Mitochondrial sequence variation suggests an African influence in Portuguese cattle.
A total of 49 samples from indigenous Portuguese cattle breeds were analysed for sequence variation in the hypervariable region of the mitochondrial DNA D-loop. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analyses revealed that haplotypes fell into two distinct groups. These corresponded with two separate haplotype clusters into which, respectively, all African, or alternatively all sequences of European origin, have previously been shown to fall. Here, the majority of sequences of African type were encountered in three southern, as compared to three northern breeds. This pattern of African influence may reflect an intercontinental admixture in the initial origins of Iberian breeds, or it is perhaps an introgression dating from the long and influential Moorish occupation of the south of the Iberian peninsula. (+info)
Allocative efficiency in the use of health resources in Portugal.
BACKGROUND: This is the first time that a resource allocation technique based on a marginal met need approach has been used in Portugal, and the objective of the study is to attain the improvement of allocative efficiency. METHODS: The utilities of health states with and without treatment have been measured using the rating scale technique and a cost-utility analysis has been made. The value resulting from multiplying the avoided days of incapacity by a weight, on a scale from zero to one, has been considered as an indicator of utility corresponding to the difference between a health state with and without treatment. This study has been carried out using the main causes of morbidity from the National Health Survey, 1987, at a regional level. A sample of 150 local authorities was considered to be sufficient. A second objective of this study was to carry out a cost-utility analysis for the main causes of declared morbidity. RESULTS: This analysis has shown that the ratio of cost-utility is highest for hypertension, followed by influenza, asthma and digestive ill-functioning. Pharyngitis-amygdalitis, cold, osteoarthrosis, chronic bronchitis, spondylous arthrosis and diabetes are the illnesses with a more favourable cost-utility ratio which, in a rational resource allocation, should be treated first. CONCLUSIONS: So that an increase in the allocative efficiency could be achieved, a transfer of resources between regions is required up to the point at which the use of these resources would be equally efficient. Resources should be transferred from two regions - Interior Centre Region and Littoral Lisbon Region - towards all the other regions, in particular the Interior North Region. (+info)
Detection of an archaic clone of Staphylococcus aureus with low-level resistance to methicillin in a pediatric hospital in Portugal and in international samples: relics of a formerly widely disseminated strain?
Close to half of the 878 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains recovered between 1992 and 1997 from the pediatric hospital in Lisbon were bacteria in which antibiotic resistance was limited to beta-lactam antibiotics. The other half were multidrug resistant. The coexistence of MRSA with such unequal antibiotic resistance profiles prompted us to use molecular typing techniques for the characterization of the MRSA strains. Fifty-three strains chosen randomly were typed by a combination of genotypic methods. Over 90% of the MRSA strains belonged to two clones: the most frequent one, designated the "pediatric clone," was reminiscent of historically "early" MRSA: most isolates of this clone were only resistant to beta-lactam antimicrobials and remained susceptible to macrolides, quinolones, clindamycin, spectinomycin, and tetracycline. They showed heterogeneous and low-level resistance to methicillin (MIC, 1.5 to 6 microg/ml), carried the ClaI-mecA polymorph II, were free of the transposon Tn554, and showed macrorestriction pattern D (clonal type II::NH::D). The second major clone was the internationally spread and multiresistant "Iberian" MRSA with homogeneous and high-level resistance to methicillin (MIC, >200 microg/ml) and clonal type I::E::A. Surprisingly, the multidrug-resistant and highly epidemic Iberian MRSA did not replace the much less resistant pediatric clone during the 6 years of surveillance. The pediatric clone was also identified among contemporary MRSA isolates from Poland, Argentina, The United States, and Colombia, and the overwhelming majority of these were also associated with pediatric settings. We propose that the pediatric MRSA strain represents a formerly widely spread archaic clone which survived in some epidemiological settings with relatively limited antimicrobial pressure. (+info)
Rats of the genus Rattus are reservoir hosts for pathogenic Bartonella species: an Old World origin for a New World disease?
Bartonella species were isolated from the blood of 63 of 325 Rattus norvegicus and 11 of 92 Rattus rattus from 13 sites in the United States and Portugal. Infection in both Rattus species ranged from 0% (e.g., 0/87) to approximately 60% (e.g., 35/62). A 337-bp fragment of the citrate synthase (gltA) gene amplified by polymerase chain reaction was sequenced from all 74 isolates. Isolates from R. norvegicus were most similar to Bartonella elizabethae, isolated previously from a patient with endocarditis (93%-100% sequence similarity), followed by Bartonella grahamii and other Bartonella species isolated from Old World rodents (Clethrionomys species, Mus musculus, and Rattus species). These data suggest that Rattus species are a reservoir host for pathogenic Bartonella species and are consistent with a hypothesized Old World origin for Bartonella species recovered from Rattus species introduced into the Americas. (+info)
The early Upper Paleolithic human skeleton from the Abrigo do Lagar Velho (Portugal) and modern human emergence in Iberia.
