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Economic pressures continue to mount on modern-day livestock farmers, forcing them to increase herds sizes in order to be commercially viable. The natural consequence of this is to drive the farmer and the animal further apart. However, closer attention to the animal not only positively impacts animal welfare and health but can also increase the capacity of the farmer to achieve a more sustainable production. State-of-the-art precision livestock farming (PLF) technology is one such means of bringing the animals closer to the farmer in the facing of expanding systems. Contrary to some current opinions, it can offer an alternative philosophy to ‘farming by numbers’. This review addresses the key technology-oriented approaches to monitor animals and demonstrates how image and sound analyses can be used to build ‘digital representations’ of animals by giving an overview of some of the core concepts of PLF tool development and value discovery during PLF implementation. The key to developing such a representation is by measuring important behaviours and events in the livestock buildings. The application of image and sound can realise more advanced applications and has enormous potential in the industry. In the end, the importance lies in the accuracy of the developed PLF applications in the commercial farming system as this will also make the farmer embrace the technological development and ensure progress within the PLF field in favour of the livestock animals and their well-being.
Paediatric hearing loss rates in Ghana are currently unknown.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in peri-urban Kumasi, Ghana; children (aged 3–15 years) were recruited from randomly selected households. Selected children underwent otoscopic examination prior to in-community pure tone screening using the portable ShoeBox audiometer. The LittlEars auditory questionnaire was also administered to caregivers and parents.
Data were collected from 387 children. After conditioning, 362 children were screened using monaural pure tones presented at 25 dB. Twenty-five children could not be conditioned to behavioural audiometric screening. Eight children were referred based on audiometric screening results. Of those, four were identified as having hearing loss. Four children scored less than the maximum mark of 35 on the LittleEars questionnaire. Of those, three had hearing loss as identified through pure tone screening. The predominant physical finding on otoscopy was ear canal cerumen impaction.
Paediatric hearing loss is prevalent in Ghana, and should be treated as a public health problem warranting further evaluation and epidemiology characterisation.
To establish the reliability of the application of National Health and Safety Network (NHSN) central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) criteria within established reporting systems internationally.
Diagnostic-test accuracy systematic review.
We conducted a search of Medline, SCOPUS, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL (EbscoHost), and PubMed (NCBI). Cohort studies were eligible for inclusion if they compared publicly reported CLABSI rates and were conducted by independent and expertly trained reviewers using NHSN/Centers for Disease Control (or equivalent) criteria. Two independent reviewers screened, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias using the QUADAS 2 tool. Sensitivity, specificity, negative and positive predictive values were analyzed.
A systematic search identified 1,259 publications; 9 studies were eligible for inclusion (n = 7,160 central lines). Publicly reported CLABSI rates were more likely to be underestimated (7 studies) than overestimated (2 studies). Specificity ranged from 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.58–0.81) to 0.99 (95% CI, 0.99–1.00) and sensitivity ranged from 0.42 (95% CI, 0.15–0.72) to 0.88 (95% CI, 0.77–0.95). Four studies, which included a consecutive series of patients (whole cohort), reported CLABSI incidence between 9.8% and 20.9%, and absolute CLABSI rates were underestimated by 3.3%–4.4%. The risk of bias was low to moderate in most included studies.
Our findings suggest consistent underestimation of true CLABSI incidence within publicly reported rates, weakening the validity and reliability of surveillance measures. Auditing, education, and adequate resource allocation is necessary to ensure that surveillance data are accurate and suitable for benchmarking and quality improvement measures over time.
Women suffering from first onset postpartum mental disorders (PPMD) have a highly elevated risk of suicide. The current study aimed to: (1) describe the risk of self-harm among women with PPMD and (2) investigate the extent to which self-harm is associated with later suicide.
We conducted a register-based cohort study linking national Danish registers. This identified women with any recorded first inpatient or outpatient contact to a psychiatric facility within 90 days after giving birth to their first child. The main outcome of interest was defined as the first hospital-registered episode of self-harm. Our cohort consisted of 1 202 292 women representing 24 053 543 person-years at risk.
