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Childhood obesity is a global issue. Excessive weight gain in early pregnancy is independently associated with obesity in the next generation. Given the uptake of e-health, our primary aim was to pilot the feasibility of an e-health intervention, starting in the first trimester, to promote healthy lifestyle and prevent excess weight gain in early pregnancy. Methods: Women were recruited between 8 and 11 weeks gestation and randomised to the intervention or routine antenatal care. The intervention involved an e-health program providing diet, physical activity and well-being advice over 12 weeks.
Women (n = 57, 43.9% overweight/obese) were recruited at 9.38 ± 1.12 (control) and 9.06 ± 1.29 (intervention) weeks’ gestation, mainly from obstetric private practices (81.2%). Retention was 73.7% for the 12-week intervention, 64.9% at birth and 55.8% at 3 months after birth.
No difference in gestational weight gain or birth size was detected. Overall treatment effect showed a mean increase in score ranking the perceived confidence of dietary change (1.2 ± 0.46, p = 0.009) and score ranking readiness to exercise (1.21 ± 0.51, p = 0.016) over the intervention. At 3 months, infants weighed less in the intervention group (5405 versus 6193 g, p = 0.008) and had a lower ponderal index (25.5 ± 3.0 versus 28.8 ± 4.0 kg/m3) compared with the control group.
Conclusion and Discussion:
A lifestyle intervention starting in the first-trimester pregnancy utilising e-health mode of delivery is feasible. Future studies need strategies to target recruitment of participants of lower socio-economic status and ensure maximal blinding. Larger trials (using technology and focused on early pregnancy) are needed to confirm if decreased infant adiposity is maintained.
Adverse pregnancy outcomes including prematurity and low birth weight (LBW) have been associated with life-long chronic disease risk for the infant. Stress during pregnancy increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Many studies have reported the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes in Indigenous populations and a smaller number of studies have measured rates of stress and depression in these populations. This study sought to examine the potential association between stress during pregnancy and the rate of adverse pregnancy outcomes in Australian Indigenous women residing in rural and remote communities in New South Wales. This study found a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy than the general population. There was also a higher incidence of prematurity and LBW deliveries. Unfortunately, missing post-traumatic stress disorder and depressive symptomatology data impeded the examination of associations of interest. This was largely due to the highly sensitive nature of the issues under investigation, and the need to ensure adequate levels of trust between Indigenous women and research staff before disclosure and recording of sensitive research data. We were unable to demonstrate a significant association between the level of stress and the incidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes at this stage. We recommend this longitudinal study continue until complete data sets are available. Future research in this area should ensure prioritization of building trust in participants and overestimating sample size to ensure no undue pressure is placed upon an already stressed participant.
Evidence from animal models indicates that exposure to an obesogenic or hyperglycemic intrauterine environment adversely impacts offspring kidney development and renal function. However, evidence from human studies has not been evaluated systematically. Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to synthesize current research in humans that has examined the relationship between gestational obesity and/or diabetes and offspring kidney structure and function. Systematic electronic database searches were conducted of five relevant databases (CINAHL, Cochrane, EMBASE, MEDLINE and Scopus). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis guidelines were followed, and articles screened by two independent reviewers generated nine eligible papers for inclusion. Six studies were assessed as being of ‘neutral’ quality, two of ‘negative’ and one ‘positive’ quality. Observational studies suggest that offspring exposed to a hyperglycemic intrauterine environment are more likely to display markers of renal dysfunction and are at higher risk of end-stage renal disease. There was limited and inconsistent evidence for a link between exposure to an obesogenic intrauterine environment and offspring renal outcomes. Offspring renal outcome measures across studies were diverse, with a large variation in offspring age at follow-up, limiting comparability across studies. The collective current body of evidence suggests that intrauterine exposure to maternal obesity and/or diabetes adversely impacts renal programming in offspring, with an increased risk of kidney disease in adulthood. Further high-quality, longitudinal, prospective cohort studies that measure indicators of offspring renal development and function, including fetal kidney volume and albuminuria, at standardized follow-up time points, are warranted.
To assess whether pre-operative assessment with a bone conduction hearing device on a softband is an accurate predictor of performance with one of two transcutaneous hearing implants.
Cohort study comparing pre-and post-operative speech audiometry using correlation analysis.
Pre-operative pure tone audiometry and aided half optimum speech recognition thresholds were compared with post-operative aided results for each ear that had undergone implantation. Data were collected prospectively.
Full data were available in 24 ears. In 19 out of 24 ears (79 per cent), the difference between pre- and post-operative speech scores was less than 10 dB, demonstrating a good clinical correlation. The Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated at 0.66 (95 per cent confidence interval = 0.357–0.842), indicating a strong statistical correlation.
