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Genetic evaluation of Piétrain sires in Flanders occurs under standardized conditions, on test stations with fixed dam breeds, standardized diets and uniform management practices. As environmental conditions vary on commercial farms and differ from the test stations, this study aimed at understanding to what extent the sire, the dam breed and the interaction between both affects the translation of breeding values to practice. Dams of two commercial breeds were inseminated with semen from one of five different sires selected for contrasting breeding values (daily gain, feed conversion ratio and carcass quality). For each sire by dam breed combination, six pen replicates (with three gilts and three barrows per pen) were evaluated for growth performance from 9 weeks of age (20 kg) to slaughter (110 kg), and for carcass and meat quality. In our experimental setup, both sire and dam breed affected growth, carcass and meat quality traits. No significant sire×dam breed interactions on performance could be detected. Though a tendency for interaction on average daily feed intake between 20 and 110 kg (P=0.087), and on pork colour (lightness) (P=0.093) was present. In general, offspring of all tested sires behaved similarly in both dam breeds, indicating that estimated breeding values for Piétrain sires determined in one dam breed are representative in other dam breeds as well.
In the UK, 11.8% of expectant mothers undergo an elective caesarean section (ELCS) representing 92 000 births per annum. It is not known to what extent this procedure has an impact on mental well-being in the longer term.
To determine the prevalence and postpartum progression of anxiety and depression symptoms in women undergoing ELCS in Wales.
Prevalence of depression and anxiety were determined in women at University Hospital Wales (2015–16; n = 308) through completion of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS; ≥13) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; ≥40) questionnaires 1 day prior to ELCS, and three postpartum time points for 1 year. Maternal characteristics were determined from questionnaires and, where possible, confirmed from National Health Service maternity records.
Using these criteria the prevalence of reported depression symptoms was 14.3% (95% CI 10.9–18.3) 1 day prior to ELCS, 8.0% (95% CI 4.2–12.5) within 1 week, 8.7% (95% CI 4.2–13.8) at 10 weeks and 12.4% (95% CI 6.4–18.4) 1 year postpartum. Prevalence of reported anxiety symptoms was 27.3% (95% CI 22.5–32.4), 21.7% (95% CI 15.8–28.0), 25.3% (95% CI 18.5–32.7) and 35.1% (95% CI 26.3–44.2) at these same stages. Prenatal anxiety was not resolved after ELCS more than 1 year after delivery.
Women undergoing ELCS experience prolonged anxiety postpartum that merits focused clinical attention.
Good education requires student experiences that deliver lessons about practice as well as theory and that encourage students to work for the public good—especially in the operation of democratic institutions (Dewey 1923; Dewy 1938). We report on an evaluation of the pedagogical value of a research project involving 23 colleges and universities across the country. Faculty trained and supervised students who observed polling places in the 2016 General Election. Our findings indicate that this was a valuable learning experience in both the short and long terms. Students found their experiences to be valuable and reported learning generally and specifically related to course material. Postelection, they also felt more knowledgeable about election science topics, voting behavior, and research methods. Students reported interest in participating in similar research in the future, would recommend other students to do so, and expressed interest in more learning and research about the topics central to their experience. Our results suggest that participants appreciated the importance of elections and their study. Collectively, the participating students are engaged and efficacious—essential qualities of citizens in a democracy.
To assess hospital surgical-site infection (SSI) identification and reporting following colon surgery and abdominal hysterectomy via a statewide external validation
Infection preventionists (IPs) from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) performed on-site SSI validation for surgical procedures performed in hospitals that voluntarily participated. Validation involved chart review of SSI cases previously reported by hospitals plus review of patient records flagged for review by claims codes suggestive of SSI. We assessed the sensitivity of traditional surveillance and the added benefit of claims-based surveillance. We also evaluated the positive predictive value of claims-based surveillance (ie, workload efficiency).
Upon validation review, CDPH IPs identified 239 SSIs following colon surgery at 42 hospitals and 76 SSIs following abdominal hysterectomy at 34 hospitals. For colon surgery, traditional surveillance had a sensitivity of 50% (47% for deep incisional or organ/space [DI/OS] SSI), compared to 84% (88% for DI/OS SSI) for claims-based surveillance. For abdominal hysterectomy, traditional surveillance had a sensitivity of 68% (67% for DI/OS SSI) compared to 74% (78% for DI/OS SSI) for claims-based surveillance. Claims-based surveillance was also efficient, with 1 SSI identified for every 2 patients flagged for review who had undergone abdominal hysterectomy and for every 2.6 patients flagged for review who had undergone colon surgery. Overall, CDPH identified previously unreported SSIs in 74% of validation hospitals performing colon surgery and 35% of validation hospitals performing abdominal hysterectomy.
