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The farrowing process is one of the most energy-demanding activities for the modern hyperprolific sow. This study evaluated the effects of supply of energy on the expected date of farrowing on the farrowing kinetics and piglets’ performance during the first 24 h after birth. A total of 80 sows were used. The sows and their respective litters were considered as the experimental unit. On the expected day of farrowing, the sows were allocated to one of the following groups: sows that did not have access to feed from farrowing induction until the end of the farrowing process (CON, n = 40); sows fed 500 g of energetic supplement, which consisted of 250 g of the basal lactation diet plus 250 g of cane sugar, 18 h after farrowing induction (SUP, n = 40). The farrowing duration, farrowing assistance, birth interval, number of total born, stillborn and mummified piglets were recorded for each sow. Piglets were weighed individually at birth and 24 h later. The interval from birth to first suckle was evaluated individually for each piglet in 16 randomly selected litters (eight litters per treatment group). Blood glucose concentrations of six sows were measured shortly after expulsion of the first piglet. Farrowing duration, farrowing assistance and stillborn rate tended to be greater (P = 0.06, P = 0.09 and P = 0.07, respectively) in sows from the CON group compared to sows from the SUP group. However, there was no difference (P > 0.05) between the groups for birth interval. Colostrum intake was greater (P < 0.05) for piglets from the SUP group compared to piglets from the CON group. Additionally, BW gain of the piglets suckling the SUP group was greater (P < 0.05) than those suckling the CON group at 24 h after birth. The blood glucose concentrations during the expulsive stage of farrowing were greater (P < 0.05) in the SUP group than for sows from the CON group. In conclusion, supplying modern hyperprolific sows energy on the expected day of farrowing is a valuable nutritional intervention to improve the farrowing kinetics and piglets’ performance in early life.
Feeding cattle with on-pasture supplementation or feedlot diets can increase animal efficiency and system profitability while minimizing environmental impacts. However, cattle system profit margins are relatively small and nutrient supply accounts for most of the costs. This paper introduces a nonlinear profit-maximizing diet formulation problem for beef cattle based on well-established predictive equations. Nonlinearity in predictive equations for nutrient requirements poses methodological challenges in the application of optimization techniques. In contrast to other widely used diet formulation methods, we develop a mathematical model that guarantees an exact solution for maximum profit diet formulations. Our method can efficiently solve an often-impractical nonlinear problem by solving a finite number of linear problems, that is, linear time complexity is achieved through parametric linear programming. Results show the impacts of choosing different objective functions (minimizing cost, maximizing profit and maximizing profit per daily weight gain) and how this may lead to different optimal solutions. In targeting improved ration formulation on feedlot systems, this paper demonstrates how profitability and nutritional constraints can be met as an important part of a sustainable intensification production strategy.
This study presents two years of characterization of a warm temperate rhodolith bed in order to analyse how certain environmental changes influence the community ecology. The biomass of rhodoliths and associated species were analysed during this period and in situ experiments were conducted to evaluate the primary production, calcification and respiration of the dominant species of rhodoliths and epiphytes. The highest total biomass of rhodoliths occurred during austral winter. Lithothamnion crispatum was the most abundant rhodolith species in austral summer. Epiphytic macroalgae occurred only in January 2015, with Padina gymnospora being the most abundant. Considering associated fauna, the biomass of Mollusca increased from February 2015 to February 2016. Population densities of key reef fish species inside and around the rhodolith beds showed significant variations in time. The densities of grouper (carnivores/piscivores) increased in time, especially from 2015 to 2016. On the other hand, grunts (macroinvertebrate feeders) had a modest decrease over time (from 2014 to 2016). Other parameters such as primary production and calcification of L. crispatum were higher under enhanced irradiance, yet decreased in the presence of P. gymnospora. Community structure and physiological responses can be explained by the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors, which are driven by environmental changes over time. Biomass changes can indicate that herbivores play a role in limiting the growth of epiphytes, and this is beneficial to the rhodoliths because it decreases competition for environmental resources with fleshy algae.
