) coordination around the metal center and square based pyramid (SPY) coordination). These two isomers are directly involved in the reaction mechanism, and the ring opening takes place from the SPY species. Moreover and regardless of the nature of the reacting metal-alkylidene, the yne-then-ene pathways (endo- or exo-) are computed to present significantly lower energy barriers than the ene-then-yne pathway and thus the latter is computed not to take place. Finally, the exo-/endo- selectivity is predicted to highly depend on the sterics of the two carbon ends of the alkyne fragment. In this way, the carbon bearing the largest group prefers to interact with the carbon end of the metal-alkylidene. This places the bulkiest groups as far away as possible from the metal fragment and overall leads to a generally lower energy barrier for the metallacyclobutene formation, the key step in defining the exo-/endo- selectivity. © 2014 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Meyer M.,University of Hamburg | Raue M.,University of Hamburg | Mazin D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Horns D.,University of Hamburg
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2012

Very high energy (VHE, energy E ≈ 100 GeV) γ-rays from cosmological sources are attenuated due to the interaction with photons of the extragalactic background light (EBL) in the ultraviolet to infrared wavelength band. The EBL, thus, leaves an imprint on the observed energy spectra of these objects. In the last four years, the number of extragalactic VHE sources discovered with imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs), such as MAGIC, H.E.S.S., and VERITAS, has doubled. Furthermore, the measurements of the Fermi satellite brought new insights into the intrinsic spectra of the sources at GeV energies. In this paper, upper limits on the EBL intensity are derived by considering the most extensive VHE source sample ever used in this context. This is accomplished by constructing a large number of generic EBL shapes and combining spectral informations from Fermi and IACTs together with minimal assumptions about the source physics at high and very high γ-ray energies. The evolution of the EBL with redshift is accounted for and the possibility of the formation of an electromagnetic cascade and the implications on the upper limits are explored. The EBL density at z = 0 is constrained over a broad wavelength range between 0.4 and 100 μm. At optical wavelengths, the EBL density is constrained below 24 nW m -2 sr -1 and below 5 nW m -2 sr -1 between 8 μm and 31 μm. © 2012 ESO.

Colobran M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Computers in Human Behavior | Year: 2016

A new approach for measuring security is proposed. A lightweight model to quantify the security level perception has been developed. For this purpose, the paper defines a function to systematically represent how security-insecurity is perceived. The function defined shares several characteristics with a reliability function. The model is based on the characteristics of perceived security level over time and how it is related to human perception. The security level function is parameterized based on a minimal quantity of known data. The value obtained is an indicator for quantifying the security level and predict how it will change over time. This approach permits to implement countermeasures and strategies in advance. The proposal is useful in any security context and mobile technologies are key in order to make the model useful. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Alijotas-Reig J.,systemIC | Alijotas-Reig J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Lupus | Year: 2013

Objective: To date, there are no reliable data regarding the actual treatment received by women with refractory obstetric antiphospholipid syndrome (OAPS). The aim of this study was to assess current clinical evidence and new trends in the treatment of refractory OAPS. Methods: A non-systematic but comprehensive literature search using relevant keywords was made to identify relevant articles published in English from different computerized databases: PubMed (Medline), Google Scholar electronic database search and The Cochrane Library, from January 2000 to March 2012. Studies on the treatment of poor obstetric outcomes in women with OAPS were included. Prospective randomized clinical trials, cohort studies, reviews, systematic reviews and meta-analysis were retrieved. Results: A total of 130 articles were finally selected for this review, including 17 randomized clinical trials and four meta-analyses. The majority of articles were non-randomized original papers and basic and clinical reviews. Conclusion: Up to 20% of women with OAPS do not receive the currently recommended therapeutic regimen. Unfortunately, well-designed studies regarding the usefulness of new drugs in refractory OAPS are scarce. Hydroxychloroquine and low-dose prednisolone appear to be useful when added to standard therapy. Current data do not support the use of intravenous immunoglobulins in this field. The role played by double antiaggregant therapy, fondaparinux, vitamin D, pentoxifylline and TNF-targeted therapies should be tested in well-designed studies. © The Author(s), 2012.

Harbo H.F.,University of Oslo | Gold R.,Ruhr University Bochum | Tintore M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders | Year: 2013

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is universally found to be more prevalent in women than men. This has led to extensive studies of differences in the immune system or nervous system between women and men, which might be caused by the effects of gonadal hormones, genetic differences, and different environmental exposures and modern lifestyle in men and women. We review the effects of sex and gender from a genetic, immunological and clinical point of view. We discuss the effects of sex on the clinical expression of MS and responses to therapy, as well as issues concerning pregnancy. © The Author(s), 2013.

De Mora F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology | Year: 2015

A biosimilar is a high quality biological medicine shown to be in essence the same as an original product. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) paved the way in the regulatory arena by creating a safeguarding framework for the development of biosimilars. Biosimilar is thus a regulatory term that alludes to the evidence-based studies required to demonstrate such very high similarity. They are therefore not innovative products but the pathway laid down by the EMA for their approval represented a new paradigm. This has brought some confusion and has cast doubts among healthcare professionals about the scientific evidence behind their authorization. Many papers have been published to clarify the concept, and to reassure those professionals, but misconceptions frequently still arise. Unfortunately, this prevents biosimilars from deploying their full therapeutic added value. This paper is intended to approach those misconceptions from a new angle, by explaining what a biosimilar is not...and why. A biosimilar is neither a generic, nor an original product. It is not a biobetter or a 'stand-alone'. Therefore, it should not be managed as such therapeutically, commercially or from a healthcare policy viewpoint. The EMA's criteria were acknowledged by other agencies, but a significant regulatory gap with a vast majority of regulatory bodies still remains. This leaves room for the so-called non-original biologics (NOB), i.e. non-biosimilar biologics, to be launched in many regions. Raising awareness of what a biosimilar is and what it is not, will generate trust in biosimilars among healthcare professionals and will ultimately benefit patients. © 2015 The British Pharmacological Society.

Gijsenij A.,Alten PTS | Lu R.,Beijing Jiaotong University | Gevers T.,University of Amsterdam | Gevers T.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
IEEE Transactions on Image Processing | Year: 2012

Color constancy algorithms are generally based on the simplifying assumption that the spectral distribution of a light source is uniform across scenes. However, in reality, this assumption is often violated due to the presence of multiple light sources. In this paper, we will address more realistic scenarios where the uniform light-source assumption is too restrictive. First, a methodology is proposed to extend existing algorithms by applying color constancy locally to image patches, rather than globally to the entire image. After local (patch-based) illuminant estimation, these estimates are combined into more robust estimations, and a local correction is applied based on a modified diagonal model. Quantitative and qualitative experiments on spectral and real images show that the proposed methodology reduces the influence of two light sources simultaneously present in one scene. If the chromatic difference between these two illuminants is more than 1°, the proposed framework outperforms algorithms based on the uniform light-source assumption (with error-reduction up to approximately 30%). Otherwise, when the chromatic difference is less than 1° and the scene can be considered to contain one (approximately) uniform light source, the performance of the proposed method framework is similar to global color constancy methods. © 2011 IEEE.

Basart J.M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Serra M.,University of Barcelona
Science and Engineering Ethics | Year: 2013

Engineering ethics is usually focused on engineers' ethics, engineers acting as individuals. Certainly, these professionals play a central role in the matter, but engineers are not a singularity inside engineering; they exist and operate as a part of a complex network of mutual relationships between many other people, organizations and groups. When engineering ethics and engineers' ethics are taken as one and the same thing the paradigm of the ethical engineer which prevails is that of the heroic engineer, a certain model of the ideal engineer: someone both quite individualistic and strong enough to deal with all the moral challenges that could arise. We argue that this is not the best approach, at least today in our interrelated world. We have achieved a high degree of independence from nature by means of technology. In exchange for this autonomy we have become increasingly tied up with very complex systems to which we constantly delegate new tasks and powers. Concerns about safety keep growing everywhere due to the fact that now we have a sensitive awareness of the huge amount of power we are both consuming and deploying, thus, new forms of dialogue and consensus have to be incorporated at different levels, in different forums and at different times. Within these democratic channels of participation not just the needs and interests, but also the responsibilities and mutual commitments of all parties should be taken into account. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Moreno-Penaranda R.,United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies | Kallis G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Ecological Economics | Year: 2010

This paper studies the coevolutionary ecological-economic dynamics of agro-environmental change. The case study is Santa Rosa (Brazil) and the modernization of subsistence agriculture followed by the more recent emergence of organic farming. We use coevolution as an integrative framework for explaining how and why economic production changed over time in Santa Rosa in interdependence with the ecosystem resulting in a mosaic of diverse farm practices. A coevolutionary framework expands the explanatory breadth of prevailing accounts of agro-environmental change that rely on a notion of shifts from one singular, homogeneous production economy to the next. It unveils the complex processes driving agro-environmental change, instead of focusing on the structures resulting from it. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Barret J.P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
International Journal of Surgery | Year: 2014

The innovation of composite vascularized allotransplantation has provided plastic and reconstructive surgeons with the ultimate tool for those patients that present with facial deformities that cannot be reconstructed with classical or more traditional techniques. Transplanting normal tissues allows for a true restorative surgery. Initial experiences included the substitution of missing anatomy, whereas after the first world's full-face transplant performed in Barcelona in March 2010, a true ablative surgery with a total restoration proved to be effective. We review the world's experience and the performance of our restorative protocol to depict this change in the reconstructive paradigm of facial transplantation. Facial transplants should be performed after a careful analysis of the defect, with a comprehensive ablation plan following esthetic units with sacrifice of all required tissues with a focus of global restoration of anatomy, aesthetics and function, respecting normal functioning muscles. Nowadays, facial transplants following strict esthetic units should restore disfigurement extending to small central areas, whereas major defects may require a total ablation and restoration with full-face transplants. © 2013 Surgical Associates Ltd.

Daraktchiev M.,University of Cambridge | Catalan G.,University of Cambridge | Catalan G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Scott J.F.,University of Cambridge
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2010

We calculate the exact analytical solution to the domain wall properties in a generic multiferroic system with two order parameters that are coupled biquadratically. This is then adapted to the case of a magnetoelectric multiferroic material such as BiFeO3, with a view to examine critically whether the domain walls can account for the enhancement of magnetization reported for thin films of this material, in view of the correlation between increasing magnetization and increasing volume fraction of domain walls as films become thinner. The present analysis can be generalized to describe a class of magnetoelectric devices based on domain walls rather than bulk properties. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Salazar-Ciudad I.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Development | Year: 2010

Most studies of pattern formation and morphogenesis in metazoans focus on a small number of model species, despite the fact that information about a wide range of species and developmental stages has accumulated in recent years. By contrast, this article attempts to use this broad knowledge base to arrive at a classification of developmental types through which metazoan body plans are generated. This classification scheme pays particular attention to the diverse ways by which cell signalling and morphogenetic movements depend on each other, and leads to several testable hypotheses regarding morphological variation within and between species, as well as metazoan evolution. © 2010. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Cardona P.-J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Frontiers in Microbiology | Year: 2015

A review of the pathology of human pulmonary TB cases at different stages of evolution in the pre-antibiotic era suggests that neutrophils play an instrumental role in the progression toward active TB. This progression is determined by the type of lesion generated. Thus, exudative lesions, in which neutrophils are the major cell type, are both triggered by and induce local high bacillary load, and tend to enlarge and progress toward liquefaction and cavitation. In contrast, proliferative lesions are triggered by low bacillary loads, mainly comprise epithelioid cells and fibroblasts and tend to fibrose, encapsulate and calcify, thus controlling the infection. Infection of the upper lobes is key to the progression toward active TB for two main reasons, namely poor breathing amplitude, which allows local bacillary accumulation, and the high mechanical stress to which the interlobular septae (which enclose secondary lobes) are submitted, which hampers their ability to encapsulate lesions. Overall, progressing factors can be defined as internal (exudative lesion, local bronchogenous dissemination, coalescence of lesions), with lympho-hematological dissemination playing a very limited role, or external (exogenous reinfection). Abrogating factors include control of the bacillary load and the local encapsulation process, as directed by interlobular septae. The age and extent of disease depend on the quality and speed with which lesions liquefy and disseminate bronchially, the volume of the slough, and the amount and distribution of the sloughing debris dispersed. © 2015 Cardona.

This clinical commentary discusses on the potential relationship between multiple sclerosis (MS) and tocilizumab in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis who developed MS while on treatment with this anti-interleukin-6 agent. © SAGE Publications.

Neudeck S.,University of Gottingen | Maji S.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Lopez I.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Meyer S.,University of Gottingen | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2014

A new powerful and oxidatively rugged pyrazolate-based water oxidation catalyst of formula {[RuII(py-SO3)2(H 2O)]2(μ-Mebbp)}-, 1(H2O) 2 -, has been prepared and thoroughly characterized spectroscopically and electrochemically. This new catalyst has been conceived based on a specific ligand tailoring design, so that its performance has been systematically improved. It was also demonstrated how subtle ligand modifications cause a change in the O-O bond formation mechanism, thus revealing the close activation energy barriers associated with each pathway. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

Villena J.A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Villena J.A.,CIBER ISCIII
FEBS Journal | Year: 2015

Members of the PGC-1 family of coactivators have been revealed as key players in the regulation of energy metabolism. Early gain- and loss-of-function studies led to the conclusion that all members of the PGC-1 family (PGC-1α, PGC-1β and PRC) play redundant roles in the control of mitochondrial biogenesis by regulating overlapping gene expression programs. Regardless of this, all PGC-1 coactivators also appeared to differ in the stimuli to which they respond to promote mitochondrial gene expression. Although PGC-1α was found to be induced by different physiological or pharmacological cues, PGC-1β appeared to be unresponsive to such stimuli. Consequently, it has long been widely accepted that PGC-1α acts as a mediator of mitochondrial biogenesis induced by cues that signal high-energy needs, whereas the role of PGC-1β is restricted to the maintenance of basal mitochondrial function. By contrast, the function of PRC appears to be restricted to the regulation of gene expression in proliferating cells. However, recent studies using tissue-specific mouse models that lack or overexpress different PGC-1 coactivators have provided emerging evidence not only supporting new roles for PGC-1s, but also redefining some of the paradigms related to the precise function and mode of action of PGC-1 coactivators in mitochondrial biogenesis. The present review discusses some of the new findings regarding the control of mitochondrial gene expression by PGC-1 coactivators in a tissue-specific context, as well as newly-uncovered functions of PGC-1s beyond mitochondrial biogenesis, and their link to pathologies, such as diabetes, muscular dystrophies, neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. © 2014 FEBS.

Martinez-Vicente M.,CIBER ISCIII | Martinez-Vicente M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology | Year: 2015

Neuronal homeostasis depends on the proper functioning of quality control systems like autophagy. This mechanism is responsible of the clearance of misfolded proteins, aggregates and the turnover of organelles within the neuron. Autophagic dysfunction has been described in many neurodegenerative diseases. It can occur at several steps of the autophagic machinery and can contribute to the formation of intracellular aggregates and ultimately to neuronal death. Accordingly restoring autophagy activity in affected neurons can be an attractive therapeutic approach to fight neurodegeneration. In this review we summarize the present encouraging strategies that have been achieved with pharmacological and genetic treatments aimed to induce neuronal autophagy in experimental models of neurodegenerative diseases. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

OBJECTIVES: Positive autoantibody (AAB) titres are commonly encountered in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and in a proportion of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) patients. The underlying mechanism for selective AAB occurrence in DILI is unknown, but could be associated with variations in immune-associated genes. Hence, we aimed to analyse human leucocyte antigen (HLA) allele compositions in DILI with positive (+) and negative (−) AAB titres and in AIH patients. METHODS: High-resolution genotyping of HLA class I (A, B, C) and II (DRB1, DQB1) loci was performed on 207 DILI and 50 idiopathic AIH patients and compared with 885 healthy Spanish controls. RESULTS: Compared with controls, HLA-B*08:01 [44 vs. 9.7%, P=3.7E−13/corrected P-value (Pc)=1.0E−11], C*07:01 (46 vs. 24%, P=6.4E−04/Pc=0.012), DRB1*03:01 (58 vs. 21.5%, P=5.0E−09/Pc=1.0E−07) and DQB1*02:01 (56 vs. 22%, P=6.8E−08/Pc=9.0E−07) were significantly more frequent in AIH patients. The HLA-A*01:01 frequency was increased in the same population, but did not reach significance after Bonferroni’s correction (34 vs. 19%, P=0.02/Pc=0.37). Fifty-eight of 207 DILI patients presented positive titres for at least one AAB (predominantly antinuclear antibody 76% and antismooth muscle antibody 28%). There was a tendency towards higher representation of DRB1*14:01 and DQB1*05:03 in DILI AAB+ compared with DILI AAB− (13.8 vs. 4.0%, P=0.02/Pc=0.5; 13.8 vs. 4.7%, P=0.04/Pc=0.5). CONCLUSION: The presence of HLA alleles B*08:01, C*07:01, DRB1*03:01, DQB1*02:01 and possibly A*01:01 enhances the risk of AIH (type 1) in Spanish patients. These alleles form part of the ancestral haplotype 8.1. HLA-DRB1*14:01 and DQB1*05:03 could potentially increase the risk of positive AAB (particularly antinuclear antibody) in Spanish DILI patients. Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Roura L.C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Arulkumaran S.S.,St Georges, University of London
Best Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Year: 2015

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for 36 million deaths every year. Of this death toll, nearly 80% (29 million) occur in low- and median-income countries. More than 9 million deaths attributed to NCDs occur in people under 60 years of age. National economies are suffering considerable losses due to premature death or disability to work resulting from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The knowledge that in utero and in early childhood certain processes can affect the risk of developing NCDs provides an opportunity to enforce interventions during this critical time, when they may have the greatest effect. Using appropriate protocols, the health-care provider can educate mothers about the risks of certain nutritional and environmental exposures and integrate health promotion on the agenda, as part of the social and economic development. All this could motivate a substantial reduction in the risk of NCDs. Current and future health challenges demand new and changing competencies that should form the basis for education, training, and workforce planning. The International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) is aware of that responsibility and has joined hands with other agencies and organizations that make a considerable effort in providing appropriate prenatal care programs to prevent and treat most of the common preconditioning factors, especially in low-income countries. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Jose-Cunilleras E.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Equine veterinary journal. Supplement | Year: 2012

Nutritional support in critically ill neonatal foals is of great importance given their high metabolic rate and minimal stores of energy and protein. Nutrient requirements of healthy growing foals have been estimated based on daily milk intake; however, little is known about the resting energy expenditure (REE) of sick foals. To determine REE in critically ill neonatal foals (sepsis and/or hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy [HIE] and compare this with REE in control foals. Critically ill newborn foals admitted to the Fundació Hospital Clinic Veterinari, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain from March 2009 to February 2011 were included in this study. Healthy neonatal foals and foals with nonsystemic conditions were used as controls. Oxygen consumption and CO2 production were measured with a respiratory monitor connected to a tight fitting facemask and REE (kcal/kg bwt/day) was calculated with the abbreviated Weir formula. Measurements were performed within 24 h of admission and repeatedly during hospitalisation. Twenty-seven foals were included (16 critically ill foals and 11 controls) and a total of 47 measurements were performed. In the critically ill, REE was reduced (mean +/- s.e. 49.5 +/- 2.1 kcal/kg bwt/day) on admission relative to the controls. In surviving foals (n = 5), REE before hospital discharge was not different (68.4 +/- 7.0 kcal/kg bwt/day) from control foals (64.8 +/- 2.7 kcal/kg bwt/day). REE was lower in critically ill foals upon admission (40-50 kcal/kg bwt/day) and normalised before hospital discharge (60-80 kcal/kg bwt/day). Critically ill neonatal foals tolerating enteral feeding would receive approximately their REE when given 10% of their bodyweight in mare's milk daily. For sick neonates unable to tolerate enteral nutrition, provision of 50 kcal/kg bwt/day would be a reasonable goal for parenteral nutrition.

Muro i Rodriguez A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
European Psychiatry | Year: 2015

Previous studies analysing personality and cannabis use in adult samples suggest that cannabis users show significant higher levels of impulsivity, sensation seeking and schizotypy. However, there are few studies exploring this relationship in adolescence using psychobiological models of personality. Given the relevance of identifying individual differences that lead adolescents to early cannabis use to prevent future health problems, the present study aimed to explore the relationship between age, sex, personality and early cannabis use using a psychobiological model of personality in a sample of 415 students (51.8% boys) from 12 to 18 years. Chi2 tests showed significant higher prevalence of cannabis use in boys and in the group aged 15-18 years. Multiple analysis of variance showed significant higher scores in psychoticism, sensation seeking and in all its subscales in cannabis users group, while an interaction with age was found for extraversion and neuroticism: cannabis users scored higher than non-users in the youngest group (12-14 years) but lower in the oldest group in both dimensions. Finally, regression analysis showed that narrower traits of sensation seeking (experience seeking and disinhibition) were the most associated to early cannabis use. Results are discussed in terms of early cannabis users' personality profiles and in terms of the self-medication theory. © 2015 Elsevier Masson SAS.

Capdevila M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Atrian S.,University of Barcelona
Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry | Year: 2011

Metallothionein (MT) evolution is one of the most obscure yet fascinating aspects of the study of these atypical metal-binding peptides. The different members of the extremely heterogeneous MT protein superfamily probably evolved through a web of duplication, functional differentiation, and/or convergence events leading to the current scenario, which is particularly hard to interpret in terms of molecular evolution. Difficulties in drawing straight evolutionary relationships are reflected in the lack of definite MT classification criteria. Presently, MTs are categorized either according to a pure taxonomic clustering or depending on their metal binding preferences and specificities. Extremely well documented MT revisions were recently published. But beyond classic approaches, this review of MT protein evolution will bring together new aspects that have seldom been discussed before. Hence, the emergence of life on our planet, since metal ion utilization is accepted to be at the root of the emergence of living organisms, and global trends that underlie structural and functional MT diversification, will be presented. Major efforts are currently being devoted to identifying rules for function-constrained MT evolution that may be applied to different groups of organisms. © SBIC 2011.

