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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.
Filamentary structures can form within the beam of protons accelerated during the interaction of an intense laser pulse with an ultrathin foil target. Such behaviour is shown to be dependent upon the formation time of quasi-static magnetic field structures throughout the target volume and the extent of the rear surface proton expansion over the same period. This is observed via both numerical and experimental investigations. By controlling the intensity profile of the laser drive, via the use of two temporally separated pulses, both the initial rear surface proton expansion and magnetic field formation time can be varied, resulting in modification to the degree of filamentary structure present within the laser-driven proton beam.
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.
Phased VLA observations of the Galactic center magnetar J1745-2900 over 8-12 GHz reveal rich single pulse behavior. The average profile is comprised of several distinct components and is fairly stable over day timescales and GHz frequencies. The average profile is dominated by the jitter of relatively narrow pulses. The pulses in each of the four profile components are uncorrelated in phase and amplitude, although the occurrence of pulse components 1 and 2 appear to be correlated. Using a collection of the brightest individual pulses, we verify that the index of the dispersion law is consistent with the expected cold plasma value of 2. The scattering time is weakly constrained, but consistent with previous measurements, while the dispersion measure DM = 1763+3−10 pc cm−3 is lower than previous measurements, which could be a result of time variability in the line-of-sight column density or changing pulse profile shape over time or frequency.
A plausible mechanism underlying flavonoid-associated cognitive effects is increased cerebral blood flow (CBF). However, behavioural and CBF effects following flavanone-rich juice consumption have not been explored. The aim of this study was to investigate whether consumption of flavanone-rich juice is associated with acute cognitive benefits and increased regional CBF in healthy, young adults. An acute, single-blind, randomised, cross-over design was applied with two 500-ml drink conditions – high-flavanone (HF; 70·5 mg) drink and an energy-, and vitamin C- matched, zero-flavanone control. A total of twenty-four healthy young adults aged 18–30 years underwent cognitive testing at baseline and 2-h after drink consumption. A further sixteen, healthy, young adults were recruited for functional MRI assessment, whereby CBF was measured with arterial spin labelling during conscious resting state at baseline as well as 2 and 5 h after drink consumption. The HF drink was associated with significantly increased regional perfusion in the inferior and middle right frontal gyrus at 2 h relative to baseline and the control drink. In addition, the HF drink was associated with significantly improved performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test at 2 h relative to baseline and the control drink, but no effects were observed on any other behavioural cognitive tests. These results demonstrate that consumption of flavanone-rich citrus juice in quantities commonly consumed can acutely enhance blood flow to the brain in healthy, young adults. However, further studies are required to establish a direct causal link between increased CBF and enhanced behavioural outcomes following citrus juice ingestion.
Introduction: Acute upper gastrointestinal (UGI) bleeding is a relatively common emergency resulting in death in 6 to 8% of cases. UGI endoscopy is the intervention of choice which requires procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA). The Halifax Infirmary emergency department (ED) performs 1000 PSAs annually, performed by advanced care paramedics (ACPs). This has been shown safe for other indications for PSA, such as orthopedic procedures. Considering that UGI endoscopy involves upper airway manipulation, and patients are at an increased risk of massive bleeding, this procedure would be expected to be more complex and have an increased risk of adverse events (AEs). This study aims to compare PSA for UGI endoscopy performed by ACPs to that for orthopedic procedures for AEs, airway intervention and medication use. Methods: This study is a retrospective review of an ACP-performed ED PSA quality control database. A dataset was built matching 64 UGI endoscopy PSAs to 192 orthopedic PSAs by propensity scores calculated using age, gender and ASA classification. Outcomes assessed were hypotension (SBP < 100, or 15% decrease from baseline), hypoxia (SaO2 < 90), apnea (> 30sec), vomiting, arrhythmias and death in the ED. The need for airway intervention and medication use was assessed. Results: The UGI endoscopy group was 4.60 times more likely to suffer hypotension than the orthopedic group (OR=4.6, CI:2.2-9.6), and a fifth as likely to require airway repositioning (OR=0.2, CI:0.1-0.5). One endoscopy patient required endotracheal intubation. No patient died in either group. Compared to the orthopedic group, the UGI endoscopy group was one-third as likely to receive fentanyl (OR=0.3, CI:0.2-0.6). When fentanyl was administered, endoscopy patients received an average 26.7 mcg less than orthopedic patients. The endoscopy group was 15.4 times more likely to receive ketamine (OR=15.4, CI:4.7-66.5), and received 34.4 mg less on average. Four endoscopy patients received phenylephrine compared to none in the orthopedic group. There were no other differences. Conclusion: ED PSA for UGI endoscopy appears to differ significantly from that performed for orthopedic procedures. It was associated with more frequent hypotension and increased use of ketamine as a sedative. Patients undergoing UGI endoscopy were less likely to receive fentanyl and require airway repositioning. Only patients in the endoscopy group required intubation or a vasopressor agent.
