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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and psychosis share deficits in social cognition. The insular region has been associated with awareness of self and reality, which may be basic for proper social interactions.
Total and regional insular volume and thickness measurements were obtained from a sample of 30 children and adolescents with ASD, 29 with early onset first-episode psychosis (FEP), and 26 healthy controls (HC). Total, regional, and voxel-level volume and thickness measurements were compared between groups (with correction for multiple comparisons), and the relationship between these measurements and symptom severity was explored.
Compared with HC, a shared volume deficit was observed for the right (but not the left) anterior insula (ASD: p = 0.007, FEP: p = 0.032), and for the bilateral posterior insula: (left, ASD: p = 0.011, FEP: p = 0.033; right, ASD: p = 0.004, FEP: p = 0.028). A voxel-based morphometry (VBM) conjunction analysis showed that ASD and FEP patients shared a gray matter volume and thickness deficit in the left posterior insula. Within patients, right anterior (r = −0.28, p = 0.041) and left posterior (r = −0.29, p = 0.030) insular volumes negatively correlated with the severity of insight deficits, and left posterior insular volume negatively correlated with the severity of ‘autistic-like’ symptoms (r = −0.30, p = 0.028).
The shared reduced volume and thickness in the anterior and posterior regions of the insula in ASD and FEP provides the first tentative evidence that these conditions share structural pathology that may be linked to shared symptomatology.
Patients with psychosis display the so-called ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ bias (JTC) – a tendency for hasty decision-making in probabilistic reasoning tasks. So far, only a few studies have evaluated the JTC bias in ‘at-risk mental state’ (ARMS) patients, specifically in ARMS samples fulfilling ‘ultra-high risk’ (UHR) criteria, thus not allowing for comparisons between different ARMS subgroups.
In the framework of the PREVENT (secondary prevention of schizophrenia) study, a JTC task was applied to 188 patients either fulfilling UHR criteria or presenting with cognitive basic symptoms (BS). Similar data were available for 30 healthy control participants matched for age, gender, education and premorbid verbal intelligence. ARMS patients were identified by the Structured Interview for Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS) and the Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument – Adult Version (SPI-A).
The mean number of draws to decision (DTD) significantly differed between ARM -subgroups: UHR patients made significantly less draws to make a decision than ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. Furthermore, UHR patients tended to fulfil behavioural criteria for JTC more often than BS patients. In a secondary analysis, ARMS patients were much hastier in their decision-making than controls. In patients, DTD was moderately associated with positive and negative symptoms as well as disorganization and excitement.
Our data indicate an enhanced JTC bias in the UHR group compared to ARMS patients with only cognitive BS. This underscores the importance of reasoning deficits within cognitive theories of the developing psychosis. Interactions with the liability to psychotic transitions and therapeutic interventions should be unravelled in longitudinal studies.
The Cosmic Background Explorer, launched November 18, 1989, has nearly completed its first full mapping of the sky with all three of its instruments: a Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) covering 0.1 to 10 mm, a set of Differential Microwave Radiometers (DMR) operating at 3.3, 5.7, and 9.6 mm, and a Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE) spanning 1 to 300 µm in ten bands. A preliminary map of the sky derived from DIRBE data is presented. Initial cosmological implications include: a limit on the Comptonization y parameter of 10−3, on the chemical potential μ parameter of 10−2, a strong limit on the existence of a hot smooth intergalactic medium, and a confirmation that the dipole anisotropy has the spectrum expected from a Doppler shift of a blackbody. There are no significant anisotropies in the microwave sky detected, other than from our own galaxy and a cosθ dipole anisotropy whose amplitude and direction agree with previous data. At shorter wavelengths, the sky spectrum and anisotropies are dominated by emission from ‘local’ sources of emission within our Galaxy and Solar System. Preliminary comparison of IRAS and DIRBE sky brightnesses toward the ecliptic poles shows the IRAS values to be significantly higher than found by DIRBE at 100 μm. We suggest the presence of gain and zero-point errors in the IRAS total brightness data. The spacecraft, instrument designs, and data reduction methods are described.
