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Developing alternatives to antibiotics is an urgent need in livestock production. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are regarded as powerful antibiotic substitutes (ASs) because AMPs have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities and growth-promoting ability. Here, we aimed to comprehensively assess the effects of AMPs on the growth performance, diarrhea rate, intestinal morphology and immunity of healthy or challenged piglets, compared with an antibiotics group or negative control group. We performed a set of meta-analyses of feeding trials from database inception to 27 May 2019. Among the 1379 identified studies, 20 were included in our meta-analyses (56 arms and 4067 piglets). The meta-analyses revealed that (1) compared with the negative control group, AMPs significantly improved the healthy piglets’ average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), gain : feed ratio (G/F), levels of immune globulin (Ig) IgM and IgG, and intestinal villus height : crypt depth ratio (V/C) (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, AMPs significantly increased the challenged piglets’ ADG, ADFI, G/F and V/C of the jejunum and ileum, and notably deceased the diarrhea rate (P < 0.05); (2) compared with antibiotics group, the effects of AMPs were slightly weaker than those of antibiotics in the healthy piglets, but AMPs have similar effects to those of antibiotics in challenged piglets. In a higher purity, the optimal dose of AMPs may be approximately 0.01%. Our findings indicate that AMPs can improve piglet growth performance, enhance immunity, benefit intestinal morphology and decrease the diarrheal rate. AMPs could be great ASs especially under infection conditions.
Adults with CHD have reduced work participation rates compared to adults without CHD. We aimed to quantify employment rate among adult CHD patients in a population-based registry and to describe factors and barriers associated with work participation.
We retrospectively identified adults with employment information in the North Carolina Congenital Heart Defects Surveillance Network. Employment was defined as any paid work in a given year. Logistic regression was used to examine patients’ employment status during each year.
The registry included 1,208 adult CHD patients with a health care encounter between 2009 and 2013, of whom 1,078 had ≥1 year of data with known employment status. Overall, 401 patients (37%) were employed in their most recent registry year. On multivariable analysis, the odds of employment decreased with older age and were lower for Black as compared to White patients (odds ratio = 0.78; 95% confidence interval: 0.62, 0.98; p = 0.030), and single as compared to married patients (odds ratio = 0.50; 95% confidence interval: 0.39, 0.63; p < 0.001).
In a registry where employment status was routinely captured, only 37% of adult CHD patients aged 18–64 years were employed, with older patients, Black patients, and single patients being less likely to be employed. Further work is needed to consider how enhancing cardiology follow-up for adults with CHD can integrate support for employment.
Previous studies documented a “gender citation gap” in political science whereby women are less likely to be cited in published research and course syllabi, especially by male scholars. However, no previous study examined citation patterns among students in political science courses to determine if similar patterns are evident in their research. This article analyzes an original database of individual as well as group research assignments from an undergraduate research methods course. Our analysis indicates that male students are significantly less likely than female students to cite research published by women—whether as first authors, any of the authors, or the average percentage of authors per team. However, in a subsequent group research assignment, gender diversity had no discernible effect on group citation patterns. We discuss the implications of these findings for current pedagogical practices and the future state of the discipline.
Previous work led to the proposal that the precision feeding of a high-concentrate diet may represent a potential method with which to enhance feed efficiency (FE) when rearing dairy heifers. However, the physiological and metabolic mechanisms underlying this approach remain unclear. This study used metabolomics analysis to investigate the changes in plasma metabolites of heifers precision-fed diets containing a wide range of forage to concentrate ratios. Twenty-four half-sib Holstein heifers, with a similar body condition, were randomly assigned into four groups and precision fed with diets containing different proportions of concentrate (20%, 40%, 60% and 80% based on DM). After 28 days of feeding, blood samples were collected 6 h after morning feeding and gas chromatography time-of-ﬂight/MS was used to analyze the plasma samples. Parameters of oxidative status were also determined in the plasma. The FE (after being corrected for gut fill) increased linearly (P < 0.01) with increasing level of dietary concentrate. Significant changes were identified for 38 different metabolites in the plasma of heifers fed different dietary forage to concentrate ratios. The main pathways showing alterations were clustered into those relating to carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism; all of which have been previously associated with FE changes in ruminants. Heifers fed with a high-concentrate diet had higher (P < 0.01) plasma total antioxidant capacity and superoxide dismutase but lower (P ≤ 0.02) hydroxyl radical and hydrogen peroxide than heifers fed with a low-concentrate diet, which might indicate a lower plasma oxidative status in the heifers fed a high-concentrate diet. Thus, heifers fed with a high-concentrate diet had higher FE and antioxidant capacity but a lower plasma oxidative status as well as changed carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. Our findings provide a better understanding of how forage to concentrate ratios affect FE and metabolism in the precision-fed growing heifers.
