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To date, there are no recent studies identifying the prevalence of parasites of human and veterinary importance in dogs and cats in Ireland. The interaction between pets and wildlife species in the environment is an important source of parasite exposure to canids and felines, and one likely to be heightened in the stray animal population. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of endoparasites in unowned dogs and cats in County Dublin, Ireland. Feces from stray dogs (n = 627) and cats (n = 289) entering a rehoming centre were collected immediately after defecation. The main parasitic agents detected were ascarids (15.52 and 30.26%), Cystoisospora (3.27 and 3.69%), Giardia spp. (6.02 and 1.84%) and lungworms (0.64 and 2.08%), in dogs and cats respectively. Animals younger than 3 months of age were more likely to be infected with ascarids (P < 0.001) and Cystoisospora spp. (P = 0.008 and P = 0.014) than older animals. All lungworms were morphologically identified and dogs were infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum (0.48%) and Crenosoma vulpis (0.16%) whereas cats were only infected with Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (2.08%). This represents the first prevalence study of stray animals in Ireland. Data collected will inform the treatment and in addition, the future monitoring and control studies of parasite populations.
To describe the behavioural and psychiatric problems found in nursing home psychiatric referrals in the Dublin South city area.
We undertook two consecutive surveys of nursing home referrals to the St James’s Hospital psychiatry of old age service over a 2-year period. During the second survey a new clinical nurse specialist was specifically appointed to manage the seven nursing homes included in the study.
The most common reason for referral during survey one was uncooperative/aggressive behaviour (22%). For survey two, patients were most commonly referred for low mood (31%) or agitation (29%). During survey one, the majority of patients assessed were diagnosed with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (41%). This was also a prevalent diagnosis during survey two, affecting 27% of those referred. Only 7% of patients were considered to be delirious during survey one. This rose to 31% the following year making it the most common diagnosis during survey two. Over the 2-year study period, 7% of referred patients were diagnosed with depression. In terms of prescribing practices, the discontinuation rate of antipsychotic mediation following psychiatric input was 13% in survey one. By survey two, this had risen to 47%.
Delirium is often undetected and untreated in nursing homes. Residents presenting with psychiatric symptoms should undergo routine bloods and urinalysis prior to psychiatric referral. Dedicated input from trained psychiatric nursing staff can lead to both an improvement in the recognition of delirium and reduced prescribing rates of antipsychotic medication.
A substantial literature has reported that stress negatively impacts on cognitive processes. As dementia caregiving can be stressful, it has been hypothesized that the challenges of dementia care may increase caregivers’ own vulnerability to cognitive decline. Prefrontal processes are thought to be most vulnerable to stress; however, few studies have examined whether greater caregiver stress predicts poorer executive dysfunction, and no previous research has considered potential moderators of this relationship. We examined (1) whether greater psychological stress mediated a relationship between caregiver stress exposure and executive functioning and (2) whether greater self-efficacy and cognitive reserve (CR) moderated this relationship.
Spousal dementia caregivers (n = 253) completed the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (stress exposure), the Perceived Stress Scale, the National Adult Reading Test (CR), the Fortinsky dementia-specific caregiver self-efficacy scale, and the Color Trails Test (executive functioning). Moderated mediation was tested using the PROCESS macro. Age, gender, and dementia risk factors were included as covariates.
Greater stress exposure indirectly predicted executive functioning through psychological stress. Stronger relationships between greater psychological stress and poorer executive functioning were observed among caregivers with lower CR; there was no evidence that self-efficacy moderated the relationship between stress exposure and psychological stress.
Our findings are in line with the idea that greater psychological stress in response to challenges associated with dementia care predicts poorer caregiver executive functioning, particularly among caregivers with low CR. However, these findings are cross sectional; it is also possible that poorer executive functioning contributes to greater caregiver stress.
It is widely accepted that people with mental illness have increased risk of cardiometabolic complications such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. What is less well known is that individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of brain health complications including depression, cognitive impairment and dementia. These conditions can adversely influence disease self-management and further increase risk of other diabetes complications.
The aim of this paper is to highlight the increased risk of brain health complications in populations with diabetes in order to promote awareness of such complications among healthcare professionals and encourage timely intervention.
An overview of the prevalence and potential mechanisms linking depression and cognitive impairment with diabetes as well as implications for detection, management and brain health protection, based on a narrative review of the literature.
Early detection and effective management of depression and cognitive impairment among individuals with diabetes has the potential to minimise adverse health outcomes. In order to promote screening healthcare professionals caring for individuals with diabetes in all settings must be aware of the increased risk of brain health complications in this vulnerable population.
Tropical Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland activated the disaster management plans at The Townsville Hospital, including the establishment of an emergency child minding service to facilitate the return of staff to work.