Duro J.A.,Rovira i Virgili University | Padilla E.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Energy Economics | Year: 2011

This paper analyzes the role of the energy transformation index and of final energy consumption per GDP unit in the disparities in energy intensity across countries. In that vein, we use a Theil decomposition approach to analyze global primary energy intensity inequality as well as inequality across different regions of the world and inequality within these regions. The paper first demonstrates the pre-eminence of divergence in final energy consumption per GDP unit in explaining global primary energy intensity inequality and its evolution during the 1971-2006 period. Secondly, it shows the lower (albeit non negligible) impact of the transformation index in global primary energy inequality. Thirdly, the relevance of regions as unit of analysis in studying cross-country energy intensity inequality and their explanatory factors is highlighted. And finally, how regions around the world differ as to the relevance of the energy transformation index in explaining primary energy intensity inequality. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Villalba G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Gemechu E.D.,Rovira i Virgili University
Energy Policy | Year: 2011

In recent years, GHG inventories of cities have expanded to include extra-boundary activities that form part of the city's urban metabolism and economy. This paper centers on estimating the emissions due to seaports, in such a way that they can be included as part of the city's inventory or be used by the port itself to monitor their policy and technology improvements for mitigating climate change. We propose the indicators GHG emissions per ton of cargo handled or per passenger and emissions per value of cargo handled as practical measures for policy making and emission prevention measures to be monitored over time. Adapting existing methodologies to the Port of Barcelona, we calculated a total of 331,390 tons of GHG emissions (CO2 equivalents) for the year of 2008, half of which were attributed to vessel movement (sea-based emissions) and the other half to port, land related activities (land-based emissions). The highest polluters were auto carriers with 6kg of GHG emissions per ton of cargo handled. Knowing the highest emitters, the port can take action to improve the ship's activities within the port limits, such as maneuvering and hotelling. With these results, the port and the city can also find ways to reduce the land-based emissions. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

van den Bergh J.C.J.M.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | van den Bergh J.C.J.M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | van den Bergh J.C.J.M.,VU University Amsterdam
Climatic Change | Year: 2010

There is a widespread sense that a sufficiently stringent climate mitigation policy, that is, a considerable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to avoid extreme climate change, will come with very high economic costs for society. This is supported by many cost-benefit analyses (CBA) and policy cost assessments of climate policy. All of these, nevertheless, are based on debatable assumptions. This paper will argue instead that safe climate policy is not excessively expensive and is indeed cheaper than suggested by most current studies. To this end, climate CBA and policy cost assessments are critically evaluated, and as a replacement twelve complementary perspectives on the cost of climate policy are offered. © 2009 The Author(s).

Fernandez-Castane A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Microbial cell factories | Year: 2012

The E. coli lac operon and its components have been studied for decades, and lac-derived systems are widely used for recombinant protein production. However, lac operon dynamics and induction behavior remain the paradigm of gene regulation. Recently, an HPLC-MS-based method to quantify IPTG in the medium and inside the biomass has been established, and this tool may be useful to uncover the lack of knowledge and allow optimization of biotechnological processes. The results obtained from the study of IPTG distribution profiles in fed-batch, high cell density cultures allowed discrimination between two different depletion patterns of an inducer from the medium to the biomass in E. coli-expressing rhamnulose-1-phosphate aldolase (RhuA). Moreover, we could demonstrate that active transport mediates the uptake of this gratuitous inducer. Additionally, we could study the induction behaviors of this expression system by taking into account the biomass concentration at the induction time. In the bistable range, partial induction occurred, which led to intermediate levels of RhuA activity. There was a direct relationship between the initial inducer concentrations and the initial inducer transport rate together with the specific activity. A majority of the inducer remains in the medium to reach equilibrium with the intracellular level. The intracellular inducer accumulation was a further evidence of bistability of the lac operon.

Alomar A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Chemical Immunology and Allergy | Year: 2012

Although atopic dermatitis is accepted as a chronic and recurrent dermatitis, it is clear that several acute flares are due to superficial but not clearly infectious colonization of the skin by bacteria or mold. This short article provides a brief overview of (nearly all) the evidence concerning the possible mechanism of action of this phenomenon. © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Huber M.,University of Bristol | Huber M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Huber M.,ICFO - Institute of Photonic Sciences | De Vicente J.I.,University of Innsbruck
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We explore the structure of multipartite quantum systems which are entangled in multiple degrees of freedom. We find necessary and sufficient conditions for the characterization of tripartite systems and necessary conditions for any number of parties. Furthermore we develop a framework of multilevel witnesses for efficient discrimination and quantification of multidimensional entanglement that is applicable for an arbitrary number of systems and dimensions. © 2013 American Physical Society.

De Chiara G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Paternostro M.,Queens University of Belfast | Palma G.M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2011

We study a device formed by a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) coupled to the field of a cavity with a moving end mirror and find a working point such that the mirror-light entanglement is reproduced by the BEC-light quantum correlations. This provides an experimentally viable tool for inferring mirror-light entanglement with only a limited set of assumptions. We prove the existence of tripartite entanglement in the hybrid device, persisting up to temperatures of a few milli-Kelvin, and discuss a scheme to detect it. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Reyes-Garcia V.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Year: 2010

Background: Ethnopharmacology is at the intersection of the medical, natural, and social sciences. Despite its interdisciplinary nature, most ethnopharmacological research has been based on the combination of the chemical, biological, and pharmacological sciences. Far less attention has been given to the social sciences, including anthropology and the study of traditional knowledge systems.Methods: I reviewed the literature on traditional knowledge systems highlighting its potential theoretical and methodological contributions to ethnopharmacology.Results: I discuss three potential theoretical contributions of traditional knowledge systems to ethnopharmacological research. First, while many plants used in indigenous pharmacopoeias have active compounds, those compounds do not always act alone in indigenous healing systems. Research highlights the holistic nature of traditional knowledge systems and helps understand plant's efficacy in its cultural context. Second, research on traditional knowledge systems can improve our understanding of how ethnopharmacological knowledge is distributed in a society, and who benefits from it. Third, research on traditional knowledge systems can enhance the study of the social relations that enable the generation, maintenance, spread, and devolution of cultural traits and innovations, including ethnopharmacological knowledge.At a methodological level, some ethnopharmacologists have used anthropological tools to understand the context of plant use and local meanings of health and disease.I discuss two more potential methodological contributions of research on traditional knowledge systems to ethnopharmacological research. First, traditional knowledge systems research has developed methods that would help ethnopharmacologists understand how people classify illnesses and remedies, a fundamental aspect of folk medicinal plant selection criteria. Second, ethnopharmacologists could also borrow methods derived from cultural consensus theory to have a broader look at intracultural variation and at the analysis of transmission and loss of traditional ethnopharmacological knowledge.Conclusions: Ethical considerations in the ethnopharmacology of the 21st century should go beyond the recognition of the Intellectual Property Rights or the acquisition of research permits, to include considerations on the healthcare of the original holders of ethnopharmacological knowledge. Ethnopharmacology can do more than speed up to recover the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples to make it available for the development of new drugs. Ethnopharmacologists can work with health care providers in the developing world for the local implementation of ethnopharmacological research results. © 2010 Reyes-García; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Megias E.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Arriola E.R.,University of Granada | Salcedo L.L.,University of Granada
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2012

The Polyakov loop has been used repeatedly as an order parameter in the deconfinement phase transition in QCD. We argue that, in the confined phase, its expectation value can be represented in terms of hadronic states, similarly to the hadron resonance gas model for the pressure. Specifically, L(T) αg αe -Δ α /T, where g α are the degeneracies and Δ α are the masses of hadrons with exactly one heavy quark (the mass of the heavy quark itself being subtracted). We show that this approximate sum rule gives a fair description of available lattice data with N f=2+1 for temperatures in the range 150MeV

Seo P.J.,Chonbuk National University | Mas P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Plant Cell | Year: 2014

The circadian clock is a cellular time-keeper mechanism that regulates biological rhythms with a period of ~24 h. The circadian rhythms in metabolism, physiology, and development are synchronized by environmental cues such as light and temperature. In plants, proper matching of the internal circadian time with the external environment confers fitness advantages on plant survival and propagation. Accordingly, plants have evolved elaborated regulatorymechanisms that precisely control the circadian oscillations. Transcriptional feedback regulation of several clock components has been well characterized over the past years. However, the importance of additional regulatory mechanisms such as chromatin remodeling, protein complexes, protein phosphorylation, and stability is only starting to emerge. The multiple layers of circadian regulation enable plants to properly synchronize with the environmental cycles and to fine-tune the circadian oscillations. This review focuses on the diverse posttranslational events that regulate circadian clock function.We discuss the mechanistic insights explaining how plants articulate a high degree of complexity in their regulatory networks to maintain circadian homeostasis and to generate highly precise waveforms of circadian expression and activity. © 2014 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.

Martinez-Diaz S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
The American journal of sports medicine | Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: Cartilage tissue engineering using synthetic scaffolds allows maintaining mechanical integrity and withstanding stress loads in the body, as well as providing a temporary substrate to which transplanted cells can adhere. PURPOSE: This study evaluates the use of polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds for the regeneration of articular cartilage in a rabbit model. STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study. METHODS: Five conditions were tested to attempt cartilage repair. To compare spontaneous healing (from subchondral plate bleeding) and healing due to tissue engineering, the experiment considered the use of osteochondral defects (to allow blood flow into the defect site) alone or filled with bare PCL scaffold and the use of PCL-chondrocytes constructs in chondral defects. For the latter condition, 1 series of PCL scaffolds was seeded in vitro with rabbit chondrocytes for 7 days and the cell/scaffold constructs were transplanted into rabbits' articular defects, avoiding compromising the subchondral bone. Cell pellets and bare scaffolds were implanted as controls in a chondral defect. RESULTS: After 3 months with PCL scaffolds or cells/PCL constructs, defects were filled with white cartilaginous tissue; integration into the surrounding native cartilage was much better than control (cell pellet). The engineered constructs showed histologically good integration to the subchondral bone and surrounding cartilage with accumulation of extracellular matrix including type II collagen and glycosaminoglycan. The elastic modulus measured in the zone of the defect with the PCL/cells constructs was very similar to that of native cartilage, while that of the pellet-repaired cartilage was much smaller than native cartilage. CONCLUSION: The results are quite promising with respect to the use of PCL scaffolds as aids for the regeneration of articular cartilage using tissue engineering techniques.

Gijsenij A.,University of Amsterdam | Gevers T.,University of Amsterdam | Van De Weijer J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
International Journal of Computer Vision | Year: 2010

The gamut mapping algorithm is one of the most promising methods to achieve computational color constancy. However, so far, gamut mapping algorithms are restricted to the use of pixel values to estimate the illuminant. Therefore, in this paper, gamut mapping is extended to incorporate the statistical nature of images. It is analytically shown that the proposed gamut mapping framework is able to include any linear filter output. The main focus is on the local n-jet describing the derivative structure of an image. It is shown that derivatives have the advantage over pixel values to be invariant to disturbing effects (i.e. deviations of the diagonal model) such as saturated colors and diffuse light. Further, as the n-jet based gamut mapping has the ability to use more information than pixel values alone, the combination of these algorithms are more stable than the regular gamut mapping algorithm. Different methods of combining are proposed. Based on theoretical and experimental results conducted on large scale data sets of hyperspectral, laboratory and real-world scenes, it can be derived that (1) in case of deviations of the diagonal model, the derivative-based approach outperforms the pixel-based gamut mapping, (2) state-of-the-art algorithms are outperformed by the n-jet based gamut mapping, (3) the combination of the different n-jet based gamut mappings provide more stable solutions, and (4) the fusion strategy based on the intersection of feasible sets provides better color constancy results than the union of the feasible sets.

Mesquida J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing | Year: 2015

Early recognition of tissue hypoperfusion, and monitoring tissue response to resuscitation interventions, are key points in the management of critically ill patients. In the present issue of J Clin Monit Comput, Dr. Koch and coworkers present the results of a study evaluating regional and global markers of tissue perfusion in a population of septic shock patients. We propose an integrative approach to tissue perfusion assessment, where combining both, global and regional variables, might account for a better understanding of tissue oxygenation status, and might prove useful for septic shock patients' management. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Comi G.,University of Milan | Jeffery D.,Advance Neurology and Pain | Kappos L.,University of Basel | Montalban X.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | And 4 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2012

BACKGROUND: Two proof-of-concept clinical trials have provided evidence that laquinimod reduces disease activity in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study at 139 sites in 24 countries. A total of 1106 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive oral laquinimod at a dose of 0.6 mg once daily or placebo for 24 months. The primary end point was the annualized relapse rate during the 24-month period. Secondary end points included confirmed disability progression (defined as an increase in the score on the Expanded Disability Status Scale that was sustained for at least 3 months) and the cumulative number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions and new or enlarging lesions on T 2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. RESULTS: Treatment with laquinimod as compared with placebo was associated with a modest reduction in the mean (±SE) annualized relapse rate (0.30±0.02 vs. 0.39±0.03, P = 0.002) and with a reduction in the risk of confirmed disability progression (11.1% vs. 15.7%; hazard ratio, 0.64; 95% confidence interval, 0.45 to 0.91; P = 0.01). The mean cumulative numbers of gadolinium-enhancing lesions and new or enlarging lesions on T 2-weighted images were lower for patients receiving laquinimod than for those receiving placebo (1.33±0.14 vs. 2.12±0.22 and 5.03±0.08 vs. 7.14±0.07, respectively; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Transient elevations in alanine aminotransferase levels to greater than three times the upper limit of the normal range were observed in 24 patients receiving laquinimod (5%) and 8 receiving placebo (2%). CONCLUSIONS: In this phase 3 study, oral laquinimod administered once daily slowed the progression of disability and reduced the rate of relapse in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. (Funded by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00509145.) Copyright © 2012 Massachusetts Medical Society.

Servant G.,CERN | Servant G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Servant G.,CEA Saclay Nuclear Research Center | Tulin S.,University of Michigan
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

In addition to explaining the masses of elementary particles, the Higgs boson may have far-reaching implications for the generation of the matter content in the Universe. For instance, the Higgs boson plays a key role in two main theories of baryogenesis, namely, electroweak baryogenesis and leptogenesis. In this Letter, we propose a new cosmological scenario where the Higgs chemical potential mediates asymmetries between visible and dark matter sectors, either generating a baryon asymmetry from a dark matter asymmetry or vice versa. We illustrate this mechanism with a simple model with two new fermions coupled to the Higgs boson and discuss the associated signatures. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Camps V.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Revista de Neurologia | Year: 2013

This article examines the advances made by neuroscience in the attempt to find an answer to the question regarding the origin and foundation of moral judgements and of human behaviour in compliance with them. The conception of the brain as something dynamic and capable of adapting to the social and cultural surroundings is seen to be an important point for philosophy. At the same time, the complexity of ethical issues that cannot be reduced to observations based strictly on neurons alone also becomes quite apparent. Nevertheless, scientists and philosophers should get together and communicate with one another so as to be able to pose their questions with greater rigour and take advantage of each other's respective knowledge. © 2013 Revista de Neurología.

Junkin G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation | Year: 2011

The Dey-Mittra conformal finite difference time domain (CFDTD) algorithm for perfect electrical conductors is modified for the analysis of finite conductivity conductors at millimeter wave frequencies. Formulas are derived for CFDTD coefficients using voltage state variables and a constant surface impedance boundary condition (SIBC). The approach permits a fast implementation suitable for CUDA type GPU hardware. Accuracy and stability are investigated with respect to the stability constraints on intersection areas introduced by Dey-Mittra and Benkler as well as the distance stability constraints of Zagorodnov that permits 100% Courant temporal sampling. A relaxation of the Zagorodnov distance constraints permits increased accuracy with respect to all alternative area constraints. Analytic solutions are used to judge the performance of the proposed CFDTD modifications for millimeter wave band applications. © 2006 IEEE.

Allen R.J.,University of Leeds | Hitch G.J.,University of York | Mate J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Baddeley A.D.,University of York
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology | Year: 2012

We aimed to resolve an apparent contradiction between previous experiments from different laboratories, using dual-task methodology to compare effects of a concurrent executive load on immediate recognition memory for colours or shapes of items or their colour-shape combinations. Results of two experiments confirmed previous evidence that an irrelevant attentional load interferes equally with memory for features and memory for feature bindings. Detailed analyses suggested that previous contradictory evidence arose from limitations in the way recognition memory was measured. The present findings are inconsistent with an earlier suggestion that feature binding takes place within a multimodal episodic buffer Baddeley, (2000) and support a subsequent account in which binding takes place automatically prior to information entering the episodic buffer Baddeley, Allen, & Hitch, (2011). Methodologically, the results suggest that different measures of recognition memory performance (A′, d′, corrected recognition) give a converging picture of main effects, but are less consistent in detecting interactions. We suggest that this limitation on the reliability of measuring recognition should be taken into account in future research so as to avoid problems of replication that turn out to be more apparent than real. © 2012 Copyright The Experimental Psychology Society.

Guerreiro M.P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
BMC evolutionary biology | Year: 2011

Transposable elements (TEs) constitute an important source of genetic variability owing to their jumping and regulatory properties, and are considered to drive species evolution. Several factors that are able to induce TE transposition in genomes have been documented (for example environmental stress and inter- and intra-specific crosses) but in many instances the reasons for TE mobilisation have yet to be elucidated. Colonising populations constitute an ideal model for studying TE behaviour and distribution as they are exposed to different environmental and new demographic conditions. In this study, the distribution of two TEs, Osvaldo and Isis, was examined in two colonising populations of D. buzzatii from Australia. Comparing Osvaldo copy numbers between Australian and Old World (reported in previous studies) colonisations provides a valuable tool for elucidating the colonisation process and the effect of new conditions encountered by colonisers on TEs. The chromosomal distributions of Osvaldo and Isis retrotransposons in two colonising populations of D. buzzatii from Australia revealed sites of high insertion frequency (>10%) and low frequency sites. Comparisons between Osvaldo insertion profiles in colonising populations from the Old World and Australia demonstrate a tendency towards a higher number of highly occupied sites with higher insertion frequency in the Old World than in Australian populations. Tests concerning selection against deleterious TE insertions indicate that Isis is more controlled by purifying selection than Osvaldo. The distribution of both elements on chromosomal arms follows a Poisson distribution and there are non-significant positive correlations between highly occupied sites and chromosomal inversions. The occupancy profile of Osvaldo and Isis retrotransposons is characterised by the existence of high and low insertion frequency sites in the populations. These results demonstrate that Australian D. buzzatii populations were subjected to a founder effect during the colonisation process. Moreover, there are more sites with high insertion frequency in the Old World colonisation than in the Australian colonisation, indicating a probable stronger bottleneck effect in Australia. The results suggest that selection does not seem to play a major role, compared to demography, in the distribution of transposable elements in the Australian populations.

Gisbert J.P.,Hospital Universitario Of La Princesa | Calvet X.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology | Year: 2012

Background: Traditional standard triple therapy for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection (proton pump inhibitor-clarithromycin-amoxicillin) can easily be converted to non-bismuth quadruple (concomitant) therapy by the addition of a nitroimidazole twice daily. Aim: To critically review evidence on the role of non-bismuth quadruple therapy (proton pump inhibitor-clarithromycin-amoxicillin-nitroimidazole) in the treatment of H. pylori infection. Methods: Bibliographical searches were performed in MEDLINE and relevant congresses up to December 2011. We performed a meta-analysis of the studies evaluating the concomitant therapy, and of the randomized controlled trials comparing the concomitant and the standard triple therapy. Results: A meta-analysis of 19 studies (2070 patients) revealed a mean H. pylori cure rate (intention-to-treat) of 88% (95% confidence interval from 85% to 91%) for non-bismuth quadruple therapy. We performed a meta-analysis of the randomized controlled studies comparing the concomitant (481 patients) and the standard triple therapy (503 patients). The formerwas more effective than the latter: 90% versus 78% (intention-to-treat analysis). Results were homogeneous (I 2 = 0%). The odds ratio for this comparison was 2.36 (95% confidence interval from 1.67 to 3.34). A tendency toward better results with longer treatments (7-10 days versus 3-5 days) has been observed, so it seems reasonable to recommend the length of treatment achieving the highest cure rates (10 days). Clarithromycin resistance may reduce the efficacy of non-bismuth quadruple therapy, although the decrease in eradication rates seems to be farlower than in standard triple therapy. Experience with the non-bismuth quadruple therapy in patients with metronidazole-resistant strains is still very limited. Conclusion: Non-bismuth quadruple (concomitant) therapy appears to be an effective, safe, and well-tolerated alternative to triple therapy and is less complex than sequential therapy. Therefore, this regimen appears well suited for use in settings where the efficacy of triple therapy is unacceptably low. © 2012 Gisbert and Calvet, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

Guerreiro M.P.G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Heredity | Year: 2012

Transposable elements (TEs), by their capacity of moving and inducing mutations in the genome, are considered important drivers of species evolution. The successful invasions of TEs in genomes, despite their mutational properties, are an apparent paradox. TEs transposition is usually strongly regulated to low value, but in some cases these elements can also show high transposition rates, which has been associated sometimes to changes in environmental conditions. It is evident that factors susceptible to induce transpositions in natural populations contribute to TE perpetuation. Different factors were proposed as causative agents of TE mobilization in a wide range of organisms: biotic and abiotic stresses, inter-and intraspecific crosses and populational factors. However, there is no clear evidence of the factors capable of inducing TE mobilization in Drosophila, and data on laboratory stocks show contradictory results. The aim of this review is to have an update critical revision about mechanisms promoting transposition of TEs in Drosophila, and to provide to the readers a global vision of the dynamics of these genomic elements in the Drosophila genome. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Moyer M.G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Pragmatics | Year: 2011

The present research critically examines the construction of multilingualism and the implementation of multilingual practices in response to the new demands posed to public services by the arrival to the city of Barcelona of migrants from various language and cultural backgrounds. An analysis of the various modes and modalities of multilingualism in a health clinic in the city of Barcelona reveals the ideologies behind the practices and it shows how the reproduction of a particular social and institutional order is accomplished in everyday routine interactions that take place. Following Giddens (1984) on the role of agency it is possible to observe how institutional measures to incorporate multilingualism produce unintended consequences for migrants who come into contact with the health system. Language and communication appear at the center of the tensions and conflicts that arise between social actors within the institution. Ethnographic fieldwork and various types of data show the contradictions of institutional thinking and agency as well as the outcomes. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Villalba X.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Pragmatics | Year: 2011

Since the comparative work by Vallduví (1992, 1994), we know that similar information packagings may resort to completely different formal mechanisms across languages. For instance, right-dislocation (RD) is a highly productive backgrounding strategy in Catalan, but a marginal one in English, resorting in stress shift. To our current understanding, one might take this situation to be a casual state of affairs, or rather, one may raise the stronger hypothesis that understandable and definable factors exist underlying crosslinguistic variation at the syntax/information structure interface. This enterprise has been partially pursued for typologically distant languages (e.g. Catalan vs. English vs. Finnish vs. Turkish), but unlike much recent work in syntax (Kayne, 1996, 2001) very little or no attention has been paid to a microparametric comparative point. Crucially, a finer-grained comparison of closely related languages may shed light on the current hypotheses concerning the syntax/information structure interface. In this paper I will pursue this task, concentrating on the role of RD in two genetically related Romance languages: Catalan, and Spanish. My first goal is to quantify the degree of productivity of RD in these two kindred languages through a corpus based analysis. The second goal is to determine the range of formal mechanisms that Spanish resorts to in order to fulfil the discourse roles typically associated with RD in Catalan. Finally, my third goal will consist of putting forward a hypothesis to explain the factors that determine the quite different discourse management of the formal mechanisms available in these two languages. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Alvarez-Sabin J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Roman G.C.,Methodist Neurological Institute
Stroke | Year: 2011

Cognitive decline after stroke is more common than stroke recurrence. Stroke doubles the risk of dementia and is a major contributor to vascular cognitive impairment and vascular dementia. Neuropathological studies in most cases of dementia in the elderly reveal a large load of vascular ischemic brain lesions mixed with a lesser contribution of neurodegenerative lesions of Alzheimer disease. Nonetheless, few pharmacological studies have addressed vascular cognitive impairment and vascular dementia after stroke. Citicoline has demonstrated neuroprotective effects in acute stroke and has been shown to improve cognition in patients with chronic cerebrovascular disease and in some patients with Alzheimer disease. A recent trial lasting 6 months in patients with first-ever ischemic stroke showed that citicoline prevented cognitive decline after stroke with significant improvement of temporal orientation, attention, and executive function. Experimentally, citicoline exhibits neuroprotective effects and enhances neural repair. Citicoline appears to be a safe and promising alternative to improve stroke recovery and could be indicated in patients with vascular cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer disease with significant cerebrovascular disease. © 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.

