Instituto Politécnico de Leiria
  • Leiria, Portugal, Portugal
Recent publications
Peru is currently considered one of South America's key emerging markets, with a significant recent history of economic stability. Nevertheless, the same country is also known for having one of the lowest financial inclusion rates in the region. To fight this latter aspect, the Peruvian government developed an interoperable mobile money platform, based on a digital electronic wallet for the unbanked, called the Billetera Móvil (BIM). Based on this mobile wallet, the purpose of this study aims to debate how financial inclusion may be facilitated by the banking sector’s digital revolution. It discusses the fundamentals of FinTech, with a particular emphasis on financial inclusion and associated concerns. Moreover, current research aims to contribute to the understanding of how the recent digital transition can benefit disadvantaged target groups. Field observation and a mixed qualitative and quantitative approach allowed collecting empirical data to support the research findings and discussions. It was found out that, even though there is an effective potential for the digital transition to be impactful in the financial inclusion of the unbanked, a long path has yet to be crossed to achieve a successful result with this inclusive e-wallet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a great demand for computational models capable of describing and inferring the evolution of an epidemic outbreak in the short term. In this sense, we introduce epidWaves, a package that provides a framework for fitting multi-wave epidemic models to data from actual outbreaks of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
The most used insulating materials have advantageous characteristics for construction, such as low cost, but at the same time, have significant disadvantages such as the environmental footprint. Plant raw materials are a significant reserve for the production of thermal insulation materials in various regions of the world. The results of practical experimental studies indicate promising results on the use of crop waste as a raw material for obtaining thermal insulation materials with high thermal insulation characteristics. The present study aimed at obtaining a new material based on reed for environmentally friendly thermal insulation panels. Compositions were developed based on mixtures of crushed reed and straw, creating a new method for the introduction of rosin into the aggregate mixture, which ensures even binder distribution, regardless of the amount of thermal insulation material. The electron microscopy readings of the reed and straw structure, revealed the mechanisms that determine the physical properties of insulation. The experimental data on the physical properties of thermal insulation slabs, included the measurement of density, thermal conductivity and moisture sorption. The results show the benefit of replacing reed by crushed straw and of the use of rosin as a binder, achieving a thermal conductivity coefficient of 0.048 W/(m∙K), with significant impact on the reduction of sorption of water vapor, which allows to conclude that the developed compositions have characteristics that make it promising for application in construction.
The carotid bodies (CBs) play a role as metabolic sensors being deeply involved in the genesis of dysmetabolic states. CB activity was shown to be increased in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes animal models and also in prediabetic patients. Furthermore, abolishment of CB activity, via carotid sinus nerve surgical resection, both prevents and reverses pathological metabolic disease features in animal models. Herein, we review in a concise manner the pathways linking CB chemoreceptor dysfunction to the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases and describe the methods available to evaluate CB chemosensitivity, postulated to be directly related to metabolic dysfunction. Moreover, we describe the biomarkers used to diagnose prediabetes and introduce the CB, as a novel biomarker for its early screening. A final section is devoted to debate the applications of CB chemosensitivity evaluation, not only as a biomarker for early screening of prediabetes but also to identify subgroups of patients that will benefit from therapeutics directed to modulate CB activity.
Background: Ageing is frequently associated with multimorbidity and polypharmacy. Frailty and cognitive impairment are other important contributors to the multidimensional aspects affecting older adults’ health status. The present study aimed to explore the adequacy of medication management patterns among home-dwelling older adults in central Portugal by considering their medical conditions, frailty and cognitive status. Reducing numbers of adverse events through effective medication management increases the chances of older adults remaining in their homes for longer periods. Providing patients and caregivers with an overview of potential improvements in this area is very relevant for Portugal’s ageing population. Methods: Within the scope of this cross-sectional observational study, older adults (≥ 65 years) living in the community were assessed via face-to-face interviews. Frailty and cognitive status were assessed using validated tools. Medication management, clinical and sociodemographic variables were assessed by questioning patients or caregivers directly. Descriptive statistics, associations and odds ratios were calculated. Results: A total of 112 older adults were assessed. Mean participant age was 76.6 ± 7.1 years (median = 76), 53.6% were women, and 40.2% lived alone. More than half were categorised as frail (58.9%), and 19.6% presented moderate cognitive impairment. About 91.1% were multimorbid (3.5 ± 1.5 chronic diseases), and 60.7% were polymedicated (≥ 5 medications per day), with most medications being prescribed by a family physician. No associations were found between polymedication and medication self-management, using over-the-counter medications, living alone, poor understanding of pharmacological therapy and/or pathology, or having more than one prescriber. Self-management was associated with age, the number of medications, frailty and cognitive status. Binary regressions showed that cognitive impairment had statistically dependent correlations with external medication management, a poor understanding of pharmacological therapy and/or pathology, having one prescriber and using over-the-counter medications. Conclusion: Most of the older adult participants were multimorbid and many were frail, but only two-thirds were polymedicated, potentially suggesting cautious prescription approaches, but further studies are required. Most participants managed their own medication, and only cognitive impairment affected this ability, among a multitude of features. Measures to prevent medication-related problems in home-dwelling older adults are to be recommended.
