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Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) able to describe population differences can be used for important applications in livestock, including breed assignment of individual animals, authentication of mono-breed products and parentage verification among several other applications. To identify the most discriminating SNPs among thousands of markers in the available commercial SNP chip tools, several methods have been used. Random forest (RF) is a machine learning technique that has been proposed for this purpose. In this study, we used RF to analyse PorcineSNP60 BeadChip array genotyping data obtained from a total of 2737 pigs of 7 Italian pig breeds (3 cosmopolitan-derived breeds: Italian Large White, Italian Duroc and Italian Landrace, and 4 autochthonous breeds: Apulo-Calabrese, Casertana, Cinta Senese and Nero Siciliano) to identify breed informative and reduced SNP panels using the mean decrease in the Gini Index and the Mean Decrease in Accuracy parameters with stability evaluation. Other reduced informative SNP panels were obtained using Delta, Fixation index and principal component analysis statistics, and their performances were compared with those obtained using the RF-defined panels using the RF classification method and its derived Out Of Bag rates and correct prediction proportions. Therefore, the performances of a total of six reduced panels were evaluated. The correct assignment of the animals to its breed was close to 100% for all tested approaches. Porcine chromosome 8 harboured the largest number of selected SNPs across all panels. Many SNPs were included in genomic regions in which previous studies identified signatures of selection or genes (e.g. ESR1, KITL and LCORL) that could contribute to explain, at least in part, phenotypically or economically relevant traits that might differentiate cosmopolitan and autochthonous pig breeds. Random forest used as preselection statistics highlighted informative SNPs that were not the same as those identified by other methods. This might be due to specific features of this machine learning methodology. It will be interesting to explore if the adaptation of RF methods for the identification of selection signature regions could be able to describe population-specific features that are not captured by other approaches.
Glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumour in adults, and remains uniformly lethal. These tumours contain a subpopulation of glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) that drive tumour recurrence and drug resistance. We find that MacroH2A2 is a histone variant that can stratify glioblastoma patients, with higher levels of this histone variant associated with better patient prognosis. Knockdown of macroH2A2 in GSCs is associated with increased self-renewal and an increased expression of stemness genes by RNA-seq. Our preliminary results suggest that macroH2A2 is a novel biomarker for glioblastoma and that macroH2A2 loss is a marker of GSC stemness and a poor prognostic marker in glioblastoma. This work identifies loss of macroH2A2 as a feature of GSCs and provides a framework for therapeutic modulation of this histone variant.
This presentation will enable the learner to:
1.Explain the role of epigenetics in glioblastoma pathophysiology
To describe infant feeding practices and predictors of exclusive breast-feeding among women attending a local Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programme.
Cross-sectional survey. Outcomes included reported infant feeding practices at 3 and 6 months, timing and reasons for introduction of formula. Descriptive statistics, χ2 tests and logistic regression were used describe the sample and explore relationships between variables.
Loudoun County, VA, USA.
A sample of 190 predominantly Hispanic women attending local WIC clinics.
Overall, 84 % of women reported ever breast-feeding and 61 % of infants received formula in the first few days of life. Mothers who reported on infant feeding practices were less likely to exclusively breast-feed (34 v. 45 %) and more likely to provide mixed feeding (50 v. 20 %) at 3 months compared with 6 months, respectively. Significant (P<0·05) predictors of exclusive breast-feeding at 3 months included setting an exclusive breast-feeding goal and completing some high school (compared with completing high school or more). Only education remained a significant predictor of exclusive breast-feeding at 6 months.
A high proportion of women reported giving formula in the first few days of life and many changed from mixed to exclusive breast-feeding or formula by 6 months, suggesting possibly modifiable factors. Further investigation can help drive direct service- as well as policy and systems-based interventions to improve exclusive breast-feeding.
We conducted health technology assessments (HTAs) of the interventions used between 2012 and 2014 to improve the treatment of homeless people with pulmonary tuberculosis in the Federal District of Brazil. The HTA, which was not ordered by policymakers, was based on the evidence-based national theoretical model compared with local interventions indicated in focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and secondary data produced by the Health Secretariat. The results demonstrated that the implementation of the interventions was unsatisfactory. Our objective was to present the feedback process for policymakers and the Health Secretariat, particularly its challenges.
