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Pulmonary hypertension is a complex and progressive condition that is either idiopathic or heritable, or associated with one or multiple health conditions, with or without congenital or acquired cardiovascular disease. Recent developments have tremendously increased the armamentarium of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in children and young adults with pulmonary hypertension that is still associated with a high morbidity and mortality. These modalities include non-invasive imaging, pharmacotherapy, interventional and surgical procedures, and supportive measures. The optimal, tailored diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for pulmonary hypertension in the young are rapidly evolving but still face enormous challenges: Healthcare providers need to take the patient’s age, development, disease state, and family concerns into account when initiating advanced diagnostics and treatment. Therefore, there is a need for guidance on core and advanced medical training in paediatric pulmonary hypertension. The Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology working group “pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and transplantation” has produced this document as an expert consensus statement; however, all recommendations must be considered and applied in the context of the local and national infrastructure and legal regulations.
The German Twin Family Panel (TwinLife) is a German longitudinal study of monozygotic and dizygotic same-sex twin pairs and their families that was designed to investigate the development of social inequalities over the life course. The study covers an observation period from approximately 2014 to 2023. The target population of the sample are reared-together twins of four different age cohorts that were born in 2009/2010 (cohort 1), in 2003/2004 (cohort 2), in 1997/1998 (cohort 3) and between 1990 and 1993 (cohort 4). In the first wave, the study included data on 4097 twin families. Families were recruited in all parts of Germany so that the sample comprises the whole range of the educational, occupational and income structure. As of 2019, two face-to-face, at-home interviews and two telephone interviews have been conducted. Data from the first home and telephone interviews are already available free of charge as a scientific use-file from the GESIS data archive. This report aims to provide an overview of the study sample and design as well as constructs that are unique in TwinLife in comparison with previous twin studies — such as an assessment of cognitive abilities or information based on the children’s medical records and report cards. In addition, major findings based on the data already released are displayed, and future directions of the study are presented and discussed.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
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 COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Feed represents a substantial proportion of production costs in the dairy industry and is a useful target for improving overall system efficiency and sustainability. The objective of this study was to develop methodology to estimate the economic value for a feed efficiency trait and the associated methane production relevant to Canada. The approach quantifies the level of economic savings achieved by selecting animals that convert consumed feed into product while minimizing the feed energy used for inefficient metabolism, maintenance and digestion. We define a selection criterion trait called Feed Performance (FP) as a 1 kg increase in more efficiently used feed in a first parity lactating cow. The impact of a change in this trait on the total lifetime value of more efficiently used feed via correlated selection responses in other life stages is then quantified. The resulting improved conversion of feed was also applied to determine the resulting reduction in output of emissions (and their relative value based on a national emissions value) under an assumption of constant methane yield, where methane yield is defined as kg methane/kg dry matter intake (DMI). Overall, increasing the FP estimated breeding value by one unit (i.e. 1 kg of more efficiently converted DMI during the cow’s first lactation) translates to a total lifetime saving of 3.23 kg in DMI and 0.055 kg in methane with the economic values of CAD $0.82 and CAD $0.07, respectively. Therefore, the estimated total economic value for FP is CAD $0.89/unit. The proposed model is robust and could also be applied to determine the economic value for feed efficiency traits within a selection index in other production systems and countries.
The use of additives such as ractopamine (Rac) in pregnant sows during early-mid pregnancy is an alternative to increase foetal and progeny growth and development. However, Rac supplementation in finishing pigs can lead to behavioural and physiological changes similar to the typical stress responses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with Rac in pregnant sows from day 25 to 50 of gestation (pre-hyperplastic stage) on piglet’s vitality, blood parameters, number, diameter and perimeter of muscle fibres in semitendinosus muscle and developmental characteristics of piglets at birth to weaning. Forty-one hybrid sows were divided into three dietary treatments: (1) control diet without Rac (control), (2) addition of 10 mg/kg of Rac (Rac10) and (3) addition of 20 mg/kg of Rac (Rac20). Higher numbers of low-vitality piglets (P<0.05) were observed in Rac-fed sows, regardless of dose, compared with the control group. Very low-density lipoprotein levels were lower in the Rac10 group when compared with the Rac20 group at day 21. Haematocrit was greater, and the mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration was lower in piglets from Rac-fed sows. No significant statistical differences were detected regarding piglets body weight, average daily gain, blood gasometry, complete blood count and muscle fibre measurements in semitendinosus muscle. The use of Rac in pregnant sows reduced the vitality parameters of piglets but did not improve the performance from birth until weaning and did not negatively influence the haematological parameter and lipid metabolism.
Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
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.
Subglacial tills play an important role in glacier dynamics but are difficult to characterize in situ. Amplitude Variation with Angle (AVA) analysis of seismic reflection data can distinguish between stiff tills and deformable tills. However, AVA analysis in mountain glacier environments can be problematic: reflections can be obscured by Rayleigh wave energy scattered from crevasses, and complex basal topography can impede the location of reflection points in 2-D acquisitions. We use a forward model to produce challenging synthetic seismic records in order to test the efficacy of AVA in crevassed and geometrically complex environments. We find that we can distinguish subglacial till types in moderately crevassed environments, where ‘moderate’ depends on crevasse spacing and orientation. The forward model serves as a planning tool, as it can predict AVA success or failure based on characteristics of the study glacier. Applying lessons from the forward model, we perform AVA on a seismic dataset collected from Taku Glacier in Southeast Alaska in March 2016. Taku Glacier is a valley glacier thought to overlay thick sediment deposits. A near-offset polarity reversal confirms that the tills are deformable.
Understanding the peculiar properties of Ultra Diffuse Galaxies (UDGs) via spectroscopic analysis is a challenging task that is now becoming feasible. The advent of 10m-class telescopes and high sensitivity instruments is enabling the gathering of high quality spectra even for the faintest systems. In addition, advances in the modelling of stellar populations, stellar libraries, and full-spectral fitting codes are allowing the recovery of the stellar content shaping those spectra with unprecedented reliability. In this contribution we report on the extensive tests we have carried out using the inversion code STECKMAP. The similarities between the Star Formation Histories (SFH) recovered from STECKMAP (applied to high-quality spectra) and deep Colour-Magnitude diagrams fitting (resolved stars) in two Local Group dwarf galaxies (LMC and LeoA) are remarkable, demonstrating the impressive performance of STECKMAP. We exploit the capabilities of STECKMAP and perform one of the most complete and reliable characterisations of the stellar component of UDGs to date using deep spectroscopic data. We measure radial and rotation velocities, SFHs and mean population parameters, such as ages and metallicities, for a sample of five UDG candidates in the Coma cluster. From the radial velocities, we confirm the Coma membership of these galaxies. We find that their rotation properties, if detected at all, are compatible with dwarf-like galaxies. The SFHs of the UDG are dominated by old (∼ 7 Gyr), metal-poor ([M/H] ∼ -1.1) and alpha-enhanced ([Mg/Fe]∼ 0.4) populations followed by a smooth or episodic decline which halted ∼ 2 Gyr ago, possibly a sign of cluster-induced quenching. We find no obvious correlation between individual SFH shapes and any UDG morphological properties. The recovered stellar properties for UDGs are similar to those found for DDO 44, a local UDG analogue resolved into stars. We conclude that the UDGs in our sample are extended dwarfs whose properties are likely the outcome of both internal processes, such as bursty SFHs and/or high-spin haloes, as well as environmental effects within the Coma cluster.
Values of ammonia concentration in rumen liquid have been used as an index of nitrogen requirements of rumen microflora even though ammonia requirements seem to depend on the type of diet. Cellulollitic flora mainly use ammonia as N source, while bacteria that ferment non-structural carbohydrates use either ammonia or protein nitrogen. The aim of this experiment was to establish the minimum concentration of ammonia to optimise microbial synthesis in the rumen of steers fed concentrate-based diets.