Among 1554 women with severe first onset PPMD, 64 had a first-ever hospital record of self-harm. Women with PPMD had a hazard ratio (HR) for self-harm of 6.2 (95% CI 4.9–8.0), compared to mothers without mental disorders; but self-harm risk was lower in PPMD women compared to mothers with non-PPMD [HR: 10.1, (95% CI 9.6–10.5)] and childless women with mental disorders [HR: 9.3 (95% CI 8.9–9.7)]. Women with PPMD and records of self-harm had a significantly greater risk for later suicide compared with all other groups of women in the cohort.
Women with PPMD had a high risk of self-harm, although lower than risks observed in other psychiatric patients. However, PPMD women who had self-harmed constituted a vulnerable group at significantly increased risk of later suicide.
Understanding the association between diet quality and cardiometabolic risk by education level is important for preventing increased cardiometabolic risk in the Mexican population, especially considering pre-existing disparities in diet quality. The present study examined the cross-sectional association of overall diet quality with cardiometabolic risk, overall and by education level, among Mexican men and women.
Cardiometabolic risk was defined by using biomarkers and diet quality by the Mexican Diet Quality Index. We computed sex-specific multivariable logistic regression models.
Mexican men (n 634) and women (n 875) participating in the Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey 2012.
We did not find associations of diet quality with cardiometabolic risk factors in the total sample or in men by education level. However, we observed that for each 10-unit increase in the dietary quality score, the odds of diabetes risk in women with no reading/writing skills was 0·47 (95 % CI 0·26, 0·85) relative to the odds in women with ≥10 years of school (referent). Similarly, for each 10-unit increase of the dietary quality score, the odds of having three v. no lipid biomarker level beyond the risk threshold in lower-educated women was 0·27 (95 % CI 0·12, 0·63) relative to the odds in higher-educated women.
Diet quality has a stronger protective association with some cardiometabolic disease risk factors for lower- than higher-educated Mexican women, but no association with cardiometabolic disease risk factors among men. Future research will be needed to understand what diet factors could be influencing the cardiometabolic disease risk disparities in this population.
This paper reviews the effects of extended lactation (EXT) as a strategy in dairy cattle on milk production and persistency, reproduction, milk quality, lifetime performance of the cow and finally the economic effects on herd and farm levels as well as the impact on emission of greenhouse gas at product level. Primiparous cows are able to produce equal or more milk per feeding day during EXT compared with a standard 305-d lactation, whereas results for multiparous cows are inconsistent. Cows managed for EXT can achieve a higher lifetime production while delivering milk with unchanged or improved quality properties. Delaying insemination enhances mounting behaviour and allows insemination after the cow’s energy balance has become positive. However, in most cases EXT has no effect or a non-significant positive effect on reproduction. The EXT strategy sets off a cascade of effects at herd and farm level. Thus, the EXT strategy leads to fewer calvings and thereby expected fewer diseases, fewer replacement heifers and fewer dry days per cow per year. The optimal lifetime scenario for milk production was modelled to be an EXT of 16 months for first parity cows followed by an EXT of 10 months for later lactations. Modelling studies of herd dynamics indicate a positive effect of EXT on lifetime efficiency (milk per dry matter intake), mainly originating from benefits of EXT on daily milk yield in primiparous cows and the reduced number of replacement heifers. Consequently, EXT also leads to reduced total meat production at herd level. For the farmer, EXT can give the same economic return as a traditional lactation period. At farm level, EXT can contribute to a reduction in the environmental impact of dairy production, mainly as a consequence of the reduced production of beef. A wider dissemination of the EXT concept will be supported by methods to predict which cows may be most suitable for EXT, and clarification of how milking frequency and feeding strategy through the lactation can be organised to support milk yield and an appropriate body condition at the next calving.