Pre-operative softband testing shows good clinical correlation and strong statistical correlation with hearing implant performance. The findings suggest there is value in using the test to predict performance and guide patients’ expectations.
Childhood obesity rates are higher among Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australian children. It has been hypothesized that early-life influences beginning with the intrauterine environment predict the development of obesity in the offspring. The aim of this paper was to assess, in 227 mother–child dyads from the Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort, associations between prematurity, Gestation Related-Optimal Weight (GROW) centiles, maternal adiposity (percentage body fat, visceral fat area), maternal non-fasting plasma glucose levels (measured at mean gestational age of 23.1 weeks) and offspring BMI and adiposity (abdominal circumference, subscapular skinfold thickness) in early childhood (mean age 23.4 months). Maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations were positively associated with infant birth weight (P=0.005) and GROW customized birth weight centiles (P=0.008). There was a significant association between maternal percentage body fat (P=0.02) and visceral fat area (P=0.00) with infant body weight in early childhood. Body mass index (BMI) in early childhood was significantly higher in offspring born preterm compared with those born at term (P=0.03). GROW customized birth weight centiles was significantly associated with body weight (P=0.01), BMI (P=0.007) and abdominal circumference (P=0.039) at early childhood. Our findings suggest that being born preterm, large for gestational age or exposed to an obesogenic intrauterine environment and higher maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations are associated with increased obesity risk in early childhood. Future strategies should aim to reduce the prevalence of overweight/obesity in women of child-bearing age and emphasize the importance of optimal glycemia during pregnancy, particularly in Indigenous women.
Solvency II is currently one of the most sophisticated insurance regulatory regimes in the world. It is built around the principles of market consistency and embedding strong risk management and governance within insurance companies. For business with long-term guarantees, the original basis produced outcomes that were unacceptable to the member states. The original design was amended through Omnibus II. The working party has looked back at the outcome of the final regulation and comments on how well Solvency II has fared, principally from a UK perspective, relative to its initial goals of improved consumer protection, harmonisation, effective risk management and financial stability. We review Pillar 1’s market consistent valuation (including the risk margin and transitional measures) as well as the capital requirements (including internal models). We look at the impact this has on asset and liability management, pro-cyclicality and product design. We look at Pillars 2 and 3 in respect of the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment, liquidity and disclosure. Finally, we stand back and look at harmonisation and the implications of Brexit. In summary we conclude that Solvency II represents a huge improvement over Solvency I although it has not fully achieved the goals it aspired to. There are acknowledged shortfalls and imperfections where adjustments to Solvency II are likely. There remain other concerns around pro-cyclicality, and the appropriateness of market consistency is still open to criticism. It is hoped that the paper and the discussion that goes with it provide an insight into where Solvency II has taken European Insurance regulation and the directions in which it could evolve.
This study describes epidemiological trends for acute rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE) in Belgium in children aged ⩽5 years during the period June 2007 to May 2014 after the introduction of routine rotavirus (RV) vaccination. This period encompassed the switch from lyophilized to the liquid formulation of Rotarix™ (GlaxoSmithKline, Belgium) in August 2011. Uptake of RV vaccine remained consistently high throughout the study period with Rotarix the brand most often used. RV was present in 9% (1139/12 511) of hospitalized cases with acute gastroenteritis included in the study. Epidemiological trends for hospital admissions for RVGE remained consistent throughout the study period, with no evidence of any change associated with the switch from lyophilized to liquid formulation of Rotarix. This suggests both formulations perform similarly, with the liquid formulation not inferior regarding ability to reduce hospital admissions for acute RVGE in children aged ⩽5 years. A strong seasonal effect was observed with most RVGE occurring in the winter months but with some variability in intensity, with highest incidence found in those aged 6–24 months. The main observation was the decreased number of hospital admissions for RVGE in Belgium that occurred during winter 2013/2014.
