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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Species distribution models (SDMs) are statistical tools used to develop continuous predictions of species occurrence. ‘Integrated SDMs’ (ISDMs) are an elaboration of this approach with potential advantages that allow for the dual use of opportunistically collected presence-only data and site-occupancy data from planned surveys. These models also account for survey bias and imperfect detection through the use of a hierarchical modelling framework that separately estimates the species–environment response and detection process. This is particularly helpful for conservation applications and predictions for rare species, where data are often limited and prediction errors may have significant management consequences. Despite this potential importance, ISDMs remain largely untested under a variety of scenarios. We performed an exploration of key modelling decisions and assumptions on an ISDM using the endangered Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) as a test species. We found that site area had the strongest effect on the magnitude of population estimates and underlying intensity surface and was driven by estimates of model intercepts. Selecting a site area that accounted for the individual movements of the species within an average home range led to population estimates that coincided with expert estimates. ISDMs that do not account for the individual movements of species will likely lead to less accurate estimates of species intensity (number of individuals per unit area) and thus overall population estimates. This bias could be severe and highly detrimental to conservation actions if uninformed ISDMs are used to estimate global populations of threatened and data-deficient species, particularly those that lack natural history and movement information. However, the ISDM was consistently the most accurate model compared to other approaches, which demonstrates the importance of this new modelling framework and the ability to combine opportunistic data with systematic survey data. Thus, we recommend researchers use ISDMs with conservative movement information when estimating population sizes of rare and data-deficient species. ISDMs could be improved by using a similar parameterization to spatial capture–recapture models that explicitly incorporate animal movement as a model parameter, which would further remove the need for spatial subsampling prior to implementation.
The cold, wet climate of the Arctic has led to the extraordinary preservation of archaeological sites and materials that offer important contributions to the understanding of our common cultural and ecological history. This potential, however, is quickly disappearing due to climate-related variables, including the intensification of permafrost thaw and coastal erosion, which are damaging and destroying a wide range of cultural and environmental archives around the Arctic. In providing an overview of the most important effects of climate change in this region and on archaeological sites, the authors propose the next generation of research and response strategies, and suggest how to capitalise on existing successful connections among research communities and between researchers and the public.
Throughout its range in Latin America the jaguar Panthera onca is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and conflict with humans. Protected areas in Panama harbour some of the last remaining suitable habitat for jaguars and are vital to conservation. However, no previous studies had assessed which factors in particular affect the tolerance of rural Panamanians towards jaguars and National Park conservation, which is important to jaguar persistence. Whether these factors are consistent with previous research on human–carnivore coexistence is unclear. To address this we estimated the number of instances of depredation of cattle by jaguars, and assessed attitudes and perceptions of rural Panamanians. We conducted semi-structured interviews in two disparate study areas: Cerro Hoya National Park and Darién National Park. Depredation events were more frequent in the latter, but only residents of the former reported conflict between people and coyotes Canis latrans. Positive perceptions of jaguars and National Parks, and criticism of park management, increased with level of education and land ownership. Men were more open to receiving help on their farms to mitigate impacts of jaguars, and more tolerant of the presence of jaguars, than women. Residents from both study areas indicated high appreciation for their respective National Parks. We provide recommendations to improve community outreach and education initiatives, and suggest priority areas for future mitigation efforts concerning human–jaguar interactions in Panama.
The postpartum period is well-known risk period for the first onset of autoimmune thyroid disorders (AITDs) as well as first onset of psychiatric disorders. These two disorders are some of the most prevalent medical conditions postpartum, often misdiagnosed and disabling if left untreated. Our study was designed to explore the possible bidirectional association between AITDs and psychiatric disorders during the postpartum period.
A population-based cohort study through linkage of Danish national registers, which comprised 312 779 women who gave birth to their first child during 1997–2010. We conducted Poisson regression analysis to estimate the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of psychiatric disorders among women with first-onset AITDs, the IRR of AITDs among women with first-onset psychiatric disorders as well as the overlap between these disorders using a comorbidity index.
