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The continuous presence of active male small ruminants prevents seasonal anestrus in females, but evidence of the same mechanism operating from the females to the males is scarce. This study assessed the effects of the continuous presence of ewes in estrus in spring on ram sexual activity, testicular size and echogenicity, and LH and testosterone concentrations. On 1 March, 20 rams were assigned to two groups (n = 10 each): isolated (ISO) from other sheep, or stimulated (STI) by 12 ewes, which were separated from the rams by an openwork metal barrier, allowing contact between sexes. Each week, four ewes were induced into estrus by intravaginal sponges. Live weight, scrotal circumference, testicular width (TW) and length (TL) were recorded at the beginning and at the end of the experiment, and testicular volume (TV) was calculated; at the same time, testicular ultrasonography and color Doppler scanning were performed. Blood samples (March to May) were collected once per week for testosterone determinations, and at the end of the experiment, blood samples were collected for 6 h at 20-min intervals for LH analysis. Rams were exposed to four estrous ewes in a serving-capacity test. Scrotal circumference, TW and TL were higher in the STI than in the ISO rams (P < 0.05) in May, and TV was higher (P < 0.05) in the STI (391 ± 17 cm3) than in the ISO rams (354 ± 24 cm3). In ISO rams, the number of white pixels was higher (P < 0.01) in May (348 ± 74) than in March (94 ± 21) and differed significantly (P < 0.01) from that of the STI rams in May (160 ± 33). In ISO rams, the number of grey pixels was higher (P < 0.05) in May (107 ± 3) than it was in March (99 ± 1). Stimulated and ISO rams did not differ significantly in mean LH plasma concentrations (0.8 ± 0.5 v. 0.9 ± 0.4 ng/ml), LH pulses (2.1 ± 0.5 v. 2.2 ± 0.2) and amplitude (2.0 ± 0.4 v. 3.2 ± 0.7 ng/ml, respectively). Stimulated rams had significantly higher testosterone concentrations than ISO rams from April to the end of the experiment. Stimulated rams performed more (P < 0.05) mountings with intromission (3.0 ± 0.4) than did ISO rams (1.5 ± 0.5). In conclusion, after 3 months in the continuous presence of ewes in estrus in spring, rams had higher TV and some testicular echogenic parameters were modified than isolated rams. Although exposed rams also had higher levels of testosterone after 2 months in the presence of estrous ewes, their LH pulsatility at the end of the study was not modified.
Non-specific chronic low back pain is one of common causes of disability and a recurrent medical complaint with high costs. From rehabilitative medicine, physiotherapy programs and general postural recommendations are offered. Although this treatment is aimed to reduce disability, severity of pain and anxiety-depressive symptoms, many patients report partial improvements and recurrence of pain. Therefore, a new approach to treat this pathology with a broaden focus on psychososocial issues that might modulate pain and its evolution is required.
Aims and hypothesis
To assess the effectiveness of two complementary interventions to physiotherapy, such as relaxation techniques (specifically, sophrology) and cognitive behavioral intervention. It is hypothesized that intervention groups will significantly improve their adherence to physiotherapy and will gain control over their pain. Ultimately, this will foster better quality of life.
Longitudinal design with pre-post intervention measures and follow-up appointments (at 6 and 12 months) carried out in a sample of 66 participants. The sample will be divided into three groups: control (physiotherapy), intervention group 1 (physiotherapy & sophrology) and intervention group 2 (physiotherapy & cognitive behavioral intervention). In all groups biomedical aspects regarding type, evolution and characterization of pain as well as several psychosocial factors will be assessed.
Preliminary results are expected by December 2013.
If hypotheses are confirmed, we will be able to provide empirical evidences to justify a multidisciplinary care model for chronic low back pain, which will favor a significant cost reduction in terms of health care and human suffering.
Lithium has been used in the treatment of pregnant women with bipolar disorder for many decades but information on the effects of its exposure on perinatal variables is scarce.
To determine the effects of in-utero exposure to lithium on neonatal outcomes among infants born to women with treatment with lithium during pregnancy.
Prospective and observational study including all consecutive cases of pregnant women with bipolar disorder type I or II (N = 22) and maintenance treatment with lithium monotherapy (n=13) or polytherapy (n=9), attended at the PERINATAL PSYCHIATRY PROGRAM CLÍNIC-BARCELONA between 2005 and 2012. We evaluated sociodemographic data, lithium plasma concentrations in maternal blood and umbilical cord, obstetric and neonatal variables.
