Heavy metals (arsenic and manganese), particulate matter (PM), benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes (BTEX), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been linked to significant neurodevelopmental health problems in infants, children and young adults. These substances are widely used in, or become byproducts of unconventional oil and natural gas (UOG) development and operations. Every stage of the UOG lifecycle, from well construction to extraction, operations, transportation and distribution can lead to air and water contamination. Residents near UOG operations can suffer from increased exposure to elevated concentrations of air and water pollutants. Here we focus on five air and water pollutants that have been associated with potentially permanent learning and neuropsychological deficits, neurodevelopmental disorders and neurological birth defects. Given the profound sensitivity of the developing brain and central nervous system, it is reasonable to conclude that young children who experience frequent exposure to these pollutants are at particularly high risk for chronic neurological diseases. More research is needed to understand the extent of these concerns in the context of UOG, but since UOG development has expanded rapidly in recent years, the need for public health prevention techniques, well-designed studies and stronger state and national regulatory standards is becoming increasingly apparent.
Our present knowledge of marine macroalgal diversity for the Central American Pacific coast is limited by the short history of investigations (ca. 100 years) and few algal specialists through a large geographical area. While recent checklists have emerged for other regions of the eastern Pacific, there have been virtually no attempts to inventory macroalgal diversity for the Pacific of Central America. This checklist of the marine macroalgae was developed based on published scientific literature and unpublished records in student theses. A total of 379 species records are regarded as current valid names of marine macroalgae. The red algae (Rhodophyta) had the highest species number (252 species), followed by green algae (Chlorophyta: 81 species) and brown algae (Phaeophyceae: 46 species). The country with the greatest diversity of marine macroalgae is Costa Rica with 216 species, followed by Panama with 174, El Salvador with 146, Nicaragua with 24, and Guatemala with 16. At present, there are no published records for the Pacific coast of Honduras. Variation in number of species throughout the Pacific coast of Central America is likely due to differences in geomorphology, habitat heterogeneity among national coastal-marine zones, and unbalanced research efforts.
The role of socioeconomic position (SEP) as an effect modifier of the association between asthma exacerbations and outdoor air pollution remains unclear.
To identify and summarize the evidence regarding SEP as an effect modifier of the association between asthma exacerbations and outdoor air pollution in children.
We conducted searches in five electronic databases from January 1950 to June 2015 with no language restriction. Observational studies involving children, measuring any non-biological outdoor air pollutant exposure, resulting in any asthma-related health service use, and reporting measures of effect by individual or aggregated SEP measures were included.
Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. Five studies reported on hospitalizations, three on emergency department visits, one on ambulatory visits, and one on repeat hospital visits. Six studies identified differential effects of the effect of air pollution on asthma outcomes by SEP with stronger effects for children with a low SEP level; however, the analysis of interaction between air pollutants and SEP was significant in one study of asthma hospitalizations only. The differential effect was reported using individual and aggregated SEP measures.
This review reveals that there is weak evidence of SEP as an effect-modifier of the association between air pollution and children’s asthma exacerbations. While stronger negative effects on asthma-related hospitalizations occur for children living in a lower SEP, the sample size of some of the original studies limited the statistical assessment of the modification effect.
Research on air pollutant emissions associated with unconventional oil and gas (UOG) development has grown significantly in recent years. Empirical investigations have focused on the identification and measurement of oil and gas air pollutants [e.g. volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), methane] and the influence of UOG on local and regional ambient air quality (e.g. tropospheric ozone). While more studies to better characterize spatial and temporal trends in exposure among children and newborns near UOG sites are needed, existing research suggests that exposure to air pollutants emitted during lifecycle operations can potentially lead to adverse respiratory outcomes in this population. Children are known to be at a greater risk from exposure to air pollutants, which can impair lung function and neurodevelopment, or exacerbate existing conditions, such as asthma, because the respiratory system is particularly vulnerable during development in-utero, the postnatal period, and early childhood. In this article, we review the literature relevant to respiratory risks of UOG on infants and children. Existing epidemiology studies document the impact of air pollutant exposure on children in other contexts and suggest impacts near UOG. Research is sparse on long-term health risks associated with frequent acute exposures – especially in children – hence our interpretation of these findings may be conservative. Many data gaps remain, but existing data support precautionary measures to protect the health of infants and children.