The discovery of an early Upper Paleolithic human burial at the Abrigo do Lagar Velho, Portugal, has provided evidence of early modern humans from southern Iberia. The remains, the largely complete skeleton of a approximately 4-year-old child buried with pierced shell and red ochre, is dated to ca. 24,500 years B.P. The cranium, mandible, dentition, and postcrania present a mosaic of European early modern human and Neandertal features. The temporal bone has an intermediate-sized juxtamastoid eminence. The mandibular mentum osseum and the dental size and proportions, supported by mandibular ramal features, radial tuberosity orientation, and diaphyseal curvature, as well as the pubic proportions align the skeleton with early modern humans. Body proportions, reflected in femorotibial lengths and diaphyseal robusticity plus tibial condylar displacement, as well as mandibular symphyseal retreat and thoracohumeral muscle insertions, align the skeleton with the Neandertals. This morphological mosaic indicates admixture between regional Neandertals and early modern humans dispersing into southern Iberia. It establishes the complexities of the Late Pleistocene emergence of modern humans and refutes strict replacement models of modern human origins. (+info)
Tobacco smoking among Portuguese high-school students.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence, behavioural patterns, and determinants of smoking among a large sample of high-school students from Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, information on sociodemographic characteristics and personal history of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and illicit drug use was obtained from 2974 students, aged 12-19 years (48.7% female, 51.3% male), using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire. Crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) were calculated by logistic regression analysis to estimate the association between smoking and the characteristics evaluated. Overall, 35.8% students had never smoked, 39.4% had tried it ("experimental" smokers) but were not smokers, 3.3% were former smokers, 6.6% occasional smokers, and 14.9% regular smokers. The mean age for starting smoking was 13.4 +/- 2.1 years for males and 13.4 +/- 1.6 years for females. The prevalence of current smoking was higher among males than females, but the difference was not significant. Male students were significantly more likely to smoke more cigarettes per day than were females. The prevalence of smoking was significantly associated with the following variables: being aged > 12 years; having parents who had attended school for < 4 years; having a mother (OR = 1.88), siblings (OR = 1.96) or friends (OR = 1.75) who smoked; low academic performance (OR = 1.74 for one or two failures and OR = 2.27 for more than two failures at school); and consumption of coffee (OR = 2.90), alcohol (OR = 3.53), or illicit drugs (OR = 6.69). The prevalence of smoking among adolescents increased with age. There is therefore a need for school-based tobacco prevention programmes which also deal with family influences on smoking. (+info)
Two pairs of proven monozygotic twins discordant for familial amyloid neuropathy (FAP) TTR Met 30.
Twin studies are an important tool in medical genetics for the evaluation of the relative roles of genetic and non-genetic factors in several diseases. Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy type I (FAP-I), TTR Met 30, was present in two sets of proven monozygotic (MZ) twins, one from Majorca and the other from Portugal. Monozygosity was established by analysis of DNA polymorphisms. Both pairs were discordant for age at onset and some clinical manifestations of FAP-I. We reviewed the differences in age at onset and clinical features in both sets and in two other pairs of presumed MZ twins with FAP-I and compared them with those in MZ twin pairs with other Mendelian disorders, such as neurofibromatosis type 1, Huntington's disease, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, and myotonic dystrophy. We conclude that, in addition to the postulated modifying genes, there must be a significant contribution from non-genetic factors to the phenotypic variability of FAP-I (age at onset and clinical expression), either because of environmental differences or stochastic events during (or after) the twinning process. (+info)
Registered designation of origin areas of fermented food products defined by microbial phenotypes and artificial neural networks.
Cheese produced from raw ewes' milk and chourico, a Portuguese dry fermented sausage, are still produced in a traditional way in certain regions of Portugal by relying on colonization by microbial populations associated with the raw materials, equipment, and local environments. For the purpose of describing the product origins and types of these fermented foods, metabolic phenotypes can be used as descriptors of the product as well as to determine the presence of compounds with organoleptic value. The application of artificial neural networks to the metabolic profiles of bacterial isolates was assayed and allowed the separation of products from different regions. This method could then be used for the Registered Designation of Origin certification process of food products. Therefore, besides test panel results for these traditionally produced food products, another tool for validating products for the marketplace is available to the producers. The method can be improved for the detection of counterfeit products. (+info)