Reproductive success is a key component of lifetime performance in dairy cows but is difficult to predict due to interactions with productive function. Accordingly, this study introduces a dynamic model to simulate the productive and reproductive performance of a cow during her lifetime. The cow model consists of an existing productive function model (GARUNS) which is coupled to a new reproductive function model (RFM). The GARUNS model simulates the individual productive performance of a dairy cow throughout her lifespan. It provides, with a daily time step, changes in BW and composition, fetal growth, milk yield and composition and food intake. Genetic-scaling parameters are incorporated to scale individual performance and simulate differences within and between breeds. GARUNS responds to the discrete event signals ‘conception’ and ‘death’ (of embryo or fetus) generated by RFM. In turn, RFM responds to the GARUNS outputs concerning the cow’s energetic status: the daily total processed metabolizable energy per kg BW (TPEW) and the net energy balance (EB). Reproductive function model models the reproductive system as a compartmental system transitioning between nine competence stages: prepubertal (PRPB), anestrous (ANST), anovulatory (ANOV), pre-ovulating (PREO), ovulating (OVUL), post-ovulating (PSTO), luteinizing (LUTZ), luteal (LUTL) and gestating (GEST). The transition from PRPB to ANST represents the start of reproductive activity at puberty. The cyclic path through ANST, PREO, OVUL, PSTO, LUTZ and LUTL forms the regime of ovulatory cycles, whereas ANOV and GEST are transient stages that interrupt this regime. Anovulatory refers explicitly to a stage in which ovulation cannot occur (i.e. interrupted cyclicity), whereas ANST is a pivotal stage within ovulatory cycles. Reproductive function model generates estradiol and progesterone hormonal profiles consistent with reference profiles derived from literature. Cyclicity is impacted by the GARUNS output EB and clearance of estradiol is impacted by TPEW. A farming system model was designed to describe different farm protocols of heat detection, insemination, feeding (amount and energy density), drying-off and culling. Results of model simulation (10 000 simulations of individual cows over 5000 days lifetime period, with randomly drawn genetic-scaling parameters and standard diet) are consistent with literature for reproductive performance. This model allows simulation of deviations in reproductive trajectories along physiological stages of the cow reproductive cycle. It thus provides the basis for evaluation of the relative importance of different factors affecting fertility at individual cow and herd levels across different breeds and management environments.
The use of natural clays for the removal of dyes from wastewater, an important part of environmental remediation, is desirable due, not least, to their low cost. Palygorskite (PAL), a rigid-structure clay, is a good candidate for use in the elimination of industrial effluents, based on its exceptional adsorptive properties. Recently, a new palygorskite deposit has been discovered in Cuba and its use in the adsorption of dyes has not yet been explored in detail. In the present study, the use of unmodified natural Cuban palygorskite as a host for dyes was evaluated. Congo red (CR) and methylene blue (MB) were the anionic and cationic dyes tested, respectively, because of their wide use and toxicity to the environment. Several physical-chemical parameters were studied in order to establish the best experimental conditions under which to achieve the greatest dye load per gram of clay. Natural mixtures with different percentages of montmorillonite were also tested to evaluate their effect on the adsorption of the dyes. The results indicated that at pH values of ~7–9 and an initial dye concentration of 0.1 mg mL–1, the process was efficient. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis proved the surface adsorption of both dyes on the clays. The main interactions involved in the clay-dye system were electrostatic forces and H-bonds. Adsorption of CR seemed to be controlled fundamentally by the palygorskite phase. Such results support the use of this natural clay as an efficient host for the removal of MB and CR from wastewater.
We aimed to assess the potential of the characterization of association among weed species as a tool to understand weed occurrence for further supporting long-term management programs. After a sequence of summer crops, which included irrigated rice and sorghum, the experimental area was submitted to subsoiling, limestone was applied, and ryegrass was planted in the winter season. Six months later, an ACCase-inhibitor herbicide was used to select only non-grassweed species. Field survey was carried out on 100 quadrats with 0.5-m width that were randomly sampled. Plant species were organized in 2 × 2 contingency tables. The results of the calculated chi-squares were compared to the respective tables, and results were presented as a paired chi-square matrix. The species–area curve was also obtained. The relative occurrence of species was determined by its frequency and presented as a wordcloud. The network analysis was obtained by using the Fruchterman–Reingold layout. The hypothesis of plant association aiming survival in arable fields was validated. The methodology of plant association based on the chi-square test was applicable to arable fields, where weed species (usually competitor plant types) occur in clusters. From a practical point of view, preference should be given to herbicides that are efficient on most species within a given cluster.