Kallis G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2013

Can we choose whether to degrow? Sorman and Giampetro in this Special Issue argue that degrowth can only be forced upon us; it will never be the outcome of voluntary or collective choice. In this commentary, I argue instead that although sooner or later we will have to degrow because of bio-physical limitations, we still have a choice of how to do it. Constructing a positive vision of degrowth as an inspirational political project that mobilizes citizens, increases the likelihood of a "prosperous way down". I agree with the authors that in an energy scarce world we will have to work more to maintain the same level of material affluence, but I contend that under conceivable conditions we might be equally happy with less work, less energy and less material affluence. A multi-scalar analysis of societal metabolism is essential for the evaluation of degrowth policies and trajectories. However, unlike what Sorman and Giampietro suggest, there is nothing in existing metabolic analyses that suggests that a prosperous degrowth trajectory is a priori impossible. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Gil M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics | Year: 2013

To determine whether the use of Magnetic Activated Cell Sorting (MACS) as a sperm selection technique improves ART success rates in couples undergoing assisted reproduction treatment. Systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective randomized trials. Two reviewers conducted study selection and data extraction independently. Five studies (prospective randomized trials) that comprised 499 patients were included. Sperm selection using MACS resulted in statistically significant differences in pregnancy rates when compared with density gradient centrifugation and swim-up techniques (RR=1.50, 95 % CI 1.14-1.98). No differences were found between the groups according to the implantation (RR=1.03, 95 % CI 0.80-1.31) and miscarriage (RR=2.00, 95 % CI 0.19-20.90) rates. MACS appears to be a safe and efficient method to select functional sperm with consistently good results. This technique may improve pregnancy rates when used to complement standard sperm selection methods in ART.

Auli-Llinas F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
IEEE Transactions on Image Processing | Year: 2011

This paper introduces a probability model for symbols emitted by bitplane image coding engines, which is conceived from a precise characterization of the signal produced by a wavelet transform. Main insights behind the proposed model are the estimation of the magnitude of wavelet coefficients as the arithmetic mean of its neighbors' magnitude (the so-called local average), and the assumption that emitted bits are under-complete representations of the underlying signal. The local average-based probability model is introduced in the framework of JPEG2000. While the resulting system is not JPEG2000 compatible, it preserves all features of the standard. Practical benefits of our model are enhanced coding efficiency, more opportunities for parallelism, and improved spatial scalability. © 2011 IEEE.

Perez-Mana C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2013

Amphetamine dependence is a public health problem with medical, psychiatric, cognitive, legal and socioeconomic consequences. To date, no pharmacological treatment has been approved for this disorder, and psychotherapy remains the mainstay of treatment. In recent years, psychostimulants have been investigated as a possible replacement therapy. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of psychostimulant medications for amphetamine abuse or dependence. The influences of type of drug, type of dependence, comorbid disorders, clinical trial risk of bias and publication of data were also studied. Relevant trials were searched in the following sources: PubMed (January 1966 to 6 June 2012), EMBASE (January 1988 to 6 June 2012), CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library, Issue 5 of 12, May 2012), PsycINFO (January 1985 to 6 June 2012) and the Specialised Register of the Cochrane Drug and Alcohol Group (June 2012). We also searched the reference lists of retrieved trials, the list of studies citing the included trials and the main electronic registers of ongoing trials (ClinicalTrials.gov, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and EU Clinical Trials Register). Finally, we contacted investigators to request information about unpublished trials. Searches included non-English language literature. All randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel-group clinical trials investigating the efficacy or safety of psychostimulants for amphetamine dependence or abuse conducted in an outpatient setting. We used standard methodological procedures expected by The Cochrane Collaboration. Eleven studies were included in the review (791 participants). Studied psychostimulants included dexamphetamine, bupropion, methylphenidate and modafinil. No significant differences were found between psychostimulants and placebo for any of the studied efficacy outcomes. Overall retention in studies was low (50.4%). Psychostimulants did not reduce amphetamine use (mean difference (MD) -0.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.85 to 0.33) or amphetamine craving (MD 0.07, 95% CI -0.44 to 0.59) and did not increase sustained abstinence (relative risk (RR) 1.12, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.49). The proportion of adverse events inducing dropout was similar for psychostimulants and placebo (risk difference (RD) 0.01, 95% CI -0.03 to 0.04). The main findings did not change in any subgroup analysis. Results of this review do not support the use of psychostimulant medications at the tested doses as a replacement therapy for amphetamine abuse or dependence. Future research could change this conclusion, as the numbers of included studies and participants are limited and information on relevant outcomes, such as efficacy according to the severity of dependence or craving, is still missing.

Cardona P.-J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Cardona P.-J.,CIBER ISCIII
Clinical and Developmental Immunology | Year: 2011

Liquefaction is one of the most intriguing aspects of human tuberculosis. It is a major cause of the transition from the infection to active disease (tuberculosis, TB) as well as the transmission of M. tuberculosis to other persons. This paper reviews the natural history of liquefaction in humans from a pathological and radiological point of view and discusses how the experimental models available can be used to address the topic of liquefaction and cavity formation. Different concepts that have been related to liquefaction, from the influence of immune response to mechanical factors, are reviewed. Synchronic necrosis or apoptosis of infected macrophages in a close area, together with an ineffective fibrosis, appears to be clue in this process, in which macrophages, the immune response, and bacillary load interact usually in a particular scenario: the upper lobes of the lung. The summary would be that even if being a stochastic effect, liquefaction would result if the organization of the intragranulomatous necrosis (by means of fibrosis) would be disturbed. Copyright © 2011 Pere-Joan Cardona.

Gonzalez-Solis S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Nuclear and Particle Physics Proceedings | Year: 2015

We analyze the single and double Dalitz decays, P → ℓ+ℓ-γ and P → ℓ+ℓ-ℓ+ℓ- (P = π0, η, η' ; ℓ = e or μ), benefited from fitting, through the use of Padé approximants, the current experimental data on the transition form factors γ*γ → P in the spacelike energy region to describe the timelike P → γ*γ* reactions. Predictions for the mass spectra and branching ratios are given and compared with their present experimental status. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

van den Bergh J.C.J.M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | van den Bergh J.C.J.M.,VU University Amsterdam | Grazi F.,Agence Francaise de Developpement AFD
Journal of Industrial Ecology | Year: 2014

Summary: This article argues that policies aimed at sustainability need to address the spatial dimensions of environmental problems and their solutions. In particular, spatial configurations of economic activities deserve attention, which means addressing land use, infrastructure, trade, and transport. Unfortunately, good theory and indicators to support the analysis and design of spatial-environmental policies are not fully developed. One approach that has become very popular in the last decade is the ecological footprint (EF). It is both an environmental accounting tool and aggregate indicator, which is used by scientists, environmental organizations, and popular media. Despite criticisms of the EF method in the past, its popularity has only increased. In fact, an increasing number of publications with an application of the EF appear in scientific journals. We review the EF approach from indicator-methodology and welfare angles and assess its policy relevance. Our conclusion is that it does not offer any meaningful information for public policy. © 2013 by Yale University.

Abstract This article describes the contradictions reported by student-teachers in Barcelona who engaged in telecollaboration with transatlantic peers via Second Life, during their initial training in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The data analysis draws upon Grounded Theory and is theoretically informed by Activity Theory and the notion of contradictions. The study discusses technology-based, intra- and inter-institutional contradictions, their impact on the development of the telecollaborative activity, and outcomes in bolstering student-teachers' conceptual understanding of Network-Based Language Instruction. Copyright © European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning 2011.

Benaiges M.D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Biotechnology progress | Year: 2010

The characterization of the recombinant Candida rugosa Lip2 (r-Lip2) isoenzyme obtained from fed-batch cultures of Pichia pastoris under PAOX promoter was carried out, determining the optimal pH and temperature as well as their catalytic performance in both hydrolysis and synthesis reactions comparing with purified native Lip2 (n-Lip2) previously determined. The substrate specificity of r-Lip2 in hydrolysis reactions was determined with a series of triacylglycerols and p-nitrophenyl esters of variable acyl chain length. r-Lip2 showed the maximum specificity for both substrates towards medium-chain esters (C-8), similar behavior was observed with n-Lip2. However, significant differences were observed towards unsaturated substrates (triolein) or short-chain esters. A statistical design applied to study the effect of pH and temperature on lipase stability shown that r-Lip2, like n-Lip2, was more sensitive to pH than temperature changes. Nevertheless, the overall stability of soluble r-Lip2 was lower than soluble n-Lip2. The stability of r-lip2 was significantly improved by immobilization onto EP100, an excellent support for lipases with yields around 95% for offered lipolytic activity lower than 600 AU/mL. Finally, immobilized r-Lip2 was tested in the resolution of ibuprofen in isooctane by means of enantioselective esterification using 1-butanol as esterifying agent. r-Lip2 showed a better performance in terms of enantiomeric excess (74%) and enatiomeric factor (96%) than n-Lip2 (56 and 80%, respectively) for the same conversion (40%). Thus, r-Lip2 should be considered a good and pure biocatalyst, easy to produce and with a remaining activity of ca. 90% after one reaction cycle when immobilized on EP100. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Espuny F.,University of Barcelona | Burgos Gil J.I.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
International Journal of Computer Vision | Year: 2011

We address the self-calibration of a smooth generic central camera from only two dense rotational flows produced by rotations of the camera about two unknown linearly independent axes passing through the camera centre. We give a closed-form theoretical solution to this problem, and we prove that it can be solved exactly up to a linear orthogonal transformation ambiguity. Using the theoretical results, we propose an algorithm for the self-calibration of a generic central camera from two rotational flows. In order to solve the self-calibration problem using real images, we also study the computation of dense optical flows from image sequences acquired by the rotation of a smooth generic central camera. We propose a method for the computation of dense smooth generic flows from rotational camera motions using splines. The proposed methods are validated using both simulated and real image sequences. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Fullana M.A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Molecular Psychiatry | Year: 2015

Classical Pavlovian fear conditioning remains the most widely employed experimental model of fear and anxiety, and continues to inform contemporary pathophysiological accounts of clinical anxiety disorders. Despite its widespread application in human and animal studies, the neurobiological basis of fear conditioning remains only partially understood. Here we provide a comprehensive meta-analysis of human fear-conditioning studies carried out with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), yielding a pooled sample of 677 participants from 27 independent studies. As a distinguishing feature of this meta-analysis, original statistical brain maps were obtained from the authors of 13 of these studies. Our primary analyses demonstrate that human fear conditioning is associated with a consistent and robust pattern of neural activation across a hypothesized genuine network of brain regions resembling existing anatomical descriptions of the ‘central autonomic–interoceptive network’. This finding is discussed with a particular emphasis on the neural substrates of conscious fear processing. Our associated meta-analysis of functional deactivations—a scarcely addressed dynamic in fMRI fear-conditioning studies—also suggests the existence of a coordinated brain response potentially underlying the ‘safety signal’ (that is, non-threat) processing. We attempt to provide an integrated summary on these findings with the view that they may inform ongoing studies of fear-conditioning processes both in healthy and clinical populations, as investigated with neuroimaging and other experimental approaches.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 30 June 2015; doi:10.1038/mp.2015.88. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited

Peset C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Nuclear and Particle Physics Proceedings | Year: 2015

We obtain a model independent expression for the muonic hydrogen Lamb shift up to O(mμα6,mμα5 m2 μ/m2 ρ). The hadronic effects are controlled by the chiral theory, which allows for their model independent determination. We give their complete expression including the pion and Delta particles. Out of this analysis and the experimental measurement of the muonic hydrogen Lamb shift we determine the electromagnetic proton radius: rp=0.8412(15) fm. This number is at 6.8σ variance with respect to the CODATA value. The parametric control of the uncertainties allows us to obtain a model independent determination of the error, which is dominated by hadronic effects. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Servant G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2014

We show that strong CP violation from the QCD axion can be responsible for the matter antimatter asymmetry of the Universe in the context of cold electroweak baryogenesis if the electroweak phase transition is delayed below the GeV scale. This can occur naturally if the Higgs couples to a O(100)GeV dilaton, as expected in some models where the Higgs is a pseudo-Nambu-Goldstone boson of a new strongly interacting sector at the TeV scale. The existence of such a second scalar resonance with a mass and properties similar to the Higgs boson will soon be tested at the LHC. In this context, the QCD axion would not only solve the strong CP problem, but also the matter antimatter asymmetry and dark matter. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Mora E.,University of Lleida | Portella M.J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Forcada I.,University of Lleida | Vieta E.,University of Barcelona | Mur M.,University of Lleida
Psychological Medicine | Year: 2013

Previous cross-sectional studies report that cognitive impairment is associated with poor psychosocial functioning in euthymic bipolar patients. There is a lack of long-term studies to determine the course of cognitive impairment and its impact on functional outcome. Method A total of 54 subjects were assessed at baseline and 6 years later; 28 had DSM-IV TR bipolar I or II disorder (recruited, at baseline, from a Lithium Clinic Program) and 26 were healthy matched controls. They were all assessed with a cognitive battery tapping into the main cognitive domains (executive function, attention, processing speed, verbal memory and visual memory) twice over a 6-year follow-up period. All patients were euthymic (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score lower than 8 and Young mania rating scale score lower than 6) for at least 3 months before both evaluations. At the end of follow-up, psychosocial functioning was also evaluated by means of the Functioning Assessment Short Test. Results Repeated-measures multivariate analysis of covariance showed that there were main effects of group in the executive domain, in the inhibition domain, in the processing speed domain, and in the verbal memory domain (p<0.04). Among the clinical factors, only longer illness duration was significantly related to slow processing (p=0.01), whereas strong relationships were observed between impoverished cognition along time and poorer psychosocial functioning (p<0.05). Conclusions Executive functioning, inhibition, processing speed and verbal memory were impaired in euthymic bipolar out-patients. Although cognitive deficits remained stable on average throughout the follow-up, they had enduring negative effects on psychosocial adaptation of patients. © 2012 Cambridge University Press.

Matallanas J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2011

Santelmoa is diagnosed by the following characters: anterior portion of frontals fused; scapular foramen open; anterior ceratohyal-posterior ceratohyal (=epihyal) articulation interdigitating; cranium narrowed; supratemporal commissure and occipital pores absent; intercalar reaching the prootic; ascending rami of the parasphenoid wing high; palatal arch well developed; posterior hyomandibular ramus short; post-temporal ventral ramus well developed; six branchiostegal rays; vertebrae asymmetrical; pelvic fin rays ensheathed; scales, lateral line, pyloric caeca, palatine and vomerine teeth present. A new species of Santelmoa, Santelmoa elvirae sp. nov., is described on the basis of four specimens collected from the Bellingshausen Sea, Southern Ocean, at a depth of 1837 m. The new species can be distinguished from Santelmoa carmenae, the type species of the genus and the sole known Santelmoa species, by the following characters: mouth inferior; vertical folds on posterior end of the upper lip and on the lower lip lobe; oral valve nearly reaching the anterior edge of vomer; two posterior nasal pores; lateral line double with ventral and medio-lateral branches; single row of palatine teeth; dorsal fin rays 108-111; anal fin rays 93-94; pectoral fin rays 18-19 and vertebrae asymmetrical, 26-27 + 90-93 = 116-119. © Copyright Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2011.

Knecht M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Peris S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

Following a recent suggestion by Weinberg, we use the large-N expansion in QCD to discuss the decay amplitudes of tetraquarks into ordinary mesons as well as their mixing properties. We find that the flavor structure of the tetraquark is a crucial ingredient to determine both this mixing as well as the decays. Although in some cases tetraquarks should be expected to be as narrow as ordinary mesons, they may get to be even narrower, depending on this flavor structure. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Mimoso J.P.,University of Lisbon | Pavon D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

This brief report studies the behavior of entropy in two recent models of cosmic evolution by J. A. S. Lima, S. Basilakos, and F. E. M. Costa, and J. A. S. Lima, S. Basilakos, and J. Solá [arXiv:1209.2802]. Both start with an initial de Sitter expansion, go through the conventional radiation and matter dominated eras to be followed by a final and everlasting de Sitter expansion. In spite of their outward similarities (from the observational viewpoint they are arbitrary close to the conventional Lambda cold dark matter model), they deeply differ in the physics behind them. Our study reveals that in both cases the Universe approaches thermodynamic equilibrium in the last de Sitter era in the sense that the entropy of the apparent horizon plus that of matter and radiation inside it increases and is concave. Accordingly, they are consistent with thermodynamics. Cosmological models that do not approach equilibrium at the last phase of their evolution appear in conflict with the second law of thermodynamics. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Matilla-Duenas A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Cerebellum | Year: 2012

The spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are a clinically, genetically, and neuropathologically heterogeneous group of neurological disorders defined by variable degrees of cerebellar ataxia often accompanied by additional cerebellar and non-cerebellar symptoms that, in many cases, defy differentiation based on clinical characterisation alone. The clinical symptoms are triggered by neurodegeneration of the cerebellum and its relay connexions. The current identification of at least 43 SCA subtypes and the causative molecular defects in 27 of them refine the clinical diagnosis, provide molecular testing of at risk, a/pre-symptomatic, prenatal or pre-implantation and facilitate genetic counselling. The recent discovery of new causative SCA genes along with the respective scientific advances is uncovering high complexity and altered molecular pathways involved in the mechanisms by which the mutant gene products cause pathogenesis. Fortunately, the intensive ongoing clinical and neurogenetic research together with the applied molecular approaches is sure to yield scientific advances that will be translated into developing effective treatments for the spinocerebellar ataxias and other similar neurological conditions. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.

Sandiumenge A.,Rovira i Virgili University | Rello J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine | Year: 2012

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Despite important geographical variations, Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter species (ESKAPE) pathogens constitute more than 80% of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) episodes. Their clinical importance relies on their virulence and ability in developing mechanisms to decrease susceptibility to antimicrobials, increasing inappropriate therapy and affecting negatively on ICU patients' outcome. This review updates information on VAP due to ESKAPE pathogens. RECENT FINDINGS: Although methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus VAP may be clinically similar to that caused by susceptible strains, it is associated with poorer outcomes despite adequate treatment. Local colonization determines treatment options. The contribution of tracheobronchitis is an important issue. Minimum inhibitory concentration should be considered for nonfermentative Gram-negative bacteria VAP to prescribe extended infusion β-lactam treatment due to an increase of resistant strains. Strategies promoting antimicrobial diversity may protect against emergence and spread of resistance by ESKAPE pathogens. SUMMARY: VAP due to ESKAPE pathogens represents a global challenge that can be prevented using stewardship programmes promoting diversity. © 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Cabello A.,University of Seville | Severini S.,University College London | Winter A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2014

Correlations in Bell and noncontextuality inequalities can be expressed as a positive linear combination of probabilities of events. Exclusive events can be represented as adjacent vertices of a graph, so correlations can be associated to a subgraph. We show that the maximum value of the correlations for classical, quantum, and more general theories is the independence number, the Lovász number, and the fractional packing number of this subgraph, respectively. We also show that, for any graph, there is always a correlation experiment such that the set of quantum probabilities is exactly the Grötschel-Lovász-Schrijver theta body. This identifies these combinatorial notions as fundamental physical objects and provides a method for singling out experiments with quantum correlations on demand. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Masso E.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2014

Effective Lagrangians with dimension-six operators are widely used to analyse Higgs and other electroweak data. We show how to build a basis of operators such that each operator is linked to a coupling which is well measured or will be in the future. We choose a set of couplings such that the correspondence is one-to-one. The usual arbitrary coefficients in front of operators can be constrained quite directly using experimental data. In our framework, some important features of the Lagrangian are transparent. For example, one can clearly see the presence or absence of correlations among measurable quantities. This may be a useful guide when searching for physics beyond the Standard Model. © The Authors.

Pomarol A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Riva F.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2014

With the discovery of the Higgs at the LHC, experiments have finally addressed all aspects of the Standard Model (SM). At this stage, it is important to understand which windows for beyond the SM (BSM) physics are still open, and which are instead tightly closed. We address this question by parametrizing BSM effects with dimension-six operators and performing a global fit to the SM. We separate operators into different groups constrained at different levels, and provide independent bounds on their Wilson coefficients taking into account only the relevant experiments. Our analysis allows to assert in a model-independent way where BSM effects can appear in Higgs physics. In particular, we show that deviations from the SM in the differential distributions of $ h\ \to\ V\overline{f}f $ are related to other observables, such as triple gauge-boson couplings, and are then already constrained by present data. On the contrary, BR(h → Zγ) can still hide large deviations from the SM. © 2014 The Author(s).

Stouffer D.B.,CSIC - Donana Biological Station | Rezende E.L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Amaral L.A.N.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Amaral L.A.N.,Northwestern University
Journal of Animal Ecology | Year: 2011

1.The idea that species occupy distinct niches is a fundamental concept in ecology. Classically, the niche was described as an n-dimensional hypervolume where each dimension represents a biotic or abiotic characteristic. More recently, it has been hypothesised that a single dimension may be sufficient to explain the system-level organization of trophic interactions observed between species in a community. 2.Here, we test the hypothesis that species body mass is that single dimension. Specifically, we determine how the intervality of food webs ordered by body size compares to that of randomly ordered food webs. We also extend this analysis beyond the community level to the effect of body mass in explaining the diets of individual species. 3.We conclude that body mass significantly explains the ordering of species and the contiguity of diets in empirical communities. 4.At the species-specific level, we find that the degree to which body mass is a significant explanatory variable depends strongly on the phylogenetic history, suggesting that other evolutionarily conserved traits partly account for species' roles in the food web. 5.Our investigation of the role of body mass in food webs thus helps us to better understand the important features of community food-web structure and the evolutionary forces that have led us to the communities we observe. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.

