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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.
Species distribution models (SDMs) are statistical tools used to develop continuous predictions of species occurrence. ‘Integrated SDMs’ (ISDMs) are an elaboration of this approach with potential advantages that allow for the dual use of opportunistically collected presence-only data and site-occupancy data from planned surveys. These models also account for survey bias and imperfect detection through the use of a hierarchical modelling framework that separately estimates the species–environment response and detection process. This is particularly helpful for conservation applications and predictions for rare species, where data are often limited and prediction errors may have significant management consequences. Despite this potential importance, ISDMs remain largely untested under a variety of scenarios. We performed an exploration of key modelling decisions and assumptions on an ISDM using the endangered Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) as a test species. We found that site area had the strongest effect on the magnitude of population estimates and underlying intensity surface and was driven by estimates of model intercepts. Selecting a site area that accounted for the individual movements of the species within an average home range led to population estimates that coincided with expert estimates. ISDMs that do not account for the individual movements of species will likely lead to less accurate estimates of species intensity (number of individuals per unit area) and thus overall population estimates. This bias could be severe and highly detrimental to conservation actions if uninformed ISDMs are used to estimate global populations of threatened and data-deficient species, particularly those that lack natural history and movement information. However, the ISDM was consistently the most accurate model compared to other approaches, which demonstrates the importance of this new modelling framework and the ability to combine opportunistic data with systematic survey data. Thus, we recommend researchers use ISDMs with conservative movement information when estimating population sizes of rare and data-deficient species. ISDMs could be improved by using a similar parameterization to spatial capture–recapture models that explicitly incorporate animal movement as a model parameter, which would further remove the need for spatial subsampling prior to implementation.
Most current models of nonnative speech perception (e.g., extended perceptual assimilation model, PAM-L2, Best & Tyler, 2007; speech learning model, Flege, 1995; native language magnet model, Kuhl, 1993) base their predictions on the native/nonnative status of individual phonetic/phonological segments. This paper demonstrates that the phonotactic properties of Japanese influence the perception of natively contrasting consonants and suggests that phonotactic influence must be formally incorporated in these models. We first propose that by extending the perceptual categories outlined in PAM-L2 to incorporate sequences of sounds, we can account for the effects of differences in native and nonnative phonotactics on nonnative and cross-language segmental perception. In addition, we test predictions based on such an extension in two perceptual experiments. In Experiment 1, Japanese listeners categorized and rated vowel–consonant–vowel strings in combinations that either obeyed or violated Japanese phonotactics. The participants categorized phonotactically illegal strings to the perceptually nearest (legal) categories. In Experiment 2, participants discriminated the same strings in AXB discrimination tests. Our results show that Japanese listeners are more accurate and have faster response times when discriminating between legal strings than between legal and illegal strings. These findings expose serious shortcomings in currently accepted nonnative perception models, which offer no framework for the influence of native language phonotactics.
Communicating a pension product well is as important as optimising the financial value. In a recent study, we showed that up to 80% of the value of a pension lump sum could be lost if customer communication failed. In this paper, we extend the simple customer interaction of the earlier contribution to the more challenging lifetime annuity case. Using a simple mobile phone device, the pension customer can select the life-long optimal investment strategy within minutes. The financial risk trade-off is presented as a trade-off between the pension paid and the number of years the life-long annuity is guaranteed. The pension payment decreases when investment security increases. The necessary underlying mathematical financial hedging theory is included in the study.
To assess the prevalence of prediabetes and metabolic abnormalities among overweight or obese clozapine- or olanzapine-treated schizophrenia patients, and to identify characteristics of the schizophrenia group with prediabetes.
A cross-sectional study assessing the presence of prediabetes and metabolic abnormalities in schizophrenia clozapine- or olanzapine-treated patients with a body mass index (BMI) ≥27 kg/m2. Procedures were part of the screening process for a randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating liraglutide vs placebo for improving glucose tolerance. For comparison, an age-, sex-, and BMI-matched healthy control group without psychiatric illness and prediabetes was included. Prediabetes was defined as elevated fasting plasma glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance and/or elevated glycated hemoglobin A1c.