The co-infection between visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has increased in several countries in the world. The current serological tests are not suitable since they present low sensitivity to detect the most of VL/HIV cases, and a more precise diagnosis should be performed. In this context, in the present study, an immunoproteomics approach was performed using Leishmania infantum antigenic extracts and VL, HIV and VL/HIV patients sera, besides healthy subjects samples; aiming to identify antigenic markers for these clinical conditions. Results showed that 43 spots were recognized by antibodies in VL and VL/HIV sera, and 26 proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. Between them, β-tubulin was expressed, purified and tested in ELISA experiments as a proof of concept for validation of our immunoproteomics findings and results showed high sensitivity and specificity values to detect VL and VL/HIV patients. In conclusion, the identified proteins in the present work could be considered as candidates for future studies aiming to improvement of the diagnosis of VL and VL/HIV co-infection.
Pseudologia Fantastica (PF) is an understudied and poorly understood entity, first described by a German psychiatrist in the late 19th century. The terms mythomania and pathological lying are often used interchangeably.
In addition to reviewing the literature around PF and its place nowadays in the current diagnostic system, we report the case of an adolescent female who suffered from PF.
We describe and analyse a clinical case of PF and make a bibliographic review about this disorder.
Typically, PF has its onset during adolescence and the clinical picture is often very uniform. The central features include a marked tendency to lie that is both quantitatively and qualitatively quite distinct from “normal” lying. Instead of being a goal-directed lie, pseudology lacks an obvious motive and is often more associated with internal motives, which can constitute some kind of gratification on their own.
The only diagnosis available in our current diagnosis system that accounts for prominent purposeless deception is the Axis I Factious Disorder diagnosis. Despite this, some Personality Disorders should always be considered as possible comorbidity of PF.
While cases of PF are thought to be quite rare overall, they have been documented all over the world. There is the need for further case studies and reviews to be published on this issue in order to determine whether PF should be better understood on Axis I or Axis II of our diagnostic system. Greater awareness of its medical, social and legal consequences is mandatory.
It is known that several factors can influence the quality of life such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, the presence of mental illness or substance abuse.
Assess quality of life of outpatients observed in Young Adult Unit of our Psychiatry Department (Coimbra Hospital and University Centre – Portugal) and its relation with substance use.
Socio-demographic characterization of youth psychiatric outpatients observed during between 1st January 2015 and 31st July 2016. Portuguese versions of The Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) and The World Health Organization Quality of Life scale (WHOQOL-BREF) were administered. A Spearman correlation coefficient between ASSIST and WHOQOL-BREF scores was calculated.
A total of 255 outpatients were observed: 64.3% females and 35.7% males; ages between 17 and 39 years old. ASSIST and WHOQOL-BREF were administered in 57 patients. Average ASSIST total score was 16.81 (median: 13.50), with tobacco and alcohol scoring higher. Average WHOQOL-BREF total was 13.74 (median: 13.67), with physical and psychological domains scoring less. We found a significant negative correlation between WHOQOL-BREF physical domain and ASSIST tobacco scores; and between WHOQOL-BREF social domain and ASSIST sedatives score.
Quality of life is influenced by several factors. Studies showed that consumers of psychoactive substances have lower WHOQOL-BREF scores than nonusers. In our sample, we did not find a significant correlation between global quality of life and different substances. This may be due to existence of low consumption of substances in the sample as well as the existence of other factors that might have influenced quality of life.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
The effects of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) of dielectric barrier discharges on the wettability, imbibition and germination of Leucaena leucocephala were investigated. It was established that CAP treatment markedly hydrophilized the seed coat, especially at longer treatment times. From the profile of the imbibition curve and visual observation, it was possible to verify that there are two resistance barriers to water penetration: integument surface and region of the macrosclereid cell wall (light line). Although the plasma interacts only in the integument, increasing the density of hydrophilic sites increases the capacity of water absorption, producing enough driving force to overcome the second resistance barrier. The existence of these two barriers changes the three-phase pattern generally observed during seed germination. Despite an increase in imbibition, the plasma treatment conditions used in this work, were not enough to overcome completely the dormancy barrier.