Auli-Llinas F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing | Year: 2013

Embedded quantization is a mechanism employed by many lossy image codecs to progressively refine the distortion of a (transformed) image. Currently, the most common approach to do so in the context of wavelet-based image coding is to couple uniform scalar deadzone quantization (USDQ) with bitplane coding (BPC). USDQ+BPC is convenient for its practicality and has proved to achieve competitive coding performance. But the quantizer established by this scheme does not allow major variations. This paper introduces a multistage quantization scheme named general embedded quantization (GEQ) that provides more flexibility to the quantizer. GEQ schemes can be devised for specific decoding rates achieving optimal coding performance. Practical approaches of GEQ schemes achieve coding performance similar to that of USDQ+BPC while requiring fewer quantization stages. The performance achieved by GEQ is evaluated in this paper through experimental results carried out in the framework of modern image coding systems. © 1991-2012 IEEE.

Jover J.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Maseras F.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Maseras F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Chemical Communications | Year: 2013

A reaction mechanism for the copper(i)-catalyzed oxidative aerobic trifluoromethylation of terminal alkynes has been determined by DFT calculations. The transmetalation of CF3- to copper appears to be a ligand replacement process independent of the metal. The dioxygen activation follows the sequence η1-superoxocopper(ii), μ-η2:η2-peroxodicopper(ii) and bis(μ-oxo)-dicopper(iii). © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Rodriguez-Labajos B.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change | Year: 2013

Cost calculations related to climate change have accrued much intellectual effort. However, few works approach the assessment from the point of view of the effects of climate variability and change in ecosystem service provision. Failure to act plausibly leads to ecological, social, and economic damages as a result of ecosystem change. The necessary actions to cope with unavoidable damages from such change generate adaptation costs, while mitigation costs are associated with actions to tackle undesired future changes in the ecosystems. Examples of these effects and related costs, based on representative studies, are reviewed following the organizing scheme of the ecosystem services approach. The examination of case examples reveals the potential and limits of monetary versus non-monetary estimations of impacts in human wellbeing from climate change-related changes in the ecosystems, trade-offs between types of ecosystem service provision and implications of timing in action. This article further discusses the necessary steps to advance in an inclusive scrutiny of the costs associated with the effects of climate change on ecosystem service provision. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Davalos A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Secades J.,Ferrer Group
Stroke | Year: 2011

Citicoline is a neuroprotectant and neurorestorative drug that is used in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke in some countries. The research with this compound continues. In this review, we focus on the latest publications or communications or both and on the major ongoing experimental and clinical projects involving citicoline in stroke recovery. © 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.

Fox M.D.,Harvard University | Fox M.D.,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center | Liu H.,Harvard University | Pascual-Leone A.,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center | Pascual-Leone A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
NeuroImage | Year: 2013

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is used clinically for the treatment of depression however outcomes vary greatly between patients. We have shown that average clinical efficacy of different left DLPFC TMS sites is related to intrinsic functional connectivity with remote regions including the subgenual cingulate and suggested that functional connectivity with these remote regions might be used to identify optimized left DLPFC targets for TMS. However it remains unclear if and how this connectivity-based targeting approach should be applied at the single-subject level to potentially individualize therapy to specific patients. In this article we show that individual differences in DLPFC connectivity are large, reproducible across sessions, and can be used to generate individualized DLPFC TMS targets that may prove clinically superior to those selected on the basis of group-average connectivity. Factors likely to improve individualized targeting including the use of seed maps and the focality of stimulation are investigated and discussed. The techniques presented here may be applicable to individualized targeting of focal brain stimulation across a range of diseases and stimulation modalities and can be experimentally tested in clinical trials. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Reverte-Vinaixa M.M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of orthopaedic surgery (Hong Kong) | Year: 2013

To evaluate the medium-term outcome of mosaicplasty for full-thickness cartilage defects of the knee joint in 17 patients. Records of 12 men and 5 women aged 16 to 57 (mean, 35) years who underwent mosaicplasty for grade III/IV osteochondral defects in the lateral (n=14) or medial (n=3) femoral condyle were reviewed. 12 of the patients had undergone knee surgeries. The mean size of the defects was 3.4 (range, 1-4) cm(2). Three patients had defects of >2 cm(2). All operations were performed by a single surgeon using mini-arthrotomy. The lateral edge of the trochlea was the donor site. Graft integration and the presence of any abnormality at the articular surface were assessed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition, patients were evaluated using the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) rating scale, the SF-36 health questionnaire, visual analogue scale (VAS) score for pain. Two of the 17 patients developed necrosis and cystic degeneration of the grafts and underwent conversion to unicompartmental knee arthroplasty within 2 years. They were older than 45 years and had defects of >2 cm(2). Respectively in years 4 and 7, one and 4 patients were lost to follow-up, the mean IKDC score was 75% and 88%, the SF-36 score was 83% and 90%, and the VAS score was ≤3 in 13 of 14 patients at year 4 and in all 11 patients at year 7. At the 7-year follow-up, patient satisfaction with mosaicplasty was excellent in 8 patients, good in 3, and poor in 2 (who underwent unicompartmental knee arthroplasty). At year 4, MRI showed integration of the cartilage repair tissue and incorporation of the osseous portion of the graft into the bone in 13 of the 14 patients. The remaining patient had osteoarthritis at the graft donor site. At year 7, MRI showed good integration of the implant in all 11 available patients, but fissures were seen on the cartilage surface in 3 patients. The medium-term outcome of autologous mosaicplasty for symptomatic osteochondral defects in the femoral condyle is good. Longer follow-up is needed to determine the structural and functional integrity of the graft over time.

Fraga H.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Fontes R.,University of Porto
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects | Year: 2011

Background: Mono and dinucleoside polyphosphates (p nNs and Np nNs) exist in living organisms and induce diverse biological effects through interaction with intracellular and cytoplasmic membrane proteins. The source of these compounds is associated with secondary activities of a diverse group of enzymes. Scope of review: Here we discuss the mechanisms that can promote their synthesis at a molecular level. Although all the enzymes described in this review are able to catalyse the in vitro synthesis of Np nNs (and/or p nN), it is not clear which ones are responsible for their in vivo accumulation. Major conclusions: Despite the large amount of knowledge already available, important questions remain to be answered and a more complete understanding of p nNs and Np nNs synthesis mechanisms is required. With the possible exception of (GTP:GTP guanylyltransferase of Artemia), all enzymes able to catalyse the synthesis of p nNs and Np nNs are unspecific and the factors that can promote their synthesis relative to the canonical enzyme activities are unclear. General significance: The fact that p nNs and Np nNs syntheses are promiscuous activities of housekeeping enzymes does not reduce its physiological or pathological importance. Here we resume the current knowledge regarding their enzymatic synthesis and point the open questions on the field. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Daban J.-R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Micron | Year: 2011

The folding of the chromatin filament and, in particular, the organization of genomic DNA within metaphase chromosomes has attracted the interest of many laboratories during the last five decades. This review discusses our current understanding of chromatin higher-order structure based on results obtained with transmission electron microscopy (TEM), cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), and different atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques. Chromatin isolated from different cell types in buffers without cations form extended filaments with nucleosomes visible as separated units. In presence of low concentrations of Mg 2+, chromatin filaments are folded into fibers having a diameter of ∼30nm. Highly compact fibers were obtained with isolated chromatin fragments in solutions containing 1-2mM Mg 2+. The high density of these fibers suggested that the successive turns of the chromatin filament are interdigitated. Similar results were obtained with reconstituted nucleosome arrays under the same ionic conditions. This led to the proposal of compact interdigitated solenoid models having a helical pitch of 4-5nm. These findings, together with the observation of columns of stacked nucleosomes in different liquid crystal phases formed by aggregation of nucleosome core particles at high concentration, and different experimental evidences obtained using other approaches, indicate that face-to-face interactions between nucleosomes are very important for the formation of dense chromatin structures. Chromatin fibers were observed in metaphase chromosome preparations in deionized water and in buffers containing EDTA, but chromosomes in presence of the Mg 2+ concentrations found in metaphase (5-22mM) are very compact, without visible fibers. Moreover, a recent cryo-electron microscopy analysis of vitreous sections of mitotic cells indicated that chromatin has a disordered organization, which does not support the existence of 30-nm fibers in condensed chromosomes. TEM images of partially denatured chromosomes obtained using different procedures that maintain the ionic conditions of metaphase showed that bulk chromatin in chromosomes is organized forming multilayered plate-like structures. The structure and mechanical properties of these plates were studied using cryo-EM, electron tomography, AFM imaging in aqueous media, and AFM-based nanotribology and force spectroscopy. The results obtained indicated that the chromatin filament forms a flexible two-dimensional network, in which DNA is the main component responsible for the mechanical strength observed in friction force measurements. The discovery of this unexpected structure based on a planar geometry has opened completely new possibilities for the understanding of chromatin folding in metaphase chromosomes. It was proposed that chromatids are formed by many stacked thin chromatin plates oriented perpendicular to the chromatid axis. Different experimental evidences indicated that nucleosomes in the plates are irregularly oriented, and that the successive layers are interdigitated (the apparent layer thickness is 5-6nm), allowing face-to-face interactions between nucleosomes of adjacent layers. The high density of this structure is in agreement with the high concentration of DNA observed in metaphase chromosomes of different species, and the irregular orientation of nucleosomes within the plates make these results compatible with those obtained with mitotic cell cryo-sections. The multilaminar chromatin structure proposed for chromosomes allows an easy explanation of chromosome banding and of the band splitting observed in stretched chromosomes. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Solans-Monfort X.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Coperet C.,ETH Zurich | Eisenstein O.,Charles Gerhardt Institute
Organometallics | Year: 2012

Density functional calculations have been carried out to analyze the origin of the differences in reactivity, selectivity, and stability toward deactivation in metathesis of d 0 oxo alkylidene complexes vs their isoelectronic imido counterparts. DFT calculations show that the elementary steps and geometries of the extrema are similar for the oxo and imido complexes, but that the energy profiles are different, the greatest difference occurring for the deactivation pathway. For the alkene metathesis pathway, replacing the imido by an oxo ligand slightly lowers the energy barrier for alkene coordination but raises that for the [2+2]-cycloaddition and cycloreversion; it also destabilizes the trigonal bipyramidal (TBP) metallacyclobutane intermediate with respect to the separated reactants. The isomeric square-based pyramid (SP) metallacyclobutane is in general more stable, and its stability relative to the separated reactants is similar for oxo and imido systems. Consequently, the oxo complex is associated with a slightly larger energy difference between the lowest energy intermediate (SP or separated reactants) and the highest energy transition state (cycloreversion) than the imido complex, which accounts for a slightly lower activity. Changing the imido into an oxo ligand disfavors strongly the deactivation pathway by raising considerably the energy barrier of the β-H transfer at the SP metallacycle that begins the entry into the channel for deactivation and byproduct formation as well as that of the subsequent ethene insertion. This makes the oxo catalysts more selective and stable toward deactivation than the corresponding imido catalysts, when dimerization can be avoided. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Esteve-Codina A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Heredity | Year: 2011

Despite dramatic reduction in sequencing costs with the advent of next generation sequencing technologies, obtaining a complete mammalian genome sequence at sufficient depth is still costly. An alternative is partial sequencing. Here, we have sequenced a reduced representation library of an Iberian sow from the Guadyerbas strain, a highly inbred strain that has been used in numerous QTL studies because of its extreme phenotypic characteristics. Using the Illumina Genome Analyzer II (San Diego, CA, USA), we resequenced ∼ 1% of the genome with average 4 × depth, identifying 68,778 polymorphisms. Of these, 55,457 were putative fixed differences with respect to the assembly, based on the genome of a Duroc pig, and 13,321 were heterozygous positions within Guadyerbas. Despite being highly inbred, the estimate of heterozygosity within Guadyerbas was ∼ 0.78 kb(-1) in autosomes, after correcting for low depth. Nucleotide variability was consistently higher at the telomeric regions than on the rest of the chromosome, likely a result of increased recombination rates. Further, variability was 50% lower in the X-chromosome than in autosomes, which may be explained by a recent bottleneck or by selection. We divided the whole genome in 500 kb windows and we analyzed overrepresented gene ontology terms in regions of low and high variability. Multi organism process, pigmentation and cell killing were overrepresented in high variability regions and metabolic process ontology, within low variability regions. Further, a genome wide Hudson-Kreitman-Aguadé test was carried out per window; overall, variability was in agreement with neutral expectations.

Radicella N.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Radicella N.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Pavon D.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2010

We apply the generalized second law of thermodynamics to discriminate among quantum corrections (whether logarithmic or power-law) to the entropy of the apparent horizon in spatially Friedmann-Robertson-Walker universes. We use the corresponding modified Friedmann equations along with either Clausius relation or the principle of equipartition of the energy to set limits on the value of a characteristic parameter entering the said corrections. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Otti A.G.,University of Florence | Jaus M.O.,University of Florence | Barale D.,University of Florence | Baiguera S.,Karolinska Institutet | And 6 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2014

Background In 2008, the fi rst transplantation of a tissue-engineered trachea in a human being was done to replace an end-staged left main bronchus with malacia in a 30-year-old woman. We report 5 year follow-up results. Methods The patient was followed up approximately every 3 months with multidetector CT scan and bronchoscopic assessment. We obtained mucosal biopsy samples every 6 months for histological, immunohistochemical, and electron microscopy assessment. We also assessed quality of life, respiratory function, cough refl ex test, and production and specifi city of recipient antibodies against donor human leucocyte antigen. Findings By 12 months after transplantation, a progressive cicatricial stenosis had developed in the native trachea close to the tissue-engineered trachea anastomosis, which needed repeated endoluminal stenting. However, the tissue-engineered trachea itself remained open over its entire length, well vascularised, completely re-cellularised with respiratory epithelium, and had normal ciliary function and mucus clearance. Lung function and cough refl ex were normal. No stem-cell-related teratoma formed and no anti-donor antibodies developed. Aside from intermittent bronchoscopic interventions, the patient had a normal social and working life. Interpretation These clinical results provide evidence that a tissue-engineering strategy including decellularisation of a human trachea, autologous epithelial and stem-cell culture and diff erentiation, and cell-scaff old seeding with a bioreactor is safe and promising.

Swenson L.C.,British Columbia Center for Excellence in | Daumer M.,Institute of Immunology and Genetics | Paredes R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS | Year: 2012

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Deep sequencing of the V3 region of the HIV envelope gene can detect minority non-R5 variants in patients with high sensitivity and specificity. As next-generation sequencing approaches have matured, the clinical utility of deep sequencing for HIV tropism has entered the clinic. Accurate and sensitive tropism testing is essential for successful treatment with the CCR5 antagonist class of antiretrovirals. RECENT FINDINGS: This review will focus on five aspects of next-generation sequencing for assessing HIV tropism: some background on the necessity of deep sequencing versus other tropism methods; the methodological process of 454 sequencing and analysis; other next-generation sequencing technologies; the diagnostic performance of deep sequencing relative to other tropism assays; and the use of deep sequencing in clinical practice. SUMMARY: This method has emerged quickly as both a research and clinical tool because of its high concordance with commonly used phenotypic tropism assays and its ability to predict virological response to CCR5 antagonist-containing regimens. © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Garcia Guerreiro M.P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Molecular Genetics and Genomics | Year: 2015

Hybridization between different genomes is a source of genomic instability, sometimes associated with transposable element (TE) mobilization. Previous work showed that hybridization between the species Drosophila buzzatii and Drosophila koepferae induced mobilization of different (TEs), the Osvaldo retrotransposon being the most unstable. However, we ignore the mechanisms involved in this transposition release in interspecific hybrids. In order to disentangle the mechanisms involved in this process, we performed Osvaldo expression studies in somatic and germinal tissues from hybrids and parental species. There was a trend towards increased Osvaldo expression in the somatic tissues of hybrid females and males, which was always significant in males compared to the parental species D. buzzatii but, not in females compared to maternal species D. koepferae. There were massive changes of Osvaldo expression in the testes, which varied depending on the hybrid generation and family. Moreover, Osvaldo hybridization signals, restricted to the apical and primary spermatocyte regions in parents, occupied broader region in the hybrids. In ovaries, there were no significant differences in Osvaldo expression rates between hybrids and the maternal species D. koepferae. The transcript location was restricted to ovarian nurse cells in both parents and hybrids, undetectable in some hybrids. This research highlights first, the existence of putative complex deregulation mechanisms different between sexes and cell types and second, disruption of Osvaldo activity particularly evident in testes from sterile hybrid males. Deeper studies of the total transcriptome in hybrids and parental species are necessary to gain a better knowledge of the TE deregulation pathways in hybrids. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Villena J.A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
FEBS Journal | Year: 2015

Members of the PGC-1 family of coactivators have been revealed as key players in the regulation of energy metabolism. Early gain- and loss-of-function studies led to the conclusion that all members of the PGC-1 family (PGC-1α, PGC-1β and PRC) play redundant roles in the control of mitochondrial biogenesis by regulating overlapping gene expression programs. Regardless of this, all PGC-1 coactivators also appeared to differ in the stimuli to which they respond to promote mitochondrial gene expression. Although PGC-1α was found to be induced by different physiological or pharmacological cues, PGC-1β appeared to be unresponsive to such stimuli. Consequently, it has long been widely accepted that PGC-1α acts as a mediator of mitochondrial biogenesis induced by cues that signal high-energy needs, whereas the role of PGC-1β is restricted to the maintenance of basal mitochondrial function. By contrast, the function of PRC appears to be restricted to the regulation of gene expression in proliferating cells. However, recent studies using tissue-specific mouse models that lack or overexpress different PGC-1 coactivators have provided emerging evidence not only supporting new roles for PGC-1s, but also redefining some of the paradigms related to the precise function and mode of action of PGC-1 coactivators in mitochondrial biogenesis. The present review discusses some of the new findings regarding the control of mitochondrial gene expression by PGC-1 coactivators in a tissue-specific context, as well as newly-uncovered functions of PGC-1s beyond mitochondrial biogenesis, and their link to pathologies, such as diabetes, muscular dystrophies, neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. © 2014 FEBS.

Izquierdo G.,University of Burgundy | Pavon D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics | Year: 2010

Under the assumption that cold dark matter and dark energy interact with each other through a small coupling term, Q, we constrain the parameter space of the equation of state w of those dark energy fields whose variation of the field since last scattering do not exceed Planck's mass. We use three parameterizations of w and two different expressions for Q. Our work extends previous ones. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Mansilla M.J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.) | Year: 2012

Heat shock proteins (HSP) have long been considered intracellular chaperones that possess housekeeping and cytoprotective functions. Consequently, HSP overexpression was proposed as a potential therapy for neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the accumulation or aggregation of abnormal proteins. Recently, the discovery that cells release HSP with the capacity to trigger proinflammatory as well as immunoregulatory responses has focused attention on investigating the role of HSP in chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, the most relevant HSP is the inducible Hsp70, which exhibits both cytoprotectant and immunoregulatory functions. Several studies have presented contradictory evidence concerning the involvement of Hsp70 in MS or experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the MS animal model. In this review, we dissect the functions of Hsp70 and discuss the controversial data concerning the role of Hsp70 in MS and EAE.

Vazquez Castro M.A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Vieira F.,University of Porto
IEEE Communications Magazine | Year: 2012

The second generation of the Digital Video Broadcasting standard for Satellite transmission, DVB-S2, is the evolution of the highly successful DVB-S satellite distribution technology. DVB-S2 has benefited from the latest progress in channel coding and modulation such as Low Density Parity Check Codes and higher order constellations to achieve performance that approaches Shannon¿s theoretical limit. We present a cross-layer design for Quality-of-Service (QoS) provision of interactive services, which is not specified in the standard. Our cross-layer approach exploits the satellite channel characteristics of space-time correlation via a cross-layer queueing architecture and an adaptive cross-layer scheduling policy. We show that our approach not only allows system load control but also rate adaptation to channel conditions and traffic demands on the coverage area. We also present the extension of our cross-layer design for mobile gateways focusing on the railway scenario. We illustrate the trade-off between system-wide and individual throughput by means of simulation, and that this trade-off could be a key metric in measuring the service level of DVB-S2 Broadband Service. © 2012 IEEE.

Munda G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Saisana M.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra
Regional Studies | Year: 2011

MUNDA G. and SAISANA M. Methodological considerations on regional sustainability assessment based on multicriteria and sensitivity analysis, Regional Studies. This paper proposes the use of a non-compensatory multicriteria approach combined with sensitivity analysis for constructing composite indicators of sustainability. An illustrative example on Spanish and selected Mediterranean regions is used. The sensitivity analysis shows that excluding an indicator from a twenty-nine-indicator data set (which represents, in principle, a small structural change) has a much lower impact on the regional ranking if that is based on a non-compensatory multicriteria approach than on the classical linear aggregation, for example the weighted arithmetic average. An alternative approach that employs endogenous weighting (region-specific weights) and is based on data envelopment analysis is discussed. © 2011 Regional Studies Association.

Sameera W.M.C.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Maseras F.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Maseras F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Molecular Science | Year: 2012

Density functional theory (DFT) and density functional theory/molecular mechanics (DFT/MM) methods are useful tools in modern homogeneous catalysis. Calculation, with its ability to characterize otherwise hardly accessible intermediates and transition states, is a key complement to experiment for the full characterization of the often intricate reaction mechanisms involved in transition metal catalysis. DFT and DFT/MM techniques have been applied to the characterization of full catalytic cycles, as those in cross-coupling; to the systematic analysis of single reaction steps common to several catalytic cycles, such as C-H activation; to the elucidation of processes involving different spin states, such as the rebound mechanism for C-H activation; to the identification of transient intermediates with key mechanistic roles, such as those in oxygen-evolving complexes; to the analysis of the catalytic keys to polymerization control, as in olefin polymerization; and to reproduction and rationalization of experimentally reported enantioselectvities, as in the case of olefin dihydroxylation. The currently available techniques provide sufficient accuracy to offer chemical insight into the systems involved in experiment, as proved by the growing body of successful applications in the field. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Rezende E.L.,Roehampton University | Castaneda L.E.,University of Chile | Castaneda L.E.,Austral University of Chile | Santos M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Functional Ecology | Year: 2014

Summary: How thermal tolerance estimated in the laboratory can be extrapolated to natural settings remains a contentious subject. Here, we argue that the general premise that a single temperature can accurately describe upper or lower tolerance limits is incorrect. Survival probability is determined by both the intensity and the duration of a thermal stress, and the association between these variables can be adequately conveyed by a thermal tolerance landscape. Employing this framework, we demonstrate that the temperature range that an organism can tolerate is expected to narrow down with the duration of the thermal challenge. Analyses suggest that a trade-off exists between tolerances to acute and chronic exposition to thermal stress, and that changes in temperature means or extremes may result in drastically different selective pressures and subsequent evolutionary responses. After controlling for the duration of the thermal challenge, we also uncover latitudinal effects on upper lethal temperatures in insects that remained unnoticed in previous broad-scale comparative analyses. Ultimately, critical thermal limits have been adopted in the ecological literature for logistic reasons and are inadequate descriptors of thermal tolerance on conceptual grounds. We consider that tolerance landscapes provide a more suitable framework to study temperature tolerance and its potential impact in ecological settings. © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Quilez J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
PloS one | Year: 2012

The current disease model for leishmaniasis suggests that only a proportion of infected individuals develop clinical disease, while others are asymptomatically infected due to immune control of infection. The factors that determine whether individuals progress to clinical disease following Leishmania infection are unclear, although previous studies suggest a role for host genetics. Our hypothesis was that canine leishmaniasis is a complex disease with multiple loci responsible for the progression of the disease from Leishmania infection. Genome-wide association and genomic selection approaches were applied to a population-based case-control dataset of 219 dogs from a single breed (Boxer) genotyped for ~170,000 SNPs. Firstly, we aimed to identify individual disease loci; secondly, we quantified the genetic component of the observed phenotypic variance; and thirdly, we tested whether genome-wide SNP data could accurately predict the disease. We estimated that a substantial proportion of the genome is affecting the trait and that its heritability could be as high as 60%. Using the genome-wide association approach, the strongest associations were on chromosomes 1, 4 and 20, although none of these were statistically significant at a genome-wide level and after correcting for genetic stratification and lifestyle. Amongst these associations, chromosome 4: 61.2-76.9 Mb maps to a locus that has previously been associated with host susceptibility to human and murine leishmaniasis, and genomic selection estimated markers in this region to have the greatest effect on the phenotype. We therefore propose these regions as candidates for replication studies. An important finding of this study was the significant predictive value from using the genomic information. We found that the phenotype could be predicted with an accuracy of ~0.29 in new samples and that the affection status was correctly predicted in 60% of dogs, significantly higher than expected by chance, and with satisfactory sensitivity-specificity values (AUC = 0.63).

