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There is compelling evidence for gradient effects of household income on school readiness. Potential mechanisms are described, yet the growth curve trajectory of maternal mental health in a child's early life has not been thoroughly investigated. We aimed to examine the relationships between household incomes, maternal mental health trajectories from antenatal to the postnatal period, and school readiness.
Prospective data from 505 mother–child dyads in a birth cohort in Singapore were used, including household income, repeated measures of maternal mental health from pregnancy to 2-years postpartum, and a range of child behavioural, socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes from 2 to 6 years of age. Antenatal mental health and its trajectory were tested as mediators in the latent growth curve models.
Household income was a robust predictor of antenatal maternal mental health and all child outcomes. Between children from the bottom and top household income quartiles, four dimensions of school readiness skills differed by a range of 0.52 (95% Cl: 0.23, 0.67) to 1.21 s.d. (95% CI: 1.02, 1.40). Thirty-eight percent of pregnant mothers in this cohort were found to have perinatal depressive and anxiety symptoms in the subclinical and clinical ranges. Poorer school readiness skills were found in children of these mothers when compared to those of mothers with little or no symptoms. After adjustment of unmeasured confounding on the indirect effect, antenatal maternal mental health provided a robust mediating path between household income and multiple school readiness outcomes (χ2 126.05, df 63, p < 0.001; RMSEA = 0.031, CFI = 0.980, SRMR = 0.034).
Pregnant mothers with mental health symptoms, particularly those from economically-challenged households, are potential targets for intervention to level the playing field of their children.
Kernza® intermediate wheatgrass [Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & Dewey], the first perennial grain crop to come to market in North America, can provide a number of ecosystem services when integrated into cropping systems that are dominated by annual grain crops. However, grain yield from Kernza is lower than comparable annual cereal crops such as wheat and oats. Also, although Kernza is a long-lived perennial that can persist for decades, grain yield tends to decline over time as Kernza stands age leading most farmers to replant or rotate to a different crop after 3–5 yrs. Increased intraspecific competition as stand density increases with age has been reported to cause grain yield declines. We investigated the effect of strip-tillage applied at two different timings, between the third and fourth grain harvests, from a Kernza stand in upstate New York. Strip-tillage applied in late fall as plants were entering dormancy increased grain yield by 61% when compared to the control treatment without strip-tillage. However, total crop biomass was not reduced resulting in a greater harvest index for the fall strip-tillage treatment. Strip-tillage applied before stem elongation the following spring reduced overall tiller density and total crop biomass but did not impact tiller fertility or grain yield compared to the control treatment without strip-tillage. Increased grain yield in the fall strip-tillage treatment was due to an increase in the percentage of tillers that produced mature seedheads. This suggests that grain yield decline over time is at least partially caused by competition between tillers in dense stands. Results support further research and development of strip-tillage and other forms of managed disturbance as tools for maintaining Kernza grain yield over time.
Red meat is an important dietary source of protein and many other essential nutrients including omega(n)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which provide numerous benefits to human health. It is well known that grass-fed meat contains a more favourable fatty acid profile, compared to other feeding regimes, but the feasibility of grass finishing is in decline for many farmers/producers. Therefore, alternative methods to enhance the fatty acid profile of red meats, such as beef, are needed to meet increasing consumer demands for ‘healthier’ products. This study compared plasma PUFA concentrations across cattle finished on three different feeding regimes. Three farms supplied livestock to the current study, where cattle were fed three different feeding regimes for a minimum of 15-weeks prior to slaughter. Feeding regimes were ad lib concentrate (negative control), n3-enriched ad lib concentrate (treatment) or grass-fed only (positive control). Blood was collected at slaughter into EDTA tubes and plasma aliquots were stored at -80°C until analysis. A validated gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method was used to quantify individual PUFA concentrations in mg/ml [linoleic acid (LA); arachidonic acid (AA); alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA); docosapentaenoic acid (DPA); docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)]. Samples from 23, 49 and 40 animals (in control, treatment & grass groups, respectively) were available for the current analysis. One-way ANOVA tests revealed significant differences between groups in all PUFA concentrations quantified (all P < 0.026). Post-hoc (LSD) tests showed mean ± SD n3 PUFA concentrations were significantly different within all three groups (all P < 0.04), increasing from negative control (0.049 ± 0.013 mg/ml), to treatment (0.095 ± 0.034 mg/ml) and grass-fed groups (0.461 ± 0.132 mg/ml). The opposite was observed for mean ± SD n6 PUFA concentrations (1.060 ± 0.297 vs. 0.918 ± 0.267 vs. 0.355 ± 0.085 mg/ml, respectively; all P < 0.02). Cattle finished on either treatment or grass regimes had a more favourable n6:n3 PUFA ratio, compared to negative control (11.98 and 0.79 vs. 22.65, respectively). This study demonstrates that the finishing diet can impact plasma PUFA concentrations of beef cattle. Animals finished on the n3-enriched concentrate had, on average, double the total n3 PUFA concentrations, as well as an improved n6:n3 ratio, compared to control cattle. These results provide preliminary data on an alternative n3-enriched feeding regime for beef cattle to improve PUFA concentrations. Further research, however, is required to confirm if such beneficial changes are also observed in bovine muscle, which would have direct benefits for consumers.