Bone metabolism fluctuates throughout the reproductive cycle of sows to enable foetal growth and milk production. Although increased bone mineralisation is conceivable in sows during reproduction, a study of mineralisation in function of parity has not been performed. This study evaluated the fluctuations of markers for bone metabolism in primiparous and multiparous sows throughout a reproductive cycle. The experiment included ten multiparous and five primiparous commercial hybrid sows from one herd. The sows were monitored for one reproductive cycle and fed according to commercial dietary standards. Blood samples were taken in the morning before feeding at fixed time intervals before (day -5) and during gestation (insemination (day 0), 21, 42, 63, 84), around parturition (day 108, 112, parturition (115), 118), and during lactation (day 122, 129, 143). Serum osteocalcin (OC) concentration increased in early and mid-gestation (P=0.002) and decreased at the end of gestation (P=0.001), whereas crosslaps (CTX) concentration decreased during early and mid-gestation (P=0.002) and increased towards the end of gestation (P=0.001). Towards the end of lactation serum levels of both markers increased (P=0.007 and 0.013, respectively). For hydroxyproline (HYP) no significant fluctuation in function of the reproductive cycle was detected. Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) concentration increased towards parturition for both primiparous and multiparous sows (P=0.001), whereas during lactation no significant fluctuations in function of the reproductive cycle were found. A parity effect was found for OC and CTX (P<0.010), but not for the other markers. These results demonstrate that bone metabolism differed between primiparous and multiparous sows, although in both groups a similar fluctuation throughout the reproductive cycle was observed.
Undernutrition is prevalent among pregnant women in Cambodia. The provision of fortified dietary supplements is one strategy to help pregnant women meet their nutritional needs. Corn Soya Blend Plus (CSBP) is a widely used prenatal dietary supplement in areas with high rates of undernutrition and food insecurity. However, little is known about its acceptability during pregnancy. The present study aimed to identify factors that affected the acceptability and consumption of CSBP supplements among pregnant women.
Women completed a structured interview designed to provide information on facilitators of and barriers to utilization. In addition, six focus groups were conducted with a subset of women (n 70) to further explore attitudes, perceptions and experiences related to CSBP use.
Two districts in Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia.
Pregnant women (n 288) participating in a cluster-randomized trial of CSBP.
The acceptability of CSBP was influenced by sensory attributes, family support, peer influences, and attitudes related to diet, nutritional status and weight gain in pregnancy. Attaining adequate nutrition was considered less important than other concerns during pregnancy, particularly anxiety related to the costs of delivery and postpartum care. Acceptance was lower among new mothers due to fears of weight gain. Health benefits were common reasons for continued use and minor side-effects, such as nausea, were not major barriers to consumption.
CSBP was generally well accepted in this population. However, organoleptic factors and perceptions regarding nutrition and weight gain in pregnancy, particularly for first-time mothers, were barriers to increasing acceptance among Cambodian women.
Sows housed in groups have to move through their pen to fulfil their behavioural and physiological needs such as feeding and resting. In addition to causing pain and discomfort, lameness may restrict the ability of sows to fulfil such needs. The aim of our study was to investigate the extent to which the mobility of sows is affected by different degrees of lameness. Mobility was measured as the sow’s willingness or capability to cover distances. Feed-restricted hybrid sows with different gait scores were subjected to a feed reward collection test in which they had to walk distances to obtain subsequent rewards. In all, 29 group-housed sows at similar gestation stage (day 96.6±7 s.d.) were visually recorded for gait and classified as non-lame, mildly lame, moderately lame or severely lame. All sows received 2.6 kg of standard commercial gestation feed per day. The test arena consisted of two feeding locations separated from each other by a Y-shaped middle barrier. Feed rewards were presented at the two feeders in turn, using both light and sound cues to signal the availability of a new feed reward. Sows were individually trained during 5 non-consecutive days for 10 min/day with increasing barrier length (range: 0 to 3.5 m) each day. After training, sows were individually tested once per day on 3 non-consecutive days with the maximum barrier length such that they had to cover 9.3 m to walk from one feeder to the other. The outcome variable was the number of rewards collected in a 15-min time span. Non-lame and mildly lame sows obtained more rewards than moderately lame and severely lame sows (P<0.01). However, no significant difference was found between non-lame and mildly lame sows (P=0.69), nor between moderately lame and severely lame sows (P=1.00). This feed reward collection test indicates that both moderately lame and severely lame sows are limited in their combined ability and willingness to walk, but did not reveal an effect of mild lameness on mobility. These findings suggest that moderately and more severely lame sows, but not mildly lame sows, might suffer from reduced access to valuable resources in group housing systems.