The fast-spreading of the SARS-CoV-2 virus led to a significant increase in the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). Healthcare professionals, mainly dentists, work near the patients, increasing their risk of infection. This paper investigates the effectiveness of an air-curtain sealing effect in a newly designed visor developed to reduce the risk of contracting a respiratory infection. This PPE was developed by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. CFD results show that the aerodynamic sealing in this PPE device effectively protects the user’s face by 43% from a contaminated environment. The experiments considered two different tests: one using a tracer gas (CO2) to simulate a gaseous contaminant inside and outside the PPE face shield; and a second test using smoke to simulate aerosol transport and evaluate the PPE efficiency. The particle concentration within the aerodynamically sealed PPE was evaluated and compared with the protection efficiency of other PPE. Results show similar protection levels for particles in the 1-5 µm range between the prototype and a KN95 respirator. The combined use of this novel PPE with aerodynamic sealing and a physical mask (KN95 or surgical) produced protection efficiency values within the range of 57% to 70% for particles greater than 0.5 µm. This study reveals the potential of using an air curtain combined with a face shield to reduce the risks from contaminated environments.
Thin‐walled sections distortional buckling phenomena is treated in EN1993 part:1‐3 (EC3‐1‐3) through the calculation of reduced thickness of stiffeners group, mainly by the application of the simplified method presented in this specification which comes with a limitation of applicability to non‐standard sections or with multiple stiffeners that can result in over conservative or insecure results. With the objective of facilitating de study/utilization of such kind of sections by designers, maintaining a safe set of results and without the overwhelming amount of calculations, the alternative method in clause 5.5.1(7) is used, applied only to the distortional analysis and correspondent effective thickness of stiffeners This alternative method allows the use of Linear Buckling Analysis (LBA), which, in this paper, are obtained through the Generalized Beam Theory (GBT) by the GBTUL computer application that applies this theory in the identification of distortional modes and buckling critical loads calculation. The results are then incorporated in EC3‐1‐3 algorithm as defined in clause 5.5.1(7). For the application of this alternative method the LBA results are integrated with EC3‐1‐3 using the Class4Section application, updated for this paper, which uses the critical buckling loads for the calculation of the critical stress of stiffeners group. This more generic approach by the alternative method is easily implemented in computational environment. Following previous work by the authors, the section moment capacity is analyzed in this paper by applying this alternative method and comparing it with available experimental results for selected thin‐walled sections mainly used in flexural problems, namely Sigma and Omega section types, as well as the most commonly known C and Z sections, but with multiple stiffeners.
Objective To describe and analyze the experience of an adolescent experiencing parental cancer, based on A Model of Children’s Adjustment to Parental Cancer, and to prescribe nursing interventions in classified language. Method This is a single case study, qualitative, of a 16-year-old adolescent experiencing maternal cancer. We analyzed a semi-structured interview, based on a script conceptualized by the selected theoretical model. Data processing took place through content analysis. Authorization was obtained from the Research Ethics Committee TI 25/2020. Results The analysis of the adolescent’s interview allowed identifying categories in agreement with the model variables. Psychosocial adjustment dimensions and stress response symptoms, such as academic performance and somatic symptoms, were recognized in the adolescent’s adjustment process. Nursing interventions will focus on education and support. Conclusion The theoretical model contributed to assess the needs of adolescents experiencing parental cancer, allowing nursing interventions to be prescribed in classified language that consider moderating and mediating variables, promoting adjustment. The model proved to be suitable for future interventions for adolescents experiencing similar situations. DESCRIPTORS Adolescent; Neoplasms; Nursing; Models; Theoretical
Security Operation Centers (SOCs) are a crucial service for enterprises looking to face the new global insecure environment, as well as retain compliance and control over threat management. While there are frameworks in place to address the technical aspects of these services, there is currently no comprehensive framework in place to address how to correctly identify whether a threat is real, a false positive, or even a false negative, without relying on artificial intelligence, which has unfortunately already misled several activities in the face of new threats. It would also be advantageous for businesses and constituents to consider using a static framework that might, among other things, clarify the CyberSoc analyst in the event of a misunderstanding. The results of a systematic review were presented in this research in order to comprehend the current state of the art for CyberSoc Frameworks.