Tear staining (TS) in the pig has been related to different stressors and may be a useful tool for assessing animal welfare on farm. The aim of the current study was to investigate TS across the finisher period and its possible relation to age, growth, sex and experimentally induced stressors. The study included 80 finisher pens divided between three batches. Within each batch, the pens either included pigs with docked or undocked tails, had straw provided (150 g/pig/day) or not and had a low (1.21 m2/pig, 11 pigs) or high stocking density (0.73 m2/pig, 18 pigs). Tear staining (scores 1 to 4; from smaller to larger tear stain area, respectively) and tail damage were scored on each individual pig three times per week over the 9-week study period, and the individual maximum TS score within each week was chosen for further analysis. Data were analysed using logistic regression separately for each of the four possible TS score levels. The TS scores 1 and 2 decreased with weeks into the study period and were negatively related to the average daily gain (ADG) of the pigs, whereas the TS score 4 increased with weeks into the study period and was positively related to ADG. None of the TS scores differed between females and castrated males, and neither straw provision nor lowering the stocking density affected the TS scores. However, the TS score 1 decreased the last week before an event of tail damage (at least one pig in the pen with a bleeding tail wound), whereas the TS score 4 increased. The results of the current study advocates for a relation between TS and the factors such as age, growth and stress in the pig, while no relation was found between TS and the environmental factors straw provision and lowered stocking density. The relations to age and growth are important to take into consideration if using TS as a welfare assessment measure in the pig in the future.
To assess variability in antimicrobial use and associations with infection testing in pediatric ventilator-associated events (VAEs).
Descriptive retrospective cohort with nested case-control study.
Pediatric intensive care units (PICUs), cardiac intensive care units (CICUs), and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in 6 US hospitals.
Children≤18 years ventilated for≥1 calendar day.
We identified patients with pediatric ventilator-associated conditions (VACs), pediatric VACs with antimicrobial use for≥4 days (AVACs), and possible ventilator-associated pneumonia (PVAP, defined as pediatric AVAC with a positive respiratory diagnostic test) according to previously proposed criteria.
Among 9,025 ventilated children, we identified 192 VAC cases, 43 in CICUs, 70 in PICUs, and 79 in NICUs. AVAC criteria were met in 79 VAC cases (41%) (58% CICU; 51% PICU; and 23% NICU), and varied by hospital (CICU, 20–67%; PICU, 0–70%; and NICU, 0–43%). Type and duration of AVAC antimicrobials varied by ICU type. AVAC cases in CICUs and PICUs received broad-spectrum antimicrobials more often than those in NICUs. Among AVAC cases, 39% had respiratory infection diagnostic testing performed; PVAP was identified in 15 VAC cases. Also, among AVAC cases, 73% had no associated positive respiratory or nonrespiratory diagnostic test.
Antimicrobial use is common in pediatric VAC, with variability in spectrum and duration of antimicrobials within hospitals and across ICU types, while PVAP is uncommon. Prolonged antimicrobial use despite low rates of PVAP or positive laboratory testing for infection suggests that AVAC may provide a lever for antimicrobial stewardship programs to improve utilization.
Tail damage within the production of finisher pigs is an animal welfare problem. Recent research suggests that removal of known risk factors may not be enough to eliminate tail biting, especially in undocked pigs, thus a different strategy is worth investigating. This could be early detection of tail biting, using behavioural changes observed before tail damage. If these early stages of tail biting can be detected before tail damage occurs, then tail damage could be prevented by early interventions. The first step in developing such a strategy is to identify the types of behaviour changes that emerge during early stages of tail biting. Thus, the aim of the current study was to investigate whether pen level activity and object manipulation evolved differently during the last 7 days before the scoring of tail damage (day 0) for pens scored with tail damage (tail damage pens) and pens not scored with tail damage (matched control pens). The study included video recordings for twenty-four tail damage pens and thirty-two matched control pens. Activity level and object manipulation were observed the last 7 days before day 0 during the morning (0600 to 0800 h), afternoon (1600 to 1800 h) and evening (2200 to 2400 h, only activity level). Both activity level and object manipulation were analysed using generalised linear mixed effects models with a binomial distribution for activity level and a negative binomial distribution for object manipulation. The probability of being active was higher in tail damage pens compared to control pens during the afternoon the last 5 days before day 0 (P<0.001). This was seen due to a decrease in activity level in the control pens, which makes it difficult to identify future tail damage pens from this difference. Object manipulation was lower in tail damage pens compared to the control pens on all 7 days before day 0, but only in pens with undocked pigs (P<0.01). Thus, it is still unknown when this difference in object manipulation initiated. It was concluded that both activity level and object manipulation seemed related to ongoing tail biting and should be investigated through more detailed observations and for a longer time to establish the normal behaviour pattern for a particular pen. Thus, it is suggested that future research focusses on developing automatic monitoring methods for pen level activity and object manipulation and applies algorithms that establish and detect deviations from the normal behaviour pattern of the pen before tail damage.
