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The vast majority of piglets reared in the European Union (EU) and worldwide is tail docked to reduce the risk of being tail bitten, even though EU animal welfare legislation bans routine tail docking. Many conventional herds experience low levels of tail biting among tail docked pigs, however it is not known, what the prevalence would have been had the pigs not been tail docked. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of tail lesions between docked and undocked pigs in a conventional piggery in Denmark with very low prevalence of tail biting among tail docked pigs. The study included 1922 DanAvl Duroc×(Landrace×Large White) female and castrated male pigs (962 docked and 960 undocked). Docked and undocked pigs were housed under the same conditions in the same room but in separate pens with 20 (±0.03) pigs/pen. Pigs had ad libitum access to commercial diets in a feed dispenser. Manipulable material in the form of chopped straw was provided daily on the floor (~10 g/pig per day), and each pen had two vertically placed soft wood boards. From weaning to slaughter, tail wounds (injury severity and freshness) were scored every 2nd week. No clinical signs of injured tails were observed within the tail docked group, whereas 23.0% of the undocked pigs got a tail lesion. On average, 4.0% of the pigs with undocked tails had a tail lesion on tail inspection days. More pens with tail lesions were observed among pigs weighing 30 to 60 kg (34.3%; P<0.05) than in pens with pigs weighing 7 to 30 kg (13.0%) and 60 to 90 kg (12.8%). Removal of pigs to a hospital pen was more likely in undocked pens (P<0.05, 47.7% undocked pens and 22.9% docked pens). Finally, abattoir meat inspection data revealed more tail biting remarks in undocked pigs (P<0.001). In conclusion, this study suggests that housing pigs with intact tails in conventional herds with very low prevalence of tail biting among tail docked pigs, will increase the prevalence of pigs with tail lesions considerably, and pig producers will need more hospital pens. Abattoir data indicate that tail biting remarks from meat inspection data severely underestimate on-farm prevalence of tail lesions.
In 2011 the Incidence Assay Critical Path Working Group reviewed the current state of HIV incidence assays and helped to determine a critical path to the introduction of an HIV incidence assay. At that time the Consortium for Evaluation and Performance of HIV Incidence Assays (CEPHIA) was formed to spur progress and raise standards among assay developers, scientists and laboratories involved in HIV incidence measurement and to structure and conduct a direct independent comparative evaluation of the performance of 10 existing HIV incidence assays, to be considered singly and in combinations as recent infection test algorithms. In this paper we report on a new framework for HIV incidence assay evaluation that has emerged from this effort over the past 5 years, which includes a preliminary target product profile for an incidence assay, a consensus around key performance metrics along with analytical tools and deployment of a standardized approach for incidence assay evaluation. The specimen panels for this evaluation have been collected in large volumes, characterized using a novel approach for infection dating rules and assembled into panels designed to assess the impact of important sources of measurement error with incidence assays such as viral subtype, elite host control of viraemia and antiretroviral treatment. We present the specific rationale for several of these innovations, and discuss important resources for assay developers and researchers that have recently become available. Finally, we summarize the key remaining steps on the path to development and implementation of reliable assays for monitoring HIV incidence at a population level.
The 2012 West Nile virus (WNV) epidemic was the largest since 2003 and the North Texas region was the most heavily impacted. We conducted a serosurvey of blood donors from four counties in the Dallas–Fort Worth area to characterize the epidemic. Blood donor specimens collected in November 2012 were tested for WNV-specific antibodies. Donors positive for WNV-specific IgG, IgM, and neutralizing antibodies were considered to have been infected in 2012. This number was adjusted using a multi-step process that accounted for timing of IgM seroreversion determined from previous longitudinal studies of WNV-infected donors. Of 4971 donations screened, 139 (2·8%) were confirmed WNV IgG positive, and 69 (1·4%) had IgM indicating infection in 2012. After adjusting for timing of sampling and potential seroreversion, we estimated that 1·8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·5–2·2] of the adult population in the Dallas–Fort Worth area were infected during 2012. The resulting overall estimate for the ratio of infections to reported WNV neuroinvasive disease (WNND) cases was 238:1 (95% CI 192–290), with significantly increased risk of WNND in older age groups. These findings were very similar to previous estimates of infections per WNND case, indicating no change in virulence as WNV evolved into an endemic infection in the United States.
Conventional commercial aircraft fuselages use all-aluminium semi-monocoque structures where the skin carries the external loads, the internal fuselage pressurisation and is strengthen using frames and stringers. Environmental and economic issues force aircraft designers to minimise weight and costs to keep air transport competitive and safe. But as metal designs have reached a high degree of perfection, extraordinary weight and cost savings are unlikely in the future. Carbon composite materials combined with lattice structures and the use of topology optimisation have the potential to offer such weight reductions. The EU FP7 project Advanced Lattice Structures for Composite Airframes (ALaSCA) was started to investigate this. This article present some of this research which has now led to the development of a new airframe concept which consists of: a load carrying inner skin; transverse frames; CFRP-metal hybrid stiffeners helically arranged in a grid configuration; insulating foam and an additional aerodynamic outer skin.
