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Concept: São Paulo


Studies have shown that natural environments can enhance health and here we build upon that work by examining the associations between comprehensive greenspace metrics and health. We focused on a large urban population center (Toronto, Canada) and related the two domains by combining high-resolution satellite imagery and individual tree data from Toronto with questionnaire-based self-reports of general health perception, cardio-metabolic conditions and mental illnesses from the Ontario Health Study. Results from multiple regressions and multivariate canonical correlation analyses suggest that people who live in neighborhoods with a higher density of trees on their streets report significantly higher health perception and significantly less cardio-metabolic conditions (controlling for socio-economic and demographic factors). We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger. We also find that having 11 more trees in a city block, on average, decreases cardio-metabolic conditions in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years younger.

Concepts: Demography, City, Urban area, Developed environments, Canada, São Paulo, Urban planning, Village


The rapid spread of Zika virus in the Americas and current outbreak of microcephaly in Brazil has raised attention to the possible deleterious effects that the virus may have on fetuses.

Concepts: Fertility, Abortion, São Paulo, German language, Americas, Latin America, Hydrops fetalis, Rh disease


BACKGROUND: Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii is a primary vector of Plasmodium parasites in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Adult females of An. cruzii and An. homunculus, which is a secondary malaria vector, are morphologically similar and difficult to distinguish when using external morphological characteristics only. These two species may occur syntopically with An. bellator, which is also a potential vector of Plasmodium species and is morphologically similar to An. cruzii and An. homunculus. Identification of these species based on female specimens is often jeopardised by polymorphisms, overlapping morphological characteristics and damage caused to specimens during collection. Wing geometric morphometrics has been used to distinguish several insect species; however, this economical and powerful tool has not been applied to Kerteszia species. Our objective was to assess wing geometry to distinguish An. cruzii, An. homunculus and An. bellator. METHODS: Specimens were collected in an area in the Serra do Mar hotspot biodiversity corridor of the Atlantic Forest biome (Cananeia municipality, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil). The right wings of females of An. cruzii (n= 40), An. homunculus (n= 50) and An. bellator (n= 27) were photographed. For each individual, 18 wing landmarks were subjected to standard geometric morphometrics. Discriminant analysis of Procrustean coordinates was performed to quantify wing shape variation. RESULTS: Individuals clustered into three distinct groups according to species with a slight overlap between representatives of An. cruzii and An. homunculus. The Mahalanobis distance between An. cruzii and An. homunculus was consistently lower (3.50) than that between An. cruzii and An. bellator (4.58) or An. homunculus and An. bellator (4.32). Pairwise cross-validated reclassification showed that geometric morphometrics is an effective analytical method to distinguish between An. bellator, An. cruzii and An. homunculus with a reliability rate varying between 78-88%. Shape analysis revealed that the wings of An. homunculus are narrower than those of An. cruzii and that An. bellator is different from both of the congeneric species. CONCLUSION: It is possible to distinguish among the vectors An. cruzii, An. homunculus and An. bellator based on female wing characteristics.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium, Brazil, São Paulo, Procrustes analysis, Wing


A new fossil mushroom is described and illustrated from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of northeast Brazil. Gondwanagaricites magnificus gen. et sp. nov. is remarkable for its exceptional preservation as a mineralized replacement in laminated limestone, as all other fossil mushrooms are known from amber inclusions. Gondwanagaricites represents the oldest fossil mushroom to date and the first fossil mushroom from Gondwana.

Concepts: Brazil, São Paulo, Cretaceous, Recife, Northeast Region, Brazil, Bioerosion, Jurassic, Fortaleza


The Zika virus (ZIKV) has rapidly reached epidemic proportions, especially in northeastern Brazil, and has rapidly spread to other parts of the Americas. A recent increase in the prevalence of microcephaly in newborn infants and vision-threatening findings in these infants is likely associated with the rapid spread of ZIKV.

Concepts: Infant, Pediatrics, Brazil, São Paulo, Americas, Latin America, Nicaragua, Portuguese language


Rapid urbanization and increasing demand for transportation burdens urban road infrastructures. The interplay of number of vehicles and available road capacity on their routes determines the level of congestion. Although approaches to modify demand and capacity exist, the possible limits of congestion alleviation by only modifying route choices have not been systematically studied. Here we couple the road networks of five diverse cities with the travel demand profiles in the morning peak hour obtained from billions of mobile phone traces to comprehensively analyse urban traffic. We present that a dimensionless ratio of the road supply to the travel demand explains the percentage of time lost in congestion. Finally, we examine congestion relief under a centralized routing scheme with varying levels of awareness of social good and quantify the benefits to show that moderate levels are enough to achieve significant collective travel time savings.

Concepts: City, Urban area, São Paulo, Mobile phone, Urbanization, Road, Viggo Mortensen, Route


In 2015, Brazil was faced with the cocirculation of three arboviruses of major public health importance. The emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) presents new challenges to both clinicians and public health authorities. Overlapping clinical features between diseases caused by ZIKV, Dengue (DENV) and Chikungunya (CHIKV) and the lack of validated serological assays for ZIKV make accurate diagnosis difficult.

