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The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 throughout key regions of the United States (U.S.) in early 2020 placed a premium on timely, national surveillance of hospital patient censuses. To meet that need, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), the nation’s largest hospital surveillance system, launched a module for collecting hospital COVID-19 data. This paper presents time series estimates of the critical hospital capacity indicators during April 1–July 14, 2020.
From March 27–July 14, 2020, NHSN collected daily data on hospital bed occupancy, number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, and availability/use of mechanical ventilators. Time series were constructed using multiple imputation and survey weighting to allow near real-time daily national and state estimates to be computed.
During the pandemic’s April peak in the United States, among an estimated 431,000 total inpatients, 84,000 (19%) had COVID-19. Although the number of inpatients with COVID-19 decreased during April to July, the proportion of occupied inpatient beds increased steadily. COVID-19 hospitalizations increased from mid-June in the South and Southwest after stay-at-home restrictions were eased. The proportion of inpatients with COVID-19 on ventilators decreased from April to July.
The NHSN hospital capacity estimates served as important, near-real time indicators of the pandemic’s magnitude, spread, and impact, providing quantitative guidance for the public health response. Use of the estimates detected the rise of hospitalizations in specific geographic regions in June after declining from a peak in April. Patient outcomes appeared to improve from early April to mid-July.
Information on performance of sequential treatments of quizalofop-P-ethyl with florpyrauxifen-benzyl on rice is lacking. Field studies were conducted in 2017 and 2018 in Stoneville, MS, to evaluate sequential timings of quizalofop-P-ethyl with florpyrauxifen-benzyl included in preflood treatments of rice. Quizalofop-P-ethyl treatments were no quizalofop-P-ethyl; sequential applications of quizalofop-P-ethyl at 120 g ha−1 followed by (fb) 120 g ai ha−1 applied to rice in the 2- to 3-leaf (EPOST) fb the 4-leaf to 1-tiller (LPOST) growth stages or LPOST fb 10 d after flooding (PTFLD); quizalofop-P-ethyl at 100 g ha−1 fb 139 g ha−1 EPOST fb LPOST or LPOST fb PTFLD; quizalofop-P-ethyl at 139 g ha−1 fb 100 g ha−1 EPOST fb LPOST and LPOST fb PTFLD; and quizalofop-P-ethyl at 85 g ha−1 fb 77 g ha−1 fb 77 g ha−1 EPOST fb LPOST fb PTFLD. Quizalofop-P-ethyl was applied alone and in mixture with florpyrauxifen-benzyl at 29 g ai ha−1 LPOST. Visible rice injury 14 d after PTFLD (DA-PTFLD) was no more than 3%. Visible control of volunteer rice (‘CL151’ and ‘Rex’) 7 DA-PTFLD was similar and at least 95% for each quizalofop-P-ethyl treatment. Barnyardgrass control with quizalofop-P-ethyl at 120 fb 120 g ha−1 LPOST fb PTFLD was greater (88%) in mixture with florpyrauxifen-benzyl. The addition of florpyrauxifen-benzyl to quizalofop-P-ethyl increased rough rice yield when quizalofop-P-ethyl was applied at 100 g ha−1 fb 139 g ha−1 EPOST fb LPOST. Sequential applications of quizalofop-P-ethyl at 120 g ha−1 fb 120 g ha−1 EPOST fb LPOST, 100 g ha−1 fb 139 g ha−1 EPOST fb LPOST, or 139 g ha−1 fb 100 g ha−1 EPOST fb LPOST controlled grass weed species. The addition of florpyrauxifen-benzyl was not beneficial for grass weed control. However, because quizalofop-P-ethyl does not control broadleaf weeds, florpyrauxifen-benzyl could provide broad-spectrum weed control in acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase–resistant rice.
To investigate the association between energy drink (ED) use and sleep-related disturbances in a population-based sample of young adults from the Raine Study.