Gupta R.S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Rzehak H.,CERN | Wells J.D.,CERN | Wells J.D.,University of Michigan
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

Much of the discussion regarding future measurements of the Higgs boson mass and self-coupling is focused on how well various collider options can do. In this article we ask a physics-based question of how well do we need colliders to measure these quantities to have an impact on discovery of new physics or an impact in how we understand the role of the Higgs boson in nature. We address the question within the framework of the Standard Model and various beyond the Standard Model scenarios, including supersymmetry and theories of composite Higgs bosons. We conclude that the LHC's stated ability to measure the Higgs boson to better than 150 MeV will be as good as we will ever need to know the Higgs boson mass in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, we estimate that the self-coupling will likely need to be measured to better than 20% to see a deviation from the Standard Model expectation. This is a challenging target for future collider and upgrade scenarios. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Bernard C.,Washington University in St. Louis | Golterman M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

It has been widely assumed that partially quenched chiral perturbation theory is the correct low-energy effective theory for partially quenched QCD. Here we present arguments supporting this assumption. First, we show that, for partially quenched QCD with staggered quarks, a transfer matrix can be constructed. This transfer matrix is not Hermitian, but it is bounded, and it can be used to construct correlation functions in the usual way. Combining these observations with an extension of the Vafa-Witten theorem to the partially quenched theory allows us to argue that the partially quenched theory satisfies the cluster property. By extending Leutwyler's analysis of the unquenched case to the partially quenched theory, we then conclude that the existence and properties of the transfer matrix as well as clustering are sufficient for partially quenched chiral perturbation theory to be the correct low-energy theory for partially quenched QCD. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Pineda A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Segovia J.,Argonne National Laboratory
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

We compute the magnetic dipole transitions between low-lying heavy quarkonium states in a model-independent way. We use the weak-coupling version of the effective field theory named potential nonrelativistic QCD, with the static potential exactly incorporated in the leading order Hamiltonian. The precision we reach is kγ3/m2×O(αs2,v2) and kγ3/m2×O(v4) for the allowed and forbidden transitions, respectively, where kγ is the photon energy. We also resum the large logarithms associated with the heavy quark mass scale. The specific transitions considered in this paper are the following: Υ(1S) →ηb(1S)γ, J/ψ(1S)→ηc(1S) γ, hb(1P)→χb0,1(1P)γ, χb2(1P)→hb(1P)γ, Υ(2S) →ηb(2S)γ, Υ(2S)→ηb(1S)γ and ηb(2S)→Υ(1S)γ. The effect of the new power counting is found to be large, and the exact treatment of the soft logarithms of the static potential makes the factorization scale dependence much smaller. The convergence for the bb̄ ground state is quite good, and also quite reasonable for the cc̄ ground state and the bb̄ 1P state. For all of them we give solid predictions. For the 2S decays the situation is less conclusive, yet our results are perfectly consistent with existing data, as the previous disagreement with experiment for the Υ(2S) →ηb(1S)γ decay fades away. We also compute some expectation values like the electromagnetic radius, or. We find to be nicely convergent in all cases, whereas the convergence of is typically worse. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Masina I.,University of Ferrara | Masina I.,University of Southern Denmark | Quiros M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

In this paper, we have considered the possibility that the Standard Model, and its minimal extension with the addition of singlets, merges with a high-scale supersymmetric theory at a scale satisfying the Veltman condition and therefore with no sensitivity to the cutoff. The matching of the Standard Model is achieved at Planckian scales. In its complex singlet extension, the matching scale depends on the strength of the coupling between the singlet and Higgs fields. For order 1 values of the coupling, still in the perturbative region, the matching scale can be located in the TeV ballpark. Even in the absence of quadratic divergences, there remains a finite adjustment of the parameters in the high-energy theory, which should guarantee that the Higgs and the singlets in the low-energy theory are kept light. This fine-tuning (unrelated to quadratic divergences) is the entire responsibility of the ultraviolet theory and remains as the missing ingredient to provide a full solution to the hierarchy problem. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Roig P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Guevara A.,Research Center Estudios Avanzados | Lopez Castro G.,Research Center Estudios Avanzados
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2013

We carry out a detailed study of the branching fractions and lepton-pair invariant-mass spectrum of τ-→π -ντℓ+ℓ- decays (ℓ=e, μ). In addition to the model-independent (QED) contributions, we include the structure-dependent (SD) terms, which encode information on the hadronization of QCD currents. The form factors describing the SD contributions are evaluated by supplementing Chiral Perturbation Theory with the inclusion of the lightest multiplet of spin-1 resonances as active degrees of freedom. The Lagrangian couplings have been determined by demanding the known QCD short-distance behavior to the relevant Green functions and associated form factors in the limit where the number of colors goes to infinity. As a result, we predict BR(τ-→π-ντe +e-)=(1.7-0.3+1.1)×10-5 and BR(τ-→π-ντμ +μ-)â̂̂[0.03,1.0]×10 -5. According to this, the first decay could be measured in the near future, which is not granted for the second one. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Vilarroya O.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Neural mind-reading studies, based on multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) methods, are providing exciting new studies. Some of the results obtained with these paradigms have raised high expectations, such as the possibility of creating brain reading devices. However, such hopes are based on the assumptions that: a) the BOLD signal is a marker of neural activity; b) the BOLD pattern identified by a MVPA is a neurally sound pattern; c) the MVPA's feature space is a good mapping of the neural representation of a stimulus, and d) the pattern identified by a MVPA corresponds to a representation. I examine here the challenges that still have to be met before fully accepting such assumptions. © 2013 Vilarroya.

Marras C.,University of Toronto | Troster A.I.,Barrow Neurological Institute | Kulisevsky J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Stebbins G.T.,Rush University Medical Center
Movement Disorders | Year: 2014

Cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease is heterogeneous both in severity and pattern and subject to influences both integral to and external to the disease. Diagnostic Criteria have been developed by the Movement Disorders Society that help to guide clinicians and researchers to an accurate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease - mild cognitive impairment or Parkinson's disease dementia. To operationalize these criteria, and to assess the pattern and severity of cognitive dysfunction we need: (1) Valid measures of cognitive abilities covering the major domains of cognition, (2) amethod to determine whether or not the performance represents a decline from a person's previous level of functioning, and (3) an assessment of how the individual's cognitive abilities enable (or disable) function in day to day activities. This paper will discuss the methods of assessment and the measures that can be used to make a comprehensive assessment of cognition in Parkinson's disease. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Sabapathy K.K.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2016

We introduce a quantum-optical notion of nonclassicality that we call the process output nonclassicality for multimode quantum channels. The motivation comes from an information-theoretic point of view and the emphasis is on the output states of a channel. We deem a channel to be "classical" if its outputs are always classical irrespective of the input, i.e., if the channel is nonclassicality breaking, and nonclassical otherwise. Our condition is stronger than the one considered by Rahimi-Keshari, [Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 160401 (2013)]PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.110.160401 and we compare the two approaches. Using our framework we then quantify the nonclassicality of a quantum process by introducing a noise-robustness type of measure that we call the nonclassicality depth of a channel. It characterizes a certain threshold noise beyond which a given channel outputs only classical states. We achieve this by generalizing a prescription by Lee [Phys. Rev. A 44, R2775 (1991)PLRAAN1050-294710.1103/PhysRevA.44.R2775] to multimode states and then by extension to multimode channels. © 2016 American Physical Society.

Carrascosa J.M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Actas Dermo-Sifiliograficas | Year: 2013

It is now known that all biologic drugs, even those that are fully human, are immunogenic, that is, they have the ability to induce an immune response in the treated patient. Since the presence of antidrug antibodies may influence the levels and function of the drug in the body, this immune response can alter the efficacy of the biologic treatment and even its safety profile, depending on the mechanism of action (neutralizing or nonneutralizing) and/or an accelerated clearance of the drug. Immunogenicity is a dynamic factor that should be taken into account when prescribing biologic therapy in psoriasis, especially in the case of long-term treatment and when assessing secondary loss of response. An understanding of the immunogenicity of biologic therapies and how this can be managed is useful not only for optimizing the treatment strategy used with each drug, but also for designing predictive models of response and even for tailoring therapy on a case-by-case basis. © 2012 Elsevier Espña, S.L. and AEDV. All rights reserved.

Mares J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Torra V.,Artificial Intelligence Research Institute IIIA
Knowledge-Based Systems | Year: 2013

Social networks have become an essential ingredient of interpersonal communication in the modern world. They enable users to express and share common interests, comment upon everyday events with all the people with whom they are connected. Indeed, the growth of social media has been rapid and has resulted in the adoption of social networks to meet specific communities of interest. However, this shared information space can prove to be dangerous in respect of user privacy issues. In addition to explicit "posts" there is much implicit semantic information that is not explicitly given in the posts that the user shares. For these and other reasons, the protection of information pertaining to each user needs to be supported. In this paper, we present a novel approach wherein the extraction of implicit and explicit information is derived from a small sample of a popular social network (Twitter) that seeks also to preserve user's privacy whilst maintaining information utility. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Segura M.M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) | Year: 2011

As a result of the growing interest in the use of viruses for gene therapy and vaccines, many virus-based products are being developed. The manufacturing of viruses poses new challenges for process developers and regulating authorities that need to be addressed to ensure quality, efficacy, and safety of the final product. The design of suitable purification strategies will depend on a multitude of variables including the vector production system and the nature of the virus. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the most commonly used purification methods for viral gene therapy vectors. Current chromatography options available for large-scale purification of γ-retrovirus, lentivirus, adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, herpes simplex virus, baculovirus, and poxvirus vectors are presented.

Searches for third-generation squarks are reported, using 20.3 fb-1 of proton-proton collisions at √s=8 TeV recorded by the ATLAS experiment at the LHC. The analysis has been optimized for the stop decaying into a charm quark plus a neutralino SUSY signal and it is carried out in several signal regions differing by the requirements on the pT of the leading jet and the missing transverse energy. No excess above the Standard Model background expectation is observed. Limits are set on the visible cross-section of new physics within the requirements of the search. The results of this analysis are interpreted in terms of compressed scenarios for top squark pair production in the decay channels t~1→c+χ~1 0 and t~1→b+ff'+χ~1 0, and in terms of bottom squark pair production in the decay channel b~1→b+χ~1 0. Similar exclusions are found for the nearly mass-degenerated third-generation squarks and the lightest neutralino. In particular, masses of the t~1 and b~1 up to 240 GeV are excluded at 95% CL, thus significantly extending the previous collider results. © 2016 .

Caminal Armadans R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Nuclear and Particle Physics Proceedings | Year: 2016

In R-parity violating supersymmetric scenarios sparticles can be produced individually or in pairs with rates that are detectable at the LHC. Recent results from searches for resonant production and R-parity violating prompt signatures in multi-lepton and multi-jet final states in the data sample recorded by the ATLAS and CMS detectors are presented. New exclusion limits are obtained on the existence of different R-parity violating scenarios. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Molinuevo B.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Batista-Miranda J.E.,Urodynamics Unit
Neurourology and Urodynamics | Year: 2012

Aims: To highlight two main psychological factors (cognitive barriers and safety-behaviors) involved in the development and maintenance of emotional distress in patients with urinary incontinence (UI) and thus facilitate a better understanding of this condition and contribute to a more comprehensive treatment. Materials and Methods: Articles and books were reviewed up to December 2010 using a non-systematic research in MEDLINE and PsycINFO, focusing on the situations more frequently seen in our clinical experience. Results: Several emotional symptoms that hinder a person's ability to benefit from urological treatment were found. An "accident" places a person at risk of developing a constant state of heightened worry and increased vigilance that predisposes the individual to develop significant anxiety and depression. Cognitive barriers such as dysfunctional beliefs, automatic negative thoughts, and cognitive biases are frequent. They affect patients' behavior and influence the development of coping strategies (safety-seeking behaviors) to manage symptoms and prevent feared consequences. Cognitions may act as barriers that lead to a misperception of one's health and maintain emotional distress. Safety behaviors are negatively reinforced and prevent disconfirmation of dysfunctional cognitions, thus maintaining the trouble and distress. Clinical examples are outlined. Conclusions: Cognitive barriers and safety behaviors explain some of the atypical psychological patterns seen in patients with UI. Future research should be oriented to design multimodal interventions and assess their impact on health outcomes. Whenever possible, the assessment of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses in individuals with UI could improve the management of this condition. Cognitive-behavioral therapy should be recommended to certain patients. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Clave P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Nestlé Nutrition Institute workshop series | Year: 2012

Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) is a very frequent condition among older people with a prevalence ranging from mild symptoms in 25% of the independently living to severe symptoms in more than 50% living in nursing homes. There are several validated methods of screening, and clinical assessment and videofluoroscopy are the gold standard for the study of the mechanisms of OD in the elderly. Oropharyngeal residue is mainly caused by weak bolus propulsion forces due to tongue sarcopenia. The neural elements of swallow response are also impaired in older persons, with prolonged and delayed laryngeal vestibule closure and slow hyoid movement causing oropharyngeal aspirations. OD causes malnutrition, dehydration, impaired quality of life, lower respiratory tract infections, aspiration pneumonia, and poor prognosis including prolonged hospital stay and enhanced morbidity and mortality in several phenotypes of older patients ranging from independently living older people, hospitalized older patients and nursing home residents. Enhancing bolus viscosity of fluids greatly improves safety of swallow in all these patients. We believe OD should be recognized as a major geriatric syndrome, and we recommend a policy of systematic and universal screening and assessment of OD among older people to prevent its severe complications. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Bolet A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Evans S.E.,University College London
Palaeontologia Electronica | Year: 2013

A new diverse late Eocene lizard and amphisbaenian assemblage from the classical mammal locality of Sossís (Catalonia, Spain) is described. It represents the first Paleogene lizard assemblage from Spain and the first late Eocene lizard locality from the Iberian Peninsula. The family-level composition of the assemblage replicates that of other contemporaneous European localities, with the presence of iguanians, geckos, lacertids, scincids, cordyliforms, amphisbaenians, anguines, and glyptosaurines. Many of these families still occur in Catalonia, but the presence of thermophilic taxa like iguanians and cordyliforms are indicative of warmer conditions during the Eocene. The closest faunal match is with the contemporaneous French localities of the Phosphorites du Quercy. Sossís and other newly recovered Paleogene Spanish squamate assemblages have the potential to contribute to an understanding of patterns of faunal interchange between different Paleogene bioprovinces, complementing existing data on mammals. © Palaeontological Association March 2013.

Labirua A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Lundberg I.E.,Karolinska University Hospital
Current Opinion in Rheumatology | Year: 2010

Purpose of Review: To present the latest findings regarding interstitial lung disease (ILD) in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies, focusing on the phenotype of ILD and auto-antibodies, pathogenesis and treatment. Recent Findings: Interstitial lung disease is a common manifestation of myositis and different phenotypes of ILD associate with various clinical or serological phenotypes. Thus, antisynthetase antibodies are strongly associated with ILD, especially for non-Jo-1 (anti-PL-7 and anti-PL-12) where the association approaches 90-100%. A rare form of ILD with a very poor prognosis, acute and rapidly progressive lung disease, is strongly associated with clinically amyopathic dermatomyositis (CADM) and a novel - anti-CADM-140 auto-antibody. A combination of anti-Jo-1 and anti-SSA/Ro antibodies is another marker of severe pulmonary involvement. The use of immunossuppresive therapy in myositis-associated ILD is based on clinical experience, and a few new case reports indicate beneficial effect of tacrolimus in antisynthetase syndrome and rituximab in resistant or acute forms of lung disease but further studies are needed. Summary: Interstitial lung disease is a common manifestation of myositis. Auto-antibody profile seems to determine the frequency, course and severity of lung disease. New biological therapies such as rituximab show promising results in resistant and acute lung disease but controlled trials are needed. © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Sturm T.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience | Year: 2012

This paper is an overview of recent discussions concerning the mind-body problem, which is being addressed at the interface between philosophy and neuroscience. It focuses on phenomenal features of consciousness or "qualia," which are distinguished from various related issues. Then follows a discussion of various influential skeptical arguments that question the possibility of reductive explanations of qualia in physicalist terms: knowledge arguments, conceivability arguments, the argument of multiple realizability, and the explanatory gap argument. None of the arguments is found to be very convincing. It does not necessarily follow that reductive physicalism is the only option, but it is defensible. However, constant conceptual and methodological reflection is required, alongside ongoing research, to keep such a view free from dogmatism and naivety. © 2012, LLS SAS.

Segales J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Virus Research | Year: 2012

Clinical signs and pathological features are still the corner-stones to suspect and diagnose overt disease associated with PCV2 infection. The clinico-pathological scope of this viral infection has been expanded over time. From the initial description of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, some enteric, respiratory and reproductive disorders have been subsequently linked with PCV2. Porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome, an immunocomplex disease, has also been associated with infection by this virus. All together, these conditions have been grouped under the name of porcine circovirus diseases (PCVD) or porcine circovirus associated diseases (PCVAD). The precise mechanisms by which a PCV2 infected pig develops a PCV2 subclinical infection or a clinical PCVD/PCVAD are still to be fully elucidated, but inferences based upon clinical, gross and histologic findings from field cases of disease have been useful to suggest the pathogenesis of this viral infection. The objective of the present review is to update the current knowledge on the clinical and pathological scope of PCV2 infections, as well as on their diagnosis. Moreover, a proposal on a unified PCVD/PCVAD terminology and clearly defined diagnostic criteria for these conditions are also given. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Vilahur G.,Cardiovascular Research Center | Badimon L.,Cardiovascular Research Center | Badimon L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Vascular Pharmacology | Year: 2015

The innate immunity is the first defense reaction against microorganisms or altered self-components upon tissue injury. Such exogenous or modified endogenous molecules present conserved molecular structures that are recognized by the immune system via pattern-recognition receptors or molecules. Within the soluble pattern-recognition molecules pentraxins play an important role in humoral innate immunity. Pentraxins branch off into the short and long pentraxins. Short constituents include C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid P-component which are synthesized in the liver mostly upon IL-6 stimulation. Long constituent pentraxin3 (PTX3) is produced by several immune and vascular cells in response to pro-inflammatory signals (but not IL-6) and by toll-like receptor engagement. The ability of pentraxins to interact with numerous ligands (microorganisms, the complement system, dead cells, modified plasma proteins, cellular receptors, extracellular matrix components, and growth factors) supports their involvement in multiple biological functions. As such, the capability of CRP and PTX3 to modulate inflammation through the complement system and innate immunity suggests their contribution in atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and ischemic heart disease. In this review we will overview the key properties of pentraxins and discuss the major relevant findings that attribute to pentraxins, particularly CRP and PTX3, a biological role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Cardona V.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2016

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Component-resolved diagnosis (CRD) is an advanced tool capable of aiding the clinician in fine tuning the diagnosis of the causal allergens of a reaction with the added value of providing information of severity risk, potential cross-reactivity, and subsequently, guiding management measures. This review will focus on the advantages of CRD of anaphylaxis in clinical practice. RECENT FINDINGS: Research is continuously providing insight to which molecules are associated with genuine sensitization and/or potential severity risk for hymenoptera venom (Api m1, Ves v 1, Ves v 5, and Pol d 5), food allergy (seed storage proteins and nonspecific lipid transfer proteins), cofactor-enhanced food allergy (ω-5-gliadine, nonspecific lipid transfer proteins), red meat delayed anaphylaxis (α-gal), latex allergy (Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5, and Hev b 6), and Anisakis allergy (Ani s 1, Ani s 4, Ani s 7, and Ani s 13); other molecules are primary associated with nonclinically relevant sensitizations, cross-reactivity, or mild reactions (carbohydrate determinants and profilins). New molecules, some minor allergens, are being identified as new potential biomarkers of severity. SUMMARY: The usefulness of CRD in anaphylaxis is self-evident, since it improves the recognition of sensitization profiles associated with specific clinical outcomes and provides information to guide further management. Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Pujolas O.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Sawicki I.,University of Heidelberg | Vikman A.,CERN
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2011

We present a standard hydrodynamical description for non-canonical scalar field theories with kinetic gravity braiding. In particular, this picture applies to the simplest galileons and k-essence. The fluid variables not only have a clear physical meaning but also drastically simplify the analysis of the system. The fluid carries charges corresponding to shifts in field space. This shift-charge current contains a spatial part responsible for diffusion of the charges. Moreover, in the incompressible limit, the equation of motion becomes the standard diffusion equation. The fluid is indeed imperfect because the energy flows neither along the field gradient nor along the shift current. The fluid has zero vorticity and is not dissipative: there is no entropy production, the energy-momentum is exactly conserved, the temperature vanishes and there is no shear viscosity. Still, in an expansion around a perfect fluid one can identify terms which correct the pressure in the manner of bulk viscosity. We close by formulating the non-trivial conditions for the thermodynamic equilibrium of this imperfect fluid. © SISSA 2011.