Concepts: Health care, Public health, Health, Epidemiology, Aedes aegypti, São Paulo, Biostatistics, Rio de Janeiro


The present study was focused on the effect of increasing urbanization including industrial and traffic activity on the accumulation of heavy metals and possible damage of selected physiological parameters (composition of assimilation pigments, membrane lipid peroxidation, and membrane integrity) of an epiphytic foliose lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata (L.) Hale. The lichen samples were collected from three different localities in and around Kolkata, India, two sites being from the urban area and one from the relatively non-polluted sub-urban area. The results showed that thalli from the urban sites have significantly higher concentrations of Fe, Cr, Cu, Zn, and Pb compared to those collected from the sub-urban site. Physiological parameters of damage also exhibited stress symptoms in thalli from the urban sites-decreased chlorophyll a indicating less photosynthetic efficiency, and increase in lipid peroxidation and electrolyte conductivity indicating cell membrane injuries. Correlation studies among metals pinpointed vehicular traffic as the main source of pollution in this area.

Concepts: City, Urban area, São Paulo, Urbanization, Suburb, Lichen, Village, Town


Polymorphisms in innate immunity genes are known to be involved in the multifactorial susceptibility to Mycobacterium leprae infection. M. leprae can downregulate IL-1ß secretion escaping monocyte digestion. The intracellular receptors NLRPs (NACHT, LRR and PYD domains-containing proteins) sense pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) activating caspase-1 and IL-1ß secretion in the context of inflammasome. Considering the possible role of inflammasome in the immune response against M. leprae, known single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in two NLRP genes, NLRP1 and NLRP3, were analysed in Brazilian leprosy patients. Disease-associated SNPs (5 in NLRP1 and 2 in NLRP3), previously associated to infections and to immunologic disorders, were genotyped in 467 leprosy patients (327 multibacillary, MB; 96 paucibacillary, PB) and in 380 healthy controls (HC) from the state of Sao Paulo (Brazil), and in 183 patients (147 MB; 64 PB) and 186 HC from Mato Grosso (Brazil). Logistic regression analysis was performed considering susceptibility to leprosy di per se (leprosy versus HC) and clinical form (MB versus PB), adjusting for gender and ethnicity. Whereas none of the considered SNPs were statistically associated with leprosy, the NLRP1 combined haplotype rs2137722/G-rs12150220/T-rs2670660/G resulted significantly more frequent in patients than in HC as well as in PB than in MB. While both associations were lost after correction for gender and ethnicity, the NLRP1 combined haplotype rs2137722/G-rs12150220/A-rs2670660/G resulted strongly associated to PB. NLRP1 might be involved in the susceptibility to leprosy with particular emphasis for PB clinical form. Although preliminary, this is the first report linking NLRPs and inflammasome with leprosy: replication studies as well as functional assays are envisaged to deeper investigate the role of NLRP1 in M leprae infection. Interestingly, NLRP1 SNPs were previously associated to susceptibility to Crohn disease, suggesting that NLRP1 could be a new modifier gene in common between leprosy and Crohn disease.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Immunology, Immunity, Brazil, São Paulo, Leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae


BACKGROUND: Very few studies have measured disease penetrance and prognostic factors of Chagas cardiomyopathy among asymptomatic T. cruzi infected persons. METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed a retrospective cohort study among initially healthy blood donors with an index T. cruzi seropositive donation and age, gender and period matched seronegatives in 1996-2002 in the cities of Sao Paulo and Montes Claros, Brazil. In 2008-2010, all subjects underwent medical history, physical examination, electro- and echocardiograms (EKG and Echo). EKG and Echo results were classified by blinded core laboratories and records with abnormal results were reviewed by a blinded panel of three cardiologists who adjudicated the outcome of Chagas cardiomyopathy. Associations with Chagas cardiomyopathy were tested with multivariate logistic regression. Mean follow-up time between index donation and outcome assessment was 10.5 years for the seropositives and 11.1 years for the seronegatives. Among 499 T. cruzi seropositives, 120 (24%) had definite Chagas cardiomyopathy and among 488 T. cruzi seronegatives 24 (5%) had cardiomyopathy, for an incidence difference of 1.85 per 100 person-years attributable to T. cruzi infection. Of the 120 seropositives classified as having Chagas cardiomyopathy, only 31 (26%) presented with ejection fraction below 50, and only 11 (9%) were classified as NY Heart Association class II or higher. Chagas cardiomyopathy was associated (p<0.01) with male sex, a past history of abnormal EKG and the presence of an S3 heart sound. CONCLUSIONS: There is a substantial annual incidence of Chagas cardiomyopathy among initially asymptomatic T. cruzi seropositive blood donors, although disease was mild at diagnosis.

Concepts: Cohort study, Infectious disease, Cardiology, Cardiomyopathy, Chagas disease, São Paulo, Trypanosoma cruzi, Carlos Chagas