As part of further investigations into three linked haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) cases in Wales and England, 21 rats from a breeding colony in Cherwell, and three rats from a household in Cheltenham were screened for hantavirus. Hantavirus RNA was detected in either the lungs and/or kidney of 17/21 (81%) of the Cherwell rats tested, higher than previously detected by blood testing alone (7/21, 33%), and in the kidneys of all three Cheltenham rats. The partial L gene sequences obtained from 10 of the Cherwell rats and the three Cheltenham rats were identical to each other and the previously reported UK Cherwell strain. Seoul hantavirus (SEOV) RNA was detected in the heart, kidney, lung, salivary gland and spleen (but not in the liver) of an individual rat from the Cherwell colony suspected of being the source of SEOV. Serum from 20/20 of the Cherwell rats and two associated HFRS cases had high levels of SEOV-specific antibodies (by virus neutralisation). The high prevalence of SEOV in both sites and the moderately severe disease in the pet rat owners suggest that SEOV in pet rats poses a greater public health risk than previously considered.
Neptunium-237 will be present in radioactive wastes over extended time periods due to its long half-life (2.13 × 106 years). Understanding its behaviour under conditions relevant to radioactive waste disposal is therefore of particular importance. Here, microcosm experiments were established using sediments from a legacy lime workings with high-pH conditions as an analogue of cementitious intermediate-level radioactive waste disposal. To probe the influence of Fe biogeochemistry on Np(V) in these systems, additional Fe(III) (as ferrihydrite) was added to select experiments. Biogeochemical changes were tracked in experiments with low levels of Np(V) (20 Bq ml–1; 3.3 μM), whilst parallel higher concentration systems (2.5 KBq ml–1; 414 μM) allowed X-ray absorption spectroscopy. As expected, microbial reduction processes developed in microbially-active systems with an initial pH of 10; however, during microbial incubations the pH dropped from 10 to ∼7, reflecting the high levels of microbial metabolism occurring in these systems. In microbially-active systems without added Fe(III), 90% sorption of Np(V) occurred within one hour with essentially complete removal by one day. In the ferrihydrite-amended systems, complete sorption of Np(V) to ferrihydrite occurred within one hour. For higher-activity sediments, X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at end points where Fe(II) ingrowth was observed confirmed that complete reductive precipitation of Np(V) to Np(IV) had occurred under similar conditions to low-level Np experiments. Finally, pre-reduced, Fe(III)-reducing sediments, with and without added Fe(III) and held at pH 10, were spiked with Np(V). These alkaline pre-reduced sediments showed significant removal of Np to sediments, and XAS confirmed partial reduction to Np(IV) with the no Fe system, and essentially complete reduction to Np(IV) in the Fe(III)-enriched systems. This suggested an indirect, Fe(II)-mediated pathway for Np(V) reduction under alkaline conditions. Microbial analyses using 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing suggested a role for alkali-tolerant, Gram-positive Firmicutes in coupled Fe(III) reduction and Np immobilization in these experiments.
The utility of biological control for weed management in agroecosystems will
increase with a greater understanding of the relationships between common
weed and granivore species. Giant foxtail is an introduced, summer annual
grass weed that is common throughout the United States and problematic in
numerous crops. Harpalus pensylvanicus (DeGeer)
(Coleoptera: Carabidae) is a common, native, omnivorous carabid beetle with
a range that overlaps giant foxtail. In 2004 and 2005, H.
pensylvanicus was captured from farm fields in Centre County,
PA, and subjected to laboratory feeding trials to test the preference of
giant foxtail and other species on predation by H.
pensylvanicus. Weed species seed preference experiments that
included “Choice” and “No Choice” treatments were conducted using giant
foxtail, common lambsquarters, and velvetleaf. When given a choice amongst
the three weed species, H. pensylvanicus preferred giant
foxtail and common lambsquarters seeds equally compared to velvetleaf seeds.