Among 145 schizophrenia patients (age = 42.1 years; males = 59.3%) on clozapine or olanzapine (clozapine/olanzapine/both: 73.8%/24.1%/2.1%), prediabetes was present in 69.7% (101 out of 145). While schizophrenia patients with and without prediabetes did not differ regarding demographic, illness, or antipsychotic treatment variables, metabolic abnormalities (waist circumference: 116.7±13.7 vs 110.1±13.6 cm, P = 0.007; triglycerides: 2.3±1.4 vs 1.6±0.9 mmol/L, P = 0.0004) and metabolic syndrome (76.2% vs 40.9%, P<0.0001) were significantly more pronounced in schizophrenia patients with vs without prediabetes. The age-, sex-, and BMI-matched healthy controls had significantly better glucose tolerance compared to both groups of patients with schizophrenia. The healthy controls also had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein compared to patients with schizophrenia and prediabetes.
Prediabetes and metabolic abnormalities were highly prevalent among the clozapine- and olanzapine-treated patients with schizophrenia, putting these patients at great risk for later type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These results stress the importance of identifying and adequately treating prediabetes and metabolic abnormalities among clozapine- and olanzapine-treated patients with schizophrenia.
In vitro maintenance of helminth parasites enables a variety of molecular, pharmaceutical and immunological analyses. Currently, the nutritional and environmental in vitro requirements of the equine ascarid parasite, Parascaris spp., have not been determined. Additionally, an objective method for assessing viability of Parascaris spp. intestinal stages does not exist. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the in vitro requirements of intestinal stages of Parascaris spp., and to develop a viability assessment method. A total of 1045 worms were maintained in a total of 212 cultures. Worms obtained from naturally infected foals at necropsy were immediately placed in culture flasks containing 200 mL of culture media. A variety of media types, nutrient supplementation and environmental conditions were examined. A motility-based scoring system was used to assess worm viability. Worms maintained in Roswell Park Memorial Institute-1640 had significantly better viability than any other media (P < 0.0001) and all media types supplemented with any of the nutrients examined (P < 0.0001). The use of a platform rocker also significantly improved viability (P = 0.0305). This is the first study to examine the requirements for maintaining Parascaris spp. intestinal stages in vitro and to evaluate their viability based on movement using an objective scoring system.
The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is an important legacy of the International Polar Year (IPY). APECS continues to foster engagement in education, outreach and communication (EOC) activities relating to the polar regions and provide training for early career researchers (ECRs). We highlight opportunities for training, leadership and skills development, such as the annual Polar Weeks and Antarctica Day celebrations. Participation and engagement in EOC activities actively contributes to career development by enabling ECRs to develop valuable soft skills such as networking, communication and interdisciplinary knowledge. A pilot survey on EOC engagement highlighted that those who organise events also gain leadership skills such as team management. We discuss several factors contributing to the success of APECS in training the next generation of polar leaders. These include the geographical rather than discipline-specific focus of the organisation, utilisation of online resources, including social media, and the strong links with partner organisations. These examples demonstrate how the EOC legacy of IPY has continued due to APECS’ targeted efforts to create EOC opportunities and provide skills and leadership training for ECRs.
Significant increases in excess all-cause mortality, particularly in the elderly, were observed during the winter of 2014/15 in England. With influenza A(H3N2) the dominant circulating influenza A subtype, this paper determines the contribution of influenza to this excess controlling for weather. A standardised multivariable Poisson regression model was employed with weekly all-cause deaths the dependent variable for the period 2008–2015. Adjusting for extreme temperature, a total of 26 542 (95% CI 25 301–27 804) deaths in 65+ and 1942 (95% CI 1834–2052) in 15–64-year-olds were associated with influenza from week 40, 2014 to week 20, 2015. This is compatible with the circulation of influenza A(H3N2). It is the largest estimated number of influenza-related deaths in England since prior to 2008/09. The findings highlight the potential health impact of influenza and the important role of the annual influenza vaccination programme that is required to protect the population including the elderly, who are vulnerable to a severe outcome.