This study assessed milk productivity, demographic characteristics and workload distribution on a single high-yield dairy ewe farm in Spain (Avila, Spain; continental climate, latitude of 40.90 N, altitude of 900 m) over a 7-year period considering a transition from a herd management system involving five lambings per year (5LY) to a system involving 10 lambings per year (10LY). The 5LY system was practiced on the farm from 2010 to 2012 and the 10LY system from 2014 to 2015, with 2009 and 2013 being considered transition years. During this period, 27 415 lactations were recorded from an average of 3746 Lacaune sheep/year. Several productivity parameters were higher in 2014 to 2015 than in 2010 to 2012: milk yield/lactation (370±156 v. 349±185 l), lactation length (218±75 v. 192±75 days) and dry period length (53.5±38.3 v. 69.1±34.8 days) (all P<0.0001). During 2014 to 2015, investment in new lambing facilities was possible, workload was distributed more uniformly throughout the year, workload per worker was smaller, rate of ewe culling was lower (35.39±0.53% v. 42.51±7.51%), ewe longevity was greater and higher-order lactations were more numerous (P<0.0001). On the other hand, during 2010 to 2012, daily production was higher (1.73±1.66 v. 1.70±0.62 l/day; P=0.038), the interlambing period was shorter (283±50 v. 302±44 days; P<0.0001) and lambings/ewe per year were greater (1.42±0.01 v. 1.30±0.01; P<0.05). These results suggest that a 10LY herd management system can be compatible with profitability, productivity and good animal and worker’s welfare on a high-yield dairy farm, and may even be associated with better outcomes than a 5LY system.
Extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) are emerging worldwide. Contact precautions are recommended for known ESBL-E carriers to control the spread of ESBL-E within hospitals.
This study quantified the acquisition of ESBL-E rectal carriage among patients in Dutch hospitals, given the application of contact precautions.
Data were used from 2 cluster-randomized studies on isolation strategies for ESBL-E: (1) the SoM study, performed in 14 Dutch hospitals from 2011 through 2014 and (2) the R-GNOSIS study, for which data were limited to those collected in a Dutch hospital in 2014. Perianal cultures were obtained, either during ward-based prevalence surveys (SoM), or at admission and twice weekly thereafter (R-GNOSIS). In both studies, contact precautions were applied to all known ESBL-E carriers. Estimates for acquisition of ESBL-E were based on the results of admission and discharge cultures from patients hospitalized for more than 2 days (both studies) and a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) model, applied to all patients hospitalized (R-GNOSIS).
The absolute risk of acquisition of ESBL-E rectal carriage ranged from 2.4% to 2.9% with an ESBL-E acquisition rate of 2.8 to 3.8 acquisitions per 1,000 patient days. In addition, 28% of acquisitions were attributable to patient-dependent transmission, and the per-admission reproduction number was 0.06.
The low ESBL-E acquisition rate in this study demonstrates that it is possible to control the nosocomial transmission of ESBL in a low-endemic, non-ICU setting where Escherichia coli is the most prevalent ESBL-E and standard and contact precautions are applied for known ESBL-E carriers.
Bòbila Madurell-Can Gambús is the most emblematic Neolithic cemetery in the northeastern Iberian peninsula, with a total of 179 documented pit burials. Artifacts made of exogenous raw materials, such as honey flint (southeastern France), jadeite, amphibolite, eclogite and nephrite (Alps and the Pyrenees), variscite (coast of northeastern Iberia), and even obsidian (Sardinia), have been found in the burials. The presence of these raw materials is not exclusive to this necropolis, but they have also been documented in many of the graves of this region during this period. The literature has singled out this funerary practice as the Pit Burials cultural horizon. However, until now the chronology of this funerary practice has not been fully defined, so it was difficult to explain the development of the chronology and the networks through which the materials reached northeast Iberia. New, unpublished radiocarbon (14C) dates of Bòbila Madurell-Can Gambús are presented, as well as the results of different statistical analyses and Bayesian modeling that specify its chronology. Through the contribution of new data on the chronology of Bòbila Madurell-Can Gambús new clues regarding the temporal dynamics of pit burials and the raw materials exchange networks associated with them are presented.