When given the choice, H. pensylvanicus preferred newly
dispersed giant foxtail seeds over field-aged seeds. Phenology of giant
foxtail seed shed relative to H. pensylvanicus activity
density was also quantified in field experiments in 2005 and 2006. Giant
foxtail seed rain was determined by collecting shed seeds from August
through October using pan traps. Activity density of H.
pensylvanicus was monitored for 72-h periods using pitfall traps
from June to October. Peak activity density of H.
pensylvanicus occurred at the onset of giant foxtail seed shed
in both years; however, giant foxtail seed shed peaked approximately 30 to
50 d after H. pensylvanicus activity density. Future
research should focus on management practices that enhance and support
H. pensylvanicus populations later in the growing season
to maximize suppression of giant foxtail and other weeds that shed palatable
seeds later in the season.
Iron oxides resulting from the corrosion of large quantities of steel that are planned to be installed throughout a deep geological disposal facility (GDF) are expected to be one of the key surfaces of interest for controlling radionuclide behaviour under disposal conditions. Over the lengthy timescales associated with a GDF, the system is expected to become anoxic so that reduced Fe(II) phases will dominate. Batch experiments have therefore been completed in order to investigate how a model reduced Fe-oxide surface (wüstite, Fe1–xO) alters as a function of exposure to aqueous solutions with compositions representative of conditions expected within a GDF. Additional experiments were performed to constrain the effect that highly alkaline solutions (up to pH 13) have on the adsorption behaviour of the uranyl (UO22+) ion onto the surfaces of both wüstite and portlandite [Ca(OH)2; representative of the expected cementitious phases]. Surface co-ordination chemistry and speciation were determined by ex situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements (both X-ray absorption near-edge structure analysis (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure analysis (EXAFS)). Diffraction, elemental analysis and XANES showed that the bulk solid composition and Fe oxidation state remained relatively unaltered over the time frame of these experiments (120 h), although under alkaline conditions possible surface hydroxylation is observed, due presumably to the formation of surface hydroxyl complexes. The surface morphology, however, is altered significantly with a large degree of roughening and an observed decrease in the average particle size. Reduction of U(VI) to U(IV) occurs during adsorption in almost all cases and this is interpreted to indicate that wüstite may be an effective reductant of U during surface adsorption. This work also shows that increasing the carbonate concentration in reactant solutions dramatically decreases the adsorption coefficients for U on both wüstite and portlandite, consistent with U speciation and surface reactivity determined in other studies. Finally, the EXAFS results include new details about exactly how U bonds to this metal oxide surface.
The objective of this study was to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of a culture method and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for detection of two Campylobacter species: C. jejuni and C. coli. Data were collected during a 3-year survey of UK broiler flocks, and consisted of parallel sampling of caeca from 436 batches of birds by both PCR and culture. Batches were stratified by season (summer/non-summer) and whether they were the first depopulation of the flock, resulting in four sub-populations. A Bayesian approach in the absence of a gold standard was adopted, and the sensitivity and specificity of the PCR and culture for each Campylobacter subtype was estimated, along with the true C. jejuni and C. coli prevalence in each sub-population. Results indicated that the sensitivity of the culture method was higher than that of PCR in detecting both species when the samples were derived from populations infected with at most one species of Campylobacter. However, from a mixed population, the sensitivity of culture for detecting both C. jejuni or C. coli is reduced while PCR is potentially able to detect both species, although the total probability of correctly identifying at least one species by PCR is similar to that of the culture method.
Cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered to be effective for the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, this view is based mainly on meta-analysis, whose findings can be influenced by failure to consider sources of bias.
To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of CBT for schizophrenic symptoms that includes an examination of potential sources of bias.
Data were pooled from randomised trials providing end-of-study data on overall, positive and negative symptoms. The moderating effects of randomisation, masking of outcome assessments, incompleteness of outcome data and use of a control intervention were examined. Publication bias was also investigated.
Pooled effect sizes were −0.33 (95% CI −0.47 to −0.19) in 34 studies of overall symptoms, −0.25 (95% CI −0.37 to −0.13) in 33 studies of positive symptoms and −0.13 (95% CI −0.25 to −0.01) in 34 studies of negative symptoms. Masking significantly moderated effect size in the meta-analyses of overall symptoms (effect sizes −0.62 (95% CI −0.88 to −0.35) v. −0.15 (95% CI −0.27 to −0.03), P = 0.001) and positive symptoms (effect sizes −0.57 (95% CI −0.76 to −0.39) v. −0.08 (95% CI −0.18 to 0.03), P<0.001). Use of a control intervention did not moderate effect size in any of the analyses. There was no consistent evidence of publication bias across different analyses.
Cognitive–behavioural therapy has a therapeutic effect on schizophrenic symptoms in the ‘small’ range. This reduces further when sources of bias, particularly masking, are controlled for.