Women with first-onset AITDs postpartum were more likely to have first-onset psychiatric disorders than women who did not have postpartum AITDs (IRR = 1.88, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25–2.81). Women with first-onset postpartum psychiatric disorders had a higher risk of AITDs than women with no psychiatric disorders (IRR = 2.16, 95% CI: 1.45–3.20). The comorbidity index 2 years after delivery was 2.26 (95% CI: 1.61–2.90), indicating a comorbidity between first-onset AITDs and psychiatric disorders.
First-onset AITDs and psychiatric disorders co-occur in the postpartum period, which has relevance to further studies on the etiologies of these disorders and why childbirth in particular triggers the onset.
A preoperative weight loss of 8 % is a prerequisite to undergo bariatric surgery (BS) in Denmark. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of a 7- or an 11-week low-energy diet (LCD) for achieving preoperative target weight before BS. A total of thirty obese patients (BMI 46·0 (sd 4·4) kg/m2) followed an LCD (Cambridge Weight Plan®, 4184 kJ/d (1000 kcal/d)) for 7 or 11 weeks as preparation for BS. Anthropometric measurements including body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), blood parameters and blood pressure were assessed at weeks 0, 7 and 11. At week 7, the majority of patients (77 %) had reached their target weight, and this was achieved after 5·4 (sem 0·3) weeks. Mean weight loss was 9·3 (sem 0·5) % (P < 0·01) and consisted of 41·6 % fat-free mass (FFM) and 58·4 % fat mass. The weight loss was accompanied by a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (7·1 (sem 2·3) and 7·3 (sem 1·8) mmHg, respectively, all P < 0·01) as well as an improved metabolic profile (8·2 (sem 1·8) % decrease in fasting glucose (P < 0·01), 28·6 (sem 6·4) % decrease in fasting insulin (P < 0·01), 23·1 (sem 2·2) % decrease in LDL (P < 0·01), and 9·7 (sem 4·7) % decrease in TAG (P < 0·05)). Weight, FFM and fat mass continued to decrease from week 7 to 11 (all P < 0·01), whereas no additional improvements was observed in the metabolic parameters. Severely obese patients can safely achieve preoperative target weight on an LCD within 7 weeks as part of preparation for BS. However, the considerable reduction in FFM in severely obese subjects needs further investigation.
The higher spatial resolution and sensitivity of ISO allowed several extragalactic surveys to be extended to greater depth than obtained with IRAS. With the extended wavelength range deep surveys were performed for the first time at wavelengths up to ~ 200 μm. They favour galaxy models with strong evolution. With ISO's new capabilities the spectral energy distributions of larger samples of ULIRGs in the local universe and those of quasars and radio galaxies were determined. These data are applicable as templates to the more distant universe. Foreground components from zodiacal light and cirrus to the intracluster dust emission were studied in connection with their separation from the extragalactic background radiation.
Mutants of Bacillus subtilis can be developed to overproduce Val in vitro. It was hypothesized that addition of Bacillus subtilis mutants to pig diets can be a strategy to supply the animal with Val. The objective was to investigate the effect of Bacillus subtilis mutants on growth performance and blood amino acid (AA) concentrations when fed to piglets. Experiment 1 included 18 pigs (15.0±1.1 kg) fed one of three diets containing either 0.63 or 0.69 standardized ileal digestible (SID) Val : Lys, or 0.63 SID Val : Lys supplemented with a Bacillus subtilis mutant (mutant 1). Blood samples were obtained 0.5 h before feeding and at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 h after feeding and analyzed for AAs. In Experiment 2, 80 piglets (9.1±1.1 kg) were fed one of four diets containing 0.63 or 0.67 SID Val : Lys, or 0.63 SID Val : Lys supplemented with another Bacillus subtilis mutant (mutant 2) or its parent wild type. Average daily feed intake, daily weight gain and feed conversion ratio were measured on days 7, 14 and 21. On day 17, blood samples were taken and analyzed for AAs. On days 24 to 26, six pigs from each dietary treatment were fitted with a permanent jugular vein catheter, and blood samples were taken for AA analysis 0.5 h before feeding and at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 h after feeding. In experiment 1, Bacillus subtilis mutant 1 tended (P<0.10) to increase the plasma levels of Val at 2 and 3 h post-feeding, but this was not confirmed in Experiment 2. In Experiment 2, Bacillus subtilis mutant 2 and the wild type did not result in a growth performance different from the negative and positive controls. In conclusion, results obtained with the mutant strains of Bacillus subtilis were not better than results obtained with the wild-type strain, and for both strains, the results were not different than the negative control.
