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Genetic evaluation of Piétrain sires in Flanders occurs under standardized conditions, on test stations with fixed dam breeds, standardized diets and uniform management practices. As environmental conditions vary on commercial farms and differ from the test stations, this study aimed at understanding to what extent the sire, the dam breed and the interaction between both affects the translation of breeding values to practice. Dams of two commercial breeds were inseminated with semen from one of five different sires selected for contrasting breeding values (daily gain, feed conversion ratio and carcass quality). For each sire by dam breed combination, six pen replicates (with three gilts and three barrows per pen) were evaluated for growth performance from 9 weeks of age (20 kg) to slaughter (110 kg), and for carcass and meat quality. In our experimental setup, both sire and dam breed affected growth, carcass and meat quality traits. No significant sire×dam breed interactions on performance could be detected. Though a tendency for interaction on average daily feed intake between 20 and 110 kg (P=0.087), and on pork colour (lightness) (P=0.093) was present. In general, offspring of all tested sires behaved similarly in both dam breeds, indicating that estimated breeding values for Piétrain sires determined in one dam breed are representative in other dam breeds as well.
Two new species of Oreocharis, O. tribracteata and O. rufescens, are described and a key to the species in Vietnam is provided. The new species have distinct features not previously, or rarely, observed in the genus, both showing the partial fusion of the calyx lobes into a tube, and the presence of three bracts in Oreocharis tribracteata.
Surface electroencephalogram (EEG) recording remains the gold standard for noninvasive assessment of electrical brain activity. It is the most efficient way to diagnose and classify epilepsy syndromes as well as define the localization of the epileptogenic zone. The EEG is useful for management decisions and for establishing prognosis in some types of epilepsy. Electroencephalography is an evolving field in which new methods are being introduced. The Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiologists convened an expert panel to develop new national minimal guidelines. A comprehensive evidence review was conducted. This document is organized into 10 sections, including indications, recommendations for trained personnel, EEG yield, paediatric and neonatal EEGs, laboratory minimal standards, requisitions, reports, storage, safety measures, and quality assurance.
There is a commitment by the European pig sector to ban surgical castration of male piglets in the European Union in 2018. One alternative to castration is to raise entire male pigs, with an increased risk of boar taint. A field study was performed to: (1) evaluate inter- and intra-farm variation in boar taint prevalence, (2) investigate factors measured at slaughter influencing boar taint and (3) evaluate the relationship between sensorial scoring by a trained panel and the concentration of boar taint components. From 34 farms, neck fat samples were collected from all entire male pigs in at least two slaughter batches per farm (78 batches; 9167 animals). In addition to olfactory boar taint analysis, data were also collected on fresh skin lesions (score 0 to 3) at the slaughter line, slaughter weight, lean meat percentage, duration of transport, time spent in lairage, total delivery duration, day length, shortening of days and outdoor mean temperature. Using the hot iron method, neck fat samples were scored (eight-point scale) for boar taint. Average boar taint prevalence (score ≥3) was 5.6±2.5% and the mean difference between the maximum and minimum prevalence per farm was 4.3±3.2%. Androstenone (AND), skatole (SKA) and indole concentrations were measured for a subset (n=254) of the samples. According to binomial univariate mixed models, entire male pigs with a higher skin lesion score had higher odds of having boar taint (P=0.031), as did fatter entire male pigs (P<0.001). In the binomial multivariate mixed model lean meat percentage (P<0.001) and outdoor mean temperature (P=0.005) remained as only significant factors. Based on our results, we can conclude that these statistically significant at least partially influence the prevalence of boar taint. According to the binomial univariate mixed models SKA concentration in liquid fat seems a better predictor for boar taint than AND. There were no significant synergetic effects between boar taint compounds.
Phenomenological and mechanistic models are widely used to assist resource planning for pandemics and emerging infections. We conducted a systematic review, to compare methods and outputs of published phenomenological and mechanistic modelling studies pertaining to the 2013–2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemics in four West African countries – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. We searched Pubmed, Embase and Scopus databases for relevant English language publications up to December 2015. Of the 874 articles identified, 41 met our inclusion criteria. We evaluated these selected studies based on: the sources of the case data used, and modelling approaches, compartments used, population mixing assumptions, model fitting and calibration approaches, sensitivity analysis used and data bias considerations. We synthesised results of the estimated epidemiological parameters: basic reproductive number (R0), serial interval, latent period, infectious period and case fatality rate, and examined their relationships. The median of the estimated mean R0 values were between 1·30 and 1·84 in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Much higher R0 value of 9·01 was described for Nigeria. We investigated several issues with uncertainty around EVD modes of transmission, and unknown observation biases from early reported case data. We found that epidemic models offered R0 mean estimates which are country-specific, but these estimates are not associating with the use of several key disease parameters within the plausible ranges. We find simple models generally yielded similar estimates of R0 compared with more complex models. Models that accounted for data uncertainty issues have offered a higher case forecast compared with actual case observation. Simple model which offers transparency to public health policy makers could play a critical role for advising rapid policy decisions under an epidemic emergency.