Analysis of cross-sectional data obtained from self-administered questionnaires to assess ED use and sleep disturbance (Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ-10) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Symptoms Questionnaire–Insomnia (PSSQ-I)). Regression modelling was used to estimate the effect of ED use on sleep disturbances. All models adjusted for various potential confounders.
Males and females, aged 22 years, from Raine Study Gen2–22 year follow-up.
Of the 1115 participants, 66 % were never/rare users (i.e. <once/month) of ED, 17·0 % were occasional users (i.e. >once/month to <once/week) and 17 % were frequent users (≥once/week). Compared with females, a greater proportion of males used ED occasionally (19 % v. 15 %) or frequently (24 % v. 11 %). Among females, frequent ED users experienced significantly higher symptoms of daytime sleepiness (FOSQ-10: β = 0·93, 95 % CI 0·32, 1·54, P = 0·003) and were five times more likely to experience insomnia (PSSQ-I: OR = 5·10, 95 % CI 1·81, 14·35, P = 0·002) compared with never/rare users. No significant associations were observed in males for any sleep outcomes.
We found a positive association between ED use and sleep disturbances in young adult females. Given the importance of sleep for overall health, and ever-increasing ED use, intervention strategies are needed to curb ED use in young adults, particularly females. Further research is needed to determine causation and elucidate reasons for gender-specific findings.
Florpyrauxifen-benzyl and quizalofop were available for POST applications in 2018; however, little is known about the response of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase)–resistant rice cultivars and advanced lines to POST herbicides. A field study was conducted in 2017 and 2018 at Stoneville, MS, to characterize the response of ACCase-resistant rice cultivars and advanced lines to POST applications of florpyrauxifen-benzyl. The imidazolinone-resistant (IR) rice cultivars ‘CL163’ and ‘CLXL 745’, and ACCase-resistant rice cultivars ‘PVL01’, ‘PVL013’, ‘PVL024-B’, ‘PVL038’, ‘PVL080’, and ‘PVL081’were treated with florpyrauxifen-benzyl at 0 (nontreated control for each cultivar) and 58 g ai ha–1 at the four-leaf to one-tiller (LPOST) growth stage. At 14 d after treatment (DAT), PVL01 was injured 5% to 6% greater than CLXL 745, PVL013, and PVL081; however, injury was ≤10% at that evaluation for all cultivars. Similarly, injury was ≤13% for all cultivars 28 DAT. Mature heights were reduced for all cultivars except PVL013 and PVL081. Rough rice yield was ≥100% of the control for all cultivars except PVL081, PVL013, and CL163. Results suggest that florpyrauxifen-benzyl can safely be applied POST to rice cultivars grown in Mississippi as well as ACCase-resistant cultivars that are currently under development.
Against a backdrop of poor mental health education in UK schools a group of students from Norwich Medical School have formed a student society called ‘Headucate’ in order to create, deliver and evaluate an educational intervention for adolescents, initially to be delivered in Norfolk schools.
To create an educational intervention that:
Is the length of a standard lesson
Is age appropriate and acceptable
Contains appropriate signposting
Contains content that challenges common myths and replaces them with knowledge
Contains content that encourages empathy and understanding towards those with mental illnesses
Is easily delivered in the same way each time so that its effectiveness can be evaluated
To create an intervention effective at tackling stigma and empowering adolescents to recognise signs of poor mental health and access services appropriately.
Lesson plan created after consultation with psychiatrists, a psychologist, a GP, a university outreach professional, a teacher and secondary school age children, then trialled and revised.
Interactive workshop produced with 5 sections.
1) Myth vs Fact activity that dispels prevalent myths
2) Scenario based activity to demonstrate that mental health is a spectrum
3) An interactive presentation covering the most common mental illnesses and their symptoms
4) An activity focusing on talking to those with mental illnesses, furthering the scenario from the previous activity
5) A question and answer session. Every student leaves with a leaflet containing appropriate signposting.
We have created an educational intervention ready to be delivered and evaluated.