The complex structure of relaxor ferroelectrics comprises polar nanoregions (PNRs) which appear upon cooling below the Burns temperature and quenched compositional (chemical) disorder. The relation between the polar nanostructure and compositionally ordered regions (CORs) often observed in relaxors has been the subject of extensive theoretical investigations; however, the experimental data, especially concerning Pb(B′1/3B″2/3)O3-type complex perovskite relaxors, are rather limited. In this paper, we analyse and discuss the results of our recent investigations of the morphology of CORs and the dynamics of PNRs in Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3 based solid solutions in which the degree of compositional disorder was varied by means of changing the composition and/or by means of high-temperature annealing. The samples were characterised using X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, piezoresponse force microscopy, Brillouin light scattering, dielectric spectroscopy, as well as by measuring pyroelectric effect and ferroelectric hysteresis loops. No influence of the size of CORs on the PNRs relaxation in the ergodic relaxor phase is found. Instead, the CORs size influences significantly the diffuseness of the transition from the field-induced ferroelectric phase to the ergodic relaxor state. The results are interpreted in the framework of a model suggesting the coexistence of static and dynamic PNRs in the ergodic relaxor phase.
To evaluate the strength of association between maternal and pregnancy characteristics and the risk of adverse perinatal outcomes in pregnancies with laboratory confirmed COVID-19.
Secondary analysis of a multinational, cohort study on all consecutive pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from February 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020 from 73 centers from 22 different countries. A confirmed case of COVID-19 was defined as a positive result on real-time reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) assay of nasal and pharyngeal swab specimens. The primary outcome was a composite adverse fetal outcome, defined as the presence of either abortion (pregnancy loss before 22 weeks of gestations), stillbirth (intrauterine fetal death after 22 weeks of gestation), neonatal death (death of a live-born infant within the first 28 days of life), and perinatal death (either stillbirth or neonatal death). Logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate parameters independently associated with the primary outcome. Logistic regression was reported as odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI).
Mean gestational age at diagnosis was 30.6±9.5 weeks, with 8.0% of women being diagnosed in the first, 22.2% in the second and 69.8% in the third trimester of pregnancy. There were six miscarriage (2.3%), six intrauterine device (IUD) (2.3) and 5 (2.0%) neonatal deaths, with an overall rate of perinatal death of 4.2% (11/265), thus resulting into 17 cases experiencing and 226 not experiencing composite adverse fetal outcome. Neither stillbirths nor neonatal deaths had congenital anomalies found at antenatal or postnatal evaluation. Furthermore, none of the cases experiencing IUD had signs of impending demise at arterial or venous Doppler. Neonatal deaths were all considered as prematurity-related adverse events. Of the 250 live-born neonates, one (0.4%) was found positive at RT-PCR pharyngeal swabs performed after delivery. The mother was tested positive during the third trimester of pregnancy. The newborn was asymptomatic and had negative RT-PCR test after 14 days of life. At logistic regression analysis, gestational age at diagnosis (OR: 0.85, 95% CI 0.8–0.9 per week increase; p<0.001), birthweight (OR: 1.17, 95% CI 1.09–1.12.7 per 100 g decrease; p=0.012) and maternal ventilatory support, including either need for oxygen or CPAP (OR: 4.12, 95% CI 2.3–7.9; p=0.001) were independently associated with composite adverse fetal outcome.
Early gestational age at infection, maternal ventilatory supports and low birthweight are the main determinants of adverse perinatal outcomes in fetuses with maternal COVID-19 infection. Conversely, the risk of vertical transmission seems negligible.