Porto Alegre, Brazil

The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul , often abbreviated as PUCRS, is a private non-profit Catholic university. With campuses in the Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre and Viamão, it is the largest private university of the state of Rio Grande do Sul and the first university founded by the Catholic religious institute of the Marist Brothers. PUCRS is considered the best private university of Brazil's Southern Region by the Ministry of Education , and one of the best private universities in the country, with FGV, PUC-Rio and the PUC-SP. Wikipedia.


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News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

Rare monkeys in the forests of Brazil are being decimated by yellow fever. The outbreak started in late 2016 and, as is often the case in South America, it has spread to humans, killing at least 50 since the start of 2017. The authorities have rushed vaccines to hospitals, where long queues await inoculation. But there is no vaccine for monkeys who are dying en masse in Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais, the two states so far worst hit. “Some 80 to 90 per cent of the brown howler monkeys are infected or have already died,” says Sergio Mendes at the Federal University of Espírito Santo in Vitoria, Brazil. “This is a true catastrophe. These outbreaks happen periodically, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen.” Mendes knows of 400 howler monkey deaths in the state, and he believes this is likely to be only 10 per cent of the total, with the greatest losses happening largely unseen in remote forested areas. Atlantic titis and geoffroy’s marmosets found dead last week in Espirito Santo are also being tested for yellow fever. Both are unique to the Mata Atlantica, one of the world’s most species-rich and most-endangered tropical forests. Other endemic primate species affected by the outbreak include the endangered buffy-headed marmoset and crested capuchin, and the critically endangered muriqui. There are only about 1000 muriqui individuals left in the wild, and their slow breeding time means numbers would take a long time to recover from yellow-fever deaths. There are also unconfirmed reports of capuchin monkeys dying of suspected yellow fever in neighbouring Minas Gerais and in São Paulo states. The virus is normally found in several forest-dwelling mammals, from marsupials to monkeys, and is transmitted by Haemagogus and Sabethes mosquitoes. Marco Almeida, a veterinary epidemiologist from Rio Grande do Sul state’s health agency, says the current outbreak is unlikely to be caused by a new, more virulent form of yellow fever virus, as it is known to mutate very slowly. Instead, he thinks recent prolonged and torrential rains provided ideal conditions for mosquitoes. Often delivering a week’s rain in a day, the deluges lasted over a month and may have weakened the monkeys by cutting the times when they can feed and challenging their immune systems. “The mosquitos can disperse across forest for up to 6 kilometres from their breeding point,” says Júlio-César Bicca-Marques, a primatolologist at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, “but they’ll also get rides in trucks. Plus, infected hunters, tree-cutters and agricultural workers can spread the virus.” It’s well known from lab tests that howlers are the most vulnerable to yellow fever of all of South America’s monkeys. “But with these current high infection levels, the virus could spread to all of the region’s 14 other primates,” says Almeida. “Part of the problem is forest fragmentation,” says primate conservationist Karen Strier of University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Only 5 per cent of Mata Atlantica remains. So Mata Atlantica primate populations are small and isolated. Wipe one out, and natural recolonization is very difficult.” With monkeys being key seed-dispersers, the prognosis for both forest and primates is not good. Meanwhile, as the epidemic increases, ill-informed individuals have started attacking the region’s monkeys, in the erroneous belief that they can spread yellow fever to humans directly.


News Article | October 27, 2016
Site: phys.org

Schistosomiasis is second only to malaria as the most globally devastating parasitic disease and can be deadly if left untreated, but curable if detected early. It affects 250 million people globally every year,10 times the population of Australia, and is most prevalent in poorer and rural parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The eggs are difficult to detect when in small quantities using current detection methods, which can delay critical treatment for people that contract the debilitating disease, however the new device will change this. It works by using a magnetic field to detect the eggs in small quantities. Researchers from UWA's School of Physics invented the device in collaboration with the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) in Brazil. Lead inventor Professor Tim St Pierre from UWA's School of Physics said the device, which looks like a syringe, uses a magnetic force to attract the parasitic eggs into a small droplet. "A sample of human faeces is stirred with the device, attracting the eggs. After withdrawal from the sample, the magnetic force is 'switched off' to release the eggs onto a microscope slide for examination with an optical microscope to search for the eggs," Professor St Pierre said. "The prototype we created is highly effective and will reduce the time taken to search for the eggs from hours to a matter of minutes. This will help detect the disease early at a critical stage, to enable treatment to start early." Dr Renata Candido, UWA Research Associate and one of the inventors, said current techniques failed to diagnose patients if there were fewer than 100 eggs per gram of faeces, but the new technology could detect eggs down to at least three or four eggs per gram of faeces and probably lower. "The device is also very low cost, which will help make it easily accessible across the globe, particularly for poorer regions in the world where the disease is most prevalent," Dr Candido said. The device has been patented and a partnership to support the commercialisation of the invention is being offered through UWA's Research Development and Innovation office. The researchers hope to continue testing the device to see if it may be used in the diagnosis of other major parasitic diseases globally such as trichuriasis (caused by whipworm) and ascariasis (caused by a species of roundworm). Explore further: Study offers hints on why some bird hosts reject parasitic eggs while others do not