The problem of traffic congestion incurs numerous social and economical repercussions and has thus become a central issue in every major city in the world. For this work we look at the transportation domain from a multiagent system perspective, where every driver can be seen as an autonomous decision-making agent. We explore how learning approaches can help achieve an efficient outcome, even when agents interact in a competitive environment for sharing common resources. To this end, we consider the route choice problem, where self-interested drivers need to independently learn which routes minimise their expected travel costs. Such a selfish behaviour results in the so-called user equilibrium, which is inefficient from the system’s perspective. In order to mitigate the impact of selfishness, we present Toll-based Q-learning (TQ-learning, for short). TQ-learning employs the idea of marginal-cost tolling (MCT), where each driver is charged according to the cost it imposes on others. The use of MCT leads agents to behave in a socially desirable way such that the is attainable. In contrast to previous works, however, our tolling scheme is distributed (i.e., each agent can compute its own toll), is charged a posteriori (i.e., at the end of each trip), and is fairer (i.e., agents pay exactly their marginal costs). Additionally, we provide a general formulation of the toll values for univariate, homogeneous polynomial cost functions. We present a theoretical analysis of TQ-learning, proving that it converges to a system-efficient equilibrium (i.e., an equilibrium aligned to the system optimum) in the limit. Furthermore, we perform an extensive empirical evaluation on realistic road networks to support our theoretical findings, showing that TQ-learning indeed converges to the optimum, which translates into a reduction of the congestion levels by 9.1%, on average.
A 1D reactive transport model has been implemented in iCP (interface COMSOL Multiphysics and PhreeqC) to assess the corrosion of Spent Fuel (SF), considered as homogeneous UO2(am,hyd) doped with Pd. The model couples: i) generation of water radiolysis species by alpha and beta radiation considering the complete water radiolysis system with the kinetic reactions involving: H+, OH-, O2, H2O2, H2, HO2-, HO2·, O·, O-, O2-, H·, ·OH and e- ii) processes occurring in the spent fuel surface: oxidative dissolution reactions of UO2(am,hyd) and subsequent reduction of oxidized fuel, considering H2 activation by Pd, and iii) corrosion of Fe(s) in oxic and anoxic conditions. Process i) has been implemented in COMSOL and processes ii) and iii) have been implemented in PHREEQC with their kinetic constants being calibrated with different sets of experimental data published in the open literature. The model yields a UO2(am,hyd) dissolution rates similar to the values selected in safety assessments.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
Kinematic indicators, including certain strain fringes, represent an important group of structures related to the progressive deformation in rocks. The evolution of these fibrous textures can be explained by the combination of multiple mechanisms of deformation and fluid flow, mainly controlled by the orientation of the strain field and the morphology of the grains. In general, the observations are done with an optical microscope and compared with computational models of growth. This work proposes a combination of crystallographic and cathodoluminescence data obtained in rocks from banded iron formations of the Iron Quadrangle in Brazil to represent an example of how complementary analytical techniques can be useful to understand geological problems. The chosen sample exhibits a strain fringe structure of quartz around a clast of magnetite partially transformed into goethite and hematite. Through the crystallographic data it was possible to identify the grain boundary morphology and domains of low deformation areas. On the other hand, the cathodoluminescence signal evidenced the occurrence of grains with a higher concentration of crystalline defects.
