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The diurnal feeding patterns of dairy cows affects the 24 h robot utilisation of pasture-based automatic milking systems (AMS). A decline in robot utilisation between 2400 and 0600 h currently occurs in pasture-based AMS, as cow feeding activity is greatly reduced during this time. Here, we investigate the effect of a temporal variation in feed quality and quantity on cow feeding behaviour between 2400 and 0600 h as a potential tool to increase voluntary cow trafficking in an AMS at night. The day was allocated into four equal feeding periods (0600 to 1200, 1200 to 1800, 1800 to 2400 and 2400 to 0600 h). Lucerne hay cubes (CP = 19.1%, water soluble carbohydrate = 3.8%) and oat, ryegrass and clover hay cubes with 20% molasses (CP = 11.8%, water soluble carbohydrate = 10.7%) were offered as the ‘standard’ and ‘preferred’ (preference determined previously) feed types, respectively. The four treatments were (1) standard feed offered ad libitum (AL) throughout 24 h; (2) as per AL, with preferred feed replacing standard feed between 2400 and 0600 h (AL + P); (3) standard feed offered at a restricted rate, with quantity varying between each feeding period (20:10:30:60%, respectively) as a proportion of the (previously) measured daily ad libitum intake (VA); (4) as per VA, with preferred feed replacing standard feed between 2400 and 0600 h (VA + P). Eight non-lactating dairy cows were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. During each experimental period, treatment cows were fed for 7 days, including 3 days habituation and 4 days data collection. Total daily intake was approximately 8% greater (P < 0.001) for the AL and AL + P treatments (23.1 and 22.9 kg DM/cow) as compared with the VA and VA + P treatments (21.6 and 20.9 kg DM/cow). The AL + P and VA treatments had 21% and 90% greater (P < 0.001) dry matter intake (DMI) between 2400 and 0600 h, respectively, compared with the AL treatment. In contrast, the VA + P treatment had similar DMI to the VA treatment. Our experiment shows ability to increase cow feeding activity at night by varying feed type and quantity, though it is possible that a penalty to total DMI may occur using VA. Further research is required to determine if the implementation of variable feed allocation on pasture-based AMS farms is likely to improve milking robot utilisation by increasing cow feeding activity at night.
Culture-based studies, which focus on individual organisms, have implicated stethoscopes as potential vectors of nosocomial bacterial transmission. However, the full bacterial communities that contaminate in-use stethoscopes have not been investigated.
We used bacterial 16S rRNA gene deep-sequencing, analysis, and quantification to profile entire bacterial populations on stethoscopes in use in an intensive care unit (ICU), including practitioner stethoscopes, individual-use patient-room stethoscopes, and clean unused individual-use stethoscopes. Two additional sets of practitioner stethoscopes were sampled before and after cleaning using standardized or practitioner-preferred methods.
Bacterial contamination levels were highest on practitioner stethoscopes, followed by patient-room stethoscopes, whereas clean stethoscopes were indistinguishable from background controls. Bacterial communities on stethoscopes were complex, and community analysis by weighted UniFrac showed that physician and patient-room stethoscopes were indistinguishable and significantly different from clean stethoscopes and background controls. Genera relevant to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were common on practitioner stethoscopes, among which Staphylococcus was ubiquitous and had the highest relative abundance (6.8%–14% of contaminating bacterial sequences). Other HAI-related genera were also widespread although lower in abundance. Cleaning of practitioner stethoscopes resulted in a significant reduction in bacterial contamination levels, but these levels reached those of clean stethoscopes in only a few cases with either standardized or practitioner-preferred methods, and bacterial community composition did not significantly change.
Stethoscopes used in an ICU carry bacterial DNA reflecting complex microbial communities that include nosocomially important taxa. Commonly used cleaning practices reduce contamination but are only partially successful at modifying or eliminating these communities.