Izquierdo I.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul | Furini C.R.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul | Myskiw J.C.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul
Physiological reviews | Year: 2016

Fear memory is the best-studied form of memory. It was thoroughly investigated in the past 60 years mostly using two classical conditioning procedures (contextual fear conditioning and fear conditioning to a tone) and one instrumental procedure (one-trial inhibitory avoidance). Fear memory is formed in the hippocampus (contextual conditioning and inhibitory avoidance), in the basolateral amygdala (inhibitory avoidance), and in the lateral amygdala (conditioning to a tone). The circuitry involves, in addition, the pre- and infralimbic ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the central amygdala subnuclei, and the dentate gyrus. Fear learning models, notably inhibitory avoidance, have also been very useful for the analysis of the biochemical mechanisms of memory consolidation as a whole. These studies have capitalized on in vitro observations on long-term potentiation and other kinds of plasticity. The effect of a very large number of drugs on fear learning has been intensively studied, often as a prelude to the investigation of effects on anxiety. The extinction of fear learning involves to an extent a reversal of the flow of information in the mentioned structures and is used in the therapy of posttraumatic stress disorder and fear memories in general. Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.


Lara D.R.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul | Bisol L.W.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul | Munari L.R.,Hospital Espirita Of Marilia
International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2013

Intravenous ketamine (0.5Â mg/kg) produces robust, rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effects, but is unpractical. Sublingual administration of ketamine renders better bioavailability (∼30%) and less conversion to norketamine than oral administration. We evaluated the therapeutic effects and tolerability of very low dose sublingual (VLDS) racemic ketamine (10Â mg from a 100Â mg/ml solution for 5Â min and swallowed), repeatedly administered every 2-3 d or weekly, in 26 out-patients with refractory unipolar or bipolar depression. According to patients' reports, VLDS ketamine produced rapid, clear and sustained effects, improving mood level and stability, cognition and sleep in 20 patients (77%), with only mild and transient light-headedness as a common side-effect (no euphoria, psychotic or dissociative symptoms). Remission remained in some patients after stopping ketamine. Thus, VLDS ketamine may have broad spectrum effects beyond its antidepressant properties, with rapid onset of action, high efficacy, good tolerability and low cost, allowing extended treatment as needed. © © CINP 2013Â.


Buchweitz A.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul | Prat C.,University of Washington
Physics of Life Reviews | Year: 2013

The goal of the present review is to discuss recent cognitive neuroscientific findings concerning bilingualism. Three interrelated questions about the bilingual brain are addressed: How are multiple languages represented in the brain? how are languages controlled in the brain? and what are the real-world implications of experience with multiple languages? The review is based on neuroimaging research findings about the nature of bilingual processing, namely, how the brain adapts to accommodate multiple languages in the bilingual brain and to control which language should be used, and when. We also address how this adaptation results in differences observed in the general cognition of bilingual individuals. General implications for models of human learning, plasticity, and cognitive control are discussed. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Vasconcelos A.C.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul
Journal of oral science | Year: 2010