Claims-based surveillance is a standardized approach that hospitals can use to augment traditional surveillance methods and health departments can use for external validation.
There is a commitment by the European pig sector to ban surgical castration of male piglets in the European Union in 2018. One alternative to castration is to raise entire male pigs, with an increased risk of boar taint. A field study was performed to: (1) evaluate inter- and intra-farm variation in boar taint prevalence, (2) investigate factors measured at slaughter influencing boar taint and (3) evaluate the relationship between sensorial scoring by a trained panel and the concentration of boar taint components. From 34 farms, neck fat samples were collected from all entire male pigs in at least two slaughter batches per farm (78 batches; 9167 animals). In addition to olfactory boar taint analysis, data were also collected on fresh skin lesions (score 0 to 3) at the slaughter line, slaughter weight, lean meat percentage, duration of transport, time spent in lairage, total delivery duration, day length, shortening of days and outdoor mean temperature. Using the hot iron method, neck fat samples were scored (eight-point scale) for boar taint. Average boar taint prevalence (score ≥3) was 5.6±2.5% and the mean difference between the maximum and minimum prevalence per farm was 4.3±3.2%. Androstenone (AND), skatole (SKA) and indole concentrations were measured for a subset (n=254) of the samples. According to binomial univariate mixed models, entire male pigs with a higher skin lesion score had higher odds of having boar taint (P=0.031), as did fatter entire male pigs (P<0.001). In the binomial multivariate mixed model lean meat percentage (P<0.001) and outdoor mean temperature (P=0.005) remained as only significant factors. Based on our results, we can conclude that these statistically significant at least partially influence the prevalence of boar taint. According to the binomial univariate mixed models SKA concentration in liquid fat seems a better predictor for boar taint than AND. There were no significant synergetic effects between boar taint compounds.
Maternal prenatal stress during pregnancy is associated with fetal growth restriction and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes, which may be mediated by impaired placental function. Imprinted genes control fetal growth, placental development, adult behaviour (including maternal behaviour) and placental lactogen production. This study examined whether maternal prenatal depression was associated with aberrant placental expression of the imprinted genes paternally expressed gene 3 (PEG3), paternally expressed gene 10 (PEG10), pleckstrin homology-like domain family a member 2 (PHLDA2) and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1C (CDKN1C), and resulting impaired placental human placental lactogen (hPL) expression.
A diagnosis of depression during pregnancy was recorded from Manchester cohort participants’ medical notes (n = 75). Queen Charlotte's (n = 40) and My Baby and Me study (MBAM) (n = 81) cohort participants completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale self-rating psychometric questionnaire. Villous trophoblast tissue samples were analysed for gene expression.
In a pilot study, diagnosed depression during pregnancy was associated with a significant reduction in placental PEG3 expression (41%, p = 0.02). In two further independent cohorts, the Queen Charlotte's and MBAM cohorts, placental PEG3 expression was also inversely associated with maternal depression scores, an association that was significant in male but not female placentas. Finally, hPL expression was significantly decreased in women with clinically diagnosed depression (44%, p < 0.05) and in those with high depression scores (31% and 21%, respectively).
This study provides the first evidence that maternal prenatal depression is associated with changes in the placental expression of PEG3, co-incident with decreased expression of hPL. This aberrant placental gene expression could provide a possible mechanistic explanation for the co-occurrence of maternal depression, fetal growth restriction, impaired maternal behaviour and poorer offspring outcomes.
Remains of elasmosaurid plesiosaurs are exceedingly rare in the type-Maastrichtian strata (Late Cretaceous, southeast Netherlands and northeast Belgium), in stark contrast to relatively common skeletal remains of mosasaurs. Here, we present an analysis of δ13C stable isotope values for tooth enamel of two elasmosaur teeth from the type Maastrichtian. The δ13C signal is a proxy for foraging area, trophic level and diving behaviour, the net value of which in these rare elasmosaurs turns out to be not noticeably different from that for the much commoner mosasaurs in the type Maastrichtian. Therefore, the rarity of elasmosaurs in the area probably reflects a primary near-absence of such reptiles during the latest Cretaceous, rather than a taphonomic artefact.
It is well-nigh impossible to give, in a short report, an adequate idea of the enormous activity in Variable-Star Astronomy during the past three years. Without attempting to be complete I shall give a summary of the most important recent occurrences in this field of research.