Villaverde A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Microbial Cell Factories | Year: 2015

The Editors of Microbial Cell Factories would like to thank all our Reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2013). © 2014 Villaverde; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Katlama C.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Deeks S.G.,University of California at San Francisco | Autran B.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Martinez-Picado J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | And 8 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2013

Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection needs lifelong access and strict adherence to regimens that are both expensive and associated with toxic effects. A curative intervention will be needed to fully stop the epidemic. The failure to eradicate HIV infection during long-term antiretroviral therapy shows the intrinsic stability of the viral genome in latently infected CD4T cells and other cells, and possibly a sustained low-level viral replication. Heterogeneity in latently infected cell populations and homoeostatic proliferation of infected cells might affect the dynamics of virus production and persistence. Despite potent antiretroviral therapy, chronic immune activation, inflammation, and immune dysfunction persist, and are likely to have important effects on the size and distribution of the viral reservoir. The inability of the immune system to recognise cells harbouring latent virus and to eliminate cells actively producing virus is the biggest challenge to finding a cure. We look at new approaches to unravelling the complex virus-host interactions that lead to persistent infection and latency, and discuss the rationale for combination of novel treatment strategies with available antiretroviral treatment options to cure HIV. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Background:This single-arm phase II study investigated the EGFR monoclonal antibody necitumumab plus modified FOLFOX6 (mFOLFOX6) in first-line treatment of locally advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).Methods:Patients received 800-mg intravenous necitumumab (day 1; 2-week cycles), followed by oxaliplatin 85 mg m-2, folinic acid 400 mg m-2, and 5-fluorouracil (400 mg m-2 bolus then 2400 mg m-2 over 46 h). Radiographic evaluation was performed every 8 weeks until progression. Primary endpoint was objective response rate.Results:Forty-four patients were enrolled and treated. Objective response rate was 63.6% (95% confidence interval 47.8–77.6); complete response was observed in four patients; median duration of response was 10.0 months (7.0–16.0). Median overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 22.5 (11.0–30.0) and 10.0 months (7.0–12.0), respectively. Clinical outcome was better in patients with KRAS exon 2 wild type (median OS 30.0 months (23.0–NA); median PFS 12.0 (8.0–20.0)), compared with KRAS exon 2 mutant tumours (median OS 7.0 months (5.0–37.0); median PFS 7.0 (4.0–18.0)). The most common grade ⩾3 adverse events were neutropenia (29.5%), asthenia (27.3%), and rash (20.5%).Conclusion:First-line necitumumab+mFOLFOX6 was active with manageable toxicity in locally advanced or mCRC; additional evaluation of the impact of tumour RAS mutation status is warranted.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 14 January 2016; doi:10.1038/bjc.2015.480 www.bjcancer.com. © 2016 Cancer Research UK

Canet J.,Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol | Gallart L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology | Year: 2013

Purpose of Review: Postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs) are common and lead to longer hospital stays and higher mortality. A wide range of patient, anaesthetic and surgical factors have been associated with risk for PPCs. This review discusses our present understanding of PPC risk factors that can be used to plan preoperative risk reduction strategies. The methodological and statistical basis for building risk scores is also described. Recent Findings: Studies in specific surgical populations or large patient samples have identified a range of predictors of PPC risk. Factors such as age, types of comorbidity and surgical characteristics have been found to be relevant in most of these studies. Recently, researchers have begun to develop risk scoring systems for a PPC composite outcome or for specific PPCs, especially pneumonia and respiratory failure. Preoperative arterial oxyhaemoglobin saturation is an objective measure that is easy to record and discriminates level of risk for impaired cardiorespiratory function. Preoperative anaemia and recent respiratory infection are factors that have lately been found to confer risk for PPCs. Summary: PPC risk prediction scales based on large population studies are being developed. New studies to confirm the validity of these scales in different geographic areas will be needed before we can be sure of their generalizability. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Jimenez M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Jimenez M.,CIBER ISCIII
Neurogastroenterology and Motility | Year: 2010

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is produced by sulfate-reducing bacteria present in the colon. Recently, it has been demonstrated that mammals have enzymatic pathways to produce H2S. As H2S was added to the list of gaseous signaling molecules, the number of papers related to H2S biology has increased exponentially. However, the physiological role of H2S in the gastrointestinal tract is still unknown. Endogenous production in different cell types indicates that H2S might participate in various functions such as pain, motility and secretion. Nevertheless, experimental protocols to demonstrate a physiological role for H2S are not easy to perform due to the lack of specific antagonists. Genetically modified animals lacking a specific route of H2S synthesis are useful biological tools although whether they alter gastrointestinal function are still unknown. In this issue of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Krueger et al. examine the role of H2S in secretion and in afferent neuronal activation using sodium hydrosulfide as a source of H2S. Interestingly, sodium hydrosulfide causes secretion and increased spike activity in afferent neurons. The mechanism partly involves transient receptor potential vanilloid type I located on afferent neurons, causing local release of substance P, which in turn activates cholinergic secretomotor neurons. These novel observations extend our understanding of the function of H2S in the gastrointestinal tract. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Niinemets U.,Estonian University of Life Sciences | Flexas J.,University of the Balearic Islands | Penuelas J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2011

Physical CO 2 diffusion from sub-stomatal cavities to the chloroplasts where photosynthesis takes place is an important limitation of photosynthesis largely neglected in research related to global climate change. This limitation is particularly important in leaves with robust structures such as evergreen sclerophylls. In these leaves, photosynthesis is less sensitive to changes in stomatal openness, which is considered to be the primary limitation of photosynthesis. In this review we state that, because of large limitations in internal diffusion in C 3 plants, photosynthesis and the intrinsic efficiency of the use of plant water responds more strongly to elevated levels of CO 2 in leaves with more robust structures. This provides an additional explanation for the current apparent expansion of evergreen sclerophylls in many Earth ecosystems, and adds a new perspective to research of the biological effects of increasing atmospheric CO 2. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

In the European Union (EU), the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has an ambivalent legacy, in that agricultural production is distorted in favor of the EU economy which has had a direct impact on a broader scale on land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF) outside of the EU. The absence of tariffs for animal feed has evolved to a situation where the EU cheaply imports animal feed from Latin America, including soybeans that are among the main causes of deforestation in the Amazon and the Cerrado region. On the other hand, there is a huge potential for mitigating climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). This article focuses on one aspect-soy and REDD+ and attempts to make a modest contribution to policy debates by showing that REDD+ and agriculture are closely linked. The 2013 reforms (or lack thereof) of CAP may well have far-reaching impacts on the multifaceted and already complex landscape under which REDD+ will operate, to the extent that it may be in danger of derailing the mechanism in its infancy. Copyright and Photocopying: © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Marti-Ballester C.-P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2015

Assets under management involved in socially responsible investing almost trebled from 2007 to 2011 in Europe, led by pension funds. Such growth has encouraged the implementation of socially responsible activities by companies, which have improved their cleaner production methods in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, total water used, energy consumption and waste generated, among others. Integrating environmental, social and governance policies for cleaner production into the investment strategy of pension plans could increase their cost deriving from the screening process and/or increase the benefits, because socially responsible companies in which pension funds invest might achieve a better financial performance than traditional companies, which could in turn affect pension plans' financial performance. For this reason, the aim of this paper is two-fold: firstly, to examine the financial performance of Spanish pension plans compared to market benchmarks taking into account the category to which they belong, and the socially responsible business strategy implemented by the manager; and secondly, to analyze whether differences in financial performance exist between solidarity pension plans, ethical pension plans and traditional pension plans. To do this, we have a sample of 651 individual system pension plans. Using these sample data, we implement the robust random effects panel data methodology. The results show that ethical pension plans, which invest in companies that improve their cleaner production methods, achieve a similar financial performance to conventional pension plans, while solidarity pension plans significantly outperform conventional pension plans. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Once Mycobacterium tuberculosis infects a person it can persist for a long time in a process called latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). LTBI has traditionally been considered to involve the bacilli remaining in a non-replicating state (dormant) in old lesions but still retaining their ability to induce reactivation and cause active tuberculosis (TB) once a disruption of the immune response takes place. The present review aims to challenge these concepts by including recent experimental data supporting LTBI as a constant endogenous reinfection process as well as the recently introduced concepts of damage-response and tolerance frameworks to explain TB induction. These frameworks highlight the key role of an exaggerated and intolerant host response against M. tuberculosis bacilli which induces the classical TB cavity in immunocompetent adults once the constant endogenous reinfection process has resulted in the presence of bacilli in the upper lobes, where they can grow faster and the immune response is delayed. This essay intends to provide new clues to understanding the induction of TB in non-immunosuppressed patients. © 2009 L. Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Wroclaw, Poland.

Tanner S.,University of Georgia | Leonard W.R.,Northwestern University | Reyes-Garcia V.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2014

Stunting, or linear growth retardation, has been documented in up to half of all children in rural indigenous populations of South America. Stunting is well understood as a signal of adverse conditions during growth, and has been associated with developmentally induced modifications to body composition, including body fat and muscularity, that stem from early growth restriction. This article examines the relation between short stature and three anthropometric indicators of body composition during childhood and adolescence among a rural, indigenous population of forager-horticulturalists. Anthropometric data were collected annually from 483 Tsimane' youth, ages 2-10 years, in 13 communities in the Beni region of Bolivia for 6 consecutive years (2002-2007). Baseline height-for-age was used to indicate stunting (HAZ < -2.0) and compared with z-scores of body mass index (BMI), sum of two skinfolds, and arm muscle area. Multilevel regression models indicate baseline stunting is associated with lower BMI z-scores (B = -0.386; P < 0.001), body fatness (ZSkinfold, B = -0.164; P < 0.001), and arm muscularity (AMAZ, B = -0.580; P < 0.001) in youth across a period of 6 years. When split by sex, there was a stronger relation between baseline stunting and lower skinfold body fat scores among girls (B = -0.244; P < 0.001) than boys (B = -0.080; P = 0.087). In contrast, baseline stunting was associated with lower arm muscularity in both girls (B = -0.498; P < 0.001) and boys (B = -0.646; P < 0.001). The relation between linear growth restriction and indicators of body composition persist into adolescence, providing additional insight into the influence of adverse conditions during growth. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Michael R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Bron A.J.,Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

Cataract is a visible opacity in the lens substance, which, when located on the visual axis, leads to visual loss. Age-related cataract is a cause of blindness on a global scale involving genetic and environmental influences. With ageing, lens proteins undergo non-enzymatic, post-translational modification and the accumulation of fluorescent chromophores, increasing susceptibility to oxidation and cross-linking and increased light-scatter. Because the human lens grows throughout life, the lens core is exposed for a longer period to such influences and the risk of oxidative damage increases in the fourth decade when a barrier to the transport of glutathione forms around the lens nucleus. Consequently, as the lens ages, its transparency falls and the nucleus becomes more rigid, resisting the change in shape necessary for accommodation. This is the basis of presbyopia. In some individuals, the steady accumulation of chromophores and complex, insoluble crystallin aggregates in the lens nucleus leads to the formation of a brown nuclear cataract. The process is homogeneous and the affected lens fibres retain their gross morphology. Cortical opacities are due to changes in membrane permeability and enzyme function and shear-stress damage to lens fibres with continued accommodative effort. Unlike nuclear cataract, progression is intermittent, stepwise and non-uniform. © 2011 The Royal Society.

Morgan C.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Winter A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
IEEE Transactions on Information Theory | Year: 2014

We exhibit a possible road toward a strong converse for the quantum capacity of degradable channels. In particular, we show that all degradable channels obey what we call a "pretty strong" converse: when the code rate increases above the quantum capacity, the fidelity makes a discontinuous jump from 1 to at most 1/√2, asymptotically. A similar result can be shown for the private (classical) capacity. Furthermore, we can show that if the strong converse holds for symmetric channels (which have quantum capacity zero), then degradable channels obey the strong converse. The above-mentioned asymptotic jump of the fidelity at the quantum capacity then decreases from 1 to 0. © 2013 IEEE.

Oriols X.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Ferry D.K.,Arizona State University
Journal of Computational Electronics | Year: 2013

This introductory paper for the special issue on Quantum transport beyond DC has two main goals. First, we discuss the reasons why such a special issue is timely and relevant. Second, we present a brief summary of the subsequent papers included in it. Along the paper, we emphasize didactic explanations in front of formal mathematical developments. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Recasens D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Language and Speech | Year: 2016

This study uses acoustic energy measures for /b, d, g/ after /f, s, ʃ, l, r/ in Catalan in order to test whether postconsonantal voiced stop lenition is ruled by minimization of articulatory effort, acoustico-perceptual continuity of an ongoing prosodic constituent or some other principle of articulatory organization. Data for eight speakers reveal that lenition is more prone to operate on /g/ than on /b, d/, after a sonorant than after a fricative, and when the two cluster consonants are heterorganic than when they are (quasi)-homorganic. Moreover, a positive correlation was found to hold between the degrees of stop lenition and stop voicing. The /fC/ sequences had an exceptional behaviour since, in comparison to other consonants appearing in C1 position, /f/ was at the same time less intense and triggered more stop-like realizations of /b, d, g/. These results indicate that, while regularly treated as a phonological process, postconsonantal voiced stop lenition in Catalan is subject to much contextual variability, and should be dealt with by a production-based model which takes into consideration several articulatory and aerodynamic factors such as constriction degree and intraoral pressure level for C1 and C2, as well as homorganicity degree between the two consecutive consonants. © The Author(s) 2015.

Gherghetta T.,University of Melbourne | Gherghetta T.,Stanford University | Pomarol A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2011

We show that when supersymmetry is broken at the TeV scale by strong dynamics, the Higgs sector of the MSSM can be drastically modified. This arises from possible sizeable mixings of the Higgs with the resonances of the strong sector. In particular the mass of the lightest Higgs boson can be significantly above the MSSM bound (∼ 130 GeV). Furthermore only one Higgs doublet is strictly necessary, because the Yukawa couplings can have a very different structure compared to the MSSM. Using the AdS/CFT correspondence electroweak precision observables can be calculated and shown to be below experimental bounds. The most natural way to generate sparticle masses is through mixing with the composite states. This causes the gauginos and Higgsinos to easily obtain Dirac masses around 200 GeV, while scalar masses can be generated either from extra D-terms or also through mixing with the strongly-coupled states. Finally one of the most interesting predictions of these scenarios is the sizeable decay width of the Higgs boson into a very light gravitino (∼ 10 -4 eV) and a Higgsino. © SISSA 2011.

Pal K.F.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Vertesi T.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Navascues M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

In the usual tomography of multipartite entangled quantum states one assumes that the measurement devices used in the laboratory are under perfect control of the experimenter. In this paper, using the so-called swap concept introduced recently, we show how one can remove this assumption in realistic experimental conditions and nevertheless be able to characterize the produced multipartite state based only on observed statistics. Such a black-box tomography of quantum states is termed self-testing. As a function of the magnitude of the Bell violation, we are able to self-test emblematic multipartite quantum states such as the three-qubit W state, the three- and four-qubit Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger states, and the four-qubit linear cluster state. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Pavon D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
International Journal of Geometric Methods in Modern Physics | Year: 2014

There is compelling evidence, nowadays, that the present expansion of the Universe is accelerated. In Einstein gravity this acceleration is explained by invoking some exotic energy component with a huge negative pressure. More general gravity theories simply modify the Einstein-Hilbert action in ad hoc manner. Here, we show that whatever its origin, this acceleration is consistent with the second law of thermodynamics in the sense that the entropy of the causal cosmic horizon plus that of matter and fields inside it must never decrease and it should approach a finite maximum in the long run. In this light, the acceleration could have been anticipated on thermodynamic grounds well before its actual discovery. © World Scientific Publishing Company.

Nova A.,Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia | Mas-Balleste R.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Lledos A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Organometallics | Year: 2012

In this review, transformations of C-F to C-X bonds mediated by transition-metal complexes are considered from the ligand's perspective. In C-F bond activation reactions, the ligands (L) bonded to transition-metal complexes can act as spectators but can also assist the reaction. The latter case is important in the heterolytic cleavage of C-F bonds by nucleophilic addition reactions. When L is an electrophile (E), the assistance of the ligand facilitates the fluoride departure when the metal attacks at C. In contrast, when L is a nucleophile (X), the ligand is responsible for the nucleophilic addition and the reaction leads to a new C-X bond, allowing the direct functionalization of C-F bonds. This article presents an overview of the reactions that are initiated by the nucleophilic attack of a coordinated ligand (a hydride or an N-, O-, or S-nucleophile) to a CF carbon resulting in formation of a new C-H, C-N, C-O, or C-S bond. The possible mechanisms are discussed. The attack of a nucleophilic ligand at the electrophilic carbon of a C-F bond is comparable to fluoride elimination by organic nucleophiles. However, the presence of the metal center introduces new features in this process, both in the selectivity and in the thermodynamics. Herein these effects are analyzed. Thus, the aim of this review is to show how these kinds of processes put together the best of both organic and inorganic worlds in order to achieve a wide range of reactions with fluorinated compounds. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Arderiu G.,Cardiovascular Research Center | Pena E.,Cardiovascular Research Center | Badimon L.,Cardiovascular Research Center | Badimon L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology | Year: 2015

OBJECTIVE - : Therapeutic angiogenesis is a promising strategy for treating ischemia. Our previous work showed that endogenous endothelial tissue factor (TF) expression induces intracrine signaling and switches-on angiogenesis in microvascular endothelial cells (mECs). We have hypothesized that activated mECs could exert a further paracrine regulation through the release of TF-rich microvascular endothelial microparticles (mEMPs) and induce neovascularization of ischemic tissues. APPROACH AND RESULTS - : Here, we describe for the first time that activated mECs are able to induce reparative neovascularization in ischemic zones by releasing TF-rich microparticles. We show in vitro and in vivo that mEMPs released by both wild-type and TF-upregulated-mECs induce angiogenesis and collateral vessel formation, whereas TF-poor mEMPs derived from TF-silenced mECs are not able to trigger angiogenesis. Isolated TF-bearing mEMPs delivered to nonperfused adductor muscles in a murine hindlimb ischemia model enhance collateral flow and capillary formation evidenced by MRI. TF-bearing mEMPs increase angiogenesis operating via paracrine regulation of neighboring endothelial cells, signaling through the β1-integrin pathway Rac1-ERK1/2-ETS1 and triggering CCL2 (chemokine [C-C motif] ligand 2) production to form new and competent mature neovessels. CONCLUSIONS - : These findings demonstrate that TF-rich mEMPs released by microvascular endothelial cells can overcome the consequences of arterial occlusion and tissue ischemia by promoting postischemic neovascularization and tissue reperfusion. © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.

Templado C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Uroz L.,Center Internacional Of Reproduccio Humana Assistida Of Barcelona | Estop A.,Reprogenetics
Molecular Human Reproduction | Year: 2013

In humans, the mostcommon chromosomal abnormality is aneuploidy. Because the majority of aneuploid conceptuses die during the early stages of embryonic development, an accurate estimate of the frequency of aneuploidy at conception can only be assessed by directly studying the gametes. The vast majority of aneuploidies arise de novo as a result of sporadic chromosome missegregation in paternal or maternal meiosis. In this review, we present the basic current knowledge about the incidence of aneuploidy in human spermatozoa in the general population and in patient populations where elevated levels of sperm aneuploidy are observed. These include infertile patients, patients with abnormal somatic karyotypes, and individuals exposed to certain environmental/lifestyle hazards. The clinical impact of increased levels of aneuploidy is discussed. We then focus on the non-disjunction mechanisms that cause aneuploidy during spermatogenesis and the factors that predispose to non-disjunction in male germ cells followed by an analysis of the sex differences in the incidence of gamete aneuploidy. Recent meiotic studies using multiplex-FISH on three fertile men have revealed that the frequency of conservative aneuploidy of metaphase II spermatocytes is similar to that observed in non-inseminated oocytes of young women. These findings suggest that the differences in the incidence of aneuploidy between spermatozoa and oocytes are not due to differences in chromosome segregation errors but rather to more effective checkpoint mechanisms in spermatogenesis than in oogenesis. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved.

Navarro-Arribas G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Torra V.,Artificial Intelligence Research Institute
Information Fusion | Year: 2012

In this paper, we review the role of information fusion in data privacy. To that end, we introduce data privacy, and describe how information and data fusion are used in some fields of data privacy. Our study is focused on the use of aggregation for privacy protections, and record linkage techniques. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Millan J.,Andres Bello University | Ferroglio E.,University of Turin | Solano-Gallego L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Parasitology Research | Year: 2014

Although dogs are considered the main reservoir of Leishmania infantum infection in endemic areas in Europe, the existence of other wild vertebrate reservoirs has been proposed as a possible cause of the lack of success of control measures. Evidence of L. infantum infection in European wildlife has been reported in carnivores, lagomorphs, and rodents. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) received most attention, probably due to its taxonomic relationship with the dog and because it is the most abundant wild carnivore in Europe. Foxes and other wild carnivores often displayed high prevalences of infection but their infectiveness to the sandfly vector has never been demonstrated. However, xenodiagnosis demonstrated that black rats (Rattus rattus), are infectious to sandflies. This, together with their relative abundance, high rates of infection, and the fact that infected rats have been found on a Mediterranean island where dogs are not present, makes rats good candidate to be reservoirs of L. infantum. Recently, the Iberian hare (Lepus granatensis) has been recognized as the origin of a leishmaniosis outbreak in humans in Spain and xenodiagnosis showed that this species is also able to infect sandflies. In contrast, a recent survey in cave bats failed to detect infected individuals. In the future, the comparison of parasite isolates from humans, dogs and wildlife, xenodiagnosis studies in wild carnivores, and the study of other vertebrate taxonomic groups will help determine the current role of European wildlife in the epidemiology of leishmaniosis. © 2014 Springer-Verlag.

Clave P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Shaker R.,Medical College of Wisconsin
Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology | Year: 2015

Dysphagia is a symptom of swallowing dysfunction that occurs between the mouth and the stomach. Although oropharyngeal dysphagia is a highly prevalent condition (occurring in up to 50% of elderly people and 50% of patients with neurological conditions) and is associated with aspiration, severe nutritional and respiratory complications and even death, most patients are not diagnosed and do not receive any treatment. By contrast, oesophageal dysphagia is less prevalent and less severe, but with better recognized symptoms caused by diseases affecting the enteric nervous system and/or oesophageal muscular layers. Recognition of the clinical relevance and complications of oesophageal and oropharyngeal dysphagia is growing among health-care professionals in many fields. In addition, the emergence of new methods to screen and assess swallow function at both the oropharynx and oesophagus, and marked advances in understanding the pathophysiology of these conditions, is paving the way for a new era of intensive research and active therapeutic strategies for affected patients. Indeed, a unified field of deglutology is developing, with new professional profiles to cover the needs of all patients with dysphagia in a nonfragmented way. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Auli-Llinas F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Marcellin M.W.,University of Arizona
IEEE Transactions on Multimedia | Year: 2014

Parallel processing is key to augmenting the throughput of image codecs. Despite numerous efforts to parallelize wavelet-based image coding systems, most attempts fail at the parallelization of the bitplane coding engine, which is the most computationally intensive stage of the coding pipeline. The main reason for this failure is the causality with which current coding strategies are devised, which assumes that one coefficient is coded after another. This work analyzes the mechanisms employed in bitplane coding and proposes alternatives to enhance opportunities for parallelism. We describe a stationary probability model that, without sacrificing the advantages of current approaches, removes the main obstacle to the parallelization of most coding strategies. Experimental tests evaluate the coding performance achieved by the proposed method in the framework of JPEG2000 when coding different types of images. Results indicate that the stationary probability model achieves similar coding performance, with slight increments or decrements depending on the image type and the desired level of parallelism. © 2014 IEEE.