The use of electrospun meshes has been proposed as highly efficient protective equipment to prevent respiratory infections. Those infections can result from the activity of micro-organisms and other small dust particles, such as those resulting from air pollution, that impair the respiratory tract, induce cellular damage and compromise breathing capacity. Therefore, electrospun meshes can contribute to promoting air-breathing quality and controlling the spread of such epidemic-disrupting agents due to their intrinsic characteristics, namely, low pore size, and high porosity and surface area. In this review, the mechanisms behind the pathogenesis of several stressors of the respiratory system are covered as well as the strategies adopted to inhibit their action. The main goal is to discuss the performance of antimicrobial electrospun nanofibers by comparing the results already reported in the literature. Further, the main aspects of the certification of filtering systems are highlighted, and the expected technology developments in the industry are also discussed.
This chapter provides an insight into nanoparticles‐based solutions for ocular therapy, the present scenario, and strategies for improvement. Ocular drug delivery is still a major challenge to researchers and pharmaceutical technology. The physiological barriers in the eye have a protective function by defining a microenvironment, but also regulate the integrity of cells and tissues, in order to maintain the ocular homeostasis. Ocular drug delivery is achieved by several ways, mainly, topical, intravitreal, and systemic routes. Topical administration is the most common and patient‐friendly route for ocular disease treatment, particularly for eye diseases that affect the anterior segment. Currently, the use of nanotechnology has been investigated for several ophthalmic applications in the treatment of eye diseases. The main nanosystems that are under investigation for eye diseases treatment are: nanoliposomes, nanoparticles, cyclodextrins, and dendrimers. Contact lenses as drug‐delivery systems have been considered mostly for diseases of the anterior segment the eye.
The role of FDI as a vehicle for economic growth is debatable in practice. On the other hand, the size of the company and the technological groups can influence the occurrence and magnitude of FDI externalities. Thus, this article investigates the impact of firm size on the occurrence of foreign direct investment externalities in the Portuguese industry from 1995 to 2007, by technology groups, using panel data at the firm level. To this end, we estimate the TFP and regress it on a set of variables, including the foreign presence in the same sector, upstream and downstream. The results show that only (small and large) companies in scale-intensive industries; and small firms in science-based industries benefit from the positive externalities of FDI. This suggests that firm size can influence the occurrence of FDI externalities in the manufacturing sector, but only in some technology groups. Based on the results, investment policy recommendations are made.
The assessment of motivation has been a key aspect to the understanding of exercise participation, and research grounded in self-determination theory has presented valid and reliable instruments for that purpose. Given the need to continually refine this latent construct, the present study aimed to translate, adapt, and psychometrically validate a subscale targeting the approach facet of introjection, and to test the pattern of associations between motives for practice, basic psychological needs satisfaction/frustration, and behavioral regulations encompassing the validated introjection subscale, in a sample of health club exercisers. For that purpose, two studies were developed with a total of 1216 health club exercisers. In Study I (n = 806), Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling analysis to test the motivational continuum encompassing the introjected approach subscale were performed. In Study II (n = 410) associations and structural models between intrinsic and extrinsic goal contents, basic psychological needs satisfaction and frustration, and behavioral regulations with the new subscale were tested. The correlated seven-factor model with 21 items in Study I displayed good psychometric properties (CFA: χ² = 481.977 (168), p <.001, CFI = .936, TLI = .915, SRMR = .037, RMSEA = .048; ESEM: χ² = 178.672 (84), p <.001, CFI = .980, TLI = .949, SRMR = .014, RMSEA = .037). The introjected approach regulation added to the preexisting factorial structure did not affect the validity and reliability of the instrument. The results from Study II supported a theoretically expected pattern of associations, in which the introjected regulation of approach is positioned between introjected avoidance and identified regulation along the motivational continuum. Additionally, path estimates depicted criterion validity for the new subscale. All in all, this work presents preliminary evidence for an introjected approach regulation subscale that can be used in health club practices for a better understanding of the motivational quality of exercise practice.