Meccano Magazine began publishing in 1916 to advertise the popular children's construction set. By the 1920s it had expanded into a substantial, well-illustrated monthly that eventually achieved a circulation of seventy thousand. Under the editorship of the popular-science writer Ellison Hawks it now devoted approximately half of its pages to real-life technology and some natural science. In effect, it became a popular-science magazine aimed at teenage and pre-teen boys. This article explores Hawks's strategy of exploiting interest in model building to encourage interest in science and technology. It surveys the contents of the magazine and shows how it developed over time. It is argued that the material devoted to real-life science and technology was little different to that found in adult popular-science magazines of the period, raising the possibility that Meccano Magazine’s large circulation may explain the comparative lack of success of the adult publications.
Prolonged periods of stress have been associated with impaired immune function; the experiment reported here investigates a potential link between level of metabolic load and immune function in lactating dairy cattle. A group of 111 Holstein-Friesian dairy cows was used. The cows belonged to one of two genetic lines: a selection line (S) with high genetic merit for fat plus protein yield and an unselected control line (C). The cows were offered one of two silage-based total mixed diets containing either 200 g (LC) or 450 g (HC) of concentrate per kg dry matter. Combination of genetic selection and food gave four groups: S-LC, S-HC, C-LC and C-HC. All cows were inoculated with a live attenuated BHV-1 vaccine soon after parturition and the primary antibody response in whey monitored. The number of BHV-1 antibody positive cows was not significantly different between the four groups; but, the initial antibody response was lower in cows of high genetic merit which were given a low concentrate diet. Statistical analysis demonstrated that the contribution of diet to this effect was highly significant. One year later, again after parturition, the experiment was repeated, this time using serum as the test sample. The average antibody response of the BHV-1 antibody positive cows was not significantly different between the four groups but the number of antibody positive cows was group-dependent. In conclusion, diet type but not genetic merit for high fat plus protein yield made a highly significant contribution to the antibody response of dairy cows to BHV-1 vaccination, both initially and a year later.
The growth of gut anaerobic fungi is usually determined in batch culture by gravimetric measurements of dry-matter (DM) loss, or by quantification of fermentation end-products (Lowe et al., 1987). These techniques involve destructive sampling of the cultures and require many replicate cultures in time-course experiments. Moreover, techniques using DM loss are only able to measure the end-point of degradation of substrate and cannot follow the growth over the entire fermentation period. Using a pressure transducer, Theodorou et al. (1994) developed a simple and sensitive gas production procedure to determine the fermentation kinetics of ruminant foods. This procedure can also be used to follow the growth of anaerobic fungi on soluble and particulate substrate in batch cultures Theodorou et al. (1995).
Size, or its commonly used proxy live weight, is a necessary input when calculating the energy requirements of an animal. It is also a major factor in determining the intake capacity of an animal. The sole use of live weight as a determinant of size incorporates the implicit assumption that body fat and body protein mass are equivalent for the purposes of calculating energy requirements and intake capacity. Recent evidence indicates that this is not so in either case (Birnie et al., 2000; Friggens et al., 1998). The use of live weight may be acceptable where it can be reasonably assumed that there is a stable relationship between body fat and protein. However, when making breed or parity comparisons there is no reason to assume a stable relationship between body fat and protein. Meaningful comparisons can be made if live weights can be adjusted for differences in body fat content. In the applied context this means adjusting to a standard body condition score. This study provided the opportunity to examine the relationships between condition score and live weight in three breeds across three parities.
Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) is an important forage legume and is the primary winter forage crop in Pakistan. There are significant gaps in yield potential among varieties of berseem clover, as well as yields obtained at research stations and on-farm. To address this problem a survey of farmers was undertaken in the districts of Kasur and Okara, Punjab, Pakistan to determine the level of knowledge and understanding of berseem forage cultivation and seed production. The study comprised 44% smallholder (<3 ha), 26% medium (3–5 ha) and 30% large farmers (>5 ha) with average age of 42 years. Most farmers had little or no knowledge of the role of seed quality, inoculation with rhizobium, pollination, fertiliser use, irrigation management and the importance of forage nutritional value in improving livestock productivity. Most farmers (56%) had received no input from the government or private sector to improve forage production, relying instead on traditional knowledge. Knowledge of the importance of land preparation (95%), sowing rate (98%) and insect and pest management (75%) was higher than seed selection and fertilisation. Adoption of improved varieties (3%) and production technologies (14%) was low due to various constraints including ignorance, high cost of inputs, lack of availability of inputs in the market and a perceived high level of financial risk. Almost 100% of the respondents agreed that seed of improved varieties was a pre-requisite for higher forage and seed production as well as essential to start village-based forage seed enterprises.
The postpartum period is well-known risk period for the first onset of autoimmune thyroid disorders (AITDs) as well as first onset of psychiatric disorders. These two disorders are some of the most prevalent medical conditions postpartum, often misdiagnosed and disabling if left untreated. Our study was designed to explore the possible bidirectional association between AITDs and psychiatric disorders during the postpartum period.
A population-based cohort study through linkage of Danish national registers, which comprised 312 779 women who gave birth to their first child during 1997–2010. We conducted Poisson regression analysis to estimate the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of psychiatric disorders among women with first-onset AITDs, the IRR of AITDs among women with first-onset psychiatric disorders as well as the overlap between these disorders using a comorbidity index.
Women with first-onset AITDs postpartum were more likely to have first-onset psychiatric disorders than women who did not have postpartum AITDs (IRR = 1.88, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25–2.81). Women with first-onset postpartum psychiatric disorders had a higher risk of AITDs than women with no psychiatric disorders (IRR = 2.16, 95% CI: 1.45–3.20). The comorbidity index 2 years after delivery was 2.26 (95% CI: 1.61–2.90), indicating a comorbidity between first-onset AITDs and psychiatric disorders.
First-onset AITDs and psychiatric disorders co-occur in the postpartum period, which has relevance to further studies on the etiologies of these disorders and why childbirth in particular triggers the onset.
Jökulhlaups in 2007 and 2008 from an ice-dammed lake at the northern margin of Russell Glacier, West Greenland, marked the onset of a renewed jökulhlaup cycle after 20 years of stability. We present a record of successive ice-dammed lake drainage events and associated ice-margin dynamics spanning ∼25 years. Robust calculations of lake volumes and peak discharges are made, based on intensive field surveys and utilizing high-spatial-resolution orthophotographs of the lake basin and ice margin. These data enable identification of controls on the behaviour of the ice-dammed lake and provide the first field-based examination of controls on jökulhlaup magnitude and frequency for this system. We find that Russell Glacier jökulhlaups have a much higher peak discharge than predicted by the Clague–Mathews relationship, which we attribute to an unusually short englacial/subglacial routeway and the presence of a thin ice dam that permits incomplete sealing of jökulhlaup conduits between lake drainage events. Additionally, we demonstrate that the passage of jökulhlaups through an interlinked system of proglacial bedrock basins produces significant attenuation of peak discharge downstream. We highlight that improved understanding of jökulhlaup dynamics requires accurate information about ice-dammed lake volume and ice-proximal jökulhlaup discharge.