This report describes the establishment of this service and the results of brief electronic surveys that were distributed in the 2 weeks following the cyclone to gather feedback from staff who had placed their children in the care of the service (consumers), staff who had manned the service (staff), and allied health managers whose staff had manned the service (managers).
Overall, approximately 94 episodes of care were provided by the child minding service. All consumers responded “‘yes’” in answer to the question of whether the emergency child minding service facilitated their return to work in the immediate post-disaster period. The survey also identified that a lack of effective advertising may have prevented further uptake of the child minding service.
The provision of an emergency child minding service facilitated the return to work of health care staff immediately after Tropical Cyclone Yasi. More research is needed to understand the effect disaster type has on the uptake of a child minding service. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:485-488)
Depression is a common and important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is commonly treated with antidepressants and/or psychological therapy, but some people prefer alternative approaches such as exercise. There are a number of theoretical reasons why exercise may improve depression. This is an update of a review first published in 2009.
A commercial pig spends nearly half of its life in utero and its nutrition during this time can influence birth weight and postnatal growth. We hypothesised that postnatal growth is increased in pigs raised by sows with a high backfat depth and high level of energy intake during gestation compared with sows with a low backfat depth and low level of energy intake during gestation. This was tested in a 2×3 factorial design experiment with 2 factors for gilt backfat depth (Thin and Fat) and 3 factors for gestation feed allowance (Restricted, Control and High). Between d 25 and d 90 of gestation, Thin gilts (n=68; 12±0.6 mm P2 backfat) and Fat gilts (n=72; 19±0.6 mm P2 backfat) were randomly allocated, as individuals, to a gestation diet (6.19 g/kg lysine, 13.0 MJ DE/kg) at the following feed allowances: 1.8 kg/day (Restricted); 2.5 kg/day (Control) and 3.5 kg/day (High). For the remainder of gestation and during lactation all gilts were treated similarly. At weaning (day 28), 155 piglets were sacrificed and 272 were individually housed and followed through to slaughter (day 158). At day 80 of gestation, fasted Thin Restricted gilts had lower serum IGF-1 concentrations than Thin High or Thin Control fed gilts (P<0.001). Pigs born from Fat gilts had greater backfat depths (P<0.05), a lower lean meat yield (P<0.05) and were heavier (P<0.05) at slaughter than pigs born from Thin gilts. Gilt gestation feed allowance had only transitory effects on average daily gain and feed conversion efficiency and had no effect on pig weight at slaughter (P>0.05) or lean meat yield (P>0.05). In conclusion, gilts with a backfat depth of ~19 mm at insemination produced pigs that were heavier and fatter at ~158 days of age than those born from gilts with ~12 mm backfat depth at insemination. Maternal body condition during gestation had a more predominant influence on growth parameters of the offspring, such as weight at slaughter and backfat depth, than did feed level during gestation.
The fetal and early postnatal environment can have a long-term influence on offspring growth. Using a pig model, we investigated the effects of maternal body condition (thin or fat) and maternal gestation feeding level (restricted, control or high) on maternal stress, milk composition, litter size, piglet birth weight and pre-weaning growth. A total of sixty-eight thin (backfat depth about 8 mm) and seventy-two fat (backfat depth about 12 mm) gilts were selected at about 22 weeks. This backfat difference was then accentuated nutritionally up to service at about 32 weeks. During gestation, individual gilts from within each group were randomly allocated to a gestation diet at the following feed allowances: 1·8 kg/d (restricted); 2·5 kg/d (control) and 3·5 kg/d (high) until day 90 of gestation. During gestation restricted gilts had higher levels of cortisol than high and control fed animals. Piglets born to fat gilts had higher average daily gain during the lactation period and higher weaning weights at day 28 than piglets born to thin gilts. Gilts on a high feed level had heavier piglets than those provided with restricted and control allocations. Fat gilts had less saturated fat in their milk at day 21 of lactation and higher unsaturated fat levels. No differences were found in the n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio in the milk between thin and fat gilts. In conclusion, maternal body condition influenced the daily weight gain of offspring up to weaning (day 28) and milk fat composition. Furthermore, maternal feed level during gestation alters maternal cortisol levels and milk fat composition.
