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  • Author: M. Prieto x
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An Accurate and Rapid System to Identify Play Patterns in Tennis Using Video Recording Material: Break Point Situations as a Case Study

Abstract

The goal of this study was to present an accurate and rapid detection system to identify patterns in tennis, based on t-pattern analysis. As a case study, the break point situations in the final matches of the clay court tournaments played during the seasons 2011 and 2012 between the tennis players Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were chosen. The results show that Nadal achieves a higher conversion rate with respect to Djokovic in the break point situations, independent of the outcome of the match. Some repetitive patterns of both players were revealed in break point circumstances. In long rally sequences (higher than seven hits), the Spanish player won more break points, both serving and receiving, as a result of unforced errors of his opponent’s backhand. In medium rally sequences (between four and seven hits), other factors such as the type, direction or serve location have shown to play an important role in the outcome of the point. The study also reveals that Djokovic frequently commits double faults in these critical situations of the match. This is the first time that t-patterns have been used to analyze the sport of tennis. The technique is based on computer vision algorithms and video recording material to detect particular relationships between events and helps to discover the hidden mechanistic sequences of tennis players.

Open access
Comparison of methods for the identification and sub-typing of O157 and non-O157 Escherichia coli serotypes and their integration into a polyphasic taxonomy approach

Abstract

Phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and genotypic data from 12 strains of Escherichia coli were collected, including carbon source utilisation profiles, ribotypes, sequencing data of the 16S–23S rRNA internal transcribed region (ITS) and Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopic profiles. The objectives were to compare several identification systems for E. coli and to develop and test a polyphasic taxonomic approach using the four methodologies combined for the sub-typing of O157 and non-O157 E. coli. The nucleotide sequences of the 16S–23S rRNA ITS regions were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), sequenced and compared with reference data available at the GenBank database using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) . Additional information comprising the utilisation of carbon sources, riboprint profiles and FT-IR spectra was also collected. The capacity of the methods for the identification and typing of E. coli to species and subspecies levels was evaluated. Data were transformed and integrated to present polyphasic hierarchical clusters and relationships. The study reports the use of an integrated scheme comprising phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and genotypic information (carbon source profile, sequencing of the 16S–23S rRNA ITS, ribotyping and FT-IR spectroscopy) for a more precise characterisation and identification of E. coli. The results showed that identification of E. coli strains by each individual method was limited mainly by the extension and quality of reference databases. On the contrary, the polyphasic approach, whereby heterogeneous taxonomic data were combined and weighted, improved the identification results, gave more consistency to the final clustering and provided additional information on the taxonomic structure and phenotypic behaviour of strains, as shown by the close clustering of strains with similar stress resistance patterns.

Open access
Bidirectional asymmetry in the neurovisceral communication for the cardiovascular control: New insights

Abstract

The cardiovascular control involves a bidirectional functional connection between the brain and heart. We hypothesize that this connection could be extended to other organs using endocrine and autonomic nervous systems (ANS) as communication pathways. This implies a neuroendocrine interaction controlling particularly the cardiovascular function where the enzymatic cascade of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an essential role. It acts not only through its classic endocrine connection but also the ANS. In addition, the brain is functionally, anatomically, and neurochemically asymmetric. Moreover, this asymmetry goes even beyond the brain and it includes both sides of the peripheral nervous and neuroendocrine systems. We revised the available information and analyze the asymmetrical neuroendocrine bidirectional interaction for the cardiovascular control. Negative and positive correlations involving the RAS have been observed between brain, heart, kidney, gut, and plasma in physiologic and pathologic conditions. The central role of the peptides and enzymes of the RAS within this neurovisceral communication, as well as the importance of the asymmetrical distribution of the various RAS components in the pathologies involving this connection, are particularly discussed. In conclusion, there are numerous evidences supporting the existence of a neurovisceral connection with multiorgan involvement that controls, among others, the cardiovascular function. This connection is asymmetrically organized.

Open access
Handedness and gender influence blood pressure in young healthy men and women: A pilot study

Abstract

Objective. The type and level of sex steroids influence blood pressure (BP). It has been suggested that functional brain asymmetries may be influenced by sex hormones. In addition, there are inter-arm differences in BP not yet related with handedness. In this study, we hypothesize a possible association between sex hormones, handedness, and inter-arm differences in blood pressure.

Methods. To analyze this hypothesis, we measured BP in the left and right arm of the left and right handed adult young men and women in menstrual and ovulatory phase and calculated their mean arterial pressure (MAP).

Results. Significant differences depending on sex, arm, handedness or phase of the cycle were observed. MAP was mostly higher in men than in women. Remarkably, in women, the highest levels were observed in the left handed in menstrual phase. Interestingly, the level of handedness correlated negatively with MAP measured in the left arm of right-handed women in the ovulatory phase but positively with the MAP measured in the right arm of right-handed women in the menstrual phase.

Conclusions. These results may reflect an asymmetrical modulatory influence of sex hormones in BP control.

Open access
Enkephalinase activity is modified and correlates with fatty acids in frontal cortex depending on fish, olive or coconut oil used in the diet

Abstract

Objective. Enkephalins are neuropeptides involved in functions such as pain modulation and/ or cognitive processes. It has been reported that dietary fat modifies enkephalins in the brain. Since enkephalins are hydrolyzed by enkephalinases, the study of the influence of dietary fats, differing in their degree of saturation, on brain fatty acids content and enkephalinase activity is important to understand its regulatory role on neuropeptides under different type of diets.

Methods. We analyzed enkephalinase activity, assayed with alanine-β-naphthylamide as sub-strate, in frontal cortex of adult male rats fed diets supplemented with fish oil, olive oil or coconut oil, which markedly differed in the saturation of their fatty acids.

Results. Rats fed a diet enriched with coconut oil had lower soluble enkephalinase activity than the group fed olive oil (p<0.01) and fish oil (p<0.05) whereas rats fed a diet enriched with fish oil had lower membrane-bound enkephalinase activity than the group fed with olive (p<0.001) or coconut oil (p<0.05). Significant negative correlations were observed between certain fatty acids and enkephalinase activities in the groups fed with olive and coconut oils. No correlations were observed in the group fed with fish oil.

Conclusions. Dietary fat modifies enkephalinase activity in the frontal cortex depending on the degree of saturation of the used oil. It is postulated that the functions, in which enkephalins are involved, such as pain modulation or cognitive functions, may also be affected according to the type of oil used in the diet.

Open access