Crossbreeding represents an important technique to improve growth, beef quality and adaptability in beef production systems in tropical countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate sire and dam breed effects on performance and carcass traits of crossbred cattle produced in a tropical environment. Heifers and steers were evaluated during the pre-weaning, the post-weaning (n = 173) and the finishing phase (n = 123). Animals were produced by mating Nellore (N_N), Angus × Nellore (A_N) and Caracu × Nellore (C_N) dams with Braford, Charbray and Caracu sires. After weaning, animals were raised grazing on Marandu grass for 12 months; thereafter they were housed in individual pens and finished in a feedlot, receiving a total mixed ration. Ultrasound carcass evaluations were performed to determine ribeye area (R_A), backfat thickness (B_T) and rump fat thickness (R_T). A_N progeny were heavier at birth than N_N (P < 0.05), and Braford progeny had greater birth BW than Caracu (P < 0.05). Greater weaning BW was observed in the A_N and C_N offspring compared to N_N (P < 0.01). Greater average daily gain during the post-weaning period was verified in the N_N progeny compared to C_N (P < 0.05). No dam or sire breed effects were observed for BW at the end of the post-weaning period (P > 0.05). Progeny of N_N cows had greater B_T (P < 0.05) and R_T (P < 0.01) at the end of the post-weaning period in relation to C_N. Greater R_A was observed in the Caracu progeny than in the Braford (P < 0.05), which showed greater R_T than the Charbray progeny at the end of the post-weaning period (P < 0.05). No dam or sire breed effects were verified for final BW at the feedlot or for feed efficiency traits (P > 0.05). A_N progeny were superior in final B_T compared to C_N (P < 0.01), and Braford progeny had greater R_T at the end of finishing than Charbray (P = 0.05). The use of crossbred dams allows an increase in productivity until weaning, but this is not maintained in the post-weaning and finishing periods. The use of Braford sires produces similar growth performance in the different stages of the production system to those seen with Charbray and Caracu sires but generates animals with higher fat thickness at the end of finishing, which may improve carcass quality and commercial value.
New therapeutic approaches are necessary to control strongyloidiasis due to the side effects of, and resistance to, currently available drugs thiabendazole, albendazole, and ivermectin. This study examined the anthelmintic properties of extracts and isolated compounds from Siparuna guianensis against Strongyloides venezuelensis eggs and larvae, using the egg hatching test (EHT) and larval motility test (LMT). Albendazole (0.025 mg/ml) and ivermectin (0.316 mg/ml) were used as the positive controls for the EHT and LMT assays, respectively. Strongyloides venezuelensis eggs or larvae (±50 specimens) were treated with ethanol extract (0.05–1.0 mg/ml), ethyl acetate and aqueous fractions (0.05–0.8 mg/ml), essential oil (0.2–1.0 mg/ml) and α-bisabolol (0.2–1.0 mg/ml) from S. guianensis, and analysed by optical microscopy after 48 h (EHT), or after 24, 48 and 72 h (LMT). All the tested compounds exhibited ovicidal activity equivalent to the positive control and changed the morphology of the eggs. The S. guianensis ethanol extract and aqueous fraction were as effective as the positive control. Phytochemical analysis of the ethanol extract and fractions revealed the presence of phenolic compounds, tannins and flavonoids. Therefore, S. guianensis is effective against S. venezuelensis eggs and larvae in vitro, and can be considered as a potential alternative treatment for strongyloidiasis.
This paper describes a model of electron energization and cyclotron-maser emission applicable to astrophysical magnetized collisionless shocks. It is motivated by the work of Begelman, Ergun and Rees [Astrophys. J. 625, 51 (2005)] who argued that the cyclotron-maser instability occurs in localized magnetized collisionless shocks such as those expected in blazar jets. We report on recent research carried out to investigate electron acceleration at collisionless shocks and maser radiation associated with the accelerated electrons. We describe how electrons accelerated by lower-hybrid waves at collisionless shocks generate cyclotron-maser radiation when the accelerated electrons move into regions of stronger magnetic fields. The electrons are accelerated along the magnetic field and magnetically compressed leading to the formation of an electron velocity distribution having a horseshoe shape due to conservation of the electron magnetic moment. Under certain conditions the horseshoe electron velocity distribution function is unstable to the cyclotron-maser instability [Bingham and Cairns, Phys. Plasmas 7, 3089 (2000); Melrose, Rev. Mod. Plasma Phys. 1, 5 (2017)].
