Abstract This work aimed to obtain thermoplastic starch composites (TPS) derived from starch and fibers of babassu coconut. The (TPS) was prepared with 40% plasticizer (glycerol). The fibers underwent chemical treatment of alkalinization and bleaching. SEM images and infrared spectra showed that wax, lignin, and hemicellulose were removed from the fiber surface. SEM images of TPS starch showed a smooth and uniform surface, whereas images of the TPSWF composite (washed fiber) showed voids between the fiber and the TPS. This phenomenon was not observed in the SEM images of the composites TPSAF (alkalized fiber) and TPSBF (bleached fiber). The tensile strength and elastic modulus of the composites were higher than the pure TPS matrix. Concerning elongation, composites underwent less elongation than TPS. The mechanical properties found for the TPSWF and TPSAF composites do not differ. However, the mechanical properties of the TPSBF composite were better than the properties of the other composites.
This cross-sectional retrospective study evaluated 440 leprosy patients; 57% (251/440) had leprosy reactions during and/or after multidrug therapy, 80.5% (202/251) of whom presented with multibacillary leprosy. At diagnosis, positive bacterial index (BI) [odds ratio (OR) = 6.39; 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.1-10.1)] or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (OR = 9.15; 95% CI: 5.4-15.5) in skin smears, anti-phenolic glycolipid-1 (anti-PGL-1) ELISA (OR = 4.77; 95% CI: 2.9-7.9), leucocytosis (OR = 9.97; 95% CI: 3.9-25.7), thrombocytopenia (OR = 5.72; 95% CI: 2.3-14.0) and elevated lactate dehydrogenase (OR = 2.38; 95% CI: 1.4-4.0) were potential markers for the development of reactions during treatment. After treatment, positive BI (OR = 8.47; 95% CI: 4.7-15.3) and PCR (OR = 6.46; 95% CI: 3.4-12.3) in skin smears, anti-PGL-1 ELISA (OR = 2.25; 95% CI: 1.3-3.9), anaemia (OR = 2.36; 95% CI: 1.2-4.5), leucocytosis (OR = 4.14; 95% CI: 1.5-11.6) and thrombocytopenia (OR = 3.70; 95% CI: 1.3-2.2) were risk factors for the occurrence of reactions during the study period. The identification of groups with an increased risk for developing reactions will allow for the timely development of a treatment plan to prevent nerve damage and, therefore, the appearance of the disabling sequelae associated with the stigma of leprosy.