Statistical data for eclipsing binaries were given by Gaposchkin (Veröff. Berlin-Bab. 9, Heft 5), for long-period variable stars by Ludendorff (Sitz.-ber. Ak. d. Wiss. Berlin, 1932), Thomas (Veröff. Berlin-Bab. 9, Heft 4) and Sterne and L. Campbell (Harvard Annals).
Some valuable catalogues have been issued: a Finding List for Observers of Eclipsing Variables by Dugan (Princeton Contr. No. 15), a Catalogue of Eclipsing Variables, together with a Program of Investigations, by Martinoff (Engelhardt Obs. Bull. No. 2), a Catalogue and Ephemeris of Short-period Cepheids by Zessewitsch (Len. Un. A. 0. Bull. No. 3).
Fourteen members of the committee have failed to respond to correspondence; nearly all of the others have expressed the definite opinion that non-responsive members should be dropped from committee membership when a new list is prepared a few correspondents indicating however, that the policy should be adopted for Commission 27 only if generally adopted for all commissions of the Union.
Patients with psychosis display the so-called ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ bias (JTC) – a tendency for hasty decision-making in probabilistic reasoning tasks. So far, only a few studies have evaluated the JTC bias in ‘at-risk mental state’ (ARMS) patients, specifically in ARMS samples fulfilling ‘ultra-high risk’ (UHR) criteria, thus not allowing for comparisons between different ARMS subgroups.
In the framework of the PREVENT (secondary prevention of schizophrenia) study, a JTC task was applied to 188 patients either fulfilling UHR criteria or presenting with cognitive basic symptoms (BS). Similar data were available for 30 healthy control participants matched for age, gender, education and premorbid verbal intelligence. ARMS patients were identified by the Structured Interview for Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS) and the Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument – Adult Version (SPI-A).
The mean number of draws to decision (DTD) significantly differed between ARM -subgroups: UHR patients made significantly less draws to make a decision than ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. Furthermore, UHR patients tended to fulfil behavioural criteria for JTC more often than BS patients. In a secondary analysis, ARMS patients were much hastier in their decision-making than controls. In patients, DTD was moderately associated with positive and negative symptoms as well as disorganization and excitement.
Our data indicate an enhanced JTC bias in the UHR group compared to ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. This underscores the importance of reasoning deficits within cognitive theories of the developing psychosis. Interactions with the liability to psychotic transitions and therapeutic interventions should be unravelled in longitudinal studies.
The Cosmic Background Explorer, launched November 18, 1989, has nearly completed its first full mapping of the sky with all three of its instruments: a Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) covering 0.1 to 10 mm, a set of Differential Microwave Radiometers (DMR) operating at 3.3, 5.7, and 9.6 mm, and a Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE) spanning 1 to 300 µm in ten bands. A preliminary map of the sky derived from DIRBE data is presented. Initial cosmological implications include: a limit on the Comptonization y parameter of 10−3, on the chemical potential μ parameter of 10−2, a strong limit on the existence of a hot smooth intergalactic medium, and a confirmation that the dipole anisotropy has the spectrum expected from a Doppler shift of a blackbody. There are no significant anisotropies in the microwave sky detected, other than from our own galaxy and a cosθ dipole anisotropy whose amplitude and direction agree with previous data. At shorter wavelengths, the sky spectrum and anisotropies are dominated by emission from ‘local’ sources of emission within our Galaxy and Solar System. Preliminary comparison of IRAS and DIRBE sky brightnesses toward the ecliptic poles shows the IRAS values to be significantly higher than found by DIRBE at 100 μm. We suggest the presence of gain and zero-point errors in the IRAS total brightness data. The spacecraft, instrument designs, and data reduction methods are described.
Bone metabolism fluctuates throughout the reproductive cycle of sows to enable foetal growth and milk production. Although increased bone mineralisation is conceivable in sows during reproduction, a study of mineralisation in function of parity has not been performed. This study evaluated the fluctuations of markers for bone metabolism in primiparous and multiparous sows throughout a reproductive cycle. The experiment included ten multiparous and five primiparous commercial hybrid sows from one herd. The sows were monitored for one reproductive cycle and fed according to commercial dietary standards. Blood samples were taken in the morning before feeding at fixed time intervals before (day -5) and during gestation (insemination (day 0), 21, 42, 63, 84), around parturition (day 108, 112, parturition (115), 118), and during lactation (day 122, 129, 143). Serum osteocalcin (OC) concentration increased in early and mid-gestation (P=0.002) and decreased at the end of gestation (P=0.001), whereas crosslaps (CTX) concentration decreased during early and mid-gestation (P=0.002) and increased towards the end of gestation (P=0.001). Towards the end of lactation serum levels of both markers increased (P=0.007 and 0.013, respectively). For hydroxyproline (HYP) no significant fluctuation in function of the reproductive cycle was detected. Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) concentration increased towards parturition for both primiparous and multiparous sows (P=0.001), whereas during lactation no significant fluctuations in function of the reproductive cycle were found. A parity effect was found for OC and CTX (P<0.010), but not for the other markers. These results demonstrate that bone metabolism differed between primiparous and multiparous sows, although in both groups a similar fluctuation throughout the reproductive cycle was observed.