Achieving a consistent level of robot utilisation throughout 24 h maximises automatic milking system (AMS) utilisation. However, levels of robot utilisation in the early morning hours are typically low, caused by the diurnal feeding behaviour of cows, limiting the inherent capacity and total production of pasture-based AMS. Our objective was to determine robot utilisation throughout 24 h by dairy cows, based on milking frequency (MF; milking events per animal per day) in a pasture-based AMS. Milking data were collected from January and February 2013 across 56 days, from a single herd of 186 animals (Bos taurus) utilising three Lely A3 robotic milking units, located in Tasmania, Australia. The dairy herd was categorised into three equal sized groups (n=62 per group) according to the cow’s mean daily MF over the duration of the study. Robot utilisation was characterised by an interaction (P< 0.001) between the three MF groups and time of day, with peak milking time for high MF cows within one h of a fresh pasture allocation becoming available, followed by the medium MF and low MF cows 2 and 4 h later, respectively. Cows in the high MF group also presented for milking between 2400 and 0600 h more frequently (77% of nights), compared to the medium MF group (57%) and low MF group (50%). This study has shown the formation of three distinct groups of cows within a herd, based on their MF levels. Further work is required to determine if this finding is replicated across other pasture-based AMS farms.
Two burials excavated at Izapa in 1963 have special green obsidian artifacts made at Teotihuacan. We describe the contexts and contents of these burials and consider the significance of their contents in light of Spence's (1996) model of Teotihuacan exchange of obsidian objects. We interpret the Izapa artifacts as gifted objects indicative of the political independence of Izapa in Middle Classic times.
Background: Central neuropathic pain syndromes are a result of central nervous system injury, most commonly related to stroke, traumatic spinal cord injury, or multiple sclerosis. These syndromes are distinctly less common than peripheral neuropathic pain, and less is known regarding the underlying pathophysiology, appropriate pharmacotherapy, and long-term outcomes. The objective of this study was to determine the long-term clinical effectiveness of the management of central neuropathic pain relative to peripheral neuropathic pain at tertiary pain centers. Methods: Patients diagnosed with central (n=79) and peripheral (n=710) neuropathic pain were identified for analysis from a prospective observational cohort study of patients with chronic neuropathic pain recruited from seven Canadian tertiary pain centers. Data regarding patient characteristics, analgesic use, and patient-reported outcomes were collected at baseline and 12-month follow-up. The primary outcome measure was the composite of a reduction in average pain intensity and pain interference. Secondary outcome measures included assessments of function, mood, quality of life, catastrophizing, and patient satisfaction. Results: At 12-month follow-up, 13.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.6-25.8) of patients with central neuropathic pain and complete data sets (n=52) achieved a ≥30% reduction in pain, whereas 38.5% (95% CI, 25.3-53.0) achieved a reduction of at least 1 point on the Pain Interference Scale. The proportion of patients with central neuropathic pain achieving both these measures, and thus the primary outcome, was 9.6% (95% CI, 3.2-21.0). Patients with peripheral neuropathic pain and complete data sets (n=463) were more likely to achieve this primary outcome at 12 months (25.3% of patients; 95% CI, 21.4-29.5) (p=0.012). Conclusion: Patients with central neuropathic pain syndromes managed in tertiary care centers were less likely to achieve a meaningful improvement in pain and function compared with patients with peripheral neuropathic pain at 12-month follow-up.
The development of algorithms for agile science and autonomous exploration has been pursued in contexts ranging from spacecraft to planetary rovers to unmanned aerial vehicles to autonomous underwater vehicles. In situations where time, mission resources and communications are limited and the future state of the operating environment is unknown, the capability of a vehicle to dynamically respond to changing circumstances without human guidance can substantially improve science return. Such capabilities are difficult to achieve in practice, however, because they require intelligent reasoning to utilize limited resources in an inherently uncertain environment. Here we discuss the development, characterization and field performance of two algorithms for autonomously collecting water samples on VALKYRIE (Very deep Autonomous Laser-powered Kilowatt-class Yo-yoing Robotic Ice Explorer), a glacier-penetrating cryobot deployed to the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska (Mission Control location: 61°42′09.3″N 147°37′23.2″W). We show performance on par with human performance across a wide range of mission morphologies using simulated mission data, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the algorithms at autonomously collecting samples with high relative cell concentration during field operation. The development of such algorithms will help enable autonomous science operations in environments where constant real-time human supervision is impractical, such as penetration of ice sheets on Earth and high-priority planetary science targets like Europa.