The feedback was categorized as: (i) an executive abstract with key messages (i.e. underreporting of cases in the surveillance system, lack of primary care, and underestimation of the health problem) reported to policymakers involved in the surveillance and healthcare systems; and (ii) oral presentations in eight meetings organized by the research group and local policymakers.
Between 2016 and 2017 we conducted eight feedback meetings. All of the professionals (n = 8) involved in the Tuberculosis Surveillance and Control Program were present in at least one of the meetings, but healthcare professionals and the Secretary of Health did not participate. The barriers presented by the professionals were: (i) lack of material resources (i.e. cars and gas, phones, diagnostic tests, medications); (ii) lack of human resources (i.e. suboptimal professional staff); and (iii) feeling insecure when performing extramural activities due to the potentially unsafe work environment.
Gathering feedback on a HTA that was not ordered by policy makers can be a challenge. Mainly we demonstrated a negative result on research done in a vulnerable population with a neglected disease, in this case tuberculosis. However, this provided an opportunity for professionals in the surveillance system to discuss the challenges of implementing tuberculosis control among the homeless population.
São Paulo city in Brazil has implemented social and health care for homeless people with pulmonary tuberculosis since 2007. We conducted a health technology assessment (HTA) of the interventions provided based on a national theoretical model using 2015 data and an overview of systematic reviews. The HTA was requested by national policymakers. The results demonstrated that the interventions for pulmonary tuberculosis were satisfactory. The municipal secretariat implemented actions to improve the national treatment recommendations and adopted incentives to increase adherence to treatments. Our objective was to describe the feedback process for the Health Secretariat.
The feedback was categorized as: (i) an executive abstract with key messages (i.e. ninety-seven percent of notified cases underwent sputum smears, nineteen percent were hospitalized, and fifty-nine percent were cured) reported to policymakers involved in the surveillance program; and (ii) three meetings were organized jointly by the research group and local policymakers.
In 2016 we conducted a meeting to present the results. Thirty-nine professionals involved in the primary care team working on the streets (thirty-five percent) and the Tuberculosis Surveillance and Control Program (five percent) were present. The main barriers presented by the professionals were issues of human resources (i.e. suboptimal professional staff and having two different social organizations responsible for health care). The main facilitators presented by professionals were: (i) using homeless-peers as healthcare workers; (ii) having a network linking the primary care and surveillance programs; and (iii) periodic training.
In addition to the positive results, the HTA presented an opportunity to discuss the sustainability of incentives for adhering to treatments adopted by the policymakers, such as meal allowances and housing support, to improve social conditions among the homeless.
The absolute chronology of Early Bronze Age in the Levant has been the object of a major revision (Regev et al. 2012a), which implied an increase of at least two centuries in respect of traditional chronology. Such a shift back was based upon two sites (Tel Yarmouth, Megiddo) which were the backbone of the “reform,” but actually do not offer complete sequences for the whole EBA. This was the weakest stone of the revision, together with a partial understanding of stratigraphy/contexts from where samples were taken. Tell es-Sultan/Jericho in Palestine was included in this study, as this prominent archaeological site provided well stratified 14C dates for EBA. Its stratigraphy, established by Kathleen M. Kenyon in the 1950s, was reappraised by the Sapienza University of Rome–Palestinian MOTA-DACH joint Expedition (1997–2018). Published 14C dates were reanalyzed along with new samples from carefully stratified and published archaeological contexts, measured by the CEDAD Laboratory (University of Salento, Lecce, Italy). They provided absolute dates connected with stratigraphy useful to double-check the proposed High Chronology. EBA stratigraphic periodization at Jericho suggests a more cautious approach and keeps a multi-based chronology more consistent with a comprehensive historical reconstruction of the Early Bronze Age in Syria-Palestine and Egypt.
The Spanish term grima refers to the aversive emotional experience typically evoked when one hears, for example, a scratch upon a chalkboard. Whereas Spanish speakers can distinguish between the concepts of grima and disgust, English and German speakers lack a specific word for this experience and typically label grima as disgust. In the present research, we tested the degree of differentiation between the two aversive experiences in Spanish speakers. Study 1 addressed whether Spanish speakers apply spontaneously the term grima rather than disgust to grima-eliciting experiences. Study 2 systematically addressed the constitutive features of both grima and disgust by mapping their internal structures. Results showed that the noise of a chulk on a blackboard and scraping fingernails on a blackboard, along with the physical manifestation of goose bumps, were the most typical features of the category. Whereas both grima and disgust were characterized as unpleasant sensations, t(193) = 1.21, ns, they differed with respect to their physiological signatures (e.g., producing shivers was characteristic of grima, as compared to disgust, t(194) = 12.02, p = .001, d = 1.72) and elicitors (e.g., a fractured bone was a characteristic elicitor of grima; t(193) = 5.78, p = .001, d = .83, whereas pederasts and pedophiles were the most characteristic elicitor of disgust, t(193) = 8.46, p = .001, d = 1.21). Thus, both grima and disgust are conceptually different experiences, whose shared features hold different degrees of typicality. The present research suggests that grima and disgust are two distinct emotion concepts.