Subglacial tills play an important role in glacier dynamics but are difficult to characterize in situ. Amplitude Variation with Angle (AVA) analysis of seismic reflection data can distinguish between stiff tills and deformable tills. However, AVA analysis in mountain glacier environments can be problematic: reflections can be obscured by Rayleigh wave energy scattered from crevasses, and complex basal topography can impede the location of reflection points in 2-D acquisitions. We use a forward model to produce challenging synthetic seismic records in order to test the efficacy of AVA in crevassed and geometrically complex environments. We find that we can distinguish subglacial till types in moderately crevassed environments, where ‘moderate’ depends on crevasse spacing and orientation. The forward model serves as a planning tool, as it can predict AVA success or failure based on characteristics of the study glacier. Applying lessons from the forward model, we perform AVA on a seismic dataset collected from Taku Glacier in Southeast Alaska in March 2016. Taku Glacier is a valley glacier thought to overlay thick sediment deposits. A near-offset polarity reversal confirms that the tills are deformable.
Improving milk nitrogen efficiency through a reduction of CP supply without detrimental effect on productivity requires usage of feeding systems estimating both the flows of digestible protein, the exported true proteins and from these predict milk protein yield (MPY). Five feeding systems were compared in their ability to predict MPY v. observed MPY in two studies where either protein supply or protein and energy supply were changed. The five feedings systems were: Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (v6.5.5), Dutch protein evaluation system (1991 and 2007), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in France (INRA), National Research Council and NorFor. The key characteristic of the systems with the best predicted MPY was the inclusion of a variable efficiency of utilisation of protein supply taking into account the supply of both protein and energy. The systems still using a fixed efficiency had the highest slope bias in their prediction of MPY. Therefore, the development of new feeding systems or improvement of existing systems should include a variable efficiency of utilisation of the protein related to both the protein and energy supply. The limitation of the current comparison did not allow determining if additional factors, as used in INRA, were beneficial. This concept should also probably be transferred to essential amino acids.
Unbalanced metabolic status in the weeks after calving predisposes dairy cows to metabolic and infectious diseases. Blood glucose, IGF-I, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) are used as indicators of the metabolic status of cows. This work aims to (1) evaluate the potential of milk mid-IR spectra to predict these blood components individually and (2) to evaluate the possibility of predicting the metabolic status of cows based on the clustering of these blood components. Blood samples were collected from 241 Holstein cows on six experimental farms, at days 14 and 35 after calving. Blood samples were analyzed by reference analysis and metabolic status was defined by k-means clustering (k=3) based on the four blood components. Milk mid-IR analyses were undertaken on different instruments and the spectra were harmonized into a common standardized format. Quantitative models predicting blood components were developed using partial least squares regression and discriminant models aiming to differentiate the metabolic status were developed with partial least squares discriminant analysis. Cross-validations were performed for both quantitative and discriminant models using four subsets randomly constituted. Blood glucose, IGF-I, NEFA and BHB were predicted with respective R2 of calibration of 0.55, 0.69, 0.49 and 0.77, and R2 of cross-validation of 0.44, 0.61, 0.39 and 0.70. Although these models were not able to provide precise quantitative values, they allow for screening of individual milk samples for high or low values. The clustering methodology led to the sharing out of the data set into three groups of cows representing healthy, moderately impacted and imbalanced metabolic status. The discriminant models allow to fairly classify the three groups, with a global percentage of correct classification up to 74%. When discriminating the cows with imbalanced metabolic status from cows with healthy and moderately impacted metabolic status, the models were able to distinguish imbalanced group with a global percentage of correct classification up to 92%. The performances were satisfactory considering the variables are not present in milk, and consequently predicted indirectly. This work showed the potential of milk mid-IR analysis to provide new metabolic status indicators based on individual blood components or a combination of these variables into a global status. Models have been developed within a standardized spectral format, and although robustness should preferably be improved with additional data integrating different geographic regions, diets and breeds, they constitute rapid, cost-effective and large-scale tools for management and breeding of dairy cows.
