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Food environments may be contributing to the rapid increase in obesity occurring in most Latin American (LA) countries. The present study reviews literature from LA that (i) describes the food environment and policies targeting the food environment (FEP); and (ii) analytic studies that investigate associations between the FEP and dietary behaviours, overweight/obesity and obesity related chronic diseases. We focus on six dimensions of the FEP: food retail, provision, labelling, marketing, price and composition.
Systematic literature review. Three databases (Web of Science, SciELO, LILACS) were searched, from 1 January 1999 up to July 2017. Two authors independently selected the studies. A narrative synthesis was used to summarize, integrate and interpret findings.
Studies conducted in LA countries.
The search yielded 2695 articles of which eighty-four met inclusion criteria.
Most studies were descriptive and came from Brazil (61 %), followed by Mexico (18 %) and Guatemala (6 %). Studies were focused primarily on retail/provision (n 27), marketing (n 16) and labelling (n 15). Consistent associations between availability of fruit and vegetable markets and higher consumption of fruits and vegetables were found in cross-sectional studies. Health claims in food packaging were prevalent and mostly misleading. There was widespread use of marketing strategies for unhealthy foods aimed at children. Food prices were lower for processed relative to fresh foods. Some studies documented high sodium in industrially processed foods.
Gaps in knowledge remain regarding policy evaluations, longitudinal food retail studies, impacts of food price on diet and effects of digital marketing on diet/health.
Dietary protein adjustments can reduce environmental impact and economic losses in production systems. However, we lack information regarding nitrogen (N) metabolism and protein requirements for maintenance of crossbred animals such as Red Norte breed, precluding a precise dietary management. The objective was to evaluate the effect of increasing dietary CP levels (9%, 11%, 13%, 15% and 17%) on intake, digestibility and N balance, as well as to estimate the metabolizable protein requirements for maintenance (MPm) of growing Red Norte bulls. Thirty five animals averaging 280 ± 4.0 kg BW were fed during 45 days in a 60 : 40 forage : concentrate ratio diet in which the last 5 days were used for the digestibility trial. Intakes of CP and non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFCs) and feed efficiency linearly increased (P < 0.05) as CP levels increased, while DM, NDF, nitrogen efficiency use and ether extract were not influenced by CP levels (P > 0.05). Digestibilities of DM, organic matter, ether extract, NFC and CP as well as metabolizable energy intake linearly increased (P < 0.05), and true digestibility of CP was not affected (P > 0.05) by treatments. Urinary N and retained N linearly increased (P < 0.05) with the increase in dietary N. The MPm were estimated as 4.46 g/BW0.75 and the efficiency of use of MPm was 0.673. In conclusion, obtained MPm requirements of growing Red Norte bulls are greater than the values reported in literature for Zebu cattle and dietary CP levels of 15% and 17% exhibited great responses for growing Red Norte cattle. However, a cost-benefit evaluation should be done before its use.
To examine associations between IgA responses to Gram-negative gut commensal bacteria and peri-menstrual symptoms and sex hormone levels during the menstrual cycle in women with and without premenstrual symptoms.
Forty women aged 18–45 years completed the Daily Record of Severity of Problems (DRSP) during all 28 consecutive days of the menstrual cycle. We assayed, in plasma, IgA responses to six Gram-negative bacteria, that is, Hafnei alvei, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Morganella morganii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas putida and Citobacter koseri, progesterone and oestradiol at days 7, 14, 21 and 28 of the menstrual cycle.
Significant changes in Δ (actual − 1 week earlier) IgA to lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of the six Gram-negative bacteria during the menstrual cycle were observed with peak IgA levels at T4 (day 28) and lows at T1 or T2 (day 7 or 14). The ΔIgA changes in H. alvei, M. Morganii, P. putida during the menstrual cycle were significantly and positively associated with changes in the total DRSP score, and severity of physio-somatic, anxiety and breast-craving, but not depressive, symptoms. The changes in IgA responses to LPS were largely predicted by changes in progesterone and steady-state levels of progesterone averaged over the luteal phase.
Menstrual cycle-associated changes in IgA directed against LPS and by inference bacterial translocation may be driven by the effects of progesterone on transcellular, paracellular and vascular pathways (leaky gut) thereby contributing to the severity of physio-somatic and anxiety symptoms as well as fatigue, breast swelling and food cravings.
Schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type (SAD) and bipolar disorder I (BD) present a large clinical overlap. In a 1-year follow-up, we aimed to evaluate days to hospitalization (DTH) and predictors of relapse in a SAD-BD cohort of patients.
A 1–year, prospective, naturalistic cohort study considering DTH as primary outcome and incidence of direct and indirect measures of psychopathological compensation as secondary outcomes. Kaplan-Meyer survival analysis with Log-rank Mantel-Cox test compared BD/SAD subgroups as to DTH. After bivariate analyses, Cox regression was performed to assess covariates possibly associated with DTH in diagnostic subgroups.
Of 836 screened patients, 437 were finally included (SAD = 105; BD = 332). Relapse rates in the SAD sample was n = 26 (24.8%) vs. n = 41 (12.3%) in the BD sample (p = 0.002). Mean ± SD DTH were 312.16 ± 10.6 (SAD) vs. 337.62 ± 4.4 (BD) days (p = 0.002). Patients with relapses showed more frequent suicide acts, violent behaviors, and changes in pharmacological treatments (all p < 0.0005) in comparison to patients without relapse. Patients without relapses had significantly higher mean number of treatments at T0 (p = 0.010). Cox regression model relating the association between diagnosis and DTH revealed that BD had higher rates of suicide attempts (HR = 13.0, 95%CI = 4.0–42.0, p < 0.0005), whereas SAD had higher rates of violent behavior during psychotic episodes (HR = 12.0, 95%CI =.3.3-43.5, p > 0.0005).
SAD patients relapse earlier with higher hospitalization rates and violent behavior during psychotic episodes whereas bipolar patients have more suicide attempts. Psychiatric/psychological follow-up visits may delay hospitalizations by closely monitoring symptoms of self- and hetero-aggression.
This study aimed to evaluate the transcriptional changes occurring in isolated perfused mammary alveolar tissue in response to inoculation with S. agalactiae and to identify the most affected biological functions and pathways after 3 h. Four udders taken at slaughter from cows with healthy mammary gland were perfused ex situ with warmed and gassed Tyrode's solution. Mammary alveolar tissue samples were taken from the left fore and rear quarters (IQ-inoculated quarters) before inoculation (hour 0) and at 3 h post inoculation (hpi) and at the same times from control right fore and rear quarters (not inoculated: NIQ). A total of 1756 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between IQ and NIQ at 3 hpi using edgeR package. Within this set of DEGs, 952 were up regulated and mainly involved with innate immune response and inflammatory response, e.g., CD14, CCL5, TLR2, IL-8, SAA3, as well as in transcriptional regulation such as FOS, STAT3 and NFKBIA. Genes down-regulated (804) included those involved with lipid synthesis e.g., APOC2, SCD, FABP3 and FABP4. The most affected pathways were chemokine signaling, Wnt signaling and complement and coagulation cascades, which likely reflects the early stage response of mammary tissue to S. agalactiae infection. No significant gene expression changes were detected by RNA-Seq in the others contrasts. Real time-PCR confirmed the increase in mRNA abundance of immune-related genes: TLR2, TLR4, IL-1β, and IL-10 at 3 hpi between IQ and NIQ. The expression profiles of Casp1 and Bax for any contrasts were unaffected whereas Bcl2 was increased in IQ, which suggests no induction of apoptosis during the first hours after infection. Results provided novel information regarding the early functional pathways and gene network that orchestrate innate immune responses to S. agalactiae infection. This knowledge could contribute to new strategies to enhance resistance to this disease, such as genomic selection.
The elderly population and numbers of nursing homes residents are growing at a rapid pace globally. Uncertainty exists regarding the actual rates of major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder and schizophrenia as previous evidence documenting high rates relies on suboptimal methodology.
To carry out a systematic review and meta-analysis on the prevalence and correlates of MDD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia spectrum disorder among nursing homes residents without dementia.
Major electronic databases were systematically searched from 1980 to July 2017 for original studies reporting on the prevalence and correlates of MDD among nursing homes residents without dementia. The prevalence of MDD in this population was meta-analysed through random-effects modelling and potential sources of heterogeneity were examined through subgroup/meta-regression analyses.