The Commission formed a Sub-Commission on Zodiacal Light, presided over by Prof. Issei Yamamoto. The constitution of a sub-commission on the light of the night sky and kindred phenomena was proposed, but left in abeyance, pending the Stockholm Meeting. Dr Jean Dufay kindly consented to write, at the president’s request, a paper on the present state of the problem of the light of the night sky, which is printed with this Report.
The Commission again subscribes to a number of the good resolutions it has made in the past, for example, to follow the almost universal practice of counting the observed times, either in decimals of a day or in hours and minutes, from Greenwich mean noon, even though one is convinced that the rest of the world should adopt U.T.; and to prepare a chart, identifying the variable and the comparison stars, to form a part of the discovery announcement of a variable which cannot be easily identified through a Durchmusterung number and which is bright enough to invite further observation.
Dietary advanced glycation end products (AGE) formed during heating of food have gained interest as potential nutritional toxins with adverse effects on inflammation and glucose metabolism. In the present study, we investigated the short-term effects of high and low molecular weight (HMW and LMW) dietary AGE on insulin sensitivity, expression of the receptor for AGE (RAGE), the AGE receptor 1 (AGER1) and TNF-α, F2-isoprostaglandins, body composition and food intake. For 2 weeks, thirty-six Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a diet containing 20 % milk powder with different proportions of this being given as heated milk powder (0, 40 or 100 %), either native (HMW) or hydrolysed (LMW). Gene expression of RAGE and AGER1 in whole blood increased in the group receiving a high AGE LMW diet, which also had the highest urinary excretion of the AGE, methylglyoxal-derived hydroimidazolone 1 (MG-H1). Urinary excretion of Nε-carboxymethyl-lysine increased with increasing proportion of heat-treated milk powder in the HMW and LMW diets but was unrelated to gene expression. There was no difference in insulin sensitivity, F2-isoprostaglandins, food intake, water intake, body weight or body composition between the groups. In conclusion, RAGE and AGER1 expression can be influenced by a high AGE diet after only 2 weeks in proportion to MG-H1 excretion. No other short-term effects were observed.