Discovery of ultra-compact dwarfs (UCDs) in the past 15 years blurs the once thought clear division between classic globular clusters (GCs) and early-type galaxies. The intermediate nature of UCDs, which are larger and more massive than typical GCs but more compact than typical dwarf galaxies, has triggered hot debate on whether UCDs should be considered galactic in origin or merely the most extreme GCs. Previous studies of various scaling relations, stellar populations and internal dynamics did not give an unambiguous answer to the primary origin of UCDs. In this contribution, we present the first ever detailed study of global dynamics of 97 UCDs (rh ≳ 10 pc) associated with the central cD galaxy of the Virgo cluster, M87. We found that UCDs follow a different radial number density profile and different rotational properties from GCs. The orbital anisotropies of UCDs are tangentially-biased within ~ 40 kpc of M87 and become radially-biased with radius further out. In contrast, the blue GCs, which have similar median colors to our sample of UCDs, become more tangentially-biased at larger radii beyond ~ 40 kpc. Our analysis suggests that most UCDs in M87 are not consistent with being merely the most luminous and extended examples of otherwise normal GCs. The radially-biased orbital structure of UCDs at large radii is in general agreement with the scenario that most UCDs originated from the tidally threshed dwarf galaxies.
Most gait-scoring scales for pigs have a limited number of categories, supposedly to improve repeatability. However, reducing the number of categories could lead to loss of information if the observers’ discriminative capacities are underused. With a recently estimated within-herd prevalence of sow lameness of 8.8% to 16.9% in the European Union and the associated losses, the availability of reliable tools for the timely detection of initial cases warrants attention. This study investigated the intra- and inter-observer repeatability (intra-OR and inter-OR) of three gait-scoring scales for sows: a continuous ‘tagged’ visual analogue scale (tVAS, measured in mm), a 5-point and a 2-point ordinal scale (5P and 2P), all with the same descriptors. Veterinary medicine students (n=108) were trained to use the scales and then asked to score 90 videos (30 per scale) of sows with normal and abnormal gait. Thirty-six videos were shown once and 18 were randomly shown three times, of which one mirrored horizontally. The students’ opinions on the scales were also collected. Intra- and inter-OR were higher with the tVAS than the 2P scale (inter-OR: 0.73 v. 0.60; P<0.05. Intra-OR: 0.80 v. 0.67; P<0.05). Intra-OR was higher with the 5P (0.81) than the 2P scale (0.67; P<0.05). For all three scales, repeatabilities were lower (P<0.05) for non-lame sows (gait score of ⩽45 mm on the tVAS) than for sows showing some signs of lameness (gait score>45 mm). Video order (first 45 v. last 45 clips), mirroring, users’ opinions on the scales, and previous declared experience in handling pigs or scoring lameness in other species had no effect on repeatabilities. Correlations between the students’ and experts’ scores were high (tVAS=0.92; 5P=0.91; 2P=0.88) but the association for the 2P was not linear and the frequency distribution showed lower correlations for a group of students. This study confirms recent evidence that it is possible to design high-resolution gait-scoring scales that do not reduce observer repeatability. Visual gait-scoring scales with fewer than five categories are likely to entail loss of information on lameness in individual sows.
Directing protein and energy sources towards lactation is crucial to optimise milk production in sows but how this influences colostrum yield (CY) remains unknown. The aim of this study was to identify associations between CY and the sow’s use of nutrient resources. We included 37 sows in the study that were all housed, fed and managed similarly. Parity, back fat change (ΔBF), CY and performance parameters were measured. We obtained sow serum samples 3 to 4 days before farrowing and at D1 of lactation following overnight fasting. These were analysed for non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), urea, creatinine, (iso)butyrylcarnitine (C4) and immunoglobulins G (IgG) and A (IgA). The colostrum samples collected 3, 6 and 24 h after the birth of the first piglet were analysed for their nutrient and immunoglobulins content. The technical parameters associated with CY were parity group (a; parities 1 to 3=value 0 v. parities 4 to 7=value 1) and ΔBF D85-D109 of gestation (mm) (b): CY (g)=4290–842a–113b. (R2=0.41, P<0.001). The gestation length (P<0.001) and the ΔBF between D109 and D1 of lactation (P=0.050) were identified as possible underlying factors of the parity group. The metabolic parameters associated with CY were C4 at 3 to 4 days before farrowing (a), and 10logC4 (b) and 10logNEFA (c) at D1 of lactation: CY (g)=3582–1604a+1007b−922c (R2=0.39, P=0.001). The colostrum composition was independent of CY. The negative association between CY and ΔBF D85-D109 of gestation could not be further explained based on our data. Sows that were catabolic 1 week prior to farrowing seemed unable to produce colostrum to their full potential. This was especially the case for sows with parities 4 to 7, although they had a similar feed intake, litter birth weight and colostrum composition compared with parities 1 to 3 sows. In conclusion, this study showed that parity and the use of body fat and protein reserves during late gestation were associated with CY, indicating that proper management of the sow’s body condition during late gestation could optimise the intrinsic capacity of the sow’s CY.
