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Neurodevelopment is sensitive to genetic and pre/postnatal environmental influences. These effects are likely mediated by epigenetic factors, yet current knowledge is limited. Longitudinal twin studies can delineate the link between genetic and environmental factors, epigenetic state at birth and neurodevelopment later in childhood. Building upon our study of the Peri/postnatal Epigenetic Twin Study (PETS) from gestation to 6 years of age, here we describe the PETS 11-year follow-up in which we will use neuroimaging and cognitive testing to examine the relationship between early-life environment, epigenetics and neurocognitive outcomes in mid-childhood. Using a within-pair twin model, the primary aims are to (1) identify early-life epigenetic correlates of neurocognitive outcomes; (2) determine the developmental stability of epigenetic effects and (3) identify modifiable environmental risk factors. Secondary aims are to identify factors influencing gut microbiota between 6 and 11 years of age to investigate links between gut microbiota and neurodevelopmental outcomes in mid-childhood. Approximately 210 twin pairs will undergo an assessment at 11 years of age. This includes a direct child cognitive assessment, multimodal magnetic resonance imaging, biological sampling, anthropometric measurements and a range of questionnaires on health and development, behavior, dietary habits and sleeping patterns. Data from complementary data sources, including the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy and the Australian Early Development Census, will also be sought. Following on from our previous focus on relationships between growth, cardiovascular health and oral health, this next phase of PETS will significantly advance our understanding of the environmental interactions that shape the developing brain.
The Australian prime lamb industry is seeking to improve lean meat yield (LMY) as a means to increasing efficiency and profitability across the whole value chain. The LMY of prime lambs is affected by genetics and on-farm nutrition from birth to slaughter and is the total muscle weight relative to the total carcass weight. Under the production conditions of south eastern Australia, many ewe flocks experience a moderate reduction in nutrition in mid to late pregnancy due to a decrease in pasture availability and quality. Correcting nutritional deficits throughout gestation requires the feeding of supplements. This enables the pregnant ewe to meet condition score (CS) targets at lambing. However, limited resources on farm often mean it is difficult to effectively manage nutritional supplementation of the pregnant ewe flock. The impact of reduced ewe nutrition in mid to late pregnancy on the body composition of finishing lambs and subsequent carcass composition remains unknown. This study investigated the effect of moderately reducing ewe nutrition in mid to late gestation on the body composition of finishing lambs and carcass composition at slaughter on a commercial scale. Multiple born lambs to CS2.5 target ewes were lighter at birth and weaning, had lower feedlot entry and exit weights with lower pre-slaughter and carcass weights compared with CS3.0 and CS3.5 target ewes. These lambs also had significantly lower eye muscle and fat depth when measured by ultrasound prior to slaughter and carcass subcutaneous fat depth measured 110 mm from the spine along the 12th rib (GR 12th) and at the C-site (C-fat). Although carcasses were ~5% lighter, results showed that male progeny born to ewes with reduced nutrition from day 50 gestation to a target CS2.5 at lambing had a higher percentage of lean tissue mass as measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and a lower percentage of fat during finishing and at slaughter, with the multiple born progeny from CS3.0 and CS3.5 target ewes being similar. These data suggest lambs produced from multiple bearing ewes that have had a moderate reduction in nutrition during pregnancy are less mature. This effect was also independent of lamb finishing system. The 5% reduction in carcass weight observed in this study would have commercially relevant consequences for prime lamb producers, despite a small gain in LMY.
Survey research shows that voters know very little about politics. Left unexamined is whether political knowledge is a distinct type of knowledge when compared to other subjects. We seek to establish a baseline by putting political knowledge into a broader context. We show that our respondents’ knowledge about politics is similar in construction to their knowledge about other subjects, such as shopping, sports, popular culture, geography, economics, and the rules of the road. We conclude that knowledge of politics largely resides on the same dimension as other knowledge topics, implying that knowledge of politics is not a unique construct.