Background: Persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a necessary prerequisite for development of cervical cancer and its precursor lesion, high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL). However, HPV infection is not sufficient to drive this process, and genetic and environmental factors may also play a role. Methods/Design: The Cervical Cancer, Genetics and Environment Twin Study was established to investigate the environmental and genetic influences on variation in susceptibility to cervical pre-cancer in 25- to 69-year-old monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins recruited through the Australian Twin Registry. Reviews of Papanicolaou (Pap) screening histories were undertaken to identify individual women with a history of an abnormal Pap test. This was followed by detection of HPV in archival Pap smears of selected twin pairs to determine HPV persistence. Selected twin pairs also completed a detailed questionnaire on socio-demographic characteristics, sexual behavior, and HPV knowledge. In future analyses, under the assumptions of the classical twin design, case-wise concordance for persistent HPV infection and HSIL will be calculated for MZ and DZ twin pairs, and twin pairs (both MZ and DZ) who are discordant for the above outcomes will be used to assess the contributions of measured environmental risk factors. Discussion: The study examines factors related to HPV persistence and development of HSIL among female MZ and DZ twins. The results will contribute to our understanding of the natural history of cervical HPV infection and the relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors in disease progression.
Negative mood states are composed of symptoms of depression and anxiety, and by a third factor related to stress, tension and irritability. We sought to clarify the nature of the relationships between the factors by studying twin pairs.
A total of 503 monozygotic twin pairs completed the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS), an instrument that assesses symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress–tension. We applied a recently developed twin regression methodology – Inference about Causation from Examination of FAmiliaL CONfounding (ICE FALCON) – to test for evidence consistent with the existence of ‘causal’ influences between the DASS factors.
There was evidence consistent with the stress–tension factor having a causal influence on both the depression (p < 0.0001) and anxiety factors (p = 0.001), and for the depression factor having a causal influence on the anxiety factor (p < 0.001).
Our findings suggest a critical role for stress–tension in the structure of negative mood states, and that interventions that target it may be particularly effective in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms.
Preliminary evidence suggests that direct poultry contact may play a lesser role in transmission of avian influenza A(H7N9) than A(H5N1) to humans. To better understand differences in risk factors, we quantified the degree of poultry contact reported by H5N1 and H7N9 World Health Organization-confirmed cases. We used publicly available data to classify cases by their degree of poultry contact, including direct and indirect. To account for potential data limitations, we used two methods: (1) case population method in which all cases were classified using a range of sources; and (2) case subset method in which only cases with detailed contact information from published research literature were classified. In the case population, detailed exposure information was unavailable for a large proportion of cases (H5N1, 54%; H7N9, 86%). In the case subset, direct contact proportions were higher in H5N1 cases (70·3%) than H7N9 cases (40·0%) (χ2 = 18·5, P < 0·001), and indirect contact proportions were higher in H7N9 cases (44·6%) than H5N1 cases (19·4%) (χ2 = 15·5, P < 0·001). Together with emerging evidence, our descriptive analysis suggests direct poultry contact is a clearer risk factor for H5N1 than for H7N9, and that other risk factors should also be considered for H7N9.
The aetiological boundary between obsessive–compulsive related disorders
(OCRDs) including obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety
disorders is unclear and continues to generate debate.
To determine the genetic overlap and the pattern of causal relationships
among OCRDs and anxiety disorders.
Multivariate twin modelling methods and a new regression analysis to
infer causation were used, involving 2495 male and female twins.
The amount of common genetic liability observed for OCD symptoms was
higher when considering anxiety disorders and OCRDs in the model
v. modelling OCRD symptoms alone. OCD symptoms
emerged as risk factors for the presence of generalised anxiety, panic
and hoarding symptoms, whereas social phobia appeared as a risk factor
for OCD symptoms.