Salcedo C.,Palau Pharma S. A. | Pontes C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Merlos M.,Palau Pharma S. A.
Frontiers in Bioscience - Elite | Year: 2013

Histamine H4 receptor (H4R) has become a promising target for immuno-inflammatory diseases, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma or dermal allergies. Its distribution pattern in immune cells and the preclinical data obtained from different biological systems using diverse histamine H4 modulators (1) suggest a key role of H4R in immunity and in inflammatory cell trafficking. Recent results with UR-63325, the first H4R antagonist from which clinical data has been reported (2), confirm the feasibility of complete H4R blocking in humans without limiting safety concerns. Also, H4R blockade results in clear pharmacodynamic effects in relevant human cells, e. g. eosinophils. It is believed that allergic rhinitis and asthma are manifestations of one unique syndrome in two parts of the respiratory tract. Dermal allergies are also recognized as related manifestations in a different location. The coexistence of allergic-related diseases in the same patients could permit a single treatment approach e. g.. the systemic use of H4R antagonists. Further clinical studies are needed to establish the role of H4R antagonists in the treatment of allergic diseases.

Perier C.,CIBER ISCIII | Bove J.,CIBER ISCIII | Vila M.,CIBER ISCIII | Vila M.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | Vila M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Antioxidants and Redox Signaling | Year: 2012

Significance: Activation of mitochondrion-dependent programmed cell death (PCD) pathways is instrumental to the demise of substantia nigra pars compacta dopaminergic neurons in experimental mouse models of Parkinson's disease (PD). Supporting the relevance of these findings for PD, key molecular elements of this pathogenic cascade have also been demonstrated in postmortem brain samples of PD patients. Recent Advances and Critical Issues: Mounting evidence indicates that different morphological types of cell death co-exist in the brain of PD patients, all of which may result from the activation of common upstream PCD pathways. Indeed, contrary to initial views, it is now established that the deleterious effects of PCD pathways are not limited to mitochondrion-mediated caspase-dependent apoptosis but also involve caspase-independent nonapoptotic cell death, including necrosis. This notion may help reconcile the observation of both apoptotic and nonapoptotic dopaminergic cell death in postmortem PD samples. Future Directions: Potential neuroprotective strategies for PD should be aimed at targeting both apoptotic and nonapoptotic pathways, all of which may simultaneously occur in PD patients through activation of common upstream PCD pathways involving the mitochondria. © 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Salazar-Ciudad I.,University of Helsinki | Salazar-Ciudad I.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Current Opinion in Genetics and Development | Year: 2012

Teeth are a good system for studying development and evolution. Tooth development is largely independent of the rest of the body and teeth can be grown in culture to attain almost normal morphology. Their development is not affected by the patterns of movement or sensorial perception in the embryo. Teeth are hard and easily preserved. Thus, there is plenty of easily accessible information about the patterns of morphological variation occurring between and within species. This review summarises recent work and describes how tooth development can be understood as the coupling between a reaction-diffusion system and differential growth produced by diffusible growth factors: which growth factors are involved, how they affect each other's expression and how they affect the spatial patterns of proliferation that lead to final morphology. There are some aspects of tooth development, however, that do not conform to some common assumptions in many reaction-diffusion models. Those are discussed here since they provide clues about how reaction-diffusion systems may work in actual developmental systems. Mathematical models implementing what we know about tooth development are discussed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Lopez-Bezanilla A.,Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Roche S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Roche S.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2012

We numerically investigate the impact of boron nitride (BN) domains on the transport properties of graphene nanoribbons with lengths ranging from a few to several hundreds of nanometers and lateral size up to 4 nm. By varying the size and morphology of the BN islands embedded in the graphene matrix, a wide transport tunability is obtained from perfect insulating interfaces to asymmetric electron-hole transmission profiles, providing the possibility to engineer mobility gaps to improve device performances. Even in the low-density limit of embedded BN islands, transport properties are found to be highly dependent on both the BN-domain shape and the size with a strong tendency toward an insulating regime when increasing the number of ionic bonds in the ribbon. This versatility of conduction properties offers remarkable opportunities for transport gap engineering for the design of complex device architectures based on a newly synthesized one-atom hybrid layered material. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Rurali R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Rurali R.,CSIC - Institute of Materials Science
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2010

In this Colloquium the theory of silicon nanowires is reviewed. Nanowires with diameters below 10 nm are the focus, where quantum effects become important and the properties diverge significantly from those of bulk silicon. These wires can be treated within electronic structure simulation methods and will be among the most important functional blocks of future nanoelectronic devices. First, the structural properties of silicon nanowires are reviewed, emphasizing the close connection between the growth orientation, the cross section, and the bounding facets. Second, the electronic structure of pristine and doped nanowires is discussed, which holds the ultimate key for their applicability in novel electronic devices. Finally, transport properties are reviewed where some important limitations in the performances of nanowire-based devices can lay. Many unique properties of these systems are at the same time defying challenges and opportunities for technological advances. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Giampietro M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Giampietro M.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies | Saltelli A.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2014

Crisp numbers make it to the headlines. However, it is unlikely that a single crisp number can capture a complex issue, such as the analysis of the sustainability of human progress both at the local and the global scale. This paper tackles this standard epistemological predicament in relation to a media-friendly model of man's impact on Nature: the Ecological Footprint (EF). The claim made by the proponents of this analytical tool is that EF makes it possible to check "how much is taken" by the economic process versus "how much could be taken" according to ecological processes. In this paper we argue that the ecological footprint assessment - purportedly useful as an argument against the idea of perpetual growth - is fraught with internal contradictions. Our critical appraisal is based on the lack of correspondence between the semantics - the claim about what the EF accounting does - and the syntax - the EF protocol of accounting that should deliver the purported output. We critically examine the various assumptions used in the approach, showing that the EF is in contradiction with its stated purposes and would lead to paradoxes if its prescriptions were used for policy making. We also contend that the laboriousness of EF computation protocols contrasts with its ultimate fragility. In fact the estimate of carbon footprint due to energy production is what determines the assessment of the planet's deficit of virtual land. We show that this estimate cannot be defended in light of the assumptions and simplifications used for its construction. Our conclusion is that the EF does not serve a meaningful discussion on the modeling of sustainability, and that the same media-friendly narrative about the Earth Overshot day is in the end reassuring and complacent when considering other aspects on man's pressure on the planet and its ecosystems. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Siciliano G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Siciliano G.,IUAV University of Venice
Land Use Policy | Year: 2012

This paper links urbanization strategies to changes in land use and associated impacts on rural communities and agro-ecosystems in a rural area of China. Energy, monetary and human time variables as well as information on environmental pressures, have been combined to compare different typologies of households and the metabolism of different patterns of land use from an integrated perspective. The results show that urbanization strategies, aimed at shifting the current land use and at displacing the local population, while increasing the economic efficiency is also associated with an increase in fossil energy consumption and environmental pressure, as well as a reduction of the multifunctional characteristic of the area under investigation. Based on these findings the paper also offers a critical discussion of the Chinese rural development policy arguing that the multifunctionality of rural areas should be taken into account by Chinese policy-makers and planners as a viable strategy to achieve rural development targets. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Hernandez C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Simo R.,Institute Of Recerca Hospital Universitari Vall Dhebron
Current Diabetes Reports | Year: 2012

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) has been considered to be a microcirculatory disease of the retina. However, there is emerging evidence to suggest that retinal neurodegeneration is an early event in the pathogenesis of DR, which may antedate, and also participates in, the microcirculatory abnormalities that occur in DR. Therefore, the study of the underlying mechanisms that lead to neurodegeneration will be essential for identifying new therapeutic targets in the early stages of DR. Elevated levels of glutamate, oxidative stress, the overexpression of the renin-angiotensin system and the upregulation of RAGE play an essential role in the retinal neurodegeneration induced by diabetes. Finally, the balance between the neurotoxic and neuroprotective factors is crucial in determining the survival of retinal neurons. In this review we will focus on neurotrophic factors already synthesized by the retina in physiological conditions as a new therapy strategy for neuroprotection. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.

Llibre J.M.,Foundation University | Llibre J.M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Clotet B.,Irsicaixa Foundation
AIDS Reviews | Year: 2012

Once-daily single-tablet regimens represent the paramount simplification of antiretroviral treatment achieved so far. They include drugs with favorable pharmacokinetics that allow once-daily administration, that do not need dose adjustments, have no additional toxicities, and do not require dissimilar intake conditions. Co-formulated efavirenz/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine has been a gold standard of initial therapy since its approval in 2006. Galenic research and industry patent agreements may allow availability of single-tablet regimens with HIV-1 nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (efavirenz or rilpivirine), integrase inhibitors (cobicistat-boosted elvitegravir or dolutegravir), and protease inhibitors (cobicistat-boosted darunavir), combined with either tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine or abacavir/lamivudine. The introduction of the new phamacoenhancer cobicistat as a potential substitution for ritonavir and the investigational agent GS-7340, with one-tenth the tenofovir mass, is a breakthrough in antiretroviral drug development. Many HIV-1-infected patients who are treatment-naive or treatment-experienced with susceptible virus will potentially have more options to reduce pill burden and optimize dosage schedules with one pill once-daily regimens.

Ingalls A.E.,University of Washington | Huguet C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Truxal L.T.,University of Washington
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2012

There is great interest in the membrane lipids of archaea (glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers [GDGTs]) as tracers of archaeal biomass because of their utility as paleoproxies and because of the biogeochemical importance of archaea. While core GDGTs (formed by hydrolysis of polar head groups of intact GDGTs after cell death) are appropriate for paleostudies, they have also been used to trace archaeal populations. Also, despite the small size (0.2 by 0.7μm) of cultivated marine archaea, 0.7-μm glassfiber filters (GFFs) are typically used to collect GDGTs from natural waters. We quantified both core and intact GDGTs in freeliving (0.2- to 0.7-μm), suspended (0.7- to 60-μm), and aggregate (>60-μm) particle size fractions in Puget Sound (Washington State). On average, the free-living fraction contained 36% of total GDGTs, 90% of which were intact. The intermediate-size fraction contained 62% of GDGTs, and 29% of these were intact. The aggregate fraction contained 2% of the total GDGT pool, and 29% of these were intact. Our results demonstrate that intact GDGTs are largely in the free-living fraction. Because only intact GDGTs are present in living cells, protocols that target this size fraction and analyze the intact GDGT pool are necessary to track living populations in marine waters. Core GDGT enrichment in larger-size fractions indicates that archaeal biomass may quickly become attached or entrained in particles once the archaea are dead or dying. While the concentrations of the two pools were generally not correlated, the similar sizes of the core and intact GDGT pools suggest that core GDGTs are removed from the water column on timescales similar to those of cell replication, on timescales of days to weeks. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.

The species of Harpellales obtained from a survey of the gut fungi of aquatic arthropods in the Galaico-Portuguese region, also known as the Galicia- Trás-os-Montes Zone, are presented. New species include Orphella lusitanica, a close relative of O. helicospora in Plecoptera nymphs and Stachylina pleurospora, in Chironomiidae larvae, both fromGalicia and Portugal. Tectimyces gallaecicus, in Ephemeroptera nymphs from Galicia, Spain, morphologically resembles the narrowly distributed T. robustus representing a genus known only from Europe. New geographical records from Portugal include Genistellospora homothallica, Graminella bulbosa, Harpella melusinae, Lancisporomyces vernalis, Legeriomyces ramosus, O. coronata, Simuliomyces microsporus and Smittium simulii. Also three rare taxa are reported from Galicia: Legeriomyces dolabrae and Baetimyces ancorae from Baetidae nymphs and Smittium inexpectans from Chironomidae larvae. © 2013 by The Mycological Society of America.

Rodriguez-Planas N.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Evaluation and Program Planning | Year: 2012

This paper reviews recent studies on the effectiveness of services and incentives offered to disadvantaged youths both in the US and abroad. We focus our analysis on three types of interventions: mentoring, educational services, and financial rewards. The objective of this article is threefold. First, we explain alternative theoretical points of view in favor (or against-when applicable) each of these interventions. We then discuss how recent empirical work has affected that view and summarize the latest findings. We conclude by considering which questions remain to be examined. Our hope is that this article will serve as a resource for those seeking to understand which educational interventions work and for whom, and to be used as a starting point for the debate on where to go next. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Mescia F.,University of Barcelona | Virto J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

Lattice results are available for ΔS=2 matrix elements for the first time in full QCD, which improve considerably the status of hadronic uncertainties in K-K̄ mixing with respect to earlier phenomenological studies. Using an average of the ETMC and RBC-UKQCD results, we analyze μ K in natural supersymmetry (SUSY). This scenario arises as a consistent BSM framework after the latest results from the LHC. The analysis is improved with respect to previous studies including next-to-leading order matching conditions of order αs3. We derive new bounds for SUSY mass insertions in the scenario with a light third generation and study the implications for squark and gluino masses, compared with direct searches at the LHC. Assuming natural values for the flavor-violating SUSY couplings of both chiralities, we find that the sbottom must be heavier than 3TeV for a gluino mass up to 10TeV. In this scenario no natural values for squark and gluino masses can satisfy the flavor bounds. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Alvarez-Sabin J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation | Year: 2011

Cognitive decline after stroke is more common than stroke recurrence. Stroke doubles the risk of dementia and is a major contributor to vascular cognitive impairment and vascular dementia. Neuropathological studies in most cases of dementia in the elderly reveal a large load of vascular ischemic brain lesions mixed with a lesser contribution of neurodegenerative lesions of Alzheimer disease. Nonetheless, few pharmacological studies have addressed vascular cognitive impairment and vascular dementia after stroke. Citicoline has demonstrated neuroprotective effects in acute stroke and has been shown to improve cognition in patients with chronic cerebrovascular disease and in some patients with Alzheimer disease. A recent trial lasting 6 months in patients with first-ever ischemic stroke showed that citicoline prevented cognitive decline after stroke with significant improvement of temporal orientation, attention, and executive function. Experimentally, citicoline exhibits neuroprotective effects and enhances neural repair. Citicoline appears to be a safe and promising alternative to improve stroke recovery and could be indicated in patients with vascular cognitive impairment, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer disease with significant cerebrovascular disease.

Lluch A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Garcia-Elias M.,Institute Kaplan
Techniques in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery | Year: 2011

The etiology of Kienböck disease is still unknown and, consequently, the ideal treatment is in doubt. Many different hypotheses have been suggested. There are reasons to believe that there are mechanical, vascular, and metabolic factors predisposing to the disease, and probably some factors triggering the development of the process. Among mechanical factors, the short ulna has been thought to be the most relevant. However, presently there are insufficient data to support a significant association between negative ulnar variance and Kienböck disease. With regard to vascular factors, anatomical studies have shown consistent dorsal and palmar arteries entering the bone, and thus, the most likely site for vascular impairment may be at the subchondral level. Many triggering factors have been proposed during the past years, but until this is truly clarified, finding the real cause of Kienböck disease will continue to be a real challenge. Copyright © 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Delgado A.,University of Notre Dame | Nardini G.,Bielefeld University | Quiros M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2013

Extending the Higgs sector of the MSSM by triplets alleviates the little hierarchy problem and naturally allows for enhancements in the diphoton decay rate of the lightest CP-even Higgs h. In the present paper we analyze in detail the Higgs phenomenology of this theory with m h ≃ 126 GeV. We mostly focus on a light Higgs sector where lightest CP-even scalar A, the next-to-lightest CP-even scalar H and the charged H ± Higgses are naturally at the electroweak scale. It turns out that for any value m A ≃3; m h there is a parameter region at small tan β where the CP-even Higgs sector appears at colliders as the SM one, except for loop-induced corrections. Notably the existence of this SM-like point, which is absent in the MSSM, is shared with supersymmetric theories where there are extra singlets. We also highlight a second parameter region at small m A and small tan β where the h signal strengths, diphoton channel included, are SM-like except those of bottoms and taus which can have at most a 10-15% splitting. Improvements in the A and H ± searches are worth while in order to discriminate this scenario from the SM. © 2013 SISSA, Trieste, Italy.

Mahy J.-P.,University Paris - Sud | Marechal J.-D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Ricoux R.,University Paris - Sud
Chemical Communications | Year: 2015

The design of artificial hemoproteins that could catalyze selective oxidations using clean oxidants such as O2 or H2O2 under ecocompatible conditions constitutes a real challenge for a wide range of industrial applications. In vivo, such reactions are performed by heme-thiolate proteins, cytochromes P450, which catalyze the oxidation of substrates by dioxygen in the presence of electrons delivered from NADPH by cytochrome P450 reductase. Several strategies were used to design new artificial hemoproteins that mimic these enzymes. The first one involved the non-covalent association of synthetic hemes with monoclonal antibodies raised against these cofactors. This led to the first generation of artificial hemoproteins or "hemoabzymes" that displayed a peroxidase activity, and in some cases catalyzed the regioselective nitration of phenols by H2O2/NO2 and the stereoselective oxidation of sulfides by H2O2. The second one involved the non-covalent association of easily affordable non-relevant proteins with metalloporphyrin derivatives, using either the "Trojan Horse strategy" or the "host-guest" strategy. This led to a second generation of artificial hemoproteins or "hemozymes", some of which were found able to catalyze the stereoselective oxidation of organic compounds such as sulfides and alkenes by H2O2 and KHSO5. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Kallis G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Ecological Economics | Year: 2010

This paper adopts a coevolutionary perspective to criticize the dominant narratives of water resource development. Such narratives of progress portray a sequence of improving water technologies that overcame environmental constraints, supplying more water to satisfy the demands of growing populations for better living. Water supply appears as the response to an insatiable demand, exogenous to the water system. Instead, as the history of water in Athens, Greece illustrates water supply and demand in fact coevolve, new supply generating higher demands, and in turn, higher demands favouring supply expansion over other alternatives. This vicious cycle expands the water footprint of cities degrading environments and communities in the countryside. Far from being predetermined and inevitable, as progressive narratives wants it, water resource development has been contingent on geographical and environmental conditions, institutional struggles, accidents, experiments and external geo-political and technological forces. In the last part of this paper, I discuss the policy implications of this coevolutionary reframing with respect to a the transition to a "soft water path". © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Kallis G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Norgaard R.B.,University of California at Berkeley
Ecological Economics | Year: 2010

This paper maps a coevolutionary research agenda for ecological economics. At an epistemological level coevolution offers a powerful logic for transcending environmental and social determinisms and developing a cross-disciplinary approach in the study of socio-ecological systems. We identify four consistent stories emerging out of coevolutionary studies in ecological economics, concerning: environmental degradation and development failure in peripheral regions; the lock-in of unsustainable production-consumption patterns; the vicious cycle between human efforts to control undesirable micro-organisms and the evolution of these organisms; and the adaptive advantages of other-regarding, cooperative behaviors and institutions. We identify challenges in the conceptualization of coevolutionary relationships in relation to: the interaction between different hierarchical levels of evolution; the role of space and social power; uneven rates of change and crises. We conclude with the political implications of a coevolutionary perspective based on the premises of pragmatism. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Barnadas-Rodriguez R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2013

The interaction of 8-hydroxy-1,3,6-pyrenetrisulfonic acid (HPTS) with chitosan (CS) is investigated by studying the changes that HPTS produces on the properties of CS. HPTS specifically binds to the free amino groups of CS modifying its zeta potential, isoelectric point, water solubility, aggregation state, and the viscosity of the solutions. The association of HPTS to CS is a positive cooperative process described by the Hill equation. In a first stage, HPTS causes a screening that parallels the one caused by NaCl. A subsequent increase of the HPTS concentration results in conformational changes of CS favoring the union of the HPTS and a massive CS aggregation. These facts, not observed in the presence of NaCl, cannot be explained merely by an electrostatic screening effect caused by HPTS and a cross-linking mechanism is suggested. The effect of the acidic dye pyranine on chitosan and the physicochemical properties of the resulting complex that they form are investigated. The strong electrostatic interaction among the sulfonate and the amino groups of pyranine and chitosan, respectively, results in a cooperative association of the dye to the macromolecule. The dye causes the screening of the chitosan charge and promotes its aggregation, probably, acting as a cross-linker. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Gomez Dumm D.,National University of La Plata | Roig P.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

The hadronization structure of τ -→ηπ -π0ν τ decays is analyzed using chiral perturbation theory with resonances, considering only the contribution of the lightest meson resonances at leading order in the 1/N C expansion. After imposing the asymptotic behavior of vector spectral functions ruled by QCD, unknown effective couplings are determined by fitting the τ -→ηπ -π0ν τ branching ratio and decay spectrum to recent data. Predictions for the partner decay τ -→η ′π -π0ν τ and the low-energy behavior of the cross section σ(e +e -→ηπ +π -) are also discussed. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Delgado A.,University of Notre Dame | Quiros M.,University of Notre Dame | Quiros M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

We propose the minimal (least) version of the supersymmetric standard model which can solve the hierarchy problem in the same way as the so-called minimal supersymmetric standard model and presents solutions to some of its problems. Supersymmetry is broken in a secluded sector and mediated to the observable sector by messengers of a gauge group G under which the first two generations transform. The group G spontaneously breaks (almost) supersymmetrically at a scale at most a few orders of magnitude below the scale of gauge messengers M *∼1015GeV. By gauge mediation, sfermions of the first two generations acquire supersymmetry breaking masses m^∼10TeV. Supersymmetry breaking is also mediated by gravity which generates masses for all sfermions, Higgsinos, and gauginos at the TeV scale and can provide appropriate values to the μ and B μ parameters by D-term effective operators. If gravity mediation is minimal flavor violating there is no supersymmetric flavor problem. In the presence of R-parity dark matter can be the lightest neutralino, as in the minimal supersymmetric standard model, and the LHC model phenomenology is characterized by the fact that only third-generation squarks and sleptons are present. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Cole F.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Kauppi L.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Lange J.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Roig I.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | And 4 more authors.
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2012

Humans suffer from high rates of fetal aneuploidy, often arising from the absence of meiotic crossover recombination between homologous chromosomes. Meiotic recombination is initiated by double-strand breaks (DSBs) generated by the SPO11 transesterase. In yeast and worms, at least one buffering mechanism, crossover homeostasis, maintains crossover numbers despite variation in DSB numbers. We show here that mammals exhibit progressive homeostatic control of recombination. In wild-type mouse spermatocytes, focus numbers for early recombination proteins (RAD51, DMC1) were highly variable from cell to cell, whereas foci of the crossover marker MLH1 showed little variability. Furthermore, mice with greater or fewer copies of the Spo11 geneg-with correspondingly greater or fewer numbers of early recombination focig-exhibited relatively invariant crossover numbers. Homeostatic control is enforced during at least two stages, after the formation of early recombination intermediates and later while these intermediates mature towards crossovers. Thus, variability within the mammalian meiotic program is robustly managed by homeostatic mechanisms to control crossover formation, probably to suppress aneuploidy. Meiotic recombination exemplifies how order can be progressively implemented in a self-organizing system despite natural cell-to-cell disparities in the underlying biochemical processes. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Arnan X.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Gaucherel C.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Andersen A.N.,CSIRO
Oecologia | Year: 2011

The role of competitive exclusion is problematic in highly diverse ant communities where exceptional species richness occurs in the face of exceptionally high levels of behavioural dominance. A possible non-niche-based explanation is that the abundance of behaviourally dominant ants is highly patchy at fine spatial scales, and subordinate species act as insinuators by preferentially occupying these gaps-we refer to this as the interstitial hypothesis. To test this hypothesis, we examined fine-scale patterns of ant abundance and richness according to a three-tiered competition hierarchy (dominants, subdominants and subordinates) in an Australian tropical savanna using pitfall traps spaced at 2 m intervals. Despite the presence of gaps in the fine-scale abundance of individual species, the combined abundance of dominant ants (species of Iridomyrmex, Papyirus and Oecophylla) was relatively uniform. There was therefore little or no opportunity for subordinate species to preferentially occupy gaps in the foraging ranges of dominant species, and we found no relationship between the abundance of dominant ants and nondominant species richness at fine spatial scales. However, we found a negative relationship between subdominant and subordinate ants, a negative relationship between dominant and subdominant ants, and a positive relationship between dominant and subordinate ants. These results suggest that dominant species actually promote species richness by neutralizing the effects of subdominant species on subordinate species. Such indirect interactions have very close parallels with three-tiered trophic cascades in food webs, and we propose a "competition cascade" where the interactions are through a competition rather than trophic hierarchy. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Webb S.M.,CIBER ISCIII | Webb S.M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Badia X.,University of Barcelona
Neuroendocrinology | Year: 2016

Available disease-specific questionnaires like the Acromegaly Quality of Life questionnaire have confirmed that quality of life (QoL) is impaired in acromegaly, especially in active disease. Successful therapy improves QoL, but it may not normalize completely even after endocrine cure; furthermore, there is not always a correlation between growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 and subjective health perception of QoL. Appearance is the dimension most affected and has the highest impact on the patient's QoL. Worse QoL is associated with the presence of musculoskeletal pain, headache (if only medical therapy, not surgery, has been provided), having required treatment with radiotherapy, being older, of female gender, with a longer disease duration, coexisting diabetes mellitus, a higher BMI or becoming GH deficient after treatment for acromegaly. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel. All rights reserved.