No statistically significant differences were found regarding sociodemographic data between both groups. Rates for umbilical cord:maternal plasma lithium levels were higher in women treated with polytherapy than in women who received lithium alone (1.08 vs. 1.05). Neonates exposed to polytherapy had a higher weight percentile at birth (p70 vs p50) and greater gestational age (39.72 vs. 38.28 weeks), than those exposed to lithium alone. Acute neonatal complications were more frequently observed in infants that were exposed to lithium monotherapy (33.3% vs. 38.50), being all complications transitory and not severe.
The infants exposed to lithium polytherapy presented a higher weight at birth compared to those who received lithium monotherapy. However, no statistically significant differences were found between treatment groups. Further research is needed to better clarify safety of lithium and its effect on neonatal outcomes.
Mindfulness is defined as the ability of paying attention to the present moment with intentionality, moment to moment without making judgments of value.
To describe the effectiveness of group therapy performed in our mental health center according to the results in the SOFI scale of patients. This scale is designed to assess different qualities, which evolve through training in meditation practice based on mindfulness.
Group therapy consisted of 12 weekly sessions of an hour and a half. A total of 11 patients, 7 of which having completed therapy. The questionnaires were answered in the first and final session of therapy.
The questionnaire items were divided before and after treatment, into four categories with the following results: positive (friendly, happy, acceptance, compassion) to himself: 1.86 (0.54)/2.75 (0.78) and to others 3.57 (0.86)/3.89 (0.54); negative (hate, angry, cruel, bad) to himself: 2.92 (0.54)/2 (0.23); and to others: 2.28 (0.41)/1.96 (0.36)
In keeping with similar studies, the scale shows effectiveness of therapy in all sets of items, highlighting the variation of the aspects related to himself.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Magnetic instability is a key consideration for filament eruptions and subsequent CMEs. In this contribution we are considering different magnetic conditions for active and non-active regions, such as coronal hole regions and quiet sun, and also active regions of a simple magnetic configuration. The aim is to assess magnetic instability through potential and non-potential field modelling and 3D evaluation of the magnetic decay index. Some eruptive examples from solar cycle 24 using HMI/SDO data are presented, complemented with observations of AIA/SDO.
We have investigated the case of a coronal mass ejection that was eroded by the fast wind of a coronal hole in the interplanetary medium. When a solar ejection takes place close to a coronal hole, the flux rope magnetic topology of the coronal mass ejection (CME) may become misshapen at 1 AU as a result of the interaction. Detailed analysis of this event reveals erosion of the interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) magnetic field. In this communication, we study the photospheric magnetic roots of the coronal hole and the coronal mass ejection area with HMI/SDO magnetograms to define their magnetic characteristics.
Alcarreña is an endangered Spanish sheep breed (8 009 breeding animals) characterized by its adaptation to a particularly harsh environment and by having a sustainable pasture-based, small-scale, production model. The first objective of this study was to identify the technical-economic aspects of the Alcarreña farms, based on information obtained from surveys. The second objective was to quantify the influence of slaughter weight (12, 19 and 23 kg) on the sensory characteristics of the lamb meat. The mean age of the Alcarreña sheep farmers was lower than the average age of Spanish sheep farmers; however, generational renewal is not assured because most of the farmers’ children were still in school. Mean flock size was higher than the average Spanish sheep flock. Alcarreña sheep were reared under an extensive management system, grazed year-round and had a reproductive schedule of three lambings within 2 years. The carcass and meat qualities of the 12 and 19 kg lambs did not differ significantly, although the lightest lambs had the softest meat and the clearest subcutaneous fat. The most important differences between the lighter lambs and the 23-kg lambs were in meat and fat colour and lipid composition. Among the sensorial characteristics, the 19-kg lambs had the lowest meat fibrosity, and meat colour and slaughter weight were negatively correlated.
Most research on interventions to counter stigma and discrimination has
focused on short-term outcomes and has been conducted in high-income
To synthesise what is known globally about effective interventions to
reduce mental illness-based stigma and discrimination, in relation first
to effectiveness in the medium and long term (minimum 4 weeks), and
second to interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
We searched six databases from 1980 to 2013 and conducted a
multi-language Google search for quantitative studies addressing the
research questions. Effect sizes were calculated from eligible studies
where possible, and narrative syntheses conducted. Subgroup analysis
compared interventions with and without social contact.