We propose a novel concept of optical detection of thermal neutrons in a passive device that exploits transmutation of Dy-164, a dominant, naturally occurring isotope of dysprosium, into a stable isotope of either holmium Ho-165 or erbium Er-166. Combination of the high thermal neutron capture cross section of ~2,650 barns and transmutation into two other lanthanides makes Dy-164 a very attractive alternative to traditional methods of neutron detection that will be completely insensitive to gamma irradiation, thus reducing greatly the likelihood of false alarms. The optically enabled neutron detection relies on significant differences in optical properties of Dy, Ho, and Er that are not sensitive to a particular isotope, but change considerably from one element to another. While the concept applies equally well to bulk materials and to nanocrystals, nanocrystalline approach is much more attractive due to its significantly lower cost, relative ease of colloidal synthesis of high quality nanocrystals (NCs), and superior optical and mechanical properties of NCs compared to their bulk counterparts. We report on colloidal synthesis of DyF3 NCs, both doped and undoped with Ho and co-doped with Ce and Eu to enhance their optical properties. We also report on DyF3:10%Ce and DyF3:10%Eu NCs irradiated with thermal neutrons from a Cf-252 source and their optical characterization.
Zinc oxide layers with a thickness of less than 10 nanometers have been synthesized from an aqueous solution for the application as active layer in thin film transistors. They have been conditioned by applying different oxidizing and reducing atmospheres during an annealing process at a temperature of 125°C. It is shown that the charge carrier mobility and threshold voltage is strongly influenced by the annealing atmosphere. Samples annealed in 10% forming gas (H2 in N2 - reducing atmosphere) show the highest field-effect-mobility of 0.6 cm2V-1s-1, but no saturation of the drain current, due to a high free carrier concentration. Samples treated under oxygen (strongest oxidizing atmosphere) show significantly lower mobilities. Subsequently, the samples have been exposed to synthetic air, with varying exposure times. Samples which have been annealed under hydrogen atmospheres show a pronounced decay of the drain current if exposed to synthetic air, whereas all samples conditioned under hydrogen-free atmospheres are significantly more stable under synthetic air. This enhanced sensitivity against oxygen after hydrogen treatment is attributed to residual hydrogen content in the sample that supports the formation of OH-groups which act as electron acceptors.
Formal programs that provide research experiences for teachers (RET) have been in existence for more than 20 years. Currently there are more than 70 formalized Scientific Work Experiences Programs for Teachers (SWEPTs) nationwide. The underlying assumption of most RETs is that these intensive summer work immersion experiences, coupled with appropriate follow-up activities during the school year, expand teachers' professional skills and networks, and thereby improve the performance of their students. Many SWEPTs have collected anecdotal evidence indicating their program's positive impact on teachers. Missing from all SWEPT evaluations is quantitative evidence that teacher participation in these programs affects student interest and performance in the subject taught by the SWEPT teacher. As professional evaluators attest, it is difficult to differentiate the roles of teachers and teaching practices in changing student academic interest and performance from other factors (e.g., curriculum, school administration, non-random assignment of students, etc.).
This study controls for many of these factors by comparing interest and achievement of students in classes of SWEPT teachers with students in classes of comparison teachers in the same school and teaching the same subject. The study's longitudinal design is commensurate with the philosophy and practices of the participating SWEPTs.
A new actuator for silicon micro-valves has been developed and tested. A thin film shape memory alloy provides for large deflections with high speed, low power, and small size. The actuator is batch fabricated with planar processes.
Diffusion couples combining a h.c.p. Zr90Al10 supersaturated solid solution with a fc.c. Cu64Ni36 solid solution were annealed at 410°C for different times. The reaction at the interface was investigated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDAX). Cross sectional TEM images and electron diffraction patterns reveal the formation of a non-crystalline layer at the interface between the two solid solutions which grows to a maximum thickness of more than 0.3 μm. Using EDAX, the concentration profiles across the layerswere determined. The glassy layer consists of a Zr-Ni-Al alloy with a small amount of Cu.The concentration profiles reveal that two non-crystalline phases coexist in the diffusion couple. One phase is Ni-rich and the other is Zr-rich. A small gradient of the Ni concentration in the Ni-rich amorphous phase and a steeper gradient in the Zr-rich non crystalline phase indicate that the Ni diffusion constant in the Ni-rich phase is larger than the Ni diffusion constant in the Zr-rich phase. In the late stage of the reaction, the growth of a nanocrystalline layer with an average concentration of Cu 90Nij 0 is observed on the Cu-Ni side of the diffusion couple. Crystallization starts at the Zr-Al side of the diffusion couple.
P-type doping with Mg and n-type doping with Si of cubic GaN (c-GaN) epilayers is reported. Cubic GaN films are grown by if-plasma assisted MBE on semi-insulating GaAs (001) substrates at a substrate temperature of 720°C. Elemental Mg and Si are evaporated from thermal effusions cells. Secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS), low temperature photoluminescence (PL) and temperature dependent Hall-effect measurements are used to study the incorporation, optical and electrical properties. A Mg related shallow donor-acceptor transiton at 3.04 eV with an acceptor activation energy of EA= 0.230 eV is observed by low temperature PL. At Mg concentrations above 1018 cm-3 the dominance of a broad blue band indicates that also in c-GaN Mg is incorporated at different lattice sites or forms complexes. Si-doped c-GaN epilayers are n-type with electron concentrations up to 5*1019 cm-3. The incorporation of Si follows exactly the vapor pressure curve of Si, indicating a sticking coefficient of I for Si in c-GaN. With increasing Si-concentration the intensity of the near-band luminescence continuously increases and broadens.
Thin film shape memory alloy has been integrated with silicon in a new actuation mechanism for micro-electro-mechanical systems. This paper compares nickel-titanium film with other actuators, describes recent results of chemical milling processes developed to fabricate shape memory alloy micro-actuators in silicon, and describes simple actuation mechanisms which have been fabricated and tested.