Mental health education is not compulsory in the UK therefore adolescents have very varied experiences despite half of people with mental health illnesses reporting having experienced symptoms by 14 years old. University students are ideal for delivering a relaxed, educational intervention aimed at this age group, providing an opportunity to for them to learn necessary tools for recognising signs of poor mental health and tackle associated stigma.
To expand Headucate's membership, including other disciplines within the University of East Anglia (UEA) and provide core training enabling members to deliver a school-based educational intervention
Recruitment of members has been a multifaceted approach utilising social media sites such as Facebook and the Headucate website, and oncampus events and ‘awareness campaigns’ including several successful evening talks and lectures.
Three training sessions, which include ‘Introduction to Mental Health’, ‘Workshop run-through’ and ‘Child Protection’, have been developed for all members wishing to partake in the delivery of workshops.
We have recruited approximately 300 members since summer 2012; 70 fully paid members in 2012/13 academic year and currently 45 paid members for 2013/14.
A total of 18 members are fully trained and ready to deliver workshops within schools and 17 other members have just one training session remaining.
We are looking forward to delivering our first workshops in October and building on a successful first year. We are confident we can provide workshops for approximately 600 children per year.
The symptoms of many mental illnesses often begin during high school. Interventions to improve mental health awareness amongst adolescents may lead to improved outcomes. in the UK unfortunately many schools do not fulfil this need and mental health education is not a compulsory part of the curriculum.
To develop and measure the effectiveness of and educational intervention designed to raise awareness and empower adolescents to recognise signs of poor mental health and access services appropriately.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention through baseline and follow up surveys.
Students at Norwich Medical School collaborated with teachers, psychiatrists and general practitioners to design an educational intervention that aims to tackle stigma and raise awareness of mental health conditions among 13-14 year olds in the hope that they can access services when needed, support those around them and look after their mental health. To evaluate effectiveness of the intervention, a knowledge, attitudes and practices survey that utilises a social distance scale that has been adapted for this age group and will be used to gather baseline and follow up data after six months.
We have developed a one-hour educational intervention delivered by medical students, that uses a variety of teaching techniques to raise awareness of mental health issues. We will start implementation in January 2013 so will have baseline effectiveness results shortly after.
Headucate has the potential to fill an important gap in effectively raising awareness of mental health issues in schools.
Chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) involves one-third of the US population, and prescription opioids contribute to the opioid epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes maximizing non-opioid treatment, but many rural populations cannot access alternative therapies. Clinical and Translational Science Award hubs across four rural states performed a multi-site, single-arm intervention feasibility study testing methods and procedures of implementing a behavioral intervention, acceptance and commitment therapy, in primary care CNCP patients on chronic opioids. Using the CONSORT extension for feasibility studies, we describe lessons learned in recruiting/retaining participants, intervention implementation, data measurement, and multi-site procedures. Results inform a future definitive trial and potentially others conducting rural trials.
The goal of this poster is to discuss a brief pilot study in which mindfulness – and yoga-based practices were utilized with a group of adult ADHD patients.
A sample of 10 adults participated in a pilot group which utilized the use mindfulness-based and yoga practices to address ADHD. This group was a single 2 hour session which was a pilot for a future 6-week psycho-educational group. The participants completed the following questionnaires: the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale (CAMS-R), the Freiburg mindfulness inventory and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) in addition to a survey regarding levels of knowledge of yoga and mindfulness prior to the beginning of the session. The participants completed a survey at the end of the session.
In our small sample group, all respondents reported that they found the session helpful (43% strongly agreed; 57% agreed). When asked if the participants were likely to explore and learn more about ADHD and meditation on their own based on what they learned in the session, most indicated that they were likely to (43% strongly agreed; 43% agreed and 14% were neutral).
The use of treatment modalities involving the use of meditation and mindfulness-based techniques in a group setting are thought to be helpful in addressing some of the target symptoms of ADHD. Based on the preliminary data collected in our small pilot study, our group intends to further explore the efficacy of meditation-based groups in the form of a 6-week training program in 2017.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Optimism is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk; however, few prospective studies have considered optimism in relation to hypertension risk specifically. We investigated whether optimism was associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension in U.S. service members, who are more likely to develop high blood pressure early in life. We also evaluated race/ethnicity, sex and age as potential effect modifiers of these associations.