We study a class of growing systems of random walks on regular trees, known as frog models with geometric lifetime in the literature. With the help of results from renewal theory, we derive new bounds for their critical parameters. Our approach also improves the existing bounds for the critical parameter of a percolation model on trees known as cone percolation.
The recent discovery of a Roman ceramics manufacturing workshop at Montelabate (Perugia, Italy), in use from the first century BC until the late-fourth to fifth centuries AD, offers a unique opportunity to study the technical processes for producing Roman amphorae. Ancient and modern clays were sampled and analysed; they do not differ significantly, supporting the hypothesis of the exploitation of the rich local clay source that allowed a continuity of production. Characterization of the clays was performed using geotechnical methods (Atterberg limits and size distribution) and by thermogravimetric and differential thermogravimetric analysis, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence analyses. The material was suitable for pottery making with the addition of calcite and quartz sand temper. Production waste and discarded materials as well as good-quality products were also analysed with the same methodology. It is therefore possible to reconstruct the ancient technology by defining the recipe for the production of the amphorae and their firing temperature on the basis of the decomposition of clay materials and the presence of newly formed minerals.
The enormous economic burden of dementia in the United States of America falls disproportionately on families coping with this devastating disease. Black Americans, who are at greater risk of developing dementia than white Americans, hold on average less than one-eighth of the wealth of white Americans. This study explores whether dementia exacerbates this wealth disparity by examining dementia's effect on wealth trajectories of black versus non-black Americans over an eight-year period preceding death, using five waves of data (beginning in 2002 or 2004) on decedents in the 2012 and 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (N = 2,429). Dementia is associated with a loss of 97 per cent of wealth among black Americans, compared with 42 per cent among non-black Americans, while wealth loss among black and non-black Americans without dementia did not differ substantially (15% versus 19%). Dementia appears to increase the probability of wealth exhaustion among both black and non-black Americans, although the estimate is no longer significant after adjusting for all covariates (for blacks, odds ratio (OR) = 2.04, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.83, 5.00; for non-blacks, OR = 1.47, 95% CI = 0.95, 2.27). Dementia has a negative association with home-ownership, and the loss or sale of a home may play a mediating role in the exhaustion of wealth among black Americans with dementia.
Protected designation of origin dry-cured hams are obtained from heavy pigs (slaughtered at about 160 kg of live weight). A specific breeding program designed to improve meat quality for this production has included as key traits the level of intermuscular fat between the leg muscles and ham weight loss during the seasoning period together with a balance between fat and lean cuts. In this study we carried out genome-wide association studies for seven traits used in the genetic merit of Italian Duroc heavy pigs, five related to meat and carcass quality traits (visible intermuscular fat, ham weight loss at first salting, backfat thickness, ham weight and lean cuts), and two related to performance and efficiency traits (average daily gain and feed : gain ratio). A total of 573 performance-tested pigs were genotyped with the Illumina PorcineSNP60 BeadChip and genome-wide association analyses were carried out using the Bayes B approach with the 1 Mb window option of GenSel and random residuals for each of the seven traits. Detected windows were supported by independent single nucleotide polymorphism analyses with a linear mixed model (LMM) approach on the same animals for the same traits. A total of 30 windows identifying different quantitative trait loci (QTL) were detected and among those, 27 were confirmed by LMM in one of these traits. Among the confirmed windows, three QTL were reported for visible intermuscular fat, seven for ham weight loss at first salting and five and four for backfat thickness and lean cut, respectively. A total of eight QTL were detected for the other production traits. No overlapping QTL were reported except for one window on porcine chromosome 10 between lean cuts and ham weight that contained the CACNB2 gene that has been already associated with loin marbling score in other Duroc pigs. Several regions contained genes that have been already associated with production traits in other pig breeds, including Duroc lines, related to fat deposition or muscle structure. This work reports, for the first time, genome-wide association study results for several traits in Italian Duroc heavy pigs. These results will be useful to dissect the genetic basis for dry-cured ham production traits that determine the total genetic merit index of Italian Duroc pigs.