The spread of African swine fever virus (ASFV) threatens to reach further parts of Europe. In countries with a large swine production, an outbreak of ASF may result in devastating economic consequences for the swine industry. Simulation models can assist decision makers setting up contingency plans. This creates a need for estimation of parameters. This study presents a new analysis of a previously published study. A full likelihood framework is presented including the impact of model assumptions on the estimated transmission parameters. As animals were only tested every other day, an interpretation was introduced to cover the weighted infectiousness on unobserved days for the individual animals (WIU). Based on our model and the set of assumptions, the within- and between-pen transmission parameters were estimated to βw = 1·05 (95% CI 0·62–1·72), βb = 0·46 (95% CI 0·17–1·00), respectively, and the WIU = 1·00 (95% CI 0–1). Furthermore, we simulated the spread of ASFV within a pig house using a modified SEIR-model to establish the time from infection of one animal until ASFV is detected in the herd. Based on a chosen detection limit of 2·55% equivalent to 10 dead pigs out of 360, the disease would be detected 13–19 days after introduction.
The surveillance of Clostridium difficile (CD) in Denmark consists of laboratory based data from Departments of Clinical Microbiology (DCMs) sent to the National Registry of Enteric Pathogens (NREP). We validated a new surveillance system for CD based on the Danish Microbiology Database (MiBa). MiBa automatically collects microbiological test results from all Danish DCMs. We built an algorithm to identify positive test results for CD recorded in MiBa. A CD case was defined as a person with a positive culture for CD or PCR detection of toxin A and/or B and/or binary toxin. We compared CD cases identified through the MiBa-based surveillance with those reported to NREP and locally in five DCMs representing different Danish regions. During 2010–2014, NREP reported 13 896 CD cases, and the MiBa-based surveillance 21 252 CD cases. There was a 99·9% concordance between the local datasets and the MiBa-based surveillance. Surveillance based on MiBa was superior to the current surveillance system, and the findings show that the number of CD cases in Denmark hitherto has been under-reported. There were only minor differences between local data and the MiBa-based surveillance, showing the completeness and validity of CD data in MiBa. This nationwide electronic system can greatly strengthen surveillance and research in various applications.
Methyl isonicotinate is one of several patented 4-pyridyl carbonyl compounds being investigated for a variety of uses in thrips pest management. It is probably the most extensively studied thrips non-pheromone semiochemical, with field and glasshouse trapping experiments, and wind tunnel and Y-tube olfactometer studies in several countries demonstrating a behavioural response that results in increased trap capture of at least 12 thrips species, including the cosmopolitan virus vectors such as western flower thrips and onion thrips. Methyl isonicotinate has several of the characteristics that are required for an effective semiochemical tool and is being mainly used as a lure in combination with coloured sticky traps for enhanced monitoring of thrips in greenhouses. Research indicates that this non-pheromone semiochemical has the potential to be used for other thrips management strategies such as mass trapping, lure and kill, lure and infect, and as a behavioural synergist in conjunction with insecticides, in a range of indoor and outdoor crops.
We tested the applicability of the “passive sampling” hypothesis and theory of island biogeography (TIB) for explaining the diversity of forest-dwelling carabid assemblages (Carabidae: Coleoptera) on 30 forested islands (0.2–980.7 ha) in Lac la Ronge and the adjacent mainland in Saskatchewan, Canada. Species richness per unit area increased with distance to mainland with diversity being highest on the most isolated islands. We detected neither a positive species-area relationship, nor significant differences in species richness among island size classes, or between islands and the mainland. Nonetheless, carabid assemblages distinctly differed on islands <1 ha in area and gradually approached the structure of mainland assemblages as island area increased. Small islands were characterised by abundant populations of small-bodied, winged species and few if any large-bodied, flightless species like Carabus taedatus Fabricius. Our findings suggest that neither the “passive sampling” hypothesis nor the theory of island biogeography adequately explain carabid beetle diversity patterns observed among islands in Lac la Ronge. Instead, we hypothesise that population processes such as higher extinction rates of large-bodied, flightless species and the associated release of smaller-bodied, flying species from intra-guild predation on small islands contribute to observed differences in the structure of carabid assemblages between islands.