Participants were 103 486 hypertension-free U.S. Army active-duty soldiers (mean age 28.96 years, 61.76% White, 20.04% Black, 11.01% Hispanic, 4.09% Asian, and 3.10% others). We assessed optimism, sociodemographic characteristics, health conditions, health behaviours and depression status at baseline (2009–2010) via self-report and administrative records, and ascertained incident hypertension over follow-up (2010–2014) from electronic health records and health assessments. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and adjusted models for a broad range of relevant covariates.
Over a mean follow-up of 3.51 years, 15 052 incident hypertension cases occurred. The highest v. lowest optimism levels were associated with a 22% reduced risk of developing hypertension, after adjusting for all covariates including baseline blood pressure (HR = 0.78; 95% CI = 0.74–0.83). The difference in hypertension risk between the highest v. lowest optimism was also maintained when we excluded soldiers with hypertension in the first two years of follow-up and, separately, when we excluded soldiers with prehypertension at baseline. A dose–response relationship was evident with higher optimism associated with a lower relative risk (p < 0.001). Higher optimism was consistently associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension across sex, age and most race/ethnicity categories.
In a diverse cohort of initially healthy male and female service members particularly vulnerable to developing hypertension, higher optimism levels were associated with reduced hypertension risk independently of sociodemographic and health factors, a particularly notable finding given the young and healthy population. Results suggest optimism is a health asset and a potential target for public health interventions.
Rice with enhanced tolerance to herbicides that inhibit acetyl coA carboxylase (ACCase) allows POST application of quizalofop, an ACCase-inhibiting herbicide. Two concurrent field studies were conducted in 2017 and 2018 near Stoneville, MS, to evaluate control of grass (Grass Study) and broadleaf (Broadleaf Study) weeds with sequential applications of quizalofop alone and in mixtures with auxinic herbicides applied in the first or second application. Sequential treatments of quizalofop were applied at 119 g ai ha−1 alone and in mixtures with labeled rates of auxinic herbicides to rice at the two- to three-leaf (EPOST) or four-leaf to one-tiller (LPOST) growth stages. In the Grass Study, no differences in rice injury or control of volunteer rice (‘CL151’ and ‘Rex’) were detected 14 and 28 d after last application (DA-LPOST). Barnyardgrass control at 14 and 28 DA-LPOST with quizalofop applied alone or with auxinic herbicides EPOST was ≥93% for all auxinic herbicide treatments except penoxsulam plus triclopyr. Barnyardgrass control was ≥96% with quizalofop applied alone and with auxinic herbicides LPOST. In the Broadleaf Study, quizalofop plus florpyrauxifen-benzyl controlled more Palmer amaranth 14 DA-LPOST than other mixtures with auxinic herbicides, and control with this treatment was greater EPOST compared with LPOST. Hemp sesbania control 14 DA-LPOST was ≤90% with quizalofop plus quinclorac LPOST, orthosulfamuron plus quinclorac LPOST, and triclopyr EPOST or LPOST. All mixtures except quinclorac and orthosulfamuron plus quinclorac LPOST controlled ivyleaf morningglory ≥91% 14 DA-LPOST. Florpyrauxifen-benzyl or triclopyr were required for volunteer soybean control >63% 14 DA-LPOST. To optimize barnyardgrass control and rice yield, penoxsulam plus triclopyr and orthosulfamuron plus quinclorac should not be mixed with quizalofop. Quizalofop mixtures with auxinic herbicides are safe and effective for controlling barnyardgrass, volunteer rice, and broadleaf weeds in ACCase-resistant rice, and the choice of herbicide mixture could be adjusted based on weed spectrum in the treated field.
To evaluate the association between novel pre- and post-operative biomarker levels and 30-day unplanned readmission or mortality after paediatric congenital heart surgery.