A total of twenty-four sows and their offspring were used in a 20-week study to investigate the effects of feeding GM maize on maternal and offspring health. Sows were fed diets containing GM or non-GM maize from service to the end of lactation. GM maize-fed sows were heavier on day 56 of gestation (P< 0·05). Offspring from sows fed GM maize tended to be lighter at weaning (P= 0·08). Sows fed GM maize tended to have decreased serum total protein (P= 0·08), and increased serum creatinine (P< 0·05) and γ-glutamyltransferase activity (P= 0·07) on day 28 of lactation. Serum urea tended to be decreased on day 110 of gestation in GM maize-fed sows (P= 0·10) and in offspring at birth (P= 0·08). Both platelet count (P= 0·07) and mean cell Hb concentration (MCHC; P= 0·05) were decreased on day 110 of gestation in GM maize-fed sows; however, MCHC tended to be increased in offspring at birth (P= 0·08). There was a minimal effect of feeding GM maize to sows during gestation and lactation on maternal and offspring serum biochemistry and haematology at birth and body weight at weaning.
A total of 200 (Large White × Landrace) sows were used in a 39-day study to evaluate the effects of feeding a non-starch polysaccharide (NSP)-hydrolysing enzyme multicomplex (Rovabio® Excel) in conjunction with a high- or reduced nutrient-density diet during lactation on sow body condition, feed intake and progeny performance. Eight sows were selected each week for 25 weeks, blocked by parity and BW into groups of four, and within the block randomly assigned to one of the four treatments (n = 50/treatment). Treatments were: (1) LND: low energy (13.14 MJ of DE/kg), low CP (15%) diet; (2) LND + RE: LND with 50 mg/kg NSP-hydrolysing enzyme; (3) HND: high energy (14.5 MJ of DE/kg), high CP (16.5%) diet; and (4) HND + RE: HND with 50 mg/kg NSP-hydrolysing enzyme. Sows were fed treatment diets from day 109 of gestation until the day of subsequent service. Between weaning and re-service, Rovabio® Excel addition to LND diets resulted in an increase in energy intake; however, a reduction was observed when supplemented to the HND diet (P < 0.05). The inclusion of Rovabio® Excel increased feed and energy intake during week 3 (days 15 to 21) of lactation (P < 0.05). Sows fed diets supplemented with Rovabio® Excel had greater back-fat depth at weaning and service (P < 0.05); however, the magnitude of change in back-fat depth during lactation and from farrowing to service was not different between treatments. Feeding the HND diet increased energy intake before farrowing, throughout lactation and during the weaning to service interval (P < 0.01); however, overall, average daily feed intake tended to be reduced (P < 0.10). At service, sows fed the HND diet were heavier than sows fed the LND diet (P < 0.05); however, the magnitude of change in BW between treatments was not different. Feeding the HND diet to sows resulted in a tendency for heavier piglets at birth (P = 0.10) that tended to grow at a faster rate and be heavier at weaning than piglets from sows fed the LND diet (P = 0.06). These results indicate that NSP-degrading enzymes offer minimal benefit to sows and their progeny when fed before and during lactation; however, increasing energy intake of sows during lactation may beneficially affect progeny.
A total of 72 male weaned pigs were used in a 110-day study to investigate the effect of feeding genetically modified (GM) Bt MON810 maize on selected growth and health indicators. It was hypothesised that in pigs fed Bt maize, growth and health are not impacted compared with pigs fed isogenic maize-based diets. Following a 12-day basal period, pigs (10.7 ± 1.9 kg body weight (BW); ∼40 days old) were blocked by weight and ancestry and randomly assigned to treatments: (1) non-GM maize diet for 110 days (non-GM), (2) GM maize diet for 110 days (GM), (3) non-GM maize diet for 30 days followed by GM maize diet up to day 110 (non-GM/GM) and (4) GM maize diet for 30 days followed by non-GM maize diet up to day 110 (GM/non-GM). BW and daily feed intake were recorded on days 0, 30, 60 and 110 (n = 15). Body composition was determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (n = 10) on day 80. Following slaughter on day 110, organs and intestines were weighed and sampled for histological analysis and urine was collected for biochemical analysis (n = 10). Serum biochemistry analysis was performed on days 0, 30, 60, 100 and 110. Growth performance and serum biochemistry were analysed as repeated measures with time and treatment as main factors. The slice option of SAS was used to determine treatment differences at individual time points. There was no effect of feeding GM maize on overall growth, body composition, organ and intestinal weight and histology or serum biochemistry on days 60 and 100 and on urine biochemistry on day 110. A treatment × time interaction was observed for serum urea (SU; P < 0.05), creatinine (SC; P < 0.05) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST; P < 0.05). On day 30, SU was lower for the non-GM/GM treatment compared with the non-GM, GM and GM/non-GM treatments (P < 0.05). On day 110, SC was higher for the non-GM/GM and GM/non-GM treatments compared with non-GM and GM treatments (P < 0.05). Overall, serum total protein was lower for the GM/non-GM treatment compared with the non-GM/GM treatment (P < 0.05). The magnitude of change observed in some serum biochemical parameters did not indicate organ dysfunction and the changes were not accompanied by histological lesions. Long-term feeding of GM maize to pigs did not adversely affect growth or the selected health indicators investigated.