Sows housed in groups have to move through their pen to fulfil their behavioural and physiological needs such as feeding and resting. In addition to causing pain and discomfort, lameness may restrict the ability of sows to fulfil such needs. The aim of our study was to investigate the extent to which the mobility of sows is affected by different degrees of lameness. Mobility was measured as the sow’s willingness or capability to cover distances. Feed-restricted hybrid sows with different gait scores were subjected to a feed reward collection test in which they had to walk distances to obtain subsequent rewards. In all, 29 group-housed sows at similar gestation stage (day 96.6±7 s.d.) were visually recorded for gait and classified as non-lame, mildly lame, moderately lame or severely lame. All sows received 2.6 kg of standard commercial gestation feed per day. The test arena consisted of two feeding locations separated from each other by a Y-shaped middle barrier. Feed rewards were presented at the two feeders in turn, using both light and sound cues to signal the availability of a new feed reward. Sows were individually trained during 5 non-consecutive days for 10 min/day with increasing barrier length (range: 0 to 3.5 m) each day. After training, sows were individually tested once per day on 3 non-consecutive days with the maximum barrier length such that they had to cover 9.3 m to walk from one feeder to the other. The outcome variable was the number of rewards collected in a 15-min time span. Non-lame and mildly lame sows obtained more rewards than moderately lame and severely lame sows (P<0.01). However, no significant difference was found between non-lame and mildly lame sows (P=0.69), nor between moderately lame and severely lame sows (P=1.00). This feed reward collection test indicates that both moderately lame and severely lame sows are limited in their combined ability and willingness to walk, but did not reveal an effect of mild lameness on mobility. These findings suggest that moderately and more severely lame sows, but not mildly lame sows, might suffer from reduced access to valuable resources in group housing systems.
Although being the main bottlenecks for commercial poultry development in Togo,
feeding and management practices retain little attention. Indeed, there is no
proficient feed miller unit which can provide high quality feed according to the
needs of the farmers. This is due to a lack of information on nutrition and
relevant management tools or people trained as poultry farm managers. With the
aim to alleviate poverty and hunger in Togo, an inter-university project
[Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) and University of Lome (UL)] as a model for
poultry development was being run from June 2006 to May 2012. Specific
objectives of the project are 1) to provide insights and disseminate guidelines
and information on adapted methods to improve poultry production and 2) to focus
on development of new technologies in poultry production and implementation of
research on better poultry nutrition, feeding and management practices.
Recently, a list has been published of angiosperms capable of germinating in less than 24 h (‘very fast germination’). Here, we add three families and 23 species to that list. The main extra families complement ecological groups already recognized – the Cactaceae into the aridity-adapted group and the Tamaricaceae into the floodplain-adapted group. These amended findings on very fast germination (VFG) are integrated into the recent work on the functional ecology of embryo size. They confirm the important connection between germination speed and embryo to seed ratio. Plotting the plant orders containing VFG species on a phylogenetic tree shows that VFG has evolved multiple times throughout angiosperm history, including at least three times within the Caryophyllales. The fact that species with VFG are mainly restricted to advanced clades shows that VFG is a derived trait that evolved as an adaptation to either arid, saline or floodplain habitats.