Across 32 observational studies encompassing 13 394 nursing homes residents, 2110 people were diagnosed with MDD, resulting in a pooled prevalence rate of 18.9% (95% CI 14.8–23.8). Heterogeneity was high (I2 = 97%, P≤0.001); no evidence of publication bias was observed. Sensitivity analysis indicated the highest rates of MDD among North American residents (25.4%, 95% CI 18–34.5, P≤0.001). Prevalence of either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia spectrum disorder could not be reliably pooled because of the paucity of data.
MDD is highly prevalent among nursing homes residents without dementia. Efforts towards prevention, early recognition and management of MDD in this population are warranted.
Spineless cactus is a useful feed for various animal species in arid and semiarid regions due to its adaptability to dry and harsh soil, high efficiency of water use and carbohydrates storage. This meta-analysis was carried out to assess the effect of spineless cactus on animal performance, and develop and evaluate equations to predict dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) in meat lambs. Equations for predicting DMI and ADG as a function of animal and diet characteristics were developed using data from eight experiments. The dataset was comprised of 40 treatment means from 289 meat lambs, in which cactus was included from 0 to 75% of the diet dry matter (DM). Accuracy and precision were evaluated by cross-validation using the mean square error of prediction (MSEP), which was decomposed into mean bias, systematic bias and random error; concordance correlation coefficient, which was decomposed into accuracy (Cb) and precision (ρ); and coefficient of determination (R2). In addition, the data set was used to evaluate the predicting accuracy and precision of the main lamb feeding systems (Agricultural and Food Research Council, Small Ruminant Nutritional System, National Research Council and Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) and also two Brazilian studies. The DMI, CP intake (CPI), metabolizable energy (ME) intake and ADG increased when cactus was included up to 499 g/kg DM (P<0.001). In contrast, animals fed high levels of cactus (>500 g/kg DM) had a decreased DMI, CPI and NDF intake, but increased feed efficiency (P<0.001) and similar ADG compared with those without cactus addition. The DMI was positively correlated with initial BW, final BW, concentrate and ADG, while it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion and ME of the diet. On other hand, ADG was positively correlated with DMI, initial and mean BW and concentrate, and it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion. The two developed equations had high accuracy (Cb of 0.95 for DMI and 0.94 for ADG) and the random error of MSEP was 99% for both equations. The precision of both equations was moderate, with R2 values of 0.53 and 0.50 and ρ values of 0.73 and 0.71 for DMI and ADG, respectively. In conclusion, the developed equation to predict DMI had moderate precision and high accuracy, nonetheless, it was more efficient than those reported in the literature. The proposed equations can be a useful alternative to estimate intake and performance of lambs fed cactus.
To assess the reliability and validity of body weight (BW) and body image (BI) perception reported by parents (in children) and by adolescents in a South American population.
Cross-sectional study. BW perception was evaluated by the question, ‘Do you think you/your child are/is: severely wasted, wasted, normal weight, overweight, obese?’ BI perception was evaluated using the Gardner scale. To evaluate reliability, BW and BI perceptions were reported twice, two weeks apart. To evaluate validity, the BW and BI perceptions were compared with WHO BMI Z-scores. Kappa and Kendall’s tau-c coefficients were obtained.
Public and private schools and high schools from six countries of South America (Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil).
Children aged 3–10 years (n 635) and adolescents aged 11–17 years (n 400).
Reliability of BW perception was fair in children’s parents (κ=0·337) and substantial in adolescents (κ=0·709). Validity of BW perception was slight in children’s parents (κ=0·176) and fair in adolescents (κ=0·268). When evaluating BI, most children were perceived by parents as having lower weight. Reliability of BI perception was slight in children’s parents (κ=0·124) and moderate in adolescents (κ=0·599). Validity of BI perception was poor in children’s parents (κ=−0·018) and slight in adolescents (κ=0·023).
Reliability of BW and BI perceptions was higher in adolescents than in children’s parents. Validity of BW perception was good among the parents of the children and adolescents with underweight and normal weight.