Indigenous Australians continue to experience disparities in chronic diseases, many of which have nutrition-related trajectories. Optimal nutrition throughout the lifespan is protective for a number of adverse health outcomes, however little is known about current dietary intakes and related anthropometric outcomes of Indigenous women and their infants. Research is required to identify nutrition issues to target for health promotion activities. The Gomeroi gaaynggal programme is an ongoing, prospective cohort of pregnant Indigenous Australian women and their children. A cross-sectional examination of postnatal dietary intakes and anthropometric outcomes of mothers and children are reported. To date, 73 mother–child dyads have participated postpartum. Breastfeeding initiation was 85.9% and median (interquartile range) duration of any breastfeeding was 1.4 (0.5–4.0) months. Infants were introduced to solid foods at 5.0 months (4.0–6.0) and cow’s milk at 12.0 (10.0–13.0) months. At 12 months postpartum, 66.7% of women were overweight or obese, 63.7% at 2 years. Compared with recommendations, reported median maternal nutrient intakes from 24-h recall were low in fibre, folate, iodine, calcium, potassium and vitamin D and high in proportions of energy from total and saturated fat. Limitations of this study include a small sample size and incomplete data for the cohort at each time point. Preliminary data from this ongoing cohort of Indigenous Australian women and children suggest that women may need support to optimize nutrient intakes and to attain a healthy body weight for themselves and their children.
Indigenous Australians have high rates of chronic diseases, the causes of which are complex and include social and environmental determinants. Early experiences in utero may also predispose to later-life disease development. The Gomeroi gaaynggal study was established to explore intrauterine origins of renal disease, diabetes and growth in order to inform the development of health programmes for Indigenous Australian women and children. Pregnant women are recruited from antenatal clinics in Tamworth, Newcastle and Walgett, New South Wales, Australia, by Indigenous research assistants. Measures are collected at three time points in pregnancy and from women and their children at up to eight time points in the child’s first 5 years. Measures of fetal renal development and function include ultrasound and biochemical biomarkers. Dietary intake, infant feeding and anthropometric measurements are collected. Standardized procedures and validated tools are used where available. Since 2010 the study has recruited over 230 women, and retained 66 postpartum. Recruitment is ongoing, and Gomeroi gaaynggal is currently the largest Indigenous pregnancy-through-early-childhood cohort internationally. Baseline median gestational age was 39.1 weeks (31.5–43.2, n=110), median birth weight was 3180 g (910–5430 g, n=110). Over one third (39.3%) of infants were admitted to special care or neonatal nursery. Nearly half of mothers (47.5%) reported tobacco smoking during pregnancy. Results of the study will contribute to knowledge about origins of chronic disease in Indigenous Australians and nutrition and growth of women and their offspring during pregnancy and postpartum. Study strengths include employment and capacity-building of Indigenous staff and the complementary ArtsHealth programme.
Evidence associating serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations and cardiometabolic risk factors is inconsistent and studies have largely been conducted in adult populations. We examined the prospective associations between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and cardiometabolic risk factors from adolescence to young adulthood in the West Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations, BMI, homoeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), TAG, HDL-cholesterol and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were measured at the 17-year (n 1015) and 20-year (n 1117) follow-ups. Hierarchical linear mixed models with maximum likelihood estimation were used to investigate associations between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and cardiometabolic risk factors, accounting for potential confounders. In males and females, respectively, mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations were 73·6 (sd 28·2) and 75·4 (sd 25·9) nmol/l at 17 years and 70·0 (sd 24·2) and 74·3 (sd 26·2) nmol/l at 20 years. Deseasonalised serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations were inversely associated with BMI (coefficient −0·01; 95 % CI −0·03, −0·003; P=0·014). No change over time was detected in the association for males; for females, the inverse association was stronger at 20 years compared with 17 years. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were inversely associated with log-HOMA-IR (coefficient −0·002; 95 % CI −0·003, −0·001; P<0·001) and positively associated with log-TAG in females (coefficient 0·002; 95 % CI 0·0008, 0·004; P=0·003). These associations did not vary over time. There were no significant associations between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and HDL-cholesterol or SBP. Clinical trials in those with insufficient vitamin D status may be warranted to determine any beneficial effect of vitamin D supplementation on insulin resistance, while monitoring for any deleterious effect on TAG.
The synthesis and texturization processes of fluorinated surfaces by means of atmospheric plasma are investigated and presented through an integrated study of both the plasma phase and the resulting material surface. Three methods enhancing the surface hydrophobicity up to the production of super-hydrophobic surfaces are evaluated: (i) the modification of a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) surface, (ii) the plasma deposition of fluorinated coatings and (iii) the incorporation of nanoparticles into those fluorinated films. In all the approaches, the nature of the plasma gas appears to be a crucial parameter for the desired property. Although a higher etching of the PTFE surface can be obtained with a pure helium plasma, the texturization can only be created if O2 is added to the plasma, which simultaneously decreases the total etching. The deposition of CxFy films by a dielectric barrier discharge leads to hydrophobic coatings with water contact angles (WCAs) of 115°, but only the filamentary argon discharge induces higher WCAs. Finally, nanoparticles were deposited under the fluorinated layer to increase the surface roughness and therefore produce super-hydrophobic hybrid coatings characterized by the nonadherence of the water droplet at the surface.