The use of whole-room calorimetry (WRC) in young children can increase our understanding of children's energy balance. However, studies using WRC in young children are rare due to concerns about its feasibility. To assess the feasibility of WRC in young children, forty children, aged 4–6 years, were asked to follow a graded activity protocol while in a WRC. In addition, six children participated in two additional resting protocols to examine the effect of diet-induced thermogenesis on resting energy expenditure (REE) measures and the reliability of REE measurement. Refusals to participate and data loss were quantified as measures of practical utility, and REE measured after an overnight fast and after a 90-min fast were compared. In addition, both were compared to predicted BMR values using the Schofield equation. Our results showed that thirty (78·9 %) participants had acceptable data for all intensities of the activity protocol. The REE values measured after a 90-min fast (5·07 (sd 1·04) MJ/d) and an overnight fast (4·73 (sd 0·61) MJ/d) were not significantly different from each other (P= 0·472). However, both REE after an overnight fast and a 90-min fast were significantly higher than predicted BMR (3·96 (sd 0·18) MJ/d) using the Schofield equation (P= 0·024 and 0·042, respectively). We conclude that, with a developmentally sensitive approach, WRC is feasible and can be standardised adequately even in 4- to 6-year-old children. In addition, the effect of a small standardised breakfast, approximately 90 min before REE measurements, is likely to be small.
Aluminum-doped zinc oxide (ZnOx:Al) films have been deposited on a moving glass substrate by a high throughput metalorganic chemical vapor deposition process at atmospheric pressure. Thin (< 250 nm) ZnOx:Al films have a poor crystalline quality, due to a small grain size and the presence of different crystallographic orientations. The crystalline quality improves with increasing film thickness (from 50 nm to 1000 nm), resulting in a lower value of resistivity (from 100 Ohm cm to 1·10-3 Ohm cm, respectively). We have investigated the variation in the films’ conductivity and transparency induced by a post-deposition exposure to a He/H2 atmospheric plasma. The resistivity of thin (< 250 nm) films is found to decreased sharply from 100 Ohm cm to about 4·10-3 Ohm cm by a short (∼ seconds) plasma exposure, while the resistivity of thicker films remains unaffected.
Meat and milk produced by ruminants are important agricultural products and are major sources of protein for humans. Ruminant production is of considerable economic value and underpins food security in many regions of the world. However, the sector faces major challenges because of diminishing natural resources and ensuing increases in production costs, and also because of the increased awareness of the environmental impact of farming ruminants. The digestion of feed and the production of enteric methane are key functions that could be manipulated by having a thorough understanding of the rumen microbiome. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies and bioinformatics are transforming our understanding of complex microbial ecosystems, including the gastrointestinal tract of mammals. The application of these techniques to the rumen ecosystem has allowed the study of the microbial diversity under different dietary and production conditions. Furthermore, the sequencing of genomes from several cultured rumen bacterial and archaeal species is providing detailed information about their physiology. More recently, metagenomics, mainly aimed at understanding the enzymatic machinery involved in the degradation of plant structural polysaccharides, is starting to produce new insights by allowing access to the total community and sidestepping the limitations imposed by cultivation. These advances highlight the promise of these approaches for characterising the rumen microbial community structure and linking this with the functions of the rumen microbiota. Initial results using high-throughput culture-independent technologies have also shown that the rumen microbiome is far more complex and diverse than the human caecum. Therefore, cataloguing its genes will require a considerable sequencing and bioinformatic effort. Nevertheless, the construction of a rumen microbial gene catalogue through metagenomics and genomic sequencing of key populations is an attainable goal. A rumen microbial gene catalogue is necessary to understand the function of the microbiome and its interaction with the host animal and feeds, and it will provide a basis for integrative microbiome–host models and inform strategies promoting less-polluting, more robust and efficient ruminants.
The toxicity and oxidative stress responses of 19-day old Arabidopsis seedlings induced by U (66 μM) and Cd (20 μM) alone or in a binary mixture set-up (equitoxic mixture) are studied in function of time. After 48h a significant decrease in root and shoot growth and a simultaneous increase in anthocyanin production was evident in all treated plants.