Archaeological fieldwork at Hjarnø Sund in Horsens Fjord (eastern Jutland, Denmark) has explored an eroding Mesolithic shell midden. Its stratigraphy is characterized by two layers, containing marine mollusk taxa typically collected by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers for food. In the field, the lower layer appeared to be dominated by oysters (Ostrea edulis), while the upper one by cockles (Cerastoderma edule), which was confirmed by our zooarchaeological study. Accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) dating on shells and paired charcoal samples from the two layers indicate that these are chronologically consecutive (separated by as little as 0–163 yr [95.4%]) and that the oyster-to-cockle shift dated between ~5500–5300 and ~5300–5200 cal BC (around or just after the Kongemose/Ertebølle transition). The shell midden at Hjarnø Sund is, thus, one of the oldest-known in Denmark, demonstrating that intensive shellfish exploitation was a hallmark of the Ertebølle culture from its inception. Oyster-to-cockle shifts, thus, also occurred at times other than the Mesolithic–Neolithic Transition and may have been ultimately caused by local shoreline displacements, resulting from changes in sedimentation, possibly induced by drops in relative sea level.
Laying hens housed in free-range systems have access to an outdoor range, and individual hens within a flock differ in their ranging behaviour. Whether there is a link between ranging and laying hen welfare remains unclear. We analysed the relationships between ranging by individual hens on a commercial free-range layer farm and behavioural, physiological and health measures of animal welfare. We hypothesised that hens that access the range more will be (1) less fearful in general and in response to novelty and humans, (2) have better health in terms of physical body condition and (3) have a reduced physiological stress response to behavioural tests of fear and health assessments than hens that use the range less. Using radio frequency identification tracking across two flocks, we recorded individual hens’ frequency, duration and consistency of ranging. We also assessed how far hens ventured into the range based on three zones: 0 to 2.4, 2.4 to 11.4 or >11.4 m from the shed. We assessed hen welfare using a variety of measures including: tonic immobility, open field, novel object, human approach, and human avoidance (HAV) behavioural tests; stress-induced plasma corticosterone response and faecal glucocorticoid metabolites; live weight, comb colour, and beak, plumage, footpad, and keel bone condition. Range use was positively correlated with plasma corticosterone response, faecal glucocorticoid metabolites, and greater flight distance during HAV. Hens that used the range more, moved towards rather than away from the novel object more often than hens that ranged less. Distance ranged from the shed was significantly associated with comb colour and beak condition, in that hens with darker combs and more intact beaks ranged further. Overall the findings suggest that there is no strong link between outdoor range usage and laying hen welfare. Alternatively, it may be that hens that differed in their ranging behaviour showed few differences in measures of welfare because free-range systems provide hens with adequate choice to cope with their environment. Further research into the relationship between individual range access and welfare is needed to test this possibility.
Avian influenza virus (AIV) subtypes H5 and H7 can infect poultry causing low pathogenicity (LP) AI, but these LPAIVs may mutate to highly pathogenic AIV in chickens or turkeys causing high mortality, hence H5/H7 subtypes demand statutory intervention. Serological surveillance in the European Union provides evidence of H5/H7 AIV exposure in apparently healthy poultry. To identify the most sensitive screening method as the first step in an algorithm to provide evidence of H5/H7 AIV infection, the standard approach of H5/H7 antibody testing by haemagglutination inhibition (HI) was compared with an ELISA, which detects antibodies to all subtypes. Sera (n = 1055) from 74 commercial chicken flocks were tested by both methods. A Bayesian approach served to estimate diagnostic test sensitivities and specificities, without assuming any ‘gold standard’. Sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA was 97% and 99.8%, and for H5/H7 HI 43% and 99.8%, respectively, although H5/H7 HI sensitivity varied considerably between infected flocks. ELISA therefore provides superior sensitivity for the screening of chicken flocks as part of an algorithm, which subsequently utilises H5/H7 HI to identify infection by these two subtypes. With the calculated sensitivity and specificity, testing nine sera per flock is sufficient to detect a flock seroprevalence of 30% with 95% probability.