The objective of the present study was to comparatively evaluate the concentrations of blood and salivary glucose as well as salivary flow and xerostomia in type 2 diabetic and non-diabetic patients. The mean salivary glucose level in diabetic patients was 14.03 +/-16.76 mg/dl and 6.35 +/- 6.02 mg/dl (P = 0.036) in the control group. The mean capillary blood glucose level in diabetic patients was 213 +/- 88 mg/dl, while that in non-diabetic patients was 99 +/- 14 mg/dl (P = 0.000). The mean value for resting salivary flow was 0.21 +/- 0.16 ml/min in diabetic patients and 0.33 +/- 0.20 ml/min in the control group (P = 0.002). The stimulated salivary flow was lower in the group of diabetic patients, with a mean of 0.63 +/- 0.43 ml/min, whereas the control group showed a mean of 1.20 +/- 0.70 ml/min (P = 0.000). Of the diabetic patients, 45% exhibited hyposalivation, in contrast to 2.5% of the non-diabetic patients (P = 0.000). Xerostomia was reported in 12.5% of diabetic patients and 5% of non-diabetic patients (P = 0.23). We can conclude that salivary glucose concentration was significantly higher in the experimental group and that there was no correlation between salivary and blood glucose concentrations in diabetic patients. The total salivary flow was significantly reduced in diabetic patients and there was no significant difference as to the presence of xerostomia in both groups.


Prikladnicki R.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul
Journal of software: Evolution and Process | Year: 2012

In social psychology, propinquity refers to the physical (objective) or psychological (subjective) proximity between people. In this paper, we explore the psychological dimension of propinquity by examining the phenomenon of feeling distant from geographically distributed people, in the context of distributed software teams. The perceived distance is an important challenge faced by distributed teams, and it is frequently based on factors beyond the physical distance, such as communication and cultural differences. The purpose of this paper is to present a model to assess and make more visible the construct of 'perceived distance' among members of global software engineering teams. The model was applied in three real-world cases to assess its effectiveness in uncovering hidden and useful information during the project lifecycle. The practical experience lived with the quantification of perceived distance gave us good indication that this data can benefit the practice of global software engineering. In most of the projects evaluated, project managers were not expecting the results found. We present the model, details of its applications, analysis of the results, lessons learned and practical implications for the management of distributed software projects and teams. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Lara D.R.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease | Year: 2010

Caffeine intake is so common that its pharmacological effects on the mind are undervalued. Since it is so readily available, individuals can adjust their own dose, time of administration and dose intervals of caffeine, according to the perceived benefits and side effects of each dose. This review focuses on human studies of caffeine in subjects with and without psychiatric disorders. Besides the possibility of mild drug dependence, caffeine may bring benefits that contribute to its widespread use. These benefits seem to be related to adaptation of mental energy to the context by increasing alertness, attention, and cognitive function (more evident in longer or more difficult tasks or situations of low arousal) and by elevating mood. Accordingly, moderate caffeine intake (< 6 cups/day) has been associated with less depressive symptoms, fewer cognitive failures, and lower risk of suicide. However, its putative therapeutic effects on depression and ADHD have been insufficiently studied. Conversely, in rare cases high doses of caffeine can induce psychotic and manic symptoms, and more commonly, anxiety. Patients with panic disorder and performance social anxiety disorder seem to be particularly sensitive to the anxiogenic effects of caffeine, whereas preliminary data suggests that it may be effective for some patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The threshold for the anxiogenic effect of caffeine is influenced by a polymorphism of the A2A receptor. In summary, caffeine can be regarded as a pharmacological tool to increase energy and effortful behavior in daily activities. More populational (cross-sectional and prospective) and experimental studies are necessary to establish the role of caffeine intake in psychiatric disorders, especially its putative efficacy on depressive mood and cognitive/attentional disorders. © 2010 IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.


The present invention is a method for obtaining a formulation of resveratrol and rice bran oil. The resulting product in the form of an oil or solid proves to increase the therapeutic potential of resveratrol by the synergistic action of the components of the rice oil. The product obtained through the method of the invention is an active principle which, when incorporated in nutraceutical and/or pharmaceutical compositions, provides antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, cardioprotective, neuroprotective and/or cancer chemoprotective action, besides protecting against infections and ischemia, reducing obesity, and preventing illnesses of old age.


Patent
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul | Date: 2013-10-19

The invention induces an increase in the resistance of potato plants, without apparent toxicity for the plant. Preliminary experiments indicate that the increase in metabolism of plants efficiently fosters (above 60%) the reduction of the development of the pathogenic phytobacteria, Erwinia carotovora, one of the principal agents in causing diseases in potatoes.

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