Eighty studies (n = 422 653) were included in the
review. For studies with medium or long-term follow-up (72, of which 21
had calculable effect sizes) median standardised mean differences were
0.54 for knowledge and −0.26 for stigmatising attitudes. Those containing
social contact (direct or indirect) were not more effective than those
without. The 11 LMIC studies were all from middle-income countries.
Effect sizes were rarely calculable for behavioural outcomes or in LMIC
There is modest evidence for the effectiveness of anti-stigma
interventions beyond 4 weeks follow-up in terms of increasing knowledge
and reducing stigmatising attitudes. Evidence does not support the view
that social contact is the more effective type of intervention for
improving attitudes in the medium to long term. Methodologically strong
research is needed on which to base decisions on investment in
Stegophorus macronectes (Johnston & Mawson, 1942) is a gastrointestinal parasite found in Antarctic seabirds. The original description of the species, which was based only on females, is poor and fragmented with some unclear diagnostic characters. This study provides new morphometric and molecular data on this previously poorly described parasite. Nuclear rDNA sequences (18S, 5.8S, 28S and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions) were isolated from S. macronectes specimens collected from the chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica Forster on Deception Island, Antarctica. Using 18S rDNA sequences, phylogenetic analyses (maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference) of the order Spirurida were performed to determine the phylogenetic location of this species. Primer pairs of the ITS regions were designed for genus-level identification of specimens, regardless of their cycle, as an alternative to coprological methods. The utility of this molecular method for identification of morphologically altered specimens is also discussed.
Reliability and degradation processes in broad-area InGaAs-AlGaAs strained quantum well (QW) lasers are under intensive investigation because these lasers are the key components for fiber lasers and amplifiers that have found both industrial and military applications in recent years. Unlike single-mode lasers that were developed for high reliability telecom applications, broad-area lasers were mainly targeted for applications that require less stringent reliability of the lasers until recently. Especially, the lack of field reliability data is a concern for satellite communication systems where high reliability is required of lasers for long-term duration. For our present study, we addressed this concern by performing long-term life-tests of broad-area InGaAs-AlGaAs strained QW lasers and also by studying mechanisms that are responsible for catastrophic degradation of the lasers.
Flux emergence phenomena are relevant at different temporal and spatial scales. We have studied a flux emergence region underneath a filament. This filament elevated itself smoothly, and the associated CME reached the Earth. In this study we investigate the size and the amount of flux in the emergence event. The flux emergence site appeared just beneath a filament. The emergence acquired a size of 24 Mm in half a day. The unsigned magnetic flux density from LOS-magnetograms was around 1 kG at its maximum. The transverse field as well as the filament eruption were also analysed.
We describe the preliminary design of a magnetograph and visible-light imager instrument to study the solar dynamo processes through observations of the solar surface magnetic field distribution. The instrument will provide measurements of the vector magnetic field and of the line-of-sight velocity in the solar photosphere. As the magnetic field anchored at the solar surface produces most of the structures and energetic events in the upper solar atmosphere and significantly influences the heliosphere, the development of this instrument plays an important role in reaching the scientific goals of The Atmospheric and Space Science Coordination (CEA) at the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). In particular, the CEA's space weather program will benefit most from the development of this technology. We expect that this project will be the starting point to establish a strong research program on Solar Physics in Brazil. Our main aim is acquiring progressively the know-how to build state-of-the-art solar vector magnetograph and visible-light imagers for space-based platforms to contribute to the efforts of the solar-terrestrial physics community to address the main unanswered questions on how our nearby Star works.
This article reviews the potential of graphene and related two-dimensional (2D) materials for applications in micro- and nanoelectronics. In addition to graphene, special emphasis is placed on transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). First, we discuss potential solutions for application-scale material growth, in particular chemical vapor deposition. We describe challenges for electrical contacts and dielectric interfaces with 2D materials. The device-related sections in this review first weigh the pros and cons of semi-metal graphene as a field-effect transistor (FET) channel material for logic and radio frequency applications. This is followed by an introduction to alternate graphene switch concepts that utilize the particular properties of the material, namely tunnel FETs, vertical devices, and bilayer pseudospin FETs. The final section is dedicated to semiconducting TMDs and their integration in FETs using the examples of n-type molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) and p-type tungsten diselenide (WSe2).
