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The Australian prime lamb industry is seeking to improve lean meat yield (LMY) as a means to increasing efficiency and profitability across the whole value chain. The LMY of prime lambs is affected by genetics and on-farm nutrition from birth to slaughter and is the total muscle weight relative to the total carcass weight. Under the production conditions of south eastern Australia, many ewe flocks experience a moderate reduction in nutrition in mid to late pregnancy due to a decrease in pasture availability and quality. Correcting nutritional deficits throughout gestation requires the feeding of supplements. This enables the pregnant ewe to meet condition score (CS) targets at lambing. However, limited resources on farm often mean it is difficult to effectively manage nutritional supplementation of the pregnant ewe flock. The impact of reduced ewe nutrition in mid to late pregnancy on the body composition of finishing lambs and subsequent carcass composition remains unknown. This study investigated the effect of moderately reducing ewe nutrition in mid to late gestation on the body composition of finishing lambs and carcass composition at slaughter on a commercial scale. Multiple born lambs to CS2.5 target ewes were lighter at birth and weaning, had lower feedlot entry and exit weights with lower pre-slaughter and carcass weights compared with CS3.0 and CS3.5 target ewes. These lambs also had significantly lower eye muscle and fat depth when measured by ultrasound prior to slaughter and carcass subcutaneous fat depth measured 110 mm from the spine along the 12th rib (GR 12th) and at the C-site (C-fat). Although carcasses were ~5% lighter, results showed that male progeny born to ewes with reduced nutrition from day 50 gestation to a target CS2.5 at lambing had a higher percentage of lean tissue mass as measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and a lower percentage of fat during finishing and at slaughter, with the multiple born progeny from CS3.0 and CS3.5 target ewes being similar. These data suggest lambs produced from multiple bearing ewes that have had a moderate reduction in nutrition during pregnancy are less mature. This effect was also independent of lamb finishing system. The 5% reduction in carcass weight observed in this study would have commercially relevant consequences for prime lamb producers, despite a small gain in LMY.
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.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who experience acute exacerbations usually require treatment with oral steroids or antibiotics, depending on the etiology of the exacerbation. Current management is based on clinician's assessment and judgement, which lacks diagnostic accuracy and results in overtreatment. A test to guide these decisions in primary care is in development. We developed an early decision model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this treatment stratification test in the primary care setting in the United Kingdom.
A combined decision tree and Markov model was developed of COPD progression and the exacerbation care pathway. Sensitivity analysis was carried out to guide technology development and inform evidence generation requirements.
The base case test strategy cost GBP 423 (USD 542) less and resulted in a health gain of 0.15 quality-adjusted life-years per patient compared with not testing. Testing reduced antibiotic prescriptions by 30 percent, potentially lowering the risk of antimicrobial resistance developing. In sensitivity analysis, the result depended on the clinical effects of treating patients according to the test result, as opposed to treating according to clinical judgement alone, for which there is limited evidence. The results were less sensitive to the accuracy of the test.
Testing may be cost-saving in primary care, but this requires robust evidence on whether test-guided treatment is effective. High quality evidence on the clinical utility of testing is required for early modeling of diagnostic tests generally.
Campylobacteriosis, the most frequent bacterial enteric disease, shows a clear yet unexplained seasonality. The study purpose was to explore the influence of seasonal fluctuation in the contamination of and in the behaviour exposures to two important sources of Campylobacter on the seasonality of campylobacteriosis. Time series analyses were applied to data collected through an integrated surveillance system in Canada in 2005–2010. Data included sporadic, domestically-acquired cases of Campylobacter jejuni infection, contamination of retail chicken meat and of surface water by C. jejuni, and exposure to each source through barbequing and swimming in natural waters. Seasonal patterns were evident for all variables with a peak in summer for human cases and for both exposures, in fall for chicken meat contamination, and in late fall for water contamination. Time series analyses showed that the observed campylobacteriosis summer peak could only be significantly linked to behaviour exposures rather than sources contamination (swimming rather than water contamination and barbequing rather than chicken meat contamination). The results indicate that the observed summer increase in human cases may be more the result of amplification through more frequent risky exposures rather than the result of an increase of the Campylobacter source contamination.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Various medications and devices are available for facilitation of emergent endotracheal intubations (EETIs). The objective of this study was to survey which medications and devices are being utilized for intubation by Canadian physicians.
A clinical scenario-based survey was developed to determine which medications physicians would administer to facilitate EETI, their first choice of intubation device, and backup strategy should their first choice fail. The survey was distributed to Canadian emergency medicine (EM) and intensive care unit (ICU) physicians using web-based and postal methods. Physicians were asked questions based on three scenarios (trauma; pneumonia; heart failure) and responded using a 5-point scale ranging from “always” to “never” to capture usual practice.
The survey response rate was 50.2% (882/1,758). Most physicians indicated a Macintosh blade with direct laryngoscopy would “always/often” be their first choice of intubation device in the three scenarios (mean 85% [79%-89%]) followed by video laryngoscopy (mean 37% [30%-49%]). The most common backup device chosen was an extraglottic device (mean 59% [56%-60%]). The medications most physicians would “always/often” administer were fentanyl (mean 45% [42%-51%]) and etomidate (mean 38% [25%-50%]). EM physicians were more likely than ICU physicians to paralyze patients for EETI (adjusted odds ratio 3.40; 95% CI 2.90-4.00).