To describe the laboratory findings of cases of death with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to establish a scoring system for predicting death, we conducted this single-centre, retrospective, observational study including 336 adult patients (≥18 years old) with severe or critically ill COVID-19 admitted in two wards of Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, who had definite outcomes (death or discharge) between 1 February 2020 and 13 March 2020. Single variable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify mortality-related factors. We combined multiple factors to predict mortality, which was validated by receiver operating characteristic curves. As a result, in a total of 336 patients, 34 (10.1%) patients died during hospitalisation. Through multivariable logistic regression, we found that decreased lymphocyte ratio (Lymr, %) (odds ratio, OR 0.574, P < 0.001), elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) (OR 1.513, P = 0.009), and raised D-dimer (DD) (OR 1.334, P = 0.002) at admission were closely related to death. The combined prediction model was developed by these factors with a sensitivity of 100.0% and specificity of 97.2%. In conclusion, decreased Lymr, elevated BUN, and raised DD were found to be in association with death outcomes in critically ill patients with COVID-19. A scoring system was developed to predict the clinical outcome of these patients.
Guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) can improve the growth performance of bulls. This study investigated the influences of GAA addition on growth, nutrient digestion, ruminal fermentation and serum metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were randomly allocated to experimental treatments, that is, control, low-GAA (LGAA), medium-GAA (MGAA) and high-GAA (HGAA), with GAA supplementation at 0, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 g/kg DM, respectively. Bulls were fed a basal diet containing 500 g/kg DM concentrate and 500 g/kg DM roughage. The experimental period was 104 days, with 14 days for adaptation and 90 days for data collection. Bulls in the MGAA and HGAA groups had higher DM intake and average daily gain than bulls in the LGAA and control groups. The feed conversion ratio was lowest in MGAA and highest in the control. Bulls receiving 0.9 g/kg DM GAA addition had higher digestibility of DM, organic matter, NDF and ADF than bulls in other groups. The digestibility of CP was higher for HGAA than for LGAA and control. The ruminal pH was lower for MGAA, and the total volatile fatty acid concentration was greater for MGAA and HGAA than for the control. The acetate proportion and acetate-to-propionate ratio were lower for MGAA than for LGAA and control. The propionate proportion was higher for MGAA than for control. Bulls receiving GAA addition showed decreased ruminal ammonia N. Bulls in MGAA and HGAA had higher cellobiase, pectinase and protease activities and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola and Ruminobacter amylophilus populations than bulls in LGAA and control. However, the total protozoan population was lower for MGAA and HGAA than for LGAA and control. The total bacterial and Ruminococcus flavefaciens populations increased with GAA addition. The blood level of creatine was higher for HGAA, and the activity of l-arginine glycine amidine transferase was lower for MGAA and HGAA, than for control. The blood activity of guanidine acetate N-methyltransferase and the level of folate decreased in the GAA addition groups. The results indicated that dietary addition of 0.6 or 0.9 g/kg DM GAA improved growth performance, nutrient digestion and ruminal fermentation in bulls.
We present results from an EEG experiment EEG to measure neurophysiological activation to study novice and experienced designers when designing and problem-solving. We adopted and extended the tasks described in a previous fMRI study. The block experiment consists of 3 tasks: problem-solving, basic design, and open layout design. The block is preceded by a familiarizing pre-task and extended to an open design sketching task. Results from 36 sessions of mechanical engineers and industrial designers indicate significant differences in activations between the problem-solving and the design tasks.
Soybean meal is rich in soybean isoflavones, which exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer functions in humans and animals. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of soybean isoflavones on the growth performance, intestinal morphology and antioxidative properties in pigs. A total of 72 weaned piglets (7.45 ± 0.13 kg; 36 males and 36 females) were allocated into three treatments and fed corn-soybean meal (C-SBM), corn-soy protein concentrate (C-SPC) or C-SPC supplemented with equal levels of the isoflavones found in the C-SBM diet (C-SPC + ISF) for a 72-day trial. Each treatment had six replicates and four piglets per replicate, half male and half female. On day 42, one male pig from each replicate was selected and euthanized to collect intestinal samples. The results showed that compared to pigs fed the C-SPC diet, pigs fed the C-SBM and C-SPC + ISF diets had higher BW on day 72 (P < 0.05); pigs fed the C-SBM diet had significantly higher average daily gain (ADG) during days 14 to 28 (P < 0.05), with C-SPC + ISF being intermediate; pigs fed the C-SBM diet tended to have higher ADG during days 42 to 72 (P = 0.063), while pigs fed the C-SPC + ISF diet had significantly higher ADG during days 42 to 72 (P < 0.05). Moreover, compared to pigs fed the C-SPC diet, pigs fed the C-SBM diet tended to have greater villus height (P = 0.092), while pigs fed the C-SPC + ISF diet had significantly greater villus height (P < 0.05); pigs fed the C-SBM and C-SPC + ISF diets had significantly increased villus height-to-crypt depth ratio (P < 0.05). Compared with the C-SPC diet, dietary C-SPC + ISF tended to increase plasma superoxide dismutase activity on days 28 (P = 0.085) and 42 (P = 0.075) and reduce plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) content on day 42 (P = 0.089), as well as significantly decreased jejunal mucosa MDA content on day 42 (P < 0.05). However, no significant difference in the expression of tight junction genes among the three groups was found (P > 0.05). In conclusion, our results suggest that a long-term exposure to soybean isoflavones enhances the growth performance, protects the intestinal morphology and improves the antioxidative properties in pigs.