This study contributes to the literature by using a spillover index method to examine the changing interrelations in volatility among corn and energy future prices. This methodology allows us to account for endogenously determined economic fundamentals and market speculation. After controlling for market trends and seasonality, we find relative large increases in volatility spillovers between corn, crude oil, and ethanol futures prices. Our results suggest that the cross-commodity spillovers provide useful incremental information in determining future price volatility; however, a commodity's own dynamics explain the largest portion of volatility spillovers.
Compensatory gain describes an accelerated growth seen in animals following a period of nutrient restriction. Methionine (Met) is the second limiting amino acid in typical swine diets and is essential for muscle growth. This study was conducted to determine (1) if a Met-deficient diet can cause growth retardation in growing pigs, (2) if returning to a normal feeding can yield compensatory gain in the pigs previously fed the Met-deficient diet, and (3) if this Met-deficiency followed by the normal feeding program affects carcass characteristics. Twenty individually-penned crossbred young barrows were randomly allotted to two dietary treatments (n = 10). One Met-deficient (D1) and one Met-adequate (D2) diets were formulated based on corn and soybean meal and fed to respective pigs for 31 days. After that, all pigs were fed the same commercial grower-finisher diet until market weight (around 125 kg), then slaughtered, and carcass characteristics measured. The D1 and D2 pigs began with similar body weights (23.5 vs. 23.6 kg; P = 0.935), but after 31-days on the dietary treatments, D1 pigs were lighter than D2 pigs (51.6 vs. 55.0 kg; P = 0.102). After feeding the normal diet for 55 days, D1 and D2 pigs had similar body weights (122.7 vs. 122.6 kg; P = 0.989). In terms of carcass characteristics, however, D1 pigs had thicker back-fat (at 10th rib; 2.95 vs. 2.51 cm; P = 0.015), heavier belly weight (11.0 vs. 9.6 kg; P = 0.005), lighter ham weights (untrimmed: 20.8 vs. 21.6 kg; P = 0.043; trimmed: 19.6 vs. 20.6 kg; P = 0.016), lighter picnic shoulder weight (8.72 vs. 9.80 kg; P = 0.041), lighter total lean cut weight (51.8 vs. 53.8 kg; P = 0.055), and lower lean cut percentage (56.4 vs. 59.0%; P = 0.012). These results indicate that the Met-deficient diet produced growth-retarded pigs, which showed compensatory gain after the normal feeding. At slaughter, the pigs previously fed the Met-deficient diet had more fat and less lean tissue than their non-deficient counterparts.
Objectives: Preterm children demonstrate deficits in executive functions including inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility; however, their goal setting abilities (planning, organization, strategic reasoning) remain unclear. This study compared goal setting abilities between very preterm (VP: <30 weeks/<1250 grams) and term born controls during late childhood. Additionally, early risk factors (neonatal brain abnormalities, medical complications, and sex) were examined in relationship to goal setting outcomes within the VP group. Methods: Participants included 177 VP and 61 full-term born control children aged 13 years. Goal setting was assessed using several measures of planning, organization, and strategic reasoning. Parents also completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function. Regression models were performed to compare groups, with secondary analyses adjusting for potential confounders (sex and social risk), and excluding children with major neurosensory impairment and/or IQ<70. Within the VP group, regression models were performed to examine the relationship between brain abnormalities, medical complications, and sex, on goal setting scores. Results: The VP group demonstrated a clear pattern of impairment and inefficiency across goal setting measures, consistent with parental report, compared with their full-term born peers. Within the VP group, moderate/severe brain abnormalities on neonatal MRI predicted adverse goal setting outcomes at 13. Conclusions: Goal setting difficulties are a significant area of concern in VP children during late childhood. These difficulties are associated with neonatal brain abnormalities, and are likely to have functional consequences academically, socially and vocationally. (JINS, 2018, 24, 372–381)
Phased Array Feed (PAF) technology is the next major advancement in radio astronomy in terms of combining high sensitivity and large field of view. The Focal L-band Array for the Green Bank Telescope (FLAG) is one of the most sensitive PAFs developed so far. It consists of 19 dual-polarization elements mounted on a prime focus dewar resulting in seven beams on the sky. Its unprecedented system temperature of ~17 K will lead to a 3 fold increase in pulsar survey speeds as compared to contemporary single pixel feeds. Early science observations were conducted in a recently concluded commissioning phase of the FLAG where we clearly demonstrated its science capabilities. We observed a selection of normal and millisecond pulsars and detected giant pulses from PSR B1937+21.