Heavy metals and metalloids like cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and lead are frequently found in the soil, water, food, and atmosphere; trace amounts can cause serious health issues to the human organism. These toxic trace elements (TTE) affect almost all the organs, mainly the heart, kidney, liver, lungs, and the nervous system, through increased free radical formation, DNA damage, lipid peroxidation, and protein sulfhydryl depletion. This work aims to advance our understanding of the mechanisms behind lipid accumulation via increased free fatty acid levels in circulation due to TTEs. The increased lipid level in the myocardium worsens the heart function. This dysregulation of the lipid metabolism leads to damage in the structure of the myocardium, inclusive fibrosis in cardiac tissue, myocyte apoptosis, and decreased contractility due to mitochondrial dysfunction. Additionally, it is discussed herein how exposure to cadmium decreases the heart rate, contractile tension, the conductivity of the atrioventricular node, and coronary flow rate. Arsenic may induce atherosclerosis by increasing platelet aggregation and reducing fibrinolysis, as exposure interferes with apolipoprotein (Apo) levels, resulting in the rise of the Apo-B/Apo-A1 ratio and an elevated risk of acute cardiovascular events. Concerning mercury and lead, these toxicants can cause hypertension, myocardial infarction, and carotid atherosclerosis, in association with the generation of free radicals and oxidative stress. This review offers a complete overview of the critical factors and biomarkers of lipid and TTE-induced cardiotoxicity useful for developing future protective interventions.
This paper deals with the investigation of the solution of the time-fractional telegraph equation in higher dimensions with ψ-Hilfer fractional derivatives. By application of the Fourier and ψ-Laplace transforms the solution is derived in closed form in terms of bivariate Mittag-Leffler functions in the Fourier domain and in terms of convolution integrals involving Fox H-functions of two-variables in the space-time domain. A double series representation of the first fundamental solution is deduced for the case of odd dimension. The results derived here are of general nature since our fractional derivatives allow to interpolate between Riemann-Liouville and Caputo fractional derivatives and the use of an arbitrary positive monotone increasing function ψ in the kernel allows to encompass most of the fractional derivatives in the literature. In the one dimensional case, we prove the conditions under which the first fundamental solution of our equation can be interpreted as a spatial probability density function evolving in time, generalizing the results of Orsingher and Beghin (2004). Some plots of the fundamental solutions for different fractional derivatives are presented and analysed, and particular cases are addressed to show the consistency of our results. 2010 MSC: 35R11, 26A33, 35A08, 35A22, 35C15, 60G22.
This paper investigates the effects of the physical properties on the microstructure and weldability of explosive welding by joining two metals with a significant contrast in thermophysical properties: stainless steel and copper. Sound welds between stainless steel and copper were obtained, and the interfacial morphology was wavy, regardless of the position of the materials. The weldability of dissimilar pairs was found to be more dependent on the relationship between the physical properties of the base materials than on the absolute value of the material property. When there is a significant difference in thermal conductivity between the flyer and the base plate, together with a material with a low melting temperature, the weldability of the pair is often poor. The relative position of the plates affects the interfacial microstructure even when similar morphologies are found. For the metallic pairs studied, the wave size was bigger for the configuration in which the ratio between the density of the flyer and the density of the base plate is smaller. The same phenomenon was observed for the impedance: bigger waves were found for a smaller ratio between the impedance of the flyer and the impedance of the base plate.