We undertook a study on Cryptosporidium spp. in wild cricetid rodents. Fecal samples were collected from meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), southern red-backed voles (Myodes gapperi), woodland voles (Microtus pinetorum), muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) and Peromyscus spp. mice in North America, and from bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and common voles (Microtus arvalis) in Europe. Isolates were characterized by sequence and phylogenetic analyses of the small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU) and actin genes. Overall, 33·2% (362/1089) of cricetids tested positive for Cryptosporidium, with a greater prevalence in cricetids from North America (50·7%; 302/596) than Europe (12·1%; 60/493). Principal Coordinate analysis separated SSU sequences into three major groups (G1-G3), each represented by sequences from North American and European cricetids. A maximum likelihood tree of SSU sequences had low bootstrap support and showed G1 to be more heterogeneous than G2 or G3. Actin and concatenated actin-SSU trees, which were better resolved and had higher bootstrap support than the SSU phylogeny, showed that closely related cricetid hosts in Europe and North America are infected with closely related Cryptosporidium genotypes. Cricetids were not major reservoirs of human pathogenic Cryptosporidium spp.
Background: Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is a frequent complication of diabetes mellitus. Current treatment recommendations are based on short-term trials, generally of ≤3 months’ duration. Limited data are available on the long-term outcomes of this chronic disease. The objective of this study was to determine the long-term clinical effectiveness of the management of chronic PDN at tertiary pain centres. Methods: From a prospective observational cohort study of patients with chronic neuropathic non-cancer pain recruited from seven Canadian tertiary pain centres, 60 patients diagnosed with PDN were identified for analysis. Data were collected according to Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials guidelines including the Brief Pain Inventory. Results: At 12-month follow-up, 37.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 23.0-53.3) of 43 patients with complete data achieved pain reduction of ≥30%, 51.2% (95% CI, 35.5-66.7) achieved functional improvement with a reduction of ≥1 on the Pain Interference Scale (0-10, Brief Pain Inventory) and 30.2% (95% CI, 17.2-46.1) had achieved both these measures. Symptom management included at least two medication classes in 55.3% and three medication classes in 25.5% (opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants). Conclusions: Almost one-third of patients being managed for PDN in a tertiary care setting achieve meaningful improvements in pain and function in the long term. Polypharmacy including analgesic antidepressants and anticonvulsants were the mainstays of effective symptom management.
Objectives: Intraindividual cognitive variability (IICV) has been shown to differentiate between groups with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementia. This study examined whether baseline IICV predicted subsequent mild to moderate cognitive impairment in a cognitively normal baseline sample. Methods: Participants with 4 waves of cognitive assessment were drawn from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP; n=684; 53.6(6.6) baseline age; 9.1(1.0) years follow-up; 70% female; 74.6% parental history of Alzheimer’s disease). The primary outcome was Wave 4 cognitive status (“cognitively normal” vs. “impaired”) determined by consensus conference; “impaired” included early MCI (n=109), clinical MCI (n=11), or dementia (n=1). Primary predictors included two IICV variables, each based on the standard deviation of a set of scores: “6 Factor IICV” and “4 Test IICV”. Each IICV variable was tested in a series of logistic regression models to determine whether IICV predicted cognitive status. In exploratory analyses, distribution-based cutoffs incorporating memory, executive function, and IICV patterns were used to create and test an MCI risk variable. Results: Results were similar for the IICV variables: higher IICV was associated with greater risk of subsequent impairment after covariate adjustment. After adjusting for memory and executive functioning scores contributing to IICV, IICV was not significant. The MCI risk variable also predicted risk of impairment. Conclusions: While IICV in middle-age predicts subsequent impairment, it is a weaker risk indicator than the memory and executive function scores contributing to its calculation. Exploratory analyses suggest potential to incorporate IICV patterns into risk assessment in clinical settings. (JINS, 2016, 22, 1016–1025)
Automatic milking systems (AMS), one of the earliest precision livestock farming developments, have revolutionized dairy farming around the world. While robots control the milking process, there have also been numerous changes to how the whole farm system is managed. Milking is no longer performed in defined sessions; rather, the cow can now choose when to be milked in AMS, allowing milking to be distributed throughout a 24 h period. Despite this ability, there has been little attention given to milking robot utilization across 24 h. In order to formulate relevant research questions and improve farm AMS management there is a need to determine the current knowledge gaps regarding the distribution of robot utilization. Feed, animal and management factors and their interplay on levels of milking robot utilization across 24 h for both indoor and pasture-based systems are here reviewed. The impact of the timing, type and quantity of feed offered and their interaction with the distance of feed from the parlour; herd social dynamics, climate and various other management factors on robot utilization through 24 h are provided. This novel review draws together both the opportunities and challenges that exist for farm management to use these factors to improved system efficiency and those that exist for further research.
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.