We present an age-structured mathematical model of malaria and pneumonia to study the effect of two capacity-building interventions: Integrated Management of Infectious Diseases (IMID) and On-site Support Services (OSS). IMID leads to a reduction in malaria prevalence by more than 2·4% across the [0,5), [5,14) and [14,50) age groups. IMID + OSS reduces it by more than 16·0% across all age groups. IMID decreases pneumonia prevalence by more than 3·0% across all age groups while IMID + OSS decreases it by more than 1·0% across all age groups. The number of malaria and pneumonia deaths is reduced by 7·8% by IMID across all age groups and IMID + OSS decreases this number by 30·5% across all age groups, which translates to saving a life of a child per month. Prevalence of malaria-pneumonia for the [0,5) age group is 0·52% at baseline, and IMID and IMID + OSS reduce it by 6·6% and 23·6%, respectively. There is no change in incidence of malaria or pneumonia disease episodes. The results also indicate that triaging of children contributes more than 50% to the effect of the interventions in reduction of deaths and a range of 14–91% in reduction of disease cases.
Traditionally, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) educators have divided the pediatric population into age groups to assist in targeting their clinical and didactic curriculum. Currently, the accrediting body for paramedic training programs requires student exposure to pediatric patients based entirely on age without specifying exposure to specific pathologies within each age stratification. Identifying which pathologies are most common within the different pediatric age groups would allow educators to design curriculum targeting the most prevalent pathologies in each age group and incorporating the physiologic and psychological developmental milestones commonly seen at that age.
It was hypothesized that there are unique clusterings of pathologies, represented by paramedic student primary impressions, that are found in different age groups which can be used to target provider education.
This is a retrospective review of prospectively collected data documented by paramedic students in the Fisdap (Field Internship Student Data Acquisition Project; Saint Paul, Minnesota USA) database over a one-year period. For the purposes of this study, pediatric patients were defined arbitrarily as those between the ages of 0-16 years. All paramedic student primary impressions recorded in Fisdap for patients aged 0-16 years were abstracted. Primary impression by age was calculated and graphed. The frequency of primary impression was then assessed for significance of trend by age with an alpha ≤.05 considered significant.
The following primary impressions showed clinically and statistically significant variability in prevalence among different pediatric age groups: respiratory distress, medical-other, abdominal pain, seizure, overdose/poisoning, behavioral, and cardiac. In patients less than 13 years old, respiratory and other-medical were the most common two primary impressions and both decreased with age. In patients 5-16 years old, the prevalence of abdominal pain and behavioral/psych increased. Bimodal distributions for overdose were seen with one spike in the toddler and another in the adolescent population. Seizures were most common in the age group associated with febrile seizure. Sepsis was seen most often in the youngest patients and its prevalence decreased with age.
There are statistically significant variations in the frequency of paramedic student primary impressions as a function of age in the pediatric population. Emphasizing paramedic student exposure to the most common pathologies encountered in each age group, in the context of the psychological and physiological milestones of each age, may improve paramedic student pediatric practice.
Prevalence of Unique Pediatric Pathologies Encountered by Paramedic Students Across Age Groups. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016; 31(4):386–391.