Human beings need to feel affects and to work, so it is important to balance personal and professional life. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers that are unable to disconnect from work and respect rest and leisure hours while teleworking can become workaholics. The present study aims to analyze the levels of workaholism and to study the influence of affects on workaholism in the teleworking context. A quantitative methodology was used, based on data obtained from 365 Portuguese workers who responded to a questionnaire survey that analyzes workaholism levels in workers who were teleworking from home, their affects and some sociodemographic variables. In general, being involved in telecommuting increases levels of workaholism. The results of the application of the structural equation modeling with partial least squares revealed that affects influence workaholism. In teleworking practice, the influence of affects on the workaholism condition is very important and can provide organizational managers with information to help those employees become more productive. On the other hand, it is important to ensure a balance in the use of time between teleworking and everyday life. This study contributes to the scientific knowledge in the teleworking field more specifically, for the relationship between workaholism and the affects when telecommuting. This study is also important for organizations and workers to define strategies to maintain a balance between affects and work.
Since the early 1980's there has been an increase in sea cucumber harvest and trade, mainly due to Asiatic market pressure. In the Indo-Pacific regions, the collapse of various stocks of these echinoderms has already occurred due to overfishing. In Europe, sea cucumber exportation depends exclusively on wild stock harvesting, which has demonstrated to be an unsustainable method to supply the markets, as these species are highly susceptible to overfishing. To enable a sustainable development of this emerging market in Europe the need to develop aquaculture techniques for these animals becomes of the utmost importance. At the current early stages of development, the viability of sea cucumber aquaculture for temperate species depends on the optimization of the rearing conditions. As ectotherms, temperature proves to be one of the most relevant parameters that affects the growth of sea cucumbers, as it influences metabolism and energy management and, in turn, future rearing methods and aquaculture sites. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the influence of temperature on the growth of H. arguinensis juveniles. A group of 168 juveniles (3.25 g ± 0.21; 3.81 cm ± 0.31) were placed under four different temperature treatments 18, 20, 22 and 24 °C for 4 months. The highest length (1.45 cm ± 0.16) and weight (2.79 g ± 0.14) gain were recorded at 20 °C. Similarly, the 20 °C treatment also produced the highest values for specific growth rate (0.50%/day) and the daily body length rate (0.30%cm/day). All allometric coefficients showed negative allometry (b < 3), a growth strategy that accentuates with increasing size. This life-history trait shows a higher distance from isometry the more distance the animals are from their optimum stocking temperature. Hence, metrics like the Fulton condition factor (K) show an inadequacy for the assessment of sea cucumber's condition, because a higher relative length decreases the value of K. A rearing temperature of 20 °C resulted in the best growth overall considering all increments in length and weight, pointing towards this as the best rearing temperature for the temperate species, H. arguinensis.
The development of analytical systems imposes several challenges related not only to the amount and heterogeneity of the involved data but also to the constant need to readapt and evolve to overcome new business challenges. The data modelling layer represents the mapping between the domain and technical knowledge, however, to organize raw data into a form that can be used for analytics, specific Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) processes should be applied. ETL systems are recognized as a critical and tightly coupled system component that encapsulates data-level requirements that are hard to implement and maintain. In a Big Data era, adaptability and extensibility are important characteristics to hold when developing analytical systems. Thus, to provide more consistent, reliable, flexible, and reusable ETL processes, a service-oriented implementation for ETL development is proposed.
Scholars, governments, and society are interested in how entrepreneurship and innovation can help overcome the challenges that humanity is facing. Investment has been done to search new business models for sustainable development. But theory still needs progress to examine and support practice. This paper poses a taxonomy based on the social entrepreneurial theory to offer a classifications structure, helping theoretical consolidation. It also enlarges the research focus by describing changes in the Portuguese social economy, highlighting the relationship between incumbent and new SEIs. The research design relies on several statistical steps to comply with topic complexity and delivery a structure that allows further replication. Exploratory factor and cluster analyses provided the information structure, confirmed by MANOVA and post-hoc tests. A social entrepreneurial initiative (SEI) can be Persistent, Innovative or stuck in the middle., Persistent SEI are the best when the innovation regards risk and cost reduction. If the main goal is to solve a critical social problem or sustain effective social change, the solution will be riskier and more expensive. In that case, Innovative SEIs are the best. It is hard to cut cost and go for innovations simultaneously, so SEIs stuck in the middle tend toward underperformance.
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2,684 members
Joana Cruz
  • School of Health Sciences
Susete Filipa Gonçalves Pinteus
  • Marine Resources Research Group
Francisco Teixeira Pinto Dias
  • School of Tourism and Maritime Technology
Roberto M Gamboa
  • School of Tourism and Maritime Technology
Juliana R. Dias
  • Biofabrication
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Head of institution
Rui Pedrosa
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