Children aged 18 years or younger undergoing congenital heart surgery (n = 162) at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 2010 to 2014 were enrolled in the prospective cohort. Collected novel pre- and post-operative biomarkers include soluble suppression of tumorgenicity 2, galectin-3, N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide, and glial fibrillary acidic protein. A model based on clinical variables from the Society of Thoracic Surgery database was developed and evaluated against two augmented models.
Unplanned readmission or mortality within 30 days of cardiac surgery occurred among 21 (13%) children. The clinical model augmented with pre-operative biomarkers demonstrated a statistically significant improvement over the clinical model alone with a receiver-operating characteristics curve of 0.754 (95% confidence interval: 0.65–0.86) compared to 0.617 (95% confidence interval: 0.47–0.76; p-value: 0.012). The clinical model augmented with pre- and post-operative biomarkers demonstrated a significant improvement over the clinical model alone, with a receiver-operating characteristics curve of 0.802 (95% confidence interval: 0.72–0.89; p-value: 0.003).
Novel biomarkers add significant predictive value when assessing the likelihood of unplanned readmission or mortality after paediatric congenital heart surgery. Further exploration of the utility of these novel biomarkers during the pre- or post-operative period to identify early risk of mortality or readmission will aid in determining the clinical utility and application of these biomarkers into routine risk assessment.
The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading scheme has the ability to predict beef eating quality for each ‘cut×cooking method combination’ from animal and carcass traits such as sex, age, breed, marbling, hot carcass weight and fatness, ageing time, etc. Following MSA testing protocols, a total of 22 different muscles, cooked by four different cooking methods and to three different degrees of doneness, were tasted by over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia. Consumers scored the sensory characteristics (tenderness, flavor liking, juiciness and overall liking) and then allocated samples to one of four quality grades: unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day and premium. We observed that 26% of the beef was unsatisfactory. As previously reported, 68% of samples were allocated to the correct quality grades using the MSA grading scheme. Furthermore, only 7% of the beef unsatisfactory to consumers was misclassified as acceptable. Overall, we concluded that an MSA-like grading scheme could be used to predict beef eating quality and hence underpin commercial brands or labels in a number of European countries, and possibly the whole of Europe. In addition, such an eating quality guarantee system may allow the implementation of an MSA genetic index to improve eating quality through genetics as well as through management. Finally, such an eating quality guarantee system is likely to generate economic benefits to be shared along the beef supply chain from farmers to retailors, as consumers are willing to pay more for a better quality product.
Paediatric hospital-associated venous thromboembolism is a leading quality and safety concern at children’s hospitals.
The aim of this study was to determine risk factors for hospital-associated venous thromboembolism in critically ill children following cardiothoracic surgery or therapeutic cardiac catheterisation.
We conducted a retrospective, case–control study of children admitted to the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (St. Petersburg, Florida, United States of America) from 2006 to 2013. Hospital-associated venous thromboembolism cases were identified based on ICD-9 discharge codes and validated using radiological record review. We randomly selected two contemporaneous cardiovascular intensive care unit controls without hospital-associated venous thromboembolism for each hospital-associated venous thromboembolism case, and limited the study population to patients who had undergone cardiothoracic surgery or therapeutic cardiac catheterisation. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for associations between putative risk factors and hospital-associated venous thromboembolism were determined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.
Among 2718 admissions to the cardiovascular intensive care unit during the study period, 65 met the criteria for hospital-associated venous thromboembolism (occurrence rate, 2%). Restriction to cases and controls having undergone the procedures of interest yielded a final study population of 57 hospital-associated venous thromboembolism cases and 76 controls. In a multiple logistic regression model, major infection (odds ratio=5.77, 95% confidence interval=1.06–31.4), age ⩽1 year (odds ratio=6.75, 95% confidence interval=1.13–160), and central venous catheterisation (odds ratio=7.36, 95% confidence interval=1.13–47.8) were found to be statistically significant independent risk factors for hospital-associated venous thromboembolism in these children. Patients with all three factors had a markedly increased post-test probability of having hospital-associated venous thromboembolism.