The aim of this study was to determine the genetic background of longitudinal residual feed intake (RFI) and BW gain in farmed mink using random regression methods considering heterogeneous residual variances. The individual BW was measured every 3 weeks from 63 to 210 days of age for 2139 male+female pairs of juvenile mink during the growing-furring period. Cumulative feed intake was calculated six times with 3-week intervals based on daily feed consumption between weighing’s from 105 to 210 days of age. Genetic parameters for RFI and BW gain in males and females were obtained using univariate random regression with Legendre polynomials containing an animal genetic effect and permanent environmental effect of litter along with heterogeneous residual variances. Heritability estimates for RFI increased with age from 0.18 (0.03, posterior standard deviation (PSD)) at 105 days of age to 0.49 (0.03, PSD) and 0.46 (0.03, PSD) at 210 days of age in male and female mink, respectively. The heritability estimates for BW gain increased with age and had moderate to high range for males (0.33 (0.02, PSD) to 0.84 (0.02, PSD)) and females (0.35 (0.03, PSD) to 0.85 (0.02, PSD)). RFI estimates during the growing period (105 to 126 days of age) showed high positive genetic correlations with the pelting RFI (210 days of age) in male (0.86 to 0.97) and female (0.92 to 0.98). However, phenotypic correlations were lower from 0.47 to 0.76 in males and 0.61 to 0.75 in females. Furthermore, BW records in the growing period (63 to 126 days of age) had moderate (male: 0.39, female: 0.53) to high (male: 0.87, female: 0.94) genetic correlations with pelting BW (210 days of age). The result of current study showed that RFI and BW in mink are highly heritable, especially at the late furring period, suggesting potential for large genetic gains for these traits. The genetic correlations suggested that substantial genetic gain can be obtained by only considering the RFI estimate and BW at pelting, however, lower genetic correlations than unity indicate that extra genetic gain can be obtained by including estimates of these traits during the growing period. This study suggests random regression methods are suitable for analysing feed efficiency and BW gain; and genetic selection for RFI in mink is promising.
Straw possesses many characteristics that make it attractive to pigs and can therefore be effective in preventing negative penmate-directed behaviours. However, straw is difficult to handle in current vacuum slurry systems under most commercial conditions and can therefore only be used in limited amounts. To occupy pigs effectively, straw must remain attractive to pigs throughout the whole day; hence, have a certain degree of novelty. We investigated the penmate-directed behaviour of liquid-fed growing pigs in a production herd, assigned to five experimental treatments: 1×25, 1×50, 1×100, 2×50 and 4×25 g of chopped straw/pig per day, with 20 replicates of each treatment (pen was regarded as experimental unit). Behaviour was observed at two different growth stages; ~40 and 80 kg live weight of the pigs. Activity and exploratory behaviour directed at penmates, straw, pen components and the slatted floor were registered continuously for 15 min of each hour during day time (0600 to 2200 h) by use of video observation of three focal pigs per pen. The pigs were active for about one-third of the day corresponding to ~5 h/day. Of the active time, an average of 7% (35 min) was spent on penmate-directed behaviour. The pigs were more active and increased their straw-directed behaviour when provided with 100 g straw/pig per day compared with 25 and 50 g (P<0.001). However, penmate-directed behaviour was not reduced with an increased amount of straw (P>0.05), and there was no effect on pigs’ behaviour when straw provision was increased per day (P>0.05). Pigs became less active and reduced their straw-directed activities when their weight increased from 40 to 80 kg live weight (P<0.001), but the amount of penmate-directed behaviour was similar (P>0.05). Further, the residual straw results indicated that perhaps a more frequent straw provision could help establish a more even level of fresh available straw during the day. However, the frequent straw provision did not occupy pigs more than one daily allocation did. In conclusion, there was no difference in penmate-directed behaviour of the pigs when given 25 or 50 g of straw/pig per day compared with 100 g of straw/pig per day, nor were there any difference when 100 g of straw/pig per day was provided more frequently.
If loose-housed farrowing systems are to be an alternative to traditional farrowing crates, it is important that they can deliver the same production results as can be achieved in farrowing crates under commercial conditions. The aim of this study was to compare preweaning mortality in farrowing crates and free farrowing pens (FF-pens) within herds that had both systems. The study was conducted over 2 years in three commercial Danish herds that had FF-pens as well as traditional farrowing crates in their farrowing unit. Piglet mortality was analysed in two periods: before litter equalisation and after litter equalisation. Linear models were used to analyse effects of housing (crate or pen), herd (Herd A, B or C), parity (parities 1, 2, 3 to 4 or 5 to 8) as well as the effect of number of total born piglets on mortality before litter equalisation, and the effect of equalised litter size on piglet mortality after litter equalisation. All corresponding interactions were included in the models. Before litter equalisation piglet mortality was higher (P<0.001) in pens (13.7%) than in crates (11.8%). Similarly, piglet mortality after litter equalisation was higher in pens than in crates in all three herds, but the difference between pens and crates were dissimilar (P<0.05) in the different herds. In addition, piglet mortality, both before (P<0.001) and after litter equalisation (P<0.001), grew with increasing parity of the sows. Mortality before litter equalisation moreover increased with increasing number of total born piglets per litter (P<0.001), and mortality after equalisation increased when equalised litter size increased (P<0.001). No significant interactions were detected between housing and parity or housing and litter size for any of the analysed variables. In conclusion, there is knowledge how to design pens for free farrowing; but this study showed a higher preweaning mortality in the FF-pen. Nonetheless a noteworthy proportion of the sows in the FF-pens delivered results comparable to those farrowing in crates. This indicates that FF-pens are not yet a robust type of housing for farrowing sows.