Male weanling pigs (n 32) with a mean initial body weight of 7·5 kg and a mean weaning age of 28 d were used in a 31 d study to investigate the effects of feeding GM (Bt MON810) maize on growth performance, intestinal histology and organ weight and function. At weaning, the pigs were fed a non-GM starter diet during a 6 d acclimatisation period. The pigs were then blocked by weight and litter ancestry and assigned to diets containing 38·9 % GM (Bt MON810) or non-GM isogenic parent line maize for 31 d. Body weight and feed disappearance were recorded on a weekly basis (n 16/treatment), and the pigs (n 10/treatment) were killed on day 31 for the collection of organ, tissue and blood samples. GM maize-fed pigs consumed more feed than the control pigs during the 31 d study (P < 0·05) and were less efficient at converting feed to gain during days 14–30 (P < 0·01). The kidneys of the pigs fed GM maize tended to be heavier than those of control pigs (P = 0·06); however, no histopathological changes or alterations in blood biochemistry were evident. Small intestinal morphology was not different between treatments. However, duodenal villi of GM maize-fed pigs tended to have fewer goblet cells/μm of villus compared with control pigs (P = 0·10). In conclusion, short-term feeding of Bt MON810 maize to weaned pigs resulted in increased feed consumption, less efficient conversion of feed to gain and a decrease in goblet cells/μm of duodenal villus. There was also a tendency for an increase in kidney weight, but this was not associated with changes in histopathology or blood biochemistry. The biological significance of these findings is currently being clarified in long-term exposure studies in pigs.
Variations in maternal nutrition during gestation can influence foetal growth, foetal development and permanently ‘programme’ offspring for postnatal life. The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of increased maternal nutrition during different gestation time windows on offspring growth, carcass quality, meat quality and gene expression in skeletal muscle. A total of 64 sows were assigned to the following feeding treatments: a standard control diet at a feed allocation of 2.3 kg/day throughout gestation, increased feed allowance of 4.6 kg/day from 25 to 50 days of gestation (dg), from 50 to 80 dg and from 25 to 80 dg. At weaning, Light, Medium and Heavy pigs of the same gender, within litter, were selected based on birth weight, individually penned and monitored until slaughter at 130 days post weaning. Carcass and meat quality traits of the semimembranosus (SM) muscle were recorded post mortem. A cross section of the semitendinosus (ST) muscle encompassing the deep and superficial regions were harvested from pigs (n = 18 per treatment) for RNA extraction and quantification of gene expression by real-time PCR. The results showed that doubling the feed intake from 25 to 50 dg reduced offspring growth, carcass weight, intramuscular fat content and increased drip loss of the SM muscle. Interestingly, protein phosphatase 3 catalytic subunit – α-isoform, which codes for the transcription factor calcineurin, was upregulated in the ST muscle of offspring whose mothers received increased feed allowance from 25 to 50 dg. This may provide an explanation for the previous observed increases in Type IIa muscle fibres of these offspring. Increasing the maternal feed intake from 50 to 80 dg negatively impacted pig growth and carcass weight, but produced leaner male pigs. Extending the increased maternal feed intake from 25 to 80 dg had no effect on offspring over the standard control gestation diet. Although intra-litter variation in pig weight is a problem for pig producers, increased maternal feeding offered no improvement throughout life to the lighter birth weight littermates in our study. Indeed, increased maternal nutrition at the three-gestation time windows selected provided no major benefits to the offspring.
Women's crisis houses have been developed in the UK as a less stigmatising and less institutional alternative to traditional psychiatric wards.
To examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of women's crisis houses by first examining the feasibility of a pilot patient-preference randomised controlled trial (PP–RCT) design (ISRCTN20804014).
We used a PP–RCT study design to investigate women presenting in crisis needing informal admission. The four study arms were the patient preference arms of women's crisis house or hospital admission, and randomised arms of women's crisis house or hospital admission.
Forty-one women entered the randomised arms of the trial (crisis house n = 19, wards n = 22) and 61 entered the patient-preference arms (crisis house n = 37, ward n = 24). There was no significant difference in outcomes (symptoms, functioning, perceived coercion, stigma, unmet needs or quality of life) or costs for any of the groups (randomised or preference arms), but women who obtained their preferred intervention were more satisfied with treatment.
Although the sample sizes were too small to allow definite conclusions, the results suggest that when services are able to provide interventions preferred by patients, those patients are more likely to be satisfied with treatment. This pilot study provides some evidence that women's crisis houses are as effective as traditional psychiatric wards, and may be more cost-effective.