Major infection, infancy, and central venous catheterisation are independent risk factors for hospital-associated venous thromboembolism in critically ill children following cardiothoracic surgery or cardiac catheter-based intervention, which, in combination, define a high-risk group for hospital-associated venous thromboembolism.
Accurately quantifying a consumer’s willingness to pay (WTP) for beef of different eating qualities is intrinsically linked to the development of eating-quality-based meat grading systems, and therefore the delivery of consistent, quality beef to the consumer. Following Australian MSA (Meat Standards Australia) testing protocols, over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia were asked to detail their willingness to pay for beef from one of four categories that best described the sample; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day or premium quality. These figures were subsequently converted to a proportion relative to the good-every-day category (P-WTP) to allow comparison between different currencies and time periods. Consumers also answered a short demographic questionnaire. Consumer P-WTP was found to be remarkably consistent between different demographic groups. After quality grade, by far the greatest influence on P-WTP was country of origin. This difference was unable to be explained by the other demographic factors examined in this study, such as occupation, gender, frequency of consumption and the importance of beef in the diet. Therefore, we can conclude that the P-WTP for beef is highly transferrable between different consumer groups, but not countries.
A legionellosis outbreak at an industrial site was investigated to identify and control the source. Cases were identified from disease notifications, workplace illness records, and from clinicians. Cases were interviewed for symptoms and risk factors and tested for legionellosis. Implicated environmental sources were sampled and tested for legionella. We identified six cases with Legionnaires’ disease and seven with Pontiac fever; all had been exposed to aerosols from the cooling towers on the site. Nine cases had evidence of infection with either Legionella pneumophila serogroup (sg) 1 or Legionella longbeachae sg1; these organisms were also isolated from the cooling towers. There was 100% DNA sequence homology between cooling tower and clinical isolates of L. pneumophila sg1 using sequence-based typing analysis; no clinical L. longbeachae isolates were available to compare with environmental isolates. Routine monitoring of the towers prior to the outbreak failed to detect any legionella. Data from this outbreak indicate that L. pneumophila sg1 transmission occurred from the cooling towers; in addition, L. longbeachae transmission was suggested but remains unproven. L. longbeachae detection in cooling towers has not been previously reported in association with legionellosis outbreaks. Waterborne transmission should not be discounted in investigations for the source of L. longbeachae infection.
The beef industry must become more responsive to the changing market place and consumer demands. An essential part of this is quantifying a consumer’s perception of the eating quality of beef and their willingness to pay for that quality, across a broad range of demographics. Over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland and France each tasted seven beef samples and scored them for tenderness, juiciness, flavour liking and overall liking. These scores were weighted and combined to create a fifth score, termed the Meat Quality 4 score (MQ4) (0.3×tenderness, 0.1×juiciness, 0.3×flavour liking and 0.3×overall liking). They also allocated the beef samples into one of four quality grades that best described the sample; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day or premium. After the completion of the tasting panel, consumers were then asked to detail, in their own currency, their willingness to pay for these four categories which was subsequently converted to a proportion relative to the good-every-day category (P-WTP). Consumers also answered a short demographic questionnaire. The four sensory scores, the MQ4 score and the P-WTP were analysed separately, as dependant variables in linear mixed effects models. The answers from the demographic questionnaire were included in the model as fixed effects. Overall, there were only small differences in consumer scores and P-WTP between demographic groups. Consumers who preferred their beef cooked medium or well-done scored beef higher, except in Poland, where the opposite trend was found. This may be because Polish consumers were more likely to prefer their beef cooked well-done, but samples were cooked medium for this group. There was a small positive relationship with the importance of beef in the diet, increasing sensory scores by about 4% in Poland and Northern Ireland. Men also scored beef about 2% higher than women for most sensory scores in most countries. In most countries, consumers were willing to pay between 150 and 200% more for premium beef, and there was a 50% penalty in value for unsatisfactory beef. After quality grade, by far the greatest influence on P-WTP was country of origin. Consumer age also had a small negative relationship with P-WTP. The results indicate that a single quality score could reliably describe the eating quality experienced by all consumers. In addition, if reliable quality information is delivered to consumers they will pay more for better quality beef, which would add value to the beef industry and encourage improvements in quality.