Efforts to develop the next generation of aircraft with ever-increasing levels of performance – higher, farther, faster, cheaper – face great technical challenges. One of these technical challenges is to reduce structural weight of the aircraft. Another is to look to aircraft configurations that have been unrealizable to date. Both of these paths can lead to a rigid flex coupling phenomenon that can result in anything from poor flying qualities to the loss of an aircraft due to flutter. This has led to a need to develop an integrated flight and aeroelastic control capability where structural dynamics are included in the synthesis of flight control laws. Studies have indicated that the application of an integrated flight and aeroelastic control approach to a SensorCraft high-altitude long-endurance vehicle would provide substantial performance improvement(1,2). Better flying qualities and an expanded flight envelope through multi-flutter mode control are two areas of improvement afforded by integrated flight and aeroelastic control. By itself, multi-flutter mode control transforms the flutter barrier from a point of catastrophic structural failure to a benign region of flight. This paper discusses the history and issues associated with the development of such an integrated flight and aeroelastic control system for the X-56A aircraft.
Condors and vultures comprise the only group of terrestrial vertebrates in the world that are obligate scavengers, and these species move widely to locate ephemeral, unpredictable, and patchily-distributed food resources. In this study, we used high-resolution GPS location data to quantify monthly home range size of the critically endangered California Condor Gymnogyps californianus throughout the annual cycle in California. We assessed whether individual-level characteristics (age, sex and breeding status) and factors related to endangered species recovery program efforts (rearing method, release site) were linked to variation in monthly home range size. We found that monthly home range size varied across the annual cycle, with the largest monthly home ranges observed during late summer and early fall (July–October), a pattern that may be linked to seasonal changes in thermals that facilitate movement. Monthly home ranges of adults were significantly larger than those of immatures, but males and females used monthly home ranges of similar size throughout the year and breeding adults did not differ from non-breeding adults in their average monthly home range size. Individuals from each of three release sites differed significantly in the size of their monthly home ranges, and no differences in monthly home range size were detected between condors reared under captive conditions relative to those reared in the wild. Our study provides an important foundation for understanding the movement ecology of the California Condor and it highlights the importance of seasonal variation in space use for effective conservation planning for this critically endangered species.
Voters in many American states have considered important social policies that redefine civil liberties within their state through the initiative and referendum. An important question remaining is, are voters knowledgeable enough to make decisions on these social policies that have far-reaching effects? The common wisdom is that voters rely on information shortcuts in lieu of extensive knowledge about the issues. Unlike candidate elections, however, ballot measures lack some prominent and useful information shortcuts (i.e. party identification). We test the hypothesis that voters use shortcuts to inform their decisions on two ballot measures central to today's policy debates: California's Proposition 4 on parental notification for abortion and Proposition 8 on same-sex marriage. We show that voters do not use cues universally, and, furthermore, factual information has a limited effect on voters’ decisions. In particular, we find that the persuasiveness of an endorsement is conditional on whether an individual trusts the source.
Preterm birth confers risk for poor outcome, including mental health problems. Survival of extremely preterm (EP; <28 weeks' gestation) or extremely low birthweight (ELBW; <1000 g) infants increased in the 1990s but psychiatric outcomes in older adolescents born preterm since 1990 are not well documented. This study aimed to characterize mental health and personality traits in a prospective geographical cohort of adolescents born EP/ELBW in Victoria, Australia in 1991 and 1992.
At age 18 years, 215 EP/ELBW and 157 normal birthweight (>2499 g) control adolescents completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders, Axis 1 Non-Patient version (SCID-I/NP), the Children's Interview for Psychiatric Syndromes (ChIPS) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) module, and questionnaires assessing recent depression and anxiety symptoms and personality traits.
ADHD prevalence was significantly elevated in EP/ELBW adolescents compared with controls [15% v. 7%; odds ratio (OR) 2.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08–6.58]. Aside from ADHD, however, EP/ELBW and control adolescents reported very similar outcomes, with other lifetime diagnoses identified in 23% of EP/ELBW and 21% of controls. These were predominantly mood and anxiety disorders (21% EP/ELBW, 20% controls). The groups did not differ in recent depression or anxiety symptoms assessed using questionnaires, and personality traits were also similar.
ADHD was more prevalent in EP/ELBW adolescents than controls, which is consistent with some, but not all, reports on preterm survivors born before the 1990s, and younger preterm children born in the 1990s. The high rates of anxiety and mood disorders were similar in both groups, and comparable with population-based estimates.