There is little information on the population status of the ocelot Leopardus pardalis in Mexico. In the Sierra Abra-Tanchipa Biosphere Reserve, in San Luis Potosí, ocelots are affected by habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of increased agricultural development. We used photographic identification in camera-trapping capture–recapture surveys to determine population abundance and density during the dry season and subsequent early and late humid seasons during April 2011–March 2012. We recorded 80 photographs of 15 individuals (10 males, one female, and four of undetermined sex) in 7,786 camera-days. Abundance was estimated using a closed capture heterogeneity model, yielding an estimated population of 9 ± SE 3 in the dry season and 21 ± SE 8 and 15 ± SE 5 during the subsequent early and late humid seasons, respectively. Spatially explicit density estimates were 0.04 and 0.03–0.18 individuals per km2 for the dry and humid seasons, respectively, and were similar (P > 0.612) among seasons. Peaks in ocelot activity occurred during 20.00–04.00. We conclude that the ocelots of the Sierra Abra-Tanchipa Reserve have a low population density and may face geographical and biological isolation as a result of habitat conversion. Continued monitoring and improved understanding of the movements and habitat preferences of ocelots are necessary to ensure their continued persistence, and connectivity between this population and others in north-east Mexico.
We present preliminary results of a 3D MHD simulation of the convective envelope of the giant star Pollux for which the rotation period and the magnetic field intensity have been measured from spectroscopic and spectropolarimetric observations. This giant is one of the first single giants with a detected magnetic field, and the one with the weakest field so far. Our aim is to understand the development and the action of the dynamo in its extended convective envelope.
One of the major threats to biodiversity involves biological invasions with direct consequences on the stability of ecosystems. In this context, the role of parasites is not negligible as it may enhance the success of invaders. The red-eared slider, Trachemys scripta elegans, has been globally considered among the worst invasive species. Since its introduction through the pet trade, T. s. elegans is now widespread and represents a threat for indigenous species. Because T. s. elegans coexists with Emys orbicularis and Mauremys leprosa in Europe, it has been suggested it may compete with the native turtle species and transmit pathogens. We examined parasite transfer from American captive to the two native species that co-exist in artificial pools of a Turtle Farm in France. As model parasite species we used platyhelminth worms of the family Polystomatidae (Monogenea) because polystomes have been described from American turtles in their native range. Phylogenetic relationships among polystomes parasitizing chelonian host species that are geographically widespread show patterns of diversification more complex than expected. Using DNA barcoding to identify species from adult and/or polystome eggs, several cases of host switching from exotic to indigenous individuals were illustrated, corroborating that parasite transmission is important when considering the pet trade and in reintroduction programmes to reinforce wild populations of indigenous species.
Trend analyses of precipitation and fog frequency, and energy balance measurements over typical examples of forest and grassland were made in the central mountain region of the State of Veracruz in eastern Mexico to examine the possibility of meso-scale climate change. It was hypothesized that changes in precipitation and fog frequency with elevation would reflect changes in the position of the lifting condensation level (LCL) and that these could be either positive or negative, depending on site elevation. The energy balance measurements were made to quantify the changes in sensible heat flux – considered the main driving force of cloud lifting – associated with the conversion of forest to pasture. In conclusion, the observed negative tendencies in dry-season precipitation (February) and overall fog frequency at lower elevations, as well as the positive tendencies seen at intermediate and higher elevations, are in line with a postulated shift in the LCL that may have been brought about by the increase in post-forest sensible heat fluxes.
The Grandes Montañas region in the State of Veracruz in eastern Mexico is part of the mountain system where the eastern end of the Eje Neovolcanico and the Sierra Madre Oriental meet. One of the main features of this region is an extremely steep topographic gradient, ranging from sea level to more than 5500 m.a.s.l., over a horizontal distance of less than 100 km. The associated climatic gradients enable the occurrence of highly diverse plant communities, ranging from relatively wet montane coniferous and cloud-affected forests to (semi-)arid vegetation types (Gómez-Pompa, 1978; Barradas, 1983).