Quantifying consumer responses to beef across a broad range of demographics, nationalities and cooking methods is vitally important for any system evaluating beef eating quality. On the basis of previous work, it was expected that consumer scores would be highly accurate in determining quality grades for beef, thereby providing evidence that such a technique could be used to form the basis of and eating quality grading system for beef. Following the Australian MSA (Meat Standards Australia) testing protocols, over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia tasted cooked beef samples, then allocated them to a quality grade; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day and premium. The consumers also scored beef samples for tenderness, juiciness, flavour-liking and overall-liking. The beef was sourced from all countries involved in the study and cooked by four different cooking methods and to three different degrees of doneness, with each experimental group in the study consisting of a single cooking doneness within a cooking method for each country. For each experimental group, and for the data set as a whole, a linear discriminant function was calculated, using the four sensory scores which were used to predict the quality grade. This process was repeated using two conglomerate scores which are derived from weighting and combining the consumer sensory scores for tenderness, juiciness, flavour-liking and overall-liking, the original meat quality 4 score (oMQ4) (0.4, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3) and current meat quality 4 score (cMQ4) (0.3, 0.1, 0.3, 0.3). From the results of these analyses, the optimal weightings of the sensory scores to generate an ‘ideal meat quality 4 score (MQ4)’ for each country were calculated, and the MQ4 values that reflected the boundaries between the four quality grades were determined. The oMQ4 weightings were far more accurate in categorising European meat samples than the cMQ4 weightings, highlighting that tenderness is more important than flavour to the consumer when determining quality. The accuracy of the discriminant analysis to predict the consumer scored quality grades was similar across all consumer groups, 68%, and similar to previously reported values. These results demonstrate that this technique, as used in the MSA system, could be used to predict consumer assessment of beef eating quality and therefore to underpin a commercial eating quality guarantee for all European consumers.
Effects of plant maturity on apparent ruminal synthesis and post-ruminal supply of B vitamins were evaluated in two feeding trials. Diets containing alfalfa (Trial 1) or orchardgrass (Trial 2) silages harvested either (1) early cut, less mature (EC) or (2) late cut, more mature (LC) as the sole forage were offered to ruminally and duodenally cannulated lactating Holstein cows in crossover design experiments. In Trial 1, conducted with 16 cows (569±43 kg of empty BW (ruminal content removed) and 43.7±8.6 kg/day of 3.5% fat-corrected milk yield; mean±SD) in two 17-day treatment periods, both diets provided ~22% forage NDF and 27% total NDF, and the forage-to-concentrate ratios were 53 : 47 and 42 : 58 for EC and LC, respectively. In Trial 2, conducted with 13 cows (588±55 kg of empty BW and 43.7±7.7 kg/day of 3.5% fat-corrected milk yield; mean±SD) in two 18-day treatment periods, both diets provided ~25% forage NDF and 31% total NDF; the forage-to-concentrate ratios were 58 : 42 and 46 : 54 for EC and LC, respectively. Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folates and vitamin B12 were measured in feed and duodenal content. Apparent ruminal synthesis was calculated as the duodenal flow minus the intake. Diets based on EC alfalfa decreased the amounts of thiamin, niacin and folates reaching the duodenum, whereas diets based on EC orchardgrass increased riboflavin duodenal flow. Daily apparent ruminal synthesis of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6 were correlated negatively with their intake, suggesting a microbial regulation of their concentration in the rumen. Vitamin B12 apparent ruminal synthesis was correlated negatively with total volatile fatty acids concentration, but positively with ruminal pH and microbial N duodenal flow.