Most EM and ICU physicians utilize direct laryngoscopy with a Macintosh blade as a primary device for EETI and an extraglottic device as a backup strategy. This survey highlights variation in Canadian practice patterns for some aspects of intubation in critically ill patients.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
In Australia, hepatitis B (HBV) vaccination is recommended for injecting drug users (IDUs), Indigenous adults and prisoners. We compared immunity to HBV in prisoners and the general population obtained from national serosurveys in 2007. Individuals with HBV surface antibody (HBsAb) positive sera were considered immune from past infection [HBV core antibody (HBcAb) positive] or from vaccination (HBcAb negative). Male prisoners aged 18–58 years had a higher HBsAb seroprevalence than the general population (46·4% vs. 39·4%, P = 0·061). Comparison of HBcAb results was possible for males aged 18–29 years. In this group, higher HBsAb seroprevalence was due to past infection (12·9% vs. 3·0%, P < 0·001), rather than vaccine-conferred immunity (35·3% vs. 43·4%, P = 0·097). All prisoner groups, but especially IDUs, those of Indigenous heritage or those with a previous episode of imprisonment had higher levels of immunity from past infection than the general population (19·3%, 33·0%, 17·1%, respectively, vs. 3·0%, P < 0·05). Indigenous prisoners, non-IDUs and first-time entrants had significantly lower levels of vaccine-conferred immunity than the general population (26·4%, 26·2% and 20·7% respectively vs. 43·4%, P < 0·05). Improving prison-based HBV vaccination would prevent transmission in the prison setting and protect vulnerable members of the community who are at high risk of both infection and entering the prison system.
Gamma Knife (GK) radiosurgery for pituitary adenomas can offer a means of tumor and biologic control with acceptable risk and low complication rates.
Retrospective review of all the patients treated at our center with GK for pituitary adenomas from Nov 2003 to June 2011.
We treated a total of 86 patients. Ten were lost to follow-up. Mean follow was 32.8 months. There were 21 (24.4%) growth hormone secreting adenomas (GH), 8 (9.3%) prolactinomas (PRL), 8 (9.3%) adrenocorticotropic hormone secreting (ACTH) adenomas, 2 (2.3%) follicle stimulating hormone/luteinizing hormone secreting (FSH/LH) adenomas, and 47 (54.7%) null cell pituitary adenomas that were treated. Average maximum tumor diameter and volume was 2.21cm and 5.41cm3, respectively. The average dose to the 50% isodose line was 14.2 Gy and 23.6 Gy for secreting and non-secreting adenomas respectively. Mean maximal optic nerve dose was 8.87 Gy. Local control rate was 75 of 76 (98.7%), for those with followup. Thirty-three (43.4%) patients experienced arrest of tumor growth, while 42 (55.2%) patients experienced tumor regression. Of the 39 patients with secreting pituitary tumors, 6 were lost to follow-up. Improved endocrine status occurred in 16 (50.0%), while 14 (43.8%) demonstrated stability of hormone status on continued pre-operative medical management. Permanent complications included: panhypopituitarism (4), hypothyroidism (4), hypocortisolemia (1), diabetes insipidus (1), apoplexy (1), visual field defect (2), and diplopia (1).
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a safe and effective means of achieving tumor growth control and endocrine remission/stability in pituitary adenomas.
To review our institutional experience with Gamma Knife (GK) stereotactic radiosurgery in treating large vestibular schwannomas (VS) of 3 to 4 cm diameter.
We conducted a retrospective cohort review of all patients treated with GK for VS at our institution between November 2003 and March 2012. Data on age, sex, VS volume, location and maximal diameter, House-Brackmann (HB) facial nerve scores pre and post-GK, Gardner-Robertson (GR) hearing score pre and post-GK, GK treatment parameters, VS response time, complications and clinical outcome was recorded.
A total of 28 patients during the defined time period were identified. Three patients were lost to follow-up. Mean follow-up was 34.5 months. Tumor control occurred in 92%, and was maintained in 85.7% at two years. Facial nerve or hearing preservation occurred in all treated compared to pre-GK status, as per HB and GR grading. Transient complications occurred in 80%. Temporary vestibular dysfunction occurred in seven patients (28%). One patient (4%) had the permanent complication of worsening pre-GK hemifacial spasm. Four patients (16%) developed hydrocephalus post-GK.
GK stereotactic radiosurgery as a primary treatment modality for large VS can provide acceptable tumor control rates with good facial nerve and hearing preservation, and low complication rates.
Although usually thought of as external environmental stressors, a significant heritable component has been reported for measures of stressful life events (SLEs) in twin studies.
We examined the variance in SLEs captured by common genetic variants from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 2578 individuals. Genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) was used to estimate the phenotypic variance tagged by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also performed a GWAS on the number of SLEs, and looked at correlations between siblings.