Functional traits related to costs are currently of interest for selection and management of dairy cattle. The present study was aimed to estimate heritability for body condition score (BCS) and heart girth (HG), to investigate the genetic relationships between BCS, HG and milk-yield traits using a test-day model and to analyse the consistency of the estimates in different lactation stages. Cows from 25 dairy herds were scored for BCS and measured for HG at 3-month intervals for 2 years. Approximately 5000 test-day observations on BCS, HG and milk fat and protein yield from 1429 Italian Friesian cows were analysed using two approaches: (1) repeated observations were treated as repeated measurements of the same trait, both within and across lactations; (2) observations collected in different stages of lactation (dry period, 1 to 75 days in milk (DIM), 76 to 130 DIM, 131 to 210 DIM, 211 to 300 DIM) were treated as different traits. (Co)variance components and related parameters were estimated using REML multiple-trait procedures and unequal design animal models.
Heritability estimates (approach 1) for fat and protein test-day yield, BCS and HG were 0.22, 0.18, 0.29 and 0.33, respectively. BCS was negatively correlated with yield traits (-0.43 and -0.48 for fat and protein yield, respectively) but positively correlated (0.33) with HG. Genetic relationships between HG and milk-yield traits were negligible. Heritability estimates (approach 2) were 0.28 and 0.27 for BCS recorded in the first half of lactation (1 to 75 and 76 to 130 DIM, respectively), 0.36 for BCS measured on cows in the second half of lactation and 0.32 for BCS recorded on dry cows. Heritability estimates for HG in different lactation stages ranged from 0.31 to 0.40. Genetic correlations between BCS measured in different lactation stages were generally high (0.85 or more), with the exception of the correlation between the first and the last stage of lactation (0.74) and of the relationships between the beginning of lactation and the dry period (0.7). Genetic correlations between HG measured in different lactation stages were mostly higher than 0.80.
Falls are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults. While research has explored the relationship between older care recipient falls and caregiver health, there has been little investigation of the relationship between caregiving tasks and falls in older caregivers. This study assessed associations between falls and caregiving frequency and type of caregiving tasks among informal older caregivers. Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey on Healthy Aging (Public Use Microdata File 2008–2009) (n = 2,934) were examined, using descriptive and logistic regression analyses. Higher frequency of caregiving was positively associated with falls, although those who performed household chores were less likely to report falling in the past year. Results suggest there may be an association between factors related to caregiving and falls in older caregivers. More research using longitudinal and experimental data is needed to better understand the relationship between caregiving tasks and falls in older caregivers.
The aim was to identify optimized combinations of Streptomyces griseus protease concentration (CONC), incubation length (TIME), or amount of crude protein (CP) incubated in buffered enzymatic solution (CPW) to predict the in vitro rumen-undegraded feed CP (RUP) of 26 different feeds (soybean, rapeseed or sunflower meals, wheat bran, distillers dried grains with solubles, maize co-products and alfalfa hay). Different levels of CONC (0.08, 0.19, 0.44, 0.69 and 0.80 enzymatic units [U] of S. griseus protease/ml), TIME (6, 10, 18, 26 and 30 h) and CPW (69, 118, 235, 353 and 401 mg CP) were tested in agreement with a central composite design (CCD) with four replications of the central point to calculate second-order polynomial equations of main tested effects. The RUP was estimated by incubating samples in a buffered rumen fluid for 16 h or by adopting different enzymatic approaches as planned a priori in CCD. Differences between rumen and enzymatic RUP (ΔRUP) were estimated and regression terms of second-order polynomial equations for estimating ΔRUP were calculated between and within feeds. These equations were optimized using the non-linear generalized reduced gradient method with the objective set at ΔRUP equal to 0. The adoption of CCD permitted identification of optimized enzymatic combinations of CONC (0.12 U of S. griseus protease/ml), TIME (18 h) and CPW (from 233 to 458 mg CP for distillers dried grains with solubles and soft white wheat bran, respectively) to predict RUP accurately in all feed categories except for soybean meal, where optimized combinations were 0.47 U of S. griseus protease/ml, 18 h and 435 mg CP.