Directing protein and energy sources towards lactation is crucial to optimise milk production in sows but how this influences colostrum yield (CY) remains unknown. The aim of this study was to identify associations between CY and the sow’s use of nutrient resources. We included 37 sows in the study that were all housed, fed and managed similarly. Parity, back fat change (ΔBF), CY and performance parameters were measured. We obtained sow serum samples 3 to 4 days before farrowing and at D1 of lactation following overnight fasting. These were analysed for non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), urea, creatinine, (iso)butyrylcarnitine (C4) and immunoglobulins G (IgG) and A (IgA). The colostrum samples collected 3, 6 and 24 h after the birth of the first piglet were analysed for their nutrient and immunoglobulins content. The technical parameters associated with CY were parity group (a; parities 1 to 3=value 0 v. parities 4 to 7=value 1) and ΔBF D85-D109 of gestation (mm) (b): CY (g)=4290–842a–113b. (R2=0.41, P<0.001). The gestation length (P<0.001) and the ΔBF between D109 and D1 of lactation (P=0.050) were identified as possible underlying factors of the parity group. The metabolic parameters associated with CY were C4 at 3 to 4 days before farrowing (a), and 10logC4 (b) and 10logNEFA (c) at D1 of lactation: CY (g)=3582–1604a+1007b−922c (R2=0.39, P=0.001). The colostrum composition was independent of CY. The negative association between CY and ΔBF D85-D109 of gestation could not be further explained based on our data. Sows that were catabolic 1 week prior to farrowing seemed unable to produce colostrum to their full potential. This was especially the case for sows with parities 4 to 7, although they had a similar feed intake, litter birth weight and colostrum composition compared with parities 1 to 3 sows. In conclusion, this study showed that parity and the use of body fat and protein reserves during late gestation were associated with CY, indicating that proper management of the sow’s body condition during late gestation could optimise the intrinsic capacity of the sow’s CY.
Vaccination against rumen methanogens offers a practical approach to reduce methane emissions in livestock, particularly ruminants grazing on pasture. Although successful vaccination strategies have been reported for reducing the activity of the rumen-dwelling organism Streptococcus bovis in sheep and S. bovis and Lactobacillus spp. in cattle, earlier approaches using vaccines based on whole methanogen cells to reduce methane production in sheep have produced less promising results. An anti-methanogen vaccine will need to have broad specificity against methanogens commonly found in the rumen and induce antibody in saliva resulting in delivery of sufficiently high levels of antibodies to the rumen to reduce methanogen activity. Our approach has focussed on identifying surface and membrane-associated proteins that are conserved across a range of rumen methanogens. The identification of potential vaccine antigens has been assisted by recent advances in the knowledge of rumen methanogen genomes. Methanogen surface proteins have been shown to be immunogenic in ruminants and vaccination of sheep with these proteins induced specific antibody responses in saliva and rumen contents. Current studies are directed towards identifying key candidate antigens and investigating the level and types of salivary antibodies produced in sheep and cattle vaccinated with methanogen proteins, stability of antibodies in the rumen and their impact on rumen microbial populations. In addition, there is a need to identify adjuvants that stimulate high levels of salivary antibody and are suitable for formulating with protein antigens to produce a low-cost and effective vaccine.
Aluminum-doped zinc oxide (ZnOx:Al) films have been deposited on a moving glass substrate by a high throughput metalorganic chemical vapor deposition process at atmospheric pressure. Thin (< 250 nm) ZnOx:Al films have a poor crystalline quality, due to a small grain size and the presence of different crystallographic orientations. The crystalline quality improves with increasing film thickness (from 50 nm to 1000 nm), resulting in a lower value of resistivity (from 100 Ohm cm to 1·10-3 Ohm cm, respectively). We have investigated the variation in the films’ conductivity and transparency induced by a post-deposition exposure to a He/H2 atmospheric plasma. The resistivity of thin (< 250 nm) films is found to decreased sharply from 100 Ohm cm to about 4·10-3 Ohm cm by a short (∼ seconds) plasma exposure, while the resistivity of thicker films remains unaffected.
The toxicity and oxidative stress responses of 19-day old Arabidopsis seedlings induced by U (66 μM) and Cd (20 μM) alone or in a binary mixture set-up (equitoxic mixture) are studied in function of time. After 48h a significant decrease in root and shoot growth and a simultaneous increase in anthocyanin production was evident in all treated plants.
Production of O−2 or H2O2 was visualized by staining freshly harvested leaves with nitrobluetetrazolium or diaminobezidine, respectively. With this method production of O−2 was only significantly measurable after 168 h treatment which coincides with a significant decrease in biomass production and probably also plant cell death. For Cd treated plants a significant increase in H2O2 production was measurable from 24h onwards. In contrast, a similar H2O2 production could not be measured in U or U + Cd treated plants. Both water and lipophilic soluble antioxidants significantly increased in U treated plants after 48 h. These high antioxidant levels might detoxify potential H2O2 produced in the U treated plants. In contrast for Cd treated plants only after 168h a significant increase in water soluble antioxidants was measured whereas no difference in the lipophilic fraction was visible.