The fraction of organic matter present affects the fragmentation behavior of sialoliths; thus, pretherapeutic information on the degree of mineralization is relevant for a correct selection of lithotripsy procedures. This work proposes a methodology for in vivo characterization of salivary calculi in the pretherapeutic context. Sialoliths were characterized in detail by X-ray computed microtomography (μCT) in combination with atomic emission spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Correlative analysis of the same specimens was performed by in vivo and ex vivo helical computed tomography (HCT) and ex vivo μCT. The mineral matter in the sialoliths consisted essentially of apatite (89 vol%) and whitlockite (11 vol%) with average density of 1.8 g/cm3. In hydrated conditions, the mineral mass prevailed with 53 ± 13 wt%, whereas the organic matter, with a density of 1.2 g/cm3, occupied 65 ± 10% of the sialoliths’ volume. A quantitative relation between sialoliths mineral density and X-ray attenuation is proposed for both HCT and μCT.
A third of patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) experience treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Relatively few pharmacological agents have established efficacy for TRD. Therefore, the evaluation of novel treatments for TRD is a pressing priority. Statins are pleiotropic agents and preclinical studies as well as preliminary clinical trials have suggested that these drugs may have antidepressant properties.
To report on a protocol for a 12-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of add-on treatment with simvastatin for patients meeting DSM-5 criteria for MDD who have failed to respond to at least two adequate trials with approved antidepressants. The trial has been registered with Clinicaltrials.gov in (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03435744).
After screening and randomisation to the two parallel arms of the trial, 75 patients will receive simvastatin and 75 patients will receive placebo as adjuncts to treatment as usual. The primary outcome is change in Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale scores from baseline to week 12 and secondary outcomes include changes in scores on the 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Clinical Global Impression scale, the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale and change in body mass index from baseline to week 12. Assessments will take place at screening, baseline, and weeks 2, 4, 8 and 12. Checklists for adverse effects will be undertaken at each visit. Simvastatin (20 mg) will be given once daily. Other secondary outcomes include C-reactive protein and plasma lipids measured at baseline and week 12.
This trial will assess simvastatin's efficacy and tolerability as an add-on treatment option for patients with TRD and provide insights into its putative mechanisms of action.
As the first trial investigating the use of simvastatin as an augmentation strategy in patients with TRD, if the results indicate that adjuvant simvastatin is efficacious in reducing depressive symptoms, it will deliver immediate clinical benefit.
Declaration of interest
I.B.C. and N.H. have given lectures and advice to Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, Lundbeck, Astra Zeneca and Janssen pharmaceuticals for which they or their employing institution have been reimbursed. R.R. and M.M.H. have received educational grants and support for academic meetings from Pfizer, Roche, Novartis and Nabiqasim. A.H.Y. has been commissioned to provide lectures and advice to all major pharmaceutical companies with drugs used in affective and related disorders. A.H.Y. has undertaken investigator-initiated studies from Astra Zeneca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck and Wyeth. None of the companies have a financial interest in this research.
Pullback attractors with forwards unbounded behaviour are to be found in the literature, but not much is known about pullback attractors with each and every section being unbounded. In this paper, we introduce the concept of unbounded pullback attractor, for which the sections are not required to be compact. These objects are addressed in this paper in the context of a class of non-autonomous semilinear parabolic equations. The nonlinearities are assumed to be non-dissipative and, in addition, defined in such a way that the equation possesses unbounded solutions as the initial time goes to -∞, for each elapsed time. Distinct regimes for the non-autonomous term are taken into account. Namely, we address the small non-autonomous perturbation and the asymptotically autonomous cases.
Our aim was to summarize the efficacy and safety of atomoxetine, amphetamines, and methylphenidate in schizophrenia.
We undertook a systematic review, searching PubMed/Scopus/Clinicaltrials.gov for double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies of psychostimulants or atomoxetine in schizophrenia published up to 1 January 2017. A meta-analysis of outcomes reported in two or more studies is presented.