The increase of sheep meat competitiveness in international markets can be attributed to the rise of the quantity and the improvement of the quality of the edible portion of sheep carcasses. Usually, carcass yield is established after the slaughter of the animals. Yet, when carcass yield is determined in vivo, it can be both a costly and subjective method. This study proposes models for predicting the physical characteristics of lamb carcass using bioimpedance analysis (BIA) in live animals. Thirty-one Texel × Ile de France crossbreed ram lambs were slaughtered at 20, 26, 32 or 38 kg of BW. Before the slaughter, values of resistance (Rs) and reactance (Xc) were collected using a single-frequency BIA equipment (Model RJL Quantum II Bioelectrical Body Composition Analyzer). Then, BIA main variables such as body bioelectrical volume (V), phase angle (PA), resistive density (RsD) and reactive density (XcD) were calculated. After slaughter, cold carcass weight (CCW), cold carcass yield (CCY), subcutaneous fat thickness (SFT), soft tissue weight (STW) and soft tissue yield (STY) were also measured. Multiple regression analyses were carried out using the physical characteristics as dependent variables and the bioimpedance values as independent variables. Predictive performance of the models was assessed using leave-one-out cross-validation. The prediction model of CCW was obtained using the V, PA and RsD (R2 = 0.97), STW through the V, RsD and XcD (R2 = 0.97), CCY by Rs, Z and XcD (R2 = 0.69), STY by V and XcD (R2 = 0.67), and SFT only for XcD (R2 = 0.84). The results indicated that BIA has the potential to predict carcass characteristics of lambs at different body masses.
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
Moringa oleifera seeds are currently being used as a livestock feed across tropical regions of the world due to its availability and palatability. However, limited knowledge exists on the effects of the raw seeds on ruminant metabolism. As such, the rumen stimulation technique was used to evaluate the effects of substituting increasing concentrations of ground Moringa seeds (0, 100, 200 and 400 g/kg concentrate dry matter (DM)) in the diet on rumen fermentation and methane production. Two identical, Rusitec apparatuses, each with eight fermenters were used with the first 8 days used for adaptation and days 9 to 16 used for measurements. Fermenters were fed a total mixed ration with Urochloa brizantha as the forage. Disappearance of DM, CP, NDF and ADF linearly decreased (P<0.01) with increasing concentrations of Moringa seeds in the diet. Total volatile fatty acid production and the acetate to propionate ratio were also linearly decreased (P<0.01). However, only the 400 g/kg (concentrate DM basis) treatment differed (P<0.01) from the control. Methane production (%), total microbial incorporation of 15N and total production of microbial N linearly decreased (P<0.01) as the inclusion of Moringa seeds increased. Though the inclusion of Moringa seeds in the diet decreased CH4 production, this arose from an unfavourable decrease in diet digestibility and rumen fermentation parameters.
Reducing the risk of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission is still a public health priority. The development of effective control strategies relies on the quantification of the effects of prophylactic and therapeutic measures in disease incidence. Although several assays can be used to estimate HIV incidence, these estimates are limited by the poor performance of these assays in distinguishing recent from long-standing infections. To address such limitation, we have developed an assay to titrate p24-specific IgG3 antibodies as a marker of recent infection. The assay is based on a recombinant p24 protein capable to detect total IgG antibodies in sera using a liquid micro array and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Subsequently, the assay was optimised to detect and titrate anti-p24 IgG3 responses in a panel of sequential specimens from seroconverters over 24 months. The kinetics of p24-specific IgG3 titres revealed a transient peak in the 4 to 5-month period after seroconversion. It was followed by a sharp decline, allowing infections with less than 6 months to be distinguished from older ones. The developed assay exhibited a mean duration of recent infection of 144 days and a false-recent rate of ca. 14%. Our findings show that HIV-1 p24-specific IgG3 titres can be used as a tool to evaluate HIV incidence in serosurveys and to monitor the efficacy of vaccines and other transmission control strategies.