In marine animals with external fertilization, gametes are released into seawater where fertilization and embryo development occur. Consequently, pollutants introduced into the marine environment by human activities may affect gametes and embryos. These xenobiotics can alter cell physiology with consequent reduction of fertilization success. Here the adverse effects on the reproductive processes of the marine invertebrate Ciona intestinalis (ascidian) of different xenobiotics: lead, zinc, an organic tin compound and a phenylurea herbicide were evaluated. By using the electrophysiological technique of whole-cell voltage clamping, the effects of these compounds on the mature oocyte plasma membrane electrical properties and the electrical events of fertilization were tested by calculating the concentration that induced 50% normal larval formation (EC50). The results demonstrated that sodium currents in mature oocytes were reduced in a concentration-dependent manner by all tested xenobiotics, with the lowest EC50 value for lead. In contrast, fertilization current frequencies were differently affected by zinc and organic tin compound. Toxicity tests on gametes demonstrated that sperm fertilizing capability and fertilization oocyte competence were not altered by xenobiotics, whereas fertilization was inhibited in zinc solution and underwent a reduction in organic tin compound solution (EC50 value of 1.7 µM). Furthermore, fertilized oocytes resulted in a low percentage of normal larvae with an EC50 value of 0.90 µM. This study shows that reproductive processes of ascidians are highly sensitive to xenobiotics suggesting that they may be considered a reliable biomarker and that ascidians are suitable model organisms to assess marine environmental quality.
Head and neck space infections present with a potential mortality rate of 40–50 per cent. This paper proposes an algorithm-based management of head and neck space infection to prevent life-threatening events.
A total of 225 patients with head and neck space infection were prospectively analysed at our institution. An experimental scoring system determined the level of clinical risk for the development of major complications. Accordingly, patients were classified into three risk groups: low-, intermediate- and high-risk.
Only intermediate- and high-risk patients were hospitalised. Intermediate-risk patients received intravenous medical therapy with daily re-evaluation; 18 of them required delayed surgery. Of the high-risk patients, three required immediate surgical treatment and five received delayed surgery, while in five cases medical therapy was the only treatment received. Low-risk patients were treated in an out-patient setting.
The algorithm-based management of head and neck space infection was successful in enabling the avoidance of lethal complications onset.
Blood serum proteins are significant indicators of animal health. Nevertheless, several factors should be considered to appropriately interpret their concentrations in blood. Therefore, the objectives of this study were (1) to assess the effect of herd productivity, breed, age and stage of lactation on serum proteins and (2) to investigate association between serum proteins and somatic cell count (SCC) in dairy cattle. Milk and blood samples were collected from 1508 cows of six different breeds (Holstein Friesian, Brown Swiss, Jersey, Simmental, Rendena and Alpine Grey) that were housed in 41 multi-breed herds. Milk samples were analyzed for composition and SCC, while blood samples were analyzed for serum proteins (i.e. total protein, albumin, globulin and albumin-to-globulin ratio (A : G)). Herds were classified as low or high production, according to the cow’s average daily milk energy yield adjusted for breed, days in milk (DIM) and parity. Data were analyzed using a linear mixed model that included the fixed effects of DIM, parity, SCS, breed, herd productivity and the random effect of the Herd-test date within productivity level. Cows in high producing herds (characterized also by greater use of concentrates in the diet) had greater serum albumin concentrations. Breed differences were reported for all traits, highlighting a possible genetic mechanism. The specialized breed Jersey and the two dual-purpose local breeds (Alpine Grey and Rendena) had the lowest globulin concentration and greatest A : G. Changes in serum proteins were observed through lactation. Total protein reached the highest concentration during the 4th month of lactation. Blood albumin increased with DIM following a quadratic pattern, while globulin decreased linearly. As a consequence, A : G increased linearly during lactation. Older cows had greater total protein and globulin concentrations, while albumin concentration seemed to be not particularly affected by age. A linear relationship between serum proteins and SCS was observed. High milk SCS was associated with greater total protein and globulin concentrations in blood. The rise in globulin concentration, together with a decrease in albumin concentrations, resulted in a decline in A : G as SCS of milk increased. In conclusion, such non-genetic factors must be considered to appropriately interpret serum proteins as potential animal welfare indicator and their evaluation represents an important first-step for future analysis based on the integration of metabolomics, genetic and genomic information for improving the robustness of dairy cows.