The incidence of heart failure is increasing within the Fontan population. The use of serological markers, including B-type natriuretic peptide, has been limited in this patient population.
This was a single-centre retrospective study of Fontan patients in acute decompensated heart failure. Fontan patients underwent a 1:2 match with non-Fontan patients for each heart failure hospitalisation for comparative analysis. A univariate logistic regression model was used to assess associations between laboratory and echocardiographic markers and a prolonged length of stay of 7 days or greater.
B-type natriuretic peptide levels were significantly lower in Fontan patients admitted for heart failure than that in non-Fontan patients [390.9 (±378.7) pg/ml versus 1245.6 (±1160.7) pg/ml, respectively, p < 0.0001] and were higher in Fontan patients with systemic ventricular systolic or diastolic dysfunction than that in Fontan patients with normal systemic ventricular function [833.6 (±1547.2) pg/ml versus 138.6 (±134.0) pg/ml, p = 0.017]. The change from the last known outpatient value was smaller in Fontan patients in comparison with non-Fontan patients [65.7 (±185.7) pg/ml versus 1638.0 (±1444.7) pg/ml, respectively, p < 0.0001]. Low haemoglobin and high blood urea nitrogen levels were associated with a prolonged length of stay.
B-type natriuretic peptide levels do not accurately reflect decompensated heart failure in Fontan patients when compared to non-Fontan heart failure patients and should, therefore, be used with caution in this patient population.
For patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization, a traditional fist-bump greeting did not significantly reduce MRSA transfer in comparison to a handshake. However, transfer was reduced with a modified fist bump that minimized the surface area of contact and when hand hygiene was performed before the handshake.
Considering the decision-making requirements of airport, airlines and passengers, a bilevel programming model which contains two parts was proposed in this paper. One part is to improve the utilization of gates of the airport (upper level), so the objective function of the upper level to the minimum overall variance of slack time between two consecutive air crafts at the same gate. The other part looks at maximize the airline revenue and passengers more conveniently and comfortably (lower level). The lower level has two objective functions — the minimum passenger transfer failure and the minimum passenger average transfer time, respectively. According to the latest data of an airport in Eastern China, the adaptive genetic algorithm is used to solve the above-mentioned bilevel optimisation problems. The numerical experiment shows that the model not only reduces the variance of the relaxation time, but also optimises the flight gate allocation and achieves the initial goal.
The meat quality of chicken is an important factor affecting the consumer’s health. It was hypothesized that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) could be effectively deposited in chicken, by incorporating antioxidation of soybean isoflavone (SI), which led to improved quality of chicken meat for good health of human beings. Effects of partial or complete dietary substitution of lard (LA) with linseed oil (LO), with or without SI on growth performance, biochemical indicators, meat quality, fatty acid profiles, lipid-related health indicators and gene expression of breast muscle were examined in chickens. A total of 900 males were fed a corn–soybean meal diet supplemented with 4% LA, 2% LA + 2% LO and 4% LO and the latter two including 30 mg SI/kg (2% LA + 2% LO + SI and 4% LO + SI) from 29 to 66 days of age; each of the five dietary treatments included six replicates of 30 birds. Compared with the 4% LA diet, dietary 4% LO significantly increased the feed efficiency and had no negative effect on objective indices related to meat quality; LO significantly decreased plasma triglycerides and total cholesterol (TCH); abdominal fat percentage was significantly decreased in birds fed the 4% LO and 4% LO + SI diets. Chickens with LO diets resulted in higher contents of α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3), EPA (C20:5n-3) and total n-3 PUFA, together with a lower content of palmitic acid (C16:0), lignoceric acid (C24:0), saturated fatty acids and n-6:n-3 ratio in breast muscle compared to 4% LA diet (P < 0.05); they also significantly decreased atherogenic index, thrombogenic index and increased the hypocholesterolemic to hypercholesterolemic ratio. Adding SI to the LO diets enhanced the contents of EPA and DHA (C22:6n-3), plasma total superoxide dismutase, reduced glutathione (GSH)/oxidized glutathione and muscle GSH content, while decreased plasma total triglyceride and TCH and malondialdehyde content in plasma and breast muscle compared to its absence (P < 0.05). Expression in breast muscle of fatty acid desaturase 1 (FADS1), FADS2, elongase 2 (ELOVL2) and ELOVL5 genes were significantly higher with the LO diets including SI than with the 4% LA diet. Significant interactions existed between LO level and inclusion of SI on EPA and TCH contents. These findings indicate that diet supplemented with LO combined with SI is an effective alternative when optimizing the nutritional value of chicken meat for human consumers.