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.
High-intensity laser–solid interactions generate relativistic electrons, as well as high-energy (multi-MeV) ions and x-rays. The directionality, spectra and total number of electrons that escape a target-foil is dependent on the absorption, transport and rear-side sheath conditions. Measuring the electrons escaping the target will aid in improving our understanding of these absorption processes and the rear-surface sheath fields that retard the escaping electrons and accelerate ions via the target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA) mechanism. A comprehensive Geant4 study was performed to help analyse measurements made with a wrap-around diagnostic that surrounds the target and uses differential filtering with a FUJI-film image plate detector. The contribution of secondary sources such as x-rays and protons to the measured signal have been taken into account to aid in the retrieval of the electron signal. Angular and spectral data from a high-intensity laser–solid interaction are presented and accompanied by simulations. The total number of emitted electrons has been measured as
with an estimated total energy of
Cu target with 140 J of incident laser energy during a
Schizophrenia is characterized by profound and disabling deficits in the ability to recognize emotion in facial expression and tone of voice. Although these deficits are well documented in established schizophrenia using recently validated tasks, their predictive utility in at-risk populations has not been formally evaluated.
The Penn Emotion Recognition and Discrimination tasks, and recently developed measures of auditory emotion recognition, were administered to 49 clinical high-risk subjects prospectively followed for 2 years for schizophrenia outcome, and 31 healthy controls, and a developmental cohort of 43 individuals aged 7–26 years. Deficit in emotion recognition in at-risk subjects was compared with deficit in established schizophrenia, and with normal neurocognitive growth curves from childhood to early adulthood.
Deficits in emotion recognition significantly distinguished at-risk patients who transitioned to schizophrenia. By contrast, more general neurocognitive measures, such as attention vigilance or processing speed, were non-predictive. The best classification model for schizophrenia onset included both face emotion processing and negative symptoms, with accuracy of 96%, and area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve of 0.99. In a parallel developmental study, emotion recognition abilities were found to reach maturity prior to traditional age of risk for schizophrenia, suggesting they may serve as objective markers of early developmental insult.
Profound deficits in emotion recognition exist in at-risk patients prior to schizophrenia onset. They may serve as an index of early developmental insult, and represent an effective target for early identification and remediation. Future studies investigating emotion recognition deficits at both mechanistic and predictive levels are strongly encouraged.
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.
The objective of this study was to identify detailed fertility traits in dairy and beef cattle from transrectal ultrasonography records and quantify the associated risk factors. Data were available on 148 947 ultrasound observations of the reproductive tract from 75 949 cows in 843 Irish dairy and beef herds between March 2008 and October 2012. Traits generated included (1) cycling at time of examination, (2) cystic structures, (3) early ovulation, (4) embryo death and (5) uterine score; the latter was measured on a scale of 1 (good) to 4 (poor) characterising the tone of the uterine wall and fluid present in the uterus. After editing, 72 773 records from 44 415 dairy and beef cows in 643 herds remained. Factors associated with the logit of the probability of a positive outcome for each of the binary fertility traits were determined using generalised estimating equations; linear mixed model analysis was used for the analysis of uterine score. The prevalence of cycling, cystic structures, early ovulation and embryo death was 84.75%, 3.87%, 7.47% and 3.84%, respectively. The occurrence of the uterine heath score of 1, 2, 3 and 4 was 70.63%, 19.75%, 8.36% and 1.26%, respectively. Cows in beef herds had a 0.51 odds (95% CI=0.41 to 0.63, P<0.001) of cycling at the time of examination compared with cows in dairy herds; stage of lactation at the time of examination was the same in both herd types. Furthermore, cows in dairy herds had an inferior uterine score (indicating poorer tone and a greater quantity of uterine fluid present) compared with cows in beef herds. The likelihood of cycling at the time of examination increased with parity and stage of lactation, but was reduced in cows that had experienced dystocia in the previous calving. The presence of cystic structures on the ovaries increased with parity and stage of lactation. The likelihood of embryo/foetal death increased with parity and stage of lactation. Dystocia was not associated with the presence of cystic structures or embryo death. Uterine score improved with parity and stage of lactation, while cows that experienced dystocia in the previous calving had an inferior uterine score. Heterosis was the only factor associated with increased likelihood of early ovulation. The fertility traits identified, and the associated risk factors, provide useful information on the reproductive status of dairy and beef cows.
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.
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.