A significant proportion of variance in SLEs was captured by SNPs (30%, p = 0.04). When events were divided into those considered to be dependent or independent, an equal amount of variance was explained for both. This ‘heritability’ was in part confounded by personality measures of neuroticism and psychoticism. A GWAS for the total number of SLEs revealed one SNP that reached genome-wide significance (p = 4 × 10−8), although this association was not replicated in separate samples. Using available sibling data for 744 individuals, we also found a significant positive correlation of R2 = 0.08 in SLEs (p = 0.03).
These results provide independent validation from molecular data for the heritability of reporting environmental measures, and show that this heritability is in part due to both common variants and the confounding effect of personality.
Stereotactic radiosurgery offers a unique and effective means of controlling cavernous sinus meningiomas with a low rate of complications.
We retrospectively reviewed all cavernous sinus meningiomas treated with Gamma Knife (GK) radiosurgery between November 2003 and April 2011 at our institution.
Thirty patients were treated, four were lost to follow- up. Presenting symptoms included: headache (9), trigeminal nerve dysesthesias/paresthesias (13), abducens nerve palsy (11), oculomotor nerve palsy (8), Horner's syndrome (2), blurred vision (9), and relative afferent pupillary defect (1). One patient was asymptomatic with documented tumor growth. Treatment planning consisted of MRI and CT in 17 of 30 patients (56.7%), the remainder were planned with MRI alone (44.3%). There were 8 males (26.7%) and 22 females (73.3%). Twelve patients had previous surgical debulking prior to radiosurgery. Average diameter and volume at time of radiosurgery was 3.4 cm and 7.9 cm3 respectively. Average dose at the 50% isodose line was 13.5 Gy. Follow-up was available in 26 patients. Average follow-up was 36.1 months. Mean age 55.1 years. Tumor size post GK decreased in 9 patients (34.6%), remained stable in 15 patients (57.7%), and continued to grow in 2 (7.7%). Minor transient complications occurred in 12 patients, all resolving. Serious permanent complications occurred in 5 patients: new onset trigeminal neuropathic pain (2), frame related occipital neuralgia (1), worsening of pre-GK seizures (1), and panhypopituitarism (1).
GK offers an effective treatment method for halting meningioma progression in the cavernous sinus, with an acceptable permanent complication rate.
Manual surveillance for central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) by infection prevention practitioners is time-consuming and often limited to intensive care units (ICUs). An automated surveillance system using existing databases with patient-level variables and microbiology data was investigated.
Patients with a positive blood culture in 4 non-ICU wards at Barnes-Jewish Hospital between July 1, 2005, and December 31, 2006, were evaluated. CLABSI determination for these patients was made via 2 sources; a manual chart review and an automated review from electronically available data. Agreement between these 2 sources was used to develop the best-fit electronic algorithm that used a set of rules to identify a CLABSI. Sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and Pearson's correlation were calculated for the various rule sets, using manual chart review as the reference standard.
During the study period, 391 positive blood cultures from 331 patients were evaluated. Eighty-five (22%) of these were confirmed to be CLABSI by manual chart review. The best-fit model included presence of a catheter, blood culture positive for known pathogen or blood culture with a common skin contaminant confirmed by a second positive culture and the presence of fever, and no positive cultures with the same organism from another sterile site. The best-performing rule set had an overall sensitivity of 95.2%, specificity of 97.5%, positive predictive value of 90%, and negative predictive value of 99.2% compared with intensive manual surveillance.
Although CLABSIs were slightly overpredicted by electronic surveillance compared with manual chart review, the method offers the possibility of performing acceptably good surveillance in areas where resources do not allow for traditional manual surveillance.
We report the results of a consecutive series of patients treated with Gamma Knife (GK) Surgery for cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
We retrospectively reviewed 69 patients treated with GK for cerebral AVMs between November 2003 and April 2009, recording clinical data, treatment parameters, and AVM obliteration rates in order to assess our effectiveness with GK in treating these lesions.
Ten patients were lost to follow-up. Presentations included: seizure (24), hemorrhage (18), persistent headache (12), progressing neurological signs (10), and incidental (9). In 24 patients (34.8%) treatment planning consisted of digital subtraction angiography (DSA), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomogram (CT) angiography (CTA). Currently we rely predominantly on CTA and/or MRI scanning only. Fourty-one patients have been followed for a minimum of 3 years; average age 40.9yr., 58.5% males. Average dose at the 50% isodose line was 20.3 Gy (range 16 to 26.4 Gy). Obliteration was observed in 87.8% by MRI, CT, or DSA. Not all obliteration was confirmed by DSA. Complications occurred in 12 of 59 (20.3%) patients, and in 11 of 41 (26.8%) with 3 year follow-up. Major (temporary) complications for the 59 included symptomatic cerebral edema (7), seizure (2), and hemorrhage (1). Major permanent complications occurred in one patient suffering a cranial nerve V deafferentation, and in two patients suffering a hemorrhage.
GKS for cerebral AVM's offers an effective and safe method of treatment, with low permanent complication rate.