To identify risk factors for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in Danish patients consulting general practice with gastrointestinal symptoms, a prospective matched case-control study was performed; cases (N = 259) had positive cultures for toxigenic C. difficile and controls (N = 455) negative cultures. Data were analysed by conditional logistic regression. In patients aged ⩾2 years (138 cases), hospitalization [odds ratio (OR) 8·4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3·1–23], consumption of beef (OR 5·5, 95% CI 2·0–15), phenoxymethylpenicillin (OR 15, 95% CI 2·7–82), dicloxacillin (OR 27, 95% CI 3·6–211), and extended spectrum penicillins (OR 9·2, 95% CI 1·9–45) were associated with CDI. In patients aged <2 years none of these were associated with CDI, but in a subgroup analysis contact with animals was associated with CDI (OR 8·1, 95% CI 1·0–64). This study emphasizes narrow-spectrum penicillins, and suggests beef consumption, as risk factors for CDI in adults, and indicates a different epidemiology of CDI in infants.
The presence of 10 virulence genes was examined using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 365 European O157 and non-O157 Escherichia coli isolates associated with verotoxin production. Strain-specific PCR data were analysed using hierarchical clustering. The resulting dendrogram clearly separated O157 from non-O157 strains. The former clustered typical high-risk seropathotype (SPT) A strains from all regions, including Sweden and Spain, which were homogenous by Cramer's V statistic, and strains with less typical O157 features mostly from Hungary. The non-O157 strains divided into a high-risk SPTB harbouring O26, O111 and O103 strains, a group pathogenic to pigs, and a group with few virulence genes other than for verotoxin. The data demonstrate SPT designation and selected PCR separated verotoxigenic E. coli of high and low risk to humans; although more virulence genes or pulsed-field gel electrophoresis will need to be included to separate high-risk strains further for epidemiological tracing.
Several European countries have timely all-cause mortality monitoring. However, small changes in mortality may not give rise to signals at the national level. Pooling data across countries may overcome this, particularly if changes in mortality occur simultaneously. Additionally, pooling may increase the power of monitoring populations with small numbers of expected deaths, e.g. younger age groups or fertile women. Finally, pooled analyses may reveal patterns of diseases across Europe. We describe a pooled analysis of all-cause mortality across 16 European countries. Two approaches were explored. In the ‘summarized’ approach, data across countries were summarized and analysed as one overall country. In the ‘stratified’ approach, heterogeneities between countries were taken into account. Pooling using the ‘stratified’ approach was the most appropriate as it reflects variations in mortality. Excess mortality was observed in all winter seasons albeit slightly higher in 2008/09 than 2009/10 and 2010/11. In the 2008/09 season, excess mortality was mainly in elderly adults. In 2009/10, when pandemic influenza A(H1N1) dominated, excess mortality was mainly in children. The 2010/11 season reflected a similar pattern, although increased mortality in children came later. These patterns were less clear in analyses based on data from individual countries. We have demonstrated that with stratified pooling we can combine local mortality monitoring systems and enhance monitoring of mortality across Europe.