OCD represents a complex phenotype that includes important shared
features with anxiety disorders and OCRDs. The novel patterns of risk
identified between OCD and anxiety disorder may help to explain their
Societal pressure to ban surgical castration of male piglets is rising due to animal welfare concerns, thus other methods to prevent boar taint need to be explored. Genetic selection against boar taint appears to be a long-term sustainable alternative. However, as boar taint is linked to reproductive hormones, it is important to consider possible negative side effects such as delayed sexual maturity or changes in behaviour. We reported earlier that the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) marker can be used to reduce boar taint levels in fat of boars. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether MC4R marker-assisted selection for lower boar taint prevalence affects plasma levels of boar taint compounds and testosterone; sexual maturity; behaviour; skin lesions; and lameness in boars and gilts. Using an intervention study with a 2×2 design, 264 boars and gilts differing on position 893 of the MC4R gene (AA v. GG) were compared. The MC4R polymorphism did not affect the plasma concentration of either androstenone or testosterone at different time points, whereas the concentration of skatole was significantly lower (P=0.003) and the concentration of indole tended to be lower (P=0.074) in GG compared with AA boars. A higher percentage of gilts of the GG genotype were in puberty at slaughter age compared with AA gilts (P<0.001). The age of the boars at sexual maturity (as indicated by the first positive preputial smear test) did not differ between AA and GG boars. In contrast, weight of GG boars at sexual maturity tended to be lower (P=0.065). During the period from 6 weeks of age to slaughter, boars and gilts of the GG genotype showed more playing behaviour (P=0.015) and less passive and feeding behaviour (P=0.003). They showed more skin lesions on their back and caudal area (P=0.022), and tended to show more skin lesions on their head and anterior area (P=0.093) compared with AA animals. In conclusion, the polymorphism in the MC4R gene can be used as a marker without negative effects on reproduction characteristics in boars and gilts. Genetic selection towards a lower prevalence of boar taint will lead to more active pigs with more skin lesions. Management strategies may therefore be necessary to reduce skin lesions in the selected animals.
Methylation of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) exon 1/intron 1 boundary positioned fragile X related epigenetic element 2 (FREE2), reveals skewed X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) in fragile X syndrome full mutation (FM: CGG > 200) females. XCI skewing has been also linked to abnormal X-linked gene expression with the broader clinical impact for sex chromosome aneuploidies (SCAs). In this study, 10 FREE2 CpG sites were targeted using methylation specific quantitative melt analysis (MS-QMA), including 3 sites that could not be analysed with previously used EpiTYPER system. The method was applied for detection of skewed XCI in FM females and in different types of SCA. We tested venous blood and saliva DNA collected from 107 controls (CGG < 40), and 148 FM and 90 SCA individuals. MS-QMA identified: (i) most SCAs if combined with a Y chromosome test; (ii) locus-specific XCI skewing towards the hypomethylated state in FM females; and (iii) skewed XCI towards the hypermethylated state in SCA with 3 or more X chromosomes, and in 5% of the 47,XXY individuals. MS-QMA output also showed significant correlation with the EpiTYPER reference method in FM males and females (P < 0.0001) and SCAs (P < 0.05). In conclusion, we demonstrate use of MS-QMA to quantify skewed XCI in two applications with diagnostic utility.
There are unique challenges to the care of women with epilepsy, including the gender-specific influences that women may experience owing to their age, hormonal status, and co-morbidities. Pregnancy is also a very important time for many women with epilepsy. This textbook is a portable, essential guide to the practical management of women with epilepsy. Busy clinicians can access a wealth of information summarized in a succinct and easily accessible format. Experts from around the world have reviewed and synthesized the available data from studies in hormones in epilepsy, pregnancy registries, and many aspects of the care of women with epilepsy from adolescence, through pregnancy, to menopause. Of interest to all who care for women with epilepsy, including neurologists, internists, obstetricians, anesthetists, primary care practitioners, nurses, and lactation consultants.
In Vietnam, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 infections in poultry often occur without concomitant clinical signs and outbreaks are not consistently reported. Live bird markets represent a convenient site for surveillance that does not rely on farmers' notifications. Two H5N1 surveys were conducted at live bird markets/slaughter points in 39 districts (five provinces) in the Red River, Mekong delta, and central Vietnam during January and May 2011. Oropharyngeal and rectal swab samples from 12 480 ducks were tested for H5N1 by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction in pools of five. Traders and stallholders were interviewed using standardized questionnaires; 3·3% of pools tested positive. The highest prevalence (6·6%) corresponded to the Mekong delta, and no H5N1 was detected in the two Red River provinces. The surveys identified key risk behaviours of traders and stallholders. It is recommended that market surveys are implemented over time as a tool to evaluate progress in HPAI control in Vietnam.