Porphyromonas gingivalis has been linked to the development and progression of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and is considered to be a high-risk factor for ESCC. Currently, the commonly used methods for P. gingivalis detection are culture or DNA extraction-based, which are either time and labour intensive especially for high-throughput applications. We aimed to establish and evaluate a rapid and sensitive direct quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) protocol for the detection of P. gingivalis without DNA extraction which is suitable for large-scale epidemiological studies. Paired gingival swab samples from 192 subjects undergoing general medical examinations were analysed using two direct and one extraction-based qPCR assays for P. gingivalis. Tris-EDTA buffer-based direct qPCR (TE-direct qPCR), lysis-based direct qPCR (lysis-direct qPCR) and DNA extraction-based qPCR (kit-qPCR) were used, respectively, in 192, 132 and 60 of these samples for quantification of P. gingivalis. The sensitivity and specificity of TE-direct qPCR was 95.24% and 100% compared with lysis-direct qPCR, which was 100% and 97.30% when compared with kit-qPCR; TE-direct qPCR had an almost perfect agreement with lysis-direct qPCR (κ = 0.954) and kit-qPCR (κ = 0.965). Moreover, the assay time used for TE-direct qPCR was 1.5 h. In conclusion, the TE-direct qPCR assay is a simple and efficient method for the quantification of oral P. gingivalis and showed high sensitivity and specificity compared with routine qPCR.
The extent of intertidal flats in the Yellow Sea region has declined significantly in the past few decades, resulting in severe population declines in several waterbird species. The Yellow Sea region holds the primary stopover sites for many shorebirds during their migration to and from northern breeding grounds. However, the functional roles of these sites in shorebirds’ stopover ecology remain poorly understood. Through field surveys between July and November 2015, we investigated the stopover and moult schedules of migratory shorebirds along the southern Jiangsu coast, eastern China during their southbound migration, with a focus on the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea and ‘Endangered’ Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer. Long-term count data indicate that both species regularly occur in globally important number in southern Jiangsu coast, constituting 16.67–49.34% and 64.0–80.67% of their global population estimates respectively, and it is highly likely that most adults undergo their primary moult during this southbound migration stopover. Our results show that Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank staged for an extended period of time (66 and 84 days, respectively) to complete their primary moult. On average, Spoon-billed Sandpipers and Nordmann’s Greenshanks started moulting primary feathers on 8 August ± 4.52 and 27 July ± 1.56 days respectively, and their moult durations were 72.58 ± 9.08 and 65.09 ± 2.40 days. In addition, some individuals of several other shorebird species including the ‘Endangered’ Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, ‘Near Threatened’ Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, ‘Near Threatened’ Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii also underwent primary moult. Our work highlights the importance of the southern Jiangsu region as the primary moulting ground for these species, reinforcing that conservation of shorebird habitat including both intertidal flats and supratidal roosting sites in this region is critical to safeguard the future of some highly threatened shorebird species.
Acute change in mental status (ACMS), defined by the Confusion Assessment Method, is used to identify infections in nursing home residents. A medical record review revealed that none of 15,276 residents had an ACMS documented. Using the revised McGeer criteria with a possible ACMS definition, we identified 296 residents and 21 additional infections. The use of a possible ACMS definition should be considered for retrospective nursing home infection surveillance.
At present, analysis of diet and bladder cancer (BC) is mostly based on the intake of individual foods. The examination of food combinations provides a scope to deal with the complexity and unpredictability of the diet and aims to overcome the limitations of the study of nutrients and foods in isolation. This article aims to demonstrate the usability of supervised data mining methods to extract the food groups related to BC. In order to derive key food groups associated with BC risk, we applied the data mining technique C5.0 with 10-fold cross-validation in the BLadder cancer Epidemiology and Nutritional Determinants study, including data from eighteen case–control and one nested case–cohort study, compromising 8320 BC cases out of 31 551 participants. Dietary data, on the eleven main food groups of the Eurocode 2 Core classification codebook, and relevant non-diet data (i.e. sex, age and smoking status) were available. Primarily, five key food groups were extracted; in order of importance, beverages (non-milk); grains and grain products; vegetables and vegetable products; fats, oils and their products; meats and meat products were associated with BC risk. Since these food groups are corresponded with previously proposed BC-related dietary factors, data mining seems to be a promising technique in the field of nutritional epidemiology and deserves further examination.