Objectives: This study examines the accessing tests to Specialised Health Training for 2005 and 2006 calls. It aims to assess the quality of exams and explore candidates' variables that allow predicting the final score. Methods: The Ministry of Health provided the 23,136 candidates' answer from both calls, plus demographic variables and the normalised value of their student record. Results: Item's analysis is made from candidates' answers for evaluating the test reliability. In addition, it's been calculated linear regression models for studying which variables allow predicting a candidate's final score. Conclusions: the accessing tests to Specialised Health Training have excellent psychometric quality. It would be improved by reducing the number of choices and eliminating some items more afterwards. Finally, Spanish students are the ones who achieved best adjusted mean score. © 2011 SESPAS.

Plow E.B.,Cleveland Clinic | Pascual-Leone A.,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center | Pascual-Leone A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | MacHado A.,Cleveland Clinic
Journal of Pain | Year: 2012

Chronic neuropathic pain is one of the most prevalent and debilitating disorders. Conventional medical management, however, remains frustrating for both patients and clinicians owing to poor specificity of pharmacotherapy, delayed onset of analgesia and extensive side effects. Neuromodulation presents as a promising alternative, or at least an adjunct, as it is more specific in inducing analgesia without associated risks of pharmacotherapy. Here, we discuss common clinical and investigational methods of neuromodulation. Compared to clinical spinal cord stimulation (SCS), investigational techniques of cerebral neuromodulation, both invasive (deep brain stimulation [DBS] and motor cortical stimulation [MCS]) and noninvasive (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation [rTMS] and transcranial direct current stimulation [tDCS]), may be more advantageous. By adaptively targeting the multidimensional experience of pain, subtended by integrative pain circuitry in the brain, including somatosensory and thalamocortical, limbic and cognitive, cerebral methods may modulate the sensory-discriminative, affective-emotional and evaluative-cognitive spheres of the pain neuromatrix. Despite promise, the current state of results alludes to the possibility that cerebral neuromodulation has thus far not been effective in producing analgesia as intended in patients with chronic pain disorders. These techniques, thus, remain investigational and off-label. We discuss issues implicated in inadequate efficacy, variability of responsiveness, and poor retention of benefit, while recommending design and conceptual refinements for future trials of cerebral neuromodulation in management of chronic neuropathic pain. Perspective: This critical review focuses on factors contributing to poor therapeutic utility of invasive and noninvasive brain stimulation in the treatment of chronic neuropathic and pain of noncancerous origin. Through key clinical trial design and conceptual refinements, retention and consistency of response may be improved, potentially facilitating the widespread clinical applicability of such approaches. © 2012 by the American Pain Society.

Jimenez D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices | Year: 2011

This paper presents a compact physics-based model of the drain current, charge, and capacitance of graphene field-effect transistors, which is of relevance for the exploration of dc, ac, and transient behavior of graphene-based circuits. The physical framework is a field-effect model and drift-diffusion carrier transport incorporating saturation velocity effects. First, an explicit model has been derived for the drain current. Using it as a basis, explicit closed-form expressions for the charge and capacitances based on the Ward-Dutton partition scheme were derived, covering continuously all the operation regions. The model is of special interest for analog and radio-frequency applications where bandgap engineering of graphene is not needed. © 2011 IEEE.

Pujolas O.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Sibiryakov S.,RAS Institute for Nuclear Research
Journal of High Energy Physics | Year: 2012

It has been suggested by Groot Nibbelink and Pospelov that Lorentz invariance can be an emergent symmetry of low-energy physics provided the theory enjoys a non-relativistic version of supersymmetry. We construct a model that realizes the latter symmetry dynamically: it breaks Lorentz invariance but leaves the supersymmetry generators intact. The model is a supersymmetric extension of the dynamical aether theory of Jacobson and Mattingly in fixed flat spacetime. It exhibits rich dynamics and possesses a family of inequivalent vacua realizing different symmetry breaking patterns. In particular, we find stable vacua that break spontaneously spatial isotropy. Supersymmetry breaking terms give masses to fermionic and bosonic partners of the aether field. We comment on the coupling of the model to supergravity and on the implications for Hořava gravity. © SISSA 2012.

Rezende E.L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Diniz-Filho J.A.F.,Federal University of Goais
Comprehensive Physiology | Year: 2012

Comparisons among species have been a standard tool in animal physiology to understand how organisms function and adapt to their surrounding environment. During the last two decades, conceptual and methodological advances from different fields, including evolutionary biology and systematics, have revolutionized the way comparative analyses are performed, resulting in the advent of modern phylogenetic statistical methods. This development stems from the realization that conventional analytical methods assume that observations are statistically independent, which is not the case for comparative data because species often resemble each other due to shared ancestry. By taking evolutionary history explicitly into consideration, phylogenetic statistical methods can account for the confounding effects of shared ancestry in interspecific comparisons, improving the reliability of standard approaches such as regressions or correlations in comparative analyses. Importantly, these methods have also enabled researchers to address entirely new evolutionary questions, such as the historical sequence of events that resulted in current patterns of form and function, which can only be studied with a phylogenetic perspective. Here, we provide an overview of phylogenetic approaches and their importance for studying the evolution of physiological processes and mechanisms. We discuss the conceptual framework underlying these methods, and explain when and how phylogenetic information should be employed. We then outline the difficulties and limitations inherent to comparative approaches and discuss potential problems researchers may encounter when designing a comparative study. These issues are illustrated with examples from the literature in which the incorporation of phylogenetic information has been useful, or even crucial, for inferences on how species evolve and adapt to their surrounding environment. © 2012 American Physiological Society.

Demaria F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Ecological Economics | Year: 2010

More than 80% of international trade in goods by volume is carried by sea. The shipping industry constitutes a key element in the infrastructure of the world's social metabolism. Ocean-going ships are owned and used for their trade by developed countries but are often demolished, together with their toxic materials, in developing countries. Ship breaking is the process of dismantling an obsolete vessel's structure for scrapping or disposal. The Alang-Sosiya yard (India), one of the world largest shipbreaking yards, is studied here with particular attention to toxic waste management. Ship owners and ship breakers obtain large profits dumping the environmental costs on workers, local farmers and fishers.This unequal distribution of benefits and burdens, due to an international and national uneven distribution of power, has led to an ecological distribution conflict. The controversy at the Indian Supreme Court in 2006 over the dismantling of the ocean liner 'Blue Lady,' shows how the different languages of valuation expressed by different social groups clashed and how a language that expresses sustainability as monetary benefit at the national scale, dominated. Shipbreaking in the developing world is not just an externality but a successful case of cost shifting, or else, profit accumulation by contamination. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Urkidi L.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Ecological Economics | Year: 2010

Gold mining projects are spreading in Latin America due to increasing international interest in gold and to the legal reforms that attract mining investment to the region. As metal mining has critical social and environmental impacts, conflicts related to it are also soaring. The conflict around the Pascua-Lama mining project in Chile is a paradigmatic example of these conflicts. Starting with the defence of some mountain glaciers being endangered by the mine, local protests have been internationalized. It has become one of the most important Chilean environmental conflicts of recent years. In order to characterise the movement, the article analyses its social bases or participants, the values and arguments articulated and the strategies developed. This agency analysis shows that it is not a case of environmentalism of the poor or of post-materialist environmentalism, but a glocal environmental movement. The movement has not achieved to stop the project due to structural limitations; but it has been able to problematise and politicise the concept of development in the affected Chilean valley. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Garcia-Lopez G.A.,Indiana University Bloomington | Arizpe N.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Ecological Economics | Year: 2010

Within emerging environmental conflicts, different participatory processes have developed as alternatives to the top-down models that have dominated policy-making. In this paper, we focus on conflicts over the expansion of soy production. We analyze three issues related to top-down vs. bottom-up participatory processes and how they affect the proposals coming out of these processes: who counts as stakeholder (the role of social movements), what counts as participation (the role of mobilization), and who has power to select stakeholders and issues, make decisions, and influence preferences. To explore these issues, we present a case study of two parallel participatory processes in rural areas of Paraguay and Argentina. One of these, the Roundtable on Responsible Soy, is top-down, created by large agri-business multinationals and international conservation NGOs with the support of the governments in the region, and has focused on establishing criteria for "responsible soy". The other is bottom-up, self-organized by peasant and civil society organizations, and focused on stopping soy expansion and promoting food sovereignty. The findings highlight the potential of bottom-up processes to promote true agricultural sustainability while at the same time emphasizing the need for more research on grassroots participatory processes and their potential and limitations in different contexts. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Trillas F.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Utilities Policy | Year: 2010

The economics of federalism is a broad discipline with more than five decades of experience. It may shed light on how regulatory jurisdiction is allocated in EU electricity and telecommunications markets. The liberalization of these markets has been accompanied by gradual harmonization of national markets to overcome resistance to competitive forces. Less steps than necessary have been undertaken to promote market integration. Positive and normative reasons remain however for the participation of national or even regional/local powers. Vertical cooperation will remain a necessary condition of a sound regulatory framework, but cooperation may sometimes be inhibited by distributive considerations. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

Matias J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2012

It has been argued recently that transverse asymmetries that are expected to be shielded from the presence of the S-wave Kπ pairs originating from the decay of a scalar K0* meson, are indeed affected by this pollution due to the impossibility to extract cleanly the normalization for these observables. In this short article we show how using folded distributions, which is nowadays the preferred method to obtain the information from the 4-body decay mode B→K *(→Kπ)l +l -, one can easily bypass this problem and extract the clean observables P 1,2,3 and also P4,5,6′ in a way completely free from this pollution including all lepton mass corrections. We also show that in case one insists in using uniangular distributions to extract these observables, it is possible to reduce this pollution to just lepton mass suppressed terms. On the contrary, the S i observables, that are by definition normalized by the full differential decay distribution, will indeed suffer from this pollution via their normalization. Finally, we also present a procedure to minimize the error associated to neglecting lepton mass corrections in the distribution defining a massless-improved limit. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Junkin G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation | Year: 2013

With a view to using Phase Retrieval to accurately predict Terahertz antenna far-field from near-field intensity measurements, this paper reports on three fundamental advances that achieve very low algorithmic error penalties. The first is a new Gaussian beam analysis that provides accurate initial complex aperture estimates including defocus and astigmatic phase errors, based only on first and second moment calculations. The second is a powerful noise tolerant near-field Phase Retrieval algorithm that combines Anderson's Plane-to-Plane (PTP) with Fienup's Hybrid-Input-Output (HIO) and Successive Over-Relaxation (SOR) to achieve increased accuracy at reduced scan separations. The third advance employs teraflop Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) to achieve practically real time near-field phase retrieval and to obtain the optimum aperture constraint without any a priori information. © 1963-2012 IEEE.

Baylina M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Berg N.G.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology
European Urban and Regional Studies | Year: 2010

This paper analyses how rurality is represented in two lifestyle magazines about country living: LevLandlig in Norway and Vivir en el Campo in Spain. Since material, imaginative and practised ruralities are intertwined and research indicates that representations of the rural affect residential preferences and other consumption activities, we argue that it is important to critically investigate potentially influential representations. Given that the majority of works on representations of the rural in mass media originate mainly from the United Kingdom and the United States, we aim to add the perspectives of a Scandinavian and a Mediterranean country. Furthermore, we analyse the gendering of the visions of the rural. We reveal that the 'rural idyll' is the main vision 'sold' in both magazines, and in both the same four sub-themes - 'home', 'family', 'nature' and 'how to make a living in a rural area' - stand central in the idyll. The gendering of the idyll and the meanings attached to the sub-themes vary between the Spanish and the Norwegian magazines, thus illustrating the contextual character of knowledge about rurality. © The Author(s) 2010.

Tejedor-Calvo S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Profesional de la Informacion | Year: 2010

The present article analyzes the presence and the type of use of the platforms and resources of the web 2.0 in the principal online newspapers of Latin America. The results derive from a recent study of 70 online mass media of Latin America, Spain and Portugal with the aim to diagnose the presence of the social web, the type of application of Web 2.0 resources and how these modify the concept of a web newspaper.

Moncho S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Autschbac J.,State University of New York at Buffalo
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation | Year: 2010

A benchmark study for relativistic density functional calculations of NMR spin-spin coupling constants has been performed. The test set contained 47 complexes with heavy metal atoms (W, Pt, Hg, Tl, Pb) with a total of 88 coupling constants involving one or two heavy metal atoms. One-, two-, three-, and four-bond spin-spin couplings have been computed at different levels of theory (nonhybrid vs hybrid DFT, scalar vs two-component relativistic). The computational model was based on geometries fully optimized at the BP/TZP scalar relativistic zeroth-order regular approximation (ZORA) and the conductor-like screening model (COSMO) to include solvent effects. The NMR computations also employed the continuum solvent model. Computations in the gas phase were performed in order to assess the importance of the solvation model. The relative median deviations between various computational models and experiment were found to range between 13% and 21%, with the highest-level computational model (hybrid density functional computations including scalar plus spin-orbit relativistic effects, the COSMO solvent model, and a Gaussian finite-nucleus model) performing best. Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Shimshoni E.,Bar - Ilan University | Morigi G.,Saarland University | Morigi G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Fishman S.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011

A string of trapped ions at zero temperature exhibits a structural phase transition to a zigzag structure, tuned by reducing the transverse trap potential or the interparticle distance. The transition is driven by transverse, short wavelength vibrational modes. We argue that this is a quantum phase transition, which can be experimentally realized and probed. Indeed, by means of a mapping to the Ising model in a transverse field, we estimate the quantum critical point in terms of the system parameters, and find a finite, measurable deviation from the critical point predicted by the classical theory. A measurement procedure is suggested which can probe the effects of quantum fluctuations at criticality. These results can be extended to describe the transverse instability of ultracold polar molecules in a one-dimensional optical lattice. © 2011 The American Physical Society.

Ribera J.-M.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Ribera J.-M.,PETHEMA Group
Leukemia and Lymphoma | Year: 2013

Approximately 20% of adult and 50% of elderly patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) express the t(9;22) chromosome translocation with BCR-ABL rearrangement. The use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has resulted in higher rates of complete remission (95-100%), and many fit patients are able to receive allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). TKI-containing induction followed by myeloablative allogeneic HSCT has resulted in long-term survival between 50 and 60% in young adults, and recent reports show promising results in patients submitted to non-myeloablative HSCT. The prognosis of elderly patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) ALL is poor despite a high complete remission (CR) rate with TKIs and minimal chemotherapy, and improvements are clearly needed in this subgroup of patients. This review summarizes and discusses current challenges in the treatment of patients with Ph+ ALL, such as selection of the appropriate induction therapy, minimization of transplant toxicity, correct use of TKIs after transplant, BCR-ABL monitoring, the study of mutations which confer resistance to TKIs and new drugs to overcome this resistance. © 2013 Informa UK, Ltd.

Castellano C.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
The Spanish journal of psychology | Year: 2013

This research assesses Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) in a Spanish sample of adolescent cancer survivors, and analyzes the relationship between HRQoL, coping styles and physical exercise. Forty-two survivors (12-19 years), who were ≥ 1 year of remission, completed standardized measures of HRQoL (CHIP-AE), coping strategies (ACS) and physical exercise (AECEF). Mean scores in all HRQoL domains were within normative values. Multiple regression analysis revealed that physical exercise and productive coping were related to higher HRQoL, whereas non-productive coping was related to lower HRQoL. This sample of survivors reported good levels of HRQoL, which are mediated by coping styles and physical exercise.

Veuthey S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Gerber J.-F.,Harvard University
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2012

Over the last two decades, the global production of farm-raised shrimps has increased at a faster rate than any other aquacultural product, leading to massive socio-ecological damages in the mangrove areas where shrimp farming often takes place. Consequently, an increasing number of conflicts pitting coastal populations against shrimp farmers has been reported although very few conflicts have been studied in detail. This article contributes to fill this research gap by analyzing the causes, development and consequences of one such conflict in the Ecuadorian canton of Muisne (province of Esmeraldas). This conflict is one of the world's earliest and most important protest movements for the defence of mangroves and against the shrimp industry. Within a political ecology perspective, we connect three key dimensions of the conflict: (1) the socioeconomic metabolism of shrimp farming locally and internationally, (2) the institutions - formal and informal - that regulate the access to mangroves, and (3) the development of the mobilization itself, with special reference to the role of local women. The study is based on six-month fieldwork and combines data from 52 in-depth interviews of a wide range of actors, various documentation, and direct and participant observation. We find that the development of shrimp farming can be understood as a modern case of enclosure movement whereby customary community mangroves are privatized for the building of shrimp ponds. As a result, local mangrove-dependant populations - especially women - mobilized with the support of a grassroots Environmental Justice Organization. The protest was targeted at a form of ecologically unequal exchange where sectors of the global North shift socio-ecological costs onto poor sectors of the producing regions of the global South. In agreement with feminist political ecology, local women were particularly resistant to this process of 'accumulation by dispossession'. While only some mangroves could be saved or reforested as a result of the movement, women's mobilization has had the unexpected effect of challenging gender relations in their communities. This research articulates dimensions of a given conflict that are too often considered separately, namely social-metabolic issues, institutional change, and gender issues. This allows a more comprehensive view of a complex power struggle. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Giraldo J.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science | Year: 2013

G protein-coupled receptors organize into oligomeric arrangements to exert their function. In this chapter, three models of dimeric receptors, the two-state dimer receptor model, the metabotropic glutamate receptor model, and the asymmetric/symmetric three-state dimer receptor model are revisited focusing on the cooperative effects between their binding sites and the subunits they are composed of. The mathematical analysis reveals the complexity of the intra-receptor interactions providing insights on the mechanistic aspects of receptor function. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Kyriacou A.P.,University of Girona | Roca-Sagales O.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy | Year: 2012

We examine the impact of structural and cohesion funds on regional disparities within EU countries over the period 1995-2006. We find that structural funds have reduced regional disparities over this period. Our empirical estimates also suggest that the effect of structural funds on regional disparities is potentially reversed above some level of transfer intensity (approximately 1.6% of country gross domestic product). This has implications for the desirable allocation of the funds across countries especially since, in the current programming period (2007-13), all the new member states of the Union except for Cyprus and Malta have a transfer intensity which exceeds this threshold. © 2012 Pion Ltd and its Licensors.

Escribano R.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Masjuan P.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | Sanchez-Puertas P.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Physical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology | Year: 2014

The η and η′ transition form factors in the spacelike region are analyzed at low and intermediate energies in a model-independent way through the use of rational approximants. The slope and curvature parameters of the form factors as well as their values at zero and infinity are extracted from experimental data. The impact of these results on the mixing parameters of the η-η′ system and the pseudoscalar-exchange contributions to the hadronic light-by-light scattering part of the anomalous magnetic moment aμ are also discussed. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Stracker T.H.,Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine | Roig I.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Knobel P.A.,Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine | Marjanovic M.,Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Frontiers in Genetics | Year: 2013

The DNA damage response (DDR) rapidly recognizes DNA lesions and initiates the appropriate cellular programs to maintain genome integrity. This includes the coordination of cell cycle checkpoints, transcription, translation, DNA repair, metabolism, and cell fate decisions, such as apoptosis or senescence (Jackson and Bartek, 2009). DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) represent one of the most cytotoxic DNA lesions and defects in their metabolism underlie many human hereditary diseases characterized by genomic instability (Stracker and Petrini, 2011; McKinnon, 2012). Patients with hereditary defects in the DDR display defects in development, particularly affecting the central nervous system, the immune system and the germline, as well as aberrant metabolic regulation and cancer predisposition. Central to the DDR to DSBs is the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase, a master controller of signal transduction. Understanding how ATM signaling regulates various aspects of the DDR and its roles in vivo is critical for our understanding of human disease, its diagnosis and its treatment. This review will describe the general roles of ATM signaling and highlight some recent advances that have shed light on the diverse roles of ATM and related proteins in human disease. © 2013 Stracker, Roig, Knobel and Marjanović.