One challenge of intensive pig production is tail damage caused by tail biting, and farmers often decrease the prevalence of tail damage through tail docking. However, tail docking is not an optimal preventive measure against tail damage and thus, it would be preferable to replace it. The aim of the current study was to investigate the relative effect of three possible preventive measures against tail damage. The study included 112 pens with 1624 finisher pigs divided between four batches. Pens were randomly assigned to one level of each of three treatments: (1) tail-docked (n=60 pens) v. undocked (n=52 pens), (2) 150 g of straw provided per pig per day on the solid floor (n=56 pens) v. no straw provided (n=56 pens), (3) stocking density of 1.21 m2/pig (11 pig/pen; n=56 pens) v. 0.73 m2/pig (18 pigs/pen; n=56 pens). Tail damage was recorded three times per week throughout the finisher period by scoring the tail of each individual pig. A pen was recorded as a tail damage pen and no longer included in the study if at least one pig in a pen had a bleeding tail wound; thus, only the first incidence of tail damage on pen level was recorded. Data were analysed by a Cox regression for survival analysis assuming proportional hazards. Results are presented as hazards, and a higher hazard means that a pen has a higher risk of tail damage and of it happening earlier in the finisher period. Pens with undocked pigs had a 4.32-fold higher hazard of tail damage compared with pens with docked pigs (P<0.001). Pens with no straw provided had a 2.22-fold higher hazard of tail damage compared with pens with straw provided (P<0.01). No interactions was seen between the treatments, but the effect of tail docking was higher than the effect of straw provision (P<0.001). Stocking density did not have a significant effect on the hazard of tail damage (hazard rate ratios (HRR)=1.67; P=0.064). However, a combination of straw provision and lowered stocking density showed a similar hazard of tail damage as seen with only tail docking (HRR=1.58; P=0.39). In conclusion, tail docking and straw provision were preventive measures against tail damage, and tail docking reduced the risk more than straw provision. A combination of other preventive measures is necessary to reduce the risk of tail damage in undocked pigs to the same level as in docked pigs.
The flow speed of Greenland outlet glaciers is governed by several factors, the relative importance of which is poorly understood. The delivery of surface-generated meltwater to the bed of alpine glaciers has been shown to influence glacier flow speed when the volume of water is sufficient to increase basal fluid pressure and hence basal lubrication. While this effect has also been demonstrated on the Greenland ice-sheet margin, little is known about the influence of surface melting on the large, marine-terminating outlet glaciers that drain the ice sheet. We use a validated model of meltwater input and GPS-derived surface velocities to quantify the sensitivity of glacier flow speed to changes in surface melt at Helheim Glacier during two summer seasons (2007–08). Our observations span ∼55 days near the middle of each melt season. We find that relative changes in glacier speed due to meltwater input are small, with variations of ∼45% in melt producing changes in velocity of ∼2–4%. These velocity variations are, however, of similar absolute magnitude to those observed at smaller glaciers and on the ice-sheet margin. We find that the glacier’s sensitivity to variations in meltwater input decreases approximately exponentially with distance from the calving front. Sensitivity to melt varies with time, but generally increases as the melt season progresses. We interpret the time-varying sensitivity of glacier flow to meltwater input as resulting from changes in subglacial hydraulic routing caused by the changing volume of meltwater input.
We performed spectroscopy of globular clusters associated with NGC 1399 and measured radial velocities of about 450 clusters, the largest sample ever obtained for dynamical studies. In this progress report, we present the sample and the first preliminary results. Red and blue clusters have slightly different velocity dispersions in accordance with their different density profiles in the case of a spherical and isotropic model. We then measure a constant circular velocity of 422 ± 20 km/s, which agrees well with that of the inner luminous component.