We included 22 studies investigating therapeutic effects of stimulants (k=14) or measuring symptomatic worsening/relapse prediction after stimulant challenge (k=6). Six studies of these two groups plus one additional study investigated biological effects of psychostimulants or atomoxetine. No effect resulted from interventional studies on weight loss (k=1), smoking cessation (k=1), and positive symptoms (k=12), and no improvement was reported with atomoxetine (k=3) for negative symptoms, with equivocal findings for negative (k=6) and mood symptoms (k=2) with amphetamines. Attention, processing speed, working memory, problem solving, and executive functions, among others, showed from no to some improvement with atomoxetine (k=3) or amphetamines (k=6). Meta-analysis did not confirm any effect of stimulants in any symptom domain, including negative symptoms, apart from atomoxetine improving problem solving (k=2, standardized mean difference (SMD)=0.73, 95% CI=0.10–1.36, p=0.02, I2=0%), and trending toward significant improvement in executive functions with amphetamines (k=2, SMD=0.80, 95% CI=−1.68 to +0.08, p=0.08, I2=66%). In challenge studies, amphetamines (k=1) did not worsen symptoms, and methylphenidate (k=5) consistently worsened or predicted relapse. Biological effects of atomoxetine (k=1) and amphetamines (k=1) were cortical activation, without change in β-endorphin (k=1), improved response to antipsychotics after amphetamine challenge (k=2), and an increase of growth hormone–mediated psychosis with methylphenidate (k=2). No major side effects were reported (k=6).
No efficacy for stimulants or atomoxetine on negative symptoms is proven. Atomoxetine or amphetamines may improve cognitive symptoms, while methylphenidate should be avoided in patients with schizophrenia. Insufficient evidence is available to draw firm conclusions.
Background: Evidence suggests that cannabis use may be associated with suicidality in adolescence. Nevertheless, very few studies have assessed this association in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In this cross-sectional survey, we investigated the association of cannabis use and suicidal attempts in adolescents from 21 LMICs, adjusting for potential confounders.
Method: Data from the Global school-based Student Health Survey was analyzed in 86,254 adolescents from 21 countries [mean (SD) age = 13.7 (0.9) years; 49.0% girls]. Suicide attempts during past year and cannabis during past month and lifetime were assessed. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted.
Results: The overall prevalence of past 30-day cannabis use was 2.8% and the age-sex adjusted prevalence varied from 0.5% (Laos) to 37.6% (Samoa), while the overall prevalence of lifetime cannabis use was 3.9% (range 0.5%–44.9%). The overall prevalence of suicide attempts during the past year was 10.5%. Following multivariable adjustment to potential confounding variables, past 30-day cannabis use was significantly associated with suicide attempts (OR = 2.03; 95% CI: 1.42–2.91). Lifetime cannabis use was also independently associated with suicide attempts (OR = 2.30; 95% CI: 1.74–3.04).
Conclusion: Our data indicate that cannabis use is associated with a greater likelihood for suicide attempts in adolescents living in LMICs. The causality of this association should be confirmed/refuted in prospective studies to further inform public health policies for suicide prevention in LMICs.
Intake, digestibility, nitrogen (N) balance, microbial protein synthesis, weight gain, yields of the main commercial cuts and carcass morphometric measurements were evaluated in lambs fed diets containing different levels of chitosan. Sixty Santa Inês crossbred sheep with an average body weight (BW) of 24 ± 2.2 kg were assigned to three treatments (diets containing 0, 136 or 272 mg chitosan/kg BW) in a completely randomized design. There was no effect of chitosan on dry matter (DM) intake. Ingested and retained N showed a quadratic response, with the highest values estimated at the chitosan levels of 142 and 152 mg/kg BW, respectively. Similar to N balance, microbial protein synthesis showed the same quadratic response, in which the level of 136 mg/kg BW resulted in higher synthesis when compared with the other levels. No effect of chitosan was detected on average daily gain, final weight, or carcass variables (hot carcass weight, cold carcass weight, yield of commercial cuts and morphometric measurements of the carcass). Conformation, visceral fat content and fatness of carcasses were also not altered by the use of chitosan. Chitosan improves the digestibility of DM, crude protein and neutral detergent fibre, and increases N balance and microbial protein synthesis but does not change the production performance of feedlot lambs.
Dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) mediate many ecological functions that are important to maintain the ecosystem functioning of terrestrial environments. Although a large amount of literature explores the dung beetle-mediated ecological processes, little is known about the individual contribution from distinct species. Here, we aimed to examine the intra and interspecific variations in dung burial rates performed by two roller dung beetle species (Canthon smaragdulus Fabricius, 1781 and Canthon sulcatus Castelnau, 1840). Furthermore, we evaluated the relationship between dung beetle biomass and dung burial rates. We set up a laboratorial experiment with three treatments (two males, two females, and a couple) and 10 replicates per treatment for each dung beetle species, and dung burial rates were measured after exposing 100 g of mixed pig and human excrement for 48 hours. Our results demonstrate that dung burial rates of males, females, and couples within each species do not differ. However, C. smaragdulus individuals performed a larger dung burial than C. sulcatus individuals did. In addition, we found no effect of individual biomass on the amount of dung burial on intra and interspecific levels. These findings highlight the need for further research considering that distinct species, even from the same genus, may perform different rates of ecological processes, as well as about the importance for considering the beetle biomass when measuring their ecological functions. We call for studies to fill in the knowledge gap about the individual species’ contribution to the maintenance of different dung beetle-mediated ecological processes.
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
Effective integrated weed management in agricultural landscapes depends on the ability to identify and manage processes that drive weed dynamics. The current study reports the effects of grazing management and crop rotation strategies on the seedbank and emerged weed flora in an integrated crop-livestock system (ICLS) experiment during a 12-year period under no-tillage in sub-tropical southern Brazil. During winter, Italian ryegrass cover crops were grazed by sheep: grazing management treatments included two stocking methods (continuous and rotational) and two forage allowances (10 and 20 kg of herbage dry matter available per 100 kg animal live weight). During summer, the crop rotation treatments involved either soybean-maize or soybean-soybean in succession with winter-grazed cover crops. The treatments were part of a factorial randomized complete block design. Treatment effects were evaluated on the weed seedbank and emerged weed flora populations during winter-grazed cover crop and summer crop growth as well as during the harvest phase. The current results demonstrate that crop rotation and grazing management exhibited interactive effects on the determination of weed outcomes in an ICLS. However, overall, compared with moderate forage allowance, high forage allowance during the winter-grazed cover crop caused lower emerged weed flora in subsequent crops (20% reduction during crop growth and 90% reduction at crop harvest) and 48% reduction in seedbank size. High forage allowance promoted more residue from winter-grazed cover crop biomass, which remained during the summer crop phases and probably resulted in a physical barrier to weed emergence.
This Research Paper addresses the hypothesis that the type of dulce de leche formula affects formation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) during production and storage. Milk and sweetened condensed milk are products in which the Maillard reaction (MR) defines important characteristics such as colour and taste. There are few studies on the effects of pH, time, concentration, and sugar type on the formation of HMF or other MR markers in DL. Four formulas (varying in the addition of sodium bicarbonate and the type of sugar) were analysed for moisture, lipid, protein, ash, carbohydrate, water activity (Aw), and soluble solids. We found low variability in physicochemical and compositional attributes, but an elevation of HMF indices throughout the manufacturing. We determined that the addition of glucose and the use of relatively high concentrations of sodium bicarbonate caused these HMF indicator increases. These results inform DL research and production by the dairy industries and the scientific community, and highlight the importance of control in manufacturing.
ὠφελέειν, ἢ μὴ βλάπτειν (Primum non nocere) – Hιppocrates’ principle should still guide daily medical prescribing. Therefore, assessing evidence of psychopharmacologic agents’ safety and harms is essential. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies may provide complementary information about harms of psychopharmacologic medications from both experimental and real-world settings. It is considered that RCTs provide a better control of confounding variables, while observational studies provide evidence from larger samples, longer follow-ups, in more representative samples, which may be more reflective of real-life clinical scenarios. However, this may not always hold true. Moreover, in observational studies, safety data are poorly or inconsistently reported, precluding reliable quantitative synthesis in meta-analyses. Beyond individual studies, meta-analyses, which represent the highest level of ‘evidence’, can be misleading, redundant and of low methodological quality. Overlapping meta-analyses sometimes even reach different conclusions on the same topic. Meta-analyses should be assessed systematically. Descriptive reviews of reviews can be poorly informative. Conversely, ‘umbrella reviews’ can use a quantitative approach to grade evidence. In this editorial, we present the main factors involved in the assessment of psychopharmacologic agents’ harms from individual studies, meta-analyses and umbrella reviews. Study design features, sample size, number of the events of interest, summary effect sizes, p-values, heterogeneity, 95% prediction intervals, confounding factor adjustment and tests of bias (e.g., small-study effects and excess significance) can be combined with other assessment tools, such as AMSTAR and GRADE to create a framework for assessing the credibility of evidence.