Production of O−2 or H2O2 was visualized by staining freshly harvested leaves with nitrobluetetrazolium or diaminobezidine, respectively. With this method production of O−2 was only significantly measurable after 168 h treatment which coincides with a significant decrease in biomass production and probably also plant cell death. For Cd treated plants a significant increase in H2O2 production was measurable from 24h onwards. In contrast, a similar H2O2 production could not be measured in U or U + Cd treated plants. Both water and lipophilic soluble antioxidants significantly increased in U treated plants after 48 h. These high antioxidant levels might detoxify potential H2O2 produced in the U treated plants. In contrast for Cd treated plants only after 168h a significant increase in water soluble antioxidants was measured whereas no difference in the lipophilic fraction was visible.
One of the tasks of the European Commission (EC) under the Euratom Treaty is to collect, validate and provide information about the levels of radioactivity in the environment. In order to offer to the public a more balanced view on the annual dose that it may receive from environmental radioactivity, a few years ago we decided to explore the feasibility of preparing a European Atlas of Natural Radiation. By now 21 European countries have already provided indoor radon data, and efforts continue to extend this information to more countries. In addition, we started to investigate the feasibility of a “geogenic radon map”, which would show “what earth delivers” in terms of potential radon hazard. In this paper we present the current state of the art of preparing the Atlas and provide detailed statistics for the results already obtained. The current efforts are still focussed on radon, but also progress on other components, such as cosmic rays and terrestrial gamma radiation, will be presented and discussed.
N, N-dimethylglycine (DMG) is a tertiary amino acid that naturally occurs as an intermediate metabolite in choline-to-glycine metabolism. The objective of the present trial was to evaluate tolerance, safety and bioaccumulation of dietary DMG in broilers when supplemented at 1 g and 10 g Na-DMG/kg. A feeding trial was conducted using 480 1-d-old broiler chicks that were randomly allocated to twenty-four pens and fed one of three test diets added with 0, 1 or 10 g Na-DMG/kg during a 39 d growth period. Production performance was recorded to assess tolerance and efficacy of the supplement. At the end of the trial, toxicity was evaluated by means of haematology, plasma biochemistry and histopathology of liver, kidney and heart (n 12), whereas bioaccumulation was assessed on breast meat, liver, blood, kidney and adipose tissue (n 8). Carcass traits were similar between the control and 1 g Na-DMG/kg feed groups (P>0·05), but the feed:gain ratio was significantly improved at 1 g Na-DMG/kg feed compared with the control or the 10-fold dose (P = 0·008). Histological examinations showed no pathological effects and results of haematology and plasma biochemistry revealed similar values between the test groups (P>0·05). Bioaccumulation occurred at the 10-fold dose, but the resulting DMG content in breast meat was comparable with, for instance, wheat bran and much lower than uncooked spinach. In conclusion, DMG at 1 g Na-DMG/kg improved the feed:gain ratio in broilers without DMG being accumulated in consumer parts. Furthermore, dietary supplementation with DMG up to 10 g Na-DMG/kg did not induce toxicity or impaired performance in broilers.
The well-known recurrent nova T Pyx has brightened by 7 magnitudes, starting on 2011 April 14, its first eruption since 1966. T Pyx is unique amongst recurrent novæ in being surrounded by a nebula formed of material ejected during previous eruptions. The latest eruption therefore offers the rare opportunity to observe a light echo sweeping through the existing shell, and a new one forming. The sudden exposure of the existing shell to high-energy light is expected to result in a change of the dust morphology as well as in the part destruction of molecules. We observe this process in the near- and mid-IR during several epochs using ESO's VLT instruments Sinfoni, Visir and Isaac. Unfortunately, in the data analysed so far we only have a tentative detection in Brα from the shell, so might in the end have to be content with upper limits for the emission from the various molecular bands and ionised lines.
A study is presented on nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) growth on different substrates, including silicon with and without different metallic interlayers, on aluminum nitride (AlN), and on a Si/AlN-based cantilever. It is shown that non-diamond substrate treatment prior to NCD growth is important for achieving high nucleation densities. AFM measurements reveal that an additional Si surface pretreatment with hydrogen plasma increases the nucleation density by a factor of four. A similar effect was indirectly demonstrated with acidic pretreatment of AlN. In both cases it is believed that the surface roughening is the key factor for explaining this phenomenon.