Available evidence on the bioactive, nutritional and putative detrimental properties of gut microbial metabolites has been evaluated to support a more integrated view of how prebiotics might affect host health throughout life. The present literature inventory targeted evidence for the physiological and nutritional effects of metabolites, for example, SCFA, the potential toxicity of other metabolites and attempted to determine normal concentration ranges. Furthermore, the biological relevance of more holistic approaches like faecal water toxicity assays and metabolomics and the limitations of faecal measurements were addressed. Existing literature indicates that protein fermentation metabolites (phenol, p-cresol, indole, ammonia), typically considered as potentially harmful, occur at concentration ranges in the colon such that no toxic effects are expected either locally or following systemic absorption. The endproducts of saccharolytic fermentation, SCFA, may have effects on colonic health, host physiology, immunity, lipid and protein metabolism and appetite control. However, measuring SCFA concentrations in faeces is insufficient to assess the dynamic processes of their nutrikinetics. Existing literature on the usefulness of faecal water toxicity measures as indicators of cancer risk seems limited. In conclusion, at present there is insufficient evidence to use changes in faecal bacterial metabolite concentrations as markers of prebiotic effectiveness. Integration of results from metabolomics and metagenomics holds promise for understanding the health implications of prebiotic microbiome modulation but adequate tools for data integration and interpretation are currently lacking. Similarly, studies measuring metabolite fluxes in different body compartments to provide a more accurate picture of their nutrikinetics are needed.
Most crop models make use of a nutrient-balance approach for modelling crop response to soil fertility. To counter the vast input data requirements that are typical of these models, the crop water productivity model AquaCrop adopts a semi-quantitative approach. Instead of providing nutrient levels, users of the model provide the soil fertility level as a model input. This level is expressed in terms of the expected impact on crop biomass production, which can be observed in the field or obtained from statistics of agricultural production. The present study is the first to describe extensively, and to calibrate and evaluate, the semi-quantitative approach of the AquaCrop model, which simulates the effect of soil fertility stress on crop production as a combination of slower canopy expansion, reduced maximum canopy cover, early decline in canopy cover and lower biomass water productivity. AquaCrop's fertility response algorithms are evaluated here against field experiments with tef (Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter) in Ethiopia, with maize (Zea mays L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in Nepal, and with quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in Bolivia. It is demonstrated that AquaCrop is able to simulate the soil water content in the root zone, and the crop's canopy development, dry above-ground biomass development, final biomass and grain yield, under different soil fertility levels, for all four crops. Under combined soil water stress and soil fertility stress, the model predicts final grain yield with a relative root-mean-square error of only 11–13% for maize, wheat and quinoa, and 34% for tef. The present study shows that the semi-quantitative soil fertility approach of the AquaCrop model performs well and that the model can be applied, after case-specific calibration, to the simulation of crop production under different levels of soil fertility stress for various environmental conditions, without requiring detailed field observations on soil nutrient content.
The aim of this study was to evaluate potential sampling strategies for detection of infected flocks that could be applied during an outbreak of low pathogenicity notifiable avian influenza (LPNAI) initiated in duck holdings, following initial detection. A simulation model of avian influenza virus transmission and spread within and between holdings, respectively, was used to predict the impact on the size and duration of an outbreak of (i) changing the tracing window within which premises that might be the source of infection or that may have been infected by the index premises were sampled and (ii) changing the number of birds sampled in the flock being tested. It has shown that there is potential benefit in increasing the tracing window in terms of reducing the likelihood of a large outbreak. It has also shown that there is comparatively little benefit from increasing the number of birds sampled per flock.
An alternative high temperature structural alloy system based on the X-X3Si eutectic compositions of chromium and vanadium is put forward. These low-density (~6g/cm3) eutectics have a bcc solid-solution to increase alloy fracture toughness, and a A15 X3Si as the high temperature load-bearing phase. (½Cr,½V)-(½Cr,½V)3Si was used as the base alloy for further element additions, and is represented by the symbol 山 10at.% tantalum and aluminium were substituted for vanadium as quaternary and quinary alloy additions.
Microstructure, elemental phase partitioning, compression creep and oxidation results will be discussed. Cr-Cr3Si has a tidy, fine lamellar microstructure. Vanadium coarsens and destabilises the lamellae to a limited extent. Tantalum addition causes two distinct populations of eutectic to form; one population having finer lamellae than the other. Aluminium does not coarsen or destabilise the lamellar microstructure. High temperature compression tests at 1200°C and 1300°C show that 山 is stronger than the binary alloys, and of similar strength to the quaternary and quinary alloys.